D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

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rich, resulting from misery combined with oppression." The more
extensive diffusion of power, effected by the revolution which Kleis-
thenes brought about, occurred under kindred circumstances. The
relatively-detached population of immigrant traders had so greatly
increased between the time of Solon and that of Kleisthenes that the
four original tribes forming the population of Attica had to be replaced
by ten. And then this augmented mass, largely com{X)sed of men not
under clan-discipline, and therefore less easily restrained by the ruling
classes, forced itself into predominance at a time when the ruling
classes were divided. Though it is said that Kleisthenes, "being van-
quished in a party contest with his rival, took the people into partner-
ship " — though the change is represented as being one thus personally
initiated — yet, in the absence of that voluminous ])opular will which
iiad long been growing, the political reorganization could not have
iR'en made, or, if made, could not have been maintained. The remark
which Grote quotes from Aristotle, that "seditions are generated by
great causes, but out of small incidents," if altered slightly by writing
"political changes" instead of "seditions," fully applies. For clearly,
once having been enabled to assert itself, this popular power could not
be forthwith excluded. Kleisthenes could not under such circum-
stances have imposed on so large a mass of men arrangements at vari-


ance with their wishes. Practically, therefore, it was the growing
industrial power which then produced, and thereafter preserved, the
democratic organization. Turning to Italy, we first note that the
establishment of the small republics, referred to in a preceding chapter
as having been simultaneous with the decay of imperial power, may
here be again referred to more specifically as having been simultaneous
with that conflict of authorities which caused this decay. Says Sis-
mondi, " The war of investitures gave wing to this universal spirit of
liberty and patriotism in all the municipalities of Lombardy, of Pied-
mont, Venetia, Romagna, and Tuscany." In other words, while the
struggle between emperor and pope absorbed the strength of both, it
became possible for the people to assert themselves. And at a later
time Florence furnished an instance similar in nature if somewhat
different in form.

At the moment when «" Florence expelled the Medici, that republic was
bandied between three different parties." Savonarola took advantage of this
state of affairs to urge that the people should reserve their power to themselves,
and exercise it by a council. His proposition was agreed to, and this " council
was declared sovereign, on the 1st of July, 1495."

In the case of Spain, again, popular power increased during the
troubles accompanying the minority of Fernando IV ; and of the pe-
riodic assemblies subsequently formed by deputies from certain towns
(which met without authority of the government) we read that —

The desire of the Government to frustrate the aspiring schemes of the In-
fantes de la Cerda, and their numerous adherents, made the attachment of these
assemblies indispensable. The disputes during the minority of Alfonso XI more
than ever favored the pretensions of the third estate. Each of the candidates
for the regency paid assiduous court to the municipal authorities, in the hope of
obtaining the necessary suflfrages.

And how all this was consequent on industrial development appears
in the facts that many, if not most, of these associated towns had
arisen during a preceding age by the recolonization of regions deso-
lated during the prolonged contests of Moors and Christians ; and that
these pohlaciones, or communities of colonists, which, scattered over
these vast tracts, grew into prosperous towns, had been formed of
serfs and artisans to whom various privileges, including those of self-
government, were given by royal chai'ter. With which several exam-
ples must be joined the example familiar to all. For it was during
the struggle between king and barons, when the factions were nearly
balanced, and when the town-populations had been by trade so far
increased that their aid was important, that they came to play a notice-
able part, first as allies in war and afterward as sharers in government.
It can not be doubted that, when summoning to the Parliament of 1265
not only knights of the shire but also deputies from cities and bor-
oughs, Simon de Montfort was prompted by the desire to strengthen


himself against the royal party supported by the Pope. And whether
he sought thus to increase his adherents or to obtain larger pecuniary
means, or both, the implication equally is that the urban populations
had become a relatively important part of the nation. This interpre-
tation harmonizes with subsequent events. For, though the represen-
tation of towns afterward lapsed, yet it shortly revived, and in 1295
became established. As Hume remarks, such an institution could not
"have attained to so vigorous a growth and have flourished in the
midst of such tempests and convulsions," unless it had been one '* for
which the general state of things had already prepared the nation " ;
the truth here to be added being that this " general state of things "
was the augmented mass, and consequently augmented influence, of
the free industrial communities.

Confirmation is supplied by cases showing that power, gained by
the people during times when the regal and aristocratic powers are
diminished by dissension, is lost again if, while the old organization
recovers its stability and activity, industrial growth does not make
proportionate progress. Spain, or more strictly Castile, yields an ex-
ample. Such share in government as was acquired by those industrial
communities which grew up during the colonization of the waste lands
became, in the space of a few reigns, characterized by wars and con-
solidations, scarcely more than nominal.

