URBAN VI. AND CHARLES III. OF NAPLES.*
MANY of the civilised, and even some of the imperfectly civilised, nations of the world have been the scenes of fierce, protracted, and too often disastrous contests between the ecclesiastical and lay classes of society; or, to speak with rigid accuracy, the mass of the population, which naturally consists of the laity, has been divided into two factions, one subservient to clerical influence, the other obedient to the law of the land, or the will of a strong-minded ruler. The thoughtful student of history will also perceive not only that each party has much to allege in defence of its claims, but that each seems to occupy an unassailable position, the one party basing its demands on admitted theories and logical deduction, the other appealing to practical experience of public affairs as manifested by the consistent testimony of history. In the dispute related in the book before us, Pope Urban had, it must be admitted, a good deal to say for himself, if only he had known how to say it; if he bad kept his temper—which, bad as it was naturally, be could not afford to lose—and had not preferred inviting a foreign invasion and causing a civil war to the milder course of compromise and alternate concession. To explain this view fully, we must make a brief retrospect. The territory which until a few years since was styled the Kingdom of Naples, and which occupies about a third part of the Italian Peninsula in extent, though by no means in value, was most of it at the commencement of the eleventh century, subject, more or less loyally, to the Eastern Empire. Though a feeble Lombard Duchy existed at Benevento, the cities of Naples, Gaeta, and Amalfi, though really republican, accepted the nominal overlordship of the Greek Emperor, and Saracen mercenaries had effected permanent settlements in Apulia. Some Norman pilgrims, perhaps to the cele- brated grotto of St. Rosalie, having, as was usual with their race, an eye to business as well as devotion, were engaged by the Lombard Prince of Salerno against the Saracens in Apulia, and subsequently by the Greek Emperor against the same antagonists in Sicily. The names of Tancred, Robert Guiscard, and Roger I., are renowned in the annals of chivalry ; from their headquarters at Aversa they overran the whole country, defeating Lombards, Greeks, and Saracens alike, and for half-a•century the house of Hauteville reigned in Southern Italy. The martial pontiff, Leo IX., assailed them with a host of German mercenaries and Italian brigands, and though defeated and captured, found that he had fallen into the hands of pious enemies who prostrated themselves as penitents before him and consented to hold their conquests as his vassals. This stipulation Mr. Baddeley does not notice, which is to • Charles III. of Naples and Urban VI. By St. Clair Baddeley. London : William Heinemann. be regretted, as it seems to furnish a species of justification for the domineering conduct of Pope Urban VI. to Charles III. To prevent, however, any clashing between the powers of Church and State (if, indeed, so desirable an arrangement could be by any means rendered practicable) the Sovereign of Naples was declared in perpetuity Hereditary Vicar-General and Legate of the Holy See, and was thus invested with almost despotic powers over the clergy of his Kingdom, as well regular as secular. In 1194, the male line of Hauteville became extinct, and the Neapolitan crown passed by the marriage of the heiress to the German Imperial dynasty of the Hohenstaufens, and thus was involved in the destructive feuds of G-uelfs and Ghibellines, which for several generations devastated the fair Italian soil. On the overthrow of this family in 1254 the Government was held for a short time by Manfred as guardian of the rightful heir, Conradin ; but as his Ghibelline partialities were deemed inconsistent with the interests of the Church, or perhaps with the temporal power of the Pope, the Holy See induced Charles, Count of Anjou, and brother of St. Louis, to lead a crusade against him, branding him also as the "Moslem Sultan of Apulia." An interesting essay might be written on the various modifica- tions the term " crusade " has undergone since the days of Peter the Hermit; conclusions would, we fear, be drawn by no means creditable to human—or perhaps we may rather say, clerical—nature. Manfred lost rule and life on the fatal field of Grandella, and the French invader doomed the young Conradin to expiate his crime of regal descent on the scaffold, in anticipation, we suppose, of the Re- publican regime, which sent a ploughman to the guillotine because his name was De Laval. Dante places Manfred in Purgatory; but the pious and pathetic sentiments he attri- butes to him seem to prove that he looked upon him as in some degree a martyr in the cause of Italian independence. Feudal jurists, however, will probably hold that in trans- ferring the crown of Naples, the Pope did no more than, as Lord Paramount, he was fully entitled to do. The House of Anjou held the throne of Naples (though they lost Sicily) with a moderate degree of tranquillity until 1343, when Joanna I. succeeded and reigned thirty years. This lady, whose history Mr. Baddeley has written, was, like Brigham Young, "very much married," and is believed to have got rid of her first husband by the short and easy method of strangulation. As long as the Popes resided at Avig- non, which had been given to them by Queen Joanna, who possessed it as Countess of Provence, the relations of Naples with the Holy See were perfectly amicable ; but on the election of Bartolomeo Prignano, who assumed the name of Urban VI., a storm arose. It is hard to say what serious cause of quarrel the Pope could have alleged; but the Queen's marriage with Otto of Brunswick, a member of a family here- ditarily hostile to the temporal power, may have led to the apprehension that the Ghibelline faction in Italy would be strengthened by the adhesion of Naples, which had always been consistently Guelfic, unless we suppose that from the very day of his election he had resolved to carve for his nephew, Francesco, a principality out of the unoffending Kingdom of Naples, as he subsequently attempted to do. Even though, as Mr. Baddeley informs