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Columbia Winibtvsiitp 




■•> U UP. 








Cfte earliesit ^geg 





Vkar of Masham, and Prebendary of Chichester, 








Printed by W. Clowes and Sons, 
Stamford Street. 




Chapter XIV. — On the Government, Character, and Projects 
of the Chtcrch diirlntj the Ninth and Tenth Centuries. 

The subject divided under three heads. (I.) On the independency of •pa'pal elec- 
tion. Tiie original law — when first violated and why — Otho the Great— 
Contest respecting imperial confirmation — Resolution established by Nicho- 
las II. virtually successful — General observations. (II.) The encroachments 
of the Church on the State. Origin and progress of spiritual jurisdiction — its 
perpetual collision with the temporal authority — this confusion further aug- 
mented by the establislimeut of the feudal system — Union of ecclesiastical 
and civil dignities — The system of vassalage introduced the military character 
of the Clergy — The judgments of God exercised under ecclesiastical super- 
intendence — The intellectual superiority of the Clergy — Property of the 
Church liable to spoliation by the Laity — The penance performed by Louis 
the Meek — The deposition of Wamba, King of the Visigoths in Spain — Dif- 
ferences between Charles the Bald and Louis of Bavaria — Council of Aix-la- 
Chapelle — Dispute between Charles and Pope Nicholas — between Charles and 
Adrian II, — The king protected by Ilincmar of Rheims — Contest between 
Hincmar and Louis III., and strong expressions of the prelate — Theimperial 
crown conferred by the Pope upon Charles the Bald — Dispute between Robert 
of France and Gregory V. (III.) Usurpations of the See within the Church. 
Gradual transfer of the metropolitan privileges to the See of Rome — Forgery 
of the false Decretals — Di.sjjute between Pope Gregory IV. and tlie French 
Bishops — The double triumph obtained by Nicholas I. over Hincmar of 
Rheims — Tlie Council of Troyes under John VIII. — henceforward the pal- 
lium was to be received from Rome — The character of Hincmar — Decrease of 
the system of appeal to Rome — Pope's Vicars — Kxemj>tions of monasteries 
became more common towards the end of the ninth age — Two other objects 
of papal ambition — Reflections — The fable of the female Pope, p. 1. 

Chapter XV. — On the Opinions, Literature, Discipline, and 
Extertial Fortunes of the Church. 

(I.) On the Eucharist. Original opinions of the Church — Doctrine of Pas- 
chasius Radbert combated by Ratramn and John Scotus — Conclusion of the 
Controversy — Predestination — Opinions and Persecution of Gotteschalchus — 
Millennarianism in the Tenth Century- — its strange and general effect. (II.) 
Literature. Rabanus Maurus, John Scotus, Alfred — its progress among the 
Saracens — Spain — South of Italy — France — Rome — Pope Sylvester II. 
(III.) Discipline of the Church. Conduct of Charlemagne and his Successors 
— St, Benedict of Aniane — Institution of Canons regular — Episcopal electioa 

a 2 



— Translations of Bishops proliibitcd— Pope Stephen VI.— Claudius Bishop 

of Turin Penitential system. (IV.) Conversion of the North of Europe— of 

Denmark, Sweden, Russia— of Poland and Hungary— how accomplished and 
to what extent— The Normans— The Turks, p. 32. 

Chapter XNl.—The Life of Grefjory VII. 

Pope Leo IX. — Early History of Hildebrand — Succession of Victor II.— of Ste- 
phen IX. — of Nicholas II. — his measure respecting Papal Election — the Col- 
lege of Cardinals — imperfection of that measure — subsequent and final regu- 
lation — Inconveniences of popular Suffrages— Restriction of the imperial 
Right of Confirmation— Homage of Robert Guiscard and the Normans— Dis- 
sensions on the death of Nicholas — Succession of Alexander II. — actual 
Supremacy of Hildebrand — Measures taken during that Pontificate— Alex- 
ander is succeeded by Hildebrand, under the title of Gregory VII., p. 59. 


Gregory's First Council— its two objects— to prevent (1.) Marriage or Concu- 
binage of the Clergy— (2.) Simoniacal Sale of Benefices— On the Celibacy of 
the Clergy— why encouraged by Popes— Leo IX.— Severity and consequence 
of Gregory's Edict— Original method of appointment to Benefices— Usurpa- 
tions of Princes — how abused— the question of Investiture — explained — 
Pretext for Royal Encroachments— Original form of Consecration by the 
King and Crown— Right usurped by Otho— State of the Question at the 
Accession of Gregory— Conduct of Henry — further measures of the Pi)pe — 
Indifference of Henr)' — Summoned before a Council at Rome— Council of 
Worms — Excommunication of the Emperor and Absolution of his Subjects 
from their Allegiance — Consequence of this Edict — Dissensions in Germany 
— how suspended — Henry does Penance at Canossa — restored to the Com- 
munion of the Church— again takes the field — Rodolphus declared Emperor 
— Gregory's Neutrality — Remarks on the course of Gregory's measure — 
Universality of his temporal Claims — his probable project — Considerations in 
excuse of his Schemes — partial admission of his Claims — Gi-ound on which 
he founded them — power to bind and to loose — Means by which he supported 
them — Excommunication — Interdict — Legates a Latere — Alliance with Ma- 
tilda — his Norman allies — German Rebels — internal Administration — Effect 
of his rigorous Measures of Reform — his grand scheme of Supremacy within 
the Church — False Decretals — Power conferred by them on the Pope — 
brought into action by Gregory — Appeals to the Pope — generally encouraged 
and practised — their pernicious Effects — Gregory's double Scheme of Uni- 
versal Dominion — Return to Narrative — Clement III., Antipope — Death of 
Rodolphus — Henry twice repulsed from before Rome — finally succeeds — 
his Coronation by Clement — the Normans restore Gregory — he follows them 
to Salerno and there dies — his historical importance — his Character — Public 
— his grand principle in the Administration of the Church — Private — as to 
Morality — as to Religion, p. 07. 

(I.) Controversy respecting Transubstantiation — suspended in the Ninth, 
renewed in the Eleventh Century — Character of Berenger — Council of 


Leo IX. — of Victor II. at Tours in 1054 — Condemnation and Conduct of 
Berenger — Council of Nicholas II. repeated Retraction and Relapse of Be- 
renger — Alexander II. — Council at Rome under Gregory VII. — Extent of 
the Concession then required from Berenger — further Requisition of the 
Bishops — a second Council assembled — Conduct of Gregory — Berenger again 
solemnly assents to the Catholic Doctrine, and again returns to his own — his 
old Age, Remorse, and Death — Remarks on his Conduct — on the Moderation 
of Gregory. (II.) Latin Liturgy — Gradual disuse of the Latin Language 
throughout Europe — Adoption of the Gothic Missal in Spain — Alfonso pro- 
poses to substitute the Roman— Decision by the Judgment of God — by Com- 
bat — by Fire — doubtful result — Final adoption of the Latin Liturgy — its 
introduction among the Bohemians by Gregory — Motives of the Popes — 
other instances of Services not performed in the Vulgar Tongue — Usage of 
the early Christian Church, p. 91. 



Chapter XVII. — From Gregory VII. to Innocent III. 

(I.) Papal history — Urban II. — Council of Placentia— that of Clermont their 

principal acts — The Crusades — their origin and possible advantage — Pascal II. 
— Renewed disputes with Henry — his misfortunes, private and public — his 
death and exhumation — Henry, his son, marches to Rome — Convention with 

Pascal respecting the regalia — its violation — Imprisonment of the Pope his 

concessions — annulled by subsequent Council — Henry again at Rome — Death 
and character of Pascal — Final arrangement of the Investiture questioned by 

Calixtus II. — Observations — The first Lateran (ninth General) Council 

Death of Calixtus — Subsequent confusion and its causes — Arnold of Brescia 

— his opinions, fate, and character — Adrian IV. — Frederick Barbarossa 

Disputes between them, and final success of the Pope — Alexander III. his 

quarrel with Frederick, and advantages — his talents and merits — Celes- 
tine III. — The differences between Rome and the Empire — The internal 
dissensions at Rome on papal election — National contentions between Church 
and State. (II.) Education aud theological learning — Review of preceding 

ages — In Italy and France — Parochial schools — Deficiency in the material 

Papyrus — Parchment — Consequent scarcity of MSS. — Invention of Paper 

Three periods of Theological Literature — the characteristics of each — Gra- 
dual improvement in the eleventh century, p. 101. 

Chapter XVIII. — The Fonltficate of Innocent III. 

[From 1198 to 1210] 

Prefatory facts and observations — Circumstances under which Innocent ascended 
the chair — Collection of Canons — Condition of the Clergy — Ecclesiastical ju- 
risdiction — by what means extended — Innocent's four leading objects — (1.) To 


establish and enlarge liis temporal power in the city and ecclesiastical states. 
Oifice of the Prefect — Favourable circumstances, of which Innocent avails 
himself — his work completed by Nicholas IV. — (2.) To establish the universal 
^)re-eminence of papal over royal authority. His claims to the empire — His 
dispute with Philippe Auguste of France — he ])laces the kingdom under inter- 
dict — submission of Philippe — His general assertions on supremacy — particu- 
lar applications of them — to England and France, Navarre, Wallachia and 
Bulgaria, Arragon and Armenia — His contest with John of England — Inter- 
dict — the Legate Pandulph — Humiliation of the King — (.3.) To extend his 
authority within the church. Italian clergy in England— his general success 
in influencing the priesthood — Power of the episcopal order — The fourth La- 
teran council. Canons on transubstantiation — on private confession — against 
all heretics — (4.) To extinguish heresy. The Petrobrussians — their author 
and tenets. Various other sects, how resisted. The Cathari — supposition of 
Moshcim and Gibbon — tlie more probable opinion. The Waldenses — their 
history and character — error of Mosheim — Peter Waldus — his persecution- 
The Albigeois or Albigenses — their residence and opinions — attacked by In- 
nocent — St. Dominic — Title of inquisitor — Raymond of Toulouse — holy war 
preached against them — Simon de Montfort — resistance and massacre of the 
heretics — Continued persecution of the Albigeois — Deatii of Innocent — Re- 
marks on his policy, p. 152. 

Chapter XIX. — The History of Monachism. 

(I.) Origin of Monachism. Early 'instance of the monastic spirit in the East — 
Pliny the philosopher — The Tiierapent<E or Esscnes — The Ascetics — their real 
character and origin— The earliest Christian hermits — dated from the Decian 
or Diocletian persecutions — Coenobites — Pachomius and St. Anthony — origin- 
ated in ^gypt — account of the monks of /Egypt — Basiiius of Caesara — his 
oruer and rule — his institution of avow questionable — Monasteries encouraged 
by the fathers of the fourth and fifteenth ages — from what motives — Vow of 
celibacy — Restrictions of admission into monastic order — Original monks 
M-ere laymen — Comparative fanaticism of the East and West — Severity of 
discipline in the West — motives and inducements to it — contrasted with the 
Oriental practice— Establishment of nunneries in the East. (11.) Institution of 
Monachism in the West. St. Athanasius — fllartin of Tours — Most ancient 
rule of the Western monasteries — their probable paucity and poverty — Bene- 
dict of Nnrsia — his order, and reasonable rule, and object — Foundation of 
l\Ionte Cassino — France — St. Cohimban — Ravages of the Lombards and 
Danes — Reform by Benedict of Aniane — The order of Cluni — its origin, ri.se, 
and reputation — its attachment to papacy and its prosperity — The order of 
Citeaux — date of its foundation — Dependent abbey of Clairvaux — St. Bernard 
— its progress and decline — Order of the Chartreux. (III.) Canons regufar 
and secii/ar. Order of St. Augustine — Rule of Chrodegangus— Rule of Aix-la- 
Chapelle — subsequent reforms. (IV.) Connexion between the monasteries 
and the pope — mutual services. The .nH/itary orders. (1 ) The Knights of 
the Hospital— origin of their institution— their discipline and character — 
(2.) KnightsTemplars— their origin and object— (3.) Tlie Teutonic order- 
its establishment and prosperity. (V.) The Mendicant orders. Causes of their 


rise and great progress — (1.) St. Dominic — Lis exertions and designs — 
(2.) St. Francis and his followers — compared with the Dominicans — apparent 
assimilation — essential differences — disputes of the Franciscans with the popes, 
and among themselves— Inqnisitorial office of the Dominicans, their learning 
and influence — quarrels with the Doctors of Paris — Austerity of the Francis- 
cans — the Fratricilli — (3.) The Carmelites — their professed origin — (4) Her- 
mits of St. Augustine — Privileges of these four orders. (VI ) f'arwus esta. 
hlishments of Nuns. Tiieir usual offices and character — General remarks — Tiie 
three grand orders of the Western Church (suited to the ages in which they 
severally appeared and flourished) — The Jesuits — The monastic system one 
of perpetual reformation — thus alone it survived so long — its merits and ad- 
vanta'^es — The bodily labour of the monks — their charitable and hospitable 
offices — real piety to be found among them — superintendence of educa- 
tion, and means of learning preserved by them — limits to their utility — 
their frequent alliance with superstition — their early dependence on the 
bishops — gradual exemption, and final subjection to the pope — Their profits 
and opulence, and means of amassing it — Luther a mendicant, p. 195. 

Chapter XX. — History of the Popes, from the Death of Inno- 
cent III. to that of Boniface VIII. 

The ardour of the Popes for Crusades^ts motives and policy — Honorius III. — 
Frederic's vow to take the Cross, and procrastination — Gregory IX. — his 
Coronation — he excommunicates the Emperor — who thus departs for Palestine 
— Gregory impedes his success, and invades his dominions — their subsequent 
disputes — Innocent IV. — his previous friendship with Frederic — Council of 
Lyons — various charges urged against Frederic— Innocent deposes Frederic 
and appoints his successor on his own papal authority — Civil war in Germany 
— in Italy — death of Frederic — his character and conduct — his rigorous de- 
cree against Heretics — Observations— Other reasons alleged to justify his 
disposition — this dispute compared with that between Gregory VII. and Henry 
— Taxes levied by the Pope on the Clergy — Crusade against the Emperor — 
Exaltation of Innocent — his visit to Italy and intrigues — his death — his qua- 
lities as a statesman — as a churchman — expression of the Sultan of Egypt — 
Alexander IV. — Urban IV. — Clement IV. — Introduction of Charles d'Anjou 
to the throne of Naples — Gregory X. — his i)iety, and other merits — Second 
Council of Lyons — Vain preparations for another Crusade — Death of Gregory 
— Objects of Nicholas II. — I\Iartin IV. — Senatorof Rome — Nicholas IV. dili- 
gent against Heresy — Pietrodi Morone or Celestine V, — circumstances of his 
elevation — his previous life and habits — his singular incapacity — disaffection 
among the higher clergy — his discontent and meditations — his resignation — 
Boniface VIII. — his excessive ambition and insolence — on the decline of the 
papal power — his temporal pretensions — Sardinia, Corsica, Scotland, Hungary 
— Recognition of Albert, king of the Romans — and act of his submission — • 
Philip the Fair — the Gallician Church — origin of its liberties — Differences 
between Boniface and Philip — Bull Clcricis Luicos — its substance and subse- 
quent interpretation — Affairs of the bishop of Parme — Bull Ausnu/la Fi/t — 
burnt by Philip — Conduct of the French nobles — of the Clergy — of Boniface — 
Bull Uitai7i Siiiiclam — otlur violent proceedings — Moderation of Philip — fur- 


" tlier insolence of tlie Pope— Plillip's appeal to a General Council— William 
of Nogaret— Personal assault on Boniface— his behaviour, and the circum- 
stances of his death, p. 278. 

Chapter XXI. 

(I.) On Louis IX. of France. Ilis public motives— contrasted with those of Con- 
stantlne and Charlemagne— His virtues, piety, and charity— Particulars of his 
civil legislation— His superstition— The original Crown of Thorns — its re- 
moval to Paris— its reception by the king — his death — His miracles and ca- 
nonization—the Bull of Boniface VIII.— (II.) On the Inquisition. Whether 
St. Louis crtutrilmted to its establishment— Origin of the Inquisition— Office 
of St. Dominic and his contemporaries — Erection of a separate tribunal at 
Toulouse— by Gregory IX.— The authority then vested in the Mendicants- 
its unpopularity in France— Co-operation of St. Louis— Conduct of Frede- 
ric II. — of Innocent IV. — Limits to the prevalence of the Inquisition. — 
(III.) On the Gallician Liberties. Remonstrance of the Prelates of France 
respecting excommunications — firmness of Louis — his visit to the Cistercian 
chapter— The supplication of the monks, and the reply of the King— Early 
spirit and sense of independence in the French clergy— the Pragmatic Sane 
tion of St. Louis— its principle — The six articles which constitute it — Conse- 
quences of the policy of Innocent III.— (IV.) On the Crusades. Remarks on 
the character and circumstances of the first Crusade— Exertions of St. Ber- 
nard for the second Crusade— its fatal result— Excuse of that abbot— Causes 
of the fall of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem— Third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and 
seventh Crusades— The eighth and ninth— St. Louis— Termination of the Cru- 
sades, and final loss of Palestine— General remarks— (1.) On the Origin and first 
motives of religious pilgrimage— Treatment of first pilgrims by the Saracens — 
Pilgrimage during the tenth and eleventh centuries — Conquest of Palestine 
by the Turks— Practice of private feuds and warfare in Europe— prevalent in 
the tenth century — The superstitious spirit of the same age— associated with 
the military — General predisposition in favour of a Crusade — Failure of Syl. 
vester II. and Gregory VII. — (2.) On the Objects of the Crusades — what they 

^vere what they were not — The object of the first distinguished from that of 

following Crusades— Conduct and policy of the sovereigns of Europe— of the 
Vatican— Gradual change in its objects.— (3.) On the Results oi the Crusades 
Advantages produced by them — Few and partial— on government— on com- 
merce on general civilization — Evils occasioned — Religious wars — Immoral 

influence — Corruption of church discipline— Canonical penance— Introduc- 
tlon of the Plenary Indulgence— its abuses— The Jubilee— Interests of the 
clergy. Note (A.) On the collections of Papal Decretals— That of Gratian 
—the Liber Sextus— Clementines, &c. Note (B.) On the University of 

Paris The Four Faculties — Foundation of the Sorbonne. Note (C.) On 

certain theological writers— Rise and progress of the scholastic system of 
theology— Peter the Lombard— His " Book of the Sentences"— St. Thomas 
Aquinas— His history and productions— St. Bonaventura- the character of his 
theology— The Realists and Nominalists, or Thomists and Scotists— The Im- 
maculate Conception, p. 321. 



On flic Governmenf, Character and Projects of the Church 
during tJie N^infh and, Tenth Centuries. 

That we may avoid the confusion usually attending the com- 
pression of a long series of incidents, we shall here endeavoiu* 
to distinguish the points which chiefly claim our notice, rather 
than follow chronologically the course of events ; and though it 
may not be possible, nor even desirable, to prevent the occa- 
sional encroachments of subjects in some respects similar, yet 
in others very different, we shall not allow them to perplex our 
narrative. It is an obscure and melancholy region into which 
we now enter ; but it is not altogether destitute of interest and 
instruction, since we can discern, through the ambiguovis twi- 
light, those misshapen masses and disorderly elements, out of 
which the fabric of Papal despotism presently arose, and even 
trace the irregular progress of that stupendous strvicture. 

We shall best attain this end by giving a separate considera- 
tion to thi'ee subjects, which will be found to include the whole 
ecclesiastical policy of the ninth and tenth centiu'ies. Other 
matters relating to that period, and possessing perhaps even 
greater general importance, will be treated in the next chapter; 
but at present we shall confine our inquiry to the following 
objects: — 1. The endeavours of the popes to free their own 
election from imperial interference of every description, whether 
to nominate or confirm. II. The efforts of the Church to 
usurp dominion over the Western empire ; and generally to 
advance the spiritual, as loftier and more legitimate than the 
highest temporal, authority. III. The exertions of the Sec of 
Rome to subdue to itself the ecclesiastical body, and thus to 



establish a despotism ivithin the Church. In the two first of 
these objects we may regard the Church as waging for the 
most part an external warfare; the last occasioned her intestine 
or domestic struggles : and the examination of them will neces- 
sarily lead to some mention of the peculiarities introduced by 
the feudal system ; of its influence on the manners, morals, and 
property of the clergy. 
Original I. On the independency of Papal election. The original 

paparelec- ^^^^ ^^'^ practice in this matter had passed, with some varia- 
tion, tions bvit little lasting alteration, through the succession both 
of the Greek and barbarian sovereigns of Rome, from the time 
of Constantine to that of Charlemagne ; and that prince also 
transmitted it unchanged to his posterity. It was this, — that 
the pope should be elected by the priests, nobles, and people of 
Rome, but that he should not be consecrated without the con- 
sent of the emperor. This arrangement was found, for above 
eight centuries, to be consistent with the dignity of the Roman 
Bishop ; and it was not till his spiritual pride had been inflated 
by temporal power, that it was discovered to be douhly objec- 
tionable — it was no longer to be endured, either that laymen 
should interfere in the election of the pope, or the emperor in 
his consecration. Both these restraints became offensive to the 
lofty principles of ecclesiastical independence ; but the latter 
was that which it was first attempted to remove. 

Charlemagne was succeeded by his son Louis, commonly 
called the Meek, a feeble and superstitious monarch ; and of 
these defects both Stephen V.''' and Pascal I. so far availed 
themselves, as to exercise the pontifical functions without await- 
ing his confirmation. But when Eugene II. would have fol- 
lowed their example, Lothaire, who was associated in the 
empire, complained of the usvu'pation, and resumed the impe- 
rial right. Louis died in 840, and ^vas succeeded on the 
throne of France by Charles the Bald. 

That prince reigned for thirty- seven years with scarcely 
greater vigour than his predecessor ; but his reign is on several 
accounts important in the history of Popery, and chiefly on tlie 

* Generally called Stephen IV. See Baron, ann. 81G. s. 90. 


following. Two years before his death the imperial throne 

became vacant. Charles was ambitious to poSfSess it : he went 

to Rome, accepted it at the hands of John VIII.; and then, 

that he might make a worthy return for this office, he released Cession of 

the see from the necessity of imperial consent to the consecra- Halrigiit. 

tion of its bishop. The claims, which were derived by subse- ^^^> ^' "• 

quent popes from John's assvmied donation of the empire, will 

be mentioned hereafter, and it will appear on how slight a 

ground they rested; but the interference of the emperor in 

papal elections was on this occasion directly and unequivocally 


Neither the interests nor the honour of the see gained any 
thing by its independence. From that time (the event took 
place in 875) till 960, the most disgraceful confusion prevailed 
in the elections, and clearly proved that the restraint hereto- 
fore imposed by civil superintendence had been salutary ; and 
if the emperors during that stormy period did not reclaim their 
former right, we should rather attribute the neglect to their 
weakness, than to their acknowledged cession of it. For in the Its resump- 
year 960, Otho the Great, on the invitation of John XII., re- q^j^q fhe 
sumed the imperial authority in Italy, and exercised, as long Great. 960, 
as he lived, the most arbitrary discretion in the election, and 
even appointment, of the pontiff". He presently degraded John, 
and substituted in his place Leo YIII.; and under that pope 
(or anti-pope — for it is disputed) a Lateran council* was held 
in 964, which conferred on Otho and all his successors not 
merely the kingdom of Italy, but the regulation of the holy see 
and the arbitrary election of its bishops. And for the guidance 
of their successors, Otho left an edict, prohibiting the election 
of any pope without the pretnous^ knowledge and consent of 
the emperor, which was enforced during the next eighty years 
by all who possessed the power to do so. But in the century 
following, in the year 1047, we observe that the same right was 
once more conceded to an emperor, Henry III.; and on this 
occasion an artful distinction was drawn by the Italians, which 
led, no doubt, to the ultimate independence of election : the 

* Giannone, Stor. Nap., lib. viii., cap. vi. f Mosheim, Cent. X., p. ii., c. ii. 




privilege of nominating the pope was granted to Henry per- 
sonalhf^ , not to the throne, 
piubsequent This important advantage was followed almost immediately 
changes. ^^ another of still greater consequence. Nicholas II., under 
the direction of Hildebrand, found means to restore the origi- 
nal principle of election, modified as follows : the right of 
appointment was vested in the college of cardinals; with the 
consent of the people, and the approbation of the emperor. 
But the last-mentioned restriction was expressly understood to 
extend only to the emperor of the time being, and to such of 
his successors as should personally obtain the privilege. This 
grand measure was accomplished in a council held at Rome in 
1059, fourteen years before the accession of Gregory VII.; 
and so the matter rested, when he took possession of the chair. 
We observe from tliis short accomit, that after an interrupted 
struggle of two hundred and fifty years, an absolute indepen- 
dence of election was not yet confessedly effected. The contest 
had fluctuated very considerably; the first advantages were 
entirely on the side of the pope ; in fact, at the death of Charles 
the Bald, the victory seemed perfectly secure : and the centiuy 
which followed was so clouded by the mutual dissensions of the 
princes ; it was marked by such positive weakness in their 
states, such vices in their personal character and internal ad- 
ministration, as to be in the highest degree favoiu-able to the 
confirmation and extension of papal privileges. Why then was 
it that the privilege in qviestion was not at the time extended, 
nor even permanently confirmed ? Why was it even that the 
next interference of the emperor took place at the solicitation 
of a pope ? Chiefly because the removal of imperial superin- 
tendence had thrown the election entirely into the hands of an 
unprincipled nobility|, an intriguing clergy, and a venal popu- 

''* He had occasion to exert it three times. See chap. xvi. 

•f From the deposition of the last Carlovingian king to the reign of Otlio the 
Great, (a space of nearly fifty years.) the authority of the princes who held the 
imperial title was always vacillating and contested. In the mean time the city of 
Rome was no part of the kingdom of Italj', but depended on the imperial crown 
only ; so that dm-ing the vacancy of the empire it recovered its independence, and 
thus fell under the turbulent oligarchy of its own nobles. These provided the 
candidates for the pontifical throne ; and whosoever among them succeeded in 


lace, whose united fraud and violence usually favoured the most 
flagitious candidate, and promoted his success by means the 
most shameful. And, therefore, through this lawless period 
we read of popes tumultuously chosen and hastily deposed; 
hurried from the monastery to the chair, from the chair to 
prison or to death. Their reigns were usually short and wasted 
in fruitless endeavours to prolong them; their sacred duties 
were forgotten or despised, and their personal characters were 
even more detestable than those of the princes their contempo- 
raries. Further, we may observe, that when the Church began 
to recover from the delirium of the tenth century — when one 
great man did at length arise within it, Hildebrand, the future 
Gregory, his influence was immediately exerted, not only 
against imperial interference to confirm, but against popular 
license to elect : for he had learnt from long and late expe- 
rience, that no scheme for the universal extension of papal 
authority could be made effective, until the popes themselves 
were secured from the capricious insolence of a domestic tyrant. 
If things had not been thus — if papal elections had been regu- 
larly and conscientiously conducted when the civil governments 
of Europe were at the lowest point of contentious and stupid 
imbecility — the era of pontifical despotism would have been 
anticipated by nearly three centuries, and the empire of opi- 
nion would have been more oppressive and more lasting, as the 
age was more deeply immersed in ignorance and barbarism. 
II. We proceed to examine the encroachments of the Church 

obtaining it, secured, ty means of the chuich revenues, a great preponderance 
over all the others, and became as it were the chiefs of the republic. (See Sis- 
moudi, Repub. Ital. chap, iii.; to whose work we are compelled to refer the reader 
for the few facts which are ascertained respecting the revulutiuns of the Romaa 
Government during this period.) For the further degradation of the Roman See 
the influence of female arts and charms was triumphantly exerted. " Jamais les 
femmes n'eurent autant do credit sur aucun gouvernement que celles de Rome en 
obtinrent, dans le dixleme slecle, sur celui de leur patrie. Or auroit dit que hi 
beautu avoit succc'de a tons IfS droits de I'empire." The names and scandals of 
'I'heodora and Marozia are distinguished in the ecclesiastical annals of the tentli 
century. In the rapid succession of popes, those most m;ivked by disgrace or 
misfortune may have been Leo V., John X., John XI., John XII., Benedict VI., 
John XIV. ; but to pursue the details of their history would be alike painful and 
unprofitable : fur their ciimes would teach us no lessonS; and even their sufferings 
would scarcely raise our compassion, 


Encroach- iipon the State during the same period ; and this part of our 
ecciesiasti- subject might again be subdivided under three heads — the ge- 
cai on civil neral usurpations of the See of Rome on any temporal rights — 
the usurpations of national councils of bishops on the civil 
authorities — and the usurpations of the episcopal office on that 
of the secular magistrate. But, not to perplex this matter by 
an attempt at exceeding minviteness, we shall in this instance 
rather follow the course of events, and illustrate them with such 
Spiritual observations as they may appear severally to demand. The 
tiou. fii'st edict which permitted legal jurisdiction to the episcopal 

order, and supported its decisions by civil authority, sowed the 
seeds of that confusion, which afterwards involved and nearly 
obliterated the limits of temporal and spiritual power. There 
is scarcely any crime which an ingenious casuist might not 
construe into an offence against religion, and subject to eccle- 
siastical cognizance, in a rude and illiterate age ; while, on the 
other hand, the best defined and most certain rights of an un- 
armed and dependent authority were liable to continual out- 
rage, either from a sovereign possessing no fixed principles of 
government, or from a lawless aristocracy more powerful than 
the sovereign. 

In the Eastern empire, indeed, this evil was in a great degree 
neutralized by the decided and unvarying supremacy of the 
civil power, nor was it immediately felt even in the West ; at 
least we read little or nothing about the usurpation of the 
clergy, until after the death of Charlemagne. Tlie popes, it is 
true, had displayed, from a very early period, great anxiety to 
enlarge their authoi'ity ; but the efforts of Leo and even of Gre- 
gory were confined to the acquisition of some privilege from 
their own metropolitans, or some title or province from their 
rival at Constantinople. The dream of luiiversal empire seems 
at no time to have warmed the imagination of those more 
moderate pontiffs. It is not that we may not occasionally discover 
both in the writings and in the conduct of the prelates of earlier 
days an abvmdance of spiritual zeal, ever ready to overflow its 
just bounds, and gain somewhat upon the secular empire. The 
latter, too, found its occasions to retort ; but we may remark, 
that while its operations were generally violent and interrupted. 


those of the clergy were more systematic and continuous. In 
the mean time the distinction between the two parties was be- 
coming wider, and their differences were approaching near to 
dissension, before, and even during, the reign of Charlemagne : 
howbeit, the vigorous grasp of that monarch so firmly wielded 
the double sceptre, that the rent which was beginning to divide 
\V^ was barely perceptible, when it fell from his hand; but 
scarcely had it begun to tremble with the feeble touch of Louis 
his son^ when its ill-cemented materials exhibited a wide and 
irreparable incoherence. 

The extraordinary change which had taken place in the insti- 
tutions of the Western Empire during the two preceding, and 
which was progressive during the two present centuries, greatly 
increased both to church and state the facility of mutual en- 
croachment. Until the permanent settlement of the northern 
nations generally introduced the feudal system of government, 
the Clergy, though enjoying great immunities and ample pos- 
sessions, yet, as they lived under absolute rule, had little real, 
and no independent power, excepting such as indirectly accrued 
to them through their influence. If they had lands, no juris- 
diction was necessarily annexed to them ; they had no place in 
legislative assemblies ; they had no control, as a body, in the 
direction of the state. 

The devout spirit of the Barbarians presently increased the 

* In the "Capitularies of Interrogations" proposed V)y Charlemagne, three 
years before his death, — " First," (he says,) "I will separate the bishops, the ab- 
bots, and the secular nobles, and speak to them in private. I will ask them why 
they are not willing to assist each other, whether at home or in the camp, when 
the interests of their country demand it ? Whence come those frequent com- 
plaints which I hear, either concerning their property or the vassals which pass 
from the one to the other ? In what the ecclesiastics impede the service of the 
laity, the laity that of the ecclesiastics P To what extent a bishop or abbot 
ought to interfere in secular affairs ; or a count or other layman in ecclesiastical 
matters," &c. (Fleury, H. Keel., 1. xiv. sect. 51. Guizot, Hist. Mod., leqon 21.) 
Soon afterwards, in 82G, the council of Paris, alter proposing some very extrava- 
gant episcopal claims, observes, as one great obstacle to harmony, that the 
princes have long mixed too much in ecclesiastical matters, and that the clergy, 
whether through avarice or ignorance, take unbecoming interest in secular mat- 
ters. Again, at the Synod of Aix-la-Chapelle (in 836) all the evils of the time 
are expressly attributed to the mutual encroachments of the spiritual and seculas 


Union of extent of their landed possessions, without withholding horn 
Samlctvil t^i^^^^ ^"y *^^' ^^^^ rights which, according to their system, were 
dignities, inseparahle from land ; and thus they entered upon temporal 
jurisdiction co-extensive with their estates. By these means 
the Episcopal Courts became possessed of a double jurisdiction 
— o\ er the Clergy and Laity of their diocese for the cognizance 
of crimes against the ecclesiastical law, and over the vassals of 
their barony as lords paramount — and these two departments 
they frequently so far confounded as to use the spiritual weapon 
of excommunication to enforce the judgments of both*. In the 
next place the Clergy became an order in the state, and thus 
entered into the enjoyment of privileges entirely unconnected 
with their religious character. Yet the necessary effect of the 
union of ecclesiastical with secular dignities was to blend two 
powers in the same person almost vuidistinguishably ; and to 
confound, by indiscriminate use, the prerogatives of the bishop 
with those of the baron. Again, the bishops being once esta- 
blished as feuded lords, had great advantages in increasing their 
possessions, owing to the influence which necessarily devolved 
on them, not only from their greater virtues and knowledge, but 
also from the command of ecclesiastical authority. And as the 
vassals of the Church grew gradually to be better secured from 
oppression and outrage than those of the lay nobility, its pro- 
tection was more courted and its patrimonial domain more 
amply extended. 
System of At the first establishment of the system, vassalage to an 
ecclesiastic conferred exemption from military service ; but, 
among rude and warlike nations, when the greater force was 
generally the better law, this privilege could not possibly be of 
long duration. It was withdrawn universally, at different times, 

* This subject is treated clearly, though shortly, by Burke, in his Abridg- 
ment of Euglish History. Mosheim, who ascribes the secular encroachments of 
the Bishojis to their acquisition of secular titles, denies that such titles were 
conferred on them before the tenth age. Louis Thomassiti (l)e Disciplin. Eccles. 
Vet, et Nova) endeavours to trace the jiractice to the ninth and even to the eighth 
century. Whatever may be the fact respecting the titles, the jurisdiction cer- 
tainly gained great ground during the ninth age ; more, peihajis, through the 
superstition of the people, and the wva kiicss of the princes, than by its own legi- 


by different princes, according to their power or their necessi- 
ties. The Church fiefdonis thus assumed a very different ap- 
pearance, and the spirituahty of the sacred character became 
still iiu-tlier corrupted ; for, as soon as the vassals became mili- 
tary, it was found difficult to hold them in subjection to an un- 
armed lord, and the Clergy were, in many instances, obliged 
to descend from their peaceful condition, assvime the sword and 
helmet, and conduct their subjects into battle : in many in- 
stances they did so without anj' such obligation. The prac- 
tice crept, without the same excuse, and of course with much 
less frequency, into the Greek Church. In the year 713 a Sub- 
deacon commanded the troops of Naples ; and the Admiral of 
the Emperor's fleet was a Deacon. But the low ecclesiastical 
rank which these officers held would prove, if it were necessary, 
that they did not take the field as feudal lords. In the West 
the abuse appears to have commenced soon after the admission 
of barbarians to the clerical order ; which, if we are to judge 
by names, scarcely took place before the seventh century. This 
direct dereliction of the pastoral character by the clergy, became 
the immediate means of securing their property* and increasing 
their power; but, notwithstanding the contempt to which the 
peaceful virtues are occasionally exposed among rude and mili- 
tary nations, it is probable that they lost thereby as much in 
influence as they gained in power. 

Again, the strange and irrational method of Trials, which Ju'ls"^*-'"*^ 
even now came generally into use, must have tended, by the ° ' ' 
intermixture of superstition, to enlai'ge the dominion of eccle- 
siastical influence. The ordinary proofs by fire, by water, 
by hot iron, indicate some imposture, perhaps only practicable 
by the more informed craft of the clergy. The proofs of the 
Cross and the Eucharist bear more obvious marks of sacerdotal 
superintendence. Even the trial by duel, which seems the 
farthest removed from priestly interference, was preceded by 

* In the address (already mentioned) which was presented on this suhject to 
Charlemagne by his people, it is remarkable that the petitioners felt it necessary 
to otl'er a Solemn assurance, that their motives tor disarming the Clergy was not 
(as might, it seems, have been suspected) a design to plunder their property. We 
may add, that the indecent violation of the sacerdotal character is a reason which 
seems to have been overlooked by both parties. 


some religlovis forms ; great precautions were taken to prevent 
the arms from being enchanted ; and in case of any injustice, a 
miracle was constantly expected to remedy it. The clergy dis- 
graced themselves by upholding such abuses of their judicial 
authority, and they divide that disgrace with the kings and the 
civil magistrates of the time ; but they had not the crime of in- 
troducing them. They received and executed them as they 
were handed down from a remote and blind antiquity ; and it 
is but justice to add that they made frequent attempts to abo- 
lish them *. 
Intellectual Moreover, through the free spirit which formed the only merit 
of the"" ^^^ of the feudal system, the affairs of the state were more or less 
Clergy. regulated by public assemblies, and the higher ranks of the 
clergy found a place in these. Thus, again, were they placed 
in contact with the great temporal interests of their country, and 
invited to examine and direct them ; and no doubt their feudal 
temporalities, as well as their spiritual influence, added weight 
and authority to their counsel. But, besides these, which 
some might overbear and others might affect to despise, their 
political consideration was derived from another — a more 
honourable and a more certain instrument of power — their in- 
tellectual superiority. The learning of the age continued still 
to be confined to their order-}-; few among the laity could even 
read, and therefore few were qualified for any public duty ; and 
thus the various offices requiring any degree of literature iell 
necessarily into the hands of the clergy. Those who consider 

* A council held at Attigni, probably in 822, under Lotus the Meek, especially 
prohibited the Trial liy the Cross; according to which, the two parties stood up 
before a cross, and whichever of them fell first lost his cause. Again, at the Council 
of Worms (in 829), these judgments were strongly discouraged. Agobard, Arch- 
bishop of Lyons, an influential prelate, had written expressly against them. The 
Council of Valence, held in 855, published the following canon. " Duels shall 
not be suffered, though authorized by custom. He who shall have slain his ad- 
versary shall be subject to the penance of homicide ; he who shall have been slain, 
shall be deprived of the prayers and sepulture of the Church. The Emperor shall 
be prayed to abolish that abuse by public ordinance.'' See Fleury, 1. xlvi., s. 48, 
1. xlvii., s. 30. 1. xlix., s. 25. 

f In many of the councils held during the ninth century, canons were enacted 
enjoining the Bishop to suspend a Priest lor ignorance, and to promote and regu- 
late the schools which were established for the education of the clergy. 


their advance to such offices as usurpations do not sufficiently 
weigh the circumstances of the times ; they do not reflect that 
there are moral as well as physical necessities, and that a state 
of society is not even possible, in which the only persons at all 
qualified to fill the offices of the state should be the only per- 
sons excluded from them. It is far from om- intention to advo- 
cate any general departure from the spiritual character in the 
sacred orders ; and the divines of the ninth and tenth centuries 
would luidoubtedly have been great gainers both in virtue and 
in happiness, had they preserved that character pure and un- 
contaminated. But it was made impossible, by the political 
system under Avhich they lived, that it could be so ; and with- 
out seeking any excuse for the individual misconduct of 
thousands among them, we cannot avoid perceiving that their 
interference in temporal affairs, to a certain extent, was abso- 
lutely unavoidable — and where and by whom, in those unsettled 
ages, were the limits of that interference to be drawn and pre- 
served ? 

If the clergy were in many respects gainers by the imper- Spoliations 
fection of civil government, it would be partial to conceal that property. 
they were sufferers by it also. In times of confusion (and 
those days were seldom tranquil) the property of the Church 
was the constant object of cupidity and invasion*. On such 
occasions no inconsiderable portion of its revenues passed into 
the hands of lay impropriators, who employed curates at the 

* The councils of the ninth century abound with complaints of the spoliation 
of Church property by laymen, who are fre(iuently specifitd ; and new Capitula- 
ries were continually enacted to prevent or allay ditferences betwen the Clergy and 
the laity. The confusion generally prevalent is proved by the capitularies pub- 
lished at Quercy (in 857), by which every diocesan is exhorted to preach against 
pillage and violence, as well as by the Letters of Hincmar published in 859, and 
that of the Bishops of France to King Louis, attributed to the same prelate. The 
frequency too of personal assaults on the Clergy is evinced by various regulations 
for their protection, and even more so, perhaps, by the slight punishment 
attached to such ofiences. Some promulgated in France (probably in 822) or- 
dain as follows — " the murderer of a Deacon or Priest is condemned to a ])enance 
of twelve years and a fine of 'JOO sous ; the murderer of a Bishop is to abstain 
from flesh and wine for the whole of his life, to quit the profession of arms, and 
abstain from marriage." Yet the confirmation of this canon was thought highly 
important by the episcopal order. Fleury, 1. xlvi., s. 48; 1. xli.\., s. 40. 


cheapest rate*. And Loth Bishops and Monasteries were 
ohhged to invest powerful lay protectors, under the name of 
Advocates, with cousidera])le fiefs, as the price of their protec- 
tion against depredators. But those advocates became them- 
selves too often the spoilers, and oppressed the helpless eccle- 
siastics for Avhose defence they had been engaged. 

We liave thought it right, thougli at the risk of some repe- 
tition, to premise this general view of the relative situation of 
the clergy and laity during the period which we are describing; 
otherwise it would be difficult to form any just and impartial 
views, or even any very definite notions, of the real character 
of the events which ai'e contained in it. 
Penance of In the civil war which took place in the year 833 bet^veen 
Meek, ^^ Louis the Meekf and his sons. Pope Gregory IV. presented 
himself in France at the camp of the rebels. The motive 
which he pretended was to reconcile the combatants and termi- 
nate a dissension '^ so scandalous to Christendom ; and such 
really may have been his design. At least it is certain that his 
interference was a single and inconsequent act, unaccompanied 
by any insolence of pretension : the Pope offered his mediation, 
and though we may suspect his impartiality, he advanced no 
claim of apostolical authority to dispose of the crown. We shall, 
therefore, pass on from this event to one which immediately fol- 
lowed it, and which French historians consider as the first 
instance of ecclesiastical affgression on the rights of their sove- 
reign. Louis was betrayed by his soldiers into the hands of 
his sons, who immediately deposed him and divided the empire 
amongst themselves ; but fearing that he might hereafter be 

* An abuse (as J\lr. Hallam remarks) which has never ceased in the Church : 
Middle Ages, chap. vii. We take this opportunity of acknowledging various 
obligations to that historian. 

f Charlemagne died in 814 ; Louis in 840, and his successor, Charles the Bald, 
in 877. The empire passed from Charlemagne's descendants to the German Con- 
rad just a century after his death; and in 'J87 his dynasty was extinguished in 
France by the accession of Hugh Capet. 

+ Baion., ann. 833, s. v. Gregory held the See from 828 to 844. It was made 
a complaint against the Emperor by Agobard, the Archbishop of Lyons (ap. Ba- 
ron., ann. 833. s.vi.), that he did not addrtss the Pope with the due expressions 
of respect — since he saluted him, in a letter, Brother and Papa, indiscrimiiiately : 
the paternal appellation should alone, it seemS; have been adopted. 


restored by popular favour, they determined to inflict upon him 
a still deeper and more effectual humiliation. An assembly 
held at Compiegne condemned him to perform public penance, 
and he submitted with some reluctance to the sentence. Having 
received a paper containing the list of his pretended crimes, and 
confessed his guilt, he prostrated himself on a rough mat at the 
foot of the altar, cast aside his baldric, his sword, and his 
secular vestments, and assumed the garb of a penitent. And 
after the Bishops had placed their hands on him, and the cus- 
tomary psalms and prayers had been performed, he was con- 
ducted in sackcloth to the cell assigned for his perpetual resi- 
dence. It was intended by those who condemned him to this 
ignominy, thereby to disqualify him for every office both civil 
and military. But neither does it appear that such was the 
necessary consequence of canonical penance, nnless when im- 
posed for life*; nor could they have forgotten that eleven years 
previously the same monarch had already performed a public 
penance, for certain political offences then charged on him. It 
proved then, as might have been expected, that the ceremony 
described had no more important effect than the temporary 
humiliation of the royal person. Probably his popularity was 
increased by the show of persecution ; and as soon as political 
circumstances changed in his favour, the Bishops immediately 
reconciled the penitent to the Church, and replaced him on the 
throne I . 

This stretch of episcopal power is blamed by many Roman 
Catholic historians, who at the same time are careful to show 
that it was simply an act of penance, not of deposition, justi- 
fied by the memorable submission of Theodosius to ecclesiasti- 
cal discipline. Nevertheless, we cannot in justice otherwise 
consider it than as a daring outrage committed on the highest 
temporal authority, with the intention of perpetuating the 

* The prohibition to carry arms or discharge civil offices did not extend beyond 
the duration of the penance. See Fleury, \. xlvii., s. 40. Baron, ann. 882. s. i.; 
ann. 833. s. xix. 

t We read in Baronius (ann. 834, s. i.), that during the time of his deposition 
viiiU'ut and unseasonable tempests prevailed, which instantly dispersed at his 


deposition of Louis by the pretext of penance. Yet it had been 
surpassed in an earlier age and in a different country, by a 
measure of episcopal usurpation which is less generally re- 
corded. At the twelfth Council of Toledo, in 682, the bishops 
Deposition undertook to decide on the succession to the crown. Vamba, 
ot Vamlia, king of the Visigoths, having done penance and assumed the 

King of the *=' . . ^ r f 

Visigoths, monastic habit, formally abdicated in favour of Ervigius; on 
-5 ^■°- vvhich matter the prelates pronounced as follows — " We have 
read this act, and think it right to give it our confirmation. 
Wherefore we declare that the peojile is absolved from all obli- 
gation and oath by which it was engaged to Vamba ; and that 
it should recognise for its only master Ervigius, whom God has 
chosen, whom his predecessor has appointed, and, what is still 
more, whom the whole people desires*." Still we may observe 
that, even in this instance, the prelates did not professedly pro- 
ceed to the whole length of deposition, though such was unques- 
tionably the real nature of the measure. We may also remind 
the reader, that the aggressions which have been thus far men- 
tioned were entirely the work of the episcopal order, not in any 
way directed or influenced by the See of Rome. It is very true 
that they may have prepared the way for the more extensive 
usurpations of Papacy, and the authority which had been in- 
sulted by provincial Bishops could scarcely hope to be long held 
sacred by the chief of the whole body : still the Pope had not 
yet found himself sufficiently powerlid to engage in the enter- 

Charles the The long reign of Charles the Bald furnishes more numerous 

Til 1 ? ~ <Z} 

instances of the exercise of ecclesiastical influence in affairs of 
state, and some of them deserve our notice. That prince and 
Louis of Bavaria, being desirous to dispossess their brother 
Lothaire of a portion of his dominions, did not presume, not- 
withstanding great military advantages which they had obtained 
over him, to proceed in their design without the sanction of the 
clergy. To that end they summoned a council of bishops and 
priests f at Aix-la-Chapelle, in the year 842, and submitted the 

■' It is the first canon of the Council, and is cited by I'luury, 1. xl., s. 29. 
f Baron., aun. 842. s. 1,2, 3. 


question to their consideration. The assembly condemned tlie 
crimes and incapacity of Lothaire, and declared that God had 
justly withdrawn his protection from him ; but it would not 
pei'mit his brothers to occupy his kingdom, until they had made 
a public vow to govern it, not after the example of Lothaire, 
but according to the will of God. The bishops then pronoiniced 
their final decision in these words — " Receive the kingdom by 
the authority of God, and govern it according to his will ; we 
counsel, we exhort, we command you to do so." The effect of 
this sentence was not, indeed, the entire spoliation of Lothaire, 
who retained his throne to the end of his life ; but certain pro- 
vinces, already in the occupation of the conquerors, were im- 
mediately, and, as it would seem, permanently transferred to 
their sceptre, in consequence of the episcopal award. 

In the year 859 Charles presented to the council of Savo- 
nieres a formal complaint against Venilo, archbishop of Sens, 
which breathes the lowest spirit of humiliation. "■ By his own 
election " (the King says), " and that of the other bishops, and 
by the will and consent and acclamation of the rest of my sub- 
jects, Venilo, with the other bishops and archbishops, conse- 
crated me king, according to the tradition of the Churcli, and 
anointed me to the kingdom with the holy chrism, and raised 
me to the throne with the diadem and sceptre. After which 
consecration and regal elevation I ought to have been degraded 
by no one ivithout the hearing and judgment of the bishops, by 
whose ministry I was consecrated to royalty, who are called the 
thrones of God. In them God sits ; by them he makes known 
his judgments; and to their paternal corrections and penal 
authority I was prepared to subject myself, and am now sub- 
ject*." These words (as Fleury admits) are remarkable in the 

* Tlie original is cited by Baronius, aim. 959. s. xxvi. The bishops had a 
ver_v simp'.e process of reasoning, by which they proved their supremacy. A 
bishop c.in consecrate a king, but a king cannot consecrate a bishop: tliereforo 
a bishop is superior to a king. We might well wonder that any serious attention 
should ever have been paid to such undisguised nonsense, if we did not recollect 
what undue weight is always attached to ceremony in ignorant ages. There is 
a passage on this subject in Hincmar"s Epist. xv. — " Ad Episcopos Regni,'' and 
which is worth citing — "Tanto gravius pondus est sacerdotum, (pianto etiam pro 
ipsis regibus homiuum in diviuo reddituri suit examine rationeni : et tanto est 

cliulas I, 


mouth of a king, and especially of a king of France; but the 
example of his predecessor, enforced by his own misfortunes 
and feebleness, may have reduced Charles to tlic necessity of 
such degradation. It should also be recollected that this was 
the crisis of the general dissolution of government and society 
into the feudal form. But, on the otlier hand, can we feel 
astonishment that the hierarchy took advantage of what ap- 
peared the voluntary and gratuitous prostration of royalty ? 
AVlien we blame the ambition of those who accepted the offer- 
ing, shoidd we forget the weakness and pusillanimity of those 
who presented it ? 

A year or two afterwards, Lothaire, King: of Lorraine, 
grandson of Louis the Meek, divorced his wife in order to 
espouse his concubine. It appears that no less than three 
councils of bishops sanctioned the act of their monarch ; never- 
Pope Ni- tlicless the repudiated queen made her appeal to Komc. Ni- 
cholas I. was then pope, and he interfered in her favour with 
his usual vehemence and perseverance : the threat of excom- 
munication was long suspended over the king, who employed 
submissive language and persisted in disobedience. There is 
some reason* to believe that the pope, towards the end of his 
life^ executed his menace ; and if so^ it may seem a strange 
return for the generosity of Charlemagne to the holy see, that 
the first discharge of its deadliest l)olt should have been di- 
rected, within fifty years from his death, against one of his own 
descendants. Rut he had in some degree secured this retrilju- 
tion by his own imprudence; for it was his custom to engage 
tlie bishops to pervert the ecclesiastical censures to the service 
of the civil government. The confusion between the two powers 
was thus augmented ; and the misapplication of the great spiri- 

dignitas pontificurri major quam rcgiim, quia rcges in culmen rcgiitm sac?-niilur a 
puiitificibus, poiiliiicus autem a legilnis cousucrari non possuut ; tt lanto in Im- 
inanis rebus regiiin cura est propensior quam sacerdotiim, quanto pro lionore et 
ilefensione et quiete S. Ecclesiaj et leges promulgaiido et mililando a liege regum 
est iis curac onus impositum." Vol. ii. p. 220. Oper. Ilincin. edit. Paris. 

* Fleury (1. li. s. 7.) collects the fact from the pope's letter to Charles, in favour 
of Heltrude, widow of Count Berenger, and sister of Lothaire. But many his- 
torians are silent respecting it, and in the first intercourse between Lothaire and 
Adrian II. the successor of Nicholas, wc can discover no proof that the king was 
then lying under the sentence. 


tual weapon to the purposes of the state naturally led to tlie 
second abuse, which turned it, for Chiu'ch purposes^ against 
the state. 

On the death of Lothaire, Adrian II. endeavoured to exclude Adrian 11. 
Charles the Bald from the succession to his states, and to con- 
fer them on the emperor Louis. To effect this ohject he ad- 
dressed one letter to the nobles of the kingdom of Lothaire, in 
which he exhorted them to adhere to the emperor on pain of 
anathema and excommunication ; and a second to the subjects 
of Charles, in which he eulogized the emperor, and repeated 
the same menaces. He continued to the following purpose : — ■ 
"If any one shall oppose himself to the just pretensions of the 
emperor, let him know that the holy see is in favour of that 
prince, and that the arms which God has placed in oiu- hands 
are prepared for his defence." We may consider this as the 
first attempt of papal ambition to regulate the successions of 
princes. It was unsuccessful ; Charles, with the aid of Hinc- 
mar. Archbishop of Rheims, and other prelates, had already 
placed himself in possession of the throne, when the legates of 
Adrian arrived; and the subseejuent efforts of the pontiif to 
oblige him to abdication were repelled with courage and con- 
stancy both by the king and his metropolitan. 

The pope commanded Hincmar to abstain from the com- 
munion of Charles, if he should continue refractory. The arch- 
bishop (professedly in the name of his fellow-subjects) replied 
among other matters, — " Let the pope consider that he is not 
at the same time king and bishop ; that his predecessors have 
regvdated the Church, which is their concern — not the stale, 
which is the heritage of kings; and consequently that he should 
neither command us to obey a king too distant to protect us 
ao-ainst the sudden attacks of the Pagans, nor pretend to sub- 
jugate us, Avho are Franks If a bishop excommunicates 

a Christian, contrary to rule, he only derogates from his o^vn 
power ; and he can deprive no one of eternal life who is not 
deprived of it by his sins. It is improper in a bishop to say 
that any man not incorrigible should be separated from the 
Christian name and consigned to condemnation — a man, whom 
Christ has redeemed with his blood and taught to lay down his 



life for his brethren — and that too^ not on account of his crimes, 
but for the sake of withholding or conferring a temporal sove- 
reignty. If then the pope is really desirous to establish con- 
cord, let him not attempt it by fomenting dissensions ; for he 
will never persuade us that we cannot arrive at the kingdom of 
heaven, except by receiving the king whom he may choose to 
give us on earth*." 
Lewis III. These events took place about the year 870 ; and ten years 
mar o/"*^' afterwards the same Hincmar was equally firm in defending 
Rheims, the rights of the Church, when they were in opposition to the 
claims of the king, Louis ITI. That prince was desirous to 
intrude into the see of Beauvais an unworthy minister, and 
pressed his appointment by supplication and menace. Hinc- 
mar defended the original liberty of elections which had been 
restored by Louis the Meek, and the independence of the 
Church, and the following is the substance of some of his re- 
monstrances : — " That you are the master of the elections, and of 
the ecclesiastical property, are assertions proceeding from hell 
and from the mouth of the serpent, and whispered into your 
ear for your own perdition f. Remember the promise which 
you made at your consecration, which you subscribed with your 
hand, and presented to God on the altar in the presence of the 
bishops. Reconsider it with the aid of your council, and pre- 
tend not to introduce into the Church that which the mighty 
emperors, your predecessors, pretended not in their time. I 
trust that I shall always preserve towards you the fidelity and 

* The letter is published by Baronius (as Hincmari fuycni'is Epistola) aim. 
870. s. XIX. Again, in an answer of Charles to an epistle of Adrian, that prince 
argues respecting the distinction between the temporal and the spiritual power, 
and also alleges the peculiar supremacy of the kings of France. To prove these 
and similar points, he refers not only to the archives of the Roman Church, but 
to the writings of St. Gelasius, St. Leo, St. Gregory, and even St. Augustine 
himself. (See Hist. Litteraire de la France. Fleury, 1. Hi., s. 8, 22.) Hincmar 
wrote many of that king's letters, and may probably have been the author of this. 

t 'J Sunt qui dicuut, quia resecclesiasticseepiscoporum in vestra siut potestate, 
ut cuicunque volueritis eas donetis. Quod si ita est, ille malignus spiritus per- 
ditionem vestram in aures vestras susurrat." Again—" Quod scripsistis, ut 
sicut semper regihus prscdecessorihus vestris in omni utiiitate regni proficus et 
devotus fui, ita vobis fidelis et devotus existam. Vos autem S. Ecclesiae atque 
ejus rectoribus atque mihi servate quod illi conservaverunt," &c. Oper. Ilinc. 
vol. ii, pp. 190, 191. Ed. Paris. 


devotion which arc due ; I laboured much for your election ; 
do not then return me evil for good by persuading me to aban- 
don in my old age the holy regulations which I have followed^ 
tln-ough the grace of God, during six and thirty years of epis- 
copacy " A subsequent letter by the same prelate con- 
tained even stronger expressions to the following effect : — " It is 
not you who have chosen me to govern the Church; but it is I 
and my colleagues and the rest of the faithful who have chosen 
you to govern the kingdom, on the condition of observing the 
laws. We fear not to give account of our conduct before the 
bishops, because we have not violated the canons. But as to 
you, if you change not what you have ill done, God will redress 
it in his own good time. The emperor Louis lived not so long 
as his father Charles; your grandfather Charles lived not so 
long as his father, nor your father* as his father ; and when 
you are at Compiegne, where they repose, cast down your eyes 
and look where lies your father and where your grandfather is 
buried ; and presume not to exalt yourself in the presence of 
Him who died for you and for us all, and who was raised 

again, and dies no more You will pass away speedily; 

but the holy Church and its ministers under Jesus Christ their 
chief will subsist eternally according to his promise." This 
vain menace of temporal retribution (for as such it was seem- 
ingly intended) was, however singularly, accomplished : Louis, 
in the vigour of youth, died in the following year ; and the 
strange coincidence may have encouraged future prelates to 
indidge in similar predictions which proved not equally for- 

We have already mentioned that Charles the Bald, about Donation 
fifteen years after his contest with Pope Nicholas, condescended pi,y'ij 
to accept the vacant empire as the donation of John VIIL Charles. 
The immediate result of this act was, that the government of 
Italy and the imperial throne were, for some years afterwards, 
placed in a great measure at the disposal of the pope, who 
shamelessly abused his influencef . But it had a more lasting 

* Louis the Stammerer, 
f See Mosh. cent. ix. p. ii. c. ii. Giannoiie, Stor. Nap. lib, viii. Introduct. 

c 2 

20 A rnsTORY of thr churcii. [ctr. xiw 

and still more pernicious consequence, in as far as it furnished 
to the more powerful pontiffs of after ages one of their pretexts 
for interference in the succession to the imperial throne. The 
ceremony of coronation, to wliich Charlemagne had consented 
to submit at Rome, was their only ground for the pretension 
that the empire had been transferred from the Greelcs to the 
Latins by papal authority ; and on the same ground it wag 
subsequently transferred by the same agency from the French 
to the Italians, from the Italians to Otho I. and the Germans. 
The mere act of ministry in a customary, and, as was then 
thought, a necessary solemnity, was exalted into a display of 
superiority and an exercise of power; and many among the 
ignorant \'ulgar were really led to believe that the rights of 
sovereignty were conferred by the form of consecration. But 
the condescension of Charles the Bald, thougnh concedinw- no 
very definite privilege, nor any which could be reasonably 
binding on his successors, yet furnished a pretence somewhat 
more substantial than a mere ceremony*. 
Ohseiva- On a review of this short narrative, we perceive that the 

tions. prelates of the ninth century advanced, for the first time, claims 

of temporal authority; that such claims were asserted by 
national assemblies of bishops even more daringly than by the 
popes ; and that they were so immoderate, as to be inconsist- 
ent with the necessary rights of princes, and the vigour and 
stability of civil government. We observe, moreover, that the 
hierarchy, though on some particular occasions their efforts 
were frustrated, had made, during the period of sixty-three 
years from the death of Charlemagne to that of Charles the 
Bald, very considerable strides in the advancement of their 

^ * Some of the cxprcssioiis of the pope tlelivercd on this occasion should be 
cited, " Uude nos, tantis indiciis divinitils iiicumbeniibus, lace clarius agnitis, 
siipcrni decreti consilium mauifeste cogaovimus. Et quia piidein Apostolicc^ 
memoriae Decessori nostra Papae Niculao idipsum jam inspiiatione divina revida- 
tum fuisse comperimus, elegimus merito et ajjprobavunas una cum annisu et voto 
omniimi Fratrum et Coepiscoporuni not.troruni et aliorum Saiict;B Kom. Ecclesire 
Minibtrorum, ampliipie senalus, totiusciue Rom. populi gentisque togata;, etsecuii- 
dum priscani consuetudiuem, solemniter ad Jmperu Romani Sccpira proveximus, 
et Augustali nomine decoravimus, luigentes eum oleo extrinsecus, ut interioris 
quoque Spiritus Sancti uuctiouis moustraremus virtutem; iic." See Uaron. aon. 
b7(i, s. C. 


power and privileges. The immediate successor of Charles, 
Louis the Stammerer, was consecrated to the throne of Fi-ance 
by the Pope ; and a council of bishops assembled at Troyes 
about the same time (in 878), published as the first canon, 
''that the powers of the world should treat the bishops with 
every sort of respect, and that no one should presume to sit 
down in their presence unless by their command ;" as the last, 
" that all those canons be observed, under pain of deposition 
for clerks, and privation of all dignity for laymen." The pope 
and the king were both present at this council, and the latter 
appears to have sanctioned the very bold usurpation contained 
in the last clause. 

Soon after this period the popes became so much embar- 
rassed by domestic inquietude and disorder, that they had 
little leisure to extend their conquests abroad; and thus for 
above a century the thunders of the Vatican murmured with 
extreme faintness, or altogether slept. But the principle of 
ecclesiastical supremacy, and the disposition to submit to it, 
were not extinguished in the tumults of the tenth ao^e ; and 
the storm, v.hen it again broke forth, seemed even to have 
gained strength from the sullen repose which had j^receded it. 
The occasion was this — Robert, King of France, had married Dispute 
a relative, four deo^rees removed, indeed, but still too near akin bV^'^?"r 

, . . Kobuit of 

for the severity of canonical morality. Gregory V. in a council France and 
of Italian bishops, held at Rome in the year 998, launched a ^'''^'"'^ ^' 
peremptory order, that the king should put away his wife, and 
both parties perform seven years of penance. The kiniT re- 
sisted ; but so united was the Church at that time, and so 
powerful, that he was presently excommunicated by his own 
prelates, and shunned by his nobles and people. At length, 
after some ineffectual struggles, he submitted to anathemas so 
generally respected and enforced*, and complied with both the 

* Pctius Damiaui, who wrote about sixty years afteiwards, relates the ecclesi- 
astical censure to have been so exactly observed, that no one would liold any 
communion with the king, excepting two servants who carried him Iho necessaries 
of life, and that even these burnt the vessels which he had used. But that author 
throws sus-jucion on a narrative not imiirobable, by addhi^r that the fruit of the 
marriage was a monster which had the head and neck of a goose. See Fleiiry, 1, 
Ivii. s. 57. 


injunctions of the pontiff. This is the third instance, of an 
authoritative interference on the part of the popes in the con- 
cerns of sovereigns, which we have had occasion to mention, 
and we may here remind the reader that two of them were on 
the ground of uncanonical marriages. 

It is not our intention to enumerate the many trifling occa- 
sions on which the claims of the Church were brought into 
colhsion with the rights or chgnity of monarchs : the instances 
which have been produced are the most important, and they 
arc worthy of more particular reflection than can here be be- 
stowed on them. But at present it must suffice to have noticed, 
even thus briefly, the earliest movements by which the spirit 
of ecclesiastical ariibition pressed towards universal domination, 
and to have called some attention to those bold, but irregular, 
encroachments, which furnished to after ages precedents for 
wider and more systematic usurpation. 
Internal III. We have already mentioned that, from a very early 

"niiTir"^ period, the Bishop of Rome possessed the first rank among the 
man See. rulers of the Church ; and if, after the Council of Chalcedon, it 
was disputed with him by the patriarch of Constantinople, it 
was at no time contested (at least after the reign of Constantine) 
in the western Churches. It is equally true, that his pre-emi- 
nence in rank was unattended by any sort of authority beyond 
the limits of his own diocese; and the sort of superintendence, 
which it might seem his duty to exercise over ecclesiastical 
affairs, was confined to the simple right of remonstrance. 
More than this is not asserted by moderate Catholics, nor can 
an impartial Protestant concede less. 

We have also noticed some of the steps which were taken 
by early popes, not only to extend the boundaries of their juris- 
diction, but to establish an absolute authority within them. 
Their earliest success was the transfer to the lioly see of the 
Growth of Metropolitan privileges throughout the diocese. Among these 
^'^ ^P the most important were the consecration of bishops, the con- 
vocation of synods, and the ultimate decision of appeals — 
pi'ivileges which might obviously be applied to restrain the 
power and independence of the bishops. During the fifth and 
sixth centuries some little progress was made towards that 


object, Valentinian III. made to Leo I. some concessions 
which were vahiable, though that pope had no means of en- 
forcing them ; but the acquisitions of Gregory the Great Avere 
more substantial, and that most especially so was the establish- 
ment of the appellant jurisdiction of the see. A more general 
subjection of Metropolitan to Papal authority was introduced 
by the Council of Frankfort ; and such was the relative situa- 
tion of the parties on the accession of Charlemagne to the 
empire. But presently afterwards, as if impatient of the tedious 
progress of gradual usurpation, the spirit of papacy called into 
existence, by an effort of amazing audacity, a new system of 
government, and a new code of principles, which led by a single 
step to the most absolute power. The False Decretals were 
imposed on the credulity* of mankind. Still the moment was 
not yet arrived in which it was possible to enforce all the rights 
so boldly claimed on their authority : and though some ground 
was gained by Pope Nicholas I., their efforts were not brought 
into full operation till the pontificate of Gregory VII. 

In recording some instances of the temporal interference of 
the Church, we have remarked the success of episcopal, as 
distinct from papal presumption, and observed the indepen- 
dence, as well as the force, with which the councils of bishops 
acted against the secular powers. The Ninth has been pe- 
culiarly characterized as the Age of Bishops ; it becomes there- 
fore more important to examine the relation in which they 
then stood, even in the moment of their highest glory, to the 
power which was now spreading in every direction from Rome. 
It has been mentioned that when the sons of Louis the Meek 
were in revolt against their father. Pope Gregory IV. presented 
himself at the camp of the rebels, and under pretence of me- 
diation, favoured (as was thought) their party. On this occa- Gregory 
sion, certain French prelates, who remained faithful to Louis, j-j.J,'!"^ 
addressed an epistle to the pope, wherein they accused him of l^ishops. 
having violated the oath which he had taken to the emperor. 

* Hincmar was not, indeed, blindly submissive to the Decretals ; but it was 
their authority that he questioned rather than their authenticity — proving that 
his national (or episcopal) spirit of independence was greater than his critical 


Thoy denied his power to excommunicate any person, or make 
any disposition in their dioceses, without their permission; they 
boldly declared that if he came with the intention of excom- 
municating them, he should return himself excommunicated ; 
and even proceeded so far as to threaten him with deposition. 
The pope was alarmed; but, on the assurance of his attendants 
that he had received power from God to superintend the affairs 
of all nations and the concord of all Churches, and that, with 
authority to judge every one, he was not himself subject to any 
judgment — he wrote in answer, that ecclesiastical is placed high 
above secular power, and that the obedience of the bishops was 
due to him rather than to the emperor ; that he could not bet- 
ter discharge his oath than by restoring concord; and that 
none could withdraw themselves from the Church of Rome 
without incurriniif the jruilt of schism. The irritation of the 
parties is sufficiently discovered in their letters ; but their firm- 
ness was not put to trial ; for tlie rebels obtained by treachery 
a temporary success, and the pope returned to Italy without, 
cither pronouncing or receiving excommunication. 
Dispute The occurrence which we shall next mention took place 

I\^icholasI ^l'"'^y years afterwards; and it is the more remarkable, because 
and lliiic- the two ^veatest ecclesiastics of that aoe, Nicholas I. and Hinc- 

mar oi „ -,^, . i i • t • • i i 

Rheims. '^^^^' ^^ Kiieims, were placed ni direct opposition to each other. 
The circumstances were nearly the following. A bishop of 
Soissons, named T^othadus, incurred the displeasure of Hinc- 
mar, and after being condemned in two councils held at Sois- 
sons in 862, under the direction of the Metropolitan, w'as first 
excommunicated, and very soon afterwards deposed and im- 
prisoned. Rothadus, on the first sentence, appealed to the see 
of Rome, and found a very willing and probably particd judge 
in Nicholas. The pope instantly despatched to Hincmar a 
peremptory order, either to restore Rothadus, within thirty 
days, or to appear at Rome in person or by legate for the de- 
termination of the difference, on pain of suspension from his 
ministry. In the year following, Hincmar sent Odo, bishop of 
Beauvais, to Rome, with the commission to request the pope's 
confirmation of the acts of the synod of Soissons. But Nicholas, 
on the contrary, rescinded its decisions, and demanded, with 


repeated menaces, the immediate liberation of Rotliadus, in 
order to the personal prosecution of his appeal at Rome. 
Through the interference of Charles the Bald, the prisoner was 
released ; and after some delays, the deputies of Ilincmar also 
appeared before the pontifical tribunal. The decision was such 
as all probably anticipated : all the charges against Rotliadus 
were ascribed to the malice and perfidy of his enemy ; he was 
ordered to resum.e the episcopal vestments, and a legate was 
sent to escort him on his return to his covmtry and his see. It 
does not appear, iiom the particulars* of this contest, that 
Ilincmar and the bishops who supported him went so far as to 
deny the right of a deposed bishop to appeal to Rome against 
the sentence of his Metropolitan; indeed they rested their de- 
fence on much lower ground, and thus conceded that which 
was most important. At any rate, the triumph of Nicholas 
was complete; and though the right in question was first 
advanced by him, and on no more solid authority than the 
(forged) " Decretals of the Ancient Pontiffs," he prevailed 
with scarcely any difficulty against the most learned canonist 
and the most independent ecclesiastic of those days. 

We should also mention that, in 853, Hincmar had deposed 
a number of clerks ordained by his predecessor, whose canoni- 
cal right to the see was disputed. In 86G, Pope Nicholas 
ordered a revision of that affair; Ilincmar maintained the 
sentence vigorously; but Nicholas, having Charles on his side, 
obtained once more a complete triumph, and restored the 
ecclesiastics to their rank in the Church. In both these dis- 
putes it would appear that the popular voice was against 

About five years after the restoration of Rotliadus, Ilincmar 
found himself once more in contest with the holy sec ; and his 

* Besiiles the ccclcbiastical historians, see the life of Nicholas in the Bievia- 
rium Pontif. Romanor. R.P. Francisci Pagi, tome ii. That pope, in his epistle 
"Ad universes Galliac Episcoi os," admits, liowevcr, tl-.at tlie authoritj' of the 
Decretals was not yet universally received in the Gallican Church. 'We read in 
the same author, that Adrian II. commanded the Gallican bishops to raise Actar- 
dus of Nantes to the first Metropolitan sec which might be vacant; and that, in 
the year 871, he was raised to that of Tours, but with the addition— Kige, clero, 
ac populo postulautibus. 


zeal on this occasion may possibly have been animated by the 
recollection of his former humiliation. His vigorous opposition 
to Adrian II., respecting the succession to the crown of Lor- 
raine, has been already noticed; and if he failed, when he 
would have vindicated the independence of the Church of 
France from Roman superintendence, his success was even 
more remarkable, when he defended the rights of the throne 
from similar invasion. 
John VIII. The visit of John VIII. to France, during the year 878, 
certainly confirmed, and probably extended, the papal authority 
in that country. Before the council had assembled at Troyes, 
he obtained the consent of the king to some regulations, one of 
which was, that no Metropolitan should be permitted to ordain, 
until he had received the pallium or vest from Rome. During 
the session of the council we observe the followine: declaration 
to have been made by Hincmar himself: — "In obedience to 
the holy canons, I condemn those whom the holy see has con- 
demned, and receive those whom it receives, and hold that 
which it holds in conformity with scripture and the canons." 
The bishops who were present professed the strictest unanimity 
with the pontift'; and the good understanding which was then, 
perhaps, established between the Churches of Rome and France, 
and which assumed the inferiority*, if not the dependence of 
the latter, appears to have subsisted long, with no material 
Chiuacter Hincmar died a few years afterwards. He was descended 
mar. from a noble family ; and the early part of his life he so divided 

between the court and the cloister, and displayed so much 

* The following is the substance of an address to the pope, made by the bishops 
at this council — the original ma}' be found in Baronius, ann. 878, s. 17, &c. : — 
" We, the bishops of Gaul and Belgium, your sons, servants, and disciples, deeply 
sufftjr through the wounds which have been inflicted upon our Holy I\Iother, the 
mistress of all Churches, and unanimously repeat the sentence which you have 
launched against your enemies, excommunicating those whom you have excom- 
municated, and anathematizing those whom you have anathematized And 

since we also have matter for lamentation in our own Churches, we humbly sup- 
plicate you to assist us with your authority, and promulgate an ordinance (Capi- 
tulum) to show in what manner we ought to act against the spoliators of the 
Clmrch ; that, being fortified by the censure of the apostolical see, we may be 
more powerfid and couiident," &c. 


ability and enthusiasm in the discharge of the duties attached 
to either situation, as to combine the practical penetration of 
a statesman with the rigour of a zealous ecclesiastic. He was 
raised to the see of Rheims in the year 845, at the age of 
thirty-nine, and filled it for nearly forty years with firmness 
and vigour. In the ninth century, when the mightiest events 
were brought about by ecclesiastical gviidance, he stands among 
the leading characters, if, indeed, we should not rather con- 
sider him as the most eminent. He was the great Church- 
man of the age : on all public occasions of weighty deliberation, 
at all public ceremonies of coronation or consecration, Hincmar 
is invariably to be found as the active and directing spirit. 
His great knowledge of canonical law enabled him to rule the 
councils of the clergy ; his universal talents rendered him ne- 
cessary to the state, and gave him more influence in political 
affairs than any other subject : while his correspondence* 
attests his close intercourse with all the leadinof characters of 
his age. In the management of his diocese, he was no less 
careful to instruct and enlighten than strict to regulate ; and 
while he issued and enforced his capitularies of discipline with 
the air and authority of a civil despot, he waged incessant war- 
fare against ignorance. It is indeed probable that he possessed 
less theological learning than his less celebrated contemporary, 

* Frodoard mentions 423 letters of Hincmar, besides many others not specified. 
His most celebrated work is that " De Praedestinatione " (against Gotteschalcus.) 
There are other very long and elaborate compositions, " De noii trina Deitate," 
" De Divortio Lotharii et TeitburgiiB." Then follow his '' Capitiila," of which 
some further mention will be made in the next chapter. Of his epistles and 
tracts some of the most important are addressed to Charles the Bald, others to 
Louis the Stammerer ; and they contain some good political as well as moral 
and religious counsels. Others again are addressed to Nicholas, and several 
relate to his dispute with his namesake and " Coepiscopus Hincmar Lauduneasis.' 
Indeed his epistle to that prelate (consisting of 55 chapters and extending from 
p. 386 to 593, vol. ii. Oper. Hinc. fol.) appears to us to be the most instructive, as 
well as the most learned of his works, it contains, besides much other matter, a 
great deal of disquisition on the earlier canons and Decretals of the Church, 
which is much more judicious than could have been expected in that age. One of 
his letters to Louis opens thus — " Dominatio vestra mihi mandavit, ut ad vos fes- 
tinarem venire, quia mecum de restris et S. Ecclesia; et reffni utilitatihus tractare 
velletis," &c. He was present at thirty-nine important councils, at most of which 
he presided. His history and character are very well illustrated by Guizot in his 
28th Ler^on de la Civil, en Franco. 


Rabanus Maurus; but he had much more of that active cncrg-y 
of character so seldom associated with contemplative habits. 
It is also true that he was crafty, imperious, and intolerant; 
that he paid his sedvdous devotions to the Virgin*, and was 
infected with other superstitions of his day. His occasional 
resistance to the see of Rome has acquired for him much of his 
celebrity; but if Divine Providence had so disposed, that 
Hincmar had been bishop of Rome for as long a space as he 
was primate of France, he would imquestionably have exalted 
papal supremacy with more courage, consistency, and success 
than he opposed it. 
Popish We have observed tliat one of the favourite methods of papal 

lisiirpa- usurpation within the Church was the encom-acrement of ap- 

tlOllS ox 

peals to Rome. It is indeed scarcely possible to measure the 
advantages which the see derived from that practice ; and per- 
haps we do not value it too highly, when we ascribe to it chiefly 
a vague notion of the Pope's omnipotence, which seems to have 
made some impression among the laity during the ninth cen- 
tury. Before we quit this subject, we should mention a remon- 
strance from the pen of Hincmar, which was addressed to the 
Pope under the name of Charles the Bald, and towards the end 
of his life. In this letter the Emperor is made to complain, that 
it is no longer deemed sufficient that Bishops, condemned by 
their Meti'opolitans, should cross the Alps for redress, but that 
every priest, who has been cannonically sentenced by his 
Bishop, now hurries to Rome for a repeal of the sentence. The 

Appeals to origin of appeals to Rome is traced to the Council of Sardica ; 

Hume. Ijj^j^ l^y ll^j^^- authority they were properly liable to two restric- 
tions — they were permitted to Bishops only, and were neces- 
sarily determined on the spot. The inferior orders were ainen- 
able to their respective Bishops, who judged in conjunction 
with their Clergy ; and the only lawful appeal from the deci- 
sion was to a Provincial Council. The second restriction had 
been confirmed by the Canons of the African Church; Mhich 
in former days had defended its independence against the 

* This appears from his epitaph, -written liy himself, in some very indifferent 
hexameter and pentameter verses. 


aggressions of Rome, and which now lurnished weapons to the 
Prelates of Gaul, invaded after so long an interval by the per- 
severing ambition of the same adversary. 

Another method of papal encroachment was the appointment Pope's 
of a Vicar in distant provinces, to whom the Pope delegated ^''^■'"''*- 
his assumed authority, and by whose acknowledgment the ex- 
istence of that authority was in fact admitted. 

In the year 87G, John VIll. designated the Archbishop of 
Sens as Primate of the Gauls and Germany, and Vicar of tho 
Pope for the Convocation of Councils and other ecclesiastical 
allairs; and especially to promulgate the pontifical edicts, and 
superintend their execution. The Bishops of France hesi- 
tated to receive the yoke so manifestly prepared for them ; and 
on this occasion we again observe Hincmar of Kheims defend- 
ing and directing their opposition. He protested before the 
assembled Council, that this attempt was contrary to the Holy 
Canons; he appealed to the regvdations of Nice, which sub- 
jected every province to its own Metropolitan, and confirmed 
the original privileges of the Churches ; he fortified the deci- 
sions of Nice by the authority of St. Leo and other Popes ; he 
denied that the particular jurisdiction which the Pontitl" con- 
fessedly exercised over certain distant provinces (as jMacedonia 
and parts of Illyria) absorbed the rights of the Metropolitans ; 
and while he admitted that the popes had more than once 
established their vicars in Gaid itself, he contended that the 
office was temporary, instituted for occasional and specific pur- 
poses, such as the prevention of simony, the conversion of 
unbelievers, the restoration of discipline; and that it ceased 
with the particular abuses which had made it necessary *. The 
weiglit of antiquity, wliich furnishes a conclusive argimient in 
ignorant ages, was, without question, on the side of Hincmar. 
On the other hand, the pope had engaged the emperor in the 
defence of his claims ; and as it was one part of his policy to 
coalesce with the national hierarchy whenever tlie risjfhts of 
princes could be assailed with advantage, so was it another to 

'■'■' Fk'ury, II. Vj. lib. iiL, s. o3. Frodoarilu.s (in a passage cited by Ij.iroaius, 
iiiui. b/'L). H. - I) admit:; tlio puwoiiul resi-jtancc uf Hincmar ou this occisioii. 



[CH. XIV. 

tions of 

draw the princes into his own designs against the power and 
independence of their clergy. 

And here it is proper to notice another privilege, which, 
though its origin may be traced to Gregory the Great, was little 
exercised by the popes until the ninth, or the beginning of the 
tenth age. Hitherto the monasteries, with very few exceptions, 
were subject to the bishop of the diocese in which they stood, 
and who in many cases had been their founders. Exemptions 
from episcopal jurisdiction were now granted with some fre- 
quency, and the establishments thus privileged acknowledged a 
direct dependence on the pope. He had many motives for this 
policy, but that which most concerns our present subject is 
the following. To secure his triumph over the liberties of the 
Church, it was necessary to divide it ; and his scheme of re- 
ducing the higher ranks of the clergy was greatly promoted by 
a practice which curtailed their authority in a very important 
branch, which transferred that authority to himself, and at the 
same time created lasting jealousy and dissension between the 
regular and secular orders, 
other ob- Two other objects may be mentioned, to which the ambition 
"See^of ^^ ^^ Rome was steadily and effectually directed — to establish the 
Rome. principle, that bishops derived their power entirely from the 
Pope ; and to prevent the convocation of Councils without his 
express command. Towards the accomplishment of the second, 
very great though very gradual progress was made during the 
ninth age by a series of usurpations, of which the earliest served 
as precedents whereon to found the practice. The greater 
obscurity and confusion of the tenth century were more favour- 
able to the success of the first *; and though it is true that, even 
after that time, there were to be found some bolder prelates, 
both in France and Germany, who disputed these and others 
among the pontifical claims, it cannot be questioned that they 
had then acquired so much prevalence, and had struck so 
deeply into the prejudices and habits of men, that a powerful 
hand alone was wanted to call them into light and action, and 
to give them the most fatal eflficacy. 

See Mosheim, cent, x., p. 2, c. 2. 


The preceding pages have presented to us a variety of inci- Reflections. 
dents hitherto nearly novel in the history of the Chin-ch, l)ut 
with which experience will presently render us familiar. We 
have been astonished by the arrogant claims of the Episcopal 
Order and the extent of political power which it actually 
possessed, and shocked by the ill purpose to which it some- 
times applied that power. But our most thoughtful attention 
has still been fixed upon the proceedings of the pope. We have 
observed him, in the first place, contending with the emperor 
for the independence of his own election with a great degree of 
success ; next we have beheld him engaged in occasional con- 
tests with the most powerful sovereigns of the age, not only in 
those domestic concerns which might seem to give some plea 
for ecclesiastical interference, but about affairs strictly secular, 
and (in one instance) about the very succession to their thrones ; 
and, lastly, we have noticed the movements of that more con- 
fined, but scarcely more legitimate ambition, which pretended 
to depress the superior ranks of the clergy, to despoil them of 
their privileges, and to remove them to so humble a distance 
from the Roman See, that the pope might seem to concentrate 
(if it were possible) in his own person the entire authority of the 
ecclesiastical order. The particular facts, by which these de- 
signs were manifested, belong, for the most part, to the ninth 
century ; but the grand pontifical principles, if they suffered a 
partial suspension, yet lost none of their force and vitality dur- 
ing that which followed. And upon the whole it is a true and 
unavoidable observation, that the period, during which the 
mighty scheme first grew and developed itself, embraces that 
portion of papal history which, above all others, is most scan- 
dalously eminent for the disorders ''' of the See, and for the 
weakness and undisguised profligacy of those who occupied iff. 

* This is more particularly true of the tenth century, but even the nintli was -phe female 
not exempt from the same charge. To this age belongs the jiopular story of the Pope, 
female Pope : the pontificate of Joan is recorded to have commenced on the death 
of Leo IV., in 855, and to have lasted for about two years. Historians agree that 
very great confusion prevailed at Rome respecting the election of Leo's suc- 
cessor, and that Benedict III. did not prevail without a severe and tumultuous 
struggle with a rival named Anastasius. The rule of Pope Joan is now indeed 
generally discredited ; but the early invention of the tale, and the belief so long 
attached to it, attest a condition of things which made it at least possible. 

f The Lives of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis) were written by Anastasius, a 

( 32 ) 


On the Opiniom, Literature, Discipline, and External 
Fo rtun es of the Chit rcli. 

I. On the Eucharist— Original Opinions of the Chiuvh— Doctrine of Paschasius 
Iliidbert combated hy Riitramn and John Scotus— ConcUision of the Contro- 
versy — Predestination— Opini(nis and Persecution of Gotteschalchus— Millen- 
narianism in the Tenth Century — its strange and general effect. II. Litera- 
ture — Rabanus IMaurus, John Scotus, Alfred — its Progress among the Sara- 
cens — Spain — South of Italy — France — Rome — Pojie Sylvester II. III. Dis- 
cipline of the Church— Conduct of Charlemagne and his Successors — St. Bene- 
dict of Aniane. Institution of Canons regular — Episcopal election — Transla- 
tions of Bishops prohibited. Pope Stephen VI. — Claudius Bishop of Turin — 
Penitential System. IV', Conversion of the North of Europe — of Denmark, 
Sweden, Russia — of Poland and Hungary— how accomplished and to what ex- 
tent — The Normans — The Turks. 

The particulars contained in tlie preceding Chapter present 
indeed an imperfect picture oCtlie condition of Relio-ion durino- 
the nintli and tenth centuries; but they are sufficient to exliiuit 
the outlines of the visible Church, as it was gradually changiiio- 
its shape and constitution, and passing through a region of dis- 
order and darkness, from a state of contested rights and re- 
stricted authority to a situation of acknowlecloed mioht and 
unbounded pretension. They may also have discovered to us, 
in some manner, the process of the change, and certain of the 
less obvious means and causes through which it was accom- 
plished: still the inquiry has been confined to the external 
Church ; it has gone to examine a human and perishable insti- 
tution — no farther : it has illustrated the outworks Avhich man 
had thrown up for the protection (as he imagined) of God's 
fortress — nothing more. It remains, then, to complete the task, 
and to notice some circumstances in the history of this period un- 
connected with the ambitious struggles of popes and bishops. 
It is observable that, during the seventh and eighth ages, 

librarian, who died before 832 ; Ihey reach as far as the death of Nicholas I. in 
{!'i7. Tlie lives of some other Popes, as far as 889, were added hy another libra- 
rian named Wilhelmus. From 889 to 1050 (where the Collection of Cardinal 
dWragon begins) there is a suspension of pontifical biography. 


religion lost much of its vigour in France and Italy, while it 
took root and spread in Britain ; during the ninth, it arose, 
tlirouo-h the institutions of Charlemagne, with renovated power 
in France; in the course of the tenth, its progress in Germany 
made some amends for its general degradation. These fluctu- 
ations corresponded, upon the whole, with the literary revolu- 
tions of those countries. Learning was, in those days, the only 
faithful ally and support of religion, and the causes which 
withered the one never failed to blight the other. Indeed, as 
learning was then almost wholly confined to the Clergy, it 
naturally partook of a theological character; and as the season 
of scholastic sophistry had not yet set in, the theology did not 
so commonly obscure, it even commonly illustrated, the reli- 

lieligious zeal, when informed by imperfect education, and Eccleslastl- 
amrestramed by a moderate and charitable temper, is rarely v^i-^ifs. 
unattended by religious dissension ; and thus it happened, that, 
while the intellectual torpor of the tenth century was little or 
nothing agitated by such disputes, the ninth, which was partially 
enlightened, witnessed three important controversies. The first 
was that which Photius carried on with the Roman See, re- 
garding Image-worship and other difterences, transmitted from 
preceding generations ; and it has been already treated. The 
other two respected the manner of Christ's presence at the 
Eucharist, and the doctrine of Salvation by Grace ; and they 
shall now be noticed : it will afterwards be necessary to say a 
few words on the discipline of the Church; and we shall then 
observe the progress of Christianity among distant and bar- 
barous nations, as well as the reverses which afflicted it. 

I. Mosheim* asserts, without hesitation, that it had been 
hitherto the unanimous opinion of the Church, that the body 
and blood of Christ were really administered to those who re- On the Eu- 
ceivedthe Sacrament, and that they were consequently pre.se«^ ^''"'' • 
at the administration ; but that the sentiments of Christians 
concerninof the wahtre and manner of this presence were various 
and contradictory. No council had yet determined with pre- 

* Cent. ix. p. '2, c. 3. 
VOL. II. ^ 


cision the manner in which that presence was to be understood; 
both reason and folly were hitherto left free in this matter ; nor 
had any imperious mode of faith suspended the exercise of the 
one, or controlled the extravacrance of the other. The histo- 
rian's first position is laid down, perhaps, somewhat too peremp- 
torily; for though many passages may be adduced from very 
ancient fathers in affirmation of the bodily presence, the obscu- 
rity or different tendency of others would rather persxiade us, 
that even that doctrine was also left a good deal to individual 
judgment. The second is strictly true ; and the question which 
had escaped the vain and intrusive curiosity of oriental theolo- 
gians, was at length engendei-ed in a convent in Gaul. In the 
Paschasius year 831, Paschasius Radbert, a Benedictine monk, afterwards 

Radbeit. '' ,. /-. i • i t i t • • i r. 

abbot oi L/Orbie, pubhslied a treatise '' concernnig the Sacrament 
of the Body and Blood of Christ," which he presented, fifteen 
years afterwards, carefully revised and augmented, to Charles the 
Bald. The doctrine advanced by Paschasius may be expressed 
in the two following propositions : — First, that after the conse- 
cration of the bread and wine nothing remains of those symbols 
except the oiitward figure, under which the body and blood of 
Christ were really and locally present. Secondly, that the 
body of Christ, thus present, is the same body which was born 
of the Virgin, which suffered upon the cross, and was raised 
from the dead*. Charles appears decidedly to have disap- 
proved of this doctrine. And it might perhaps have been ex- 
pected that, after the example of so many princes, he would 
have summoned a council, stigmatized it as heresy, and perse- 
cuted its author. He did not do so ; but, on the contrary, 
adopted a method of opposition worthy of a wiser prince and a 
more enlightened age. He commissioned two of the ablest 

■'■' Paschasius derived three consequences from his doctrine. 1. That Jesus 
Christ was immolated anew every day, in reality but in mystery. 2. That the 
Eucliarist is both truth and figure together. 3. That it is not liable to the conse- 
quences of digestion. The first of these positions assinnes a new and express 
creation on every occasion of tlie celebration of the Sacrament. The disputes 
arising from the third afterwards gave birth to the heresy named Stercoranism. — 
Fleury, 1. xlvii., s. 35. Sender (sec. ix., cap. iii.) is willing to deduce Paschasius' 
doctrine from the Monophysite Controversy, and the opinions respecting " one 
incarnate nature of Christ," which had still some prevalence in the East. 


writers of the day, Ratramn* and Johannes Scotus|, to mves- 
tigate by arguments tlie suspicious opinion. The composition 
of the former is still extant, and has exercised the ingenuity 
of the learned even in recent times ; but they have not suc- 
ceeded in extricating from the perplexities of his reasoning, and, 
perhaps, tlie uncertainty of his belief, the real opinions of the 
author. The work of Joliannes Scotus is lost ; but we learn Johannes 
that his arguments were more direct, and his sentiments more ' ^° "^' 
perspicuous and consistent ; he plainly declared, that the bread 
and wine were no more than symbols of the absent body and 
blood of Christ, and memorials of the last supper. Other 
theologians engaged in the dispute, and a decided superiority, 
both in number and talents;];, was opposed to the doctrine of 

* A monk of Corbie. His book was long received under the name of Bertram ; 
some have even supposed it to be the work of John Scotus on the same subject, 
but clearly without reason. Dupin, Hist. Eccl., cent .ix, evil. Fleury, 1. xlix., 
s. 52, 53. Semler, loc. cit. Ratramn proposes the subject in the following man- 
ner: — "Your Majesty inquires whether the body and blood of Jesus Christy 
which is received in the Church by the mouth of the faithful, is made in myster}', 
— tiiat is, if it contains anything secret which only appears to the eyes of faith — 
or if, without any veil of mystery, the eyes of the body perceive without, that 
which the view of the spirit perceives within : so that all which is made is mani- 
festly apparent. You inquire besides, whether it is the same body which was borii 
of the Virgin Mary, which suffered, died, and was burii'd ; aud which, after its 
resurrection, ascended to Heaven, and sat on the right hand of Ihe Father." 
Respecting the second (piestion, the opinion of Ratramn was in direct opposition 
to that of Paschasius ; but, in the treatment of the first, it would be difficult cer- 
tainly to pronounce on what they differed, or indeed on what they agreed. There 
is moreover extant an anonymous composition, which combats the second propo- 
sition of Paschasius — first in itself, aud then in its consequence — that Jesus Christ 
suffers anew on every occasion that mass is celebrated. The writer acknowledges 
the real presence as a necessary tenet. " Every Christian" (thus he conunences) 
" ought to believe and confess that the body and blood of the Lord is true flesh 
and true blood; whoever denies this proves himself to be without faith." It ap- 
pears indeed true that Paschasius' second proposition gave much more general 
offence than the first. 

f John Scotus Erigena (i. e. John the Irishman) was a layman of great acute- 
ness and much profane learning, and irreproachable moral character. He was 
in high estimation at the court of Charles the Bald, and honoured by the per- 
sonal partiality of that prince. He is described in the Hist. Litt. de la France, 
to have been of " tres petite faille, vif, penetrant, et enjoue." Fleury (1. xlviii., 
s. 48) disputes the great extent of his theological acquirements, and perhaps with 
justice. His book on the Eucharist was burnt about two hundred years after- 
wards by the hand of his disciple Berenger, on ecclesiastical compidsion. 

Hincmar appearj to have held the doctrine of the real presence; and it is 



Paschasius — yet so opposed, that there was little unanimity 
among its adversaries, and no very perfect consistency even in 
their several writings*. 

The controversy died away before the end of the ninth cen- 
tury, without having occasioned any great mischief, and the 
subject was left open to individual inquiry or neglect, as it had 
ever been. The intellectual lethargy of the century following 
was not to be disturbed by an argument demanding some 
acuteness, and susceptible of much sophistry; and an age of 
entire ignorance has at least this advantage over one of super- 
ficial learning-j-, that it suffers nothing from the abuse of the 
human understanding. But very early in the eleventh century, 
the dispute was again awakened : it assumed, under different 
circumstances and other principles, another aspect and charac- 
ter, and closed in a very different termination. Bvit as this 
event belongs more properly to the life of Gregory VII. we 
sliall not anticipate the triumph of that Pontiff, nor deprive his 
name of any ray of that ambiguous splendour which illus- 
trates it. 
^ . . „ II. The subject of Predestination and Divine Grace, which 

Opunonsot -> 

Gi.tteschal- had already^'] been controverted in France with some acuteness 
'^"''' and, what is much better, with candour and charity, was sub- 

jected to another investigation in the ninth century. Gottes- 
chalcus, otherwise called Fulgentius, was a native of Germany, 
and a monk of Orbais, in the diocese of Soissons. He was 
admitted to orders, during the vacancy of the See, by the Chor- 
episcopus — a circumstance to which the subsequent animosity 
of Hincmar is sometimes attributed. He possessed consider- 
able learning, but a mind \vithal too prone to pursue abstruse 

difficult to pronounce whether or not he confined his meaning to a spiritual pre- 

* The worship of the elements is not mentioned hy any of tlie disputants — it 
was au extravagance of suporstitioa too violent for the controvt-rsialists of the 
ninth century. 

f As early as the conclusion of the t-ighth century, a heresy respecting the 
nature of Jesus Christ appeared in the Western Church— that of the Adoptians. 
It was condemned hy Charlemagne m three Councils, between the years 790 and 
800, and presently disappeared. 

I la the fifth century. — See chap. xi. 


and unprofitable inquiries. Early in life he consulted Lupus, 
Abbot of Ferrara, on the question, whether, after the resurrec- 
tion, the blessed shall see God with the eyes of the body? The 
Abbot concluded a reluctant reply with words to the following 
effect: — '' I exhort you, my venerable brother, no longer to weary 
your spirit with such like speculations, lest through too great 
devotion to them, you become incapacitated for examining and 
tcachincr thinofs more useful. Why waste so many researches 
on matters, which it is not yet, perhaps, expedient that we 
should know ? Let us rather exercise our talents in the spa- 
cious fields of Holy Writ ; let us apply entirely to that medita- 
tion, and let prayer be associated to our studies. God will not 
fail, in liis goodness, to manifest himself in tlie manner which 
shall be best for us, though we should cease to pry into things 
which are placed above us." The speculations of Gotteschalcus 
were diverted by this judicious rebuke, but not repressed; and 
the books of Scripture were still rivalled or superseded in his 
attention by those of Augustine. Accordingly he involved 
himself deeply and inextricably in the mazes of fatalism. About 
the year 846, he made a pilgrimage to Rome, and on his re- 
turn, soon afterwards, expressed his opinions on that subject 
very publicly in the diocese of Verona. Information was in- 
stantly conveyed to Rabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mayence, 
the most profound theologian of the age. That prelate imme- 
diately replied ; and in combating the error of a professed 
Augustinian, protected himself also by the authority of Augus- 
tine. Rabanus was the most profound divine in the ninth cen- 
tury, as Augustine was in tlie fifth; but the spirit of the one 
acre was orimnal tho\ight and reasoning — that of the other, 
blind and servile imitation : therefore Rabanus was contented 
to cite and explain Augustine; and the controversy descended 
from lofty philosophical investigation to logical and even criti- 
cal subtilty. The object in the fifth age was, to solve an 
abstruse and difficult question ; that in the ninth, only to pene- 
trate the real opinions of an ancient writer. 

Happy had it been for the author of the controversy if his 
adversary had allowed it to remain on that footing ; but the 
doctrine was becoming too popular, and threatened moral effects 


Council of too pernicious* to be overlooked by the Church. Rabanus 
848A.U. ' assembled a council at Mayence in 848, at which the king 
was present, and Gotteschalcus was summoned before it. Here 
he defended, in a written treatise, the doctrine of double pre- 
destination — that of the elect, to eternal life by the free Grace 
of God — that of the wicked, to everlasting damnation through 
their own sins. His explanations did not satisfy the covuicil, 
and the tenet was rejected and condemned ; but its advocate 
was not considered amenable to that tribunal, as he had been 
ordained in the diocese of Rheims : wherefore Rabanus con- 
signed him to the final custody of Hincmar, who then held 
that see. 
His con- The unfortunate heretic (he had now deserved that appel- 

emna ion, ig^j^^Qj^'^ profited nothing by this change in jurisdiction. Hinc- 
mar, in the following year, caused him to be accused before the 
Coiuicil of Quincy sur Oise, when he Avas pronounced incorri- 
gible, and deposed from the priesthood. Moreover, as the 
penalty of his insolence and contumacy, he was condemned to 
public flagellation and perpetual imprisonment. The sen- 
tence was rigidly executed, and Charles was not ashamed to 
countenance it by his royal presence. It is affirmed that, under 
the prolonged agony of severe torture, the sufferer yielded so 
far as to commit to the flames the texts which he had collected 
in defence of his opinions ; and if he did so, it was human and 
excusable weakness j. But it is certain that he was confined 

* In one of the lettei'S written on this subject, Rabanus asserts that the doc- 
trine of Gutteschalcus had already driven many to despair, and that several 
began lo inquire — " Wherefore should I strive and labour for my salvation ? In 
what does it profit me to be rij^hteous, if I am not predestined to happiness P 
What evil may I not safely commit, if I am surely predestined lo life eternal ?" 
This natural inference, however disavowed by the more ingenious teachers of the 
doctrine, is very liable to be drawn by the people, even in ages much more en- 
lightened than the ninth. 

f Gotteschalcus solicited permission to maintain the truth of his doctrine in 
the presence of the king, the clergy, and the whole people, by passing through four 
barrels filled with boiling water and oil and pitch, and afterwards through a large 
fire. If he should come out unhurt, let the doctrine be acknowledged and re- 
ceived : if otherwise, let the flamis t.ike their co\n-se. Miluer, whose accoiuit of 
this controversy should be mentioned with praise, can scarcely pardon this desire 
of his persecuted favourite — as if the champion of Predestination had been less 
liable than his neighbours to the superstitious contagion of his age. In this case, 


to the walls of a convent for almost twenty* years, and that at and death, 
length, during the agonies of his latest moments, he was re- 
quired to subscribe a formulary of faith, as the only condition 
of reconciliation with the Church — that he disdained to make 
any sacrifice, even at that moment, to that consideration, and 
that his corpse was deprived of Christian sepulture by the 
imrelenting bigotry of Hincmar. 

