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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to crown Guy of Lufignan, who did not chufe to
receive his crown from the emperor of Conflanti-



Thefe German crufaders found the truce whirh
had been made with Saladin broken, and his
brother Safodin in pofTeffion of Jaffa, which he
had taken and demohlhed. The Chnftians, how-
ever, gained a battle near Sidon, and retook feve-
ral of the places they had loft, tho' they did not
fucceed in the j&ege of Toron. But thefe Ger-
mans were exceedingly fcandalized at thediforder*
]y lives of the Francs, who being fatisfied with the
pofTeffion of a fertile country, minded nothing but
their ov/n intereft and pleafure, without any re-
gard for lerufalem, or the holy fepulchre. They
even fufpefled the Francs of afting in concert
with the Mahometans for their deflruftion. They,
therefore, feparated from them, and having re-
covered JafTa, returned home; and fo this formi-
dable armament ended in difappointment.

Pope Innocent III, who intcrefled himfelf
much in the affairs of the holy land, direfted a
new crufade to be publillied, and employed Fulk
of Neuville, a popular preacher, to preach it up,
and he did it v/ith great fuccefs. In confequence
of his preaching, Thibaut IV count of Champagne,
Lewis count of Blois, Simon de Montfort, and
feveral other perfons of diflin6lion took the crofs,
and alfo Baldwin IX count of Flanders, with
many lords of that country. Farther to facilitate
this expedition, the pope wrote to the emperor
V i^lexis.


Alexis, begging his concurrence, tho' not without
reproaching him for not having affifted in the con^
queft of the holy land, and threatening him if he
did not change his conduct. The emperor, how-
ever, alleged in his excufe the ill offices that had
been done him by the crufaders.

After many conferences held by the crufaders
at Compeigne in a. d. 1200, they named fix de-
puties, to whom they gave the power to direcl all
their proceedings, and thefe chofe Boniface II,
the marquis of Montferrat, for their chief. Being
aflembled at Venice the 2d of June a. d. 1202,
they were met by another body from Germany,
headed by Martm Litz, abbot of a monafterv of
Cillercians in the diocefe of Bafle. At the fame
time there arrived a fleet from Flanders, condu6l-
ed by John de Nelli of Bruges. But many of the
crufaders not being able to raife the funis which
had been ftipulated to be paid to the Venetians for
their tranrportation, returned. Others, however,
and among them the count of Flanders, and the
marquis of Montferrat, gave the full price, th:/,
in order to raife it, they were obliged to fell their
velTels of gold and filvcr, and alfo to raife as much
as they were able on credit. Still, of the whole
fum that had been agreed to be paid, there re-
mained no lefs than thirty-four thoufand marks of
filver ; and therefore as an equivalent for this, they
VbL. IV. ^ B pio-


promifed the doge of Venice to affift them in the tak-
ing of iTara, which had been taken from them by the
king of Hungary. On hearing this, the pope was
exceedingly offended, and forbad them on pain of
excommunication to attack the dominions of
any Chriftian prince, and Zara by name, then in
the poffeffion of the king of Hungary, who had
himfelf taken the crofs. He particularly forbad
the marquis of Montferrat to have any concern in
this bufniefs, and accordingly he declined going
on the expedition.

While they were preparing to embark there
arrived at Venice ambaffadors from young Alexis,
fon of the emperor Ifaac, whom his brother had
dethroned ; begging their alTiIlance in his reftora-
tion, the prince himfelf, who had applied to the
pope with the fame requeft, being gone to the em-
peror Philip of Suabia.

On the 8th of 06lober they failed from Venice,
and arriving before Zara the loth ot November,
they took the place, and paiTed the winter there.
At this place they received letters from the pope,
in which he treated them as excommunicated per-
fons, infilled on their doing no farther injury to
the king of Hungary, and making reflitution for
what they had done. But the principal bufinefa
tranfafted now was their treaty with Alexis who
met them, together with ambaffadors from the em-


peror Philip. He promifed that, if they v/ould
reftore him, he would bring the empire of Con-
ftantinople under obedience to the pope, indem-
nify them for all their expences, and would either
go with them to Egypt, or fend ten thoufand men
at his cxpence, and always keep five hundred
knights to guard the country. Tq this expedition
fiiany objeaed ; but at length it was acceded to
hy the majority, and the pope hmifeif in reality
was a well wifher to it, as promifmg a great addi-
tion to his power. And as the crufaders made an
apology to him for their condud at Zara, he ab-
folved them from the excommunication he had laid
them under. But the Venetians not acknow-
ledging that they had done any thing wrong, re-
mained unabfolved. in this place, however, the
moft confiderable of the French lord^ left the ar-
ray, as Simon de Montfort, and his brother Guy ;
Simon having made a treaty with the king of Hun^
gary, to whom he then went, tho' afterwards he
proceeded to Paieftine.

