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In offering to the public a second edition of The 
Law of CwilizaHan and Decay I take the opportu- 
nity to say emphatically that such value as the essay 
may have lies in its freedom from any preconceived 
bias. All theories contained in the book, whether 
religious or economic, are the effect, and not the 
cause, of the way in which the facts unfolded them- 
selves. I have been passive. 

The value of history lies not in the multitude of 
facts collected, but in their relation to each other, 
and in this respect an author can have no larger 
responsibility than any other scientific observer. If 
the sequence of events seems to indicate the exist- 
ence of a law governing social development, such a 
law may be suggested, but to approve or disapprove 
of it would be as futile as to discuss the moral bear- 
ings of gravitation. 

Some years ago, when writing a sketch of the his- 
tory of the colony of Massachusetts Bay, I became 
deeply interested in certain religious aspects of the 
Reformation, which seemed hardly reconcilable with 
the theories usually advanced to explain them. After 
the book bad been published, I continued reading 
theology, and, step by step, was led back, through the 
schoolmen and the crusades, to the revival of the 


;//a^f(m;Sige to Palestine, which followed upon the con- 
'^f4k/r» (A the Huns. As ferocious pagans, the Huns 
kiui \fm% closed the road to Constantinople ; but the 
change which swept over Europe after the year iocx>, 
wh/rn Saint Stephen was crowned, was unmistakable; 
%\tt West received an impulsion from the East, I 
thfjii \ftC2mc convinced that religious enthusiasm, 
whir.h, hy stimulating the pilgrimage, restored com- 
munication between the Bosphorus and the Rhine, 
was the power which produced the accelerated move- 
ment culminating in modem centralization. 

Meanwhile I thought I had discovered not only 
th;it faith, during the eleventh, twelfth, and early 
thirteenth centuries, spoke by preference through 
architecture, but also that in France and Syria, at 
lea At, a precise relation existed between the ecclesi- 
astical and military systems of building, and that the 
one could not be understood without the other. In 
the commercial cities of the same epoch, on the con- 
trary, the religious idea assumed no definite form of 
artistic expression, for the Gothic never flourished in 
Venice, Genoa, Pisa, or Florence, nor did any pure 
school of architecture thrive in the mercantile at- 
mosphere. Furthermore, commerce from the outset 
seemed antagonistic to the imagination, for a univer- 
sal decay of architecture set in throughout Europe 
after the great commercial expansion of the thir- 
teenth century ; and the inference I drew from these 
facts was, that the economic instinct must have 
chosen some other medium by which to express 
itself. My observations led me to suppose that 
the coinage might be such a medium, and I ulti- 
mately concluded that, if the development of a mer- 


cantile community is to be understood, it must be 
approached through its money. 

Another conviction forced upon my mind, by the 
examination of long periods of history, was the ex- 
ceedingly small part played by conscious thought in 
moulding the fate of men. At the moment of action 
the human being almost invariably obeys an instinct, 
like an animal ; only after action has ceased does he 

These controlling instincts are involuntary, and 
divide men into species distinct enough to cause 
opposite effects under identical conditions. For in- 
stance, impelled by fear, one type will rush upon an 
enemy, and another will run away ; while the love of 
women or of money has stamped certain races as 
sharply as ferocity or cunning has stamped the lion 
or the fox. 

Like other personal characteristics, the peculiari- 
ties of the mind are apparently strongly hereditary, 
and, if these instincts be transmitted from genera- 
tion to generation, it is plain that, as the external 
world changes, those who receive this heritage must 
rise or fall in the social scale, according as their 
nervous system is well or ill adapted to the condi- 
tions to which they are bom. Nothing is commoner, 
for example, than to find families who have been 
famous in one century sinking into obscurity in the 
next, not because the children have degenerated, but 
because a certain field of activity which afforded the 
ancestor full scope, has been closed against his off- 
spring. Particularly has this been true in revolution- 
ary epochs such as the Reformation ; and families 
so situated have very generally become extinct. 



\Vh«tY this stage had been reached, the R efuiuia - 
tion began to wear a netr aspect, but several jeats 
ei3tp§ed before I saw whither my stodies led. Only 
very slowly did a sequence of cause and efiEiect tains 
shape in my mind, a sequence whoily unexpected ia 
rhdfacter, whose growth resembled the arrangement 
of the fnigments of an inscription, which cannot be 
rc9^ until the stones have been set in a determined 
order. Finally, as the historical work neared an end, 
r perceived that the intellectual phenomena under 
examination fell into a series which seemed to cor- 
respond, somewhat closely, with the laws which are 
sffpposed to regulate the movements of the material 

Theories can be tested only by applying tiicm to 
f^cts, and the facts relating to successive phases of 
human thought, whether conscious or unconsckxis^ 
r/vnstftute history ; therefore, if intdlectual pheHoo^ 
ena 2n'e evolved in a regular sequence, history, like 
mntt^r, must be governed by law. In support of 
«(irf h a conjecture, I venture to offer an bypothesb 
by which to classify a few of the more interesting 
mf^Tf^cfual phases through which human society 
must, apparently^ pass, in its oscillations between 
hafhaf fsm af^ cmlization, or, what amounts to the 
intht thitfXi in its movement from a condition of 
pfrytfcat (ffspersion to one of concentration. The 
ntttfffipnpjiftfi yoltime contains the evidence which 
ntiM^Mad (he hypothesis, although, it seems hardly 
htttunntf (0 mW, an essay of this size on so vast a 
subject CM otfly be regarded as a suggestion. 

The theory proposed is based upon the accepted 
•scientific principle that the law of force and energy 


ts of universal application in nature, and that animal 
life is one of the outlets through which solar energy 
is dissipated. 

Starting from this fundamental proposition, the 
first deduction is» that, as human societies are forms 
of animal life, these societies must differ among 
themselves in energy, in proportion as nature has 
endowed them, more or less abundantly, with ener- 
getic material 

Thought is one of the manifestations of human 
energy, and among the earlier and simpler phases of 
thought, two stand conspicuous — Fear and Greed. 
Fear, which, by stimulating the imagination, creates 
a belief in an invisible world, and ultimately develops 
a priesthood ; and Greed, which dissipates energy in 
war and trade. 

Probably the velocity of the social movement of 
any community is proportionate to its energy and 
mass, and its centralization is proportionate to its 
velocity; therefore, as human movement is acceler- 
ated, societies centralize. In the earlier stages of 
concentration, fear appears to be the channel through 
mhich energy finds the readiest outlet ; accordingly, 
in primitive and scattered communities, the imagina- 
tion is vivid, and the mental types produced are 
religious, military, artistic. As consolidation ad- 
vances, fear yields to greed, and the economic 
organism tends to supersede the emotional and 

Whenever a race is so richly endowed with the 
energetic material that it does not expend all its 
energy in the daily struggle for life, the surplus 
nuy be stored in the shape of wealth; and this 


Stock of Stored energy may be transferred from 
community to community, either by conquest, or 
by superiority in economic competition. 

However large may be the store of energy accumu- 
lated by conquest, a race must, sooner or later, reach 
the limit of its martial energy, when it must enter on 
the phase of economic competition. But, as the eco- 
nomic organism radically differs from the emotional 
and martial, the effect of economic competition has 
been, perhaps invariably, to dissipate the energy 
amassed by war. 

When surplus energy has accumulated in such 
bulk as to preponderate over productive energy, it 
becomes the controlling social force. Thencefor- 
ward, capital is autocratic, and energy vents itself 
through those organisms best fitted to give expres- 
sion to the power of capital. In this last stage of 
consolidation, the economic, and, perhaps, the scien- 
tific intellect is propagated, while the imagination 
fades, and the emotional, the martial, and the artistic 
types of manhood decay. When a social velocity 
has been attained at which the waste of energetic 
material is so great that the martial and imaginative 
stocks fail to reproduce themselves, intensifying com- 
petition appears to generate two extreme economic 
types, — the usurer in his most formidable aspect, 
and the peasant whose nervous system is best adapted 
to thrive on scanty nutriment. At length a point 
must be reached when pressure can go no further, 
and then, perhaps, one of two results may follow : 
A stationary period may supervene, which may last 
until ended by war, by exhaustion, or by both com- 
bined, as seems to have been the case with the 



Eastern Empire ; or, as in the Western, disintegra- 
tion may set in, the civilized population may perish, 
and a reversion may take place to a primitive form 
of organism. 

The evidence, however, seems to point to the 
conclusion that, when a highly centralized society dis- 
integrates, under the pressure of economic competi- 
tion, it is because the energy of the race has been 
exhausted. Consequently, the survivors of such a 
community lack the power necessary for renewed 
concentration, and must probably remain inert until 
supplied with fresh energetic material by the infusion 
of barbarian blood. 

Qti.NCY, August JO, 1896. 




The Romans i 

The Middle Age 48 

The First Crusade 79 

The Second Crusade 103 

The Fall op Constantinople 134 

The Suppression op the Temple • >53 

The English Repormation 186 

The Suppression op the Convents .... aao 

xjv ((iXIIMs 



The Eviction op the Yeomen 243 

Spain and India . . 286 

Modern Centralization 313 

Conclusion 352 

Index 385 




When the Romans first emerged from the mist of 
fable, they were already a race of land-owners who 
held their property in severalty, and, as the right of 
alienation was established, the formation of relatively 
large estates had begun. The ordinary family, how- 
ever, held, perhaps, twelve acres, and, as the land was 
arable, and the staple grain, it supported a dense rural 
population. The husbandmen who tilled this land 
were of the martial type, and, probably for that reason, 
though supremely gifted as administrators and sol- 
diers, were ill-fitted to endure the strain of the unre- 
stricted economic competition of a centralized society. 
Consequently their conquests had hardly consolidated 
before decay set in, a decay whose causes may be 
traced back until they are lost in the dawn of history. 

The Latins had little economic versatility; they 
lacked the instinct of the Greeks for commerce, or of 
the Syrians and Hindoos for manufactures. They 
were essentially land-owners, and, when endowed 
with the acquisitive faculty, usurers. The latter 
early developed into a distinct species, at once more 
subtle of intellect and more tenacious of life than the 


farmers, anJ on the disparity between these two 
types of men, the fate of all subsequent civilization 
has hinged. At a remote antiquity Roman society 
divided into creditors and debtors ; as it consolidated, 
the power of the former increased, thus intensifying 
the pressure on the weak, until, when centralization 
culminated under the Caesars, reproduction slackened, 
disintegration set in, and, after some centuries of 
decline, the Middle Ages began. 

The history of the monarchy roust probably always 
remain a matter of conjecture, but it seems reason- 
ably certain that the expulsion of the Tarquins was 
the victory of an hereditary monied caste, which sue- 
ceeded in concentrating the functions of government 
in a practically self-perpetuating body drawn from 
their own order.^ Niebuhr has demonstrated, in one 
of his most striking chapters, that usury was origin- 
ally a patrician privilege; and some of the fiercest 
struggles of the early republic seem to have been 
decided against the oligarchy by wealthy plebeians, 
who were determined to break down the monopoly in 
money-lending. At all events, the conditions of life 
evidently favoured the growth of the instinct which 
causes its possessor to suck the vitality of the eco- 
nomically weak; and Macaulay, in the preface to 
Virg^nia^ has given so vivid a picture of the dominant 
class, that one passage at least should be read entire. 

" The ruling class in Rome was a monied class ; and it 
made and administered the laws with a view solely to its 
omn interest. Thus the relation between lender and bor- 
rower was mixed up with the relation between sovereign 

1 Histcry of Kome^ Mommten, Dickton*t trans., i. 288, 29a 


and snbfcct. The great men held a large portion of (he 
community in dependence by means of advances at enor- 
mous usury. The law of debt, framed by creditors, and for 
the protection of creditors, was the most horrible that has 
ever been known among men. The liberty, and even the 
life, of the insolvent were at the mercy of the patrician 
money-lenders. Children often became slaves in conse- 
quence of the mislbrtunes of their parents. The debtor 
was imprisoned, not in a public gaol under the care of 
impartial public functionaries, but in a private workhouse 
\ belonging to the creditor. Frightful stories were told 

respecting these dungeons." 

But a prisoner is an expense, and the patricians 
wanted money. Their problem was to exhaust the 
productive power of the debtor before selling him, 
and, as slaves have less energy than freemen, a sys- 
tem was devised by which the plebeians were left on 
their land, and stimulated to labour by the hope of 
redeeming themselves and their children from servi- 

j tude. Niebuhr has explained at length how this was 

, done. 

For money weighed out a person could pledge him- 
self, his family, and all that belonged to him. In 
this condition he became nextts, and remained in pos- 
session of his property until breach of condition, 
when the creditor could proceed by summary pro- 
cess.^ Such a contract satisfied the requirements, 
and the usurers had then only to invent a judgment 

0/R0m4, Niebtthr, Hare*t trtnt., i. 576. Niebuhr hat been 
ibllowed In the text* although the ** nexum '* is one of the vexed points 
of Roman law. (See Uber das aitrZmiscke Sckuldreekt, Savigny.) The 
prcciie fonn of the contract is, however, perhaps, not very impoftant 
for the matter in hand, as most scholars seem agreed that it resembled 
a moctgage, the breach of whose condition involved not only the lost 
of the pledge, b«t tbe personal liberty of the debtor. See Gmim, iv. si. 


for debt severe enough to force the debtor to become 
fuxtis when the alternative was offered him. This 
presented no difficulty. When an action was begun 
the defendant had thirty days of grace, and was then 
arrested and brought before the praetor. If he could 
neither pay nor find security, he was fettered with 
irons weighing not less than fifteen pounds, and taken 
home by the plaintiff. There he was allowed a pound 
of corn a day, and given sixty days in which to settle. 
If he failed, he was taken again before the praetor 
and sentenced. Under this sentence he might be 
sold or executed, and, where there were several plain- 
tiffs, they might cut him up among them, nor was 
any individual liable for carving more than his share.' 
A man so sentenced involved his descendants, and 
therefore, rather than submit, the whole debtor class 
became nexi^ toiling for ever to fulfil contracts quite 
beyond their strength, and year by year sinking more 
hopelessly into debt, for ordinarily the accumulated 
interest soon raised "the principal to many times its 
original amount."^ Niebuhr has thus summed up 
the economic situation : — 

'^To understand the condition of the plebeian debtors, 
let the reader, if he is a man of business, imagine that the 
whole of the private debts in a given country were turned 
into biUs at a year, bearing interest at twenty per cent or 
more ; and that the non-payment of them were followed 
on summary process by imprisonment, and by the transfer 
of the debtor's whole property to his creditor, even though 
it exceeded what he owed. We do not need those further 
drcomstaDces, which are incompatible with our manners, 

Hitt^ry of Rome^ Niebuhr, Hare's trans., ii. 599. But compare 
HI Ceilitu, XX. I. 3 UiJ,^ L 582. 



the penonal slavery of the debtor and of his children, to 
form an estinute of the fearful condition of the unfortunate 
plebeians." ^ 

Thus the usurer first exhausted a family and then 
sold it ; and as his class fed on insolvency and con- 
trolled legislation, the laws were as ingeniously con- 
trived for creating debt, as for making it profitable 
when contracted. One characteristic device was the 
power given the magistrate of fining for "offences 
against order." Under this head *' men might include 
any accusations they pleased, and by the higher grades 
in the scale of fines they might accomplish whatever 
they desired."* As the capitalists owned the courts 
and administered justice, they had the means at hand 
of mining any plebeian whose property was tempt- 
ing. Nevertheless, the stronghold of usury lay in 
the fiscal system, which down to the fall of the Em- 
pire was an engine for working bankruptcy. Rome's 
policy was to farm the taxes ; that is to say, after 
assessment, to sell them to a publican, who collected 
what he could. The business was profitable in pro- 
portion as it was extortionate, and the country was 
subjected to a levy unregulated by law, and conducted 
to enrich speculators. '* Ubi publicanus essct," said 
Livy, quoting the Senate, "ibi aut jus publicum 
vanum, aut libertatcm sociis nullam esse." 

Usury was the cream of this business. The cus- 
tom was to lend to defaulters at such high rates of 
interest that insolvency was nearly certain to follow ; 
then the people were taken on execution, and slave- 

1 Hilary of Rome^ Niebuhr, Hare*t trant., i. 583. 

* HiU0ty 0/ A'#M/, Mominteii, Dicksofi't trana., t. 472. 


hunting formed a regular branch of the revenue ser- 
vice. In Cicero's time whole provinces of Asia Minor 
were stripped bare by the traffic. The effect upon 
the Latin society of the fourth century before Christ 
was singularly destructive. Italy was filled with petty 
states in chronic war, the troops were an unpaid mili- 
tia, which comprised the whole able-bodied popula- 
tion, and though the farms yielded enough for the 
family in good times, when the males were with the 
legions labour was certain to be lacking. The cam- 
paigns therefore brought want, and with want came 
the inability to pay taxes. 

As late as the Punic War, Regulus asked to be re- 
lieved from his command, because the death of his 
slave and the incompetence of his hired man left 
his fields uncared for ; and if a general and a consul 
were pinched by absence, the case of the men in the 
ranks can be imagined. Even in victory the lot of 
the common soldier was hard enough, for, beside the 
chance of wounds and disease, there was the certain 
loss of time, for which no compensation was made. 
Though the plebeians formed the whole infantry of 
the line, they received no part of the conquered 
lands, and even the plunder was taken from them, 
and appropriated by the patricians to their private 
use.* In defeat, the open country was overrun, the 
cattle were driven off or slaughtered, the fruit trees 
cut down, the crops laid waste, and the houses burned. 
In speaking of the Gallic invasion, Niebuhr has pointed 
out that the ravaging of the enemy, and the new taxes 
laid to rebuild the ruined public works, led to general 

1 History of Rome, Niebuhr, Hare*s trans., i. 583. * IM,, it 603. 


Such conditions fostered the rapid propagation of 
distinct types of mind» and at a very early period 
Romans had been bred destitute of the martial in- 
stinct, but more crafty and more tenacious of life 
than the soldier. These were the men who con- 
ceived and enforced the usury laws, and who held 
to personal pledges as the dearest privilege of their 
order; nor does Livy attempt to disguise the fact 
''that every patrician house was a gaol for debtors; 
and that in seasons of great distress, after every sit- 
ting of the courts, herds of sentenced slaves were led 
away in chains to the houses of the nobless." ^ 

Of this redoubtable type the Claudian family was 
a famous specimen, and the picture which has been 
drawn by Macaulay of the great usurer, Appius 
Claudius, the decemvir, is so brilliant that it cannot 
be omitted. 

"Appius Claudius Crassus . . . was descended from a 
long line of ancestors distinguished by their haughty de- 
meanour, and by the inflexibility with which they had 
withstood all the demands of the plebeian order. While 
the political conduct and the deportment of the Claudian 
nobles drew upon them the fiercest public. hatred, they were 
accused of wanting, if any credit is due to the early history 
of Rome, a class of qualities which, in a military common- 
wealth, is sufficient to cover a multitude of offences. The 
chiefs of the family appear to have been eloquent, versed 
in civil business, and learned after the fashion of their age ; 
but in war they were not distinguished by skill or valoiu*. 
Some of them, as if conscious where their weakness lay, 
had, when filling the highest magistracies, taken internal 
admimstnUioQ as their department of public business, and 
left the military command to their colleagues. One of 

> HiU0ry 0/ Rtmt^ Niebtthr, Hare's tnat^ i. 574. 


them had been entrusted with an army, and had failed 
ignominiously. None of them had been honoured with a 
triumph. ... 

" His grandfather, called, like himself, Appius Claudius, 
had left a name as much detested as that of Sextus Tar- 
quinius. This elder Appius had been consul more than 
seventy years before the introduction of the Licinian Laws. 
By availing himself of a singular crisis in public feeling, he 
had obtained the consent of the commons to the abolition 
of the tribuneship, and had been the chief of that Council 
of Ten to which the whole direction of the State had been 
committed. In a few months his administration had be- 
come universally odious. It had been swept away by an 
irresistible outbreak of popular fury ; and its memory was 
still held in abhorrence by the whole city. The immediate 
cause of the downfall of this execrable government was said 
to have been an attempt made by Appius Claudius upon 
the chastity of a beautiful young girl of humble birth. The 
stor>' ran that the Decemvir, unable to succeed by bribes 
and solicitations, resorted to an outrageous act of tyranny. 
A vile dependant of the Claudian house laid claim to the 
damsel as his slave. The cause was brought before the tri- 
bunal of .Appius. The wicked magistrate, in defiance of the 
clearest proofs, gave judgment for the claimant. But the 
girl's father, a brave soldier, saved her from servitude and dis- 
honour by stabbing her to the heart in the sight of the whole 
Forum. That blow was the signal for a general explosion. 
Camp and city rose at once ; the Ten were pulled down ; 
the tribuneship was re-established ;• and Appius escaped the 
hands of the executioner only by a voluntary death." * 

Virginia was slain in 449 B.C., just in the midst of 
the long convulsion which began with the secession 
to the Mons Sacer, and ended with the Licinian 
Laws. During this century and a quarter, usury 
drained the Roman vitality low. Niebuhr was doubt- 

* Preface to Virginia. 


lets right in his conjecture that the mutinous legions 
were filled with tuxi to whom the continuance of the 
existing status meant slavery, and Mommsen also 
pointed out that the convulsions of the third and 
fourth centuries, in which it seemed as though Roman 
society must disintegrate, were caused by " the insol- 
vency of the middle class of land-holders." ^ 

Had Italy been more tranquil, it is not inconceiv- 
able that the small farmers might even then have 
sank into the serfdom which awaited them under the 
Empire, for in peace the patricians might have been 
able to repress insurrection with their clients ; but 
the accumulation of capital had hardly begun, and 
several centuries were to elapse before money was to 
take its ultimate form in a standing army. Mean- 
while, troops were needed almost every year to 
defend the city ; and, as the legions were a militia, 
they were the enemy and not the instrument of 
wealth. Until the organization of a permanent paid 
police they were, however, the highest expression of 
force, and, when opposed to them, the monied oli- 
garchy was helpless, as was proved by the secession 
to the Mons Sacer. The storm gathered slowly. 
The rural population was ground down under the 
usury laws, and in 495 d.c. the farmers refused to 
respond to the levy. The consul Publius Servilius 
had to suspend prosecutions for debt and to liberate 
debtors in prison ; but at the end of the campaign 
the promises he had made in the moment of danger 
were repudiated by Appius Claudius, who rigorously 
enforced the usury legislation, and who was, for the 
time, too strong to be opposed. 

* HitUfy #/ R^me, Mominteii, Dickioii'fl traa*.. i. 4S4. 


That year the men submitted, but the next the 
legions had again to be embodied; they again 
returned victorious; their demands were again 
rejected; and then, instead of disbanding, they 
marched in martial array into the district of Cms- 
tumeria, and occupied the hill which ever after was 
called the Sacred Mount^ Resistance was not 
even attempted; and precisely the same surrender 
was repeated in 449. When Virginius stabbed hb 
daughter he fled to the camp, and his comrades 
seized the standards and marched for Rome. The 
Senate yielded at once, decreed the abolition of the 
Decemvirate, and the triumphant cohorts, drawn up 
upon the Aventine, chose their tribunes. 

Finally, in the last great struggle, when Camillus 
was made dictator to coerce the people, he found 
himself impotent. The monied oligarchy collapsed 
when confronted with an armed force ; and Camillus, 
reduced to act as mediator, vowed a temple to Con- 
cord, on the passage of the Licinian Laws.' The 
Licinian Laws provided for a partial liquidation, and 
also for an increase of the means of the debtor class 
by redistribution of the public land. This land had 
been seized in war, and had been monopolized by the 
patricians without any particular legal right. Lici- 
nius obtained a statute by which back payments of 
interest should be applied to extinguishing the prin- 
cipal of debts, and balances then remaining due 
should be liquidated in three annual instalments, 
lie also limited the quantity of the public domain 
which could be held by any individual, and directed 

^ $U« Hiit^ry 0/ P^mt^ Mommsen, Dickson's trans., i. 298-9. 
* Set HiiHr^f •/ R0mi^ Niebuhr, Hare's trans., iii. 22, 30. 


that the residue which remained after the reduction 
of all estates to that standard should be distributed 
in five-acre lots. 

Pyrrhus saw with a soldier's eye that Rome's 
strength did not lie in her generals, who were fre- 
quently his inferiors, but in her farmers, whom he 
could not crush by defeat, and this was the class 
which was favoured by the Licinian Laws. They 
multiplied greatly when the usurers capitulated, and, 
as Macaulay remarked, the effect of the reform was 
''singularly happy and glorious." It was indeed no 
less than the conquest of Italy. Rome, "while 
the disabilities of the plebeians continued . . . was 
scarcely able to maintain her ground against the 
Volscians and Hemicans. When those disabilities 
were removed, she rapidly became more than a match 
for Carthage and Macedon." ^ 

But nature's very bounty to the Roman husband- 
man and soldier proved his ruin. Patient of suffer- 
ing, enduring of fatigue, wise in council, fierce in 
war, he routed all who opposed him ; and yet the 
vigorous mind and the robust frame which made 
him victorious in battle, were his weakness when 
at peace. He needed costly nutriment, and when 
brought into free economic competition with Afri- 
cans and Asiatics, he starved. Such competition 
resulted directly from foreign conquests, and came 
rapidly when Italy had consolidated, and the Ital- 
ians began to extend their power over other races. 
Nearly five centuries intervened between the foun- 
dation of the city and the defeat of Pyrrhus, but 
within little more than two hundred years from the 

^ Freiace to Virgimimt MmcmaUy. 


victory of Bcneventum. Rome was mistress of the 

Indeed, beyond the peninsula, there was not much, 
save Carthage, to stop the march of the legions. 
After the death of Alexander, in 323 b.c., Greece fell 
into decline, and by 200, when Rome attacked Mace- 
don, she was in decrepitude. The population of Asia 
Minor, Syria, and Egypt was not martial, and had 
never been able to cope in battle with the western 
races; while Spain and Gaul, though inhabited by 
fierce and hardy tribes, lacked cohesion, and could 
not withstand the onset of organized and disciplined 
troops. Distance, therefore, rather than hostile mili- 
tary force, fixed the limit of the ancient centralization, 
for the Romans were not maritime, and consequently 
failed to absorb India or discover America. Thus 
their relatively imperfect movement made the most 
material difference between the ancient and modern 
economic system. 

By conquest the countries inhabited by races of a 
low vitality and great tenacity of life were opened 
both for trade and slaving, and their cheap labour 
exterminated the husbandmen of Italy. Particularly 
after the annexation of Asia Minor this labour over- 
ran Sicily, and the cultivation of the cereals by the 
natives became impossible when the island had been 
parcelled out into great estates stocked by capitalists 
with eastern slaves who, at Rome, undersold all com- 
petitors. During the second century the precious 
metals poured into Latium in a flood, great fortunes 
were amassed and invested in land, and the Asiatic 
provinces of the Empire were swept of their men 
in order to make these investments pay. No data 


remain by which to estimate, even approximately, 
the size of this involuntary migration, but it must 
have reached enormous numbers, for sixty thousand 
captives were the common booty of a campaign, and 
after provinces were annexed they were depopulated 
by the publicans. 

The best field hands came from the regions where 
poverty had always been extreme, and where, for 
countless generations, men had been inured to toil 
on scanty food. Districts like Bithynia and Syria, 
where slaves could be bought for little or nothing, 
had always been tilled by races far more tenacious of 
life than any Europeans. After Lucullus plundered 
Pontus, a slave brought only four drachmae, or, per- 
haps, seventy cents. ^ On the other hand, competi- 
tion grew sharper among the Italians themselves. 
As capital accumulated in the hands of the strong- 
est, the poor grew poorer, and pauperism spread. As 
early as the Marsian War, in 90 B.C., Lucius Marcius 
Philippus estimated that there were only two thou- 
sand wealthy families among the burgesses. In 
about three hundred years nature had culled a pure 
plutocracy from what had been originally an essen- 
tially martial race. 

The primitive Roman was a high order of husband- 
man, who could only when well fed flourish and mul- 
tiply. He was adapted to that stage of society when 
the remnants of caste gave a certain fixity of tenure 
to the farmer, and when prices were maintained by 
the cost of communication with foreign countries. 
As the world centralized, through conquest, these 
barriers were swept away. Economic competition 


became free, land tended to concentrate in fewer 
and fewer hands, and this land was worked by 
eastern slaves, who reduced the wages of labour to 
the lowest point at which the human being can 

The effect was to split society in halves, the basis 
being servile, and the freemen being separated into 
a series of classes, according to the economic power 
of the mind. Wealth formed the title to nobility of 
the great oligarchy which thus came to constitute 
the core of the Empire. At the head stood the sena- 
tors, whose rank was hereditary unless they lost their 
property, for to be a senator a man had to be rich. 
Augustus fixed 548,ocx> as the minimum of the sena- 
torial fortune, and made up the deficiency to certain 
favoured families,^ but Tiberius summarily ejected 
spendthrifts.^ All Latin literature is redolent of 
money. Tacitus, with an opulent connection, never 
failed to speak with disdain of the base-bom, or, in 
other words, of the less prosperous. "Poppaeus 
Sabinus, a man of humble birth," raised to position 
by the caprice of two emperors;* "Cassius Severus, 
a man of mean extraction " ; ^ and, in the poetry 
of antiquity, there are few more famous lines than 
those in which Juvenal has described the burden of 
poverty : 

" Haud facile emergunt, quorum virtutibus obstat 
Res angusta domi."' 

Perhaps no modem writer has been so imbued with 
the spirit of the later Empire as Fustel de Coulanges, 

^ Saet i<a^., n. 41. * Amm,, ▼!• 39- * -So/., iu. 164. 

* Tadtvs, Amm,f iL 48. ^ Jkid^ vf. 21* 


and on this subject he has been emphatic. Not only 
were the Romans not democratic, but at no period of 
her history did Rome love equality. In the Republic 
rank was determined by wealth. The census was 
the basis of the social system. Every citizen had 
to declare his fortune before a magistrate, and his 
grade was then assigned him. ** Poverty and wealth 
established the legal differences between men." 

The first line of demarcation lay between those 
who owned land and those who did not. The former 
were assidui: householders rooted in the soil. The 
latter were proletarians. The proletarians were equal 
in their poverty ; but the assidui were unequal in 
their wealth, and were consequently divided into five 
classes. Among these categories all was unequal — 
taxes, military service, and political rights. They 
did not mix together. 

" If one transports oneself to the last century of 
the Republic . . . one finds there an aristocracy as 
strongly consolidated as the ancient patrician. . . . 
At the summit came the senatorial order. To be- 
long to it the first condition was to possess a great 
fortune. . . . The Roman mind did not understand 
that a poor man could belong to the aristocracy, or 
that a rich man was not part of it." ^ 

Archaic customs lingered late in Rome, for the city 
was not a centre of commercial exchanges ; and long 
after the death of Alexander, when Greece passed its 
meridian, the Republic kept its copper coinage. Regu- 
lus fanned his field with a single slave and a hired ser- 
vant, and there was, in truth, nothing extraordinary 
in the famous meeting with Cincinnatus at the plough, 

> i*ftnmri0m Germami^mr, Futtel de Coolanget, 146-157. 


although such simplicity astonished a contemporary 
of Augustus. Advancing centralization swept away 
these ancient customs, a centralization whose march 
is, perhaps, as sharply marked by the migration of 
vagrants to the cities, as by any single phenomenon. 
Vagrant paupers formed the proletariat for whose re- 
lief the *• Frumentariae Leges " were framed ; and yet, 
though poor-laws in some form are considered a neces- 
sity in modem times, few institutions of antiquity 
have been more severely criticised than those regulat- 
ing charity. From the time of Cato downward, the 
tendency has been to maintain that at Rome dema- 
gogues fed the rabble at the cost of the lives of the 

Probably the exact converse is the truth ; the pub- 
lic gifts of food appear to have been the effect of 
the ruin of agriculture, and not its cause. After the 
Italian husbandmen had been made insolvent by the 
competition of races of lower vitality, they flocked 
starving to the capital, but it was only reluctantly 
that the great speculators in grain, who controlled 
the Senate, admitted the necessity of granting State 
aid to the class whom they had destroyed. 

Long before the Punic Wars the Carthaginians 
had farmed Sicily on capitalistic principles ; that is 
to say, they had stocked domains with slaves, and had 
traded on the basis of large sales and narrow profits. 
The Romans when they annexed the island only car- 
ried out this system to its logical end. Having all 
Asia Minor to draw upon for labour, they deliberately 
starved and overworked their field-hands, since it was 
cheaper to buy others than to lose command of the 
market. The familiar story of the outbreak of the 


Servile War, about 134 B.C., shows how far the con- 
temporaries of the Sicilian speculators believed them 
capable of going. 

Daroophilus, an opulent Sicilian landlord, being one 
day implored by his slaves to have pity on their naked- 
ness and misery, indignantly demanded why they went 
hungry and cold, with arms in their hands, and the 
country before them. Then he bound them to stakes 
and flayed them with the lash.^ 

The reduction of Syracuse by Marcellus broke the 
Carthaginian power in the island, and, after the fall 
of Ag^gentum in 210 b.c., the pacification of the 
country went on rapidly. Probably from the outset, 
even in the matter of transportation, the provinces of 
the mainland were at a disadvantage because of the 
cheapness of sea freights, but at all events the open- 
ing of the Sicilian grain trade had an immediate and 
disastrous efFect on Italy. The migration of vagrants 
to Rome began forthwith, and within seven years, 
203 B.C., a public distribution of wheat took place, 
probably by the advice of Scipio. Nevertheless the 
charity was private and not gratuitous. On the con- 
trary, a charge of four sesterces, or seventeen cents 
the bushel, was made, apparently near half the mar- 
ket rate, a price pretty regularly maintained on such 
occasions down to the Empire. This interval com- 
prehended the whole period of the Sicilian supremacy 
in the corn trade, for in 30 b.c. Eg^pt was annexed 
by Augustus. 

The distress which foUowed upon free trade with 
Egypt finally broke down the resistance of the rich to 

* Diod. xxuY. 58. On the subject of the Sicilum tUTCiy, see HiiUirt 



gratuitous relief for the poor. Previously the oppo- 
sition to State aid had been so stubborn that until 
123 B.C. no legal provision whatever was made for 
paupers ; and yet the account left by Polybius of the 
condition of Lombardy toward the middle of the 
second century shows the complete wreck of agri- 

" The yield of com in this district is so abundant 
that wheat is often sold at four obols a Sicilian medim- 
nus [about seven cents and a quarter, or a little less 
than two sesterces], barley at two, or a metretes of 
wine for an equal measure of barley. . . . The cheap- 
ness and abundance of all articles of food may also be 
clearly shown from the fact that travellers in these 
parts, when stopping at inns, do not bargain for par- 
ticular articles, but simply ask what the charge is per 
head for board. And for the most part the inn- 
keepers are content" with half an as (about half a 
cent) a day.^ 

These prices indicate a lack of demand so complete, 
that the debtors among the peasantry must have been 
ruined, and yet tax-payers remained obdurate. Gra- 
tuitous distributions were tried in 58 b.c. by the Lex 
Clodia, but soon abandoned as costly, and Caesar 
applied himself to reducing the outlay on the needy. 
He hoped to reach his end by cutting down the 
number of grain-receivers one-half, by providing that 
no grain should be given away except on presentation 
of a ticket, and by ordering that the number of ticket- 
holders should not be increased. The law of nature 
prevailed against him, for the absorption of Egypt in 
the economic system of the Empire, marked, in the 

' Ppfybius, ii. 15, Shuckburgh's trans. 


words of Mommsen "the end of the old and the 
beginning of a new epoch." ^ 

Among the races which have survived through 
ages upon scanty nutriment, none have, perhaps, 
excelled the Egyptian fellah. Even in the East no 
peasantry has probably been so continuously over- 
worked, so under-paid, and so taxed. 

** If it is the aim of the State to work out the utmost pos- 
sible amount from its territory, in the Old World the Lagids 
were absolutely the masters of statecraft. In particular they 
were in this sphere the instructors and the models of the 


In the first century Egypt was, as it still is, pre- 
eminently a land of cheap labour ; but it was also some- 
thing more. The valley of the Nile, enriched by the 
overflow of the river, returned an hundred-fold, with- 
out manure; and this wonderful district was adminis- 
tered, not like an ordinary province, but like a private 
farm belonging to the citizens of Rome. The em- 
peror reserved it to himself. How large a revenue 
he drew from it is immaterial ; it suffices that one- 
third of all the grain consumed in the capital came 
from thence. According to Athenaeus, some of the 
g^in ships in use were about 420 feet long by 57 
broad, or nearly the size of a modern steamer in the 
Atlantic trade.' From the beginning of the Christian 
era, therefore, the wages of the Egyptian fellah regu- 
lated the price of the cereals within the limits where 
trade was made free by Roman consolidation, and it 

^ Frmnmes 0/ At R^tmrnm Empire^ Mommsen, ii. 2 jj. 

* !kid^ ii. 259. 

* Deifmu^pkitis^ ▼. 37. 

20 <^IVII.IZATIO\ AVn DECAY chap. 

is safe to say that, thenceforward, such of the highly 
nourished races as were constrained to sustain this 
competition, were doomed to perish. It is even ex- 
tremely doubtful whether the distributions of grain 
by the government materially accelerated the march 
of the decay. Spain should have been far enough 
removed from the centre of exchanges to have had a 
certain local market of her own, and yet Martial, 
writing about lOO a.d., described the Spanish hus- 
bandman eating and drinking the produce he could 
not sell, and receiving but four sesterces the bushel 
for his wheat, which was the price paid by paupers 
in the time of Cicero.* 

Thus by economic necessity great estates were 
formed in the hands of the economically strong. As 
the value of cereals fell, arable land passed into vine- 
yards or pasture, and, the provinces being unable to 
sustain their old population, eviction went on with 
gigantic strides. Had the Romans possessed the 
versatility to enable them to turn to industry, facto- 
ries might have afforded a temporary shelter to this 
surplus labour, but manufactures were monopolized 
by the East ; therefore the beggared peasantry were 
either enslaved for debt, or wandered as penniless 
paupers to the cities, where gradually their numbers 
so increased as to enable them to extort a gratuitous 
dole. Indeed, during the third century, their condi- 
tion fell so low that they were unable even to cook 
the food freely given them, and Aurelian had their 
bread baked at public ovens.' 

As centralization advanced with the acceleration 
of human movement, force expressed itself more and 

» Martial, Ep., xii. 76. « Vopitcus Aurennnui, 35. 


more exclusively through money, and the channel in 
which money chose to flow was in investments in 
land. The social system fostered the growth of large 
estates. The Romans always had an inordinate re- 
spect for the landed magnate, and a contempt for 
the tradesman. Industry was reputed a servile occu- 
pation, and, under the Republic, the citizen who per- 
formed manual labour was almost deprived of political 
rights. Even commerce was thought so unworthy 
of the aristocracy that it was forbidden to senators. 
**Tbe soil was always, in this Roman society, the 
principal source and, above all, the only measure of 

A law of Tiberius obliged capitalists to invest two- 
thirds of their property in land. Trajan not only 
exacted of aspirants to office that they should be rich, 
but that they should place at least one-third of their 
fortune in Italian real estate ; and, down to the end 
of the Empire, the senatorial class '' was at the same 
time the class of g^eat landed proprietors." ^ 

The more property consolidated, the more resist, 
less the momentum of capital became. Under the 
Empire small properties grew steadily rarer, and the 
fewer they were, the greater the disadvantage at 
which their owners stood. The small farmer could 
hardly sustain himself in competition with the great 
landlord. The grand domain of the capitalist was 
not only provided with a full complement of labour- 
ers, vine-dressers, and shepherds, but with the neces- 
sary artisans. The poor farmer depended on his rich 
neighbour even for his tools. ** He was what a work- 
man would be to-day who, amidst great factories, 

* VliOHuUm Cermsmiftu, Fuitel de Coolaogcs, 19a 


workcil aliuic." * He bought dearer and sold cheaper, 
hJM margin of profit steadily shrunk ; at last he was 
ictluccd to a Uuc subsistence in good years, and the 
tirnt \\iXK\ hurvest left him bankrupt 

The KiMuan husbandman and soldier was doomed, 
tor natuic \\m\ turned against him; the task of his- 
tory !» hut to ascertain his fate, and trace the fort- 
\\\wik of W\% country after he had gone. 

(>t this evicted, many certainly drifted to the cities 
«4iul liveil ujum charity, forming the proletariat, a class 
4likt! i|e^pi)ieil and lost to self respect : some were 
iiiilil \\\U\ ^Uvcry, others starveii ; but when all deduc- 
tiiuu luvu been made, a surplus is left to be accounted 
ti^r, 4<ul thi^ie i)i reaiion to suppose that these stayed 
un their f^rm^ a« tenants to the purchasers. 

\\\ the ftriit century »uch tenancies were common. 
\\\c liii»i»0«i remained a freeman, under no subjection 
to hii^ Undloril, provided he paid his rent; but in 
c^iiu of dufavOt the law was rigorous. Everything 
\\\Hi\\ the Uud wa« liable as a ple<lge, and the tenant 
lumi»elf W4)» hehl in pawn unless he could give secur- 
ity fur wlut he oweil In case, therefore, of prolonged 
4gncMltur4l dupre^iiion, all that was left of the an- 
cient rural population could hardly fail to pass into 
the comlition of serfs, bound to the land by debts 
beyond the possibility of payment. 

That such a depression actually occurred, and that 
it extended through several centuries, is certain. Nor 
is it possible that its only cause was Egyptian compe- 
tition, for had it been so, an equilibrium would have 
been reached when the African exchanges had been 

1 l4 C^mai ^^m^im : Rnkfrikis sur futiquts Probiimes tTHisioire^ 
FuaUI do Cuulanget, 143, 


adjusted, whereas a continuous decline of prices went 
on until long after the fall of the Western Empire. 
The only other possible explanation of the phenome- 
non is that a contraction of the currency beg^n soon 
after the death of Augustus, and continued without 
much interruption down to Charlemagne. Between 
the fall of Carthage and the birth of Christ, the 
Romans plundered the richest portions of the world 
west of the Indus; in the second century, North 
Africa, Macedon, Spain, and parts of Greece and Asia 
Minor ; in the first, Athens, Cappadocia, Syria, Gaul, 
and Egypt. These countries yielded an enormous 
mass of treasure, which was brought to Rome as spoil 
of war, but which was not fixed there by commercial 
exchanges, and which continually tended to flow back 
to the natural centres of trade. Therefore, when 
conquests ceased, the sources of new bullion dried 
up, and the quantity held in Italy diminished as the 
balance of trade grew more and more unfavourable. 

Under Augustus the precious metals were plenty 
and cheap, and the prices of commodities were cor- 
respondingly high ; but a full generation had hardly 
passed before a dearth began to be felt, which mani- 
fested itself in a debasement of the coinage, the 
surest sign of an appreciation of the currency. 

Speaking generally, the manufactures and the more 
costly products of antiquity came from countries to 
the east of the Adriatic, while the West was mainly 
agricultural ; and nothing is better established than 
that luxuries were dear under the Empire, and food 
cheap.^ Therefore exchanges were unfavourable to 
the capital from the outset ; the exports did not 

* Orf»mtmH0H Finaiuihrt ckn Us Jt0maitu, Marquardt, 65 H sef. 


cover the imports, and each year a deficit had to be 
made good in specie. 

The Romans perfectly understood the situation, 
and this adverse balance caused them much uneasi- 
ness. Tiberius dwelt upon it in a letter to the Senate 
as early as 22 a.d. In that year the aediles brought 
forward proposals for certain sumptuary reforms, and 
the Senate, probably to rid itself of a delicate ques- 
tion, referred the matter to the executive. Most 
of the emperor's reply is interesting, but there is 
one particularly noteworthy paragraph. "If a re- 
form is in truth intended, where must it begin ? 
and how am I to restore the simplicity of ancient 
times ? . . . How shall we reform the taste for dress } 
. . . How are we to deal with the peculiar articles 
of female vanity, and, in particular, with that rage for 
jewels and precious trinkets, which drains the Empire 
of its wealth, and sends, in exchange for bawbles, the 
money of the Commonwealth to foreign nations, and 
even to the enemies of Rome ? " * Half a century 
later matters were, apparently, worse, for Pliny more 
than once returned to the subject. In the twelfth 
book of his Natural History, after enumerating the 
many well-known spices, perfumes, drugs, and gems, 
which have always made the Eastern trade of such 
surpassing value, he estimated that at the most mod- 
erate computation icx),ooo,ooo sesterces, or about 
$4,000,000 in coin, were annually exported to Arabia 
and India alone ; and at a time when silk was worth 
its weight in gold, the estimate certainly does not 
seem excessive. He added, "So dear do pleasures 
and women cost us.*** 

^ TadtQS, Amm., Maq>hy's trans., ill 53. * A^a/. Jfisi,, xiL 18. 


The drain to Egypt and the Asiatic provinces 
could hardly have been much less serious. Adrian 
almost seems to have been jealous of the former, 
for in his letter to Servianus, after having criticised 
the people, he remarked that it was also a rich and 
productive country " in which no one was idle," and 
in which glass, paper and linen were manufactured.^ 
The Syrians were both industrial and commercial 
Tyre, for example, worked the raw silk of China, 
dyed and exported it. The glass of Tyre and Sidon 
was famous ; the local aristocracy were merchants 
and manufacturers, " and, as later the riches acquired 
in the East flowed to Genoa and Venice, so then the 
commercial gains of the West flowed back to Tyre 
and Apamea."* 

Within about sixty years from the final consolida- 
tion of the Empire under Augustus, this continuous 
efflux of the precious metals began to cause the cur- 
rency to contract, and prices to fall ; and the first 
effect of shrinking values appears to have been a 
financial crisis in 33 a.d. Probably the diminution 
in the worth of commodities relatively to money, 
had already made it diflicult for debtors to meet 
their liabilities, for Tacitus has prefaced his story by 
pointing out that usury had always been a scourge of 
Rome, and that just previous to the panic an agita- 
tion against the money-lenders had begun with a 
view to enforcing the law regarding interest. As 
most of the senators were deep in usury they applied 
for protection to Tiberius, who granted what amounted 
to a stay of proceedings, and then, as soon as the 

* VopifCttt, Saturninus, 8. 

* Frtvitues tf thi R^man Empire^ Mommten, u. 140. 


capitalists felt themselves safe, they proceeded to 
take their revenge. Loans were called, accommoda- 
tion refused, and mortgagors were ruthlessly sold 
out. " There was great scarcity of money . . . and, 
on account of sales on execution, coin accumulated 
in the imperial, or the public treasury. Upon this 
the Senate ordered that every one should invest two- 
thirds of his capital on loan, in Italian real estate; 
but the creditors called in the whole, nor did public 
opinion allow debtors to compromise." Meanwhile 
there was great excitement but no relief, "as the 
usurers hoarded for the purpose of buying low. The 
quantity of sales broke the market, and the more 
liabilities were extended, the harder liquidation be- 
came. Many were ruined, and the loss of property 
endangered social station and reputation." ^ The 
panic finally subsided, but contraction went on and 
next showed itself, twenty-five years later, in adulter- 
ated coinage. From the time of the Punic Wars, 
about two centuries and a half before Christ, the 
silver denarius, worth nearly seventeen cents, had 
been the standard of the Roman currency, and it kept 
its weight and purity unimpaired until Nero, when 
it diminished from ^ to ^^ of a pound of silver, the 
pure metal being mixed with -^^ of copper.* Under 
Trajan, toward icx) a.d., the alloy reached twenty per 
cent ; under Septimius Severus a hundred years later 
it had mounted to fifty or sixty per cent, and by the 
time of Elagabalus, 220 a.d., the coin had degenerated 
into a token of base metal, and was repudiated by the 

^ Amm^ v\. 16, 17. 

* See CiuhickU des RUmischen Muntwesem^ Mommsen, 756. 


Something similar happened to the gold. The 
aureus, though it kept its fineness, lost in weight 
down to Constantine. In the reign of Augustus it 
equalled one-fortieth of a Roman pound of gold, in 
that of Nero one forty-fifth, in that of Caracalla but 
one-fiftieth, in that of Diocletian one-sixtieth, and in 
that of Constantine one seventy-second, when the 
coin ceased passing by tale and was taken only by 

The repudiation of the denarius was an act of 
bankruptcy; nor did the financial position improve 
while the administration remained at Rome. There- 
fore the inference is that, toward the middle of the 
third century, Italy had lost the treasure she had 
won in war, which had gradually gravitated to the 
centre of exchanges. This inference is confirmed 
by history. The movements of Diocletian seem to 
demonstrate that after 250 a.d. Rome ceased to be 
either the political or commercial capital of the 

Unquestionably Diocletian must have lived a life 
of intense activity at the focus of affairs, to have 
raised himself from slavery to the purple at thirty- 
nine ; and yet Gibbon thought he did not even visit 
Rome until he went thither to celebrate his triumph, 
after he had been twenty years upon the throne. He 
never seemed anxious about the temper of the city. 
When proclaimed emperor he ignored Italy and es- 
tablished himself at Nicomedia on the Propontis, 
where he lived until he abdicated in 305. His per- 
sonal preferences evidently did not influence him, 
since his successors imitated his policy ; and every- 

1 M^nnaies ByumHrns^ Sabatier, L 5I1 52. 


thing points to the conclusion that he, and those who 
followed him, only yielded to the same resistless 
force which fixed the economic capital of the world 
upon the Hosphorus. In the case of Constantine the 
operation of this force was conspicuous, for it was 
not only powerful enough to overcome the habit of a 
lifetime, but to cause him to undertake the gigantic 
task of building Constantinople. 

Constantine was proclaimed in Britain in 306, when 
only thirty-two. Six years later he defeated Maxen- 
tius, and then governed the West alone until his 
war with Licinius, whom he captured in 323 and 
afterward put to death. Thus, at fifty, he returned 
to the East, after an absence of nearly twenty years, 
and his first act was to choose Byzantium as his cap- 
ital, a city nearly opposite Nicomedia. 

The sequence of events seems plain. Very soon 
after the insolvency of the government at Rome, the 
administration quitted the city and moved toward 
the boundary between Europe and Asia ; there, after 
some forty years of vacillation, it settled perma- 
nently at the true scat of exchanges, for Constanti- 
nople remained the economic centre of the earth for 
more than eight centuries. 

Similar conclusions may be drawn from the fluctu- 
ations of the currency. At Rome the coin could 
not be maintained at the standard, because of adverse 
exchanges ; but when the political and economic cen- 
tres had come to coincide, at a point upon the Bos- 
phorus, depreciation ceased, and the aureus fell no 

This migration of capital, which caused the rise of 
Constantinople, was the true opening of the Middle 


Ages, for it occasioned the gradual decline of the 
rural population, and thus brought about the disinte- 
gration of the West. Victory carrietl wealth to 
Rome, and wealth manifested its power in a perma- 
nent police ; as the attack in war gained upon the 
defence, and individual resistance became impossible, 
transportation grew cheap and safe, and human move- 
ment was accelerated. Then economic competition 
began, and intensified as centralization advanced, 
telling always in favour of the acutest intellect 
and the cheapest labour. Soon, exchanges became 
permanently unfavourable, a steady drain of bul- 
lion set in to the East, and, as the outflow depleted 
the treasure amassed at Rome by plunder, contrac- 
tion began, and with contraction came that fall of 
prices which first ruined, then enslaved, and finally 
exterminated, the native rural population of Italy. 

In the time of Diocletian, the ancient silver cur- 
rency had long been repudiated, and, in his well- 
known edict, he spoke of prices as having risen nine- 
fold, when reckoned in the denarii of base metal ; 
the purchasing power of pure gold and silver had, 
however, risen very considerably in all the western 
provinces. Nor was this all. It appears to be a nat- 
ural law that when social development has reached 
a certain stage, and capital has accumulated suffi- 
ciently, the class which has had the capacity to 
absorb it shall try to enhance the value of their 
property by legislation. This is done most easily 
by reducing the quantity of the currency, which is 
a legal tender for the payment of debts. A currency 
obviously gains in power as it shrinks in volume, and 
the usurers of Constantinople intuitively condensed 


to the utmost that of the Empire. After the insd* 
vency under Elagabalus, payments were exacted in 
gold by weight, and as it grew scarcer its value rose. 
Aurelian issued an edict limiting its use in the arts ; 
and while there are abundant reasons for inferring 
that silver also gained in purchasing power, gold far 
outstripped it. Although no statistics remain by 
which to establish, with any exactness, the movement 
of silver in comparison with commodities, the ratio 
between the precious metals at different epochs is 
known, and gold appears to have doubled between 
Caesar and Romulus Augustulus. 

47 B.C gold stood to silver as i : 8.9 
I A.D. under Augustus, " " " i : 9.3 

100-200, Trajan to Scverus, «« «* " i : 9-10 

310, Constantine. " ** " i : 12.5 

450, Theodosius II., " " " 1 : 18 

As gold had become the sole leg^l tender, this 
change of ratio represents a diminution, during the 
existence of the Western Empire, of at least fifty per 
cent in the value of property in relation to debt, leav- 
ing altogether out of view the appreciation of silver 
itself, which was so considerable that the government 
was unable to maintain the denarius.^ 

Resistance to the force of centralized wealth was 
vain. Aurelian*s attempt to reform the mints is said 
to have caused a rebellion, which cost him the lives 
of seven thousand of his soldiers ; and though his 
policy was continued by Probus, and Diocletian coined 
both metals again at a ratio, expansion was so antago- 
nistic to the interests of the monied class that, by 

> M^mmaiis B/ianii/ut, Sabatier, L 50. 

f. THE ROMANS 3 1 

360, silver was definitely discarded, and gold was 
made by law the only legal tender for the payment 
of debts.* Furthermore, the usurers protected them- 
selves against any possible tampering with the mints 
by providing that the solidus should pass by weight 
and not by tale ; that is to say, they reserved to them- 
selves the right to reject any golden sou which con- 
tained less than one seventy-second of a pound of 
standard metal, the weight fixed by Constantine.^ 

Thus, at a time when the exhaustion of the mines 
caused a failure in the annual supply of bullion, the 
old composite currency was split in two, and the half 
retained made to pass by weight alone, so as to throw 
the loss by clipping and abrasion upon the debtor. 
So strong a contraction engendered a steady fall of 
prices, a fall which tended rather to increase than 
diminish as time went on. But in prolonged periods 
of decline in the market value of agricultural prod- 
ucts, farmers can with difficulty meet a money rent, 
because the sale of their crops leaves a greater deficit 
each year, and finally a time comes when insolvency 
can no longer be postponed. 

In his opening chapter Gibbon described the Em- 
pire under the Antonines as enjoying " a happy period 
of more than fourscore years ** of peace and prosperity ; 
and yet nothing is more certain than that this halcyon 
age was in reality an interval of agricultural ruin. On 
this point Pliny was explicit, and Pliny was a large 

He wrote one day to Calvisius about an investment, 
and went at length into the condition of the property. 

^ Ce$€ki€kte dei hTdmiicken Afiinrtvesens, Mommsen, 837. 
* Ai^mmaia Bytantines, Sabatier, i. 51, 52. 


A large estate adjoining his own was for sale, and he 
was tempted to buy, " for the land was fertile, rich, 
and well watered," the fields produced vines and wood 
which promised a fair return, and yet this natural 
fruitfulness was marred by the misery of the husband- 
men. He found that the former owner "had often 
seized the ' pignora,' or pledges [that is, all the prop- 
erty the tenants possessed] ; and though, by so doing, 
he had temporarily reduced their arrears, he had left 
them " without the means of tilling the soil. These 
tenants were freemen, who had been unable to meet 
their rent because of falling prices, and who, when 
they had lost their tools, cattle, and household effects, 
were left paupers on the farms they could neither cul- 
tivate nor abandon. Consequently the property had 
suffered, the rent had declined, and for these reasons 
and "the general hardness of the times," its value had 
fallen from five million to three million sesterces.^ 

In another letter he explained that he was detained 
at home making new arrangements with his tenants, 
who were apparently insolvent, for " in the last five 
years, in spite of great concessions, the arrears have 
increased. For this reason most [tenants] take no 
trouble to diminish their debt, which they despair of 
paying. Indeed, they plunder and consume what 
there is upon the land, since they think they cannot 
save for themselves." The remedy he proposed was 
to make no more money leases, but to farm on 

The tone of these letters shows that there was 
nothing unusual in all this. Pliny nowhere intimated 
that the tenants were to blame, or that better men 

> Pliny*s LiHtrt^ iu. 19. < IHd^ ix. 37. 


were to be had. On the contrary, he said emphati- 
cally that in such hard times money could not be 
collected, and therefore the interest of the landlord 
was to cultivate his estates on shares, taking the 
single precaution to place slaves over the tenants as 
overseers and receivers of the crops. 

In the same way the digest referred to such arrears 
as habitual.^ In still another letter to Trajan, Pliny 
observed, "Continuae sterilitates cogunt me de remis- 
sionibus cogitare/* ^ Certainly these insolvent farm- 
ers could have held no better position when working 
on shares than before their disasters, for as bankrupts 
they were wholly in their creditors' power, and could 
be hunted like slaves, and brought back in fetters if 
they fled. They were tied to the property by a debt 
which never could be paid, and they and their descend- 
ants were doomed to stay for ever as coloni or serfs, 
chattels to be devised or sold as part of the realty. 
In the words of the law, "they were considered 
slaves of the land.'*' The ancient martial husband- 
man had thus " fallen from point to point, from debt 
to debt, into an almost perpetual subjection." ^ De- 
liverance was impossible, for payment was out of the 
question. He was bound to the soil for his life, and 
his children after him inherited his servitude with 
his debt. 

The customs, according to which the colotii held, 
were infinitely varied ; they differed not only between 
estates, but between the hands on the same estate. 

' Digeti, xii. 2, 15, and %%%\\\. 7, 20. 

* LtUen, X. 24. On thb whole Mibject lee Le C^Unmt Remain : 
Retkerchn %ur fueifmes FrM^mes d*Hitt^re^ Fuslcl dc Coulangct, ch. i. 

' ChU 0f JuUinimn^ si. 51, I. 

* Iji C^Ummt R^mmim^ Futtel dc CoaUngct, 21. 



On the whole, however, the life must rove bccK EtardL 
for the serfs of the Empire did m^c muInpiT. md the 
scarcity of rural labour became a chnxxic tti«gt-»y> 

Yet, relatively, the positioa oc the aiiJmas W3s g!Qod, 
for his wife and children were his own ; s&averr was 
the ulcer which ate into the fleshy and tiie Roman 
fiscal system, coupled as it was widi usurr, was cal- 
culated to enslave all but tlie o&garc&j wbo made the 

The taxes of the provinces were a«a»<.c^i br the 
censors and then sold for cash to the pnblkaBS^ who 
undertook the collection. Italy wa; at first ex- 
empted, but after her bankruptcy she shared the 
common fate. Companies were formed to handle 
these ventures. The kn^hts usually subscribed the 
capital and divided the profits* which corresponded 
with the severity of their administration ; and, as the 
Roman conquests extended, these companies grew 
tr>o powerful to be controlled. The only officials in 
a position to act were the provincial governors, who 
were afraid to interfere, and preferred to share in 
the gains of the traffic, rather than to run the risk 
of exciting the wrath of so dangerous an enemy.^ 

According to Pliny the collection of a rent in 
money had become impossible in the reign of Tra- 
jan. The reason was that with a contracting cur- 
rency prices of produce fell, and each year's crop 
netted less than that of the year before ; therefore 
tt rent moderate in one decade was extortionate in 
the next. Hut taxes did not fall with the fall in val- 
um i on the contrary, the tendency of centralization is 
AlwAyN toward a more costly administration. Under 

^ (kpimi4iHH$ Fimimtiht ikn Us Jf^maims, Marquardt, 24a 


Augustus, one emperor with a moderate household 
sufficed ; but in the third century Diocletian found 
it necessary to reorgania^e the government under four 
OesarSv and everything became specialized in the 
same proportion. 

In this way the people were caught between the 
upper and the nether millstone. The actual quantity 
of bullion taken from them was greater, the lower 
prices of their property fell, and arrears of taxes 
accumulated precisely as Pliny described the accu- 
mulation of arrears of rent. These arrears were 
carried over from reign to reign, and even from 
century to century ; and Petronius, the father-in-law 
of Valens, is said to have precipitated the rebellion 
of Procopius, by exacting the tribute unpaid since 
the death of Aurelian a hundred years before. 

The processes employed in the collection of the 
revenue were severe. Torture was freely used,* and 
slavery was the fate of defaulters. Armed with such 
power, the publicans held debtors at their mercy. 
Though usury was forbidden, the most lucrative 
part of the trade was opening accounts with the 
treasury, assuming debts, and charging interest some- 
times as high as fifty per cent. Though, as prices 
fell, the pressure grew severer, the abuses of the 
administration were never perhaps worse than toward 
the end of the Republic. In his oration against 
Verres, Cicero said the condition of the people had 
become intolerable : ** All the provinces are in mourn- 
ing, all the nations that are free are complaining; 
every kingdom is expostulating with us about our 
covetousness and injustice."' 

> Sec DitHm mndFmU. cb. irii. < la C. Vtrrtm, IV. luiix. 


The well-known transactions of Brutus are typical 
of what went on wherever the Romans marched. 
Brutus lent the Senate of Salaminia at forty-eight 
per cent a year. As the contract was illegal, he 
obtained two decrees of the Senate at Rome for 
his protection, and then to enforce payment of his 
interest, Scaptius, his man of business, borrowed 
from the governor of Cilicia a detachment of troops. 
With this he blockaded the Senate so closely that 
several members starved to death. The Salamin- 
ians, wanting at all costs to free themselves from 
such a load, offered to pay off both interest and 
capital at once ; but to this Brutus would not con- 
sent, and to impose his own terms upon the province 
he demanded from Cicero more troops, " only fifty 
horse." i 

When at last, by such proceedings, the debtors 
were so exhausted that no torment could wring more 
from them, they were sold as slaves; Nicodemus, 
king of Bitbynia, on being reproached for not fur- 
nishing his contingent of auxiliaries, replied that 
all his able-bodied subjects had been taken by the 
farmers of the revenue.* Nor, though the adminis- 
tration doubtless was better regulated under the 
Empire than under the Republic, did the oppression 
of the provinces cease. Juvenal, who wrote about 
icx), implored the young noble taking possession of 
his government to put some curb upon his avarice, 
"to pity the poverty of the allies. You see the 
bones of kings sucked of their very marrow."' And 

> Cicert^s Letters, Ad Att rl 2; alto Ad Att v. 21, and vi. I. 

* On this whole subject see Histoire de VEulav€ige, Wallon, ii. 42, 44. 


though the testimony of Juvenal may be rejected as 
savouring too much of poetical licence, Pliny must 
always be treated with respect. When Maximus was 
sent to Achaia, Pliny thought it well to write him a 
long letter of advice, in which he not only declared 
that to wrest from the Greeks the shadow of liberty 
left them would be ''durum, ferum, barbarumque ; " 
but adjured him to try to remember what each 
city had been, and not to despise it for what it 

Most impressive, perhaps, of all, is the statement 
of Dio Cassius that the revolt led by Boadicea in 
Britain in 6i a.d., which cost the Romans seventy 
thousand lives, was provoked by the rapacity of 
Seneca, who, having forced a loan of ten million 
drachmas ($1,670,000) on the people at usurious in- 
terest, suddenly withdrew his money, thereby inflict- 
ing intense suffering.' As Pliny said with bitterness 
and truth, "The arts of avarice were those most 
cultivated at Rome."' 

The stronger type exterminated the weaker ; the 
money-lender killed out the husbandman ; the race 
of soldiers vanished, and the farms, whereon they 
had once flourished, were left desolate. To quote 
the words of Gibbon : " The fertile and happy prov- 
ince of Campania . . . extended between the sea 
and the Apennines from the Tiber to the Silanis. 
Within sixty years after the death of Constantine, 
and on the evidence of an actual survey, an exemp- 
tion was granted in favour of three hundred and 
thirty thousand English acres of desert and unculti- 

1 SmHn, irtti. 24. < Di0 Csssims, Uit. s. 

• AW. ifitL, idw^ /Vmtmimm. 


vated land ; which amounted to one-eighth of the 
whole surface of the province." * 

It is true that Gibbon, in this paragraph, described 
Italy as she was in the fourth century, just before the 
barbarian invasions, but a similar fate had overtaken 
the pronnces under the Caesars. In the reign of 
Domitian, according to Plutarch, Greece had been 
almost depopulated. 

'* She can with much difficulty raise three thousand men, 
which number the single city of Megara sent heretofore to 
the battle of Platxa. . . . For of what use would the 
oracle be now, which was heretofore at Tegyra or at Ptous? 
For scarcely shall you meet, in a whole day's time, with so 
much as a herdsman or shepherd in those parts." ' 

Wallon has observed that Rome, "in the early 
times of the Republic, was chiefly preoccupied with 
having a numerous and strong population of freemen. 
Under the Empire she had but one anxiety — taxes."' 

To speak with more precision, force changed the 
channel through which it operated. Native farmers 
and native soldiers were needless when such material 
could be bought cheaper in the North or East. With 
money the cohorts could be filled with Germans ; 
with money, slaves and serfs could be settled upon 
the Italian fields ; and for the last century, before 
the great inroads began, one chief problem of the 
imperial administration was the regulation of the in- 
flow of new blood from without, lacking which the 
social system must have collapsed. 

' Decline and Fall, ch. xvii. 
* Morals^ Tram. </ I7l8» 4, II. 
' HiUoire di V EsclaxHige, iii. 268. 



The later campaigns on the Rhine and the Danube 
were really slave-hunts on a gigantic scale. Probus 
brought back sixteen thousand men from Germany, 
" the bravest and most robust of their youth," and 
distributed them in knots of fifty or sixty among the 
legions. "Their aid was now become necessary. 
. . . The infrequency of marriage, and the ruin of 
agriculture, affected the principles of population ; 
and not only destroyed the strength of the present, 
but intercepted the hope of future generations." * 

His importations of agricultural labour were much 
more considerable. In a single settlement in Thrace, 
Probus established one hundred thousand Bastarnae ; 
Constantius Chlorus is said to have made Gaul flour- 
ish by the herds of slaves he distributed among the 
landlords; in 370, large numbers of Alemanni were 
planted in the valley of the Po, and on the vast spaces 
of the public domain there were barbarian villages 
where the native language and customs were pre- 

Probably none of these Germans came as freemen. 
Many, of course, were captives sold as slaves, but 
perhaps the majority were serfs. Frequently a tribe, 
hard pressed by enemies, asked leave to pass the 
frontier, and settle as tributaries, that is to say as 
coloni. On one such occasion Constantius II. was 
nearly murdered. A body of Limigantes, who had 
made a raid, surrendered, and petitioned to be given 
lands at any distance, provided they might have pro* 
tection. The emperor was delighted at the prospect 
of such a harvest of labourers, to say nothing of 
recruits, and went among them to receive their tub* 


mission. Seeing him alone, the barbarians attacked 
him. and he escaped with difficulty. His troops 
slauj^htered the Germans to the last man. 

This unceasing emigration gradually changed the 
character of the rural population, and a similar altera- 
tion took place in the army. As early as the time 
of Cxsar, Italy was exhausted ; his l^ons were 
mainly raised in Gaul« and as the native fanners 
sank into serfdom or slavery, and then at last van- 
ished, recruits were drawn more and more from 
beyond the limits of the Empire. At first they were 
taken singly, afterwards in tribes and nations, so 
that, when Aetius defeated Attila at Chalons, the 
battle was fought by the Visigoths under Theodoric, 
and the equipment of the Romans and Huns was so 
similar that when drawn up the lines " presented the 
image of civil war.** 

This military metamorphosis indicated the extinc- 
tion of the martial type, and it extended throughout 
society. Rome not only failed to breed the common 
soldier, she also failed to produce generals. After 
the first century, the change was marked. Trajan 
was a Spaniard, Septimius Severus an African, Aure- 
lian an lUyrian peasant, Diocletian a Dalmatian 
slave, Constantius Chlorus a Dardanian noble, and 
the son of Constantius, by a Dacian woman, was the 
great Constantine. 

All these men were a peculiar species of military 
adventurer, for they combined qualities which made 
them, not only effective chiefs of police, but accept- 
able as heads of the civil bureaucracy, which repre- 
sented capital. Severus was the type, and Severus has 
never been better described than by Machiavelli, who 


said he united the ferocity of the lion to the cunning 
of the fox. This bureaucracy was the core of the con- 
solidated mass called the Empire ; it was the embodi- 
ment of money, the ultimate expression of force, and 
it recognized and advanced men who were adapted to 
its needs. When such men were to be found, the 
administration was thought good ; but when no one 
precisely adapted for the purple appeared, and an 
ordinary officer had to be hired to keep the peace, 
friction was apt to follow, and the soldier, even 
though of the highest ability, was often removed. 
Both Stilicho and Aetius were murdered. 

The monied oligarchy which formed this bureau- 
cracy was a growth as characteristic of the high 
centralization of the age, as a sacred caste is charac- 
teristic of decentralization. Perhaps the capitalistic 
class of the later Empire has been better understood 
and appreciated by Fustel de Coulanges than by any 
other historian. 

** All the documents which show the spirit of the epoch 
show that this noblesse was as much honoured by the govern- 
ment as respected by the people. ... It was from it that the 
imperial government chose ordinarily its high (imctionanes." 

These functionaries were not sought among the 
lower classes. The high offices were not given as a 
reward of long and faithful service; they belonged 
by prescriptive right to the great families. The 
Empire made the wealthy, senators, praetors, consuls, 
and governors ; all dignities, except only the military, 
were practically hereditary in the opulent class. 

'^Thtt class is rich and the government is poor. This 
class is mistress of the larger part of the soil ; it is in po«es- 


sion of the local dignities, of the administrative and judicial 
functions. The government has only the appearance of 
power, and an armed force which is continually diminish- 
ing. . . . 

" The aristocracy had the land, the wealth, the distinc- 
tion, the education, ordinarily the morality of existence ; it 
did not know how to fight and to command. It withdrew 
itself from military service ; more than that, it despised it. 
It was one of the characteristic signs of this society to have 
always placed the civil functions not on a level with, but 
much above, the grades of the army. It esteemed much 
the profession of the doctor, of the professor, of the advo- 
cate ; it did not esteem that of the officer and the soldier, 
and left it to men of low estate." ' 

This supremacy of the economic instinct trans- 
formed all the relations of life, the domestic as well 
as the military. The family ceased to be a unit, the 
members of which cohered from the necessity of self- 
defence, and became a business association. Mar- 
riage took the form of a contract, dissoluble at the 
will of either party, and, as it was somewhat costly, 
it grew rare. As with the drain of their bullion to 
the East, which crushed their farmers, the Romans 
were conscious, as Augustus said, that sterility must 
finally deliver their city into the hand of the barbari- 
ans.* They knew this and they strove to avert their 
fate, and there is little in history more impressive 
than the impotence of the ancient civilization in its 
conflict with nature. About the opening of the Chris- 
tian era the State addressed itself to the task. Prob- 
ably in the year 4 a.d., the emperor succeeded in 
obtaining the first legislation favouring marriage, and 

^ V Invasion Germaniqtu, 200, 204, 223. 
* Dio CassitUt Ivi. 7. 


this enactment not proving efFective, it was supple- 
mented by the famous Leges Julia and Papia Pop- 
psea of the year 9. In the spring, at the games, the 
knights demanded the repeal of these laws, and then 
Augustus, having called them to the Forum, made 
them the well-known speech, whose violence now 
seems incredible. Those who were single were the 
worst of criminals, they were murderers, they were 
impious, they were destroyers of their race, they re- 
sembled brigands or wild beasts. He asked the 
eqnites if they expected men to start from the 
ground to replace them, as in the fable ; and de- 
clared in bitterness that while the government lib- 
erated slaves for the sole purpose of keeping up the 
number of citizens, the children of the Marcii, of the 
Fabii, of the Valerii, and the Julii, let their names 
perish from the earth.^ 

In vain celibacy was made almost criminal. In 
vain celibates were declared incapable of inheriting, 
while fathers were offered every bribe, were pre- 
ferred in appointments to office, were even given 
the choice seats at games ; in the words of Tacitus, 
" not for that did marriage and children increase, for 
the advantages of childlessness prevailed."* All that 
was done was to breed a race of informers, and to 
stimulate the lawyers to fresh chicane.' 

When wealth became force, the female might be as 
strong as the male ; therefore she was emancipated. 

* Di» Cmaiut, W. 5-8. 

* Ann. lit 25. 

* Ikul^ Ksnii. Latin literature it full of refercncet to these famoat 
lavi. Tacitot, Pliny, Jurenal, and Martial constantly speak of them. 
There were abo many commentaries on them by Romaa junsta. 

44 ^TKTLJs. 

it ; aod 2S sae kfti pmcr. saie 

conuocted tkc 

logical as ctcit other work of sKarc WWa 
reached the sta^ vheie k ci|vcsaetf itscOt 
through moner, the gp«er?is^ cuiss oeased to be 
chosen because they vere valsaac or esoqnentv ar- 
tistic, learned, or dewKst, and w^oc setecteri soldj 
because they had the facnky ot a miiiiM i g and keep- 
ing wealth. As loiig as the veak refaiaed enoogfa 
vitality to produce somethii^ vhkh coaM be absorbed, 
this oligarchy was invincible ; and for very many years 
after the native peasantry of Gaol and Italy bad per- 
ished under the load, new blood injected firom more 
tenacious races kept the dying cirflization alive. 

The weakness of the monied class lay in their very 
power, for they not only kiUed the prodacer, but in 
the strength of their acquisitiveness they failed to 
propagate themselves. The State feigned to r^ard 
marriage as a debt, and yet the opulent families died 
out. In the reign of Augustus all but fifty of the 
patrician houses had become extinct, and subse- 
quently the emperor seemed destined to remain the 
universal heir through bequests of the childless. 

With the peasantry the case was worse. By the 
second century barbarian labour had to be imported 
to till the fields, and even the barbarians lacked the 
trnncity of life necessary to endure the strain. They 


ceased to breed, and the population dwindled. Then, 
somewhat suddenly, the collapse came. With shrink- 
ing numbers, the sources of wealth ran dry, the rev- 
enue failed to pay the police, and on the efficiency 
of the police the life of this unwarlike civilization 

In early ages every Roman had been a land-owner, 
and every land-owner had been a soldier, serving with- 
out pay. To fight had been as essential a part of life 
as to plough. But by the fourth century military 
service had become commercial ; the legions were 
as purely an expression of money as the bureau- 
cracy itself. 

From the time of the Servian constitution down- 
ward, the change in the army had kept |>ace with the 
acceleration of movement which caused the economic 
competition that centralized the State. Rome owed 
her triumphs over Hannibal and Pyrrhus to the val- 
our of her infantry, rather than to the genius of her 
generals ; but from Marius the census ceased to be 
the basis of recruitment, and the rich refused to serve 
in the ranks. 

