Chronica Majora 1237

Chronica Majora 1237 is in Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora.

The king of England exacts the thirtieth part of all removeahle property throughout the whole kingdom

05 Jan 1237. In the year of our Lord 1237 which was the twentieth of the reign of King Henry the Third, he held his court at Christmas, at Winchester, whence he forthwith sent royal warrants throughout all the English territories, ordering all nobles belonging to the kingdom of England, namely, archbishops, bishops, abbats, installed priors, earls, and barons, all to assemble without fail in the octaves of the Epiphany at London, to arrange the royal business and matters concerning the whole kingdom. The nobles on hearing this immediately obeyed the king's summons, and accordingly on the day of St. Hilary, a countless multitude of nobles, namely, the whole community of the kingdom, came to London, and proceeded to the royal palace at Westminster to hear the king's pleasure. When they had all taken their seats, there stood up in the midst of them, one William de Kaele, a clerk and familiar of the king's, a discreet man and well skilled in the laws of the land, who, acting as a sort of mediator between the king and the nobles, disclosed to them the king's pleasure and intentions. "My lord the king," he said, "informs you that, whatever he may have done heretofore, he now and henceforth will, without hesitation, submit himself to the advice of all of you, as his faithful and natural subjects. But those men who have till now, in the management of his affairs, been in charge of his treasury, have rendered him an incorrect account of the moneys received by them, and owing to this the king is now destitute of money, without which any king is indeed destitute; he therefore humbly demands assistance from you in money, on the understanding that the money which may be raised by your good will shall be kept to be expended for the necessary uses of the kingdom, at the discretion of any of you elected for the purpose. "When the assembled nobles heard this speech, they each and all, not expecting anything of this sort, murmured greatly, and "Alter in alterius jactantes lumina vultus". [Each hearer lost in dire amaze, Turned on his neighbour's face his gaze.]

And they said to one another, Fuderunt partum montes: en ridiculus mus. [The labouring mountains shook the earth, And to a paltry mouse gave birth. This is a quote from Aesop's Fable "The Mountain in Labour". It refers to speech acts which promise much but deliver little].

They then replied with indignation that they were oppressed on all sides, so often promising and paying now the twentieth, now the thirtieth, and now the fiftieth part of their property, and they declared that it would be unworthy of them, and injurious to them, to allow a king so easily led awav, who had never repelled or even frightened one of the enemies of the kingdom, even the least of them, and who had never increased his territories but rather lessened them, and placed them under foreign yoke, to extort so much money, so often, and by so many arguments, from his natural subjects, as if they were slaves of the lowest condition, to their injury and for the benefit of foreigners. "When the king heard this, he wished to calm the general discontent, and promised on oath that he would never again provoke or annoy the nobles of the kingdom by injuring them in that way, provided that the thirtieth part of all moveable property in England was granted and paid to him for his present use; because the large sum of money which he had a little while before sent to the emperor (age 42) (as he stated) for the marriage of his sister (age 23), and also what he had spent at his own marriage, had in a great degree exhausted his money. To this they openly replied that he, the king, had done all this without the advice of his liege subjects, and they ought not to share the punishment as they were innocent of the crime. They however withdrew to a private place to consult about obeying the king's demand, and supplying his necessities, and to discuss the kind and quantity of assistance which was demanded. As they were withdrawing for this purpose, Gilbert Bassett (age 49) said to the king in the hearing of all. and with less circimispection of speech than he ought, - "My lord king, send some one of your friends to be present at the conference of your barons." He was, when he said this, sitting on one side of the king, with only a few persons between them, and in reply to his speech, Richard Percy (age 67), who had been at the conference of the nobles, and was, not without cause, angry at it, said, "What is it, friend Gilbert, that you said? are we too foreigners, and are we not amongst the number of the king's friends? "And Gilbert felt himself rebuked by this unpleasant and sudden speech. And thus by a multipHcity of arguments the conference was protracted for four days.

