Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter xx: Whether Women are not as much debarred (by the Francogallican Law) from the Administration, as from the Inheritance of the Kingdom - An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor
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chapter xx: Whether Women are not as much debarred (by the Francogallican Law) from the Administration, as from the Inheritance of the Kingdom - 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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Whether Women are not as much debarred (by the Francogallican Law) from the Administration, as from the Inheritance of the Kingdom
The present Dispute being about the Government of the Kingdom, and the chief Administration of Publick Affairs, we have thought fit not to omit this Question: Whether Women are not as much debarr’d from the Administration, as from the Inheritance of the Kingdom? And in the first Place we openly declare, that ’tis none of our intention to argue for or against the Roman Customs or Laws, or those of any other Nation, but only of the Institutions of this our own Francogallia. For as on the one Hand ’tis notorious to all the World, that by the Roman Institutions, Women were always under Guardianship, and excluded from inter-meddling, either in publick or private Affairs, by Reason of the weakness of their Judgment: So on the other, Women (by ancient Custom) obtain the supreme Command in some Countries. “The Britains (says Tacitus in his Life of Agricola) make no distinction of Sexes in Government.” Thus much being premised, and our Protestation being clearly and plainly proposed, we will now return to the Question. And as the Examples of some former Times seem to make for the Affirmative, wherein the Kingdom of Francogallia has been administered by Queens, especially by Widows and Queen-Mothers: So on the contrary, the reason of the Argument used in Disputations, is clearly against it. For she, who cannot be Queen in her own Right, can never have any Power of Governing in another’s Right: But here a Woman cannot reign in her own Right, nor can the Inheritance of the Crown fall to her, or any of her Descendants; and if they be stiled Queens, ’tis only accidentally; as they are Wives to the Kings their Husbands. Which we have prov’d out of Records for twelve hundred Years together.
To this may be added (which we have likewise prov’d) that not only the sole Power of Creating and Abdicating their Kings, but also the Right of electing Guardians and Administrators of the Commonwealth, was lodged in the same Publick Council. Nay, and after the Kings were created, the supreme Power of the Administration was retained still by the same Council. And ’tis not yet full a hundred Years since 36 Guardians of the Commonwealth were constituted by the same Council, like so many Ephori: and this during the Reign of Lewis the Eleventh, as crafty and cunning as he was. If we seek for Authorities and Examples from our Ancestors, we may find several; there is a remarkable one in Aimoinus, lib. 4. cap. 1. where speaking of Queen Brunechild, Mother to young Childebert; “The Nobility of France (says he) understanding that Brunechild designed to keep the chief Management of the Kingdom in her own Hands; and having always hitherto, for so long a Time disdained to be subject to a Female Domination, did, etc.”; And indeed it has so happened in the days of our Ancestors, that whenever Women got into their Hands the Procuration of the Kingdom, they have been always the occasion of wonderful Tragedies: Of which it will not be amiss to give some Examples. Queen Crotildis, Mother of the two Kings,Childebert and Clotarius, got once the Power into her Hands; and being extravagantly fond of the Sons of Clodemer (another of her Sons then dead) occasion’d a great deal of Contention, by her endeavouring to exclude her Sons, and promote these Grandsons to the Regal Dignity; and upon that Score she nourished their large Heads of Hair with the greatest Care and diligence imaginable, according to that ancient Custom of the Kings of the Franks, which we have before given an Account of. The two Kings (as soon as they understood it) presently sent one Archadius, who presenting her with a naked Sword and a Pair of Shears, gave her the Choice which of the two She had rather should be applied to the Boys Heads. But She (says Gregory of Tours) being enraged with Choler, especially when She beheld the naked Sword and the Scissors, answer’d with a great deal of Bitterness, “Since they cannot be advanced to the Kingdom, I had rather see them dead than shaven.” And thereupon both her Grandsons were beheaded in her Presence. The same Gregory, lib. 3. cap. 18. subjoyns “This Queen, by her Liberalities and Gifts conferr’d upon Monasteries, got the Affections, Plebis & vulgi, of the common People and Mob: Date frenos (says Cato) impotenti naturae, & indomito animali, & sperate ipsas modum licentiae facturas. Give Bridles to their unruly Natures, and curb the untamed Animal; and then you may hope they shall set some Bounds to their Licentiousness.” What an unbridled Animal and profligate Wretch was that Daughter of King Theodorick, by Birth an Italian; who being mad in Love with one of her Domesticks, and knowing him to have been kill’d by her Mother’s Orders, feigned a thorough Reconciliation, and desir’d in Token of it to receive the Holy Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper with her Mother; but privately mixing some Poyson in the Chalice, She at once gave the strangest Instance both of Impiety and Cruelty in thus murdering her own Mother. The Account given of it by Gregory of Tours is this: “They were (says he) of the Arrian Sect, and because it was their Custom that the Royal Family should communicate at the Altar out of one Chalice, and People of Inferior Quality out of another. (By the way, pray take notice of the Custom of Communicating in both kinds by the People.) She dropped Poyson into that Chalice out of which her Mother was to communicate; which as soon as she had tasted of it, kill’d her presently.” Fredegunda, Queen-Mother, and Widow of Chilperick the First, got the Government into her Hands; She, in her Husband’s Time, lived in Adultery with one Lander; and as soon as she found out that her Husband Chilperick had got Wind of it, she had him murdered, and presently seiz’d upon the administration of the Kingdom as Queen-Mother, and Guardian of her Son Clotharius, and kept possession of it for 13 years; in the first place she poyson’d her Son’s Uncle Childebert together with his Wife; afterwards she stirred up the Hunns against his Sons, and raised a Civil War in the Republick. And lastly, She was the Firebrand of all those Commotions which wasted and burnt all Francogallia, during many Years, as Aimoinus tells us, [lib. 3. cap. 36. & lib. 8. cap. 29.].