This was equivalent in itself to a social revolution ; 
for, from the moment when the wealthy succeeded in 
withdrawing themselves from service, and the poor 
saw in it a trade, the citizen ceased to be a soldier, 
and the soldier became a mercenary. From that 
time the army could be used for *' all purposes, pro- 
vided that they could count on their pay and their 

The administration of Augustus organized the per- 
manent police, which replaced the mercenaries of the 

1 VOrgmmismii^m MUHmin eJk^w let Jfmtmims, M«ff«|«a;rdt, 14 j. 


civil wars, and this machine was the greatest triumph 
and the crowning glory of capital. Dio Cassius has 
described how the last vestige of an Italian army 
passed away. Up to the time of Severus it had been 
customary to recruit the Praetorians either from Italy 
itself, from Spain, Macedonia, or other neighbouring 
countries, whose population had some affinity with 
that of Latium. Severus, after the treachery of the 
guard to Pertinax, disbanded it, and reorganized a 
corps selected from the bravest soldiers of the 
legions. These men were a horde of barbarians, re- 
pulsive to Italians in their habits, and terrible to look 
upon.* Thus a body of wage-earners, drawn from the 
ends of the earth, was made cohesive by money. For 
more than four hundred years this corps of hirelings | 

crushed revolt within the Empire, and regulated the 
injection of fresh blood from without, with perfect 
promptitude and precision ; nor did it fail in its func- 
tions while the money which vitalized it lasted. 

But a time came when the suction of the usurers so 
wasted the life of the community that the stream of 
bullion ceased to flow from the capital to the frontiers ; 
then, as the sustaining force failed, the line of troops 
along the Danube and the Rhine was drawn out until 
it broke, and the barbarians poured in unchecked. 

The so-called invasions were not conquests, for 
they were not necessarily hostile ; they were only the 
logical conclusion of a process which had been going 
on since Trajan. When the power to control the 
German emig^tion decayed, it flowed freely into the 

By the year 400 disintegration was far advanced ; 

' Die Cassius, Ixxiv. 2. 


the Empire was crumbling, not because it was corrupt 
or degenerate, but because the most martial and en- 
ergetic race the world had ever seen had been so 
thoroughly exterminated by men of the economic 
type of mind, that petty bands of sorry adventurers 
might rove whither they would, on what had once 
been Roman soil, without meeting an enemy capable 
of facing them, save other adventurers like themselves. 
Goths, not Romans, defeated Attila at Chilons. 

The Vandals, who, in the course of twenty years, 
wandered from the Elbe to the Atlas, were not a 
nation, not an army, not even a tribe, but a motley 
horde of northern barbarians, ruined provincials, and 
escaped slaves — a rabble whom Caesar s legions would 
have scattered like chaff, had they been as many as 
the sands of the shore ; and yet when Genseric routed 
Boniface and sacked Carthage, in 439, he led barely 
fifty thousand fighting men. 



Probably the appreciation of the Roman monetary 
standard culminated during the invasion of the Huns 
toward the middle of the fifth century. In the reign 
of Valentinian III. gold sold for eighteen times its 
weight of silver, and Valentinian's final catastrophe 
was the murder of Aetius in 454, with whose life the 
last spark of vitality at the heart of Roman centraliz- 
ation died. The rise of Ricimcr and the accession of 
Odoacer, mark the successive steps by which Italy 
receded into barbarism, and, in the time of Theoderic 
the Ostrogoth, she had become a primitive, decen- 
tralized community, whose poverty and sluggishness 
protected her from African and Asiatic competition. 
The Ostrogoths subdued Italy in 493, and by that 
date the barbarians had overrun the whole civilized 
world west of the Adriatic, causing the demand for 
money to sustain a consolidated society to cease, the 
volume of trade to shrink, the market for eastern 
wares to contract, and gold to accumulate at the centre 
of exchanges. As gold accumulated, its value fell, 
and during the first years of the sixth century it 
stood at a ratio to silver of less than fifteen to one, 
a decline of eighteen per cent.^ As prices correspond- 

> M^nnaus Bytaniitus, Sabatier, i. 50. 



ingly rose, the pressure on the peasantry relaxed, pros- 
perity at Constantinople returned, and the collapse of 
the Western Empire may have prolonged the life of 
the European population of the Eastern for above one 
hundred and fifty years. The city which Constantine 
planted in 324 on the shore of the Bosphorus, was in 
reality a horde of Roman capitalists washed to the con- 
fines of Asia by the current of foreig^i exchanges ; and 
these emigrants carried with them, to a land of mixed 
Greek and barbarian blood, their language and their 
customs. For many years these monied potentates 
ruled their new country absolutely. All that legisla- 
tion could do for them was done. They even annexed 
rations to their estates, to be supplied at the public 
cost, to help their children maintain their palaces. 
As long as prices fell, nothing availed ; the aristocracy 
grew poorer day by day. Their property lay gen- 
erally in land, and the same stringency which wasted 
Italy and Gaul operated, though perhaps less acutely, 
upon the Danubian peasantry also. By the middle of 
the fifth century the country was exhausted and at 
the mercy of the Huns. 

Wealth is the weapon of a monied society; for, 
though itself lacking the martial instinct, it can, with 
money, hire soldiers to defend it. But to raise a 
revenue from the people, they must retain a certain 
surplus of income after providing for subsistence, 
otherwise the government must trench on the supply 
of daily food, and exhaustion must supervene. Finlay 
has explained that chronic exhaustion was the normal 
condition of Byzantium under the Romans. 

''The whole surplus profits of society were annually 
drawn into the coffers of the State, leaving the inbab- 


itants only a bare sufficiency for perpetuating the 
race of tax-payers. History, indeed, shows that the 
agricultural classes, from the labourer to the land- 
lord, were unable to retain possession of the savings 
required to replace that depreciation which time is 
constantly producing in all vested capital, and that 
their numbers gradually diminished." ^ 

Under Theodosius II., when gold reached its maxi- 
mum, complete prostration prevailed. The Huns 
marched whither they would, and one swarm " of bar- 
barians followed another, as long as anything was 
left to plunder." The government could no longer 
keep armies in the field. A single example will 
show how low the community had fallen. In 446, 
Attila demanded of Theodosius six thousand pounds 
of gold as a condition of peace, and certainly six thou- 
sand pounds of gold, equalling perhaps $1,370,000, 
was a small sum, even when measured by the stand- 
ard of private wealth. The end of the third century 
was not a prosperous period in Italy, and yet before 
his election as emperor in 275, the fortune of Tac- 
itus reached 280,000,000 sesterces, or upwards of 
511,000,000.* Nevertheless Theodosius was unable 
to wring this inconsiderable indemnity from the 
people, and he had to levy a private assessment on 
the senators, who were themselves so poor that to 
pay they sold at auction the jewels of their wives and 
the furniture of their houses. 

Almost immediately after the collapse of the West- 
em Empire the tide turned. With the fall in the 
price of gold the peasantry revived and the Greek 

^ History of tki Bywantine Empire^ Flnlay, 9. 
* VopiscQS, Tacitus^ 10. 



provinces flourished. In the reign of Justinian, Bel- 
isarius and Narses marched from end to end of Africa 
and Europe, and Anastasius rolled in wealth. 

Anastasius, the contemporary of Theoderic, acceded 
to the throne in 491. He not only built the famous 
long wall from the Propontis to the Euxine, and left 
behind him a treasure of three hundred and twenty 
thousand pounds of gold, but he remitted to his sub- 
jects the most oppressive of their taxes, and the reign 
of Justinian, who succeeded him at an interval of only 
ten years, must always rank as the prime of the By- 
zantine civilization. The observation is not new, it 
has been made by all students of Byzantine history. 

''The increased prosperity . . . infused into society 
soon displayed its effects ; and the brilliant exploits 
of the reign of Justinian must be traced back to the 
reinvigoration of the body politic of the Roman Em- 
pire by Anastasius." ^ 

Justinian inherited the throne from his uncle Jus- 
tin, a Dardanian peasant, who could neither read nor 
write. But the barbarian shepherd was a thorough 
soldier, and the army he left behind him was probably 
not inferior to the legions of Titus or Trajan. At 
all events, had Justinian's funds sufficed, there seems 
reason to suppose he might have restored the bound- 
aries of the Empire. His difficulty lay not in lack of 
physical force, but in dearth of opulent enemies ; in 
the sixth century conquest had ceased to be profitable. 
The territory open to invasion had been harried for 
generations, and hardly a country was to be found 
rich enough to re|>ay the cost of a cam|>aign by mer- 
cenaries. Therefore, the more the emperor extended 

* Cru€i umder tki K0mmm, George FiaUjr, 214. 



his dominions, the more they languished ; and finally 
to provide for wars, barbarian subsidies, and building, 
Justinian had to resort to over-taxation. With re- 
newed want came renewed decay, and perhaps the 
completion of Saint Sophia, in 558, may be taken as 
the point whence the race which conceived this mas- 
terpiece hastened to its extinction. 

In the seventh century Asiatic competition devoured 
the Europeans in the Levant, as three hundred years 
before it had devoured the husbandmen of Italy ; and 
this was a disease which isolation alone could cure. 
But isolation of the centre of exchanges was impos- 
sible, for the vital principle of an economic age is 
competition, and, when the relief afforded by the col- 
lapse of Rome had been exhausted, competition did 
its work with relentless rapidity. Under Heraclius 
(610-640) the population sank fast, and by 717 the 
western blood had run so low that an Asiatic dyn- 
asty reigned supreme. Everywhere Greeks and 
Romans vanished before Armenians and Slavs, and 
for years previous to the accession of Leo the Isau- 
rian the great waste tracts where they once lived were 
systematically repeopled by a more enduring race. 
The colonists of Justinian II. furnished him an auxil- 
iar)' army. At Justinian's death in 71 1 the revolution 
had been completed ; the population had been reno- 
vated, and Constantinople had become an Asiatic city.^ 
The new aristocracy was Armenian, as strong an 
economic type as ever existed in western Asia ; while 
the Slavic peasantry which underlay them were among 
the most enduring of mankind. There competition 
ended, for it could go no further; and, apparently, from 

1 BytatUint Empire^ Finlay, 256. 


the accession of Leo in 717, to the rise of Florence 
and Venice, three hundred and fifty years later, Byzan- 
tine society, in fixity, almost resembled the Chinese. 
Such movement as occurred, like Iconoclasm, came 
from the friction of the migrating races with the old 
population. As Texier has observed of architecture: 
"From the time of Justinian until the end of the 
Empire we cannot remark a single change in the 
modes of construction." ^ 

Only long after, when the money which sustained 
it was diverted toward Italy during the crusades, 
did the social fabric crumble ; and Gibbon has de- 
clared that the third quarter of the tenth century 
''forms the roost splendid period of the Byzantine 

The later Byzantine was an economic civilization, 
without aspiration or imagination, and perhaps the 
most vivid description which has survived of that 
ostentatious, sordid, cowardly, and stagnant race, is 
the little sketch of the Jew, Benjamin of Tudela, 
who travelled to the Levant in 1 173. 

Benjamin called the inhabitants of Constantinople 
Greeks, because of their language, and he described 
the city as a vast commercial metropolis, "common 
to all the world, without distinction of country or re^ 
ligion." Merchants from the East and West flocked 
thither — from Babylon, Mesopotamia, Media, and 
Persia, as well as from Egypt, Hungary, Russia, 
Lombardy, and Spain. The rabbi thought the peo- 
ple well educated and social, liking to eat and drink, 
''every man under his vine and under his fig tree." 
They loved gold and jewels, pompous display, and 

1 Bymmiim* Arekittcimre, Tesicr, 24. * DttHnt ^ftd fmii^ cb. Ui. 


gorgeous ceremonial ; and the Jew has dwelt vrith 
delight on the palace, with its columns of gold and 
silver, and the wonderful crown so studded with 
gems that it lighted the night without a lamp. The 
Greeks also roused his enthusiasm for the splendour 
of their clothes and of their horses' trappings, for 
when they went abroad they resembled princes ; but 
on the other hand, he remarked with a certain scorn, 
that they were utterly cowardly, and, like women, had 
to hire men to protect them. 

" The Greeks who inhabit the country arc extremely rich 
and possess great wealth of gold and precious stones. They 
dress in garments of silk, ornamented by gold and other 
valuable materials. . . . Nothing upon earth equals their 

*' The Greeks hire soldiers of all nations whom they call 
barbarians, for the purpose of carrying on . . . wars with 
. . . the Turks." "They have no martial spirit themselves 
and like women are unfit for war." ^ 

The movement of races in the Eastern Empire 
proceeded with automatic regularity. The cheaper 
organism exterminated the more costly, because 
energy operated through money strongly enough to 
cause free economic competition ; nor is the evi- 
dence upon which this conclusion rests to be drawn 
from books alone. Coinage and architecture, sculp- 
ture and painting, tell the tale with equal precision. 

When, in the fourth century, wealth, ebbing on the 
Tiber, floated to the Bosphorus the core of the Latin 
aristocracy, it carried with it also the Latin coinage. 
For several generations this coinage underwent little 

1 Itimrary of RahH Benjamin of Ttidela, trans, from the Hebrew 
by Aiher, 54. 


apparent alteration, but after the final division of the 
Empire, in 395, between the sons of Theodosius, a 
subtle change began in the composition of the ruling 
class ; a change reflected from generation to genera- 
tion in the issues of their mints. Sabatier has de- 
scribed the transformation wrought in eight hundred 
years with the minuteness of an antiquary. 

If a set of Byzantine coins are arranged in chrono- 
logical order, those of Anastasius, about 500, show at 
a glance an influence which is not Latin. Strange 
devices have appeared on the reverse, together with 
Greek letters. A century later, when the great 
decline was in progress under Heraclius, the type 
had become barbarous, and the prevalence of Greek 
inscriptions proves tlie steady exhaustion of the 
Roman blood. Another fifty years, and by 690, 
under Justinian II., the permanent and conventional 
phase had been developed. Religious emblems were 
used ; the head of Christ was struck on the golden 
sou, and fixity of form presaged the Asiatic domina- 
tion. The official costumes, the portraits of the 
emperors, certain consecrated inscriptions, all were 
changeless; and in 717, an Armenian dynasty as- 
cended the throne in the person of Leo the Isaurian.^ 
This motionless period lasted for full three hundred 
and fifty years, as long as the exchanges of the world 
centred at Byzantium, and the monied race who dwelt 
there sucked copious nutriment from the pool of 
wealth in which it lay. But even before the crusades 
the tide of trade began to flow to the south, and 
quitting Constantinople passed directly from Bagdad 
to the cities of Italy. Then the sustenance of the 

* M0mmsUs Bjnmmtimtt, L 26. 


money-changers gradually failed. From the reign of 
Michael VI. effigies of the saints were engraved 
upon the coin, and after the revolution led by Alex- 
ius Comnenus, in 1081, the execution degenerated 
and debasement began. This revolution marked the 
beginning of the end. Immediately preceding the 
crusades, and attended by sharp distress, it was prob- 
ably engendered by an alteration in the drift of for- 
eign exchanges. Certainly the currency contracted 
sharply, and the gold money soon became so bad 
that Alexius had to stipulate to pay his debts in the 
byzants of his predecessor Michael.^ For the next 
hundred years, as the Italian cities rose, the Empire 
languished, and with the thirteenth century, when 
Venice established its permanent silver standard by 
coining the "grosso," Constantinople crumbled into 

In architecture the same phenomena appear, only 
differently clothed. Though the Germans, who 
swarmed across the Danube, often surged against 
the walls of Constantinople, they never became the 
ruling class of the community, because they were of 
the imaginative type. Money retained its suprem- 
acy, and while it did so energy expressed itself 
through the economic mind. Though Justinian was 
of barbarian blood, the nephew of a barbarian shep- 
herd, the aristocracy about him, which formed the 
core of society, was neither imaginative nor devo- 
tional Hardly Christian, it tended toward pagan- 
ism or scepticism. The artists were of the subject 
caste, and they earned their living by gratifying the 
tastes of the nobles ; but the nobles loved magnifi- 

^ See treat}' with Bohemund. Anna Comnena, xiti. 7. 


cence and gorgeous functions ; hence all Byzantine 
architecture favoured display, and nowhere more so 
than in Saint Sophia. " Art delighted in represent- 
ing Christ in all the splendour of power. ... To 
glorify him the more all the magnificence of the 
imperial court was introduced into heaven. . . . 
Christ no longer appeared under the benevolent 
aspect of the good shepherd, but in the superb guise 
of an oriental monarch : he is seated on a throne 
glittering with gold and precious stones."^ Here 
then lay the impassable gulf between Byzantium and 
Paris; while Byzantium remained economic and 
materialistic, Paris passed into the glory of an imagi- 
native age. 

The Germans who overran the Roman territory 
were of the same race as the Greeks, the Latins, or 
the Gauls, but in a different stage of development. 
They tilled farms and built villages and perhaps 
fortresses, but they were not consolidated, and had 
neither nations nor federations. They were substan- 
tially in the condition in which the common family 
had been, when it divided many centuries before, and 
their minds differed radically from the minds of the 
inhabitants of the countries beyond the Danube and 
the Rhine. They were infinitely more imaginative, 
and, as the flood of emigration poured down from 
the north, the imagination came more and more to 

Although the lowest of existing savages are rela- 
tively advanced, they suggest that the strongest 
passion of primeval man must have been fear; and 
fear, not so much of living things, as of nature* 

> LAri B/9Mmiin^ B«r<t, l(»i 17. 


which seemed to him resolutely hostile. Against 
wild beasts, or savages like himself, he might prevail 
by cunning or by strength ; but against drought and 
(amine, pestilence and earthquake, he was helpless, 
and he regarded these scourges as malevolent beings, 
made like himself, only more formidable. His first 
and most pressing task was to mollify them, and 
above the warrior class rose the sacred caste,, whose 
function was to mediate between the visible and the 
invisible world. 

Originally these intercessors appear to have been 
sorcerers, rather than priests, for spirits were believed 
to be hostile to man ; and perhaps the first concep- 
tion of a god may have been reached through the 
victory of a clan of sorcerers in fight. As Statius 
said eighteen hundred years ago, " Primus in orbe 
deos fecit timor." * Probably the early wizards won 
their power by the discovery of natural secrets, 
which, though they could be transmitted to their 
descendants, might also be discovered by strangers. 
The later discoverers would become rival medicine 
men, and battle would be the only test by which the 
orthodoxy of the competitors could be determined. 
The victors would almost certainly stigmatize the 
beings the vanquished served, as devils who tor- 
mented men. There is an example of this process 
in the eighteenth chapter of i Kings : — 

"And Elijah . . . said, How long halt ye between 
two opinions ? if the Lord be God, follow him : but 
if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered 
him not a word." 

Then Elijah proposed that each side should dress 

1 TM,, iii. 66i. 


a bullock, and lay it on wood, and call upon their 
spirit ; and the one who sent down fire should be 
God. And all the people answered that it was well 
spoken. And Jezebel's prophets took their bullock 
and dressed it, and called on "Baal from morning 
even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us!" But 
nothing came of it. 

Then Elijah mocked them, "and said, Cry aloud: 
. . . either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is 
in a journey, or {>eradventure he sleepeth, and must 
be awaked." 

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves with 
knives till "blood gushed out upon them. And . . . 
there was neither voice, nor any to answer." Then 
Elijah built his altar, and cut up his bullock and laid 
him on wood, and poured twelve barrels of water 
over the whole, and filled a trench with water. 

And "the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the 
burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and 
the dust, and licked up the water that was in the 

" And when all the people saw it, they fell on their 
faces : and they said. The Lord, he is the God. 

"And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of 
Baal ; let not one of them escape. And they took 
them : and Elijah brought them down to the brook 
Kishon, and slew them there." 

The Germans of the fourth century were a very 
simple race, who comprehended little of natural laws, 
and who therefore referred phenomena they did not 
understand to supernatural intervention. This inter- 
vention could only be controlled by priests, and thus 
the invasions caused a rapid rise in the influence 


of the sacred class. The power of every ecclesiastical 
organization has always rested on the miracle, and 
the clcrixy have always proved their divine commis- 
sion as did Elijah. This was eminently the case with 
the mediaeval Church. At the outset Christianity 
was sociali>tic. and its spread among the poor was 
apparently caused by the pressure of competition ; 
for the sect only became of enough importance to be 
persecuted under Nero, contemporaneously with the 
first signs of distress which appeared through the de- 
basement of the denarius. But socialism was only a 
passing phase, and disappeared as the money value 
of the miracle rose, and brought wealth to the 
Church. Under the Emperor Decius, about 250, the 
magistrates thought the Christians opulent enough 
to use gold and silver vessels in their service, and, by 
the fourth century, the supernatural so possessed the 
popular mind, that Constantine not only allowed him- 
se'.f to be converted by a miracle, but used enchant- 
ment as an engine of war. 

In one of his marches, he encouraged the belief 
that he saw a luminous cross in the sky, with the 
words '• By this conquer.*' The next night Christ 
appeared to him, and directed him to construct a 
standard bearing the same design, and, armed with 
this, to advance with confidence against Maxentius. 

The legend, preser^•ed by Eusebius, grew up after 
the event ; but. for that very reason, it reflects the 
feeling of the age. The imagination of his men had 
grown so vivid that, whether he believed or not, Con- 
stantine found it expedient to use the Labarum as a 
charm to ensure victory. The standard supported a 
cross and a my>tic nn)nogram ; the army believed its 


guards to be invulnerable, and in his last and most 
critical campaign against Licinius, the sight of the 
talisman not only excited his own troops to enthusi- 
asm, but spread dismay through the enemy. 

The action of the Milvian Bridge, fought in 312, 
by which Constantine established himself at Rome, 
was probably the point whence nature began to dis- 
criminate decisively against the monied type in 
Western Europe. Capital had already abandoned 
Italy ; Christianity was soon after officially recog- 
nized, and during the next century the priest began 
to rank with the soldier as a force in war. 

Meanwhile, as the population sank into exhaustion, 
it yielded less and less revenue, the police deterio- 
rated, and the guards became unable to protect the 
frontier. In 376, the Goths, hard pressed by the 
Huns, came to the Danube and implored to be taken 
as subjects by the emperor. After mature delibera- 
tion, the Council of Valcns granted the prayer, and 
some five hundred thousand Germans were cantoned 
in Moesia. The intention of the government was to 
scatter this multitude through the provinces as colonic 
or to draft them into the legions; but the detachment 
detailed to handle them was too feeble, the Goths 
mutinied, cut the guard to pieces, and having ravaged 
Thrace for two years, defeated and killed Valens at 
Hadrianople. In another generation the disorganiza- 
tion of the Roman army had become complete, and 
Alaric gave it its deathblow in his campaign of 41a 

Alaric was not a Gothic king, but a barbarian de- 
serter, who, in 392, was in the service of Theodosius. 
Subsequently, he sometimes held imperial commands, 
and sometimes led bands of marauders on his own 


account, but was always in difficulty about his pay. 
Finally, in the revolution in which Stilicho was mur- 
dered, a corps of auxiliaries mutinied and chose him 
their general. Alleging that his arrears were unpaid, 
Alaric accepted the command, and with this army 
sacked Rome. 

During the campaign the attitude of the Christians 
was more interesting than the strategy of the soldiers. 
Alaric was a robber, leading mutineers, and yet the 
orthodox historians did not condemn him. They did 
not condemn him the sacred instinct- 
ively loved the barbarians whom they could overawe, 
whereas they could make little impression on the 
materialistic intellect of the old centralized society. 
Under the Empire the priests, like all other individ- 
uals, had to obey the power which paid the police; 
and as long as a revenue could be drawn from the 
provinces, the Christian hierarchy were subordinate 
to the monied bureaucracy who had the means to 
coerce them. 

** It was lon^; since establlNhed, as a fundamental maxim 
of tne Roman constitution, that every rank of ciiizenN were 
alike subject to the laws, and that the care of religion was 
the right as well as duty of the civil magistrate.' 

t* I 

Their conversion made little change in the attitude 
of the emperors, and Constantine and his successors 
continued to exercise a supreme jurisdiction over the 
hierarchv. The si.xtcenth book of the Theodosian 
CoJe sufficiently sets forth the plenitude of their 
authority. In theory, bishops were elected by the 
clergy and the people, but in practice the emperor 

* D^i/iuf ana J-aii, ch. xx. 


could control the patronage if it were valuable ; and 
whether bishops were elected or appointed, as long 
as they were created and i>aid by laymen, they were 
dependent. The priesthood could only become auto- 
cratic when fear of the miracle exempted them from 
arrest ; and toward the middle of the fifth century 
this point was approaching, as appears by the effect 
of the embassy of Leo the Great to Attila. 

In 452 the Huns had crossed the Alps and had 
sacked Aquileia. The Roman army was demoralized ; 
Aetius could not make head against the barbarians 
in the field ; while Valentinian was so panic-stricken 
that he abandoned Ravenna, which was thought im- 
pregnable, and retreated to the capital, which was 
indefensible. At Rome, finding himself helpless in 
an open city, the emperor conceived the idea of 
invoking the power of the supernatural. He pro- 
posed to 1^0 to visit Attila and persuade him to 
spare the town. The |K)pe consented without hesita- 
tion, and with perfect intrepidity caused himself to 
be carried to the Hun's tent, where he met with 
respect not unalloyed by fear. The legend probably 
reflects pretty accurately the feeling of the time. As 
the bishop stood before the king, Peter and Paul 
appeared on either side, menacing Attila with flaming 
swords; and though this particular form of apparition 
may be doubted, Attila seems beyond question to 
have been oppressed by a belief that he would not 
long survive the capture of Rome. He therefore 
readily agreed to accept a ransom and evacuate Italy. 

From the scientific standpoint the saint and the 
sorcerer are akin ; for though the saint uses the 
supernatural for man's benefit, and the sorcerer for 


his hurt, both deal in maj^ic. The mcdircval saint 
was a powerful necromancer. He healed the sick, 
cast out -ievils. raised the dead, foretold the future, 
put out nres. found stolen property, brought rain, 
saved from .<hipwrcck, routed the enemy, cured head- 
ache, was sovereign in child-birth, and, indeed, could 
do almost anything that was asked of him, whether he 
were alive or dead. This power was believed to lie in 
some occult property of the flesh, which passed by 
contact. The woman in the Bible said, " If I may 
touch but his clothes, I shall be whole." Moreover, 
this fluid was a substance whose passapje could be felt, 
for "Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that vir- 
tue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, 
and said. Who touched my clothes ?*' ' 

Anvthini^ which came in contact with the saint was 
likely to have been impregnated with this magical 
qj-i'.it) . a:ui tlius became a charm, or relic, whose value 
depondea primarily on the power of the man himself, 
an : secondlv. on the thoroucjhness with which the 
material had been charjicd. 

The t'.'mb. which held the whole body, naturally 
stood highest ; then parts of the body, according to 
their importance — a head, an arm, a leg, down to 
hairs of the beard. Then came hats, boots, girdles, 
cups, anything indeed which had been used. The 
very ground on which a great miracle-worker had 
stood might have high value. 

The Holy Grail, which had held Christ's blood, 
would cure wounds, raise the dead, and fill itself with 
choice food, at the command of the owner. The 
eucharist. though not |>roperly a relic, and which only 

' Mark v. 28, 30. 


became God through an incantation, would, in expert 
hands, stop fires, cure disease, cast out devils, ex- 
pound philosophy, and detect perjury by choking the 

Every prize in life was to be obtained by this kind 
of magic. When the kings of France made war, they 
carried with them the enchanted banner of Saint 
Denis, and Froissart has told how even in the reign 
of Charles VI. it decided the battle of Roosebeke.* 

Disease was treated altogether by miracle, and the 
Church found the business so profitable that she ana- 
thematized experimental practitioners. In the thir- 
teenth century Saint Thomas of Canterbury and Saint 
James of Compostello were among the most renowned 
of healers, and their shrines blazed with the gifts of 
the greatest and richest persons of Europe. When 
Philip Augustus lay very ill, Louis the Pious obtained 
leave to visit the tomb of Saint Thomas, then in the 
height of the fashion, and left as part of his fee the 
famous regal of France, a jewel so magnificent that 
three centuries and a half later Henry VIII. seized it 
and set it in a thumb ring. Beside this wonderful gem, 
at the pillage of the Reformation, ''the king's receiver 
confessed that the gold and silver and precious stones 
and sacred vestments taken away . . . filled six-and- 
twcnty carts."* The old books of travel are filled 
with accounts of this marvellous shrine. 

" But the magnificence of the tomb of Saint Thomas the 
Martyr, Archbishop of Canterbury, is that which surpasses all 
belief. This, notwithstanding its great size, is entirely cov- 
ered with plates of pure gold ; but the gold is scarcely visible 

> CkronicUi^ ii. 124. 

* An^uan Schism, Sander, trans, by Lewis, 1 43. 



iVom the variety of precious stones with which it is stiKUIetl, 
s'jch as sapphires, (liamon(^^, nibies, balas-nibics, ami emeralds 
. . . an i agates, jaspers and cornehans set in relievo, some 
of the c.imeos l>eing of such a size, that I do not dare to men- 
tion it : but everything is left far behind by a nd)y, not larger 
than a man's thumb-nail, which is set to the right of the altar. 
. . . They jiay that it was the gift of a king of France." * 

But beside these shrines of world-wide reputation, 
no hamlet was too remote to possess its local fetish, 
w'nich worked at cheap rates for the peasantry. A 
curious list of these was sent to the Government 
bv two of Cromweirs visitors in the reign of 
Henrv VIII. 

The nuns of Saint Mary, at Derby, had part of 
the shirt of Saint Thomas, reverenced by pregnant 
wiMiien ; so was the jrirdle of Saint Francis at Grace 
Dicu. At Repton, a pilgrimage was made to Saint 
Guthlac and ius bell, which was put on the head for 
headache. The wimple of Saint Audrcde was used 
for sore breasts, and the rod of Aaron for children 
with worms. At Bury Saint Edmund's, the shrine of 
Saint B'tulph was carried in procession when rain 
was nee led. "and Kentish men . . . carry thence 
. . . wax can«.lles, which they light at the end of 
the ficM while the wheat is sown, and hope from 
this that neither tares nor other weeds will grow 
in the wheat that year."^ Most curious of all, per- 
haps, at Pontefract, Thomas, Duke of Lancaster's an 1 hat were venerated. They were believed to 
aid women in childbirth, and also to cure headache. 

* .4 At. ::s.'/t, . ' r.jthir .: True Auount of the Island of England^ 

- (..7.*. \. N" y 4. Kcfcr.-nccstothc calendar of Stale papers editeu 
l\ Mc*>r>. r»re\\cr an 1 Oair incr will be luatlc bv this worJ onlv. 


Saint Thomas Aquinas, a great venerator of the 
eucharist, used it to help him in his lectures. When 
treating of the dogma of the Supper at the Univer- 
sity of Paris, many questions were asked him which 
he never answered without meditating at the foot of 
the altar. One day, when preparing an answer to a 
very difHcult question, he placed it on the altar, and 
cried, " Lord, who really and veritably dwells in the 
Holy Sacrament, hear my prayer. If what I have 
written upon your divine eucharist be true, let it be 
given me to teach and demonstrate it. If I am 
deceived, stop me from proposing doctrines contrary 
to the truth of your divine Sacrament." Forthwith 
the Lord appeared upon the altar, and said to him, 
'* You have written well upon the Sacrament of M) 
body, and you have answered the question which 
has been proposed to you as well as human intel 
ligence can fathom these mysteries." * 

Primitive people argue directly from themselves tc 
their divinities, and throughout the Middle Ages mer 
believed that envy, jealousy, and vanity were a^ 
rampant in heaven as on earth, and behaved accord 
ingly. The root of the monastic movement was the 
hope of obtaining advantages by adulation. 

'^ A certain clerk, who had more confidence in the Mothei 
than the Son, continually repeated the Ave Maria as hi 
only prayer. One day, while so engaged, Christ appearec 
to him and said, ' My mother thanks you very much foi 
year salutations, . . . tafrun et me saiuiare memento' " ' 

* HisUire du SacrametU de I* EuthariiHe^ Corblet, i. 474. S€< 
tlso on this fobject Casarii Diaiogus Miraculorum ; De CTfcr. 

* Hut. Lit, de la Franee^ xxiL 119. 


To insure perpetual intercession it was necessary 
that the son:^ uf praise and the smoke of incense 
should be perpetual, and therefore monks and nuns 
worked day and night at their calling. As a 
twelfth-century bishop of Metz observed, when wak- 
ened one freezing morning by the bell of Saint 
Peter of Bouillon tolling for matins : ** Neither the 
drowsiness of the night nor the bitterness of a 
glacial winter [kept them] from praising the Creator 
of the world." * 

Bequests to convents were in the nature of policies 
of insurance in favour of the grantor and his heirs, 
not only against punishment in the next world, but 
against accident in this. On this point doubt is 
impossible, for the belief of the donor is set forth in 
numberless charters. Cedric de Guillac, in a deed to 
la Grande-Sauve, said that he gave because **as water 
extinguishes fire, so gifts extinguish sin."^ And an 
anecdote preserved by Dugdale, shows how valuable 
an investment a^rainst accident a convent was thousrht 
to be as late as the thirteenth century. 

When Ralph, Earl of Chester, the founder of the 
monaster)' of Dieulacres, was returning by sea from 
the Holy Land, he was overtaken one night by a 
sudden tempest. "How long is it till midnight?" 
he asked of the sailors. They answered, "About two 
hours.*' He said to them, "Work on till midnight, 
and I trust in God that you may have help, and that 
the storm will cease." When it was near midnight 
the captain said to the earl, "My lord, commend 
yourself to God, for the tempest increases ; we are 

* Lei Moiius J' OuiJefit, Montalembert, vi. 34. 
- HiUoire de la Grande-Sauve^ ii. 13. 


worn out, and are in mortal peril." Then Earl Ralph 
came out of his cabin, and began to help with the 
ropes, and the rest of the ship's tackle ; nor was it 
long before the storm subsided. 

The next day, as they were sailing over a tranquil 
sea, the captain said to the earl, ** My lord, tell us, if 
you please, why you wished us to work till the mid- 
dle of the night, and then you worked harder than all 
the rest." To which he replied, "Because at mid- 
night my monks, and others, whom my ancestors and 
I have endowed in divers places, rise and sing divine 
service, and then I have faith in their prayers, and I 
believe that God, because of their prayers and inter- 
cessions, gave me more fortitude than I had before, 
and made the storm cease as I predicted." ^ 

Philip Augustus, when caught in a gale in the 
Straits of Messina, showed equal confidence in the 
matins of Clairvaux, and was also rewarded for his 
faith by good weather towards morning. 

The power of the imagination, when stimulated by 
the mystery which, in an age of decentralization, 
shrouds the operations of nature, can be measured by 
its effect in creating an autocratic class of miracle- 
workers. Between the sixth and the thirteenth cen- 
turies, about one-third of the soil of Europe passed 
into the hands of religious corporations, while the 
bulk of the highest talent of the age sought its out- 
let through monastic life. 

The force operated on all ; for, beside religious 
ecstasy, ambition and fear were at work, and led to 
results inconceivable when centralization has begot 
materialism. Saint Bernard's position was more con- 

1 M0H4uHc9n^ T. 628, Ed. 1846. 


spicuoiis nrvl splcnlid than that of any monarch of his 
^^cneration. and the ai^onv of terror which assailed 
the warriors was usually proportionate to the free- 
dom with which they had violated ecclesiastical com- 
maii'ls. They fled to the cloister for protection from 
the nend, and took their wealth with them. 

Gerard le Blanc was even more noted for his 
cruelty than for his courage. He was returning to 
his castle one day, after having committed a murder, 
when he saw the demon whom he served appear to 
claim him. Seized with horror, he galloped to where 
six penitents had just founded the convent of AflBig- 
hem, and supplicated them to receive him. The 
news spread, and the whole province gave thanks to 
God that a monster of cruelty should have been so 

A few days after, his example was followed by 
another knight, equally a murderer, who had visited 
the recluses, and, touched by their piety and auster- 
ity, resolve.l to renounce his patrimony and live a 

Had the German migrations been wars of exter- 
mination, as they have sometimes been described, 
the imagination, among the new barbaric population, 
might have been so stimulated that a pure theocracy 
would have been developed between the time of Saint 
Benedict and Saint Bernard. But the barbarians 
were not animated by hate ; on the contrary, they 
readily amalgamated with the old population, amongst 
whom the materialism of Rome lav like a rock in a ris- 
ing tide, s-^metimes submerged, but never obliterated. 

The obstacle which the true emotionalists never 

' If' yfomf A* OccxJeut^ Mont.iltMii'»rrt. \i loi. 


overcame was the inheritance of a secular clergy, 
who, down to the eleventh century, were generally 
married, and in the higher grades were rather barons 
than prelates. In France the Archbishop of Rheims, 
the Bishops of Beauvais, Noyon, Langres, and others, 
were counts ; while in Germany the Archbishops of 
Mayence, of Treves, and of Cologne were princes and 
electors, standing on the same footing as the Dukes 
of Saxony and Bavaria. 

As feudal nobles these ecclesiastics were retainers 
of the king, owed feudal service, led their vassals in 
war, and some of the fiercest soldiers of the Middle 
Ages were clerks. Milo of Treves was a famous 
eighth-century bishop. Charles Martel gave tbe arch- 
bishopric of Rheims to a warrior named Milo, who 
managed also to obtain thfesee of Treves. This Milo 
was the son of Basinus, the last incumbent of the 
preferment. He was a fierce and irreligious soldier, 
and was finally killed hunting ; but during the forty 
years in which he held his offices, Boniface, with all 
the aid of the crown and the pope, was unable to pre- 
vail against him, and in 752 Pope Zachary wrote advis- 
ing that he should be left to the divine vengeance.^ 

Such a system was incompatible with the suprem- 
acy of a theocracy. The essence of a theocracy is 
freedom from secular control, and this craving for 
freedom was the dominant instinct of monasticism. 
Saint Anselm, perhaps the most perfect specimen of 
a monk, felt it in the marrow of his bones ; it was 
the roaster passion of his life, and he insisted upon 
it with all the fire of his nature : ** Nihil magis dili- 
git Deus in hoc mundo quam libertatem ecclesise 

' Stuerdoial Celibacy ^ Lea, 129. 


-ux. . . . IJbcram viilt esse Deus sponsam suani, 
non ancillam." 

Vet only very slowly, as the Empire disintegrated, 
did the theocratic idea take shape. As late as the 
ninth century the pope prostrated himself before Char- 
Iemaj;ne, antl did homage as to a Roman emperor.* 

Saint Benedict founded Monte Cassino in 529, but 
centuries elapsed before the Benedictine order rose to 
power. The early convents were isolated and feeble, 
and much at the mercy of the laity, who invaded and 
debauched them. Abbots, like bishops, were often 
soldiers, who lived within the walls with their wives 
and children, their hawks, their hounds, and their 
men-at-arms ; and it has been said that, in all France, 
Corbie and Fleury alone kept always something of 
their early discipline. 

Only in the early years of the most lurid century of 
the Mi. idle Acjes, when decentralization culminated, 
and the imagination began to gain its fullest intensity, 
did the period of monastic con.solidation open with the 
foundation of Cluny. In 910 William of Aquitaine 
cirewa charter- which, so far as possible, provided for 
the complete independence of his new corporation. 
There was no episcopal visitation, and no interference 
with the election of the abbot. The monks were put 
directly under the protection of the pope, who was 
made their sole superior. John XI. confirmed this 
charter by his bull of 932, and authorized the affiliation 
of all convents who wished to share in the reform.^ 

^ Ann.jl^i f.iiure^sen^fs. Prrr, i. iSS. 

• A'f. utii j'rs t ':jf{f, ,ir .".-/Mi/ir «/<• Ciitnv, Hrucl, i. 1 24. 
' /Vw... ' .';///., j> 2, c>l I .\ls<) Mitnutl t/t'i /nift/utiotts Fran^aiseSt 
1. ichairc, yj, 93, uhcre the authorities are collected. 


The growth of Cluny was marvellous; by the 
twelfth century two thousand houses obeyed its rule, 
and its wealth was so great, and its buildings so vast, 
that in 1245 Innocent IV., the Emperor Baldwin, and 
Saint Louis were all lodged together within its walls, 
and with them all the attendant trains of prelates 
and nobles with their servants. 

In the eleventh century no other force of equal 
energy existed. The monks were the most opulent, 
the ablest, and the best organized society in Europe, 
and their effect upon mankind was proportioned to 
their strength. They intuitively sought autocratic 
power, and during the centuries when nature favoured 
them, they passed from triumph to triumph. They 
first seized upon the papacy and made it self-perpet- 
uating; they then gave battle to the laity for the 
possession of the secular hierarchy, which had been 
under temporal control since the very foundation of 
the Church. 

About the year icxx> Rome was in chaos. The 
Counts of Tusculum, who had often disposed of the 
tiara, on the death of John XIX., bought it for Bene- 
dict IX. Benedict was then a child of ten, but he 
grew worse as he grew older, and finally he fell so 
low that he was expelled by the people. He was 
succeeded by Sylvester ; but, a few months after his 
coronation, Benedict re-entered the city, and crowned 
John XX. with his own hands. Shortly after, he 
assaulted the Vatican, and then three popes reigned 
together in Rome. In this crisis Gregory VI. tried 
to restore order by buying the papacy for himself ; 
but the transaction only added a fourth pope to the 
three already consecrated, and two years later he was 


set aside by the Emperor Henry, who appointed his 
own chancellor in his place. 

It was a last triumph for the laity, but a triumph 
easier to win than to sustain. When the soldier 
created the high priest of Christendom, he did indeed 
inspire such terror that no man in the great a.ssembly 
dared protest ; but in nine months Clement was dead, 
his successor lived only twenty-four days, poisoned, 
as it was rumoured, by the perfidious Italians ; and 
when Henry sought a third pope among his prelates, 
he met with general timidity to accept the post. 
Then the opportunity of the monks came: they 
seized it, and with unerring instinct fixed themselves 
upon the throne from which they have never been 
e.xpelled. According to the picturesque legend, 
Bruno, Bishop of Toul, seduced by the flattery of 
courtiers and the allurements of ambition, accepted 
the tiara from the emperor, and set out upon his 
journey to Italy with a splendid retinue, and with 
his robe and crown. On his way he turned aside at 
Cluny, where Hildcbrand was prior. Hildebrand, 
filled with the spirit of God, reproached him with 
having seized upon the seat of the vicar of Christ by 
force, and accepted the holy office from the sacrile- 
gious hand of a layman. He exhorted Bruno to cast 
away his pomp, and to cross the Alps humbly as a 
pilgrim, assuring him that the priests and people of 
Rome would recognize him as their bishop, and elect 
him according to canonical forms. Then he would 
taste the joys of a pure conscience, having entered 
the fold of Chrisc as a shepherd and not as a robber. 
Inspired by these words, Bruno dismissed his train, 
and left the convent gate as a pilgrim. He walked 


barefoot, and when after two months of pious medi- 
tations he stood before Saint Peter's, he spoke to the 
people and told them it was their privilege to elect 
the pope, and since he had come unwillingly he 
would return again, were he not their choice. 

He was answered with acclamations, and on Feb- 
ruary 2, 1049, h^ ^'^s enthroned as Leo IX. His 
first act was to make Hildebrand his minister. 

The legend tells of the triumph of Cluny as no 
historical facts could do. Ten years later, in the 
reign of Nicholas H., the theocracy made itself self- 
perpetuating through the assumption of the election 
of the pope by the college of cardinals, and in 1073 
Hildebrand, the incarnation of monasticism, was 
crowned under the name of Gregory VH. 

With Hildebrand*s election, war began. The council 
of Rome, held in 1075, decreed that holy orders should 
not be recognized where investiture had been granted 
by a layman, and that princes guilty of conferring 
investiture should be excommunicated. The council 
of the next year, which excommunicated the emperor, 
also enunciated the famous propositions of Baronius 
— the full expression of the theocratic idea : — 


That the Roman pontiff alone can be called universal. 
That he alone can depose or reconcile bishops. 
** That his legate, though of inferior rank, takes prece- 
dence of all bishops in council, and can pronounce sentence 
of deposition against them. 

^ That all princes should kiss the pope's feet akme. 


That he may depose emperors. 

-;(} CIVILIZATION AND l)K<AV ciivi'. 

'• That his judgments can he overriileil by none, and he 
alone can overrule the judgments of all. 

" i'hat he can be judged by no one. 

" That the Roman Church never lias, and never can err, 
as the Scriptures testify. 

" That by his precept and permission it is lawful for sub- 
jects to accuse their princes. 

'*That he is able to absolve from their allegiance the 
subjects of the wicked." ' 

The monks had won the papacy, but the emperor 
still held his sccidar clergy, and, at the diet of 
Worms, where he undertook to depose Hildebrand, 
he was sustained by his prelates. Without a mo- 
ment of hesitation the enchanter cast his spell, and it 
is interesting to see, in the curse which he launched 
at the layman, how the head of monasticism had 
become identified with the spirit which he served. 
The priest had grown to be a god on earth. 

'* So strong in this confidence, for the honour and de- 
fence of your Church, on behalf of the omnipotent God, the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, by your power and 
authority, I forbid the government of the German and 
Italian kingdoms, to King Henry, the son of the Emperor 
Henry, who, with unheard-of arrogance, has rebelled 
against your Church. I absolve all Christians from the 
oaths they have made, or may make to him, and I forbid 
that any one should obey him as king." * 

Henr)' marched on Italy, but in all European his- 
torv there has been no drama more tremendous than 

* AnnaUs EiiUsiastiti^ ]>aronius, year 1076. 

* Migne, cxlviii. 790. 


the expiation of his sacrilege. To his soldiers the 
world was a vast space, peopled by those fantastic 
beings which are still seen on Gothic towers. These 
demons obeyed the monk of Rome, and his army, 
melting from the emperor under a nameless horror, 
left him helpless. 

Gregory lay like a magician in the fortress of Ca- 
nossa; but he had no need of carnal weapons, for 
when the emperor reached the Alps he was almost 
alone. Then his imagination also took fire, the panic 
seized him, and he sued for mercy. 

For three days long he stood barefoot in the snow 
at the castle gate ; and when at last he was admitted, 
half-naked and benumbed, he was paralyzed rather 
by terror than by cold. Then the great miracle was 
wrought, by which God was made to publicly judge 
between them. 

Hildebrand took the consecrated wafer and broke 
it, saying to the suppliant, ''Man's judgments are 
fallible, God's are infallible ; if I am guilty of the 
crimes you charge me with, let Him strike me dead 
as I eat." He ate, and gave what remained to 
Henry ; but though for him more than life was at 
stake, he dared not taste the bread. From that hour 
his fate was sealed. He underwent his penance and 
received absolution ; and when he had escaped from 
the terrible old man, he renewed the war. But the 
spell was over him, the horror clung to him, even his 
sons betrayed him, and at last his mind gave way 
under the strain and he abdicated. In his own 
words, to save his life he " sent to Mayence the 
crown, the sceptre, the cross, the sword, the lance." 

On August 7, 1 1 06, Henry died at Liege, an out- 

r^ 'IVILIZATIf^N AM) DECAY ciiap. tl 

■M^r in : a 'nendicnnr. and for five lonir vcars his 
:^o :v iav at the ':hurc:i lofir, an accurscil ttiintc vvhich 
IV) man lareci rcj bun* 

Such VIS the evolution ot the metlucval thcfxrracy, 
*he result of that social (iisinte;;ration which stimu- 
. u ;^ rhc human ima;^:nation. ami makes men cower 
St.-r .re the unknown. The force whicii caused the 
risf .)f an independent priesth<MMl was the equivalent 
of macpc, and it was the waxing of this force thmugh 
the riissolution of the Empire of the West which 
mruie the schism which split Christendom in two. 
The fjitin Church divided from the Greek because it 
was the reflection of the ima^j^inative mind. While 
the Wrjst :^rew emotional, Constantinople stayed the 
centre of exchanges, the seat of the monied class; 
and when Cluny captured Rome, the antagonism be- 
tween these irreconcilable instincts precipitated a 
rupture. The schism dated from 1054^ five years 
after the coronation of Leo. Nor is the theory new; 
it was explained by Gibbon long ago. 

' The rising majesty of Rome could no longer brook the 
in- >icnoe of a rebel ; and Michael Cerularius was excom- 
nri';r.i' a ted in the heart of Constantinople by the pope's 
Icirites. . . . 

•• From this thunderbolt we mav date the consummation 
of the srhism. It was enlarged by each ambitious step of 
the Romnn pontiffs ; the emperors blushed and trembled at 
the ignominious fate of their royal brethren of Germany ; 
and the people were scandalized by the temporal power and 
military life of the Latin clergy." ' 

1 Decline and FaU, ch. be 



Until the mechanical arts have advanced far 
enough to cause the attack in war to predominate 
over the defence, centralization cannot begin ; for 
when a mud wall can stop an army, a police is impos- 
sible. The superiority of the attack was the secret 
of the power of the monied class who controlled 
Rome, because with money a machine could be main- 
tained which made individual resistance out of the 
question, and revolt difficult. Titus had hardly more 
trouble in reducing Jerusalem, and dispersing the 
Jews, than a modern officer would have under simi- 
lar circumstances. 

As the barbarians overran the Roman provinces, 
and the arts declined, the conditions of life changed 
The defence gained steadily on the attack, and, after 
some centuries, a town with a good garrison, solid 
ramparts, and abundant provisions had nothing to 
fear from the greatest king. Even the small, square 
Norman tower was practically impregnable. As 
Viollct-le-Duc has explained, these towers were mere 
passive defences, formidable to a besieger only be- 
cause no machinery existed for making a breach in 
a wall. The beleaguered nobles had only to watch 
their own men, see to their doors, throw projectiles 



at the enemy if he approached too near, counter-mine 
if mined, and they might defy a great army until their 
food failed. Famine was the enemy most feared.^ 

By the eleventh century these towers had sprung 
up all over the West. Even the convents and 
churches could be defended, and every such strong- 
hold was the seat of a count or baron, an abbot or 
bishop, who was a sovereign because no one could 
coerce him, and who therefore exercised all the rights 
of sovereignty, made war, dispensed justice, and 
coined money. In France alone there were nearly 
two hundred mints in the twelfth century. 

Down to the close of the Merovingian dynasty the 
gold standard had been maintained, and contraction 
had steadily gone on ; but, for reasons which are not 
understood, under the second race, the purchasing 
power of bullion temporarily declined, and this expan- 
sion was probably one chief cause of the prosperity 
of the reign of Charlemagne. Perhaps the relief was 
due to the gradual restoration of silver to circulation, 
for the coinage was then reformed, and the establish- 
ment of the silver pound as the measure of value may 
be considered as the basis of all the monetary sys- 
tems of modern Europe. 

The interval of prosperity was, however, brief ; no 
permanent addition was made to the stock of precious 
metals, and prices continued to fall, as is demon- 
strated by the rapid deterioration of the currency. 
In this second period of relapse disintegration 
reached its limit. 

During the tenth and eleventh centuries the North- 
men infested the coasts of France, and sailed up the 

1 Dictionnaire de V Architecture^ v. 50. 


rivers burning and ravaging, as far as Rouen and 
Orl^ns. Even the convents of Saint Martin of 
Tours and Saint Germain des Pres were sacked. 
The Mediterranean swarmed with Saracenic corsairs, 
who took Fraxinetum, near Toulon, seized the passes 
of the Alps, and levied toll on travel into Italy. The 
cannibalistic Huns overran the Lower Danube, and 
closed the road to Constantinople. Western Europe 
was cut off from the rest of the world. Commerce 
nearly ceased — the roads were so bad and danger- 
ous, and the sea so full of pirates. 

The ancient stock of scientific knowledge was 
gradually forgotten, and the imagination had full 
play. Upon philosophy the effect was decisive ; 
Christianity sank to a plane where it appealed more 
vividly to the minds of the surrounding pagans than 
their own faiths, and conversion then went on rapidly. 
In 912 Rollo of Normandy was baptized; the Danes, 
Norwegians, Poles, and Russians followed ; and in 
997 Saint Stephen ascended the throne of Hungary 
and reopened to Latin Christians the way to the 

Perhaps the destiny of modern Europe has hinged 
upon the fact that the Christian sacred places lay 
in Asia, and therefore the pilgrimage brought the 
West into contact with the East. But the pilgrim- 
age was the effect of relic-worship, and relic-worship 
the vital principle of monasticism. In these cen- 
turies of extreme credulity monasticism had its 
strongest growth. A faculty for scientific study was 
abnormal, and experimental knowledge was ascribed 
to sorcery. The monk Gerbert, who became pope 
as Sylvester II., was probably the most remarkable 


man of his generation. Though poor and of humble 
birth, he attracted so much attention that he was 
sent to Spain, where he studied in the Moorish 
schools at Barcelona and Cordova, and where he 
learned the rudiments of mathematics and geography. 
His contemporaries were so bewildered by his know- 
ledge that they thought it due to magic, and told how 
he had been seen flying home from Spain, borne on 
the back of the demon he served, and loaded with 
the books he had stolen from the wizard, his master. 
Sylvester died in 1003, but long afterwards anatomy 
was still condemned by the Church, and four sepa- 
rate councils anathematized experimental medicine, 
because it threatened to destroy the value of the 
shrines. The ascendency of Cluny began with Saint 
Hugh, who was chosen abbot in 1049, ^^^ V^^^ ^^ 
Leo's election. The corporation then obtained con- 
trol of Rome, and in another twenty-five years was 
engaged in its desperate struggle with the remains 
of the old secular police power. But though Hilde- 
brand crushed Henry, the ancient materialism was 
too deeply imbedded to be eradicated in a single gen- 
eration, and meanwhile the imagination had been 
brought to an uncontrollable intensity. A new and 
fiercer excitement seethed among the people — a 
vision of the conquest of talismans so powerful as to 
make their owners sure of heaven and absolute on 

The attraction of Palestine had been very early felt, 
for in 333 a guide-book had been written, called the 
Itinerary from Bordeatix to Jerusalem^ which gave 
the route through the valley of the Danube, together 
with an excellent account of the Holy Land. In 


those days, before the barbaric inroads, the journey 
was safe enough ; but afterwards communication 
nearly ceased, and when Stephen was baptized in 
997, the relics of Jerusalem had all the excitement 
of novelty. Europe glowed with enthusiasm. Syl- 
vester proposed a crusade, and Hildebrand declared 
he would rather risk his life for the holy places ''than 
rule the universe." 

Each year the throngs upon the road increased, 
convents sprang up along the way to shelter the pil- 
grims, the whole population succoured and venerated 
them, and by the time Cluny had seized the triple 
crown, they left in veritable armies. Ingulf, secre- 
tary to William the Conqueror, set out in 1064 with 
a band seven thousand strong. 

In that age of faith no such mighty stimulant could 
inflame the human brain as a march to Jerusalem. 
A crusade was no vulgar war for a vulgar prize, but 
an alliance with the supernatural for the conquest of 
talismans whose possession was tantamount to omnipo- 
tence. Urban's words at Clermont, when he first 
preached the holy war, b^ve lost their meaning now ; 
but they burned like fire into the hearts of his hearers 
then, for he promised them glory on earth and feli- 
city in heaven, and he spoke in substance thus : No 
longer do you attack a castle or a town, but you 
undertake the conquest of the holy places. If you 
triumph, the blessings of heaven and the kingdoms 
of the Elast will be your share ; if you fall, you will 
have the glory of dying where Christ died, and God 
will not forget having seen you in His holy army.^ 

Urban told them ** that under their general Jesus 

^ Amms/fs EccUsiasHd, Baroniot, year 1095. 


Christ . . . they, the Christian, the in\-incible army," 
would march to certain \nctory. In the eleventh 
century this language was no metaphor, for the Clu- 
niac monk spoke as the mouthpiece of a god who 
was there actually among them, offering the cross 
he brought from the grave, and promising them 
triumphs : not the common triumphs which may be 
won by man's unaided strength, but the transcendent 
glory which belongs to beings of another world. 

So the crusaders rode out to fight, the originals 
of the fair)' knights, clad in impenetrable armour, 
mounted on miraculous horses, armed with resistless 
swords, and bearing charmed lives. 

Whole villages, even whole districts, were left 
deserted ; land lost its value ; what could not be sold 
was abandoned ; and the peasant, loaded with his 
poor possessions, started on foot with his wife and 
children in quest of the Sepulchre, so ignorant of the 
way that he mistook each town upon the road for 
Zion. Whether he would or no, the noble had to 
lead his vassals or be forsaken, and riding at their 
head with his hawks and hounds, he journeyed to- 
wards that mar\'ellous land of wealth and splendour, 
where kingdoms waited the coming of the devoted 
knight of God. Thus men, women, and children, 
princes and serfs, priests and laymen, in a countless, 
motley throng, surged toward that mighty cross and 
tomb whose possessor was raised above the limita- 
tions of the flesh. 

The crusaders had no commissariat and no supply 
train, no engines of attack, or other weapons than 
those in their hands, and the holy relics they bore 
with them. There was no general, no common Ian- 


guagc, no organization ; and so over unknown roads, 
and through hostile peoples, they wandered from the 
Rhine to the Bosphorus, and from the Bosphorus to 

These earlier crusades were armed migrations, not 
military invasions, and had they met with a deter- 
mined enemy, they must have been annihilated ; but 
it chanced that the Syrians and Egyptians were at 
war, and the quarrel was so bitter that the caliph 
actually sought the Christian alliance. Even under 
such circumstances the waste of life was fabulous, 
and, had not Antioch been betrayed, the starving 
rabble must have perished under its walls. At Jeru- 
salem, also, the Franks were reduced to the last ex- 
tremity before they carried the town ; and had it not 
been for the arrival of a corps of Genoese engineers, 
who built movable towers, they would have died mis- 
erably of hunger and thirst. Nor was the coming of 
this reinforcement preconcerted. On the contrary, 
the Italians accidentally lost their ships at Joppa, 
and, being left without shelter, sought protection in 
the camp of the besiegers just in time. 

So incapable were the crusaders of regular opera- 
tions, that even when the towers were finished and 
armed, the leaders did not know how to fill the moat, 
and Raymond of Saint Gilles had nothing better to 
propose than to offer a penny for every three stones 
thrown into the ditch. 

On July 15, 1099, Jerusalem was stormed; almost 
exactly three years after the march began. Eight 
days later Godfrey de Bouillon was elected king, and 
then the invaders spread out over the strip of moun- 
tainous country which borders the coast of Palestine 


and Syria, and the chiefs built castles in the defiles 
of the hills, and bound themselves together by a loose 
alliance against the common enemy. 

The decentralization of the colony was almost in- 
credible. The core of the kingdom was the barony 
of Jerusalem, which extended only from the Egyptian 
desert to a stream just north of Beyrout, and inland 
to the Jordan and the spurs of the hills beyond the 
Dead Sea, and vet it was di\ided into more than 
eighteen independent fiefs, whose lords had all the 
rights of sovereignty, made war, administered justice, 
and coined monev.* 

Beside these petty states, the ports were ceded to 
the Italian cities whose fleets helped in the conquest. 
Venice, Genoa, and Pisa held quarters in Ascalon, 
Joppa, Tyre, Acre, and Beyrout, which were governed 
by consuls or viscounts, who wrangled with each other 
and with the central government. 

Such was the kingdom over which Godfrey reigned, 
but there were three others like it which together 
made up the Prankish monarchy. To the north of 
the barony of Jerusalem lay the county of Tripoli, and 
beyond Tripoli, extending to Armenia, the principality 
of Antioch. To the east of Antioch the county of 
Edessa stretched along the base of the Taurus Moun- 
tains and spread out somewhat indefinitely beyond 
the Euphrates. 

Thus on the north Edessa was the outwork of 
Christendom, while to the south the castle of Karak, 
which commanded the caravan road between Suez 
and Damascus, held a corresponding position among 
the hills to the east of the Dead Sea. 

* Ui Famines 4P Outre- Mer, cd. Rcy, 3. 


Beyond the mountains the great plain sweeps away 
into Central Asia, and in this plain the Franks never 
could maintain their footing. Their failure to do so 
proved their ruin, for their position lay exposed to 
attack from Damascus ; and it was by operating from 
Damascus as a base that Saladin succeeded in forcing 
the pass of Banias, and in cutting the Latin posses- 
sions in two at the battle of Tiberias. 

A considerable body of Europeans were thus 
driven in like a wedge between Egypt and the 
Greek Empire, the two highest civilizations of the 
Middle Ages, while in front lay the Syrian cities of 
the plain, with whom the Christians were at perma- 
nent war. The contact was the closest, the struggle 
for existence the sharpest, and the barbaric mind 
received a stimulus not unlike the impulse Gaul 
received from Rome ; for the interval which sepa- 
rated the East from the West, at the beginning of 
the twelfth century, was probably not less than that 
which divided Italy from Gaul at the time of Caesar. 

When Godfrey de Bouillon took the cross, the 
Byzantine Empire was already sinking. The East- 
ern trade which, for so many centuries, had nour- 
ished its population, was beginning to flow directly 
from Asia into Italy, and, as the economic aristocracy 
of the capital lost its nutriment, it lost its energy. 
Apparently it fell in 108 1, in the revolution which 
raised Alexius Comuenus to the throne. Because 
Alexius sacked Constantinople with a following of 
mongrel Greeks, Slavs, and Bulgarians, he has been 
called the first Greek emperor, but in reality the pure 
Greek blood had long since perished. The Byzantine 
population at the end of the eleventh century was 


the lees of a multitude of races, — a mixture of Slavs, 
Armenians, Jews. Thracians, and Greeks; a residuum 
of the most tenacious organisms, after all that was 
higher had disappeared. The army was a mixed 
horde of Huns, Arabs, Italians, Britons, Franks; of 
all in short who could fight and were for sale, while 
the Church was servile, the fancy dead, and art and 
literature were redolent of decaying wealth. 

Nevertheless, ever since the fall of Rome, Con- 
stantinople had been the reservoir whence the West 
had drawn all its materialistic knowledge, and there- 
fore, it was during the centuries when the valley of 
the Danube was closed, that the arts fell to their 
lowest ebb beyond the Alps and Rhine. After pil- 
grimages began again in the reign of Stephen, the 
Hosphorus lay once more in the path of travel, and 
as the returning palmers spread over the West, a 
revival followed in their track ; a revival in which 
the spirit of Byzantium may yet be clearly read in 
the architecture of Italy and France. Saint Mark 
is a feeble imitation of Saint Sophia, while Viollet-le- 
Duc has described how long he hesitated before he 
could decide whether the carving of V^zelay, Autun, 
and Moissac was Greek or French ; and has dwelt 
upon the laborious care with which he pored over 
all the material, before he became convinced that 
the stones were cut by artists trained at Cluny, who 
copied Byzantine models.^ 

But the great gulf between the economic and the 
imaginative development, separated the moribund 
Greek society from the semi-childhood of the Franks ; 
a chasm in its nature impassable because caused by a 

^ Ditiicnnaire dt VArchittcture^ viii. io8. 


difference of mind, and which is, perhaps, seen most 
strikingly in religious architecture ; for religious 
architecture, though always embodying the highest 
poetical aspirations of every civilization, yet had in 
the East and West diametrically opposite points of 

Saint Sophia is pregnant with the spirit of the 
age of Justinian. There was no attempt at mystery, 
or even solemnity, about the church, for the mind of 
the architect was evidently fixed upon solving the 
problem of providing the largest and lightest space 
possible, in which to display the functions of a pluto- 
cratic court. His solution was brilliantly successful. 
He enlarged the dome and diminished the supports, 
until, nothing remaining to interrupt the view, it 
seemed as though the roof had been suspended in 
the air. For his purpose the exterior had little 
value, and he sacrificed it. 

The conception of the architects of France was 
the converse of this, for it was highly emotional. 
The gloom of the lofty vaults, dimly lighted by the 
subdued splendour of the coloured windows, made 
the interior of the Gothic cathedral the most myste- 
rious and exciting sanctuary for the celebration of 
the miracle which has ever been conceived by man ; 
while without, the doors and windows, the pinnacles 
and buttresses, were covered with the terrific shapes 
of demons and the majestic figures of saints, admon- 
ishing the laity of the danger lurking abroad, and 
warning them to take refuge within. 

But if the Greeks and the Franks had little aflfinity 
for each other, the case was different with the Sara- 
cens« who were then in the full vigour of their intel- 


lectual prime, and in the meridian of their material 

In the eleventh century, when Paris was still a 
cluster of huts cowering for shelter on the islands of 
the Seine, and the palace of the Duke of Normandy 
and King of England was the paltry White Tower of 
London, Cairo was being adorned with those master- 
pieces which are still the admiration of the world. 

Prisse d*Avennes considered that, among the city 
gates the Bab-el-Nasr stands first in "taste and 
style," and the famous Bab-el-Zouilyeh is of the 
same period. He also thought the mosque of Tey- 
loun a "model of elegance and grandeur," and ob- 
served, when criticising the mosque of the Sultan 
Hassan, built in 1356, that though imposing and 
beautiful, it lacks the unity which is only found in 
the earlier Arabic monuments, such as Teyloun.^ In- 
deed, the signs are but too apparent that, from the 
twelfth century, the instinct for form began to fail in 
Egypt, the surest precursor of artistic decay. 

The magnificence of the decoration and furnishing 
of the Arabic palaces and houses has seldom been 
surpassed, and a few extracts from an inventory of a 
sale of the collections of the Caliph Mostanser-Billah, 
held in 1050, may give some idea of its gorgeousness. 

Precious Stones. — A chest containing 7 Mudds of emer- 
alds ; each of these worth at least 300,000 dynars, which 
makes in all at the lowest estimation, 36,000,000 francs. 

A necklace of precious stones worth about 80,000 dynars. 

Seven Wdibah of magnificent pearls sent by the Emir of 

* LArt Arahe^ \\\ et seq. 


Glass, — Several chests, containing a large number of 
vases ... of the purest crystal, chased and plain. 

Other chests filled with precious vases of different mate- 

Table Utensils. — A large number of gold dishes, enam- 
elled or plain, in which were incrusted all sorts of colours, 
forming most varied designs. 

One hundred cups and other shapes, of bezoar-stone, on 
most of which was engraved the name of the Caliph Haroun- 
el- Rase hid. 

Another cup which was 3^ hands wide and one deep. 

Different Articles, — Chests containing inkstands of dif- 
ferent shapes, round or square, small or large, of gold or 
silver, sandal wood, aloe, ebony, ivory, and all kinds of 
woods, enriched with stones, gold and silver, or remark- 
able for beauty and elegance of workmanship. 

Twenty-eight enamel dishes inlaid with gold, which the 
Caliph Aziz had received as a present from the Greek em- 
peror and each of which was valued at 3000 dynars. 

Chests filled with an enormous quantity of steel, china, 
and glass mirrors, ornamented with gold and silver filagree ; 
some were bordered with stones, and had cornelian handles, 
and others precious stones. One of them had quite a long 
and thick handle of emeralds. These mirrors were enclosed 
in cases nuide of velvet or silk or most beautiful wood ; their 
locks were of gold or silver. 

Four hundred large cases, ornamented with gold and 
filled with all sorts of jewels. 

Various silver household goods, and six thousand gold 
vases, in which were put narcissus or violets. 

Thirty-six thousand pieces of crystal, among them a box 
ornamented with figures in relief, weighing 1 7 roks. 


A large number of knives which, at the lowest price, were 
sold for 36,000 dynars. 

A turban enriched with precious stones, one of the most 
curious and valuable articles in the palace : it was said to be 
worth 1 30,000 dynars. . The stones which covered it, and 
whose weight was 1 7 roks, were divided between two chiefs, 
who both claimed it. One had in his share a ruby weigh- 
ing 23 miiqaU, and in the share which fell to the other were 
100 pearls each of which weighed 3 mitqals. When the 
two generals were obliged to fly from Fostat, all these valu- 
ables were given up to pillage. 

A golden peacock enriched with the most valuable pre- 
cious stones : the eyes were rubies, the feathers gilded 
enamel representing all the colours of peacock feathers. 

A cock of the same metal, with a comb of the largest 
rubies covered with pearls and other stones ; the eyes also 
were m2«ie of rubies. 

\ ga/elle whose body was covered all over with pearls 
and the most precious stones ; the stomach was white and 
composed of a series of pearls of the purest water. 

.A sardonyx table, with conical feet of the same substance ; 
it was lar^e enough for several people to eat there at the 
same time. 

A garvlen, the soil made of chased and gilt silver and 
yellow earth. There were silver trees, with fruits made of 
precious materials. 

A golden palm-tree enriched with superb pearls. It was 
in a golden chest and its fruit was made of precious stones 
representing dates in every stage of ripeness. This tree was 
of inestimable value.* 

About the time the monk Gerbert was accused of 
sorcery because he understood the elements of geo- 
metry, the Caliph Aziz-Billah founded the university 

* L'Art Arahf, 203. 



of Cairo, the greatest Mohammedan institution of 
learning. This was two hundred years before the 
organization of the university of Paris, and the 
lectures at the mosque of £1-Azhar are said to have 
been attended by twelve thousand students. Munk 
was of opinion that Arabic philosophy reached its 
apogee with Averrhoes, who was born about 1120.* 
Certainly he was the last of a famous line which 
began at Bagdad three centuries earlier; and Hau- 
rcau, in describing the great period of Saint Thomas 
at Paris, dwelt upon the debt Western learning owed 
to the Saracens. 

The splendour of Haroun-al-Raschid is still pro- 
verbial. The tales of his gold and silver, his silks 
and gems, almost surpass belief, and even in his 
reign the mechanical arts were so advanced that he 
sent a clock to Charlemagne. 

Humboldt considered the Arabs as the founders of 
modern experimental science, and they were relatively 
skilful chemists, for they understood the composition 
of sulphuric and nitric acid, and of aqua regia, beside 
the preparation of mercury and of various o.xides of 
metals. As physicians they were far in advance of 
Europe. While the Church healed by miracles, and 
put experimental methods under her ban, the famous 
Rhazes conducted the hospitals of Bagdad, and in 
the tenth century wrote a work in ten books, which 
was printed at Venice as late as 15 10. Practitioners 
of all nations have used his treatise on small-pox and 
measles ; he introduced mild purgatives, invented the 
seton, and was a remarkable anatomist. He died in 


1 Milanga, 458 


William of Tyre stated that the Prankish nobles 
of Syria preferred the native or Jewish doctors ; and 
though Saladin sent his physician to Richard, Richard 
never thought of sending an Englishman to Saladin 
when afterwards attacked by illness. 

Even as late as the middle of the thirteenth cen- 
tury little advance seems to have been made in Eu- 
rope, for one of the most curious phenomena of the 
crusades was the improvement in the health of the 
army of Saint Louis after it surrendered. During 
the campaign various epidemics had been very fatal ; 
but when the soldiers were subjected to the sanitary 
regulations of the Egyptian medical staff, disease 

The Arabs had a strong taste for mathematics, and 
were familiar with most of the discoveries which have 
been attributed to astronomers of the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries. 

As early as icxx) spherical trigonometry was in use, 
and Aboul-Has.san wrote an excellent treatise on 
conic sections. In 833 the Caliph El-Mamoun, hav- 
ing founded observatories at Bagdad and Damascus, 
caused a degree to be measured on the plain of 
Palmyra. By the thirteenth century the Arabic 
instruments were comparatively perfect. They had 
the astrolabe, the gnomon, the sextant, and the 
mariner's compass, and Aboul-Wafa determined the 
third lunar variation six hundred years before Tycho 

To enumerate all the improvements in agriculture 
and manufactures which came from the mediaeval 
pilgrimage would take a separate treatise. A French 
savant thought of writing a book upon the flora of the 


crusades alone. The mulberry and the silkworm 
were brought from Greece, the maize from Turkey, 
the plum from Damascus, the eschalot from Ascalon, 
and the windmills with which, down to the present 
century, com was ground, were one of the importa- 
tions from the Levant. 

It might almost be said that all the West knew of 
the arts was learned on the road to the sepulchre. 
The Tyrians taught the Sicilians to refine sugar, and 
the Venetians to make glass ; Damascus steel was a 
proverb, Damascus potters were the masters of the 
potters of France ; the silk, brocades, and carpets of 
Syria and Persia were in the twelfth century what 
they have been down to the present day, at once the 
admiration and despair of Western weavers, while 
there can be little doubt that gunpowder was the in- 
vention of the chemists of the East. 

All the evidence tends to prove that the ogive 
came from the Levant, and without the ogive Gothic 
architecture could never have developed.* Prior to 
the council of Clermont the pointed arch was practi- 
cally unknown west of the Adriatic ; but the Arabs 
had long used it, and it may still be seen in the ninth 
century mosque of Teyloun. 

In Palestine the Franks were surrounded by Sara- 
cenic buildings, and employed Saracenic masons, and 
the attention of Western architects seems no sooner to 
have been drawn to the possibilities of the ogive, than 
they saw in it the solution of those problems which had 
before defied them. An arch formed by two inter- 
secting segments of a circle could be raised to any 
height from any base, and was perfectly adapted to 

1 See Di<Honnaire dt V Architecturt^ VioUet-le-Dac, yi. 446. 


vaulting the parallelograms formed by the columns of 
the nave. Therefore, contemporaneously with the 
building of the church of the Holy Sepulchre, the 
period of transition between the Romanesque and 
the Gothic opened in France. The two most impor- 
tant transition buildings were the abbey of Saint 
Denis and the cathedral of Noyon, and, while the 
Holy Sepulchre was dedicated in 1 149, the abbey was 
completed in 1144, and the cathedral was begun 
almost immediately after.^ 

Thenceforvvanl the movement was rapid, and before 
the vear 1200. Christian sacred architecture was cul- 
minating in those marvels of beauty, the cathedrals 
of Paris, of Hourges, of Chartres, and of Le Mans. 
Vet, though sacred architecture tells the story of the 
rise of the imagination as nothing else can, if it be 
true that centralization hinges on the preponderance 
of the attack in war, the surest way of measuring the 
advance toward civilization of rude peoples must be 
by military engineering. 

