« ForrigeFortsæt »
tyranny and ambition and wickedness of the court of Rome; and (except in some convents, which had ever been the favourites of that court, and were for that reason, rather than for the sake of God, permitted to say their offices once a week a) this was for some time the miserable state of the nation, at least wheresoever the interdict was obeyed.
The king, who had by his own ill conduct provoked the clergy and religious, saw himself under a necessity of endeavouring to bind his lay subjects faster to his interest ; therefore he called them to renew their oath of fealty, and took hostages from many of his nobility. But though he was generally obeyed herein, yet such precautions as give men reason to think they are suspected without cause, do commonly operate the wrong way, and, if they tie up their hands, do at the same time alienate and let loose their affections, and carry their hearts another way; and if this was not the case of this prince, the too general coldness of the nobility in the defence of the king gave ground for a suspicion of this kind. And the heavy impositions which the present circumstances of the king required, redoubled his misfortune ; for it is so natural to subjects to judge by what they feel, that nothing but uncommon measures of goodness and wisdom can secure their affections to a government, that does not suffer them to be safe and easy under it.
This still increased the difficulties which the king lay under; for though Geoffrey archbishop of York only openly opposed the imposition of a thirteenth part of all their moveables, which was upon this occasion laid upon the nation, and excommunicated the king's officers that attempted to collect it in his province, and chose rather to leave England than submit to it, yet it appears that this imposition caused a general murmur and uneasiness.
Misfortunes of this kind seldom go alone; for the enemies of a prince can never want advantages, if he once deprive himself of the affections of his people ; for as the hearts of subjects, next under God, are the only certain supports of a crown, every enemy becomes formidable to the prince that wants them. And the court of Rome had but too many opportunities to be informed of the terms on which the king stood with his people; therefore pope Innocent made another step, and excommunicated the king
• Anonymi Hist. Croyl. (W. Fulman, Rerum Anglicarum Scriptt. Vett. vol. i. p. 473.]
by name, and required that this sentence should be pronounced against him every Sunday and every holy-day in all the conventual churches in England 4.
This excommunication had not all the effect the court of Romeb expected; for though some of the bishops and abbots fled out of England, to avoid the difficulties which the personal excommunication of the king might have drawn upon them, it being impossible to reconcile their duty to their prince and to their country, to the expectation of that court which required that they should withdraw themselves entirely from the presence and service of the king; yet, for the most part, the duty or the fears of the clergy and people kept them from paying any regard to a sentence founded in injustice, and attended with danger: so that if the ill-advised conduct of the king had not suffered him to involve the innocent, amongst the clergy and religious, as well as the guilty in his displeasure, the unchristian attempts of pope Innocent against the king might possibly have come to nothing.
However, things being brought to this pass, the honour and interest of the court of Rome were so far engaged, that pope Innocent omitted nothing that might take off the affections of his own people, or stir up the neighbouring princes against the king, or give him such apprehensions of the power and address of the court of Rome, as might probably work upon his fears. His first attempt was upon the subjects; and in his epistle to the bishops of England and Wales, he blames their coldness and want of zeal for the ecclesiastic liberty, and exhorts them to set themselves as a wall of defence to the house of God, and endeavours to possess them with a belief, that this was the cause of Christ and of His church, and commands them, “ that laying aside all
, fears of the king, they should assert the ecclesiastic liberty d.”
In his address to the nobility of England, he left nothing unsaid that might engage them against their prince; tells them they cannot serve two masters, and that the king was fighting against God; and conjures them as they tender the good of their souls, that they oppose the designs of the king, and not suffer him to embroil them and his kingdom. And lest they should think that this zeal was the effect of some sudden heat and might cool again, that prelate tells them how much his heart was set
• Matth. Paris. ann. 1209. p. 228.
b Ibid. à Ibid.
this affair ; " that he was resolved never to give it up, and, if occasion was, would lay down his life in the defence of it:” and profanely alluding to what the prophet saith of God, that prelate thinks fit to add, that his hand was not shortened, but by the grace of God so strengthened, that he should be able to crush and oppress him that justly incurred his displeasure a. And the better to spread the ferment through the whole nation by depriving the people of all public offices of religion, in another epistle to the bishops of London, Ely, and Worcester, he commanded them to involve Wales as well as England in the sentence of interdict, and not to suffer the hospitalers, or templars, or any other of the religious, to pretend to an exemption from it b.
Whilst this wicked prelate was thus sowing the seeds of sedition in England, and preparing the way to that dismal scene which too soon ensued, the court of Rome made so many successful efforts abroad, that if the king made his judgment of his success and future treatment by the usage which about this time the neighbouring princes received from the ecclesiastic monarchy, he had at the best but a very melancholy prospect.
