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Elistory. allowed champions for the maintenance of their cause. created a secondary order of Nobility under the titles, The Feudad
On the day of Trial, the battle endured until one party already enumerated, of Vavassors, Castellans, and lesser System.
only between that individual judge and the appellant.* CHIVALRY- -was a member of the same Aristocracy as ORDERS OP Of the different Orders of Society of which the Feudal the Duke or Count; and the privileges of that rank Suciety System was composed, some were absolutely created by were extended even lower: for every military tenant under the its Institutions : but the greater number had a pre- was a gentleman, though he held but the smallest por
existence, and were merely engrasted, with modified or tion of a Knight's fee, and contributed no more than a
additional functions, on its Polity. Thus, the Monarchs share to the equipment of a single man-at-arms and his This king of those free military Democracies
, which the Barbarian horse. Pega Para- Nations presented in their victorious settlements, were The privileges accorded by the customs of Feudalism Privileges only transmuted into Feudal Sovereigns: not so much in common to this Aristocracy of every degree, were of this Aris.
tocracy. : Kings of their People, as Chiefs of a great territorial sufficient to form an impassable line between their Order Aristocracy, or Lords Paramount of all the Fiefs whereof and the body of the People. In Ages of violence, during their Kingdoms were composed. In the strictness of which the profession of arms was unreasonably exalted the System under its original form, allegiance from the above all others, they only were permitted to serve on mass of the Nation was not due to them immediately; horseback and in complete armour; except Ecclesiastics, and the different paths by which the Kings of France they alone were eligible for any offices of importance and England reached the summit of their regal power, and honour in the State ; and all intermingling between were equally departures from the spirit of the Feudal them and the inferior classes of Society by marriage constitutions. But these, if they had separated the was followed, to a certain degree, by degradation. In Monarch from his People, had drawn the bond more Germany, no individual could claim his inheritance of closely between the Lord Paramount and his Vassals in an Imperial Fief, unless both his parents were strictly chief; and from the first link in the chain of Feudal noble in the highest Order ; and in France, though the obligation is derived that principle of Modern Monarchy, exclusion was less rigid, the son of a Nobleman by a which surrounds the Throne with an hereditary Aristo- Plebeian mother forfeited much of the honours of his cracy, and renders the Crown the legitimate fountain of paternal rank. The child of a high-born woman by an Chivalric honour.
unequal marriage could not inherit his mother's nobility : The creation of Nobility in Europe as an institution for gentility, as it was expressively maintained, could equally distinct from the Patrician dignities of Repub- come only through the father; and from the mother no lican and Imperial Rome, and the splendid slavery of higher birth-right than mere freedom might be derived.t Eastern Palaces, has been already referred to the esta. Next to the Nobility, ranked the Ecclesiastical Order; The Clergy, blishment of territorial Fiefs, and the conversion of or rather the dignified Clergy were themselves held Provincial Governments into such tenures. From these noble by reason of their territorial Fiefs. For all sources sprang the highest class of Nobility: the Dukes, Prelates and heads of Religious Houses were, by the Marquesses, and Counts of France, Germany, and tenure of the lands of their Sees and Monasteries, comItaly, and their corresponding ranks, the Earls and pletely Feudal Lords. For these, they did homage and
Royal Barons of England and Scotland. These great
Feuds, which were not accounted noble beyond the third degree of
+ Coustumes de Beauvoisis, c. 45.
