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blessed Son, originally drew the crowds who visited that country, is somewhat problematical; but certainly the feeling soon became absorbed in the love of mercantile adventure. Traffic was the omnipotent magnet of popular attraction, and if, among the many millions of pilgrims, there were some exceptions to the rule-sume over whom neither gain nor glory had assumed the dominion, they were few indeed. The caravan that annually went to Mecca, though instituted for the sake of religion, was a merchant-caravan, and the Christians had either set the example, or followed it with as much punctuality as profit. Their visits to Jerusalem were usually made at the time of a general mart;t and had not European commerce suffered material interruption from Saracen rapacity, the Crusades, in all human probability, never would have been heard of. There is no other view of this case which can account for the immense multitudes who annually proceeded to Jerusalem. As for religion, the reason commonly assigned, there is no doubt but that it was always a minor consideration. The age was fanatic, because it was ig. norant, not because it was devout; and while the clergy instilled into the people's minds, that they could purchase remission of sins by large donations to the Church, that feeling alone must have made the accumulation of wealth a most important object of attainment. Wealth, then, was remission of sins; it was their stipulated value, and it was quite natural, that whatever might be their concern for the violation of their Saviour's laws, they should place unbounded affection upon that which, while pampering depraved passions, freed them from the consequences of sin. And, as the system united gain with pardon, so the holiness of Palestine, being united with its riches, conferred a preference upon that distinguished land which otherwise it might not have had. It connected, as they were but too happy to think, the temporal with the eternal, and enabled them, in despite of an assertion to the contrary of some importance, to serve at the same time God and Mammon. It demonstrated (what we wish easily finds proof!) that the orison must needs be redolent of holier incense, when accompanied by increased prosperity; and denoted the favour of Heaven, manifestly crowning their toils. Thus, while they took credit to themselves for a long and wearisomne pilgrimage; while they conceived their transgressions blotted out, and their peace (with, or without, the donation!) fully established, they felt the charm of overflowing lockers and crowded magazines. It was reasonable, therefore, that they whose age or infirmities obstructed their pilgrimage, should impress the singular advantages it possessed upon the minds of their children's children. A little before the occurrence we commemorate, a crusade had been preached; the crusaders had embarked, but turned aside to besiege and occupy Constantinople. The continual rumours of this exploit, added to the general feeling; and we know not if the crusade proclaimed the
preceding year by Pope Innocent III.-a monster of cruelty!-against the unI fortunate Albigenses, contributed the least to its excess. On this occasion,
the chiefs of the crusaders, in a council of war, enquired how they were to distinguish the good Catholics from the heretics of Albi-"Strike!” said Arnold, Abbot of Câteaux; “Strike! the Lord will recognize those who are (for him !" And the massacre was consequently universal.
While such was the feverish excitement of the public mind, two ecclesias· tics, captives to the Prince of the Assassins, the notorious old man of the mountains, were set at liberty, under an engagement to inveigle a multitude of European children into his power. Accordingly, entering Germany and France, they preached a crusade against the infidels, calling upon children of the tenderest years to put their trust in God, and commit themselves to the pious enterprise with the utmost confidence of success.
The object of the priests in thus duly accomplishing their promise to the Assassin chief, assuredly did not originate in any sense of an obligation en
• De Guignes, Mem. des Inscript. t. 37. p. 475.
