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 (110) 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 (111). We are now qualified to despise the opposite, and, perhaps, ftMkgmtt

, . . ... . . . 5 ', ... theRomans

artiul, misrepresentations, which have softened, or exaggerated, the of Gaul, oppression of the Romans of Gaul under the reign of the Merovingians. The conquerors never promulgated any universal edict of servitude, or confiscation: but a degenerate people, who excused their weakness by the specious names of politeness and peace, was exposed to the arms and laws of the ferocious Barbarians, who contemptuously insulted their possessions, their freedom, and their safety. Their personal injuries were partial and irregular; but the great body of the Romans survived the revolution, and still preserved the property, and privileges, of citizens. A large portion of their lands was exacted for the use of the Franks: but they enjoyed the remainder, exempt from tribute (112); and the same irresistible violence which swept away the arts and manufactures of Gaul destroyed the elaborate and expensive system of Imperial despotism. The Provincials must frequently deplore the savage jurisprudence of the Salic or Ripuarian laws; but their private life, in the important concerns of marriage, testaments, or inheritance, was still regulated by the Theodosian Code; and a discontented Roman might freely aspire, or descend, to the title and character of a Barbarian. The honours of the state were accessible to his ambition: the education and temper of the Romans more peculiarly qualified them for the offices of civil government; and, as soon as emulation had rekindled their military ardour, they were permitted to march in the ranks, or even at the head, of the victorious Germans. I shall not attempt to enumerate the generals and magistrates, whose names (113) attest the liberal policy of the Mero

(110) The parents of Gregory (Gregorius Florentius Georgius) were of noble extraction {natalibus ... illusires), and they possessed largeestates [latifundia) both in Auvergne and Burgundy. He was boru in the year 539, was conseerated bishop of Tours in 573, and died in 593, or 595, soon after he had terminated his history. See his Lifeby Odo, abbot of Clugny (in tom, ii., p. 129—135,), and a new Life in the Memoires de 1'Academie, &c. tom. xxvi. p. 598—637.

(111) Decedente atque iinmo potius pereunte ab urbibus Gallicanis liberah'um culture literamm, &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 every thing that posterity desires to learn. I have tediously acquired, by a painful perusal, the right of pronouncing this unfavourable sentence.

(112) The Abbe de Mably (tom. i. p. 247—267.) has diligently confirmed this opinion of the presided de Montesquieu (Esprit des Loix, 1. xxx. c. 13.).

(113) See Dubos, Hist. Critique de la Monarchic Franchise, lom. ii. 1. vi. c. 9, 10. The French

vingians. The supreme command of Burgundy, with the title of Patrician, was successively entrusted to three Romans; and the last, and most powerful, Mummolus (114), who alternately saved and disturbed the monarchy, had supplanted his father in the station of count of Autun, and left a treasure of thirty talents of gold, and two hundred and fifty talents of silver. The fierce and illiterate Barbarians were excluded, during several generations, from the dignities, and even from the orders, of the church (115). The clergy of Gaul consisted almost entirely of native provincials; the haughty Franks fell prostrate at the feet of their subjects, who were dignified with the episcopal character; and the power and riches which had been lost in war, were insensibly recovered by superstition (116). In all temporal affairs, the Theodosian Code was the universal law of the clergy; but the Barbaric jurisprudence had liberally provided for their personal safety: a sub-deacon was equivalent to two Franks; the antrustion, and priest, were held in similar estimation; and the life of a bishop was appreciated far above the common standard, at the price of nine hundred pieces of gold (117). The Romans communicated to their conquerors the use of the Christian religion and Latin language (118); but their language and their religion had alike degenerated from the simple purity of the Augustan, and Apostolic, age. The progress of superstition and Barbarism was rapid and universal: the worship of the saints concealed from vulgar eyes the God of the Christians; and the rustic dialect of peasants and soldiers was corrupted by a Teutonic idiom and pronunciation. Yet such intercourse of sacred and social communion eradicated the distinctions of birth and victory; and the nations of Gaul were gradually confounded under the name and government of the Franks. Anarchy or The Franks, after they mingled with their Gallic subjects, might iheFran t. imparted the most valuable of human gifts, a spirit, and

antiquarians establish as a principle, that the Romans and Barbarians may be distinguished by their names. Their names undoubtedly forma reasonable presumption; yet in reading Gregory of Tours, I have observed Gondulphus, of Scpatorian, or Roman, extraction (1. vi. c. 11. in tom. ii. p.273.); and Claudius, a Barbarian (1. vii. c. 29. p. 303.).

(114) Eunius Mummolus is repeatedly mentioned by Gregory of Tours, from the fourth (c. 42. p. 224.) to the seventh (c. 40. p. 310.) book. The computation by talents is singular enough; but if Gregory attached any meaning to that obsolete word, the treasures of Mummolus must have exceeded 100,0001. sterling.

