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ourselves, it affords the means of readily testing the accuracy of an author, and in history, is all but indispensable to the man who would become himself an authority.

The first four lectures give a masterly view of the decline and fall of the Romano-Gallic province, and of the Merovingian and Carlovingian dynasties. The third lecture is wholly occupied with a powerful and highly laudatory delineation of the character and influence of Charlemagne.

The chapter on the ancient municipalities of France, and on their antagonism to the feudal system, deeply interesting as it is, touches on so many vexed questions in the history of that country, as hardly to admit of a satisfactory treatment in the space assigned to it by our author, still less in the space which we can give to it. It is certain that in those municipia we see some of the remains of Roman civilization in the RomanoGallic province. Through all the revolutions of a thousand years-revolutions often the most barbaric and terrible, the vitality of these civic organizations perpetuated itself. Many changes came over them, but their substance lasted until the Roman power came to an end-until feudalism came to an end --and until an absolute monarchy absorbed them, with everything beside, into itself. Feudalism was especially territorial and military, but these organizations were specially civic and industrial. In their nature the two were antagonistic; and the comparative independence of these municipalities, whether extorted by insurgency, purchased from the feudal-noble or from the crown, or ceded by those authorities for political reasons, is a significant fact in the general history of France through those ages. During the feudal times, the privileges of these bourgs,' boroughs, or cities, were, speaking generally, that they should not be taxed beyond a certain maximum without their consent; that the power of legislation and administration in relation to their own affairs should rest with themselves; that they should institute and sustain their own police; and, in general, that they should possess the right to fortify their towns, to determine what coins should be current in their fairs and markets, to possess an hotel de ville, a belfry, a town-clerk, and a common seal. It is easy to see how the feudalism of a country, studded over with such organizations, would be curbed, weakened, and in all probability destroyed by them. But it is not so easy to see how, having broken the strength of a local aristocracy, these same municipalities should have contributed to the strength of an absolute monarchy.

The simple truth is, that the monarchs of France did in those times in relation to the hierarchy of the state, as the popes were


ever doing in relation to the hierarchy of the church-they interposed between what we may call the aristocracy and the democracy in both cases, so as to attach the latter to themselves, by detaching it from the former. As the inferior clergy, especially the religious orders, were too often well pleased to be released from obligation to their immediate superiors by the intervention of the pontiff; so these communes of France were willing to be released from obligation to the feudal lords of their respective neighbourhoods, by the intervention of the crown. They did not see that, by contributing to place this centralized power in such ascendancy, they were calling into existence the monster which, in its time, would appropriate their interests, in common with every interest beside, to its own selfish purposes. How this came about is thus explained by our author:

'First. The bourg became a petty and democratic republic in the centre of a vast and absolute monarchy. The spirit of the one was antagonistic to the spirit of the other. Laws as immutable as the nature of man and of human society, decreed that this inherent hostility should at last ripen into a mortal conflict. To that conflict the royal power advanced with overwhelming advantages.

For, secondly, when the bourg had succeeded in wresting from the lord his seigneurie, the bourg itself, as I have before remarked, became, by that very act, a seigneur. The feudal rights, and, with them, the feudal obligations, of the lord were not extinguished, but were transferred to the bourgeois. Now those obligations were numerous, and burdensome, and indefinite. In every contest between the commune and the king, he successfully asserted his privileges as their suzerain, and they inevitably acknowledged their liabilities as his vassals. The privileges were continually extended, the liabilities as continually increased.

Thirdly. The burden of military service pressed on the bourgs with extreme severity at all times. But during the wars between the Kings of France and England, those burdens became so oppressive, that, in many cases, the cities surrendered their charters and franchises in order to escape so intolerable a liability. This took place, for example, at Roye, in 1373, and in Neuville le Roi, in 1370.

