« ForrigeFortsett »
master. After the confession and absolution of their sins, th« champions of the cross were dismissed with a superfluous admonition to invite their countrymen and friends; and their departure for the Holy Land was fixed to the festival of the Assumption, the fifteenth of August, of the ensuing year.1*
So familiar, and as it were so natural to man, is the prac lice of violence, that our indulgence allows the slightest prov ocation, the most disputable right, as a sufficient ground of national hostility. But the name and nature of a holy war demands a more rigorous scrutiny; nor can we hastily believe, that the servants of the Prince of Peace would unsheathe the sword of destruction, unless the motive were pure, the •parrel legitimate, and the necessity inevitable. The policy of an action may be determined from the tardy lessons of experience; but, before we act, our conscience should be satisfied of the justice and propriety of our enterprise. In the age of the crusades, the Christians, both of the East and West, were persuaded of their lawfulness and merit; their argu ments are clouded by the perpetual abuse of Scripture and rhetoric; but they seem to insist on the right of natural and religious defence, their peculiar title to the Holy Land, and the impiety of their Pagan and Mahometan fo s.ao I. The
18 Bongarsius, who has published the original writers of the crusades, adopts, with much complacency, the fanatic title of Guibertus, Gesta Dei per Francos; though some critics propose to read Gesta Diaboli per Francos, (Hanoviifi, 1611, two vols. h\ folio.) I shall briefly enumerate, as they stand in this collection, the authors whom I have used for the first crusade. I. Gesta Francorum. II. Robertus Monachue. III. Baldricus. IV. Raimundus de Agiles. V. Albertus Aquensis VI. Fulcherius Oarnotensis. VII. Guibertus. VIII. Willielmus Ty riensis. Muratori has given us, IX. Radulphus Cadomensis do Gestis Tanciedi, (Script. Rer. Ital. torn. v. p. 285—333,) and, X. Ber nardus Thesaurarius de Acquisitione Terras Sanctse, (torn. vii. p. 664 —848.)* The last of these was unknown to a late French historian, who has given a large and critical list of the writers of the crusades, (Esprit des Croisades, torn. i. p. 13—141,) and most of whose judgments my own experience will allow me to ratify. It was late before I could obtain a sight of the French historians collected by Duchesne I. Petri Tudebodi Sacerdotis Sivracensis Historia de Hierosolymitano Itinere, (torn. iv. p. 773—815,^ has been transfused into the first anonymous writer of Bongarsius. II. The Metrical History of the first Crusade, in vii. books, (p. 890—912,) is of small value or account.
10 If the reader will turn to the first scene of the First Part o/
"Several new documents, particularly from the East, have been collected Wy the industry of the modern historians of the crusades, M Michaad Um) WUk«n. -M.
right of a just defence may fairly include our civil and spiritual allies: it depends on the existence of danger; and that danger must be estimated by the twofold consideration of the malice, and the power, of our enemies. A pernicious tenet has been imputed to the Mahometans, the duty of extirpating all other religions by the sword. This charge of ignorance and bigotry is refuted by the Koran, by the history of the Mussulman couilierors, and by their public and legal toleration of the Chris iian worship. But it cannot be denied, that the Oriental churches are depressed under their iron yoke; that, in peace and war, they assert a divine and indefeasible claim of universal empire; and that, in their orthodox creed, the unbelieving nations are continually threatened with the loss of religion or liberty. In the eleventh century, the victorious arms of the Turks presented a real and urgent apprehension of these losses. They had subdued, in less than thirty years, the kingdoms of Asia, as far as Jerusalem and the Hellespont; and the Greek empire tottered on the verge of destruction. Beside? an honest sympathy for their brethren, the Latins had a right and interest in the.support of Constantinople, the most important barrier of the West; and the privilege of defence must reach to prevent, as well as to repel, an impending assault. But this salutary purpose might have been accomplished by a moderate succor; and our calmer reason must disclaim the innumerable hosts, and remote operations, which overwhelmed Asia and depopulated Europe.* II. Palestine could add nothing to the strength or safety of the Latins; and fanaticism alone could pretend to justify the conquest of that
Henry the Fourth, he will see in the text of Shakspeare the natural feelings of enthusiasm; and in the notes of Dr. Johnson the workings of a bigoted, though vigorous mind, greedy of every pretence to hate and persecute those who dissent from his creed.
