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this: that the sacred oil was brought down by an angel from heaven, for that purpose. The story however would prove too much, and as a result which may - rather have been anticipated, the enquiry which has been made into the truth of the miracle, has cast more than doubt upon even the coronation of Clovis. For the evidence in proof of the miraculous oil, must be set down as worthless: the best authors of the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, men who, one or the other, would have undoubtedly spoken of it, if it had been true, say not a word upon the matter: and until, at last, the legend begins to be heard of, the oil is mentioned in connexion, not with the coronation, but with the baptism of Clovis. The writers of those ages immediately succeeding the supposed miracle, speak frequently of the chrism with which Clovis was anointed, and call it "holy" or "sacred chrism :" but this, in the same sense in which they would have spoken of all chrism, and not as having been in any way miraculously provided. Thus, to quote one of them, and
tum, ut quum primum imperator renuntiatus esset, a patriarcha Constantinopolitano in magna Byzantii basilica oleo unctus diademate aureo redimeretur." comitiis Imperatoriis. cap. 2.
"The whole legend of the coronation of Clovis may be probably attributed to a perverted tradition of his baptism and confirmation: in the same way as it has been asserted, that our king Alfred was anointed king at Rome, by
Leo IV. In which latter case we have very considerable authority: viz. his contemporary Asser, Malmesbury, Hoveden, and others. But still it must be referred to his confirmation, which they relate did also take place for it is scarcely credible that he should so long beforehand, as a child, with two elder brothers, and in his father's life-time, be anointed for a king. See Selden, Titles of Honour, p. 115. and the authors cited by him.
almost a contemporary : "Rex omnipotentem Dominum in Trinitate confessus, baptizatus est a sancto Remigio, in nomine Patris, etc.—et sacro chrismate delibutus cum signaculo crucis."8
But towards the end of the ninth century, nearly four hundred years after the baptism after the baptism of Clovis, an archbishop of Rheims, Hincmar, claimed for the holy oil the honour of having been miraculously sent down from heaven. I place his account in the note below :9 and extract here from his Capitular the assertion, also first made by him, that Clovis was anointed with this to be emperor; he is speaking of Charles the Bald. "Sanctæ memoriæ pater suus Hludowicus pius, imperator augustus, ex progenie Hludowici (Clodoveum intelligit) regis Francorum inclyti, per beati Remigii Francorum apostoli catholicam prædicationem cum integra gente conversi, et cum tribus Francorum millibus, vigilia sancti Paschæ in Remensi metropoli bap
8 Rorico Monachus. in Chronico. lib. 2.
9 Hincmar in vita S. Remigi. "Cum vero pervenissent ad baptisterium, clericus, qui chrisma ferebat, a populo est interceptus, ut ad fontem venire nequiverit. Sanctificato autem fonte, nutu divino chrisma defuit. Et quia propter populi pressuram ulli non patebat egressus vel ingressus ecclesiæ, sanctus pontifex, oculis ac manibus protensis in cœlum, cœpit tacite orare cum lacrymis. Et ecce subito columba nive candidior attulit in rostro ampullulam chrismate sancto repletam, cujus odore
tizati, et cœlitus sumpto chrismate, unde adhuc habemus, peruncti, et in regem sacrati, exhortus, etc."
Now, not only would we naturally look with some suspicion upon a history of an event, whether miraculous or not, so long after its supposed occurrence, but with that suspicion encreased, if it came from a quarter likely to be personally interested in the matter. Hincmar was archbishop of Rheims: and sixteen archbishops had occupied that see between S. Remigius and himself, of not one of whom can it be proved, that he had ever heard of such a miracle. But more than this: the account he gives us is full of errors: Hincmar says that Clovis was baptized in the metropolitan church; a contemporary of the king, Nicetius bishop of Treves, declares that it took place in the church of S. Martin: 10-and again, that it was on the vigil of Easter Day; but another contemporary, Avitus, bishop of Vienna, declares that it was upon Christmas Eve.
