- The Project Gutenberg eBook, Joy in the Morning, by Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews
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Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. DPReview Digital Photography. East Dane Designer Men's Fashion. Free download. We might even say that they anticipated the Edition: current; Page: [ 52 ] historical destiny of these two institutions, and that, in putting the seal of law upon them, they marked beforehand the two points to which everything was to be brought back. It is certainly the fact that the civilians of the Middle Ages—judges, counsellors, officers of the crown—have for six centuries prepared the way of future revolutions.
Impelled by their professional instincts, by that spirit of bold logic which follows up from inference to inference the application of a principle, they commenced, without measuring its extent, that immense task to which, after them, the labour of succeeding centuries applied itself—to re-unite in one single hand the sovereignty which had been parcelled out, to lower all that was above them to the classes of the bourgeoisie, and to raise to their level all that was below.
That war of equity against existing law, of ideas against facts, which breaks out at intervals in human societies, has always two periods of a very dissimilar character: the first, when the reforming spirit prescribes to itself limits, and modifies itself of its own accord by the sense of equity; the second, when it is hurried on and dashes to pieces without control every object which opposes it. Two famous reigns which, following so close together, form one of the most remarkable contrasts that history can present, the reigns of Louis IX.
This revolution, begun with so much mildness and caution by the king, at once a saint and a great man, appeared in the hands of his grandson harsh, violent, arbitrary, and even iniquitous. From the manner in which the measures, whose ultimate object was an order of things better and fairer for all, were pursued, it had not the power, in spite of its spirit and its tendency, to excite the affections of the people: no burst of hope and joy accompanied it in its progress—there was no uproar, no scenes of popular enthusiasm—all was coldly worked out in a secret laboratory; it was the labour of the miner who pursues his work in silence till the hour when the assault is made.
Never, perhaps, was there a social crisis of an aspect more gloomy than that: for the privileged classes there was spoliation and retribution; for the masses, all the burden of a rude attempt at administrative government, having more of cunning than of power, maintaining itself by expedients and extortions, costing much and giving nothing.
The Project Gutenberg eBook, Joy in the Morning, by Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews
Only above that disorder, pregnant with ruin and suffering, but the cradle of future order, a voice was heard from time to time, the voice of an absolute king, who in the name of the law of nature proclaimed the right of liberty to all, and in the name of the law of God rebuked the institution of serfdom.
The civilians of the fourteenth century, the founders and ministers of the royal aristocracy, met with the fate common to great revolutionists: the bolder of them perished under the reaction of those interests which they had injured, and the customs whose course they had impeded. But in spite of these inevitable relapses, and of the concessions made under feeble reigns, two things continued to increase without check, the number of free men under the denomination of bourgeoisie Edition: current; Page: [ 55 ] and the movement which led this class to place itself under the immediate protection and justice of the king.
A revolution, less striking and less spontaneous than the communal revolution, subsequently adopted, as its substructure, the results of the latter; and, by slow but uninterrupted efforts, succeeded in making of a multitude of small and separate states one single society, connected with one sole centre of jurisdiction and government. In the first place, it was laid down as a principle that no commune could be established without the consent of the king; next, that the king alone had power to create communes; next, that all the cities, communal or consulate, were ipso facto under his immediate seigniory.
By a strange fiction, the privilege of the bourgeois, a right essentially belonging to property, attached to the dwelling and conferred by the occupation of it, became a kind of personal privilege. The bourgeois could change his jurisdiction without changing his residence—declare himself a freeman and citizen Edition: current; Page: [ 56 ] without quitting the seigneurial soil; and, as the ancient acts express themselves, disavow his own lord and avow himself the bourgeois of the king. The privilege was no longer merely local, but became personal; and, by the side of the bourgeoisie of the cities and the communes, it imperceptibly created a new class of free commoners roturiers , to whom might be given by way of distinction the denomination of citizens of the kingdom.
All these circumstances resulted from a new social principle, from a right subversive of existing rights; and none of them was established without a protest and a struggle. It was not so with the famous institution which made the bourgeoisie a political order, represented by its deputies in the great assemblies of the kingdom. These assemblies, the tradition of which had passed from German customs into the system of the feudal monarchy, were composed of deputies elected respectively by the nobility and clergy, and forming either one common body or two separate chambers.
