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William Robertson

A View of the Progress of Society in Europe from the Subversion of the Roman Empire to the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century (1769)

Section I - Par vi-x

Note editoriali

Home | Editorial note | Preface | Section I | Par. i-ii | Par. iii-v | Par vi-x | Section II
Section III (pp. 106-119)
| Section III (pp. 120-139) | Section III (pp. 141-166)
Proofs & Illustrations


The forms and maxims of the canon law, which were become universally respectable, from their authority in the spiritual courts, contributed not a little towards those improvements in jurisprudence which I have enumerated. If w e consider the canon law politically, and view it either as a system framed on purpose to assist the clergy in usurping powers and jurisdiction no less repugnant to the nature of their function, than inconsistent with the order of government; or as the chief instrument in establishing the dominion of the popes, which shook the throne, and endangered the liberties of every kingdom in Europe, we must pronounce it one of the most formidable engines ever formed against the happiness of civil society. But if we contemplate it merely as a code of laws respecting the rights and property of individuals, and attend only to the civil effects of its decisions concerning these, it will appear in a different, and a much more favourable light. In ages of ignorance and credulity, the ministers of religion are the objects of superstitious veneration. When the barbarians who overran the Roman empire first embraced the Christian faith, they found the clergy in possession of considerable power; and they naturally transferred to those new guides the profound submission and reverence which they were accustomed to yield to the priests of that religion which they had forsaken. They deemed their persons to be equally sacred with their function; and would have considered it as impious to subject them to the profane jurisdiction [55] of the laity. The clergy were not blind to these advantages which the weakness of mankind afforded them. They established courts, in which every question relating to their own character, their function, or their property, was tried. They pleaded and obtained an almost total exemption from the authority of civil judges. Upon different pretexts, and by a multiplicity of artifices, they communicated this privilege to so many persons, and extended their jurisdiction to such a variety of cases, that the greater part of those affairs which give rise to contest and litigation, was drawn under the cognizance of the spiritual courts.

But, in order to dispose the laity to suffer these usurpations without murmur or opposition, it was necessary to convince them, that the administration of justice would be rendered more perfect by the establishment of this new jurisdiction. This was not a difficult undertaking at that period, when ecclesiastics carried on their encroachments with the greatest success. That scanty portion of science which served to guide men in the ages of darkness, was almost entirely engrossed by the clergy. They alone were accustomed to read, to inquire, and to reason. Whatever knowledge of ancient jurisprudence had been preserved, either by tradition, or in such books as had escaped the destructive rage of barbarians, was possessed by them. Upon the maxims of that excellent system, they founded 3 code of laws consonant to the great principles of equity. Being directed by fixed and known rules, the forms of their courts were ascertained, and their decisions became uniform and consistent. Nor did they want authority sufficient to enforce their sentences. Excommunication and other ecclesiastical censures were punishments more formidable than any that civil judges could inflict in support of their decrees.

It is not surprising, then, that ecclesiastical jurisprudence should become such an object of admiration and respect, that exemption from civil jurisdiction was courted as a privilege, and conferred as a reward. It is not surprising [56] that, even to a rude people, the maxims of the canon law should appear more equal and just than those of the ill-digested jurisprudence which directed all proceedings in civil courts. According to the latter, the differences between contending barons were terminated, as in a state of nature, by the sword; according to the former, every matter was subjected to the decision of laws. The one, by permitting judicial combats, left chance and force to be arbiters of right or wrong, of truth or falsehood; the other passed judgment with respect to these by the maxims of equity, and the testimony of witnesses. Any error or iniquity in a sentence pronounced by a baron to whom feudal jurisdiction belonged, was irremediable, because originally it was subject to the review of no superior tribunal; the ecclesiastical law established a regular gradation of courts, through all which a cause might be carried by appeal, until it was determined by that authority which was held to be supreme in the church. Thus the genius and principles of the canon law prepared men for approving those three great alterations in the feudal jurisprudence which I have mentioned. But it was not with respect to these points alone that the canon law suggested improvements beneficial to society. Many of the regulations, now deemed the barriers of personal security, or the safeguards of private property, are contrary to the spirit, and repugnant to the maxims, of the civil jurisprudence known in Europe during several centuries, and were borrowed from the rules and practice of the ecclesiastical courts. By observing the wisdom and equity of the decisions in these courts, men began to perceive the necessity either of deserting the martial tribunals of the barons, or of attempting to reform them [AA].



