ported partly by the revenues arising from these sines. Thus monarchs acquired more effectual authority; no longer regarded their nobles as their equals, or found it necessary to have recourse to feeble efforts to control their power. They began not only to hold the sceptre, but to brandish the sword; and had more complete means to check the designs of their barons by intimidation, or punish their rebellion by force of arms.

Charles the seventh of France, prompted by his desire of expelling the English from France in the year 1445, was the sirst monarch who established a standing army; he retained a large body of forces in his service, and appointed funds for their regular payment. Many of the principal nobility soon resorted to his standard, and looked up to him as the judge, and the rewarder of merit . The connexion between them was strengthened, and the feudal militia, who were only occasionally called out, were in time superseded by soldiers accustomed to long and regular service. This example of breaking the independent power of the barons was followed by the politic Henry VII. of England, He undermined that edisice, which it was not prudent to attack with open force. By judicious laws he permitted his nobles to cut off the entail of their estates, and to fell them. He prohibited them from keeping numerous bands of retainers, which had rendered them formidable to his predecessors. By encouraging agriculture and commerce, and all the arts of peace during a long reign, and by enforcing

a vigoa vigorous, impartial, and general execution of the laws, he not only removed many immediate evils resulting from the feudal system, but provided against their return. The influence of his salutary plans was gradually felt, and they contributed more and more, in process of time, to establish good government, to repress the arrogance of the higher, and to improve the condition of the middle and inferior classes of his subjects, by freeing them from ,the yoke of petty tyrants, and imparting to them the principal advantages of liberty.

II. The Crusades.

Few expeditions are more extraordinary than those which were undertaken for the recovery of the Holy Land from the Turks by the crusades. They took the name of crusaders, or Croijh from the cross which they wore on their shoulders io gold, silk, or cloth. In the sirst crusade all were red; in the third, the French alone preserved that colour, while green croflses were adopted by the Flemings, and white by the English, Each company likewise bore a standard, on which was painted a cross. If we consider the great numbers of Europeans, who were engaged in them, or their long and obstinate perseverance in the same design, notwithstanding numerous hardships, losses, and defeats; and if we reflect upon the important confequences, with which these enterprises were attended, both to themselves and their descendants;

the the history of the crusades, including a period of one hundred and seventy-sive years, from A. D. 1095 to 1270, will be found to deserve particular regard,' and to follow in proper order our survey of the feudal system y.

From the æra of the crusades may be traced the diffusion of several kinds of knowledge ; and from the communication of the western with the eastern nations, arose a succession of causes, which with different degrees of influence, and with more of l«fs rapidity, contributed to introduce order and improvement into society.

Judea, or the holy land, was the highest object of veneration to the Christians of the middle ages. There had lived the Son of God; there he had performed the most astonishing miracles; and there he had suffered death for the sins of the world. His holy sepulchre was preserved at Jerusalem; and as a degree of veneration was annexed to this consecrated place, nearly approaching to idolatry, a visit to it was regarded as the most meritorious fervice, which could be paid to heaven; and it was eagerly frequented by crowds of pilgrims from every part of Europe. If it be natural to the human mind to survey those spots, which have been the abodes of illustrious persons, or the scenes of great transactions, with delight, what must have been the veneration with which the Christians of those times, the ruling passion of whose mind was religious enthusiasm, regarded a country, which the Almighty had selected as the residence of his beloved Son, and the place where that Son had shed his precious blood, to expiate the sins, and accomplish the redemption of mankind? The zealous travellers who made a pilgrimage to Palestine were long exposed to the insults, extortions, and cruelty of the Insidels: but at length their complaints roused the Europeans to attempt their expulsion,

y The authorities for my account may be found in the Universal History, book 1. c. 2. b. 23. c. 5. &c. Pauli Æinilii Gesta. Francorum. Gibbon's Decline and Fall, wherever he has good authority to support his statements, v. 6. c. 59. &c. Knolles's History of the Turks; the History of Modern Europe, and Robertson's Charles V.

The First Crusade from A.D. 1095 to 1099.

Peter surnamed the Hermit, a native of Amiens in Picardy, was the most zealous and indefatigable promoter of this sirst expedition. He was a man of acute understanding and keen observation; in the garb of a Pilgrim he had visited the holy fepulchre, and had noticed the insults and hardships to which the Christians were exposed. He brought letters from the patriarch of Jerusalem to Pope Urban the second, in which their sufferings were described in the most pathetic terms, and the Christian states of Europe were exhorted to redress their grievances, and retaliate upon their Insidel T.ycants, from an apprehension that the Turks, more

ferocious 8

ferocious and more subtle than the Saracens, were■ aiming at universal empire. The ambassadors of the Greek Emperor Alexius Comnenus represented in the council of Placentia, to the numerous Bishops and Clergy there assembled, the imminent danger of their master, and his capital, from the vicinity of the Turks. The Pope afterwards, in a great council held at Clermont, enlarged upon the fame topics, and stated that the desire of the Turks for empire could only be satissied with the conquest of the whole world. The indignation and the ardour of persons of all ranks were excited, and they resolved to commence the expedition to the holy land without delay. Peter the Hermit with sandals on his feet, and a rope round his waist, led the way: Great numbers of devotees, chiefly composed of peasants, neither furnished with necessaries, nor regulated by discipline, followed his steps. Their ignorance magnisied the hopes and lessened the dangers of the undertaking. In the forests of Hungary and Bulgaria, many of them fell a sacrisice to the indignation of the inhabitants^ provoked by their rapine and plunder. A pyramid of bones, erected by Solyman, the Emperor of the Turks, near the city of Nice, marked the spot where many of those who penetrated farther than their companions, had been defeated; and of the sirst Crusaders very great numbers are said to have perished, before a single city was taken from the insidels.


« ElőzőTovább »