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ditions, never was there among viscount, who paid a falcon to a the ancients, nor in nine parts of count, who paid fome other token the habitable earth, any thing of vafirlage to a duke, all acknow. like the institution of nobility in ledging the king of their country the tenth part, which is our Eu- for their paramount; but none of хоре.

them were taxable. They owed "Its laws, its ufages have varied, personal service, as in fighting for like every thing else. The moft the state, and for the representa. ancient hereditary nobility was tive of the state ; they fought for that of the Venetian patricians, their lands and for themselves ; who were members of the council, and hence it is, that to this day, before there was any such thing new nobles, and persons ennobled, as a doge, even in the fifth and who have no land estate, are not fixth centuries ; and if, as is said, subject to the farmer's land-tax any descendents of theirs be still called la taille. in being, they are, indisputably, The owners of castles and lands, the first nobles in Europe. It was of whom in every country except the fame in the old republics of commonwealths, the body of the Italy. This nobility was annexed nobility consisted, ever enslaved to the dignity and employment, the people on their lands as much and not to lands.

as they could ; but the great Every where else nobility be- towns never failed making head came the portion of the proprie- against them. The magiftrates of tors of lands. The nobility of the those places could not be brought Herren in Germany, of the Ricos to be the bondsmen of a count, hombres of Spain, of the barons baron, or bishop, aad ftill less of in France and England, was here- an abbot, pretending to the fame ditary, purely because their lands, prerogatives as a baron or count. feudal or not feudal, remained in The cities on the Rhine and the their families. The titles of duke, Rhone, and others still more ancient, count, viscount, and marquis, were as Autun, Arles, and Marfeilles at first dignities and offices for life, especially, flourished before nobles and afterwards made hereditary, or prelates were heard of, The but some sooner than others. magiftracy exifted ages before fiefs ;

In the declension of the race of but the lords of castles and the Charles the Great, almost all the barons got the better of the people Itates of Europe, republics except- almost every where ; fo that if : ed, were governed as Germany is the magistrates were not the lord's now; and we have already seen bondsmen, they were his liegemen, that every poffeffor of a fief became,


from a multitude of old as much as he could, a fovereign charters, where mayors and alderon his own estate,

men call themselves burgesses of It is clear that sovereigns owed a count, or of a bishop, or the nothing to any one, except what king's liegemen. These liegemen the leffer had bound themselves could not change their habitation, to pay to the great.

or feek a new settlement, withcastellan paid a pair of spurs to a out their lord's permission, and the



Thus a

payment of considerable duties ; a cal, literary, or judicial posts gave kind of fervitude ftill fubfisting in rank among the nobility ; howGermany,

ever, the men of letters might ftile As fiefs were distinguished into themselves knight of law, and bafree-gifts, 'which owed no duty chelor of law. Thus John Paftou. to the lord paramount, and into rel, king's council, was, together great and small homageable fiefs; with his wife Sedille, ennobled by fo were their liegemen, i.e. bur- Charles V. in 1354." gefses, who had purchased an ex- The kings of England also creemption from all homage or pay. 'ated counts and barons without ments to their lord ; great bur- county or barony. The emperors gefses who held the municipal exercised the like privilege in Italy; employments; and petty burger- and even the proprietors of great ses, who in many articles were fiefs set up to be fountains of hoNaves.

nour : thus a count of Foix was This conftitution, as it had been seen to arrogate to himself the preformed insensibly, in like manner rogative of ennobling and amend. underwent many gradual changes ing the casualty of birth, by grant, in several countries, and in others ing a patent to Maitre Bertrand it was totally abolished.