The revival of the knowledge and study of the Roman law cooperated with the causes which I have mentioned, in introducing more just and liberal ideas concerning the nature of government, and the administration of justice. Among the calamities which the devastations of [57] the barbarians who broke in upon the empire brought upon mankind one of the greatest was their overturning the system of Roman jurisprudence, the noblest monument of the wisdom of that great people, formed to subdue and to govern the world. The laws and regulations of a civilised community were repugnant to the manners and ideas of these fierce invaders. They had respect to objects of which a rude people had no conception; and were adapted to a state of society with which they were entirely unacquainted. For this reason, wherever they settled, the Roman jurisprudence soon sunk into oblivion, and lay buried for some centuries under the load of those institutions which the inhabitants of Europe dignified with the name of laws. But towards the middle of the twelfth century, a copy of Justinian’s Pandects was accidentally discovered in Italy. By that time, the state of society was so far advanced, and the ideas of men so much enlarged and improved by the occurrences of several centuries, during which they had continued in political union, that they were struck with admiration of a system which their ancestors could not comprehend. Though they had not hitherto attained such a degree of refinement, as to acquire from the ancients a relish for true philosophy or speculative science; though they were still insensible, in a great degree, to the beauty and elegance of classical composition; they were sufficiently qualified to judge with respect to the merit of their system of laws, in which all the points most interesting to mankind were settled with discernment, precision, and equity. All men of letters studied this new science with eagerness; and within a few years after the discovery of the Pandects, professors of civil law were appointed, who taught it publicly in most countries of Europe.

The effects of having such an excellent model to study and to imitate were immediately perceived. Men, as soon as they were acquainted with fixed and general laws, perceived the advantage of them, and became impatient to [58] ascertain the principles and forms by which judges Should regulate their decisions. Such was the ardour with which they carried on an undertaking of so great importance to society, that, before the close of the twelfth century, the feudal law was reduced into a regular system; the code of canon law was enlarged and methodised; and the loose uncertain customs of different provinces or kingdoms were collected and arranged with an order and accuracy acquired from the knowledge of Roman jurisprudence. In some countries of Europe the Roman law was adopted as subsidiary to their own municipal law; and all cases to which the latter did not extend, were decided according to the principles of the former. In others, the maxims as well as forms of Roman jurisprudence, mingled imperceptibly with the laws of the country, and had a powerful though less sensible influence in improving and perfecting them [BB].

These various improvements in the system of jurisprudence, and administration of justice, occasioned a change in manners, of great importance and of extensive effect. They gave rise to a distinction of professions; they obliged men to cultivate different talents, and to aim at different accomplishments, in order to qualify themselves for the various departments and functions which became necessary in society (41). Among uncivilised nations, there is but one profession honourable, that of arms. All the ingenuity and vigour of the human mind are exerted in acquiring military skill or address. The functions of peace are few and simple, and require no particular course of education or of study as a preparation for discharging them. This was the state of Europe during several centuries. Every gentleman, born a soldier, scorned any other occupation; he was taught no science but that of war; even his exercises and pastimes were feats of martial prowess. Nor did the judicial character, which persons of noble birth were alone entitled to assume, demand any degree of knowledge [59] beyond that which such untutored soldiers possessed. To recollect a few traditionary customs which time had confirmed and rendered respectable; to mark out the lists of battle with due formality; to observe the issue of the combat; and to pronounce whether it had been conducted according to the laws of arms, included everything that a baron, who acted as a judge, found it necessary to understand.

But when the forms of legal proceedings were fixed, when the rules of decision were committed to writing, and collected into a body, law became a science, the knowledge of which required a regular course of study, together with long attention to the practice of courts. Martial and illiterate nobles had neither leisure nor inclination to undertake a task so laborious, as well as so foreign from all the occupations which they deemed entertaining, or suitable to their rank. They gradually relinquished their places in courts of justice, where their ignorance exposed them to contempt. They became weary of attending to the discussion of cases, which grew too intricate for them to comprehend. Not only the judicial determination of points which were the subject of controversy, but the conduct of all legal business and transactions, was committed to persons trained by previous study and application to the knowledge of law. An order of men, to whom their fellow-citizens had daily recourse for advice, and to whom they looked up for decision in their most important concerns, naturally acquired consideration and influence in society. They were advanced to honours which had been considered hitherto as the peculiar rewards of military virtue. They were intrusted with offices of the highest dignity and most extensive power. Thus, another profession than that of arms came to be introduced among the laity, and was reputed honourable. The functions of civil life were attended to. The talents requisite for discharging them were cultivated. A new road was opened [60] to wealth and eminence. The arts and virtues of peace were placed in their proper rank, and received their due recompense [CC].