History. swore fealty to the Sovereign Paramount; they sub- But below the worst franchised class of freemen in The Feukal
infeuded their estates among Vassals of their own with every Feudal Kingdom, the great majority of the rural System. as Feudal
like ceremonies and upon the usual conditions of mili. population were held in a state of complete bondage to Nobles. tary service; they exercised the rights of jurisdiction; the soil.
the soil. Into the origin and growth of slavery among the mass of and, though not required themselves to perform warlike the Barbarian Nations who overthrew the Roman Emduties in person, they were under the same obligations pire, it were to little purpose to attempt any minute santy. as other tenants in chief, to send the stipulated number inquiry in this place. Having already in a former of men into the field for their Fiefs. Hence, as well as Chapter* glanced at this subject, we need not here for the defence of their own possessions, arose the com- repeat an enumeration of the general causes which mon custom for wealthy Monasteries to choose some tended to throw the mass of the People in every Counpowerful Nobleman, under the title of Advocate, to pro- try of Europe into a condition of servitude. It may be tect their lands, and lead their Vassals when summoned sufficient to observe that, when Feudalism was fully to the standard of the Sovereign. The only Church established, two degrees of bondage prevailed. In the Villeins, lands not subject to Feudal obligations were those held better condition, were the Villeins or cultivators, who under the peculiar tenure of Franc-almoigne, which by though attached to the soil, and compelled to remain on the saying of masses for the benefit of the souls of the it, owed only fixed payments and duties to their Lord, founder and his family, exempted a Chapter or Abbey and might hold property of their own. But the most from all other service.*
abject class, under the name of Serfs,t were incapable and Serfs. Freemen. Below the Aristocracy the whole population of a of any possession whatever, and were equally in their
Feudal Kingdom may be represented, with sufficient persons and the fruits of their labour at the unlimited exactitude for our present purpose, as composed of only disposal of a master. Over them the power of their Nature of two elasses-the free and the enslaved. By the opera Lord was so absolute that, in the language of a Feudal their retion of Feudalism in its pristine state of vigour, it may law-book, " he might take all they had alive or dead, spective
be suspected that the number of the former underwent and imprison them when he pleased, being accountable condities Burghers. a continual diminution. The freemen who escaped the to none but God.” From the higher class of Villeins,
yoke were principally, first, the burghers of chartered on the contrary, the same authority declares that the towns whose privileges emancipated them from the Lord can take nothing but customary payments, though
bonds of Feudalism, and whose condition scarcely be- at their death all they have escheats to him. Yet, if Rural
longs to the general System ; and, secondly, rural tenants it be true that the Villein had no right of redress against tenants, of lands subject only to fixed payments without military spoliation or ill usage from his Lord, it is difficult to in France, service. In France, the freemen of this latter class are conceive wherein his lot could have much practical
not easily recognised in the Feudal law books from superiority over that of the complete Serf.
Of the same
were uncertain and unbounded; whatever land be and Italy.
Order, but better circumstanced, were the Arimanni of bought or inherited, whatever stock or goods he accu
Italy, who appear to have been either actual proprietors, mulated, might equally be seized by the Lord; and the Free
or renters of small farms on free tenure. I But, beyond same state of servitude was inherent in his blood and socagers, or all comparison, the most respectable class of freemen entailed upon his children. Moreover, his person might yeomanry, during the prevalence of Feudalism, not holding landsbe separated from the land and sold to a stranger :// of England. on condition of military service, were the Socagerss of while it would appear that the Villein of the Continent
England; whose existence may be traced even so far could only be conveyed to a new Lord with the Fief back as the Saxon period of our History; and who con
and on the land to which he was bound. The nature of stituted in later Ages that bold and independent race of the duties rendered by Villeins was regulated only by yeomen, the pride and strength of our national popula- their ability: for the amount was indeterminate
. The tion. They held their lands exempt from all Feudal services required were those which the agricultural peaburthens, except a small rent to the Baron, or Lord of sant was best competent to perform : such as the ploughthe Manor, to whose jurisdiction they belonged, may be ing and reaping of the Lord's land, the carrying of considered as such. They were free in their persons, manure, repairing of roads, felling of timber for him, jurors and suitors in the Courts-Baron, and might and other offices of ignoble labour. On such tenures, alienate their property; and to the existence and rights also, it is worthy of remark, were lands often possessed tenures of such a class of freemen, more perhaps than to any by the free and even by the noble :q for the quality of other single cause, is to be ascribed that noble front of liberty which was early stamped upon the English
See chapter xlix.
