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first timorous shape breaks upon the nation, learned men visit the capital, and France becomes the stage for rising genius-genius in its pure infancy, ere rivalry and ambition rendered it a difficult fight, the prize of which in our day is too often awarded, not to the most deserving, but to the most influential. In this reign Parliament was established, and politicians were held in high esteem. What can a king do as the individual man, but let him call the nation friend, and he has all the sovereign's power, without any of the ill-will of jealousy. No great difference in the laws took place from the death of Charlemagne to the reign of Charles, surnamed the Simple (898); here was a revolt: there was no time for indolenceCharlemagne made laws, but they required the test of improvement, and a king's situation was no sinecure in ages past, the moment of Charles's indolence was the signal for a revolt
the unhappy monarch died in imprisonment. The new king whom the French set up reigned twelve years; but, at his death, the usual consequence of destroying the legitimate race of kings showed itself in civil wars. Charles's son succeeded to Rodolph, his father's successful rival, but he in his turn had to defeat that rival's son.
Louis the Fifth, the last of the Carlovingian race, died hated, and the nobility raised Hugh Capet to the throne.
We have only one law to notice ere we · touch upon the contemporary of the Norman Conqueror, we allude to the law against duelling, which Henry the First instituted. The just humanity of this act has been so frequently discussed, that we deem it unnecessary to touch further upon the subject. :
Having now arrived at the period when the
Norman Conqueror invaded England, we w
follow the thread of French and English history together, and briefly consider how much law overruled the strength of arms.
Philip the First's reign, taken upon the whole, is glorious ; that is, allowing the glory of a reign to be comprehended in the number of events which may be crowded into it, and also that some one of these events be of importance. In the reign of this king the first Crusade forms a memorable recollection. But how blindly, rashly, was that war undertaken. Peter the Hermit's enthusiasm could lay down no law for prudence or managing action, and of five hundred thousand persons engaged, we question if any felt a holy zeal. To fight was the belle passion of that bloody age; and the first Crusade was certainly sufficiently sanguinary.
Here was work for politicians rather than for a bigoted priest. When the latter think of fighting they are too apt to quote Scripture,
forgetting that what we now can only hope for, was a certainty when it occurred. “Remember David and Goliah !” exclaims the Divine. But does he remember that for some wise purpose of his unsearchable will, the Almighty determined that David should conquer, and told him so, whereas, now we cannot tell who is the David and who the Goliah, True, that Jerusalem seems rather to be the inheritance of the faithful than the unbeliever, but the rash impetuosity of that first Crusade damped the ardour of brave spirits by making them too soon conclude their course was desperate. The arrangements of politicians, the pros and cons for treaty or war, are essential as the very weapons with which the military defend themselves. And Peter the Hermit might have told his beads far better than send an army to the holy wars.
We do not absolutely defend the arbitrary conduct of his contemporary, William the Conqueror, but we do not forget that laws which seem barbarous in 1847, were less so-in 1066. We are perfectly aware that we shudder at the idea of the curfew bell, that the youngest child is struck with wonder at such a way of turning half our life literally into darkness. But be it not forgotten, that as late as Queen Elizabeth's time, four in the afternoon was quite a late dinner hour, and eight o'clock, in 1066, was not the time when the dessert is brought on the table.
William the Conqueror felt that law was the only power capable of making subjects the pupil, the sovereign the master; and as the justice or tyranny of each law in its form is not our present discussion, so we leave to other pens the task of stigmatizing the Conqueror by a harsher name.
Louis the Sixth of France is the next who