Joseph Priestley.

A general history of the Christian church, from the fall of the western empire to the present time (Volume 2) online

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called, that we read of.

N 3 I5


In reply to the emperor, the pope publifhed
another letter, in which he makes him to be the beaji
in the Revelation which rofe out of the fea. He
faid that the refufal of the marriage came from him-
feif, and not from the emperor ; and from his de-
nying the power of a pope to excommunicate him,
he faid that, being guilty of this capital herefy, it
might be concluded that he had no more belief in
other articles f>f Chriltian faith. But he farther
charged the emperor with having faid, that the
Tvorld had been deceived by three impoftors, Mofes,
Chritt, and Mahomet, that none but madmen
could believe that God, the creator of all things,
could be born of a virgin, and that man could only
be conceived by the union of the two fexes. This
wiiting was publifhed July ift, a. d. 1239.

The emperor, in his reply, faid that the pope
was the dragon which had deceived the world, An-
tichrift, Balaam, and the prince of darknefs. In
anfwer to the charge of his calling Chrift an im-
pollor, he gives the articles of his faith with refpeft
to the divinity of Chrift, and the incarnation, and
fpeaks of Mofes and Chrift as became a Chriftian.
As to the pope's cenfures, he confidered them as
null, and to be revenged by the fword, if the car-
dinals did not bring him to reafon, and put a
ftop to his violence. Af er this the emperor gave
orders to fend all the mendicant triars out of Sicily,



to levy a tax upon all cathedral churches, and to
confifcate the efFefts of all the foreign clergy. He
alfo ordered the punilhment of death to all perfons
who fhould bring letters from the pope, or pay any
regard to them.

Even the German prelates, who were ordered
by the pope to publifh the excommunication of
the emperor, and were threatened if they did not
do it, paid no regard to the injundion, but in-
treated the pope to ufe more lorbearance, and
make peace with the emperor, and lo put an end
to the fcandal. The patriarch of Aquileia even
joined in communion with the emperor, and the
Teutonic knights took his part. The pope, how-
ever, unmoved by all this, renewed his exccm-
munication of the emperor, and of his fon, who
had taken poffelTion of the March of Ancona, which
the pope faid belonged to him. At tlys time
Elias, who had been general of the Francifcans
(and had been a great advocate for a relaxation of
the rules of the order, and after being depofed had
been reftored to his povrer and greatly abufed it)
being again depofed, joined the emperor, and
exclaimed with great violence againll the co^^rt of
Rome, as full of ufur^', fimony and avarice. The
pope, he faid, encroached upon the rights of the
emperor, and thought of nothing but amalling mo-

N 4 ney,


ney, and by the moft unjull meacs, and for this
he was excommunicated.

The pope met with as little encouragement
from Fi ance. Having made an o£Fer of the im-
perial digt.-ity to Robert the king's brother, Lewis,
with the advice of his lords, replied, that the pops
had no right to depofe To great a prince, not con-
vicled ot any cnine ; that if he was depofed, it
Jhould be by a general council, and that his ene-
mies, among whom the pope was the chief, ought
not to be h( aid againil him. He is innocent, laid
the king, '.vith relpett to me, and has always been
a good neighbour. I will not make war upon
Hm, efpecialJy as he will be fupported by fo many
kingdoms, and the juftice of his caufe. If, faid
the king, the pope lliould by our means lubdue
Frederic, he will be more infclent, and trample
upon all princes. He promifed, however, to lend
ambaffadors to the emperor, to make inquiry con-
cerning his faith ; faying, if that be orthodox, why
fhould I attack him, tho' if he be in an error, I
ihall purfue him to extremity, as I would any
other perfon, even the pope himfelf.

The pope alfo witiiout any elFeft folicited the
princes ot the empire to make another ele£lion of
an emperor. He fucceeded, tho' with much diflB-
culty, in obtaining from Henry III of England »
filth of the incomes ot the church livings in that



kingdom, for the purpofs of carrying on the war
again ft Frederic.

In Italy the cardinal John de Colonna, the
pope's legate in the March of Ancona, joined the
emperor, who, as well as his fon, made great pi;o-
grefs in his war again ft the pope in a. d. 1241.
The pope having called a general council to be
held ^t Rome, for the purpofe of proceeding againfl;
the emperor, this princc- threatened all who fhould
ar<end it; ad many prelates who had embarked
at Gen a, bemg met by th" emperor's galhes from
Naples, were taken, treated with much indignity^
and carried firil to Naples, and then to Salerno,
Among them were the abbots of Clugni, Citeaux,
and Clairvaux, and the bifhop ot Paleftrina, who
^as particularly obnoxious to the emperor. At
the interceffion of the king of France the prelates
6f that kingdom were fet at liberty. After this ad-
vantage the emperor approached near to Rome,
obliging the churches and monafleries to advance
him large lums of money ; and tho' at that time
the Tartars having conquered Ruflia and Hunga-
ry, making the moft dreadful devaftations, and
were threatening Germany, he did not leave the
war in Italy, when the pope died the 20th of Au-
guft, A, D. 1241.