It is instructive to note how that primary incentive to cooperation
which initiates social union at large continues afterward to initiate
special unions within the general unioa For, just as external mili-
tancy sets up and carries on the organization of the whole, so does in-
ternal militancy set up and carry on the organization of the parts,
even when those parts, industrial in their activities, are intrinsically
non-militant. On looking into their histories we find that the increas-
ing clusters of people who, forming towns, lead lives essentially distin-
guished by continuous exchange of services under agreement, develop
their governmental structures during their chronic antagonisms with
the surrounding militant clusters.

We see, first, that these settlements of traders, growing important
and obtaining royal charters, were by doing this placed in quasi-mili-
tant positions — became in modified ways holders of fiefs from their
king, and had the associated responsibilities. Habitually they paid
dues of sundry kinds equivalent in general nature to those paid by
feudal tenants ; and, like them, they were liable to military service.
In Spanish chartered towns " this was absolutely due from every in-
habitant " ; and " every man of a certain property was bound to serve
on horseback or pay a fixed sum." In France " in the charters of in-
corporation which towns received, the number of troops required was
usually expressed." And in the chartered royal burghs of Scotland
'* every burgess was a direct vassal of the crown."


Next observe tliat industrial towns, usually formed by coalescence
of preexisting rural divisions rendered populous because local circum-
stances favored some form of trade, and presently becoming places of
biding for fugitives, and of security for escaped serfs, began to stand
toward the small feudally-governed groups around them in relations
like those in which these stood to one another : competing with them
for adherents, and often fortifying themselves.

Again, there is the fact that these cities and boroughs, which by
royal charter or otherwise had acquired powers of administering their
own affairs, habitually formed within themselves combinations for
protective purposes. In England, in Spain, in France, in Germany —
sometimes with assent of the king, sometimes notwithstanding his re-
luctance as in England, sometimes in defiance of him, as in ancient Hol-
land — there rose up guilds, which, having their roots in quasi-religious
unions among related persons, presently gave origin to frith-guilds and
merchant-guilds ; and these, defensive in their relations to one another,
formed the basis of that municipal organization which carried on the
general defense against aggressing nobles.

Then there is the further fact that, in countries where the antago-
nisms between these industrial communities and the surrounding mili-
tant communities were violent and chronic, the industrial communi-
ties combined to defend themselves. In Spain, the pohlaciones, which
when they flourished and grew into large towns were invaded and
robbed by adjacent feudal lords, formed leagues for mutual protec-
tion ; and again, at a later date, there arose under like needs, more
extensive confederations of cities and towns, which, under severe pen-
alties for non-fulfillment of the obligations, bound themselves to aid
one another in resisting aggressions, whether by king or nobles. In
Germany, too, we have the perpetual alliance entered into by sixty
towns on the Rhine in 1255, when, during the troubles that followed
the deposition of the Emperor Frederick II., the tyranny of the nobles
had become insupportable. And we have the kindred unions formed
under like incentives in Holland. So that, both in small and in large
ways, the industrial groups here and there growing up within a nation
are, in many cases, forced by local antagonisms partially to assume
activities and structures like those which the nation as a whole is
forced to assume in its antagonisms with nations around.

Here the implication chiefly concerning us is that, if industrialism
is thus checked by a return to militancy, the growth of popular power
is arrested. Especially where, as happened in the Italian republics,
defensive war passes into offensive war, and there grows up an ambi-
tion to conquer other territories and tOAvns, the free fonn of govern-
ment proper to industrial life becomes qualified by, if it does not
revert to, the coercive form accompanying militant life. Or where,
as happened in Spain, the feuds between towns and nobles continue
through long periods, the rise of free institutions is arrested ; since.


under such conditions, tliese can be neither that commercial prosperity
which produces hirge urban populations, nor cultivation of the associ-
ated mental nature. Whence it may be inferred that the growth of
popular power accompanying industrial growth in England was largely
due to the comparatively small amount of this warfare between the
industrial groups and the feudal groups around them. The effects of
the trading life were less interfered with, and the local governing
centers, ui'ban and rural, were not prevented from uniting to restrain
the general center.

And now let us consider more specifically how the governmental
influence of the people is acquired. By the histories of organizations
of whatever kind, we are shown that the purpose originally subserved
by some arrangement is not always the purpose eventually subserved.
It is so here. Assent to obligations rather than assertion of rights has
ordinarily initiated the increase of popular power. Even the trans-
formation effected by the revolution of Kleisthenes at Athens took
the form of a redistribution of tribes and denies for purposes of taxa-
tion and military service. In Rome, too, that enlargement of the
oligarchy which occurred under Servius Tullius had for its ostensible
motive the imposing on plebeians of obligations which up to that time
had been borne exclusively by patricians. But we shall best under-
stand this primitive relation between duty and power, in which the
duty is original and the power derived, by going back once more to
the beginning.

