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Before I lose sight of the field of Warna, I am tempted to pause on the character and story of two principal actors, the Cardinal Julian, and John Huniades. Julian * Caesarini was born of a noble family of Rome; his studies had embraced both the Latin and Greek learning, both the sciences of divinity and law; and his versatile genius was equally adapted to the schools, the camp, and the court. No sooner had he been invested with the Roman purple, than he was sent into Germany to arm the empire against the rebels and heretics of Bohemia. The spirit of persecution is unworthy
of a Christian ; the military profession ill becomes
a priest; but the former is excused by the times; and the latter was ennobled by the courage of Julian, who stood dauntless and alone in the disgraceful flight of the German host. As the Pope's legate, he opened the council of Basil; but the president soon appeared the most strenuous champion of ecclesiastical freedom ; and an opposition of seven years was conducted by his ability and zeal. After promoting the strongest measures against the authority and person of Eugenius, some secret motive of interest or conscience engaged him to desert, on a sudden, the popular party. The
(Fabric. Bibliot. Latin. med. et infimae AEtatis, tom. i. p. 324.
* M. l'Enfant has described the origin (Hist. du Concile de Basle, tom. i. p. 247, &c.), and Bohemian campaign (p. 31.5, &c.), of Cardinal Julian. His services at Basil and Ferrara, and his unfortunate end, are occasionally related by Spondanus, and the continuator of Fleury.
cardinal withdrew himself from Basil to Ferrara; and, in the debates of the Greeks and Latins, the two nations admired the dexterity of his arguments and the depth of his theological erudition *. In his Hungarian embassy we have already seen the mis
chievous effects of his sophistry and eloquence, of .
which Julian himself was the first victim. The
avarice of some Christian fugitives.
+ See Bonfinius, decad iii. 1. iv. p. 423. Could the Italian historian pronounce, or the King of Hungary hear, without a blush, the absurd flattery, which confounded the name of a Walachian village with the casual, though glorious epithet, of a-single branch of the Valerian family at Rome 2
John Corvinus Huniades.
o: knight" was soon conspicuous; he increased his
fortunes by a noble and wealthy marriage; and in the defence of the Hungarian borders, he won, in the same year, three battles against the Turks. By his influence, Ladislaus of Poland obtained the crown of Hungary; and the important service was rewarded by the title and office of Waivod of Transylvania. The first of Julian's crusades added two Turkish laurels on his brow; and in the public distress the fatal errors of Warna were forgotten. During the absence and minority of Ladislaus of Austria, the titular king, Huniades was elected supreme captain and governor of Hungary; and if envy at first was silenced by terror, a reign of twelve years supposes the arts of policy as well as of war. Yet the idea of a consummate general is not delineated in his campaigns; the white knight fought with the hand rather than the head, as the chief of desultory barbarians, who attack without fear, and fly without shame; and his military life is composed of a romantic alternative of victories and escapes. By the Turks, who employed his name to frighten their perverse children, he was corruptly denominated Jancus Lain, or the Wicked. Their hatred is the proof of their esteem; the kingdom which he guarded was inaccessible to their arms; and they felt him most daring and formidable, when they fondly believed the captain of his
* Thilip de Comines, (Memoires, 1. vi. c. 13.), from the tradition of the times, mentions him with high encomiums, but under the whimsical name of the Chevalier Blanc de VaJaigne (Valachia). The Greek Chalcondyles, and the Turkish Annals of Leonclavius, presume to accuse his fidelity of valour. -- . .
country irrecoverably lost. Instead of confining himself to a defensive war, four years after the defeat of Warna he again penetrated into the heart of Bulgaria; and in the plain of Cossova sustained, till the third day, the shock of the Ottoman army, four times more numerous than his own. As he fled alone through the woods of Walachia, the hero was surprised by two robbers; but while they disputed a gold chain that hung at his neck, he recovered his sword, slew the one, terrified the other; and, after new perils of captivity or death, consoled by his presence an afflicted kingdom. But the last and most glorious action of his life was the defence of Belgrade against the powers of Mahomet the Second in person. After a siege of forty days, the Turks, who had already entered the town, were compelled to retreat; and the joyful nations celebrated Huniades and Belgrade as the bulwarks of Christendom *. About a month after this great deliverance, the champion expired; and his most splendid epitaph is the regret of the Ottoman prince, who sighed that he could no longer hope for revenge against the single antagonist who had triumphed over his arms. On the first vacancy of the throne, Matthias Corvinus, a youth of eighteen years of age, was elected and crowned by the grateful Hungarians. His reign was prosperous and long. Matthias aspired to the glory of a conqueror and a saint; but his purest merit is the encourageM 4 Iment
* See Bonfinius (decad iii. 1. viii. p. 492.), and Spondanus, (A. D. 1456. No. 1–7.). Huniades shared the glory of the defence of Belgrade with Capistran, a Franciscan friar ; and in their respective narratives, neither the saint nor the hero condescend to take notice of his rival's merit.
ment of learning; and the Latin orators and
* See Bonfinius, decad iii. 1. viii.-decad iv. 1. viii. The observations of Spondanus on the life and character of Matthias Corvinus, are curious and critical, (A. D. 1464. No. 1. 1475. No. 6. 1476. No. 14–16, 1490. No. 4, 5.). Italian fame was the object of his vanity. His actions are celebrated in the Epitome Rerum Hungaricarum (p. 322–412.) of Peter Ranzanus, a Sicilian. His wise and facetious sayings are registered by Galestus Martius of Narni, (528–568.); and we have a particular narrative of his wedding and coronation. These three tracts are all contained in the first vol. of Bel’s Scriptores Rerum Hungaricarum.
+ They are ranked by Sir William Temple, in his pleasing Essay on Heroic Virtue (Works, vol. iii. p. 385.), among the seven chiefs who have deserved, without wearing, a royal crown ; Belisares, Narses, Gonsalvo of Cordova, William first Prince of Orange, Alexander Duke of Parma, John Huniades, and George Castriot, or Scanderbeg.
f I could wish for some simple authentic memoirs of a friend of Scanderbeg, which would introduce me to the man, the time, and the place. In the old and national history of Marinus Ba:letius, a priest of Scodra, (de Vità, Moribus, et Rebus gestis Georgii Castrioti, &c. libri xiii. p. 367. Argentorat. 1537. in fol.), his gawdy and cumbersome robes are stuck with many false jewels. See likewise Chalcondyles, l. vii. p. 185, l. viii. p. 2:9.