INSTITUTIONS, LOCAL AND SELF GOVERNMENTS. 363 present and which had long been known as a bed of justice, in 1563, for the first time. Thus the beginnings of a power over the laws, answering to that of the English parliament, were resisted by the growth of arbitrary power. If the par- liament persisted in its opposition, it might be banished from Paris or dissolved, or its members be visited by Icttres de cachet. But as it was a necessary institution, it would soon be restored to its old standing. The later kings qualified this power of registration. The history of the French parliaments is interesting, as far as their institutional character is concerned, because, while they were rooted in early Germanic usages, they departed from their earlier form in their later development, and were then variously modified by positive enactments.* 5. Pensionaries, as the word is applied to the grand pen- sionary of Holland. A principle of old German justice was that there could be no court, unless the people qualified to sit and vote in the court were assembled. Before Charlemagne, when among the Franks, the people (as of a hundred) were called together, there were certain persons, seven in number, called rachimburgi> whose office it was, not to bring in a ver- dict, but to prepare a project of a verdict which was to be laid before the assembly for their approval or rejection. The meeting of the free inhabitants of a hundred for pur- poses of justice became an intolerable burden, especially be- cause the judge could call them together when he would, and in case of the non-appearance of a freeman could exact from him a fine, This po\yer of the count or his deputy opened the door to great abuses and ground down the poorer free- men. By a law of Charlemange the body of the freemen were excused from this service in courts, and only the seven rachimburgi were required to be present, who thenceforth were no longer to be chosen for the present occasion, but to be an official, permanent body, in a sense assessors of the * Much has been written on the parliaments of France. I have followed Warnkonig, Franz. Staatsgesch., vol. L, in various places, esp. §§ 141, 183.