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their title was acknowledged by acclamaticns and oaths of allegiance, and, with the free or reluctant consent of the German Caesars, they had long exercised a supreme or subordinate Jurisdiction over the city and patrimony of St. Peter. The reign of the popes, which gratified the prejudices, was not incompatible with the liberties of Rome; and a more critical inquiry would have revealed a still nobler source of their power—the gratitude of a nation whom they had rescued from the heresy and oppression of the Greek tyrant. In an age of superstition it should seem that the union of the royal and sacerdotal characters would mutually fortify each other, and that the keys of Paradise would be the surest pledge of earthly obedience. The sanctity of the office might indeed be degraded by the personal vices of the man. But the scandals of the tenth century were obliterated by the austere and more dangerous virtues of Gregory the Seventh and his successors; and in the ambitious contests which they maintained for the rights of the church, their sufferings or their success must equally tend to increase the popular veneration. They sometimes wandered in poverty and exile, the victims of persecution; and the apostolic zeal with which they offered themselves to martyrdom must engage the favour and sympathy of every Catholic breast. And sometimes, thundering from the Vatican, they created, judged, and deposed the kings of the world; nor could the proudest Roman be disgraced by submitting to a priest whose feet were kissed and whose stirrup was held by the successors of Charlemagne." Even the temporal interest of the city should have protected in peace and honour the residence of the popes, from whence a vain and lazy people derived the greatest part of their subsistence and riches. The fixed revenue of the popes was probably impaired: many of the old patrimonial estates, both in Italy and the provinces, had been invaded by sacrilegious hands; nor could the loss be compensated by the claim, rather than the possession, of the more ample gifts of Pepin and his descendants. But the Vatican and Capitol were nourished by the incessant and increasing swarms of pilgrims and suppliants: the pale of Christianity was enlarged, and the pope and cardinals were overwhelmed by the judgment of ecclesiastical and secular causes. A new iurisprudence had established in the Latin church the right and practice of appeals;” and from the North and West the bishops and
* See Ducange, Gloss. mediae et infima Latinitat. tom. vi. p. 364, 365, STAFFA. This homage was paid by kings to archbishops, and by vassals to their lords (Schmidt, tom. iii. p. 262); and it was the nicest policy of Rome to confound the marks of filial and of feudal subjection.
The appeals #. all the churches to the Roman pontiff are deplored by the zeal of St. Bernard (de Consideratione, l iii. tom. ii. p. 431-442, edit. Mabillon, Venet.
abbots were invited or summoned to solicit, to complain, to accuse, or to justify, before the threshold of the apostles. A rare prodigy is once recorded, that two horses, belonging to the archbishops of Mentz and Cologne, repassed the Alps, yet laden with gold and silver; * but it was soon understood that the success, both of the pilgrims and clients, depended much less on the justice of their cause than on the value of their offering. The wealth and piety of these strangers were ostentatiously displayed, and their expenses, sacred or profane, cir
culated in various channels for the emolument of the Romans. Such powerful motives should have firmly attached the voluntary and pious obedience of the Roman people to their spiritual
Inconstancy - - *jo and temporal father. But the operation of prejudice and tion. interest is often disturbed by the sallies of ungovernable passion. The Indian who fells the tree that he may gather the fruit,” and the Arab who plunders the caravans of commerce, are actuated by the same impulse of savage nature, which overlooks the future in the present, and relinquishes for momentary rapine the long and secure possession of the most important blessings. And it was thus that the shrine of St. Peter was profaned by the thoughtless Romans, who pillaged the offerings and wounded the pilgrims, without computing the number and value of similar visits, which they prevented by their inhospitable sacrilege. Even the influence of superstition is fluctuating and precarious; and the slave, whose reason is subdued, will often be delivered by his avarice or pride. A credulous devotion for the fables and oracles of the priesthood most powerfully acts on the mind of a barbarian; yet such a mind is the least capable of preferring imagination to sense, of sacrificing to a distant motive, to an invisible, perhaps an ideal object, the appetites and interests of the present world. In the vigour of health and youth, his practice will perpetually contradict his belief, till the pressure of age, or sickness, or calamity, awakens his terrors, and compels him to satisfy the double debt of piety and remorse. I have already observed that the modern times of religious indifference are the most favourable to the peace and security of the clergy. Under the reign of superstition they had much to hope from the ignorance, and much to fear from 1750) and the judgment of Fleury (Discours sur l’Hist. Ecclésiastique, iv. et vii.). But the saint, who believed in the false decretals, condemns only the abuse of these
appeals; the more enlightened historian investigates the origin and rejects the principles of this new jurisprudence. * Germanici . . . . . summarii non levatis sarcinis onusti nihilominus repatriant inviti. Nova res! quando hactenus aurum Roma refudit} Et nunc Romanorum consilio id usurpatum non credimus (Bernard de Consideratione, l. iii. c. 3, p. 437). The first words of the passage are obscure, and probably corrupt. * Quand les sauvages de la Louisiane veulent avoir du fruit, ils coupent l'arbre au pied et cueillent le fruit. Voilà le gouvernement despotique (Esprit des Loix, l. v. c. 13); and passion and ignorance are always despotic.
