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they refused to prolong the truce which still subsisted between them and the sultan. The latter, therefore, marched an army to the neighbourhood of Tripoli, and threatened hostilities. The young king took the field at the head of a respectable force, and displayed his valour in many a fierce encounter; and though he did not succeed in conquering his foes, he saved his states from the utter annihilation with which they were threatened. He foresaw, however, the approaching ruin of the sacred cause ; for he could not fail to observe that, while the Saracens were constantly acquiring new advantages, the Latin barons were embracing every opportunity of returning home. He accordingly wrote to the Pope, that the kingdom of Jerusalem consisted only of two or three towns, and that its fate must already have been determined but for the civil wars which had raged among the sons of Saladin.
His Holiness was not deaf to a remonstrance so just and important. In a circular letter to the sovereigns of Europe, he reminded them that the time was now come when a successful effort might be made to secure possession of Palestine, and that, while those who should fight faithfully for God would obtain a crown of glory, such as refused to serve him would be punished everlastingly. He employed, among other arguments, a consideration which has since been often urged by Protestant writers against his own church; stating, that “ the Mohammedan heresy, the Beast. foretold by the Spirit, will not live for ever—its age is 666.” He concluded with the assurance, that Jesus Christ would condemn them for gross ingratitude and infidelity, if they neglected to march to his succour at
a time when he was in danger of being driven from a kingdom he had acquired by his own blood.
The preacher of the next Crusade was Robert de Courçon, a man inferior in talents and rank to St Bernard, but whose fanaticism was as fervent as that of the Hermit and Fulk. He invited all to assume the Cross, and enrolled in the sacred militia women, children, the old, the blind, the lame, and even the distempered. The multitude of Crusaders, as might be expected, was very great, and the voluntary offerings of money were immense. A council was held in the Church of the Lateran, in which the Emperor of Constantinople, the Kings of France, England, Hungary, Jerusalem, Arragon, and other countries, were represented. War against the Saracens was unanimously declared to be the most sacred duty of the Christian world. The usual privileges, dispensations, and indulgences, were granted to the pilgrims; and the Pope, besides other expenses, contributed thirty thousand pounds.
It was in the year 1216 that the sixth Crusade, consisting chiefly of Hungarians and the soldiers of Lower Germany, landed at Acre. The sons of Saphadin were now at the head of affairs in Syria, their father having retired from the fatigues of royalty; and, although unprepared to oppose so large a host with any prospect of success, they mustered what forces they could collect and advanced to Na. plosa, the modern Nablous. But the insubordination of the invaders made victory more easy than was anticipated. Destitute of provisions, they wan. dered over the country, committing the greatest enormities, and suffering from time to time very severe losses from the just indignation of the inha
bitants. At length the sovereign of Hungary, disgusted with the campaign, refused to remain any longer in Palestine,-a defection which compelled the King of Jerusalem, the Duke of Austria, and the Master of the Hospitallers, to take up a defensive position on the Plain of Cesarea. The knights of the other military orders, the Templar and Teutonic, seized upon Mount Carmel, which they fortified for the occasion. But their fears were relieved in the spring of the following year by the arrival of a large body of new and most zealous Crusaders from the upper parts of Germany. Nearly three hundred vessels sailed from the Rhine, which, after having sustained more than the usual casualties of a voyage in the North Sea, landed on the shore of Syria those martial bands who had assembled in the neighbourhood of the Elbe and the Weser.
For reasons which are not very clearly assigned, but having some reference, it may be conjectured, to the exhausted state of the country, the chiefs of the Crusade came to the resolution of withdrawing their troops from Palestine, and of carrying the war into Egypt. Damietta, not unjustly regarded as the key of that kingdom on the line of the coast, was made the first object of attack; and so vigorous were the approaches of the assailants, that the castle or fortress, which was supposed to command the town, fell into their hands. Meantime a reinforcement from Europe appeared at the mouth of the Nile. Italy sent forth her choicest soldiers, headed by Pelagius and De Courçon, as legates of the Pope. The Counts of Nevers and La Marche, the Archbishop of Bourdeaux, the Bishops of Meaux, Autun, and Paris, led the valiant youth of France; while the English
troops were conducted by the Earls of Chester, Arundel, and Salisbury, men celebrated for their heroism and experience in the field.
The tide of success flowed for some time so strongly in favour of the Christians, that the Saracen leaders were desirous to conclude a peace very advantageous to their invaders. When the loss of Damietta appeared inevitable, the Sultan of Syria, Khamel the son of Saphadin, apprehensive that the Crusaders would immediately advance against Jerusalem, issued orders to destroy the fortifications, to prevent its being held by them as a place of defence. But in the negotiation which was opened between the contending powers, the Mussulmans consented to rebuild the walls of the sacred city, to return the portion of the true cross, and to liberate all the prisoners in Syria and Egypt. Of the whole kingdom of Palestine, they proposed to retain only the castles of Karac and Montereale, as necessary for the safe passage of pilgrims and merchants in their intercourse with Mecca. As an equivalent for these important concessions, they required nothing more than the instant evacuation of Egypt, and a complete relinquishment of the conquests which had been recently made in it by the arms of the Crusaders. · The Christian chiefs, after a stormy discussion, determined to reject the terms offered by the allied sultans, and to prosecute the siege of Damietta. This devoted town, having been invested more than a year and a half, was at length carried by assault; but so resolute and persevering had been the defence, that of seventy thousand inhabitants, who were shut up by the Crusaders, only three thousand remained to witness their triumph.
The Saracens, fatigued with the horrors of war, once more proposed a' treaty on terms similar to those which were offered before the fall of Damietta. But the victors, whose wisdom in council was never equal to their valour in the field of battle, again refused to conclude a peace. The prevailing party recommended an immediate attack upon Grand Cairo; anticipating the reduction of the whole of Egypt, and the final subjection of all the Mohammedan states on the shores of the Mediterranean. This vision of greatness, however, soon vanished before the real difficulties of a campaign on the banks of the Nile. In a few months the leaders of the expedi. tion found themselves reduced to the necessity of soliciting permission to return into Palestine; consenting to purchase safety by giving up all the acquisi. tions they had made since the first day that they opened their trenches before Damietta. The Barons of Syria, and the military orders, retired to Acre, where they held themselves in readiness to sustain an attack from the indignant Moslems; the mass of the volunteers and pilgrims soon afterwards procuring the means of returning into Europe.
Frederick the Second of Germany, who had engaged to lead a strong force into Syria, was so long prevented by domestic cares from fulfilling his promise, that he incurred the resentment of the Pope, who actually pronounced against him a sentence of excommunication.* The emperor at length was
A Curé at Paris, instead of reading the bull from the pulpit in the usual form, said to his parishioners, “ You know, my friends, that I am ordered to fulminate an excommunication against Frede rick. I know not the motive. All that I know is, that there has been a quarrel between that prince and the Pope. God alone knows who is right. I excommunicate him who has injured the other, and