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produced everywhere the most extraordinary sensations. Diminutive, and even mean in personal appearance, he seemed like one inspired and beyond himself when, from the steps of some church door, he harangued the crowd which gathered to hear him. “He set out,” says a contemporary historian, from whence I know not, nor with what purpose; but we saw him passing through the towns and villages, everywhere preaching, and the people flocking round him, loading him with gifts, and praising his sanctity with such eulogiums, that I never remember having seen so great honours paid to any other man. He was very generous, however, in distributing what was given him. He brought back to their homes women who had left their husbands, and, with wonderful authority, restored peace among such as were living unhappily together. In whatever he said or did there was something divine, insomuch that people went to pluck hairs from his mule, and kept them afterwards as relics. Out of doors he generally wore a woollen tunic, with a brown mantle which descended to his heels. His arms and feet were bare: he ate little or no bread; but lived on fish and wine."
Such being the success of the Hermit's mission, the pope announced his approbation of the projected Crusade; and in the year 1095 summoned two councils, where the subject was discussed. At the first of these, held at Placentia in March 1095, ambassadors from the Greek emperor Alexius appeared to petition for aid against the Turks; and those who were present pledged themselves to give it: and at the second, the famous Council of Clermont, held at the town of that name in Auvergne in the month of November, the Crusade was definitively resolved on. Ascending the pulpit, Pope Urban II. addressed an enormous multitude of clergy of every order, and laymen from all parts of the world, expounding to them the scheme in which, as head of Christendom, he wished to engage their thoughts, their prayers, and their labours. An outline of this memorable speech has been preserved to us. After alluding to the various perplexing topics with which, for the last seven days, they had been occupied - the crimes and errors which, as an ecclesiastical assembly, they had been taking cognisance of—the chaotic and disorderly condition of the church in general—he holds out the Crusade to their view as “a haven of rest,” an enterprise in which they may all engage, enthusiastic co-operation in which will atone for their crimes, make them forget their differences, and weld them together again as one true church. After dilating on the power and tyranny of the Turks, he goes on to prove, by a curious physiological observation, that the Turks may be conquered. "It is plain," he says, " that every race of people born in the southern regions, being scorched with the intense heat of the sun, abounds more in reflection than in blood ; and therefore they avoid coming to close quarters, because they are aware how little blood they possess. Whereas the people who are born amid polar frosts, and distant from the sun's heat, are less cautious indeed; but, elate with their copious and luxuriant flow of blood, they fight with the greatest alacrity.” “ Remember," he says, “the saying of God 'Narrow is the way which leadeth to life.' Place before your imagination, if you shall be made captive, torments and chains; nay, every possible suffering that can be inflicted. Expect even horrible punishments, that so, if it be necessary, you may redeem your souls at the expense of your bodies. Do you fear death, ye men of courage? Know you not that for men to live is wretchedness, and to die is gain?' Death sets free from its filthy prison the human soul, which then takes fight for the mansions fitted for its virtues ; death accelerates their country to the good; death cuts short the wickedness of the ungodly. By means of death, the soul, made free, is either soothed with joyful hope, or is punished without further apprehension of worse.” On, and still on, he spoke in the same strain, swaying the whole assembly with his fervour till the mass of congregated human beings began to heave to and fro beneath him like a sea. At length, as, turning from the difficulties of the enterprise, he urged them to undertake it, the pentup emotions of the crowd burst forth, and cries of “ Deus vult! Deus id vult!"_“God wills it! God wills it!” rose simultaneously from all parts of the square. Hushing the joyous tumult with a wave of his hand, the pontiff proceeded "Lo, dearest brethren, the fulfilment of the Scriptural promise, that wherever two or three are gathered together in the name of Christ, there he will be with them. The Spirit of God alone can have caused this unanimity of sentiment among you. Let the very words, then, which his Spirit has dictated to you, be your cry
of war. When you attack the enemy, let the words resound from every side'Deus vult! Deus id vult!' The old, the infirm, the weaker sex altogether, must remain in Europe. They would be an impediment rather than an assistance. In this holy undertaking the rich should succour their poorer brethren, and equip them for war. The clergy must not depart without the license of their bishops; for, if they should, their journey would be fruitless. The people must not go without a sacerdotal benediction. Let every one mark, on his breast or back, the sign of our Lord's cross, that the saying may be fulfilled; "He who takes up the cross, and follows me, is worthy of me.?” Tears, groans, and shouts were the replies of the crowd. The whole multitude knelt
, while one of the cardinals made confession to God of their sins; and when they rose, crosses of red cloth were to be seen on the shoulders of many a priest and many a warrior.