While improvements, so important with respect to the state of society and the administration of justice, gradually made progress in Europe, sentiments more liberal and generous had begun to animate the nobles. These were inspired by the spirit of chivalry, which, though considered, commonly, as a wild institution, the effect of caprice, and the source of extravagance, arose naturally from the state of society at that period, and had a very serious influence in refining the manners of the European nations. The feudal state was a state of almost perpetual war, rapine, and anarchy, during which the weak and unarmed were exposed to insults or injuries. The power of the sovereign was too limited to prevent these wrongs; and the administration of justice too feeble to redress them. The most effectual protection against violence and oppression was often found to be that which the valour and generosity of private persons afforded. The same spirit of enterprise which had prompted so many gentlemen to take arms in defence of the oppressed pilgrims in Palestine, incited others to declare themselves the patrons and avengers of injured innocence at home. When the final reduction of the Holy Land under the dominion of infidels put an end to these foreign expeditions, the latter was the only employment left for the activity and courage of adventurers. To check the insolence of overgrown oppressors; to rescue the helpless from captivity; to protect or to avenge women, orphans, and ecclesiastics, who could not bear arms in their own defence; to redress wrongs, and to remove grievances, were deemed acts of the highest prowess and merit. Valour, humanity, courtesy, justice, honour, were the characteristic qualities of chivalry. To these was added religion, which mingled itself with every passion and institution during the middle [61] ages, and, by infusing a large proportion of enthusiastic zeal, gave them such force as carried them to romantic excess. Men were trained to knighthood by a long previous discipline; they were admitted into the order by solemnities no less devout than pompous; every person of noble birth courted that honour; it was deemed a distinction superior to royalty; and monarchs were proud to receive it from the hands of private gentlemen.

This singular institution, in which valour, gallantry, and religion, were so strangely blended, was wonderfully adapted to the taste and genius of martial nobles; and its effects were soon visible in their manners. War was carried on with less ferocity, when humanity came to be deemed the ornament of knighthood no less than courage. More gentle and polished manners were introduced, when courtesy was recommended as the most amiable of knightly virtues. Violence and oppression decreased, when it was reckoned meritorious to cheek and to punish them. A scrupulous adherence to truth, with the most religious attention to fulfil every engagement, became the distinguishing characteristic of a gentleman, because chivalry was regarded as the school of honour, and inculcated the most delicate sensibility with respect to those points. The admiration of these qualities, together with the high distinctions and prerogatives conferred on knighthood in every part of Europe, inspired persons of noble birth on some occasions with a species of military fanaticism, and led them to extravagant enterprises. But they deeply imprinted on their minds the principles of generosity and honour. These were strengthened by everything that can affect the senses or touch the heart. the wild exploits of those romantic knights who sallied forth ill quest of adventures are well known, and have been treated with proper ridicule. The political and permanent effects of the spirit of chivalry have been less observed. Perhaps the humanity which accompanies all the operations of war, the refinements [62] of gallantry, and the point of honour, the three chief circumstances which distinguish modern from ancient manners, may be ascribed in a great measure to this institution which has appeared whimsical to superficial observers, but by its effects has proved of great benefit to mankind. The sentiments which chivalry inspired, had a wonderful influence on manners and conduct during the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. They were so deeply rooted, that they continued to operate after the vigour and reputation of the institution itself began to decline. Some considerable transactions recorded in the following history resemble the adventurous exploits of chivalry, rather than the well-regulated operations of sound policy. Some of the most eminent personages, whose characters will be delineated, were strongly tinctured with this romantic spirit. Francis I. was ambitious to distinguish himself by all the qualities of an accomplished knight, and endeavoured to imitate the enterprising genius of chivalry in war, as well as its pomp and courtesy during peace. The fame which the French monarch acquired by these splendid actions, so far dazzled his more temperate rival, that he departed on some occasions from his usual prudence and moderation, and emulated Francis in deeds of prowess or of gallantry [DD].