+ Du Cange, vv. Villanus, Screus.
Coustumes de Beauvoisis, c. 45. character.
Du Cange, ubi suprà in voce Villanus.
Co. Littleton, sec. 181. * Du Cange, vv. Advocatus, Eleemosyna, &c.
To such extent was the distinctive quality of lands carried in + Coustumes de Beauvoisis, c. 45.
France that many Noblemen held estates in rolure, as it was called, I Muratori, Antiq. Ital. Med. Ævi, Diss. xii. & The name of Socages has been variously derived from the of Feudalism, at least, might by purchase, marriage, or bequest,
or on ignoble tenure; and ruturiers, or plebeians, in the latter Ages Saxon soc, a franchise ; and from the same terın in French which acquire Fiefs on noble tenure. Beaumanoir, c. 48. signifies a ploughshare. Bracton, lib. ii. c. 35. But see Black- The term Roturier for an ignoble person, or synonymously & stone, vol. ii. c. 6. p. 80, (Christian's Edition,) in which the latter peasant, is derived from the Latin Rupturarius, colonus, qui agrum derivation appears satisfactorily inferred.
seu terram rumpit, proscindit, colit. Du Cange, in voce.
Lands held on Vilein
OF THE AD
History. Villeinage appertained to certaju estates as well as per recollection of the State of Europe during those Ages The Ferdal
sons; and the distinction between lands in free and which immediately preceded the developement of Feu- System. villein tenure existed very early in every country. There dalism. The value of any System of Polity should can be little doubt that this difference in the character fairly be considered as only relative to the condition of
ESTIMATE of lands arose from the condition of the original holders; Society unto which it is applied ; and in weighing the and as the soil did not change quality with the rank of merits of the Feudal Institutions, we ought to bear in AND EVILS its oecupants, the simple freeman, or the knight, often mind the changes which they effected in the previous of the Feu-' held estates in Villeinage. In this case, the personal circumstances, no less than their influence upon the dal System. liberty and the movables of the tenant were secure: subsequent vicissitudes, of Europe. In this view, it is Its estabut he was bound to the performance of arbitrary ser impossible not to attribute to the Feudal System at the blishment vices in respect of his land ; and liable also to be dis- outset the most beneficial effects upon the political and primarily, possessed by his Lord at pleasure.* moral constitution of Nations. At the Fall of the
beneficial. Distinction Though, during the Middle Ages, domestic was no Roman Empire, and during the four or five Centuries
less common than predial servitude, it is the latter form which followed that event, and preceded the Feudal endal Vils of bondage alone which belongs to our present subject: settlement, with the exception of comparative order bsolute
for the connection of Villeinage with land is in strictness during the reign of Charlemagne, Europe presented a Previous lavery. the only link between Feudalism and slavery. And grie- picture of the wildest disorder and rapine, * and all the anarchy of
vous and degraded as was the condition of Feudal Villein. bonds of humanity were perpetually violated by actions Europe, age, there were not wanting some characteristic distinc- of the utinost atrocity and horror. tions to elevate it above that total deprivation of rights, To the rise and insensible growth of the Feudal In- mitigated with which the slave under other systems of Polity, both stitutions was Europe indebted for the first mitigation by its ancient and modern, has usually been branded. Slavery, of this universal anarchy and misery. Political Society, in the Feudal sense, was a relative not an absolute con- by the breaking up of its greater masses, might seem, dition: for the Villein, though in bondage to his Lord, indeed, resolved into its original elements, when the was free of all other men and in respect to Society at Lord of every petty district