The precise extent f of Gotteschalciis's errors is, according 
to the usual history of such controversies, a matter of differ- 
ence, and for the usual reason, — that consequences were imputed 
by his adversaries which his followers disclaimed. But it is 
certain that his proselytes multiplied during the continuance of 
his imprisonment, and that some provincial councils declared 

however, his imperfection was peculiarly excused by the more deliberate absurdity 
of Hincmar himself, who had so far degraded his genius as to write a serious 
treatise on '• Trials by Culd Water." Epist. xxxix. Ad Hildegarim Episc. Mel- 
dens. " De judicio aquae frigidae, &c." See Hist. Litt.de la France. 

* His death is usually referred to the year 866. We should observe that his 
sufferings did nut escape the compassion of some of his contemporaries. Remj', 
who succeeded Amolon in theseeof Lyons, wrote on the subject with some warmth. 
** It is an unprecedented instance of cruelty, which has tilled the world with hor- 
ror, that he was lacerated with stripes, as eye-witnesses attest, until he cast into 
the fire a memorial containing the passages from scripture and the fathers which 
he drew up to present to the council; while all former heretics have been con- 
victed by words and reasons. The long and inhuman detention of that wretched 
man ought at least to be tempered by some consolation, so as rather to win by cha- 
rity a brother for whom Jesus Christ died, than to overwhelm him with misery." 
— See Fleury, 1. xlix. s. 5. 

f Gotteschalcus appears to have propoimded three leading questions toRaba- 
iius and the other Doctors. (1.) Whether it could be said that there was any 
predestination to evil. (2.) Concerning the will and death of Christ for all men ; 
whether God has a true will to save any but those which are saved. (3.) Con- 
cerning free will The theologians of Mayence, however, very prudently 

confined their attention to the first — '' Whether it can be said that G'od predes- 
tinates the wicked to damnation P" (Diipin, IL E., cent, ix.) About four years 
afterwards, Amolon, Archbishop of Lyons, in a letter addressed to Hincmar, re- 
duced (or raiher expanded) tlie errors to seven ; one of them being the following 
— " that God and the Saints j-ejoice in the fall of the reproved." (Fleury, H.E. 
lib. xlviii., s. 59.) This was obviously a cojiseguetice ; and no doubt the heretic 
had easy means of getting rid of it. For a full and perhaps faithful account of 
the whole controversy, see Hist. Litter, de la France, cent, ix , vol. iv. p. 263. It 
is, however, worth remarking, that the Divines on both sides alike professed to 
sui)f joctrine of the Church, as taught by the Fathers, and especially 

Au whose authority on this question was universally admitted, wJiilc his 

opi .s disputed. 

nan error. 


in his favour ; and it is probable that his doctrines have been 
uninterruptedly perpetuated, not by sects only, but by indivi- 
duals in the bosom of the Church, from that age to the present. 

Millenna- The dispute, however, did not long survive its author, and 
seems to have expired before the end of the ninth century ; and 
during the concluding part of that which followed, — in the 
absence of political talent, of piety, of knowledge, of industry, of 
every virtue, and every motive which might give energy to the 
human character — in the suppression even of the narrow con- 
troversial spirit which enlivens the understanding, however it 
may sometimes pervert the principles, — a very wild and extra- 
ordinary delusion arose and spread itself, and at length so far 
prevailed as not only to subdue the reason, but to actuate the 
conduct of vast midtitudes. It proceeded from the misinter- 
pretation of a well-known passage in the Revelations *. "iVnd 
he laid hold on the Dragon, that old Serpent, which is the 
devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast 
him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal 
upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the 
thousand years should be fulfilled ; And after that he must be 
loosed a little season." Tt does not appear that the earlier 
divines derived from this prophecy that precise expectation, 
respecting the moment of the world's dissolution, which now 
became general ; nor do we learn that the people before this 
time much busied themselves about a matter which could not 
possibly affect their own generation ; but about, the year 960, 

Bernhardof as the season approached nearer, one Bernhard, a hermit of 
Thuringia, a person not destitute of knowledge, boldly pro- 
mulgated (on the faith of a particular revelation from God) the 
certain assurance, that at the end of the thousandth year the 
fetters of Satan were to be broken; and, after the reign of 
Antichrist shoidd be terminated, that the world would be con- 
sumed by sudden conflagration. There was something plau- 
sible in the doctrine, and it was peculiarly suited to the gloomy 
superstition of the age. The clergy adopted it without delay ; 
the pulpits loudly resounded with it | ; it was diffused in every 

* Chap. XX. 2 and 3. 

t Hist. Lift, dc la France, x. Sipcle. Mosheim (cent, x., p. 2, c. iii.) cite.s a 



direction \\\\]i astonishing rapidity, and embraced with an 
ardour proportioned to the obscurity of the subject, and the 
greediness of human creduhty. The behef pervaded and pos- 
sessed every rank of society, not as a cold and indifferent assent, 
but as a motive for the most important undertakings. Many 
are mentioned — not of the vulgar only, but nobles, princes and 
even bishops — to have abandoned their friends and their I'auii- 
lies, and hastened to the shores of Palestine, in the pious per- 
suasion that Mount Sion would be the throne of Christ, when 
he should descend to judge the world ; and these, in order to 
secure a more partial sentence from the God of mercy and 
charity, usually made over their property, before they departed, 
to some adjacent Church or Monastery. Otiiers, whose pecu- 
niary means were thought, perhaps, insufficient to bribe the 
justice of Heaven, devoted their personal service to the same 
establishments, and resigned their very liberty to those holy 
mediators, whose pleadings, they doubted not, would find favour 
at the eternal judgment-seat. Others permitted their lands to 
lie waste, and their houses to decay; or, terrified by some 
unusual phenomenon in the heavens, betook themselves in 
hasty flight to the shelter of rocks and caverns *, as if the 
temples of Nature were destined to preservation amidst the 
wreck of man and his works. 

The year of terror arrived, and passed away without any 
extraordinary convulsion ; and at present it is chiefly remarkable 
as having terminated the most shameful century in the annals 
of Christianity. The people returned to their homes, and 
repaired their buildings, and resumed their former occupations ; 
and tlie only lasting effect of this stupendous panic was the 
augmentation of the temporal prosperity of the Churchy. 

passage from the Apologeiicum of Abbo, Abbot of Fleury — " De fine quoque 
mundi coram populo sermoiiem in Ecclesia Parisiorum adolescentulus audivi, 
quod htatim finito mille onorum numt-ro Anti-Christus adveniret, et non longo post 
tempore universale judicium succederet ; cui pra'dicationi ex Kvangeliis ac Apo- 
calypsi et libro Danielis, qua putui virtute rostiti,&c.'' 

* An opportune eclipse of the sun produced this effect on the army of Otho the 

t Almost all the donations which were made to the Church in this century 
proceeded from this avowed motive. " Appropinquante jam mundi termino," &c. 


State of The intellectual energy of Europe was in a condition of 
learning, gradual decay from the fifth till the middle of the eighth cen- 
tury ; and though the condition of the British Isles and the 
existence of the Venerable Bede* may seem to furnish some 
exception, it was then that the progress of ignorance 
reached its widest and darkest boundaries. This decline is 
in Europe, very commonly imputed to the despotism of the Church and 
the triumph of the papal principle of a blind faith and absolute 
submission, over the independence of reason. But this is a 
mistake proceeding from an imperfect knowledge of ecclesias- 
tical history. At the period in question, the Chxn-ch had not 
by any means attained the degree of authority necessary for 
that piu'pose : it was not yet sufficiently organized, nor even 
sufficiently united, to possess any power of universal tyranny. 
The Romish system was still only in its infancy ; the Episco- 
pal system, which was predominant, was full of disorder and 
disunion — the principle in question was certainly to be found in 
the archives of the Church, but the day was not yet arrived to 
enforce it. It came indeed into full effect in the twelfth and 
followinof affes, and not earlier than the twelfth ; but learninof 
then revived in despite of it, and grew up to overthrow it. The 
truth is, that the degradation of the sixth and seventh centuries 
are sufficiently accounted for by the political confusion, or rather 
anarchy, then so generally prevalent, as to make any moral 
excellence almost impossible, and to debase the Church in 
common with every other institution. 

The progress of intellectual degradation was arrested by the 
genius of Charlemagne ; and the beacon which was set up by 
his mighty hand shone forth even upon his degenerate descend- 
ants, some of whom lighted their torches at its embers. Thus, 
dining the whole of the ninth century, the western world, and 
France especially, was animated by much literary exertion, and 
enlightened even by the ill-directed talents of many learned 

"Since the end of the worl.l is now at hand." Mosh,, cent, x., p. 2, chap. iii. 
These monuments sutticiently attest tlie generality of tlie delusion. 
The Vene- * Bede flourished in the early part of the eighth century. He brought down 
rableBede, his Ecclesiastical History as far as 731, and appears to have died four years after- 


men. The name of Alcuin was not disgraced by those of his 
successors, Rabanus, Eginhard, Chiudius, GotteschalcuSj Pas- 
chasius, Ratramn, Hincmar, and Johannes Scotus*. The theo- 
logical works of the first of these were so highly esteemed, as 
not only to fiuMiish materials for contemporary instruction, but 
also to maintain great authority in the religious discussions of 
the four following centuries ; and the last, the friend and com- 
panion of Charles the Bald, displayed an accuracy of philoso- 
phical induction, and a freedom and boldness of original 
thought, which would have subjected him, in a somewhat later 
age, to ecclesiastical persecution. We should mention, too, 
that in the same age in which the genius of an Irishman in- 
structed the court of France, the foundations of English learning 
were deeply fixed and substantially constructed by the wisdom 
and piety of Alfred. The comparative languor of Italy was 
excited by the disputes at that time so warmly waged between 
the Roman and Eastern Chiu-ches, and which served to sharpen 
the ingenuity, while they degraded the principles, of both. 

At Constantinople, the Emperor Theophilus, and his son. In the 
Michael III., made some endeavoiirs towards the revival of ' 
letters in the ninth age ; but the scattered rays which may have 
illustrated the East at that time were overpowered by the pre- 
eminence of Photius, so that little has reached posterity except- 
ing his celebrity. It is true that, in the century following, 
while the advance of learning was almost wholly suspended in 
Eiu'ope, and its growing power paralyzed, Constantino Porphy- 
rogeneta made some zealous attempts to revive the industry of 
his country ; but as his encouragement was directed rather to 
the imitation of ancient models than to the development of 
original thought, the impulse was faintly felt; and, so far from 
creating any strong and lasting effect, it failed to excite even 
the momentary energy of the Greeks. 

But, during the same period, there occurred in the Eastern 
world a phenomenon, which is among the most remarkable in 

* Guizdt has stlccted Hincmar and Johaiints Scotus as the two representatives 
of the learning of the age — the former as the centre of the theological movement ; 
the latter as the philosopher of his day. It is, indeed, impossible to convey any 
faithful nution of the literature of any age without entering into some such detail. 


the history of Hterature, and which no penetration could pos- 
sibly have foreseen. We have recounted that, in the seventh 
century, the companions and successors of Mahomet desolated 
the face of the earth with their arms, and darkened it by their 
ignorance ; and the acts of barbarism ascribed to them, and, 
whether truly ascribed or not*, generally credited, attest at 
least their contempt for learning, and their aversion for the 
monuments which the}^ are stated to have destroyed. In the 
eighth century, the conquerors settled with tranquillity in the 
countries which they had subdued, which, in most instances, 
they converted, and which they continued to possess and govern. 
Revival of In the ninth, under the auspices of a wise and mimificent Ca- 
tlie Arabs. lipK they applied the same ardour to the pm-suit of literature 
wliicli had heretofore been confined to the exercise of arms. 
Ample schools were founded in the principal cities of Asiaf, 
Bagdad, and Cufa, and Bassora ; numerous libraries were 
formed with care and diligence, and men of learning and science 
were solicitously invited to the splendid court of Almamunis. 
Greece, which had civilized the Roman republic, and ^vas des- 
tined, in a much later age, to enlighten the extremities of the 
West, was now called upon to turn the stream of her lore into 
the barren bosom of Asia : for Greece was still the only laud 
possessing an original national literature. Her noblest pro- 
ductions were now translated into the ruling lansuacre of the 
East, and the Arabians took pleasure in pursuing the specu- 
lations, or submitting to the rules, of her philosophy. The 
impulse thus given to the genius and industry of Asia was 
communicated with inconceivable rapidity, along the shores of 
Egypt and Africa, to the schools of Seville and Cordova ; and 
the shock was not felt least sensibly by those who last received 
it. Henceforward the genius of learning accompanied even 
the arms of the Saracens. They conquered Sicily; from Sicily 
they invaded the Southern Provinces of Italy ; and, as if to 
complete the eccentric revolution of Grecian literature, the 

* The burning of the Alexandrian Library by the Saracens stands on authority 
not much better than the similar Vandalism charged on Gregory the Great. 

t Contemporary with the foundation of Oxford; and where are they now? 
The history and character of the Turks can answer that question. 


wisdom of Pythagoras was restored to the land of its origin by 
the descendants of an Arabian warrior. 

The adopted literature of that ingenious people, augmented Pope Syl- 
by some original discoveries^ passed with a more pacific pro- 
gress from Spain into France, from France into Italy, even to 
the pontifical chair. In the year 999, Gerbert, a Frenchman, 
was raised to that eminence inider the title of Sylvester II. 
This eminent person, whose talents, though peculiarly calcu- 
lated for the comprehension of the abstract sciences, were not 
disqualified for less severe application, steadily devoted his 
industry, his intelligence, and his power to the acquirement, 
the amplification*, and the diffusion of knowledge. Among 
the vulgar, indeed, he obtained a formidable reputation for 
magical skill : but he was honoured by the wise and the great 
even of his own days ; and of Sylvester that may be more justly 
affirmed, which a Roman Catholic writer has rather chosen to 
predicate of the papal energy of Leo IX., " that he undertook 
to repair the ruins of the tenth century." 

III. At no former period had the Western Church suffered Discipline 

such complete disorganization as durinor the first half of the °* *'''^, 

'' ^ . ® . Church, 

eighth century: the longer it was connected with the barbarous 

political system of the conquerors, the more closely it became 
associated with their institutions, their habits, and their per- 
sons, as they were gradually admitted to ecclesiastical digni- 
ties — the more shameful was the license, the deeper the cor- 
ruption which pervaded it. The progress of the malady was 
restrained by Charlemagne — not with a reluctant or irresolute 
hand, but with the vigoiu- which the occasion required, and 
whicli was justified by his noble designs. He repressed the Refonni'd 
disorders of the bishops ; he assembled numerous councils, and 'jy tJharle- 
he enforced the observance of their canons : thus he infused 
sudden energies into a l)ody too torpid for self-reform ; and he 
endeavoured to perpetuate the impulse by promoting cdiication 

* Somu ingenidiis invuiitiuiis of Gerbert are mentioiu'd in the Hist. Lift, dc la 
France. His various virtues are hif^hly extollcdia the same work ; and the only 
fault which his euloijists can find iu his character is, "that he used too much 
flattery in mukiug his court to the great." The grandtes of the tenth century 
appear to have pardoned him this imperfection. 


and rewarding literature. The last, in truth, was that which 
gave his other measures their efficacy ; for above sixty years 
after his death, under the feeble sceptres of Louis and Charles, 
the spirit sent forth by Charlemagne continued to animate the 
Church. Very general activity and superior intelligence dis- 
tinguished the Clergy, especially the higher orders ; and the 
frequency with which they assembled their coiuicils, and the 
important regulations which they enacted, evinced a zeal for 
the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline, which was not wholly 
without effect. Louis was probably sincere in his co-operation 
for that purpose; but the merit of having directed, or even 
vigorously stimulated, the exertions of his prelates cannot justly 
be ascribed to so weak a prince. 

Respecting Charles, there seems reason to suspect that he, 
as well as his nobles, regarded with some jealousy the progress 
Numerous of reform, and that the attempts, so numerous during his 
France^ "' ^'^^S^^> should rather be attributed to the perseverance of the 
bishops, and especially of Hincmar, than to the virtue or wis- 
dom of the secular government. In proof of this opinion 
(which, if true, is not without importance) we may mention 
the following circumstance. In the year 844, councils were 
held at Thionville and Verneuil'"^ for the remedy of abuses 
both in Church and State ; their regulations were confirmed 
, and amplified in the year following at Meaux, and after tliat 

at Paris ; and on this last occasion the prelates recurred with 
some impatience to the exhortations which they had frequently 
and ineffectually addressed to the throne, and to that neglect 
they presumed to ascribe the temporal calamities which then 
afflicted the country. Presently afterwards, in an assembly of 
barons held at Epernay, the canons of Meavix and Paris were 
taken into consideration ; and while those which restricted 
ecclesiastics received the king's assent, others which touched 
the vices of the nobility were entirely rejected y. Nevertheless, 
councils continued to meet with great frequency | during this 

* It appears, from one of the canons here published, that, in contempt of Charle- 
magne's capitulaiy, the military service of the bisliops was already renewed — if, 
indeed, it was ever wholly discontinued. 

f Fleury, 1. xlviii., s. 35. 

I France was at this time the principal scene of ecclesiastical exertion. During 


reign ; but we must not suppose that all of them had the same 
grand object : some were couNoked to arrange the disputes of 
the bishops, either among themselves or with the Pope, or with 
the king; others met to restrain, had it been possible, the gene- 
ral licentiousness of the times * ; and of many it was the prin- 
cipal piu'pose to launch excommunication and anathema against 
the pliniderers of ecclesiastical property, and to protect the per- 
sons of clerks and monks and nuns from the violence of the 

It is not easy either to specify any particular changes intro- 
duced into the discipline of the Church during these ages, or 
piecisely to determine the rigour of that discipline : for such 
innovations are for the most part of slow and almost insensible 
growth ; and though the canonical regulations are in them- 
selves sufficiently explicit, their enforcement depended in each 
diocese on the authority or character of the bishop. If, indeed, 
it had been possible at once to force into full operation the 

the forty-six years of Charlemagne's reign, the number of councils which met in 
France was thirty-five. Louis, in twenty-six years, held twenty-nine ; but no 
less than sixty-nine were assembled during the thirty-seven years of Charles the 
Bald. Their frequency then gradually decreased ; and in the following 1 10 years 
to the accession of Hugh Cajiet, we observe no more than iiftj'-six. 

* Hincmar has a letter to Charles the Bald " De coercendis militum rapinis ;" 
and the general disorders of the age are vividly depicted in the prefatory exposi- 
tion of the council of Mayence in 888. •' Behold the magnificent edifices which 
the servants of God were wont to inhabit, destroyed and burnt to ashes ; the altars 
overthrown and trampled under foot, the most precious ornaments of the churches 
dispersed or consumed ; the bishops, priests, and other clerks, together with lay- 
men of every age and sex, overtaken by sword or fire, or some other manner of 
massacre, &c.'' (Baron., ann. 888, iv.) Similar calamities are even more parti- 
cularly detailed by the council of Trosle in 909, attended with some charges of 
spiritual negligence in the bishops themselves : — " Videtis (piam sit evidens furor 
Domini. .. j.am vidimus depopulatas urbes, destructa vel incensa monasteria. 
Agri in solitudinem sunt redacti, ita ut vere dicere possimns — pervenit gladius 
usque ad animam."^(Baron., ann. 1)09, 3. ii., iii. Fleury, 1. liv., s. 2 and 44.) In 
865, pope Nicholas addressed some strong pacific exhortations to the princes of 
France : — ' I'arcife gladio : humanum fundere sanguinem formidolosius exhor- 
rescite ; cesset ira, sedentur odia, sopiantur jurgia, et omnis ex vobis simultas 
radicitus evellatur. . . . Non in vobis vanae gloriae typus, non alterius usurpandi 
terminos ambitio, sed just it ia, charitas, et concordia regnet ct summum ])ax inter 
vos teneat omnino fastigium.'' But such general addresses had probably little 
effect; and the first authoritative interference of the Church for the partial resto- 
ration of peace, and the institution of the Treuga Dei — Treve de Dieu — took 
place in the first half of the eleventh century. 



[CH. XV. 

principles of the " False Decretals/' the sudden revolution thus 
occasioned would have been perceptible to the eye of the most 
careless historian ; but the pretensions, which they contained, 
were vitterly disproportioned to the power that the see then 
possessed of asserting them*. Their tacit acknowledgment led 
to their gradual adoption ; and in the patient progress of this 
usurpation, every step that was gained gave fresh vigour, as 
well as loftier ground, to the usurper : but in the ninth century 
the French were too independent entirely to submit to the ser- 
vitude intended for them, and in the tenth the popes were too 
weak and contemptible effectually to impose it. Nevertheless, 
time and ignorance were steadily engaged in sanctifying the 
imposture, and preparing it for more mischievous service in the 
hand of Hildebrand. 
Reform of Though wc propose to defer a little longer any general 
Ani^ane*^ " accovmt of the monastic order, it is proper here to notice that 
very powerful renovation of the system which was accomplished 
about this time by Benedict of Aniane — a venerable name, 
which yields to none save Benedict of Nvu'sia, in the reverence 
of monkish annalists. He was contemporary with Charlemagne 
and his successor, and was called in 817 to preside at the 
council assembled at Aix-la-Chapelle for the reform of mo- 
nastic abuses. The regulations which ^vere then enacted, 
though they offended the simplicity of the primitive rule by 
many fi-ivolous injunctions, were still useful in recalling to some 
form of discipline the broken ranks of the regular clergy. We 
should also mention, that the institution of canons regular, by 
Chrodegand, bishop of Metz, was undertaken during the same 
period, and was completed under Louis the Meek in a council, 
also held at Aix-la-Chapelle, in 826. 

The original form of episcopal election had been habitually 
violated by the barbarian kings ; and if it was nominally re- 
stored by Charlemagne, it still appears that he continued in 
practice to profit by the usurpation of his predecessors, and to 
fill up vacant sees by his own direct appointment. Louis, how- 


* Hincmar did indued acknowledge them, but with a certain reservation — 
discrete, protit sunt srque/itla. — See Baronius, ann. 878, s. 26, on the authority of 
Frodoardus, Ilistor. Rhemensis. 


ever, had not been long on the llirone when he pnhhslied 
(seemingly at the parliament of Attigni in 8-22) a capitulary 
to reinstate the Church in her pristine rights. Nor was this 
concession merely formal ; on the contrary, it was brought into 
immediate force, and for some time actually directed the form 
of election. For instance, we observe that, in the year 845, 
Ilincmar was raised to the see of llheims " by the clergy and 
people of Rheims, by the bishops of the province, with the 
consent of the archbishop of Sens, the bishop of Paris, and the 
abbot of St, Denis his superior, and with the approbation of 
the kincr ;" and from several monuments of that age, and espe- 
cially the letters of Hincmar* himself, we learn that, at least 
during the reign of Charles, the Church continued in the re- 
covered possession of her original liberty. 

The translation of bishops continued to be prohibited during Transla- 
the ninth century, according to tlie ancient canons ; and though ^'^^°^^^ 
the rule might be occasionally violated by the interference of 
the prince, and though the pope did occasionally, though 
rarely, exercise that pernicious power which the decretals, false 
as they were, and fatal to ecclesiastical discipline, nevertheless 
gave him, the clergy and the people laboured to maintain the 
ancient and salutary practice. It appears, however, from a 
very strange occurrence, Avhich is related to have passed in tliis 
age, that the bishops of Rome, however willing to exert their 
groundless authority elsewhere, were extremely jealous of any 

* It appears tliat, as soon as the vacancy was declared, the king appointed 
from among the bishops a visitor to the vacant sec, who presided at the ehiction. 
The only persons eligible (or very nearly so) were the clergy of the diocese ; but 
they were not the only electors ; the monasteries and the curates, or parochial 
clergy, sent their deputies. Nor were the noble laymen or the citizens of the 
cathedral town excluded — on the principle " that all should assist in the election 
of one whom all were bound to obey." (See Fleury, 1. xlvi., s. 47 ; 1. xlviii, 
s. 38 ; 1. liii., s. 33.) Still it woidd appear, even from the expression of Hincmar, 
in an epistle to Charles on this subject, as well as from a canon of the council of 
Valence held in 8;')5, that the Church then exercised the privihge rather as an 
indulgence from the sovereign, than by its own original and lawful right. " The 
prince shall be petitioned to leave to the clergy and people the liberty of election. 
The bishop shall be chosen from the clergy of the cathedral or of the diocese, or 
at least of its immediate neighbourhood. If a clerk attached to the service of 
the prince is proposed, his capacity and his morals shall be rigorously examined, 
&c." — Council of Valence, 

VOL. II. li 


translation to their own see. In the year 892, Formosiis was 
raised from the see of Porto to that of Rome ; he was a prelate 
of great piety and considerable attainments, but he offered the 
first instance of the elevation of a foreign bishop to the throne 
of St. Peter. He held it for abovit four years, and died in pos- 
session of it. But scarcely were his ashes cold, when his suc- 
cessor, Stephen VI., — a name which has earned peculiar dis- 
tinction even among the pontifical barbarians of those days, — 
Exhuma- summoned a council to sit in judgment on the deceased. Por- 
tion of mosus was dragf^ed from his grave and introduced into the 

Formosus, o'^ *= 

Bishop of midst of the assembly. He was then solemnly reinvested with 
°™^' the ornaments of office, and placed in the apostolical chair, 
and the mockery of an advocate to plead in his defence was 
added. Then Stephen inqviired of his senseless predecessor 
— " Wherefore, Bishop of Porto, hast thou urged thy ambition 
so far as to usurp the see of Rome?" The council immediately 
passed the sentence of deposition ; and the condemned carcase, 
after being stripped of the sacred vestments and brutally muti- 
lated, was cast contemptuously into the Tiber. But the day 
of retribution was near at hand ; for, in the order of Provi- 
dence, the most revolting offences are sometimes overtaken by 
the swiftest calamities. Only a few weeks elapsed, and Stephen 
himself was seized, and driven from the see and thrown into an 
obscure dungeon, loaded with chains, where he was presently 
Change of It had been hitherto the practice of the bishop of Rome to 
elevation to ^'^^^"^ on his election the name by which he had been pre- 
the pope- viously known : the first exception to this rule took place in 
the tenth century. In 95(3, Octavianus, a noble Roman, was 
raised to the see at the age of eighteen, and expressed his de- 
termination to assume the name of John XII*. It does not 
appear that his boyish inclination was opposed ; and it is cer- 
tain that the precedent was very soon and very generally fol- 
lowed. Neither was the example of Formosus forgotten in 
succeeding elections, though it was not so commonly imitated; 
but before the end of this age we find that Gerbert, archbishop 

* See Pagi. Breviar. Gest. Rom. Pont., Vit. Johan. XII. 


of Ravenna, became, by a double change, Sylvester, bishop of 
Rome, v^'ithout any offence or reproach. 

Amono- the inferior clerffv, the canonical discipline was ex- Discipline 
tremely rigid : it was strictly forbidden to undertake the charge Jj^^ ^^^^^^l 
of two churches, to hold a prebend * in a monastery with a 
parochial cure, or even to exchange one church for another. 
That these regulations were sometimes, perhaps generally, en- 
forced, appears from the earnestness with which they are pressed 
by Hincmar; and it is from his Synodal Statutes, even more 
than from the canons of councils, that we learn the practice of 
the Gallican Church during the ninth century: that of the 
Chm'ches of Italy was probably less severe. 

The following is the substance of some of his regulations : — 
" I have often notified to you respecting the poor who are in- 
scribed in the books of the Church, how you ought to treat 
them and distribute to them a part of the tithe. I have for- 
bidden you to receive, in return for their portion (called ma- 
tricula), either present or service, in the house or elsewhere. 
I persist in forbidding it ; since such conduct is to sell charity. 
I declare to you, that the priest who does so shall be deposed, 
and even the portion of the tithe which is given to other pau- 
pers shall be refused to him." Again, — " I learn that some 
among you neglect their churches and buy private property 
which they cultivate, and build houses there in which women 
reside ; and that they do not bequeath their property to the 
Church, according to the canons, but to their relatives or others. 
Be informed that I shall punish with the utmost rigour of the 
rules those whom 1 shall find guilty of this abuse f ." It was 
another of Hincmar's meritorious endeavours to restrict the 

* A prebend then signified the dividend afforded to a canon for his subsistence. 
The prohibition was repeated in S89 by the council of Metz ; which seems to 
prove that it was eithernot generally received, or imperfectly obeyed. 

f Hincm. Capitula in Synod. Remensi data. Ann. 874. vol. i., p. 732. Ed. Par. 
These capitularies are addressed " Ad presbytcros parochise suae," and contawi 
various other injunctions— that presbyters are to learn by heart the Lord's Prayer 
and the Athanasian Creed — " De Exorcismis Catechumenorum." — " Omnis iires- 
byter thurihnhinnti !/!re«iz^»i habeat—ut tempore, quo Evaiigelium legitur,et finite 
offertorio, super oblationem incensum, ut in morte videlicet Redempforis, ponat. ' 
In another place it was his object to prevent the exaction of fees ibr burials, &c., 
and generally to regidate the morality of the clergy. 

].: 2 



abuse of private patronage, by refusing ordination to every un- 
worthy candidate. 
Claudius, The practice of auricular confession, which, thougli generally 
Ilishop of prevalent, was not universally received in the time of Charle- 
magne, became completely established during the two following 
ages. We observe, too, in the annals of those times, that the 
transfer * of relics from place to place was carried on with ex- 
traordinary ardovn*, proportioned to the sanctity attached to 
them, and to the wonders which they are recorded to have 
wrought. This superstition was, indeed, boldly assailed by one 
real Christian,— Claudius, bishop of Turin f, the protestant of 
the ninth century. "Wherefore (he indignantly exclaimed) 
do not the worshippers of the wood of the cross, in conformity 
with their new principles, adore chaplcts of thorns, because 
Christ was crowned with thorns, — or cradles, linen, or boats, 

* The travels of St. Vitus from Leucadia to Rome, from Rome to Saxony, may 
not perhaps deserve to be traced by us ; but we may be excused for pursuing the 
history of a pious prelate, whose living virtues we found occasion to mention — 
St. Martin of Tours. About the middle of the ninth century, the approach of the 
Normans made it expedient to remove the venerable relics of that saint from Tours 
to Auxerre, where he was coutided, as a temporary dt-posit, to the care of the 
bishop. During one-and-thiity years of exile, St. Martiu continued to perform 
the most stupendous miracles; and thus he became so valuable to the bishop of 
Auxerre, that when restitution was demanded, that prelate at once refused it. 
Hereupon tlie archbishop of Tours prevailed upon a powerful baron, whose domains 
were adjacent, to avenge tlie perfidy and to recover the treasure l)y force. Thus 
St. Martin returned triumphantly to his native city, escorted by a band of six 
thousand soldiers. The story is told in the last chapter of I'leury, book liii. 
Again, in the year SJG, two holy abbots set out from France to Rome, in order 
to bring away the bodies of St. Sebastian, and even of St. Gregory himself. 
They returned triumphant — the former had been solemnly granted to the emperor 
by the pope; the latter they had stolen away by a pious artifice. Their success 
is recorded by Kginhard, or Einliard, the contemporary biogr.ipher cf Cliarle- 
magne. But the loss has never been acknowledged by t!ie Romans, nor is it pro- 
bable that they ever sustained it. 

f He was a native of Spain, and died in his diocese of Turin, about the year 
840. His vigorous o;iposition to the worship of images could not be so generally 
impnpular on the other side of the Alps as in Italy ; yet we observe that one of 
his principal opponents was Jonas, a bishop of Orleans. It was another ot liis 
errors that he denied that the power of the priesthood, to bind and loose, ex- 
tended beyond this world ; and the last, and probably the greatest, that he asseitid 
the term Apostolical Fnlhrr to be properly applied, not to him who filled the chair 
of the apostle, but to him wdio discharged the duties attached to it. The works 
for which Claudius was particularly celebrated, were his Commentaries on Scrip- 
ture, both of the Old and New Testament. 


because he made use of them, — or spears, because he was 
pierced with that weapon ? Or why do they not fall down 
before the image of an ass, because he rode on that animal ? 
Christ Jesus did not command us to worship the cross, but to 
bear it — to renounce the world and ourselves." The incon- 
aistcncij which the pious bishop objected to his Church was 
indeed, to a great extent, removed by the multiplied corruptions 
of after ngcs; but the remonstrances of the reformer roused the 
indignation of his contemporaries; his endeavoiu's to distinguish 
the abuses from the substance of the system brought do^vn 
upon him I lie usual reproaches of hostility and schism froin 
the more rigid churchmen of the day ; and had he lived in an 
age in \\liich the secular power was subservient to their prin- 
ciples, he would have been variously known to posterity, as a 
chastised heretic, or as a blessed martyr. 

During this same period the penitential system of tlie Church 
underwent a more regular organization ; ecclesiastical* punish- 
ments were adjusted with more discrimination to the offence of 
the penitent, and greater uniformity of practice was established 
in the ditfercnt dioceses. The liturgy received several improve- 
ments; indeed it assumed at this time the form in which it was 
transmitted, with very sliglit, if any, variation to tlie more 
splendid ages of the Roman Church. The celebration of the 
religious offices, their rules, and their history employed the 

* The following passage (from Hincmar's Instructions to his Clergy) shows 
the extent to which the arm of the clergy then reached, as well as the manner 
in which it acted. '' As soon as a homicide, or adultery, or perjury, or any 
other jnib/ic crime, shall have been committed in his parish, the priest shall 
signify to the culprit to present himself before the dean and the other priests, and 
to submit to penance ; and thev shall send information to their superiors, who 
reside in the city, so that, in tlie course of a fortnight, the otlVndir may appear 
before us and receive public penance with imposition of hands. The day on 
which the crime was connuitted shall be carefully noted down, as well as that on 
which the penance was imposed, and that on which absolution was granted. 
When the curates shall assemble at the calends of every month they shall confer 
together respecting their penitents, to inform us in what manner each performs 
his jienance, that we may judge when he ought to be reconciled to the. Church. 
If the criminal does not submit to the penance within the days specified, he shall 
be excommunicated until he dties submit. And let every priest know 1 esides, 
that if we learn what happens in his parish from any other (quarter than liimself. 
or late from himself, he shall himself remain for certain days excommunicated," 
&c. Capit. Ann. xii. Episcnostri. p. 7'32. 



[CH. XV. 

diligence of the learned *, and received elaborate and useful 
illustrations. The credit of these exertions belongs indeed 
entirely to the theologians of the ninth century; but the works 
which they raised^ after resisting the tempests that followed, 
continued to constitute an important portion of the ecclesias- 
tical edifice. 
External JV. During the period which we have now described, while 
Christian- the centre and heart of Christendom were for the most part 





cold and corrupted, the vital stream was ceaselessly flowing 
towards the northern extremities of Europe. It would be an 
attractive, and it might be a profitable, employment to trace 
the feeble and sometimes ineffectual missions, which introduced 
our holy religion among the pagans of Denmark, Sweden, 
Russia, and Norway ; and to observe the other circumstances 
which, in conj miction with their pious perseverance, finally 
established it there. This mighty success we may consider to 
have been obtained before the middle of the eleventh century : 
not, perhaps, that the faith of Christ was vmiversally embraced 
by the lowest classes, still less was it thoroughly comprehended 
or practised ; but it had gained such deep and general footing, 
as to secure its final and perfect triumph. 

We must be contented concisely to mention some of the 
leading circumstances by which this great event was accom- 
plished. Heriold, king of Denmark, an exile and a suppliant 
at the court of Louis the Meek, was there prevailed upon to 
adopt the Christian religion. But as his conversion did not 
seem calculated to facilitate his restoration to his throne, Louis 
presented him with an estate in Friesland, for which he departed. 
He was accompanied to that retreat by a monk of Corbie, 
named Anscaire or Ansgarius, a yoimg and fearless enthusiast, 
ardent for the toils of a missionary and the glory of a martyr. 
His first exertions were made in Denmark ; presently afterwards 
(in 830) he advanced into Sweden ; and such promise of suc- 

* Amalarius, a disciple of Alcuin, clerk of the church of Metz, was, among 
these, the most celebrated. His corrected "Treatise on the Ecclesiastical Otiices'' 
was published, under the auspices of Louis, in the year 831 ; and it is highly 
valued by Roman Catholic writers as proving the very high antiquity of the 
greater part of the services of their Church. Fleury gives a short account of this 
work in 1. xlvii., s. 36. 


cess attended him, that Louis determined to estabUsh an 
archiepiscopal see at Hamburgh, as the centre of future opera- 
tions. Gregory IV. gave his consent, and bestowed the pallium, 
together with the dignity of pontifical legate, upon Ansgarius. 
Thus exalted and strengthened, he persevered in his enterprise, 
encouraging the exertions of others, and not sparing his own. 
And whatsoever degree of credit * we may find it possible to 
attach to the stories of supernatural assistance, continually 
vouchsafed both to him and his ministers, we may be assured 
that the character, with which he was occasionally invested, of 
ambassador from the emperor of the West, together with the 
fame of his private sanctity, gave additional eflficacy to his 
reliorious labours. 

The account of Ansgarius's successful expedition into Sweden Mission of 
(in the year 854), as it is transmitted to us from early days, -^"sgarms. 
contains much that is curious, and nothing that is improbable. 
When the bishop arrived at the capital, he communicated to 
the king, Olef or Olave, the object of his mission. The king 
replied — " I would willingly consent to your desire, but I can 
accord nothing until I have consulted ovir gods by the lot, and 
till I know the will of the people, who have more influence in 
public affairs than I have." Olef first consulted his nobles, 
and, after the customary probation by lot, the gods were ascer- 
tained to be favourable to the proposal. The general assembly 
of the people was then convoked; and the king caused a herald 
to proclaim the object of the imperial embassy. The people 
murmured loudly ; and while they were yet divided in their 
opinions as to the reception of the religion of Christ, an old 
man rose up among them and said — "King and people ! listen 
to me. We are already acquainted with the service of that 
God, and he has been found of great assistance to those who 

* After relating some extraordinary prodigies (1. xlix., s. 19), Fleury observes — 
" These miracles deserve belief, if ever there were any which did so, since they 
are related in the Life of St. Ansgarius by Rembert, his discijde and successor ; 
and if we are permitted to assert, that there is any occasion on which God might 
be expected to perform miracles it is doubtless in support of his infant Churches," 
— a leligious and pious observation, to which we give our full assent. But the 
work of lUmbert is lost, and our only accounts of Ansgarius are derived from the 
ancient chronicles. — See Baronlus, Ann. 858, s. 14, 15, &c. ; and Fleury, 1. xlix., 
s. 21,andl. Iv.s. I'J. 

TjO a iiistdky f>i- Till-, cinincii. [en. xv. 

iinokc liini. 'riicic ;irc iiKiiiy ;nn()ii(r us ^\ll(» li;no experienced 
i< ill perils by se;i iiiul on oIIkt oceiisions ; wliy, llien, should 
we rejeel Iliui.'' [''onneily t ller(> \V(>re some who 1 r;i\clle(l lo 
I )oi'sl;i(h i'oi' I he s;ik(> of enihi-;ieiu^ I hiit reh^ioii, ol" \\ hieli 1 hey 
well kuew ihe ulilily: \\\\y, then, should we now rehise th;i1, 
blessing, when il is liei-(> ])|-()posed iiiid pi'eseuled lo us?" Tlie 
■|)eo])l(> wrvc eouviiu-ed hy lliis discourse, ;ui<l unjiuimously cou- 
seiiled lo llie eslahlishuieiil of lh(> ('hristi;u> i-ch<^don, ;nul tl)(» 
r(>sideuee of ils luinislers ;uuon<> iheui. YAiis<r;u-ius died leu 
yeju's Jil'leiwards ; ;uid the l(,)ols1e])s which li(> h;i(l Inicediu 
ihiil rude soil\\(>i'(> (i^really de(;iced duriu'j: llie lollowinir con- 
lury, tlioufjfh il, is too much to assert that they were wliolly 

Kiissia, Some exerlioiis were m;id(> for llie cou\ crsiou of iho Schi- 

I'olaiid ami • i , .1 - 1 11 r,\ • ,1 1 , ^i < 1 

11,,,., r.,.. \onians ahoiil llie middle ol the miilli i\QO : but that event was 

not finally accomplished until the conquest of Bohemia l)y 
Ollio, in tli(^ year *.).")(). In the sam(> manner Basil, the em- 
peror of Ihe East, in conjunction with his I'atriarch l<^natius, 
endeavoured to introduce* into the heart ol" Kussia lli(> know- 
h'de^(> of the (ios])el. An archbishop was purposely ordained 
and sent on thai mission; and a miracle, which was performed 
in tlie presence of tlu* ])rince and his ])eopk% obtained a partial 
rec(>])tion for the new relieion. This event occurred in 871 ; 
hut the faith made lillle consequent ])rofi^ress, and ils ministers 
\vere subjected to insult and ])ersecution ; nor are we jusli(i(>d 
in assigning the complete conversion of thai nation to a jieriod 
carher than th(> end of the t(Milh century. In *.)(S9 Yladimer, 
]ii-inc(* of the liussians, espoused llie sister of lli(> I'auperors 
Basil and Constanlin(\ and cMubraced, in consequence, the 
(Christian belief. Jle lived to an extreme old affc, and durinor 
a long reign found many imitators: his faith became the rule 
of their worship); and the knowledge of its ])rinciples and the 
]ira(^tice of its precepts were precedetl, as in so many other in- 
stances, by its bare nominal * profession. Aboiit twenty years 
earlier the duke of I'oland, whose conversion is also attributed 

* AVe aro not lo stippose that even tlie pencnil profession of ilu; faith was ini- 
niediati; ; in f.ut wc ubseive that a pious inisbioiiuiy of tliu Komaii Churcli, named 


to the iiinuf-nce of a Christian fiufon, promoted the spiritual 
regeneration of his subjects ; and, during the first year of the 
following age, Steplien, king or duke of Hungary, under- 
took, with still greater zeal and success, the same holy enter- 

'Jhe above facts, though so briefly stated, are sufficient to R'.;matkg. 
prove to us (and could we pursue them more deeply into detail 
the inference would be still clearer) that, in those days, the 
public preaching of pious individuals was extremely uncertain 
in its effect upon the mass of the community, unless when sup- 
ported by the example or authority of chiefs and princes. Nor 
is this surprising; for to nations wholly uncivihzed and unin- 
structed it i,s almost hopeless to address the revelations of truth, 
or the persuasions of reason. And accordingly we observe, 
that the little perceptible success, which attended those mission- 
aries in tlieir rlirect intercourse with the people, is usually 
ascribed to iluir miraculous powers, or possibly to the sanctity 
of their character ; seldom to their arguments or their eloquence. 
But it would have been the greatest of all miracles had this 
been otherwise; the barbarians were too deeply plungrd in 
ignorance and superstition long to listen to any admonitions 
which were not addressed to them by the voice ol' poivcr. And 
thus, when it pleased God in due season to bring them over to 
his own service, it may be that He vouchsafed to them some 
faint and occasional manifestations of his own omnipotence ; 
but it was certainly from amongst the powers and princi- 
palities of this world, that he selected his most efficient earthly 


In ihemeantime,durlng the accomplishment of these gradual Tlie Xor- 

and distant conquests, the Saracens had wasted the south of l^^^'^j^^^ ""^ 
Italy, and approached the very walls of the pontifical city. On 
the other side, for their chastisement and expulsion, a new and 
vigorous race presented itself, recently sent forth from the ex- 
tremities of the North. And (what, besides, is a strange coin- 

IJruno or Ronifacc, was mjisxacred in tlie year 1009, with several associates, by 
certain Russians whom he would have converted. His ardour for in.irtyrduin 
wan roused by the sij^ht of a church, dedicated at Home to the aucient martyr Boni- 
face. — See Petru8 Uair.iani a[>. Baron. Ann. 'J'J'J, s. 33. 


cidence, and deserving of more curious observation than we can 
here bestow upon it) while the Norman pagans were over- 
spreading some of the fairest provinces of the West with fire 
and relentless desolation, the Turkish pagans of the East were 
entering, even at the same moment, on their pestilential career 
of conquest. 'I he former adopted the religion of the vanquished, 
and then, by the infusion of their own vigorous character, they 
made some compensation to Christendom for the wrongs which 
they had inflicted. In like manner did the Turks embrace the 
religion, while they overthrew the dynasty of the Arabs, who 
preceded them — and not their dynasty only, but their arts, 
their industry, and their genius. And in the place of these 
they substituted a savage and sullen despotism, alike destruc- 
tive to the character and the faculties, since its firmest prin- 
ciples are founded in superstition, and bigotry is the legitimate 
spirit by which it is warmed and animated. It is, indeed, 
true that the Arabian invaders had devastated many flourishing 
Christian countries without justice and without mercy; but it 
was no mild or insufficient retribution, which so soon subjected 
them to the deadly scourge of Turkish oppression. 


The Life of Gregory VII. 

We shall divide this long and important chapter into three 
sections. The first will contain the principal events which were 
brought about by the popes who immediately preceded Gregorv 
and acted under his influence. The second will describe the 
great ecclesiastical and political occurrences of his pontificate. 
In the third we shall consider separately the controversy con- 
cerning Berenger and the general estabhshmcnt of the Latin 

IX. 1049 

A. U. 


Section I. 

Pope Leo IX. — Early History of Hildebrand — Succession of Victor II. — of Ste- 
phen IX. — of Nicholas II. — his Measure respectin;^ Papal Election — the Col- 
lege of Cardinals — imperfection of that Measure — subsequent and final Rej^u- 
lation — Inconveniences of popular SuflTrage — Restriction of the imperial Right 
of Confirmation — Homage of Robert Guiscard and the Normans — Dissensions 
on the Death of Nicholas — Succession of Alexander II. — actual Supremacy of 
Hildebrand — Measures taken during that Pontificate — Alexander is succeeded 
by Hildebrand, under the title of Gregory VII. 

Great hopes were entertained that the disorders of Italy and 
the calamities of the Church would find some respite, if not a 
final termination, on the accession of Leo IX. This pope Pope Leo 
(Bruno, bishop of Toul), a native of Germany and of splendid 
reputation, as well for learning as for piety, was appointed by 
the emperor Henry III. at the request of the Romans, and as- 
cended the chair in the year 1049 ; and the dignity of his royal 
connexion confirmed the hopes which his personal virtues had 
excited. We are informed* that while he was proceeding 
through France into Italy in his pontifical vestments, he be- 
came acquainted at Cluni with a monk named Hildebrand, 
who prevailed upon him to lay aside those ornaments which he 
had prematurely assumed, to enter Rome in the dress of a 
pilgrim, and there to receive from the clergy and people that 
apostolical office, which no layman had the right to confer. The 
pope was struck by the talents and character of this monk, and 
carried him alongr with him to Rome. 

Hildebrand was probably a native of Saona, in Tuscany, and 
(so at least it is generally asserted) of low origin f ; yet he 
became early in life the disciple of Laurence, archbishop of 

* Gianuone, Storia di Napoli, 1. ix., s. 3. Muratori, Vit. Rom. Pontif., t. iii., 
p. 2. The earliest authority for this story seems to be Otho Frisiugensis, who 
flourished in the middle of the following century. Wibertus, who was Leo's 
archdeacon and biographer, does not mention it. However, the two facts that 
Hildebrand accompanied him to Rome, and that be entered that city in tlie habit 
of a pilgrim, are not disputed., See Pagi, Breviar. Vit. Leo IX. 

■}■ Both these facts are contested. In the chronicle of Hugo Flaviniacensis, it 
is expressly asserted that he was a Roman, born of Roman citizens; and Papen- 
brochius thinks it probable that he was of a noble family. Pagi (Vit. Greg. VII. 
s. 8) admits that the truth cannot be clearly ascertained. 


Molplia; presently he gained the notice and even the confi- 
dence of Benedict IX. and Gregory VI., and it was not till the 
death of the latter that he retired to the monastery of Cluni. 
From a retreat so little suited to his restless spirit he was 
finally called by Leo IX. to that vast theatre of ecclesiastical 
ambition, in which so extraordinary a part was destined to 

Leo presided over the Church for five years; his reign was 
distinguished by some attempts at salutary reform, especially 
bv the famous council which he held at Rheims with that pur- 
pose (or under that pretext), in defiance of the royal authority; 
and also by an unsuccessful campaign against the Normans, 
in which he sustained a complete defeat in person*. On his 
death, the election of a successor was confided by the clergy of 
Rome to the judgment and address of Hildebrand. He selected 
Victor II., and obtained, by a difficult negociation j, his con- 
firmation from the emperor. During this pontificate, he was 
sent into France as legate, and vigorously;}; maintained the 
authority of the holy see. Victor was succeeded in 1057 by 
Stephen IX., and on his death, in the year following, a violent 
division arose among the electors. The nobles of Rome were, 
for the most part, united, and appear to have made a hasty 
and illegal choice ; but several cardinals, who had no share in 
this transaction, assembled at Siena and chose another § candi- 
date, who was finally confirmed and placed in possession of the 

* On this occasion Hildebrand may have learnt the policy of cultivating their 

f Leo Ostiensis, lib. ii., cap. 90. The emperor professed extreme reluctance 
to part with his counsellor and favourite. 

I He deposed six bishops on various charges " by the authority of the Roman 
see." Respecting one of these it is recorded by several writers, that having been 
guilty of simony, he became unable to articulate the ofiended name of the Holy 
Ghost, though he could pronounce those of the Father and the Son without any 
difficulty. Petrus Damiani, Epist. ad Nicolaum Papam. Desiderius Abbas 
Cassinensis, &c. &c. 

§ " Pope Stephen, by consent of the bishops, clergy, and Roman people, had 
ordained that at his death no successor should be chosen, except by the counsel 
of Hildebrand, then subdeacon of Rome. Hildebrand chose Gerandus, bishop 
of Florence, who took the name of Nicholas II.'' Hist. Litt. de la France, Vie 
Nich. II. See also Leo Ostiensis, lib. ii., cap. 101. Pagi, Kreviar. Vit. 
Steph. IX. 


spc by the empress, the mother of Henry IV. This candidate 
was Nicholas II.; and the difficulties which had attended his 
own election probably led him, under the giudance of Hilde- 
brand, his counsellor and patron, to that measure, which was 
the foundation of papal independence. 

In a late chapter, we briefly mentionetl what that measure Enactment 
was, and we shall now add a few remarks in illustration of it. jHectton. 
"We have thought proper to enact (says the pontiff") that upon 
the decease of the bishop of this Roman universal Church, the 
affair of the election be treated first and with most diligent 
consideration by the cardinal bishops ; who shall afterwards 
call into their council the cardinal clerks ; and finally require 
the consent of the rest of the clergy and people*." The term 
cardinal had hitherto been adopted with very great and inde- 
finite latitude in all the Latin churches, and even applied to 
the regular orders, as well as to the secular clergy ; but by this 
edict it was restrained to the seven bishops who presided in the 
city and territory of Rome, and to the twenty-eight clerks or 
presbyters who were the ministers of the twenty-eight Roman 
parishes or principal churches. These five-and-thirty persons The colloge 
constituted the college of cardinals. The previous examination °|^[j^"^'' 
of the claims of the candidates rested with the bishops, but they 
could not proceed to election except in conjunction with the 
presbyters. The rest of the clergy, the nobility, and the people 
were excluded from any positive share in the election, but were 
allowed a negative suffrage in giving or withholding their con- 
sent. It was obvious that this last provision would produce 
frequent disorder and confusion, and that those who had been 
so suddenly deprived of the most substantial pavtof their rights, 
would lose no opportunity of abusing that which remained to 
them. And it is probable that Ilildebrand, when he coun- 
selled a measure of imperfect reform, was obliged to confine 
himself to what was at the moment practicable, reserving the 
completion of his design to some more favourable period. 

And so, indeed, it proved ; the nobles, the clergy, and the 
populace continued very frequently to disturb the elections 

* Mosh. Cent, xi., p. ii , c. ii. The cardiniih were to be unanimovis in iheir 
choice, llist. Lilt. Franc, Vie Nidi. II. 


which they gradually lost the power to influence ; and it was 
not till the century following that Alexander III. found means 
to perfect the scheme of Hildebrand, and finally purify them 
from all such interference. Thenceforward the riofht was vested 
in the college* of cardinals alone, and so it has continued to 
the present time. 
Popular No one acquainted with the frightful j disorders which were 

the scandal of the Roman Church during the two preceding 
centuries, and which were occasionally felt even at much earlier 
periods, will affect to censure a measure which removed the 
principal cause of them by subverting the system of popular 
election. In defence of a custom which in principle was not 
calculated for a numerous society, and which had been con- 
demned by the experience of at least five centuries, it was vain 
to plead the venerable institution of antiquity. Universal in 
its origin, it had for some time been adopted in episcopal elec- 
tions throughout the whole of Christendom : but as its incon- 
veniences were multiplied by the increase of proselytes, it fell 
into gradual disuse, first in the East, and afterwards in the 
Western Church ; and at the period which we are now de- 
scribing, it was perhaps no where in full operation except at 
Rome. The evils which at Rome it had so pre-eminently pro- 
duced, abundantly justify the wisdom of the reformer. 

Gibbon seems indeed to have considered the popes as endeared 
to the people by the pi-actice of popular election. But the affec- 
tion of the Romans for their popes (we speak not now of those 
earlier ages when all episcopal elections were popular) was 
probably confined to that period which intervened between 
their neglect by the Eastern emperor and the accession of 
Charlemagne; and during that interval, while in danger from 
the constant invasions of the Lombards, they were certainly 
and strongly attached to their leader by the sense of common 
peril. There are also other and more respectable reasons for 
that attachment. The popes of that time were generally 

* The cullpge received, on that occasion, some additions for the purpose of con- 
ciliating the aristocracy and the civil authorities; but the ptople gained little 
or nothing by them. 

+ Giannone (Hist. Nap., 1. v., c. vi.) details them with great force. 


Romans by birth, and known to their subjects, as they are 
known to posterity, by their piety and their virtues. The 
ecclesiastical revenues were employed to protect the churches 
and convents against a barbarous and Arian foe ; and the affec- 
tion awakened by the merits of the popes was multiplied by 
their services. But to that period it seems to have been limited ; 
and we are unable to discover any proofs of its prevalence after 
the eighth century. 

We have also mentioned another important clause contained Imperial 

p X-- 1 1 1 1 • 1 1 11- • 1 Coufirma- 

m the edict or INichoias; thatwhicli reduced the imperial con- tion. 
firmation to a mere personal privilege, conferred, indeed, on 
Henry III., but liable to be withheld from his successors*. 
The long minority of that prince, and the weakness of his 
government, favoured this usvirpation, and accelerated the re- 
sult which Hildebrand foresaw from it — namely, total emanci- 
pation from imperial interference. In fact, the very following 
pontiff, Alexander II., maintained himself without the sanc- 
tion, and even against the will, of the emperor ; and though 
Gregorv himself vouchsafed to defer his own consecration till 
Henry had ratified his election, succeeding popes did not on 
any occasion acknowledge such right as any longer vested in 
the throne, bvit proceeded to the exercise of their office, without 
awaiting even the form of confirmation from Germany. Thus 
we perceive that the celebrated council of 1059 was the instru- 
ment of finally accomplishing (and that at no very distant 
period) both the objects at which it aimed, without the power 
of immediately effecting either — the entire independence of 
papal election from the opposite restraints of popular suffrage 
and imperial confirmation. It is true that Hildebrand lived 
not to beliold with his own eyes the completion of the work 
which he had projected; but such is commonly the fate of 
those who engage in comprehensive schemes of reformation, 
and whose measures are adapted to their permanent fulfilment, 

* It is important to cite the words of this edict. " Cardinales episcopi diligen- 
tissima siniul consideratione tractantes mox sibi clericos cardinales adhibeant 
sicque reliquus clerus et popuhis ad consensum novae electionis accedant. . . . 
Ehgant autem de ipsius ectlesia) gremio, si repertus fuurit idoneus ; et si de ipsa 
lion invenitur ex alia assumatur; salvo debito honore et rc-vrrentia dilecti filii 
nostri Ilenrici, qui impracsentiarum Rex habetur, et futunis Iniporator Deo con- 
cedente speratur, sicut jam ipsi concessiinus, et successorum illiiis qui ah Apostolica 
Sede personaiifer hoc jus impetraverint." Pagi, Brev. Vit. Nicolai JI., s. 7. 


The work which they build is not for the gratification of their 
own vanity, or the profit of their own days — it is enough for 
them that the structure proceeds with some immediate advan 
tao-e and wreat promise of future excellence — the use and en- 
joyment of its perfection is destined to other generations. 
The South Another important event distinguished the pontificate of 
of Italy JS'icholas. The Norman conquerors of the South of Italy, 

ffiveii 111 ^ 1 r^ 1 

fi*-'f to being harassed on the one hand by the hostility of the Greek 
Rome. Emperor, and by the violent incursions of the Saracens on the 
other, imagined that they should improve their title to their 
conquests, and increase their security, if they held them as a 
fief from the See of Rome. Tlie pontiff readily availed him- 
self of a concession, which implied the acknowledgment of 
one of the broadest principles of papal ambition. And thus he 
consented to receive the homage of the Normans, and solemnly 
to create Robert Guiscard Duke of Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily, 
on condition that he should observe, as a faithful vassal, inviolable 
allegiance, and pay an annual* tribute, in proof of his subjec- 
tion to the apostolic see. The permanence of this feudal grant 
increases its claims on our attention ; and the kingdom of the 
two Sicilies, even as it now subsists, stands on that foundation. 
The nature of this transaction is so closely allied to that of 
others, which we are now approaching, that there is no diflUculty 
in tracincr it to the hand of Ilildebrand. 
Alexander On the death of Nicholas in 1061, the dissensions which 
had disturbed his election were to some extent renewed. The 
more powerful party, under the guidance of Ilildebrand, 
placed Alexander II. in the chair: the nobles resisted, and 
their opposition was encouraged by the direct support of the 
emperor; whose confirmation had not been required by the 
new pope, and who was jvistly exasperated at the neglect. 
Nevertheless, the genius of Hildebrand triumphed over all 
difficulties; and after a contest of three years Alexander was 
firmly established in the chair, though it was still feebly dis- 
puted with him. He occupied it for twelve years, and passed 
the greater portion of that time in the retirement of Lucca or 

* " Accopta piivis ab iis, cum Sacramento, Komanae ecclesice fideliiate ; cen- 
siKjue quotaiuiis [ler juga bmim singula dcnariis diiodeciin." — Leo Osticnsis, lib, 
iii. fai>. 1 J. 'Ihe wovda of the oath are cited by liaronius. 


Monte Cassino — but the see lost nothing by his secession, 
since he intrusted its variovis interests and the entire direction 
of pubhc affairs to the diligent zeal of Hildcbrand, who nad 
been raised by Nicholas to the dignity of Archdeacon of Rome, 
and who exerted there an unbounded and undisguised autho- 

Accordingly we find, during this pontificate, (1.) that various 
attempts were made to reform the morals of the clergy and the 
abuses of the Church : (2.) that the famous question concernino- 
Investilures was first moved: (3.) that, by a constitution of 
Alexander, no bishop in the Catholic Church was permitted to 
exercise his functions, until he had received the confirmation 
of tlie holy see| : (4.) that the emperor himself was summoned 
to Rome, to answer to the charge of simony, and other com- 
plaints which had reached the see respecting him|. Under 
these various heads we perceive the operation of the same 
master-spirit aiming steadily at the reform of the Church, at 
its independence, at the extension of papal authority over the 
episcopal order, and over the conduct and sceptre of princes. 

Alexander II. died in 1073: for four-and-twenty years Hil- 
dcbrand had exercised in the Vatican an unremitting influence 
Avhich had latterly grown into despotic authority — and thus far, 
contented with the reality of pontifical power, he had not cared 
to invest himself with the name and rank. Perhaps he had 
thought the moment not yet arrived, in which he could occupy 
the office with dignity, or fill it with great advantage ; probably 
he was desirous to complete, under other names, the train which 
he had been long preparing, and to which he designed 1o 

* The following contemporary verses perhaps do not much exaggerate the 
actual supremacy of Hildcbrand : — 

"Papain rite colo, sed te prostratus adoro ; 
Tu facis hunc dominum — te facit ille Doum. 
Vivere vis Romsc ? clara, depromito voce, 
Plus Domino Papae, quam Domno pareo Papas." 

Petr. Dauiiani. 
f St. Marc, p. 4G0. Hallam (Jliddle Ages, c.vii.) considers this provision fo 
have contributed more than any other papal privilege to tVie maintenance "f the 
temporal influence, as well as the ecclesiastical supremacy of Rome. 

I See Semler, cent. xi. c. 1, and Pagi, Vit. Alexand. II. sect. 43. This part of 
Blosheim's history is e.xceedingly hurried and imperfect. 



apply the torch in his own person ; it is even possible, that his 
severe and imperious character, by alienating popular* favour, 
rendered his election uncertain. It was not, assuredly, that he 
valued the security of a humbler post ; for, among the numerous 
vices with which he has been charged, the baseness of selfish 
timidity has never been accounted as one. At length, on the 
Election of very day of Alexander's death, Hildebrand was elected his 
Vllf successor by the unanimous suffrage of the cardinals, and the 

imiversal acclamation of the clergy and people ; and that he 
might mark, at least, the beginning of his pontificate by an 
act of moderation, he waited for the emperor's consent before 
his consecration. But it is true that he i-ather claimed than 
requested that consent, and that it was granted with the grace- 
less reluctance of impotent jealousy. He assumed the title of 
Gregory VII. ; and, after twelve years of restless exertion, 
he left that name invested with a portentous celebrity, which 
attaches to no other in the annals of the Church. 

Section II. — The Pontificate of Gregory. 

Gregory's First Council — its two objects — to prevent (1.) Marriage or Concubi- 
nage of the Clergy — (2.) Simoniacal Sale of Benefices — On the Celibacy of 
the Clergy — why encouraged by Popes — Leo IX. — Severity and Consequence 
of Gregory's Edict — Original ]\Iethod of appointment to Benefices — Usurpa- 
tions of Princes — how abused — the Question of Investiture — Explained — Pre- 
text for Royal Encroachments — Original form of Consecration by the King 
and Crown — Right usurped by Otho — State of the Question at the Accession 
of Gregory — Conduct of Henry — further measures of the Pope — Indifference of 
Henry — Summoned before a Council at Rome — Council of Worms — Excommu- 
nication of the Emperor and Absolution of his Subjects from their Allegiance — 
Consequence of this Edict — Dissensions in Germany — how suspended — Henry 
does Penance at Canossa — restored to the Communion of the Church — again 
takes the field — Rodolphus declared Emperor — Gregory's Neutrality — Remarks 
on the course of Gregory's Measures — Universality of his temporal Claims — 

* This is Sismondi's opinion, chap, iii.; and we can readilj' believe that the 
stern virtues of Gregory were not likely to recommend him to a venal populace. 
Yet, when at length he did propose himself, we hear nothing of any opposition 
from that quarter, while the acclamations which attended his election are univer- 
sally recorded. But, after all, that severity of manner, which is known to be 
connected with an austere sanctity of life, is not an unpopular feature in the 
sacerdotal character. 


his piohable project — Considerations in excuse of his Schemes — partial admis- 
sion of his Claims — Ground on which he founded them — power to bind and to 
louse — Means by which he supported them — Excommunication — Interdict. — 
Legates a Latere — Alliance with Matilda — his Norman allies — German Rebels 
— internal Administration — Effect of his rigorous Measures of Reform — his 
grand scheme of Supremacy within the Church — False Decretals — Power con- 
ferred by them on the Pope — brought into action by Gregory — Appeals to the 
Pope — Generally encouraged and practised — their pernicious Efltects — Gre- 
gory's double Scheme of Universal Dominion — Return to Narrative — Clement 
IIL anti-Pope — Death of Rodolphus — Henry twice repulsed from bfforo 
Rome — finally succeeds — his Coronation by Clement — the Normans restore 
Gregory — he follows them to Salerno and there dies — his historical importance 
— his Character — Public — his grand principle in the Administration of the 
Church — Private — as to Morality — as to Religion. 

In the year following his advancement, Gregory assembled a 
numerous council at Rome, chiefly for the purpose of correct- 
ing two abuses in Church discipline and government, which 
appeared most to require reform. These were (1.") the marriage 
or concubinage of the clergy; (2.) the simoniacal sale of 

(1.) Most of the early fathers were diligent in their endea- Celibacy of 
vours to establish the connexion between celibacy and sanctity, ^^ ^'^rgy. 
and to persuade men that those who were wedded to tlie Church 
were contaminated by an earthly imion. This notion was 
readily embraced by the laity ; and many of the clergy acted 
upon it without reluctance, owing to the greater commendation 
of austerity which the practice was found to confer upon them : 
still, in the eastern Church, where it originated, it was never 
very rigidly enforced ; and a council of Constantinople, (called 
the Council in Trullo,) held in G92, permitted, with certain Council in 
limitations, the ordination of married men. These canons w^ere ™'''*>^^-' 

A* D« 

never formally received in the West, where celibacy and strict 
continence were unrelentingly enjoined on all orders of the 
priesthood. With whatsoever laxity the latter injunction may 
have been observed, there are not many complaints of the open 
violation of the former, at least from the end of the sixth, luitil 
the conclusion of the ninth and the progress of the tenth cen- 
tury ; but during this period the irregularity spread widely, 
and even displayed itself with undisguised confidence through- 
out every Ijranch of the Roman hierarchy. The popes vvere 

F 2 


naturally averse to this relaxation of discipline — partly from 
the continued prevalence of the original notion, that those were 
better qualified for spiritual meditations and offices, who were 
severed from secular interests and aflections ; partly from the 
scandal thus occasioned to the prejudices of the laity ; partly 
from respect to established ordinances and usages ; partly from 
attachment to a principle, which, by withdrawing the clergy 
from worldly connexions, bound them more closely to each 
other and to their head. At any rate the evil had now grown 
to so great a height, that it was become quite necessary either 
to repeal the laws so openly violated, or to enforce them. They 
chose the latter office, and the first who distinguished himself 
in the difficult enterprise was Leo IX. His inunediatc suc- 
cessors trod in his steps ; but as sufficient measiu'cs were not 
taken (perhaps could not be taken) to carry those edicts into 
effect, they seem generally to have fallen to the ground with- 
out advantage, except in so far as they prepared the way for the 
more visorous exertions of Gregorv. 
Council In the above-mentioned council it was ordained — " that 

held at ^j^^ sacerdotal orders should abstain from marriage ; and that 
1074 a. D. such clerks as had already wives or concubines should im- 
mediately dismiss them, or quit the priestly office." The 
more difficult part remained to enforce this decree ; and herein 
Gregory did not confine himself to the legitimate weapon of 
spiritual censure, but also exerted his powerful iniluence to arm 
the temporal authorities in his service. Numerous disorders 
were the consequence of this measure; at Milan* and in 
Germany the edict was openly resisted, and many ecclesiastics 
were found in every country, who preferred the sacrifice of 
their dignities and interests to the abandonment of those con- 
nexions which they held dearer than cither f. The confusion 

* At Milan a violent dispute on this subject had arisen between the ClerL,'y 
and the Laity, under Stejihen IX., in the year 1057. (Pagi, Vit. Slepli. IX.) 
The schism continued under Nicholas II., who sent leji^afes to compose it; hut it 
still remained during the pontificate of Alexander. The popes toolc part with the 
Laity against the married C^lergy, who were named Nicolaites. 

f "Malle se sacerdutium quam conjugium deserere." Lambert. Schaffn. ia 
Cbronico. Gregory is much censured by Rlosheim and others for not having 
distinguished, in bis sweeping decree, between the wives and the cuncuiiiues of 


thus created was indeed gradually tranquillized by the progress 
of time, by the perseverance of the pontiff, by the aid, perhaps, 
of the laity, by the indifference of the sovereigns — but entire 
obedience was not so easily restored; and though, through 
severe restraint, the rebellion was at length repressed, it con- 
tinued in some degree to distvu'l) the Church during the follow- 
ing century, and to call down the denunciations of her popes 
and her councils. 

(2.) Another Edict of the same Council forbade in the Edict 
severest terms the sale of ecclesiastical benefices ; and the fol- ^^^y^ 
lowing circumstance made that Edict necessary. The bishop 
was originally elected by the clergy and people of the diocese ; 
but in process of time, the people, as we have already seen, were 
in most places exclvided, and the election rested with the clergy 
alone. Presently, in the anarchy which prevailed after the dis- 
solution of the Western Empire, the wealth which flowed into 
the coffers of the Church, as it brought with it no proportionate 
security, not only tempted the rapacity of the nobles, but in- 
vited the usurpation of the sovereigns. Thus, at an early period, 
long antecedent to the reign of Charlemagne, the Western 
Princes commenced their interference in episcopal elections — 
first, as it would seem, by simple recommendation ; then by the 
interposition of threats and the show of authority ; lastly, by 
positive appointment. The partial restoration of the right, 
which took place in the ninth century, under Louis the Meek 
and his successor, was probably confined to the Church of 
France and to the life of Hincmar. 

the Clergy ; and with justice, since he visited the violation of canonical law with 
the same severity, with which he protected the eternal precepts of Christian 
morality. It must be admitted, however, that as his object was the entire and 
immediate extirpation of what he considered a scandalous abuse, he took the only 
means at all likely to accomplish it. It was in vain that the Milanese Clerj^y 
pleaded the authority of St. Ambrose and the example of the Greeks — it was well 
known that the former protected not those who admitted papal supremacy; and 
that the Council, which permitted the latter, was never acknowledged by the 
Roman Church. It seems indeed probable that St. Gregory was the first Fope 
who rigidly enforced the practice of celibacy ; but for two centuries after his time 
it was both the law and, to a great extent, the practice of the Church, and in the 
two ages which succeeded, though it had ctased to be the practice, it still con- 
tinued the law.— See Bayle, Vie Greg. I. Fleury, Discours sur Til. E.|di-puis 
tOOjuscin'a 1100. 


Their next step was to abuse the privilege which they had 
usurped, and the manner of abuse was ahke indecent and scan- 
dalous : the spoils of their injustice were retailed to their ava- 
rice ; and the most important charges and offices of the minis- 
try were commonly and publicly sold to the h.ighest bidder, 
without regard to literary qualification, or sanctity of charac- 
ter, or the most obvious interests of religion. This was, in fact, 
the avowed corruption which Gregory sought to remedy; and 
the specious object to which his exertions and those of his suc- 
cessors, through so many conflicts, tended, was to deprive the 
prince of his usurped authority in episcopal election. A 
secondary design was closely attached to this, but not yet so 
boldly professed — to transfer that authority, if not in form, at 
least in substance, to the see of Rome, by conceding to it the 
right of confirmation. 
Origin of Thus much appears exceedingly simple ; but the point on 
about In-*^ which the dispute did in reality turn, and which has given the 
vestitures. name to the contest, was one, as it might seem, of mere forma- 
lity—the Investiture of the bishop or abbot. We must now 
shortly explain this part of the question ; and we shall thus 
become acquainted with the circumstances which are urged in 
justification of the royal claims. When the early conquerors 
of the West conferred territorial grants iqion the Church, the 
individuals who came to the enjoyment of them were obliged to 
present themselves at court, to swear allegiance to the king, and 
to receive from his hands some symbol, in proof that the tempo- 
ralities were placed in their possession. The same ceremony, 
in fact, was imposed on the ecclesiastical as on the lay pro- 
prietor of royal fiefs ; and it was called Investiture. After- 
wards, when the princes had usurped the presentation to all 
vahiable benefices, even to those which had not been derived 
from royal bounty, they introduced no distinction founded on 
the different sources of the revenue, but continued to subject 
those, whom they nominated, to the same oath of allegiance, 
and the same ceremony of investiture, with the laity. 

In the mean time, it had been an early custom, on the con- 
secration of a bishop, that the metropolitan, who by right per- 
formed the ceremony, should place in the hands of the prelate 


elect a ring and a crosier — symbols of his spiritual connexion 
with the Church, and of his pastoral duties. This was a form 
of investiture purely ecclesiastical, and the princes, even after 
they had usurped the presentation to benefices, did not at first 
venture to make use of it ; and it is said that they were finally 
led to do so by some artful attempts on the part of the clergy 
to recover their original right of election. Mosheim (in oppo- 
sition to many less celebrated writers) is of opinion that Otho 
the Great was the first prince who ventured to present with pro- 
fane hand the emblems of spiritual authority ; at least it is 
quite certain, that this custom had been in very general use 
for some time before the accession of Gregory. And thus the 
temporal power had gradually succeeded in a double usurpation 
on ecclesiastical privileges — first, in despoiling the lower clergy 
of their right of election — next, in encroaching upon the pro- 
vince of the metropolitans, and presuming to dispense in their 
place the symbols of a spiritual ofiice. 

As a partial palliation of the conduct of the throne, it is 
maintained, that the homage required from the bishop or 
abbot at investiture was for his temporalities only ; and in so 
far as these were the feudal grants of former princes, the claim 
was manifestly just, but no farther than this. The crown could 
not fairly assert any suzerainty over the vast domains and 
enormous extent of property, which had accrued to the Church 
from other quarters, before the establishment of the feudal 
system, and which, therefore, were not held on any feudal 
tenure ; nor can any sufficient plea be found for its general 
assumption of the disposal of benefices (to say nothing of the 
flagitious manner in which they were retailed), and its adoption 
of a form of investitute which was purely ecclesiastical. 

Such, as nearly as we can collect, was the state of this ques- 
tion, w^hen Gregory published his edict against Simony in the 
year 1074. The results of the council were communicated to 
the Emperor^'' Henry IV., who received the Legates courteously, 
and bestowed some unmeaning praise on the zeal of the pope 

* According to the Church writers, King only. He had not yet gone through 
tl:e ceremony of (.oronatiou at Ro;->e. 


for the reform of Ills Church. But Gregory was not to he 
satisfied with expressions ; and, as he intended to give general 
effect to his decrees, he desired permission to summon councils 
in Germany, hy which those accused of simony might he con- 
victed and deposed. Henry refused that permission^ partly 
from the consciousness of his own criminality, partly because 
he was not really anxious for any reform which would curtail 
his own patronage. This opposition obliged the pope to proceed 
one step farther. After pressing the execution of his former 
ordinances in a variety of letters, addressed, with various effect 
or entire inefficacy, to different princes and bishops, he con- 
voked, early in the year following, a second council at Rome 
and, with its assistance, he proceeded to those measures which 
he had proposed to accomplish by synods in Germany, and, 
probably, somewhat beyond them. On this occasion he not 
only deposed the Archbishop of Bremen and the Bishops of 
Strasbourg, Spires, and Bamberg, besides some Lombard 
Bishops, but also excommunicated five of the Imperial Court, 
whose ministry the prince had used in simoniacal transactions. 
At the same time he pronounced his formal anathema against 
any one who should receive the investiture of a bishopric or 
abbey from the hands of a layman, and also against all by 
whom such investiture should be performed*. Henry paid no 
other attention to this edict, than to repeat his former general 
acknowledgment of the existence of simony, and his intention, 
in future, to discourage it. 
Henry sum- Some particular differences, respecting the appointment to 

monedto ^j^^ ^^^ ^^ Milan and other matters, tended at this moment to 

exasperate the growing hostility of Gregory and Henry : it 

happened, too, that the latter was disturbed and weakened 

* The words of the edict are : " Si qiiis deinceps Episcopatum vel x\bbatiam 
demanu aliciijus hiica; persona? susceperit, nullatunus inter Episcopos vel Abba- 
tes habeatur, nee iiHa ci ut Episcopo vel Abbati audientia concedatur. Insuper 
etiam gratiam B. Petri et introitum Eccli'sise interdicinuis, quoad usque locum, 
quern sub crimine tam ambitionis quam inubcdientisc, quod est scelus idololatris, 
cepit, deseruerit. " Similiter etiam de inferioribus Ecclesiasticis dignitatibus con- 
stitiiimus. Item si quis Imperatorum, Ducum, I\Iarchiunum, Comitum, vel 
qiiilibet sccularium potestatum aut personarum investituram ]<>piscopa(us, vel 
alicujusEccleb^iasticEG dignitatis dare praesumpserit, ejusdem sententiae vinculo se 
adstiictum sdat.'' Hugo Flaviniacensis, ap. Pag. Vit. Greg. VII., s. 26. 


by civil dissensions, occasioned, in some degree, by his own dis- 
solute and profligate rule, which, by distracting his forces, in- 
vited the aggression of his foreign enemies. It is even asserted 
(by Dupin) that the malcontents sent deputies to Rome to soli- 
cit the interference of the pope. Such an application is ren- 
dered probable by the fact which we now proceed to mention, 
and which is a certain and a memorable monument of ]5apal 
extravagance. Gregory sent legates into Germany, bearing 
positive orders to the Emperor to present himself forthwith at 
Rome ; since it became him to clear himself, before the Pope 
and his Council, from various charges which his subjects had 
alleged against him. These charges might possibly be con- 
fined to ecclesiastical offences, of which the Emperor had noto- 
riously been guilty ; but never, before the days of Hildebrand, 
had it been expressly asserted, that he was amenable for such 
oflences to any ecclesiastical tribunal. 

He treated the summons as a wanton insult, and wantonly 
retorted it. He collected at Worms* a council of about twenty 
German Bishops (some of whom were already personally 
embroiled with (Gregory); and these prelates, after passing 
many censures on the conduct, election, and constitutions of 
Hildebrand, pronounced him unworthy of his dignity, and 
accordingly deposed him. Gregory was not further disturbed 
by such empty denunciations, than to take measures to return 
them much more effectually. In a full assembly of one hundred 
and ten bishops, he suspended from their oftices the ecclesias- 
tics who had declared against him ; he then pronounced the Exeommu- 
excommunication of the emperor ; and accompanied his ana- "||,J,[|!, 
thema by the unqualified sentence, " that he had forfeited the posed, 
kingdoms of Germany and Italy, and that his subjects were 
absolved from their oath of fealtyf.' 

* " Qiiffi legatio Rcgem vehementer permovit ; statimque abjectis cum gravi 
conturaelia Lej^atis, omnes qui in regno suo essont Kpiscopos et Abbatcs Wornic- 
tijD Dominica Septuagesimse convenire prajcepit, tractare cum eis volens ad de- 
poncndum Romanum Pontificem, si qua sibi via, si qua ratio patcret : in hoc car- 
dine tolcim verti ratits salutcm suain et regni stabilitatem, si is mm esset Epiico- 
pits.'' Lambert. Scbaffo. ad an. 107G. 

+ Tbe words in wbicb tbis celebrated sentence was conveyed should be re- 
corded :— " Petre ApobtolorumPrinceps, etc. etc. Hac fiducia Iretus pro EcclesioB 


This assertion of control over the allegiance of subjects was 
hitherto without precedent in the history of the papal Church ; 
and it was now, for the first time, advanced to the prejudice of 
a monarch, whose character, though stained iDOth by vices and 
weaknesses, was not wholly depraved, nor universally odious. 
Nevertheless, the edict of Gregory was diligently promulgated 
throughout Germany; nor was it idly cast into a kingdom 
already divided, and among a people already discontented and 
accustomed to rebellion. The dukes of Swabia, headed by 
Rodolphus, presently rose in arms ; they were supported by a 
fresh revolt of the Saxons; and there were those even among 
Henry's best friends, whose fidelity was somewhat paralyzed 
by the anathema under which he had fallen. After a short 
but angry struggle, an arrangement was made greatly to his 
disadvantage — that the claims and wrongs of both parties should 
be subjected to the decision of the pope, who was invited to 
preside at a council at Augsbourg for that purpose; and that, 
in the mean time, Henry should be suspended from the royal 
dignity. It is not easy to decide how much of this success 
should be attributed to the previous animosity of the parties 
opposed to Henry, how much to a blind respect for the edict 
and authority of the pope ; but the treaty, to which all con- 
sented, certainly implied an acknowledgment of the power which 
Gregory had assumed, and gave a sort of foundation and coun- 
tenance to his future measures, 
Henry Henry, who had little to hope from a public sentence, to be 

iianceTt delivered in the midst of his rebellious subjects by his professed 

tuae honore et defeusloue, ex parte Omnipott'ntis Dei, Patris et Filii et Spiritus 
Sancti, per tuani potestatem et auctoritatem IlL-nrico Regi, filio Hunrici Inipcra- 
toris, qui contra Ecc'ciiain tarn inaudita superbia insurrexit, totius regniTeutonico- 
rum et Italiae gubernacula contradico, et omnes Cliristianos n vinculo juramenti 
quod sibi fecere vel facient, absolvo ; et ut niiUus ei sicut Regi serviat, interdico. 
Dignum est enim, ut, qui studet honorem Ecclesisc tuse imminuere, ipse 
honorem amittat quem vidutur habere. Et qviia Christianas contumpsit obe- 
dire nee ad Dominum rediit, quem dimisit participondo excommunicatis et niultas 
iniquitates faciendo, mroque monila^ quce pro salute sua sibimisi, te teste spernendo, 
seque ab Ecclosia sua, tentans cam scinJere sf parando, vincuh) e\inn anatbematis 
vice lua alligo, ut sciant (-ientcs et comprobent (juia Tu es Pt-trus, et super tiiam 
Petram Fibus Dei vivl fciiificavit Ecchsiani suam, et porlse Int'eri nun pi a;vale- 
bunt advtrsiis eani.'' Paul.Dernried. cap. 75; Pagi, \'it. Greg. VII., s. -1'2, 


enemy, determined to anticipate, or, if possible, to prevent liis 
discrrciee by an act of private submission to pontifical authority. 
For that purpose he crossed the Alps with few attendants, 
during the severity of an inclement winter, and proceeded to 
Canossa, a fortress in the neighbourhood of Parma, in which 
Gregory was then residing. In penitential garments, with his 
feet and head bare and unsheltered from the season, the em- 
peror presented himself at the gate of the fortress, as a sinner 
and a suppliant. His humble request was to be admitted to the 
presence of the pontiff and to receive his absolution. For three 
dreary days, from dawn till sunset, the proudest sovereign in 
Europe was condemned to continue his fast and his penance 
before the walls, and probably under the eyes of Gregory, in 
solitary* and helpless humiliation. At length, on the fourth 
day, he was permitted to approach the person of the pontilY, 
and was absolved from the sentence of excommunication. Yet 
even this favour was not vo\ichsafed him unconditionally | : he 
was still suspended from the title and offices of royalty, and 
enjoined to appear at the congress of Augsbourg and abide by 
the decision which should then be passed upon him. 

* Henry is represented to have traversed the Alps at extreme risk liy unfre- 
quented roads, as the ordinary passes were guarded by his enemies ; and Lam- 
burtus of AschafFenbourg, a contemporary historian, describes tlio castle of Canossa 
as surrounded by a triple wall, within the second of which the emperor was ad- 
mitted to his penance, while the whole of his suite remained without the exterior. 
See Sismondi, Hist. Rep. Ital., c. iii. Taulus Bernriedensis speaks of the i7t.tulila 
jmpa; dm ilia shown on this occasion. 

f The oath which he took is ^iven at length hy Pauhis Bernriedensis, Vit. 
Gre;^. VII. Sismondi desif^nates the conduct of Gregory as "une trahison in- 
signe," but not justly so ; since it cannot be shown that the pope had bound him- 
self by any engagement to the emperor which he did not strictly fulril ; the latter 
did penance for his contumacy towards the Church, and the pope, in consequence, 
restored him to the communion of the Church. The council or diet to be held at 
Augsbourg was a measure previously arranged, to which many other eminent 
persons were parties ; and it was intended for the settlement of political, at least 
as much as of ecclesiastical ditFerences ; — whereas the penance at Canossa was 
merely a particular atonement to the see of Rome, not at all connected with the 
general maladministration of Henry. In fact, Gregory's own words are conclusive 
on the question. — " Henricus, confusus et humiliatus ad me venieus.absolufionem 
ab excon\municatione quaesivit. Quern ego videns lumiiliatum, muliis ah eo pro- 
missionibus acceptis de vitrcsusB emendatiuue, so/am ei cmimni/ioiie/n reddidi; non 
fameii in rejno instnurtivi, nee fidelitatim hominmn qui sibi juraveraiit vel erant 
juratuii ut sibi servetur praccepi." &c. Sie Mabid., Vit. Greg. VII., c. 107. 
Pagi, Vit. Greg. VII., s. -11. Deuiua, Delk' Rlvo!. a' It.ili.i, lil). x , c. vi. 


Tlie pope's Henry soon discovered that he had gained nothing by Uiis 
conduct?" degradation, except contempt ; and after descending to the 
lowest hviniihation which ever prince had voluntarily undergone, 
he found himself precisely in his former situation, with the 
council of Augsbourg still hanging over his head. Of an use- 
less submission he repented vehemently; he abandoned himself 
to his feelings of shame and indignation, resumed his title and 
his functions, and prepared once more to confront his adversaries. 
The Saxons and Swabians immediately declared Rodolphus 
emperor of Germany (in 1077) ; Henry was supported by the 
Lombards in Italy ; and a sanguinary war was carried on in 
both countries with various success and general devastation. 
For three years Gregory preserved the show, perhaps the sub- 
stance, of neutrality ; he received the deputies of both parties 
with equal courtesy, and seemed to wish to profit so far only 
by their dissensions, as to engage them to aid him in the 
execution of his original edicts. But in the year 1080, decided, 
as some say, by the misfortunes, as others assert, by the crimes* 
of Henry, he pronounced a second sentence of deposition, and 
conferred upon Rodolphus the crown of Germany f. 
Extent of Thus far we have traced, without much comment, the rapid 
Gie^'ory's |j^^ regular progress of Gregorv. The first measure, as we have 

temporal ? , . ^ , *= . ,„ . , . ,. , 

claims. seen, m his temporal usurpation (for in his earliest decrees 
against Church abuses he did not exceed the just limits of his 
authority), was to declare the emperor amenable to a papal 
court of judicature, and to summon him before it ; the next 
was to deprive him of his throne and to absolve his subjects 
from their oath of allegiance ; the last was to dispose of the 
empire, with absolute authority, as a fief of St. Peter. Without 

* Sisraondi, whose partialities are against Gregory and the Church, says re- 
specting Henry, that "his character was generous and noble; hut he abandoned 
himself with too little restraint to the passions of his age ; " and those passions 
undoubtedly led him to the commission of great political offences. Private ex- 
cesses may sometimes find their excuse in youth ; but the vices of kings deserve 
^ess indulgence, since they usually influence the morals and happiness of their 
subjects. A less favourable, but probably a more correct view of the character of 
Henry is taken l)y Denina. Delle Rivoluz. d' Italia, lib. x.. c. v. 

f The act and the authority for it were expressed in an hexameter verse, in- 
scribed un the ciown which (iregory sent to llodolph — 

Tetra dedit I'etro, Petrus diadenui llodulpho. 


rurther examination wc might at once have concluded, that 
claims so extravagant and irrational were merely the passionate 
ehullitions of a feeble spirit, irritated by personal piqne or 
effeminate vanity. But this was not so ; the claims in question 
were advanced by the most vigorous and consistent character 
of his age, and they were pressed with a deliberate and earnest 
zeal wliich proved his conviction of their justice. They were 
not confined to the dominions of Henry ; they displayed them- 
selves in every state and province of Europe. The kingdom of 
France was declared tributary to the see of Rome, and papal 
legates were commissioned to demand the annual payment of 
the tribute, by virtue of the true obedience-^ due to that see by 
every Frenchman. And the king himself (Philip I.) was re- 
minded "that both his kingdom and his soul were under the 
dominion of St. Peter, who had the power to bind and to loose 
both in heaven and on earth." Saxony was pronounced to be 
held on feudal tenure from the apostolic chair and in subjection 
to it. It was pretended that the kingdom of Spain had been 
the pi'operty of the Holy See from the earliest ages of Chris- 
tianity. William the Norman, after the conquest of Entjland, 
was astonished to learn that he held that country as a fief of 
Rome and tributary to it. The entire feudal submission of the 
kingdom of Naples has been already mentioned. Nothing was 
so lofty as to daunt the ambition of Gregory, or so low as to 
escape it. The numerous dukes or princes of Germany, those 
of Hungary, of Deimiark, of Russia, of Poland, of Croatia and 
Dalmatia, were either solicited to subject their states to the 
suzerainty of St. Peter, or reminded of their actual subjection. 
And the grand object of Gregory is probably not exaggerated 
by those who believe that he designed to re-establish the 
Western f empire on the basis of opinion, and to bind by one 
spiritual chain to the chair of St. Peter the political govern- 

* " 1\t voram obudientiam.'' 

t Tluis, in fffl'ct, tlie Western empire of whicli the foundations were really 
Liiil at the coronation of Charlemagne, was not tlie temporal donuiuon at whicli 
the iiriitce aspired, and which so soon passed away from his sceptre, bnt that spi- 
ritual despotism, alfected by the priest, and which was nmch more extensive, as it 
was much more durable. 


ments and ever-conflicting interests of the universal kingdom 
of Christ *. 

Are we astonished at the magnificence, or do we laugh at 
the wildness of this project ? Let us first inquire by wdiat means 
the mighty architect proposed to combine and consolidate his 
structure. Gregory seriously designed to regulate his truly 
Catholic empire by a council of bishops, who were to be assem- 
bled at Rome annually, with full power to decide the differ- 
ences of princes both with each other and with their subjects; 
to examine the rights and pretensions of all parties, and to 
arbitrate in all the perplexed concerns of international policy. 
If we can, indeed, imagine that he was animated by that gene- 
ral spirit of philanthropy, which is ever foimd to burn most 
brightly in the noblest minds ; if he really dared to hope that 
his project would reconcile the quarrels of the licentious princes 
of his day, or remedy the vices of their governments, or alle- 
viate the misery of the people, who were suffering equally from 
both those causes — w^e may smile at the vanity of the vision, 
but we are boimd to respect the motive which created it. Nor 
is it only the political degradation of Europe that w'e are called 
upon to consider, before we may pronounce sentence upon that 
Pontiff: we must also make great allowance for the principles 
of ecclesiastical supremacy, which had already taken root be- 
fore his time, which had been partially acted upon, and which, 
to a certain extent, were acknowledged ; for the necessary con- 
fusion of temporal with spiritual authority, which the feudal 

'■' Amid tliis multiplicity of objects, which divided without distracting the mind 
of Gregory, he did not allow liimself to forget either the schism or calamities of 
the East ; he even projected to remedy both by personally conducting an army 
against the Mahometans. This is mentioned in a letter (Lib. ii., 31) to Henry, 
written in 1074, in which, after some notice of his project, he asserts that 
forty thousand men were prepared to engage v/ith him, and adds — " Illud 
enim me ad hoc opus permaxime instigat, quod Coustantinopolitana ecclesia de 
Spiritu Sancto a nobis dissidens concordiam Apostolicae Sedis expetit," &c. Pagi, 
Vit. Greg. VII., f. xx. We may observe that, among the numerous points of 
difference which had in latter times grown up between the two Churches, and had 
been exaggerated with such intemperate zeal by both, the eye of Gregory notices 
one only. Gregory addressed besides some hortative letiers '• Ad universos 
fidelis, 'on the same subject. 


system had still worse confounded, so that their limits were in- 
discernible, inviting both parties to mutual aggression ; and for 
the usurpations which the crown had already made on the pri- 
vileges of the Church, and the evil purposes to which it had 
turned them. These circumstances, when duly and impartially 
weighed, will lessen the astonishment, which the bare recital 
of Gregory's proceedings is calculated to awaken, and moderate 
the indignant censure with which the example of other writers 
might dispose us to visit them. 

We are not, however, to imagine, that the Pope's cxtraor- 
dinaiy claims were universally admitted. The King of France 
refused the tribute demanded of him ; the conqueror of Eng- 
land consented to the tribute (called Peter's pence), but dis- 
claimed the allegiance. Various success attended his attempts 
on the other states, according to the variety of their strength 
or weakness, or the circumstances of their actual politics. But 
at the same time, the mere fact, that such claims were con- 
fidently asserted and repeated obstinately, that in many instances 
they were practically assented to, and very rarely rejielled with 
vigour and intrepidity, persuaded ignorant people (and almost 
all were ignorant) that there was indeed some real foundation 
for them, and that the Holy See was, in truth, invested with 
some vague prescriptive right of universal control, and sur- 
rounded by mysterious, but inviolable sanctity. 

We must add a few words, both respecting the grounds on 
which Gregory founded those claims, and the means which he 
employed to enforce them. As to the former, it does not appear 
that he openly availed himself of the grand forgery of his pre- 
decessors, or at least that he justified any of his pretensions by 
direct appeal to the " donation of Constantine ;" unless, indeed, 
it were assvuned that the universal rights of St. Peter over the 
Western Empire originated in that donation. Respecting 
Spain, for instance, he particularly admitted that, though that 
country was among the earliest of the pontifical possessions, the 
grant which made it so had perished among other ancient 
records*. In treating with those provinces which had formed 

* Lib. X., eplst. 28, 


no part of the Western Empire, he seems to have assailed 
them severally, as the circumstances of their history happened 
to favour his demands. Saxony, for example^ he asserts to 
have been bestowed upon the Roman See by the piety of Charle- 
mao-ne. Some among the smaller states were merely exhorted 
to make a cession of their territories to St. Peter ; by which it 
was admitted that the apostle had yet obtained no rights over 
them. Some of them made such cession, and thus encouraged 
the arrogance of Gregory and the aggressions of future pontiffs. 
Power lo The power possessed by the successors of St. Peter " to bind 
JU"^']^''"'^ *° and to loose" was not confined by them to spiritual affairs, 
however wide the extremities to which they pushed it in these 
matters. It was extended also to temporal transactions, and 
so far extended as to be made the plea of justification with a 
Pope, whenever he presumed to loose the sacred bonds of alle- 
giance, which connect the subject with the sovereign. It would 
be difficult, perhaps, to produce a more certain index of the 
character of religious knowledge, and the degradation of the 
reasoning faculty, which prevailed in those days, than by exlii- 
bitino- that much-perverted text as the single basis, on which so 
monstrous a pretension rested and was upheld. 
Various The appalling influence of anathema and excommunication * 

sources of ^^gj. ^^ ij^nd and supcrstitious people had long been known and 
his power. ^ ^. ^ ., 

frequently put to trial by precedmg popes ; and the still more 

formidable weapon of Interdict began to be valued and adopted 

about the time of Gregory. Extraordinary legatesf, whose 

office suspended the resident vicars of the pontiff, had been 

sparingly commissioned before the end of the tenth century ; 

they now became much more common, and fearlessly exercised 

their unbounded authority in holding councils, in promulgating 

canons, in deposing bishops, and issuing at discretion the 

* The frequent use and abuse of excommunication by all orders of the priest- 
hood had greatly diminished the terror and efficacy of the sentence even in much 
earlier ages. W'a find the councils of the ninth century continually legislating 
for the purpose of restoring their weight to both ecclesiastical weapons. By the 
Council of Meaux (held in 845) it was especially enacted, that the (/wi/Acwm could 
not be pronounced even by a bisliop, unless by the consent of the archbishop and 
the other bishops of the province. 

■f Called Legates a Uilere — sent from the side of the pope. 


severest censures of the Church. But it was not concealed 
from the wisdom of Gregory, that temporal authority could not 
surely be advanced or permanently supported without temporal 
power. Accordingly he cemented his previous aUiance with 
the Normans of Naples ; and also (which was still more im- 
portant, and proved, perhaps, the most substantial amono- his 
temporal conquests) he prevailed upon Matilda, the dauc^hter 
and heiress of Boniface, Duke of Tuscany, to make over her 
extensive territories to the apostle, and hold them on feudal 
tenure from his successors. By these means the ecclesiastical 
states were fortified, both on the north and south, by powerful 
and obedient allies, while the disaffection of Henry's subjects 
created a great military diversion in the pope's favour in Saxony 
and Swabia. 

Let us return for a moment to the internal administration Objects of 
of the Church. We are disposed to think that the very vigor- nieSti" 
ous measures which Gregory employed for what he considered admiiustra- 
its reform were favourable, upon the whole, to the success of church;^ 
his other projects. We may observe that these were of two de- 
scriptions, one of which tended to restore the discipline of the to restore 
clergy ; the other to reduce the ecclesiastical orders to more '^'^"l'^^'"^' 
direct subjection to the Papal See. It is true that, by the 
former of these, great disaffection was excited amono- such as 
suffered by them ; that is, among those who had been already 
living in open disobedience to the canons of the Church : but 
such, it is probable, were not the most numerous, as certainly 
they were the least respectable, portion of the body. The same 
severity which offended them would naturally gratify and attach 
all those whose religious zeal and austere morality secured 
them greater influence in the Church and deeper veneration 
from the people. So that, notwithstanding the clamours of the 
moment, we doubt not that the pope was substantially a gainer 
by his exertions ; and that (like every judicious reformer) he 
extended his actual power and credit witli only the partial loss 
of a worthless popularity. 

The second object of Gregory in his ecclesiastical govern- and subject 
ment has not yet been mentioned bv us. It seems to have ^l' "'^*'^»^l 

*' •' Churches to 

been no less than to destroy the independence of national Rome. 
VOL. II. o 


Churches ; and to merge all such local distinctions in the body 
and substance of tlie Church universal, whose head was at 
Rome. For the effecting of this mighty scheme he used every 
exertion to loosen the connexion of bishops and abbots with 
their several sovereigns, and to persuade them that their alle- 
criance was due to one master only, the successor of St. Peter. 
And to that end he very readily availed himself of the materials 
which he found prepared for his purpose, and which had been 
transmitted to him undisputed by so many predecessors, that it 
Yjrobably never occurred to him to doubt their legitimacy. The 
The False False Decretals contained the canons which besought; and 
Decretals. Q^.^^^yy \^^^[ tjie boldness at length to bring them forth from 
the comparative obscurity in which they had reposed for above 
two hundred and fifty years, and openly to force them into 

We have mentioned the nature of those decretals : they 
were a series of epistles professing to be written by the 
oldest bishops of Rome, the Anaclctus, Sextus the First and 
Second, Fabian, Victor, Zephyrinus, Marcellus, and others*. 
They recorded the primitive practice in the nomination to the 
highest ecclesiastical offices, and in that and many other mat- 
ters ascribed authority almost unlimited to the holy see. It is 
worth while here to particularize, even at the risk of repetition, 
some of the points on which they most insisted. (1.) That it 
Avas not permitted to hold any council, without the command 
or consent of the pope ; a regulation which destroyed the inde- 
pendence of those local synods, by which the Cluu-ch was for 
many centuries governed. (2.) That bishops could not be de- 
finitively judged, except by the pope, (3.) That the right of 
episcopal translation rested with the pope alone. (4.) That not 

* The first collection of canons made in the west was the work of a Roman 
monk named Dionysiiis, who lived in the sixth century. Tliis was followed by 
many others : but that which gained the greatest celebrity was the one ascribed 
to St, Isidore, Bishop of Seville; audit had great prevalence in Gaid as well as in 
Spain, Guizot remarks that it was in the North and Kust of France that the 
" False Decretals " first made their appearance, in the beginning of the ninth 
century. (Hist, de la Civ. en France, Lcfon 27.) The collection of decrees, 
known by the name of Dictatus Hildebrandini, and falsely ascribed to Gregory 
VII., is generally held to be the next forgery which disgraced the principles 
and swelled the authority of the Roman Church. 


only every bishop, but every priest, and not the clergy only, 
but every individual*, had the right of direct appeal from all 
other judgments to that of the pope. These rights, and such 
as these, had been neglected or vainly asserted by the Roman 
See during the long period of imbecility f which followed their 
forgery ; but the spuriousness of their origin had never been 
exposed or suspected ; and the simplicity of every succeeding 
generation added to their security, their antiquity, and their 

Greeorv at leng'th undertook to give them fvdl efficacv ; 
and thouirh none were ceded or overlooked by him, that 
which he appears most earnestly to have pressed was the 
pope's exclusive jurisdiction over the whole episcopal order : to 
this end he enforced universal appeal to Rome. Orders to Appeals to 
attend before the pontifical court were issued to every quarter ^™*'* 
of Europe; and they generally met with obedient attention, 
not only from those whose principles sincerely acknowledged 
such spiritual supremacy, or who expected from their submis- 
sion a more favourable sentence, but also from the great mass 
of oflfenders, who natiu-ally preferred a distant and ecclesiastical 
tribunal to the close judicial inspection of a temporal magis- 
trate. The good which Gregory proposed from this system 
could be one only, and that a very ambiguous advantage — to 
secure the independence of the Church, or, in fact, to withdraw 
it from the control of all secular power, and subject it to one 
single spiritual despot. The evils which he occasioned were 
numerous and of most serious magnitude — to create and nou- 
rish inextinguishable dissensions between princes and their 
clergy, to retard and perplex the operations of justice, and to 
multiply the chances of a partial or erroneous decision. 