So that, as the supposed history of the oil used at the coronation of the kings of France (that it was first provided from heaven for Clovis, and afterwards no less. miraculously preserved, without wasting, at Rheims), rests upon no better or earlier authority than that of Hincmar in the ninth century, who was ignorant of the facts of the case, we must conclude that the whole is a mere story, unworthy of the least credit. Nor should I have delayed to examine it, even so shortly, had it not been for the general reception with which it
10 Epist. ad Clodoswindam. cit. Chifletio, de ampulla Remensi nova disquisitio. A learned treatise; in which the writer points
out other errors in the archbishop's story, which are scarcely required to satisfy the reader, and I have omitted them.
has been received, and the attempts by some to prove, that on account of this miraculous oil, the French kings have a precedence over other sovereigns.
There appears to be sufficient evidence, that the rite of anointing, can be traced higher with respect to the kings and princes of England, than of any other country. And I do not see, how it could be disproved, if one was inclined to assert that the ceremony took its origin from our own forefathers; and was from them adopted into the ceremonial of other churches. For, not only are the coronation of Clovis, and his unction with any oil, though not miraculous, incapable of being substantiated, but it has been confessed by very learned writers, that Pepin, in the eighth century, was the first French king who was anointed. Thus, Selden says; "the first testimony that is worthy of credit for any unction of their kings, is that which the stories have of king Pepin. So say Regino, Sigebert, Siffridus, and enough others of the antients."" And Chifletius ;; “Pipinus omnium Franciæ régum primus, imitatus Judæorum reges, ut se sacra unctione venerabiliorem augustioremque faceret, semel atque iterum ungi voluerit." 12
11 Titles of honour, p.
12 P. 30. citing, “Fauchetus in Pipino." Pepin more probably imitated the already fixed custom of the Anglo-saxon Church.
I extract also the following from Martene, whose judgment, learning, and candour, upon every question which he has investigated, are equally to be praised. "Longe tardius in Galliis reges solemnem episcoporum benedictionem susce
pisse videntur, quippe ante Pippinum qui Suessione a Moguntino archiepiscopo Bonifacio unctus est in regem, nullus ab episcopis benedictus legitur: sed omnes ut regni imperium adepti erant, a populis clypeo evecti, reges constituebantur. Observat Mabillonius, post Valesium, solitos tum fuisse Francorum optimates ad constituendum regem convenisse, singulosque in electi verba jurasse,
But before the coronation of Pepin, the pontifical of archbishop Egbert was the service-book of at least
traditaque in manum hasta pro sceptro, excelso in solio honorifice imposuisse." De ant. ecc. rit. tom. 2. p. 212.
D'Achery, in the Spicilegium, has printed an ancient treatise upon the office and duties of kings, addressed to Pepin by Jonas, bishop of Orleans at that time. It is entitled "Opusculum de institutione regia." Tom. 1. p. 327. In the same collection, is another treatise of a like kind, written by Smaragdus, an abbot, in the viij th century: the "Via regia." ibid. p. 238. Both these deserve the
attention of the student.
About the same time, in England, A. D. 785, the famous council of Chalcuith devoted two canons to the exposition of the duties incumbent upon kings: viz. the xith "De officio regum:" and the xijth "De ordinatione et honore regum." Concilia. tom. 1. p.
There is a book which has obtained, most unworthily, the credit of a considerable reputation, namely, a history of the ceremonies of French coronations by "Monsieur Menin, counsellor to the parliament of Metz." 8vo. 1727. I regret to have seen it mentioned, without condemnation, by so respectable an author, as Mr. Taylor, in the preface to his "Glory of Regality:" a work
which exhibits some amount of enquiry. However, this M. Menin sums up his history in these words: and I need scarcely explain to the reader that he has expressed his belief in the miraculous oil of Clovis. "The kings of France have not only the happiness of being the first converts to the Christian faith, but they have likewise the advantage to derive only from God himself the institution of the ceremony of their anointing, which has been conveyed down to other Christian princes, many ages after, from their pattern." p. 201.
I cannot conclude this note, without extracting upon the subject of it, important as it is, the opinion of the learned ritualist, Catalani: and I the rather do so, as the reader's attention will be drawn by the passage, to another case, upon which I do not think it necessary to enter further; I mean, the benediction of Aidan, by S. Columba. Catalani says: "Certe Edmundus Martenius, ubi agit de solemni regum benedictione, floccipendens fabulosam Clodovei unctionem, ingenue fatetur, antiquissimam omnium benedictionem regum, quas inter legendum ipsi reperire licuit, eam fuisse, quæ a Columba facta est jussu angeli in Aidanum Scotorum regem, cujus meminit Cume