his chancellor; and Bertrand's • The kings of France, for in- heirs ftiled themselves noble ; but stance, began with ennobling liege- if the king and nobleffe acknow. men, giving them titles, without ledged such nobility, it was enestates. The patent of nobility tirely a matter of courtesy: The granted in 1095, by Philip I. to like liberty came to be taken by Eudes de Mairie, a burgess of the owners of lordships, as those Paris, is said to have been found of Orange, Saluces, and many in the record-office ; and unques- others. tionably St. Lewis had conferred The military corps of the Franc the like honour on his barber la Archers, or free bowmen, and of Broffe, as he made him his cham- the Taupins under Charles VII. berlain ; so that Phillip III. who being exempted from paying the ennobled Raoul, his house-steward, taille, made free with the title of is not, as some have advanced, the noble and esquire, without any first king who took on him to kind of permission ; time, which change mens' condition. Philip the settles or overthrows customs and Handsome in like manner invested privileges, has confirmed it; and one Betroud and some other bur- several eminent families in France geffes with the title of noble and are descended from these Taupins, esquire, miles, and was herein imi- who made themselves noble, and tated by every succeeding king. who, indeed, well deserved to be In 1339, Philip de Valois ennobled fuch, for the great services they perSimon de Luci, president of the formed to their country. parliament, and likewise Nicole The

emperors created not only Taupin his wife.

nobles 'without lands, but 'counts King John, in 1350, conferred palatines; a title given to univernobility on his' chancellor William fity professors. The author of de Dormans, as then no ecclesiasti, this custom was Charles IV. and


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Bartoli was the first whom he dig- them to' a seat in the assembly of nified with this title of count, which the states general as lords of fiefs, honour would no more have gained to carry a hawk on their fift, or to his children a seat in the chapters ferve personally in war, but only of cathedrals, than the nobility of not to pay the taille, and to stile the Taupins.

themselves Messire. The popes, as pretending to be The want of laws, thoroughly above emperors, thought their pre- clear and well understood, and eminence required that they should the variation of customs and laws, also create palatines and marquises; have ever been the characteristic accordingly the legates, who are of France. The condition of the prefects over the provinces belong- gownmen long continued uncer. ing to the holy see, were every tain. These courts of justice, by where liberal of those empty titles'; the French called parliaments, ofand hence it is that Italy has more ten tried suits relating to claims marquises than lords of fiefs.

to nobility which had been set In France, when Philip the up by the children of lawyers. Handsome had created the court The parliament of Paris, in 1540, of parliament, the feudal lords, decreed, that the children of John as members of that court, were le Maitre, a king's council, should under a necessity of consulting men share their inheritance as nobles ; of letters, taken, if not from the and in 1578, it gave a like fen: servile class, from the free, great, tence in favour of a common coun: or petty liegemen. These literati, seller, named Menager. But the aping the nobility, foon called learned in the law were of differthemselves knights and bachelors; ent opinions concerning the pribut the appellation of knight, vileges which custom was insensigiven them by their clients, did bly annexing to the gown. Louet, not pass current at court, and the a counsellor of the parliament, attorney-general Pastourel, and affirmed, that the children of judieven Dormans the chancellor, were cial officers should share as comobliged to take out patents of no- moners, and that only the grandbility.

The university students, sons were intitled to the right of after an examination, ftiled them- eldership, as observed among the selves bachelors, and after a second nobility. examination, licentiates, not daring The opinions of the lawyers to assume to themselves the title of were no rule for the court, Henry knights.

III. in 1582, declaring by edict

, It seems a great contradiction, That no perşan, unless of noble de that the men of the law, who scent, should henceforth assume the tried the nobility, should be ex, title of nobļe, and the appellation cluded from the rights of nobi: of esquire. lity; yet this contradiction pre- Henry IV, was lefs rigid and vailed every where : but in France, more equitable, when in the edit during their lives they enjoyed for regulating the taxes, issued in the same exemptions as the nobles. 1600, he declared, though in terms Their rights indeed did not intitle fomething vague, that they who




ferved the public in honourable Whilst the magistrates of the posts, may give a beginning of no- fuperior courts had been disputbility to their descendent.

ing about their station ever_fince This dispute, which had lafted the year 1300, the burgesses of ages, seemed to be closed in July towns, together with their prin1644, under Lewis XIV. yet it cipal officers, were under the like proved otherwise. Here we break uncertainty. Charles V. surnamed in on time, that we may throw the Wise, to ingratiate himself with the necessary light on this article. the Parisians, granted them several You will see in the Age of Lewis honorary privileges, as to use coats XIV. what a civil war was raised of arms, and to hold fiefs, without in Paris in the first years of his paying the fine of franc-fiefs. But reign; during this war it was this privilege Henry III. limited that the parliament of Paris, the to the mayor and four aldermen. chamber of accounts, the court The mayors and aldermen of seveof aids, and all the other pro- ral cities had the fame privileges, vincial courts, obtained in 1644, some by ancient custom, others by

