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expenses ; and their heirs, not less than the poor, were the objects of their paternal care. The sums which they paid for livery and seisin, attest the greatness of their possessions; and several estates have remained in their family since the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In war, the Courtenays of England fulfilled the duties, and deserved the honours, of chivalry. They were often entrusted to levy and command the militia of Devonshire and Cornwall ; they often attended their supreme lord to the borders of Scotland ; and in foreign service, for a stipulated price, they sometimes maintained fourscore men at arms and as many archers.
By sea and land they fought under the standard of the Edwards and Henries : their names are conspicuous in battles, in tournaments, and in the original list of the Order of the Garter; three brothers shared the Spanish victory of the Black Prince; and in the lapse of six generations, the English Courtenays had learned to despise the nation and country from which they derived their origin. In the quarrel of the two roses, the earls of Devon adhered to the house of Lancaster, and three brothers successively died, either in the field or on the scaffold. Their honours and estates were restored by Henry the Seventh: a daughter of Edward the Fourth was not disgraced by the nuptials of a Courtenay; their son, who was created marquis of Exeter, enjoyed the favour of his cousin Henry the Eighth: and in the camp of Cloth of Gold, he broke a lance against the French monarch. But the favour
But the favour of Henry was the prelude of disgrace; his disgrace was the signal of death ; and of the victims of the jealous tyrant, the marquis of Exeter is one of the most noble and guiltless. His son Edward lived a prisoner in the Tower, and died an exile at Padua; and the secret love of queen Mary, whom he slighted, perhaps for the princess Elizabeth, has shed a romantic colour on the story of this beautiful youth. The relics of his patrimony were conveyed into strange families by the marriages of his four aunts; and his personal honours, as if they had been legally extinct, were revived by the patents of succeeding princes. But there still survived a lineal descendant of Hugh the first earl of Devon, a younger branch of the Courtenays, who have been seated at Powderham Castle above four hundred years, from the reign of Edward the Third to the present hour. Their estates have been increased by the grant and improvement of lands in Ireland, and they have been recently restored to the honours of the peerage. Yet the Courtenays still retain the plaintive motto, which asserts the innocence, and deplores the fall
of their ancient house. 86 While they sigh for past greatness, they are doubtless sensible of present blessings: in the long series of the Courtenay annals, the most splendid æra is likewise the most unfortunate; nor can an opulent peer of Britain be inclined to envy the emperors of Constantinople, who wandered over Europe to solicit alms for the support of their dignity and the defence of their capital.
86 Ubi lapsus! Quid feci? a motto which was probably adopted by the Powderham branch, after the loss of the earldom of Devonshire, &c. The primitive arms of the Courtenays were, Or, three torteaux, Gules, which seem to denote their affinity with Godfrey of Bouillon, and the ancient counts of Boulogne.
The Greek Emperors of Nice and Constantinople. — Elevation and
Reign of Michael Palæologus. — His false Union with the Pope and the Latin Church.– Hostile Designs of Charles of Anjou. -Revolt of Sicily. - War of the Catalans in Asia and Greece. Revolutions and present State of Athens.
The loss of Constantinople restored a momentary Restoration vigour to the Greeks. From their palaces, the princes empire. and nobles were driven into the field; and the fragments of the falling monarchy were grasped by the hands of the most vigorous or the most skilful candidates. In the long and barren pages of the Byzantine annals', it would not be an easy task to equal the two characters of Theodore Lascaris and John Ducas Vataces?, who replanted and upheld the Roman standard Lascaris, at Nice in Bithynia. The difference of their virtues was happily suited to the diversity of their situation. In his first efforts, the fugitive Lascaris commanded only three cities and two thousand soldiers : his reign was the season of generous and active despair: in every military operation he staked his life and crown; and his enemies, of the Hellespont and the Mæander, were surprised by his celerity and subdued by his boldness. A victorious reign of eighteen years expanded the principality of Nice to the magnitude of an empire. The throne of his successor and John Ducas son-in-law Vataces was founded on a more solid basis, a larger scope, and more plentiful resources; and it was the temper, as well as the interest, of Vataces to calculate the risk, to expect the moment, and to insure the success, of his ambitious designs. In the decline of the Latins, I have briefly exposed the progress of the Greeks; the prudent and gradual advances of a conqueror, who, in a reign of thirty-three years, rescued the provinces from national and foreign usurpers, till he pressed on all sides the Imperial city, a leafless and sapless trunk, which must fall at the first stroke of the axe. But his interior and peaceful administration is still more deserving of notice and praise. The calamities of the times had wasted the numbers and the substance of the Greeks: the motives and the means of agriculture were extirpated ; and the most fertile lands were left without cultivation or inhabitants. A portion of this vacant property was occupied and improved by the command, and for the benefit, of the emperor: a powerful hand and a vigilant eye supplied and surpassed, by a skilful management, the minute diligence of a private farmer : the royal domain became the garden and granary of Asia; and without impoverishing the people, the sovereign acquired a fund of innocent and productive wealth. According to the nature of the soil, his lands were sown with corn or planted with vines; the pastures were filled with horses and oxen, with sheep and hogs; and when Vataces presented to the empress a crown of diamonds and pearls, he informed her, with a smile, that this precious ornament arose from the sale of the eggs of his innumerable poultry. The produce of his domain was applied to the maintenance of his palace and hospitals, the calls of dignity and benevolence: the lesson was still more useful than the revenue: the plough was restored to its ancient security and honour; and the nobles were taught to seek a sure and independent revenue from their estates, instead of adorning their splendid beggary by the oppression of the people, or (what is almost the same) by the favours of the court. The superfluous stock of corn and cattle was eagerly purchased by the Turks, with whom Vataces preserved a strict and sincere alliance; but he discouraged the importation of foreign manufactures, the costly silks of the East, and the curious labours of the Italian looms.
