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allies with great indignity, on account of his involuntary breach of contract, and he was often compelled to attend their carousals clad, as in mockery, in his imperial robes, but with his crown replaced by the tarry woollen cap of a Venetian sailor, and in this guise he was expected to endure patiently rude taunts and practical jokes.

He had a relative, who was his confidant and his chamberlain, named Alexius Ducas, and surnamed Murzufle, a man with enormous shaggy eye-brows, and a fierce countenance; this traitor seeing that his master was hated by the Greeks, and scorned by the foreigners, thought to take advantage of the circumstances to elevate himself upon the young Emperor's ruin he seized and strangled him; the old and infirm Isaac died of grief, and Murzufle reigned as Alexius V.

But the Crusaders, determined to avenge their protege and invested Constantinople, which now made a much more obstinate defence than before. But after a siege of three months it was taken by storin, and exposed to horrors too dreadful for detail. The terrible carnage was at length checked, though with great difficulty, by Montferrat and Baldwin: but rapine and violence still rioted in every quarter, till exhausted by excess; a great part of the city was burned; and noble libraries and beautiful works of art were destroyed-and in the midst of groans, shrieks, flames, ruins, and seas of blood, the French officers and the Greek ladies (all of whom must have lost some friend or near relative), assembled and danced together in the great church of St. Sophia ;-has this revolting instance of levity a parallel? we cannot remember one.

Murzufle had escaped in the first confusion, but was taken, and put to death by being flung headlong from a pillar 147 feet high. The Latin princes then decided that the Byzantine sceptre had been so disgraced by the many atrocities of its Greek possessors (a series of the most weak and wicked monarchs, with very few exceptions, ever known) that it was expedient to transfer it to other than native hands, and to choose a foreign Emperor. Twelve electors were nominated, six French and six Venetian. Their votes were given for Dandolo; but he declined the imperial dignity, as inconsistent with the duty he owed to his country, a Republic, whose chief magistrate he was. The electors, then, in consideration of the valor, wisdom, and many virtues of the Count of Flanders and Hainault, unanimously elevated him to the vacant throne

as Baldwin I., on the 16th of May, 1204; and he was crowned in the Church of St. Sophia by Thomas Morosini, the newly created Venetian Patriarch of Constantinople, a Prelate of the Church of Rome.

But the Crusaders, instead of establishing a firm and powerful state, to resist aggressions on the peace of Europe from the North and from the East, committed the error of dismembering the Greek Empire, and of thus rendering its sovereign not only useless as an ally to the Western Powers, but even a burden to them when their policy required he should be supported against an enemy. The confederates assigned to Baldwin the city of Constantinople, and one-third of the Empire, dividing among themselves the remaining share; the most valuable portions of which were afterwards acquired for Venice by the address of Dandolo.

The Emperor Baldwin, with power thus circumscribed at his outset, was unable, notwithstanding his abilities and courage, to reform the inveterate abuses among the natives of his dominions, or to defend his throne against external enemies. The exiled Princes of the Imperial Houses of Comnenus established principalities for themselves in Asia Minor, and were, of course, his mortal foes. Great disorders reigned in Constantinople; the Latins were insolent and exacting; the Greeks were discontented and turbulent, incensed at their subjection to an alien Prince, and their enforced union with the Church of Rome: thus the new Emperor's prospects were but gloomy.

A few months after Baldwin's coronation, he was visited by a domestic bereavement. His wife, who was destined never to share her husband's throne, had embarked for Palestine in the fleet of John de Nêsle: the voyage was long and stormy, and she suffered so much from terror, sea-sickness, and hardships, that soon after landing at St. Jean d'Acre, she expired of exhaustion, on the 24th of August, 1204; leaving her daughters motherless at an age when they most needed maternal care; if they had been blest with that care, training them in womanly feeling and filial piety, the dark stains that sully the memories of Jane and Margaret of Flanders, would, in all probability, never have existed.

At this period the Bulgarians were a nation as powerful as courage and energy could make them. Their sovereign, Joannice, had revolted from Isaac Angelus, and established

a kingdom. He was a member of the Roman communion, and, corresponded with Pope Innocent the Third, became desirous to form relations with the Latin Prince established at Constantinople, as being of his own creed. But his overtures were unwisely checked by a haughty intimation of Baldwin's ministers, that he (Joannice) must commence by doing homage to the new emperor, as a vassal of the empire from which the Bulgarian kingdom had been dismembered. The pride of Joannice was wounded, and he at once entered into correspondence with the disaffected Greeks. An extensive conspiracy against Baldwin sprang up, not only on the European, but also upon the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus. Henry of Hainault, Baldwin's brother, was sent with the flower of the army into Asia Minor, to meet the conspirators. Immediately on his quitting Europe, the Greeks of Thrace (now Romania) rose in arms, and massacred most of the French and Venetians in that country; and Joannice seized the opportunity of the panic among the foreigners to cross the Hamus mountains (the Balkan) with an immense force.

