On March 8, , Isaac married Frances Anne Carey — , daughter of Mathew Carey , the Philadelphia publisher whose business he ultimately took over.
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Mathew Carey, born in Ireland in , came to the United States in , escaping prosecution by the British government for his outspoken criticism of Britain's Irish policy. During a period of exile in Paris , Carey had met Benjamin Franklin , for whose print shop he worked. The erudite Nulty gave the Lea brothers a classical education. He singlehandedly taught the pair the entirety of the trivium grammar, logic and rhetoric and quadrivium arithmetic, geometry, music and celestial navigation and classical languages and history of its standard curriculum.
Nulty immersed the boys in a single subject for long periods to encourage its complete mastery. Observing Henry's precocity, Nulty early on encouraged him to master far more difficult lessons than usually expected of a student his age. Henry Lea also demonstrated a facility for languages and analytical thought. This led to Henry's first published paper—at age 13—about manganese salts. Henry also followed his father's interest in natural history and wrote several papers on descriptive conchology. He also displayed drawing talent and illustrated his own early articles about fossil shells that he had collected.
His drawings were also used for the engravings illustrating his father's revision of the Synopsis of the Naiades in Henry Charles Lea developed an interest in poetry and at his mother's suggestion, translated Greek poets and composed original verse.
Later, he often wrote satirical parodies of popular songs about politics. Perhaps the most noteworthy members were the teacher Daniel Jaudon —, Anna Caroline's grandfather and the financier Samuel Jaudon. Two years later Lea's brother Matthew Carey Lea married her sister Elizabeth — , whose husband merchant William Bakewell had died in Cincinnati in , leaving her with a young daughter.
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In , after working in the family publishing firm for four years, Lea suffered a nervous breakdown and the twenty-two-year-old abandoned his intellectual and scientific work for some time. Weir Mitchell , one of the country's most prominent doctors in the field of nervous disorders, treated Lea and became a family friend. During his convalescence, Lea began reading French memoirs of the medieval period. They kindled his interest in medieval history and changed his career course from scientist to historian.
Thereafter Lea focused on history, mainly on church history in the later Middle Ages , and on institutional, legal, and ecclesiastical history, as well as magic and witchcraft. He also did significant work on the history of the Italian city-states. His active writing career on historical subjects spanned more than fifty years, during which Lea published ten books and numerous articles.
His literary reputation rests largely on those books. Highly disciplined work habits and the ability to purchase manuscripts in Europe and Latin America and have them shipped to Philadelphia led Lea to continue writing despite even headaches and eye problems. His productivity increased during his final twenty-five years, after he retired as a publisher and built an extension to his house at Walnut Street, for his extensive manuscript collection.
Lea became an authority on the Spanish Inquisition , and his multi-volume work was considered groundbreaking, though opinionated. Although some criticized him for anti-Catholic bias,  Lea received honorary degrees from universities including Harvard , Princeton , Pennsylvania in the United States, as well as the Giessen and Moscow. Rich benefices were bestowed on foreigners, who made no pretext of residence, until the annual revenue thus withdrawn from the island was computed to amount to seventy thousand marks, or three times the income of the crown, and all resistance was suppressed by excommunications which disturbed the whole kingdom.
At the general council of Lyons, held in , an address was presented in the name of the Anglican Church, complaining of these oppressions in terms more energetic than respectful, but it accomplished nothing. Ten years later the papal legate, Rustand, made a demand in the name of Alexander IV. Albans was no less than six hundred marks--when Fulk, Bishop of London, declared that he would be decapitated, and Walter of Worcester that he would be hanged, sooner than submit; but this resistance was broken down by the device of trumping up fictitious claims of debts due Italian bankers for moneys alleged to have been advanced to defray expenses before the Roman curia, and these claims were enforced by excommunication.
When Robert Grosseteste of Lincoln found that his efforts to reform his clergy were rendered nugatory by appeals to Rome, where the offenders could always purchase immunity, he visited Innocent IV. This special abuse was one of old standing, and complaints of its demoralizing effect upon the priesthood date back from the time of the establishment of the appellate jurisdiction of Rome under Charles le Chauve.
