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of the numerous pilgrims who then visited Palestine from all Christian countries. After Godfrey of Bouillon conquered the Holy City in 1099, the Hospital of St John became a place of great note as an establishment for healing the wounded and the sick, and was converted by Gerard, its rector, from a secular to a religious institution. He, with his brothers and sisters of charity, formally abjured the world, and assumed as their dress a black gown, having on the left breast a white cross. At the same time, a number of illustrious crusaders, burning with pious zeal, entered the body; and Godfrey of Bouillon endowed it with lands in Brabant. His example was speedily followed by other princes and barons of Europe, until the order grew wealthy, and founded many new houses both in Asia and Europe. The next step was the conjunction of the military with the religious character. Raymond du Puis succeeded to the rectorship; and having been a brave soldier in his day, he was induced by the reiterated attacks made on the Christians at their first settlement in the East, propose to his companions most of them old soldiers like himself-to join the profession of arms to their other duties. The summons sounded like a trumpet in the ears of the veterans, and Raymond du Puis became the first Grand-master of the Order of the Knights-Hospitallers of St John. Three classes were established in the order-that of the Knights, who were required, at first at least, to prove a noble extraction; that of Chaplains, who were non-military; and that of HalfKnights, or Serving-Brothers, who were not of high birth, and whose duties lay both in the hospital and the field. The establishment of commanderies, as the houses were called, in different countries, rendered it proper to establish divisions called Languages in the order—as one for England, one for Germany, and so on. These were at first seven, and finally nine in number. Noble youths from all Europe soon swelled the order of the Hospitallers into a numerous force, and one of great strength, in times when a single mounted knight, cased in armour, was a match for half-a-dozen of the ordinary soldiery. Their

wealth also enabled them to hire large bodies of mercenaries to aid in their enterprises ; and their European houses, or commanderies, served as depôts, whence auxiliaries were continually drafted to the wars.

This formidable body remained in Palestine during the entire period of its occupation, complete or partial, by the Latin Christians, witnessing the whole of the nine crusades, rendered necessary by the inveterate determination of the Mohammedans to recover their lost possessions. During all this time, they existed but to fight, having scarcely one month of perfect repose; and in fight they exhibited the most desperate valour on all occasions, though the abstemiousness of their rules was relaxed by degrees. They remained in the Holy Land after kings and barons had all yielded up the cause in despair. At length, in the year 1291, the Sultan Saladin drove them from their last stronghold of St John d’Acre, and compelled them to take refuge in Cyprus, then under a Latin King. They there summoned all their commanderies to send members and supplies, and were soon enabled once more to establish themselves as a powerful naval as well as military body. Their views were to harass the Mohammedans of Syria and Egypt by sea. One expedition more they made against the Saracens of Jerusalem; but they found both that city and the other fortresses of the country to be in so ruinous a state, that the approach of the Egyptian sultan forced them to fly to their ships. It was immediately after this step that Fulk de Villaret, twenty-fourth grand-master of the order, seeing the hopelessness of any secure settlement of it on lands not its own, projected a great and inportant conquest- that of the Island of Rhodes. Rhodes is about 120 miles in circumference, and close on the coast of Asia Minor. It was at this time nominally a possession of the Greek emperor, Andronicus, but in reality was in the power of Saracenic pirates, mixed with Greeks of the same stamp. Fulk de Villaret gathered his war-galleys, and made a bold descent on the isle. The resistance was obstinate, and years elapsed ere the knights succeeded in planting the standard of the white cross on the walls of Rhodes. But they persisted in the siege till they made it their own.

The fate of the Knights-Templars, almost at this very moment, shewed the importance and necessity of such a fixed settlement. Returning to its European commanderies, this wealthy order, the rival of that of the Hospitallers in fame and power, became soon a subject of jealousy and avaricions envy to the monarchs of the time, and especially to Philip of France. In concert with the pope, that sovereign, under colour of forged charges of criminality, wrested its property from the order, and subjected its members to imprisonment, tortures, and death. Other countries also abolished the order, but without the same accompanying barbarities. Philip of France was partly disappointed, for the pope forced him to accede to å general edict, giving the Templar possessions to the Knights of St John.