Baldwin saw the necessity of making head at once against the Bulgarians, though his means were inadequate to the emergency. He marched towards Adrianople, but with too small an army, for the best part of his forces had accompanied his brother. He (Baldwin) was met at a place called the Plains of Orestes by overwhelming hordes of Bulgarians; and his few troops were surrounded and cut to pieces, April 15, 1205. With this defeat the mysterious and tragical circumstances of Baldwin's story commence.

At first the Emperor was supposed to have been killed; but his body not being found, and enquiries being instituted, it was ascertained that he had been taken prisoner, and conveyed by the order of Joannice to a castle which some call Cernoa, and others Ternobia, and was kept there in a rigorous confinement. In the following year Pope Innocent wrote to Joannice, entreating the release of his illustrious captive: but the Bulgarian curtly replied, that he could not grant the request, as Baldwin had paid the debt of nature;" but he said nothing whatever of the time, place, or manner of the alleged death; and this circumstance, combined with others, confirmed many persons in the belief that the Emperor was still alive, but in a secret dungeon. A prevalent rumour affirmed, that the Queen of Bulgaria had become enamored of

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Baldwin's handsome person and noble bearing, and had offered him liberty on the condition that he should murder Joannice, and marry her. But Baldwin's generous nature revolted from this proposal, and the Queen, in all "the fury of a woman scorned," had accused him to her husband as the author of the wicked scheme; and at her instigation Joannice had (as some said) put his victim to death by tortures which he scrupled to avow to Pope Innocent; or, as was more generally believed, had by a refinement of cruelty spared his prisoner's life in order to render it a burden by sufferings; and had astutely asserted him to be dead, to retain him the more securely in his power. But we must leave Baldwin for a while, and return to Constantinople.

On the Emperor's disappearance his brother Henry was called to the tottering throne. He was a wise and courageous Prince, but was much harassed by the turbulent Greeks; and died in 1217, with strong evidences of having been poisoned. Peter de Courtenaye, who had married Yolande, Baldwin's sister, succeeded. In an expedition against Thessa lonica he was invited to a banquet, under pretext of treating for peace, by Theodore Angelus, Prince of Epirus, and was never heard of more. His son and successor, Robert, died from grief and anxiety. He was succeeded by his brother, Baldwin II., who was dethroned and expelled by Michael Palæologus, of an old Byzantine family. These Emperors were all victims of the false policy of dismembering the Empire; all succumbed to their difficulties; surrounded by enemies, crippled at home, and ill supported abroad. Thus France lost an advantageous position in the East. After a period of 57 years the French-Flemish dynasty, which began with a Baldwin, ended with a Baldwin. The native Greek princes returned to reign as badly as ever, till the last Palæologus yielded to the then martial and vigorous Turks in 1453, and the Byzantine Empire, which had commenced with Constantine the Great, terminated with Constantine Palæologus Dracoses.

We must now revert to the family which Baldwin I. had left in Flanders.

On the report of this Emperor's death, Philip Augustus of France required that the eldest daughter, Jane, should be sent to Paris to be educated under his auspices, both as a

Marquis de Namur, and Count of Nevers, Auxerre, and Tonnerrc.

vassal of France, and as the niece of his first wife, Isabella, The younger daughter, Margaret, remained in Flanders, under the guardianship of Bouchard d'Avênes.

When Jane was of an age to marry, Philip Augustus espoused her, in 1211, without consulting her inclinations, to Fernando, second son of Sancho I. of Portugal, who, ruling over Flanders and Hainault in right of his wife, is called by French and English historians, Ferrand, Count of Flanders. Philip, to repay himself for his care of the young heiress, took possession of part of her territories; an encroachment which her husband resented on the first opportunity. Otho, Emperor of Germany, being at war with King Philip, raised against the latter a formidable confederation of jealous princes and discontented vassels. Ferrand joined the League, and brought a large body of Flemings to fight for Otho at the great battle of Bouvines,* (27th July, 1214) where Otho and his allies were signally defeated, and Ferrand (with many other persons of distinction) was taken prisoner by Philip, and kept in close confinement. The ill-starred Portuguese would, however, have been liberated on terms, if his wife would have agreed to ransom him. But Jane was ambitious, selfish, and unfeeling, and of morals far from correct she determined to rule her inheritance by her own sole will; and rejoicing to be freed from her husband's interference with her sway, and his surveillance over her conduct, she peremptorily refused to pay his ransom, and left him to languish for many years in a painful captivity. Her government was so tyrannical and oppressive that she was detested by the Flemings, who deeply lamented the loss of their revered Count, her father.

In the month of April, 1225, just twenty years after the defeat of Baldwin in the battle near Adrianople, a remarkable looking old man appeared in Flanders, grave and majestic in his air, and seemingly more worn by grief and hardships than even by age. He was clad in an Armenian robe of scarlet; he leaned upon a large staff, and his snowy beard bung down to his girdle. He declared himself to be Baldwin, Count of Flanders, Emperor of Constantinope, who having been falsely reputed dead, had at length found means to escape from his Bulgarian prison, and had come to claim the love and loyalty of his natural subjects. The Flemings flocked round him with alacrity, and all who remembered their lost Count affirmed

A village of Flanders, near Tournay.

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