Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter viii: Of the Salick Law, and what Right Women had in the King 's their Father's Inheritance - An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor
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chapter viii: Of the Salick Law, and what Right Women had in the King ’s their Father’s Inheritance - Robert Molesworth, An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor 
An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor, Edited and with an Introduction by Justin Champion (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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Of the Salick Law, and what Right Women had in the King ’s their Father’s Inheritance
Because we have undertaken to give an Account of the Law and Right of Regal Inheritance, we must not omit making mention of the Salick Law; which is both daily discours’d of by our Countrymen, and in the memory of our Forefathers serv’d to appease a great and dangerous Contention, which arose touching the Succession to the Crown.83 For when (Anno 1328.) Charles the Fair, Son of Philip the Fair, died, leaving his Wife with Child of a Daughter, (which some Months after was born) Edward King of England (Son of Isabella, the Daughter of Philip the fair, and Sister to Charles lately dead) claimed the Inheritance of his Grandfather’s Kingdom as his Right. But Philip of Valois, Cousin-german by the Father’s Side to the deceased King, standing up, alledged that there was an ancient Regal Law, called the Salick Law, by which all Women were excluded from the Inheritance of the Crown. Now this Law both Gaguinus and other Writers of like stamp tell us, was written by Pharamond; and he calls it a most famous Law, even to his Time. For in his Life of Philip of Valois; “The Salick Law (says he) was a Bar to Edward’s Title; which Law being first given by Pharamond to the Franks, has been religiously observed, even to those days. By that Law, only the Heirs Male of our Kings are capable of governing the Kingdom, and no Females can be admitted to that Dignity. The Words of that Law are these: Nulla hereditatis portio de terra Salica ad mulierem venito; ‘Let no part of the Inheritance of Salick Land come to a Woman.’ Now (says Gaguinus) the French Lawyers call Salick Land, such as belongs only to the King, and is different from the Allodial which concerns the Subjects; to whom, by that Law, is granted a free dominion of any thing, not excluding the Princely Authority.” And to the same Purpose, not only almost all the Francogallican Historians, but even all the Lawyers and Pettifoggers have wrote to this Day, as Paponius testifies, Arrest. lib. 4. cap. 1. So that now the mistake has prevailed so far, as to have obtained the Force of a Law. To explain this, it must be remembered (which we formerly gave an account of) that the Franks had two Seats of their Empire, and two Kingdoms; One in France, which remains to this Day; The other beyond the Rhine, near the River Sala; from whence they were called Salii, and Salici Franci (joyning the two Names together) but for the most part briefly Salici; the Kingdom of these last, and even their very Name is in a Manner extinct. Ammianus Marcellinus makes mention in his History (as we told you before) of these Salii, and shews, that they are called the Eastern Franks, as the other were called the Western. Now as there were two Kingdoms of the Franks, so they had different Laws: those that belonged to the Salii, were called Salick; those that belonged to the Francogalli, were called French. Eguinarthus in his Life of Charles the Great says thus: “After he had assumed, the Imperial Title, finding that his Peoples Laws were in many Things deficient, (for the Franks have two Laws, very different from each other in many cases,) he thought of adding such as were wanting.” The Author of the Preface to the Salick Law has this Passage. “The renowned Nation of the Franks, before it was converted to the Catholick Faith, enacted the Salick Law by the Great Men of the Nation, who at that Time were their Governors; and from among a great many, four Persons were chosen; Wisogast, Arbogast, Salogast, and Windogast; who during three Conventions [tres mallos] carefully perusing all Causes from their Original, gave their Judgment and Decree of every one of them in this Manner, etc.”; Sigebertus in Chron. anni 422. & Otto Frising. lib. 4. cap. Penult. make use of almost the same Words. “From that time (say they) the Laws recommended to them by Wisigastaldus and Salogastus, began to be in Force. By this Salogastus, they tell us, that Law was invented, which from his Name is to this Day called the Salick Law; and the most noble of the Franks, called Salici, observe it at this time.” Thus say the old Chronographers. By which we may refute the Error of such as derive the Salick Law, à Sale, that is, Prudence; or that it was called corruptly Lex Salica, instead of Gallica; than which nothing can be more absurd. But much greater Errors spring from the same Fountain: First, That People are so far imposed upon by those Authors, as to believe the Salick Law had reference to the Publick Right of the Commonwealth and the Government, also to the Hereditary Succession of the Kingdom. Now the very Records or Tables of this Salick Law were not many Years ago found and brought to light; from whose Inscription it appears, that they were first written and publish’d about Pharamond ’s time: Besides, that all the Heads and Articles, both of the Salick and French Laws, were Constitutions relating only to private Right between Man and Man, and meddled not with the publick Right of the Kingdom or Commonwealth: among the rest one Chapter, tit. 62. has this in it. “Of the Salick Land, no Part or Portion of Inheritance passes to a Female; but this falls to the Male Off-spring; that is, the Sons shall succeed to the Inheritance: But where a dispute shall arise (after a long Course of Time) among the Grandsons and great Grandsons, de Alode terrae;84 let it be divided, Non per stirpes sed per capita.”;85 The like Law, Extat apud Ripuarios, tit. 58. Item apud Anglos, tit. 7. Where they are so far from enacting any thing relating to the Inheritances of Kingdoms, that they do not so much as affect Feudal Successions, but only belong to Allodial; although a portion was assigned to Women out of those Allodial Lands. Which way soever this matter may be, ’tis manifest in the first place, that although no Article, either of the Frank or Salick Law were extant, which debars Women from the Inheritance of the Crown; yet the Customs and Institutions of a Nation, preserv’d inviolate by universal consent, during so many Ages, obtain the Force of a written Law: For though Childeric, the third King, left two Daughters behind him at his Death, the Kingdom was given to his Brother Lotharius and his Daughters excluded. Again, after the Death of Cherebert the 5th King, who left three Daughters; the Succession devolv’d upon his Brother Sigebert. Also when Gontrannus King of Burgundy and Orleans died, the Kingdom was conferr’d on his Brother Sigebert, not on his Daughter Clotilda. Lastly, Philip of Valois’s Advocates might with greater Caution, as well as efficacy, have argued for him out of the Feudal Law, by which all Inheritances of Fiefs descend to the Male Issue only, and not to the Female, who are not admitted to them. And when there happens a Want of Heirs Males in that Line or Branch wherein the Fief is lodged, then the Feudum or Fief returns back to the other Stock or Branch: which was the very Case at that Time. But such Fiefs as through a Depravation of the Law, are convey’d down to Women, cannot properly be called Feuda, but Feudastra, as in other of our Writings we have made it appear.
[83. ]Issues of female succession in the Hanoverian line (i.e., Sophia of Hanover) rendered this chapter (translated between 1705 and 1711) very sensitive for an Anglophone audience.
[84. ]Note in margin: “Allodium is the contrary to Feudum: Gothick Words, for which ’tis difficult to find proper English.” [de Alode terrae: concerning allodial land.]
[85. ]“Not by the shoots but by the heads.”