« ForrigeFortsett »
of Manuel towards the Latins,
customs of old England, and assured of the virtue of our mothers, we tay smile at the credulity, or resent the injustice, of the Greek, who must have confounded a modest salute 28 with a criminal embrace. But his credulity and injustice may teach an important lesson, to distrust the accounts of foreign and remote nations, and to suspend our belief of every tale that deviates from the laws of nature and the character of man.29
After his return, and the victory of Timour, Manuel reigned many years in prosperity and peace. As long as the sons of Ba- Indifference jazet solicited his friendship and spared his dominions, he was satisfied with the national religion ; and his leisure was employed in composing twenty theological dialogues for its 1402-1817. defence. The appearance of the Byzantine ambassadors at the council of Constance announces the restoration of the Turkisk power, as well as of the Latin church : the conquest of the sultans, Mahomet and Amurath, reconciled the emperor to the Vatican; and the siege of Constantinople almost tempted him to acquiesce in the double procession of the Holy Ghost. When Martin the Fifth ascended without a rival the chair of St. Peter, a friendly intercourse of letters and embassies was revived between the East and His negoWest.
Ambition on one side, and distress on the other, ciations, dictated the same decent language of charity and
peace : the artful Greek expressed a desire of marrying his six sons to Italian princesses; and the Roman, not less artful, despatched the daughter of the marquis of Montferrat, with a company of noble virgins, to soften, by their charms, the obstinacy of the schismatics. Yet under this mask of zeal a discerning eye will perceive that all was hollow and insincere in the court and church of Constantinople. According to the vicissitudes of danger and repose, the emperor advanced or retreated ; alternately instructed and disavowed his ministers; and escaped from an importunate pressure by urging the duty of inquiry, the obligation of collecting the sense of his patriarchs and bishops, and the impossibility of convening them at a time when the Turkish arms were at the gates of his capital. From a review of the public
Erasmus (Epist. Fausto Andrelino) has a pretty passage on the English fashion of kissing strangers on their arrival and departure, from whence, however, he draws no scandalous inferences.
Perhaps we may apply this remark to the community of wives among the old Britons, as it is supposed by Cæsar (Bell. Gall. I. v. c. 14) and Dion (Dion Cassius, 1. lxü. tom. ii. (c. 6] p. 1007), with Reimar’s judicious annotation. The Arrcoy of Otaheite, so certain at first, is become less visible and scandalous in proportion as wo have studied the manners of that gentle and amorous people.
* See Lenfant, Hist. du Concile de Constance, tom. ii. p. 576; and, for the ecolesi. astical history of the times, the Annals of Spondanus, the Bibliothèque of Dupin, tom. xii, and exist and xxiid volumes of the History, or rather the Continuation, of Fleury.
transactions it wil appear that the Greeks insisted on three succes. sive measures, a succour, a council, and a final reunion, while the Latins eluded the second, and only promised the first as a conseHis private quential and voluntary reward of the third. But we have
an opportunity of unfolding the most secret intentions of Manuel, as he explained them in a private conversation without artifice or disguise. In his declining age the emperor had associated John Palæologus, the second of the name, and the eldest of his sons, on whom he devolved the greatest part of the authority and weight of government. One day, in the presence only of the historian Phranza,3" his favourite chamberlain, he opened to his colleague and successor the true principle of his negociations with the pope. 32 “Our last resource," said Manuel, “ against the Turks is their fear “ of our union with the Latius, of the warlike nations of the West, “ who may arm for our relief and for their destruction. As often as
you are threatened by the miscreants, present this danger before “ their eyes. Propose a council ; consult on the means ; but ever delay " and avoid the convocation of an assembly, which cannot tend either " to our spiritual or temporal emolument. The Latins are proud ; “ the Greeks are obstinate; neither party will recede or retract; and “ the attempt of a perfect union will confirm the schism, alienate the “churches, and leave us, without hope or defence, at the mercy of “the barbarians.” Impatient of this salutary lesson, the royal youth arose from his seat and departed in silence; and the wise monarch (continues Phranza), casting his eyes on me, thus resumed his discourse : “My son deems himself a great and heroic prince; but, “ alas ! our miserable
age does not afford scope for heroism or greatHis daring spirit might have suited the happier times of our “ ancestors; but the present state requires not an emperor, but a “ cautious steward of the last relics of our fortunes. Well do I “ remember the lofty expectations which he built on our alliance
$! From his early youth, George Phranza, or Phranzes, was employed in the service of the state and palace; and Hanckius (de Script. Byzant. P. i. c. 40) has collected his life from his own writings. He was no more than four-and-twenty years of age at the death of Manuel, who recommended him in the strongest terms to his successor: Impriinis vero hunc Phranzen tibi commendo, qui ministravit mihi fideliter et dili. genter (Phranzes, 1. ü. c. 1 (p. 125, ed. Bonn). Yet the emperor John was cold, and he preferred the service of the despots of Peloponnesus.