There ruled once in France, Brunechild, Widow of King Sigebert, and Mother of Childebert. This Woman had for her Adulterer a certain Italian, called Protadius, whom She advanced to great Honours: She bred up her two Sons, Theodebert and Theodorick, in such a wicked and profligate Course of Life, that at last they became at mortal Enmity with each other: And after having had long Wars, fought a cruel single Combat. She kill’d with her own hands her Grandson Meroveus, the Son of Theodebert: She poysoned her Son Theodorick. What need we say more? Date fraenos (as Cato says) impotenti naturae, & indomito animali; & sperate illas modum licentae facturas.99 She was the Occasion of the Death of Ten of the Royal Family: And when a certain Bishop reproved her, and exhorted her to amend her Life, She caused him to be thrown into the River. At last, a Great Council of the Franks being summoned, She was judged, and condemned, and drawn in pieces by wild Horses, being torn limb from limb. The Relators of this Story are, Greg. Turonensis, [lib. 5. cap. 39.] and [lib. 8. cap. 29.] And Ado [Aetat. 6.] Otto Frising. [Chron. 5. cap. 7.] Godfridus Viterbiensis [Chron. parte 16.] &. Aimoinus [lib. 4. cap. 1.]. Also the Appendix of Gregory of Tours, [lib. 11.1] whose Words are these: “Having convicted her of being the Occasion of the Death of Ten Kings of the Franks; to wit, of Sigebert,Meroveus, and his Father Chilperick;Theodebert, and his Son Clothair;Meroveus, the Son of Clothair,Theodorick, and his three Children, which had been newly killed, they order’d her to be placed upon a Camel, and to be tortured with divers sorts of Torments, and so to be carried about all the Army; afterwards to be tied by the Hair of the Head, one Leg and one Arm to a Wild Horses Tail; by which being kicked, and swiftly dragged about, She was torn Limb from Limb.”
Let us instance in some others: Plectrudis got the Government into her hands; a Widow not of the King, but of Pipin, who ruled the Kingdom whilst Dagobert the Second bore the empty Title of King. This Plectrudis having been divorced by her Husband Pipin, because of her many Adulteries and flagitious Course of Life; as soon as her Husband was dead, proved the Incendiary of many Seditions in France. She compell’d that gallant Man Charles Martel, Mayor of the Palace, to quit his Employment, and in his Place put one Theobald, a most vile and wicked Wretch; and at last She raised a most grievous Civil War among the Franks, who in divers Battles discomfited each other with most terrible Slaughters. Thus, says Aimoinus, [lib. 4. cap. 50. & cap. sequen.]. Also the Author of a Book called, The State of the Kingdom of France under Dagobert the Second, has these Words: “When the Franks were no longer able to bear the Fury and Madness of Plectrude, and saw no hopes of Redress from King Dagobert, they elected one Daniel for their King, (who formerly had been a Monk) and called him Chilperick.”; Which Story we have once before told you.
