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ings of the deputies of the towns took place in the interval, till 1538, when they were assembled for the last time at Toledo. On this occasion the three orders met, and deliberated separately; and were not allowed to confer together, notwithstanding the earnest supplications of the nobles to be permitted with the deputies of the towns. The object of the meeting was to obtain a general tax or excise. The clergy were willing to comply with the Emperor's wishes, but the nobles steadily refused their consent; and, after three months had been spent in useless deliberations, Charles at length dissolved them abruptly, and never afterwards called them together. From this time the Cortes of Castile consisted of deputies of the towns only.
We have been led into these details by the difference of opinion between Mr Hallam and Marina. We have not quoted our authorities, because they are the manuscript acts of the Cortes which we have consulted on this point. It appears, that in Castile, as in most European monarchies, the supreme legislative power was supposed to be vested in the king, but not to be legally exercised without the consent of his subjects. It appears, however, there was no fixed or established usage that determined the particular description of persons, whose consent was necessary to give validity to his legislative acts; and that the practice was exceedingly variable, not only from one age to another, but in the same age. We have, in the same reign, laws with consent of the whole Cortes, and laws with consent of one branch of the Cortes only. This irregularity led, in the 15th century, to the general practice of summoning no persons to Cortes, except the deputies of the towns, with whose consent and the advice of his council the king made laws and ordinances for the better government of his kingdom. At a still later period, an abuse, which had begun in the reign of John II., was converted into an engine for superseding entirely the legislative control of the Cortes. Pragmaticas were issued by the King in Council, which were declared to have the force of laws, till they should be confirmed in Cortes: And as the power of the Crown increased and the spirit of the people declined, these pragmaticas were at length declared to have the same force as if they had been passed in Cortes. Such has been the state of Spanish legislation since the accession of the house of Bourbon. The deputies of the towns in Castile were persons of rank and consideration at a very early period, and may, with greater propriety, be compared to the knights of the shires, than to the citizens and burgesses of England. In the thirteenth century, they are styled omes buenos in the acts cf the Cortes; but iu the fourteenth and succeeding centuries, they call themselves fijos dalgo, cavalieros e escuderos e omes buenos. They had wages from their constituents as in England. In 1525, the deputies of Seville had each four ducats a day. They had, in general, full powers from the cities they represented; but on some occasions, their powers were limited. Each town or city had a single vote; and therefore it was of no consequence how many members it sent to Cortes. In later times, it was usual to chuse two representatives only; but in the early part of Spanish history, we find the number exceedingly variable, and sometimes very great. At the Cortes of Burgos in 1315, many towns were represented by one member only, while Soria sent seven and Avila thirteen. Where the deputies of a town were equally divided in opinion, that town, of course, lost its vote on the question. Contested elections were decided by the Council, notwithstanding several ineffectual attempts of the deputies to bring the decision before themselves. The members of the Council had a right to be present at the deliberations of the Cortes, though this was sometimes disputed; but they had no voice in their decisions. The deputies deliberated with close doors, and took an oath not to reveal what was communicated to them by the king, or what passed in debate among themselves.
Mr Hallam, misled by a passage in the Partidas, denies the existence of territorial jurisdictions in Castile. If he had looked into the ordenamiento of Alcala, he would have found ample proof to the contrary. * The local jurisdictions in Castile, were not feudal; and, in some respects, were a still more imperfect institution. The seignior, or lord of the district, did not hold a court, and try causes with assistance of his vassals, but appointed an alcalde, or single judge, who had the administration of justice, cjvil and criminal, in the first instance. These territorial rights of justice, originated, like the charters of corporations, in grants of the Crown; and there was an appeal from all subordinate tribunals to the King's Courts. The same constitution still subsists in Castile. Every village, or •pueblo, is realengo, abadengo or de senorio, according as it is subject to the king, to the church, or to a seignior; and a certain territory, called its jurisdiction, is annexed to it, within which the alcalde has a right to try all questions, civil or criminal* and even to decide in cases of life and death, but with an appeal to the superior courts. The alcalde is appointed by
* Tit. 27.
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the king, or by the seignior, civil or ecclesiastical, of the village, and is commonly taken from a list of three persons, selected by the alcalde of the preceding year. Certain dues are payable to the lord; but, in general, they are slight, and not exacted with severity; and, in return, the lord is expected to give his assistance to the village, in times of distress or public calamity. In antient times, it was considered an advantage to belong to the king; but latterly it has been deemed a misfortune, the officers of the Crown having been found more rigid in their exactions than those of private lords. The regidores are not judges, as Mr Hallam seems to imagine, but magistrates, who have charge of the police of the streets and markets, and the management of the revenues and common property of the town or village.
