Skip to main content

Full text of "The works of Voltaire : a contemporary version with notes"

See other formats

irsity of California 
uthern Regional 
ibrary Facility 


I am a heritage, because I 
brin you years of tboupbt 
arzl tbe lore of time *~~ 
I impart yet I can pot speaks 
I have traveled amoio^ tbe 
peoples of tbe eartb - I 
am a rover Oft- tiroes 
I str^y fron? tbe /treside, 
of tbe one. wbo loves and 
cberlsbes n9e-u;bo 
mlooeo n?e when I an? 

n?e vagrant please send 
n?e bon9e-an9oi9^ n?y 
brothers -on tbe book- 
shelves of - 


. L 



Limited to one thousand sets 
for America and Great Britain. 

"Between two servants of Humanity, who appeared 
eighteen hundred years apart, the" >< a mysterious relation. 
* * * * Let us say it with a sentiment of 
profound respect: JESUS WEPT: VOLTAIRE SMILED. 
Of that divine tear and of that human smile is composed the 
sweetness of the present civilization. 1 * 



















BY E. R. DuMoNT 












VOL. Ill 

FRANCE, 1384 EUROPE, 1599 



THE SIEGE OF ORLEANS . . Frontispiece 


Louis XI I3 6 





THE kingdom of Castile was in almost as miser- 
able a condition as France. Peter, or Don Pedro, 
surnamed the Cruel, whom historians have repre- 
sented as a merciless tiger that thirsted after human 
blood, and even felt a ferocious joy in spilling it, 
sat upon the throne. I dare affirm that there does 
not exist such a character in nature. Sanguinary 
men. are only such in the transports of revenge, or in 
the severity of that horrid policy which considers 
cruelty as a necessary measure; but no man ever 
spills blood merely for his pleasure. 

This prince ascended the throne of Castile a minor, 
and under very unfavorable circumstances. His 
father, Alphonso XL, had had seven bastards by his 
mistress, Eleonora de Gusman. These bastards had 
such powerful settlements left them that they defied 
the royal authority ; and their mother, who had 
still more power than they, insulted the queen-dow- 


6 Ancient and Modern History. 

ager. In short, the kingdom of Castile was divided 
into two parties, one of which sided with the queen- 
mother, and the other with Eleonora de Gusman; 
so that when the young king came of age, he found 
himself obliged to maintain a civil war against the 
faction of the bastards. He engaged them in sev- 
eral battles, proved victorious, and at last put Eleo- 
nora to death, to satisfy his mother's revenge. Thus 
far he might be termed valiant but too severe. He 
afterwards espoused Blanche of Bourbon, and the 
first news he heard concerning his wife, upon her 
arrival at Valladolid, was that she had fallen in love 
with the grand master of St. Jago, one of those very 
bastards who had waged war against him. I am 
sensible that intrigues of this nature are seldom 
authenticated by proofs, and that a prudent king 
ought rather to pretend ignorance in such matters, 
than blindly follow the dictates of revenge; but, 
after all, the king was excusable, since there is to 
this day a family in Spain which boasts of being 
descended from this adulterous commerce. 

Queen Blanche had at least the imprudence to 
enter into too close connection with the faction of 
the bastards, her husband's enemies. Can we then 
be surprised that the king left her in a castle, and 
consoled himself with other amours? 

Don Pedro, therefore, had, at the same time, the 
king of Aragon and his rebellious brothers to 
encounter. Victory however still followed him, and 
it must be confessed, he made a cruel use of it. 

The Black Prince. 7 

He seldom forgave, and his relatives, who were 
found in arms against him, were sacrificed to his 
resentment. In short, he ordered the grand master 
of St. Jago to be put to death. This action pro- 
cured him the name of " Cruel," while John, king 
of France, who had assassinated his constable and 
four Norman lords, was called John the Good. 

During these troubles, his wife, Blanche, died. 
She had been judged culpable, and, of course, it 
was said she died by poison. But let me once more 
observe that we should be cautious how we give 
credit to a charge of this nature, without sufficient 

It was, doubtless, the interest of the king's ene- 
mies to spread a report about Europe of his having 
poisoned his wife. Henry de Transtamare, one of 
the bastards, who had the death of a mother and 
a brother to revenge, and what was still more, his 
own interest to support, took ad vantage of this oppor- 
tunity. France was at that time infested by those 
united banditti called Malandrini, who did all the 
mischief which Edward of England had not been 
able to do. This Henry de Transtamare entered into 
a treaty with Charles V. to rid France of those 
freebooters, by taking them into his service. The 
king of Aragon, always an enemy to the sovereign 
of Castile, promised to grant them a free passage 
through his dominions. Bertrand Du Guesclin, a 
knight of great reputation, who had only fought 
for an opportunity to signalize himself, engaged 

8 Ancient and Modern History. 

the Malandrins to acknowledge him as their chief, 
and follow him into Castile. This enterprise of Du 
Guesclin had been considered as a holy action, which 
he performed, as he himself acknowledged, for the 
good of his soul. The holiness of this action con- 
sisted in leading a band of robbers, to assist a rebel 
against his lawful, though cruel, sovereign. 

It is well known that Du Guesclin, in passing by 
Avignon, being in want of money to pay his troops, 
obliged the pope to give him a large sum for the 
safety of himself and his court. This was at that 
time a necessary extortion, but I dare not mention 
the name which would have been given it had it not 
been done by one who commanded a troop that might 
pass for a little army. 

1366 The bastard Henry, assisted by these 
troops, which had increased in their march, and 
likewise supported by the king of Aragon, began 
by causing himself to be proclaimed king in the 
town of Burgos. Don Pedro, finding himself thus 
attacked by the French, applied for assistance to the 
Black Prince, their conqueror. This prince, who was 
sovereign of Guienne, and consequently must have 
beheld with a jealous eye any success of the French 
arms in Spain, determined by interest and honor, 
espoused the juster side, and marched to the assist- 
ance of Pedro, with his Gascons and some Eng- 
lish; and soon after was fought, on the banks of 
the Ebro, near the village of Navarrete, the bloody 
battle which is called by that name, between Don 

The Black Prince. 9 

Pedro and the Black Prince on one side, and Henry 
de Transtamare and the constable Du Guesclin on 
the other. This battle proved more glorious to the 
Black Prince than even those of Crecy and Poitiers 
had done; because here the field was longer dis- 
puted. In a word, his victory was complete ; for he 
took Bertrand Du Guesclin and Marshal d'An- 
drehen prisoners, who would surrender to no one but 

Henry de Transtamare, after the loss of this battle, 
was obliged to fly into Aragon; and the Black 
Prince resettled Don Pedro on the throne. Don 
Pedro, on this occasion, exerted the unhappy right 
of revenge to its full extent, and treated several of 
the rebels with all that severity which the laws of 
government authorize under the name of justice. 
The Black Prince, who had the glory of restoring 
him to his crown, had also that of putting a stop 
to his cruelties: and indeed this prince is, next to 
Alfred, the hero whom the English hold most in 

As soon as the supporter of Don Pedro was with- 
drawn, and Bertrand Du Guesclin had paid his ran- 
som, the bastard of Transtamare revived the party 
of the malcontents, and Du Guesclin, at the private 
instigation of the French king, Charles V., began to 
raise new troops. 

The count de Transtamare had on his side Aragon, 
the rebels of Castile, and the aid of France ; while 
not only the greater part of the Castilians, but also 

io Ancient and Modern History. 

Portugal and the Moors of Spain, declared for Don 
Pedro, who only gained fresh odium by these new 
allies, without reaping much real service from them. 

Henry and Du Guesclin, having no longer the 
superior genius and fortune of the Black Prince to 
encounter, gained a complete victory over Pedro in 
the neighborhood of Toledo, in 1368; who, after 
this defeat, retired for safety to a castle, where he 
was soon besieged by the victors, and, endeavoring 
to make his escape, was taken prisoner by a French 
gentleman, named le Begue de Vilaines. Being 
conducted to this knight's tent, the first object which 
met his eyes was the count de Transtamare. It is 
said that, transported with rage at this sight, he 
flew, disarmed as he was, upon him, and this 
brother so far is the truth with a poniard he 
held in his hand, instantly put an end to his life. 

Thus perished Don Pedro, at the age of thirty- 
four; and with him ended the Castilian race. His 
mortal foe succeeded him on the throne, without 
any other right than that of murder : and from him 
descended the kings of Castile, who afterward 
reigned in Spain till the sceptre of that kingdom 
was transferred to the house of Austria, by the mar- 
riage of Queen Joan of Castile with Philip the 
Handsome, father of the famous Charles V. 

France and England. 1 1 



THE policy of Charles V. saved France from ruin ; 
and the necessity of weakening the conquerors 
Edward III. and his son, the Black Prince, gives 
a show of justice to his procedure. He took advan- 
tage of the father's old age, and the son's state of 
ill health, who was afflicted with dropsy, of which 
he died in 1371. His first step was to sow dissension 
between the Black Prince, sovereign of Guienne, 
and his vassals ; he eluded the performance of his 
treaties, and refused to pay the remainder of his 
father's ransom, under various plausible pretences. 
He entered into connection with the king of Navarre, 
Charles the Bad, who had so many large posses- 
sions in France ; he likewise stirred up the new king 
of Scotland, Robert Stuart, against England; he 
restored order and regularity in the finances, and 
made the people contribute to the necessary supplies 
without murmuring ; in fine, without stirring out of 
his cabinet, he found means to have as much success 
as King Edward, who had crossed the sea, and 
gained such signal victories. 

As soon as he perceived all the springs of his 
political machine well secured, and in readiness for 
action, he made one of those bold strokes which 
might pass for rashness in politics, if not justified 

12 Ancient and Modern History. 

by well-concerted measures and a successful issue. 
In 1369 he sent a knight and a judge of Toulouse 
to summon the Black Prince to appear before him 
in the court of peers, to give an account of his con- 

This was acting as sovereign judge of the con- 
queror of his father and grandfather, who was still 
in possession of Guienne and the surrounding terri- 
tories, in absolute sovereignty, by right of con- 
quest and the most solemn treaty. For he not only 
summoned the prince as his subject, but an arret 
of the parliament was likewise issued in 1370, con- 
fiscating the province of Guienne and all the places 
that appertained to the English in France. The 
custom of those times was to declare war by a herald 
at arms; but on this occasion one of the king's 
domestic servants was sent to London to perform 
the ceremony a plain proof that Edward was no 
longer in a situation to be feared. 

The irregularity of these proceedings was in some 
measure dignified by the valor and abilities of Ber- 
trand Du Guesclin, now constable of France, and 
more especially by the good order which Charles 
had established throughout his whole kingdom, 
which proved the truth of this maxim in public 
affairs, that " where the profit is, there is the glory." 

The Black Prince, who was every day declining in 
his health, was no longer able to take the field : his 
father could send him but very weak supplies, and 
the English, who had before been everywhere vie- 

France and England. 13 

torious, were now beaten on all sides. Bertrand Du 
Guesclin, though he did not obtain such signal vic- 
tories as those of Crecy and Poitiers, made exactly 
such a campaign, as that by which in these latter 
times Marshal Turenne gained the character of 
the greatest general in Europe. He fell upon the 
English settled about Maine and Avignon, defeated 
all their parties, one after the other, and with his own 
hand took their general, Grandison, prisoner. He 
added Poitou and Saintonge to the French domin- 
ions, and took all the towns belonging to the Eng- 
lish, either by force of arms, or intrigues. The very 
seasons themselves seemed to fight for Charles. A 
formidable fleet of English ships, which was des- 
tined to make a descent upon the coasts of France, 
was several times put back by contrary winds ; and 
temporary truces, artfully managed, prepared the 
way for future successes. 

Charles V. who, twenty years before, had not 
money sufficient to pay his guards, now saw himself 
master of five armies, and a fine fleet. His ships of 
war insulted the English on their own coasts, land- 
ing troops and ravaging the country, while Eng- 
land, who had now lost her warrior king, sat, a 
tame spectator of these insults. She had now noth- 
ing left in France but the city of Bordeaux, Calais, 
and a few other fortified towns. 

France lost her Bertrand Du Guesclin in 1380. 
Everyone knows what honors his sovereign paid to 
his memory. He was the first, I think, that had 

14 Ancient and Modern History. 

a funeral oration pronounced in his praise, and none 
but himself and Marshal Turenne were ever 
interred in the church designed for the burying- 
place of the kings of France. His body was carried 
to the grave with the same ceremonies as those of 
crowned heads, and was followed by four princes 
of the blood; his horses, agreeably to the customs 
of those times, were presented, in the church, to the 
bishop who performed the funeral service, who laid 
his hand upon them and blessed them. These cir- 
cumstances are of no further importance than that 
they serve to show the spirit of chivalry, since the 
regard and veneration paid to great knights who 
had rendered themselves famous by their feats in 
arms, extended even to the horses who fought under 
them in battle. 

Charles V. did not long survive Du Guesclin. He 
is said to have died by a slow poison, which had been 
given him ten years before, and ended his life at the 
age of forty-four. The real poison which despatched 
Charles V. was a bad constitution. 

No one is ignorant of the wise ordinance published 
by this prince, wherein the time of a king of France 
coming of age was fixed at fourteen. This wise 
ordinance, which, however, proved insufficient to 
prevent the subsequent troubles, was enrolled at a 
bed of justice held in 1374. 

Charles desired, by this ordinance, to eradicate the 
ancient abuse of private wars between the lords, 
an abuse which had hitherto passed as a law of 

France and England. 15 

the state, and which, as soon as he came to be 
master, he took care to prohibit, and even forbade 
the wearing of arms ; but this was one of those laws 
which it was impossible at that time to put in execu- 

The treasures which he amassed during his reign 
are said to have amounted to the sum of seventeen 
million livres of the money then current. It is cer- 
tain that he had accumulated great riches, and that 
all the fruits of his economy were dissipated by his 
brother, the duke of Anjou, in the unfortunate expe- 
dition to Naples, of which I have already spoken. 

After the decease of Edward III., the conqueror 
of France, and of Charles V., the restorer of that 
kingdom, it was plainly seen that the superiority of 
a nation depends wholly upon those who are at the 
helm of government. 

Richard II., son of the Black Prince, succeeded 
his grandfather, Edward III., at the age of eleven; 
and, some time after, Charles VI. came to the crown 
of France, at the age of twelve. These two minor- 
ities proved unhappy ; but England had the first and 
greatest reason to complain. 

We have seen the frenzy and madness which pos- 
sessed the peasants of France under King John, and 
how cruelly they revenged themselves for the state of 
slavery they had been in, and the miseries they had 
suffered, upon those gentlemen who had been their 
oppressors. The same madness seized the English ; 
and the war of Rome with the Slavs seemed revived 

1 6 Ancient and Modern History. 

in this country. A tiler and a priest did as much 
mischief to England as the quarrels between the king 
and parliament are capable of producing in that 
kingdom. These two incendiaries assembled the 
people of three counties, and easily found means to 
persuade them that the rich had long enough enjoyed 
the goods of this world, and that it was now time for 
the poor to take their revenge. They led them directly 
to London, plundered a part of the city, and caused 
the archbishop of Canterbury and the high treas- 
urer to be beheaded. It is true that this madness 
ended in the death of their chiefs and the total dis- 
persion of the mutineers: but these storms, which 
were common in Europe, sufficiently showed what 
kind of government prevailed at that time. They 
were as yet unacquainted with the true end of poli- 
tics, which consists in subjecting all degrees and 
orders, in a state, to the public good. 

It may be said also, that the English at that time 
did not better understand the limits of their kings' 
prerogatives, nor of the privileges of their parlia- 
ments. Richard II., at the age of eighteen, aimed 
at being despotic, and his subjects wanted to be free. 
This soon produced a civil war. In other countries 
a civil war almost always proves fatal to the malcon- 
tents, but in England the king generally smarts for 
it. Richard, after having maintained a ten years' con- 
test with his subjects about authority, saw himself 
at length abandoned even by his own party. His 
cousin, the duke of Lancaster, grandson of the late 

France and England. 17 

Edward III., and who had for a long time been 
banished out of the kingdom, returned with only 
three ships. Indeed he stood in need of no greater 
assistance; for, the instant he arrived, the whole 
nation declared for him ; and Richard requested only 
that they would grants him his life and a pension. 

A parliament was called, in which this prince was 
solemnly deposed and confined in the Tower, in 1399, 
whence he sent the duke of Lancaster the ensigns 
of royalty, together with a writing, signed by his 
own hand, in which he acknowledged himself alto- 
gether unqualified to reign, as indeed he was, since 
weak enough to sign such a declaration. 

Thus did this one century behold two kings of 
England, Edward II. and Richard II., the emperor 
Wenceslaus, and Pope John XXIII., all four tried, 
condemned, and deposed, in the most solemn manner 
and with all the formalities of justice. 

The English Parliament, having deposed their 
king, issued a decree, importing that, in case of any 
attempt being made to restore him, he should be 
adjudged worthy of death. Accordingly, upon the 
first rising that was made in his favor, eight ruffians 
went and assassinated the unhappy monarch in his 
prison in 1400. But Richard defended his life far 
better than he had his throne. He wrested a pole-axe 
from one of the assassins, with which he laid four 
of the number dead at his feet before he fell him- 
self. The duke of Lancaster now ascended the 
throne under the name of Henry IV., during whose 

1 8 Ancient and Modern History. 

reign England neither enjoyed tranquillity, nor was 
in a condition to undertake anything against France : 
but his son, Henry V., brought about the greatest 
revolution since the time of Charlemagne. 



PART of the care which Charles V. had taken to 
re-establish France proved the means of hastening 
its subversion. The immense treasures he had 
amassed were dissipated, and the taxes he imposed 
had alienated the minds of his people. It has been 
observed that this prince expended fifteen hundred 
marks of gold annually for the maintenance of his 
household; and his brothers, who were regents of 
the kingdom during the minority of Charles VI., 
who came to the crown before he was thirteen, 
expended more than seven thousand, and yet that 
prince was almost in want of common necessaries. 
These minute details are not to be slighted, since they 
frequently prove the secret springs of ruin in most 
states, as well as in private families. 

Louis of Anjou, one of the uncles of Charles VI., 
and the same who had been adopted by Joan I., queen 
of Naples, not satisfied with having embezzled his 
pupil's treasure, loaded the people with exactions. 
Paris, Rouen, and most of the cities rose up in arms ; 
and the same fury which afterward destroyed Paris 

Charles VI. 19 

in the time of the League in the minority of Louis 
XIV. appeared under Charles VI. The public and 
private punishments inflicted on this occasion were 
as cruel as the insurrection had been outrageous. 
The great papal schism which prevailed at that time, 
and of which we have already treated, contributed 
to increase their disorders. The popes of Avignon, 
who were acknowledged by the French court, com- 
pleted the impoverishment of this kingdom by all 
the arts which avarice could invent, under the dis- 
guise of religion. The people, however, flattered 
themselves, that when the king came of age he 
would make amends for all these evils by a more 
happy government. 

He had in person, in 1384, avenged the count of 
Flanders, his vassal, on the rebellious Flemings, 
whom the English still continued to support; and 
took advantage of the troubles which distracted that 
unhappy island during the reign of Richard II. He 
also fitted out a fleet of twelve hundred ships, to 
make a descent on the English coast. This prodig- 
ious number of ships is by no means incredible ; St. 
Louis had a much larger fleet. It is true they were 
only vessels for transporting troops, but the ease 
with which they equipped these large fleets plainly 
shows that they had a much greater quantity of 
timber for building than we have at present, and that 
they were not deficient in point of industry. The 
jealousy which prevailed between the king's uncles 
put a stop to the sailing of this fleet; and at last 

2o Ancient and Modern History. 

it only served as a proof of the resources France 
might have been provided with under a good admin- 
istration, since, notwithstanding the great quantity 
of money which the duke of Anjou carried out of 
the kingdom with him in his unhappy expedition 
to Naples, it was still able to undertake such great 

At length there seemed to be some respite from the 
confusion which had perplexed the kingdom. The 
king set out for Brittany to chastise the duke, of 
whom France had so much reason to complain ; 
when, unfortunately, at this very juncture, he was 
seized with a terrible frenzy. This distemper began 
with a drowsiness, followed by a loss of understand- 
ing, and ending at length in a fit of madness. When 
he was first seized with this fit, he killed four men, 
and continued striking everyone about him, till at 
length, exhausted by these convulsive motions, he 
fell into a deep lethargy. 

I am not in the least surprised that all France 
thought him poisoned and bewitched. There have 
been instances even in this present age, notwith- 
standing its improvement in knowledge, of popular 
prejudices altogether as unjust. His brother, the 
duke of Orleans, had married Valentine of Milan, 
and she was accused of having been the cause of 
the king's misfortune, which proves that the French, 
who were at that time very ignorant, thought the 
Italians had more knowledge than themselves. 
This suspicion was some time afterward increased 

Charles VI. 21 

by an adventure entirely agreeable to the rudeness 
of those times. 

1393 There was a masquerade at court, in which 
the king appeared in the dress of a satyr, dragging 
four other satyrs after him in chains. Their dresses 
were made of linen, daubed over with rosin, to which 
they had fastened cords of flax and hemp. The duke 
of Orleans unfortunately thrust his torch against 
one of those habits, which took fire in an instant. 
The four lords, who were the four satyrs in the 
masque, were burned, and the king's life was with 
great difficulty preserved by the happy presence 
of mind of his sister-in-law, the duchess of Berry, 
who wrapped him all over in her mantua. This 
accident caused a return of one of his fits; from 
which he might probably have been relieved by 
immediate bleeding, bathing, and a proper regimen ; 
but, instead of that, they sent for a sorcerer from 
Montpellier. The sorcerer came, and the king 
appeared a little better, which was instantly ascribed 
to the power of magic. But, by frequent relapses, 
the disorder was rendered so inveterate as to become 
incurable. To complete the misfortunes of France, 
the king had some intervals of sanity, otherwise they 
might have provided for the government of the 
kingdom ; thus the little share of reason he enjoyed 
proved more fatal than even his fits: the estates 
were never assembled, nor was the least regulation 
made in the public administration. The king still 
continued king, intrusting his despised authority 

72 Ancient and Modern History. 

and the care of his person sometimes to his brother, 
and at other times to his uncles, the dukes of Bur- 
gundy and Berry. It was still a further addition 
to the misfortunes of the state, that these princes 
had considerable inheritances in the kingdom ; in 
due course Paris became the theatre of a civil war, 
sometimes privately, sometimes openly carried on. 
Factions prevailed everywhere, and even the univer- 
sity pretended to a share in the government. 

1407 Everybody knows that John, duke of Bur- 
gundy, caused his cousin, the duke of Orleans, to 
be assassinated in the Rue Barbette. The king had 
neither understanding nor power enough to bring 
the aggressor to justice. However, the duke of 
Burgundy thought it necessary to take out letters of 
grace, after which he came to court and triumphed 
in his crime. He assembled all the princes and 
grandees ; and, in the presence of them all, Dr. John 
Petit not only justified the murder of the duke of 
Orleans, but also established the doctrine of homi- 
cide, which he founded upon the example of those 
assassinations we read of in the historical books of 
the holy writ. Thus did this preacher impudently 
erect into a doctrine what those books only deliver 
to us as an event, instead of acting agreeably to the 
duties of his calling, by telling men that a murder 
related in the Holy Scripture is as truly detestable 
as if it was found in the annals of savages, or in the 
times of which I am speaking. This evil doctrine 

Charles VI. 23 

was condemned, as we have seen, at the Council of 
Constance, but has nevertheless been since revived. 

It was at this time that the marshal de Boucicaut 
suffered Genoa to be lost, which had put itself under 
the protection of France. The French were all mas- 
sacred there, as they had been before in Sicily. The 
flower of the nobility, who had gone to signalize 
themselves in Hungary against the Turkish emperor, 
Bajazet, were all cut off in the fatal battle lost by 
the Christians. But these misfortunes abroad were 
small in comparison with those which befell the 
state at home. 

Isabella of Bavaria, Charles's queen, had a party 
in Paris, the duke of Burgundy had his, and the 
children of the late duke of Orleans had another, 
which was very considerable. The poor king alone 
had no party. But what will serve to show us how 
important the city of Paris was at that time, and 
what influence it had on the other parts of the king- 
dom is, that the duke of Burgundy, who to the 
province of which he bore the title, added all Flan- 
ders and Artois, made it the principal object of his 
ambition to become master of Paris. His faction 
was called the Burgundians, and that of Orleans 
went by the name of the Armagnacs, from the count 
of Armagnac, father-in-law to the duke of Orleans, 
son to him who had been assassinated in Paris. 
Whichever of these two factions had the upper 
hand never let slip any opportunity of hanging, 
murdering, or burning all of the opposite party; 

24 Ancient and Modern History. 

so that no person was sure of his life for a day 
together. They fought in the streets, in the houses, 
in the fields, and even in the churches. 

1415 Here was a very favorable opportunity 
for England to recover her ancient patrimony in 
France, as well as those ceded to her by treaties; 
and Henry V., who was a prince of equal courage 
and prudence, did not suffer it to pass unnoticed, 
but negotiated and made preparations for war at 
the same time. He made a descent into Normandy 
with an army of nearly fifty thousand men, took 
Harfleur, and advanced into the midst of a country 
torn in pieces by factions, and unable to resist him ; 
but three-fourths of his army were carried off by 
contagious dysentery. Nevertheless, this great 
invasion served to unite all parties against the Eng- 
lish ; even Burgundy himself, though he had already 
been treating privately with the king of England, 
sent five hundred men in arms, with some cross- 
bow men, to the assistance of his country. All the 
nobility mounted on horseback, and the commoners 
marched under their banners: so that Constable 
d'Albret soon saw himself at the head of sixty thou- 
sand fighting men. 

The success that formerly waited on Edward III. 
now followed Henry V., but the principal resem- 
blance was in the battle of Agincourt, which was 
in every respect like that of Crecy. The English 
won it almost as soon as it began. Their tall bows, 
which were almost the height of a man, and which 

Charles VI. 25 

they made use of with surprising strength and skill, 
soon determined the victory in their favor ; but they 
had neither cannons nor fusils, which is another 
corroborating proof that there were none used at 
the battle of Crecy. Perhaps these bows are much 
more formidable weapons. I have seen some of 
them that would carry farther than a fusil ; and they 
may be used with much more despatch, and last 
longer. However, they are now entirely out of 
use. It may be further observed that the gendarm- 
erie of France fought on foot at the battles of Agin- 
court, Crecy, and Poitiers ; Whereas, had they been 
mounted, they would in all probability have formed 
an invincible corps. There happened on this mem- 
orable day a thing most horrible even in war. While 
the armies were still engaged, some militia of 
Picardy came behind the English to plunder their 
camp; upon which Henry ordered his men to kill 
all the prisoners they had taken. They were 
accordingly put to the sword; and after this the 
English took fourteen thousand men, whose lives 
they spared. Seven princes of France were slain 
this day, together with the constable. Five princes 
were taken prisoners, and above ten thousand 
Frenchmen were left on the field of battle. 

It would seem that after so decisive a victory, 
Henry had nothing to do but to march to Paris, and 
complete the conquest of a divided, exhausted, and 
ruined kingdom. But these very ruins were some- 
what fortified; for it is a certain fact that from 

26 Ancient and Modern History. 

this battle of Agincourt, which threw all France 
into mourning, and which cost the English only 
three persons of any note, the victors reaped no other 
fruit than glory. Henry was obliged to return to 
England, in order to raise money and fresh troops. 
The spirit of giddiness and inconstancy, which 
had seized the French nation as well as their king, 
did what the defeat of Agincourt had not been able 
to do. Two dauphins were already dead, and the 
third, who was afterward Charles VII., and at that 
time was only sixteen years of age, endeavored to 
save the remains of this great wreck. The queen, 
his mother, had extorted letters patent from her 
husband, by which she was intrusted with the reins 
of government. She was a covetous and ambitious 
woman, and greatly addicted to gallantry. The 
treasure of which she had plundered the kingdom 
and her husband, she had carefully deposited in 
several places, particularly in the churches. The 
dauphin and the Armagnac faction, who had dis- 
covered this money, made use of it for the pressing 
wants of the public. To this affront which she 
received from her son, the king added another of 
a more sensible nature. One evening as he was 
going to pay a visit to the queen in her own apart- 
ment, he met the lord of Boisbourdon coming out; 
he instantly ordered him to be apprehended, put to 
the torture, and afterward sewn up in a sack and 
thrown into the Seine. The queen was sent 
prisoner to Blois, and thence to Tours, without 

Charles VI. 27 

being suffered to speak with her husband. It was 
this accident, and not the battle of Agincourt which 
placed the crown of France on the king of Eng- 
land's head. The queen implored the assistance 
of the duke of Burgundy, who embraced this oppor- 
tunity of establishing his own authority on these 
new disasters of his country. 

The duke released the queen from her confine- 
ment at Tours, ravaged the country all the way he 
marched, and at length concluded a league with the 
king of England. Without this alliance there would 
have been no revolution. Henry V. at length assem- 
bled an army of twenty-five thousand men, and 
landed a second time in Normandy. He advanced 
toward Paris, while John, duke of Burgundy, pre- 
sented himself before the gates of this city, where a 
poor senseless king remained shut up, a prey to every 
kind of sedition. The duke of Burgundy's faction in 
one day massacred Constable d'Armagnac, the arch- 
bishops of Rheims and Tours, five prelates, the abbot 
of St. Denis, and forty magistrates. The queen and 
the duke of Burgundy made their triumphal entry 
into Paris in the midst of all this blood and 
slaughter. The dauphin was obliged to fly beyond 
the Loire, and Henry V. was already master of all 
Normandy. In 1418 the king's party, as well as 
those of the queen, the duke of Burgundy, and 
the dauphin, were all in treaty at the same time 
with the king of England ; treachery and dissimu- 
lation were equal on all sides. The young dauphin, 

28 Ancient and Modern History. 

who was at that time governed by Tanguy du Cha- 
tel, at length, in 1419, contrived that unhappy inter- 
view with the duke of Burgundy on the bridge of 
Montereau. Each of them came attended by ten 
knights; and Tanguy du Chatel slew the duke of 
Burgundy in the presence of the dauphin : thus was 
the murder of the duke of Orleans avenged by 
another murder, which was the more detestable 
because accompanied by violation of public faith. 

One would be almost tempted to believe that this 
murder was not premeditated, so very badly had they 
taken their measures for supporting the conse- 
quences. Philip the Good, the new duke of Bur- 
gundy, who succeeded his father, became of course 
an enemy to the dauphin, through duty as well as 
politics. The queen, his mother, whom he had 
incensed, became as implacable as a step-mother; 
while the king of England, taking advantage of these 
horrid circumstances, proclaimed that God led him 
by the hand to punish the iniquitous French. In 
1420 Queen Isabella and the new duke of Bur- 
gundy, Philip, concluded a peace with Henry at 
Troyes, which proved more fatal to France than 
all the preceding wars had done ; and by which they 
gave Catherine, daughter of Charles VI., in mar- 
riage to the king of England, together with France 
for her dowry. 

It was at the same time agreed that Henry should 
be acknowledged king, but that he should bear only 
the title of regent during the remainder of the 

Charles VI. 29 

unhappy life of the king of France, who was now 
altogether childish. In fine, it was determined 
by the contract, that the person styling him- 
self dauphin, should be pursued with the utmost 
vigor. Queen Isabella conducted her wretched 
husband and her daughter to Troyes, where the 
marriage was consummated. Henry, now king of 
France, made his entry peaceably into Paris, and 
governed without opposition ; while Charles VI. 
continued shut up with a few domestics in the Hotel 
de St. Paul, and Queen Isabella began already to 
drink deep of the cup of repentance. 

Philip, duke of Burgundy, appeared before the 
two kings at the Hotel de St. Paul, when the few 
remaining grandees of the kingdom were assembled, 
and solemnly demanded justice for the murder of his 
father. The procurator-general of Burgundy, Nich- 
olas Raulin, and a doctor of the university of Paris, 
named John Larcher, preferred articles of accusa- 
tion against the dauphin. The first president of 
Paris, with some few deputies of his body, assisted 
at this assembly. 

The advocate-general, Marigni, made a speech 
against the dauphin, not as a presumptive heir and 
defender of the crown, but as against a common 
assassin. Upon this the parliament summoned the 
dauphin to appear at the marble table, as it is called. 
This is a large table, which was used in the time 
of St. Louis, for receiving the fines paid for vas- 
salage, at the tower of the Louvre, and which ever 

30 Ancient and Modern History. 

after remained as a kind of mark of jurisdiction. 
But the dauphin not appearing, he was condemned 
for contumacy. 

It was a very nice and difficult question to decide 
whether this court had the power of judging the 
dauphin, whether the Salic law could be subverted 
on this occasion, and whether, as no vengeance had 
been taken for the murder of the duke of Orleans, 
the death of his murderer could claim revenge. We 
know that long after this, Philip II. of Spain caused 
his own son to be murdered, and that Cosmo I., 
duke of Florence, put to death one of his sons who 
had murdered the other. This fact is undoubtedly 
true, and Varillas has been wrongfully accused of 
falsity in this relation. President de Thou plainly 
proves that he was informed of all the circumstances 
upon the spot; and in our time Czar Peter the 
Great condemned one of his sons to death. Dreadful 
examples ! but in which the son's inheritance was 
not given away to a foreigner. 

The dauphin retired into Anjou, where he led the 
life of an exile. Henry V., king of France and 
England, returned to London in order to raise fresh 
supplies and new troops. It was not to the interest 
of the people of England, who have a strong passion 
for liberty, that their king should be master of 
France, as in this case their country would be in 
danger of becoming a province to a foreign king- 
dom; and, after draining itself to establish its 
prince in Paris, would have seen itself reduced to 

Charles VI. 31 

slavery by the forces of that very country which it 
had conquered, and which its king had in his hands. 

However, Henry V. soon returned to Paris with 
more authority than ever: he had treasures and 
armies at his command, and was moreover in the 
prime of his life ; from all of which it was probable 
that the crown of France was likely to be trans- 
ferred forever to the house of Lancaster. But death 
cut short these mighty hopes and successes. Henry 
was seized with a fistula. In these days of greater 
knowledge he might possibly have been cured, but 
the ignorance of the times was the cause of his 
death; and he expired, in 1422, at the castle of 
Vincennes, in the thirty-fourth year of his age. His 
body lay in state at St. Denis, after which it was 
carried to England and deposited at Westminster 
among the kings of England. 

Soon after Charles VI., who had been suffered, 
out of compassion, to enjoy the empty title of king, 
ended his wretched days, after having passed nearly 
thirty years in almost continual fits of madness, the 
unhappiest of kings, and king of the unhappiest 
people of Europe. 

The duke of Bedford, brother of Henry V., was 
the only person who attended his funeral. There 
was not one of the great lords present at the cere- 
mony : some of them had been slain at the battle of 
Agincourt, the remainder were prisoners in Eng- 
land ; and the duke of Burgundy would not yield 
precedency to the duke of Bedford : but he was soon 

32 Ancient and Modern History. 

after obliged to give way in everything, for Bed- 
ford was declared regent of France : and Henry VI., 
son of Henry V., a minor only nine months old, 
was proclaimed king at Paris, and at London. The 
city of Paris even sent deputies to London to take 
the oath of allegiance to this infant. 



THIS inundation which overspread France from 
England was much the same as that which hap- 
pened to England from the French, in the time of 
Louis VIII., but it was of longer duration, and more 
violent. Charles VII. had his kingdom to recover, 
inch by inch. He had to fight against the duke of 
Bedford, who was as absolute as Henry V., and 
against the duke of Burgundy, now one of the most 
powerful princes in Europe, by having annexed 
Hainault, Brabant, and Holland to his former 
domains. Besides, Charles had as much to fear from 
his friends as his foes; most of them insulting his 
misfortunes to such a degree that the count de Riche- 
mont, his constable, and brother of the duke of Brit- 
tany, caused two of his favorites to be strangled. 

We may judge of the deplorable situation to which 
Charles was reduced, from the necessity he was 
under of making the silver mark pass for ninety 
livres in the places subject to his obedience, instead 
of a half livre, as in the time of Charlemagne. 

He was likewise soon obliged to have recourse to 

Charles VII. 33 

another much stranger expedient, namely, to a 
miracle. A gentleman upon the frontiers of Lor- 
raine, whose name was Baudricourt, happened to 
' meet with a young servant wench at an inn in the 
town of Vaucouleurs, whom he thought a fit person 
to act the character of a female warrior and a proph- 
etess. Joan of Arc which was the name of this 
heroine whom the vulgar look upon as a shep- 
herdess, was in fact only a tavern girl ; "of a robust 
make," as Monstrelet says, " and who could ride 
without a saddle, and perform other manly exer- 
cises which young maidens are unaccustomed to." 
She was made to pass for a young shepherdess 
of eighteen ; and yet it is evident from her confes- 
sion that she was at that time twenty-seven. She had 
courage and wit sufficient to engage in this delicate 
enterprise, which afterward became a heroic one, and 
suffered herself to be carried before the king at 
Bourges, where she was examined by matrons, who 
took care to find her a virgin, and by certain doctors 
of the university, and some members of the parlia- 
ment, who all without hesitation declared her 
inspired. Whether they were really imposed upon, 
or were crafty enough to adopt the project, the vul- 
gar swallowed the bait, and that was sufficient. 

The English were at that time, in 1428, besieging 
Orleans, Charles's last resource, and were upon the 
point of making themselves masters of the town, 
when this amazon in man's dress, directed by able 

officers, undertook to throw reinforcements into the 
Vol. 263 

34 Ancient and Modern History. 

town. Previous to her attempt she harangued the 
soldiers, as one sent from God, and inspired them 
with that enthusiastic courage peculiar to all who 
imagine they behold the Deity Himself fighting their 
cause. After this she put herself at their head, deliv- 
ered Orleans, beat the English, foretold to Charles 
that she would see him consecrated at Rheims, ful- 
filled her promise, sword in hand, and assisted at 
the coronation, holding the standard with which she 
had so bravely fought. 

These rapid victories obtained by a girl, with all 
the appearances of a miracle, and the king's corona- 
tion, which conciliated the public respect to his per- 
son, had almost restored the lawful prince, and 
expelled the foreign pretender, when the instrument 
of all these wonders, Joan of Arc, was wounded and 
taken prisoner in 1430, while defending Compiegne. 
Such a person as the Black Prince would have hon- 
ored and respected her courage ; but the regent, Bed- 
ford, thought it necesary to detract from it, in order 
to revive the drooping spirits of the English. She 
had pretended to perform a miracle, and Bedford 
pretended to believe her a witch. 

My principal end is always to observe the spirit 
of the times, since it is that which directs the great 
events of the world. 

The university of Paris presented a complaint 
against Joan, accusing her of heresy and witchcraft. 
Therefore this university either believed what the 
regent would have it believe ; or if it did not believe 

Charles VII. 35 

it, it was guilty of most infamous baseness. This 
heroine, who was worthy of that miracle which she 
had feigned, was tried at Rouen by Cauchon, bishop 
of Beauvais, by five other French bishops, and one 
English bishop, assisted by a Dominican monk, vicar 
to the Inquisition, and by the doctors to the uni- 
versity ; who declared her " a superstitious prophet- 
ess of the devil, a blasphemer against God and His 
saints, and one who had been guilty of numberless 
errors against the faith of Christ." As such she was 
condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and to fast 
on bread and water. She made a reply to her judges, 
which, in my opinion, is worthy of eternal memory. 
She was asked why she dared to assist at the conse- 
cration of Charles, as his standard-bearer. " Be- 
cause," answered she, " it is but just that the person 
who shared in the toil should partake likewise of the 

Some time after this, being accused of having 
again put on men's clothes, which had been left in 
her way purposely to tempt her, her judges, who cer- 
tainly had no right to try her, as she was a prisoner 
of war, declared her a relapsed heretic, in 1431 ; and 
without further ceremony condemned to the flames 
a person who, for the services she had rendered her 
king, would have had altars erected to her in those 
heroic times when mankind were wont to decree such 
honors to their deliverers. Charles VII. afterward 
restored her memory with honor, which indeed had 
been sufficiently honored by her punishment. 

36 Ancient and Modern History. 

Cruelty alone is not sufficient to carry men to such 
executions ; there must likewise be a certain fanati- 
cism, composed of superstition and ignorance, which 
has been the common malady of almost all ages. 
Some time before this the English had condemned 
a princess of Gloucester to do penance in St. Paul's 
church, and a female friend of hers was burned 
alive, upon pretence of certain magic practices 
against the king's life. They had also burned Lord 
Cobham for a heretic : and in Brittany had inflicted 
the same punishment on Marshal de Retz, who was 
accused of sorcery, and with having butchered young 
children for the sake of making use of their blood 
in his pretended incantations. 

In these unhappy times, the communication be- 
tween the provinces was so interrupted, and the 
people bordering upon each other were so much 
strangers, that an enterprising woman, a few years 
after the death of the Maid of Orleans had the bold- 
ness to assume her name in Lorraine, resolutely 
averring that she had escaped the punishment in- 
tended her, and that a substitute had been burned in 
her stead. But what is more strange than all the 
rest is that the people believed this idle story. The 
impostor was loaded with honors and wealth ; and 
a person of the family of Armoises publicly espoused 
her, in 1436, thinking to marry a real heroine, who, 
though meanly born, was at least upon an equality 
with him by the grandeur of her actions. 

During the war, which was rather tedious than 

Charles VII. 37 

decisive, and the source of many miseries, there 
happened another event which saved the kingdom of 
France. The duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, 
merited this name by at length forgiving the death 
of his father, and joining with the head of his family 
against a foreign invader. He even carried this 
generosity so far as to deliver the duke of Orleans, 
the son of him who had been assassinated at Paris, 
from his long confinement in London, by paying his 
ransom, which is said to have amounted to three 
hundred thousand gold crowns, an exaggeration 
common with the writers of those times. But still 
this behavior was a proof of great virtue. There 
have always been some great souls in the most cor- 
rupted times. This prince's virtue, however, did not 
prevent him from giving a free hand to pleasure, and 
the love of women, which can never be a vice but 
when it prompts to bad actions. It is this same 
Philip who, in 1430, instituted the order of the 
Golden Fleece, in honor of one of his mistresses. He 
had fifteen bastards, who were all persons of merit. 
His court was the most brilliant in Europe, and the 
cities of Antwerp and Bruges, by their extensive 
commerce, spread plenty over the land. In fine, 
France was indebted to him for her peace and gran- 
deur, which ever afterward continued to increase, 
notwithstanding her many adversities, and her wars, 
domestic and foreign. 

Charles VII. recovered his kingdom in much the 
same manner as Henry IV. conquered it one hundred 

38 Ancient and Modern History. 

and fifty years afterward. Charles indeed had not 
that noble courage, that quick and active mind, nor 
that heroic character which distinguished Henry IV., 
but, like him, he was frequently obliged to keep fair 
with his foes as well as with his friends, to fight 
skirmishes, to take towns, some by surprise and 
some by money, till at length he entered Paris in the 
same manner as Henry IV. afterward made his 
entrance, partly by intrigue and partly by force. 
They were both declared incapable of wearing the 
crown, and they both forgave the injuries they had 
received. They had one common weakness : that of 
neglecting their affairs sometimes to follow the pur- 
suit of their pleasures. 

Charles did not make his entry into Paris till the 
year 1437, and it was not till 1450 that the English 
were totally driven out of France. They then 
retained only Calais and Guines: and forever lost 
those vast demesnes which their kings had been 
possessed of by right of blood, and which they could 
not secure to their posterity by the three great vic- 
tories of Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt. The divi- 
sions in England contributed as much as Charles 
VII. to the re-union of France ; and Henry VI., who 
had worn the crowns of both kingdoms, and had 
come to Paris to receive that of France, was 
dethroned in England by his own relatives, restored 
again, and again dethroned. 

Charles, being now in the peaceable possession of 
France, established such orders and regularities in 

Charles VII. 39 

that country as had never been seen there since the 
decline of the family of Charlemagne. He kept reg- 
ular companies of fifteen hundred gendarmes. Each 
of these gendarmes was to serve with six horses, so 
that every troop was composed of nine thousand 
horsemen. Every captain of a hundred had seven- 
teen hundred livres a year, which comes to about 
ten thousand livres of our present currency. Each 
gendarme had three hundred and sixty livres' yearly 
pay, and each of the five men who accompanied him 
had four livres of the currency of those times a 
month. He also established a body of forty-five 
thousand archers, who had each the same allowance 
of four livres a month, or about twenty-four of the 
present currency. Thus, in time of peace, these 
troops cost him five million six hundred thousand 
livres of our money. Things have changed greatly 
since that time in Europe. This establishment of 
archers shows that the use of firearms was not then 
much known. This instrument of destruction did 
not come to be commonly used till the time of 
Louis XI. 

Besides these troops, who were in constant service, 
each village maintained a free archer, who was 
exempted from the king's tax; and it was by this 
exemption, which otherwise was peculiar to the 
nobility, that such a number of persons soon claimed 
the title of gentlemen, both by name and arms. The 
possessors of fiefs were exempt from the ban, which 
was now no longer called; there being only an 

40 Ancient and Modern History. 

arriere-ban, composed of the lesser vassals, who still 
remained subject to be called upon on these 

It has been a matter of surprise that, after so many 
disasters, France should still have continued pos- 
sessed of such a number of resources, and so much 
money. But a country which is rich in natural pro- 
ductions will be ever so, while the cultivation of it 
is properly attended to. Civil wars, though they 
shake the body of the state, do not destroy it ; for the 
murders and ravages which ruin some families, 
enrich others: and the merchants become better 
versed in the arts of commerce from the necessity 
there is of making use of art to protect themselves 
from the general storm. Jacques Cceur is a strong 
example of this. This man had established the 
greatest trade that any one private person in Europe 
had yet embarked in. Cosmo Medici is the only 
one who, since his time, ever equalled him in this 
respect. Jacques Cceur employed three hundred fac- 
tors in Italy and the Levant. He lent two hundred 
thousand gold crowns to the king, without which he 
would never have been able to retake Normandy. His 
industry was more useful during the peace, than 
either the valor of Dunois, or of the Maid of Orleans, 
in time of war. It is perhaps one of the greatest 
blots on the memory of Charles VII. that he suf- 
fered so useful a member of the community to be 
persecuted. We know not the reason of this; for, 

Charles VII. 41 

indeed, who can find out the secret springs of the 
faults and unjust dealings of men? 

The king caused him to be thrown into prison, 
and he was tried by the parliament. Nothing, how- 
ever, could be proved against him, only that he had 
caused a Christian slave, who had betrayed and 
deserted his Turkish master, to be returned to him 
again, and had sold arms to the sultan of Egypt. 
For these two actions, one of which was allowable, 
and the other strictly virtuous, he was condemned 
to forfeit all his possessions. On this occasion his 
clerks gave a proof of greater integrity than the 
courtiers who caused his ruin: almost all of them 
joined in assisting him in his disgrace. Jacques 
Cceur afterward retired to Cyprus, where he con- 
tinued to carry on business ; and, though recalled, 
never again ventured to revisit his ungrateful coun- 

The close of the reign of Charles VII. proved 
happy enough for France, though very unhappy to 
this prince himself, whose latter days were embit- 
tered by the rebellion of his unnatural son, after- 
ward Louis XL 

42 Ancient and Modern History. 



WILLING to turn from the repetition of so many 
miseries and mutual quarrels, the dismal objects of 
history and the commonplaces of human wicked- 
ness; I shall now examine mankind as members of 
society, inquire into their private lives, and in what 
manner the arts were cultivated among them. 

Toward the close of the thirteenth century, and 
in the beginning of the fourteenth, it appears to me, 
that they began in Italy, notwithstanding the dissen- 
sions which prevailed everywhere, to emerge from 
that brutality which had in a manner overwhelmed 
Europe, after the decline of the Roman Empire. 
The necessary arts had never been entirely lost. The 
artificers and merchants, whose humble station had 
protected them from the ambitious fury of the great, 
were like ants, who dug themselves peaceable, and 
secure habitation, while the eagles and vultures of 
the world were tearing one another to pieces. 

Even in these ages of ignorance, we meet with 
many useful inventions, which were the fruits of 
that mechanical genius wherewith nature endows 
certain men, independent of the helps of philosophy. 
Thus, for example, the secret of assisting the im- 
paired sight of old people, by those glasses called 
"besides" was the production of the latter part of 

Manners, Customs, Etc. 43 

the thirteenth century. This noble secret was dis- 
covered by Alexander Spina. Windmills are also of 
the same date. La Flamma, who lived in the four- 
teenth century, is the first writer in whom we find 
any mention of them. But this was an art known 
long before, both to the Greeks and Arabians, and we 
find it spoken of by the Arabian poets of the seventh 
century. Earthenware, which then supplied the 
place of porcelain or china, was invented at Faenza. 
The use of glass had been known long before ; but 
that article was scarce, and it was esteemed a kind 
of luxury to use it. This art was afterward carried 
into England by the French in 1180, and was then 
looked upon as an article of great magnificence. 

The Venetians were the only people in the thir- 
teenth century who had the secret of making crystal 
glass for mirrors. In Italy there were some few 
clocks which went by wheels ; that at Bologna was 
reckoned the most famous. That miraculous and 
useful instrument, the compass, owed its invention 
entirely to chance, and mankind had not their views 
sufficiently advanced at that time to make a proper 
use of this discovery. The invention of paper, made 
of linen rags beaten and boiled together, is of the 
fourteenth century. The historian, Cortusius of 
Padua, speaks of one Pax, who established the first 
paper manufactory in that city, above a century 
before the invention of printing. In this manner 
were the useful arts established by degrees, and 
chiefly by ignorant and illiterate men. 

44 Ancient and Modern History. 

There were few such cities in all Europe as Ven- 
ice, Genoa, Bologna, Sienna, Pisa, and Florence. 
Almost all the houses in France, Germany, "and 
England were covered with straw. They were the 
same in the cities of lesser note in Italy, such as 
Alexandria de la Paglia, Nicaea de la Paglia, etc. 

