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his neck, which was held by a deacon, while another deacon flogged him, and a third sung miserere withi some monks, -and all while the legate was at dinner.
Such was the origin of the right of the Popes over Avignon.
Count Raymond, who had submitted to the flagellation in order to preserve his states, underwent this ignominy to no purpose whatever. He had to defend by arms what he had thought to preserve by suffering a few stripes ; he saw his towns laid in ashes, and died in 1213, amid the vicissitudes of the most sanguinary war.
His son, Raymond VII. was not, like his father, suspected of heresy; but he was the son of a heretic, and was to be stripped of all his possessions, by virtue of the Decretals; such was the law. The crusade, therefore, was continued against him; he was excommunicated in the churches, on Sundays and holidays, to the sound of bells, and with tapers extinguished.
A legate, who was in France during the minority of St. Louis, raised tenths there, to maintain this war in Languedoc and Provence. Raymond defended himself with courage; but the heads of the hydra of fanaticism were incessantly re-appearing to devour him.
The Pope at last made peace, because all his money had been expended in war.
Raymond VII. came and signed the treaty before the portal of the cathedral of Paris. He was forced to pay ten thousand marks of silver to the legate, two thousand to the abbey of Citeaux, five hundred to the abbey of Clervaux, a thousand to that of Grand-Selve, and three hundred to that of Belleperche,--all for the salvation of his soul, as is specified in the treaty. So it was that the Church always negociated.
It is very remarkable, that in this document the Count of Toulouse constantly puts the legate before the King—" I swear and promise to the legate and to the King, faithfully to observe all these things, and to cause them to be observed by my vassals and subjects,” &c.
This was not all. He ceded to Pope Gregory IX. the country of Venaissin beyond the Rhone, and the
sovereignty of seventy-three castles on this side the same river. The Pope adjudged this fine to himself by a particular act, desirous that, in a public instrument, the acknowledgment of having exterminated so many Christians for the purpose of seizing upon his neighbour's goods, should not appear in so glaring a light. Besides, he demanded what Raymond could not gran without the consent of the Emperor Frederick II. The count's lands, on the left bank of the Rhone, were an imperial fief, and Frederic II. never sanctioned this exaction.
Alphonso, brother to St. Louis, having married this unfortunate prince's daughter, by whom he had no children, all the states of Raymond VII. in Languedoc, devolved to the crown of France, as had been stipulated in the marriage contract.
The country of Venaissin, which is in Provence, had been magnanimously given up by the Emperor Frederick II. to the Count of Toulouse. His daughter Joan, before her death, had disposed of them by will in favour of Charles of Anjou, Count of Provence, and King of Naples.
Philip the Bold, son of St. Louis, being pressed by Pope Gregory IX. gave the country of Venaissin to the Roman church, in 1274. It must be confessed that Philip the Bold gave what in no way belonged to him ; that this cession was absolutely null
and void, and that no act ever was more contrary to all law.
It is the same with the town of Avignon. Joan of France, Queen of Naples, descended from the brother of St. Louis, having been, with but too great an appearance of justice, accused of causing her husband to be strangled, desired the protection of Pope Clement VI. whose see was then the town of Avignon, in Joan's domains. She was countess of Provence. In 1347, the Provençals made her swear, on the Gospel, that she would sell none of her sovereignties. She had scarcely taken this oath before she went and sold Avignon to the Pope. The authentic act was not signed until the 14th of June, 1348: the sum stipulated for was eighty thousand floring of gold. The Pope declared her innocent of her husband's murder, but never paid her. Joan's receipt has never been produced. She protested juridically four several times, against this deceitful purchase.
So that Avignon and its country were never considered to have been dismembered from Provence, otherwise than by a rapine, which was the more manifest, as it had been sought to cover it with the cloak of religion.
When Louis XI. acquired Provence, he acquired it with all the rights appertaining thereto; and, as appears by a letter from John of Foix to that monarch, had in 1464 resolved to enforce them. . But the intrigues of the court of Rome were always so powerful, that the kings of France condescended to allow it the enjoyment of this small province. They never acknowledged in the Popes a lawful possession, but only a simple enjoyment.
