Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION I.: INTRODUCTION; TIMES PRIOR TO THE TWELFTH CENTURY. * - The Formation and Progress of the Tiers État, or Third Estate in France vol. 2
Return to Title Page for The Formation and Progress of the Tiers État, or Third Estate in France vol. 2
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
SECTION I.: INTRODUCTION; TIMES PRIOR TO THE TWELFTH CENTURY. * - Augustin Thierry, The Formation and Progress of the Tiers État, or Third Estate in France vol. 2 
The Formation and Progress of the Tiers État, or Third Estate in France, translated from the French by the Rev. Francis B. Wells, Two volumes in One (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1859).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
INTRODUCTION; TIMES PRIOR TO THE TWELFTH CENTURY.*
The name of Amiens, at the period when Cæsar effected the conquest of Gaul, was Samarobriva, which means, the bridge over the Somme.† It was the capital of the Ambiani, one of the tribes of the great family of the Gallic race, who, under the name of Belgi, inhabited the north of the country from the Rhine, as far as the Marne and the Seine. When it became necessary to repel the Roman invasion, the Ambiani joined with the people of their own origin, and furnished, in the year 57 before our era, a contingent of 10,000 men to the army which was raised by the confederation of the Belgi. But Cæsar triumphed over that powerful league; he distributed his troops through the villages and on the territory of the Belgi; and, on several occasions, legions were cantoned at Samarobriva. Such are the earliest historical notices which relate to the city of Amiens.
It is well known how the conquest of Gaul was effected by the Romans in ten years. The country remained so completely subdued and tranquillised, that, scarcely half a century after the death of Cæsar, the Emperor Augustus was able to comprise it in the provinces of the empire. At that time the Ambiani and their capital were placed in the province which bore the name of Second Belgium. From that period Samarobriva continued subjected to the system of government and to the laws which regulated, in an uniform manner, the various parts of Europe. Placed in dependence on and under the jurisdiction of an imperial officer, it enjoyed, nevertheless, a considerable share in the affairs of its own immediate government; and, like all the cities into which the Roman municipal government was introduced, it possessed a body of magistracy and an urban administration, a senate charged with the management of the police and local affairs, and invested in certain cases, provided for and defined, by the supreme authority, with the right of administering justice, and the enactment of the laws.
Samarobriva Ambianorum, as it was called, by joining the name of the people, of whom it was the ancient capital, to that of the city itself, attained, under the Roman dominion, a high degree of prosperity; it was then enlarged and embellished to such an extent, that already, towards the end of the fourth century of our era, the historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, called it a city eminent among others.* Situated on one of the great Roman roads which traversed the whole length of Gaul, it was, besides, as the Itinerary of Antoninus seems to indicate, the point of junction of many routes of secondary importance which led to Beauvais, Noyon, Soissons, and other neighbouring cities.† It, no doubt, owed a part of its importance to a position so favourable to commerce. From the reign of Augustus down to the fall of the empire numerous edifices were seen to rise within its walls; it possessed a palace in which the imperial magistrate resided, an amphitheatre, temples, and an important manufactory of arms.‡ It is known, by the official statement which was prepared about the year 437, that the emperors had established in Gaul eight establishments for the manufacture of arms of every kind, and that the establishment at Amiens had to supply the Roman soldiers with swords and shields.§ The name of Samarobriva fell out of use in the latter days of the empire, and that of Ambiani alone remained as the designation of the city; at a later period it was replaced, in all instances, by the barbarism Ambianus, which, being contracted and softened in the Romant language, gave rise to the modern name of Amiens.*
The establishment of Christianity and of an episcopal see at Amiens dates from the end of the third century of our era. It was between 260 and 303, ad, that Firminus, St. Firmin, a native of Pampeluna, taught the new faith in the city, and there suffered martyrdom.† He is recorded by the church as the first bishop of Amiens. It will be seen by this date, that at the very time when St. Firmin was condemned to death under the imperial laws, Christianity was on the point of triumphing, and becoming the religion of the empire.
In the year 406, when the Alans, Suevi, Vandals, and Burgundians, forcing the boundary of the Rhine, invaded Gaul and overran it from north to south, the city of Amiens bore her part of the miseries which poured upon the country, and was unable to escape the devastations of the barbarians. It is comprised by St. Jerome in the number of the cities which had to undergo the disasters of that great invasion.‡ It appears, however, that it quickly repaired its losses, for about 437, ad, as the Notice de l’Empire indicates, it still held a distinguished position among the cities subject to the Roman dominion.
