county of which it was the capital, was distinguished from a very early period by ample municipal privileges. Under the Aragonese monarchs, Barcelona had so well profited by the liberal administrations of its rulers as to have reached a degree of prosperity rivalling that of any of the Italian republics. The wealth which flowed in upon Barcelona, and the result of the activity and enterprise which the merchants of the place exhibited, was evinced by the numerous public works in which it set an example to all Europe. Strangers who visited Spain in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, expatiate on the magnificence of this city, its commodious private edifices, the cleanliness of its streets and public squares, and on the amenity of its gardens and cultivated environs.

But the peculiar glory of Barcelona was the freedom of its municipal institutions. The government consisted of a senate or council of one hundred, and a body of corregidores or counsellors, varying at times from four to six in number; the former intrusted with the legislative, the latter with the executive functions of administration. A large proportion of these bodies was selected from the merchants, tradesmen, and mechanics of the city. They were invested, not merely with municipal authority, but with many of the rights of sovereignty. They entered into commercial treaties with foreign powers ; superintended the defence of the city in time of war; provided for the security of trade ; granted letters of reprisal against any nation who might violate it; and raised and appropriated public money for the construction of useful works, or the encouragement of such commercial adventures as were too hazardous or expensive for individual enterprise.

Under the influence of these democratic institutions, the burghers of Barcelona, and, indeed, of Catalonia in general, which enjoyed more or less of a similar freedom, assumed a haughty independence of character, beyond what existed among the same class in other parts of Spain; and this, combined with the martial daring fostered by a life of maritime adventure and warfare, made them impatient, not merely of oppression, but of contradiction on the part of their sovereigns, who have experienced more frequent and more sturdy resistance from this part of their dominions than from any other. Navogiers, the Venetian ambassador to Spain early in the sixteenth century, although a republican himself, was so struck with what he deemed the insubordination of the Barcelonians, that he asserts, “ The inhabitants have so many privileges that the king scarcely retains any authority over them; their liberty," he adds, “should rather go by the name of licentiousness.”

Such, in the earlier stages of Spanish history, were the free constitutions of Castile and Aragon ; but when these two kingdoms were united into one great monarchy, it became the settled policy of the sovereigns to destroy all the institutions by which the liberties of the people were secured. As the power of the Mohammedans grew weaker, the kings of Castile had less reason to grant municipal privileges on condiich of defending the frontiers; and their nobles, continually engaged in mutual dissensions, were unable to check the inroads of the crown on their aristocratic privileges. The nobles of Aragon, indeed, were always ready to combine in a common cause, and it was aptly said by one of the monarchs, in reference to these two aristocracies, that " it was equally difficult to divide the nobles of Aragon, and to unite those of Castile.” But union availed little to the Aragonese nobles, when the seat of government was placed beyond the sphere of their influence, and when Castilian armies were ready to crush the first appearance of insurrection. It is also to be remarked, though rather in anticipation of what we shall have to discuss hereafter, that the conquest of America not merely gave the kings of Spain vast supplies of gold, without their being compelled to have recourse to their parliaments or cortes, but it also enabled them to create many lucrative monopolies, for which the Spanish nobles bartered the privileges of their order and the rights of the people. There is a closer connexion between freedom of trade and freedom of institutions than is generally imagined : every protected interest exists at the expense of all the other classes of the community, and being itself based on injustice, must connive at injustice in others. Prospective loss, however great, is constantly hazarded by the ignorant and unthinking for immediate gain, however small, and it was this selfish folly which mainly enabled the Austrian line of Spanish monarchs to overthrow the ancient constitution of their country, and to render Spain a memorable and sad example of the great truth, that a land of monopoly soon becomes a land of slavery, and eventually a land of misery.

Section XII.--State of Western Europe at the commencement of the Four

teenth Century RODOLPH of Hapsburgh had no sooner obtained possession of the empire, than he resolved to strengthen the sovereign authority, by annexing soine of the great fiefs to the crown. The usurpation of the dutchy of Austria by Ottokar, king of Bohemia, afforded him a pretext for interfering in the disposal of that province; he defeated Ottokar, and deprived him not only of Austria, but also of Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, which were formed into a new principality, and the investiture given to Albert, the emperor's son (A. D. 1282), who founded the imperial house of Austria.

