SUBJECT OF THE TREATISE. XXI There can be no doubt that the Papacy, in virtue of the possessions granted it at various times by superstitious or servile monarchs, be- came a temporal power. The pope has his capital and his council- lors, his ambassadors and his armies, his dominions and his subjects, his wars and his taxes. To all intents and purposes he is nothing less, and, in sober reality, he is nothingmore, than a temporal prince. Into the circumstances which led to this worldly exaltation we do not enter. It is generally acknowledged that the foundation of it was laid by Pepin theusurper of France, when, in 756 or 758, on over- coming the Lombards, he laid the keys of the conquered towns on, the altar of St Peter, and converted Pope Stephen IL into a tem- poral prince. " This," says father Daniel, " is, properly speaking, the original of the temporal power of the popes." The same remark is made by Ranke in his " History of the Popes;" and most writers on prophecy date from this period the union of the temporal withthe spiritual power of the pope.* But it would be a grievous mistake to measure the temporal power which the popepretends to exercise by the extent of his petty possessions as an Italian sovereign. This is a mere trifle in comparison with the temporal authority which he claims in virtue of his spiritual. As a spiritual prince, he asserts not merely a right to the patrimonyof St Peter, but a right to dispose of all the patrimonies and possessions of this world; to depose kings, and transfer their kingdoms to others; to absolve subjects from their allegiance; and, in short, to reign as lord paramount over the whole earth. The earthly splendour with which he is invested, so incon- sistent with his professedly spiritual character, may have served to keep up the prestige of his supremacy; but, in fact, though the pope were deposed to-morrow from his throne in the Vatican, though not an inch of territory were allowed him, though he were stripped of his purple robe, deserted by his Swiss guards and his sbirri, and left without chancery, mint, or arsenal, he would still, in virtue simply of his spiritual pretensions as the vicar of Christ, retain all the claims which his predecessors have put forth to temporal dominion. And these claims would be acknowledged by all his devoted followers; for they are founded on the same fictitious jus divinum as that on which he claims the government of the church. It is assumed that the divine prerogatives of the"Saviour have been transferred to the governors of the church, and to the pope, by way of eminence, as * Mr Fleming, the ingenious author of a " Discourse on the Rise and Fall of the Papacy," dates this event from 758. Mezerai differs both from Daniel and Fleming as to the date, which he fixes at 756, but errs as to the reigning pope, whom he makes to be Stephen III. Abrégè Citron. de l'H!st. de France, tom. i. p. 446.