After Eafter the crufaders left Zara, and not-
withflanding the remonftrances of the pope againfl:
their intermeddling with the aflFairs of the Greeks,
arrived in fight of Conftantinople the 23d of June^
and taking it by alTault crowned youncr Alexis
emperor the ift of Auguft a. d. 1203; b"t be-
coming odious to the Greeks on account of his

B 2 con-i


connexion with the Latins, and his exa6lions in
order to raife the money he had promifed them,
tho' it was by no means all that he had promifed,
he was put to death by another Alexis, furnamed
Marchoufle, who got himfelf ekaed emperor.
The crufaders offended at this again took the city
on the 1 2th of April, Marchoufle flying by night.
Having got pofleflion of the city, it was abandoned
to plunder, the churches themfelves, and things
die moft facred, not being fpared.

In this plunder of the city the Latins found
abundance of relics, which they confidered as law-
ful prize. But becaufe many of the foldiers fet
lefs value on the relics than the rich cafes in which
they were contained, and which they broke for the
fake of the materials of which they confided, the
chiefs began to be alarmed left this facrilege fliould
bring fome judgment upon them ; and in confe^
quence of this the pope's legate and the biftiops for-
bad all perfons under pain of excommunication,
to retain relics, and direfted them to be put under
the cuft;ody of the bifliop of Troyes.

After the taking of the city Baldwin count of
Flanders was chofen emperor, and in this chara£ler
he was crowned the 17th of May a. d. 1204;
and the marquis Boniface was made king of Thef-




OJ the Power of the Popes in this Period.


N account has been given in a pre-
ceding period of the publication of fpurious decretal
epijtles of the popes, from the earUeft times by
Ilidore of Seville. That thele dectetals, as they
were ufua:ly calhd, Ihould have been received as
genuine, when lb much depended upon them, is
one of the molt extraordinary fn^ts in hiflory.
But they were fogged and pub ilhed in an age of
great ignorance, when few of the laity, whofe rights
they principally affeded, could even read ; and
tho* the clergy loft fomething, yet the facerdotal
order in general gained more than it loft, by the
publication. The fa£l, however, is fuch, that
few perfons in that age, or feveral of the fucceed-
ing ones, appear to have entertained a doubt of
the genuinenefs ofthefe epifties; and as but little
advantage was taken of them at the time, and the
power of the popes and of the clergy had been in-
creafing from other caufes, their authority had a
better opportunity of ellablifhingitfelf, than if they
had been appealed to and a£led upon immediately.
Fleury, in one of his excellent Difcourfes on
ef.ckficip.ical hijlory, fhews at large how much the

B 3 power


power of the popes was advanced by means of thefe
decretals, efpecially after they were included in
the colleftion of canons, together with other fpu-
rious works of the Fathers, by Gratian, a Bene-
di6line monk of the monaftery of St. Felix in Bo-
logna, which was for many ages the great univer-
fity for the fludy of both the canon and the civil
law. This work of Gratian, was publifhed in a.
D. 1158. To the decretals Fleury afcribes the in-
trodu6lion of the following important maxims and
pra6lices, viz. that no councils can beheld without
the authority of the pope, that bifhops cannot be
judged definitively but by him, that he has the
fole light of approving the tranflations of bifhops
from one fee to another, of ere6ling new bifhop-
ricks and metropolitan churches, * and the con fe-
quence of thefe, the frequent appeals to Rome
from all parts of the Chriftian world. In addi-
tion to thefj arofe an opinion unheard of, as Fleu-
ry fays, before the publication of this v\ork of
Gratian, that tho' the church of Rome gives au-
thority to all the canons, it is not bound by them
ilfclf ; and yet this new dodrine was generally re-
ceived in the three following centuries, and the

* power

* At the ere6lioii of Fill in England into a biihopric
h. A. D. lior, it was thought necefiiiry to get the l«avc
of the pope,

Sec.II. the christian church. 23

power of the popes feems to have been at no pe-
riod fo fully eilablifhed as in this.