But while the emperor's authority was extended in Germany, it was almost unknown in Italy, where the republican cities generally withdrew even nominal allegiance from their former masters. Of these commercial states Venice was the most important. This city had been originally founded by some refugees who sought shelter in the islands and lagoons of the Adriatic, from the ferocity of the Huns (A. D. 452); but it first rose into importance under the doge Pierre Urseolo II. (A. D. 992), who obtained freedom of commerce for his fellow-citizens from the Byzantine emperor and the sultan of Egypt, and subjected the maritime cities of Istria and Dalmatia. In the wars between the empire and the papacy, they had generally supported the latter ; Pope Alexander III., as a reward for their services, conferred on them the sovereignty of the Adriatic, and hence arose the singular ceremony of celebrating annually a mystic marriage between that sea and the Venetian doge. The crusades tended greatly to extend the power of the republic, especially the fourth, in which, as we have already stated, the Greek empire was dismembered. On this occasion, the Venetians received from their allies several maritime cities in Dalmatia, Albania, Epirus, and Greece, the islands of Crete, Corfu, Cephalonia, and several others in the Ionian cluster.

But the increasing wealth of Venice led to a fatal change in its political constitution. The government was originally democratic, the power of the doge being limited by a council, who were freely chosen by the citizens. Several tumults at these elections furnished the doge, Peter Grandenigo, with an excuse for proposing a law abrogating annual elections, and rendering the dignity of councillor hereditary in the families of those who were at the period members of the legislative assembly (A. D. 1298). This establishment of a close aristocracy led to several revolts, of which that headed by Tiepolo was the most remarkahle (A. D. 1310). After a fierce battle within the city, the insurgents were routed ; ten inquisitors were chosen to investigate the conspiracy, and this commission was soon rendered permanent under the name of the Council of Ten, the most formidable tribunal ever founded to support aristocratic tyranny.

Genoa, like Venice, owed its prosperity to its extensive commerce, which flourished in spite of the several political convulsions that agitated the republic. The Genoese embraced the cause of the Greek emperors, and helped them to regain Constantinople. Their services were rewarded by the cession of Caffa, Azov, and other ports on the Black sea, through which they opened a lucrative trade with China and India. They obtained also Smyrna, and Pera, a suburb of Constantinople, together with several important islands in the Archipelago. Nor were they less successful in extending their power in Italy and the western Mediterranean, though they had to contend against powerful rivals in the citizens of Pisa. The mutual jealousies of these republics, and the anxiety of both to possess the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, led to a long and sanguinary war. It ended (A. D. 1290) in the complete overthrow of the Pisans, whose commerce was annihilated by the loss of the island of Elba, and the destruction of the ports of Pisa and Leghorn.

Charles of Anjou did not long enjoy the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, His subjects justly hated him for the murder of Conradin, and the insolence of the French soldiery confirmed their aversion. An atrocious insult offered to a Sicilian lady, provoked the celebrated insurrection, commonly called the Sicilian Vespers* (A. D. 1282), in which all the French residents in Sicily were massacred, with the exception of William Parcellet, whose virtues honorably distinguished him from his countrymen. The islanders placed themselves under the protection of the king of Aragon, and Charles, though aided by the pope, was unable to regain his authority over them.

Pope Martin, who was warmly attached to Charles of Anjou, excommunicated the king of Aragon, and placed his kingdom under an interdict; and, finding these measures ineffectual, he preached a crusade against him, and gave the investiture of his states to the count of Va

* The evening prayers in the catholic church are called Vespers, and the revolt commenced as the congregation were assembling at Palermo for the evening service, during the festival of Easter. Some historians describe this massacre as the result of a deep and long-planned conspiracy; but it is much more likely to have been simply a su 'den outbreak of popular indignation.


lois, second son of the king of France. He proclaimed Charles of Anjou champion of the holy church, and declared that this sanguinary tyrant was a prince chosen by God himself

. The pope, who thus bestowed crowns, and exonerated subjects from their allegiance, was unable to maintain himself in his own capital ; and while he hoped to humble kings, could not enforce the obedience of the Roman citizens. But this is not the only instance of a similar anomaly in the history of the papacy. Peter of Aragon, feigning obedience, exchanged his title of king for that of a simple knight, retaining, however, all the


of royalty; but dreading the succors that the king of France sent to his uncle more than the papal menaces, he sought out means of gaining time to organize the defence of Sicily. Knowing the vain-glorious disposition of his rival, Peter proposed that Charles and he, with a hundred knights at each side, should decide their respective titles in a combat, near Bordeaux. The duke of Anjou, elated by the hopes of a duel with a prince who added to his modest title, “ Knight of Aragon,” the sounding designations, “ Lord of the Seas, and Father of Three Kings,” accepted the terms; and, while he prepared for the expected field, neglected his preparations for war. Martin fulminated against the Juel, single combats being forbidden by the church; but Peter had never intended to expose himself to the chance, and on the appointed day Charles discovered, from the non-appearance of his adversary, that he had been ballled by superior policy, perhaps we should rather say, perfidy.