After so much time bestowed on Castile, it will be impossible for us to enter at length on the constitution of Arragon. We must therefore content ourselves with recommending to our readers the observations of Mr Hallam on this singular form of government.- They will find, in particular, an excellent account of the office and functions of the Justiza, and a deserved eulogium on the admirable institutions of the Arragonesey for the protection of individual liberty. It was the boast of Arragon, as it used to be the glory of England, that no stranger could set his foot upon her soil, without enjoying the equal benefit of her laws. Arragorf was, in these ages, the only spot in Europe, that afforded refuge to the persecuted, and gave security to the oppressed. So fully was this principle established, that it was usual for the kings of Arragon, when they took strangers into their service, to make a private bargain with them— that they should not appeal to the protection of the Justiza. A saying of Alonso IV. shows the different spirit of the government in Arragon and Castile. That prince had taken for his second wife a sister of the king of Castile; and, yielding to her importunities, had, contrary to law, alienated in favour of her son, certain possessions annexed to the Crown. The Valencians remonstrated against these grants; and, declaring they would die sooner than consent to them, threatened to punish the advisers of this illegal transaction. The King excused himself feebly; but the Queen, who was present at the council, rose in a fury and exclaimed, that her brother, the King of Castile, would not have suffered such language to be used to him, but would have cut off the head of any one who had opposed him with such insolence. On which the King said, 'Queen, our people are free, and not so submissive as the Castilians; they have respect for us as their lord, but we must treat them as our good vassal* and comrades;' and then rising from his seat, he ordered the grants to be recalled. * At a much earlier period, when the French were threatening to invade Catalonia, Peter III. assembled the Cortes of Arragon at Tarazona, to solicit assistance. The Cortes laid before him a statement of for which they demanded redress before they would in the war, saying, that subjects without their rights could have little heart to fight for their king. Peter was obstinate, and refused to listen to their grievances, till the war was over; on which they confederated together, according to the antient me and custom of their country, for the preservation of their laws, franchises and liberties, resolving to stand by one another in the enterprise, and to punish all who took part against them,- but without renouncing their allegiance to the king, unless he should punish any of them without a legal trial, in which case they declared they should no longer consider him as their lawful king, but transfer their allegiance to his son. 'All,' says the historian, 'were unanimous in this determination; the ricos omes and knights were not more jealous of their liberties than the common and inferior persons; all were of opinion, that the being and existence of Arragon depended, not on the strength of the kingdom, but on its liberty; all were resolved, that if their liberties must perish, the kingdom should perish with them.' Peter was compelled at length to give way, and to grant the Privilegio general, or, as Mr Hallam justly calls it, the Magna Charta of Arragon;
We must pass over the two following chapters on the, German and Greek empires, with a general recommendation to our readers, of their contents.
The chapter on ecclesiastical power is written with great care, and composed in a truly liberal and philosophical spirit. Mr Hallam traces the gradual usurpations of the ecclesiastical on the civil authority, favoured sometimes by the mistaken policy or devotion, and sometimes submitted to by the weakness and pusillanimity of Princes. He shows by what steps th<» Church acquired an exclusive jurisdiction over its own members, and by what artifices its tribunals made such extensive encroachments on the civil courts. He exposes the impudent pretensions of the Bishops, in the ninth and tenth centuries, and hardly regrets the subjugation to which they were reduced by the Roman see in the eleventh and twelfth. With some bias in favour of the Throne, he relates the contests between
* Zurita, lib. 7. cap. 17.
nation on the shameless rapacity and immoderate ambition of the Roman Pontiff, when he succeeded in the struggle. The scandalous dissoluteness and open simony of Avignon, prepared the downfal of the Papal power; and the schism, that so long disgraced and divided the Church, was near reducing its chiefs to the comparatively humble station they had filled in the tenth century. But the violent and outrageous conduct of the councils enabled them to recover some portion of their authority. The Bishops, who were ready enough to seize the spoils of the Church, gave ample warning at Constance, that its spiritual weapons would not be suffered to rust in their hands. Their decree, that no faith was to be kept with Huss, in prejudice of the Catholic Church, has affixed a stain on that assembly, which no time or casuistry can efface. We were pleased with a reflection of Mr Hallam on that tragical event. As the sober judgment of history, on all similar transactions, it is the sentence of posterity on all who violate their engagements with a fallen enemy, or profit by capitulations, and then evade the performance of them. 'The great moral,' he observes, 'to be drawn from the condemnation of Huss is, that no breach of faith can be excused by our opinion of ill desert in the party, or by a narrow interpretation of our own engagements. Every capitulation ought to be construed favourably for the weaker side. In such cases it is emphatically true, that if the letter killeth, the spirit should give life.'
Throughout this chapter, Mr Hallam is animated with a laudable zeal against the impostures and usurpations of the Church; and, in relating the measures taken in different countries to restrain the enormous jurisdiction once possessed by the hierarchy, he-makes this sensible observation, ' that ecclesiastical, and not merely papal encroachments, are what civil governments, and the laity in general, have to resist; a point which some very zealous opposers of Rome have been willing to keep out of sight. The latter arose out of the former, and perhaps were in some respects less objectionable. But the true enemy is what are called High-Church principles—be they maintained by a pope, a bishop, or a presbyter.'
We shall not enter into an examination of some doubtful points, concerning which we might, perhaps, differ from Mr Hallam; but we cannot dismiss this chapter without remarking, that he hardly does justice to the Church in the dispute about investitures. The open simony practised by kings and princes; their scandalous nominations to vacant benefices; their spoliation of the lands and property of the clergy committed to their custody; the number of years they kept abbeys and bishopricks