The question of religion had practically disappeared by this time, except as an excuse for indulgences and ecclesiastical subsidies and as a cloak for dynastic expansion. If Raymond had not yet actively persecuted his heretic subjects it was merely because of the impolicy, under constant threats of foreign aggression, of alienating so large a portion of the population on which he relied for support. He had shown himself quite ready to do so in exchange for reconciliation to the Church, and he had urged the legate to establish an organized inquisition throughout his dominions. Amid all the troubles the Dominicans had been allowed to grow and establish themselves in his territories; and when their rivals in persecution, the Franciscans, had come to Toulouse, he had welcomed them and assisted them in taking root. In this very year, 1225, St. Antony of Padua, who stands next to St. Francis in the veneration of the order, came to France to preach against heresy, and in the Toulousain his eloquence excited such a storm of persecution as to earn for him the honorable title of the Tireless Hammer of Heretics. The coming struggle thus, even more than its predecessors, was to be a war of races, with the whole power of the North, led by the king and the Church, against the exhausted provinces which clung to Raymond as their suzerain. We cannot wonder that he was willing to submit to any terms to avert it, for he was left to breast the tempest alone. His greatest vassal, the Count of Foix, it is true, stood by him, but the next in importance, the Count of Comminges, made his peace, and is found acting for the king ; the Count of Provence entered into the alliance against him, while, at a warning from Louis, Jayme of Aragon and Nunez Sancho of Roussillon forbade their subjects from lending aid to the heretic.
Meanwhile the crusade was organized on the largest scale. At a great parliament held in Paris, January 28, 1226, the nobles presented an address urging the king to undertake it and pledging their assistance to the end. He assumed the cross under condition that he should lay it aside when he pleased, and his example was followed by nearly all the bishops and barons, though we are told that many did so unwillingly, holding it an abuse to assail a faith-
- Wadding! Annal. Minorum ann. 1225, No. 14.— Vaissette, III. Pr. 305, 318. —Teulet, Layettes, II. 75, No. 1758; p. 79, No. 1768; p. 90, No. 1794.