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the Crusaders was the astonishment of the East. Saladin, indeed, told the Bishop of Salisbury that King Richard exposed his person too much for a general. Joinville bears testimony to the personal heroism of Saint Louis :“Soiez certains, que le bon Roy eut celle journée des plus grans faiz d'armes que jamais j'aye veu faire en toutes les batailles ou je fu oncq. Et dit-on, que si n'eust esté sa personne, en celle journée nous eussions esté tous perduz et destruiz. Mais je croy que la vertu et puissance qu'il avoit luy doubla lors de moitié par la puissance de Dieu. Car il se boutoit ou meilleu, la ou il veoit ses gens en destresse, et donnoit de masses et d'espée des grans coups à merveilles. Et me conterent ung jour le siré de Courtenay et Messire Jehan de Salenay, que six Turcs vindrent au Roy celuy jour et le prendrent par le frain de son cheval, et l'emmenoient à force. Mais le vertueux Prince s'esvertue de tout son povoir et de si grant courage frappoit sur ces six Turcs, que lui seul se delivra." The astonishment of the infidels at the valour of the Christian knights, gave rise to the most surprising relations. Thus we read in the German Chronicle of Ebendorfferus de Haselbach : “ Sicque Soldanus quadraginta diebus et noctibus acies dirigit in civitatem, in quorum intervallo Soldano quondam magnam admirationem movit cur Christiani crebro pauci numero magnum in bello devincunt et prosternunt Sarracenorum exercitum ? Cui quidam paganus respondit, non mirum: quia ego quodam prospexi die, quando Christiani ceciderunt in prælio quod in uno corpore duo latuerunt homines, et uno moriente adstiterint eidem decori juvenes, qui ex ejus ore susceperunt venustum puerulum.” The heroic action of Guillaume de Clermont has been recorded in the “ History of the capture of Ptolemais,” though it does little but illustrate the common spirit of the ancient heroes. In the midst of the general ruin, he alone defied the enemy. At the gate of St. Anthony he met the charge of the Saracens, and fought them till he had retreated to the centre of the city. "Son dextrier," says an old historian, “ fut molt las et lui-meme aussi ; le dextrier résista en contre les espérons, et s'arresta dans le rue comme qui n'en peut plus. Les Sarrasins, à coups de fleches, tuerent à terre frere Guillaume. Ainsi ce loyal champion de Jesus Christ rendit l'ame à son Createur." The castle of the Templars was the only place which held out againt the Saracens, The Sultan having granted a capitulation, sent three hundred Mussulmen to execute the treaty. They had hardly entered one of the towers, when they iusulted the women who had there taken refuge. The Christian warriors fell upon these wretches, and massacred them in a moment. The Sultan, in consequence, gave orders that the castle should be attacked, and that all within it should be put to the sword. The Templars defended themselves for many days, till at length the tower of the grand master being undermined, fell to the ground, at the moment when the mussulmen were mounting to the assault, and both the assailants and the besieged were buried under the ruins.
Let us delay a moment to contemplate the fate of the Templars, and to examine the charges which have been brought in different ages against that illustrious order.
I need not enlarge upon the painful and shocking history of their punishment which is too well known. It was on the morning of the 13th of October, 1307, the Friday after the festival of St. Denis, according to the Chronique de St. Denis, that the knights were arrested throughout France and cast into horrid dungeons. The same fate soon overtook them in England and Germany, though to the honour of the latter nation, the Templars were less severely persecuted there than in any other country, the charges against them being there less generally believed *. However, when I was in Hungary I saw the ruins of a house in which it was said that fifty Templars had been murdered in one night. In France there was no mercy shewn to them. It is said that one Templar remained concealed in the ruins of the monastery of Elagnols in Dauphiné, and by his nocturnal appearance used to terrify the inhabitants of the neighbourhood +. The Templars had incurred the indignation of Philip-le-bel by being distinguished among the French clergy for preferring the spiritual authority of the Church to the pretensions of the King, by daring to hesitate when he gave orders, by shewing discontent at the frequent alterations and falsifications of the coin, and by resenting the outrages
* Hist. des Templiers, ii. 250.
+ Tristan, vi. 452.
upon the person of the late Pope Boniface VIII. The charges against Pope Clement rest upon the authority of Alberic de Rosate whom Vertot quotes. It is easier to believe that the Pontiff was deceived by the artifices or intimidated by the threats of the French tyrant. Only one romance, “ Les enfances d'Ogrir le Danois,” written probably to gratify Philip, attributes an infamous character to the Templars. Guyot de Provins in his satyr speaks ill of all the religious orders but the Templars, of whom he says,
“ Molt sont prud'hommes li Templiers.” The proverb, “ boire comme un Templier,” is modern, and was first used by Rabelais. William of Tyre and generally all the secular clergy were prejudiced against the Templars on account of their immunities *. The Emperor Frederic II. carried his hatred of the Templars so far as to destroy a hospital built with the alms of the faithful at Caroles, because it was governed by knight Templars, and with the materials he built a palace at Nocera, where it was said he introduced Mussulmen after driving out the Christians +. To suspect the entire innocence of the Corder is no novelty: a vast number of historians were quick in remarking that all their enemies seemed to be visited with special judgment,- Philip-le-bel, Pope Clement, (whose deaths fulfilled the awful prediction of the grand Master,) Nogaret, Marigny, Pierre Flotte the governor of Cyprus, Burchard the Archbishop of Magdebourg who first proceeded against them in Saxony, Albert of Austria, Hugues Giraldi Bishop of Cahors the Pope's chaplain who took an active part in the affair, Edward II. King of England ; and they remarked also the accumulation of horrors which visited almost every part of Europe after the execution of Molai f. Dante alludes to this tragedy,
" Lo! the new Pilate, of whose cruelty
Such violence cannot fill the measure up,
* Hist. des Templiers, i. 61.