In the eleventh century, north of the Alps, this 
science was rudimentary, and nothing can be more 
impressive than to compare the mighty ramparts of 
Constantinople with the small square tower which 
William the Conqueror found ample for his needs in 

When the crusaders were first confronted with the 
Greek and Arabic works, they were helpless ; nor 
were their difficulties altogether those of ignorance. 
Such fortifications were excessively costly, and a 

^ Sec I^i ^glises de la Terre Saiute^ Vogiie, 21 7; Notre Dame de 
X:yon ; i:ud^s sw riliitoire de VArt^ Vitet, ii. 122; Dictionnaire de 
I Architecture^ Viollct-lc*Duc, ii. 301. 


feudal State was poor because the central power had 
not the force to constrain individuals to pay taxes. 
The kingdom of Jerusalem was in chronic insol- 

The life of the Latin colony in Syria, therefore, 
hung on the development of some financial system 
which should make the fortification of Palestine 
possible, and such a system grew up through the 
operation of the imagination, though in an unusual 

Fetish worship drew a very large annual contribu- 
tion from the population in the shape of presents to 
propitiate the saints, and one of the effects of the 
enthusiasm for the crusades was to build up conven- 
tual societies in the Holy Land, which acted as 
standing armies. The most famous of the military 
orders were the Knights of the Temple and the 
Knights of Saint John. William of Tyre has left an 
interesting description of the way in which the Tem- 
ple came to be organized : — 

" As though the Lord God sends his grace there where 
he pleases, worthy knights, who were of the land beyond the 
sea, proposed to stay for ever in the service of Our Lord, 
and to live in common, like regular canons. In the hand of 
the patriarch they vowed chastity and obedience, and re- 
nounced all property. . . . The king and the other barons, 
the patriarch and other prelates of the Church, gave them 
funds to live on and to clothe themselves. . . . The first 
thing which was enjoined on them in pardon for their sins 
was io guard the roads by which the pilgrims passed, from 
robbers and thieves, who did great harm. This penance 
the patriarch and the other bishops enjoined. Nine years 
they remained thus in secular habit, wearing such gar- 
ments as were given them by the knights and other good 


o8 aVTLIZ.\T10X XSD DGCAY chap. 

p^opltf. tor th*? love of GoL In the ninth a coancil was 
i35cmbte»l in Fnnce in the city of Troyes^ There wete 
ai§enibi:!ii the archbishops of Rhcims and Sens and all their 
bishops. The bishop of Albano especially was diere as 
papal legate, the abbots of Citean and Clairraox, and many 
other of the religious. 

" Tnere trere established the order and the rules by which 
they were to live as monks. Their habit was ordered to be 
v'ltte. bv the authority of P6pe Honorios and the patriarch 
of Jem-alem. This onier had already existed nine years, 
ai I have told you, and there were as yet only nine brothers^ 
«^n.o liveti from day to day on charity. From that time their 
r. ;ni'jer5 began to increase, and re^-enues and tenures were 
r.ven them. In the time of Pope Eugenius it was ordered 
that they shoul 1 have sewn upon their copes and on their 
robes a cross of red cloth, so that they should be known 
among all men. . . . From thence have their possessions 
so increased a? you can see, that the order of the Temple is 
m the ascendant. . . . Hardly can you find on either side 
of the sea a Christian land where this order has not to-day 
houses and brethren, and great revenues." * 

The council of Troyes was held in 1128, and in the 
next fifty years, in proportion as the feudal organiza- 
tion of the Latin kingdom decayed, the military 
orders increased in wealth and power. The Hospital 
held nineteen thousand manors in Europe, the Tem- 
ple nine thousand, and each manor could maintain a 
knight in the field. 

At Paris the house of the Temple filled a whole 
quarter; its donjon was one of the most superb build- 
ings of the Middle Ages; at a later period, when the 
corporation took to banking, it served as a place of 
deposit for both public and private treasure, and in 

* //is/, des Croisades, xii. 7. 


times of danger the king himself was glad to take 
shelter within its walls. 

The creation of this monastic standing army was 
evidently due to the inferiority of the attack to the 
defence, which made the civil power incapable of 
coercing the individual who refused to pay taxes. 
The petty barons who built the castles throughout 
Palestine were loo poor to erect fortifications capable 
of resisting the superior engines used in the East. 
Therefore the whole burden of the war was thrown 
upon the Church, and in all modern history nothing 
is more wonderful than the way in which this work 
was done. 

Within fifty years after the conquest the feudal 
machinery was in ruin, and the strategic points, one 
after another, passed into the hands of the strongest 
force of the age, the force which was incarnate im- 

The fortresses built by the monks were the ram- 
parts of Christendom, and among the remains which 
have sur\'ived the past, perhaps none are more im- 
pressive than the huge castles of the crusaders in the 
gorges of the Syrian mountains ; nor do any show 
so clearly whence came the rationalistic stimulus 
which revolutionized Europe, shattered the Church, 
and brought in the economic society which has 
ruled Europe since the Templars passed away. 

Twenty-five miles due west of Homs, at the point 
where the Lebanon melts into the Ansarieh range, 
the mountains open, and two passes lead by easy 
descents to the sea. Through the southern runs 
the road to Tripoli, through the northern that to 
Tortosa. Between them, on a crag a thousand feet 

;.. IVILl/ATION AXn DECAY .ii\r. 

ibove the v:r.!-^\>. <:!! stan^Is the casile of the Krak 
-r> Cr.v.i'.e:'*. ceJc I by Count Raymond of Tripoli 
:o the Ho>: -itJil in 1 145. Towerinj; above the plain 
it can be seen tor miles, and no description can g^ve 
an idea of its :jjiganiic size and [x>\ver. Coucy and 
rierref :* are among the largest fortresses of 
t^roiHT, and vet Cuucv and Pierrefonds combined 
are no larger than the Krak. 

ComDared with it. the works then built in the West 
were toys, and the engineering talent shown in its 
conception was equalled by the magnificence of its 
masonry. The Bvzantine system was adopted. A 
double wall, the inner commanding the outer, with 
a moat between ; and three enormous towers rising 
from the moat, formed the donjon. There were 
stone machicoulis and all the refinements of defence 
which appeared m France under Saint Louis and 
his son, and a study of this stupendous monument 
shows plainly whence Europeans drew their military 
instruction for a century to come. 

The Krak was the outwork dominating the plain 
where the Christians never made their footing good, 
and stood at the apex of a triangle of fortresses as re- 
markable as itself. From its ramparts the great white 
tower of Chastel-Blanc can be seen, midway between 
the outpost commanding the mountain passes and the 
base upon the sea held by the Temple ; and from 
that tower the troop of Templars rode to relieve the 
knights of Saint John, on the day when the cru- 
saders routed the conqueror Nour-ed-Din, and cut 
his army to pieces as it fled toward the Lake of 
Hums, which lies in the distance. 

Hut the white tower is unlike the donjons of other 


lands, and bears the imprint of the force which built 
it, for it is not a layman's hold, but a church, whose 
windows are cut in walls thirteen feet thick, whence 
the dim light falls across the altar where the magi- 
cians wrought their miracles. 

Within easy supporting distance lay Tortosa, a 
walled town, the outwork of a donjon at least as 
strong as the Krak, and built with a perfection of 
workmanship, and a beauty of masonry, which proves 
at once the knowledge and the resources of the 
order. No monarch of the West could, probably, 
at that time have undertaken so costly an enter- 
prise, and yet Tortosa was but one of four vast 
structures which lie within a few miles of each 
other. The place was ceded to the Temple in 1183, 
just at the beginning of the reign of Philip Augus- 
tus, before men dreamed of the more important 
French fortifications. 

At Margat, a day's journey to the north, the 
Hospital had their base upon the sea : a strong- 
hold whose cost must have been fabulous, for it is 
pcrchetl upon a crag high above the Mediterranean, 
and so inaccessible that it is not easy to understand 
how the materials for building were collected. Viol- 
Ict-le-Duc, who was lost in admiration at Coucy, de- 
clared that it was colossal enough to befit a race of 
giants, and yet Coucy could have stood in the court- 
yard of Margat. 

The Arabs, who were excellent engineers, deemed 
it a masterpiece, and the Sultan Kalaoun could not 
endure the thought of injuring it. After he had 
mined the great tower and was sure of victory, he 
proved to the garrison his power to destroy it, in 



ciiAr. III. 

onler to induce them to accept most lilicral terms 
of surrender, and let him have the prize. Perhaps 
the best description ever given of the work is in a 
letter written by the Sultan of Hamah to his vizier 

to announce its fall : 

"The devil himself had taken pleasure in consolidating 
its foundations. How many times have the Mussulmans 
tricti to reach its towers and fallen down the precipices ! 
Markab is unique, perched on the summit of a rock. It 
is accessible to relief, and inaccessible to attack. The 
eagle and the vulture alone can fly to its ramparts." * 

' Sec, on the Syrian castles, fjiuie sur Its Alonumettts </<• P Architec- 
ture MiUttiire del Crciih en Syrie^ Rev. 



As the East was richer than the West, the Sara- 
cens were capable of a higher centralization than the 
Franks, and although they were divided amongst 
themselves at the close of the eleventh century, no 
long time elapsed after the fall of Jerusalem before 
the consolidation began which annihilated the Latin 

The Sultan of Persia made Zenghi governor of 
Mosul in 1 127. Zenghi, who was the first Atabek, 
was a commander and organizer of ability, and with 
a soldier's instinct struck where his enemy was vul- 
nerable. He first occupied Aleppo, Hamah, and 
Homs. He then achieved the triumph of his life 
by the capture of Edessa. The next year he was 
murdered, and was succeeded by his still more cele- 
brated son, Nour-ed-Din, who made Aleppo his 
capital, and devoted his life to completing the work 
his father had begun. 

After a series of brilliant campaigns, by a mixture 
of vigour and address, Nour-ed-Din made himself 
master of Damascus, and, operating thence as a 
base, he conquered Egypt, and occupied Cairo in 
1 169. During the Egyptian war, a young emir, 
named Saladin, rose rapidly into prominence. He 



was the nephew of the general in command, at 
whose death the caliph made him vizier, because he 
thought him pliable. In this the caliph was mis- 
taken, for SaLulin was a man of iron will and con- 
Minunate aiulity. William of Tyre even accused 
Www of havinj; murdered the last Fatimite caliph 
with his own hands in order to cause the succes- 
sion to pass to N\»ur-ed-Din, and to seize on the 
suhstanee of |H>wer himself, as Nour-cd-Uin*s rep- 

Certainly he administered Egypt in his own inter- 
est, and not in his master's; so much so that Nour- 
rd-I)in, having failed to obtain obedience to his 
eominands, had prepared to march against him in!^ when, on the eve of his departure, he died. 
Salailin then moved on Damascus, and having de- 
feated the army of ICl Melek, the heir to the crown, 
at Mama)), he had himself declared Sultan of Kgypt 
and Svria. 

With a |H)wcr so centralized the Franks would 
probably, under the best circumstances, have been 
unable to cope. The weakness of the Christians was 
radical, and arose from the exuberance of their imag- 
ination, which caused them to proceed by miracles, 
or more correctly, by magical formulas. An exalted 
imagination was the basis of the characters of both 
Louis VII. and Saint Bernard, and the faith resulting 
therefrom led to the defeat of the second crusade. 

The Christian collapse began with the fall of 
Edessa, for the County of Edessa was the extreme 
northeastern state of the Latin community, and the 
key to the cities of the plain. When the first cru- 
saders reached Armenia, Baldwin, brother of Godfrey 


tic Bouillon, conceived the idea of carving a kingdom 
for himself out of the Christian country to the south 
of the Taurus range. Taking with him such pilgrims 
as he could persuade to go, he started from Mamistra, 
just north of the modern Alexandretta, and marched 
cast along the caravan road. Edessa lay sixteen 
hours' ride beyond the Euphrates, and he reached it 
in safety. 

At this time, though Edessa still nominally formed 
part of the Greek Empire, it was in reality independ- 
ent, and was governed by an old man named Theodore, 
who had originally been sent from Constantinople, 
but who had gradually taken the position of a sover- 
eign. The surrounding country had been overrun by 
Moslems, and Theodore only maintained himself by 
paying tribute. The people, therefore, were ready to 
welcome any Prankish baron capable of defending 
them ; and Baldwin, though a needy adventurer, was 
an excellent officer, and well adapted to the emer- 

As he drew near, the townsmen went out to meet 
him, and escorted him to the city in triumph, where he 
soon supplanted the old Theodore, whom he probably 
murdered. He then became Count of Edessa, but he 
remained in the country only two years, for in i i(X> 
he was elected to succeed his brother Godfrey. He 
was followed as Lord of Edessa by his cousin Godfrey 
dc Bourg, who, in his turn, was crowned King of 
Jerusalem in 1 1 19, and the next count wasde Bourg's 
cousin, Joscelin de Courtney, who had previously held 
as a fief the territory to the west of the Euphrates. 
This Joscelin was one of the most renowned warriors 
who ever came from France, and while he lived the 


frontier was well defended. So high was his prowess 
that he earned the title of '*thc great/* in an age 
when every man was a soldier, and in a country 
where arms were the only path to fortune save the 

The storv of his death is one of the most dramatic 
of that dramatic time. As he stood beneath the wall 
of a Saracenic tower he had mined, it suddenly fell 
and buried him in the ruins. He was taken out a 
mangled mass to die, but, as he lay languishing, news 
came that the Sultan of Iconium had laid siege to 
one of his castles near Tripoli. Feeling that he could 
not sit his horse, he called his son and directed him 
to collect his vassals and ride to the relief of the 
fortress. The youth hesitated, fearing that the 
enemy were too numerous. Then the old man, griev- 
ing to think of the fate of his people when he should 
be gone, had himself slung in a litter between two 
horses, and marched against the foe. 

He had not gone far before he was met by a mes- 
senger, who told him that when the Saracens heard 
the Lord of Courtney was upon the march, they had 
raised the siege and fled. Then the wounded baron 
ordered his litter to be set down upon the ground, 
and, stretching out his hands to heaven, he thanked 
God who had so honoured him that his enemies dared 
not abide his coming even when in the jaws of death, 
and died there where he lay. 

The second generation of Franks seems to have 
deteriorated through the influence of the climate,' but 
the character of the younger Joscelin was not the 
sole cause of the disasters which overtook him. Prob- 
ably even his father could not permanently have made 


head against the forces which wore combinin*^ against 
him. The weakness of the Frankish kingdom was 
inherent : it could not contend with enemies who 
were further advanced upon the road toward consol- 
idation. Had Western society been enough central- 
ized to have organized a force capable of collecting 
taxes, and of enforcing obedience to a central admin- 
istration, a wage-earning army might have been main- 
tained on the frontier. As it was, concentration was 
impossible, and the scattered nobles were crushed in 

Antioch was the nearest supporting point to Kdessa, 
and, when Zenghi made his attack, Raymond de 
Poitiers, one of the ablest soldiers of his generation, 
was the reigning prince. But he was at feud with 
theCourtneys ; the king at Jerusalem could not force 
him to do his duty ; the other barons were too distant, 
even had they been well disposed ; and thus the key 
to the Christian position fell without a blow being 
struck in its defence. 

To that emotional generation the loss of Kdessa 
seemed a reversal of the laws of nature ; a conse- 
quence not of bad organization but of divine wrath. 
The invincible relics had suddenly refused to act, and 
the only explanation which occurred to the men of 
the time was, that there must have been neglect of 
the magical formulas. 

Saint Bernard never doubted that God would 
fight if duly propitiated ; therefore all else must bend 
to the task of propitiation : ** What think ye. breth- 
ren ? Is the hand of the Lord weakened, or unequal 
to the work of defence, that he calls miserable worms 
to guard and restore his heritage ? Is he not able to 


send more than twelve legions of angels, or, to speak 
truly, by word deliver his country ? " * 

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the soul of the second 
crusade, was born at the castle of Fontaines, near 
Dijon, in 1091, so that his earliest impressions must 
have been tinged by the emotional outburst which 
followed the council of Clermont. The third son of 
noble parents, he resembled his mother, who had the 
ecstatic temperament. While she lived she tried to 
imitate the nuns, and at her death she was surrounded 
by holy clerks, who sung with her while she could 
speak, and, when articulation failed, watched her lips 
moving in praise to God. 

From the outset, Bernard craved a monastic life, 
and when he grew up insisted on dedicating himself 
to Heaven. His first success was the conversion of 
his brothers, whom he carried with him to the cloister, 
with the exception of the youngest, who was then a 
child. As the brothers passed through the castle 
courtyard, on their way to the convent, Guy, the 
eldest, said to the boy, who was playing there with 
other children, ** Well, Nivard, all our land is now 
vours." ** So vou will have heaven and I earth," the 
child answered ; *'that is an unequal division.'* And 
a few years after he joined his brothers.* The father 
and one daughter then were left alone, and at last 
they too entered convents, where they died. 

At twenty-two, when Bernard took his vows at 
Citeau.x, his influence was so strong that he carried 
with him thirty of his comrades, and mothers are said 
to have hid their sons from him, and wives their hus- 

1 Letter 563, c<l. 1S77, Pari*. 

- Sam/t BernarJi, I'Ua tt AVi dstiif, Auctorg GuilUlmo^ I -3. 


bands, lest he should lure them away. He actually 
broke up so many homes that the abandoned wives 
formed a nunnery, which afterward grew rich. 

His abilities were so marked that his superiors 
singled him out. when he had hardly finished his 
novitiate, to found a house in the wilderness. This 
house became Clairvaux, in the twelfth century the 
most famous monastery of the world. 

In the Middle Ages, convents were little patronized 
until by some miracle they had proved themselves 
worthy of hire ; their early years were often passed 
in poverty, and Clairvaux was no exception to the 
rule, for the brethren suffered privations which nearly 
caused revolt. In the midst of his diflficulties, Ber- 
nard's brother Gerard, who was cellarer, came to 
him to complain that the fraternity were without the 
barest necessities of life. The man of God asked, 
*• How much will suffice for present wants ? " Gerard 
replied, "Twelve pounds." Bernard dismissed him 
and betook himself to prayer. Soon after G6rard 
returned and announced that a woman was without 
and wished to speak with him. ** She, when he had 
come to her, prostrating herself at his feet, oflFcred 
him a gift of twelve pounds, imploring the aid of his 
prayers for her husband, who was dangerously sick. 
Having briefly spoken with her, he dismissed her, 
saying : * Go. You will find your husband well.* 
She, going home, found what she had heard had come 
to pass. The abbot comforting the weakness of his 
cellarer, made him stronger for bearing other trials 
from God." > 

Although his family were somewhat sceptical about 


his gifts, and even teased him to tears, the monk 
William tells, in his chronicle, how he soon performed 
an astounding miracle which made Clairvaux a "veri- 
table valley of light," and then wealth poured in upon 

Meanwhile, his constitution, which had never been 
vi;^urous, had been so impaired by his penances that 
he was unable to follow the monastic life in its full 
ri^^)ur. and he therefore threw himself into politics, 
to which he was led both by taste and by the current 
of events. 

Clainaux was founded in 1 115, and fifteen years 
later Bernard had risen high in his profession. The 
turning-point in his life was the part he took in the 
recognition of Innocent II. In 1130, Honorius II. 
ciied, and two popes were chosen by the college of 
cardinals, Anacletus and Innocent II. Anaclctus 
stayed in Rome, but Innocent crossed the Alps, and 
a council was summoned at Etampes to decide upon 
his title. By a unanimous vote the question was 
referred to Bernard, and his biographer described how 
he examined the evidence with fear and trembling, 
and how at last the Holy Ghost spoke through his 
mouth, and he recognized Innocent. His decision 
was ratified, and soon after he managed to obtain the 
adhesion of the King of England to the new pontiff. 

His success made him the foremost man in Europe, 
and when, in 1145, one of his monks was raised to 
the papacy as Eugenius III., he wrote with truth, 
** I am said to be more pope than you." 

Perhaps no one ever lived more highly gifted with 
the ecstatic temperament than Saint Bernard. He 
had the mysterious attribute of miracles, and, in the 


twelfth century, the miracle was, perhaps, the high- 
est expression of force. To work them was a per- 
sonal jjift, and the possessor of the faculty might, at 
his caprice, use his power, like the sorcerer, to aid or 
injure other men. 

One day as Saint Bernard was on his way to a field 
at harvest time, the monk who drove the donkey on 
which he rode, fell in an epileptic fit. " Seeing which 
the holy man had pity on him, and entreated God 
that for the future he would not seize him unaware." 
Accordingly from that day until his death, twenty 
years after, " whenever he was to fall from that dis- 
ease, he felt the fit coming for a certain space of time, 
so that he had an opportunity to lie down on a bed, 
and so avert the bruises of a sudden fall.*' ' 

This cure was a pure act of grace, like alms, made 
to gratify the whim of the saint ; and a man who 
could so control nature was more powerful than any 
other on earth. Bernard was such a man, and for 
this reason he was chosen by acclamation to preach 
the second crusade. 

His sermons have perished, but two of his letters 
have survived,* and they explain the essential weak- 
ness of a military force raised on the basis of super- 
natural intervention. He looked upon the approaching 
campaign as merely the vehicle for a miracle, and as 
devised to offer to those who entered on it a special 
chance for salvation. Therefore he appealed to the 
criminal classes. " For what is it but an exquisite 
and priceless chance of salvation due to God alone, 
that the Omnipotent should deign to summon to his 

* Exordium Magnum Cistfrcitnsf^ viii. 

* No». 363 and 423, cd. of 1877, Paris. 


service, as though they were innocent, murderers, 
ravishcrs, anuitercrs, perjurers, and those guilty of 
every crime ?" ^ 

Even had an army composed of such material been 
well disciplined and well led, it would have been un- 
trustworthy in the face of an adversary like Nour- 
ed-Din ; but Louis VII. of France was as emotional 
and as irrational as Saint Bernard. His father had 
been a great commander, but he himself had been 
educated in the Abbey of Saint Denis, and justified 
his wife's scornful jest, who, when she left him for 
Ravmond de Poitiers, said she had married a monk. 
The whole world held him lightly, even the priests 
sneered at him, and Innocent II. spoke of him as a 
child "who must be stopped from learning rebellion." 

Indeed, the pope underrated him, for he appointed 
his own nephew to the See of Bourges in defiance of 
the king, and the insult roused him to resistance. 
Louis raised an army and invaded the County of 
Champagne, where the bishop had taken refuge. 
There he stormed and burnt V^itry, and some thirteen 
hundred men, women, and children, who had taken 
refuge in the church, perished in the flames of the 
blazing town. Horror seems to have unhinged his 
mind, absolution did not calm him, and at last he 
came to believe that his only hope of salvation lay in 
a pilgrimage to the Sepulchre. On Palm Sunday, 
1 146, when Bernard harangued a vast throng at 
Vezelay, the king was the first to prostrate himself, 
and take the cross from his hands. 

With that day began the most marvellous part of 
the saint's marvellous career, and were the events 

» Letter 363. 


which followed less well authenticated, they would 
be incredible. In that age miracles were as common 
as medical cures arc now, and yet Bernard's perform- 
ances so astonished his contemporaries that they 
drew up a solemnly attested record of what they saw, 
that the story of his preaching might never be ques- 

When he nearcd a town the bells were rung, and 
young and old, from far and near, thronged about 
him in crowds so dense that, at Constance, no one 
saw what passed, because no one dared to venture 
into the press. At Troyes he was in danger of being 
suffocated. Elsewhere the sick were brought to him 
by a ladder as he stood at a window out of reach. 
What he did may be judged by the work of a single 

"When the holy man entered Germany he shone so 
marvellously by cures, that it can neither be told in words, 
nor would it be believed if it were told. For those testify 
who were present in the country of Constance, near the 
town of Doningen, who diligently investigated these things, 
and saw them with their eyes, that in one day eleven blind 
received their sight by the laying on of his hands, ten 
maimed were restored, and eighteen lame made straight.** ' 

Thus, literally by thousands, the blind saw, the 
lame walked, the maimed were made whole. He 
cast out devils, turned water into wine, raised the 
dead. But no modern description can give an idea 
of the paroxysm of excitement ; the stories must be 
read in the chronicles themselves. Yet, strangely 
enough, such was the strength of the materialistic 
inheritance from the Empire, that Bernard does not 

* De Vita 5. BfrnarM, Anitotf iiaup uio, iv. 5. 

114 ' :v:: i7_\-n- 'V AXii DECAY cbm^. 

5!-Vi'.> ?evr: i]zV.\ to have believed in himself. He 
-A-af Tir.^ei vrzih some shade of scepticisiii. The 
mtfrtin^ at Vezelay was held on March 24, 11461 
F'our weeks later, on April 21. at a councfl held at 
Chartres. the command of the army to invade P^es- 
tine uas offcrci to the Abbot of Clairvaux. Had the 
siint :horo-::h:v believed in himself and his twelve 
]c'4Jcn5 of anc:els. he would not have hesitated, for no 
cnen-iV cou-d have withstood God. In fact he was 
panii-itrickcn. and wrote a letter to the pope which 
miirht rx-ht a m^yk-m clernrvman. 

Alter explainin;^ that he had been chosen com- 
manricr against his will, he exclaimed, ** Who am I, 
that I should set camps in order, or should march 
before armed men ? Or what is so remote from my 
profes-ion, even had I the strength, and the know- 
led;^e were not lacking ? . . . I beseech you, by that 
charity you especially owe mc, that you do not aban- 
don me to the wills of men." ' 

Durin;^ 1 146 and 1 147 two vast mixed multitudes, 
swarming with criminals and women, gathered at 
Metz and Ratisbon. As a fighting force these hosts 
were decidedly inferior to the bands which had left 
Europe fifty years before, under Tancred and God- 
frey de Bouillon, and they were besides commanded 
by the semi-emasculated King of France. 

The Germans cannot be considered as having 
taken any part in the war, for they perished without 
having struck a blow. The Greek emperor caused 
them to be lured into the mountains of Asia Minor, 
where they were abandoned by their guides, and 
wasted away from exposure, hunger, and thirst, until 

» letter 256, cd. of 1877, Paris. 


the Saracens dcslroyccl them without allowing them 
to come to battle. 

The French fared little better. In crossing the 
Cadmus Mountains, their lack of discipline occasioned 
a defeat, which made William of Tyre wonder at the 
ways of God. 

**To no one should the things done by our Ijord be dis- 
pleasing, for all his works arc right and good, bnt according 
to the judgment of men it was marvellous how our Lord 
permitteti the Franks (who are the people in the work! who 
believe in him and honour him most) to be thus destroyed 
by the enemies of the faith." * 

Soon after this check Louis was joined by the 
Grand Master of the Temple, under whose guidance 
he reached Atalia, a Greek port in Pamph ylia : and 
here, had the king been a rationalist, he would have 
stormed the town and used it as a base of operations 
against Syria. In the eyes of laymen, the undisguised 
hostility of the emperor would have fully justified 
such an attack. But Louis was a devotee, bound 
by a vow to the performance of a certain mystic 
formula, and one part of his vow was not to attack 
Christians during his pilgrimage. In his mind the 
danger of disaster from supernatural displeasure was 
greater than the strategic advantage ; and so he al- 
lowed his army to rot before the walls in the dead of 
winter, without tents or supplies, until it wasted to a 
shadow of its former strength. 

Finally the governor contracted to provide ship- 
ping, but he delayed for another five weeks, and 
when the trans|x>rts came they were too few. Even 

• //li/. t/fs Cr^ittnirs, »vi. 25. 


then Louis would not strike, but abandoning the 
poor and sick to their fate, he sailed away with the 
flower of his troops, and by spring the corpses of 
those whom he had deserted bred a pestilence which 
depopulated the city. 

When he arrived at Antioch new humiliations and 
disasters awaited him. Raymond de Poitiers Was 
one of the handsomest and most gifted men of this 
time. Affable, courteous, brave, and sagacious, in 
many respects a great captain, his failing was a hot 
temper, which led him to his ruin. He forsook Jos- 
celin through jealousy, and the fall of Edessa cost 
him throne and life. 

After the successes of Zenghi, a very short expe- 
rience of X<nir-ed-Din sufficed to convince Prince 
Ravmoml that Antioch could not be held without 
re-establishing the frontier ; and when Louis arrived, 
Raymond tried hard to persuade him to abandon his 
pilgrimage for that season, and make a campaign in 
the north. 

William of Tyre thought the plan good, and 
believed that the Saracens were, for the moment, too 
demoralized to resist. Evidently, by advancing from 
Antioch, Nour-cdDin could have been isolated, 
whereas on the south he was covered by Damascus, 
one of the strongest places in the East. 

Such considerations had no weight with Louis, for, 
to his emotional temperament, military strategy lay 
in obtaining supernatural aid, without which no wis- 
dom could avail, and with which victory was sure. 
He therefore insisted on the punctilious performance 
of the religious rites, and one of the most interesting 
passages in Wiliiavt of Tyre is the account of the 


interview between him and Raymond, when a move- 
ment against the cities of the north was discussed. 

•* The prince, who had tried the temper of the king sev- 
eral times privately, and not found what he wanted, came 
one day to him before his barons and made his re(|uests to 
the best of his power. Many reasons he showed that if he 
would agree, he would do his soul much good, and would 
win the applause of his «ige ; Christendom would lie so 
benefited by this thing. The king took counsel, and then 
he answered that he was vowed to the Sepulchre, and had 
taken the cross particularly to go there ; that, since he had 
left his country, he had met with many hindrances, and that 
he had no wish to begin any wars until he had |)erfected his 
pilgrimage.*' ' 

This refusal so exasperated Prince Raymond that 
he threw off all disguise, and became the avowed 
lover of the queen, who detested her husband. Louis, 
shortly aftenvard, escaped by night from Antioch, 
taking Kleanor with him by force, and thus the only 
hope for the recovery of Edessa was lost. 

For the emotionalist everything yielded to the 
transcendent importance of propitiatory rites ; there- 
fore Louis ascended Calvary, kissed the stones, in- 
toned the chants, received the benediction, and lost 
Palestine. Thus, by the middle of the twelfth century, 
the idealist had begun to flag in the struggle for life. 

An attempt, indeed, was afterwards made upon 
Damascus, but it only served to expose the weakness 
of the men who relied on magic. By the time the 
advance began, confidence had been restored among 
the Saracens, the attack was repulsed, and Nour-ed- 
Din had only to move from the north to throw the 


crusaders back upon Jerusalem, covered with ridicule. 
Nothing conveys so vivid an idea of the shock these 
reverses gave believers, as the words in which Saint 
Bernard defended his prophecies. 

" Do they not say among the pagans, where is their God ? 
Nor is it wonderful. The sons of the Church, who are 
known by the name of Christians, are laid low in the desert, 
destroyed by the sword, or consumed by famine. The Lord 
hath poured contempt upon princes, and hath caused them to 
wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Grief and 
misfort'.ine have followed their steps, fear and confusion have 
been in the palaces of the kings themselves. How have the 
feet strayed of those promising peace and blessings. Wc 
have said peace and there is no peace, we have promised 
irood fortune and behold tribulation, as if we had acted in 
this matter with rashness and levity. . . . Yet if one of two 
things must l>e. I prefer to have men murmur against me 
nther than (iod. It is good if I am worthy to be used as a 
shield. I take willingly the slanders of detractors, and the 
poisoned stings of blasphemers, that they may not reach 
him. I do not shrink from loss of glory that his may not 
be attacked, who gives it to me to be glorified in the words 
of the Psalmist : * Because for thy sake I have borne re- 
proach ; shame hath covered my face.* " * 

According to the account of William of Tyre, both 
sides felt the end to be near. After the failure of 
Louis the Pious, Prince Raymond was the first to go 
down before the storm he had too late seen gather- 
ing. Nour-ed-Din fell upon his country with fire 
and sword, defeated him, cut off his head and right 
arm, and sent them to Bagdad as trophies. The 
wretched Joscelin died in a dungeon at Aleppo, while 
Nour-ed-Din entered Damascus, and thus consoli- 

* De Consider atioHtt ii. I. 


dated the Syrian cities of the plain. Thenceforward 
the decentralized Franks lay helpless in the grasp of 
their compact adversary, and all that was imagina- 
tive in the Middle Ages received its death-wound at 
Tiberias. That action was the beginning of the 
decay of fetish-worship. 

The crusaders believed they had found the cross 
on which Christ died at Jerusalem. They venerated 
it as a charm no less powerful than the Sepulchre it- 
self, and having this advantage over the tomb, that it 
was portable. They thought it invincible, and used 
it not only as a weapon against living enemies, but as 
a means of controlling nature. A remarkable example 
of the magical properties of this relic was given in 
the retreat from Bosra. 

Baldwin III. was crowned in 1144, when only thir- 
teen. The kingdom was then at peace with Damascus, 
in whose territory Bosra lay; but, notwithstanding, 
the child's advisers eagerly listened to the offer of the 
emir in command to betray the town, and hastened 
forward the departure of an expedition, in spite of 
the protests of the envoys from Damascus. On the 
march the troops suffered severely from heat and 
thirst, and on their arrival were appalled to find a 
loyal garrison. A siege was out of the question, 
and a regular retreat so hazardous that the barons 
besought the king to fly and save the cross; but 
the boy refused, and stayed with his men to fight 
to the last. The outlook was terrible, for the vege- 
tation was dry, and when the march began — 

** The Turks threw Greek fire everywhere, so that it seemed 
ts if the whole country burned. The high flames and thick 


smoke blinded our men. Then were they so beset they knew 
not what to do. But when there is great need, and men's 
help fails, then should one seek aid of our Lord, and cry to 
him to care for us ; so did our Christians then ; for they 
called the Archbishop Robert of Nazareth, who carried the 
true cross before them, and begged him that he would pray 
our Lord, who to save them had suffered death upon that 
cross, that he would bring them from this peril; for they 
could not endure it, nor did they look for other help than 
his. Truly, they were there all Uack and scorched, like 
smiths, from the fire and smoke. The archbishop dismounted 
and kneeled down, and prayed our Lord with many tean that 
he would have mercy on his people ; then he arose and held 
the true cross toward the fire which the wind brought strongly 
against them. Our Lord by his great mercy regarded his 
people in the great peril which they suffered ; for the wind 
changed straightway and blew the fire and smoke into the 
faces of the enemy who had lighted it, so that they were 
forced to scatter over the country and fiy. Our men, when 
they saw this, wept for joy, for they perceived that our Lord 
had not forgotten them." 

Even then they were in extreme peril, for but one 
way was open, for which they had no g^ide. Sud- 
denly, a '* knight appeared before the troop whom no 
one in the host knew. He sat a white horse, and 
carried a crimson banner, he wore a hauberk, whose 
sleeves came only to the elbow. He offered to guide 
them, and he put himself in front ; he brought them 
to cool sweet springs ; ... he made them sleep in 
comfortable and good places. And he so guided 
them that on the third day they came to the city 
of Gadre." » 

The mighty relic of the cross was taken and defiled 
by the Saracens at Hattin, where the Christians suf- 

1 IViUiam 0/ Tyre, xs-\. 1 1, 12. 


fered a decisive defeat, caused by the impotence of 
the central administration at Jerusalem. 

Reginald de Chatillon was the type of the twelfth 
century adventurer. He came to Palestine in the 
train of Louis the Pious, and he stayed there because 
he married a princess. He was a brave soldier, but 
greedy, violent, and rash, and his insubordination 
precipitated the catastrophe which led to the fall of 
the capital. 

At the siege of Ascalon he so fascinated Constance, 
Princess of Antioch, widow of Raymond, that she per- 
sisted in marrying him, although she was sought by 
many of the greatest nobles, and he was only a knight. 
Her choice was disastrous. He had hardly entered 
on his government in the north before he quarrelled 
with the Greek emperor, who forced him to do pen- 
ance with a rope about his neck. Afterward he was 
taken prisoner by Nour-ed-Din, who only liberated 
' him after sixteen years, when his wife was dead. He 

soon married ag^in, this time also another great heir- 
ess, Etiennette de Milly, Lady of Karak and Montreal, 
and, as her husband, Reginald became commander of 
the fortress of Karak to the east of the Dead Sea, 
which formed the defence against Eg^pt. But as 
the commander of so important a post, this reckless 
and rapacious adventurer defied the authority of his 
feudal superior, and by plundering caravans on the 
Damascus road so irritated Saladin that ''in 1187 he 
burst, with a powerful army, into the Holy Land, 
made King Guy prisoner, and the Prince Reginald, 
whose head he cut off with his own hand." ^ 

Guy de Lusignan had been crowned at Jerusalem 

> la FmmilUs ^Ouin-Mir, Da Cangc, 405. 


the year before Saladin*s invasion, and when war 
broke out he was at feud with the Count of Tripoli. 
The imminence of the common danger brought about 
some semblance of cohesion among the nobles, who 
agreed to put every available man in the field. The 
castles were stripped of their garrisons so that they 
were indefensible in case of reverse, and about fifty 
thousand troops were concentrated at Sepphoris in 

The contingents of the Temple and Hospital were 
well organized and well disciplined, but the army, as 
a whole, was rather a loose gathering of the retainers 
of thirty or forty independent chiefs, than a compact 
mass, subject to a single will, such as the Egyptian 
revenues enabled Saladin to put in the field. 

Suddenly news came to Sepphoris, that the Saracens 
had poured through the pass of Banias and lay before 
Tiberias. Dissensions broke out at once, which Guy 
de Lusignan could not control He was not a man 
of strong character, and had he been, he was only one 
among a dozen princes, any one of whom could quit 
the army and retire to his castle if he felt so disposed. 
The Count of Tripoli, who seems to have been the 
ablest soldier among the Franks, saw the folly of 
leaving water and marching across a burning country 
under a July sun, instead of waiting to be attacked. 
As he represented, he of all men was most interested 
in relieving Tiberias, for it was his town, and his wife 
was within the walls ; yet such was the jealousy of 
him in the Latin camp that his advice was rejected, 
and an advance beg^n on July 3, 1 187. 

Three miles from Tiberias the action opened by a 
furious attack on the rearguard, formed by the Temple 


and the Hospital. When they gave ground Guy lost 
heart and ordered a halt The night which followed 
was frightful. The Moslems fired the dry under- 
growth, and, amidst flames and smoke, the Franks 
lay till dawn, tormented by hunger and thirst, and 
exposed to clouds of arrows which the enemy poured 
in on them. 

At dawn fighting began again, but the demoralized 
infantry fled to a hill, whence they refused to move. 
The Count of Tripoli, seeing the battle lost, cut his 
way out with a band of his followers, but Guy de 
Lusignan, Reginald de Chatillon, and a multitude of 
knights and nobles were captured. The orders were 
practically annihilated, the whole able-bodied popula- 
tion cut to pieces, and the holy cross, which had been 
borne before the host as an invincible engine of war, 
was seized and defiled on the mountain where Jesus 
taught his disciples to love their enemies. 

Emmad-Eddin, an Arabic historian, has described 
the veneration of the Christians for their talisman, 
their adoration of it in peace, and their devotion to it 
in battles ; and his words help a modern generation 
to conceive the shock its worshippers received when 
it betrayed its helplessness. 

''The great cross was taken before the king, and many of 
the impious sought death about it. When it was held aloft 
the infidels bent the knee and bowed the head. They had 
enriched it with gold and jewels ; they carried it on days of 
great solemnity, and looked upon it as their first duty to 
defend it in battle. The capture of this cron was more 
grievous to them than the capture of their king." 



Most writers on the crusades have noticed the 
change which followed the battle of Tiberias. Pigeon- 
neau, for example, in his History of Commerce^ pointed 
out that, after the loss of Jerusalem, the Christians 
" became more and more intent on economic in- 
terests," and the "crusades became more and more 
political and commercial, rather than religious, expe- 
ditions." ^ 

In other words, when decentralization reached its 
limit, the form of competition changed, and consolida- 
tion began. With the reopening of the valley of the 
Danube, the current turned. At first the tide ran 
feebly, but after the conquest of the Holy Land the 
channels of trade altered ; capital began to accumu- 
late ; and by the thirteenth century money controlled 
Palestine and Italy, and was rapidly subduing France. 
Heyd remarked that "the commerce to the Levant 
took a leap, during the crusades, of which the bold- 
est imagination could hardly have dreamed shortly 
before," ' because the possession of the Syrian ports 
brought Europe into direct communication with Asia, 
and accelerated exchanges. 

1 Hi$mre di la Commtrte dt la France^ 1 32. 

^ Hiiuire du Commerce du Levant^ Heyd, French trans., i. 163. 



From the dawn of European history to the rise of 
modern London, the Eastern trade has enriched every 
community where it has centred, and, among others. 
North ItaJy in the Middle Ages. Venice, Florence, 
Genoa, and Pisa were its creations. 

In the year 452, when the barbarian migrations 
were flowing over the Roman provinces in steadily 
increasing volume, the Huns sacked Aquileia, and 
the inhabitants of the ravaged districts fled for shelter 
to the islands which lie in the shallow water at the 
head of the Adriatic. For many generations these 
fugitives remained poor, subsisting mainly on fish, 
and selling salt as their only product ; but gradually 
they developed into a race highly adapted to flourish 
under the conditions which began to prevail after the 
council of Clermont. 

Isolated save toward the sea, without agriculture 
or mines, but two paths were open to them, piracy 
and commerce : and they excelled in both. By the 
reign of Charlemagne they were prosperous ; and 
when the closing of the valley of the Danube forced 
trafiic to go by sea, Venice and Amalfi obtained a 
monopoly of what was left of the Eastern trade. For 
many years, however, that trade was not highly lucra- 
tive. Though Rome always offered a certain market 
for brocades for vestments and for altar coverings, 
for incense, and jewels for shrines, ready money was 
scarce, the West having few products which Asiatics 
or Africans were willing to take in exchange for 
their goods. Therefore it was not through enter- 
prises sanctioned by the priesthood, that Venice won 
in the economic competition which began to prevail in 
the eleventh century. 


Venetians prospered because they were bolder and 
more unscrupulous than their neighbours. They did 
without conipunction what was needful for gain, even 
when the needful thing was a damnable crime in the 
eyes of the devout. 

The valley of the Nile, though fertile, produces 
neither wood nor iron, nor men of the fighting type ; 
for these the caliphs were ready to pay, and the 
Venetians provided them all. Even as early as 971 
dealings with the common enemy in material of war 
had reached proportions which not only stimulated 
the Emperor John Zimisces to energetic diplomatic 
remonstrance, but made him threaten to burn all the 
ships he captured laden with suspicious cargoes. 

To sell timber for ships, and iron for swords, to the 
Saracens, was a mortal sin in children of the Church ; 
but such a sin was as nothing beside the infamy of 
kidnapping believers as slaves for infidels, who made 
them soldiers to fight against their God. Charle- 
magne and the popes after him tried to suppress the 
traffic, but without avail. Slaving was so lucrative 
that it was carried on in the streets of Rome herself,^ 
and in the thirteenth century two thousand Europeans 
were annually disposed of in Damietta and Alexandria, 
from whom the Mamelukes, the finest corps of soldiers 
in the East, were recruited. 

Thus a race grew up in Italy, which differed from 
the people of France and Germany because of the 
absence of those qualities which had caused the Ger- 
mans to survive when the inhabitants of the Empire 
decayed. The mediaeval Italians prospered because 
they were lacking in the imagination which made the 

1 Hutoire du Levant^ Heyd, French trans., L 95. 


Northern peoples subservient to the miracle- worker, 
and among mediaeval Italians the Venetians, from 
their exposed position, came to be the most daring, 
energetic, and unscrupulous. By the end of the 
eleventh century their fleet was so superior to the 
Greek, that the Emperor Alexis had to confide to 
them the defence of the harbour of Durazzo against 
Robert Guiscard. Guiscard attacked Durazzo in 
1081, at the time of the revolution which immediately 
preceded the debasement of the Byzantine coinage ; 
and the demonstration that Venice had already ab- 
sorbed most of the carrying trade, seems to prove 
that, during the last half of the eleventh century, the 
centre of exchanges had a pronounced tendency to 
abandon Constantinople. Moreover, the result of the 
campaign showed that the Venetian navy was the 
strongest in the Mediterranean, and this was of vital 
moment to the success of the crusades twenty years 
later, for, without the command of the sea, the perma- 
nent occupation of Palestine would have been impos- 

After the capture of Jerusalem in 1099, ^Ifnost the 
first operations of Godfrey de Bouillon were against 
the Syrian ports ; but as he controlled too small a 
force to act alone, he made a treaty with Venice, 
by which, in consideration of two hundred ships, he 
promised to cede to her a third part of every town 
taken. Baldwin made a similar arrangement with 
the Genoese, and, as the coast was subdued, the 
Italian cities assumed their grants, and established 
their administrations. In the end the Venetians 
predominated at Tyre, the Genoese at Acre, and 
the Pisans at Antioch. Before the discovery of the 


Cape of Good Hope, the spices, drugs, brocades, 
carpets, porcelains, and gems of India and China, 
reached the Mediterranean mainly by two routes. 
One by way of the Persian Gulf to Bagdad, up the 
Euphrates to Rakka, and by land to Aleppo, whence 
they were conveyed by caravan either to Antioch or 
Damascus. Damascus, beside being the starting- 
place of caravans for Mecca and Egypt, and the 
emporium for the products of Persia, had impor- 
tant manufactures of its own. Its glass, porcelain, 
steel, and brocades were famous, and it was a chief 
market for furs, which were highly prized through- 
out the Middle Ages, when heating was not under- 

The second route was by water. Indian merchants 
usually sold their cargoes at Aden, whence they were 
taken to a port in Upper Egypt, floated down the 
Nile to Cairo, and bought by Europeans at Damietta 
or Alexandria. The products of Egypt itself were 
valuable, and next to Constantinople, Cairo was the 
richest city west of the Indus. 

What Europe gave to the Orientals in return is not 
so well known ; but, beside raw materials and slaves, 
her woollens were much esteemed. At all events, 
exchanges must have become niore favourable to 
her, as is proved by the increased supply of the 
precious metals. 

Why the short period of expansion, which followed 
upon the re-establishment of the silver standard in 
the West, should have been succeeded by a sharp 
contraction is unknown, but the fact seems proved 
by the coinage. In the reign of Charlemagne a 
silver pound of 7680 grains was made the mone- 


tary unit, which was divided into 240 denarii, or 

For some time these pence were tolerably main- 
tained, but as the empire of Charlemagne disinte- 
grated, they deteriorated until, by the end of the 
twelfth century, those coined at Venice were but a 
quarter of their original weight and three parts alloy.' 
After Hattin a new expansion began, in which Venice 
took the lead. The battle was fought in 1187, and 
some years later, but probably before 1 200, the grosso 
was struck, a piece of fine silver, of good weight, which 
thereafter was maintained at the standard. Half a 
century later gold appeared. Florence coined the 
florin in 1252, Venice the ducat in 1284, and, be- 
tween the two dates, Saint Louis issued his crowns. 

The return of the precious metals to the West 
indicated a revival of trade and a change in the 
form of competition. Instead of the imagination, 
the economic faculty began to predominate, and 
energy chose money as its vent. Within a genera- 
tion the miracle fell decisively in power, and the 
beginning of this most crucial of social revolutions 
is visible in the third crusade, the famous expedition 
led by Philip Augustus and Coeur de Lion. 

These two g^eat soldiers probably learned the art 
of fortification at the siege of Acre, the most re- 
markable passage of arms of the Middle Ages. The 
siege is said to have cost one hundred thousand 
lives, and certainly called forth all the engineering 

' Sec, on thb <|«cttiofi of cheaper money ta the Carlovingian period, 
NtiPemm Afsmmti de Afmmismstiqtu, BUochet, t loi ; alto /fitimrg 
dm Commerce de U Framee, Pigeonneas, 87 // i/f . 

* U M0mHe di Vemetis, Papadopoli, 73. 


skill of the time. Guy de Lusignan, having been 
liberated by Saladin soon after Hattin, wandered 
about the country, abandoned and forlorn, until at 
last he sat down before Acre, in 1189, with a force 
inferior to the garrison. There he was joined by the 
kings of France and England, who succeeded in cap- 
turing the city after a desperate defence of two years. 
An immense booty was taken, but the clergy com- 
plained that two secular princes had embezzled the 
heritage of God. On the other hand, the troops had 
not received the usual assistance from miracles ; for 
though assaults were delivered almost daily, none 
were worked, and the Virgin herself only appeared 
once, and then so quietly as to arouse no enthusiasm. 

After the surrender Philip went home, while 
Richard remained in command. The whole country 
had been overrun, only a few strongholds like the 
Krak des Chevaliers and Tortosa held out ; and 
Richard, far from following the example of the first 
crusaders, who marched straight for the relics at 
Jerusalem, turned his attention to re-establishing the 
centres of trade upon the coast. 

He moved south along the shore, keeping close to 
his fleet, with the enemy following on the mountains. 
As he approached Joppa, the Saracens descended into 
the plain and gave battle. They were decisively de- 
feated, and Richard occupied Joppa without resist- 
ance. From Joppa the road ran direct to Jerusalem. 
The way was not long nor the country difficult, 
and there is no reason to suppose an attack to have 
been particularly hazardous. On the contrary, when 
Richard advanced, the opposition was not unusually 
stubborn, and he actually pursued the enemy to 


within sight of the walls. Yet he resolutely resisted 
the pressure of the clergy to undertake a siege, the 
inference being that the power which controlled him 
held Jerusalem to be worthless. That power must 
have been capital, for the treaty which he negotiated 
was as frankly mercenary as though made in modern 
times. The seaboard from Tyre to Joppa was ceded 
to the Franks ; Ascalon, which was the key to £gypt» 
was dismantled, and the only mention made of Jeru- 
salem was that it should be open to pilgrims in the 
future, as it had been in the past. Of the cross, 
which fifty years before had been prized above all 
the treasures of the East, not a word was said, nor 
does it appear that, after Hattin, either Infidels or 
Christians attached a money value to it. 

Some chroniclers have insisted that Richard felt 
remorse at thus abandoning his God ; and when, in a 
skirmish, he saw the walls of Jerusalem, they related 
that he hid his face and wept. He may have done so, 
but, during his life, the time came when Christian 
knights felt naught but exultation at having success- 
fully bartered the Sepulchre for money. After Rich- 
ard's departure, the situation of the Franks in the 
Holy Land went rapidly from bad to worse. The 
decay of faith constantly relaxed the bond which had 
once united them against the Moslems, while they 
were divided amongst themselves by commercial jeal* 
ousies. The Temple and the Hospital carried on per- 
petual private wars about disputed property, the fourth 
crusade miscarried, and the garrison of Joppa was mas- 
sacred, while Europe looked on with indifference. 

When this point was reached, the instinct of self- 
preservation seems to have roused the clergy to the 


fact that their fate was bound up with the fate of the 
holy places : if the miracle were discredited, their 
reign was at an end. Accordingly, Innocent III., on 
his election, threw himself into a new agitation with 
all the intensity of his nature. Foulques de Neuilly 
was chosen to preach, like Saint Bernard ; but his 
success, at first, was not flattering. He was insulted 
publicly by Richard, and was even accused of having 
embezzled the funds entrusted to him. At length, 
in the year 1 199, Tybalt, Count of Champagne, and 
Louis, Count of Blois, took the cross at a tournament 
they were holding at the castle of Eery. They soon 
were joined by others, but probably the most famous 
baron of the pilgrimage was Simon de Montfort. 

At the end of the twelfth century the great fiefs 
had not been absorbed, and the Count of Champagne 
was a powerful sovereign. He was therefore chosen 
leader of the expedition, and, at a meeting held at 
Compiegne, the three chief princes agreed to send a 
committee of six to Venice to contract for transporta- 
tion. In this committee, Ville-Hardouin, who wrote 
the chronicle of the war, represented Tybalt. 

The doge was then Henry Dandolo, perhaps the 
most remarkable man Venice ever produced. Though 
nearly ninety-five, he was as vigorous as in middle 
life. A materialist and a sceptic, he was the best 
sailor, the ablest diplomatist, and the keenest specu- 
lator in Europe ; and while, as a statesman and a com- 
mander, he raised his country to the pinnacle of glory, 
he proved himself the easy superior of Innocent III. 
in intrigue. So eminent were his abilities that, by 
common consent, he was chosen leader of a force 
which held some of the foremost captains of the age ; 


and when, by his sagacity, Constantinople had been 
captured, he refused the imperial crown. 

Ville-Hardouin always spoke of him with deep re- 
spect as *'the good duke, exceeding wise and prudent ;" 
and, indeed, without him the Prankish princes would 
certainly have fallen victims to the cunning of the 
Greeks, whom he alone knew how to over-reach, and 
whom he hated because his eyes had been seared by 
the Emperor Manuel Comnenus, when he had been 
upon a mission at his court. 

In his bands the Prankish envoys were like children, 
bewildered by the wealth and splendour which sur- 
rounded them. After stating their errand to Dandolo, 
they waited eight days for an answer, and were then 
tendered a contract which has the look of having been 
part of a premeditated plan to ensnare the crusaders, 
and make them serve the republic. 

The Venetians bound themselves to provide ship- 
ping for 4500 knights with their horses, 9000 squires, 
and 20^000 foot, with provisions for nine months, for 
85,000 marks of silver; probably about equal to 
$5>500,ooo of our money. But beside this the city 
proposed, "for the love of God," to add fifty galleys, 
and divide the conquests equally. Whatever its 
character, and however much such obligations were 
beyond the ability of the Pranks, the contract was 
executed and sent to Innocent for ratification, who 
approved it with the proviso that no hostilities should 
be undertaken against Christians during the crusade. 
The pilgrims were to meet at Venice in the spring. 

When Ville-Hardouin returned, Tybalt was dying, 
and his loss threw all into confusion. Possibly also 
the suspicion spread that the Venetians had imposed 


on the committee, for many of the nobles sailed from 
other ports where better terms were to be made, 
among whom was Reginald de Dampierre, to whom 
Tybalt had confided his treasure. So, in the spring 
of 1202, hardly more than half the knights presented 
themselves at Venice, and these found it quite im- 
possible to meet their engagements. Even when the 
princes had sent their plate and jewels to the Ducal 
Palace, a deficit, estimated at 34,000 marks, remained. 

On their side the Venetians declined to make any 
abatement of their price, but offered as a compromise 
to give time, and collect the balance from plunder. 
As a preliminary they proposed an attack on Zara, 
an Adriatic port, which had revolted and transferred 
its allegiance to the King of Hungary. 

Few propositions could have been a greater outrage 
on the Church. Not only were the people of Zara 
fellow-Christians, against whom the Franks had no 
complaint, but the King of Hungary was himself a 
crusader, his dominions were under the protection 
of the pope, and an attack on him was tantamount 
to an attack on Rome herself. 

On these points difference of opinion was impos- 
sible, and the papal legate, with all the other ecclesi- 
astics, denounced the Venetians and threatened them 
with excommunication. The result showed that force 
already expressed itself in the West through money, 
and not through the imagination. 

What followed is the more interesting since it can 
be demonstrated that, when beyond the AJps, and 
withdrawn from the pressure of capital, the French 
barons were as emotional as ever. While these very 
negotiations were pending, the subjects of Philip 


Augustus had deserted him in a mass, and had grov- 
elled before Innocent as submissively as if he had 
been Hildebrand. 

The first wife of Philip Augustus was Ingeburga, 
a Danish princess, for whom he had an irrepressible 
disinclination. In 1 195 he obtained a divorce from 
her, by an assembly of prelates presided over by the 
Cardinal of Champagne. He then married Agnes de 
M^ranie, to whom he was devotedly attached ; Inge- 
burga appealed to Rome, and Innocent declared the 
divorce void, and ordered Philip to separate "from 
his concubine." 

Philip refused, and Innocent commanded his legate 
to put the kingdom under interdict. At Vienne, in 
the month of January, 1200, at the dead of night, the 
magical formulas were recited. When the Christ 
upon the altar had been veiled, the sacred wafer 
burned, the miracle-working corpses hidden in the 
crypt, before the shuddering people, the priest laid 
his curse upon the king until he should put away his 

From that hour all religious rites were suspended. 

The church doors were barred, the bells were silent, 

the sick died unshriven, the dead lay unburied. The 

king summoned his bishops, and threatened to drive 

them from France : it was of no avail. The barons 

shrank from him, his very men-at-arms fell off from 

him ; he was alone as Henry had been at Canossa. 

The people were frenzied, and even went to England 

to obtain priestly aid. The Count of Ponthieu had 

to marry Philip's sister at Rouen, within the Norman 


In his extremity Philip called a parliament at Paris, 


and Agnes, clad in mourning, implored protection, 
but not a man moved ; a mortal terror was in every 
heart. She was then in the seventh month. The 
assembly decided that the king must submit, and 
Agnes supplicated the pope not to divide her from 
her husband ; the crown, she said, was indifferent to 
her. But this was a struggle for supremacy, and 
Innocent was inexorable. A council was convened 
at Nfelle, where Philip promised to take back Inge- 
burga and part from Agnes. He explained that she 
was pregnant, and to leave the realm might kill her ; 
but the priests demanded absolute submission, and 
he swore upon the evangelists to see her no more. 
Agnes, broken by her misery, set forth for a Nor- 
man castle, where she died in bearing a son, whom 
she called Tristan, from her sorrow at his birth. 

The soldier, who belonged to the old imaginative 
society, had been conquered by the Church, which 
was the incarnation of the imagination ; but Dandolo 
was a different development. He was the creation 
of economic competition, and he trampled the clergy 
under his feet. 

Although, apparently, profoundly sceptical, as the 
man must be who is the channel through which 
money acts, he understood how to play upon the 
imaginations of others, and arranged a solemn func- 
tion to glorify the Sepulchre. One Sunday he sum- 
moned both citizens and pilgrims to Saint Mark's, 
and mounting the pulpit, he addressed the congre- 

" My lords, you arc engaged to the greatest people of the 
world, for the highest enterprise that ever was undertaken ; 
amd I am old and feeble, and need repose, and am infirm 


in body ; but I see that none can command and control you 
as I can, who am your doge. If you will permit me to take 
the cron to lead you, and let my son stay here in my place 
and conduct the government, I will go to live or die with 
foo, and with the pilgrims."^ 

Ville-Hardouin's simple chronicle shows how per- 
fectly the old man knew his audience : — 

''There was great pity among the people of the country 
and the pilgrims, and many tears were shed, because this 
worthy man had so much cause to stay behind ; for he was 
oU and ... his sight poor/' ' 

Amidst an outburst of enthusiasm assent was 
given. Then, while the church rang with shouts, 
Dandolo knelt before the altar, in a passion of tears 
fixed the cross to the ducal bonnet, and rose, the 
commander of the finest army in the world. 

And Dandolo was a great commander; a com- 
mander of the highest stamp. He tolerated no 
insubordination, and trod the clergy down. When 
Peter of Capua, the papal legate, interfered, Dandolo 
sternly told him that the army of Christ lacked not 
for military chiefs, and that if priests would stay 
therein they must content themselves with prayers. 

A Cistercian monk, named Gunther, who had been 
appointed to follow his abbot on the pilgrimage, kept 
a chronicle of what he saw. His superior, named 
Martin, was so disheartened at Venice that he asked 
the legate for absolution from his vow, and for per- 
mission to return to his convent at Bile; but this 
request the cardinal refused. The priests had deter- 
mined to stay by Dandolo and fight him to the last. 

1 ViUi'lUrdtmm. cd. WaiDjr, m. 65. * IhU, 


Therefore the abbot sailed with the Venetians, but he 
learned a bitter lesson at Zara. There the clergy 
received a letter from Innocent, explaining the posi- 
tion of the Church, and threatening with excommuni- 
cation all who should molest the King of Hungary. 
Simon de Montfort and a portion of the more devout, 
who had from the first been scandalized at the con- 
tract made with Dandolo, then withdrew and camped 
apart ; and, at a meeting called to consider the situa- 
tion, Guy, Abbot of Vaux-de-Cemay, tried to read the 
letter. An outbreak followed, and some of the chron- 
iclers assert that the Venetians would have murdered 
Guy, had not Simon de Montfort stood by him sword 
in hand.' 

On the main point there is no doubt. The priests 
ignominiously failed to protect their ally ; the attack 
was made, and nothing shows that even de Montfort 
refused to share in it, or to partake of the plunder 
after the city fell. There was no resistance. The 
besieged made no better defence than hanging crosses 
on their walls, and on the fifth day capitulated. First 
the Franks divided the plunder with the Italians ; then 
they sent an embassy to Rome to ask for absolution. 

They alleged that they were helpless, and either had 
to accept the terms offered by Dandolo, or abandon 
their enterprise. Innocent submitted. He coupled 
his forgiveness, indeed, with the condition that the 
plunder should be returned ; ^ yet no record remains 
that a single mark, of all the treasures taken from 
Zara, ever found its way back to the original owners. 

The Venetians neither asked for pardon nor noticed 

* Hiitorient de la France^ xix. 23. 

* Pairoi^gia Cursm CompUtui^ Migne, ccxiv. 1 1 So. 


the excommunication. On the contrary, Dandolo 
used the time when the envoys were at Rome in 
maturing the monstrous crime of diverting the cru- 
sade from Palestine to Constantinople. 

Just before the departure from Venice, an event 
happened which Vilie-Hardouin called "one of the 
greatest marvels you ever heard of." In 1195 the 
Greek emperor, named Isaac, had been dethroned, 
imprisoned, and blinded by his brother Alexis, who 
usurped the throne. Isaac's son, also named Alexis, 
escaped, and took shelter with his brother-in-law, 
Philip of Swabia. Philip could not help him, but 
suggested to him to apply to the crusaders in Venice, 
and ask them for aid. Whether or not this applica- 
tion had been arranged by Dandolo, does not appear. 
Alexis went to Venice, where he was cordially re- 
ceived by the doge ; but as the fleet was then weigh- 
ing anchor, his affairs were postponed until after the 
attack on Zara, when an embassy from Philip arrived, 
which brought up the whole situation at Constanti- 
nople for consideration. In the struggle which fol- 
lowed between the Venetians and the Church, the 
Franks lay like a prize destined to fall to the stronger, 
and in Gunther's narrative the love the priests bore 
their natural champions can be plainly seen. In the 
thirteenth century, as in the fifth century, the eccle- 
siastics recognized that over a monied oligarchy they 
could never have control ; accordingly the monks 
hated the Venetians, whom Gunther stigmatized as 
"a people excessively greedy of money," always ready 
to commit sacrilege for gain. 

On his side Dandolo followed his instinct, and tried 
to bribe the pope by offering him an union of the 


communions. But Innocent was inflexible. He wrote 
in indignation that the crusaders had sworn to avenge 
the wrongs of Christ, and likened those who should 
turn back to Lot*s wife, whom God turned into a 
pillar of salt for disobeying his commands.^ 

Yet, though the priesthood put forth its whole 
strength, it was beaten. The power of wealth was 
too great. No serious defection took place. Ville- 
Hardouin gave a list of those who left the fleet, 
among whom was Simon de Montfort, adding con- 
temptuously, "Thus those left the host, . . . which 
was g^eat shame to them." ' 

Judging by the words alone, a century might have 
separated the writer and his comrades from the 
barons who abandoned Agnes to Innocent ; yet they 
were the same men transplanted to an economic 
civilization, and excited by the power of wealth. 

On Easter Monday, 1203, the fleet sailed for Corfu, 
where another and more serious split occurred. But 
the dazzling prize finally prevailed over the fear of the 
supernatural, and, getting under way once more, the 
pilgrims crossed the Sea of Marmora, and anchored 
at the convent of Saint Stephen, about twelve miles 
from Constantinople. Since exchanges had again 
returned to Italy, the vitality of the Greek Empire 
had burned low. It was failing fast through inani- 
tion. But Byzantium was still defended by those 
stupendous fortifications which were impregnable 
from the land, and only to be assailed from the sea 
by an admiral of genius. 

Such an one was Dandolo, a born seaman, sagacious 

' Hittcriens dt la France^ xix. 42 1. 
' Ckrpnique, ed. Buchon, 44. 


yet fiery; and, besides, a pilot of the port. At a 
council of war he laid out a plan of campaign : — 

^ My lordSy I know more of the character of this coun- 
try than you do, for I have been here before. You have 
before you the greatest and most perilous enterprise which 
any men have ever undertaken, and therefore it would be 
wdl that we should act prudently." ' 

He then explained how the attack should be made ; 
and had the Franks implicitly obeyed him, the town 
would have been carried at the first assault. Three 
days later the allies occupied Scutari, the Asiatic 
suburb of Constantinople, and lay there ten days 
collecting supplies. On the twelfth they stormed 
the tower of Galata, which commanded Pcra, the key 
to the Golden Horn. While the action was going on, 
Dandolo forced his way into the port. The entrance 
was defended not only by a great tower, but by a 
huge iron chain, fastened to piles, and covered by 
twenty galleys armed with machines. 

Nothing stopped the Venetians. Disregarding the 
fire, the sailors sprang on the chain, and from thence 
gained the decks of the Greek galleys, whose crews 
they threw overboard. Meanwhile, one of the Italian 
ships, provided with steel shears, bore down on the 
cable, cut it, and led the way into the harbour. 

The weakest part of the walls being uncovered, 
Dandolo insisted that the only hope for success lay 
in assaulting from ship-board where the battlements 
were lowest ; but the French obstinately refused to 
depart from their habits, and determined to fight on 
borsebaclc The event proved Dandolo's wisdom; 

^ ytUi-iUrdtuim, cd. Bucbon, 51. 


for though the attack failed through the mistake of 
dividing the force, and of attempting the fortifica- 
tions toward the land, the doge so led his sailors 
that Ville-Hardouin kindled with enthusiasm as he 
told the talc. 

When the old man saw his ships recoil before the 
tremendous fire from the battlements, 

** so that the galleys could not make the land, then there 
was seen a strange sight, for the duke of Venice, who was 
an old man, and saw not well, was fully armed and com- 
manded his galley, and had the gonfalon of Saint Mark's 
before him ; and he cried to his men to put him ashore, or 
if they would not he would do justice on their bodies ; and 
they brought the galley to shore, and they sallied forth and 
carried the banner before him to the shore. And when the 
Venetians saw the gonfalon of Saint Mark's ashore, and the 
galley of the lord ashore before them, they were all ashamed 
and made for the land, and rushed out from their ships pell- 
mell. Then might one see a marvellous assault. And thus 
testifies Geoffrey de Ville-Hardouin, the marshal of Cham- 
pagne, who dictates this book, that more than forty declare 
they saw the banner of Saint Mark of Venice on one of the 
towers, and none knew who carried it thither.'* ' 

Once a foothold on the ramparts had been gained, 
the Greeks fled, twenty-five towers fell in quick suc- 
cession, and the Italians had already entered the 
streets and fired the houses to drive the enemy from 
the roofs, when news was brought that Alexis was 
advancing from the gates, and threatened to envelop 
the French. Indeed, the danger was extreme ; for, 
as Ville-Hardouin explained, the crusaders were won- 
drous few when compared with the garrison, for they 

1 Ckr0Miqu€ de Ville-Hardouin^ ed. Buchon, 69. 



" had SO many men we should all have been engulfed 
amongst them." ^ With the instinct of a great com- 
mander, Dandolo instantly sounded a retreat, aban- 
doned the half-conquered town, and hastened to the 
support of his allies. He reached the ground oppor- 
tunely, for Alexis, when he saw the reinforcement, 
retreated without striking a blow. 

That night Alexis fled, leaving Constantinople 
without a government ; and the people took the 
blind Isaac from his dungeon and set him on the 
throne. In theory, therefore, the work of the crusa- 
ders was done, and they were free to embark for 
Palestine to battle for the Sepulchre. In fact, the 
thing they came for remained to be obtained, and 
what they demanded amounted to the ruin of the 
empire. Young Alexis had promised 200,000 marks 
of silver, to join the crusade himself, to provide ra- 
tions for a year, and to recognize the supremacy of 
Rome ; but such promises were impossible to fulfil. 
During a delay of six months the situation daily grew 
more strained, a bitter hatred sprang up between the 
foreigners and the natives, riots broke out, conflagra- 
tions followed, and at last the allies sent a deputation 
to the palace to demand the execution of the treaty. 

In despair, Alexis attacked the fleet with fire-ships, 
and his failure led to a revolution in which he was 
killed. Isaac died from terror, and one Moursouflfle 
was raised to the throne. In their extremity the 
Greeks had recourse to treachery, and nearly suc- 
ceeded in enticing the Prankish princes to a banquet, 
at which they were to have been assassinated. The 
plot was frustrated by the sagacity of Dandolo, who 

> Ckrmifm, cd. WtiUy, mrU. 178. 


would allow no one to trust themselves within the 
walls ; then both sides prepared for war. 

Defeat had taught the Franks obedience, and they 
consented to serve on the galleys. They embarked 
on April 8, 1204, to be ready for an assault in the 
morning. But though the attack was made in more 
than one hundred places at once, "yet for our sins 
were the pilgrims repulsed." Then the landsmen 
proposed to try some other part of the walls, but the 
sailors told them that elsewhere the current would 
sweep them away ; and " know/' said the marshal, 
" there were some who would have been well content 
had the current swept them away" altogether, "for 
they were in great peril." * 

This repulse fell on a Friday ; the following Mon- 
day the attack was renewed, and at first with small 
success, but at length — 

"Our Lord raised a wind called Boreas . . . and two 
ships which were lashed together, the one named the Pii- 
grim and the other the Paradise^ approached a tower on 
either side, just as God and the wind brought them, so that 
the ladder of the Pilgrim was fixed to the tower; and 
straightway a Venetian and a French knight . . . scaled 
the tower, and others followed them, and those in the tower 
were discomforted and fled." * 

From the moment the walls were carried, the battle 
turned into a massacre. The ramparts were scaled 
in all directions, the gates were burst open with bat- 
tering rams, the allies poured into the streets, and one 
of the most awful sacks of the Middle Ages began. 

Nothing was so sacred as to escape from pillage. 

* Ckroniquiy ed. Wailly, lii. 259. ' Ckronique^ ed. Buchon, 96. 


The tombs of the emperors were violated, and the 
body of Justinian stripped. The altar of the Virgin, 
the glory of Saint Sophia, was broken in pieces, and 
the veil of the sanctuary torn to rags. The crusaders 
played dice on the tables which represented the 
apostles, and drank themselves drunk in the holy 
chalices. Horses and mules were driven into the 
sanctuary, and when they fell under their burdens, 
the blood from their wounds stained the floor of the 
cathedral. At last a young prostitute mounted the 
patriarch's chair, intoned a lewd chant, and danced 
before the pilgrims. Thus fell Constantinople, by 
the arms of the soldiers of Christ, on the twelfth day 
of April, in the year one thousand two hundred and 
four. Since the sack of Rome by Alaric no such 
prize had ever fallen to a victor, and the crusaders 
were drunk with their success. Ville-Hardouin esti- 
mated that the share of the Franks, after deducting 
some fifty thousand marks which the Venetians col- 
lected from them, came to four hundred thousand 
marks of silver, not to speak of masses of plunder of 
which no account was taken. The gain was so great 
there seemed no end to the gold and silver, the pre- 
cious stones, the silks, the ermines, and whatever was 
costly in the world. 

''And Geoflfrey de Ville-Hardouin testifies of his own 
knowledge, that since the beginning of time, there was 
never so much taken in one town. Every one took what he 
wanted, and there was enough. Thus were the host of the 
pilgrims and of the Venetians quartered, and there was great 
joy and honour for the victory which God had given them, 
moet those who had been poor were rich and happy." * 

* Ckr^mi^me^ ed. BochoD, 99. 


In obedience to the soothsayers, the devotees of 
Louis the Pious had perished by tens of thousands, 
and over their corpses the Moslems had marched to 
victory. The defenders of Christ's cross had been 
slaughtered like sheep upon the mountains of the 
Beatitudes, and sold into slavery in herds at Damas- 
cus and Aleppo ; even the men who, at the bidding 
of God's vicar, had left Dandolo to fight for the Sep- 
ulchre upon the barren hills of Palestine, had been 
immolated. Five hundred had perished in shipwreck, 
more had been massacred in Illyria, none had re- 
ceived reward. But those who, in defiance of the 
supernatural and in contempt of their vow, had 
followed the excommunicated Venetian to plunder 
fellow-Christians, had won immeasurable glory, and 
been sated with incalculable spoil. 

The pilgrims who, constant to the end, had been 
spilling their blood in God's service, came trooping 
to the Bosphorus to share in the last remaining 
crumbs ; the knights of the Temple and the Hospital 
set sail for Greece, where money might still be made 
by the sword, and the King of Jerusalem stood before 
the Tomb, naked unto his enemies. Innocent him- 
self was cowed ; his commands had been disregarded 
and his curse defied ; laymen had insulted his legate, 
and had, without consulting him, divided among 
themselves the patronage of the Church ; and yet 
for the strongest there was no moral law. When 
Baldwin announced that he was emperor, the pope 
called him " his dearest son," and received his sub- 
jects into the Roman communion.* 

But yesterday, the greatest king of Christendom 

> PatrologitM Cursui Ccm^Utus, Migne, ccxv. 454. 



had stood weeping, begging for the life of his wife ; 
a hundred years earlier an emperor had stood bare- 
foot. and freezing in the snow, at the gate of Canossa, 
as a penance for rebellion; but in 1204 a Venetian 
merchant was blessed by the haughtiest of popes for 
having stolen Christ's army, made war on his flock, 
spumed his viceregent, flouted his legate, and usurped 
his patrimony. He had appointed a patriarch with- 
out a reference to Rome. All was forgiven, the ap- 
pointment was confirmed, the sinner was shriven ; 
nothing could longer resist the power of money, for 
consolidation had begun. 

Yet. though nature may discriminate against him, 
the emotionalist will always be an emotionalist, for 
such is the texture of his brain ; and while he breathes, 
he will hate the materialist. The next year Baldwin 
was defeated and captured by the Bulgarians, and then 
Innocent wrote a letter to the Marquis of Montferrat, 
which showed how the wound had rankled when he 
blessed the conqueror. 

He said bitterly : — 

** You had nothing against the Greeks, and you were false 
to your vows because you did not fight the Saracens, but the 
Christians ; you did not capture Jerusalem, but Constanti- 
nople; you preferred earthly to heavenly treasures. But 
what was far graver, you have spared neither religion, nor 
age, nor sex, and you have committed adulteries, fomica- 
tiotts and incests before men's eyes. . . . Nor did the iro* 
penal treasures suffice you, nor the plunder alike of rich and 
poor. You laid your hands on the possessions of the Church, 
foo tore the silver panels from the altars, you broke mto the 
sanctuaries and carried away the images, the crosses and the 
relicsy so that the Greeks, though afflicted by persecution, 
scorn to render obedience to the apostolic chair, since they 


see in the Latins nothing but an example of perdition and 
of the works of darkness, and therefore rightly abhor them 
more than dogs." * 

For the north and west of Europe the crusade of 
Constantinople seems to have been the turning point 
whence the imagination rapidly declined. At the 
opening of the thirteenth century, everything shows 
that the genuine ecstatic type predominated in the 
Church — the quality of mind which believed in the 
miracle, and therefore valued the amulet more than 
money. Innocent himself, with all his apparent 
worldliness, must have been such a man ; for, though 
the material advantages of a union with the Greek 
Church far outweighed the Sepulchre, his resistance 
to the diversion of the army from Palestine was un- 
shaken to the last. The same feeling permeated the 
inferior clergy; and an anecdote told by Gunther 
shows that even so late as the year 1204 the monks 
unaffectedly despised wealth in its vulgar form. 