Fourthly. When the parliaments of France, and especially that of Paris (as I shall hereafter have occasion to explain), acquired a supreme jurisdiction over all civil and penal causes, they employed it in subverting or undermining every municipal privilege which was opposed to the royal will, or which abridged the royal authority. For those parliaments were originally composed of nominees and dependents of the king, who usually employed all their judicial astuteness in promoting what they regarded as his interest; except, indeed, when the prerogatives of the Crown came into competition with their own powers, dignity, and emoluments.

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Fifthly. In the exercise of their judicial power, the parliaments

established it as a principle of law, that municipal charters were revocable at the royal pleasure,-a principle which was not announced as a mere barren doctrine, but which was continually reduced to practice, as often as any municipality provoked the displeasure or jealousy of the sovereign.

'Sixthly. By assisting the king to annihilate the seignorial or aristocratic power, the bourgs had deprived themselves of any alliances in their future contentions with him. The bourgeois were thenceforward brought into a direct and unaided collision with the power of the Crown, enhanced as that power was by the adhesion to it of that new nobility, which had taken the place of the ancient feudal seigneurs.

Seventhly. The bourgs were isolated bodies, whom the king could attack and conquer in detail, not confederate bodies, like the great Italian cities, or the Hanse Towns in the north of Germany. The strength of the king consisted in the concentration of his resources; the weakness of the bourgs in the wide dispersion and incoherence of the powers which they separately possessed.


Eighthly. In the contest with their sovereign, the French cities did not possess the advantage which, in that age, was enjoyed by the greater cities in Spain, Italy, Germany, and England-the advantage of commercial wealth and enterprise. There was not a single mercantile city in France which could have competed in wealth, in manufactures, or in navigation, with Barcelona, Genoa, Venice, Bremen, Norwich, or Bristol. They could not oppose the power of the purse to the power of the sword.

Ninthly. But of all the causes of their weakness and of their fall, the most important was, that their functions and powers were exclusively municipal, and were not at all political. At Florence, and Pisa, and in the other Italian Republics, the government of the commonwealth was inseparable from the government of the corporation. Those municipalities waged war and made treaties with foreign states, and rendered to their nominal suzerain little more than a formal homage. The incorporated municipalities of England have, from the earliest times, assumed a large share in the political government of the kingdom, and, as early as the reign of Henry III., appeared by their representatives in the House of Commons. Their local rights were from the first regarded as inseparably connected with the national liberties, and, in the strength of their confederacy with the nobles and the people at large, they have ever maintained their own corporate franchises. Such, also, was the condition of all the municipalities which enjoyed the freedom of the city under the Roman Republic. But it was otherwise in France. The subversion of the privileges of any particular French bourg did not appear to violate the rights of any of the constituted authorities beyond the walls of the city itself, and was, therefore, not resented as an injury to society at large.

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Tenthly. These privileges were therefore, one after another,



overthrown by acts of the royal authority, which, though sometimes resisted, and especially by the City of Paris, resulted at length in a ⚫ complete, though progressive, social revolution.'-pp. 177-180.

The two lectures following treat of the Crusades, both against the Saracens and the Albigenses. Here explanation is given of the various ways in which those enterprises tended to break down the framework of feudalism, and to prepare the commercial spirit of the commons for opposing itself successfully to the military spirit of the feudal chiefs. It is further shown how those undertakings served to furnish to the crown opportunities for encroachment, of which it was not slow to avail itself, the strength of the monarchy being built up very largely from the dissensions between what we may call the local democracies and the local aristocracies. The disquisition on these topics is conducted with great clearness and ability. From the conclusion of the lecture on the Albigensian crusades we must extract the following estimate of their nature and results. Having observed that in the overthrow of the lords and the peoples of Languedoc and Provence 'fell those who had raised the earliest protest which modern Europe had heard against the superstitions, the errors, and the spiritual despotism of papal Rome,' our author proceeds to say:

Their fate may, perhaps, seem to raise a more perplexing problem. The natural regret that the Reformation was thus postponed till after the lapse of three more centuries of mental darkness, may possibly not be quite unmixed with surprise, that such should have been the decree, or such the permission, of the Divine Providence. But the Holy Church throughout all the world' has ever contemplated the sufferings of her noble army of martyrs, not with repining, but with gratitude and exultation. In implicit faith she has ever committed the times and the seasons to Him to whom alone their maturity can be known. Yet even to our contracted vision it is evident that, without a miraculous change in the whole economy of the world, and in the entire system of human life, the reformation of the Church could not have been successfully accomplished by the ministry of the Albigenses. The mind of man had not as yet passed through the indispensable preliminary education. The scholastic philosophy, extravagant as may have been some of its premises and some of its purposes, had yet a great task to accomplish; the task of training the instructors of the Church in the athletic use of all their mental faculties. Philology, and criticism, and ecclesiastical antiquity were still uncultivated. The Holy Scriptures, in their original tongues, were almost a sealed volume to the scholars of the West. The vernacular languages of Europe were unformed. The arts of printing and of paper-making were undiscovered. Such an age could neither have produced nor appreciated a Wickliffe or a Huss. Still less could

Melancthon, or Luther, or Calvin, or Beza, have borne their fruit in such times, if such men had then been living. Above all, the world, as it then was, could no more have fostered minds like those of Cranmer or Ridley, of Jewell or Hooker, than it could have trained up chemists to rival Cavendish, or mechanists to anticipate Watt. If the Albigenses had succeeded in their designs,—if they had reclaimed the nations from the errors of Rome,-they must infallibly have substituted for her despotism, an anarchy breaking loose from all restraints, divine and human,-an anarchy far exceeding, in presumptuous ignorance and audacious self-will, the wildest of the sects which perplexed and disgraced the Reformation of the 16th century.


That despotism had then reached its noontide splendour; and, bewildered by the infatuation of that giddy height, was about to fulfil an immutable law of human society, by rapidly falling from it. The Papacy had risen to a more than imperial power. It had attained a dignity eclipsing that of the proudest of the Cæsars. It enjoyed a wealth which could be emulated only in the fabulous East. avenge the assassination of her legate Castelnau-to assert her own insulted majesty-and to arrest the growing revolt of mankind from her authority, she had desolated the fairest regions of France by every plague which tyranny can inflict, or which the victims of it can undergo. Blinded by revenge, by haughtiness, and by fear, she forgot that, by crushing the Provençaux, she was raising up to herself an antagonist with whom she could neither live in peace, nor contend on equal terms. Scarcely had the Church of Rome brought the great province of Languedoc under the allegiance of the King of France, when he promulgated the Pragmatic Sanction, which established what have ever since been called the 'liberties of the Gallican Church.' During the two succeeding centuries the bishops of Rome had to sustain, from the successors of St. Louis, a series of indignities fatal to their moral influence, and a succession of open hostilities which menaced the entire destruction of their political power. In the person

of Boniface VIII. the Papacy was compelled, by Philippe le Bel, to drink deeply of the cup of humiliation which it had so often mixed for the secular powers of Europe. From 1305 to 1377 the Popes were little more than vassals of the French monarchs at Avignon; and, from that time till 1417, the Papacy itself was rent asunder by the great schism. The edifice of their greatness then received at Constance, Basil, and Pisa those rude shocks under which the Reformation of the 16th century found it still trembling. From the days of Hildebrand to the end of the war against the Albigenses, the dominion of the Papacy had been progressively acquiring consistency and strength. From the end of that war to the days of Luther, it was progressively losing its hold on the affections and reverence of the world. It crushed a feeble antagonist in Raymond and his house; but it raised up irresistible adversaries in Louis IX. and his successors. It exiled from Languedoc all the Waldenses who escaped the sword; but it drove them to testify, through every part of Christendom, against the cruelties, the super

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