* Fleiiry, 4"^° Disc, sur H. E. sect. v. 

f Pope Nicholas I., who ruled from 858 to Sfi/, is the principal exception to Pope Ni- 
this remark: he is described by contemporary chronicles as the greatest pontiff' cholas I. 
since the days of St. Gregory — kind and lenient in his treatment of the clergy, hut 
bold and imperious in his intercourse with kings. His conduct toHincmarin the 
affair of ]{othadns is at seeming variance with part of this eulogy ; hut though 
Nicholas was triumphant both in that dispute and in the more important differ- 
ence with Lothaire, neither he nor any other pope under the Carlovingian dynasty 
could establish, in France at least, the c\ium Jhst mentioned in the text. The 
emperors continued to convoke all councils and to coLfirni their canons. 



Gregory also obliged the Metropolitans to attend at Rome 
from all countries, in order to receive the pallium at his hands. 
This, together with the appeal system, kept that capital con- 
tinually crowded with foreign pi-elates, with great vexation to 
themselves, with great detriment to their dioceses, and with no 
real profit to the Catholic Church. In the mean time, it is 
certain that mere papal influence gained by this system : for 
all authority, to be always respected, must sometimes be felt ; 
but unfounded and irrational authority most chiefly so. 

In the prosecution of this history, we have sometimes lamented 
the necessity of dismissing some important event or usefid spe- 
culation with less than due consideration, and especially do we 
lament it in tliis instance. But enough may possibly have 
His double been said to give the reader some insight into the double 
univ^sal scheme of universal dominion, to which the vast ambition of 
dominiou. Gregory Avas directed — enough to make it evident how he pro- 
jected, in the first place, to unite under the suzerain authority 
of St. Peter and his successors the entire territory of Christian 
Europe, so as to exert a sort of feudal jurisdiction over its 
princes, and nobles, and civil governors ; and, in the next place, 
to establish throughout the same wide extent of various and 
diversely constituted states one single spiritual monarchy, of 
which Rome should be the centre and sole metropolis,^ — a 
monarchy so pure and undivided, that every individual minister 
of that Church should look up to no other earthly sovereign 
than the pope. Such does indeed appear to ha\'e been the 
stupendous scheme of Gregory VII. We have already seen 
by what measures he proceeded to its execution, and we shall 
now trace his extraordinary career to its conclusion. 
Henry ad- The election of a new emperor by the pope was very reason- 
vances to ^-^^ retorted by the election of a new pope by the emperor ; 
and Clement III. was exalted to the honour of being the I'ival 
of Gregory. But a much more sensible injury Avas inflicted on 
the fortunes of that pontiff" immediately afterwards by the defeat 
and death of Rodolphus. That prince received a mortal wound 
in battle in the year 1080; and with him was extinguished the 
spirit of rebellion, or at least the hope of its success. Henry 
immediately turned his victorious arms against Italy; the op- 


position presented to him by Matilda and the Tuscans he over- 
came or evaded, and advanced witli speed and indignation to 
the gates of Rome. From his dreams of universal empire — 
from the lofty anticipations of princes suppliant and nations 
prostrate in allegiance before the apostolic throne, Gregory was 
rudely awakened by the shouts of a hostile army pressing round 
the imperial city. But he woke to the tasks of constancy and 
coiu'age; and so formidable a show of resistance was presented, 
that Henry, after desolating the neighbovu-ing country, with- 
drew, without honour or advantage, to the cities of his Lombard 

Not deterred by this repulse, he renewed his attempt early 
in the spring following, and encountered the same opposition 
with the same result. The soldiers of Germany retired for the 
second time before the arms of the unwarlike Romans and the 
name of Gregory. But in the succeeding year (1084) the 
eiforts of the emperor were followed by greater success. The 
citizens, Avearied by repeated invasions, and suffering from the 
ravages attending them, abandoned that which now appeared 
the weaker ca\ise — on this third occasion they threw open their 
gates to Henry and to Clement the antipope, who followed in 
his train. Henry placed his creature on the throne of Gregory, 
and the exultation of that moment may have rewarded him for 
the bitterness of many reverses. The measure which he next 
adopted shoidd be carefully noticed, since it proves the venera- 
tion which was exacted even from him by the see itself, without 
consideration of its occupant. By an immediate act of submis- 
sion to the chair, which his own power had so recently be- 
stowed, he solicited the imperial crown from the hand of 
Clement, and he received it amid the faithless salutations of 
the Roman people. In the mean time, his victory was neither 
complete nor secure : from the castle of St. Angelo, Gregory 
surveyed in safety the partial overthrow of his fortunes, and 
awaited the succours from the South, with which he purposed 
to repair them. Robert Guiscard — whether mindful of his 
feudal allegiance, or jealous of the emperor's progress — was 
already approaching at the head of his Norman warriors ; 
Henry and his pope retired with precipitate haste, and Gregory 
was tumuituously restored to his rightful dignity. 


The success of the Normans was disgraced by the pillage of 
a large portion of the city : this circumstance depressed still 
further the declining popularity of the pope, and he had learnt 
by his late experience how little he could confide in the 
capricious allegiance of the Romans *. Accordingly, on the 
return of Robert to his own dominions, Gregory followed him, 
and retired, first to the monastery of Monte Cassino, afterwards 
to Salerno. It is recorded that, on this occasion, Robert would 
have profited by the weakness or the gratitude of Gregory, to 
obtain from him the concession, on the part of the Church, of 
some disputed feudal right of no great importance ; but that 
the pope resisted the solicitations of his protector in the very 
centre of his camp. And no doubt his persevering and fearless 
spirit was still meditating the re-occupation of his chair and the 
prosecution of his mighty projects. But such anticipations 
were speedily cut short, and in the year 1085, very soon after 
Death of his arrival at Salerno, he died f . He concluded a turbulent 
Gregory, pontificate of twelve years in misfortune, in exile, with little 
honour, with few lamentations X ; without having witnessed the 
perfect accomplishment of any portion of the project which had 
animated his existence, and even at the very moment when it 
appeared most hopeless. He died — but he left behind him a 
name which has arrested with singular force the attention of 
history, which has been strangely disfigured indeed by her 
capricious partiality, but which has never been overlooked, and 
will never be forgfotten. He did more than that — he left be- 
hind him his spirit, his example, and his principles ; and they 

* '•' Gil umori sempre dlversi del popolo Romano." — Denina, liiv, d' Hal., 
lib. X. c. 8. 

f These are Semler's words: — " Gregorius...tantis ausibus ipse iminortuus est; 
nuUi jam parti cams aiit amatiis ; diu omnibus, cxecrationibus, scommatibiis, 
satiris, mendaciis que post mi)rtem oneratus." — Sec. xi. c. 1. 

+ Gulielmus Apuliensis, a poetical eulogist of Gregory, sings, that Robert 
Guiscard, who would have beheld with tearless eyes the death of his father, his 
sou, and his wife, was moved to weakness by that of Gregory : — 
Dux non se lacrymis audita forte coercet 
Morte viri tanti : non mors patris amplius ilium 
Cogeret ad lacrymas, non filius ipse nee uxor, 
Extremos etsi casus iitriusque videret. 

Pagi, Vit. Greg. VII. sect. cxv. 
In the mean time, both Robert and Gregory appear to have died in the same year, 
and some are of opinion that Gregory was the survivor. 


continued, through many successive generations, to agitate the His public 
pohcy and influence the destinies of the whole Christian world, character. 

The latest words of Gregory are recorded* to have been 
these: — " I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I 
die in exile;" — words which seem to indicate a discontented 
spirit, reluctantly bending before the decrees of Providence. 
But the same complaint may also have proceeded from a sense 
of pious intention and the recollection of duties conscientiously 
performed. It becomes us, then, to inquire in what really con- 
sisted that justice which he loved, and that iniquity which he 
hated ? what were the principles which guided his public life ? 
what were the habits which regulated his private conversation ? 
The leading, perhaps the only, principle of his public life was 
to reform, unite, and aggrandize the Church over which he 
presided, and especially to exalt the ofUce which he filled. He 
may have been very scriovis and sincere in that principle — he 
may even have considered that the whole of his duties were 
contained in it, and that he was bound to pursue it through 
every danger and difficulty, as a churchman and a pope. This 
^vas his grand and original delusion, and here alone can we 
discover any trace of narrowness and littleness. And yet there 
have existed so many good men in all ages, even in the most 
enlightened, who have mistaken their own form of faith for the 
only true faith, and held their own particular Church to be 
synonymous with the Church of Christ, that the error of 
Gregory will meet with much sympathy, though it can deserve 
no pardon. But when we observe the measures into which it 
betrayed him, and through which he followed it with deliberate 
hardihood ; when we recollect the profusion of blood which 
flowed through his encouragement or instigation, for the siq)- 
port of an ambitious and visionary project ; and, more than 
that, when we compare the nature of that project with the 
himible, and holy, and peaceful system of Christ, whose gospel 
was in the pontiff's hands, and wliose blessed name was inces- 

* Millut, Hist, (le la Franco. They are given somewhat differently by PauUis 
Bernriedensis : — " Ei,'o, fratres mei dilectissimi, nuUos labores meos aliciijus 
momenti facio, in hoc soluiniiiodo confidens, i^uod seinper dilexi jiistitiain et odio 
habui iiiiqiiitHtem." And when his friends who were present expressed some 
anxiety respecting his future condition, ho stretched forth his hands to Heaven, 
and said, " Illuc ascendam; ct obnixis precibua Deo propitio vos comniittam." 


santly profaned for the support of his purposes — it is then that 
we are obhsfed to refjard him with unmitigated disgust. His 
endeavours to reform the morals of his clergy and tlie system 
of his Church* will only be censured by those who prefer dis- 
eases to their remedies, or who think it dangerous to apply any 
remedy to ecclesiastical corruption — and over such persons the 
sceptre of reason has no control. But his claims of temporal 
sovereignty, his usurpation of spiritual supremacy, his lofty 
bearing, and pontifical arrogance, were so widely at variance 
with the spirit of that book j on which his Churcli was origi- 
nally founded, that we must either suppose him wholly to have 

* Some \rriters have represented Gregory as an enemy to innovation, as one of 
those charai-ters who have placed their pride in keeping the age stiitionary, and 
perpetuating all that was transmitted to them. Had Gregory been such a man 
he had been long ago forgotten. Far otherwise : he was the greatest of all inno- 
vators ; but, like Charlemagne and Peter of Russia, he marched to his object by 
the road of despotism. The reforms which he projected in affairs civil, political, 
and ecclesiastical, embraced every interest and reached every department of 
society; but it was by the establishment of a spiritual monarchy — a sort of papal 
theocracy — that he proposed to compass them. Guizot has somewhere made 
this observation : he has further attributed to Gregory two errors in the conduct 
of his plan, but not (as it seems to us) with equal justice. He blames that pope 
for having proclaimed his plan too pompously, menacing when he had not the 
means of conquering; and also for not having confined his attempts to what 
might fairly seem practicable. Guizot appears, for the moment, to have forgotten 
on what uncertain ground the papal power really rested; how much of it was 
built on mere claims, disputed, perhaps, at first, but finally establi>hed and en- 
forced by mere impudent importunity — the very advance of such claims by one 
pope was always a stepping-stone for his successors. Again, in treating of what 
was practicable by Gregory, if we well consider the peculiar nature of his weapons, 
hitherto untried in any great contest, and the character of the age to be moved 
by them, it will seem quite impossible that he could exactly have calculated what 
he could, or what he could not, accomplish. Under all circumstances, it was pro- 
bable that the bolder were his claims, and the more loudly he asserted them, the 
greater was his chance of some immediate success, and the broader the path that 
was opened for future pontiffs. And Gregory had too extensive a genius not to 
think and act also for posterity. 

f The first evil consecpienco of associating tradition with the gospel as the 
foundation of the Church wa><, that the former was soon considered as substahtial 
a part of the building as the latter. United in words, they were presently con- 
founded in idea, and that not by the very ignorant only, but even by men, esjie- 
cially churchmen, who had deeply studied the subject, and most so by monks. 
Gregory had received a monastic education ; and though his mind was naturally 
vast and penetrating, it is not absmd to suppose that he might sincerely consider 
the False Decretals (believing tliem to be genuine) as possessing authority fl/mo«< 
equivalent to the Bible ; at least, he might think it a fair compromise to govern 
his Church by the former, and his private conduct by the latter rule. 


disdained its precepts, or to have strangely* misinterpreted 

In descending to the personal character of Gregory, we may nis per- 
first observe, that he was superior to the spirit of intolerance ^""tgj.'^^'^' 
which was then becoming manifest in his Church. The only 
doctrinal controversy in which he was engaged was that with 
Berenger, on transubstantiation. The pope maintained the 
doctrine which appears then to have been generally received 
in Italy and France, and he may have menaced the contumacy 
of the heretic. But no impartial reader can rise from the 
perusal of that controversy with the impression that Gregory 
was personally the advocate of persecution. On the contrary, 
his moderation has been noticed by writersj little favourable 
to his character, and has even led some to the very unjust in- 
ference that lie was friendly to the opinion, because he spared 
and endvu'ed its author. 

After all, it is a question whether Gregory's moderation on 
questions purely theological does not furnish a fair argument 
against his general conduct. It proves, at least, that his violence 
and arrogance were not merely faults of temper, showing them- 
selves whenever there was a dispute ; but feelings which, to 
excite them, required the stimulus of ambition. Again, 
in an age when reason and philosophy had little influence, 
moderation on theological questions naturally excites the sus- 
picion of indifference ; but if Gregory was indifferent on theo- 
logical questions, and violent on matters touching the temporal 

* In his epistles he frequently repeals the prophet's words : — " Cursed is he 
that dcH'th the work of the Lord deceitfully," — '< thatkeepeth back his sword from 
blood ;" tbat is, who does not execute God's commands in punishing God's 
enemies: hence his severity with simoniacal bishops and other ecclesiastical 

f Jortin (among others) thinks that the pope was much inclined to defend 
Berenger — a merit which might have led that candid writer to pause before he 
entered into the absurd and fanatical notion that Gregory was Antichrist. Milner 
also holds this last opinion more confidently — a very remote point of contact be- 
tween two men of very different and even opposite views, but of equal sincerity 
and excellence ! But (to speak without reference to either of those authors) it has 
been tbe misfortune of Gregory to excite the spK en of two descriptions of writers 
who agree in very few of their ])rinciples — those who abhor the Roman Catholic 
Church and all its supporters with vehement and luicpialified hatred, and those 
wlio dislike every church and every assertor of ecclesiastical rights. The former 
are our religious, the latter our philosophical, historians — both are equally unjust. 


aggrandizement of himself and his Church, his character had 
even less merit than we are disposed to assign to it. 

Among the calumniators of Gregory, none are found so un- 
just as to deny his extraordinary talents and address, his intre- 
pid constancy, his inflexible perseverance. And there are none 
among his blindest admirers who would excuse the vmchristian 
arrogance of his ambition. His other qualities are for the most 
part disputed : — his moral excellence* and the depth of his 
private piety have been strongly asserted by some, and con- 
tested by others : for our own part, after carefully comparing 
the conclusions of his more moderate historians with the par- 
ticular acts and general spirit of his life, we are disposed to 
assent to the more favourable judgment — to this extent at least, 
that we believe him to have possessed those austere monastic 
virtues, common, perhajis, in the cloister, but rare in those days 
either among princesf or popes. And if, indeed, in addition to 
those merits, he was compassionate to the poor, the defender of 
the oppressed, the protector of the innocent (as a very impartial 

* His intrigue with Matilda, which is insinuated in a very childish manner by 
Mosheim, is expressly denied by Lambertus, a contemporary historian of good 
repute. Ambition was motive quite sufficient for his intimacy with that princess, 
and his advanced age (seventy-two) might reasonably have saved him from the 
imputation of any other. Besides which, there is no single fact or circumstance 
to authorize the suspicion ; and his deep enthusiasm and intrepid zeal, and the 
very austerity which made him dangerous, are qualities wholly inconsistent with 
vulgar hypocritical profligacy. " That a widow of thirty (says Denina), also 
motherless, should be the declared protectress and body-guard of an old and aus- 
tere pontiff; furnished a famous pretext for caliunny to the concubinary clergy 
who were persecuted by the pope " (Rivoluz. d'ltal., 1. x., c. G) ; and to them we 
may probably ascribe this charge. In the mean time, if his own evidence is of 
any value in such a question, we have a letter addressed by him to the Coimtess 
(Lib. i., ep. 47), in which he exhorts her to take the sacrament frequently, and to 
be sedulous in devotion to the Holy Virgin — '• accipe quotidie quud quotidie tibi 
prosit — sic vive, ut quotidie merearis accipere." 

f Gregory reproved the abbot who admitted Hugo, duke of Burgundy, into 
his monastery, on this ground — " We have abundance of good monks, but there 
is a great scarcity of good princes." Those are the virtues which Gibbon calls 
dangerous ; and it is in speaking of Gregory that he advances that remarkable 
assertion — that the vices of the clergy are less dangerous than their virtues, — a 
position which is seldom understood with the qualification which the author ob- 
viously intended to attach to it. The passage is illustrated by another in the sixty- 
ninth chapter — " The scandals of the tenth century were obliterated by the austere 
and more dangerous virtues of Gregory VII." 


as well as accurate writer* affirms), we shall find the greater 
reason to lament that his private sanctity was overshadowed 
and darkened by his public administration. 

Respecting his religious disposition, though passages may 
be found in his Epistles not uninspired with Christian piety, it 
is more probable that he sought his motives of godliness f and 
the aliment of his fervour in the interests of his Church, than 
in the lessons of his Bible. A profound canonist, a skilful theo- 
logian, a zealous churchman, he may still have been unac- 
quainted with the feelings of a Christian, and uninformed by 
the spirit of the faith ; and it is not impossible that even his 
reforms in discipline and morals, which were the best among his 
acts, proceeded Irom a narrow ecclesiastical zeal, not from the 
purer and holier influence of evangelical devotion. 

Section III. 

(I.) Controversy respecting Transubstantiation — suspended in the Ninth, re- 
newed in the Eleventh Century — Character of Berenger — Council of Leo IX. 
— of Victor II. at Tours in 1054 — Condemnation and Conduct of Berenger — 
Council of Nicholas II.— repeated Retractation and Relapse of Berenger — Alex- 
ander II. — Council at Rome under Gregory VII. — Extent of the Concession 
then required from Berenger — further Requisition of the Bishops — a Second 
Council assembled — Conduct of Gregory — Berenger again solemnly assents to 
the Catholic Doctrine, and again returns to his own — his old Age, Remorse, 
and Death — Remarks on his Conduct — on the Moderation of Gregory. (II.) 
I>atin Liturgy — Gradual Disuse of the Latin Language throughout Europe — 
Adoption of the Gothic Missal in Spain — Alfonso proposes to substitute the 
Roman — Decision by the Judgment of God — by Combat — by Fire — doubtful 
Result — final adoption of the Latin Liturgy — its Introduction among the Bo- 
hemians by Gregory — Motives of the Popes — other Instances of Services not 
performed in the Vulgar Tongue — Usage of the early Christian Church. 

The age of Gregory was distinguished by a very imjwrtant Opinu)ns 
doctrinal controversy : but though that pout iff was abundantly duct of Be 
pugnacious in asserting the most inadmissible rights of the i'^"S«'"' 
Church, he showed no disposition to encourage the dispute in 

* Giannone, Storia di Napoli, lib. x., c. C. Gregory has been reproached with 
placing faith in the predictions of astrologers; with dealing in divinations, inter- 
preting dreams, and exercising the magical art. Few of those who have shone 
with great splendour in an ignorant age have escaped the same suspicion. 

f When Muiatori (Vit. Rom. Pontif. in Leo IX.) speaks of him as " Adoles- 
cens . . . . clari ingenii, sanctaxjue Re/ii/ionis," and when Giannone calls him 
" uomo pieno di Religione," nothing more is at all necessarily implied than Gre- 
gory's monastic sanctity would justify. 



question, nor any furious zeal to extirpate the supposed error ; 
and yet the error was no less than a disbelief in the mystery 
afterwards called transubstantiation. We have already men- 
tioned the promulgation of that dogma by Paschasius Radbor- 
tus : we have observed with wliat ardour and liberty it was both 
supported and combated during the ninth century, until the 
flames of the controversy, imsustained by any public edicts, 
gradually and innocently expired. The arguments which had 
been urged on both sides were thus left to produce their re- 
spective fruits of good or evil, according to the soil on which 
they fell, and the season in which they were sown. Both these 
circmiistances were fearfully unfavourable to the growth of any 
wholesome knowledge : for in those days reason was less per- 
suasive than its abuse, and truth was less attractive than spe- 
cious show ; so that religion was buried in superstitious observ- 
ances. Thus it happened that, during the tenth century, the 
opinion in question made a general, though silent progress ; 
and, in the beginning of the eleventh, it was tacitly understood 
to be the doctrine of the Roman Church*. In the year 1045, 
Berenger, principal of the public school (Scholastic) at Tours, 
and afterwards archdeacon f of Angers, publicly professed his 
opposition to it. 

Roman Catholic writers do not dispute the brilliancy of his 
talents, the power of his eloquence, his skill in dialectics, and 
his general erudition; they admit, too, that habits of exemplary 
virtue and piety gave life and efficacy to his genius and learn- 
ingj. By these merits he acquired the veneration of the people, 
and the friendship of the most distinguished ecclesiastics of his 
day. But when some historians assert, that his virtues sud- 

* In the Acts of the Council of Arras (held in 1025) the sacramental body is 
expressly declared to be the same flesh, " qua; ex Virgine nata, in criice passa, de 
sepnlcro levata, suiter coelos exaltata, sedet in paterna; majestatis gloria. Hoc 
qui audit incredulus (the decree continues) huic nee Christus natus, nee passus, 
nee scpultus est, nee cum Christo partem beatse resurrectionis obtinebit." Tlie 
same council defended the doctrine of justification by faith with almost equal zeal. 

f Mosheiin is guilty of a strange blunder in making him archbishop of Angers, 
and of designating him throughout as a prelate. In fact, Angers is only an epis- 
copal see, and Kusebius Bruno, one of Berenger's own pupils, was raised to it in 
1047. Hist. Litt. de la France, Vic de Berenger. 

J He attained the honourable reputation (common to him with so many learned 
persons) of being a magician. 


denly deserted him, and were even changed into their opposite 
vices, at the moment when he propounded his opinion, we can 
only consider them as iUustrating their own defiuition of 
" heresy." It is also said, that Berenger was stimulated to 
publish, even to invent, his doctrine by private jealousy of the 
learned Lanfranc ; and in truth the most splendid actions do 
•so commonly originate in sordid motives, that this charge may 
possibly be true: but it is not probable, because it is at variance 
with the tenor of his character ; nor is it at all important, since 
it affects neither the truth nor the prevalence of his doctrine. 

Berenger's opposition to transubstantiation became known to 
Leo IX., who condemned it at a council held at Rome in 1050; Hisopinion 

., , . condemned 

and in the same year two other councils were summoned m by various 
France, at Yerceil and Paris, both of which strongly anathe- councils, 
matized the heresy ; and, in consequence of the decree of the 
latter, Henry I. deprived the offender of the temporalities pro- 
ceeding from his benefice. He did not attend these councils, 
but continued to profess and promulgate his doctrine. During 
the pontificate of Victor II. a council was assembled at Tours 
in 105.5*, at which Hildebrand presided as legate of the pope, 
Berenser was summoned before it, and on this occasion he 
obeyed the summons — with the less apprehension, because he 
possessed the personal regard of Hildebrand. He appears to 
have ur^ed little in defence of his opinion, and to have made 
no difficulty in subscribing on oath to the received faith of the 
Church, concerning the real presence of the body and blood of 
Jesus Christ in the eucharist. And having subscribed to this 
faith, he immediately returned to the propagation of his actual 

He then remained undisturbed for four or five years, until 
Nicholas II. called upon him to justify himself before a Roman 

* See Pagi, Vit. Victor II., s. v., where various authorities are collected, and 
among them the following expressions from Lanfranc addressed to Berenger: — ■ 
" Deniijue in Concilio Turoneusi, cui ipsius Victoris interfuere legati. data est tlbi 
optio defendendi partem tuam. Qnam cum defendendam suscipere non audeies, 
confessus coram omnibus commuuem ecclesia; fidem, jurfisti te ab ilia hora ita 
creditnrum, sicut in Romano Concilio te jurasse est superius comprehensum." 
From this it would appear that Berenger had been present at the council of Leo, 
though he disregarded those assembled in France; unless indeed the Roman 
council mentioned by Lanfranc be that afterwards held by Nicholas, which is 
more probable. 


Council. He appeared there, and professed his readiness to 
follow the doctrine which should seem good to that assembly. 
Accordingly, a profession of faith was drawn up, which went to 
the farthest extent to which the dogma has ever been carried*, 
and with the same hand which signed it Berenger committed 
to the flames the books containing his opposition to it. He 
then returned to France, resumed his sincere profession, and 
abjiu'ed his abjuration. 

Alexander H. (acting probably under his archdeacon's 
counsels) contented himself with addressing to the heretic a 
letter of peaceful and friendly exhortation ; but as his opinion 
and his contumacy now created some confusion in the Church, 
Hildebrand, not long after his elevation to the chair, summoned 
Berenger to Rome a second time. For the space of nearly a 
year Gregory retained him near his person, and honoured him 
Avith his familiarity; and then, in a council in 107S, he was 
contented to require his subscription to a profession, which 
admitted the real presence without any change of substance ; 
and Berenger did not hesitate to sign it. 

But this moderation did not satisfy the zeal of certain ardent 
prelates, who required not only a more specific declaration of 
orthodoxy, but also that the sincerity of the retractation should 
be approved by the fieiy trial. Berenger is stated to have 
prepared himself by prayer and fasting for submission to that 
ceremony ; but Gregory, though he accorded the first of their 
requisitions, refused to countenance the senseless mockery of 
the second. The year following, another council assembled, 
and once more Berenger in their presence solemnly renounced 

* In the presence of tlie jiope, and one hundred and thirteen bishops, Beren^^er 
subscribed the following profession : "Ego Berengarius, indignus diaconiis, &c. 
. . . consentio S. R. Ecclesiae et Ap. Sedi, et ore et corde profiteor de sacramento 
Dominicse menssc earn fidem me tenere quani dominiis et venerabilis Papa Nico- 
laus et hac sancta synodus tenendam tradidit . . scilicet j>anem et vinum, (|u;r in 
altari ponuntur, p"st consecrationem non solum SLicrameiitum sed etiam verum 
corpus et sanguinem Domini nostri Jesu Chrisli esse ; et sensualiter, non solum 
sacramento sed in veritate, manibus sacerdotum tractari et frangi et fidelium den- 
tibus atteri ; jurans per sanctam et homoousiam Trinitatem. Eos vero qui contra 
hanc fidem venerint aeterno anathemate dignos esse pronuntio. Quod si ego ali- 
quando aliquid contra hocc seatire et prnedicare pra;sumpscro subjaceam canonum 
severitati. Lecto et perlecto upoiite subscripsi." It is cited by Pagi in the Life of 
Nicholas II., as are the second and third professions of Berenger (in 1U78 and 
1079J in the Life of Gregory, sect. Ixx. Ixxii. 


his opinions, and confirmed by oath his adherence to the broad- 
est interpretation of the Cathohc faith. He was then dismissed 
by the pontiff, with new proofs of his satisfaction; and no 
sooner was he restored to the secmity of his native country, 
than he renewed the profession of the doctrine which he had 
never in truth abandoned. But he received httle further mo- 
lestation* from the ecclesiastical powers, and died in 1088, at a 
very advanced age, with no other disquietude, it is said, than 
those severe mental sufferings which may well have been the 
consequence of his repeated and deliberate perjuriesf . 

Berencrer was anxious for the reputation of a great Reformer, His con- 
and perhaps sincerely zealous for the removal of what he con- J?j;,'|[^'|."^r. 
sidered a revolting corruption — but he did not aspire to the 
glory of martyrdom. And when he presented himself at four 
successive councils, under the obligation either to defend or 
retract his opinions, we cannot doubt that, as he saw the former 
course to be useless as well as dangerous, he went to them 
calmly prepared to debase himself by an insincere act of per- 
jured humiliation. Perhaps he preserved his property, or pro- 
longed his life for a few years, by such reiterated sin and 
degradation; but, if his latest days were passed in remorse 
and bitter penitence, his gain was not great, and the moments 
which he added to his existence Avere taken away from his 
happiness. His followers were not, probably, very numerous, 
at least they formed a very trifling proportion to the whole 
body of the church. They contained no individual of any 
great eminence, nor do they appear to have existed as a sect 
after the death of Berenger — doubtless, they were chilled by 
his weakness and confounded by his frequent recantations. His 
fortitude and constancy would have confirmed and multiplied 
and perpetuated them. We admire his talents, we respect his 
virtues, and venerate the cause in which he displayed them ; 

* Dupiti ineiitions that he was summoned hefore a council at Bordeaux, in 
1080, "Where he gave an account of his faith." 

f A loud and very unimportant dispute has been raised between Papists and 
Protestants as to the opinions in which Berenf^er actually died. The truth ap- 
pears to be that he died a penitent,— and the former attribute to the consciousness 
of his heresy that remorse, which the latter much more probably ascribe to his 


but in that age the defence of that cause demanded (as it de- 
served) a character of sterner materials and more rigid con- 
sistency, than was that of Bcrenger. 
Coivluct of From the moderation which Gregory used towards the per- 
Gregory son of that Reformer, it has been inferred, as we have said, 
that he secretly favoured his opinions ; and this may be so far 
true, that he inculcated in general terms an adiierence to the 
words of scripture* ; and discouraged any curious researches 
and positive decisions respecting the manner of Christ's presence 
at the Eucharist. And as a real spiritual (or intellectual!) 
presence was probably admitted by Berenger himself, who pro- 
fessed only to follow the opinions of John Scotus|, there could 
remain no ground for any violent difference between the pope 
and the heretic. They were agreed as to the fact of the pre- 
sence; and its manner, which was the only point in dispute 
with the one, was held to be inscrutable, or unimportant, by 
the other §. 
General H- But if we are to consider the doctrine of transubstantia- 

establish- ^j^j-^ j^ have been effectually established, rather through the 

ment of ^ ... 

the Latin obstinate zeal of his ecclesiastics, than by the favour of Gregory, 
' "'^^^' we shall have no hesitation in attributing to his personal exer- 
tions a contemporary corruption in the ceremonies of the 
Church. It was the will of Hildebrand that the liturgy of the 
Universal Church should be performed in Latin only; and 
having once adopted that scheme, as in every other object 
which he thought proper to pursue, he neglected no imaginable 
means to carry it into eH'ect. The use of Latin as the vulgar 
tongue, which had prevailed throughovit the southern provinces 
of Europe, gradually ceased during the course of the ninth 
century; and the language of the first conquerors was insen- 
sibly corrupted by the barbarous jargon of the second. Latin 

* Moslieim, cent. xi. 

f Hist. Litt. de la France, Vie de Berenger. 

I Ambrose, Jerome, and Au>^ubtine are the Fathers on whose authority Be- 
renger chiefly rests his defence. Lanfranc, before he became Archbishop of 
Canterbury, was his most distinguished oiiponent. 

§ From his letter to Matilda (Lib. i. Ep. 47.) it appears that Gregory considered 
the Eucharist as a sacrifice, and he even cites a passage from St. Gregory, to show 
that he too held it in the same light. 


thus became a subject of study, and ail knowledge of it was 
presently confined to tlie priesttiood. Siill it seems clear that, 
in France as well as in Italy, the services of the church con- 
tinued to be performed entirely in Latin, and even that sermons 
were for some time delivered in that tongue to an audience most 
imperfectly acquainted with it. But in Spain, the Gothic ritual in Spain. 
had supplanted the Roman, — if indeed tlie Roman had at any 
time been received in Spain, — and at the middle of the eleventli 
century it was universally prevalent in that chiu'ch. Soon after 
that time, by the united influence (as is said) of Richra-d, the 
papal legate, and Constance, Queen of Leon (who had brought 
with her from France an attachment to the forms of her native 
church), Alfonso, the Sixth of Leon and First of Castile, was 
persuaded to propose the introduction of the Roman liturgy. 
The nobility and the people, and even the majority of the 
clergy, warmly supported the established form ; and after some 
heats had been excited on both sides, a day was finally ap- 
pointed to decide on the perfections of the rival rituals. To 
this effect, recourse was had, according to the customs of those 
days, to the "judgments of God," and the trial to which they 
were first submitted was that by combat. Two knights con- 
tended in the presence of a vast assembly, and the Gothic 
champion prevailed. The king, dissatisfied with this result, 
subjected the rituals to a second proof, which they were quali- 
fied to sustain in their own persons — the trial by fire. The 
Gothic liturgy resisted the flames, antl was taken out unliurt, 
while the Roman yielded, and was consumed. The triumph of 
the former appeared now to be complete, when it was discovered 
that the ashes of the latter had curled to the top of the flames, 
and leaped out of them. By this strange phenomenon the 
scales were again turned, or at least the victory was held to be 
so doubtful, that the king, to preserve a show of impartiality, 
established the use of both liturgies. It then became very easy, 
by an exclusive encouragement of the Roman, effectually, though 
gradually, to banish its competitor*. 

* See Dr. M'Crie's History of the Progress and Suppression of tlie Reformation 
in Spain. The contest between the lituri^ios liegan duriuf^ the pontificate of Alex- 
ander II., between the years 1060 and 106S ; but one of the first acts of Gret,'ory 
VOL. ir. H 


Bohemia. It was one of the latest acts of Alexander II. especially to 
prohibit the Bohemians from performing service in their native 
Sclavonian, and to impose on them the Roman missal ; and 
about seven years afterwards Gregory prosecuted, as pope, the 
enterprise which, as archdeacon, he had doubtless originated. 
Little serious resistance appears to have been opposed to this 
and similar attempts ; and it may be asserted without dispute, 
that before the conclusion of the eleventh century, the Latin 
liturgy was almost universally received in the western churches. 
Conctal- C)ne motive of the popes for this vexatious exertion of eccle- 

iiientoiihe siastical tyranny was fairly avowed by Gregory, in his answer 
to Vratislaus, Duke of Bohemia, viz. — the impolicy of making 
the scriptures too public; and, in this document, it is curious 
to observe with what ease, when it suited his purpose, he could 
dispense (like Gregory the Great) with the authority of the 
primitive chiu'ch, so conclusive and venerable when it was 
expedient to follow it. It was clear to his mind that it was 
the will of the Omnipotent, that the scriptures should in some 
places be concealed, lest they should become despicable through 
publicity, or through misinterpretation generate error. Tlie 
contrary was one of many practices which the primitive church 
had dissembled, and which were corrected by the holy fathers 
in the progress of the religion*. 

Another motive, undoubtedly, was the zeal for the unity of 
the Church, as one body inider one head ; and to this end it 
certainly conduced, that she should speak to all her children, 

was to f^ive his strenuous and efJLxtual support to the Roman. See Pa^i, Vit. 
Alex. II. et Greg. VII. 

* The expressions of so great a pontiff, on so important a siihjcct, deserve 
to he recorded: — ''Quia Nohilitas tua posttdavit, quod secundum Sclavonicam 
linguam apud vos divinum telebrari annueremus officium, scias nos huic pelitioni 
tuae nefpiaqunm posse favere. Kx lioc nt-mpe sa[>pe volventibus liquet non im- 
merito Sacraiii Scnjituram omnipo/e/iti Deo jiUtctnsse quihiis<lmn lucis esse occii/iam, 
ne, si ad hquidum cuuctis pateret, forte vilesceret et subjaceret despectui, aut 
prave iiitellecta a mediocribus in erroreai iuduceret. Neqvie eninr ad excusationem 
juvet, quod quidam relii^iosi viri lioc (juod siinpliciter populus qu;csivit, patienter 
tulerunt, seu incorrectum dimiserunt ; cum Primitiva Ecclesia multa dissimulaveril, 
quffi a Sanctis Patribus, jiostmodum firmafa Cluistianitate et relij^ione crescente, 
subli/i examinatione correc/a sunt. Unde ne id fiat, quod a vestris imprudenter 
exposcitur, audoritate B. Petri inhibemus, atque ad lionorem omnipotentis Dei 
liuic vanse temeritati viribus totis resistere praecipimus." 


of all nations and races, in one language only. It was also 
necessary that that language should be Latin, because it thus 
became a chain which not only united to each other the ex- 
tremities of the North and West, but also bound them in uni- 
versal allegiance to a common sovereign. But this policy, like 
some others of the profoundest schemes of the Vatican, was 
calculated on the continuation of creneral ignorance and the 
stability of principles which the slightest efforts of reason were 
sufficient to overturn. 

We should add, however, that a similar custom prevails The primi- 
among certain other nations and creeds, which cannot have 
originated in similar motives, but is rather to be attributed to 
the superstitious reverence for antiquity, so common where 
the understanding has been little cultivated. The Egyptians, 
or Jacobites, performed their service in Coptic; the Nestorians 
in Syriac; the Abyssinians in the Old ii^lthiopic ; and the prayers 
which are offered to the God of the Mahometans are univer- 
sally addressed in Arabic. But the usage was entirely con- 
trary to the practice* of the early Church, which permitted 
every variety of language in its ceremonies — a practice which 
received the positive confirmation of the Council of Francfort 
at the end of the eighth century, and which was not entirely 
subverted till the pontificate of Gregory and his immediate 

* " You may have observed (says Floury) that the offices of the Church were 
then in the huiguage most used in each country : that is to say — in Latin throu<^h- 
out all the West — in Greek through all the East, except in the remoter provinces 
— as in the Thebais where the Egyptian was spoken, and in Upper Syria where 
Syriac was used . . . The Armenians have I'ronr the beginning performed divine 
service in their own toiigue. If the nations were of a mixed kind, there were in 
the church interpreters to explain what was read ... In Palestine, St. Sabas and 
St. Theudosius had in their monasteries many churches, wherein the monks of 
different nations had their liturgies, each in his own language." 





Chapter XVII. 
From Gregory VI F. to Innocent III. 

(I.) Papal history — Urban IT. — Couiu'il of Placeiitia — that of CU'rmont — their 
principal acts — The Ciiisadiw — their origin and possible advantai^e — Pascal II. 

Renewed disputes with Henry — his misfortunes^ private and public — his death 

and exhumation — Henry, his son, marches to Rome — Convention with Pascal 
respectioij the regalia — its violation — Imprisonment of the Pope — his conces- 

sjions annulled by subsetpient Council — Henry again at Rome — Death and 

character of Pascal — Fmal arrangement of the Investiture (jiiestion by Calixtus 
II. Observations — The first Lateraii (ninth General) Coiuicil — Death of Calix- 
tus — Subsequent confusion and its causes — Arnold of Brescia — his opinions, 
fate, and character — Adrian I\'. — Frederick Barbarossa — Disputes between 
them, and final success of the Pope — AluxandiT III. — his quarrel with Frede- 
rick and advantages — his talents and merits — Celestine III. — The differences 
between Rome and the Empire — The internal dissensions at Rome on papal 
election — National contentions between Church and State. (II.) Education 
and theological learning— Review of preceding ages — in Italy and France — Pa- 
rochial schools — Deficiency in the material — Papyrus — Parchment — Clonsequent 
scarcity of MSS. — Invention of paper — Three periods of theological literature 
the characteristics of each — Gradual improvement in the eleventh century. 

The death of Gregory did not restore either concord to the 
Church or repose to the Empire. The successor whom, at the 
sohcitation of his cardinals, he nominated on his death-bed, tes- 
tified a singular, but sincere, repugnance for a dignity which, 
being probably too feeble to sustain, he was too wise to desire. 
Desiderius*, Abbot of Mount Cassino, held for a short period, 
under the name of Victor III., a disputed rule ; and on his early 
death in the year 1087, Urban II., a native of France, was pro- 
claimed in his place. But Clement the Antipope was still in 

* His disinclination for the dangerous honour is said to have been so great, that 
he was actually dragged to the church, and forcibly invested with the pontifical 
garments. Fleury, H. E., liv. Ixiii., sect. 2') and 27. This circumstance is not 
mentioned byPagi; though, on the authority of Leo Ostiensis, he bears ample 
testimony to Victor's reluctance. 


'possession of the capital, where the imperial party was tri- 
umphant; and five years of dissension* intervened before the 
autliority of Urban was generally acknowledged. That Pope 
had been a monk of Clugni, and owed his preferment to the 
See of Ostia to the favour of Gregory ; and he continued to the 
end of his life to exhibit his fidelity by following, as far as his 
talents permitted him, the schemes which had been traced by 
his patron. 
Urban II. Qf the numerous councils held during his pontificate two are 
entitled to particular attention — those of Placentia and Cler- 
montf : in both of these he confirmed the laws and asserted 
the principles of Gregory, and carried his favovu'ite claims to 
their full extent ; for by the fifteenth canon of the latter he 
enacted, " that no ecclesiastic shall receive any church dignity 
from the hand of a layman, or pay him liege homage for it : and 
that no prince shall give the investiture |." But that council is 
recommended to general history by other and more important 
recollections. And while at Placentia the final sanction was 
given to the two strongest characteristics in the doctrine and in 
the discipline of the Roman Church — namely §, transubstan- 

* The only romarkable act of personal hostility which these two rivals appear 
to have exchanj^ed, was a satiric taunt couched on either side in a pair of very in- 
nocent hexameters. Clement, insolent in the possession of the city, wrote to his 
rusticating adversary as follows : — 

Diceris Urbanus, cum sis projectus ah Urbe ! 
Vel muta nomen, vel regrediaris ad Urbem. 
To this Urban replied, 

Clemens nomen babes, sed Clemens non potes esse, 
Tradita solvendi cum sit tlbi nulla potestas. 

Hist. Litt. de la France. 
f Both were held in 1095 — the former on March 1, the latter on November 18. 
At the former were present two hiuulred bishops, nearly four thousand of the in- 
ferior clerjry, and more than thirty thousand of the laity ; so that the assemblies 
were held in the open air. The latter appears to have been still more numerously 
attended. See Fleury, H. E., liv. Ixiv., sect. 22. Hist. Litt. de la France. 

I " Ne episcopus vel sacerdos regi vel alicui laico in manibus ligiam fidelitatem 
faciat." See Mosbeim, Cent, xi, p. ii.,c. ii. 

§ Hist. Litt. de la France. Vie de Berenger. The question regarding the 
ordination of the sons of presbyters, which was warmly debated about this time^ 
was set at rest by the Council of Clermont. It was conceded, that with dispensa- 
tion from the Pope they might be admitted to Holy Orders. Pagi (Vit. Urban. II., 
sec. 43.) ascribes to this period the practice of administering the Eucharist to the 
laity luiderone species only, which, be adds, became mure confirmed after the 


tiatlon and the celibacy of the clergy, the Council of Clermont 
first soimdecl that blast of fanaticism which shook the whole 
fabric of society, from the extremities of the West even to the 
heart of Asia, for above two centuries. 

It may seem strange that the sanguinary project of launch- Orif^Wnof 
ing the power of Christendom in one vast armament against the sades'^" 
Mahometan conquerors of the Holy Land should first have 
been proposed by a Pope who was celebrated for his cultiva- 
tion of the noblest arts of peace. It was Sylvester II.* with 
whom the scheme of a general crusade originated; but to him 
it may have been suggested by personal observation of the suf- 
ferings of Spain and the humiliation of the Christian name. 
And to any one beholding and deploring the various disorders 
of Europe — the fierce contentions of kings with each other, 
their more fatal dissensions with their subjects, the military 
license which everywhere prevailed and forbade all security of 
person or property — it might have seemed an act of compara- 
tive mercy to unite those discordant spirits even by the rudest 
tie, and to divert against a common foe the turbulence which 
engaged them in mutual destruction. The same measure was 
not without some justification in prudence ; since the slightest 
caprice of a Saracen conqueror might have directed his rao-e 
against Christendom, and especially against Italy, the most 
attractive, the most exposed, the least defensible province — the 
centre of the Christian Church, and, as it were, the Palestine 
of the West. These and similar considerations may have re- 
commended the same project to a much greater mind than that 
of Sylvester ; for it was also (as has been mentioned) a favourite 
design of Gregory VII., who proposed personally to conduct 

establishment of the kingdom of Jerusalem by the crusaders; for in that Church 
(he maintains) it had existed from primitive times. ^Ve may also mention in 
this place, that the " Office of the Holy Virgin," though perhaps not composed by 
Urban, was brought into more general use during his pontificafe. 

* It will be recollected that Sylvester, as well as Urban and his agent Peter the 
Hermit, was a Frenchman. So that the entire credit of the scheme, both of its 
invention and the bringing it into practice, belongs, such as it is, to that enthu- 
siastic and inconsiderate people. It is a remark of Gibbon, that at the (Council of 
Placentia, in Italy, the people wept over the calamities of the Christians of the 
Kast — while at Clermont, in France, they took up arms to avenge tlieni. 


against the infidel the universal army of Christ. It was realized 
by Urban II.; and his exhortations* to the Council of Cler- 
mont, being at the same time addressed to the superstitious 
and the miUtary spirit, the two predominant motives of action 
in that acre were received with an enthusiastic acclamation of 
frenzy, which was mistaken for the will of God.f 
Pascal II. Urban died in 1099, and was succeeded by Pascal II. Nearly 
contemporaneous with the decease of Urban was that of Cle- 
ment III., the antipope, who had maintained with some inter- 
ruptions the possession of the capital, though unacknowledged 
by the great body of the Church. The imperial party was at 
that moment too weak to appoint a successor, and therefore 
Pascal entered into undisputed occupation of the cliair. Pascal, 
as well as Gregory and Urban, had been educated in the mo- 
nastery of Clugni : like the former, he was a Tuscan ; like the 
latter, he was indebted for his early advancement to Gregory ; 
and thus the spirit of that extraordinary man, by animating the 
congenial bosoms of his two disciples, continued to haunt the 
pontifical chair, and to regulate the councils of the Vatican, for 
above thirty years after his departure J. And if Urban pro- 
secuted the reforms undertaken by his master, and realized 
one of his fondest speculations, to Pascal remained the more 
difficult and odious office of resuming with fresh violence the 

* The Poi:e closed the session of the council by a sermon, which lias been 
variousl}' reported by different writers. Fleury gives the followini; sentences as a 
liart of it, on the authority of William of Tyre, " a f^rave and judicious author :" 
— " Do you then, my dear cluhhen, arm yourselves with the zeal of God; march to 
the succour of our brethren, and the Lord be with you. Turn aj;ainst the enemy 
of the Christian name the arms which you employ in injurinnj each other. Re- 
deem, by a service so agreeable to God, your pillages, conflagrations, homicides, 
and other mortal crimes, to as to obtain his ready pardon. We exhort you and enjoni 
you, for the remission of your sins, to have pity on the affliction of our brethren in 
.Jerusalem, and to repress the insolence of the infidels, who propose to sidjjugiite 
kingdoms and empires and to extinguish the name of Christ." Hist. Eccl., liv. 
Ixiv.. sect. 32. As the populace devoutly believed the Pope's assurance, that the 
pilgrimage would atone for the most abominable crimes, the immediate effect of 
the crusade might be to rid Europe of the refuse of its papulation ; just as the cer- 
tain consequence woul<l lie the encouragement of crime, when the method of atone- 
ment was always at hand. 

•}• We shall return to this subject in the 21st Chapter. 

+ Pascal died on January 18th, 1118, after an unusually long pontificate of 
e'ghteen years, five months, and five days. 


contest with the empire. He engaged in it earnestly, if not 
eagerly ; and as the emperor was still unprepared for submis- 
sion, he prevented an attempt (perhaps an insidious attempt) 
at compromise, by renewing (in 1102) all former decrees against 
investitures ; and then commenced the conflict by the usual 
sentence of excommunication. 

Henry TV., after surviving so many popes, was still in pos- Misfortunes 
session of the throne ; but his latter years had been afflicted of nt^iry' 
by the rebellion, and, what might be less bitter to him, by the ^^• 
death of his eldest son. The affections of his subjects he never 
possessed nor deserved ; but we do not learn that by any domestic 
delinquency he had forfeited the less dissoluble allegiance of 
his children. And yet, scarcely had Conrad terminated his 
unnatural impiety by death, when — as if the anathemas of Gre- 
gory were still suspended over him — as if to accomplish the 
temporal retribution which that pontitf had denounced against 
the fees of St. Peter * — Henry, his other son, on learning the 
excommunication of his father, rose in arms aofainst him. A 
scene I'cvolting to nature and humanity was the consequence ; 
and even the death of the emperor, which speedily followed, 
does not close the story of his persecutions. His body, which 
was still lying under the anathema, having been inconsiderately 
consigned to consecrated ground, was immediately dug up, 
ejected from the holy precincts, and condemned to an unhal- 
lowed sepulchre f ; and there it rested for the space of five 
years, a revolting momuiient of papal power and papal malig- 
nity : at length the sentence \vas withdrawn, and Henry V. was 
permitted to make a tardy atonement to offended nature and 

* It will be recollected that, in his second excommunication of Henr}^, Gregory 
siipiilicatod St. Petor to take away from that prince prosperity in w.\r and victory 
ovfr his enemies, " tliat all the world may know" (sa}s he) " that thou hast power 
both in heaven and on earth." 

f " Comprobautibus his qui aderant Archiepiscopis et Episco[)is ; quia quibus vivis 
ecclesia non communicat, illis etiam nee movtuis commiuiicare possit." — Ursper- 
j^ensis Abbas, ap. Pagi,Vit. Pascalis II. Some ascribe this act of barbarity to the 
CJerman Bishops, and exculpate the Poi)e, except in as far as be bad set them the 
example, by exhumating the bones of Guibert the Antipope, who had been buried 
at Ravenna, and casting them into the neighbouring river. 


There is no proof that Pascal positively excited this monstrous 
rebellion, but it is well known that he countenanced and pro- 
moted it, and that too, not as a reluctant concession of virtue 
to interest, but with ardent and uncompromising zeal. Indeed, 
his interest was not engaged in this matter, but his passions 
merely, and the vindictive hatred for Henry IV. which he had 
contracted in the school of Gregory. The holy see had nothing 
to gain by the death or deposition of an unpopular monarch, 
but everything to fear from the union which would probably 
ensue among his subjects. For as to any prospect of gratitude 
from his successor — any hope that the emperor would be mind- 
ful of services conferred upon the rebel, — a Tuscan and a pope 
could scarcely indulge so simple an expectation. If Pascal 
did so, he very speedily discovered his error ; for scarcely was 
Henry IV. dead, when his son asserted with equal vehemence 
the disputed rights. The pope resisted, and both parties pre- 
pared for a second struggle. 

Henry V., nothing deterred by the portentous appearance 
of a comet, which inspired general dismay, descended into Italy 
during the summer of 1110, carefully prepared for a twofold 
contest with the holy see; for he was not only attended by a 
powerful army, but also by a suite of literary protectors*, so 
that the pen might be at hand to justify the deeds of the sword. 
His advance was preceded by a declaration of his intention, 
which was " to maintain a right acquired by privilege and the 
custom of his predecessors from the time of Charlemagne, and 
preserved during three hvmdred years under sixty-three popes 
— that of presenting to bishoprics and abbeys by the ring and 
crosier." In reality, his object, when more fully explained, 
was to prevent the election of bishops without his consent, to 
invest the bishop elect with the regalia, to receive from him 
homage and the oath of allegiance. At the same time, he 
proposed to undergo the solemn ceremony of coronation at the 
hands of the pope. 

* " One of them was a Scotsman named David, who had presided over the 
schools at Wurtemberg, and whom the king had appointed liis chaplain, a cause 
de sa vertu. He wrote a relation of this expedition, but rather as a panegj-rist 
than an historian." Fleury, liv, Ixvi., s. 1, on authority of Will, Malmes., lib. v., 
p. 1G6. 


By the regalia above mentioned were understood various Dispute Le- 
grants conferred on the bishops by Charlemagne, which par- ^l^'^ y 
took of the privileges of royalty, such as the power of raising <>'"1 Pascal, 
tribute, coining money, and also the possession of certain in- regalia. I 
dependent hinds, directly derived from the crown, with some 
other immunities. And it seemed natural that the successors 
of Charlenuigne shoukl retain the rig^ht of confirminor the 
privileges which he had bestowed. This circumstance involved 
the pope in great perplexity ; and thovigh it was easy to pub- 
lish edicts and advance vague and exorbitant pretensions when 
the emperor was distant or embarrassed, he could scarcely 
hope, by such expedients, to withstand his near and armed 
approach. In this difficulty, Pascal proved at least the sin- 
cerity of his professions, and his attachment to the best and 
purest interests of the Church. He had the virtue to prefer 
its spiritual independence to its worldly splendour, and the 
courage to proclaim his preference. This better part being 
chosen, he concluded a treaty with Henry, by which it was 
agreed that the bishops, on the one hand, should make to 
Henry a positive cession of all that belonged to the crown in 
the time of Louis, Henry, and his other predecessors, on pain 
of excommunication if they attempted to usurp such regalia; 
and that the emperor, on the other, should resign the right of 
investiture. On this arrangement the pope consented to per- 
form the ceremony of coronation *, and Henry proceeded to 
Rome for that purpose. 

The circumstances which followed are told with some trifling 
variations, but were probably thus: — the bishops interested in 
the treaty, and especially those of Germany, who would have 
been the greatest sufferers, felt the deepest repugnance to resign 
so large a portion of their splendid temporalities for a remote 
and invisible object, which, however it might be accessory to 

* For this compact we have the authority of Petrus Diaconus (who cites a con- 
temporary account of the transaction) confirmed by that of Urspergens. Abbas, 
as follows : " Ibi Legati Apostolici cum missis Regis advenientes, promptum 
esse papam ad consecrationem. . . . si tamen ipse sibimet annueret libertatem ec- 
clesiarum, laicam ab illis pruhibens investituram — recipiendo nihilominus ab ec- 
clesiis Ducatus, Marchias, Comitatus, Advocatias, Moneta, Telonia, caeterorumque 
Regalium qua; possident summam." — See Pagi, Vit. Pasch. II. 


the honour of the Church, did not benefit their own immediate 
interests. Consequently, they protested with so much violence 
against the compromise, which seemed to them to exchange a 
substance for a shadov/, that the pope despaired of his power 
to execute that condition of the treaty. In the mean time, 
Henry arrived at Rome : he was conducted with acclamations 
to the Basilica of St. Peter, where the pope, with his bishops 
and cardinals, was waiting to receive him. The king, accord- 
ing to the accustomed ceremony, prostrated himself before the 
pope, and kissed his feet ; he then i-ead the usual oath, and 
they advanced together into the church*. But here, before 
they proceeded to the office of consecration, a dispute broke 
out respecting the ftdfilment of the treaty, and it was presently 
inflamed into an angry quarrel. Henry availed himself of the 
presence of his soldiers to arrest the pope with several cardinals; 
the Roman populace took arms and endeavoured to rescue 
him; a fierce and tumultuous conflict ensued, and the courts 
of the Vatican, and even the hallowed pavement of St. Peter, 
were polluted with blood : but the Germans succeeded in 
securing their prisoners, and carried them away to their neigh- 
Compiil- bouring encanipment at Vitcrbo. After a rigorous confinement 
sion^of*^ "of two months, Pascal yielded to sucli pers\iasion as a king 
Pascal; n^ay exercise over his captive; and then he not only performed 
the required ceremony, but, by a new convention, ceded uncon- 
ditionally the right of investiture. 

The presence of the emperor was demanded in Germany ; 
Pascal returned to Rome; but he was saluted there by such a 
tempest of indignation as to find it necessary, in the year fol- 
lowing, to submit the whole affair, even as it involved his own 
personal conduct, to a very numerous council at the Lateran. 
revokL'il at Here the pope confessed the error into which his weakness had 
CoiHicil," betrayed him; and the coimcil, with liis consent, solemnly re- 
1112, A. 1). yoked and cancelled the treaty, and justified tlieir perfidy by 

* This took place on Feb. 11,1111. " Ter se im icem comploxi, tor se inviccm 
osculali sunt ; tt, sicut mos, Rex dexteram rontifK-is tenens cum nuigno populi 
gaiidio et clamoie ad Fortani venit Avgyufcani. Ihi ex libio professionem impe- 
ratoviam faciens a Pontilico dcsignatus est Iinpeiator, &c."— Acta Vaticaiia ap. 


pleading tlie violence which had extorted it. The immediate 
resentment of Henry was diverted by civil disorders; but in 
1117 he marched to Rome as an avowed enemy; Pascal re- 
tired to Benevento, and sought the protection of his Norman 
vassals, still faithful to the chair of Gregory. The emperor 
presently withdrew, and Pascal returned to his see and died ; 
and his fortunes, in many respects similar to those of his 
patron, v/ere blessed with a happier termination, since he was 
permitted to close his eyes at Rome. His fortunes were, in 
some lespeots, similar to those of Gregorj^ and similar was 
the audacity of his pretensions ; but he wanted the firmness 
necessary to dignify the former, and to give weight and sta- 
bility to the latter; his adversity was inglorious, and his arro- 
gance feeble and without consequence. Tlie levity of his cha- 
racter disqualified him for the task he had undertaken, and its 
pliancy did not compensate for its want of coherence and con- 

Ilie question respecting investitures, after having variously Conclusion 
agitated the kingdoms of the West for half a century, was now L^rreis 
drawing near to its final decision. After a short interval of =i'^o'.'t '"- 

T 1 • ^ 1 1 111/^ vi'stitures, 

disputed succession*, tncn visual on tiie death of every pope, 1122 a. d. 
Calixtus II., archbishop of Vienna, a count of Burcrundv, and ■'' '''*l ^^'^* 

. . , " "^ 1)1 \\orms. 

a near relative ot the emperor, was raised to the pontifical 
chair. It does not ajjpear, however, that he sacrificed to the 
claims of consanguinity any portion of the rights or pretensions 
of his sec ; but he consented that the differences should be 
submitted for their final arrangement to a council, or diet, to 
be assembled at Worms for that purpose. A convention was 
there concluded (in September, 1122), uhich was reasonable 
and permanent: its substance was thisf: — (1.) That the elec- 
tion of bishops and abbots, in his Teutonic kingdom, take place 
in its rightful form, w ithout violence or simony, in the presence 
of the emperor or his legate, so that in case of a difference, his 
protection be given, with the advice of the metropolitan, to the 
juster claim;};. (2.) That tlie ecclesiastic elected receive his 

* Gelasiiis II. stands in the list of popes as having filled that interval. 

t See Fleuiy, liv. kvii., sect. 30. Payi, Vit. Callisti II., sect. xxiv. xxv, 

I " Si qua inter partes discordia emerserit, metropolitani piovinjialium con- 


regalia at the hand of the emperor, and do homage for them. 
But (3.) that in the ceremony of investiture the emperor no 
longer use the insignia of spiritual authority, but the sceptre 
only. A similar arrangement had previously* taken place in 
England between Henry I. and Pascal II.; and in France f, 
if the custom of investiture by the ring and crosier ever pre- 
vailed, which seems uncertain, it had been abolished about the 
same time. 
Observa- The terms of this treaty, in which each party yielded what 
real results was extravagant in his claims J, were undoubtedly favourable 
oftheCon-to the Church. Her restitution of the "rightful form" of 

vention of . . , . ., , . , 

Worms. election deprived the emperor of an usurped privilege Avhich 
had been extremely valuable and profitable to him, both in its 
use and its abuse. And since the popes, ever after the edict 
of Alexander II., had claimed as indisputable the right of con- 
firmation in episcopal election — a claim which, as it was purely 
ecclesiastical, the emperor had not greatly cared to contest — a 
large portion of the influence which was ceded by the crown did 
in fact devolve on the holy see. Again, the original form of 
election was in no case positively restored, since the advantage 
of excluding the people, and even the body of the diocesan 
clergy, had been long and generally acknowledged ; so that the 
right seems to have been invested almost immediately in the 

silio vel judicio, sanioii parti assensum et aiixilium prtEbeas." So this clause is 
expressed in the acts of the Lateraii council held in the following year. 

* Probably in 1106, after a severe dispute between the pope and king during 
the primacy of Anselm. Ilist. Litt. France, Vie Pascal. Pagi, Vit. Pascal. II. 

f Guillaume de Cbampeau, bishop of Chalons, is related to have addressed 
(in 1119) the following discourse to the emperor: — " Sire, if you desire a sub- 
stantial peace, you must absolutely renounce the investiture to bishoprics and 
abbeys. And to assure you that you will thus suffer no diminution of your royal 
authority, let me inform you, that when I was elected in the kingdom of France, 
I received nothing from the hand of the king, neither before nor after consecration. 
Nevertheless, I serve him as faithfully in virtue of the tributes and various other 
rights of the state which Christian kings have in ancient days given to the 
Church, as faithfully, I say, as your bishops in your kingdom serve you, in virtue 
of that investiture which has drawn such discords and anathemas on you." 
Fleury, H. E., liv. Ixvii., sec. 3. The emperor yielded to that argument. 

I The peace of the Church is thus celebrated by Gotfridus of Viterbo, in his 
Chronicle : 

Reddit Apostolico Caesar qnaccnnque rogavit ; 
Pax bona conficitur; sublata Deo reparavit ; 
Jura sua) partis Isetus uterque trahit. 


chapters of the cathedral churches : at least it was confirmed 
to them about the end of the twelfth century. 

The second condition of the Convention secured to the sove- 
reio-n the civil allegiance of his ecclesiastical subjects, and re- 
pressed their dangerous struggles for entire immunity from 
feudal obligations. At the same time it restored to them the 
integrity of their ghostly independence, and cut off the last pre- 
tence for secular interference in matters strictly spiritual. 

So easy and reasonable was the conclusion of that debate, 
which, in addition to the usual calamities of international war- 
fare, had excited subjects against their sovereign, and children 
at^ainst their fathers, which had convulsed the holy Church, and 
overthrown its sanctuaries, and stained its altars with blood. 
However, on a calm" historical survey of the circumstances of 
the conflict, and of the crimes and errors which led to them, we 
are little disposed to load with unmixed reprehension any indi- 
vidual of either party. The crimes, indeed, and the passions 
which produced them, were equally numerous and flagrant on 
either side : on the one, were tyranny and profligacy and brutal 
violence ; arrogance and obstinacy and imposture, on the other ; 
pride and ambition and injustice, on both. Yet our prejudices 
naturally incline to the imperial party ; because the same or 
equal vices become infinitely more detestable when they are 
found under the banners of religion*. But the errors were 
those of the times rather than of the men, and even served, in 
some degree, to palliate the crimes. The barbarism of pre- 
ceding ages, and the ignorance actually existing, had engendered 
and nourished a swarm of obscure notions and active prt^udices, 
which infatuated the vulgar, and partially blinded even the 

* Mosheim is disposed to throw all the reproach of this dispute on the monastic 
education and character of Gregory and his two disciples ; and these he contrasts 
with the secular virtues which high birth and society had nourished in Calixtus. 
But in the first place, the whole blame was not by any means on that side, but was 
very equally divided with the empire; and in the next, Pascal at least did 
actually prove, by his arrangement with the English king, his disposition to end 
the controversy, on the very terms finally accepted by Calixtus. Mosheun mo- 
derates with great impartiality between contending sects, and a very great merit 
that is ; but when the contest is between a Pope and a German sovereign, his 
feelings sometimes overpower his perfect judgment. 


best and the wisest. The records of past events were little 
studied ; indeed they were seen only by those discontinuous 
glimpses which perplex and deceive far more than they 
enlio-hten ; and reason had lost her native force, and health, 
and penetration, through neglect and abuse — so that claims 
the most absurd were established by arguments the most sense- 
less • and men could not rightly discern the real nature of their 
adversaries' pretensions, nor even the strength of their ov.'n, so as 
effectually to controvert the one, or rationally to maintain the 
other. Thus were their contests carried on in a sort of mci-al 
obscurity, which took off nothing from their positiveness and 
obstinacy, and permitted even additional licence to their ma- 
The fust III the following year a very numerous * assembly was held at 
nmCounai', Romc, which is acknowledged in that Church as the ninth Ge- 
ll-23,A.u. i^eral, and the First Lateran Council. Of the two-and-twenty 
canons which resulted from its labours, the greater part were 
in confirmation of the acts of preceding popes ; and we observe 
that the object of several of the original enactments was to pro- 
tect the property of the Church from alienation, and lay usur- 
pations. There was one which promoted the crusading zeal 
both by spiritual promises and menaces. And among the most 
important we may consider that (the 17th) which prohibited 
abbots and monks from the performance of public masses, the 
administration of the holy chrism, and other religious services, 
and confided those solemn offices entirely to the secular clergy. 
This was an early and very public manifestation of that jealousy 
between the two orders of the Romish hierarchy, which in a 
later age displayed itself so generally as to become an eflficient 
instrument in working its overthrow. 
Poimlav tu- Callxtus died in 1124 ; and during the thirty years which fol- 
Rume.'' lowed, the pontifical city enjoyed scarcely any intermission from 
discord and convulsion. The names of Ilonorius and Innocent f 

* About a thousand juulates wore present, of whom atove three hundred were 
bishops, and above six hundred abbots. Many pontifical councils had been pre- 
viously held at the Lateran, but this was the first which obtained a place among 
the General Councils. 

f The pontificate of Innocent II., thou;^h interrupted by frequent dissension, 
was the longest and the most imporUmt. 


and Anaclete and Eiigenius, with some others, pass by in rapid 
and tumultuous procession. The chair, which was generally 
contested, was seldom maintained to any good purpose ; and 
one of its possessors, Lucius II., was actually murdered by the 
populace in an attempt to restore tranquillity. 

But we must here observe, that the popular conunotions of Remarks 
this period were not of the same description with those which ^.^aracter, 
we have already found occasion to notice; the question of papal 
election had ceased to be their sole, or even their principal, 
cause ; the turbulence which had been occasioned by the abuse 
of that right and prolonged by the endeavour to reclaim it, 
was now founded in a deeper and much more powerful motive. 
A party had lately grown up in the Roman city of patriots 
ambitious to restore the name, and, as some might fondly deem, 
the glory of the ancient republic. And the first and necessary 
step towards the accomplishment of this scheme was the sub- 
version, or, at least, the entire reconstruction of the ecclesiastical 
system. To diminish the privileges, to reduce the revenues of 
the Church, to deprive the pontiff of temporal power and all 
civil jurisdiction, and to degrade (should we not rather say, to 
exalt ?) his stately splendour to the homeliness of his primitive 
predecessors — these were the projects preparatory to the poli- 
tical regeneration of Rome. About the year 1135, Arnold, Arnold of 
a native of Brescia, a disciple of the celebrated Abelard, returned Brescia. 
to Italy from the schools of Paris, and having assumed the 
monastic habit, began publicly to preach and declaim against 
the vices of the clergy. Arnold maintained that there was no 
hope of salvation for prelates who held baronies, or for any 
clerks or monks who possessed any fixed property ; that those 
possessions belonged to the prince, and that he alone could 
bestow them, and on laymen only ; that the clergy ought to 
live on the tithes and the voluntary oblations of the people, 
content with a moderate and frugal sufficiency*. It is admitted 
by a Catholic writer f, that the pomp of the prelates, and 
the soft licentious life both of clerks and monks, furnished 
abundant materials for his demmciations ; but it is complaineiJ 

* Pagi, Vit. Innocunt. II., sect. Ixix., refers to Otho rrisingeusis. 
f Fleiiry, H. E., lib.lxviii., sect. D5. 


that he exceeded the Hraits of truth and moderation ; and it is 

besides asserted,, that his orthodoxy was hable to suspicion, and 

that he held some unsound opinions respecting the Eucharist 

and infant baptism. In consequence of these various charges. 

Second La- he was condemned by the Second Lateran (or Tenth General) 

Council Council, held by Innocent II., in 1139: he immediately retired 

1139 A.jj. from Italy, and transferred his popular declamation to Zurich^ 

in Switzerland. 

That council is stated to have been composed of about a 
thousand bishops ; and it published thirty canons, which are 
collected by Baronius (ann. 1139). They were directed for 
the most part against the ecclesiastical abuses of the day — 
against simony ; against the marriage, or concubinage, of the 
clergy ; against the practice of medicine by monks or canons ; 
and for the stricter morality of clerks and nuns. They like- 
wise condemned usurious exactions and uncanonical marriages, 
and prohibited the possession of tithes by the laity. 

Not many years after his condemnation, Arnold, encouraged 
by the independent spirit which was rising at Rome, boldly 
selected that metropolis for the scene of his two-fold exertions 
against papacy and despotism. In the mean time (in the year 
1154) a man of decided firmness and energy had obtained 
Adrian IV. possession of the chair. Adrian IV., the only Englishman who 
ever attained that dignity, had raised himself from the very 
lowest office in society* to the throne of St. Peter; and though 
the arrogance which he then exhibited might entirely belong to 
his latest fortunes, an intrepid resolution, tempered by the most 
refined address, must have characterised every stage of his pro- 
gress; since these are qualities which offices and dignities may 
exercise, but can never bestow. In the year following his 
elevation, one of his cardinals was dangerously wounded in 
some tumult, excited by the associates of Arnold. Adrian 
instantly placed the city of Rome under an interdict; the 
churches were closed, and the divine offices for some time sus- 
pended, in the very heart of the Catholic Church. The priests 

* His name was Nicholas Breakspeare : going to Aries, in Provence, he was 
admitted in the (luality of sei vaut to tlie canons ot St. Rufus; he presently became 
monk, and in the sequel abbot and general of the order. 


and the people wearied the pontifical chair with supplications 
for a recall of the edict; but Adrian did not relent until Arnold 
and his associates were expelled from the city. "All the people 
(says Fleury) blessed God for this mercy : on the following 
day (Holy Thursday), they rushed from every quarter to 
receive the customary absolution, and a vast multitude of pil- 
grims was also present. Then the pope, attended by bishops 
and cardinals, and a numerous troop of nobles, came forth 
from his residence, and crossing the extent of Rome, amidst 
the acclamations of the people, arrived at the Lateran Palace, 
where he celebrated the festival of Easter." 

Soon afterwards, Arnold unhappily fell into the power of 
Frederic Barbarossa, who was then in Italy on his advance to 
Rome ; and the emperor, probably actuated by a common 
dislike to independence and innovation under every form, 
yielded up his prisoner to the solicitations of the pope. He 
was conducted to Rome, and subjected to the partial judgment 
of an ecclesiastical tribunal. His guilt was eagerly pronounced; 

the prefect of the city delivered his sentence, and he was burnt Execution 
T -1 f 1 1 r ^ 1 5) ^f Arnold, 

alive, " ni the presence ot a careless and ungratetul people. 

But lest this same multitude, with the same capriciousness, 

should presently turn to adore the martyr and offer worship at 

his tomb, his ashes were contemptuously scattered over the 

bosom of the Tiber. His name has been the subject of splendid 

panegyric and scandalous calumny : with his claims to political 

celebrity we have no concern in this history ; but in respect to 

his disputes with the Church, we may venture to rank Arnold 

of Brescia among those earnest but inconsiderate reformers, 

whose premature opposition to established abuses has produced 

little immediate result, except their own discomfiture and 

destruction ; but whose memory has become dear, as their 

example has been useful, to a happier and a wiser posterity, 

whom we celebrate as martyrs to the best of human principles, 

and whose very indiscretions we account to them for zeal and 


Frederic Barbarossa, whose elevation was nearly contempo- Frederic 

raneous with that of Adrian, had also announced his intention j.^^.^^^ " 

to restrain the increasincr wealth and moderate the insolence of 



the pope and his clergy ; and in 1155, he proceeded to Rome 
for the purposes of celebrating his coronation and commencing 
his reform : but he found the pontitl* as firm and as powerful 
to resist imperial interference, as to quell domestic disorder. 
And so far was Adrian, on this occasion, from betraying the 
interests of his order, or the prerogatives of his office, that he 
even asserted a recent and ambiguous and singvdarly offensive 
claim — he demanded the personal service of the emperor to 
hold his stirrup when he mounted his horse*. A precedent for 
this indignity having been pointed out to him, Barbarossa, the 
haughtiest prince in li^urope, at the head of a powerful and 
obedient army, submitted to an office of servitude, which he 
may possibly have mistaken for Christian hr.mihation. But, 
however that nu\y l)e, the tiium])li of the see over so great a 
monarch proved the substantial reality of its power, and the 
awe which it deeply inspired into the most intrepid minds. 

Some vexatious pretensions of Adrian respecting the regalia, 
and a gratuious insinuation that Frederic held the empire as 
a fief (beneficium) from Rome, served to keep alive a jealous 
irritation between the Ciun-ch and tlie empire, though peace 
was not actually interrupted. Frederic, on the other hand, 
His law (in published, in 1158, an edict, of which the object was to prevent 
of fie?s"^'''' the transfer of liefs without the knowledge aiul consent of tlie 
superior, or lord in whose name they w^re held. It was by 
such unauthorized transfers of feudal property that the terri- 
tories of the Church had tor a long period been gradually 
swollen, so as to spread themselves in every direction over the 
surface of Europe. The law in cpiestion was well calculated 
to check their further increase, and it seems to have been the 
first that was enacted for that purpose. Its obvious tendency 
did not escape the directors of the Church; but the opposition 
which it had peculiarly to expect from the Holy See was sus- 
pended by the death of Adrian and the confusion which fol- 
lowed it. 

Alexander III. was immediately elected by a very large 

* "This homaj^e (says Gibbon) was jaid by kings to archlnsliops, and by- 
vassals to their lords ; and it was the nicest policy of Rome to confound the marks 
of filial and feudal subjection." Chap. Ixix. 


majority of the cardinals; but as some of the other party still Election of 
persisted in supporting a rival named Octavian*, Frederic, on m^ 
his own authority, summoned a General Coimcil at Pavia to 
decide on their claims. Alexander disputed the Emperor's 
ri^ht to arbitrate or at all to interfere in the schisms of the 
Church f; and, as he refused to present himself at the Council, 
his rival was declared to be duly elected, and the decision re- 
ceived the approbation of the Emperor. But Alexander was 
still sustained by the more faithful and powerful party within 
the Church, and acknowledged by most of the sovereigns of 
Europe ; and from these supports he derived confidence suffi- 
cient to excommunicate his adversary, and to absolve his sub- 
jects from their oath of fidelity. But Frederic did not feel the 
blow ; he proceeded to place his creature in possession of the 
pontifical city, while Alexander adopted the resolution, so com- 
monly followed by his successors in after ages, to seek security 
in the territories of France. He withdrew to Montpelier with He retires 
his whole coin-t, and resided in that neighbourhood for the 
space of three years, till circumstances enabled him to return 
to Rome in 1105. Here he was soon afterwards assailed by 
Frederic in person, and though defended for some little time 
by the ambiguous and venal fidelity;}; of the Romans, he was 
finally obliged to escape in the disguise of a pilgrim. He 
retired to Benevento, but not till he had tlnnulered another 
anathema against Frederic ; and on this occasion he not only 
deprived him of the throne, but also forbade, "by the authority 

* After the death of Ocfavi.ui, fVlexaiulLT had still to strugt,fle successively 
with three other antipopes. The second, called by his adherents Calixtus III., 
was aiipiiiiited iu lltiS, and ahdicated in about ten years; bnt his party replaced 
him by another puppet, whom tbey c.dled Innocent III. 

f Frederic had two precedents fur his claim, thou^'h be might not perhaps 
nuich regard, or even know, that circumstance. In 408 Ilunorius held a Council 
at Ravenna to decide the disputed election between Boniface and Eulalius, and 
his decision was followed by the Clunxh. Afterwaids the schism between S3111- 
machus and Lauientius was terminated by Theodoric, though an Arian. The 
imperial power does not appear to have been disputed in either instance. 

+ It appears that he could secure little influence over the Roman people, "who, 
pretending to wish well to both parties, were faithful to neither," until be received 
a large sum of money from William, his Sicilian vassal. Fleury, H. K., liv. Ixxi., 
sec. 34. &.C. &c. 


of God, that he should thereafter have any force in battle, or 
triumph over any Christian ; or that he should enjoy anywhere 
peace or repose, until he had given sufficient proofs of his 
penitence*." The denunciations contained in this frightful 
sentence were not, indeed, wholly accomplished ; yet did it so 
come to pass, that Frederic was obliged to retire almost imme- 
diately from Rome by the sickness of his army ; and that, in 
the lonof and destructive war which followed, he suffered such 
reverses as to find it expedient (in the year 1177) to sign a 
but finally disadvantageous treaty with the Popef. The war was for the 
"ii™P "■ most part carried on in the North of Italy ; and as it was 
fomented by the address and policy, rather than by the sword, 
of Alexander, the calm expression of his exultation was in 
some manner justified — " it hath pleased God (he said) to 
permit an old man and a priest to triumph without the use of 
arms over a powerful and formidable emperor;};." 

From that time Alexander possessed in security the chair 

which he had merited by his persevering exertions, as well as 

by his various virtues. He immediately turned his attention 

to the internal condition of the Church, and his first object was 

to remove from his successors an evil which had so long and so 

dangerously afflicted himself. Accordingly he summoned (in 

Third La- 1179) a Council, commonly called the third of Lateran, and 

Council, there enacted those final regulations respecting papal election 

1179 A.D. ^vliich have already been mentioned ; and they were so effectual, 

that, diu'ing the 600 following years, a double choice (as 

Gibbon has observed) only once distvu'bed the unity of the 


Itsprinci- '^l he third Lateran, or eleventh General Council was com- 

pal canons. pQgg^i ^f three hundred Bishops, and published twenty-seven 

* See Pagi, Vit. Alexandii III., sect. 66, who reasonably assigns this event to 
the year 1167. 

f Alexander is accused, and with some justice, of having too exclusively con- 
sulted his own interests in this aflair, and of having negotiated a truce only for 
his faithful allies, while he secured an honourable and profitable peace for himself. 
Denina (Rivol. d'ltal. L. xi. C. iv.) calls it a "Pace particolare fra Alessandro 
III. e Federico.'' 

X Muratori, in his forty-eighth dissertation, describes Frederic as " Vir alti 
animi, acris ingenii, multarumque virtutum consensu ornatus." 


canons for the regulation of ecclesiastical aftairs. These pro- 
hibited any man from being raised to a Bishopric under thirty 
years of age, or to any inferior dignity under twenty-five. They 
restrained the luxury and exactions of Bishops and their trains 
in the course of their visitations. They forbade any one to be 
ordained without a title. They abolished all fees on the en- 
thronement of Bishops and the installation of other dignitaries, 
and also on sepulture, marriage and the other sacraments. 
They denounced the incontinence of the clergy, and the pos- 
session of pluralities, an abuse which at that time had grown to 
great excess in the Church. At the same time they protected 
the clergy against the extortions of the civil magistrate — and 
while they prohibited tournaments and confirmed the '' Truce 
of God," they excommunicated the Paterini, Cathari and other 
heretics, and sanctioned the invocation of the secular power for 
their extinction*. 

Among the very few characters which throw an honourable Viitnes of 
lustre upon the dark procession of pontifical names, we may ut^^" ^^ 
confidently record that of Alexander III., not only from the 
splendour of his talents, his constancy, and his success, but from 
a still nobler claim which he possesses on our admiration. He 
was the zealous champion of intellectual advancement, and the 
determined foe of ignorance. The system of his internal ad- 
ministration was regulated by this principle, and he carried it 
to the most generous extent. He made inquiries in foreign 
countries, and especially in France, for persons eminent for 
learning, that he might promote them, without regard to birth 
or influence, to the highest ecclesiastical dignities. He caused 
large numbers of the Italian Clergy, to whom their own country 
did not supply suflicient means of instruction, to proceed to 
Paris for their more liberal education ; and having learnt, that 
in some places the chapters of cathedrals exacted fees from 
young proficients before they licensed them to lecture publicly, 
Alexander removed the abuse, and abolished every restriction 
which had been arbitrarily imposed on the free advance of 

* William of Tyre (De Belle Sacro, Lib. xxi.) mentions that he was present, 
and, at the request of the Fathers, wrote an account of the council, extant in the 
archives of Tyre. 


learning. At the same time he was not so blinded by his zeal, 
as to consider the mere exercise of the understanding as a 
sufficient guarantee for moral improvement. But observing, 
on the contrary, with great apprehension the progress of the 
scholastic system of theology, and the numberless vain dispu- 
tations to which it gave rise, he assembled a very large Council 
of Men of Letters* for the purpose of condemning that system, 
and discouraging its prevalence at Paris. 
Celestiae ^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ 1181 : in the course of the ten following years 
II J" fom- pontiffs ruled and passed away, and in 1191 the chair was 

occupied by Celestine III., the fifth from Alexander. This 
prelate has deserved a place in the history of mankind by the 
protection which he afforded to Richard 1. of England, when 
imprisoned on his return from the Holy Land. He died in 
1198, and was succeeded by Lotharius, Count of Segni, a 
Cardinal Deacon, who assumed the name of Innocent III. 
Observa- We shall conclude this account with a few of the observations 
tionsonthe ^yjii^]^ most naturally offer themselves. From the moment that 

dissensions J 

of this pe- the Roman See put forward its claims to temporal autliority, 
its liistory presents a spectacle of contentions, varying indeed in 
character and in bitterness, but in their succession almost un- 
interrupted. The retrospect of the period of one hundred and 
fifteen years, of which the most memorable circumstances have 
now been related, presents to us a mass of angry dissensions, 
which may generally be distinguished into three classes : (1.) 
The first and most prominent of these contains such quarrels 
as arose in continuation of the grand debate between tlie pope- 
dom and the empire. It was not sufficient that the original 
matter of dispute was removed by the concordat of Calixtus ; 
the roots of animosity lay deeper tlian the form of an investi- 
ture, and they ]iad branched out more widely and more vigor- 
ously diu'ing the contest which succeeded that concordat. 
The coronation of every new emperor was now attended by a 
new dispute, which usually caused inmnediate bloodshed, and 
was sometimes prolonged into obstinate warfare. Rome had 

* Three thousand Gens de lettres are said to have been assembled on that 
occasion. Hist. Litt. de la France, xii siecle, 



never a more formidable German adversary than Frederic 
Barbarossa ; yet so far was he from obtaining any lasting ad- 
vantage over her, that the papal pretensions appear to have 
gained considerably both in consistency and general credit 
during his reign, or, to speak more properly, during the pon- 
tificate of Alexander III. Frederic was not justified in con- 
testing the legitimacy of that pontitt". Whatsoever general 
rights he might possess over the Roman church (and they were 
very vague and could only be temporal) ; whatsoever prece- 
dents he might plead for interference (and those were very 
remote, and not wholly applicable to the present case) ; the 
election of Alexander was unquestionably valid, according to 
the canons which had been enacted a centvu-y before and never 
repealed nor contested ; and according to the practice of the 
See since the days of Gregory VII. Assuredly, the desire to 
recover an obsolete privilege, virtually ceded by the silence of 
intervening treaties, was excuse insufficient for that violent 
opposition, whicli did properly terminate in defeat and humilia- 
tion, as it was commenced and continued in injustice. 

(2.) The contentions among the rival candidates for the 
pontifical chair, so scandalous and so usual in former periods, 
had abated nothing of their rage in the present; for though 
they changed their character, they lost not any part of their 
virulence, from the intermixture of political animosity. The 
short reigns of the greater number of the pontiffs, and the most 
trifling divisions in the college, gave frequent occasion, and 
some pretence, for popular interference ; and this could never 
be exercised without excess. The retjulation of Nicholas II. 
was not in fact of much real advantage, except as a preparatory 
measure to that of Alexander III., — for it was vain to exclude 
from positive election an unprincipled and venal mob, as long 
as they retained a negative influence — it w^as of no avail, as a 
final arrangement, to forbid theirsuffrage, and to require their 
consent, — for the turbulent expression of their disapprobation 
was instantly seized by the defeated candidate, as furnishing 
some hope for success, or, at least, some plea for perseverance. 
And perhaps it was not the least evil of those tunmlts, that 
they encouraged and almost invited the interference of the 


emperor, so seldom offered with any friendly intention. There 
was no other possible method of securing at once the justice 
and decency of papal election, than by the entire exclusion of 
the people — this measure was at length effected by Alexander. 
(3.) Of another description again were those dissensions, 
which distracted the several kingdoms of Europe by the inter- 
nal division of the Church and the state — that is, by the opposi- 
tion of the ecclesiastical to the civil authorities. But since in 
these matters the affairs of every nation constitute histories es- 
sentially distinct from each other, and mainly influenced, in 
every instance, by civil concerns ; and since the detached inci- 
dents which we might produce would form independent nar- 
ratives, standing, for the most part, on separate foundations, it 
would be difficult, in these pages, to give them consistency, or 
even coherence. We must, therefore, content ourselves with 
referrino- to the annals of the different nations for the details 
of such disputes; to those of France, for instance, for the 
quarrel between Louis le Gros and the bishop of Paris, who 
had the boldness to excommunicate his sovereign ; and to those 
of our own country for the particulars of the aggression of 
William Rufus on the property of the Church, made during 
the pontificate of Urban II., and of the protection perseveringly 
vouchsafed to Thomas a Becket by the piety, or policy, of 
Alexander III. 

To those abovementioned we might reasonably add another 
form of discord which was beginning obscurely to present itself, 
with omens and menaces of tribulation. The voice of heresy 
had been already raised in the valleys of France, and the 
ministers of spiritual despotism had already bestirred them- 
selves for its suppression. But this subject is so peculiarly 
connected with the celebrity of Innocent III., that we shall 
not disconnect it from his name. 
Education II. The gradual establishment of the peculiar doctrines and 
fogical^"' practices of the Church of Rome, though occasionally influenced 
learning, by the vicissitudes of literature, is not inseparably connected 
with its history, but was promoted in different ages by very 
different causes. It is, indeed, remarked, that in the tenth 
century the disputes respecting predestination and other subtile 


questions became less common, and gave place to the final 
establishment of the doctrine of pui-gatory- — a change well 
suited to the transition from an age (the ninth), distinguished 
by some efforts of intellectual inquisitiveness, into one remark- 
able for the general prostration of the human understanding. 
But, on the other hand, we find that, in the eleventh and 
twelfth ages, the necessity of 5ecre/ confession was more strictly 
and assiduously inculcated ; yet the firmer riveting of that 
spiritual chain cannot certainly be attributed to any further 
access of darkness. In fact, the contrary was the case, since 
the partial revival of letters is very justly ascribed to that 
period. But the innovation which we have last mentioned, 
and to which others might be added, was probably occasioned 
by the disputes then prevailing between the Church and the 
empire, which made it necessary to extend, by every exertion, 
the influence of the clergy over their lay fellow-subjects. Again, 
the use (or rather the abuse) of indulgences in the place of 
canonical penance, which grew up in the twelfth age, was one 
of the first and most pernicious consequences of the crusades, 
and wholly independent of the growth and movements of lite- 
rature. But notwithstanding these and many other points of 
disconnexion, there has ever existed a sort of general corre- 
spondence between religion and learning, most especially re- 
markable in those ages when the ministers of the one could 
alone give access to the mysteries of the other, and when the 
only incentive to studious application was religiovis zeal or ec- 
clesiastical ambition ; so that it would be as improper entirely 
to separate those subjects as it would be impossible, in these 
pages, to enter very deeply into discussion concerning the ec- 
clesiastical literature of so many ages. We shall therefore 
content ourselves with striving, from time to time, to illustrate 
this work by such subsidiary lights, as may most obviously 
present themselves, so far, at least, as regards the different 
forms of theological learning, and the methods of theological 
education. At present, after a very brief review of earlier 
times, we shall conclude our imperfect inquiries at the end of 
the eleventh century. 

The earliest schools established in the provinces of the Early 



Western empire were of civil foundation, and intended entirely 
for the purposes of civil education ; and so they continued 
until the social system was subverted by the barbarian con- 
qiiest. This revolution affected literary institutions in common 
with all others ; in the course of the sixth century profane 
learning entirely disappeared, together with the means of ac- 
quiring it ; and before its conclusion, the office of instruction 
had passed entirely into the hands of the clergy. The muni- 
cipal schools of the empire gave place to cathedral or episcopal 
establishments, w^hich were attached, in every diocese, to the 
residence of the bishop ; and throughout the country elemen- 
tary schools were formed in many of the monasteries, and even 
in the manses of the parochial priesthood. 
In Italy. The system of education wliich prevailed in those of Italy, 
and which was probably very general, is described by the 
canon* which enjoins it: — " Let all presbyters who are ap- 
pointed to parishes, according to the custom so wholesomely 
established throughout all Italy, receive the younger readers 
into their houses with them, and feedinor them, like orood 
fathers, with spiritual nourishment, labour to instruct them in 
preparing the Psalms, in industry of holy reading, and in the 
law of the Lord.'' Such regulations prove, no doubt (if they 
were really enforced), that the education of the clergy was not 
entirely neglected : but they prove also, that education, even in 
that early age, was confined to the clei-gy, and that it embraced 
no subjects of secular erudition. It is true, indeed, that the 
. names of rhetoric, dialectics, and the former subjects of civil 
instruction, were perpetuated in the ecclesiastical seminaries ; 
but those sciences were only taught as they were connected, or 
Might be brought into connexion, with theology, and made in- 
strumental in the service of the Church j. 

* Concilium Vasense Secundum (529 A.D.) The materials for the following 
jiages are jirineipally taken from the Dissertations (43 and 44) of Muratori, the 
Hist. Litt. de la France, two Discourses of Floury, and tlie lOth Letjon of Guizi't. 

f The reproach addressed by Grej^ory the Great to St. Dizier, hishopof Vienne, 
is commonly known. That prelate had ventured to deliver lessons on " Grammar" 
in his cathedral schools: '' It is not meet (said the Pope) that lips consecrated 
to the praises of God should open to those of .Jui)ifer." The extensive meaniojj 
then attached to the word grammar will be mentioned presently. 


But even this partial glimmering of knowledge was extin- 
guished hy the invasion of the Lombards, and the very genius 
of Italy seems to have been chilled and contracted by the iron 
grasp of the seventh century. Rome alone retained any warmth 
or pulsation of learning: if learning that can be called, which 
scarcely extended beyond a superficial acquaintance vvitli the 
canons of the Church. And thoutrh there exist some monu- 
nients which appear to prove the existence of presbyteral or 
archipresbyteral schools in the eighth century, we need scarcely 
hesitate to prolong to the niiddle of that age the stupefaction 
of the preceding, and to attribute the first movement of reani- 
mation to the touch of Charlemagne or his immediate prede- 

\Miile Italy was thus lifeless, some seeds from the plant of in France, 
knowledge, which had been blown to the western extremity of 
Europe, took root there, and reached a certain maturity. Ac- 
cordingly, we find it recorded, that " two Irishmen, persons in- 
comparably skilled in secular and sacred learning," had reached 
the shores of France, and were giving public lectures to the 
people*. Their fame reached the ears of Charlemagne, who 
immediately employed them in the education of the youth of 
(I'aul and Italy. 

Alcuin, as we have mentioned, enjoyed the honour of afford- Exertions 
ing personal instruction to the emperor and presiding over his "fChiu-le- 
Palatine school; and Dungal, another native of Ireland j-, has 
acquired some importance in the history of Italy by the les- 
sons which he deli\ered in her schools. This eagerness of 
Charlemagne to avail himself of foreign talent and acquire- 
ments evinces his earnestness in the prosecution of his great 
project, to civilize by the path of knowledge — a project which 
failed, indeed, through the perversity of political circumstances 
and the incapacity of most of his successors, but which, if per- 
severingly pursued, must generally be successful, because it is 

* Not gratuitonsly, it would seem, as literary missionaries, but for money con- 
tributed by their hearers. 

f Scotus : a term which was long confined to tire sister island. Muraturi 
condescends to employ some pains to ascertain whether or not Dungal was a 
monk, as were his two compatriots mentioned in the text — a question deemed of 
some importance to the honour of the monastic order. 


in unison with the natural indinations, and energies, and pro- 
spects of the mind of man. 

France profited by this conjuncture more rapidly than Italy, 
as she had not previously fallen quite so low in ignorance ; and 
it Avould even seem that the schools, which were now instituted 
in that country, were open to the laity, as well as to those in- 
tended for the saci-ed profession, though the office of instruc- 
tion remained entirely in the hands of the clergy. But it is 
certain, that very few were found to avail themselves of a privi- 
lege, of which they knew not the value. Among the numerous 
names which adorn the literary annals of France during the 
ninth century, there are scarcely one or two, which are not ec- 
clesiastical. Even Germany outstripped, in the race of im- 
provement, the languid progress of Italy ; and vmder a sky so 
splendidly prolific of taste and genius, there arose not any one 
character conspicuous, even in his own day, for intellectual ad- 
vancement, through a space of more than four centuries*. And 
this extraordinary dearth of merit is not entirely to be charged 
on the neglect of rulers, whether temporal or spiritual. Italy 
shared with his other provinces the admirable institutions of 
Charlemagne and of some of his successors; and there are 
canons of Roman councils still extant, published in the ninth 
century, in the years 826 and 853, which directed the suspen- 
sion of any among the priesthood who should be convicted of 
ignorance^ and provided means for the instruction of the rural 
clergy -j-. But these measures, though they might possibly 
secure a mediocrity of theological acquirement, were insuffi- 
cient to call forth any commanding spirit into the field of lite- 

The tenth century did not increase the store of knowledge, 
nor multiply the candidates for fame either in Italy or France;};. 

* Some may consider Pope Nicholas as an exception ; and he certainly pos- 
sessed great talents, and was not devoid of canonical learning, though in both 
respects probably much inferior to Hincmar. But his character was essentially 
ecclesiastical ; it is not adorned by any recollection purely literary. 

f The decree of Pope Leo IV. is cited by Muratori. 

+ The two leading literary heroes of France during this age were (1.) St. Odo, 
abbot of Chini, who wrote some theological works and a Life of St. Gregory of 
Tours — he died in 942 — and (2.) Frodoard, canon of Rheims, who composed the 


In France, the depredations of the Normans during the con- Destruction 
elusion of the precedingf age destroyed not only the leisure and °f l"f""- 

1 o o J J senilis. 

security, but even the means and food of study. For, in their 
savage incursions, those unlettered pagans directed their rage 
against the monasteries, as being the principal seats of letters 
and religion ; the buildings were reparable, but the man\iscripts 
which they contained perished irretrievably. Nor was this the 
only calamity, nor even the most fatal of the injuries, which Infl.ience 
obstructed the progress of learning ; for it was during the same feudal 
period that the kingdom of France was broken up into small system, 
principalities under independent liereditary vassals, who de- 
spoiled the people of the few rights and blessings which they 
had possessed under a single sceptre, and whose rule permitted 
the license which their example encouraged. In the prostra- 
tion of human laws, the law divine was easily forgotten, and 
the hand, which was accustomed to robbery, did not long 
refrain from sacrilege. In such wild periods, the wealth and 
the weakness of the clergy have always pointed them out as 
the earliest victims*; and this domestic anarchy was probably 
more effectual in arresting the steps of learning and civilization, 
than the more transient tempests of foreign invasion. We shall 
here only pause to remark, that during the struggles of this 
frightful period, the defence of the tower of knowledge, as 
heretofore its construction, was entrusted by Providence to ec- 
clesiastical hands ; while its walls were incessantly menaced or 
violated by a lawless military aristocracy, which had closely 
wrapped itself in ignorance, and was partly jealous and partly 
contemptuous of every exertion to improve and enlighten man- 

We are not surprised to observe that a condition of civil General 
demoralization, such as then existed, shoidd have been attended "k'''''^ "«^« 

' and oe- 

by corruption in every rank of the clergy. The Bishops were moraliza- 
negligent and immoral, and the inferior orders indulged in still ^"^"' 

History of the Church of Rheims, and a Chronicle, extending from 919 to 966, 
the year of his death. 

* Most of the monasteries which escaped destruction fell into the hands of 
lai/ abbots, who used them as residences or castles, or usually as hunting seats. 
On the other liand, the foundation of Cluui, in the same age, compensated the 
loss of many old, and probably corrupt, establishments. 


crrosser vices and more offensive indecencies* ; and we may be 
well assured, that tlie laity were still further debased by the 
example of deformities, which their own turbulence had so 
m-eatlv tended to create. 

Comets, and eclipses, and earthquakes were fearful prodigies 
and sin-e prognostics of disaster, and the most penetrating 
astronomers! of the day shared (or pretended to share) the 
common solicitude. Enchantments, auguries, and divinations 
were ardently sought after, and commanded implicit belief. 
The forms of trial called " the Judgments of God," were of the 
same description, and scarcely less remote from the precincts 
of reason ; and yet these degrading superstitions, though never 
canonically received as a part of Church discipline, and even 
continually combated by the more enlightened ecclesiastics, 
were both respected and practised among the lower Clergy 
during this and the three following ages. 

Howbeit, even in the dreary records of this century we find 
traces of parochial schools for the instruction of children of both 
sexes^; and we read a long list of literary worthies, whose 
names have in many cases survived their works, and whose 
works were chiefly remarkable for the meanness of their sub- 
jects, and the perplexed or puerile manner in which they are 
treated. Yet even these are sufficient to exhibit to us the 
spirit of improvement striving against the casual torrents which 
threatened to wash it away; and though it unquestionably 
receded durinor the calamitous interval between the death of 
Hincmar and the end of the tenth century§, still, if we look 

* In the enumeration of these by the trul}- Catholic comjiilers of the Hist. Litt. 
de la France, it is mentioned, as nut the lightest scandal, that ' there were priests 
who dared to marry publicly.'' 

f Astrologers, we should rather say. Muratori (Dissert. 44) attributes the in- 
troduction of these vanities to the study of Arabic literature. But was that study 
generally in fashion before the time of Pope S3 Ivester ? 

I According to the regulations of that at Toul the children were admissible at 
seven years of age, and received their first lessons in the Psalms ; and it was pro- 
vided that the boys and giils should be taught separately. The parochial cures 
appear (as in Italy) to have had the charge of such establishments. 

§ About this time the establishment of some Greek commonalties took place in 
Lorraine, introducing a partial knowledge of that language. And these Orientals 
were there encountered by certain emigrants from Ireland — a country which appears 


somewhat farther back, and confine our attention to the country 
about which we are best informed, we need not hesitate to 
})ronounce that the hterary condition of France was, upon the 
whole, more prosperous \\hen Syhester II. ascended the eliair, 
than when Charlemagne mounted the throne of Rome. 

