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In the history of the blessed Régis, there is not even a single resuscitation.
ITALY has always preserved its name, notwithstanding the pretended establishment of Æneas; which should have left some traces of the language, characters, and manners of Phrygia, if he ever came with Achates and so many others, into the province of Rome, then almost desert. The Goths, Lombards, Franks, Allemans, or Germans, who have by turns invaded Italy, have at least left it its name.
The Tyrians, Africans, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, and Saracens have, one after the other, been masters of Spain, yet the name of Spain exists. Germany has also always preserved its own name; it has merely joined that of Allemagne to it, which appellation it did not receive from any conqueror.
The Gauls are almost the only people of the west who have lost their name. This name was originally Walch or Welch; the Romans always substituted a G for the W, which is barbarous: of“ Welch” they made Galli, Gallia. They distinguished the Celtic, the Belgic, and the Aquitanic Gaul, each of which spoke a different jargon. +
Who were, and whence came these Franks, who in such a small number and little time possessed themselves of all the Gauls, which in ten years Cæsar could not entirely reduce? I am reading an author who commences by these words :-" The Franks from whom we descend...” Ha! my friend, who has told you
that you descend in a right line from a Frank? Clodowick, whom we call Clovis, probably had not more than twenty thousand men, badly clothed and armed, when he subjugated about eight or ten millions of Welch or Gauls, held in servitude by three or four Roman legions. We have not a single family in France which can furnish, I do not say the least proof,
* See St. IGNATIUS. VOL. III.
+ See LANGUAGE.
but the least probability, that it had its origin from a Frank.
When the pirates of the Baltic sea came, to the number of seven or eight thousand, to give Normandy in fief, and Brittany in arrière fief, did they leave any archives by which it may be seen whether they were the fathers of all the Normans of the present day?
It has been a long time believed that the Franks came from the Trojans. Ammianus Marcellinus, who lived in the fourth century, says,-“ According to several ancient writers, troops of fugitive Trojans established themselves on the borders of the Rhine, then desert. As to Æneas, he might easily have sought an asylum at the extremity of the Mediterranean, but Francus the son of Hector had too far to travel to go towards Dusseldorp, Worms, Solm, Errenbeistein, &c.
Fredegarius doubts not that the Franks at first retired into Macedonia, and carried arms under Alexander, after having fought under Priam; on which alleged facts the monk Otfrid compliments the emperor Louis the German.
The geographer of Ravenna, less fabulous, assigns the first habitation of the horde of Franks among the Cimbrians, beyond the Elbe, towards the Baltic sea. These Franks might well be some remains of these barbarian Cimbri defeated by Marius; and the learned Leibnitz is of this opinion.
It is very certain that, in the time of Constantine, beyond the Rhine there were hordes of Franks or Sicambri, who lived by pillage. They assembled under bandit captains, chiefs whom historians have had the folly to call kings. Constantine himself pursued them to their haunts, caused several to be hanged, and others to be delivered to wild beasts, in the amphitheatre of Treves, for his amusement. Two of their pretended kings perished in this manner, at which the panegyrists of Constantine are in ecstacies.
The Salic law, written, it is said, by these barbarians, is one of the absurd chimeras with which we have always been pestered. It would be very strange if the
Franks had written such a considerable code in their marshes, and the French had not any written
usages until the close of the reign of Charles VII. It might as well be said that the Algonquins and Chicachas had written laws. Men are never governed by authentic laws, consigned to public monuments, until they have been assembled into cities, and have a regular police, archives, and all that characterises a civilised nation. When you find a code in a nation which was barbarous at the time it was written, who lived upon rapine and pillage, and which had not a walled town, you may be sure that this code is a pretended one, which has been made in much later times. Fallacies and suppositions never obliterate this truth from the minds of the wise.