Notwithstanding the vast tracts of uncultivated 
lands which were wholly covered with wood, they 
had not yet learned to secure themselves from the 
cold by the help of chimneys or stoves, which are in 
use now-a-days in all our apartments, and which 
serve at once for ornament and convenience. A 
whole family then were wont to seat themselves 
around a hearth placed in the middle of the room, 
from whence a long tunnel ran up through the top 
of the roof. La Flamma, a writer of the fourteenth 
century, complains, like most injudicious authors, 
that, in his time, frugality and simplicity had given 
way to luxury and extravagance. He regrets the 
times of Frederick Barbarossa and Frederick II., 
when in Milan, the capital of Lombardy, they ate 
meat only thrice a week. Wine was then a rarity. 
Tapers were not known, and candles were luxurious 
ornaments. The better sort of inhabitants, accord- 
ing to him, made use of pieces of dried wood, lighted 
at the fire. They ate hot meat only three times a 
week; their shirts were of serge, no linen being 
then worn but by people of great distinction : and 
the dowry of a daughter of the most considerable 
citizen did not exceed at most a hundred livres. 

Manners, Customs, Etc. 45 

" Things," adds he, " are greately changed at pres- 
ent. They now wear linen in common ; the women 
dress themselves in silken stuffs, and some of them 
are even mixed with gold and silver : they have now 
two thousand livres to their portion, and even adorn 
their ears with gold pendants." And yet this luxury, 
of which La Flamma complains so grievously, was 
far inferior in some respects to what we now look 
upon as common necessaries for a rich and indus- 
trious tradesman. 

Table linen was very scarce in England, and wine 
was sold only by the apothecaries as a cordial. The 
houses of private persons, both at Paris and London, 
were all built of wood ; for women to ride in a cart 
in the streets of Paris, which were then scarcely 
paved and all covered with mud, was looked upon as 
an article of luxury, and, as such, forbidden by 
Philip the Fair. Everyone knows the regulation 
made under the reign of Charles VI., "Nemo aud- 
eat dare prater duo fercula cum potagio." Never- 
theless, in the houses of the lords of fiefs, and the 
principal prelates, there was always as great mag- 
nificence as the times could afford. This necessarily 
spread itself among the possessors of large lands: 
but the use of silver or gold plate was in a manner 
wholly unknown in most of the cities. Mussus, who 
was a native of Lombardy, and wrote in the four- 
teenth century, mentions silrer forks, spoons, and 
cups, as very extravagant articles. 

" The master of a family," says he, " who has nine 

46 Ancient and Modern History. 

or ten people to maintain, with two horses, is obliged 
to expend nearly three hundred gold florins a year," 
which was about three thousand livres of our present 

Money therefore was extremely scarce in most 
parts of Italy, and still more so in France, in the 
twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries. The 
people of Florence and Lombardy, who alone carried 
on the trade with France and England, and the Jews, 
who were their brokers, had twenty per cent, per 
annum for the common interest on their money. 
Excessive usury is an infallible sign of public pov- 

King Charles V. amassed considerable riches by 
his good economy, and the prudent management of 
his demesnes which were then the only revenues 
of our kings and by the imposts which had been 
devised under Philip of Valois ; which, though trivial 
in themselves, caused great murmurings among an 
indigent people. His minister, Cardinal de Grange, 
had grown too rich. But all these treasures were 
dispersed in other countries. The cardinal carried 
his to Avignon, and the duke of Anjou, brother of 
Charles V., dissipated that prince's money in his 
unfortunate expedition into Italy, and France re- 
mained miserably poor till the latter end of the reign 
of Charles VII. 

But it was not thus in the beautiful and trading 
cities of Italy. There the people lived in affluence 
and ease. With them alone the sweets of life seemed 

Manners, Customs, Etc. 47 

to have taken up their residence, and riches and lib- 
erty inspired their genius, and elevated their courage. 
The Italian tongue was not yet formed in the 
reign of Frederick II., as we may perceive by some 
verses of that emperor, which are the last remains 
we have of the Roman tongue freed from the harsh- 
ness of the German : 

"Plas me el cavalier Frances 
E la donna Catalana 
E L'ovrar Genoes 
E la danza Trevisana 
E lou cantor Provensales 
Las man e car a a" Angles 
E lou donzel de Toscana." 

" I am pleased with the French cavalier, 
And the Catalonian dame, 
And the workmanship of Genoa; 
And the dancing of Trevisa, 
And the poetry of Provence, 
The hands and face of an Englishman, 
And the damsels of Tuscany." 

These remains are more precious than may per- 
haps be imagined; and infinitely surpass all the 
rubbish of the middle age, which is so greedily 
sought after by those of an ignorant and tasteless 
curiosity, as they prove beyond contradiction that 
nature has ever been the same in all the nations of 
which Frederick speaks. The women of Catalonia 
are now, as in his time, the handsomest in Spain. 
The French gentry still have the martial air for 
which they were then famous. The English are still 

48 Ancient and Modern History. 

commonly known for the nobleness and regularity 
of their features, and the whiteness of their hands. 
The young women of Tuscany are still more agree- 
able than those of any other country. The Genoese 
have preserved their industry : and the inhabitants of 
Provence, their taste for poetry and music. It was in 
Provence and Languedoc that the Roman language 
first received its polish. The Provensals were mas- 
ters to the Italians; and nothing is better known 
to the virtuosi in these researches than the follow- 
ing verses, made on the people called Vaudois, in 
the year noo: 

When a man will neither curse, nor swear, nor lie, 
Nor slay, nor rob, nor mount his neighbor's bed, 
Nor take fell vengeance of his enemy, 
They hold him a Vaudois, and take his life. 

This quotation has likewise its use, inasmuch as it 
is a proof that the reformers of all times have 
effected a severity of manners. 

This jargon unhappily continued to be used, as it 
was spoken in Provence and Languedoc, till the 
Italian language, under the pen of Petrarch, received 
that force and elegance, which, far from degenerat- 
ing, still acquired greater perfection. The Italian 
took its first form toward the end of the thirteenth 
century, in the reign of King Roger, father of the 
unfortunate Joan of Naples. Dante, the Florentine 
poet, had already adorned the Tuscan tongue by his 
poem called " Comedy ; " which, though a whimsical 
performance, is full of many striking and natural 

Manners, Customs, Etc. 49 

beauties. In this work the author raised himself 
above the bad taste of his times and his subject; 
and we may everywhere find in it, passages written 
in all the purity and elegance of the later times of 
Ariosto and Tasso. We cannot wonder that the 
author, who was one of the chiefs of the Ghibelline 
faction, and was severely persecuted by Pope Boni- 
face VIII. and Charles of Valois, has in several parts 
of his poem given vent to the concern he felt for the 
quarrels between the empire and the pontificate. 
Permit me in this place to insert a weak translation 
of one of the passages in Dante, relating to these 
dissensions. These monuments of the human mind 
serve to amuse us after a long and painful attention 
to the miseries which have distracted the earth. 

Of old, two suns were seen to blaze 
In peace profound with genial rays ; 
On man's bewildered race to shine, 
And point the paths to truth divine; 
The imperial eagle's rights to show, 
And brings the lamb's just claims to view. 
Those skies serene are now no more : 
One sun surcharged with vapors hoar, 
Launched from his sphere eccentric gleams, 
And strives to drink the other's beams. 
Wild anarchy her empire rears ; 
A lion fierce the lamb appears, 
In robes usurped a tyrant lord 
To wield the crosier and the sword. 

To Dante succeeded Petrarch, born in the year 
1304, in Arezzo, the country of the famous Guido 
Aretin ; this poet rendered the Italian tongue more 
Vol. 264 

50 Ancient and Modern History. 

pure, and gave it all the sweetness of which it was 
susceptible. In these two poets, and especially in 
the latter, we meet with a great number of strokes 
which resemble the beautiful works of the ancients, 
and have at once all the vigor of antiquity and the 
freshness of novelty. It may appear rash in me to 
pretend to imitate this excellent poet, but you will 
forgive my presumption for the desire I have to 
make you acquainted as much as possible with the 
nature of his style. Here follows nearly the begin- 
ning of his beautiful " Ode to the Fountain of Vau- 
cluse," which is indeed irregular, and composed by 
him in blank verse to avoid the constraint of rhyme, 
but which nevertheless is more esteemed than those 
of his pieces which are in rhyme : 

" Pure fountain, by whose purling stream, 

That beauty, mistress of my heart, 
Whom nature formed above the reach of art, 

Avoids at noon the sultry beam ; 

O happy tree, whose foliage made, 
When fanned by Zephyr's wing, 

For her a cool, refreshing shade, 
Ye scenes that her adored idea bring, 
And wake the sigh that struggles while I sing ; 
Ye gorgeous daughters of the dewy morn, 
Who, though less fair than she, these meads adorn, 
Sweet flowrets, oft beheld with jealous eye, 
While borrowing fragrance on her breast you lie ; 

Ye nightingales whose warbled strain 

Would emulate her song in vain; 
Ye breezes that more salutary play, 
As o'er her charms with feathered foot you stray ; 

O blest retreat, that ages shall revere! 

O plain so dreaded, yet so dear ! 

Manners, Customs, Etc. 51 

Where love, with his all-piercing dart, 
First triumphed o'er my captive heart ; 
Receive these tears, these notes by sorrow sung, 
While death's cold accents tremble on my tongue." 

These little poems, which are styled Canzoni, are 
esteemed his masterpieces, his other works having 
procured him much less honor : here he has immor- 
talized the " Fountain of Vaucluse," his mistress, 
Laura, and himself. Had he never loved, he would 
never have been so well known. However imperfect 
the above imitation may be, it serves to show the 
immense superiority the Italians had over other 
nations, and I thought it much better to give you this 
slight idea of Petrarch's genius, and of that sweet- 
ness and melting elegance which so much distinguish 
his writings, than to trouble you with a repetition of 
what so many writers have already related of the 
honors offered him at Paris, of those conferred on 
him at Rome, and of his triumph in the Capitol, in 
1341, where he received that famous homage which 
the admiration of his contemporaries paid to a 
genius then unparalleled, but which was afterward 
surpassed by that of Ariosto and Tasso. I shall not, 
however, omit to mention that his family were ban- 
ished from Tuscany, and their estates confiscated, 
during the dissensions between the Guelphs and 
Ghibellines ; and that the people of Florence deputed 
Boccaccio to request him in their name to come and 
honor his native country with his presence, and enjoy 
the restitution of his patrimony. Greece, in her 

52 Ancient and Modern History. 

brightest ages, never gave nobler proofs of a taste 
and esteem for great talents. 

This Boccaccio fixed the Tuscan language, and is 
still the best model for exactness and purity of 
style, in prose, as well as for the natural and the 
narrative. The Italian tongue, thus rendered perfect 
by these two writers, underwent no further altera- 
tion, while all the other people of Europe, even the 
Greeks themselves, have changed their idiom. 

After this there followed an uninterrupted suc- 
cession of Italian poets, whose works have all been 
transmitted to posterity. Pulci wrote after Petrarch ; 
Bayardo, count of Scandiano, succeeded Pulci ; and 
Ariosto surpassed them all by the fruitfulness of his 
imagination. Let us not forget that Petrarch and 
Boccaccio celebrated the unfortunate Joan of Naples, 
whose cultivated mind was sensible of their merit, 
and who was herself one of their scholars. She was 
at that time entirely devoted to the polite arts, and 
forgot in their bosom the crimes which had embit- 
tered the moments of her first marriage; and the 
change which was wrought in her manners by the 
cultivation of her mind, should have saved her from 
the tragical end which afterward befell her. 

The polite arts, which are, as it were, linked hand 
in hand, and generally sink and rise again together, 
first began in Italy to emerge from barbarism. Cim- 
abue, without any assistance, became anew the 
inventor of painting in the thirteenth century. Giotto 
drew pictures which are yet beheld with pleasure. 

Manners, Customs, Etc. $3 

There is one piece in particular remaining of this 
famous painter, which has since been copied in 
mosaic work, and represents the favorite apostle 
walking upon the waters ; it is to be seen over the 
great door in St. Peter's at Rome. Brunelleschi 
began to reform the Gothic architecture, and Guido 
of Arezzo had long before, namely, about the end 
of the eleventh century, invented notes for music, 
by which he rendered that art more easy and gen- 
erally known. 

We are indebted for all these beautiful and new 
inventions to the Italians alone. They called them 
all into life again by the sole strength of their genius, 
before the little science which was left in Constan- 
tinople had ebbed back into Italy with the Greek 
language, after the Ottoman conquests. Florence 
was at that time a new Athens, and, among the ora- 
tors who were sent from the Italian cities to compli- 
ment Pope Boniface VIII. on his exaltation to the 
papal chair, there were no less than eight natives of 
Florence. By this we may perceive that we do not 
owe the revival of the polite arts to those who fled 
into Italy from Constantinople, since these fugitives 
could at most but teach the Italians the Greek lan- 

It may appear astonishing that so many great gen- 
iuses should have arisen in Italy in the midst of dis- 
sensions and civil wars, and equally destitute of 
protection and of models. But let it be remembered 
that among the Romans Lucretius wrote his beauti- 

54 Ancient and Modern History. 

ful poem upon natural history, Virgil his " Bucol- 
ics," and Cicero his books of philosophy, in the 
midst of all the horrors of civil wars. When once 
a language begins to take a form, it becomes an 
instrument which great artists find ready prepared 
to their hands, and which they employ without con- 
cerning themselves about who governs or disturbs 
the world. 

But although this light seems to have shone only 
in Italy, yet there were not wanting some persons 
of talents in other countries. St. Bernard and Abe- 
lard, who lived in France in the twelfth century, 
may be considered as men of great genius, but their 
language was a barbarous jargon, and their Latin 
was a tribute which they paid to the bad taste of the 
times. The Latin hymns in rhyme, which were 
composed in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, 
are the very quintessence of barbarism. It was not 
thus that Horace sung the secular games. The 
scholastic divinity of those times, which was the 
bastard offspring of the Aristotelian philosophy, 
badly translated, and as ill understood, did more 
injury to understanding and the polite studies than 
ever the Huns and Vandals had done. 

The polite arts were kept alive in the East, and 
since the poems of the Persian writer Sadi are still 
in the mouths of Persians, Turks, and Arabians, they 
must certainly have had some merit. This writer 
was contemporary with Petrarch, and equal to him 
in reputation. It is certain that, in general, good 

Manners, Customs, Etc. 55 

taste was far from being prevalent among the Ori- 
entals. Their works resemble the titles of their 
monarchs, full of high-sounding epithets. The 
spirit of slavery and subjection appears to be nat- 
urally dastardly, as that of liberty is nervous, and 
true greatness simple. The Orientals have no deli- 
cacy, because their women are excluded from society. 
They have no order or method, because everyone 
gives freedom to his imagination in that solitude in 
which they pass the greater part of their lives, and 
the imagination of itself is always unruly. They 
have also been always strangers to true eloquence, 
such as that of Cicero and Demosthenes. For whom 
had an eastern orator to persuade? a set of slaves. 
And yet they have several bright gleams of scientific 
light: they paint in speech; and although their 
figures are frequently gigantic and incoherent, they 
still partake somewhat of the sublime. You may 
perhaps not be displeased to see again in this place 
a passage from Sadi, which I formerly translated 
into blank verse, and which bears a strong resem- 
blance to some passages in the Hebrew poets. It is 
a description of the power of God, a common-place 
subject without doubt, but which may serve to give 
you an idea of the Persian genius. 

He knows distinctly what is yet to come, 
His ear is filled with sounds as yet unformed. 
Sovereign of all, he asks no bended knee, 
Immortal judge, he needs no written law. 
By the eternal fulness of his foresight, 
As with a ready pencil, he has traced 

56 Ancient and Modern History. 

The infant features in the mother's womb. 
By him conducted through his bright career^ 
Safely the sun journeys from east to west. 
He sows the flinty bosoms of the hills 
With the rich ruby, and the sapphire blue. 
Two drops of water, in his plastic hand, 
Take different forms, as suit his high behest; 
This breathes a man ; that, sinking to the deep, 
Rounds in its oozy bed an orient pearl. 
Creation at his bidding rose to light, 
And shall, if he commands, again retire 
Back to the immense vacuity of space ; 
Or if he speaks, lo ! quicker than the word, 
The obedient universe once more starts forth 
From deepest chaos, to the realms of being. 

If the belles-lettres were thus cultivated on the 
banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, it is a certain 
proof that the other arts which minister to our 
pleasures were very well known. The superfluities 
of life follow only after the knowledge of the neces- 
saries : but this was still wanting almost throughout 
Europe. What did they know in Germany, France, 
England, Spain, and the northern parts of Lom- 
bardy ? Nothing but barbarous and feudal customs 
equally tumultuous and uncertain, duels, tourna- 
ments, scholastic divinity, and magic. 

They still celebrated in several churches the fes- 
tival of the ass, and that of the innocents and fools. 
An ass was brought before the altar, and the people 
sang the whole anthem to him: "Amen, Amen, 
Asine; eh, eh, eh, Mr. Ass! eh, eh, eh, Mr. Ass." 
A company of fools marched at the head of every 
procession in plaited gowns, hung round with bells 

Manners, Customs, Etc. 57 

and baubles, and this fashion is still kept up in some 
towns of the Low Countries, and in Germany. As 
to our northern nations, all their literature consisted 
in certain farces, written and exhibited in the vulgar 
tongue, with the titles of " The Foolish Mother," 
" The Prince of Fools," etc. 

Nothing was to be heard but stories of revelation, 
people possessed by evil spirits and fascinations : and 
to such lengths did the prejudices of those times 
carry men, that Philip III.'s queen being accused 
of adultery, the king sent to consult a Beguine, 
to know whether his wife was guilty or innocent. 
The children of Philip the Fair entered into an asso- 
ciation in writing by which they engaged mutually 
to defend one another against anyone who should 
attempt to destroy them by magic. There was a 
decree of parliament, condemning a woman to be 
burned for a witch who was accused of having 
entered into compact with the devil, in favor of Rob- 
ert of Artois. The disorder of Charles VI. was 
attributed to magic, and a supposed conjurer was 
sent for to cure him. The princess of Gloucester in 
England, was condemned to do penance in the 
porch of St. Paul's church ; and a baroness of the 
same kingdom, her supposed accomplice, was burned 
alive for a witch. 

If the most considerable personages of the king- 
doms of Europe fell victims to these cruelties, which 
were the offspring of credulity, we may easily sup- 

58 Ancient and Modern History. 

pose what private persons were subject to. But these 
were slight evils. 

In Germany, France, Spain, and even in Italy, 
except in the large trading cities, they were entirely 
destitute of any form of civil government: the 
walled towns in Germany and France were all sacked 
during the civil wars ; the Greek Empire was over- 
run by the Turks ; Spain was still divided between 
the Christians and the Mahometan Moors, and each 
side was frequently torn in pieces by its own intes- 
tine commotions. At length, in the reign of Philip 
of Valois, Edward III., Louis of Bavaria, and Pope 
Clement VI., a general plague swept away those who 
had escaped the sword and the miseries of their 

Immediately preceding these times of the four- 
teenth century, our Europe was, as we have already 
seen, depopulated and impoverished by the Cru- 
sades. If we go back from these Crusades to the 
times which followed after the death of Charlemagne 
we shall find them not less unhappy, and still more 
ignorant. The comparison of those ages with our 
own should fill us with a due sense of the happiness 
we now enjoy, notwithstanding the almost invincible 
propensity we have to admire and praise the past at 
the expense of the present. 

But we must not believe that all was alike savage. 
There were several great examples of virtue in all 
stations, on the throne and in the cloister, among 
the swordsmen and the priests. But neither a St. 

Manners, Customs, Etc. 59 

Louis nor a St. Ferdinand could heal the wounds 
of humankind. The long dispute between the 
emperors and the popes, the obstinate stand made 
by the Roman liberty against the power of the Ger- 
man Caesars, and that of the Roman pontiffs, the 
frequent schisms, and at length the great schism of 
the West, would not permit those popes, elected 
in the midst of tumults, to exercise those virtues 
with which more happy and peaceable times might 
have probably inspired them; and, indeed, might 
it not be possible for the general depravity of man- 
ners to extend its influence even to them? Every 
man is formed by the age he lives in, and few are 
there who can rise above the manners of the times. 
The wicked actions which many of the popes com- 
mitted, and the scandalous lives they led upon the 
authority of general example are things which can 
never be buried in oblivion. But of what service is 
it to set forth their vices and their disasters; to 
show how happy Rome has been, since decency and 
tranquillity have reigned within her walls? And 
what more desirable fruit can we reap from all the 
vicissitudes we meet with in this general history than 
the conviction that every nation has always been 
unhappy till the laws and the legislative power were 
established by universal consent? 

In like manner as some few monarchs and pontiffs, 
worthy of better times, could not stop the general 
torrent of disorder, so neither could a few fine 

60 Ancient and Modern History. 

geniuses, born in the darkness of the northern 
nations, allure to those climates the arts and sciences. 

Charles V., king of France, who made a collection 
of over nine hundred volumes, at least a century 
before the Vatican library was founded by Nicholas 
V., in vain endeavored to encourage learning in his 
kingdom. The soil was not yet prepared for bearing 
those exotic fruits. There has been a collection 
of some of the wretched productions of those times : 
this is like collecting a heap of flints from the rub- 
bish of an old house, when we are surrounded by 
beautiful palaces. Charles was obliged to send to 
Pisa for an astrologer ; and Catherine, the daughter 
of this astrologer, who wrote in French, pretends 
that Charles expressed himself thus : " While learn- 
ing is honored in this kingdom, it will continue to 
flourish." But learning was unknown, and taste yet 
more so ; the French having only the advantage of a 
more showy outside than other nations. 

When Charles of Valois, brother to Philip the 
Fair, went into Italy, the inhabitants of Lombardy, 
and even those of Tuscany, took the fashions of the 
French. These were rather extravagancies than 
fashion. The coat was laced behind in the same 
manner as the women's stays now are, with large 
hanging-down sleeves, and a riding cloak that trailed 
upon the ground. The French gentlemen, however, 
gave a certain grace to this odd kind of masquerade, 
and justified what Frederic II. had said: " Plas me 
el cavalier Frances." It would, however, have been 

Privileges of Towns. 61 

much better for France, had they understood more 
of military discipline ; the kingdom would not then 
have fallen a prey to a foreign power, as it did under 
the reign of Philip of Valois, John, and Charles VI. 
But how happened it that the English were so much 
better versed in martial discipline than their neigh- 
bors ? Probably for the reason that, being frequently 
obliged to fight at a distance from their own coun- 
try, they found they stood in greater need of such 
knowledge; or rather because they have a more 
cool and deliberate courage. 



FROM the general anarchy of Europe, and the num- 
berless disasters in which it was involved, arose the 
inestimable blessing of liberty, which has gradually 
made the imperial and other cities rich and flour- 

You may already have observed, that in the begin- 
ning of the feudal anarchy the cities were almost 
all peopled with bondmen rather than citizens, as is 
still the case in Poland, where there are not above 
three or four cities which have the liberty of holding 
lands ; and the inhabitants all belong to their lord, 
who has power of life and death over them. It was 
the same in France and Germany. The emperors 
began by granting enfranchisements to several cities ; 

62 Ancient and Modern History. 

and as early as the thirteenth century the cities joined 
together for their common defence against the lords 
of castles, who lived upon plunder. 

Louis the Fat, of France, followed this example 
in the places within his domains, in order to weaken 
the lords who were up in arms against him. The 
lords themselves sold freedoms to the small towns 
which were in their demesnes, for money to support 
the honor of chivalry in the Holy Land. 

At length, in 1167, Pope Alexander III. declared 
in the name of a council, that all Christians ought 
to be exempt from servitude. This law is alone suf- 
ficient to render his memory dear to the people of all 
nations ; as his endeavors to maintain the liberty of 
Italy ought to make his name precious to the Italians. 

It was in virtue of this law that a long time after- 
wards King Louis Hutin declared in his charters, 
that all the bondmen then remaining in France 
should be free ; " Because," says he, " it is the 
kingdom of the Franks." He made them indeed pay 
for this freedom; but could such a blessing be 
bought too dear? 

Nevertheless, mankind were reinstated but by 
degrees, and with great difficulty, in their natural 
rights. Louis Hutin could not oblige the lords, his 
vassals, to do for the subjects of their demesnes that 
which he had done for his. The husbandmen and 
even the burghers remained for a long time a pow- 
erful body of men, wholly attached to tillage, as they 
still are in many provinces in Germany : and it was 

Privileges of Towns. 63 

not till the reign of Charles VII. that servitude was 
entirely abolished in France, by the weakening of the 
power of the lords. The English contributed greatly 
to this happy change, by bringing over with them 
that spirit of freedom which is their distinguishing 

Even before the time of Louis Hutin, the kings of 
France had ennobled some citizens. Philip the Bold, 
son of St. Louis, ennobled Raoul, commonly called 
Raoul the Goldsmith; not from his being an arti- 
ficer, for then his nobility would have been ridicu- 
lous, but as being the keeper of the king's money; 
for cash-keepers were generally called goldsmiths, 
as they still are in London, where they have retained 
many of the ancient customs of France. 

The corporations of towns were first admitted in 
France into the general assembly of the estates by 
Philip the Fair, in 1301 : these assemblies then held 
the place of the ancient parliaments of the nation, 
formerly composed of lords and prelates. The third 
estate gave their advice in the form of a petition, 
which was presented upon the knee ; and the custom 
is still kept up for the third estate to address the 
king on one knee, in the same manner as the lawyers 
do at a bar of justice. The first general assembly 
of the estates was held to oppose the pretensions of 
Pope Boniface VIII. It must be acknowledged that 
it was a melancholy circumstance for human nature, 
that there were but two orders in the state, the one 
composed of the lords of fiefs, who did not make the 

64 Ancient and Modern History. 

five-thousandth part of the nation ; and the other of 
the clergy, who were still an inferior number, and 
who, from the nature of their holy institution, were 
destined to a superior function, entirely foreign to 
temporal matters. The body of the nation had been 
ignored. This was one of the true causes of the 
languid state of the kingdom of France, by sup- 
pressing all industry. Had the body of the state in 
England and Holland been composed only of secular 
and ecclesiastical barons, those people would never, 
during the war in 1701, have held the balance of 
Europe in their own hands. 

Philip the Fair, who has been reproached for his 
malpractices with respect to the coin, his persecution 
of the Knights Templars, and perhaps a too bitter 
animosity to Pope Boniface VIII. and his memory, 
did great service to the nation, in calling the third 
estate to the general assemblies of France. 

The House of Commons in England began to 
assume shape about this time, and stood in great 
credit in 1300. Thus the chaos of government began 
to be cleared up almost everywhere, by the very mis- 
fortunes which the feudal government had every- 
where occasioned. But although the people thus 
resumed their liberties and the enjoyment of so 
many privileges, it was a considerable time before 
they were able to emerge from the barbarism and 
brutality to which they had been reduced, and which 
is the consequence of a long state of slavery. They 
were now indeed free, and were looked upon as men ; 

Taxes and Coins. 65 

but still they became neither more civilized nor 
more industrious. The bloody wars of Edward III. 
and Henry V. plunged the people of France into a 
state worse than slavery ; and they did not begin to 
recover themselves again till the reign of Charles 
VII. The English people were not much happier 
after the death of Henry V. Those in Germany 
were in a better situation during the reigns of the 
emperors Wenceslaus and Sigismund, because the 
imperial cities had then acquired a degree of credit 
and power. 



THE third estate was of no other use in the general 
assembly of the estates held by Philip of Valois, in 
1345, than to give its consent to the first imposition 
of aids and gabelles: but it is certain that if the 
estates had been assembled more frequently in 
France, they would have acquired more authority; 
for under the administration of this same Philip 
of Valois, which became odious by the bad state of 
the coin, and greatly discredited by its misfortunes, 
the estates, in 1355, of themselves appointed com- 
missioners from the three orders to collect the money 
they had granted the king. Those who give what 
they please, and as they please, are certainly sharers 
in the sovereign authority. It was for this reason 

that the kings convoked these assemblies as seldom 
Vol. 265 

66 Ancient and Modern History. 

as possible, and only when they could not avoid it. 
Thus from the nation being so little accustomed to 
examine into its wants, its resources, and its strength, 
the states-general were wanting in that spirit of con- 
nection, and the knowledge of business which settled 
and regular bodies have. Being called together only 
at long intervals, they were obliged to inquire of 
one another concerning the laws and customs, instead 
of proceeding to settle them, and were in a continual 
state of surprise and uncertainty. The parliaments 
of England have taken greater prerogatives to them- 
selves, and have established and maintained them- 
selves in the right of being the natural representa- 
tives of the nation. This alone may show us the 
difference between the two people : both set out upon 
the same principles, and yet the form of their gov- 
ernment is now entirely different. At that time 
it was exactly the same. The estates of Aragon, 
those of Hungary, and the German diets have like- 
wise very great privileges. 

The states-general of France, or rather of that 
part of France which fought for the lawful sov- 
ereign, Charles VII., against the usurper Henry 
V., generously granted their royal master a general 
tax in 1426, in the very height of the war, and in a 
time of great scarcity, when they were apprehensive 
that the lands must have lain uncultivated for want 
of men. This tax has since become perpetual. The 
kings before them were wont to live upon their own 
demesnes : but Charles VII. had lost almost all his, 

Taxes and Coins. 67 

and had it not been for the brave warriors who sac- 
rificed themselves for him and for their country, 
and for his constable, Count de Richemont, by whom 
he was wholly directed, he must have been lost him- 

Soon afterward the husbandmen, who had hitherto 
paid taxes to their lords, whose bondmen they were, 
now paid this tribute only to the king, whose subjects 
they were, not but that the kings of France had, even 
before the time of St. Louis, raised taxes in the lands 
belonging to the royal patrimony. We know of the 
tax of bread and wine paid at first in kind, and 
afterward in money. The French term taille came 
from the custom the collectors had of marking upon 
a small wooden tally the sums paid by the persons 
assessed ; for very few of the common people knew 
how to write. The very customs of the towns were 
not in writing ; and this same Charles VII. was the 
first who ordered them to be enrolled in 1454, when 
he had restored peace and a police to his kingdom, 
of which it had been so long deprived, and when 
so long a series of misfortunes had given rise to a 
new form of government. 

Here, then, I consider in general the fate of the 
people rather than the revolutions of kingdoms. 
Mankind should be the chief object of our attention 
in history; and here it is that every writer ought 
to say " homo sum; " but most of our historians 
have busied themselves rather in, descriptions | 

68 Ancient and Modern History. 

There was yet another thing which disturbed the 
public order and tranquillity of Europe, and injured 
the fortunes of private families ; this was the adul- 
teration of the coin. Every lord coined money, and 
changed at pleasure the nominal value and weight ; 
thus doing himself a lasting prejudice for the sake 
of a temporary advantage. The necessity of the 
times had obliged the kings to set this fatal exam- 
ple. I have already remarked that the gold specie of 
one part of Europe, and especially of France, had 
been swallowed up in Asia and Africa in the unfor- 
tunate projects of the Crusades. It was necessary, 
therefore, in a time of need to increase the numerical 
value of the money. In the time of Charles V., after 
he had reduced his kingdom to obedience, the livre 
was worth seven numerical livres ; under Charle- 
magne it was of the real weight of one pound. The 
livre of Charles V., then, was in fact but the seventh 
part of the old livre ; therefore an income which con- 
sisted in rent charge, an enfeoffment, or dues payable 
in silver, was by this means reduced to the seventh 
part of its original value. 

We may judge from a still more striking example, 
of the small quantity of money that was circulating 
in such a kingdom as France. This same Charles V. 
declared the children of France entitled to an appa- 
nage of twelve thousand livres a year. These twelve 
thousand livres are worth at present no more than 
twenty-four thousand livres, How poor a provision 


Taxes and Coins. 69 

for a king's son ! The scarcity of specie was equally 
great in Germany, Spain, and England. 

King Edward III. was the first who struck gold 
coin. Let it be considered that the Romans had no 
gold coin till six hundred and fifty years after the 
founding of their republic. 

The whole revenues of Henry V. did not amount 
to more than fifty-six thousand pounds sterling, 
which is about twelve hundred thousand livres of the 
present French currency; yet with this trifling 
resource did he attempt the conquest of France. 
Nay, after the battle of Agincourt he was obliged 
to return to England, to .borrow money of the city 
of London, and to put everything in pledge to raise 
supplies for carrying on the war. And in fact his 
conquests were made rather with the sword than 
with money. 

In Sweden there was in those times no other 
money than what was made of iron or copper. There 
was but a very small quantity of silver in Denmark, 
and that was brought into the country by the trade 
carried on with Liibeck. 

In this general scarcity of money, which was se- 
verely felt in France after the Crusades, King Philip 
the Fair not only raised the fictitious and ideal price 
of specie, but he also caused a quantity of bad 
money to be coined, in which was mixed an over- 
proportion of alloy. In a word, it was a kind of 
counterfeit coin ; and these proceedings raised sedi- 
tions among the people, which rendered the nation 

70 Ancient and Modern History. 

very unhappy. Philip of Valois went still farther 
than Philip the Fair ; for he made the officers of his 
mint swear upon the gospels to keep the secret, and 
enjoined them by an ordinance to impose upon the 
merchants, "And in such manner that they may not 
discover that there is any alteration in the weight." 
These are his own words. But how could he flatter 
himself that this piece of injustice would remain 
concealed ? and what times were those in which they 
were forced to have recourse to such artifices times 
in which almost all the lords of fiefs since the reign 
of St. Louis had followed the same practices, for 
which Philip the Fair and Philip of Valois were so 
much blamed ? The French lords sold the king their 
right of coinage; but those in Germany have still 
preserved theirs : this has sometimes given rise to 
great abuses, but not so universal nor so fatal as 
those in France. 



PHILIP the Fair, who was the cause of so many evils, 
by adulterating the good coin of St. Louis, did the 
state great service in calling to the general assembly 
of the nation the citizens, who are in fact the body 
of the nation ; nor did he procure it a less advantage 
by instituting a sovereign court of judicature, to be 
held at Paris under the name of parliament. 

The Parliament. 71 

What has been hitherto said concerning the origin 
and nature of the Parliament of Paris affords but 
very confused ideas of the matter, because the change 
of old customs into new is apt to escape the attention. 
One writer will have it, that the courts of inquests 
and requests exactly represent the courts held by 
the ancient conquerors of Gaul. Another pretends 
that the parliament derives its right of judicature 
wholly from the ancient peers, who were the judges 
of the nation ; and that the parliament is called the 
court of peers. 

Thus much is certain, that there occurred a great 
change in the French government, under Philip the 
Fair, at the beginning of the fourteenth century. 
i. The great feudal and aristocratic form of gov- 
ernment was gradually undermined in the royal 
demesnes. 2. Philip the Fair, almost at the same 
time erected what we call the parliaments of Paris, 
Toulouse, and Normandy, and the extraordinary 
courts of Troyes as courts of justice. 3. The Par- 
liament of Paris became the most considerable on 
account of its large extent of district. 4. Philip 
the Fair fixed its seat at Paris. 5. It was made a 
perpetual court by Philip the Long, and became the 
trustee and interpreter of the old and new laws, the 
guardian of the rights of the crown, and the great 
oracle of the nation. 

The king's privy council, the states-general, and 
the parliament were three very different things. The 
states-general were really and truly the ancient par- 

72 Ancient and Modern History. 

liament of the whole nation ; to which were added 
the deputies of the commons. 

The king's privy council was composed of such 
great officers of the state as he pleased to admit, and 
particularly of the peers of the kingdom, who were 
all princes of the blood. And the court of justice, 
known by the name of parliament, now fixed at 
Paris, was at first composed of bishops and knights, 
assisted by others of the professed and lay clergy, 
who had a knowledge of civil matters. 

The peers had doubtless a right to sit in that court, 
as being the original judges of the nation: but even 
supposing them not to have this right, it would be 
no less a high court of judicature ; in the same man- 
ner as the imperial chamber in Germany is a high 
court, although neither the electors nor the other 
princes of the empire ever assisted at it ; and as the 
Council of Castile is still a supreme court, although 
the grandees of Spain have not the privilege of a seat 

The parliament is not the same as the ancient 
assemblies held in the fields in the months of March 
and May, although it still retains the same name. 
The peers had indeed a right to assist at those assem- 
blies ; but these peers were not, as in England, the 
only nobles of the kingdom. They were princes 
who held their honors from the crown; and when 
any new peers were to be made, they could be taken 
only from among these princes. Champagne having 
ceased to be a peerage, when Philip the Fair got it 

The Parliament. 73 

in dowry with his wife, he erected Brittany and 
Artois into peerages. Now the sovereigns of these 
states certainly never came to try causes in the Par- 
liament of Paris, although many of the bishops did. 
This new parliament at its first institution met four 
times a year. The members of this court were fre- 
quently changed, and were paid out of the king's 
treasury for the seats they vacated. 

These parliaments were called sovereign courts, 
and the president was styled the sovereign of the 
body, which signifies no more than the head or 
chief, as may be proved by the very words of an 
ordinance made by Philip the Fair, viz. : " That no 
master shall presume to absent himself from the 
court without the permission of his sovereign." I 
must here observe, that no one was permitted to 
plead by proxy, but was to appear before the court 
in person, unless the king's express dispensation was 
first obtained. 

If the prelates had preserved their right of assist- 
ing at the sittings of this perpetual assembly, it 
would then have become a perpetual assembly of 
states-general. The bishops were excluded from 
this assembly by -Philip the Long in 1320. At first 
they presided in the parliament, and took the place of 
the chancellor. The first layman who sat as president 
in this court, by order from the king, in 1320, was a 
count of Boulogne. The gentlemen of the law had 
only the title of counsellors till the year 1350. After 
that, when the civilians became presidents, they wore 

74 Ancient and Modern History. 

the knight's mantle, had the privileges of nobility, 
and were frequently styled chevaliers es loix, or 
knights at law. But the nobles by name and arms 
always affected to show a contempt for this pacific 
body of nobility. The descendants of professors of 
the law are to this day excluded from a seat in the 
chapters of Germany. It is a relic of ancient barbar- 
ity to annex a contemptuous idea to the most noble 
function of humanity, that of distributing justice. 

It was in this perpetual parliament, which sat at 
Paris in St. Louis's palace, that Charles VI. held, on 
Dec. 23, 1420, that famous bar of justice, at which 
Henry V., king of England, was present, whom on 
that occasion, Charles styled his well-beloved son, 
Henry VI., hereditary regent of the kingdom ; and 
at the same time the king's own son was called 
Charles, styling himself the dauphin ; and all the 
accomplices in the murder of John the Fearless, duke 
of Burgundy, were declared guilty of high treason, 
and deprived of all right of inheritance, which was 
in fact condemning the dauphin without naming 

But what is still more, it is affirmed that in the 
registers of parliament, in the year 1420, there is an 
entry, importing that the dauphin afterward 
Charles VII. having been previously summoned 
three times by sound of trumpet to surrender him- 
self in the month of January, had been condemned 
for contumacy, and adjudged to perpetual exile, 
from which sentence, adds the register, " He 

The Parliament. 75 

appealed to God and his sword." If this register 
is authentic, there was an interval of almost a year 
between this sentence and the holding of the court, 
which afterward confirmed but too strongly this 
fatal decree. It is, however, not at all surprising 
that they issued such an arret; for Philip, duke 
of Burgundy, son of the murdered duke, was all- 
powerful in Paris, and the dauphin's mother had 
become an implacable enemy of her own son; the 
king had lost his reason, and was in the hands of 
strangers ; and, in short, the dauphin had punished 
one crime by another still more horrible ; for he had 
caused his relation, John of Burgundy, to be assas- 
sinated in his own presence, after having drawn him 
thither upon the faith of the most solemn oaths. We 
should also consider what the temper of the times 
then was. This same Henry V., king of England 
and regent of France, had been imprisoned at Lon- 
don, while prince of Wales, by the sole authority of a 
common judge, whom he had struck in open court 
while in the execution of his office. 

This century furnishes us with another shocking 
instance of justice, carried even to a degree of hor- 
ror. A ban of Croatia condemned Elizabeth, queen 
regent of Hungary, to be drowned for being con- 
cerned in the murder of Charles de Durazzo, king of 

The sentence of the parliament against the dau- 
phin was of another kind; it was only an instru- 
ment acting under a superior power. They did not 

76 Ancient and Modern History. 

proceed against John, duke of Burgundy, till he 
assassinated the duke of Orleans, and then it was 
only to avenge the murder of a murderer. 

In reading the deplorable history of those times, 
we are to recollect that after the famous Treaty of 
Troyes, which gave the kingdom of France to Henry 
V. of England, there were two parliaments in the 
kingdom assembled at the same time, as again hap- 
pened some three hundred years afterward in the 
time of the league; but during the subversion of 
the government under Charles VI. there were two 
kings, two queens, two parliaments, two universities 
of Paris, and each side had its marshals and great 
officers of state. 

I must observe furthermore, that in these times, 
when a peer of the kingdom was to be tried, the king 
was obliged to preside in person at the trial. Charles 
VII., in the last year of his reign, did, in compliance 
with this custom, sit as president of the judges who 
condemned the duke of Alengon ; a custom which 
afterward came to be looked upon as derogatory to 
justice and the royal dignity, since the presence of 
the sovereign might seem to influence the votes ; and 
that in a criminal affair, that presence which should 
only be the dispenser of grace and favors, might be 
obliged to become the inflicter of punishments. 

Lastly, I shall remark, that, in the trial of a peer, 
it was necessary that the whole body of peers should 
be assembled, as being his natural judges. To these 
Charles VII., in the affair of the duke of Alenc,on, 

The Parliament. 77 

added the great officers of the crown. He did still 
more ; for he admitted into this assembly the treas- 
urers of France, and the lay-deputies of the parlia- 
ment. Thus do all things change ; and the history of 
customs, laws, and privileges is in many countries, 
and especially in France, only a moving picture. 

It is therefore an idle project, and an ungrateful 
task, to endeavor to refer everything to ancient cus- 
toms, or to fix that wheel which time is eternally 
whirling around with an irresistible motion. To 
what era must we go back? To that when the 
word " parliament " signified an assembly of the 
leaders of the Franks, who met together on the first 
day of March, to settle the division of spoils ? Or to 
that in which all the bishops had a right to sit in a 
court of justice known also by the name of parlia- 
ment ? Or to the times when the barons held the com- 
mons in a state of slavery? To what age, I say, or 
what laws, must we go back? What custom must 
we abide by? A citizen of Rome might, with as 
great certainty, ask the pope for the same consuls, 
the same tribunes, the same senate, and the same 
comitia ; nay, for the very self-same form of gov- 
ernment which prevailed in the ancient Roman 
republic ; or a citizen of Athens demand of the sul- 
tan the ancient Areopagus, and assemblies of the 

78 Ancient and Modern History. 



WHAT the states-general are to kings, such are 
councils to the popes ; but those things which have 
the nearest resemblance to one another frequently 
differ the most. In those monarchies where the repub- 
lican spirit was the most prevalent, the estates never 
thought themselves superior to their kings ; although 
they may have deposed them in a time of urgent 
necessity and disorder. The electors who deposed 
the emperor Wenceslaus never looked upon them- 
selves as superior to an emperor in possession of the 
royal authority. The Cortes of Aragon told the king 
whom they elected, "Nos que valemos tanto como 
vos, y que podemos mas que vos" but when the king 
was crowned, they no longer expressed themselves 
in that manner, nor pretended to be superior to the 
person whom they had made master over them. 

But it is not the same with an assembly of bishops 
of a number of churches equally independent, as it 
is with the body of a monarchical state. This body 
has a sovereign, and the churches have only one 
chief metropolitan. But matters of religion, and the 
doctrine and discipline of the Church can never be 
subject to the decision of a single person, in contra- 
diction to the whole world besides. The councils 
superior to the popes, in the same sens 

Council of Basel. 79 

as the opinions of a thousand persons ought to be 
deemed superior to that of a single one. It remains 
then to know whether these councils have the same 
right of deposing the head of the Church, as the 
diets of Poland and the electors of the Germanic 
Empire have of deposing their sovereign. 

This is one of those questions which are to be 
decided only by the argument a fortiori. If, on the 
one hand, a simple provincial synod has the power 
of divesting a common bishop of his dignities ; by a 
much stronger reason can the assembly of the whole 
Christian world degrade the bishop of Rome. But 
again, on the other hand, this bishop is a sovereign 
prince, and did not receive his dignity from a coun- 
cil : how then can the council pretend to take it from 
him, especially if his own subjects are satisfied with 
his administration? It would be in vain for all the 
bishops of the world to depose from his episcopal 
function an ecclesiastical elector, with whom the 
empire and his own electorate were satisfied: he 
would still continue to be an elector, and enjoy all 
his rights as such; just as a king, excommunicated 
by ecclesiastical censure, would, if master in his 
kingdom, continue to be the sovereign of that king- 

The Council of Constance deposed the sovereign 
of Rome, because the people of Rome neither would 
nor could oppose its proceedings. The Council of 
Basel, which pretended ten years afterward to follow 
the same example, gave a proof how little example 

8o Ancient and Modern History. 

is to be relied upon, and how greatly affairs, which 
are seemingly alike, may differ ; and also that what 
may be a great and exemplary boldness at one time, 
may appear rash and weak at another. 

The Council of Basel was only a prolongation of 
several others, proclaimed by Pope Martin V., at dif- 
ferent times, at Pavia and at Sienna. But as soon as 
Pope Eugenius IV. was elected, in 1431, the fathers 
began by declaring that the pope had neither the 
right of dissolving their assembly, nor yet of remov- 
ing its seat ; and that he was subject to them, under 
pain of punishment. Pope Eugenius immediately 
upon this declaration ordered the council to be dis- 
solved. There seems to have been more zeal than 
prudence in this precipitate step taken by the fathers, 
and a zeal that might have had fatal consequences. 

Emperor Sigismund, who was then reigning, was 
not master of the person of Eugenius, as he had been 
of that of John XXIII. He therefore kept fair at 
once with both pope and council. This scandalous 
business was for a long time confined to negotiations, 
in which both the whole eastern and western 
churches were made parties. The Greek Empire 
was no longer in a condition to make head against 
the Turk, without the assistance of the Latin princes. 
It was necessary therefore for the Greek Church, if 
it was desirous of obtaining this weak support, to 
submit to that of Rome : but it was far from enter- 
taining such a thought; and the more pressing the 
danger grew, the more obstinate were the Greeks. 

Council of Basel. 81 

But the emperor, John Palaeologus, who was prin- 
cipally affected by this danger, consented out of pol- 
icy to that which his clergy refused through obsti- 
nacy, and was ready to grant everything, provided 
he might but obtain some assistance. He therefore 
addressed himself, at the same time, to the pope and 
to the council, who each of them disputed the honor 
of humbling the Greeks. John sent ambassadors to 
Basel, where the pope had some partisans of greater 
abilities than the rest of the fathers. The council 
had decreed that a sum of money should be sent 
to the emperor, with a few galleys to bring him over 
to Italy; and that he should have reception in the 
city of Basel. The pope's emissaries privately framed 
another decree, by which it was declared, in the name 
of the council, that they would receive the emperor 
at Florence, whither the pope would have the assem- 
bly removed: they also found means to open the 
lock of the casket in which the seal of the council 
was kept, with which they sealed this decree, so 
opposite to the true one made by the council, to 
which they signed the names of the fathers. This 
Italian trick succeeded; and it was plain that after 
this the pope would have the advantage in every- 
thing over the council. 

This assembly had no chief capable of uniting 
them and crushing the pope, as that of Constance 
had. Neither had it any determinate point in view ; 
but acted with so little prudence that in a memorial 

which the fathers delivered to the Greek ambassa- 
Vol. 26 6 

82 Ancient and Modern History. 

dors, they declared, that having already destroyed 
the heresy of the Hussites, they were now going 
to destroy the heresy of the Greek Church. The 
pope, on the contrary, was more artful,' and managed 
the negotiation on his side with more address; he 
breathed nothing but brotherly love and union, and 
never spoke of the Greeks but in the gentlest terms. 
Eugenius was a person of great prudence; he had 
appeased the troubles in Rome, and was very power- 
ful. He took care to have his galleys ready before 
those of the council. 

The emperor embarked at the pope's expense, tak- 
ing with him his patriarch, and a few chosen bishops 
who were willing to renounce all the tenets of the 
Greek Church for the interest of their country. The 
pope received them at Ferrara ; and the emperor and 
his bishops, in the midst of their real submission, 
preserved in appearance the imperial majesty, and 
the dignity of the Greek Church. No one of them 
kissed the pope's feet; but, after some few alterca- 
tions about the filioque processit, which had for a 
long time been added by the Church of Rome to 
the ancient homily, the unleavened bread, and the 
doctrine of purgatory, they conformed to all the 
Romish tenets. 

The pope now removed his council from Ferrara 
to Florence ; and here it was that the deputies of the 
Greek Church admitted the doctrine of purgatory. 
In this council it was determined that " the Holy 
Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son by the 

Council of Basel. 83 

production of spiration; that the Father communi- 
cates the whole of His divine essence to the Son, 
excepting only His fatherhood ; and that the pro- 
ductive power is given to the Son from all eternity." 

At length the Greek emperor, with his patriarch, 
and almost all the other prelates, subscribed at Flor- 
ence to the long-disputed point of the primacy of the 
bishop of Rome. 

This union of the Latins and Greeks was indeed 
but transitory. The whole Greek Church disowned 
what had been done ; but still the pope's victory was 
no less glorious, and never had any pontiff before 
him the appearance of enjoying so complete a tri- 

At the very time that he was rendering this essen- 
tial service to the Latins, and putting an end, as far 
as in him lay, to the schism between the eastern and 
western churches, he was, in 1419, by the Council 
of Basel, deposed from the pontificate, and declared 
" a rebel, a simonist, a schismatic, a heretic, and 
guilty of perjury." 