the violence, of mankind. The wealth, whose constant increase must have rendered them the sole proprietors of the earth, was alternately bestowed by the repentant father and plundered by the rapacious son: their persons were adored or violated; and the same idol, by the hands of the same votaries, was placed on the altar or trampled in the dust. In the feudal system of Europe, arms were the solition, title of distinction and the measure of allegiance; and amidst ... their tumult the still voice of law and reason was seldom Poi" beard or obeyed. The turbulent Romans disdained the yoke and insulted the impotence of their bishop;" nor would his education or character allow him to exercise, with decency or effect, the power of the sword. The motives of his election and the frailties of his life were exposed to their familiar observation; and proximity must diminish the reverence which his name and his decrees impressed on a barbarous world. This difference has not escaped the notice of our philosophic historian: “Though the name and authority of the court “of Rome were so terrible in the remote countries of Europe, which “were sunk in profound ignorance and were entirely unacquainted “with its character and conduct, the pope was so little revered at “home, that his inveterate enemies surrounded the gates of Rome “itself, and even controlled his government in that city; and the “ambassadors, who from a distant extremity of Europe carried to “him the humble, or rather abject, submissions of the greatest poten“tate of the age, found the utmost difficulty to make their way to “ him and to throw themselves at his feet.” " Since the primitive times the wealth of the popes was exposed to envy, their power to opposition, and their persons to violence. successors of But the long hostility of the mitre and the crown increased "o V" the numbers and inflamed the passions of their enemies. "“” The deadly factions of the Guelphs and Ghibelines, so fatal to Italy, could never be embraced with truth or constancy by the Romans, the subjects and adversaries both of the bishop and emperor; but their support was solicited by both parties, and they alternately displayed in their banners the keys of St. Peter and the German eagle. Gregory the Seventh, who may be adored or detested as the founder of the papal monarchy, was driven from Rome, and died in exile at Salerno. Six-and-thirty of his successors,” till their retreat to Avignon, maintained an unequal contest with the Romans: their age and dignity were often violated; and the churches, in the solemn rites of religion, were polluted with sedition and murder. A repetition * of such capricious brutality, without connection or design, would be tedious and disgusting; and I shall content myself with some events Paschal II of the twelfth century which represent the state of the popes ... and the city. On Holy Thursday, while Paschal officiated "" before the altar, he was interrupted by the clamours of the multitude, who imperiously demanded the confirmation of a favourite magistrate. His silence exasperated their fury: his pious refusal to mingle the affairs of earth and heaven was encountered with menaces and oaths that he should be the cause and the witness of the public ruin. During the festival of Easter, while the bishop and the clergy, barefoot and in procession, visited the tombs of the martyrs, they were twice assaulted, at the bridge of St. Angelo and before the Capitol, with volleys of stones and darts. The houses of his adherents were levelled with the ground: Paschal escaped with difficulty and danger; he levied an army in the patrimony of St. Peter, and his last days were embittered by suffering and inflicting the calamities of civil war. The scenes that followed the election of his successor Gelasius the Second were still more scandalous to the church and city. Cencio Frangipani,” a potent and factious baron, burst into the assembly furious and in arms: the cardinals were stripped, beaten, and trampled under foot; and he seized, without
* In a free conversation with his countryman Adrian IV., John of Salisbury accuses the avarice of the pope and clergy: Provinciarum diripiunt spolia, ac si thesauros *Croesi studeant reparare. Sed recta cum eis agit Altissimus, quoniam et ipsi aliis et saepe vilissimis hominibus dati sunt in direptionem (de Nugis Curialium, 1. vi. c. 24, v. 387). In the next page he blames the rashness and infidelity of the Romans, whom their bishops vainly strove to conciliate by gifts instead of virtues. It is pity that this miscellaneous writer has not given us less morality and erudition, and more pictures of himself and the times. ** Hume's History of England, vol. i. p. 419. The same writer has given us from Fitz-Stephen a singular act of cruelty perpetrated on the clergy by Geoffrey, the father of Henry II, “When he was master of Normandy the chapter of Seez pre“sumed, without his consent, to proceed to the election of a bishop; upon which he “ ordered all of them, with the bishop elect, to be castrated. and made all their “testicles be brought him in a platter." Of the pain and danger they might justly complain; yet, since they had vowed chastity, he deprived them of a superfluous
Gelasius II. A.D. 1118, 1119.