The terms on which the thirtieth on moveables was granted to the king

After 13 Jan 1237. The king, in great alarm, and desiring to conciliate the good-will of the barons, then and thenceforth submitted himself to the advice of his liege and natural subjects, contrary to what he had formerly done. Moreover, with to the report that he was endeavouring, by means of a warrant from the pope, to invalidate the grants he had formerlymade and confirmed to them by charter, the king said that it was false; and if such a thing had been suggested to him, he declared it to be of no effect, and that he altogether renounced such a purpose; and besides this he, with a calm countenance and of his own free will, promised from that time inviolably to observe the rights of the great charter, towards all the liege subjects of his kingdom. And because he seemed to be not entirely free from the sentence which the archbishop Stephen and all the bishops of England had pronounced against all violators of the aforesaid charter; which he by ill advice had in a measure violated himself, he ordered the aforesaid sentence to be publicly renewed against all gainsayers and violators of the said chai-ter; so that by this, if he himself, through any malice, should by any chance fail to observe it, he would be more deeply involved in that sentence, and the result of this proceeding was, that by his words he wonderfully conciliated the hearts of all his hearers towards himself It was also determined that it would be harsh to remove from the king the councillors he at present had, as if they were wicked; they therefore strengthened their number by the addition of some other nobles, appointing the Earl Warrenne, William (age 69) Ferrers, and John Fitz-Geoffrey (age 32) as additional ones; and the king, as he had formerly done at Windsor, made them swear that they would in no wise, for presents or by any other means, deviate from the path of truth, but would give him, the king, good advice, and what was for the benefit of the kingdom. On these conditions a grant of the thirtieth part of all moveable property in the kingdom was made to the king, to replenish his treasury, saving, however, to every one his silver and gold, his horses and arms, which would be devoted for the public advantage; which thirtieth part was to be collected throughout each county in the following manner and form:-Four trustworthy knights were to be chosen, besides one clerk, whom the king would appoint; and these knights, together with the clerk, having taken an oath of fealty to the king, were to collect the money, which, when collected, was to be placed in some convent, sacred house, or castle, so that if the king should endeavour to retract his promises, the property of each should be restored to him, and a correct distribution made. The archbishop of Canterbury and his bishops and clergy first agreed to this; and on this condition, the thirtieth part of all moveable property in the kingdom was granted to the king, to be collected throughout the whole kingdom in general from every prelate and knight according to the tenement of his barony. It was, however, often annexed to the conditions, that the king would then and thenceforth reject the advice of foreigners (who were always friends to themselves, and not to the kingdom, and generally wasted its wealth instead of increasing it), and of all unnatural advisers, and would abide by the counsel of his liege and natural subjects. The council then thus broke up, not however before a great deal of secret anger and discontent was excited, because it was with great difficulty that they could turn the king's mind to their wholesome counsel, and induce him to comply with the advice of those from whom he held all earthly honour; and each returned to his home.

Victories of the Christians in Spain

After 13 Jan 1237. In the same year, churches and prelates were ordained at Cordova, a large city of Spain, which, as has been before mentioned, w%s taken on Tuesday in Easter-week. In this city Lucan states that he was born, and says, "Cordova gave me birth." It was captured by Alphonso, the most Christian king of Castile; and on its surrender to the Christians, joy was heaped upon joy, by the capture also of the great and rich pagan island of Majorca, which was filled with pirates and vagabonds, and was most particularly inimical to the merchants and pilgrims who travelled by sea between the countries of Africa and Spain. This island contains thirty-two castles. And to increase our joy, in the year last past the large city of Burianna was taken, and also the most impregnable castle of Peniscola by the king of Arragon;* and thus he fulfilled by exquisite cunning what it was impossible to accomplish by force. Thus within two years were taken the city of Cordova, the island of Majorca, the city of Burianna, and the castle of Peniscola; and all those places were given up to the Christian power in Spain, and yielded to God for the honour of his holy church. Our people therefore prepared under happy auspices to attack Valentia, another large and famous city of Spain, keeping up their courage and good hopes by the remembrance of past events. The city of Cepta, too, was fearing a like downfall.

Llewellyn asks the King of England to confirm their treaty

After 13 Jan 1237. In this year Llewellyn, prince of Wales (age 65), by special messengers sent word to the king that, as his time of life required that he should thenceforth abandon all strife and the tumult of war, and should for the future enjoy tranquillity and peace, he had determined to place himself and all his possessions under the authority and protection of him, the English king, and would hold his lands from him in all faith and friendship, and enter into an indissoluble treaty; and if the king should be proceeding on any expedition, he would to the best of his power, as his liege subject, promote it, by assisting him with troops, arms, horses, and money. To confirm and ratify this treaty, the bishops of Hereford and Chester [Note. In 1237 Chester wasn't a Bishopric?] were sent as mediators to bring the aforesaid matter to a conclusion. The cause of this message is said to have been that the said Llewellyn, owing to an attack of paralysis, was unable of himself to oppose the grievous attacks of his son Griffin (age 39), who was making war against him. Many of the nobles of Wales agreed to this treaty, and confirmed it at the same time as Llewellyn; some of them, however, strongly opposed their compacts. The faith of the Welsh is a want of faith, and they show no mercy when they have it in their power; and when fortune befriends them, they persecute those who fall into their power; but when defeated, they either fly or humble themselves: and such persons are never to be trusted, as the poet says, "I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts;" the philosopher Seneca also says, "You will never make safe treaty with any enemy."