Amiens had soon to feel the effects of an invasion, not sudden and transient like the first, but lasting, and destined to exercise a permanent influence upon its internal condition. From the year 428 the Franks, some tribes of whom had already settled on this side the Rhine, within the territory of the empire, had made incursions under the guidance of Chlodio, one of their chiefs or kings, as far as the Somme, but they had been repulsed by Aetius. It does not appear that the kings Merovig and Childeric, the last of whom was master of Tournay and Cambray, repeated the attempts of Chlodio. It was not till the end of the fifth century that the city of Amiens was subjected to the Franks. We may give the year 486 as the exact date when Clodovig, the king of the Salic Franks, in a battle fought under the walls of Soissons, defeated Siagrius, the last Roman who had the government of a portion of the Gallic territory. It was after this victory that the Franks advanced as far as the Seine, and a little after as far as the Loire, and that they took—never to abandon it again—the countries of Gaul situated to the north of the two rivers.
Amiens shared, like all the Gallic cities, in the great revolution which was effected in the Roman municipal system after the fall of the empire. The government of cities under the Roman dominion consisted, as is known, of three distinct departments:—
1. The internal and local administration of the city;
2. The jurisdiction in matters under litigation, or of the civil tribunals, and the criminal jurisdiction;
3. The voluntary jurisdiction, analogous to that which the notaries, and, in certain cases, the magistrates (juges de paix), exercise in France in our own times.*
The central government had left the internal administration, the voluntary jurisdiction, and that which we now call the correctional police, to the cities. It reserved to itself the criminal jurisdiction, and that of the civil tribunals. By the simple fact of the dissolution of the empire, the municipal magistrates of Amiens, and of other cities of Gaul, found themselves suddenly invested with an authority which they had never possessed till then. The members of the senate preserved their ancient prerogatives; but, at the same time, they filled certain posts which the retreat of the imperial officers left vacant, and exercised to a greater or less extent, according to the necessity of the case, the criminal and civil jurisdiction.
At the same period considerable changes were made in the appointments to the urban magistracy. The staff of the ancient senate was broken up, the municipal body was formed of all the notable citizens, whatever might be their title, and the members of the clergy were admitted together with the laity. The bishop directly interfered, legally, if we may so say, in the government and administration of the city. Up to that time he had possessed nothing but a purely moral ascendancy over his fellow-citizens, and this he owed entirely to his episcopal functions and to the sacred character with which he was invested. The Roman law made him, in addition, a sort of magistrate, with the right of arranging differences, and terminating proceedings which were submitted to him.* After the dissolution of the Roman government he became, by his ecclesiastical pre-eminence, which he owed to popular election, member and president of the municipal body. Invested at once with a double authority, spiritual and temporal, he henceforth found himself placed as bishop and magistrate, in the first rank in the city, and possessing in all its affairs the chief share of influence. We are not here reduced to simple conjectures, we have a written authority, which, in regard to the second half of the seventh century, confirms what we have just advanced.
“Salvius,” says a hagiographer, “was elected by the choice of the people, and appointed by God to fill the episcopal see; he was called by the people to the order of the magistracy, and crowned by God with the honour of the apostolate.”* Brief as is this passage, a threefold conclusion may be drawn from it:—
1. In the seventh century the people took part in the election of the bishop.
2. They nominated the municipal magistrates.
3. The bishop formed part of the urban magistracy, who acted as governors and judges in the city.
Such were the changes necessary, and in some sort spontaneous, which the municipal system of Amiens underwent, like that of other cities of Gaul, after the fall of the Roman empire, and the establishment of the German supremacy. It is our present task to examine what influence the political organisation of the German conquerors, and especially that of the Franks, exercised on that system.
The Merovingian kings established, in every important city throughout the whole territory which they had conquered, persons to whom they delegated their authority; who, under the designation of counts, exercised the high office of judges and civil and military governors. It is difficult to mark with accuracy the limit which separated, in the internal government of the city, the action and the power of the count from that assigned by the law, or lapsed through the necessity of circumstances to the senate, the defenseur, or the bishop.* We can, however, assert that the presence and establishment of these royal officers did not, by any means, cause the disappearance of the municipal institutions. The counts, as the contemporary documents prove, received the power of raising taxes and of presiding at the assemblies; or, according to the German custom, the principal freemen of the district sat as judges in criminal matters, and exercised jurisdiction in civil cases, as well as in those voluntarily referred to arbitration. In the rural districts these principal freemen, these valid sureties, Rekin-burghe, as it is expressed in the Teutonic language,† were men of Frankish origin; but in the city, the abode of Gallo-Roman families, but where the rich Franks no longer dwelt, the notables, who were convoked by the count to act as judges in civil and criminal cases under his presidency, occupied the position of the senate itself, excepting its hereditary constitution, and the fixed number of its members.