If we judge of this council from this decree, it 
will appear no better than a company of factious 
spirits: but if we consider the excellent rules for 
discipline which it instituted, it will then appear 
an assembly of the wisest men ; and for this reason, 
that passion had no part in its regulations, but was 
confined wholly to the deposition of Eugenius. The 
most august body, when led away by faction, always 
commits greater faults than a single person. Charles 

84 Ancient and Modern History. 

VII. 's council in France adopted the prudent regula- 
tions of this council, and rejected that decree which 
had been dictated by the spirit of party. 

These were the regulations which served to com- 
pose the pragmatic sanction, which has been so long 
the darling of the people of France, that made by 
St. Louis being no longer in force. The customs 
which they had vainly attempted to renew in France 
were utterly abolished by the address of the Romans. 
They were now established by this famous prag- 
matic sanction. The elections made by the clergy, 
with the approbation of the king, were confirmed ; 
the custom of annates was declared simony, and 
reservation and reversions had in execration. But, 
on the one hand, they never ventured to do all that 
they might, and, on the other hand, they never did 
what they should have done. This celebrated law, by 
which the liberties of the Gallican Church are 
secured, allows of a final appeal to the pope, who in 
that case may depute judges to preside in all ecclesi- 
astical causes, which might easily be compromised 
by the bishops of the country. This was in some 
measure acknowledging the pope for master: and 
at the same time that this pragmatic law confers 
on him the chief of all prerogatives, it forbids him 
to make any more than twenty-four cardinals, with 
just as much reason as the pope would have to 
limit the number of dukes and peers of France, and 
grandees of Spain. Thus the whole is a contradic- 

Council of Basel. 85 

The regulations established by this council also 
gave rise to the Germanic concordat; the prag- 
matic law has been abolished in France, and the Ger- 
manic concordat still continues in force, as indeed 
all the German customs have done. The election of 
prelates, the investitures of princes, the privileges 
of towns, rights, rank, and order of precedency, are 
almost all the same as they originally were. On the 
contrary, there are none of the customs of Charles 
VII. now remaining in France. 

The Council of Basel having in vain deposed a 
pope, who on account of his worth and abilities con- 
tinued to be acknowledged by all Europe, after- 
ward set up in opposition to him a mere phantom. 
This was Amadeus VIII. , duke of Savoy, who was 
the first of his family who had borne the title of 
duke, and afterward turned hermit at Ripaille, 
from a motive of devotion which Poggio is far from 
thinking real. Be that as it may, his devotion could 
not hold out against the temptation of being made 
pope. Accordingly he was declared supreme pon- 
tiff, though a layman ; but that which had occasioned 
a violent schism and the most bloody wars in the time 
of Urban VI., now only produced a few ecclesiastical 
disputes, bulls, censures, mutual excommunications, 
and violent invectives : for as the council had called 
Eugenius simonist, schismatic, heretic, and perjured, 
Eugenius' secretary returned the abuse, by styling 
the fathers fools, madmen, and barbarians; and 
Amadeus, Cerberus, and Antichrist. In fine, in the 

86 Ancient and Modern History. 

papacy of Nicholas V. this council dispersed gradu- 
ally of itself ; and this pope hermit, duke of Savoy, 
contented himself with a cardinal's hat, and left the 
Church in its usual tranquillity. 

On the whole, this council is a proof of how 
greatly affairs change with the times. The fathers 
of the Council of Constance condemned John Huss 
and Jerome of Prague to the stake, notwithstanding 
their declaration of not adhering to the doctrine of 
Wycliffe, and the clear explanation they gave of the 
real presence, merely for persisting in the sentiments 
of Wycliffe relating to the Church hierarchy and 

The Hussites, in the time of the Council of Basel, 
went much greater lengths than the founders of their 
sect had done ; Procopius, surnamed the Shaven, the 
famous general, and successor of John Ziska, came to 
hold a disputation at this council, at the head of two 
hundred gentlemen of his party. He maintained, 
among other things, that " monks were an invention 
of the devil," and thus he offered to prove it : " Can 
you say," said he, " that they were instituted by 
Jesus Christ?" "We cannot," answered Cardinal 
Julian. " Well, then," replied Procopius, " it is clear 
it must have been by the devil." An argument truly 
worthy of a Bohemian captain in those days. ^Eneas 
Silvius, who was witness to this scene, says that 
they only answered Procopius by a general laugh ; 
the Council of Constance answered John Huss and 
Jerome of Prague by a sentence of death. 

Fall of the Greek Empire. 87 

We have seen how low the Greek emperors had 
fallen, during this council. They must have been 
approaching very near to ruin, when they went like 
beggars to Rome to sue for a feeble support, and sac- 
rificed their religion to obtain it. Accordingly, a 
few years afterward, they were wholly subdued by 
the Turks, who took Constantinople. We shall now 
inquire into the causes and consequences of this revo- 



THE Crusades, in depopulating the West, opened 
the breach by which the Turks at length entered 
into Constantinople ; for the chiefs of these expedi- 
tions, by usurping the empire of the East, weakened 
it, and when the Greeks afterward recovered it from 
them, it was in a mangled and impoverished condi- 

We must not forget that the Greeks recovered 
their empire in the year 1261 ; and that Michael 
Palaeologus took it from the Latin usurpers, to 
deprive his pupil, John Lascaris, of the crown. We 
are also to recollect that in those days Charles of 
Anjou, brother of St. Louis, invaded Naples and 
Sicily ; and that, had it not been for the affair of the 
Sicilian Vespers, he would have disputed with the 
tyrant Palaeologus the possession of Constantinople, 
destined to be a prey to usurpers. 

This Michael Palaeologus kept fair with the popes, 

88 Ancient and Modern History. 

hoping to avert the storm which threatened him. 
He flattered them with the submission of the Greek 
Church; but his low politics were not sufficient to 
counterbalance the spirit of party and superstition 
which prevailed in his country ; and he made him- 
self so odious by his manner of proceeding, that his 
own son Andronicus, an unhappily bigoted schis- 
matic, either dared not, or would not, grant him the 
rites of Christian burial in 1283. 

The unhappy Greeks, though pressed on all sides 
by the Turks and Latins, were taken up with dis- 
puting about the transfiguration of Jesus Christ ; 
one half of the empire pretending that the light upon 
Mount Tabor had been from all eternity, and the 
other half that it had been produced by God, only 
for the purpose of the transfiguration. In the mean- 
time the Turks were strengthening themselves in 
Asia Minor, whence they soon overran Thrace. 

Ottoman, from whom all the Osmanli emperors 
descended, had fixed the feast of his empire at Byrsa, 
in Bithynia. Orcan, his son, advanced as far as the 
borders of the Propontis, and Emperor John Canta- 
cusenes was glad to give him his daughter in mar- 
riage. The nuptials were celebrated at Scutari, 
opposite Constantinople; soon after which Canta- 
cusenes, finding himself unable to keep the empire 
which another disputed with him, retired into a mon- 
astery. An emperor, father-in-law to a Turkish 
sultan, and himself a monk, gave a strong presage of 
the fall of the empire. 

Fall of the Greek Empire. 89 

The Turks wanted to pass into Europe, but were 
prevented for want of shipping. But so despicable 
was the condition of the empire at that time that the 
Genoese, for paying a small fine, were suffered to 
have possession of Galata, which is looked upon as 
one of the suburbs of Constantinople, and is sepa- 
rated from it only by a canal which forms the port. 
It is said that Sultan Amurath, son of this Orcan, 
engaged the Genoese to transport his soldiers to the 
other side of the straits. The bargain was con- 
cluded ; and thus, it is said, did the Genoese for a 
few thousand gold besants, betray the empire into 
the hands of the Infidels ; others say, that Amurath 
only made use of Genoese ships ; however, he passed 
the straits with his army, and advanced to Adrian- 
opolis, where he fixed his quarters, in 1357, and 
threatened all Christendom with an invasion. The 
emperor, John Palaeologus, hastened to Rome, where 
he kissed the feet of Pope Urban V., acknowledged 
his primacy, and humbled himself in the most abject 
manner, for the sake of obtaining, through his medi- 
ation, the relief which the situation of Europe, and 
the fatal examples of the Crusades, would no longer 
admit of granting: therefore, after having in vain 
stooped to the pope, he returned to crouch beneath 
Amurath. He made a treaty with the sultan, not as 
a king with a king, but as a slave with his master, 
and at once served as a lieutenant and hostage to 
the Turkish conqueror. And, in 1374, after Amu- 
rath and this Palseologus had each of them put out 

90 Ancient and Modern History. 

the eyes of his eldest son, of whom they were alike 
jealous, Palaeologus gave his second son to the sul- 
tan ; and this son, whose name was Manuel, served 
in the army of Amurath against the Christians. 

Sultan Amurath was the first who gave to the 
janissary militia, which had been instituted before, 
that form under which it at present subsists. Being 
assassinated as he was pursuing his victories, he was 
succeeded by his son, Bajazet Ilderim, of Bajazet the 
Thunderbolt. The infamy and humiliation of the 
Greek emperors were now complete. Andronicus, 
the unhappy son of John Palaeologus, whom his 
father had deprived of his sight, fled to Bajazet, in 
1389, and implored his protection against his father, 
and his brother Manuel. Bajazet gave him four thou- 
sand horse ; and the Genoese, who were still masters 
of Galata, furnished him with men and money. 
Andronicus, thus assisted by the Turks and Genoese, 
made himself master of Constantinople, and shut 
his father up in prison. 

At the end of two years the father resumed the 
throne, and built a citadel near Galata, in order 
to stop the progress of Bajazet, who already began 
to project the siege of Constantinople. Bajazet 
commanded him to demolish the citadel, and admit 
a Turkish cadi into the city, as judge of the Turk- 
ish merchants who were settled there. This order 
the emperor complied with. In the meantime 
Bajazet, leaving Constantinople behind him, as a 
sure prey upon which he could fall at pleasure, 

Fall of the Greek Empire. 91 

advanced into the midst of Hungary; there he 
gained a complete victory over the Christian army, 
and those brave French commanded by Sigismund, 
emperor of the West. The French, before the bat- 
tle, put all their Turkish prisoners to the sword; 
we are not therefore to wonder that Bajazet, after 
his victory, ordered all the French prisoners he had 
taken to be put to death, they themselves having set 
him this cruel example. He reserved only twenty- 
five knights from the general slaughter, among 
whom was Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, 
whom Bajazet thus addressed while he was receiv- 
ing his ransom : " I might oblige thee to swear never 
more to bear arms against me, but I equally despise 
thy oaths and thy arms." 

After this defeat, Manuel, who had become 
emperor of the city of Constantinople, went to the 
several courts of Europe to petition for assistance, 
as his father had formerly done. He came to 
France; but he could not have applied at a less 
favorable juncture for assistance from that court: 
it was during the frenzy of Charles VI., when the 
kingdom was involved in numberless disorders. 
Manuel remained two years at Paris, while the 
capital of the Christians in the East was blocked 
up by the Turks, who at length laid siege to it in 
form, and its ruin seemed inevitable; but it was 
put off for some time by one of those great events 
which fill the world with confusion. 

The dominion of the Mogul Tartars, of which 

92 Ancient and Modern History. 

we have already seen the origin, extended from 
the Volga to the frontiers of China, and as far as 
the river Ganges. Tamerlane, one of the princes 
of these Tartars, reprieved Constantinople for a 
time by turning his arms against Bajazet. 



TIMOUR, whom I shall call Tamerlane, in conformity 
with the general custom, was, according to the 
best historians, descended from Genghis Khan by 
the female side. He was born in the year 1357, 
in the city of Cash, in the territories of the ancient 
Sogdiana, whither the Greeks formerly penetrated 
under Alexander the Great, and settled some colo- 
nies. It is at present inhabited by the Usbeg 
Tartars. It begins at the borders of the Gihon, or 
Oxus; which river has its source in Lesser Thibet, 
about seven hundred leagues from the source of the 
Tigris and Euphrates. This is the river Gihon, 
which we find mentioned in the Book of Genesis. 

At the mention of the city of Cash, we are ready 
to figure to ourselves a desert country. It lies, 
however, in the same latitude with Naples and 
Provence, and, in a word, is a delightful country. 

At the name of Tamerlane, we are again apt to 
form an idea of a barbarian, little removed from 
a brute: but let it be remembered, as we have 
before observed, that there never was a great con- 

Tamerlane. 93 

queror among princes, nor in private life any per- 
son remarkably fortunate, without that kind of merit 
which always meets with success for its reward. 
Now, Tamerlane must undoubtedly have had the 
greater share of the merit peculiar to ambition, who, 
born without any dominions of his own, subdued 
more countries than Alexander, and almost as many 
as Genghis Khan. His first conquest was the city 
of Balk, the capital of Khorasan, on the borders 
of Persia. After that he subdued the province of 
Kandahar, and reduced all ancient Persia ; then 
returning, he conquered the people of Transoxana, 
and made himself master of Bagdad. He went to 
India, which he also subdued, and took possession 
of Delhi, which is its capital. We find that all 
those who have made themselves masters of Persia 
have in like manner conquered or ravaged India. 
Thus Darius Ochus reduced it after many others; 
and after him Alexander, Genghis Khan, and Tam- 
erlane found it an easy conquest. Shah Nadir in 
our time only showed himself there, gave it laws, 
and brought off immense treasures. 

Tamerlane, after having conquered India, returned 
and fell upon Syria, whose capital city, Damascus, he 
took. He then hastened back to Bagdad, which he 
had lately conquered, and which now attempted to 
throw off his yoke : he reduced it, and gave it up 
to plunder and the sword. It is said that on this 
occasion more than eight hundred thousand inhab- 
itants were put to death. The city was razed to 

94 Ancient and Modern History. 

the foundations. In these countries cities were easily 
destroyed, and as easily rebuilt, the houses being, 
as we have elsewhere remarked, built only of bricks 
dried in the sun. It was in the midst of this 
series of victories that the Greek emperor, after 
having in vain solicited aid from the Christians, 
addressed himself at length to the Tartar. Five 
Mahometan princes, whom Bajazet had driven out 
of their kingdoms on the borders of the Pontus 
Euxinus, came at the same time to implore his 
assistance. Thus invited by Mussulmans and Chris- 
tians, he marched into Asia Minor. 

There is one circumstance which may give us an 
advantageous idea of Tamerlane's character, which 
is, that we find him, through the whole course of 
this war, strictly observant of the laws of nations. 
Before he began hostilities, he sent ambassadors to 
Bajazet, requiring him to raise the siege of Con- 
stantinople, and do justice to the Mussulman princes, 
whom he had deprived of their kingdoms. Baja- 
zet received these proposals with the utmost rage 
and contempt ; upon which Tamerlane declared 
war against him, and continued his march. Bajazet 
immediately raised the siege of Constantinople ; and 
between Caesarea and Ancira, in 1401, was fought 
that great battle, in which all the forces of the 
world seemed met together. Tamerlane's troops 
must doubtless have been extremely well disci- 
plined; for, after a most obstinate resistance, they 
conquered those which had defeated the Greeks, the 

Tamerlane. 95 

Hungarians, the Germans, the French, and many 
other warlike nations. We may be almost certain 
that, on this occasion, Tamerlane, who till then 
had always fought with the bow and scimitar, 
made use of cannon against the Ottomans ; and that 
it was he who sent those pieces of ordnance into 
the Mogul country which are to be seen there to 
this day, and on which are engraved certain unin- 
telligible characters. The Turks, on their side, not 
only made use of cannon, but also of the ancient 
wild-fire. This double advantage would have infal- 
libly given them the victory over Tamerlane, had 
he not made use of artillery. 

Bajazet, in this battle, saw his son Mustapha 
slain, fighting by his side; and he himself fell 
captive into the hands of the conqueror, with another 
of his sons, named Musa, or Moses. 

It may not be displeasing to know the conse- 
quences of this memorable battle, between two 
nations which seemed to dispute for the mastery 
of Europe and Asia, and two mighty conquerors, 
whose names are still celebrated by posterity; a 
battle likewise, which, for a time, preserved the 
Greek Empire from ruin, and might have con- 
tributed to the overthrow of the Turkish power. 

The Turkish annals tell us that Tamerlane shut 
Bajazet up in an iron cage; but we meet with 
nothing like this in any of the Persian or Arabian 
authors who have written the life of Tamerlane. 
Is this then a story intended to render the memory 

96 , Ancient and Modern History. 

of Tamerlane odious? or rather, may we not sup- 
pose that the Turkish writers have copied from the 
Greek historians? The Arabian authors pretend 
that Tamerlane made Bajazet's queen wait on him 
at table half-naked; and this has given rise to the 
received fable, that the Turkish sultans have never 
married since this insult offered to the wife of 
their predecessor; a fable which is sufficiently con- 
tradicted by the marriage of Amurath II., whom 
we shall hereafter see espoused to the daughter 
of a despot of Servia, and by that of Mahomet II. 
with the daughter of a prince of Turcomania. 

It is difficult to reconcile this story of the iron 
cage and the brutal insult offered to Bajazet's wife 
with that generosity which the Turks ascribe to 
Tamerlane, who tell us, that when this conqueror 
had entered into Bursa, or Prusa, the capital of 
the Turkish dominions in Asia, he wrote a letter to 
Bajazet's son, Solyman, which would have done 
honor even to Alexander himself. In this letter 
Tamerlane thus expresses himself : " I am desirous 
to forget that I have been the enemy of Bajazet, 
and will be a father to his children, provided they 
will wait the effects of my clemency. I am con- 
tented with the conquests I have already gained, 
and am not to be tempted by the hope of new 
favors from the hand of fickle fortune." 

Supposing such a letter to have been really writ- 
ten, it was certainly no more than an artifice. The 
Turks say further, that Solyman, not hearkening to 

Tamerlane. 97 

this generous proposal of Tamerlane, that prince 
declared Musa, the other son of Bajazet, sultan 
in Bursa, and that on this occasion he said to him, 
" Receive the inheritance of thy father ; a royal 
mind knows how to give as well as to conquer 

The Oriental historians, as well as ours, frequently 
put words in the mouths of illustrious personages 
which were never spoken by them. This wondrous 
magnanimity toward the son does but ill agree with 
the barbarous treatment he is accused of toward the 
father. All that we can collect for certain, or 
that merits our attention, is, that this great victory 
of Tamerlane did not deprive the Turks of a single 
city: this Musa, whom he made sultan, and whom 
he protected in opposition to his two brothers, 
Solyman and Mahomet I., could not, even with his 
assistance, make head against them: and in the 
thirteen years' civil war which ensued between the 
children of Bajazet, Tamerlane does not seem to 
have gained any great advantage, which, together 
with the lack of success of this new sultan, clearly 
shows that the Turks were a truly warlike people, 
who, though they might be conquered, were not 
to be enslaved ; and that the Tartar, finding that he 
could not easily extend his conquests, nor form a 
settlement in Asia Minor, turned his arms elsewhere. 

His pretended magnanimity toward Bajazet 's sons 
was certainly not the effect of his moderation ; for 
we find him soon afterward ravaging all Syria, 

Vol. 26-^7 

98 Ancient and Modern History. 

which belonged to the Egyptian Mamelukes. He 
then repassed the Euphrates, and returned to the city 
of Samarcand, which he considered as the capital 
of his vast empire. He had conquered almost as 
great an extent of territory as Genghis Khan, for 
although this latter made himself master of a part of 
China and Korea, Tamerlane was for some time 
in possession of Syria and a part of Asia Minor, 
whither Genghis had never been able to penetrate. 
He was also master of almost all Hindostan; 
whereas Genghis had subdued only the northern 
provinces of that vast empire. While he remained 
at Samarcand, he meditated the conquest of China, 
although far from being firmly established in the 
immense dominions he already possessed, and at an 
age when his death could not be far distant. 

It was in this city that he, like Genghis Khan, 
received the homage of several princes of Asia, and 
ambassadors from many sovereigns, particularly 
from the Greek emperor, Manuel, and even from 
Henry III., king of Castile. On this occasion he 
gave one of those feasts which resembled the mag- 
nificent entertainments given of old by the first 
kings of Persia. All the different orders of the 
state, and the several artificers, passed in review 
before him, each carrying the badge of their pro- 
fession. He married all his grandsons and grand- 
daughters in the same day : at length he died in an 
extreme old age, in 1406, after a reign of thirty-six 
years, happier with respect to his length of days, 

Tamerlane. 99 

and having lived to see his grandchildren happy, 
than Alexander, to whom the Orientals are so fond 
of comparing him ; but otherwise far inferior to the 
Macedonian, being born in a barbarous nation, and 
having, like Genghis Khan, destroyed a multitude 
of cities without having built one ; whereas Alex- 
ander, during the course of a very short life, and 
in the midst of his rapid conquests, built Alexandria 
and Scanderoon, and rebuilt this very city of Samar- 
cand, which afterward became the seat of Tamer- 
lane's empire, as likewise a number of other cities 
in India: he also established several colonies of 
Greeks beyond the Oxus, sent the astronomical 
observations of the Babylonians into Greece, and 
entirely changed the commerce of Asia, Europe, and 
Africa, making Alexandria the magazine of the 
universe ; so far then, in my opinion, Alexander sur- 
passes Tamerlane, Genghis, and all the conquerors 
who have been put up in competition with him. 

I do not think that Tamerlane was of a more 
impetuous disposition than Alexander. If I may be 
permitted to enliven a little the history of these 
dreadful events, and to mix the little with the great, 
1 shall relate a story which is told by a Persian 
writer contemporary with this prince. He says that 
a famous Persian poet, named Hamedi Kermani, 
being in the same bath with him and several of 
his courtiers, and diverting themselves at a game 
which consisted in setting a certain value upon every 
one in the company, " I should value you at thirty 

ioo Ancient and Modern History. 

aspers," said he to the great Khan. " Why, the nap- 
kin that I wipe myself with," replied the prince, " is 
worth that." " Yes," returned Hamedi, " I reckon 
the napkin likewise." Perhaps a prince who would 
suffer these innocent freedoms could not be thought 
to have a very cruel disposition: but great con- 
querors frequently divert themselves with the 
inferior part of mankind, and destroy others. 

Tamerlane was neither a Mussulman, nor yet of 
the sect of Lama, but like the learned in China, 
acknowledged only one God, in which he gave a 
proof of that good understanding in which more 
civilized nations have been wanting. We meet with 
no marks of superstition either in himself or his 
followers. He alike tolerated the Mussulmans, the 
Lamians, and the other idolatrous sects which are 
spread over India. It is even said that, as he passed 
by Mount Libanus, he assisted at the religious cere- 
monies of the Maronite monks, who inhabited those 
mountains. His greatest foible was an attachment 
to judicial astrology, an error common to all men 
in those times, and from which we ourselves are but 
lately freed. He was not learned himself, but he 
took care to have his grandsons trained up in the 
knowledge of the sciences. The famous Oulougbeg, 
who succeed him in his dominions beyond the Oxus, 
founded in the city of Samarcand the first academy 
of sciences: he caused the measure of the earth 
to be taken, and helped to compose the astronomical 
tables which bore his name, as King Alphonso of 

Tamerlane. IOI 

Castile had done near a century before. At present 
the grandeur of Samarcand is fallen with the 
sciences ; and this country, now occupied by the 
Usbeg Tartars, is sunk again into barbarism, to 
become, perhaps, more flourishing in future times. 

The posterity of Tamerlane still continue to reign 
in Hindostan, which is now called Mogul, a name 
it has retained from the Mogul Tartars, the fol- 
lowers of Genghis Khan, who preserved their con- 
quests in that country till the time of Tamerlane. 
Another branch of his race reigned in Persia, till 
they were driven out by another dynasty of Tar- 
tarian princes of the faction of the White Sheep, 
in 1468. 

And now, if we reflect that the Turks were also 
of Tartarian origin, and call to remembrance that 
Attila was descended from the same people, this will 
confirm what has been already observed, that the 
Tartars have made the conquest of almost the whole 
globe. The reason we have already seen. They had 
nothing to lose, and were the most robust and hardy 
of all other nations. But since the Oriental Tartars, 
after having made a second conquest of China in the 
last century, have formed only one empire of China 
and eastern Tartary; since the Russian empire has 
become more extensive and more civilized ; and, since 
the earth has been covered with ramparts and lined 
with artillery, we are no longer in dread of these 
prodigious emigrations. The civilized nations are 
secure from the irruptions of these Barbarians. All 

IO2 Ancient and Modern History. 

Tartary, excepting China, is now only the receptacle 
of a number of miserable tribes, who would esteem 
themselves happy to be conquered in their turn, were 
it not still more desirable to be free than to be 



CONSTANTINOPLE was once out of danger by the 
victory which Tamerlane gained over Bajazet ; but 
the successors of this sultan soon recovered their 
empire. The chief of Tamerlane's conquests were in 
Persia, Syria, India, Armenia, and part of Russia. 
The Turks quickly recovered Asia Minor, and kept 
all they had conquered in Europe. In those times 
there must certainly have been a more intimate cor- 
respondence, or at least not so great an aversion 
between the Mahometans and the Christians as there 
is at present. John Palseologus made no difficulty 
to give his daughter in marriage to Sultan Orcan; 
and Amurath II., grandson of Bajazet, and son of 
Mahomet I. very readily espoused Irene, daughter 
of a despot of Servia. 

Amurath II. was one of those Turkish princes 
who contributed to raise the grandeur of the Otto- 
man family; but he was far from being the dupe 
to that glare and pomp which awaited the success 
of his arms. His sole view was to secure a quiet 

Turks and Greeks. 103 

retreat. It was somewhat singular to see a Turkish 
monarch so much the philosopher as to lay down 
his crown; yet this he did twice, and as often was 
in a manner obliged to resume it, at the repeated 
entreaties of his pashas and janissaries. 

John Palaeologus made a journey to Rome to meet 
the council which Pope Eugenius IV. had assembled 
at Florence. There he held a disputation upon the 
procession of the Holy Ghost ; while the Venetians, 
who were already masters of one part of Greece, 
were purchasing Thessalonica, and the Christians 
and the Mahometans were dividing his empire 
between them. In the meantime, Amurath made 
himself master of Thessalonica, almost as soon as 
the Venetians had purchased it. The Venetians 
imagined they had sufficiently secured this country, 
and indeed provided for the defence of all Greece, 
by a wall eight hundred paces in length, in imitation 
of that built by the ancient Romans in the north of 
England. This might have been a sufficient defence 
against the incursions of a savage and undisciplined 
people, but availed little against the victorious arms 
of the Turkish militia. In short, they destroyed this 
wall, and pushed their invasion on all sides, into 
Greece, Dalmatia, and Hungary. 

The Hungarians had raised to their throne young 
Ladislaus IV., king of Poland. With this prince, 
Amurath II., after having prosecuted the war for 
some years in Hungary, Thrace, and all the adjacent 
countries, with varied success, in 1444, concluded the 

IO4 Ancient and Modern History. 

most solemn treaty of peace that had ever been 
made between the Christians and Mahometans. 
Amurath and Ladislaus took an oath to each other, 
the one on the Koran, and the other on the Gospels, 
by which the Turk on his side promised to push 
his conquests no farther, and even restored part of 
what he had taken. By this treaty the limits of the 
Ottoman possessions were settled as well as those 
of the Hungarians and Venetians. 

But Cardinal Julian Cesarini, the pope's legate 
in Germany, a man famous for his persecutions of 
the Hussites, for having been president of the Coun- 
cil of Basel at its first sitting, and for the crusade 
which he preached against the Turks, proved on this 
occasion, by his blind zeal, the cause of the greatest 
disgrace and misfortunes to the Christians. 

The treaty of peace was scarcely ratified when 
this cardinal endeavored to break it. He flattered 
himself with being able to engage the Venetians 
and Genoese to assemble a formidable fleet; and 
that the Greeks, roused from their long lethargy, 
would make one last effort for the preservation of 
their liberties. The opportunity was certainly favor- 
able; as it was at this very time that Amurath, 
relying on the faith of this treaty, had devoted 
himself to retirement, and had resigned the govern- 
ment to his son Mahomet, a young and inexperi- 
enced prince. 

Some pretext, however, was wanting for the vio- 
lation of this treaty on the side of the Christians. 

Turks and Greeks. 105 

Amurath had observed all the conditions of the 
peace with an exactness which left those who 
infringed it without an excuse. The legate there- 
fore had no other resource left but to persuade 
Ladislaus, the Hungarians, and Polish chiefs that 
it was lawful to violate their oath. For this purpose 
he harangued and wrote, and assured them that the 
peace which they had sworn upon the Gospels was 
of no effect, as having been done contrary to the 
inclination of the pope. In fact, Eugenius IV., the 
then pope, wrote to Ladislaus, commanding him in 
express terms, " To break a peace which could not 
lawfully be made without the knowledge of the 
holy see." We have already seen that they had 
introduced the maxim that no faith was to be kept 
with heretics. It was, therefore, concluded that no 
faith was to be kept with Mahometans. 

In just the same manner did ancient Rome break 
her truce with Carthage in the last Punic war. But 
there was a considerable difference between the two 
events. The infidelity of the Roman senate was 
the oppressive act of a conqueror; that of the 
Christians the effort of an oppressed people to 
throw off the yoke of usurpers. In fine, Julian 
prevailed ; and all the chiefs suffered themselves 
to be carried away by the torrent, especially John 
Corvinus Huniades, the famous Hungarian gen- 
eral, who so frequently engaged Amurath and 
Mahomet II. 

Ladislaus, seduced by false hopes, and a manner 

io6 Ancient and Modern History. 

of thinking which success alone can justify, invaded 
the sultan's territories. The janissaries upon this 
went in a body to beseech Amurath to quit his 
retirement, and put himself at their head, to which 
he consented; and the two armies met near the 
Pontus Euxinus, in that country now known by 
the name of Bulgaria, but which was then called 
Mcesia. The battle was fought near the city of 
Varna, in 1444. Amurath wore in his bosom the 
treaty of peace which he had concluded with the 
Christians, and which they had so lately infringed ; 
and holding it up in the midst of the crowd, at a 
time that he found his troops began to give way, he 
called aloud to God, beseeching Him to punish 
the perjured Christians, and revenge the insult 
offered to the laws of nations. This is what has 
given rise to the fabulous report, that the peace 
was sworn on the eucharist, and the host deposited 
in the hands of Amurath, and that it was to this 
host that he addressed himself in the day of battle. 
Perjury for this time met with the punishment it 
deserved. The Christians were defeated after an 
obstinate resistance. King Ladislaus, after receiving 
a number of wounds, had his head struck off by a 
janissary, who carried it in triumph through the 
ranks of the Turkish army; at this fatal sight the 
rout of the Christians became general. 

Amurath, after his victory, caused the body of 
Ladislaus to be buried in the field of battle, with 
all military honors. It is even said that he caused 

Scanderbeg. 107 

a pillar to be erected on his grave ; v;ith an inscrip- 
tion, which was so far from insulting his memory, 
that it extolled his courage, and lamented his mis- 

Some writers say that Cardinal Julian, who was 
present at this battle, endeavoring to cross a river 
in his flight, was drowned by the weight of gold 
which he carried about him. Others again say 
that he was slain by the Hungarians. It is certain 
that he perished on that day. 

But what is most remarkable is, that Amurath, 
after having gained this signal victory, betook him- 
self again to solitude ; and a second time abdicated 
the crown, which he was afterward obliged to 
resume, to go forth again to battle, and to con- 

At length he died in Adrianopolis, in 1451, leaving 
the empire to his son, Mahomet II., who strove 
rather to imitate his father's courage than his philos- 



ANOTHER warrior of no less fame, whom I know 
not whether to call an Osmanist or Christian, checks 
the progress of Amurath's arms, and for a long 
time becomes a rampart for the Christians against 
the victories of Mahomet II. The person I mean 

io8 Ancient and Modern History. 

is Scanderbeg, who was born in Albania, a province 
of Epirus, a country illustrious in the times we 
call heroic, and in those truly heroic ages of the 
Romans. His true name was John Castriot. He 
was the son of a despot or petty king of that country, 
that is to say, a vassal prince ; for this is the mean- 
ing of the word " despot ; " and it is surprising that 
the term " despotic " should have been applied to 
great sovereigns who had rendered themselves abso- 

After the death of old Castriot, and several years 
before the battle of Varna already mentioned, Sul- 
tan Amurath made himself master of Albania, while 
this John Castriot, who was the only survivor of 
four brothers, was yet a child. Amurath had him 
carefully brought up. The Turkish annals do not 
make the least mention of the three other princes 
having been put to death by Amurath; nor does 
it at all appear that such barbarity could agree with 
the character of a sultan who had twice resigned his 
crown; and it is as little probable that Amurath 
should have shown such tenderness and confidence 
for a person from whom he could expect no return 
but an implacable hatred. He loaded him with 
favors, and would always have him fight by his side. 
The young Castriot distinguished himself so greatly 
in several engagements, that the sultan and the 
janissaries gave him the name of Scanderbeg, which 
signifies Lord Alexander. 

At length, friendship getting the better of policy, 

Scanderbeg. 109 

Amurath entrusted him with the command of a 
small army against the despot of Servia, who had 
sided with the Christians and declared war against 
the sultan, his son-in-law. Scanderbeg, who was 
at that time barely twenty years of age, conceived 
the bold design of throwing off subjection, and 
reigning for himself. 

He knew that the secretary, who had the custody 
of the sultan's signet, was to pass near his camp. 
He caused him to be seized, loaded with chains, and 
compelled him to write, and put the sultan's seal to 
an order, enjoining the governor of Croia, the capital 
of Epirus, to deliver the town and citadel to Scander- 

After having despatched this order, he assassinated 
the secretary and all those of his train. He then, in 
1443, marched with all diligence to Croia, which the 
governor, without hesitation, delivered up to him. 
The same night he caused a body of Albanians, with 
whom he had held a private correspondence, to 
advance, who, entering the city, put the governor 
and his garrison to the sword, and afterward assisted 
Scanderberg in reducing all Albania. The Alban- 
ians are reckoned the best soldiers of those countries ; 
and Scanderbeg knew so well how to manage them, 
and to take advantage of the situation of that craggy 
and mountainous country, that, with a handful of 
troops, he effectually opposed the numerous armies 
of the Turks. 

The Mussulmans look upon him as a perfidious 

no Ancient and Modern History. 

wretch : but, after all, he only deceived his enemies. 
He recovered the possession of his father's crown, 
and deserved to wear it for his heroic courage. 



HAD the Greek emperors acted like Scanderbeg, the 
empire of the East might still have been preserved. 
But the same spirit of cruelty, weakness, discord, and 
superstition which had shaken it for such a length 
of time, now hastened its final overthrow. 

There were no less than three empires of the East, 
so called, when in reality there was but one. The 
city of Constantinople, which was in the hands of 
the Greeks ; Adrianople, the asylum of the Lascaris 
family, till taken by Amurath I., in 1362, and which 
has ever since belonged to the sultans ; and a barbar- 
ous province of the ancient Colchis, called Trebi- 
zond, which served for a retreat to the Comneni, was 
the third reputed empire. 

This dismembering of the empire was, as we have 
already observed, the only considerable effect pro- 
duced by the Crusades. Ravaged as it had been by 
the Franks, and retaken again by its former masters, 
only to undergo new desolation, it is surprising that 
it subsisted so long. There were two parties in 
Constantinople, bitter enemies to each other on the 
score of religion, as was nearly the case in Jerusa- 
lem, when that city was besieged by Vespasian and 

The Taking of Constantinople. 1 1 1 

Titus. One of these factions was for the emperor, 
who, through the vain hope of aid from the Latins, 
had consented to subject the Greek Church to that 
of Rome. The other was composed of the priests 
and the people, who, having fresh in their memories 
the invasion of the Crusaders, utterly abhorred the 
thoughts of a union of the two churches. While 
these two factions were taken up with their mutual 
bickerings and controversial disputes, the Turks 
appeared at their gates. 

John VII., surnamed Palaeologus, reigned in Con- 
stantinople twenty-seven years; and at his death, 
which happened in 1449, he left the empire in so 
weak a condition that one of his sons, called Con- 
stantine, was obliged to receive the confirmation of 
the imperial dignity from the Turkish sultan, Amu- 
rath II., as from his lord paramount. A brother of 
this Constantine had Lacedaemonia, another Corinth, 
and a third, all that part of Peloponnesus which did 
not belong to the Venetians. 

Such was the situation of the Greeks, when Maho- 
met Bouyouck, or the Great, succeeded Sultan 
Amurath, his father, for the second time. The 
monkish writers have described this prince as a 
senseless barbarian, who at one time cut off the 
head of his supposed mistress, Irene, to appease a 
sedition of the janissaries ; and at another, ordered 
fourteen of his pages to have their bellies ripped 
open, in order to discover which of them had eaten 
a melon that was missing. We still find some of 

112 Ancient and Modern History. 

these absurd stories in our biographical dictionaries, 
which have for a long time been little better than 
alphabetical registers of falsehoods. 

All the Turkish annals inform us that Mahomet 
was one of the best educated princes of his time. 
What we have already observed concerning his 
father, Amurath, sufficiently proves that he was not 
likely to neglect the education of a son who was to 
succeed him in the kingdom. Nor has it ever been 
denied that Mahomet behaved with all filial respect 
and duty, and without hearkening to the dictates of 
ambition, in cheerfully yielding the throne to his 
father when he wished to resume it. He twice 
returned to the degree of subject from that of king, 
without showing the least signs of discontent. This 
is an action unparalleled in history; and so much 
the more extraordinary, as Mahomet to an ambitious 
spirit added a fiery and impetuous disposition. 

He spoke the Greek, Arabian, and Persian lan- 
guages, understood Latin and designing, and knew 
as much of geography and mathematics as could be 
known in those times. He was fond of painting; 
and every lover of the liberal arts knows that he sent 
for the famous Gentili Bellino from Venice, and 
rewarded him, as Alexander did Apelles, not only 
with a pecuniary gratification, but with the indul- 
gence of his private friendship; he presented him 
with a golden crown and chain, and three thousand 
gold ducats ; and sent him home loaded with honors. 
And here I cannot help classing among the rank 

The Taking of Constantinople. 113 

of improbable tales, that of the slave whose head 
Mahomet is said to have cut off, to show Bellino the 
action of the skin and muscles in a neck separated 
from the trunk. These cruelties, though exercised 
by us upon animals, to answer certain purposes, are 
never practised by mankind on one another, unless 
in the heat of fury and revenge, or agreeable to 
the law of arms. Mahomet II. was frequently 
guilty of cruel and savage actions, like all other 
conquerors who have ravaged the earth; but why 
impute cruelties of so improbable a nature to him ; 
or wherefore take delight in multiplying horrid 
relations ? 

He was twenty-two years of age when he ascended 
the throne of the sultans, and immediately formed 
the design of placing himself on that of Constanti- 
nople, while this wretched city was running into 
religious factions about using leavened or unleav- 
ened bread, or praying in Latin or in Greek. 

In 1453, he began by blocking up the city on the 
side of Europe and Asia. At length, in the begin- 
ning of April, he covered the whole adjacent country 
with his troops, which the exaggerated relations of 
the writers of those times have made to amount to 
three hundred thousand, and entered the straits of 
Propontis with three hundred galleys and two hun- 
dred other smaller vessels. 

One of the most extraordinary and best attested 
facts, is the use which Mahomet made of a part of 

these vessels. As he could not enter the harbor 
Vol. 268 

114 Ancient and Modern History. 

of Constantinople, by reason of the great chains 
and booms which the enemy had laid across it 
and which from their advantageous situation, 
they were able to defend against all attempts, he, 
in one night's time, covered a space of nearly two 
leagues, on the shore, with deal planks besmeared 
with grease and tallow, and made in the form of a 
ship's cradle, and, with the help of engines and a 
prodigious number of men, he drew up eighty gal- 
leys and seventy of the smaller vessels, out of the 
water upon these planks, whence he launched them 
all into the harbor. And this amazing work was 
completed in the space of one night, so that the next 
morning the besieged were surprised with the sight 
of a large fleet of ships riding in the midst of their 
port. The same day he caused a bridge of boats to 
be built across the harbor in their sight, on which 
he raised a battery of cannon. 

Assuredly Constantinople must have been very 
deficient in artillery, or the artillery must have been 
very badly served. Else what prevented the 
besieged from beating this bridge of boats to pieces 
with their cannon? Rather doubtful is also what 
is said of Mahomet's making use of cannon that 
carried balls of two hundred pounds weight. The 
conquered always exaggerate matters. It is plain 
that one of these balls would require near a hundred- 
weight of powder to throw it to any distance. Now 
such a quantity of powder could never be fired all 
at once, and the ball would be discharged from the 

The Taking of Constantinople. 115 

cannon before the fifteenth part of the powder could 
take fire, consequently it would have very little 
effect. Perhaps the Turks might, through ignor- 
ance, have made use of such cannon, and through 
a like ignorance, the Greeks might be terrified at the 
appearance of them. 

In the beginning of May, the Turks began to 
make several assaults on that city, which thought 
itself the capital of the world. Constantinople was 
then very weakly fortified, and not better defended. 
The emperor, in conjunction with a cardinal of 
Rome, named Isidore, performed his devotions ac- 
cording to the Romish ritual, which at once exasper- 
ated and discouraged his Greek subjects, who would 
not so much as enter the churches which he fre- 
quented, declaring, " They had rather see a Turkish 
turban in their churches, than a cardinal's hat." 

In former times almost all the princes of Chris- 
tendom, under pretence of a holy war, had joined 
together to invade this metropolis and bulwark of 
the Christian world, and now that it was attacked by 
the enemies to the faith, not one stirred in its 

Emperor Frederick III. was neither sufficiently 
enterprising nor powerful to attempt anything for 
its relief. Poland was under too bad an administra- 
tion. France was but just recovered from the miser- 
able state to which she had been reduced by her wars 
at home, and those she had been engaged in against 
the English, England began to be divided and 

n6 Ancient and Modern History. . 

weak. The duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, 
was indeed a powerful prince, but he had too much 
understanding to revive the Crusades alone, and 
was too old to bear a share in such enterprises. 
The Italian princes were engaged in war with each 
other. The kingdoms of Aragon and Castile were 
not yet united, and a great part of Spain was still 
in the possession of the Moors. 

In short, there were but two sovereigns in Europe 
capable of encouraging Mahomet II. These were 
John Huniades, prince of Transylvania, who could 
hardly defend his own territories ; and the famous 
Scanderbeg, who had enough to do to keep posses- 
sion of the mountains of Epirus, like Pelagius Tudo- 
mer, heretofore in those of Asturias, when the 
Moors overran Spain. Four Genoese ships, of 
which one belonged to Emperor Frederick III., 
were almost all the assistance the Christian world 
could at that time afford Constantinople. This 
unfortunate city was commanded by a foreigner, 
whose name was Justiniani, a native of Genoa. An 
edifice reduced to such props must infallibly fall 
to ruin. The ancient Greeks never had a Persian 
for a chief, nor was the Roman republic ever 
headed by a Gaul. Constantinople, therefore, must 
necessarily be taken, and it was so; but in a man- 
ner entirely different from that we find related in 
all our authors, who have copied after Ducas and 

The Turkish annals, collected and digested by 

The Taking of Constantinople. 117 

the late Prince Demetrius Cantemir at Constan- 
tinople, inform us, that, after having sustained a 
siege of seven weeks, Emperor Constantine was 
at length obliged to capitulate; and that he sent 
Greek deputies to receive the laws the conqueror 
should please to impose on them. Several articles 
were agreed upon at this meeting : but, as the Greek 
envoys were returning to the city, Mahomet, who 
had something further to say to them, despatched a 
body of men to bring them back to his camp. The 
besieged, who from the walls beheld a large troop 
of armed Turks in full pursuit as they thought 
of their deputies, imprudently fired on them. This 
party was instantly joined by a much greater num- 
ber. The envoys got into the city by one of the 
posterns, and the Turks entered pell-mell with 
them, and soon made themselves masters of the 
upper town, which is separated from the lower. 
The emperor Constantine was killed in the crowd; 
and Mahomet thereupon turned the imperial palace 
into a palace for himself, and made the cathedral 
church of St. Sophia a Turkish mosque. 

Being thus master, by right of conquest, of one 
half of Constantinople, he had the humanity or 
policy to offer the same terms of capitulation to 
that part which still held out as he had proposed to 
grant to the whole city; and religiously observed 
his agreement. This fact is so true, that all the 
Christian churches of the lower town remained till 
the reign of his grandson Selim, who ordered 

1 1 8 Ancient and Modern History. 

several of them to be demolished. The Turks called 
them the mosques of Issevi, Issevi being the Turk- 
ish name for Jesus. The church of the Greek patri- 
arch still remains in Constantinople, on the canal 
of the Black Sea ; and the Ottoman emperors have 
permitted an academy to be founded in that quarter 
of the city where the modern Greeks teach the 
ancient language, now almost entirely disused, the 
Aristotelian philosophy, divinity, and physic: and 
in this school were educated Constantine Ducas, 
Maurocordatos, and Demetrius Cantemir, after- 
ward made princes of Transylvania by the Turks. 
I must acknowledge that Demetrius Cantemir 
abounds with a great number of old fabulous stories ; 
but he could not be deceived in relation to the 
modern monuments, which were before his eyes, 
nor the academy in which he himself was brought 

The Christians are still indulged with a church 
and one street in the city to themselves, in con- 
sideration of a Greek architect named Christobulus, 
whom Mahomet II. employed to build a new 
mosque on the ruins of the Holy Apostles, an ancient 
edifice built by the empress Theodora, wife of the 
emperor Justinian. This architect succeeded so well 
that his building proved little inferior in beauty to 
the famous mosque of St. Sophia. He was also 
employed by the sultan's orders in building eight 
public schools, and the same number of hospitals, 
all belonging to this mosque ; and, as a reward for 

The Taking of Constantinople. 119 

his services, the sultan granted him the street just 
mentioned, which still remains in the possession of 
his family. It may not perhaps appear a fact worthy 
a place in history, that an architect was rewarded 
with the grant of a street ; but it is of some impor- 
tance to know that the Turks do not always behave 
in that cruel and brutal manner to Christians which 
we are apt to imagine they do. Whole nations have 
been misled by the errors of historians : a number 
of Oriental writers have asserted that the Turks 
adored Venus, and denied the providence of a God. 
Grotius himself tells us after others, that Mahomet, 
the great false prophet of the Turks, had trained 
up a pigeon to fly to his ear, and made the people 
believe that it was the spirit of God who came to 
instruct him under that form ; and we find as many 
ridiculous stories related concerning the great con- 
queror, Mahomet II. 

One evident proof that Mahomet was a prince of 
more knowledge and policy than he is usually sup- 
posed to have been, and notwithstanding all that 
Cardinal Isidore and others may say to the contrary, 
is, that he allowed the conquered Christians the lib- 
erty of choosing their own patriarch ; he even per- 
formed the ceremony of installation himself, with 
the usual solemnities, and invested him with the 
crosier and ring, which the emperors of the West 
had not dared to do for a long time, and departed in 
no one point from the accustomed ceremony, unless 
it was in conducting the patriarch-elect, Gennadius, 

I2O Ancient and Modern History. 

to the gate of his palace, who told the sultan on 
this occasion that he was confounded at receiving 
an honor which no one of the Christian emperors 
had ever bestowed upon his predecessors. Since 
that time the Ottoman emperors have always made 
one patriarch, who is called the ecumenical patri- 
arch, and the pope another, who is called the Latin 
patriarch. Each of these patriarchs is taxed by the 
divan in a certain sum, which he pays as a ransom 
for his flock. The two churches, though groaning 
alike under the yoke of bondage, were still at irrec- 
oncilable enmity with each other; and the sultans 
were frequently obliged to interpose their authority, 
in order to put an end to their disputes ; thus becom- 
ing the moderators, as well as conquerors of the 

But the Turkish victors have not acted with 
regard to the Greeks as they did in the tenth and 
eleventh centuries by the Arabians, whose language, 
religion, and customs they adopted, after having 
conquered them. When the Turks subdued the 
Arabians, they were in most things utterly barbar- 
ous ; but when they made the conquest of the Greek 
Empire, the constitution of their government had 
been long formed. Besides, they had a veneration 
for the Arabians ; but they despised the Greeks, 
and never had any other intercourse with them than 
that of masters with their slaves, and still preserved 
the same customs and laws as at the time of their 
conquest. The body of Yenghi-Cheris, or janissa- 

The Taking of Constantinople. 121 

ries, was kept up in full vigor, to the number of 
forty-five thousand. The soldiers of no nation what- 
ever had such ample allowance as these janissaries : 
each oda, or captain, has always a purveyor, who 
supplies his troops with mutton, rice, butter, pulse, 
and bread in great plenty. 

The Turkish sultans have continued in Europe 
the ancient customs they practiced in Asia, that of 
rewarding their soldiers with fiefs for life, and 
some of them hereditary. They did not derive this 
custom from the Arabian caliphs, whom they con- 
quered, the Arabian government being founded on 
different principles. But it was always the custom 
of the western Tartars to divide the lands of the 
conquered, and this institution they established in 
Europe as early as the fifth century, an institution 
which necessarily attaches the conquerors to a coun- 
try which is become their inheritance; and those 
nations who mixed with them, such as the Lom- 
bards, the Franks, and the Ottomans, followed the 
same plan. Tamerlane carried this custom with 
him into the Indies, where we still find several very 
powerful lords of fiefs, under the titles of Omras, 
Rajas, and Nabobs. But the Ottomans gave only 
small portions of lands to their soldiery, and their 
zaimets and timariots are rather farms than lord- 
ships. This is a truly warlike institution; for if 
a zaim dies in the field, his children share his fief 
between them ; but if he dies at home, the beglerbeg, 
that is, the captain-general of the province, has a 

122 Ancient and Modern History. 

right of disposing of this military benefice. And 
these zaims and timars, like our ancient Franks, 
claim no privileges of title, jurisdiction, or nobility, 
but only according to the number of soldiers they 
furnish or bring into the field. 