THE FIRST CRUSADE. The Crusades were precisely the enterprise to enlist the sympathies of Europe in the end of the eleventh century. The power of the church, the feeling of reverence for everything ecclesiastical, was at its height; the might of physical force, the brawling fierceness of a time when splitting skulls with battle-axes was the most exciting and applauded of human occupations, were overawed and attempered by respect for spiritual symbols; the mail-clad knight bowed low before the cross, and could be made to tremble in the presence of a lean and decrepit priest. Moreover, the love of adventure, that mystic, compound, indescribable something which we denominate the spirit of chivalry; the desire of wandering through the world a faithful and true knight, waging deadly war with falsehood and guile, and assisting everywhere the weak and oppressed against the strong and tyrannical —this fine passion, the particular form at that time of a feeling which has inspired all noble souls since ever the world began, had begun to exert its influence over European society. The Crusades appealing, then, as they did, to the two most powerful feelings of the time-reverence for the church, and the spirit of adventure-absorbed and drank up all the enthusiasm and all the intellect of the age. As soon as the Council of Clermont had risen, the preparations for invading the Holy Land began in almost every country of Europe. The clanging of the smith's hammer, making or repairing his lord's armour, was heard in every village; and in hundreds of castles, through the long winter evenings, the fair hands of mothers, wives, sisters, and lovers were employed in embroidering the banners which their dear ones were to carry into the holy fields—pride and hope mingling in their gentle bosoms with sighs and forebodings as their fingers rustled amid the silken folds. “The poor themselves," says a contemporary historian, who gives us a lifelike description of the preparations for the Crusade in Germany and France, “caught the flame so ardently, that no one paused to think of the smallness of his wealth ; but each set about selling his property, at as low a price as if he had been held in some horrible captivity, and sought to pay his ransom without loss of time. There was a general dearth at the time; but no sooner had Christ inspired the multitudes of people to seek a voluntary exile, than the money which had been hoarded up was instantly put in circulation, and articles which had been horribly dear were on a sudden sold for nothing. In the meantime, most of those who had not determined to go on the journey themselves, were busy joking and laughing at those who were thus selling their goods at such a loss, and prophesied that the expedition would be disastrous, and the return home worse. Such was their language to-day; but on the morrow, lo! seized with the same enthusiasm as the rest, the mockers abandoned all they had for a few crowns, and set out with the very persons they had laughed at. Who can count the children and the infirm who hastened to the war! Who can count the old men and the young maidens who hurried forward! You warriors, they cried, shall vanquish by the
spear and the sword; but let us at least conquer Christ by our sufferings. At the same time one might see a thousand things springing from the same spirit—some astonishing, some laughable: the poor shoeing their oxen as we shoe horses, and harnessing them to two-wheeled carts, in which they placed their little stock of provisions and their young children, and proceeding onward, while the babes, at every town and castle they saw before them, demanded eagerly if that was Jerusalem.”
