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ed him to be apprehended and condemned for his heretical discourses.
"The rector of Lutterworth would soon have been the prey of his mighty adversaries, had not the duke of Lancaster, and lord Henry Percy, then marshal of England, espoused his cause, and afforded him protection. Whether their conduct proceeded from political or religious motives, is a matter of uncertainty; but, whatever might be the inducement, it had the happiest effect; for it not only enabled Wickliffe to pursue his Herculean task, but emboldened many, both of the clergy and laity, to embrace his tenets.
"In a few years the Wickliffites, or Lollards, became exceedingly numerous, notwithstanding the attempts, made by argument and force, to suppress them. The doctrines taught by this reformer were similar to those of the latter reformers, but far less purified from error. They were, however, sufficient to alarm the Roman hierarchy, and make them earnestly desirous of repressing them by force, since it was vain to use arguments.
"The most opprobious epithets were applied to this most faithful and diligent labourer, who continued, till death, to discharge, with fidelity and zeal, the duties connected with his official station.
"His great work of translating the Holy Scriptures was completed a little before his decease, which took place in the year 1384. This latter event was hailed with delight by his enemies, who fondly imagined that it would lead to the overthrow of his heresy. But they found that it had taken too deep root to be exterminated; and though, during the disturbed years of Richard's reign, attempts were made to destroy the writings of WickJiffe, and his followers, and to remove all who were suspected of Lollard sentiments, from their benefices, they continued to flourish, and were finally triumphant, as I have before related to you."
"I am sure Mary Ann and Susan are much obliged to you for the information you have given them," said Mrs. Spencer; "and I hope they will prove their sense of the obligation, by endeavouring to remember what you have told them."
The little girls looked assent to their mamma's observation; and Mary Ann enquired if Mr. Wilmot would object to giving some little account of the Crusades.
"So far from objecting, my dear," answered her kind cousin, "it gives me pleasure to hear you make enquiries, since it proves that you are interested in my anecdotes.
"The object of the Crusades was to drive the infidels out of the possession of the Holy Land; and the zeal of a fanatical monk, towards the end of the eleventh century, gave rise to this wild undertaking. Peter the Hermit (for so he was named) ran from province to province, with a cross in his hand, exciting kings and people to this holy war, as it was called. His enthusiasm spread with astonishing rapidity: not only princes, and nobles, and warrioTs; but shepherds and mechanics, women and children, left their peaceful occupations, and hastened to enlist themselves under the banner of their deluded leader. It is asserted by contemporary authors, that six millions of persons, at different times, assumed the badge of the cross. These crosses were worn on their clothes, and their colours distinguished the different nations. The English wore them white, the French red, the Flemish green, the Germans black, and the Italians yellow.
"In the second Crusade a considerable troop of women rode amongst the Germans: they were arrayed with the spear and shield. But the historian satirically remarks, that some love of usual delights had mingled itself with the desire of great exploits; for they were remarkable for the splendour of their dress, and the bold leader was called the golden-footed dame. "These ladies were, however, of an age to judge for themselves; and however we may smile at their folly, our pity is not excited, as it is for the children of France and Germany, who, seduced by the preaching of fanatics, about the year 1213, thought themselves authorized by Heaven, to attempt the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre; and ran about the country, crying, 'Lord Jesus Christ restore the cross to us.' Boys and girls stole from their homes; no bolts, no bars, no fear of fathers, or love of mothers, could hold them back; and the number of youthful converts was thirty thousand. They were accompanied by some fanatical persons, some of whom were taken and hanged at Cologne. The children passed through France, crossed the Alps; and those who survived hunger and thirst, presented themselves at the gates of the sea-ports of Italy and the south of France. Many were driven back to their homes; but seven large ships, full of them, went from Marseilles. Two of the vessels were wrecked on the isle of St. Peter; the rest of the ships went to Bugia and Alexandria, and the master sold the
children to slavery. These dreadful facts are mentioned by four contemporary writers.
"In the third crusade, Richard the First, surnamed Cceur de Lion, as I before told you, signalized himself eminently. The very word Richard was dreaded in Syria, so great was the terror he had spread. Syrian mothers used to frighten their children, by telling them that king Richard was coming; and horses, according to vulgar tradition, dreaded the lion-hearted monarch; for, if a courser started, the rider would exclaim, 'What! do you think king Richard is in the bush?' In the year 1193, died the sultan Saladin, the Saracen chief; and, as his character was a remarkable one, I shall give you a brief sketch of it. He was. in the fifty-seventh year of his age when he expired. During twenty-two years he had reigned over Egypt, and for nineteen years was absolute master of Syria. No Asiatic monarch has filled so large a space, in the annals of Europe, as the antagonist of Cceur de Lion. He was a compound of the dignity and the baseness, the greatness and the littleness of man. As the Moslem hero of the third holy war, he proved himself a valiant soldier and a skilful general. He hated the Christian cause; for he was a zealous Mussulman, and his princU