Page:Chronicle of the Grey friars of London.djvu/13

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ix
PREFACE

London Franciscans. Beyond these circumstances, we have no evidence upon which any speculations can be founded as to his name or position. From his frequent notices of Saint Paul's it might be surmised that he had some official connection with the cathedral church; but the close vicinity of his residence would alone afford him sufficient opportunities of observation.

With these brief remarks our Chronicle may be left to the just appreciation of the reader. Some notice, however, is due to the Fraternity in whose Register it was recorded. Though the Chronicle itself contains but few and incidental items of their history, they were by no means negligent of its due commemoration: but that was done in another shape, and in the Latin language, in an earlier part of the same volume. This Register is, in fact, one of the amplest authorities for the history of the Friars Minors, as they once flourished in England; and a descriptive account of the whole volume cannot be deemed inappropriate in this place.

It may be acceptable to prefix a few historical dates, derived in part from the same source. Saint Francis, the founder and patron of the Friars Minors,[1] was born at Assisi in Italy in the year 1182; and he was still a young man when he commenced his scheme of religious observance. The Rule of his Fraternity was approved by Pope Innocent III. in 1210, revised in the Lateran council of 1215, and confirmed by Honorius III. in 1224. At the first general convention of the fraternity in 1217 its numbers were already considerable; and in 1219 it consisted of more than five thousand members. Elate with his success, Francis determined to appoint Provincial

  1. This designation was adopted in token of their deep humility: Fuller supposed in allusion to Jacob's words in Gen. xxxii. 10, Sum Minor omnibus beneficiis tuis.—Church Hist. vi. 270.