* The manner in which the war was conducted surely has little relation to the abstract question of the justice or injustice of the war. The most just and necessary war may be conducted with the most prodigal waste of human life, and the wildest lanaticism; the most unjust with the coolest moderation and consummate generalship. The question is, whether the liberties and religion of Europe were in danger from the aggressions of Mahometanism? If so, it is difficult to limit the right, though it may be proper to question the wisdom, of overwhelming the enemy with the armed population of a whole continent, and repelling, if possible, the invading conqueror into his native deserts. The crusades are monuments of human folly! but to which of the more regular wars civilized Europe, waged Car personal ambition or national jealousy, will our calmer reason appeal u monuments either of human justice or human wisdom 1—M.
distant and narrow province. The Christians affirmed thai their inalienable title to the promised land had been sealed bv the Hood of their divine Savior; it was their right and duty t* rescue their inheritance from the unjust possessors, who profaned his sepulchre, and oppressed the pilgrimage of his disciples. Vainly would it be alleged that the preeminence of Jerusalem, and the sanctity of Palestine, have been abolished with the Mosaic law; that the God of the Christians is not a local deity, and that the recovery of Bethlem or Calvary, his cradle or his tomb, will not atone for the violation of the moral precepts of the gospel. Such arguments glance aside from the leaden ahiero of superstition; and the religious mind will not easily relinquish its hold on the sacred ground of mystery and miracle. III. But the holy wars which have been waged in every climate of the globe, from Egypt to Livonia, and from Peru to Hindostan, require the support of some more general and flexible tenet. It has been often supposed, and sometimes affirmed, that a difference of religion is a worthy cause of hostility; that obstinate unbelievers may be slain or subdued by the champions of the cross; and that grace is the sole fountain of dominion as well as of mercy* Above four hundred years before the first crusade, the eastern and western provinces of the Roman empire had been acquired about the same time, and in the same manner, by the Barbarians of Germany and Arabia. Time and treaties had legitimated the conquest of the Christian Franks; but in the eyes of their subjects and neighbors, die Mahometan princes were still tyrants and usurpers, who, by the arms of war or rebellion, might be lawfully driven from their unlawful possession.41 As the manners of the Christians were relaxed, their disci
31 The vith Discourse of Fleury on Ecclesiastical History (p. '228~ 251) contains an accurate and rational view of the causes and effects of the crusades.
""God," says the abbot Guibert, ■' invented the crusades as a new way for the laity to atone for their sins and to merit salvation." This extraordinary and characteristic passage must be given entire. "Deus nostra tempore preelia sancta instituit, ut ordo equestris et vulgus oberrans qui vetasue Paganitatis exempli) in mutuas versabatur cades, novum reperirent salutis promerendas genus, at nee funditus electa, ut fieri assolet, aionastica conversatione, seu religiosa qualibet professione sreeulum relinquere cogerentur; sed sub consueta licentia et babitu ex suo ipsorun jffi-io Dei aliquatenus gratiam consequerentur.' Guib. Abbas, p. 37» Bee Wilken, vol. i. p. 63.—M.
