POLICY OF INNOCENT III. 365.
was in every direction felt. Portugal had already been advanced to the dignity of a kingdom on payment of an annual tribute to Rome. The King of Aragon held his kingdom as feudatory to the pope. In England, Innocent’s interference assumed a different aspect. He attempted to assert his control over the Church in spite of the king, and put the nation under interdict because John would not permit Stephen Langton to be Archbishop of Canterbury. It was utterly impossible that affairs could go on with such an empire within an empire. For his contumacy, John was excommunicated; but, base as he was, he defied his punishment for four years. Hereupon his subjects were released from their allegiance, and his kingdom offered to any one who would conquer it. In his extremity, the King of England is said to have sent a messenger to the Emir Al Mouenim, offering to become a Mohammedan. The religious sentiment was then no higher in him than it was, under a like provocation, in the King of France, whose thoughts turned in the same direction. But, pressed irresistibly by Innocent, John was compelled to surrender his realm, agreeing to pay to the pope, in addition to Peter’s pence, 1000 marks a year as a token of vassalage. When the prelates whom he had refused or exiled returned, he was compelled to receive them on his knees-humiliations which aroused the indignation of the stout English barons, and gave strength to those movements which ended in extorting Magna Charta. Never, however, was Innocent more mistaken than in the character of Stephen Langton. John had, a second time, formally surrendered his realm to the pope, and done homage to the legate for it; but Stephen Langton was the first-at a meeting of the chiefs of the revolt against the king, held in London, August 25th, 1213-to suggest that they should demand a renewal of the charter of Henry I. From this suggestion Magna Charta originated. Among the miracles of the age, he was the greatest miracle of all; his patriotism was stronger than his profession. The wrath of the pontiff knew no bounds when he learned that the Great Charter had been conceded. In his bull, he denounced it as base and ignominious; he anathematized the king if he observed it; he declared it null and void. It was not the policy of the Roman court to permit so much as the beginnings of such freedom. The appointment of Simon Langton to the archbishopric of York was annulled. One De Gray was substituted for him. It illustrated the simony into which the papal government had fallen, that De Gray had become, in these transactions, indebted to Rome $50,000. In fact, through the operation of the Crusades, all Europe was tributary to the pope. He had his fiscal agents in every metropolis; his traveling ones wandering in all directions, in every country, raising revenue by the sale of dispensations for all kinds of offenses, real and fictitious-money for the sale of appoint.
366 THE FOURTH CRUSADE.
ments, high and low-a steady drain of money from every realm. Fifty years after the time of which we are speaking, Robert Grostete, the Bishop of Lincoln and friend of Roger Bacon, caused to be ascertained the amount received by foreign ecclesiastics in England. He found it to be thrice the income of the king himself. This was on the occasion of Innocent IV. demanding provision to be made for three hundred additional Italian clergy by the Church of England, and that one of his nephewsa mere boy-should have a stall in Lincoln cathedral. While thus Innocent III. was interfering and intriguing with every court, and laying every people under tribute, he did not for a moment permit his attention to be diverted from the Crusades, the rope an singular advantages of which to the papacy had now been fully discovered. They had given to the pope a suzerainty in Europe, the control of its military as well as its monetary resources. Not that a man like Innocent could permit himself to be deluded by any hopes of eventual success. The Crusades must inevitably prove, so far as their avowed object was concerned, a failure. The Christian inhabitants of Palestine were degraded and demoralized beyond description. Their ranks were thinned by apostasy to Mohammedanism. In Europe, not only had the laity begun to discover that the money provided for the wars in the Holy Land was diverted from its purpose, and, in some inexplicable manner, found its way into Italy-even the clergy could not conceal their suspicions that the proclamation of a crusade was merely the preparation for a swindle. Nevertheless, Innocent pressed forward his schemes, goading on Christendom by throwing into its face the taunts of the Saracens. “Where,” they say, ” is your God, who can not deliver you out of our hands? Behold! we have defiled your sanctuaries; we have stretched forth our arm; we have taken at the first assault, we hold in despite of you, those your desirable places, where your superstition had its beginning. Where is your God? Let him arise and protect you and himself.” “If thou be the Son of God, save thyself if thou canst; redeem the land of thy birth from our hands. Restore thy cross, that we have taken, to the worshipers of the Cross.” With great difficulty, however, Innocent succeeded in preparing the fourth crusade, A.D. 1202. The Venetians consented to furnish a fleet of transports. But the expedition was quickly diverted from its true purpose; the Venetians employing the Crusaders for the capture of Zara from the King of Hungary. Still worse, and shameful to be said-partly from the lust of plunder, and partly through ecclesiastical machinations-it again turned aside for an attack upon Constantinople, and took that city by storm, A.D. 1204, thereby establishing Latin Christianity in the Eastern metropolis, but, alas with bloodshed, rape, and fire. On the night of the assault more houses were burned than could be found in any three of the largest cities in France. Even Chris-
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