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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 1861 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #105 on: February 01, 2009, 10:56:22 pm »

p. 276

CHAPTER IX.

Molay elected Master--Last attempt of the Christians in Syria--Conduct of the Three Military Orders--Philip the Fair and Pope Boniface VIII.--Seizure of the Pope--Election of Clement V.--The Papal See removed to France--Causes of Philip's enmity to the Templars--Arrival of Molay in France--His interviews with the Pope--Charges made against the Templars--Seizure of the Knights--Proceedings in England--Nature of the Charges against the Order.

WE have, in what precedes, traced the order of the Templars from its institution to the period when the Latin dominion was overthrown for ever on the coast of Syria, and have described, at some length, its internal organisation, and exhibited its power and extent of possessions. It remains for us to tell how this mighty order was suddenly annihilated, to examine the charges made against it *, and, as we have promised, to establish the falsehood and futility of them--a task far from ungrateful, though not unattended with pain; for it is of advantage to strengthen our love of justice and hatred of tyranny and oppression, by vindicating the memory even of those who perished their victims centuries agone. It is also of use to furnish one instance more to the world of the operation of the principle which will be found so generally


p. 277

to prevail, that, let falsehood and sophistry exert their utmost to conceal the truth, means will always remain of refuting them, and of displaying vice, how- ever high seated, in its true colours.

In the year 1297, when the order had established its head-quarters in the isle of Cyprus, James de Molay, a native of Besançon, in the Franche Comté, was elected Master. The character of Molay appears to have been at all times noble and estimable; but if we are to credit the statement of a knight named Hugh de Travaux, he attained his dignity by an artifice not unlike that said to have been employed by Sixtus V. for arriving at the papacy. The chapter, according to De Travaux, could not agree, one part being for Molay, the other, and the stronger, for Hugh de Peyraud. Molay, seeing that he had little chance of success, assured some of the principal knights that he did not covet the office, and would himself vote for his competitor. Believing him, they joyfully made him great-prior. His tone now altered. "The mantle is done, now put the hood on it. You have made me great-prior, and whether you will or not I will be great-master also." The astounded knights instantly chose him.

If this account be true, the mode of election at this time must have differed very considerably from that which we have described above out of the statutes of the order. This election, moreover, took place in France, where, in 1297, Molay, we are told, held the fourth son of the king at the baptismal font.

One feeble attempt, the last military exploit of the Templars, was made by the Christians to acquire once more a footing on the continent of Asia during the mastership of Molay. In 1300, the Mongol chief Gazan came to the aid of the king of Armenia, against the Turks. As it was the policy of the Tartars, who had not as yet embraced Islam, to stir up enemies to the Mohammedans, Gazan, after overrunning

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