As to Italy, the spell which had bound her genius diu-ing the 
preceding centuries seemed to be confirmed and ri\eted in the 
tenth. It is true, that some schools were yet found scattered 
through the towns and villages, which may have raised the 
character of the clergy somewhat above the degradation of the 
seventh and eighth centuries, to which the Lombard conquest 
had reduced it : but the industry of those schools appears still 
to have been confined to the study of grammar and some 
necessary knowledge of canonical law ; and it is complained 
that the nobles, who sent their sons to them, had rather in view 
the episcopal dignities, for Avhich they thus became qualified, 
than the spiritual fruits of religious education. It is very pro- 
bable that they were attended by none of any class, excepting 
those intended for some branch of the ministry. 

These remarks sufficiently explain to what extremely narrow Literary 
limits was confined, both in respect to its character and ditfu- Jlf't'he'^dark 
sion, the learning of those ages which immediately followed ages, 
the subversion of the Western Empire. From civil, it had 
passed under ecclesiastical superintendence ; but the Church 
which undertook the charge was itself corrupted and barbarized 
by contact Avith the profound ignorance and rude character and 
institutions of the conquerors : so that the immortal models 
were neglected, the precepts of the ancient masters forgotten, and 
the whole light of literature, properly so called, extinguished. 
Nevertheless, we are not to suppose that the ecclesiastics of 
those days offered to their contemporaries no substitute for 
those treasures which they had not the means or the inclina- 
tion to dispense. On the contrary, their productions w^rc at 
some periods extremely abundant in number, and in character, 

never to have forfeited the affections, nor to have secured the residence, of its sons. 
" Nationem Scotorum quibus consuetude perej^rinandi jam paJiie in naturam con- 
versa est." Walafridus Strabus (liv. ii., c. 27, de vita Sancti Galli) apud Murat. 
Diss. 37. 



in many instances, far from unprofitable ; and on this last 
point there is one important observation, which it is here proper 
to make, and which we press the more seriously, because it is 
not commonly vu-ged. These writings were almost wholly con- 
fined to theological matters, and their object (however faultily 
it may sometimes have been pursued) was very freqviently 
practical. Instructions, sermons, homilies, interpretations and 
illustrations of scripture, were published in great profusion, and 
furnished to the people the only means of intellectual instruc- 
tion. It is true that they were rude and unskilfully composed; 
but they were addressed to rude assemblies, and were for the 
most* part directed to the moral improvement of those who 
read and heard them. Moreover, their tendency to that end, 
whatsoever it may have been, was at least not counteracted by 
any other description of literature : the great mass had one 
object only, and that, upon the whole, beneficial. Even the 
" Lives of the Saints," and other legends of those days, may 
have conduced, though by a ditTerent and more doubtful patli, 
to the same purpose ; for among the swarms of those compo- 
sitions which were then produced, and of which so many had a 
tendency to mere superstition, some may be found unquestion- 
ably calculated to move the real devotion and amend the moral 
principles of a barbarous people. Thus was there much, even 
in the effusions of the most illiterate times, which must have 
persviaded, influenced, and profited the generation to which 
they were addressed : but their action was confined to their 
own day, to the moment of their delivery ; they were not asso- 
ciated with any of the stable wisdom of former ages ; nor were 
they qualified, nor were they indeed intended, to fix the atten- 
tion of posterity. 
Scarcity of Italy had suffered to a certain extent from calamities siinilar 
scHpts ^^ those which suspended the progress of France, and which 

* It is unquestionable that these writinj^s contained a vast deal calculated to 
mislead — many errors of an absurd and superstitious tendency; but those evils 
were probably more than counterbalanced, in their immediate effect upon the 
people, by the expositions of sound doctrine and lessons of practical piety, which 
are even more abundant. We refer, as a fair example, to the passage of St. Eiigiup, 
cited in a former chapter. 


were there followed by the same moral degeneracy ; but these 
causes would scarcely have been adequate to so general an 
extinction, not of learning only, but almost of the curiosity and 
wish to learn, had they not been powerfully aided by another 
circumstance, which is less regarded by historians ; this was no 
other than the extreme scarcity and dearness of manuscripts. 
This misfortune was not entirely, nor even mainly, attributable 
either to the destruction of monasteries or the indolence of 
monks : a more creneral and substantial cause existed in the 
absolute deficiency of the material. The ancients had obtained 
from the shores of the Nile, through easy and continual inter- 
course with Alexandria, sufficient supplies of papyrus to satisfy 
at a slight expense their literary wants ; but after the conquest 
of Egypt by the Saracens, the communication became less fre- 
quent and secure, and the fabric of an implement of peace was 
probably discouraged by the warlike habits of the conquerors. 
At least it is certain that about that period the papyrus Ijegan 
to be disused throughout Europe, and that the monuments 
which remain of the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries are 
invariably composed of parchment. It was not possible, when 
the material was so expensive, that manuscripts could multiply 
very rapidly, or even that the losses occasioned by decay or 
devastation could be repaired with any facility; and thus the 
libraries of the cathedrals and monasteries, to which all the 
treasures of former ages were at this period confided, were 
gradually impoverished or destroyed. The records of the time 
abound with complaints of this general penury of books, as 
well as with facts in proof of it, one of which is the following : — 
In the year 855, Liqous, of Ferrara, wrote from his abbey, in 
France, to Pope Benedict III., praying for the loan of the 
concluding part of St. Jerome's Commentary on Jeremiah, 
with a promise that it should be speedily copied and returned 
■ — " for in our regions nothings is to be found later than the 
Sixth Book, and we pray to recover through you that which is 
wantino- to our own insimiificance." In addition to this, he 
ventured to solicit the use of three books of profane writers — 
the Treatise of Cicero de Oratore, the Institutions of Quintilian, 
and Donatus's Commentary on Terence. 



Muratori considers the zealous Abbot's request as unreason- 
able and immoderate, and we do not learn whether or not 
the Pope consented to grant it ; but if the resources of France 
were really unable to supply him with the books in question, 
we need not distrust him when he laments the general scarcity 
of ancient and valuable compositions. This consideration will 
prevent the disdainful feeling which is almost necessarily 
roused, when we observe a succession of generations plunged 
in torpid ignorance, without an effort to extricate themselves 
from shame, or to let loose the human mind on its natural 
career of advancement : it disposes us much more nearly to 
compassion — especially if we reflect how freqviently the energy 
of a vigorous and enterprising soul, secluded in the hermitage 
or the cloister, must have exhausted itself on the most con- 
temptible subjects, or pined away from the mere dearth of 
literary sustenance. We shall find little reason to be asto- 
nished that genius itself was so seldom able to emerge out of 
the noisome mist, and rise into li^ht and vigour, since its in- 
fancy was chilled by prejudices, unexcited by any wholesome 
exercise, and famished by the positive destitution of intellectual 
Invention The cause of literary stagnation which we have last men- 
tioned was removed in the eleventh century by the invention 
of paper*, and accordingly we find that the number of MSS. 
was greatly multiplied after that time|. But the fury of civil 
dissension was not mitiofated ; and vuidcr crovernments at the 
same time feeble and arbitrary, there was little encouragement 
for studious application, as indeed there was little honour, or 
even secAU'ity, except in the profession of arms. And in sad 
truth, during the earlier years of this age, the wildest disorders 
were of such ordinary perpetration, misery had such vmiversal 
prevalence, and injustice walked abroad so boldly and tri- 

* A very interesting account of the progress of paper-making, writing, printing, 
&c. may be found in the Life of Caxton published by this Society. 

f Still it was in the eleventh age that a Countess of Anjou is recorded to have 
purchased the Homilies of Hainion, at the price of 200 sheep, besides a very 
large payment in wheat, barley, skins, and other valuable articles. Hist. Litt. de 
la France, xi. siecle. 

of paper. 


umphantly, that there were those who held the persuasion that 
the millennarian prophecy had been ah'eady accomphshed ; that 
Satan had shaken off his fetters at the thousandth year, and 
was actually directing the evil destinies of the human race. 

At the same time, let us recollect that great exertions were Exertions 
made by the higher ecclesiastical orders to apply an intlirect ^^^^^^'^^ "^" 
but very powerful remedy to these excesses, by re-establishing 
the discipline of the Church. For this purpose, about eighty 
councils were held in France alone during the eleventh century*. 
We have already related how zealously the authority of Rome 
had engaged itself in the same cause ; and by a necessary re- 
action, the success of every effort for the improvement of 
morality was favourable to the advancement of literature. The 
example of Sylvester II. might be sufficient to rouse the jealous 
emulation of Italy ; and Sylvester loft to that country not his 
example only, but the fruits of his active zeal in encouraging 
the learned of his own time, and in establishing schools and 
collecting libraries for the use of other generations. Some of 
the Popes, his successors, followed his traces with more or less 
earnestness; and among the rest, Gregory VII. added to his 
extraordinary qualities the undisputed merit of promoting the 
progress of educationf . 

The voice of controversy, which was once more heard in this Lanfranc. 
century, not only created another motive for literary activity, 
but proved the revival of a spirit of inquiry, inconsistent at least 
with universal ignorance. The talents of Lanfranclj:, the earliest 

* The zeal which was apjilied i[i the bei,'inning of this age to the huikling and 
restoration of churches, basilica, monasteries, and other holy edifices, is warmly 
praised by ecclesiastical writers. " Erat enim instar ac si mundus ipse exmtiendo 
semet, rejecta vetustate, passim candidarum ecclesiarum vesteni indueret." Gla- 
brus Rodolph. apud Du Clusne, Script. Franc, lib. xiv., cap. 4, cited by Miiratori. 

f In a council held iu 1078, he strongly pressed on all bishops the necessity ot 
superintendmg education in their respective dioceses. 

X " Lanfrancus teneriorem astatem in sacularibus detrivit, sed in Scripturis 
divinis animo et a;vo maturavit." France was for some time the principal field 
of his exertions, and Muratori supposes that Ilildebrand, attracted by his cele- 
brity, may have visited that country for the puipose of hearing him. The name 
of Anselm succeeds to that of Lanfranc : that learned prelate was born at Aosta, 
which then belonged to the Duke of Burgundy— so that France disputes with 
Italy the honour of having produced him. lie too is considered by Muratori as 
having prepared the way for the scholastic system of theology. 


boast of reviving Italy, were animated by the " heresy " of Be- 
renger ; and to the ingenious disputations thus occasioned it is 
usual to attribute the growth of the new system of theological 
science, afterwards called Scholastic. 
Three cha- That Is a very broad, but in many respects a correct view of 
theological early theological literature, which distributes it into three jeras. 
literature, jii^g ^^,^j. ^^ fhese comprehends the whole list of the ecclesias- 
tical fathers — men who, though they varied exceedingly in 
character, style, and even opinion, were nevertheless united by 
one great principle ; for they acknowledged no other sources of 
faith, and reverenced no other authority, than Scripture and 
apostolical tradition. On this foundation, they boldly applied 
to the elucidation of religious subjects such reasoning and elo- 
quence as Nature had bestowed on them : perverted, it might 
be, by the pecvdiar prejudices of the times and countries wherein 
they lived, hut little restrained either by the use or abuse of 
educational discipline, and wholly exempt from servile sub- 
jection to the opinions of any predecessor. The characteristics 
of this age are such as we should expect from such principles 
■ — an overflow of piety stained by superstition, exuberance of 
learning without a proportionate fruit of knowledge, and sallies 
of oratory, which sometimes ascended into eloquence, and 
sometimes dwindled away into puerile declamation, or cold 
and empty allegory. This sera is by many extended down to 
the eighth century, and considered as properly terminating 
with John Damascenus ; but the concludinof half of the fourth 
age and the beginning of the fifth was the true period of its 
glory : and thence we may trace the gradual dissolution of its 
distinguishing qualities into that system which was afterwards 
established in its place and on its luins. 

The second was the vera, of intellectual blindness and de- 
pendence : its most laborious works were mere collections, 
quotations, and compilations ; as if the minds of that generation 
were stupified by gazing on the brilliant creations of their pre- 
decessors, till they mistook them for pure and inimitable per- 
fection. St. Augustine and St. Gregory were the idols of those 
abject worshippers ; and if their piety was sometimes kindled 
by the enthusiasm of the former, their catholic zeal and papal 


prejudices were more commonly (or at least more manifestly) 
nourished by the principles of Gregory. The termination of 
this period is fixed at the middle of the eleventh century : but 
its character had been partially interrupted by the writers of 
the ninth, and most especially by John Scotus; and his style 
and manner, as well as his opinions, were followed and revived 
by Berenger. 

The o-rand principle of the third ecra was the exaltation of 
reason to its proper pre-eminence over the influence of luuiian 
authority; a true and noble principle as long as reason itself 
can be restrained to its just province, so as neither to deviate 
into minute and barren sophistry, nor to break loose into those 
dark and interminable inquiries which God has closed against 
it. Unhappily it was not long before it fell into both these 
errors, which are, indeed, very closely connected. In the 
establishment and support of the scholastic theology, it so fre- 
quently descended to degrading artifice, and perplexed itself so 
blindly in the mazes of chicanery, as to make it doubtful 
whether religious truth was not more disfigured by the minute 
disceptations which thenceforward prevailed, than by the super- 
stitious extravagance of the first period, or the obsequious 
ignorance of the second. 

We shall recur to this subject hereafter. At present we need Objects of 
only remark, that during the latter half of the eleventh century ^'" ^' 
considerable addition was made both to the copiousness of 
libraries and the number of schools and of students, as well in 
Italy as in France*; but the course of study was still generally 
confined to the two paths denominated the Trivium and The Trivi- 
Quadrivium. The first of these embraced grammar, rhetoric, J'^^^jjj. 

* Schools of civil law were fuiinded in both those countries in the eleventh 
century, and acquired some eminence before its conclusion. Physic, of course, 
had never been entirely neglected ; and as wc find that by a council held at 
Rheims, in 1131, monks were forbidden the practice either of law or medicine, we 
would willingly have liojied that some attention now began to be paid to the edu- 
cation of the laity. But the prohibition only extended to the walls of the monas- 
teries ; the practice of those professions is described to have been very lucrative, 
and for that reason, and through the continued ignorance of the laity, even m the 
century following (if wo are to believe the compilers of the Hist. Litteraue;, there 
were scarcely any who professed medicine except clerks and monks; with the 
addition indeed of certain Jews, who were held the most skilful practitioners. 



and dialectics ; and grammar was defined to be " the art of 
writing and speaking well*/' and professed to comprehend the 
study of several classical as well as sacred writers. The know- 
ledge of arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy swelled 
the pretensions of the Quadrivium. 

But in real truth, the productions and language of the Greeks 
were wholly neglected and unknown. The science of criticism 
— the art of distinguishing what is graceful in style, and what 
is true in fact — was not cultivated ; and both the study and 
composition of history were still confined to legendary chro- 
nicles f, or to the ill-digested details of contemporary narrative. 
Besides which, the sciences professed were for the most part 
imperfectly understood e^'en by those who pretended to them ; 
and it is moreover admitted that^ as the students of those days 
usually affected to become acquainted with all the subjects 
placed before them, they generally departed without any pro- 
fitable knowledge of any of them. The great mass of the 
people had no education whatsoever. The result was such as 
must necessarily follow, Avhenever the possession of any valuable 
portion of literary acquirement is confined to very few indivi- 
duals : the possessors employed it to delude, at least as much 
as to enlighten, the people. So that those ages, deeply as they 
suffered from the scanty provision of useful and liberal know- 
ledge, were scarcely less vitiated through the inequality with 
which that little was distributed. The small number, who had 
penetrated the mysteries, felt too strongly the advantage and 
the power conferred by exclusive initiation, to desire their more 
general promulgation. The more numerous class, who from 
a distant and hasty glimpse had caught some imperfect in- 
sight, by communicating their own obscure views and mis- 
conceptions, disseminated many fanciful, if not pernicious, 
errors and absurd notions. So it proved, that the lights which 
were thus faintly transmitted to the body of the people, were 

* Hist. Lit. de la France, xii. siecle. 

f The first Christian chronicler was Gregory of Tours, whom we have men- 
tioned in the ninth chapter. His History of the Franks, which contains some 
faint indications of an educated mind, was not surpassed during the sixth century, 
nor the two which followed. Its continuation hy Fredegarius is in a still inferior 
style. _ 


not faint only, but sometimes false and deceitful also. And it 
is a question for the decision of philosophy, whether plain and 
downright ignorance, with all its demoralizing consequences, 
be not a condition of less danger and better hope, than one of 
mistake and delusion. 


The life of St. Bernard connected, within a few years, the pon- 
tificate of Gregory VII. with that of Alexander III. Born in 
1091, he flourished during one of the rudest periods of papal 
history; and he died (in 1153) just before the era commenced 
of its proudest triumphs, and, perhaps, of its deepest crimes. 
His actions and his writings throw the best light which now 
remains upon that period, and even the following short account 
of them will not be without its use. St. Bernard was a native 
of Fontaines, in Biu-gundy, and descended from a noble family. 
He entered, at the age of twenty-two, into the monastery of The foun- 
Citeaux, near Dijon ; and so earlv was the display of his *^^''°f'"any 

111-11 monas- 

zeal and Ins talents, that only two years afterwards he was teries. 
appointed to establish a religious colony at Clairvaux*, in the 
diocese of Langres. It grew with rapidity, and spread its scions 
with great luxuriance under his superintendence — so that at 
his decease, at no very advanced age, he was enabled to 
bequeath to the Church the inestimable treasure of about one 
hundred and sixty monasteries, founded by his own exertions. 
As for himself, though it seems clear that the Iiityhest ecclesi- 
astical dignities were open, and even offered to him, his humbler 
ambition was contented to preside over the society which he 
had first created, and to influence the character of those which 
had proceeded from it, by his counsel, example, and authority. 
But the influence of St. Bernard was not confined to his 
monastic progeny — it displayed itself in all grand ecclesiastical 
transactions, in France, in Germany, in Italy; from the altars 
of the church it spread to courts and parliaments. And, as it 
was founded on reputation, not on dignity; as it stood on no 

* Or Clairval— Clara Vallis. 


other ground than his wisdom and sanctity, so was it generally- 
exerted for good purposes; and always for purposes which, 
accordino- to the principles of that age, were accounted good. 

On the schism which took place after the death of Hono- 
rius II.*, St. Bernard advocated the cause of the legitimate 
claimant, Innocent II., with great zeal and effect. During 
eio-ht years of cpiarrel and turbulence he persevered in the 
struggle. His authority f unquestionably decided the king and 
the clergy of France. The king of England 'I at Chartres, the 
emperor at Liege, are stated to have listened and yielded to 
his persuasions. He reconciled Genoa and Pisa to the cause 
Hisexer- of Innocent. In the latter city a council was held in 1134, in 

ti^ons atthe J J J g^ Bernard was the movincr and animating spirit. 

Couiicu 01 . . 

Pisa. Nevertheless it is obvious, from the genuine piety which per- 

vades so many of his works, that his mind w^as then most at 
home when engaged in holy offices and pious meditation. How 
well soever he might be qualified to preside in the assemblies. 

* In 1130. Innocent II. succeeded, and ruled thirteen years and a half. 
Eugenius III. was elected 1 145, and reigiied for eight years. 

f The means by which ecclesiastical authority sometimes (and not, perhaps, 
very uncommonly) attained its ends in those days, are well displayed in the fol- 
lowing anecdote of St. Bernard. The Duke of Guienne had expelled the Bishops 
of Poitiers and Limoges, and refused to restore them, even on the solemn and re- 
peated injunctions of the pope and his legate. St. Bernard had exerted his in- 
fluence for the same purpose, equally in vain. At length, when celebrating, on 
some particular occasion, the holy sacrifice, after the consecration was finished 
and the blessing of peace bestowed upon the people, St. Bernard placed the body 
of the Lord on the plate, and carrying it in his hand, with an inflamed counte- 
nance, and eyes sparkling fire, advanced towardstho Duke, and uttered these thrill- 
uig words : — '• Thus far we have used supplication only, and you have despised 
us; many servants of God, who were present in this assembly, joined their 
prayers with ours, and you have disregarded them : behold, this is the Son of 
God, who is the King and Lord of the Church which you persicute, who now 
advances towards you; — behold your Judge ! — at whose name every knee bends 
in heaven, in earth, and beneath the earth. Behold the just fivengerof crimes, 
into whose hands that very soul which animates you will some day fall. Will 
you disdain him also P Will you dare to scorn the Master, as you have scorned 
his servants ?" This tremendous appeal was successful. The Duke is related to 
have fallen with his face to the earth when he heard it; the prelates were restored 
to their sees, and the schism extinguished. See Dupin, Nouvelle Bilioth., torn, ix., 
ch. iv. 

+ Ernardus, Vita Sancti Bernardi. Pagi, Gest. Pontif. Roman. Vit. Inno- 
cent. II. 


and rule the passions, and reconcile the interests of men, it was 
in the peaceful solitude of Clairvaux that his earthly affections 
were placed, and it was to the mercy-seat of heaven that his 
warmest vows and aspirations were addressed. Through these 
various qualities — through his charitahle devotion to the poor ; 
through that earnest piety which tinctured his writings with a 
character sometimes approaching to mysticism ; through his 
imitation of the ancient writers, Augustine and Ambrose ; 
through his zeal for the unity and doctrinal purity of the 
Cluu-ch, St. Bernard has acquired and deserved the respectable The last of 
appellation of the Last of the Fathers. 

The remaining works of St. Bernard consist of about four 
hundred and fifty Letters, a great number of Sermons, and some 
very important Tracts and Treatises. It would not here be 
possible, nor any where very profitable, to present a mere ana- 
lysis of compositions so mmierous and various. A great propor- 
tion of the matter is devoted to the ends of piety and charity, — 
to the exaltation of the soul of man, — and the inculcation of his 
hicrhest duties. On points of doctrine, the Abbo"^ of Clairvaux 
was too ardently attached to his Church to veuAU-e upon any 
deviation from the established, or, at least, the tolerated faith. 
On the important subject of grace, he appears to have followed His doc- 
the opinion of St. Augustine. He considered the freedom of ^'■'"®- 
will to be preserved by the voluntary consent which it gives to 
the operations of grace ; that that consent is indeed brought 
about by grace, but that being voluntary, and without cuu- 
straint, it is still free. The necessity of this freedom he argues 
at great length, as indispensable to any system of retribution*. 
" Where there is necessity there is not liberty ; where there is 
not liberty, neither is there merit, nor, consequently, judg- 
ment." (Ubi necessitas, ibi libertas non est ; ubi libertas non 
est, nee meritum, nee per hoc judicium.) On the other hand, 
he maintained the indisputable efficacy of grace ; and in de- 
fining the limits of its operation, and reconciling its overruling 
influence with the necessary liberty of a responsible agent, he 

* " Excepto sane per omnia originali peccato, quod aliam constat habere ra- 
tionem."— S. Beinardi '• Tractatus de Gratia et Libero Arbitrio." 


fathomed the depths, and, perhaps, exhausted the resources of 
human reason. 

As Lanfranc had been the champion of the Church against 
the heresy of Bercnger; as the admirable Ansehii * had main- 
tained the better reason and sounder doctrine against the dan- 
gerous subtilties of Roscelhnus f ; so St. Bernard, in his turn 
of controversy, was confronted with the most ingenious scho- 
Pet^r Abe- lastic of the acre, Peter Abelard. This celebrated doctor was 


born in Britanny, in 1079 ; and while St. Bernard was shaping 
his character and his intellect after the rigid model of Augus- 
tine, Abelard was learning a dangerous lesson of laxity in the 
school of Origen. We shall not trace the various and almost 
opposite heresies | into which he was betrayed by the obtuse 
subtilty of his principles ; still less are we disposed to investi- 
gate the oblique paths by which he reached those conclusions. 
It may suffice to say, that he was charged with being at the 

Anselm. * Anselm was probably born at Aosta in 1035, and died in 1105 ; and though 
he is claimed by the Gallican Church as its noblest ornament since the fiftli 
century, his history belongs more properly to our own. He wrote several works, 
against the " Greek Doctrine of the Holy Procession," — " On the Trinity and 
Incarnation," against Roscellinus, — " On the Immaculate Conception," — " On 
the Fall of the Devil,"—" On Freewill,"—" On Original Sin,"—" Necessity," 
— '' Predestination," — on which latter sulijects he had drawn at the well of St. 
Augustine. "His obsequies (says the writer in the Histoire Litteraire de la 
France) were preceded, attended, and followed by some miracles ; but the holy 
prelate had performed a vast number more during his lifetime." His Life, as 
given in the Histoire Litteraire, is an abridgment of that by the Monk Edmen, 
his pupil and panegyrist. 

f During the infancy of St. Bernard. 

1 The opinions generally attributed to him are, that he considered the doc- 
trine of the Trinity to have been known to certain ancient philosophers, and re- 
vealed to them in recompense for their virtues, — that the Son bore the same 
relation to the Father as the species does to the genus; as a certain power to 
power ; as materiatum to materia; as man to animal ; as a brazen seal to brass • 
— that be denied the Atonement, and reasoned against the murder of an innocent 
being as the means of appeasing God's anger; — thathe consequently denied the 
Redempliim, though he received the Incarnation as the properest method for 
illuminating the world with divine light and love; — that the Holy Ghost pro- 
ceeded from the Father and the Son, but not from their substance ; and that it 
was the soul of the world; — that it is not the fault, but the penalty, of original 
sin, which we derive from Adam ;— that free will, without the help of grace, was 
sufiicient for salvation. In addition to these and many other imputations, he 
was also charged before the Council of Soissons (1121) with Tritheism, and at 
the same time with having asserted that the Father alone was almighty. 


same time an Avian, a Nestorian, and a Pelagian ; and with 
as much justice, perhaps, as such charges were usually 
advanced by the Roman Catholic Church against its refractory 

The history of the crimes and the misfortunes of Abelard is 
known to every one. When the abbot of Clairvaux, in the 
course of his official visitation, inspected the nunnery of the 
Paraclete, he found the establishment well conducted, and he 
approved of every regulation. Only, in the version of the Lord's 
prayer there in use, he observed these words. — " Give us this 
day our super-substantial (sTriouatov) bread" — and he thought 
it insufferable that the very prayer, which the Deity had 
deio-ned to communicate to man for His own service, should be 
thus senselessly corrupted by the infection of Aristotle. Abelard 
defended his version ; and hence arose the first recorded alter- 
cation between those celebrated theologians. The strictures of 
St. Bernard irritated that vain scholastic ; and as it happened 
that a large assembly of the clergy of France was appointed to 
meet in the city of Sens, on some occasion deemed important*, 
Abelard challenged his rival to make good, in the presence of 
that august body, his repeated charges of heresy. St. Bernard 
would willingly have declined that conflict : he feared the supe- 
riority of an experienced polemic; — " I was but a youth f, and 
he a man of war from his youth. Besides, I judged it improper 
to commit the measures of divine faith, which rested on the 
foundations of eternal truth, to the petty reasonings of the 
schools." Howbeit, the counsel of his friends prevailed ; after 
some hesitation he accepted the challenge, and appeared on 
the appointed day. 

Louis VII. honoured the assembly with his presence; the Contro 
nobles of his court, the leading prelates and abbots, and the y'^''*)' ^« 
most learned doctors of the kingdom were there; and the highest Benianl 
expectations were raised, from one end of the realm to the ^^^^^ 

* For the translation of the body of some saint into the cathedral church. The 
assembly took place in 1140. 

f The Abbot probably meant a youth in controversy, — for as to a^e, he was 
then forty-nine, and his adversary ouly two years older. Mihiur, whose account 
of this transaction has great merit, seems to have understood him literally. 



other, by the rumour of this theological monomachy. The two 
champions were confronted. Bernard arose : " I accuse not 
this man ; let his own works speak against him. Here they 
are, and these are the propositions extracted from them. Let 
him say — I wi'ote them not ; or let him condemn them, or let 
him defend them against my objec'dons." The charges were 
not entirely read through, when Abelard interrupted the recital, 
and simply interposed his appeal to the p>ope. 1 he assembly 
W'as astonished at his hasty desertion of the field, which he 
had so lately sought, " Do you fear," said St. Bernard, " for 
your person? You are perfectly secure; you know that nothing 
is intended against yovi ; you may answer freely, and with the 
assurance of a patient hearing." Abelard only replied, " I have 
appealed to the court of Rome;" and retired from the assembly. 
" I know nothing," says Milner *, " in Bernard's history more 
decisively descriptive of his character, than his conduct in this 
whole transaction. By nature sanguine and vehement, by 
grace and self-knowledge modest and diffident, he seems on this 
occasion to have united boldness with timidity, and caution with 
fortitude. It was evidently in the spirit of the purest faith in 
God, as Avell as in the most charitable zeal for divine truth, 
that he came to the contest." 
His cede- Wc shall now proceed to consider St. Bernard in another 


* Church Hist. Cent. xii. ch. 2. This author is probably nearer to truth in 
liis praise of Bernard, than in his censure of the " heretic." The reason of 
Abelard's sudden appeal to a higher court was, unquestionably, his distrust of that 
before which he stood : he might doubt its impartiality, or he might certainly 
have discovered its determined prejudice against him; and that it was, in fact, very 
provident in him to appeal betimes from its decision is clearly proved by a pas- 
sage in the account which certain bishops of France addressed to the pope of the 
proceedings at Sens. " As the arguments of the Abbot of Clair vaux . . . convinced 
the assembled bishops that the tenets which he opposed were not only false, but 
hereticalj they, sparing hix (the heretic's) person out of deference to the apostolic 
see, condemned the opinions." " A loco et judice queni sibi ipse elegerat, sine 
laesione, sine gravamine, ut suam prolongaret iniquitatem, Sedem Apostolicam 
appellavit. Episcopi autem, qui propter hoc in unum convenerant, vestrse Reve- 
rentiae deferentes nihil in personam ejus egtrunt, sed tantummodo capitula libro- 
rumcjus," &c. &c. It is therefore maniiest that this appeal saved him from some 
personal infliction. This Letter is published among the works of St. Bernard 
p. 15G0, edit. Lutet. (Paris) 1640. After all, it is some satisfaction to record, that 
Abelard died (in 1142) in quiet obscurity, in the Monastery of Cluni, 


(if, indeed, it is another) character, — that of a zealous defender 
of the power and prerogatives of the Church ; and we shall ob- 
serve how far the same principle engaged him, on the one 
hand, in the support of papal authority, and in the extirpation 
of heresy on the other. We willingly omit all mention of the 
miracles which are so abundantly ascribed to him, and which, 
if they are not merely the fabrications of his panegyrists, are 
equally discreditable to his honesty and his piety. We defer 
lo a future chapter any notice of the very equivocal zeal which 
urged him to preach a holy war, to proclaim its predestined 
success with a prophet's authority, and then to excvise the 
falsification of his promises by a vidgar and contemptible sub- 
terfuge. Yet were all these transactions very certain proofs of 
his attachment to the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. 
Of the same nature were the eulogies which he so warmly 
lavislied, in one of his treatises, upon the newly instituted order 
of the Templars. But we pass these matters over, and proceed 
direcily to observe the expressions by which he characterised 
the Bishop of Rome. " Let us inquire," he says, in his letter 
to Pope Eugenius III.*, " yet more diligently who you are, 
and what character you support for a season in the Church of 
God. Who are you ? — a mighty priest, the highest pontiff. 
You are the first among bishops, the heir of the apostles ; in 
primacy Abel, in government Noah, in patriarchate Abraham, 
in order Melchisedech, in dignity Aaron, in authority Moses, 
in judgment Samuel, in power Peter, in unction Christ. You 
are he to whom the keys have been delivered, to whom the 
flock has been entrusted. Others, indeed, there are, who are 
doorkeepers of heaven, and pastors of sheep ; but you are pre- 
eminently so, as you are more singularly distinguished by the 
inheritance of both characters. They have their flocks assigned 
to them, each one his own ; to you the whole are entrusted, as 
one flock to one shepherd ; neither of the sheep only, but of 
their pastors also ; you alone are the pastor of all. Where is 
my proof of this ? — in the Word of God. For to which, I say, 
not of bishops, but of apostles, was the universal flock so posi- 

* " De Consideratione," lib. ii.j c. viii. 


tively entrusted ? ' If thou lovest me, Peter, feed my sheep.' 

Therefore, according to your canons, others are called to 

a share of the duty, you to a jjlenitude of power. The power 
of others is restrained by fixed limits; yours is extended even 
over those who have received power over others. Are you not 
able, if cause arise, to exclude a bishop from heaven, to depose 
him from his dignity, and even to consign him over to Satan ? 
These your privileges stand unassailable, both through the keys 
which have been delivered, and the flock which has been con- 
fided to you," &c. Thus the authority of St. Bernard, which 
was extremely great, both in his own age and those which 
immediately followed, was exerted to svibject the minds of reli- 
gious men to that spiritual despotism, which was already swollen 
far beyond its just limits, and was threatening a still wider and 
more fatal inundation. 
His prill- Among the numerous discourses of St. Bernard, two* were 
ciplesre- ^^ore especiallv directed against the Heretics of the day; and 

gardmg x ^ o i i • i • i 

Heretics, the preacher declares, that he was moved to this design by 
" the multitude! of tliose who were destroying the vine of 
Christ, by the paucity of its defenders, by the difficulty of its 
defence." In the discharge of this office he inveighs against 
the innovators in the usual terms of theological bitterness ; and 
at the same time charges them with those flagrant violations of 
morality and decency, which were so commonly imputed to 
seceders from the Church, though they were, in truth, incon- 
sistent with the first principles of civil society. We shall not 
repeat those charges, nor copy his ardent vituperations ; but 
there is one passage (in the sixty-sixth sermon), which possesses 
some historical importance, and which exposes besides the prin- 
ciples of the orator. "In respect to these Heretics, they are 
neither convinced by reasons, for they understand them not; 
nor corrected by authority, for they do not acknowledge it ; nor 
bent by persuasion, for they are wholly lost. It is indisputable 
that they prefer death to conversion. Their end is destruction; 

* Sermons " Super Cantica," Ixv. et Ixvi. 

t In other places he acknowledges the same fact. " Et item do hseresi, quffi 
clam psene ubique serjiit, apud alitpios saevit palam. Nam parvulos Ecclesiae 
passim et publice deglutire I'estinat," &c. &c. De Consid., lib. iii., c, i. 


the last thinof which awaits thciu is the flames. More than 
once the Catholics have seized some of them, and brought 
them to trial. Being asked their faith, and having wholly- 
denied, as is their usage, all that was laid against them, they 
were examined by the Trial of water *, and found false. And 
then, since further denial was impossible, as they had been 
convicted through the water not receiving them, they seized (as 
the expression is) the bit in their teeth, and began with pitiable 
boldness, not so much to make confession as profession 
of their impiety. They proclaimed it for piety ; they 
were ready to sutler death for it ; and the spectators w^ere not 
less ready to inflict the punishment. Thus it came to pass 
that the populace rushed upon them, and gave the heretics 
some fresh martyrs to their own perfidy. I ap})rove the zeal, 
but I do not applaud the deed ; because faith is to be the fruit 
of persuasion, not of force. Nevertheless, it were unquestion- 
ably better that they should be restrained by the sword, — the 
sword of him, I mean, who wears it not without reason, — than 
be permitted to seduce many others into their error; ' for he 
is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wratli upon him 
that doeth evil.'... Some wondered that the ofteuders went to 
execution not only with fortitude, but, as it seemed, with joy ; 
but those persons had not observed how great is the power of 
the Devil, not only over the bodies, but even over the hearts of 
men, Avhich have once delivered themselves into his possession. 
. . . The constancy of martyrs and the pertinacity of heretics has 
nothino- in common ; because that which operates the contempt 
of death in the one is piety,- — in the other, mere hardhearted- 
ness."... Marcus Antoninus, in the insolence of empire and 
philosophy, insulted by a similar distinction the firmness of 
those sainted sufferers, to whom the Abbot of Clairvaux 
addressed, as to heavenly mediators, his daily and superstitious 
supplications. And now again, after another long revolution 
of centuries and of principles, those despised outcasts, whom 
St. Bernard, in the loftier pride of ecclesiastical infallibility, 
consigned, with no better spirit, to eternal condemnation, are 

* This was one of iliu most popular among " the jiulgments of God." 


revered by us as victims in a holy cause, the earliest martyrs 
of the reformation ! 
His exhor- In the same work in which the office and prerogatives of the 
pIpeEuge- Pope were so highly exalted, the writer holdly exposed some of 
nius. the favourite abuses of the system ; and dictated, from his cell 

at Clairvaux, rules for its better administration, and for the 
guidance of the autocrat of the church. His instructions were 
wise, because they were virtuous, and proceeded from a true 
sense of spiritual duties and dignity. His general exhortations 
to Eugenius to cast aside the unworthy solicitude respecting 
secular matters, which at once embarrassed and degraded the 
Roman See, and to emulate the venerable patriarchs of the 
ancient church ; to leave to kings and their ministers the jar- 
ring courts of earthly justice*, and to content himself with dis- 
tributing the judgments of heaven — these lessons were conceived 
in the loftiest mood of ecclesiastical exaltation, and with the 
justest sense of ecclesiastical policy ; but the venom had already 
sunk too deep, and the healing admonitions of the reformer 
failed to arrest for a moment the progress of corruption. 
On the St. Bernard next addressed his censures more particularly to 

peaHo ^^' ^^^^ practice of appeal to Rome, which was then growing into a 
Rome. notorious abuse. After enumerating some of the evils thus 
occasioned, the delay, the vexation, the positive perversion of all 
the purposes of justice, " Hoav much longer," he exclaims, "will 
you shvit your ears, whether through patience or inadvertency, 
against the murmur of the whole earth ? How much longer 
will you slumber ? How much longer will your attention be 
closed against this monstrous confusion and abuse ? Appeals 
are made in defiance of law and eqiuty, of rule and order. No 
distinction is made in place, or modt^ or time, or cause, or per- 
son. They are commonly taken up with levity, frequently too 
with malice ; that terror which ought to fall upon the wicked, 
is turned against the good ; the honest are summoned by the 

* " QiiRPnam tibi major videtur et potestas et diguitas ; dimittendi peccata, an 
prsedia dividendi ? Sed non est compaialio. Habent haec infima ft terrena judices 
suos et reges et principes terra?. Quid fines alios invaditis ? Quid falcem ves- 
tram in alienam messem extenditis P Non quia iudigni vos; sed quia indignum 
vobis talibus insistere, quippe potioribus occupatis." De Consid., lib, i., c. vi. 


bad, that they may turn to that which is dishonesty and they 
tremble at the sound of your thunder. Bishops are summoned, 
to prevent them from dissolving unlawful marriages, or from 
restraining or punishing rapine and theft and sacrilege, and 
such like crimes. They are summoned, that they may no 
longer exclude from orders and benefices unworthy and infamous 
persons And yet you, who are the minister of God, pre- 
tend ignorance that that which was intended as a refuge for 
the oppressed has become an armoury for the oppressor; and 
that the parties who rush to the appeal are not those who have 
suffered, but those who meditate, injustice." 

Another papal corruption, against which St. Bernard in- The abuse 
veighed with equal zeal was the abuse of exemptions. " I ex- "i^^s,^"^^" 
press the concern and lamentations of the churches. They 
exclaim that they are maimed and dismembered. There are 
none, or very few, among them which do not either feel or fear 
this wound : Abbots are removed from the authority of their 
Bishops, Bishops from that of their Archbishops, Archbishops 
from that of their Patriarchs and Primates. Is the appearance 
of this good? Is the reality justifiable? If you prove the 
plenitude of your power by the frequency of its exercise, haply 
you have no such plenitude of justice. You hold your oflice, 
that you may preserve to all their respective gradations and 
orders in honour and dignity, not to grudge and curtail them." 
... If the virtuous Abbot was moved to such boldness of 
rebuke by the delinquencies of the eleventh century — the earli- 
est and perhaps the most venial excesses of pontifical usurpa- 
tion — with what eyes had he beheld the court of Innocent IV., 
or the chancery of John XXII. ! with what a tempest of indig- 
nation had he visited the enormities of later and still more 
degenerate days — ^jubilees and reservations, annates and tenths 
and expectative graces — the long and sordid list of Manmion's 
machinations ! The halls of Constance and Basle would have 
rung with his lamentation and his wrath, and Gerson* and 

* John Gerson was a great admirer of St. Bernard : lie fiecjuently cited his 
authority, and composed one discourse expressly in his honour. Wo always 
watch with anxiety, and record with respect, the expressions, in which one great 
man has celebrated the excellence of another; but in Gerson's " Sermo de Suucto ^ 

Bernardo " we can discover little but fanciful and mystical rhapsody. 

L 2 


Julian would have shrunk before the manifestation of a spirit 
loftier far than themselves. 
His cen- But the inquisition of St. Bernard was not confined to the 
monasllc courts of the Vatican. It penetrated into the dwelling-places 
coniir- and into the bosoms of prelates and of monks. " Oh, ambition, 
tliou cross of those who court thee! How is it that thou tor- 
mentest all, and yet art loved by all? There is no strife more 
bitter, no inquietude more painful than thine, and yet is there 
nothing more splendid than thy doings among wretched mor- 
tals ! I ask, is it devotion which now wears out the apostolical 
threshold, or is it ambition ? Does not the pontifical palace, 
throughout the long day, resound with tliat voice ? Does 
not the whole machine of laws and canons work for its profit* ? 
Does not the whole rapacity of Italy gape with insatiable 
greediness for its spoils? Which is there among your own 
spiritual f studies that has not been interrupted, or rather 
broken off, by it ? How often has that restless and disturbing 
evil blighted your holy and fruitful leisure ! It is in vain that 
the oppressed make their appeal to you, while it is through 
you that ambition strives to hold dominion in the Church.". . . 
In another place]; — " The unsavoury contagion creeps through 
the whole Church, and the wider it spreads the more hopeless 
is the remedy; the more deeply it penetrates, the more fatal is 
the disease. . . . They are ministers of Christ, and they are 
servants of Antichrist. They walk abroad honoured by the 
blessings of the Lord, and they return the Lord no honour : 
thence is that meretricious splendour everywhere visible — the 
vestments of actors — the parade of kings ; thence the gold on 
their reins, their saddles, and their spurs, for their spurs (cal- 
caria) shine brighter than their altars (altaria) : thence their 
tables splendid with dishes and ciqis ; thence their gluttony 
and drunkenness — the harp, the lyre, and the pipe, larders 
stored with provision, and cellars overflowing with wine. . . . 

* " Annon qusestlbus ejus tota lej^uin Cannininique discipl'iiia iuMidal?" 

■}■ This passage is from the Third Buokoltlie "• Consiileratio.'' It is addressed, 

we should recollect, to Pope Kugenius, who had been educated in the monastery 

of Clairvaux. 

X " Super Cautica, Ser, xxxiii." 


For such reAvards as these men wish to become, and do be- 
come, rectors of churches, deans, archdeacons, bishops, arcli- 
bishops — for these dignities are not bestowed on merit, but on 
the thingf which walks in darkness." .... A considerable 
portion of another composition * is devoted to the exposure of 
monastic degeneracy. "It is truly asserted and believed that 
the holy fathers instituted that life, and that they softened the 
rigour of the rule in respect to weaker brethren, to the end that 
more might be saved therein. But I cannot bring myself to 
believe that they either prescribed or permitted such a crowd 
of vanities and superfluities, as I now see in very many monas- 
teries. It is a wonder to me whence this intemperance, which 
I observe among monks in their feastinoj and revels, in their 
vestures and couches, in their cavalcades and the construction 
of their edifices, can have grown into a practice so inveterate, 
that where these luxuries are attended with the most exquisite 
and voluptuous prodigality, there the order is said to be best 
preserved, there religion is held to be most studiously culti- 
vated. . . , For behold ! frugality is deemed avarice; sobriety 
is called austerity ; silence is considered as moroseness. On 
the other hand, laxity is termed discretion; profusion, liberality; 
loquacity, affability ; loud laughter, pleasantness ; delicacy 
and sumptuousness in raiment and horses, taste; a superfluous 
change of linen, cleanliness ; and then, when we assist each 
other in these practices, it is called charity. This is a charity 
indeed which destroys all charity ; it is a discretion which con- 
founds all discretion; it is a compassion full of cr\ielty, since 
it so serves the body, as mortally to stab the soul." . . . Again : 
" What proof or indication of hu.mility is this, to march forth 
with such pomp and cavalcade, to be thronged by such an 
obsequious train of long-haired attendants, so that the escort 
of one abbot would suftice for two bishops ? I vow that I have 
seen an abbot with a suite of sixty horsemen and morcf . To 

• Ad Giiilielmum Abbat. Apologia — An Apology to William, abbot of St. 
Thierry. The pretext for this Apology was, to defend himself and his own re- 
formed order of Cistercians from the charge of calumniating the rival order, their 
more opulent brethren of Chini. St. Bernard did not lose that opportunity of 
generally inveighing against monastic abuses. 

f '' Jlentior," says the holy abbot, '•' si non vidi abbatem sexaginta ccjuos ct Co 
ampliub iu suo duccie couiitatu. Dicas, si videas eos trauseuutes, uou patrts esso 


see them pass by, you would not take lliem for fathers of 
monasteries, but for lords of castles ; not for directors of souls, 
but for princes of provinces." ... St. Bernard then proceeds 
to censure the show of wealth which is exhibited uithui the 
monasteries *, and subsequently exposes the secret motive of 
such display. " Treasures are drawn towards treasures ; money 
attracts money, and it happens that where most wealth is seen, 
there most is offered. When the relics are covered with gold, 
the eyes are struck, and the pockets opened. The beautified 
form of some saint is pointed out, and the richer its colours the 
greater is deemed its sanctity. Men run to salute it — they are 
invited to give, and they admire what is splendid more than 
they reverence what is holy. To this end circular ornaments 
are placed in the churches, more like wheels than crowns, and 
set with gems which rival the surrounding lights. We behold 
inventions, like trees, erected in place of candlesticks, with 
great expense of metal and ingenuity, also shining with brilliants 
as gaily as with the lights they hold. Say, whether of the two is 
the object in these fabrications — to awake the penitent to com- 
punction, or the gazer to admiration ? Oh vanity of vanities, 
and as insane as it is vain ! The church is resplendent in its 
walls — it is destitute in its poor. It clothes its stones with gold 
— it leaves its children naked. The eyes of the rich are minis- 
tered to, at the expense of the indigent. The curious find 
wherewithal to be delighted — the starving do not find where- 
with to allay their starvation f." . . . 

monasteriorum, seJ domiuos castelloriim ; non rectores animarum, scd piincipes 

* " Omitto oratorium immensas altltudiucs, immoderatas longitudines, siipcr- 
vacuas latitudines, sumptuosas depolitiones, curiosas depicliones, quaj duin oraii- 
lium iu se detorquent aspectum impediunt et affectum, et mihi quodammodo 
repraesentant antiquum ritum Judffiorum. Sed esto — fiant hrcc ad honorem Dei. 
Illud autem interrogo monaclius monachos, quod in gentilibus gcntilis arguebat — • 

Dicite, Pontifices, in sancto quid facit aurum ? 
Ego autem dico, Dicite Pauperes ! Non enim attendo versum sed sensum^ 
Dicite, inquam, pauperes, si tamen pauperes, in sancto quid facit aurum?" — 
Loc. citat. It seems probable that St. Bernard, in the interval of his theological 
labours, had studied the Roman satirists with pleasure, and not without advan- 

f " vanitas vanitatum, sed non vanior quam insanior. Fidget ecclesia in 
parietibus, et in paiqieribus cget. Suos lapides induit auro et suos filios nudos 
deserit. De sumptibus egenorum servitiu- oluHs divitum, Inveniuut curiosi quo 
delectentur, et noii inveniuut miseri quo subteuteutur," 


Such was the abbot of Clairvaux ; in profession and habits a His cha- 
nionk — in ecclesiastical polity at once a reformer and a bigot 
— in piety a Christian. His single example (if every page in 
history did not furnish others) would suffice to show that a 
very great preponderance of excellence is consistent with many 
pernicious errors; and that innumerable ensamples of purity 
and holiness have flourished in every age^ as they doubtless 
still flourish, in the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church. 
Because many popes were ambitious and many prelates profli- 
gate, it woidd be monstrous to suspect that righteousness was 
nowhere to be found in that communion; it would be unreason- 
able to suppose that the great moral qualities, which distin- 
o-uished St. Bernard, were not very common among the 
obscurer members and ministers of his Church. His genius, 
indeed, was peculiarly his own. The principles which least 
became him were derived from his Church and his age ; but 
his charity and his godliness flowed from his religion, and thus 
they found sympatliy among many, respect and admiration 
among all. These were the crown of his reputation ; and 
while they fortified and exalted his genius, they also gave it 
that commanding authority which, without them, it could never 
have acquired. From this alliance of noble qualities St. Ber- 
nard possessed a much more extensive influen-3e than any 
ecclesiastic of his time — more, perhaps, than any individual 
throuo^h the mere force of personal character has at any time 
possessed ; nor is it hard to understand, if we duly consider the 
imperfect ci\ilization of that superstitious age, that monarchs, 
and nobles, and nations should have respectfully listened to 
the decisions of a monk, who gave laws from his cloister in 
Burgundy to the Universal Church. 

( 152 ) 

The Pontificate of Innocent III. 

[From 1198 to 1216.] 

Prefatory facts and observations — Circumstances under which Innocent ascended 
the chair — Collection of canons — Condition of the clergy — Ecclesiastical juris- 
diction — by what means extended — Innocent's four leading objects — (1.) To 
establish and enlarge his temporal power in the city and ecclesiastical states. 
Office of the Prefect — Favourable circumstances, of which Innocent avails him- 
self — his work completed by Nicholas IV. — (2.) To establish the universal 
pre-eminence of papal over royal authority. His claims to the empire — His 
dispute with Philippe Augusta of France — he places the kingdom under inter- 
dict — submission of Philippe — His general assertions on supremacy — particular 
applications of them— to England and France, Navarre, Wallachia and Bul- 
garia, Arragon and Armenia — His contest with John of England — Interdict — 
the Legate Pan(lulph--Humiliation of the king — (3.) To extend his authority 
within the church. Italian clergy in England — his general success in influenc- 
ing the priesthood^Power of the episcopal order — The fourth Lateran council. 
Canons on transubstantiation — on private confession — against all heretics — 
(4.) To extinguish heresy. The Petrobrussians — their author and tentts. Va- 
rious other sects, how resisted. The Cathari — supposition of JMosht-im and 
Gibbon — the more probable opinion — The ^VaIdenses — their history and cha- 
racter — error of Rlosheim — Peter Waldus — his persecution. The Albigeois or 
Albigenses — their residence and opinions — attacked by Innocent — St. Dominic 
— title of inquisitor — Ra}mond of Toulouse — holy war preached against them 
— Simon de Muntfort — resistance and massacre of the heretics — Continued 
persecution of the Albigeois — Death of Innocent — Remarks on his policy. 

Slate of During the period of one hundred and thirteen years, which 
on" the ac- ii^tervened between Gregory VII. and Innocent III., the pro- 
cession of p-rcss of ecclesiastical power and influence was very considerable: 

Innocent , i i i i i • - i 

111. and the latter ascended the pontifical chair unembarrassed by 

many of the difiiculties which impeded the enterprises of the 
former. The principal causes of that progress may be traced, 
perhaps, in a few sentences. In the first place, new facilities 
to learning had been opened during the twelfth century, of 
which the clergy had availed themselves very generally, and 
which the laity had as generally neglected. It is true that the 
kind of learning then in fashion possessed for the most part, no 
substantial or permanent value; still it was a weapon as power- 



fill, perhaps, for the government of the ignorant, as if its pohsh 
had heen brighter, or its edge more keen ; and, as its real 
inefficiency was unknown, it equally answered the end of ex- 
citing a blind respect for those who had the exclusive use of it. 
In the next place, the discipline of the Church had undergone 
an important reformation, the honour of which we are bound 
to ascribe to the vigorous exertions of Gregory, imitated, with 
more advantage perhaps, by feebler successors. Three Lateran 
councils (the first general councils of the Western Church) 
were held during the twelfth century ; and the second and 
third of these, assembled respectively in 1139 and 1179, by 
Innocent II. and Alexander III., more particularly directed 
their attention to the extirpation of ecclesiastical abuses, to the 
confirmation of ancient canons, and the introduction of such 
others as might amend the discipline and consolidate the in- 
terests of the Church. This object was materially advanced 
by the labour of a monk of Bologna, named Gratian, who pub- 
lished, in 1151, his celebrated Collection of Canon Laws*. 
And this branch of study, thus facilitated, received further 
encouragement from Eugenius III., who instituted the degrees 
of Bachelor, Licentiate, and Doctor in that science. By the 
advance of learning among the sacred profession, by the greater 
precision and more general knowledge of the canons of the 
Church, and by the rigour with which they were frequently 
enforced, the morals of every rank of the clergy were essentially 
improved. The two notorious scandals of the former age, con- 
cubinao-e and simony, if not effectually removed, were at least 
restrained within more decent limits ; and the extreme licence 
in some other respects, which had prevailed for about two cen- 
turies before Gregory VII., was checked and repressed. So that 
Innocent was called to the command of a more enlightened, a 
more orderly, a more moral, and therefore a more influential 

It may be true, as Mosheim asserts, that the revenues of the Ecclesiasti- 
pope had received no consitlerable augmentation between the ?^ Poorer- 
ninth century and the time of Innocent ; bvit those of the clergy, 

* The accidental cliscov(;iy of the Pandects of Justinian, in 1137, may have 
furnished to Gratian the laotion, as it certainly supplied the model, of his woik. 


aiul ospociiilly of llic monastic orders, luul l)cen swelled during 

the same period hy \\h\ most al)undant contributions. Indeed, 

in most couiitries the territorial domains ol" the Church were at 

that lime spread so widely, as almost to justiCy the comphiint 

that they comprehended hidfthe siu'Cace of Ji^urope. Nor should 

we omit 1o menlion that the clergy, though in some; kingdoms 

liable lo aruncd donatives, and lo arbiti-;iry ])lunder in all, 

were still legally exempt IVoiu taxation, and Irom every regular 

conlribulion lo ihe service of the state. From such immunity, 

though it was occasionally vioiiitcd, and the violation usually 

attended with outrage, they nuisl, nevertheless, have reaped 

great advantage, and especially in peaceful periods. IJut such 

partial ])ronts have always a drawback in the jealousy which 

the distinction occasions, and which exposes those who enjoy 

il lo the distrust and dislike of their fellow-subjects. 

Kcclosiasti- We have idreiidy ()])served how extensive, and, at the same 
cal iuiia- . , ■!/••! ii • i > c • • i- i- i • i 

diction. time, how indennn,e, were llie ngnis ol jurisdiction, wliicli 
were partly coiUln-red on the Church and partly confirmed to 
it by Chai'lemagne, — rights which were scarcely less important 
to the general influence of llu^ elergy than their learning or 
their revenues. During the liimults of ihe three following 
(•(Mituiies, they were transgressed or exceeded, as the civil oi" 
ecclesiastical jjortioii of tiie state happened in any country to 
pr{>ponderate ; but they appear to have sustained no permanent 
alteration, eithei- in abridgment or increase, until the beginning 
of the twelfth century. About that time the ecclesiastical tri- 
bunals commenced a system of encroachment, which made 
great progress even before the pontilicate of Innocent, and was 
carried l)y that popci and his successors to slill greater excess, 
and seemed lo (h real en the entire subversion of the secular 
courts*. It was the first step in this usurpation to multiply 
the number oi' persona subject t,o the jurisdiction of the Churcli; 
the next, to extend almost without limit the offences of which 
it look cognizance. The first of these objects was accomplished 

* "Tirato tiitte le cause d'ai)i)ellazionc in Roma, si proccuii) d'ampliare la 
giiirisdiziiiiic del Foio J'liiiscopali', i stuiidi'ie la cono.sci'iiza du' (iiudici Kcclesi- 
astici sopra piil persone ed in piii cause, sicche poco rimancsse a' magistrati seco- 
lari d' itnpicciarscni.'," Giannune, Storia di Napoli, lib. xix., c. v., sect. iii. 

• Huru. 


by the iadiscrirninaU' tonsure, vvliicli we liuvc lidoic! incnlioncd Tlieton- 
to have been so goiu'rally given hy lln- liislio[)H, 'J'liis sign of 
the clerical state did not indicate! ordination or any spirit u.d 
ofIic(! ; ])ni it conferred the nsi'. ol" tlni ecclesiastical hahit, jind 
with it t lie various privileges and iinrrmnities enjoyed by lli;il, 
order, without the restraint <>{' celibacy* to vvhi(;h it was lijible. 
This very ruimerous class, th(;ugh lor tin- most part engriged 
in secular professions and occupations, was »ubject to no oilier 
than the (;piKcoj)al tribunals f; and we m;i,y nunark, that all 
the moveable projierty of this body fell inider the same; juris- 
diction J. 

Another very large class, un(|er iIh; denonn'iiation of "miser- 
abiles persona;" (persons in distress), w;is also exclusively 
subjected to the episcopal courts. It cotiijudicndcMl, even in 
the first instance, a nudiitude of the lowest orders; and it vv;ih 
presently so enlarged, as to include orjjhans iuid widfjws, the 
stranger and the poor, tlie pilgrim jdkI )Ii<- h-por §. Ag;iin : tins 
opportunity offered by the Crusades was noi. neglected in ihe 
progress of usujpation ; and in this case the arm of ecclesias- 
tical justice extended itself not only over all who engaged in 
the expedition, but over those too who had bound themselves 
by the vow, 

A great facility was also affoi'ded f(jr enlarging thr; boun- 
daries of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, by the want of d<'fitiit(;ness 
in the nature of the oflences subject 1-o it. 'i'hese were desig- 
nated by one name, spiritual i but it is clear that, in an 
ignorant age, that term might be so extended by an artful 
priesthood as to embnifx* every sin and almost every crime; 
since there are no sins|| and i'nw crimes which do not indicate 
some disease of the soid, and touch its eternal safety, 

* In Ihih rcHpect, those i)erson» were placed in the condition of the priehtH of 
the Greek Church : they were allowed U) marry once only, and a virgin. 

f In the kingdom of Naples, under the dynasty of Anjou, thin matter after- 
wards went 80 far (says Giannone), that even cuncMneH of the clergy enjoyed im- 
munity from secular jurisdiction. 

I " In conseguenza di fpella rnassima mal inte«a, nujbilia iiequuntur pernf/namJ" 
— Giann. loc. cit. 

{) We refer to the seventh chapter of Mr, Ilallarn's Middle Ages. It is a hold, 
and, in nwjst respects, an accurate disquisition on papal history. 

II "Si peccaverit frater tuus, die Ecclebiae.'' This secma to Lave been the 


The general term, under which ecclesiastics contrived to 
comprise the greatest number of causes, was Bad Faith ; as 
being unquestionably a sin, yet such, that an action could 
seldom occur, in which both parties were clear from the suspi- 
cion of it. Thus they claimed for their tribunals all trials on 
executions of contracts, because the contract was founded on 
oath. They also claimed to be natural interpreters and execu- 
tors of all wills and testaments, as being matters peculiarly con- 
nected with the conscience ; and thus they gradually extended 
the spiritual net over the entire field of civil litigation *. But 
they forgot that which properly belonged to them was censure, 
not jurisdiction ; or they affected artfully to confound the office 
of penal chastisement with that of penitential correction. The 
encroachments of the Church were aided by the negligence, as 
they were almost justified by the incompetence, of the lay 
tribunals ; and they had already made considerable advances, 
with little apparent opposition, and acquired extensive con- 

text on which ecclesiastical jurisdiction was mainly founded. It had a much 
better foundation in the superior intelligence and moral principles of ecclesiastics. 
* Having once interfered in the matter of wills, the bishops proceeded in some 
countries to arrogate the power of making wills for the laity, ad pias caiisas ; and 
the interests of the chin-ch were advanced by that piety. Some were found who 
even claimed the property of all intestate persons. Again, when the interests of 
a clerk were involved in connexion with those of laymen, the decision was claimed 
by the ecclesiastical court. So also, when the cause was very difficult in point of 
reason, in case of the incompetence, negligence, or suspiciousness of the lay judge, 
the matter was referred to the episcopal tribunal. So likewise, under the name of 
forum mixtum, it claimed its share in all cases of bigamy, usury, sacrilege, adul- 
tery, incest, concubinage, blasj)hemy, sortilege, perjury, as in those of tithes and 
pious legacies. So in all causes arising from marriage, as being a Sacrament of 
the church. And lastly, there were some Roman doctors who maintained that 
every condemned person in every country should be sent to Rome for puni.ihment ; 
seeing that Rome was the common country and metropolis of all men, that the 
world was Roman, and all itf; inhabitants citizens and subjects of Rome. — Gian- 
none, loc. cit. The iollowing lines were intended to comprehend the jurisdiction 
of the spiritual court : — 

Heereticus, Simon, fcenus, perjurus, adulter, 

Pax, privilegium, violentus, sacrilegusijue ; 

Si vacat Imperium ; si negligit, ambigit, aut sit 

Suspectus judex ; sit subdita terra, vel usus, 

llusticus et servus, peregrinus, feuda, viator. 

Si quis pffiniteat, miser ! omnis causaque mista — 

Si denunciat Ecclesiae quis, judicat ipsa. 
We shall take a future opportunity of recurring to the subject of ecclesiastical 


quests in the domains of secular jurisdiction, at the time when 
Innocent III. took possession of the pontifical chair. 

From the above circumstances, we have reason to presume 
that in actual authority, not less than in moral inlhience, the 
Church had acquired growth and strength since the era of 
Gregory VII. ; and that the sacred mihtia, whom Innocent 
was appointed to command, and by whose aid he meditated 
and almost accomplished the destruction of the temporal 
authorities, then exerted a much more powerful control over 
every department of society, than it had ever possessed at any 
former period. 

We shall obtain a more distinct knowledge of the designs Projects of 
and success of that celebrated pope, if we examine separately ^"J"'^^'"*^ 
the principal points to which his exertions were directed, than 
we could gain by a chronological narrative of his pontificate. 
According to such a distribution, we may properly consider 
these objects to have been four: not, indeed, that they were 
thus minutely analysed in the mind of Innocent, or that his 
daring schemes were subject to any such classification ; but the 
historian who contemplates great transactions after an interval 
of many centuries, and a change in many principles, is bovuid 
to consider particular actions as parts of the whole mighty 
drama, in the respect they bear to the circumstances of the 
actors, and the character of the age. Thus it is that, in study- 
ing the actions of Iruiocent III., our observation is necessarily 
most directed to the following points : — His endeavours, 

I. To establish the temporal power of the Holy See in the 
city of Rome, and in the ecclesiastical states ; and to enlaro-e 
their boundaries. II. To fix the pre-eminence of the papal 
over the royal authority, throughout all the kingdoms of the 
West, and to reduce all princes to the condition of vassalao-e to 
the Pope ; which was indeed merely a continuation of the 
scheme of Gregory. III. To enlarge the pontifical authority 
and influence within the Church. IV. and lastly. To secure 
the unity of the faith by the extirpation of heresy. All these 
were at that time becoming essential parts of the papal ])olity ; 
and almost all the Important acts of Innocent may be traced to 
some one of them. 


The tempo- L As the policy of the Holy See becomes more and more 
ofthePope. entangled in temporal transactions ; as we observe the spiritual 
majesty of the apostolical chair gradually degenerating into 
the court of Rome, it is fit that we employ a few sentences en 
the character of the people which was subject to its immediate 
sway ; partly because we shall thus discover what sort of in- 
struments for their secular designs the popes possessed at home, 
and partly that we may learn whether the great moral bless- 
ings were more abundciutly diffused among the subjects of an 
ecclesiastical monarchy. For this purpose we shall select two 
very well known authorities, the one from the tenth, the other 
from the thirteenth century, only premising that, though the 
particular facts which they convey maybe highly coloured, the 
general consent of history confirms the substance, Luitprand*, 
Avho was sent as legate from Otho the First to the Eastern 
Emjieror, expressed in this language the sort of reputation then 
Character possessed by the Roman people : — " We Lombards despise 
mans. them SO deeply, that for our very enemies, when most moved 
against them, we can find no designation more contumelious 
than Roman. In this single term, Roman, we intend to com- 
prehend all that is base, all that is cowardly, all that is avari- 
cious, all that is luxuriovis, all that is false and lying — ay, 
every vice that has a name." The evidence of St. Bernard on 
the same subject is more particular, and scarcely more honour- 
able to the descendants of the Gracchi : — " Why shoidd I men- 
tion the people? the people is Roman. I have no shorter, nor 
have I any clearer term to express my opinion of yoiu' 
parishioners (parcecianis.) For what is so notorious to all men 
and ages as the wantonness and haughtiness of the Romans ? 
A race unaccustomed to peace, habituated to tumult — a race 
merciless and intractable, and to this instant scorning all sub- 
jection, when it has any means of resistance. . . Whom 
will you find, even in the vast extent of your city, who would 
have you for pope, unless for profit, or the hope of profit f ? 

* See Luitpr. Legutio, apiul Miiratori Script. Ital. vol, ii.; also Dissertat. 40 
ejiisd. auct. 

f Eugenius III. The passage in the De Consideratione, lib, iv. cap. ii. We 
have purposely omitted some parts of it in the text, the following for instance :— 


And it is then most that they seek to rule, when they profess 
to serve. They promise fidehty, to have the better means of 
injuring those who trust them. . . . They are men too 
proud to obey, too ignorant to rule, faithless to superiors, in- 
supportable to inferiors; shameless in asking, insolent in 
refusing ; importunate to obtain favours, restless while obtain- 
ing them, ungrateful when they have obtained them ; grandilo- 
quous and inefficient ; most profuse in promise, most niggardly 
in performance ; the smoothest flatterers, the most venomous 
detractors," &c. " Among such as these you are proceeding as 
their pastor, covered with gold and every variety of splendour. 
What are your sheep looking for ? . . If I dared to use the 
expression, I should say that it is a pasture of demons rather 
than of sheep." . 

Many of the features in this revolting picture are common 
to the courts of every climate and religion — to the sycophants 
of every race and age. The exclusive appropriation of mean- 
ness and treachery — the monopoly of human baseness — could 
not truly be ascribed even to the people of Rome. But there 
is one among the vices imputed to them which was indeed 
their characteristic — restless and turbulent insubordination. 
Shall we consider this defect as the corruption of an ancient 
virtue ? Certainly even a cursory review of the government (if 
government it can be called) \nider wliich the imperial city 
had struggled for above four centuries, will show that the vice, 

'' Et nunc experire paucis noveiiinne et ego aliquatenus mores gentis. Ante 
omnia sapientes sunt, ut faciant mala, bonum autem facere nesclunt. Hi invisi 
tonne et cceIo utrique injecere manus, impii in Deinn, temerarii in sancta, sedi- 
tiosiin invicem (ij^u. judiccm '•!) ffimuliiu vicinos, inhumaniin extraneos; quosnemi- 
nem amantes amat nemo. Et cum timeri aff'ectant ab omnibus, omnes limeant 

necesse est. Hi sunt qui subesse non suslinent,'' &c " Ita omne lunnile prubro 

dufitur inter Pa/ulinos, ut facibus, qui esse quam qui apparere humilis vebt, invc- 

nias. Timor Domini simplicitas vocatur, ne dicam fatuitas," &c These Palatines 

seem to have been the eminent ecclesiastics resident at the Holy See. The cardinals, 
who formed the nucleus of the future court of Rome, though now gradually rising 
in dignity, were not yet, probably, in possession of any corporate prerogatives. 
We shall only add one more testimony, that of John of Salisbury, the contempo- 
rary and countryman of Adrian IV., against tlie Roman clergy : — " Frovincia- 
rum diripiuiit spolia, ac si thesauros Choesi studeant reparare. Sed recte cum iis 
egit Altissimus, quoniam et ipsi ahis ut saqie vilissimis hominibus dati sint in 
direptionem.'' . , . 

of Rome, 


wliether indigenous or not, received much encouragement and 
Thej^o- excuse from extraneous circumstances. We have ah'eady men- 
tioned the doubtful hmits of the authority respectively exercised 
by the patrician and the bishop under the Greek emperors. 
When that rule finally passed away, Charlemagne (and before 
him Pepin) assumed the temporal administration of Rome 
under the same name, patrician ; and durinof his reicrn the 
imperial supremacy was in practice felt, as it was undisputed 
in right. Weaker princes, and ages almost of anarchy suc- 
ceeded. Nevertheless, the supreme dominion of the emperors, 
which may have been partially suspended, was re-established 
by Otho : " their title and image were engraven on the papal 
coins, and their jurisdiction was marked by the sword of jus- 
tice which they delivered to tlie Prefect of the city*." 

On the other liand, the residence of the emperor Avas remote, 
and the communication slow and precarious. Once only, in 
the course perhaps of a long reign, he presented himself to his 
Roman subjects. The purpose of that visit was to receive his 
crown from the pontifical hand, and the ceremony was usually 
attended with tumult and l)loodshed. Again — at that coro- 
nation he thrice repeated the royal oatli, to maintain the liber- 
lies of Rome. The ancient fable, too, was continually incul- 
cated, and perhaps universally believed, that Constantine had 
consigned the temporal sceptre to the hand of the bishop. 
And in those ages of superstitious darkness, the prejudices of 
mankind saw nothincr inconsrruovis in the dovible character of a 
sacerdotal monarch. These circumstances were on both sides 
unfavourable to the welfare of Rome, for while they neutralized 
and almost destroyed the power of the prefect, they gave no 
substantial foundation to tliat of the pope. So that in the 
uncertainty thus created, as to where the civil executive autho- 
rity really was placed, the people were left without any efficient 
control. Their inclination would naturally lead them to 
respect most tiie power which was more nearly and imme- 
diately exercised. But the short reigns of most of the popes j 
the tumultuous scenes which commonly disgraced their elec- 

* See Gibbon's G9th chapter. 


tion, and which were prolonged so obstinately whenever there 
was a rival for the chair; the very circvnnstance, that the 
choice of a ruler was influenced by the rabble — all conspired 
to lower his dignity, and to les3en the efficacy of his temporal 
authority. It is true, that during the latter half of the twelftli 
century, after the constitution of Alexander III. (in 1179), 
these evils were in some decree abated. Still there were no 
principles of stability in the civil administration ; and it is 
scarcely too much to assert that, from the time of Charlemagne 
to that of Innocent, the pontifical city had never once felt 
either the restraint or the blessing of a strong government. 

The regulation of Alexander III. was an omen of greater 
improvements. But a change of more importance in the civil 
history of Rome was the establishment of the Senate ; and this 
is referred, as a permanent act, to the year 1144. In the mean- 
time, the dignity of " Prefect of the City" had gradually 
declined to a municipal office, filled from the i'amilies of tlie 
native nobility. Even the name was, for a short time, abolislied 
and succeeded by that of Patrician, though it was speedily 
restored, tofifether with the orioinal ensigns of power. But at Innocent 
length Innocent III. broke off the laet link of the imperial ,^i,ei,npe- 
power. He rejected at the same time its ancient emblem; ii'»l autho- 
and while he absolved the prefect from all dependence of oaths 
or service on the German emperors, he removed the sword 
from his hand, and substituted a peaceful banner in its 

But the tranquillity of Rome was not secured by its inde- 
pendence ; and other changes succeeded, in the difficult attempt 
at self-government by a people educated almost in anarchy. 
In the first instance, the name and authority of the Senate was 
condensed in the office of a singrle magistrate — the Senator ; 
and soon afterwards in that of two colleagues. The most 
jealous precautions* were taken to secure their integrity, or, 

* According to the laws of Rome (in the fifteenth century), the senator was re- 
quireil to be a doctor of laws, an alien, of some place at least forty miles distant, 
and unconnected, to the third canonical degree, with any Roman inhabitant. The 
election was annual; the departure from office was attended with a severe scru- 
tiny ; nor could the same person be re-elected until after two years. The salary 
was 3000 florins. Gibbon, c.70. 

. VOL. H. M 





policy of 

at least, their liarmlessness. But they were still Romans ; and 
the turbulence of the subjects seems to have been rivalled by 
the rapacity of the rulers. Another scheme, which had been 
elsewhere successful, was then applied to the disorders of Rome. 
In the dearth of native virtue, or at least in the despair of 
domestic disinterestedness and impartiality, she called to the 
helm of state a foreign governor. It was about the year 1250, 
that Brancaleone of Bologna was chosen senator ; and, in the 
progress of seventy-eight years, the same office was filled and 
dignified by Charles of Anjou (about 1265), by Pope Martin IV. 
(in 1281), and lastly, by Louis of Bavaria; " and thus (says 
Gibbon) both ihe sovereigns of Rome acknowledged her 
liberty by accepting a mimicipal office in the government of 
their ^own metropolis." A government susceptible of such 
strange anomalies could not hope for peace or permanence. 
Even the secession of the popes to Avignon did not emancipate 
Rome from their occasional sway, and their ceaseless persecu- 
tion. And thus the people were doubly suffiirers — they suf- 
fered, ^^'hel^ subject, from the weakness of an absent sceptre — • 
they suffered, when independent, from the perpetual struggles 
which were made to reduce them. After seventy years of 
foreign residence, tlie pontiffs returned to their legitimate 
abode. But the schism, which immediately followed the re- 
storation, still further enfeebled a grasp already trembling with 
the weight of the temporal sword. That inveterate turbulence, 
transmitted through so many ages, continued for some gene- 
rations longer ; and it was not mitil the middle of the fifteenth 
century, that the pontifical city became permanently subject 
to pontifical government. 

From this short anticipation of some future events, we return 
to observe the worliing of that powerful hand, which influenced 
so deeply the destinies of the Church, and which influenced 
them almost wholly for evil — and in no one respect more so 
than when it constructed the temporal fabric for the support of 
a power essentially spiritual, and waved before those brilliant 
portals the dark blood-stained edge of the material swoi'd. 
Possibly the powerfid mind of Innocent was seduced into those 
projects by the inviting circumstances of the moment. During 
his entire pontificate the situation of the empire was extremely 


favourable to any hostile schemes. The legitimate sovereign 
(afterwards Frederic II.) was a minor, and the sceptre was for 
some time disputed by two princes (Philip and Otlio IV.), to 
each of whom the patronage of the Pontitf was equally impor- 
tant. At a later period, after the death of Philip, the dissen- 
sion was renewed, in another form, but with the same character, 
between Otho and Frederic ; and the latter of these rivals now 
became as anxious to cultivate the friendship of the Pope, as 
heretofore the former. Innocent availed himself of these ad- 
vantages to enrich and fortify the Chiu'ch at the expense of all 
those disputants, or at least of the empire which they disputed. 
Accordingly, one of the earliest acts of his reign was to disarm 
the Prefect of all authority derived from abroad, and thus to 
erase the last remaining vestige of German domination. Again, 
the extensive donation of territory which the Princess Matilda 
had made to the Roman See, durinof the administration of 
Gregory VII., had been unceasingly contested by the empire; 
and the greater force had generally constituted the better right. 
Innocent, towards the end of his pontificate, was enabled so 
far to profit by the weakness of Frederic, as to obtain from that 
prince a formal confirmation of the grant; at the same time, a 
considerable territorial cession, made to the see by the Count 
of Fundi, received the same ratification. It is proper, indeed, 
to ascribe the completion of this work to Nicholas IV., who 
ruled about seventy years afterwards. That Pope reduced 
under his dominion some cities, which had hitherto owned a 
nominal allegiance to the Emperor ; and extended the states of 
the Cluu-ch to those nearly which are their present boundaries. 
But to Nicholas no higher praise is due, than that he pursued 
with success the policy which had descended to him from his 
predecessors, and \vhich had received its first impulse from 
Innocent; for, until his pontificate, the temporalities of the see, 
notwithstanding the successive donations (pretended''' or real) 
of Constantino, and Pepin, and Charlemagne, and Louis the 

* Sismoiuli (Ropub. Ital. c. iiL) remarks that, "as the act of Pepui'rs donation 
is lost, we know not on what conditions it may have been made." He also ex- 
presses a reasonable doubt, whether this donation, though nominally confirmed 
by Charlemagne and Louis, was ever effectuated. 

M 2 


Meek, and even Matilda, formed, in fact, if not a mere field for 
incessant contention, at best a very precarious and unprofitable 

II. On the Usurpations of Papal over Royal Authority. — In 
respect to this part of the pontifical system, we have already 
seen that the equivocal glory of creating it is not due to Inno- 
cent ; he received it from former (perhaps from better) ages, 
among the established duties of the apostolical office. It was 
sealed by the consent of inany venerable pontiffs; by the 
authority of Gregory VII. It was congenial to the unconverted 
pride of the human heart — that passion, which burnt most 
fiercely in the breast of Innocent, and which the waters of the 
gospel were seldom invited to allay. His was indeed the 
character formed, under whatsoever ordination of Providence, 
to fill up the outlines so daringly traced, and to pursue the 
scheme which his great predecessor had bequeathed to him. 
The same circumstances which forwarded his other temporal 
projects were, as far as they extended, favourable to this. 
Once more he drew his strength from the divisions of the em- 
pire. He deposed Philip — Pliilip denied his right ; but it was 
willingly acknowledged by the rival Otho, who did not scruple 
to accept (in 1209) the diadem from the pontifical hand. 
Only three years afterwards the Pope pronounced, in the same 
plenitude of power, the same sentence of anathema and deposi- 
tion against Otho. With what justice could Otho dispute the 
power by which he had deigned to rise ? I'he vacant throne 
was then conferred upon Frederic. 

A purely spiritual despotism can rest on no other ground 
than popular prejudice — commands, which have no visible 
power to enforce them, will only be obeyed through a general 
predisposition to believe that they proceed from some still 
superior authority. The monarch would have derided the sen- 
tence of deposition, had it not found attention and respect 
among his subjects. That it should ever have acquired such 
general respect may indeed seem strange, and the causes, which 
were then sufficient for that end, could only have operated in a 
Ceremony very blind and ignorant age. For instance, the mere ceremony 
of Imperial ^^\^ coronation by the Pope^ to which the Emperors, in imitation 


of Charlemagne, had almost invariably submitted, would seem Coronation 
to afford no trifling pretext for the claims of the former ; since |l"ti"J;'"^ 
it was in those days an easy inference, that the crown, which Tope. 
for many generations had been habitually received from the 
hand of the Pope, could not legally be worn, except through 
such presentation; and then it followed — since there were 
many who zealously inculcated the consequence — that the gift 
conferred was in fact the propertxj of the donor *, who again 
had power to recall his gift, and present it to some worthier 
candidate. At the same time we should never lose sight of 
that general veneration for the throne of St. Peter, which at 
that period especially overspread the prostrate nations, and 
overawed the reason of man ; for it was, in truth, not an un- 
common belief that the blessed apostle invisibly presided over 
the altar of his martyrdom, and guarded and sanctified with 
mysterious majesty the chair of his successors. 

The eagerness with which the emperors generally courted 
the ceremony of coronation, though it was attended by circum- 
stances very humiliating to their pride, certainly proves that 
there existed among their subjects a strong feeling as to its 
propriety, perhaps its necessity. But that which gave the 
o-reatest colour to the extreme pretensions of the See, was the 
readiness with which princes acknowledged them, when they 
found their profit in the acknowledgment. The very edicts, 
which they rejected with scorn when acklressed to themselves, 
they embraced and effectuated when levelled against a rival. 
The right, as a general right, was never admitted : but the par- 
tial interests of the moment overpowered every consideration of 
a broader pohcy ; and thus amid the ever-reviving jealousies 
and dissensions of monarchs and pretenders, the consistent per- 
severance of the Vatican established the most groundless claims, 
and accomplished the most extravagant purposes. Of course, 

* This inference reqtiired, of course, a large share of zeal in the teacher and 
docility in the disciple. The Patriarch of Constantinople had possessed from the 
earliest ages the office of crowning the Greek emperor, without ever dreaming 
that he acquired any sort of interest in the cruwn itself by the performance of an 
ordinary ceremony. But ecclesiastical matters were very ditierently conducted in 
the West. 




with Phi- 
lippe Au- 

the agents for the dissemination of its principles and the instru- 
ments of its success were the ecclesiastical orders, and especi- 
ally the monks ; and the very general union and co-operation 
which at this time prevailed (more, perhaps, than at any other 
period, more, certainly, than at any later period) among the 
pope, the clergy, and the monasteries, facilitated the execution 
of Innocent's boldest designs. 

The first interference of that pontiff in the affairs of the 
French court was defended by precedents, and occasioned by 
an offence at all times peculiarly liable to spiritual jurisdiction. 
Philippe Auguste having espoused a Danish princess, named 
Ingelburg, or Isemburg, hastened on the very day following 
the nuptials to divorce her. He pretended to have discovered 
that they were connected by too near a degree of affinity; 
and after some investigation, at whicli two legates of Pope 
Celestine assisted, the marriage was declared null. Innocent, 
probably considering that concession as extorted from the 
timidity of his predecessor, lost no time in setting aside the 
divorce, and commanding the king to take back his bride. 
He refused, and an Intcixlict was immediately thrown on the 
whole kingdom. The public offices of worship were suspended ; 
even the doors of the churches were closed ; the sacrament of 
Christ was no lonc^er administered*, and the rites of marriage 
and sepulture remained unperformed. We should here recol- 
lect, that with the mass of an ignorant people professing a cor- 
rupt form of faith, the public exercise of religion constituted, 
in fact, its entire substance. Deprived of that, they had no 
refuge in private prayer, or the consolations of internal devotion. 

Nature of * ^^ should mention, that even under the oppression of tlic severest interdict, 
an Inter- the sacraments of Baptism, Confession, and Extreme Unction still continued to 
diet. he administered. But it was attended by other prohibitions, not stiictly of a 

reli{(ious nature, calculated to inspire gloom and fanaticism. The hair, for in- 
stance, and the beard were to be left unshaven; the use of meat was forbidden; 
and even the ordinary salutation was prohibited. But the suspension of sepulture, 
the exposure of the corpses to dogs or birds, or even their promiscuous interment 
in unhallowed ground, were probably in practice the most appalling parts of the 
sentence. From the learned treatise, " De I'Origine et du Progres des Interdits 
Ecclesiastiques," by Pierre Pithou, it appears that there were indicutioiis of such 
an exercise of ecclesiastical power in very early ages ; though it was not applied 
to any grand purpose, as a pontifical implement, until the time of Hildebrand. 


To such persons the sentence of an Interdict must have fallen 
like an inniiediate edict of rejection and separation from heaven; 
and such in the twelfth century was the multitude of every class, 
Philippe Auguste was a prince of uncommon resolution and 
address. Nevertheless he found it expedient to hend before 
the tempest, and obey the pontifical mandate. 

This was the earliest triumph of Innocent, and it encouraged His gene- 
his ambition to attempt more daring achievements. At least sionsWsu- 
he did not long confine it to objects which ottered any particu- premacy. 
lar justification, but advanced on the broadest ground of uni- 
versal interference. In a bull published in 1197, he declared, 
"that it was not fit that any man should bo invested with 
authority, who did not serve and obey the Holy See." At 
another time he proclaimed, "that he would not endure the 
least contempt of himself, or of God, whose place he held on 
earth, but woidd punish every disobedience without delay, and 
convince the whole world that he was determined to act like a 
sovereign." " As the sun and the moon are placed in the fir- 
mament, the greater as the light of the day and the lesser of 
the nio-ht, so are there two powers in the chiu-ch, the pontifical, 
which, as having the charge of souls, is the greater ; and the 
royal, which is the lesser, and to which only the bodies of men 
are trusted." It is from his celebrated Rescript to the emperor 
of Constantinople that the above allegory is cited. This epistle 
respected chiefly the immvmity of clerks ; and as it was founded 
on the maxims published by Gratiari, which were themselves 
founded on the False Decretals, so itself became* in process of 
time a new Decretal, the groundwork, if necessary, of other 
still more inordinate pretensions. It was thus that the system 
o-rew. " Though I cannot judge of a fief,*" said Innocent to 
the kings of France and England, " yet it is my province to 
judge when sin is committed, and my duty to prevent all public 
scandals." This was indeed the loftiest and the most respect- 
able ground on which the Papal pretensions could be placed ; 
and if the Bishops of Rome had really been contented with 

* The general cognizance of causes relating to fiefs had escaped, as it would 
seem, ecclesiastical usurpation. 


the exercise of a beneficial authority — if they had employed 
the mighty power with which they found themselves invested, 
onhj for the reconciliation of enmities, for the concord, the 
morality, the most obvious interests of the human race, then, 
indeed, we might have forgotten the origin of that power in its 
blessed uses, and pardoned to the Vicar of Christ his presump- 
tuous appellation, when we saw him engaged in doing the works 
of Christ, and consoling his children upon earth. 

However, the interference, even of Innocent III., was not 
always for evil. On the strength of his delegated authority he 
dictated a truce to Philippe and Richard, and after some 
difficulties obliged both parties to submit to it. It was about 
the same time that he directed one of his legates to compel 
the observance of peace between the Kings of Castillo and 
Portugal, if necessary, by excommunication and interdict. He 
moreover enjoined the King of Arragon to restore to its intrinsic 
value the coin which he had lately debased, thereby oppressing 
and defrauding his subjects. The mere wanton display of 
power may not have been his motive — some generous consider- 
ations may sometimes have influenced him. " A great mind 
(says Ilallam), such as Innocent III. undoubtedly possessed, 
though prone to sacrifice every other object to ambition, can 
never be indift'erent to the beauty of social order and the hap- 
piness of mankind." 

Not contented to influence the most vigorous monarchs of 
the most powerful kingdoms of the age, he descended to issue 
his edicts to inferior princes. He sent forth instructions to the 
King of Navarre respecting the restoration of certain castles to 
Richard. He distributed the insignia of royalty to Bricislaus, 
Duke of Bohemia, and to tlie Dukes of Wallachia and Bul- 
garia. He conferred the crown of Arragon on Peter II. as his 
subject and tributary. And finally (that no race or clime might 
seem inaccessible to his arm), he gave a king to the Armenian 
nation, dwelling on the border of the Caspian Sea. 
His tri- Yet, with all this extent of despotic sway, it was in England 

utniih over ^\^^^^ ]^jg boldest pretensions were advanced, and advanced with 

John of . . . 

England, the most surprisuig success. 1 he cn-cumstances are known to 

all readers. In the year IIOO^, Richard I. was succeeded on 


the throne by John, the feeblest of the human race ; and that 
prince was presently assailed by an outrage from the Holy 
See, which disturbed for some years the repose and allegi^mce 
of his subjects, and the stability of his throne. On the vacancy 
of the see of Canterbury, the monks in chapter publicly elected 
to that dignity John, bishop of Norwich, who was recommended 
and confirmed by the king. At the same time they chose, at a 
private meeting, Reginald their own sub-prior*, and sent him to 
Rome for institution. When this matter was referred to Innocent, 
he immediately reversed both elections, and nominated Stephen 
Langton, a Roman cardinal, of English descent. The chapter 
listened to the spiritual, in preference to the temporal, tyrant ; 
and the monks were in consequence expelled from their resi- 
dence, and their property was confiscated. The pope proceeded 
with no less energy to enforce his asserted rights, and com- 
manded the bishops of London, Worcester, and Ely, to lay 
the whole kingdom under an interdict. There were some pre- 
lates, however, and several inferior ecclesiastics, who hesitated 
to enforce this edict ; and since John made no concession. 
Innocent issued, in the following year (1201), a bull of excom- 
munication against the name and person of the sovereign. 
This sentence, still ineflectual, was followed, in 1211, by 
another yet more appalling. The subjects of John were ab- 
solved from their allegiance, and commanded to avoid his 
presence. Yet as even this measure was insufficient for his 
entire success, he had then recourse to the last and most dan- 
gerous among the bolts of the Vatican. He pronounced the 
final sentence of deposition; and having declared the vacancy 
of the throne, gave force to his words by conferring it upon 
Philippe Auguste of France. At the same time he ordered 
that monarch to execute the sentence. 

Philippe's obedience was secured by his ambition ; he was 
joined by the exiles of his rival's tyranny ; and to ensure his 
success, or, more probably, to complete the consternation of 
John, Innocent proclaimed a crusade against the English king 
as against an infidel or a heretic. The armies were assembled 
on both sides, and hostilities were on the point of commencing, 
* Pagi Brev. Pont. Rom. Vit. Innoc. III. sect, 49. 


when Pandulph, the legate of the pope, presented himself at 
the camp at Dover. He there displayed the final demands of 
the pope, and the king had courage to resist no longer. The 
demands to which he submitted were these, — that he should 
resign his crown to the legate, and receive it again as a present 
from the Holy See ; that he should declare his dominions tri- 
butary to the same see; and that he should do homage and 
swear fealty to Innocent, as a vassal and a feudatory. The 
shame of this humiliation was increased by the ceremony 
attending it ; by the multitude of sorrowful or indignant wit- 
nesses ; by the very manner'^ in which the haughty prelate bore 
himself in his triumph. Yet, to the eye of an earnest and 
fervent papist, is the degradation of England's monarch, while 
he stood waiting, amid his nobles and his soldiers, to accept 
his crown from the suspended hand of Pandulph — is it, after 
all, a spectacle of such lofty exultation — is it a picture so flat- 
tering to his spiritual, even to his ecclesiastical pride — as the 
half-naked form of the imperial penitent of older days, shiver- 
ing, with his scanty train of attendants^, before the castle-gates 
of Gregory ? 

HI. The increase of pontifical authority ivithlii the Church. 
— The description of John's humiliation, and of the steps 
which led to it, connects the second with the third part of this 
inquiry — for, in the first place, it shows the extent to which 
Innocent carried his claims to patronage within the Church; 
and in the next, it exhibits one motive of the general anxiety 
evinced by the see to extend that internal influence. The Inter- 
dict, which was now become the favourite instrument of papal 
usurpation, however formidable in name and deed, was an 
empty denunciation, tuiless enforced by the personal exertions 
of the bishops, and even of the inferior clergy of the kingdom 
subjected to it — as we, indeed, observed, that in England the 
sentence of Innocent failed of its full effect, through the oppo- 
sition of a part of the clergy. And thus, in any project of 
temporal aggrandizement which a pope might undertake, 

* Among other circumstances it is related, that Pandulph did actually keep 
the crown in his possession for some minutes. The annual tribute stipulated was 
1000 marks. 


success could never be secured unless he could command the 
co-operation of the very great proportion of the ecclesiastical 
body. It was partly for this reason that so many foreign, and 
especially Italian, prelates were placed, for many ages, in 
English sees. In Germany, too, Innocent showed the same 
anxiety to extend his right of appointment ; by a formal 
capitulation with Otho IV. he obtained that of decision in 
disputed cases ; and it is obvious to what easy abuse it was 
liable. In other countries he advanced the same claim, which 
had been so fatally disputed in England, with less resistance 
and equal success. His example was imitated by following 
pontiifs ; and the facility thus acquired, of exciting rebellion 
amongst a restless nobility and a superstitious people, against 
a weak and arbitrary government, terrified the boldest monarchs, 
and frequently led them to sacrifice the future security of the 
crown to the hopes or apprehensions of the moment. 

On the other hand, the very great progress made by Innocent 
in extending the papal influence among the priesthood, was 
counteracted by a measure which may have been necessitated 
by other causes, but which certainly was ill calculated to in- 
crease the attachment of that body. Not contented to exact 
from them very considerable occasional contributions, he im- 
posed a regular tax on ecclesiastical property, and he was the 
first pope who ventured vq:)on that measure. It was called the 
Saladin tax ; and it is true that the service of religion, — whether The Sala- 
in Languedoc or in Palestine, for the miu-der of Saracens or of '" ^ * 
heretic Christians, — was alike the pretext, and in part the 
motive, for those exactions. Nevertheless, they were advanced 
with reluctance ; and the innovation was the less tolerable, as 
it would certainly become a precedent for future and more 
oppressive extortions. 

It is also necessary to observe, that the collective power of 
the episcopal order was not so great at that time as it had been 
in the ninth or tenth, or even in the earlier part of the eleventh 
century, owing to the gradual disuse of those national synods Disuse of 
which, in former ages, controlled the conduct of kings. But councils. 
we should at the same time remark, that the authority thus 
lost by the hierarchy was not gained by the sovereign. It 


changed owners, indeed, but it did not pass out of the pos- 
session of the Church. It was merely transferred from one 
part of that body to another — from the members to the head — 
from the prelacy to the pope ; and by him it was exercised 
with a restless audacity, an imity of design, and a consistent 
perseverance, which could not possibly have directed a long 
series of local and dependent councils. So that the change in 
the constitution of the Chvirch, by which it became less aris- 
locratical (if we may so apply that term) and more despotic, 
though it considerably altered the relative positions of the 
crown and the mitre, did not at all increase the preponderance 
of the former ; on the contrary, the greater concentration of 
ecclesiastical authority in one instead of many hands, made it 
a more danjjerous rival to the civil crovernment. The advance 
of pontifical power was very closely connected with the improve- 
ment of discipline, and the progress of that system of uniformity, 
which was designed entirely to pervade and bind together the 
Universal Church. 
The fourth Among the most important acts of Innocent's pontificate 
Tr'^.niT;? was the convocation of the fourth Lateran Council, — the most 
1215 A.D. nimierous and most celebrated of the ancient assemblies of the 
Latin Church. This august body consisted of nearly five 
hundred * archbishops and bishops, besides a much greater 
multitude of abbots and priors, and delegates of absent pre- 
lates, and ambassadors from most of the Christian covu'ls of the 
West and of the East. It met together in the November of 
1215, lor the professed consideration of two grand objects. 
The first was the recovery of the Holy Land ; the second was 
the Reformation of the Church in faith and in discipline. 
Seventy canons were then dictated by Innocent, and received 
its obsequious confirmation. It does not appear that its de- 
liberations (if they may so be called) were attended with any 
freedom of debate ; and within a month j from the day of its 
opening, having executed its appointed office, it was dismissed. 

)* The numbers are, of course, variously stated ; that of the archbishops at 
seventy-one or seventy-seven, that of the bishops generally at four hundred and 
twelve, that of tlie abbots and priors at eight hundred. 

f This fact alone proves that the canons in question were not made matter of 
discussiun with that numerous assembly. 


Amono- the articles on that occasion enacted, there were 
several wisely constructed for the welfare of the Roman Ca- 
thohc Church : they amplified the hody of the ctmon law, and 
regulated in many respects the practice of ecclesiastical pro- 
cedures, which is followed to this day. But as we cannot in 
this work pursue such a variety of matter into its detail, we 
shall select only those which were the most important in sub- 
stance or in consequence. 

If any doubt hitherto remained in the orthodox Church Ti-'iisul)- 
respecting the manner in which the body and blood of Christ 
were present at the eucharist, it was on this occasion removed 
by Innocent, who unequivocally established, or rather con- 
firmed*, that which is now, and which had then been for some 
time, the doctrine of Roman Catholics. Moreover, as he well 
knew the efficacy of a name to propagate and perpetuate a 
dogma, and also that he might have a fixed verbal test whereby 
to try the opinions and obviate the evasions of heretics, he 
invented and stamped upon that tenet the name of " transub- 

Another canon (the twenty-first) strictly enjoined to all the 
faithful of both sexes, to make, at least once in a year, a pri- 
vate confession of tbeir sins, and that to their own priest or Sacrament- 
curate ; and to fulfil the penance which he might impose on ^io^j"" 
them. They were at the same time prohibited from confessing 
to any other priest, without the special permission of their ownf . 
They were also directed, under severe ecclesiastical penalties in 
case of neglect, to receive the eucharist at Easter, unless a par- 
ticular dispensation should be granted them, also by their own 

* Mosheim is probably wrong in supposing that full liberty had hitherto been 
Itft to pious persons to interpret the doctrine according to their own reason. The 
sense of the Churcli was surficiently expressed by the councils which were held 
against Berenger ; or had it not been so, at least the Council of Piacenza con- 
firmed the doctrine explicitly declared on former occasions. It only remained to 
Innocent to ascertain and consolidate the tenet by the term. 

t The sacrament was taken immediately after confession. " This is the first 
canon, as far as I know," says Fleury, "which imposes the general obligation of 
sacramental confession. There was then a particular reason for it, on account of 
the errors of the Vaudois and Albigeois touching the sacrament of penance." At 
the Council of Toulouse, in 1228, the confession and sacrament were enjoined 
t/tjice iathe year; but this again was in the very focus of heresy. 


pi'iest. By this regulation, the system of auricular confession 
was indeed carried to very refined perfection ; and there is no 
reason to doubt that a canon, which imparted even to the 
lowest of the priesthood such close and searching influence over 
the conscience and conduct of a superstitioiis generation, was 
speedily brought into universal operation. That in some in- 
stances, that on very many particular occasions, the effect of 
this influence has been beneficial to society ; that sinful dispo- 
sitions have been frequently repressed and crimes prevented 
by the present and immediate control of a pious minister, 
is not merely probable, but indisputable. But as a system of 
morality, that could not possibly be creative of righteous prin- 
ciples which held out, through bodily penance, a periodical 
absolution from sin, — even if the hands which administered it 
were always pure. But when we consider the abuse to which 
such a power is inevitably liable, and how greatly, too, it would 
increase through the abuse, we cannot fail to perceive, that it 
was a machine too powerful to be entrusted to the necessary 
infirmitv, to the possible caprice or wickedness, of man. 
Extinction By the proposed reibrmation in the faith of the Church, 
"eresy. nothing was in fact meant but the extirpation of heresy; and this 
was the first object presented to the attention of the council. 
After a formal exposition of faith, upon those points especially on 
which the existing errors were supposed to have arisen, the 
pope and the prelates immediately proceeded (in the third 
canon) to anathematize every heresy. " As soon as they are 
condemned (says the council), they shall be abandoned to the 
secular power to receive the suitable punishment. The goods 
of laymen shall be confiscated ; those of clerks applied to the 
uses of their respective chiu-ches. Those who shall only be 
suspected of heresy, if they do not clear themselves by sufficient 
justification, shall be excommunicated. If they remain a year 
under the suspicion, tliey shall be treated as heretics. The 
secular powers shall be advised, and, if need be, constrained 
by censiires, to make public oath that ihey will exile all heretics 
marked out by the Church. If the temporal lord, on admo- 
nition, shall neglect to free his territories from their pollution, 
he shall be excommunicated by the metropolitan and the other 


bishops of the province; and if he should not submit within a 
year, the pope shall be informed, to the end that he may pro- 
nounce his vassals absolved from the oatli of fidelity, and 
expose his domain to the conquest of the catholics. These, 
after having expelled the heretics, shall peaceably possess and 
preserve it in doctrinal purity — saving the right of the liege 
lord, provided he offer no obstacle to the execution of this 
decree." . . . It is remarkable that this decree, which placed 
the secular authorities directly at the disposal of the spiritual, 
and on the penalty, not of spiritual censures only, but of 
subjugation and military possession, was enacted in the pre- 
sence, and with the consent, of the ambassadors of several 
sovereigns. But this subject has already led us to the last 
division of the chapter, into which we shall properly enter with 
a general inquiry as to the forms which heresy assimied in that 
age, and the measures which Innocent actually adopted for its 

IV. On the Extirpatmi of Heresy. — Since the termination of 
the controversy concerning images, nearly four hundred years 
had elapsed, during which the Church had been very rarely 
disturbed by doctrinal dissension ; and amid the various vices 
which may have polluted, in so long a space, her principles and 
her discipline, she was at least free from the blackest of all her 
crimes, since her hands were unstained by blood. The eucha- 
ristical opinion of Johannes Scotus, which had been nourished 
by the partial brightness of the ninth century, and over- 
shadowed, but not oppressed, by the stupid indifference of the 
tenth, when revived by Berenger, disappeared in the supersti- 
tion of the eleventh, without violence or outrage. Not, per- 
haps, because the ecclesiastics of that age w^ere tolerant or tem- 
perate, but rather, because its advocates were not sufficiently 
numerous or formidable to make a general persecution neces- 
sary for its suppression. But in the dawning light of the 
twelfth age some new heresies were called into life, and others, 
which had previously lain hid, were discovered and exposed : 
so that the attention of men was more generally turned to the 
subject, and the rulers of the Church -were roused from their 
long and harmless repose. Since it was even thus early that 



several of the Protestant opinions were publicly professed, and 
expiated by death; and since these may be traced, under a 
variety of forms and names, but with the same identifying 
character, from the beginning of the twelfth century to the Re- 
formation, it is proper to notice the first obscure vestiges which 
they have left in history. In so doing, we shall first describe 
those sects which were founded (in the West at least) at that 
time ; we shall then proceed to the mention of the Vaudois, to 
whom a still earlier existence is, with great probability, 
The Petro- About the year 1110, a preacher, named Pierre de Bruys, 
began to declaim against the corruptions of the Church, and 
the vices of its ministers. The principal field of his exertions 
was the south of France, Provence and Languedoc, and he con- 
tinued, for about twenty years, to disseminate his opinions with 
success, and, what may seem more strange, with impunity. Those 
opinions may probably have contained much that was erro- 
neous; but they are known to us only through the representa- 
tions of his adversaries. In a Letter or Treatise, composed 
against his followers (thence called Petrobrussians), by the 
Venerable Abbot of Cluni *, they are charged with a variety of 
offences, which the writer reduces under five heads — (1.) The 
rejection of infant baptism. (2.) The contempt of churches 
and altars, as vumecessary for the service of a spiritual and omni- 
present Being. (3.) The destruction of crucifixes, on the 
same principle, as instruments of superstition. (4.) The dis- 
paragement of the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist, in asserting 
that the body and blood were not really consecrated by the 
priests, (.'j.) Disbelief in the efficacy of the oblations, prayers, 
and good works of the living for the salvation of the dead. 
These errors, howsoever various in magnitude, are controverted 
with equal warmth, by Peter the iVbbot ; but that which appears 
to have been most dangerous to the heretic, was the third. At 
least we learn that, in the year 1130, the Catholic inhabitants 
of St. Giles's in Languedoc were roused by their priests to holy 
indionation ajjainst that sacrilecje, and consigned the offender 
to those flames, which his own hand had so frequently fed with 

* Petri Veuerabilis, Lib. contra PetrobrussianoS; in Biblioth. Climiensi. 



the images of Christ. He was burnt ahve in a popular tumult; 
and this may possibly be the suffering to which St. Bernard, in 
a passage already cited, has made allusion. But the errors 
were not thus easily consumed ; the list, on the contrary, was 
enlarged by many additional notions, proceeding, some from 
the piety, others from the ignorance, of his followers. 