Prelates like Hildebert of Le Mans, who honestly sought to better the depraved lives of their clergy, constantly found their efforts frustrated, and had scant reticence in remonstrating. Remonstrances, however, were of little avail, though occasionally an upright pope like Innocent III. Even when papal letters were not of this demoralizing character, they were never issued without payment. When Luke, the holy Archbishop of Gran, was thrown in prison by the usurper Ladislas, in , he refused to avail himself of letters of liberation procured from Alexander III.
This was by no means the only mode in which the supreme jurisdiction of Rome worked inestimable evil throughout Christendom. While the feudal courts were strictly territorial and local, and the judicial functions of the bishops were limited to their own dioceses so that every man knew to whom he was responsible in a tolerably well-settled system of justice, the universal jurisdiction of Rome gave ample opportunity for abuses of the worst kind. The pope, as supreme judge, could delegate to any one any portion of his authority, which was supreme everywhere; and the papal chancery was not too nice in its discrimination as to the character of the persons to whom it issued letters empowering them to exercise judicial functions and enforce them with the last dread sentence of excommunication--letters, indeed, which, if the papal chancery is not wronged, were freely sold to all able to pay for them.
Europe thus was traversed by multitudes of men armed with these weapons, which they used without remorse for extortion and oppression. Bishops, too, were not backward in thus farming out their more limited jurisdictions, and, in the confusion thus arising, it was not difficult for reckless adventurers to pretend to the possession of these delegated powers and use them likewise for the basest purposes, no one daring to risk the possible consequences of resistance.
These letters thus afforded a carte blanche through which injustice could be perpetrated and malignity gratified to the fullest extent. An additional complication which not unnaturally followed was the fabrication and falsification of these letters. It was not easy to refer to distant Rome to ascertain the genuineness of a papal brief confidently produced by its bearer, and the impunity with which powers so tremendous could be assumed was irresistibly attractive.
When Innocent III. To the end of his pontificate the detection of fraudulent briefs was a constant preoccupation. Nor was this industry confined to Rome. About the same period Stephen, Bishop of Tournay, discovered in his episcopal city a similar nest of counterfeiters, who had invented an ingenious instrument for the fabrication of the papal seals.
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To the people, however, it mattered little whether they were genuine or fictitious; the suffering was the same whether the papal chancery had received its fee or not. Thus the Roman curia was a terror to all who were brought in contact with it. Hildebert of le Mans pictures its officials as selling justice, delaying decisions on every pretext, and, finally, oblivious when bribes were exhausted.
They were stone as to understanding, wood as to rendering judgment, fire as to wrath, iron as to forgiveness, foxes in deceit, bulls in pride, and minotaurs in consuming everything. When such was the example set by the head of the Church, it would have been a marvel had not too many bishops used all their abundant opportunities for the fleecing of their flocks. Peter Cantor, an unexceptionable witness, describes them as fishers for money and not for souls, with a thousand frauds to empty the pockets of the poor. They have, he says, three hooks with which to catch their prey in the depths--the confessor, to whom is committed the hearing of confessions and the cure of souls; the dean, archdeacon, and other officials, who advance the interest of the prelate by fair means or foul; and the rural provost, who is chosen solely with regard to his skill in squeezing the pockets of the poor and carrying the spoil to his master.
These places were frequently farmed out, and the right to torture and despoil the people was sold to the highest bidder. The general detestation in which these gentry were held is illustrated by the story of an ecclesiastic who, having by an unlucky run of the dice lost all his money but five sols, exclaimed in blasphemous madness that he would give them to any one who would teach him how most greatly to offend God, and a bystander was adjudged to have won the money when he said, If you wish to offend God beyond all other sinners, become an episcopal official or collector.
Formerly, continues Peter Cantor, there was some decent concealment in absorbing the property of rich and poor, but now it is publicly and boldly seized through infinite devices and frauds and novelties of extortion. The officials of the prelates are not only their leeches, who suck and are squeezed, but are strainers of the milk of their rapine, retaining for themselves the dregs of sin.