37 See Phranzes, 1. ii. c. 13 (p. 178, ed. Bonn). While so many manuscripts of the Greek original are extant in the libraries of Rome, Milan, the Escurial, &c., it is a matter of shame and reproach that we should be reduced to the Latin version, or abstract, of James Pontanus (ad calcem Theophylact. Simocattæ: Ingolstadt, 1604), Ho deficient in accuracy and elegance (Fabric. Biblioth. Græc. tom. vi. p. 615-620),*
* The Greek text of Phranzes was edited been re-edited by Bekker for the dew ediby F. C. Alter, Vindobonæ, 1796. It has tion of the Byzantines. Boun, 1838.-M.
“ with Mustapha; and much do I fear that his rash courage will
urme the ruin of our house, and that even religion may precipitate “ our downfal." Yet the experience and authority of Manuel preserved the peace and eluded the council ; till, in the seventy-eighth year of his age, and in the habit of a monk, he terminated his career, dividing his precious moveables among his children and the poor, his physicians and his favourite servants. Of his six sons, 33 Andronicus the Second was invested with the principality of Thessalonica, and died of a leprosy soon after the sale of that city to the Venetians and its final conquest by the Turks. Some fortunate incidents had restored Peloponnesus, or the Morea, to the empire; and in his more prosperous days, Manuel had fortified the narrow isthmus of six miles 34 with a stone wall and one hundred and fifty-three towers. The wall was overthrown by the first blast of the Ottomans; the fertile peninsula might have been sufficient for the four younger brothers, Theodore and Constantine, Demetrius and Thomas; but they wasted in domestic contests the remains of their strength; and the least successful of the rivals were reduced to a life of dependence in the Byzantine palace.
The eldest of the sons of Manuel, John Palæologus the Second, was acknowledged, after his father's death, as the sole emperor of the Greeks. He immediately proceeded to re- John Palspudiate his wife, and to contract a new marriage with the princess of Trebizond: beauty was in his eyes the first qualification of an empress; and the clergy had yielded to his firm assurance, that, unless he might be indulged in a divorce, he would retire to a cloister and leave the throne to his brother Constantine. The first, and in truth the only victory of Palæologus, was over a Jew,” whom, after a long and learned dispute, he converted to the Christian faith ; and this momentous conquest is carefully recorded in the history of the times. But he soon resumed the design of uniting the East and West; and, regardless of his father's advice, listened, as it should seem with sincerity, to the proposal of meeting the pope in a general council beyond the Adriatic. This dangerous project was encouraged by Martin the Fifth, and coldly entertained
* See Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 243-248.
44 The exact measure of the Hexamilion, from sea to sea, was 3800 orgyiæ, or toises, of six Greek feet (Phranzes, 1. i. c. 35 (p. 108, ed. Bonn]), which would produce a Greek mile still smaller than that of 660 French toises, which is assigned by D'AD. ville as still in use in Turkey. Five miles are commonly reckoned for the breadth of the isthmus. See the Travels of Spon, Wheeler, and Chandler.
* The first objection of the Jews is on the death of Christ: if it were voluntary, Christ was a suicide: which the emperor parries with a mystery. They then dispute on the conception of the Virgin, the sense of the prophecies, &c. (Phranzes, l. ii. c. 12,
SCHISM AND COUNCILS OF THE LATIN CHURCH, CRAP. LXVI.