Hist. des Templiers, ii. 361. § Purg. xx.
Nevertheless some learned men among the moderns have been inclined to doubt the innocence of the order. The late learned Bishop Milner says in his History of Winchester *, “ It is possible that the sensual poison of Manes, which spread itself from Persia into Bulgaria, and thence into the country of the Albigenses and others, might have crept into some at least of the preceptories of the Temple.” However, a decided and very formidable adversary has arisen in the learned M. Hammer, whose most curious dissertation entitled, “ Mysterium Baphometi revelatum t," forming part of the sixth volume of the
* I. p. 277.
† The whole theory of this learned man appears to me extremely visionary. The monuments to which he alludes bespeak more subtilty of invention than can be ascribed to the Templars. Possibly they might have adopted them from the Gnostics, but without knowing their meaning. However, the truncated cross is probably the tau T, a figure of the cross, spoken of in Ezekiel ix. 4. which St. Jerom says being the last letter in the old Hebrew prefigured the cross. Hammer holds that the Saint Graal was the cup symbolical of the Gnostic wisdom, and that the round table of twelve knights was symbolical of the twelve senior Templars, who presided over the Saint Graal. He examines seven churches of the Templars,-Schoengrale, Waltendorf, Pelendorf in Austria, Deutschaltenburg and Murau in Hungary, one at Prague, and one at Egra in Bohemia; and he describes the figures of animals with two heads, and some which were obscene. But is it credible that they would thus proclaim their own wickedness? Was it not the taste of the age to have absurd and disgusting figures on all great buildings? He will not allow that it is the true Eve because the figure is not veiled, “ qua pudor jubet," a strangely weak argument! He holds the dragon at the feet of the Templar in the Temple of London, and the dragon of the Visconti at Milan, to be the Gnostic dragon mentioned by St. Epiphanius, which swallows up every one who is not imbued with the Gnostic doctrine, and then spits him out again. As for the figure of a Templar slaying a lion with the help of two dogs, “ hic est triumphus Gnoseos seu doctrinæ spiritualis ophiticæ supra religionem Dei Sabaoth,” who with the Gnostics is trampled upon under the figure of a lion and a dragon. It really seems to me, that the mere statement of his positions, is sufficient to convince the reader of the wildness and extravagance of the accusation. He is of opinion, and it is probable, that the order of the Templars on its suppression, lapsed into that of the freemasons, and that these latter are much older than the Templars. He finds the same symbols, signs of the sun, moon, and stars, which have been in use from all antiquity. He thinks that there were various stages of the mysteries, and that the last was when men were told “nihil credere et omnia facere licere,” which was the doctrine of the Ishmailites, the Assassins, &c. Now these Assassins at last were tributary to the Templars, why might not. the Templars have borrowed their odd figures with innocent intentions ? He says, of the order of the Assassins and Templars, that both
periodical work, Fundgruben des Orients, published at Vienna in 1818, has been reviewed, and the charges, I do believe have been refuted by M. Renouard, in his work, “ Sur la Condemnation des l'empliers.” For my part, I feel disposed to take the high ground upon which Michaud, very properly as I conceive, meets the question. After declaring * that he has discovered nothing either in the eastern or western chronicles, which could at all support the charges, or even give rise to the suspicions which might have suggested them, he proceeds to say, “How is it possible to believe that a warlike and religious order, which only twenty years before had seen three hundred of its knights suffer themselves to be massacred on the ruins of Japhet, rather than embrace the faith of Mahomet, that this same order which was almost wholly buried beneath the ruins of Ptolemais should have contracted an alliance with the infidels, outraged the Christian religion by horrible blasphemies, and have betrayed to the Sarascens the holy land, which was filled with their exploits and military glory?” Villani, Bocacio, S. Antonin, Boulain Villiers, Voltaire, (if his judgment on an historical question is worth quoting), St. Foix, Arnaud, and Bossuet, have pronounced the Templars innocent. The P. Feijoo a Spanish Benedictine, and M. Munter the late learned Dane, in consequence of his researches in the Library Corsini at Rome, agree to the justice of this verdict. Finally, Raumer is of the same opinion ; " such," says he, “ were the grounds and first establishment of the Christian orders ; and al
pursued the same object, "quorum uterque doctrina arcana munitus eodem fere modo imperio mundi potiundo inhiabat. In hoc solummodo diversi, quod Assassini et pugione qua sicarii in inimicos late grassabantur, Templarii autem solummodo gladio contra hostes vtebantur. Ceterum uterque ordo amictu albo et insignibus rubris (crux apud Templarios, cingulum apud Assassinos), distinctus plurimis institutionibus miro modo congruebat, præcipue in hoc quod religionem revelatam (quam doctrina arcana penitus subrueret) palam quam severissime exercerent, et quam acerrime defenderent, donec aptam occasionem nacti, tempus advenisse existimarent, ubi Gnosis, throno insidens, leone mactato, ac dracone, seu mundo calcato, omni spirituali ac temporali potestate potiretur." P. 53. He says, wherever the figure of a dragon fighting with a knight is seen, we may be sure it indicates a Gnostic architect, and that this is only preserved among the Scotch freemasons. How the poor Templars would be astonished if they could hear all this accusation!
* Tom. v. p. 501.