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which was familiarly practised, is expressed in terms most disgraceful and afflicting to the dignity of human nature.” The example of the poor, who purchased life by the sacrifice of all that can render life desirable, was gradually imitated by the feeble and the devout, who, in times of public disorder, pusillanimously crowded to shelter themselves under the battlements of a powerful chief, and around the shrine of a popular saint. Their submission was accepted by these temporal or spiritual patrons; and the hasty transaction irrecoverably fixed their own condition, and that of their latest posterity. . From the reign of Clovis, during five successive centuries, the laws and manners of Gaul uniformly tended to promote the increase, and to confirm the duration, of personal servitude. Time and violence almost obliterated the intermediate ranks of society; and left an obscure and narrow interval between the noble and the slave. This arbitrary and recent division has been transformed by pride and prejudice into a national distinction, universally established by the arms, and the laws of the Merovingians. The nobles, who claimed their genuine or fabulous descent from the independent and victorious Franks, have asserted and abused the indefeasible right of conquest over a prostrate crowd of slaves and plebeians, to whom they imputed the imaginary disgrace of Gallic or Roman extraction. The general state and revolutions of France, a name which was imposed by the conquerors, may be illustrated by the particular example of a province, a diocese, or a senatorial family. Auvergne had formerly maintained a just prečminence among the independent states and cities of Gaul. The brave and numerous inhabitants displayed a singular trophy; the sword of Caesar himself, which he had lost when he was repulsed before the walls of Gergovia.” As the common offspring of Troy, they claimed a fraternal alliance with the Romans; " and if each province had imitated the courage and loyalty of Auvergne, the fall of the Western empire might have been prevented or delayed. They firmly maintained the fidelity which they had reluctantly sworn to the Visigoths; but when their bravest nobles had fallen in the battle of Poitiers, they accepted, without resistance, a victorious and Catholic sovereign. This easy and valuable conquest was achieved and possessed by Theodoric, the eldest son of Clovis : but the remote province was separated from his Austrasian dominions, by the intermediate kingdoms of Soissons, Paris, and Orleans, which formed, after their father's death, the inheritance of his three brothers. The king of Paris, Childebert, was tempted by the neighborhood and beauty of Auvergne.” The Upper country, which rises towards the south into the mountains of the Cevennes, presented a rich and various prospect of woods and pastures; the sides of the hills were clothed with vines; and each eminence was crowned with a villa or castle. In the Lower Auvergne, the River Allier flows through the fair and spacious plain of Limagne; and the inexhaustible fertility of the soil supplied, and still supplies, without any interval of repose, the constant repetition of the same harvests.” On the false report, that their law. ful sovereign had been slain in Germany, the city and diocese of Auvergne were betrayed by the grandson of Sidonius Apollinaris. Childebert enjoyed this clandestine victory; and the free subjects of Theodoric threatened to desert his standard, if he indulged his private resentment, while the nation was engaged in the Burgundian war. But the Franks of Austras a spon yielded to the persuasive eloquence of their king. “Follow me,” said Theodoric, “into Auvergne; I will lead you into a province, where you may acquire gold, silver, slaves, cattle, and precious apparel, to the full extent of your wishes. I repeat my promise; I give you the people and their wealth as your prey; and you may transport them at pleasure into your own country.’ By the execution of this promise, Theodoric justly forfeited the allegiance of a people whom he devoted to destruction. His troops, reënforced by the fiercest Barbarians of Germany,” spread desolation over the fruitful face of Auvergne; and two places only, a strong castle and a holy shrine, were saved or redeemed from their licentious fury. The castle of Meroliac " was seated on a lofty rock, which rose a hundred feet above the surface of the plain; and a large reservoir of fresh water was enclosed, with some arable lands, within the circle of its fortifications. The Franks beheld with envy and despair this impregnable fortress; but they surprised a party of fifty stragglers; and, as they were oppressed by the number of their captives, they fixed, at a trifling ransom, the alternative of life or death for these wretched victims, whom the cruel Barbarians were prepared to massacre on the refusal of the garrison. Another detachment penetrated as far as Brivas or Brioude, where the Inhabitants, with their valuable effects, had taken refuge in the sanctuary of St. Julian. The doors of the church resisted the assault; but a daring soldier entered through a window of the choir, and opened a passage to his companions. The clergy and people, the sacred and the profane spoils, were rudely torn from the altar; and the sacrilegious division was made at a small distance from the town of Brioude. I}ut this act of impiety was severely chastised by the devout son of