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isted. It came as soon as it was invoked by the new rulers of Europe. The task of taming the wild passions of infuriated warriors, was assumed and accomplished by Christianity, by a religion whose doctrine linked it to Platonism, through the heavenly purity of the morality it taught; whose liturgy and dread mysteries satisfied, even more than Polytheism, the love of the multitude for the marvellous; whose majestic temples, splendid pageants and awful ceremonies, gratified the artistic instinct of half-civilized nations, a religion which offered to society the full fruition of the threefold aspirations of the human mind at that epoch-subjects of deep meditation, and subtile disquisitions to science and philosophy; constant communings with the visible objects of abstract adoration to the multitude; and, to the artist and the poet, an ever flowing source of inspiration.
By the combined action of these varied influences, on minds of diverse propensities, the stern ferocity of the warriors who had stifled the civilisation of ages, in the land which had been both its cradle and its tomb, were subdued with a facility that will ever be the wonder of those who view effects only, without ever meditating on their remote or immediate causes. The clergy, during the middle ages, assailed the human mind, through all the avenues by which it can be invaded, they spoke to every faculty, to every power of the intellect; sometimes quelling with gentle and soothing accents the wild excitements of ruthless hordes; sometimes awakening with patient teachings the latent propensities of untamed barbarians for the culture of those arts, those sciences, which create pleasures that wealth cannot purchase treasures which brutal strength cannot wrest from their pos
have wrought their respective severance from Rome, even if the swarms of Northern barbarians had not successively fallen on the several provinces.
A fatal experience had shown that there are states of society where unity is weakness: when force must be sought from the strong organization of groups, with but a feeble dependence on the governing central power. This conviction gave birth to feudality; a form of government whose foundations are made to rest on accidental superiorities, instead of being laid on the solid level of natural equality.
The power which had wrought among all ranks that desire to see society rebuilt, in another form, but resting on stronger foundations, was too enlightened to attempt the reconstruction of the Roman system of government which the invaders had overthrown; aware that it had fallen, not under the force that attacked it, but through the weakness of those by whom it was defended. In fact, no one can doubt but that the subdued nations themselves would
The impetus of conquest had inspired a spirit of independence which never could have been curbed by the fiction of distant allegiance. The warrior was willing to obey only on condition that the same chief who had commanded him in battle should continue to govern him in the relations of civil and peaceful life. The leaders, too, consented to abdicate a portion of their own authority, but only by transmitting it to the chiefs who had exercised a superior authority over them in virtue of higher military rank. These, in their turn, agreed, when called upon, on rare and well defined occasions, to bring to the field their retainers, under the command of the duke, count, prince, or emperor.
A countless hierarchy bound together the before severed rods of all social authorities. A homogeneous power arose from the separate actions of isolated force, each individual (except the serfs, held in hopeless bondage by the conquerors) alternately commanding and obeying. It would have been both absurd and unjust to have required, that the clergy, the only power, not founded on material force, which presided over this rebuilding of the social order, should have left itself altogether unprotected against that very brute strength, which its influence had disarmed of some of its formidable vigor, in the event of the warlike instincts again resuming at intervals their dan gerous energies.
It was to guard against this danger that the high dignitaries of the church secured to themselves a large share of temporal, in addition to the spiritual authority they had never ceased to possess. That temporal authority was mainly defensive. In the worst time
of clerical usurpation, history, except in Italy, presents but rare instances of its becoming aggressive. The feebleness of kings, that even of the German emperors, the mere shadow of the Cæsars, made it necessary, in order to maintain some balances between power and obedience, that the word of him whom the Christian world venerated as the inspired expounder of divine laws on earth, should likewise be made the supreme arbiter, the counterpoise, of all worldly passions and ambitions. Viewed in that light, we hesitate not to assert, in spite of the declamations of modern philosophy, that the preponderance of the papal power, from the establishment of the Capetian dynasty in France, until the reign of Charles the Wise, was a social necessity of the epoch. It prevailed, because society without its salutary exercise would have relapsed into frightful anarchy. We go further; and, were this the place to proceed with the examination of a subject of so deep an interest, even at this moment we could easily prove, that even without the reform brought about by Luther, the temporal authority of the Pope would have gradually ceased. It was established because the spirit, the circumstances of the times in which it sprang into life, and grew rapidly to a giant size, demanded it. It would have died because another spirit had arisen, because other circumstances had modified that social necessity.
The authority of Rome, like feudality itself, from its very nature, was transitory. As soon as it had ceased to be in accord with the opinions, the aspirations of the people, which had founded and supported it, it would have given way under its own inert weight. The period of its decay would have come when the descendant of the northern conquerors, having completed his initiation into a more perfect social order, under the guardianship of the barbaric oligarchies felt the want, at the same time that he saw the possibility, of political unity.