pliiie of penance" was enforced; and with the multiplication of sins, the remedies were multiplied. In the primitive church, a voluntary and open confession prepared the work of atonement. In the middle ages, the bishops and priests interrogated the criminal; compelled him to account for his thoughts, words, and actions; and prescribed the terms of his reconciliation with God. But as this discretionary powei might alternately be abused by indulgence and tyranny, a rule of discipline was framed, to inform and regulate the spiritual judges. This mode of legislation was invented by the Greeks; their penitentials" were translated, or imitated, in the Latin church; and, in the time of Charlemagne, the clergy of every diocese were provided with a code, which they prudently concealed from the knowledge of the vulgar. In this dangerous estimate of crimes and punishments, each case was supposed, each difference was remarked, by the experience or penetration of the monks; some sins are enumerated which innocence could not have suspected, and others which reason cannot believe; and the more ordinary offences of fornication and adultery, of perjury and sacrilege, of rapine and murder, were expiated by a penance, which, according to the various circumstances, was prolonged from forty days to seven years. During this term of mortification, the patient was healed, the criminal was absolved, by a salutary regimen of fasts and prayers: the disorder of his dress was expressive of grief and remorse; and he humbly abstained from all the business and pleasure of social life. But the rigid execution of these laws would have depopulated the palace, the camp, and the city; the Barbarians of the West believed and trembled; but nature often rebelled against principle; and the magistrate labored without effect to enforce the jurisdiction of the priest. A literal accomplishment of penance was indeed impracticable: the guilt of adultery was
"Ttie penance, indulgences, <fec, of the middle ages are amply dis cussed by Muratori, (Antiquitat. Italue Medii JEvi, torn. v. dissert lxviii. p. 709—768,) and by M. Chais, (Lettres sur les Jubiles et les Indulgences, torn. ii. lettres 21 & 22, p. 478—556,) with this difference, that the abuses of superstition are mildly, perhaps faintly, exposed by the learned Italian, and peevishly magnified by the Dutch minister.
9* Schmidt (Histoire des Allemands, torn. ii. p. 211—220, 452—462) gives an abstract of the Penitential of Rhegino in the ninth, and of BurChard in the tenth, century In one year, five-and-thirty murders w«r« perpetrated at Worms.
multiplied by daily repetition; that of homicide might involve the massacre of a whole people; each act was separately numbered; and, in those times of anarchy and vice, a modest sinner might easily incur a debt of three hundred years. Ilia insolvency was relieved by a commutation, or indulgence: a year of penance was appreciated at twenty-six solidi'* of silver, about four pounds sterling, for the rich; at three solidi, or nine shillings, for the indigent: and these alms were soon appropriated to the use of the church, which derived, from the redemption of sins, an inexhaustible source of opulence and dominion. A debt of three hundred years, or twelve hundred pounds, was enough to impoverish a plentiful fortune; the scarcity of gold and silver was supplied by the alienation of land; and the princely donations of Pepin and Charlemagne are expressly given for the remedy of their soul. It is a maxim of the civil law, that whosoever cannot pay with his purse, must pay with his body; and the practice of flagellation was adopted by the monks, a cheap, though painful equivalent. By a fantastic arithmetic, a year of penance was taxed at three thousand lashes;" and such was the skill and patience of a famous hermit, St. Dominic of the iron Cuirass," that in six days he could discharge an entire century, by a whipping of three hundred thousand stripes. His example was followed by many penitents of both sexes; and, as a vicarious sacrifice was accepted, a sturdy disciplinarian might expiate on his own back *he sins of his benefactors." These compensations of the purse and the person introduced, in the
"Till the xiith century, we may support the clear account of xii. denarii, or pence, to the solidm, or shilling; and xx. solidi to the pound weight of silver, about the pound sterling. Our money is diminished to a third, and the French to a fiftieth, of this primitive stan dard.
26 Each century of lashes was sanctified with a recital of a psalm, and the whole Psalter, with the accompaniment of 15.000 stripes, was equivalent to five years.
48 The Life and Achievements of St. Dominic Loricatus was com' posed by his friend and admirer, Peter Damianus. See Fleury, Hist Eccles. torn. xiii. p 96—104. Baronius, A. D. 1056, No. 7, who observes, from Damianus, how fashionable, even among ladies of quality, (sublimis generis,) this expiation (purgatorii genus) was grown.
"At a quarter, or even half a rial a lash, Sancho Panza was a cheaper, and possibly not a more dishonest, workman. I remember m Pert: Labat (Voyages en Italie, torn. vii. p. 16—29) a very lirelj picture of the dexterity of one of these artiste.