Clovis. He punished with death the most atrocious offenders; left their secret accomplices to the vengeance of St. Julian ; released the captives ; restored the plunder; and extended the rights of sanctuary five miles round the sepulchre of the holy martyr." Before the Austrasian army retreated from Auvergne, Theodoric extracted some pledges of the future loyalty of a people, whose just hatred could be restrained only by their fear. A select band of noble youths, the sons of the principal senators, was delivered to the conqueror, as the hostages of the faith of Childebert, and of their countrymen. On the first rumor of war, or conspiracy, these guiltless youths were reduced to a state of servitude; and one of them, Attalus,” whose adventures are more particularly related, kept his master’s horses in the diocese of Treves. After a painful search, he was discovered, in this unworthy occupation, by the emissaries of his grandfather, Gregory, bishop of Langres; but his offers of ransom were sternly rejected by the avarice of the Barbarian, who required an exorbitant sum of ten pounds of gold for the freedom of his noble captive. His deliverance was effected by the hardy stratagem of Leo, a slave belonging to the kitchens of the bishop of Langres.” An unknown agent easily introduced him into the same family. The Barbarian purchased Leo for the price of twelve pieces of gold; and was pleased to learn that he was deeply skilled in the luxury of an episcopal table: “Next Sunday,” said the Frank, “I shall invite my neighbors and kinsmen. Exert thy art, and force them to confess, that they have never seen, or tasted, such an entertainment, even in the king's house.” Leo assured him, that if he would provide a sufficient quantity of poultry, his wishes should be satisfied. The master, who already aspired to the merit of elegant hospitality, assumed, as his own, the praise which the voracious guests unanimously bestowed on his cook; and the dexterous Leo insensibly acquired the trust and management of his household. After the patient expectation of a whole year, he cautiously whispered his design to Attalus, and exhorted him to prepare for flight in the ensuing night. At the hour of midnight, the intemperate guests retired from table; and the Frank's son-inlaw, whom Leo attended to his apartment with a nocturnal potation, condescended to jest on the facility with which he might betray his trust. The intrepid slave, after sustaining this dangerous raillery, entered his master's bed-chamber; removed his spear and shield; silently drew the fleetest horses from the stable; unbarred the ponderous gates; and excited Attalus to save his life and liberty by incessant dil107. The story of Attalus is related by Gregory of Tours (l. iii. c. 16, in tom. ii. pp. 193-195). His editor, the P. Ruinart, confounds this Attalus, who was a youth (puer) in the year 532, with a friend of Sidonius of the same name, who was count of Autun, fifty or sixty years before. Such an error, which cannot be imputed to ignorance, is excused, in some degree, by its own magnitude. * This Gregory, the great grandfather of Gregory of Tours (in tom. ii. pp. 197 490), lived ninety-two years; of which he passed forty as count of Autun, and igence. Their apprehensions urged them to leave their horses on the banks of the Meuse; ” they swam the river, wandered three days in the adjacent forest, and subsisted only by the accidental discovery of a wild plum-tree. As they lay concealed in a dark thicket, they heard noises of horses; they were terrified by the angry countenance of their master, and they anxiously listened to his declaration, that, if he could seize the guilty fugitives, one of them he would cut in pieces with his sword, and would expose the other on a gibbet. At length, Attalus and his faithful Leo reached the friendly habitation of a presbyter of Rheims, who recruited their fainting strength with bread and wine, concealed them from the search of their enemy, and safely conducted them beyond the limits of the Austrasian kingdom, to the episcopal palace of Langres. Gregory embraced his grandson with tears of joy, gratefully delivered Leo, with his whole family, from the yoke of servitude, and bestowed on him the property of a farm, where he might end his days in happiness and freedom. Perhaps this singular adventure, which is marked with so many circumstances of truth and nature, was related by Attalus himself, to his cousin or nephew, the first historian of the Franks. Gregory of Tours” was born about sixty years after the death of Sidonius Apollinaris; and their situation was almost similar, since each of them was a native of Auvergne, a senator, and a bishop. The difference of their style and sentiments, may, therefore, express the decay of Gaul, and clearly ascertain how much, in so short a space, the human mind had lost of its energy and refinement.” We are now qualified to despise the opposite, and, perhaps, artful, misrepresentations, which have softened, or exaggerated, the oppressions of the Romans of Gaul under the reign of the Merovingians. The conquerors never pro
* Licentiam habeatis mihi qualemcunque volueritis disciplinam ponere; vel venumdare, aut quod votis placuerit de me facere. Marculf. Formul. l. ii. 28, in tom. iv. p. 497. The Formula of Lindenbrogius (p. 559), and that of Anjou (p. 565), are to the same effect. Gregory of Tours (, vii. c. 45, in tom. ii. p. 311) speaks of many persons who sold themselves for bread, in a great famine.