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The cities, by their privileges, which they had acquired by open force, or which were conceded to them by good will, were become, like the castles, an integral part of the feudal hierarchy, and feudality recognised in all its members the right of free consent in the grant of taxes and subsidies. It was one of the old usages, and the best principle of that system. The urban population enjoyed this privilege without the necessity of claiming it, and without its being disputed by any party. The increase of expenses and the wants of royalty, which made it necessary to call fresh means of administration into existence, in the midst of which the fourteenth century commenced, must have naturally Edition: current; Page: [ 59 ] led to more frequent and regular summonses of the representatives of the cities and communes.
Some important events which occurred in the first year of the century gave an unusual solemnity and the character of a national representation to convocations, which were up to that time partial, and which took place one after the other without attracting much attention. The court of Rome, in violation of the regulations and treaties which limited its power in France, claimed a right of temporal supremacy over the affairs of the kingdom. This name of Tiers Etat, when used in its ordinary sense, properly comprises only the population of the privileged cities, but in effect it extends much beyond this; it includes not only the cities, but the villages and hamlets—not only the free commonalty, but all those for whom civil liberty is a privilege still to come.
However restricted, too, by its exclusively municipal character, the representation of the third order might be, it had always the merit of believing itself charged with the duty of pleading, not the cause of this or that section, of this or that class of the Edition: current; Page: [ 61 ] people, but that of the mass, as distinguished from the nobles, that of the people without distinction of freemen or serfs, of citizens or peasants.
Its part was subordinate and undefined in the States-General, which succeeded those of , under Philippe le Bel and his successors, up to the end of the fourteenth century, and which were generally convoked on the occurrence of wars, or of a new reign. But in the reign of John, the public distress and the unusual amount of national calamity caused an outburst of feeling and ambition in the communes of France which made them attempt projects unheard of up to that time, and lay hold of all at once and for a moment that preponderance of the Tiers Etat which Edition: current; Page: [ 62 ] could not be established beyond danger of relapse till after five centuries of efforts and progress.
The two centuries which had passed since the revival of the municipal liberties had given to the rich bourgeois of the cities the experience of political life, and had taught them to know and desire all that constitutes a well-regulated society, either within the circle of the city walls or over a wider extent. Without doubt the representatives of the bourgeoisie in the first States-General, when summoned to vote subsidies, and to see how they were dispensed, were forcibly struck with the contrast there exhibited between the royal administration with its rash measures, its crafty expedients, its old or fresh abuses, and the urban administration, following its immemorial laws, scrupulous, upright, just, whether of its own accord or in spite of itself.
Among those men of clear and active intelligence, the most enlightened would naturally conceive the idea of introducing into the centre of the State the system which they had seen practised under their own eyes, which they had practised themselves in accordance with the local tradition Edition: current; Page: [ 63 ] and the example of their predecessors.
This idea, timidly expressed at first in the presence of royalty, which did not pay attention to it, and of the privileged bodies which did not look beyond themselves for counsel, was openly declared when extraordinary necessities, brought on by war from without and by ruin from within, compelled the king and his ministers to look for assistance at any sacrifice, and showed clearly their own inability to remedy the public misfortunes.
From this position of circumstances arose the spirit of reform which burst forth so suddenly and energetically in the States-General of The resolutions of that assembly, which immediately received the force of law by a royal ordinance, contain, and in some points even exceed, the modern guarantees of which the system of constitutional monarchy consists.
The initiative of the Tiers Etat prevailed, by the force of good sense and administrative experience, in those deliberations which, as far as outward appearance is concerned, were common Edition: current; Page: [ 65 ] to the three orders. The disaster of Poitiers excited in the minds of the people a sentiment of national grief, mixed with indignation and scorn at the nobility who had fled before an army so inferior in number. Those nobles who passed through the cities and towns on their return from the battle were pursued with imprecations and outrages.
It was at the summons of this prince that the states assembled again at Paris before the time which they had appointed. The same deputies returned to the number of , of whom were of the bourgeoisie; and the work of reform, rudely sketched in the preceding session, was resumed under the same influence, with an enthusiasm which partook of the character of revolutionary impulse.