The progress of science, and the cultivation of literature, had considerable effect in changing the manners of the European nations, and introducing that civility and refinement by which they are now distinguished. At the time when their empire was overturned, the Romans, though they had lost that correct taste which has rendered the productions of their ancestors standards of excellence, and models of imitation for succeeding ages, still preserved their love of letters, and cultivated the arts with great ardour. But rude barbarians were so far from being struck with any admiration of these unknown accomplishments that they despised them. They were not arrived at that [63] state of society, when those faculties of the human mind which have beauty and elegance for their objects begin to unfold themselves. They were strangers to most of those wants and desires which are the parents of ingenious invention; and as they did not comprehend either the merit or utility of the Roman arts, they destroyed the monuments of them, with an industry not inferior to that with which their posterity have since studied to preserve or to recover them. The convulsions occasioned by the settlement of so many unpolished tribes in the empire; the frequent as well as violent revolutions in every kingdom which they established; together with the interior defects in the form of government which they introduced, banished security and leisure, prevented the growth of taste, or the culture of science, and kept Europe, during several centuries, in that state of ignorance which has been already described. But the events and institutions which I have enumerated produced great alterations in society. As soon as their operation, in restoring liberty and independence to one part of the community, began to be felt; as soon as they began to communicate to all the members of society some taste of the advantages arising from commerce, from public order, and from personal security, the human mind became conscious of powers which it did not formerly perceive, and fond of occupations or pursuits of which it was formerly incapable. Towards the beginning of the twelfth century, we discern the first symptoms of its awakening from that lethargy in which it had been long sunk, and observe it turning with curiosity and attention towards new objects.

The first literary efforts, however, of the European nations in the middle ages were extremely ill-directed. Among nations, as well as individuals, the powers of imagination attain some degree of vigour before the intellectual faculties are much exercised in speculative or abstract disquisition. Men are poets before they are philosophers; they feel with sensibility, and describe with force, when [64] they have made but little progress in investigation or reasoning. The age of Homer and of Hesiod long preceded that of Thales or of Socrates. But, unhappily for literature, our ancestors, deviating from this course which nature points out, plunged at once into the depths of abstruse and metaphysical inquiry. They had been converted to the Christian faith soon after they settled in their new conquests. But they did not receive it pure: the presumption of men had added to the simple and instructive doctrines of Christianity the theories of a vain philosophy, that attempted to penetrate into mysteries, and to decide questions which the limited faculties of the human mind are unable to comprehend or to resolve. These over-curious speculations were incorporated with the system of religion, and came to be considered as the most essential part of it. As soon, then, as curiosity prompted men to inquire and to reason, these were the subjects which first presented themselves, and engaged their attention. The scholastic theology, with its infinite train of bold disquisitions, and subtile distinctions concerning points which are not the object of human reason, was the first production of the spirit of inquiry, after it began to resume some degree of activity and vigour in Europe. It was not, however, this circumstance alone that gave such a wrong turn to the minds of men, when they began again to exercise talents which they had so long neglected. Most of the persons who attempted to revive literature in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, had received instruction, or derived their principles of science from the Greeks in the eastern empire, or from the Arabians in Spain and Africa. Both these people, acute and inquisitive to excess, had corrupted those sciences which they cultivated. The former rendered theology a system of speculative refinement, or of endless controversy; the latter communicated to philosophy a spirit of metaphysical and frivolous subtlety. Misled by these guides, the persons who first applied to science were involved in a [65] maze of intricate inquiries. Instead of allowing their fancy to take its natural range, and to produce such works of invention as might have improved their taste and refined their sentiments; instead of cultivating those arts which embellish human life, and render it comfortable; they were fettered by authority, they were led astray by example, and wasted the whole force of their genius in speculations as unavailing as they were difficult.

But, fruitless and ill-directed as these speculations were, their novelty roused, and their boldness interested, the human mind. The ardour with which men pursued these uninviting studies was astonishing. Genuine philosophy was never cultivated, in any enlightened age, with more zeal. Schools, upon the model of those instituted by Charlemagne, were opened in every cathedral, and almost in every monastery of note. Colleges and universities were erected and formed into communities or corporations, governed by their own laws, and invested with separate and extensive jurisdiction over their own members. A regular course of studies was planned; privileges of great value were conferred on masters and scholars; academical titles and honours of various kinds were invented as a recompense for both. Nor was it in the schools alone that superiority in science led to reputation and authority; it became an object of respect in life, and advanced such as acquired it to a rank of no inconsiderable eminence. Allured by all these advantages, an incredible number of students resorted to those new seats of learning, and crowded with eagerness into that new path which was open to fame and distinction.