" When therefore the victors set themselves with alacrity to 
spoil the conquered town, which was theirs by right of war, 
the abbot Martin began to think about his share of the plun- 
der ; and lest, when everything had been given to others, 
he should be left empty-handed, he proposed to stretch out 
his consecrated hand to the booty. But since he thought 
the taking of secular things unworthy, he bestirred himself to 
obtain a portion of the sacred relics, which he knew were 
there in great quantities." * 

The idea was no sooner conceived than executed. 
Although private marauding was punished with death, 
he did not hesitate, but hastened to a church, where 

* Mi^e, ccxv. 712. 

* Htiioria Caput a Latinis ConUantinopoUoi^ Migne, ccxii. 19. 


be found a frightened old monk upon his knees, whom 
he commanded in a terrible voice to produce his relics 
or prepare for death. He was shown a chest full to 
the brim. Plunging in his arms, he took all he could 
carry, hurried to his ship and hid his booty in his cabin ; 
and he did this in a town whose streets were literally 
flowing with gold and silver. He had his reward. 
Though a sacrilegious thief, angels guarded him by 
sea and land until he reached his cloister at Bile. 
Then he distributed his plunder through the diocese. 

Occasionally, when the form of competition has 
abruptly changed, nature works rapidly. Within a 
tingle generation after Hat tin, the attitude, not only 
of the laity but of the clergy, had been reversed, and 
money was recognized, even by the monks, as the 
end of human effort. 

The relics at Jerusalem had first drawn the crusad- 
ers to the East, and, incidentally, the capture of the 
Syrian seaports led to the reopening of trade and the 
recentralization of the Western world. As long as 
imagination remained the dominant force, and the 
miracle retained its power, the ambition of the 
Franks was limited to holding the country which 
contained their talismans ; but as wealth accumu- 
lated, and the economic type began to supplant the 
ecstatic, a different policy came to prevail. 

Beside the cities of the Holy Land, two other por- 
tions of the levant had a high money value — the 
Bosphorus and the valley of the Nile. In spite of 
Rome, the Venetians, in 1204, had seized Constan- 
tinople; at the Lateran council of 1215, Innocent 
himself proposed an attack on Cairo. Though con- 
ceived by Innocent, the details of the campaign were 


arranged by Honorius III., who was consecrated in 
July, 1816; these details are, however, unimportant: 
the interest of the crusade lies in its close. John of 
Brienne, King of Jerusalem, nominally commanded, 
but the force he led little resembled Dandolo's. Far 
from being that compact mass which can only be 
given cohesion by money, it rather had the character 
of such an hysterical mob as Louis the Pious led to 

After some semblance of a movement on Jeru- 
salem, the army was conveyed to the Delta of the 
Nile, and Damietta was invested in 12 18. Here the 
besiegers amounted to little more than a fluctuating 
rabble of pilgrims, who came and went at their pleas- 
ure, usually serving about six months. Among such 
material, military discipline could not exist ; but, on 
the contrary, the inflammable multitude were pecul- 
iarly adapted to be handled by a priest, and soon the 
papal legate assumed control. Cardinal Pelagius was 
a Spaniard who had been promoted by Innocent in 
1 306. His temperament was highly emotional, and, 
armed with plenary power by Honorius, he exerted 
himself to inflame the pilgrims to the utmost. After 
a blockade of eighteen months Damietta was reduced 
to extremity, and to save the city the sultan offered 
the whole Holy Land, except the fortress of Karak, 
together with the funds needed to rebuild the walls 
of Jerusalem. King John, and all the soldiers, who 
understood the difficulty of invading Egypt, favoured 
a peace ; but Pelagius, whose heart was fixed on the 
plunder of Cairo, prevented the council from reach- 
ing a decision. Therefore the siege went on, and 
presently the ramparts were carried without loss, as 


the whole population had perished from hunger and 

This victory made Pelagius a dictator, and he in- 
sisted on an advance on the capital. John, and the 
grand masters of the military orders, pointed out 
the disaster which must follow, as it was July, and 
the Nile was rising. In a few weeks the country 
would be under water. Moreover, the fleet could 
not ascend the river, therefore the army must be 
isolated in the heart of a hostile country, and prob- 
ably overwhelmed by superior numbers. 

Pelagius reviled them. He told them God loved 
not cowardsy but champions who valued his glory 
more than they feared death. He threatened them 
with excommunication should they hang baclc Near 
midsummer, 1221, the march began, and the pilgrims 
advanced to the apex of the delta, where they halted, 
with the enemy on the opposite shore. 

The river was level with its banks, the situation was 
desperate, and yet even then the sultan sent an em- 
bassy offering the whole of the Holy Land in exchange 
for the evacuation of Egypt. The soldiers of all nations 
were strenuously for peace, the priests as strenuously 
for war. They felt confident of repeating the sack of 
Constantinople at Cairo, nor can there be a greater 
contrast than Martin spuming the wealth of Constan- 
tinople as dross, and Pelagius rejecting the Sepulchre 
that he might glut himself with Egyptian wealth. 

But all history shows that the emotionalist cannot 
compete with the materialist upon his own ground. 
In the end, under free economic competition, he 
roust be eliminated. Pelagius tarried idly in the jaws 
of death until the Nile rose and engulfed him. 



Physical weakness has always been the vulnerable 
point of the sacred caste, for priests have rarely been 
warriors, and faith has seldom been so profound as 
to guarantee ecclesiastics against attack. This diffi- 
culty was marked in the early Middle Ages, when, 
although disintegration so far prevailed as to threaten 
the very tradition of centralized power, a strong 
leaven of the ancient materialism remained. 

In the ninth century the trend toward decentraliza- 
tion was resistless. Although several of the descend- 
ants of Charlemagne were men of ability and energy, 
the defence was so superior to the attack that they 
could not coerce their vassals, and their domains 
melted away into independent sovereignties until the 
crown became elective, and the monarchy almost a 
tradition. During the tenth century it seems possi- 
ble that the regal authority might have been obliter- 
ated, even to the last trace, had it not been for the 
Church, which was in sore need of a champion. The 
priesthood cared nothing for the legitimate line ; 
what they sought was a protector, and accordingly 
they chose, not the descendant of Charlemagne, but 
him who, in the words of the Archbishop of Rheims, 
was ''distinguished by his wisdom and who found 



support in the greatness of his soul." Hugh Capet 
succeeded Louis V. because he was the best chief of 
police in France. 

From such an alliance, between the priest and the 
soldier, has always sprung the dogma of the divine 
right of kings. In mediaeval Europe, enchantment 
was a chief element of the royal power. The mon- 
arch was anointed with a magic oil, girt with a 
sacred sword, given a supernatural banner, and en- 
dowed with the gift of miracles. His touch healed 
disease. In return for these gifts, he fought the 
battles of the Church, whose property was the natural 
prey of a predatory baronage. Every diocese and 
every abbey was embroiled in endless local wars, 
which lasted from generation to generation, and 
sometimes from century to century. A good ex- 
ample was the interminable feud between the Abbey 
of V^zelay and the Counts of Nevers, and a letter of 
a papal legate named Conon, which described one 
of the countless raids, gives an idea of the ferocity 
of the attack. 

** The men of the Count of Nevers have burst open the 
doors of the cloister, have thrown stones on the reliquaries 
which contain the bodies of Saint Lazanis, of Saint Martha, 
of Saint Andocious, and of Saint Pontianus ; they have not 
even respected the crucifix in which was preserved a mor- 
sel of the true cross, they have beaten the monks, they have 
driven them out with stones, and having taken one of them, 
they have treated him in an infamous manner." ' 

Until the stimulus given by the crusades was 
felt, subinfeudation went on uninterruptedly; the 

> BiSi di r£€§U dit CksrUi, Jd Senct, ii. 353. 


Capetians were as unable to stem the current as the 
Carlovingians before them, so that, under Philip I., 
the royal domain had become almost as much dismem- 
bered as the kingdom of Lothaire a century earlier. 
Consolidation began after the council of Clermont, 
and Suger's Life of Louis the Fat is the story of the 
last years of the partisan warfare between the crown 
and the petty nobility which had been going on since 
the time of Hugh Capet 

During this long period the kings had fought a 
losing battle, and without the material resources of 
the Church would have been overpowered. Even as 
it was they failed to hold their own, and yet the 
wealth of the clergy was relatively enormous. The 
single abbey of Saint Denis was said to have con- 
trolled ten thousand men, and though this may be 
an exaggeration, the corporation was organized on a 
gigantic scale. 

Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries it 
held in France alone three cities, upwards of seventy- 
four villages, twenty-nine manors attached to these 
possessions, over a hundred parishes, and a great 
many chapels bringing in valuable rentals, beside 
numerous vineyards, mills and fields, with fifteen for- 
ests of the first dass.^ 

Suger's description of the country at the begin- 
ning of the twelfth century is highly dramatic. 
Every strong position, like a hill or a forest, was a 
baron's hold, from whence he rode to plunder and 
torment the people. One of the most terrible of 
these robbers was Hugh du Puiset, a man whom 
the Abbot of Saint Denis calls a ruffian, the issue of a 

» Hiit9irt dtrAUaye dt Sain/ Denis, D'Ayzac, i. 361-9. 


long line of ruffians. To the churchman, Hugh was 
the incarnation of evil. He oppressed the clergy, 
and though hated by all, few dared oppose him. At 
last he attacked Ad&le, Countess of Chartres, daugh- 
ter of William the Conqueror, who went with her son 
Tybalt to seek redress from the king. Louis did not 
rdish the campaign, and the monk described how 
the lady taunted him with the defeat his father had 
suffered from the father of Hugh, who pursued him 
to Orl^ns, captured a hundred of his knights, and 
cast his bishops into dungeons. 

Afterward, an assembly was held at Melun to con- 
sider the situation, and there a concourse of prelates, 
clerks, and monks *' threw themselves at the king's 
feet and implored him, to his great embarrassment, 
to repress this most greedy robber Hugh, who, more 
rapacious than a wolf, devoured their lands." ^ 

Certainly the priests had cause for alarm, for the 
▼enerable Archbishop of Chartres, who was present, 
had been captured, loaded with irons, and long left to 
languish in prison. 

Three times this baron was defeated, but even 
when a prisoner, his family connection was so power- 
ful he was permitted to escape. At last he died like 
a wolf, fighting to the last, having impaled the Sen- 
eschal of France on his spear. 

Even singly, such men were almost a match for 
both Church and Crown ; but when joined in a 
league, especially if allied to one of the great feuda- 
tories, such as the Duke of Normandy, they felt sure 
of victory. One day, when Eudes, Count of Corbcil, 
to join this very Hugh, he put aside his armour- 

1 yu di Ismis U Crm, Suf er, cd. Moliakr, 6i, 6a. 


bearer who was attending him, and said to his wife : 
" Pray, noble countess, bring the glittering sword to 
the noble count, since he who takes it from you as a 
count, shall to-day return it as a king." ^ 

The immediate effect of the crusades was to carry 
numbers of these petty princes to Palestine, where 
they were often killed or ruined. As their power of 
resistance weakened, the crown gained, and Louis 
the Fat reconquered the domain. His active life be- 
gan in 1097, the year of the invasion of Palestine, and 
his absorption of the lordship of Montlh^ri is a good 
illustration of his success. 

The family of Rochefort-Montlh^ri owned several 
of the strongest donjons near Paris, and was divided 
into two branches, the one represented by Guy Trous- 
seau, Lord of Montlh^ri, the other by Guy the Red, 
Lord of Rochefort. Guy Trousseau's father was 
named Milo, and all three went to Syria, where Milo 
was killed, and his son disgraced himself. Suger 
spoke of him with extreme disdain : — 

" Guy Trousseau, son of Milo of Montlh^ri, a restless man 
and a disturber of the kingdom, returned home from a pil- 
grimage to the Holy Sepulchre, broken down by the anxiety 
of a long journey and by the vexation of many troubles. 
And . . . [being] panic stricken at Antioch at the approach 
of Corboran, and escaping down from a wall [he] . . • 
abandoned the army of God and fled destitute of every- 
thing." * 

Returning a ruined man, he married his daughter 
to the illegitimate son of Philip, a half-brother of 
Louis, a child of twelve ; and as his guardians, the 

> yie di Loms le Gras, Suger, eil. Molinier, 70. * /6iJ., iS. 


king and prince got possession of the castle. This 
castle was almost at the gates of Paris, and a stand- 
ing menace to the communications of the kingdom : 
therefore their delight was great. "They rejoiced 
as though they had taken a straw from their eyes, or 
as though they had burst the barrier which imprisoned 
them." ^ And the old king said to his son : " Guard 
well the tower, Louis, which has aged me with cha- 
grin, and through whose treachery and wicked fraud 
I have never known peace and quiet."' 

Yet the destruction of the local nobility in Syria 
was the least important part of the social revolution 
wrought by the crusades, for though the power of the 
barons might have thus been temporarily broken, 
they could never have been reduced to impotence 
unless wealth had grown equal to organizing an over- 
whelming attack. The accumulation of wealth fol- 
lowed the opening of the Eastern trade, and its first 
effect was to cause the incorporation of the com- 

Prior to 1095 but one town is known to have been 
chartered, Saint Quentin, the capi^l of Vermandois, 
about 1080,' but after the opening of the Syrian ports 
the whole complexion of society changed. Noyon 
was chartered in 1 108, Laon in 1 1 1 1, Amiens in 1 1 13, 
and then free boroughs sprang up on every side. 

For want of the mariner's compass, commerce could 
not pass north by the Straits of Gibraltar. Merchan- 
dise had therefore to go by land, and exchanges be- 
^een the north and south of Europe centred in the 

' Soger, ed. Molinier, 18. 

* Amdes smr Us prigitttt de U ctmmmtu de Smimt QtutUim, Giry, 9. 

rsS aviLiZATiON and decay chap. 

County of Champagne, whose fairs became the great 
market of the thirteenth century. 

The earliest dated document relating to these fairs 
is a deed drawn in 1 114 by Hugh, Count of Troyes, 
by which he conveyed certain revenues derived from 
them to the Abbey of Montier-en-Der. Fifty years 
later, such mentions had grown frequent, and by the 
year 1200 the fairs had attained their full develop- 

Weaving had been an industry in Flanders under 
the Romans, and in the time of Charlemagne the 
cloth of the Low Countries had been famous ; but in 
the twelfth century the manufacture spread into the 
adjoining provinces of France, and woollen became 
the most valuable European exfK)rt. The fleeces 
were brought chiefly from England, the weaving was 
done on the Continent, and one of the sources of 
the Florentine wealth was the dressing and dyeing 
of these fabrics to prepare them for the Asiatic 

For mutual defence, the industrial towns of the 
north formed a league called the Hanse of London, 
because London was the seat of the chief counting- 
house. This league at first included only seventeen 
cities, with Ypres and Bruges at the head, but the 
association afterward increased to fifty or sixty, 
stretching as far west as Le Mans, as far south as 
the Burgundian frontier, and as far east as Li^ge. 
Exclusive of the royal domain, which was well consol- 
idated under Philip Augustus, the French portion of 
this region substantially comprised the counties of 

^ See t,tudet iur Us Foires dt Champagne^ Bourquelot, 72, 74; and 
generally on this sabject 


Blois, Vermandois, Anjou, Champagne, and the Duchy 
of Normandy. This district, which has ever since 
formed the core of France, became centralized at 
Paris between the beginning of the reign of Philip 
Augustus in 1 180 and the reign of Philip the Fair a 
century later, and there can be little doubt that this 
centralization was the effect of the accumulation of 
capital, which created a permanent police. 

The merchants of all the cities of the league bound 
themselves to trade exclusively at the fairs of Cham- 
pagne, and, to prosper, the first obstacle they had to 
overcome was the difficulty and cost of transports 
tion. Not only were the roads unsafe, because i 
the strength of the castles in which the predatoi 
nobility lived, but the multiplicity of jurisdiction 
added to taxes. As late as the end of the thirteenti 
century, a convention was made between fifteen ol 
the more important Italian cities, such as Florence, 
Genoa, Venice, and Milan, and Otho of Burgundy, 
by which, in consideration of protection upon the 
roads, tolls were to be paid at Gevry, Ddle, Augerans, 
Salins, Chalamont, and Pontarlier. When six imposts 
were levied for crossing a single duchy, the cost o^ 
importing the cheaper goods must have been pro 

The Italian caravans reached Champagne ordinarily 
by two routes : one by some Alpine pass to Geneva, 
and then through Burgundy ; the other by water to 
Marseilles or Aigues-Mortes, up the Rhone to Lyons, 
and north, substantially as before. The towns of 
Provins, Troyes, Bar-sur-Aube, and Lagny-sur-Marnc 
lie about midway between Bruges and Ypres on the 
one side, and Lyons and Geneva on the other, and it 


was at these cities that exchanges centralized, until 
the introduction of the mariner's compass caused 
traffic to go by the ocean, and made Antwerp the 
monied metropolis. 

The market was, in reality, open continuously, for 
six fairs were held, each six weeks long, and the trade 
was so lucrative that places which, in i lOO, had been 
petty villages, in 1200 had wealth enough to build 
those magnificent cathedrals which are still wonders 
of the world. 

The communal movement had nothing about it 
necessarily either liberal or democratic. The in- 
corporated borough was merely an instrument of 
trade, and at a certain moment became practically 
independent, because for a short period traders or- 
ganized locally, before they could amalgamate into 
centralized communities with a revenue sufficient to 
pay a police capable of coercing individuals. 

What the merchant wanted was protection for 
trade, and, provided he had it, the form in which it 
came was immaterial. Where the feudal government 
was strong, communes did not exist : Paris never had 
a charter. Conversely, where the government was 
weak, communes grew up, because traders combined 
for mutual protection, and therefore the communes 
reached perfection in ecclesiastical capitals. 

As a whole, the secular nobility rather favoured the 
incorporated towns, because they could sell to them 
their services as policemen, and could join with them 
in plundering the Church ; * on their side the trades- 
men were always ready to commute personal military 
service into a tax, and thus both sides benefited. To 

' Les Communei Fran^aius^ Luchaire, 221-225. 


the Church, on the contrary, the rise of the mercantile 
class was pure loss, not only because it caused their 
vassals to seek better protection than ecclesiastics 
could give, but because the propagation of the ma- 
terialistic mind bred heresy.' The clergy had no 
police to sell, and the townsmen had, therefore, either 
to do the work themselves or hire a secular noble. 
In the one case they became substantially indepen- 
dent ; in the other they transferred their allegiance to 
a stranger. In any event, a new fief was carved out of 
an ecclesiastical lordship, and such accessions steadily 
built up the royal domain. 

From the outset, the sacred class seems to have 

been conscious of its danger, and some of the most 

ferocious wars of the Middle Ages were those waged 

upon ecclesiastical serfs who tried to organize for 

self-defence. In one of his books Luchaire has told, 

at length, the story of the massacre of the peasantry 

of the Laonnais by a soldier whom the chapter of 

Laon elected bishop for the purpose,^ and this was 

but a single case out of hundreds. Hardly a bishop 

or an abbot lived at peace with his vassals, and, as the 

clergy were the natural prey of the secular nobility, 

the barons often sided with the populace, and used 

the burghers as an excuse for private war. A speech 

made by one of the Counts of Nevers, during a rising 

of the inhabitants of V^zelay, g^ves a good idea of the 

intrigues which kept the prelates in perpetual misery. 

''O very ilhistrious men, celebrated for great wisdom, 
valiant by your strength and rich by the riches you have 
M=<ltiired by your own merit, I am deeply afflicted at the 

' Les C^mmutuj Frsmfsius, Laduure, 85. 


miserable condition to which you are reduced. Apparently 
the possessors of much, in reality you are masters of nothing ; 
and more than this, you do not enjoy any portion of your 
natural liberty. ... If I think on these things I am greatly 
astonished, and ask myself what has become of, or rather to 
what depth of cowardice has fallen within you, that vigour 
formerly so renowned, when you put to death your Lord, the 
abbot Artaud." 

The count then dwelt upon the harshness of the 
living abbot, and ended thus : — 

" Separate from this man, and bind yourselves to me by a 
mutual agreement : if you consent, I engage myself to free 
you from all exactions, from all illegal rentals, and to defend 
you from the evils which are ready to fall upon you." ^ 

Wherever developed, the mercantile mind had 
always the same characteristic : it was unimaginative, 
and, being unimaginative, it doubted the utility of 
magic. Accordingly, all commercial communities 
have rebelled against paying for miracles, and it was 
the spread of a scepticism already well developed 
in the thirteenth century among the manufacturing 
towns, which caused the Reformation of the six- 
teenth. At Saint-Riquier the monks carried the relics 
of Saint Vigor each year in procession. In 1264 the 
burghers took a dead cat and put it in a shrine, while 
in another casket they placed a horse-bone, to do 
service as the arm of Saint Vigor. When the pro- 
cession reached a certain spot, the reliquaries were 
set down, and a mock fight began between two mum- 
mers. Then the bearers cried out, "Old Saint Riquier, 
you shall go no further unless you reconcile these. 

> Lrs Communes Framfaius, Luchaire, 233-254. 


enemies/* whereupon the combatants fell into each 
other's arms, and all cried out that Saint Riquier had 
wrought a miracle. 

Afterward they built a. chapel and oratory, with an 
altar draped with cloth of gold, and deposited the 
dead cat and the horse-bone; and simple pilgrims, 
ignorant of the sacrilege, stopped to worship the 
relics, the mayor and council aiding and abetting 
the crime, "to the detriment of the whole Church 
universal" * 

The clergy retaliated with frightful ferocity. As 
heresy followed in the wake of trade, the Inquisition 
followed in the wake of heresy, and the beginning of 
the thirteenth century witnessed simultaneously the 
prosperity of the mercantile class and the organization 
of the Holy Office. 

Jacques de Vitry breathed the ecclesiastical spirit. 
One of the most famous preachers of his age, he rose 
from a simple monk to be Cardinal-bishop of Tus- 
culum, legate in France, and Patriarch of Jerusalem. 
He led a crusade against the Albigenses, was present 
at the siege of Damictta, and died at Rome in 124a 
His sermons burn with his hatred of the bourgeoisie : 
" That detestable race of men . . . hurrying to meet 
its fate, which none or few could escape," all of whom 
"were making haste toward hell. . . . But above all 
other evils of these Babylonish cities, there is one 
which is the worst, for hardly is there a community 
to be found in which there are not abettors, receivers, 
defenders of, or believers in, heretics." * 

* L^t C^mmunts Fram^miut, Lttchaire, 260. 

* D^emmenh sur Us Relmii^ns de Im RwymtUi mve< k$ i^Ula dt 
Brante^ Gary, 59^ 61. 


The basis of the secular society of the early Middle 
Ages was individual physical force. Every laynian, 
noble or serf, owed military service, and when a bor- 
ough was incorporated, it took its place in the feudal 
hierarchy, like any other vassal. With the spread of 
the mercantile type, however, a change began — the 
transmutation of physical force into money — and this 
process went on until individual strength or courage 
ceased to have importance. 

As soldiers the burgesses never excelled ; citizen 
troops have seldom been formidable, and those of 
the communes rarely withstood the first onset of the 
enemy. The tradesmen themselves recognized their 
own limitations, and in 13 17 the deputies of the cities 
met at Paris and requested the government to under- 
take the administration of the local militia. 

Though unwarlike, the townsmen were wealthy, 
and, in the reign of Philip Augustus, the same cause 
which led to the consolidation of the kingdom, brought 
about, as Luchaire has pointed out, " a radical modifi- 
cation of the military and financial organization of 
the monarchy;" the substitution by the privileged 
corporations of money payments for personal service.^ 

Thus, from the time when the economic type had 
multiplied sufficiently to hire a police, the strength 
of the State came to depend on its revenue, and 
financiers grew to be the controlling element of civil- 
ization. Before the crusades, the high offices of the 
kingdom of France, such as the office of the sen- 
eschal, were not only held by nobles, but tended to 
become hereditary in certain warlike families. After 
the rise of the Eastern trade the royal council was 

^ Let Communei Franfaius, Lttchaire, 189. 


captured by the bourgeoisie. Jacques Coeur is a 
striking specimen of the class which ruled in the 
fifteenth century. Of this class the lawyers were 
the spokesmen, and men like Flotte and Nog^ret, 
the chancellors of Philip the Fair, expressed the 
notion of centralization as perfectly as the jurists of 
ancient Rome. No one has understood the move- 
ment better than Luchaire. He has pointed out, in 
his work on French institutions, that from the begin- 
ning of the reign of Saint Louis (1226) the Privy 
Council steadily gained in consequence.^ The perma- 
nent civil service, of which it was the core, served as 
a school for judges, clerks, seneschals, and all judicial 
and executive officers. At first the administration 
retained a strong clerical tinge, probably because a 
generation elapsed before laymen could be equally 
well trained for the work, but after the accession of 
Philip the Fair, toward the end of the century, the 
laymen decisively predominated, and when they pre- 
dominated, the plunder of the Church began. 

Abstract justice is, of course, impossible. Law is 
merely the expression of the will of the strongest for 
the time being, and therefore laws have no fixity, 
but shift from generation to generation. When the 
imagination is vivid and police weak, emotional or 
ecclesiastical law prevails. As competition sharpens, 
and the movement of society accelerates, religious 
ritual is supplanted by civil codes for the enforce- 
ment of contracts and the protection of the creditor 

The more society consolidates the more legisla- 
tion is controlled by the wealthy, and at length the 

1 Afsmmti dn imUitmHmu Frmm^iut^ LadMlrt, $3$. 


representatives of the monied class acquire that abso- 
lute power once wielded by the Roman proconsul, 
and now exercised by the modem magistrate. 

" The two great figures of Saint Louis and of Philip the 
Fair which dominate the third period are profoundly unlike. 
But considering the facts as a whole . . . [they] have 
but moderately influenced the direction of the communal 
development. With the bailiffs and Parliament the mon- 
archical machine is in possession of its essential works ; it 
operates and will stop no more. In vain the king shall 
essay to arrest its march, or to direct it in another course : 
the innumerable army of agents of the crown does not cease 
for a moment to destroy rival jurisdictions, to suppress 
embarrassing powers, to replace everywhere private jurisdic- 
tions by the single authority of the sovereign. 

'* To the infinite diversity of local liberties its will is to 
substitute regularity of institutions ; poHtical and administra- 
tive centralization." ' 

As Luchaire has elsewhere observed, the current 
everj'where " substituted, in the paths of administra- 
tion, justice, and finance, the lay and burgher for the 
ecclesiastical and noble element." In other words, 
the economic type steadily gained ground, and the 
process went on until the Revolution. Saint Simon 
never forgave Louis XIV. for surrounding himself 
with men of mean birth, dependent on his will 

" The Duke of Beauvilliers was the single example in the 
whole course of his reign, as has been remarked in speaking 
of this duke, the only nobleman who was admitted into his 
council between the death of Cardinal Mazarin and his own; 
that is to say, during fifty-four years." * 

^ Lei Communti Fran^aises^ Luchaire, 283. 

* Memoirei dm Due de SaiHt-Simon^ ed. 1874, xii. 19. 


From the middle of the twelfth to the middle of 
the thirteenth century was an interval of almost un- 
paralleled commercial prosperity — a prosperity which 
is sufficiently proved by the sumptuous quality of 
the architecture of the time. Unquestionably the 
most magnificent buildings of modem Europe date 
from this period, and this prosperity was not limited 
to any country, but extended from Cairo to London. 
Such an expansion of trade would have been impos- 
sible without a corresponding expansion of the cur- 
rency, and as no new mines were discovered, recourse 
was had to paper. By the year 1200 bills of ex- 
change had been introduced,^ and in order to give 
the bill of exchange its greatest circulating power, 
a system of banking was created which operated as 
a universal clearing house, and by means of which 
these bills were balanced against each other. 

In the thirteenth century, Florence, Genoa, and 
Venice were the chief monied centres. In these 
cities the purchase and sale of commercial paper 
was, at the outset, monopolized by a body of money- 
changers, who, in Venice at least, seem to have been 
controlled by the council of merchants, and who 
probably were not always in the best credit At all 
events, they were required in 13 18 to make a deposit 
ol £3,000 as security for their customers, and after* 
ward the amount was increased.* Possibly some 
such system of deposits may have originally formed 
the capital of the Bank of Venice, but everything 
relating to the organization of the mediaeval banks 
is obscure. All that seems certain is, that business 

1 Z/ Ctmrnm-e de MmrieilU mu hi^ytn Agt, BlaiicAffd, 3. 
* Is Liktrtk deUi B^mtki s K/imsm, Lftttcs» 26. 


was conducted by establishments of this character 
long before the date of any records which now re- 
main. Amidst the multiplicity of mediaeval juris- 
dictions, not only did the currency become involved 
in inextricable confusion, but it generally was de- 
based through abrasion and clipping. Before clear- 
ings could be conveniently made, therefore, a coinage 
of recognized value had to be provided, and this 
the banks undertook to supply by their system of 
deposits. They received coin fresh from the mints, 
for which they gave credits, and these credits or 
notes were negotiable, and were always to be bought 
in the market. The deposits themselves were seldom 
withdrawn, as they bore a premium over common 
currency, which they lost when put in circulation, 
and they were accordingly only transferred on the 
books of the corporations, to correspond with the 
sales of the notes which represented them. Thus 
merchants from all parts of Europe and the Levant 
could draw on Venice or Genoa, and have their bal- 
ances settled by transfers of deposits at the banks, 
without the intervention of coin. A calculation has 
been made that, by this means, the effective power 
of the currency was multiplied tenfold. Of all these 
institutions, the corporations of Genoa and Venice 
were the most famous. The Bank of Saint George, 
at Genoa, was formally organized in 1407, but it 
undoubtedly had conducted business from the begin- 
ning of the twelfth century;^ next to nothing is 
known of the development at Venice. Probably, 
however, Florence was more purely a monied centre 
than either Venice or Genoa, and no money-lenders 

1 La Grmnda Ctm^agniei dt Commerce^ Bonnassieux, 23. 


of the Middle Ages ever equalled the great Floren- 
tine banking families. Most of the important com- 
mercial centres came to have institutions of the kind. 

The introduction of credit had the same effect as 
a large addition to the stock of bullion, and, as gold 
and silver grew more plentiful, their relative value 
fell, and a general reform of the currency took place. 
Venicd began the movement with the grosso, it spread 
through Italy and into France, and the coin of Saint 
Louis was long considered as perfect money. 

With the expansion of the currency went a rise 
in prices, all producers grew rich, and, for more than 
two generations, the strain of competition was so 
relaxed that the different classes of the population 
preyed upon each other less savagely than they are 
wont to do in less happy times. 

Meanwhile no considerable additions were made 
to the volume of the precious metals, and, as the 
bulk of commerce swelled, the capacity of the new 
system of credit became exhausted, and contraction 
set in. The first symptom of disorder seems to have 
been a rise in the purchasing power of both the pre- 
cious metals, but particularly of gold, which rose in 
its ratio to silver from about one to nine and a half, 
to one to twelve.^ At the same time the value of 
commodities, even when measured in silver, appears 
to have fallen sharply.* The consequence of this fall 
was a corresponding addition to the burden of debt, 
and a very general insolvency. The communes had 
been large borrowers, and their straits were deplor- 

1 LtR^P^tentrerTetrmrgtniMU Tem/tde SMimiL0mu,Uu^ttk 
• /It/., 43. 


able. Luchaire has described their condition as 
shown "in the municipal accounts addressed by the 
communes to the government." ^ Everywhere there 
was a deficit, almost everywhere ruin. Amiens, 
Soissons, Roye, Saint Quentin, and Rouen were all 
in difficulty with their loans, but Noyon was perhaps 
the worst of all. In 1278 Noyon owed i6,ocx> pounds 
which it was unable to pay. After a suspension for 
fourteen years the king issued an ordinance regu- 
lating liquidation ; a part of the claims had to be 
cancelled, and the balance collected by a leyy on 
private property. The bankruptcy was complete. 

The royal government, equally hardly pressed, was 
unable to meet its obligations in the standard coin, 
and resorted to debasement. Under Saint Louis 
the mark of silver yielded but 2 pounds 15 sous 6 
pence; in 1306 the same weight of metal was cut 
into 8 pounds 10 sous. The pressure upon the pop- 
ulation was terrible, and led to terrible results — the 
beginning of the spoliation of the emotionalists. 

Perhaps the combination of the two great forces 
of the age, of the soldier and the monk, was the 
supreme effort of the emotional mind. What a hold 
the dazzling dream of omnipotence, through the pos- 
session of the Sepulchre, had upon the twelfth cen- 
tury, can be measured by the gifts showered upon the 
crusading orders, for they represented a prodigious 

At Paris the Temple had a capital city over against 
the capital of the king. Within a walled enclosure 
of sixty thousand square metres, stood the conventual 
buildings and a gigantic donjon of such perfect 

1 Ln Communes Fran^aisa, aoo^ 201. 


masonry that it never needed other repairs than 
the patching of its roof. Beyond the walls the do* 
main extended to the Seine, a property which, even 
in 1300, had an almost incalculable value. 

On every Eastern battle-field, and at every assault 
and siege, the knights had fought with that fiery 
courage which has made their name a proverb down 
to the present day. In 1265, at Safed, three hun- 
dred had been butchered upon the ramparts in cold 
blood, rather than renounce their faith. At Acre, 
whose loss sealed the fate of Palestine, they held 
the keep at all odds until the donjon fell, burying 
Christians and Moslems in a common grave. But 
skill and valour avail nothing against nature. Step 
by step the Templars had been driven back, until 
Tortosa surrendered in 1291. Then the Holy Land 
was closed, the enthusiasm which had generated the 
order had passed away, and, meanwhile, economic 
competition had bred a new race at home, to which 
monks were a predestined prey. 

In 1285, as the Latin kingdom in Syria was totter- 
ing towards its fall, Philip the Fair was crowned. 
Subtle, sceptical, treacherous, and cruel, few kings 
have left behind them a more sombre memory, yet 
he was the incarnation of the economic spirit in its 
conflict with the Church. Nine years later Benedetto 
Gaetani was elected pope : a man as completely the 
creation of the social revolution of the thirteenth 
century as Philip himself. Trained at Bologna and 
Paris, a jurist rather than a priest, his faith in dogma 
was so scanty that his belief in the immortality of 
the soul has been questioned. A thorough world- 
ling, greedy, ambitious, and unscrupulous, he was 


suspected of having murdered his predecessor, Celes- 
tin V. 

When Boniface came to the throne, the Church is 
supposed to have owned about one-third of the soil 
of Europe, and on this property the governments had 
no means of enforcing regular taxation. Toward the 
close of the thirteenth century the fall of prices in- 
creased the weight of debt, while it diminished the 
power of the population to pay. On the other hand, 
as the system of administration became more com- 
plex, the cost of government augmented, and at last 
the burden became more than the laity could endure. 
Both England and France had a permanent deficit, 
and Edward and Philip alike turned toward the clergy 
as the only source of supply. Both kings met with 
opposition, but the explosion came in France, where 
Clairvaux, the most intractable of convents, appealed 
to Rome. 

Boniface had been elected by a coalition ' between 
the Colonna and the Orsini factions, but after his coro- 
nation he turned upon the Colonnas, who, in revenge, 
plundered his treasure. A struggle followed, which 
ended fatally to the pope; but at first he had the 
advantage, sacked their city of Praeneste, and forced 
them to fly to France. On the brink of this war, 
Boniface was in no condition to rouse so dangerous 
an adversary as Philip, and, in answer to Clairvaux's 
appeal, he confined himself to excommunicating the 
prince who should tax the priest and the priest who 
should pay the impost. 

Nevertheless, the issue had to be met. The Church 
had weakened as terror of the unknown had waned, 
and could no longer defend its wealth, which was 


destined to pass more and more completely into the 
hands of the laity. 

Philip continued his aggressions, and, when peace 
had been established in Italy, the rupture came. Not 
realizing his impotence, and exasperated at the royal 
policy, Boniface sent Bernard de Saisset, Bishop of 
Pamiers, to Paris as his ambassador. Bernard had 
recently been consecrated in defiance of Philip, and 
they were bitter enemies. He was soon dismissed 
from court, but he continued his provocations, calling 
the king a false coiner and a blockhead, and when he 
returned to Pamiers he plotted an insurrection. He 
was arrested and prosecuted by the Chancellor Flotte, 
but when delivered to the Archbishop of Narbonne 
for degradation, action was suspended to await the 
sanction of Rome. Then Flotte was sent to Italy to 
demand the surrender "of the child of perdition," 
that Philip might make of him " an excellent sacrifice 
to God." The mission necessarily failed, for it was 
a struggle for supremacy, and the issue was well 
summed up in the final words of the stormy inter- 
view which brought it to a close. " My power, the 
spiritual power," cried Boniface, "embraces and 
encloses the temporal." "True," retorted Flotte, 
"but yours is verbal, the king's is real." 

An ecclesiastical council was convoked for Octo- 
ber, 1302, and Philip was summoned to appear before 
the greatest prelates of Christendom. But, not wait- 
ing the meeting of this august assembly, Boniface, 
on December 5, 1301, launched his famous bull, 
"Ausculta, fili," which was his declaration of war.^ 

* The documents relating to the controveny are printed in the Hii' 
Uire du Dijfirend^ Dapuy. 


Listen, my son : do not persuade yourself that you 
have no superior, and are not in subjection to the 
head of the ecclesiastical hierarchy : he who says 
this is mad, he who sustains it is an infidel. You 
devour the revenues of the vacant bishoprics, you 
pillage churches. I do not speak now of the altera- 
tions in the coinage, and of the other complaints 
which arise on all sides, and which cry to us against 
you, but not to make myself accountable to God for 
your soul, I summon you to appear before me, and in 
case of your refusal shall render judgment in your 

A century before, the barons of France had aban- 
doned Philip Augustus, through fear of the incanta- 
tions of Innocent, but, in the third generation of the 
commercial type, such fears had been discarded. In 
April, 1302, the estates of the realm sustained the 
"little one-eyed heretic," as Boniface called Fldtte, 
in burning the papal bull, and in answering the admo- 
nitions of the pope with mockery. 

" Philip, by the grace of God king of the French, to Boni- 
face, who calls himself sovereign pontiff, little greeting or 
none. Let your very great foolishness know that we are 
subject to no one for the temporalty ; that the collation to 
the vacant churches and prebends belongs to us by royal 
right ; that their fruits are ours ; that collations which have 
been made, or are to be made by us, are valid for the past 
and for the future, and that we will manfully protect their 
possessors against all comers. Those who think otherwise 
we hold foob or madmen." ' 

The accepted theory long was that the bourgeoisie 
were neutral in this quarrel ; that they were an insig- 

1 Dupuy, 4S. s I^iiLt 44. 


nificant factor in the state, and obeyed passively 
because they were without the power to oppose. In 
reality, consolidation had already gone so far that 
money had become the prevailing form of force in 
the kingdom of France ; therefore the monied class 
was on the whole the strongest class, and Flotte was 
their mouthpiece. They accepted the papers drawn 
by the chancellor, because the chancellor was their 

In July, 1302, Philip met with the defeat of Cour- 
tray, and the tone of the ecclesiastical council, con- 
vened in October, shows that the clergy thought his 
power broken. A priest relies upon the miracle, and, 
if defied, he must either conquer by supernatural aid, 
or submit to secular coercion. Boniface boldly faced 
the issue, and planted himself by Hildebrand. In his 
bull, Unam Sanctam, he defined his claim to the im- 
plicit obedience of laymen. 

" We are provided, under his authority, with two swords, 
the temporal and the spiritual; . . . both, therefore, are 
in the power of the Church ; to wit, the spiritual and the 
material sword : . . . the one is to be used by the priest, 
the other by kings and soldiers ; sed ad nutum et patientiam 
sacerdotis." ' 

A sentence of excommunication had also been pre- 
pared and sent to France, which was to have been 
followed by deposition ; but when it arrived, Philip 
convened an assembly of prelates and barons at the 
Louvre, and presented an indictment against Boniface, 
probably without a parallel in modern history. The 

1 See letters of Beauvais and Laon, of I joj, Docmmenis, Giry, 16a 
« Dupuy, 55. 


pope was accused of every crime. He was an infidel, 
a denier of the immortality of the soul, a scoffer at 
the eucharist, a murderer, and a sorcerer. He was 
guilty of unnatural crimes and of robbery.^ 

The bearer of the bull was arrested, the property 
of the bishops who had attended the council seques- 
tered, and Philip prepared to seize Boniface in his 
own palace. Boniface, too, felt the decisive hour at 
hand. He tried to reconcile himself with his ene- 
mies, drew the bull of deposition, and prepared to 
affix it to the church door at Anagni on Septem- 
ber 8, 1303. Before the day came he was a pris- 
oner, and face to face with death. 

Flotte had been killed at Courtray, and had been 
succeeded by the redoubtable Nogaret, whose grand- 
father was believed to have been burned as a heretic 
With Nogaret Philip joined Sciarra Colonna, the 
bloodiest of the Italian nobles, and sent them to- 
gether to Italy to deal with his foe. Boniface had 
made war upon the Colon nas, and Sciarra had been 
hunted like a wild beast. Flying disguised, he had 
been taken by pirates, and had preferred to toil four 
years as a galley-slave, rather than run the risk of 
ecclesiastical mercy by surrendering himself to the 
vicar of Christ. At last Philip heard of his misfor- 
tunes, bought him, and, at the crisis, let him slip like 
a mad dog at the old man's throat. Nogaret and 
Colonna succeeded in corrupting the governor of 
Anagni, and entered the town at dead of night ; but 
the pope's nephews had time to barricade the streets, 
and it was not until the church, which communicated 
with the papal apartments, had been fired, that the 

' Dapuy, 351. Articles presented June, 1303. 


palace was forced. There, it was said, they found 
the proud old priest sitting upon his throne, with his 
crown upon his head, and men whispered that, as he 
sat there, Colonna struck him in the face with his 

Probably the story was false, but it reflected truly 
enough the spirit of the pope's captors. He himself 
believed them capable of poisoning him, for from 
Saturday night till Monday morning he lay without 
food or drink, and when liberated was exhausted. 
Boniface was eighty-six, and the shock' killed him. 
He was taken to Rome, and died there of fever, ac- 
cording to the rumour, blaspheming, and gnawing 
his hands in frenzy.^ 

The death of Boniface was decisive. Benedict XL, 
who succeeded him, did not attempt to prolong the 
contest ; but peace without surrender was impossible. 
The economic classes held the emotionalists by the 
throat, and strangled them till they disgorged. 

Vainly Benedict revoked the acts of his prede- 
cessor. Philip demanded that Boniface should be 
branded as a heretic, and sent Nogaret to Rome as 
his ambassador. The insult was more than the 
priesthood could yet endure. Summoning his cour- 
age, Benedict excommunicated Nogaret, Colonna, and 
thirteen others, whom he had seen break into the 
palace at Anagni. Within a month he was dead. 
Poison was whispered, and, for the first time since 
the monks captured the papacy, the hierarchy was 
paralyzed by fear. No complaint was made, or pur- 
suit of the criminal attempted ; the consistory met, 
but failed to unite on a successor. 

^ See Cronica di yiUani, viil 63. 


According to the legend, when the cardinals were 
unable to agree, the faction opposed to Philip con- 
sented to name three candidates, from whom the king 
should select the pope. The prelate he chose was 
Bertrand de Goth, Archbishop of Bordeaux. Boniface 
had been his patron, but Philip, who knew men, knew 
that this man had his price. The tale goes that the 
king visited the bishop at an abbey near Saint-Jean- 
d'Ang^ly, and began the conversation as^ follows : 
" My lord Archbishop, 1 have that in my hand will 
make you pope if I like, and it is for that I am 
come." Bertrand fell on his knees, and the king 
imposed five conditions, reserving a sixth, to exact 
thereafter. The last condition was the condemna- 
tion of the Templars.^ 

Doubtless the picturesque old tale is as false in 
detail as it is true in spirit. Probably no such inter- 
view took place, and yet there seems little doubt that 
Clement owed his election to Philip, and gave pledges 
which bound him from the day of his coronation. 
Certainly he surrendered all liberty of action, for he 
established himself at Avignon, whence the battle- 
ments of Ville-Neuve can still be seen, built by 
Philip to overawe the town. Within an hour he 
could have filled the streets with his mercenaries. 
The victory was complete. The Church was pros- 
trate, and spoliation began. 

Clement was crowned in 1305, and after two years 
of slavery he began to find his compact heavy upon 
him. He yielded up the patronage, he consented to 
the taxation of the clergy, and he ordered the grand- 

^ Cronka di Viiiami, viii. 8o. Also Ann. EccL, Baronins, year 


masters of the crusading orders to return to Europe* 
all at Philip's bidding. But when he was commanded 
to condemD Boniface as a heretic, he recoiled in 
terror. Indeed, to have rejected Boniface as an im- 
postor, and a blsc pope, would have precipitated 
chaos. His bishops and cardinals would have been 
set aside, Clement's own election would have been 
invalidated; none could foresee where the disorgan- 
ization would end. To gain time, Clement pleaded 
for a general council, which the king morosely con- 
ceded, but only on the condition that the excom- 
munications against his agents, even against Nogaret, 
should be withdrawn. Clement assented, for he was 
practically a prisoner at Poitiers, a council at Vienne 
was agreed to, and the Crown seized the Templars 
without opposition from the Church. 

Criticism has long ago dispelled the mystery which 
once shrouded this bloody process No historian 
now suggests that the knights were really guilty of 
the fantastic enormities charged against them, and 
which they confessed under torture. Scepticism 
doubtless was rife among them, as it was among 
the cardinals, but there is nothing to show that the 
worst differed materially from the population about 
them, and the superb fortitude with which they 
perished, demonstrates that lack of religious enthu- 
siasm was not the crime for which they died. 

When Philip conceived the idea of first murdering 
and then plundering the crusaders, is uncertain. 
Some have thought it was in 1306, while sheltered 
in the Temple, when, he having suddenly raised his 
debased money to the standard of Saint Louis, the 
mob destroyed the house of his master of the mint. 


Probably it was much earlier, and was but the neces- 
sary result of the sharpening of economic competi- 
tion, which began with the accelerated movement 
accompanying the crusades. 

After Clement's election, several years elapsed be- 
fore the scheme ripened. Nothing could be done 
until one or both of the grand-masters had been en- 
ticed to France with their treasure. Under pretence 
of preparing for a new crusade this was finally 
accomplished, and,* in 1306, Jacques de Molay, a 
chivalrous Burgundian gentleman, journeyed unsus- 
pectingly to Paris, taking with him his chief officers 
and one hundred and fifty thousand florins in gold, 
beside silver "enough to load ten mules." 

Philip first borrowed all the money de Molay would 
lend, and then, at one sudden swoop, arrested in a 
single night all the Templars in France. On Octo- 
ber 13, 1307, the seizure was made, and Philip's 
organization was so perfect, and his agents so reli- 
able, that the plan was executed with precision. 

The object of the government was plunder, but 
before the goods of the order could be confiscated, 
legal conviction of some crime was necessary, which 
would entail forfeiture. Heresy was the only accusa- 
tion adapted to the purpose; accordingly Philip de- 
termined to convict the knights of heresy, and the 
best evidence was confession. To extort confession 
the Inquisition had to be set in motion by the pope, 
and thus it came to pass that, in order to convey to 
the laymen the property of ecclesiastics, Christ's sol- 
diers were tormented to death by his own vicar. 

In vain, in the midst of the work, Clement, in 
agonies of remorse, revoked the commissions of the 


inquisitors. Philip jeered when the cardinals deliv- 
ered the message, saying '* that God hated the luke- 
warm/' and the torture went on as before. When he 
had extorted what he needed, he set out for Poitiers ; 
Clement fled, but was arrested and brought back a 
prisoner. Then his resolution gave way, and he 
abandoned the knights to their fate, reserving only 
the grandmaster and a few high officials for himself. 
Still, though he forsook the individuals, he could not 
be terrified into condemning the order in its corpo- 
rate capacity, and the final process was referred to 
the approaching council. Meanwhile, a commission, 
presided over by the Archbishop of Narbonne, pro- 
ceeded with the trial of the knights. 

For three years these miserable wretches lan- 
guished in their dungeons, and the imagination re- 
coils from picturing their torments. Finally Philip 
felt that an end must be made, and in March, 1310, 
546 of the survivors were taken from their prisons 
and made to choose delegates, for their exasperation 
was so deep that the government feared to let them 
appear before the court in a body. 

The precaution availed little, for the knights who 
conducted the common defence proved themselves as 
proud and bold in this last extremity of human mis- 
cry, as they had ever been upon the day of battle. 
They denied the charges brought against them, they 
taunted their judges with the lies told them to induce 
them to confess, and they showed how life and liberty 
had been promised them, under the royal seal, if they 
would admit the allegations of the government. Then 
they told the story of those who had been steadfast 
to the end. 


" It is not astonishing that some have borae false witness, 
but that any have told the truth, considering the sorrows 
and suffering, the threats and insults, they daily endure. . . . 
What is surprising is that faith should be given to those who 
have testified untruly to save their bodies, rather than to 
those who have died in their tortures in such numbers, like 
martyrs of Christ, in defence of the truth, or who solely for 
conscience sake, have suffered and still daily suffer in their 
prisons, so many torments, trials, calamities, and miseries, 
for this cause." * 

The witnesses called confirmed their statements. 
Bernard Peleti, when examined, was asked if he had 
been put to the torture. He replied that for three 
months previous to his confession to the Bishop of 
Paris, he had lain with his hands so tightly bound 
behind his back that the blood started from his fin- 
ger nails. He had beside been put in a pit. Then 
he broke out : " If I am tortured I shall deny all I 
have said now, and shall say all they want me to say. 
If the time be short, I can bear to be beheaded, or to 
die by boiling water, or by fire, for the honour of the 
order; but I can no longer withstand the torments 
which, for more than two years, I have endured in 
prison. ' 

" I have been tortured three times," said Humbert 
de Podio. " I was confined thirty-six weeks in a 
tower, on bread and water, quia non confitebatur quae 
volebant.*** Bernard de Vado showed two bones 
which had dropped from his heels after roasting his 

1 Documents Itudiis sur PHistoire de France^ Proch des Templiers^ 
Michelet, i. 1 66. 

* Froeh des Templiers, Michelet, i. 37. 

• IHd^ 264. « /bid, 75. 


Such testimony was disregarded, for condemnation 
was necessary as a preliminary to confiscation. The 
suppression of the Temple was the first step in that 
long spoliation of the Church which has continued to 
the present day, and which has been agonizing to the 
victims in proportion to their power of resistance. 
The fourteenth century was still an age of faith, and 
the monks died hard. Philip grasped the situation 
with the intuition of genius, and provided himself 
with an instrument fit for the task before him. He 
forced Clement to raise Philip de Marigni to the See 
of Sens, and Marigni was a man who shrank from 

When made archbishop, he convoked a provincial 
council at Paris, and condemned, as relapsed heretics, 
the knights who had repudiated their confessions. 
Fifty-nine of these knights belonged to his own 
diocese. He had them brought to a fenced enclosure 
in a field near the Abbey of Saint Antoine, and there 
offered them pardon if they would recant. Then 
they were chained to stakes, and slowly burned to 
ashes from the feet upward. Not one flinched, but 
amidst shrieks of anguish, when half consumed, they 
protested their innocence, and died imploring mercy 
of Christ and of the Virgin.* 

Devotion so superb might have fired the imagina- 
tion of even such a craven as Clement, but Philip 
was equal to the emergency. He had caused scores 
of witnesses to be examined to prove that Boniface 
was a murderer, a sorcerer, a debauchee, and a here- 
tic. Suddenly he offered to drop the prosecution, 
and to restore the Temple lands to the Church, if 

1 Croniia di ViUani, viii. 92. 


the order might be abolished and the process closed. 
Clement yielded. In October, 131 1, the council met 
at Vienne. The winter was spent in intimidation 
and bribery ; the second meeting was not held until 
the following April, and then the decree of suppres- 
sion was published. By this decree the corporation 
was dissolved, but certain of the higher officers still 
lived, and in an evil moment Clement bethought him 
of their fate. In December, 13 13, he appointed a 
commission to try them. They were brought before 
a lofty scaffold at the portal of the Cathedral of Paris, 
and there made to reiterate the avowals which had 
been wrung from them in their dungeons. Then 
they were sentenced to perpetual imprisonment. But 
at this supreme moment, when it seemed that all was 
over, de Molay, the grand-master, and the Master of 
Normandy, broke into a furious defence. The com- 
missioners adjourned in a panic, but Philip, thirsting 
for blood, sprang upon his prey. 

He gave his orders to his own officers, without 
consulting any prelate. On March 18, 13 14, as night 
fell, the two crusaders were taken from the provost, 
who acted as their gaoler, and carried to a little island 
in the Seine, on which a statue of Henry of Navarre 
now stands. There they were burned together, with- 
out a trial and without a sentence. They watched 
the building of their funeral pile with "hearts so 
firm and resolute, and persisted with such constancy 
in their denials to the end, and suffered death with 
such composure, that they left the witnesses of their 
execution in admiration and stupor."^ 

An ancient legend told how de Molay, as he stood 

1 Comtinuatio Ckromid GuilUmi de NattgiacOt mcccxiii. 


upon his blazing fagots, summoned Clement to meet 
him before God's judgment-seat in forty days, and 
Philip within a year. Neither survived the interval. 
Philip had promised to restore the goods of the 
Temple to the Church, but the plunder, for which 
this tremendous deed was done, was not surrendered 
tamely to the vanquished after their defeat. The 
gold and silver, and all that could be stolen, dis- 
appeared. The land was in the end ceded to the 
Hospital, but so wasted that, for a century, no reve- 
nue whatever accrued from what had been one of 
the finest conventual estates in Europe.^ 

Such was the opening of that social revolution 
which, when it reached its height, was called the 

1 La Afaiscn tin Temple, Curzon, 200, 204. 



Many writers have pointed out the relation be- 
tween commerce and scepticism in the Middle Ages, 
and, among others, Thorold Rogers has a passage 
in his History of Agriculture and Prices so interest- 
ing that it should be read entire: — 

"The general spread of LoUardy, about which all the 
theologians of the age complain, was at once the cause 
and the effect of progressive opulence. It cannot be by 
accident that all the wealthiest parts of Europe, one district 
only excepted, and that for very sufficient reasons, were sus- 
pected during the Middle Ages of theological nonconformity. 
Before the campaigns of Simon de Montfort, in the first half 
of the thirteenth century, Provence was the garden and 
workshop of Europe. The sturdiest advocates of the Ref- 
ormation were the burghers of the Low Countries. . . . 
In England the strength of the Lollard party was, from 
the da>'s of Wiklif to the days of Cranmer, in Norfolk 
[the principal manufacturing county] ; and I have no doubt 
that ... the presence of students from this district must 
have told on the theological bias of Cambridge University, 
which came out markedly at the epoch of the Reforma- 
tion. . . . 

" English LoUardy was, like its direct descendant Puritan- 
ism, sour and opioionative, but it was also moral and thrifty. 
They who denounced the lazy and luxurious life of the 
monks, the worldliness and greed of the prelates, and the 



gross and shallow artifices of the popular religion, were pretty 
sure to inculcate parsimony and saving. By voluntarily and 
sturdily cutting themselves off from the circumstance of the 
old faith, they were certain, like the Quakers of more than 
two centuries later, to become comparatively wealthy. They 
had nothing to spare for monk or priest. . . ." * 

The Lollards were of the modern economic type, 
and discarded the miracle because the miracle was 
costly and yielded an uncertain return. Yet the 
mediaeval cult was based upon the miracle, and many 
of the payments due for the supernatural services of 
the ecclesiastics were obligatory ; beside, gifts as an 
atonement for sin were a drain on savings, and the 
economist instinctively sought cheaper methods of 

In an age as unscientific as the sixteenth century, 
the conviction of the immutability of natural laws 
was not strong enough to admit of the abrogation 
of religious formulas. The monied class, therefore, 
proceeded step by step, and its first experiment was 
to suppress all fees to middle-men, whether priests 
or saints, by becoming their own intercessors with 
the Deity. 

As Dr. Witherspoon has observed, " fear of wrath 
from the avenger of blood" made men "fly to the 
city of refuge";' but, as the tradesman replaced the 
enthusiast, a dogma was evolved by which mental 
anguish, which cost nothing, was substituted for the 
offering which was effective in proportion to its money 
value. This dogma was "Justification by Faith," the 
comer-stone of Protestantism. 

* A HisUry of AgriiuUure and Prices ^ J. E. Thorold Rogers, iv. 72, 

* On yustifitaiioH, Works, L 60. 


Far from requiring an outlay from the elect, "Jus- 
tification by Faith*' discouraged it. The act con- 
sisted in "a deep humiliation of mind, confession 
of guilt and wretchedness . . . and acceptance of 
pardon and peace through Christ Jesus, which they 
have neither contributed to the procuring, nor can 
contribute to the continuance of, by their own 
merit." » 

Yet the substitution of a mental condition for a 
money payment, led to consequences more far-reach- 
ing than the suppression of certain clerical revenues, 
for it involved the rejection of the sacred tradition 
which had not only sustained relic worship, but which 
had made the Church the channel of communication 
between Christians and the invisible world. 

That ancient channel once closed, Protestants had 
to open another, and this led to the deification of the 
Bible, which, before the Reformation, had been sup- 
posed to derive its authority from that divine illumi- 
nation which had enabled the priesthood to infallibly 
declare the canon of the sacred books. Calvin saw 
the weak spot in the position of the reformers, and 
faced it boldly. He maintained the Scripture to be 
" self-authenticated, carrying with it its own evidence, 
and ought not to be made the subject of demonstra- 
tion and arguments from reason," and that it should 
obtain '* the same complete credit and authority with 
believers ... as if they heard the very words pro- 
nounced by God himself." * 

Thus for the innumerable costly fetishes of the 
imaginative age were substituted certain writings, 

1 On ymtijicatwn^ Works, i. 51. 
* InsHtmtes^ 1. viL I and 5. 


which could be consulted without a fee. The ex- 
pedient was evidently the device of a mercantile 
community, and the saving to those who accepted it 
enormous, but it disintegrated Christendom, and made 
an organized priesthood impossible. When each indi- 
vidual might pry into the sacred mysteries at his 
pleasure, the authority of the clergy was annihilated. 
Men of the priestly type among the reformers saw 
the danger and tried to save themselves. The thesis 
which the early evangelical divines maintained was 
the unity of truth. The Scriptures were true : there- 
fore if the whole body of Christians searched aright 
they could not fail to draw truth from them, and this 
truth must be the creed of the universal Church. 
Zwingli thus explained the doctrine : — 

" Whoever hears the holy scriptures read aloud in church, 
judges what he hears. Nevertheless what is heard is not it- 
self the Word through which we believe. For if we belUved 
through the simple hearing or reading of the Word, all would 
be believers. On the contrary, we see that many hear and 
see and do not believe. Hence it is clear that we believe 
only through the word which the Heavenly Father speaks in 
our hearts, by which he enlightens us so that we see, and 
draws us so that we follow. . . . For God is not a God of 
strife and quarrel, but of unity and peace. Where there is 
true faith, there the Holy Spirit is present ; but where the 
Holy Spirit is, there is certainly effort for unity and peace. 
. . . Therefore there is no danger of confusion in the Church 
since, if the congregation is assembled through God, he is 
in the midst of them, and all who have faith strive after unity 
and peace." ' 

The inference the clergy sought to draw was, that 
though all could read the Bible, only the enlightened 

1 Zwinglis Tkepicgie, August Baur, 319, JJO. 


could interpret it, and that they alone were the 
enlightened. Hence Calvin's pretensions equalled 
Hildebrand's : — 

" This is the .extent of the power with which the pastors 
of the Church, by whatever name they may be distinguished, 
ought to be invested ; that by the word of God they may 
venture to do all things with confidence ; may constrain all 
the strength, glory, wisdom, and pride of the world to obey 
and submit to his majesty; supported by his power, may 
govern all mankind, from the highest to the lowest; may 
build up the house of Christ, and subvert the house of Satan ; 
may feed the sheep, and drive away the wolves ; may instruct 
and exhort the docile ; may reprove, rebuke, and restrain the 
rebellious and obstinate ; may bind and loose ; may discharge 
their lightnings and thunders, if necessary ; but all in the 
Word of God."' 

In certain regions, poor and remote from the centres 
of commerce, these pretensions were respected. In 
Geneva, Scotland, and New England, men like Calvin, 
Knox, and Cotton maintained themselves until econ- 
omic competition did its work: then they passed 
away. Nowhere has faith withstood the rise of the 
mercantile class. As a whole the Reformation was 
eminently an economic phenomenon, and is best 
studied in England, which, after the Reformation, 
grew to be the centre of the world's exchanges. 

From the beginning of modern history, commerce 
and scepticism have gone hand in hand. The Eastern 
trade began to revive after the reopening of the valley 
of the Danube, about icxx>, and perhaps, in that very 
year, Berenger, the first great modern heretic, was 
born. By 1050 he had been condemned and made 

^ JmttituUs. IV. viiL 9, 


to recant, but with the growth of the Fairs of Cham- 
pagne his heresy grew, and in 121 5, just in the flush 
of the communal development, the Church found it 
necessary to define the dogma of transubstantiation, 
and declare it an article of faith. A generation later 
came the burning of schismatics ; in 1252, by his bull 
" Adextirpanda," Innocent IV. organized the Inquisi- 
tion, and the next year Grosset£te, Bishop of Lincoln, 
died, with whom the organized opposition of the Eng- 
lish to the ancient costly ritual may be said to have 

In Great Britain the agitation for reform appears 
to have been practical from the outset. There was 
no impatience with dogmas simply because they were 
incomprehensible : the Trinity and the Double Pro- 
cession were always accepted. Formulas of faith were 
resisted because they involved a payment of money, 
and foremost among these were masses and penances. 
Another grievance was the papal patronage, and, as 
early as the fourteenth century, Parliament passed 
the statutes of provisors and praemunire to prevent 
the withdrawal of money from the realm. 

The rise of the Lollards was an organized move- 
ment to resist ecclesiastical exactions, and to confis- 
cate ecclesiastical pro[>erty ; and, if 1345 be taken as 
the opening of Wickliffe's active life, the agitation for 
the seizure of monastic estates started just a genera- 
tion after Philip's attack on the Temple in France. 
There was at least this difference in the industrial 
condition of the two nations, and probably much 

Wickliffe was rather a politician than a theologian, 
and his preaching a diatribe against the extravagance 


of the Church. In one of his Saints' Days sermons 
he explained the waste of relic worship as shrewdly 
as a modem man of business : — 

** It would be to the benefit of the Church, and to the 
honour of the saints, if the costly ornaments so foolishly 
lavished upon their graves were divided among the poor. 
I am well aware, however, that the man who would sharply 
and fully expose this error would be held for a manifest 
heretic by the image worshippers and the greedy people 
who make gain of such graves ; for in the adoration of the 
eucharist, and such worshipping of dead bodies and images, 
the Church is seduced by an adulterous generation." ^ 

The laity paid the priesthood fees because of their 
supernatural powers, and the possession of these 
powers was chiefly demonstrated by the miracle of 
the mass. Wickliffe, with a leader's eye, saw where 
the enemy was vulnerable, and the last years of his 
life were passed in his fierce controversy with the 
mendicants upon transubstantiation. Even at that 
early day he presented the issue with incomparable 
clearness : " And thou, then, that art an earthly man, 
by what reason mayst thou say that thou makest thy 
maker .?"« 

The deduction from such premises was inexorable. 
The mass had to be condemned as fetish worship, and 
with it went the adoration of relics. 

** Indeed, many nominal Christians are worse than pagans ; 
for it is not so bad that a man should honour as God, for 
the rest of the day, the first thing he sees in the morning, 

^ y^n Wiiliffi and kit EngUsh Frtcursors^ Lechler, Eng. tram., 


* Lechler, 349, note I. 


as that regularly that accident should be really his God, 
which he sees in the mass in the hands of the priest in the 
consecrated wafer." * 

Wickliffe died December 30, 1384, and ten years 
later the Lollards had determined to resist all pay- 
ments for magic. They presented their platform to 
Parliament in 1395, summed up in their Book of Con- 
clusiotis, Some of these "conclusions" are remark- 
ably interesting : — 

5th. — "That the exorcisms and hallowings, consecrations 
and blessings, over the wine, bread, wax, water, oil, salt, 
incense, the altar-stone, and about the church -walls, over 
the vestment, chalice, mitre, cross, and pilgrim-staves, are 
the very practices of necromancy, rather than of sacred 

7th. — "We mightily affirm . . . that spiritual prayers 
made in the church for the souls of the dead ... is a false 
foundation of alms, whereupon all the houses of alms in 
England are falsely founded. 

8th. — "That pilgrimages, prayers, and oblations made 
onto blind crosses or roods, or to deaf images made either 
of wood or stone, are very near of kin unto idolatry.'" 

When Lord Cobham, the head of the Lollard party, 
was tried for heresy in 1413, Archbishop Arundel 
put him four test questions. First, whether he be- 
lieved, after the sacramental words had been spoken, 
any material bread or wine remained in the sacra- 
ment; fourth, whether he believed relic worship 

1 Lechler, 348, note. Extract from Di Eucharistia. 
* Acts and Afonumenti, iii. 204, J05. 


194 aVlLlZATION AND DECAY chap. 

His answers did not give satisfaction, and they 
roasted him in chains, in Saint Giles's Fields, in 

A hundred years of high commercial activity fol- 
lowed Cobham's death. The discovery of America, 
and of the sea passage to India, changed the channels 
of commerce throughout the world, human movement 
was accelerated, gunpowder made the attack over- 
whelming; centralization took a prodigious stride, 
scepticism kept pace with centralization, and in 15 10 
Erasmus wrote thus, and yet remained in the prtho- 
dox communion : — 

" Moreover savoiireth it not of the same saulce [folly] 
(trow ye) when everie countrey chalengeth a severall sainct 
for the>T patrone, assignyng further to each sainct a peculiar 
cure and oflice, with also sundrie ways of worshipping ; as 
this sainct helpeth for the tooth-ache, that socoureth in 
childbmh; she restoreth stolene goods; an other aydeth 
shipmen in tempests ; an other taketh charge of husband- 
mens hoggs ; and so of the rest ; far too long were it to 
reherse all. Then some saincts there be, that are generally 
sued for many thynges ; amongst whom chiefly is the virgin 
Mother of God, in whom vulgar folke have an especiall 
confidence, yea almost more than in her Sonne." * 

When Erasmus wrote, the Reformation was at 
hand, but the attack on Church property had begun 
in England full two centuries before, comtemporan- 
eously with Philip's onslaught on the Temple. All 
over Europe the fourteenth century was a period of 
financial distress; in France the communes became 
bankrupt and the coinage deteriorated, and in Eng- 
land the debasement of the currency began in 1300, 

1 Tki Praiu of Folit, 1541. Engliihcd by Sir Thomas ChaUoncr. 


and kept pace with the rise of Lollardy. In 1299 
the silver penny weighed 22i grains ; Edward I. 
reduced it to 22^ grains; Edward III. to 18 grains; 
Henry IV. to 15 grains; and Henry VI., during his 
restoration in 1470, to 12 grains. 

As the stringency increased, the attack on the 
clergy gained in ferocity. Edward I. not only taxed 
the priesthood, but seized the revenues of the alien 
priories ; of these there might have been one hundred 
and fifty within the realm, and what he took from 
them he spent on his army. 

Edward II. and Edward III. followed the preced- 
ent, and during the last reign, when the penny 
dropped two grains, these revenues were sequestered 
no less than twenty-three years. Under Henry IV. 
the penny lost three grains, and what remained of 
the income of these houses was permanently applied 
to defraying the expenses of the court. Henry V. 
dissolved them, and vested their estates in the crown. 

In the reign of Henry IV., when the penny was 
on the point of losing three grains of its silver, the 
tone of Parliament was similar to that of the parlia- 
ments of the Reformation. On one occasion the 
king asked for a subsidy, and the Speaker suggested 
that without burdening the laity he might " supply 
his occasions by seizing on the revenues of the 
clergy";^ and in 1410 Lord Cobham anticipated the 
Parliament of 1536 by introducing a bill for the con- 
fiscation of conventual revenues to the amount of 
322,000 marks, a sum which he averred represented 
the income of certain corporations whose names he 
appended in a schedule.^ 

> P^rL J/ist., Cobbett, i. 295. * IM,, 31a 


Year by year, as society consolidated, the economic 
type was propagated ; and, as the pressure of a con- 
tracting currency stimulated these men to action, the 
demand for cheap religion grew fiercer. London, 
the monied centre, waxed hotter and hotter, and a 
single passage from the Suppliccicyon for Beggers 
shows how bitter the denunciations of the system of 
paying for miracles became : — 

" UTiate money pull they yn by probates of testamentes, 
priuy tithes, and by mennes offeringes to theyre pilgrimages, 
and at theyre fvrst masses? Euery man and childe that is 
buried, must pay sumwhat for masses and diriges to be song 
for him, or elles they will accuse the dedes frendes and 
executours of hcrcsie. whate money get they by mortuaries, 
by • hearing of confessions ... by halowing of churches, 
altares, superaltares, chapelles, and bells, by cursing of men 
and absoluing theim agcin for money?"*" 

tt 1 

One of the ballads of Cromwell's time ridiculed, 
in this manner, all the chief pilgrimages of the king- 
dom : — 

" Ronnying hythcr and thythcr. 
We cannot tell whither. 

In offryng candels and pence 
To stones and stockes, 
And to olde rotten blockes. 
That came, we know not from whense. 

''To Wals}Dgham a gaddyng. 
To Cantorbury a maddyng, 

As men distraught of mynde ; 
With fewe clothes on our backes. 
But an image of waxe. 

For the lame and for the blynde. 

> A SuppiicacyoH for Btggars^ 2. Early Eng. Text Soc. 


*'Yct offer what ye wolde, 
Were it otes, syluer, or golde 

Pyn, poynt, brooche, or rynge, 
The churche were as then, 
Such charitable men, 
That they would refuse nothyng."' 

But the war was not waged with words alone. At 
the comparatively early date of 1393, London had 
grown so unruly that Richard assumed the govern- 
ment of the city himself. First he appointed Sir 
Edward Darlington warden, but Sir Edward proving 
too lenient, he replaced him with Sir Baldwin Rad- 
ington. Foxe, very frankly, explained why : — 

'* For the Londoners at that time were notoriously known 
to be favourers of Wickliff^s side, as partly before this is to 
be seen, and in the story of Saint Alban's more plainly doth 
appear, where the author of the said history, writing upon 
the fifteenth year of King Richard's reign, reporteth in these 
words of the Londoners, that they were ' not right believers 
in God, nor in the traditions of their forefathers ; sustainers 
of the Lollards, depravers of religious men, withholders of 
tithes, and impoverishers of the common people.' 

**. , . The king, incensed not a little with the complaint 
of the bishops, conceived eflsoons, against the mayor and 
sheriflBs, and against the whole city of London, a great 
stomach; insomuch, that the mayor and both the sheriffs 
were sent for, and removed from their office." * 

By the opening of the sixteenth century a priest 
could hardly collect his dues without danger; the 
Bishop of London indeed roundly declared to the gov- 
ernment that justice could not be had from the courts. 

In 1514 the infant child of a merchant tailor named 

Aiii and AfonumeHis, v. 404. * IM^ iii. 2 1 8. 


Hun died, and the parson of the parish sued the father 
for a bearing sheet, which he claimed as a mortuary. 
Hun contested the case, and got out a writ of prae- 
munire against the priest, which so alarmed the 
clergy that the chancellor of the diocese accused 
him of heresy, and confined him in the Lollard's 
tower of Saint Paul's. 

In due time the usual articles were exhibited against 
the defendant, charging that he had disputed the law- 
fulness of tithes, and had said they were ordained 
''only by the covetousness of priests" ; also that he 
possessed divers of '' Wicklififs damnable works,'* and 
more to the same eCFect. 

Upon these articles Fitzjames, Bishop of London, 
examined Hun on December 2, and after the exami- 
nation recommitted him. On the morning of the 
4th, a boy sent with his breakfast found him hanging 
to a beam in his cell. The clergy said suicide, but 
the populace cried murder, and the coroner's jury 
found a verdict against Dr. Horsey, the chancellor. 
The situation then became grave, and Fitzjames 
wrote to Wolsey a remarkable letter, which showed 
not only high passion, but serious alarm : — 

" Iq most humble wise I beseech you, that I may have the 
king's gracious favour ... for assured am I, if my chan- 
cellor be tried by any twelve men in London, they be so 
maliciously set, ' in favorem haereticae pravitatis,' that they 
will cast and condemn any clerk, though he were as innocent 
as AbcL" > 

The evidence is conclusive that, from the outset, 
industry bred heretics ; agriculture, believers. Tho- 

1 Acis and Monuments^ iv. 196. 


rold Rogers has explained that the east of England, 
from Kent to the Wash and on to Yorkshire, was the 
richest part of the kingdom,^ and Mr. Blunt, in his 
Refonnation of the Church of England^ has published 
an analysis of the martyrdoms under Mary. He has 
shown that out of 277 victims, 234 came from the 
district to the east of a line drawn from Boston to 
Portsmouth. West of this line Oxford had most 
burnings ; but, by the reign of Mary, manufactures 
had spread so far inland that the industries of Ox- 
fordshire were only surpassed by those of Middlesex.* 
In Wickliffe's time Norwich stood next to London, 
and Norwich was infested with Lollards, many of 
whom were executed there. 

On the other hand, but two executions are recorded 
in the six agricultural counties north of the Humber 
— counties which were the poorest and the farthest 
removed from the lines of trade. Thus the eastern 
counties were the hot-bed of Puritanism. There, 
Rett's rebellion broke out under Edward VL ; there, 
Cromwell recruited his Ironsides, and throughout 
this region, before the beginning of the Reforma- 
tion, assaults on relics were most frequent and vio- 
lent. One of the most famous of these relics was 
the rood of Dovercourt. Dovercourt is part of Har- 
wich, on the Essex coast ; Dedham lies ten miles 
inland, on the border of Suffolk ; and the descrip- 
tion given by Foxe of the burning of the image 
of Dovercourt, is an example of what went on 
throughout the southeast just before the time of 
the divorce : — 

* AgruuUure and Priui^ iv. 18. 

* Reformation of tkt Ckurtk of Engiand, Blunt, it 222. 