The marriage of Richard, earl of Gloucester

Mar 1237. About the same time, the king's anger was again kindled against the earl of Kent, Hubert de Burgh (age 67), because Richard, earl of Gloucester (age 14), still a boy, under the king's care, secretly married Earl Hubert's (age 67) daughter Margaret (age 15), without his, the king's, permission or connivance. For he had determined (as it was stated) to unite the said youth, the earl of Gloucester, together with his county and all his honours, to a young lady, a near relative of William, bishop elect of Valentia, a native of Provence. The king's anger was, however, at length set at rest by the intercession of a great many people, and on Hubert's declaring that he had not been aware of it, and that it had not been done by him, and on his promising a sum of money to the king. In the same year, by the management of the emperor Frederick (age 42), another senator was created at Rome, in order that, by the united skill and power of two senators, the insolence of the Romans might be checked, and the city be pacified, and governed more safely, and easily ruled by their counsels.

The insolence of the Greeks towards the Roman church and their emperor

Around Apr 1237. About this time the usual insolence of the Greeks burst forth in its madness, as well against the Roman church as against their lord the emperor of Constantinople, and so exasperated the pope and the whole Church that the opinion and wish of many were to send the army of the crusaders against them; for the emperor, in order to avoid their fury, had departed to the western countries to ask advice and assistance from the Roman church.

The pope summons the count of Brittany to his counsels

1237. At this time the pope summoned the count of Brittany (age 19) to his counsel, to the astonishment of many, who wondered that he should call on a man notorious for such manifold acts of treachery to manage his arduous business. But he had chosem and selected the said count before all others, as a man most skilful in warfare, bold in fight, of illustrious family, and one who had gained experience by frequent conflicts both by sea and land, to intrust to him the guidance and command of the Christian army, and to consign to him the money to be expended in the necessary preparations for the march of the crusaders.

Heavy falls of rain again breakforth

14 Mar 1237. As the first of March was drawing near, namely on the feast of St. Valentine, heavy storms of rain inundated the country, which, by destroying the banks of the rivers, rendered the fords and roads impassable for eight successive days. And in order that, from some cases, other similar ones may be imagined, the Thames in England, and the Seine in France, with their swollen floods, washed away cities, bridges, and mills, lakes springing up in formerly dry places, and spreading over a wide extent of country, so that for fifteen days, in consequence of the floods, it was scarcely possible to distinguish the roads on the banks.

William, bishop elect of Valentia, leaves England, but soon returns

After 14 Feb 1237. About this time William, bishop elect of Valentia, to whom the king (age 29) had entirely intrusted the reins of government, seeing that the nobles had, not without reason, conceived great indignation against him, on that account took his departure for his own country; his lands and rich farms, which the king had given him, he placed in the hands of Aaron, a Jew of York, in the form of a pledge, receiving from him, by way of loan, nine hundred marks of new sterling money in hand. He then directed his steps towards Dover, under the guidance of the king himself, with the packsaddles of his beasts of burden full of gold, silver, and divers royal presents, besides some desirable jennets and valuable saddle horses. And so cunningly had this man managed matters, that the king, abandoning the example set him by the noble emperor and the careful king of France, who did not permit their backs to be trodden upon by their wives and their relatives and countrymen, deprived and drained of all his money, and become a needy man, suffered this bishop to pull his kingdom to pieces, and, being under the influence of his wife (age 14), allowed him, on the least pretence, to consume the produce of his own temtories. He also allowed foreigners, - Poictevins, Germans, Provencals, and Romans, - to fatten themselves on the good things of the country, to the injury of his kingdom. The aforesaid bishop elect of Valentia then went to France, whence, after paying his respects to the king and his sister, he was without delay sent away in peace, and allowed to depart without any presents. He then sent the presents he had brought from England to Provence, and there distributed them, together with some horses loaded with an immense sum of money, and then returned empty lianded to England, where he was received by the king with open arms.