But how considerable soever these first efforts may appear, there was one circumstance which prevented the effects of them from being as extensive as they naturally ought to have been. All the languages in Europe, during the period under review, were barbarous; they were destitute of elegance, of force, and even of perspicuity. No [66] attempt had been hitherto made to improve or to polish them. The Latin tongue was consecrated by the church to religion; custom, with authority scarcely less sacred, had appropriated it to literature. All the sciences cultivated in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were taught in Latin; all books with respect to them were written in that language. It would have been deemed a degradation of any important subject to have treated of it in a modern language. This confined science within a very narrow circle; the learned alone were admitted into the temple of knowledge; the gate was shut against all others, who were suffered to remain involved in their former darkness and ignorance.

But though science was thus prevented, during several ages, from diffusing itself through society, and its influence was much circumscribed; the progress which it made may be mentioned, nevertheless, among the great causes which contributed to introduce a change of manners into Europe. She ardent though ill judged spirit of inquiry which I have described, occasioned a fermentation of mind that put ingenuity and invention in motion, and gave them vigour. It led men to a new employment of their faculties, which they found to be agreeable as well as interesting. It accustomed them to exercises and occupations which tended to soften their manners, and to give them some relish for the gentle virtues, peculiar to people among whom science has been cultivated with success [EE].



The progress of commerce had considerable influence in polishing the manners of the European nations, and in establishing among them order, equal laws, and humanity. The wants of men, in the original and most simple state of society, are so few, and their desires so limited, that they rest contented with the natural productions of their climate and soil, or with what they can add to these by their own rude industry. They have no superfluities to dispose of, and few necessities that demand a supply. Every little community subsisting on its own domestic stock, and satisfied [67] with it, is either little acquainted with the states around it, or at variance with them. Society and manners must be considerably improved, and many provisions must be made for public order and personal security, before a liberal intercourse can take place between different nations. We -find, accordingly, that the first effect of the settlement of the barbarians in the empire, was to divide those nations which the Roman power had united. Europe was broken into many separate communities. The intercourse between these divided states ceased almost entirely during several centuries. Navigation was dangerous in seas infested by pirates; nor could strangers trust to a friendly reception in the ports of uncivilised nations. Even between distant parts of the same kingdom, the communication was rare and difficult. The lawless rapine of banditti, together with the avowed exactions of the nobles, scarcely less formidable and oppressive, rendered a journey of any length a perilous enterprise. Fixed to the spot in which they resided, the greater part of the inhabitants of Europe lost, in a great measure, the knowledge of remote regions, and were unacquainted with their names, their situations, their climates, and their commodities.

Various causes, however, contributed to revive the spirit of commerce, and to renew, in some degree, the intercourse between different nations. The Italians, by their connexion with Constantinople, and other cities of the Greek empire, had preserved in their own country considerable relish for the precious commodities and curious manufactures of the East. They communicated some knowledge of these to the countries contiguous to Italy. But this commerce being extremely limited, the intercourse which it occasioned between different nations was not considerable. The crusades, by leading multitudes from every corner of Europe into Asia, opened a more extensive communication between the East and West, which subsisted for two centuries; and though the object of these expeditions was [68] conquest and not commerce; though the issue of them proved as unfortunate as the motives for undertaking them were wild and enthusiastic, their commercial effects, as hath been shown, were both beneficial and permanent. During the continuance of the crusades, the great cities in Italy, and in other countries of Europe, acquired liberty, and together with it such privileges as rendered them respectable and independent communities. Thus in every state there was formed a new order of citizens, to whom commerce presented itself as their proper object, and opened to them a certain path to wealth and consideration. Soon after the close of the holy war, the mariner’s compass was invented, which, by rendering navigation more secure, encouraged it to become more adventurous, facilitated the communication between remote nations, and brought them nearer to each other.

The Italian states, during the same period, established a regular commerce with the East in the ports of Egypt, and drew from thence all the rich products of the Indies. They introduced into their own territories manufactures of various kinds, and carried them on with great ingenuity and vigour. They attempted new arts; and transplanted from warmer climates, to which they had been hitherto deemed peculiar, several natural productions which now furnish the materials of a lucrative and extended commerce. All these commodities, whether imported from Asia, or produced by their own skill, they disposed of to great advantage among the other people of Europe, who began to acquire some taste for an elegance in living unknown to their ancestors, or despised by them. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the commerce of Europe was almost entirely in the hands of the Italians, more commonly known in those ages by the name of Lombards. Companies or societies of Lombard merchants settled in every different kingdom. They were taken under the immediate protection of the several governments. They enjoyed extensive [69] privileges and immunities. The operation of the ancient barbarous laws concerning strangers, was suspended with respect to them They became the carriers, the manufacturers, and the bankers of all Europe.