In the treaty of Pisa, made by Louis XIV. with Alexander VII. in 1664, it is said—that “
every obstacle shall be remo
noved, in order that the Pope may enjoy Avignon as before.” The Pope, then, had this province only as cardinals have pensions from the king, which pensions are discretional.
Avignon and its country were a constant source of embarrassment to the French government: they afforded a refuge to all the bankrupts and smugglers, though very little profit thence accrued to the Pope.
Louis XIV. twice resumed his rights; but it was rather to chastise the Pope than to reunite Avignon and its country with his crown.
At length Louis XV. did justice to his dignity and to his subjects. The gross and indecent conduct of Pope Rezzonico (Clement XIII.) forced him in 1768 to revive the rights of his crown. This Pope had acted as if he belonged to the fourteenth century.
He was, however, with the applause of all Europe, convinced that he lived in the eighteenth.
When the officer bearing the king's orders entered Avignon, he went straight to the legate's apartment, without being announced, and said to him, "Sir, the king takes possession of his town.”
There is some difference between this proceeding and a count of Toulouse being flogged by a deacon, while a legate is at dinner. Things, we see, change with times.*
SUPPOSE that some chosen individuals, lovers of study, united together after a thousand catastrophes had happened to the world, and employed themselves in worshipping God and regulating the time of the year,-as is said of the ancient Brahmins and Magi; all this is perfectly good and honest. They might, by their frugal life, set an example to the rest of the world; they might abstain, during the celebration of their feasts, from all intoxicating liquors, and all commerce with their wives; they might be clothed modestly and decently: if they were wise, other men consulted them ; if they were just, they were loved and reverenced. But did not superstition, brawling, and vanity, soon take the place of the virtues ?
Was not the first madman that flogged himself publicly to appease the gods, the original of the priests of the Syrian goddess, who flogged themselves in her honour,- of the priests of Isis, who did the same on certain days,-of the priests of Dodona, named Salii, who inflicted wounds on themselves,--of the priests of Bellona, who struck themselves with sabres, -of the priests of Diana, who drew blood from their backs with rods,-of the priests of Cybele, who made themselves eunuchs,-of the fakirs of India, who loaded themselves with chains? Has the hope of obtaining abundant alms nothing at all to do with the practice of these austerities?
* Clement XIII. being dead, his successor Ganganelli re paired his faults, promised to abolish the Jesuits, and had Avignon restored to him.
Some profound politicians think it advisable to leave Avignon in the hands of the Pope, in order to have the means of punishing him, if he abuses his keys. But let the people be enlightened, and there will no longer be any need of Avignon, either to bring the successor of St. Peter to reason, or to make his ill designs harmless.
Is there not some similarity between the beggars, who make their legs swell by a certain application and cover their bodies with sores, in order to force a few pence from the passengers, and the impostors of antiquity, who seated themselves upon nails, and sold the holy nails to the devout of their country?
And had vanity never any share in prompting these public mortifications, which attracted the eyes of the multitude ? “I scourge myself, but it is to expiate your faults; I go naked, but it is to reproach you with the richness of your garments; I feed on herbs and snails, but it is to correct in you the vice of gluttony; I wear an iron ring, to make
lewdness. Reverence me as one cherished by the gods, and who will bring down their favours upon you. When you shall be accustomed to reverence me, you will not find it hard to obey me: I will be your master, in the name of the gods; and then, if any one of you disobey my will in the smallest particular, I will have you impaled to appease the wrath of heaven."
If the first fakirs did not pronounce these words, it is very probable that they had them engraven at the bottom of their hearts.
Human sacrifices perhaps had their origin in these frantic austerities. Men who drew their blood in public with rods, and mangled their arms and thighs to gain consideration, would easily make imbecile savages believe that they must sacrifice to the gods whatever was dearest to them,—that to have a fair wind, they must immolate a daughter,-to avert pestilence, precipitate a son from a rock,“to have infallibly a good harvest, throw a daughter into the Nile.
These Asiatic superstitions gave rise to the flagellations which we have imitated from the Jews.* Their
* See ConfeSSION.