The latter body was greatly increased in power by these accessions, and it became more common than ever for the younger nobility of Europe to enter the order of the Hospitallers. Riches brought with it augmented luxury and many evils, but the knights were still kept in high military condition. A new race of the followers of Mohammed appeared against them. Othman (the BoneBreaker), who gave a permanent name to the Turkish nation, possessed, with a tribe of Turkomauns, the region of Asia Minor adjoining Rhodes. He attacked the knights in their city; but, though one of the most tried and renowned warriors of his race, he failed to make the slightest impression on them. Similar assaults were renewed in more alarming shapes in the course of the years immediately succeeding. Betwixt the year 1310, when the order settled at Rhodes, and the year 1453, when the Turks took Constantinople, and founded a new empire, the Knights of St John fought many great battles, by sea and land, with the two Mohammedan powers in their neighbourhood — the Egyptian and Turkish. It is amazing to reflect, that this comparatively small body of men should not only have foiled so many efforts made by

these powerful sovereignties to reduce them and take their stronghold, but should have even obtained possession of Cos and other Greek islands, captured Smyrna, and held it for a long period, and made various expeditions against Syria and other places, as if possessed of the population and resources of a strong and warlike nation. They proved an unextractible thorn in the sides of the foes of Christianity.

Our space will only permit of a mere sketch being given of the career of the order; but we may allude specially to one event, the most important in its annals. The hour came at length for the fall of Rhodes, after the knights had held it for more than 200 years. Solyman the Magnificent resolved at any price to oust them from their stronghold. We quote from Sutherland's history of the order, in the passage that follows. In June 1522, a signal from Mount St Stephen intimated to the Rhodians that the Turkish fleet was in sight. Countless sails studded the Lycian Strait; and tumult and wailing instantly rose from every quarter of the city. The gates were formally shut, and public prayers were offered up in the churches, imploring Heaven to grant the victory to the champions of the Cross. This done, the whole population hurried to the ramparts and towers, to behold the terrible armament that threatened them with destruction. Four hundred sail swept past the mouth of the haven with the pomp and circumstance of a triumphal pageant; and on board this mighty fleet were 140,000 soldiers, exclusive of 60,000 serfs, torn from the forests of the Danube, to serve as pioneers. Six hundred knights, with less than 5000 regular troops, and a comparatively weak body of citizens and peasants, formed the whole force prepared to oppose this immense armament, the leader of which, Solyman, in person, told his troops that he had come to Rhodes,“ to conquer or die.' For upwards of three months, the most awful scenes of carnage took place daily, after the siege had begun. For one man who fell among the knights, twenty fell among the Turks; but even this proportion was ruinous to the former. In one


assault, 15,000 Turks were slain. By degrees, every one of the ramparts of Rhodes was in ruins; yet still the knights and their grand-master, a venerable old man, were unconquerable. They filled the breaches with their mailed bodies. Frequently Solyman half resolved to give up the struggle, and frequently he threatened his officers with death for their want of success. He proposed various capitulations, and by capitulation was the siege finally closed. The knights were unvanquished, but Rhodes was untenable. Twelve days were given them to embark their property ; and on the 1st of January 1523, the remnant of the Rhodian Christians went on board their galleys, a homeless band. Before that departure, Solyman, who had in him great points of character, sought an interview with L'Isle Adam, the grand-master. For a time the two warriors eyed each other with piercing glances. The venerable and majestic port of the grand-master won the admiration of the youthful despot, and he magnanimously requested his interpreter to console the Christian chief with the assurance, that even the bravest of men were liable to become the sport of fortune. He invited him, at the same time, to embrace the Mohammedan faith, and enter his service, since the Christian princes, who had abandoned him in his extremity, did not merit the alliance of so redoubted a chief; and, by way of a bribe, promised to advance him to the highest dignities in his empire, and make him one of his chosen counsellors. The grandmaster answered, that were he to dishonour his


hairs by becoming a traitor and renegade, he would only shew how unworthy he was of the high opinion which his conqueror entertained of him; and that he would far rather retire into obscurity, or part with life itself, than be accounted a recreant and apostate by his own people. Solyman dismissed the venerable knight with honour; and said to Achmet Pacha, who was in attendance: “ It is not without regret that I drive this unfortunate old man, full of sorrow, from his home.'

The Knights of St John had still their commanderies,

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