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Unformatted text preview: n sanctified by his mandate; courted danger, and even certain death, in the execution of his orders; and fancied, that when they sacrificed their lives for his sake, the highest joys of paradise were the infallible reward of their devoted obedience.s It was the custom of this prince, when he imagined himself injured, to dispatch secretly some of his subjects against the aggressor, to charge them with the execution of his revenge, to instruct them in every art of disguising their purpose; and no precaution was sufficient to guard any man, however powerful, against the attempts of these subtle and determined ruffians. The greatest monarchs stood in awe of this prince of the assassins, (for that was the name of his people; whence the word has passed into most European languages) and it was the highest indiscretion in Conrade, marquis of Montserrat, to offend and affront him. The inhabitants of Tyre, who were governed by that nobleman, had put to death some of this dangerous people: The prince demanded satisfaction; for as he piqued himself on never beginning any offence,t he had his regular and established formalities in requiring atonement: Conrade treated his messengers with disdain: The prince issued the fatal orders: Two of his subjects, who had insinuated themselves in disguise among Conrade’s guards, openly, in the streets PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 266 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 of Sidon, wounded him mortally; and when they were seized and put to the most cruel tortures, they triumphed amidst their agonies, and rejoiced that they had been destined by heaven to suffer in so just and meritorious a cause. Every one in Palestine knew from what hand the blow came. Richard was entirely free from suspicion. Though that monarch had formerly maintained the cause of Lusignan against Conrade, he had become sensible of the bad effects attending those dissentions, and had voluntarily conferred on the former the kingdom of Cyprus, on condition that he should resign to his rival all pretensions on the crown of Jerusalem.u Conrade himself, with his dying breath, had recommended his widow to the protection of Richard;w the prince of the assassins avowed the action in a formal narrative which he sent to Europe;x yet, on this foundation, the king of France thought fit to build the most egregious calumnies, and to impute to Richard the murder of the marquis of Montserrat, whose elevation he had once openly opposed. He filled all Europe with exclamations against the crime; appointed a guard for his own person, in order to defend himself against a like attempt;y and endeavoured, by these shallow artifices, to cover the infamy of attacking the dominions of a prince, whom he himself had deserted, and who was engaged with so much glory in a war, universally acknowledged to be the common cause of Christendom. But Richard’s heroic actions in Palestine were the best apology for his conduct. The Christian adventurers under his command determined, o...
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