From the same military school they take all their 
cadihs and mollahs, who are the common judges, 
as likewise the two cadi-leskers of Europe and Asia, 
who are judges of the provinces and armies, and 
who, under the mufti, have the care of the religion 
and laws. The mufti and the cadi-leskers have 
always been alike subject to the divan. The der- 
vishes, a kind of mendicant monks among the Turks, 
though grown more numerous of late, still preserve 
their ancient form. The custom of building cara- 
vansaries for the convenience of travellers, and 
schools and hospitals near all the mosques, still sub- 
sists. In a word, the Turks are in all things the 
same people they were, not only when they took 
Constantinople, but at their first coming into Europe. 



DURING a reign of thirty-one years, Mahomet II- 
proceeded from conquest to conquest, without any 
of the princes of Europe joining in league against 
him ; for we cannot give the name of league to the 
short alliance entered into between John Huniades, 
prince of Transylvania, the king of Hungary, and a 

Progress of the Turks. 123 

despot of Black Russia. This famous warrior, 
Huniades, gave proofs that, had he been better sup- 
ported, the Christians would never have lost all 
those territories which the Turks are now possessed 
of in Europe. Three years after the taking of Con- 
stantinople, he obliged Mahomet II. to raise the 
siege of Belgrade. 

At the same time also the Persians fell upon the 
Turks, and turned back that torrent which threat- 
ened to overflow all Christendom. Ussum Khan, 
surnamed the White Ram, a descendant of Tamer- 
lane, and governor of Armenia, had lately subdued 
Persia ; he now entered into alliance with the Chris- 
tians, and this first gave them the hint of uniting 
together against the common enemy: he married 
the daughter of David Comnenus, emperor of Treb- 
izond. It was held unlawful for Christians to marry 
their godmother or their cousin ; but we see that in 
Greece, Spain, and Asia they made no scruple of 
marrying with those of a contrary faith. 

The Tartar, Ussum Khan, son-in-law of the 
Christian emperor, Comnenus, attacked Mahomet 
near the Euphrates. This favorable opportunity 
for the Christians was again neglected, and they 
suffered Mahomet, after various successes, to make 
peace with the Persian, and afterward to become 
master of Trebizond, with a part of Cappadocia 
annexed to it; to turn his arms upon Greece, and 
take Negropont; then to march back toward the 
Black Sea and seize upon Caffa, the ancient Theo- 

124 Ancient and Modern History. 

dosia, rebuilt by the Genoese; and afterward to 
reduce Scutari, Zante, Cephalonia, and even to push 
his conquests as far as Trieste in the port of Venice, 
till at length he fixed the seat of Mahometan power 
in the midst of Calabria, whence he threatened all 
Italy, and where his lieutenants remained till some 
time after his death. Rhodes escaped his arms, but 
this did not make him less formidable to the rest of 
the West. 

He had conquered Epirus, after the death of Scan- 
derbeg. The Venetians had the courage to oppose 
his arms, for at this time their power was in its 
zenith; they had extensive territories on the main- 
land, their fleets braved those of Mahomet, and they 
even made themselves masters of Athens; but at 
length this republic, for want of being properly 
assisted, was obliged to give way, restore Athens, 
and purchase by annual tribute the liberty of trading 
in the Black Sea, hopiog to recover her losses by that 
commerce which had laid the first foundation of her 
grandeur; but not long after she sustained more 
injury from Pope Julius II. and almost every one 
of the Christian princes than she had done by all the 
power of the Ottoman arms. 

In the meantime, Mahomet II. turned his victor- 
ious arms against the Mameluke sultans of Egypt, 
while his lieutenants were employed in Naples; at 
length he flattered himself with making the con- 
quest of Rome, as He had done that of Constanti- 
nople ; and being told one day of the ceremony with 

Progress of the Turks. 125 

which the doge of Venice once a year espouses the 
Adriatic Sea, he made answer that he would 
quickly send him to the bottom of that sea to con- 
summate his nuptials. However, a violent fit of 
colic delivered the world from him, in 1481, at 
the age of fifty-one years. But the Ottomans have, 
nevertheless, remained in possession of a far more 
beautiful country in Europe than even the whole 
of Italy, and the birthplace of Leonidas, Miltiades, 
Alexander, Sophocles, and Plato sank beneath a 
barbarous yoke. From that time the Greek language 
became corrupted, and there remained hardly any 
traces of the arts ; for, although there was a Greek 
academy at Constantinople, it was certainly very 
different from that of Athens ; and the six thousand 
monks which the Ottoman sultans permit to live 
on Mount Athos, have as yet been unable to revive 
the liberal arts in this empire. Formerly this very 
city of Constantinople was under the protection of 
Athens, and the province of Chalcedonia was trib- 
utary to it; and the king of Thrace sued for the 
honor of being admitted as one of its citizens. At 
present the descendants of the old Tartars are mas- 
ters of these beautiful regions, and the name of 
Greece has become in a manner extinct. Neverthe- 
less, we shall always hold the little city of Athens 
in higher veneration than the Turkish power, were 
it to spread over the whole earth. 

The Greeks remained in a state of oppression, but 
not of slavery ; they were left the exercise of their 

126 Ancient and Modern History. 

religion and laws, and the Turks behaved to them 
as the Arabians had done to the people of Spain. 
The Greek families still continue to live peaceably 
in their native country, though in obscurity and 
contempt; they paid but a slight tribute, and 
employed themselves in trade and agriculture; 
their towns and villages still continued to have their 
Protogeros, who decided their differences, and their 
patriarch was supported in an honorable manner by 
them. He must have had a considerable revenue, 
since upon his installation he was obliged to pay four 
thousand ducats into the sultan's treasury, and a like 
sum to the officers of the Porte. 

The greatest mark of subjection the Greeks 
labored under was that of being obliged to furnish 
the sultans with a number of children to serve in 
their seraglios, or in their janissary militia. Every 
father of a family was obliged to give one of his 
sons, or purchase his freedom with a fine. There 
are still certain Christian provinces in Europe where 
it is an established custom to set apart one of their 
children from the birth, to carry arms. The chil- 
dren given to the Turkish sultans were brought up 
in the seraglio, where they frequently made very 
great fortunes. Nor was their condition among 
the janissaries to be despised. It is a strong proof 
of the force of education, and of the extraordinary 
changes in this world, that most of these haughty 
enemies to the Christian name, were born of 
oppressed Christians; and a still more lively proof 

Progress of the Turks. 127 

of that invincible fatality by which the Supreme 
Being links together all the events of the universe, 
is that the emperor Constantine should have built 
Constantinople for the Turks, as Romulus had so 
many ages before laid the foundation of the Capitol 
for the heads of the Christian Church. 

And here I think myself obliged to refute one false 
notion, namely, that the Turkish government is of 
that absurd form called despotic! that the people 
are all slaves to their sultans; that they have no 
property of their own, but are in their lives and 
fortunes wholly at the mercy of their masters. Such 
an administration must necessarily destroy itself. 
It would be very extraordinary that the conquered 
Greeks should not be slaves, and that their con- 
querors should. Some travellers have supposed that 
a sultan was lord of all the lands in his empire, 
because he disposed of certain timariots (or estates 
for life), as the kings of France formerly bestowed 
military fiefs ; but these gentlemen should consider 
that there are laws of inheritance in Turkey as well 
as in all other countries. 

It is true that all the movable effects belonging 
to a pasha at the time of his demise fall to the sultan, 
who usually gives a part of them to his family; 
but it was an established custom in Europe at the 
time when fiefs were not hereditary, and long after, 
for bishops to inherit the movables of the inferior 
clergy ; and the popes claimed the same right on 
the estates of cardinals, and all others possessed of 

1 28 Ancient and Modern History. 

church livings, who died within the residence of the 
chief pontiff. 

The Turks are not only all of them free, but they 
have not even the distinction of nobility among them, 
and are strangers to any other superiority than that 
of employ in the state. 

They are in their manners at once fierce, haughty, 
and effeminate; their ferocity they derive from 
their ancestors, the Scythians, and their effeminacy 
from Greece and Asia. Their pride is beyond all 
bounds. They are conquerors and they are igno- 
rant ; this makes them despise all other nations. 

The form of the Ottoman government is not like 
that of France and Spain, monarchial and gently 
authoritative; it still less resembles that of Ger- 
many, which in length of time has become a republic 
of princes and cities, under one supreme head called 
an emperor. It has nothing of the Polish form of 
administration, where the peasants are all slaves, and 
the nobles kings. Lastly, it is as different from that 
of England in its constitution as in its climate. 

And yet we are not to imagine that it is altogether 
an arbitrary government, where the law permits a 
single person to sacrifice the lives of thousands to 
his caprice, like so many beasts kept in a park for his 

We are apt, through prejudice, to believe that 
a chiaoux may go with a staff in his hand, and 
demand, in the name of the sultan, of the master of 
a family, all the money he has by him, and his 

Progress of the Turks. 129 

daughters, for the use of his master. There are 
doubtless several horrible abuses in the Turkish 
administration: but in general these abuses are 
much less fatal to the people than to those who 
have a share in the government; for these chiefly 
feel the weight of the despotic authority. The pri- 
vate sentence of a divan is sufficient to strike off 
the heads of the greatest officers of state on the most 
trifling suspicions, there being no supreme court 
established in this country to enforce a respect for 
the laws and the person of the anointed sovereign; 
no barrier opposed in the constitution of the state 
to the injustice or maladministration of a vizier; 
therefore few resources for the subject, when 
oppressed, or the monarch when resisted; and this 
prince, who passes for the most powerful in the 
world, is of all others the least firmly settled on 
his throne. The revolution of a single day is fre- 
quently sufficient to snatch the crown from him; 
and in this the Turks have imitated the manners 
of the Greek Empire which they conquered, only 
they have more respect for the Ottoman family 
than the Greeks had for that of their emperors; 
they depose, they murder their sultan, but it is 
always in favor of the nearest relative; the Greek 
Empire, on the contrary, has passed by assassina- 
tions into twenty different families. 

The fear of being deposed is a stronger curb upon 
the Turkish sultan than all the laws of the Koran ; 
and, though absolute master in his own seraglio, 
Vol. 269 

130 Ancient and Modern History. 

and of the lives of all his officers by means of the 
mufti's fetfa, he cannot alter the customs of the 
empire, he cannot increase the taxes, nor can he 
touch the public money ; he has his private treasury 
entirely distinct and apart from the public one. 

The condition of sultan is, in general, the most 
indolent upon earth, as that of grand vizier is the 
most laborious. The minister is obliged to act at 
the same time as constable, chancellor, and chief 
president, and the reward for all his labors is fre- 
quently exile or the bowstring. 

The office of pasha is altogether as dangerous, 
and many pashas are known to have ended their 
days by a violent death. But all this only proves 
that the people in Turkey had contracted a habit 
of cruelty and fierceness, the same as prevailed for 
a considerable time among the Christians them- 
selves throughout Europe, when so many heads were 
lost upon the scaffold ; when La Brosse, the favor- 
ite of St. Louis, was hanged ; when the prime minis- 
ter, Laguette, died upon the rack in the reign of 
Charles the Fair; when Charles de la Cerda, con- 
stable of France, was put to death by King John 
without form of trial ; when Angueran de Marigni 
was hanged upon the same gallows which he himself 
had ordered to be erected at Montfaucon; and the 
dead body of the prime minister, Montaign, was 
carried and hung on the same gibbet; in a word, 
when the grand master of the Knights Templars 
expired in the midst of the flames, and numberless 

Progress of the Turks. 131 

cruelties of the same kind were common in monarch- 
ial governments. We should greatly deceive our- 
selves then, if we were to suppose that those 
barbarities were the effects of absolute power. There 
never was any one of the Christian potentates des- 
potic, nor is the grand seignior so. Several sultans, 
as Mahomet II., Selim, and Solyman, have indeed 
made the laws give way to their wills. But how 
few conquerors meet with contradiction from their 
subjects? In a word, our historians have grossly 
imposed upon us in representing the Ottoman 
Empire as a government whose essence is despotism. 

Count de Marsigli, who knows more of the matter 
than any of them, expresses himself thus : " In 
almost all our histories we find the authority exer- 
cised by the sultans represented as highly despotic; 
but how distant is this from the truth ! " " The 
janissary militia," adds he, " which they call ' Capi- 
culi,' and which always resides in Constantinople, 
has by its laws the power of imprisoning the sultan, 
and even of putting him to death, and appointing a 
successor." A little farther on he says that the grand 
seignior is frequently obliged to consult the political 
and military part of the state before he can make 
war or peace. 

Neither are the pashas so absolute in their prov- 
inces as we in general believe, but depend upon their 
divan. The chief citizens have a right to complain 
of their conduct, and present their remonstrances 
to the great divan of Constantinople. In fine, Mar- 

132 Ancient and Modern History. 

sigli concludes by giving the Turkish government 
the title of a democracy. It is such in fact, and much 
resembles that of Tunis and Algiers. These mighty 
sultans then, whom the common people dare not look 
upon (and those persons are not to be approached 
but with a submission which seems to border upon 
adoration), these sultans, I say, have only the exte- 
rior of despotism, and are really absolute no longer 
than they can safely exercise that fury of arbitrary 
power which seems born with all men. Louis XL, 
Henry VIIL, and Sextus V. were as despotic princes 
as any sultan. 

If we were to examine in the same manner into 
the secrets of the sovereign authority in the other 
kingdoms of Asia, which are still in a manner 
unknown to us, we should find much less despotism 
in the world than we in general imagine. Even in 
Europe we have seen princes, the vassals of other 
princes not absolute, assume a greater degree of 
arbitrary power in their own dominions than was 
ever exercised by the emperors of Persia or India: 
and yet it would be erroneous to suppose that the 
dominions of such princes were by their constitu- 
tion essentially despotic. 

All the histories of modern nations, excepting 
perhaps those of England and Germany, have given 
us false notions of things ; because they have rarely 
distinguished between times and persons, abuses 
and laws, accidental events and established cus- 

Progress of the Turks. 133 

We should again be deceived, if we were to look 
upon the Turkish government as a uniform admin- 
istration, and that every day the sultan can, from his 
seraglio, by his courtiers, despatch the same orders 
to all the different provinces in his dominions. This 
vast empire, which has been formed at different 
times, and by successive victories, and which we 
shall find continually increasing till the eighteenth 
century, is composed of a thousand different nations, 
all different in language, religion, and customs. 
They are Greeks from ancient Ionia, the coasts 
of Asia Minor and Achaia, inhabitants of ancient 
Colchis, and of the Taurica Chersonesus ; they 
are Getae become Christians, known by the names 
of Wallachians and Moldavians; they are Arabs, 
Armenians, Bulgarians, Illyrians, and Jews; 
lastly, they are Egyptians, and the descendants from 
the people of ancient Carthage, whom we shall pres- 
ently see swallowed up by the Ottoman power. 
And all these different nations have been conquered 
and kept in subjection by the Turkish militia alone. 
They are all governed differently : some have princes 
set over them, who are nominated by the Porte; 
such as Wallachia, Moldavia, and Crimea. The 
Greeks live under a municipal government, depend- 
ent upon a pasha. The number of the conquered 
is immense, if compared with that of the victors ; 
for there are but very few natural-born Turks ; none 
of these follow agriculture, and a very inconsider- 
able number apply themselves to the arts. It may 

134 Ancient and Modern History. 

be said of them, as Virgil heretofore said of the 
Romans, " Their art is to conquer and command." 
The chief difference between the Turkish and the 
ancient Roman conquerors is, that Rome incorpo- 
rated all the nations she conquered, whereas the 
Turks always keep themselves separate from those 
they have subdued, and in the midst of whom they 

There remained indeed three hundred thousand 
Greeks in Constantinople, after that city was taken ; 
but these were only artificers or tradesmen, who 
worked for their new masters, a people wholly under 
subjection in their own capital, and not permitted 
even to dress like the Turks. 

To this observation let me add another, namely, 
that this vast tract of country, from the Archipelago 
to the Euphrates, was conquered by one single 
power; whereas, the united powers of twenty 
potentates in the Crusades, with more than twenty 
times the number of forces, were not able, after 
the labors of two whole centuries, to establish one 
lasting state in these same countries. 

Ricault, who resided a considerable time in Tur- 
key, attributes the lasting power of the Ottoman 
Empire to something supernatural. He cannot other- 
wise conceive that this government, which depends 
so frequently upon the caprice of the janissaries, 
could have supported itself against the turbulency 
of its own soldiers and the attacks of its enemies. 
But to this we may reply that the Roman Empire 

Progress of the Turks. 135 

supported itself five hundred years in Rome, and 
nearly fourteen centuries in the Levant, in the midst 
of seditions and tumults ; and though the imperial 
succession has been frequently changed, the throne 
has still remained the same. Now the Turks have 
a veneration for the Ottoman race, which is to them 
a fundamental law that they can never think of 
violating: the government has been frequently 
wrested out of the hands of the sultan ; but, as we 
have already remarked, it never passes into a strange 
family. The constitution itself has nothing to fear, 
though the monarch and his viziers are frequently 
made to tremble. 

Hitherto this empire has defied all foreign inva- 
sions. The Persians have rarely penetrated into the 
Turkish frontiers: on the contrary, we shall see 
Sultan Amurath IV. taking Bagdad from the Per- 
sians by assault, in 1638, remaining still master of 
Mesopotamia, and at the same time assisting the 
grand mogul with one army against the Persians, 
while threatening Venice with another. The Ger- 
mans never yet showed themselves at the gates of 
Constantinople, as the Turks have at those of 
Vienna: and it is only since the reign of Peter the 
Great, that the Russians became formidable to 
Turkey. In fine, force and cruelty first established 
the Ottoman Empire, and the divisions of the Chris- 
tians have helped to support it. There is nothing 
in all this but what is natural. We shall see how 
this empire augmented its power, and persevered 

136 Ancient and Modern History. 

for a long time in its ferocity of manners, which 
at length began to grow somewhat milder. 



WHEN the authority of Charles VII. began to be 
established in France by the expulsion of the Eng- 
lish, the annexing of a number of provinces to the 
crown, and the perpetual subsidies granted him, the 
feudal government was soon extinguished in that 

From the contrary reason the feudal order was 
strengthened in Germany, the emperors being elec- 
tive, and as such destitute of either provinces or 
supplies. Italy was still divided into independent 
republics and principalities; absolute power was 
wholly unknown in Spain, and in the North; and 
England, in the midst of her divisions, began to lay 
the foundation of that extraordinary government, 
which through the most violent and bloody opposi- 
tion, has in a course of ages produced that happy 
mixture of liberty and royalty which is the admira- 
tion of all nations. 

There were at this time in France only the two 
great fiefs of Burgundy and Brittany: but these, 
by their great power, were entirely independent; 
and, notwithstanding the feudal laws, they were 
never considered by the other powers of Europe as 
making any part of the kingdom of France: and 



Louis XI. 137 

Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, expressly stipu- 
lated with Charles VII., at the time that he forgave 
him the murder of his father, Duke John, that he was 
not to do him homage for his dukedom. 

The princes of the blood in France had appa- 
nages in peerage, but subject to the jurisdiction of 
the high court of parliament. The lords, though 
still possessed of great privileges in their own terri- 
tories, had not as formerly any power in the state; 
and there was only the count of Foix on the other 
side the Loire who had the title of " Prince by the 
grace of God," with a privilege of coining money; 
but the lords of fiefs, and the corporations of large 
cities had immense privileges. 

Louis XL, son of Charles VII. , became the first 
absolute king in Europe, after the decline of the 
Charlemagne family; and he did not arrive at the 
peaceable enjoyment of this power till after many 
violent struggles. His life is one great contrast, 
and it is certainly meant to humble and confound 
virtue that he has been held up as a great king : he 
whom all historians paint as a most unnatural son, 
a barbarous brother, a bad father, and a perfidious 
neighbor! He embittered the last years of his 
father's life; nay, he was the cause of his death; 
for everyone knows that the unhappy Charles VII. 
died through fear that his son should put him to 
death: that is to say, he chose to abstain from all 
food rather than run the risk of swallowing the 
poison that he apprehended his son intended for him. 

138 Ancient and Modern History. 

Such an apprehension in a parent is alone sufficient 
to prove that he deemed his son capable of the crime. 

After a careful review of the whole conduct of 
Louis XI., may we not represent him to ourselves 
as a man who frequently strove to disguise indolence 
by low artifice, and uphold treachery by cruelty? 
Otherwise, how came it to pass that in the very 
beginning of his reign, so many of the great noble- 
men who had been in his father's interest, and espe- 
cially the famous Count de Dunois, whose sword 
had so often kept the crown on his head, combined 
against him in the " League for the Public Good " ? 
They did not take advantage of the weakness of the 
royal authority, as had so frequently been done 
before: but Louis had abused his power. It is 
plain that the father, made wise by his faults and his 
misfortunes, governed very well ; and that his son, 
intoxicated with power, began his government very 

This league put him in danger of his crown and 
life. The battle of Montlhery, in 1465, decided little 
or nothing in his favor; and he had no other way 
left to break the league than by granting each of the 
confederates what he pleased to demand : so that his 
very dexterity in this affair was a proof of his weak- 

Without the least reason he made himself an 
irreconcilable enemy in Charles, duke of Burgundy, 
son of Philip the Good, at that time master of Bur- 
gundy, Franche-Comte, Flanders, Artois, many 

Louis XI. 139 

towns on the Somme, and Holland, by stirring up 
the people of Liege to an act of perfidy against the 
duke, and afterward to take up arms against him. 
At the same time he put himself into his hands at 
Peronne, thinking by that behavior to deceive him 
the more effectually. Could there be worse policy? 
He was defeated, in 1468, and saw himself a pris- 
oner in the castle of Peronne, and obliged to march 
after his vassal against these very people whom he 
had stirred up to revolt. Could there be a greater 

He feared his brother, the duke of Berri, and this 
prince was poisoned by a Benedictine monk, his con- 
fessor, whose name was Favre Vesois. This is not 
one of those doubtful acts taken upon trust by the 
malice or envy of mankind. The duke of Berri was 
at supper with the lady of Montforau, his mistress, 
and this confessor; the latter ordered a fish of an 
extraordinary size to be served up at table. The 
lady expired immediately after eating, and the prince 
died some time after, in the most excruciating con- 

Odet Daidie, a brave nobleman, determined to 
avenge the death of the duke, to whom he had been 
particularly attached, conveyed the murderer into 
Brittany, where being out of Louis's power, he was 
fairly tried ; but on the day that he was to receive 
his sentence he was found dead in his bed. Louis, 
to quiet the public clamor, ordered the papers relat- 
ing to the trial to be sent him. and appointed 

140 Ancient and Modern History. 

commissioners to examine into the truth of the accu- 
sation. After several deliberations, they resolved 
upon nothing, and the king loaded them with fav- 
ors. It was not in the least doubted in Europe that 
Louis was guilty of this murder, who when dauphin, 
had put his own father, Charles VII., in fear of his 
life. History should not accuse him of this crime 
without proof; but it may lament that he gave 
reason for the suspicion, and should especially 
remark, that every prince who is guilty of an avowed 
crime, deserves all the rash judgments which may 
be made of his actions. 

Such was the conduct of Louis XI. with respect 
to his vassals and his relatives. Let us now see what 
it was to his neighbors. Edward IV., king of Eng- 
land, makes a descent in France, hoping to recover 
some part of his predecessor's conquests. Louis was 
in a condition to give him battle, but he chose rather 
to become his tributary. In 1475 ne gained over 
some of the chief officers in the English army, and 
made presents of wine to all the common soldiers. 
In fine, he purchased the retreat of this army by his 
liberalities. Would it not have been more worthy 
a king of France to have employed this money in 
putting his kingdom in a posture of defence than in 
bribing an enemy whom he feared, and whom he 
should not have feared? 

Noble minds boldly choose their favorites from 
persons of illustrious birth, and their ministers from 
those of approved capacity; but Louis's confidants 

Louis XI. 141 

and ministers were born among the dregs of the 
people, and their sentiments were still meaner than 
their birth. 

Few tyrants ever put a greater number of citizens 
to death by the hands of the executioner, or under 
more studied torments than this prince ; the chron- 
icles of those times reckon no less than four thou- 
sand public and private executions in the course of 
his reign; and the only monuments he has left 
behind him are the dungeons, iron cages, and instru- 
ments of torture with which he harassed his 
wretched subjects, and which posterity looks upon 
with terror. 

It is surprising that Father Daniel hardly mentions 
the punishment inflicted on James d'Armagnac, duke 
of Nemours, the known descendant of King Clovis. 
The circumstances and manner of his death, in 1477, 
the distribution of his estate, and the confinement 
of his young children during the lifetime of Louis 
XL, are melancholy and interesting objects of curi- 

We do not exactly know the nature of this prince's 
crime: he was tried by commissioners, which gives 
room to imagine that he was not really culpable. 
Some historians idly impute to him the design of 
seizing the king's person and killing the dauphin. 
But such an accusation is hardly to be credited ; for 
how could a petty prince, who had taken refuge at 
the foot of the Pyrenees, think of seizing Louis XL 
in a time of profound peace, and when that monarch 

142 Ancient and Modern History. 

was at the zenith of his power, and in full exercise 
of absolute authority in his kingdom! The notion 
of killing the dauphin, who was then an infant, and 
preserving the father, is another of those extrava- 
gant projects which could never have entered into 
the mind of a statesman. All that we can find well 
attested in relation to this affair is, that Louis had 
the utmost hatred to the Armagnac family ; that he 
caused the duke of Nemours to be seized at Carlat in 
1477; that he confined him in an iron cage in the 
Bastille ; and that, having drawn up the articles of 
his impeachment with his own hand, he sent judges 
to try him, among whom was that famous traitor, 
Philip de Comines, who having long sold the secrets 
of the house of Burgundy to the king, engaged after- 
ward openly in the French service, and whose 
memoirs are still in great esteem, though written 
with all the caution of a courtier who was afraid 
of declaring the truth, even when Louis was no 

The king ordered the duke of Nemours to be 
examined in his iron cage, after which he was put to 
the torture, and received sentence of death. He was 
then led to confession in a hall hung with black: 
confession began at that time to be considered as a 
favor granted to condemned criminals : and mourn- 
ing hangings were used only for princes. It was 
in this manner that Conradin had been formerly 
executed at Naples, and that Mary Stuart of Scot- 
land was afterward treated in England. 

Louis XI. 143 

But here Louis XL put in practice a thing hitherto 
unknown in any country: he caused the duke's 
young children to be placed under the scaffold 
erected for their father's execution, that they might 
receive his blood upon them, with which they went 
away all covered; and in this condition were con- 
ducted to the Bastille in wooden cages, made in 
the form of horse-panniers, where the confinement 
their bodies suffered put them to perpetual torture. 
In short, the unheard-of tortures these unhappy 
princes suffered would be incredible, were they not 
well attested by the petition which they presented 
to the estates in 1483, after the death of Louis XL 

Never were honor and integrity less regarded 
than during this reign. The judges were not 
ashamed to divide among themselves the possession 
of those whom they condemned. 

Amidst the barbarity and ferocity of manners 
which distinguished the times preceding these, some 
heroic actions now and then broke forth. The reign 
of Charles VII. had its Dunois, its La Trimouille, its 
Clisson, its Richemont, its Saintraille, its La Hire, 
and many magistrates of approved merit ; but dur- 
ing the reign of Louis XL there appeared not one 
great man. He had utterly debased the whole 
nation; virtue was extinct, and servile obedience 
was the only merit, till at length the people grew 
easy under their burden, like wretches condemned 
to the galleys for life. 

But with all this cruelty and craft Louis had two 

144 Ancient and Modern History. 

predominant passions, which one would imagine 
should have humanized his manners; these were 
love and devotion. He had mistresses, he had bas- 
tards, and he performed pilgrimages; but his love 
was consistent with the rest of his character; and 
his devotion was only the superstitious fear of a 
timorous and bewildered mind. He always went 
covered with relics, and constantly wore a leaden 
figure of the Virgin Mary in his hat, of which it 
is said he used to ask pardon for his murders before 
he committed them. He made a deed of the earl- 
dom of Bologne to the Holy Virgin. True piety 
does not consist in making the Virgin Mary a coun- 
tess, but in refraining from those actions which our 
consciences condemn, and which God seldom fails 
to punish. 

He introduced the Italian custom of ringing a bell 
at noon, when everyone was to say an Ave Maria. 
He asked permission of the pope to wear the sur- 
plice and the amusse, and to be a second time 
anointed with the holy oil of Rheims. 

At length, being sensible of the approach of 
death, he shut himself up in the castle of Plessis- 
les-Tours, in 1403, and, inaccessible to everyone, sur- 
rounded by guards, and a prey to the most bitter 
reflections, he sent for a hermit of Calabria, called 
Francisco Martorillo, since adored as a saint under 
the name of St. Francisco de Paulo, and throwing 
himself at his feet, entreated him with a flood of 
tears, to intercede with God that his life might be 

Louis XI. 145 

prolonged; as if the voice of a Calabrian friar in 
a village of France could arrest the ordinance of 
God, or preserve a weak and perverse soul in a 
wornout body, contrary to the rules of nature. 
While he was thus begging for life of a foreign 
hermit, he thought to recruit the weak remains that 
were left by drinking the blood of young children, 
fondly imagining to correct thereby the acrimony 
of his own. 

Certainly no one could experience a more melan- 
choly situation than to be in the midst of power 
and prosperity, the continual victim of uneasiness, 
remorse, fear, and the shame of being universally 

And yet he was the first of the kings of France 
who took and used the title of Most Christian King ; 
at about the same time as Ferdinand of Aragon, as 
famous for his perfidies as his conquests, took that 
of Catholic. 

Notwithstanding his many vices, Louis had some 
good qualities. He was valiant and liberal : he was 
Arell acquainted with men and things : he would have 
justice executed; and no one but himself dared to 
be unjust. 

When Paris had been laid waste by a plague, it 
was repeopled through his care; on this occasion 
indeed he received a number of robbers and free- 
booters, but the severity of his administration soon 
made them good citizens. In his time this city con- 
tained eighty thousand burghers able to bear arms. 
Vol. 2610 

146 Ancient and Modern History. 

To him the people were first indebted for the lower- 
ing of the power of the grandees. This made about 
fifty thousand families murmur against him; but 
it procured, or should have procured him, the bless- 
ings of above five hundred thousand. 

He it was who established the posts, though 
not on the same footing as they now are in Europe. 
He only revived the veredarii of Charlemagne, and 
the ancient Roman Empire. He kept two hundred 
and thirty couriers, at his own expense, to carry his 
orders incessantly through the kingdom. Private 
persons had the use of the horses belonging to these 
couriers, on paying ten sols per horse for every 
journey of thirty leagues. Letters were delivered 
from town to town by the king's couriers. This 
branch of police was for a long time unknown in 
France. He also endeavored to establish one stand- 
ard for weights and measures throughout the 
kingdom, as had been done in the time of Charle- 
magne. In a word, he proved that a bad man may 
be a public benefactor when his private interest is 
not against it. 

The taxes in the reign of Charles VII., inde- 
pendent of the royal demesnes, amounted to seven- 
teen hundred thousand livres of that currency. In 
the reign of Louis XI. they were four and a half 
millions of livres, which, at ten livres to the mark, 
will make twenty-three and a half millions of our 
present currency. Now, if we examine the price of 
commodities according to this proportion, especially 

Louis XI. 147 

corn, which is the principal one, we shall find that 
they were not worth above one-half of what they 
are at present : so that with twenty-three and a half 
millions, the government then answered all the pur- 
poses for which it is at present obliged to expend 

Such was the condition of the French power 
before Burgundy, the Franche-Comte, Artois, the 
territory of Boulogne, the cities on the Somme, 
Provence, and Anjou, were annexed to the mon- 
archy of Louis XI. This kingdom soon afterward 
became the most powerful in Europe, and might be 
compared to a river swelled by a thousand lesser 
streams, and cleared from the mud and weeds which 
had so long interrupted its course. 

Titles at this time first began to be given to 
power. Louis XL was the first king of France who 
had the title of Majesty given him, which before was 
only given to the emperor, and which the German 
chancery has never granted to any king even to this 
day. The kings of Aragon, Castile, and Portugal 
had the title of Highness. The king of England 
was styled Your Grace : and Louis XI. might have 
been called Your Despotship. 

We have now seen by what a series of fortunate 
crimes he came to be the first absolute king in 
Europe since the establishment of the great feudal 
government. Ferdinand the Catholic could never 
attain this power in Aragon. Isabella had the 
address to work the minds of her Castilians to pas- 

148 Ancient and Modern History. 

sive obedience, but she never reigned absolute. 
Every state, every province, every city through- 
out Europe had its particular privileges ; the feudal 
lords often opposed these privileges, and the kings 
frequently attempted to subject both the feudal lords 
and the cities to their obedience ; but neither of them 
accomplished it till Louis XL, and he only, by spill- 
ing the blood of Armagnac and Luxembourg on the 
scaffold, sacrificing everything to his vengeance, and 
paying dearly for the execution of his vile purposes. 
Isabella of Castile managed with more cunning and 
less cruelty; for instance, how did she act when 
wanting to unite the duchy of Placentia to her own 
crown? By means of insinuations and money she 
excited the vassals of the duke of Placentia to revolt 
against him. They accordingly assemble, and 
demand to be admitted as vassals of Queen Isabella, 
and she, out of complaisance, complies with their 

Louis XL, at the same time that he increased his 
power over his subjects by his rigorous adminis- 
tration, enlarged his kingdom by his industry and 
application to public business. He procured the 
county of Provence in legacy from its last sover- 
eign count, and thus deprived the empire of a feuda- 
tory, as Philip of Valois had done with regard to 
Dauphiny. He annexed Anjou and Maine, which 
belonged to this count, to the crown of France ; and 
thus, by skill, money, and good fortune, did the 
kingdom of France, which from the reign of Hugh 

Burgundy. 149 

Capet had been of little or no consideration, and 
which had been almost finally destroyed by the Eng- 
lish, become a considerable state. The same good 
fortune procured it the addition of Burgundy; and 
the faults of the last duke restored to the state this 
province which the imprudence of its kings had 
separated from it. 



CHARLES THE RASH, who was descended in a right 
line from John, king of France, held the duchy of 
Burgundy as an appanage of his house, together 
with the cities upon the Somme, which had been 
ceded to his family by Charles VII. He was also 
possessed by right of succession of the Franche- 
Comte, Artois, Flanders, and almost all Holland. 
His cities in the Low Countries were in a flourish- 
ing condition, by means of their extensive commerce, 
which almost equalled that of Venice ; Antwerp was 
the staple of the northern nations, the town of Ghent 
employed fifty thousand workmen in their woollen 
manufactory, Bruges had as great a trade as Ant- 
werp, and Arras was then famous for those fine 
hangings which still go by its name in Germany, 
England, and Italy. 

It was then customary for princes to sell their 
dominions when they were in want of money, as a 

150 Ancient and Modern History. 

private person now sells his house, or his estate. 
This custom took place after the Crusades; Ferdi- 
nand, king of Aragon, sold Roussillon to Louis XI., 
with right of redemption; Charles, duke of Bur- 
gundy, had lately purchased the province of Guel- 
ders, and a duke of Austria had sold him all the 
demesnes he possessed in Alsace, and the neighbor- 
hood of Switzerland. This acquisition was worth 
much more than Charles gave for it, who now saw 
himself in possession of a state which reached from 
the banks of the Somme to the gates of Strasburg; 
he had nothing to do therefore but to enjoy his good 
fortune. Few kings in Europe were so powerful 
as himself, and not one more rich or magnificent; 
but he wished to erect his state into a kingdom 
which might one day have proved very prejudicial 
to France. To effect this, nothing more was neces- 
sary than to purchase a diploma of the Emperor 
Frederick III., the custom being still preserved of 
asking the title of king of the emperors, as a kind 
of homage paid to the ancient Roman Empire. 
Charles, however, failed in this negotiation; but as 
he designed to add Lorraine and Switzerland to his 
dominions, he was sure that if he succeeded he 
might make himself king without the permission of 

He took no pains to disguise his ambition, and 
this procured him the surname of the Rash. We 
may form an idea of his haughtiness by his manner 
of receiving the deputies from Switzerland, in 1474. 

Burgundy. 151 

The writers of that country affirm that he obliged 
them to address him upon their knees. This is a 
strange contradiction in the manners of a free nation 
which soon after became his conquerors. 

The foundation of the duke of Burgundy's preten- 
sions to this homage to which the Helvetic body 
submitted, was as follows : Several Swiss villages 
were situated in the midst of the demesnes which he 
had purchased of the duke of Austria, and he 
thought when he made this purchase, that he bought 
these people likewise as slaves : the deputies of the 
commons always addressed the king of France upon 
the knee, and the duke of Burgundy had always 
kept up the etiquette of the chiefs of his house. We 
have elsewhere observed that several kings, after the 
example of the emperor, had insisted on the cere- 
mony of the bended knee when spoken to, or pre- 
sented with anything; and that this custom, which 
came originally from Asia, had been introduced by 
Constantine, and before him by Diocletian. Hence 
came the custom, that a vassal should do homage 
to his lord by kneeling with both knees upon the 
ground, and likewise the custom of kissing the pope's 
feet. This is the history of human vanity. 

Philip of Comines, and the crowd of historians 
that followed him, pretend that the war against the 
Swiss, which proved so fatal to the duke of Bur- 
gundy, was occasioned by a cartload of sheepskins. 
The slightest occasion will kindle a war when mat- 
ters are ripe for it: but Louis XL had for a long 

\$2 Ancient and Modern History. 

time been endeavoring to animate the Swiss against 
the duke of Burgundy, and many acts of hostility 
had passed between both parties, before the adven- 
ture of the sheepskins. The truth is, that Charles's 
ambition was the only occasion of the war. 

There were at that time only eight Swiss cantons : 
Freiburg, Soleure, Schaffhausen, and Appenzell, not 
having then entered into the alliance ; nor did Basel, 
an imperial town, whose situation on the Rhine made 
it a rich and flourishing port, make a part of this 
infant republic, known then only for its poverty, 
simplicity, and courage. The deputies of Berne 
presented a remonstrance to this ambitious prince, 
setting forth that their whole country was not worth 
the spurs worn by his knights. These deputies did 
not address Charles upon the knee ; they spoke with 
humility, and defended themselves bravely. 

The duke's gendarmerie, whose armor was all 
covered with gold, were twice beaten, in 1476, and 
suffered the most shameful defeat from these humble 
villagers, who were astonished at the richness of 
the spoils they found in the enemy's camp. 

Could it have been foreseen, that, when the 
largest diamond in Europe, taken by a Swiss soldier 
in the battle of Granson, was sold by him to his 
general for a crown; could it have been foreseen, 
I say, at that time, that one day there should be 
as beautiful and opulent cities in Switzerland as 
the capital of the duchy of Burgundy then was ? The 
luxury of jewels and rich stuffs was for a long time 

Burgundy. 153 

unknown to those people, and when it came to be 
known, it was prohibited ; but the solid riches, which 
consist in agriculture, were always left free, to be 
gathered by the free and victorious hands of the 
inhabitants. The conveniences of life have been 
more sought after by them of late ; and the pleas- 
ures of society and sound philosophy, without 
which society can afford no lasting pleasure, have 
found their way into those parts of Switzerland 
where the climate is more mild, and where plenty 
now reigns. In fine, in some parts of this country, 
formerly so wild and uncouth, they have at length 
found the way to join the politeness of Athens with 
the Spartan simplicity. 

In the meantime Charles the Rash determined to 
avenge himself upon Lorraine, and wrest the city 
of Nancy which he had taken once before from 
its lawful possessor, Duke Rene ; but these very 
Swiss, who had formerly conquered him, being 
now 1477 joined by the people of Freiburg and 
Soleure, who in that rendered themselves worthy 
of the alliance, again defied the usurper of their 
country, who purchased with his blood the title of 
Rash, bestowed upon him by posterity. 

Then it was that Louis XI. made himself master of 
Artois and the cities in the Somme, and of the 
duchy of Burgundy as a male fief, and of the city 
of Besanc.on, as lying very convenient for him. 

Princess Mary, daughter of Charles the Rash, and 
sole heiress of so many provinces, saw herself by 

1 54 Ancient and Modern History. 

this means stripped in an instant of two-thirds of her 
inheritance. Louis might also have added to the 
kingdom of France the Seventeen Provinces, which 
almost all belonged to this princess, by marrying her 
to his son ; but he vainly flattered himself with hav- 
ing her for daughter-in-law whom he had stripped 
of her dominions; and thus this great politician 
missed an opportunity of annexing Franche-Comte 
and all the Low Countries to his kingdom. 

The people of Ghent and of the rest of the towns 
in Flanders, who enjoyed more freedom at that time 
under their sovereigns, than even the English do 
under their kings, destined Maximilian, son of the 
emperor Frederick III., for a consort to their prin- 

At present subjects learn the marriages of their 
princes, the making of war and peace, the laying on 
of taxes, and in short the whole of their destiny, 
from the declarations issued by their masters, but it 
was not so in Flanders : the people of Ghent deter- 
mined that their princess should marry a German: 
and they cut off the heads of Princess Mary's chan- 
cellor, and of her chamberlain, Imbercourt, for 
having entered into a treaty of marriage for her 
with the dauphin of France ; and these two ministers 
were executed in 1478, in the very presence of the 
young princess, who pleaded in vain for their pardon 
with these rough people. 

Maximilian, who was invited rather by the people 
than the princess, repaired to Ghent to conclude his 

Chivalry. 155 

nuptials, like a private gentleman going to make 
his fortune by marrying a rich heiress ; his wife 
defrayed the expense of his journey, his equipage, 
and his household. But, though he espoused Mary, 
he did not get possession of her dominions, and was 
only the husband of a sovereign princess ; and even 
when at the death of his wife he became guardian 
of their son; when he had the government of the 
Low Countries, and even after he came to be king 
of the Romans, and emperor, the inhabitants of 
Bruges imprisoned him in 1488 for four months, for 
having violated their privileges. Thus, if princes 
have frequently abused their powers, the people on 
the other hand have as much abused their privileges. 
This marriage of the heiress of Burgundy with 
Maximilian proved the source of all those wars 
which have for such a number of years set the house 
of France at variance with that of Austria. This it 
was which gave rise to the greatness of Charles 
V., and brought Europe to the brink of slavery : all 
through the obstinacy of the citizens of Ghent, in 
marrying their princess. 



THE extinction of the house of Burgundy, the 
administration of Louis XL, and, above all, the new 
method of making war lately introduced throughout 
Europe, had little by little contributed to the aboli- 

156 Ancient and Modern History. 

tion of that kind of military dignity or brotherhood, 
known by the name of chivalry, of which only the 
shadow is now left. 

This chivalry was a military institution which 
had arisen of itself among the great lords, in the 
same manner as religious societies or brotherhoods 
had been established among the citizens. This insti- 
tution owed its birth to the anarchy and rapine which 
desolated all Europe upon the decline of the Charle- 
magne family. The nobles of all degrees, dukes, 
counts, viscounts, vidames, castellans, were now 
sovereign princes in their own territories, and con- 
tinually making war upon one another ; and, instead 
of the great armies of Charles Martel, Pepin, and 
Charlemagne, almost all Europe was divided into 
small troops of seven or eight hundred men, and 
sometimes much less. Two or three towns made 
a petty state, which was incessantly fighting with its 
neighboring states. The communication between the 
provinces was cut off, the high roads were neg- 
lected, or so infested with robbers that the merchant 
could no longer travel in safety, or bring his com- 
modities to market, without which there was no 
subsisting. Every possessor of a castle stopped them 
upon the road and laid them under contribution, and 
many of the larger castles upon the borders of the 
rivers were real dens of thieves, who not only plun- 
dered the merchants, but frequently carried off all 
the women that came in their way. 

Several of the lords by degrees entered into asso- 

Chivalry. 157 

ciations for the defence of the public safety, and 
the protection of the ladies, to which they bound 
themselves by oath; and this virtuous institution, 
by being made a religious act, became an indispen- 
sable duty; several associations of this kind were 
formed in most of the provinces, and every lord of 
a large fief held it an honor to be a knight and to be 
admitted to this order. 

Toward the eleventh century there were several 
religious and profane ceremonies appointed for the 
observance of each candidate, which seemed to throw 
a new character upon the order. The person who 
stood for admittance was to fast, to confess himself, 
to receive the sacrament, and to pass one whole night 
under arms: after this he was to sit at a table by 
himself, while his godfather and the ladies that were 
to arm the new knight dined at another. The can- 
didate, clad in a white robe, was at his little table 
by himself, where it was forbidden him to speak, 
laugh, or even to touch food. The next day he was 
to make his entrance into the church, with his 
sword hanging about his neck, and received the 
priest's benediction; he was then to go and kneel 
down before the lord or lady who was to invest him 
with his armor of knighthood. Those of the assist- 
ants who were qualified put on his spurs, clad him 
with his cuirass, his cap, his cuishes, his gaunt- 
lets, and the coat of mail called the hauberk. The 
godfather who installed him gave him three strokes 
with the flat of bis sword on the neck, in the name 

158 Ancient and Modern History. 

of God, St. Michael, and St. George. And, from 
this instant, every time he heard mass he drew his 
sword at the reading of the Gospel and held it 

The installation was followed by a magnificent 
entertainment, and frequently by a tournament ; but 
these were always at the people's expense. The 
great feudal lords imposed a tax upon their vassals, 
on the day that any of their children were made 
knights. Young people were generally admitted 
to this honor at the age of twenty-one : before that 
they were termed bachelors, which is as much as to 
say lesser knights, varlets, or squires; and the 
lords who were incorporated in these military soci- 
eties frequently gave their children to each other, to 
be brought up at a distance from the parental roof, 
under the name of varlets, or apprentices in chivalry. 

These knights were in greatest vogue in the time 
of the Crusades. The lords of fiefs, who brought 
vassals into the field under their banner, were called 
knights-banneret ; not that the title of knight alone 
gave them the privilege of appearing in the field with 
banners. It was their power, and not the ceremony 
of installation, which enabled them to raise troops 
and keep them on foot. They were bannerets in 
virtue of their fiefs, and not of their knighthood; 
this title being only a distinction introduced by cus- 
tom; a kind of conventional honor, and not any 
real dignity in the state, nor of the least weight in 
the form of government. The knights had no share 

Chivalry. 159 

in the elections of emperors or kings; nor was it 
necessary to have been dubbed a knight to be 
admitted to a seat in the diets of the empire, the 
parliaments of France, or the cortes of Spain. In 
a word, none of the essentials of government, such 
as enfeoffments, rights of dependency and juris- 
diction, inheritance, or laws, had any connection 
with chivalry. The chief privileges of this insti- 
tution consisted in bloody exhibitions and tourna- 
ments. A bachelor or esquire was not in general 
allowed to enter the lists against a knight. 

Kings themselves frequently entered into this 
order, but this made no addition to their honor or 
power; they did it only to encourage chivalry and 
valor by their example. The knights were always 
treated with great respect by the community, and 
that was all. 

But after King Edward III. instituted the Order 
of the Garter ; Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, 
that of the Golden Fleece ; and Louis XL the Order 
of St. Michael, which at its first institution was as 
noble as either of the other two, though now so 
ridiculously disgraced; then the ancient chivalry 
began to decline. It had no longer any distinguish- 
ing mark, nor a chief to confer the particular honors 
and privileges of the order. And there were no 
longer any knights banneret after the kings and 
great princes had erected military companies; so 
that chivalry became then only a name. The honor 
of knighthood was generally conferred by a great 

160 Ancient and Modern History. 

prince, on some renowned warrior. Those lords 
who were of any established rank of dignity took, 
with the rest of their titles, that of knight; and 
all those who made profession of arms called them- 
selves esquires. 

The military orders of knighthood, as those of the 
Templars, of Malta, the Teutonic Order, and sev- 
eral others, are only imitations of the ancient chiv- 
alry, and have added religious ceremonies to the 
military function. But this kind of chivalry is quite 
different from the ancient institution, and was only 
productive of certain orders of military monks, 
founded by the popes, endowed with benefices, and 
confined to three orders of monks. Of these extraor- 
dinary orders, some have been great conquerors, 
others have been suppressed on account of their 
debaucheries, and others still continue to subsist in 
high reputation. 

The Teutonic was a sovereign order, as that 
of Malta still is, and will long continue to be. 

Almost every province in Europe has endeavored 
to establish an order of knighthood. The simple 
title of knight, bestowed by the kings of England 
upon some of the principal citizens without their 
being incorporated into any particular order, is 
derived from the ancient chivalry, but differs widely 
from its original. The ancient chivalry has been 
preserved nowhere but in France, in the ceremony of 
creating knights all the ambassadors sent to that 
court irom the republic of Venice; and in this 

Feudal Government. 161 

installation the dubbing, or striking with the sword, 
is the only part of the original institution which is 

Here we have exhibited to us a varied picture, 
and, if we attentively trace the chain of all the cus- 
toms in Europe since the time of Charlemagne, in 
state, church, war, honors, finances, and society, nay, 
even in dress itself, we shall meet with nothing but 
one perpetual change. 



You have already seen how in Italy, France, and 
Germany anarchy was turned into despotism, under 
the reign of Charlemagne, and despotism again over- 
turned by anarchy under his descendants. 

You are sensible how wrong it is to think that 
there were no hereditary fiefs before the time of 
Hugh Capet. Normandy is a strong instance of the 
contrary. Bavaria and Aquitaine were hereditary 
fiefs before Charlemagne's time, as were almost all 
the Italian fiefs under the Lombard kings. In the 
reign of Charles the Fat and the Simple, the great 
officers of state and some bishops arrogated to them- 
selves the rights of regality. But there were always 
possessors of large territories under the title of 
Sires in France, Herren in Germany, and Ricos 
Hombres in Spain. There are always, likewise, 
Vol. 2611 

1 62 Ancient and Modern History. 

some great cities governed by their own magistrates, 
as Rome, Milan, Lyons, Rheims, etc. Now the 
bounds of the liberties of these cities, and those of 
the power of particular lords, have been always 
changing; and force and fortune have determined 
everything. If some of the great officers became 
usurpers, the father of Charlemagne had been the 
same. Pepin, the grandson of Arnold, bishop of 
Metz, and preceptor to Dagobert, dethroned the 
family of Clovis ; Hugh Capet dispossessed Pepin's 
family; and the descendants of this Hugh Capet 
were never able to reassemble the scattered mem- 
bers of the French monarchy. 