One of these*, named Henry, an Italian by birth, obtained a The Henri- 
place in the contemporary records, and gave an appellation 
to a sect, from him called Henricians. This enthusiast tra- 
versed the south of France, from Lausanne to Bourdeaux, pre- 
ceded by two disciples, who carried, like himself, long staves, 
siu'mounted with crosses, and were habited as penitents. His 
stature was lofty, his eyes were rolling and restless ; his powerful 
voice, his rapid and uneasy gait, his naked feet and neglected 
apparel, attracted an attention, which was fixed by the fiuiie 
of his learning and his sanctity. These qualities gave addi- 
tional force to his eloquence; and as it was not uncommonly 
directed against the unpopular vices of the clergy, he gained 
many proselytes, and excited some commotions. Eugenius HI. 
sent forth, for the suppression of this evil, a legate named 
Alberic; but it appears that his mission would have been 
attended with but little success, liad he not prevailed on St. 
Bernard to share with him the labour and the gloiy of the 
enterprise. Henry was then in the domain of Alfonso, Count 
of St. Giles and Toulouse ; and St. Bernard wrote f to prepare 
that prince for his arrival, and to signify his motives. " The 
churches (he said) are without people ; the people without 
priests; the priests without honour; and Christians without 
Christ. The churches are no lonorer conceived holy, nor the 
sacraments sacred, nor are the festivals any more celebrated. 

* Henry is generally described as a dlscijde and fellow-lubourer of Pierre de 
Briiys. Tlie objection to this opnion, urged by Mosheim, is, that Plenry was 
preceded in his expeditions liy the figure of the cross, whereas Pierre consigned 
all crucifixes to the flames. Without supposing that the objection of Pierre 
might be to the image of the Saviour, not to the form of the cross, the objection 
is far from conclusive. Some account of the heresies of the twelfth century is 
given by Dupin, Nouv. Biblioth., Siecle 12, c. vi. 

t Epistol. 240. (Lntet. Paris, 1040.) It begins, '•' Quanta audivimus et cog- 
novimus mala quae in ecclesiis Dei fecit et fecit ipiotidie Henricus hsereticus ! Ver- 
satur in terra vestra sub vestimcntis oviuni lupus rapax," &c. 



Men die in their sins — souls are hurried away to the terrible 
tribunal — without penitence or communion ; baptism is refused 
to infants, who are thus precluded from salvation." He added 
many reproaches against Henry, whom he accused of being an 
apostate monk, a mendicant, a hypocrite, and a debauchee. 
The biographers of that Saint relate, that he was received, even 
in the most contaminated provinces, like an angel from heaven; 
and at Albi, the place most fatally infected, an immense mul- 
titude assembled to hear his preaching. The day which he 
skilfully selected for their conversion, was that of St. Peter. He 
examined in succession the various peculiarities of their belief, 
and showed their deviation from the Catholic faith. He then 
reqiiired the people to tell him which of the two they would 
have. They immediately declared their horror of heresy, and 
their joy at the prospect of returning to the bosom of the 
Church. " Return, then, to the Chvuch (replied St. Bernard); 
and that we may the better distinguish those who are sincere, 
let all true penitents lift up their hands." They obeyed this 
injunction with one consent : and though St, Bernard, in the 
course of a leisurely journey from Clairvaux to Albi, had per- 
formed many extraordinary miracles, " this (as the simple 
chronicler reports) was the mightiest of all." Henry himself 
appears to have fled to Tovdouse, whither the eager abbot piu'- 
sued him. Thence he once more escaped, and once more St. 
Bernard followed, purifying the places infected by that pesti- 
lence. At length the fugitive was seized and convicted at 
Rheims, before Eugenius in person, and consigned to prison 
(in 11 4S), where he presently afterwards died. 
Other He- About the same time it would ajopear that certain other sects, 
differing in some less important points among themselves, but 
united in a sort of desuhory opposition to the Roman Church, 
had gained footing, not in France only, but in Flanders, in 
Germany, and even in the north of Italy. Without any formal 
separation from the Church, or an entire disregard of its public 
offices, they had their own ministers, both bishops and priests*, 

* Milner, Cent, xii., c. iii., cites the following passage from Everviims's Letter 
to St. Bernard, preserved by MabiUou, and written abuiit 1140 : — •' There have 



to whom they paid a more observant deference, and whom they 
affinnod to be the only legitimate descendants from the apostles. 
The opposition of these heretics seems to have been more par- 
ticularly directed against the wealth and temporal pow er of the 
Catholic clergy — but at the same time they rejected infant 
baptism, the intercession of saints, purgatory — and professed, 
in fact, to receive only those truths which were positively deli- 
vered by Christ or his apostles. They are described to have 
been extremely ignorant, and confined to the lowest classes. 
But it is at least certain, that in the principality of Toulouse, 
the nobility had engaged with some obstinacy in the heresy of 
the Paulicians — less through error than through design, and 
a malicious satisfaction in the humiliation of the clergy. But 
the same motives are not less likely to have operated, where- 
soever the same or similar opinions were promulgated. 

Another religious faction had at that time considerable pre- Heresy of 
valence, which, under the various names of Cathari (or Catha- ^j^^or p^u." 
i-ists — Puritans), Gazari, Paterini, Paulicians or Publicans, Bui- Hcians. 
gari or Bugari*, was more particularly charged with Manicha;an 
opinions. The origin of these heretics has been the subject of 
much controversy ; for while some suppose their errors to have 
been indigenous in Europe, there are others who derive them 

been lately some heretics discovered among us, near Cologne, though several 
have with satisfaction returned again to the Church. One of their Bishops, and 
his companions, openly opposed us in the assembly of the clergy and laity, in the 
presence of the Archbishop, and many of the nobility, defending the heresies by 
the words of Christ and the apostles. Finding that they made no impression, 
they desired that a day might be appointed for them, on which they might bring 
their teachers to a conference, promising to return to the Church, provided they 
found their masters unable to answer the arguments of their opponents ; but that, 
otherwise, they would rather die than depart from their judgment. Upon this 
declaration, having been admonished to repent for three days, they were seized 
by the people in the excess of zeal, and burnt to death. And what is amazing, 
they came to the stake, and endured the pain, not only with patience, but even 

with joy."' 

* About the middle of the thirteenth century, the Emperor Frederic II. enume- 
rated all the forms, or rather names, of heresy then most scandalous, in the open- 
ing of an edict published against them. It begins as follows :— " Catharos, Pa- 
tarenos, Speromistas, Leonistas, Arnaldistas,Circumcisos,Passaginos, Josephnios, 
Garatenses, Albanenses, Franciscos, Beghardos,Commissos,Valdenses, Romanolos, 
Cummuuellos, Varinos, Ortulenos, cum illis de Aqua Nigra, et^ omnes hsereticos 
. . . damnamus," &c. See Limborch, Hist. Inciuisit. lib. i. c 12. 



in a direct line from the heart of Asia. It is certain that a 
very powerful sect named Paulicians, and tainted, though they 
might affect to disclaim it, with the absurdities of Manes, spread 
very widely throughout the Greek provinces of Asia during the 
eio^hth century. It is equally true, that after a merciless per- 
secution of about one hundred and fifty years, their remnant, 
still numerous, was permitted to settle in Bulgaria and Thrace. 
Thence, as is believed by Muratori, Mosheim, and Gibbon, they 
gradually migrated towards the West ; at first, as occasions of 
war, or commerce, or mendicity (another name for pilgrimage) 
might be presented ; and, latterly, in the returning ranks of 
the crusaders. It is asserted, that their first migration was 
into Italy ; that so early as the middle of the eleventh century, 
many of their colonies were established in Sicily, in Lombardy, 
Insubria, and principally at Milan ; that others led a wander- 
ing life in France, Germany, and other countries; and that 
they everywhere attracted, by their pious looks and austere 
demeanour, the admiration and respect of the multitude. It is 
moreover maintained, that these widely scattered congregations 
were organized in united obedience to a primate Avho resided 
on the confines of Bulcfaria and Dalmatia. In confirmation of 
the authorities on which these opinions rest, it shoidd be 
observed, that amonof the various forms of heresv, which were 
detected by the keen eyes of the early Inquisitors, there was 
scarcely one which escaped the charge of Manicha-ism*. 

Admitting, then, that this charge was very commonly in- 
vented for the purpose of making the others more detestable, 
we cannot question that it was sometimes founded in truth. 
And while, on the one hand, we are far removed from an 
opinion, that would refer the origin of all the earliest Western 
sects to the emigrants from the East — that would considei", not 
only the Cathari, but the Petrobrussians, Henricians, and even 
the Vaudois themselves, as descendants from the family of 
Manes — it is equally unreasonable to contend, that his wild 

* The first canon of Innocent's Lateran Conncil distinctly states the chnrch 
doctrine resjiecting tlie Unity of llie Deity, in oiniosition to that of the Two Piin- 
ciples — a sulKcient declaration that many Maiiichaeans were bc/icvcd to bo found 
among the heretics. 


opinions had no existence in the West of Europe ; or even to 
dispute their perpetuation through parties of Pauhcians, who, 
from time to time, may have migrated into Sicily or Italy. It 
is indeed unquestionable that such was the case ; and it is not 
impossible that they may have formed, even after their dis- 
persion throughout Eiu'ope, a distinct and characteristic sect. 
But it would be absurd to ascribe to their influence the forma- 
tion of sects, of which the leading principles were wholly dis- 
tinct, if not entirely at variance with those of the Asiatics. 
Even in the dawn of returning knowledge, the faintest glimmer- 
in o-s of reason were sufficient to li^ht the mind to the detection 
of papal delinquency, of the aberrations of the Church and its 
ministers. It required not a star from the East to indicate, 
even in those dark times, how distinct were the principles of 
the Church from the precepts of the Gospel; or to contrast the 
deformities of the Clergy with the purity of their heavenly 
Master. Such incongruities obtrude themselves perhaps the most 
forcibly upon illiterate minds, and excite the deepest disgust in 
the simplest conscience. It is to this cause that the heresies 
of those early ages may most confidently be traced : they may 
indeed have been infected, in a greater or less degree, with some 
of the notions of the Paulician colonists — but that assuredly 
was not the source from which they flowed. 

As we have been careful to distinguish the Catharists, who 
may have been semi-Manichseans, from the other sects of re- 
formers who were scattered throughout Europe, so we must 
again consider the Vaudois or Waldenses as a separate race The Vau- 
among these latter, — that we may not fall into the error of ^'^" 
Mosheim, who ascribes the origin of that sect to an individual 
named Waldus. Peter Waldus, or Waldensis, a native of 
Lyons, was a layman and a merchant ; but, notwithstanding 
the avocations of a secular life, he had studied the real character 
of his Church with attention, followed by shame. Stinig by the 
spectacle of so much impurity*, he abandoned his profession, 

* It is said that the worship of the Host, which was first enforced about this time, 
was the particular sujierstition which awakened the indignation of Peter Waldus. 
If, indeed, that practice was gonerally established in IIGO, there remained little 
for Innocent to add to the sanctity of the sacrament fifty-five years afterwards. 


distributed his wealth among the poor, and formed an asso- 
ciation for the diffusion of scriptural truth. He commenced 
his ministry about the year 1160. Having previously caused 
several parts of the Scriptures to be translated into the vulgar 
tongue, he expounded them with great effect to an attentive 
body of disciples, both in France and Lombardy. In the course 
of his exertions he probably visited the valleys of Piedmont ; 
and there he found a people of congenial spirits. They were 
called Vaudois or Waldenses (Men of the Valleys) ; and as 
the preaching of Peter may probably have confirmed their 
opinions, and cemented their discipline, he acquired and de- 
served his surname by his residence among them. At the same 
time, their connexion with Peter and his real Lyonnese disci- 
ples established a notion of their identity ; and the Vaudois, in 
return for the title which they had bestowed, received the 
reciprocal appellation of Leonists : such, at least, appears the 
most probable among many varying accounts*. 

There are some who believe the Vaudois to have enjoyed 
the uninterrupted integrity of the faith even from the apostolic 
ages ; others suppose them to have been disciples of Claudius 
of Tiu-in, the evangelical prelate of the ninth century. At least, 
it may be pronounced witli great certainty, that they had been 
long in existence before the visit of the Lyonnese reformer. A 
Dominican, named Rainer Sacclio, who was first a member 
and afterwards a persecutor of their connnunion, described 
them, in a treatise which he wrote against them, to the follow- 
ing purpose : " There is no sect so dangerous as the Leonists, 
for three reasons : first, it is the most ancient, — some say as 
old as Sylvester, others as the apostles themselves. Secondly, 
it is very generally disseminated : there is no country where it 

There is no mention of it in the ancient canonical books of the Church,— those of 
Alcuin, Amiilarius, Walfridiis, and Micrologus. There is proof, however, that it 
existed in France, both at Paris and at Tours, a century at least before Innocent 
III. In Germany there is also evidence of its previous existence. But in the 
Roman Church it does not appear to have been established before the pontificate 
of Boniface VIII. See Pagi, Vit. Iiinoc. III. ad finem. 

* There are some who derive the surname of Peter from some town or hamlet 
in the vicinity of Lyons; others contend that he never personally preached among 
the Vaudois of Piedmont. 


has not gained some footing. Thirdly, while other sects are 
profane and blasphemous, this retains the utmost show of piety: 
they live justly before men, and believe nothing respecting God 
which is not good ; only they blaspheme against the Roman 
Church and the clergy, and thus gain many followers*." The 
author of this passage lived about the middle of the following 
century ; and if the sect against which he was writing had 
really originated from the preaching of Peter some eighty years 
before, the Dominican would scarcely have conceded to it the 
claim of high and immemorial antiquity. Again, St. Bernard 
in one place admits, in substance, " that there is a sect, which 
calls itself after no man's namef, which pretends to be in the 
direct line of apostolical succession ; and which, rustic and 
unlearned though it is, contends that the Church is wrong, and 
that itself alone is right. It must derive (he subjoins) its 
origin from the devil ; since there is no other extraction which 
we can assign to it." 

At the same time we must admit that the direct historical Their anti- 
evidence is not sufficient to prove the uncontaminated purity of 1"''i'' 
the Vaudois ^. Alcuin, the tutor of Charlemagne, may have 
complained "^that auricular confession was not practised in the 
churches of Languedoc and the Alps in his time;" Claudius 
of Turin may have presided over a reformed and Christian 
diocese ; somewhat later (in 945), Atto, bishop of Verceil §, 
may have lamented " that there were some in his diocese who 
held the divine service in derision;" and lastly, at the Synod 
of Arras, in 1025, it may have been deplored, "that certain 
persons, coming from the borders of Italy, had introduced 
heretical doctrines," — and such as the Waldenses, indeed, pro- 
fessed. It still appears that the name is not mentioned in any 

* Bibliotheca Patrum, apud Lenfant, Guerre des Hussites, liv. ii., sect. v. 

f " Quaere ab illis suaj sectae auctorem, neminem dabit. Quae haeresis non ex 
hominibus habuit proprium haeresiarcham ? Manichaji Manem habuere principem 
et praeceptorem, Sabelliani .Sabellium, &c. Ita omnes cetoiec hujusinodi pestes 
singular singulos magistros homines habuisse noscuntur, a quibus originem simul 
duxere et nomeii. Quo nomine istos titulove vocabis ? NuUo ; quoniam non est 
ab homine illorum haeresis,. .. .sed magis et absque dubio per immissionem et 
fraudera dacmoniorum," &c. Sermo super Cant. Ixvi. ad init. 

I We refer to Mr. Gilly's well-known work on this subject. 

6 -A city situated between Turin and Milan. 


writing before the twelfth century ; and there is no specific 
evidence of the previous existence of the sect. Nevertheless, as 
its origin was confessedly immemorial in the thirteenth century, 
and as there has not, perhaps, existed in the history of heresy 
any other sect, to which some origin has not been expressly 
ascribed, we have just reason to infer the very high antiquity 
of the Vaudois. 

Man)' will think it more important to learn their doctrines, 
than to speculate on their origin. On almost all material points, 
they were those of the Reformation*. In their discipline they 
endeavoured to attain the rigid simplicity of the primitive 
Christians, and in that endeavour, perhaps, they exceeded it; 
for while they maintained and imitated the divine institution of 
the three orders in the priesthood, they also reduced their 
clergy to the temporal condition of the apostles themselves; 
they denied them all worldly possessions, and while they 
obliged them to be poor and industrious, they compelled them 
to be illiterate also. 

The persecution of Peter Waldensis, and the dispersion of 
his followers, occasioned, as in so many similar instances, the 
dissemination of their opinions ; and, notwithstanding some 
partial sufferings which were inflicted in Picardy by Philippe 
Auguste, they were a numerous and flourishing sect at the 
conclusion of the twelfth century. They were often confounded 
in name with the Vaudois, in crime and calamity with the 
Catharists and Petrobrussians, and other adversaries of papacy. 
The Albi- But of these various descriptions such as were found in 
France during the pontificate of Innocent were known by the 
general name of Albigeois or Albigenses. A city in Languedoc, 

* Rainer, the Dominican, already clte;l, also divides the crimes of the Vaudois 
into three classes : 1. Their blasphemies against the Church, its statutes, and its 
clergy ; 2. Errors touching the sacraments and the saints ; 3. Detestation of all 
honest customs approved by the Church ; which really means, objections to the 
administration, the sacraments, and the practices of the Roman Catholic Church. 
Mosheim treats the subject at Cent, xii., p. ii., ch. v. Pierra d' Ailly, in a dis- 
course composed at the Council of Constance, alleges as their principal errors, that 
they refused temporalities to the priesthood, and asserted that the Church of God 
only lasted till the endowment by Constantine. Then arose the Church of Rome, 
—the other being eitinct, except in as far as it was ^jerpetuatediu themselves. 



named Albi*, which was peculiarly prohfic of heresy, is usually 
supposed to have given a common designation to these nume- 
rous forms of error. Such, very briefly described, were the 
factions Avhich distracted the Church on the accession of Inno- 
cent III. It now remains to observe the measures which he 
adopted to repress them. xA.nd let us first inquire to what 
extent he might plead tlie previous practice of the Church. 

It 'appears that, at a synod held at Orleans, in the year Synod of 
1017, under the reign of Robert, a number of persons, of no 
mean condition or character, were accused of heretical opinions. 
Manicha^isni was the frightful term employed to express their 
delinquency ; but it is more probable that their real offence 
was the adoption of certain mystical notions, proceeding, 
indeed, from feelings of the most earnest piety, but too spiritual 
to be tolerated even in that age of that Church. It is said that 
they despised all external forms of worship, and rejected the 
rites, the ceremonies, and even the sacraments of the Church ; 
that they valued none save the religion within, — the abstracted 
contemplation of the Deity, and the internal aspirations of the 
soul after things celestial. Some philosophical speculations 
they may also have admitted respecting God, the Trinity, and 
the human soul, which excited the fears of that generation! , in 

• According to the Histoire Gen6ralc de Langucdoc, by the Benedictine 
monks, the term is more accurately derived from Albigesiuni, the general deno- 
mination of Is'arbonuese Gaul in that century. See Jlosh., note on Cent, xiii., 
p. ii., ch. v., sect. vii. 

I Such, at least, is the opinion of Moshcim (Cent, xi., p. ii., ch. v.) The history 
of this synod of Orleans is found in Dacheriiis's Spicilegium Veter. Script, (torn, 
ii., p. 670, Edit, Paris), and the charges there alleged (besides the usual calumny 
of promiscuous prostitution) res[)ect the nativity, the death, and resurrection of 
Christ, and impute a disbelief in the eflticacy of baptism, in the change wrought 
by consecration in the eucharistical elements, and in the meritoriousness of prayers 
to martyrs and confessors. In the place of this faith they substituted " celestial 
food," ''angelic visions," "the companionship of God,''. . .and when the prelate 
sitting in judgment on them laid down the orthodox doctrine respecting some of 
those points, the heretics replied, "You may tell such tales as those to men whose 
wisdom is of this world, and who believe the fictions of carnal men, written on tlie 
skins (membranis) of animals. But to us, who have a law inscribed on the in- 
ward man by the Holy Spirit, and who have no other wisdom tlian that which wc 
have learnt from God the creator of all things, you preach superfluous vanities, 
deviating from real holiness. Wherefore, cease from your discourse, and do what 
you will with us. Already do we behold our King reigning in the heavens, who 
exalts us with liis right hand to immortal triumphs, and to the joys which are 


the same degree that they surpassed its comprehension. Ac- 
cordingly, they were accused and convicted of heresy; and as 
they firmly persisted in their errors, and as the king had no 
repugnance to enforce the sentence, they were finally consigned 
to the flames. 
Edicts of In this barbarous transaction, which was rather in anticipa- 
^^^exan er ^^^^ ^^ ^j^^ policy of later ages, than in accordance with that of 
the eleventh, we have found no proof of papal interference ; 
nor, indeed, have we observed any very important pontifical 
edicts for the extirpation of heresy, earlier than the reign of 
Alexander III. That pope, in a council held at Tours in 1163, 
published a decree to this effect: "Whereas a damnable heresy 
has for some time lifted its head in the parts about Toidouse, 
and has already spread its infection through Gascony and other 
provinces, concealing itself like a serpent within its own folds ; 
as soon as its followers shall have been discovered, let no man 
afford them a refuge on his estates ; neither let there be any 
communication with them in buying or selling ; so that, being 
deprived of the solace of human conversation, they may be 
compelled to return from error to wisdom*.'' 

The same pontiff, in the third Lateran Council, held in 1 179, 
published other edicts against the heretics, variously named 
Cathari, Paterini, Publicani, &c., pursuing them with anathe- 
mas, refusal of Christian sepulture, and other spiritual chas- 
tisements. But it does not appear that he invoked, on either 
occasion, the secular arm to his assistance. Nevertheless, 
without that aid, his power was sufficient to expel Peter Wal- 
densis from his native city, and subsequently to pursue him 
from Dauphiny to Picardy, and thence to Germany, till he 
found his final resting-place among the Bohemian moun- 
taineers, the ancestors of Huss and Jerome. Tlie fugitive died 
in that country very soon afterwards. 

When the torch of persecution was transmitted to Innocentf ^ 

above." We should recollect that this account (like almost every other in which 
any heretical opinions are described) comes to us from the pen of an enemy. 

* The original is given by Pagi, Vit. Alexandri III., sect. xlii. He continues 
to apply to them, according to the ordinary confusion, the name of ^Valdenses. 

f That Innocent was very ready to take his turn in this lampadephory appears 
from several epistles, written to various prelates in the very first year of his pont-. 


the two principal seats of religious disaffection were the valleys 
of Piedmont and the cities of Languedoc ; with this difference, 
however, that the Vaudois flourished in comparative and per- 
haps despised security, while the latter, more particularly 
denominated Albigeois, were rendered more notorious, as well 
as more dangerous, by the protection publicly afforded them 
by Raymond VI., earl of Tovdouse*. Against these, therefore, Persecu- 
the pope's earnest and most assithious efforts were directed ; Aibijreois 
and first, observing that the bishops in those provinces were 
deficient in true Catholic zeal for the unity of the Church, he 
sent, in 1 1 98, two legates into the rebellious districts ; but 
rather, as it would seem, for the purpose of exploring and 
menacing, than of actually commencing the contest. Presently 
afterwards, a more numerous commission, the advance of his 
array, invaded the haunts of heresy, and brought argument and 
eloquence in support of intimidation. This body again received 
great additional efficiency from the accession of a Spaniard, 
named Dominic, a young ecclesiastic, remarkable for the 
severity of his life, the extent of his learning, the persuasiveness 
of his manner, and the ardom- of his zeal. These qualities, 
and some successful services, infused a new spirit into the ranks 
of the orthodox. It would also appear that their exertions 
were no longer restricted to verbal exhortation and reproof; 
but that they also aimed to animate the civil authorities in 
their favour, and to enforce the infliction even of capital punish- 
ment, whenever they had influence to do so. This expedition 
lasted six or seven years ; and, at the end of that time, the 
spiritual missionaries engaged in it were generally known by 
the title of Inquisitors, — a name, not indeed honourable or 
innocent even in its origin, but not yet associated with horror 
and infamy. 

ificate, in which he exhorts them to gird themselves for the work of extirpation, 
and to employ, if necessary, the arms of the princes and of l/ie people. This last 
suggestion was provident. The populace might sometimes be excited to an act 
of outrage, when the authorities were neutral in the quarrel. 

* Limborch, in the first book of his History of the Inquisition (cap. viii.), very 
clearly shows, both from the " Sententiae Inquisilionis Tolositanse," and other 
evidence, that the Vaudois, while thoy held some opinions in common with the 
Albigenses, had many more points of difference, in rites as well as in doctrme; for 
instance, the Mauichaean errors imputed to the latter are never ascribed to the 


Still maltcrs did not proceed with the rapidity desired by 
the pontiff; and then the missionaries had recourse to a new 
and very harmless expedient to accelerate success. They laid 
aside the pomp and dignity of their train and habits, discharged 
the unpopular parade of servants and equipage, and continued 
their preaching with the more imposing pretension of apos- 
tolical humility. But neither had this method the result which 
was hoped from it. At length, in the year 1207, Innocent at 
once addressed himself to the arms of Philippe Auguste. He 
easily exhorted that monarch to march into the heretical pro- 
vinces, and extirpate the spiritual rebels by fire and sword. 

About the same time one of his legates or inquisitors, Pierre 
de Castelnovo* (or Chateau-neuf), was assassinated by the 
populace in the states of Raymond. The act was imputed to 
the connivance, if not the direct instigation, of that prince|. 
The pope immediately launched the bolt of excommunication ; 
and his emissaries, by his command, proceeded to those mea- 
sures which introduced a new feature into the history of inter- 
Christian warfare. They proclaimed a general campaign of 
all nations against the Albigeois, and at the same time promised 
a general grant of indulgences and dispensations to all who 
should take arms in that holy cause. Having thus reduced 
those dissenting Christians to the same level in a religious 
estimation with the Turk and the Saracen, they let loose an 
infuriated multitude of fanatics against them; and the word 
" Crusade," which had hitherto signified only religious mad- 
ness, was now extended to the more deliberate atrocity of sec- 
tarian persecution. 
Simon de Several monks and some prelates were the spiritual directors 
of this tempest; but the military leader was Simon, Count de 
IVIontfort, " a man like Cronl^vell, whose intrepidity, hypocrisy. 

* Some write tlie name Castronovo. 

f Historians differ as to the probability of his guilt; also as to the fact 
whether the first appeal of Innocent to the court of France preceded or followed 
the death of his legate. On this point we incline to the former opinion. Re- 
specting the charge against Raymond, there seems to be no clear proof on either 
side ; it is known that he favoured the heretics, and that circumstance might 
occasion either the crime or the calumny. The latter is, perhaps, the more pro- 



and ambition marked him for the hero of a holy war ''"'." To 
irritate his ambition, the pope artfully held out to him the earl- 
dom of Toulouse, as the recompense of his exertions in the 
service of the Church. His hypocrisy was displayed and hard- 
ened by the seeming devotion with which he continually perpe- 
trated the most revolting enormities, and his intrepidity was 
exercised by the resistance of the heretics. It would be a 
painful office, and of little profit, in the present prevalence of 
reason and of humanity, to pursue the frightful details of 
religious massacref . It is sufficient to say, that after many 
conflicts and some variety of success, but no intermission of 
barbarity, the triumph rested with the Catholics. It was not, 
however, so complete as either to exterminate the rebels, or to 
place the promised sceptre in the hand of the persecutor. In 
the year 1218, Montfort was killed in battle before the walls of 
the city'l which Innocent had vainly bestowed on him. 

* Ilallam, Miildle Ages. Simon de Blontfort was descended, by an illegitimate 
branch, from Robert, King of France. lie was connected on his mother's side 
with the Earls of Leicester. 

f It was said in this war, when the Crusaders were on the point of storming 
Beziers, that some one inquired how the Catholic were to be distinguished from 
the heretical inhabitants in the massacre about to fake place: "Kill them all 
(replied Arnold, a Cistercian abbot, who happened to be present) — God will know 
his own.'' '• Ca?dite — novit Doniinus qui siuit ejus." His advice appears to 
have been followed, and about seven thousand of all jiersuasions suffered. 

The Life of Innocent 111. apud Muratori (which is more properly the History 
of Montfort's wars,) mentions many instances in which small bodies of heretics 
chose to be burnt, rather than return to the Catholic faith. 

I The recorded circumstances of his death seem well to illustrate one trait at 
least in his chiiracler. He was at matins (on .June 25) wlicn he was informed 
that the enemy were in arms, and concealed in the fosse of the fortress. lie in- 
stantly armed also, and hastened to church to hear mass. Mass was just begun, 
and he was engaged in earnest prayer, when news was brought him that the 
Toulousaus had made a sally, and were attacking his machines — " Let me finish 
the mass (he replit-d) and see the sacrament of our redemption." Instantly after- 
wards another courier arrived, and said, " Hasten to the succour; our men are 
pressed, and can hold out no longer." " I will not stir (he answered) until I have 
seen my Saviour." But as soon as the priest bad lifted up the Host, according 
to the usage, the Count, with his knees still on earth, and his hands raised to 
heaven, exclaimed, " AWc dinnltis," and he then added, "Let us now go and 
die, if necessary, for Him who has died for us." Accordingly he went forth and 
died. Yet, after all, it were too much to ascribe this conduct to pure hypocrisy ; 
much of fanaticism was undoubtedly mixed with it ; and when religious enthu- 
siasm is united, as has too commonly happened, with religious hypocrisy, it is 
impossible even for the person possessed with them to distinguish their limits. 


The Conn- The contest was continued by succeeding popes according to 
bus!;' ^ "" ^^^^ principles of Innocent; and eight years after the death of 
which es- Montfort, Louis VIII., King of France, was engaged to gird 
the iVqui- on the sword of persecution. Another crusade was preached, 
sition. Q^y^fT^ jj^ 1228 a system of inqviisition was permanently esta- 
blished within the walls of Toulouse. In the same, or the 
following year, a council there assembled published decrees, 
which obliged laymen, even of the highest rank, to close their 
houses, cellars, forests, against the heretical fugitives, and to 
take all means to detect and bring them to trial; heretics 
voluntarily converted were compelled to wear certain crosses 
on their garments; those who should return to the Church, 
under the influence of fear, were still to suffer imprisonment at 
the discretion of the bishop; all children of the age of twelve 
or fourteen were compelled by oath, not only to abjure every 
heresy, but to expose and denounce any which they should 
detect in others ; and this code of bigotry was properly com- 
pleted by a strict prohibition to all laymen to possess any copies 
of the Scriptures*. 

Still the Count, who succeeded to the sceptre and to the 
moderation of Raymond, manifested not sufficient ardour in 
the Catholic cause, and it was not till the Archbishop of the 
city was formally associated with him in the office of destruc - 

* Some of the statutes of this Council are worth citing, as they show not only- 
how far the system, strictly speaking inquisitorial, was carried in that early age, 
but also how closely the laity at that time co-operated with the clergy for the 
imity of the church : — " Statuimus itaque ut archiepiscopi et episcopi in singulis 
parochiis, tarn in civitatibus quam extra, sacerdotem unum et duos vel tres biicos 
vel plures etiam, si opus fuent, juramenti religione constringant, quod diligenter, 
fideliter et frequenter inquirant haereticos in iisdem parochiis, domos singulas et 
cameras siibterraneas aliqui sus; icione notabiles j)erscrutando, et appensa seu 
adjinicta in iis tectis acdificia, seu qusecunque alia latibula (quae omnia destrui 
prsecipimus) perquirendo repererint hsereticos, credentes, fantores et receptatores 
seu defensores eorum, &c. . . . SoUiciti etiam sint domini terrarum circa 
inquisitionem ha?reticorum, in villis, domibus et nemorjbus faciendam ; et circa 
hujusmodi appensa, adjuncta, seu subterranea latibula destruenda. Statuimus 
igitur ut quicunque in terra permiltat scienter morari haereticum . . . . et fuerit 
inde confessus et convictus, amittat in perpetuum totam suam terram, et corpus 
suum sit in manu domini ad faciendum inde quod debebit. lUam domum in qua 
fuerit inventus haereticus dirnendam decernimus ; et locus sive fundus ipse confis- 
cetur,"' &c.— See Spicileg. Dacheiii (vol. ii. p. 621, Edit. Paris.) under the head 
•' Varia Gallise Concilia." 


tion, that the work was thought to proceed with becoming 
rapidity*. At length, in 1253, the Count entered seriously on 
the hateful task ; and from that moment the remnant of the 
Albigeois were consigned, without hope or mercy, to the eager 
hands of the inquisitors. 

Innocent did not himself live to behold the success of his D^^tli of 
measures ; and the cause which is assigned tor his premature 
death is the more remarkablef , as it arose ovit of the most 
triumphant exploit in his life. Since the humiliation of John, 
the crown of England had been considered by the Pope as a 
possession valuable to his ambition no less than to his avarice ; 
and when, on the deposition of John, Louis of France was pro- 
claimed, and actually proceeded to occupy the country in spite 
of the pontiff's determined opposition. Innocent was indignant 
at the aftVont and the injury. He preached a sermon on some 
public occasion, and selected for his text, " Even say thou, the 
sword, the sword is drawn — for the slaughter it is furbished J.' 
In the course of his passionate harangue he pi-onounced a solemn 
sentence of excommunication acrainst Louis and his followers ; 
and immediately afterwards, as it is said, while in the act of 
dictating to his secretary some very harsh censures against 
Philippe and his kingdom, he was seized by that fatal fever, 

* We read in I\Iatthew Paris, that about the year 1236, the Fratres Predica- 
tores and other divines were still making great exertions for the conversion of the 
misbelievers. One of those preachers, named Robert, was so powerful in pros- 
trating an adversary as to have obtained the name of Malleus Heereticorum — the 
Hammer of Heretics. Nor was this only meant in a spiritual sense, " since there 
were many of both sexes whom, being unable to convert, he caused to be burnt 
to death; so that within two or three months there were about fifty persons 
whom he occasioned either to be burnt or buried alive.'' — Mattb. Paris, Ilennc. 
III., ad an. 1'23G. We shovdd add, however, for the honour of pontifical hu- 
manity, that (uily two years afterwards the cruelties of Robert were arrested by an 
order from Rome, and the persecutor (who, by the way, had previously been a 
heretic) was himself convicted of some less equivocal offences, and imprisoned 
for life. 

f Some writers make no mention of this circumstance, but merely assert that 
Itmocent died rather suddenly, while on his way to reconcile some difiltrences 
between the Pisans and Genoese, which impeded his grand crusading projects. — 
See the Chron. of Richardus de S. Germano, and of Urspergensis Abbas, ap. 
Pagi, Vit. Innoc. III. sect. 104. It is certain that his death took place at Peru- 
gia, on July 16, 1216, after a reign of eighteen years and six months. 
J Kzekiel, xxi. 28. 


which was ordained, perhaps, to prevent some new enterprise 
of warfare and desolation. 
Character If we would reconcile the lofty panegyrics with the violent 
oflimo- vituperation which are alike bestowed upon the name of Inno- 
cent III., we must first distinguish his private from his public 
character, and next reflect how different and even opposite are 
the principles on whicli the latter has, in different ages, been 
judo-cd. The very same exploits which would naturally call 
forth loud approbation from the Catholic historians of those 
days, nay, from some perhaps even at this moment, are made 
the subjects of severe censure by Protestant writers. This dif- 
ference is less properly historical than moral. It does not 
respect the reality of the questionable acts ascribed to him, but 
only the light in which we are bound to regard them. But in 
respect to the private qualities of Innocent there is no ground 
for such diversity ; and that they were great and noble is at- 
tested by most of his biographers. That he was gifted with 
extraorciinary talents — that he was a profound canonist, and 
generally conversant with the learning of his time — that he was 
frequent in charitable offices, and generous in the distribution 
of his personal revenues — that his moral conduct was without 
reproach, and that he was sometimes not untouched by senti- 
ments of piety, is clear from the evidence of contemporary 
authors and of his own writings. But great personal virtues 
are perfectly consistent with great public crimes; and it is a 
truth which leads to melancholy reflection, that some of the 
heaviest evils which have ever been inflicted upon churches and 
nations, have proceeded from the weak or even wicked policy 
of men of immaculate private characters. 

Such was Innocent III.; charitable to the poor who sur- 
rounded his palace, steeled against the wretch who deviated 
from his faith — generous in the profusion of his private ex- 
penditure, avaricious in the exactions which he levied for the 
apostolical treasury — humane* in his mere social relations, 

* Simon (le Montfovt killed l\ter of Arragon in battle, and took his son prisoner. 
The widow, unable to prevail with Montfort for the release of the boy, supplicated 
the interference of Innocent. There is no proof that his policy was in this mat- 
ter concerned on either side, so he commanded the liberation of the captive, and 
for once humanity had its triumph. 



niorclless in the execution of his ecclesiastical projects — pious 
in the expressions of internal devotion, impious and blasphe- 
mous in his repeated profanation of the name of God and of 
the cross of Christ. 

Ao-ain : if wc confine our retrospect to the public acts of this His policy, 
pontiff, we observe that they bear, perhaps witliout any excep- 
tion, the same stamp — that of a temporal and worldly policy. 
Innocent subjected the civil authority of the Imperial Prefect 
to his own. He extended, with great diligence, the boundaries 
of the Ecclesiastical States. He found means to control a 
great portion of the secular power of Europe, so that he might 
hold it at his disposal ; whether it was his will to overthrow a 
pretender, or to depose a king, or to extinguish a heresy. For 
the accomplishment of his most important objects his final and 
most confident appeal was invariably made to the material 
sword. Ao-ain: as if it were little to submit the consciences 
of men to the dominion of the Holy See, he endeavoured to 
comprehend in its grasp their property also. Heretofore the 
Popes had been contented with the exercise and the rewards 
of a spiritual tyranny — they had been satisfied with the obe- 
dience, the ecclesiastical fidelity, the ghostly services of tlieir 
clergy ; but Innocent opened a more direct and, as he thought, 
a more solid path to power. He availed himself of the pretext 
of the crusades to levy pecuniary contributions, immediately on 
the clergy, and, through the clergy, on the people. This was 
the most essential change which he introduced into the system 
of the church. From this epoch its history takes another, and 
we need not hesitate to say, a lower character; and though 
this was not instantly developed, but awaited the profligacy of 
Avignon, and the vices and necessities of the Schism, to bring 
it to full perfection, still it was from this crisis that the revo- 
lution must be dated ; here originated that gradual substitution 
of worldly objects and vulgar motives for the splendour of spi- 
ritual pretension, which led, through a succession of pitifid 
disputes and sordid usurpations, to mere naked avarice and 
avowed and shameless venality. 

In the comparison which we might here be tempted to draw 
between Innocent III. and the greatest among his pi-edecessors, 


there is pevhaps no point on which the pveference could be 
refused to Gregory. Both availed themselves of the divisions 
of the empire ; but the favourable circumstances which Inno- 
cent found, Gregory in a great measure created. The design 
of universal monarchy, which was carried so far into execution 
by the one^, was conceived and transmitted to him by the other. 
With Innocent, the Uberation of the Holy Sepulchre was made 
the excuse for pecuniary, exactions ; with Gregory, it was the 
lofty aspiration of erring magnanimity, earnest, and attended 
by a determination to devote his repose and person to the cause 
which he deemed holy. In the treatment of heretical delin- 
quency, the one was moderate * beyond the principles of his 
age and the passions of his clergy ; the other m-ged the course 
and heated the rage of persecution, and by his perversion of 
the crusading frenzy into that channel, identified in the popular 
hatred dissent with infidelity, and established the law of ven- 
geance, and multiplied the crimes of his posterity. And after 
all, how severely soever we may condemn the means which have 
created it, there is something of majesty and magnificence in 
the character of a spiritual despotism — an invisible power 
which enthrals mankind without the aid of physical force, and 
even in defiance of it ; which humbles the mightiest sceptre, 
and blunts the sharpest sword by a menace or a censure ; a 
power mysterious and undefinable, swaying the human race by 
the name — the much-abused name — of religion. If we look, 
indeed, to its origin, it is only an empire over man's ignorance 
and credulity. Still it is the empire of intellect ; and as such 
it stands on loftier ground than that worldly fabric which em- 
ployed the ambition of Innocent; the mere temporal sove- 
reignty of arms and opulence supported by corruption and 

* It is true, that Gregory offered to Sweno, king of Denmark, a inovince occu- 
pied by heretics. But in this matter his temporal ambition was probably more 
interested tlian bis ecclesiastical bigotry. 



The History of Monachism. 

(I.) Origin of Monachism — Early instance of the monastic spirit in the East — 
Pliny the philosopher — The Therapeutae or Essenes — The Ascetics — their real 
character and origin — The earliest Christian hermits — dated from the Decian 
or Diocletian persecutions — Ccenobites. Pachomius and St. Anthony — origin- 
ated in y'Egypt — account of the monks of yi'jgypt — Basilius of Caesarea — his 
order and rule — his institution of a vow questionable — Monasteries encouraged 
by the fathers of the fourth and fifieenth ages — from what motives — Vow of 
celibacy — Restrictions of admission into monastic order — Original monks were 
laymen — Comparative fanaticism of the East and West — Severity of discipline 
in the West — motives and inducements to it — contrasted with the oriental prac- 
tice — Establishment of nunneries in the East. (II.) [nslitiition of Monachism 
in the West — St. Athanasius — Martin of Tours — Most ancient rule of the 
Western monasteries — their probable paucity and poverty — Benedict of Nursia 
— his order, and reasonable rule, and object — Foundatiun of Monte Cassino — 
France — St. Columban — Ravages of the Lombards and Danes — Reform by 
Benedict of Aniane — The order of Chmi — its origin, rise, and reputation — its 
attachment to papacy and its prosperity — the order of Citeaux — date of its 
foundation — Dependent abbey of Clairvaux — St. Bernard — its progress and 
decline — Order of the Chartreux. (III.) Canons reguhir unci secular — Order of 
St. Augustine — Rule of Chrodegangus — Ride of Aix-la-Chapelle — subsequent 
reforms. (IV.) Connexion between the monasteries and the pope — mutual 
services. The Military orders — (1.) The Knights of the Hospital — origin of 
their institution — their discipline and character — ('2.) Knights Templar — their 
origin and object — (3.) The Teutonic order — its establishment and prosperity. 
(V.) The Mendicant orders — causes of their rise and great progress — (1.) St. 
JJominic — his exertions and designs — (2.) St. Francis and his followers — com- 
jiared with the Dominicans — apparent assimilation — essential differences — dis- 
putes of the Franciscans with the popes, and among themselves — Inquisitorial 
office of the Dominicans, their learning and influence — quarrels with the Doc- 
tors of Paris — Austerity of the Franciscans — the Fratricilli — (3.) The Carme- 
lites — their professed origin — (4.) Hermits of St. Augustine — Privileges of 
these four orders. (VI.) Furious estabiishinents of Nuns — their usual offices 
and character — General remarks — The three grand orders of the Western 
Church (suited to the ages in which they severally appeared and flourished) — 
The Jesuits — The monastic system one of perpetual reformation — thus alone 
it survived so long — its merits and advantages — The bodily labour of the 
monks — their charitable and hospitable offices — real piety to be found among 
them — superintendence of education, and means of learning preserved by them 
— limits to their utility — their frequent alliance with superstition — their early de- 
pendence on the bisho[)S — gradual exemption, and final subjection to the pope 
— Their profits and opulence, and means of amassing it^Luther a mendicant. 

It is not through inadvertence, nor any blindness to the mag- 
nitude and importance of the subject, that a particular account 

o 2 


of the monastic system has been so long deferred. We have 
had frequent occasion to recognize its existence and its mflu- 
ence on the general character of the Church ; and it was 
reasonable perhaps to expect some earlier notice of its origm 
and progress. But as it is absolutely necessary for the correct 
comprehension of ecclesiastical history, that the scheme of 
monachism be understood aright ; as that end could scarcely 
be accomplished, unless by presenting the entire institution at 
a single view : and as it is much more instructive, in the order 
of historical composition, to retrace some steps, and to revisit 
such periods as have been examined imperfectly, rather than 
to anticipate events and ages which are remote and wholly 
unexplored — for these reasons we have abstained from a partial 
or premature treatment of this extensive subject. Moreover, 
when we consider the successive mutations which have per- 
petually varied the aspect of monasticism, it will appeal-, 
perhaps, that the present, as being the epoch of its latest 
change, is the moment most proper for the delineation of the 
whole structure. The latest change (we speak only of changes 
preceding the Reformation) was the institution of the Mendi- 
cant Orders — an event which arose out of the ministry of St. 
Dominic, and immediately followed the death of Innocent III. 
This appendage completed the anomalous fabric : and while it 
Avas so closely intermixed with the peculiar circumstances of 
the age, that its nature could not have been rightly compre- 
hended, unless described in connexion with them ; it was at the 
same time an innovation so essentially affecting the form and 
character of monachism, that any account, not embracing it, 
would have conveyed very imperfect and even erroneous notions. 
Led by such considerations, we have selected the present period 
for this purpose; not unmindful how little justice after all can 
possibly be done to materials so ample within such moderate 
limits, and almost despairing to throw any new light on n, suli- 
ject which has exercised the genius, and deserved — as it still 
deserves — the deepest meditation both of historians and philo- 


Section I. 

The origin of Monachlsm and its progress in the East. 

The monastic spirit was alike congenial to the scenery and 
climate of the East, and to the peculiar character of its inhabit- 
ants. Vast solitudes of inibroken and unbounded expanse ; 
rocks, with the most grotesque outlines, abounding in natural 
excavations ; a dry air and an unclouded sky, afforded facilities 
— might we not say temptations — to a wild, unsocial, and con- 
templative life. The serious enthusiasm of the natives of Egypt 
and Asia, that combination of indolence with energy, of the 
calmest languor with the fiercest passion, which mark their 
features and their actions, disposed them to embrace \vith 
eagerness the tranquil but exciting duties of religious seclusion. 
And thus, even in earlier ages, before the zeal of devotion 
superseded all other motives to retirement, we observe, without 
any surprise, the mention of that practice, as indigenous and 

Pliny * the philosopher has recorded the existence of an Therapeula 
extraordinary race, who lived on the borders of the Dead Sea, ""^ I^ssunes. 
the associates of the palm-trees, and who had been perpetuated 
(as it was said) through thousands of ages without women and 
without property. Satiety and disgust with the business of 
life, rather than any religious feeling, are mentioned as the 
motives of their seclusion. Again, it is certain that the Thera- 
peutse or Essenes inhabited the deserts both of Egypt and of 
Syria as early as the days of our Saviour, They had, pro- 
bably, dwelt there long before that time; and they appear 
to have sought to exalt the merit of their retirement by the 
practice of great austerities. Some Roman Catholic writers, 
being anxious to prove Monachism coeval with Christianity, 

* Lib. v., cap. xvii. " Ab occidente Judspac litore Esseni fugitant ; gens sola 
et in toto orbe praeter cscteras mira, sine ulla foemina, omni \'enere abdicata, sine 
pecunia, socia palmarum. Indiem ex aequo advenarum turba renascitur, longe 
freqiientanfibus (luos vita fessos ad mores eoram fortuna fluctibus agitat. Ita per 
SEecuIorum millia (inciedibile dictu) gens seterna in qua nemo nascitur. Tarn 
foDcunda illis aliorum vitc-c pa-niteiifia est." The most important ret'ercnccs ou 
this subject are collected by Ilospiuiau. Orig. Monach,— Lib. L cap. v. 



have asserted, on the authority of Eusebius *, Sozomen, and 
Cassian, that the Therapeutae were Christians, and that they 
scattei-ed the seeds of the monastic hfe through the popiilous 
villages of Lower Egypt, whilst St. Marc, their founder, pre- 
sided over the Church of Alexandria. But the opinion is more 
probable tliat they were, for the most part, Jews by religion as 
well as by birth, and of a much earlier origin. Nevertheless, 
it may well be that such of them as became converts to the 
faith, still retained their rigid eremitical life; nor can it be 
doubted that the example of their severities, and the popular 
respect which followed them, would excite the attention and 
emulation of surroundinsf Christians. 
The As- This is one of the causes to which we may attribute the very 

early existence of a sect unquestionably Christian, called the 
Ascetics ; and these also have been erroneously confounded 
with the original monks. The term Ascetic was applied by 
early I Christian writers to the most rigid and zealous among 
the primitive converts, whether they exhibited their fervour in 
unusual assiduity in prayer and the offices of charity, or ex- 
tended it to the more equivocal meiits of fasting and celibacy. 
But these persons did not withdi'aw themselves from the world; 
they merely exercised with ardour, perhaps in extravagance, 
the virtues which best qualified them to benefit and amend it. 
Possibly, in their rigid devotion to tlie duties of society, they 
may have shunned with aversion even its most innocent amuse- 
ments. But such pious excess, which has ever marked the 
best forms and ages of Christianity, was eminently useful in 
its propagation, and should be sparingly censured under any 
circumstances;!;. It is at least manifest, that the rule of the 

* Hist. Eccles., lib. ii., c. xvi. He npplit^d <o the Christians that which Philo 
had wrilten about the Jewish Kssenes. .Such, at least, is the opinion of Mar- 
sliani, a very impartial as well as learned writer, in his UpoTuXaiov to J^iiijjdale's 
Monasticon. — See Joseph, de Bell. Judaic, lib. ii. cap. vii. for a particular de- 
scription v{ that sect. 

f Bingham (Christ. Antiq. b. vii.) confirms his account of the Ascetics by 
numerous and conclusive authorities. 

t The Ascetics were of all ranks and professions. Eusebius calls them ci 
a-xovhouoi — " the zealous."' Clemens Alexandrinus Ix.y^ix.TMt ix.X'.x,TOTsoi>i — *' the 
more elect among the elect." These expressions imply nothing more than a 
greater fervour (or, at least, greater pretension) of piety. 


Ascetics was essentially at variance with the monastic prin- 
ciple ; they dwelt and associated with their fellow Christians; 
and perhaps they might never have acquired the historical dis- 
tinction of a name, had it not been that they affected a differ- 
ent garb, and assumed the philosophical cloak as the badge 
of their sect. Their origin is attributed by Mosheim* to the 
double doctrine of morals, which he supposes to have prevailed 
in the second century : so that, while vvdgar Christians were 
contented to obey the precepts of the Gospel, those who aimed 
at higher perfection professed to be also directed by its coun- 
sels. This notion is unquestionably borrowed from heathen 
philosophy ; and if it really existed to any extent among the 
Ascetics, it affords another proof of their connexion with the 
schools of Greece. But the unsettled condition of the Church 
in those days, and the jealousies and sufferings to which it 
was subjected, the general demoralization of the pagan world, 
the example of popular austerities in another religion, and the 
melancholy genius of Egypt, where Ascetism chiefly prevailed, 
were causes alone sufficient to have produced — as they did 
produce — forms of enthusiasm far less rational than any wliich 
can justly be ascribed to the Ascetics. 

But about the middle of the third century, the monastic 
spirit exhibited itself in a nmch less equivocal shape ; and we 
may observe that the purest and most legitimate character of 
seclusion was that, which it first assumed. Flying from the Anchorets, 
fury of the Decian persecution, a number of Christians took 
refuge in caves, in deserts, or inaccessible islets, where they 
exercised their proscribed religion in solitary security. Egypt 
and Syria, and Mesopotamia, and the wildest parts of Asia 
Minor, were suddenly visited by a race of exiles, in whom de- 
votion, irritated by injustice and fed by seclusion, sometimes 
sank into sullen and gloomy fanaticism. These, probably, 
were the earliest Christian hermits or anchorets ; they pro- 
fessed an absolute religious solitude, occasionally interrupted, 

* The same writer (Cunt, iii., p. 2., ch. ii.) seems disposed to attribute the rise 
of monks and hermits to the influence oi' the mystical theology. Yet he admits, 
in the same paragraph, that that method of life was very common in Kgypt, 
Syria, India, and Mesopotamia, even before the coming of Christ. 


indeed, by the pious importunity of the neighbouring inhabit- 
ants, but never broken by any regular connexion or association 
with each other. Their numbers were further increased by 
the severities of Diocletian ; and still more, perhaps, by the 
reverence and sympathy which the spectacle of their austere 
piety excited among the vulgar. Tlicy continued for some 
lime to deserve by their habits the title of solitaries: nor do 
we learn that they were formed into assemblies until after the 
establishment of the Church by Constantine. 
CcEuobites. 'file first institution of persons liviur/ in common for religious 
purposes, and therefore called Coenol)ites, is attributed to St. 
Anthony, the contemporary and friend of Athanasius, and his 
fellow-labourer in the same soil. And it is obvious to remark, 
that while the greater of those champions of the ancient Church 
was engaged in defending the purity of the Christian faith in 
the schools of Alexandria, the other was scattering in the same 
soil, with the same applause and success, the seeds of a system 
directly at variance with some of its best practical principles. 
Another Egyptian, named Pachomius, divides with St. Anthony 
the fame of this enterprise ; in as far, at least, as he imme- 
diately extended to the Upper Thebai'd the work which An- 
thony commenced in the Lower*. He even ventured thus 
early to enlarge upon the first scheme of religious union, and 
introduced the custom, which in much later ages was so gene- 
rally adopted in the Western Church, of combining several 
monasteries into one society, or "congregation." These events 
took place during the first half of the fourth century; and it is 
from this epoch that we properly date the origin of the monas- 
tic system. 

The multitudes who instantly embraced that manner of life, 
and thronged the primitive edifices of Upper Egypt were, no 
doubt, exaggerated, when calculated at nearly half the popula- 
tion of the country. But it is certain that the " New Philo- 
sophy" (it was early designated by that name) was eagerly 
adopted by a crowd of proselytes : nor is this wonderful, since 
those, to whom its advantages were the most obvious, and its 
duties the most easy, were the lowest of mankind — and since 
* Ilibtoiie des Ordres Mouastitiues, Dissert. Prelim. 


in Egypt, more tliau in any other land, religious novelties have 
flourished from the remotest ages with peculiar fecundity. 

Since the original monks of Egypt are praised by Roman The monks 
Catholic writers as the true models of monastic perfection, and ° ^^^' ' 
since some accounts of them remain, which may be followed 
with little suspicion, it is proper to employ some additional 
attention on that subject. John Cassian, a native of Scythia, 
a deacon by the ordination of St. Chrysostom, and an inmate 
of the monastery of Palestine, near Bethlehem, went forth, 
about the year 395, to explore the holy solitudes of Egypt, and 
draw from its more perfect institutions a profitable lesson of 
religious instruction; and seven years devoted to those inquiries 
give weight and credit to the descriptions which he published. 
The latter part of his life was passed in retirement at Mar- 
seilles; and to the two convents which he there established, 
he prescribed a rule founded on the venerable practice of the 
East. According to his account, the recluses of Egypt were 
divided into three principal classes: — the Anchorets, the 
Coenobites, and the Sarabaites. The two former, whose 
numbers were nearly equal, formed the respectable and genuine 
portion of the profession. The last were independent, and 
were regarded as spurious and imworthy brethren. The An- The An- 
chorets occupied, either in perfect solitude or in very small chorefs. 
societies, the rudest and most secluded recesses of the desert. 
" We are not destitute of parental consolation, (said the her- 
mit Abraham to Cassian, who was beginning to sigh after the 
more agreeable solitudes of Asia and Europe,) nor devoid of 
means of easy sustenance — were we not bound by the com- 
mand of our Saviour to forsake all and follow Him. We are 
able, if it seemed good, to build our cells on the banks of the 
Nile, instead of bringing our water on our heads from four 
miles' distance — were it not that the apostle has told us that 
' every man shall receive his reward according to his labour.' 
We know that in these our regions there are some secret and 
pleasant places where fruits are abundant, and the beauty and 
fertility of the gardens would supply our necessities with the 
slightest toil — were it not that we fear ' to receive in our life- 
time our good things.' Wherefore we scorn these things and 


all the pleasures of this world ; and we take delight in these 
horrors, and prefer the wildness of this desolation before all 
that is fair and attractive, admitting no comparison between 
the luxuriance of the most exuberant soil and the bitterness of 
these sands*." 

Coenobites. The establishments of the Coenobites, which were spread 
from one end of the country to the other, contained, severally, 
from one hundred to five thousand inhabitants. In some in- 
stances, the wall which confined them inclosed also their wells 
and gardens, and all that was necessary for their sustenance, 
so as to leave no pretext even for occasional intercourse with 

Their disci- a^ ^QPlf^l ^j^ich thev had deserted for ever. The discipline to 


which they were svibjected was rigid, but neither barbarous 
nor at all charged with injurious austerities. We read nothing 
of those chains and collars of iron, which formed a necessary 
part of self-devotion in the Syrian convents, nor is there any 
mention of sackcloth or flagellation, or any other voluntary 
torture. The whole severity of their practice consisted in ab- 
stemiousness; but even that was moderate; positive fasting 
was not encouraged, nor was it thought necessary to macerate 
the body in order to purify the soul. Bread and water was, 
indeed, the only nourishment allowed to the healthy devotee ; 
but the bread was abundantly supplied : and those who have 
drawn from their infancy the sweet waters of the Nile seldom 
require or seek an artificial beverage. Neither was this rule 
enforced on all with indiscriminate rigoiu*; but it was fre- 
quently modified according to age, or sex, or constitution. 

They assembled to prayer twice in the twenty-four hours, at 
evening and during the night. Twelve psalms were chaunted, 

* Cassianus, CoUationes, lib. xxiv. c. 2. Such passages are illustrated by 
other writers of the same, or nearly the same, age. Among many others, the 
description of the Egyptian monks by Gregory Nazianzen (in Orat. xxi. Els tov 
Miyav ' A6ava(riov) is, perhaps, worth citing : O'l Koff/jiov ^aei^ovns lauTou;, Kou Tnv 
'ip'/jfiov aff'Td'i^cfiivoi ^c^cri Qicu •xa.i'rut f^aXXov tuv iTTi^f>f/.'ivuv tm ffu/,caTi. O; ftiv tov 
^avTtj fiovaoixoy xai a/uiKTov oiaS^ovvrts (iiov lavToi; ftovoi; 7rporXa'/.ouvTis xcci tm ©£*, 
xai TovTa fiovov xoirfio:/ iioons oiroi ev t>j i^nf^ta yvu^ii^ovfff oi ol vo/^ov ayavts tH xai- 
vuviif ffTl^ytiiiTi; l^rifiixoi ti of/.ou xai fiiyei^is, toTs ftXv aXXoi; Tthnxons av^^u^ei; 
aXXriXoi; 3s x(itTiJt.o% ovris, xai tj) "ra^a^iini Ty,v a^triiv (i^yovrts. The same writer de- 
scribes the character of a true monk with great minuteness and fervour in his 
Xllth Oration, (El^tivixo; A, Eiri t^ Evuffn rm Moya^ovray.) 


(the chaunt had been taught them by an angel,) each of which 
was followed by a prayer ; and then two lessons were read from 
the Scripture to those who desired to be instructed in that 
volume. The hearers remained sitting during the greater part 
of the service, with very short interruptions of genuflexion or 
prostration. The signal which simimoned them to prayer was 
a simple trumpet or horn ; it was suflftcient to break the silence 
of their deserts ; and the hour of their night-prayer was indi- 
cated by the declining stars, which shine in that cloudless atmo- 
sphere with perpetual lustre. The offices of their worship 
were undisturbed by any sound of worldly care or irreverent 
levity. Their devotion, like their pyramids, was simple and 
solid, and they lived like strangers to the flesh and its attri- 
butes, like sojourners on earth and citizens of a spiritual com- 

Four obiects were comprehended in their profession — soli- Ami ob- 
tude, manual labour, fasting, and prayer ; and we cannot for- 
bear to observe, how large a portion of their time was devoted 
to the second. Indeed, so strictly was the necessity of such 
occupation incidcated, that the moderation of their other duties 
might almost appear to have been prescribed with that view. 
A body, debilitated by the excess of fasting or discipline, would 
have been disqualified for the offices of industry which were 
performed by the monks of Egy])t. Without any possessions, 
and holding it alike discreditable to beg or to accept f, they 
earned their daily bread by their skill and diligence in making 
mats or baskets, as cutlers, as fullers, or as weavers — insomuch, 
that their houses may seem to have resembled religious manu- 
factories, rather than places consecrated to holy purposes ; and 
the motive of their establishment is liable to the suspicion of 
being, in some cases at least, worldly and political. Yet in the 
descriptions of their practice, both objects were so united, that the 
prayer seems to have been inseparable from the labour J. To 

* See Fleury's admiriible Eighth Discourse. 

f Cassian. CoUat. xxiv. s. 11, 12, 13. 

X ■' Ita ut quid ex quo pendeat hand facile possit a quopiatn discerni — i. e. 
uti-um jiropter meditationem spiiitiiali'iii incL'ssabiliter mamivim opus exeiceaiit ; an 
propter operis jugitatem tarn praeclarum profectum spiiitus, scientiaeque lumoa 
aequiraut." Cassian. lustit. lib. ii. c. 11. 


tliat end, the employments which they chose were easy and 
sedentary, so that the mind might be free to expatiate, while 
the hands were in exercise. At the same time, they main- 
tained that perpetual occupation was the only effectual method 
to prevent distractions, and fix the soul on worthy considera- 
tions ; that thus alone the tediousness of solitude, and its 
attendant evils, can be remedied ; that the monk who works 
has only one demon to tempt him, while the monk unoccupied 
is harassed by demons innumerable*. 
Sarabaitcs. The Sarabaites j" are described by Cassian in language of 
violent and almost immitiorated censure. Yet if we neglect 
those expressions, which become suspicious through their very 
rancour, and adhere only to the facts which are mentioned as 
characteristic of that monastic sect, it appears, that they were 
seceders, or at least independent, from the Coenobitical establish- 
ments. They claimed the name of monks ; but without any 
emulation of their pursuits, or observance of their discipline. 
They were not subject to the direction of elders, nor did they 
strive, under traditional institutions, to subject their inclina- 
tions to any fixed or legitimate rule. If they publicly re- 
nounced the world, it was either to persevere, in their own 
houses, in their former occupations under the false assumption 
of the monastic name, or building cells, and calling them 
monasteries, to dwell there without any abandonment of their 
secular interests. They laboured indeed with industry at least 
as sedulous, as their more regular brethren — but they laboured 
for their own individual profit, not for that of an instituted 
community |. From this hostile account, it would appear that 

* " Unde hcec est .apud ^gyptum ab antiqnis Patribus saneta (al. sancita) 
sententia — operantem Monacbiim daemone uno pulsari ; oliosum veroinnnmeris spi- 
rifibus devastari." Cassiani Instit., lib. x. c. 23. It appears from Cassiaii's pre- 
ceding chapter, that any superfluity which the monks might have acquired was 
frequently employed in charitable purposes, and especially in the redemption of 

f The same sect, no doubt, which St. Jerome calls Remoboth, and stigmatizes 
as " genus deterrimum atque neglectum." Epist. xviii. ad Eustochium. De Cus- 
todia Virginitatis. 

I Cassian. Collat. xviii. c. 7. Cassian's dislike for the Sarabaites was pro- 
bably contracted in the cells of the Coenobites, who viewed with a sort of sectarian 
jealousy the industry and the profits of rebels, or of rivals. 


the Sarabaites, if tlicy were spurious monks, were at least use- 
ful members of society ; and the union which they established 
of the religious profession with worldly occupations, seems to 
have revived, or rather perpetuated, the leading principle of 

From Eo-ypt, the popular institution was immediately intro- St. Basil, 
duced into Syria by a monk named Hilarion ; but the Syrians 
appear soon to have deviated from the simplicity and modera- 
tion of their masters into a sterner practice of mortification, 
and even torture. From Syria, it was transmitted to Pontus 
and the shores of the Black Sea, and there it found a re- 
spectable patron, the most eminent among its primitive pro- 
tectors, Basilius, Archbishop of Csesarea. 

Tluit celebrated ecclesiastic — who was a native of Cappa- 
docia, the brother of Gregory of Nyssa, and the fellow-disciple 
(as is asserted) of the future apostate Julian — has given his 
name to the single order, which has subsisted in the Greek 
Church *, with scarcely any variation or addition, from that 
period to the present moment; and it is this circumstance, as 
well as his siiperior antiquity, which has established him as 
the most venerable of the patriarchs of Monachism. His claim 
to that reputation is said to consist in this — he united the 
Hermits and Coenobites already established in his diocese ; and 
to his monasteries, so formed, he prescribed a rule, wliich was 
rigidly observed by them, and im.itated by others : by this bond, 
he gave them a consistency and uniformity, which had hitherto 
been peculiar to the institutions of Egypt f . Besides which, 

* It is true that ceitaiii heretical orders, IMarouites, Jacobites, Nestorians, &c. 
professed to follow the rule of St. Anthony ; hut St. Anthony delivered, in fact, 
no rule. When solicited to impose some code upon his disciples, he is recorded to 
have presented to them the Bible — an eternal and universal rule. Ilospin. 
lib. ii. c. 4. 

f It dues not, however, appear, that his rule was in the first instance very ge- 
nerally observed. At least we find, that as much as thirty years later, Cassian 
(Institut. hb. ii. c. 2.) contrasted the diversity, paiticularly respecting the times 
and nature of the holy offices, which prevailed elsewhere, with the uniformity of 
the more ancient institutions of Kgypt. " In hunc modum diversis in locis di- 
versum canonem agnovimus instltutum, totque propeuiudum typos et regvdas vidu 
mus usurpatas, quot etiam monasteria cellasque conspeximus. Sunt quilius .... 
Quiipropter uecessarium reor antiquisslmam patrum proferrc constitutionem quae 


he strongly recommended* the obligation of a vow, on admis- 
sion to the monastic state — an obhgation which, whether it 
were actually established by St. Basil or not, had certainly no 
existence before his time. These advancements in the system 
were effected from the year 360 to 370 ; and thus the plant, 
which had first been nourished by Anthony and Pachomius 
with imperfect, but not improvident culture, grew up, within 
the space of twenty years, into vigorous and lasting maturity. 
Coiuluct of It is a fact demanding observation, that the fathers of the 
F^^ti "i-"^'^^ ancient Church, who flourished about this period, among whom 
were many eloquent and learned and pious men, were favour- 
able, without one exception, to the establishment of monas- 
ticism : for though it might be beneath the office of reason to 
investigate the motives of the illiterate enthusiasts who began 
the work, it would be improper to pass over without comment 
the considerate labours of the ecclesiastics who comyjleted it. 
Moreover, as they were apt enough to differ on some other 
points, in which the interests of religion were concerned, and as 
they delivered, on all occasions, their particular opinions with 
great boldness and independence, their unanimity in the intro- 
duction of one grand innovation is, by that circumstance, still 
fiH'ther recommended to our attention. Yet must we hesitate 
to ascribe to them motives altogether unworthy. We should 
be wholly mistaken if we were to attribute their conspiracy to 
any deep design for the establishment of priestly nde, or the 
increase of the wealth and authoi'ity of the Church beyond their 
just limits. These evil consequences did, indeed, result from 
the work, and spread, with fatal influence, over the western 

mine usque per totam Egyptum a Dei famulis custoditui/' &c. It is, indeed, the 
opinion of Hospiniau (thoujjjh it does not seem sufficiently founded), that St. 
Basil's CcEuobia were little more than theological schools, and that his rule was 
no other than the ordinary form of school discipline. Such, as he thinks, were 
the monasteriis of ihose days. Lib. iii. c. 2. The Rule commonly ascribed to that 
saint may be found, in Latin, in the same place. 

* Bingham, Ch. Antiq. hook vii. The author of the Ilistoire des Ordres IMo- 
nastiques expressly asserts, that as monasteries were instituted by Anthony, and 
congregations by Pachomius, so the three vows (of chastity, poverty, and obe- 
dience) were the introduction of St. Basil. It is, at least, certain, that the duties 
of obedience and poverty were early and very rigidly practised by the Eastern 


world ; but they could not be contemplated by the fathers of 
the fourth and fifth centuries, because they rose and grew witli 
the growth o? papal usurpation, of which, in those days, there 
was no fear nor thought. It was the alliance between papacy 
and monasticism which tended more, perhaps, than any other 
cause, to elevate and magnify, and at the same time to vitiate 
both. But the eye of Athanasius, or Chrysostom, or Augus- 
tine, could not possibly foresee that union, nor penetrate the 
various circumstances which afterwards concurred to aggran- 
dize the Bishop of Rome. So far may we safely acquit even 
the most sagacious among the fathers of monachism ; and as 
far as the spirit of the age can be held to excuse those whom, 
in appearance, it carries along with it, but who, in fact, encou- 
rage and influence it, so far may the conduct of those mistaken 
men be excused. And perhaps we might add, in further pal- 
liation, that the general demoralization of society, over which 
Christian principles were still contending for predominance 
with the pernicious remnants of paganism, seemed to permit so 
little hope of righteous conduct to persons busied in the world, 
as almost to justify retreat and seclusion. We should, more- 
over, in attempting to account for this agreement, always bear 
in mind, that the early patrons of monasticism were, with very 
few exceptions. Orientals or Africans ; men of ardent tempera- 
ment, and impetuous imagination ; among whom the theory of 
religion too frequently tended to mysticism, and its practice to 
mere sensible ceremony, and bodily mortification. We have 
no reason to believe that any worldly premium to the new philo- 
sophy was held out by the princes or nobles of those days; nor 
even that the influx of oblations from the vulgar was the imme- 
diate fruit of the profession of poverty*, as was elsewhere the case 

* Not that even the earliest monks have escaped the reproaches of the con- 
temporary fathers. St. Jerome especially (Epist. xxxv., ad Heliodorum Mona- 
chum) notices the birth of corruption :— " Alii nummum addant nummo, et mar- 
supium sufTocantes niiitronarum opes venentur obsequiis ; sint ditiores Monadii, 
quam fuerant saeculares; possideant opes sub Christo paupere, quas sub locuplete 
Diabolo non habuerant ; et suspiret eos Ecclesia divites, quos teuuit mundus ante 
mendicos." . . . But notwithstanding this and other particular passages, the 
general expressions used by those writers respecting the monastic condition, prove 
its general respectability. 


in later times. The mouaslerics of the East were at no period 
so overgrown with opulence as those of the Roman Church ; 
and in their origin they certainly oflfered no imaginable tempta- 
tions to avarice or sensuality. On these and similar consider- 
ations, we may accpiit the original founders of the monastic 
system of those odious motives, with which they have some- 
times been charged : but we must censure their encouracferaent 
of popular superstition ; we must condemn that rash enthu- 
siasm, which exceeded what is written; and we must pronounce 
those to have been insufficient guides to relioious knowledge, 
who, at a crisis of such infinite importance, inculcated any other 
rule of life, than such as tended directly, through the plain 
and practical precepts of the Gospel, to the general welfare of 
Early form '^^® earliest age of monaehism differed in many particulars 
of Moiia- fi-om those, which matured and perfected the system. The vow 
of celibacy was either not taken by the original monks, or not 
universally enforced ; thougli the practice was usual, and held 
indicative of a higher condition of sanctity. Commvmity of 
property was indeed established among them ; but that pro- 
perty was chiefly acquired by the labour of their hands. The 
necessity of manual industry, which was coeval with the institu- 
tion, was subsequently enforced by St. Augustine, as the best 
safeguard against the snares of the Tempter ; and the spiritual 
motives to strict moral demeanour were encouraged by the 
absolute poverty of the individuals. Mendicity, which had an 
early existence in the system, was stigmevtized with immediate 
censure. It does not appear that the primitive monks were 
positively prohibited by any vow from rctiu-ning, if they thought 
fit, to the turbulence of the world ; though such desertions were 
strongly discouraged, as early as the Council of Chalcedon, 
both by ecclesiastical denunciations, and perpetual exclusion 
from holy orders. Several restrictions were imposed Avith re- 
spect to admission into the monastic order. Of husbands and 
wives, the mutual agreement was necessary for the seclusion of 
either; servants were not admitted, unless with the approba- 
tion of their masters, nor children without the consent of their 
parents and themselves. These and other reasonable impedi- 


niciits to the abuse of montvcliism were first weakened by the 
superstitious improvidence of Justinian. 

The original monks were, without exception, laymen; but in 
situations, where the only accessible place of worship was within 
the walls, one priest was added to tlie society, and he generally 
filled the office of Abbot or Heofoumenos. St. Jerome* has 
expressly distinguished the monastic from the sacerdotal order; 
and Leo I., in a communication to Maximus, Bishop of An- 
tioch, forbade monks to usurp the office of religious instruction, 
which was properly confined to the priests of the Lord. It is 
true indeed, that very early in monastic history those esta- 
blishments were considered as schools and nurseries for the 
ministry, and that pei'sons were selected for ordination from 
among their inhabitants : but those so ordained immediately 
quitted the cloister, and engaged in the duties of the secular 
clergy; and in Greece they were distinguished by the title of 
Hiero-monachoi, or Holy Monksf. 

There is no doubt that Orientals are naturally more prone Character 
to acts of fanaticism and ascetic austerities, than the more ]\iona- 
rational, and, at the same time, more sensual nations of Europe ; cliism. 
and we might have expected to find the most extraordinary 
instances of self-inflicted tortvu'e amonof those who originated 
that practice, and whose habits and passions pecidiarly pre- 
pared them for it. It is uncertain whether this be so; for 
though it is true that the madness of the Stylites gained no 
prevalence in the Western Church, and that the Boskoi, or Mystics. 
Grazing Monks (an Asiatic order of the fifth century, whicli 
proposed to unite the soul to the Deity, by degrading the body 

* Epist. v., ad Ileliodovuin Monaclium. " Alia Monachorum est causa; alia 
fkricorum. Clerici pascuut oves ; ej^o pascor. Illi de altario vivuiit ; niihi, 
quasi iiifructuosse arburi, sccuris ponilur ad radicem, si inuuus ad altare non de- 
fero. . . . Mihi ante Presbyterum sedcre non licet," &c. . . . Hospiniau 
(lib. iii., c. 13), under the head '■ Monachi ab initio non Clerici," adduces strong 
reason (in spite of some contradictory decrees) to believe that they were permit- 
ted to take orders as early as the time of Pope Siriciiis, in 390 ; and that all the 
privdfj:;es of the secular pii(^sthood were subsequently conferred on monastic 
priests, and confirmed by Grej^ory the (ireat. Still, as they continued to be bound 
by their vows, tbey acquired the clerical, without losini; the monastic character. 

f The fuunilauun of an order of Canons, attributed to St. Augustine (which 
will presently be mentioned), was a distinct institution. 



to a condition below humanity), found no imitators in a more 
inclement climate; yet their mortifications and absurdities were 
rivalled, if not in the cells of the Benedictines, at least by the 
Flagellants, and some other heretics of the fourteenth century ; • 
and the discipline of the more rigid Franciscans was probably, 
in the early ages of that order, as severe as human nature 
could endure. But even among the regular orders of the 
Western Church, monastic austerity was carried, under parti- 
cular circumstances, and in later times, to a more perfect re- 
finement than it ever attained in the East. It is not diflficidt to 
account for this singularity. A variety of motives, and a com- 
plication of passions, entered into the monkish system of the 
Roman Church. Many were unquestionably actuated by 
superstition, many, perhaps, by purer sentiments of piety ; but 
many more were impelled by personal ambition, by professional 
zeal, by the jealousy of rival orders, and, above all, by the 
thirst for that wealth, which so certainly followed the reputa- 
tion of sanctity. On the other hand, the unvarying constitu- 
tion, and the more tranquil character of the Eastern Church, 
presented fewer and feebler inducements to excessive severity. 
The passion which originally founded its monasteries, warm 
and earnest enthusiasm, continued still to animate and people 
them ; but its ardour gradually abated ; and the defect was 
not supplied in the same abundance, nor by the same sources, 
which sprang from the rock of St. Peter. From the earliest 
period, the Head of the Eastern Church was subject to the 
civil power, and he has always continued so ; and thus, as he 
has at no time asserted any arrogant claims of temporal autho- 
rity, nor engaged in any contests with the state, he possessed 
no personal or official interest in the aggrandisement of the 
monastic order. Again, the two grand political revolutions of 
the Eastern and Western empires produced effects precisely 
opposite on the condition of monachisra in either. The over- 
throw of the latter by the Pagans of the North, the early con- 
version of the conquerors, and the subsequent establishment of 
the feudal system, became the means of enriching the monas- 
teries, from private, as well as royal bounty, with vast territo- 
rial endowments. Whereas the possessions of the Oriental 


Churcli. whicli, through less favourable ch-cumstances, had 
already been reduced to more moderate limits, were still further 
desjwiled by the fatal triiuiiph of the Turks. 

The institution of nunneries was contemporary with that of 
monasteries, and is also attributed to St. Anthony ; but the 
earliest accounts incline us to believe that it was not equally 
flourishincr. In countries where sterility is common, and the 
poj)ulation either scanty or fluctuating, the government would 
doubtless discourage the seclusion of females. We learn, too, 
that their houses were less carefully regulated, and their vows 
less strictly observed in Asia than in the West of Europe. 
Athens is mentioned as the nurse of several such establish- 
ments ; but it was lamented that the ladies of rank and wealth 
were not easily prevailed upon to devote themselves to religious 
seclusion. Of a convent which was founded at Constantinople 
by the Empress Irene (in llOS), the constitutions still remain*. 
But the Nuns of St. Basil were more numerous and more 
prosperous in the West, than in the climate of their origin ; 
and in Sicily especially, and the South of Italy, they arrived, 
in later ages, at considerable wealth and importancef . 

The original monastic establishments of every description 
were subjected, without any exception, to the bishop of the 
diocese. The exemptions from that authority, which were 
afterwards introduced, through the pernicious progress of 
papacy, into the Western Church, had little prevalence, as, 
indeed, they had no strong motive, in the East. 

* Histoire des Oidres Monastiques, (Prera. Partie, chap, xxviii.) By a regu- 
lation peculiarly oriental, it was herein ordained, that the steward, the confessor, 
and the two chaplains, the only males employed about the convent, should he 
eunuchs. We do not learn whether this precaution was usual in the nunneries of 
the E;ist. 

t Another class of religious females, called Virgins of the Church, had an early 
existence in the East. They continued to unite the discharge of their social 
duties with a strict profession of religions chastity — thus advancing one step 
beyond the ascetism of their forefathers. 



Section II. 

Institution of Monachism in the West. 

It is very generally asserted*, that the monastic system was 
introduced into the West, by Athanasius, during his compul- 
sory sojourn at Rome, in 341. It is believed that he carried 
in his train to the imperial city certain monks and anchorets, 
representatives of the Egyptian commonwealth, whose Avild 
aspect and devout demeanour moved the reverence, and at the 
same time roused the emulation, of the Romans. Some mo- 
nasteries were immediately founded; and iiiany retired to lonely 
places for the exercise of solitary worship. From Rome (if the 
above account be true) the monastic practice Avas instantly 
diffused throughout Italy; and at Milan especially it obtained 
a powerful su])port in the patronage of Ambrose. It speedily 
extended itself to France ; and the labours of Martin of Tours, 
which were zealously directed to its diftusion, received at least 
this posthumous recompense, that nearly two thousand holy 
disciples assembled to do honour to his obsequies. The esta- 
blishments, founded by Cassian at Marseilles, and in the neigh- 
bouring islands, were immediately thronged with brethren 
obedient to his rule; and Honoratus, bishop of Aries, bears 
testimony (about the year 4.30) to the existence of " religious 
old men in the Isle of Lerinus, who lived in separate cells, and 
represented in Gaul the Fathers of Egyptj." 

* Baronius (ami. 328), Mabillon, and Gibbon hold this opinion; but Muratori 
pretends that the first monasteries fouiideil in Italy were erected at Mdan. 
Mosheim more wisely pronounces the imceriainty oi'the fact. 

f The following are some of the passaj^es wliich bear on this subject. St. 
Jerome, speaking of the time of Athanasius's visit to Rouie, says (in Kpist. IG, ad 
Principiam Virgiuem), "Nulla eo tempore uobilium fccminarum noverat Romae 
propositum IMonachorum, uec aiidehat, proj^ter rei novitatem, it^nominiosum (ut 
tunc putabatur) et vile in populis nomen ;.ssumen'. II;ec (Marce'.la) ab Alexan- 
drinis prius sacerdotibus Papaque Aihanasio, et postea Petro, . . . vitam B. 
Antonii adhuc tunc viventis, Monasteriorumqne in Thebaide Pachumii et Virginum 
ac Viduarum didicit disciplinam, nee erubuit profiteri quod Christo placere agno- 
verat."' Soon afterwards, when Jerome was at Rome, '• fuerunt tam crebra Vir- 
};inum Monacharumque innimierabilis nudtitudo, ut p'.a iVequmtia si-rventium 
Deo, quod prius ignominia; fuerat, e^set poJea gloria'." So also Augustine (De 


We may here observe, that, as iu the wide wilderness of the 
East, a secluded rock, or an unfrequented oasis — a spot cut off 
by the circumliuous Nile, or breaking the influx of the river 
into the sea — as such were the places usually selected by the 
orin-inal recluses, so their earliest imitators iu the West, under 
different circumstances of soil and climate, adhered to the 
ancient preference for insular retirement. The islands of Dal- 
matia *, and others scattered along the coast of the Adriatic, 
were peopled with holy inhabitants. Along the western shores 
of Italy f, from Calabria, throughout the islets of the Tuscan 

Morlb. Eccles. c. 33), " Romre ef iam plura IMonasferia cognovit, in qnibus singiiU 
gravitate atrjue pnulentia et Jiviaa scientia jiollentfS, cajteiis secuni habitantibus 
praeerant Christiana caritate, sauctitate et libertate viveutibus." Anil the same 
Father (Confess., lib. viii. c. 6) attests, on the authority of one Pontiti;inus, that 
there existed at Milan " Monasterium plenum bonis Fratribus, extra urbis nicenia 
sub Ambrosio nutritore." Snip. Severus mentions the success of St. Martin to 
have been so great, " ut ad exec^uias ejus monachorinu fere duo millia convenisse 
dicantur. Specialis Martini gloria, ciijus exemplo iu Domini servitute stirpe taiita 

* Jerome, Epist. xxxv., ad Heliodorum. " Quumque crederet quotidie aut ad 
iEgypti Monasteria pergere, aut Mesopotamia} invisere chores, aut certa insularein 
Dalmatiae solitudines occnpare," &c. 

f See Marsham's UoowXaTov/m Dugd. Monast. Respecting the monks of the 
isles of Gorgonia and Capraria, Rutilius Numatianus composed some verses (in 
the year 416), which have more of elegance (says Marsham) than of Chj-istianity. 
The following are some of them :— 

Processu pehigi jam se Capraria tollit; 
Squallet lucifugis Insula plena viris. 
Ipsi se IMonachos Graio cognomine diciint, 

Quod soli niillo vivere teste voliint, 
IMunera fortuna; metuunt, dum damna verentur. 
Quisquam sponte miser, ne miser esse queat ? 
Sive suas repetunt ex fato ergastula pcpnas; 

Tristia seu nigro viscera felle tument. 
* * * * 

Nostcr enim nuper Juvenis, majoribus amplis. 

Nee censu inferior, conjugiove minor, 
Impulsus fiiriis homines Divosque relinquit, 

Kt tiirpem latebram credulus exul agit. 
Infelix putat illiivie coelestia pasci, 

Seque premit csecis sajvior ipse Deis. 
Num, rogo, deterior Circocis sect a venenis ? 

Tunc nmtabantur corporn, nunc aiiinii. 
Many other islands are mentiomd as having been thus consecrated (or dese- 
crated— as the describer might be an eccksiaiticulauiialis*, or a pagan puet). The 


Sea, the chants of monastic devotion everywhere resounded, 

as well as at Lerinus and the Stoechades, consecrated by the 

piety of Cassian. Such, in the first instance, were the favourite. 

nurseries of the new institution. There is even reason to beheve 

that the rocks on the southern coast of Italy furnished the seeds 

of monachism to the churches of Carthage ; and thus was 

transmitted, after a revolution of half a century, to the more 

Western Africans, the boon which their brethren of Egypt had 

first presented to the Christian world. 

Prevalence It is, indeed, unquestionable, that towards the end of the 

^"r'^of^'^Mo- fourth, but especially during the fifth century, the monastic 

nachism in practice obtained universal prevalence, and became almost co- 
the West 

extensive with the belief in Christ. And on this cn-cumstance 

there is one observation which it is proper to offer, which has 
indeed been made before, though in a somewhat different 
spirit, by Roman Catholic writers — that the period, which was 
marked by this great religious innovation, was the same in 
^vhich the religion itself seemed in imminent danger, at least 
throughout the Western provinces, of utter extirpation. This 
was the very crisis, in which the pagan inundation from the 
North spread itself most fiercely and fatally, and while it over- 
threw the bulwarks of the empire, menaced, at the same time, 
the foundations of the Faith. That the monastic institution 
^^as designedly interposed by Providence, in order to stay that 
w resting calamity, and supply new means of defence to His 
fainting soldiers, is a vain and even a presumptuous supposition. 
But it would equally be unjust to assert, that establishments of 
];ious men, associated for religious purposes, were without their 
use in exciting respect in the enemy and confidence in the 
Christian. Still less can we hesitate to believe that they were 
the means of relieving much individual misery ; that during 

island Barbara, situated above the conflux of the Rhone and the Arar, boasted to 
lave been one of the most ancient nurseiies of the Holy Institution ; and Jeiome, 
in an epistle to Heliodorus, sjieaks of " Insulas et totum Etruscuni mare V'ols- 
corumque provinciara, et reconditos curvorum littorum sinus, in quibus monach- 
orum consistebant Chori." .... See Mabillon, Pref. in Ann. Bencd. Sec. i. 
(4uuinonc\ View of the Origin of the Monastic Life in the West (Stor. di Nap., 
lib. ii., cap. 8) due:i not .ipijcai- to 1)0 maikcd by the acciuacy and perspicuity 
usual to that excellent hisonan. 


the overthrow of justice and humanity, they derived power, 
as well as protection, from the name of God, and from the 
trust which they reposed in him ; that their power was gene- 
rally exerted for good purposes; and that their gates were 
thrown open to multitudes, who, in those days of universal 
desolation, could hope for no other refuge. 

The rule commonly professed by the original Western mo- 
nasteries was unquestionably that of St. Basil ; and though it 
was not observed with any rigid uniformity, there was probably 
no material variation either in constitution or discipline through- 
out the whole extent of Christendom, excepting such as naturally 
resulted from the different climate, morals, and temperament 
of its inhabitants. At least, there was no distinction in order 
or dio-nity: all were united by one common appellation, ex- 
tending from the deserts of Pontus to the green valleys of 
Ireland ; and the monks of those days were sufficiently sepa- 
rated from the rest of mankind, and sufficiently disengaged 
from secular pursuits, to dispense with the baser motives to 
which they were afterwards reduced, of partial interest and 
rivalry. Some wealth, indeed, began already to flow into that 
channel ; but the still remaining prevalence of hermits, who 
dwelt among the mountains in unsocial and independent se- 
clusion, very clearly proves, that the more attractive system of 
the Coenobites had not hitherto attained any luxurious refine- 
ment. No larcre territorial endowments had yet been attached 
to religious houses, and their support was chiefly derived from 
individual charity, or superstition. And during the course of 
the fifth century the progression of monachism was probably 
more popular, and certainly more profitable, among Eastern 
nations, than it had yet become on this side of the Adriatic. 

But in the following age a more determined character was Benedict of 
given to that profession. A hermit named Benedict, a native ^^^529. 
of Nursia, in the diocese of Rome, instituted, about the year 
529, an entirely new order, and imposed a rule, which is still 
extant, for its perpetual observance. ... No permanent and 
popular institution has ever yet existed, however in its abuse it 
have set sense and reason at defiance, which has not some pre- 
tension to virtue or wisdom, and usually much of the substance 


of both, in its origin and its infancy. It was thus with the 
order of St. Benedict. That celebrated rule, which in after 
a<yes enslaved the devout and demoralized the Church — which 
became a sign and a watchword for the satellites of papacy — 
was designed for purposes which, at the time of its promul- 
gation, miorht seem truly Christian. Its objects were to form a 
monastic body, which under a milder discipline should possess 
a more solid establishment, and moi-c regular manners, than 
such as then existed ; and also to ensure for those, who should 
become members of it, a holy and peaceful life, so divided 
bctAveen prayer, and study, and labour, as to comprehend the 
practical duties of religious education. Such was the simple 
foundation, on which all the riches, and luxury, and power, 
and profligacy of the Benedictines have been mmaturally piled 
up — consequences, which were entirely unforeseen by him who 
founded, and by those who immediately embraced, and by 
those who first protected*, a pious and useful institution. 
The Rule It is proper to confirm these observations by some account 
nedfd ^^' ^^ ^^'^^^^ ^^' perhaps, the most celebrated monument of ecclesi- 
astical antiquity. The Rule of St. Benedicty is introduced by 
a quadruple division of those who professed the monastic life. 
The first class was composed of the Coenobites or Kegular 
INIonks ; the second, of the Anchorets or Hermits, to whom he 
assigns even superior perfection ; the third, of the Sarabaites, 
whom he describes as livinof without any rule, either alone or 
in small societies, according to their inclination; the fourth, of 
Gyrovagi or Vagabonds, a dissolute and degraded body. Ilis 
regulations for the divine offices were formed, in a great 
measiu'e, on the practice already described of the Monks of 
Egypt;|;. Two hours after midnight they were aroused to vigils, 
on which occasion twelve psalms were chauntecl, and certain 
lessons from the Scriptures read or recited. At day-break the 
matins, a service little diflerent from the preceding, were per- 

* Gregory the Groat was a zealous patron of this institution, and so approved 
the moderation of the rule, that he has not escaped the suspicion of beaig its 

-|- It is given at length hy Hospinian, — De Oiigine Monachalus, lih. Iv. cap. v. 

1 Sue Mabillun, Pref. in sec. ii. Annal, Benedict, and Hist, des Ord. Monast. 


formed ; and the intervening space, which in winter was long 
and tedious, was employed in learning the Psalms by heart *, 
or in meditating on their sense, or in some other necessary 
study. But besides these and the other pviblic services, the 
duty of private or mental prayer was recognized in the Insti- 
tutions of St. BenecUct, and regulations were imposed which, 
while they restricted its duration, proposed to purify and spi- 
rituahze its character. 

To the duty of prayer the holy legislator added those of Manual la- 

•^ ^ "^ , . . boiir and 

manual labour and reading. The summer's day was so divided, study, 
that seven hours were destined to the former occupation, and 
two at least to the latter -\. And should it so happen (he 
observes) that his disciples be compelled to gather their har- 
vests WMth their own hands, let not that be any matter of com- 
plaint with them ; since it is then that they are indeed monks, 
when they live by their own handy-^vork, as did our fathers 
and the apostles. During the winter-season the hours of labour 
were altered, but not abridged; and those of study seemed to 
have been somewhat increased, at least during Lent, The 
Sabbath was entirely devoted to reading and prayer. Those 
whose work was allotted at places too remote from the monas- 
teiy to admit of their return to the appointed services, bent 
their knees on the spot and repeated their prayers at the 
canonical hours. The description of labour was not left to the 
choice of the individual, but imposed by the Superior. Thus 
if any possessed any trade or craft, he could not exercise it, 
except by permission of the Abbot. If anything were sold, the 
whole value was carefully appropriated to the common fund ; 
and it was further directed, that the price should be somewhat 
lower than that demanded by secular artizans for the same 

* In England the establislinient of IMonachism was confemporarj' with that of 
Christianity. " Augusiinus, MonasttriiRi-gulis cruditus, instituit conversationi'm, 
qure iniiio nascentis etclcsia; f'uit jiatribus nostris, qiiibiis omnia erant communia 
. — Monastcrium fecit non longe a Doiovernit'nsiCivitatc,"&c. Bedc, lib. i., c. xxii, 

f It was ordained, that if any one were unable to read or meditafe, some other 
occup:itit)n should be imposed on him. But as Latin, the language of religious 
study, was at that time the vulgar tongue, at least one great impediment to reli. 
gious instruction, which was so powerful in after nges, did not then e\ist. 


objects — "to the end that God might be glorified in all 

In respect to abstinence*, the Ride of St. Benedict ordained 
not any of those pernicious austerities, which were sometimes 
practised by his followers. Notwithstanding the indulgence of 
a small quantity of wine to those whose imperfect natvu'e might 
require it, it prescribed a system of rigid temperance, which 
among those original Coenobites was well enforced by their 
poverty — but it contained no injunction to fasting or mortifi- 
cation. Those vain and superstitious practices, the fruits of 
mingled enthusiasm and indolence, scarcely gained any pre- 
valence in the monasteries of the West, until increasinof wealth 
dispensed with the necessity of daily labour. The monks slept 
in the same dormitory, in which a lamp was kept constantly 
burning, and strict silence was imposed. Even in the day, 
they spake rarely ; and every expression partaking of levity, 
and calculated at all to disturb the seriousness of the commu- 
nity — every word that was irrelevant to its objects and uses — 
was absolutely prohibited within the convent-walls. The Rule 
makes no mention of any sort of recreation ; but it enjoins that, 
every evening after supper, while the brothers are still assem- 
bled, one among them shall read aloud passages from the 
Lives of the Saints, or some other book of edification. 

As the Abbot was then chosen by the whole society without 
regard to any other consideration than personal merit, so in 
the government of the monastery he was boiuid to consult the 
senior brethren on lesser matters, and the whole body on the 
more important contingencies : it was ordained, however, that, 
afrpr he had taken such counsel, the final decision should rest 
entirely with himself. Obedience was the vow and obligation 
of the others. 

The form prescribed for the reception of Novices was not 
such as to encourage a lukewarm candidate. In the first 

* In this matter St. Benedict relaxed from the rigour of the Eastern observ- 
ance ; but he did so with rehtctance, regretting the necessary imperfection of a 
system, which ho was compelled to accommodate to the gradually decreasing vigour 
of the human frame. Even Fleury (see his Eighth Discourse) dues not disdain to 
combat this notion. 


instance, he was compelled to stand tour or five days before 
the gates, supplicating only for admission. If he persevered, 
he was received first into the Chamber of Strangers — then into 
that of Novices. An ancient brother* was then commissioned 
to examine his vocation, and explain to him how rude and diffi- 
cult was the path to heaven. After a probation of two months 
the Rule was read to him ; again, after six other months ; and 
a third time, at the end of the year. If he still persisted, he 
was received, and made profession in the Oratory before the 
whole community. And we shoidd remark, that that profession 
was conthied to three subjects — perseverance in the monastic 
life ; correction of moral delinquencies ; and obedience. 
Offences committed by the brethren were punished, according 
to their enormity, by censure, excommunication, or corporal 
inflictions ; expulsion was reserved for those deemed incorrigible. 
Nevertheless even then the gate was not closed against repent- 
ance ; and the repudiated member Avas re-admitted, on the 
promise of amendment, even for the third time. . . . Such in 
substance was the Rule of St. Benedict ; and even the very 
faint delineation here presented may suffice to give some insight 
into the real character of the original monasteries. Perhaps 
too it may serve to allay the bitterness, which we sometimes 
are too apt to entertain against the founders and advocates of 
the system, by showing, that though imscriptin-al in its prin- 
ciple, and pernicious in its abuse, it was yet instituted not 
without some wisdom and foresight ; and was calculated to 
confer no inconsiderable blessings on those ages in which it 
first arose. 

The monastery of Monte Cassino, which became afterwards l'ro<;iess of 
so celebrated in papal history, was the noblest, though not t.^fjj'"'' 
perhaps the earliest, monument of St. Benedict's exertions. 
The moment was favourable to his undertaking ; and his name 
and his Ride were presently adopted and obeyed throughout 
the greater part of Italy. By St. Maur, his disciple and asso- St. Maur. 
ciate, an institution on the same principle was immediately f 

* All those ancient lirothcis wiTo laymen. It does not ajipear that even 
St. Benedict hiiusrlt held any rank ia the chji','y. 

f About the year 54 J. It was de>troyed bj the Danes, but .'jiibsequmit'.y re- 


introduced into France, and became flic fruitful parent of 
dependent establishments. Somewhat later in the same cen- 
St. Colum- tviry, St. Columban propoimded in Britain a rule resembling 
in many respects that of St. Benedict, but surpassing it in 
severity ; and it was propagated with some success on the 
Continent. But it is the opinion of the most learned writers, 
that the monasteries, which at first followed it, yielded after no 
long interval to the higher authority and more practicable pre- 
cepts of the Nursian ; whose genuine institution indeed was 
soon afterwards planted in the south of the island by the monk 
Augustine. At the same time the same system was spreading 
northward beyond the mountains of the Khine ; and though it 
may probably be true, that the " Holy Rule " (regula sancta) 
was not imiversally received until the ninth century — until the 
practice had been vitiated by many corruptions — it is evident, 
that it obtained great prevalence long before that time, while 
it yet retained its original integrity ; and it is equally clear, 
that its moral operation upon a lawless and bloodthirsty 
generation could not possibly be any other than to restrain 
and to humanize. 

Durinof the orreater part of the seventh and the beginnincr of 
the following age, frightful ravages were committed by the 
Lombards in Italy, and by the Danes in France and Britain, 
against which even the sanctity of the monastic profession 
furnished very insufficient protection. Throughout this period 
of devastation, while all other laws and establishments were 
overthrown, it was not probable that even those of St. Benedict 
should remain inviolate. The monastery of Monte Cassino 
was destroyed about fifty years after its foundation, and the 
holy spot remained desolate for almost a century and a half *. 

established about the year 934, by the Bishop of Limoges. A great number of 
abbeys presently grew up under its shadow. — Ilistoire des Ordres Monasticpics. 

