« EelmineJätka »
affair is mentioned neither by Suetonius nor by Tacitus. Suetonius, who speaks of all the conspiracies against Augustus, would not have failed to mention the most memorable. The singularity of giving a consulship to Cinna in return for the blackest perfidy, would not have escaped every cotemporary historian. Dion Cassius speaks of it only after Seneca; and this passage in Seneca has the appearance rather of declamation than of historical truth. Besides, Seneca lays the scene in Gaul, and Dion at Rome: this contradiction deprives the occurrence of all remaining verisimilitude. Not one of our Roman Histories, compiled in haste and without selection, has discussed this interesting fact. Lawrence Echard's History has appeared to enlightened men to be as faulty as it is mutilated: writers have rarely been guided by the spirit of examination.
Cinna might be suspected, or convicted, by Augustus, of some infidelity; and, when the affair had been cleared up, might honour him with the vain title of consul: but it is not at all probable that Cinna sought by a conspiracy to seize the supreme authority,-he, who had never commanded an army, was supported by no party, and was a man of no consideration in the empire. It is not very likely that a mere subordinate courtier would think of succeeding a sovereign who had been twenty years firmly established on his throne, and had heirs; nor is it more likely that Augustus would make him consul immediately after the conspiracy.
If Cinna's adventure be true, Augustus pardoned him only because he could not do otherwise, being overcome by the reasoning or the importunities of Livia, who had acquired great influence over him, and persuaded him, says Seneca, that pardon would do him more service than chastisement. It was then only through policy that he, for once, was merciful; it certainly was not through generosity.
Shall we give a robber credit for clemency, because, being enriched and secure, enjoying in peace the fruits of his rapine, he is not every day assassinating the sons and grandsons of the proscribed, while they are kneel
ing to and worshipping him? After being a barbarian, he was a prudent politician. It is worthy of remark, that posterity never gave him the title of virtuous, which was bestowed on Titus, on Trajan, and the Antonines. It even became customary, in the compliments paid to Emperors on their accession, to wish that they might be more fortunate than Augustus, and more virtuous than Trajan.
It is now, therefore, allowable to consider Augustus as a clever and fortunate monster.
Louis Racine, son of the great Racine, and heir to a part of his talents, seems to forget himself when he says, in his Reflections on Poetry, that "Horace and Virgil spoiled Augustus; they exhausted their art in poisoning the mind of Augustus by their praises." These expressions would lead one to believe that the eulogies so meanly lavished by these two great poets, corrupted this Emperor's fine disposition. But Louis Racine very well knew that Augustus was a very bad man, regarding crime and virtue with indifference, availing himself alike of the horrors of the one and the appearances of the other, attentive solely to his own interest, employing bloodshed and peace, arms and laws, religion and pleasure, only to make himself master of the earth, and sacrificing every thing to himself. Louis Racine only shows us, that Virgil and Horace had servile souls.
He is, unfortunately, too much in the right when he reproaches Corneille with having dedicated Cinna to the financier Montoron, and said to that receiver, "What you more especially have in common with Augustus is, the generosity with which," &c. for, though Augustus was the most wicked of Roman citizens, it must be confessed that the first of the Emperors, the master, the pacificator, the legislator of the then known world, ought not to be placed absolutely on a level with a clerk to a comptroller-general in Gaul.
The same Louis Racine, in justly condemning the mean adulation of Corneille, and the baseness of the
agé of Horace and Virgil, marvellously lays hold of this passage in Massillon's Petit Carême:" It is no less culpable to fail in truth towards monarchs than to be wanting in fidelity; the same penalty should be imposed on adulation as on revolt."
I ask your pardon, Father Massillon; but this stroke of yours is very oratorical, very preacher-like, very exaggerated. The League and the Fronde have, if I am not deceived, done more harm that Quinault's prologues. There is no way of condemning Quinault as a rebel. "Est modus in rebus," Father Massillon, which is wanting in all manufacturers of sermons.
AVIGNON and its county are monuments of what the abuse of religion, ambition, knavery, and fanaticism united, can effect. This little country, after a thousand vicissitudes, had, in the twelfth century, passed into the hands of the Counts of Toulouse, descended from Charlemagne by the female side.
Raymond VI. Count of Toulouse, whose forefathers had been the principal heroes in the crusades, was stripped of his states by a crusade which the Pope stirred up against him. The cause of the crusade was, the desire of having his spoils; the pretext was, that in several of his towns the citizens thought nearly as has been thought for upwards of two hundred years in England, Sweden, Denmark, three-fourths of Switzerland, Holland, and half of Germany.
This was hardly a sufficient reason for giving, in the name of God, the states of the Count of Toulouse to the first occupant, and for devoting to slaughter and fire his subjects, crucifix in hand, and white cross on shoulder. All that is related of the most savage people, falls far short of the barbarities committed in this war, called holy. The ridiculous atrocity of some religious ceremonies always accompanied these horrid It is known that Raymond VI. was dragged to a church of St. Giles, before a legate, naked to the waist, without hose or sandals, with a rope about
his neck, which was held by a deacon, while another deacon flogged him, and a third sung miserere with 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 grant, 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 stipu