Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/166

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and would have taken summary vengeance on the murderer but for his escape and hiding with friends at Beaucaire. The story carried to Rome by the Bishops of Conserans and Toulouse, who hastened thither to inflame Innocent against Raymond, was that, wearied with the count's tergiversations, the legates announced their intentions to withdraw, when he was heard to threaten them with death, saying that he would track them by land and water. That the Abbot of St. Gilles and the citizens, unable to appease his wrath, furnished the legates with an escort, and they reached the Rhone in safety, where they passed the night. While preparing to cross the river in the morning (January 16, 1208), two strangers, who had joined the party, approached the legates, and one of them suddenly thrust his lance through Pierre, who, turning on his murderer, said, "May God forgive thee, for I forgive thee!" and speedily breathed his last ; and that Raymond, so far from punishing the crime, protected and rewarded the perpetrator, even honoring him with a seat at his own table. The papal account, it must be owned, is somewhat impaired in effect by the remark that Pierre, as a martyr, would certainly have shone forth in miracles but for the incredulity of the people. It may well be that a proud and powerful prince, exasperated by continued objurgation and menace, may have uttered some angry expression, which an over-zealous servitor hastened to translate into action, and Raymond, certainly, never was able to clear himself of suspicion of comphcity; but there are not wanting indications to show that Innocent eventually regarded his exculpation as satisfactory.[1]

The crime gave the Church an enormous advantage, of which Innocent hastened to make the most. On March 10 he issued letters to all the prelates in the infected provinces commanding that, in all churches, on every Sunday and feast-day, the murderers and their abettors, including Raymond, be excommunicated with bell, book, and candle, and every place cursed with their presence was declared under interdict. As no faith was to be kept with him who kept not faith with God, all of Raymond's

  1. Vaissette, Éd. Privat, VIII. 557.— Hist, du Comte de Toulouse (Vaissette, HI. Pr. 3, 4).— Guill. de Pod. Laurent, c. 9.— Pet. Saruens. c. 9.— Rob. Autissiodor. ann. 1209.— GuilL Nangiac. ann. 1208.— Regest. xi. 26; xii. 106.— Guillein de Tudela, v.