(115) Sec Fleury, Discours iii. sur l'Histoire Ecclesiastique.

(116) The bishop of Tours himself has recorded the complaint of Chilperic, the grandson of Clovis. Ecce pauper remansit Fiscus noster; ecce divitia e nostne ad ecclesias sunt translate : nulli penitus nisi soli Episcopi regnant (1. vi. c. 46. in tom. ii. p. 291.).

(117) Sec the Ripuarian Code (tit. xxxvi. in tom. iv. p. 241.). The Salic law does not provide for the safety of the clergy; and we might suppose, on the behalf of the more civilised tribe, that they had not foreseen such an impious act as the murder of a priest. Tet Fra?textatus, archbishop of Rouen, was assassinated by the order of queen Fredegundis before the altar (Greg. Turon. 1. viii. c. 31. in tom. ii. p. 326.).

(118) M. Bonamy (Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxiv. p. 582—670.) has ascertained the Lingua Romana Rustica, which, through the medium of the Romance, has gradually been polished into the actual form of the French language. Under the Carlovingian race, the kings and nobles of France still understood the dialect of their German ancestors.


system, of constitutional liberty. Under a king, hereditary but limited, the chiefs and counsellors might have debated, at Paris, in the palace of the Caesars: the adjacent field, where the emperors reviewed their mercenary legions, would have admitted the legislative assembly of freemen and warriors; and the rude model, which had been sketched in the woods of Germany (119), might have been polished and improved by the civil wisdom of the Romans. But the careless Barbarians, secure of their personal independence, disdained the labour of government: the annual assemblies of the month of March were silently abolished; and the nation was separated, and almost dissolved, by the conquest of Gaul (120). The monarchy was left without any regular establishment of justice, of arms, or of revenue. The successors of Clovis wanted resolution to assume, or strength to exercise, the legislative and executive powers, which the people had abdicated : the royal prerogative was distinguished only by a more ample privilege of rapine and murder; and the love of freedom, so often invigorated and disgraced by private ambition, was reduced, among the licentious Franks, to the contempt of order, and the desire of impunity. Seventy-five years after the death of Clovis, his grandson, Gontran, king of Burgundy, sent an army to invade the Gothic possessions of Septimania, or Languedoc. The troops of Burgundy, Berry, Auvergne, and the adjacent territories, were excited by the hopes of spoi1. They marched, without discipline, under the banners of German, or Gallic, counts: their attack was feeble and unsuccessful; but the friendly and hostile provinces were desolated with indiscriminate rage. The corn-fields, the villages, the churches themselves, were consumed by fire; the inhabitants were massacred, or dragged into captivity; and, in the disorderly retreat, five thousand of these inhuman savages were destroyed by hunger or intestine discord. When the pious Gontran reproached the guilt, or neglect, of their leaders; and threatened to inflict, not a legal sentence, but instant and arbitrary execution; they accused the universal and incurable corruption of the people. "No one," they said, " any longer "fears or respects his king, his duke, or his count. Each man "loves to do evil, and freely indulges his criminal inclinations. "The most gentle correction provokes an immediate tumult, and "the rash magistrate, who presumes to censure or restrain his "seditious subjects, seldom escapes alive from their revenge (121)."

(119) Cc bean systeme a ete trouve dans les bois. Montesquien, Esprit des Loix, 1. xi. c. 6.

(120) See the Abbe de Mably. Observations, Sic. tom. i. p. 34—56. It should seem that the institution of national assemblies, which are coeval with the French nation, have never been congenial to its temper.

(121) Gregory of Tours (1. viii. c. 30. in tom. ii. p. 325, 326.) relates, with much indifference, the crimes, the reproof, and the apology. Nullus Regem metuit, nullus Ducem, nullus Comitem reverctur; et si fortassis alicui ista displicent, et ea, pro longaevitate vitae vestne, emendare conatur, statim seditio in populo, statim tumultus exoritur, et in tantum unusquisque contra seniorem saeva intentione grassatur, u» ?ix se credat evadere, si tandem silere nequiverit.


