MILITARY ORDER OF ST. JAMES OF. "St. James the Elder was adopted as the patron saint of Spain after the victory of Clavijo, and his relics were preserved at Compostella. The marvels supposed to be performed by these relics drew vast numbers of pilgrims, for whose support hospitals were established by the canons of St. Eloi. The vicinity of the Moors having rendered the roads unsafe, thirteen noblemen united for the protection of the pilgrims, and with the canons resolved to found an order of the same kind as that of the Hospitallers or Templars. The pope granted his assent in a bull, dated 5th July, 1175, accompanied with the statutes of the order. Whatever conquests were made from the infidel were declared the property of the order, and a council of thirteen knights was vested with authority to elect and depose a grand master. The knights made vows of poverty, obedience, and celibacy, and professed their belief in the immaculate conception. To protect Christians and convert infidels they vowed to be the only object in their wars with the Saracens. In most of the great battles between Christian and Moor the red cress of the order was conspicuous. The conquests of the order itself, combined with the grateful munificence of the nation, speedily increased its wealth and power beyond those of any of the other orders of knighthood. In addition to the three large commanderies of Leon, Castile, and Montalvan, it possessed nearly 200 minor commanderies, comprising, it is said, more than 200 priories, with many fiefs, cloisters, hospitals, castles, boroughs, two towns, and 178
villages, exclusive of its possessions in Portugal. This enormous wealth and power of the order excited the jealousy of the crown, in which, in 1522, the grand mastership was permanently vested by the pope. Having thus become merely honorary and dependent on the crown, the order rapidly decreased in importance."