What is more ridiculous still, this Salic law has been given to us in Latin; as if savages wandering beyond the Rhine had learnt the Latin language. It is supposed to have been first digested by Clovis, and it ran thus :-Whilst the illustrious nation of the Franks was still considered barbarous, the heads of this nation dictated the Salic law. They chose among themselves four chiefs, Visogast, Bodogast, Sologast, Vindogast, &c. taking, according to La Fontaine's fable, the names of places for those of men :
Notre magot prit pour ce coup
Le nom d'un port pour un nom d'homme. These names are those of some Frank cantons in the province of Worms. Whatever may be the epoch in which the customs denominated the Salic law were constructed on an ancient tradition, it is very clear that the Franks were not great legislators.
What is the original meaning of the word Frank? That is a question of which we know nothing, and which above a hundred authors have endeavoured to find out. What is the meaning of Hun, Alain, Goth, Welch, Picard? And what does it signify?
Were the armies of Clovis all composed of Franks? It does not appear so.
Childeric the Frank had made inroads as far as Tournay. It is said that Clovis was the son of Childeric and queen Bazine, the wife of king his troops
Bazin. Now Bazin and Bazine are assuredly not German names, and we have never seen the least proof that Clovis was their son. All the German cantons elected their chiefs, and the province of Franks had no doubt elected Clovis as they had done his father. He made his expedition against the Gauls, as all the other barbarians had undertaken theirs against the Roman empire.
Dost thou really and truly believe that the Herulian Odo, surnamed Acer by the Romans, and known to us by the name of Odoacer, had only Herulian's in his train, and that Genseric conducted Vandals alone into Africa? All the wretches without talent or profession, who have nothing to lose, do they not always join the first captain of robbers who raises the standard of destruction?
As soon as Clovis had the least success, were no doubt joined by all the Belgians who panted for booty; and this army is nevertheless called the army
of Franks. The expedition was very easy. The Visigoths had already invaded one-third of Gaul, and the Burgundians another. The rest submitted to Clovis. The Franks divided the land of the vanquished, and the Welch cultivated it.
The word Frank originally signified a free possessor, whilst the others were slaves. Hence come the words franchise, and to enfranchise, -- " I make you a Frank," " I render you a free man." Hence francalenus, holding freely; frank aleu, frank dad, frank chamen, and so many other terms half Latin and half barbarian, which have so long composed the miserable patois spoken in France.
Hence, also, a franc in gold or silver to express the money of the king of the Franks, which did not happen until a long time after, but which reminds us of the origin of the monarchy. We still say twenty francs, twenty livres, which signifies nothing in itself; it gives no idea of the weight or value of the money, being only a vague expression, by which ignorant people have been continually deceived, not knowing really how much they receive or how much they pay.
Charlemagne did not consider himself as a Frank; he was born in Austrasia, and spoke the German language. He was of the family of Arnold, bishop of Metz, preceptor to Dagobert. Now it is not probable that a man chosen for a preceptor was a Frank. He made the greatest glory of the most profound ignorance, and was acquainted only with the profession of
But what gives most weight to the opinion that Charlemagne regarded the Franks as strangers to him, is the fourth article of one of his capitularies on his farms. If the Franks, said he, commit any ravages on our possessions, let them be judged according to their laws.
The Carlovingian race always passed for German : pope Adrian IV., in his letter to the archbishops of Mayence, Cologne, and Treves, expresses himself in these remarkable terms : “ The emperor was transferred from the Greeks to the Germans. Their king was not emperor until after he had been crowned by the pope ... all that the emperor possessed he held
And as Zacharius gave the Greek empire to the Germans, we can give that of the Germans to the Greeks.”
However, France having been divided into eastern and western, and the eastern being Austrasia, this name of Françe prevailed so far, that even in the time of the Saxon emperors, the court of Constantinople always called them pretended Frank emperors, as may be seen in the letters of bishop Luitpraud, sent from Rome to Constantinople.
Of the French Nation. When the Franks established themselves in the country of the first Welches, which the Romans called Gallia, the nation was composed of ancient Celts or Gauls, , subjugated by Cæsar. Roman families who were established there, Germans who had already emigrated there, and finally of the Franks, who had rendered themselves masters of the country under their chief Clovis. Whilst the monarchy subsisted, which united Gaul and Germany, all the people, from the