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money and armed men of which he can gain the position of a
real monarch over the barons who had long before usurped
nearly all the royal rights of administration and jurisdiction.
It will be seen at once that the foregoing is a general out-
line of what took place in Europe during the mediaeval times.
The barons and great ecclesiastics, by privileges granted to
infant towns, laid the foundation for a new force in society,
and could not but do this, as it seemed to promise well for
themselves. Thus political change by slow degrees inevitably
crept in. The change, of course, would be resisted ; but the
towns, created by the acts of great proprietors, were well
able to defend themselves, and for the better defence of their
charters combined against the lord of the soil (the king, bishop,
baron), or against the inferior nobility—some of whom, com-
pelled by force, some of their own will, entered into the
town organization, while holding lands without, and became
a part of the body politic. The noblesse or patricians thus
added strength to the towns, especially at first ; while after-
wards, it might happen, they turned out to be most uneasy
members of civic communities, forming factions among them-
selves or arrayed against the untitled wealthy class of mer-
chants and great manufacturers. (Comp. §§ 171, 187.)
These changes were all derived from the compactness of
town life, from the acquisition of wealth, from the sense of
power caused by the possession of it, and by the opinion of
what was right and just; which, as the towns grew and
spread, became almost a national opinion—one of the indica-
tions that the country was feeling its way towards unity, and
that a wider association lay in the future. The opinion with
which the towns acted on the kings and lords, was owing,
not only to the importance which the towns themselves ac-
quired in a material respect, but also to the gathering within
their walls of men cultivated in legal science, of such as had
travelled to remote lands and took wide views of things, of
professors in universities and trained physicians, of men of
noble extraction living on the produce of their lands, but fond
of the social enjoyments of city life. Here, too, luxuries and