On theacceftion of pope Innocent IV, which
did not take place till after a long vacancy, fome

N 5 attempt-s


attempts were made to procure a peace, but they
did not fucceed] and from this time the affairs of
the emperor went b3.ckwards. However, in a. d.
1243, commilTanes being appointed on both fides,
matttrrs were accommodated between them, the em-
peror reftoring all the places he had taken from the
pope, and declaring that it was not from contempt
that he had not obeyed the fentence pronounced
by pope Gregory, but bccaufe it had not been an-
nounced to him; and with refpeft to this he ackow-
ledged that he had been blameworthy, and pro-
mifed to expiate his offence by alms, fading, and
other pious works. He engaged alfo to repair all
the wrongs that had been done to the prelates who
had been his prifoners, and for the future to obey
the pope in every thing, without prejudice to the
rights of the empire.

It is remarkable that, as with refpe61; to the fi-
milar cafe of preceding emperors, nothing was faid
of Frederic being reflored to the pofTeffion of the
emnire, tho' he had been formally depofed, as well
as excommunicated. He had always been cOn-
fidered as emperor by all the princes of Europe.

Frederic, however, foon repented of his con-
cefiions, and let the pope know that he would not
execute what he had promifed, till he had received
abfolution, which the pope thinking to be unr^a-
fonable, the treaty was broken off, aud the em-


Sec. hi. the CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 203

peror's lieutenant endeavoured to get pofTelTion of
the pope's perfon. He, being aware of the defign,
mounted a fwift horfe, and from Citta de Caftella,
whither he had gone on his way to meet the em-
peror, he rode thirty-four miles on his way to
Rome, unknown to any but his own fervants. On
the 29th of June he went on board a lliip at Civita
Vecchia, and with fome difficulty arrived at Ge-
noa the 5th of July. In this new emergency the
pope again applied for pecuniary affiflance to the
king of England. But the emperor writing to him
in his own vindication, faid that, if he would be
adv'ifed by him, he would relieve him from the
tribute with which Innocent III had loaded the
narion, and all the other vexations of the court of
Rome ; and if he would not, he would take his
revenge on all his fubjeds whom he fhould find in
his dominions ; and it is probable that the king
was influenced by this advice.

The pope dreading the power of the emperor,
wiih whom he was now at open war, folicited to
be received in France, in Arragon, and in England,
but was refufed in them all. The advifers of Hen-
ry III faid on this occafion, *' We have had al-
•' ready too much of ufury and riinony from the
" Romans, without the pope coming hither him-
" felf to plunder the goods of the church, and of
" the kingdom."




Innocent, however, was not difcouraged, but
renewed his exccmmunication of the emperor, and
requiied all other ecclelianics to do the fame. On
this occafion a cure in Paris diftinguifhed himfcl^*
by faying before the ceremony, *' I am ordered to
" exconjmunicate the emperor Frederic, but I
*•' know not the reafon of it, only that he and the
*' pope are at variance. I do not know which of
*' them is in the right j but, as far as I have power,
** I excommunicate him of the two who has done
" the wrong, and abfolve him who fuffers it."
The emperor, hearing of this, fent the cure a pre-
fent; but the pope, whofe conduct was evidently
rcflefled upon, punifhed him for the liberty he
had taken.

A general council being held at Lyons, Thad-
dee de Suiffe, a knight and dcftor of laws, the
emperor's ambaffador, boldly defended his con-
duel ; but perceiving the difpofition of that af-
fembly, the emperor did not chufe to attend him-
felf. Here a fentence of depofition was pronounced
againfl him, but it was obferved that the pope
made this his own aO:, pronouncing it as in the
prefence of the council, and not as with its con-
currence, as in all the other decrees ot the fame

The emperor was much difturbed when h«
heard this fentence, but placing the crown on his



head, he faid, " I have not loft it yet, and will
*' not part with it without bloodfhed.'' In his
letter to the princes on this occafion, he told them
as before, that his caufe was the fame with their
own, he complained of the ambi-ion of the court
of Rome, and the vices which prevailed in it, feme
of which he faid it was not decent to mention i
that it was the immenfe wealth of that court which
was the caufe of all the mifchief, and therefore he
was determined to reduce it, and bring the p 'pes
to the condition of the primitive bifhops, who imi-
tated the humility of our Saviour ; whereas thefe,
immerfed in the afFars of the world, and Iwim-
mina in plealure, defpiled God ; that the excefs
of their riches ftiflcd in' them all fenfe of religion,
and that it would be meritorious to deprive them
of their pernicious wealth; and he exhorted them
to join him in doing it.

