Christoph Wilhelm Koch.

History of the revolutions in Europe; from the subversion of the Roman Empire in the west to the Congress of Vienna (Volume 1) online

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846, by

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.


Publisher's Notice, •• 5

Autiior's Preface^ ••••• 7

Life of Koch, ••••• 13

Chapteb L
Introdiietion, •••• 17

Chapter II. — Period I.

From the Invasion of the Roman Empire in the West, by
the Barbarians, to the time of Charlemagne, A. D.
406—800, 41

Chapter III. — Period II.
From Charlemagne to Otto the Great, A. D. 800—962, . . 63

Chapter IV. — Period III.
From Otto the Great to Gregory the Great, A. D. 962—1074, 79

Chapter V. — Period IV.
From Pope Gregory VIII. to Boniface VIII. A. D. 1074—1300, 101

Chapter VI. — Period V.

From Pope Boniface VIII. to the taking of Constantinople

by the Turks, A. D. 1300—1453, 165

Chapter VII. — Period VI.

From the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, to the peace

ofWestphalia, A. D. 1453— 1648, 207


The Publisher of the present edition of Koch's Revolutions,
has been induced to prepare this "work for publication on account
of the very high reputation which it has in Europe, and its general
adoption there in Literary Institutions, as the outline of instruc-
tion in the portion of History which it embraces. Its high merit
would no doubt have obtained for it an earlier reprint from the
American press, but for the errors with which the English trans-
lation abounds. These defects, it is hoped, will not be found in
the present edition, which has been revised by a gentleman who
has endeavored not only to correct the faults of language, but also
to strike from its pages all expressions of principles inconsistent
with the liberal spirit of philosophical history,

A practical acquaintance with the work as a Manual of History,
has convinced this gentleman of its admirable adaptation to this
purpose, and enabled him to recommend it for its fidelity, impar-
tiality, conciseness, clear argument, enlightened spirit, and learned
research. Omitting no important event, and dwelling very fully
upon those which have had great influence in producing the per-
manent changes which the civilized world has undergone in the
last fifteen centuries, it may almost Ciaim, he thinks, the united
advantages of a compendious and an elaborate History.

In order perfectly to adapt the work to the present time, a sketch
of the late Revolutions in France, Belgium, Poland, and Greece,
^ as been prepared with much labor and care, and added to the

Ti publisher's noticb.

present edition, making it the most complete historical work OD
Modem Europe, yet offered to the public.

In full confidence that it will be found deserving of the high
character it has sustained abroad, as a valuable and faithfui
guide to a knowledge of the History of Modern Europe, it is now
offered to the patronage of the friends of Useful Knowledge, by



Thb work Here presented to the public, is a summary of the Revolutions,
\joth general and particular, which have happened in Europe since the
oxtinction of the Roman Empire in the fiflh century. As an elementary
book, it will be found useful to those who wish to have a concise and ge-
notal view of the successive revolutions that have changed the aspect of
slates and kingdoms, and given birth to the existing policy and establish-
ed order of society in modern times.

W ithout some preliminary acquaintance with the annals of these revo-
lutions, we can neither study the history of our own country to advantage,
nor appreciate the influence which the diflferent states, formed from the
wreck of the ancient Roman Empire, reciprocally exercised on each other.
Allied as it were by the geographical position of their territories, by a
conformity in their religion, language, and manners, these states contract-
ed new attachments in the ties of mutual interests, which the progress of
civilization, commerce, and industry, tended more and more to cement
and confirm. Many of them whom fortune had elevated to the summit
of power and prosperity, carried their laws, their arts and institutions,
both civil and military, far beyond the limits of their own dominions.
The exten.sive sway which the Romish hierarchy held for nearly a thou-
sand years over the greater part of the European kingdoms, is well known
to every reader of history.