This description applies more particularly to France and Germany; but similar scenes were enacted in all countries whither the news of what had taken place at the Council of Clermont had been carried. “There was no nation,” says the historian William of Malmsbury," so remote, no people so retired, as not to respond to the pope's wishes. This ardent passion inspired not only the continental provinces, but also the most distant islands and savage countries. The Welshman left his hunting, the Scotchman his fellowship with vermin, the Dane bis drinking-party, the Norwegian his raw fish.” By the spring, therefore, of 1096—the time appointed by the pope for the setting out of the expedition-masses of the European population were in motion from all quarters, directing their course towards Asia. Slowly at first they began to roll, but as the stream continued, it became larger and more rapid by the accession of new enthusiasts, till at last it swept onward like a flood. Robbers, murderers
, and all sorts of criminals joined the bands of Crusaders as they marched along, resolved to purchase by their services in the Holy Land that salvation which their crimes had made them despair of till now. The Crusade! the Crusade! was the one allabsorbing thought of Europe; and not a meteor shot athwart the sky that was not interpreted as an omen and an encouragement from Heaven to persevere in the enterprise. It is calculated that, in the spring of 1096, the various masses in motion towards the Holy Land amounted to six millions of souls. This, however, appears to be an exaggeration.
It does not seem that any definite arrangements had been made
as to the organisation of the multitudes who should engage in the Crusade, their order of march, or the leaders whose banners they should follow. These matters were left to arrange themselves. The general assertion of historians is, that the first who marched to the Holy Land consisted of a body of 20,000 foot, with only eight horsemen, commanded by a Burgundian gentleman, named, from his poverty, Walter the Pennyless.
were followed by a rabble of 40,000 men, women, and children, led by Peter the Hermit -a medley of all nations and languages, kept together by no other organisation than that
of their own wild enthusiasm. Next followed a band of 15,000 men, mostly Germans, under a priest named Gottschalk. These three multitudes led the way in the Crusades, marching in the order in which we have named them, and pursuing the same
route; that, namely, which leads through Hungary and Bulgaria towards Asia Minor. A word respecting the fate of these three bands before proceeding with the general history of the Crusade.
Walter the Pennyless and his band accomplished a large part of their journey with no other casualties than those inevitable on such a march. They traversed even the marshes and rivers of Hungary with little loss. It was different, however, when they entered Bulgaria. The natives, indignant that their country should be used as a thoroughfare by a multitude of vagrants from the west, marching they scarcely knew whither, and eating up enormous quantities of provisions as they went, did everything in their power to harass and annoy them, and at length commenced a declared war against them. The consequence was, that the Crusaders, in fighting their way through Bulgaria, were dispersed, and all but exterminated-part of the survivors retracing their steps; the rest, among whom was Walter himself, reaching Constantinople with difficulty, where, by the permission of the Emperor Alexius, they remained waiting for the arrival of the Hermit and his companions. Peter, who had had the same difficulties to contend with as his predecessor in marching through Hungary and Bulgaria, at length reached Constantinople with his army greatly reduced, and in a most wretched condition. Here he and Walter the Pennyless joined forces, the Hermit assuming the superior command. The riotous conduct of the pilgrims soon wearied out the patience of Alexius, and he was glad to listen to the proposal of the Hermit to furnish them with the means of passing at once into Asia. The rabble, accordingly, with Peter the Hermit and Walter the Pennyless at their head, crossed the Bosphorus, and took up their quarters in Bithynia. Here they became perfectly ungovernable, ravaging the country round, and committing incredible excesses; and at length Peter, utterly disgusted and despairing, left them to their own guidance, and returned to Constantinople. After his departure, the Crusaders broke up into separate bands of marauders, and became an easy prey to the Turks. The bravest of them were annihilated in a battle fought not far from Nice, the capital of Bithynia, Walter the Pennyless falling with seven mortal wounds. Between two or three thousand alone escaped; these were brought back to Constantinople by some troops despatched by Alexius, at the earnest solicitations of the Hermit, to rescue them from the Turks. Alexius bought their arms, and dismissed them, with orders to return home; and thus ended the expeditions of Walter the Pennyless and Peter the Hermit, consisting jointly of about 60,000 men.
The 15,000 Germans led by Gottschalk never reached Constantinople, being slaughtered or dispersed during their passage through Hungary. Hungary was also fatal to another army of Crusaders—the fourth in order, but greatly exceeding in numbers