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. which he wrote to the Emperor Otho the IVth, de otiis imperialibus) affirms, That this Institution is first owing to King Arthur of Britain, v who ruled some time in part of France.
For I suppose the Original of that Instituon to be this; that as in the Feudal Law such are called, Pares curiæ beneficiarii, i. e. Equal Tenants by Homage of the Court, or Clientes é uónuei, Clients of like holding, or Convassalli, Fellow Vasals, who hold their Fiefs and Benefices from one and the fame Lord and Patron; and upon that Account are bound to him in Feality and Obedience : just so King Arthur having acquired a new Principality, selected twelve great Men, to whom he distributed the several Parts and Satrapies of his Kingdom, whose Affiftance and Advice he made use of in the Administration of the Government. For I cannot approve of their Judgment, who write, that they were called Peers, because they were Pares Regi, the King's Equals; since their Parity has no Relation to the Regal Dignity, but only to that Authority and Dignity they had agreed should be common among them. Their Names were these , the Dukes of Burgundy, Normandy, and Aquitain; the Counts of Flanders, Tholouse, and Champagne ; the Archbishops of Rheims, Laon, and Langres ; the Bishops of Beauvais, Noyon, and Chalons. And as the Pares Curtis, or Curiæ, in the Ferdal Law, can neither be created, but by the Consent of the Fraternity; nor abdicated, but by Tryal before their Colleagues ; nor impeach'd before any other Court of Judicature ; so these Peers were not bound by any Judgment or Sentence, but that of the Parliament, that is, of this imaginary Council; nor could be elected in
to the Society, or eje&ted out of it, but by their Fellows in Collegio.
Now altho' this Magistracy might owe its Original to a Foreign Prince; yet when he was driven out, the succeeding Kings finding it accommodated to their own Ēnds and Conveniencies, ('tis most probable ) continued and made use of it. The first Mention I find made of these Peers, was at the Inauguration of Phim lip the Fair, by whom also (as many affirm) the Six Ecclefiaftical Peers were first created.
But Budaus, an extraordinary learned Man, calls these Peers by the Name of Patritians and is of opinion that they were instituted by one of our Kings, who was at the same time Emperor of Germany; because, Justinian says, those Patres were chosen by the Emperor , quasi Reipub. patronos tutoresque, as it were Patrons and Tutors of the Commonwealth. I do not reject this Opinion of that learned Person ; such a thing being very agreeable to the Dignity of these Peers. For in the times of the later Roman Emperors, we find the Patritian dignity not to have been very unlike that of the Peers; because (as Suidas assures us, ) they were (partly ) the Fathers of the Republick, and were of Council with the Emperor in all weighty concerns, and made use of the fame Ensigns of Authority with the Consuls; and had greater honour and power than the Præfe&tus Prætorio, tho' less than the Consul; as we may learn ex Justiniani Novellis ; from Sidon. Apollin. Claudian; and Caffiadorus especially.
But when the Empire was transferr'd to the Germans, we do not believe this Honour was in use among them. Neither is it likely, that none of the German Historians should have jisi iilicon 7
made the least mention of it, if any Patritians of that kind had been instituted by a German Emperor, who at the same time was King of Francogallia.
Lastly, The same Budeus tells us in that place, tho' a little doubtingly, that the like dignity of Peers had been made use of in other neighbouring Nations; and that in the Royal Commentaries, Anno 1224, 'tis found written, that a certain Gentleman of Flanders called Foannes Nigellanus , having a Controversy there, appealid from the Countess of Flanders to the Peers of France; having first taken his Oath that he could not expect a fair and equal Tryal before the Peers of Flanders... And when afterwards the Cause was by the Countess revok'd to the Judgment of the Peers of Flanders, it was at length for certain reasons decreed, that the Peers of France should take cognisance of it. What the reasons were of transferring that Tryal, Budæus does not tell'us; which
one versed in the Feudal Laws should never . have omitted. But 'tis time to return to our
CHA P. XV. Of the continued Authority and
Power of the Sacred Council,
during the Reign of the Carlo:: vingian Family.
W E have, as we suppose, fufficiently ex
V V plain'd what was the Form and Conftitution of our Commonwealth, and how great the Authority of the Publick Council was during the Reigns of the Kings of the Merovingian Family. We must now proceed to give an Account of it under the Carlovingian Race. And as well all our own as the German Historians, give us reason to believe that the very same Power and Authority of the Orders or States of the Kingdom, was kept entire. So that the last resort and disposal of all things, was not lodged in Pipin, Charles or Lewis, but in the Regal Majesty. The true and proper Seat of which was (as is above demonstrated) in the Annual general Council. Of this Éguinarthus gives us an account, in that little Book we have already so much commended. Where, speaking of what happen'd after the Death of Pipin, he tells us, “ that the Franks having so" lemnly assembled their general Convention, “ did therein constitute both Pipin's Sons their
Kings, upon this Condition, That they “ fhould equally divide the whole Body of
the Kingdom between them and that s Charles should govern that part of it which
" their Father Pipin had possess'd, and Carlo “ mannus the other Part which their UncleCar« lomannus had enjoy'd, bc. From whence 'tis easily inferr'd, that the States of the Kingdom still retain'd in themselves the same power, which they had always hitherto been in poffefsion of ( during near 300 Years) in the reigns of the Merovingian Kings. So that altho' the deceased King left Sons behind him, yet these came not to the Crown so much thro' any right of succession, as thro' the appointment and election of the States of the Realm. Now that all the other weighty affairs of the Nation used to be determined by the fame General Council, Aimoinus is our witness, lib. 4. cap. 71. where he speaks of the War with the Saxons. “ The King (says he) in the beginning of the © Spring went to Nimeguen ; and because he
was to hold a General Convention of his People at a place called Paderburn, he marched from thence with a great Army into
Saxony. And again cap.77. ----Winter being “ over, he held a publick Convention of his “ people in a town called Paderburn, accord“ ing to the yearly Custom. Also cap. 79. ----" And meeting with his Wife in the City of “ Wormes, he resolved to hold there the General FC Council of his people. In all which places he speaks of that Charles, who thro' his warlike atchievements had acquired the dominion of almost all Europe, and by the universal consent of Nations had obtained the firname of the Great : Yet for all that it was not in his power to deprive the Franks of their ancient Right and Liberty. Nay, he never so much as endeavour'd to undertake the least matter of moment without the advice and authority of his people and no