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reason of the 'misinterpretation of a symbol;'* while M. Raynouard, a still more whole-hearted apologist, in his exhaustive investigations, acquits them alike of moral and ecclesiastical crime, discrediting wholly the veracity of imputations which accused one and the same body of the grossest idolatry and the boldest iconoclasm, of the negation of God and the worship of idols, and Addison, following in Raynouard's track, unhesitatingly sums up the 'monstrous and ridiculous articles of accusation' as 'a monument of human folly, superstition, and credulity.'
But, howsoever these later disputants have, each according to his own theory, solved the problem, the charges, when first promulgated by Philip, met with small credence at the ear of Clement. He made scarcely a feint of conviction; the crimes adduced were 'invraisemblables, incroy
ables et inouies.' Voltaire has pointed out that it shows an indifferent knowledge of human nature to suppose the existence of societies based upon the depravity of their morals, and "Why league together to do what each man can do
without rule ? ' De Quincey inquired pertinently in our own century. Even in the fourteenth century the same question presented itself to Philip's allies, and tended to retard the execution of his project. But Philip lacked leisure to tarry for the laggard credulity of priests and potentates, and, stimulating the superstitious fury of the ignorant multitudes throughout France by the agency of denunciatory Dominican friars, he created a public opinion upon which he could safely rely. Allaying the aroused fears of the Order by an increase of royal favours bestowed upon Jacques de Molay, Grand-Master of the Temple and godfather to one of the enfants de France, he prepared in secret the sudden and decisive blow which left the whole society helpless in the hands of its most envenomed foes, the sons of St. Dominic.
On October 12 De Molay was summoned to take a place of honour at a royal funeral; on the 13th De Molay, with
* These special impieties might possibly point to a community of belief with those Christian sectaries who denied the material but accepted the mystical crucifixion of Christ. The Paulicians (ninth century) of Armenia - loaded the cross with contempt and reproach,' rejecting the doctrine of a veritable crucifixion. There are also parallel instances of sacrilege in the great iconoclastic controversy where the Christian reactionists against the prevalent image worship cast out the cross from the churches and committed it to the flames. See Mosheim, ' Eccl. Hist.' Michelet, however, euggests that the denial of St. Peter was re-enacted in these mystic initiatory rites. VOL. CXCII. NO. OCCXCIII.
every Templar throughout the realm of France, was seized and consigned to the dungeons of convents and fortresses.
During the months that intervened between the arrest of the knights and their trial the orders of the king were carried out relentlessly. In Paris alone 140 were tortured by the officers of the Inquisition. The alternative offered to the victims was a full confession of the accredited crimes, or death with every circumstance of protracted torture while forged letters, it is said, were produced purporting to be from the Grand-Master, exhorting his brethren to allow their guilt.
Under the torture the greater number confessed; released from torture the greater number retracted their confessions. · Toutes les accusations sont fausses,' so ran the retractation of Ponsard de Gisi as he stood before the Papal commission.
Nous avons cédé à la crainte, au péril, à la violence. Nous * étions torturés par Flexian de Béziers, prieur de Mont' faucon, et par le moine Guillaume Robert, nos ennemis. * Devant l'épreuve des tortures 36 Chevaliers étaient morts,' and Ponsard de Gisi, as a relapsed criminal, was led from the tribunal to the stake. *I persist in maintaining the • errors imputed are false,' the veteran Aymeric de Villar le Duc declared. Though overcome by torture, I myself confessed them. I have seen fifty-four knights led to the 'Hames. I doubt if I, like them, could be of so noble a 'constancy. I believe, so threatened, I would slay God Himself,' he added in a phrase, of which the brief simplicity attests its sincerity. And so knight after knight, as Ponsard and Aymeric, confessed, retracted, and died. Ils avouèrent dans les tortures, mais ils nièrent dans les 'supplices;' the old traditions of the glory of the heroic slain of Eastern battlefields revive amidst the illumination of those slow fires in which they agonised, affirming their innocence, at Paris.
The archives of the day register a picture of those torture processes we may do wisely to pass by in silence. In the history of the crimes of humanity, no less than in the biographies of individuals, there are reticences we cannot infringe with impunity. There are undoubtedly chapters of life we cannot decipher without loss, there is a realisation of cruelties we can scarcely acquire without some shadowy participation in their essence, a knowledge of sins committed which to have gained is to risk if not to forfeit something of the health and much of the delicacy of our own moral nature. There are iniquities best combated by
the incredulity that cries “It is not possible,' and the saner instincts of men warn us that it is well to shut our imaginations to those visions which from the dust of dead centuries reiterate their sullen affirmation 'It has been done.'
Such iniquities are those recorded by the pages telling of the long-protracted trial of the captive Templars as the tragedy of torture and death approaches, step by step, the final scene. Like sombre phantoms actor after actor passes across the background : Clement—the lover of the beautiful Countess de Perigord—the shameful semblance of a pope, eager to share the spoils, yet loth to share the full magnitude of Philip's cruelty, stands for a while in clear relief. Guillaume de Paris, the pitiless Dominican ; Marigny, the archbishop of Sens; Nogaret, the lawyer, himself doomed with Flexian de Béziers, the informer, and Noffo Dei, the witness, to suffer in their turn, two at the block and one at the halter, the penalty of their ill-doing-all these play their own parts in the scene.
