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CHAP.

XI.

1235-1239.

the Lateran on this point. The Pope wrote to Von Salza in Germany, bidding him keep the Emperor steady to his plighted word, Frederick having promised to make Rome umpire in the Lombard business. In October, the Grand Master was summoned to the presence of the Holy Father, and was accompanied by Gebhard von Arnstein. During the whole of the summer, the Patriarch of Antioch had been acting as Papal Legate in Lombardy. He had orders to send the magistrates of this lawless province to Rome by the first of December, that Gregory might arrange the business by Christmas day, the appointed time. Early in November, the Lombard deputies were assembled in the Palace of Guala the Bishop of Brescia, a wise statesman. So far from having any serious thoughts of peace, they renewed their League, into which they admitted Ferrara, engaging that city to forbid the passage of any Germans.

We have now arrived at the year 1236. Nothing of course had been arranged in Northern Italy, as the Pope himself acknowledges in the following letter to Frederick; We have received the account of your magnificent progress, and we have heard that by the advice of the Princes you placed the business of Lombardy in the hands of the Church, on condition however that it should be settled by Christmas day which has just passed, to the honour of the Empire; otherwise you threatened to enter Lombardy with an army. Still we ordered Von Salza to remind you, that you annexed no condition to the arrangement. The business has not been settled, because the Lombards did not send their messengers in time. A few days after Von Salza's departure they came, saying that they had been kept back by excusable hindrances, and

XI.

they offered a compromise in precise terms. We CHAP. thought it best to take their offer and to call back Von Salza. We wrote to him accordingly, but he 1235-1239. said that he was forced by your orders to go to you without delay. Send him back to us with full powers to complete the peace; if you attack Lombardy, Palestine is ruined.' Gregory wrote in the like strain to several of the Prelates of Germany, and sent the Bishop of Ascoli to keep the Lombards quiet. Nothing but the presence of Von Salza prevented them from seizing on Verona. They brought over Azzo of Este to their side and began to harass Eccelin. Frederick took it very ill, that his Holiness had struck out of the terms of peace a salvo in favour of the honour of the Empire.

Matters in Southern Italy, according to the Pope, were still worse; Lucera was becoming the eye-sore of the land. Gregory thus writes to Frederick in February; The Churches are being robbed by your ministers; the pastors are banished, taxed, and impleaded in your Courts. There are no free elections, but the Churches are given over to adulterous embraces; heresy is invading the Catholic faith; the walls of Babylon are being built upon the ruins of Jerusalem, and the arsenals of the Hagarenes are rising upon the foundations of Zion. The stones of churches are forced to migrate to the spot where Mohammed is worshipped; the uncircumcised, posted in the midst of the Kingdom, are poisoning the Catholic faith; the Hebrews are being oppressed by the Egyptians. Some nobles have been stripped of their castles and goods; their wives and children have been brought to beggary; we believe these persons to be guiltless. The Church has to blush;

CHAP.
XI.

1235-1239.

those who take our side are specially marked out for oppression; these things we speak of our own sure knowledge. You take credit to yourself for scorning those liars, who say it was the Church that caused the renewal of the Lombard League. If the Lombards are standing on their own defence, if the Veronese have elected Regnier of Marzan as their Podesta, bidding him turn neither to the right nor to the left, this should not be set down to us. We shall proceed against all who rise up against the Church. Lend your ear to no calumnies, try to heal the wounds of the sorely-afflicted Kingdom, and believe that we have hitherto treated you only too mildly.'

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Frederick's rejoinder came from Spires, dated on the 16th of April. We are not embittered against you, owing to false accusations laid to your charge; but we are embittered against those who try to make us believe lies, so that unless we were forced to have a good opinion of you, the case would be different. O Father, you are bringing us very slow succour, if we may say so, while you are misled by improbable grounds of suspicion against us. You charge us with the faults of our Officials in Sicily, just as if we could see clearly from Germany into Sicily with the eyes of a lynx and with the voice of thunder. Thus you assert without a doubt whatever any lying tongue has told you about the oppression of the clergy; and what wounds us most, about adulterous embraces and about the transfer of the stones of Churches to unhallowed spots. We could have made a better reply, had you stooped to particulars; but we answer in a general way, that all these matters are far from our knowledge, unless you ascribe to our enmity what the execution of law demands.

XI.

1235-1239.

We think that we do you no wrong, if we enjoy CHAP. our right to recall our own domain lands into our Treasury; if we effect exchanges with holy places, giving an indemnity; if we exercise the right of elections, according to the custom of our predecessors in the Kingdom. You, who long for peace in Sicily, should not set over the Churches disloyal Prelates, or the sons of disloyal vassals, who have cost us much already. It is better that a Church be vacant for a time, than that it should be a source of damage to us for ever. Our Officials, it is true, are sometimes misled by zeal and do wrong to Churchmen; but we have charged our ministers to prevent this, and Von Salza has had our orders to put an end to it. We cannot be silent on the conduct of certain men, whom we might blot out of the book of the living for countless causes. They have complained to you of Churches being ruined, and of the Saracens being brought into Apulia. As to the last, at great cost and danger to ourselves, we removed them from the mountainous parts of Sicily, where they had killed more Christians than are now living on that island; and we settled them in a plain amongst Christians, that they might be won over to baptism. In fact, their Cadis have complained to us that already one third of their number have adopted Christianity, and the rest will soon follow. Lastly, we must not pass over the tail of your letter, in which you threaten to excommunicate the Veronese, who have come over to us and banished their townsmen, the partizans of the Lombards. Some men, perhaps sons of tares, are of opinion that you wish to reannex that city to the Lombard League. Though we disbelieve this,

XI.

1235-1239.

CHAP. yet it will be for your honour to gainsay this report, as it is widely spread. Had you considered all this, you would not have added to your letter the remark, that you could be tolerant no longer. As to the business of Cyprus and the Patriarch of Jerusalem, we will answer you when, by God's help, we come into Italy.'

Frederick wrote another letter to Gregory much later in the year, which we subjoin here, as it bears almost entirely upon Sicilian affairs. It will be remarked that the Emperor takes a high tone, being then at the head of a German army which he had led into Lombardy. We have just heard from our envoys news, which you yourself ought to have given us in a proper way, and speedily, by your own messenger. Your chaplain, Gregory of Romagna, came into our presence, and we received from him no satisfaction. You seem to sleep over our complaints, and you send us more demands. You make various charges, some very vague; but we will answer them. We are aware of no Churches or ecclesiastics in the Kingdom being maltreated, unless you refer to our maintenance of our rights, bequeathed to us by our forefathers. If the Clergy are taxed, you should call this the carrying out of the law, not a wrong done to them. They are very seldom impleaded for any thing but High Treason. In the elections of Bishops, we do but exercise the old rights of our forefathers; they never rose to the height of greatness to which we have climbed ; and we will not be cheated out of what the Church granted to them. We should like to know from you the names of our Officials, who nominate or reject Prelates; still certain collations belong to us. We have conferred vacant benefices by old custom.

We

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