" In the same year of our Ijord 1532, there was an idol 
named the Rood of Dovercourt, whereunto was much and 
great resort of ^people: for at that time there was great 
rumour blown abroad amongst the ignorant sort, that the 
power of the idol of Dovercourt was so great, that no man 
had power to shut the church-door where he stood; and 
therefore they let the church-door, both night and day, con- 
tinually stand open, for the more credit unto their blind 
rumour. This once being conceived in the heads of the 
vulgar sort, seemed a great marvel unto many men ; but to 
many again, whom God had blessed with his spirit, it was 
greatly suspected, especially unto these, whose names here 
follow : as Robert King of Dedham, Robert Debnam of 
Eastbergholt, Nicholas Marsh of Dedham, and Robert Gard- 
ner of Dedham, whose consciences were sore burdened to 
see the honour and power of the almighty living God so 
to be blasphemed by such an idol. Wherefore they were 
moved by the Spirit of God, to travel out of Dedham in a 
wondrous goodly night, both hard frost and fair moonshine, 
although the night before, and the night after, were exceed- 
ing foul and rainy. It was from the town of Dedham, to 
the place where the filthy Rood stood, ten miles. Notwith- 
standing, they were so willing in that their enterprise, that 
they went these ten miles without pain, and found the church 
door open, according to the blind talk of the ignorant peo- 
ple : for there durst no unfaithful body shut it. This hap- 
pened well for their purpose, for they found the idol, which 
had as much power to keep the door shut, as to keep it 
open ; and for proof thereof, they took the idol from his 
shrine, and carried him quarter of a mile from the place 
where he stood, without any resistance of the said idoL 
Whereupon they struck (ire with a flint-stone, and suddenly 
set him on fire, who burned out so brim, that he lighted 
them homeward one good mile of the ten. 

''This done, there went a great talk abroad that they 
should have great riches in that place; but it was very 
untrue ; for it was not their thought or enterprise, as they 
themselves afterwards confessed, for there was nothing taken 


away bot his coat, his shoes* and the tapers. The tapcis 
did help to bum him, the shoes they had again, and the 
coat one Sir Thomas Rose did born ; but thej had neither 
penny, hallpeony, gold, groat, nor jeweL 

** Notwithstanding, three of them were afterwards indicted 
of fekmy, and hanged in chains within half a year, or there- 

"The same year, and the year before, there were many 
images cast down and destroyed in many places : as the image 
of the crucifix in the highway by Coggeshall, the image of 
Saint Petiooal in the church of Great Horksleigh, the image 
of Saint Christopher by Sudbury, and another image of Saint 
Petronal in a chapd of t~^-k »» i 

England's economic supremacy is recent, and has 
resulted from the change in the seat of exchanges 
which followed the discovery of America and the 
sea-route to India; long before Columbus, however, 
the introduction of the mariner's compass had altered 
the paths commerce followed between the north and 
south of Europe during the crusades. 

The necessity of travel by land built up the Fairs 
of Champagne ; they declined when safe ocean navi- 
gation had cheapened marine freights. Then Ant- 
werp and Bruges superseded Provins and the towns 
of Central France, and rapidly grew to be the distrib- 
uting points for Eastern merchandise for Germany, 
the Baltic, and England. In 13 17 the Venetians 
organized a direct packet service with Flanders, 
and finally, the discoveries of Vasco-da-Gama, at 
the end of the fifteenth century, threw Italy com- 
pletely out of the line of the Asiatic trade. 

^ Acts mmd Monuments^ iv. 706. 


British industries seem to have sympathized with 
these changes, for weaving first assumed some im- 
portance under Edward I., although English cloth 
long remained inferior to continental. The next 
advance was contemporaneous with the discovery 
of the Cape of Good Hope. On July 8, I497» 
Vasco<la-Gama sailed for Calicut, and in the pre- 
vious year Henry VII. negotiated the "Magnus 
Intercursus," by which treaty the Merchant Ad- 
venturers succeeded for the first time in establishing 
themselves advantageously in Antwerp. Thence- 
forward England began to play a part in the in- 
dustrial competition of Europe, but even then her 
progress was painfully slow. The accumulations of 
capital were small, and increased but moderately, { 

and a full century later, when the Dutch easily , 

raised ;^6oo,ooo for their East India Company, only 1 

^72,000 were subscribed in London for the English I 

venture. . j 

Throughout the Middle Ages, while exchanges cen- | 

tred in North Italy, Great Britain hung on the out- 
skirts of the commercial system of the world, and 
even at the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII. 
she could not compare, either in wealth, refinement, 
or organization, with such a kingdom as France. 

The crown had not been the prize of the strongest 
in a struggle among equals, but had fallen to a soldier 
of a superior race, under whom no great nobility ever 
grew up. No baron in England corresponded with 
such princes as the dukes of Normandy and Bur- 
gundy, the counts of Champagne and Toulouse. 
Fortifications were on a puny scale ; no strongholds 
like Pierrefonds or Vitri, Coucy or Carcassonne ex- 


isted, and the Tower of London itself was insignifi- 
cant beside the Ch&teau Gaillard, which Coeur-de-Lion 
planted on the Seine. 

The population was scanty, and increased little. 
When Henry VIII. came to the throne in 1509, 
London may have had forty or fifty thousand in- 
habitants, York eleven thousand, Bristol nine or ten 
thousand, and Norwich six thousand.^ Paris at that 
time probably contained between three and four hun- 
dred thousand, and Milan and Ghent two hundred 
and fifty thousand each. 

But although England was not a monied centre dur- 
ing the Middle Ages, and perhaps for that very reason, 
she felt with acuteness the financial pressure of the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. She had little gold 
and silver, and gold and silver rose in relative value ; 
she had few manufactures, and manufactures were 
comparatively prosperous ; her wealth lay in her 
agricultural interests, and farm products were, for 
the most part, severely pinched. 

Commenting on the prices between the end of the 
thirteenth century and the middle of the sixteenth, 
Mr. Rogers has observed : — 

'* Again, upon several articles of the first importance, there 
is a marked decline in the price from the average of 1261- 
1400 to that of 1401-1540. This would have been more 
conspicuous, if I had in my earlier volumes compared all 
prices from 1261 to 1350 with those of 1351-1400. But 
even over the whole range, every kind of grain, except 
wheat and peas, is dearer in the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries than it is in the first hundred and forty years of 
I the present period [1401-1582]; and had I taken the 

' Indmstrial and Commercial History of England^ Rogen, 48. 


average price of wheat during the last fifty years of the 
fourteenth centur)% it would have been (6x. i^.) dearer 
than the average of 1 401-1540 (5/. 11}^.), heightened as 
this is by the deamess of the last thirteen years." ^ 

The tables published by Mr. Rogers make it possi- 
ble to form some idea of the strain to which the popu- 
lation of Great Britain was exposed, during the two 
hundred and fifty years which intervened between 
the crisis at the close of the thirteenth century, 
and the discovery of the mines of Potosi in 15459 
which flooded the world with silver. Throughout 
this long interval an expanding commerce unceas- 
ingly enlarged the demand for currency, while no ade- 
quate additions were made to the stock of the precious 
metals ; the consequence was that their relative value 
rose, while the value of commodities declined, and 
this process had a tendency to debase the coinage. 

The latter part of the Middle Ages was a time of 
rapid centralization, when the cost of administration 
grew from year to year; but in proportion as the 
necessities of the government increased, the power 
of the people to pay taxes diminished, because the 
products which they sold brought less of the standard 
coin. To meet the deficit the same weight of metal 
had to be cut into more pieces, and thus by a con- 
tinued inflation of the currency, general bankruptcy 
was averted. The various stages of pressure are 
pretty clearly marked by the records of the Mint. 

Apparently the stringency which began in France 
about the end of the reign of Saint Louis, or some- 
what later, did not affect England immediately, for 
prices do not seem to have reached their maximum 

* Apictdiurt and Prices ^ iv. 715. 


until after 1290, and Edward I. only reduced the 
penny, in 1299, from 22.5 grains of silver to 22.25 
grains. Thenceforward the decline, though spas- 
modic, on the whole tended to increase in severity 
from generation to generation. The long French 
wars, and the Black Death, produced a profound 
effect upon the domestic economy of the kingdom 
under Edward III.; and the Black Death, especially, 
seems to have had the unusual result of raising prices 
at a time of commercial collapse. This rise probably 
was due to the dearth of labour, for half the popula- 
tion of Europe is said to have perished, and, at all 
events, the crops often could not be reaped through 
lack of hands. More than a generation elapsed be- 
fore normal conditions returned. 

Immediately before the French war the penny 
lost two grains, and between 1346 and 135 1, during 
the Black Death, it lost two grains and a quarter 
more, a depreciation of four grains and a half in fifty 
years; then for half a century an equilibrium was 
maintained. Under Henry IV. there was a sharp 
decline of three grains, equal to an inflation of seven- 
teen per cent, and by 1470, under Henry VI., the 
penny fell to twelve grains. Then a period of sta- 
bility followed, which lasted until just before the 
Reformation, when a crisis unparalleled in severity 
began, a crisis which probably was the proximate 
cause of the confiscation of the conventual estates. 

In 1526 the penny suddenly lost a grain and a half, 
or about twelve and a half per cent, and then, when 
further reductions of weight would have made the 
piece too flimsy, the government resorted to adul- 
teration. In 1542, a ten-grain penny was coined with 


one part in five of alloy ; in 1544, the alloy had risen 
to one-half, and in 1545, two-thirds of the coin was 
base metal — a depreciation of more than seventy 
per cent in twenty years. 

Meanwhile, though prices had fluctuated, the trend 
had been downward, and downward so strongly that 
it had not been fully counteracted by the reductions 
of bullion in the money. Rogers thought lath-nails 
perhaps the best gauge of prices, and in commenting 
on the years which preceded the Reformation, he 
remarked : — 

"From 1 46 1 to 1540, the average [of lath-nails] is very 
little higher than it was from 1261 to 1350, illustrating anew 
that significant decline in prices which characterizes the 
economical history of England during the eighty years 
1461-1540."' 1 

Although wheat rose more than other grains, and 
is therefore an unfavourable standard of comparison, 
wheat yields substantially the same result. During 
the last forty years of the thirteenth century, the 
average price of the quarter was 51. io|^/., and for 
the last decade, 6s, i d. For the first forty years of 
the sixteenth century the average was 6s, lod. The 
penny of 1526, however, contained only about forty- 
seven per cent of the bullion of the penny of 1299. 
"The most remarkable fact in connection with the 
issue of base money by Henry VIII. is the singular 
identity of the average price of grain, especially 
wheat, during the first 140 years of my present 
period, with the last 140 of my first two volumes."* 

* AgricmUurt and Prices^ iv. 454. 

* Ibid^ iv. 200. For the average prices of grain see tables in toL L 
24$, and iv. 292. 


After a full examination of his tables. Rogers con- 
cluded that the great rise which made the prosperity 
of Elizabeth's reign did not begin until some ** year 
between 1 545 and 1 549." ^ This corresponds precisdy 
with the discovery of Potosi in 1545. and that the ad- 
vance was due to the new silver, and not to the debase- 
ment of the coinage, seems demonstrated by the faict 
that no fall took place when the currency was restored 
by Elizabeth, but, on the contrary, the upward move- 
ment continued until well into the next century. 

Some idea may be formed from these figures of the 
contraction which pre\'ailed during the years of the 
Reformation. In 1544, toward the close of Henry*s 
reign, the penny held five grains of pure silver as 
against about 20.8 grains in 1299, ^^^ Y^^ ^^^ purchas- 
ing power had not greatly \'aried. Bullion must there- 
fore have had about four times the relative value in 
1544 that it had two hundred and fifty years eariier, 
and, if the extremely debased issues of 1 545 and later 
be taken as the measure, its value was much higher. 

Had Potosi been discovered a generation earlier, 
the whole course of English development might have 
been modified, for it is not impossible that, without 
the aid of falling prices, the rising capitalistic class 
might have lacked the power to confiscate the monas- 
tic estates. As it was, the pressure continued until 
the catastrophe occurred, relic worship was swept 
away, the property of the nation was redistributed, 
and an impulsion was given to large farming which 
led to the rapid eviction of the yeomanry. As the 
yeomen were driven from their land, they roamed 
over the world, colonizing and conquering, from the 

* AgruuUure and Friees, ir. 734. 

2o8 cnmjzATiox and decay chap. 

Mississippi to the Ganges ; building up. in the course 
of two hundred and fifty years, a centralization greater 
than that of Rome, and more absolute than that of 

Changes so vast in the forms of competition neces- 
sarily changed the complexion of society. Men who 
had flourished in an age of decentralization and of 
imagination passed away, and were replaced by a new 
aristocracy. The soldier and the priest were over- 
powered ; and, from the Reformation downward, the 
monied type possessed the world. 

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, was the ideal of 
this type, and he was accordingly the Englishman 
who rose highest during the convulsion of the Ref- 
ormation. He was a perfect commercial adventurer, 
and Chapuys, the ambassador of Charles V. at Lon- 
don, thus described his origin to his master: — 

** Cromwell is the son of a poor farrier, who lived in a little 
village a league and a half from here, and is buried in the 
parish graveyard. His uncle, father of the cousin whom he 
has already made rich, was cook of the late Archbishop of 
Canterbury. Cromwell was ill-behaved when young, and' 
after an imprisonment was forced to leave the country. He 
went to Flanders, Rome, and elsewhere in Italy. When he 
returned he married the daughter of a shearman, and served 
in his house ; he then became a solicitor." ' 

The trouble which drove him abroad seems to have 
been with his father, and he probably started on his 
travels about 1504. He led a dissolute and vagabond 
life, served as a mercenary in Italy, " was wild and 
youthful, ... as he himself was wont ofttimes to 

1 Chtpvyi to GntnTille, Cal. ix. No. 862. The State Papers edited 
hf Menn. Brewer aad Gairdner are referred to by the word ** Cal." 


declare unto Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; 
showing what a ruffian he was in his young days 
. . . also what a great doer he was with Geffery 
Chambers in publishing and setting forth the pardons 
of Boston everywhere in churches as he went'* ^ 

These " pardons ** were indulgences he succeeded 
in obtaining from the pope for the town of Boston, 
which he peddled about the country as he went 
He served as a clerk in the counting house of the 
Merchant Adventurers at Antwerp, and also appears 
to have filled some such position with a Venetian 
merchant On his return to England in ISI3» he 
married and set up a fulling-mill; he also became 
an attorney and a usurer, dwelling by Fenchurch, 
in London. 

In 1523, having been elected to Parliament, Crom- 
well was a most prosperous man. At this time he 
entered Wolsey's service, and made himself of use in 
suppressing convents to supply endowments for the 
cardinal's colleges at Oxford and Ipswich. When 
Wolsey fell, he ingratiated himself with Henry, and 
thenceforward rose rapidly. He became chancellor 
of the exchequer, master of the rolls, secretary of 
state, vicar general, a Knight of the Garter, and 
Earl of Essex. At once the head of Church and 
State, probably no English subject has ever been so 

Both he and Cranmer succeeded through flexi- 
bility and adroitness. He suggested to Henry to 
accomplish his ends by robbing the convents, and 
Mr. Brewer, an excellent authority, thought him 
notoriously venal from the outset 

^ Acts and Monumintt^ t. J65. 


His executive and business capacity was unri- 
valled. He had the instinct for money, and provided 
he made it, he scrupled not about the means. In the 
State Papers there is an amusing account of the 
treatment he put up with, when at the pinnacle of 
greatness : — 

"And as for my Lord Prevye Sealle, I wold not be in his 
case for all that ever he hathe, for the King beknaveth him 
twice a weke, and some-tyme knocke him well about thee 
pate ; and yet when he hathe bene well pomeld aboute the 
hedde, and shaken up, as it were a dogge, he will come out 
into the great chambre, shaking of the bushe with as mery a 
countenance as thoughe he mought rule all the roste." ^ 

Though good-natured where his interests were not 
involved, he appears to have been callous to the 
sight of pain, and not only attended to the racking 
of important witnesses, but went in state to see 
Father Forest roasted in chains for denying the 
royal supremacy, which he was labouring to estab- 
lish. His behaviour to Lambert, whom he sent to 
the fire for confessing his own principles, astonished 
even those who knew him well. How he became a 
Protestant is uncertain; Foxe thought, by reading 
Erasmus's translation of the New Testament. More 
probably he was sceptical because he was of the 
economic type. At all events, he hated Rome, and 
Foxe said that in 1538 he was "the chief friend of 
the gospellers." 

In that same year Lambert was tried for heresy 
regarding transubstantiation, and it was then Crom- 
well sentenced him to be burned alive. Character* 

1 StaU Papers, ii. 552. 




istically, he is sakl to have invited him to breakfast 
on the morning of the execution, and to have then 
begged his pardon for what he had done. 

Pole described a conversation he had with Essex 
about the duty of ministers to kings. Pole thought 
their first obligation was to consider their masters' 
honour, and insisted on the divergence between 
honour and expediency. Such notions seemed fan- 
tastic to Cromwell, who told Pole that a prudent 
politician would study a prince's inclinations and act 
accordingly. He then offered Pole a manuscript of 
Machiavelli's Prince. Such a temperament differed^ 
not so much in degree as in kind, from that of God- 
frey de Bouillon or Saint Louis, Bayard or the Black 
Prince. It was subtler, more acquisitive, more tena- 
cious of life, and men and women of the breed of 
Cromwell rose rapidly to be the owners of England 
during the sixteenth century. Social standards 
changed. Even in semi-barbarous ages a lofty 
courtesy had always been deemed befitting the great. 
Saint Anselm and H^loTse, Saladin and Coeur-de-Lion 
have remained ideals for centuries, because they rep- 
resented a phase of civilization ; and Froissart has 
described how the Black Prince entertained his pris- 
oners after Poitiers : — 

"The prince himself served the king's table, as well as the 
others, with every mark of humility, and would not sit down 
at it, in spite of all his entreaties for him so to do, saying 
that ' he was not worthy of such an honour, nor did it apper- 
tain to him to seat himself at the table of so great a king, or 
of so valiant a man as he had shown himself by his actions 
that day.' " ' 

^ CkroHuUit I, clxviL 


One hundred and fifty years of progress had elim- 
inated chivalr}'. Manners were coarse and morals 
loose at the court of Henry VIII. Foreign ambas- 
sadors spoke with little respect of the society they 
saw. Chapuys permitted himself to sneer at Lady 
Jane Seymour, who aftcnji-ard became queen, because 
he seems to have thought the ladies of the court 
venal : — 

" I leave you to judge whether, being English, and hav- 
ing frequented the court, 'si elle ne tiendroit pas h con- 
science de navoir pourveu et pr^vcnu de savoir que cest de 
fiiire nopces.' " ' 

The scandals of the Boleyn family are too well 
known to need notice,' and it would be futile to 
accumulate examples of the absence of female virtue 
when the fact is notorious. The rising nobility 
resembled Cromwell more or less feebly. The mer- 
cenar)' quality was the salient characteristic of the 
favoured class. Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire, 
made his fortune through his own shrewdness and 
the beauty of his daughters. Mary, the younger, 
was an early mistress of Henry ; Anne, the elder and 
the astuter, was his wife. Boleyn's title and his fort- 
une came through this connection. Boleyn was a 
specimen of a class ; in him the instinct of self-pres- 
ervation was highly developed. When his daughter 
Anne, and his son, Lord Rochford, were tried at the 
Tower for incest, the evidence was so flimsy that ten 
to one was bet in the court-room on acquittal. At 
this supreme moment, the attitude of the father was 

' Chapav^ to Pcrrcnot, Ca/. x. No. 901. 

• Sec /f ««/ Boleyn^ Friedmann, i. 43, and elsewhere. 


thus described by Chapuys, who had good sources of 
information : — 

**0n the isth the said concubine and her brother were 
condemned of treason by all the principal lords of England, 
and the Duke of Norfolk [her uncle] pronounced sentence. 
I am told the Earl of Wiltshire was quite as ready to assist 
at the judgment as he had done at the condemnation of the 
other four." * 

The grandfather of Thomas Boleyn had been an 
alderman of London and a rich tradesman ; his son 
had been knighted, and had retired from business, 
and Wiltshire himself, though a younger son and with 
but fifty pounds a year when married, raised himself 
by his wits, and the use of his children, to be a wealthy 

The history of the Cecil family is not dissimilar. 
David, the first of the name who emerged from 
obscurity, gained a certain favour under Henry 
VIII. ; his son Richard, a most capable manager, 
obtained a fair share of the monastic plunder, was 
groom of the robes, constable of Warwick Castle, 
and died rich. His son was the g^cat Lord Burleigh, 
in regard to whom perhaps it may be best to quote 
an impartial authority. Macaulay described him as 
possessed of "a cool temper, a sound judgment, 
great powers of application, and a constant eye to 
the main chance. . . . He never deserted his friends 
till it was very inconvenient to stand by them, was 
an excellent Protestant when it was not very advan- 
tageous to be a Papist, recommended a tolerant pol- 
icy to his mistress as strongly as he could recommend 

» Cal. X. No. 908. 


it without hazarding her favour, never put to the rack 
any person from whom it did not seem probable that 
useful information might be derived, and was so mod- 
erate in his desires that he left only three hundred 
distinct landed estates, though he might, as his hon- 
est servant assures us, have left much more, 'if he 
would have taken money out of the exchequer for 
his own use, as many treasurers have done.' ** * 

The Howards, though of an earlier time, were of 
the same temperament. The founder was a lawyer, 
who sat on the bench of the Common Pleas under 
Edward I., and who, therefore, did not earn his 
knighthood on a stricken field, as the Black Prince 
won his spurs at Cr^cy. After his death his de- 
scendants made little stir for a century, but they 
married advantageously, accumulated money, and, in 
the fifteenth century, one Robert Howard married 
a daughter of Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. 
This he hardly would have done had he not been a 
man of substance, since he seems not to have been 
a man of war. The alliance made the fortune of the 
family. It also appears to have added some martial 
instinct to the stock, for Richard III. gave John 
Howard the title of the Mowbrays, and this John was 
afterwards killed at Bosworth. His son commanded 
at Flodden, and his grandson was the great spoiler 
of the convents under Henry VIII., who also sup- 
pressed the northern rebellion. 

Thomas Howard, the minister of Henry VIII., 
was one of the most interesting characters of his 
generation. He was naturally a strong Conserva- 
tive; Chapuys never doubted that "the change in 

^ Burleigh and his Times, Essays. 


matters of religion [was] not to his mind**: in 1534 
he even went so far as to tell the French ambassador 
that he would not consent to a change, and this 
speech having been repeated to the king, occasioned 
his momentary disgrace.* At one time Lord Darcy, 
the head of the reactionary party, counted on his sup- 
port against Cromwell, though he warned Chapuys 
not to trust him implicitly, because of "his incon- 
stancy.'* ^ Yet, under a certain appearance of vacil- 
lation, he hid a profound and subtle appreciation of 
the society which environed him; this "inconstancy** 
made his high fortune. He had a sure instinct, 
which taught him at the critical moment where his 
interests lay, and he never was deceived. Henry 
distrusted him, but could not do without him, and 
paid high for his support. Howard, on his side, was 
keenly distressed when he found he had gone too 
far; and when the northern insurrection broke out, 
and he was offered the command of the royal forces, 
the Bishop of Carlisle, with whom he dined, said he 
had never seen the duke '* so happy as he was 
to-day.** « 

Once in the field against his friends, there were 
no lengths to which Thomas Howard would not go. 
He never wearied of boasting of his lies and of his 
cruelty; he wrote to assure Henry he would spare 
no pains to entrap them, and would esteem no prom- 
ise he made to the rebels, "for surely I shall ob- 
serve no part thereof, for any respect of that other 
might call mine honor dystayned.*** 

> Ca/, vii. No. 296. 

' /*#</., xi. No. 576, Chapuys to Chtrlet. 

» Ui^., xi. No. 576. * /Mti., xi. No. 864. 


As Cromwell behaved toward Lambert, so he 
behaved toward the Carthusians. Though they were 
men in whose religion he probably believed as sin- 
cerely as he believed anything, and in whose cause 
he had professed himself ready to take up arms, when 
they were sent to the stake he attended the execution 
as a spectacle, and watched them expire in torments, 
without a pang. Men gifted like Howard were suc- 
cessful in the Reformation, and Norfolk made a colos- 
sal fortune out of his politics. The price of his service 
was thirteen convents, and his son Surrey had two ; 
of what he made in other ways no record remains. 

Such was the new aristocracy ; but the bulk of the 
old baronage was differently bred, and those who were 
of the antiquated type were doomed to pass away. 

The publication of the State Papers leaves no doubt 
that the ancient feudal gentry, both titled and untitled, 
as a body, opposed the reform. Many of the most 
considerable of these were compromised in the Pil- 
grimage of Grace in 1536, among whom was Thomas 
Lord Darcy. If a mediaeval baron still lived in the 
middle of the sixteenth century, that man was Darcy. 
Since the Conqueror granted the Norman de Areci 
thirty lordships in Lincolnshire, his ancestors had 
been soldiers, and at his home in the north his re- 
tainers formed an army as of old. Bom in 1467, at 
twenty-five he bound himself by indenture to serve 
Henry VH. beyond the sea, at the head of a thou- 
sand men, and more than forty years afterward he 
promised Chapuys that he would march against Lon- 
don with a force eight thousand strong, if the emperor 
would attack Henrj' VHL All his life long he had 
fought upon the borders. He had been captain of 


Berwick, warden of the east and middle marches, 
and in 151 1 he had volunteered to lead a British 
contingent against the Moors. He was a Knight of 
the Garter, a member of the Privy Council, and when 
the insurrection broke out, he commanded at Ponte- 
fract Castle, the strongest position in Yorkshire. 

A survival of the past, he retained the ideas of 
Cricy and Poitiers, and these brought him to the 
block. While negotiations were pending, Norfolk 
seems to have wanted to save him, though possibly 
he may have been actuated by a more sinister pur- 
pose. At all events he certainly wrote suggesting to 
Darcy to make his peace by ensnaring Aske, the 
rebel leader, and giving him up to the government 
To Norfolk this seemed a perfectly legitimate trans- 
action. By such methods he rose to eminence. To 
Darcy it seemed dishonour, and he died for it 
Instead of doing as he was bid, he reproached 
Norfolk for deeming him capable of treachery: — 

" Where your lordship advises me to take Aske, quick or 
dead, as you think I may do by policy, and so gain the 
king's favour ; alays my good lord yt ever ye being a man 
of so much honour and gret experyence shold advice or 
chuss roee a man to be of eny such sortt or facion to betray 
or dissav eny lifiyng roan, French man, Scott, yea, or a 
Turke ; of my faith, to gett and wyn to me and myn heyres 
fowr of the best dukes landdes in Fraunce, or to be kyng 
there, I wold nott do it to no lifTyng person.'' ' 

Darcy averred that he surrendered Pontefract to 
the rebels because the government neglected to re- 
lieve him, and although doubtless he always sympa- 

^ Cal xi. No. 1045. 


thized with the rising, he promptly wrote to London 
when the outbreak began, to warn Henry not only of 
the weakness of his fortress, but of the power of the 
enemy.* When the royal herald visited the castle to 
treat with the insurgents, he found Darcy, Sir Robert 
Constable, Aske, and others, who told him they were 
on a pilgrimage to London to have all the "vile 
blood put from** the Privy Council, "and noble 
blood set up again," and to make restitution for the 
wrongs done the Church.' 

This Aske was he whom Darcy refused to betray, 
but instead he offered to do all he could " as a true 
knight and subject** to pacify the country, and he 
did help to persuade the rebels to disperse on Henry's 
promise of a redress of grievances. In the moment 
of peril both Darcy and Aske were pardoned and 
cajoled, but the rising monied type were not the men 
to let the soldiers escape them, once they held them 
disarmed. Even while Henry was plotting the de- 
struction of those to whom he had pledged his word, 
Norfolk wrote from the north to Cromwell : " I have 
by policy brought him [Aske] to desire me to yeve 
him licence to ride to London, and have promised to 
write a letter . . . which ... I pray you take of the 
like sort as you did the other I wrote for Sir Thomas 
Percy. If neither of them both come never in this 
country again I think neither true nor honest men 
woll be sorry thereof, nor in likewise for my Lord 
Darcy nor Sir Robert Constable.** * Percy and Con- 
stable, Aske and Darcy, all perished on the scaffold. 

Darcy and his like recognized that a new world 

» Cai, xi. No. 729. « /*/</., xi. No. 826. 

* IHd,, xiL pt. L No. 698. 


had risen about them, in which they had no place. 
During his imprisonment in London, before his exe- 
cution, he was examined by Cromwell, and thus, 
almost with his dying words, addressed the man 
who was the incarnation of the force that killed 
him : — 

" Cromwell, it is thou that art the very original and chief 
causer of all this rebellion and mischief, and art likewise 
causer of the apprehension of us that be noble men and dost 
daily earnestly travail to bring us to our end and to strike 
off our heads, and I trust that or thou die, though thou 
wouldst procure all the noblemen's heads within the realm 
to be stricken off, yet shall there one head remain that shall 
strike off thy head." > 

' Ca/. xii. pt. i. No. 976. 



At the apex of the new society stood Henry VIII., 
who, like Philip the Fair, had many of the qualities 
which make a great religious reformer in an economic 
age. In reaching an estimate of his nature, however, 
the opinions of Englishmen are of no great value, since 
they are usually distorted by prejudice. The best 
observers were the foreign ministers at his court, 
whose business was to collect information for their 
governments. At a time when there were no news- 
papers, these agents had to be accurate, and their 
despatches are trustworthy. 

Charles de Marillac was born in 1 5 10. He belonged 
to an old family, and had an unblemished reputation. 
He had no leaning against Protestants, for he was 
disgraced by the Guise party. He was thirty when 
in London as ambassador of F^rancis I. After having 
been a year in England, he wTote : — 

** This prince seems to me subject among other vices to 
three, which certainly in a king may be called pests, of 
which the first is, that he is so avaricious and covetous, that 
all the riches of the world would not be sufficient to satisfy 
and content his ambition. . . . From this proceeds the 
second evil and pest, which is distrust and fear . . . where- 
fore he ceaselessly embrews his hands in blood, feeling in 



his mind doubt of those about him, wbhing to live without 
suspicion, which every day augments. . . . And in part 
from these two evils proceeds the last pest, which is levity 
and inconstancy; and partly also from the temper of the 
nationy by which they have perverted the rights of religion, 
of marriage, of honesty and honour, as if they were wax, the 
which alloy can change itself into whatever forms they 

Cruelty was one of Henry's most salient traits, and 
was, perhaps, the faculty by which he succeeded in 
imposing himself most strongly upon his contempo- 
raries. He not only murdered his wives, his min- 
isters, and his friends, but he pursued those who 
opposed him with a vindictiveness which appalled 
them. He was ingenious in devising torments. 

Friar Forest, whose crime was the denial of the 
royal supremacy, he caused to be slowly roasted over 
a rood which he had fetched from Wales on purpose. 
They '' hanged [him] in Smithfield in chains, upon a 
gallows quick, by the middle and arm-holes, and fire 
was made under him, and so was he consumed and 
burned to death." * Henry relished the idea of the 
show so much, that Chapuys thought him disap- 
pointed at not being able to attend with his whole 

His way of dealing with the Carthusians was equally 
characteristic. The Carthusians were in the Church 
what Darcy was in the State : men of the old imagi- 
native type, of austere life and ascetic habits, in 
whom still glowed the fiery enthusiasm of Hilde- 
brand. They could not accept Henry as God's vice- 

1 Marillac au CommiiahU, Kaulek, 211. 
* Acts and M^numenii^ v. 1 8a 

222 •'N \NI» I>B.\V CIIAI-. 

re^'cnt '-^-n carrh The three priors — Houghton, 
Webster. :tn*l Lawrence — were **rip|xrd up in each 
other's presence, their arms torn off, their hearts cut 
out and rubbed upon their mouths and faces." * 

Three more were chained upright to posts, where 
they ^trKKi tor fourteen days, "without the possibility 
of >tirring for any purpose whatever, held fast by 
iron collars on their necks, arms, and thighs."- Then 
thev were handed and di.sembowelled. 

In 1 537. ten were still resolute. They were chained 
in Newgate like the others, where, according to Stowe, 
nine ** died . . . with stink and miserably smothered." 
The tenth, who survived, was hanged. 

Had Henry been hampered, like Darcy, with scru- 
ples about honour, truth, or conscience, he too might 
have been undone. His power lay in his capacity 
for doing what was needful for success. He enticed 
Aske to London, and, when he held him, slew him. 
He j)ardoned Darcy, and then sent him to Tower 

Lacking force to crush the rebels, Norfolk, in the 
royal name, pacified the people with pardon and 
promises of redress. They dispersed, thinking them- 
S;!lves safe. Henry ignored his pledges, risings fol- 
lowed; but, when the country had been tranquillized 
and his army was again in peaceful possession, he 
thus instructed the Duke : — 

*' Our pleasure is, that . . . you shal, in any wise, cause 
suche dredfull execution to be doon upon a good nombre 
of thinhabiiauntes of every towne, village, and hamlet, that 
have offended in this rebellion, aswell by the hanging of 

* Cj/. Mii. .\'o. '20. * SanJfr, Lewis' trans., 1 19. 


them uppe in trees, as by the quartering of them, and the 
setting of their heddes and quarters in every towne, greate 
and small, and in al suche other places, as they may be a 
ferefuU spectacle to all other herafter, that wold practise any 
like mater : whiche We rcquyre you to doo, without pitie or 
respecte, according to our former letters ; remembring that 
it shalbe moche better, that these traitours shulde perishe 
in their wilfull, unkynde, and traitorous folyes, thenne that 
so slendre punishment shuld be doon upon them, as the 
dredde thereof shuld not be a warning to others." ' 

Norfolk was after Henry's pattern. The rebels 
were his friends — men with whom he had pledged 
himself to act shortly before. But he had chosen 
his side, he had made his bargain, and he earned his 
pay. He was never weary of boasting of his cruelty 
toward the defenceless yeomanry : — 

"They shall be put to death in every town where they 
dwelt. ... As many as chains of iron can be made for in 
this town and in the country shall be hanged in them ; the 
rest in ropes. Iron is marvellous scarce.*' 

He tried his prisoners by court martial, for he dared 
not trust the juries. Many of the fanners declared 
they had been forced to join in the insurrection 
through threats of violence, and these might have 
been acquitted. "They say I came out for fear of 
my life, or for fear of burning my houses and de- 
stroying of my wife and children."* But where 
Henry and Norfolk were concerned there were no 

In the same way Henry destroyed his ministers 
when he had done with them. Though Cromwell 

1 SiaU Papers, i. 538. * Cai.jiLpL i. No. 498. 


was sa^^acioiis, he was less crafty than Henry. Just 
before his fall the king made him Marl of Ksscx, and 
he lived in such complete ignorance of his fate that 
his disgrace fell like a thunder-bolt. Marillac has 
described how one day, in the council chamber, 
Cromwell was arrested without warning, and " moved 
with indignation, he plucked his hat from his head 
and threw it wrathfully upon the ground, saying to 
Norfolk and to the rest of the council as.scmbled, 
that this was his reward for his services to the king, 
. . . adding that since he was so treated, he renounced 
all hope, and all he asked of the king his master . . . 
was not to let him languish. ..." 

The Duke of Norfolk, having reproached him with 
all the villanies done by him, tore from him the 
Order of Saint George, which he wore about his 
neck ; and the admiral, to show himself as much 
his enemy in adversity as he had been believed to be 
his friend in prosperity, undid his garter.* 

From one point of view Henry's vanity was a 
weakness, for it laid him open to attack, and the 
diplomatic correspondence is filled with sneers like 
this of Castillon's : '* II n'oublye jamais sa grandeur 
et se taist de celle des autres." ^ Probably nothing 
in English civilization has ever equalled the adulation 
he exacted from his courtiers, and especially from 
his bishops; yet even this vanity was a source of 
strength, for it made him insensible to ridicule which 
would have unner\'ed Saint Louis. 

On very scanty evidence, he caused his wife to be 
arraigned for incest, and during the trial appeared 
in public so gaily dressed, and after her conviction 

> Kaulck, 193, 194. « Ibid., 82. 


danced before the Court in such open delight, that 
Chapuys himself was surprised : — 

''There are still two English gentlemen detained on her 
account, and it is suspected that there will be many more, 
because the king has said he believed that more than 100 
had to do with her. You never saw prince or man who 
made greater show of his horns or bore them more pleas- 
antly." > 

His manners, like those of Cromwell and Norfolk, 
lacked the courtesy which distinguished men, even of 
his own generation, like Sir Thomas More. He was 
gluttonous and self-indulgent, and, toward the end 
of his life, so bloated as to be helpless. His habits 
were well understood at Court, and suitors tried to 
approach him in the afternoon, when he was tipsy. 
Marillac thought his gormandizing would kill him : — 

** There has been little doubt about the king, not so much 
for the fever as for the trouble with the leg which he has had 
which trouble seizes him very often because he is very gross, 
and marvellously excessive in eating and drinking, so that 
you often find him of a different purpose and opinion in the 
moniing from what you do after dinner.** ' 

On May 14, 1538, Castillon wrote: — 

** Furthermore the king has had one of the fistulas on his 
legs closed, and since ten or twelve days the humors, which 
have no vent, have taken to stifling him, so much so, that he 
has been some of the time speechless, the face all black, and 
in great danger."' 

The most marked characteristic of the feudal aris- 
tocracy had been personal courage ; but as central- 

* Cal, JL No. 909. 

' Kaiilck, 274; Sa9tder, Lewis, 162, and note 2. * ICaulek, 5a 


226 (IVII |/.\TI(»\ AM) DKCAY t hap. 

/.ation advaivod and a paid police removed the 
:it( cs^itv ot ^cll ilLioncc, bravcrv ceased to be essen- 
:ial m success; Henry apparently was not courage- 
ous — certainly was not coiira«;jeoiis in regard to 
disease. When most infatuated with Anne Boleyn, 
>he fell ill of the sweating sickness; he fled at once, 
and wrote from a distance to beg her to fear nothing, 
a> "few or no w«»men . . . have died of it.*'* 
Mariliac declared roundly that, in such matters, the 
king was ** the most timid person one could know." ^ 

On the other hand, he was habitually so overbear- 
ing as to be brutal to the weak. Lambert was a poor 
sectary, of whom he determined to make an example. 
He therefore prepared a solemn function, at which 
he presided, assisted by the bishops and the other dig- 
nitaries of the realm. The accu.sed, when brought 
before this tribunal, apparently showed some con- 
fusion, and Foxc has left a striking description of 
how Henry tried to heighten this terror. Henry was 
dressed '*all in white," probably emblematic of his 
purity as the head of the Church, and his " look, his 
cruel countenance, and his brows bent into severity. 
did not a little augment this terror; plainly declaring 
a mind full of indignation, far unworthy such a prince, 
especially in such a matter, and against so humble 
and obedient a subject.**' 

Gifted with such qualities, Henry could not have 
failed to be a great religious reformer at the opening 
of a great economic age. More than five hundred 
vears before, when society hung on the brink of dis- 

* I.e'.trei de Henri VIll. «> Anne BoUyn^ Crapelet, I^Ure 3. 
- Kaulek, 190. 

* A<ts and Mcnnmenti^ v. 229. 


solution, the Church sustained centralization by elect- 
ing Hugh Capet king of France. A century later 
the armed pilgrimages to Palestine had accelerated 
the social movement, and consolidation again began. 
Generation by generation the rapidity of movement 
had increased, communication had been re-established 
between the East and West, the mariner's compass 
and gunpowder had been introduced into Europe, 
the attack had mastered the defence, and as the 
forms of competition slowly changed, capital accumu- 
lated, until, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
wealth reached the point where it could lay the 
foundation of the paid police, the crowning triumph 
of the monied class. 

The Reformation was the victory of this class over 
the archaic type of man, and with the Reformation 
the old imaginative civilization passed away; but 
with all its power the monied intellect has certain 
weaknesses, and neither in ancient Rome nor modem 
England have capitalists been soldiers. The Tudor 
aristocracy was not a martial caste. Lacking physi- 
cal force, this new nobility feared the ancient farming 
population, whom they slowly exterminated ; and they 
feared them with reason, for from among the yeo- 
manry Cromwell drew his Ironsides. Therefore one 
of the chief preoccupations of the Tudor nobility 
was to devise means to hold this dangerous element 
in check, and as it could not organize an army, it 
utilized the Church. The land-owners had other pur- 
poses for the priesthood than simply to rob it; they 
had also to enslave it, and Henry's title to greatness 
lies in his having attained both ends. 

He not only plundered as no other man has plan- 


dered, but he succeeded in assuming the functions of 
Gods high priest, and becoming Christ's vicar upon 
earth. Upon this point there can bo no difference of 
oj>inion ; not only are the formularies of the Church 
of England clear, but Anglicans themselves admit it. 
Macaulay was of Henry's communion ; Macaulay is 
an historian whose opinion on such a point commands 
respect, and Macaulay has summed up the position 
of Henry VHI. as the head of the capitalistic hie- 
rarchy in these words : — 

** What Henry and his favourite counsellors meant, at one 
time, by the supremacy, was certainly nothing less than the 
whole power of the keys. The king was to be the pope of 
his kingdom, the vicar of (lod, the expositor of Catholic 
verily, the channel of sacramental graces. He arrogated to 
himself the right of deciding dogmatically what was orthodox 
dortrine and what was heresy, of drawing up and im])osing 
confessions of faith, and of giving religious instruction to 
his people. 

** He proclaimed that all jurisdiction, spiritual as well as 
temporal, was derived from him alone, and that it was in 
his power to confer episcopal authority, and to take it 

<& *^ M^ • • • • 

** .According to this system, as expounded by Cranmer, the 
king was the spiritual as well as the tem|X)ral chief of the 
nation. In both capacities his Highness must have lieuten- 
ants. As he appointed civil officers to keep his seal, to col- 
lect his revenues, and to dispense justice in his name, so he 
appointed divines of various ranks to preach the gospel, and 
to administer the sacraments. It was unnecessary that there 
should be any imposition of hands. The king — such was 
the opinion of Cranmer given in the plainest words, — 
might, in Wrtue of authority derived from God, make a 
priest ; and the priest so made needed no ordination what- 

ever. * 

* History of England^ chap. I. 


Under the Tudors commerce and industry were 
yet in their infancy. Great Britain still remained 
substantially agricultural, and capital primarily 
sought investment in land. The enclosure of the 
commons and the confiscations of the monastic estates, 
together formed a gigantic real estate speculation, 
with which faith had little to do, and which was pos- 
sible only because force began to express itself through 
another type of intellect than that which had been able 
to defend its property during an imaginative age. 

The commercial community always demanded 
cheap religion. Under Henry they inclined toward 
Zwingli, under Elizabeth toward Calvin, under 
Charles they were Presbyterian ; the gentry, on the 
contrary, were by nature conservative, and favoured 
orthodoxy as far as their interest in Church plunder 
permitted them. Henry and Norfolk stood at the 
head of this class; Norfolk's conversion to Protes- 
tantism has been explained by Chapuys, and Henry 
remained a bigot to his death. 

" Shortly before he died, when about to communicate, as 
he always did, under one kind, he rose up from his chair, 
and fell on his knees to adore the boily of our Lord. The 
Zwinglians who were present said that his majesty, by reason 
of his bodily weakness, might make his communion sitting 
in his chair. The king's answer was, ' If I could throw my- 
self down, not only on the ground, but under the ground, I 
should not then think that I gave honour enough to the 
most Holy Sacrament.' '* ' 

As to Norfolk, Chapuys has left his opinion in very 
plain words : — 

* Rise ami Growth of thi Angluan Schism, Sander, trans, by Lewit. 

2}0 Civil. IZATK^N AND HV.CW chap. 

'• Ho [Nonolk] has a good deal changed his tune, for it 
was he alone [in] the ('curt who showed himself the l)est of 
Catholics, and who favv>ured most the authority of the pope ; 
but he must act in this way not to lose his remaining in- 
tlucnce, which apparently does not extend much further than 
Cromwell wishes." ' 

To attain their end, the rising class, at whose head 
these two men >tood, had to doubly despoil the 
Church in whose dogmas they believed. They con- 
hscated her lands to enrich themselves, and they 
suppressed her revenues to buy the support of the 
traders. Finally, their lack of physical force su<;- 
gested to them the expedient of seizing on the 
ecclesiastical organization and filling it with their 
servants, who should teach the people the religious 
duty of submission to an authority which distrusted 
an appeal to arms. 

As Henry and Norfolk represented the landed 
magnates, >o Cromwell represented the mercantile 
communitv ; and when the alliance between these 
two monied interests had been perfected, by the 
appointment of Cromwell as secretary of state, some 
time previous to April, 1534, events moved with pre- 
cision and rapidity. They crowned Anne Boleyn on 
June I, 1533; in July the breach between the king 
and pope became irreparable; in November, 1534, 
Parliament declared Henry " Supreme Head " of the 
Church ; and in the following winter the whole ad- 
ministration, both civil and ecclesiastical, was con- 
centrated in Cromwell's hands. He acted with 
astonishing energy. 

' Chapuys to Charles, Ca/. vi. No. 15 10, date Dec, 1533. 


In the autumn of 1535 he set on foot a visitation, 
preparatory to the dissolution of the convents, and 
Parliament passed the bill for suppression the next 
February. Cromwell also, as vicar general, pre- 
sided over the convocation of Canterbury, which 
made the first reformation of faith. This convoca- 
tion met in June, 1536, only shortly before the Pil- 
grimage of Grace, and, under the fear of violence, 
Henry and the conservatives were reduced to silence. 
The evangelical influence for the moment held con- 
trol, and the "Ten Articles,** the foundation of the 
"Thirty-nine Articles,** together with the "Institu- 
tion of a Christian Man,** which were produced, were 
a great departure from orthodoxy. 

In the fourth article, the dogma of the "Supper" 
was made broad enough to include Lutherans, and 
in the sixth, image worship was condemned. On the 
other hand, "Justification by Faith'* began to assume 
the importance it must always hold in all really Prot- 
estant confessions. In one of his homilies Cranmer, 
at a later time, showed the comparative futility of 
good works: — 

" A man must needs be nourished by good works ; but 
first he must have faith. He that doeth good deeds, yet 
without faith, he hath no life. I can shew a man that by 
faith without works lived, and came to heaven : but without 
faith never man had life." ' 

*' Never had the Jews, in their most blindness, so many 
pilgrimages unto images ... as hath been used in our 
time. . . . Keeping in divers places, as it were marts or 
markets of merits ; being full of their holy relics, images, 
shrines, and works of overflowing abundance ready to be 

* Thi Ihmilits^ G>me, 49. 


-}\i\. . . . Holy cowls, holy girdles, holy pardons, l>eads, 
holy >hoes, holy rule>, and all full of holiness. . . . Which 
were so esteemed and abused to the great j)rcjudice of 
(k)d's glor)* and commandments, that they were made most 
high and most holy things, whereby to attain to the everlast- 
mg life, or remission of sin." * 

The anti-sacerdotal movement imder Henry VIII. 
culminated in 1536 and 1537, when the country 
rebelled, and the land-owners were in need of help 
from the towns. As long as the latter felt uncertain 
of their grip on Church lands, the radical mercantile 
interest was permitted to mould doctrine ; but when 
Norfolk had triumphed in the north, and Aske and 
Darcy had been executed, a reaction set in. In 
November, 1538, Lambert was burned for denying 
transubstantiation, and in 1539 the chapter in the 
statute book - which followed that providing for the 
suppression of the mitred abbeys, re-established au- 
ricular confession, communion in one kind, private 
masses, and, in a word, strict orthodoxy, saving in 
the single tenet of the royal supremacy. To have 
conceded that would have endangered property. 
Twelve months later the landed magnates felt strong 
enough to discard the tradesmen ; the alliance which 
had carried through the Reformation was dissolved, 
and Cromwell was beheaded. 

Never did pope enforce the worship of the miracle 
more savagely than did Henry. By the act of the 
" Six Articles," the denial of the miracle of the mass 
was punished by burning and forfeiture of goods, 
without the privilege of abjuration. Purity of faith 
could not have been the ideal of reformers. 

' T^e Hvmtli<i, Corric. 56, 58. ' 31 lienry VIII., c. 14. 


Until quite recently, Protestants have acccpicd 
the tradition that the convents of England were 
suppressed by the revolt of a people, outraged by 
the disclosure of abominations perpetrated under the 
shelter of monasticism. Within a few years, the pub- 
lication of the British archives has thrown a new and 
sombre light upon the Reformation. They seem to 
prove, beyond a doubt, that as Philip dealt with the 
Templars, so did Henry deal with all the religious 
orders of his realm. 

In 1533 Henry's position was desperate. He con- 
fronted not only the pope and the emperor, but all 
that remained of the old feudal society, and all that 
survived of the decaying imaginative age. Nothing 
could resist this combination save the rising power 
of centralized capital, and Henry therefore had to 
become the mouthpiece of the men who gave ex- 
pression to this force. 

He needed money, and money in abundance, and 
Cromwell rose to a practical dictatorship because 
he was fittest to provide it. On all that relates to 
Esse.x, Fo.xe is an undoubted authority, and Foxe 
did not hesitate to attribute to Cromwell Henr)''s 
policy at this crisis: — 

" For so it pleased Almighty God, by means of the said 
Lord Cromwell, to induce the king to suppress first the 
chantries, then the friars' houses and small monasteries, till, 
at length, all the abbeys in England, both great and less, 
were utterly overthrown and plucked up by the roots. . . . 

" Of how great laud and praise this man was worthy, and 
what courage and stoutness was in him, it may hereby 
evidently appear unto all men, that he alone, through the 
singular dexterity of his wit and counsel, brought to pass 


that, which, even unto this <iay no prince or king, throngh- 
out all Europe, dare or can bring to pass. Kor whereas 
Brittania alone, of all other nations, is and hath been, of her 
own proper nature, most superstitious ; this Cromwell, being 
born of a common or base stock, through a divine method 
or policy of wit and reason received, suffered, deluded, 
brake off, and repressed, all the policies, trains, malice, and 
hatred of friars, monks, religious men, and priests, of which 
sort there was a great rabble in Kngland." ' 

Cromwell's strength lay in his superiority to those 
scruples of truth and honour which hamper feebler 
men. He did what circumstances demanded. His 
object, like Philip's, was to blacken his victims that 
he might destroy them, and, to gather the evidence, 
he chose instruments adapted to the work. To have 
used others would have demonstrated himself unfit. 
Mr. Gairdner has remarked in his preface to the 
tenth volume of the Calendar: "We have no reason 
indeed to think highly of the character of Cromwell's 
visitors." 2 jhis opinion of Mr. Gairdner is sup- 
ported by all the evidence extant. Thomas Legh, 
one of the commissioners, not only always took 
bribes, but, having been appointed master of Sher- 
burn Hospital, administered it *' to the utter disinherit- 
ance, decay and destruction of the ancient and godly 
foundation of the same house." ^ Henry probably 
thought him dishonest, since he had his accounts 
investigated. Even Legh's colleague, Ap Rice, 
though venal himself, and in great fear of being 
riiurdered for his treachery, denounced him in set 
terms to Cromwell : — 

1 Aits anJ Mcnumeitts, v. 368, 369. ^ Cai. x. pref. xliii. 

' Sec citations lu the original authorities in Uinry VIII. and the 
English Monasteries, Gas^^uet, i. 454, and note. 



"And surely he askcth no less for e\*en* election than jQio 
as of duty, which in my opinion is too much, and above any 
duty that was ever taken heretofore. .Also in his \isitations 
he reiiiseth many times his rewaid, though it be competent, 
for that they ofier him so little and niaketh them to send 
after him such rewards as may please him, for surely religious 
men were never afraid so much of Dr. .Allen as they be of 
him, he useth such rough fashion with them." ' 

The next day, however, Ap Rice, in alarm lest his 
frankness might lead to his assassination, wrote to 
beg his master to be cautious : — 

** Forasmuch as the said Mr. Doctor is of such acquaint- 
ance and familiarity with many nifflers and serving men, . . . 
I having commonly no great assistance with me when I go 
abroad, might take perchance irrevocable harm of him or 
his ere I were aware. Please keep secret what I have said." ' 

Ap Rice himself had been in difficulty, and 
Legh had exposed him, for he admitted being '* so 
abashed ** at the accusation he could make no de- 
fence. He had, also, certainly done something which 
put him in the power of Cromwell, for he wrote : I 
know " from my own experience how deadly it is for 
any man to incur your displeasure, which I would 
not wish for my greatest enemy.**' 

The testimony of such witnesses would be of doubt- 
ful value, even had they expressed themselves freely ; 
but the government only tolerated one form of re- 
port A good example of the discipline enforced 
is to be found in Layton's correspondence. He in- 

> Ctf/. ix. No. 622. In the CaUnJar the letter it condensed. The 
extract is given in full in Gasquct, i. 261, 262. 

* UiJ., No. 6 JO. In full in Gasquct, i. 263. 

• mJ^ No. 6jo. 

236 < IVU.I/ATION AND DhXAV chap. 

cautiously praised the Abbot of Glastonbury, and was 
reprimanded by Cromwell, for he wrote to excuse 
himself : — 

'• Whereas I understand by Mr. Pollard you much mar- 
vel why I would ... so greatly praise . . . the abbot of 
(jlaston. ... So that my excessive and indiscrete praise 
. . . must needs now redound to my great folly and untruth, 
and cannot . . . hut much diminish my credit towards his 
majesty, and even so to your lordship. . . . And although 
they be all false, feii:ned, flattering hypocritical knaves, as 
undoubtedlv there is none other of that sort. I must there- 
fore now at this my necessity, most humbly beseech your 
lordship to pardon me tor that my folly then committed . . . 
and of your goodness to mitigate the king's highness majesty 
in the premisses." ' 

The charges made by the visitors are of a kind 
notoriously difficult to prove, even with ample time, 
and with trained investigators. Cromwell's examina- 
tion was carried on by men of small worth, and in hot 
haste ; no opportunity was given for more than a 
cursory inspection of the premises and the inmates: — 

*• This day we leave Bath for Kensam, where we shall 
make an end by Tuesday, and then go on toward Maiden 
Bradley, within two miles of which is a charterhouse called 
Wittame, and Bruton Abbey seven miles, and Glastonbury 
seven miles. ... If you tarry with the king eight days we 
shall dispatch all the houses above named." * 

The visitation began in August, 1535, and ended 
in February, 1536. During these six months, four 
or five men, often travelling together, undertook to 
examine one hundred and fifty-five houses scattered 

^ Henry I'll I. and the English Monasteries^ i. 439. 
* Cat. ix. No. 42. 


all over Kngland. "To judge by the proportion in 
Yorkshire," says Mr. Gairdner, '* the visitors examined 
only about four out of ten." ' So far as can be ascer- 
tained, the evidence upon which the reports were 
based was generally of the flimsiest kind ; either the 
scandal of some discontented monk or nun, or the 
tattle of servants. There was a striking instance of 
this at a nunnery in Chicksand, where Layton ac- 
cused two nuns of incontinence, although " the two 
prioresses would not confess this, neither the parties, 
nor any of the nuns, but one old beldame."^ 

When nothing could be elicited, the accused were 
deemed in a conspiracy. At Newark the house 
seemed well ordered, and nothing questionable ap- 
peared on the surface, therefore Layton charged the 
monks with being **confederydc," but he added that 
he would object various horrible crimes against them, 
"which I have learnt from others. What I shall find 
I cannot tell." ^ 

Where silence was taken as confession, the nuns 
especially fared ill. Very generally they were too 
frightened, or too disgusted, to answer. Even if such 
evidence were uncontradicted, no great weight could 
attach to it, but it happens that there is much on the 
other side. Not to speak of the episcopal visitations, 
which were carried on as part of the discipline of the 
Church, Henry's own government subsequently ap- 
pointed boards of commissioners composed of country 
gentlemen, and these boards, which made examina- 
tions at leisure in five counties, formed conclusions 
generally favourable to the ecclesiastics. Two cx- 

* Cal. X. pref. xlv. note. ' IhiJ., u. No. 1005. 

• IbiJ.^ ix. No. 1005. 


am pies will suffice to show the discrepancy between 
the views of the men whom Cromwell did, and did 
not control. At Geradon in Leicestershire, Crom- 
wcU's board reported a convent of White Cistercians, 
which contained five monks addicted to sodomy with 
ten boys* The second board described the same 
corporation as ** of good conversation, and God's ser- 
vice well maintained." - 

At Grace Dieu two nuns were charged with incon- 
tinence.'^ The country gentlemen found there only 
fifteen White Nuns of Saint Austin, **of good and 
virtuous conversation and living." * 

No one familiar with the development of police 
during the later Middle Age.s, could have much doubt 
that, on the whole, the discipline of the convents 
would correspond pretty accurately with the prevail- 
ing tone of society, and that, although asceticism and 
enthusiasm might have declined since the twelfth 
century, subordination to authority would have in- 
creased with the advance of centralization. Rebel- 
lious monks, like those who tried to murder Abelard, 
would certainly have been rarer at the time of the 
Reformation than at the opening of the crusades. 

The crime of the English monks, like the crime of 
the Templars, was defenceless wealth ; and, like the 
Templars, they fared hardly in proportion to their 
devotion and their courage. The flexible and the 
corrupt, who betrayed their trust, received pensions 
or promotion ; the Carthusians, against whose stern 
enthusiasm torments were powerless, perished as their 
predecessors had perished in the field of Saint Antoine. 

* Cal. X. No. 364. • /6ti/., No. 364. 

' Ibid., No. 1 191. * Ibid,^ No. II91. 


The attack of Cromwcirs hirelings resembled the 
onslaught of an invading army. The convents fared 
like conquered towns ; the shrines were stripped and 
the booty heaped on carts, as at the sack of Con- 
stantinople. Churches were desecrated, windows 
broken, the roofs stripped of lead, the bells melted, 
the walls sold for quarries. Europe overflowed with 
vestments and altar ornaments, while the libraries 
were destroyed. Toward the end of 1539 Legh 
reached Durham, and the purification of the sanct- 
uary of Saint Cuthbert may be taken as an example 
of the universal spoliation : — 

"After the spoil of his ornaments and jewels, coming 
nearer to his sacred body, thinking to have found noth- 
ing but dust and bones, and finding the chest that he did 
lie in, very strongly bound with iron, then the goldsmith 
did take a great forge-haramer of a smith, and did break 
the said chest open. 

*' And when they had opened the chest, they found him 
lying whole, uncorrupt, with his face bare, and his beard as 
it had been a fortnight's growth, and all his vestments upon 
him, as he was accustomed to say mass withall, and his 
meet wand of gold lying beside him. 

"Then, when the goldsmith did perceive that he had 
broken one of his legs, when he did break open the chest, 
he was very sorry for it and did cry, ' Alas, I have broken 
one of his legs.* 

"Then Dr. Henley [one of the commissioners] hearing 
him say so, did call upon him, and did bid him cast down 
his bones." * 

By the statute of 1536, only those convents were 
suppressed which were worth less than ^200 a year, 
or which, within twelve months after the passage of 

> Hitts tf Durham^ Surteet Soc., 86. 

240 ani-IZATlOX and decay chap. 

the zcU shonld be granted to the king by the abbot. 
This legislation spared the mitred abbeys, and as long 
as any conventual property remained undi\ided, the 
land-owners kept Cromwell in office, not feeling, per- 
haps, quite sure of their capacity to succeed alone. 

In 1539 it had proved impossible to force the three 
great abbots of Glastonbury, Reading, and Colchester 
into a surrender to the Crown, and accordingly Crom- 
well devised an act to vest in Henry such conventual 
lands as should be forfeited through attainder. Then 
he indicted the abbots for treason, and thus sought 
to bring the estates they represented constructively 
within the statute. The fate of Abbot Whiting, whom 
La}'ton incautiously praised, will do for all. He was 
eighty when he died, and his martyrdom is unusually 
interesting, as it laid the fortune of the great house 
of Bedford, one of the most splendid of modem 

The commissioners came unexpectedly, and found 
the old monk at a grange at Sharpham, about a mile 
from Glastonbury. On September 19 they appre- 
hended him, searched his apartment, and finding 
nothing likely to be of service, sent him up to Lon- 
don for Cromwell to deal with, though he was " very 
weak and sickly." Cromwell lodged him in the 
Tower, and examined him, apparently in a purely 
perfunctory fashion, for the government had decided 
on its policy. The secretary of state simply jotted 
down a memorandum to see "that the evidence be 
well sorted and the indictments well drawn," and left 
the details of the murder to John Russell, a man 
thoroughly to be trusted. CromwelFs only anxiety 
was about the indictments, and he had " the king's 


learned counser* with him "all day*' discussing the 
matter. Finally they decided, between them, that it 
would be better to proceed at Glaston, and Whiting 
was sent to Somersetshire to be dealt with by the 
progenitor of a long line of opulent Whig land- 

In superintending the trial, Russell showed an en- 
ergy and judgment which won its reward. On the 
14th of November, when the invalid reached Wells, 
he wrote that he had provided for him " as worship- 
ful a jury as was ever charged here these many 
years. And there was never seen in these parts 
so great appearance as were here at this present 
time, and never better willing to serve the king." * 
Russell wasted no time. He arranged for the trial 
one day and the execution the next. " The Abbot 
of Glastonbury was arraigned, and the next day put 
to execution with two other of his monks, for the 
robbing of Glastonbury church."* 

He had the old man bound on a hurdle and 
dragged to the top of Tor Hill, "but ... he would 
confess no more gold nor silver, nor any other thing 
more than he did before your Lordship in the Tower. 
. . . And thereupon took his death very patiently, 
and his head and body bestowed in like manner as 
I certified your lordship in my last letter." ' "One 
quarter standeth at Wells, another at Bath, and at 
Ilchester and Bridge water the rest. And his head 
upon the abbey gate at Glaston."* 

On the 17th of the following April, Henry created 
Cromwell Earl of Essex, preparatory to slaughtering 

« Wright, 260. » Wright, 261. 26a. 

' Ellis, itt Seriet. ii 99. < Ellis, ist 5>eriei, ii. 99. 



our. rm. 

him. Within tvo nKmths the new carl was arrested 
by his bitterest enemy, the Duke of Norfolk, the 
chief of the landed interest; on the 28th of July 
be lost hb head on Tower Hill, and his colossal 
fortune fed the men who had divided the body of 



Lire primitive Rome, England, during the Middle 
Ages, had an unusually homogeneous population of 
farmers, who made a remarkable infantry. Not that 
the cavalry was defective ; on the contrary, from top 
to bottom of society, every man was a soldier, and the 
aristocracy had excellent fighting qualities. Many 
of the kings, like Ca»ur-clc-Lion, Edward III., and 
Henry V., ranked amon<; the ablest commanders of 
their day ; the Black Prince has always been a hero 
of chivalry ; and earls and barons could be named 
by the score who were famous in the Hundred Years' 

Yet, although the English knights were a martial 
body, there is nothing to show that, on the whole, 
they surpassed the French. The English infantry 
won Cr^cy and Poitiers, and this infantry, which 
was long the terror of Europe, was recruited from 
among the small farmers who flourished in Great 
Britain until they were exterminated by the advance 
of civilization. 

As long as the individual could at all withstand the 
attack of the centralized mass of society, England 
remained a hot-bed for breeding this species of man. 
A mediaeval king had no means of collecting a regu- 



lar revenue by taxation ; he was only the chief of 
the free-men, and his estates were supposed to suffice 
for his expenditure. The revenue the land yielded 
consisted of men, not money, and to obtain men, 
the sovereign granted his domains to his nearest 
friends, who, in their turn, cut their manors into as 
many farms as possible, and each farmer paid his 
rent with his body. 

A baron's strength lay in the band of spears which 
followed his banner, and therefore he subdivided his 
acres as much as possible, having no great need of 
money. Himself a farmer, he cultivated enough of 
his fief to supply his wants, to provide his table, and 
to furnish his castle, but, beyond this, all he kept to 
himself was loss. Under such a system money con- 
tracts played a small part, and economic competition 
was unknown. 

The tenants were free-men, whose estates passed 
from father to son by a fixed tenure ; no one could 
underbid them with their landlord, and no capitalist 
could ruin them by depressing wages, for the serfs 
formed the basis of society, and these serfs were like- 
wise land-owners. In theory, the villains may^ have 
held at vn\\ ; but in fact they were probably the 
descendants, or at least the representatives, of the 
co/oni of the Empire, and a base tenure could be 
proved by the roll of the manorial court. Thus even 
the weakest were protected by custom, and there was 
no competition in the labour market. 

The manor was the social unit, and, as the country 
was sparsely settled, waste spaces divided the manors 
from each other, and these wastes came to be con- 
sidered as commons appurtenant to the domain in 


which the tenants of the manor had vested rights. 
The extent of these rights varied from generation to 
generation, but substantially they amounted to a priv- 
ilege of pasture, f uel« or the like ; aids which, though 
unimportant to large property owners, were vital 
when the margin of income was narrow. 

During the old imaginative age, before centraliza- 
tion gathered headway, little inducement existed to 
pilfer these domains, since there was room in plenty, 
and the population increased slowly, if at all. The 
moment the form of competition changed, these con- 
ditions were reversed. Precisely when a money rent 
became a more potent force than armed men, may be 
hard to determine, but certainly that time had come 
when Henr)' VIII. mounted the throne, for then cap- 
italistic farming was on the increase, and speculation 
in real estate already caused sharp distress. At that 
time the establishment of a police had destroyed the 
value of the retainer, and competitive rents had gen- 
erally supplanted military tenures. Instead of tend- 
ing to subdivide, as in an age of decentralization, land 
consolidated in the hands of the economically strong, 
and capitalists systematically enlarged their estates 
by enclosing the commons, and depriving the yeomen 
of their immemorial rights. 

The sixteenth-century landlords were a type quite 
distinct from the ancient feudal gentry. As a class 
they were gifted with the economic, and not with the 
martial instinct, and they throve on competition. 
Their strength lay in their power of absorbing the 
property of their weaker neighbours under the pro- 
tection of an overpowering police. 

Everything tended to accelerate consolidation, 


especially the rise in the value of money. While, 
even with the debasement of the coin, the price of 
cereals did not advance, the growth of manufactures 
had caused wool to double in value. "We need not 
therefore be surprised at finding that the temptation 
to sheep-farming was almost irresistible, and that 
statute after statute failed to arrest the tendency." * 
The conversion of arable land into pasture led, of 
course, to wholesale eviction, and by 15 15 the suffer- 
ing had become so acute that details were given in 
acts of Parliament. Places where two hundred per- 
sons had lived, by growing com and grain, were left 
desolate, the houses had decayed, and the churches 
fallen into ruin.* The language of these statutes 
proves that the descriptions of contemporaries were 
not exaggerated. 

" For I mysclfe know many townes and villages sore de- 
cayed, for yt where as in times past there wer in some town 
an hundred householdes there remain not now thirty ; in 
some fifty, ther are not now ten ; yea (which is more to be 
lamented) I knowe townes so wholly decayed, that there is 
neyther sticke nor stone standyng as they use to say. 

** Where many men had good lyuinges, and maynteined 
hospitality, able at times to heipe the kyng in his warres, and 
to suste)-nc other charges, able also to helpe their pore neigh- 
boures, and vertuously to bring up theyr children in Godly 
letters and good scyences, nowe sheepe and conies deuoure 
altogether, no man inhabiting the aforesayed places. Those 
beastes which were created of God for the nouryshment of 
man doe nowe deuoure man. . . . And the cause of all 
thys wretchednessc and beggery in the common weale are 
the gredy Gentylmen, whyche are shepemongers and gras- 

* Ap'iculture and Prices^ iv. 64. 

« 6 Henry VIII., c. 5; 7 Henry VIII., c. i. 


yars. Whylc they study for their owne priuatc commoditiey 
the common weale is lyke to decay. Since they began to 
be shepe maysters and feders of cattell, we neyther had 
vyttaylc nor cloth of any reasonable pryce. No meniayle, 
for these forstallars of the market, as they use to saye, haue 
gotten all thynges so into theyr handes, that the poorc man 
muste eyther bye it at their pryce, or else miserably starae 
for hongar, and wretchedly dye for colde." * 

The reduction of the acreage in tillage must have 
lessened the crop of the cereals, and accounts for 
their slight rise in value during the second quarter 
of the sixteenth century. Nevertheless this rise gave 
the farmer no relief, as, under competition, rents 
advanced faster than prices, and in the generation 
which reformed the Church, the misery of yeomen 
had become extreme. In 1549 Latimer preached a 
sermon, which contains a passage often quoted, but 
always interesting : — 

" Furthermore, if the king's honour, as some men sty, 
standeth in the great multitude of people ; then these graz- 
iers, inclosers, and rent-rearers, are hinderers of the king's 
honour. For where as have been a great many household- 
ers and inhabitants, there is now but a shepherd and his 
dog. . . . 

" My father was yeoman, and had no lands of his own, 
only he had a farm of three or four pound by year at the 
uttermost, and hereupon he tilled so much as kept half a 
dozen men. He had walk for a hundred sheep ; and my 
mother milked thirty kine. He was able, and did find the 
king a harness, with himself and his horse, while he came to 
the place that he should receive the king's wages. I can 
remember that I buckled his harness when he went unto 

> Jewtlofjoy, Bccon. Also England in the Reign of Henry Vttl,^ 
Early Eog. Text Soc., Lxtra Scr., No. xxxii. p. 75. 


BiM:khaih ht\± He kept me to school, or dse I lud nod 
been able to hare preached beibre the king's majesty ao«r. 

** He mamed mr sKters ihth fire pound, or twenty nobles 
apiece ; so that he b rongh t them np in godliness and fear of 
God. He kept hospicahtj ior his poor ne^hboiirs» and some 
ahns he gare to the poor. And all this he did of the said fiuniy 
where he that now hath it pajeth sixteen poond by year, or 
more, and is not able to do anything lor his prince, for him- 
self nor ibr his children, or give a cap of drink to the poor.** * 

The small proprietor suffered doubly: he had to 
meet the competition of large estates, and to endure 
the curtailment of his resources through the enclosure 
of the commons. The effect was to pauperize the 
yeomanry and lesser gentry, and before the Reforma* 
tion the homeless poor had so multiplied that, in 1530^ 
Parliament passed the first of a series of vagrant acts.' 
At the outset the remedy applied was comparatively 
mild, for able-bodied mendicants were only to be 
whipped until they were bloody, returned to their 
domicile, and there whipped until they put them- 
selves to labour. As no labour was supplied, the 
legislation failed, and in 1537 the emptying of the 
convents brought matters to a climax. Meanwhile 
Parliament tried the experiment of killing off the 
unemployed; by the second act vagrants were first 
mutilated and then hanged as felons.^ 

In 1547, when Edward VI. was crowned, the great 
crisis had reached its height The silver of Potosi 
had not yet brought relief, the currency was in chaos, 
labour was disorganized, and the nation seethed with 
the discontent which broke out two years later in 

* First Sermon before Edward VL Sermons of Bishop Latimer ^ 
ed. of Parker Soc., 100, 10 1. 

* 22 Henr>- VIII., c. 12. • 27 Henry Vlll., c. 25. 


rebellion. The land-owners held absolute power, and 
before they yielded to the burden of feeding the 
starving, they seriously addressed themselves to the 
task of extermination. The preamble of the third 
act stated that, in spite of the " great travel " and 
" godly statutes '* of Parliament, pauperism had not 
diminished, therefore any vagrant brought before two 
justices was to be adjudged the slave of his captor 
for two years. He might be compelled to work by 
beating, chaining, or otherwise, be fed on bread and 
water, or refuse meat, and confined by a ring of iron 
about his neck, arms or legs. For his first attempt 
at escape, his slavery became perpetual, for his 
second, he was hanged.^ 

Even as late as 1591, in the midst of the great 
expansion which brought prosperity to all Europe, 
and when the monks and nuns, cast adrift by the 
suppression of the convents, must have mostly died, 
beggars so swarmed that at the funeral of the Earl 
of Shrewsbury " there were by the report of such as 
scr\'ed the dole unto them, the number of 8000. And 
they thought that there were almost as many more 
that could not be served, through their unruliness. 
Yea, the press was so great that divers were slain 
and many hurt. And further it is reported of cred- 
ible persons, that well estimated the number of all 
the said beggars, that they thought there were about 
20,000." It was conjectured "that all the said poor 
people were abiding and dwelling within thirty miles' 
compass of Sheffield."' 

* I Edward VI.. c. 3. 

s Brit. Mus.. Cole MS. xu. 41. Cited in //tmry VIII. and ilu En^ 
iisk AUmaUerieSt Gasquet, ii. 514, note. 


In 1549, just as the tide turned, insurrection blazed 
out all over England. In the west a pitched battle 
was fought between the peasantry and foreign mer- 
cenaries, and Exeter was relieved only after a long 
siege. In Norfolk the yeomen, led by one Kett, 
controlled a large district for a considerable time. 
They arrested the unpopular landlords, threw open 
the commons they had appropriated, and ransacked 
the manor houses to pay indemnities to evicted 
farmers. When attacked, they fought stubbornly, and 
stormed Nor^^ich twice. 

Str}'pe described '* these mutineers " as " certain 
poor men that sought to have their commons again, 
by force and power taken from them ; and that a 
regulation be made according to law of arable lands 
turned into pasture.*' ' 

Cranmer understood the situation perfectly, and 
though a consummate courtier, and himself a creation 
of the capitalistic revolution, spoke in this way of his 
patrons : — 

** And they complain much of rich men and gentlemen, 
saying, that the>' take the commons from the poor, that they 
raise the prices of all manner of things, that they rule the 
poverty, and oppress them at their pleasure. . . . 

" .And although here I seem only to speak against these 
unlau-ful assemblers, yet I cannot allow those, but I must 
needs threaten everlasting damnation unto them, whether 
they be gentlemen or whatsoever they be, which never 
cease to purchase and join house to house, and land to 
bnd, as though they alone ought to possess and inhabit the 
earth." » 

^ St^/. A fern., ii. pt. I, 260. 

* Sermon on Rebellion, Cranmer, Afiscelianeous IVriiings and 
Utters, 194-6. 


Revolt against the pressure of this unrestricted 
economic competition took the form of Puritanism, 
of resistance to the religious organization controlled 
by capital, and even in Cranmer's time, the attitude 
of the descendants of the men who formed the line 
at Poitiers and Cr6cy was so ominous that Anglican 
bishops took alarm. 

" It is reported that there be many among these unlawful 
assemblies that pretend knowledge of the gospel, and will 
nec<ls be called gospellers. . . . But now I will go further 
to s|)eak somewhat of the great hatred which divers of these 
seditious persons do bear against the gentlemen ; which 
hatred in many is so outrageous, that they desire nothing 
more than the s]K)il, ruin, and destruction of them that be 
rich and wealthy." ' 

Somerset, who owed his elevation to the accident 
of being the brother of Jane Seymour, proved un- 
equal to the crisis of 1449, and was supplanted by 
John Dudley, now better remembered as Duke of 
Northumberland. Dudley was the strongest mem- 
ber of the new aristocracy. His father, Edmund 
Dudley, had been the celebrated lawyer who rose 
to eminence as the extortioner of Henry VH., and 
whom Henry VHI. executed, as an act of popularity, 
on his accession. John, beside inheriting his father's 
financial ability, had a certain aptitude for war, and 
undoubted courage ; accordingly he rose rapidly. 
He and Cromwell understood each other; he flat- 
tered Cromwell, and Cromwell lent him money.' 