* See Leo Ostieiisis. Chroii. Cassiuens, lib. i. Gregory IIL restored the mo- 
nasterj-, and Zacharyhis successor granted to it (about the year 743) the privilege 
of exclusive dependence on tlie Bishop of Rome. But one blessing was still 
wanting to secure its prosperity — and that was happily supplied by the Abbot 
Desideri, s in lOCG. In explnring soine ruins about the cdifuH', be discovered the 
body of St. Benedict. It is true tliat a pnpe was soon found to I'lonounce the 
gt-nuincness of the relic. N veitlieless the fact was long and malevolently dis- 
puted by rival impostors. 


And though the respectable fugitives found an asyhuii at Rome, 
where tlie disciphne was perpetuated in security during that 
long period of persecution, others were less fortunate; and even 
in those which escaped destruction a more relaxed observance 
naturally gained ground, in the midst of universal licentious- 
ncss. Accordingly we learn, that, towards the end of the eighth 
centurv, the order of St. Benedict had so far degenerated from 
its pristine purity, that a thorough reform, if not an entire re- 
construction, of the system was deemed necessary for the dignity 
and welfare of tlie Church. 

The individual to whom this honourable office was destined Benedictof 
was also named Benedict ; he was descended from a powerful ^ '"^"^'' 
Gothic family, and a native of Aniane in the diocese of Mont- 
pellier. Born about the year 750, he devoted his early life to 
religious austerities, exceeding not only the practice of his 
brethren, but the instruction of the founder. The Rule of St. 
Benedict was formed, in his opinion, for invalids and novices ; 
and he strove to regidate his discipline after the sublimer 
models of Basil and Pachomius. Presently he was chosen to 
preside over his monastery ; but in disgust, as is reported, at 
the inadequate practice of his subjects^ he retired to Aniane, 
and thoro laid the foundation of a new and more rigid insti- 
tution. The people reverenced his sanctity and crowded to his 
cell ; the native nobles assisted him in the construction of a 
magnificent edifice; and endowments of land were soon con- 
ferred upon the humble Reformer of Aniane. INloreover, as he 
enhanced the fame of his austerities by the practice of charity 
and miiversal benevolence *, his venerable name deserved the 
celebrity which it so rapidly acquii-ed. His ascetic disciples 
were eagerly sought after by other monasteries, as models and 
instruments for the restoration of discipline; and as the policy 
of Charlemagne concuired with the general inclination to im- 
])rovement, the decaying system was restored and fortified by a 
bold and effectual reformation. 

Besides the f^encral mention of lils jiiufuse donations to the poor, it is par- 
ticulaily uhited respuctinj^ this Benedict, that whenever au estate was made , 
over to liiiii, he invariably emancipated all the siifs whom he found on it. Act. 
SS. Benedict, toin. v. 


When Benedict of Aniane undertook to establisli a system, 
he found it prudent to relax from that extreme austerity which, 
as a simple monk, he had both professed and practised. As 
his youthful enthusiasm abated, he became gradually convinced 
that the rule of the Nursian hermit was as severe as the common 
infirmities of human natm'e could endure*. He was therefore 
contented to revive that rule, or rather to enforce its observance; 
and the part which he peculiarly pressed on the practice of his 
disciples was the obligation of manual labour. To the neglect 
of that essential portion of monastic discipline the successive 
corruptions of the system are wdth truth attributed ; and the 
regulations which were adopted by Benedict were confirmed 
(in 817) by the coimcil of Aix-la-Chapelle. From this epochf 
we may date the renovation of the Benedictine order; and 
though, even in that age, it was grown, perhaps, too rich to 
adhere very closely to its ancient observance, yet the sons 
whom it nourished may, nevertheless, be accounted, without 
any exaggeration of their merits, among the most industrious, 
the most learned, and the most pious of their own generation. 

It is not our intention to trace the numberless branches^ 
which sprang from the stem of St. Benedict, and overshadowed 

* The duty of silence was very generally enjoined in monastic institutions. In 
the rule of " The Brethren of the Holy Trinity," established by Innocent III., 
we observe for instance — '' Silentiimi observent semjier in Ecclesia sua, semper 
in Refectorio, semper in Dormitorio," — and even on the most necessary occasions 
for conversation, the monks were instructed to speak " remissa voce, humiliter, 
et honeste." — See Dugdale, vol. ii. p. 8.30. 

f It would not appear that these changes very much influenced the condition 
of monachism in England. The three great reformations in that system which 
took place in our Church were, (1.) that of Aichbishop Cuthhert, in the year 
747; (2.) that of Dunstau, in 905, promulgated in the council of Wuicliester, on 
which occasion the general constitution, entitled Regula Concordiae Anglicae 
Nationis, was for the first time prescribed. It was founded partly on the rule 
of St. Benedict, partly on ancient customs. (3.) That of Lanfiauc, in 1075, autho- 
rised by the council of London, and foimded on the same principle as the second. 
. . Mabillon, a zealous advocate and an acute critic, sufficiently shows from 
John the Deacon, (who wrote the Life of Gregory the Great in 875,) that the rule 
of St. Benedict was received in England before the second of those reformations. 
Our allusions to the ecclesiastical history of England are thus rare and incidental, 
because that Church is intended, we believe, to form the subject of a separate 

I Such as the Camaldiilenses, Sylvestrini. Grandimontenses, Praemonstratenses, 
the monks of \'allombrosa, and a uiiiltitude of others. 


the surface of Europe. But there are tliree at least among 
them, which, by their frequent mention in ecclesiastical history, 
demand a separate notice,— the order of Cluni, the Cistercian 
order, and that of the Chartreux. The monastery of Corbie, 
also of great renown, was founded by Charlemagne for the 
spiritual subjugation of Saxony ; but it is no other way distin- 
guished from the regular Benedictine institutions than by its 
greater celebrity. 

Durino- the ninth century, the rapid incursions of the Nor- The order 
mans, and the downward progress of corruption, once more qqq ^'^]' 
reduced the level of monastic sanctity ; and a fresh impulse 
became necessary to restore the excellence and save the repu- 
tation of the system. The method of reformation was, on this 
occasion, somewhat different fi-om that previously adopted. A 
separate order was established, derived, indeed, immediately 
from the stoclv of St. Benedict, yet claiming, as it were, a 
specific distinction and character — it was the order of Cluni. 
It was founded about the year 900, in the district of Ma9on, 
in Burgundy, by William, duke of Aquitaine ; but the praise 
of perfecting it is rather due to the abbot, St. Odo, It com- 
menced, as usual, by a strict imitation of ancient excellence, a 
rigid profession of poverty, of industry, and of piety ; and it 
declined, according to the usual course of human institutions, 
through wealth, into indolence and luxury. In the space of 
about two centm-ies, it fell into obscurity ; and after the name 
of Peter the Venerable (the contemporary of St. Bernard), no 
eminent ecclesiastic is mentioned as having issued from its dis- 
cipline. Besides the riches which had rewarded and spoiled 
its original purity, another cause is mentioned as having con- 
tributed to its decline — the corruption of the simple rule of 
St. Benedict by the multiplication of vocal prayers, and the 
substitution of new offices and ceremonies fur the manual 
labour of former days. The ill effect of that change Avas 
indeed admitted by the venerable abbot in his answer to 
St. Bernard. 

But in the mean time, diu-ing the long period of its prospe- 
rity, the order of Cluni had reached tlie highest point of 
honourable reputation ; insomuch that, during the eleventh 


cenluiy, a bishop of Ostia (the future I'rban II.) being 
officially present at a council in Germany, suppressed in his 
signature his episcopal dignity, and thought that he adopted a 
j'jrouder title when he subscribed himself" monk of Clunl, and 
legate of Pope Gregory*." Those two names were well asso- 
ciated; for it was indeed within the walls of Cluni that Hilde- 
brand fed his youthful spirit on those dreams of universal 
dominion which he afterwards attempted to realize : it was 
there, too, that he may have meditated those vast crusading 
projects which were accomplished by Urban his disciple. But 
however that may be, the cloister from which he had emerged 
to change the destinies of Christendom, and the discipline 
which had formed him (as some might think) to such generous 
enterprises, acquired a reflected splendoiu* from his celebrity ; 
and since the same institution was also praised for its zealous 
and active orthodoxy and its devotion to the throne of St. Peter, 
shall ^ve wonder that it flourished far and wide in power and 
opulence, and that it numbered, in the following age, above 
two thousand monasteries, which followed its appointed ride 
and its adopted principles ? Yet is there a sorrowfid reflection 
which attends the spectacle of this prosperity. Through all 
the parade of wealth and dignity, we penetrate the melancholy 
truth, that the season of monastic virtue and monastic utility 
was passing by, if, indeed, it was not already passed irrevo- 
cably ; and we remark how rapidly the close embrace of the 
pontifical power was converting to evil the rational principles 
and pious purposes of tlie original institution. 
The Cis- Ilowbeit, we do not read that any flagrant immoralities liad 
*''deT'l098 y^^ disgraced the establishment of Cluni : only it had attained 
a degree of sumptuous refinement very far removed from its 
fiist profession. This degeneracy furnished a reason for the 
creation of a new and rival conmiunity in its neio-hbourhood. 
The Cistercian order was founded in 1098 f, and very soon 

* See Hist. Litter, de la Fiance, Vie Uibau II. 

f Anno milleno, centeno, bis minus uno, 

Pontifice Urbano, Francoium Ri'i^e Philipno, 

Uur^iindis Odone duce et fuiidamina dante. 

Sub Patie Kobcrlo ccrpit Cistercius Oido.— Pagi, Vit. Urban 1 1., 




received the pontifical confirmation. In its origin it success- 
fully contrasted its laborious poverty and much show of Chris- 
tian humility with the lordly opulence of Cluni ; and in its 
progress it pursued its predecessor through the accustomed 
circle of austerity, wealth, and corruption. This institution 
was peculiarly favoured from its very foundation ; since it pos- 
sessed, among its earliest treasures, the virtues and celebrity 
of St. Bernard. One of the first of the Cistercian monks, that 
venerated ecclesiastic established, in 1115, the dependent abbey 
of Clairvaux, over which he long presided ; and such was his 
success in propagating the Cistercian order, that he has some- 
times been erroneously considered as its founder. The zeal of 
his pupils, aided by the authority of his fame, completed the 
work transmitted to them : and with so much eatjerness were 
the monasteries of the Citeaux filled and endowed, that before 
the year 1250 that order yielded nothing, in the number and 
importance of its dependencies, to its rival of Cluni. Both 
spread, with almost equal prevalence, over every province in 
Christendom ; and the colonies long continued to acknowledge 
the supremacy of the mother monastery. But the Citeaux 
was less fortunate in the duration of its authority and the vuiion 
of its societies. About the year 1350, some confusion grew up 
amongst them, arising first from their corruptions, and next 
from the obstruction of all endeavours to reform them. At the 
end of that century, they were involved in the grand schism of 
the Catholic Church, and thus became still further alienated 
from each other, till at length, about the year 1500, they broke 
up (first in Spain, and then in Tuscany and Lombardy) into 
separate and independent establishments. 

St. Bruno, with a few companions, established a residence 

sect. 73. The date of another celebrated institution, which we have no 
space to notice, has been similarly (though less artificially) recorded : — 

Anno milleno, centeno, bis quoque deno 

Sub Patre Norberto Prsemonstratensis viget Ordo. 

Norhert was archbishop of Magdeburg, and in great repute with Innocent IT. 
The site of the monastery was praeinonstrated by a vision — hence the name. The 
rule was that of St. Augustine; the brethren were confirmed by Calixtus II., 
under the designation of Canonici Rf gulares Exemptl ; and they spread to the 
extremities of the East and the West. — Hospin., lib, v. c, xii, 



Order of at the Chartreuse in the summer of 1084 : the usual duties of 
ieuS^^"^" labour, temperance, and prayer were enjoined with more, per- 
1084 A.D. haps, than the usual severity *. But this community did not 
inunediatelv rise into any great eminence ; it was long governed 
by priors, subject to the bishop of Grenoble ; and its founder 
died (in 1101) in a Calabrian monastery. Nearly fifty years 
after its foundation, its statutes were written by a prior named 
Guignes j, who presided over it for eighteen years. By the 
faithful obseiTance of those statutes, though in its commence- 
ment far outstripped by its Cistercian competitors, it gradually 
rose into honourable notoriety ; and at length, about the year 
1178, its rule was sanctioned by the approbation of Alexan- 
der III. From this event, its existence as a separate order in 
the Church is properly to be dated ; and henceforward it went 
forth from its wild and desolate birth-place, and spread its 
fruitful branches over the gardens and vineyards of Eiu-ope, 
The rise of the Chartreux gave fresh cause for emulation to 
their brethren of older establishment : and the rivalry thus ex- 
cited and maintained by these repeated innovations, if it caused 
much professional jealousy, and doubtless some personal ani- 
mosity, furnished the only resource by which the monastic 
system could have been brought to preserve even the semblance 

* The earliest Cistercians, under Alberic, who (lied in 1109, aifected a rigid 
imitation of the rule of St. Benedict. They refused all donations of Churches 
and altars, oblations and tithes. It appeared not (they said) that in the ancient 
quadripartite division the monasteries had any share — for this reason, that they 
had lands and cattle, whence they could live by work. They avoided cities and 
populous districts, but professed their willingness to accept the endowment of 
any remote or waste lands, or of vineyards, meadows, woods, waters (for mills 
and fishing), as well as horses and cattle. Their only addition to the old rule 
was that of lay brothers and hired servants — /teres comers luiques. 

f Flenry, II. K. 1. 67, s. 58. From these statutes it appears, that from Sep- 
tember to Easter the monks were allowed only one meal a day; that they drank 
no pure wine ; that fish might not be purchased except for the sick ; that no 
superfluous gold or silver was permitted at the service of the altar; that the use 
of medicine was discouraged ; but that, to compensate for that prohibition, the 
monks were bled five times a year. It is proper to add, that during the same 
period they were permitted to shave only six times. 

Some statutes of this order are given by Dugdale, I^Ionast. vol. i. p. 951. 
Among them we observe a strict injunction to manual labour : — 

Nunc lege, nunc ora, nunc cum fervore labora; 
Sic erit bora brevis, et labor ille levis. 


of its original practice. Still it should be remarked that these 
successive additions to the fraternity implied no contempt of 
the institutions of antiquity: they made no profession of novelty 
or of any improvement upon pristine observances ; on the con- 
trary, the more modern orders all claimed, as they respectively 
started into existence, the authority and the name of St. Bene- 
dict. The monk of Cluni, the Cistercian, the Carthusian, were 
alike Benedictines ; and the more rigid the reform which they 
severally boasted to introduce, and the nearer their approxi- 
mation to the earliest practice, the better were their pretensions 
founded to a legitimate descent from the Western patriarch. 

The rules of the reformed orders invariably inculcated the Institution 
performance of manual labour ; and the neglect of that injunc- brethren 
tion invariably led to their corruption. But an alteration had 
been effected in the general constitution of the body, which 
alone precluded any faithful emulation of the immediate dis- 
ciples of St. Benedict. As late as the eleventh age the monks, 
who were for the most part laymen, performed all the servile 
offices of the establishment with their own hands. But in the 
year 1040, St. John of Gualbert introduced into his monastery 
of Vallombrosa a distinction which was fatal to the integrity of 
the former discipline. He divided those of his obedience into 
two classes — lay brethren and brethren of the choir ; and while 
the spiritual and intellectual duties of the institution were more 
particularly enjoined to the latter, the whole bodily labour, 
whether domestic or agricultural, was imposed upon their lay 
associates*. Thenceforward the monks (for the higher class 
began to appropriate that name) became entirely composed 
either of clerks or of persons destined for holy orders; the 
religious offices were celebrated and chiefly attended by them, 
while the servant was commanded to repeat his pater without 
suspending his work, and presented with a chaplet for the 
numbering of the canonical hours. A reason was advanced 
for this change; and had not a much stronger been afforded 

* In the Ordres Monastiques, p. iv. c. 18, two sorts of laymen are mentioned 
as living in French monasteries : (1.) such as gave themselves over as slaves to 
the establishment, and were called Oblats or Donnes : (2.) such as were recom- 
mended for support to monasteries of royal foundation by the king. But neither 
of these classes were, properly speaking, lay brethren. 

Q 2 


by the inordinate accumulation of wealth, it might have seemed, 
perhaps, not unsatisfactory. In earlier ages, Latin, the lan- 
guage of prayer, was also the vulgar tongue of all \\'estern 
Christians ; but as that grew into disuse, and became the ob- 
ject of study, instead of the vehicle of conversation, the greater 
part of the laity were unable to comprehend the offices of the 
Church. Accordingly, it was deemed necessary to distinguish 
between the educated and the wholly illiterate brethren ; and 
in pursuance of the principle which then prevailed, of confining 
all learning to the sacred profession, the former were raised to 
the enjoyment of leisure and authority, the latter condemned 
to ignorance and servitude. Tliis distinction, being earlier than 
the foundation of the Cistercian, Carthusian, and all subse- 
quent orders, was admitted at once into their original constitu- 
tion ; and therefore, however closely they might af!ect to imi- 
tate the most ancient models, there existed, from the very com- 
mencement, one essential peculiarity in which they deviated 
from it. 
Papal ex- According to the oldest practice, every monastery was go- 
tmptions, yp|.,^g^[ i^y g^j^ abbot, chosen by the monks from their own body, 
and ordained and instituted by the bishop of the diocess. To 
the superintending authority of the same the abbot was also 
subject; and thus abuses and contentions were readily repressed 
by the presence of a resident inspector. But when, in the 
proo-ress of papal usurpation, those establishments were ex- 
empted from episcopal jurisdiction, and placed under the exclu- 
sive reoulation of the Vatican, the facilities for corruption were 
nudtlplied ; and a number of evils were created which escaped 
the observation or correction of a distant and indulgent master. 
At the same time, the effect of this connexion was to infuse an 
entirely new spirit into the monastic system. Avarice, and 
especially ambition, took the place of tliose pious motives 
which certainly predominated in earlier days. The inmates of 
the cloister were associated in the grand schemes of the ponti- 
fical policy ; they became its necessary and most obsequious 
instruments; they were exalted by its success, — they were 
stained by its vices : and the successive reformations, which 
professed to renovate the declining fabric, were only vain 


attempts to restore its ancient character. Tliey could at best 
only expect to repair its outward front, and replace the sym- 
bols of its former sanctity; the spirit, by which it had been 
really blessed and consecrated, was already departed from it. 

Great complaints respecting monastic corruption were 
uttered both at the Council of Paris in 1^2, and the fourth of 
Lateran, which met three years afterwards. But, though some 
vigorous attempts were, on both those occasions, made to re- 
press it, the counteracting causes were too powerful ; and the 
evil continued to extend and become more jioisonous duiing 
the times which followed. It is singular that, at the second of 
those councils, it was proclaimed as a great evil in the system, 
that new orders were too commonly established, and the forms 
of monasticism multiplied with a dangerous fertility; and 
therefore, " lest their too great diversity should introduce con- 
fusion into the Church," it was enacted that their future crea- 
tion should be discouraged. This is considered by some 
Catholic writers to have been a provident regulation; since the 
jealousy among the rival congregations had by this time dege- 
nerated from pious emulation (if it ever possessed that charac- 
ter) into a mere conflict of evil passions. But whatever may 
have been the policy of the statute, it was at least treated in the 
observance with sxich peculiar contempt, that the institution of 
the Mendicants, the boldest of all the innovations in the annals 
of monachism, took place almost inmiediately afterwards. 

Section III. 

Canons Regular and Secular. 

The order of monks was originally so widely distinct from 
that of clerks, that there were seldom found more than one or 
two ecclesiastics in any ancient convent. But presently, in the 
growing prevalence of the monastic life, persons ordained, or 
destined to the sacred profession, formed societies on similar 
principles ; and as they were bound, though with less severity, 
by certain fixed canons, they were called, in process of time. 


Cano7iici*. The bishop of the diocese was their abbot and 
president. It is recorded that St. Augustine set the example 
of Hvincr with his clergy in one society, with community of pro- 
perty, according to the canons of the Church; but he prescribed 
to them no vow, nor any other statutes for their observance, 
except such instructions as are found in his 109th Epistle f . 
Nevertheless, above a hundred and fifty religious congregations 
have in succeeding ages professed his rule and claimed his 
parentage, and assumed, with such slight pretensions, the 
authority of his venerable name. The true origin of the order 
is a subject of much uncertainty. Onuphrius, in his letter to 
Platina, asserts that it was instituted by Gelasius at Rome, 
about 495 J, and that it passed hence into other Churches ; and 
Dugdale appears to acquiesce in this opinion. It is, moreover, 
certain, that Chrodegangus, Bishop of Metz, prescribed a rule, 
about the year 750, to the canons of his own reformation ; and 
that he made some eiforts, though not perhaps very effectually, 
to extend it more widely. Still some are not persuaded that 
societies of clerks were subject to one specified form of disci- 
pline, till the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle §, under the direction 
of Louis le Debonnaire, confirmed and completed the previous 
enactments of Mayence (in 813), and imposed on them one 
general and perpetual ride. 

The plausible principle on which the order of canons was 

* The term Canon ori<;inally included not only all professors of the monastic 
life, but the very Hierodules and inferior officers of the Church. Mosheim (on 
the authority of Le Bseuf, Memoires snr I'Hisfoire d'Auxerre, vol. i. p. 174) 
asserts that it became peculiar to clerical monks (Fratres Dominici) soon after 
the middle of the eighth century. But we should rather collect from the " His- 
toire des Ordres Monastiques," that the distinction was not generally established 
till the eleventli age. 

f It should be observed, that this epistle, which is cited by ecclesiastical 
writers as containing instructions for an institution of Canons, was in fact ad- 
dressed to a convent of refractory nuns, who had quarrelled with their Abbess, 
and exhibited some unbecoming violence in the dispute. 

I See Dugdale, De Canonorum Ordinis Origine. There may be found the 
Rule which St. Augustine is said to have prescribed. 

^ The rule here published was borrowed, in many particulars, from that of 
St. Benedict ; but the order still retained the name and banners of St. Augus- 
tine. — Hist, des Ordres Monastiques. 


founded, to withdraw from the contagion of the w^orld those 
who had pecuHarly devoted themselves to the service of God, 
was found insufficient to preserve them from degeneracy. A 
division was early introduced (in Germany, according to Trithe- 
mius, and in the year 977), by which the reformed were sepa- 
rated from the unreformed members of the community, in name 
as well as in deed. The foi-mcr, from their return to the 
original rule, assumed the appellation of Canons-Regular ; the 
latter, who adhered to the abuse, were termed, in contradistinc- 
tion, Canons-Secular; and this sort of schism extended to other 
countries, and became permanent in many. 

The discipline of the regular canons was more seriously 
enforced by Nicholas II. in the year 1059; and about eighty 
years later. Innocent II. subjected them to the additional obli- 
gation of a vow ; for they seem hitherto to have been exempt 
from such profession. Nevertheless, in the course of the two 
following centuries, they once more relapsed into such aban- 
doned licentiousness, as to require an entire reconstruction from 
Benedict XII. After that period, they rose into more consi- 
deration than in their earlier history they appear to have 

There were besides some other orders, both military and 
mendicant, which professed the rule, or rather the name, of St. 
Augustine — the Hospitallers, for instance, the Teutonic Knights, 
and the Hermits of St. Augustine. But they will be mentioned 
under those heads where we have thought it more convenient 
to place them, than to follow in this matter the perplexed 
method of the " Historian of the Monastic Orders." 

Section IV. 

On the Military Orders. 

We have thus shortly mentioned the three grand religious 
Orders, which have been diversified by so many names and 
rides, and regenerated by so many reforms; which began in 
austerity, and yet fell into the most shameless debauchery; 
which arose in piety, and passed into wicked and lying super- 


stition ; which originated in poverty, and finally fattened on 
the credulity of the faithful, so as to spread their solid terri- 
torial acquisitions from one end of Christendom to the other. 
Fomided on the genuine monastic principle of devout seclusion, 
so venerable to the ignorant and the vulgar, they presently 
surpassed the secular clergy in the reputation of sanctity, and 
in popular influence. Thus were they soon recommended to 
the Bishop of Rome ; and in his ambition to exalt himself 
above his brother prelates, he discovered an efficient and will- 
ing instrument in the regular establishments. At an early 
period, he granted them protection, and patronage, and pro- 
perty, with the means of augmenting it : presently, he accorded 
to certain monasteries exemption from the episcopal authority ; 
and in process of time he extended that privilege to almost all. 
Thus he gradually constituted himself sole visitor, legislator, 
and o-uardian of the numberless religious institutions which 
covered the Christian world. The monks repaid these services 
by the most implicit obedience — for obedience was that of their 
three vows which they continued to respect the longest — and to 
their aid and influence may generally be ascribed the triumphs 
of the pontifl^ in his disputes with the secular clergy. In his 
contests with the State they were not less necessary to his 
cause ; for, as his success in those struggles usually depended 
on the divisions which he was enabled to sow among the sub- 
jects of his enemy, and the strength of the party which he 
could thus create, so the monks, in every nation in Europe, 
were his most powerful agents for that purpose. And thus, 
when we consider the victory, which the spiritual sometimes 
obtained over the temporal power, as a mere triumph of opinion 
over arms and physical force, we do indeed, at the bottom, con- 
sider it ricrhtly ; but our surprise at the result is much dimi- 
nished, when we reflect how extensive a control over men's 
minds was everywhere possessed by the religious orders, — how 
fearlessly and unsparingly they exercised that control, and 
with what persevering zeal it was directed to the support and 
aggrandizement of papal power. 

The Benedictines and Augustinians were the standing army 
of the Vatican, and they fought in spiritual battles with con- 


stancy and success for nearly six centuries. The first addition 
wliich was made to them was that of the mihtary orders; and 
this proceeded not from any sense of the insufficiency of the 
veteran estabhshment, nor from any distrust in them, but from 
circumstances wholly independent of those or any such causes. 
They arose in the agitation of the crusades, and they were 
nourished by the sort of spirit which first created those expedi- 
tions, and then caught from them some additional fury. 

The union of the military with the ecclesiastical character 
was become common, in spite of repeated prohibitions, among 
all ranks of the clergy. It was exercised by the vices of the 
feudal system ; which had given them wealth in enviable pro- 
fusion, but which provided by no sufficient laws or strength of 
o-overnment for the protection of that which it had bestowed — 
so that force was necessary to defend what had been lavished 
by superstition. The warlike habits which ecclesiastics seem 
really to have first acquired in the defence of their property, 
w^ere presently carried forth by them into distant and offensive 
campaigns, and exhibited in voluntary feats of arms, to which 
loyalty did not oblige them, and for which loyalty itself fur- 
nished a very insufficient pretext. But these general excesses 
did not give birth to any distinct order professing to unite reli- 
gious vows with the exercise of arms ; and e\en the first of 
those, which did afterwards make such profession, was in its 
origin a pacific and charitable institution. 

This was the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, or the Knights Knights of 
of the Hospital. About the year 1050, at the wish of some t^J °*^^' 
merchants of Amalfi trading with Syria, a Latin Church had 
been erected at Jerusalem, to which a hospital was presently 
added, with a chapel dedicated to the Baptist. When Godfrey 
de Bouillon took the city in 1099, he endowed the hospital : it 
then assumed the form of a new religious order, and inmie- 
diately received confirmation from Rome, with a rule for its 
observance*. The revenues were soon found to exceed the 
necessities of the establishment ; and it was then that the grand 

* The rule of the HosiiitalUrs (as confinneJ by Boniface) may be found in 
Dugdale's Monaslicon, vol. ii. p. 493. 


master changed its principle and design by the infusion of the 
inihtary character. 

The Knights of the Hospital were distinguished by three gra- 
dations. The first in dignity were the noble and military ; the 
second were ecclesiastical, superintending the original objects of 
the institution ; the third consisted of the " Serving Brethren," 
whose duties also were chiefly military. To the ordinary vows of 
poverty, chastity, and obedience, they added the obligations of 
charity, fasting, and penitence : and, whatsoever laxity they may 
have admitted in the observance of them, they unquestionably 
derived from that profession some real virtues which were not 
shared by the fanatics who surrounded them ; and they softened 
the savage features of religious warfare with some faint shades 
of vmwonted humanity. So long as their residence was Jeru- 
salem, they retained the peaceful name of Hospitallers ; but 
they were subsequently better known by the successive appella- 
tions of Knights of Rhodes and of Malta. Faithful at least to 
one of the objects of their institution, they valiantly defended 
the outworks of Christendom against the progress of the in- 
vading Mussulman, and never sullied their arms by the mas- 
sacre of Pagans or heretics. 
Knights The Knights Templars received their name from their resi- 

Templars. dence in the immediate neighbourhood of the Temple at 
Jerusalem. The foundations of this order were laid in the 
year 1118; and the rule to which it was afterwards subjected 
was from the pen of St. Bernard. This institution, both in its 
original purpose and prescribed duties, was exclusively military. 
— To extend the boundaries of Christendom, to preserve the 
internal tranquillity of Palestine, to secure the public roads 
from robbers and outlaws *, to protect the devout on their pil- 
grimage to the holy places — such were the peculiar offices of 
the Templar. They were discharged with fearlessness and 

* An order, with a somewhat similar object, was founded in France ahout the 
year 1233, called the Order of the Glorious Virgin Mary. It was confined to 
young men of family, who associated themselves, under the title of Les Freres 
Joyeux, for the defence of the injured, and the preservation of public tranquillity. 
They took vows of obedience and conjugal chastity, and solemnly pledged them- 
selves to the protection of widows and orphans. 


rewarded by renown. Renown was followed by the most 
abundant opulence. Corruption came in its train ; and on 
their final expulsion from Palestine, they carried back with 
them to Europe much of the wild unbridled license, which had 
been familiar to them in the East. But their unhappy fate, as 
it is connected with one of the most important periods in papal 
history, must be reserved for more particular mention in its 
proper place. 

The Teutonic, or German Order, had its origin again in the The Teu- 

. r. * 1 • 1 tonic Order, 

offices of charity. During the siege of Acre, a hospital was 

erected for the reception of the sick and wounded. This esta- 
bhshment survived the occasion which created it; and, to con- 
firm its character and its permanency, it obtained a rule (in 
1192) from Celestine III., and a place among the "Orders 
Hospitable and Military." On the termination of the Crusades, 
those knights returned to Germany*, where they enjoyed con- 
siderable possessions ; and soon afterwards, by a deviation from 
the purpose of their institution, which might seem slight perhaps 
in a superstitious age, they turned their consecrated arms to 
the conversion of Prussia, 

That country, and the contiguous Pomerania, had hitherto 
resisted the peaceful exertions of successive missionaries, and 
continued to worship the rude deities, and follow the barbarous 
manners of antiquity. But where the language of persuasion 
had been employed in vain, the disciphned valour of the Teu- 
tonic Knights prevailed : it was recompensed by the conquest 
of two rich provinces ; and the faith which was inflicted upon 
the vanquished in the rage of massacre, was perpetuated under 
the deliberate oppression of military government. This event 
took place about the year 1230 ; but in another generation, 
when the memory of its introduction was effaced, the religion 
really took root and flourished, by the sure and legitimate 
authority of its excellence and its truth. After that celebrated 

* In the treaty between the empire and the popedom in 1230, we find that the 
interests of the three military orders were expressly stipuhited for by the pope ; 
and also, that certain places were held in se(iuestration by Herman, Master of the 
Teutonic Order, until the emperor should have fulfilled his part of the engagement. 
Fleury, i. 79. S.64. 


exploit, the Teutonic Order continued to subsist in great esti- 
mation with the Church ; and this patronage was repaid with 
persevering fidelity, until at length, when they perceived the 
grand consiuiimation approaching, the holy knights generally 
deserted that tottering fortress, and arrayed their rebellious 
host under the banners of Luther. 


Section V. 
The Mendicant, or Preaching Orders. 

Until the end of the twelfth century the exertions of the Popes 
were almost entirely confined to the establishment of their own 
supremacy in the Church, and of their temporal authority over 
the State; and, through the faithful subservience of the two 
ancient orders, they had obtained surprising success in both 
undertakings. But the increasing light of the eleventh and 
twelfth ages, and the increasing deformities of the Church, 
brought into existence a nimiber of heresies, occasioning dis- 
sensions, such as had not divided Christians since the Arian 
controversy. These moreover presented themselves not with 
one form, and one front, and one neck, but were scattered 
under a multitude of denominations, throughout all provinces, 
and among all ranks. The secular clergy, relaxed by habitual 
indolence and occasional immoralities, rather gave cause to 
this disaffection than subdued it ; and the regular orders, 
become sluggish from wealth and indulgence, wanted the 
activity, perhaps the zeal, which was required of tliem. To 
detect the latent error, to pursue it into its secret holds, to 
drag it forth and consign it to the minister of temporal ven- 
geance, was an office beyond the energy of their luxuriousness; 
still less did they possess the talents and the learning to con- 
fute and confound it. Wherefore, as the experience of some 
centuries had now proved, that the existing orders, how often 
soever and completely reformed and reproduced, had an im- 
mediate tendency to subside again into degeneracy and decay, 
it seemed expedient to introduce some entirely different or- 
ganization into the imperfect system. 


The first notion of the new institution * was given by that St. Do- 
body of ecclesiastics who were conimissioned by Innocent III. 
to convert the Albigeois ; and among these the most distin- 
guished was St. Dominic. That iavourite champion of the 
Roman Church, the falsely -reputed inventor of inquisitorial 
torture, was a Spaniard of a noble family and of the order of 
Canons-Regular. In his spiritual campaigns (it were well had 
thev been no more than spiritual) against the heretics of Lan- 
guedoc, he became eminent by an eloquence which always 
inflamed and sometimes persuaded ; and having felt the power 
of that faculty, which through the space of thirteen centuries 
had so rarely revisited the Roman empire, he became desirous 
to establish a fraternity devoted to its exercise. His project 
was not discouraged by Innocent III.; but that pontiff hesi- 
tated to give the formal sanction necessary to constitute a new 
order : since the Coimcil of Lateran, acting according to his 
discretion, had pronounced it generally expedient to reform 
existing institutions, rather than to augment their number. 
But immediately after the death of that pope, Dominic was 
established in the privileges of a " Founder," by the bull of 
Honorius III. -}■ 

Contemporary with St. Dominic was his great compeer in St. Francis, 
ecclesiastical celebrity, the father of the rival institution. 
St. Francis was a native of Asisi in Umbria, without rank, 
without letters, but of an ardent and enthusiastic temperament. 
It is asserted — perhaps mitruly — that his earlier age was con- 
sumed in profligacy, i'rom which he was awakened by an oppor- 
tune sickness, occasioned by his vices ; and that his fears 

* Hospiiiiau's Sixth Book comprehends a (luantity of v.ahiable matter on the 
subject of the Mendicants ; and chapters iv. v. and vi. should particularly be 
consulted. The author is laborious and learned, but not impartial. In the zeal 
of the Protestant he has forgotten the moderation of the historian, and (might 
we not sometimes add ?) the charity of the Christian, 

f Fleury asserts, that the Freres Precheurs at first were not so much a new 
order, as a new congregation of the Canons-Regular ; since it was only at a 
Chapter General held in l'2-20, that St. Dominic and his disciples embraced entire 
poverty and mendicity. This may be so — but at any rate thi-ir original condition 
was so extremely transient and destitute of all effects and characteristics, as to be 
wholly insignificaut in history. 


suddenly impelled him into the opposite extreme of super- 
stitious * austerit)'. It is certain, that, as he inculcated by his 
preaching, so he recommended by his example, the utmost 
rigour of the primitive monastic principle, — " that there was 
no safe path to heaven, unless by the destitution of all earthly 
possessions." Popularity was the first reward of his humiliation : 
he was soon followed by a crowd of imitators ; and the motive, 
which probably was pure fanaticism in himself, might be want, 
or vanity, or even avarice f, in his disciples. Howbeit they 
readily acquired an extensive reputation for sanctity; and in 
the year 1210 the formal protection of Innocent was vouchsafed 
to the new order. 
Character- It appears probable that the foundation of the P^-anciscan 

isticsof the ^-^ -, , . , . , , • i i 

Dominican Order was laid in poverty only — not merely unaccompanied by 
and Fran- ^j^y obligation of a missionary or predicatory character, but 
Orders. likewise free from the vow of mendicity. St. Francis himseli, 
in the "Testament" which he left for the instruction of his 
followers, enjoined manual labour in preference to beggary; 
though he permitted them, in case of great distress, to have 
recourse to the table of the Lord, begcrinor alms from door to 
door]:. It should be mentioned, too, that he at the same time 

* The story of the Stigmata, or wounds of Christ, miraculously impressed upon 
his body, is known to all. The text on which this imposture was founded (for it 
pleaded a text) was Epist. Gelat. end. " From henceforth let no man trouble me; 
for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." We read in Semler, ann. 
1222, that a rustic, who made the same experiment on human credulity at about 
the same time, was imprisoned fur life — feliciuscessit Francisco, sec. xiii. cap. iii. 

f Giiinnone, an impartial writer, thus begins a section (lib. xix. cap. v. sec. v.) 
entitled " Monaci e Beni Temporali." " Henceforward we shall place together 
the subjects of ' IMonks' and 'Temporalities;' since, as we have already ob- 
served, that he who pronounces ' Monachism ' (Religione) pronounces ' Riches,' 
so the monks were now become incomparably more expert in the acquisition of 
wealth than all the other ecclesiastics ; and the monasteries in these days reaped 
profits to which those made by the Churches bore no proportion — so that the 
expressions ' New Orders ' and ' New Jiichei,' became, properly speaking, 
synonymous. And this was the more monstrous, because it was in despite of 
their foundation in mendicity (whence they had the name of Mendicants) tliat 
their acquisitions and treasures were enormous." — Polit. Eccles. del decimo terzo 

\ Fleury, Dissert.it. 8me. St. Francis designated his disciples hj^ the name 
Fralercttli — Little Brothers ; and this became, in different languages, Fratricelli, 
Fratres Minores, Freres Miueurs, Friars Minors. 


prohibited them Iroin applying to the pope for any privilege 
whatever. But the sophistical and contentious spirit of the 
age precluded that simplicity. And their founder was scarcely 
consigned to the grave, when his disciples obtained from Gre- 
gory IX.* a bull, which released them from the observance of 
his Testament, and placed an arbitrary interpretation on many 
particulars of his rule. It was thus that the necessity of labour 
was superseded, and honour and sanctity were preposterously 
attached to the profession of mendicity. 

Here then we observe the first point of distinction in the first 
constitution of the two orders. The Dominicans were, in their 
earliest character, a society of itinerant preachers — this was the 
whole of their profession — they were not bound, as it would seem, 
by any vow of poverty. But after a short space, when their 
founder had possibly observed that the Franciscans prospered 
Avell inuler that vow — that without possessing any thing they 
aboimdcd with many things f — he thought it desirable to imi- 
tate such profitable self-denial : accordingly, he also imposed 
upon his disciples the obligation of poverty. 

Again: when the Franciscans discovered that no little in- 
fluence accrued to their rivals from the office of public preach- 
ing, they also betook themselves to that practice ; and, perhaps, 
with almost equal success. Thus it came to pass, that, after a 
very few years, two orders, essentially different in their original, 
were very nearly assimilated in character, and even in profes- 
sion, and entered upon the same career with almost the same 
objects and the same principles. 

Nevertheless, in the features of their policy and the character Their con- 
of their ecclesiastical influence, they continued to be distinguished ^'^"^'""^• 

* This pope was at the same time a great patron of the rival order. In 1231 
he wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Sorrento, in order to introduce the Do- 
minicans to his patronage, in these terms : — '* Dilectos Filios Fratres Ordinis 
Predicatorum velut novos Vinitores suae vinese suscitavit ; (jui, non sua sed qua? 
sunt Jesu Christi quarentes, tarn contra profligaiidas haereses, quam pesfes alias 
mortiferas extirpandas se dedicivunt evangelizatioui Verbi Dei, in ahjectiune 
voluntariae paupertatis." The passage is cited by Giannone. 

f We read, in the " Ilistoire des Ordres Monastiques," of Franciscan motias. 
lerics of very early foundation — residences inconsistent with the perj)etual practice 
of beggary. But those mansions were probably tlie first profits of the trade, the 
first-fruits of the violation of the vow. 


by many important diversities. The whole course of their his- 
tory is more or less strongly marked by these. And if many 
of them were occasioned (as is unquestionably true) by the 
passionate jealousy which they bore to each other, and which 
they displayed upon all occasions, to the great scandal and 
injury of the Church, it is equally certain, that the difterence 
in their first constitution ever contributed to cause a difterence 
in their destinies. The oricrinal vow and rule of St. Francis 
was at no time perfectly erased from the memory of his fol- 
lowers. Attempts were soon made to revive it in its native aus- 
terity; and thvis, in addition to the general contention with the 
rival order, the most violent intestine dissensions were intro- 
duced into the family of that saint, which terminated in perma- 
nent alienation and schism. 

Again : another evil was brought upon the Church by these 
disputes — sharpened as they also were by the scholastic subtle- 
ties which in those days perverted reason. The authority of 
the Pope interposed to set them at rest, but his interference 
produced the opposite effect * : it not only increased the ani- 
mosity of both parties, but also I'aised up a powerful bi-anch of 
the fraternity in avowed opposition to the pontiiical supremacy. 
In the controversy in which these " indocile " brethren engaged 
during the fourteenth age, against John XXII., they proceeded 
so far in rebellious audacity as formally to pass the sentence 
of heresy upon the Vicar of Christ, and to abet the efforts of 
Lewis of Bavaria to depose him ! Such (as Fleury has ob- 
served) was the termination of their humility — the deposition 
of a pope ! Owing to these internal contests, it has even been 
made a question with some, whether the institution of the 
Mendicants has not contributed, \ipon the whole, to the decline, 
rather than the advancement of the papal interests. But there 
is not sufficient reason for such a doubt. The wound which the 
Roman See may have received from the passionate insubor- 
dination of a faction of one of those orders, bears no comparison 
with the benefits which it has derived from the faithful assi- 

* The good and simple pope, St, Celestine, sanctioned the division among the 
Franciscans by establishing the congregation of the " Poor Hermits." 

en. XIX.] A HISTORY OP THE cnuRcir. 2-11 

duity, the learning, the zeal, and the uncompromising devoted- 
ness of the other. 

If the Dominicans surpassed the rival order in obedience to 
their common master, they also afforded a better example of 
internal harmony and disciphne. Indeed, as they adhered very 
closely to the original object of their institution, the destruction 
of heresy, there was little reason why they should dispute with 
each other, and the strongest moti\-e for concord with the Holy 
See. The destruction of heresy they were willing (as we have 
observed), in the first instance, to accomplish by the sword of 
the Spirit; but, whether through the natural impatience of 
bigotry, or because the wisest among them began to suspect the 
weakness of their own cause, the futility of their sophistry, and 
the falsehood of their positions, after a very short attempt they 
abandoned lliut method of conversion, and betook themselves 
to the material weapon. The secular arm was summoned to 
their aid, and it became in process of time their favourite, if 
not their only, instrument. 

Nevertheless those are in error who attribute the foundation 
of the Inquisition, as a fixed and permanent tribunal, to the 
hand of St. Dominic. It may seem indeed to have been the 
necessary consequence of his labours, the result to which his 
principles infallibly tended ; and it is true that the administra-- 
tion of its offices was principally delegated to his order. But 
it was not anywhere formally established until ten or twelve 
years after his death*. In the mean time, the Dominicans, 
already trained to the chase, and heated by the scent of blood, 
eagerly executed the trust which was assigned to them. Over 
the whole surface of the western world they spread themselves 
in fierce and keen pursuit ; and the distant kingdoms of Spain 
and Poland were presently afflicted with tlie same deadly visi- 
tation. Rome was the centre of persecution; the heart, to 
which the circulating poison continually returned — and whence 
it derived, as it flowed onward, a fresh and perennial supply of 
virulence and malignity. 

The Dominicans, soon after their institution, seem to have 

* The origin of the Inquisltiuu will bo described in Chapter xxi. 


Dispute of appropriated most of the learning then so sparingly distributed 
iJa'n^Sr among the monastic orders. They applied themselves chiefly 
ihe Uni- |q ^\^p science of controversy, and soon became very formidable 

VGrsitv 01 

Paris. in that field — the more so, since they employed the resources 
of scholastic ingenuity in the defence of the papal government. 
The means and the end harmonized well ; the prejudices of 
the age were to a great extent favourable to both ; the exertions 
of revivinor reason were perpetually bafifled, and her friends 
discomfited and overthrown. We shall briefly notice one sig- 
nal campaign of the Dominicans — that which they carried on 
for above thirty years against the University of Paris. That 
body, which was already the most eminent in Europe, thought 
it expedient, in the year 1228, to confine the Dominicans, in 
common with all otlier religious orders, to the possession of 
one of its theological classes, while those Mendicants warmly 
asserted their claim to two. Many violent contentions arose 
from this difference, and continued till the year 125.5, with no 
decisive result : tlie matter was then referred to the wisdom of 
Pope Alexander IV. It is not difficult to anticipate the re- 
sponse of the Vatican. The University received an unqualified 
injunction to throw open to the Dominicans, not two classes 
only, but as many chairs and dignities as it might seem good 
to them to occupy. For four years the refractory doctors re- 
sisted the execution of the sentence with a boldness worthy of a 
better age and a happier result. At length, terrified by the 
repeated menaces of the pontiff, they submitted. Nevertheless, 
the strufforle had not been without its benefit. During the 
course of a protracted controversy, subjects had been handled 
of higher and more genei-al importance, than the right of lec- 
turino- in the schools of Paris. While the discipline and prin- 
cii")les of the Mendicants were examined and assailed, the 
power which upheld them did not escape from public repre- 
hension. The possibility of error even in the Church itself wds 
openly maintained; and the spirit of learning, which had 
hitherto ministered to ecclesiastical oppression, was at length 
aroused against it. The first efforts of the best principles are 
generally baffled and disappointed; but the example which 
they leave does not perish ; it only waits till the concurrence 


of happier circumstances may bring the season for more suc- 
cessful imitation. 

In the conduct of this dispute, as both parties became equally 
heated, the limits of reason were exceeded, with almost equal 
temerity, by both. Among many laborious productions, per- 
haps the most celebrated was that published by Guilliaume 
de St. Amour, a powerful champion of the University, " Con- 
cerning the Perils of the Latter Times." The peculiarity 
which has recommended it to our notice is this. It was founded 
on the belief that the passage of St Paul relating to "the peril- 
ous times which were to come in the last days," was fulfilled by 
the establishment of the Mendicants ! . . . Every age has 
affixed its own interpretation to that text, and all have been 
successively deceived ; and this might teach us some caution 
in wresting the mysterious oracles of God from their eternal 
destination to serve the partial views — to aid the transient, and 
perhaps passionate, purposes of the moment. Yet is there an 
undue value almost indissolubly attached, even by the calmest 
minds, to passing occurrences: however trivial and fuo-itive 
their character, they are magnified by close inspection, so as to 
exceed the mightiest events farther removed in time ; and it is 
this, our almost insuperable inability to reduce present occur- 
rences to their real dimensions — to place them at a distance, 
and examine them side by side along with the transactions of 
former days— to consider them, in short, disinterestedly and 
historical} ij—\t is this cause which has begotten, and which 
still begets, many foolish opinions in minds not destitute of 
reason; and which, among other fruits, has so frequently re- 
produced, and in so many shapes, the pitiable enthusiasm of 
the Millennarians. 

Though both Dominicans and Franciscans professed to be Disseu- 
at the same time mendicants and preachers, yet, in some sort among the 
of conformity with their original rules, the former continued to Francis- 
retain more of the predicatory, the latter more of the mendi- "''"'' 
cant, character. These last were consequently less distinguished 
by their literary contests, than by those which they waged 
against each other, respecting the just interpretation of the 
rule of their founder. In all other monastic institutions, the 

H 2 


2-11 A HISTORY OF Tlir, CnURCII. [ffl. XIX. 

possession of property was forblddca to indivldualo, but per- 
mitted to the community; whereas the more rigid injunction of 
St. Francis denied every description of fixed revenues, even to 
the Societies of his followers. Tliere were many among those 
who wished for a relaxation of this rule; and they obtained it 
without difficulty, both from Gregory IX. and Innocent IV. 
But another party, who called themselves the Spirituals, in- 
sisted on a strict adhesion to the original institution; they even 
refused to share the glorious title of Franciscan with those who 
had abandoned it. This feeling displayed itself with particu- 
lar vehemence in the year 1247, when John of Parma, a rigid 
spiritualist, was chosen general of the order. But the more 
worldly brethren still adhered to their mitigated discipline; 
and their perseverance, which was favoured, perhaps, l)y the 
secret wislies of many of the opposite party, received the steady 
and zealous concurrence of the Holy See. For whatsoever 
value the popes might attach to the voluntary poverty of their 
myrmidons, — to the respect which it excited, and the spon- 
taneous generosity which so abundantly relieved it, — they no 
doubt considered, that it was more important to the permanent 
interests of the Church to encourage the increase of her fixed 
and solid and perpetual possessions. 

The success of the Dominicans and Franciscans encouraged 
the profession of beggary ; and the face of Christendom was 
suddenly darkened by a swarm of holy mendicants, in such 
manner that, about tlie year 1272, Gregory X. endeavoured 
to arrest the overgrowing evil. To this end, he suppressed a 
great multitude of those authorised vagrants, and distributed 
the remainder, still very mmierous, into four societies — the 
Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Carraeiites, iuid the liermits 
of St. Augustine. 
The Car- The order of the Carmelites was, in its origin, oriental antl 
nielites. eremitical. John Phocas, a monk of Patmos, who visited the 
holy places in I18.">, thus concludes the narrative of his pil- 
frrimaiie : — " On Mount Carmel is the cavern of iillias, where 
a large monastery once stood, as the remains of buildings 
attest; but it has been ruined by time and hostile incursions. 
Some years ago, a hoary-headed monk, who was also a priest. 


came from Calabria, and established himself in this place, by 
the revelation of the prophet Elias. He made a little inclosure 
in the ruins of the monastery, and constructed there a tower 
and a small church, and assembled about ten brothers, with 
whom he still inhabits that holy place*." Such appears to be 
the earliest autlientic record of the foundation of the Carmel- 
ites. About the year 1209, yXlbert, patriarch of Jerusalem, 
gave them a rule. It consisted of sixteen articles, which con- 
tain nothing original, and are merely sufficient to prove the 
ignorance, the abstinence, and the poverty of the original 
brothers. The institution was not, however, legitimately intro- 
duced into the grand monastic family till the year 122G, when 
it received the sanction of Honorius III. Twelve years after- 
wards, it was raised from among- the reg-tdar orders to the 
more valuable privileges and profits of mendicity ; and we ob- 
serve that the severe rule of its infancy was interpreted and 
mitigated soon afterwards by Innocent IV. Accordingly, it 
became venerable and popular, and was embraced with the 
accustomed eagerness in every country in Europe. 

A great number of individuals were still found scattered Hermits of 
throughout the Western Church, who cherished the name, ^*' ^"S"s- 
though they might dispense with the severer duties, of hermits ; 
and they professed a variety of rules by which their several in- 
dependent societies were governed. Innocent IV. expressed 
his desire to unite them into one order, and it was executed 
by his successor. Alexander IV., the better to withdraw them 
from their seclusion, and engage them in the functions of the 
ecclesiastical hierarchy!, formed them into a single congrega- 
tion under one rule and one general, and associated them by 
the same title of " hermits of St. Augustine." We may ob- 
serve, however, that as they were the most modern, so they 
were the least considerable of the mendicant institutions. 

To these four orders the pontiffs granted the exclusive indul- 
gence of travelling through all countries, of conversing with 
persons of all ranks, and instructing, wheresoever they sojourned, 

* We cite the passage from Fleiiiy, lib. Ixxvi , sec. 55. 

f Giaiinoiie, Stor. Nnp., lib. xix _, cap. v., sec. 5. 


the young and the ignorant. This comtnission was presently 
extended to preaching in the churches and administering the 
holy sacraments. And so great veneration did they excite by 
the sanctity of their appearance, the austerity of their life, and 
the authoritative humility of their manners, that the people 
rushed in multitudes to listen to their eloquence, and to crave 
their benediction. And thus the spirit of sacerdotal despotism 
which had been chilled through the indecency or negligence of 
the secular clergy, and the luxurious languor of the regular 
establishments, was for a season revived and restored to an 
authority, in its extent more ample, and in its exercise far more 
unsparing, than it had possessed at any preceding period. 
Early In their early years, the two great nurseries of the Domini- 

tfe'^'enerac'^ cans Were Paris and Bologna. In those cities, Jourdain, tlie 
of the Men- creneral of the order, and successor of its founder, alternately 
^"^^^ ^' passed the season of Lent ; and thence he sent forth his emis- 
rsaries through the South and the West. Among the first con- 
verts to the discipline of St. Dominic were many distinguished 
by rank and dignity, many eminent ecclesiastics, many learned 
doctors, both in law and theology, and many young students 
of noble parentage. Nor is it hard to believe those accounts 
which praise the rigour of their moral excellence and the gene- 
ral subjection of their carnal appetites to the control of the 
spirit. The very enthusiasm which at first inflamed them for 
the purity and beauty of their institution was inconsistent with 
hypocritical pretensions to piety ; it tended, too, somewhat to 
prolong the exercise of those virtues whence it drew its origin. 
And thus, if their literary exertions were really stimulated by 
the highest motives — the glory of God and the salvation of the 
iaithful — they may Avell have surpassed the languid labours of 
the old ecclesiastics, which were so commonly directed to mere 
vulgar and temporal objects. Accordingly, as the JNlendicants 
rose, the ancient orders and the secular clergy fell into disre- 
pute and contempt; and the chairs and the pulpits which they 
had so long filled were, in a great measure, usurped by more 
zealous, more laborious, and more popular competitors. 

But these conquests were not obtained or preserved without 


many violent and obstinate contests*. Both regulars and 
seculars defended their ancient privileges with an ardour which 
seemed to supply the want of strength. Their disputes with 
each other were for the season laid aside ; they united with 
equal earnestness against the invader of their common inte- 
rests ; and the rancour thus occasioned, and shared in some 
degree, even by the most obscure individuals of both parties, 
was far from favourable either to the purity of religion, or to 
tlie honour of the Church: insomuch, that some Roman 
Catholic writers have expressed a reasonable doubt whether 
the interests of their Church would not have been more effec- 
tually consulted by a thorough reformation of the two classes 
already consecrated to religion, than by the establishment of a 
new order. It is certainly true, that no cause has more scan- 
dalized the name of Christ, in every age of his faith, than the 
bitter dissensions of his ministers. Their very immoralities 
have scarcely been more poisonous in their influence on the 
people, than the spectacle of their jealousy and rancour. And 
thus, if the ancient zeal and piety could have been revived by 
ordinary regulations among the ecclesiastics of the thirteenth 
century — had it been possible to infuse into the decrepit the 
vigour of the young, into the pampered the virtue of the poor, 
— such had, indeed, been the safer method of regeneration. It 
appears, however, very questionable whether the popes had 
power to accomplish so substantial a reformation in the Church, 
even had they been seriously bent on it. It is perfectly certain 
that they were not so disposed. The interests of papacy were 

* The grand dispute in England between the clergy and the I\Iendicants, in 
which the archbishop of Armagh was so prominent, took place about 1357. 
The great complaint at that time was, that the latter had seduced all the young 
men at the Uuivtrsity to conless to them, to enter their order, and to remain 
there. And the prelate mentions the remarkable fact, that through the suspi- 
cions thus infused into families, the number of students at Oxfoid had been 
reduced during his time from thirty thousand to six thousand. It was made 
anothir matter of reproach on the Mendicants, that they had bought up all the 
books, and collected in every convent a large and fine library. The field of con- 
test was transferred to the pontifical court (then at Avignon) ; the Mendicants 
were triumphant, and the archbishop's mission appears to have had no result. 
And about ihe same time two considerable princes, Peter, inf.mt of Aragcn, and 
C;iiarles, count of Alencon, became members respectively of the Franciscan and 
Duniinicau orders. 


now becoming widely different from the interests of the Church, 
and ihcir pohcy (though they might not themseh^s be conscious 
of the distinction) was steadily directed to the former. With 
that view, tlie institution of the Mendicants was eminently 
useful, as it communicated a sort of ubiquity to the pontifical 
chair. Moreover, the scandals which it occasioned were, in 
some measure, compensated by the enei-gy to which the old 
establishments were reluctantly awakened, and which had been 
more honourable to themselves, and more useful to religion, 
had it been excited by a less equivocal motive. 

One essential characteristic of the Mendicants was the want 
of any permanent residence ; and thus tlieir influence over the 
people, though at seasons vast and overruling, could not be 
deeply fixed, or very durable. Again, since they professed 
absolute poverty, they could scarcely exercise any fearless con- 
trol over those on whose favour and charity they were depend- 
ent for their daily subsistence : so that their popular authority 
was destitute of those substantial supports which their oppo- 
nents derived from the possession of opulent establishments, 
and rested wholly on their talents and virtues. As long as 
their zeal and their eloquence far surpassed those of the ancient 
ecclesiastics — as long as the sanctity of their moral practice 
was beyond reproach or suspicion — so long they deserved and 
maintained the superiority of their influence. But though the 
impression thus produced will generally last somewhat longer 
than the excellence which produces it, still tlie solid founda- 
tion of tlieir power decayed with the decay of their original 
qualities ; and the wealth which they at length substituted in 
the place of these reduced them at best to the level of their 

And no Ions' time elapsed from their oriiiin before the rc- 

O 1 ^ 

proacli of corruption was commonly and justly cast upon them*. 

* The evidence of IMatthew Paris, an cstablihlu'il Benedictine of St. Albiin"s, 
may be somewhat coloured by professional jealousy, but nevertheless it is sub- 
stantially true. In his Henry III., anno 12-16, he mentions how, from beini^ 
preachers, they became confessors, and usurped the other offices of the oidiiiarv. 
In the same place, he publishes a celebrated bull of Grej^ory IX. in their favour, 
and strongly describes the insolence which they derived from it. " Ecclesiarum 
lectoies . • prccaciter alloc|Uentes, indulta sibi talia privilegia in jirupa'ulo 

en. XIX.] A HISTORY of tiik ciiuncu. 219 

General complaints arose respecting the m\iltitiide of pretexts 
which they invented for the extortion of money ; respecting the 
VcHgal^ond habits, the idleness, and importunity of many among 
them. It ^vas particularly asserted that, having insinuated 
themselves into the contidence of families, they took under 
their special charge the management of wills, and constructed 
them to their own advantage. They became pcM-pctual attend- 
ants on the death-bed of the rich. Moreover, they engaged 
with intricTuincp activity in the pohtical transactions of the day, 
and were entrusted with the conduct of diflficult negotiations. 
The cabinets of princes were not too lofty for their ambition, 
the secrets of domestic life were not beneath their avarice. 
Again, it ofFended the reason of many, that holy persons, pro- 
fessing profound humility and perfect poverty, should appear 
in the character of magistrates, having apparitors and familiars 
at their disposal, and all the treasures and all the tortures of 
the Inquisition. Tliey thus became rich, indeed, and they be- 
came powerful ; but there were those who did not fail to con- 
trast the contempt of worldly glory, which illustrated the birth 
of their order, with the pomp which they afterwards assiuncd 

demonstrantes, erecta cervice ea exigentcs recitari," &c. . . He then reliitcs 
flu' manner ia wliich they supplanted the clergy in the affections of the people. 
" Ksne pi-ofessus ? Etiam. A quo ? A sacerdote meo. Kt (juis ille idiota ? 
Nun(piam theologiam andivit ; nunquain in decretis vigilavit ; nuuquam unam 
quECstionem didicit enodaie. Creci sunt et duces ca?corum. Ad nos accedite, (pii 
novimus lejiram a lepra di^tingnere . . . Multi igitur, pia-cipue nobilcs 
el Holnltum tixores, spretis propriis sacerdotllms, preedicatorilms confitebantur , . 
unde non mediocriter viluit ordinarionnn dignitas." Matthew Paris then goes 
on to show the immorality thus introduced ; since the people did not feel for the 
Mendicants any of that awe which their own priests had heen accustomed to 
inspire, and therefore repeated their sins with less scruple. The same author 
(ad ann. 1235) repeats the complaints of the insolence of the Mendicants, and 
of the extensive footing which they had already usurped upon the domains of the 
old establishments. In another place (ann. 1-247; he describes them as the pope's 
headles and tax-gatherers. " Utpote fratres minores et predicatores (utcredimus 
invitus) jam suos fecit Dominus Papa, non sine ordinis eurum Iccsione et scandalo 
teloniarios et bedellos." These passages were written within half a century from 
the foun.latiou of the order. The eviilence of the great Franciscan, Buenaven- 
tura, and of Thierri d'Apulde, both writers of the same age, is also adduced by 
Fleury, to prove the early corruption of the Mendicants. Bzovius (ann. 1304, 
sec. vii.) publishes a long decree of Benedict XL, still further augmenting the 
privileges of the jMendicants, and exempting them from certain episcop.il 


so willingl)^; and to remark, that through the abandonment of 
every possession, they possessed everything, and were more 
opvdent in their poverty than the most opulent*. . . Such 
reflections were obvious to tlie most ilhterate ; and they 
gradually diminished a popularity which was ill compensated 
by riches. Howbeit, amid tlie decline in their reputation and 
the degeneracy of their principles, from the one grand rule of 
their ecclesiastical policy they never deviated — they persevered, 
without any important interruption, in their faithful ministry 
to the Vatican. But from the time that they parted with their 
original characteristics, their agency became less useful; and 
the extravagance with which they sometimes exalted the pre- 
tensions of the see, began, in later ages, to excite some disgust 
among its more moderate and reasonable supporters. 

Section VI. 

The EstabUshment of Nuns. 

That there existed, even in the Antenicene Church, virgins, 
who made profession of religious chastity, and dedicated tliem- 
selves to the service of Christ, is clear from the wi'itino-s of 
Tertullian, Cyprian, and Eusebiusf. But there is no sufficient 
reason to believe that they were formed into societies ; still less 
that they constituted any order or congregation. They exer- 

* Pietr, (lelle Vigne (i. Epist. 37). Fleuiy, lib. Ixxxii., sec. 7. The Capu- 
cines, a branch of ix-formed Franciscans, did not arise till the beginning of the 
sixteenth century. Their progress, which was contemporary with that of the 
Lutherans and the Jesuits, is also described as extremely rapid. 

■)■ Vit. Constant, lib. iv., Tertullian, lib. ad Uxorem. Cyprian (lib. i. epist. xi. 
ad Pumponiunum, De Virginibus) reproaches in very severe language certain 
consecrated virgins, who had fallen under the suspicion of incontinence, — " Quid 
Christus Douiinus et Judex noster, cum, virginem suam sibi dicatani et sanctitali 
suae destinatam jacere cum altero cernit, quam indignatur et irascitur !" Again : 
" Quod si in fide se Chrisfo dedicaverunt pudice et caste sine idla fabula perse- 
verent. . . Si autem perseverare iiolunt vel non possunt, melius est nubant, 
quam in ignem delidis suis cadant." Again, (lib. v. epist. viii.) he speaks of 
" Membra Christo dicata et in aetcrnum contineiitiae honorem pudica virtnfe de- 
vota." See also his "Tractatus de Uisciplina et Huliitu Virginum." These 
passages show, at the same time, that there were in that ago virgins dedicated 
to religion, and they were not bound by any irrevocable vow. 


,cised individually their self-imposed duties and devotions ; and 
found their practice to be consistent, like the Ascetee, among 
whom they may properly be classed, with the ordinary occupa- 
tions of society. 

The origin of Communities of female recluses w^as probably 
coeval with that of monasteries, and the produce of the same 
soil. The glory of the institution is commonly ascribed to St. 
Syncletica, the descendant of a Macedonian family settled in 
Alexandria, and the contemporary of St. Anthony. It is at 
least certain, that many such establishments were founded in 
Egypt before the middle of the fourth century ; and that they 
were propagated throughout Syria, Pontus, and Greece, by the 
same means and at the same time with those of the Holy 
Brothers, though not, as it would seem, in the same abundance. 
It appears, however, that they gradually penetrated into every 
province where the name of Christ was known ; they were found 
among the Armenians, Mingrelians, Georgians, Meronites, and 
others ; and finally formed an important and not incongruous 
appendage to the Oriental Church. 

A noble Roman lady, named Marcella, is celebrated as the 
instrument chosen by Providence to introduce the pious insti- 
tution into the West. In emulation of the models of Egypt, 
she assembled several virgins and widows in a community con- 
secrated to holy pin-poses ; and her example found so many 
imitators, that the Fathers of the next generation, St. Am- 
brose*, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine, bear sufficient testimony 
to the prevalence of the institution in their time. It is true 
that, at least as late as the year 400, many devout virgins 
(Virgines Devota;) still preserved their domestic relations and 
adhered to the more secular practice of the Antenicene Church; 

* Lib. i. de Virginibiis ad Marcelliam. The testimony of St. Jerome, re- 
specting Marcella, has been ah-eady cited. St. Augustine (De Muribus 
EcclesiED, c. 33) says, in speaking of the monastic establishments both at Milan 
and Rome : — " Jejunia prorsus incredibilia, non in viris tantuin, bed etiam in 
fee minis ; quibus item, multis viduis et virginibus simul habitantibus et hina ac 
tela victum quairitantibus, praesunt singulse gravissimoe probatissimaeque nun tan- 
turn in institiiendis componendisque moribus, sed etiam instniendis mentibus pe- 
vitic et paratae.'' See iMarsham's U^ir-jXamv to Dugdule, and Ilospiuiauus de 
Uiig. Mouach., Ub. iii. c. xi., et seq. 


liiid it is } OFsiblc that. tl:ose devotees Avcrc r.cvcr Avholly extinct 
in any age. But the Associations for tlie same end gradually 
embraced n^ost of tlio^e with whom relifjious zeal was the leacl- 
ing motive; and their sanctity was recommended to popular 
reverence, as it ma^^ also have been exalted and fortified, by the 
tliscipline and the vow which restrained them. 

The rules, to which the convents of Nuns* were sul^ject, were 
formeel for the most part upon those which bound the monks. 
Like the monks, they livetl from common funels, and usetl a 
common dormitory, table, and wardrobe; the same religiou.s 
services exercised their piety ; habitual temperance and occa- 
sional fasting were enjoined with the same severity. Manual 
labour was no less rigidly enforced ; but instead of the agricul- 
tural toils imposed upon their " Brethren," to them were com- 
mitted the easier tasks of the needle or the distaff. By (hities 
so mmierous, by occupations admitting so great variety, they 
beguiled the tediousness of the day-j-, and the dullness of mo- 
nastic seclusion. 

* The words Nonnus, Nonna, are said to be of Egyptian origin. Tlie latter is 
used by St. Jerome, Epist. ad Eustocbium Virginem. Benedict of Nursia (Re- 
gid. 63) gives it the interpretation of paternal reverence, and ordains, that " Ju- 
niores monachi priores suos notinos vocent ; quod intelligitur paterna reverentia." 
The terms Monialis and Sanctimonialis are usually derived from Movsj. Ilospin. 
Orig. Monach , lib. i. c. i. 

f The two following passages from St. Jerome deserve to be cited, since they 
show as well what were the vanities, as what were the duties, of the earliest 
Nuns : — " Vestis tua nee sit satis munda, nee sordida, nuUaque diversitate nota- 
bilis ; ne ad te obviam prffitereiintium turlia consistat tt digito monstrcris. . . . 
Pku'es . . hoc ipso cupiunt placere quod placere contemnunt, et mirum in moduni 
laus', dum vitatur, appetitur . . . Ne cogitatio tacita subrepat, ut, quiain auratis 
vestibus placere desiisti, placere coneris in sordidis; et quando in conventum 
fratrum veneris vel sororum, humilis (al. homi) secleas ; scabello te causeris in- 
dignam : vocem ex industria, quasi coufectam jejuniis ; non tenuis, et deficientis 
nuituata gressum humeris innitaris alteriu*. Sinit quippe noniiiilUe exterminantes 
(extenuantes ?) facies, ut appareant hominibiis jejunantes ; quae sfatim ut aliquem 
viderint ingemiscunt, deniittiuit supercilium, et operta facie vix luium oculum 
liberant (al. librant) ad videndum. Vestis pulla, cingidum saccerun et sordidis 
manibus pedibusque ; venter solus, quia videri non potest, sestuat cibo. Alia3 
virili habitu, veste mutata, cridicscunt esse quod natfe sunt ; critiem amjmlant et 
im])udenter crigunt facies eunuchinas. Sunt quoe ciliciis vestiuntur et cucullis 
fabrefactis ; ut ad infantiam n (leant, imitantur noctuas et bubones. . Ilrec omnia 
aigumenta ^unt Diaboli.'' — IIirii)n.(]<"iiist. xviii.) ad Kus*och. Viigineni. Agr.in, 
(]'"pist, to Di^'Uieliias. De Siuianda \ iryinil.) " rrieier Psdmoruin el Oratioois 


It appears probable, as is warmly argued by Ilospiniau ■■% W of ^ 
that, in the very early ages, the virgins who were dedicated to 
relio-ions purposes could enter without any scandal into ihe 
state of marriage. But we should recollect that, at that time, 
the monastic condition, properly speaking, did not exist. Im- 
mediately after its institution, we find the authority of St. Basil 
loutUy declared against sucli a departure from the more perfect 
purity; that patriarch of monasticism does not liesitate to pro- 
no\ince the marriage of a luui to be incest, prostitution, and 
adultery (incestus, stupri scelus, et adulterkmi) ; find Ambrose 
and Augustine exacted the same sacred obedience to the irre- 
vocable vow. By the Council of Chalcedon, nuns who married 
were made liable, together with their husbands, to the sentence 
of excommunication ; yet in such manner, that penance might 
be imposed, if they reverently rccpiested it, and communion 
restored in consequence of that penance, after a long interval 
proportioned to trie offence. This canon was generally received 
in the West. But in the year 407, Innocent I. closed the out- 
let of penance, and left no loop-hole of forgiveness open to 
those who had violated their vow. Subsequent ages increased, 
rather than mitigated, this rigour ; and imprisonment, and tor- 
tures, and death, were finally held out as the punishments of 
monastic incontinence. The resource of penance was still re- 
served by Innocent f for inconstant novices — those who mar- 

onliiiein, qui tibl liora (oftia, sexta, noiia, cad vesperem, modia node, et luanc 
semper est exerceiulus, staUie qiiot horis Sanetam Scripturam ediscere debeas, 
quauto tempore lei,'cre, noa ad laborcm, sed ad delectationem ac instructioiiein 
aiiiuuB. Cuinipie h;BC fiiiieris spatiu . . . liabeto laiiam semper in manibus, vel 
stamiirs pollice fila deducito, vel ad torqueuda subtei:;miua in alveolis fusa vei- 
tantur ; aliarumipio neta aiit in gUibum coUige, aut tenenda (nenda ?) compone. 
Qiiaj texta sunt insjiice : qua? errata reprehende : quaj facieuda constltue. Si 
tantis op-.;rum varietatibus occnpata fueris, nunquara dies tibi loiij^i erunt." Simi- 
lar iustructions are delivered m Eiiist. 8f>, ad Eustochium Epitaph. Paulac.Matns. 
And St. Augustine (l)e Morib. Eccle.si;B. cap. 31) mentions that the garments ma- 
nufacturL'd by the umis were given to the monks in exchange for food. " Lani- 
ficio cor^ius exercent et susti'utant ; vestesi^ue ipsas fVatribns tradunt, ab iis inviceni 
qiu)d victui opus est resumentes." The Tonsure was not originally imposed, though 
it appears to h ive been an Egyptian custom. 
■""'" Lib. i'li. e. xii. 
f llospia. Orig. Monach. lib. ili. cult. 


lied, after liaviiig avowed the intention of chastity^ but without 
havingr Yet taken the veiL 
The Veil. The ceremony of consecration and the imposition of the veil 
was of origin earlier even than the time of St. Ambrose * ; and 
it appears that it might then be performed by a priest, no less 
than by a bishop. 7'he w^ords f pronounced on this occasion 
were prescribed by the Fourth Covuicil of Carthage ; but they 
varied, or were entirely changed, in subsequent times. The 
age at which the novice might be consecrated was equally- 
variable, and seems to have been left, at least in early times, to 
the discretion of the prelate. An age as advanced as sixty 
years, ajipears at first to have been usual; but St. Ambrose 
gives reasons for permitting the veil to be sooner assumed ; and 
the age of twenty-five was afterwards (generally, though by no 
means universally) established as the earliest at whicli the 
recluse was permitted to place the indelible seal upon her 

Benedic- 'j\y^ fjj.gt period, or, if we may so call it, the antiqidtij of Mo- 
tine IS mis. .^ j t/ 

nachism, ^vas terminated in the Western Church by the epoch 

of St. Benedict; and it is generally recorded, that while that 
hermit was inventing his new institution for the brothers of his 
obedience, his sister Scholastica was raising the standard ;|;, round 
which the holy virgins might collect with greater regularity 
and discipline. It would appear, however, that the rule of her 
disciples was rather given in restoration of the original obser- 
vance, than on any new principle of religious seclusion. The 
alternations of industry and prayer; abstinence, silence, obe- 
dience, chastity, vt'ere ordained, as in the primitive establish- 

* We must not however be inislcd by fho title of Tertullian's worl< (De Virp;i- 
nibns Velandis) to ascribe to that practice so high an antiquity. The object of 
tliat book is only to show, that all virf^ins, as well as matrons, ought, in their 
attendance on divine worship, to be veiled. It has no reference to any particular 
condition of life. 

+ They were tliese — " Aspice, filia, et intuere ; et obliviscere populum tuum 
et domum patris tui,ut concupiscat Rex decorem tuum." 

X Mabillon (Pref. Hist. Benedict.) asserts this Scholastica to have been tlie 
founder of regular nunneries in the West ; and calls her " Virginum Benedicti- 
narum Ducem, Magistram et Aritesignanam." 


mcnts ; and the first Benedictine nvins were in fact rather re- 
formed nuns of St. Basil, than a distinct order. . . Howbeit, 
they acquired reputation and flourished so rapidly, that in the 
pontificate of Gregory the Great, Rome contained (accord- 
ing to the assertion* of that pope) three thousand "hand- 
maids of God," (vVncillaj Dei,) who followed the Benedictine 
rule. And so boldly did they afterwards rise in rank and 
power, that about the year 813 it became necessary to repress 
the pretended right of the Abbesses to consecrate and ordain, 
and perform other sacerdotal functions j. 

The establishment of female recluses followed very closely Canon- 
the numerous diversities of the monastic scheme, and imitated '^'*^'^'** 
the names of the male institutions, where they could not adopt 
their practice or even their profession. An order of Canonesses- 
Kegular was founded, or at least presented with a rule, by the 
Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 813. And we read, in later 
times, of a community of noble young ladies, who were asso- 
ciated under a very easy discipline, and unrestrained by any 
vow of celibacy, under the title of Canonesses-Secular. But 
these last pretenders to religious seclusion were, on more 
than one occasion, discountenanced by the authorities of the 

An imitalion of the Military Orders might, at first sio-ht. Nuns of 
seem still more repugnant to the feelings and duties of holy ^^'[' ^°^^''' 
virgins. But, in respect at least to the oldest of those orders, it 
was in fact far otherwise. That community originated (as has 
already been mentioned) in an office of gratuitous humanity ; 
— to entertain the stranger, and to tend the sick, were the 
earliest offices of the Knight of the Hospital. By him, indeed, 
those humbler tasks may afterwards have been forgotten in the 
character of the soldier of the Cross; but the "Nuns of the 
Hospital J; " adhered to the earliest and the noblest object of 

* Lib. vi. Epist. xxiii. See Hospinian,Oiig'. Monach. lib. iv. c. xvi. The cere- 
mony of consecration, by the bishop, is here given at great length. 

f At the Council of Beconfeld in Kent, abbesses subscribed their signatures, 
no less than Abbots and other Ecclesiastics. This is recorded to have been the 
first instance of such assumption of equality. 

I A long account of these " Keligieuses Ilospitalieres," together with tlie for- 
malities of reception into the order, may be found in the Hist, des Ordres Monas- 

St. Duin 


the institution. Their foundation was contemporary with that 
of the Chevahers ; and in after times they extended their 
establishments, and perhaps their charities, into every part 
of Europe. 

The calamities of the Crusades were followed and alleviated 
by another institution, in which charitable females immediately 
took a share, and of wdiich the purpose was not less W'orthy of 
its religious profession. A multitude of Christian captives had 
been thrown by the vicissitudes of war into the power of the 
Saracens; and for their redemption, the order of the " Nuns of 
the Holy Trinity" was established very early in the thirteenth 
century. It survived the occasion which gave it birth, and 
flourished widely, under the patronage of certain pious prin- 
cesses*, especially in Spain. 
Nans of The foundation of several nunneries divided with his other 

ecclesiastical duties the busy zeal of St. Dominic. And though 
we cannot discover that the essential characteristics of his order, 
preaching and mendicity, were in practice connnvmicated to the 
holy sisters who bore his name, yet the name was sufficient to 
procure for them wealth and popularity; and they probably 
were not surpassed in either of those respects by any other 
order-j-. St. Catharine of Sienna, a vehement devotee, pro- 
fessed especially to reverence the virtues and imitate the disci- 
pline of St. Dominic ; and she may properly be accounted 
among his most genuine disciples, since she interposed to 
smooth the political difficulties of her country, and to influence, 
by her reason and avithority, the most momentous concerns of 

tiques, truis. paitie, chap. xiv. We may remark that their " Hahits de Ceremoiiie 
de Choeur," indicate wealth, if not vanity. The " Religieuse Chevaliere de TOrdro 
de St. Jaques de I'Kpee" was a Spanish invention of a much later age. This 
order seems to have originated at Sahimanca. 

* Hist. Ordres Monast. jiartie II. chap. xlix. 

f Tlie historian '• Des Ordres Monastiques" asserts, that when he wrote (ahout 
1715), there were in Italy more than one hundred and thirty nunneries of that 
order, ahout forty-five in France, fifteen in Portugal, and forty in Germany, in 
spite of the devastations of the heretics. Tl^e order which bears the name of St. 
Catherine was i)robably not founded by herself (though Hospinian asserts other- 
wise), and it is variously assigned to the year 1372 — or N55 — a diversity which 
some attempt to reconcile. We shall have occasion to make further mention of 
this Celebrated devotee in a following chapitr. 


the Church. Among the female Mendicants, the latest insti- 
tulions was that of the Carmelites. They appear to have been 
foinided about 1452, by virtue of a bull of Nicholas V. ; and 
nearly a century afterwards, they were reformed by the cele- 
brated St. Theresa, a native of Castille. 

We shall not trace the endless catalogue, nor enumerate the 
various names, under which the same or very similar institu- 
tions perpetually re-appeared. Among those of somewhat 
earlier times, that of St. Brigitla, a Princess of Sweden, is 
most renowned. It was an establishment fur the reception of 
both sexes — though separated in residence — under the super- 
intendence of an Abbess; and its Rule ''= was confirmed by 
Urban V. about the year 13G0. Though manual labour was 
strictly enjoined, the royal hand which founded the conmiunity 
appears, at the same time, to have blessed it with ample en- 
dowments. Of the more modern orders, there is also one 1"l»e Ursu- 
which may seem to require our notice — that of the Ursulines. ^""^^* 
Its origin is ascribedf to Angela di Brescia, about the year 
1537, though the saint from whom it received its name, Ursula 
Benincasa, a native of Naples, was born ten years afterwards. 
Its character was peculiar, and recalls our attention to the 
primitive form of ascetic devotion. The duties of those holy 
sisters were the purest within the circle of human benevolence 
— to minister to the sick, to relieve the poor, to console the 
miserable, to pray with the penitent. These charitable offices 
they undertook to execute without the bond of any community, 
without the obligation of any monastic vow, Avithout any sepa- 
ration from society, any renouncement of their domestic duties 
and virtues. And so admirably were those offices, in millions 
of instances, performed, that, had all other female orders been 
really as useless and as vicious, as they are sometimes falsely 
described to be, the virtues of the Ursulines had alone been 
sufficient to redeem the monastic name. 

* This Rule occupies etrrhi folio pap;es in Hospinian, lib. vi. cap. ,39. It pro- 
fussed to proceed from the immediate dictation of Christ. 

t Hist, des Ordres Moiiast. Suite de la trois. partie, chap. xiv. ct xv. Tlie 
historian enumerates and describes thirteen congregations of Ursulines, established 
for the most part in Trance and iu Italy. 

VOL. II. « 


But it is very far from true that these other orders were 
either commonly dissolute or generally useless. Occasional 
scandals have engendered universal calumnies. To recite the 
mere names* of those most lately founded is sufficient to show 
that their professed objects were almost always excellent ; and 
it would be as injurious to human nature, as it is contrary to 
historical evidence, to suppose that those objects were instantly 
abandoned, and made merely a cover for the opposite vices. 
In the more secular institutions of the other sex there was 
greater space for the operation of evil passions. In those pol- 
luted cloisters, the seeds of avarice were commonly nourished 
by the practice of profitable deceptions, and the prospect of 
opulent benefices. The holiest contemplations were interrupted 
by the voice of ambition inviting the most austere recluse to 
dignity and power — to abbacies, to prelacies ; to the councils 
of kings, to that predominant apostolical eminence, whence 
kings and their councils were insulted and overthrown. But 
into the cell of the female devotee those passions at least can 
seldom have intruded, because they had no object theref. 
Without insisting upon any natural predisposition to piety and 

* Such were the Religieuses Hospitalieres de la Charite de Noire Dame, De 
Notre Dame du Refuge, De N. D. de la Misericoide, &c. Orphan asylums were 
numerous, as "the Congregations of St. Joseph." Many were founded for the 
maintenance and education of poor girls ; many for the sick ; many for the peni- 
tent. In a description of the plague, in 1347, Fleury (Hist. Eccles. liv. xcv. s. 
45) bears the following accidental testimony to female charity : — "Plusieurs Pre- 
tres timides abandonnoient leurs troupeaux et en laissoient les soins a des Reli- 
gieux plus hardis. Les Religieuses servoient les malades sans crainte, avec leur 
charite et leur hnmanite ordinaire. Plusieurs entre elles moururent, mais on les 
renonvelloit souveut.'' 

f Some remarks have been suggested to us on this passage, which we recom- 
mend to the reader's consideration — premihing, however, that the position in the 
text only affirms the moral superiority of nuns to monks, on the ground that some 
of the passions on which the habits of the latter were formed had no object to 
rouse them in the former. 

I cannot help thinking (says an ingenious friend) that the argument implied in 
the words " passions which had no object there," is fallacious. Many passions, if 
not all, will Ji/id objects, natural or unnatural. The danger of wandering, in the 
absence of express revelation, from that knowledge of the will of God, which may 
be collected from induction, is as pernicious to morals, as the n priori reasoning is 
to science. An institution preventing women from becoming wives and mothers 
was immoral (considering the natural evidence of their propensities) in the same 
sense in which the opposition to the philosophy of Galileo was imreasonablCi 


benevolence^ we may be well assured that the precincts of the 
convent were very fruitful in the exercise of both ; and what- 
soever judgment we may finally form respecting the character 
of that influence, which monachism has exercised through so 
many ages on so many forms of society, we may pronounce 
without hesitation the general purity and usefulness of the 
Female Orders. 

Voltaire, in his Chapter on the Religious Orders, after eulo- 
gizing the charities of the female institutions in the noblest 
spirit of philanthropy, has remarked that " those who have 
separated themselves from the Church of Rome have but faintly 
imitated that generous virtue." The taunt is undeserved. We 
did not lay aside our charities, when we dispensed with our 
vows ; we did not languish in the practice, when we rejected 
the profession ; the religious motive acts not less powerfully, 
because the name is less commonly put forward; and in as far 
at least as the tender sex is concerned, there is not a district in 
our cities, nor a village in our provinces, which does not profit 
by the unpretending, luiavowed, enlightened benevolence of 
Protestant Ursulines. 

We shall now conclude a chapter — already disproportionate 
to the dimensions of this work, but far too contracted for the 
immensity of the subject — by a few obvious and almost neces- 
sary observations. 

Without recurring to the less definite shape which monachism General 
assumed in the West diu-ing the foiu'th and fifth ages, we may tious. 
observe, that the three distinctive characters which it afterwards 
adopted were well suited to the several periods in which they 
successively rose and flourished. First in origin were the 
Regular Benedictine* Coenobites ; and they reigned without 
any rivals over the consciences of the faithful for above six cen- 
tvu'ies. — Those were centuries of the deepest ignorance and 
superstition which the history of Europe exhibits. That Order 
imitated the Oriental enthusiasm in which the whole system 

* We do not here intend to disiinguish between monks and canons, because 
both were Coenobites, and possessed the same general characteristics, widely re- 
moved from the principles both of the ]Military and the Mendicant Oiders — still 
less between the Original and Reformed Benedictints. 


originated ; it likewise inculcated moral severity, and exercised, 
in a greater or less degree, both useful industry and virtuous 
benevolence. As it thus grew in reputation and temporal 
grandeur, it extended and multiplied its demands upon human 
credidity. The most extravagant spiritual claims were recom- 
mended by a great parade, and by some reality, of devotion. 
Spacious and imposing edifices, whence the chaunt of holy 
voices was heard unceasingly to proceed in solemn prayer, by 
night and by day — some practice of charitable offices — great 
superiority in manner and education — tlie possession, almost 
exclusive, of the learning of the age — these advantages pre- 
pared an uninstructed people to receive with blindness any form 
of superstition, which their ghostly directors might think pro- 
per to impose on them, and gave efficacy to deception and im- 
posture. And thus it proved, that, when superstition had once 
taken root in the soil of ignorance, it was nourished through 
so many ages by a much less proportion of moral and religious 
excellence, and scarcely iBore of knowledge, than had been 
necessary to plant it there. The most inactive among the 
forms of monachism was found sufficient to hold the human 
mind, as long as it was uninformed and unexcited, in servile 

I'he next which rose were the Military Orders, — and of these 
it is sufficient to remark, that they formed no regular part of 
the Church system, but were the casual consequence of the 
Crusades. They were instituted to assail the external enemies 
of the faith ; they were continued to repel their invasions, and 
defend the outworks of Christendom ; but they did not very 
lono- survive the circumstances which created and sustained 
them. Indeed, the profession of arms in the name of Christ 
was so palpable a mockery of the true spirit of his religion, 
that its permanence was scarcely consistent with the funda- 
mental principles of Christian society. An extraordinary 
occurrence could alone have given it existence, but it could not 
possibly give it perpetuity. 

As corruption increased within the Church, and ignorance 
diminished without it, heresy began to spread widely, and the 
voice of reason found many listeners. And then it was that a 


band of active and intelligent emissaries was required for the 
maintenance of the established ecclesiastical system. For this 
purpose the talents of the Dominicans were more especially 
serviceable. But since a large measure of superstition still 
infected the lower orders, and none were wholly free from it, 
the abstinent and rafrgred devotion of the Franciscans was also 
not withoiit its use, in exciting veneration towards themselves, 
and towards the Church, whose missionaries they were. Be- 
sides, the original Mendicants denounced, with courage and 
vehemence, the vices and the violences of the great. Their close 
connexion with the papal or Guelphic interests placed them 
in opposition to the imperial domination, and thus made them, 
in their political mediations, the advocates of liberal and 
popular principles. But, above all, they were careful to pro- 
vide themselves with that powerful weapon, which, from the 
days of St. Augustine to those of the Crusades, had entirely 
rested, and which had been very partially employed afterwards. 
True eloquence, indeed, is not commonly attainable; but they 
possessed and perpetually exercised that fluency of passionate 
declamation, which produced on the people all the effects of 
eloquence. It had even some advantages over the more chas- 
tised effusions of antiquity*. It derived its authority from the 
oracles of God ; the moral obligations which it urged were 
more directly subservient to human happiness ; and its par- 
ticular application in the mouth of the Mendicants was very 
commonly to a benevolent object, — to negotiate treaties, to 
reconcile party animosities, to stay the calamities of public or 
private warfare. Accordingly, the records of the thirteenth 
and following centuries abound with proofs of its efficacy and 
its influence in political, no less than in ecclesiastical, trans- 
actions. It has moreover been mentioned, that the Mendicants 
availed themselves with great address of the peculiar learningf 

* A comparison in favour of the Mendicants is ingeniously drawn by Denina, 
lib. xii., cap. vi. 

f Gianuone even asserts, that the merit to which the Mendicants were chiefly 
indebted fur the favour of the popes, was their success in substituting the scho- 
lastic for the dogmatic theology, and the study of antiquity and history, so as to 
occupy the minds of the learned with abstract and useless questions and disputes 
and so many cunliastt and ruij(j\,i^ that no one not cuuversant with that art could 


of that ago, and acquiretl uncommon dexterity in the perversion 
of reason. Conversant, more than any others, with the meta- 
physical subtilties of the schools, they well knew how, at the 
same time, to indulge the sophistical and the superstitious spirit 
of the age, and, by indulging, to nourish both. Thus they 
combined, for the defence of papacy, the abuse of reason with 
the abuse of religion ; and their genius and their industry, by 
pandering to the existing prejudices, prolonged the servitude 
and degradation of the human mind. 

A Roman Catholic writer has observed, with a demonstration 
of pious gratitude, that the same God who raised up St. Atha- 
nasius against the Arians, and St. Augustine against the 
Pelagians, and St. Dominic and St. Francis against the Albi- 
genses, deigned, in a later and still more perilous age, to call 
forth the spirit of Loyola against the Lutheran and Calvinistic 
apostates. And it may be, that at the moment when Luther 
was writing his book against monastic vows, the Spaniard was 
composing his " Spiritual Exercises " for the restoration of 
other orders and the establishment of his own. It is only ne- 
cessary for us to observe, that the defensive system of the Roman 
Church was completed by the institution of the Jesuits, though 
somewhat too late for its perfect preservation. And we may 
add, in pursuance of our other observations, that that order 
was as justly accommodated to the increasing intelligence of 
the sixteenth century, as were the Benedictines to the dark- 
ness of absolute ignorance, and the Mendicants to the twilight 
of reason. But each, in their turn of pernicious operation, 
though they enjoyed their appointed range and season of in- 
fluence, were too feeble to prevent the revival, to arrest the 
growth, or to crush the maturity of truth and religious know- 
Successive If we regard the monastic system in another point of view, 
ations of ^^'^ shall perceive it to consist in a continual succession of re- 

themonas- formations. The foundation of every institution was laid, as it 

tic system. "^ 

confront thum wltli any hope of success. It was iniU'cd by such a method of 
reasoning that the pretensions of Rome were best defeudid; and the Mendicants 
were hound to defend Ihem, since all their exemptions, and much of their pro- 
perty, flowed d'recthj from Rome ; for the pope ivA uncommonly giive them con- 
vents belonging to other Orders. 


rose out of the corruption of its predecessor, in poverty, in the 
most ritrid morality, in the duties of religion, of education, of 
charity. The practice first, and next the show, of these 
qualities, led, in every instance, to wealth; and wealth was 
surely followed, first, by the relaxation of disciphne — next, by 
the contempt of decency. Then followed the necessity of 
reform ; and the same system was regenerated under another, 
or perhaps under the same name, and passed through the same 
deteriorating process to a second corruption. Again, — the 
Reformed Order was re-reformed and re-regenerated, and again 
it fell into decay and dissolution. The history of the monastic 
orders, when pursued into the details of the several establish- 
ments, presents to us an unvarying picture of vigour, prosperity, 
dissension, followed by new statutes, and a stricter rule. A 
system, of which the foundations were not placed either in 
Scripture or in reason, was necessarily liable to perpetual 
change; nor was it capable of any other condition of existence, 
than one of continual decay and reproduction. 

If we reflect for an instant on the outUnes of Western Mona- 
chism, we observe, that the Rule of Benedict of Nursia had 
already fallen into great degradation, when it was revived by 
Benedict of Aniane. The system then flourished with extra- 
ordinary vigour ; but for so short a period, that when, about 
the year 900, the Reformed Order of Cluni was established, its 
fovmders deserved the glory of restoring the ancient discipline ; 
and that event is justly considered as marking an important 
epoch in monastic history. Again, within two other centuries, 
we observe the younger and more rigid Cistertiaris censuring 
the secular pride and luxurious relaxation of their rivals. In 
the next age, it was proposed to heal the disorders, or at least 
to supply the deficiencies, of the old system, by the super- 
addition of the Mendicants, models of primitive and apostoHcal 
austerity *. But even the very slight notice which we have 

* This was, indeed, to seek safety in the opposite extreme, and by the enltre 
renunciation of all temporalities to exceed the severity of St. Benedict ; but the 
disease at tluit time demanded a violent remedy. The choice fur such an Order 
lay between bodily labour and mendicity — the latter was preferred, as being, in 
name, more humiliatinfr, and also more consistent with intellectua! attainments, 
and the grand spiritual uliicesof instructing the vulgar, conveiting heretics, <SiC. 


been able to bestow on the history of the Franciscans has 
proved how very early they fell into disorders, succeeded, 
though not repaired, by reformation. Even the institution of 
St. Dominic was very far from securing the purity of his 
children ; indeed, it was at no distant period from their foun- 
dation that a part of them assumed the distinctive appellation 
of Reformed Dominicans. (Dominicani Riformati.) By this 
process of continual change and restoration, the monastic 
system maintained an influence, varying extremely in degree, 
but never wholly suspended, over the nations of the West for 
eleven hundred years. That it did so may well surprise us, if 
we consider only the principles of its first foundation, and the 
monstrous and avowed abuses which at various periods infected 
it. But on the other hand, it was sustained by an infusion of 
much real piety and of many unquestioned virtues; and it was 
prolonged from time to time by a series of judicious and season- 
able alterations, such as are able to give permanence even to a 
feeble and mischievous establishment, and without which there 
is no security even for the wisest and the most excellent. 

Still this last cause had alone been insufficient. R is not 
possible, that any policy of Church government could have 
upheld the system so long and so triumphantly, if it had not 
possessed something not only plausible in its principle, and 
respectable in its profession, but also practical and profitable 
in its influence on society. R would be ungrateful and unjust 
to disparage the benefits which it has really conferred on 
former ages, and of which the consequences may have reached 
oiu- own. 
Ativan- We niay comprehend all the useful merits which have ever 

laj^es pro- , ^ • t n 

duced by uecn claimed for monachism, with any shadow of reason, under 

monachism four heads. (1.) The earliest monks lived by the labour of 

their hands; and the large tracts of waste land with which 

their houses were endowed, were brought into cultivation by 

their personal exertions. Even in the eighth and ninth cen- 

Indiistry of ^"^*^^^^ '^^'^^^ ^^^Y ^^came for the most part clerks, their estates 

its early continued to bear marks of more careful superintendence ; their 

Iiiofussors. rill. i 

serts and dependents were more numerous and more prosperous; 
cities g;rew up under their economy ; provinces were fertilized^ 


forests and marshes were peopled under their administration. 
Nor is there any reason to question, what is generally ad- 
mitted, that the vassals of the monasteries were raised at least 
some degrees nearer to domestic comfort and civilization, than 
those of the adjacent baronies. 

(2.) The earliest monasteries were very commonly conse- Tliuir situ- 

crated to the discharge of important moral and social, as well '^ ""' '" [f" 

^ '■ , , spect to the 

as religious duties. That of hospitality, or the entertainment lower 
of travellers and pilgrims, was certainly practised with great 
fidelity ; and in ages and countries in which inns and caravan- 
seras * were yet miknown, and even the personal safety of the 
stranger was ill secured by law, it was usefully and benevo- 
lently instituted that his reception and protection should, in 
some manner, be associated with the offices of rcliofion. I'hc 
worldly authority of religion is never more profitably employed 
than in supplying the defects of police, of government, and 
civilization. And thus it proved, that during the five or six 
centuries of confusion and barbarism, which followed the sub- 
version of the Western empire, the monastic system became a 
powerful instrument in correcting the vices of society and alle- 
viating their pressure on the lower orders. 

The earliest donations with which the Church was enriched, 
were for the most part the genuine unconditional fruits of 
superstition. But in somewhat later times, when it was dis- 
covered that the property of the Church was liable not only to 
spoliation by laymen, but to abuse by churchmen, the profu- 
sion of the pious admitted the admixtiu'e of human motives, 
and was less than formerly dii'ected to the support of the clergy, 
more to that of the poor and miserable. Accordingly, among 
the ecclesiastical records of the eighth and ninth centuries, no 
less than of those which followed, we find many monuments |, 

* Muratori shows that the use of inns, as places of recep/ion for strangers, was 
as late as the eleventh or twelfth century. He throws great light on the nature 
of the earliest Christian establishments for that purpose, in Dissertations 37 
and r)6. 

f Among those produced by Bluratori arc some bearing the dates 718, 721, 
757, 7r)9, 764, 790, 812, 825, 847, &c. A charter given to the mimks of Modena, 
in 990, contains these words : — " Et domum Ilospitalem habeaut, ubi tccniidinn 
?7iorcm hospites de deciniis laborum suorum recipiunt.'' Suniu assert, that 


which prove the general application of a part (and in some 
few cases the greater part) of the revenues of certain monas- 
teries to the use of the sick, the poor, and the traveller. A 
particular building* appropriated to these purposes was at- 
tached to many monasteries, and was an essential part of the 
establishment. Thus these religious institutions became the 
channel through which the benevolence of the wealthy was 
communicated to the lower classes. And though the charity 
which seemed to acquire sanctity by passing through that 
medium may sometimes have been diminished or perverted, 
there can be no doubt that much of it reached its destination, 
even in the worst ages of the Church. In seasons of general 
strife and anarchy, the contributions of the pious found their 
best hope of security and usefulness in monastic hands ; and if 
the sacred deposit was sometimes violated by the treacherous 
avarice of those to whom it was coniided, a much greater por- 
tion was vmquestionably applied to its intended purpose, the 
alleviation of disease and misery. 

In the Eastern Church, the introduction of every variety-}- of 
charitable establishment immediately followed the reception 
of the Gospel. It was the work of Christian principles and of 
Christian men, and was closely, though not inseparably, con- 
nected with the monastic institution. Two of the greatest 
patrons of that system, St. Basil and St. Chrysostom, were 

before the middle of the eighth century, there was no monastery in the West 
which had nut an hospital attached to it; and we have remarked that in later 
ages, that was, in at least one instance, the very foundation on which a new order 
was established. We might add, that such was the origin of the Ordre du Saint 
Esjirit at Montpelier ; and we observe that in 1198, Innocent III. rebuilt an 
hospital, which had been founded at Rome, in 715, by a Saxon king for the use 
of Saxon pilgrims. 

* Some of these, called Matriculae, seem to have corresponded very nearly 
with our pour-houses. The Domus Hospitalis was nearly synonymous: a church 
was usually founded with them. We have an instance of one of these built by 
Ansaldus at Lucca, in 784, on the condition " that every week, twelve poor and 
strangers should be admitted to the table of the Church.'' There are abundant 
records of such establishments; but some of them were, in process of time, 
seized and appropriated by the lay-roctor. See Jluratori, Dissert. 37. 

t Tliis is proved by the mere use of the terms XenudoL-hia, Gerontocomia, 
Nosocumia, Orphanotrophia, Brepbotrophia, rtocl.otropbia, so familiar to the 
writers of those ages. 


likewise the founders of hospitals (Nosocomia): places of en- 
tertainment for strangers (Xeuodochia) were early attached to 
several churches, and deacons appointed to discharge their 
duties. But the monasteries of the East were at no period 
so enriched by charitable deposits, as those of the Latin 
Church : for the monks in those countries never obtained influ- 
ence so despotic over a more enlightened people ; and a more 
settled form of civil government secured the wealthy against 
the rapine to which they were continually liable under the 
feudal anarchy. 