But let us proceed. The Queen-Mother of Charles the Bald, (whose Name was Judith) and Wife of Lewis the Pious, who had not only been King of Francogallia, but Emperor of Italy and Germany, got the Government into her Hands. This Woman stirred up a most terrible and fatal War between King Lewis and his Sons, (her Sons in Law) from whence arose so great a Conspiracy, that they constrained their Father to abdicate the Government, and give up the Power into their Hands, to the great Detriment of almost all Europe: The Rise of which Mischiefs, our Historians do unanimously attribute, for the most part, to Queen Judith in a particular Manner: The Authors of this History are the Abbot of Ursperg, Michael Ritius and Otto Frising. [Chron. 5. cap. 34.]. “Lewis (says this last) by Reason of the Evil Deeds of his Wife Judith, was driven out of his Kingdom. Also Rhegino [in Chron. ann. 1338.] Lewis (says he) was deprived of the Kingdom by his Subjects, and being reduced to the Condition of a private Man, was put into Prison, and the sole Government of the Kingdom, by the Election of the Franks, was conferr’d upon Lotharius his Son. And this Deprivation of Lewis was occasion’d principally through the many Whoredoms of his Wife Judith.”;
Some Ages after, Queen Blanch, a Spanish Woman, and Mother to St. Lewis, ruled the Land. As soon as She had seized the Helm of Government, the Nobility of France began to take up Arms under the Conduct of Philip Earl of Bologn, the King’s Uncle, crying out (as that excellent Author Joannes Jonvillaeus writes) [cap. histor. 4.] “That it was not to be endured that so great a Kingdom should be governed by a Woman, and She a Stranger.” Whereupon those Nobles rejecting Blanch, chose Earl Philip to be Administrator of the Kingdom: But Blanch persisting in her Purpose, sollicited Succors from all Parts, and at last determined to conclude a League with Ferdinand King of Spain: With Philip joyned the Duke of Brittany, and the Count de Evreux his Brother. These, on a sudden, seized on some Towns, and put good Garrisons into them. And thus a grievous War was begun in France, because the Administration of the Government had been seized by the Queen-Mother: It happened that the King went (about that Time) to Estampes, being sent thither by his Mother upon Account of the War: To that Place the Nobles from all Parts hastily got together, and began to surround the King; not with an Intention (as Joinville says) to do him any harm, but to withdraw him from the Power of his Mother: Which She hearing; with all Speed armed the People of Paris, and commanded them to march towards Estampes. Scarce were these Forces got as far as Montlebery, when the King (getting from the Nobles) joyned them, and returned along with them to Paris. As soon as Philip found that he was not provided with a sufficient Force of Domestick Troops, he sent for Succours to the Queen of Cyprus, (who at the same time had some Controversy depending in the Kingdom) She entering with a great Army into Champagn, plunder’d that Country far and near; Blanch however continues in her Resolution. This constrains the Nobility to call in the English Auxiliaries, who waste Aquitain and all the Maritime Regions; which Mischiefs arose through the Ambition and unbridled Lust of Rule of the Queen-Mother, as Joinvillaeus tells us at large, [cap. 7, 8, 9, 10].
And because many of our Countrymen have a far different Opinion of the Life and Manners of Queen Blanch, occasioned (as ’tis probable) by the Flattery of the Writers of those times; (For all Writers either through Fear of Punishment, or, by reason of the esteem which the Kings their Sons have in the World, are cautious how they write of Queen-Mothers): I think it not amiss to relate what Joinville himself records [cap 76.] vis. That She had so great a Command over her Son, and had reduced him to that degree of timidity and lowness of Spirit, that She would very seldom suffer the King to converse with his Wife Margaret, (her Daughter-in-Law) whom She hated. And therefore whenever the King went a Journey, She ordered the Purveyors to mark out different Lodgings, that the Queen might lie separate from the King. So that the poor King was forced to place Waiters and Doorkeepers in Ambush whenever He went near his Queen; Ordering them, that when they heard his Mother Blanch approach the Lodgings, they should beat some Dogs, by whose Cry he might have warning to hide himself: And one day (says Joinville) when Queen Margaret was in Labour, and the King in Kindness was come to visit her, on a sudden Queen Blanch surprized him in her Lodgings: For although he had been warned by the howling of the Dogs, and had hid himself (wrapped up in the Curtains) behind the Bed; yet She found him out, and in the Presence of all the Company laid Hands on him, and drew him out of the Chamber: You have nothing to do here (said She) get out: The poor Queen, in the mean Time, being not able to bear the disgrace of such a Reproof, fell into a Swoon for grief; so that the Attendants were forced to call back the King to bring her to her self again, by whose return She was comforted and recovered. Joinville tells this Story [cap. hist. 76.] in almost these same Words.
Again, Some years after this, Isabella, Widow of Charles the 6th, (surnamed the Simple) got Possession of the Government: For before the Administration of the Publick Affairs could be taken care of by the Great Council, or committed by them to the Management of chosen and approved Men, many ambitious Courtiers had stirr’d up Contentions: Six Times these Controversies were renewed, and as often composed by agreement. At last Isabella being driven out of Paris, betook her self to Chartres: There, having taken into her Service a subtle Knave, one Philip de Morvilliers, She made up a Council of her own, with a President, and appointed this Morvilliers her Chancellor; by whose Advice She order’d a Broad-Seal, commonly called a Chancery-Seal, to be engraven; On which her own Image was cut, holding her Arms down by her Sides: and in her Patents She made use of this Preamble. “Isabella, by the Grace of God, Queen of France; who, by reason of the King’s Infirmity, has the Administration of the Government in her Hands, etc.”;
But when the Affairs of the Commonwealth were reduced to that desperate estate, that all things went to rack and ruin, She was by the Publick Council banished to Tours, and committed to the Charge of Four Tutors, who had Orders to keep her lock’d up at home, and to watch her so narrowly, that She should be able to do nothing; not so much as to write a Letter without their Knowledge. A large Account of all this Transaction we have in Monstrellet’s History. [Cap. 161. & Cap. 168].
[99. ]GS Franc. translate this as “If you loose the reins with women, as with an unruly nature and an untamed beast, you must expect uncontrolled actions.”