The election of Walter Cantelupe and John, prior of Norwich

30 Aug 1236. The venerable bishops of Worcester and Norwich, of pious memory, having gone the way of all flesh, the monks of Worcester elected Master Walter de Cantelupe (age 45), son of the powerful and illustrious William de Cantelupe (age 77), to be their prelate and the pastor of their souls, and the pope accepted of him "without any difficulty, and consecrated him as bishop. The Norwich monks elected their prior, a religious and discreet man, to be their head; but his election, although duly made, displeased the king, and, owing to the ridiculous reasonings and objections of some who opposed it, was for a long time hung in suspense, not without certain scmples arising from suspected misdeeds.

The wretched condition of England

Before 27 Mar 1237. During all this time, the small fire of the true faith began to die away, so that it was almost reduced to ashes, and seemed scarcely to emit a single spark. For simony was now practised without a blush, and usurers openly, by various arguments, extorted money from the people and from minors; charity expired; the liberty of the church was crushed; religion was trodden upon, and of no value; and the daughter of Sion became, as it were, a shameless harlot without a blush. Illiterate persons, of the lowest class, armed with the bulls of the Roman chiurch, bursting forth into threats, daily presumed, despite of the sacred privileges we enjoy from our holy ancestors, to plunder the revenues left by pious men of old times for the maintenance of rehgious men, for the support of the poor, and to afford hospitality to pilgrims; and, by thundering forth sentences of excommunication, they at once obtained what they demanded. And if any of the injured or robbed parties resorted to the remedy of appeal, or to the plea of privilege, they immediately suspended and excommimicated them by means of some other prelate, on the authority of a warrant from the pope, and in this way, not by prayers, not canonicaUy, but by imperious extortion, did they rob the simple-minded, according to the saying of the poet, -

"Armato supplicat ense potens". [The man in power begs with a drawn sword.]

Hence it came to pass that, where formerly noble and bountiful clerks, guardians and patrons of churches, used to make themselves renowned throughout the whole of the adjacent country, by entertaining travellers and refreshing the poor, there debased men, void of morals, and full of cunning, agents and farmers of the Romans, now scraped together all that was useful and valuable, and transmitted it to foreign countries to theii' lords, who were living daintily on the patrimony of Christ, and bragging on the possessions of others. Then was to be seen heartfelt grief, the cheeks of the saints became wet with tears, and sighs and complaints were heard to burst forth and multiply, and many said with a sigh, "It were better to die than to behold the sufferings of our people and our saints." Woe to England ! which, once the chief of provinces, mistress of nations, the mirror of the church, and a pattern of religion, is now laid under tribute; ignoble men have trampled her under-foot, and she has fallen a prey to degenerate men. But the manifold offences of the English have brought these scourges on themselves, through the anger of Him, who, for the sins of the people, makes the hypocrite to reign, and the tyrant to bear rule.

Death of John de Brienne and of brother Jordan

27 Mar 1237. In this year was taken from amongst us the renowned John de Brienne (age 67), of immortal memory, formerly king of Jerusalem, and who had almost attained the imperial sovereignty of the Greeks; who would have closed a happy and peaceful life in sunshine, if he had not brought on himself the enmity of the great Frederick, the emperor of the Germans. Between winter and spring of this year, too, brother Jordan, prior of the order of Preachers, a man of distinguished sanctity and a renowned preacher, was drowned in a storm, whilst sailing along the coast of the southern barbarians, for the purpose of gaining them to God by his preaching. His body was brought to land by some of those shipwrecked, whom chance had snatched from death, although with much labour and danger, and consigned to the tomb in an honourable and becoming manner. As they were burying his holy body, they smelled a remarkable fragrance proceeding from his clothes, as well as from his person, the sweetness of which continued to perfume their hands for a long time.

About this same time was canonized and enrolled in the list of saints, St. Dominic, a brother of the order of Preachers.

The death of Richard, the second bishop of Durham of that name

15 Apr 1237. About the same time, namely on the 15th of April, died Richard, the second bishop of Durham of that name; a man of unparalleled piety and profound learning, who had strenuously ruled over three episcopal churches; namely, those of Chichester, Salisbury, and, finally, that of Durham, which he had presided over with all prosperity, and had released it from a heavy debt, incurred by the first Richard, surnamed Marsh, his predecessor. The sum of money which the aforesaid bishop, the second Richard, paid by way of settlement of the debt, was reckoned at more than four thousand marks. It also redounds to his immortal praise, that he transferred the church of Salisbury from a hollow, dry place in the neighbourhood of the earl's castle, to a fitting situation, and by the help of some famous architects, whom he had summoned from distant provinces, he laid a large foundation, and himself placed the first stone; to promote which work, not only the bishop, but also the king, and a great many nobles, lent a helping hand. Hence some versifier gives, - "Rex largitur opes, fert prsesul opem, lapicidae Dant operam; tribus his est opus, ut stet opus. [The king finds money, the stonemason hands. The bishop aids, and so the building stands.]