Thus the enlargement of the municipal jurisdiction, which was necessarily brought about by the dissolution of the Roman government, was sanctioned and regulated under new forms by the German institution of the Mâl, or the judicial assembly.* A multitude, moreover, of acts and formularies proves that the urban magistracy did not cease during the Merovingian period, and even later, to exercise to their full extent the powers which it had enjoyed in the Roman times. It preserved the internal and local administration; it exercised the voluntary jurisdiction; and the acts of this jurisdiction—enfranchisements, adoptions, legitimations, grants, deliveries of goods sold, admission of wills, &c., when they were made and passed in the absence of the royal officers—did not lose their value or their authenticity. Lastly, when the count came to take his place as president, in the assemblies of justice, where judgment was to be pronounced on some crime or proceeding, he derogated nothing from the powers of the notables, Rachimburgii, who sat in the court by his presence; the notables decided on the case and on the law. The count had only to ascertain their opinions and to ratify the verdict; and when the Mâl was held in a city, in spite of this new name, which passed from the language of the barbarian laws into the wording of the acts which were drawn up according to the Roman law, it was the municipal body which, maintaining its existence, although beneath the dress, as it were, of the German institution, exercised in the presence and under the sanction of the count the criminal and civil jurisdiction.*
It frequently happened, as is well known, that the Frank counts trammelled, by acts of brutal violence, the legal exercise of the judicial power, with the maintenance and guardianship of which they were intrusted: it also happened that the Frank kings imposed bishops of their own appointment on the cities, or interfered in the episcopal elections, in spite of the protests of the clergy and citizens. But it may be asserted, in general, that in Amiens, and in other cities, the kings and counts, during the Merovingian dynasty, allowed the various prerogatives of the ancient municipal law to exist in their full extent.
It is a circumstance which here deserves remark, that Amiens, in the Merovingian and Carlovingian periods, was one of the richest and most flourishing cities in Gaul. It owed a great part of its importance and prosperity to the commerce which was carried on along the Somme, and of which it was the mart. In 779, Charlemagne granted to the Abbey of Saint-Germaindes-Prés an exemption from all the dues which were demanded at Amiens, and in many ports and places of commerce, on merchandise of every kind. The cities and places named in the deed of grant are those which still, at a later period, as well as in those days, formed the medium of almost all the import trade into the north-west provinces of Gaul. They are, Rouen, the port of Étaples, the ancient Portus Icius, in Boulonnais, Utrecht, Pont-Sainte-Maxence, Paris, Troyes, and Sens.* The deed of grant of Charlemagne, compared with other documents of a later date, is of great importance in regard to the history of Amiens. It goes to prove that under the kings of the two first races, as in the succeeding periods of the middle ages, this city was one of the grand centres of commerce in the north of France, into which the merchandise of all countries then flowed.*
From the seventh to the middle of the tenth century we have no document to supply the least particular relative to the municipal organisation of Amiens. Among the general facts, however, which took place during this period, there is one which we ought to point out, for it introduced an important modification into the municipal constitution, not of Amiens in particular, but of all the cities of Gaul: we mean the institution of the Scabinat. Charlemagne, depending upon the recollections and the remains of the ancient civilisation, had tried to form a new Roman empire out of his vast territories. The principal means of attaining the accomplishment of such a design was necessarily by establishing, as far as the confusion of the social elements at that period permitted, regularity and unity of administration: the first Frank emperor attempted this by ably originating reforms in all the branches of the government. One of his great measures for the public order was to model the judicial institutions upon a new plan, and to make provision for the regular administration of justice, which the law, as well as custom, left to the voluntary services of freemen, who were convoked by the count to the Mâl, or court of the district. He created a body of regular judges, under the German name of Skapene or Skafene, in the Latin acts, Scabini, Scabinei. These judges were to be chosen, both in the cities and districts of the open country, by the count of the place, the imperial commissioners, or missi dominici, and the people.* Under this last class was comprised, in the rural districts, the whole body of those who were freemen according to the German law, and, in the cities, the whole body of those who were citizens according to the Roman law.
In this manner the judicial revolution effected by Charlemagne gave an entirely new right to the inhabitants of the cities, namely, that of appointing judges conjointly with the count, who, up to that time, had been sole judge, as recognised and qualified by the laws of the Frank monarchy. This order of things, which substituted the Scabins, or judges elected by the count and the people, in the place of the ancient judges of the senate, produced a revolution in the municipal government; but the change did not so much affect the substance as the form of the urban constitutions. The new magistrates were taken from among those who had the right of sitting as judges in the courts of the preceding period, from among those who were members of the body which, from time immemorial, conducted all the affairs of the city, and thence, in after times, was derived the tradition which attached to the Roman office* of Eskevins or Eschevins the double meaning of governors and judges.