exercised the sovereign large. He might purchase, inherit, maintain actions in attributes of warfare and jurisdiction. But amidst this the Courts, and exercise every civil right, saving only apparent destruction of order, and the certain aggravathe claims of his master upon him. At least such was tion of popular suffering through the hostility of Feudal the law of England ;t and though the fact admits not Chieftains, the basis of a strong and lasting form of of equal proof, there can be little doubt by the analogy Polity was in reality laid. The very turbulence of the of Feudal customs that it was so in other Countries. In Feudal Aristocracy suggested the necessity of a close the latter Ages of Feudalism especially, the English union between themselves and their dependents for law presumed every Villein to be free unless claimed by mutual safety; and, at the same period when the his Lord; it protected him, as the King's subject, from Monarchical office, through the imbecility of the Carloatrocious injuries even at the hand of his Master; it vingian Dynasty, had fallen into general contempt, a gave the Nief, or female Villein, an appeal against his new bond of association, between the King and the brutal violence; and it established the freedom of her highest order of his subjects, was found in the Feudal child if by a free father, or even if the father, as in a obligations of homage and allegiance. The descending case of illegitimate birth, was unrecognised, for in such scale of such duties made it the interest of every great case it presumed his freedom. This custom of deriving Nobleman to recognise those terms in his compact with freedom from the father, however, was peculiar to his Sovereign, which he desired to enforce upon his own England : Hl for in all other Countries the offspring fol- Vassals; and the Feudal principle, becoming interwoven lowed the condition of its mother.
through the whole surface of Society, served to connect These distinctions between Feudal and absolute and keep together its discordant parts precisely at a slavery cannot indeed be supposed to have much re- juncture, when, in the general and rude dismemberment
lieved the unhappy condition of the Villein under a cruel of the Carlovingian Empire, every other restraint had citated or avaricious Lord: but they facilitated and enlarged been violently burst asunder. - abulia the benefits of manumission which was frequently prac- Thus, both politically and morally, the establish- Its political te of the tised by the more humane ; and they are chiefly impor- ment of the Feudal System may be regarded, as not
tant to notice for their influence on the gradual abolition the ruin, but the revival of civilization. Politically,
a great degree to correct. A remarkable proof of this misconception
is to be found even in so learned and philosophical a writer as To this inquiry, it is necessary that we bring a full Robertson, who (Charles V. sec. 1.) describing the miseries of
Society in the Dark Ages as having proceeded throughout from Littleton, sec. 172. Bracton, lib. ii. c. 8. lib. iv. e. 28, &c. what he calls “the Feudal anarchy," states, that "the disorders of + Littleton, sec. 189.
the Feudal System, which had gone on increasing during a long Nief, a nalivá, Villeins being styled native, or Natives, of the course of years, seemed to have attained their utmost point of excess soil. Blackstone, vol. ii. c. 6. p. 94.
towards the close of the eleventh Century;" This, in fact, was pre 9 Littleton, sec. 187, 188, 189, 190. 194. &c.
cisely the period at which, by the complete establishment of Feudalll Leges Henrici I. c. 75. 77. Littleton, sec. 188.
ism, the disorders of the previous anarchy began to subside !
History. which cherished the sense of duty to a common Country the beautiful, the gentler spirit of Chivalry; and the The Feudal
and King. But for the influence of these salutary feel- reverential, though manly, sentiment of Loyalty. It is System.