tered into for their deliverance from captivity. It was then a well-known maxim of the Catholic Church, that no faith was to be kept with heretics; and undoubtedly if ever faith could be justifiably violated, it ought in such an inhuman treaty. Besides, the papal absolution was so conveniently at hand, as to present no difficulty to a conscientious servant of the Roman Church. But the truth is, these priests were disposed to engage in an advantageous traffic, which, to the eternal disgrace of humanity, was at that time frequently resorted to. The sale of Christian slaves was by no means uncommon, and appears to have been carried on with as little remorse as interruption from the state. The ecclesiastics, therefore, under the pretence of a crusade, intended to dispose of the children to their employer; and if they had been in want of an exalted precedent for such an iniquitous transaction, they had it in the head of their own church. Pope Zacharias, A.D. 748, bought a considerable number of Christian slaves from the Venetians ; youths who had been conveyed to Rome for that benevolent purpose. As the Pope himself gave a public sanction to the proceeding, and as they appear to have been brought to Rome openly, and with the same liberty as any other lawful merchandise, this infamous traffic must have spread over an extensive circuit. Charlemagne, more humane, or more politic than the ghostly father, endeavoured to suppress it; and in 785 commanded certain Greeks, long accustomed to indulge in the practice, to quit his kingdom.* The people of Verdun, however, according to Liutprand, carried their barbarity yet farther. They sold to the Arabs of Spain a large number of young men whom they had emasculated, with the view of qualifying them to act as the guardians of eastern seraglios The Pope is said at this day to be a considerable purchaser of such kind of commodity. They were called Carsamatia; and as the passage from Liutprand is sufficiently curious, and to the purpose, we present it to the reader. The historian was sent ambassador to Constantinople, and, in the name of his master, received the following gifts :
“I obtained,” he relates, “ nine surpassing coats of mail; seven excellent shields with gilded studs; two silver cups gilt; swords, lances, rapiers, slaves; four Carsamatia, more precious to the Emperor than all the foregoing. Now the Greeks call Carsamatium an eunuch-boy, whom the merchants of Verdun are accustomed to provide on account of the immense gain which they derive from the sale, and whom they conduct into Spain.”+ Those sold by the Venetians were subject to the same cruelties. At this period Verdun carried on an extensive trade, and history often mentions Bracenses negotiatores, merchants settled in the neighbourhood of Verdun. It is clear then, we should think, that in a barbarous age interest is more powerful than religion; and, therefore, when we read of Holy Wars, and constant pilgrimages to the sepulchre of Christ, we are led, with much appearance of justice, to infer, that their object was less that of devotion than of conquest and trade. In considering, indeed, the chief characteristics of a barbarous age, we have often been struck by the facility with which human passions are intertwined with religious exercises. One of the prime deities of the Greek mythology was Minerva, the goddess of wisdom; Ulysses was her especial favourite, and accordingly Ulysses has been pointed out as “the man for wisdom's various arts renowned.” Investigate the conduct of this man under its most propitious circumstances, and we shall find it a complete tissue of deceptive practices. Now the Greeks were notorious for their craftiness,—therefore they established it as part and parcel of their
warlike; so they formed a religion out of war. In the prosecution of it they committed unheard-of crimes --So they turned their plunder into an atonement; and whilst they battled and pillaged in gratification of the heart's strongest and most unhallowed provocatives, they styled it devotion ; a boundless love of Christ, and zeal for the honour of God! But we do
* De Guignes, Mem. sur le Commerce des François.
# De Guignes. wrong to limit such artifice to barbarous times: it is a too general illusion. It arises in the corruption of human nature, and prevails at every period. Civilization lends it but a gayer gloss, and hides its grossness with a more refined and graceful exterior.
Whether the ecclesiastics in the hands of the Assassins soothed their consciences, by vowing part of what their guilt should produce, to the Virgin, or by some other equally efficient measure of the kind, does not certainly appear. We fear they were too abandoned in their iniquity to have consciences at all. They were learned clerks, and deeply skilled in the prohibited science of necromancy; given to unholy arts, and in close compact with the Evil One.* They were aided in their attempts by “false visions, and portents;" by nocturnal clamours, we imagine ; phosphoric lights, speaking statues, miraculous relics, and other tracasseries. Be this as it may, their efforts were so far effectual that they aroused an immense congress of both sexes, clad as pilgrims, marked with a cross, and each furnished with a staff and scrip.t Full of confidence and enthusiasm, they hurried on their route, possessed with the incredible belief, as one of the records of the time intimates, I that God, “out of the mouth of babes and sucklings would perfect strength, because of his enemies.” This, indeed, must have been a rare text in the hands of two subtle priests, sermocinating to a crowd of ignorant bigots, stimulated by a variety of overwhelming passions; full of enthusiastic hopes, vehement desires, and superstitious feelings. Who could suspect the motives of the instigators? The project was in strict accordance with the opinions of the time; it took most accurately “its form and pressure," and the very thought seemed only to have had its origin in immediate inspiration. Many of the foolish multitude were the offspring of noble families ; but, as if to show the prevailing temper of the expedition, Jacob de Voragine confesses that “ipsi etiam cum meretricibus destinarunt.”