Besides this, he founded an establishment of nuns, at Tarent, and gave it to the queen, where he chose his burial-place. When the time of his dissolution drew nigh, the bishop, seeing that the hour was come for him to pass from this world, preached a special discourse to the assembled people, and told them that his death was at hand; on the following day, as his disease gained ground, he again assembled the people, and repeated his discourse, bidding them all farewell, and asking pardon of whomsoever he had offended. On the third day he summoned his family, and those to whom he was bound particularly to afford protection, and divided amongst them whatever appeared necessary to be distributed, to each one according to his deserts; and, having arranged and completed all his affairs with proper deliberation, and taken leave of his friends one by one, and, finally, performing the midnight devotions, he uttered the verse, "I will both lay me down in peace and sleep," and fell asleep in the Lord in all happiness. The monks of Durham, then, after invoking assistance from above, elected their prior, Thomas, a religious and discreet man, as their bishop and pastor of their souls.

The cause of the emperor's return from Italy

Around 15 Apr 1237. About the same time, the emperor Frederick (age 42), finding that the malice of his enemies had recalled him to Germany from his intended expedition, and that, to his disgrace, he was obliged to raise the siege and retire from Milan instituted an inquiry as to who had caused him this obstruction, and finding that the duke of Austria had stirred up internal discord in Germany, and that he was the cause of his being hindered in his purpose, attacked him and deprived him of his lands, honours, and wealth.

The emperor summons all the princes of Christendom

Before 24 Jun 1237. In the same year, the emperor Frederick (age 42), by special messengers and imperial letters, summoned all the great Christian princes of the world to assemble on the day of St. John the Baptist's nativity, at Vaucouleurs, which is on the confines, or near the confines, of the empire and the French kingdom, there to discuss some difficult matters concerning the empire as well as the kingdom. The king of France, as if entertaining suspicion of this conference, proceeded at the time fixed to the place appointed, attended by a large army, which he had assembled for the purpose, and thus set dreadful and pernicious example to others, inasmuch as he went to discuss matters of peace in the same way as he would to attack his enemies. The king of England (age 29) made reasonable excuses for not coming in person; but sent a peaceful embassy, consisting of some of the chief men of the kingdom; namely, Richard earl of Cornwall (age 28), his brother, with some other nobles, fit to manage a conference, under the guidance of the venerable archbishop of York (age 57) and the bishop of Ely, and other trustworthy persons selected for the purpose. The bishop of Winchester, although selected before all others, absolutely refused to go, and, not without reason, gave the following as the cause for excusing himself: "My lord king," said he "you lately laid a heavy complaint against me before the emperor, telling him that I, with some other nobles, disturbed your kingdom: whether you did this with justice, or unjustly, God knows; but I trust that I have saved my conscience in every respect. But if your words were now placed with confidence in my mouth and in your letters, and should declare that I was a familar and faithful friend of yours; all this would appear as contrary, and he would accuse both you and me of instability; and this would blacken your fame in a great degree. Therefore, because it would be manifestly to your dishonour, I will not go on any account." And in the opinion of many, this reply gave sufficient excuse for him. When all preparations had been made, and they were all ready to set sail on this journey, they were met by letters from the emperor, to say that he could not go to the conference then, as he had purposed; but that what he could not do then, should, by God's favour, be carried into effect on the Nativity of St. John the Baptist in the following year; and thus each and all of them returned without effecting anything. In this year, on the day of the Supper, the bishop of Hereford consecrated the holy unction in the church of St. Albans [Map]. About this time, too, John Scott (deceased), earl of Chester, closed his life about Whitsuntide, having been poisoned by the agency of his wife (age 19), the daughter of Llewellyn (age 65). The life of the bishop of Lincoln (age 69), too, was also attempted by the same means, and he was with difficulty recalled from the gates of death. In the same year, in the week before Whitsuntide, there fell storms of hail which exceeded the size of apples, killing the sheep; and they were followed by continued rain.