Martin more than shared the indignation of his favorite ; he renewed the preaching of the crusade against Peter, grunting to all who fought in the papal cause the same indulgences assigned to those who joined in the expeditions for the recovery of Palestine ; and he sent ambassadors urging the French king to hasten the invasion of Aragon. It is not easy to conceive how monarchs could be blind to the consequences of accepting these proffered crowns; they thus recognised the principle of the pope's right to depose sovereigns, and sanctioned a power which might at any time be employed against themselves or their successors. But the lessons of prudence are slow in penetrating hearts fascinated by ambition or fanaticism.

The anathemas of Martin did not deprive Peter of his crown; they scarcely even checked the current of his fortunes.

All his subjects, clergy, nobles, and commons, ostentatiously displayed their attachment to their sovereign, and laughed the papal decrees to scorn. The Ara. gonese admiral defeated the fleet of the duke of Anjou within sight of Naples, and made his son, Charles the Lame, a prisoner (A. D. 1284). This scion of a detested race would not have escaped the fury of the Messenians, who wished to sacrifice him in revenge for the murder of Conradin, only for the generous interference of Queen Constance, Manfred's daughter, who rescued him from the fury of the populace, and sent him for security to Catalonia. Charles of Anjou did not long survive this calamity; the remembrance of his former triumphs and prosperity, his pride, his contempt for his enemies, and shame for having been baffled by policy, aggravated the mortification of a defeat which he no longer had power to retrieve.

Spain continued divided into several small kingdoms, Christian and Mohaminedan. To the former belonged Navarre, Aragon, and Castile, of which the last two were gradually extending themselves at the expense of their Mohammedan neighbors. The Castilian monarch, Alphonso I., captured Madrid and Toledo (A. D. 1085); he would probably have expelled the Moors from Spain, had not a new burst of fanaticisin in Africa supplied the Mohammedans with hordes of enthusiastic defenders in the moment of danger. The Moors not only recov ered their strength, but became so formidable, that Pope Innocent III. published a crusade against them. A numerous Christian army assembled on the confines of Castile and Andalusia; they encountered their enemies near the city of Uleda, and inflicted on them a defeat, from which the Spanish Mohammedans never recovered (A. D. 1212). Ferdinand III., king of Castile and Leon, profiting by the weakness of the

ors, subdued the little kingdom of Cordova, Murcia, and Seville (A. D. 1256), so that the Mohammedans were reduced to the single kingdom of Granada.

The crusade in Spain led to the foundation of a new kingdom in Europe. Henry of Burgundy, a member of the royal family of France, was so eminently distinguished by his valor in the Mohammedan wars, that Alphonso VI., king of Castile, gave him his daughter in marriage, with the investiture of the country of Portugal as her dowry. Henry enlarged his territory at the expense of the Mohammedans, but his fame was eclipsed by that of his son Alphonso, whom his soldiers proclaimed king on the glorious field of battle in which the power of the Mohammedans was destroyed (A. D. 1139). To secure his new royalty, Alphonso placed himself and his kingdom under the protection of the holy see, and declared himself a liege subject of the pope. cessors found the Roman pontiffs by no means slow in availing them. selves of the power thus ceded to them; several violent struggles were made by the kings to free themselves from the yoke, but the power of the popes prevailed, and a treaty was concluded, by which the Portuguese clergy were secured in extensive possessions, almost royal privileges, and a complete exemption from secular jurisdiction (A. D. 1289).

As the governments of France and England began to assume a stable form, rivalry arose between the two nations, which led to a long series of sanguinary wars.

From the time of Capet's usurpation, the policy of the French kings had been to lessen the power of the great feudatories; and it was a perilous error in Philip I. to sanction the duke of Normandy's 'conquest of England, for he thus permitted a vassal, already dangerous, to become his rival sovereign. 'The danger was greatly increased when Louis VII. divorced his faithless wife Eleanor, the heiress to the provinces of Guienne, Poitou, and Gascony. She married Henry II., king of England, and thus enabled him to add her inheritance to that of the Plantagenets in France, which included the dutchies of Normandy and the counties of Anjou and Maine (A. D. 1252). The vassal was now more powerful than his sovereign ; the throne of France indeed would scarcely have been secure, had not the family disputes of the Plantagenets, secretly fomented by the wicked Eleanor, caused Henry's sons to revolt against their indulgent father, and brought that able sovereign with sorrow to his grave. Philip Augustus was the founder of the greatness of the French monarchy. The Plantagenets

His suc

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