This continuity of intercourse and relationship among the powers of
Europe, became the means of forming them into a kind of republican sys-
tem ; it gave birth to a national law and conventional rights, founded on
the agreement of treaties, and the usages of common practice. A lauda-
ble emulation sprung up among contemporary states. Their jealousies,
and even their competitions and divisions, contributed to the progress of
civilization, and the attainment of that high state of perfection to which
sdl human sciences and institutions have been carried by the nations <rf
modem Europe.

It is these political connexions, this reciprocal influence of kingdoms
and their revolutions, and especially the varieties of system which Europe
has experienced in the lapse of so many ages, that require to be devek>ped


in a general view, such as that which professes to be the object of the pre-
sent work.

The author has here remoddled his " Views of the Revolutions of the
Middle Ages," (published in 1790,) and extended or abridged the different
periods according to circumstances. In continuing this work down to
the present time, he has deemed necessary to conclude at the French
Revolution, as the numerous results of that great event are too much in-
volved in uncertainty to be clearly or impartially exhibited by contempo-
rary writers.*

The work is divided into eight periods of time,t according with the
principal revolutions which have changed, in succession, the political
state of Europe. At the head of each period, is placed either the desig-
nation of its particular revolution, or that of the power or empire which
held the ascendancy at the time. In limiting his treatise solely to the
Revolutions of Europe, the writer has not touched upon those of Asia and
the East, except in so far as they have had immediate influence on the
destinies of Europe. Conscious also that the distinguishing characteristic
of an historian is veracity, and that the testimony of a writer who has
not himself been an eye-witness of the events he records, cannot be relied
on with implicit confidence, the author has imposed on himself the inva-
riable rule of citing, with scrupulous care, the principal authorities and
vouchers of each period and country that have guided him during his
researches, in selecting and examining his materials by the torch of pa-
tient criticism. Without this labour and precaution, the work would
have been of no avail as an elementary help to those who were desirous
of acquiring a more minute and solid knowledge of history.

As a useful and subsidiary accompaniment, an Introduction has been,
prefixed, in which are given some general remarks on history and geogra-
phy, as also on genealogy and chronology, which may be regarded as
auxiliary sciences. These preliminary notices are followed by a short
ontline of ancient history, down to the time of the Barbarian invasion in
the fifth century. With this grand era the present work properly com^
mences, when a new series of kingdoms and governments sprung ?ip in

* In the editi<m of 1823, from which the present translation is made, the Tableau has
been continued by the Editor, M. SchcBll, down to the 20th of Norembar, 1815.
t Nine in the lut editions, including the continoatfoQ.


Christopher William Koch, equally distinguished as a
lawyer and a learned historian, was born on the 9th of May 1757
at Bouxwiller, a small town in the seig-niory of Lichtenberg in
Alsace, which then belonged to the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt.
His father, who was a member of the Chamber of Finance
under that prince, sent him to an excellent school in his native
place, where he received the rudim.ents of his education. At
the age of thirteen, he went to the Protestant Unive»-^.ity of
Strasbourg, where he prosecuted his studies under the celebrated
Schcepflin. Law was the profession to which he was de=:tined;
but he showed an early predilection for the study of history,
and the sciences connected with it, such as Diplomatics, or the
art of deciphering and verifying ancient writs and chartularies.
Genealogy, Chronology, &c. Schcepflin was not slow to appre-
ciate the rising merit of his pupil, and wished to make him the
companion of his labours. He admitted him to his friendship,
and became the means of establishing him as his successor in
that famous political academy, which his reputation had formed
at Strasbourg, by attracting to that city the youth of the first
families, and from all parts of Europe. Koch devoted much of
his time to the Canon Law, and soon gave a proor of the pro-
gress he had made in that branch of study, by the Academical
Dissertation which he published in 1761, under the title of
Comvientatio de CoUatione dignitatum et heneficioruvi ecclesi-
asticoruvi in imperio Romano- Germanico. This treatise was
a prelude to his Commentary on the Pragmatic Sanction,
which he published in 1789 — a work which excited an extra-
ordinary sensation in Catholic Germany, and procured the
author the favourable notice of such prelates as were most
eminent for learning and piety.