It has been reserved for the same nation to expose, by their intemperate vices, the most odious abuse of freedom; and to supply its loss by the spirit of honour and humanity, which now alleviates and dignifies their obedience to an absolute sovereign.* The visigoihi The Visigoths had resigned to Clovis the greatest part of their of spam. Qallic possessions. but their loss was amply compensated by the easy conquest, and secure enjoyment, of the provinces of Spain. From the monarchy of the Goths, which soon involved the Suevic kingdom of Gallicia, the modern Spaniards still derive some national vanity: but the historian of the Roman empire is neither invited, nor compelled, to pursue the obscure and barren series of their annals (122). The Goths of Spain were separated from the rest of mankind, by the lofty ridge of the Pyrenaean mountains: their manners and institutions, as far as they were common to the Germanic tribes, have been already explained. I have anticipated, in the preceding chapter, the most important of their ecclesiastical events, the fall of Arianism, and the persecution of the Jews: and it only remains to observe some interesting circumstances which relate to the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of the Spanish kingdom.

legislate After their conversion from idolatry or heresy, the Franks and or spam? the "Visigoths were, disposed to embrace, with equal submission, the inherent evils, and the accidental benefits, of superstition. But the prelates of France, long before the extinction of the Merovingian race, had degenerated into fighting and hunting Barbarians. They disdained the use of synods; forgot the laws of temperance and chastity; and preferred the indulgence of private ambition and luxury, to the general interest of the sacerdotal profession (123). The bishops of Spain respected themselves, and were respected by the public: their indissoluble union disguised their vices, and confirmed their authority; and the regular discipline of the church introduced peace, order, and stability, into the government of the state. From the reign of Recared, the first Catholic king, to that of Witiza, the immediate predecessor of the unfortunate Roderic, sixteen national councils were successively convened. The six metropolitans, Toledo, Seville, Merida, Braga, Tarragona, and Narbonne, presided according to their respective seniority; the assembly was composed of their suffragan bishops, who appeared in person, or by their proxies; and a place was assigned to the most

(122) Spain, in these dark ages, has been peculiarly unfortunate. The Franks had a Gregory of Tours; the Saxons, or Angles, a Bede; the Lombards, a Paul Warnefrid, 6zc. But the history of the Visigoths is contained in the short and imperfect Chronicles of Isidore of Seville, and John of Biclar. i

(123) Such are the complaints of St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany, and the reformer of Giaul fin tom. iv. p. 94.^. xhe fourscore years, which he deplores, of licence and corruption, would seem to insinuate, that the Barbarians were admitted into the clergy about the year 660.

* This remarkable passage was published in 1T7».— W.

holy, or opulent, of the Spanish abbots. During the first three days of the convocation, as long as they agitated the ecclesiastical questions of doctrine and discipline, the profane laity was excluded from their debates; which were conducted, however, with decent solemnity. But, on the morning of the fourth day, the doors were thrown open for the entrance of the great officers of the palace, the dukes and counts of the provinces, the judges of the cities, and the Gothic nobles; and the decrees of Heaven were ratified by the consent of the people. The same rules were observed in the provincial assemblies, the annual synods, which were empowered to hear complaints, and to redress grievances; and a legal government was supported by the prevailing influence of the Spanish clergy. The bishops, who, in each revolution, were prepared to flatter the victorious, and to insult the prostrate, laboured, with diligence and success, to kindle the flames of persecution, and to exalt the mitre above the crown. Yet the national councils of Toledo, in which the free spirit of the Barbarians was tempered and guided by episcopal policy, have established some prudent laws for the common benefit of the king and people. The vacancy of the throne was supplied by the choice of the bishops and palatines; and, after the failure of the line of Alaric, the regal dignity was still limited to the pure and noble blood of the Goths. The clergy, who anointed their lawful prince, always recommended, and sometimes practised, the duty of allegiance: and the spiritual censures were denounced on the heads of the impious subjects, who should resist his authority, conspire against his life, or violate, by an indecent union, the chastity even of his widow. But the monarch himself, when he ascended the throne, was bound by a reciprocal oath to God and his people, that he would faithfully execute his important trust. The real or imaginary faults of his administration were subject to the control of a powerful aristocracy; and the bishops and palatines were guarded by a fundamental privilege, that they should not be degraded, imprisoned, tortured, nor punished with death, exile, or confiscation, unless by the free and public judgment of their peers (124).

One of these legislative councils of Toledo examined and ratified code of the the code of laws which had been compiled by a succession of Go- ^'S^, thic kings, from the fierce Euric, to the devout Egica. As long as the Visigoths themselves were satisfied with the rude customs of their ancestors, they indulged their subjects of Aquitain and Spain in the enjoyment of the Roman law. Their gradual improvement in arts, in policy, and at length in religion, encouraged them to

(124) The acts of the councils of Toledo are still the most authentic records of the church and constitution of Spain. The following passages are particularly important (iii. 17, 18. iv. 75. v. 2, 3, 4, 5. 8. vi. 11, 12, 13, 14. 17, 18. vii. 1. xiii. 2, 3. 6.). I have found Mascou (Hist. of the ancient Germans, xv. 29. and Annotations, xxvi. and xxxiii.) and Ferreras (Hist. Generate de I'Espagne, U>m. ii.) very useful and accurate guides.

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