Pafcall II, in a letter addreffed to the arch-
bifhop of Poland, maintained that the councils
did not make a law for the church of Rome, fince
it was that church which gave authority to the
councils. But, fays Fleury, it is only in the fpu-
rious decretals that there is any foundation for this
maxim. The popes, in times prior to thefe, claim-
ed a right of giving or refufing their fandlion to the
decrees oi councils, and generally fent legates to
prefide in them. Fleury fays that from the year
A. D. iiio there were no councils in France with-
out legates from the popes.

The maxim of the fubje61:ion of temporal to
fpiritual power, advanced by Gregory VII, tho'
oppofed in his time, tvas by no means given up,
but was alTumed as an axiom by fucceeding popes.-.
Innocent III, the moll dillinguifhed of them in
this period always reafoned and a6led up©n it as
far as circumftances would permit.

It was in this period, and cfpecially in his
pontificate, which began in this period, and ex-
tended into the next, that the papal power may
be properly be faid to have been at its height.
Exalted above the kings of the earth, the popes
extended their power over all kingdoms, and kings
thought it their greitefl honour to own themfelves

3 4 their



their vafiTals, and make tbeir kingdoms tributary
to the apoflolic fee. The popes had made them-
felves fovereigns in Rome, and difclaimed all de-
pendence upon the emperors. Rome was become
the general court to which not only all ecclefiafti-
cal, but even all civil caufes, from all parts of Eu-
rope, were carried. Appeals to Rome of all
kinds, and from all perfons, were become fo fre-
quent, that there was no aflFair of any confequence
but was immediately carried thither.

The popes had for the moft part engroITed to
themfelves the conferring of bifhopricks, becaufe
they were the judges of the validity of eledlions,
tho* thefe properly belonged to the clergy, as the
ordinations did to the metropolitans. In order to
fliew their unlimited power, and make advantage
of it, there was nothing that could happen for
which difpenfations could not be obtained at
Rome ; which fo enervated ecclefiaftical difcipline,
that it provoked Bernard to declaim fo violently
as he did againft it. But what raifed the papacy
to the highefl pennacle of glory, was that the dif-
putes between fovereign princes were ufually re-
ferred to Rome. And as by this means the gene-
ral government of Europe may be faid to have been
in the hands of the popes, the interior government
of all the fcparate dates was chiefly, in thofe times,
and long after, intruded to ecclefiadics. They



were employed in the greateft offices of truftand
power, and in all the moft important embaffies.
Giannone, Vol. i. p. 637.

In order to form a clearer idea of the fpirit of
thefe times, I fhall recite fome fpecimens of the
manner in which Innocent III reafoned, and iu
which he was (bmetimes anfwered.

Having taken ihe part of Otho in a conteft for
the empire of Germany, in writing to him, he fays,
*' By the authoiicy of almighty God, v/hich has
*' been given to us in the perfon of St. Pe(er, we
*' receive you as king, and order that henceforth
*' relpeti: and obedience be rendered to you as fuch ;
*' and after the cuftomary preliminaries, we fiiall
*' give you folemnly the imperial crown." At the
fame time \\i wrote to the princes of Germany,
fpiritual and temporal, enjoining them to refpeft
Otho as king of the Romans, and emperor eled ;
and as to any oaths they might have taken to the
contrary, he promifed to fet their reputation and
confcience at eafe on the fubjtcl.

To this the [ijinces who had taken the part of
Philip of Suabia replied in the following fenftble
and fpirited manner, " Where have you read that
*' you, or your predecefrors, or their envoys, have
*' interfered inaneleftion of a king of the Romans,
*' either as eledors, or as judges of the eledtion ?
" Jefus Chrift has diflinguifhcd the provinces of

S 5 *• the

.t - '


" the two powers, fo that he who is engaged in the
*' fervice of God muft not involve himfelf in tem-
" poral affairs, and he who is charged with thefe
** does not prefide in things fpiritual. But ad-
" mitting you to be judge, a fentencc given in the
" abfcnce of one of the parties is null. We have
" unanimoufly chofen Philip king, and require
" that you crown him at a proper time and place,
*• as is your duty."

The pope, in a long anfwer to this remon-
flranc'i, faid that the power ot the princes of the
empire to chufe a king of the Romans came from
the holy fee, which transferred the empire from the
Greeks to the Germans in the perfon of Charle-
magne ; and that *' the princes ought to acknovv^-
** ledge that he has a right to examine the perfon
*' whom they chufe for king, fince it is we who
*• confecrate and crown him ; and it is an univer-
*' fal rule, that the examination of the perfon be-
" longs to who irnpofes hands upon him.
" If," faid he, *' the princes (liould chufe a perfon
" excommunicated, a heretic, or a pagan, muft
" we be obliged to crown him ?" The king of
France was offended at the pope's taking the part
of Ocho, who was his enemy, and fent a remon-
ftrance on the fubjetl, and afterwards the pope
abandoned him.



