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and who, if it please God, shall one day be emperor, according to the privilege which we have already conferred upon him; and saving the honour of his successors, on whom the apostolic see shall confer the same high privilege."

There resided at this time at Rome, one Hildebrand, a monk of the order of Cluny, who had recently been created a cardinal; a man of a restless, fiery, and enterprising disposition; but chiefly remarkable for his furious zeal for the pretensions of the church. He was bom at Soana in Tuscany, of obscure parents, brought up at Rome, and had been frequently employed by that court to manage various political concerns which required dexterity and resolution, and he had rendered himself famous in all parts of Italy for his zeal and intrepidity. Hilde brand had interest enough to procure himself to be elected to the pontifical chair, in the year 1073, by the title of Gregory VII. and the papacy has not produced a more extraordinary character. “All that the malice or flattery of a multitude of writers have said of this pope, is concentrated in a portrait of him drawn by a Neapolitan artist, in which Gregory is represented as holding a crook in one hand, and a whip in the other, trampling sceptres under his feet, with St. Peter's net and fishes on either side of him.”* Gregory was installed by the people of Rome, without consulting the emperor, as hac hitherto been customary; but though Henry had no: been consulted upon the occasion, Gregory prudently waited for his confirmation of the choice before he as sumed the tiara. He obtained it by this mark of sul mission; the emperor confirmed his election, and th new pontiff was not dilatory in pulling off the mask, fı in a little time he raised a storm which fell with violence


Voltaire's Universal History, vol. i. ch. xxxvi.

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which it was treated, brought the quarrel between the empire and the church to a crisis : it was directed to Solomon, but intended for Henry.

Hitherto the princes of Christendom had enjoyed the right of nominating bishops and abbots, and of giving them investiture by the ring and crosier. The popes, on their part, had been accustomed to send legates to the emperors to entreat their assistance, to obtain their confirmation, or to desire them to come and receive papal sanction. Gregory now resolving to push the claim of investitures, sent two of his legates to summon Henry to appear before him as a delinquent, because he still continued to bestow investitures, notwithstanding the papal decree to the contrary: adding, that if he failed to yield obedience to the church, he must expect to be excommunicated and dethroned.

This arrogant message, from one whom he regarded as his vassal, greatly provoked Henry, who abruptly dismissed the legates, and lost no time in convoking an assembly of princes and dignified ecclesiastics at Worms; where, after mature deliberation, they came to this conclusion, that Gregory having usurped the chair of St. Peter, by indirect means, infected the church of God with many novelties and abuses, and deviated from his duty to his sovereign in several instances, the emperor, by the supreme authority derived from his predecessors, ought divest him of his dignity, and appoint a successor. Henry, consequently, sent an ambassador to Rome, with a formal deprivation of Gregory; who, in his turn, convoked a council, at which were present one hundred and ten bishops, who unanimously agreed that the pope had just cause to depose Ilenry, to annul the oath of allegiance which the princes and states had taken in his favour, and to prohibit them from holding any correspondence with him on pain of excommunication. And this execrable sentence was immediately fulminated against the emperor and his adherents. “ In the name of Almighty God, and by your authority,” said Gregory, addressing the members of the council, “ I prohibit Henry from governing the Teutonic kingdom and Italy. I release all Christians from their oath of allegiance to him; and I strictly forbid all persons to serve or attend him as king.”

This is the first instance of a pope presuming to deprive a sovereign of his crown; but unhappily it was too flattering to ecclesiastical pride to be the last. No preceding prelate had hitherto dared to use such imperious language as Gregory; for though Louis, the son of Charles the Great, had been deposed by his bishops, there was at least some colour for that step; they condemned him in appearance only to do public penance.

The circular letters written by Gregory breathe the same spirit as his sentence of deposition. In them he repeatedly asserts, that " bishops are superior to kings, and made to judge them"-expressions equally artful and presumptuous. His object is said to have been that of engaging in the bonds of fidelity and allegiance to the pope as vicar of Christ, all the potentates of the earth, and to establish at Rome an annual assembly of bishops, by whom the contests which from time to time might arise between kingdoms and sovereign states, were to be decided, the rights and pretensions of princes be examined, and the fate of nations and empires determined.*

Gregory well knew what consequences would result from the thunders of the church. The bishops in Germany immediately came over to his party, and drew with them many of the nobles. The Saxons took the oppor

Mosbeim': Eccles. Hist. vol. ii. cent. xi. part ii.



tunity of revolting: even the emperor's favourite Guell, a nobleman to whom he had given the duchy of Bavaria, supported the mal-contents with that very power which he owed to his sovereign's bounty; and the princes and prelates who had assisted in deposing Gregory, gave up their monarch to be tried by the pope, who was requested to come to Augsburg for that purpose.

To avoid the odium of this impending trial, Henry took the strange resolution of suddenly passing the Alps, accompanied only by a few domestics, and of throwing himself at the feet of Gregory, in order to implore his absolution. The pontiff was at that time on a visit to the countess or duchess Matilda, at Canosa, a fortress on the Appenines. At the gate of this mansion, the emperor presented himself as an humble penitent. He alone was admitted within the outer court, where, being stripped of his robes, and wrapped in sackcloth, he was compelled to remain three days, in the month of January (A. D. 1077) barefoot and fasting, before he was permitted to kiss the feet of his holiness !! The indulgence was, however, at length granted him--he was permitted to throw himself at the feet of the haughty pontiff, who condescended to grant him absolution, after he had sworn obedience to the pope in all things, and promised to submit to his solemn decision at Augsburgh; so that Henry reaped nothing but disgrace and mortification from his journey, while the pontiff, elate with triumph, and now considering himself as the lord and master of all the crowned heads in Christendom, said in several of his letters, that "it was his duty to pull down the pride of kings."

Happily for Henry, all sense of propriety and of common decency was not banished from the earth. The princes of Italy were disgusted with the strange accommodation that had taken place between him and the

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