The royal power, to which public opinion entrusted the task of organizing, under the auspices of ecclesiastical influence, a system of social government, founded on the principles of a
centralization of powers, accomplished this new modelling of European society, by changing institutions which a growing civilisation had made unfit for the coming time. This is a singular trait of European history. To defend the people against the oligarchy, absolute monarchy was called into being by the democracy; and monarchy, in its turn, immediately after its birth, called on democracy to guard it from the attacks of aristocracy.
In France, particularly, this alliance of the kingly power with the municipal authorities of cities enriched by commerce, and with the peasantry in the more enlightened provinces, against feudal aristocracy, is worthy of the study of future historians. Charles the Eighth began the strife by forming a small standing army, by which he was enabled to crush the ambitious designs of disobedient vassals.
We will not be deterred from the due administration of historical justice by the fear of being charged with maintaining paradoxical opinions, and therefore, hesitate not to say, that it was only with his courtiers, with the nobles who were willing to purchase the advantages of the royal presence, by incurring all the dangers of royal caprices, that Louis the Eleventh was the heartless tyrant depicted by Philippe de Comines. It is a fact, on the contrary, well attested by impartial chroniclers, that he was loved by the people, whom he protected against the nobility.
Richelieu, too, a much vituperated and calumniated minister, was the champion of democratic interests when he vanquished the Protestant nobles, the allies of England, before the walls of La Rochelle; and though the aristocracy shuddered, more with fear for themselves, than through horror at the deed, when the head of Montmorency fell under the axe of the executioner, at the bidding of the stern cardinal, the people, all over France, hailed the blow as the signal of their enfranchisement from feudal thraldom.
But it is time that we here close this article, lest we trespass on ground where the giant footsteps of Montesquieu and Hallam are deeply impressed
like Diomede, it is not for us to strive against unearthly might.
THE ASTRONOMER AND THE STAR.*
BY MRS L. LESLIE.
SERE forest leaves whirled from your summer home,
With tribute waters to the monarch main,
Where broods the winter tempest-seeing all
Your multiform but long-accustomed change,
Of social passage-bird, to whisperings strange
(Sounds that might realize the sunny dreams
Of old belief-sweet mournings in the air
Of the year's dying splendor, from the care
Nor as of wont I see-but turning, trace
That path, till now to mortal gazers hid,
And upward thus, in speculative thought,
Of what thou wert, and art, and yet may'st be,
And why thy dawning light first gladdened me,
And what thy times and seasons, and if there
The Maker's mighty hand hath o'er thee laid
And if or blight or misery shall invade
Thy solitudes unpeopled. Crowding fast
Such fond inquiry to th' uncertain mind,
* The lustrous star which Tycho Brahe, in 1573, obtained the honor of discovering in the constellation Cassiopeia, had been previously observed by Paul Heinzel of Augsburgh. It is somewhere related that he devoted himself to the contemplation of this splendid stranger with so much intensity, that his mental and bodily health were alike injured. And as in a few months the star gradually declined in brilliancy, and finally disappeared altogether, he became a prey to melancholy, and the disappointed astronomer sank despairing to the grave.
Yet still the ambitious questioner within,
Will rise again in strength, and shake its wings,
Its curious chase of wild imaginings,
Earth wears large jewels on her haughty brow,
Her broad plains smiling in the sun's fair beams,
Earth has her evils-want, and pain, and care,
Sorrow, and sin-and still o'ermastering wrong
And vital crimes, the old gigantic throng,
Earth's children have high thoughts-since that old day
The groping pride of nescience doth maintain,
As dazzles my calm vigil? Day, that brings
Light, joy, and life to all, hath naught for me;
And yet at times strange throes convulse my heart
I know this mean existence linked with thine
Inseparably!-But whence that link is cast,
I ask not-(Death may solve the mystery!)
Or years unborn-enough, that thou to me
By thee shed o'er my memory and my name,
But night doth wear away, and thou hast gone
Thy lowly watcher, bowed by cares and time,
And stained perchance by sin, and pierced by woes,
Once more, once more, a denizen of earth,
Once more, too conscious of the dust that clings
The wind is chill; thick early mists arise;
Low murmurs pass from valley, field, and flood;
The poets tell us that life is a stream,
Down which in youth all joyfully we glide,
But ah! not thus has been fair youth to me!
No flowers have bloomed along the stream of life;
The storm too soon has risen in wilder strife,
But this life is a battle-no smooth river
And men do wrestle as when time was young;
And die, as a sweet strain from harp-string flung-
And I have wrestled with stern want-my lot
And while around the world has danced with mirth,
But it shall not be thus for aye. The bow
Skaneateles, September, 1843.