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From this honest burst of indignation we see that the main instrument of exaction and oppression was the judicial functions of the episcopate. Considerable revenues, it is true, were derived from the sale of benefices and the exaction of fees for all official acts, and many prelates did not blush to derive a filthy gain from the licentiousness universal among a celibate clergy by exacting a tribute known as cullagium, on payment of which the priest was allowed to keep his concubine in peace, but the spiritual jurisdiction was the source of the greatest profit to the prelate and of the greatest misery to the people.
Even in the temporal courts, the fines arising from litigation formed no mean portion of the income of the seigneurs; and in the Courts Christian, embracing the whole of spiritual jurisprudence and much of temporal, there was an ample harvest to be gathered.
Chapter VII. The Inquisition Founded
Thus, as Peter Cantor says, the most holy sacrament of matrimony, owing to the remote consanguinity coming within the prohibited degrees, was made a subject of derision to the laity by the venality with which marriages were made and unmade to fill the pouches of the episcopal officials. Excommunication was another fruitful source of extortion. If an unjust demand was resisted, the recalcitrant was excommunicated, and then had to pay for reconciliation in addition to the original sum. Any delay in obeying a summons to the court of the Officiality entailed excommunication with the same result of extortion.
When litigation was so profitable, it was encouraged to the utmost, to the infinite wretchedness of the people. When a priest was inducted into a benefice, it was customary to exact of him an oath that he would not overlook any offences committed by his parishioners, but would report them to the Ordinary that the offenders might be prosecuted and fined, and that he would not allow any quarrels to be settled amicably; and though Alexander III.
As an illustration of the system a case is recorded where a boy in play accidentally killed a comrade with an arrow. The father of the slayer chanced to be wealthy, and the two parents were not permitted to be reconciled gratuitously. Peter of Blois, Archdeacon of Bath, was probably not far wrong when he described the episcopal Ordinaries as vipers of iniquity transcending in malice all serpents and basilisks, as shepherds, not of lambs, but of wolves, and as devoting themselves wholly to malice and rapine.
Even more efficient as a cause of misery to the people and hostility towards the Church was the venality of many of the episcopal courts. The character of the transactions and of the clerical lawyers who pleaded before them is visible in an attempted reformation by the Council of Rouen, in , requiring the counsel who practised in these courts to swear that they would not steal the papers of the other side or produce forgeries or perjured testimony in support of their cases.
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The judges were well fitted to preside over such a bar. They are described as extortioners who sought by every device to filch the money of suitors to the last farthing, and when any fraud was too glaring for their own performance they had subordinate officials ever ready to play into their hands, rendering their occupation more base than that of a pimp with his bawds.
That money was supreme in all judicial matters was clearly assumed when the Abbey of Andres quarrelled with the mother-house of Charroux, and the latter assured the former that it could spend in any court one hundred marks of silver against every ten livres that the other could afford; and in effect, when the ten years' litigation was over, including three appeals to Rome, Andres found itself oppressed with the enormous debt of fourteen hundred livres parisis , while the details of the transaction show the most unblushing bribery.
The Roman court set the example to the rest, and its current reputation is visible in the praise bestowed on Eugenius III. There was another source of oppression which had a loftier motive and better results, but which was none the less grinding upon the mass of the people. It was about this time that the fashion set in of building magnificent churches and abbeys, and the invention of stained glass and its rapid introduction show the luxury of ornamentation which was sought.
While these structures were in some degree the expression of ardent faith, yet more were they the manifestation of the pride of the prelates who erected them, and in our admiration of these sublime relics of the past, in whatever reverential spirit we may view the towering spire, the long-arched nave, and the glorious window, we must not lose sight of the supreme effort which they cost--an effort which inevitably fell upon suffering serf and peasant. It was hardly to be expected that prelates such as filled most of the sees of Christendom should devote themselves to the real duties of their position.
Foremost among these duties was that of preaching the word of God and instructing their flocks in faith and morals.
The office of preacher, indeed, was especially an episcopal function; he was the only man in the diocese authorized to exercise it; it formed no part of the duty or training of the parish priest, who could not presume to deliver a sermon without a special license from his superior. It need not surprise us, therefore, to see this portion of Christian teaching and devotion utterly neglected, for the turbulent and martial prelates of the day were too wholly engrossed in worldly cares to bestow a thought upon a matter for which their unfitness was complete.