important triumphs, he was defeated, made prisoner, and forced to purchase his freedom by the payment of a large ransom (A. D. 1250). The pope's inveterate hostility to Frederic was one of the chief causes that led to the ruin of this crusade. At the moment that Louis sailed, Innocent was preaching a crusade against the emperor in Europe, and the Dominicans were stimulating their hearers to rebellion and assassination. The lamentable loss of the French army, the captivity of the

most Christian king," and the utter ruin of the Latin kingdom in Palestine, failed to shake the obstinacy of the pontiff. It seemed even that the death of Frederic redoubled his fury, as if his prey had escaped from his hands. “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad," was his address to the clergy of Sicily, “ for the lightning and the tempest, wherewith God Almighty has so long menaced your heads, have been changed, by the death of this man, into refreshing zephyrs and fertilizing dews.”

Untaught by calamity, he prepared for a second crusade ; on his voyage to the place of rendezvous, he was induced to steer to Tunis, in the wild hope of baptizing its king (A. D. 1270). Instead of a proselyte, Louis found a tedious siege, and a mortal disease. On his death, the remnant of his army was led back to Europe without making any further effort. The fate of Palestine was for a time delayed by the valor of Edward I., of England, who extorted a three years' truce from the Mohammedans. At length, some excesses of the Latins provoked the resentment of the Mameluke sultan, Khalil; he resolved to expel them completely from Palestine, and laid siege to their last stronghold, Acre (A. D. 1291). The city was taken after a tedious siege, and after its fall the title of King of Jerusalem, still preserved by the Christian princes, became an empty name.

SECTION VIII.-The Crusade against the Albigenses.

It has been already mentioned that the growth of heresy was beginning to alarm the advocates of papal supremacy in the reign of Alexander III., and that a general council had pronounced a solemn decree against the Albigenses. But the feudal lords of France and Italy were slow in adopting an edict which would have deprived them of their best vassals, and the new opinions, or rather the original doctrines of Christianity, were secretly preached throughout the greater part of Europe. It may be conceded to the defenders of the papal system that there were some among the preachers of a reformation who had given too great a scope to their imaginations, and revived many of the dangerous errors of the Manichæans and Paulicians. There seems no just cause for doubting that a few enthusiasts ascribed the Old Testament to the principle of Evil; because, as they asserted, “God is there described as a homicide, destroying the world by water Sodom and Gomorrah by fire, and the Egyptians by the overflow of the Red sea." But these were the sentiments of a very small minority; the bulk of the Albigensian reformers protested simply against the doctrine of transubstantiation, the sacraments of confirmation, confes. sion, and marriage, the invocation of saints, the worship of images, and the temporal power of the prelates. Their moral character was confessed by their enemies, but while they acknowledged its external purity, they invented the blackest calumnies respecting their secret practices, without ever bringing forward a shadow of proof, and consequently without incurring the hazard of refutation. The progress of reform was silent; for the efforts of the paterins, or Albigensian teach ers, were directed rather to forming a moral and pure society within che church, than to the establishment of a new sect. They seemed anxious to hold the same relation to the Romish establishment that John Wesley designed the Methodists to keep toward the church of England. Their labors generated an independence of spirit and freedom of judgment which would probably have led to an open revolt, had not Innocent III. discerned the danger to which the papal system was exposed, and resolved to crush freedom of thought before its exercise would subvert his despotism.

Innocent's first step was to enlist cupidity and self-interest on his side; he abandoned to the barons the confiscated properties of heretics, and ordered that the enemies of the church should be for ever banished from the lands of which they were deprived. He then sent commissioners into the south of France, to examine and punish those suspected of entertaining heretical opinions, and thus laid the first foundation of the Inquisition. The arrogance and violence of these papar emissaries disgusted every class of society; finding that their persecutions were unpopular, they resolved to support their power by force of arms, and they were not long in discovering the materials of an army.

Raymond VI., count of Toulouse, was engaged in war with some of the neighboring barons, and Peter de Castelnau, the papal legate, offered to act as mediator. He went to the barons, and obtained from them a promise that, if Raymond would consent to their demands, they would employ all the forces they had assembled to extirpate heresy. Castelnau drew up a treaty on these conditions, and offered it to Raymond for his signature. The count was naturally reluctant to purchase the slaughter of his best subjects, by the sacrifice of his dominions, and the admission of a hostile army into his states. He peremptorily refused his consent, upon which Castelnau excommunicated Raymond, placed his dominions under an interdict, and wrote to the pope for a confirmation of the sentence.