The facts, I repeat, which have been transmitted to us as having taken place in the city of Amiens during the period which extends from the seventh to the middle of the tenth century, belong entirely to general history. The chroniclers recount nothing at length but the calamities which befell that city up to the period of the dissolution of the Carlovingian empire; they are, on the one hand, the invasions of the Northmen, which followed one another without intermission, year after year, from 859 to 926; on the other, the wars of the seigneurs, who, freed from all superior authority by the fall of the empire and the weakness of the royal power, contested among themselves the possession of its fortifications and territory. But there is an episode in these wars of which account must be taken, for it shows in favour of the citizens, that their right of taking part in the elections of the bishops, one of the privileges derived from their ancient Roman constitution, still existed to the middle of the tenth century as three hundred years earlier, in the days of Bishop Salvius.
In 946 Derold, the bishop, died; the inhabitants of Amiens chose and appointed as his successor to the vacant see a monk of Saint-Waast, by name Raimbaud. The election was regular; it was annulled by force. In 947 Hugo, count of Paris, came to Amiens, drove Raimbaud away, and installed Tetbaud, one of the clergy of Soissons, as bishop, in his place. But the intruder did not remain long in peaceable possession of the episcopal chair; he was driven away in his turn, and excommunicated. In 949 Arnulf, count of Flanders, marched upon Amiens, and, aided by some of the inhabitants, made himself master of the city; he brought back Raimbaud, the elected bishop, and put him in possession of the dignity which he held by the popular choice.* Thus, in the middle of the tenth century, the inhabitants of Amiens took part with the clergy in the election of their bishops. This right was never disputed; documents of a different kind prove that they exercised it during the whole course of the eleventh century, and that they still did so in the following, till the period when their municipal existence was formed afresh by a revolution, and took an entirely new shape, under the celebrated name of Commune.*
The right of appointing scabins, or elected judges, which the laws of the Carlovingian empire had conjointly assigned to the count and the freemen in each administrative division (circonscription), was entirely usurped during the lengthened confusion which accompanied the dissolution of the empire by the counts, and became one of the foundations of that local sovereignty which they claimed. It does not appear that, in the rural divisions, where all had been organised after the German manners and customs, the encroachment on the right of the freemen had been the object of a strong resistance; but, in the cities, it gave rise to a long struggle between the seigneurial power, on the one hand, and, on the other, between the urban corporation, which, under different names, and with different degrees of administrative and judicial power, had succeeded to the senate of the Roman times. This struggle, in which all the cities of Gaul, without exception, were forced to yield, although in a very unequal manner, fills up the space of the tenth and eleventh centuries in their history. It is the period of decline and ruin for the municipal institutions; its prevailing character consists in the dissolution of the body of judges, which may now be called échevins, in the replacing of those judges by the vassals of the count, peers of the seigneurial court, in the infeudation of both the judicial and administrative appointments. These changes were everywhere coincident, though in different degrees, with the forgetfulness of the traditions of civil life, the encroachment of the barbarian manners and customs, the abandonment of the social discipline which the Roman usages had transmitted, and which, although weakened under the Frankish sway, was still preserved within the cities by the continuance of their municipal governments.
The eleventh century witnessed the extreme point of this movement of dissolution of all civil order. We see private wars prevailing—family arrayed against family, and man against man—among the bourgeois of the cities, as among the lords and the vassals; but, at the same period, by a sudden reaction of good sense, of natural equity and recollections of a happier time, the first symptoms of a new desire for order, justice, and peace appeared. Heart and hand were united under the authority of religion to substitute pacific agreements in the place of a brutal vengeance, and submission to sentences both of arbitration and judgment. We are acquainted with the celebrated institutions of the Truce and Peace of God, which were promulgated on several occasions in the course of the century by the bishops assembled in national and provincial councils. It is certain that attempts similar, and entirely spontaneous, took place on a smaller scale, and that associations, bound by oath for the maintenance of the public peace, were formed in some of the small provinces and simple towns. About the year 1025, the inhabitants of Amiens were united to those of Corbie by a treaty of reciprocal peace, not only between these two cities, but between all the persons domiciled within their limits and on their territory. This confederation—like all of the same kind—adopted as its principle the old practice of the confederated association, which, under the name of Guild, had been introduced into Gaul by the German populations, and which, after the mixture of races and manners, was preserved, especially in the provinces of the north.* We here present the curious details which a sacred writer of the eleventh century has given us of the alliance of Amiens and Corbie, of its character and its object.