The feudal power in France received a mortal 
blow from Louis XI., and was vigorously opposed 
in Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella. In England 
it had been obliged to give way to the mixed form 
of government. It still subsisted in Poland, though 
under another form. But in Germany it remained in 
full vigor, and was even increasing every day. The 
count of Boulainvilliers calls this constitution " The 
effort of human genius." Loiseau and other great 
civilians term it "An extravagant institution; a 
monster composed of members without a head." 

We cannot think it a very powerful effort of 
genius, but rather the mere natural and common 
effect of human reason and ambition, for those who 
were in possession of lands to be desirous of being 
masters in their own territories. The great land- 
holders, from the midst of Muscovy to the mountains 

Feudal Government. 163 

of Castile, have all thought in the same manner, 
though they may not perhaps have communicated 
their ideas to each other, and were all equally 
desirous that their lives and estates should not 
depend upon the absolute power of a king. They 
have associated together in every country to oppose 
this power, and at the same time have exercised 
it as much as they were able upon their own vassals 
and subjects. 

This kind of government prevailed in Europe 
for more than five hundred years; it was indeed 
unknown among the Greeks and Romans. But cer- 
tainly that cannot properly be called an extrava- 
gant institution which has been so universally 
received in Europe. It is doubtless an unjust one, 
because the greater number are crushed by the fewer, 
and the private citizen can never hope to rise but 
by a general subversion of the state. No flourishing 
cities, no extensive commerce, nor any encourage- 
ment for the polite arts can be found under a govern- 
ment purely feudal ; and the powerful cities in Ger- 
many and Flanders flourished only in consequence of 
a short interval of liberty. The cities of Ghent, 
Bruges, and Antwerp, for example, are to be con- 
sidered rather as republics under the protection of 
the dukes of Burgundy, than towns subject to the 
arbitrary authority of those dukes. The same may 
be said of the imperial cities. 

You have seen a feudal anarchy establish itself 
through a great part of Europe under the successors 

164 Ancient and Modern History. 

of Charlemagne : but before his time, and under the 
Lombard kings, the feudal form of government was 
more regular. The Franks, when they invaded Gaul, 
divided among themselves the territories of Clovis : 
therefore the count of Boulainvilliers will have it 
that the lords of castles were all sovereign princes 
in France. But what person not possessed of terri- 
tories can say, " I am a descendant of one of the con- 
querors of Gaul ? " Or, though he should be 
descended in a right line from any one of those 
usurpers, would not the cities and the commons 
have a better right to recover their liberty than this 
Frank ever could have had to deprive them of it ? 

It cannot be said that the feudal power in Ger- 
many was established by right of conquest, as it was 
in Lombardy and France. Germany was never 
entirely conquered by foreigners; and yet it is, at 
this time, the only country in the world where the 
feudal law truly subsists. The Boyards of Russia 
have their subjects, but they are subjects themselves, 
and do not form a body politic like the German 
princes. The Tartar khans and the princes of Wal- 
lachia and Moldavia are real feudal lords, holding 
of the Grand Seignior. But then they are liable 
to be deposed by an order of divan; whereas the 
German lords cannot be dispossessed but by the 
general decree of the whole nation. The Polish 
nobility are more upon an equality with one another 
than the land-holders in Germany ; therefore this is 
not a real feudal government. There are no rear- 

Feudal Government. 165 

vassals in Poland. A nobleman there is not the 
subject of another nobleman, as in Germany. 
Poland is an aristocratic republic, where the common 
people are all slaves. 

The feudal law is on a different footing in Italy. 
Every territory is deemed a fief of the empire in 
Lombardy, which occasions great uncertainty; for 
the emperors are supreme lords of those fiefs, only 
in quality of kings of Italy, and successors to the 
kings of Lombardy. Now certainly a Diet of Rat- 
isbon is not king of Italy. But what has happened 
from this? The Germanic liberty having prevailed 
over the imperial authority in Germany, and the 
empire having become a distinct thing from the 
emperor, the Italian fiefs call themselves vassals of 
the empire, and not of the emperor. Thus one feudal 
administration has become another feudal adminis- 
tration. The fief of Naples, again, is of a nature 
entirely different from either of these. It is a 
homage paid by the stronger to the weaker ; a kind 
of ceremony kept up by custom. 

Everything has been a fief in Europe, and the 
laws of fiefs have been everywhere different. When 
the male branch of Burgundy became extinct, Louis 
XI. thought he had a right to succeed to that duke- 
dom. But if the house of Saxony or Bavaria was 
to fail, the emperor would have no right to take 
possession of those provinces: nor would the pope 
have any claim to the kingdom of Naples, in case 
the reigning family was to become extinct. These 

1 66 Ancient and Modern History. 

rights are all derived from force, custom, or agree- 
ment. Force gave Burgundy to Louis XL, for there 
was still a prince of that house living, the count of 
Nevers, who was a descendant of the lawful pos- 
sessors, but dared not assert his right. It was no less 
scandalous that Mary of Burgundy was excluded 
from the succession, for in the grant made of the 
dominion of Burgundy to her ancestors by King 
John of France, it is expressly said that the heirs 
shall succeed to the honors; now a daughter is an 

The question concerning male and female fiefs, the 
right of liege homage or simple homage ; the confu- 
sion among those lords who held different lands 
in vassalage of two lords paramount at a time, 
and among the vassals of lords paramount who 
contested the supreme demesne, and a thousand 
difficulties of like nature, gave rise to numberless 
processes which could be decided only by the force 
of arms. The fortunes and possessions of private 
citizens were still in a more unhappy situation. 

What must be the situation of that vassal whose 
lord is himself subject to another, who holds of 
a third! He must be involved in suits in almost 
every court, and lose all he is worth before he can 
obtain a final decree. It is certain that the people 
never voluntarily made choice of this form of gov- 
ernment ; nor is that country worthy to be inhabited, 
where all degrees and conditions are not equally 
subjected to the laws. 

Charles VIII. 167 



Louis XI. left his son, Charles VIII., a child of 
fourteen years of age, weak in body and unimproved 
in mind, master of the finest and most powerful 
kingdom in Europe. But he left him at the same 
time a civil war, which is almost the inseparable 
attendant of a minority. The young king was indeed 
no longer a minor by Charles V.'s law, but he 
was still so by nature. His eldest sister, Anne, wife 
of Beaujeu, duke of Bourbon, was left regent by her 
father's will, and is said to have been very worthy 
of this high post. Louis, duke of Orleans, first 
prince of the blood, and afterward that Louis XII. 
whose memory is still so dear, began by being the 
scourge of the kingdom to which he afterward 
proved the tenderest parent. In the first place, his 
rank of first prince of the blood had been so far 
from procuring him any share in the government 
that it had not even given him the right of prece- 
dence over those peers who were of more ancient 
creation. On the other hand, it seemed extraor- 
dinary that a woman who was by law declared inca- 
pable of ascending the throne should nevertheless 
reign under another name. These considerations 
excited Louis of Orleans, who was of an ambitious 
temper as the most virtuous frequently are to 

1 68 Ancient and Modern History. 

raise a civil war against the king, his master, in order 
to be made his guardian. 

The parliament of Paris then found, for the first 
time, of how much consideration it might be during 
a minority. The duke of Orleans applied in per- 
son to the courts for an order to alter the adminis- 
tration. La Vaquerie, the first president, who was 
an able lawyer, made him answer that the parliament 
had nothing to do either with the finances or the 
government of the state, which belonged to the 
states-general, whom the parliament did not rep- 

This reply proves that the city of Paris at that 
time was in full tranquillity, and that the parliament 
was in the interest of Madame de Beaujeu. A civil 
war now in 1488 broke out in the provinces, 
and especially in that of Brittany, where the old 
duke, Francis II., espoused the cause of the duke 
of Orleans. A battle was fought near St. Aubin 
in Brittany; and here it must be observed that, 
in the army of the Bretons and the duke of Orleans, 
there were between four and five hundred English, 
notwithstanding the troubles which then distracted 
that country, and drained it of its soldiers. The 
English have seldom stood neutral when France was 
to be attacked. The rebel army was defeated by that 
great general, Louis de la Trimouille, and the duke 
of Orleans, who afterward came to be sovereign, 
was taken prisoner. Louis may be reckoned the 
third king of the Capet family who had been taken 

Charles VIII. 169 

prisoner in battle, and he was not the last. The duke 
of Orleans continued prisoner nearly three years in 
the tower of Bourges, till Charles VIII. went in 
person in 1491 to deliver him. The manners 
of the French were much milder than those of the 
English, who, harassed with continual civil wars 
at that time, made it their common practice to put 
to death by the hands of the executioner those whom 
they conquered in battle. 

The peace and greatness of France were at length 
happily established by the marriage of Charles VIII., 
who obliged the old duke of Brittany to give him his 
daughter to wife, with all his dominions in dowry. 
Princess Anne of Brittany, one of the most beauti- 
ful women of her age, had a passion for the duke 
of Orleans, who was still in the flower of his youth, 
and master of many amiable accomplishments ; and 
who, by this civil war, found himself deprived at 
once of his liberty and his mistress. 

Upon the marriage of princes in Europe, depends 
the fate of their people. Charles VIIL, who, during 
the lifetime of his father, might have espoused the 
princess Mary, heiress of Burgundy, might now 
have had to wife the daughter of this Mary, and of 
Maximilian, king of the Romans ; and Maximilian, 
on his side, who had lost his queen, Mary of Bur- 
gundy, had, not without reason, entertained hopes 
of obtaining Anne of Brittany for his second con- 
sort. He had even gone so far as to espouse her by 
proxy; and the count of Nassau had, according 

170 Ancient and Modern History. 

to the custom of those times, put one leg into the 
princess' bed, in the name of the king of the Ro- 
mans. But this did not hinder the king of France 
from concluding his marriage ; and he obtained the 
princess, together with Brittany for her portion, 
which has since been reduced to a province of 

France was then in its zenith of glory, and noth- 
ing but the many errors it was afterward guilty of 
could have prevented it from being the arbiter of 

We may remember that the last count of Provence 
bequeathed his dominions to Louis XL This count-. 
in whom the house of Anjou became extinct, took the 
title of king of the two Sicilies, which his family 
had lost the possession of for a long time. This 
title he also left to Louis XL, by the donation of the 
county of Provence. Charles VIII. , determining not 
to wear an empty title, made all preparations for 
the conquest of Naples, and the dominion of all Italy. 

Here we must stop and take a view of the state 
of Europe toward the end of the fifteenth centurv, 
when these events took place. 



AT this time 1493 the emperor Frederick 
III., of the house of Austria, died, leaving the empire 
to his son, Maximilian, who was in his father's life- 

Europe at End of XV. Century. 171 

time elected king of the Romans. But these kings of 
the Romans had no power in Italy, and that which 
was left them in Germany was little more than that 
of a doge of Venice ; besides this, the house of Aus- 
tria was far from being formidable in itself. They 
may in vain show the tomb of this emperor at 
Vienna, with this epitaph : " Here lies Frederick III., 
the pious and august emperor, sovereign of Chris- 
tendom, king of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, arch- 
duke of Austria," etc., but this only serves to show 
the vanity of such inscriptions. Frederick never en- 
joyed anything appertaining to Hungary but the 
crown, ornamented with a few jewels, which he 
always kept locked in his closet, and would never 
restore to his pupil, Ladislaus, who was the true king 
of Hungary, nor to those whom the Hungarians 
afterward chose for their sovereigns, and who de- 
fended them against the Turks. He was possessed of 
barely half the province of Austria: his cousins had 
the rest; and as to the title of sovereign of Chris- 
tendom, it is easy to see how well he deserved that. 
His son, Maximilian, had, besides the demesnes left 
him by his father, the regency of the dominions of 
Mary of Burgundy, his wife ; but he governed only 
in the name of his son, Philip the Handsome. As to 
the rest, we know that he was called "Massimiliano 
pochi danari; " a surname which does not show him 
to have been a prince of any great power. 

England, which was still little better than a nation 
of savages, after having been long rent to pieces 

172 Ancient and Modern History. 

by the civil wars of the white and red roses, in the 
manner which we shall soon relate, had but just 
begun to breathe under Henry VII., who, after the 
example of Louis XL, humbled the barons, and 
favored the people. 



THE Christian princes of Spain had always been 
at variance with one another. The race of Henry de 
Transtamare, the bastard usurper since we must 
call things by their proper names still continued 
to reign in Castile, and a usurpation of a more singu- 
lar kind laid the foundation of the Spanish grandeur. 
Henry IV., one of the descendants of Transta- 
mare, who began his unhappy reign in 1454, was 
totally enervated by his pleasures. Never can a 
court be entirely given up to debaucheries, but 
revolutions, or at least seditions, must be the con- 
sequences. Donna Juana, his queen, whom we shall 
call by this name to distinguish her from his daugh- 
ter, Princess Joan, and several other princesses of 
the same name, was a daughter of Portugal: she 
took not the least pains to conceal her gallantries, 
and few women ever carried on their amours with 
less regard to decency. Henry IV. passed his time 
with his wife's lovers, and these diverted themselves 
with the king's mistresses. In short, everything con- 

Spain. 173 

spired to set the Spaniards an example of the 
greatest effeminacy and most consummate debauch- 
ery. The administration being so weak, the mal- 
contents, who make the majority at all times, and 
in all countries, became very numerous in Castile. 
This kingdom was then governed as France, Eng- 
land, Germany, and all the other monarchial states 
in Europe had for a long time been. The vassals 
shared in the sovereign authority ; and if the bishops 
were not like those in Germany, sovereign princes, 
they were lords and great vassals, the same as in 

An archbishop of Toledo, named Carillo, with 
several other bishops, headed the party against the 
king, and renewed in Spain the same disorders which 
had afflicted France in the reign of Louis the Feeble, 
Germany, under a number of its emperors, and 
which we shall soon see appear again in France 
under Henry III., and desolate England in the reign 
of Charles I. 

1465 The rebels, now grown powerful, deposed 
their king in effigy, a ceremony which had never 
before entered into the heads of any faction. 

They erected a great stage on the plain of Avila, 
upon which was placed a sorry wooden figure, repre- 
senting Henry IV., dressed in his robes and other 
ensigns of royalty. To this figure they read the sen- 
tence of deposition, after which the archbishop of 
Toledo took off the crown, another person the 
sword, and a third took away the sceptre ; they then, 

174 Ancient and Modern History. 

from the same stage, proclaimed a young brother 
of Henry's, named Alphonso, king in his stead. 
This farce was followed by all the horrors of civil 
war, which did not cease even after the death of 
the young prince, on whom the conspirators had 
bestowed the kingdom. The archbishop and his 
party declared the king impotent, at the very time 
that he was surrounded by mistresses; and, by a 
proceeding unheard of in any state, pronounced his 
daughter Joan a bastard, and born in adultery. 

Several of the grandees on this occasion laid claim 
to the crown, but the rebels agreed to acknowledge 
the king's sister, Isabella, a princess of seventeen 
years of age, rather than submit to one of their 
equals ; and chose rather to lay the kingdom waste 
in the name of a young queen, who had as yet no 
interest, than to raise up any person to be their 

The archbishop who had made war against his 
king in the name of the infant, now continued to 
carry it on in the name of the infanta ; and Henry 
could not extricate himself from all these troubles. 
nor remain quiet upon his throne, until he had 
signed, in 1468, one of the most shameful treaties 
that had ever been extorted from a sovereign; by 
which he acknowledged his sister Isabella as the 
only lawful heiress to his kindom, in prejudice to 
the undoubted rights of his own daughter, Joan ; 
and at this price he purchased of his rebellious 
subjects the empty title of king. 

Spain. 175 

But, in order to complete their work, it was nec- 
essary to provide the young princess Isabella a hus- 
band able to defend her claim. For this purpose 
they cast their eyes on Ferdinand, heir to the crown 
of Aragon, a prince nearly the same age as Isabella. 
The archbishop married them privately; and this 
marriage, concluded under such fatal auspices, 
proved nevertheless the foundation of the Spanish 
greatness. At first, it revived all the former divi- 
sions, civil wars, fraudulent treaties, and those out- 
ward reconciliations which serve only to augment a 
mutual hatred. Henry, after having once more 
settled matters on a quiet footing, was attacked 
with a violent disorder at an entertainment given by 
one of these reconciled enemies, and died soon after, 
in 1474. 

He vainly bequeathed his kingdom to his daughter 
Joan, and swore in vain that she was his lawful 
daughter ; neither his death-bed oaths, nor the assev- 
erations of his queen, availed aught against the party 
of Isabella and Ferdinand afterward surnamed the 
Catholic king of Aragon and Sicily. They did not 
live together like man and wife, in the common pos- 
session of their estates, under the husband's direc- 
tion, but like two monarchs in close alliance. They 
neither loved nor hated each other, were seldom in 
company together, had each a separate council, and 
were frequently jealous of each other in the admin- 
istration : the queen found a still greater subject of 
jealousy in the infidelity of her husband, who filled 

ij6 Ancient and Modern History. 

all the great posts in the state with his bastards : but 
they were inseparably united in their common 
interests, always acting upon the same principles, 
always having the words " religion " and " piety " in 
their mouths, and wholly taken up with their ambi- 
tious views. In short, the rightful heiress, Joan, 
was unable to withstand their united forces; at 
length her uncle, Don Alphonso, king of Portugal, 
who was desirous of espousing her, took up arms in 
her favor. But the conclusion of all these efforts and 
troubles was that this unfortunate princess ended 
in a convent that life which was destined for a 

Never was injustice better colored, more success- 
ful, or justified by a more daring and prudent con- 
duct. Isabella and Ferdinand established such a 
power in Spain as had never been known since the 
restoration of the Christians. The Moors were now 
in possession only of Granada, and drew near their 
ruin in that part of Europe, while the Turks seemed 
on the point of subduing the other. The Christians 
had lost Spain in the beginning of the eighth cen- 
tury by their mutual discords and divisions; the 
same cause drove the Moors at length out of Spain. 

Boabdil, nephew of Abdallah, king of Granada, 
engaged in rebellion against him. Ferdinand the 
Catholic took every opportunity of fomenting this 
civil war, and of supporting the nephew against the 
uncle ; by this means to weaken both the one and the 
other. Soon after the death of Abdallah, he fell 

Spain. 177 

upon his ally, Boabdil, with the united forces of 
Aragon and Castile. It cost him six years to con- 
quer this Mahometan kingdom. At length he came 
and laid siege to the city of Granada, which held out 
against him for eight months. Queen Isabella came 
thither in person to share in her husband's triumph. 
Boabdil surrendered on conditions which showed 
that he was yet able to defend his capital: for it 
was stipulated that nothing should be attempted 
against the estates, lands, liberties, or religion of the 
Moors ; that the prisoners taken from them should 
be restored without ransom ; and that the Jews, who 
were comprehended in the same treaty, should enjoy 
the same privileges. 

1491 Boabdil then came out of the city, and 
went to present the keys to Ferdinand and Isabella, 
who treated him like a king, for the last time. 

Contemporary writers who have related this event, 
tell us that the Moorish king shed tears when he 
looked back at the walls of that city, which had been 
built by the Mahometans nearly five hundred years 
before, was full of inhabitants and riches, adorned 
with that stupendous palace of the Moorish kings, 
in which were the finest baths in Europe, and a num- 
ber of magnificent and spacious apartments, sup- 
ported by a hundred pillars of alabaster. Perhaps 
the very luxury, the loss of which he so much 
regretted, had been the instrument of his ruin. He 
retired to Africa, and there ended his days. 

In Europe Ferdinand was considered as the 
Vol. 2612 

178 Ancient and Modern History. 

avenger of the Christian religion, and the restorer 
of his country. From that time he was called king 
of Spain: and in fact, being master of Castile by 
right of marriage, of Granada by conquest, and of 
Aragon by birth, he wanted only Navarre, which he 
got possession of in the end. He had several warm 
disputes with France about Cerdagne and Roussil- 
lon, which had been pledged to Louis XI. It may be 
judged whether, as king of Sicily, he could without 
jealousy behold Charles VIII. preparing to pass into 
Italy, in order to dispossess one of the house of Ara- 
gon, then settled on the throne of Naples. 

We shall soon see in what manner the conse- 
quences of so natural a jealousy broke forth ; but, 
previous to entering into the quarrels of princes, you 
always desire to observe the fate of the people. 
You see that Ferdinand and Isabella did not find the 
kingdom of Spain in the condition in which it was 
later under Charles V. and Philip II. The mixture 
of ancient Visigoths, Vandals, Africans, Jews, and 
aborigines had for a long time laid waste the land 
of which they disputed the possession, and it did not 
grow fruitful till it came into the hands of the 
Mahometans. The Moors, after they were con- 
quered, became farmers to their conquerors, and the 
Christians of Spain were wholly maintained by the 
labors of their ancient enemies. They had no man- 
ufactures of their own, and as little trade; they 
were hardly acquainted with the common necessaries 
of life: they had little or no furniture in their 

Spain. 179 

houses, no inns on their roads, no conveniences for 
lodging strangers in their towns ; and the use of fine 
linen was for a long time unknown to them, and 
even that of the coarse kind was very scarce. All 
their trade, both foreign and domestic, was carried 
on by the Jews, who had become absolutely nec- 
essary in a nation which knew only the use of arms. 

1492 When, toward the end of the fifteenth 
century, they began in Spain to inquire into the 
causes of the wretchedness of the country, it was 
found that the Jews had accumulated to themselves 
either by trade or usury all the money in the nation ; 
and upon a computation there appeared to be no less 
than one hundred and fifty thousand of this foreign 
nation amongst them, who were at once so odious and 
so necessary to the Spaniards. A number of the 
grandees, who had nothing left but their titles, had 
married into Jewish families, as the only means of 
repairing the losses they had sustained by their prod- 
igality; and they made the less scruple of such an 
alliance, as it had for a long time been customary 
for the Christians to intermarry with the Moors. It 
was therefore debated in the king and queen's coun- 
cil, by what means the nation might be delivered 
from this underhand tyranny of the Jews, after hav- 
ing shaken off that of the Mahometans. At length 
they came to a resolution, in the year 1492, to drive 
all the Jews out of the kingdom, and share their 
spoils. Accordingly they were allowed only six 
months to dispose of their effects, which they were 

i8o Ancient and Modern History. 

consequently obliged to part with at a very low price. 
They were furthermore forbidden, on pain of death, 
to carry with them either gold, silver, or jewels. In 
consequence of this ordinance, no less than thirty 
thousand Jewish families left the kingdom of Spain, 
which, at a computation of five persons in each fam- 
ily, amounts to one hundred and fifty thousand souls. 
Part retired into Africa, and part into Portugal and 
France, and several returned, under pretence of 
embracing the Christian religion. They had been 
expelled from the kingdom for the sake of getting 
possession of their riches, and they were received 
again for the sake of those they brought back with 
them; and it was principally on their account that 
the tribunal of the Inquisition was set up, that upon 
the least attempt to exercise any act of their own 
religion, they might be proceeded against juridically, 
and their possessions forfeited. No such treatment 
is offered in India to the Banians, who are exactly 
in that country what the Jews are in Europe, a 
people separated from all the other nations by a relig- 
ion as ancient as the annals of the world, but united 
with them by the necessity of commerce, of which 
they are the factors, and by which they acquire 
as great riches as the Jews do amongst us. 
These Banians are not hated, either by Mahom- 
etans, Christians, or Pagans; whereas the Jews 
are held in execration by all nations amongst whom 
they are admitted. Some Spanish writers pretend 
that this nation had grown formidable: they were 

Spain. 1 8 1 

certainly hurtful to the Spaniards by the immense 
profits they made of them, but they were not a war- 
like people, and therefore there was nothing to fear 
from them. The Spaniards feigned to be alarmed at 
what was only a piece of vanity in the Jews, namely, 
their having endeavored long before the Christians to 
form a settlement on the southern coasts of the king- 
dom. It is certain that they had from time imme- 
morial flocked in great numbers into the province of 
Andalusia: now they had attempted to cloak this 
fact under a thousand idle and fabulous notions, 
which have always prevailed among these people, the 
more sensible part of whom always confine them- 
selves to business, and leave rabbinism to those who 
have nothing better to do. The Spanish rabbins 
had written a great deal to prove that a colony of 
Jews flourished in these parts in the time of King 
Solomon, and that the inhabitants of ancient Boeotia 
paid a tribute to him : they endeavored to support 
this assertion by a number of false medals and 
inscriptions. This piece of deceit, with others of a 
more essential kind of which they were accused, con- 
tributed not a little to their disgrace. 

From this time began in Spain and Portugal the 
distinction between old and new Christians, or those 
families which had intermarried with Jews, and 
those which had made alliances with Moors. 

Nevertheless the temporary profit which accrued 
to the state from the violence offered to the Jews 
soon deprived it of the certain revenues which these 

1 82 Ancient and Modern History. 

people used to pay into the royal treasury. This 
deficiency continued to be severely felt till the Span- 
iards made themselves masters of the riches of the 
new world. However, they provided against this 
inconvenience as much as they could by the help of 
bulls: that granted by Pope Julius II., in 1509, 
called the Cruzado, brought more money into the 
government than all the taxes it had laid upon the 
Jews. Every private person was obliged to purchase 
one of these bulls, for the permission to eat meat in 
Lent, and on Fridays, and Saturdays throughout 
the year. No one who went to confession could 
receive absolution without first showing this bull 
to the priest. They afterward fell upon the invention 
of the bull of composition, by virtue of which a 
person was allowed to keep anything he had stolen, 
provided he did not know the owner. Such super- 
stitious practices are certainly as bad as anything 
with which they reproached the Hebrews. Folly, 
infatuation, and vice are in every country a part of 
the public revenue. 

The form of absolution given to those who pur- 
chased this bull is not unworthy a place in this gen- 
eral picture of the customs and manners of man- 
kind. " By the authority of Almighty God, of St. 
Peter and St. Paul, and of our most holy father, the 
pope, to me committed, I grant you the remission of 
all your sins, confessed, forgotten, and unknown; 
and from the pains of purgatory." 

The Mahometans underwent the same treatment 

Spain. 183 

from Isabella, or rather from her minister, Cardinal 
Ximenes, as the Jews had done; great numbers of 
them were forced to become Christians, notwith- 
standing the articles of capitulation at Granada, and 
were sent to the stake if they turned again to their 
own religion. This drove as many Moors out of the 
kingdom as it had done Jews; nor do we lament 
the fate of either the Arabs or the Hebrews, the one 
having so long held Spain in subjection, and the 
other having for a still longer time continued to 
plunder it. 

About this time the Portuguese first emerged from 
their obscurity ; and, notwithstanding the ignorance 
of those ages, began to merit a glory as lasting as the 
universe, by the great change they wrought in the 
commerce of the world, which was the fruit of their 
discoveries. The Portuguese were the first of all 
the modern nations who navigated on the Atlantic 
Ocean, and are indebted only to themselves for the 
discovery of the passage round the Cape of Good 
Hope, whereas the Spaniards owe the discovery of 
America to foreigners. But it is to one man only, 
namely, the infant Don Henry, that the Portuguese 
are indebted for that great undertaking, against 
which they at first so loudly murmured. Whatever 
has been done either great or noble in the world has 
been brought about wholly by the genius and cour- 
age of a single man, who has dared to oppose the 
prejudices of the multitude. 

Portugal was employed in its great navigations 

1 84 Ancient and Modern History. 

and successes in Africa, and took no part in the 
events of Italy, which alarmed the rest of Europe. 


I shall now set before you the powers, the inter- 
ests, and the manners of the several nations, from the 
mountains of Dauphiny to the extremity of Italy. 

The dominions of Savoy, which were not then so 
extensive as they are at present, as containing neither 
Montferrat nor Saluca, and being destitute both of 
money and commerce, were not looked upon as a 
barrier. Its sovereigns were attached to the house of 
France, which had lately, during their minority, dis- 
posed of the government; and the passage of the 
Alps was left open. 

From Piedmont we descend into the territories of 
Milan, the most fertile country of Upper Italy. This, 
as well as Savoy, was an imperial principality, but 
powerful and altogether independent of a feeble 
empire. This state, after having belonged to the 
Visconti, passed into the hands of a peasant's bas- 
tard, a great man himself, and the son of a great 
man. This peasant was Francis Sforza, who by his 
own merit rose to be constable of Naples, and one of 
the most powerful noblemen in Italy. His bastard 
son of one of the condottieri, and chief of these dis- 
ciplined banditti, who sold their service to the popes, 
the Venetians, and the Neapolitans. He made him- 
self master of Naples in the middle of the fifteenth 

Italy. 185 

century, and some time afterward of Genoa, which 
had formerly been so flourishing a republic, and 
which, after having sustained nine successive wars 
with Venice, was now fluctuating from one state of 
slavery to another. It had offered itself to the French 
in the reign of Charles VI., and had afterward 
revolted : it then acknowledged the authority of 
Charles VII., in 1458, and again shook off his yoke. 
It would next have submitted to Louis XI. but that 
monarch returned for answer that it might give itself 
to the devil, for he would have nothing to do with 
it. After all, in 1464, it was obliged to submit to 
Francis Sforza, duke of Milan. 

1476 Galeazzo Sforza, the son of this bastard, 
was assassinated in the cathedral church of Milan 
on St. Stephen's day. I mention this circumstance, 
which otherwise would be frivolous, because here it 
is of importance; for the assassins loudly invoked 
St. Stephen and St. Ambrose to inspire them with 
sufficient courage to murder their prince. Poison- 
ings, assassinations, and superstition were the dis- 
tinguishing characteristics of the Italians in those 
days, who, though well versed in the arts of revenge, 
knew not how to fight, consequently the number of 
poisoners far exceeded that of good soldiers. The 
son of this unfortunate Galeazzo Sforza, while yet an 
infant, succeeded him in the duchy of Milan, under 
the guardianship of his mother, and Chancellor Sim- 
onetta. But his uncle, Ludovico Sforza, or Louis 
the Moor, drove the mother out of the kingdom, put 

1 86 Ancient and Modern History. 

the chancellor to death, and soon after poisoned his 

It was this Louis the Moor who entered into a 
treaty with Charles VIII. to favor the descent of the 
French in Italy. 

Tuscany, a country less beholden to the gifts of 
nature, was to Milan what the ancient Attica was to 
Bceotia; for within the last century Florence had 
signalized itself, as we have already seen, by its 
attention to commerce and the liberal arts. The fam- 
ily of Medici was at the head of this polite nation, 
than whom no house ever acquired supreme power 
by a more just title. It obtained it by mere dint of 
beneficence and virtue. Cosmo de Medici, born in 
1389* was a private citizen of Florence, who lived 
without seeking for titles; but acquired by com- 
merce a fortune equal to the greatest monarchs of his 
time. He employed his great wealth in relieving the 
poor, in making himself friends among the rich by 
lending money to them, in adorning his country with 
superb edifices, and in inviting to Florence the men 
of learning among the Greeks who were driven from 
Constantinople. His advice was for the space of 
thirty years the law of the republic. His only arts 
were his good deeds, which are of all others the most 
just. After his death his papers showed that he had 
lent immense sums to his countrymen, of which he 
had never demanded the least payment, and he died, 
in 1464, universally regretted by his very enemies. 
The people of Florence with one consent adorned 

Italy. 187 

his tomb with the glorious epitaph of father of his 
country, a title which not one of the many kings we 
have seen pass in review were ever able to obtain. 

His reputation procured his descendants the chief 
authority in Tuscany. His son took the administra- 
tion under the name of Gonfalonier. His two grand- 
sons, Lorenzo and Julian, who were masters of the 
republic, were set upon in the church by a band of 
conspirators at the time of the elevation of the 
host. Julian died, in 1478, of the wounds he 
received, but Lorenzo made his escape. Florence 
resembled Athens, both in government and genius. 
It was at one time aristocratic, and at another pop- 
ular, and dreaded nothing so much as tyranny. 

Cosmo de Medici might be compared to Pisistra- 
tus, who, notwithstanding his great power, was 
ranked in the number of sages. The sons of this 
Cosmo resembled those of Pisistratus, who were as- 
sassinated by Harmodius and Aristogiton. Lorenzo 
escaped from his murderers, and so did one of the 
sons of Pisistratus, and both of them lived to avenge 
the death of his brother : but that happened in Flor- 
ence which did not at Athens ; the chiefs of religion 
were concerned in this bloody conspiracy. Pope 
Sixtus V. planned it, and the archbishop of Pisa set 
it on foot. 

The people of Florence avenged this cruel act on 
those who were found guilty; and the archbishop 
himself was hanged at one of the windows of the 
public palace. Lorenzo, thus avenged by his fellow 

1 88 Ancient and Modern History. 

citizens, made himself beloved by them during the 
rest of his life. He was surnamed the father of the 
muses, a title not equal indeed to that of father of his 
country, but which showed that he was so in fact. 
It was a thing no less admirable than foreign to our 
manners to see this citizen, who always addicted 
himself to commerce, selling with one hand the prod- 
uce of the Levant, and with the other supporting 
the weight of the republic ; entertaining factors and 
ambassadors ; opposing an artful and powerful pope, 
making peace and war, standing forth the oracle of 
princes, and the cultivator of the belles-lettres, fur- 
nishing amusements for the people, and giving a 
reception to the learned Greeks of Constantinople. 
His son Peter held the supreme authority in Flor- 
ence, at the time that the French made their expedi- 
tion to Naples ; but with much less credit than either 
his predecessors or descendants. 


The papal state was not then what it now is ; nor 
yet what it would have been had the popes been 
in a condition to profit by the donations which it 
was thought Charlemagne had left them, and those 
which they were really entitled to by the gift of 
Countess Mathilda. The house of Gonzaga was in 
possession of Mantua, for which it did homage to the 
empire. Several lords, under the titles of vicars of 
the empire, or of the Church, were in peaceable frui- 
tion of those fine territories which now belong to the 

Papal State. 189 

popes. Perugia belonged to the family of the Bail- 
loni; the Bentivoglios had Bologna; the Polentas 
Ravenna ; the Manfredi Faenza ; the Sforzas Pesaro ; 
the Rimerios were in possession of Imola and Forli ; 
the house of Este had for a long time governed in 
Ferrara; the Picos in Mirandola, and the Roman 
barons had great power in Rome; whence they 
were called the pope's hand-cuffs. The families of 
Colonna and Orsini, the Conti, and the Savilli, who 
were the principal barons, and ancient possessors of 
the most considerable demesnes, divided the Roman 
state by their continual disputes, like the great lords 
of France and Germany, who waged war with each 
other at the time that those kingdoms were in their 
feeble state. The people of Rome, who were very 
fond of processions, and forever crying out for ple- 
nary indulgences from their popes, frequently muti- 
nied upon their deaths, rifled their palaces, and were 
ready to throw their bodies into the Tiber, as was 
particularly the case on the death of Pope Innocent 

After his decease, Rodrigo Borgia, a Spaniard, 
was chosen pope, and took the name of Alexander 
VI., a man whose memory has been made execrable 
by the cries of all Europe, and the pen of every his- 
torian. The Protestants, who in the next age sep- 
arated themselves from the Church of Rome, added 
still more to the measure of this pontiff's iniquities. 
We shall see presently whether more crimes were 
laid to his charge than he deserved. The exaltation 

190 Ancient and Modern History. 

of this man to the papal chair sufficiently shows the 
manners and spirit of his age, so different from 
those of the present. The cardinals who elected 
him must have known that he at that time openly 
brought up five children which he had by Vanozza. 
They must necessarily have foreseen that all posses- 
sions, honors, and authority would be in the hands of 
his family, and yet they chose him for their master. 
The chiefs of the faction in the conclave sold for a 
trifling sum, not only their own interest, but those 
of all Italy. 


Venice extended its dominions on the mainland 
from the Lake of Como to the middle of Dalmatia. 
The Turks had despoiled it of all which it had for- 
merly taken in Greece from the Christian emperors ; 
but it still retained the large island of Candia, and 
afterward acquired that of Cyprus in 1437, by the 
donation of its last queen, daughter of Marco Cor- 
naro, the Venetian. But the industry of its inhab- 
itants was of greater value than those two islands, 
or the whole of its demesnes on the continent. The 
wealth of other nations rolled in on it, through all 
the various channels of commerce ; all the princes of 
Italy stood in awe of this republic, and she herself 
was in dread of an invasion from France. 

Of all the governments in Europe, that of Venice 
was alone regular, stable, and uniform. It had but 
one essential fault, which indeed was not thought 
such by the senate ; which was, that it wanted a coun- 

Naples. 191 

terpoise to the power of the patricians, and proper 
encouragement for the common people. No private 
citizen of Venice could hope to rise by his merit, as 
in ancient Rome. The chief excellence of the Eng- 
lish government, since the House of Commons has 
had a share in the legislature, consists in this coun- 
terpoise, and in leaving the way to honors and dig- 
nities open to all such who are deserving of them. 


As to the Neapolitans, they were always a weak 
and fickle people, alike incapable of governing them- 
selves, of choosing a king, or being contented with 
him they had ; and always at the mercy of the first 
power who chose to invade them with an army. 

Old King Fernando reigned at that time in Naples. 
He was a bastard of the house of Aragon. Illegiti- 
macy at that time was no bar to the throne. A bas- 
tard race wore the crown of Castile ; and a bastard, 
descendant of Don Pedro the Severe, governed Por- 
tugal. Fernando therefore reigned by this title in 
Naples ; he had received the investiture of that king- 
dom from the pope, in prejudice to the heirs of the 
house of Anjou, who still asserted their rights. But 
he was neither beloved by the pope, his lord para- 
mount, nor by his own subjects, and died in 1434, 
leaving behind him an unfortunate family, whom 
Charles VIII. deprived of a throne which he could 
not keep ; and whom he afterward, to his own mis- 
fortune, continued to persecute. 

Ancient and Modern History. 




CHARLES VIIL, his council, and his young courtiers 
were so intoxicated with the project of conquering 
the kingdom of Naples that they restored to Maxi- 
milian, Artois and Franche-Comte, which had been 
taken from his wife; and returned Cerdagne and 
Roussillon to Ferdinand the Catholic, with the 
remission of three hundred thousand crowns, which 
he owed, on condition that he should not interrupt 
the progress of the war. In this they never reflected 
that twelve villages added to a state are of greater 
value than a kingdom situated four hundred leagues 
from it. They committed another error in trusting 
to the Catholic king. 

1494 At length Charles VIIL entered Italy : he 
undertook this expedition with only sixteen hundred 
men at arms, who with their archers, made a squad- 
ron of five thousand horsemen, heavily armed ; two 
hundred gentlemen of his guard, five hundred light 
horse, six thousand French foot, and the same num- 
ber of Swiss; and so badly provided with money 
that he was obliged to borrow on his march, and 
even to pledge the jewels which had been lent him 
by the duchess of Savoy. Nevertheless, this army 
produced consternation and submission wherever it 
came. The Italians were amazed to see such heavy 

The Conquest of Naples. 193 

artillery drawn by horses, they having only been 
accustomed to small brass culverins drawn by oxen. 
The Italian gendarmerie was composed of spadassins 
or bravos, who hired themselves at an extravagant 
price to the condottieri, who sold their services~at a 
still more exorbitant rate to those princes who stood 
in need of their dangerous assistance. These chiefs 
took such names as were most likely to strike terror 
into the ignorant people, such as " taille-cuisse," 
" fier-a-bras," " fracasse," or "sacripend"; i. e. 
" Slash-thigh," "Arm-strong," " Havoc," etc. They 
were all afraid of losing their men, therefore only 
pursued the enemy, and never came to blows : those 
who kept the field were the conquerors. Indeed, in 
these time there was much more blood shed in pri- 
vate revenge, among citizens, and in conspiracies, 
than in battle. Machiavelli tells us, that in one of the 
battles fought at this time there was only one horse- 
man killed, and he was trampled to death by the 

The prospect of a serious war, therefore, filled 
them with dread, and not one dared to appear. Pope 
Alexander VI., the Venetians, and Louis the Moor, 
duke of Milan, who had invited Charles into Italy, 
endeavored to throw obstacles in his way as soon as 
he entered it. Peter de Medici, who was obliged 
to ask his protection, was for so doing expelled 
from the republic, and retired to Venice, whence he 
never dared to venture forth, though assured of the 

king's protection ; which he did not think sufficient 
Vol. 26 13 

194 Ancient and Modern History. 

to secure him against the private vengeance of his 

The king entered the city of Florence as its lord, 
and delivered Sienna from the Tuscan yoke, to 
which it was soon afterward again obliged to sub- 
mit. He then marched to Rome, where Alexander 
VI. in vain intrigued against him, and he entered 
that city as a conqueror. The pope had taken refuge 
in the castle of St. Angelo; but as soon as he saw 
the French cannon pointed against those feeble ram- 
parts he capitulated. 

1494 It cost him only a cardinal's hat to make 
his peace with the king. The president, Brissonet, 
who from a lawyer had become an archbishop, per- 
suaded the king to this agreement, by which he 
gained the purple. A king is often well served by his 
subjects who are cardinals, but seldom by those who 
are in pursuit of that dignity. The king's confessor 
was also in the secret. Charles, whose interest it was 
to have deposed the pope, forgave him, and repented 
of it afterward; and certainly never pontiff more 
deserved the indignation of a Christian prince. He 
and the Venetians had applied to the Turkish sultan, 
Bajazet II., son and successor to Mahomet II., to 
assist them in driving Charles VIII. out of Italy. 
It was even asserted that this pope had sent Bozzo 
in quality of nuncio to the Ottoman Porte, and that 
this alliance between the pope and the sultan was 
purchased by one of those inhuman murders which 

The Conquest of Naples. 195 

are not committed without horror even in the se- 
raglio of Constantinople. 

The pontiff, by an extraordinary chain of events, 
had at that time in his possession the person of 
Zizim, or Jem, the brother of Bajazet. The manner 
in which this son of Mahomet II. fell into the hands 
of the pope is as follows : 

Zizim, who was adored by the Turks, had dis- 
puted the empire with Bajazet, who was as much 
hated by them : but notwithstanding the young 
prince had the prayers of the people for him, he was 
defeated. In this disgrace he had recourse by an 
ambassador to the Knights of Rhodes, now the 
Knights of Malta. He was at first received by them 
as a prince to whom they stood bound in the laws 
of hospitality, and who might one day be of service 
to them ; but soon afterward they treated him as 
their prisoner. Bajazet paid these knights forty 
thousand sequins a year not to suffer Zizim to return 
again to Turkey. The knights conveyed him to one 
of their commanderies at Poitou, in France, called le 
Bourneuf. Charles VIII. had received at one time 
an ambassador from Bajazet, and a nuncio from 
Pope Innocent VIII., Alexander's predecessor, relat- 
ing to this valuable captive. The sultan claimed him 
as his subject, and the pope wanted to have posses- 
sion of his person as a pledge of safety for Italy 
against the attempts of the Turks. In the end, 
Charles sent Zizim to the pope. The pontiff received 
him with all the splendor and magnificence which 

196 Ancient and Modern History. 

the sovereign of Rome could show to the brother 
of the sovereign of Constantinople. They would 
have obliged Zizim to kiss the pope's feet; but 
Bozzo, who was an eye-witness of the whole, assures 
us that the Turk rejected this mark of submission 
with indignation. Paul Giovio says that Alexander 
VI. sold Zizim 's life in a treaty he made with Baja- 
zet. The king of France, full of his vast projects, 
and certain of the conquest of Naples, wanted to 
become formidable to Bajazet, by having the person 
of this unhappy brother in his power. The pope, 
according to Paul Giovio, delivered him to Charles, 
after poisoning him. It is not clearly shown whether 
this poison was given him by one of the pope's 
domestics, or by a secret emissary of the Grand 
Seignior. It was however publicly declared that 
Bajazet had promised the pope three hundred thou- 
sand ducats for his brother's head. 

Prince Demetrius Cantemir says that, according 
to all the Turkish annals, Zizim was murdered by 
his barber, who cut his throat, and that, in recom- 
pense, Bajazet afterward made this barber his grand 
vizier. It is hardly probable that they would have 
made a barber general and prime minister. If Zizim 
had been murdered after this manner, Charles VIII., 
who sent his body to his brother, must certainly 
have discovered the nature of his death: and the 
writers of those times would have made mention 
of it : therefore Prince Cantemir and the accusers of 
Alexander VI. may be equally deceived. The pub- 

The Conquest of Naples. 197 

lie, through hatred to this pontiff, imputed to him 
all the crimes that it was possible for him to commit. 

The pope having taken an oath not to disturb the 
king in his conquests, was set at liberty and appeared 
again as pontiff on the Vatican theatre. There, in a 
public consistory, the king appeared to pay him what 
is called the homage of obedience, assisted by John 
de Gannai, first president of the Parliament of Paris, 
who certainly ought to have been elsewhere than 
at such a ceremony. The king then kissed the feet of 
the person whom two days before he would have 
condemned as a criminal ; and, to complete the 
scene, he served the pope at high mass. Guicciardini, 
a contemporary writer of great credit, assures us 
that in the church the king sat below the cardinal 
dean. We must not, therefore, be surprised that 
Cardinal de Bouillon, dean of the sacred college, has 
in our time, upon the authority of these ancient cus- 
toms, expressed himself thus, in a letter to Louis 
XIV. : "I am going to take possession of the first seat 
in the Christian world, next to the supreme." 

Charlemagne had caused himself to be declared 
in Rome, emperor of the West. Charles VIII. was 
in the same city declared emperor of the East, but 
after a very different manner. One Palaeologus, 
nephew to him who had lost the empire and his life, 
made an empty cession in favor of Charles VIII., and 
his successors, of an empire which could no longer 
be recovered. 

As he was on the march back, he fell in with the 

198 Ancient and Modern History. 

confederate army, of thirty thousand men, near the 
village of Fornovo in Placentia, rendered famous by 
that day's action. He had not more than eight 
thousand men with him. If he was beaten, he lost 
his liberty or his life; if he conquered, he only 
gained the advantage of a retreat. He now gave 
a proof of what he might have done in this expedi- 
tion, had his prudence been equal to his courage. 
The Italians soon fled before him. In this engage- 
ment he did not lose above two hundred men, while 
the loss of the allies amounted to above four thou- 
sand. Such is usually the advantage which a dis- 
ciplined army, though small in number, headed by 
their king, has over a raw and mercenary multitude. 
The Venetians reckoned as a victory the having 
plundered a part of the king's baggage; and car- 
ried his tent in triumph into their own country. 
Charles VIII. conquered only to secure his return to 
his kingdom; and left one-half of his little army 
at Novara, in the duchy of Milan, where the duke 
of Orleans was quickly besieged. 

The confederates might have attacked him a sec- 
ond time with great advantage; but they did not 
dare. " There is no withstanding," said they, " la 
furia francese" The French did in Italy exactly 
that which the English had done in France. They 
conquered with inferiority of numbers, and they lost 
their conquests. 

While the king was at Turin, everyone was sur- 
prised to hear the chamberlain of Pope Alexander 

The Conquest of Naples. 199 

VI. order the king of France, in his master's name, 
instantly to withdraw his troops from the terri- 
tories of Milan and Naples, and repair to Rome 
to give an account of his conduct to the holy father, 
under pain of excommunication. This bravado 
would have been a subject of laughter, had not this 
pontiff's conduct in other respects furnished too seri- 
ous matter for complaint. 

The king at length returned to France, where he 
showed as much remissness in preserving his con- 
quests as he had displayed eagerness in making them. 
Frederick, the uncle of Fernando, the dethroned 
king of Naples, who became titular king after the 
death of his nephew, recovered the whole of his 
kingdom in less than a month's time, by the help of 
Gonsalvo of Cordova, called the Great Captain, 
whom Ferdinand the Catholic had sent at that time 
to his assistance. 

The duke of Orleans, who soon after succeeded 
to the crown of France, was glad to be suffered to 
depart quietly from Novara. At length there 
remained not the least trace of this torrent which had 
overspread Italy; and Charles VIII., whose glory 
had been so transient, died in 1497, without issue, 
at the age of twenty-eight; leaving his successor, 
Louis XII., to follow his example, and to repair his 

2OO Ancient and Modern History. 



BEFORE we proceed to examine how Louis XII. 
maintained his rights in Italy, what became of that 
fine country rent by so many factions, and disputed 
by so many powers, and in what manner the popes 
formed that extensive state of which they are at pres- 
ent in possession, we owe some attention to an 
extraordinary fact which at that time exercised the 
credulity of all Europe, and displayed the full power 
of fanaticism. 

There was at Florence a Dominican, named Girol- 
amo Savonarola, who was one of those church ora- 
tors who think that a talent for speaking" in the 
pulpit qualifies them for governing the nation, and 
one of those divines who, because they can explain 
the Apocalypse, think they are prophets. He di- 
rected, he preached, he heard confessions, he wrote ; 
and living in a free city, which was consequently 
filled with factions, he aimed at becoming the head 
of the people. 

