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power is the less precarious. The reigning baron is by right of his supremacy allowed the first place at the public sacrifices. He is the chief pontiff, and in the struggle which later ensues between the crowned head and the barons, not the least effectual means for stripping the latter of the prestige they acquire by this connection with sacred duties, is the retention by the monarch of the head-place in the religion of the state, and the distribution of ministerial duties to a class of ecclesiastics who are independent of the aristocrats. The Norman king filled all the priestly offices with Normans as a preventive against the commons, and as many of them as he could he filled with his court-chaplains, as a preventive against the barons.

In the broad outline these changes are marked, each by the unvarying characteristics of its species. But in detailed histories the simplicity of these social adjustments soon goes out of sight when one finds, for instance, in one country, patches of different strata on the surface, not reduced for ages to the common level of subjection to a central power. The historian of France is embarrassed by the conquests and reconquests, the establishment and the rejection of feudality, which took place, each in a dozen different degrees, in the little principalities, by the union of which the kingdom was eventually formed. And we, too, in reading the history of our own country have no simple tableau opened to our view under the title of the Norman conquest. It was effected piecemeal, and when the broad distinction of Norman conquerors, and conquered Angles, Danes, and Saxons was at length established in England, in the highlands of Scotland the prenational form of society remained down to the close of the seventeenth century. The sole tie of union was the tie of the clan; and the chieftain, so far from being a member of any upper caste, was but the headman of the clan, and waged fitful wars with every other clan and every other chief; while the people, who preferred agriculture to the rewards of a successful trial

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of strength, maintained, amid their rude life and their cruel and predatory warfare, the high and noble bearing of a people who had never succumbed to a superior, and who disdained the paltry arts of deceit. It is curious to observe how these native chieftains were gradually absorbed into the English aristocracy.

They who would, on the complete annexation of Scotland, have 'formed in any other system a class of nepioixos, in

, England were called earls *, and in a generation or two all but their clansmen forgot that they were not of Norman blood. How different, too, from England was the condition of Wales, where the descendants of unconquered Britons at length saw their old enemies yield before a stronger race. Feudality, or the imposition of a conquering tribe, need not therefore be spread over a whole kingdom in order to make it enter upon the usual course of national progress, but apparently feudality must be so far established as to call into being a powerful class of aristocrats, alien by race from the people (or at least believing themselves to be so), and jealous of each other's supremacy. Quasi - feudality is often established or attempted by the central native chieftain who, to outstrip the jealousy of his compeers, encourages foreigners, and erects a sort of foreign functionarism throughout the kingdom. This was in some measure tried by the old Scottish kings, who courted Saxon immigrants, and gave them place and power, and went so far as to discard their native language.t

Had the Norman conquest not taken place what would have been the result ? England would not have existed, but our island would have been, like Scandinavia, divided into three kingdoms, holding little communion with, and bearing no good will towards each other—the Anglian kingdom, the Welsh, and the Scottish. We should have

* See the case of the O'Donnel, Macaulay, Hist. of England, iii. 671. † Thierry, Hist. ii. 65.

been split and severed into these divisions, or perhaps more like the states of Germany. On the other hand, had the Normans, abandoning the doctrine of primogeniture, come earlier, before the Anglo-Saxons had made any considerable advance in civilisation and had established among themselves fixed gradations of rank, we should probably have seen in our country as severe and rigid a distinction between noble and roturier as was maintained in France with such calamitous consequences to the close of the eighteenth century.

Aristocracies, if founded so as to endure, form the first great epoch in national progress; but sometimes, after an aristocracy has been founded, the conquered have risen against their lords and expelled them. This was accomplished in Spain, though after a long period of subjection to the Arabs. In Egyptian history something of the same nature may be traced. A shepherd was an abomination to the Egyptians, a feeling which Dr. Milman suggests to have been derived from the fact that “while Egypt was rapidly advancing in splendour and prosperity, and barbarous Asiatic horde burst suddenly upon her fruitful provinces, destroyed her temples, massacred her priests, and having subdued the whole of Lower Egypt, established a dynasty of six successive kings. These Hyksos, or royal shepherds, with their savage clans, afterwards expelled by the victorious Egyptians, Monsieur Champollion thinks, with apparent reason, that he recognises on many of the ancient monuments. A people with red hair, blue eyes, and covered only with an undressed hide, loosely wrapped over them, are painted sometimes struggling in deadly warfare with the natives, more usually in attitudes of the lowest degradation which the scorn and hatred of their conquerors could invent. They lie prostrate under the footstools of the kings, in the attitude described in the book of Joshua, where the rulers actually set their feet on the necks of the captive kings. The common people appear to have taken pride in having the figures

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of these detested enemies wrought on the soles of their sandals, that they might be thus perpetually trampled on.”*

The consequence of expelling an aristocracy is substantially to recall the nation to the state in which it was at the time when the aristocracy introduced itself; to throw it, as it were, back in the course of national progress. Though, if the conquerors were at all civilised and artistic, they leave their knowledge and their arts to the country from which they are driven, as the Arabs did to Spain, not grateful for the inheritance, and by cultivating these arts and the other occupations which, as we shall hereafter see, tend to the advancement of nations in the national progress, it is possible for them to arrive at the later stages of development, though shorn of an aristocracy and all its accompaniments. This was not the case in all parts of Spain, for when its foreign conquerors were gone, there was established, by large grants of land, a native aristocracy. But the inhabitants of the Basque provinces, where there were no such nobles, are, like the Norwegians, warlike and chivalrous. Every one is a noble provided he is free from Jewish or Moorish taint, as all the Norwegians are noble if free from Finnish taint.

The impulse which induces warlike tribes to leave their old over-populated homes and their sluggish monotonous lives to conquer new lands and the cultivators of these lands is sufficiently intelligible; but a feeling of surprise naturally arises, that some particular epochs in the world's history should be marked out by a rapid succession of these armed migrations, insomuch that people seem to have been doing nothing else but conquering or being conquered, while centuries, happily for civilisation, elapse without one of them taking place, though the same cause of migration-over-population in the mountains whence these tribes emanate—is constantly recurring.

The explanation, which I believe to be the true one, is

Milman's Hist. of the Jews, i. 48.

painfully unromantic. When the inhabitants of the plains are rude and uncivilised, the descending mountaineers, or the invading sea-kings, can obtain no sustenance in the plains by labour or peaceful employment, and so are forced to get a mastery over the peasants who dwelt there before, and compel them to pay tribute out of the produce of their land for their masters' maintenance. Thus they form aristocracies. But in times of civil industry, and when the increasing arts and employments of peaceful life afford an enlarged field for occupation, the superfluous population of wild untamed districts may still descend


the plains; no longer as conquerors, but as servants. The superiuous Swiss became mercenaries, or

. couriers, or fancy carvers for the rest of Europe; the superfluous Asturians became hewers of wood and drawers of water in Madrid, and are the valets and cooks of Spain.* Both these tribes are hardy, mountain-bred, honest, and warlike; the Asturians especially, are jealous of their honour, and above a sordid action; and if the rest of Europe were peopled by a sparse peasantry, these races would, without doubt, instead of being servants and mercenaries, have founded as proud and noble aristocracies as any that the world has ever seen. It is the fault of their neighbours, not of themselves, that, instead of being a storehouse of nobles, their mountains are a storehouse of cooks. If you feel shocked at this near comparison of heroes to hodmen, ask the elegant Lord Chesterfield his opinion, and he will tell you that the two are near akin, and that Homer's heroes talk like a pack of porters.t

* Ford's Handbook, p. 695. Quart. Rev. lxii. p.

128. † Chesterfield, Letter ccii,

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