While the Italians, in the south of Europe, were cultivating trade with such industry and success, the commercial spirit awakened in the North towards the middle of the thirteenth century. As the nations around the Baltic were, at that time, extremely barbarous, and infested that sea with their piracies, the cities of Lubec and Hamburgh, soon after they began to open some trade with these people, found it necessary to enter into a league of mutual defence. They derived such advantages from this union, that other towns acceded to their confederacy, and, in a short time, eighty of the most considerable cities scattered through those extensive countries, which stretch from the bottom of the Baltic to Cologne on the Rhine, joined in the famous Hanseatic league, which became so formidable, that its alliance was courted and its enmity was dreaded by the greatest monarchs. The members of this powerful association formed the first systematic plan of commerce known in the middle ages, and conducted it by common laws enacted in their general assemblies. They supplied the rest of Europe with naval stores, and pitched on different towns, the most eminent of which was at Bruges in Flanders, where they established staples in which their commerce was regularly carried on. Thither the Lombards brought the productions of India, together with the manufactures of Italy, and exchanged them for the more bulky but not less useful commodities of the North. The Hanseatic merchants disposed of the cargoes which they received from the Lombards, in the ports of the Baltic. or carried them up the great rivers into the interior parts of Germany.

This regular intercourse opened between the nations in the North and south of Europe, made them sensible of their mutual wants, and created such new and increasing demands [70] for commodities of every kind, that it excited among the inhabitants of the Netherlands a more vigorous spirit in carrying on the two great manufactures of wool and flax, which seem to have been considerable in that country as early as the age of Charlemagne. As Bruges became the centre of communication between the Lombard and Hanseatic merchants, the Flemings traded with both in that city to such extent as well as advantage, as spread among them a general habit of industry, which long rendered Flanders and the adjacent provinces the most opulent, the most populous, and best cultivated countries in Europe.

Struck with the flourishing state of these provinces, of which he discerned the true cause, Edward III. of England endeavoured to excite a spirit of industry among his own subjects, who, blind to the advantages of their situation, and ignorant of the source from which opulence was destined to flow into their country, were so little attentive to their commercial interests, as hardly to attempt those manufactures, the materials of which they furnished to foreigners. By alluring Flemish artisans to settle in his dominions, as well as by many wise laws for the encouragement and regulation of trade, Edward gave a beginning to the woollen manufactures of England, and first turned the active and enterprising genius of his people towards those arts which have raised the English to the highest rank among commercial nations.

This increase of commerce, and of intercourse between nations, how inconsiderable soever it may appear in respect of their rapid and extensive progress during the last and present age, seems wonderfully great, when we compare it with the state of both in Europe previous to the twelfth century. It did not fail of producing great effects. Commerce tends to wear off those prejudices which maintain distinction and animosity between nations. It softens and polishes the manners of men. It unites them by one of the strongest of all ties, the desire of supplying their mutual [71] wants. It disposes them to peace, by establishing in every state an order of citizens bound by their interest to be the guardians of public tranquillity. As soon as the commercial spirit acquires vigour, and begins to gain an ascendant in any society, we discover a new genius in its policy, its alliances its wars, and its negotiations. Conspicuous proofs of this occur in the history of the Italian states, of the Hanseatic league, and the cites of the Netherlands during the period under review. In proportion as commerce made its way into the different countries of Europe, they successively turned their attention to those objects, and adopted those manners which occupy and distinguish polished nations [FF].

Home | Editorial note | Preface | Section I | Par. i-ii | Par. iii-v | Par vi-x | Section II
Section III (pp. 106-119)
| Section III (pp. 120-139) | Section III (pp. 141-166)
Proofs & Illustrations


(41) Dr. Fergusson’s Essay on the History of Civil Society, part. IV. sect. I.

References to Proofs and Illustrations

[AA] Note XXIV

[BB] Note XXV

[CC] Note XXVI



[FF] Note XXIX

Home | Editorial note | Preface | Section I | Par. i-ii | Par. iii-v | Par vi-x | Section II
Section III (pp. 106-119)
| Section III (pp. 120-139) | Section III (pp. 141-166)
Proofs & Illustrations