For when we remember that the primitive political assembly is
essentially a war-council, formed of leaders who debate in presence of
armed followers ; and when we remember that in early stages all free
adult males, being warriors, are called on to join in defensive or
offensive actions — we see that, originally, the attendance of the armed
freemen is in pursuance of the military service to which they are
bound, and that such power as, w^hen thus assembled, they exercise, is
incidental. Later stages yield clear proofs that this is the normal
order ; for it recurs where, after a political dissolution, political
organization begins de novo. Instance the Italian cities, in which, as
we have seen, the original ** parliaments," summoned for defense by
the tocsin, included all the men capable of bearing arms : the obliga-
tion to fight coming first, and the right to vote coming second. And,
naturally, this duty of attendance survives when the primitive assem-
blage assumes other functions than those of a militant kind ; as wit-
ness the before-named fact that among the Scandinavians it was
'' disreputable for freemen not to attend " the annual assembly ; and
the further facts that in France the obligation to attend the hundred-
court in the Merovingian period rested upon all full freemen ; that in
the Carlovingian period, the " non-attendance is punished by fines and
amercements " : that in Ensland the lower freemen, as well as others,


were " bound to attend the shire-moot and hundred-moot " under pen-
alty of " large fines for neglect of duty" ; and that in the thirteenth
century in Holland, when the burghers were assembled for public pur-
poses, judicial or other, " any one ringing the town bell except by
general consent, and any one not appearing when it tolls, are liable to
a fine."

After recognizing this primitive relation between popular duty and
popular power, we shall more clearly understand the relation as it re-
appears when popular power begins to revive along with the gro^\i:h
of industrialism. For here again the fact meets us that the obli-
gation is primary and the power secondary. It is mainly as furnish-
ing aid to the ruler, generally for war purposes, that the deputies
from towns begin to share in public affairs. There recurs under a
complex form that which at an early stage we see in a simple form.
Let us pause for a moment to observe the transition.

As was shown when treating of " Ceremonial Institutions," the
revenues of rulers are derived, at first wholly and afterward partially,
from presents. Beginning as irregular and voluntary, the making of
presents grows periodic and more or less compulsory. The occasions
on Avhich assemblies are called together to discuss public affairs
(mainly military operations for which supplies are needed) naturally
become the occasions on which the expected gifts are offered and re-
ceived. When by successful wars the militant king consolidates small
societies into a large one — when there comes an " increase of royal
power in intension as the kingdom increases in extension " (to quote
the luminous expression of Professor Stubbs) ; and when, as a conse-
quence, the quasi-voluntary gifts become more and more compulsory,
though still retaining such names as donum and auonlium — it gener-
ally happens that these exactions, passing a bearable limit, lead to
resistance : at first passive and in extreme cases active. If by conse-
quent disturbances the royal power is much weakened, the restoration
of order, if it takes place, is likely to take place on the understand-
ing that, with such modifications as may be needful, the primitive sys-
tem of voluntary gifts shall be reestablished. Thus, when in Spain
the death of Sancho I was followed by political dissensions, the depu-
ties from thirty-two places, who assembled at Yalladolid, decided that
demands made by the king beyond the customary dues should be
answered by death of the messenger ; and the need for gaining the
adhesion of the towns during the conflict with a pretender led to an
apparent toleration of this attitude. Similarly in the next century,
during disputes as to the regency while Alfonso XI was a minor,
the Cortes at Burgos demanded that the towns shoiild " contribute
nothing beyond what was prescribed in " their charters. Kindred
causes wrought kindred results in France ; as when, by an insurrec-
tionary league, Louis Hutin was obliged to grant charters to the nobles
and burgesses of Picardy and of Normandy, renouncing the right of


imposing undue exactions ; and as when, on sundry occasions, the
States-General was assembled for the j^urpose of reconciling the nation
to imposts levied to carry on wars. Nor must its familiarity cause us
to omit the instance furnished by our own history, when, after pre-
liminary steps toward that end at St. Alban's and St. Edmund's,
nobles and people at Runnymede effectually restrained the king from
various tyrannies, and, among others, from that of imposing taxes
without the consent of his subjects.

And now what followed from arrangements which, with modifica-
tions due to local conditions, were arrived at in several countries
under similar circumstances? Evidently, when the king, hindered
from enforcing unauthorized demands, had to obtain supplies by ask-
ing his subjects, or the more powerful of them, his motive for sum-
moning them, or their representatives, became primarily that of get-
ting these supplies. The predominance of this motive for calling
together national assemblies may be inferred from its predominance,
previously shown in connection with local assemblies ; as instance a
writ of Henry I concerning shire- moots, in which, professing to re-
store ancient custom, he says : " I will cause those courts to be sum-
moned when I will for my own sovereign necessity, at my pleasure."
To vote money is therefore the primary purpose for which chief men
and representatives are assembled.