Innocent III. confirmed the legate's sentence, and began to preach a crusade ; but his violence transcended all bounds, when he learned that Castelnau had been slain by a gentleman of Toulouse whom he had personally insulted (A. D. 1208). Though Raymond appears to have had no share in this murder, it was against him that the papal vengeance was principally directed: he was excommunicated, his subjects absolved from their oath of allegiance, and the French king was invited to despoil him of his estates.

Philip Augustus was too busily engaged in wars with the king of England and the emperor of Germany to turn his attention to the extirpation of heresy; but he permitted a crusade against the Albigenses to be preached throughout his dominions, and the monks of Citeaux became the chief missionaries of this unholy war; they promised the pardon of all sins committed from the day of birth to death, to those who fell in the war, unlimited indulgence, the protection of the church


and a large share of spoil to all who survived. While the monks were enlisting ferocious bands of wretches, who believed that they. might expiate their former crimes by the perpetration of fresh atrocities, Innocent was preparing a new mission to Languedoc, whose savage brutalities exceeded even those of the crusaders. A new monastic order was instituted, at the head of which was placed a Spaniard named St. Dominic, whose special object was to extirpate heresy, by preaching against the doctrines of those who dissented from the church, and punishing with death those who could not be convinced by argument. This institution, too well known by the dreaded name of the Inquisition, appears to have been originally planned by the bishop of Toulouse, who introduced it into his diocese about seven years before it was formally sanctioned by Pope Innocent at the council of Lateran.

Raymond VI., and his nephew Raymond Roger, viscount of Albí, alarmed at the approaching danger, presented themselves before the papal legate, Arnold, abbot of Citeaux, to avert the coming storm by explanations and submissions. They protested that they had never sanctioned heresy, and that they had no share in the murder of Castel

The severity with which they were treated by the legate, convinced the young viscount that nothing was to be hoped from negotiation, and he returned to his states, resolved to defend himself to the last extremity: the count of Toulouse showed less fortitude; he promised to submit to any conditions which the pope would impose.

Raymond's ambassadors were received by the pope with apparent indulgence; but the terms on which absolution were offered to the count could scarcely have been more severe. He was required to make common cause with the crusaders, to aid them in the extirpation of heretics—that is, his own subjectsand to give up seven of his best castles as a pledge of his intentions. Innocent declared that, if Raymond performed these conditions, he would not only be absolved, but taken into special favor; yet, at the very same moment, the pope was inflexibly resolved on the count's destruction.

In the spring of the year 1209, all the fanatics who had taken arms at the preaching of the monks of Citeaux, began to assemble on the borders of Languedoc; the land was spread in beauty before themere long it was to be a howling wilderness. Raymond VI. sank into abject cowardice; he yielded up his castles, he promised implicit submission to the legate, he even allowed himself to be publicly beaten with rods before the altar, as a penance for his errors. As a reward for his humiliation, he was permitted to serve in the ranks of the crusaders, and to act as their guide in the war against his nephew.

Raymond Roger showed a bolder spirit; finding the papal legate implacable, he summoned his barons together, and having stated all his exertions to preserve peace, made a stirring appeal to their generosity and their patriotism. All resolved on an obstinate defence; even those who adhered to the church of Rome justly dreaded the excesses of a fanatical horde eager to shed blood, and gratify a ruffian thirst for plunder. The crusaders advanced : some castles and fortified towns were abandoned to them; others not subject to the imputation of heresy were allowed to ransom themselves ; Villemur was burned, and Chas

neuil, after a vigorous defence, capitulated. The garrison was per


mitted to retire, but all the inhabitants suspected of heresy, male and female, were committed to the flames amid the ferocious shouts of the conquerors, and their property abandoned to the soldiery.

Beziers was the next object of attack; the citizens resolved to make a vigorous resistance, but they were routed in a sally by the advanced guard of the crusaders, and so vigorously pursued, that the conquerors and conquered entered the gates together. The leaders, before taking advantage of their unexpected success, asked the abbot of Citeaux how they should distinguish Catholics from heretics; the legate's memorable answer was, “Kill all: God will distinguish those who belong to himself.” His words were too well obeyed; every inhabitant of Beziers was ruthlessly massacred, and when the town was thus one immense slaughter-house, it was fired, that its ruins and ashes might become the monument of papal vengeance.

Carcasonne was now the last stronghold of Raymond Roger, and t was gallantly defended by the young viscount. Simon de Montfort, the leader of the crusaders, found himself foiled by a mere youth, and was detained for eight days before he could master the suburbs and mvest the town.