Arrival in England of Otto the legate

29 Jun 1237. In the same year, too, about the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, it was not known for what purpose. Master Otto, a cardinal deacon of St. Nicholas in the Tullian prison, came as legate to England on a summons from the king, unknown to the nobles; at which a great many of them conceived great anger against the king, and said, "The king perverts all laws, breaks his faith and promises, and transgresses in everything he does: he a little while ago united himself in marriage to a foreigner, without consulting his friends and natural subjects; and now he has secretly summoned a legate to make alterations throughout the whole kingdom: at one time he gives away his own, and then endeavours to recall what he has given." In this way from day to day, according to the words of the Gospel, the kingdom, divided in itself, and in disorder, was dreadfully desolate. It was said that Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury, reproached the king for acting in the way he did, and especially for summoning the legate, knowing that it would ere long be the cause of great loss to the kingdom, and to the prejudice of his dignity; but the king rejected his advice, as well as that of others of his counsellors, and would on no account abandon the purpose he had conceived in his mind. The aforesaid legate, therefore, came in grand pomp and in great power, and the bishops and clerks of distinction went as far as the coast to meet him; and some went off to him in boats, receiving him with acclamations, and offering him costly presents. Even at Paris, the messengers of several bishops met him, and offered him cloth of scarlet and valuable cups. For doing this they deserved general censure, both for the gift and the manner of giving it; for by the cloth and its colour it was made to appear that the office of the legateship and his arrival were accepted of On his arrival, he did not receive all the presents offered to him, but only some; and what he did not take, he ordered to be kept for him; he then liberally distributed the vacant benefices amongst his followers, whom he had brought with him, whether deserving or undeserving. The king himself met him at the seaside, and bowed his head to his knees; after which he officiously conducted him to the interior of the country. The bishops also came, as well as abbats, and the other prelates of the churches, and received him with all honour and reverence, with processions and the music of bells, and with costly presents, as became them, and more than became them...

Letter of Philip, a brother of the order of Preachers, to the pope

After 29 Jun 1237. In the same year, pleasing news arrived from the Holy Land, that a certain great chief of the heretics of the East had abandoned his superstitious errors, and, influenced by the Holy Spirit, had been converted to Christianity by the urgent and diligent preaching and exhortation of brother Philip, prior of the order of Preachers, in the Holy Land, who without delay sent word of this to the pope and tf» brother Godfrey, the confessor of the pope, to delight them with the gratifying intelligence. The said brother Godfrey then wrote to all the priors of the order of Preachers in England and France, informing them of this circumstance, in the following words: - "To the venerable fathers in Christ, the priors of the order of Preachers, in England and France, brother Godfrey, confessor of his holiness the pope,-health and joy in the Holy Spirit.-Be it known to you, that his holiness has received letters from brother Philip, provincial minister at the Holy Land, to the following purport:

"To the most holy father and lord, Gregory, by Divine calling supreme pontiff, brother Philip, the useless prior of the brotherhood of Preachers, due and devoted obedience in all things. - Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has in our time, holy father, by his clemency brought back to the shepherd the sheep which have been so long wandering. For in our days he has shown us a year of his kindness, and begins to fill his fields with abundance; inasmuch as he is bringing back to obedience to you, and to the unity of the mother church, the nations which have so long gone astray from that community. For in this year, the patriarch of the Jacobites of the East, a man of science and morals., and venerable age, with a large company of archbishops, bishops, and monks of his nation, came to worship in Jerusalem. To him we expoimded the words of the Catholic faith; and, by the co-operation of the divine grace, we made such progress, that on Palm-Sunday, at the time of the solemn procession, which on that day usually comes down from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, he promised and swore to obey the holy Roman church; at the same time abjuring all heresy. He also delivered to us his profession in Chaldaic and Arabic writing, as a lastinor evidence: and in addition to this, he at his departure adopted our habit. This man is chief over the Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, and Armenians, whose territories the Tartars have now ravaged to a great extent; and his prelateship extends so far in other kingdoms, that seventy provinces are under his subjection, in which numberless Christians dwell as slaves, and tributary to the Saracens, with the exception of the monks. whom they exempt from tribute. In the same manner did the two archbishops, one the Jacobin bishop of Egypt, and the other the Nestorian, in the East; they have their prelacies over the people which dwell in Syria and Phoenicia. And we, too, are now with all speed sending four brothers into Armenia to learn the language, at the urgent entreaties, of the king and the barons. Concerning another man, also, who is at the head of all those whom the Nestorian heresy has separated from the Church, (and whose prelateship extends through Greater India, the kingdom of Prester John, and other kingdoms nearest to the East,) we have already received several letters, informing us that he has promised brother William de Montferrat, who, with two other brothers learning that language, has stayed some time with him, that he would be obedient, and return to the bosom ot the united Church. We also sent brethren into Egypt, to the patriarch of the Egyptian Jacobites, who usually go much further astray than those of the eastern countries, adding circumcision to their other errors, like the Saracens; and from him we have likewise heard that he wishes ta return to the unity of the Church; and now, abandoning all his former errors, he forbade those in subjection to him to be circumcised. This man holds in subjection to him Lesser India, Ethiopia, Libya, and Egypt; the Ethiopians and Libyans are not, however, subject to the Saracens. The^ Maronides, who dwell in Libanus, have long since returned to, and still persevere in, their obedience to the Church. And whilst all these above-mentioned people acquiesce in the doctrines of the Trinity and our preaching, the Greeks alone persist in their wickedness, and everywhere secretly or openly oppose the Koman church; they revile all our sacraments; and every sect foreign from their own they call wicked and heretical. Wherefore we, seeing such a great gate open, in order that the truths of the Gospel may be published abroad, have given our attention to learning the language of these people, and have enjoined the same on each of the conventual assemblies, thus adding a new labour to our old one; and already, by the grace of God, they speak and preach in new languages, and especially in Arabic, which is more common amongst the people. But, alas ! with all this pleasure and spiritual joy, which has arisen amongst US, owing to the conversion of the infidels, the Lord, from the depths of his judgment, has mixed some bitterness, in the death of the master of our order-if it were not that his death is converted into the life of the infidels. For we have heard from many who were present, and saw them, that such great miracles were sho\vn there, that the dead preached much more effectually by miracle than the living coT:dd with words. Blessed be God, for all things. Wherefore, we have sent three Preachers to those Saracens, that we might not appear to be wanting to the gi'ace of God. Your business, therefore, it is, holy father, to provide for the gathering together and the peace of those returning to the Church, lest they by chance fall from the aiTQS of the nurse, and, becoming lame in both feet, be found worse than before; for some of them now are more than ever opposed to the jurisdiction exercised over them. I do not dare to detain your attention by more words j but what is deficient, the brothers who are the bearers of these presents will be able to relate to you. Besides the master, his followers, brother Gerald, clerk, and brother Ivan, a convert, have died. To thee, Jesus Christ, be all praise and glory, and thanksgiving, honour, virtue, and strength, world without end. Amen. Farewell." [All these things this neophyte did through fear of the Taitars, dreading their violence, and not being able to obtain assistance from those whose protection he hoped for, he fled to the sacrament of the Christians, and thus received effectual and speedy assistance; and in time of prosperity, by compulsion of liis nobles, he basely departed from the faith. - An interpolation.]

