letters and science. He instituted a sort of academy in his court, every member of which assumed. some celebrated name of antiquity. He collected all the ancient songs relative to the history of the Franks and Germans, and, while at his meals, caused to be read to him passages from history or the writings of the Fathers. His own education had been neglected in his youth, yet his ardor in the pursuit of knowledge was such that he applied himself to the driest and most rudimentary parts of a schoolboy's studies after his arrival at manhood. His knowledge of Latin and Greek is said to have been perfect; the former he spoke as fluently as his vernacular tongue.

Charlemagne died in 814, in the seventy-second year of his age.

His life was a life of improvement on all that immediately preceded him.

He was great both in war and peace. War was deemed a necessity of the age and country ; the Franks could hardly have been governed without it. This prince, bappily for bimself and for his people, brought with him to the throne talents adapted to his position, and, happily for the world, possessed likewise the spirit of civilization and improvement. His great success in civilization was all his own. He took possession of a kingdom torn by factions, surrounded by enemies, desolated by long wars, disorganized by intestine strife, and as profoundly ignorant as the absence of all literature could make it. By the continual and indefatigable exertion of his mental and corporeal powers, he restored order and harmony, formed a great empire, established internal tranquillity, and raised up science and arts. His highest eulogy is written in the calamities

of preceding and subsequent times. Those were ages of great misery to the people, the severets, perhaps, that Europe has ever known. The reign of Charle. magne was a relief to the general suffering of Christendom. Even under his sway, we have proofs of no trifling calamities endured by the people. The light which shone around him was that of a consuming fire. After his death, France was doomed to another age of darkness. Italy fell into worse disorders than before ; but Germany, which owed its redemption from the night of barbarism solely to his genius, received light which has continued unextinguished to the present day.

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The history of mankind offers few events more striking than the Crusades, an enterprise which in its day was esteemed the noblest effort of piety and zeal, but which in the present age is regarded as a stupendous monument of human folly. Such is the stern severity with which a cool and calculating posterity

* We have placed this article amid the sketches drawn from the history of France, partly because the French princes, knights, and nobles took so large a share in the Crusades, and partly to give them a proper place in relation to other important topics which are presented to the reader.

will reverse the judgment passed by an age upon itself. All Europe combined for once, and for once only, in a common undertaking ; yet Europe was in the end unsuccessful. A view of the heroic ages of Christianity, in regard to their grand and general results, is a useful and important, but a melancholy lesson. The crusades were a Holy War, a war undertaken from the impulse of religious feelings; yet this war was most savage and cruel. The whole enterprise retarded the march of civilization, thickened the clouds of superstition, and encouraged intolerance, cruelty, and fierceness. Religion lost its mildness and charity, and even its mitigating qualities of honor and courtesy. The wars of the crusades do not seem to have had the effect which has attended other great wars, that of rousing Europe from intellectual torpidity, and strengthening and refining the tone of mind. Those were times of action rather than of letters. Spoliation and slaughter were accounted the highest pitch of human glory, and all that in reality merited fame and applause was hid in silence and obscurity. Modes for the destruction of men, and not for their improvement, occupied the minds of Christians.

The fanatic enthusiasm of an obscure individual first set the ball in motion, which rolled with such impetuous force from Europe into Asia. Peter, a hermit of Picardy, on his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, represented the condition of the Holy City, and the cruel oppressions suffered by the Christians there, in such lively colors to Pope Urban the Second, that this pontiff countenanced him in a project to set both kings and people in motion for the recovery of the sepulchre of Christ. This hermit, of a hideous figure, covered with rags, walking barefooted, speaking as a prophet, and hearkened to as such, inspired the people everywhere with an enthusiasm similar to his own. The Pope held a council at Placentia, in Italy, in 1095, to determine upon the expedition. Thousands of people flocked to this meeting, and approved of the proposal. But the most vivid demonstration was made at the council of Clermont, in France, the same year. The Pope preached up the Holy War

. as the means of wiping away all offences which the people had committed. He placed all who took up arms under the protection of the Church, and promised that God would give them victory, and the spoils of the Mussulmans. The assembly set up a shout. 66 It is the will of God!” echoed from every quarter, and French vivacity was instantly aroused to the highest pitch of enthusiasm.

Every class of people, old men, women, and chil. dren, entered into the cause with the same lively spirit. The promise of pardon for sins, and the influence of curiosity, the love of adventure, the hope of gaining thrones and dominions, and the certain expectation of sitting in the next world as judges over the infidels, were the moving causes which incited persons of every rank to rush by hundreds of thousands into this undertaking

All the wars of the European powers among them selves were laid aside for the prosecution of this general war against the infidels. People sold their estates to defray the expense of equipping themselves for the march ; and the churches and monasteries were en

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