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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

CONSTITUTION  OF FLORENCE.                       83
1346, that no foreigner admitted to citizenship could hold
office unless he, his father and grandfather had been born
within the county of Florence, although his name had been
put into the bag. Another law, of 1347, enacted that a per-
son condemned as a Ghibcllinc from 1301 onward by accept-
ing office was made liable to a heavy fine ; and six witnesses
declaring him such on public fame were enough to prove the
charge. Those who had elected him, and those who should
venture to propose the revocation of this law, were exposed
to the same penalty and to the loss of office, even if they
were priors, (Capponi, i., 281, 282.) An earlier law had for-
bidden foreigners to act as attorneys in any case or business
(ib, i., 277),
These laws were due to the influence of the captains of the
Guclphic party who now began to show a new and dangerous
activity. Why should they, after comparative inaction for a
long time, come forward to the front rank of political im-
portance, when there was nothing to fear from exiled Ghibel-
lines, and the old lines of party had faded out ? The election
of the Emperor Charles IV., in connection with the intrusion
of strangers into the guilds, has been assigned as the cause ;
but there was nothing to fear from the emperor then, or after-
wards in his two visits into Italy. The laws spoken of, to-
gether with subsequent events, reveal a design of the existing
aristocracy, or of those popolani who desired to keep the lower
people from increasing their political importance, to retain
power in their own hands and prevent the lower guilds from
ruling the city. Nowhere could a plan for this purpose have
been more likely to be successful than in the partc Guclfa,
an old institution with large estates in its hands and managed
even then by grand! and by popolani of the older families. ^
To enter minutely into the movements of the Guclphic
leaders is out of the question ; we will only attempt to show
how these movements bore on the Florentine constitution,*
*Comp. for the feelings of a contemporary, M. Villani, n*» * 5
vi»-» S4, 3*, 33 (in Muralori, Rer,, luil, Sen, xiv/ and for the legis-
lation and history, Capponi, b. iii,, ch. 6 and 7-