Imatges de pÓgina

trouble. The derangement of king Charles VI.; the assassination of the duke of Burgundy, committed by the friends of the dauphin; the solemn treaty of Troyes; the defection of all Paris and three parts of France; the great qualities, victories, glory, spirit, and good fortune of Henry V. solemnly declared king of France, -all tended to excuse the parliament.

After the death of Charles VI. in 1422, and ten days after his obsequies, all the members of the parliament of Paris swore on a missal, in the great chamber

, obedience and fidelity to the young king of England, Henry VI. the son of Henry V.; and this tribunal caused a woman of Paris to be put to death, who had the courage to excite several citizens to receive their legitimate king into his capital. This respectable woman was executed with all the faithful citizens whom the parliament could seize. Charles VII. erected another parliament at Poictiers; it was less numerous, less powerful, and ill-paid.

Some members of the parliament of Paris, disgusted with the English, fled from it. And finally, when Charles re-took Paris, and gave a general amnesty, the parliaments were united.

Parliament, The extent of its Rights. Machiavel, in his Political Remarks on Titus Livius, says that parliaments are the strength of the king of France. He was very right in one sense. The Italian Machiavel regarded the pope as the most dangerous monarch of christianity. All kings made court to him; all would engage him in their quarrels; and when he exacted too much, when a king of France dared boldly to refuse it to him,—this king had is parliament prepared to declare the pretensions of the pope contrary to the laws of the kingdom, extortionary, abusive, and absurd; and the king excused himself with the pope, saying that he could not command his parliament.

It was still worse when the kings and the popes quarrelled. The sentences of the former triumphed over all bulls, and the tiara was overset by the hand of justice. But this body never constituted the strength of kings when they were in want of money; and as this is the only source of the strength which governs, kings would always possess it if possible, it must therefore be demanded of the states general. The court of the parliament of Paris, instituted to render justice, never interfered with finance until Francis 1. The famous reply of the president, Jean de la Vacquerie, to the duke of Orleans (Louis XII.) is a sufficiently strong proof of it:-" The parliament is to render justice to the people : finances, war, and the government of the king, are not within its jurisdiction.

We cannot pardon president Hénault for not relating this speech, which so long served for the basis of public right in France, supposing that this country ever knew a public right.

Parliament-Right of Registering. Register, memorial, journal, book of right. This custom was in all times observed by polished nations, and much neglected by the barbarians who attacked the Roman empire. The clergy of Rome were more attentive: they registered everything, and always to their own advantage. The Visigoths, Vandals, Burgundians, Franks, and all the other savages, had not registers for marriage, births, and deaths. True, their emperors caused their treaties and ordinances to be written; they were preserved, sometimes in one castle, sometimes in another; and when this castle was taken by some predatory chieftain, the record was lost. The ancient acts which formerly existed were deposited in the tower of London. We also often find them elsewhere, with the monks, who by their industry frequently supplied the want of public monuments.

What faith can we have in these ancient monuments after the adventure of the false decretals, which were respected for five hundred years, as much and more than the gospel, and after so many false martyrologies, false legends, and false acts ? Our Europe was too long composed of a multitude of predatory bands who pillaged all ; of a small number of forgers of writings who deceived these ignorant robbers, and of a popu

lace as


as indigent, bound to the earth the whole year, to nourish all these people.

It is believed, that Philip Augustus lost the receptacle in which his records and titles were kept; we know not on what occasion, nor how, nor why he exposed to the injuries of the air, parchments which he should have carefully shut up.

We believe that Stephen Boileau, provost of Paris, in the time of St. Louis, was the first who kept a journal, and that he was imitated by Jolin de Mortluc, registrar of the parliament of Paris in 1313, and not in 1256, a mistake of pure inadvertence in the great Dictionary at the word Register.

By degrees, kings became accustomed to cause to be registered by the parliament several of their ordinances, and above all the laws that the parliament was obliged to maintain.

It is a common opinion, that the first registered ordinance is that of Philip of Valois, on his regal rights in 1332, in the month of September, which however was not registered until 1334.

