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III. of England as the King of France, which began a war of a hundred years between the English and French. The Seigneurie of Flanders afterwards passed over by marriage to the House of Austria, which led to long wars between France and Austria.*
John, Count of St. Pol and Luxemburg, was in the service of the French King, but in sympathy with the Duke of Burgundy and the English. He was Governor of Paris for two years in the name of Henry V. of England. It was he who took Jeanne d'Arc prisoner at Compiègne, 1430, and who sold her to the English for £10,000. He opposed the reconciliation of the French King and the Duke of Burgundy. His death occurred in 1446.
Louis, Count of St. Pol, his nephew, was in the service of Louis XI. of France, who made him Connétable, after giving him his sister-in-law as wife. Notwithstanding, he conspired with the Duke of Burgundy and the English against the King. Being convicted of this crime by the Parliament, he was beheaded. †
The Duke de Guise, of the House of Lorraine, took a leading part on the Catholic side against the Protestants, and gave the signal for the massacres of St Bartholomew, 1572, by ordering the assassination of Admiral Coligny. He was afterwards assassinated by the King's Guards at Blois, 1588.
The House of Montmorency, which took its name, as was the custom, from its estate near Paris, was
* Flanders next fell into the hands of Charles V. of Spain, who included it in the United Provinces; then it went back to Austria; then returned to the French under Napoleon. In 1814 it was ceded to the King of Holland, and in 1831 became the kingdom of Belgium.
+ It was in the magnificent castle of Count St. Pol, built in 1470, that Prince Louis Napoleon was confined for six years-1840 to 1846. The wall of one of the towers of this castle is nine feet in thickness, and has these words engraved on it, "Mon mieux "-"My best.
founded in 950 by Bouchard, one of the great Feudatories * of the Duke of France, Hugh Capet, afterwards King. He had the title of "First Christian Baron, and First Baron of France.” This family boasted of having produced six Connétables of France, twelve Marshals, four Admirals, several Cardinals, and a great number of Generals and Statesmen. It was also allied to most of the Royal Families of Europe. One of the Dukes of Montmorency, Henry II., born in 1595, was made Admiral at seventeen by Louis XIII. He inherited from his father the Government of Languedoc, one of the provinces of France. In the civil war between the Protestants and Catholics, 1620, he defeated the Duke de Rohan, the Protestant leader. As the victorious Commander of the French army in Piedmont, he was made a Marshal in 1629. Angry at not being made a Connétable, he conspired against Louis XIII., and raised a Revolution in Languedoc, but was defeated. Covered with wounds, he was made a prisoner, and executed at thirty-eight years of age. His wife retired to a convent.
The House of Rohan, descended from the ancient Kings of Brittany in the west of France, held the rank of Princes. For this reason they bore the wellknown device on their arms, "Roi ne puis, Duc
*It was customary for one feudal noble to acknowledge himself the vassal of another, if he had received from him land called fiefs, by which he was bound to fealty. In those days, any one who obtained land on the usual feudal conditions could sub-grant it; so that the vassal to the first became suzerain to the last. This process of subinfeudation, as it was called, went on in France to a great extent, and, some writers say, created those habits of obedience or submission unknown in any other country. It is true that every vassal in his turn was bound to obedience. The great baron, vassal to the king, was pledged to obey him as his suzerain. The next, who received land from the baron, was equally bound. This system, which lasted several centuries in France, has affected the national character, and explains that submission to the Government of the day which is so remarkable.
ne daigne, Rohan suis "-" King I cannot be, Duke I disdain, Rohan I am. One of the Rohans, Henry, Prince de Léon, married the daughter of Sully, the celebrated Minister of Henry IV. At the death of this King, he became leader of the Protestants, and headed their wars against Louis XIII. He was defeated at the siege of La Rochelle by Cardinal Richelieu, 1628, and banished. He then went to Venice, and became a General of the Republic in a war with Spain. He afterwards commanded a French army in the north of Italy, being restored to the favor of Richelieu. Finally, he joined Bernard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, as one of the Generals of the Protestant army of Germany, and was killed in battle, 1638.
The House of La Rochefoucauld, founded, as most of the preceding, in the eleventh century, produced many distinguished men. One of the best known is the Duke who figured in the War of the Fronde, 1648, and who was afterwards made Governor of the province of Poitou by Louis XIV. He was intimate in his latter years with Madame de Sévigne. He refused to enter the French Academy, as he shrank from speaking in public. He is best known by his book of "Maximes," published in 1665, a work remarkable for the finesse of its style, and the boldness of its paradoxes. He asserted that "Self-interest is the only motive of human actions."
The above sketches of some of the feudal Lords are taken at rand om from French Annals, and are not, perhaps, the most interesting, but they serve to illustrate the epoch. Similar portraits might be cited from the feudal history of the other countries of Europe, but would occupy too much space. The
two following pictures of feudal life in Italy are striking.
The House of Montferrat, in Lombardy, was founded by Alderame, created Marquis of Montferrat in 967 by Otho I. of Germany. This family reigned over the Marquisate of Montferrat for nearly six hundred years. William, the sixth Marquis, joined Charles of Anjou of France in his conquest of Naples, and afterwards fought against the French King when he attempted to subjugate Lombardy. He subsequently seized on numerous Italian towns in the north, and added them to the possessions of his family. He was finally taken prisoner by the inhabitants of Alexandria, who revolted against him, and was shut up in an iron cage, where he died, after seventeen months of captivity, in 1292. Perpetually at war with various feudal Lords, especially the Visconti and the Sforza, Lords of Milan, the family of Montferrat gradually declined in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and disappeared in the person of John George, 1533, who died without issue. His fiefs passed to Frederick II., Marquis of Mantua, who had married his niece.
In the fifteenth century, the feudal Barons of the Kingdom of Naples conspired against King Ferdinand, and endeavoured to put the Duke of Calabria on the throne; but afterwards they abandoned their design, and made their submission to the King as his loyal vassals. Twenty years afterwards, the Barons got up a new conspiracy, which Ferdinand discovered, and succeeded in defeating by inveigling the conspirators into his palace, and there assassinating them. One only, the Prince of Salerno, escaped. He took refuge at the Court of Charles V. of France, and promoted
ardently the war against Naples, which ended in the overthrow of Ferdinand in 1495.
From the above extracts, the reader may form some notion of the condition of Europe for some five hundred years and upwards-say, from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries-whilst the Feudal System was in the plenitude of its power. I cannot forbear, however, making a quotation from a brilliant writer, whose graphic sketches convey a still more vivid idea of this interesting period—a period that gave birth to that Hereditary Aristocracy which even to the present day is so prominent and influential. The following extract from Mr Winwood Reade brings out in an impressive manner the notable features of the feudal regime, or "the Government of the Castle." The citation begins just at the moment when the Roman Empire was breaking up, and the German tribes were trying to force their entrance into the west of Europe, which hitherto had been under the subjection of the Romans:
"The Ancient Germans-The Castle Kings-The Castle a Home-The Castle an Academy-Chivalry-The Serfs -Tournament-The Town.
"The province of Gaul”—now France-"was taxed to death, and then abandoned by the Romans. The Government could no longer afford to garrison the Rhine frontier; the legions were withdrawn, and the Germans entered.
"The invading armies were composed of free men, who, under their respective captain or heads of clans, had joined the standard of some noted warrior chief. The spoil of the army belonged to the army, and was divided according to stipulated rules. The king's share was large, but more than his share he might not have. When the Germans, instead of returning with their booty, remained upon the foreign soil,