For whilst this dispute was carrying on in England, the court of Rome scattered its thunders all over Europe, and by turns mortified almost all the princes and states of Christendom. It was the intrigues of that court which first raised Otho to the empire of Germany, in opposition to the pretensions of Philip; and because he could not be contented to be a tool, and would not sacrifice the rights of the empire to the ambition of the papacy, that prince was excommunicated and deposed by pope Innocent. Vladislaus prince of Poland was deposed, and Otho his son excluded from the succession by the same prelate o. Raymond earl of Tholouse was not only excommunicated and forced to a base and unworthy submission, but treated worse than a schoolboy ; first scourged with rods, and then dragged to the tomb of the friar Peter de Chasteau-neuf, who had been killed by his people for attempting to set up the inquisition in the country; and after this usage, to bind the yoke still faster upon him, he was forced to surrender seven or eight of his strongest towns to the legates of pope Innocent, as a security for his future servitude, and to promise upon oath to obey all and every the commands of
• Innoc. Epist. lib. x. epist. 160. • Ejusd. epist. 161. e Bzovii Annal. ann. 1207. 4 Mezeray's Life of Philip II. ann. 1208.
the church ; that is, in other words, to be a vassal to the court of Rome. And Avignon, at that time a part of the dominions of that prince a, being one of the cautionary towns, was yielded up on this occasion to the legates of pope Innocent, and remains to this day as a standing monument of the barbarous treatment, which this oppressed and unfortunate prince owed to the ambition and wickedness of the court of Rome.
Which is sadder still, the earl was compelled to take the cross, and to join himself to those who took his towns and butchered his people ; and all the fault of this prince was, he would not destroy his subjects nor his neighbours, because pope Innocent thought fit to pronounce them heretics, and had inhumanity enough to decree their extirpation.
The subjects of that prince upon the same grounds had still a greater share in the fury of that prelate ; for pope Innocent finding St. Dominic and his followers make no great progress in the conversion of the Albigenses, he taught his successors a new and quicker way of converting heretics; for sending his emissaries to preach up the crusade, an army computed at five hundred thousand men b was raised, and under the command of Simon earl of Montfort marched into Languedoc, then the country of the earl of Tholouse, where they took Beziers, one of the strongest cities of the Albigenses, by force, and put all to the sword; and above threescore thousand persons were sacrificed to their fury, according to the account which Mezeray gives of this affair : indeed Bzovius lessens this slaughter to seventeen thousand heretics d.
And that posterity might not be deceived and think all this the effects of a warlike fury, pope Innocent took home the guilt of all this innocent blood to himself and to the court in which he presided ; for this was done in pursuance of his instructions to his legates, to whom he had given it in charge, “that the Albigenses should be pursued with fire and sword, and treated with more severity than the Saracens themselves ?." And to colour this horrible inhumanity under the pretence of religion, pardon of sins and the hopes of heaven were promised as the rewards thereof: so much more dangerous was it now become
to oppose the designs of the court of Rome, than to blaspheme Christ and His holy religion. And so far was this barbarous war carried on, that Simon earl of Montfort, general of the army, made himself master of the Albigenses, and of the country of Beziers and Carcassone ; and the countries he had conquered were given to him by pope Innocent 4, as a reward for the blood and inhumanity of which he had been guilty. But that the world might not be at a loss to know from whence that detestable design had its beginning, who formed it and whose ends it was to serve, the earl was to hold the country he had thus over-run, “as a fee of the papacy, under the acknowledgment of a yearly tribute."
About the same time that this vast army, entirely at the devotion of the court of Rome, was in the bowels of France, and king Philip by this formidable power prepared to receive the instructions of that court, pope Innocent excommunicated that prince for repudiating his wife. He humbled the king of Portugal for an affront offered to a bishop of his kingdom ; and upon the same foot he treated in like manner Frederic king of Sicily d, and forced him to swear' fealty to himself and his successors in the see of Rome. He forced a prince upon Poland, and with an air that might become a monarch of the world, commanded Henry emperor of Constantinople to revoke a law which he had made, as was pretended, prejudicial to the rights of the church?: and so much like a pupil did he treat that prince, that although he was the creature of pope Innocent, and it was in his power to unmake him again, yet he could not bear the insolence of that prelate, but sent his remonstrance to Rome, and told pope Innocent that St. Peter delivered it as a part of the religion of Christ, that all Christians ought to be subject to the ordinance of man for the Lord's sake; that the authority which Christ delivered to His church was only spiritual : and to bring this nearer to pope Innocent, in that rescript he tells him, that "he was the subject, and not the lord of the emperor ; therefore he wondered at his presumption in treating him as he had done 8.” The king of Arragon too had a great share in the displeasure of that prelate, who let loose his holy warriors upon him; and that prince was