No edict on finances was registered in this court, either by the king or his successors, until Francis I.

Charles V. held a court of justice in 1374, to register the law which fixes the majority of kings at forty years.

A very singular fact is, that the erection of almost all the parliaments of the kingdom were not presented to the parliament of Paris, to be there registered and confirmed.

Treaties of peace were sometimes registered; but it was there frequently dispensed with. Nothing has been stable and permanent; nothing has been uniform. The treaty of Utrecht, which terminated the fatal war on the succession of Spain, is not registered. Edicts are registered which establish and suppress assisers of wood, assayers of butter, and meters of coals.*

* In the course of time this ceremony of registering became the only political restrictive power in the possession of the French parliament. They ventured occasionally to refuse to register that which they did not approve: a contumacy which Louis XIV. and XV.

Remonstrances of Parliament. Every company, every citizen, has a right to carry his complaints to the sovereign, by the natural law which permits us to cry when we suffer. The first remonstrances of the parliament of Paris were addressed to Louis XI. by the express command of this king, who being then displeased with the pope, wished the parliament to remonstrate publicly with him on the excesses of the court of Rome. He was fully obeyed : the parliament was in its zenith, and defended the laws against papal rapacity. It showed, that in thirty years the court of Rome had extorted four millions six hundred and forty-five crowns from France. These multiplied simonies, these real thefts, committed under the name of piety, began to excite horror. The Roman court however having finally appeased and seduced Louis XI., he silenced those whom he had caused to speak so effectually. There was no remonstrance on the finances in the time of Louis XI. Charles VIII. or Louis XII.-for we must not qualify with the name of solemn remonstrances the refusal which this assembly made to lend Charles VIII. fifty thousand francs for his unfortunate expedition in Italy in 1496. The king sent the sire d’Albret, sire de Rieux, the governor of Paris, the sire de Graville, admiral of France, and cardinal Dumaine, to pray that it would tax itself to lend him this money. Strange deputation ! The registers relate, that the parliament represented "the necessity and indigence of the kingdom and its so piteous case-quod non indiget manu scribentis.” To keep its money was not one of its public remonstrances in the name of France.

It made one on St. Martin's silver screen, which Prancis I. bought of the canons, and of which the principal and interest were laid on his domains. This is the first remonstrance on pecuniary affairs. • The second was on the sale of the offices of twenty new judges to the parliament of Paris, and of thirty in the provinces. It was the chancellor cardinal Duprat who thus prostituted justice. This shame lasted and extended on all the magistracy of France from 1515 to 1771, a space of two hundred and fifty-five years, until another chancellor began to efface it.

put down with a high hand--the former especially, whose appear. ance in one of these assemblies with a hunting whip in his hand issubsequently related. The idea of this right however lingered to the era of the revolution, and doubtless assisted other causes of indignation to produce it. The art of managing parliaments is -now better understood, especially in Great Britain.-T.

From this time, parliament remonstrated on all kinds of subjects. It was authorised to do so by the paternal edict of Louis XII., the father of his people that the law should always be followed, notwithstanding the contrary orders which importunity may extort from the monarch.

After Francis I., the parliament was continually at war with the ministry, or at least at defiance. The unfortunate wars of religion augmented its credit; and the more it was necessary, the more enterprising it became. It regarded itself as the tutor of kings from the time of Francis I. Charles IX. reproaches it with this, in the time of his majority, in these words:

“ I command you not to act with a major king, as you have done during his minority; meddle not with affairs which it concerns you not to know; remember that your assembly has only been established by kings to render justice according to the ordinances of the sovereign. Leave affairs of state to the king and his council, correct yourselves of the error of regarding yourselves as the tutors of kings, the defenders of the kingdom, and the guardians of Paris.”

The misfortunes of the times engaged it in the party of the League against Henry III. It sustained the Guises to such a point, that after the murders of Henry of Guise, and the cardinal his brother, it commenced proceedings against Henry III. and named two counsellors, Pichon and Courtin, to investigate the matter.*

The sentence speaks only of the murderers of the duke of Guise and their accomplices. It was bold but not irregular,

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