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CHAP. and favourites. But in the quarrel of the investitures, they XLIX.

were deprived of their influence over the episcopal chapters; the freedom of election was restored, and the sove. reign was reduced, hy a solemn mockery, to his first prayers, the recommendation, once in his reign, to a single prebend in each church. The secular governors, instead of being recalled at the will of a superior, could be degraded only by the sentence of their peers. In the first age

of the monarchy, the appointment of the son to the dutchy or county of his father, was solicited as a favour; it was gradually obtained as a custom, and extorted as a right: the lineal succession was often extended to the collateral or female branches; the states of the empire (their popular, and at length their legal, appellation) were divided and alienated by testament and sale; and all idea of a public trust was lost

a in that of a private and perpetual inheritance. The emperor could not even be enriched by the casualties of forfeiture and extinction: within the term of a year, he was obliged to dispose of the vacant fief, and in the choice of the candi. date, it was his duty to consult either the general or the pro

vincial diet. The Ger- After the death of Frederic the second, Germany was manic con- left a monster with an hundred heads. A crowd of princes stitution, A.D. 1250. and prelates disputed the ruins of the empire: the lords of

innumerable castles were less prone to obey, than to imitate, their superiors; and according to the measure of their strength, their incessant hostilities received the names of conquest or robbery. Such anarchy was the inevitable consequence of the laws and manners of Europe ; and the kingdoms of France and Italy were shivered into fragments by the violence of the same tempest. But the Italian cities and the French vassals were divided and destroyed, while the union of the Germans has produced, under the name of an empire, a great system of a federative republic. In the frequent and at last the perpetual institution of diets, a national spirit was kept alive, and the powers of a common legislature are still exercised by the three branches or colleges of the electors, the princes, and the free and Imperial cities of Germany. I. Seven of the most powerful feudataries were permitted to assume, with a distinguished name and rank, the exclusive privilege of chusing the Roman emperor; and



these electors were the king of Bohemia, the duke of Saxo. CHAP. ny, the margrave of Brandenburgh, the count palatine of the XLIX. Rhine, and the three archbishops of Mentz, of Treves, and of Cologne. II. the college of princes and prelates purged themselves of a promiscuous inultitude: they reduced to four representative votes, the long series of independent counts, and excluded the nobles or equestrian order, sixty thousand of whom, as in the Polish diets, had appeared on horseback in the field of election. III. The pride of birth and dominion, of the sword and the mitre, wisely adopted the commons as the third branch of the legislature, and in the progress of society, they were introduced about the same æra into the national assemblies of France, England, and Germany. The Hanseatic league commanded the trade and navigation of the north: the confederates of the Rhine secured the peace and intercourse of the inland country: the influence of the cities has been adequate to their wealth and policy, and their negative still invalidates the acts of the two superior colleges of electors and princes.149

It is in the fourteenth century, that we may view in the weakness strongest light the state and contrast of the Roman empire and pover

the of Germany, which no longer held, except on the borders of German the Rhine and Danube, a single province of Trajan or Con- emperor

Charles stantine. Their unworthy successors were the counts of IV. A. D.

1347.... Hapsburgh, of Nassau, of Luxemburgh, and of Schwartzenburgh: the emperor Henry the seventh procured for his son the crown of Bohemia, and his grandson Charles the fourth was born among a people, strange and barbarous in the estimation of the Germans themselves.150 After the excommu


149 In the immense labyrinth of the jus publicum of Germany, I must either quote one writer or a thousand; and I had rather trust to one faithful guide, than transcribe, on credit, a multitude of names and passages. That guide is M. Pfeilel, the author of the best legal and constitutional history that I know of any country (Novel Abregé Chronologique de l'Histoire et du Droit Public d'Allemagne; Paris, 1776, 2 vols. in 4to). His learning and judgment have discerned the most interesting facts; his simple brevity comprises them in a narrow space; his chronological order distributes them under ühe proper dates; and an elaborate index collects them under their respective heais. To this work, in a less perfect state, Dr. Robertson was gratefully indebted for that masterly sketch which traces even the modern changes of the Germanic body. The Corpus Historiæ Germanicæ Struvius has been likewise consulted, the more usefully, as that huge compilation is fortified in every page with the original texts.

150 Yet, personally, Charles IV. must not be considered as a Barbarian. After his education at Paris, he recovered the use of the Bohemian, his native, VOL. VI.


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CHAP. nication of Lewis of Bavaria, he received the gift or promise XLIX.

of the vacant empire from the Roman pontiffs, who, in the exile and captivity of Avignon, affected the dominion of the earth. The death of his competitors united the electoral college, and Charles was unanimously saluted king of the Romans, and future emperor: à title which in the same age was prostituted to the Cæsars of Germany and Greece. The German emperor was no more than the elective and impotent magistrate of an aristocracy of princes, who had not left him a village that he might call his own. His best prerogative was the right of presiding and proposing in the national senate, which was convened at his summons; and his native kingdom of Bohemia, less opulent than the adjacent city of

Nurembergh, was the firmest seat of his power and the richA. D. est source of his revenue. The army with which he passed 1355.