About thirty thousand of these crusaders (from whom Swift might have borrowed the idea of his Lilliputian squadrons, though it is probable that he took it from the fable of the Pygmies,) were collected at Vendôme, a few leagues from Paris; from whence they marched in the utmost disorder through Burgundy to Marseilles. Another portion, from Germany, under the conduct of a boy, called Nicholas, I and amounting to upwards of seven thousand souls, passed the Alps, and equipped in the costume adopted by the others, proceeded to Genoa. They traversed all this space of country, supported only by the voluntary contributions of such as put faith in their enterprise, or compassionated their folly. But donations of this nature, divided among a hungry, and in all probability a wasteful crowd, could not be of any great extent or importance. They suffered accordingly, but they still persevered in the undertaking. In vain their parents and friends endeavoured to detain them. For however brilliantly depicted the expedition might have been, however great and glorious it might actually appear to the majority of the elders, yet the powerful yearnings of nature got the better of their zeal ; and apprehension spoke more loudly than superstition. Many, no doubt, were the maternal eyes that overflowed with moisture; and many the maternal bosoms that palpitated with unusual velocity. But in truth it was an idle waste of time to represent to these young truants all the madness of the exploit; all the horror of the situation into which they would be precipitated; the agonies of a Saracen martyrdom, or the long and lingering captivity to which they might be fated. Difficulties but increased
Divi Antonini Chron. pars Tertia, p. 104. + Jacob de Voragine.
Fasciculus Temporum, fol. 80. Ś Page 45. See also Bizaro Sentinati, p. 30. | Alberici Chronicon, p. 459.
Albertus, Abbot of Stade, says expressly, “ sine rectore, sine duce," p. 203 ; and though Sentinati calls Nicholas a boy, “cujusdam puelli Teutonici, Nicolai no. Inine," Jacob de Voragine seems to intimate the contrary“Quidam Teutonicus nomine Nicholaas in habitu peregrini,"
the ardour of their resolution; and added one more extraordinary proof of the impetuous and sweeping enthusiasm by which they were carried away. They evaded confinement, they scaled high walls, or penetrated their amplest imperviousness; they even contrived to escape from the thraldom of heavy fetters. If questioned as to the object of their pilgrimage, their cry was, “ We are going to Jerusalem, to the conquest of the Holy Land."* And though an expedition commenced under such auspices, and prosecuted with every species of wild excess—with the riotous buoyancy of children, united to the energy of men, the result of a momentary ardour-could not but be an object of scandal, yet were there those who could perceive in this blind hallucination of the human intellect, the foot-print of Omnipotence! Driven by this insane idea, men and women quitted their homes, and joined the less crazy multitudes of juvenile crusaders. But the impulse they pronounced to be from Heaven: "a call,” they thought, from celestial power!
Thus it is that, in all times, ignorant and presumptuous fanaticism converts mental infirmity into the will of God; consecrates delirium, and listens to the whispers of a sinful heart as to unfailing oracles! Thus it is that, hurried on by overwhelming passions, men sacrifice all things to the golden idol which folly has set up; and, in the dull bigotry of their souls, hoodwink reason, and disparage truth!
Su inconceivably out of measure ran the frenzy of the moment, that they implicitly believed a story, most probably derived from the original movers of the proceeding, relative to the drought of that year, which, it was predicted, should be so intense as to dry up the very ocean, and enable the children of Crusade, like the Israelites of old, to pass with unmoistened foot through its abysses. And certainly, since the arm of God was to be visibly employed in their behalf; since it was by a miracle that they were to possess themselves of Jerusalem, and disperse the Saracen, there was no objection to a farther trial of faith. It was quite as easy to credit one as the other; and it was even somewhat more encouraging to be persuaded of the last, because it promised an earlier fulfilment, and, withal, might be considered as one of the most curious and entertaining portions of their travels. Perhaps it was this additional hope of gratified curiosity which drew so numerous a cortège of females into the ranks of the tumultuary throng. If it were, they paid something more than the penalty of the inquisitive; for even on their passage to the ports of Marseilles and Genoa,t they experienced no slight foretaste of that ruthless destiny, which so ill-advised an undertaking might naturally be expected to produce:-“making it clear,” says the Fasciculus Temporum,“how the Devil preaches his crusades."