I Sermon on Rebellion, Cranmer, MiueUaneous Wrtttn^ and 
Letter t, 195. 196. 
* Cai. ix. No. 193. 

2S2 aVitJZ\TV/S AND DECAY cau-. 

Stnpe has intimated that Ehidley had stnmg mo- 
tives for resisting the restoration of the commons.' 

In 1547 he was created Earl of Wanrick, and in 
1549 suppressed Kelt's rd>ellioa. This military 
success brought him to the head of the State; he 
thrust Somerset aside* and took the title of Duke 
of Northumberland. His son was equally distin- 
guished. He became the favourite of Queen Eliza- 
beth, who created him Earl of Leicester; but, 
though an expert courtier, he was one of the most 
incompetent generals whom even the Tudor landed 
aristocracy ever put in the field. 

The disturbances of the reign of Edward VI. did 
not ripen into revolution, probably because of the 
relief given by rising prices after 15 50; but, though 
they fell short of actual civil war, they were suffi- 
ciently formidable to terrify the aristocracy into 
abandoning their policy of killing off the surplus 
population. In 1552 the first statute was passed* 
looking toward the systematic relief of paupers. 
Small farmers prospered greatly after 1660, for 
prices rose strongly, very much more strongly than 
rents; nor was it until after the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, when rents again began to ad- 
vance, that the yeomanry once more grew restive. 
Cromwell raised his Ironsides from among the great- 
grandchildren of the men who stormed Nor\vich with 

" I had a very worthy friend then ; and he was a very' 
noble person, and I know his memory is very grateful to 
all, — Mr. John Hampden. At my first going out into this 

* £tf/. Mtm., ii. pt. i, 152. > 5 and 6 Edw. VI., c. 2. 


engagement, I saw our men were beaten at every hand. 
I did indeed ; and desired him that he would make some 
additions to my Lord Essex's army, of some new regiments ; 
and I told him I would be serviceable to him in bringing 
sach men in as I thought had a spirit that would do some- 
thing in the work. This is very true that I tell you ; God 
knows I lie not ' Your troops,' said I, 'are most of them 
old decayed serving- men, and tapsters, and such kind of 
fellows ; and,* said I, ' their troops are gentlemen^s sons, 
younger sons and persons of quality : do you think that the 
spirits of such base and mean fellows will ever be able to 
encounter gentlemen, that have honour and courage and 
resolution in them?* . . . Truly I did tell him; 'You 
must get men of a spirit : . . . a spirit that is likely to go 
on as far as gentlemen will go ; — or else you will be beaten 
stilL . . .' 

" He was a wise and worthy person ; and he did think 
that I talked a good notion, but an impracticable one. 
Truly I told him I could do somewhat in it, . . . and truly 
I must needs say this to you, ... I raised such men as 
had the fear of God before them, as made some conscience 
of what they did ; and from that day forward, I must say to 
you, they were never beaten, and wherever they were en- 
gaged against the enemy, they beat continually.** * 

Thus, by degrees, the pressure of intensifying cen- 
tralization split the old homogeneous population of 
England into classes, graduated according to their 
economic capacity. Those without the necessary 
instinct sank into agricultural day labourers, whose 
lot, on the whole, has probably been somewhat worse 
than that of ordinary slaves. The gifted, like the 
Howards, the Dudleys, the Cecils, and the Bolcyns, 
rose to be rich nobles and masters of the State. 
Between the two accumulated a mass of bold and 

> Cromwtirs Letters and Speeekes, Carlylc, Speech XI. 

254 CIVIIJZ-%Tir^»N AND DECAY chaf. 

needy adventurers, who were destined finally not only 
t^ dominate England, but to shape the destinies of 
the world. 

One section of these, the shrewder and less ven- 
turesome, graiTtated to the towns, and grew rich as 
merchants, like the founder of the Osbom family, 
whose descendant became Duke of Leeds; or like 
the celebrated Josiah Child, who, in the reign of 
William III., controlled the whole eastern trade of 
the kingdom. The less astute and the more martial 
took to the sea, and as slavers, pirates, and con- 
querors, built up England's colonial empire, and 
established her maritime supremacy. Of this class 
were Drake and Blake, Hawkins, Raleigh, and Clive. 

For several hundred years after the Norman con- 
quest, Englishmen showed little taste for the ocean, 
probably because sufficient outlet for their energies 
existed on land. In the Middle Ages the commerce 
of the island was mostly engrossed by the Merchants 
of the Steelyard, an offshoot of the Hanseatic league ; 
while the great explorers of the fifteenth and early 
sixteenth centuries were usually Italians or Portu- 
guese ; men like Columbus, Vespucius, Vasco-da- 
Gama, or Magellan. This state of things lasted, 
however, only until economic competition began to 
ruin the small farmers, and then the hardiest and 
boldest race of Europe were cast adrift, and forced 
to seek their fortunes in strange lands. 

For the soldier or the adventurer, there was no 
opening in England after the battle of Flodden. 
A peaceful and inert bourgeoisie more and more 
supplanted the ancient martial baronage; their rep- 
resentatives shrank from campaigns like those of 


Richard I., the Edwards, and Hcnr\- V., and tbcfe- 
fore, for the exiclcd farmer, there was nothing but 
the far-off continents of America and Asia, and to 
these he directed his steps. 

The lives of the admirals tell the tale on e\*cry 
page. Drake's histor)' is now known. His family 
belonged to the lesser Devon gentr)*, but fallen so 
low that his father gladly apprenticed him as ship's 
boy on a channel coaster, a life of almost intoler- 
able hardship. From this humble beginning he 
fought his way, by dint of courage and genius, to 
be one of England's three greatest seamen; and 
Blake and Nelson, the other two, were of the same 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert was of the same west coun* 
try stock as Drake; Frobisher was a poor York- 
shire man, and Sir Walter Raleigh came from a 
ruined house. No less than five knightly branches 
of Raleigh's family once throve together in the west- 
ern counties; but disaster came with the Tudors, 
and Walter's father fell into trouble through his 
Puritanism. Walter himself early had to face the 
world, and car\'ed out his fortune with his sword. 
He served in France in the religious wars ; after- 
ward, perhaps, in Flanders ; then, through Gilbert, he 
obtained a commission in Ireland, but finally drifted 
to Elizabeth's court, where he took to buccaneering, 
and conceived the idea of colonizing America. 

A profound gulf separated these adventurers from 
the landed capitalists, for they were of an extreme 
martial type ; a type hated and feared by the nobility. 
With the exception of the years of the Common- 
wealth, the landlords controlled England from the 


RcformatioTi to the rc\'o]ution of 1688, a period of 
one hundred and fifty years, and, during that long 
interval, there is little risk in asserting that the 
aristocracy did not produce a single soldier or sailor 
of more than average capacity. The difference 
between the royal and the parliamentary armies 
was as great as though they had been recruited 
from different races. Charles had not a single 
officer of merit, while it is doubtful if any force 
has e\'er been better led than the troops organized 
by Cromwell- 
Men like Drake, Blake, and Cromwell were among 
the most terrible warriors of the world, and they 
were distrusted and feared by an oligarchy which 
felt instinctively its inferiority in arms. Therefore, 
in Elizabeth's reign, politicians like the Cecils took 
care that the great seamen should have no voice in 
public affairs. And though these men defeated the 
Armada, and though England owed more to them 
than to all the rest of her population put together, 
not one reached the peerage, or was treated with 
confidence and esteem. Drake's fate shows what 
awaited them. Like all his class, Drake was hot 
for war with Spain, and from time to time he was 
unchained, when fighting could not be averted ; but 
his policy was rejected, his operations more nearly 
resembled those of a pirate than of an admiral, and 
when he died, he died in something like disgrace. 

The aristocracy even made the false position in 
which they placed their sailors a source of profit, for 
they forced them to buy pardon for their victories 
by surrendering the treasure they had won with their 
blood. Fortescue actually had to interfere to defend 



Raleigh and Hawkins from Klizabcth*s rapacity. 
1592 Borough sailed in command of a squadrc 
A fitted out by the two latter, with some contributio 

from the queen and the city of Lx>ndon. Borough oaf 
tured the carack, the Madre-de-Dios» whose peppc 
alone Burleigh estimated at ;£ 102,00a The carg 
proved worth ;£ 14 1,000, and of this Elizabeth's shan 
according to the rule of distribution in use, amounte 
to one-tenth, or ;£ 14,000. She demanded ^So^ooc 
and allowed Raleigh and Hawkins, who had spei) 
^34,000, only ^36,000. Raleigh bitterly contraste 
the difference made between himself a soldier, and 
peer, or a London speculator. '* I was the caus 
that all this came to the Queen, and that the King c 
Spaine spent 300,000'' the last yerc. ... I that a( 
ventured all my estate, lose of my principall. . . . 

. tooke all the care and paines; . . . they only sat 

I still ... for which double is given to them, and les 

f then mine own to me." * 

i Raleigh was so brave he could not comprehcn 

1 that his talent was his peril. He fancied his capacit 

^ for war would bring him fame and fortune, and it le 

\ him to the block. While Elizabeth lived, the admin 

tion of the woman for the hero probably saved hin 
but he never even entered the Privy Council, and c 
real power he had none. The sovereign the oliga; 
chy chose was James, and James imprisoned an 
then slew him. Nor was Raleigh's fate peculiar, fo; 
through timidity, the Cavaliers conceived an almos 
equal hate of many soldiers. They dug up the bone 
of Cromwell, they tried to murder William III., an 

I Raleigh to BuHeigh. li/e 0/ Sir WulUr A*tfM:;h, Edwards, ii. 7 
letter xxxiv. 




they dragged down Marlboroogh in the midst of 
rictorv. Such were the new classes into which 
economic competition divided the people of England 
dining the sixteenth century, and the 
was only one among many of the effects of 
profound social revolution. 

In the first fifty-three years of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, England passed through two distinct phases 
of ecclesiastical reform; the earlier, under Henry, 
when the conventual property was appropriated by 
the rising aristocracy ; the later, under Edward, when 
portions of the secular endo^^'ments were also seized. 
Each period of spoliation was accompanied by innova> 
tions in doctrine, and each was followed by a reaction, 
the final one, under Mary, taking the form of recon- 
ciliation with Rome. Viewed in connection with the 
insurrections, the whole movement can hardly be 
distinguished from an armed conquest of the imagi- 
native by the economic section of society ; a conquest 
which produced a most curious and interesting devel- 
opment of a new clerical type. 

During the Middle Ages, the hierarchy had been a 
body of miracle-workers, independent of, and at first 
superior to, the State. This great corporation had 
subsisted upon its own resources, and had generally 
been controlled by men of the ecstatic temperament, 
of whom Saint Anselm is, perhaps, the most perfect 
example. After the conquest at the Reformation, 
these conditions changed. Having lost its indepen- 
dence, the priesthood lapsed into an adjunct of the 
civil power; it then became reorganized upon an 
economic basis, and gradually turned into a salaried 
class, paid to inculcate obedience to the representa- 


live of an oligarchy which controlled the national 
revenue. Perhaps, in all modern history, there is 
no more striking example of the rapid and complete 
manner in which, under favourable circumstances, 
one type can supersede another, than the thorough- 
ness with which the economic displaced the emotional 
temperament, in the Anglican Church, during the 
Tudor dynasty. The mental processes of the new 
pastors did not differ so much in degree as in kind 
from those of the old. 

Although the spoliations of Edward are less well 
remembered than those of his father, they were 
hardly less drastic. They began with the estates of 
the chantries and guilds, and rapidly extended to all 
sorts of property. In the Middle Ages, one of the 
chief sources of revenue of the sacred class had been 
their prayers for souls in purgatory, and all large 
churches contained chapels, many of them richly en- 
dowed, for the perpetual celebration of masses for 
the dead ; in England and Wales more than a thou- 
sand such chapels existed, whose revenues were often 
very valuable. These were the chantries, which van- 
ished with the imaginative age which created them, 
and the guilds shared the same fate. 

Before economic competition had divided men into 
classes according to their financial capacity, all crafts- 
men possessed capital, as all agriculturists held land. 
The guild established the craftsman's social status ; 
as a member of a trade corporation he was governed 
by regulations fixing the number of hands he might 
employ, the amount of goods he might produce, and 
the quality of his workmanship ; on the other hand, 
the guild regulated the market, and ensured a de- 


mand. Tradesmen, perhaps, did not easily grow 
rich, but they as seldom became poor. 

With centralization life changed. Competition 
sifted the strong from the weak ; the former waxed 
wealthy, and hired hands at wages, the latter lost all 
but the ability to labour; and, when the corporate 
body of producers had thus disintegrated, nothing 
stood bet^'een the common property and the men 
who controlled the engine of the law. By the i 
Edward VI., c. 14, all the possessions of the schools, 
colleges, and guilds of England, except the colleges 
of Oxford and Cambridge and the guilds of London, 
were conveyed to the king, and the distribution thus 
begun extended far and wide, and has been forcibly 
described by Mr. Blunt : — 

** They tore off the lead from the roofs, and wrenched out 
the brasses from the floors. The books they despoiled of 
their costly covers, and then sold them for waste paper. 
The gold and silver plate they melted down with copper 
and lead, to make a coinage so shamefully debased as was 
never known before or since in England. The vestments 
of altars and priests they turned into table-covers, carpets, 
and hangings, when not very costly ; and when worth more 
money than usual, they sold them to foreigners, not caring 
who used them for ' superstitious ' purposes, but caring to 
make the best * bargains ' they could of their spoil. Even 
the very surplices and altar linen would fetch something, 
and that too was seized by their covetous hands." ' 

These "covetous hands" were the privy council- 
lors. Henry had not intended that any member of 
the board should have precedence, but the king's 
body was not cold before Edward Seymour began an 

' The Reformation of ike Church of England^ ii. 68. 


intrigue to make himself protector. To consolidate 
a party behind him, he opened his administration by 
distributing all the spoil he could lay hands on ; and 
Mr. F'roude estimated that "on a computation most 
favourable to the council, estates worth ... in mod- 
ern currency about five millions" of pounds, were 
" appropriated — I suppose I must not say stolen — 
and divided among themselves."* At the head of 
this council stood Cranmer, who took his share with- 
out scruple. Probably Froude's estimate is far too 
low ; for though Seymour, as Duke of Somerset, had, 
like Henry, to meet imperative claims which drained 
his purse, he yet built Somerset House, the most 
sumptuous palace of London. 

Seymour was put to death by Dudley when he rose 
to power by his military success in Norfolk. Dudley 
as well as Cromwell was fitted for the emergency in 
which he lived ; bold, able, unscrupulous and ener- 
getic, his party hated but followed him, because with- 
out him they saw no way to seize the property they 
coveted. He too, like Cromwell, allied himself with 
the evangelical clergy, and under Edward the ortho- 
doxy of the " Six Articles " gave way to the doctrine 
of Geneva. Even in 1548 Calvin had been able to 
write to Somerset, thanking God that, through his 
wisdom, the " pure truth " was preached ; * but when 
Dudley administered the government as Duke of 
Northumberland, bishops did not hesitate to teach 
that the dogma of the " carnal presence " in the sac- 
rament " maintaineth that beastly kind of cruelty of 
the * Anthropophagi,* that is, the devourers of man's 

' Hiitory of England^ v. 432. 

' Gorbam's Reformation GUamMgi, 61. 


flesh : for it is a more cruel thing to devour a quick 
man, than to slay him." ^ 

Dudley resembled Henry and Norfolk in being 
naturally conservative, for he died a Catholic; but 
with them all, money was the supreme object, and as 
they lacked the physical force to plunder alone, they 
were obliged to conciliate the Radicals. These were 
represented by Knox, and to Knox the duke paid 
assiduous court The Scotchman began preaching 
in Berwick in 1 549, but the government soon brought 
htm to London, and in 1551 made him a royal cha]>- 
lain, and, as chaplain, he was called upon to approve 
the Forty-two Articles of 1552. This he could do 
conscientiously, as they contained the dogmas of 
election and predestination, original sin, and justifica- 
tion by faith, beside a denial of ** the reall and bodilie 
presence ... of Christes fleshe, and bloude, in the 
Sacramente of the Lordes Supper." 

Dudley tried hard to buy Knox, and offered him 
the See of Rochester ; but the duke excited the deep- 
est distrust and dislike in the preacher, who called 
him ** that wretched and miserable Northumberland." 
He rejected the preferment, and indeed, from the 
beginning, bad blood seems to have lain between the 
Calvinists and the court Writing at the beginning 
of 1554, Knox expressed his opinion of the reform- 
ing aristocracy in emphatic language, beginning with 
Somerset, "who became so cold in hearing Godis 
Word, that the year befoir his last apprehensioun, he 
wald ga visit his masonis, and wald not dainyie him- 
self to ga frome his gallerie to his hall for heiring of 

* Ridley's dispoUtion at Oxford in 1554* ^c^s an J Monumeuis, vi. 


a scrmonc." * Afterward matters grew worse, for 
" the haill Counsailc had said, Thay wald heir no mo 
of thair sermonis : thay wer but indifferent fellowis ; 
(yea, and sum of thame eschameit not to call thame 
pratting knaves.) " ' 

Finally, just before Edward's death the open 
rupture came. Knox had a supreme contempt and 
antipathy for the Lord Treasurer, Paulet, Marquis 
of Winchester, whom he called a " crafty fox." 
During Edward's life, jeered Knox, " who was moste 
boldc to crye, Bastarde, bastarde, incestuous bas- 
tarde, Mary shall never rule over us," and now that 
Mary is on the throne it is to her Paulet "crouches 
and kneeleth."^ In the last sermon he preached 
before the king he let loose his tongue, and probably 
he would have quitted the court, even had the reign 
continued. In this sermon Dudley was Ahithophel, 
Paulet, Shebna : — 

" I made this affirmacion, That commonlye it was sene, 
that the most godly princes hadde officers and chief coun- 
seilours moste ungodlye, conjured enemies to Goddes true 
religion, and traitours to their princes. . . . Was David, 
sayd I, and Ezechias, princes of great and godly giftes and 
experience, abused by crafty counsailers and dissemblyng 
hypocrites? What wonder is it then, that a yonge and 
innocent Kinge be deceived by craftye, covetouse, wyckcd, 
and ungodly counselours ? I am greatly afrayd, that Achito- 
phel be counsailer, that Judas beare the purse, and that 
Sobna be scribe, comptroller, and treasurer. This, and 
somwhat more I spake that daye, not in a corner (as many 
yet can wytnesse) but even before those whomc my con- 
science judged worthy of accusation."* 

> A Godly Letter to the Faithful, Worki, iiL I76. « IM^ 1 77. 

• A Failk/ul Admomtiot^ fyorJts, iu. 283. « /hd^ UL sSl, aSa. 


Knox understood the relation which men of his 
stamp bore to Anglicanism. In 1549 much land yet 
remained to be divided, therefore he and his like 
were flattered and cajoled until Paulet and his friends 
should be strong enough to discard them. Faith, in 
the hands of the monied oligarchy, became an instru- 
ment of police, and, from the Reformation down- 
ward, revelation has been expounded in England by 
statute. Hence men of the imaginative type, who 
could not accept their creed with their stipend, were 
at any moment in danger of being adjudged heretics, 
and suffering the extreme penalty of insubordination. 

Docility to lay dictation has always been the test 
by which the Anglican clergy have been sifted from 
Catholics and Puritans. To the imaginative mind 
a faith must spring from a revelation, and a revela- 
tion must be infallible and unchangeable. Truth 
must be single. Catholics believed their revelation 
to be continuous, delivered through the mouth of 
an illuminated priesthood, speaking in its corporate 
capacity. Puritans held that theirs had been made 
once for all, and was contained in a book. But both 
Catholics and Puritans were clear that divine truth 
was immutable, and that the universal Church could 
not err. To minds of this type, statutes regulating 
the appearance of God's body in the elements were 
not only impious but absurd, and men of the priestly 
temperament, whether Catholic or Puritan, have 
faced death in its most appalling forms, rather than 
bow down before them. 

Here Fisher and Knox, Bellarmine and Calvin, 
agreed. Rather than accept the royal supremacy, 
the flower of the English priesthood sought poverty 


and exile, the scaffold and the stake. For this, the 
aged Fisher hastened to the block on Tower Hill; 
for this, Forest dangled over the embers of the 
smouldering rood ; for this, the Carthusians rotted in 
their noisome dens. Nor were Puritans a whit be- 
hind Catholics in asserting the sacerdotal dignity ; 
" Erant enim blasphemi qui vocarent eum [Henricum 
VIII.] summum caput ecclesiae sub Christo," wrote 
Calvin, and on this ground the Nonconformists 
fought the established Church, from Elizabeth's ac- 
cession downward. 

The writings of Martin Marprelate only restated an 
issue which had been raised by Hildebrand five hun- 
dred years before ; for the advance of centralization 
had reproduced in England something of the same 
conditions which prevailed at Constantinople when it 
became a centre of exchanges. Wherever civiliza- 
tion has reached the point at which energy expresses 
itself through money, faith must be subordinate to 
the representative of wealth. Stephen Gardiner 
understood the conditions under which he lived, and 
accepted his servitude in consideration of the great 
See of Winchester. With striking acuteness he 
cited Justinian as a precedent for Henry: — 

"Then, Sir, who did ever disallow Justinian's fact, that 
made laws concerning the glorious Trinity, and the Catholic 
faith, of bishops, of men, of the clergy, of heretics, and 
others, such like?'** 

From the day of the breach with Rome, the British 
priesthood sank into wage-earners, and those of the 
ancient clergy who remained in the Anglican hierar- 

* Om Tf^it ObedieH€i, Heywood't ed., 7J. 


chy after the Reformation, acquiesced in their posi- 
tion, as appeared in all their writings, but in none, 
perhaps, more strikingly than in the Formularies of 
Faith of Henry VIII., where the episcopal bench 
submitted their views of orthodoxy to the revision 
of the secular power; — 

" And all)eit, most dre^ld and benign sovereign lord, we 
do affirm by our learnings with one assent, that the said 
treatise is in all points so concordant and agreeable to holy 
scripture, as we trust your majesty shall receive the same as 
a thing most sincerely and purely handled, to the glory of 
God, your grace's honour, the unity of your people, the 
which things your highness, we may well sep and perceive, 
doth chiefly in the same desire : yet we do most humbly 
submit it to the most excellent wisdom and exact judgment 
of your majesty, to be recognised, overseen, and corrected, 
if your grace shall find any word or sentence in it meet to 
be changed, qualified, or further expounded, for the plain 
setting forth of your highnesses most virtuous desire and pur- 
pose in that behalf. Whereunto we shall in that case con- 
form ourselves, as to our most bounden duties to God and 
to your highness appertaineth." 

Signed by "your highness' most humble subjects 
and daily beadsmen, Thomas Cantuarien'* and all 
the bishops.^ 

A Church thus lying at the mercy of the temporal 
power, became a chattel in the hands of the class 
which controlled the revenue, and, from the Refor- 
mation to the revolution of 1688, this class consisted 
of a comparatively few great landed families, form- 
ing a narrow oligarchy which guided the Crown. In 

^ TA^ ImstihUion of a Christian Mam, Preface, Formularies of 
Faith of Henry VIII^ Uoyd, 26. 


the Middle Ages, a king had drawn his army from 
his own domain. Coeur-de-Lion had his own means 
of attack and defence like any other baron, only on 
a larger scale. Henry VIII., on the contrary, stood 
alone and helpless. As centralization advanced, the 
cost of administration grew, until regular taxation 
had become necessary, and yet taxes could only be 
levied by Parliament The king could hardly pay 
a body-guard, and such military force as existed 
within the realm obeyed the landlords. Had it not 
been for a few opulent nobles, like Norfolk and 
Shrewsbury, the Pilgrims of Grace might have 
marched to London and plucked Henry from his 
throne, as easily as William afterward plucked James. 
These landlords, together with the London trades- 
men, carried Henry through the crisis of 1536, and 
thereafter he lay in their hands. His impotence 
appeared in every act of his reign. He ran the risk 
and paid the price, while others fattened on the 
plunder. The Howards, the Cecils, the Russells, 
the Dudleys, divided the Church spoil among them- 
selves, and wrung from the Crown its last penny, 
so that Henry lived in debt, and Edward faced insol- 

Deeply as Mary abhorred sacrilege, she dared not 
ask for restitution to the abbeys. Such a step would 
probably have caused her overthrow, while Elizabeth 
never attempted opposition, but obeyed Cecil, the in- 
carnation of the spirit of the oligarchy. The men 
who formed this oligarchy were of totally different 
type from anything which flourished in England in 
the imaginative age. Unwarlike, for their insular 
position made it possible for them to survive with- 


out the martial quality, they always shrank from arms. 
Nor were they numerous enough, or strong enough, 
to overawe the nation even in quiet times. Accord- 
ingly they generally lay inert, and only from necessity 
allied themselves with some more turbulent faction. 

The Tudor aristocracy were rich, phlegmatic, and 
unimaginative men, in whom the other faculties were 
subordinated to acquisition, and they treated their 
religion as a financial investment. Strictly speaking, 
the Church of England never had a faith, but vi- 
brated between the orthodoxy of the ** Six Articles," 
and the Calvinism of the " Lambeth Articles,'* accord- 
ing to the exigencies of real estate. Within a single 
generation, the relation Christ's flesh and blood bore 
to the bread and wine was changed five times by 
royal proclamation or act of Parliament. 

But if creeds were alike to the new economic aris- 
tocracy, it well understood the value of the pulpit as 
a branch of the police of the kingdom, and from 
the outset it used the clergy as part of the secular 
administration. On this point Cranmer was ex- 
plicit.^ Elizabeth probably represented the landed 
gentry more perfectly than any other sovereign, and 
she told her bishops plainly that she cared little for 
doctrine, but wanted clerks to keep order. She re- 
marked that she had seen it said : — 

" that hir Protestants themselves misliked hir, and in deede 
so they doe (quoth she) for I have heard that some of them 
of late have said, that I was of no religion, neither hot nor 
cold, but such a one, as one day would give God the vomit. 
. . . After this she wished the bishops to look unto pri- 

1 See Borneft History of the Reformation^ Records, part I. book iii. 
qaest 9. 


vate Conventicles, and now (quoth she) I miss my Lord of 
lx)ndon who looketh no better unto the Citty where every 
merchant must have his schoolemaster and nightly con- 
venticles." * 

Elizabeth ruled her clergy with a rod of iron. No 
priest was allowed to marry without the approbation 
of two justices of the peace, beside the bishop, nor 
the head of a college without the leave of the visitor. 
When the Dean of St. Paul's offended the queen in 
his sermon, she told him " to retire from that ungodly 
digression and return to his text,*' and Grindall was 
suspended for disobedience to her orders. 

In Grindall's primacy, monthly prayer meetings, 
called " prophcsyings," came into fashion among the 
clergy. For some reason these meetings gave the 
government offence, and Grindall was directed to put 
a stop to them. Attacked thus, in the priests* dearest 
rights, the archbishop refused. Without more ado 
the old prelate was suspended, nor was he pardoned 
until he made submission five years later. 

The correspondence of the Elizabethan bishops is 
filled with accounts of their thraldom. Pilkington, 
among others, complained that "We are under au- 
thority, and cannot make any innovation without the 
sanction of the queen . . . and the only alternative 
now allowed us is, whether we will bear with these 
things or disturb the peace of the Church.'*' 

Even ecclesiastical property continued to be seized, 
where it could be taken safely ; and the story of Ely 
House, although it has been denied, is authentic in 
spirit From the beginning of the Reformation the 

> S. p. Dom. Elit. vol. 176, No. 69. 
« Zurich Letters, 1st Scries, 287. 



London palaces of the bishops had been a tempting 
prize. Henry took York House for himself, Raleigh 
had a lease of Durham House, and, about 1775, Sir 
Christopher Hatton, whose relations with the queen 
were hardly equivocal, undertook to force Bishop 
Cox to convey him Ely House. The bishop resisted. 
Hatton applied to the queen, and she is said to have 
cut the matter short thus : — 

" Proud prelate : I understand you are backward in com- 
plying with your agreement, but I would have you know that 
1 who made you what you are can unmake you, and if you 
do not forthwith fulfil your engagement, by God, I will im- 
mediately unfrock you. Euzabeth." 

Had the great landlords been either stronger, so 
as to have controlled the House of Commons, or 
more military, so as to have suppressed it, English 
ecclesiastical development would have been different. 
As it was, a knot of ruling families, gorged with 
plunder, lay between the Catholics and the more 
fortunate of the evicted yeomen, who had made 
money by trade, and who hated and competed with 
them. Puritans as well as Catholics sought to un- 
settle titles to Church lands : — 

" It is wondcrfull to see how dispitefuUy they write of this 
matter. They call us church robbers, devourers of holly 
things, cormorantes, etc. affirminge that by the lawe of god, 
things once consecrated to god for the service of this 
churche, belong unto him for ever. . . . -ffor my owne 
pte I have some imppriations, etc. & I thanke god I keepe 
them w^ a good conscience, and many wold be ondone. 
The law appveth us."* 

^ Towchinge the bill and the booke exhibited in the Parlatnent 1 586 
for a further reformation of the Churche^ S, P, Dom, Elit, 199, No. I. 


Thus beset, the landed capitalists struggled hard 
to maintain themselves, and, as their best defence, 
they organized a body of priests to preach and teach 
the divine right of primogeniture, which became the 
distinctive dogma of this national church. Such at 
least was the opinion of the non-jurors, who have 
always ranked among the most orthodox of the 
Anglican clergy, and who certainly were all who 
had the constancy to suffer for their faith. John 
Lake, Bishop of Chichester, suspended in 1689 for 
not swearing allegiance to William and Mary, on 
his death-bed made the following statement : — 

"That whereas I was baptized into the religion of the 
Church of England, and sucked it in with my milk, I have 
constantly adhered to it through the whole course of my 
life, and now, if so be the will of God, shall dye in it ; and 
I had resolved through God's grace assisting me to have 
dyed so, though at a stake. 

"And whereas that religion of the Church of England 
taught me the doctrine of non-resistance and passive ol)e- 
dience, which I have accordingly inculcated upon others, 
and which I took to be the distinguishing character of the 
Church of England, I adhere no less firmly and steadfastly 
to that, and in consequence of it, have incurred a suspension 
from the exercise of my office and expected a deprivation." * 

In the twelfth century, the sovereign drew his 
supernatural quality from his consecration by the 
priesthood ; in the seventeenth century, money had 
already come to represent a force so predominant 
that the process had become reversed, and the priest- 
hood attributed its prerogative to speak in the name 
of the Deity, to the interposition of the king. Thb 

* History §/ the N^n-jur^rs, Lathlnvy, 5a 


was the substance of the Reformation in England. 
Cranmcr taught that God committed to Christian 
princes "the whole cure of all their subjects, as well 
concerning the administration of God's word . . . 
as ... of things political**; therefore bishops, par- 
sons, and vicars were ministers of the temporal ruler, 
to whom he confided the ecclesiastical office, as he 
confided the enforcement of order to a chief of 
police.* As a part of the secular administration, 
the main function of the Reformed priesthood was 
to preach obedience to their patrons ; and the doc- 
trine they evolved has been thus summed up by 
Macaulay : — 

" It was gravely maintained that the Supreme Being re- 
garded hereditary monarchy, as opposed to other forms of 
government, with peculiar favour ; that the rule of succession 
in order of primogeniture was a divine institution, anterior 
to the Christian, and even to the Mosaic dispensation ; that 
no human power . . . could deprive a legitimate prince of 
his rights ; that the authority of such a prince was necessarily 
always despotic. . . ." * 

In no other department of public affairs did the 
landed gentry show particular energy or ability. 
Their army was ineffective, their navy unequal to its 
work, their finances indifferently handled, but down 
to the time of their overthrow, in 1688, they were 
eminently successful in ecclesiastical organization. 
They chose their instruments with precision, and an 
oligarchy has seldom been more adroitly served. 
Macaulay was a practical politician, and Macaulay 

* Sec Hiitory of the Rtformation^ Burnet, Pocock's cd. Records^ 
part I. book iii. quest 9. 

* Hiitory of England, ch. I. 


rated the clergy as the chief political power under 
Charles II : — 

" At every important conjuncture, invectives against the 
Whigs and exhortations to obey the Ijord's anointed re- 
sounded at once from many thousands of pulpits ; and the 
effect was formidable indeed. Of all the causes which, after 
the dissolution of the Oxford Parliament, produced the violent 
reaction against the exclusionists, the most potent seems to 
have been the oratory of the country clergy." * 

For country squires a wage-earning clergy was 
safe, and although Macaulay*s famous passage de- 
scribing their fear of an army has met with contra- 
diction, it probably is true : — 

** In their minds a standing army was inseparably associated 
with the Rump, with the Protector, with the spoliation of the 
Church, with the purgation of the Universities, with the 
abolition of the peerage, with the murder of the King, with 
the sullen reign of the Saints, with cant and asceticism, 
with fines and sequestrations, with the insults which Major 
Generals, sprung from the dregs of the people, had offered 
to the oldest and most honourable families of the kingdom. 
There was, moreover, scarcely a baronet or a squire in the 
parliament who did not owe part of his importance in his 
own county to his rank in the militia. If that national force 
were set aside, the gentry of England must lose much of 
their dignity and influence.** ' 

The work to be done by the Tudor hierarchy was 
mercenary, not imaginative; therefore pastors had to 
be chosen who could be trusted to labour faithfully 
for wages. Perhaps no equally large and intelligent 
body of men has ever been more skilfully selected. 
The Anglican priests, as a body, have uniformly been 

* HiiUry of Engiand, ch. iii. * IHd^ cb. vi. 



true to the hand which fed them, without regard to 
the principles they were required to preach. A re- 
markable instance of their docility, where loss of 
income was the penalty for disobedience, was fur- 
nished at the accession of William and Mary. Divine 
right was, of course, the most sacred of Anglican 
dogmas, and yet, when the clergy were commanded 
to take the oath of allegiance to him whom they held 
to be an usurper, as Macaulay has observed, " some 
of the strongest motives which can influence the 
human mind, had prevailed. Above twenty-nine 
thirtieths of the profession submitted to the law."^ 
Moreover, the landlords had the economic instinct, 
bargaining accordingly, and Elizabeth bluntly told 
her bishops that they must get her sober, respectable 
preachers, but men who should be cheap. 

"Then spake my Lord Treasurer. . . . Her Maty hath 
declared unto you a marvellous great fault, in that you make 
in this time of light so many lewd and unlearned minis- 
ters. ... It is the Bishop of Litchfield . . . that I mean, 
who made LXX. ministers in one day for money, some 
uylors, some shoemakers, and other craftsmen, I am sure 
the greatest part of them not worthy to keep horses. Then 
said the Bp. of Rochester, that may be so, for I know 
one that made 7 in one day, I would every man might 
beare his o^^-n burthen, some of us have the greatest wrong 
that can be offred. ... But my Lord, if you would have 
none but learned preachers to be admitted into the ministery, 
you must provide better livings for them. . . . 

** To have learned ministers in every parish is in my judg- 
m* impossible (quoth my Ld. of Canterbury) being 13,000 
parishes in Ingland, I know not how this realm should yield 
so many learned preachers. 

* History of England, ch. xiv. 


"Jesus (quoth the Queen) 13,000 it is not to be looked 
for, I thinke the tiuie hath been, there hath not been 4. 
preachers in a diocesse, my meaning is not you should 
make choice of learned ministers only for they are not to 
be found, but of honest, sober, and wise men, and such as 
can reade the scriptures and homilies well unto the people."* 

The Anglican clergy under the Tudors and the 
Stuarts were not so much priests, in the sense of the 
twelfth century, as hired political retainers. Macau- 
lay's celebrated description is too well known to need 
full quotation : " for one who made the figure of a 
gentleman, ten were mere menial servants. . . . The 
coarse and ignorant squire** could hire a "young 
Levite " for his board, a small garret, and ten pounds 
a year. This clergyman ** might not only be the 
most patient of butts and of listeners, might not only 
be always ready in fine weather for bowls, and in 
rainy weather for shovelboard, but might also save 
the expense of a gardener, or of a groom. Some- 
times the reverend man nailed up the apricots ; and 
sometimes he curried the coach horses.*** 

Yet, as Macaulay has also pointed out, the hierarchy 
was divided into two sections, the ordinary labourers 
and the managers. The latter were indispensable to 
the aristocracy, since without them their machine 
could hardly have been kept in motion, and these 
were men of talent who demanded and received good 
wages. Probably for this reason a large revenue was 
reserved for the higher secular clergy, and from the 
outset the policy proved successful. Many of the 
ablest organizers and astutest politicians of England, 

' Qtuem^s conference upon Grauni of a Snhsedy, ete.^ 1 584. StaU 
Papers, Dom. £/is,, 176, No. 69. » History of En^land^ ch. ill 


during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, sat 
on the episcopal bench, and two of the most typical, 
as well as the ablest Anglicans who ever lived, were 
the two eminent bishops who led the opposing wings 
of the Church when it was reformed by Henry VIII.: 
Stephen Gardiner and Thomas Cranmer. 

Gardiner was the son of a clothworker of Bury 
Saint Edmunds, and was born about 1483. At Cam- 
bridge he made himself the best civil lawyer of the 
kingdom, and on meeting Wolsey, so strongly im- 
pressed him with his talent that the cardinal advanced 
him rapidly, and in January 1529 sent him to nego- 
tiate for the divorce at Rome. Nobody doubts that 
to the end of his life Gardiner remained a sincere 
Catholic, but above all else he was a great Anglican. 
Becoming secretary to the king in June, 1529, as 
Wolsey was tottering to his fall, he laboured to 
bring the University of Cambridge to the royal 
side, and he also devoted himself to Anne until he 
obtained the See of Winchester, when his efforts for 
the divorce slackened. He even went so far as to 
assure Clement that he had repented, and meant to 
quit the court, but notwithstanding he " bore up the 
laps " of Anne's robe at her coronation. 

In 1535 the ways parted, a decision could not be 
deferred, he renounced Rome and preached his ser- 
mon " de vera Obedientia,** in which he recognized 
in Henry the supremacy of a Byzantine emperor. 
The pang this act cost him lasted till he died, and 
he told the papal nuncio '* he made this book under 
compulsion, not having the strength to suffer death 
patiently, which was ready for him.** * Indeed, when 

* CaL X., No. 570. 


dying, his apostacy seems to have been his last 
thought, for in his closing hours, as the story of the 
passion was read to him he exclaimed, ** Negavi cum 
Pctro, exivi cum Petro, sed nondum flevi cum Petro." 
All his life long his enemies accused him of dissimu- 
lation and hypocrisy for acts like these, but it was 
precisely this quality which raised him to eminence. 
Had he not been purchasable, he could hardly have 
survived as an Anglican bishop ; an enthusiast like 
Fisher would have ended on Tower Hill. 

Perhaps more fully than any other prelate of his 
time, Gardiner represented the faction of Henry and 
Norfolk ; he was as orthodox as he could be and yet 
prosper. He hated Cromwell and all "gospellers," 
and he loved power and splendour and office. Fisher, 
with the temperament of Saint Anselm, shivering 
in his squalid house, clad in his shirt of hair, and 
sleeping on his pallet of straw, might indeed ** humbly 
thank the king's majesty " who rid him of " all this 
worldly business," but men who rose to eminence in 
the reformed church were made of different stuff, and 
Gardiner's ruling passion never burned more fiercely 
than as he neared his death. Though in excruciating 
torments from disease, he clung to office to the last. 
Noailles, the French ambassador, at a last interview, 
found him " livid with jaundice and bursting with 
dropsy : but for two hours he held discourse with me 
calmly and graciously, without a sign of discompos- 
ure ; and at parting he must needs take my arm and 
walk through three saloons, on purpose to show him- 
self to the people, because they said that he was dead." * 

* AtmhassaJts^ v. 150. QooUtion from HisUry tf the Ckurtk 0/ 
England^ Dixon, it. 450. 


Gardiner was a man bom to be a great prelate 
under a monied oligarchy, but, gifted as he surely 
was, he must yield in glory to that wonderful arch- 
bishop who stamped the impress of his mind so deeply 
on the sect he loved, and whom most Anglicans would 
probably call, with Canon Dixon, the first clergyman 
of his age. Cranmer was so supremely fitted to meet 
the requirements of the economic revolution in which 
he lived, that he rose at a bound from insignificance 
to what was, for an Englishman, the summit of great- 
ness. In 1529, when the breach came, Gardiner 
already held the place of chief secretary, while Cran- 
mer remained a poor Fellow of Jesus. Within four 
years he had been consecrated primate, and he had 
bought his preferment by swearing allegiance to the 
pope, though he knew himself promoted for the ex- 
press purpose of violating his oath, by decreeing the 
divorce which should sever England from Rome. His 
qualities were all recognized by his contemporaries ; 
his adroitness, his trustworthiness, and his flexibility. 
'' Such an archbishop so nominated, and ... so and 
in such wise consecrated, was a meet instrument for 
the king to work by ... a meet cover for such a 
cup; neither was there ever bear-ward that might 
more command his bears than the king might com- 
mand him." * This judgment has always been held 
by Churchmen to be no small claim to fame ; Burnet, 
for example, himself a bishop and an admirer of his 
eminent predecessor, was clear that Cranmer's strength 
lay in that mixture of intelligence and servility which 
made him useful to those who paid him : — 

* PrettnJed Dii'orct of Henry VIII, ^ Harpsfield, Camden Society, 





" Cianmer's great interest with the king was chiefly 
grounded on some opinions he had of the ecclesiastical 
officers being as much subject to the king's power as all 
other civil officers were. . . . But there was this difference : 
that Cranmer was once of that opinion . . . but Bonner 
against his conscience (if he had any) complied with it." ^ 

The genius of the archbishop as a courtier may be 
measured by the fate which overtook his contempo- 
raries. He was the fourth of Henry's great minis- 
ters, of whom Cromwell, Norfolk, and Wolscy were 
the other three. Wolscy was disgraced, plundered, 
and hounded to death ; Cromwell was beheaded, and 
Norfolk was on his way to the scaffold, when saved 
by the death of the man who condemned him. The 
priest alone, as Lutheran, or as worshipper of the 
miracle which he afterward denied, always kept 
the sunshine of favour. Burnet has described how 
readily he violated his oath by participating in the at- 
tempt to change the succession under Edward. " He 
stood firm, and said, that he could not subscribe it 
without perjury; having sworn to the observance of 
King Henry's will. . . . The king himself required 
him to set his hand to the will. ... It grieved him 
much ; but such was the love that he bore to the 
king, that in conclusion he yielded, and signed it." ' 
Like the chameleon, he changed his colour to match 
the force which upheld him. Under Edward, he be- 
came radical as easily as he had sung the mass under 
the " Six Articles," or as, under Mary, he pleaded to 
be allowed to return to Rome. Nor did he act thus 
from cowardice, for when he went to the fire, not a 

1 Burnet's History of the Ke/ormation^ Pocock't e<L, L 42S. 
• /foV., iii. 376. 


martyr of the Reformation showed more constancy 
than he. With hardly an exception, Cranmer's con- 
temporaries suffered because they could not entirely 
divest themselves of their scruples. Even Gardiner 
had convictions strong enough to lodge him in the 
Tower, and Bonner ended his days in the Marshalsea, 
rather than abjure again under Elizabeth, but no such 
weakness hampered Cranmer. At Oxford, before 
his execution, he recanted, in various forms, very 
many times, and would doubtless have gone on re- 
canting could he have saved himself by so doing. 

Unlike Gardiner, his convictions were evangelical, 
and he probably imbibed reformed principles quite 
early, for he married Ossiander's niece when in Ger- 
many, before he became archbishop. Characteristi- 
cally enough, he voted for the " Six Articles " in 
deference to Henry,* although the third section of the 
act provided death and forfeiture of goods for any 
priest who might marry. Afterward, he had to con- 
ceal his wife and carry " her from place to place hid- 
den from sight in a chest." ^ Cranmer alleged at his 
trial that he had stayed orthodox regarding the sacra- 
ment until Ridley had converted him, after Henry's 
death. But, leaving out of consideration the improb- 
ability of a man of Cranmer's remarkable acuteness 
being influenced by Ridley, the judgment of such a 
man as Fo.xe should have weight. Certainly, Foxe 
thought him a " gospeller ** at the time of Lambert's 
trial, and nothing can give so vivid an idea of the 
lengths to which men of the Anglican type were 

1 Blunt't Reformation^ i. 475. 

* Anglican StAism, Sander, Lewis* trans., 181. Also Prtttnded 
Divorce of Henry VI I L^ HaqMfield, 290. 


ready to go, as the account given by Foxe of the 
martyrdom of this sectary : — 

'* I^mbert : ' I answer, with Saint Augustine, that it is the 
body of Christ, after a certain manner.* 

" The King : ' Answer me neither out of Saint Augustine, 
nor by the authority of any other; but tell me plainly, 
whether thou sayest it is the body of Christ, or no.' . . . 

" Lambert : ' Then I deny it to be the body of Christ.' 

" The King : ' Mark well ! for now thou shatt be con- 
demned even by Christ's own words, " Hoc est corpus 

meum." ' 

" Then he commanded Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, to refute his assertion; who, first making a short 
preface unto the hearers, began his disputation with Lambert 
very modestly. . . . Then again the king and the bishops 
raged against Lambert, insomuch that he was not only 
forced to silence, but also might have been driven into a 
rage, if his ears had not been acquainted with such taunts 
before. . . . And here it is much to be marvelled at, to see 
how unfortunately it came to pass in this matter, that . . . 
Satan (who oftentimes doth raise up one brother to the de- 
struction of another) did here perform the condemnation of 
this Lambert by no other ministers than gospellers them- 
selves, Taylor, Barnes, Cranmer, and Cromwell ; who, after- 
wards, in a manner, all suffered the like for the gospel's 
sake; of whom (God willing) we will speak more here- 
after. . . . Upon the day that was appointed for this holy 
martyr of God to suffer, he was brought out of the prison 
at eight o'clock in the morning unto the house of the k>rd 
Cromwell, and so carried into his inward chamber, where, it 
is reported of many, that Cromwell desired of him for- 
giveness for what he had done. ... \s touching the ter- 
rible manner and fashion of the burning of this blessed 
martyr, here is to be noted, that of all others who have been 
burned and offered up at Smithfield, there was yet none so 
cruelly and piteously handled as he. For, after that his legs 

2^2 aVIL4ZAT10X AND DECAY chat. 

were conyjmed and burned up to the stumps, and that the 
«T<^ched tormentors and enemies of God had withdrawn the 
fire from him, so that but a small fire and coals were left 
under him. then two that stood on each side of him, with 
their halberts pitched him upon their pikes, as far as the 
chain would reach. . . . Then he, lifting up such hands as 
he had, and his finger's ends flaming with fire, cried unto the 
jieople in these words, ' None but Christ, none but Christ ; ' 
and so, being let down again from their halberts, fell into the 
fire, and there ended his life." ' 

In a hierarchy like the Anglican, whose function 
was to preach passive obedience to the representa- 
tive of an opulent, but somewhat sluggish oligarchy, 
there could be no permanent place for idealists. 
With a Spanish invasion threatening them, an unwar- 
like ruling class might tolerate sailors like Drake, or 
priests like Latimer ; but, in the long run, their inter- 
est lay in purging England of so dangerous an ele- 
ment. The aristocracy sought men who could be 
bought : but such were of a different type from Lati- 
mer, who, when they brought to him the fire, as he 
stood chained to the stake, " spake in this manner : 
* Be of good comfort, master Ridley, and play the 
man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God's 
grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.* " 
And so, "after he had stroked his face with his 
hands, and as it were bathed them a little in the fire, 
he soon died." 

Ecclesiastics like Latimer were apt to be of the 
mind of Kno.x, who held " that stck as may and do 
brjdill the inordinatt appetyteis of Princes, cannot 
be accusit of resistance to the aucthoratie, quhilk is 

' Acts and Monumenti^ v. 230. 


Godis gud ordinance." And as the interests of landed 
capital were bound up with the maintenance of the 
royal prerogative, such men had to be eliminated. 
After the death of Mary, the danger apprehended by 
the landed gentry was a Spanish invasion, coupled 
with a Catholic insurrection, and therefore the policy 
of statesmen like Cecil was to foster hostility to 
Rome. Until after the Armada, Anglicans were per- 
mitted to go all lengths towards Geneva ; even as 
late as 1 595 the " Lambeth Articles " breathed pure 
Calvinism. But with the opening of a new century, 
a change set in ; as the power of Spain dwindled, 
rents rose, and the farmers grew restive at the pre- 
cise moment when men of the heroic temperament 
could be discarded. Raleigh was sent to the Tower 
in 1603. 

According to Thorold Rogers, " good arable land 
[which] let at less than a shilling an acre in the last 
quarter of the sixteenth century, was let at 55. to 6s. 
at the end of the first quarter of the seventeenth," 
while rent for pasture doubled.* Rising rents, and 
prices tending to become stationary, caused suffer- 
ing among the rural population, and with suffering 
came discontent. This discontent in the country was 
fomented by restlessness in the towns, for commerce 
had been strongly stimulated during the reign of 
Elizabeth by the Spanish wars, and the mercantile 
element began to rebel against legislation passed in 
the interest of the favoured class. Suddenly the dis- 
satisfaction found vent ; for more than forty years 
the queen's ministers had met with no serious oppo- 
sition in Parliament; in 1601, without warning, their 

^ A^uuiture an J Prices ^ Rogers, ▼. 804. 


system of monopolies was struck down, and from 
that day to the revolution of 1688, the House of 
Commons proved to be unmanageable by the Crown. 
Even as early as the accession of James, the compe- 
tition between the aristocracy and their victims had 
begun to glow with the heat which presages civil war. 

Had the Tudor aristocracy been a martial caste, 
they would doubtless have organized an army, and 
governed by the sword ; but they instinctively felt 
that, upon the field of battle, they might be at a disad- 
vantage, and therefore they attempted to control the 
popular imagination through the priesthood. Thus 
the divine right of primogeniture came to be the dis- 
tinguishing tenet of the Church of England. James 
felt the full force of the current which was carrying 
him onward, and expressed the situation pithily in 
his famous apothegm, " No bishop, no king." '* I will 
have," said he, " one doctrine, one discipline, one re- 
ligion in substance and ceremony ; " and the policy 
of the interest he represented was laid down as early 
as 1604, at the conference at Hampton Court. 

Passive obedience was to be preached, and the 
church filled with men who could be relied on by the 
oligarchy. Six weeks after the conference at Hamp- 
ton Court, Whitgift died, and Bancroft, Bishop of 
London, was translated to Canterbury. Within a 
week he was at work. He had already prepared a 
Book of Canons with which to test the clergy, and 
this he had ratified by the convocation which pre- 
ceded his consecration. In these canons the divine 
origin of episcopacy was asserted ; a strange depart- 
ure from the doctrine of Cranmer. In 1605 there 
are supposed to have been about fifteen hundred 


Puritan clergymen in England and Wales, and at 
Bancroft's first winnowing three hundred were ejected. 

Among these Puritans was a certain John Robin- 
son, the teacher of a small congregation of yeomen, 
in the village of Scrooby, in Nottinghamshire. The 
man's birth is unknown, his early history is obscure, 
but in him, and in the farmers who heard him preach, 
the long and bitter struggle against the pressure of 
the class which was destroying them, had bred that 
stem and sombre enthusiasm which afterward marked 
the sect. By 1607 England had grown intolerable to 
this congregation, and they resolved to emigrate. 
They had heard that in Holland liberty of conscience 
was allowed, and they fondly hoped that with liberty of 
conscience they might be content to earn their daily 
bread in peace. Probably with them, however, religion 
was not the cause, but the effect of their uneasiness, 
as the result proved. 

After many trials and sorrows, these poor people 
finally assembled in Amsterdam, and thence jour- 
neyed to Leyden, where they dwelt some eleven 
years. But they found the struggle for life to be 
full as severe in the Low Countries as it had been at 
home, and presently the exiles began to long for some 
distant land where "they might more glorify God, do 
more good to their country, better provide for their 
posterity, and live to be more refreshed by their 
labours, than ever they could do in Holland." Ac- 
cordingly, obtaining a grant from the Virginia Com- 
pany, they sailed in the Mayflower in 1620, to settle 
in New England ; and thus, by the eviction of the 
yeomen, England laid the foundation of one great 
province of her colonial empire. 



In the words of Mr. Froude : " Before the sixteenth 
century had measured half its course the shadow of 
Spain already stretched beyond the Andes; from the 
mines of Peru and the custom-houses of Antwerp the 
golden rivers streamed into her imperial treasury; 
the crowns of Aragon and Castile, of Burgundy, 
Milan, Naples, and Sicily, clustered on the brow of 
her sovereigns." * But with all their great martial 
qualities, the Spaniards seem to have been incapable 
of attaining the same velocity of movement as the 
races with which they had to compete. They never 
emerged from the imaginative period, they never 
developed the economic type, and in consequence 
they never centralized as the English centralized. 
Even as early as the beginning of the seventeenth 
century this peculiarity had been observed, for the 
Duke dc Sully remarked that with Spain the "legs 
and arms arc strong and powerful, but the heart 
infinitely weak and feeble." 

Captain Mahan has explained the military impo- 
tence of the mighty mass which, scattered over two 
continents, could not command the sea, and in the 
seventeenth century an intelligent Dutchman boasted 

^ History c/Et^aHJ, viii. 425. 


that *' the Spaniards have publicly begun to hire our 
ships to sail to the Indies. ... It is manifest that 
the West Indies, being as the stomach to Spain (for 
from it nearly all the revenue is drawn), must be 
joined to the Spanish head by a sea force";' and 
the glory of the Elizabethan sailors lay not only in 
having routed this sea force, but in having assimi- 
lated no small portion of the nutriment which the 
American stomach should have supplied to the Span- 
ish heart. 

As Spain lingered long in the imaginative age, the 
priest and soldier there reigned supreme after the 
mercantile and sceptical type had begun to predom- 
inate elsewhere ; and the instinct of the priest and 
soldier has always been to exterminate their rivals 
when pressed by their competition. In the Spanish 
peninsula itself the Inquisition soon trampled out 
heresy, but by the middle of the sixteenth century 
the Low Countries were a hotbed of Protestantism, 
and in Flanders these opposing forces fought out 
their battle to the death. The war which ruined 
Antwerp made England. 

In 1576 Antwerp was sacked and burned; in 1585 
the town was reduced to starvation by the Duke of 
Parma, and its commerce having been scattered by 
successive disasters, some of it migrated to Amster- 
dam, and some sought shelter in the Thames. In 
London the modern man was protected by the sea, 
and the crisis of the combat came in 1 588, when the 
Spaniards, having decided to pursue their enemy to 
his last stronghold, sent the Armada to perish in the 
Channel. With that supreme effort the vitality of 

1 Infuime ofiht Sea Power u^m HitUry. Maban, 41. 


the great imaginative empire began to fail, disinte- 
;;ration v-t in, and on the ruins of Spain rose the 
purely economic centralization of Great Britain. 

Like the Venetians, the British laid the basis of 
their high fortune by piracy and slaving, and their 
advantage over Spain lay not in mass, but in a supe- 
rior energy, which gave them more rapid movement 
Drake's squadron, when he sailed round the world, 
numbered five ships, the largest measuring only one 
hundred and twenty tons, the smallest twelve, but 
with these he succeeded because of their speed. 
For example, he overtook the Cacafuego, whose 
ballast was silver, and whose cargo gold and jewels. 
He never disclosed her value, but the Spanish gov- 
ernment afterward proved a loss of a million and a 
half of ducats, beside the property of private individ- 
uals. In like manner the Armada was destroyed by 
little ships, which sailed round their clumsy enemy, 
and disabled him before he could strike a blow in 

The Spanish wars were halcyon days for the men 
of martial blood who had lost their land ; they took 
to the sea by thousands, and ravaged the Spanish 
colonies with the energy and ferocity of vikings. 
For nearly a generation they wallowed in gold and 
silver and gems, and in the plunder of the American 
towns. Among these men Sir Francis Drake stood 
foremost, but, after 1560, the southern counties 
swarmed with pirates; and when, in 1585, Drake 
sailed on his raid against the West Indies, he led a 
force of volunteers twenty-five hundred strong. He 
held no commission, the crews of his twenty-five ships 
ser\'ed without pay, they went as buccaneers to fatten 


on the commerce of the Spaniard. As it happened, 
this particular expedition failed financially, for the 
treasure fleet escaped, and the plunder of the three 
cities of Santiago, Saint Domingo, and Carthagena 
yielded only ^60,000, but the injury done to Spain 
was incalculable. 

No computation can be attempted of the spoil 
taken during these years ; no reports were ever made ; 
on the contrary, all concerned were anxious to conceal 
their doings, but certain prizes were too dazzling to 
be hidden. When Drake surprised three caravans 
on the Isthmus, numbering one hundred and ninety 
mules, each mule loaded with three hundred pounds 
of silver, the fact became known. No wonder Drake 
ate off "silver richly gilt, and engraved with his 
arms," that he had "all possible luxuries, even to 
perfumes," that he dined and supped " to the music 
of violins," and that he could bribe the queen with 
a diamond cross and a coronet set with splendid 
emeralds, and give the lord chancellor a service of 
plate. What he gave in secret he alone knew. 

As Francis Drake was the ideal English corsair, 
so John Hawkins was the ideal slaver. The men 
were kinsmen, and of the breed which, when driven 
from their farms at the end of the Middle Ages, left 
their mark all over the world. Of course the two 
sailors were "gospellers," and Mr. Froude has quoted 
an interesting passage from the manuscript of a 
contemporary Jesuit, which shows how their class 
was esteemed toward the close of the sixteenth cen- 
tury : " The only party that would fight to the death 
for the queen, the only real friends she had, were the 
Puritans, the Puritans of London, the Puritans of 


the sea towns." ' These the priest thought desperate 
and determined men. Nevertheless they sometimes 
provoked Elizabeth by their sermonizing. The story 
is told that one day after reading a letter of Hawkins 
to Burleigh she cried : " God's death ! This fool went 
out a soldier, and has come back a divine." 

Though both Drake and Hawkins possessed the 
predator}' temperament, Hawkins had a strong com- 
mercial instinct, and kept closely to trade. He was 
the son of old William Hawkins, the first British cap> 
tain who ever visited Brazil, and who brought from 
thence a native chief, whom he presented to Henry 
VIII. As a young man John had discovered at the 
Canaries " that negroes were a very good commodity 
in Hispaniola," - and that they might easily be taken 
on the coast of Guinea. Accordingly, in 1562, he 
fitted out three ships, touched at Sierra Leone, and 
" partly by the sword and partly by other means," 
he obtained a cargo, ** and with that prey he sailed 
over the ocean sea" to Hispaniola, where he sold his 
goods at a large profit. The West India Islands, and 
the countries bordering the Gulf of Mexico, cannot 
be cultivated profitably by white labourers; there- 
fore, when the Spaniards had, by hard usage, par- 
tially exterminated the natives, a fresh supply of 
field hands became necessary, and these could be 
had easily and cheaply on the coast of Africa. 

At first Spain tried to exclude foreigners from this 
most lucrative traffic; but here again the English 
moved too quickly to be stopped. Wherever Haw- 
kins went, he went prepared to fight, and, if pre- 

* Engtish Seamen of the Sixteenth Century , 6. 
' Anderton't History of Commerce^ i. 400. 


vented from trading peaceably, he used force. In his 
first voyage he met with no opposition, but subse- 
quently, at Burburata, leave to sell was denied him, 
and, without an instant's hesitation, he marched 
against the town with " a hundred men well armed/' 
and brought the governor to terms. Having supplied 
all the slaves needed at that port, Hawkins went on 
to Rio de la Hacha, where he, in like manner, made 
a demonstration with ** one hundred men in armour," 
and two small guns, and in ten days he had dis- 
posed of his whole stock. 

As at that time an able negro appears to have been 
worth about ^160 in the West Indies,* a cargo of 
five hundred ought to have netted between seventy 
and eighty thousand pounds, for the cost of kidnap- 
ping was trifling. No wonder, therefore, that slaving 
flourished, and that, by the middle of the eighteenth 
century, England probably carried not far from one 
hundred thousand blacks annually from Africa to the 
colonies. The East offered no such market, and 
doubtless Adam Smith was right in his opinion that 
the commerce with India had never been so advan- 
tageous as the trade to America.' 

Both slavers and pirates brought bullion to Eng- 
land, and presently this flow of silver began to stimu- 
late at London a certain amount of exchange between 
the East and West The Orientals have always pre- 
ferred payment in specie, and, as silver has usually 
offered more profit than gold as an export, the Euro- 
pean with a surplus of silver has had the advantage 
over all competitors. Accordingly, until Spain lost 

» S. P, Dom. £/ix., 53. 

< IVfalik 9/Naii0ni, book 4, ch. L 

.^ . m..^-^m.* i 


the power to protect her communications with her 
mines, the Spanish peninsula enjoyed almost a mo- 
nopoly of the trade beyond the Cape ; but as the war 
went on, and more of the precious metal flowed to 
the north, England and Holland began to send their 
silver to Asia, the Dutch organizing one East India 
Company in 1595, and the British another in 1600. 

Sir Josiah Child, who was, perhaps, the ablest mer- 
chant of the seventeenth century, observed that in 
1545 "the trade of England then was inconsiderable, 
and the merchants very mean and few."^ Child's 
facts are beyond doubt, and the date he fixed is in- 
teresting because it coincides with the discovery of 
Potosi, whence most of the silver came which sup- 
plied the pirates and the slavers. Prior to 1545 
specie had been scarce in London, but when the 
buccaneers had been scuttling treasure galleons for 
a generation, they found themselves possessed of 
enough specie to set them dreaming of India, and 
thus piracy laid the foundation of the British em- 
pire in Asia. 

But robbing the Spaniards had another more im- 
mediate and more startling result, for it probably 
precipitated the civil war. As the city grew rich it 
chafed at the slow movement of the aristocracy, 
who, timid and peaceful, cramped it by closing the 
channels through which it reached the property of 
foreigners; and, just when the yeomanry were ex- 
asperated by rising rents, London began to glow 
with that energy which, when given vent, was des- 
tined to subdue so large a portion of the world. 
Perhaps it is not going too far to say that, even 

1 Discoursi of Tradi, Child, ed. 1775, 8. 


from the organization of the East India Company, 
the mercantile interest controlled England. Not 
that it could then rule alone, it lacked the power 
to do so for nearly a hundred years to come; but, 
after 1600, its weight turned the scale on which side 
soever thrown. Before the Long Parliament the 
merchants were generally Presbyterians or moderate 
Puritans; the farmers, Independents or Radicals; 
and Winthrop, when preparing for the emigration 
to Massachusetts, dealt not only with squires like 
Hampden, but with city magnates like Thomas 
Andrews, the lord mayor. This alliance between 
the rural and the urban Puritans carried through the 
Great Rebellion, and as their coalition crushed the 
monarchy so their separation reinstated it. 

Macaulay has very aptly observed that '* but for the 
hostility of the city, Charles the First would never 
have been vanquished, and that, without the help of 
the city, Charles the Second could scarcely have been 
restored." ' At the Protector's death the Presbyte- 
rians abandoned the farmers, probably because they 
feared them. The army of the Commonwealth 
swarmed with men like Cromwell and Blake, war- 
riors resistless alike on land and sea, with whom, 
when organized, the city could not cope. Therefore 
it scattered them, and, throwing in its lot with the 
Cavaliers, set up the king. 

For about a generation after the Restoration, no 
single interest had the force to impose its will upon 
the nation, or, in other words, parties were equally 
balanced ; but from the middle of the century the 
tide flowed rapidly. Capital accumulated, and as it 

> History 0/ Engiattd, ch. tii. 


accumulated the men adapted to be its instruments 
grew to be the governing class. Sir Josiah Child is 
the most interesting figure of this period. His 
acquaintance remembered him a poor apprentice 
sweeping the counting-house where he worked ; and 
yet, at fifty, his fortune reached ;t20,ocx) a year, a 
sum almost equal to the rent-roll of the Duke of 
Ormond, the richest peer of the realm. Child 
married his daughter to the eldest son of the Duke 
of Beaufort, and gave her ;tSO,ocx), and his ability 
was so commanding that for years he absolutely 
ruled the East India Company, and used its revenues 
to corrupt Parliament. On matters of finance such a 
man would hardly err, and he gave it as his opinion 
that in 1635 "there were more merchants to be found 
upon the Exchange worth each one thousand pounds 
and upwards, than were in the former days, viz., 
before the year 1600, to be found worth one hundred 
pounds each." 

"And now . . . there are more men to be found u[X)n 
the Exchange now worth ten thousand pounds estates, 
than were then of one thousand pounds. And if this be 
doubted, let us ask the aged, whether five hundred pounds 
portion with a daughter sixty years ago, were not esteemed 
a larger portion than two thousand pounds is now; and 
whether gendeworoen in those days would not esteem them- 
selves well clothed in a serge gown, which a chambermaid 
now will be ashamed to be seen in. . . . We have now 
almost one hundred coaches for one we had formerly. We 
with ease can pay a greater tax now in one year than our 
forefathers could in twenty. Our customs are very much 
improved, I believe above the proportion aforesaid, of six 
to one; which is not so much in advance of the rates of 
goods as by increase of the bulk of trade. . . . 


" I can myself remember since there were not in London 
used so many wharves or keys for the landing of merchants* 
goods, by at least one third part, as now there are, and those 
that were then could scarce have employment for half what 
they could do; and now, notwithstanding one-third more 
used to the same purpose, they are all too little, in time of 
peace, to land the goods at, that come to London." ' 

Child estimated that, within twenty years, wages 
had risen one-third, and rents twenty-five per cent, 
while " houses new-built in London yield twice the 
rent they did before the fire."^ Farms that "their 
grandfathers or fathers bought or sold fifty years 
past . . . would yield, one with another, at least 
treble the money, and in some cases, six times the 
money, they were then bought and sold for."' 
Macaulay has estimated the population of London 
in 1685 at half a million, and believed it to have 
then become the largest city in Europe. 

The aristocracy were forced to tolerate men of the 
predatory type while they feared a Spanish invasion, 
but after the defeat of the Armada these warriors 
became dangerous at home, and the oligarchy, very 
naturally, tried to purge the island of a class which 
constantly menaced their authority. Persecution 
drove numbers of Nonconformists to America, and 
the story of Captain John Smith shows how hardly 
society then pressed on the race of adventurers, 
even where the bitterness of the struggle did not 
produce religious enthusiasm. 

Smith lived a generation too late. Born in 1579, 
he was a child of nine when the Armada perished, 

> Discourse of Trade, Josiah Child, ed. 1775* 8, 9, la 
* Ihid^ Pref. uxi * JkUL. 41. 


and only sixteen when Drake and Hawkins died at 
sea. Smith's father had property, but when left an 
orphan his guardians neglected him, and at fifteen 
let him set out on his travels with only ten shillings 
in his pocket. At home no career was open to him, 
for the Cecils rather inclined to imprison and behead 
soldiers of fortune than to reward them. Accord- 
ingly he went abroad, and by twenty-five had seen 
service in most countries of the Continent, had been 
enslaved by the Turks, had escaped and wandered 
to Barbary, had fought the Spanish on a French 
man-of-war, and at last had learned that the dreams 
of his youth belonged to a past age, and that he 
must enter a new path. He therefore joined himself 
to a party bound for Virginia, and the hardship of 
the times may be gauged by the fact that out of a 
company of a hundred, fifty-two were gentlemen ad- 
venturers as needy as himself, none of whom sought 
exile for religion. 

Smith's voyages to America brought him nothing 
but bitterness. He returned to England and passed 
his last years in obscurity and neglect, and perhaps 
the fate that awaited soldiers under James, has been 
nowhere better told than in Smith's own words. He 
spent five years and more than five hundred pounds 
in the serN-ice of Virginia and New England, yet " in 
neither . . . have I one foot of land, nor the very 
house I builded, nor the ground I digged with my 
own hands, nor ever any content or satisfaction at 
all, and though I see ordinarily those two countries 
shared before me by them that neither have them, 
nor know them but by my descriptions." ^ 

' American Biography, Sparks, ii. 388. 


As long as the Tudor aristocracy ruled, Great 
Britain afforded small comfort for men like Smith. 
That aristocracy had genius neither for adventure 
nor for war, and few Western nations have a sorrier 
military history than England under the Stuarts. 
Yet beneath the inert mass of the nobility seethed 
an energy which was to recentralize the world ; and 
when capital had accumulated to a certain point, the 
men who gave it an outlet laid their grasp upon the 
State. In 1688 the commercial adventurers con- 
quered the kingdom. 

The change was radical ; at once social, political, 
and religious. The stronghold of the Tories had 
been the royal prerogative. The victors lodged the 
power of the Crown in a committee chosen by the 
House of Commons. The dogma of divine right im- 
mediately vanished, and with it all that distinguished 
Anglicanism. Though perverted by the Tudors, this 
great tenet of the Church of Henry VHI. had been 
at least a survival of an imaginative age ; and when 
the merchants swept it away, all trace of idealism 
departed. Thenceforward English civilization became 
a purely materialistic phenomenon. 

In proportion as movement accelerates societies 
consolidate, and as societies consolidate they pass 
through a profound intellectual change. Energy 
ceases to find vent through the imagination, and 
takes the form of capital ; hence as civilizations ad- 
vance, the imaginative temperament tends to dis- 
appear, while the economic instinct is fostered, and 
thus substantially new varieties of men come to pos- 
sess the world. 

Nothing so portentous overhangs humanity as this 


mysterious and relentless acceleration of movement, 
which changes methods of competition and alters 
paths of trade; for by it countless millions of men 
and women are foredoomed to happiness or misery, 
as certainly as the beasts and trees, which have 
flourished in the wilderness, are destined to vanish 
when the soil is subdued by man. 

The Romans amassed the treasure by which they 
administered their Empire, through the plunder and 
enslavement of the world. The Empire cemented 
by that treasure crumbled when adverse exchanges 
carried the bullion of Italy to the shore of the Bos- 
phorus. An accelerated movement among the semi- 
barbarians of the West caused the agony of the 
crusades, amidst which Constantinople fell as the 
Italian cities rose ; while Venice and Genoa, and with 
them the whole Arabic civilization, shrivelled, when 
Portugal established direct communication with Hin- 

The opening of the ocean as a highroad precipitated 
the Reformation, and built up Antwerp, while in the 
end it ruined Spain ; and finally the last great quicken- 
ing of the age of steam, which centralized the world 
at London, bathed the earth in blood, from the Mis- 
sissippi to the Ganges. Thus religions are preached 
and are forgotten, empires rise and fall, philosophies 
are born and die, art and poetry bloom and fade, as 
societies pass from the disintegration wherein the 
imagination kindles, to the consolidation whose press- 
ure ends in death. 

In 1688, when the momentum of England suddenly 
increased, the change was equivalent to the conquest 
of the island by a new race. Among the family of 


European nations, Great Britain rose as no people 
had risen since the Punic Wars. Almost instantly 
she entered on a career of conquest unparalleled in 
modern history. Of the hundred and twenty-five 
years between the Boyne and Waterloo, she passed 
some seventy in waging ferocious wars, from which 
she emerged victorious on land and sea, the mistress 
of a mighty empire, the owner of incalculable wealth, 
and the centre of the world's exchanges. Then, from 
this culminating point of expansion by conquest, she 
glided subtly, and almost imperceptibly, into the 
period of contraction, as Rome went before her under 
the Caesars. 

Although abundant metallic currency does not, 
probably, of itself, create mercantile prosperity, such 
prosperity is hardly compatible with a shrinking stock 
of money ; for when contraction sets in and prices 
fall, producers and debtors are ruined, as they were 
ruined in Italy under the later emperors. Toward 
the close of the seventeenth century Europe appeared 
to be on the brink of such a contraction, for though 
Peru had lavishly replenished the supply of the 
precious metals a hundred years previously, the drain 
to Asia and the increasing demands of (Commerce 
had been so considerable, that the standard coin had 
generally depreciated. From the reign of Augustus 
downward, commerce between Europe and Asia has 
usually favoured Asia, and this was particularly true 
of the seventeenth century, when the value of bullion 
fell in the West, and therefore encouraged lavish 
exports to the East, where it retained its purchasing 
power. According to Adam Smith, "the banks of 
Venice^ Genoa, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Nurem- 


berg, seem to have been all originally established " to 
provide an ideal currency for the settlement of bills 
of exchange, and the money ** of such banks, being 
better than the common currency of the country, neces- 
sarily bore an agio, which was greater or smaller, ac- 
cording as the currency was supposed to be more or 
less degraded below the standard of the State." * 
Smith estimated the depreciation at Hamburg at 
fourteen per cent, and at Amsterdam, early in the 
previous century, at nine per cent ; in short, all 
European countries suffered, but in England the evil 
reached a climax through the inertia of the new 

In England, silver had always been the standard, 
and by the third year of Elizabeth the coin had been 
restored to its proper fineness, which thenceforward 
was scrupulously maintained. But though the metal 
was not degraded by the government, the stock of 
bullion, if not constantly replenished from without, 
tended to diminish in proportion to the growth of 
the country and the export of specie to Asia. After 
the discovery of America, the value of silver in rela- 
tion to gold fell, in Europe, to about fourteen or fifteen 
to one, while in China or India it stood pretty steady 
at from ten to twelve to one. Consequently from 
1600 downward, silver remained the most profitable 
cargo which could be sent round the Cape of Good 
Hope, and, unhappily for British prosperity, at the 
very moment when the East India Company came 
into being, piracy ceased. The chief supply of bul- 
lion being thus cut off, the strain of the export trade 
fell upon the coin, and within a little more than a 

^ IVealih of Nations^ bk. iv. c. 3, pt. I. 


generation the effect become apparent in a degencfa- 
tion of the currency. 