the Alps, consisted of three hundred horse. In the cathedral of St. Ambrose, Charles was crowned with the iron crown, which tradition ascribed to the Lombard monarchy; but he was admitted only with a peaceful train; the gates of the city were shut upon him; and the king of Italy was held a captive by the arms of the Visconti, whom he confirmed in the sovereignty of Milan. In the Vatican he was again crowned with the golden crown of the empire; but, in obedience to a secret treaty, the Roman emperor immediately withdrew, without reposing a single night within the walls of Rome. The eloquent Petrarch,151 whose fancy revived the visionary glories of the Capitol, deplores and upbraids the ignominious flight of the Bohemian; and even his contemporaries could observe, that the sole exercise of his authority was in the lucrative sale of privileges and titles. The gold of Italy secured the election of his son; but such was the shameful poverty of the Roman emperor, that his person was arrested by a butcher in the streets of Worms, and was detained in the public inn, as a pledge or hostage for the payment of his expenses.

idiom; and the emperor conversed and wrote with eqaal facility in French, Latin, Italian, and German (Struvius, p. 615, 616). Petrarch always repre., sents him as a polite and learned prince.

151 Besides the German and Italian historians, the expedition of Charles IV. is painted in lively and original colours in the curious Memoires sur la Vie de Petrarque, tom. iii. p. 376...430. by the abbé de Sade, whose prolixity has never been blamed by any reader of taste and curiosity.

From this humiliating scene, let us turn to the apparent CHAP. majesty of the same Charles in the diets of the empire. The XLIX. golden bull, which fixes the Germanic constitution, is pro- His ostenmulgated in the style of a sovereign and legislator. An hun-tation, dred princes bowed before his throne, and exalted their dignity by the voluntary honours which they yielded to their chief or minister. At the royal banquet, the hereditary great officers, the seven electors, who in rank and title were equal to kings, performed their solemn and domestic service of the palace. The seals of the triple kingdom were borne in state by the archbishops of Mentz, Cologne, and Treves, the perpetual arch-chancellors of Germany, Italy, and Arles. The great marshal, on horseback, exercised his function with a silver measure of oats, which he emptied on the ground, and immediately dismounted to regulate the order of the guests. The great steward, the count palatine of the Rhine, placed the dishes on the table. The great chamberlain, the margrave of Brandenburgh, presented, after the repast, the golden ewer and bason, to wash. The king of Bohemia, as great cup-bearer, was represented by the emperor's brother, the duke of Luxemburgh and Brabant; and the procession was closed by the great huntsmen, who introduced a boar and a stag, with a loud chorus of horns and hounds." was the supremacy of the emperor confined to Germany alone: the hereditary monarchs of Europe confessed the pre-eminence of his rank and dignity: he was the first of the Christian princes, the temporal head of the great republic of the West : 163 to his person the title of majesty was long appropriated; and he disputed with the pope the sublime prerogative of creating kings and assembling councils. The oracle of the civil law, the learned Bartolus, was a pensioner of Charles the fourth; and his school resounded with the doctrine, that the Roman emperor was the rightful sove. reign of the earth, from the rising to the setting sun. The contrary opinion was condemned, not as an error, but as an heresy, since even the gospel had pronounced, “ And there

A. D. own


went forth a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the
world should be taxed.” 154
152 See the whole ceremony, in Struvius, p. 629.

153 The republic of Europe, with the pope and emperor at its head, was never represented with more dignity than in the council of Constance. See Lenfant's History of that assembly.

154 Gravina, Origines Juris Civilis, p. 108.

152 Nor


CHAP. If we annihilate the interval of time and space between XLIX.

Augustus and Charles, strong and striking will be the conContrast of

trast between the two Cæsars; the Bohemian, who concealthe power ed his weakness under the mask of ostentation, and the Roand modes. ty of Au.* man, who disguised his strength under the semblance of gustus. modesty. At the head of his victorious legions, in his reign

over the sea and land, from the Nile and Euphrates to the Atlantic ocean, Augustus professed himself the servant of the state and the equal of his fellow-citizens. The conqueror of Rome and her provinces assumed the popular and legal form of a censor, a consul, and a tribune. His will was the law of mankind, but in the declaration of his laws he borrowed the voice of the senate and people; and, from their decrees, their master accepted and renewed his temporary commission to administer the republic. In his dress, his domestics, 156 his titles, in all the offices of social life, Augustus maintained the character of a private Roman; and his most artful flatterers respected the secret of his absolute and perpetual monarchy.


Description of Arabia and its Inhabitants.... Birth, Character, and

Doctrine of Mahomet.... He preaches at Mecca....Flies to Media na....Propagates his Religion by the Sword.... Voluntary or re. luctant Submission of the Arabs.... His Death and Successors.... The Claims and Fortunes of Ali and his Descendants.



AFTER pursuing above six hundred years the fleeting Cæsars of Constantinople and Germany, I now descend, in the reign of Heraclius, on the eastern borders of the Greek monarchy. While the state was exhausted by the Persian war, and the church was distracted by the Nestorian and Monophysite sects, Mahomet, with the sword in one hand

155 Six thousand urns have been discovered of the slaves and freedmen of Augustus and Livia. So minute was the division of office, that one slave was appointed to weigh the wool which was spun by the empress's maids, another for the care of her lap-dog, &c. (Camere Sepolchrale, &c. by Bianchini. Ex. tract of his work, in the Bibliotheque Italique, toin. iv. p. 175. His El ge, by Fontenelle, tom. vi. p. 356). But these servants were of the same rank, and possibly not more numerous than those of Pollio or Lentulus. They only prove the general riches of the city.

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