As soon as it was known to the principal citizens 
of Florence that Charles VIII. meditated a descent 
upon Italy, this man took upon himself to foretell it ; 
and the people therefore believed him inspired. He 
inveighed against Pope Alexander VI. ; he encour- 
aged such of his countrymen as persecuted the family 
of Medici, and bathed their hands in the blood of the 

Savonarola. 201 

friends to that house. No man had ever been in 
greater degree of credit with the common people of 
Florence. He had become a kind of tribune among 
them, by having procured the artificers admission 
into the magistracy. The pope and the Medici fam- 
ily fought Savonarola with his own weapons, and 
sent a Franciscan to preach against him. There 
subsisted a more mortal hatred between the two 
orders of St. Francis and St. Dominic, than between 
the Guelphs and Ghibellines. The Cordelier suc- 
ceeded so well that he rendered his antagonist, the 
Dominican, odious. The two orders now let loose 
all the fury of invective against each other. At last 
a Dominican friar offered to undergo the trial of fire 
in vindication of Savonarola's sanctity. This was 
answered by a Franciscan friar, who offered to 
undergo the same trial to prove Savonarola an im- 
postor and a profligate wretch. The people, eager 
for this spectacle, cried aloud for its being put into 
execution, and the magistracy was obliged to give 
orders for it. Everyone had at that time fresh in 
mind the old fabulous story of the monk Aldobran- 
dini, surnamed Petrus ignens, or Peter the Fiery, 
who, in the eleventh century, passed through two 
flaming piles of wood ; and the partisans of Savon- 
arola had not the least doubt that God would do as 
much for a Jacobin friar as he had heretofore done 
for a Benedictine. The contrary faction entertained 
like hopes in behalf of the Cordelier. 

At length the fires were lighted, and the two 

2O2 Ancient and Modern History. 

champions appeared in the midst of an innumerable 
crowd of spectators. But when they came to take 
a cool view of the two piles in flames, they both 
began to tremble, and their fears suggested to them 
a common evasion. The Dominican would not enter 
the pile without the host in his hand, and the Corde- 
lier pretended that this was no article of the agree- 
ment. Both' were obstinate, and mutually assisted 
each other in getting over this false step. In short, 
they did not exhibit the shocking farce they had pro- 

The people upon this, stirred up by the Franciscan 
party, would have seized upon Savonarola ; and the 
magistracy ordered him to quit the city: but 
although he had the pope, the Medici family, and the 
people all against him he refused to obey, upon which 
he was seized and put to the torture seven times. 
By the extract of his confession we learn that he 
acknowledged himself to be a false prophet and an 
impostor, who abused the secrets of confession, and 
those which were revealed to him by the society. 
Could he do otherwise than own himself an impos- 
tor? Is not everyone who enters into cabals under 
pretence of being inspired an impostor? Perhaps 
he was moreover a fanatic. The human imagination 
is capable of uniting these two extremes, which 
appear so contradictory. If he had been condemned 
only through a motive of justice, a prison and severe 
penance had been sufficient punishments; but the 
spirit of party had a share in his sufferings. In 

Pico de la Mirandola. 203 

short, he was sentenced, with two other Dominicans, 
to suffer in those flames which they had offered to 
encounter. However, they were strangled before 
they were thrown into the fire. Savonarola's party 
did not fail to attribute a number of miracles to him 
after his death, the last shift of those who have been 
attached to an unfortunate chief. We must not for- 
get that Alexander VI., after he was condemned, 
sent him a plenary indulgence. 



As THE adventure of Savonarola shows to what a 
height superstition was still carried, the disputations 
of the young prince of Mirandola may convince us of 
the flourishing state of the sciences in those times. 
These two different scenes passed at Florence and 
Rome among people then accounted the most ingen- 
ious in the world. Hence we may readily infer what 
darkness hung over the other nations of the earth, 
and how slow human reason is in its formation 

It will always be a proof of the superiority of the 
Italians in those times, that John Francis Pico de la 
Mirandola, a sovereign prince, was from his earliest 
years a prodigy of learning and memory. Had he 
even lived in our days he would have been esteemed 
a miracle of real erudition. He had so strong a 
passion for the sciences that at length he renounced 
his principality and retired to Florence, where he 

2O4 Ancient and Modern History. 

died in the year 1494, on the very day that Charles 
VIII. made his entry into that city. It is said, that 
at the age of eighteen he understood twenty-two 
different languages. This is certainly out of the 
ordinary course of nature. There is hardly any 
language which does not require over a year to learn 
it perfectly: therefore a young person, who, at so 
early an age as eighteen, knows twenty-two, must 
be suspected of understanding them very imper- 
fectly, or of knowing only the elements at most, 
which is in fact knowing nothing at all. 

It is still more extraordinary that this prince hav- 
ing studied so many languages should, at the age of 
twenty-four, be able to maintain theses at Rome on 
all the sciences without excepting one. In the front 
of his works we meet with one thousand four hun- 
dred general conclusions, on every one of which 
he offered to dispute. Now in all this immense study 
and learning, a few elements of geometry and the 
doctrine of the sphere are the only things which 
appear worthy of his great pains and application. 
All the rest only serve to show the genius of the 
times. We meet with the summum of St. Thomas, 
an abridgment of the works of Albert, surnamed the 
Great, and a mixture of divinity and peripateticism. 
Here we read that the angels are infinite secundum 
quid; and that animals and plants are formed by a 
corruption animated by a productive virtue. The 
whole is in this taste, and indeed it is all that was 
taught in the universities of those times. Thou- 

Pico de la Mirandola. 205 

sands of pupils had their heads filled with these 
chimeras, and continued to frequent, for forty or 
fifty years, the schools where they were taught. The 
knowledge of all other nations was as trifling. Those 
who held the reins of government in the world were 
therefore very excusable in being ignorant of them, 
and Pico of Mirandola very unhappy in having spent 
his life, and shortened his days in the pursuit of these 
grave fopperies. 

The number of those who, born with a real genius, 
cultivated by reading the best Roman authors, had 
escaped this general night of learning, were very 
inconsiderable after Dante and Petrarch, whose 
works were better adapted for princes, statesmen, 
women, and men of fortune, who only seek for an 
agreeable amusement in reading; and these would 
have been more proper for the prince of Mirandola 
than the compilations of Albert the Great. 

But he was carried away by a passion for universal 
knowledge ; and this universal knowledge consisted 
in knowing by heart a few words upon every sub- 
ject, which conveyed no kind of idea. It is diffi- 
cult to comprehend how the same man who reasoned 
so justly and with so much nicety upon the affairs 
of the world and their several interests could be 
satisfied with such unintelligible jargon in almost 
everything else. The reason perhaps is, that man- 
kind is fonder of appearing to know something, than 
of seeking after knowledge; and when error has 
gained the mastery of our minds during our tender 

206 Ancient and Modern History. 

age we are at no pains to shake off its yoke, but 
rather strive to subject ourselves more to it. Hence 
it comes that so many men of real discernment and 
genius are so frequently under the dominion of pop- 
ular errors. 

Pico de la Mirandola wrote, indeed, against judi- 
cial astrology; but then, let us not mistake, it was 
only against the astrology practised in his time. He 
allowed of another kind, which, according to him, 
was the most ancient and true, and which he said 
had been neglected. 

In his first proposition he expresses himself thus : 
" Magic, such as is now practised, and which is 
condemned by the Church, cannot be founded on 
truth, because it depends on those powers which 
are enemies to truth." Now by these very words, 
contradictory as they are, it is evident that he admit- 
ted magic to be the work of devils, which was the 
generally received opinion concerning it. Accord- 
ingly he affirms that there is no virtue in Heaven or 
on earth but what a magician can make subservient 
to his purposes: and he proves that words are of 
efficacy in magic, because God made use of speech 
in arranging the several parts of the universe. 

These theses made more noise, and were in greater 
reputation at those times than the discoveries of 
Newton or the investigations of the great Locke in 
our days. Pope Innocent VIII. caused thirteen 
propositions of this great body of doctrine to be cen- 
sured; a censure which resembled the decisions of 

Pope Alexander VI. 207 

those Indians who condemned the opinion of the 
earth's being supported by a dragon, because, accord- 
ing to them, none but an elephant was able to support 
it. Pico de la Mirandola drew up an apology for his 
propositions, in which he complains of those who 
had censured him, and says, that being in company 
with one of them who were inveighing bitterly 
against the cabala, he asked him if he knew what 
was really meant by the word " cabala." A pretty 
question truly! answered the schoolman; does not 
everybody know that he was a heretic, who wrote 
against Jesus Christ? 

At length it became necessary for Pope Alexander 
VI., who at least had the merit of despising these 
frivolous disputes, to send him his absolution. It is 
remarkable that he acted in the same manner by Pico 
de la Mirandola and Savonarola. 



POPE Alexander VI. was at that time engaged in two 
great designs, one was to restore to the pontifical 
demesnes the many territories which it was pre- 
tended they had been deprived of, and the other to 
procure a crown for his son, Caesar Borgia. Infa- 
mous as his conduct was, it did not in the least 
impair his authority, and the people of Rome raised 
no seditions against him. He was publicly accused 
cf a criminal correspondence with his own sister, 

2o8 Ancient and Modern History. 

Lucretia, whom he took away from three husbands, 
successively, the last of whom, Alphonso of Aragon, 
he caused to be assassinated, that he might bestow 
her in marriage on the heir of the house of Este. 
These nuptials were celebrated in the Vatican by the 
most infamous diversions that debauch had ever 
invented for the confusion of modesty. Fifty cour- 
tesans danced naked before this incestuous family, 
and prizes were given to those who exhibited the 
most lascivious motions. The duke of Gandia and 
Caesar Borgia, at that time archbishop of Valencia 
in Spain, and cardinal, were said to have publicly 
disputed the favors of their sister, Lucretia. The 
duke of Gandia was assassinated in Rome, and Caesar 
Borgia was suspected as the author of his death. 
The personal estates of the cardinals belong at their 
decease to the pope, and Alexander was strongly 
suspected of having hastened the death of more than 
one member of the sacred college, that he might 
become their heir; notwithstanding all which the 
people of Rome obeyed without murmuring, and this 
pontiff's friendship was sought by all the potentates 
of Europe. 

Louis XII., king of France, who succeeded 
Charles VIIL, was more earnest than any other in 
seeking an alliance with Alexander: he had more 
reasons than one for this ; he wanted to be divorced 
from his wife, the daughter of Louis XL, with whom 
he had consummated his marriage, and lived in wed- 
lock for over twenty-two years, but without having 

Pope Alexander VI. 209 

had any children. No law, excepting the law of 
nature, could authorize such a separation; and 
yet disgust and policy made it necessary. 

Anne of Brittany, the widow of Charles VIII., 
ptill retained that inclination for Louis XII. which 
she had felt for him when duke of Orleans; and 
unless he married her, Brittany would be forever 
lost to the crown of France. It was an ancient but 
dangerous custom to apply to the court of Rome 
for permission to marry a relation, or to put away a 
wife ; for these marriages or divorces having become 
necessary to the state, the tranquillity of a kingdom 
consequently depended upon the pope's manner of 
thinking ; and the popes were frequently enemies to 

The other reason which united Louis XII. to Alex- 
ander VI. was the desire he had to defend his fatal 
claim to the dominions of Italy. Louis claimed the 
duchy of Milan in right of one of his grandmothers, 
who was a sister of a Visconti, who had been in 
possession of that principality; but this claim was 
opposed by the exclusive right granted to Louis the 
Moor, by the emperor Maximilian, who had likewise 
married Louis's niece. 

The public feudal law was so changeable that it 
could only be interpreted by the law of force. This 
duchy of Milan, the ancient kingdom of the Lom- 
bards, was a fief of the empire, and it had not been 
determined whether it was a male or female fief, or 

whether the daughters had a right of inheritance. 
VoL 2614 

2io Ancient and Modern History. 

The grandmother of Louis XII., who was daughter 
of Visconti, duke of Milan, had by her marriage- 
contract only the county of Asti. This marriage- 
contract proved the cause of all the miseries of Italy, 
the disgraces of Louis XII. , and the misfortunes of 
Francis I. Almost all the Italian states were thus 
fluctuating in uncertainty, unable either to recover 
their liberty, or to determine what master they were 
to belong to. 

The claim of Louis XII. on Naples was the same 
as that of Charles VIII. 

Caesar Borgia, the pope's bastard, was charged 
with the commission of carrying the bull of divorce 
to France, and negotiating with the king on the 
measures relating to this conquest. Borgia did not 
leave Rome till he was assured of the duchy of Val- 
entinois, a company of one hundred armed men, and 
a pension of twenty thousand livres, all of which 
Louis granted him, together with his promise to 
procure for him the king of Navarre's sister. Caesar 
Borgia then, notwithstanding his being a deacon and 
archbishop, changed his ecclesiastical character for 
a secular one ; and the pope, his father, granted a 
dispensation at one and the same time to his son to 
quit the Church, and to the king of France to quit his 
wife. Matters were quickly arranged, and Louis 
prepared for a fresh invasion of Italy. 

In this enterprise he had the Venetians on his 
side, who were to have a share in the spoils of the 
Milanese. They had already taken Bressan and the 

Pope Alexander VI. 211 

country of Bergamo, and aimed at nothing less than 
the possession of Cremona, to which they had as 
much right as to Constantinople. 

The emperor Maximilian, whose business it was to 
have defended the duke of Milan, his father-in-law 
and vassal, against France, his natural enemy, was 
not at that time in a condition to assist him in per- 
son. He could with difficulty make head against 
the Swiss, who had effectually driven the Austrians 
out of all the places they had been possessed of in 
their country. Maximilian therefore acted upon this 
occasion the feigned part of indifference. 

Louis XII. terminated amicably some disputes he 
had with this emperor's son, Philip the Handsome, 
father of Charles V., afterward sovereign of the 
Low Countries ; and this Philip did homage in per- 
son to France for the counties of Flanders and 
Artois. This homage was received by Guy de Roche- 
fort, chancellor of France, in the following manner : 
The chancellor, seated and covered, held between his 
hands those of the prince joined together, who, 
standing uncovered, and without his sword and gir- 
dle, pronounced these words : " I do homage to 
Monsieur, the king, for my peerages of Flanders, 
Artois," etc. 

Louis having renewed the treaties made with Eng- 
land by Charles VIII., and being now secure on all 
sides, at least for a time, made his army pass the 
Alps. It is to be remarked that when he entered 
upon this war, instead of increasing the taxes he 

212 Ancient and Modern History. 

diminished them, and this indulgence first procured 
him from his subjects the title of " Father of his 
Country." But at the same time he sold a number of 
the posts called royal offices, especially those in the 
finances. Would it not then have been better to have 
imposed a regular and equal tax upon the people 
than to have introduced a shameful venality in the 
posts of that country, of which he pretended to be 
the father? This custom of putting offices up at 
sale came from Italy : in Rome they had for a long 
time sold the places in the apostolic chamber, and it 
is only of late years that the popes have abolished 
this pernicious custom. 

The army which Louis XII. sent over the Alps 
was not more considerable than that with which 
Charles VIII. had conquered Naples ; but what must 
appear strange is that Louis the Moor, though only 
duke of Milan, Parma, and Placentia, and lord of 
Genoa, had an army altogether as strong as that of 
the king of France. 

1499 It was now seen f r the second time what 
the furia francese could do against Italian cunning. 
The king's army, in twenty days' time, made itself 
master of the state of Milan and of Genoa, while the 
Venetians occupied the territory of Cremona. 

Louis XII., after having conquered these beautiful 
provinces by his generals, made his entry into Milan, 
where he received the deputies from the Italian 
states, as a person who was their sovereign arbiter ; 
but no sooner had he returned to Lyons than that 

Pope Alexander VI. 213 

negligence which almost always succeeds impetu- 
osity lost the French Milan, in the same manner as it 
had lost them Naples. Louis the Moor, during this 
transient restoration paid a gold ducat for the head 
of every Frenchman brought to him. Then Louis 
XII. made another effort, and sent his general, Louis 
de la Trimouille, to repair the former oversights, 
who again entered the duchy of Milan. The Swiss, 
who, since the death of Charles VIII., had made use 
of the liberty they had recovered, to dispose of their 
services to whosoever would pay for them, were in 
great numbers among the soldiery of the French 
army as well as in that of the Milanese. It is remark- 
able that the dukes of Milan were the first princes 
who took the Swiss into pay. Maria Sforza set this 
example to the rest of the princes of Europe. 

But on this occasion some captains of this nation, 
which had hitherto resembled ancient Sparta, in its 
liberty, equality, poverty, and courage, stained the 
honor of their country by their greediness for money. 
The duke of Milan had trusted the care of his per- 
son to these people, preferably to his Italian sub- 
jects; but they soon proved how unworthy they 
were of such confidence, by entering into an arrange- 
ment with the French, and confining the duke in the 
city of Novara ; and all the favor he could procure 
at their hands was to march out of the city with them 
in a Swiss dress, and a halbert in his hand. In this 
disguise he marched through the ranks of the French 
army ; but those who had so basely sold him quickly 

214 Ancient and Modern History. 

discovered him to the enemy, and he was taken pris- 
oner and conducted to Pierre-en-Cise, and from 
thence to the same tower of Bourges where Louis 
XII. had been himself confined when duke of 
Orleans; thence he was removed to Loches, where 
he lived for ten years, not shut up in an iron cage, 
as vulgar report has it, but treated with distinction, 
and allowed during the last years of his confinement 
to go anywhere within five leagues of the castle. 

Louis XIL, now master of Milan and Genoa, 
resolved to get possession of Naples also; but he 
feared that same Ferdinand the Catholic who had 
once before driven the French from that country. 

Therefore as he had before joined with the Ven- 
etians for the conquest of Milan, and had given them 
part of the spoils, he now entered into an engage- 
ment of the same nature with Ferdinand for the con- 
quest of Naples, that prince preferring a share in the 
spoils of his family to the honor of succoring it ; and 
by this treaty he divided with France the kingdom 
of Frederick, the last king of the bastard branch of 
Aragon. His Catholic majesty kept Apulia and 
Calabria to himself, and the rest went to France. 

Pope Alexander VL, the ally of Louis XII., 
engaged in this conspiracy against an innocent mon- 
arch, his feudatory, and granted to these two kings 
the investiture he had before bestowed upon the king 
of Naples. The Catholic king sent the same general 
Gonsalvo de Cordova to Naples, under pretence of 
assisting his relative, but in reality to overwhelm 

Pope Alexander VI. 215 

him. The French now invaded the kingdom by sea 
and land, and the Neapolitans were not accustomed 
to risk their lives in defence of their kings. 

1501 The unfortunate monarch, betrayed by 
his own relation, pressed by the French arms, and 
destitute of resources, chose rather to put himself 
in the hands of Louis XII., whom he looked upon as 
a generous enemy, than to trust to the Catholic king, 
^vho had behaved with such perfidy toward him. 
Accordingly he demanded a passport from the 
French to leave his kingdom, and arrived in France 
with five galleys; there he lived upon a pension 
granted him by the king, of one hundred and twenty 
thousand livres, of our present money. Strange des- 
tiny for a sovereign prince ! 

Louis XII. then had at one time a duke of Milan 
for his prisoner, and a king of Naples, a follower of 
his court, and his pensioner. The republic of Genoa 
was one of his provinces; his people were moder- 
ately taxed, and his kingdom the most flourishing in 
the world, and wanted nothing but the industry of 
commerce and the reputation of the liberal arts, 
which, as we shall hereafter see, were the peculiar 
lot of Italy. 

216 Ancient and Modern History. 





ALEXANDER VI. effected, in a less degree, that 
which Louis XII. executed in the greater. He sub- 
dued the fiefs in Romagna by the arms of his son ; 
everything seemed to conspire to the aggrandize- 
ment of this son, who nevertheless had but little 
enjoyment of his good fortune, and labored, with- 
out knowing it, for the church patrimony. 

There was not any one act of oppression, artifice, 
heroic courage or villainy which Caesar Borgia left 
unpractised. He made use of more art and dexterity 
to get possession of eight or ten little towns, and to 
rid himself of a few noblemen that stood in his way, 
than Alexander, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, or 
Mahomet had done to subdue the greater part of the 
habitable globe. Indulgences were sold to raise 
troops; and we are assured by Cardinal Bembo, 
that, in the territories of Venice alone, there were 
as many disposed of as amounted to one thousand 
six hundred gold marks. The tenth penny was levied 
on all the revenues of the clergy, under pretence of 
a war against the Turks, when, instead of that, it 
was only to carry on a slight skirmish near the gates 
of Rome. 

Pope Alexander VI. 217 

First they seized the estates of the Colonnas and 
Savatelli, in the neighborhood of Rome. Borgia 
next made himself master, partly by artifice, and 
partly by force, of Forli, Faenza, Rimini, Imola, and 
Piombino, and in the course of these petty con- 
quests, perfidy, assassination, and poison were the 
chief arms he used. He demanded, in the name of 
the pope, troops and artillery from the duke of 
Urbino, which he employed against this very duke, 
and drove him out of his dominions. He drew the 
lord of Camerino to a conference, where he caused 
him to be strangled, together with two of his sons. 
He engaged, upon the surety of the most solemn 
oaths, four noblemen the dukes of Gravina, 
Oliverotto, Pagolo, and Vitelli to come and treat 
with him near Senigallia, who fell into the ambush 
he had prepared for them; and Oliverotto and 
Vitelli were, by his orders, most inhumanly mur- 
dered. Could one suppose that Vitelli, when in the 
agonies of death, would beseech his murderer to 
obtain for him of the pope, his father, an indulgence 
in articulo mortis; and yet this is asserted by con- 
temporary writers. Nothing can better show the 
weakness of mankind, and the force of persuasion. 
If Caesar Borgia had died before his father, of that 
poison which it is pretended they had prepared for 
the cardinals, and of which both of them drank by 
mistake; if Borgia had been the first, I say, who 
had died on this occasion, it would have been no 

21 8 Ancient and Modern History. 

matter of surprise to have heard him ask a plenary 
indulgence of his father. 

Alexander VI. at the same time apprehended the 
relations of these unfortunate noblemen, and had 
them strangled in the castle of St. Angelo. What 
is truly deplorable is, that Louis XII., the father 
of his people, countenanced these barbarities of the 
pope in Italy, and suffered him with impunity to 
shed the blood of these victims for the sake of being 
assisted by him in conquering Naples. Thus, what 
is called policy and the interest of the estate made 
him unjustly partial to Alexander. What a policy, 
what an interest of estate must that be which led 
him to abet the oppression of a man by whom he 
was soon afterward betrayed himself! 

It was the destiny of the French to conquer 
Naples, and to be again expelled from it. Ferdi- 
nand the Catholic, who had betrayed the last king of 
Naples, who was his relative, did not prove more 
faithful to Louis XII. who was his ally, but soon 
entered into an agreement with Pope Alexander, to 
deprive that prince of his share in that partition. 

Gonsalvo de Cordova, who so well merited the 
title of the Great Captain, though not of the good 
man, and who used to say that the web of honor 
should be slightly woven, first deceived the French, 
and then conquered them. It appears to me, that the 
French commanders have in general a greater share 
of that courage which honor inspires than of the 
artifice necessary for conducting great affairs. The 

Pope Alexander VI. 219 

duke of Nemours, a descendant of Clovis, who was 
then at the head of the French army, challenged 
Gonsalvo to single combat; Gonsalvo replied by 
defeating his army several times, especially at Cerig- 
nola in Apulia, in 1503, where Nemours himself 
was slain with four thousand of his men. It is 
said, that not more than nine Spaniards were killed 
in this battle, an evident proof that Gonsalvo had 
made choice of an advantageous post, that Nemours 
wanted prudence, and that his soldiers were dis- 
heartened. The famous Chevalier Bayard in vain 
sustained alone, on a narrow bridge, the attack of 
two hundred of the enemy. His resistance was 
glorious, but it answered no purpose. 

In this war they first found out a new method of 
destroying mankind. Peter of Navarre, a soldier 
of fortune, and a great general among the Span- 
iards, discovered the use of mines, and made the 
first trial of them upon the French. 

Notwithstanding this ill success, the kingdom of 
France was at that time so powerful that Louis XII. 
found himself able to send three armies at once into 
the field, and a large fleet to sea. Of these three 
armies, one was destined against Naples, and the 
two others for Roussillon and Fontarabia ; but not 
one of them made any progress, and that sent 
against Naples quickly met with an entire defeat. 
At length Louis XII. irrecoverably lost his share 
of the kingdom of Naples. 

1503 Soon after, Italy was delivered from Pope 

22O Ancient and Modern History. 

Alexander VI. and his son. All historians have taken 
pleasure in recording that this pope died of the 
poison he had prepared for several cardinals, whom 
he had invited to an entertainment. An end suitable 
to his life ! 

But there seems very little probability in this 
story. It is pretended, that being in urgent necessity 
of money, he wanted to inherit the estates of these 
cardinals; but it is proved that Caesar Borgia 
carried away one hundred thousand gold ducats out 
of his father's treasury after his death, consequently 
this want of money was not real. Besides, how 
came this mistake in the bottle of poisoned wine, 
which is said to have occasioned this pope's death 
and brought his son to the brink of the grave? 
Men who have been long conversant with crimes of 
this nature leave no room for making such mistakes. 
No person is mentioned as having made this con- 
fession; it would seem very difficult then, to have 
come at the information. If, when the pope died, 
this had been known to be the cause of his death, 
those who were intended to be poisoned must have 
likewise come to the knowledge of it, and they 
would hardly have permitted Borgia to take quiet 
possession of his father's treasures. The people, 
who frequently hate their masters, and must have 
held such masters in particular execration, though 
they might have been kept under during Alexan- 
der's lifetime, would undoubtedly have rebelled at 
his death, would have disturbed the funeral obse- 

Pope Alexander VI. 221 

quies of such a monster, and have torn his abomin- 
able son in pieces. In fine, the journal of the Borgia 
family says that the pope at the age of seventy-two 
was attacked by a violent tertian, which soon 
turned to a continual fever, and proved mortal: 
this is not the effect of poison. It is said moreover, 
that the duke of Borgia caused himself to be sewed 
up in a mule's belly: I should be glad to know to 
what sort of poison a mule's belly is an antidote, 
and how this dying man could go to the Vatican, 
and get his father's money. Was he shut up in his 
mule when he carried it off ? 

It is certain, that after the pope's death there was 
a sedition in Rome; the Colonnas and the Orsini 
entered it in arms. This was the most proper time 
for accusing the father and son of such a crime. 
In fine, Pope Julius II., who was the sworn enemy 
of this family, and who had the duke of Borgia for 
a long time in his power, never imputed that to him 
which was so universally laid to his charge. 

But, on the other hand, how happens it that Car- 
dinal Bembo, Guicciardini, Paul Giovio, Tommasi, 
and so many other writers of those times, all agree 
in this strange accusation? Whence such a multi- 
tude of particular circumstances ? And why do they 
pretend to give the very name of the poison made 
use of on this occasion, which it seems was called 
Cantarella? To all this it may be answered, that 
it is no difficult matter to invent circumstances 
in an accusation, and that in one of so horrible a 

222 Ancient and Modern History. 

nature, it was necessary to give the coloring of 

Alexander VI. left behind him a more detestable 
memory in Europe than Nero or Caligula in the 
Roman Empire ; the sanctity of his station adding a 
double weight to his guilt. Nevertheless, Rome 
was indebted to him for her temporal greatness; 
and it was this pontiff who enabled his successors 
to hold at times the balance of Italy. 

His son lost all the fruits of his crimes, and the 
Church profited by them. Almost all the cities 
which he had conquered, either by fraud or force, 
chose another master as soon as his father died ; and 
Pope Julius II. obliged him soon after to deliver 
up the rest, so that he had nothing left of all his 
wicked greatness. Everything reverted to the holy 
see, which reaped more benefit from his wickedness 
than from the abilities of all its popes, assisted by 
the arms of religion. 

Machiavelli pretends that he had so well con- 
certed his measures, that he must have been master 
of Rome and the whole ecclesiastical state after the 
death of his father, but that it was impossible for 
him to foresee that he himself should be at the point 
of death at the very time that Alexander finished his 

In a very short time he was abandoned by friends, 
enemies, allies, relatives, and all the world; and 
he who had betrayed so many, was himself at length 
betrayed ; Gonsalvo de Cordova, the Great Captain, 

Louis XII. 223 

with whom he had trusted himself, sent him prisoner 
to Spain. Louis XII. took from him his duchy of 
Valentinois, and his pension. At length, having 
found means to escape from his prison, he took 
refuge in Navarre. Courage, which is not a virtue, 
but a happy qualification, alike common to the 
wicked and the virtuous, did not forsake him in his 
distresses ; and, while he was in his asylum, he still 
kept up to every part of his character: he carried 
on intrigues, and commanded in person the army of 
the king of Navarre, his father-in-law, during a 
war which that prince entered into at his advice to 
dispossess his vassals of their estates, as he himself 
had formerly done by the vassals of the holy see. 
He was slain fighting. A glorious end! whereas, 
we see in the course of this history, lawful sover- 
eigns, and men of the strictest virtue, fall by the 
hand of the common executioner. 



THE French might possibly have repossessed them- 
selves of Naples, as they had done of Milan ; But 
the ambition of Cardinal d'Amboise, prime minister 
to Louis XII., was the occasion of losing that state 
forever. Chaumont d'Amboise, archbishop of 
Rouen, so much admired for having only a single 
benefice, but who had at least another in the kingdom 
of France, which he governed without control, 

224 Ancient and Modern History. 

wanted one of a more elevated rank. He aimed at 
the papacy after the death of Alexander VI., and 
he must have been elected, had his politics been 
equal to his ambition. He was master of great 
treasures. The army which was going to invade 
Naples was then at the gates of Rome: but the 
Italian cardinals persuaded him to remove it to a 
greater distance, pretending that the election would 
by that means appear more free, and consequently be 
of greater validity. He went into the snare, drew off 
the army, and then Cardinal Julian de la Rovere, 
in 1503, caused Pius III. to be elected, who lived 
not quite a month to enjoy his new dignity. After 
his death Cardinal Julian, called Julius II., was 
himself made pope, and the rainy season coming on, 
prevented the French from passing the Garigliano, 
and favored the operations of Gonsalvo de Cordova. 
Thus Cardinal d'Amboise, who nevertheless passes 
for a wise man, lost himself the tiara, and his master 
the kingdom of Naples. 

A fault of another kind with which he is 
reproached is the unaccountable Treaty of Blois, by 
which the king's council, with one stroke of a pen, 
mutilated and destroyed the French monarchy. By 
this treaty the king gave his only daughter, by 
Anne of Brittany, in marriage to the grandson of the 
emperor, and Ferdinand the Catholic, his two great- 
est enemies; this young prince was the same who 
afterward proved the scourge and terror of France, 
and all Europe, by the name of Charles V. Can it 

Louis XII. 225 

be supposed that he was to have in dowry with his 
wife the entire provinces of Brittany and Burgundy, 
with an absolute cession on the part of France, too, 
of all her rights to Milan and Genoa? and yet all 
this did Louis XII. give away from his kingdom, in 
case he should die without male issue. There can 
be no excuse for a treaty of so extraordinary a kind, 
unless by saying that the king and Cardinal 
d'Amboise had no intention to keep it, and that in 
short Ferdinand had taught the cardinal the art of 

Accordingly, we find that the states-general, in 
an assembly held at Tours in 1506, remonstrated 
against this fatal scheme. Perhaps the king, who 
began to repent of what he had done, was artful 
enough to get his kingdom to demand that of him 
which he did not dare to do of his own accord ; or 
perhaps he yielded to the remonstrances of the 
nation from the pure dictates of reason. In fine, 
the heiress of Anne of Brittany was taken from the 
heir of Austria and Spain, as her mother had been 
from the emperor Maximilian. She was then mar- 
ried to the count of Angouleme, afterward Francis 
I., and Brittany, which had been twice annexed to 
the crown of France, and was twice very near 
slipping through its hands, was now incorporated 
with it ; and Burgundy also was still preserved. 

Louis XII. is accused of committing another error 
in joining in a league against his allies, the Venetians, 

with all their secret enemies. And it was an 
Vol. 2615 

226 Ancient and Modern History. 

unheard-of event, that so many kings should con- 
spire to destroy a republic, which not more than 
three hundred years before, was a town of fisher- 
men, who afterward became illustrious and opulent 



POPE JULIUS II., who was a native of Savona, in the 
Genoese dominions, could not without indignation 
see his country under the French yoke. Genoa had 
lately made an effort to recover its ancient liberty, 
for which Louis XII. punished that republic with 
more ostentation than rigor. He entered the city 
with his sword drawn, and ordered all its charters 
to be burned in his presence. He afterward caused 
a throne to be erected on a high scaffold, in the 
market-place, and obliged the principal citizens of 
Genoa to come to the foot of this scaffold, and there 
upon their knees to hear their sentence, which was 
only to pay a fine of one hundred thousand gold 
crowns: he then built a citadel to awe the city, 
which he called the bridle of Genoa. 

The pope, who, like the most of his predecessors, 
wished to drive all foreigners out of Italy, endeav- 
ored to send the French over the Alps again; but 
he was willing, in the first place, to get the Vene- 
tians to join with him, and that they should begin 

The League of Cambray. 227 

by restoring to him several cities, to which the holy 
see had pretensions, the greatest part of which had 
been wrested from their possessors by Caesar Borgia, 
duke of Valentinois: and the Venetians, ever 
watchful of their interests, had, immediately after 
the death of Alexander VI., seized the towns of 
Rimini and Faenza, and several lands in Bologna, 
Ferrara, and the duchy of Urbino : these conquests 
they were determined to keep. Julius II. then made 
use of the French to oppose the Venetians, whom he 
had before endeavored to arm against the French: 
nor did he think the French alone sufficient, but 
endeavored to draw all the other powers of Europe 
into the league. 

There was hardly one sovereign who had not some 
demand on the territories of this republic. Emperor 
Maximilian had unlimited pretensions as emperor ; 
and besides, Verona, Padua, Vicenza, the march of 
Trevizana, and Friuli lay convenient for him. Fer- 
dinand the Catholic, king of Aragon, might take 
back some seaport towns in Naples, which he had 
pledged to the Venetians. This would have been 
an easy way of paying off his debts. The king of 
Hungary had pretensions to a part of Dalmatia. 
The duke of Savoy might also claim the island of 
Cyprus, in virtue of his alliance with the princes of 
that country, who were now extinct. The people 
of Florence likewise, as near neighbors, might come 
in for their share in these demands. 

1508 Almost all the powers who were at enmity 

228 Ancient and Modern History. 

with one another suspended their private disputes 
to join in the general league set on foot at Cambray, 
against the Venetians. The Turk, who was the 
natural enemy of this republic, but then at peace 
with her, was the only power who did not accede to 
this treaty. Never were so many kings in league 
against ancient Rome. Venice was as rich as all 
the confederates together. To this resource she 
trusted, and that dissension which she wisely judged 
would speedily happen among so many confederates. 
It was in her power to appease Julius II., who was 
the chief promoter of this league : but she disdained 
to make any concession, and dared the fury of the 
storm. This was perhaps the only time the Vene- 
tians were rash. 

The pope began his declaration of war by excom- 
munications, which at that time were held in more 
contempt at Venice than in any other nation. Louis 
XII. sent a herald at arms to the doge to denounce 
war in form against him; at the same time he 
demanded the restitution of the territories of Cre- 
mona, which he himself had ceded to the Venetians 
when they assisted him in retaking Milan, and more- 
over laid claim to Brescia, Bergamo, and several 
other territories. 

The rapid success which had always accompanied 
the French army in the beginning of all their expedi- 
tions did not fail them in this. Louis XII., at the 
head of his army, routed the Venetian forces in the 
famous battle of Agnadello, fought near the river 

The League of Cambray. 229 

Adda, in 1509. Immediately after this victory 
every one of the confederates seized his pretended 
lot. Julius II. made himself master of all Romagna. 
Thus the popes, who, as we are informed by history, 
owed their first demesnes to a French emperor, were 
now obliged to the victorious army of Louis XII., 
king of France, for the rest ; and from that memor- 
able day they became possessed of almost the whole 
of these territories which they at present occupy. 

The emperor's troops in the meantime advanced 
toward Friuli, and seized Trieste, which has ever 
since belonged to the house of Austria. The Span- 
iards laid hold of the Venetian possessions in Cala- 
bria ; and even the duke of Ferrara, and the marquis 
of Mantua, who were formerly generals in the 
Venetian service, had a share in the general spoil. 
Venice now exchanged her foolhardy courage for 
the deepest consternation. She abandoned all her 
towns on the mainland, released Padua and Verona 
from their oath of allegiance, and reduced to her 
ancient Lagunes, sued for mercy to Emperor Maxi- 
milian, whose great success made him inflexible. 

And now Pope Julius, having fulfilled his first 
design, which was that of aggrandizing the see of 
Rome on the ruins of Venice, began to think of the 
second, which was to drive the barbarians, as they 
were called, out of Italy. 

Louis XII. was returned to France, where, like 
Charles VIII., he remained as negligent in securing 
his conquests as he had been eager to make them. 

230 Ancient and Modern History. 

The pope granted the Venetians his pardon, who, 
somewhat recovered from their first consternation, 
continued to make headway against the emperor. 

At length Julius entered into a league with this 
republic against those very French whom he had 
before invited to assist in oppressing it. His aim 
was to ruin all the foreign powers in Italy by the 
arms of one another, and to exterminate the small 
remains of German authority yet left in that coun- 
try, and to raise Italy to a respectable and powerful 
state, of which the sovereign pontiff might be the 
chief. To compass his project he spared neither 
negotiations, money, nor pains. He directed the 
war in person, he attended in the trenches, and 
braved death in all its shapes. He is blamed by 
most historians for his ambition and obstinacy : but 
they should do justice to his consummate courage, 
and the grandeur of his views. 

A fresh error committed by Louis XIL, favored 
the designs of Pope Julius. Louis was fond of that 
economy which is a virtue in a peaceable administra- 
tion, but a vice in the prosecution of great under- 

By a mistaken discipline the chief strength of an 
army was at that time centred in the gendarmerie, 
who fought either on foot or on horseback ; and the 
French had never been at the pains to form a good 
body of infantry of their own, which, however, was 
very easy to be done, as experience has since shown. 

The League of Cambray. 23 1 

The kings of France then always kept a body of 
German and Swiss foot in their pay. 

It is well known that the Swiss infantry greatly 
contributed to the conquest of Milan. In this busi- 
ness they had not only sold their lives, but even their 
honor, by betraying Louis the Moor. The Swiss 
cantons now demanded an increase of pay from 
Louis, which he refused to grant. The pope took 
advantage of this ; he wheedled the Swiss, he gave 
them money, and flattered them with the title of 
Defenders of the Church. He sent emissaries 
among them to preach against the French ; the 
people, naturally of a warlike disposition, ran in 
crowds to hear these sermons. What was this but 
preaching up a crusade ? 

It may have been observed, that through an unac- 
countable concurrence of circumstances and con- 
junctures, the French were now allies of the Ger- 
mans, whose declared enemies they had been on so 
many former occasions. Nay, they were even their 
vassals ; for Louis XII. had purchased for one 
hundred thousand gold crowns, the investiture of the 
duchy of Milan, of the emperor, who was neither a 
powerful ally nor a faithful friend, and who, as 
emperor, could not be supposed to love either the 
French or the pope. 

Ferdinand the Catholic, whose dupe Louis had 
always been, deserted the League of Cambray as 
soon as he had gained possession of the places he 
claimed in Calabria. He had prevailed on the pope 

232 Ancient and Modern History. 

to grant him the full and entire investiture of the 
kingdom of Naples, who by this means bound him 
firmly in his interest ; so that Julius, by his superior 
skill in politics, gained over not only the Venetians, 
the Swiss, and the kingdom of Naples, but also the 
English, while France was left to bear the brunt of 
the war alone. 

1510 Louis XIL, on being attacked by the pope, 
called an assembly of the bishops at Tours, to know 
whether he might safely defend himself against the 
pontiff, and whether the excommunications of this 
latter would be valid. In these more enlightened 
days, we may be surprised that such questions were 
thought necessary ; but we should consider the prej- 
udices of the times; and here I cannot forbear 
remarking the first case of conscience which was 
proposed in this assembly. The president put the 
question, whether or not the pope had a right to 
declare war on an occasion that did not relate to 
religion or the Church patrimony ; it was answered 
in the negative. Now it is plain that the question 
here proposed was not that which should have been 
asked, and that the answer was contrary to what 
should have been given : for in matters of religion 
or church possessions, a bishop, if we believe the 
Holy Scriptures, should be so far from making 
war, that he is only to pray and to suffer ; but in a 
political affair, a pope not only may, but should 
assist his allies, and avenge the cause of Italy. 
Besides, the pope made war at this time to increase 

The League of Cambray. 233 

the Church demesnes by the addition of Ferrara and 
Bologna, whose possessors were under the protec- 
tion of France. 

This French assembly made a more noble answer, 
when it resolved to abide by the pragmatic sanction 
of Charles VIII., to stop all future remittances to 
Rome, and to levy a subsidy on the clergy of France 
for carrying on the war against the pope, the Roman 
head of these clergy. 

The operations were begun on the side of Bologna 
and Ferrara. The pope laid siege to Mirandola; 
and this pontiff, at the age of seventy, appeared in 
the trenches armed cap-a-pic, visited all the works, 
hastened the operations, and entered the breach in 

1511 While the pope, worn out with age, was 
toiling under arms, the French king, still in the 
prime of his vigor, was holding councils, and 
endeavoring to stir up the ecclesiastical powers of 
Christendom, as the pope did the military ones. 
The council was held at Pisa, whither several car- 
dinals, who were the pope's enemies, repaired. But 
this council of the king's proved a fruitless under- 
taking, while the pope's warlike enterprises met with 

They in vain caused medals to be struck at Paris, 
in which Louis XII. was represented with this 
device, "Perdam Babylonis nomcn" "I will 
destroy even the name of Babylon." It was shame- 
ful to boast of what he was so little able to execute. 

234 Ancient and Modern History. 

Heroic deeds, and even battles gained, may serve 
to render a nation famous, but can never increase 
its power while there is an essential error in the 
political administration, which at length must bring 
on its ruin. This is what happened to the French 
in Italy. The brave Chevalier de Bayard acquired 
universal admiration by his courage and generosity. 
Young Gaston de Foix made his name immortal at 
the age of twenty-three, by repulsing a large body 
of Swiss, passing with amazing speed four rivers, 
beating the pope in Bologna, and gaining the famous 
battle of Ravenna, where he won immortal glory, 
and lost his life. These rapid exploits made a noble 
figure; but the king was at a great distance from 
his army : his orders came often too late, and were 
sometimes contradictory. His parsimony, at a time 
when he should have been lavish in his rewards, 
checked all emulation. Military discipline and sub- 
ordination were unknown among his troops. The 
infantry was composed of German foreigners, who 
were mercenaries attached to no interest. The 
French gallantry, and that air of superiority which 
belongs to conquerors, at once irritated the subjected 
Italians, and made them jealous. At length the 
fatal blow was struck by Emperor Maximilian, who, 
gained over by the pope, published the imperial 
avocatoria or letters of recall by which every 
German soldier, serving in the armies of France, 
was ordered to quit them, under pain of being 
declared a traitor to his country. 

The League of Cambray. 235 

The Swiss at the same time came down from their 
mountains to fight against the French, who at the 
time of the League of Cambray had all Europe for 
their ally, and now beheld it up in arms against 
them. These mountaineers made an honor of bring- 
ing with them the son of that Louis the Moor, duke 
of Milan, whom they had betrayed, to expiate in 
some measure the treachery they had been guilty of 
toward the father, by crowning his son. 

The French, who were commanded by Marshal 
Trivulce, were obliged to abandon, one after 
another, all the towns they had taken from the 
furthermost part of Romagna to the borders of 
Savoy. The famous Bayard made some fine 
retreats; but he was still a hero obliged to fly. 
There were but three months between the victory 
of Ravenna and the total expulsion of the French 
from Italy: and Louis XII. had the mortification 
of seeing young Maximilian Sforza, son of the 
deceased duke, who had been a prisoner in his 
dominions, settled upon his father's throne by the 
Swiss; and Genoa, where that prince had estab- 
lished a kind of Asiatic pomp of power, resumed 
its liberty, and drove the French out of his terri- 

The Swiss, who from being mercenaries to the 
French king, had now become his enemies, laid siege 
to the city of Dijon, with twenty thousand men. 
Paris was struck with dread ; and Louis de la Tri- 
mouille, governor of the province of Burgundy, 

236 Ancient and Modern History. 

could not get rid of these invaders, without paying 
them twenty thousand crowns in ready money, with 
a promise in the king's name of four hundred thou- 
sand more, and giving seven hostages for the pay- 
ment. Thus were the French obliged to pay dearer 
for the invasion of these people than they would 
have done for their assistance. The Swiss, enraged 
at not receiving the fourth part of the money stipu- 
lated, condemned the hostages to be put to death: 
upon which the king was obliged to promise not only 
to pay them the whole sum agreed, but also to 
advance as much more. But the hostages having 
luckily made their escape, the king saved his money, 
but not his honor. 



THIS famous League of Cambray, which was at 
first set on foot against the Venetians, was at length 
turned against France, and became particularly fatal 
to Louis XII. We have already seen that there were 
two princes in Europe above the rest, superior in 
abilities to the French king; these were Ferdinand 
the Catholic and the pope. Louis had made himself 
feared only for a short time ; and afterward had all 
the rest of Europe to fear. 

While he was losing Milan and Genoa, together 

Louis XII., Etc. 237 

with his money and his troops, he was moreover 
deprived of a barrier which France had against 
Spain. His ally and relative, John d'Albret, king 
of Navarre, saw his dominions in an instant seized 
by Ferdinand the Catholic. This robbery was 
covered by a religious pretext. Ferdinand pre- 
tended a bull from Pope Julius II., excommunicat- 
ing John d'Albret as an adherent of the French king, 
and the Council of Pisa. The kingdom of Navarre 
has ever since continued in the possession of the 

The better to understand the politics of this Fer- 
dinand, so remarkable for his continual professions 
of religion and good faith, and his always breaking 
them, let us examine the art he used in this con- 
quest. The young king of England, Henry VIII., 
was his son-in-law. To him he proposed a treaty 
of alliance, by which the English were to be rein- 
stated in Guienne, their ancient patrimony, whence 
they had been expelled above a century. The young 
king, dazzled with this specious promise, sent a 
fleet and forces into the Bay of Biscay, in 1512, 
which Ferdinand employed in the conquest of Na- 
varre; and afterward left the English to return 
home, without making the least attempt upon Gui- 
enne, which indeed it was impracticable to invade. 
Thus he deceived his son-in-law, after having 
successively imposed on the king of Naples, the 
Venetians, Louis XII., and the pope. His Spanish 
subjects gave him the titles of the Wise and the 

238 Ancient and Modern History. 

Prudent; in Italy he was called the Pious; and at 
Paris and London the Treacherous. 

Louis XII., who had provided sufficiently for the 
security of Guienne, had not the same good fortune 
with regard to Picardy. The new king of England, 
Henry VIIL, took advantage of the general distress 
to invade France on this side, into which he had 
always an easy access through Calais, of which he 
was in possession. 

This young monarch, boiling with ambition and 
courage, attacked France alone, without the assist- 
ance either of the emperor Maximilian, of Fer- 
dinand the Catholic, or any other of his allies. The 
old emperor, always enterprising and poor, served 
without blushing in the king of England's army, 
for the daily pay of one hundred crowns. Henry, 
by his single strength, seemed in a condition to 
renew the fatal times of Poitiers and Agincourt. He 
gained a complete victory at the battle of Guinegate, 
which is called the Battle of the Spurs, in 1513. He 
took Terouane, which is no longer a town; and 
Tournay, a city which has been always incorporated 
with the kingdom of France, and the nursery of that 

Louis XII. who was at this time a widower, by 
the death of his wife, Anne of Brittany, could not 
purchase peace of Henry on any other terms than 
those of marrying his sister, the princess Mary of 
England; but, instead of receiving a portion with" 
his wife, which not only princes, but even private 

Louis XII., Etc. 239 

persons are entitled to, Louis was obliged to pay a 
dowry, and it cost him a million crowns to marry 
the sister of his conqueror. Thus, after having been 
ransomed both by the English and the Swiss, duped 
by Ferdinand, and driven from his conquests in 
Italy, by the resolution of Pope Julius II. he finished 
his inglorious career, in 1515. 

On account of the few taxes he laid upon his 
people, he was called their Father, a title he would 
otherwise have acquired, from the heroes with which 
France then abounded, had he by exacting the 
necessary contributions preserved Italy, checked the 
insolence of the Swiss, properly aided Navarre, and 
driven back the English. 

But if he was unfortunate abroad he was happy 
at home. No other fault can be laid to this prince's 
charge but that of selling the posts in the state; 
and this venality did not extend in his time to the 
officers of judicature. By this sale of employments 
he raised, during the seventeen years of his reign, 
the sum of one million two hundred thousand livres 
in the single diocese of Paris. But then, on the 
other hand, the aids and taxes were very moderate. 
He showed a fatherly affection for his people, by 
never loading them with heavy burdens; and did 
not look upon himself as sovereign of France in 
the same manner as the lord of a fief is of his lands, 
merely to be furnished with subsistence from them. 
In his time there were no new impositions ; and 
when Fromentau, in 1580, presented to that extrav- 

24 Ancient and Modern History. 

agant prince, Henry III., a comparative account 
of the sums exacted during his reign, and those 
which were paid to Louis XII., there appeared in 
each article an immense sum to be placed to the 
account of Henry, and a very moderate one to that 
of Louis, supposing it to have been an ancient right 
belonging to the crown; but considered as an 
extraordinary tax, there remained nothing to be 
charged to Louis: unhappily for the kingdom this 
account of what was exacted by Henry, and not 
paid to Louis, makes a large volume. 

The whole of this king's revenue did not exceed 
thirteen millions of livres; but these thirteen mil- 
lions are about fifty millions of the present money. 
Commodities of all kinds were much cheaper than 
they are at present, and the kingdom was not in 
debt: it is not, therefore, so very surprising, that 
with this small revenue in money, and a prudent 
economy, he could live in splendor, and keep his 
people in plenty. He took care to have public 
justice distributed diligently, impartially, and almost 
without expense. The fees of courts were not then 
one-fortieth part of what they are now. In the 
whole bailiwick of Paris there were at that time 
no more than forty-nine sergeants, or bailiffs, 
whereas there are at present five hundred. It must 
be allowed that Paris was not then one-fifth as large 
as it now is: but the number of the officers of jus- 
tice has increased in a much greater proportion than 
the extent of the city; and the evils, inseparable 

Louis XII., Etc. 241 

from all great capitals, have increased much more 
than the inhabitants. 