The inhabitants of the two cities were associated by the invocation of the saints whose relics they possessed. They determined among themselves to observe perfect peace, that is to say, for all the days of the week;* and having made a promise to meet at Amiens every year on a high festival day, they bound themselves to that engagement by oath. They all swore that, for the future, if a quarrel broke out between two individuals, neither one nor the other should have recourse to pillage or incendiarism; but that they should delay their cause to a stated day, and should then appear before the church, in the presence of the bishop and the count, to plead it, and to close their dispute in a peaceable manner.† The contemporary narrator adds, that these resolutions gave birth to a custom which was long observed by the inhabitants of the two associated cities. Their grand annual meeting took place on the octave of the Rogation days; the relics of the saints were borne in procession; suits were terminated; feuds and differences were appeased; the statutes of the association were read in public, and were confirmed by a fresh oath; speakers addressed the people; and then the proceedings ended. The religious character of this institution was gradually effaced; and, after a time of greater or less duration, it became simply political; the relics of the saints were neglected; and when the day of the great meeting returned, there were amusements and dances instead of processions and prayers. The monks of Corbie and Amiens ceased to take part in these fêtes; but it is probable that the compact of peace between the two cities was maintained by them till the period when a powerful but different application of the federal association caused all the rights and all the guarantees of the municipal system to spring into fresh existence in the north of France, by the institution of the communes jurées.*
The establishment of feudalism had, in a manner, materialised all the political and civil offices. The division of the social powers and administrative prerogatives had been transformed by it into a division of territorial domains, of every description and of every size, to each of which a larger or smaller share of sovereignty and jurisdiction was inseparably attached. At Amiens the division of the territory, and, by consequence, that of the political and judicial power, was effected in a very unequal manner between the two ancient heads of the city, the count and the bishop. The lordship of the count extended over the city and its precincts; that of the bishop, although he was lord paramount, was restricted to the peculiar domains of his church, both within and without the city. The jurisdiction of the count was held to be general; that of the bishop was in its nature special, and was, as it were, enclosed within the other. By the documents of the eleventh century, the district of the bishop of Amiens, as a feudal tenure, seems to have been confined within these narrow limits; but his authority seems still to have preserved some connexion with the ancient civil tradition and the general interests of the city. From time to time the title of administrator of the public weal of Amiens appears in the episcopal charters, Procurator rei publicæ Ambianensis, a title which is derived from the recollections of the municipal constitutions prior to the tenth century.*
The recollections of the time when the crown was the only supreme power were likewise attached to a portion of the city; the smallest, indeed, of all the buildings and dependencies of the ancient citadel, a high and strong tower named the Castillon, and constructed, according to the antiquaries, on the site of a Roman palace.† The court of the Castillon, and the lands which bordered on it from the city-wall to the Somme, belonged to the lordship of the king, and not to that of the count; they were held hereditarily, on the condition of allegiance and homage, by a governor, who exercised a certain jurisdiction within its limits, and who was placed, by the rights attached to his tenure, in the rank of seigneur, or, as it is expressed in the ancient documents—Prince of the city, after the count, the bishop, and the vidame,* or lieutenant civil of the bishop.†
Besides this territorial division, did anything exist in the eleventh century which the corporation of citizens possessed as their own? were there still any remains of communal property in houses and lands, which Amiens, like all the cities of Gaul, had possessed in the Roman times, and of which the right was maintained under the Frankish domination? It is difficult to answer this question positively; but some official acts prove that, in the eleventh century, there still existed at Amiens a sort of municipal council, the organ of the interests and grievances of the city. We find mention made of heads of the city (Primores urbis)—men of authority—who had weight of character with the people (viri authentici habentes in plebe pondus testimonii.)‡
A charter of the year 1091 supplies some valuable information on the state of the city of Amiens in the eleventh century. It proves, first, that the feudal court of the count took the place of the Carlovingian Scabinat, the very name of which had disappeared in the administration of justice, both within and without the city; secondly, that the clergy and people of Amiens were united in their remonstrances and protests against the abuses of power—the frauds and extortions of the seigneurial judges. The jurisdiction of the count was then exercised by a certain number of knights, who were his vassals, and who owed him, by right of homage for their fiefs, judicial as well as military service. They held the seigneurial courts both in the city and on the territories of the county of Amiens, and the appellation of viscounts was given to them, either as denoting their delegated duties, or as the title of some fief attached to those duties.
Two brothers, Gui and Ives, conjointly counts of Amiens,* made the charter of which I am speaking, on the reiterated complaints of the churches and congregations; and after having held a preliminary consultation with Gervin, the bishop of Amiens, the Archdeacons Ansel and Foulques, and the heads of the city. The object of this charter was to remedy the most crying abuses in the judicial proceedings, and to put an end to the prevarications of which the viscounts or judges were guilty in the exercise of their office.
We give here the principal provisions:—
Both within and without the city, throughout the county of Amiens, no viscount shall compel a person to answer to an accusation of theft, unless some one shall have lodged a complaint against him. If an accuser appears, the accused shall receive from the viscount permission to take counsel; and, after having taken counsel, he shall reply to the charge made against him.
If the accused be convicted of theft, he shall restore to the plaintiff the money stolen, and shall pay the viscount only three livres; he shall then be quit of that matter, and shall not be held liable to give account upon it to the other viscounts.