100. When Caesar saw it, he laughed (Plutarch, in Caesar. in tom. i. p.409) : yet he relates his unsuccessful siege of Gergovia with less frankness than we might expect from a great man to whom victory was familiar. He acknowledges, however, that in one attack he lost forty-six centurions and seven hundred men (de Bell. Gallico, l. vi. c. 44–53, in tom. i. pp. 270-272.
101 Audebant se quondam fratres Latio dicere, et sanguine ab Iliaco populos computare (Sidon. Apollinar. l. vii. epist. 7, in tom. 1. p. 799). I am not informed of the degrees and circumstances of this fabulous pedigree.
10° Either the first, or second, partition among the sons of Clovis, had given Berry to Childebert (Greg. Turon. l. iii. c. 12, in tom. ii. p. 192). Velim (said he) Arvernam Lemanem, quae tantã jocnnditatis gratiá refulgere-dicitur, occulis cermere (i, iii. c. 9, p. 101). The face of the country was concealed by a thick fog, when the king of Paris made his entry into Clermont.
* For the description of Auvergne, see Sidonius (1. iv. epist. 21, in tom. i. p. 793). with the notes of Savaron and Sirmond (p. 279, and 51, of their respective editions). Boulainvilliers (Etat de la France, tom. ii. pp. 242–268), and the Abbé de la Longuerue (Description de la France, part i. pp. 132–139).
104 Furorem gentium, quae de ulteriore Rhens amnis parte venerant, superare non poterat (Greg. Turon. l. iv. c. 50, in tom. ii. 229), was the excuse of another king of Austrasia (A.D. 574) for the ravages which his troops committed in the neighborhood of Paris.
io From the name and situation, the Benedictine editors of ‘...}} of Tours (in tom. ii. p. 192) have fixed this fortress at a place, mamed Castel Mertiac, two miles from Mauriac, in the Upper Auvergne. In this description, I translate infra as if I read infra, the two prepositions are perpet ally confounded by Gregory; . or his transcribers, and the sense must always decide.
* See these revolutions, and wars, of Auvergne, in Gregory of Tours (l. ii. e. 37, in tom. ii. p. 183, and l. iii. c. 9, 12, 13, pp. 131, 192. de Miraculis St. Julian, e. 13, in tom. ii. p. 466). He frequently betrays his extraordinary attention to his native country. -
thirty-two as bishop of Longres. According to the poet Fortunatus, he displayed equal merit in these different stations.
Nobilis antiqui decurrens prole parentum,
Arbiter ante ferox, dein pius inse sacerdos,
1% As M. de Valois, and the P. Ruinart, are determined to change the Mosella of the text into Mosa, it becomes me to acquiesce in the alteration. Yet, after some examination of the topography, I could defend the common reading.
* The parents of Gregory (Gregorius Florentius Georgius) were of noble extraction (natalibus * * * illustres), and they possessed large estates (latifundia) both in Auvergne and Burgundy. He was born in the year 539, and was conse: grated bishop of Tours in 573, and died in 593 or 595, soon after he had terminated his history. See his life by Odo, abbot of Clugny (in tom. ii. pp. 129–135), and a new Life in the Mémoires de l'Académie, &c., tonn. xxvi. pp. 593-637.
* Decedente atque immonotius pereunte aburbibus Gallicanis liberalium cultură literarum, &c. (in praefat. in tom. ii. p. 137), is the complaint of Gregory himself, which he fully verifies by his own work. His style is equally devoid of elegance and simplicity. In a conspicuous station. he still remained a stranger to his own age and country ; and in a prolix work (the five last books contain ten years) he has omitted almost everything that posterity desires to learn. I have teliously acquired, by a paiuful perusal, the right of pronouncing this unfavorable sentence.