The heresy of the Nestorians

After 29 Jun 1237. As mention has been made above of the Nestorians, we have thought proper to insert in this book an account of their superstitions. In the countries of the East, there are some barbarous people, very different from the Greeks and Latins, some of whom they call Jacobites, from a certain master of theirs called Jacob, a disciple of a patriarch of Alexandria. These men had, in times long past, been excommunicated by Dioscorus, the patriarch of Constantinople, and excluded from the church of the Greeks, and now inhabited the greater part of Asia, and the whole of the eastern regions; some dwelt amongst the Saracens, others in alliance with the infidels, occupied their own provinces, namely, Nubia, which borders on Egypt, a great part of Ethiopia, and all the countries as far as India, containing (as they assert) more than forty kingdoms. They were formerly all Christians, having been converted to the faith of Christ by the apostle St. Matthew, and the other apostles; but afterwards the enemy sowed his tares amongst them, and they became for a long while darkened by a lamentable and wretched error, circumcising their children of both sexes, like the Saracens, therein not perceiving that the grace of baptism has rendered superfluous the circumcision of the flesh, in the same manner as the flowers droop and pine away on the advent of the fruit, of which the blessed apostle said to the Galatians, "If ye be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing;" and again, "I testify unto every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law: Christ is become of no effect to you; whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace." Another of their errors, not less than the abovementioned one, is, that they make confessions of their sins, not to the priests, but to God alone, placing some lighted incense near them, as if their sins would rise before the Lord in the smoke. These wretches err through not understanding the Scriptures, and perish from a defect of learning; they hide their wounds from spiritual physicians, whose business it is to distinguish between one leprosy and another, and, after pondering on the circumstances of the crime, to enjoin repentance, and, according to the keys intrusted to them, to bind and loose, and specially pray for those who confess to them. Thus, in the Gospel, our Lord says to the lepers, "Go show yourselves to the priests." Again, James says, "Confess your faults one to another;" and Solomon says, "Be not ashamed to confess your sins." Again, according to the Old Testament, the priest confessed the sins of the people on the head of the scapegoat: but how was he to confess their sins unless they were known, and had been confessed to him? Again, in the New Testament, in another part, St. Paul says to the Romans, "For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation:" and of St. John the Baptist we read, "They were baptized by him, confessing their sins:" for, shame and a sense of modesty, and the humility of the person confessing-, are the chief parts of repentance, and those men are rendered more prone to sin, who do not think it right to reveal their sins to men, since it is written, "Whosoever hides his. sins, shall not be set right; but whosoever has sinned, and confesses his sins, he shall obtain mercy." The third error of the aforesaid Jacobites, or Jacobins, is their gross ignorance, and, as it were, palpable darkness, inasmuch as many of them burn and mark their children before baptism, making an impression on their foreheads with a hot iron. Others of them mark their children in the form of a cross, on both cheeks, or on their foreheads, perversely thinking that they are purified by the fiery metal, because it is written in the Gospel of St. Matthew, that St. John the Baptist said of Christ, '' He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and with fire." Since, however, it is clear to all of the true faith, that the remission of sins is effected by spiritual fire, that is, the Holy Spirit, and not by visible fire; hence the Lord, by his prophets, frequently reproves the children of Israel, denouncing terrible curses against them, because, after the manner of heathens, they caused their children to pass through fire. Id Deuteronomy he says, through his prophet Moses, "Take heed that ye imitate not the abominations of those nations; there shall not be any one among you who shall purify his son or his daughter by leading him through the fire." And it is evident to all Christians, that neither our Lord, nor his apostles, nor any of the holy fathers, left this custom to be observed in the Church, nor did they order people to be burned in this way; and we have seen the marks of burning in the arms of those who dwell amongst the Saracens, as well Jacobins as Syrians. They themselves offered to allow the sign of the cross to be impressed on them, to distinguish them from the pagans, and in their reverence for that holy symbol. And when we inquired of the Greeks and Syi'ians why they detested the Jacobites, and had expelled them from their community, they stated, that the principal reason was, that they had fallen into a damnable and most wicked heresy, in declaring that there was only one nature and one person in Christ; for heretics of this kind were excommunicated and condemned at the council of Chalcedon; and some of them wickedly asserted that Christ, after assuming the form of man, did not exist in two natures, but that only the Divine nature remained in him. This erroneous doctrine was introduced by Eutyches, an abbat of Constantinople; some, however, assert that, out of the two natures, there was only one in Christ. Two bishops of Alexandria, namely, Theodius and Galan, were the originators of this error. It is, however, -evident, that, in accordance with the nature of human beings, Jesus Christ hungered, thirsted, and endured other wants; he also suffered death on the cross; but, in accordance with the nature of the Divinity, he brought the dead to life, and performed other good works, as he says concerning himself, "Before Abraham was, I am f and, "I am the beginning, who am speaking to you;" again, he says, "I and the Father are one." But, in reference to his nature as a man, he says, "The Father is greater than I." And again, as to the cup passing away from liim, he says, "Not my will, but thine be done." Having made most diligent inquiries of the aforesaid Jacobins, as to whether they declared that there was but one nature in Christ, they, I know not if through fear of confutation, or for some other reason, denied it. On my inquiring why they signed themselves with one finger, they replied, that they did so on account of the unity of the divine essence j but in three places, to designate the Trinity: in signification of the holy Trinity and Unity, they marked themselves in four places, in the shape of a cross. The Greeks and Syrians, however, were opposed to this, and, in signification of the Unity, which alone they believed to exist in Christ, they signed themselves with only one finger. Some of them used the Chaldaic character, and others the Arabic, which is called the Saracenic. Their laymen make use of different idioms, according to their different nations and provinces; but the language of their clergy, which they use in divine wiitings, the lower orders do not understand; for, although they use the Saracenic language, it does not resemble the vulgar Saracenic, but a sort of idiom peculiar to themselves, which the common people do not understand.