If a viscount assumes that an article has been found by any one, and claims it on that account, the suspected shall not be held liable to reply, unless there be a witness who declares that he was present at the discovery, or has received some confession from the accused. If there be a witness, the accused, having taken counsel, shall legally exculpate himself; if he fail to do so, he shall give up the article found to the count, and only three livres to the viscount; and shall not be afterwards held liable to answer before the other viscounts.
If one of the viscounts accuses any one of having made a stipulation with another viscount upon an act of theft, or discovery, the accused shall not be held liable to answer to the charge, unless there be a witness who declares that he was present at the transaction. If there be a witness, the accused shall exculpate himself legally, or he shall restore to the viscount the object stolen or discovered, and shall pay him three livres at the most.
To this act of judicial reform there is attached a grant which was made by the two counts to the cathedral church of Amiens; it was promulgated in this church by being read aloud, and under menace of anathema.*
The enacting clause and the preamble of this curious charter form a striking testimony of the deplorable state of society, especially the urban society, about the end of the eleventh century. Nothing could be more intolerable for the cities, more contrary to their municipal traditions, more repugnant to their ancient conditions of existence, than an order of things in which justice, in its different degrees, constituted a private property and patrimonial revenues. The abuses here pointed out imply others still more serious, of which, unfortunately, no authentic act has transmitted the account to our times. An action for theft commenced without a complaining party, and an accusation made without a witness, for an assumed discovery of articles which had been concealed, or were unclaimed,—articles, which, according to the feudal law, belonged to the seigneur,—such were the means of daily extortion practised by the viscounts. The accused, who had been acquitted by one of the viscounts, found himself charged by another viscount with having made a compromise with his judge, and an action recommenced against him; the condemned paid the penalty as many times over as there were viscounts in the city, or in the district; lastly, the object of the real or pretended theft was confiscated by the judges. That which was prohibited for the future by the ordinance of the Counts Gui and Ives was thus obtained, as a favour, by the inhabitants of Amiens, after lengthened remonstrances and solicitations frequently repeated. The two counts who made this grant seem to have had a feeling of deep distress, that their constitution, as they call it, should be powerless to supply a remedy. The words which they make use of are grave and sad: “Considering,” they say, “how miserably God’s people, in the county of Amiens, have been oppressed by the viscounts with sufferings new and unheard of, like the children of Israel oppressed in Egypt by the task-masters of Pharaoh, we have been moved by feelings of charity; the cry of the churches and the groanings of the faithful have affected us with sorrow.”* This pity, mixed with remorse, might be sincere, but it could not bear any lasting fruit; the benevolent will of a seigneur reproved for a moment the weight of the feudal tyranny; but this seigneur passed away, and the institutions remained there to bring all back again. A power, violent and entirely uncontrolled, sprung from the introduction of the barbarian usages, had seized upon all the remains of the old civil society; the usage of the age had formed it; a revolution alone could crush it; and, in the case of the city of Amiens, this revolution was not long delayed; it took place less than a quarter of a century after the charter of the Counts Gui and Ives.
[* ]Recueil des Monuments inédits de l’Histoire du Tiers Etat, t. i., from p. 1 to p. 25.
[† ]The ancient name of the river, Samarus or Samara, was changed, about the sixth century, to that of Sumina or Somena, later, by contraction, Sumna or Somma, from which comes the present name Somme. (See Hadriani Valesii Notit. Galliar., pp. 15 and 539.)
[* ]Ambiani urbs, inter alias, eminens. (Ammiani Marcell. lib. xv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. i., p. 546)
[† ]See the Itinerarium Antonini Augusti, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. i., pp. 106 and 107.
[‡ ]Hadr. Vales. Notit. Galliar., p. 539.
[§ ]Ambianensis (fabrica) spataria et scutaria. (Notitia imperii dignitatum per Gallias, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. i., p. 126.)
[* ]V. Hadri. Vales. Notit. Galliarum, p. 15.
[† ]Gallia Christiana, t. x., col. 1150.
[‡ ]“Remorum urbspræpotens, Ambiani, Atrebatæ, extremique hominum Morini, Tornacus, Nemetæ, Argentoratus translati in Germaniam.” (Hieronymi Epist., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. i., p. 744.)
[* ]See the account given by M. Pardessus, in the Journal des Savants (1840, p. 105), of the Histoire du Droit Romain au Moyen Age, by M. de Savigny.
[* ]“Si qui, ex consensu, apud sacræ legis antistitem litigare voluerint, non vetabuntur, sed experientur illius, in civili duntaxat negocio more arbitri sponte residenti judicium.” (Cod. lib. i., tit. iv., de Episcopali Audientia, const. Arcad. et Honor. impp. .)