From the ability to prescribe conditions under which money will
be voted, grows the ability, and finally the right, to join in legislation.
This connection is vaguely typified in early stages of social evolution.
Making gifts and getting redress go together from the beginning. As
was said of Gulab Singh, when treating of presents, " even in a
•crowd one could catch his eye by holding up a rupee and crying out,
'Maharajah, a petition.' He would pounce down like a hawk on the
money, and, having appropriated it, would patiently hear out the peti-
tioner." I have in the same place given further examples of this re-
lation between yielding support to the governing agency and de-
manding protection from it ; and the examples there given may be
enforced by such others as that, among ourselves in early days, "the
king's court itself, though the supreme judicature of the kingdom,
was open to none that brought not presents to the king," and that,
as shown by the exchequer rolls, every remedy for a grievance or
security against aggression had to be paid for by a bribe ; a state of
things which, as Hume remarks, was paralleled on the Continent.

Such being the primitive connection between support of the
political head and protection by the political head, the interpreta-
tion of the actions of parliamentary bodies, when they arise, becomes
clear. Just as, in rude assemblies of king, military chiefs, and
armed freemen, preserving in large measure the original form, as
those in France during the jMerovingian period, the presentation of


gifts went along with the transaction of public business, judicial as
well as military — ^just as, in our own ancient shire-moot, local govern-
ment, including the administration of justice, was accompanied by
the furnishing of ships and the payment of " a composition for the
feorm-fultura, or sustentation of the king " — so when, with successful
resistance to excess of royal power, there came assemblies of nobles
and representatives summoned by the king, there reappeared on a
higher platform these simultaneous demands for money on the one
side and for justice on the other. We may assume it as certain that,
with an average humanity, the conflicting egoisms of those con-
cerned will be the main factors ; and that on each side the aim will
be to give as little, and get as much, as circumstances allow. France,
Spain, and England yield examples which unite in showing this.

When Charles V of France, in 1357, dismissing the States-General
for alleged encroachments on his rights, raised money by further de-
basing the coinage, and caused a sedition in Paris which endangered
his life, there was, three months later, a reconvocation of the states,
in which the petitions of the former assembly were acceded to, while
a subsidy for war purposes was voted. And, of an assembled States-
General in 1366, Ilallam writes, "The necessity of restoring the coin
is strongly represented as the grand condition upon which they con-
sented to tax the people, who had been long defrauded by the base
money of Philip the Fair and his successors." Again, in Spain the
incorporated towns, made liable by their charters only for certain pay-
ments and services, had continually to resist unauthorized demands ;
while the kings, continually promising not to take more than their
legal and customary dues, were continually breaking their promises.
In 1328 Alfonso XI " bound himself not to exact from his people, or
cause them to pay, any tax, either partial or general, not hitherto
established by law, without the previous grant of all the deputies con-
vened to the Cortes." And how little such pledges were regarded is
shown by the fact that, in 1393, the Cortes who made a grant to
Henry III annexed the condition that —

he should swear before one of the archbishops not to take or demand any
money, service, or loan, or anything else of the cities and towns, nor of individ-
uals belonging to them, on any pretense of necessity, until the three estates of
the kingdom should first be duly summoned and assembled in Cortes according
to ancient usage.

Similarly in England during the time when parliamentary power
was being established. While, with national consolidation, the royal
authority had been approaching to absoluteness, there had been, by
reaction, arising that resistance which, resulting in the Charter, sub-
sequently initiated the prolonged struggle between the king trying
to break through its restraints and his subjects trying to maintain
and strengthen them. The twelfth article of the Charter having


promised that no scutage or aid, save those wliich were established,
should be imposed without consent of the national council, there per-
petually recurred, both before and after the expansion of Parliament,
endeavors on the king's part to get supplies without redressing
grievances, and endeavors on the part of Parliament to make the
voting of supplies contingent on fulfillment of promises to redress

On the issue of this struggle depended the establishment of popu-
lar power, as we are shown by comparing the histories of the French
and Spanish Parliaments with that of the English Parliament. Quota-
tions above given prove that the Cortes originally established, and for
a time maintained, the right to comply with or to refuse the king's
requests for money, and to impose their conditions ; but they eventu-
ally failed to get their conditions fulfilled.

In the struggling condition of Spanish liberty under Cliarles I, the Crown
began to neglect answering the petitions of Cortes, or to use unsatisfactory
generalities of expression. This gave rise to many remonstrances. Tl)e depu-
ties insisted, in 1523, on having answers before they granted money. They
repeated the same contention in 1525, and obtained a general law, inserted in
the Eecopilacion, enacting that the king should answer all their petitions be-
fore he dissolved the assembly. This, however, was disregarded as before.

And thereafter rapidly went on the decay of parliamentary power.
Different in form, but the same in nature, was the change which
occurred in France. Having at one time, as shown above, made
the granting of money conditional on the obtainment of justice,

Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 74 of 110)