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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/361

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CONSULTATIVE BODIES.

zation which existed before the king lost his power, we are told that—

Though each of these palatines, bishops, and barons, could thus advise his sovereign, the formation of a regular senate was slow, and completed only when experience had proved its utility. At first, the only subjects on which the monarch deliberated with his barons related to war; what he originally granted through courtesy, or through diffidence in himself, or with a view to lessen his responsibility in case of failure, they eventually claimed as a right.

So, too, during internal wars and wars against Rome, the primitive Germanic tribes, once semi-nomadic and but slightly organized, passing through the stage in which armed chiefs and freemen periodically assembled for deliberations on war and other matters, evolved a kindred structure. In Charlemagne's time, at the great assembly of the year—

The dukes, counts, bishops, scabini, and centenaries—all who were connected with the government or the administration—were officially present; the great and small proprietors, the barons and gentry, were so in virtue of their fiefs, the freemen in virtue of their character as warriors, though undoubtedly there were few freemen obliged to bear arms not provided with some portion of landed property.

And then at a later period, as Hallam writes—

In all the German principalities a form of limited monarchy prevailed, reflecting, on a reduced scale, the general constitution of the empire. As the emperors shared their legislative sovereignty with the Diet, so all the princes who belonged to that assembly had their own provincial states, composed of their feudal vassals and of their mediate towns within their territory—

the mass of the rural population having thus ceased to possess power. Similarly during the later feudal period in France. An "ordinance of 1228, respecting the heretics of Languedoc, is rendered with the advice of our great men and prudhommes"; and one "of 1246, concerning levies and redemptions in Anjou and Maine," says that, "having called around us, at Orleans, the barons and great men of the said counties, and having held attentive counsel with them," etc.

To meet the probable criticism that no notice has been taken of the ecclesiastics usually included in the consultative body, it is needful to point out that due recognition of them does not involve any essential change in the account above given. Though modern usages lead us to think of the priest-class as distinct from the warrior-class, yet it was not originally distinct. With the truth that, habitually in militant societies, the king is at once commander-in-chief and high-priest, carrying out in both capacities the dictates of his deity, we may join the truth that the subordinate priest is usually a direct or indirect aider of the wars thus supposed to be divinely prompted. In illustration of the one truth may be cited the fact that, before going to war, Radama, King of Madagascar, "acting as priest as well as general, sacrificed a