But it was not merely in respect to their temporal necessities 
that the people, and especially the lower orders, were benefited 
by those establishments. Many blessings were at the same 
time conferred by their religious character; many afflictions 
were consoled, many hopes suggested, many sins prevented, 
by the exertions of pious monks. Those brothers, though 
exalted as a community, were not indi\ idually removed above 
the condition of the peasants, and they had commonly the 
same origin ; so that the intercourse was close and searching, 
and its advantages frequently reciprocal. There are many 
spiritual wounds, which are most effectually probed and healed 
by a pastor, whose condition, whose associations and under- 
standing, are not much elevated above those of the penitent. 
A more perfect confidence, a deeper sympathy, is then excited, 
than when the parties are widely separated in rank or intellect. 
This advantage the monks in general possessed over the secular 
clergy in the Roman Church ; and to this we may partly at- 
tribute the superiority of their influence. That this influence 
was often abused, we know too well ; nor can there be any 
doubt that the intercourse which led to it has been sometimes 
injurious. But during the better ages of monachism, it is un- 
questionable that the blessings of that religious connexion 
between the monks and the poor were greatly predominant. 

It is the boast of St. Bernard that those who had embraced 
the monastic condition lived with greater purity than other 
men ; that they fell less frequently and rose more quickly ; 
that they walked with greater prudence ; were more constantly 
refreshed with the spiritual dew of heaven ; rested with less 


clanger; died with greater hope. And far as the monastic 
practice has generally fallen below its profession, we doubt not 
that in the earlier ages, and especially in the infancy of their 
several institutions, their inmates surpassed all other classes of 
society, not excepting the secular clergy, in the exercise of 
moral and religious offices. Devoted to the relief of the poor 
and the service of the sick and the stranger, they were so 
placed, that even the imperfect discharge of their charitable 
duties conferred no scanty benefits on an uncivilized generation. 
Among the millions who have entered religious houses, under 
the most solemn vows of virtue and piety, there must have 
been multitudes whose mere innocence made at least some 
amends to society for their seclusion from its cares and tempt- 
ations; there were certainly many, whose acquirements and 
indisputable excellence threw out a light and example to their 
contemporaries ; and some there were, and not a few, whose 
eminent qualities were directed, as steadily as the spirit of their 
age allowed them, to the honour and improvement of their 
Church — to alleviate private affliction and mitigate the general 
barbarism . 
Supi'ilnten- (3.) From the earliest period, in the Eastern as well as in 
education. ^^^^ Roman Church, the duties of education were entrusted to 
the monks. In process of time they became, in the latter 
Church, nearly confined to them, and they continued so at 
least as late as the eleventh century. Monastic schools were 
established by St. Benedict ; they were inseparably attached 
to his institutions, and spread, with the progress of his order, 
over the kingdoms of the West ; and they were open to chil- 
dren of the earliest age*. It would seem that, in the eighth 

* This was peculiar to the order of St. Benedict. Hist. Litt. de la Franco, 
Siecle xii , p. 11. See also JMabillon, Etudes Mouastiques, p. 1, ch. xi. The 
same writer (ch. xv.) enumerates several amons^ the early Christian heroes, — 
Gregory Nazianzen, Chrysostom, Epiphauius, Jerome, &c. — who studied for a 
greater or less time in monasteries. St. Basil, in the first instance, estahlished a 
school in his monastery for the reading of holy (as distinguished from profane) 
history, and appointed rewards for superior merit, " Nuncjuam de mami et 
oculis recedat liber,'' says St. Jerome; and it is from the same monastic student 
that we have received that much contemned precept, '' no ad scribendum cito 
prosiiias. Multo tempore prius clisce (juod doceas." 


century, the cathedral or episcopal academies* were first esta- 
blished; and these afterwards became the most distinguished 
lor the rank and eminence of their scholars. They were con- 
ducted, under the superintendence of the bishop, by the canons 
of the cathedral. And here we need only repeat a former ob- 
servation, that if the office of instruction was confined to the 
clercjy, so also were its benefits, for many ages, to those in- 
tended for the ministry. So that the advantages which those 
establishments really conferred on tlie body of society were 
neither immediate nor certain; while the power of the clergy, 
beino- miduly exaggerated by the exclusive possession of learn- 
ing, was thereby placed upon a principle absolutely at variance 
wilii the highest earthly interests of man. 

(4.) This subiect naturally leads us to our last consideration Pi-oscrva 
\ , , PI,- 11 1 tion of 

-^— the extent and character ot the literature, wlietner sacred or j\iss. 

profane, which was protected and nourished in the monastic 
establishments. On the first matter, Roman Catholic writers 
do not hesitate to ascribe the very preservation of the pure 
doctrine of the Church to the refuge which it found within 
those fortresses — tliough it may seem doubtful whether that 
doctrine might not have been preserved with equal purity 
through ages too ignorant for controversy or cavil, by the 
fidelity of the secular clergy. At any rate, this praise can 
scarcely be granted to the monks without some qualification. 
For if it be true that, during the Arian controversy, they were 
the most zealous defenders of the Nicene faith, it is not less 
certain that the principles of Origen and the mysticalf inter- 
pretation of Scripture gained great footing among them, and 
that not merely in the East; nor should the support whicli 
thev persevered in aflfording to the cause of the images during 
that long and angry controversy, be forgotten in any estimate 
which we may endeavour to form of their pretensions to doc- 
trinal or ecclesiastical purity. It is indeed unquestionable 

* Sol' Mubh., vol. ii., p. 55. 

-f- This is said to have been, ia the first instance, occasioned hj' the substitu- 
tion of mental prayer for manual labour. From the excesses of mysticism pro- 
Ci'eiled the errors of the Beghards and liet^uhies, and other entliusias(s of tha 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries: they strove after absolute perfection, and 
they fell into fanaticism. 


that the externals of religion, so valuable to the Latin Church, 
its offices,* and ceremonies, were enriched and dignified by the 
monks and canons. They acquired an imposing splendour 
from the number enwaored in their performance and the re- 
sources of their several communities. But passing over these 
equivocal merits, we may mention one great and truly incalcu- 
lable service which those establishments conferred on future 
ages, though they neglected to derive much advantage from it 
themselves. They preserved, through dangerous and turbulent 
periods, ancient copies of the inspired writings, and of the most 
valuable commentaries made on them in the earliest times. 
And those were among the most profitable moments of mo- 
nastic leisure, which were employed in multiplying the sacred 
manuscripts f. 

Though religious houses were intended to be the depositaries 
of virtue and piety J;, not of letters, yet letters were, to a cer- 
tain extent, encouraged there, as subsidiary to the grand object 
of the institution. It is shown, indeed, by the learned author § 
of the " Monastic Studies," that the earliest monks entirely 

* Fleury, Discours, depuis 800... 1100. Muratori, Dissertat. 56. The monks 
gained great advantages by the introduction of chaunts into the service; and 
this was imitated, in the ninth century, by the cathedral clergy. Some rivalry 
ensued between these ecclesiastics, and thus, " ccepit frequentius agi et aiigustius 
procedere divina Res." Some " modulation of prayers and praises'' they had 
indeed used from the earliest ages, but not with that plenitude and majesty, 
which the chorus of monks and canons afterwards introduced. The organ ap- 
pears to have come into use about the year 826. 

f The great increase of MSS. during Ihe eleventh century is to be ascribed to 
this monastic leisure, and could scarcely be effected otherwise. And this was 
the first step, after the devastation of the four preceding ages, towards the 
revival of ancient, and the creation of modem, learning. In the twelfth age we 
find St. Bernard inculcating the duties of writing and copying as the best sub- 
stitute for labour, 

+ "The words of St. Ptter, ' We have left all to follow Thee,' are those," as 
St. Bernard observed, •'■'which have founded cloisters and peopled deserts." 

!5Iabilloa (Etudes 3Ionastiques, p. 1) proves the prevalence of literary in- 
dustry, in the monastic life, by direct historical evidence ; by the multitude of 
learned ecclesiastics who emerged from them; by their libraries; by express re- 
ference to the rule of St. Benedict. To the neglect of study he attributes the 
decline of the several Orders, and observes, that reform was commonly attended 
by its restoration ; that academies or colleges were invariably connected with tl.e 
Benedictine establishments ; and that both popes and councils perpetually incul- 
cated the duty of studj-. 


renounced profane literature, and confined their diligence to 
theological works and contemplations: the authority and ex- 
ample of St. Jerome confirmed that preference. But in later 
times, and especially \vhen the practice of manual labour fell 
into disuse, the hmits of their studious industry were enlarged, 
and thev gradually embraced some department of profane 
science, as well as of classical lore. The compilation of De- 
cretals led to the study of canon law; the discovery of the 
Digest directed attention to civil legislation. The art of medi- 
cine presented a spacious field, which was made attractive, first, 
perhaps, by its salutary and charitable uses, afterwards by the 
gain* which followed it. The monastic establishments fur- 
nished the leisure and the best existing instruments for all those 
pursuits ; and after the eighth or ninth age, they were distin- 
guished by some efforts after knowledge, not tVuitless of bene- 
ficial effects and even of useful discoveries. 

Again, many of the most precious monuments of profane 
anticpiity owe their preservation to the sanctity of the monas- 
teries, or to the zeal of their defenders. All these might have 
perished, as many, notwithstanding, did perish, had there not 
existed, durinsf the long and barbarous anarchy of the Western 
Empire, certain communities, associated in the name of reli- 
gion for peaceful, if not pious purposes, whose interests were 
opposed to the progress of disorder and rapine, and whose holy 
profession secured them some respect from a lawless, but super- 
stitious, people. The diligence which was employed in tran- 
scribing those valuable models, while it promoted their circula- 
tion, could scarcely fail to infuse some taste or energy into the 
dullest mind ; and it certainly appears, that during the eighth 
and ninth, and especially the eleventh ages, most | of the 

* A council held at Rlieims, under Innocent 11. in 1131, published a canon, 
prohibit i 111^ monks and canons-regular to study civil law or medicine; and the 
hijnnction was repeated by the Lateran Council in 1139. These occupations were 
on this occasion expressly ascribed to avarice. And we may remark, that the 
prohibition was confined to the monks— the secular cleri^y, in the entire iijno- 
rance of the laity, were permitted to practise both law and physic. 

f Bede. Alcuin. Willlbrod, &c. were monks ; and most of the popes and car- 
dinals'of the eleventh century rose from the ranks of the regular clergy. See 
Hist. Litt, do la France, Siecle xi. 


characters, who acquired any ecclesiastical celebrity, proceeded 
from the discipline of the cloister. 

Having thus intended to give a general view of the advan- 
tacres which the monastic system has conferred on society, we 
cannot fail to observe, that they are for the most part confined 
to ao-es of ignorance or turbulence ; that they were almost pro- 
portionate to the debasement of the people, and to the weakness 
or wickedness of the civil government. The former of those 
evils was somewhat alleviated, the latter was partially obviated, 
by the monastic institutions. Herein is comprehended the 
sum and substance of their utility. In a civilized nation, under 
a just and enlightened rule, it is their necessary effect to ob- 
struct industry and retard improvement. But, on the other 
hand, if we consider them in reference to the times in which 
they rose and began to flourish, — if we compare the habits, the 
morals, the intelligence of the monks with those of their secular 
contemporaries^ — shall we not immediately admit, that in bad 
ages they were probably the best men ; that they were the most 
xiseful members of a disjointed community ; that their vicious 
principles were less vicious than the general principles of 
society ; that they were in advance of the civilization of their 
day ? If so — and to us it appears indisputable — let us be cau- 
tious how we cast unqualified censure upon a body of religious 
persons, who formed, for the space of five or six centuries, the 
most respectable portion of the Christian world. 
Supersti- At the same time, we ought not to forget, that even in those 

d'encv'""' times to \vhich their utility was confined, it was continvially 
obstructed both by the original defects of their system, and its 
consequent corruptions. Almost from their first establishment, 
in the East no less than in the West, we find them the faithful 
defenders, if not parents, of superstitious abuse. The adoration 
of saints, the miraculous qualities of relics, and the homage 
due to them, and, above all, the sanctity and worship of images, 
have been inculcated with peculiar zeal by the monks of every 
order, in every age of the Church. Again, as they ever have 
been the patrons of religious abuse, so have they inflexibly 
opposed any general attempt at church reform. Reforms, in- 
deed, in their particular establishments have been incessant. 

cii. XIX. J A iiisTouy OF THE CHURCH. 2/3 

Such, again, as touclicd tlie discipline of the secular clergy 
have sometimes fouiul support in the jealousy of the regular 
orders. But any exertion, tending to the restoration of pure 
Christianity, has ever found its fiercest opponents in the 
cloister; and through such opposition many unscriptural prac- 
tices have been perpetuated both in the Eastern and Western 
Chiu'ches. Of course it is not intended to ascribe to them all 
the corruptions of religion; indeed, we have already traced 
tlie origin of many of these to a period preceding the creation 
of monachism. The " vices of the clergy" are acknowledged 
in ecclesiastical records long before the prevalence of monastic 
inHuencc ; and it seems probable even that the tratiie in indul- 
gences, finally so scandalous to the Mendicants, was begun by 
llie bishops'""'. But all existing abuses wore carefully nourished 
and fostered by the hands of monks ; and the execution of 
miracles and other popular impostures was conducted with 
peculiar ingenuity and success by the inmates of the monas- 
tery f . And we may add, that the lucrative system of Purga- 
tory was most zealously supported, as indeed the ^vealth which 
flowed from it was distributed lor the most part among those 

In early ages the monks were the subjects, and, as it were, 
the army of the bishops; they maintained their rights, they 
fought their battles, and profited by their protection. In the 
East this mutual relation long subsisted ; and as the oricriaal 
monasteries were expressly subjected, by the Council of Chal- 
cedon, to the bishop of the diocese, and as many were indebted 
for their foundation to episcopal munificence and piety, the 
claims were just, and the connexion natural. But in the Ro- 
man Church it was violated almost by the first movements of 
papal ambition. In the year GOl, Gregory the Great j; (him- 

* See Jlosheim, vol. ii. p. 420. We may remark, that the same a-.itlior some- 
tunes (KSiingul.slies tlie regular canons a.s more exempt from the vices which he 
so iiidiscrhninately ohjeots to tlie other muudstic orders. 

f The Carthusians are stif^iiiatized hy mouastie writers for inferlorifj- in that 
power, if not for the entire destitution of it. The consequence is, that havinf^ 
performed few or no miracles, they boast very few names in tlu calendar of the 
saints. See Ilospinian, lib. v. cap. vii. 

I Giannone, Stor. ri'ap, lib. iv , cap. xii, Moblieim, seeininij,ly overloul^In^ this 

VOL. 11. X 


self for some time the inmate of a monastery) held a Council, 
in which were passed many regulations favourable to what the 
Exemp- monks considered their independence. They were permitted 
EpiscIS ^o choose their own abbot ; and the bishop was precluded not 
authority, only from all interference in their temporalities, and all exer- 
cise of jurisdiction over them, but even from the celebration of 
the divine offices in their churches. From this event (if from 
any single event) we may probably date the undue aggrandize- 
ment of the monastic order, and its increasing influence on 
civil as well as ecclesiastical pohtics. But in independence it 
only so far gained, as to exchange a near for a distant master 
— a petty tyrant, it might be, for an imperious but partial 
despot. One evil effect of this change was presently felt, — the 
removal of the bishop's immediate superintendence facilitated 
the progress of abuse and licentiousness *. The eighth and 
ninth ao-es were, in truth, the most triumphant era of monas- 
ticism f . Whatsoever learning then existed was confined, or 
nearly so, to the convents ; and not only did nobles and kings 
contest with each other the honour of endowing them, but there 
were many who took refuge there in their own persons from 
the miseries and dangers of a tiu'bident world. By such seces- 
sion they conferred the security which they courted ; and addi- 
tional sanctity seemed to surround the buildings which were 
dignified by the retreat of great, perhaps even of good, men. 

Absolute exemptions from episcopal authority were for some 
time rare. The first instance was probably that of Monte 
Cassino, which might be excused by its vicinity to Rome. But 

circumstance, is disposed to attribute the growing aUiance of the popes and 
monks in the eleventh century to the oppression and rapacity of princes and 
Lishops. (Cent. xi. p.2, chap, ii.) Doubtless there were instances of this; but 
the principle of the alliance was of much earlier origin. 

* One of Charlemagne's Capitularies prohibited abbots and abbesses from 
keeping fools, buffoons, and jugglers, for their amusement. But this implied no 
particular censure on the monastic orders, since we observe the same prohibition 
to be extended to bishops. 

f Giannone, lib. v. cap. vi. The same have also been considered as the grand 
periods of episcopal authority. Both may be true. For the monasteries, though 
in some cases, and to a certain extent, independent of the bishops, were not yet 
placed in rivalry with them ; bvit they probably made coaimou cause, whenever 
the general interests of the Church were concerned. 


tlio example, though sparingly imitated, was by no means lost 
on following times; and after the pontificate of Gregory VII., 
the abbots began universally to claim the immediate protec- 
tion of St. Peter ; and his successors were seldom slow to accord 
it. In process of time, entire congregations of monasteries (the 
Clunian, for instance, and the Cistertian) were included in a 
single exemption ; so afterwards were the Mendicant Orders ; 
and finally the whole monastic body acknowledged no other 
dependence than on the pope * alone. The abuse was at 
length pushed so far, that even a private clerk might obtain 
— of course by purchase — exemption from the control of his 
bishop. Undoubtedly, during the eleventh, twelfth, and thir- 
teenth centuries, the Holy See derived great power from the 
sort of separate hierarchy thus established; and for the two 
following ages, when ambition became less its ruling spirit, and 
avarice more so, such exemptions became the means of abund- 
antl}^ gratifying the favourite passion. But in the excess to 
which they were then carried, they shook the foundation of 
papal pow-er, by inflaming the jealousy and disvmion of the 
regular and secular clergy ; and thus they mainly tended to 
promote, in due season, the rise of the Reformation, and to 
facilitate its progress. 

At the same time, if the- popes were long supported and Monastic 
aggrandized through their close connexion with the monastic Piii-.ratory, 

Orders, so were they very sedulous to return the favour, and to Iw^lnl- 

.,1 ^1- i' ^1 1 geuces, &c. 

enrich those Orders, sometmies at the expense of the secular 

clergy, but more usually by contributions from the laity. In 
earlier ages, the profusion of kings and nobles abundantly sati- 
ated the avarice of every department of the church ; but when 
this spirit gradually expired, and new orders were still every- 
where starting up, professing poverty, and clamorous for 

* The papal right to grant these exemptions does not seem to have heen dis- 
puted. Yet it rested on no better foundation than a confused notion, confirmed 
and augmented by the Decretals, that there were no lunits to that authority. We 
should observe, that even in the East there were also instances of the direct de- 
pendence of monasteries on the Patriarch; but they were rare, and probably in 
faint imitation of the practice of the West. 

T 2 

276 A HISTORY OF THE ciiui^.cn. [en. xix. 

wealth, it became necessary to open new resources for their 
nourishment. These were easily discovered in the fruitfulness 
of superstition. Purgatory presently assumed a more definite 
shape; and it was no difficult office for the priests, who created 
it, to conduct its administration and economy. Tlieir power 
over the concerns of that state was believed on the same autho- 
rity which had established its existence. This grand invention, 
with the devices of masses, indulgences, &c., which flowed from 
it, extended its influence from the highest even to the lowest 
classes of the people ; so that through these means every con- 
dition of society became tributary to the church. The monks 
enjoved a very great share in the profits of tliis imposture. 
During the tenth and eleventh centuries, the reputation to 
which they had already risen was so much augmented by the 
foimdation and name of Cluni, that some are disposed to date 
their triumph over the secular clergy from this period ■~^; — it is 
certain that the attention of churchmen was from this time 
more anxiously directed to their temporalities f than hereto- 
fore. . . After the institution of the Mendicants, the lucrative^ 
departments of the profession were chiefly committed to their 
superintendence ; and it was especially through their heedless 
abuse of favours, as heedlessly lavished on them by a succes- 
sion of necessitous popes, and most so through the public and 
confessed venality of indulgences, that the deformities of the 
papal system became generally acknowledged and execrated. 

* It is probable that tbcy fur surpassed the secular clergy of this time in 
austerity and even in real piety of life, which was not, indeed, any very difficult 
triumph. It is certain that they now began to apply not only to study, but to 
business, which the seculars almost equally neglected. Hence the succession of 
five monks, who, dining the eleventh age, governed the Church for fifty years; 
and to whom Mosheini, in his unqualified hatred for everything monastic, attri- 
butes almost all its sins. 

t Giannone (Stor. Nap. lib. vii., cap. v.) remarks, that censures and excommu- 
nications — those spiritual weapons which hitherto had been usually employed for 
the correction of sin — were from this period chieflv directed against persons who 
plundered or alienated the property of the Church. 

I It is worthy of remark that the French, in pursuance of their constant deter- 
mination to preserve themselves from pure papacy, strongly discouraged the acqui- 
sition of property in France by the Mendicants, fairly objecting to them their 
imequivocal vow of poverty. 


These were the scandals which, more than any of its pretensions 

and impostures, awakened the indignation of mankind. And 

thus it came to pass, in the fuhiess of time, that out of the 

bosom of that vei-y ordei" which had been most instnnnental in 

supporting papal power, and corrupting the very corruptions of 

reljoion, the voice of Providence was pleased to call forth the 

oreat restorer of his holy Church. While the Benedictines 
^ ... 

were reposing in their luxurious edifices — while the Mendicants 

were openly prostituting for gold the offices and pretended 

solaces of religion, the progress of knowledge and the increase 

of impurity prepared the field of triumph for the Saxon 


( 278 ) 


History of the Popes, from the Death of Innocent III. to that 

of Boniface VIII. 

The ardour of the Popes for Crusades — its motives and policy — Honorius III. — 
Frederic's vow to take the Cross, and procrastination — Gregory IX. — his 
Coronation — he excommimicatfs the Emperor — who thus departs for Palestine 
— Gregory impedes his success, and invades his dominions — their subsequent 
disputes — Innocent IV. — his previous friendship with Frederic — Council of 
Lyons — various charges urged against Frederic — Innocent deposes Frederic 
and appoints his successor on his own papal authority — Civil war in Germany — 
in Italy — death of Frederic — his character and conduct — his rigorous decree 
against Heretics — Observations — Other reasons alleged to justify his deposi- 
tion — this dispute compared with that between Gregory VII. and Henry — 
Taxes levied by the Pope on the Clergy — Crusade against the Emperor — Exal- 
tation of Innocent — his visit to Italy and intrigues — his death — his qualities as 
a statesman — as a churchman — expression of the Sultan of Egypt — Alexander 
IV. — Urban IV. — Clement IV. — Infroductinn of Charles d'Anjou to the throne 
of Naples — Gregory X. — his piet}-, and other merits — Second Coimcil of Lj'ons — 
Vain preparations tor another Crusade — Death of Gregory — Objects of Nicho- 
las II. — Martin IV. — Senator of Rome — Nicholas IV. diligent against Heresy 
— Pietro di Morone or Celestine V. — circxmistances of his elevation — his previous 
life and habits — his singular incapacity — disaifection among the higher clergy 
— his discontent and meditations — his resignation — Boniface VIII. — his ex- 
' cessive ambition and insolence — on the decline of the papal power — his tem- 
poral pretensions — Sardinia, Corsica, Scotland, Hungary — Recognition of 
Albert, king of the Romans — and act of his submission — Philip the Fair — the 
Gallicau Church — origin of its liberties — Differences between Boniface and 
Philip — Bull Clerkis Laicos — its substance and subsequent interpretation — 
Affairs of the bishop of Panniers — Bull AuscMlta FUi — burnt by Philip — 
Conduct of the French nobles — of the Clergy — of Boniface — Bull Unam Sanc~ 
lam — other violent proceedings — Moderation of Philip — further insolence of 
the Pope— Philip's appeal to a General Coimcil — William of Nogaret — Per- 
sonal assault on Boniface — his behaviour, and the circumstances of his death. 

The Church of Rome had now so habitually stained herself 
with blood, as to be callous to the common feelings of nature, 
and insensible to the miseries of mankind. For more than a 
century, she had employed her power in promoting the de- 
struction of human life by the most senseless expeditions ; and 
as the ruinousness and vanity of the Crusades became more 
manifest^ she seemed to redouble her exertions to renew and 


perpetuate them : for she thrived by contributions levied ibr 
this purpose, and by the property which was thus thrown under 
ecclesiastical protection; and she gathered strength through 
the weakness of monarchs and the superstition of their subjects. 
Again, after Innocent had succeeded in committing an addi- 
tional outrage upon humanity and reason, by converting the 
machine which had been intended against the enemies of 
Christ, into an engine of domestic persecution and torture, it 
became more than ever the interest of the pope to keep alive a 
spirit which might so easily be made to deviate into arbitrary 
channels. And thus the zeal for crusades, whicli inflamed the 
breast of Innocent, passed, without any diminution, into those 
of his successors. Moreover, it is well known how earnestly 
the holy see supported the interests of Frederic II. against 
Otho IV., as long as the former was the weaker party, and 
how zealously it began to raise enemies against him as soon as 
he became powerful ; while the industry with which it renewed 
and prolonged the contests between the Guelphs and the 
Ghibelines — contests which lacerated the vitals of Italy — fur- 
nishes melancholy proof that its interests were even at this 
time associated with every principle that is subversive of peace 
and baneful to society; and that it pursued those interests with 
callous, persevering, imcompromising obduracy. 

Innocent III. was succeeded by Honorius III., a native of iiouorius 
Rome, who for four years had been governor of Palermo under ^^^• 
Frederic II.; but the remembrance of that connexion was 
easily thrown off, as soon as he rose from the condition of a 
subject to that of a rival. Frederic had made a solemn vow 
to Innocent, to eneag-e without loss of time in a new crusade; 
and on his coronation at Rome, in 1220, he renewed that 
promise with still greater solemnity to Honorius. In the year 
Ibllowing, instead of proceeding on his expedition, he appears 
to have appointed, on his own authority, to some vacant see, — 
in virtue, as he maintained, of his royal right, — in violation, as 
the pope asserted, of the liberties of the Church. During the 
time consumed in this dispute, Daniietta fell into the power ot 
the Mahometans. In the year 1223, at a council held at 
Terentiuo, in Campania, the emperor renewed his oath to 


depart, and that within the space of two years ; and to give 
earnest of his sincerity, he espoused the daughter of John of 
Brienne, king of Jerusalem. In the year following, tliat he 
miglit atone to the Chn.rch for his contin\ied delay, and evince 
to her the sincerity of his aflection, he publis^hed some savarre 
constitutions against heretics, whicli we shall presently notice. 
At the same time, in a long letter to the pope, he complained 
of the general indifference to the cause of the crusades, wdjich 
then unfortunately prevailed throughout Europe*. Some dis- 
putes with the Lombards formed the next excuse for his delay; 
and in 1227 Honorius died, still pressing the departure of the 
monarch, and still pressing it in vain. 
Accession Gregory IX., who was nephew of Innocent III., was imme- 
IX. '^^^"^^ diately raised to the pontifical chair with loud and unanimous 
acclamation. On the day of his coronation he proceeded to 
St. Peter s, accompanied by several prelates, and assumed the 
pallium according to custom ; and after having said mass, he 
inarched to the palace of the Lateran, covered with gold and 
jewels. On Easter Day, he celebrated mass solenndy at Sta. 
Maria Maggiore, and returned with a crown on his head. On 
Monday, having said mass at St. Peter's, he returned wearing 
two crowns, mounted on a horse richly caparisoned, and sur- 
rounded by cardinals clothed in purple, and a numerous 
clergy t- The streets were spread with tapestry, inlaid with 
gold and silver, the noblest productions of Egypt and the most 
brilliant colovu's of India, and perfumed with various aromatic 

* Sue Fleury, Hist. Eccl., 1. 78, sect. GG, where a part of the letter is quoted,, 
The actual restitution of the territories of the Countess Matilda to the Roman 
see is hj- some ascribed to this pontificate. Raynaldus (ann. 122I, Num. 2'J) 
asserts, that the imperial diploma existed in the Liber Censuum of the \ atican 
library — apud Pagi. Vit. Honor. III., Sect. xxxi. 

f This description is very faintly copied from a life of Gregory IX,, cited by 
Odoricus Raynaldus; the following is a specimen: " Divinis missarum officiis 
reverenter expletis duplici diademate coronatus sub fulgoris specie in Cherubini 
transfiguratur aspectum, inter puipuratam venerabilium Cardinalium, Clevicorum, 
et Prailatorum comititivam innumeram, insignibus papaldjus praecedentibus, equo 
in phaleris prctiosis evectus, per alma; Urbis miranda mcciiia Pater Urbis et Orbis 
dedueitur admiiandus. Hinc cantica concrepant, etc. etc." See Pagi, Vit. 
Gregor. IX., s. iii. Fleury, 1. 79, s. 31. There seems no reason to belitve that 
these demonstrations of joy or ebullitions of adulation exceeded the customary 
parade of the thirteenth century. 


odours. The people cliavuitcd aloud Kyrie clcison, and their 
sono-s of joy were accompanied by the sound of trumpets. The 
judges and the officers shone in gikled hahits and caps of silk. 
The Greeks and the Jews celebrated the praises of the pope, 
each in his own lanp;uage; a countless multitude marched 
before him, carrying palms and (lowers; and the senators and 
prefect of Rome were on foot at his side, iiolding his bridle — 
and thus was he conducted to the palace of the Lateran. 

The first and immediate act of a pontificate so gorgeously 
undertaken, was to in-ge the renewal of the Crusades, botli by 
persuasion and menace, at the various courts of Europe. The 
ibrces of Frederic were already collected at Otranto, and, if we 
are to believe some writers*, the emperor did actually embark, 
and proceed on his destination as far as the narrow sea between 
the Morea and Crete, when a dangerous indisposition obliged 
him to return. It is at least certain that he once more de- 
ferred the moment of his final departure. The pope was in- 
furiated ; he treated the story of illness as an empty pretence, 
and without waiting or asking for excuse or explanation, 
instantly excommunicated the emperor. This took place on 
the '29th of September, within six months from his elevation 
to the see ; and the sword of discord, which was drawn on 
that day, had no secure or lasting interval of rest until the 
deposition, or rather the death of Frederic. 

The emperor wrote several papers in his justification, and Letter of 
among them a letter to Henry III. of England, containing ,.J^Yryde^'-j. 
much severe and j\ist reproach against the Roman Church. H. 
" The Roman Church, (such was the substance of his up- 
braiding) so biu-ns with avarice, that, as the ecclesiastical 
revenues do not content it, it is not ashamed to despoil sove- 

* See Giannonc, 1. xvi., c. 6. " Sii^nnio seguito la feili; di Matteo Paris, il 
quale (ad ann. 1227, p. 286) scrlsse: Animo nimis consternati in iiscU'in niivibus 
quibus vi'iieraut pUisquam 4i) armiitorum niillia sunt rcversi." But this passai^u 
more probably relates to the iiumerovis pilgrims who had actuall)- sailed to the 
Holy Land for the purpose of meeting Frederic, and who immediately returned 
on nut finding him there. Floury makes no nieiition of his having juit to sea at 
all on this oc-casion; but Bzovius asserts — " per triduum in mare piovettus eur- 
sinn coiivertit ac se neqne maris jactationem ne<pie incomniodam valeluumem pj.ti 
posse usberuit." .\nn. Kccles. ad ann. \2'I7. 



reign princes and make them tributary. You have a very- 
touching example in your father king John ; you have that 
also of the Count of Toulouse, and so many other princes 
whose kingdoms it holds under interdict, until it has reduced 
them to similar servitude. I speak not of the simonies, the 
unheard-of exactions, which it exercises over the clergy, the 
manifest or cloaked usvu'ies with which it infects the whole 
world. In the mean time, these insatiable leeches vise honied 
discourses, saying that the court of Rome is the Church, our 
mother and nurse, while it is our stejDmother and the source 
of every evil. It is known by its fruits. It sends on every 
side legates, with power to punish, to suspend, to excommuni- 
cate ; not to diftuse the word of God, but to amass money, and 
reap that which they have not sown*. And so they pillage 
churches, monasteries, and other places of religion, which our 
fathers have founded for the support of pilgrims and the poor. 
And now these Romans, without nobility and without valour, 
inflated by nothing but their literature, aspire to kingdoms and 
empires. The Church was founded on poverty and simplicity, 
and no one can give it other foundation than that which Jesus 
Christ has fixed." At the same time, the emperor continued 
to prepare for immediate departure, in spite of the sentence 
which hung over him. The pope assembled a numerous 
council, and thundered forth a second excommunication ; and 
in the spring following, without making any humiliation, or 
obtaining any repeal of the anathema under which he lay, 
Frederic set sail for the Holy Land. 

Frederic II. If there had been a shadow of sincerity in Gregory's pro- 
111 Pales- o J I 

tine. fessed enthusiasm for the liberation of Palestine, — if he had 

loved the name and birth-place of Christ with half the ardour 

with which he clung to his own papal and personal dignity, he 

would not have pursued the departed emperor with his perverse 

'" In 1229, Gregory IX. levied an exaction of tenths in England with so 
much severity, that even the standing crops were anticipated, and the bishops 
obliged to sell their property, or borrow money at a high interest, in order to 
answer the demand. " Erat Papa tot et tantis involutus debitis, ut unde bellicam, 
qiiam susceperat, expcditionem siistineiet, penitus ignorabat.'' Matth. Paris, 
anno citato. Mention is made of the continual, though secret, maledictions with 
which the pope was pursued. 


malevolence, he would not have prostituted the ecclesiastical 
censures, to thwart his projects and blast his hopes. Yet he 
(litl so — his mendicant emissaries were despatched to the patri- 
arch and the military orders of Jerusalem, informing them of 
the sentence under which Frederic was placed, and forbidding 
them to act, or to communicate with him. At the same time, 
provoked, as some assert *, by a previous aggression from Fre- 
deric's lieutenant, he invaded with all his forces the Apulian 
dominions of the emperor. Under these adverse circumstances, 
Frederic made a hasty, but not inglorious f, treaty with the 
Saracens, and instantly returned to the defence of his own 
kingdom — a measure which became the more necessary, since 
the pope had issued a third excommunication, releasing his 
subjects from their oath of allegiance;};, We do not profess, in 
this peaceful narrative, to describe the details of military ad- 
ventures, or to trace the perplexed and faithless politics of 
Italy. We must be contented to add, that some successes of 
the emperor led to a hollow and fruitless reconciliation ; that 
this again broke out (in the year 1238) into open war, which 
lasted till the death of the pope, three years afterwards. The 
period of nominal peace had been disturbed by the constant 
complaints and recriminations § of both parties. The perusal 
of those papers is sufficient to convince us, that if both had 
some, the pope had the greater, share of blame. And while 
the style which the prelate assumes is that of an offended and 
injured protector and patron, the language of the emperor, 
though never abject, frequently descends to the borders of 
querulousness and humility. 

* Fleury, 1. 79, s. 43. Giannone, 1. 10, c. 6, 

f The possession of the Citj- and of the Holy Sepulchre was secured to the 
Christians, while the Temple (now the Mosque of Omar), which had already 
been desecrated to the Mahometan worship, was left in the possession of the 
Saracens. A fair arrangement, which was misrepresented by the pope and most 
ecclesiastical writers, and restored to history by Gibbon and Sismondi. Rep. 
Ital., chap. 15. 

X The plea which he gave was " because no one should observe fidelity to a 
man who is opposed to God and his saints, and tramples upon his commandments. 
A new maxim (as Fleury simply observes), and one which seems to authorize 

^ These disputes are related at great length by Fleury, liv. 81, bcct. 32, &c. 


Innocent The caiisc of Frederic trained nothing- bv the death of Gre- 

IV. . . . 

gory, since he was succeeded by Innocent IV.* This extra- 
ordinary person (Sinibaldo Fieschi, a Genoese) had been 
distinguished as cardinal by his attachment to the person, if 
not to the cause, of the emperor ; and on his election to the 
pontificate, the people of Italy indulged the fond and natural 
expectation, that the dissensions which blighted their happiness 
wovild at length be composed. Not so Frederic : for he was 
familiar with the soul of Innocent, and had read his insolent 
and implacable character. To his friends, wlio proffered their 
congratulations, he replied, that there was cavise for sorrow 
rather than joy, since he had exchanged a cardinal, who was 
his dearest friend, for a pope, who would be his bitterest 
enemy |. And so, indeed, it proved. On the occasion of an 
early and amicable conference. Innocent refused to withdraw 
his predecessor's excommvmication, until Frederic should re- 
store all that he v.as charged with having plundered from the 
Church. The meeting had no result; and Innocent presently 
repaired to France, and summoned a very numerous council at 
First conn- As soon as the members were assembled | (in 1245) Inno- 
r2.]|,j A""**' ^^"^' taking his throne, with Baldwin, emperor of the East, on 
his right hand, began the proceedings, by conferring the use 
of the red bonnet on his cardinals § — to the end that they 
might never forget, in the use of that colour, that their blood 
was at all times due to the service of the Church. At the same 
time he adorned them with other emblems of dignity, in imi- 
tation of regal pomp and state, and in scorn (it was thought) 
of a favourite expression of Frederic, that a Christian prelate 
ought to emulate the meekness and poverty of the disciples of 
Christ. He then opened his discourse respecting the defence 
of the Holy Land, and of other states at that time eudancered 


* On .Time 24, 1243. Celcstine IV., in fact, intervened, but died on the six- 
teenth day after his electiun ; and durin<^ 1242 the see was vacant. 

f See Giannone, Stor. di Nap., lib. xvii., c. .3, and various authorities collected 
by Sismondi, Kep. Ital., ch. xvi. 

I See Giannone, lib. xvii., cap. 3. Sismondi, Rep. Hal., cli. xvi. 

§ Bzov. Ann. Eccles., ad ann. 124."). Giannone, loc. cit. Pagi. vit. Inn. IV., 
sec. xx;>i., investigates the ipiestiun whelh'jr this dignity was conferred at that 
time, or two years later. 


by the Tartar invasion, and concluded with some general 
reproaches on the character and conduct of Frederic, — that he 
liad persecuted the pontiffs and other ministers of the Church 
of God ; exiled and plundered the bishops ; imprisoned the 
cler<jy, and even put many to a cruel death, with other similar 
charges. The same were repeated on the next day of meeting, 
and supported and exaggerated by the suspicious testimony of 
two partial and intemperate prelates. On both occasions they 
^vere boldly repelled l)y the emperor's ambassador, Taddeo di 
Suessa. After the dehiy of a fortnight, occasioned by an un- 
founded expectation of Frederic's appearance in person, the 
council assembled for the third time ; and then, after premising 
some constitutions respecting the Holy Land, Innocent, " to 
the astonishment and horror of all who heard him," pronounced 
the final and fatal sentence against Frederic. He declared that 
prince deprived of the imperial crown, with all its honours and 
privileges, and of all his other states ; lie released his subjects 
from their oath ; he even forbade their further obedience, on 
pain of excommunication, and commanded the electors to the 
empire to choose a successor. He presently recommended to 
that dignity Henry, landgrave of Thuringia. For the kingdom 
of Sicily, he took upon himself, " with the counsel of the car- 
dinals, his brethren," to provide a sovereign. 

Frederic was at Turin when he received the news of this DopoKitiou 
proceeding. He turned to the barons, who surrounded him, ° 
and, with deep indignation, addressed them, — " The pontiff 
lias deprived me of the imperial crov/n — let us see if it be so." 
He then ordered the crown to be brought to him, and placed 
it on his head, saying, " that neither pope nor council had the 
power to take it from him." Most of the princes of Europe 
were, indited, of the same opinion, and continued to acknow- 
ledge him to the end of his life. And Ave may remark, that 
the usurpation of Innocent was in one respect marked with 
peculiar audacity, — he did not even plea.d the approbation of 
the Holy Council, but contented himself with proclaiming that 
the sentence had been pronounced in its presence *. 

* •'• Sacro iu-;iosente Coiicilio." Bzovlus (Ann. Kccles., ad ann. 1 1 1.")) o-ivt-s the 
preci'jus docuiiu'iit liutire, in-ofucod, ol" com-sc, wilh uii'i'ialilicd uiili.)^}-. l^iiji, 


It should here be mentioned, that, besides the affair of Fre- 
deric, the first General Council of Lyons professed three grand 
objects. (1.) To assist the Latin emperor of Constantinople 
against the Greeks. (2.) To aid the emperor of Germany 
against the Tartars. (3.) To rescue the Holy Land from the 
Saracens. For the attainment of the first of these objects, 
the pope ordained a contribution of half the revenues of all 
benefices on which the incumbents were not actually resident 
(a wholesome distinction), placing a still higher impost on the 
largest ; also of a tenth of the revenues of the Church of Rome. 
For the second, he exhorted the inhabitants to dig ditches and 
build castles. For the third, he commanded the priests, and 
others in the Christian army, to offer up continual prayers, 
moving the crusaders to repentance and virtue. Besides which 
he promised a twentieth part of the revenues of benefices for 
three years, and a tenth of those of the pope and his cardinals. 
He likewise encouraged all who had the care of souls to influ- 
ence the faithful to make donations by testament and otherwise. 
The decree touching the levies of money displeased many pre- 
lates, who openly opposed it, declaring that the court of Rome 
now perpetually despoiled them under that pretext. 

The edict against Frederic found willincr obedience from the 
superstition or the turbulence of the German barons. Henry 
was supported by numerous partisans, and waged a prosperous 
warfare against Conrad, the son of Frederic ; and on his early 
death, William, count of Holland, was substituted by the pope 
as a candidate for the throne. Innocent's genius and activity 
suggested to him the most refined arts to insure success, and 
his principles permitted him to adopt the most iniquitous. He 
even departed so far from the observance of humanity, and the 
most sacred feelings of nature, as to employ his intrigues to 
seduce Conrad from the service of his father, into rebellious 
and parricidal allegiance to the Church, That virtuous prince, 
rejecting, with firmness, the impious proposition, replied, that 
he would defend the side he had chosen to the last breath of 

however, (Vit. Inn. IV., sec. xx.) argues that the apjiiobation of the Council was 
implied in its proceedings, if not actually expressed in the title of the sentence. 


life*; and ncithor the pope nor the Church gained even a 
temporary advantage by an attempt which covers them with 
eternal infamy. 

The same industrious hostiUty wliich had kindled rebeUion 
anion o- the German princes, was exerted with rio less effect 
among the contentious states of Italy. The Guelphic interests 
were everywhere strengthened by the energy of Innocent ; and 
{he utmost efforts of Frederic were insufficient to restore tran- 
qjiillity to Germany, or even to obtain any important triumphs 
over his Italian enemies. He died in Apulia, in the year 1250; Hi'? <leath 
and tliough he had never formally renounced the title of em- [^^.^ 
peror, his deposition was virtually accomplished by the edict 
of Innocent, since the rest of his life was spent in uninterrupted 
confusion and alarm, in the midst of battle, and sedition, and 
treason, without any enjoyment of the repose of royalty, and 
with a very limited possession either of its dignity or authority. 
The character of Frederic has been vilified by Guelphic writers, 
and probably too highly exalted by the opposite faction. In 
the conduct of affairs piu-ely temporal, he is celebrated for 
justice, magnificence, generosity, as well as for the patronage of 
arts and literature. Familiar with the use of many languages, 
and himself an author, he exhibited that disposition to cultivate 
science, and nourish every branch of knowledge, which is so 
seldom associated with ereat vices. In regard to his lono- and 
complicated contentions with the Church, it is unquestionably 
true that he violated, without any known necessity, certain 
solemn obligations respecting the time of commencing his Cru- 
sade. His reluctance to engage at all in svich sanguinary and 
fruitless enterprises may be acknowledged and justified ; but 
his repeated breach of faith gave some reason to the Holy See 
for suspecting his subsequent promises. It is also true that he 
exiled some bishops, and imprisoned others, and even proceeded 
to greater extremities against some individuals of the inferior 
orders of the clergy ; and also that he levied contributions and 
imposts on all classes of his ecclesiastical subjects j. But those 

* Giannonc, Stor. Nap., lib. xvii., ch. 4. 

t Hence (says Giannone) probably arose the report, that In; had coinmonly 
pvoclaimed his iuftution of rcdudui^ the clergy to primitive poverty j "so that 


who felt his rigour may probably have deserved it by moral or 
pohtical misconduct; and it was just and legal* that the 
clergy should contribute some proportion to the support of the 
state. It may seem strange that, while his adversaries heap 
upon him the bitterest charges of impiety and blasphemy j, 
his friends persist in asserting the unalterable fidelity and 
affection which he bore to his mother-church, the protectress 
of his infancy ; that he w^as ever eager to advocate her cause, 
and promote her interests. In support of this singular pre- 
tension, it is advanced, that he was tlie inilexible and implacable 
His consti- extirpator of heresy. This fact, though urged by his admirers, 
a<';iinst he- '•'' ^^^'^^ ^^^^P'^^^^'^ by l^i^ enemies. It is faithfully recorded, that 
>i'^y- at an early period (1224) he published three constitutions, 

which aggravated the guilt and punishments of heresy even 
beyond those of treason, and placed the temporal authorities 
at the disposal of the ecclesiastical inquisitors |. "Those (he 
ordained) who have been arrested for heresy, and who, being 
moved by the fear of death, are desirous to return to the Church, 
shall be condemned to the penance of perpetual imprisonment. 
The judges shall be bound to seize the heretics discarded by the 
inquisitors of the Holy Sec, or by others zealous for the Catholic 
faith, and to confine them closely until their execution, accord- 
ing to the sentence of the Church. . . . We also condemn to 

Matthew Paris, who, bufore Frederic's deposition, liad always adhered to his party, 
as soon as he understood that such were his common expressions, as he was him- 
self abbot of Monte Albano (St. Alban'.s), in Kngland, and weahhy and well 
beneficed, was displeased with such a proposition, and so bei^an to change his 
style, and to wiite against him, in a manner diilt'rent from his former." Stor. di 
Nap., lib. xvii., c. 4. 

* Giannone proves that such had been the invariable custom, at least in the 
southern provinces of the empire of Frederic. 

I One of these is the celebrated expression respecting the Three Impostors, 
then commonly attributed to Frederic, though solemnly and publicly denied by 
him. Another is a tale, recorded by certain monks, that, when they requested 
him to spare their crop of wheat, Frederic conunanded his soldiers " to desist, 
and to respect those ears of corn, since some day the grains which they contained 
might become so many Christs." Giannone, loc. cit., on authority of Simon 
Hanh. Hist. Germ, in Frederico II. 

j; Several authors assert that, in virtue of a promise made to Innocent III., he 
established a permanent inquisition in Sicily in the year 1213. Stor. di Nap. loc. 
cit. This, however, is scarcely probable, for the inquisition was not at that time 
permanently estalilished even at Toulouse. 

en. XX.] A iiLSTOiiY OF Till', CHURCH. 280 

doalh those who, having- abjured to save their life, sliall return 
into error. We deprive heretics, and all who abet them, of all 
benefit of appeal ; and it is our will that heresy be entirely 
banished from the whole extent of our empire. And as the 
crime which assails (iod is greater than that of treason, we 
ordain that the children of heretics, to the second generation, 
be deprived of all temporal benefits and all public offices, 
unless they come forward and denounce their parents*." 

Such were the measures by which an independent, and 
powerful, and (for those days) an enlightened monarch evinced 
his a flection for the Church of Rome ! Such were the favours 
by which he courted her friendship, and sought to merit her 
gratitude I by feeding her fiercest passion — by sanctioning the 
most fatal of all her evil principles. It is true that Frederic 
may thus have established some claims on the sympathy of the 
furious zealots of his time ; but his indulcjence to those church- 
men was no deed of friendship to the Church. To protect 
and foster the vices of a system is to prevent its permanence, 
and poison its prosperity ; and if ever, diu'ing his long reign, 
he appeared as the real friend of Rome, it was at the time when 
he least professed that name — at the time when he exposed her 
abuses, and proclaimed her shame, and called upon her to re- 
pent and amend. And assuredly, when he lent his obsequious 
sword to swell the catalogue of her crimes, he was already pre- 
paring for his latter years the tempest which disturbed and 
tormented them ; nor did it happen without the spirit of God, 
that his calamities were inflicted by that same hand whose 
darkest atrocities had been approved and directed by himself. 

It is strange, too, that among the four reasons by w^hich the 
Pope justified his sentence of deposition, it was one, that Fre- 
deric had rendered himself yw//^;/ of heresy, by his contempt of 
pontifical censures, and his unholy alliance with the Saracens. 
'I'lius, then, did that prince, according to the strict letter of his 
own constitutions, become liable, on his condemnation by the 
Church, to the monstrous penalties contained in them. 

* These constitutions are found among the letters of Pietro diUe Vigne, chan- 
cellor of the einpcror, which shows, says Fleury, who was their author. Hist. 
Kfcl., lib. Ixxviii., sec. Ixv, 



Disputes Another*, perhaps a more plausible reason, was this, — that 

ChrnX he had been deficient in that fidelity which he owed to the 
and Em- Pope, as his vassal for the kingdom of Sicily ; for that claim, 
^"^^' however absurd in origin and principle, had been previously 

asserted and acknowledged. But, in truth, when we compare 
the character and causes of this second conflict between the 
Church and the Empire with those which marked the contest 
of Henry with Gregory VII. and his successors, we find it 
much more difficult to discover what was the specific and tan- 
gible ground of quarrel. In the former instance there existed 
one grand and definite object, for which both parties perse- 
verino-ly struggled : in the latter, many vague complaints and 
indeterminate offences were advanced and retorted ; but no 
sino-le great principle w as avowedly contested, nor was any one 
additional right or privilege acquired or confirmed to the 
Church by its final triumph. Only the power and influence 
of Rome were made more manifest ; and other nations were 
taught to tremble at the omnipotence of the double sword. 

This leads us to remark another distinction, — that, in the 
contest with Henry, it was, in reality, the Church of Rome 
which rose in opposition to the empire — the spiritual, or, at 
least, the ecclesiastical, interests of the See were those most 
consulted and most prominent in the debate. In that with 
Frederic, it was rather from the Covrt of Rome that the spirit 
and motives of policy proceeded. In the former case, the ma- 
terial sword was introduced as secondary and subsidiary to the 
spiritual ; but in the latter, if the contrary was not actually the 
casef, at least the two weapons were so dexterously substituted 
and interchanged for each other — the one was so continually 
presented luider the holy semblance of the other — as to show 

* See Sismondi, Rep. Ital., ch. xvi. 

+ In the year 1251. Christianus, (or Conrad,) Archbishop of Mentz, was actu- 
ally deposed by Innocent, for reluctance to use arms in defence of the Churcli. 
"He said, that the works of war did not become the sacerdotal character; but 
that he was ever wiHing; to use the sword of the spirit, which was the word of 
God. The scriptures had commanded him to put his sword in the sheath." . . 
Of this ofllence (and no other charge is mentioned) he was accused by the king 
and certain of the laity before the Pope, and was immediately degraded from his 
see. Pagi, Innoc. IV., sec. xlvii. 


the proficiency which the See had latterly made in the art of 
deludinor the human race. 

Again — the avarice or the necessities of Rome compelled 
her, during these disputes, to a measure which, however ex- 
pedient at the moment, was finally very injurious to her — that 
of levying taxes rigidly and generally upon the clergy. It was 
not in England only (though there most successfully*) that 
Gregory IX. exacted from all ranks of ecclesiastics the tenth of 
their moveables immediately on his breach with the emperor ; 
and every one recollects with what repugnance his second re- 
quisition (in 1240) was admitted by our clerical forefathers. 
From the moment that the Pope was found so infatuated as to 
publish a Crusadej against a Catholic emperor, and to feed 
his own temporal ambition by despoiling his faithful Catholic 
clergy, the minds of all reasonable laymen were startled and 
revolted by the former outrage, while the hearts of the clergy, 

* The pages of Matthew Paris abound with instances of pontifical rapacity and 
insolence. See ad annos 1244, 1245, 1246, 1247, 1250, 1252, &c. . . Some- 
times a legate a latere was the instrument ; sometimes the Mendicants acted as 
tax-gatherers; and even Ireland did not escape their visitations. In 1247, the 
complaints both of the French and English clergy assumed a formidable shape 
for that age. The lasting efTect was, that the former devotion fo Rome was turned 
into "execrabile odium et maledictioues occultas." For all both saw and felt that 
the Pope was insatiable in his extortions, to their great loss and impoverishment; 
and there were many who began to q^uestion whether he had really received from 
heaven the power of St, Peter to bind and to loose, seeing how very luilike he was 
to that apostle, " Resolutum est igitur os iniqua loquentium, &c," . . . and 
this as well in France as in England, 

f The same indulgences were promised to those who armed against the em- 
peror as against the sultan ; and the apostolic preachers, under Innocent at 
least, even pointed out the former as the easier and broader road to salvation. 
Sismondi, Rep. Ital., chap. xvi. Fleury, Hist. Eccl., lib. Ixxxiii., sec, xxxiii. The 
nobility of Fiance, and the queen Blanche, were highly offended by this measure 
of Innocent, during the Crusade of St. Louis. ''The Pope (they complained) is 
preaching a new Crusade against Christians for the extension of his own domi- 
nions, and forgets the king, our master, who is suffering so much for the faith." 
"Let the Pope (the queen replied) keep those who go into his service; and let 
them depart, never to return." The nobles also reprimanded the Mendicants who 
had preachi'd this Crusade. " We build for you churches and houses: we receive, 
nourish, and entertain you. What good does the Pope for you ? He fatigues 
and torments you ; he makes you his tax-gatherers, and renders you hateful to 
your benefactors." They excused themselves on the plea of the obedience due 
to him. . . . Here we discover the elements of the Gallican Liberties. 

u 2 


being touched by the injustice of the hitter, began gradually to 

close against so rapacious a protector. 
Siibse- When Innocent received the news of the death of Frederic 

quent con- j^j^ exultation broke forth without restraint or moderation ; — 

uutt and 

<leati of " Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be in festivity ; tor 
hiuo-ent. ^^^^ thunder and the tempest with which a powerful God has so 
long threatened your heads, are changed by the death of that 
man into refreshing breezes and fertilizing dewsj." It was thus 
that he addressed the clergy of Sicily, while, at the same time, 
he prepared to reduce that province, together with the kingdom 
of Naples, under his own iumiediate government, and attach 
it in perpetuity to the dominions of the Church. In pursuance 
of this project, he quitted Lyons, his constant residence"^ during 
the uncertainties of the war, and visited, in a sort of triumphal 
procession, the Guelphic cities of Italy. He was everywhere 
received with an enthusiasm which he had not merited by any 
regard for any interests except his own ; and he is even sup- 
posed somewhat to have chilled the misplaced gratitude of his 
allies by the unexpected assertion of some spiritual pretensions 
over themselves. In Sicily, and the south of Italy, he suc- 
ceeded in creating a powerful party ; but it was overthrown by 
the arms of Conrad and Manfred, the sons of Frederic. Foiled 
by force, the Pope had recourse to intrigue ; and he began to 
treat successively with the kings of England and France, with 
a view to bestow the crown of the Sicilies on a branch either of 
the one family or the other. In the mean time, the death of 

* 111 a similar spirit of CMiristian forgiveness, the same Pope is related to have 
expressed his exultation at the death of Grostete, bishop of Lincoln. " I rejoice, 
and let every true son of the Church rejoice with me — that my great enemy is 
removed!" Assuredly that admirable prelate had gone very far in disaffection, 
not hesitating to denounce Innocent, almost with his dying breath, as Antichrist; 
" For by what other name are we to designate that power, which labours to de- 
stroy the souls that Christ came to save P " 

f On the departure of the Pope from Lyons, the Cardinal Hugo made a vale- 
dictory address to all the population of both sexes ; and it contained the foHowing 
sentence: — ''' Amici, magnam fecimus, postcpiani in banc Urbem venimus, utili- 
tatem et eleemosynam. Quando enim primo hue venimus, tria vel quattuor pro- 
tibula invenimus. Sed nunc recedentes unum solum relinquimus. Verum ipsum 
durat continuatum ab orientali parte civitatis usque ad occidentalem," This is 
related as fact by Matthew Paris, ann, 1251. 


Conrad revived in him the expiring hope of uniting it to his 
own. Ambition resumed her sway; and he broke oft" the 
imperfect negotiations. The kingdom of Naples was again 
thronged with his emissaries ; seditions were in every quarter 
excited in his favour; and even Manfred himseH', in the behef 
that resistance would be vain, advanced to the frontiers to offer 
his submission, and deigned to lend by the bridle the horse of 
the pontiff" as he crossed the Garigliano. 

This event, whicli seemed to secure to the court of Rome 
the throne of Naples and Sicily, and thus to extend its domi- 
nions beyond any limits which it had at any time reached, or, 
till lately, aspired to, took place in the summer of 1254. The 
duration of this unnatural prosperity was even shorter than 
could have been predicted by the most penetrating statesman ; 
for before the conclusion of the very same year, Manfred had 
again possessed himself of the keys of the kingdom. But In- 
nocent did not live to witness this second reverse; — he had 
already expired * at Naples, in mature old age, and in the con- 
fident persuasion that he had achieved the dearest object of 
his ambition, and that he died the most powerful prince who 
had ever filled the throne of St. Peter. 

During a pontificate of eleven years and five months, he had His Cha- 
displayed all the qualities which consinnmate an artful poli- 

* Soon after Innocent's deatTi, (of which the exact da}', it is proper to remark, 
is disiputed, Fai;!, Inn. IV., sec. Ixv.) a cardinal had the foUowinj^ vision. He 
saw a nohle matron, on whose hrow the word Ecc/esia was written, present her 
petition at the Jiuiginent-seat, sayinp;, Justissiaie Judex, juste judica. She then 
brouj^lit forward tliese charj^es against Innocent IV. (1.) At ihe foundation of 
the Church, Thou didst give it liberties pro ceedinc; from Thyself; hot he has 
made it the vilest of slaves (ancillain vilissimaisi). (2.) It was founded to benefit 
the souls of the miserable ; — he has made it a table of money-gatherers, (o.) It 
was founded in Faith, Justice, and Truth ; — but he has staggered Faiih, destroyed 
Justice, arid clouded Truth. " Justum ergo j;idieiutn redde mihi." Then the 
Lord said to hinij Go and receive thy reward according to thy merits. And thus 
he was carried away. The cardinal then woke, through tlie terror of this sen- 
tence, and shouted so loud, as to excite the suspicion of insanity. " Ista visio 
(continues Matthew Paris) (nescitur si iantastica) nudtus perterruit ; et utiiiam 
cum effectu castigans emendavit." That it was generally propagated, and per- 
haps believed at the time, is sufficient to prove tons (if we needed indirect proof) 
what was the sort of reputation which Innocent IV. possessed among his contem- 


tician, and which disgrace a bishop and a Christian. As a 
statesman, he designed daringly, he negotiated skilfully, he 
intrigued successfully; he perfectly comprehended the means 
at his disposal, and adapted them so closely to his purposes, 
that his reign presented a series of those triumphs * which are 
usually designated glorious. As a chui-chman, he bade defi- 
ance to the best principles of his religion ; he set at nought the 
common feelings of lumianity. The spiritual guide to eternal 
life, he had no fixed motive of action, except vulgar temporal 
ambition. " The servant of the servants of God," he rejected 
with scorn the humiliation of Frederic f, and spurned a sup- 
pliant emperor who had been his friend. And lastly, when 
the infant son of Conrad was presented to his tutelary protec- 
tion by a dying father, the prayer was haughtily refused ; and 
" the father of all Christians, and the protector of all orphans," 
hastened to usurp the hereditary rights of a Christian child 
and orphan. These circumstances duly considered, with every 
allowance for times and prejudices, seem, indeed, almost to 
justify the expression of the sultan of Egypt, in his answer to a 
letter of Innocent — the taunt of a Mussulman addressed to 
Christ's vicar upon earth ; — " We have received your epistle, 
and listened to your envoy : he has spoken to us of Jesus 
Christ — whom we know better than you know, and whom loe 
honour more than you honour him |." 
Alexander Alexander IV. succeeded to the chair, to the passions, and 
to the projects of Innocent; and it was the leading object of 

* We should mention, however, that the fall of Frederic is not wholly attri- 
butable to Innocfnt's inHuence. A very strong republican anil anti-imperial spirit 
previously prevailed in many, especially the northern, cities of Italy, which the 
Pope could not have created, though he very well knew how to avail himself of 
it. Another remark we may here make, — that Innocent was much more success- 
ful in fomenting seditions, and makuig parties in foreign states, than in securing 
the subordination of his own capital. There were few cities in Italy where he 
had less influence than at Rome, which may account for his continual absence 
from it. See Sismondi, Rep. Ital., chap, xviii. Matthew Paris, Hist. Anglise, 
ann. 1254. 

j Sismoiidi, Rep. Ital., chap. xvii. 

X " De quo Christo plus scimus ipiam vos sciatis, et magnificamns cum plus- 
quam vos magnificatis." Bzov., Ann. Kccles., ad ann. 12G4. jMatthew Paris, 
Hist, ad ann. eundem. The letter is a very sensible composition, and deals very 
directly with the subjects on which it treats. 



his reign of six years to maintain or recover the temporal pos- 
session of the kingdom of Manfi-ed. But he possessed neither 
the firmness of character nor tlie various talents necessary for 
success. The machine, which had not always moved obediently 
even to the hand of Innocent, seemed to lose, in his feebler 
grasp, all the elasticity of its action ; and it became evident, 
before the end of his pontificate, that the sceptre of Naples and 
Sicily was not destined to a bishop of Rome. At the same 
time, Alexander was celebrated for the exercise of some of 
those virtues which were not found in his predecessor — for 
earnestness of piety, or, at least, for assiduity in prayer, and 
the strict observance of Church regulations*. The favours 
which he bestowed upon the Mendicant orders will prove his 
zeal, indeed, rather than the wisdom of his policy. But the 
crusade which he preached, from whatsoever motive, against 
the tyrant Eccelino, was almost justified by the crimes of that 
miscreant; for though a war proclaimed "in the name of God" 
is, in most instances, only wickedness cloaked by blasphemy, 
yet we may view it with some indulgence, wlien it is directed 
against the convicted enemy of mankind. 

For the seven following years (from 1261 to 1268) the chair ^jj^^^^^' 
was occupied by two Frenchmen, Urban IV. and Clement IV., ment IV. 
wlio have obtained an eminent place in civil as well as eccle- 
siastical history, by the introduction of Charles of Anjou to the 
throne of Naples. Whether from personal hostility to the actual 
occupant of that throne, or from ecclesiastical rancour against 
the son of Frederic, or from a political determination to cut off 
all connexion between the south of Italy and the empire, or 
from all these causes united, the Holy See, by whomsoever ad- 
ministered, did not remit or relax its exertions for the expulsion 
of Manfred. The negotiations with the court of France, which 
Innocent IV. had commenced and interrupted, were renewed 
and concluded by Urban IV.; and during the following reign 
of Clement, the crusade against a legitimate and virtuous 

* Alexander IV. is Ihus characterised by Matthew Paris:— " Satis benip;nus 
ft bene rcligiosus; assiduus in oratiouibus, in abstinentia strenuus,sed sibihs adu- 
laiitium seducibibs, et pravis avarorum sugj^estionibus ijicliiiitivus." Pagi is very 
much offended by the qualification of the praise. 


monarch was completed with the most sanguinary success. 
The brother of St. Louis supported his usurpation by the same 
merciless sword which had achieved it ; and the liistorians of 
Italy still recount, with tears of indignation, the more than 
usual horrors of the French invasion. 

But however strong tliis pope's nationality may have boon, 
it did not cause him to forget his papal interests. The con- 
ditions which he exacted from Charles, on investingf him with 
the crown of Naples, contained most of the claims then in dis- 
pute between kings and popes, such as the unqualified appoint- 
ment to vacant sees, the exclusive care of the temporalities 
during vacancy, and even the abolition of all pretensions rising 
from the regalia*. 

Ecclesiastical writers likewise inform us that commendams 
to benefices, and the distinction between simple benefices, 
and those with cure of souls, were the introduction of 
this age ; and that the jurisdiction, privileges, and immunities 
of the clergy were thus extended as far as possible. Plurali- 
ties were strictly prohibited, and commonly enjoyed. On tlie 
other hand, ecclesiastics were compelled to contribute, not only 
to the real or pretended necessities of tiie church, Init fre- 
quently, under one pretext or other, to the exigencies of the 

On the death of Clement, the See was vacant, through the 
disunion of the cardinals, for about three years. At length, 
in 1272, an Italian, a native of Piacenza, was elected, and 
Jregory X. assumed the name of Gregory X. — " a person (says Fleury f ) 
of little learning, but of great experience in secular affairs, 
and more given to the distribution of alms, tlian tlie amassing , 
of riches." He was in the Holy Land at the time of his ap- 
pointment ; and as he returned with a keen and recent impres- 
sion of its sufferings, and with an enthusiasm freshly kindled 
by that spectacle, the first act of his pontificate was directed to 

* See Giannone, Stor. Ji Nap., lib. xix., cap. v. In a Bull, dated in 1266, he 
declared that the disposition of all bem-fices rij^htfully belonged to the pope. The 
claims of the princes were supported by a decree of the Council of Lyons. See 
Dupin, Siecle xiii., sec. x. 

f Hist. Kccl.j lib. Ixxxvi. bee. xvii. 


the revival of the crusading ardour ; and the same continued 
to the end of his Hfe to be the favourite object of his exertions. 
He was successful, because he was sincere. Tliose, who cared 
not for his reasoning, listened to his disinterested supplications ; 
those who were not inflamed by his enthusiasm, still respected 
and loved it. It was no longer against a Christian sectarian, 
or a Catholic Emperor and his persecuted race, tliat the mo- 
narchs of Europe were called upon to arm ; it was no longer 
for the peculiar aggrandizement of the court or Church of 
Rome, that the father of Christians summoned them to battle; 
thev had already learnt to distinguish between the interests of 
the Vatican and the honoiu- of Christ ; and the magic which a 
spiritual pope had so long exercised over the human mind lost 
mucli of its fascination and power, as soon as he degenerated 
into a temporal prince. 

But Gregory X. had higher and less ambiguous claims on 
the o-ratitude of Christendom than any zeal for the deliverance 
of Palestine could possibly give him. He laboured to compose 
the dissensions of his distracted country ; to heal the wounds 
which had been so wantonly inflicted by the selfish ambition 
of his predecessors. He interposed impartially, and therefore 
not vainly, to reconcile the opposite factions of Guelphs and 
Ghibellines*; and exhibited to them the new and venerable 
spectacle of a pacific pope. He interposed too in the atVairsof 

* Lconardus Aretinus (Ilistor. Florent. lib. iii. p. 48, edit. Ar^'ent. 1610) 
bears ample testimony to the sanctity and pacific character of Gregory, and de- 
tails the circumstances of his attemp'. to reconcile parties at Florence. The fol- 
lowing is given as part of his address to the citizens:— •• Qua) est igitur haec tarn 
praepotens causa? Quod Guelphus est (inquit) aut Gibellinus— nomina ne ipsis 
qnidem qui ilia proferunt nota ! — Ka nimirum causa est cur cives necantur, domus 
iiK-enduntur, evertitur patria, sititur proximi sanguis. Oh puenlem stultitiam ! 
oh amenliam nou ferendam ! Gibellinus est— at Christianus, at civ is, at proximus 
at consanguineus. Ergo ha?c tot et tarn valida conjunctionis nomina Gdjelhuo 
succumbent ? Et id unum atque inane nomen (nam quid signiiicet nemo uitel- 
ligit) plus valebit ad odium, quam ista omnia tarn praeclara et tarn sohda et ex- 
pressa ad caritatem, &c." These sentiments (the historian adds) were grateful to 
thcmuhitude, but displeased the aiistocracj-. The Pope was then ..bliged t) lay 
the city under an interdict ; and his admirable intentions involved him in an ob- 
stinate contest with the nobles. But any doubts which might still remain respect- 
ing his sanctity were removed (as Lconardus gravely asserts) by the numerous 
miracles performed at his toml). 


the empire ; but it was again for the purpose of terminating a 
division which threatened the peace of Germany ; and he 
proved the sincerity of his intention by confirming the election 
of Rodolph, who had secured and deserved the affections of 
his people. Another project^ on which he was bent with like 
earnestness, had the same respectable character, — the recon- 
ciliation of the Greek and Latin Churches ; and in this diffi- 
cult affair he also obtained a complete (though very transient) 
success, by the concessions of the Emperor Michael, and the 
temporary or noriiinal submission of his Church. 
The Second It was at the second Council of Lyons that the deputies of 
Lvon" " ^^^® ^^^^ presented their faithless homage to the Roman pontiff. 
1274, A.o. But that prelate had two other, and, perhaps, dearer objects in 
the summoning of that vast assembly *. The one was to com- 
plete the preparations for this long- projected Crusade: the 
other was worthier of his wisdom, and even of his piety — 
to reform the obnoxious abuses of his Church. In the course 
of the six sessions of the council, thirty-one constitutions were 
enacted for the better administration of the Church, and they 
did honour at least to the intentions of those who promulgated 
them. Some eight or ten of these related to the election of 
bishops ; several others to cures and benefices, to the discipline 
or temporalities of the Church. Another (the 21st) was levelled 
against the unlimited growth of Mendicant orders; disbanding 
all whicli had not Ibrmally received the papal confirmation, 
and discouraojinCT the foundation of others. But that, amonor 
the acts of this assembly, which was at the time the most cele- 
brated, and perhaps in effect the most permanent, was the law 
which regulated the method of papal election, by severe re- 
straints imposed upon the conclave |. It was then enacted, 

• Five hundred bishops, seventy mitred abbots, and a thousand inferior clergy 
and theolo}j;ians composed this Council, assembled in 1274, The lep;ates of Michael 
the Greek Kmpeior, and ot the King of the Tartars, were present. Also the am- 
bassadors of France, Germany, England, Sicily, &c., and one Prince, James of 
ArrajTon. Pagi, Greg. X., s xxv. 

f Pagi, Vit. Greg. X. sect. xli. Fleury, liv. Ixxxvi., sect. xlv. It was quiie 
obvious that, as men and cardinals are constituted, these regulations could nut 
be enforced rigorously. But with some modifications they subsist even to this 


that the cardinals should be lodged in one chamber, witlioiit 
any separation of wall or curtain, or any issue — that the cluun- 
ber should be so closed on every side, as to leave no possibility 
of entrance or exit. " No one shall approach them or address 
them privately, unless with the consent of all present, and on 
the business of the election. The conclave (properly the name 
of the chamber) shall have one window, through which necessary 
food may be admitted, without there being space for the human 
body to enter. And if (v\hich God forbid) in three days alter 
their entrance they shall not yet have come to a decision, for 
the fifteen following days they shall be contented with a single 
dish, as well for dinner as for supper. But after these fifteen 
days they shall have no other nourishment than bread, wine 
and water, until the election shall be made. During the elec- 
tion, they shall receive nothing from the apostolical chamber, 
nor any other revenues of the Roman Church." 

The expedition to Palestine gave promise of the most favour- Intended 
able issue. The emperor Rodolph had engaged to conduct it; ^^iJ'i^'aeat'h 
Philip the Hardy, king of France, Edward of England, James of Gregory, 
of Arragon, and Charles of Sicily, had pledged their faith to 
attend it; supplies had been secured by the miiversal imposi- 
tion of a tax on ecclesiastical property ; and the following year 
was devoted to the necessary preparations. At the termina- 
tion of that year (in January, 1276), before one galley had 
departed, or perhaps one soldier embarked, the pope himself 
fell sick and died. From that moment (says Sismondi) the 
kings, into whom he had inspired his enthusiasm, renounced 
their chivalrous projects ; the Greeks returned to their schisms, 
and the Catholics, divided afresh, turned against each other 
those arms, which they had consecrated to the deliverance of 

The short reigns of Innocent V., Adrian V., and John XXI. Nicholas 


were not distinguished by any memorable event. Nicholas III., 
a Roman of the family of the Ursini, succeeded in 1277, and 
devoted himself with great prudence and success, not so much 
to enlarge the temporal edifice of his Church, as to secure the 
foundations on which it stood. For that purpose, he resumed 
some negotiations, commenced by Gregory X. at Lyons, with 


Rodolph, king of the Romans, and brought them to so fortu- 
nate a termination, that that prince finally satisfied all the 
donations of preceding emperors, and recognized the cities of 
the ecclesiastical states as being absolutely independent of him- 
self, and owing their entire allegiance to the pope, Nicholas 
had another object of jealousy in the increasing power of 
Charles, king of Sicily, and he had the address * to engage 
that prince to resign two very important dignities, which he 
had probably acquired through the subservience of Clement IV. 
One was the office of imperial vicar-general in Tuscany ; the 
other was that of senator of Rome. We have already had 
occasion to mention the inefficacy of the pope's civil authority 
in his own capital; and this had lately been subjected even to 
additional insult by the frequent appointment of foreigners to 
the highest offices. Pope Nicholas published a constitution 
to prevent the recurrence of this evil, and to limit the time of 
possession to one year. 

It is worth remarking, that in defence of his temporal sove- 
reignty, as well over the states, as over the city, of Rome, he 
appealed to the immoveable foundations on which he conceived 
them to rest. In favour of the firsts he pleaded the donations 
of Loviis the Meek, and the confirmations of Otho I. and St. 
Henry -j- ; in favour of the second, the " Donation of Constan- 
tino;" and he maintained, that the temporal power of tlie pope 
and his cardinals was absolutely necessary for the free exercise 
of their spiritual functions. He reigned only two years and 
nine months : he is commonly described as possessing many 
good qualities ; and we read of no other serious charge against 
him than that he heaped upon his greedy relatives and con- 
nexions the most splendid benefices of the church with unme- 
rited and shameless prodigality. 
Martin IV. The king of Sicily was successful in procuring the election 
of a Frenchman, Martin IV., who is chiefly remarkable in 

* The art with which ho played off the emperor and king of Sicily against 
each other, until he obtained all that he required from both, was worthy of the 
most refined ages of papal diplomacy. See Sismondi, Rep. Ital., chap, xxii., 
ann. 1277, 1278. 

f Fleury, liv. liixxvii., sect. xv. and xvi. Haiu. anu. 1278. s. 57 and 74. 


history for his LMitire subservience to the interests of his patron. 
In violation of both the clauses of the constitution of Nicholas, 
he accepted the office of senator, and held it for life. As this 
was the first instance of such condescension on the part of 
St. Peter's successors, it has not escaped the notice of the his- 
torian. And if, indeed, the claims on the temporal sovereignty 
of Rome, which they had asserted for above two centuries, had 
been well founded, it would have been a strange and unprece- 
dented degradation for a sovereign prince to exercise a simple 
magistracy in his own city*. ]3ut Martin was probably less 
disposed to examine the remote and general question of right 
than to avail himself of the substantial power thus firmly vested 
in his own person. 

He enjoyed his dignity for a very short time, though suffi- 
cient to make him witness of the " Sicilian Vespers" and the 
misfortunes of his countrymen. He was buried in the church 
of St. Lawrence, and many sick were healed at his tomb, in 
the presence of vast numbers of the clergy and laity, accord- 
ing to the evidence of a contemporary author, who affirms that 
those miracles still continued while he was writing, six weeks 
after the decease of the pontiti"j-. The mention of these im- 
postures is so common, even in the pages of the most enlightened 
Catholic historians, that we are not justified in passing them 
over in entire silence. In fact, they formed so essential a part 
of the Roman Catholic system, that we should do injustice to 
its whole character if we were not occasionally to notice them. 

Martin was succeeded by a noble Roman, Honorius IV.; Nicholas 
and ho by another native of the Roman states, Nicholas IV., ^^• 
who was elected in 1288. The claims of this pope on historical 
notice are confined to some diligent but almost hopeless exer- 

■>' Sismoiidi (chap, xxii.) asserts that he immediately transferred his dignity 
to Charles, following Jordanus apud Raynaldum, and other authorities. The 
words of the appointment sufficiently express the extent of the power conferred. 
" Nobiles viri . . Electores ordinati . . . domino Martino Papae IV. 
unanimiter et concorditer transtulerunt et plenarie commiserunt regimen senatus 
Urbis, ejus(iue teriitorii et distiictus toto tempore vita; sua: et dederunt sibi 
I)h'nam et liberam potestatem regeiidi toto tempore Urbem . . . per se, 
vel per alium, vel per alios, et eligendi senatorem, vel senatores," &c. &c. 

f Fleury, liv. Ixxxviii., sect. xvii. Both Maitin and his predecessor were ex- 
tremely attached to the Franciscan order. 


tions to excite the princes of Europe to another crusade ; and 
to some as zealous, and as fruitless, efforts for the extirpation 
of heresy. In 1288 he stimulated his mendicant emissaries 
to peculiar diligence both in Italy and Provence, and put in 
practice a somewhat singular method -for securing the ortho- 
doxy of his people*. He obliged the converted heretic to be 
bound in a pecuniary recognizance against relapse, and to find 
sufficient securities for payment. Avarice was scarcely become 
even yet the ruling passion of the Vatican : but since the sway 
of Innocent III., it had been rapidly gaining ground; and the 
edict of Nicholas gives fearfid indications of its progress. In 
the year following, an ordinance was published at Venice, for 
the piu-pose of facilitating the operations of the inquisition; 
and it was approved and confirmed by the pontiff. 

Nicholas died soon afterwards ; and the history of his suc- 
cessor is distinguished by so many strange circumstances from 
the ordinary annals of papal biography, that it may afford 
relief as well as advantage to unfold its particulars. Throuo-h 
the disunion of the cardinals, the see had already been vacant 
for seven-and-twenty months^ and no progress seemed yet to 
have been made towards the decision. They were still as- 
sembled in conclave, and still without any prospect of imme- 
diate accommodation, when, on some day in the beginning of 
July, 1294, one of their number was prevented from attending 
the delibei-ation by the sudden and violent death of his brother. 
By this casual occurrence, the thoughts of the venerable society 
were directed to man's mortality ; and their reflections assumed 
Election of a serious and solemn character. At length, returniagr to the 
M.iioiie, or Subject before them, the bishop of Tusculum asked with vehe- 
Celestine mence, " Why then delay we so long to give a head to the 
Church ? whence this division among us ?" To which Cardinal 
Latino added, " It has been revealed to a holy man, that un- 
less we hasten to the election of a pope, in less than four 
months the anger of God will burst upon us." Hereupon, 
Benedict Gaietano (the same wdio was afterwards Boniface 

* The idea was not orif^iual. Instructions to the same effect were given to the 
Minorites by Alexander iV. in 12r38. It was then provided that the money so 
raised should be employed in the prosecution of heretics. 


VIII.) sarcastically smiled and said, " It is brother Pietro di 
Morone, to whom that revelation has been vouchsafed?" Latino 
answered, " The same ; he has written to me that, when en- 
gaged in his nocturnal devotions before the altar, he had re- 
ceived the command of God to communicate this warning." 
Then the cardinals began to discourse of what they knew con- 
cerning that holy man. One dwelt on the austerity of his life, 
another on his virtues, another on liis miracles. Presently 
some one proposed him as a can(^date for the see ; and a dis- 
cussion immediately arose on that question. 

The debate was of very short duration, for reason had given 
place to passionate emotion, and passion was mistaken for in- 
spiration. Cardinal Latino first gave his suffrage for Pietro 
di Morone; his example was eagerly followed by his col- 
leagues, and the sudden and ardent unanimity of the conclave 
was attributed to the immediate impulse of the divinity*. 

Its choice had fallen upon a weak and aged recluse, whose 
life had been devoted to the most rigorous observances of super- 
stition, and whose inveterate habits of solitary meditation dis- 
qualified him for the commonest offices of society. His very 
name was derived from the mountain-top where his existence 
had passed away. The cave in which he dwelt had been the 
refuge of a dragon, who obsequiously^ resigned it to his human 
successor : we are seriously assured, that his infancy had been 
ihe object of that miraculous agency which he so profusely 
exercised in his later years ; and that, even at his entrance 
into this polluted world, he was protected by the semblance, or 
the reality of the monastic liabitf . 

The deputies proceeded to announce to him the astounding 

* A suspicious historian would perhaps except Benedict Gaietano from the 
charfj^i' of superstitious enthusiasm. Possibly even then he proposed to profit by 
the weaknesses of Pietro; but he could scarcely have considered theui as the 
object of God's especial interposition, or have believed that an old man. who had 
not hitherto filled any office in society, had been selected by the especial favour 
of Providence to occupy the highest. 

f All these fables are sedulously and solemnly related by Bzovius. " llaiiebat 
matri fixiuu (juod nascenti olim filio contigerat, ac tanquam magnum aliquod 
divinuinque portendehat. Ex utero siquidem matevno exieat circumamit-tus in- 
dumento quodam, quod nihil ab his, quibus religiosi homines vestiuatur, differebat." 
Ad ann. 1294. 


change in his fortune. They arrived at the city of Snhiione, 
and having received permission to present themselves^ ascended 
with toil and sweat the narrow and rugged path which led 
through a desolate wilderness to the cell they sought. The 
cell was closed against them, and they were compelled to 
make their commiuiication through a small grated window. 
Through the interstices they beheld a pale old man, attenuated 
with fasting and macerations, with a beard disheVelled and 
eyes inflamed with tears, tumbling with the agitation into 
which the awful announcement had thrown him. The Arch- 
bishop of Lyons then assured him of the enthusiasm which 
had united the cardinals in his favour ; and pressed him, by 
accepting the dignity, to compose the troubles of the Church. 
Pietro answered, "I must consult God — go and pray likewise." 
He then prostrated himself on the earth, and after remaining 
some time in supplication, he rose and said, " I accept the 
pontificate, I consent to the election — I dare not resist the will 
of God — I will not be wanting to the Church in her necessity." 
No sooner was the result of this interview bruited abroad, than 
the sides of Mount Morone were frequented by assiduous visit- 
ants, whom piety, or interest, or curiosity conducted to the cavern 
of the hermit-pope. Churchmen and laymen of every rank 
hastened to pay homage to his virtues, or his dignity ; and his 
earliest levee was adorned by the presence of two kings*. 
His cha- It was immediately discovered that the qualifications of 

Celestine V. (Pietro assumed that name) fell far short even 
of the ordinary limits of monastic capacity. He was entirely 
io-norant of all science and all literature; even the Latin lan- 
o-uage was nearly strange to him ; against the comprehension 
of worldly matters his eyes were closed by perpetual seclusion, 
and his blindness was confirmed by old age ; his simplicity 
tempted and rewarded deception, and he was guilty of the most 

* Charles le Boiteux of Sicily, and Irs son Charles 3Iartel, titular prince of 
Hungarj-. The pope elect descended to Aquila to assume his pontificals, on an 
ass, and the two princes held the hridle. 

Intumidus vileni Murro conscendit aselluni, 
Rejourn fraena manu dextra Isevaque regeute 
Might there not in this act be some of that '' Humility which apes the Divinity 'f 



oxtraordiuary errors in the discharge of his easiest duties. 
Besides this, he brought with him from his cell and his convent 
(for he had been the founder of a new Order of Monks, distin- 
guished for their illiterate vulgarity) a disaffection towards the 
higher ranks of the secular clergy, which was not perhaps 
without reason ; and a contempt for their luxuries and abhor- 
rence for their vices, which formed the holiest feature in his 
character. It was probably this disposition which endeared 
him to the laity, as well as to many among the regular clergy; 
and no doubt it was the alienation from his own official coun- 
sellors, which subjected him too obsequiously to the influence 
of the kino- of Sicilv. For under this influence he was assuredly 
actino-, when, without any foresight of the inevitable conse- 
quences of the measure, he added to the college of cardmals 
seven natives of France. 

These were circumstances sufficient to excite the dissatis- 
faction of that body, and their suspicions respecting the nature 
of the spirit which had decided their choice. They professed 
apprehensions, which were not wholly unreasonable, lest, by 
some new imprudence, the pope should compromise or concede 
the inviolable rights of the Church.— They disliked the frugal 
severity of his court ; they complained, with ju.stice, that he 
preferred an obscure residence in the kingdom of Naples to 
the Holy and Imperial City ; and the bitterness of their dis- 
pleasure was completed, when he revived in all its rigour the 
obnoxious constitution of Gregory X. respecting the manner of 
papal election. 

In the mean time, Celestine had discovered his own dis- 
qualifications and his inability to correct them. Amidst the 
incessant toil of occupations which he disliked and dignities 
which he despised, he sighed for the tranquillity of his former 
solitude; and then, that his pious meditations might not wholly 
be discontinued, he caused a cell to be constructed in the centre 
of his palace, whither he frequently retired to prayer. On sucli 
occasions, he sometimes gave vent to his deep disquietude. " I 
am told that I possess all power over souls in this world — why 
is it then that 1 cannot assure myself of the safety of mine own ? 
that I cannot rid myself of all these anxieties, and impart to 



my own breast that repose which I can dispense so easily to 
others ? Does God require from me that which is impossible ; 
or has he only raised me in oixler to cast me down more 
terribly ? I observe the cardinals divided ; and I hear from 
every side complaints against me. Is it not better to burst my 
chains, and resign the Holy See to some one who can rule It 
in peace ? — if only I could be permitted to quit this place and 
retiu'n to my solitude ! " 
His reslg- Several of the cardinals having observed that disposition, 
were sedulous to encourage it. It was entirely in accordance 
with their general wishes, with that most especially of Benedict 
Gaietano ; since he designed himself for the successor. Those, 
on the other hand, who profited by Celestine's simplicity, or 
reverenced his piety, or admired his popular austerities, dis- 
suaded him from so unprecedented a project. But the good 
man was sincere and inflexible*; and after tasting for only five 
months of the bitterness of power, he pronounced his solemn 
resignation J of the pontificate. 

Thus far his vows were accomplished without any obstruction. 
But the last aspirations of his prayer were not accorded, nor 
was it given him again to breathe the peaceful breezes of Mt. 
Morone. The shadow of his dignity continued to haunt him 
after he had cast away the substance ; the man who had pos- 
sessed the chair of St. Peter, and abdicated it, could not possibly 

* Bzovius describes liis aidour for abdicatiun, by tbe strong expression "tbat 
no one ever accepted office so eagerly as he resigned it." Tbat writer (if we could 
forget the miraculous absurdities which overload bis narrative) has described this 
curious episode in papal history more fairly than Mosheim ; for the latter over- 
looks the old hermit's absolute incapacity, in a partial eagerness to attribute the 
discontent of bis clergy to the cunsciuus'.iess of their own vices, and the fear of a 
rigorous refonnalion — though tbat may unquestionably have been one of their 

f "I, Celestine V., moved by sufficient caiises — by humility, by the des're of 
a bettL-r life, by respect for my conscience, by the feebleness of my body, by 
my deficiency in knowledge, by the evil disposition of the people, and to the end 
that I may be restored to the repose and consolation of my ])ast life — resign tbe 
papacy freely and voluntarily, and renounce tbat office and that dignity,' &c. . .. 
Such was the form of his resignation, as given by Fleury (1. 89, s. 34) on the au- 
thority of Wadingus, 1294, n. G. As his power to resign was by some held 
doubtful, the cardinals suggested to him first to publish a general constitution, 
authorizing a pope to abdicate his office. lie did so. 


descend to insignificance, or rise to independence. The merit 
of resigning a throne was insufficient to atone for the impru- 
dence of accepting it; and Celestine was condemned for the 
remainder of his days to strict confinement by the jealousy of 

As the pontificate of Boniface VIII. is the hinare on which Boniface 

, . VIII 

the subsequent history of papacy almost entirely turns, we 

must follow its particulars with more than usual attention. 
Whatsoever flexibility or show of moderation Benedict Gaietano 
may have exhibited before his advancement, he threw off all 
disguise and all restraint as soon as he had attained the object 
of his ambition. His pride seemed to acknowledge no limit, 
and no considerations of religion, or policy, or decency could 
repress his violence. In 1298, Albert of Austria caused himself 
to be saluted king of the Romans ; and having slain his com- 
petitor in battle, made the usual overture to the pope for con- 
firmation. But this favour Boniface was so far from according, 
that he placed the crown f upon his own head, and seizing a 
sword, exclaimed, " It is I who am Caesar; it is I who am em- 
peror ; it is I who will defend the rights of the empire !" There 
is a solemn and aftecting function in the Roman Church (cele- 
brated on the first day of Lent), in which ashes are thrown on 
the heads of the proud and great, to remind them of their 
insignificance and mortality. While the pope was performing 
this ceremony, one Spinola, archbishop of Genoa, a political 
adversary, presented himself in his turn to receive the lesson of 
humiliation. Boniface beheld him, and dashing the ashes in 

* Soon after his resignation, he escaped from some attendants whom Boniface 
IkuI placed over him, with the view of returning to his ancient cell ; but finding 
himself pursued, he turned towards the eastern coast, in the hope of finding a 
refuge in Greece. He was speedily overtaken ; but in the mean time he had 
materially swelled the catalogue of his miracles, and established that sort of 
reputation by which he merited liis canonization. 

I We may here observe that, in consistency with his principles, Boniface VIII. 
introduced the regular use of the double crown, which before had been assumed 
only on occasions. It appears from the images of the popes, as well as from his- 
torical evidence, that from St. Sylvester to Boniface VIII., they were contented 
with a single crown. From Boniface to Urban V., they doubled the symbol of 
royalty, as its substance was really falling from under them. From Urban down- 
wards, throughout the dicline and overthrow of their authority, they have fondly 
clung to the majesty of the triple crown. 



liis face, said to him. '•' Gibclline ! remember that thou art 
dust, and that with thy brother GibeUines thou wilt return to 
dust *." As the kingdoms of Europe were then situated, not only 
in political reference to papal usm-pation and predominance, 
but also in respect to the revival of learning, the progress of 
civilization, the change of principles, and the decay even of 
some inveterate prejudices, there only wanted an intemperate 
defender, such as Boniface, to decide the wavering balance and 
precipitate before its time the baseless despotism of Rome. 

Those historians are, notwithstanding, in error, who date the 
decline of the papal supremacy from the reign of Innocent III. 
On the contrary, the system had not then quite attained the 
fulness of its force ; it had not then achieved its greatest tri- 
umph, which, without question, was the deposition of Frederic 
II. And if it is true, that, from Innocent IV. to Boniface VIII., 
no additional ground was gained, that no fresh claims were 
asserted, even that some former claims were less eft'ectually 
enforced, it is certain, on the other hand, that not one iota of 
the papal pretensions had been resigned; and that they had 
met for the most part with ready, or at least imdisputed, ac- 
quiescence. But in the mean time the imderstanding of man- 
kind had been no longer stationary ; knowledge and genius and 
reason had revived and taken corn-age, and were advancing to 
the assertion of their eternal rights ; and in the eye of the phi- 
losopher, it was a circumstance of evil omen to the projects of 
Boniface, that they were \u-ged by the contemporary of Dante. 
Nevertheless, whether insensible to tlie weakness of his own 
cause, or to the progress of the principles opposed to it, or 
imagining by violence to supply the want of strength, he re- 
solved to push the temporal pretensions of the See to their 
most extravagant limits-}-. 

* These anecdotes are related by Sismoiuli (Rep. Ital. chap, xxiv.) without 
suspicion, on the authority of Pipini and Muiatori. 

f Ruj^giero di lioria having conquered Gerba, and some other islands, till then 
nearly unknown, near the coast of Africa, was contented to receive them in fief 
and on condition of tribute, from Boniface, who vouchsafed him a Bull of Inves- 
titure, in 1293. ("Insulas objacentes Africse, Gerbam nimirum et Cherchinas, 
quas Loria barbaris cripuerat, jure fiduciario, sedis Apostolica; liberalitate Boni- 
facius ei possidendas attribuit." Kaynaldiis. Ann. 1295, s. xxxvi.) It was on 
the ground of this precedent, that two centuries afterwards, Alexander VI. assumed 


His first measures worc^ indeed, a specious appearance, since His tempo- 
he presented himself as the advocate of peace. He endeavoured siynj.. 
to reconcile Charles of Sicily, and James of Arragon ; and 
more than once obtruded his mediation upon the Kings of 
England and France ; these attempts seem to have had no other 
fruit, ihan a considerable contribution levied upon the English 
clergy. He then turned his attention in other directions. In 
1297, he gave the kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica in fief to 
James of Arragon and his posterity, on certain conditions of 
aid and subsidy to Rome. In 1300 he laid claim to the kingdom 
of Scotland, and directed Edward I. to withdraw his' soldiers 
from that country ; and in the correspondence thus occasioned 
between those two great usurpers, each party might have found 
it easier to invalidate the claims of the other, than to establish 
his own — this burst of empty arrogance passed of course with- 
out efiect. He pretended to the disposal of the crown of Hun- 
gary, and gave it to a grandson of Charles le Boiteux ; and 
when some of the nobles (in 1302) ventured to support a rival 
prince, he addressed his legate there established in the following 
terms: — "I'lie Roman pontiff established by God over kings 
and their kingdoms, sovereign chief of the hierarchy in the 
church militant, and holding the first rank above all mortals, 
sitteth in tranquillity in the throne of judgment and scattereth 
away all evil with his eyes* .... You have yet to learn that 
St. Stephen, the first Christian King of Hungary, offered and 
jjave that kingdom to the Roman Church, not willing to assume 
the crown on his own authority, but rather to receive it from 
the vicar of Jesus Christ ; since he knew, that no man taketh 
this honour on himself, but he that is called of Godf ." In 
1303 Boniface found it expedient to acknowledge as king of 
the Romans the same Albert whom he had formerly reviled ; 
this concession was attended by a recognition of his own autho- 
rity, by that prince, to the following effect. " I acknowledge 

the right to disiiosc of ;iU undiscovered tracts, continental or insular; and to con- 
cede the whole extent of terra incognita to Ferdinand and Isabella, by drawing a 
line on the map from pole to pole. Giannone, lib. xix. cap. 5. 
♦ Prov. XX. 8. t Heb. v. 4. 


that the Roman empire has been transferred by the Holy See, 
from the Greeks to the Germans in the person of Charlemagne; 
that the right to elect a king of the Romans, destined to be 
emperor, has been accorded by the holy see to certain princes 
ecclesiastical and secular ; and that the kings and emperors 
receive from the holy see the power of the sword." He con- 
cluded that act of subservience by an unconditional promise of 
military aid, if it should be required by the Pope. His sin- 
cerity was never ]mt to trial, and when we consider for how long 
a period, and with what general success, the dependence of the 
empire had been asserted by the Popes, and recollect the pe- 
culiar foundation on which that claim rested, we shall scarcely 
wonder at its unequivocal acknowledgment by Albert. From 
these facts, we may at least observe the assiduity with which 
Boniface pressed his temporal pretensions in every quarter of 
Europe. We shall now proceed to the princijjal theatre of his 
exertions, and watch the accumulation of the tempest which 
followed them. 
Philip the The throne of France was then occupied by Philip the Fair 
France — ''• '^^•^'^ ^^ arrogant, as jealous, as violent as Boniface, and 
perhaps even surpassing him in audacity. The clergy of France, 
though very faithfully attached to the Catholic Church and 
respecting the Pope as its head, had on various occasions, from 
the earliest period of papal usiu'pation, displayed an indepen- 
dent spirit of which we find no trace in other countries — yet 
not such as to give the slightest indications of schism, or even 
to prevent the holy see from making some successful inroads. 
The first* mention that we find of the liberties of the Galilean 
(as distinguished from the Roman) Church is in the year 
1229, and on an occasion of which it has no reason to be proud. 
A very rigorous Ordonnatice was then published in the king's 
name for the extinction of Heresy — enjoining the immediate 
punishment of otlenders, commanding the strictest search to be 
made for them, and offering a reward on conviction — and the 
object of this was " to establish the liberties and immunities of 
the Gallican Church." But the act, from which those liberties 

* Fleiii}-, liv. Ixxix. sect. 1. 


really cLate their oricjin, is the celebrated Pragmatic Sanction 
of St. Louis, published in 12G9, on his departure against the 
Saracens. Its constitutions will be recorded in the next chap- 
ter. Their leading purpose was to protect episcopal election 
and preferment to l)enefice.s, the privileges granted to monas- 
teries and ecclesiastical persons, and the property of the church 
generally, from the intrusions and exactions of Rome. Thus 
this matter rested till the reign of Boniface VIII. The fixed 
and distinct principle on which the Galilean liberties were 
finally placed (the inferiority of the Pope to a General Council) 
was not yet estaljlished, not perhaps even broached ; but enough 
had been done to prove to a moderate Pope, that neither the 
king nor the clergy of France were prepared to acknowledge 
an implicit obedience. 

The first difference between Boniface and Philip was merely 
sufficient to discover the disposition, and inflame the animosity 
of both. The Pope had learnt, that the kings both of France 
and England had levied contributions on their clerical, as well 
as their lay, subjects for purposes of state. In consequence, he 
published, in 129G, his celebrated Bull, beginning C/e/ic/s Bull Cleri- 
Laicos, of which the substance was this: "Antiquity relates to "sLaicos. 
us the inveterate hostility* of the laity to the clergy, and the 
experience of the present age confirms it manifestly — since, 
without consideration that they have no power over ecclesiasti- 
cal persons or property, they load with impositions both prelates 
and clergy, regular and secular ; and also, to our deep affliction, 
prelates and other ecclesiastics are found, who, from their 
greater dread of temporal than eternal majesty, acquiesce in 
this abuse." He then proceeds to pronounce sentence of ex- 
communication against all who shall hereafter exact such 
impositions, whether kings, princes, or magistrates, and against 
all who shall pay them. 

* On this sentence, Fleury, the most candid of Catholics, veiy simply remarks, 
"That aversion of laymen for the clergy, which the Pope mentions, ascended 
not to a very high antiquity ; since/or the Jive or sLrJiisl ages the clergy secured 
the respect and affections of all men, by their charitable and disinterested con- 
duct." (Liv. Ixsxix. s. xliii.) No clergy, which shapes its conduct by any other 
principle, ever will secure, or ever ought to secure, cithyr atfection or respect. 


Dispiitos Very ?oon afterwards, Philip published, in retort, an edict, 

Boniface foi"bidding the export of money, jewels, and other articles spe- 
and Philip, cificd, out of his dominions. The Pope, who was thereby 
deprived of his ecclesiastical contribvitions, presently put forth 
a long reply and remonstrance, in which he explained his pre- 
ceding Bull to mean, that the consent of the Pope is necessary 
for the levying of the aforesaid contributions ; that, in circum- 
stances of great national exigency, even that might be dispensed 
with; and that the prohibition did not extend to donations 
strictly voluntary'''. At the same time he enlarged on the 
liberty of the Church — the ark of Noah — the spouse of Jesus 
Christ — to which He had given power over all the body of the 
faithful, and over every individual member of it. By these 
general expressions he intended to insinuate, not only that 
princes had no power over the Church, but that the Church 
pos.sessed unlimited control over princes. The rejoinder on the 
part of the king had more reason in its theology, and more 
piety in its reason. It professed a holy fear of God, and re- 
spectful reverence for the ministers of the Church ; but, in the 
full consciousness of justice, it repelled with disdain the sense- 
less menaces of man. In the following year, the Pope had the 
prudence to address to the archbishop of Rheims such an inter- 
pretation of the Bull as left to Philip no reasonable ground of 
complaint. And French historians, with great probability, 
attribute the rare moderation of Boniface to his necessities or 
his avarice]-. 