To make good her position as a centre of exchanges, 
England had no choice but to supply her necessities 
by force. Cromwell understood the situation per- 
fectly, and had hardly assumed the office of Protector 
when he laid plans to cut the evil at the root by con- 
quering Spanish America, and robbing Spain of her 
mines. To this end he fitted out his great expedition 
against Saint Domingo, which was to serve him as his 
base ; but for once his military genius failed him, his 
commanders blundered, the attack miscarried, and 
the island of Jamaica was all that came of the cam- 

Meanwhile, however, that no time might be lost 
while fighting for the mines themselves, Cromwell 
sent Blake to intercept the treasure ships off the 
coast of Spain. At first Blake also had ill-luck. In 
165 s the plate fleet escaped him, but the next year, 
though forced himself to go to port for supplies, he 
detached Captain Stayner, with six sail, to cruise off 
Cadiz, and on September 19, General Montague 
was able to report that his " hart [was] very much 
warmed with the apprehension of the singular provi- 
dence of God," who had permitted Stayner to meet, 
"with the Kinge of Spain's West India fleete," and 
take among other prizes ** a gallion reported to have 
in her two million pieces of plate." * If the " plate " 
were Mexican " pieces of eight " at four shillings and 
sixpence, the cargo was worth ;t450,ocx), or consider- 
ably more than the whole annual export to the East 
at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Had 

> Thurloe'i SiaU Paptrs, v. 433, 434. 


the FroCector lived, there can be little doabt that, by 

v^m^ s-jch means as this, he would have fostered 
British resources, and maintained the int^jity of 
British coin; but in less than two years from the 
date of Montague's dispatch, Cromwell was dead, and 
the inertia of the Tory landlords paralyzed the nation 
for another generation. No foreigner was robbed, 
and the stock of domestic silver dwindled from year 
to year, until at the Revolution the golden guinea, 
which, from its first issue in 1662 down to the acces- 
sion of William and Mary, had been nominally cur- 
rent for twenty shillings, actually sold in the market 
for thirty shillings of the money in use. 

** This diminishing and counterfeiting the money was at 
this time so excessive, that what was good silver was worth 
scarcely one-half of its current value, whilst a great part of 
the coins was only iron, brass, or copper plated, and some 
no more than washed over." * 

One of the first acts of the new government was 
a complete recoinagc, which was finished in 1699; 
but the measure failed of its purpose, for the reason 
that the exports of silver regularly exceeded the im- 

In 1717, a committee of the House of Lords con- 
sidered the condition of the currency, and Lord Stan- 
hope then explained very lucidly the cause of the 
scarcity of silver. Among other papers he produced 
a report from the Custom House, by which it ap- 
peared that, in the year 171 7, "the East India Com- 
pany had exported near three million ounces of silver, 
which far exceeding the imports of the bullion in that 

' AmHats pf the C^iHogt of Britain^ Ruding, iii. 378. 


year, it necessarily followed that vast quantities of 
silver specie must have been melted down, both to 
make up the export, and to supply the silversmith/** 
For the decade from 1711 to 1720 the annual export 
of bullion by the East India Company averaged 
;t434,ocx).^ At the accession of George III., in 1760, 
Lord Liverpool estimated that shillings had lost one- 
sixth, and sixpences one-quarter of their original 
weight, while the crown-piece had almost wholly dis- 
appeared.* Even Adam Smith admitted that because 
of this outflow silver had risen in value, and probably 
purchased " a larger quantity both of labour and com- 
modities ** than it otherwise would.* 

In this emergency the British merchants showed 
the resource which has always been their characteris- 
tic, and, in default of an adequate supply of specie, 
relieved the strain upon their currency by issuing 
paper. Mediaeval banking had gone no further than 
the establishment of reserves of coin, to serve as a 
medium for clearing bills of exchange ; the English 
took the great step of accelerating the circulation of 
their money, by using this reserve as a basis for a 
paper currency which might be largely expanded. 
The Bank of England was incorporated in 1694, the 
Bank of Scotland in 1695, and the effect was un- 
questionably considerable. Adam Smith has thus 
described the impetus received by Glasgow : — 

" The effects of it have been precisely those above de- 
scribed. The business of the country is almost entirely 

1 Annals of tht Coinage^ Ruding, iii. 470. 

' Itwtitigations in Currency and Finante^ JcTont, 1 40. 

* Annals of the Coinage, Ruding, iv. 26. 

« IVealiM of Xationi, bk. it. c. t. 


carried on by means of the paper of those different banking 
companies, with which purchases and payments of all kinds 
are commonly made. Silver very seldom appears except 
in the change of a twenty shiUings bank note, and gold still 
seldomer. But though the conduct of all those different 
companies has not been unexceptionable . . . the country, 
notwithstanding, has evidently derived great benefit from 
their trade. I have heard it asserted, that the trade of the 
city of Glasgow doubled in about fifteen years after the first 
erection of the banks there ; and that the trade of Scotland 
has more than quadrupled since the first erection of the 
two public banks at Edinburgh." ' 

But although by this means a certain degree of 
relief was given, and though prices rose slowly 
throughout the first half of the eighteenth century, 
the fundamental difficulty remained. There was 
insufficient silver for export, exchanges were adverse, 
and that stock of coined money was lacking which is 
the form in which force clothes itself in highly cen- 
tralized communities. How England finally supplied 
her needs is one of the most dramatic pages of 

As Jevons has aptly observed, Asia is *' the great 
reser\oir and sink of the precious metals." From 
time immemorial the Oriental custom has been to 
hoard, and from the Mogul blazing with the dia- 
monds of Golconda, to the peasant starving on his 
wretched pittance, every Hindoo had, in former 
days, a treasure stored away against a day of trouble. 
Year by year, since Pizarro had murdered the Inca 
Atahualpa for his gold, a stream of bullion had 
flowed from America to Europe, and from Europe 

* ll'ealth of Nations, bk. ii. c. 2. 


to the East: there it had vanished as completely^ns 
though once more buried in the bowels of the mine. 
These hoards, the savings of millions of human beings 
for centuries, the English seized and took to London, 
as the Romans had taken the spoil of Greece and 
Pontus to Italy. What the value of the treasure was, 
no man can estimate, but it must have been many 
millions of pounds — a vast sum in proportion to the 
stock of the precious metals then owned by Euro- 
peans. Some faint idea of the booty of the con- 
queror may be drawn from Macaulay's description of 
the first visit of an English soldier to an Oriental 
treasure chamber : — 

" As to Clive, there was no limit to his acquisitions but his 
own moderation. The treasury of Bengal was thrown open 
to him. There were piled up, after the usage of Indian 
princes, immense masses of coin, among which might not 
seldom be detected the florins and byzants with which, 
before any European ship had turned the Cape of Good 
Hope, the Venetians purchased the stuffs and spices of the 
EasX. Clive walked between heaps of gold and silver, 
crowned with rubies and diamonds, and was at liberty to 
help himself." * 

The lives of few men are better known than those 
of Clive and Hastings, and yet there are few whose 
influence upon the fate of mankind has had such 
scant appreciation. It is not too much to say that 
the destiny of Europe hinged upon the conquest of 
Bengal. Robert Clive was of the same stock as 
Drake and Hawkins, Raleigh, Blake, and Cromwell ; 
he was the eldest son of one of those small farmers 
whose ancestors had held their land ever since the 

« Lort/ Clivi. 


Conquest, and who, when at last evicted and driven 
out to sea, had fought and conquered on every con- 
tinent and on every ocean. Among the throng of 
great Knglish adventurers none is greater than he. 

He was born in 172$, and from childhood dis- 
played those qualities which made him pre-eminent 
on the field of battle ; fighting was his delight, and 
so fierce was his temper that his family could not 
control him. At last, when eighteen, hb father 
gladly sent him to Madras as a clerk in the service 
of the Kast India Company; and there, in a torrid 
climate which shattered his health, poor and neg- 
lected, lonely and forlorn, he pined, until in mel- 
ancholy he twice attempted suicide. But he was 
destined to found an empire, and at last his hour 

When Clive went to India, the Company was still 
a purely commercial concern, holding only the land 
needed for its warehouses, and having in their pay a 
few ill-disciplined sepoys. In the year 1746, when 
Clive was twenty-one, the war of the Austrian Suc- 
cession was raging, and suddenly a French fleet, 
commanded by Labourdonnais, appeared off Madras, 
and attacked Fort Saint George. Resistance was 
hopeless, the place surrendered, and the governor 
and chief inhabitants were taken to Pondicherry. 
Clive, however, managed to escape, and, volunteer- 
ing, received an ensign's commission, and began his 
militarv career. 

Shortly after, peace was made in Europe, but in 
India the issue of the struggle lay undecided between 
the French and English, the prize being the penin- 
sula. Duplei.x, the French governor of Pondicherry, 


was a man of commanding intellect, who first saw 
the possibility of constructing a European empire in 
Hindostan by controlling native princes. Following 
up his idea, he mixed in a war of succession, and 
having succeeded in establishing a sovereign of the 
Deccan, he made himself master of Southern India. 
The Nizam's treasure was thrown open to him, and 
beside many jewels of price, he is said to have ap- 
propriated two hundred thousand pounds in coin. 
This was the man whom Clive, when only a clerk of 
twenty-five, without military education or experience, 
attacked and overthrew. 

Clive began his campaigns by the capture and 
defence of Arcot, one of the most daring deeds of a 
generation given over to perpetyal war. Aided by 
their native allies, the French had laid siege to 
Trichinopoly, and Clive represented to his superiors 
that with the fate of Trichinopoly was bound up 
the fate of the whole peninsula. He recommended 
making a diversion by assaulting Arcot, the capital 
of the Carnatic ; his plan met with approval, and, 
with two hundred Europeans and three hundred 
sepoys, he marched to fight the greatest power in 
the East. He succeeded in surprising and occupy- 
ing the town without loss, but when within the city 
his real peril began. Arcot had neither ditches nor 
defensible ramparts, the English were short of pro- 
visions, and the Nabob hurried forward ten thousand 
men to relieve his capital. With four officers, one 
hundred and twenty British, and two hundred sepoys, 
Clive held the town for fifty days, and when the 
enemy assaulted for the last time he served his own 
guns. He won a decisive victory, and from that 


hour was recognized as among the most brilliant 
officers of the world. 

Other campaigns followed, but his health, under- 
mined by the tropics, gave way, and at twenty-seven 
he returned home to squander his money and con- 
test an election to Parliament. He soon reached the 
end of his resources, and, just before the opening 
of the Seven Years' War, he accepted a lieutenant- 
colonel's commission, and set sail to take command in 
Hindostan. The Company appointed him governor 
of Fort Saint David, a settlement hear Madras ; but 
he had hardly assumed his office before an event 
occurred which caused the conquest of Bengal. The 
Nabob of Bengal captured Calcutta, and imprisoned 
one hundred and forty-six of the English residents in 
the " Black Hole," where, in a single night, one hun- 
dred and twenty-three perished. 

Clive was summoned, and acted with his usual 
vigour. He routed the Nabob's army, recovered 
Calcutta, and would have taken vengeance at once 
had not the civilians, who wanted to be restored to 
their places, interfered. 

Long and tortuous negotiations followed, in which 
Clive displayed more than Oriental cunning and du- 
plicity, ending in a march into the interior and the 
battle of Plassey. There, with one thousand English 
and two thousand sepoys, he met and crushed the 
army of the Nabob, sixty thousand strong. On June 
23i I757i one of the richest provinces of Asia lay 
before him defenceless, ripe for plunder. Eight hun- 
dred thousand pounds were sent down the Hooghly 
to Calcutta, in one shipment ; Clive himself took be- 
tween two and three hundred thousand pounds. 


Like Drake and Hawkins, Clive had done great 
things for England, but he was a military adventurer, 
one of the class in whom the aristocracy recognized 
an enemy ; and though in London he was treated 
with outward respect, and even given an Irish peer- 
age, the landed interest hated him, and tried to de- 
stroy him, as in the next generation it tried to destroy 

Upon the plundering of India there can be no 
better authority than Macaulay, who held high office 
at Calcutta when the administration of Hastings was 
still remembered ; and who less than any of the 
writers who have followed him, was a mouth-piece of 
the official class.^ He has told how after Plassey 
"the shower of wealth" began to fall, and he has 
described Clive's own gains : " We may safely 
affirm that no Englishman who started with nothing 
has ever, in any line of life, created such a fortune 
at the early age of thirty-four."^ But the takings of 
Clive, either for himself or for the government, were 
trifling compared to the wholesale robbery and spolia- 
tion which followed his departure, when Bengal was 
surrendered a helpless prey to a myriad of greedy 
officials. These officials were absolute, irresponsible, 
and rapacious, and they emptied the private hoards. 
Their only thought was to wring some hundreds of 
thousands of pounds out of the natives as quickly as 
possible, and hurry home to display their wealth. 

' Macaulay *t essays have been the subject of much recent advefie 
crittctsni; but, in regard to the plundering of Ilindostan, nothing of 
consequence has been brought forward against him. .\U recent his« 
torical work relating to India must be taken with suspicion The 
whole official influence has been turned to distorting evidence in order 
to make a case for the government. * l^rd Clive. 


" Elnormous fortunes were thus rapidly accumulated at 
Calcutta, while thirty millions of human beings were re- 
duced to the extremity of wretchedness." "The misgov- 
emroent of the English was carried to a point such as seems 
hardly compatible with the very existence of society. The 
Roman proconsul, who, in a year or two, squeezed out of 
a pronnce the means of rearing marble palaces and baths 
on the shores of Campania, of drinking from amber, of 
feasting on singing birds, of exhibiting armies of gladiators 
and flocks of camelopards ; the Spanish viceroy, who, leav- 
ing behind him the curses of Mexico or Lima, entered 
Madrid with a long train of gilded coaches, and of sumpter- 
horses trapped and shod with silver, were now outdone." * 

Thus treasure in oceans flowed into England 
through private hands, but in India the affairs of 
the Company went from bad to worse. Misgovern- 
ment impoverished the people, the savings of long 
years of toil were exhausted, and when, in 1770, a 
drought brought famine, the resources of the people 
failed, and they perished by millions : " the very 
streets of Calcutta were blocked up by the dying and 
the dead." Then came an outbreak of wrath from 
disappointed stockholders ; the landed interest seized 
its opportunity to attack Clive in Parliament ; and 
the merchants chose Hastings to develop the re- 
sources of Hindostan. 

As Sheridan said, the Company " extended the sor- 
did principles of their origin over all their successive 
operations; connecting with their civil policy, and 
even with their boldest achievements, the meanness 
of a pedlar and the profligacy of pirates." In Hast- 
ings the Company found a man fitted to their hands, 

* Lord Clive, 


a statesman worthy to organize a vast empire on an 
economic basis. Able, bold, cool, and relentless, he 
grasped the situation at a glance, and never faltered 
in his purpose. If more treasure was to be wrung 
from the natives, force had to be used systematically. 
Though Bengal might be ruined, the hoards of the 
neighbouring potentates remained safe, and these 
Hastings deliberately set himself to drain. Macaulay 
has explained the policy and the motives which actu- 
ated him : — 

"The object of his diplomacy was at this time simply 
to get money. The finances of his government were in an 
embarrassed state, and this embarrassment he was deter- 
mined to relieve by some means, fair or foul. The princi- 
ple which directed all his dealings with his neighbours is 
fully expressed by the old motto of one of the great preda- 
tory families of Teviotdale, ' Thou shalt want ere I want* 
He seems to have laid it down, as a fundamental proposi- 
tion which could not be disputed, that, when he had not as 
many lacs of rupees as the public service required, he was 
to take them from anybody who had. One thing, indeed, 
is to be said in excuse for him. The pressure applied to 
him by his employers at home, was such as only the highest 
virtue could have withstood, such as left him no choice ex- 
cept to commit great wrongs, or to resign his high post, and 
with that post all his hopes of fortune and distinction." ' 

How he obtained his money, the pledges he vio- 
lated, and the blood he spilt, is known as few pas- 
sages of history are known, for the story has been 
told by Macaulay and by Burke. How he robbed 
the Nabob of Bengal of half the income the Company 
had solemnly promised to pay, how he repudiated 

* IVarren Hastingi. 


the revenue which the government had covenanted 
to yield to the Mogul as a tribute for provinces ceded 
them, and how, in consideration of four hundred 
thousand pounds, he sent a brigade to slaughter the 
Rohillas, and placidly saw "their villages burned, 
their children butchered, and their women violated," 
has been described in one of the most popular essays 
in the language. At Hastings' impeachment, the 
heaviest charge against him was that based on his 
conduct toward the princesses of Oude, whom his 
creature, Asaph-uI-Dowlah, imprisoned and starved, 
whose servants he tormented, and from whom he 
wrung at last twelve hundred thousand pounds, as the 
price of blood. By these acts, and acts such as these, 
the treasure which had flowed to Europe through 
the extermination of the Peruvians, was returned 
again to England from the hoards of conquered 



In discussing the phenomena of the highly cen- 
tralized society in which he lived, Mill defined capital 
"as the accumulated stock of human labour." In 
other words, capital may be considered as stored 
energy ; but most of this energy flows in fixed chan- 
nels, money alone is capable of being transmuted 
immediately into any form of activity. Therefore the 
influx of the Indian treasure, by adding considerably 
to the nation's cash capital, not only increased its 
stock of energy, but added much to its flexibility and 
the rapidity of its movement. 

Very soon after Plassey the Bengal plunder ^gan 
to arrive in London, and the effect appears to have 
been instantaneous, for all authorities agree that the 
"industrial revolution," the event which has divided 
the nineteenth century from all antecedent time, 
began with the year 1760. Prior to 1760, according 
to Baines, the machinery used for spinning cotton 
in Lancashire was almost as simple as in India ; ^ 
while about 1750 the English iron industry was in 
full decline because of the destruction of the forests 
for fuel. At that time four-fifths of the iron in use 
in the kingdom came from Sweden. 

Plassey was fought in 1757, and probably nothing 

' History of the Cotton Afanm/aftMrtt 11$. 


has ever equalled the rapidity of the change which 
followed. In 1760 the flying-shuttle appeared, and 
coal began to replace wood in smelting. In 1764 
Hargreaves invented the spinning-jenny, in 1779 
Crompton contrived the mule, in 1785 Cartwright 
patented the power-loom, and, chief of all, in 1768 
Watt matured the steam-engine, the most perfect of 
all vents of centralizing energy. But though these 
machines ser\'ed as outlets for the accelerating move- 
ment of the time, they did not cause that acceleration. 
In themselves inventions are passive, many of the 
most important having lain dormant for centuries, 
waiting for a sufficient store of force to have ac- 
cumulated to set them working. That store must 
always take the shape of money, and money not 
hoarded, but in motion. 

Thus printing had been known for ages in China 
before it came to Europe ; the Romans probably were 
acquainted with gunpowder ; revolvers and breech- 
loading cannon existed in the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries, and steam had been experimented upon 
long before the birth of Watt. The least part of 
Watt's labour lay in conceiving his idea; he consumed 
his life in marketing it. Before the influx of the Indian 
treasure, and the expansion of credit which followed, 
no force sufficient for this purpose existed; and had 
Watt lived fifty years earlier, he and his invention 
must have perished together. Considering the diffi- 
culties under which Matthew Boulton, the ablest and 
most energetic manufacturer of his time, nearly suc- 
cumbed, no one can doubt that without Boulton's 
works at Birmingham the engine could not have been 
produced, and yet before 1760 such works could not 


have been organized. The factory system was the 
child of the " industrial revolution/* and until capital 
had accumulated in masses capable of giving solidity 
to large bodies of labour, manufactures were neces- 
sarily carried on by scattered individuals, who com- 
bined a handicraft with agriculture. Defoe's charming 
description of Halifax about the time Boulton learned 
his trade, is well known : — 

" The nearer wc came to Halifax, wc found the houses 
thicker, and the villages greater, in every bottom ; ... for 
the land being divided into small enclosures, from two acres 
to six or seven each, seldom more, every three or four pieces 
of land had an house belonging to them. 

" In short, after we had mounted the third hill, we found 
the country one continued village, tho' every way moun- 
tainous, hardly an house standing out of a speaking distance 
from another ; and, as the day cleared up, we could see at 
every house a tenter, and on almost every tenter a piece of 
cloth, kersie, or shalloon ; which are the three articles of this 
countries labour. . . . 

** This place then seems to have been designed by provi- 
dence for the very purposes to which it is now allotted. . . . 
Nor is the industry of the people wanting to second these 
advantages. Tho' we met few people without doors, yet 
within we saw the houses full of lusty fellows, some at the 
dye vat, some at the loom, others dressing the cloths ; the 
women and children carding, or spinning ; all employed from 
the youngest to the oldest ; scarce anything above four years 
old, but its hands were sufficient for its own support. Not a 
beggar to be seen, nor an idle person, except here and there 
in an alms-house, built for those that are antient, and past 
working. The people in general live long ; they enjoy a 
good air ; and under such circumstances hard labour is nat- 
urally attended with the blessing of health, if not riches. " ' 

^ A T9ur Thro' the whUe Iiland of Crtat Britain, ed. 1 753, iiu 


To the capitalist, then, rather than to the inventor, 
civilization owes the steam engine as a part of daily 
life, and Matthew Houlton was one of the most re> 
markahle of the race of producers whose reign lasted 
down to Waterloo. As far back as tradition runs 
the Boultons appear to have been Northamptonshire 
farmers, but Matthew's grandfather met with mis- 
fortunes under William, and sent his son to Birming- 
ham to seek his fortune in trade. There the adventurer 
established himself as a silver stamper, and there, in 
1 72S, Matthew was born. Young Boulton early showed 
both energy and ingenuity, and on coming of age 
became his father's partner, thenceforward managing 
the business. In 1759, two years after the conquest 
of Bengal, the father died, and Matthew, having 
married in 1760, might have retired on his wife's 
property, but he chose rather to plunge more deeply 
into trade. E.xtending his works, he built the famous 
shops at Soho, which he finished in 1762 at an outlay 
of ;£20,ooo, a debt which probably clung to him to 
the end of his life. 

Boulton formed his partnership with Watt in 1774, 
and then began to manufacture the steam-engine, but 
he met with formidable difficulties. Before the sales 
yielded any return, the outlay reduced him to the 
brink of insolvency; nor did he achieve success until 
he had exhausted his own and his friends' resources. 

" He mortgaged his lands to the last farthing ; borrowed 
from his personal friends ; raised money by annuities ; ob- 
tained advances from bankers ; and had invested upwards 
of forty thousand pounds in the enterprise before it began 
to pay.*' * 

^ Livrs of BouUon and IVatt, Smiles, 484. 


Agriculture, as well as industry, felt the impulsion 
of the new force. Arthur Young remarked in 1770, 
that within ten years there had been " more experi- 
ments, more discoveries, and more general good 
sense displayed in the walk of agriculture than in an 
hundred preceding ones " ; and the reason why such 
a movement should have occurred seems obvious. 
After 1760 a complex system of credit sprang up, 
based on a metallic treasure, and those who could 
borrow had the means at their disposal of importing 
breeds of cattle, and of improving tillage, as well as 
of organizing factories like Soho. The effect was to 
cause rapid centralization. The spread of high farm- 
ing certainly raised the value of land, but it also made 
the position of the yeomanry untenable, and nothing 
better reveals the magnitude of the social revolution 
wrought by Plassey, than the manner in which the 
wastes were enclosed after the middle of the century. 
Between 1710 and 1760 only 335,000 acres of the 
commons were absorbed; between 1760 and 1843, 
nearly 7,000,000. In eighty years the yeomanry be- 
came extinct. Many of these small farmers migrated 
to the towns, where the stronger, like the ancestor 
of Sir Robert Peel, accumulated wealth in industry, 
the weaker sinking into factory hands. Those who 
lingered on the land, toiled as day labourers. 

Possibly since the world began, no investment has 
ever yielded the profit reaped from the Indian plun- 
der, because for nearly fifty years Great Britain stood 
without a competitor. That she should have so long 
enjoyed a monopoly seems at first mysterious, but 
perhaps the condition of the Continent may suggest 
an explanation. Since Italy had been ruined by the 


loss of the Eastern trade, she had ceased to breed the 
economic mind ; consequently no class of her popu- 
lation could suddenly and violently accelerate their 
movements. In Spain the priest and soldier had so 
thoroughly exterminated the sceptic, that far from 
centralizing during the seventeenth century, as Eng- 
land and France had done, her empire was in full 
decline at the revolution of 1688. In France some- 
thing similar had happened, though in a much less 
degree. After a struggle of a century and a half, 
the Church so far prevailed in 1685 as to secure the 
revocation of the Edict of Nantes. At the revoca- 
tion many Huguenots went into exile, and thus no 
small proportion of the economic class, who should 
have pressed England hardest, were driven across 
the Channel, to add their energy to the energy of 
the natives. Germany lacked capital. Hemmed in 
by enemies, and without a seacoast, she had been 
at a disadvantage in predatory warfare ; accordingly 
she did not accumulate money, and failed to con- 
solidate until, in 1870, she extorted a treasure from 
France. Thus, in 1760, Holland alone remained as 
a competitor, rich, maritime, and peopled by Protes- 
tants. But Holland lacked the mass possessed by 
her great antagonist, beside being without minerals; 
and accordingly, far from accelerating her progress, 
she proved unable to maintain her relative rate of 

Thus isolated, and favoured by mines of coal and 
iron, England not only commanded the European and 
American markets, at a time when production was 
strained to the utmost by war, but even undersold 
Hindoo labour at Calcutta. In some imperfect way 


her grains may bo estimated by the growth of her 
debt, which must represent savings. In 1756, when 
Clivc went to India, the nation owed ;{^74, 575,000, on 
which it paid an interest of ^2,753,000. In 181 5 
this debt had swelled to ;£86 1,000,000, with an 
annual interest charge of ^32,645,000. In 1761 
the Duke of Bridgewater finished the first of the 
canals which were afterward to form an inland 
water-way costing ;{^ 50,000,000, or more than two- 
thirds of the amount of the public debt at the out- 
break of the Seven Years' War. Meanwhile, also, 
steam had been introduced, factories built, turnpikes 
improved, and bridges erected, and all this had been 
done through a system of credit extending throughout 
the land. Credit is the chosen vehicle of energy in 
centralized societies, and no sooner had treasure 
enough accumulated in London to offer it a founda- 
tion, than it .shot up with marvellous rapidity. 

From 1694 to Plassey, the growth had been rela- 
tively slow. For more than sixty years after the 
foundation of the Hank of England, its smallest 
note had been for jC20, a note too large to cir- 
culate freely, and which rarely travelled far from 
Lombard Street. Writing in 1790, Burke mentioned 
that when he came to England in 1750 there were 
not "twelve bankers' shops" in the provinces, though 
then, he .said, they were in every market town.* Thus 
the arrival of the Bengal silver not only increased the 
mass of money, but .stimulated its movement ; for at 
once, in 1759, the bank issued jCio and ^15 notes, 
and, in the country, private firms poured forth a flood 
of paper. At the outbreak of the Napoleonic wars, 

* fin/ Letter on a Regicide Peace, 


there were not far from four hundred provincial 
houses, many of more than doubtful solvency. 
Macleod, who usually does not exaggerate such mat- 
ters, has said, that grocers, tailors, and drapers inun- 
dated the country with their miserable rags.^ 

The cause of this inferiority of the country bankers 
was the avarice of the Bank of England, which pre- 
vented the formation of joint stock companies, who 
might act as competitors; and, as the period was 
one of great industrial and commercial expansion, 
when the adventurous and producing classes con- 
trolled society, enough currency of some kind was 
kept in circulation to prevent the prices of com- 
modities from depreciating relatively to coin. The 
purchasing power of a currency is, other things being 
equal, in proportion to its quantity. Or, to put the 
proposition in the words of Locke, ''the value of 
money, in general, is the quantity of all the money 
in the world in proportion to all the trade.*** At 
the close of the eighteenth century, many causes 
combined to make money plentiful, and therefore to 
cheapen it. Not only was the stock of bullion in 
England increased by importations from India, but, 
for nearly a generation, exports of silver to Asia fell 
oflF. From an average of ^6cx),ooo annually between 
1740 and 1760, the shipments of specie by the East 
India Company fell to ^97,500 between 1760 and 
1780; nor did they rise to their old level until after 
the close of the administration of Hastings, when 
trade returned to normal channels. After 1800 the 
stream gathered volume, and between 18 10 and 1820 

* Theory and Practite of Bankings i. 507. 

* Comideraiions of the Lewering of Interests, fVorks, ed. 1823, t. 49. 


the yearly consignment amounted to X2.^, or 
to nearly one-half of the precious metals yielded by 
the mines. 

F*rom the crusades to Waterloo, the producers 
dominated Europe, the money-lenders often faring 
hardly, as is proved by the treatment of the Jews. 
From the highest to the lowest, all had wares to 
sell ; the farmer his crop, the weaver his cloth, the 
grocer his goods, and all were interested in maintain- 
ing the value of their relatively to coin, 
for they lost when selling on a falling market. By 
degrees, as competition shar|)ened after the Refor- 
mation, a type was developed which, perhaps, may 
be called the merchant adventurer ; men like Child 
and Houlton, bold, energetic, audacious. Gradually 
energy vented itself more and more freely through 
these merchants, until they became the ruling power 
in England, their government lasting from 1688 to 
1815. At length they fell through the very brilliancy 
of their genius. The wealth they amassed so rapidly, 
accumulated, until it prevailed over all other forms 
of force, and by so doing raised another variety of 
man to power. These last were the modern bankers. 

With the advent of the bankers, a profound change 
came over civilization, for contraction began. Self- 
interest had from the outset taught the producer that, 
to prosper, he should deal in wares which tended 
rather to rise than fall in value, relatively to coin. 
The opposite instinct possessed the usurer ; he found 
that he grew rich when money appreciated, or when 
the borrower had to part with more pro|)erty to pay 
his debt when it fell due, than the cash lent him 
would have bought on the day the obligation was 



contracted As, toward the close of the eighteenth 
century, the g^eat hoards of London passed into the 
possession of men of the latter type, the third and 
roost redoubtable variety of the economic intellect 
arose to prominence, a variety of which perhaps 
the most conspicuous example is the family of 

In one of the mean and dirty houses of the Jewish 
quarter of Frankfort, Mayer Anaschel was bom in 
the year 1743. The house was numbered 152 in the 
Judengasse, but was better known as the house of 
the Red Shield, and gave its name to the Amschel • i 

family. Mayer was educated by his parents for a 
rabbi; but, judging himself better fitted for finance, \ 

he entered the service of a Hanoverian banker ', 

named Oppenheim, and remained with him until he 
had saved enough to set up for himself. Then for 
some years he dealt in old coins, curiosities and bul- 
lion, married in 1770, returned to Frankfort, estab- 
lished himself in the house of the Red Shield, and 
rapidly advanced toward opulence. Soon after he gave 
up his trade in curiosities, confining himself to bank- 
ing, and his great step in life was made when he be- 
came " Court Jew " to the Landgrave of Hesse. By 
1804 he was already so prosperous that he contracted 
with the Danish Government for a loan of four mil- 
lions of thalers. 

Mayer had five sons, to whom he left his business 
and his wealth. In 18 12 he died, and, as he lay 
upon his death-bed, his last words were, " You will 
soon be rich among the richest, and the world will 
belong to you.** ^ His prophecy came true. These ' 

^ TJU RotkschiUs^ Reeves, 51. 


five sons conceived and executed an original and dar- 
ing scheme. While the eldest remained at Frankfort, 
and conducted the parent house, the four others mi- 
grated to four different capitals, Naples, Vienna, Paris, 
and London, and, acting continually in consort, they 
succeeded in obtaining a control over the money 
market of Europe, as unprecedented as it was lucra- 
tive to themselves. 

Of the five brothers, the third, Nathan, had com- 
manding ability. In 1798 he settled in London, 
married in 1806 the daughter of one of the wealthi- 
est of the English Jews, and by 181 5 had become the 
despot of the Stock Exchange ; " peers and princes 
of the blood sat at his table, clergymen and laymen 
bowed before him." He had no tastes, either liter- 
ary, social, or artistic ; " in his manners and address 
he seemed to delight in displaying his thorough dis- 
regard of all the courtesies and amenities of civilized 
life ** ; and when asked about the future of his chil- 
dren he said, " I wish them to give mind, soul, and 
heart, and body — everything to business. That is 
the way to be happy." * Extremely ostentatious, 
though without delicacy or appreciation, ** his man- 
sions were crowded with works of art, and the most 
gorgeous appointments." His benevolence was capri- 
cious ; to quote his own words, ** Sometimes to amuse 
myself I give a beggar a guinea. He thinks it is a 
mistake, and for fear I shall find it out off he runs as 
hard as he can. I advise you to give a beggar a 
guinea sometimes. It is very amusing."* 

Though an astonishingly bold and unscrupulous 
speculator, Nathan probably won his chief successes 

> Tkt RotkschilJs, Reeiret, 193, 199. ' /^iV., 20a 


by skill in lending, and, in this branch of financier- 
ing, he was favoured by the times in which he lived. 
During the long wars Europe plunged into debt, con- 
tracting loans in depreciated paper, or in coin which 
was unprecedentedly cheap because of the abundance 
of the precious metals. 

In the year 1809, prices reached the greatest altitude 
they ever attained in modern, or even, perhaps, in all 
history. There is something marvellously impressive 
in this moment of time, as the world stood poised upon 
the brink of a new era. To the contemporary eye 
Napoleon had reached his zenith. Everywhere vic- 
torious, he had defeated the English in Spain, and 
forced the army of Moore to embark at Corunna; 
while at Wagram he had brought Austria to the dust. 
He seemed about to rival Caesar, and establish a mili- 
tary empire which should consolidate the nations of 
the mainland of Europe. Yet in reality one of those 
vast and subtle changes was impending, which, by 
modifying the conditions under which men compete, 
alter the complexion of civilizations, and which has 
led in the course of the nineteenth century to the 
decisive rejection of the martial and imaginative 

In April 18 10 Bolivar obtained control at Caracas, 
and, with the outbreak of the South American revolu- 
tions, the gigantic but imaginative empire of Spain 
passed into the acute stage of disintegration. On 
December 19 of the same year, the Emperor Alexander 
opened the ports of Russia to neutral trade. By so 
doing Alexander repudiated the " continental system " 
of Napoleon, made a breach with him inevitable, and 
thus brought on the campaign of Moscow, the destruc- 


tion of the Grand Army, and the close of French 
military triumphs on the hill of Waterloo. From the 
year 18 10, nature has favoured the usurious mind, 
even as she favoured it in Rome, from the death of 

Moreover, both in ancient and modern life, the first 
symptom of this profound economic and intellectual 
revolution was identical. Tacitus has described the 
panic which was the immediate forerunner of the 
rise of the precious metals in the first century ; and 
in 1810 a similar panic occurred in London, when 
prices suddenly fell fifteen per cent,^ and when the 
most famous magnate of the Stock Exchange was 
ruined and killed. The great houses of Baring and 
of Goldsmid had undertaken the negotiation of a 
government loan of jC 14,000,000. To the surprise 
of these eminent financiers values slowly receded, 
and, in September, the death of Sir Francis Baring 
precipitated a crisis ; Abraham Goldsmid, reduced to 
insolvency, in despair committed suicide ; the acutest 
intellects rose instantaneously upon the corpses of the 
weaker, and the Rothschilds remained the dictators 
of the markets of the world. From that day to this 
the slow contraction has continued, with only the 
break of little more than twenty years, when the gold 
of California and Australia came in an overwhelming 
flood; and, from that day to this, the same series 
of phenomena have succeeded one another, which 
eighteen hundred years ago marked the emasculation 
of Rome. 

> Wherever reference is made to comparative prices of commodities, 
the authority used has been the tables published by W. S. Jevons in 
ImvesiigttH^ns in Currency and Finance, 144. 


At the peace, many causes converged to make 
specie rise ; the exports of bullion to the East nearly 
doubled ; America grew vigorously, and mining was 
interrupted by the revolt of the Spanish colonies: 
Yet favourable as the position of the creditor class 
might be, it could be improved by legislation, and 
probably no financial policy has ever been so ably 
conceived, or so adroitly executed, as that master- 
piece of state-craft which gave Lombard Street con- 
trol of the currency of Great Britain. 

Under the reign of the producers, values had gen- 
erally been equalized by cheapening the currency 
when prices fell. In the fourteenth, fifteenth, and 
sixteenth centuries, the penny had been systematically 
degraded, to keep pace with the growing dearth of 
silver. When the flood of the Peruvian bullion had 
reached its height in 1561, the currency reg^ained its 
fineness ; but in 1601 the penny lost another half- 
grain of weight, and, though not again adulterated at 
the mint, the whole coinage suffered so severely from 
hard usage that, under the Stuarts, it fell to about 
two-thirds of its nominal value. A re-coinage took 
place under William, but then paper came in to give 
relief, and the money in circulation continued to de- 
generate, as there was no provision for the with- 
drawal of light pieces. By 1774, the loss upon even 
the guinea had become so great that Parliament in- 
tervened, and Lord North recommended "that all the 
deficient gold coin should be called in, and re-coined " 
and also that the " currency of the gold coin should, 
in future, be regulated by weight as well as by tale 
. . . and that the several pieces should not be legal 
tender, if they were diminished, by wearing or other- 


wise, below a certain weight, to be determined by 
proclamation." * 

By such means as this, the integrity of the metallic 
money was at length secured ; but the emission of 
paper remained unlimited, and in 1797 even the Bank 
of England suspended cash payments. Then prices 
advanced as they had never advanced before, and, 
during the first ten years of the nineteenth century, 
the commercial adventurers reached their meridian. 
From 1 8 10 they declined in power; but for several 
preceding generations they had formed a true aris- 
tocracy, shaping the laws and customs of their coun- 
try. They needed an abundant currency, and they 
obtained it through the Bank. On their side the 
directors recognized this duty to be their chief func- 
tion, and laid it down as a principle that all legiti- 
mate commercial paper should always be discounted. 
If interest rose, the rise proved a dearth of money, 
and they relieved that dearth with notes. 

Lord Overstone has thus explained the system of 
banking which was accepted, without question, until 
1810: '' A supposed obligation to meet the real wants 
of commerce, and to discount all commercial bills 
arising out of legitimate transactions, appears to have 
been considered as the principle upon which the 
amount of the circulation was to be regulated."* 
And yet, strangely enough, even the adversaries of 
this system admitted that it worked well. A man as 
fixed in his opinions as Tooke, could not contain his 
astonishment that *' under the guidance of maxims 
and principles so unsound and of such apparently 

* Aftnais »/ ihe Coinage^ Ruding, iv. 37. 

* (hftrstOHt TracUt 49. 

32S aviuzATiOsr axd iwcat 

roischievotis tendency, as those professed by the gaw- 
emors and some of the directors of the Bank m i8io^ 
such moderation and . . . such rq^larity of issue 
should, under chances and changes in politics and 
trade, unprecedented in violence and extent, have 
been preserved, as that a spontaneous readjustment 
between the value of the gold and the paper should 
have taken place, as it did, without any reduction <^ 
their circulation." * 

With such a system the currency tended to fall 
rather than to rise in value, in comparison with com- 
modities, and for this reason the owners of the great 
hoards were at a disadvantage. What powerful 
usurers, like Rothschild, wanted, was a leg^l tender 
fixed in quantity, which, being unable to expand to 
meet an increased demand, would rise in price. 
Moreover, they needed a circulating medium suffi- 
ciently compact to be controlled by a comparatively 
small number of capitalists, who would thus, under 
favourable conditions, hold the whole debtor com- 
munity at their mercy. 

If the year 1810 be taken as the point at which 
the energy stored in accumulations of money began 
to predominate in England, the revolution which 
ended in the overthrow of the producers, advanced, 
with hardly a check, to its completion by the " Bank 
Act" of 1844. The first symptom of approaching 
change was the famous "Bullion Committee," ap- 
pointed on the motion of Francis Homer in 18 10. 
This report is mo^t interesting, for it marks an epoch, 
and in it the struggle for supremacy between the 
lender and the borrower is brought out in full relief. 

> /fiiUry •/ Prices, i. 158. 


To the producer, the commodity was the measure of 
value ; to the banker, coin. The producer sought a 
currency which should retain a certain ratio to all 
commodities, of which gold was but one. The 
banker insisted on making a fi.xed weight of the 
metal he controlled, the standard from which there 
was no appeal. 

A distinguished merchant, named Chambers, in 
his evidence before the Committee, put the issue in a 
nutshell : — 

Q, " At the Mint price of standard gold in this country, 
how much gold does a Bank of England note for one pound 
represent ? 

A. " 5 dwts. 3 grs. 

Q. ** At the present market price of standard gold of 
jC4 1 2. per ounce, how much gold do you get for a Bank 
of England note for one pound ? 

A. " 4 dwts. 8 grs. 

Q. " Do you consider that a Bank of England note for 
one pound, under these present circucnstances, is exchange- 
able in gold for what it represents of that metal ? 

A. " I do not conceive gold to be a fairer standard for 
Bank of England notes than indigo or broadcloth." 

Although the bankers controlled the " Bullion Com- 
mittee," the mercantile interest still maintained itself 
in Parliament, and the resolutions proposed by the 
chairman in his report were rejected in the Commons 
by a majority of about two to one. The tide, how- 
ever, had turned, and perhaps the best index of the 
moment at which the balance of power shifted, may 
be the course of Peel. Of all the public men of his 
generation, Peel had the surest instinct for the strong- 
est force. Rarely, if ever, did this instinct fail him, 




and after 18 12 his intuition led him to separate from 
his father; as, later in life, it led him to desert his 
party in the crisis of 1845. The first Sir Robert 
Peel, the great manufacturer, who made the fortune 
of the family, had the producer's instinct and utterly 
opposed contraction. In 181 1 he voted against 
the report of the Bullion Committee, and then his 
son voted with him. After 1816, however, the 
younger Peel became the spokesman of Lombard 
Street, and the story is told that when the bill pro- 
viding for cash payments passed in July, 18 19, the 
old man, after listening to his son's great speech, 
said with bitterness : " Robert has doubled his fort- 
une, but ruined his country." ^ 

Probably Waterloo marked the opening of the new 
era, for after Waterloo the bankers met with no 
serious defeat. At first they hardly encountered 
opposition. They began by discarding silver. In 
18 1 7 the government made 123-^^ grs. of gold the 
unit of value, the coin representing this weight of ! 

metal ceasing to be a legal tender when deficient by i 

about half a grain. The standard having thus been ! 

determined, it remained to enforce it. By this time ; 

Peel had been chosen by the creditor class as their 
mouthpiece, and in 1819 he introduced a bill to pro- 
vide for cash payments. He found little resistance 
to his measure, and proposed 1823 as the time for 
the return ; as it happened, the date was anticipated, 
and notes were redeemed in gold from May i, 1821. 
As far as the coinage was concerned, this legislation 
completed the work, but the task of limiting discounts 
remained untouched, a task of even more importance, 

^ Paiiiifa/ Lifi •/ Sir Rp^rt Ptii, Doubledmy, L 218, note. 



for, as long as the Bank continued discounting bills, 
and thus emitting an unlimited quantity of notes 
whenever the rate of interest rose, debtors not only 
might always be able to face their obligations, but the 
worth of money could not be materially enhanced. 
This question was decided by the issue of the panic 
of 1825, brought on by the Resumption Act. 

At the suspension of 1797, paper in small denomi- 
nations had been authorized to replace the coin 
which disappeared, but this act expired two years 
after the return to specie payments. Therefore, as 
time elapsed, the small issues began to be called in, 
and, according to Macleod, the country circulation, 
by 1823, had contracted about twelve per cent. The 
Bank of England also withdrew a large body of notes 
in denominations less than five pounds, and, to fill 
the gap, hoarded some twelve million sovereigns, a 
mass of gold about equal to the yield of the mines 
for the preceding seven or eight years. This gold 
had to be taken from the currency of Europe, and the 
sudden contraction caused a shock which vibrated 
throughout the West. 

In France gold coinage almost ceased, and prices 
dropped heavily, declining twenty-four per cent 
between 18 19 and 1822. Yet perhaps the most 
vivid picture of the distress caused by this absorption 
of gold, is given in a passage written by Macleod, to 
prove that Peel's act had nothing to do with the 
catastrophe : — 

" There was one perfectly satisfactory argument to show 
that the low prices of that year had nothing to do with the 
Act of 1 81 9, namely, that prices of all sorts of agricultural 
produce were equally depressed all over the continent of 


Europe horn the same cause. The fluctuations, indeed, on 
the continent* were much more violent than even in Eng- 
land. . . . The same phenomena were observed in Italy. 
A similar (all, but not to so great an extent, took place at 
Lisbon. Wliat could the Act of 1819 have to do with these 
places? "> 

The severe and protracted depression, while affect- 
ing all producers, bore with peculiar severity upon 
the gentry, whose estates were burdened with mort- 
gages and all kinds of settlements, so much so that 
frequently properties sank below their encumbrances, 
and the owners were beggared. At the opening 
of Parliament, both Houses were overwhelmed with 
petitions for aid. Among these petitions, one of 
the best known was presented to the Commons in 
May, 1822, by Charles Andrew Thompson, of Chis- 
wick, which serves to show the keenness of the dis- 
tress among debtors owning land. 

Thompson stated, in substance, that in 181 1 he 
and his father, being wealthy merchants, purchased 
an estate in Hertfordshire for ^62,000, and after- 
ward laid out ^10,000 more in improvements. That 
in 18 1 2 they entered into a contract for another 
estate, whose price was ^60,000, but, a question 
having arisen as to the title, a lawsuit intervened, 
and, before judgment, the petitioner and his father 
had experienced such losses that they could not pay 
the sum adjudged due by the court. Thereupon, 
to raise money, they mortgaged both estates for 
^65,000. In July, 1821, both estates were offered 
for sale, but they failed to bring the amount for 
which they were mortgaged. Estates in other coun- 

> TA£0ry amd Fraitiit tf BmnJHngt Madeod, ed. 1893, ii. 103. 




ties which cost ^^33,166, had been sold for ^12,000, 
and through the depression of trade the petitioners 
had become bankrupt. In 1822 the petitioner's 
father died of a broken heart ; and he himself 
remained a ruined man, with seven children of his 
own, ten of his brother's, and seven of his sister's all 
depending on him.^ 

The nation seemed upon the brink of some con- 
vulsion, for the gentry hardly cared to disguise their 
design of effecting a readjustment of both public 
and private debts. Passions ran high, and in June, 
1822, a long debate followed upon a motion, made 
by Mr. Western, to inquire into the effects produced 
by the resumption of cash payments. The motion 
was indeed defeated, but defeated by a concession 
which entailed a catastrophe up to that time un- 
equalled in the experience of Great Britain. To save 
the " Resumption Act " the ministry in July brought 
in a bill to respite the small notes until 1833, a meas- 
ure which at once quieted the agitation, but which 
produced the most far-reaching and unexpected re- 

According to Francis, the country banks aug- 
mented their issues fifty per cent between 1822 and 
1825,* nor was this increase of paper the only or the 
most serious form taken by the inflation. The great 
hoard of sovereigns, accumulated by the Bank to 
replace its small notes, was made superfluous ; and, 
in a memorandum delivered by the directors to the 
House of Commons, no less than ^14,200,000 were 
stated to have been thrown on their hands in 1824 

' S«e llanMril, New Series, viii. 189. 

* HiUory 0/ tki Bank 0/ Engtand, i. 348. 


by this change of policy.^ The effect was to create 
a veritable glut of gold in the United Kingdom; 
prices rose abnormally — fifteen per cent — between 
1824 and 1825. 

As values tended upward, a frenzy of speculation 
seized upon a people who had long suffered from the 
grinding of contraction, and meanwhile the Bank, 
adhering to its old policy, freely discounted all the 
sound bills brought them. In 1824 prices rose above 
the Continental level, and gold, being cheaper in 
London than in Paris, began to flow thither. The 
Bank reserve steadily fell. - In March, 1825, the 
fever reached its height, and a decline set in, while 
the directors, anxious at the condition of their reserve 
in May, attempted to restrict their issues. The con- 
sequence was sharp contraction, and in November 
the crash came. Mr. Huskisson stated, in the House 
of Commons, that for forty-eight hours it was impos- 
sible to convert even government securities into cash. 
Exchequer bills, bank stock, and East India stock 
were alike unsalable, and many of the richest mer- 
chants of London walked the streets, not knowing 
whether on the morrow they might not be insolvent. 
''It is said" the Bank itself "must have stopped 
payment, and that we should have been reduced to a 
state of barter, but for a box full of old one and two- 
pound notes which was discovered by accident"* 
What happened in the Bank parlour during those 
days is unknown. Probably the pressure of the 
mercantile classes became too sharp to be withstood, 
perhaps even the strongest bankers were alarmed; 

1 History •fOu Bank 0/ England^ i. 347. 
* History tfthe Cmrrtiuy^ MacUren, l6l. 


but, at all events, the financial policy changed com- 
pletely. Contraction was abandoned, the Bank re- 
verted to the system of 18 10, and in an instant 
relief came. **We lent by every possible means, 
and in modes we had never adopted before ; . . . 
we not only discounted outright, but we made ad- 
vances on deposit of bills of exchange to an im- 
mense amount." The Bank emitted five millions in 
notes in four days, and ** this audacious policy was 
crowned with the most complete success, the panic 
was stayed almost immediately.*' ^ 

With an expansion of the currency sufficient to 
furnish the means of paying debts, the panic passed 
away, but the disaster gave the bankers their oppor- 
tunity; they seized it, and thenceforward their hold 
upon the community never, even for an instant, re- 
laxed. The administration fell into discredit, and 
turned for assistance to the only men who promised 
to give them effective support : these were the capi- 
talists of Lombard Street, whose first care was to 
obtain a statute prohibiting the small notes, which, 
they alleged, were the cause of the misfortune of 
1825. The act they demanded passed in 1826, and 
about this time Samuel Loyd rose into prominence, 
who was, perhaps, the greatest financier of modem 
times. Cautious and sagacious, though resolute and 
bold, gifted with an amazing penetration into the 
complex causes which control the competition of mod- 
em life, he swayed successive administrations, and 
crushed down the fiercest opposition. Apparently 
he never faltered in his course, and down to the day 
of his death he sneered at the panic-stricken direc* 

1 Thicry and PracH<i 0/ Banking, Madeod, ii. 1 1 7, liS. 


tors, who only saved themselves from bankruptcy by 
accidentally remembering and issuing a "parcel of 
old discarded one-pound notes . . . drawn forth from 
a refuse cellar in 1825." ^ 

Loyd*s father began life somewhat humbly as a 
dissenting minister in Wales, but, after his marriage, 
he entered a Manchester firm, and subsequently 
founded in London the house of Jones, Loyd and 
Co., afterward merged in the London and Westmin- 
ster Bank, one of the largest concerns in the world. 
Samuel did* not actually succeed his father until ^844, 
but much earlier he had grown to be the recognized 
chief of the monied interest, and Sir Robert Peel long 
ser\'ed as his lieutenant Loyd was the man who 
conceived the Bank Act of 1844, who succeeded in 
laying his £^rasp upon the currency of the kingdom, 
and in whose words, therefore, the policy of the new 
governing class is best stated : — 

** A paper-circulation is the substitution of paper ... in 
the place of the precious metals. The amount of it ought 
therefore to be equal to what would have been the amount 
of a metallic circulation ; and of this the best measure is 
the influx or efflux of bullion."' 

" By the provisions of that Act [the Bank Act of 1844] it 
b permitted to issue notes to the amount of ^14,000,000 
as before — that is, with no seciuity for the redemption of 
the notes on demand beyond the legal obligation so to 
redeem them. But all fluctuations in the amount of notes 
issued beyond this ;^i 4,000,000 must have direct reference 
to corresponding fluctuations in the amount of gold" ' 

Thus Loyd's principle, which he embodied in his 
statute, was the rigid limitation of the currency to 

1 OvenUme Trofit^ 325. * JM^ 191. * IHd^ 318. 




the weight of gold available for money. ** When 
. . . notes are permitted to be issued, the number in 
circulation should always be exactly equal to the coin 
which would be in circulation if they did not exist" ^ 
In 1845 the Bank Act was extended to Scotland, ex- 
cept that there small notes were still tolerated; the 
expansion of provincial paper was prohibited, and 
England reverted to the economic condition of By- 
zantium, — a condition of contraction in which the 
debtor class lies prostrate, for, the legal tender being 
absolutely limited, when creditors choose to withdraw 
their loans, payment becomes impossible. 

Perhaps no financier has ever lived abler than 
Samuel Loyd. Certainly he understood as few men, 
even of later generations, have understood, the 
mighty engine of the single standard. He compre- 
hended that, with expanding trade, an inelastic cur- 
rency must rise in value ; he saw that, with sufficient 
resources at command, his class might be able to es- 
tablish such a rise, almost at pleasure ; certainly that 
they could manipulate it when it came, by taking 
advantage of foreign exchanges. He perceived 
moreover that, once established, a contraction of the 
currency might be forced to an extreme, and that 
when money rose beyond price, as in 1825, debtors 
would have to surrender their property on such terms 
as creditors might dictate. 

Furthermore, he reasoned that under pressure 
prices must fall to a point lower than in other nations, 
that then money would flow from abroad, and relief 
would ultimately be given, even if the government 
did not interfere ; that this influx of gold would in- 

* Theory and Practiit of Baniing, ii. 1 47. 



crease the quantity of money, by so doing would 
again raise prices, and that, when prices rose, pledges 
forfeited in the panic might be resold at an advance. 
He explained the principle of this rise and fall of 
values, with his usual lucidity, to a committee of the 
House of Lords, which investigated the panic of 

1847: — 

" Monetary distress tends to produce fall of prices ; 
that fall of prices encourages exports and diminishes 
imports ; consequently it tends to promote an influx 
of bullion. I can quote a fact of rather a striking 
character, which tends to show that a contracting 
operation upon the circulation tends to cheapen the 
cost of our manufactured productions, and therefore 
to increase our exports." He then stated that during 
the panic he had received a letter " from a person of 
great importance in Lancashire," begging him to use 
his influence with the ministry " to be Arm in main- 
taining the act, — to be firm in resisting these appli- 
cations for relaxation," because in Lancashire the 
manufacturers were struggling to " resist the improp- 
erly high price of the raw material of cotton." " That 
letter reached me the very morning that the letter of 
the government was issued [suspending the act], 
and almost immediately the raw cotton rose in price." 

Q. " The writer of that letter was probably a man of con- 
siderable substance, a very wealthy man, with abundant cap- 
ital to cany on his business ? 

A. ^ He had recently retired fix>m business. I can state 
another circumstance that occurred in London corroborative 
of the same results. Within half an hour of the time that 
the notes summoning the Court of Directors . . • were 





issued, parties, inferring probably . . . that a relaxation 
was about to take place, sent orders to withdraw goods from 
a sale which was then going on." ^ 

The history of half a century has justified the diag- 
nosis of this eminent financier. As followed out by 
his successors, Loyd's policy has not only forced 
down prices throughout the West, but has changed 
the aspect of civilization. In England the catas- 
trophe began with the passage of the Bank Act. 

No sooner had this statute taken effect than it 
necessarily caused a contraction of the currency at 
a time when gold was rising because of commercial 
expansion. Between 1839 ^^^ 1849 there was a fall 
in prices of twenty-eight per cent, and, severe as may 
have been the decline, it seems moderate considering 
the conditions which then prevailed. The yield of 
the mines was scanty, and of this yield India absorbed 
annually an average of ^^2, 308,000, or somewhat 
more than one-sixth. 

America was growing with unprecedented vigour, 
industrial competition sharpened as prices fell, and 
the year of the " Bank Act " was the year in which 
railway building beg^ to take the form of a mania. 

The peasantry are always the weakest part of every 
population, and therefore agricultural prices are the 
most sensitive. But the resources of a peasantry 
are seldom large, and, as the value of their crops 
shrinks, the margin of profit on which they live 
dwindles, until they are left with only a bare subsis- 
tence in good years, and with famine facing them in 
bad. The Irish peasants were the weakest portion 

» Otftrsi^fu Tratit. 573, 574. 


of the population of Great Britain when Lord Over- 
stone became supreme, and when the potato crop 
failed in 1845 they starved. 

Although the landlords had lost their command over 
the nation in 1688, they yet, down to the last adminis- 
tration of Peel, had kept strength enough to secure 
protection from Parliament against foreign competi- 
tion. By 181 5 the yeomanry had almost disappeared, 
the soil belonged to a few rich families whose revenue 
depended on rents, and the value of rents turned on 
the price of the cereals. To sustain the market for 
wheat became therefore all-important to the aristoc- 
racy, and when, with the peace, prices collapsed, they 
obtained a statute which prohibited imports until the 
bushel should fetch ten shillings at home. 

This statute, though frequently amended to make 
it more effective, partially failed of its purpose. A 
contracting currency did its resistless work, prices 
dropped, tenants went bankrupt, and, as the value of 
money rose, encumbered estates passed more fre- 
quently into the hands of creditors. Thus when Peel 
took office in 1841, the Corn Laws were regarded by \ 

the gentry as their only hope, and Peel as their chosen j 

champion ; but only a few years elapsed before it 
became evident that the policy of Lombard Street 
must precipitate a struggle for life between the 
manufacturers and the landlords. In the famine of 
1846 the decisive moment came, and when Sir Robert 
sided, as was his wont, with the strongest, and aban- 
doned his followers to their fate, he only yielded to 
the impulsion of a resistless force. 

As a class both landlords and manufacturers were 
debtor^ and, by 1844, cheap bread appeared to be as 




vital to the one as dear corn was to the other. With 
a steadily falling market the manufacturers saw their 
margin of profit shrink, and at last Manchester and 
Birmingham believed themselves to be confronted 
with ruin unless wages fell proportionately, or they 
could broaden the market for their wares by means 
of international exchanges. The Corn Laws closed 
both avenues of relief; therefore there was war to 
the death between the manufacturers and the aris- 
tocracy. The savageness of the attack can be judged 
by Cobden's jeers at gentlemen who admitted that 
free com meant insolvency : — 

" Sir Edward KnatchbuH could not have made a better 
speech for the ^ague than that which he made lately, even 
if he were paid for it. I roared so with laughter that he 
called me specially to order, and I begged his pardon, for 
he is the last man in the world I would oflend, we are all so 
much obliged to him. He said they could not do without 
this Com Law, because, if it were repealed, they could not 
pay the jointures, charged on their estates. Lord Mount- 
cashel, too (he's not over-sharp) said that one half the land 
was mortgaged, and they could not pay the interest unless 
they had a tax upon bread. In Lancashire, when a man gets 
into debt and can't pay, he goes into the Gau/ie, and what 
is good for a manufiicturer is, I think, good for a landlord."^ 

In such a contest the gentry were overmatched, for 
they were but nature's first effort toward creating the 
economic type, and they were pitted against later 
forms which had long distanced them in the competi- 
tion of life. Bright and Cobden, as well as Loyd 
and Peel, belonged to a race which had been driven 
into trade, by the loss of their freeholds to the for- 

> Ct^dm mtuiiiU Le^gwe, Ashwocth, 174. 


tunate ancestors of the men who lay at their mercy in 
1846. Peel himself was the son of a cotton-spinner, 
and the grandson of a yeoman, who, only in middle 
life, had quitted his hand-loom to make his fortune in 
the " industrial revolution." 

In modem England, as in ancient Italy, the weak- 
est sank first, and the landed gentry succumbed, 
almost without resistance, to the combination which 
Lombard Street made against them. Yet, though 
the manufacturers seemed to triumph, their exultation 
was short, for the fate impended over them, even in 
the hour of their victory, which always overhangs 
the debtor when the currency has been seized by the 
creditor class. By the "Bank Act" the usurers be- 
came supreme, and in 1846 the potato crop failed 
even more completely than in 1845. Credit always is 
more sensitive in England than in France, because 
it rests upon a narrower basis, and at that moment it 
happened to be strained by excessive railway loans. 
With free trade in com, large imports of wheat were 
made, which were paid for with gold. A drain set 
in upon the Bank, the reserve was depleted, and by 
October 2, 1847, the directors denied all further 
advances. Within three years of the passage of 
his statute, the event Loyd had foreseen arrived. 
"Monetary distress" began to force down prices. 
The decision of the directors to refuse discounts 
created " a g^eat excitement on the Stock Exchange. 
The town and country bankers hastened to sell their 
public securities, to convert them into money. The 
difference between the price of consols for ready 
money and for the account of the 14th of October 
showed a rate of interest equivalent to 50 per cent 



per annum. Exchequer bills were sold at 351. dis- 
count.** ... "A complete cessation of private dis- 
counts followed. No one would part with the money 
or notes in his possession. The most exorbitant 
sums were offered to and refused by merchants for 
their acceptances." ^ 

Additional gold could only be looked for from 
abroad, and as a considerable time must elapse before 
specie could arrive in sufficient quantity to give 
relief, the currency actually in use offered the only 
means of obtaining legal tender for the payment of 
debts. Consequently hoarding became general, and, 
as the chancellor of the exchequer afterward ob- 
served, "an amount of circulation which, under 
ordinary circumstances, would have been adequate, 
became insufficient for the wants of the community." 
Boxes of gold and bank-notes in "thousands and 
tens of thousands of pounds " were " deposited with 
bankers.** The merchants, the chancellor said, 
begged for notes: "Let us have notes; ... we 
don*t care what the rate of interest is. . . . Only 
tell us that we can get them, and this will at once 
restore confidence."* 

But, after October 2, no notes were to be had, 
money was a commodity without price, and had the 
policy of the " Bank Act " been rigorously main- 
tained, English debtors, whose obligations then 
matured, must have forfeited their property, since 
credit had ceased to exist and currency could not be 
obtained wherewith to redeem their pledges. 

The instinct of the usurer has, however, never 

1 Theory and Pradift 0/ Banking, Macleod, iL 1 69, 1 70. 
* Huuard, Third Scnes» zcr. J99. 


been to ruin suddenly the community in which he 
has lived : only by degrees does he exhaust human 
vitality. Therefore, when the great capitalists had 
satisfied their appetites, they gave relief. From the 
2d to the 25 th of October, contraction was allowed 
to do its work ; then Overstone intervened, the gov- 
ernment was instructed to suspend the "act," and 
the community was promised all the currency it 
might require. 

The effect was instantaneous. The letter from 
the cabinet, signed by Lord John Russell, which 
recommended the directors of the Bank to increase 
their discounts, ** was made public about one o'clock 
on Monday, the 25th, and no sooner was it done so 
than the panic vanished like a dream ! Mr. Gumey 
stated that it produced its effect in ten minutes ! No 
sooner was it known that notes might be had, than 
the want of them ceased ! " ^ Large parcels of notes 
were " returned to the Bank of England cut into 
halves, as they had been sent down into the country." 

The story of this crisis demonstrates that, by 1844, 
the money-lenders had become autocratic in London. 
The ministry were naturally unwilling to suspend a 
statute which had just been enacted, and the blow 
to Sir Robert Peel was peculiarly severe; but the 
position of the government admitted of no alterna- 
tive. At the time it was said that the private 
bankers of London intimated to the chancellor of 
the exchequer that, unless he interfered forthwith, 
they would withdraw their balances from the Bank 
of England. This meant insolvency, and to such 
an argument there was no reply. But whether mat- 

* Thi^ry and PracHct of Banking, ii. 170. 


ters actually went so far or not, there can be no 
question that the cabinet acted under the dictation 
of Lombard Street, for the chancellor of the ex- 
chequer defended his policy by declaring that the 
''act*' had not been suspended until "those con- 
versant with commercial affairs, and least likely to 
decide in favour of the course which we ultimately 
adopted/' unanimously advised that relief should be 
given to the mercantile community. ^ 

There was extreme suffering throughout the coun- 
try, which manifested itself in all the well-known 
ways. The revenue fell off, emigration increased, 
wheat brought but about five shillings the bushel, 
while in England and Wales alone there were up- 
wards of nine hundred thousand paupers. Discon- 
tent took the form of Chartism, and a revolution 
seemed imminent. Nor was it Great Britain only 
which was convulsed : all Europe was shaken to its 
centre, and everything portended some dire convul- 
sion, when nature intervened and poured upon the 
world a stream of treasure too bountiful to be at 
once controlled. 

In 1849 the first Calif omian gold reached Liver- 
pool. In four years the supply of the precious 
metals trebled, prices rose, crops sold again at a 
profit As the farmers grew rich, the demand for 
manufactures quickened, wages advanced, discontent 
vanished, and though values never again reached 
the altitude of 1809, they at least attained that level 
of substantial prosperity which preceded the French 
Revolution. Nevertheless, the fall in the purchas- 
ing power of money, and the consequent ability of 

^ Haniafd, Third Scries, zcr. ^98. 


debtors to meet their obligations, did not excite that 
universal joy which had thrilled Europe at the dis- 
covery of Potosi, for a profound change had passed 
over society since the buccaneers laid the foundations 
of England's fortune by the plunder of the Peruvian 

To the type of mind which predominated after 
1 8 ID, the permanent rise of commodities relatively 
to money was unwelcome, and, almost from the 
opening of the gold discoveries, a subtle but resist- 
less force was working for contraction — a force 
which first showed itself in the movement for an 
uniform gold coinage, and afterwards in general 
gold monometallism. The great change came with 
the conquest of France by Germany. Until after 
the middle of the nineteenth century, Germany held 
only a secondary position in the economic system 
of Europe, because of her poverty. With few har- 
bours, she had reaped little advantage from the 
plunder of America and India, exchanges had never 
centred within her borders, and her accumulated cap- 
ital had not sufficed to stimulate high consolidation. 
The conquest of France suddenly transformed these 
conditions. In 1871 she acquired an enormous booty, 
and the effect upon her was akin to the effect on Eng- 
land of the confiscations in Bengal ; the chief differ- 
ence being that, unlike England, Germany passed 
almost immediately into the period of contraction. 

The spoliation of India went on for twenty years, 
that of France was finished in a few months, and, 
while in England the "industrial revolution" inter- 
vened between Plassey and the adoption of the gold 
standard, in Germany the bankers dominated from 


the outset The government belonged to the class 
which desired an appreciating currency, and in 1873 
the new empire followed in the steps of Lombard 
Street, and demonetized silver. 

Germany's action was decisive. Restrictions were 
placed on the mints of the Latin Union and of the 
United States, and thus, by degrees, the whole stress 
of the trade of the West was transferred from the 
old composite currency to gold alone. In this way, 
not only was the basis of credit in the chief com- 
mercial states cut in half, but the annual supply of 
metal for coinage was diminished. In 1893 the gold 
mined fell nearly nine per cent short of the value 
of the gold and silver produced in 1865, and yet, 
during those twenty-eight years, the demand for 
money must have increased enormously, if it in any 
degree corresponded with the growth of trade. 

The phenomena which followed the adoption of 
the gold standard by Western countries were precisely 
those which had been anticipated by Loyd. Lord 
Overstone had explained them to an earlier genera- 
tion. In one of his letters on the "Bank Charter," 
as early as 1855, he developed the whole policy of 
the usurers : — 

'^ If a country increases in population, in wealth, in enter- 
prise, and activity, more circulating medium will probably 
be required to conduct its extended transactions. This 
demand for increased circulation will raise the value of the 
exiHing circulation ; it will become more scarce and more 
valuable, ... in other words — gold will rise. . . ."^ 

By the action of Germany, Overstone's policy was 
extended to the whole Western world, with the 

^ OvtrtUne Tracts, 319. 


results he had foreseen. Gold appreciated, until it 
acquired a purchasing power unequalled since the 
Middle Ages, and while in the silver-using countries 
prices remained substantially unchanged and the pro- 
ducers accordingly prospered, prostration supervened 
in Europe, the United States, and Australia. As 
usual the rural population suffered most, and the 
English aristocracy, who had been respited by the 
gold discoveries, were the first to succumb. They 
not only drew their revenues from farming land, 
but, standing at the focus of competition, they were 
exposed to the pressure of Asia and America alike. 
The harvest of 1879 was one of the worst of the 
century, land depreciated hopelessly, and that year 
may probably be taken as marking the downfall of a 
class which had maintained itself in opulence for 
nearly three hundred and fifty years. 

This Tudor aristocracy, which sprang up at the 
Reformation, was one of the first effects of the quick- 
ened movement which transferred the centre of 
exchanges from Italy to the North Sea. They repre- 
sented sharpening economic competition, and they 
prospered because of an intellectual gift, an aptitude 
they enjoyed, of absorbing the lands of the priests 
and soldiers amidst whom they dwelt. These sol- 
diers were the yeomen who, when evicted, became 
pirates, slavers, commercial adventurers, religious 
colonists, and conquerors, and who together poured 
the flood of treasure into London which, transmuted 
into movement, made the "industrial revolution." 
When by their efforts, toward the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, sufficiently vast reservoirs of 
energy in the shape of money had accumulated, a 


new race rose to prominence, fitted to give vent to 
this force — men like Nathan Rothschild and Samuel 
Loyd, probably endowed with a subtler intellect and 
a keener vision than any who had preceded them. 
financiers beside whom the usurers of Byzantium, or 
the nobles of Henry VI 1 1., were piggies. 

These bankers conceived a policy unrivalled in 
brilliancy, which made them masters of all commerce, 
industry, and trade. They engrossed the gold of 
the world, and then, by legislation, made it the sole 
measure of values. What Samuel Loyd and his 
followers did to England, in 1847, became possible 
for his successors to do to all the gold standard 
nations, after 1873. When the mints had been closed 
to silver, the currency being inelastic, the value of 
money could be manipulated like that of any article 
limited in quantity, and thus the human race became 
the subjects of the new aristocracy, which represented 
the stored energy of mankind. 

From the moment this aristocracy has determined 
on a policy, as, for example the " Bank Act*' or mono- 
metallism, resistance by producers becomes most diffi« 
cult. Being debtors, producers are destroyed when 
credit is withdrawn, and, at the first signs of insubor- 
dination, the bankers draw in their gold, contract 
their loans, and precipitate a panic. Then, to escape 
immediate ruin, the debtor yields. 

Since 1873 prices have generally fallen, and the 
mortgage has tended to engulf the pledge ; but, from 
time to time the creditor class feels the need of turn- 
ing the property it has acquired from bankrupts into 
gold, and then the rise explained by Overstone takes 
place. The hoards are opened, credit is freely given. 


the quantity of currency is increased, values rise, sales 
are made, and new adventurers contract fresh obliga- 
tions. Then this expansion is followed by a fresh 
contraction, and liquidation is repeated on an ever- 
descending scale. 

For many years farming land has fallen through- 
out the West, as it fell in Italy in the time of Pliny. 
Everywhere, as under Trajan, the peasantry are dis- 
tressed; everywhere they migrate to the cities, as 
they did when Rome repudiated the denarius. By 
the census of the United Kingdom taken in 1891, not 
only did it appear that over seventy-one per cent of 
the inhabitants of England and Wales lived in towns, 
but that, while the urban districts had increased above 
fifteen per cent since the last census, the population 
of the purely agricultural counties had diminished.^ 

Moreover, within a generation, there has been a 
marked loss of fecundity among the more costly 
races. The rate of increase of the population has 
diminished. In the United States it is generally be- 
lieved that the old native American blood is hardly 
reproducing itself; but, in all social phenomena, 
France precedes other nations by at least a quarter 
of a century, and it is, therefore, in France that the 
failure of vitality is most plainly seen. In 1789 the 
average French family consisted of 4.2 children. In 
1 89 1 it had fallen to 2.1,^ and, since 1890, the deaths 
seem to have equalled the births.^ In 1889 legisla- 
tion was attempted to encourage productiveness, and 
parents of seven children were exempted from cer- 

' See Journal of Roy, Stat, Soc,, liv. 464. 

* Denombrement He 1891, 261. 

* Ammuaire de i*£eonomie Politique^ 1894, Block, 18. 




tain classes of taxes, but the experiment failed. 
Levasseur, in his great work on the population of 
France, has expressed himself almost in the words of 
Tacitus : " It can be laid down as a general law that, 
if in such a social condition as that of the French of 
the nineteenth century, the number of children is 
small, it is because the majority of parents wish it 
should be small.'* ^ 

Such signs point to the climax of consolidation. 
And yet, even the rise of the bankers is not the only 
or the surest indication that centralization is culmi- 
nating. The destruction, wrought by accelerated 
movement, of the less tenacious organisms, is more 
evident below than above, is more striking in the 
advance of cheap labour, than in the evolution of 
the financier. 

' La Popuiaii^n Franfaist^ ti. 214. 



Apparently nature needs to consume about three 
generations in perfecting the selection of a new type. 
Accordingly the money-lenders did not become abso- 
lute immediately after Waterloo, and a period of some 
sixty years followed during which the adventurers 
kept up a struggle, wherein they were aided by the 
discoveries of gold near the middle of the century. 
Seemingly they met their final defeat at Sedan, for 
the decay of the soldier, which had been in progress 
since the fall of Napoleon, reached a point, after the 
collapse of the Second Empire, even lower than after 
the consolidation of Rome. 

From Alaric to Napoleon the soldier had served as 
an independent vent to energy. Often, even when 
opposed to capital, he had been victorious, and the 
highest function of a leader of men had been, in 
theory at least, military command. The ideal states- 
man had been one who, like Cromwell, Frederic 
the Great, Henry IV., William III., and Washington, 
could lead his followers in battle, and, on the Con- 
tinent, down to 1789, the aristocracy had professedly 
been a military caste. In France and Germany the 
old tradition lasted to within a generation. Only 
after 1871 came the new era, an era marked by many 



social changes. For the first time in their history 
the ruler of the French people passed admittedly from 
the martial to the monied type, and everywhere the 
same phenomenon appeared ; the whole administra- 
tion of society fell into the hands of the economic 
man. Nothing so radical happened at Rome, or 
even at Byzantium, for there the pressure of the bar- 
barians necessitated the retention of the commander 
at the head of the State ; in Europe he lost this 
importance. Since the capitulation of Paris the sol* 
dier has tended to sink more and more into a paid 
official, receiving his orders from financiers with 
his salary, without being allowed a voice even in 
questions involving peace and war. The same fate 
has overtaken the producing classes ; they have 
failed to maintain themselves, and have become 
subjects of the possessors of hoarded wealth. Al- 
though the conventions of popular government are 
still preserved, capital is at least as absolute as under 
the Caesars, and, among capitalists, the money-lenders 
form an aristocracy. Debtors are in reality power- 
less, because of the extension of that very system of 
credit which they invented to satisfy their needs. 
Although the volume of credit is gigantic, the basis 
on which it rests is so narrow that it may be manipu- 
lated by a handful of men. That basis is gold ; in 
gold debts must be i>aid ; therefore, when gold is 
withdrawn, the debtor is helpless and becomes the 
servant of his master. The elasticity of the age of 
expansion has gone. 

The aristocracy which wields this autocratic power 
is beyond attack, for it is defended by a wage-earning 
police, by the side of which the legions were a toy; 

2 A 


a police so formidable that, for the first time in his- 
tory, revolt is hopeless and is not attempted. The 
only question which preoccupies the ruling class is 
whether it is cheaper to coerce or to bribe. 

On looking back over long periods of time, the se- 
quence of causes may be followed which have led to 
this result. First, inventions from the East facilitated 
trade ; then, the perfection of weapons of attack made 
police possible, and individual bravery unnecessary ; 
on this followed the abasement of the martial and 
exaltation of the economic type ; and finally that in- 
tense acceleration of movement by machinery super- 
vened, which, in annihilating space, has destroyed the 
protection that the costly races long enjoyed against 
the competition of simpler organisms. 