To this bold propofal the princes of that age
were not prepared to accede, and the letter gave
offence ; a great degree of wealth being then gene-
rally thought neceifary to fupport the chara6ter of
the clergy. But another letter, which the empe-
ror wrote to the king of France, to fhew the viola*
tion of all the forms of regular judicature in his
condemnation, and the danger that would arife to
other princes from the power which the popes af^
fumed to depofe them, gained him many friends.



The pope, however, did every thing in his
power to raife up enemies to the emperor. At his
perfuafion fome of the ele6lors made Henry land-
grave of Thuringia king of the Romans, on the
17th of May A. D. 1246. He even wrote to the
fuhan of Egypt, to perfuade him to break the trea-
ty which his father had made with the emperor.
But the Mahometan prince with great indignation
replied, " Your envoy fpeaks to us of Jefus Chrjft,
" whom we know better, and honour more thaa
" you do ; and my father, having made a treaty
*•' with the emperor, I think myfelf bound by it."

Henry being defeated by Conrad the fon cf
Frederick, and dying of vexation in lent a. d. 1247,
William brother of the count of Holland was cho-
fen king of the Romans in his place. Bat Frede-
rick, not difmayedby thefe meafures, publifhed au
ordonancein a. d. 1248, by which all priefls refu-
fing to perform divine fervice, or adminifter the
facraments, were banifhed from their place of abode,
and deprived of all their goods. On the other hand
the pope publifhed frefh bulls of excommunicati-
on, and ordered a crufade to be preached againfl
the emperor and his fon, with the fame indulgen-
ces as to thofe who went to the holy land.

In this flate of things the people were much di-
vided, fome taking part with the pope, and fome
wiLh the emperor. At Ratifbon the people rofe



againfl thebifliop who obeyed the pope, and who
had excommunicated them, and laid the city under
an interditl, and they continued to bury in the
church-yard as before. They even took out of the
grave the body of a countefs who had fubmitted
to the pope, and, after dragging it about the ftreets,
threwit to the dogs. They alfo made it death to
any perfon to take the crofs againfl the emperor.

On the other hand, the pope ordered fhe bifhops
to add to the fentence of excommunication of the
partifans of the emperor, the deprivation of all fiefs
held of the church, and all church benefices to the
fourth generation, with other punifhments, which
tlie hiflorian fays he had no power ^o execute. In
Suabia fome perfo.ns preached openly againfl the
pope, the clergy, and the monks ; faying that the
pope was a heretic, and the bifliops fimoniacs,
without the power of binding and loofing ; that
they had deceived the world too long, that no bi-
iliop had power to forbid the celebrAtion of divine
fervice, that the Dominicans and Francifcans per-
verted the church by their preaching, and lived
bad lives, as well as the Ciilercians, and other

, Had the emperor continued fuccefsful in the
field, he might have humbled the pope ; but being
defeated before Parma, which he had befieged, his
authority was much dirainifhed. He alfo fuf-



feredin the opinion of many by his haifli treatment
of the bifliop of Arezzo, who was taken in arms
againft him. But the clergy who took part with
the pope, alfo hurt his caufe, (ays Mathew Paris,
by their avarice, their fimony, ufury, and other

In the mean time WiUiam, being aflfifled with
jnioney from the pope, and his caufe being zealouf-
ly efpoufed by the preaching friars, befieged and
took Aix la Chapelle, and was there crowned in
A, D. 1248. Frederick being feized with ficknefs,
offered honorable terms of peace to the pope ; but
the haughty prelate would not liflen to them, which
oflFended many, and difpofed them to favour Fre-
derick. At length the death of this emperor ia
A. D. 1250 put an end to this long contefl.