After taking his academic degree, Koch repaired to Paris in
1762, where he staid a year ; honoured with the society of the
most distinguished literati in the capital, and frequenting the
Royal Library, wholly occupied in those researches which pre-
pared him for the learned labours in which he afterwards en
gaged. On his return to Strasbourg, he wrote the continua-
tion of the Historia Zaringo-Badensis, of which the first volume
only was drawn up by Schcepflin. All the others are entirely
the work of Koch, though they bear the name of the master
who had charged him with the execution of this task. Schoepflin
bequeathed to the city cf Strasbourg, in 1766, his valuable

voTm t. 2


library and his cabiret of antiques, on condition that Koch
should be appointed keeper; which he was, in effect, on the
death of the testator in 1771. He obtained, at the same time,
the title of Professor, which authorized him to deliver lectures;
for the chair of Schoepflin passed, according- to the statutes of
the University, to another professor, — a man of merit but inca-
pable of supplying his place as an instructor of youth in the
study of the political sciences. The pupils of Schospflin were
thus transferred to Koch, who became the head of that diplo-
matic school, which, for sixty years, to the public so great
a number of ministers and statesmen.

In 1779 the Government of Hanover offered him the chair of
public German Law in the University of Gottingen, which he
declined. Next year the Emperor Josepeh II., who knew well
how to distinguish merit, complimented him with the dignity
of Knight of the Empire, an intermediate title between that o
baron and the simple rank of noblesse. About the same perioa
he obtained the chair of Public Law at Strasbourg, which he
held until that University was suppressed at the French Revolu-
tion. Towards the end of 1789, the Protestants of Alsace sent
him as their envoy to Paris, to solicit from the King and the
Constitutional Assembly, the maintenance of their civil and re-
ligious rights, according to the faith of former treaties. He
succeeded in obtaining for them the decree of the 17th of
August 1790, which sanctioned these rights, and declared that
the ecclesiastical benefices of the Protestants were not included
among those which the decree of the 1st of November prece-
ding, had placed at the disposal of the nation. The former
decree was moreover extended and explained by an act, bearing
date December 1st 1790. Both of these were approved and
ratified by the King.

Meantime, the terrors and turbulence of the Revolution had
dispersed from Strasbourg that brilliant assemblage of youth,
which the reputation of the professors, and the natural beauties
of the place, had attracted from all quarters. These disastrous
events interrupted the career of Koch, at a time when he was
capable of rendering the most imp^^tant services to his country.
From that moment he devoted h ^ elf to public affair;. Being
appointed a Member of the first xjegislative Assembly, he op-
posed the faction which convulsed the nation, and ultimately
subverted the throne. When President of the Committee of
that Assembly, he exerted himself for the maintenance of peace ;
and, in a Report which he made in 1792, he foretold the cala
mities which would over ^Im France, if Avar should be
decAared against Austria. fh^ republican faction, by their


clamours, silenced the remonstrances of Koch, when, on the
20th of April, he spoke in opposition to a measure which proved
iso fatal to France. An official letter which he addressed, 10th
of August, to the constituted authorities of the Lower Rhine,
sufficiently expressed the horror with which that day's proceed-
ings had inspired him. He procured, moreover, the concurrence
of his fellow-citizens in a resistance, which he had then some
reason to hope would be made a common cause by the other
provinces. This letter drew down upon him the persecution
of the ruling party. He was immiured in a prison, where he
languished for eleven months, and from which he had no pros-
pect of escape, except to mount the scaffold. The revolution
of the 9th Thermidor restored him to liberty, when he was ap-
pointed, by the voice of his fellow-citizens, to the Directory of
their provincial department. He endeavoured by all means in
his power to defeat the nieasures that were taken to injure his
constituents ; and had influence enough, it is said, to prevent
the sale of the funds belonging to manufactories and hospitals.
He then resumed with pleasure those functions which he had
unwillingly accepted; in 1795, he recommenced his professorship
of public law, and returned with new zeal to his literary labours,
which had been too long interrupted. Six years he spent in
these useful occupations ; from which, however, he was once
more detached by a decree of the Senate, which nominated him
a member of the Tribunal. This nomination Koch accepted,
in the hope of being useful to his Protestant countrymen, and
to the city of Strasbourg, in obtaining the re-establishment of
the reformed religion, and its restoration in the University.
He did, in effect, exert himself much in behalf of religion, ac-
cording to the confession of Augsburg, as well as of the Pro-
testant Academy at Strasbourg, which was suppressed at this