ples of faith solute dominion of the first fortunate conqueror who when we consider, that the Monarchies of Europe owe fulness and might have sprung out of the convulsion of Society. So primarily to its institutions those principles of Chivalric honour. also is it owing solely to the Feudal Institutions, that honour and integrity towards his fellow-citizens, and of the spirit of personal freedom was kept alive in the Loyal devotion to his Sovereign, which distinguish and Barbarian Monarchies; and the Feudal Law is the adorn the character of the Modern Gentleman. basis of all rational liberty in Modern Europe. Before The evils which resulted from the Feudal System are the foundations of that Jurisprudence were laid, the readily exposed. The most odious concomitant to its mass of Alodial proprietors had already by desuetude existence was doubtless the servitude in which the mass
Evils of ibe
System. lost their original rights, had ceased to appear in the of the peasantry were bound. But this, if rightly congeneral assemblies of each Nation, and were capable sidered, formed no part of the Feudal tenures. It had neither of associated efforts nor collective strength to only been continued from the Roman constitution of Servitule of resist the tyranny of the Throne. Such a popular power, Society, and was established among all the Barbarian the peasanthough in an Aristocratic instead of a Democratic form, Nations long before the rise of Feudalism. Under both try; was created anew by the Feudal System. For, through the Roman and Barbarian jurisprudence, it was a conall its gradations, that Polity breathes the spirit of dition of far more hopeless and absolute slavery, than honourable and mutual obligation between the superior the Villeinage which had relation only to a Feudal supeand his free dependents; and it is impossible to peruse rior, and in practice, at least, left the peasant a free the various Feudal law books without recognising, in labourer towards all other men. The slave who cultithe careful definition of the limited services which might vated the soil for the exclusive profit of his master be claimed from a Vassal, and of the rights which he might even consider the change a happy one, which might assert against his Lord, all the first principles of rendered him the Serf of the glebe; and, with the excep: public liberty and private immunity. Not the least tion of customary services and duties to his Lord, left valuable among the received and customary provisions him the fruits of his toil and the residue of the produce of Feudalism were those which secured to each man the which he raised on his land. Nor should it be forgotten, privileges, in judicial matters, of trial by his Peers, and, that Vassalage was the degree by which the lower in legislative affairs, of a voice in every measure of gene- orders of the People were raised from the servitude of ra! concernment. It was the existence of these fran- antiquity to modern enfranchisement. A more unques. chises throughout the martial array and long descending tionable vice of the Feudal System was the unrestrained ranks of the Feudal Aristocracy, that, while the body of license of Private War. The desolation, to which not Private the People were without concert or power, opposed the only the border Country of hostile nations, but almost Wars; only barrier to the aggressions of tyranny, and saved every internal district, was liable from the deadly feuds Europe equally from exhibiting the aspect either of un- of so numerous and turbulent an Aristocracy, must have controlled anarchy or of Oriental despotism.
had a most pernicious effect in paralyzing the efforts of and moral In a moral point of view, the Feudal Institutions, as agricultural industry. Moreover, by its temptation to services to engrafted upon the condition of Europe during the habits of rapine in Feudal Chieftains, this scourge inSociety Dark Ages, were even more beneficial. The virtues terrupted the operations of commerce, prevented the
of rapide which they inculcated were those, of which the previous accumulation of wealth, and discouraged the improve- thereby state of Society had most need : the crimes which they ment of those peaceful arts, which can flourish only with engendered denounced to infamy were precisely such, as the depravity the security of property and the increase of capital. of the times had most rankly engendered. The Feudal In these respects, the continuance of the Feudal CoscutSystem revived those principles of personal faithfulness System could be no otherwise than adverse to the peace, scos. and mutual regard between man and man, without the civil subordination, and the prosperity of Society. which no laws of humanity can be sacred : the Feudal But here, as throughout the Moral Government of the Code of fidelity and honour held in abhorrence all Universe, the inquirer may reverently trace the healing violation of faith and promise, all mean dereliction interposition of Omnipotent Wisdom and Goodness, of engagements, all breaches of truth, duty, and grati- The Feudal System, in the severity of its original tude. And these had been the especial vices of Nations aspect, was permitted to exist no longer than was neceswho, in a transitional state of Barbarism, had imbibed
sary to repair the previous dissolution of Political Order, the corruptions of half civilized, without losing the and the inveterate corruption of National Manners, by ferocity of savage life. The bond of defined and re- a new and symmetrical organization of the Social ciprocal obligation between Lord and Vassal in every elements. When Feudalism had thus fulfilled its purdegree was singularly calculated to instil into each man poses, it was suffered silently to give way before the the consciousness of personal dignity, the jealousy of birth of better principles of Civilization; and slowly to personal right, and the pride of personal honour. More- yield to the simultaneous growth of commercial enterover, from these lofty qualities also flowed more generous prise and municipal freedom. The secondary causes and disinterested feelings of duty and devotion to others; through which an impulse was given to this salutary and the Feudal relation peculiarly called forth in defence course of transition are readily discernible to Human either of a revered superior or a faithful dependent, intelligence: the primary design is only generally resome of the noblest emotions and energies which nature vealed in the mysterious and benignant operations of a has implanted in the human breast. Hence arose both Divine Providence.