On this event his foh Conrad, tho' oppofed by:
the pope, gained flrength, while William was obli-
ged to retire into Holland, and live at the expence-
of his brother, whom he had made count of it. In
this flatc of things the title of king of the Romans
was offered to feveral perfons, ail of whom retufed
to accept of it. Among theoi, was Haquin king
of Norway, who, in anfvsrer, faid publickly, that
he was ready to fight the enemies of the church,
but not thofe of the pope. This, fays Matthew
Paris, I myfelf heard him declare, with a great




In confequence of the advantages which Con-
i*ad gained over the pope and his parti fans in Ita-
ly, the pope pubUflied a crufade againft him,
with greater indulgences than to thofe who went to
Paleftine ; for they extended to the fathers and
fiiothers of the crufaders. This gave great offence,
efpecially as at this time the king of France was in
Paleftine, demanding fuccours. The queen re-
fented it fo much, that flie ordered the lands of all
thefe new crufaders to be feiied, fo that the expe-
dition came to nothing.

But the caufe c^ the pope was now. as on ma-
ny other occafionS, wonderfully favoured by evehts.
Conrad dying in A. n. 1254, and leavihg a fonj
generally called Conradin, only two years old,
under the care of Mainfroi, regent of the kingdom,
who fubmitted to the pope, and was received into
favour. But the legate, whom on this occafion
the pope fent into Sicily, behaved in fuch a man-
ner, as loft him many friends, and Mainfroi taking
advantage of it, left th6 pope, and gained a viftory
Over his troops ; and in this fituation of things In-
nocent IV died December 4th, a. d. 1254.

The firft care of his fucceflTor, Alexander IV,
was to ftop the progrefs of Mainfroi ; and with a
view to this, he gave the kingdom of Sicily to Ed-
ttiund, the fecond fon of the king of England, and
feleafed him from his vow to go to the holy land,
'Vol. IV. O Qri


on condition of his marching againft Mainfroi in
Apulia ; and a crufade was preached againft him
in England, with the fame indulgence as for Pa-
leftine, which (hocked the people very much ; the
fame pardon being given for fhedding the blood of
Chriflians as for that of infidels. And Mainfroi in a,
D. 1206 having made himfelf mafler of almoft the
whole of Apulia and Sicily, was crowned king at
Palermo the nth of Auguft a. d. 1258; and tho'
the pope excommunicated him in a. d. 1259, he
was joined by the people of Lombardy. Con-
tinuing to make great progrefs in Italy in a. d.
1263, the pope not only repeated his excommu-
nication, but laid the kingdom of Sicily under aa
interdift. No regard, however, being paid to it,
he thought proper to moderate his cenfures.

Events, however, as before, wonderfully fa-
voured the popes. Clement IV having given the
kingdom of Sicily to Charles count of Anjou and
Provence, Mainfroi was killed in a battle he fought
with him the 26th of February a. d. 1266, and in
confequence of this viflory the greateft part of Ita-
ly reverted to the obedience of the pope. Alfo
Conradin, the grandfon of Frederic, who had been
received as emperor in Italy, and even at Rome,
tho' in a flate of excommunication by the pope,
corning to a battle with Charles, was defeated Au-
guft 23d, A. D. 1268, and, being afterwards taken
prifoner, was beheaded, M


It was in this period that the two parties dif-
tinguifhed by the names o^ Guelphs and GibellinH
became famous in Italy, the former taking the part
of the popes, and the latter that of the emperors.
The diftin6lion began in Germany in a. d. 1139,
the Gibellines being fo called from Gibel, a city
in which Henry the fon of Conrad III was born,
and the Guelphs from Guelf duke of Bavat*
ria. GiannonCy Vol. 1. p. 669.


TranJaBions of the Popes wiLh Peter King of Ar^
ragon, and John King of England,

jL HE tranfaftions of the popes with
iPeter of Arragon were the fequel of thofe with the
emperor and Mainfroi ; Peter having in right of
his wife the daughter of Mainfroi invaded Sicily
tvhen in pofTeflion of Charles of Anjou, whom the
popes favoured. Martin IV in a. d. 1283 pub-
liflied a crufade againfl him, on pretence that the
"War with Charles hindered the relief of the holy*
land, and alfo that his attacking Sicily was an in-
Vafidn of the property of the church, fince Sicily
belonged to the holy fee. However, thefe cen^

O 2 fures


(utes againft the king oi Arragon, and the coun-
tries fubjeft to him, which were laid under an in-
terdict, produced no eflFeft. They were defpifed
lipt only by the king himfelf, his lords, and other
laymen, but even by the bifhops, and the monks of
all orders. His partifans did not confider them-
fejyes as really excommunicated, and paid no re-
gard to the interdict ; appealing from the fentence
of Martin to that of a future pope. In contempt
of the king not being allowed the title of king of
Arragon, he called himfelf " knight of Arragon,
" father of two kings, and mafter of the fea."