He did not, however, abandon his maxims.
For when he refufed to legitimate the children of
William duke of Montpelier, after he had legiti-
mated thofe of Philip Auguftus, he faid he had a
right in certain cafes to exercife temporal jurif-
diftion in other places befide the patrimony of the
church, where he had fovere'gn authority, tempo-
ral and fpiritual. To prove this, he alleged a paf-
fage in Deuteronomy, in which it is faid that, ia
affairs of greater difficulty, or where the opraions
of the ordinary judges differed, they fhould go to
the place which God fhould chufe, and addrefs
themfelves to the high prieft, as fupreme judg^?,
and even abide by his fentence under pain of death.

The fame pope, giving his reafons, a. d. 1203,
for interfering to make peace between the kings of
France and England, quotes, in a letter to the
former, many paff^iges of fcripture, the purport of
which was to fhew that Jefus Chrift came to hrinrr
peace. " No perfon," he fays, "doubts but that
" he came to judge with refped to the fcdvation
" or damnation of the foul ; but is not fowino dif-
*' cord, attacking Chriilians, plundering the poor,
" fpiliing human blooi, profaning churches, and
*' deflroying monafteries, works deferving of eter-
*' nal damnation. Jefus Chrift faid, if t/iy brother
''fin againf thee, reprove him. You have been
_'' reproved. What remains then but that, if you
1 " will



" will not hear the church, you be treated as a
" heathen man and a publican ? You will fay you
" do no wrong, and the king of England the fame ;
*•' muft we not then inquire into the ftate of the fa^,
'• and after having found it, proceed according to
" the command of God ? Shall we ceafe to r<:prove
** the Vvickcd, and put a flop to violence ?'*

Writing to the king of England, he fays,
*' We do not pretend to judge concerning fiefs,
'•' but concerning j/zn, the correction of which with-
" out doubt belongs to us, with refpe6l to all per-
" fons whatever. No perfon is ignorant that it be-
*' longs to us to reprove all Chriflians in cafe of
" mortal fin ; and if he defpife corre6lion, to in-»
" fii6t ecclefiaftical cenfures. We are particularly
'• obli 'cd to do fo with re(pe6l to breaker of the


''• peace, and oaths ; fince both thefe belong to the
" judgment of the church." In this manner it
i\>as eafy for the popes to claim jurifdiclion in
all cafes whatfoever.

In things of a properly fpiritual nature, the
authority of the popes was feldom difputed. We
fometimes, however, meet with an inftance of the
Tood fenfe of the laity revolting at the difpenfmg
power of the popes in matters of plain morality.
Pope Calixtus dtfiring Henry I of England to
allow of the eleclion of Turftan to the biflioprick
of York, he faid that he had fworn that he would

not the christian CIIUI^CH. 29

not as long as he lived. To this lLg pontiflF replied,
" I ar.i pope, and it you will ccinplj with my re-
" quell, I wi!i abfoive you of that oath/' The
king faid he would confider of it, and afterwards
anfvvered, that it did not become his dignity to re-
ceive the abfolution that he offered. " Whatcoa-
*' fidence," faid he, *' can there be in an or,th if it
" be feen by my example that they may be fo eafi-
" ly broken ?'* Turllan not yielding to the king's
demands, he never fuffered him to come into hia
dominions, nor would he permit the pope's legate
to enter Jthem. Neither was this king, nor the
pope d<"ficient in fpirit, to alTert what they fuppofed
to be their rights. The king infilling on his right
of granting inveftitures, and Anfclm vigoroufly
oppofmg him, the latter went to Rome, and the
king fent an ambaffador who faid that his mafier
would lofe his kingdom rather than relinquifh his
right. The pope replied, he would lofe his head
rather than grant it. Henry, however, appears to
have withitood with great firmnefs all the pope's
attempts to incroach upon his prerogatives.