[* ]“Fuit quidem electus a plebe Ambianensium, et a Deo donatus in sede sacerdotum, fuit vocatus a populo in ordine magistratus et coronatus a Deo in honore apostolatus.” (Vita S. Salvii Ambian. Episc. [anno 686], apud Bolland. Acta SS. Januarii, t. i., p. 706.—Gall. Christ., t. x., col. 1153 et seq.)
[* ]Defensor civitatis, plebis, loci. For information on the province of this municipal magistrate in the Roman times, and under the Frank domination, see Cod. Theod. lib. i., de defensoribus, sect. i. 55.—Novel. Majorian. 5.—Marculfi formul. et var. formul., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iv., p. 465 et seq.
[† ]Rek, rik, strong, powerful; burg, borg, bail, surety. This designation occupies a prominent place in the acts of Frankish Gaul, in which we find the words rachimburgii, regimburgi, recineburgi. V. Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iv., passim.
[* ]We read the following passage in the life of St. Valery:—
[* ]Curia: Mahal (Rhabani Mauri Glossarium apud Eckhart de Rebus Franciæ Oriental. t. ii., p. 956.) There is still an act of voluntary jurisdiction in existence, which was passed about the year 850, by the Assembly of Notables of the city of Amiens; it is a grant made by one Angilguin to the Cathedral Church of St. Firmin; the act concludes with these words: Actum Ambianis civitate in mallo publico. (See Du Cange, Histoire des Comtes d’Amiens, edited by M. Hardouin, p. 28 and following, in the notes.)
[* ]“Propterea per presentem preceptum decernimus, quod perpetualiter mansurum esse jubemus, ut per ullos portos neque per civitates tam in Rodomo quam et in Wicus, neque in Ambianis, neque in Trejecto, neque in Dorstadæ, neque per omnes portos ad sanctam Maxantiam, neque alicubi, neque in Parisiaco, neque in Ambianis, neque in Burgundia, in pago Trigasino, neque in Senonico, per omnes civitates similiter, ubicumque in regna, proposito Christo, nostra, aut pagis vel territoriis theloneus exigatur . . . . Data vi kal. Aprilis, anno xi et v regni nostri. Actum Haristalio palacio publico.” (Preceptum Caroli magni apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. v., p. 742.—V. Hadr. Vales. Notit. Galliar., pp. 249 and 256.)
[* ]Under the two first races, as at the period of the Roman domination, there was a mint at Amiens. Golden pieces of a third of a sou value were coined in the Merovingian times, bearing the names of different masters of the mint. Deniers of the time of Charlemagne have these words on one side: Karol. rex, and on the reverse, S. Firmini. This last inscription is explained by the veneration paid by the inhabitants of Amiens to the memory of their first bishop. Other coins of Charlemagne, as king, preserved in the collection of Doctor Rigollot, have on one side Carlus, and on the other Ambianis. A coin struck in the reign of Charles le Chauve has,—Ambianis civitas, and the monogram of this prince. (See Du Cange, Histoire des Comtes d’Amiens, edited by M. Hardouin, pp. 24, 25, and 361.)
[* ]The words skapene, skafene, alias skepene, skefene, are derived from the Teutonic word skapan or skafan, which signifies to dispose, to order, to judge. (See Grimm, Antiquités du Droit Germanique, § 7, p. 778.)—Ut judices . . . . scabinei boni et veraces et mansueti, cum comite et populo, eligantur et constituantur. (Capitular. i., an. 809, art. 22, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. v., p. 680.)—Ut missi nostri, ubicumque malos scabineos inveniunt, ejiciant et, totius populi consensu, in loco eorum bonos eligant. (Capitular. Wormatiense, an. 829, art. 11, ibid., t. vi., p. 441.)
[* ]The office, Roman; the name, Teutonic.—Translator’s note.
[* ]“Ambianenses Tetbaldum, quem eis Hugo constituerat, episcopum, exosi, castrum Arnulfo comiti produnt, qui advocans regem Ludovicum, oppidum ipsum cepit, Tetbaldum expulit, Regembaldum illuc Atrebatensem quemdam monachum quem iidem Ambianenses prius sibi delegerant, introduxit quique Remos a rege perductus, ordinatur episcopus ab Artaldo archiepiscopo.” (Chron. Frodoardi, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. viii., p. 205.—Ibid., pp. 175, 201.)
[* ]Epistola Urbani Papæ II. ad clerum et populum Ambianensem, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. xiv., p. 700.—“Concilium ipsum Trecense, anno 1104, electionem olim confirmaverat viri sanctissimi Goffridi episcopi Ambianensis, quod unanimiter a clero et populo electus fuisset, rege quoque assentiente.” (Thomassin, Vetus Ecclesiæ Disciplina, t. ii., p. 91.)—“Clerus autem et populus . . . eo absente [Godefrido], super altero eligendo, non sine magna ipsius aspernatione, non sategit.” (Guiberti Abbat. de Novigento, de Vita Sua, lib. iii., sub an. 1115, inter opera ejus omnia, p. 516, ed. Dachery.)