” From Leo IX. and Gregory VII. an authentic and contemporary series of the lives of the popes by the cardinal of Arragon, Pandulphus Pisanus, Bernard Guido, &c., is inserted in the Italian Historians of Muratori (tom. iii. P. i. p. 277-685), and has been always before my eyes.
* The dates of years in the margin may throughout this chapter be understood as tacit references to the Annals of Muratori, my ordinary and excellent guide. He uses, and indeed quotes with the freedom of a master, his great Collection of the Italian Historians in xxviii. volumes; and as that treasure is in my library, I have thought it an amusement, if not a duty, to consult the originals.
*I cannot refrain from transcribing the high-coloured words of Pandulphus Pisanus (p. 384): Hoc audiens inimicus pacis atque turbator jam fatus Centius Frajapane, more draconis immanissimi sibilans, et ab imis pectoribus trahens longa suspiria accinctus retro gladio sine more cucurrit, valvas ac fores confregit. Ecclesiam furi bundus introiit, inde custode remoto papam per gulam accepit, distraxit, pugni calcibusque percussit, et tanquam brutum animal intralimen ecclesiae acriter calcaribus cruentavit; et latro tantum dominum per capillos et brachia, Jesú bono interim dormiente, detraxit, ad domum usque deduxit, inibi catenawit et inclusit.
pity or respect, the vicar of Christ by the throat. Gelasius was dragged by his hair along the ground, buffeted with blows, wounded with spurs, and bound with an iron chain in the house of his brutal tyrant. An insurrection of the people delivered their bishop: the rival families opposed the violence of the Frangipani; and Cencio, who sued for pardon, repented of the failure, rather than of the guilt, of his enterprise. Not many days had elapsed when the pope was again assaulted at the altar. While his friends and enemies were engaged in a bloody contest, he escaped in his sacerdotal garments. In this unworthy flight, which excited the compassion of the Roman matrons, his attendants were scattered or unhorsed; and, in the fields behind the church of St. Peter, his successor was found alone and half dead with fear and fatigue. Shaking the dust from his feet, the apostle withdrew from a city in which his dignity was insulted and his person was endangered; and the vanity of sacerdotal ambition is revealed in the involuntary confession that one emperor was more tolerable than twenty.” These examples might suffice; but I cannot forget the sufferings of two pontiffs of the same age, the second and third of the name of Lucius. The former, as he ascended Lucius II. in battle-array to assault the Capitol, was struck on the 114 oils. temple by a stone, and expired in a few days; the latter "..." was severely wounded in the persons of his servants. In a * civil commotion several of his priests had been made prisoners; and the inhuman Romans, reserving one as a guide for his brethren, put out their eyes, crowned them with ludicrous mitres, mounted them on asses with their faces to the tail, and extorted an oath that, in this wretched condition, they should offer themselves as a lesson to the head of the church. Hope or fear, lassitude or remorse, the characters of the men and the circumstances of the times, might sometimes obtain an interval of peace and obedience; and the pope was restored with joyful acclamations to the Lateran or Vatican, from whence he had been driven with threats and violence. But the root of mischief was deep and perennial; and a momentary calm was preceded and followed by such tempests as had almost sunk the bark of St. Peter. Rome continually presented the aspect of war and discord: the churches and palaces were fortified and assaulted by the factions and families; and, after giving peace to Europe, caustus II. Calistus the Second alone had resolution and power to us;2. prohibit the use of private arms in the metropolis. Among *.* the nations who revered the apostolic throne, the tumults of * Rome provoked a general indignation; and, in a letter to his disciple
* Ego coram Deo et Ecclesia dico, si unquam possibile esset, mallem unum impe ratorem quam tot dominos (Vit. Gelas. II. p. 398). vol. viii. o