In this reign the pope made great complaint
of the refra6lorinefs of the Enghfh, that no ap-
peals were made to Rome, that tranflations of
bilhops were made without his confent, and that
Peter pence was irregularly paid ; but tho' the kino-
was threatened with excommunication, if he con-

so THE HISTORY OF Per. X v xU.

tinued obflinate, he kept to his purpofe; and in a
conference which he had with pope Cahxtus in a.
D. 1 1 19, the latter promifed to allow him all the pre-
rogatives of his anceftors, and that he would fend no
legate to England except he defired it, on account
of any cafe that could not be decided by his own

Other princes in this period fhewed the fame
fpirit, in defpifing the rafh and unjufl cenfures of
the popes. William king of Scotland, tho' ex-
communicated by Alexander III, for not fuEFering
John bilhop of St. Andrews (whofe intereft was
fupported by the pope) to take poffeffion of the fee,
paid no regard to it; and on this account the king-
dom was laid under an interdi6l in a. d. 1181.
Afterwards, he applied to pope Lucius III and
was abfolved. When Philip Auguflus king of
France was threatened with an excommunication
by the pope's legate, he faid, he fhould not regard
it, becaufe it would not be juft. Tho' Innocent
III pronounced a fentence of excommunication
and depofition againil Andre king of Hungary, be-
caufe he did not fulfil his engagement to go to the
holy land, he never paid any regard to it, and his
brother, whom the pope had favoured, dying, An-
dre was univcrfally received as king, and was
acknowledged by the pope himfelf. Pafcal II ap-
pears to have confidcred Henry IV of Germany



as lawful emperor, tho' excommunicated, and de-
pofed by Gregory VII aiid his fuccefibrs. This
example, fays Fleury, and many others, fl^ews
that the power of the pope over the temporalities
of princes was not received as an article of faith.
Laftly, pope Innocent III having fent a legate in-
to France, to make peace between the kings of
France and England, Eades duke of Burgundy
advifed the king of France not to make a peace or
truce, by conllraint of the pope, or of any cardi-
nal. " If," faid he, " the popes do any violence
*' to the king on this account, I will affift him to
" the utmoft of my power, and will make no peace
♦' with the pope, but with the king."

Complaints were frequently made of the im-
proper and injudicious interference of the popes in
the diocefes of other bifhops. Bernard remon-
flrated with great earneftnefs with pope Eugenius
on exemptions that were too eafily granted. " Ab-
*• bots," he faid, *' are wididraivn from their obe-
" dience to the bifhops, bifiiops from archbifhops,
*' archbifliops from their primates. You fhew,"
he faid, " by this the plenitude of your power;
*' but perhaps at the expence ofjuflice. The
*' bifhops become more infolent, the monks more
" relaxed, and even more poor; for they are plun-
" dered, and have no prote6lion."



The people of Rome were not, for feveral cen-
turies, reconciled to the temporal power of thd
popes, and often gave them much trouble on that
account. In a. d. 1144 they chofe one Jourdan
to be their patrician, or prince, infifting on pope
Lucius II refigning to him the rights of regalia,
both within and without the city ; maintaining that
he ought to be content with the tythes and obla-
tions, as the antient bifhops were. They ap-
plied to the emperor Conrad on the occafion ;
faying, they were aQing for his intereft, and to
reftore the empire to what it had been in the times
of Conftantine and Juftinian. He did not, how-
ever, think proper to pay any regard to them, but
received the ambafladors of the pope very gvacioufly ,
Pope Eugenius being obliged to fly from Rome
upon his eleftion in A. d. 1144, he excommuni-
cated fourdan and his adherents, and by the af-
fiflance of the Tiburtines compelled the Romans
to fubmit to be governed as before. Being, how-
ever, tired with their continual oppofition, he went
to France, and was received in Paris by king Lewis,
In A. D. 1148 he returned to Rome.

So violent was the quarrel between Lucius III
and the people of Rome, that in a. d. 1184 they
feized many of his cardinals, and put out the eyes
of them all except one, whom they fent to him.
He was alfo obliged to leave the city, and take up



his refidence at Verona, where he died. After a
long dilTention, the people oi Rome made their
peace with Clement III. promihng to furrenderto
him the fenate, the city, and the mint, and to
fwear fealty to him annually, en condition of his
furrendering to them the town of Tufculum,
Vvhich he did in a, d. 1188. At the accefTioa of
Innocent III the Romans fvvore fealty to him,
and not to the emperor, as they had been ufed td

What is more extraordinary is, that the popes
feem to have derived little or no permanent ad-
vantage from the liberal donation of Matilda, tho*
in A. D. 1102, Vat renewed the gift of all her
€ dates in the mod ample manner to the church of
Rome. For v/hen fhe died in a. d. 1116, Henry
V was invited to com.e and take poffefTion of all her
eftates, no regard being paid to the donation, not
even, as Fieury fays, by pope Pafcal himfelf.

Tho' the more fpirited of the temporal princes
could, when circumdanccs fovoured them, fet the

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