[* ]Gilde or Gelde (pronounced Ghilde and Ghelde) signify in the Teutonic language a feast at the common expense, association, brotherhood. (See the Glossaries of Ihre, Schertz, and Wachter, on the etymology of this word. On the origin of the Guild, and on its different applications in the middle ages, see the Considérations sur l’Histoire de France, placed at the head of the Récits des Temps Mérovingiens, chap. vi.)
[* ]Already, by “the Truce or Peace of God,” war was allowed to be carried on only from Monday morning to Wednesday night.—Translator’s note.
[† ]“Ambianenses et Corbeienses cum suis patronis conveniunt, integram pacem, id est totius hebdomadæ, decernunt; et ut per singulos annos ad id confirmandum Ambianis in die festivitatis sancti Firmini redeant, unanimiter Deo repromittunt. Ligant se hujus promissionis voto, votumque religant sacramento. Fuit autem hæc repromissio, ut si qui disceptarent inter se aliquo discidio, non se vindicarent præda aut incendio, donec statuta die ante ecclesiam, coram pontifice et comite, fieret pacificalis declamatio.” (Miracula S. Adalhardi Abbat. Corbeiensis, auctore S. Gerardo Abbat. Monast. Silvæ Majoris, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. x., p. 378.)
[* ]“Adoleverat inter Ambianenses et Corbeienses nova quædam religio, et ex religione pullulaverat consuetudo, quæ etiam reciprocabatur omni anno. Octavis denique Rogationum ab utrisque partibus conveniebatur in unum; ibique conferebantur corpora sanctorum, solvebantur lites, ad pacem revocabantur discordes, mutabantur a populo orandi vices. Decreta utriusque loci renovabantur, populo perorabatur, sicque redibatur. Sed procedente tempore cœpit aliquando res ipsa usu vilescere, et inreverentia fieri ex multa veneratione. Uterque si quidem sexus cachinnis et lusibus intendere, ordiri choreas, et inreverenter agere; et sic pene omnes corpora sanctorum negligere. Displicuit res illa bonis et maxime monachis.” (Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. x., p. 378.)
[* ]“Gui presul et procurator rei publice Ambianensis, universis filiis adoptionis præsentibus et futuris . . . .” (Charter of the consecration and endowment of the monastery of Saint-Martin-aux-Jumeaux, bearing date 1073. Departmental Archives of Somme, cartulary of the chapter of Notre-Dame of Amiens, No. 1, fol. 195, ro. and vo.) In a charter of the year 1139, the words presul et procurator totius rei publice Ambianensis are found. (See Du Cange, Gloss., on the word procuratores.)
[† ]Pro muro Castellionis, sic enim vocatur. (Guiberti Abbat. de Novigent., de Vita Sua, lib. iii., inter ejus opera omnia, p. 516.)—Antiquités de la Ville d’Amiens, by de la Morlière, liv. i., p. 66.—Histoire d’Amiens, by M. Dusevel, t. i., p. 16.
[* ]Vidame, i.e., Vice domini.—Translator’s note.
[† ]“Secum duxit Adamum ejus civitatis principem.” (Vita S. Godefridi Episc. Ambian. sæc. xii., apud Surium, mens. Novemb., p. 220.)—“Et certe Adam regi hominium fecerat.” (Guiberti Abbat. de Novigent., de Vita Sua, lib. iii., sub anno 1113, inter ejus opera omnia, p. 516.) Thus there were four co-seigneurs. In a charter of the year 1151, the heir of the ancient governors was entitled, Ambianis civitatis princeps quartus. (Cartul. of Saint-Jean-les-Amiens, MS. of the thirteenth century, communicated by Doctor Rigollot, col. 407.)
[‡ ]See the charter granted by Gui, bishop of Amiens, in the years 1058 and 1076, and those of the Counts Gui and Ives granted about the year 1091, Rec. des Monum. inéd. de l’Hist. du Tiers Etat, t. i., pp. 18 and 22.
[* ]They were the sons of Raoul I., count of Amiens, Mantes, and Pontoise, and came into possession of the county on the retirement of the elder brother, Simon, who entered the monastery of Saint-Claude in 1076.
[* ]See the text of the document. Rec. des Monum. inéd. de l’Histoire du Tiers Etat., t. i., p. 22.
[* ]“. . . . Attendentes quam miserabiliter plebs Dei, in comitatu Ambianensi, ab vicecomitibus novis et inauditis calamitatibus affligebatur, quasi populus Israel oppressus in Egypto ab exactoribus Pharaonis, zelo caritatis permoti condoluimus. . . . .” (Rec. des Monum. inéd. de l’Hist. du Tiers Etat, t. i., p. 22.)