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the king, or by the seignior, civil or ecclesiastical, of the village, and is commonly taken from a list of three persons, se lected by the alcalde of the preceding year. Certain dues are payable to the lord; but, in general, they are slight, and not exacted with severity; and, in return, the lord is expected to give his assistance to the village, in times of distress or public calamity. In antient times, it was considered an advantage to belong to the king; but latterly it has been deemed a misfortune, the officers of the Crown'having been found more rigid in their exactions than those of private lords. The regidores are not judges, as Mr Hallam seems to imagine, but magistrates, who have charge of the police of the streets and markets, and the management of the revenues and common property of the town or village.
After so much time bestowed on Castile, it will be impossible for us to enter at length on the constitution of Arragon. We must therefore content ourselves with recommending to our readers the observations of Mr Hallam on this singular form of government. They will find, in particular, an excellent account of the office and functions of the Justiza, and a deserva ed eulogium on the admirable institutions of the Arragonese, for the protection of individual liberty. It was the boast of Arragon, as it used to be the glory of England, that no strana ger could set his foot upon her soil, without enjoying the equal benefit of her laws. Arragon was, in these ages, the only spot in Europe, that afforded refuge to the persecuted, and gave security to the oppressed. So fully was this principle established, that it was usual for the kings of Arragon, when they took strangers into their service, to make a private bargain with themthat they should not appeal to the protection of the Justiza. A saying of Alonso IV. shows the different spirit of the government in Arragon and Castile. That prince had taken for his second wife a sister of the king of Castile; and, yielding to her importunities, had, contrary to law, alienated in favour of her son, certain possessions annexed to the Crown. The Valencians remonstrated against these grants; and, declaring they would die sooner than consent to them, threatened to punish the advisers of this illegal transaction. The King excused himself feebly; but the Queen, who was present at the council, rose in a fury and exclaimed, that her brother, the King of Castile, would not have suffered such language to be used to him, but would have cut off the head of any one who had opposed him with such insolence. On which the King said, · Queen, our people are free, and not so submissive as the Castilians; they have respect for us as their lord, but we must treat them as our good vassals and comrades;' and then rising from his seat, he ordered the grants to be recalled. * At a much earlier period, when the French were threatening to invade Catalonia, Peter III. assembled the Cortes of Arragon at Tarazona, to solicit their assistance. The Cortes laid before him a statement of grievances, for which they demanded redress before they would engage in the war, saying, that subjects without their rights could have little heart to fight for their king. Peter was obstinate, and refused to listen to their grievances, till the war was over; on which they confederated together, according to the antient use and custom of their country, for the preservation of their laws; franchises and liberties, resolving to stand by one another in the enterprise, and to punish all who took part against them, but without renouncing their allegiance to the king, unless he should punish any of them without a legal trial, in which case they declared they should no longer consider him as their lawful king, but transfer their allegiance to his son. All,' says the historian, werc imanimous in this determination; the ricos omes and knights were not more jealous of their liberties than the common and inferior persons; all were of opinion, that the being and existence of Arragon depended, not on the strength of the kingdom, but on its liberty; all were resolved, that if their liberties must perish, the kingdom should perish with them.' Peter was compelled at length to give way, and to grant the Privilegio general, or, as Mr Hallam justly calls it, the Magna Charta of Arragon.
We must pass over the two following chapters on the German and Greek empires, with a general recommendation to our readers, of their contents.
The chapter on ccclesiastical power is written with great care, and composed in a truly liberal and philosophical spirit. Mr Hallam traces the gradual usurpations of the ecclesiastical on the civil authority, favoured sometimes by the mistaken policy or devotion, and sometimes subunitted to by the weakness and pusillanimity of Princeś. He shows by what steps the Church acquired an exclusive jurisdiction over its own members, and by what artifices its tribunals made such extensive encroachments on the civil courts. He exposes the impudent pretensions of the Bishops, in the ninth and tenth centuries, and hardly regrets the subjugation to which they were reduced by the Roman see in the eleventh and twelfth. With some bias in favour of the Throne, he relates the contests between the Crown and the Papal tiara; but expatiates with just indignation on the shameless rapacity and immoderate ambition of the Roman Pontiff, when he succeeded in the struggle. The scandalous dissoluteness and open simony of Avignon, prepared the downfal of the Papal power; and the schism, that so long disgraced and divided the Church, was near reducing its chiefs to the comparatively humble station they had filled in the tenth century. But the violent and outrageous conduct of the councils enabled them to recover some portion of their authority. The Bishops, who were ready enough to seize the spoils of the Church, gave ample warning at Constance, that its spiritual weapons would not be suffered to rust in their hands. Their decree, that no faith was to be kept with Huss, in prejudice of the Catholic Church, has affixed a stain on that assembly, which no time or casuistry can efface. We were pleased with a reflection of Mr Hallam on that tragical event. As the sober judgment of history, on all similar transactions, it is the sentence of posterity on all who violate their engagements with a fallen enemy, or profit by capitulations, and then evade the performance of them. • The great moral,' he observes,
* Zurita, lib. 7. cap. 17.
to be drawn from the condemnation of Huss is, that no breach of faith can be excused by our opinion of ill desert in the party, or by a narrow interpretation of our own. engagements. Every capitulation ought to be construed favourably for the weaker side. In such cases it is emphatically true, that if the letter killeth, the spirit should give life.'