And behind and above them all stands Philip the king. Dishonour waits upon the house of Capet. His three sons shall each in turn ascend the throne of France, but not one shall leave a son to carry on the royal dynasty. Their wives shall bring infamy upon them, and for Philip the Fair death lies near at hand. A boar's tusk in the gay forest shall wound his body, a nameless malady of mind shall poison his soul, and he shall die and pass before the bar of that tribunal where Clement will precede him, and where a great cloud of witnesses may well await his coming.
And on the other side, confronting the accusers, are arrayed the pale spectres of the accused. Again and again some single figure among the victims stands out alone upon the pages that chronicle the trial, stands out by virtue of a more vivid individuality of word or deed or suffering. More often it is of some unnamed company of knights that we catch a sudden glimpse, emerging from the shadow of dark prison gateways to cancel an hour's weakness by their gallant dying. Or, it may be, we see a group—as that band of more than fifty souls who in the space of twenty-four hours were interrogated, judged, sentenced, and burntinvoking death with the dauntless courage of a martyr's constancy. Nor are we ever suffered to forget that these disfigured captives, mutilated, bruised, racked, chained, and dishonoured, claim yet by spiritual heritage, if not the birthright of God's saints, at least the blood of earth’s noblest heroes.
Then, company by company, group by group, figure by figure, they fade from our sight, some in the dusk of lifelong imprisonment, some to expire in the death-fires of the open market-place, where a thronging populace watch with growing disquiet executions which so strangely simulate martyrdoms. Ils sembloient par dehors,' wrote cautiously the author of the Roman de Favel,''estre bons, and the old verse chronicle quoted by Raynouard sums up the evidence with greater boldness :
• En cel an qu'ai dist orendroit
• Mais je ne sai si il mesdient
Sont lassus ou ciel couronnez.' Non nobis Domine! The battle psalm of the Temple, the clash of spear and sword, was at length hushed for ever for the chivalry of Christ. Beauseant,* the black and white banner, the standard of the most gallant victories, of the most forlorn hopes of Christendom, is blazoned by mendicant monks of Dominic with the bar sinister of apostasy. Yet the hatred of the king, bankrupt and coiner, was not slaked. Jacques de Molay, the last Grand-Master of the long rollcall of heroes who had held that title, still lived. There are men whose history is the history of their death, for whom a sentence epitomises life and an hour serves as the abstract of years.
Among such De Molay takes his place. Admitted to the Order during the rule of Thomas Berard, he had served among the Frieri for some fortyeight years. He had been an actor in the last scenes of the Christians' dominion in Palestine, he had taken part in the final expedition of 1298. He had defended the honour of his Order with vehemence, he had been betrayed, he had been tortured, he had yielded. The confession of the veteran soldier had been the crowning triumph of his antagonists. He bore on his body the scars of war and the wounds of torture; he bore upon his soul, how silently and
* The piebald banner-Beau- or Bienseant-preceded the banner with the red cross introduced during the grand-mastership of Des Barres. Beauseant has been taken as an evidence of the Templars' adoption of Eastern tenets, the black and white symbolising the light and darkness, the good and evil principles of magianism.
secretly the sequel shows, the wounds of those rack-extorted avowals.
Upon a scaffold erected before Notre-Dame, Jacques de Molay was brought forth from his five years prison on March 18, 1313, with the Grand Preceptor and two other high officers of the Order, to reiterate his confession in the presence of the Legate, the prelates of France and the assembled people, that all the world of Paris, and all the world beyond Paris, the world of that day and of this, might hear. Two of his companions who, it would seem, were first called upon to re-testify their guilt, fulfilled the expectations of their gaolers, confessed and were exempted from further sufferings. Then De Molay, standing between the ranks of listening ecclesiastics and the pile of wood, which in sinister menace was laid ready beneath, addressed the vast and surging crowd of the assembled populace. He spoke, say the records, in a clear voice.'
I do,' he said, confess my guilt. He was guilty of the greatest crime possible to man. To his eternal shame, through pain of torture, and through fear of death, he had imputed sins to the innocent, blame to the guiltless, had avowed dishonour where dishonour was none. This falsehood he had been summoned hither to repeat; infamously to save his life by confirming a first lie with a second. But de bon cour,' he will rather renounce that life which has become abhorrent in his eyes. So far with contenance 'assurée 'De Molay had spoken, some suspense of surprise holding all silent around him. Then dragged fiercely from the platform with his remaining companion he met the death he unflinchingly challenged.
Legends have gathered confusedly round that evening's scene when, as the dusk fell over the city, De Molay died, by Philip's swift decree, a lingering death in the charcoal fires kindled upon the little island in the Seine. Legends of the victim summoning his persecutors,
pope and king, to meet him at the judgement of God; of Philip, in his palace near by, coldly triumphant in the consummation of his iniquities, blindly unconscious of the doom by which his feet should follow so soon the death track of the Templar. Legends of men regarding fearfully the spectacle, the glow of the burning across the night waters and the veil of smoke over the quiet tide of the river; of women gathering up the ashes, when the fires were spent, and covertly treasuring them as the relics of saints. And legends go on to tell of Clement struck down within that year, his body consumed