Philip the Hardy, king of France, having re-
ceived from the pope the title of king of Arragon,
took the crofs againft him. For the pope, not
content with his ceqfures, had publiflied a crufade
againft Peter; and he fet out on the expedition
the 25th of June a. d. 1285. But the crufaders
of whom his arpiy was chiefly compofed coinniitte^
as much diforder as the other troops; They pro-
faned churches by the efFufion of blood, and con>-
mitted other impurities in tliem. They even via^
lated nuns, and carried away facred veffels, crofTes,
images, books, and ornaments, and fold them.
They took dowri the bells, and either broke them,
or carried them away. Thus they conduced them^
felves during the whole campaign, pretending to
gain the promifed indulg^lice. Some, who had



not even an arro v, took up ftones, and throwing-
them faid, either in jeft or earnefl, " 1 throw this
" ftone againft Peter of Arragon, in order to gain
*' the indulgence." At length his army was feized
with a diforder which obliged them to retreat, and
the king himfelf died of it,

Peter of Arragon died the year following, and
in the article of death was reconciled to the church.
But he left the kingdom of Sicily to his fon James,
who treating in his father's Heps, was excominuni-
cafed, and an interdi6l was laid on every place
where he fhould come. Two bifliops, who had
crowned him, were ordered by the pope to appear
before him, but neither the king nor the bilh ps
paid any regard to the excommunication, tho' it
was repeated prefently after.

On the death of Alfonfo kingof Arragon in a.
D. 1291, pope Nicolas IV forbad his brother'
James' meddling with the government of Arragon,"
or any of its dependencies, and ordered him to re-
fign Sicily to king Charles, or he would proceed
againft him both temporally and fpiritually. Healfo
wrote to the bifliops, abbots, and all the clergy of
Arragon, forbidding them, under fevere penalties,
to acknowledge James as king. But thefe prohi-i
bitions and menaces had no efFe£l. For as foon
as Jarrtes heard of the death of his brother, he left
Sicily under the government of another brother,

O 3 and


and landing at Barcelona, went to Saragoffa, where
he was folemnly crowned king of Arragon the 24th
qf September a. d. 1291.

The orders of the pope were as little regarded
in Caflilc as in Arragon, when they were thought
to be unreafonable. Pope Martin ordered Sanches
kin^^ of Caftile to quit his wife, as being in the third
degree of relationfhip to him, threatening him with
excommunication, and other punilhments, tempo-
ral and fpiritual in a. d. 1263; but no regard was
paid to them. The king kept his wife, and had
many children by her, and among them Ferdinand,
who fucceeded hirn,

In order to give an account of the tranfaftions
pf the court of Rome with king John of England,
I muft go back to the time of Innocent III, who
had an advantage in the greater ignorance and
fuperllition of the Englifh nation, which he had
not in the more fouthern parts of Europe ; bu(:
notwithftanding this, fuch was the fpirit and ob-
flinacy of this prince, that nothing but the dread
of an invafion of his kingdom brought him to fub-

The pope having in a. d. 1207 nominated Ste-
phen Langton to the archbifhoprick of Canterbu-
ry, againft the will of the king, who propofed the
bifliop of Norwich, the pope threatened him with
ipxcommunicatioin, and an interdift on his king-


dom, if he did not confent to it. But the king,
being in a great rage fvvore, as his cuftom was, by
the teeth of God, that if the pope (hould lay an in-
terdict on his lands, he would fend him all the
prelates in England, confifcate their efFe6ls, and
put out the eyes of all the Romans among them,
that they might be diftmguifhed from all other men ;
and he ordered three bifhops, viz. of London, Eli,
and Worcefter, who brought him the pope's orders,
to be gone from his prefence, if they would retire
with fafety. They accordingly withdrew ; and
prefently after, in obedience to the orders they
had received from the pope, adually laid an in-
terdi6l on the whole kingdom ; and notwithfland-
ing the kings orders to the c -ntrary, it was fo (Irift-
ly obferved, that no religious fervice was perform-
ed, befides conftffion, the viaticum, and the bip-
tifm of infants. As to the dead, the hillorians fay
they were buried like dog<5, in the high ways.
The three bifhops having done diis, privately left
the kingdom.

In thefe circum (lances, there being no frefh
confecration of oil on the next holy thurfday, fo
that there was none for the baptifm of infants, the
pope gave orders that the old might be ufed, or

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