Throughout this chapter, Mr Hallam is animated with laudable zeal against the impostures and usurpations of the Church; and, in relating the measures taken in different countries to restrain the enormous jurisdiction once possessed by the hierarchy, he makes this sensible observation, that ecclesiastical, and not merely papal encroachments, are what civil governments, and the laity in general, have to resist; a point which some very zealous opposers of Rome have been willing to keep out of sight. The latter arose out of the former, and perhaps were in some respects less objectionable. But the true enemy is what are called High-Church principles—be they maintained by a pope, a bishop, or a presbyter.'
We shall not enter into an examination of some doubtful points, concerning which we might, perhaps, differ from Mr Hallam; but we cannot dismiss this chapter without remarking, that he hardly does justice to the Church in the dispute about investitures. The open simony practised by kings and princes their scandalous nominations to vacant benefices; their spoliation of the lands and property of the clergy committed to their custody, there years they kept abbeys and bishopricks
vacant, in order to enjoy their temporalities, rendered some regulations necessary to restrain their rapacity. Religion would otherwise have fallen into poverty and contempt; and the restraints, such as they were, which it opposed to lawless violence and brutal indulgence, would have become altogether ineffectual. That the Pope made a bad use of his victory, cannot be denied; but the struggle was necessary; and, like other reforms, the change was for some time beneficial. We are also of opinion, that Mr Hallam has not given sufficient credit to the Church for her services in the cause of civil liberty. We doubt whether the kings of Europe would not have succeeded universally in usurping an absolute authority over their subjects, if they had not been engaged in contests with the Church, which occupied their time, weakened their power, and forced them to cultivate the affections of their people. It cannot be denied, that whatever success attended the efforts of the Italian republics against the emperors, they were greatly indebted for it to the support and countenance of the Popes. In our country, the quarrel between Becket and Henry Plantagenet was fortunately interposed at a critical moment, most dangerous to our liberties, when a young, ambitious, and artful prince had been recalled to the throne after a disastrous usurpation. The exhortations and counsels of Langton prompted and directed the Barons in their contest with John; and the disputes of his grandson with the clergy, contributed not a little to obtain for us the last confirmation and final establishment of the charters. In all contests between the Crown and the People in the middle ages, we find the monkish chroniclists on the popular side of the question; and these men, no doubt, spoke the sentiments of the order to which they belonged. The lower clergy, necessarily taken from the body of the people, must have participated in all their feelings; and, where the interests of the Church were not concerned, must have been inclined, in general, to espouse their cause. The democracy of Europe had, in those ages, no political power or consideration, except the portion it enjoyed through these its virtual representatives in the Church. Superstition, which in our days has contributed so powerfully to rivet the chains of nations, was fortunately an ally of the people, when her influence was at its height.
The chapter that follows, on the Constitution of England, is the most valuable and interesting part of the book. We have no hesitation in stating it to be the most full, accurate, and impartial history of the constitution, that has yet appeared. In addition to other sources of information, Mr Hallam has made careful and diligent use of the rolls of Parliament; by the as
sistance of which, he has been enabled to trace, with greater exactness than any former historian, the progress of our constitutional liberties, from the reign of Edward III, to the accession of the house of York, when the records of Parliament become comparatively barren and insignificant. Without setting up our antient constitution as a model of perfection, he has shown that the people of this country have always lived under a monarchy limited by law; and, in this view, his work may be considered as a complete and satisfactory answer to the false and misę chievous theories of Brady and Carte, adapted and brought into notice by the genius and authority of Hume. The work of Mr Miller, the only historical view of the constitution that has appeared since Mr Hume's history, is remarkable for the sagacity of its conjectures, the ingenuity of its explanations, the boldness of its discussions, and its total freedom from prejudice; but it is deficient in accuracy and research, and will not bring conviction to a mind that has received its first impressions from the plausible but delusive representations of Hume. It is with great satisfaction, therefore, that we recommend the work be fore us to all who doubt the existence, or desire to trace the progress of our liberties, in the middle ages.
It would be idle to attempt any abstract or abridgement of this part of Mr Hallain's book. We shall content ourselves with a few critical remarks, and some extracts, to show the spirit and principles of the work.
Mr Hallam is inclined, with Carte, to doubt the story told by Mathew Paris of the election of John to the Crown of England, after the death of his brother Richard. The speech put in the mouth of Archbishop Hubert by the historian, is certainly ' in a strain beyond the constitution ;' but there is a circumstance, unnoticed by historians, that gives some probability to his account of a more formal election than ordinary. It has been usual for the Kings of England to date their accession to the throne from the death of their predecessor. But it will be found in Rymer, that John, in his public instruments, dates the commencement of his reign, not from the death of his brother, but from his own coronation. Inattention to this pecuļiarity has led the modern editors of the Fødera to misplace some of the most important documents of his reign; those, in particular, that relate to the occupation of London by the Barons.
Mr Hallam admires, with reason, that equality of civil rights enjoyed by all the Commons of England. It is a proud disa tinction; and, till the French revolution, we believe, peculiar to this island. But we apprchend he is mistaken in supposing