1454 Philip the Good’s planned Crusade (Croyland Chronicle)

In the following year, that most abominable chieftain of the
Turks, (of whom we have^ previously made mention, when
gpeaking of the destruction of the city of Constantinople),
» P. 417.


after haying subjected to his rule nearly the whole of the
^Eastern Church, namely, Jerusalem and Asia, Libya and Greece,,
-with a very great part of Europe, was not contented therewith,
but incessanfly slaughtered the Christians, by reason of his in-
satiate desire of rule. Besides this, he even went so far as to
send threatening letters to our most holy father pope Pius ; in
which he declared that he was about, with all speed, to wrest
the Eoman Church as well^- the mother and mistress of all the
faithful, from the Christians, and to subject her to his rule ; and
in so doing, would use his utmost endeavours to found a new
monarchy, and render the whole world subject to the sole
empire of the Turks, and, dreadful to relate ! to the religion
of Mahomet alone. The Apostolic man before-named, being
disturbed and greatly moved at these ill-boding warnings, was
afflicted and distressed thereby, and could not be quieted in
mind until he had provided a sufficient and opportune remedy
against a calanuty of this kind, and had ensured the preser-
vation of Christianity and the protection of the sheep-fold of
our Lord against these ravening wolves. For this purpose, he
proclaimed a. general council at Mantua, where, in a moumM’
narrative, he disclosed to the Christiau believers the wounds
which the Church had received, and those which she seemed
shortly about to receive : after which, by means of legates a
latere, he summoned the princes of the earth to come to the
aid of the Christiau people. But alas ! shocking to relate, thes^
words had no weight ; his endeavours were in vain, and his
labours were to no purpose ; for each of them at once, pursu-
ing the object of his own desires, passed by the voice of the
shepherd with a deaf ear, and heeded it not.

Then, as a last resource, he sent letters full of lamentations
to all the kings and princes of the kingdoms of the East, as well
as to the prelates of the churches ; in which he severely re-
proached them for their slothfiilness and their desertion of the
cause of Christ, and warned them that, by withdrawing that
aid which was its due, they were allowing the bark of the
Church to founder in the moment of its necessity, attended
with such anxious fears. Besides this, in order that he might
arouse and move the torpid hearts of Christians to still greater
ardour in affordingsuccour, the supreme Pontiff himself, using all
possible exertions, and being ready to devote his own existence
in behalf of the Lord’s flock, followed in the footsteps of the

428 CONmniATION op the history op CROTLAin). A.D. 1463.

good Shepherd and the Best of teachers, and declared that he
would give his own life for the sheep of Christ. Accordingly,
tiiough a weak and ailing old man, finding that he could in no
other way promote the interests of the faith, and hy no other
means arouse the minds of Christians to the defence of the
Divine law, he took his departure from his see, with the fiill
intention of confirming his wavering brethren by his own ex-
ample. Directing his steps towards Ancona, he hastened to
embark at that port, and, with a fieet, which, in the meantime,
he had been enabled to equip at the joint expense of himself
and some others, to enter the Adriatic Sea ; nor did he hesitate
in the least boldly to proceed straight against the enemies of
the faith, and to engage with them at sea. But he embarked
in order to fight, like Moses, not by means of arms, but with
prayers ; and that, blessing our warriors, he might be enabled
to ^eld them by his continual entreaties in their behalf, and
at the same time, might fulminate his maledictions against our
adversaries. There also attended him many venerable cardi-
nals and bishops of the Roman Church, who feeling themselves
sufficiently strong to do so, had voluntarily ofiered ti^eiraervices;
as well as many other clerks and priests of lower rank, whose
intention it was, not only to pray, but, when necessity de-
manded it, to fight manfully. They also led forth with them
to battle experienced and stout bodies of troops, and youths
with brave hearts, who had been levied from the lands of the
Church ; the standard of our Lord’s Cross being raised on high,
and the most holy body of Christ preceding them.

Attended by his naval forces, Philip, duke of Burgundy, a
prince beloved by God, made all due preparations, according
to his promise, to go and meet them : but being overtaken oa
the road by a severe illness, he promptly transferred the whole
responsibiUty to his illustrious son Charles, and ordered him
Buccessfrdly to carry out all the preparations which he had
begun to make for tke expedition ; while at the same time, he
placed under his command a chosen body of knights, as well
as an army of considerable strength. Then besides, tiie great
fleet of Christophorus Maurus, the renowned duke of the Ve-
netians, a most formidable object to the enemy, did not fail to
make its appearance, according to appointment ; in order that,
by the favour of the most High, it might ensure success in the
warfare by sea. On the other hand, by land, the Hungarians


speedily came to the rescue, with their illustrious king Matthias^
a race of men of undaunted bravery in warfare, and who had
oftentimes learned to conquer the Turks. Our lord the pope
however, after staying a short time at Ancona, awaiting the
troops who were there to meet him, was attacked by a severe
malady, in consequence of which he took his departure from
this world, to fight under the command of Christ. His suc-
cessor in the Eoman see was Paul ; who, at the commencement
of his Apostolate, finding himself unequal in strength to con-
tend against the forces of so iniquitous a t3rrant, made a truce
with the before-named Turk, and obtained from him a treaty
of peace for the present : this happened in the year of our
Lord, 1463.

Por the promotion of the success of a matter so holy and so
important, a fourth part of a tenth, or, in other words, sixpence
in the pound had been granted throughout the whole church
of England ; which sum was paid to keepers thereof appointed
in each diocese for the purpose, to be by them faithfully de-
livered into the treasury of flie supreme Pontiff.

From the Croyland 9Crowland) Chronicle

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