us, his arrogance and violence of temper so disgusted the majority of the Cardinals that they abandoned him, held another conclave, elected the Cardinal of Geneva to the Popedom, and thus caused the Western Schism, still we fail to see how this could have affected his relations with the sovereign of Naples, until, by his undisguised hostility, be drove her to manifest a preference for his rival, Clement VII. Nor is it easy to discern on what grounds the Cardinals could have declared their own election of Urban invalid, as he does not appear to have been accused of heresy or of any gross immorality. Charles, Duke of Dnrazzo, was nearly related to Queen Joanna, and had in his boyhood been virtually, if not formally, adopted by her. Urban, not content with having excommunicated her, induced Charles to invade the Kingdom and depose her, promising aid, in men and money, on condition that four important cities, with the adjacent districts, should be detached from the Neapolitan Kingdom and constituted into an independent principality for his nephew, Francesco. Charles agreed to a compact which he had no intention of carrying out, and invaded Naples with an
army of Hungarians, then considered the best soldiers in Europe. The nobles took different sides, as has been too often the case in Italy, and even families were divided. The Queen was compelled to surrender, notwithstanding the brave and prudent efforts of her husband, Otto of Brunswick, the only one engaged in this transaction who exhibited a due sense of honour or self-respect. Joanna was imprisoned in the castle of Muro, where she is said'to have been put to death by suffo- cation. Her life and fate have been considered as furnishing a parallel to those of Mary, Queen of Scots, and there are certainly some striking points of resemblance by no means creditable to any of the parties concerned. Previous to her deposition, however, she bad formally adopted as her successor her kinsman, Louis of Anjou, who had secured the support of the anti-Pope Clement, through whose intervention he hoped to obtain the services of the famous coudottiere, Sir John Hawkwood, who with his 600 English archers was the terror of Italy from the Alps to the Faro. The rival Popes flung about excommunications and interdicts broad-cast, or to use an expressive Scotch phrase, " swore at large." • Charles had now two difficulties to grapple with, to oppose
the approaching invasion of Louis of Anjou, and to com- promise, if possible, his disreputable bargain with Urban so as to gratify the Papal nepotism without dismembering his realm. To encounter the former, he liberated from prison and called to his council the upright and sagacious Otto of Brunswick—we may assume that Joanna had not yet been murdered; or, if so, that her fate was ntot yet known—who advised him to avoid a general engagement, but to rely on his fortified cities, on the scarcity of provisions, and on the probable ?malaria to baffle the furies Prowess. The march of the French host was marked by blood, rapine, and fire, but soon disorder led to famine and pestilence, aggravated by the labour of siege operations, the attacks of the agile Italians and Hungarians, and the non-appearance of the formidable Hawk- wood, who, very probably, calculated that Louis's enterprise "would not pay," and ultimately, through the intervention of Pope Urban, took service with Charles. Louis died of fever in 1384, after two years of profitless warring in Italy, and the enfeebled wreck of a once magnificent army straggled back over the Alps in rags and disease, leaving, in our author's words, "their swords to be converted into spades." Italy has on several occasions been the inglorious grave of French armies.
King Charles had now to settle with Pope Urban as to the price he was to pay for his not very clerical assistance. Urban proceeded to Naples with a train of Cardinals, met the King, gave him the kiss of peace, not very sincerely we may suppose,—for a large supply of excommunica- tions and interdicts was always on band,—and negotia- tions were entered on, each party desiring to cheat the other. The Pope, like Sill/lock, would have "his pound of flesh," and would create an independent State for his dear nephew, Francesco, who had done a few things at which an English jury would have looked very grave, and for:which in the land of liberty he would have made acquain- tance with Judge Lynch, and at the meanness of whose extraction the Orsinis and San Severinis would have looked askance. It became known to Urban that some of the Cardinals sympathised with the King. His suspicions were excited, and under the pretext of a conspiracy, which Mr.
• Baddeley holds they had really engaged in, but which appears to us at least doubtful, he had them arrested, tortured severely, and eventually executed, none being spared save Adam Aston, Cardinal of Hertford, who probably availed himself of Lord Palmerston's well• known maxim, "Civic Anglicus sum." After protracted negotiations and much thundering forth of interdicts and excommunications, all tending only to prove that both parties were ambitions charlatans, a stumbling mule overthrew his Holiness, and illness supervening, freed Charles from his only formidable enemy, and the distracted Kingdom of Naples enjoyed a few years of repose.
Charles now was able to turn his attention to arranging the internal affairs of his realm, but, as much will have more, he accepted an offer of the crown of Hungary, its people having become dissatisfied with their Queen, whom their vanity led them to style "King Mary." Having arrived at Buda,
he found the Queen, as far as words went, willing to resign, but she certainly was not sincere, as through her machinations he was shortly after struck down by the battle-axe of an assassin, and subsequently either poisoned or strangled on his bed of illness. He was ambitions and unscrupulous, but endowed with much military skill and political sagacity, and had he lived longer would most probably have ruled beneficially, and perhaps shown himself as-
" Europe's bulwark 'gainst the Ottomite."
Mr. Baddeley has shown much industry and critical judgment in the collection of his materials, and has rendered interesting some events not of great importance to Europe generally.