Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 128.djvu/762

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of Magna Charta. Indeed, it is expressly excluded — "Compositio illa, qualis qualis" (whatever its quality may be). Again, there is a distinct recognition of "grava,ina, pravæe consuetludines, iniqua exactiones." Finally, "maxime propter modum" declares the chief motive to be the manner in which the barons had exacted the Charter by force and fear.

I have thus far examined the subject as if it were incumbent upon me to prove that Innocent did not condemn the contents of the Charter. But it is for those who say that he did so to give proof of their assertion. I have not to prove a negative, and may well wait till they bring evidence. Hitherto I have heard none. And I take leave to say that none has been brought because none can be found, and none can be found because no such evidence ever existed.

I am well aware that Mr. Freeman has said —

In the latter days of John, and through the whole reign of Henry III., we find the pope and the king in strict alliance against the English Church and nation. The last good deed done by a pope towards England was when Innocent III. sent us Stephen Langton. Ever afterwards we find pope and king leagued together to back up each other's oppressions and exactions. The papal power was always ready to step in on behalf of the crown, always ready to hurl spiritual censures against the champions of English freedom. The Great Charter was denounced at Rome; so was its author, the patriot-primate.[1]

I hope that I have set this last sentence in its true light. The rest of this quotation needs a separate treatment. If Mr. Freeman and Mr. Bryce had mastered the history of the Catholic Church with the breadth of grasp with which they have treated the Holy Roman Empire, the work of Mr. Bryce, and the review of it by Mr. Freeman, would be two historical documents of unequalled value. It is the absence of this (which is the main element in medieval history) that disturbs the balance of their judgment. The action of the pontiffs in sustaining the sovereignties of the Christian world was prompted, not by despotic affinities, but by the words of Holy Writ, "Let every soul be subject to higher powers; for there is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God."[2] But on this we cannot enter now.

From Temple Bar.



There are not two biographers that agree as to the parentage of Cardinal Mazarin: a Jew, a fisherman, a banker, a Sicilian gentleman, have in turns been accredited with his progenitorship. It is generally understood, however, that his father was an artisan of Sicily, who, coming to Rome to seek his fortune, attracted the notice of the constable Colonna. This nobleman appointed him to be his steward, and held him in such high favour that he gave him his niece and god-daughter Ortensia Bufalini in marriage.

Giulio Mazarini — such is the correct form of his name, and the one in which he always wrote it until his naturalization in France — was born in the year 1602, while his mother was journeying in the Abruzzi. He was educated in the Roman college, which was under the control of the Jesuits, and rendered himself so remarkable by his talents that, when he was only sixteen, Grassi, the astronomer of the college, selected him to sustain public theses, in the presence of the cardinals and the most eminent literati, upon the great comet which appeared in that year; and he acquitted himself with an eloquence and strength of argument which won universal applause. The sons of Colonna were the companions of his studies and his intimate associates. Strikingly handsome, gifted with a marvellous power of insinuation, and a natural aptitude for intrigue, received on terms of equality in the palace of his patron, he acquired at the same time the distinguished manners and the vices of the great. While yet a youth, he was a confirmed gambler; fortune — some say finesse — usually favoured him, and filled his pockets with gold; but sometimes a reverse turn of the wheel left him without a sou: "The free-handed has Heaven for his treasurer," was a favourite saying of his.

The young Colonnas being sent to Spain to complete their education, his parents, hoping to divert him from such evil courses and evil associates, solicited that he might accompany them; which he did, ostensibly in the capacity of a valet de chambre, but in reality as a companion; no menial offices were ever performed by him, he had separate apartments, and studied in the same college. In all learning and accomplishments he made rapid progress, and won the heart of every person with whom he associated. Upon

  1. The Growth of the English Constitution, pp. 76, 77.
  2. Rom. xiii. 1, 2.