He preserved the custom cf the parliaments of the 
kingdom, to choose three candidates to fill up a 
vacant seat; the king nominated one of these, and 
the dignities in the law were then given only to the 
counsellors, as a reward for their merit or reputa- 
tion in their profession. His ever memorable edict 
of 1499, which should never be forgotten in history, 
has made his memory dear to every lover and dis- 
tributor of justice. By this edict he ordained that 
;< The law should always be observed, notwithstand- 
ing any orders contrary to law, which a sovereign 
might be induced to issue through importunity." 

The general plan, according to which you here 
study history, admits of but few details; but par- 
ticular circumstances, like these upon which the 
welfare of states depends, and which form so excel- 
lent a lesson for princes, become one part of the 
principal object. 

Louis XII. was the first of our kings who pro- 
tected the industrious laborer from the rapacious 
violence of the soldier, and punished with death 
those gendarmes who laid the peasants under con- 
tribution. This cost the lives of five or six gen- 
darmes, and the country was at ease: therefore, if 
he was neither the great hero, nor the profound poli- 
tician, he at least acquired the more valuable glory 
of being a good king; and his memory will con- 
tinue to be blessed by all posterity. 
Vol. 2616 

242 Ancient and Modern History. 




POPE JULIUS II., who, in the midst of the dissensions 
which still troubled Italy, continued firm to his 
design of driving thence all foreigners, had given 
the see of Rome a temporal power, to which it had 
hitherto been a stranger. Parma and Placentia were 
separated from the duchy of Milan, and annexed 
to the pope's dominions by the consent of the 
emperor himself; and Julius ended his pontificate 
and his life with this act, which does honor to his 
memory. The popes, his successors, have lost this 
state. The see of Rome was at that time a pre- 
ponderating temporal power in Italy. 

Venice, though engaged in a war with Ferdinand 
the Catholic, as king of Naples, still continued very 
powerful, and made head at once against both 
Mahometans and Christians. Germany was at 
peace, and England began to grow formidable. We 
must inquire whence she set out, and whither she 

The malady of Charles VI. had ruined France, 
and the natural weakness of Henry VI. desolated 

1422 In his minority his relatives disputed for 
the government, like those of Charles VI. , and over- 
turned everything to command in his name. As in 

England, Etc. 243 

Paris a duke of Burgundy caused a duke of Orleans 
to be assassinated, so in London, the duchess of 
Gloucester, the king's aunt, was accused of practis- 
ing sorcery against the life of Henry VI. A 
wretched woman fortune-teller and a foolish or 
knavish priest, who pretended to be magicians, were 
burned alive for this pretended conspiracy; the 
duchess thought herself happy in being condemned 
only to do penance in her shift, and to be confined in 
prison for life. The spirit of philosophy was then 
very distant from that island, which was the centre 
of superstition and cruelty. 

1444 Most of the quarrels between sovereigns 
have ended in marriages. Charles VII. gave Mar- 
garet of Anjou to Henry VI. She was daughter of 
Rene of Anjou, king of Naples, duke of Lorraine, 
and count of Maine, who, with all these titles, was 
without dominions, and could not afford to give 
the least portion with his daughter. Few princesses 
were more unhappy in a father and a husband. 
She was a woman of enterprising disposition and 
unshaken courage, and, but for one crime she com- 
mitted which sullied her virtues she might 
have passed for a heroine. She had all the talents 
of government, and all the virtues of war: but, at 
the same time, she gave rein to the cruel actions 
which ambition, war, and faction inspire. In a 
word, her boldness, and her husband's pusillanimity, 
were the first causes of the public calamities which 
befell their kingdom. 

244 Ancient and Modern History. 

1447 She had a desire to govern, and to this 
end it was necessary to get rid of the duke of 
Gloucester, the king's uncle, and husband of that 
duchess who had already fallen a sacrifice to his 
enemies, and was confined by them in prison. The 
duke was arrested under pretence of being engaged 
in a new plot, and the next morning was found 
dead in his bed. This act of violence rendered both 
the queen's administration and the king's name 
odious to the English, who seldom hate without 
forming conspiracies. There happened to be at that 
time in England a descendant of Edward III., who 
was nearer related to the common stock than the 
family on the throne. This was the duke of York. 
He bore for the device on his shield a white rose; 
and Henry VI., who was of the house of Lancaster, 
bore a red rose. Hence came these two names so 
famous in the civil war. 

1450 Factions must in their beginnings be pro- 
tected by a parliament, till this parliament becomes 
the slave to the conqueror. The duke of York 
accused the duke of Suffolk before the parliament; 
this duke was the queen's prime minister and favor- 
ite; these two titles had gained him the hatred of 
the nation. Here follows a strange instance of the 
effects of party hatred. The court, to content the 
people, banished this minister from the kingdom, 
who thereupon embarked on board a ship for 
France. The captain of a man-of-war met this ship 
at sea, and inquiring what passengers they had on 

England, Etc. 245 

board, was answered by the master, that they were 
carrying the duke of Suffolk over to France. " You 
shall not carry a person impeached by my country 
out of the island," replied the captain ; and imme- 
diately ordered him on board his own ship and struck 
off his head. Thus did the English act in time of 
peace. The war which succeeded opened a scene of 
still greater horrors. 

Henry VI. was afflicted with an infirmity which 
rendered him for some years incapable of thinking 
or acting. Thus Europe, in the course of this cen- 
tury, beheld three sovereigns, who, from a disorder 
in their brain, were plunged into the greatest mis- 
fortunes: the emperor Wenceslaus, Charles VI. of 
France, and Henry VI. of England. 

1455 In one of these unhappy years of Henry's 
insanity, the duke of York and his cabal made them- 
selves masters of the council ; the king recovering, 
as it were, from a long trance, opened his eyes, and 
beheld himself deprived of all authority. His wife, 
Margaret of Anjou, exhorted him to be king ; but, 
in order to be so, it was necessary to unsheathe the 
sword. The duke of York, who was expelled from 
the council, was already at the head of an army. 
Henry was carried to fight a battle at St. Alban's, 
in which he was wounded and taken prisoner ; but 
not then dethroned. The duke of York, his con- 
queror, carried him in triumph with him to London ; 
and, leaving him the empty title of king, took to 

246 Ancient and Modern History. 

himself that of protector, a title known before to 
the English. 

Henry VI., who had frequent returns of his weak- 
ness and disorder, was no other than a prisoner 
served with the exterior marks of royalty. His wife 
longed to set him at liberty, that she herself might 
be free. Her courage was her greatest misfortune ; 
she raised troops by the assistance of the noblemen 
in her interest, delivered her husband from his con- 
finement in London, and became herself the general 
of her army. Thus, within a short space of time, 
the English saw four French women at the head 
of armies the wife of the count de Montfort, in 
Brittany ; Edward II. 's queen, in England ; the 
Maid of Orleans, in France ; and this Margaret of 

1460 The queen herself drew up her army, and 
fought by her husband in the bloody battle of North- 
ampton. Her great enemy, the duke of York, was 
not in the opposite army; but his eldest son, the 
earl of March, served his first apprenticeship to civil 
war under the earl of Warwick, the most famous 
man of his time ; a genius born for those days of 
tumult, full of artifice, and still more replete with 
courage and pride, fit either to direct a campaign, or 
to lead in the day of battle; fruitful in resources, 
capable of everything, and formed to give or take 
away crowns at his pleasure. Warwick's star pre- 
vailed again ; Margaret of Anjou was defeated, had 
the grief to behold the king, her husband, taken 

England, Etc. 247 

prisoner in his tent ; and, while that unhappy mon- 
arch was calling to her with outstretched arms, she 
was obliged to ride off full speed with her son, the 
prince of Wales. Henry was a second time recon- 
ducted to his capital by his conquerors, where he 
remained still a king and a prisoner. 

A parliament was now called; and the duke of 
York, who was before protector, demanded a new 
title. He claimed the crown as the representative of 
Edward III., in preference to Henry VI., who was 
descended of a younger branch of that family. The 
cause of the real king, and of him who wanted to be 
such, was solemnly debated in the house of peers; 
each side gave in their arguments in writing, as is 
done in a common cause. The duke of York, though 
the victor, could not carry his cause entirely. It 
was decided that Henry VI. should keep the crown 
during his lifetime ; and that it should devolve upon 
the duke of York after his death, to the exclusion 
of the prince of Wales. But a clause was added to 
this act, which proved a new declaration of war and 
tumults ; namely, that if the king did anything in 
violation of the said act, the crown should from 
that instant go to the duke of York. 

Margaret of Anjou, though beaten, a wanderer 
at a distance from her husband, and having for 
enemies the victorious duke of York, the city of 
London, and the parliament, still maintained hef 
courage. She went through the principality of 
Wales and the neighboring counties, animating her 

248 Ancient and Modern History. 

former friends, endeavoring to make new, and 
raising another army. It is well known that the 
armies of those days did not consist of regular 
troops, kept long in the field, and in the pay of a 
single chief. Every nobleman brought with him 
what men he could pick up in haste, who were main- 
tained and paid by plunder; and it was necessary 
to come to an engagement speedily, or retire. At 
length the queen, at the head of an army of eighteen 
thousand men, encountered her grand enemy, the 
duke of York, in the county of that name, near the 
castle of Sandal. The fortune of that day answered 
her courage. The duke of York was defeated, and 
died of his wounds in the field ; and his second son, 
Rutland, was taken as he was endeavoring to make 
his escape. The father's head was fixed upon the 
town walls, together with those of his generals, 
where they remained a long time, as monuments of 
his defeat. 

Margaret, at length victorious, marched to Lon- 
don to set the king, her husband, at liberty. The earl 
of Warwick, who was the soul of York's party, was 
still at the head of an army, carrying with him his 
king and captive. The queen and Warwick met, in 
1461, near St. Alban's, a place famous for the many 
battles fought there. The queen had again the good 
fortune to conquer. She now enjoyed the pleasure 
of seeing the formidable Warwick flying before her, 
and of restoring to her husband, on the field of 
battle, his liberty and authority. Never had woman 

England, Etc. 249 

met with more success, or acquired greater glory; 
but her triumph was short. She still wanted the city 
of London on her side, which Warwick had found 
means to secure so effectually, that when the queen 
presented herself for admittance, it was refused her, 
and she had not an army sufficiently strong to force 
it. The earl of March, eldest son of the duke of 
York, was in that city, and breathed nothing but 
revenge : in short, after all her victories, the queen 
was obliged to retreat. She went into the north of 
England to strengthen her party, which the name 
and presence of the king greatly increased. 

In the meantime Warwick, who had London at 
his command, assembled the citizens in a field near 
the city gates; and showing them the duke of 
York's son asked them which they would choose for 
their king, that young prince, or Henry of Lan- 
caster? The general cry served on this occasion 
instead of an assent of parliament, as there was 
none sitting at that time. Warwick, however, called 
together some few of the lords and bishops, who 
came to a resolution, that Henry of Lancaster had 
infringed the former act of parliament, by his wife's 
having taken up arms for him. 

The young duke of York, therefore, was pro- 
claimed king, in London, by the name of Edward 
IV., while his father's head still remained fixed upon 
the walls of York, as that of a traitor. Henry VI. 
was now deprived of his crown, who, when in his 
cradle, was proclaimed king of England and France, 

250 Ancient and Modern History. 

and had swayed the sceptre for thirty-eight years, 
without having ever been reproached with a crime, 
but that of imbecility. 

His wife, who was then in the north of England, 
upon receiving this news, hastily assembled an army 
of sixty thousand men. This was a prodigious 
effort. This time, however, she hazarded neither 
her husband's person, her son's nor her own. War- 
wick led his new-made king with an army of forty 
thousand men to give the queen battle. They met 
at Towton, near the river Aire, on the borders of 
Yorkshire, when there was fought the most bloody 
battle that had ever contributed to depopulate Eng- 
land. The writers of those times tell us, that there 
fell no less than thirty-six thousand on that day. 
Warwick gained a complete victory, by which young 
Edward was established on the throne, and Mar- 
garet of Anjou was left the outcast of fortune. 
After the defeat she fled into Scotland with her hus- 
band and son, leaving Edward at full liberty to act as 
he pleased, who immediately took his father's head, 
and those of his followers down from the city walls, 
placing in their room those of his enemy's generals 
whom he had taken prisoners. England thus 
became a vast theatre of blood and human 
slaughter; and scaffolds were raised in every part 
of the field of battle. 

Edward IV., Etc. 251 



THE intrepid Margaret still preserved her courage. 
Finding herself deceived in the aid she expected 
from Scotland, she crossed over to France, through 
the midst of the enemy's ships, which almost covered 
the sea, and applied for assistance to Louis XI. who 
had just begun his reign. Through a mistaken 
policy, he refused to grant her request; but even 
this did not daunt her: she borrowed money and 
some ships, and at length obtained five hundred 
men, with which she re-embarked, and in her return 
to England met with a violent storm, which sepa- 
rated the vessel she was in from the rest of her small 
fleet. At length, however, she landed in England, 
where she gathered together an army, and once more 
dared the fortune of war. She was no longer so 
careful of her own person, nor of those of her hus- 
band and son. She risked another battle at Hexham, 
in 1462, which she lost as she had done so many 
others. After this defeat she remained wholly with- 
out resource; the king, her husband, fled one way, 
and she with her son another, without servants or 
assistance, and exposed to every kind of accident and 
ill treatment. Henry fell into the hands of his 
enemies, who conducted him to London in an 
ignominious manner, and confined him in the Tower- 

252 Ancient and Modern History. 

Margaret had the good fortune to escape into France 
with her son, and took refuge with her father Rene 
of Anjou, who could do nothing more than lament 
her misfortunes. 

Young Edward IV., who had been placed on the 
English throne by the arms of Warwick, being now 
rid of all his enemies, and in possession of Henry's 
person, reigned in full security. But no sooner was 
he freed from his troubles, than he became ungrate- 
ful ; Warwick, who was a father to him, was at that 
time in France, negotiating a marriage between his 
prince and the Lady Bona of Savoy, sister of Louis's 
queen. While this treaty was concluding, Edward 
happened to see Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of 
Sir John Gray, with whom he fell violently in love, 
and was privately married to her; after which he 
caused her to be proclaimed queen, in 1465, without 
once informing Warwick of any part of these trans- 
actions. After this glaring affront, he entirely neg- 
lected him, removed him from his councils, and by 
this treatment made him his irreconcilable enemy. 
Warwick, who had cunning equal to his courage, 
soon employed both in working his revenge. He 
brought over the duke of Clarence, the king's 
brother, to his party, raised the kingdom of England 
in arms; and instead of the contentions of the 
white and red roses, the civil war was carried on 
between the king and his incensed subject. On this 
occasion battles, truces, negotiations, and treasons 
followed one another in rapid succession. War- 

Edward IV., Etc. 253 

wick at length prevailed, and drove the king he had 
made from the throne; after which, in 1470, he 
went to the Tower, and released Henry, whom he 
had before dethroned, and once more placed the 
crown on his head. This procured him the title of 
" king-maker." The parliaments of those times 
were only the instruments of the will of the strong- 
est: Warwick assembled one, which reinstated 
Henry VI. in all his rights, and declared Edward 
IV. a usurper and a traitor, on whom it had but a 
few years before bestowed the crown. This long 
and bloody tragedy did not end here : Edward IV., 
who had fled to Holland, had a number of friends in 
England; accordingly he returned, seven months 
after his banishment, when the gates of London 
were opened to him by his party ; and Henry, ever 
the sport of fortune, was hardly seated on his throne 
when he was sent again to the Tower. Margaret of 
Anjou, his queen, who was always ready to avenge 
his cause, and always fruitful in resources, came 
over to England at this time, with her son, the 
prince of Wales; and the first news she heard at 
her landing was the fresh misfortune which had 
befallen her royal consort. But Warwick, who had 
been so long his persecutor, was now his defender, 
and headed an army in his behalf against Edward, 
whom he marched to meet. This was some consola- 
tion to the unhappy queen; but a very short time 
after she had heard of the imprisonment of her 
husband, a second courier brought her the news that 

254 Ancient and Modern History. 

Warwick was slain in battle, and that Edward 
remained conqueror. 

It is amazing that a woman, after such a series of 
misfortunes, could still have the courage to brave 
fortune: but this very courage furnished her with 
resources and friends. Whoever headed a faction 
in England in those days was sure to see it strength- 
ened in length of time, by the hatred which generally 
prevails against the court and ministry. This partly 
helped to raise another army for Margaret, after all 
her various changes of fortune and defeats. There 
was hardly a county in England in which she had 
not fought a battle ; Tewkesbury, near the banks of 
the Severn, was witness to her last, in 1471 ; here 
she headed her troops in person, and went from rank 
to rank, showing the soldiers the young prince of 
Wales, whom she led by the hand. The fight was 
obstinate, but at length victory declared for Edward. 
The queen, losing sight of her son during the hurry 
of the defeat, and having in vain inquired for him, 
fell, deprived of all sense and motion, and recovered 
only to see her son taken prisoner, and her con- 
queror, Edward, standing before her. Her son was 
then taken from her, and she was carried prisoner 
to London, and confined in the Tower with her 
husband. While they were carrying off the queen, 
Edward, turning to the prince of Wales, asked him 
how he came to have the boldness to enter his 
dominions? To which the young prince replied: 
" I am come into my father's kingdom to avenge 

Edward IV., Etc. 255 

his cause, and rescue my inheritance out of your 
hands." Edward, incensed at the freedom of this 
reply, struck him over the face with his gauntlet, 
and historians tell us, that immediately Edward's 
two brothers, the duke of Clarence, whom he had 
lately restored to his favor, and the duke of Glou- 
cester, with some of their followers, fell upon the 
young prince like so many wild beasts, and hewed 
him to death with their swords on the field of battle. 
If such are the manners of the chiefs of the people, 
what must be those of the commonalty? They put 
all their prisoners to death, and at length determined 
to murder Henry himself. The respect which, even 
in those times of brutality and cruelty, had for 
upwards of forty years been paid to the virtues of 
this monarch, had hitherto stopped the hands of 
assassination ; but after the inhuman murder of the 
prince of Wales, very little regard was shown to 
the king; and the duke of Gloucester, who had 
before dipped his hands in the son's blood, now went 
to the Tower, and put an end to the wretched 
father's life. 

Queen Margaret's life was spared, because they 
were in hopes that the French court would purchase 
her liberty ; and accordingly, about four years after- 
ward, when Edward, after being settled in quiet 
possession of the throne, went to Calais with the 
intention of making war upon France, and Louis 
XL, by a sum of money and a shameful treaty, 
prevailed on him to return, this heroine was 

256 Ancient and Modern History. 

redeemed for fifty thousand crowns. This was a 
considerable sum to the English at that time, 
impoverished by their wars with France, and their 
troubles at home. 

Margaret of Anjou, after having fought twelve 
battles in support of the rights of her husband and 
son, died in 1482, the most wretched queen, wife, 
sister, and mother in Europe; and, but for the 
murder of her husband's uncle, the most respect- 



EDWARD IV. now reigned peaceably. The house of 
York was fully triumphant, and its power was 
cemented by the blood of almost all the princes 
of the Lancastrian family. Whoever considers the 
behavior of Edward will look upon him as no other 
than a barbarian, wholly devoted to revenge; and 
yet he was a man given up to pleasure, and as busied 
in the intrigues of women as in those of the state. 
He did not stand in need of the title of king to 
please; he was formed by nature one of the hand- 
somest men of his time, and the most amorous ; 
and, by an astonishing contrast, she had, with the 
tenderest sensibility, given him the most bloodthirsty 

Edward IV.- Richard III. 257 

and cruel disposition. He condemned his brother 
Clarence to lose his life upon the most frivolous 
suspicion, and only granted him the favor of choos- 
ing the manner of his death. Clarence desired to 
be drowned in a butt of wine. What reason can be 
given for so unaccountable a choice? 

He knew the surest way to please the nation was 
to make war with France. We have already seen 
that in 1475 Edward crossed the sea, and that Louis 
XL, by a shameful policy purchased the retreat of 
a prince not so powerful as himself nor so well 
settled on his throne. To purchase peace of an 
enemy is to furnish him with the means to make 
war; accordingly in 1483 Edward proposed to his 
parliament a fresh invasion of France, and never 
was proposal received with more universal joy; 
but while he was making preparations for this great 
undertaking, he died, in 1483, in the forty-second 
year of his age. 

As he was of a very robust constitution, his 
brother Richard, duke of Gloucester, was suspected 
of having shortened his days by poison. The public 
suspicion was neither rash nor ill-founded; Glou- 
cester was a monster, born with a disposition to 
commit the deepest and most deliberate crimes. 

Edward IV. at his death left two sons : the eldest 
of these was thirteen years of age, and succeeded 
his father, by the name of Edward V. Gloucester 
formed the design of taking these two children 

from their mother, in order to put them to death 
Vol. 26 17 

Ancient and Modern History. 

and seize the crown for himself, and spared no 
kind of dissimulation, artifice, and oaths, to secure 
their persons, which he no sooner accomplished 
than he lodged them both in the Tower, that 
they might, as he pretended, be in greater safety. 
But he met with an unexpected obstacle in putting 
this double assassination in execution. He had 
caused Lord Hastings, a nobleman of a violent char- 
acter, but firmly attached to the person of the young 
king, to be sounded by his emissaries: this lord 
had given plain intimations of his horror at being 
concerned in any such crime. Gloucester then, find- 
ing his secret in such dangerous hands, did not 
hesitate an instant in the part he was to act. The 
council of state, of which Hastings was a member, 
sat in the Tower ; thither came Gloucester, attended 
by a band of armed followers, and addressing him- 
self to Lord Hastings, told him that he arrested him 
for high crimes. " Who ! me, my lord ? " replied 
the accused nobleman. " Yes, thee, traitor," 
answered Gloucester; and immediately, in presence 
of the council, ordered him to be beheaded. 

Having thus rid himself of one who was privy 
to his secret, he, despising the forms of law with 
which the English always covered over their 
most wicked attempts, gathered together a rabble 
from the dregs of the people, who, assembling in 
the Guildhall of the city, cried out that they would 
have Richard of Gloucester for their king ; and the 
mayor of London went the next day, at the head of 

Edward IV.- Richard III. 259 

this mob, and made him an offer of the crown, 
which he accepted, and was crowned without call- 
ing a parliament, or offering the least show of reason 
for such a procedure. He only caused a rumor to 
be spread that his brother, Edward IV., had been 
born in adultery, and made no scruple of thus dis- 
honoring the memory of his mother. Indeed it was 
hardly possible to think that the same person should 
be father of Edward IV. and Gloucester. The first 
was remarkably handsome, and the other deformed 
in all parts of his body, with an aspect as hideous 
as his soul was villainous. 

Thus he founded his sole right to the crown on 
his mother's infamy ; and in declaring himself legit- 
imate, made his nephews the issue of a bastard. 
Immediately after his coronation, in 1483, he sent 
one Tyrrel to strangle the young king and his 
brother in the Tower. This was known to the 
nation, who only murmured in secret; so much do 
men change with the times. Gloucester, under the 
name of Richard III., remained two years and a half 
in quiet enjoyment of the fruits of one of the most 
atrocious crimes that the English had ever seen per- 
petrated amongst themselves, though used to many. 

During this short enjoyment of the royal author- 
ity, he called a parliament, to which he had the 
audaciousness to submit his claim to be examined. 
There are times in which the people are dastardly, 
in proportion as their rulers are cruel ; this parlia- 
ment declared the mother of Richard III. an adul- 

260 Ancient and Modern History. 

teress; and that neither the late Edward IV. nor 
his brothers, Richard only excepted, were born in 
lawful wedlock; and therefore that the crown of 
right belonged to him, in preference to the two 
young princes who had been strangled in the Tower, 
concerning whose deaths, however, they came to 
no explanation. Parliaments have sometimes com- 
mitted more cruel actions, but never any one so 
infamous. So vile a condescension requires whole 
ages of virtuous conduct to make amends for it. 

At length, after two years and a half had elapsed, 
there arose an avenger of these crimes in the person 
of Henry, earl of Richmond, who was the only 
remaining branch of the many princes of the house 
of Lancaster, that had fallen sacrifices to the ambi- 
tion of the York faction, and who had taken refuge 
in Brittany. This young prince was not a descend- 
ant of Henry VI., but derived, like him, his pedi- 
gree from John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, son 
of the great Edward III., though by the female 
side, and from a very doubtful marriage of this 
John of Gaunt. His right to the crown was also 
still more doubtful; but the general detestation 
in which Richard III. was held, on account of his 
crimes, fortified his claim, and added strength to 
his party. He was as yet very young when he 
conceived the design of avenging the deaths of so 
many princes of the house of Lancaster, by punish- 
ing Richard, and reducing England to his obedi- 
ence. His first attempt proved unsuccessful, and, 

Edward IV.- Richard III. 261 

after having been witness to the defeat of his party, 
he was obliged to return to Brittany and sue for 
an asylum. Richard treated in secret with the 
minister of Francis II., duke of Brittany, father of 
Anne of Brittany, who was married to Charles VIII. 
and Louis XII. This prince himself was not capable 
of doing a base action ; but his minister, Landois, 
was, and promised to deliver the earl of Richmond 
into the tyrant's hands. The young prince, coming 
to the knowledge of this, fled out of Brittany in dis- 
guise, and got into the territories of Anjou only 
an hour before those who were sent to seize him. 

It was to the interest of Charles VIIL, at that 
time king of France, to protect Richmond. The 
grandson of Charles VII. had been wanting in the 
principal point of politics, by suffering the English 
to remain unmolested when it was in his power to 
distress them; and on this occasion Charles VIIL 
furnished Richmond with only two thousand men. 
These would have been sufficient had Richmond's 
party been considerable : this however was the case 
soon after, and Richard himself, as soon as he heard 
that his rival was landed only with those small 
numbers, rightly judged that he would not be long 
without an army. The whole country of Wales, of 
which this prince was a native, took up arms in his 
favor, and a battle was at length fought between 
Richard and the earl, in 1415, at Bosworth, near 
Leicester. Richard wore the crown on his head 
during the engagement, thinking to animate his 

Ancient and Modern History. 

men by showing them that they fought for their 
lawful king against a rebel. But Lord Stanley, one 
of the tyrant's generals, who had long beheld with 
horror the crown usurped by such a monster, 
betrayed a person so unworthy to be his sovereign, 
and went over to the earl with the corps he com- 
manded. Richard was possessed of courage, and 
that was his only virtue. When he saw the day 
become desperate, he furiously threw himself into 
the midst of his enemies, where he received a death 
too glorious for his deserts. His naked and mangled 
body was found buried under a heap of slain, and 
being thrown across a horse, was carried in that 
manner to the city of Leicester, where it remained 
two days exposed to the view of the populace, who, 
calling to mind his many cruelties and crimes, 
showed no signs of sorrow for his fate. Stanley, 
who had taken the crown from his head after he 
had fallen in the field, carried it to Henry of Rich- 

The victors sang "Te Deum" on the field of 
battle. When it was over, the whole army, as 
inspired with one voice, cried out, " Long live Henry 
of Richmond, our king." Thus did the fortune of 
this single day put a happy end to the desolations 
with which the factions of the white and red roses 
had filled England ; and the throne, which had been 
so often stained with blood and undergone such 
frequent changes, was at length settled in peace and 
security. The misfortunes which had followed the 

Edward IV.- Richard III. 263 

family of Edward III. were now at an end ; and 
Henry VII., by marrying a daughter of Edward 
IV., united the rights of the two houses of York 
and Lancaster in his own person. 

As he had known how to conquer, so he knew 
how to govern ; and his reign, which lasted for 
twenty-four years, during which time he was almost 
constantly at peace, somewhat humanized the man- 
ners of the nation. The parliaments which he fre- 
quently called, and with whom he always kept fair, 
enacted wise laws; justice once more resumed all 
her functions, and trade, which had begun first 
to flourish under the great Edward III., and which 
had been almost entirely ruined during the civil 
wars, was again revived. Of this the nation stood 
greatly in need. We may judge of its poverty by 
the extreme difficulty which Henry VII. found in 
raising a loan of two thousand pounds sterling from 
the city of London, a sum which did not amount 
to fifty thousand livres of our present money. Henry 
was, through inclination and necessity, avaricious. 
Had he been only saving he would have showed his 
prudence ; but the sordidness of his disposition, and 
his rapacious exactions have tarnished the glory 
of his reign. He kept a private register of what 
he gained by the confiscations of estates ; in short, 
no king was ever guilty of more meanness. At 
his death there were found in his coffers two mil- 
lions of pounds sterling, an immense sum for those 
times, which might have been much more usefully 

264 Ancient and Modern History. 

employed in public circulation than in lying buried 
in a prince's treasury ; but in a country where the 
people were more inclined to raise seditions than to 
give money to their kings, it was necessary for a 
prince to have a treasure always at hand. 

Two adventures, each extraordinary in its kind, 
rather disquieted than troubled his reign. A jour- 
neyman baker, who called himself the nephew of 
Edward IV., disputed the crown with him. This 
person, who had been trained up in his part by a 
priest, was crowned king at Dublin, the capital of 
Ireland, and ventured to give Henry battle near 
Nottingham, in 1487; who, having defeated him 
and taken him prisoner, thought to humble the 
revolters sufficiently by making their sham king 
one of the scullions in his kitchen, in which post he 
continued for many years. 

Daring enterprises, though attended with ill suc- 
cess, frequently encourage others to imitate them, 
who, stirred up by the glory of the example, go 
on in hopes of meeting with better success : witness 
the six false Demetriuses, who rose, one after 
another, in Muscovy, and many other impostors. 
This journeyman baker was followed by the son of 
a Jew broker of Antwerp, who appeared in a more 
exalted character. 

This young Jew, whose name was Perkin, pre- 
tended to be the son of Edward IV. The French 
king, who was always attentive to cherish the seeds 
of sedition among the English, received this pre- 

Edward IV.- Richard III. 265 

tender at his court, acknowledged his assumed title, 
and gave him all encouragement : but having soon 
after reasons to keep fair with Henry, he left the 
impostor to shift for himself. 

The old duchess dowager of Burgundy, sister of 
Edward IV. and widow of Charles the Bold, who 
first put this spring in play, now received Perkin 
as her nephew. The young Jew enjoyed the fruits 
of his imposture much longer than his predecessor, 
the baker; a majestic air, a finished breeding, and 
great personal courage, seemed to make him worthy 
of the rank he assumed. He married a princess 
of the house of York, who still continued to love 
him, even after the discovery of the cheat. He 
maintained his claim by arms for five years, found 
means to raise the Scotch in his favor, and met 
with unexpected resources even in the midst of his 
defeats. But being at length abandoned by his 
party, and delivered up to the king, Henry had the 
clemency to condemn him only to perpetual impris- 
onment, from which in attempting to make his 
escape, he was seized, and paid for his rashness 
with his life. 

And now the spirit of faction being entirely 
quelled among the English, that people, no longer 
formidable to their prince, began to be so to their 
neighbors, particularly at the accession of Henry 
VIII. to the throne, who, by the extreme parsimony 
of his father, was in possession of immense riches, 
and, by the prudence of the administration, the 

266 Ancient and Modern History. 

absolute master of a warlike people, who were at the 
same time in as much subjection as the English are 
capable of being. 



THE beginning of the sixteenth century, upon which 
we are already entered, presents us at one view with 
the noblest prospects that the universe ever fur- 
nished. If we cast our eyes on the princes who 
reigned at that time in Europe, we shall find that 
either by their reputation, their conduct, or the great 
changes of which they were the causes, they made 
their names immortal. At Constantinople we see 
a Selim reducing under the Ottoman dominion 
all Syria and Egypt, of which the Mahometan 
Mamelukes had been in possession ever since the 
thirteenth century: after him appears his son, the 
great Solyman, the first of the Turkish emperors 
who carried his standards to the walls of Vienna: 
he also caused himself to be crowned king of Per- 
sia in the city of Bagdad, which he subdued by his 
arms, and thus made Europe and Asia tremble at 
one time. 

At the same time we behold in the North, Gus- 
tavus Vasa rescuing Sweden from a foreign yoke, 
and chosen king of the country of which he was the 

In Muscovy, John Basilowitz delivers his country 

General View of XVI. Century. 267 

from the Tartars, to whom it was tributary. This 
prince was indeed himself a barbarian, and the chief 
of a people yet more barbarous; but the avenger 
of his country merits to be ranked in the number of 
great princes. 

In Spain, Germany, and Italy, we see Charles V., 
the sovereign of all those states, supporting the 
weight of the government of Europe, always in 
action, and always negotiating, for a long time 
equally fortunate in politics and war, the only pow- 
erful emperor since Charlemagne, and the first king 
of all Spain since the conquest of that country by 
the Moors; opposing a barrier to the Ottoman 
Empire, making kings, and at length divesting him- 
self of all his crowns, retiring from the world, and 
ending his life in solitude, after having been the 
disturber of all Europe. 

Next stands forth his rival in glory and politics, 
Francis I., king of France, who, though less power- 
ful and fortunate, but of a more brave and amiable 
disposition, divides with Charles V. the admiration 
and esteem of all nations. Glorious even in the 
midst of his defeats, he renders his kingdom flour- 
ishing, notwithstanding his misfortunes, and trans- 
plants the liberal arts into France from Italy, where 
they were then in the height of perfection. 

Henry VIII., king of England, though too cruel 
and capricious to be admitted among the rank of 
heroes, has still a place among these kings, both 
on account of the change he wrought in the spirit 

268 Ancient and Modern History. 

of his people, and by having taught England how 
to hold the balance of power between sovereigns. 
This prince took for his device a warrior bending 
his bow, with these words : " Whom I defend is 
victorious " a device which his nation has at 
certain times verified. 

Pope Leo X. is a name justly famous for the 
noble genius and amiable manners of him who bore 
it, for the great masters in the arts which have 
immortalized the age he lived in, and for the great 
change which divided the Church during his pontif- 

In the beginning of this same century we find 
religion, and the pretext of reforming the received 
law, those two grand instruments of ambition, pro- 
ducing the same effects on the borders of Africa 
and in Germany, and among the Turks and the 
Christians. A new government and a new race 
of kings were established in the vast empire of Fez 
and Morocco, which extends as far as the deserts 
of Nigritia. Thus Asia, Africa, and Europe under- 
went at one and the same time a change of relig- 
ions ; for the Persians were separated forever from 
the Turks, and while they ackowledged the same 
god and the same prophet, confirmed the schism of 
Omar and AH. Immediately afterward the Chris- 
tians became divided among themselves, and wrested 
one-half of Europe from the Roman pontiff. 

The old world was shaken, and the new one dis- 
covered and conquered by Charles V., and a trade 


General View of XVI. Century. 269 

opened between the East Indies and Europe by the 
ships and arms of the Portuguese. 

We behold on one side the powerful empire of 
Mexico subdued by Cortes, and the Pizarros making 
the conquest of Peru with fewer soldiers than is 
necessary to lay siege to a small town in Europe; 
and on the other, Albuquerque, with a force very 
little superior, fixing the empire and trade of the 
Portuguese in the Indies, in spite of all the opposi- 
tion of the kings of that country, and the efforts of 
the Moors, who were in possession of its trade. 

Nature at this time produced extraordinary men 
in almost all branches, especially in Italy. 

Another striking object in this illustrious age 
is, that, notwithstanding the wars which ambition 
raised, and the religious quarrels which began to 
disturb several states, the same genius which made 
the polite arts flourish at Rome, Naples, Florence, 
Venice, and Ferrara, and which thence diffused 
its light throughout Europe, quickly softened 
the manners of mankind in almost all the provinces 
of Christendom. The gallantry of the French court 
in the reign of Francis I. operated partly toward 
this great change; there was a continual emula- 
tion between this prince and Charles V. for glory, 
the spirit of chivalry and courtesy, even in the midst 
of their most furious dissensions ; and this emula- 
tion, which communicated itself to all their courtiers, 
gave this age an air of grandeur and politeness 
unknown before. 

.170 Ancient and Modern History. 

Opulence had also a share in this change; and 
this opulence, which became more general, was, by 
a strange revolution, partly the consequence of the 
fatal loss of Constantinople; for soon afterward 
all the trade of the Turks was carried on by the 
Christians, who sold them even the spices of the 
Indies, which they took in at Alexandria, and car- 
ried in their ships to all the ports of the Levant. 

Industry was everywhere encouraged. The city 
of Marseilles carried on a great trade. Lyons 
abounded in fine manufactures. The towns of the 
Low Countries were still more flourishing than 
when they were under the house of Burgundy. The 
ladies, who were invited to the court of France, 
made it the centre of magnificence and politeness. 
The manners of the court of London were indeed 
more rude, by reason of the capricious and rough 
disposition of its king, but that city already began 
to grow rich by trade. 

In Germany the cities of Augsburg and Nurem- 
berg, which dispersed through that empire the riches 
they drew from Venice, began already to feel the 
good effects of their correspondence with the Italians. 
In the former of these cities there were a number of 
beautiful houses adorned on the outsides with paint- 
ings in fresco, after the Venetian manner. In a 
word, Europe saw halcyon days appear; but they 
were troubled by the storms which the rivalship 
between Charles V. and Francis I. excited, and the 
disputes which now began to arise about religion 

State of Europe. 27 1 

sullied the end of this century, and even rendered it 
terrible, by giving it a certain cast of barbarism, 
scarcely known to the Huns and Heruli. 



BEFORE I take a view of the state of Europe under 
Charles V., it will be necessary to form to myself a 
sketch of the different governments into which it 
was divided. I have already shown the state of 
Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and England. I 
shall not speak of Turkey, and the conquests of the 
Ottomans in Syria and Africa till I have first exam- 
ined all the wonderful and fatal events which hap- 
pened among the Christians ; and have followed the 
Portuguese in the several voyages they made to 
Asia, and the military trade they carried on in that 
country, and have taken a view of the eastern world. 

I shall begin at present with the Christian king- 
doms of the North. The Russian or Muscovite state 
began at this time to put on some form. This state, 
which is so powerful, and is every day becoming 
more so, was for a long time only a tribe of half- 
Christian savages, slaves to the Kazan-Tartars, the 
descendants of Tamerlane. 

The duke of Russia paid a yearly tribute in money, 
skins, and cattle to these Tartars, which he him- 
self carried on foot to the Tartarian ambassador, 

272 Ancient and Modern History. 

appointed to receive them, prostrating himself at 
his feet, and presenting him with milk to drink; 
and if any part of it fell upon the neck of the ambas- 
sador's horse, the duke was obliged to lick it off. 
The Russians were on the one hand slaves to the 
Tartars; and, on the the other, pressed by the 
people of Lithuania : and, on the side of the Ukraine 
again, they were exposed to the depredations of the 
Crim-Tartars, descendants from the ancient Scyth- 
ians of Taurica Chersonesus, to whom they also 
paid a tribute. At length there arose a chief, named 
John Basilides, or the son of Basil, who, being a 
person of great courage, animated his dastardly 
Russians, and freed himself from so servile a yoke ; 
adding, at the same time, to his dominions, Novgo- 
rod and the city of Moscow, which he took from the 
Lithuanians toward the end of the fifteenth century. 
He extended his conquests as far as Finland, which 
country has frequently been the subject of ruptures 
between Russia and Sweden. 

Russia, then, appears to have been at that time 
a large monarchy, though not as yet formidable to 
Europe. It is said that John Basilides brought back 
with him from Moscow three hundred wagons 
loaded with gold, silver, and precious stones. The 
history of these dark times is wholly composed of 
fables. Neither the inhabitants of Moscow, nor the 
Tartars, had at that time any money but what they 
had plundered from others ; and as they had so long 
been a prey to the Tartars, what great riches could 

State of Europe. 273 

be found among them ? They were acquainted with 
little more than the mere necessaries of life. 

The country about Moscow produces good corn, 
which is sown in May and reaped in September. 
The earth bears some few fruits : honey is as plenty 
there as in Poland, and they have large and small 
cattle in abundance; but the wool being unfit for 
manufacturing, and the people in themselves rude 
and void of industry, the only clothing used amongst 
them was the skins of beasts. There was not one 
house in the city of Moscow built of stone. The 
little wooden huts they lived in were made of the 
trunks of trees, covered with moss. As to their 
manners, they lived like brutes, having a confused 
idea of the religion of the Greek Church, of which 
they thought themselves members. When they died, 
the priest who buried them put into the hand of the 
dead person a note addressed to St. Peter and St. 
Nicholas. This was their principal act of relig- 
ion ; but in almost all the villages to the northeast 
of Moscow, the inhabitants were in general idol- 

The czars who succeeded John Basilides were 
possessed of riches, especially after another John 
Basilowitz had, in 1551, taken Cazan and Astrakhan 
from the Tartars : but the Russians themselves were 
always poor; for as these absolute sovereigns had 
almost all the trade of their empire in their own 
hands, and raised contributions from those who had 

gained a small competency, they quickly filled their 
Vol. 2618 

274 Ancient and Modern History. 

own coffers, and even displayed an Asiatic pomp and 
luxury on their festivals and solemn days. They 
traded to Constantinople, by the way of the Black 
Sea; and with Poland by Novgorod. They had it 
therefore in their power to civilize their subjects ; 
but the time was not yet come. All the northern part 
of their empire beyond Moscow consisted in vast 
wilds, and some few settlements of savages. They 
were even ignorant that there was such a large 
country as Siberia. A Cossack first discovered and 
conquered it in the reign of this John Basilowitz, 
in the same manner as Cortes conquered Mexico, 
with a few firearms only. 

The czars had very little share in the affairs of 
Europe, except in some wars with the Swedes on 
account of Finland. None of the inhabitants ever 
stirred out of the country, nor engaged in any mar- 
itime trade. The very port of Archangel was at 
that time as much unknown as those of America, 
and was not discovered till the year 1553, by the 
English, who were in search of new countries in 
the North, after the example of the Spaniards and 
Portuguese, who had made several new settlements 
in the South, the East, and the West. It was 
necessary to pass the North Cape, at the extremity 
of Lapland. It was known by experience that there 
was a country where, during five months of the year, 
the sun never rose above the horizon. In this 
attempt the crews of two ships perished with cold 
and other disorders on this coast. A third ship, 

State of Europe. 275 

commanded by one Chancellor, anchored in the port 
of Archangel, in the river Dwina, the borders of 
which were inhabited only by savages. Chancellor 
sailed up the Dwina to Moscow. The English after 
this were almost the only masters of the trade of 
Muscovy, and gained great riches by the furs they 
brought from there; and this was another branch 
of trade taken from the Venetians. This republic 
had formerly had markets, and even a town, on 
the borders of the Tanais, and afterward carried 
on a trade for furs with Constantinople. Whoever 
reads history with any advantage, will see that there 
have been as many revolutions in trade as in states. 

It was very improbable at that time that a prince 
of Russia should one day found, in the marshes at 
the bottom of the Gulf of Finland, a capital, in whose 
port there arrives every year nearly two hundred and 
fifty foreign ships, and which has sent forth armies 
to fix a king on the the throne of Poland, assist the 
German Empire against France, become masters 
of Crimea, and divest Sweden of part of its terri- 

About this time Lapland began to be more par- 
ticularly known, to which even the Swedes, the 
Danes, and the Russians had hitherto been in a 
manner strangers. This vast country, which borders 
on the north pole, had been described by Strabo, 
under the name of the country of the Trog- 
lodytes, and Northern Pygmies. We have learnt 
that the race of Pygmies were not fictitious beings. 

276 Ancient and Modern History. 

It is probable that the Northern Pygmies have 
become extinct, or have been all destroyed by the 
neighboring nations. Several kinds of men have 
disappeared from the face of the earth, as well as 
several kinds of animals. 

The Laplanders do not appear in the least to 
resemble their neighbors ; for example, the men of 
Norway are large and well made : whereas, Lapland 
produces no men taller than three cubits; their 
eyes, ears, and noses, again, are different from those 
of all the other people who surround them. They 
seem to be a species formed purposely for the cli- 
mate they inhabit, which they themselves are 
delighted with, and which none but themselves can 
like. Nature seems to have produced the Lap- 
landers, as she has done the reindeer, peculiarly for 
that country: and as these animals are found 
nowhere else in the world, so neither do the people 
appear to have come from any other part. It is not 
probable that the inhabitants of countries less sav- 
age would have passed over the most frightful 
deserts, covered with perpetual snows, to transplant 
themselves into so barren a part of the globe. One 
family may have been cast by a tempest upon a 
desert island, and have peopled this island; but no 
number of people would quit their habitations on the 
continent, where they were provided with some 
kind of nourishment, to settle themselves in a remote 
part, amidst rocks covered with moss, and where 
they could meet with no other subsistence than fish 

State of Europe. 277 

and the milk of reindeers : besides, supposing people 
from Norway or Sweden to have transplanted them- 
selves into Lapland, could they possibly have become 
so entirely changed in figure ? How happens it that 
the Icelanders, who dwell as far northward as the 
Laplanders, are so tall in stature, and the Lap- 
landers, on the contrary, not only very short, but 
of a quite different form? These were, therefore, 
a new species of men who made their appearance to 
us at the same time that America and Asia pre- 
sented us with others. The sphere of nature now 
became enlarged to us on all sides ; and it is on 
this consideration alone that Lapland merits .our 

I shall not take any notice of Iceland, which was 
the Thule of the ancients ; nor of Greenland, nor 
yet of all those countries bordering on the pole, 
whither the hopes of discovering a passage into 
America have carried our navigators. The knowl- 
edge of these countries is as barren as the countries 
themselves, and does not enter into the political 
plan of the world. 


Poland, which for a long time retained the man- 
ners of the Sarmatians, its first inhabitants, began 
to be of some consideration in Germany after the 
Jagellonian race came to the throne; and was no 
longer the same country which was wont to receive 
its kings at the emperor's will, and pay him tribute. 

2y 8 Ancient and Modern History. 

The first of the Jagellon family was chosen king 
of this republic in the year 1382. He was duke 
of Lithuania, and was an idolater, as well as the 
rest of his countrymen, and a great part of the 
palatinate. He was made king upon a promise of 
becoming Christian, and incorporating Lithuania 
with Poland. 

This Jagellon, who took the name of Ladislaus, 
was father of the unfortunate Ladislaus who was 
king of Hungary and Poland, and formed to be 
one of the most powerful monarchs in the world, had 
he not unfortunately been defeated and slain in 1445, 
at the battle of Varna, which, at the instigation of 
Cardinal Julian, he fought against the Turks, in 
defiance of his faith solemnly plighted. 

The Turks and the monkish knights of the Teu- 
tonic Order were a long time the two great enemies 
of Poland. The latter, who had formed themselves 
into a crusade, not being able to succeed in their 
attempts against the Mahometans, fell upon the 
idolatrous and the Christian inhabitants of Prussia, 
which was then a province belonging to the Poles. 

During the reign of Casimir, in the fifteenth cen- 
tury, the Teutonic Knights waged a long war with 
Poland; and at length divided Prussia with this 
state, on condition that the grand master of their 
order should be a vassal of this kingdom, and, at 
the same time, a prince palatine and have a seat in 
the diet. 

At this time the palatines had votes only in the 

State of Europe. 279 

estates of the kingdom ; but Casimir summoned dep- 
uties from the body of the nobility, in the year 
1640, who have ever since maintained this privilege. 

The nobles then had another privilege in common 
with that of the palatines, which was that of not 
being subject to arrest for any crime before they 
were juridically convicted : this was a kind of right 
of impunity. They had besides the right of life and 
death over their peasants, whom they might put 
to death with impunity, provided they threw the 
value of ten crowns into the grave : and if a Polish 
nobleman killed a peasant belonging to another 
nobleman, he was by the laws of honor obliged to 
give him another in his room ; and, to the disgrace 
of human nature, this horrid privilege still subsists. 

Sigismund, who was of the Jagellonian race, and 
died in 1548, was contemporary with Charles V., 
and was esteemed a great prince. During his reign 
the Poles had several wars with the Muscovites, 
and with the Teutonic Knights, while Albert of 
Brandenburg was their grand master. But war 
was all the Poles knew, without being acquainted 
with the military art; which was first carried to 
perfection in the southern parts of Europe. They 
fought in a confused and disorderly manner; they 
had no fortified places; and their chief strength 
consisted, as it still does, in their cavalry. 

They wholly neglected trade; nor did they dis- 
cover, till the thirteenth century, the salt pits of 
Cracow, which now constitute the chief wealth of 

280 Ancient and Modern History. 

the country. The corn and salt trade was left to 
Jews, and other foreigners, who grew rich by the 
proud indolence of the nobles and the slavery of 
the people. There were at that time in Poland no 
less than two hundred Jewish synagogues. 

If we consider the government of this country, 
it will appear, in some respects, an image of the 
ancient government of the Franks, Muscovites, and 
Huns ; and, in others, somewhat to resemble that of 
the ancient Romans, inasmuch as the nobles, like 
the tribunes of the Roman people, could oppose the 
passing of any law in the senate by simply pro- 
nouncing the word "Veto" This power, which 
extended even to all the gentlemen, and was carried 
so far as to give a right of annulling, by a single 
vote, all the other votes of the republic, has now 
become a kind of right of anarchy. The tribune was 
the magistrate of the people of Rome ; whereas a 
gentleman in Poland is only a member and a sub- 
ject of the state, and this member has the peculiar 
privilege of disturbing the whole body ; but so dear 
is this privilege to self-love, that, if anyone should 
attempt to propose in the diet an abolition of thi? 
custom, he would be certain of being torn in pieces. 

In Poland, as well as in Sweden, in Denmark, 
and throughout the whole North, the only distin- 
guishing title was that of " noble." The dignities 
of duke and count are of a later date, and are 
derived from the Germans; but these titles confer 
no power. The nobles are all upon an equality. The 

State of Europe. 281 

palatines, who deprived the people of their liberty, 
were wholly employed in defending their own 
against their kings ; and, notwithstanding the Jagel- 
lon family were so long in possession of the throne, 
its princes were never either absolute in their roy- 
alty, nor even kings by right of birth, but were 
always chosen as chiefs of the state, and not as 
masters. In the oath taken by these kings, at their 
coronation, they expressly desired the nation to 
dethrone them if they did not observe those laws 
they had sworn to maintain. 

