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Chapter XXXIV, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 1 page 2


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While Peter journeyed on from city to city, Urban called together a council at Placentia, at which deputies were present from the Emperor of Constantinople. The council being unanimous in favour of the Crusade, Urban determined to venture across the Alps. A second council was held at Clermont, in Auvergne, at which were assembled bishops and princes, both of France and Germany, and a vast concourse of people.

After the less important business of the meeting had been transacted, Urban came forth from the church in which the council was held, and addressed the multitude gathered in the market-place, He recounted the long catalogue of; wrongs suffered by the Christians in the Holy Land from the pagan (The word Paynim, or Pagan, was commonly used in the Middle Ages to include all Mahometans,) race. With an eloquence for which he was remarkable, he appealed to the most powerful passions which animate the breast of mankind; and the assembly rose up and cried with one voice - "It is the will of God! it is the will of God!"

The news of this council spread with wonderful rapidity over the world; and, in the words of an old historian, "throughout the earth the Christians glorified themselves and were filled with joy; while the Gentiles of Arabia and Persia trembled, and were seized with sadness: the souls of the one race were exalted, those of the others stricken with; fear and stupor."

Some modern historians, in speaking of the influence possessed by Urban over the people, have reproached his memory for the use to which he applied his eloquence, and for having incited the people to the wild and bloodthirsty expeditions of the Crusades, with a view to his own interest. Such an accusation cannot be regarded as just. It is the part of wisdom, as of charity, to judge of a man's acts, not by a standard of pure and abstract right, but rather with regard to the times in which he lived and the influences by which he was surrounded. The spirit of the age was warlike and enthusiastic, and such a spirit may be traced through the conduct of Pope Urban; but there is no reason to doubt that he was sincere, and that he upheld the cause of the Crusades at the cost of great personal sacrifices.

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Pictures for Chapter XXXIV, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 1 page 2

Palm-tree of Judea
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St. Helena
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