The truce thus tacitly established between the parties was of 
very short duration. Indeed, where there were so many undefined 
and disputable rights, it was not possible that peace could long 
subsist between two rivals ecpially disposed to encroachment 
and usurpation. In the year 1301, Philip arrested (and seem- 
ingly with justice) Bernard de Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, a 
creature of the Pope, on the charge of sedition and treasonable 
language, and caused him to be confined until the sentence of 

* Pagi, Vit. Poiiif. VIII., sect. xxviii. 

t To the same cause we may probably ascribe the proclamation of the first 
Jubilee, in the year 1300, by Boniface,— an institution to which \\x shall recur in 
a future chapter. 


degradation shoidd be passed on him, previous to the infliction 
of legal punishment. At the same time he wrote a respectful 
letter to Boniface, praying him to deprive the culprit of his 
clerical privileges, or at least to take measures for his convic- 
tion. But Boniface, having learnt that a bishop had been 
placed in confinement, addressed his answer (which he sent by 
a special legate) to that point only ; and denying that laymen 
had received any power over the clergy, he enjoined the king 
to dismiss the prisoner freely to the pontifical presence, with full 
restitution of all his property, at the same time reminding him 
that he had himself incurred canonical punishment for having 
rashly laid his hand on the person of a bishop. On the same 
day, or very soon afterwards, he published a Bull, addressed 
also to Philip, in which, after exhorting his son to listen* with 
docility to his instructions, he proceeded in the following terms : 
— " God has set me over the nations and over the kingdoms, to 
root out and to pidl down, and to destroy and to throw down, 
to build and to plantj, in his name, and by his doctrine. Let 
no one persuade you, then, that you have no superior, or that 
you are not subject to the chief of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. 
He that holds that opinion is senseless, and he that obstinately 
maintains it, is an infidel, separate from the flock of the good 
Shepherd." . . He then continued, still out of his atlec- 
tionj for Philip, to charge him with many general violations 
of the ecclesiastical privileges, or, as they were then more com- 
monly called, liberties; and concluded by informing him, that 
he had sunmioned all the superior clergy of France to an assem- 

"-'' Ausculta,Jin — the two first words of this Bull— have affixed to it its historical 
name. It was iniblished in December, 1301, and was preceded only two days by 
another constitution of Boniface, called Sahmtor Miiiidi, by which he suspended 
all favours and privilej^es which had been accorded by his predecessors to the kinj^s 
of France, and to all their subjects, whether lay or clerical, who abetted Philip. 
Pagi, Bunif. VIII., sec. Ivii. 

f Jerem. i. 10. The words are addressed to Jeremiah, in respect to his pro- 
jdietic mission ; but they had been perverted to the support of the pajial preten- 
sions long before the time of Boniface. See, for instance, the letter of Ilonoriiis 
HI., written in 122,), to Louis of France. The '• plenitude of power which the 
Holy See has received from God" is there placed chiefly on that foundation. 

X Another reason by which lie justified his interference, was his own responsi- 
bility to God for the soul of King Philip, 


bly at Rome, on the 1st of the November following (1302), in 
order to deliberate on the remedies for such abuses. 
Philip Philip was astonished by this measure, but not so confounded 

burns the ^^ ^^ deviate either into timidity, or rashness. He convoked a 
Bull. full and early assembly or parliament of his nobles and clergy. 

In the meantime, he burnt the Bull of the Pope as publicly as 
possible, and caused that act to be proclaimed with trumpets 
throughout the whole of Paris. In his subsequent address to 
his parliament, he mentioned the proceedings of Boniface, 
disclaimed with scorn any temporal allegiance to him, retorted 
the charges of corruption and mal-administration, declared his 
readiness to risk any loss or sutlering in defence of the common 
interests, and referred the decision of the question to the assem- 
bly. The barons and lay members pronounced their opinions 
loudly and unhesitatingly in favoin- of the king. With them the 
question was, in a great degree, national. They were jealous 
of the honour of the crown, and eager to protect it from any 
foreign insult. And though a calmer judgment would, perhaps, 
have taught them, that such a restraint upon the monarchy 
might, in its effects, be beneficial to all classes of the people, 
they sacrificed every consideration of policy to the passion of 
the moment. The situation of the clergy was exceedingly 
difficult, since they had two duties to reconcile, which, even in 
ordinary times, were not always in strict accordance, and which 
were then in direct opposition. Their first attempt was to ex- 
plain and justify the intentions of the Pope ; but that was 
repelled with general contempt and indignation. Then they 
expressed a dutiful anxiety to assist the king, and maintain the 
liberties of the kingdom ; but at the same time they pleaded 
the obedience due from them to the pope, and prayed for per- 
mission to attend his summons to Rome. This permission 
was clamorously refused by the king and his barons. 

The clergy then addressed a letter to the pope, in which 
they expressed an apprehension lest the violent and universal 
hostility*, not of the king and his barons only, but of the body 

* " The laity absolutely fly from our society, and repel us from their con- 
ferences and councils, as if we were guilty of treason against them. They de- 


of the laity, should lead to an entire rupture between France 
and Rome, and even between the clergy and the people ; and 
they prayed that he would release Ihem from the summons to 
Rome. At the same time the bai'ons also wrote — not, indeed, 
to the pope, but to the college of cardinals — in severe censure 
of the new and senseless pretensions of Boniface, on whom per- 
sonally they cast the entire blame of the difference. In reply, 
the cardinals disavowed, on the part of Boniface, any assertion 
that the king of France held his temporalities of the pope ; 
while, in defence of his ghostly authority, they maintained, 
" that no man iii his senses can doubt, that the pope, as chief 
of the spiritual hierarchy, can dispense with the sin of every 
man living." In his reply to the dutiful supplication of the 
prelates, the pope rebuked them for their want of courage and 
attachment, enforced on them the indisputable subjection of 
things temporal to things spiritual, and persisted in command- 
ing- their attendance at Rome. 

The great majority disregarded the summons; but some few Bull Unam 
were found who considered their first obedience as due to their '^"^ '^'"" 
ecclesiastical sovereign. These proceeded to Rome ; and, in 
spite of their small number, Boniface availed himself of the 
name of this council to publish the Decretal, commonly known 
as the Bull Unam Sanctam. The propositions asserted in this 
celebrated constitution are, first, the Unity of the Holy Catho- 
lic Church, without which there is no salvation ; wherein is one 
Lord, one faith, one baptism. Hence it follows, that of this 
one and only Church there is one body and one head, (not two 
heads, which would be monstrous,) namely, Christ, and Christ's 
vicar, St. Peter, and the successor of St. Peter. The second 
position is, that in the power of this chief are two swords, the 
one spiritual, and the other material ; but that the former of 
these is to be used by the Church, the latter for the Church ; 
the former is in the hand of the priest, the latter in the hand of 

spise ecclesiastic censures, from whatsoever quarter they may come, and arc 
preparinj; and taking precautions to render them useless. In this extremity (they 
added) we appeal to your prudence, and we supplicate you, with tears in our eyes, 
to preserve the antient union between chiuch and state, and to provide for oui- 
saiciy by revoking the summons yuu have sent us." Fleury, xc, sec. ix. 


kings and soldiers, but at the nod and sufferance of the priest. 
It is next asserted, that one of these swords must be subject to 
the other sword, otherwise we must suppose two opposite prin- 
ciples, which would be Manicha^an and heretical. Thence it is 
an easy inference, that the spiritual is that which has rule over 
the other, while itself is liable to no other judgment or autho- 
rity than that of God. The general conclusion is contained in 
one short sentence, — " Wherefore we declare, define, and pro- 
nounce, that it is absolutely essential to the salvation of every 
human being, that he be subject unto the Roman pontiff*." 

But Boniface did not content himself with mere assertions. 
On the very same day he also published a Bull of excommuni- 
cation against all persons, of whatsoever rank, even kings or em- 
perors, who should interfere in any way to prevent or impede those 
who might desire to present themselves before the Roman See. 
This edict was, of course, understood to be directly levelled 
against Philip. Soon afterwards he sent a legate into France, 
the bearer of twelve articles, which boldly expressed such papal 
pretensions as were in opposition to those of the king ; and 
concluded with a menace of temporal as well as spiritual pro- 
ceedings. The claims contained in these articles have been 
already mentioned, and do not require enumeration. But what 
may raise our surprise is, that the answer of Philip was ex- 
tremely moderate; that he condescended to explain away nmch 
that seemed objectionable in his conduct ; that he promised to 
remedy any abuses which his officers might liave committed, 
and expressed his strong desire for concord with the Roman 

His moderation may have been affected, and his explana- 
tions frivolous, and the abuses in question he may not have 
seriously intended to alleviate. But at least it is true that he 
had never sought the enmity of Rome ; and had Boniface 
availed himself of that occasion to close the breach, when he 
might have closed it with profit and dignity, his last days 
might have been passed in lofty tranquillity : he would have 

* The texts on which these propositions were chiefly fouuded arc John x. IG ; 
Romans xiii. 1 ; Jeremiah i, 10; 1 Corinthians ii. 1j. 


been respected ainl feared, even by those who hated him ; and 
])osterity would still have admired the courage and the policy 
which had contended against the most powerful prince in 
Europe, in no very blind or superstitious age, without disadvan- 
tage or dishonour. But the pope did not perceive this crisis 
in his destiny. He proceeded in his former course — he pro- 
claimed his dissatisfaction at the answers of the king, and re- 
peated and redoubled his menaces. 

Philip had then recourse to that ])ublic measure which so 
deeply influenced the future history of papacy — the convoca- 
tion of a general council, to pronounce on the proceedings of 
the Pope. But while he was engaged in preparations for this 
great contest, and for the establishment of a principle to which 
his clergy were not yet prepared to listen*, a latent and much 
shorter path was opened to the termination of his perplexities. 

William of Nogaret, a celebrated French civilian, in con- Outrage on 
junction with certain Romans of the Colonna family, who had ""' '""^' 
fled for refuge to Paris from the oppression of Boniface, passed 
secretly into Italy, and tampered successfully with the per- 
sonal attendants of the pope. The usual residence of the lat- 
ter was Anagni, a city some forty or fifty miles to the south- 
east of Rome, and his birth-place. There, in the year 1303, 
he had composed another Bull, in which he maintained, " that, 
as vicar of Jesus Christ, he had the power to govern kings with 
a rod of iron, and to dash them in pieces like a potter's ves- 
sel f ;" and he had destined the 8th of September, the anniver- 
sary of the nativity of the Virgin, for its promulgation. A rude 
interruption disturbed his dreams of onmipotence, and disco- 
vered the secret of his real weakness. On the very day pre- 
ceding tlie intended publication of the Bull, Nogaret, with 
Sciarra Colonna, and some other nobles, escorted by about 
three hundred horsemen, and a larger number of partisans on 
foot, bearing the banners of France, rushed into Anagni, with 

* Nut only did the bishops and the whole clergy decline any active part in 
the proceedings against the pope, but they refused any share in them, and only 
consented to the convocation of the council through the necessity of seeking some 
remedy for the disorders of the Church. 

t Psalm li.y. 


shouts of " Success to the king of France ! — Death to Pope 
Boniface !" After a feeble resistance, they became masters of 
the pontifical palace. The cardinals dispersed and fled — 
through treachery, as some assert, or, more probably, through 
mere timidity. The greater part of the pope's personal attend- 
ants fled also. 

Boniface, when he perceived that he was surprised and aban- 
doned, prepared himself with uncommon resolution for the last 
outrage. " Since I am betrayed (he cried) as Jesus Christ 
was betrayed, I will at least die like a pope." He then clothed 
himself in his official vestments, and placed the crown of Con- 
stantine on his head, and grasped the keys and the cross in his 
hands, and seated himself in the pontifical chair. He was now 
eighty-six years of age. And when Sciarra Colonna, who first 
penetrated into his presence, beheld the venerable form and 
dignified composure of his enemy, his purpose, which probably 
was sanguinary, seemed suddenly to desert him, and his re- 
venge did not proceed beyond verbal insult *. Nogaret fol- 
lowed. He approached the Pope with some respect, but at 
the same time imperiously informed him, that he must prepare 
to be present at the council forthwith to be assembled on the 
subject of his misconduct, and to submit to its decision. The pope 
addressed him — " William of Nogaret, descended from a race 
of heretics, it is from thee, and such as thee, that I can patiently 
endure indignity." The ancestors of Nogaret had atoned for 
their errors in the flames. But the expression of the pontiff was 
not prompted by any offence he felt at that barbarity ; not by 
any consciousness of the iniquity of his own oppression f , or 

* Some modern French historians assert that Boniface was severely wounded 
hy the assailants— a story which is idly rei)eated by Mosheim, and reechoed even 
by Gibbon. It is the innunmous affirmation of contemporary writers, that no 
hand was raised against him. See Sismoudi, cliap..\.\iv. The words of S. An- 
toninus (part 3., tit. XX., chap. 8. sec. xxi.) are express. " Domino aiilem dispo- 
nente, ob dignitatem Apostolicaj Sedis, nemo, ex inimicisejus ausus fuit mittere 
in emn manus; sed indutum sacris vestibus dimiseriint sub houesta custodia, et 
ipsi insistebant jirfedae, &c." Sue Pagi, Bonif. \'III., sec. Ixx. 

t Boniface VIII. was a very faithful patron of the Inquisition; and if his 
name is not distinguished in the list of persecuting popes, it is rather from llie 
want of opportunity tiian of inclination. Persecution being now systematized by 


any sense of the justice of the retribution ; it proceeded simply 
IVoiu the sectarian hatred which swelled his own breast, which 
ho felt to be inipkicable, and which he believed to be mutual. 

While their leaders were tints employed, the body of the 
conspirators dispersed themselves throughout the splendid 
apartments in eager pursuit of phmder. Any deliberate plan 
which might have been formed against the person of the Pope 
was disappointed by their avarice. Dvu'ing the day of the 
attack, and that which followed, the French aj^pear to have 
been wholly occupied in the ransack. But in the meantiuie the 
people of Anagni were recovered from their panic ; and per- 
haps they were more easily awakened to the shame of deserting 
their pope and their citizen, when they discovered the weakness 
of the aggressors, and the snare into which their license had 
led them. They took up arms, assaulted the French, and 
having expelled or massacred them, restored to the pontiff his 
freedom and authority. 

But they were unable to restore his insulted honour and the 
spirit which had been broken by indignity. Infuriated by the 
disgrace of his captivity, he hurried from Anagni to Rome, 
burning for revenge. But the violence of his passion presently 
overpowered his reason, and his death immediately fol- His Death, 
lowed. He was attended by an ancient servant, who ex- 
horted him to confide himself in his calamity to the Consoler 
of the afflicted. But Boniface made no reply. His eyes were 
haffofard, his mouth white with foam, and he gnashed his teeth 
in silence. He passed the day without nourishment, the night 
without repose ; and when he found that his strength began to 
fail, and that his end was not far distant, he removed all his 
attendants, that there miiiht be no witness to his final feeble- 
ness and his parting struggle. After some interval, his domes- 
tics burst into the room, and beheld his body stretched on the 
bed, stiflf and cold. The staff which he carried bore the mark 
of his teeth, and was covered with foam ; his white locks wore 

the regular machinery of the Inquisition, there were fewer occasions for indivichial 
distinction. See Whately on "The Errors of Romanism," ch. v., sec. iii., vi., 
p. 241— '244. 


stained with blood ; and his head was so closely wrapped in 
the counterpane, that he was believed to have anticipated his 
impending death by violence and suflPocation *. 

This took place on the 10th of October; and precisely on 
the same day, after an interval of 303 years, his body was dug 
up and transferred to another place of sepulture. Spondanusf, 
the Catholic historian, was at Rome at the moment. He 
relates the circumstances, and mentions the eagerness with 
which the whole city rushed to tlie spectacle. His body was 
found, covered with the pontifical vestments, still fresh and 
uncorrupled. His hands, which his enemies had asserted to 
have been bitten away in his rage, were so free from decay and 
mutilation, with every finger entire, that even the veins and 
nerves appeared to be swelling with flesh and life. 

After the death of Boniface, the French interest presently 
prevailed in the college; and in the year 1305 the archbishop 
of Bourdeaux, a native of France, was elected to the chair. He 
took the title of Clement V., and presently transferred the papal 
residence from Rome to Avignon. 

* Sismondi, Rep. Ital., end of chap. xxiv. " Concerning which Bonifaco (says 
Matthew of AVestminster) a certain vcvsifiLr wrote as follows: — 
Ingreditur Vulpes, regnat Leo, scd Canis exit; 
Re tandem vera si sic fiiit, ecce GliimEera !" — 

Fiores Histor. ad ann. 1303. 
Others give the same in the form of a prophecy, delivered by Marone, during 
his imprisonment. '■ Ascendisti lit Vulpes, legnabis ut Leo, et morieris ut 
Canis." Antiq. Eccles. Britann. ad ann. 1295. 

f Spondanus continued the History of Baronius from the year 11 98, in which 
it concludes, to 1G46. See alsoBzovius on this same occurrence, ann. 1;03, 

( 321 ) 


(I.) On Louis IX. of France — His public motives — contrasted with those of Con- 
stantine and Chavlemagne — His virtues, piety, and charity — Particulars of his 
civil ley;islation — His superstition — The original Crown of Thorns — its removal 
to Paris — its reception by the king — his death — His miracles and canonization 
—The Bull of Boniface VIII.— (II.) On the Inquisition.— \\\\M\^v St. Louis 
contriljuted to its establishment — Origin of the I n(iuisition— Office of St. Domi- 
nic and his contemporaries — Erection of a separate tribunal at Toulouse — by 
Gregory IX. — The authority then vested in the Mendicants — its unpopularity 
in France — Cooperation of St. Louis — Conduct of Frtderic II. — of Inno- 
cent IV.— Limits to the prevalence of the Inquisition. — (HI.) On the GuUican 
Liberties. — Remonstrance of the Prelates of France respecting excommunica- 
tions — firmness of Louis — his visit to the Cistercian chapter — The supplication 
of the monks, and the reply of the King — Eaily spiiit and sense of indepen- 
dence in the French clergy — the Pragmatic Sanction of St- Louis — its principle 
— The six articles which constitute it — Consequences of the policy of Inno- 
cent III. — (IV^) On the Crusades. — Remarks on the character and circum- 
stances of the first Crusade— Exertions of St. Bernard for the second Crusade 
— its fatal result — Excuse of that abbot — Causes of the fall of the Latin king- 
dom of Jerusalem — Third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh Crusades — The 
eighth and ninth — St. Louis — Termination of the Crusades, and final loss of 
Palestine — General remarks — (1.) On the Orhjin and first motives of religious 
pilgrimage — Treatment of first pilgrims by the Saracens — Pilgrimage during 
the tenth and eleventh centuries — Concpiest of Palestine by the Turks — Piac- 
tice of private feuds and warfare in Europe — prevalent in the tenth century — 
The superstitious spirit of the same age — associated with the military — Giencral 
predisposition in favour of a Crusade — Failure of Sylvester II. and Gregory VII. 
— (2.) On the Ohjects of the Crusades — what they were — what they were not 
• — The object of the first distinguished from that of following Crusades — Con- 
duct and policy of the sovereigns of Europe — of the Vatican — Gradual change 
in its objects. — (3.) On the Results of the Crusades — Advantages produced by 
them — Fev\' and partial — on government — on commerce — on general civilization 
— Evils occasioned — Religious wars — Immoral influence — Corruption of chiu'ch 
discipline — Canonical penance — Introduction of the Plenary Indulgence — its 
abuses — The Jubilee — Interests of the clergy. Note (A.) On the collections of 
Papal Decretals — That of Gratian — the Liber Sextus — Clementines, &c. — 
Note (B.) On the University of Paris — The Four Faculties — Foundation of 
the Surbonne. Note (C.) On certain theological writers — Rise and progress 
of the scholastic system of theology — Peter the Lombard — His " Book of the 
Sentences" — St. Thomas Aquinas — His history and productions — St. Bonaven- 
tura — the character of his theology — The Realists and Nominalists, or Thomists 
and Scotists — The Immaculate Conception. 

It is seldom that the stream of ecclesiastical history receives 
any important contribution from the biography of kings. Our 



more peaceful course is indeed perpetually troubled by the 
eddies of secular polity, and most so in the most superstitious 
ages. The names of Constantine and Charlemagne have, it is 
also true, deserved an eminent rank among the heroes of the 
Church. Bvit if we pass over the legendary tales of the 
monarch-monks of the darkest days, we shall scarcely discover 
any other powerful prince whose policy was formed either on 
an ardent sense of religion or an attachment to ecclesiastical 
interests, until we arrive at the reign of Louis IX. And here 
we must at once distinguish the principles of that prince from 
those either of Constantine or of Charlemagne. By whatso- 
ever motives of genuine piety those two sovereigns may really 
have been influenced, it is certain that their ecclesiastical insti- 
tutions were chiefly regulated for political ends. It was their 
object — an object worthy of their royal rank and virtues — to 
improve the moral and religious condition of their subjects 
through the instrumentality of Christ's ministers, and at the 
same time to raise the dignity and character of those whose 
sacred office, when they are not the worst of men, is calculated 
to make them the best. But the actions of Louis were not 
guided by any such considerations. They proceeded from 
that which it was the purpose of the others' policy to create — ■ 
/ an absorbing Christian piety, with its train of concomitant ex- 
cellencies. On this subject there is no difference among his- 
torians, except in as far as some are more disposed to ridicule 
the superstitious excesses into which he fell, through the prac- 
tice of his age, than to do justice to the lofty motives whence 
his virtues proceeded. 

Section I. 

On Louis IX. 

Character Louis IX. was born about the year 1215, and came to the 

of Louis 1 1 TT 1 

IX. throne at a very early age. He was educated by a mother 

named Blanche, who was eminent for her devotion to God and 

the Church; and we should here remark, that he drew his 

first breath, and received his earliest notions of ecclesiastical 


polity, among the groans of the sufferhig Albigeois. The 
sanctity of his private life was not sullied by any stain, nor was 
it clouded by any austerity. " Never since I was born," (says 
Joinville,) " did I hear him speak ill of any one." He loved 
his subjects; and had his lot been cast in happier days, he 
Avoukl have loved mankind. But the principles of his Church 
so contracted those of his religion, that his benevolence could 
never expand itself into philanthropy. 

He was devout in private prayer^ as well as a constant at- 
tendant on the offices of the Church. On the one hand, his 
submission to the admonitions, and even to the personal cor- 
rections, of his confessor is diligently recorded; and on the 
other, his adoration of the holy cross* is recounted with no less 
admiration. He woidd descend from his seat, and, advancing 
in a homely garment, with his head, neck, and feet bare, and 
his children behind him, bend with such profound humility 
before the emblems of his salvation, that the spectators were 
moved to tears of affection and piety. He appears, too, from 
the same accounts, to have washed the feet of monks and of 
mendicants by a very common exercise of self-abasement. And 
we may overlook this foolish affectation in that substantial ex- 
cellence which distril)uted his charitable benefactions without 
thrift or partiality, through every class of those who needed 
them. The foundation of many churches and monasteries 
secured at the same time the gratitude and fidelity of his spiri- 
tual subjects. 

Hume has ascribed to Louis IX., together with " the mean His policy, 
and abject superstition of a monk, the magnanimity of a hero, 
the integrity of a patriot, the humanity of a philosopher." That 
insatiable zeal for Crusades, which neither his reason, which 

* See the book " De Vita et Actibus Lutlovlci," &c. by his chaplain, William 
(Carnotensis) of Charties ; and his "Vita, Conversatio et Miraciila," by F. Gau- 
fridus, his confessor. One object of the latter is to point out the exact correspon- 
dence of the character of Louis with that of Josiah, The particular description 
and changes of his coarse raiment, the days of his fasting, of his abstinence from 
meat, or from fruit and fish, or from every kind of fish except one, or from every 
thing except bread and water, and such like details of his devotional observances, 
are related by both writers; especially by the confessor, and in his 17th chapter. 
The king's eleemosynary liberality forms the worthier subject of that which fol- 
lows, Both his biographers were Dominicans, 

Y 2 



was powerful, nor his humanily, nor liis philosophy, nor all 
united, were even in later lil'e sufficient to allay, afforded at the 
same time the most pernicious proofs of his superstition and 
his heroism. But his patriotism was more honourably dis- 
played in the internal regulation of his kingdom, in the re- 
moval of abuses, in the advancement of civilization ; and in 
this office (as his domestic biographer observes), he so com- 
bined the secular with the spiritual interests of his subjects, 
that he seemed to discharge by the same acts the double office 
of priest and king*. He detested the practice of usvu'y ; and 
to that motive we may perhaps attribute his hatred for the Jews, 
who exercised the trade exclusively. Still we must doubt the 
wisdom, while we censure the cruelty, of the edict, by which 
he expelled them from the country. He enacted a very severe 
(according to our notions, a barbarous -j- ) law against blas- 
phemy. While we praise his bold, though seemingly ineffec- 
tual, attempts to restrain the moral profligacy of his nobles, 
we shall scarcely less applaud the vigour with which he exerted 
against that body the power of royalty in a cause almost equally 
sacred. It was a leading object of his policy to protect the 
lower classes of his subjects against the brutal | oppression of 
the aristocracy, and to unite the interests of the crown and the 
people against that privileged order, which was ccpially hostile 
to the independence of both. Justice he commonly adminis- 
tered in person §, and tempered it with his natural clemency. 

'•' " Quod etiam quoJammodo regale sacerJotium, aut sacerdotale regimen 
videretur pariter exeiceve." — Gulielm. Caniotensis. 

t He caused the lips (or, as some say, the forehead) of those convicted to he 
seared with a hot iron. 

I Having learnt, on one occasion, that a nohloman had hanged three children 
for the offence of hunting rabbits, Louis condemned him to capital punishment. 
But the rest of the nobility united with so much determination to preserve the 
life of iheir fellow- tyrant and the prerogatives of their order, that the king was 
obliged to commute the punishment for deprivation of property. 

§ "' I have often seen the saint," (says Joinville,) " after he had heard mass 
in summer, come out to the Forest of Vineennes, and seat himself at the fuot of 
an oak, and make us sit all round him. And those who had any business came 
and spoke to him without any officer giving them hinderance. And sometimes 
he would come to the Garden of Paris, and have carpels spread for us to sit near 
him ; and then he administered justice to his people, as he did at Vineennes." — 
Histoire du Roy St. Louis, p. 23. Edit. Paris, 1G17. This history, which is the 


At the same time, he endeavoured to purify its sources by per- 
manent alterations, and to secure at least for future ages the 
blessings which he might despair efTectually to impart to his 
own. Accordingly, he struck at the root of the evil, and made 
it the grand object of his efforts to substitute trial by evidence 
for the " judo-ments of God/' and most especially for the most 
sanguinary among them, the decision by duel. His ordinances 
on those subjects were obeyed within the bomidaries of his own 
domains ; but he had not the power to enforce them universally. 
The barons, who were severally the legislators in their own 
estates, adhered to the venerable establishments of former days; 
and a more general diffusion of knowledge was required before 
the plainest reason, aided even by royal authority, could pre- 
vail against the inveterate sanctity of instituted absurdities. 

It was the same with those humane endeavours to arrest the 
private warfare, in which he anticipated the course of civilization 
by more than two centuries*. But when he despaired of effect- 
ino- this object at once, he attempted at least to mitigate the 
mischief by a judicious prohibition — that neither party should 
commence hostilities till forty days after the offence had been 
offered f. Thus was he compelled to temporize with a great 
national evil, of which he felt at the same time the whole extent, 
as well as his own incapacity to correct it. From these instances 
we may observe, that the civil legislation of St. Louis was 
generally founded on \visc policy, and that it always sprang 
from benevolent motives. We shall presently notice some of 
his ecclesiastical enactments ; but at the same time it must be 
admitted, that the charge of " abject superstition," alleged 

life of an admirable king and Christian by a candid, lojal, unafFecteJ soldier, is 
a beaiiliful specimen of inartificial biography. But, unhappily, the most bene- 
ficial, and, thirtfore, the noblest acts of the monarch, are nut tiiose which have 
most attracted the attention of the soldier. The details of liis campaigns and 
many anecdotes of his private life are related with minuteness and seeming accu- 
racy; but his great legislative enactments are slightly, or not at all noticed. 

* The right of private feud cannot be considered as abolished until nearly the 
end of ihe 15th century. In collecting a large and, for those days, a valuable 
librarj', and in encouraging the progress of knowledge among his subjects, 
St. Louis opened the only certain path to their civilization. 

f Some attribute this regulation to Philippe Auguste. 


against him by the philosophical historian, is not less just than 
the merits also ascribed to him ; nor will it here be out of 
place to recount one celebrated incident in support of this 
His lecep- The History of the Church comprises the records of super- 
crown of stition, which in those corrupt ages was indeed so interwoven 
thorns. with inety, that it is rare to find them separate. The character 
of St. Louis particularly exemplified their combination; it may 
be perpetually detected in his v/arlike enterprises ; but there is 
not one among his spiritual adventures which better illustrates 
himself and his age than the followincr : — The original Crown 
of Thorns had been long preserved at Constantinople as the 
most precious and venerable among the relics of Christ ; yet 
such were at this time the necessities of the government, that 
the holy treasure was consigned in pawn to the government of 
Venice. It was delivered over to the commissioners of the 
republic, who immediately set sail, in a wintry and inclement 
season, full of religious confidence, and were preserved (as it 
was thought) through a perilous voyage by the holiness of their 
charge. The pledge, which the Greeks were too poor or too 
wise to redeem, was eagerly purchased by Louis, and the relic, 
after a few months of repose and adoration at Venice, continued 
its pilgrimage to the west. During the course of an overland 
journey it was again distinguished by the favour of the elements; 
and though the rain fell abundantly during the nights, not a 
drop descended by day to interrupt its progress. At length 
when it arrived at Troyes in Champagne, the event was notified 
to the king at Paris, and he instantly set off to welcome it, 
accompanied by the Queen Blanche his mother, by his brothers, 
by some prelates, and other nobles. 

The royal company met their holy acquisition in the neigh- 
bourhood of Sens, and after they had uncovered the case and 
beheld the object, and moistened it with pious tears, they 
assembled the clergy of the diocese and formed a solemn pro- 
cession towards the city. As they approached the gates, the 
king and his eldest brother, the Count d'Artois, received the 
venerated burden on their shoulders ; and in this manner, with 


naked feet, and no other covering than a shirt *, they carried 
it, in the midst of the adoring crowd, into the cathedral. 
Thence it proceeded to Paris, and there its arrival was hailed 
with a repetition of tlie same degrading solemnities. The whole 
clergy and the whole people were in motion, and again the two 
illustrious brothers, barefoot and naked as before, supported 
and deposited it in the destined sanctuary. An annual festival 
was instituted to commemorate an event of such national im- 
portance — the introduction of this new palladium. But its 
value was soon afterwards diminished by the importation of a 
formidable rival for the popular adoration. It was not long 
before the royal enthusiast succeeded in procuring some sub- 
stantial fi-agments of the real cross ; and this acquisition again 
furnished him with another pretext to multiply to his lively 
subjects the occasions of religious festivity. 

In the year 1270, St. Louis died before Tunis, while in the His death, 
prosecution of his second crusade. His last words are said to 
have been thesef — " Lord, I will enter into thine house ; I will 
worship in thy holy temple, and give glory to thy name. Into 
thy hands I commend my spirit." From the beginning of his 
life to its latest breath the same principle predominated, the 
same religious fervour (however it may sometimes have been 
perverted) influenced all his actions ; and perhaps, in the inter- 
minable catalogue of her saints, the Church of Rome cannot 
number a name more worthy of that celestial dignity than 
Louis IX. But the merit to Avhich that pious monarch was 
chiefly indebted for his heavenly office, was not that to which 
he had ever particularly pretended. His eminent virtues, his 
religious life and death, even his services to the Catholic 
Church, might seem to have entitled him to that high reward. 
But those claims had been wholly insufficient, had it not also 
been conclusively attested that he had performed many manifest 
and astonishintj miracles. 

The canonization of Louis took place twenty-seven years and cauon- 


* Vita et Convers. S. Ludovici, &c., per F. Gaufridum. Aug. 11, 1239, was 
the day consecrated by this exploit. 

f So says \Yilliain of Chartres, and Boniface VIII., in his Bull of Canonization, 
confirms it. 


after his death, and ahnost the whole of that time was employed 
in collecting the necessary documents*. The rapid succession 
of the popes was the cause which retarded it; and it may seem 
as if in mockery of his holy character, that the performance of 
this office did at last devolve upon Boniface VIII. It was 
Boniface who preached the panegyrical sermon, and enlarged 
on those various virtues, which had no counterpart in his own 
bosom. It was the genius of arrogance which paid homage 
to the spirit of humility, and exalted it even to the thrones of 
heaven. " Let the hosts of heaven rejoice at the arrival of so 
noble and glorious an inhabitant — an approved and eminent 
husbandman of the Christian faith is added to their multitudes. 
Let the glorious nobility of the celestial citizens sound the 
jubilee of joy, for an honoured stranger is adscribed to their 
ranks. Let the venerable assembly of the saints arise with 
gladness and exultation to receive a compeer who well deserves 
such dignity. Arise, thou innumerable council of faith ; zealots 
of the faith arise, and sing the hymn of praise in concert with 
the Church which is your own. . . . He offered offence to no 
one, to no one violence or injury. He carefully observed the 
boundaries of justice, without deserting the path of equity. He 
punished with the sword the daring and lawless enterprises of 
the wicked. An ardent lover of peace and concord — an anxious 
promoter of unity — hostile to scandals and dissensions f," &c. 
&c. We may remark that tliis last topic, in the mouth of 
Boniface VIII., was at best an equivocal eulogy. A zeal for 
" unity," and an abhorrence of " scandals and dissensions,'' is 

* In the first of the two sermons delivered by Boniface on that occasion, he 
expressly asserts, that after the fullest examination into the evidence for the 
miracles, he has ascertained tliat sixty-three miracles were assuredly performed, 
besides others which ^God evidently vouchsafed to him — (sexaginta tria, inter 
cactera quae Dominus evidenter ostendit, certitudinaliter facta cognovimus ) Re- 
specting the tedious duration of the investigation lioniface remarks, in the same 
discourse, with great simplicity — "Et ita per tot et toties examinatum est, rnbri- 
catum et discussnm negotium. quod de hoc plus facta est descriptura, quam unus 
asinus posset portare." 

f It is ditKcult to conceive a more turgid and tautologous composition than 
tilts celebrated bull. The merits which Luuis really possessed are enumerated 
without taste or feeling; and the author of the panegyric seems to have been 
•wholly incapable of esliuialiug the character which he pretended to eulogize. 


a praise which, when proceeding iVoni pontifical lips, conveys 
the necessary suspicion of intolerance. Louis has been accused 
of that crime — the riding- iniquity of his age — and we shall 
now examine on what facts that charge i*s really founded. 

Section II. 

On the Inqrmitlon. 

It is asserted, and with truth, that the Inquisition was per- 
manently established in France during the reign of St. Louis ; 
that he never ceased to manifest great partiality for the Do- 
minicans and Franciscans *, and all invested with the inquisi- 
torial office ; and that it was even at the particular solicitation 
of the king f that Alexander IV. confirmed, in 1255, the insti- 
tution of that tribunal, and appointed the prior of the Dominican 
Convent at Paris to be Inquisitor-general in France. That 
we may be able to estimate the real weight of these assertions, 
and (what is more important than the reputation of any indi- 
vidual) that we may understand on what ground that frightful 
structiu'e was erected, we must trace as shortly as possible the 
causes which led to its foundation. 

The itinerant emissaries of Innocent III., among whom Do- Its original 
minic is the name most celebrated, first obtained the title of ^"""' 
Inquisitors — that is to say, they were invested by the pope with 
authority to discover, to convert, or to arraign before the eccle- 
siastical courts all guilty or suspected of heresy. But this was 
the limit of their commission. They did not constitute an 
independent tribunal, nor were they clothed with any judicial 

* It appears that he intended to educate two of his sons for the monasteries, 
and that by his testament he consigned one to Dominican, the other to Franciscan 
tuition. — Gaufridus, Vita et Conversat. chap. 14. 

f See Limborch, Hist. Inquisit., lib. i. cap. 1(5. The annalist Raynaldus has 
expressed his jiious regret, that the admirable institution of the Saint was feebly 
supported, and even entirely overthrown by his degenerate successors ! We shyuld 
observe that the domains of the Count of Poitiers and Toulouse, who was then 
Alphonso, brother of the king, were excepted from the jurisdiction of the prior, as 
being aheady subject to a special commission on matters of faith. The act of 
St. Louis was to establish that generally throughout his kingdom, which had 
hitherto been confined to the most infected province. 


power. The process was still carried on, according to the 
practice then prevailing, before the bishop of the diocese; and 
the secular arm was invited, when necessary, to enforce his 
sentence. But this form of proceeding was not found sufficiently 
rapid to satisfy the eagerness of the pope and his missionaries. 
The work of extirpation was sometimes retarded by the com- 
punctions of a merciful prelate, sometimes by the reluctance of 
the civil authorities to execute a barbarous or unpopular sen- 
tence*. And to remove these impediments to the course of 
destruction, there was no resource, except to institute in the 
infected provinces, with the direct co-operation of the ruling 
powers, a separate tribunal for causes of heresy. This object 
was not immediately accomplished. In the meantime the 
Dominicans and Franciscans were spreading their numbers 
and influence in every coimtry. And as they were the faithful 
myrmidons of the Roman See, and more devoted in their 
allegiance than either the secular or the regular clergy, thus 
arose an additional reason for investing them with a distinct 
jurisdiction. By the council held at I'oulouse in 1229 (of 
which the decrees have been noticed in a former chapter), a 
canon was published which united " one priest with three lay- 
men," in a sort of council of inquisition. It is this regulation 
which is reasonably considered as the foundation of the Court 
of Inquisitionf . 

and com- To Pope Gregory IX. be ascribed the honour of this success ! 

blfshineut '^^^^^ ^^^^ court thus established continued subject to the bishops. 
Its object was ^indeed exclusively such as the most zealous 
pontiff' could have desired ; but it was composed of materials 

* It should be remarked on the other hand, that it was sometimes (especially 
in the beginning of the persecutions) precipitated by the agency of popular fury, 
excited by the preachers against the heretics. Their favourite text is said to have 
been (Psalm xciv. v. 16) " Who will rise up for me against the evil-doers P Who 
will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?" Many of them were 
eloquent — the people were superstitious — the preachers were fanatics. In fact, 
when the ecclesiastical censures were despised, and the secular power refused its 
aid, popular madness was their only remaining instrument. 

f By the Council of Narbonne, held two years before, it was enacted, " that the 
bishops should establish in each parish synodal witnesses to inquire into heresy, 
and other notorious crimes, and to make their report." These were truly esta- 
blished inquisitors; still their office was to report, not to judge. 


neither wholly destitute of human feeling, nor blindly sub- 
servient to the papal will. A further change was therefore 
necessary ; and, accordingly, about three years afterwards, 
Gregory found means to transfer the authority in the new 
court to the Dominican order. It was thus that the Inquisition, 
properly so called — that is, a court for the trial of heretics, 
erected by papal authority, and administered by papal depend- 
ents — was indeed instituted. . . . Some popular commotions 
followed its first proceedings ; besides the indignation excited 
by the object of this institution, there was a general objection 
among laymen to the establishment of any new ecclesiastical 
tribunal, to which all classes were alike amenable * ; — the per- 
sons of .the judges were exposed to insult, and the whole body 
was, for a short time, expelled from the city. But the spirit of 
Rome was yet too powerful, — the fugitives were presently 
restored. And though the inquisitorial system never reached in 
France those refinements in barbarity which some other countries 
have endured — though it obtained, in truth, no veiy permanent 
footing among a humane and generous people — it continued to 
subsist there for several years ; and if there was any sceptre 
under which it can be said to have flourished, it was assuredly 
the sceptre of St. Louis. Still we must not forget that it was 
established in his boyhood ; so that the guilt of that f act is 
unjustly cast upon him. He perpetuated the evil which he 
found; and in the religious code of those days, the "unity of 
the Church " was so carefidly identified with the glory of 
Christ, that an ardent desire for the one might easily degenerate 

* This was not diminished when, to the original offences of heresy, those of 
Judaism, Maliometanism, sodomy, sacrilege, and even polygamy, were added. 
But we have not observed that this wide extension of the objects of that court 
was ever made in France. 

f We must notice the injustice which has hastily been offered to the character 
of Louis IX. by Mosheim. That writer having asserted (on the authority of the 
Benedictine compilers of the history of Languedoc) that Louis published a bar- 
barous edict against heretics, in the year 1229, proceeds thus : — "A great part of 
the sanctity of good King Louis consisted in his furious and implacable aversion 
to heretics." Now, that this aversion formed, at any age, a jirominent part of his 
character, will be asserted by no one who has studied the vho/e of his life. But 
in respect to this particular edict, was Mosheim ignorant that it was published 
under the regency of Queen Blanche, when the prince was not yet fifteen years 


into a misguided zeal for the other. And thus, without intend- 
ing to exculpate the royal persecutor, we are bound to distin- 
guish between the crime of those who created that ecclesiastical 
system, and of him who blindly supported it ; of the church- 
men* who artfully confounded the essence of religion with the 
maintenance of their own power, and of the pious laymen, who 
adopted with reverence the imdisputed and consecrated maxims. 
Progress of The brutal edicts f of Frederic II., published about 1244, 
sition. ^ '"^^^^ ^^ot exceeded by the most barbarous emanations of the 
Vatican, were not palliated by any motive of misdirected piety: 
yet were they much more effectual than the encouragement of 
Louis in arming the fury of the Dominicans, at least within 
the limits of his empire. But the intolerant zeal of Frederic 
neither softened the hostility of Innocent IV., nor preserved 
himself from the anathemas of the Church. After his triumph. 
Innocent pursued and exceeded the footsteps of his predeces- 
sors. He established the tribunal | of the Inquisition in the 
north of Italy, and in that form which made it most effectually 
the engine of the Vatican. It is true that in this court the 
bishop was nominally appointed as coadjutor to the papal in- 
quisitor; but all substantial judicial authority was placed in 
the hands of the latter §. The civil magistrate was likewise 

*In 1239, one hundred and eight}' heretics were burnt in Champagne, in the 
same flames, and in the presence of eighteen bislaops. " It is a holocaust agree- 
able to God ! " exclaimed a monk who witnessed the execution. Was it to be 
expected that a woman and a child should rise up against an ecclesiastical prac- 
tice which was sanctioned by the concurrent zeal of monks, of prelates, of popes, 
and of councils ? 

f Four of them are cited by Limborch, Hist, of Inquisit., lib. i., cap. 12. Ho 
was accused, nevertheless, of having favoured and fostered heresies. His edicts 
MOT/ liave'had that tendency, but he was assuredly innocent of the intention. 

+ Giannone (lib. xix.. chap, v., sec. iv.) seems to ascribe the eslah/tshmcitl of 
the couits virtually administered by the Mendicants to Innocent IV., and with 
truth, so far as Italy was concerned. Two ciicumstances (he remarks) were op- 
posed to it. (1.) The judiciiil rights of the episcopal courts. (2.) The executive 
rights of the secular magistrates. The first was obviated by the nominal associa- 
tion of bishops in the inquisitorial office. The second, by permitting the magis- 
trate to have his minister in the court, though at the appointment of the grand 
inquisitor. There was much art in this concession; for thus, while the ecclesias- 
tics really held the whole power, tlie secular authorities, by being united with 
them in name, were associated in hatred. They were tools — they were mistaken 
for accomplices. 

§ We learn from Bzovius at a later period, (ann, 1302, sect, x,,) that Boui- 


admitted to a seat among the members of the court ; but in 
reality his power was ministerial only. The whole effective 
power, both judicial and executive, was vested in the Domini- 
cans and Franciscans. . . . From Italy, the pestilence rapidly 
spread to the island of Sardinia, to Syria, and to Servia*. On 
the other hand into Spain, the field of its most destructi\e 
ravages, it was introduced so late as the reign of Ferdinand 
and Isabella — a reign more renowned, more panegyrized, than 
any other in the history of that country. But from Spain even 
the despotism of Charles V. was insufficient to communicate it 
to the rest of his svibjects ; the natural humanity of the Germans 
perseveringly repelled that pestilence; and the inhabitants of 
Naples on one side, and of the Low Countries on the other, 
resisted and rejected it with equal constancy. 

We shall not enter more deeply into the records of the In- 
quisition, nor particularize the combinations of its machinery 
and the exquisite harmony of its movements, because it did not 
reach that fatal perfection until a time posterior to the conclu- 
sion of this History. It is with no trifling satisfaction that we 
dispense with tliis labour ; for the details of ingenious barbarity, 
though they may awaken a transient attention, convey little 
that is instructive to a reasonable mind ; and the feelings of 
horror and indignation which they excite, do they not soine- 
times miss their true object, and exceed their just limits ? — do 
they not sometimes rise into a detestation too general and too 
iuiqualified against the Church which permitted such iniquities? 

face VIII. confined the inquisitorial office to the Dominicans, pubhshing at the 
same time some severe constitutions against heretics. There is one feature in 
them which we have not remarked in the earliest edicts. Not only were their 
defensores, receptatores, &c , included in the penalties, but also tht'irfi/ii et nepotes 
— children and grandchildren. Tlie bishop of the diocese was permitted to act in 
concert with the inquisitors; and tlie investigation was ordered to proceed '• sim- 
pliclter et de piano, abpqne advocatorum et judiciorum stropitu et figura !" The 
accusers were allowed to give evidence secretly, if there should seem to be any 
danger to them from the publication of their names. 

''' Limborch, lib. i., cap. xvi. The " Liber Sententiarum Inquisitionis Tholo- 
sance," published at the end of his work, is of great value, not only as it faith- 
fully represents the spirit of the ruling party in the Church at that time, (there 
were no doubt many i/j(/(iii(///n/A- of greater moderation and humanity,) but also 
as the best storehouse of the opinions with which the heretics were charged, and 
for which thev suffered. 


— do they not sometimes close our charities against fellow- 
Christians and fellow-Catholics, who perhaps abominate, as 
intensely as we do, the crimes of their ancestors ? To expose 
the deviations from the precepts of the Gospel and the prin- 
ciples of philanthropy, into which the Chin-ch of Rome, in 
different ages, has fallen, is a painful task so commonly ob- 
truded upon the historian, that he may well be spared the 
gratuitous denunciation of those, which do not lie within the 
boundaries prescribed to his work. 

Section III. 

On the Galilean Liberties. 

St, Louis A DIFFERENCE which took place between St. Louis and his 
clergy. clergy, in the year 1263, throws some light both on his own 
character and on the ecclesiastical history of the age. The 
bishops were desirous to make to the king a remonstrance 
from their whole body; and when they were admitted into his 
presence, the bishop of Auxerre spoke in their name as follows : 
— " Sire, all these prelates here assembled desire me to say, 
that you are permitting the Christian religion to fall to ruins, 
and to crumble in your hands." On which the good king* 
made the sign of the cross, and said, " Now tell me, bishop, 
how that is, and for what reason ?" " Sire," continued the 
bishop, " the evil is, that no regard is any longer paid to ex- 
communication. In these days, a man would rather die under 
the sentence than obtain absolution by making the necessary 
satisfaction to the Church. Wherefore, Sire, all these here 
present request, with one voice, that, for the honour of God 
and in the discharge of your own duty f, it may please you to 

* Joinville, who tells the story, was present. Prem. Partie Vie de St. Louis, 
p. 24. 

t " Pour Dieu, et pour ce qu' ainsi le devez faire." We should observe that 
the demaud on the part of the prelates was not new, and that it had even been 
granted by the predecessor of Louis. The first canon of the Council of Narbonne, 
held in 1227, mentions, as the law then in force, that whoever remained under 
the sentence after three admonitions should pay a fine of nine livres and a denier; 
but that whoever remained so for a whole year should suffer the confiscation of 
all his property, Fleury, liv. Jxxix., sec. xxxii, 


command all your bailitls^ provosts, and other administrators 
of justice, as follows : — That, if any one be found in your king- 
dom who shall have lain under a sentence of excommunication 
for a year and a day continuous, he be compelled, by seizure 
of his goods, to reconcile himself to the Church." The holy 
man (le saint homme) answered, that he would issue such 
order in respect to those who should he proved guilty of injus- 
tice either to the Church or to their neighbour. Tlie bishop 
pressed, in reply, the exclusive privileges of ecclesiastical juris- 
diction; but the king firmly refused the secular aid, unless the 
nature of the offence and the justice of the censure should be 
such as required its interference. This was the endeavour of 
a wise prince to distinguish the boundaries of ecclesiastical and 
civil jurisdiction, and to restrain the former within its just 
limits ; and it shows at least, that on matters which were still 
left open to the exercise of reason, Louis, how much soever he 
might love the religion, was not at all disposed to be over- 
reached or overawed by its ministers. 

We may relate another anecdote of the same monarch, which 
will suggest one or two instructive reflexions to the intelligent 
reader. St. Louis had promised to be present at a chapter- 
general of the Cistercian order, to be held in the year 1244 
with unusual solemnity. Innocent IV. received information of 
liis intention ; and as the contest with P^-ederic involved him 
at that moment in some diflficulties, he took measures to profit 
by the pious disposition of the king of France. The monarch 
arrived, attended by his mothei*, his brothers, and some nobles; 
and all the abbots and the monks of the community, consisting 
of 500, went forth in procession to meet and welcome the royal 
visitor. Immediately, while he was seated in the chapter, sur- 
rounded by his court, the abbots and the monks fell on their 
knees before him, with their hands in the attitude of prayer, 
and their eyes suffused with tears — for such had been the in- 
structions of Innocent. Their prayer was this : — " That, ac- 
cording to the ancient custom and liberty of France, he would 
protect their father and pastor, the holy pontitl', against the 
insults of the emperor; that he would receive him, if necessary, 
into the bosom of his kingdom, as Alexander had formerly 


been received, while flying before the emperor Frederic and 
Thomas of Canterbury, in his persecution by Henry of Eng- 
land." St. Louis descended from his seat, and placed himself 
in like manner upon his knees before the holy suppliants. But 
his reply was dictated by the calmest prudence and policy — ■ 
" tliat he would defend the Church, as his honour required, 
from the insults of the emperor, and no less willingly would he 
receive the exiled pope into his kingdom, if his barons should 
so coimsel him ; but that a king of France could on no occa- 
sion dispense with the counsels of his nobles*." It was no 
secret from the king, nor, pei'liaps, even from his monastic 
petitioners, that the barons of France would never consent to 
open their rich domains as a refuge for the rapacious court of 
Innocent IV. 

If St. Louis, on the one hand, protected the liberties of his 
lay subjects from the usurpations of the clergy, he was no less 
vigilant on the other in shielding- all parties from the increasing 
exactions of Rome. Even from very early ages, the Church of 
France had exhibited on some important occasions marks both 
of independence and good sense above the level of other nations. 
The oriental absurdity of the Stylitcs was rejected by that more 
rational people. The rising authority of St. Leo was unable to 
silence the refractory bishops of France. The use of images 
was for some time discountenanced in that country. The Au- 
gustinian doctrine of predestination found, perhaps, its warmest 
adversaries among the divines of France. But most especially 
in the contest of Hincmar with pope Nicholas, and some other 
occurrences of the ninth century, we detect the spirit of a clergy 
not prepared to pay implicit obedience to the foreign a\itocrat 
of the Church. Nevertheless, no formal declaration of resist- 
ance — no national attempt to emancipate the Gallican Church 
from any of its fetters, or give it security by a separate consti- 
tution against further aggressions — hiid hitherto been made by 
any king of France. 

It was the last among the legislative acts of St. Louis to 

* See Matthew Paris, aim. 1241. We must not confound this affair with a 
conference which did actually take place two 3'ears afterwards between the king 
and the pope within the walls; of Cluni, See Piigi, Vit. Iniioc, IV , sec. xxxiii, 


publish those institutions wiiich formed the basis of the boasted The Prag- 

T I /• 1 ■ 1 matic 

" Liberties of the GalHcau Church.' Just before bis departure sanction. 
for Tunis, he issued his Pragmatic Sanction. It was founded 
on the necessity of distinguishing temporal from spiritual au- 
thority, and became, in after times, the foundation of a more 
extensive emancipation. Like those, however, which were 
built upon it, it was peculiarly directed against the pecuniary 
usurpations of Rome and her claims to the patronage of the 
Church. The latter subject had indeed occasioned the earliest 
contentions between the empire and the Vatican at a time 
when the rights of the dispute were on the side of the latter. 
But since the days of Innocent IL, the usurpations, whether in 
the imposition of taxes or the distribution of benefices, had 
proceeded from the court of Rome; and Louis IX. having 
acquired by his personal character, as well as his wise " Esta- 
blishments *," the atiection and fidelity of his subjects, felt 
strong enough to repress them. 

Accordingly, in the year 1269, that he might ensure the 
tranquillity of his Church and kingdom dxu-ing his absence, and 
also secure for his enterprise the protection of God, he promul- 
gated his celebrated Ordinance. It is comprised in six articles. 
(1.) The churches, the prelates, the patrons, and the ordinary 
collators of benefices, shall enjoy their rights to their full 
extent, and each shall be sustained in his jurisdiction. (2.) The 
cathedral and other churches shall possess the liberties of 
elections, which shall be carried into complete clfect. (3.) We 
will, that simony, the pest of the Church, be wholly banished 
from our kingdom. ( i.) Promotions, collations, provisions and 
dispositions of prelatures, dignities, and other ecclesiastical 
benefices and offices, whatsoever they may be, shall be made 
accordino- to the institutions of common law, of the councils, 
and of our ancient Fathers. (5.) We renew and approve of 
the liberties, franchises, prerogatives, and privileges granted by 

* The " Establishments of St. Louis" belonj,', for the most part, to civil history 
It is only necessary to observe, that though many particular enactments were 
severe, and even barbarous, according to the estimation of a civilized age, they 
were foinided upon principles of policy, and even humanity, far above those ot the 
times in which they were promulgated. Le Roi (says Millot) devint legislateur: 
I'anarchie feodale devoit finir. Another half CLUtury, and it did so. 


the kings our predecessors and by ourselves to churches, mo- 
nasteries and other places of piety, as well as to ecclesiastical 
persons, (fi.) We prohibit any one from, in any manner, levying 
and collecting the pecuniary exactions and heavy charges which 
the court of Rome has imposed, or may hereafter impose, upon 
the Church of our kingdom, and by which our kingdom has 
been miserably impoverished — unless it be for a reasonable and 
very urgent caiise, or by inevitable necessity, and with the free 
and express consent of the king and of the Church*. 
Contribu- gj^ years earlier, when the archbishop of Tyre arrived in 
clergy. France, as the legate of the Holy See, to impose a contribution 
on the clergy for the cost of a holy war, an assembly of 
bishopsf referred his bull to the king, and ordained that, if any 
chose to accede to the claim, they would do so by their own 
free will, not through any legal compulsion from Rome. It is 
obvious from these occasional eb\dlitions to observe, that the 
sordid policy of Innocent IV. was already producing its effect, 
in disposing the secular clergy to resist the despotism of Rome. 
Fifty years had not yet elapsed from the death of that pontiff, 
when we find the prelacy of France placed in direct opposition^ 

* " Item exactiones et onera gravissima pecuniarum per Curiam Romanam 
Ecclesia; regni nostri impositas vel imposita, t[iiibus reguiim nostrum miserahi- 
liter depauperatum extitit, sive etiam imponendas vel imponenda, levari autcoUii;! 
nullatenus volumus, nisi diintaxat pro rationabili, pia et iirgentissinia causa, vel 
inevitabili necessitate, ac de spoutaneo ac expresso consensu nostro et ipsius Ec- 
clesise regni nostri." There are some copies in which the last article does not 
appear. But there is more reason for the opinion, that it was curtailed in those, 
than interpolated in the rest. Though the other articles do not make express 
mention at the court of Rome, yet it seems clear that the second, third, fourth, 
and a part of the first, are levelled against it. See Fleury, liv. Ixxxvi. sec. i. 
Dupin, Nouv. Biblioth., sec. xiii. chap. vii. The act was cited, as here given, by 
the parliament to Louis XI., in 148-3, and in the Act of Appeal of the university 
of Paris, in 149j. 

f The Declaration of the bishops is given by Menard in his notes on Joinville, 
p. 287. 

I The same spirit, of course, extended itself to the lower clergy. It was during 
this reign that a cure at Paris thus addressed his congregation: — " You know, 
my brethren, that I am ordered to publish an excommunication against Frederic 
(II.) I am ignorant of the motive. I am only certain that there has been a 
quarrel between that prince and the pope — God alone knows which is right. I 
excommunicate him who has injured the other, and absolve him who has suffered 
the injury." The congregation were amused with the sally. The emperor is said 
to have sent a present lo the preacher ; but the pope condemned him to canonical 
penance ; and he periormid it accordingly. 



to the Vatican, and a politic priuco availing himself of that. 
spirit to the disadvantage of the Holy See. As long as the 
popes were contented to make common cause with their clergy 
against the secular axithorities, they were indeed strong and 
formidable. But when they openly distinguished betw(H'n the 
interests of the court of Rome and of the rest of the hierarchy 
— when they proceeded to supply the luxm-ics, or forward the 
ambitious projects of the one by invading the revenues of the 
other — ^from that moment the despotism of the apostolical 
chair, notwithstanding the swarm of mendicants which it 
created for its defence, had parted with its only ground or hope 
of permanence. 

Section IV. 
On the Crusades. 

" The report of the Council of Clermont wafted a cheering gale / A 9r 
over the minds of Christians. There was no nation so remote, 
no people so retired, as did not respond to the papal wishes. 
This ardent wish not only inspired the continental provinces, 
but the most distant islands and savage countries *." Accord- 
ingly a mighty mass of fanaticism put itself in motion towards 
the East. The frame of society was convulsed, and seemingly 
dissolved ; and as the will of Heaven is not uncommonly 
pleaded to justify the extravagance of man, the phenomena of 
the physical world were pressed into the same adventure : 
meteors and exhalations pointed out the road to Jerusalem, 
and the most ordinary signs of nature became portents and 
prodigies. The first burst of the storm fell upon some miserable Exploits 
Jews, who were living in peace under Christian protection, and ^Jl^^ ^'j. ^- 
many were massacred. It then rolled onwards; and the follies, the First 
the sufferings, and the crimes, which marked the progress of 
the first crusade, have never been equalled in the history of 
human madness. Nevertheless, as a militai-y enterprise, it was 

* Malmsbury, p. 416. He continues: " The Welshman left his hunting? ; the 
Scotch his iellowbhip with vermin ; the Dane his drinking party; the Norwegian 
his raw fish." 

■z 2 


successful. Some exploits were performed of extraordinary 
daring. The same agency which had lighted the flame was at 
hand to nourish it on every occasion of disaster ; and the spirit 
that was chilled by famine or by fear, was immediately revived 
and inflamed by some new and stupendous miracle. Men who 
could be brought really to believe, while under the endurance 
of the most frightful reverses, that the favour of God was espe- 
cially extended and continuall}^ manifested to them, were capable 
of more than human exertion; the entire abandonment of reason 
left space for the operation of enej-gies which do not properly 
belong to man. 

The victory of Doryleum was followed by the siege of An- 
tioch ; the capture of that city led the way to the investment 
of Jerusalem itself; and the banner of the cross was finally 
planted on Mount Sion, amidst horrors, which probably hud 
not been paralleled since the triumph of Titus over the same 
devoted city. Respecting the double massacre inflicted upon 
the infidels, we shall merely remark, that it had not the excuse 
of hasty, uncontrollable passion, but that it was designed and 
deliberate. A deeply-settled resolution of revenge may have 
had some share in the deed, but the policy of extermination 
had probably more ; and the spirit of religious persecution cer- 
tainly directed the weapons and poisoned the wounds. In the 
mean time. Deux cl volt — it is the will of God — was the watch- 
word and the battle-shout of the Christians ; it overpowered 
the prayers of the women and the screams of their dying 
children*; and was then loudest upon Sion and Calvary when 
the commandments of God and Christ were most insultingly 
St. Bernard The loss of the Crusaders, in this first enterprise, is calcu- 
Kr'sl'cond ^'^^^^^ ^"^^^ probabihty at about 1,200,000 lives!— but the Holy 
Crusade. Sepulchre was freed from the pollution of the infidel; and, 
what perhaps was of more consequence, as respects the con- 
tinuance of similar expeditions, a Latin kingdom was established 

* "Christiani sic neci tohim laxaverant aniimim, ut ncc suj^cns masculus, aut 
fcemina, iiediim infans unius aani vivens manum percussoils evaderct." — Albert, 
ji. 28.'5, cited liy Mills, Hist. Crusades, chap. vi. 


in Jerusalem. It is remarkable, that not one of the sovereigns 
of p]urope adventured his person, or even deeply risked his 
reputation, in the unknown perils of the first Crusade. But, 
nearly fifty years afterwards, the loss of Edessa, and some other 
reverses in the East, awakened the sympathy of Louis VII. of 
France and Conrad III. of Germany, and they determined to 
aid an afflicted Christian and a brother king. For this purpose 
it was necessary to rouse the fury of Europe a second time ; 
and the eager co-operation of St. Bernard secured success. A 
less powerful instrument might have answered the object. Any 
intemperate enthusiast* can excite his fellow-mortals to deeds 
of wickedness : the genius of St. Bernard was given him to do 
good to mankind — but it was contracted by the severity of 
monastic discipline ; it was stained with the prejudices of an 
ignorant age ; it was distorted by the very austerity of his 
virtues ; it was misdirected even by his piety. He entered 
with ardour upon his mission of evil. He traversed fruitful 
provinces and populous cities. Vast multitudes everywhere 
assembled to applaud and to listen; and the energy of his 
delivery and the vehemence of his tones and action roused the 
feelings of many, who were even ignorant of the language in 
which he addressed themf. Such excitement, in a matter 
where passion and not reason was engaged, produced every 
effect of persuasion ; and if, besides, there were any so torpid 
as to resist the natural eloquence of the holy man, he enjoyed 
that other resource, so potent in its influence where all the 
ordinary operations of the mind are suspended — he possessed 
the gift of miracles, and proved his heavenly mission (so his 
credulous panegyrists assert) by many preternatural signs. At 
the same time he aflected, by a more dangerous assumption, 

* It is amusing to observe the contempt with which the Abbot of Clairvaux 
speaks of the hermit-preacher of the first crusade : " Fuit in priori expeditione, 
antequam Hierosolyma capcvetuv, vir qiiidam, Petrus nomine, ciijus et vos (ni 
fallor) sa>pe mentionem audistis,'' &c. — Bernard. Epist. 363, p. 328, vol. i. ed. 
Mabil. The reference is made by Mills, Hist. CIrusades, chap. ix. 

•}• Latin was the lannuajje which be indiscriminately addressed to the vulgar 
in all the provinces in which he preached. Since preternatural powers have been 
ascribed to luTn, it has been thought remarkable that the gift, of which he seemed 
to stand most in need, was perversely withheld, 


the prophetic character; and, on the faith of Him who can 
neither err nor deceive, he foretold and promised a splendid 
career of triumphs. Armed with so full and various a quiver 
against the feeble reason of a superstitious generation — with 
high personal celebrity and eloquence ; with the support of 
powerful princes ; with pontifical approbation ; with the repute 
of supernatural aid, and pretensions to heavenly inspiration — 
what wonder was it that St. Bernard confounded the sense and 
broke up the repose of Europe ; that he depopulated cities and 
provinces (such was his own rash boast), and sent forth the 
whole flower and vigour of Christendom on the holy enterprise ! 
The history of religious war has not recorded any expedition 
at the same time more fatal and more fruitless than the crusade 
of St. Bernard. After two or three years of suffering and dis- 
aster almost uninterrupted, a miserable remnant of survivors 
returned to relate their misfortunes and marvel at their discom- 
fiture. A general outcry was raised against the author of those 
calamities; innumerable widows and orphans demanded of the 
prophet their husbands and their sires; or at least they claimed 
the sacred laurels which he had promised — the triumphs which 
he had vouchsafed, inhis dispensation of the boons of heaven, 
to the soldiers of the cross. The detected impostor was not 
ashamed to take shelter under the usual pretext of religious 
hypocrites. He asserted that his prophecies (the prophecies of 
God) were only conditional; that in foretelling the success of 
the crusaders, he had assumed their righteousness and the 
purity of their lives ; that their own enormous crimes had 
diverted or suspended the designs of Providence, just as in 
ancient days the sins of the Jews in the wilderness had foiled 
the policy and foresight of Moses *. If at any time we can 

* This CL'lebratfil passage is in the beginning of the second book of his Treatise, 
" De Cousideratioue," addressed to Pope Eiigeuius III., and should be cited : — 
" Moyses eductm-us popuhim de terra /Egypti meliorem illis poliicitus est terram. 
Nam quando ipsum aliter sequeretur populus, solam sapiens terram? Ediixit ; 
eductos taineu in terram quain promiserat non intruduxit. Nee est quod ducis 
temeiitati imputari queat tristis et inopinatus eventus. Omnia faciebat Domino 
imperante. Domino cooperante, et opus confirmante sequentibus signis. Sed 
jiopuhis ille, inquis, dursD cervicis fuit, semper contentiose a^ens contra Dominum 
et contra Moysem servuin ejus. Bene illi creduU et rebelles — Hi autem quid .'' 


regard with levity any pious artifice of the meanest ecclesiastic 
for the most innocent purpose, still our smile is not unmixed 
with melanclioly or contempt. But the crime of St. Bernard, 
the most enliirhtened prelate of his time, who usurped the attri- 
butes and forced the seal of God, in order to launch some 
hundreds of thousands of confiding Christians into probable 
destruction, or at best into successful massacre, excites a serious 
indignation whicli it would be partial to suppress, and which 
neither his talents, nor his virtues, nor his piety, nor the vicious 
principles of his age are sufficient to remove. 

Forty years after the departure of this expedition, in the year Sul)se- 

1187, Saladin g-ained tlie battle of I'iberias, and soon afterwards '1",^"^ ""' 
' ^ _ ' _ sades. 

recovered from the Christians the possession of the Holy City. 
The Latin kingdom of Jerusalem had struggled through 
eighty-eight years of precarious existence against internal dis- 
sension and tumidt and the perpetual aggressions of the infidel 
Perhaps it must have yielded under any circumstances to the 
genius of Saladin ; but its fate was precipitated by the feudal 
divisions of its defenders, the jealousy subsisting between the 
Knights of the Temple and those of the Hospital, and the 
violent quarrels in which the latter were engaged, through the 
eU'ect of their papal immunities, with the avaricious hierarchy 
of Palestine. 

I'he Third Crusade (1189-92) was distinguished by the 
adventures of the lion-hearted Richard. The Fourth followed 
only three years afterwards, under the auspices of Pope Ce- 
lestine HI., and terminated in inglorious failure. The Germans, 
by whom it was chiefly conducted, accused the faint co-opevation 
of the barons resident in the Holy Land. The Fifth and Sixth 
were protected and fostered, if not created, by Innocent HI. 
The former of these may possibly be ascribed to the still sur- 
viving spirit of popular superstition, lashed into fanaticism by 

Ipsos interrog;i. Quid me dicure ojuis est quod fatcutur ipsi P Dico ergo uuuin 
— Quid poterant conticere, qui semper revertebantur, cum ambularent ? Quaudo 
et isti per totam viam nou redieiunt corde in i^gyptum ? Quod si illi cecideruiit 
et perieruiit propter iaiquititem suam, mirainur istos, eadem facieates, eadem 
passes ! Sed numquid illurum casus advur>>us promissa Dei ? Krgo, nec istoruin. 
Neque euim aliquaado prumissioues Dei justitiae Dei prejudicaut." 


the preaching, or at least by the miraculous pretensions, of an 
enthusiast named Fulk. But wliatever may have been its 
origin, its termination — the capture of Constantinople — was 
certainly neither foreseen nor designed by its advocates. The 
warriors of the Sixth Crusade likewise declined from the oritrinal 
object of these military pilgrimages, and deviated, with greater 
promise of profit if not of glory, into the wealthy plains of 
Egypt. Their courage was repaid by the conquest of Damietta; 
but the advantage thus obtained was neither great nor perma- 
nent. The force of the Christians in the Etist was weakened 
by division, and they were contented to despoil what they could 
not hope to possess. Still, if we are to assign to this expedition 
the concluding exertions of Frederic II., it terminated with 
more honour to the Christian name, and with a nearer approach 
to the liberation of the Holy Sepulchre, than any which had 
been imdertaken since the first. And that its results Avere not 
more lasting, is to be ascribed, not to the insincerity of the 
emperor, but to the narrow jealousy of a passionate pope *, who 
roused all his military and monastic myrmidons in opposition 
to that very cause which he, as well as his faithless predecessor, 
had dared to designate the cause of God. 
Those of The chivalrous enterprise of the Count of Champagne and 

Richard, Earl of Cornwall, followed the council of Spoleto in 
1234; and the imperfect success which attended it was rather 
occasioned by the dissensions of the Mussulman princes than 
by the cordial co-operation of the Christians. It added one to 
the list of the Crusades, and was presently succeeded by two 
others, the eighth and ninth, with which the melancholy cata- 
logue at length concluded. Both of these may probably be 
attributed to the religious fervour of St. Louis. In the access 
of a dangerous sickness, in the year 1'244, that prince vowed 
the sacrifice of his personal service to God, should his health 
providentially be restored. It was so. In the following year, 

* Gregory IX. Innocent III. died before the departure of the expedition, which 
he had been pavticnlarly and personally diligent in promoting. Seethe preceding 
chapter. Not profeshiog to give a regular history of these various expeditions, 
nor to mention more facts than are necessary for our inferences, we have not 
noticed the celebrated Crusade of Children under this pope ; yet it may fairly be 
considered as the consummation of the work of fanaticism. 

en. XXI.] A HISTORY of the church. 345 

the numerous host of prelates assembled at the coimcil of 
Lyons, proclaimed the crusade and enjoined four preparatory 
years of peace and seriousness throughout the Western nations. 
DurincT this interval, large contributions were levied both on 
the clergy and laity, and other effectual means adopted to 
secure success ; and at its expiration the pious monarch spread 
his sails for the East. His immediate object, however, was 
not the liberation of the Sepulchre, but the conquest of Egypt; 
and in the conduct of this campaign, he closely imitated botii 
the gallantry and the errors of his predecessors, who had 
triumphed and perished in the same field. The misfortunes 
of the sixth Crusade, though still fresh in the memory of man- 
kind, taught as usual no lesson and conveyed no warning to 
the generation which followed; and the repetition of similar 
blunders only led to a more disastrous result. The army was 
defeated, and Louis himself fell a captive into the power of the 
infidel. But his follies were redeemed by the gold of his sub- 
jects; and he returned to expiate his fatal enthusiasm by the 
exercise of peaceful virtues, and to repair, by useful and humane 
institutions, the wrongs which he had done to his people. 

But the spark of superstition was neither extinguished by 
the discharge of his best duties, nor chilled by the advance of 
age. After an interval of twenty years of wisdom, he relapsed 
into the old infatuation, and unfurled, for the last time, the 
consecrated banner of fanaticism. His second expedition con- 
sisted, for the most part, as the first had done, of Erench and 
English; and, like the first, it was again directed against the 
Moslems of Africa, not against the usurpers of the Holy Land. 
The heroic plains of Carthage were occupied by the Christian 
force, and the tombs of TertuUian, Cyprian, and Augustin may 
perhaps have been rescued from the pollutions of the unbe- 
liever ; but the army was still encamped, without any decisive 
success, before the walls of Tunis, when St. Louis was called His death, 
away for ever from the sanguinary scene. 

His death was immediately followed by the romantic adven- 
tures of the English Edward, which closed the long succession 
of fruitless eilbrts for a worthless object. The power of the 
Infidel presently increased in might and boldness; and in the 


year 1291 the last fragments of Christian rule were swept 
Fall of away from the surface of Palestine. Acre, the conquest of the 
^"^' English hero, was the last possession of the cross : it had long 

been the only strong bulwark against the Moslem force. It 
was important, through its situation at the end of that large 
and fertile plain which extends to the Jordan eastward, and 
which has been the field of decisive conflicts in every age of 
the history of Palestine; it was important, as the centre of 
commercial intercourse between the East and the West, the 
resort of all nations and all languages. But the universal 
profligacy which prevailed within its walls and the crimes with 
which it was stained, beyond the shame of any other Christian 
city, were thought to justify the judgment of God, when at 
length he delivered it over to a Mahometan conqueror*. 
The causes To this hasty, but necessary, outline of the history of the 
C * d ■ Crusades, we are called upon to subjoin some general observa- 
tions on their causes, their objects, and their results : not as- 
piring to emvdate the eloquence with which this sidiject has 
been so commonly treated, nor affecting to add anything ori- 
ginal in thought or expression to the successful labours of our 
predecessors, but simply to justify the pretensions of this work, 
which would vainly assume the title of an ecclesiastical history 
if it should pass in entire silence over the most amazing phe- 
nomena which ever proceeded from the abuse of religion. And 
if, indeed, it be a true reflection that the only enterprise in 
which the nations of Europe have at any time engaged with a 
single arm and a common soid — and that, too, no \ague and 
transient adventure, but the passion or policy of 200 years — 
stands singularly marked in the historic temple as a monument 
of human absurdity : if this be true, is it possible to search too 
frequently for the sources of such imanimous infatuation, or to 
ascertain too minutely what passions, or what prejudices, or 
what interests those were which availed to dispossess and 
enchain for so long a period the reason of mankind ? More- 

* " E qiiesto pericolo non fii senza grande e giusto giudizio di Dio, che quella 
citta eia plena di piii pcccatori uomini e femiiie d'ogni dissoliito ptccato, che 
teira chi fosse tra' Christiani." Giovanni Villaui, lib. vii., c. 144, as cited by 
Mills, Hist. Crusades. 


over, as we have found occasion to observe that, an indulgent 
Providence will sometimes extract blessings from man's blindest 
follies, it becomes us also to inquire whether the fruits of those 
wild enterprises were any other than shame, degradation, and 
miser3\ Though, indeed, in this case it might seem presump- 
tuous to look for any manifestation of divine compassion where 
impiety called itself religious devotion, and massacre pleaded 
for reward, and pleaded in the blessed name of Christ. 

To visit the spots which have been consecrated by immortal Pilgrim- 
deeds — to tread in the footsteps which those have traced whose ''^^' 
memory we love and revere — is the suggestion of natural piety, 
not the maxim or observance of religion. Nevertheless, such 
practice is easily associated with any religion whenever the 
qualities of its founder have been such as to excite the enthu- 
siasm of its votaries; and thus the performance of holy pil- 
grimage became an early, a frequent, and almost a peculiar 
usage of the Christians. From an innocent, perhaps useful 
custom, it was gradually exalted into a spiritual duty; and the 
journey to the sepulchre of the Saviour was encouraged and 
enjoined by some of the oldest fathers of the established Church. 
The pure principle of pilgrimage was presently mixed and al- 
loyed by vulgar motives : a faint shade of superstition was in- 
sensibly heightened into a darker ; and the traveller returned 
from the holy places, no longer satisfied with the consciousness 
of pious intent and sincere devotion, but also charged with 
relics of departed saints, or fragments of the holy crown or 
cross. This degenerate passion was nourished by the rulers 
of the Church ; nudtitudes thirsted for those vain possessions 
whom a mere ardour to worship at the tomb of Christ would 
scarcely have fortified against the toils of the journey ; the 
Syrian dispensers of the profitable patrimony unceasingly dis- 
covered new treasures by revelation, or mulfij)lied the original 
by miracles : so that the crowds who thronged the sanctuary 
perpetually increased, and the sources which fed their credulity 
were never closed nor lessened. 

It was natural to expect that the conquest of Palestine by 
the imbelieving Saracens would have abolished the means, if 
it did not desecrate the objects, of pilgrimage. But it proved 


otherwise. Tlie enlightened Cahphs immediately perceived 
the policy of toleration; they saw the direct advantages which 
flowed into Syria through the superstition and commerce of 
the West ; they may even have learned from their own prac- 
tice to respect the motives of the travellers and the kindred 
passion which occasioned an annual visit to the Christian 
Mecca. Certainly they received the visitors without insult, 
and dismissed them without injury. 

During the concluding part of the tenth century, a strange 
impiilse was given to the spirit of pilgrimage by an accidental 
cause, which, as it was sown in delusion, produced the cus- 
tomary harvest of wickedness. The belief prevailed of the 
approaching dissolution of the world and the termination of 
earthly things; Mount Sion was to become the judgment-seat 
of the Most High, and the Christian nations were taught to 
depart and humble themselves before his throne. Those in- 
terested exhortations were too obsequiously obeyed; and though 
the notion which created them was after a few yfars falsified 
and exploded, yet the habit of journeying to the Holy Land 
had in the meantime gained great prevalence, and the idea of 
an expiatory obligation became commonly attached to it. In 
the century following, the journey assumed not unfrequently 
the form of an expedition, and was sometimes imdertaken by 
considerable bodies of associated and even armed devotees. 
We still peruse, in the narrative of Ingulphus, a native and 
historian of England, the adventures of 7000 holy Germans, 
who engaged In the enterprise under the direction of the arch- 
bishop of Mayence, and in the society of thirty Norman horse- 
men. They encountered many dangers and suffered many 
losses; but they attained their object, and worshipped at the 
fountain of their religion. And when they recovmted, in 
domestic security, their various fortunes, their listeners were 
more likely to be inflamed by the admiration of their success 
than deterred by sufferings or perils, which greater foresight or 
felicity might easily ward off from themselves. 

Towards the close of the eleventh age, about the year 10/6, 
the dominion of Palestine was torn from the Arabian dynasty 
by the wilder hands of the Turks. The pure fanaticism of that 


rudo people was not yet softened by friendly intercoin-se with 
the followers of the adverse faith, nor would it stoop fo yield 
even to the obvious dictates of interest. Many outrages were 
at this time unquestionably perpetrated upon the strangers who 
visited the sepulchre, and upon the Christian natives and so- 
join-ners in Syria. Those who rotiu-ned from the East were 
clamorous in their descriptions and their complaints ; and tales 
of suftering and of sacrilege, of the prostration of Christ's fol- 
lowers, the profanation of his name, the pollution of his holy 
places, tales of Moslem oppression and impiety, were diifused 
and exaggerated and believed, with iierce and revengeful indig- 
nation, from one end of Europe to the other. 

Whatsoever may have been the merits of the feudal principles Warlike 
in earlier times, they had degenerated, in the eleventh century, the age. 
into a mere code of military service and subordination. The 
whole business, the pleasure, the passion of that age was war. 
It animated alike the cities and the villages ; it presided over 
the domestic regulations of every family ; it was familiar with 
the thoughts, where it did not constitute the habits, of every 
individual. Even the higher orders of the clergy forgot their 
spiritual in their secular obligations, and very commonly en- 
gaged in the same pursuits from a common necessity*. It 
was in vain that Charlemagne had restrained by his Capitula- 
ries that preposterous practice. The policy of Charlemagne 
was too wise for the times in which he lived : he attempted to 
anticipate the operation of progressive ages ; he enacted some 
useful laws ; but he was unable to perpetuate a premature, and 
therefore transient, civilization. No sooner was he removed 
by death than inveterate barbarism resumed its sway, and the 
bidwark which his single hand had raised against the princi- 
ples, customs, and prejudices of ancestral ignorance, was hastily 
swept away. During the two centuries ^vhich followed, in 

* " Olim" (says Guldo, abbot of Ckiivville) '•' non habebant castella ct arces 
ecclesifc calhediales, nee incedebant pontifices loricati. Sed nunc, propter abiin- 
dantiam Icmporalium reruni, flamma, feno, cscde possessioiies ccclosiaruin proelati 
(KfeadLint, cjuas deberent pauperibiis enj^are.'' ])u Canine, Gloss. Lat., art. Ad- 
vocatus. The abbot's olim extended tluough the fnsit five centuries, and not 
much later. 


spite of the general exertions of the clergy, as a body, to arrest 
the desolating spirit, in spite of canonical legislation and ec- 
clesiastical censure, the practice of private warfare contin\ied 
with no mitigation. Early in the eleventh age, the Treiiga 
Dei (the Truce of God) was solemnly enjoined, with the pur- 
pose of enforcing a suspension of hostilities during certain days 
in every week. But though this humane ordinance was fre- 
quently confirmed and reiterated, there was no age in which 
the military frenzy had such general prevalence throughout 
Europe, none in which the exercise of arms and the effusion of 
blood were so completely the habit, the motive, almost the 
morality, of the western nations. 
SupersU- At a period when religious notions or observances were 
tious zeal, jnjncrledwith all customs and all institutions, and thus interwoven 
with the whole texture of private as well as public life, — and 
when, besides, the corruptions of Christianity had so superseded 
its genuine spirit, that the notions which we have called reli- 
gious shoidd rather have been designated superstitious, — the 
ruling passion of the age was easily associated with its ruHng 
weakness. Martial enterprise went hand in hand with enthu- 
siasm, misnamed pious ; the exploits of the one were consecrated 
by the expressions, sometimes by the feelings, of the other; 
and the words of the priest were repeated, or the image of the 
Saviour embraced, even in the fiercest moments of the strife. 
Abject ignorance, followed by credulity, held dominion almost 
imdisputed; and the minds of men were destitute of any moral 
principles to restrain, or any moral knowledge to direct, the 
course of their passions. The faculties which distinguish sense 
from absurdity, piety from fanaticism, truth from falsehood and 
imposture, were extinct or dormant ; and a restless and irra- 
tional generation lay exposed to the impulse of any rising 

On such an age and race, — so invu'ed to the use of arms, so 
alive to the emotions of religion, so familiar with the practice 
of holy pilgrimage, — tlie indignity of Turkish oppression, the 
outrages on the name and sepulchre of Christ, fell witli an 
electric efficacy. At another time, under other circumstances, 
the bolt might have passed by unfelt and almost unheeded; 


but at that moment it was no premature nor unseasonable visi- 
tation : it found men prepared, and intensely sensible to its 
operation ; and the flash which attended it descended on mate- 
rials ready for explosion. 

It argues a superficial knowledge both of nature and of his- Gradual 
tory to suppose that a phenomenon, so astounding as the first tile cm-'' 
crusade, could have been produced in any condition of society sadin^ 
witliout strong predetermining causes ; and that the preaching 
of the Hermit or even the indulgences of the Pope could have 
excited to that enterprise minds that were not deeply disposed 
to receive the impulse. There are some, indeed, who consider 
the increase of pontifical power during the eleventh age, under 
the auspices of Hildebrand, to have been a leading cause in 
producing the Crusades. It is true that, a centm-y earlier, the 
aspirations of Sylvester II. were without effect : it is more re- 
markable that even Gregory himself, though professing an 
ardent and even personal eagerness for the enterprise, carried 
his project to no result ; while Urban, with much less individual 
influence, accomplished the work with great facility. 

But in the time of Sylvester, some of the popular motives for 
the crusade did not yet exist, others had not attained suflScient 
prevalence and maturity ; and Gregory was diverted from his 
scheme by the more pressing solicitations of domestic ambition. 
But when Urban threw the torch among the multitudes of 
Placentia and Clermont, their liands were prepared and eager 
to seize it, and extinguish it in Moslem blood. A pilgrimage 
to the sepidchre of Christ was then a common and almost cus- 
tomary act of devotion ; a pilgrimage in arms was congenial 
with the spirit of a warlike race ; to liberate the holy places 
and to chastise the usiu'pers were objects consistent with each 
other, and with the ruling principles of the age. 

And such were the objects- oi' the first crusade — to deliver 01«jects of 
the Holy Land from a state of imaginary pollution, and to take d-usalle. 
vengeance on the infidel possessor. No consideration of dis- 
tant consequences, nor even of inunediate utility, entered into 
them. Reason was not consulted, nor were her precincts ap- 
proached : of the passions themselves, those most akin to reason 
had no share in the adventure. Ambition was silent in tlie 


uproar*. Policy might, indeed, have offered plausible justifi- 
cation, by suggesting that the hurricane which had wasted Asia 
might presently break over Europe; but the argumenta justi 
mctus, if they have satisfied some writers on this subject, en- 
tered not in any degree into the motives of the Crusaders, 
They were not men to calculate remote dangers ; still less did 
they perplex themselves with any theoretical speculation as to 
the rioht of hostility, or seek their excuse in the antichristian 
principles of their enemy. From the rule and practice of Ma- 
hometan aggression, they might almost have inferred the right 
of reciprocal invasion : but they looked for immortality, not for 
justification ; it never occurred to them to doubt the justice, or 
rather the holiness, of their cause ; they sought no plea or pre- 
text, except in the passion of their religious frenzy and in the 
sharpness of their sword. 

There was still another motive which might have seemed 
substantial to the warriors of those days, and which they might 
equally have borrowed from the Infidel — a design to convert 
the miscreants by force, and to drag them in chains to the 
waters of baptism ; but even this project held no place among 
the incentives to the first crusade. In later times, indeed, when 
in the vicissitudes of military adventure the arms of the Ma- 
hometan were found to preponderate, some faint attempts were 
made, or mcditatedf , to convince those, whom it proved im- 
possible to subdue ; but the earliest soldiers of the Cross were 
moved by no such design : they rushed with thoughtless pre- 
cipitation to an unprofitable end, and they believed that a 
Power irresistibly impelled them, and that that Power was — 
the Will of God. 

• * The success which had aticnded the Asiatic, and even Syrian, campaigns of 
Nicephoius, Phocas, and John Zimisces (9G3 — 975) mi^ht have offered reason- 
able hopes to the ambition of the Crusaders, and almost justified the mditary 
policy of the expedition— if ambition or policy had ever entered into their consi- 

f In 1285, Ilonorius IV., in order to convert the Saracins, strove to establish 
at Paris schools for Aiabic and other Oriental languages. The Council of Vienna 
in 1312 recommended the same method; and Oxford, Salamanca, Bologna, as 
well as Paris, were places selected for the establishment of the Professorships, 
But the decree appears to have remained without eff'ect, until Francis I. called it 
into life. 


These remarks' are properly confined to the origin of the Ofthose 
first crusade — to that burst of pure fanaticism which was itself J^ iich iul- 
unmixed with worldly incentives, though it opened the field 
for other enterprises, proceeding from the nsual motives ' of 
human action. An inattention to this distinction has misled 
some writers, who, failing to discriminate between the circum- 
stances which produced, and those which nourished, the cru- 
sades, have not taken an accurate view of either. A multitude 
of causes combined to impel the machine when it was once in 
motion, though the agency which launched it was simple and 
uniform. In the first place, by the success of the first expedi- 
tion, an important kingdom was established in the East. Im- 
mediately measures were taken to provide for its protection, 
and secure its stability. Natives of most of the western states 
settled in Palestine. The Latin colony adopted the feudal 
discipline, and the common constitution of Europe. Hence a 
thousand links were extended of sympathy and of interest; 
and together they formed an entirely new ground for exertion, 
and gave a different character to the movement which agitated 
the West. Henceforward, reciprocal relations existed ; the 
honour of Christendom was now engaged to maintain its con- 
quests over the unbeliever ; it was held base to relinquish a 
possession, acquired through so many losses, even by those who 
might not think the losses counterbalanced by the possession. 
It is one thing to rush into a desperate enterprise, and another 
to encounter some additional risk in defence of that, which by 
much previous risk has been achieved. 

Not one of the sovereigns of Europe was either personally 
engaged in the first crusades, or very zealous in promoting it : 
it proceeded from sources wholly distinct from the policy of 
courts and the spring/? of civil government. But the second, 
and most of the following expeditions, were undertaken, some 
with the aid and countenance, others under the very authority 
and direction, of the leading monarchs. It is unnecessary to 
observe how many different ingredients were thrown into the 
cup of fanaticism by such co-operation, — obedience to the com- 
mand, affection for the person, gratitude for the favour, hope 
from the generosity, of the prince — and, what was scarcely less 

VOL. II. 2 A 


potent than these, the seal of approbation which stamped the 
practice, which gave it prevalence and fashion, which placed it 
among the ordinary means of distinction, among the legitimate 
duties of military service. Again, the policy, which mixed 
itself almost necessarily with the royal motives, entirely lost 
sight in some cases of the original object. The pollution of 
the holy places was forgotten in the fruit fid prospect of the 
plains of Egypt, or of the commerce which thronged the Afri- 
can ports; in such manner, as to make it very questionable 
whether plunder, rather than conquest, was not the principal 
motive of three, at least, among the latest crusades. St. Louis 
himself was, perhaps, as politic as he was pious ; and it is not 
easy to perceive how the sufferings of the Holy Land could 
have been much alleviated by any advantages which he might 
have achieved before the walls of Tunis. At any rate, though 
the same vows and intentions inight still be professed, very dif- 
ferent incentives were certainly proposed, and very different 
methods adopted, to accomplish them. 
The policy The principles and motives of tlie Vatican, which are gene- 
Popes, rally found so consistent, were subject to some fluctuation in 
the encouragement which it extended to the crusades. The 
feeling of Sylvester appears to have been the anticipation of 
that, which animated the first adventurers a century afterwards. 
Gregory VII. had more specific and tangible objects. His prac- 
tical mind was not perhaps much moved by the tears of Pales- 
tine and the tales of her pollution ; but he considered the union 
of the rival chvu'ches, and the general triumph of the C^hristian 
over the Moslem caus^ as projects not unworthy of the con- 
federacy of the West, and of his own superintendence. 

The popes of the r2th century followed, where they did not 
direct or inflame the passion of their age ; and the successive 
armaments of martyrs were launched with the apostolical bene- 
diction on their holy destination. But the designs of Innocent 
III. were of a different and more selfish description; and he 
did not fear to pervert to their accomplishment the machine 
intrusted to him for other purposes. The arms which had been 
consecrated to the service of Christ, against the blasphemers 
of his name, were now tiu'ned against the domestic adversaries 
of the See of Rome. The views and policy of Innocent were 


purely ecclesiastical ; they did not extend in any direction be- 
yond the interests of the Church over which he presided ; and 
it was the impulse of the moment to crush the foe in his bosom, 
before he sought for a remote and defensive enemy. 

When the precedent of converting the banner of the Cross 
into a badge of papal subservience was once established, the 
name and object of a holy war passed through ditWrent methods 
of profanation ; and the sword of the Crusader, after being 
steeped in heretical blood, was drawn, in the same hateful ser- 
vice, against a Catholic adversary. The popes had thus accom- 
plished their final object in substituting the defence of the 
Church — which really meant the temporal interests of the 
See of Rome — as a recognized object for arming the subjects 
of all governments, in the name of Christ ; and to this purpose 
the plenary indulgence, still the great lever of popular fana- 
ticism, was commonly and not vainly applied. 

From that time forward it does not appear that the Va- 
tican pursued any fixed policy respecting the expeditions really 
undertaken for the chastisement of the Infidel. Its general 
voice was indeed loud in their favour ; and bulls and exhorta- 
tions were perpetually promulgated to quicken or revive the 
ardour of the Faithful. Notwithstanding, there were particular 
occasions — such as the attempts of Frederic II. and the Seventh 
Crusade— on which the pontifical power was employed to 
thwart, or even to prevent, the enterprise. But the secret of 
this fluctuation was too often and too openly betrayed. The 
advantage and aggrandizement of Rome were now become in 
papal eyes the only legitimate object of the religious spirit ; and, 
according to the more modern and favourite method, she now 
turned that spirit into the channel of her avarice. The indul- 
gence, which in the first instance was only granted as the re- 
ward of actual service in the holy cause, was, in process of 
time, publicly exchanged for gold ; and the timid or indolent 
devotee was first permitted, and afterwards encom-aged, to re- 
deem by his wealth the toils and dangers of a military penance. 
Again: Innocent III. had taxed the clergy of Europe for the 
benefit of the Holy Land; but presently we find complaints, 
that the tax was become the object, instead of^the means, and 



the Crusade only the pretext. And thus the treasury of Rome 
was filled, amidst the disappointment of all honest enthusiasts 
and the murmurs of a defrauded priesthood. The memory of 
Gregory VII., and the fame of his spiritual triumph and lofty 
ambition, were put to shame by the sordid cupidity of his dege- 
nerate successors. 
Decline of The above observations are sufficient to show how widely 
lading" both the causes and objects of the Crusades varied during the 
spirit, long period of their continuance, and how far they sometimes 
deviated from the pure martial fanaticism of their origin. As 
they were thus mixed up with the ordinary motives of policy, 
and were degraded to the selfish service of Rome, so the fuel 
by which they were nourished gradually disappeared, and the 
flame insensibly bin-nt out ; and in this circumstance we observe 
the limits to which the influence of the Vatican itself was con- 
fined. When popular spirit was kindled by other causes, the 
pope was abundantly powerful to fan and excite it ; when it 
had risen to the height of its fury, he had control sufficient to 
misdirect it ; but when it began to sink and die awav, his utmost 
efforts were unable to sustain or revive it. As long as the 
Vatican was contented to feed and minister to the universal 
passion, its influence, which was really great, appeared to have 
no bounds; but when that passion had once subsided, the 
Pontiff's lost their hold on human weakness ; and neither the 
mcrease of exemptions * or indemnities, nor the multipli- 

* The Crusaders, besides their plenary indulgences, had several alluring tem- 
poral privileges, which are perhaps correctly reduced under the following heads : 
— 1. They were exempted from prosecution for debt during the time of their ser- 
vice. 2. From paying interest for the money which they liad borrowed for the 
outfit. .3. For a certain time, if not entirely, from the payment of taxes. 
4. They might alienate their lands without the consent of the superior lord. 
.5. Their persons and effects were taken under the protection of St. Peter, and 
anathemas denounced against all who should molest them. 6. They enjoyed all 
the jirivileges of ecclesiastics; such as not being bound to plead in civil courts, 
&c.— (See Robertson's Proofs and Illustrations.) It remained, of course, very 
uncertain how far these privileges would be acknowledged by the secular autho- 
rities, and to what extent those civil courts would consent to forego their juris- 
diction over so large a multitude ; andtluis the real value of these papal immuni- 
ties depended on the pope's influence and various other causes. The serfs, who 
exchanged their agricultural service for that of the Cross, appear by that act to 
have obtained their freedom : at least, that which was conferred by common mili- 
tary service would scarcely be withheld from the Crusader, 


cation of indulgences, availed to inflame the descendants of 
those spontaneous enthusiasts, who, in obedience to the preach- 
ing of the Hermit, had rushed forth to restore the honour of 
Christ, ana avenge the wrongs of his worshippers. 

As the causes, from which the crusading frenzy at first broke EfTects of 
out, were of long and regular growth, so likewise was the pro- ^^^ ^'^"' 
cess of its extinction slow and gradual. Throughout the space 
of two hundred years, the original flame, though continually 
sinking, was not wholly lost; — it was still mincrled, thouo-h in 
smaller proportions and fainter colours, with the various mass 
of new motives, which ineflfectually endeavoured to supply its 
place, and which really derived their brightness from it. But 
when af length it disappeared, what were the traces of evil or of 
good which were left upon the face of the earth ? What perma- 
nent eflfects were engraven upon the destinies of Europe by the 
violent hand which had so loner directed them ? From a system 
of military aggression, which had no foundation in reason, or 
even in those passions which are nearest to reason, few indeed 
were the fruits which could be expected for the benefit o 
society ; and if any such did in fact proceed from the crusades, 
it was through circumstances wholly independent of their de- 
sign. It appears to us, that these fortuitous advantages were 
both few in number and extremely partial. Perhaps it w^ould Political. 
be unreasonable to dispute that the decline of the baronial des- 
potism, with the Vjirth of municipal rights on the one hand, and 
the just extension of royal authority on the other, was accele- 
rated by the violent alienations of property which the Crusades 
occasioned ; but those salutary changes would have been pro- 
duced, and perhaps at no later period, by the sure agency of 
wiser principles, advancing with the advancement of knowledge. 
We may indeed hail the accident which hastened (if it hastened) 
their appearance ; but we should err were we to ascribe to it 
their existence. The commercial benefits which historians too Commer- 
generally connect with the expeditions to the East were prin- '^^^^' 
cipally confined to three cities of Italy — Venice, Genoa, and 
Pisa*; and if they were thence partially reflected to some 

* The results were probably unfavourable to Hamburgh, Lubeck, and the 
other towns forming the Hanseatic League, by draining the capital south- 


other parts of the Peninsula, that was a poor compensation to 
the commonwealth of Europe for the violent extortions which 
exhausted its more powerful members — France^ Germany, and 
England. Their treasuries were drained, and the mighty 
sources of their national industry dried up, that the sails of 
two or three small republics might overspread the Mediterra- 
nean, and receive the first fruits of the contributions so painfully 
levied for the chastisement of the Infidel. 

The loss of Christian life occasioned by the Crusades is fairly 
calculated at more than two millions. But if the mutual ani- 
mosities of princes, or, what was even more destructive, the rage 
of private warfare, had been suspended during their continu- 
ance, some consolation for the sacrifice would have been offered 
to humanity by the repose and concord of the survivors. The 
fact, however, was otherwise : for a very few years after the de- 
parture of the first Crusaders, the Truce of God was indeed 
observed ; but immediately the tide of feudal barbarism returned 
into its former channel, and proved that the passion for inter- 
national or domestic broils was neither consumed in foreign 
adventure, nor superseded by the thirst for it. It is even pro- 
bable that the nature of such contests was still further embit- 
tered by the introduction of those habits of unrelenting ferocity, 
which are invariably generated by religious warfare. 
Oil Civili- It is, again, at least questionable, whether the arts of peace 
and civilization acknowledge any obligation to the influence of 
the Crusades. The barbarians gazed in ignorant admiration 
at the splendid magnificence of Constantinople — " How great 
is this city ! how noble and beautiful ! What a multitude of 
monasteries and palaces it contains of exquisite and wondrous 
fabric ! How many structures are scattered even in the streets 
and alleys, which are marvellous to behold ! It were tedious 
to recount what an abundance of all good things is found 
there, of gold and of silver, of every form of vestment, and of 
the relics of the saints*." The records of the time are filled with 

ward. Besides the aristocratic military spirit, which was nourished by the Cru- 
sades, is essentially anti-commercial. 

* Fulcher. ap. Bongars. vol. i. p. 386, Fulcherius Carnotensis was chaplain to 
the Count of Chartres. The original passage is cited by Mills, Hist. Crus. chap. iii. 
It is certain that the collecting of relics was a very favourite occupation with the 



similar expressions of wild astonishment. But have wc any 
proof that these enthusiasts profited by what they beheld ? — 
that they imitated what they admired ? — that they strove to 
transplant to their own soil that exotic genius and taste of which 
they felt the excellence ? Or were they merely ruffled by a 
transient inconsequential emotion, unconnected with any prin- 
ciple of action, or intelligence of observation ? It is asserted, 
that if the Greeks were far superior to the western nations in 
the culture of humanity, the Saracens were scarcely less so ; 
and the strangers had thus a double opportunity of discovering 
and correcting their deficiencies. But it is forgotten that the 
soldier of the Cross was no enlightened and leisurely traveller, 
searching to instruct himself and his generation ; but a fierce, 
unlettered fanatic, proceeding on a piu-pose of bloodshed. In 
his prejudiced eyes, the civilization of the Greeks was insepa- 
rably associated with luxurious indolence and effeminate 
timidity; that of the Saracens with an impious faith and 
blaspheming tongue; and the disdain with which he regarded 
the one, and the detestation with which he approached the 
other, repelled him equally from the imitation of either. And 
if it be true, that, during the long period of two hundred years, 
some trifling advancement in the arts of civilization did in fact 
take place, it woidd still be difficult to specify a single inven- 
tion as the indisputable effect of the Crusades. Chronological 
coincidences are sometimes mistaken for moral connexions ; and 
the changes which distinguish any age are thus too commonly 
ascribed to the passion or principle which may have predomi- 
nated at the time. But in the present case, when we reflect 
that during the eleventh century — before the commencement of 
the Crusades — the human mind had already revived and entered 
upon its certain career of improvement, we may indeed wonder 
that its progress was so slow, and its exertions so barren, during 

Crusaders, who thus enriched with many remarkable treasures the sanctuaries of 
the West. But to this pursuit their curious industry seems to have been con- 
fined. We do not learn that they brought back any other contributions to the 
store of European piety, or any to the store of its learning. On the other hand, 
many monks took up arms, who would have been more innocently and more pro- 
fitably employed at home. 


the two which followed ; but it would be preposterous to attri- 
bute the few advantages, which may really have been intro- 
duced, to a cause which was in itself decidedly hostile to every 
moral melioration. 

Foi% since knowledge is the only sure instrument for the 
elevation of man, can we imagine a condition of society more