As each of the two expeditions proceeded by different routes, and to different ports, we must follow their histories apart. Of the thirty thousand from France, but a very small portion ever returned; the remainder perished in the waves, or became an object of treacherous speculation to two merchants of Marseilles, named Hugo Ferreus, and William Porcus.f These persons, like many others, traffickers, as we have shown, in human blood, carried on an extensive commerce with the Saracens for the sale of children: Here was an occasion too favourable to be lost sight of; and, accordingly, the iniquitous varlets proposed furnishing ships to convey the pilgrims to their destination exempt from every charge. Their atrocious designs they cloaked under the common pretext of those times, as well as of many latercharity to man, and piety to God. The proposal was, of course, joyfully accepted; since the ocean had changed its mind, and no longer chose to have its secrets spread abroad. Seven large vessels were filled with the devoted sacrifice. They set sail; and after two days' navigation, were overtaken by a violent tempest, near the island of St. Pierre. Two of the vessels foun
• Albertus Stadensis.
+ Vincent de Beauvais, St. Antonine, and John Laziardus, (Hist. Univer. Epi. tomia, cap. 223. fo. 157.); add also Brandisi.
# Alberic. Mon. Tri. Fon, Chron.
dered on a rock, called the Rock of the Recluse. Every soul on board
perished, happily preserved from apostasy, and the doom of their less fortui nate companions. The bodies, thrown up by the waves, were interred upon the island ; and the Pope, some years after, (then Gregory IX.) founded a church upon the site, which he entitled “the Church of the Young Innocents."* In the mean while, the five remaining vessels pursued their way to Alexandria in Egypt, and to Bagia in Africa, where the whole living cargo was inhumanly disposed of to Saracen chiefs, or to slave-merchants. The Caliph of Baldach,t who, as it is related by Alberic, had dwelt twenty-three years at Paris in the habit of an ecclesiastic, i and there acquired an intimate knowledge of European accomplishments, now purchased four hundred, all of them in holy orders, and eighty of them priests; by which it would appear that they had ransacked the monasteries, and levied as many of the young religious as they were able to influence. The Caliph, however, appears to have behaved decently to his clerical captives; and his reason for the purchase is thus explained by Alberic-“because by these means he would withdraw them from the rest." This separation probably saved their lives ; for, in the same year, 'a number of the Saracen princes having assembled at Baldach, eighteen of the unfortunate children were slaughtered before their eyes with every kind of torture. Their crime consisted in valiantly refusing to deny their faith"; but we are a little sceptical upon this matter. Children, of ten and twelve years of age, might have been induced to quit their country under the influence of novel excitements; but we think they could not have been brought to the torture, and yet undauntedly maintained their religion in its despite. Human courage springs more from mind, than from the physical temperament of the body; and the mental energies of a child cannot be expected to hold firm in any great degree. We look upon this tale, therefore, recorded by the “monk of the three fouatains," as somewhat apocryphal ; as proceeding rather from the spirit of the cloister, than from the spirit of truth.
For the treacherous merchants, Hugo Ferreus and William Porcus, the doom they had richly merited finally overtook them. Entering into a conspiracy with Mirabel, the Saracen Prince of Sicily, in order to betray the Emperor Frederic II.--probably during his abode at Genoa, when on his way to Constance, their projects were happily defeated, and Mirabel, his two sons, and the child-merchants, were suspended from the same cross. Eighteen years afterwards, Machmout, of Alexandria, still held in bonds seven hundred crusaders of all ages.
The German adventurers, on the other hand, after a painful and luckless pilgrimage, after having been subject to constant spoliation from banditti ever on the watch, and one of whom they apprehended at Cologne, and hung, - after experiencing all the extremes of heat, hunger, and thirst, their numbers daily diminished by every species of distress, many perishing from very want in woods and desert places,--a residue, at last, reached Genoa. The Senate, naturally alarmed at such an increase of population, so utterly unprovided for, refused to admit them within the city. They encamped, therefore, under the walls ; and during an interval of six or seven days, the Senate took their fórlorn predicament into consideration. Perceiving in their designs--what, indeed, it did not require very great penetration to perceive-nothing but the rashness and precipitancy of childhood, apprehending likewise a scarcity of provisions from the augmented consumption of such a numerous body, as well as the disorders incident to it, they issued an edict for their immediate departure from the Genoese territory. Another reason, of a yet more cogent nature, was the fear that the Emperor Otho IV. (then at war with the Pope, and hostile to the Genoese States on account of the support they had given to Frederic II. of Sicily, son of the Emperor Henry VI.) should take advantage of such a crisis, and involve
* Alberic. Mon. Tri. Fon. Chron.
Alberici Chron. p. 404-5. and p. 459. § Annales Godefredi Monach.