· For the reigns of the Nicene emperors, more especially of John Vataces and his son, their minister, George Acropolita, is the only genuine contemporary; but George Pachymer returned to Constantinople with the Greeks at the age of nineteen (Hanckius de Script. Byzant. c. 33, 34. p. 564—578. Fabric. Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. p. 448—460.). Yet the history of Nicephorus Gregoras, though of the xivth century, is a valuable narrative from the taking of Constantinople by the Latins. • Nicephorus Gregoras (1. ii. c. 1.)
distinguishes between the ofeia pun of Lascaris, and the evorddela of Vataces. The two portraits are in a very good style.
Vataces, A.D. 1222 - 1255, Oct. 30.
- The demands of nature and necessity," was he accustomed to say, indispensable ; but the influence of fashion may rise and sink at the breath of a monarch ;” and both his precept and example recommended simplicity of manners and the use of domestic industry. The education of youth and the revival of learning were the most serious objects of his care; and, without deciding the precedency, he pronounced with truth, that a prince and a philosopher4 are the two most eminent characters of human society. His first wife was Irene, the daughter of Theodore
3 Pachymer, 1. i. c. 23, 24. Nic. Greg. 1. ii. c. 6. The reader of the Byzantines must observe how rarely we are indulged with such precious details.
• Μόνοι γάρ απάντων ανθρώπων ονομαστότατοι βασιλεύς και φιλόσοφος (Greg. Acropol. c. 32.). The emperor, in a familiar conversation, examined and encouraged the studies of his future logothete.
Lascaris, a woman more illustrious by her personal merit, the milder virtues of her sex, than by the blood of the Angeli and Comneni, that flowed in her veins, and transmitted the inheritance of the empire. After her death he was contracted to Anne, or Constance, a natural daughter of the emperor Frederic * the Second; but as the bride had not attained the years of puberty, Vataces placed in his solitary bed an Italian damsel of her train; and his amorous weakness bestowed on the concubine the honours, though not the title, of lawful empress. His frailty was censured as a flagitious and damnable sin by the monks; and their rude invectives exercised and displayed the patience of the royal lover. A philosophic age may excuse a single vice, which was redeemed by a crowd of virtues; and in the review of his faults, and the more intemperate passions of Lascaris, the judgement of their contemporaries was softened by gratitude to the second founders of the empire. Tht slaves of the Latins, without law or peace, applauded the happiness of their brethren who had resumed their national freedom; and Vataces employed the laudable policy of convincing the Greeks of every dominion that it was their interest to be enrolled in the number of his subjects.
A strong shade of degeneracy is visible between John Vataces and his son Theodore ; between the founder who Lascaris II. sustained the weight, and the heir who enjoyed the Oct 3075 splendour, of the Imperial crown. Yet the character August. of Theodore was not devoid of energy; he had been educated in the school of his father, in the exercise of war and hunting: Constantinople was yet spared; but in the three years of a short reign, he thrice led his armies into the heart of Bulgaria. His virtues were sullied by a choleric and suspicious temper: the first of these may be ascribed to the ignorance of control; and the second might naturally arise from a dark and imperfect view of the corruption of mankind. On a march in Bulgaria, he consulted on a question of policy his principal ministers; and the Greek logothete, George Acropolita, presumed to offend him by the declaration of a free and honest opinion. The emperor halfunsheathed his scymetar; but his more deliberate rage reserved
5 Compare Acropolita (c. 18. 52.), and the two first books of Nicephorus Gregoras.
* A Persian saying, that Cyrus was the father, and Darius the master, of his subjects, was applied to Vataces and his son. But Pachymer (1. i. c. 23.) has mistaken the mild Darius for the cruel Cambyses, despot or tyrant of his people. By the institution of taxes, Darius had incurred the less odious, but more contemptible, name of Kános, merchant or broker (Herodotus, iii. 89.).
Sister of Manfred, afterwards king of Naples. Nic. Greg. p. 45. — M.