ANNALS OF ITALY, FRANCE GERMANY, AND SPAIN, FROM THE DISSOLUTION
OF THE CARLOVINGIAN EMPIRE TO THE END OF THE Xth CENTURY.
FROM A. D. 888. TO A. D. 1000.
From A. D. 888. to
I. During the weak rule of the Carlovingian dynasty received the undisputed Crown of Italy from the hands Annals of
888. had become disregarded, through the imbecility of those is ascribed by Luitprand to a petty cause strikingly 1000. by whom it was administered; and on his deposition, illustrative of National character: and, however much
1000. 1. State of the chief Lords of Italy were well prepared to dispute we may be inclined to treat as fabulous many of the deposition
the Crown, according to the measure of their force. most amusing portions of Secret and Minute History in si Charles The two most powerful Feudatories at that time were later times, we see little reason, in this instance, (or indeed
Berenger, Marquis of Friuli, and Guido, Duke of Spo- in most others, notwithstanding Muratori's bitter an-
The Trebia witnessed a bloody engagement between Guido and interests among the leading European Kingdoms, it the rivals, which terminated in the defeat of Berenger, may be convenient to state, that at the commencement who sought refuge in the Court of Germany, while the of the period upon a brief sketch of which we are now Conqueror obtained the titular Imperial dignity and entering, Eudes Count of Paris obtained the Crown of Crown, from the fears or the good will of Pope France ; Arnulf, a natural son of Carloman of Bavaria, Stephen VI. During two campaigns, Guido baffled the that of Germany; Louis, son of Boson, that of Arles ; arms of the King of Germany by whom his opponent and that a new Kingdom, comprising nearly the modern was supported; and on his death, his sceptre passed to Lambert Swisserland, was formed by Rodolph,* of the same his son Lambert already associated with him in Govern. Emperors. Family as Eudes, under the title of Transjurane says Luitprand; invisus et inauditus da i suoi Franzesi, come scrive Burgundy The particular Histories of most of Erchempetro, writes Muratori in a similar strain. these respective States will occupy separate portions * On the Iron Crown of Lombardy, a coveted possession even in of the present Chapter ; our attention in the first in- our own days, the reader may consult a lengthy Dissertation by stance being more especially directed to the Annals of Muratori at the close of his IId volume of Anecdota ex Bibliotheca Italy.
Ambrosianá. Its history is most obscure, and little is to be ob
tained from Muratori's proverbial diligence; excepting that the Erenger I.
The throne of France was the prize which first Crown is of gold with an inner rim of iron made, as was said, of a aly.
allured Guido, we know not with what reasonable nail of the true Cross; that the origin of its usage is unknowo; chance of success ;t and Berenger, during his absence, Archbishop of Milan, either at Milan itself, or at Monza, a consi
and that it was always placed on the heads of the Kings by the
derable town on the Lambro. Otho the Great received it at the Great-grandson of Conrad, Brother of Judith, Empress of former place, most of his successors at the latter. Charles the Bald.
f Non decet talem super nos regnare Regem qui decem drachmis † Absque Francorum consilio totius Franciæ unctionem suscepit vile sibi obsonium præparat. Luitprand, i. 6.