History in her solemn pages informs us that the crusaders were but ignorant and savage men, that their motives were those of bigotry unmitigated, and that their pathway was one of blood and tears. Romance, on the other hand, dilates upon the piety and heroism, and portrays, in her most glowing and impassioned hues, their virtue and magnanimity, the imperishable honor they acquired for themselves, and the great services they rendered for Christianity.
Now what was the grand result of all these struggles? Europe expended millions of treasures, and the blood of two million of her people; and a handful of quarrelsome knights retained possession of Palestine for about one hundred years!
….the Children’s Crusade started in 1213, when two monks got the idea of raising armies of children in Germany and France, and selling them in North Africa as slaves. Thirty Thousand children volunteered, thinking they were going to Palestine. They were no doubt idle and deserted children who generally swarm in great cities, nurtured on vice and daring, and ready for anything.
Pope Innocent the Third thought they were going to Palestine too, and he was thrilled. “These children are awake while we are asleep!” he said.
Most of the children were shipped out of Marseilles, and about half of them drown in shipwrecks. The other half got to North Africa where they were sold.
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Charles Mackay, LL. D. 1841