The Tribunal having been suppressed, Koch declined all places
of trust or honour which were offered him ; and only requested
permission to retire, that he might have a short interval for him-
self between business and the grave. A pension of 3000 francs
was granted him, without any solicitation on his part. In 1808,
he returned to Strasbourg, where he continued to devote him-
self to letters, and in administering to the public good. About
the end of 1810, the Grand-master of the University of France
conferred on him the title of Honorary Rector of the Academy
of Strasbourg. His health, which had been prolonged by a life
of great temperance and regularity and the peace which results
from a good conscience, became disordered in 1812, when he
fell into a slate of languor, which terminated his life on the 25tb


of October 1813. His colleagues, the professors of Strar.bourg,
erected to his memory a monument of white marble in the
churcn of St. Thomas, near those of Schcepflin and Oberlin ;
which was executed by M. Ohnmacht, an eminent sculptor in
Strasbourg. One of his biographers has pronounced the fol-
lowing eutogium on Koch : — "A noble regard for justice and
truth, a penetration beyond common, a diligence unrivalled in
historical researches, a remarkable talent in arranging and illus-
trating his subject, an incorruptible integrity of principle, and
unclouded serenity of mind, with a zealous desire of rendering
his researches, his information and activity, useful to his species
— these were the prominent features of the mind and character
of this amiable man." In addition to this, it has been remarked,
that although Professor Koch had not the art of a graceful or
even a fluent elocution, no man ever possessed in a higher de-
gree the talents and qualifications of a public instructor. Like
Socrates, he had a manner peculiar to himself He was no*" so
much a teacher of sciences, as of the means of acquirng them.
He could inspire his scholars with a taste for labour, and knew
how to call forth their several powers and dispositions. Though
a man of the most domestic habits, and a lover of children, Koch
never married.

Two lives of this celebrated professor have been written by
foreigners. The one is by M. Schweighceuser junior, a profes-
sor at Strasbourg; and the other is prefixed to the new edition
of the Histoire des Traites de Paix, by M. Schoell, the editor
and continuator of several of our author's works. This latter
biographer has accompanied his sketch with a descriptive cata-
logue of all Koch's works, the principal of which are the fol-
lowing : — 1. Tables Genealogiqiies des Maisoiis Souveraines du
Midi et de V Quest de V Europe. 2. Sa?ictio Pragmatica Ger
manorum illustrata. 3. Abrege de rHlstoire des Traites d
Paix entre les Puissances de VEurope. A new edition of this
work appeared in 1818, enlarged and continued by M. Schoell
down to the Congress of Vienna and the Treaty of Paris, 1815.
4. Table des Traites entre la France et les Puissances Etran-
geres^ depuis la Paix de Westphcdit, ^-c. 5. Tableau des Revo-
lutions de VEurope^ t^c. 6. Tables Genealogiques des Maisons
Souveraines de VEst et du Nord de rEu7'ope. This work was
published, after the author's death, by M. Schoell. Besides
these, Koch left various manuscripts, containing memoirs of hi«
own life ; and several valuable papers on the ancient ecclesias
lical history and literature of his native province.

A. C.



History has viery properly been considered as that particulai
branch of philosophy, which teaches, by examples, how men
ought to conduct themselves in all situations of life, both pub-
lic and private. Such is the infirmity and incapacity of the
human mind, that abstract or general ideas make no lasting
inipression on it ; and often appear to us doubtful or obscure, —
at least if they be not illustrated and confirmed by experience
and observation.