by his successor Eugenius, till, after a tedious negociation, the emperor received a summons from a Latin assembly of a new cnaracter, the independent prelates of Basil, who styled themselves the representatives and judges of the Catholic church. The Roman pontiff had fought and conquered in the cause of
ecclesiastical freedom; but the victorious clergy were soon of the Latin exposed to the tyranny of their deliverer; and his sacred
character was invulnerable to those arms which they found so keen and effectual against the civil magistrate. charter, the right of election, was annihilated by appeals, evaded by trusts or commendams, disappointed by reversionary grants, and superseded by previous and arbitrary reservations. 36 A public auction was instituted in the court of Rome : the cardinals and favourites were enriched with the spoils of nations; and every country might complain that the most important and valuable benefices were accumulated on the heads of aliens and absentees. During their residence at Avignon, the ambition of the popes subsided in the meaner passions of avarice 37 and luxury: they rigorously imposed on the clergy the tributes of first-fruits and tenths; but they freely tolerated the im
punity of vice, disorder, and corruption. These manifold scandals were aggravated by the great schism of the West,
which continued above fifty years. In the furious conflicts of Rome and Avignon, the vices of the rivals were mutually exposed; and their precarious situation degraded their authority, relaxed their discipline, and multiplied their wants and exactions. To heal the
wounds, and restore the monarchy, of the church, the 2.D: 1409 ; synods of Pisa and Constance 38 were successively conof Constance, vened; but these great assemblies, conscious of their 1414-1418; strength, resolved to vindicate the privileges of the Christian aristocracy. From a personal sentence against two pontiffs whom they rejected, and a third, their acknowledged sovereign, whom they deposed, the fathers of Constance proceeded to examine the nature and limits of the Roman supremacy; nor did they separate till they had established the authority, above the pope, of a general
* In the treatise delle Materie Beneficiarie of Fra Paolo (in the ivth volume of the last, and best, edition of his works) the papal system is deeply studied and freely described. Should Rome and her religion be annihilated, this golden volume may Btill survive, a philosophical history and a salutary warning.
37 Pope John XXII. (in 1334) left behind him, at Avignon, eighteen millions of gold florins, and the value of seven millions more in plate and jewels. See the Chronicle of John Villani (1. xi. C. 20, in Muratori's Collection, tom. xiii. p. 765), whose brother received the account from the papal treasurers. A treasure of six or eight millions sterling in the
xivth century is enormous, and almost incredible. 38 A learned and liberal Protestant, M. Lenfant, has given a fair history of the councils of Pisa, Constance, and Basil, in six volumes in quarto; but the last part is the most hasty and imperfect, except in the account of the troubles of Bohemia.
council. It was enacted, that, for the government and reformation of the church, such assemblies should be held at regular intervals ; and that each synod, before its dissolution, shouid appoint the time and place of the subsequent meeting. By the influence of the court of Rome, the next convocation at Sienna was easily eluded; but the bold and vigorous proceedings of the council of Basil 39 had almost been fatal to the reigning pontiff, Eugenius the Fourth.
A just suspicion of his design prompted the fathers to hasten the promulgation of their first decree, that the representatives of the church-militant on earth were invested with a divine and spiritual jurisdiction over all Christians, without excepting the pope ; and that a general council could not be dissolved, prorogued, or transferred, unless by their free deliberation and consent.
the notice that Eugenius had fulminated a bull for that purpose, they ventured to summon, to admonish, to threaten, to censure, the contumacious successor of St. Peter. After many delays, to allow time for repentance, they finally declared, that, unless he submitted within the term of sixty days, he was suspended position to
Eugenius IV from the exercise of all temporal and ecclesiastical authority. And to mark their jurisdiction over the prince as well as the priest, they assumed the government of Avignon, annulled the alienation of the sacred patrimony, and protected Rome from the imposition of new taxes. Their boldness was justified, not only by the general opinion of the clergy, but by the support and power of the first monarchs of Christendomn: the emperor Sigismond declared himself the servant and protector of the synod; Germany and France adhered to their cause ; the duke of Milan was the enemy of Eugenius; and he was driven from the Vatican by an insurrection of the Roman people. Rejected at the same time by his temporal and spiritual subjects, submission was his only choice : by a most humiliating bull, the pope repealed his own acts, and ratified those of the council; incorporated his legates and cardinals with that venerable body; and seemed to resign himself to the decrees of the supreme legislature. Their fame pervaded the countries of the East: and it was in their presence that Sigismond received the ambassadors of the Turkish sultan," who laid at his feet twelve large vases filled with
* The original acts or minutes of the council of Basil are preserved in the public library, in twelve volumes in folio. Basil was a free city, conveniently situate on the Rhine, and guarded by the arms of the neighbouring and confederate Swiss. In 1459 the university was founded by pope Pius II. (Æneas Sylvius), who had been secretary to the council. But what is a council, or an university, to the presses of Froben and the studies of Erasmus?
* This Turkish embassy, attested only by Crantzius, is related with some doubt by the annalist Spondanus, A.D. 1433, No. 25, tom. i. p. 824.