Peter II., king of Aragon, whom the viscount of Albi and Beziers recognised as his suzerain, took advantage of this delay to interfere in behalf of the young lord, who was his nephew as well as his vassal. The egate, unwilling to offend so powerful a sovereign, accepted his mediation, but when asked what terms would be granted to the besieged, he required that two thirds of Carcasonne should be given up to plunder. Raymond Roger spurned such conditions ; Peter applauded his courage, and personally addressed the garrison. “You know the fate that waits you ; make a bold defence, for that is the best means of finally obtaining favorable terms." The prudence of this advice was proved by the legate's consenting to a capitulation ; but when the viscount, trusting to the faith of the treaty, presented himself in the camp of the crusaders, he was treacherously arrested, and thrown with his attendants into prison. Warned by the fate of their leader, the citizens of Carcasonne evacuated the town during the night, but some of the fugitives were overtaken by the cavalry of the crusaders; the legate selected a supply of victims from his prisoners ; four hundred of them were burned alive, and about fifty were hanged.

It seemed that the object of the crusade was obtained ; the count of Toulouse had submitted to every condition, however humiliating; the viscount of Narbonne abandoned every notion of resistance; and the gallant lord of Beziers was a prisoner. The crusaders too began to grow weary of the war; the French lords were ashamed of the cruelties they had sanctioned, and the faith they had violated; the knights and common soldiers, having completed the term of their service, were anxious to revisit their homes. But the legate, Arnold, was still unsatisfied; he summoned a council of the crusaders, and tried to induce them to remain, in order that they might protect their conquests of Beziers and Carcasonne, the investiture of which he conferred on Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester. But the greater part of the French nobles refused to remain longer, and Montfort had to defend his new acquisitions with the vassals from his own estates. The gallant Raymond Roger was detained a close prisoner in his own baronial hall at Carcasonne, where he soon died, the victim of a dysentery, produced by grief, or, as was generally suspected, by poison.

The armies of the crusaders withdrew; they left a desert, and called it peace; but the sufferings of the Albigenses were not exhausted; the monks of the Inquisition, attended by trains of executioners, went at their will through the land, torturing and butchering all who were suspected of heresy. Nor were the monks of Citeaux idle; they had found honor and profit in preaching a crusade, and they were not disposed to relinquish the lucrative employment. Thus a new crusade was preached when there was no enemy to combat, and nev hordes of fanatics were poured into Languedoc. They forced their chiefs to renew the war, that the exertions of those who profited by preaching extermination should not be lost, and that the bigotry of those who hoped to purchase their salvation by murder should not remain ungratified.

Strengthened by these reinforcements, Simon de Montfort threw off the mask of moderation, and declared war against the unfortunate count of Toulouse. Raymond was once more excommunicated, and his dominions placed under an interdict. But the earl of Leicester soon found that he had been premature in his hostilities; the king of Aragon refused to receive his homage for the viscounties of Beziers and Carcasonne, declaring that he would support the claims of the legitimate heir, Raymond Trencanel, the only son of the unfortunate Raymond Roger, a child about two years old, who was safe under the guardianship of the Count de Foix. A dangerous insurrection was raised in the states so recently assigned to Montfort; and out of the two hundred towns and castles that had been granted to him, eight alone remained in his possession.

The count of Toulouse was too much afraid of ecclesiastical vengeance to defend himself by arms; he sought the protection of the king of France, and he went in person to Rome to implore absolution. Innocent promised him pardon on condition of his clearing himself from the charge of heresy and of participation in the murder of Castelnau; but when he presented himself before the council, he found that his judges had been gained over by his inexorable enemy, the abbot of Citeaux, and instead of being permitted to enter on his defence, he was overwhelmed by a series of new and unexpected charges. His remonstranves were neglected, his tears afforded theme for mockery and insult, and the sentence of excommunication was formally ratified.

In the meantime the crusaders, under Simon de Montfort, pursued their career of extermination ; those whom the sword spared fell by the hands of the executioner; and the ministers of a God of peace were found more cruel and vindictive than a licentious soldiery. Even the king of Aragon became alarmed, and sought to secure the friendship of the papal favorite, by affiancing his infant son to a daughter of De Montfort. The monarch probably expected that by this concession, he would obtain more favorable terms for Raymond, and he accompanied the count to Arles, where a provincial council was assembled. The terms of peace fixed by the legate were so extravagant, not to say

absurd, that even Raymond rejected them, and secretly withdrew from

« ElőzőTovább »