It is from history alone, which superadds to our own expe-
rience that of other men and of other times, that we learn to
conquer the prejudices which we have imbibed from education,
and which our own experience, often as contracted as our edu-
cation, tends in general rather to strengthen than to subdue or
destroy. " Not to know," says Cicero, " what happened before
we were born, is to remain always a child ; for what were the
life of \jan, did we not combine present events with the recol-
lections of past ages?"

There are certain principles or rules of conduct that hold
true in all cases ; because they accord and consist with the in-
variable nature of things. To collect and digest these, belongs
to the student of history, who may, in this way, easily form to
himself a system, both of morals and politics, founded on the
combined judgment of all ages, and confirmed by universal ex-
perience. Moreover, the advantages that we reap from the
study of history are preferable to those we acquire b}"" our own
experience ; for not only does the knowledge we derive from
this kind of study embrace a greater number of objects, but it
is purchased at the expense of others, while the attainments we
make from personal experience often cost us extremely dear.

" We may learn wisdom," says Polybius, "either from out
ow^n misfortunes, or the misfortunes of others. The knowledge,"
adds that celebrated historian, " which we acquire at our own
expense, is undoubtedly the most efficacious ; but that which we
learn from the misfortunes of others is the safest, in as much
as we receive instruction without pain, or danger to ourselves."
This knowledge has also the advanf-^. ^ of being in general
more accurate, and more complete thu. ; which we derive
from individual experience. To history alone it belongs to
judge with impartiality of public characters and political mea



sures,. which aie often either misunderstood oi not properly ap-
preciated by iheir contemporaries ; and while men individually,
eind from their own observation, can see great events as it were
bat in part, history embraces the whole in all its various details.
Thus, for example, we can see but imperfectly all the bearing's-
of that mighty revolution which is now 1793, passing before
our eyes; audit will remain for postcrsy to perceive all its
influence and eifects, and to judge of its difTerent actors with-
out feelings of irritation or party spirit.

It is a fact universally admitted, that all ranks and profes-
sions of men, tind in history appropriate instruction, and rules
of! conduct suited to their respective conditions. In occupying
the mind agreeably with such a vast diversity of subjects, it
serves to form the judgment, to inspire us with the ambition of
glory, and the love of virtue. Those especially who devote
themselves to the study of politics, or who are destined to the
management of public affairs, will discover in history the struc-
ture and constitution of governments, their faults, and their
advantages, their strength and their weakness; they will find
there the origin and progress of empires, the principles that
have raised them to greatness, and the causes which have pre-
pared their fall. The philosopher, and the man of letters, will
there trace the progress of the human mind, the errors and il-
lusions that have led it astray ; the connexion of causes and
effects ; the origin of arts and sciences, their changes, and their
influence on society ; as well as the innumerable evils that
have sprung from ignorance, superstition and tyranny.

History, in short, avails more than all precepts to cure us of
those mistakes originating in self-love, and national partiality.
He who knows no other country than his own, easily persuades
nimself, that the government, manners, and opinions of the lit-
tle corner of the earth which he inhabits, are the only ones con-
sistent with reason and propriety. Self-love, so natural to man.*
cherishes this prejudice, and makes him disdain all other na-
tions. It is only by an extensive acquaintance with history^
and by familiarizing ourselves with the institutions, customs,
and habits of different ages, and of different countries, that we
learn to esteem wisdom and virtue, and to acknowledge ta-
lents wherever they exist. Besides, when we observe, that
though revolutions are continually changing the face of king-
doms, nothing essentially new ever happens in the world, we
cease to be longer the slaves of that extravagant admiration,
and that credulous astonishment which is generally the charac-
*.eri.stic of ignorance, or the mark of a feeble mind.

The most important attribute of history is truth, and in ordef


to find this out, it is necessary to examine the materials which