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c H.A.P. acknowledge him as their sovereign; the most ot- powerful are the Dukes of Bretagne and Burgundy, of whom the latter possesses the wealthy province of Flanders, whose harbours are frequented by the ships and merchants of our own, and the more remote seas. The French are an ancient and opulent people; and their language and manners, though somewhat different, are not dissimilar from those of the Italians. Vain of the imperial dignity of Charlemagne, of their victories over the Saracens, and of the exploits of their heroes, Oliver and Rowland *; they esteem themselves the first of the western nations; but this foolish arrogance has been recently humbled by the unfortunate events of their wars against the English, the inhaof Eng- bitants of the British island. III. Britain, in the land. ocean, and opposite to the shores of Flanders, may be considered either as one, or as three islands; but the whole is united by a common interest, by the same manners, and by a similar government. The measure of its circumference is five thousand stadia; the land is overspread with towns and villages; though destitute of wine, and not abounding in fruit-trees, it is fertile of wheat and barley; in honey and wool; and much cloth is manufactured by the inhabitants. In populousness and power, in riches and luxury, London", the metro- c H.A.P.
* Most of the old romances were translated in the 14th century into French prose, and soon became the favourite amusement of the knights and ladies in the court of Charles VI. If a Greek believed in the exploits of Rowland and Oliver, he may surely be excused, since the monks of St Denys, the national historians, have inserted the fables of Archbishop Turpin in their Chronicles of France.
polis of the isle, may claim a pre-eminence over all the cities of the West. It is situate on the Thames, a broad and rapid river, which, at the distance of thirty miles, falls into the Gallic Sea; and the daily flow and ebb of the tide, affords a safe entrance and departure to the vessels of commerce. The King is the head of a powerful and turbulent aristocracy; his principal vassals hold their estates by a free and unalterable tenure; and the laws define the limits of his authority and their obedience. The kingdom has been often afflicted by foreign conquest and domestic sedition; but the natives are bold and hardy, renowned in arms, and victorious in war. The form of their shields or targets is derived from the Italians, that of their swords from the Greeks; the use of the long bow is the peculiar and decisive advantage of the English. Their language bears no affinity to the idioms of the Continent; in the habits of domestic life, they are not easily distinguished from their neighbours of France; but the most singular circumstance of their manners, is their disregard of conjugal honour, and of female chastity. In their mutual visits, as the first act of hospitality, the guest is welcomed in the embraces of their wives and daughters; among friends, they are lent and borrrowed without shame; nor are the islanders offended at this strange com
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merce, and its inevitable consequences". Informed as we are of the customs of old England, and assured of the virtue of our mothers, we may smile at the credulity, or resent the injustice of the Greek, who must have confounded a modest salute f with a criminal embrace. But his credulity and injustice may teach an important lesson; to distrust the accounts of foreign and remote nations, and to suspend our belief of every tale that deviates from the laws of nature, and the character of man i. After his return, and the victory of Timour, Manuel reigned many years in prosperity and peace. As long as the sons of Bajazet solicited his friendship, and spared his dominions, he was satisfied with the national religion; and his leisure was employed in composing twenty theological dialogues for its defence. The appearance of the Byzantine ambassadors at the council of Constance ||, announCCS
* If the double sense of the verb Kuw (osculor, and in utero gero) be equivocal, the context and pious horror of Chalcondyles can leave no doubt of his meaning and mistake, (p. 49.).
+ Erasmus (Epist. Fausto Andrelino) has a pretty passage on the English fashion of kissing strangers on their arrival and
departure, from whence, however, he draws no scandalous inferences.
f Perhaps we may apply this remark to the community of wives among the old Britons, as it is supposed by Caesar and I}ion, (Dion Cassius, l. lxii. tom. ii. p. 1007.), with Reimar's judicious annotation. The Arreoy of Otaheite, so certain at first, is become less visible and scandalous, in proportion as we have studied the manners of that gentle and amorous people.
| See l'Enfant, Hist. du Concile de Constance, tom. ii. p. 576; and for the ecclesiastical bistory of the times, the Annals of Spondanus, the Bibliotheque of Dupin, tom. xii.
and xxist and xxiid volumes of the History, or rather the Coatinuation of Fleury.
ces the restoration of the Turkish power, as well as c H A P. of the Latin church; the conquest of the Sultans, * Mahomet and Amurath, reconciled the Emperor to the Vatican ; and the siege of Constantinople almost tempted him to acquiesce in the double procession of the Holy Ghost. When Martin the Fifth ascended, without a rival, the chair of St Peter, a friendly intercourse of letters and embassies was revived between the East and West. Am. His negobition on one side, and distress on the other, dic- o tated the same decent language of charity and 1417– peace. The artful Greek expressed a desire of **** marrying his six sons to Italian princesses; and the Roman, not less artful, dispatched the daughter of the Marquis of Montferrat, with a company of noble virgins, to soften, by their charms, the obstinacy of the schismatics. Yet, under this mask of zeal, a discerning eye will perceive, that all was hollow and insincere in the court and church of Constantinople. According to the vicissitudes of danger and repose, the Emperor advanced or retreated; alternately instructed and disavowed his ministers; and escaped from an importunate pressure, by urging the duty of inquiry, the obligation of collecting the sense of his patriarchs and bishops, and the impossibility of convening them at a time when the Turkish arms were at the gates of his capital. From a review of the public transactions, it will appear, that the Greeks insisted on three successive measures, a succour, a council, and a final re-union, while the Latins eluded the second, and only promised the first as a consequential and voluntary reward of the third. But we have an
G 4 opportunity
opportunity of unfolding the most secret intentions of Manuel, as he explained them in a private conversation without artifice or disguise. In his declining age, the Emperor had associated John Palatologus, the second of the name, and the eldest of his sons, on whom he devolved the greatest part of the authority and weight of government. One day, in the presence only of the historian Phranza", his favourite chamberlain, he opened to his colleague and successor the true principle of his negociations with the Pope #. “Our last resource,” said Manuel, “against the Turks, is their fear of “our union with the Latins, of the warlike nations “ of the West, who may arm for our relief, and “for their destruction. As often as you are “ threatened by the miscreants, present this danger “before their eyes. Propose a council; consult “on the means ; but ever delay and avoid the “convocation of an assembly, which cannot tend “either to our spiritual or temporal emolument.
- . “ The
* From his early youth, George Phranza, or Phranzes, was employed in the service of the state and palace; and Hanckius (de Script. Byzant. p. i. c. 4d.) has collected his life from his own writings. He was no more than four-and-twenty years of age at the death of Manuel, who recommended him, in the strongest terms, to his successor : Imprimis vero hunc Phranzen tibi commendo, qui ministravit mihi fideliter et diligenter, (Phranzes, l. ii. c. 1.). Yet the Emperor John was cold, and he preferred the service of the despots of Peloponnesus.
+ See Phranzes, l. ii. c. 13. While so many manuscripts of the Greek original are extant in the libraries of Rome, Milan, the Escurial, &c. it is a matter of shame and reproach, that we should be reduced to the Latin version, or abstract, of James Pontanus, ad calcem Theophylact. Simocattac: (Ingolstadt, 1604), so deficient in accuracy and elegance, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. tom. vi. p. 615–62o.).