The assembly commenced by concentrating its action in a committee of twenty-four members, deliberating, as far as appears, without distinction of orders; it then intimated its resolutions under the form of petitions, which were as follow: The authority of the states declared supreme in all affairs of administration and finance, the impeachment of all the counsellors of the king, the dismissal in a body of the officers of justice, and the creation of a council of reformers taken from the three orders; lastly, the prohibition to conclude any truce without the assent of the three states, and the right on their part to re-assemble at their own will without a royal summons.
The lieutenant of the king, Charles Duke of Normandy, exerted in vain the resources of a precocious ability to escape these imperious demands: he was compelled to yield everything.
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The States governed in his name; but dissension, springing from the mutual jealousy of the different orders, was soon introduced into their body. The preponderating influence of the bourgeois appeared intolerable to the nobles, who, in consequence, deserted the assembly and retired home.
The deputies of the clergy remained longer at their posts, but they also withdrew at last; and, under the name of the States-General, none remained but the representatives of the cities, Edition: current; Page: [ 68 ] alone charged with all the responsibilities of the reform and the affairs of the kingdom. Marcel lived and died for an idea—that of hastening on, by the force of the masses, the work of gradual equalisation commenced by the kings themselves; but it was his misfortune and his crime to be unrelenting in carrying out his convictions.
To the impetuosity of a tribune who did not shrink even from murder he added the talent of organization; he left in the grand city, which he had ruled with a stern and absolute sway, powerful institutions, noble works, and a name which two centuries afterwards his descendants bore with pride as a title of nobility.
While the bourgeoisie, formed under the influences of municipal liberty, raised itself by a sudden but transient enthusiasm to the spirit of national liberty, and in some measure anticipated the future, a strange and hideous spectacle was exhibited by the demiservile population of the villages and hamlets. We mean the Jacquerie; its dreadful excesses, and its no less dreadful repression.
In those days of crisis and agitation, the general vibration of society affected the peasantry, and encountered among them the passions of hatred and vengeance which had been accumulated and bayed back during centuries of oppression and misery. Peasants armed with clubs and knives rose and marched in bands, increasing as they advanced, attacking the castles with sword and flame, murdering all they found in them—men, women, and children; and, like the barbarians of the great invasion, unable to give an account of the objects which they sought, or the motive which instigated them.
Beauvais, Senlis, Amiens, Paris, and Meaux, accepted it, either as assistance, or as a diversion in their favour.
In spite of the acts of barbarity committed by the rebel peasants, almost everywhere the urban population, Edition: current; Page: [ 74 ] and principally the poor, sympathised with them. Those two movements, different as they were, of the two great classes of the commonalty, terminated simultaneously—one to revive and carry all before it when its time should come; the other to leave nothing behind it but an odious name, and sad recollections.
The attempt of Edition: current; Page: [ 76 ] Etienne Marcel and his party to found a democratic monarchy on the confederation of the cities in the north and centre of France failed, because Paris, feebly supported, was left alone to maintain a twofold struggle against all the forces of the crown joined to those of the nobles, as well as against the popular dejection. With him perished the persons who had represented the city in the council of the states, as well as those who had ruled as chiefs or ringleaders of the municipal council.
Nevertheless, all was not lost in that first and unfortunate trial. The Prince, who struggled two years against the Parisian bourgeoisie, borrowed something of its political tendencies, and learnt a lesson in the school of those whom he had conquered. He annulled what the States-General had decreed, and constrained him to do for the reform of abuses; but the violence of that reaction lasted but a few days, and Charles V.
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His government was arbitrary but regular, economical, imbued with the spirit of order, and, above all, with the spirit of nationality. Trained early to patience and statecraft in a position of peril and difficulty, he had none of the eager and chivalrous impetuosity Edition: current; Page: [ 78 ] of his predecessors, but a calculating and practical mind. In him royalty presents a new character, which separates it from the Middle Ages and connects it with modern times.
