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chiefly Alexandrine and Western writers who speak of the deterioration of the Scriptures, while we scarcely hear of an author belonging to Asia and Constantinople making the same complaint, is not without force.**

If due allowance is made for the excessive estimation in which Griesbach held the readings of the Western class, the testimony of that eminent critic will be regarded as clearly in favour of the oriental or modern manuscripts. The computation of Rinck is still more decidedly on the same side. We thus find all our presumptive arguments fully borne out by actual fact, and are inevitably led to the conclusion, that the ancient Uncial MSS., as a whole, are of less value than the great body of modern or cursive ones-that the consent of the later Uncials and the cursive manuscripts, or the great majority of them, for or against a reading, ought to be considered decisive in opposition to the most ancient Uncials and a minority of modern MSS.—and that a text founded as Lachmann, Tregelles, and some other critics desire, chiefly on the authority of the most ancient MSS., cannot possibly be a genuine text.

ART. III.—(1.) Gesta Dei per Francos. Per JACOBUM BONGARSIUM. Hanover. 1611.

(2.) Itinerarium Regis Anglorum Richardi, et aliorum, in Terram Hierosolymorum. Per GALFRIDUM VINOSALVUM. (Gale.) 1687. (3.) Chronicle of Geoffrey Villehardouin, Marshal of Champagne and Romania. (Ducange.)

(4.) Les Poesies du Roy de Navarre.


Par M. LEVESQUE DE LA Paris. 1742.

(5.) Memoirs of Louis IX., King of France, (commonly called Saint Louis.) By JOHN LORD DE JOINVILLE, High Seneschal of Champagne. Translated by Col. JOHNES. Hafod. 1810.

FEW subjects involve more of the romance of history than the crusades. The wild outburst of enthusiasm that aroused all Europe, and bade the Red Cross Knight set forth on his perilous adventures; the strange events that befel him in the East, and the deeds of prowess that marked his course there, have been the very themes for tale and ballad, and popular feeling still lingers with interest over them. But while the crusades have been pleasantly, though not always correctly, employed to adorn a tale;' when they have been used by the historian to

*Davidson, Biblical Criticism, vol. ii. p. 102.

'point a moral,' great difference of opinion has prevailed. From Chateaubriand, on the one hand, who views them as veritable Holy Wars, watched over by admiring saints, and aided by actual miracle, to the other extreme of the writer, who but the other day placed them in his category of popular delusions,' together with the South-Sea Bubble, and the Cock-Lane Ghost!-through all the shades of intermediate opinion,—have the crusades been viewed; although by far the greater number of our historical writers lean to the depreciatory side. The remote period at which these expeditions originated, and the widely different circumstances of the times, those barbarous times,' were probably the cause of this; but now when, happily for the truth of history, the principle of beginning at the beginning, and of letting the men of successive times speak for themselves, instead of theorizing about them, is fully recognised, and when the letter, the diary, the fragment of autobiography, have so often been found of incalculable importance in illustrating more recent events, some selections from the chronicles of those writers who were contemporary with the crusades, especially those who actually took part in them, will supply us not only with vivid traits of a little-known period, but with materials for guiding our judgment as to the real character of these greatly misunderstood expeditions.

A species of poetical interest has been thrown around that portion of eastern history which refers to the khalifs of Bagdad. The pleasant Arabian Nights have familiarized us with them,and under their most favourable aspects too,-from our very infancy; and with our increasing knowledge, we have read how learned men, deep philosophers, ere Christian Europe had awakened from slumber, were summoned to the gorgeous courts of Almansor, of Haroun Alraschid, or Almamún, to receive the richest gifts, the most gratifying homage, and there to employ an honoured leisure in enlarging the boundaries of science. Thus we have come to look with interest upon these eastern despots, and contrasting splendid Bagdad, in the days of the Abassides, with London under our Saxon kings, or Paris under the degenerate successors of Charlemagne, to view the people of Western Europe as barbarians, compared with the Arabs of the khalifate. This view has been encouraged by the very superficial account which has mostly been given of the origin of the crusades. A few words on the splendour of the khalifs, a few words on the wild and excited state of Europe during the eleventh century, a passing remark, perhaps, on the danger of fanaticism, and the writer at once plunges into the midst of his narrative, not even acquainting the reader that the dynasty of these khalifs had



passed away, and that rude, and fierce, and utterly unlettered warriors, recent proselytes, too, of the Moslem faith,-wielded the power, and sat on the throne once occupied by the good Haroun Alraschid.'

We have ample proofs that a spirit of comparative toleration existed under the sway of the Abassides; and the narratives of the early pilgrims to Jerusalem (vide No. XXXIII. p. 126), fully corroborate this. But when Togrul Bey, with his dependent tribes, after overthrowing the Persian empire, embraced Islamism, the sanguinary precepts of the Koran-which Gibbon has so strangely-shall we say so willingly?-overlooked, addressed themselves with peculiar cogency to their minds. The sword is the key of heaven and hell,' God loveth those who fight for his religion in battle array,' saith the Koran, and could these fierce barbarians desire a more acceptable precept? Togrul Bey died in the midst of his eastern conquests-chiefly idolators had fled before his scymitar-but to Alp Arslan, the great lion,' his nephew and successor, he bequeathed the grateful duty of waging war against the Christians. This, the great lion carried on with such hearty good will, that even Gibbon allows that 130,000 fell victims! Westward now rolled the tide of Moslem conquest; the fairest provinces of Asia Minor were over-run, the Greek emperor became a captive in his hands, 1200 princes stood round his throne, and 200,000 soldiers marched beneath his banner,' when Alp Arslan's career was cut short by an assassin, and his son, Malek Shah, succeeded to his dominions and his projects.