Roman civilization was less complex than modern 
because of the relative inflexibility of the Latin mind. 
Unable to quicken his motions by inventions, the an- 
cient Italian failed to discover America or absorb India, 
and, for the same reason, collapsed without an effort 
under the insidious attack of Asiatic and African 
labour. No industrial expansion followed the influx 
of bullion under Caesar, and therefore, when the value 
of cereals fell, the evicted farmer either sank into 
slavery or begged for bread from the magnates of 
the Senate. In modem times an industrial period 
has intervened ; the evicted long found employment 
in the factories of the towns, and it has only been as 
contraction has reduced the demand for merchandise, 
by diminishing the purchasing power of the agricult- 
ural population, that those stagnant pools of the un- 
employed have collected, which exactly correspond to 
the proletariat. But, as each special faculty which. 



for a time, enables its possessor to excel in competi- 
tion, seems to bear with it the seeds of its own decay, 
so the inventive, which once enabled the Western 
races to undersell the Eastern in their homes seems 
destined to reduce all to a common economic level, 
as Rome sank to the level of Egypt. 

For nearly a century the inventions of Hargreaves, 
of Crompton, of Cartwright, and of Watt, enabled 
Lancashire to supply Bombay and Calcutta with fab- 
rics, as, in the seventeenth century, Surat and Calicut 
had supplied London, and this superiority appeared 
assured until Orientals should acquire the momentum 
necessary for machinery. One effect in Europe was 
the rapid increase of a population congregated in 
towns, and bearing a marked resemblance to the 
" humiliores " of Rome in their disinclination for 
war. True to their instincts, the adventurers ever 
quickened their movements, ever extended the 
sphere of their enterprises, and, finally, just as the 
Second Empire verged upon its fall, they opened 
the Suez Canal in 1869. The consequences of this 
great engineering triumph have probably equalled in 
gravity the establishment of the gold standard, but 
the two phenomena had this marked difference. 
The producers saw their danger and resisted to the 
utmost the contraction of the currency, whereas the 
Canal was a case of suicide. Thenceforward grain, 
raised by the most enduring labour of the world, could 
be thrown without limit on the European market, and, 
agricultural competition once established, industrial 
could only be a question of time. The Canal made 
the importation and the reparation of machinery 
cheap throughout Asia. 


From a period, perhaps, as remote as Clive's vic- 
tories, the Hindoos had experienced a certain impul- 
sion from contact with the British, but it was not 
until the building of railroads, under Lord Dalhousie, 
that the severer phases of competition opened among 
the inhabitants of India. Lord Dalhousie became 
Governor General in 1848, and, that the acceleration 
of the next nine years culminated in a catastrophe 
seems certain, for nothing can be plainer than that 
the Mutiny of 1857 was an outbreak of a martial 
Mohammedan population crushed under an intolera- 
ble pressure. 

The locality of the disturbance alone is enough to 
demonstrate the accuracy of this inference. Dal- 
housie's last act was the annexation of the Kingdom 
of Oude. Of this province Lucknow is the capital, 
and while Lucknow was one focus of the insurrection, 
Delhi, the capital of the ancient Mogul empire, was 
the other. Once subdued by the British, and reduced 
to an economic equality with subtler races, the old 
Moslem gentry rapidly disappeared. Since 1857 these 
families, which had maintained themselves for six or 
seven hundred years, have rapidly fallen into ruin, 
and their estates have been bought by their credi- 
tors, the rising usurer class. 

Under immemorial native custom the money-lender, 
generally speaking, had no forcible means of collect- 
ing debt ; he relied on public opinion and conducted 
himself accordingly. On the other hand, unrestricted 
alienation of land was not usually incidental to pro- 
prietorship, and thus the tenant for life, as he would 
be called in English law, could only pledge his crops ; 
he could not sell the succession. With centralization 


came full ownership, and with it summary process for 
debt. Following her immutable law, nature, having 
changed the form of competition, proceeded to select 
a quality of mind to correspond with the new condi- 
tions of life. She demanded improved vents for her 
energy. Forthwith, under the pressure of accelerated 
movement and advancing consolidation, the trammels 
of caste relaxed, the population fused, and a new aris- 
tocracy arose, composed of the strongest economic 
types culled from all the peoples who inhabit the 
plains south of the Himalayas. This aristocracy is a 
strange mixture of blood, an amalgam of the most 
diverse elements, of Parsees, Brahmins, Bunniahs of 
different races, with gifted individuals from other 
castes, like the leather-workers or the goldsmiths; 
but among them all the most ruthless, the corruptest, 
the most hated, and the most successful, are the 
Marwaris, who have been thus described by a British 
commission : — 

** The average Marwari money-lender is not a pleasant 
character to analyze ; his most prominent characteristics 
are k>ve of gain and indifference to the opinions or feelings 
of his neighbour. He has considerable self-reliance and 
immense industry, but the nature of his business and the 
method by which it is pursued would tend to degrade and 
harden even a humane nature, which his is not. As a land- 
lord he follows the instincts of the usurer, making the hardest 
terms possible with his tenant, who is also his debtor and 
often little better than his slave." * 

The effect of the selection of such a type as a 
dominant class must be destructive to a martial popula- 

* Report 0/ tkt C0mmiit%0n appointed in indim $0 emfmr* imi0 Ae 
Cmmet 0/ ike Ridi wAuk t00k pUte im ike yemr tBjs^ *^ ^ 
and Akmudnagmr Disiricis e/ike Btmkmy Fmidemey. I a. 

3f9 ctnuzAims a3sd dbcat 

tufo, whethtr H be French or Engbh, 
iff WxnAfit^. The tocial reirohition which swcfft 
Oyde after its mnejotion has been reierTed tci^ 
the fate which orertook the famous Mahratta nation 
is even mme traipc and impressive 

When, toward the close of the last century, the 
Hfitish were pushing their conquests inland, the most 
formidable enemy they met were the Mahrattas ; and, 
perhaps, the most renowned battle, next to Plassey, 
ever fought by Europeans against natives, was Assaye, 
where Wellesley defeated Sindhia in 1803. These 
Mahrattas were tribes of Hindoo fanners, who inhab- 
ited the mountainous country about one hundred 
rnilen to the east of Bombay; a territory of which 
Foona has always been considered the capital. 
Mounted on their hill ponies, these bold and hardy 
Mfirarmen were always ready to follow their chiefs to 
iMitttc, and, in the eighteenth century, became the 
terror not only of the Mohammedans of the Deccan, 
but of the Mogul himself, at Delhi. Even the Eng- 
lish rmpectcd and feared them, and only subdued 
them in 1818 after desperate fighting. Then they 
were disarmed and subjected to the combined action 
of peace and English law. 

Soon after this conquest an inflow of Marwaris 
began. As early as 1854, in Dalhousie's administra- 
tion, Captain Anderson stated that "two-thirds of 
the ryots [were] in the hands of the Marwaris, and 
that the average debt of each individual [was] not 
less than Rs. 100." ^ Competition continued un- 

* tfi^H §f iki C^mmiuUm mpp^inted in India to enquire into ike 
CtiUHM #/ M# A*iWf wkiik l—kpUce in the year t8ys% *m ^ Ppona and 
Akmednai^r /htirieii e/Ike Bmnkay Fretideney^ 159. 



checked as time flowed on, and in 1875 disturbances 
broke out in certain villages near Poona, serious 
enough to cause the government to appoint a com- 
mission of inquiry. After full investigation this 
commission reported that up to 1872 or 1873 the 
peasantry had seemed relatively prosperous, but that 
afterward "prices fell quickly," and that this fall 
had been accompanied by a rise in taxation of some* 
what more than fifty per cent.* Under this double 
pressure the peasantry had rapidly sunk into insol- 
vency, and the whole real estate of the Deccan was 
passing into the hands of usurers, while the fanners 
had become serfs toiling on the soil they had once 
owned, to satisfy an inextinguishable debt. Precisely 
like the colonus, the delinquent was not evicted, but 
remained, " recorded as occupier of his holding, and 
responsible for the payment of revenue assessed on 
it, but virtually reduced by pressure of debt to a 
tenant-at-will, . . . sweated by his Marwari creditor. 
It is in that creditor's power to eject him any day; 
. . . and if allowed to hold on, it is only on condition 
of paying over to his creditor all the produce of his 
land not absolutely necessary for next year's seed 
grain or for the support of life. He is indebted on 
an average to the extent of sixteen or seventeen 
years' payment of the government revenue. He has 
nothing to hope for, but lives in daily fear of the 
final catastrophe."' 

Since Assaye three generations have passed away, 
and the Mahratta spearmen have vanished. The 
Western Ghats are now tilled by a sluggish race 
whom the British officers deem unworthy of their 

1 RepTi 0ftki CpmmiuUm, eU., 25, 26. * IM., 167. 


cavalry, and in the place of those renowned and 
daring chiefs Sivaji and Holkar, stands the Marwari 
under whom no ryots can prosper save those " who 
having received some education are able to combat 
the sowkars with their own weapons, fraud, chicanery, 
and even forgery."* Apparently the same destiny 
awaits every people which requires more than the 
minimum of nutriment, or which is not gifted with 
the economic mind,* for the "money-lenders sweep 
off the crops as soon as harvested, only leaving with 
the ryots barely sufficient to eke out a subsistence till 
the following year."' That allowance, in the Dec- 
can, is estimated at about a dollar a month in silver 
— too little to sustain any but the most tenacious 
organisms, even among Asiatics. Consequently, 
though the population of India is increasing rap- 
idly, the increase lies chiefly among the aboriginal 
tribes who form the lowest castes, or in other words 
among the non-martial or servile races. Men who, 
though enslaved by the Aryan invaders of prehis- 
toric times, and who have always been subjected 
to extremest hardship, have been gifted, like the 
Egyptian fellah, with an endurance which has en- 
abled them to survive.* 

Herein, likewise, may be plainly perceived the 
destructive effects of the- policy of the Western 
usurers upon the population subject to them. By 
enhancing the value of their own money they have 
nearly doubled the intensity of this Asiatic competi- 

1 Rep^ioftkt Commisriom, etc,^ 168. 

* See A/usalmans and Money-Unders in the Punjab^ Thorbum. 

' Report of the Commission^ etc.^ 168. 

« See Brief History of the Indian Peoples^ Hunter, 50. 


tion. In India, silver has substantially retained its 
purchasing |X)wcr, therefore the ryot now, as in the 
days of Captain Cunningham, can exist on two rupees 
a month, but he cannot live on less. Accordingly, the 
severity of his competition with Europeans must be 
measured by the value of his wages when reckoned on 
the European scale. In 1854 the ryot's two rupees 
were worth one dollar; now, through the apprecia- 
tion of gold, they are worth about sixty cents, and 
the effect is the same as though the tenacity of life 
of the Asiatic had been increased four-sixths. Every- 
thing the Indian or Chinese peasant produces with 
his hands, whether on the farm or in the factory, has 
been reduced in price, in relation to Western peoples, 
in the ratio of six to ten. 

The cheapest form of labour is thus being bred on 
a gigantic scale, and this labour is being accelerated 
by an industrial development which is stimulated by 
eviction of the farmers, as the "industrial revolu- 
tion " was stimulated in England one hundred and 
thirty years ago. For many years the cotton mills 
of Bombay have undersold Lancashire in the coarser 
fabrics, and when, by means of a canal to the Pacific, 
American cotton can be imported cheaply, they will 
spin the finer also. Moreover, Hindostan is full of 
iron and coal which has never been utilized because 
of the immense difference in the rapidity of Euro- 
pean and Asiatic labour, but the steadily falling range 
of Western prices must force the cheapest product 
on the market, and when the Indian railways have 
been assumed by the government, a new era will 
have opened. The same causes are affecting China 
and Japan, and, under precisely similar conditionSy 


the centre of exchanges passed from the Tiber to the 
Bosphorus sixteen hundred years ago. 

Such uniformity of development in the most distant 
times, and among the most divergent peoples, points 
to a progressive law of civilization, each stage of prog- 
ress being marked by certain intellectual, moral, 
and physical changes. As the attack in war masters 
the defence, and the combative instinct becomes un- 
necessary to the preservation of life, the economic 
supersedes the martial mind, being superior in bread- 
winning. As velocity augments and competition 
intensifies, nature begins to sift the economic minds 
themselves, culling a favoured aristocracy of the craf- 
tiest and the subtlest types; choosing, for example, 
the Armenian in Byzantium, the Marwari in India, 
and the Jew in London. Conversely, as the costly 
nen'ous system of the soldier becomes an encum- 
brance, organisms, which can exist on less, suc- 
cessively supplant each other, until the limit of 
endurance is reached. Thus the Slavs exterminated 
the Greeks in Thrace and Macedonia, the Mahrattas 
and the Moslems dwindle before the low caste tribes 
of India, and the instinct of self-preservation has 
taught white races to resist an influx of Chinese. 
When nature has finished this double task, civiliza- 
tion has reached its zenith. Humanity can ascend 
no higher. 

In view of this possible extermination of the mar- 
tial blood in the higher stages of civilization, the 
attention necessarily becomes concentrated on what 
is, perhaps, the main point of divergence between 
ancient and modern society, — the presence and the 
absence of a supply of barbaric life. All the evidence 


points to the conclusion that the infusion of vitality 
which Rome ever drew from territories beyond her 
borders, was the cause both of her strength and of 
her longevity. Without such aid she could never 
have consolidated the world. On the other hand, 
the lack of this resource has been the weakness 
of modem nations. One after another they have 
dreamed of universal conquest, and one after another 
they have fallen through exhaustion in war. 

Spain levied never a pikemaa in America, and her 
colonies were a source of debility in so far as they 
drained her of her youth. Had Rome been similarly 
situated, she could hardly have carried the eagles 
beyond the Bosphorus and the Alps. Perhaps 
Csesar's army was the best an ancient general ever 
put in the field, and yet it was filled with barbarians. 
All his legions were raised north of the Po, and most 
of them, including the tenth, north of the Alps.^ 
When pitted against this force native Italians broke 
in rout, and one of the most striking pages of 
Plutarch is the story of the gradual awakening of 
Pompey to a sense of the impotence of Romans. 
Pompey himself was a commander of high ability, 
and, until he split upon the rock of the pure martial 
blood, battle had been with him synonymous with 

At first he felt such confidence, he laughed at 
the suggestion of an attack within the Rubicon. 
With the conviction of the conqueror he said : 
'' Whenever I stamp with my foot in any part of Italy, 
there will rise up forces enough in an instant, both 

> Sec HitUry of the Romans, ed. of 1852, Merirale, iL 81, where the 
aathorities arc collected. 


borse and foot." ' A very short experience of the 
men of the north sufficed to sober him; for» though 
Caesar's command amounted to only twenty-two 
thousand, and his to twice as many» he not only 
declined an action, but took what care he could to 
keep the threats of the Gauls from his men, "who 
were out of heart and despondent, through terror at 
the fierceness and hardiness of their enemies, whom 
they looked upon as a sort of wild beasts." ' Phar- 
salia stunned him. When the tenth legion routed 
his left wing, he went to his tent and sat speechless 
until the invasion of the camp ; then he walked 
away ** softly afoot, taken up altogether with thoughts 
such as probably might possess a man that for the 
space of thirty-four years together had been accus- 
tomed to conquest and victory, and was then at last, 
in his old age, learning for the first time what defeat 
and flight were."* 

Thus, in reality, barbarians consolidated the ancient 
world, and the force which created the Empire, after- 
ward upheld it. With each succeeding century the 
drafts of centralized society upon the blood of the coun- 
try beyond the Danube and the Rhine increased, but 
the supply proved limitless ; and, when the Western 
provinces disintegrated, a new imaginative race poured 
over Italy and France, creating a new religion, a new 
art, a new literature, and new institutions. Among 
modern nations the Russians alone have developed 
this power of absorbing kindred conquered peoples ; 
and yet, obviously. Napoleon would have fought his 
campaigns under very different circumstances, and, 

1 Plutarch's Lives, Qough's trans., iv. 123. 
« /M,, 298. • /^V/., 142. 


perhaps, brought them to a different end, had he, like 
Caesar, had an exhaustless supply of the best soldiers, 
altogether independent of the population of France. 

Religious phenomena become explicable when 
viewed from the same standpoint. Unquestionably 
scepticism has been to the full as rife in Paris since 
1789 as it ever was in Rome, and yet no new religion 
has been bom. Supposing, however, that a vast and 
highly emotional emigration flowed annually into 
France, the aspect of life would be completely changed. 
Christian saints and martyrs were not begotten by 
the usurers of Constantinople or of Rome, but by 
barbarian soldiers and Asiatic serfs, and Christianity 
could hardly have become a State religion had the 
composition of society, as it existed under Trajan, 
remained unaltered. Even in the reig^ of Justinian 
the aristocracy carped at faith, and Byzantine archi- 
tecture did not bloom until the invasions of Alaric 
and Attila. 

If, then, although nature never precisely repeats 
herself, she operates upon the human mind according 
to immutable laws, it should be possible by comparing 
a living civilization with a dead, to estimate in some 
degree the course which has been run. For such an 
attempt an infinite variety of standards might be sug- 
gested, but few, perhaps, are more suitable than the 
domestic relations which lie at the basis of the repro- 
duction of life. 

In a martial and imaginative age, where energy 
vents itself through fear, and every man must be a 
soldier, the family generally forms a unit ; the women 
and children being under the control of the father, as 
they were under the control of the patriarchs in the 


Bible, or of the paterfamilias in Rome. In such 
periods the woman is sought after by the man, and 
even commands a high money value ; "And Shechem 
said unto her father, . . . Ask me never so much 
dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall 
say unto me : but give me the damsel to wife."* The 
Homeric heroes bought their wives, and, moreover, 
were very fond of them — an affection the women 
returned, for in all classical literature there are few 
more charming legends than that of Penelope. Di- 
vorce was unknown to Hector and Agamemnon, 
Ulysses and Achilles. Marriage, in these simple 
ages, is usually a rite half sacred, half warlike. When 
Abraham's servant found Rebekah at the well, he 
bowed his head, and blessed the Lord God of his 
master Abraham, which had led him in the right 
way. A Roman wedding was a solemn religious 
function accompanied by prayer and sacrifice, and, at 
the end, the bride was carried to her husband's house, 
where she was violently torn from her mother's arms. 
Aristotle, with his unerring acumen, made this 
observation : " That all warlike races are prone to 
the love of women," and also that they tend to "fall 
under the dominion of their wives." ^ Undoubtedly 
this is the instinct of the soldier, and, in martial ages, 
women are idealized. When a foreigner asked the 
wife of Leonidas, ** Why do you Lacedaemonian wives, 
unlike all others, govern your husbands ? " the Spartan 
answered, "Because we alone are the mothers of men." 
When at Rome Tiberius killed the male serpent, 
thereby devoting himself to death to save Cornelia, 
Plutarch, telling the story, remarked, " that Tiberius 

^ Geneiis zzxiv. ii, 12. ' Aristotle, /W., ii. 9. 


seemed to all men to have done nothing unreasona- 
ble, in choosing to die for such a woman ; who, when 
King Ptolemy himself proffered her his crown, and 
would have married her, refused it, and chose rather 
to live a widow." * 

In the Middle Ages, that greatest of martial and 
imaginative epochs, marriage developed into the 
most solemn of sacraments, and the worship of 
women became the popular religion. In France, es- 
pecially, the centre of thought, enthusiasm, and war, 
from the mighty fane of Paris downward, the churches 
were dedicated to Mary, and the vow of chivalry bound 
the knight to fight for God and for his lady. 

** It hath bene through all ages ever seene 
That with the praise of armes and chevalrie 
The prize of beautie still hath ioyned beene.*' ' 

It might almost be said that the destinies of France 
have been moulded by men's love for women, and 
that this influence still prevailed down to the advent 
of the usurers after the rout of Waterloo. On the 
other hand, nature bred a type of woman fit to mate 
with the imaginative man. The devotion of Saint 
Clara to Saint Francis is one of the most exquisite 
lyrics of the Church, and for six hundred years 
H61oTse remained an ideal of the West. Perhaps, 
indeed, that strange blending of tenderness and en- 
thusiasm, which was peculiar to the mediaeval mind, 
never found more refined and exalted expression 
than in the simple hymn which H^lolse is said to 
have composed and sung at the grave of Ab^lard : — 

1 PlaUrch't Lives, Goal's trmnft., iv. 507. 
* fittfj Qmtemr, Spenser, if. 5, i. 


** Tecum fata sum peq>essa ; 
Tecum dormiam defessa, 
£t in Sion veniam. 
Solve cnicem, 
Due ad lucem 
Degravatam animam." 

In primitive ages children are not only a source 
of power, but of wealth, and therefore the highest 
merit of the woman is fecundity. *'And they 
blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, ... be thou 
the mother of thousands of millions." Also mater- 
nity is then a glory, and childlessness a shame ; and 
Rachel said, ** Give me children, or else I die." ** And 
she conceived and bare a son ; and said, God hath 
taken away my reproach." That she might live for 
her boys, Cornelia refused a crown ; and when they 
grew up, she would upbraid them because ''the 
Romans as yet rather called her the daughter of 
Scipio than the mother of the Gracchi.** But Cor- 
nelia's father was the conqueror of Hannibal, and 
her son was an agrarian agitator, whom the monied 
oligarchy murdered for reviving the Licinian Laws. 
Apparently, one of the first signs of advancing 
civilization is the fall in the value of women in 
men's eyes. Not very long after the siege of Troy, 
husbands must have ceased paying for their wives ; 
for, at a comparatively early date, they demanded 
a price for wedding them. Euripides, born in 
480 B.C., made Medea complain that women had to 
buy their husbands for great sums of money. In 
other words, the custom of the wedding portion had 
come to prevail. 

As the pressure of economic competition inten- 

in. OWCLLSinx 369 

sifies with social consolidation, the family regularly 
disintegrates, the children reiect:ng the parental 
authority at a steadily decreasing age : until, finally, 
the population fuses into a compact mass, in which 
all individuals are equal before the law, and all are 
forced to compete with each other for the means of 
subsistence. When at length wealth has accumu- 
lated sufficiently to find vent through capitalistic 
methods of farming and manufacture, children lose 
all value, for then hiring labour is always cheaper 
than breeding. Thenceforward, among the more 
extravagant races, the family dwindles, as in ancient 
Rome or modem France, and marriage, having be- 
come a luxury, decreases. Moreover, the economic 
instinct impels parents to reduce the number of pos- 
sible inheritors of their pro{>erty, that its bulk may 
not shrink. 

Upon women the effect of these changed condi- 
tions is prodigious. Their whole relation to society 
is altered. From a religious sacrament marriage is 
metamorphosed into a civil contract, dissoluble, like 
other contracts, by mutual consent ; and, as the obli- 
gations of maternity diminish, the relation of hus- 
band and wife resolves itself into a sort of business 
partnership, tending always to become more ephem- 
eral Frequent as divorce now is, it was even more 
so under the Antonines. 

On men the action of natural selection is, at least, 
as drastic. The change wrought in Roman character 
in about three hundred years has always been one of 
the problems of history. In the words of Aristotle, 
the primitive Roman "was prone to the love of 
women." Strong in his passions, austere in his life. 


fierce in his jealousy, he set the undisputed possession 
of the female as his supreme happiness. Virginius 
slew his daughter to keep her from Appius Claudius, 
and his comrades in the legions washed out his 
wrong in the Decemvir's blood; while among the 
stirring ballads of the fabled time which were sung 
at the farmer's fireside, none roused such emotion as 
the tale of the vengeance wreaked on Tarquin for 
Lucretia's death. Compare this virile race with the 
aristocracy of the middle Empire. By the second 
century female purity weighed light against money. 
Marcus Aurelius is said to have condensed the whole 
economic moral code in one short sentence. His ! 

wife, Faustina, was accused, by scandal, of being the j 

most abandoned woman of her generation, more noto- 
rious even than had been Messalina. When the 
philosopher was urged to repudiate her, he replied, 
"Then I should have to surrender her portion" 
(the Empire) ; and he not only lived with her, but 
built a temple to her memory. Even if the story be 
false, it reflects none the less truly the temper of the I 


The minds of noble Romans of the third and fourth 
centuries, under the same impulsion, worked differ- 
ently from those of their primitive ancestors ; they I 
lacked the martial and the amatory instincts. As a 
general rule one salient characteristic of the later 
reigns was a sexual lassitude yielding only to the 
roost potent stimulants. The same phenomena were 
noticed among Frenchmen at the collapse of the 
Empire, since when like symptoms have become 
notorious in London. 

Taking history as a whole, women seem never to 

avczx-sKsr 371 

have more than iwlrufrf r asoealed to the 
of the ecooomic man. The mocaed magnate sekiocn 
inins himself for love, 2nd chiralnr woald hare been 
as foreign to a Roman senator an<^ Diocletian, as 
it would be now to a Lombard Street banker. On 
the other hand, in proportion as women's infioence 
has declined when raeasored br their power over 
men, it has increased when ccasared by the eco- 
nomic standard. In manr w^lts the female seems to 
serve as a vent for the energy of capital almost as 
wen as men ; in the higher planes of civilization they 
hold their pr o pq ty in severalty, and, by means of 
money, wield a power not unlike Faustina's. If 
unmarried, the economic woman competes with the 
man on nearly equal terms, and everywhere, and in 
an ages, the result is not dissimilar. The stronger 
and more fortunate members of the sex have grown 
rich and have bought social and political power. 
Roman politics under Septimius Severus and Cara- 
calla was much in the hands of women, and Julia 
Maesa, who was enormously wealthy, carried through 
a most famous intrigue by purchasing the throne for 

In Rome, however, there was always a strong ad- 
mixture of barbaric blood, and, to the last, the bar- 
barians married for love. Justinian was an example. 
Bom of an obscure race of barbarians in the desolate 
Bulgarian country, he fell uncontrollably in love with 
Theodora, who had scandalized even the theatres of 
G>nstantinople. His mother died of shame; but Jus- 
tinian persevered, and, while she lived, his devotion 
to his wife never wavered. 

In Rome and in Byzantium such women were the 


Stronger or the more fortunate ; their counterparts 
are easily to be found in any economic age. The 
fate of the weaker there was slavery ; now they are 
forced by competition into the ranks of the cheapest 
labour, — a lot, perhaps, hardly preferable. 

And yet art, perhaps, even more clearly than re- 
ligion, love, or war, indicates the pathway of consoli- 
dation ; for art reflects with the subtlest delicacy those 
changes in the forms of competition which enfeeble 
or inflame the imagination. Of Greek art, in its 
zenith, little need be said; its great qualities have been 
too fully recognized. It suffices to point out that it 
was absolutely honest, and that it formed a vehicle 
of expression as flexible as the language itself. A 
temple apparently of marble, was of marble ; a col- 
onnade apparently supporting a portico, did support 
it ; and, while the ornament formed an integral part 
of the structure, the people read it as intelligently as 
they read the poems of Homer. Nothing similar 
ever flourished in Rome. 

Unlike the Greeks, the Romans were never sensi- 
tive or imaginative. Properly speaking, they had 
nothing which they could express through art ; they 
were utilitarian from the outset, and their architecture 
finally took shape in the most perfect system of ma- 
terialistic building which, probably, has ever existed. 
Obviously such a system could only be matured in a 
capitalistic society, and, accordingly, Roman archi- 
tecture only reached perfection somewhat late, per- 
haps, toward the close of the first century. 

The Romans, though vulgar and ostentatious, un- 
derstood business. They knew how to combine 
economy and even solidity with display. As Viollet- 

ccwru:=30K 573 

le-Doc has obscnred. *'TbcT were ridi, Jind tbrr vainted 
to appear so»" ' but tbcj srrorc to attain their end 
without waste. Therefore ther nrsi ran up a cheap 
core of rubble, bricks, and loortar, which could be 
put together bj rode slare labour under the direc- 
tion of an engineer and a few overseers; and their 
squalid interior they afterward veneered with marble, 
sodding, by way of ornament, tier above tier of Greek 
columns ranged against the walls. That gaudy exte- 
rior had nothing whatever to do with the building 
itself, and could be stripped off without >'ital injury. 
From the Greek standpoint nothing could be falser, 
more insulting to the intelligence, or, in a word, more 
plutocratic; but the work was sound and durable, 
and, to a certain degree, imposing from its mass. 
This system lasted, substantially unimpaired, even to 
Constantine or until the final migration of capital 
to the Bosphorus, the only difference between the 
monuments of the fourth century and the first being 
that the former are somewhat coarser, just as the 
coins of Diocletian are coarser than those of Nero. 
Yet, although the monied aristocracy remained 
supreme down to the final disintegration of the 
West, emigration beg^ very early to modify the 
base of society, by the injection of a considerable 
amount of imaginative blood ; and, as early as the 
reig^ of Tiberius, this new store of energy made its 
presence felt through the outlet of Christianity. The 
converts were, of course, the antipodes of the ruling 
class. They were " humiliores," poor people, below 
the notice of a rich man like Tacitus ; " quos, . . . 
vulgus Christianos appellabat." ' 

> Emtrttiemt sur tAr€kiU<turt^ L I02. * Ann,^ iy. 44. 


These Christians held a position analogous to 
that of Nihilists now, whom they resembled save 
in respect to violence. They were socialists living 
under a monied despotism, and they openly prayed 
for the end of the world ; therefore they were 
thought "haters of the human race,"^ and they 
suffered the penalty. Primitive Christianity was 
incompatible with the existence of Roman society, 
against which it was a protest, for it " fully accepted 
the idea that the rich, if he did not surrender his 
superfluity, kept what belonged to another." * By 
right the Kingdom of Heaven was closed to the 

Probably very few of these early Christians were 
Italians; most of them were from the Levant, and 
that they were intensely emotional is proved by their 
lust for martyrdom — they voluntarily sought death 
as a means of glorifying God. One day Arrius Anto- 
ninus, proconsul of Asia, having ordered certain Chris- 
tians arrested, saw all the faithful of the town present 
themselves before his tribunal, demanding to share 
the fate of those chosen for martyrdom. He dis- 
missed them in wrath, telling them that if they were 
so in love with death they might commit suicide;^ 
and Renan's account of the persecutions under Nero 
shows an incredible exaltation.^ 

Almost at once the effect of this emotional temper- 
ament became perceptible. The paintings in the 
catacombs are, perhaps, the oldest example of Chris- 
tian art, and of these M. Vitet thus spoke many years 
ago: — 

^ j4Hm., XV. 44. * Tertullian, j4(i Stapuiam, 5. 

* Mart'AureUy Renan, 600. * LAntechrist^ 163 et seq. 

iML coscLVSios 375 

^ These decocatioDS, made with the hand raised, in aearet, 
hurriedlj, and more for pious reasons than for lore of the 
beantifal, nevertheless re%-eal to the most rebellious eyes 
and in spite of strange negligence and incorrec tn es s , I know 
not what of animation, of joath, of fecundity, and, so to 
speak, a real transformation of that rery art which, in the 
serrice of paganism, seemed then, we are aU agreed, dying 
of exhaustion." ' 

As the world disintegrated, and the imagination 
everywhere acquired power, and with power wealth 
and the means of expression, an entirely new archi- 
tecture sprang up in the East, whose growth closely 
followed upon the barbarian invasions and the. pro- 
gressive failure of the Roman blood. The system of 
construction was Asiatic modified by Greek influ- 
ences,^ and with this new construction came an equally 
new decoration, a decoration which once more served 
as a language. 

Mosaics of stone had long been used, but mosaics 
of glass, which give such an incomparable lustre to 
the dome, were the invention of Levantine Christians, 
and seem to have come into general use toward the 
beginning of the fifth century. But the fifth century 
was the period of the great invasions of Alaric, Attila, 
and Theoderic, and during this period the population 
of Italy, Macedonia, and Thrace must have undergone 
profound changes. In Italy the whole fabric of con* 
solidated society crumbled ; south of the Danube it 
survived, but survived in a modified form, a form on 
which the recent migrations left an unmistakable im- 
print Galla Placidia, the first great patron of the 

> Aimifi SMT VHuUire de VArt, Vitet, i. soa 
* VAri de Baiir iJkn kt Byammiim, Cboiiy, 5, 6. 


pure Byzantine school, died in 450, after an eventful 
life largely passed among the barbarians, one of whom 
she married. She began to embellish Ravenna, and 
a comparison of these remains with those of France 
and Italy of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth cen- 
turies, exposes the difference in the forces which 
moulded these three civilizations. 

With all its grace and refinement the characteristic 
of Ravenna was not religious ecstasy, but rather an 
absence of fear of the unknown, and a respect for 
wealth. There is nothing mysterious or terrible 
about these charming buildings, which are manifestly 
rather a glorification of the Empire on the Bosphorus, 
than of the Kingdom of Heaven. 

At San Vitale it is Justinian, with an aureole about 
his head and surrounded by his courtiers, carrying a 
gift to the shrine ; or Theodora, blazing with jewels, 
and followed by the magnificent ladies of her house- 
hold. At San Apollinare the long procession of saints 
are richly clad and bear crowns, while the Virgin her- 
self, seated on a throne and revered as a sovereign, 
is as far removed from the vulgar as Theodora her- 
self. " Byzantine etiquette no longer permits her to 
be approached directly ; four angels surround her 
and separate her from humanity."^ The terrifying 
was scrupulously avoided. ** By a most significant 
scruple, the artist, in reproducing various episodes of 
the Passion, avoided the most painful, the Crucifix- 
ion." « 

Saint Sophia offers every indication of having been 
expressly contrived to provide the large light spaces 

> Re€herckes pour servir a PHistoire de la Peinture ei de la Scuip- 
ture Ckritienmts en Orien/, Bajret, 99. * Hid,, 99. 




needful for such functions as those depicted in San 
Vitale, and the account given by Procopius of its 
erection sustains this supposition. According to 
Procopius, Saint Sophia was a hobby of Justinian, 
who not only selected the architect Antheroius be- 
cause he was the most ingenious mechanic of his age, 
but who also supplied the funds and "assisted it by 
the labour and powers of his mind."* The dome, 
"from the lightness of the building . . . does not 
appear to rest upon a solid foundation, but to cover 
the place beneath as though it were suspended from 
heaven by the fabled golden chain " ; and the interior 
" is singularly full of light and of sunshine ; you 
would declare that the place is not lighted by the 
sun from without, but that the rays are produced 
within itself, such an abundance of light is poured 
into this church."' Of the decorations it is impossi- 
ble to speak with certainty, since it is probable that 
the mosaics w'lich now exist were of a later period. 

Perhaps, however, the most significant phenome- 
non about the church is its loneliness ; nothing like 
it was built elsewhere, and the reason seems plain. 
There was but one imperial court which needed so 
su{>erb a setting, and but one emperor who could pay 
for it. Herein lies the radical divergence between 
the East and West ; the great tabernacle of Constan- 
tinople stood alone because it represented the wealth, 
the pomp, and the imagination of the barbarian shep- 
herd who had been raised by fortune to be the chief 
of police of the city where the world's wealth had 
centralized. In France every diocese had a temple 
magnificent according to its means, some of which 

> Bmildimgt •/JusHmiam, Procopius, trans, bjr Stewart, L I. * md. 


exceeded in majesty that of Paris ; and the cause 
was that, in France, the artistic and imaginative caste 
formed a theocracy, who were not hired by king or 
emperor, but who were themselves the strongest 
force in all the land. In the Elast, the imaginative 
inroad was not strong enough to cause disintegration, 
and the artists always remained wage-earners. In 
the West, society fell back a thousand years, and 
consolidation began afresh. Six centuries intervened 
between the death of Galla Placidia and the famous 
dream of the monk Gauzon which contained the rev- 
elation of the plan of the Abbey of Cluny, and yet 
six hundred years by no means represented the gap 
between the Franks and the Burgundians, and the 
Eastern Empire, even when it sank lowest under 
Heraclius. To Justinian the building of Saint Sophia 
was a matter of time and money ; to Saint Hugh the 
church of Cluny was a miracle. 

In France the churches long were miracles ; the 
chronicles are filled with the revelations vouchsafed 
the monks ; and none can cross the threshold of one 
of these noble monuments and fail to grasp its mean- 
ing. They are the most vigorous of all expressions 
of fear of the unseen. The Gothic architect heeded 
no living potentate; he held kings in contempt, and 
oftener represented them thrust down into hell than 
seated on their thrones. With the enemy who lurked 
in darkness none but the saints could cope, and them 
he idealized. No sculpture is more terrible than the 
demons on the walls of Rheims, none more majestic 
and pathetic than that over the door of the Virgin at 
Paris, while no colour ever equalled the windows of 
Saint Denis and Chartres. 

so. GDBOCLrSIOK 579 

With the tliirtcciith ceatiuT came the influx of the 
Eastern trade and the rise of the cocnnianes. Imme- 
diately the gkwy of the Gothic begxn to faKle ; by the 
reign of Saint Louis it had passed its prime, and 
under PhiUp the Fair it fell in full decline. The 
men who put dead cats in shrines were not likely to 
be inspired in reiigioiis sculpture. The decay, and 
the reasons for it, can be readily traced in colour. 

The monks who conceived the twelfth century 
windows, or painted the pictures of the saints, only 
sought to render an emotion by a conventional sym- 
bol which should rouse a response. Consequently 
they used marvellous combinations of colours, in 
which Uue was apt to predominate, and they har- 
monized their colours with gold. Viollet-le-Duc has 
elaborately explained how this was done.^ But such 
a system was not pretentious, and was incompatible 
with perspective. The mediaeval burgher, like the 
Roman, was rich, and wanted to appear so. He de- 
manded more for his money than 8 solemn portrait 
of a saint He craved a picture of himself, or of his 
guild, and above all he insisted on display. The four- 
teenth century was the period when the reds and yel- 
lows superseded the blues, and when the sense of 
harmony began to fail. Furthermore, the burgher 
was realistic and required a representation of the 
world he saw about him. Hence came perspective, 
the abandonment of gold, and the final degradation 
of colour, which sank into a lost art. For hundreds 
of years it has been impossible to imitate the work of 
the monks of Saint Denis. In Italy, the economic 
phenomena were yet more striking ; for Italy, even 

1 DutUmmaire tU f ArckiUfiwre^ Ait. ** Pdatvft.'' 

38o aviLiZATiox axd decay chaf. 

in the Middle Ages, was always a commercial com- 
munity, which looked on art with the economic eye. 
One example will suffice, — the treatment of the 

Placed between the masterpieces of the East and 
West, and having little imagination of his own, the 
Florentine banker conceived the idea of combining 
the two systems and embellishing them in a cheap 
and showy manner. Accordingly on Gothic arches 
he placed an Eastern dome, and instead of adorning 
his dome with mosaics, which are costly, he had his 
interior painted at about one-quarter of the price. 
The substitution of the fresco for the mosaic is one 
of the most typical devices of modern times. 

Before the opening of the economic age, when the 
imagination glowed with all the passion of religious 
enthusiasm, the monks who built the abbeys of Cluny 
and Saint Denis took no thought of money, for it 
regarded them not. Sheltered by their convents, 
their livelihood was assured ; their bread and their 
robe were safe; they pandered to no market, tor 
they cared for no patron. Their art was not a chat- 
tel to be bought, but an inspired language in which 
they communed with God, or taught the people, and 
they expressed a poetry in the stones they carved 
which far transcended words. For these reasons 
Gothic architecture, in its prime, was spontaneous, 
elevated, dignified, and pure. 

The advent of portraiture has usually been con- 
sidered to portend decay, and rightly, since the pres- 
ence of the portrait demonstrates the supremacy of 
wealth. A portrait can hardly be the ideal of an 
enthusiast, like the figure of a god, for it is a com- 


mercial article, sold for a price, and manufactured to 
suit a patron's taste ; were it made to please the 
artist, it might not find a buyer. When portraits 
are fashionable, the economic period must be well 
advanced. Portraiture, like other economic phe- 
nomena, blossomed during the Renaissance, and it 
was then also that the artist, no longer shielded by 
his convent or his guild, stood out to earn his living 
by the sale of his wares, like the Venetian merchants 
whom he met on the Rialto, whose vanity he flat- 
tered, and whose palaces he adorned. From the six- 
teenth century downward, the man of imagination, 
unable to please the economic taste, has starved. 

This mercenary quality forms the gulf which has 
divided the art of the Middle Ages from that of 
modern times — a gulf which cannot be bridged, and 
which has broadened with the lapse of centuries, 
until at last the artist, like all else in society, has 
become the creature of a commercial market, even 
as the Greek was sold as a slave to the plutocrat 
of Rome. With each invention, with each accelera- 
tion of movement, prose has more completely sup- 
planted poetry, while the economic intellect has 
grown less tolerant of any departure from those 
representations of nature which have appealed tm 
the most highly gifted of the monied type among 
successive generations. Hence the imperiousness 
of modern realism. 

Thus the history of art coincides with the history 
of all other phenomena of life; for experience has 
demonstrated that, since the Reformation, a school 
of architecture, like the Greek or Gothic, has become 
impossible. No such school could exist in a society 

382 CniLlZATION AND DECAY chap. 

where the imagination had decayed, for the Greek 
and Gothic represented imaginative ideals. In an 
economic period, like that which has followed the 
Reformation, wealth is the form in which energy 
seeks expression ; therefore, since the close of the 
fifteenth century, architecture has reflected money, 

Viollet-le-Duc has said of the Romans, that, like 
all parvenus, the true expression of art lay, for them, 
rather in lavish ornament than in purity of forro,^ 
and what was true of the third century is true of 
the nineteenth. The type of mind being the same, 
its operation must be similar, and the economic, at 
once ostentatious and parsimonious, produces a cheap 
core fantastically adorned. The Romans perched the 
travesty of a Grecian colonnade upon the summit of a 
bath or an amphitheatre, while the Englishman, hav- 
ing pillaged weaker nations of their imaginative gems, 
delights to cover with coarse imitations the exterior 
of banks and counting-houses. 

And yet, though thus alike, a profound difference 
separates Roman architecture from our own; the 
Romans were never wholly sordid, nor did they ever 
niggle. When they built a wall, that wall was solid 
masonry, not painted iron ; and, even down to Con- 
stantine, one chord remained which, when struck, 
would always vibrate. Usurers may have sat in the 
Senate, but barbarians filled the legions, and, as long 
as the triumph wound its way through the Forum, 
men knew how to raise triumphal arches to the victor. 
Perhaps, in all the ages, no more serious or majestic 
monument has been conceived to commemorate the 
soldier than the column of Trajan, a monument 

^ Entretiens, i. 102. 


which it has been the ambition of our century to 

In Paris an imitation of this trophy was erected to 
the greatest captain of France, and the column of 
the Place VendAme serves to mark the grave of the 
modem martial blood. Raised in 18 10, almost at 
the moment when Nathan Rothschild became despot 
of the London Stock Exchange, the tide from thence 
ran swiftly, and, since Sedan, the present generation 
has drained to the lees the cup of realism. 

No poetry can bloom in the arid modem soil, the 
drama has died, and the patrons of art are no longer 
even conscious of shame at profaning the most sacred 
of ideals. The ecstatic dream, which some twelfth- 
century monk cut into the stones of the sanctuary 
hallowed by the presence of his God, is reproduced 
to bedizen a warehouse ; or the plan of an abbey, 
which Saint Hugh may have consecrated, is adapted 
to a railway station. 

Decade by decade, for some four hundred years, 
these phenomena have grown more sharply marked 
in Euro{>e, and, as consolidation apparently nears its 
climax, art seems to presage approaching disinte- 
gration. The architecture, the sculpture, and the 
coinage of London at the close of the nineteenth 
century, when compared with those of the Paris of 
Saint Louis, recall the Rome of Caracalla as con- 
trasted with the Athens of Pericles, save that we 
lack the stream of barbarian blood which made the 
Middle Age. 


taefe ol 130; dt k t Kf ol by 
TcwpUn 171. 

fenrcd in Rooms araiy 61. 
Eoipcroc of 
bleach with Napolecm 334. 

130; boMdft gold 331-33S; 
paper an panic ol itas 335 ; Bank 
Act of 1I44 336; Uit p m%i om ol 
Baak Act 344. 
; Baak of Genoa: i6t. 

Alexis: treats with crasaders i39.|Eiaakol 

i6t, 16^ 

death ol 14> 
Aaastatius : weaith of 51 ; builds loof 
wall 51. 

JM Chwch of Eaf- 

Aalwcrp : rise of aoi ; centre of 
changes aoi ; sack of at/. 

Architecture: Italian tS; Gothic 89: 
Bysantine 89; Saracenic9o; cru- 
sading too; Greek and Roman 
37a; Bftantine 375 «r i*f.. 
Gothic 378; modem 38a; m» 

Armada: defeated by yeomen 856; 
kMs of 987. 

Army, mt Police. 

Art : decline of 380, 381 ; mt Archi- 

Articles, ecclesiastical: Six 231. s68; 

Forty-two ate : Lambeth 968. 
Attila: ransoms Constantinople 50; 

vision of 63. 
Aureus: deprcctatioo of 97; passes 

by weight 31. 

Bakiwin. Count of Edessa: 105; King 

of Jerusalem 105. 
Baldwin. Emperor of the East : 146 ; 

reproved by Innocent 147. 
Bank of England : incorporated 303 : 

early issues of 319 ; suspends cash Catamr : army of 363. 

payments 397 ; policy of prior to Capital : centrts at Constantteoplt 

1810 397 ; resumes specie pay- ' aS : Mill's definition of 313 ; ac 
2C 385 

Bankers : OBediaeval 168 ; increase of 
English country after 1760 319: 
poor credit of 390; increase istuci 

"> ^^*3 333; f^ o' great modem 
houses 391; policy of 398; m- 
premacy of 344 ; absolute govern- 
ment by 353. 
Barbarians: imported by Roman 
emperors 39; lack of in modem 
times 363 ; formed strength of Ro- 
man armies 363 ; want of weakness 
in modem civ i li mti on 364; Mt 

Boadicea : revolt of 37. 

Boleyn. Anne: 919; sweating skk- 

Boleyn, Thomas : chamrtpr and riaa 
of 913. 

Boniface VIII.: charartpr of 17*; 
quarrel %rith Philip 173; bulls of 
174, 175; setaed at Anagni 177. 

Boam: retrcnt from 119; mtmclaat 

Boulton, Matthew : rise o# 314 : pAfi- 

nership %rith Walt 316 ; debts of 316. 
Bullion Committee : 398.399. 
Burleigh. Lord : rise of 913 ; hostile 

to adventurers 956; Ismlly of tjpi- 

cal kndkKds 967. 



celcrmtet movement 514 ; accumu- 
lates at London 319; tte England 
and London. 

(^nhusiant : martyrdom of aai. 

Ocil, t4e Burleigh. 

Champagne : fairs of 158 ; centres of 
KASiem trade 158 ; decline of 901. 

Chantries : confiscation of 259. 

Child. Sir Josiah : rise of 994 ; esti- 
mates England's wealth 395. 

Church. Catholic: set Early Chris- 
tian ; becomea dominant in Italy 
63; secular character of medieval 
clergy of 71 ; secular dergy of 73 ; 
claims of under HiMebrand 75; 
makes papacy self-perpetuating 75 ; 
emancipates itself from dvil power 
76, 77; schism of with Constanti- 
nople 78 ; character of clergy of at 
KrfdrmatiOB 164, 965 ; miracles ol^ 
»0f Miracles, Ouny. Convents. 

Churdi, Earlv Christian: socialts- 
tic 60; acquires weahb in third 
century 60; officially recognised 
61; kvours barbarians 6a; sub> 
servient to Roman emperors te; 
based on miracles 63 ti wf . ; im- 
agiMilivt373: poverty of 373 ; art 

of jy4. 

ChurvK Eastern: remains subfect 
tu ib« emperors 7#-tt; architect 
ture of 89; phindiercil 145; ait of 

Cbnrdi of Enfknd: an economic 
pben^.'^menoa aa8 ; Henry snp retne 
bendof aa8; robbed bvlandkwds 
930; orthodoa n nd er Hennr VIIL 
^3n; i fioiied bv Edwnid VI. aS9L 
nbn; Cihinwhc ate: ^o c fl e to lay 
dK t atwn a^i.imhof rtfnlandby 

peals to pope against Philip the 
Fair 172 ; ut Saint Bernard. 

Claudius. Appius: a usurer 7; en- 
slaves Virginia 8; enforces usury 
laws 9. 

Clement V. : election of 178 ; bargain 
with Philip 178 ; entices Molay to 
Paris 180; persecutes Templars 
181 ; tries Molay 184 ; death of 185. 

Clermont : council of 83. 

Clive, Lord: birth of 306; campaigns 
of 307 ; Plassey 308 ; wealth of 309 ; 
attacked by landlords 310. 

Cluny: founded 7a; growth of 73; 
controls papacy 75. 

Cobden : attacks landlords 341 : ori- 
gin of 341. 

Cobham. Lord : trial of 193 ; attempts 
conventual confiscation 19$. 

Coeur-de-Lion : leads crusade iya\ 
treats with Saladin Z31. 

Coinage, Roman : copper 15 ; sahrer 
s6; debasement of 96; 
gokl monometallic 97.30; 
by weight 31; of 
55: debasement of coinage of Con- 
stantinople 56; 
under Qiarlemagne 199; V 
199 ; gold of thirteenth ccntary 1*9 
debasement of French pound 170 
debasement of English penny 195 
iMse money of Heniy VIIL 906 
standard restored by Eluabcth joo 
lecoinage by WiHiaM IIL 
depreciation in eighteenth 
303: English gold of 
century 330; passes by 
330; jw Gold 

Coloni: debtor s 33 
tied as 39; picdeoessQfS of 



ConsUntine : buih Constantinople 
aB; vision of 60; victory of Mil- 
vian Bridge 61. 

Constantinople: becomes the eco- 
nomic centre of the world iB; 
prosperity of after fall of Western 
Empire 49, 50: colonised by Ro- 
man capitalists 49 ; taxation of 49 ; 
poverty of under Theodosius II. 
50; prosperity of under Justinian 
I. 51 ; population changes under 
Heradius 5a ; becomes an Asiatic 
city 5a ; declines in eleventh century 
53: civilixation of economic 53; 
description of by Rabbi Benjamin 
53; population of economic and 
cowardly 54; economic condition 
of in twelfth century 87 ; army of 
tS ; sack of 144 ; m» Coinage and 

Convents : mediaeval founders of 68 ; 
efficacy of intercession of 69 ; Bene- 
dictine 7a ; early discipline of 7a ; 
consolidation of 7a; Cluny 73; 
control papacy 78 ; armies organ- 
ised by 99: fortresses built by 99; 
patronised for miracles 109; wealth 
of 154 : attacked by feudal nobles 
155 ; hostile to communes 160, 161 ; 
taxed by Philip the Fair 17a ; rev. 
enues seised by Edward I. 195; 
attacked by Lollards 196; bill to 
suppress 331 ; visitation of 335 ; 
visitors of a3s>a38 ; spoliation of 839. 

Com : price of at Rome 17 ; distribu- 
tion of at Rome 18 ; price of in 1849 
345; Com Laws 340; repeal of 340. 

Councils of the Church: Hikle- 
brand's propositions at council of 
1076 75 ; of Clermont 83 ; of Troyes 
98; of ^tampes no; N^ellc 136; 
Vienne 184. 

Cranmer : rise of 378 ; character of 
a79 ; death of aSa 

Credit : dawn of in thirteenth century 
167 : rise of modem system of 303 ; 
otcnsion of after Plassey 319 ; ref - 
slated by Bank Act of 1844 336; 
prices dependent on 337 ; weapon 
of the creditor class 349. 

CroBwcU, Oliver: raises Iroosadcs 

asa : attacks Spa nish Ai 
intercepts plaie fleet 301. 

Cromwell. Thomas : rise of ao6 ; ar- 
rest of aa4; vicar scleral 831; 
proceeds against convents 833: 
prosecutes Abbot of Glastoa &|o ; 
death of a4a. 

Cross: miracle worked by at Boara 
119; Mir Relics. 

Crusade: first 84: takes Jerusalean 
85; second, preached by Saint 
Bernard iia; sutlers before Ataha 
115; defeat of 118; crusadiiif be- 
comes commercial 1*4 ; third, led 
by CcBur-de-Lion ia9: takes Acre 
130 ; of Constantinople, preached 
13a ; reaches Venice 134 ; diverted 
by Dandolo 139; attacks Zam 
138; sacks Constantinople 14$; 
of Damietta 150; defeated la 


Currency: regulated by Charle- 
magne ia9: medieval z68; con- 
traction of in thineeiMh century 
169: debasement of English 194; 
depreciation of in Middle Ages 
304: under Henry VIII. ao7: paper 
303 ; management of by produoeis 
3a6; by bankers 330; Mr Coinige, 
Bank of England. Bankers. 

Dalhottsie, Lord: administration of 

Damietta, Mir Crusade. 
Dandolo, Henry: character of 13a; 

treats with Franks 133 ; takes ooas- 

maad of crusade 137; diverU 

cniiade 139 ; excommunicaied 

Z39; assauHi Constantinople 141; 

shriven 147. 
Darcy, Thomas, Lord : character of 

ai6 ; declines to betray Aske sty ; 

execution of ai9 ; dying speech to 

Cromwell ai9b 
Denarius: depredation of at Rome 

a6; repudiatioo of a6: of Cbarie* 

magne taB; of Vcnke 199; Mir 

Diocletian: a slave 97; established 

capital at NicooMdia 97; rcturat 

to silver coinage 3a 



Divine right: defined 37a; see 
Church of England. 

Divorce : see Domestic relations. 

Domestic relations: ancient and 
modem 365 et seq, 

Dovercourt : rood of aoa 

Drake : rise of 255 ; death of 256 ; 
cruises of 288. 

Dudley. John, Duke of Northumber- 
land : rise of as X ; suppresses Rett's 
rebellion asa ; supersedes Seymour 
a6i : quarrel with Knox a6a. 

East India Companies: organized 
a^a; English company commercial 
up to 1757 306 ; administration of 

Eastern Empire, see Constantinople. 

Eastern trade : in Rome 33. 34 ; cen- 
tres at Constantinople a8 ; migrates 
to luly X36; early routes of xa8; 
character of in twelfth century 
xa8 ; brings bullion to Europe xa9 ; 
centres in Champagne 159; cen- 
tres at Antwerp aox; at Amster- 
dam 387; at London 391; drains 
silver from Europe 399; effect of 
Plassey on 31a 

Edessa: position of 86; capture of 
X03 : occupied by Baldwin 105. 

Eg>'pi : cheap labour of X9 ; grain 
ships of X9; architecture of 90; 
conquered by Saladin X03; slave 
trade with Venice of xa6; crusa- 
ders defeated in 151. 

EUitabeth: greed of 357: severe to 
clergy 369 ; letter about Ely House 

England : Lollardy in 186; Reforma- 
tion in, an economic phenomenon 
X90; debasement of currency in 
X94; martyrdoms in 199: condi- 
tion of in Middle Ages aoa; new 
nobility of aia et seq,: convents 
suppr^sed in ^^etstq,: popula- 
tion of in Middle Ages 243 ; social 
revolution in. in sixteenth century 
245. 246; not originally maritime 
as4 : 'seamen of 355 ; prosperity of 
in seventeenth century 99a ; indus- 
trial revolution in 3x5 ; <listress in 

after 18x5 33a: ruin of aristocracy 
of 34X, 348; money-lenders au- 
tocratic in 344; see Bank, and 
Church of England, and Yeomen. 
Exchanges : see Rome. Constantino- 
ple. Eastern trade, Fairs of Cham- 
pagne. Venice. 

Fairs, see Champagne. 

Fetish, see Relics. 

Fisher : temperament of 277. 

Flotte : chancellor of Philip the Fair 

France : convents of in tenth century 
7a ; Cluny 73 ; decentralization of 
in eleventh century 80; money of 
80: barbarian invasions of 80; seat 
of Gothic architecture 89; ogive 
introduced into 95: emotional in 
eleventh century X07: disintegra- 
tion of in tenth century 153 ; kings 
of enjoy supernatural powers X53 ; 
alliance of crown with clergy X54 ; 
consolidation of under Philip Au- 
gustus X58 ; centralization of under 
Saint Louis X65; depreciation of 
coinage of 170; estates of sustain 
Philip the Fair 174 ; castles of aoa. 

Frumentariae L^es, see Com. 

Gardiner, Stephen : on True Obedi- 
ence 365; rise of 376; death of 

Germans: hunted by Romans for 
slaves 39 ; used as recmits 40 ; in- 
vade the Empire 46 ; character of 
in fourth century 48 ; adopt the gold 
standard 347. 

Glastonbury : suppression of 340. 

Godfrey de Bouillon : elected King of 
Jerusalem 85; his kingdom 86; 
his alliance with Venice xa7. 

Gold: ratio of to silver in Roman 
Empire 30 ; fall of value of in sixth 
century 48; ratio of to silver in 
thirteenth century 169. 

Gold standard : in Rome 31 ; under 
the Merovingians 80: in England 
330 ; Overstone's views on 337 ; in 
Germany 347; elsewhere 348; ef- 
fect of 347. 



Ganther: chronicle of 137 ; sails with 
Dandolo 138. 

Hmnse of London: organization of 
158 ; trades at fairs of Champagne 
159; Italian merchants frequent 

Hastings : Governor-General 310 ; 

policy of 311. 

Haitin : battle of 123. 

Hawkins, John : a slaver 389. 

miolse. hymnof368. 

Henry IV^ Emperor: breach with 
HikSebrand 75; penance at Ca- 
nossa 77 ; death of 77. 

Henry VIII.: court of aia; charac- 
ter of aao; Lambert's trial 3a6; 
supreme head 298 ; orthodoi 339 ; 
suppresses convents 333; revises 
Formulariesof Faith 966; helpless 
without landlords 967. 

Heraclius : disasters under 52. 

Hildebrand: prior of Cluny 74: 
propositions presented by in coun- 
cil of Rome 75; excommunicates 
Henry IV. 76; Canossa 77. 

Holland : decay of 318. 

Hospital, see Knights of. 

Howard. Thomas. Duke of Norfolk : 
fsmily of 314; character of 315; 
commands against Pilgrims of 
Grace 3x5 ; tries to corrupt Darcy 
317 : arrests Cromwell 234. 

Hugh Capet : elected by clergy 153. 

Hugh du Puiset. ue Louis the Fat 

Hun, Richard : death of 198. 

Imagination: basis of medieval 
Church 60 ; gives power to priest- 
hood 63; cause of relic worship 
64; vivid in age of decentraliiation 
69: most intense in tenth century 
7a; evolves Ouny 73; cause of 
HikSebrand's power 78; cause o# 
crusades 8a: inspires Gothic ar- 
chitecture 89 ; strong in Saint Ber^ 
nard to8 ; weakness of Louis VII. 
117: lacking in Venetians 196; its 
power in France in thirteenth cen- 
tury 136 ; strength o# in Church up 
101900148; a wfaknfui in wmr 151 ; 

economic mind lacks ite; cause 
of Templars' martyrdom 183 ; iKk- 
ing in English reformers 191 ; An- 
glican clergy without 359; Tudor 
aristocracy without 968 ; strong in 
early Christians 373 ; in contempt 
in nineteenth century 380. 381. 

India: failure of Romans to con- 
quer xa ; hoards in 305 ; conquered 
by England 307 et se^. ; spoliation 
of 309-311 ; influx of treasure from 
3x3 ; flow of silver to 390; value o# 
bullion exported to in x8io 331 ; in 
1840 339: centralisation of 356; 
mutiny in 356; money-lenders of 
357 ; Utc of warlike tribes in 358 ; 
ue Eastern trade. 

Industrial revolution: begins 313; 
caused by Indian treasure 3x4. 

Innocent III.: incites crusade 139; 
excommunicates Philip Augustus 
X35 ; Dandok) 138 ; absolves Dan- 
dolo X47 ; reproves Baldwin 147. 

Inquisition : organised 191. 

Jacques de Vitxy : hales bourgeoisie 

Jerusalem : capture of 85 ; kingdon 

of 86; conquest of kingdom by 

Saracens 193. 
Joscelin de Courtney. Count of 

Edessa: 105; death of 106; son's 

death 118. 
Justification by fsith : comer stone of 

Protestantism 187; economic de- 
vice x88 ; taught by Cranmer a$t ; 

included in Forty-two Articles 96s. 
Justinian I. : prosperity of 5X ; army 

of 51: taxation by 59; architeclnre 

under 53. 

Karmk: castle of §6. lai. 

Kett, ue Rebellion. 

Knights of Temple and Hospital: 
origin of 97. 98; ntanors owned 
by in Europe 98; castles of 99: 
Knights of the Temple: posses- 
sions of 170; fiithof 171; arrested 
180; tortured i8x; defence of 181 ; 
burned 183; dispositioa of pfop> 
eityof 185. 



Knox. John : appointed royal chap- 
lain 362; offered bishopric 26a: 
breach with Dudley 363. 

Krak des Cberaliers : xoo. 

Lambert : martjrrdom of 281. 

Landlords : Roman 21 ; enslave their 
tenants 53 ; form aristocracy of Em- 
pire 41 ; not martial 42 ; English 
mercenary 212; rise of 227; con- 
fiscate Church property 230 ; evict 
yeomen 245; despoil chantries 
259. 260; control Crown 267 ; with- 
out Cuth 268 : organize Church 272 ; 
fear army 273: not martial 227, 
a45. 254. «55. a56. 267, 268. 283; 
persecute Nonconformists 295 ; 
persecute adventurers 295; con- 
quered in 1688 297; jealous of 
Clive and Hastings 309; suffer 
after 1815 332: distressed in 1841 
340; atucked by Cobden 341; 
ruined 348 ; of Oude 356. 

Latimer : describes his Other's Cirm 
247 ; martyrdom of 283. 

Leo the Great : visits Attila 63. 

Leo IX. : election of 75. 

Licinian Laws 10; effect of xx. 

Lollards: description of 187; Book 
of Conclusions of 193; policy of 
toward monks 195. 

London : hot-bed of Lollardism 197 ; 
population of in 1509 203; power 
of 293 : population of in 1685 295 ; 
economic centre of the world 322 ; 
art of 381-383: see Eastern trade 
and Hanse of London. 

Louis the Fat: defeats Hugh du 
Puiset 155: obtains Montlh^ri 

Louis VII. : character.of 1x2; leads 
second crusade X14; quarrels at 
Antioch 117: superstition of X17; 
repulsed at Damascus 1x7; see 

Madre-de-Dios : capture of 257. 
Mahrattas : conquest of 358 ; disap- 
pearance of 359. 
Margat : castle of xoi. 
Marriage : see Domestic relations. 

Martin, Abbot: satis with Dandolo 

138 ; steals relics X48. 
Marwaris: 357; destroy Mahrattas 


Milo, Archbishop of Rheims : 71, 

Miracles : early Christian 63 ; medi- 
aeval 64 ei seq, ; see Bosra. Relics. 

Molay, Grand Master : lured to Paris 
180; burned X84. 

Monasticism : see Convents. 

Money : Rome depleted of 23 ; cen- 
tres at Constantinople 28 ; rises in 
value under Empire 35; £aills in 
value under Charlemagne X29; 
rises in value in thirteenth century 
X69 ; rises in fifteenth century 194 ; 
rises under Henry VIII. 206; foils 
after opening of Potosi 907 ; abun- 
bant stimulates movement 999; a 
form of energy 304; hoarded in 
India 304; falls at close of eigh- 
teenth century 320 : rises in nine- 
teenth century 337, 360 ; see Capital, 
Coinage, Currency, Prices. 

Mons Sacer : secession to 9. 

Monte Casino : founded 72. 

Montfort, Simon de: joins crusade 
X32 ; leaves Dandolo 138. 

Montlh^ri : lords of 156 ; castle 157. 

Nantes: revocation of Edict of 3x8. 

Napoleon: decline of 324; lacking 
soldiers 364; column erected to 

Nobility: feudal French X54: Eng- 
lish 2x6. 243 ; Tudor, see Landlords. 

Nogaret : captures Boniface 176, 177. 

Northumberland : see Dudley. 

Nour-ed-Din: Sultanof Aleppo 103; 
occupies Cairo X03 ; repulses Louis 
VII. 1x7 ; kills Raymond de Poitiers 

Ogive: of Eastern origin 95; ap- 
pears in transition architecture 96. 

Overstone, Lord : rise of 336 ; con- 
ceives Bank Act 336; financial 
policy of 337 etseq. 

Panic : under Tiberius 25 ; of thir- 
teenth century 169, 170; of 1810 



3as: ofi8as334; allayed by paper 
money 335 ; of 1847 342. 

Passive obedience : sft Divine right. 

Patricians : usurers 7 : not martial 7 ; 
sanction Licinian Laws 10 ; s€t 

Pauperism : under Henry VIII. 249 ; 
in 1848 345. 

Peel, Sir Robert: represents Lom- 
bard Street 330; separates from 
bis father on money issue 330; 
bis Resumption Act 331 ; effect ojf 
331; repoUs Com Laws 340; 
parentage 34a. 

Pelafius, Cardinal: commands cru- 
sade 150. 

Penny: the Roman, S€€ Denarius; 
of Charlemagne 129; depreciation 
of Venetian 139; depreciation of 
English in fourteenth century 195 ; 
under Henry VIII. ao6, 907. 

Philip Augustus: regal of France 
vowed for recovery of 6$ ; belief in 
intercession 69: commands cru- 
sade 139: returns to France 130; 
divorced from Ingeburga 135; ei- 
communicated 135. 

Philip the Fair: character of tyi; 
quarrel with Boniface 179; de- 
lated at Courtray 175: seises 
Boniface 177: makes Clement V. 
pope 178; arrests Templars 180: 
tortures Templars i8a; death of 

Pilgrimage of Grace : u* Rebellion. 

Piassey : battle of 308 ; effect of 313. 

Plebeians: burners 6; form infantry 
6 ; sold lor debt 7 ; secede to Mons 
Sacer 9; favoured by Lkinian 
Laws 10 : overthrow patridaiu 10 ; 
suffer from Asiatic competition 11 ; 
suffer from slave labour ta ; in- 
solvent aa ; beoonse cti^mi 33 ; dis- 
appear 44. 45. 

Police, a paid : lack of. causes defeat 
of patricians 39 ; an effect of money 
4S: organised by Augustus 45; 
makes capital autocratic at Rome 
46; impossible when the defence 
in war is superior to the attack 79 ; 
lack of. causes wcakocit of Iht 

Kingdom of Jerusalem 99. 121. laa ; 
the weapon of an economic com- 
munity 164; an effect of wealth 
and the basis of centralisation 165 ; 
in England under Henry VIII. 
•45; destroys martial type 945 ; 
drives adventurers from England 
254; resistless in nineteenth cen- 
tury. 353- 
Pompey: defeat of 364. 

Potosi : discovery aoy. 

Prices : fall of. under Trajan 33 ; rise 
of in thirteenth century 167; fall 
of in fifteenth oeutury 903 ; rise of 
in sixteenth century 907, 983 : rise 
of after Piassey 319: culminate in 
1809 394 ; fall of in England after 
18 15 330; depressed by gold stand- 
ard 337: fall of after Bank Act 
339: rise of after 1849 345 ; fall of 
since 1873 349- 

Producers: predominance of 391; 
currency system of 39B. 399 ; weak- 
ness of modem 349 ; Indian 36a 

Pu-taiu: reject royal supremacy 
964; resist ecclesiastical confbca^ 
tion 970; eviction of clergy 985; 
emigration of 9B5 ; foes of Span- 
iards 989. 

Pyrrhus: admires Roman infaatiy 
II : defeat of 11. 

Raleigh: family of %SS* capCurat 
Madre-de-Diot 957 ; death oif 9S7« 

Raymond de Poitiers: at feud with 
de Courtney 107: breach with 
Louis VII. 117: death of 118. 

Rebellion: of Pilgrimage of Grace 
916: soppresaion of 999 ; Kelt's 
950; in West of England 950^ 959. 

Reformation: an economic 
naent 188; in England 930; 
Edward VI. 9S9, 960; set Cbivch 
of England, Convents, LoUarda. 

Reginald de ChatiUon lai. 

Reguhts : poverty of 15. 

Relics: magical 64; gifb to 6$; Itit 
of English 66; worship of cavse 
of crusades 81; true cross 119; 
plunder of at Constantinople 148 ; 
dcspisod 151 ; relic vofibip ooiOj 



193-196; desecrated in England 

Rent : rise of money value of in 
Rome 32 : effect of 33. 34 ; substi- 
tution of for military service 245 ; 
rises in sixteenth century 247; 
effect of rise 248 ; rise of in seven- 
teenth century 283; fill of after 
1815 causes insolvency of land- 
lords 332; dependent on Com 
Laws 340: fatll of after 1873 ruins 
gentry 348. 

Ridley: doctrine concerning sacra- 
ment 961 ; burned 282. 

Robinson, John: congregation of 


Rome : early society of i ; classes in 
2 : iaw of debt in 2-4 ; eariy army 
of 9; not maritime la; slavery in 
13 ; economic revolution in 14 ; a 
plutocracy 15 ; annexes Egypt 17 ; 
senators landowners ai ; great do- 
mains of 21 ; conquests of 23 ; un- 
able to compete with Asia 23; 
foreign exchanges unfavourable to 
23 ; insolvent 28 ; decline of 37 ; 
ceases breeding soldiers 40 ; later 
emperors of foreign adventurers 
40: governed by a monied oli- 
garchy 41: economic type auto- 
cratic in 42; women of emanci- 
pated 43; paid police of 45; 
barbarian invasions 46, 47: do- 
mestic relations in 369 ; art of 372 ; 
architecture of 381 ; see Coinage, 
Slaving, Usurers, Usury. 

Rothschilds: rise of 322; establish 
bouse in London 323. 

Russell, John. Earl of Bedford : con- 
ducts trial of Abbot of Glaston 241. 

Saint Bernard : birth of 108 ; enters 
Qteaux 108; founds Clairvaux 
109; recognixes Innocent II. no; 
preaches second crusade 112; 
miracles of 1x3; declines to lead 
crusade XI4 ; remarks on defeat of 
cnisade 118. 

Saint Cuthbert : plunder of shrine of 

Saior Deob : Abbey of 154. 

Saint Riquier : sacrilege at i6a. 

Saint Sophia: architecture of 89, 
377; desecration of 145. 

Saint Thomas k Becket : shrine of 65. 

Saint Thomas Aquinas: veneration 
of for Eucharist 67. 

Saladin : sends physician to Richard 
94; crowned Sultan 104; kills 
Reginald de Chatillon xax ; Hattin 
122; campaign against Richard 
X30; treats with Richard 131. 

Saracens: architecture of 89, 90; 
household decorations of 90 ; phi- 
losophy of 93 ; sciences of 94 ; xtt 
Crusades, Nour-ed-Din, Saladin, 

Schism : Greek 78. 

Seymour, Protector : confiscations 
under 961 ; executed 261. 

Sicily: cheap labour in x6; servile 
war in 16 ; cheap grain of 17. 

Silver: Roman standard a6; dis- 
carded in Rome 31; restored by 
Charlemagne 128 ; ratio of to gold 
in Rome 30 ; to gold in thirteenth 
century 169 ; Potosi 904 ; Spaniards 
plundered of 288 ; brought to Eng- 
land by piracy 291 ; ratio to gold in 
seventeenth century 300; standard 
in England 300; exported to India 
in eighteenth century 299-302; in 
18x0 320; discarded by England 
330; by Germany 347; relation 
to Asiatic competition 360; see 
Coinage, Currency, Denarius, 
Gold standard. 

Slavery: for debt in Rome 5; ple- 
beians sink into 33 ; Roman pop- 
ulation exhausted by 36 ; in West 
Indies 289, 290. 

Slaving: part of Roman fiscal sys- 
tem 34; by Roman emperors 39; 
Venetian 126; English 991; see 

Smith, Captain John : career of 995. 

Solidus : see Aureus. 

Somerset : Duke of, see Sejrmour. 

Spain: empire of 286; war with 
Flanders 287 ; plundered by Drake 
288 ; attacked by Cromwell 301 ; 
see Armada, West Indies. 



Spanish America : revolution of 3x4. 

Sues Caaal : effect of 555. 

Sylvester II.: thought a sorcerer 81 ; 
proposes a crusade 83. 

Sjrria: industria] 25; see Architec- 
ture, Crusades, Eastern trade, 

Temple, ue Knifhts of the. 

Tenures : primitive Roman i ; servile 
Roman 33: English military a44; 
the manor 244 ; OKKiem economic 
•45; Indian peasant 356 

Thompson, Charles Andrew: peti- 
tion of 339. 

Tiberias : battle of. see Hattin. 

Tortosa: fortress of xox; surrender 
of 171. 

Trade, see Eastern trade, Fairs of 
Champagne, Slaving. 

Urban II.: preaches at Clermont 

Usurers : form Roman aristocracy a ; 
checked by I jcinian Laws 10; ab- 
sohite in Rome 46 ; rise of in 
England 321 ; absolute in Europe 
353 ; Indian 357 ; see Bankers. 

Usury: a patrician privilege 3; 
stronghokl of in Roman fiscal sys- 
tem 5; ruins Roman provinces 35; 
basis of Ronnan slaving 36; ue 

Vagrant Acts : English 248. 

Venice: rise of 135; slave trade of 
ia6; illicit trade of with Sara- 
cens ia6: population unimagina- 
tive ia6; navy of 137 ; co-operates 
with Godfrey de Bouilk>n 197; 
holds Syrian ports 137; coinage 
of 199; participates in crusade of 

CoBStantiiiople 137 ; see Cnwde- 
packet service to FUnders «m; 
decline of 998. 

V^selay: second crusade p f fcb ^d 
at iia; feud with Counts of Se- 
vers 161. 

Ville-Hardouin : chroaicle of 13a. 

Virginia: story of 8. 

War : set Police. 

Walt, James: invents engine 314; 

partnership with Bouhon 316. 
West Indies: Spanish revenue drawm 

from 987; trade of lucrative 991; 

Cromwell attacks 301. 
Whiting. Abbot of Glaston : nnartyr- 

dom of 941. 
Wickliffe : begins his agitation 199. 
William of Tyre : describes origin of 

Temple 97; defeat of Louis VII. 

in Cadmus Mountains 115: brcack 

between Louis and Pnnce Rajr- 

mond 1 17 ; the collapse of King* 

dom of Jerusalem 118. 
Wiluhire : Earl ol^ see Boleyn. 

Yeomen : form British infuitry 943; 
small fsrroers 944 ; dccUne ol itti- 
der Henry VIII. 945; form Iroo- 
sides 959; weaker becooM agf^ 
cultural labourers 953; bc€oase 
merchants 954; become adventu- 
rers 954 ; form English martial type 
955; eirtinction of 317; migratiou 
to towns of 317; descendants of 
become mannlMturefs and usurtn 


attack on 134 ; Morvicd 138. 
Zenghi: riieof 103; captures Edc9i 


An Analysis of the Phenomena of Association and of 

Social Organization. 


Prt/ftsfir 0/ Sociclfcy '*» C0lumbim Umtvtnitjf im ike City 0f Srm Y^rk. 

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