He was the first of those kings who appeared as the redressers of wrong after a period of danger, devoted to business, placing consideration before action, able and persevering—princes eminently politic, whose type re-appeared more strikingly under different aspects in Louis XI. We have reached a point where our social history, disengaged from its origin and complete in its elements, unfolds itself in a simple and regular form, like a river which, rising from many sources, collects its waters as it advances into one single mass, contained within the same banks. At this point the powers, whose action, simultaneous or divergent, has constituted up to our times the drama of political revolutions, display themselves in their definitive character.
Such is the state of society; with regard to its institutions, royalty, in its unlimited prerogative, regains and embraces them all, except one only, the States-General, whose power, ill-defined, a shadow of the national sovereignty, makes its appearance at seasons of crisis, to condemn present evil and to pave the way to future good. From to , the States, although rarely assembled, although without regular influence on the government, played a considerable part as an organ of public opinion.
The commonalty had its principles, which it never lost an Edition: current; Page: [ 81 ] opportunity of proclaiming with an indefatigable perseverance—principles which had their origin in the good sense of the people, in conformity with the spirit of the Gospel and the spirit of the Roman law. The reformation of the laws and customs by the infusion of civil liberty and equality, the overthrow of all the barriers raised by privilege, the extension of the common law to all classes—such was the perpetual plea, and, if we may use the expression, the voice of the Tiers Etat.
We can follow this voice speaking more loudly from age to age in proportion as time advances and progress is accomplished. It is this which during five centuries has stirred the great currents of opinion. The initiative which the Tiers Etat took in conceiving and projecting reforms is the fact, which is most intimately connected with the social movement, of which we have lived to see, if not the final close, at least a glorious and decisive phase—a movement continued under remarkable vicissitudes, whose progress resembles that of the rising tide, which seems to advance and recede without interruption, but which still gains ground and reaches its destined point.
The north and south of France were not in the same social position during the Middle Ages; the south was more advanced in civilisation, more flourishing, and under a less arbitrary system of government. There the impress of Rome was more distinctly retained both in the language and manners of the people; there the municipal spirit, maintained by the number and wealth of the cities, preserved both its power and character more efficiently. The administrative reforms, the work of royalty, took place in the north, and only reached the south by a reaction. There was always on one side or the other a sort of discordance in their feelings and their actions; and the trace of this is still to be observed even in the midst of our modern unity.
Thence arises the necessity of contracting the scene of this Edition: current; Page: [ 84 ] history, which ought to be both uniform and simple in order to be clear, of omitting some facts important in themselves, but which have no ulterior consequence, and of passing over the country where a greater degree of liberty reigns, together with a law of greater equity, and a less marked inequality of conditions and individuals, to dwell on that in which the social confusion is excessive, but in which the foundations of future order are laid, and the facts which mark the succession of our civil and political progress occur.
The Tiers Etat drew its strength and spirit from two different sources, the one complex and municipal—namely, the commercial classes; the other simple and central—namely, the class of the judicial and financial officers of the crown, whose number and power rapidly increased, and who, with rare exceptions, all sprang from the commonalty. To this twofold origin corresponded two classes of political ideas and sentiments.
The spirit of the bourgeoisie, properly so called, or urban corporations, was liberalin principle, but narrow and stationary in practice, attached to its local immunities, to its hereditary rights, to the independent and privileged existence of the municipal cities and communes. The spirit of the judicial and administrative bodies admitted only one right, that of the Government; only one liberty, that of the Prince; only one interest, that of order under one absolute guardianship; and their reasoning did not regard the privileges of the Edition: current; Page: [ 85 ] commonalty with more favour than those of the nobility.
Thence arose in the Tiers Etat of France two divergent tendencies, always at war, but always corresponding to the same final object, which, alternately modifying each other, and combining under the influence of new ideas of a loftier and more generous kind, have given to our revolutions since the thirteenth century their character of a slow but always certain course towards civic equality, national unity, and unity of government.
Another fact in our history as ancient and not less characteristic is the particular part taken by the bourgeoisie of Paris.
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Paris was the chief centre of commerce and important scientific institutions; it was there that intellectual activity displayed itself on a larger scale than in any other city of the kingdom. Public spirit there assumed a form at once municipal and general. We have seen the people of Paris taking the lead in aggressive opinion during the democratic attempts of ; we shall find it doing the same at every period of social crisis, under Charles VI.