That the privileges of hereditary patent. nobility, of gentlemen, and of la- The most ancient grant of noTons of the kingdom, should descend bility in France, to a quill emto the children of counsellors and ployment, was to the king's secrepresidents, who had served twenty taries : they were originally what years, or who died in their posts. the secretaries of state are now, Thus their rank appeared to be de- and were called Clercs du Secret ; termined by this edict.

and as they wrote under the king, Could it be thought that after and drew up his orders, some this Lewis XIV, in 1669, being honourable distinction was proper. himself present in parliament, This right of nobility, after twenty should revoke those privileges, and years service, served as a prececontinue these officers of judicature dent and model for the judicial only in their ancient rights, repeal- officers. ing all the privileges of nobility Herein is principally seen the granted to them and their descend- extreme variation of the French ents in 1644, and since till the customs. The secretaries of state

who at first only signed inftruLewis XIV. almighty as he was, ments, and could give them no has not been able to deprive so many authenticity, only as privy clerks perfons of a right, which had been and notaries to the king, are now given to them in his name. It is grown to be ministers, and the no eafy matter for one man to ob- almighty organs of the almighty lige such a number of people to part prerogative. They have farther with what they accounted their acquired the title of monseigneur, property. The edi&t of 1644 has formerly given only to princes prevailed ; the courts of judicature and knights ; and the king's fehave enjoyed the privileges of cretaries have been degraded to nobility, and the nation has never the chancery, where their sole thought of disallowing them in their business is to sign patents. Their judges.

useless number has been increased

year 1669?

to three hundred, merely to get

The ridiculous multiplicity of money; and by this paltry ex- nobles, ' without either offices or pedient, French nobility is per- real nobility ; this degrading difpetuated in near fix thousand fa- tinction between the ennobled milies, the heads of which suc- idler, who contributes nothing to ceffively purchased those employ- the state, and the useful toturier, ments.

who pays the taille; those offices Patents of nobility have been which are set to fale, and have granted to a prodigious number of the empty title of esquire annexed other professions ; bankers, fur- to them ; nothing of all this is seen geons, merchants, officers of a elsewhere ; it is a wretched blunprince's houshold, and clerks ; and, der in government to debase the after some generations, they stile greater part of a nation. In Eng: themselves most high and mighty land forty livres a year in land lords. These titles have very much makes a man homo ingenuus, a free lessened the ancient nobility, with Englishman, with a vote in choosing out doing any great honour to the a representative in parliament. All more recent.

who are not merely craftsmen, or In course of time the personal artificers, are accounted gentle. service of knights and esquires men ; and strictly 'speaking, the totally ceasing, and the ftates ge- only real nobles are they who fit neral being no longer held, the in the house of lords, representing privileges of the whole nobility, the ancient barons and peers of ancient and modern, are reduced the state. to paying the capitation in lieu In many countries, privileges of of the taille. They whose father blood give no manner of superiowas not an alderman, counsel- rity or advantage ; a man is conlor, nor had been ennobled, were fidered only in the quality of a denoted by names become citizen ; nay, at Bafil no gentlereproachful, as villain and rotu- man is capable of holding any rier.

post, unless he renounces all his Villain comes from ville, a town, privileges as a gentleman : yet in as formerly only the nobles were all free ftates, the magistrates ftile the owners of castles ; and rotu- themselves noble ; and, certainly

, rier from rupture de terre, break- to have been, from father to fon, ing ground, or tillage, otherwise at the head of a republic, is a very called roture. Thus it was often glorious nobility. But through the case, that a lieutenant general, cuftom and prejudice, five hundred or a gallant officer, who had re- years of such nobleness would ceived many an honourable wound in France be no exemption from in the service, was subject to the the taille, nor gain admittance taille, whilst the son of a clerk was into the poorest chapter in Geron a footing, with respect to im- many. munities with the principal officers These usages are the very of state. It was not till 1752, picture of vanity and ficklethat this derogatory error ness; and this is the least tramended, through the representa- 'gical part of the history of mantions of M. d'Argenson.





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