Fierce had been the warfare of Alp Arslan against the Christians, but Malek Shah projected a holy war against the Greeks, enemies of God, and his apostle.' The rumour of this war soon reached Western Europe, but it seems to have awakened little attention save in one mind. Hildebrand, who as pope Gregory VII., now occupied St. Peter's chair, seems at once to have perceived the danger to Christendom, and he, in 1074, suggested the plan of an army of 50,000 voluntary soldiers. The time for action however was not yet, and no farther steps were taken; but it is important to notice this plan, since it proves that one of the astutest minds of the age recognised the danger, and suggested the initiatory principle of the crusades, as the remedy.

Meanwhile Jerusalem had remained an appanage to the Fatemite Khalifs of Egypt; and thither each year thousands of pilgrims flocked. The desire of visiting the Holy Land, during the eleventh century, had indeed greatly increased, and no longer in small companies, or by two and two, like St. Willibald

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and his brother (vide No. XXXIII. p. 130), did the wanderers arrive, for Ingulf, who made this pilgrimage a few years previously, tells us how they entered Jerusalem in solemn procession, and how, amid the blaze of tapers, and the clash and clang of cymbals, they were conducted by the patriarch himself to the church of the Holy Sepulchre. Seven thousand pilgrims are said to have visited this sacred place only two years before its spoliation. But in 1076, Jerusalem was taken after a most sanguinary conflict, by one of the armies of Malek Shah; 3000 citizens were massacred, the patriarch dragged by his hair to a squalid dungeon, while the pilgrims who, unconscious of what had passed, were pressing toward the holy city were plundered, or murdered.

In the present day, with our facilities of rapid communication, we can with difficulty imagine how eighteen long years should have passed, ere Western Europe was aroused, yet so it was; and although in 1083, the Greek emperor sent urgent letters, not only to the pope, but to all the Christian princes, even then nothing was done. But meanwhile a mighty impulse had begun to move the heart of Christian Europe, and slowly and steadily it gathered strength. Children who in the cradle had listened to their mother's wail over the fall of the holy and beautiful city,' or in boyhood had gazed upon the maimed and plundered pilgrim, as he told his story of paynim wrong and cruelty, grew up with feelings of stern hostility toward the unbeliever; and those feelings gained new strength as from time to time some solitary wanderer returned,-for the pilgrimage spirit was strong as of yore,-to tell how the Cross was still trampled under foot on the very spot where our Lord endured it; while prophecies, clothed in the vivid language of the Apocalypse, pointed to coming wars, and tumults, and Satan,-bound for a thousand years,— now about to be unloosed, perchance with these very paynims as his appointed agents! There was much excitement, too, arising from many causes, pervading the popular mind at this period, and thus, nought was wanting save a voice which should give utterance to the feelings, mute as yet, which oppressed all Europe, -save a spark which should ignite the already inflammable mass.

And the agent was at hand; though little can be learnt of the history of the preacher of the first Crusade. At Amiens, we are told, during the earlier half of the eleventh century,―for his age is not known,-one Peter-we are ignorant whether he ever had any other name was born. That this man bore arms in his youth under his liege lord, Godfrey's father, married an old and unloved wife, quitted the world in penitence, and eventually set forth on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, is all that we can



learn of his youth and middle age. The date of his journey is unknown; but his stay appears to have been long, and thus he had ample opportunities of witnessing the cruelties inflicted on the few pilgrims who, even then, dared that perilous journey. He conversed with the patriarch, he watched, he meditated, he brooded over the sufferings of the pilgrims, until a vision of our Lord appeared, to his excited imagination, and he heard His voice, saying, 'Arise, Peter, make haste, and whatsoever is com'manded thee, do quickly. I am with thee, for the time has come when my servants must come hither, that the holy place 'may be cleansed.' There is little doubt, we think, that Peter actually dreamt this dream, it is just of the kind which a mind excited as his would form; but in the bald simplicity with which it is told, both by William of Tyre and Albert of Aix,-the latter a contemporary,-no less than the circumstance that this is the solitary marvel assigned to Peter, even by historians eager to multiply tales of the direct interposition of heaven in favour of the subordinate leaders of the first crusade, we think we have strong proof that he was no shrewd and cunning impostor, but an upright and sincere enthusiast.

Bearing supplicatory letters from the patriarch Symeon, Peter hastened to Europe, and sought out the Pope, while about the same time the emperor Alexius sent ambassadors, praying aid against the Turkish force about to assault the eastern frontier of Europe-a Moslem crusade, indeed, against Christendom. But Gregory was in exile, and he soon after died-not before he had given his approval to the plan of Peter the Hermit, who also obtained the sanction of Urban II., Gregory's successor. So he set forth, traversing Italy, crossing the Alps, and visiting the various kingdoms of northern Europe, summoning alike all men, from the prince to the peasant, to avenge the wrongs of our Lord in his own land.'


A wonderful man was this Peter the Hermit,-slight and low in stature, mean in person, but with flashing eye; feeble, too, as, clad in hood and tunic of unbleached wool, a coarse cloak scarcely covering his arms, and barefoot, he made his way among camps and courts, among crowded cities and unfrequented uplands, swaying all Europe by the might of his resistless eloquence. Marvellous must this have been. Would that some fragment of even one of his addresses,-even a mere sentence or two of his burning words had been preserved to us. We have many a speech of many a prelate recorded in the monkish annals of these times; we still have that of Urban at the council of Placentia, formal and prosy enough, but the rude eloquence of the soldier-hermit was, most likely, not of a kind for the learned

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