It was no easy matter to preserve the right of 
election always free, and still continue the same 
family on the throne: but the kings having no 
strongholds in their possession, nor the manage- 
ment of the public treasury, nor the army, could 
not make any attack upon the liberties of the nation. 
The state allowed the king a yearly revenue of about 
twelve hundred thousand livres of our money for 
the support of his dignity, which is more than the 
king of Sweden has to this day; the emperor has 
no allowance, but is obliged to support, at his own 
expense, the dignity of Head of the Christian 
World, Caput Orbis Christiani; while the islands of 
Great Britain give their king nearly twenty-three 
millions for his civil list. The sale of the kingly 
office is now in Poland one of the principal sources 
of the money which circulates in that kingdom. 
The capitation tax levied on the Jews, which is 
one of its largest revenues, does not amount to 

282 Ancient and Modern History. 

above one hundred and twenty thousand florins 
of the coin of the country. 

With regard to the laws, the Poles had no written 
code in their own language, till the year 1552. The 
nobles, who were always of equal rank with each 
other, were governed by the resolutions taken in 
their assemblies, which is at present the only real 
law among them; and the rest of the nation are 
guided only by these resolutions. As these nobles 
are the only possessors of lands, they are masters 
of all the rest of the people, and the husbandmen 
are no other than their slaves: they are also in 
possession of all the church benefices. It is the same 
in Germany; but this is an express and general 
law in Poland; whereas, in Germany, it is only an 
established custom ; indeed, a custom greatly repug- 
nant to Christianity, though agreeable to the spirit 
of the Germanic constitution. Rome, in all its dif- 
ferent forms of government, from the times of its 
kings and consuls to the papal monarchy, has always 
enjoyed this advantage, that the door to honors and 
dignities was always open to pure merit. 


The kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway 
were, like that of Poland, elective. The peasants 
and artificers were slaves in Norway and Denmark ; 
but in Sweden they had a seat in the diets of the 
state, and gave their vote in the imposition of taxes. 

State of Europe. 283 

Never did two neighboring nations entertain a more 
violent antipathy to each other than the Swedes and 
Danes ; and yet these rival people formed only one 
state in the famous Union of Calmar, at the end of 
the fourteenth century. 

One of the Swedish kings, named Albert, having 
attempted to appropriate a third of the farms in the 
kingdom to his own use, his subjects revolted against 
him. Margaret of Waldemar, queen of Denmark, 
who was called the Semiramis of the North, took 
advantage of these troubles, and got herself acknowl- 
edged queen of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, in 
the year 1395. Two years afterward she united 
these two kingdoms, which ought always to have 
continued under the dominion of one single sov- 

When we recollect that formerly the Danish 
pirates alone carried their victorious arms through- 
out the greater part of Europe, and conquered Eng- 
land and Normandy, and afterward see that Sweden, 
Denmark, and Norway, though united, were not a 
formidable power to their neighbors, we may evi- 
dently conclude that conquests are only to be made 
among an ill-governed people. The Hanse towns 
of Hamburg, Liibeck, Dantzic, Rostock, Liine- 
burg, and Wismar alone were able to resist the 
power of these three kingdoms, on account of their 
superior riches ; and the single city of Lubeck car- 
ried on a war against the successors of Margaret of 
Waldemar. This union of the three kingdoms, 

284 Ancient and Modern History. 

which appeared so fair at first sight, proved in the 
end the source of all their misfortunes. 

There was in Sweden a primate who was arch- 
bishop of Upsala, and six bishops who had almost 
the same authority in that country which most of 
the great ecclesiastics had acquired in Germany and 
other nations, especially the archbishop of Upsala, 
who was, like the primate of Poland, the second 
person in the kingdom. Whosoever is the second 
person in a state is always desirous of being the first. 

It happened in the year 1452 that the estates of 
Sweden, tired of the Danish yoke, chose with one 
consent the grand marshal, Charles Canutson, for 
their king, and being equally weary of the power of 
the bishops, they ordered a perquisition to be made 
into the estates which the Church had engrossed 
under favor of these troubles. The archbishop of 
Upsala, named John de Salstad, assisted by the six 
bishops of Sweden and the rest of the clergy, 
excommunicated the king and the senate at high 
mass, laid his ornaments upon the altar, and putting 
on a coat of mail, and taking a sword in his hand, 
quitted the church, and began a civil war, which 
the bishops afterward continued for seven years. 
After this there was nothing but the most bloody 
anarchy, and a perpetual war between the Swedes, 
who wanted an independent king, and the Danes; 
the latter of which almost always gained the mas- 
tery. The clergy, who were at one time in arms 
for their country, and at another against it, recipro- 

State of Europe. 285 

cally excommunicated, fought with, and plundered 
one another. 

At length the Danes, having gained the mastery, 
under the command of their king, John, son of 
Christian I., and the Swedes being subdued, and 
having afterward revolted again, this King John 
caused his senate in Denmark to publish an arret 
against that of Sweden, by which all the members 
of that senate were condemned to lose their nobility 
and forfeit their estates. What is very singular is, 
that he caused this arret to be confirmed by the 
emperor Maximilian, and that this emperor wrote 
to the estates of Sweden in 1505, telling them that 
they were to pay obedience to that ordinance, 
or else he would proceed against them according 
to the laws of the empire. I do not know how 
Abbe Vertot, in his " Revolutions of Sweden," came 
to forget so important a transaction, which Puffen- 
dorf has so carefully preserved. 

This fact is a plain proof that both the German 
emperors and the popes have always pretended to 
a universal jurisdiction. It also proves that the 
Danish king was willing to flatter Maximilian, whose 
daughter he afterward obtained for his son, Chris- 
tian II. In this manner were rights established 
in those days. Maximilian's council wrote to the 
Swedes in the same manner as that of Charlemagne 
had done to the people of Benevento and Guienne : 
but he wanted the same number of forces and equal 
power with Charlemagne. 

286 Ancient and Modern History. 

This Christian II., after the death of his father, 
took very different steps. Instead of applying to 
the imperial chamber for an arret, he obtained four 
thousand men of Francis L, king of France. Before 
this time the French had never engaged in any of the 
quarrels of the North. It is probable that Francis 
I., who aspired to the imperial dignity, was willing 
to gain a support in Denmark. The French troops 
fought several battles against the Swedes, under 
Christian, but were very badly recompensed for their 
services, being sent home without pay, and set upon 
in their return by the peasants, so that not more than 
three hundred men returned alive to France, the 
usual fate of all expeditions sent too far from their 
own country. 

We shall see what a tyrant this Christian was, 
when we come to the article on " Lutheranism." 
One of his crimes proved the cause of his punish- 
ment, in the loss of his three kingdoms. He had 
lately made an agreement with an administrator 
created by the estates of Sweden, whose name was 
Sten Sture ; but he seemed to fear this administrator 
less than he did the young Gustavus Vasa, nephew 
of King Canutson, a prince of the most enterprising 
courage, and the hero and idol of the Swedes ; and 
pretending to be desirous of having a conference 
with the administrator in Stockholm, demanded of 
him, at the same time, to bring with him on board 
his fleet, then lying in the road, the young Gustavus, 
with six other noblemen as hostages. As soon as 

State of Europe. 287 

they were on board he put them in irons, and 
made sail to Denmark with his prize. After this 
he made preparations for an open war, in which 
Rome took part. We will now see how she came 
to enter into it, and in what manner she was 

Trolle, archbishop of Upsala whose cruelties I 
shall relate when I come to speak of Lutheranism 
who had been chosen primate by the clergy, con- 
firmed by Pope Leo X., and was united in interest 
with Christian, was afterward deposed by the estates 
of Sweden, in 1517, and condemned to do perpetual 
penance in a monastery. For this the estates were 
excommunicated by the pope in the customary style. 
This excommunication, which was nothing in itself, 
was rendered very formidable by the power of 
Christian's arms. 

There was at that time in Denmark a legate 
from the pope, named Arcemboldi, who had sold 
indulgences throughout the three kingdoms. 3uch 
had been the address of this priest, or the weakness 
of the people, that he had raised nearly two millions 
of florins in these countries, though the poorest in 
Europe, which he was going to send over to Rome ; 
but Christian seized on them as a supply for the 
war he was carrying on against the excommunicated 
Danes. This war proved successful ; Christian was 
acknowledged king, and Archbishop Trolle was rein- 
stated in his dignity. It was after this restoration 
that the king and his primate gave that fatal feast 

288 Ancient and Modern History. 

at Stockholm, at which he caused all the members 
of the senate, and a great many citizens, to be mas- 
sacred. While these things were occurring, Gus- 
tavus escaped from his confinement and fled into 
Sweden. He was obliged to conceal himself for 
some time in the mountains of Dalecarlia, in the dis- 
guise of a peasant. He even worked in the mines, 
either for his subsistence, or to better conceal him- 
self: but at length he made himself known to these 
savage people, who, being from their rustic sim- 
plicity utter strangers to politics, held tyranny in 
the most detestable light. They agreed to follow 
him, and Gustavus soon saw himself at the head of 
an army. The use of firearms was not then at 
all known to these rude men, and but imperfectly to 
the Swedes. This always threw the victory on the 
side of the Danes ; but Gustavus, having bought 
a number of muskets upon his own account, at 
Liibeck, soon engaged them upon an equality. 

Liibeck not only furnished him with arms, but it 
likewise sent him troops, without which Gustavus 
could not have succeeded ; so that the fate of Sweden 
depended on a simple trading city. Christian was at 
that time in Denmark, and the archbishop of Upsala 
sustained the whole weight of the war against this 
deliverer of his country. At length, by an event 
not very common, the party which had justice on its 
side prevailed; and Gustavus, after several unsuc- 
cessful attempts, beat the tyrant's lieutenants, and 
remained master of part of the country. 

State of Europe. 289 

1521 Christian, grown furious by this disgrace, 
committed an action which, even after what we have 
already seen of him, appears an almost incredible 
piece of wickedness. He for a long time had the 
mother and sister of Gustavtis in his power at Copen- 
hagen, and now ordered these two princesses to be 
both sewed up in a sack, and thrown alive into 
the sea. 

Though this tyrant was so well skilled in working 
his revenge, he did not know how to fight; and 
while he could murder two defenceless women, he 
did not dare to venture into Sweden to face Gusta- 
vus. At length the cruelties he had exercised upon 
his subjects, in common with his enemies, rendered 
him as detestable to the people of Copenhagen as to 
the Swedes. 

As the Danes had the power of electing their 
kings, so they also had of punishing a tyrant. 
The first who renounced his authority were the peo- 
ple of Jutland, or the duchy of Schleswig. His 
uncle, Frederick, duke of Holstein, took advantage 
of this just insurrection of the people, and, right 
being supported by force, all the inhabitants of that 
part which formerly composed Chersonesus Cim- 
brica deputed the chief justice of Jutland to signify 
to the tyrant the sentence of deposition. 

This intrepid magistrate had the resolution to 
carry the sentence to Christian in the midst of Copen- 
hagen ; the tyrant, finding all the rest of his king- 
dom wavering, himself hated even by his own offi- 
Vol. 26 19 

290 Ancient and Modern History. 

cers, and not daring to trust anyone, received in 
his own palace like a criminal the sentence declared 
to him by a single man unarmed. The name of this 
magistrate deserves to be handed down to posterity : 
he was called Mons. " My name," he said, " ought 
to be written over the doors of all bad princes." 
The kingdom of Denmark acquiesced in the sen- 
tence, and there was never an instance of a revolu- 
tion so just and sudden, and so quietly effected. 
The king deposed himself in 1523 by flying the 
kingdom and retiring into the dominions of his 
brother-in-law, Charles V., in Flanders, whose 
assistance he long implored. 

His uncle Frederick was elected at Copenhagen, 
king of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden; but of 
this last he had only the title ; for the Swedes chose 
Gustavus Vasa their king, who had made himself 
master of Stockholm about the same time and knew 
perfectly well how to defend the kingdom he had 
delivered. Christian, who, with Archbishop Trolle, 
was now a wanderer, made an attempt some few 
years afterward to get possession of some part 
of his dominions. He depended upon the assistance 
of a malcontent party in the kingdom, which is 
always the consequence of a new reign, and which 
he now found both in Sweden and Denmark : with 
these he entered Norway. Gustavus had introduced 
a change in the religion of the Swedes, and Fred- 
erick had permitted his Danes to change theirs. 
Christian professed himself a good Catholic, but 

State of Europe. 291 

was not for that either a better prince, or a better 
general, or more beloved; so that in the end his 
enterprise proved ineffectual. 

Abandoned at length by everyone, he suffered him- 
self to be carried to Denmark in the year 1532, 
where he ended his days in a prison. Archbishop 
Trolle, who, prompted by a restless ambition, had 
prevailed on the city of Liibeck to take up arms 
against the Danes, died of wounds received in 
battle, and concluded his life with more glory than 
Christian; both of them merited a more tragical 

Gustavus, the deliverer of his country, now 
enjoyed his honors in peace. He first convinced 
foreign nations what weight Sweden might have in 
the affairs of Europe, at a time when the politics of 
that country put on a new face, and they began to 
think of establishing a balance of power. 

Francis I. made an alliance with him; and, not- 
withstanding that Gustavus was a Lutheran, sent 
him the collar of his order, though expressly against 
the statutes. Gustavus spent the remainder of his 
life in endeavoring to regulate his kingdom. It 
required all the prudence he was master of to secure 
his administration against the troubles likely to arise 
on account of the change he had made in religion. 
The Dalecarlians, who had been the first to assist 
him in mounting the throne, were the first to raise 
commotions. Their savage rusticity rendered them 
attached to the ancient customs of their church ; and 

292 Ancient and Modern History. 

they were Catholics in the same manner as they were 
barbarians, by birth and education, as may be con- 
ceived from a petition which they presented to him, 
wherein they desired the king would not wear any 
clothes made after the French fashion; and would 
order all those to be burned, who ate meat on a 
Friday : this last article was almost the only one in 
which the Lutherans were distinguished from the 

The king suppressed these first emotions, and 
established his religion by judiciously preserving the 
bishops, and at the same time diminishing their 
revenues and power. He showed a proper regard 
for the ancient laws of the kingdom, and caused his 
son Eric to be declared his successor, by the estates, 
in 1544; and he even procured the crown to remain 
in his family, on condition that if his race should 
become extinct the estates should again resume their 
right of election; and that if only a princess 
remained, she should be allowed a certain portion, 
without having any pretensions to the crown. 

Such was the situation of affairs in the North, in 
the time of Charles V. The manners of all these 
people were simple, but austere, and their virtues 
were fewer, as their ignorance was greater. The 
titles of count, marquis, baron, and knight, and most 
of the other badges of vain glory had not found 
their way at all among the Swedes, and but very 
little among the Danes; but then the most useful 
inventions were likewise unknown to them. They 

State of Europe. 293 

had no settled commerce, nor any manufactures. 
Gustavus Vasa, by drawing the Swedes from their 
state of obscurity, inspired the Danes by his example. 


The constitution of this government was exactly 
the same as that of Poland. Its kings were elected 
by the diets : the palatine of Hungary had the same 
authority as the primate of Poland, and was more- 
over judge between the king and the nation. Such 
was formerly the power or privilege of the palatine 
of the empire, the mayor of the palace in France, 
and the justiciary of Aragon. We find that in all 
monarchies the regal power was in its beginning 
counterbalanced by some other. 

The nobles had the same privileges as in Poland ; 
I mean those of being screened from all punish- 
ment, and of disposing of the lives of their peasants 
or bondmen. The common people were slaves. The 
chief forces of this kingdom consisted in the cavalry, 
which was formed of the nobles and their followers. 
The infantry was composed of peasants gathered 
together, without order or discipline, who took the 
field in sowing time, and continued in it till harvest. 

We may recollect that this kingdom first embraced 
Christianity about the year 1000. Stephen, the chief 
of the Hungarians, who was desirous of being made 
king, employed on this occasion the force of arms 
and religion. Pope Sylvester II. gave him not only 
the title of king, but also of apostolic king. Some 

294 Ancient and Modern History. 

writers say that it was John XVIII. or XIX. who 
conferred these two honors on Stephen, in the year 
1003 or 1004. Such discussions, however, have 
nothing to do with the end of my inquiries. I shall, 
therefore, content myself with observing that, on 
account of this title having been conferred by a 
bull, the popes pretend to exact a tribute from the 
Hungarians, and that it is in virtue of the term 
" apostolic " that the kings of Hungary claim the 
right to bestow all the church benefices in the king- 

We may observe that kings, and even whole 
nations, have been governed by certain prejudices. 
The chief of a warlike people did not dare to assume 
the title of king without the pope's permission. This 
kingdom, and that of Poland likewise, were gov- 
erned on the model of the Germanic Empire; and 
yet the kings of Poland and Hungary, though they 
made counts, had never dared to create dukes, and 
were so far from taking the title of majesty that they 
were at that time only styled, " Your excellency." 

The emperors even looked upon Hungary as a fief 
of the empire, and Conrad the Salic actually received 
homage and tribute from King Peter; while the 
popes on their side maintained that they had a right 
to bestow this crown, because they were the first who 
gave the title of king to the chief of the Hungarian 

And here it will be necessary to take a short retro- 
spect of those times, when the house of France, 

State of Europe. 295 

which had furnished kings to Portugal, England, 
and Naples, also beheld one of its branches seated 
on the throne of Hungary. 

About the year 1290, this throne being vacant, 
the emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg gave the investi- 
ture of it to his son, Albert of Austria, as he would 
bestow a common fief. Pope Nicholas IV., on his 
side, conferred this kingdom as a church benefice on 
the grandson of the famous Charles of Anjou, 
brother of St. Louis, who was king of Naples and 
Sicily. This nephew of St. Louis was called Charles 
Martel, and laid claim to the kingdom because his 
mother, Mary of Hungary, was sister of the last 
deceased king of Hungary. With a free people it is 
not being a relative of the king that can confer a title 
to the throne ; and the Hungarians accepted neither 
the sovereign nominated by the emperor nor him 
whom the pope appointed for them ; but fixed upon 
Andrew, surnamed the Venetian, a prince who was 
also of the blood royal. Upon this there followed 
excommunications and wars; but after his death, 
and that of his competitor, Charles Martel, the 
decree of the Roman tribunal was carried into exe- 

Boniface VIII., in 1303, four months before the 
affront he received from the king of France, the 
grief for which is said to have occasioned his death, 
had the honor to see the cause of the house of Anjou 
brought before his tribunal. Mary, queen of Naples, 
spoke in person before the consistory ; and Boniface 

296 Ancient and Modern History. 

bestowed Hungary on Prince Charles Robert of 
Anjou, son of Charles Martel, and grandson of this 

1308 This Charles Robert was in fact king by 
the pope's favor, and maintained upon the throne by 
his interest and his sword. The kingdom of Hun- 
gary became more powerful under him than the 
emperors, who looked upon it as one of their fiefs. 
He annexed to his kingdom the provinces of Dal- 
matia, Croatia, Servia, Transylvania, Wallachia, and 
Moldavia, which had been rent from it at different 

His son, Louis, brother to that Andrew, king of 
Hungary, whom his wife, Joan of Naples, caused 
to be strangled, still further increased the Hungarian 
power. He went to Naples to avenge his brother's 
murder, and assisted Charles Durazzo to dethrone 
Queen Joan, but without being in any way instru- 
mental in the cruel manner in which Durazzo caused 
that unhappy princess to be put to death. After his 
return to Hungary he acquired true glory, by doing 
justice to his people, enacting wise laws, and abol- 
ishing the custom of trial by ordeal, which was 
always in the greatest credit when the people were 
most civilized. 

We have all along observed that there never was 
a truly great man who was not a lover of letters. 
This prince cultivated geometry and astronomy, and 
countenanced the other arts : it is to this philosophic 
genius, so rare at that time, that we are to attribute 

State of Europe. 297 

the abolition of those superstitious trials. A king 
who was master of sound reasoning was a prodigy 
in those countries. His courage was equal to his 
other qualifications: he was beloved by his own 
subjects, and admired by strangers. Toward the 
latter part of his life, in 1370, the Poles made choice 
of him for their king: he reigned happily in Hun- 
gary forty years, and in Poland twelve years. His 
people gave him the surname of the Great, which 
he well deserved ; and yet this prince is hardly 
known in Europe, because he did not reign over 
men capable of transmitting his fame and virtues to 
other nations. How few know that in the fourteenth 
century there was a Louis the Great in the Carpa- 
thian mountains ! 

He was so much beloved that the estates, in 1382, 
bestowed the crown on his daughter Mary, not then 
marriageable, by the title of King Mary, a title which 
has in our time been renewed in favor of a daughter 
of the last emperor of the house of Austria. 

This all serves to show that if in hereditary king- 
doms the people sometimes find reason to complain 
of a despotic abuse of the supreme power, elective 
states are on their part exposed to still more violent 
storms, and that even liberty itself, which is so natu- 
ral and inestimable a blessing, is sometimes pro- 
ductive of great misfortunes. 

Young King Mary and her kingdom were both 
under the government of her mother, Elizabeth of 
Bosnia, who, being disagreeable to the grandees, 

298 Ancient and Modern History. 

they made use of their right, and placed the crown on 
another head, making Charles Durazzo, surnamed 
the Little, king ; who was descended in a direct line 
from St. Louis's brother, who reigned in the two 
Sicilies. Charles arrived at Naples, from Buda, and 
was solemnly crowned in 1386, and acknowledged 
king by Elizabeth herself. 

We now come to one of those strange events with 
regard to which the laws are wholly silent, and leave 
us in doubt whether it may not be a crime even to 
punish vice. 

Elizabeth and her daughter Mary, after having 
lived in as good correspondence with Durazzo as it 
was possible to do with a person who was in pos- 
session of their crown, invited him to their apart- 
ment, where they caused him to be murdered in their 
presence; after which they prevailed on the people 
to join them, and young Mary, who was still directed 
by her mother, resumed the crown. 

Some time afterward Elizabeth and Mary made a 
journey into Lower Hungary, and on their way 
imprudently passed through the lands of the count 
of Hornac, who was ban of Croatia. This ban was 
what they call in Hungary a supreme count, who 
has the command of armies, and the executing of 
justice. This nobleman was particularly attached to 
the murdered king ; was it then, or was it not, law- 
ful for him to avenge the death of his king? He 
soon came to a resolution, and seemed to consult 
only justice in the cruelty of his revenge ; he caused 

State of Europe. 299 

the two queens to be tried, after which he ordered 
Elizabeth to be drowned, and kept Mary in prison, 
as the less guilty of the two. 

At the same time Sigismund, who was afterward 
emperor, entered Hungary, and espoused Queen 
Mary. The ban of Croatia, who thought himself 
sufficiently powerful, had the boldness to carry that 
princess himself to Sigismund, after having drowned 
her mother, thinking, as we may suppose, that he 
had done only an act of severe justice ; but Sigis- 
mund ordered his flesh to be torn off with red-hot 
pincers, and he died in the most dreadful torments. 
His death caused an insurrection of the nobles of 
Hungary ; and this whole reign was one continued 
succession of troubles and factions. 

It is possible to reign over a great number of 
states, and yet not be a powerful prince ; this Sigis- 
mund was, at one and the same time, emperor, and 
king of Bohemia and Hungary : but in Hungary he 
was beaten by the Turks, and once confined in prison 
by his subjects, who had revolted against him. In 
Bohemia he was almost continually at war with the 
Hussites ; and in the empire his authority was almost 
always counterbalanced by the prerogatives of the 
grandees, and the privileges of the great cities. 

In 1438 Albert of Austria, son-in-law of Sigis- 
mund, was the first prince of the house of Austria 
who had reigned in Hungary. 

This Albert was, like Sigismund, both emperor 
and king of Bohemia, but he did not reign above 

300 Ancient and Modern History. 

three years; and this short reign was the cause of 
intestine divisions, which, together with the irrup- 
tion of the Turks, depopulated Hungary, and made 
it one of the most miserable countries in the world. 

The Hungarians, who always preserved their lib- 
erty, would not accept for their king a child which 
Albert of Austria left at his death, but chose Ulad- 
islaus, or Ladislaus, king of Poland, who, in 1444, 
lost the famous battle of Varna, together with his 
life, as has been before related. 

Frederick III. of Austria, who was emperor in 
1440, took the title of King of Hungary, but never 
was so in reality. He kept the son of Albert of 
Austria, whom I shall call Ladislaus Albert, prisoner 
in Vienna, while John Huniades was making head 
in Hungary against Mahomet II., who conquered 
so many states. This John Huniades was not king, 
but he was general and idol of a free and warlike 
people, and no king ever possessed a more absolute 

After his death the house of Austria had the crown 
of Hungary. This Ladislaus Albert was elected 
king, and caused one of the sons of this John 
Huniades, the avenger of his country, to be put to 
death by the hands of the executioner: but, with 
a free people, tyranny never goes unpunished : Lad- 
islaus was driven from a throne which he had stained 
with such illustrious blood, and paid for his cruelty 
by perpetual exile. 

There still remained a son of the great Huniades : 

State of Europe. 301 

this was Matthias Corvinus, whom the Hungarians, 
with great difficulty, and not without paying a large 
sum of money, rescued out of the hands of the house 
of Austria. This prince waged war with the 
emperor Frederick III. and the Turk, from the 
former of whom he took Austria, and drove the latter 
out of Upper Hungary. 

After his death, which happened in 1490, the 
house of Austria was continually endeavoring to add 
Hungary to its other dominions. The emperor 
Maximilian, even though he had again entered 
Vienna, could not obtain this kingdom, which was 
bestowed upon another Ladisiaus, a king of 
Bohemia, whom I shall call Ladisiaus of Bohemia. 

The Hungarians, after the example of the nobles 
of Poland, and the electors of the empire, in thus 
choosing their own kings, always limited the royal 
authority; but it must be acknowledged that the 
Hungarian nobles were petty tyrants, who would 
not suffer a greater tyrant over them ; their liberty 
was no other than a fatal independency, and they 
reduced the rest of the nation to such a wretched 
state of slavery that the peasants and common peo- 
ple, being unable longer to support such continual 
oppressions, took up arms against these cruel mas- 
ters ; and a civil war, which lasted four years, still 
further weakened this unhappy kingdom. At length 
the nobles, being better provided with arms and 
money than the peasants, gained the mastery; and 
this war ended in redoubled miseries to the people 

302 Ancient and Modern History. 

who to this day continue the actual slaves of the 

A country which had been so long a prey to devas- 
tation, and where there remained only a slavish and 
discontented people, under masters almost always 
at variance among themselves, was no longer able of 
itself to resist the arms of the Turkish sultans. 
Accordingly we find that when young Louis II., 
son of Ladislaus of Bohemia, and father-in-law 
of Charles V., attempted to oppose the arms of 
Solyman, the whole kingdom of Hungary was not 
able to furnish him with an army of more than thirty 
thousand fighting men. One Tomori, a Franciscan 
friar, who was general of this army, in which there 
were five other bishops, promised Louis the victory ; 
but this whole army was cut to pieces in the famous 
battle of Mohacs, in 1526, and the king himself 
slain. After this victory Solyman overran all this 
wretched kingdom, and carried two hundred thou- 
sand captives away with him. 

Nature in vain furnished this country with gold 
mines, and the more substantial riches of corn and 
wine ; in vain she formed its inhabitants robust, well- 
made, and ingenious; nothing now remained to 
the view but a vast desert, with ruined cities, and 
fields tilled with sword in hand, villages dug under- 
ground, in which the inhabitants buried themselves 
with their provisions and cattle, and a few fortified 
castles, for the sovereignty of which the possessors 

State of Europe. 303 

were always in arms against the Turks and the Ger- 

There were likewise several other fine countries 
of Europe that were desolated, and lay uncultivated 
and uninhabited ; such as one-half of Dalmatia, the 
north of Poland, the banks of the Tanais, and the 
fruitful country of the Ukraine, while search was 
being made after other lands in a new world, and 
as far as the limits of the old. 


In this sketch of the political government of the 
North, I must not forget Scotland, of which I shall 
speak further when I come to treat of the article of 

Scotland had rather a greater share in the system 
of Europe than the other nations of the North, 
because, being at enmity with the English, who were 
always endeavoring to subject it, it had for a long 
time been in alliance with France, whose kings could 
easily prevail upon the Scotch to take arms in their 
favor whenever it was necessary ; and we find that 
Francis I. sent no more than thirty thousand 
crowns which makes about one hundred and thirty 
thousand of our present livres to the. party who 
were to get war declared against the English in 1543- 
In fact, Scotland is so poor, that even at this time, 
when it is united with England, it pays only the 
fortieth part of the subsidies of the two kingdoms. 

A poor state which has a rich one for its neigh- 

304 Ancient and Modern History. 

bor must at length become venal : but as long as 
this country kept itself free, it was formidable. The 
English, who under Henry II. conquered Ireland 
with so much ease, could never subdue Scotland; 
and Edward III., who was a great warrior and a 
deep politician, though he conquered it could never 
keep it. There always subsisted a jealousy and hatred 
between the Scotch and the English, not unlike that 
between the Spaniards and the Portuguese. The 
house of Stuart had sat on the throne of Scotland 
ever since the year 1370: never was there a more 
unfortunate family. James I., after having been 
prisoner in England eighteen years, was murdered 
by his subjects in 1444, and James II. was killed in 
the unfortunate expedition to Roxburgh, when he 
was only twenty-nine years of age. James III., 
before he was thirty-five was slain by his own 
subjects in a pitched battle. James IV., son-in- 
law of Henry VII., king of England, fell at the 
age of thirty-nine in a battle against the English, in 
the year 1513, after a very unfortunate reign; and 
James V. died in the flower of his age, in the year 
1542, when he was not quite thirty. 

We shall see that the daughter of James V. was 
still more unfortunate than any of her predecessors, 
and added to the number of those queens who have 
died by the hands of the executioner. James VI., her 
son, became afterward king of Scotland, England, 
and Ireland, and through the weakness of his intel- 
lect laid the foundations of those revolutions 

Germany and the Empire. 305 

which afterward brought the head of Charles I. to 
the block, and drove James VII. into exile, and still 
keeps this unfortunate family outcasts and wan- 
derers from their own country. The most favorable 
times for this house were during the reigns of 
Charles V. and Francis V. James V., who was 
father of Mary Stuart, sat on the throne of Scot- 
land ; and after his death, his widow, Mary of Lor- 
raine, mother of this Mary, was appointed regent of 
the kingdom, and it was during her administration 
that the troubles first began to break out under pre- 
tence of religion, as we shall hereafter see. 

I shall not dwell any longer on this review of the 
kingdoms of the North in the sixteenth century ; hav- 
ing already examined the terms on which Germany, 
England, France, Italy, and Spain, stood with one 
another, I have hereby acquired a sufficient intro- 
ductory knowledge to the interests of the North and 
South, and shall now examine more particularly into 
the state of Europe. 



THE western empire still subsisted in name; but 
it had been for a long time only a burdensome title, 
as may appear from its having been refused by the 
ambitious Edward III. of England, when offered 
to him by the electors, in 1348. Charles IV., who 
was looked upon as the lawgiver of the empire, could 
Vol. 26 20 

306 Ancient and Modern History. 

not obtain permission of Pope Innocent VI. and the 
barons of Rome to be crowned emperor in that city 
until he had promised not to lie a night within the 
walls. His famous Golden Bull, by limiting the 
number of electors, restored some order in Germany, 
which had before been a continued scene of anarchy. 
This law was, at its first institution, considered as 
fundamental, but has since been frequently departed 
from. In his time all the cities of Lombardy were 
actually free and independent of the empire except- 
ing only in some particular rights. Every lord in 
Germany and Lombardy remained sovereign of his 
own territories during all the succeeding reigns. 

The times of Wenceslaus, Robert, Josse, and Sig- 
ismund were times of darkness, in which there 
appeared no trace of the imperial dignity, except in 
the Council of Constance, which was assembled by 
Sigismund, and in which that emperor shone forth 
in full glory. 

The emperors had no longer any demesnes, having 
ceded them at different times to the bishops and 
cities, either to procure themselves a support against 
the power of the lords of great fiefs, or to raise 
money. They had now nothing left but the subsidy 
of the Roman months, which was paid only in time 
of war, and for defraying the expenses of the vain 
ceremony of the emperor's coronation at Rome, 
which still subsisted. It was absolutely necessary, 
therefore, to elect a chief who was powerful of him- 
self, and this first brought the sceptre into the house 

Germany and the Empire. 307 

of Austria. A prince was wanting, whose domin- 
ions might on the one hand have a communication 
with Italy, and on the other be capable of opposing 
the incursions of the Turks; and this advantage 
Germany found in Albert II., who was duke of 
Austria, and king of Bohemia and Hungary; 
this first fixed the imperial dignity in his house, 
and the throne became hereditary, without ceasing 
to be elective. Albert and his successors were chosen 
on account of the large dominions they possessed ; 
and Rudoph of Hapsburg, one of the stocks of that 
house, had formerly been selected because he had 
none. The reason of this seeming contradiction is 
obvious ; Rudolph was elected at a time when the 
houses of Saxony and Suabia had given reason to 
fear their becoming despotic, and Albert II., when 
the house of Austria was thought sufficiently pow- 
erful to defend the empire, and yet not to enslave it. 

Frederick III. ascended the imperial throne by this 
title. Germany was in his time in a state of inability 
and peace. It was not so powerful as it might have 
been ; and we have already seen that this prince was 
very far from being the sovereign of Christendom, 
as his epitaph imports. 

Maximilian L, while he was yet only king of the 
Romans, began his career in the most glorious man- 
ner by the victory of Guinegate, which he gained 
over the French in 1479, and the treaty he made with 
them in 1492, by which he secured the possession of 
Franche-Comte, Artois, and Charolais. But as he 

308 Ancient and Modern History. 

drew nothing from the Low Countries, which 
belonged to his son, Philip the Fair, nor from the 
people of Germany, and very little from his domin- 
ions in France, he would never have been of any 
consideration in Italy had it not been for the League 
of Cambray, and Louis XII., who did everything for 

At first the pope and the Venetians prevented him, 
in the year 1508, from coming to Rome to be 
crowned emperor ; and he took the title of emperor- 
elect, as he could not be crowned emperor by the 
pope. We see him after the League of Cambray, 
and in the year 1513, receiving the daily pension of 
a hundred crowns from the English king, Henry 
VIII. His German dominions furnished him with 
men to take the field against the Turks, but he 
wanted those riches with which France, England, 
and Italy carried on their wars at that time. 

Germany had become in reality a republic of 
princes and cities, notwithstanding that its chief in 
his edicts spoke in the strain of absolute master of 
the whole world. It had been divided in the year 
1500 into six circles; and the directors of these cir- 
cles being sovereign princes, and the generals and 
colonels paid by the provinces and not by the 
emperor, this establishment, by linking together the 
several parts of the empire, secured the liberty of the 
whole. The imperial chamber, which Had the pass- 
ing of final judgment, being paid by the princes and 
cities, and not having its seat in the particular 

Germany and the Empire. 309 

demesnes of the monarch, proved another support to 
the public liberty. It is true it could never carry its 
decrees into execution against powerful princes, 
unless seconded by the empire ; but this very abuse 
of liberty was a proof of its real existence ; this is 
so notorious that the aulic court, which was first 
formed in 1512, and was entirely under the direction 
of the emperors, soon proved the strongest support 
of their authority. 

Germany, under this form of government, was at 
that time as happy a state as any in the world. In- 
habited by a warlike people, who were capable of the 
greatest military operations, there was no proba- 
bility of the Turks being ever able to subdue it. Its 
lands were good, and so well cultivated that the 
inhabitants were at least under no necessity, as for- 
merly, of seeking for other settlements : at the same 
time they were neither so rich nor so poor, nor so 
united, as to be in a condition to make the conquest 
of all Italy. 

But what were at that time its pretensions upon 
Italy and the Roman Empire? The same as those 
of the Othos and the imperial house of Suabia had 
been; the same as those which had cost such a 
deluge of blood and which had undergone so many 
alterations since Julius II., who was patriarch as 
well as pontiff of Rome, had the imprudence, instead 
of rousing the ancient Roman courage, to call in the 
assistance of foreigners. Rome had nothing left 
but to repent of her folly ; for since that time there 

310 Ancient and Modern History. 

had always been a private war between the empire 
and the pontificate, as well as between the preten- 
sions of the emperor and the liberties of the Italian 
provinces. The title of Caesar was only a source of 
contested rights, undetermined disputes, exterior 
grandeur, and real weakness. These times were no 
longer those in which the Othos created kings, and 
imposed tributes on them. If Louis XII. had main- 
tained a good understanding with the Venetians, 
instead of taking up arms against them, the emperors 
would, in all probability, never have set foot again in 
Italy. But from the divisions among the Italian 
princes, and the nature of the pontifical government, 
it unavoidably happened that a great part of this 
country was always to be a prey to foreigners. 



WE find that there are few absolute sovereigns in 
Europe ; the emperors before Charles V. had never 
ventured to aim at despotic power. The popes, 
though much more the masters of Rome than for- 
merly, had much less power in the Church ; the 
crowns of Hungary and Bohemia, like the other 
kingdoms in the North, were elective ; and an elec- 
tion necessarily supposes a contract between prince 
and people. The kings of England could neither 
make laws nor break them, without the consent of 

Customs XV. and XVI. Centuries. 311 

their parliaments. Isabella of Castile had acknowl- 
edged the rights of the Cortes, which were all the 
estates of the kingdom. Ferdinand the Catholic, of 
Aragon, had not been able to abolish the authority 
of the grand justiciary of that kingdom, who looked 
upon himself as entitled to be the judge of kings. 
France alone was changed into a state purely mon- 
archical, after the reign of Louis XI. A happy form 
of government when a king like Louis XII. 
appeared, who, by his love for his people, made 
amends for all the faults he committed with regard 
to other nations. 

The civil government of Europe was greatly 
improved by the stop which had everywhere been put 
to the private wars between the feudal lords. The 
custom of duels, however, was still continued. 

The popes by their decrees, which were always 
wise, and, what is more, always beneficial to Chris- 
tendom, when their own private interests were not 
concerned, had anathematized these combats; but 
they were still permitted by several of the bishops ; 
and the parliaments of Paris sometimes ordered 
them ; witness the famous one between Legris and 
Carrouges, in the reign of Charles V. There were 
several other duels fought by order of the courts. 
The same evil practice was likewise kept up in Ger- 
many, Italy, and Spain, with the sanction of cer- 
tain forms, which were looked upon as essential; 
particularly that of confessing and taking the sacra- 
ments before they prepared for murder. The good 

Ancient and Modern History. 

Chevalier Bayard always heard a mass before he 
v/ent into the field to fight a duel. The combatants 
always chose a second, who was to take care that 
their weapons were equal, and to make diligent 
search that neither of them had any spell about him ; 
for nothing on earth was so credulous as a knight. 

Some of these knights have been known to leave 
their own country and go into foreign parts in search 
of a duel, without any other motive than that of sig- 
nalizing themselves. Duke John of Bourbon, in the 
year 1414, caused it to be proclaimed that he was 
going to England with sixteen other knights, to fight 
to extremity, that he might avoid idleness and merit 
the favor of the fair lady whom he served. 

Tournaments, though condemned by the popes, 
were practised everywhere. They always went by 
the name of Ludi Gallici, or the French games ; 
because one Geoffrey de Preuilly had, in the eleventh 
century, published a body of rules to be observed in 
them. Upward of one hundred knights had been 
killed in these games ; but this only served to make 
them more in vogue. 

It was thought that the death of Henry II., who 
was killed at a tournament held in 1599, would have 
abolished this custom forever; but the idle lives 
of the great, long use, and the passions revived 
these games at Orleans, in less than a year after the 
tragical death of Henry; when Henry of Bour- 
bon, duke of Montpensier and a prince of the 
blood lost his life by a fall from his horse. After 

Customs XV. and XVI. Centuries. 313 

this an entire stop was put to tournaments; 
but a faint image of them remained in the Pas 
d'Armes, held by Charles IX. and Henry III., the 
year after the massacre of St. Bartholomew : for in 
those bloody times they always intermixed feats and 
diversions with their barbarous proscriptions. This 
Pas d'Armes was not attended with any danger, as 
the combatants did not engage with sharp weapons. 
There was no tournament held on the marriage of 
the duke of Joyeuse, in 1581. The word "tourna- 
ment " is therefore very improperly given by 
L'Etoile in his " Journal," to the show exhibited on 
this occasion. The grandees did not fight at all ; 
and what L'Etoile calls a tournament was only a 
warlike ballet or interlude, exhibited in the gardens 
of the Louvre, by a company of hired performers; 
and was a performance given to the court, and not 
given by the court itself. The games which still 
continued to go by the name of tournaments were 
only carousals. 

We may, therefore, date the suppression of tour- 
naments from the year 1560. With these games 
expired the ancient spirit of chivalry, which never 
appeared again but in romances. This kind of 
spirit was very prevalent in the time of Francis I, 
and Charles V. Francis was a knight in the true 
sense of the word, and Charles aimed at being such. 
They would give each other the lie in public, and 
afterward meet in the most friendly manner ; and it 
is known that the emperor put himself into the hands 

314 Ancient and Modern History. 

of the king of France upon no other security than 
that of his word of honor, which the king was not 
capable of violating. There are several occurrences 
in the reigns of these two princes which savor greatly 
of the heroic and fabulous ages; but Charles V. 
approached nearer to our modern times in the refine- 
ment of his politics. 

The art of war, the law of arms, and the offensive 
and defensive weapons made use of in those days 
were entirely different from what they are at present. 

The emperor Maximilian had introduced the arms 
made use of by the Macedonian phalanx, which were 
spears of eighteen feet in length, and were used by 
the Swiss in the wars of Milan ; but they were soon 
laid aside for the two-handed sword. 

The harquebus, or firelock, had become a necessary 
weapon against the steel ramparts by which the 
gendarmerie of those days were defended. No hel- 
met or cuirass was proof against these. The gendar- 
merie, which they called the battalion, fought on 
foot as well as on horseback : the French gendarm- 
erie was in most estimation in the fifteenth century. 

The German and Spanish infantry were reputed 
the best. The war-cry was almost everywhere laid 

As to the government of states at this time, I find 
cardinals at the head of the administration in almost 
every kingdom. In Spain I see Cardinal Ximenes, 
who ruled under Isabella of Castile during her life ; 
and after her death was appointed regent of the king- 

Customs XV. and XVI. Centuries. 315 

dom, who, always clad in the habit of a Franciscan 
friar, placed his chief pride in treading under foot 
the Spanish grandeur; who raised an army at his 
own expense, and afterward led it in person into 
Africa and took the city of Oran ; in a word, who 
had made himself absolute, till young Charles V. 
drove him from the helm of power and obliged him 
to retire to his archbishopric of Toledo, where he 
died of grief. 

In France, I see Louis XII. governed by Cardinal 
d'Amboise, and Cardinal Duprat prime minister to 
Francis I. Henry VIII. of England was, for the 
space of twenty years, entirely under the direction 
of Cardinal Wolsey, a man as vainglorious as 
d'Amboise, and who, like him, wanted to be pope, 
and, like him, failed in the attempt. Charles V. 
made his preceptor, Cardinal Adrian, who was 
afterward pope, his prime minister in Spain ; and 
Cardinal de Granvelle had afterward the govern- 
ment of Flanders. Lastly, Cardinal Martinusius was 
master of Hungary, under Ferdinand, brother of 
Charles V. 

Though we see so many military states governed 
by churchmen, this did not proceed merely from 
those princes being more ready to place their con- 
fidence in a priest, of whose power they could stand 
in no apprehension, than in the general of an army, 
who might in time become formidable to them ; but 
also, because the churchmen were generally men 
of more knowledge, and more capable of managing 

316 Ancient and Modern History. 

public affairs than either the military officers or tht 

It was not till this century that those cardinals, 
who were the king's subjects, took precedency of the 
chancellor of the kingdom. They disputed it with 
the electors of the empire, and yielded it to the chan- 
cellors in France and England ; and this again is one 
of those contradictions which pride had introduced 
into the republic of Christendom. By the registers 
of the English parliament we find that Lord Chan- 
cellor Warham had precedence of Cardinal Wolsey 
till the year 1516. 

The title of majesty began now to be assumed by 
kings, and the ranks of the several sovereigns were 
settled at Rome. The first place was, without con- 
tradiction, assigned to the emperor ; after him came 
the king of France, without a competitor ; the kings 
of Castile, Aragon, Portugal, and Sicily took rank 
in turns with the king of England ; then came Scot- 
land, Hungary, Navarre, Cyprus, Bohemia, and 
Poland; and, last of all, Denmark and Sweden. 
Great disputes arose afterward from this settling of 
the precedency. The kings, almost to a man, wanted 
to be equal in rank with each other ; but not one of 
them attempted to dispute the chief place with the 
emperors, who thus preserved their rank while they 
lost their authority. 

All the customs in civil life were different from 
ours ; the doublet and short cloak was the common 
dress in all courts. The gentlemen of the law every- 

Customs XV. and XVI. Centuries. 317 

where wore a long and close robe, which fell half 
way down their legs. 

In the time of Francis I. there were but two 
coaches in the city of Paris ; one for the queen and 
<he other for Diana of Poitiers. The men and 
women all rode on horseback. 

Riches were now so much increased that Henry 
VIII. of England, in 1519, promised three hundred 
and thirty-three thousand gold crowns in dowry 
with his daughter, Mary, who was to be married to 
the son of Francis I. This was a larger sum than 
had ever yet been given by anyone. 

The interview between Francis I. and Henry was 
ji long time famous for its magnificence. Their 
camp was called the " Field of the Cloth of Gold ; " 
tmt this momentary parade, this stretch of luxury, 
did not imply that general magnificence, nor those 
useful contrivances which are so common in our 
v v imes, and which so far exceed the pomp of a single 
day. The hand of industry had not then changed 
v'heir sorry wooden dwellings into sumptuous pal- 
aces; the thatched roofs and mud walls still 
remained in the streets of Paris. The houses in 
London were still worse built, and the manner of liv- 
ing there harder. The greatest noblemen, when they 
went into the country, carried their wives behind 
them on horseback ; princesses themselves travelled 
fa no other manner, or covered with a riding-cloak 
of waxed cloth in rainy weather; and this dress 
they wore oven when they went to the palace. This 

3 1 8 Ancient and Modern History. 

custom continued till the middle of the seventeenth 
century. The magnificence of Francis I., Charles 
V., Henry VIII., and Leo X. was only for days of 
public solemnity; whereas, at present, the shows 
and entertainments which we see every day, the 
number of gilt coaches, and the multitude of lamps 
which are lighted up during the night-time in the 
streets of all our great cities, exhibit far greater 
riches and plenty than the most brilliant ceremonies 
of the monarchs of the sixteenth century. 

In the reign of Louis XII. they first began to sub- 
stitute gold and silver stuffs, in room of the costly 
furs they were formerly wont to wear. These stuffa 
were the manufactures of Italy, there being none 
made at that time in Lyons. Gold work was in gen- 
eral very clumsy, Louis XII. having by an ill-judged 
sumptuary law forbidden its use throughout his 
kingdom ; so that the French were obliged to send 
to Venice for all their plate. By this means the 
goldsmiths were all reduced to poverty ; and Louis 
XII. at length wisely revoked this law. 

Francis I., who in the latter part of his life became 
an economist, prohibited the wearing of gold and 
silver stuffs, which prohibition was afterward 
renewed by Henry II., but had these laws been 
strictly observed they would have ruined the manu- 
factures of Lyons. What chiefly determined the gov- 
ernment to enact these laws was the consideration of 
being obliged to have all the silk from foreigners. 
In the reign of Henry II., none but bishops were per- 

Customs XV. and XVI. Centuries. 319 

mitted to wear silk. The princes and princesses had 
the distinguishing privileges of wearing dresses of 
red silk or woollen stuff. At length, in the year 
1563, none but princes and bishops were allowed to 
wear shoes made of silk. 

All these sumptuary laws only show that the views 
of the government were very narrow, and that the 
ministers thought it easier to put a check on industry 
than to encourage it. 

Mulberry trees were then cultivated only in Italy 
and Spain, and gold wire was made nowhere but at 
Milan and Venice; and yet the French fashions 
had already insinuated themselves into the courts of 
Germany, England, and Lombardy. The Italian his- 
torians complain that after the journey which 
Charles VIII. made into Italy, the people affected to 
dress themselves after the French fashion, and sent 
to France for all their ornaments. 

Pope Julius II. was the first who let his beard 
grow, in order to inspire the people with a greater 
respect for his person by a singularity of appearance. 
Francis I., Charles V., and all the other kings fol- 
lowed this example, which was immediately adopted 
by their courtiers : but those of the long robe, who 
always keep to the ancient customs, whatever they 
are, still continued to shave their beards, while the 
young military people affected an air of gravity and 
age. This is a trifling observation ; but it claims a 
place in the history of customs. 

But that which is more worthy the attention of 

320 Ancient and Modern History. 

posterity, and of far greater consideration than all 
the customs introduced by caprice, all the laws which 
time has abolished, or the disputes of crowned heads, 
which cease with themselves, is the reputation of the 
arts, which will never cease. This reputation was, 
during the sixteenth century, the lot of Italy alone. 
Nothing more strongly calls to our mind the idea 
of ancient Greece; for as the arts flourished in 
Greece in the midst of foreign and domestic wars, so 
they did likewise in Italy, and almost all of them 
were carried to a height of perfection at the time 
when Rome was sacked by the troops of Charles V., 
its coasts laid waste by the incursions of Barbarossa, 
and the heart of the country rent in pieces by the 
dissensions between the princes and the republics. 

University of d 

Southern Reg 

Library Fac: 

University ot 

Southern Regiona 

Library Facib ^