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the war that followed the League of Schmalkald in 1531, and at the peace of Augsburg in 1555, the question was more political than theological.
We shall hereafter show more fully, that in modern times religious freedom has been the parent of civil liberty; and that almost every thing valuable in political science may be traced back to the Reformation by Luther.
July 17, 1824.
THE troubles in the Netherlands which began in 1568 and ended in the establishment of their independence in 1609, and the wars of the Huguenots in France from 1562 to 1593 afforded the next occasion for political discussions. The questions respecting constitutional forms, however, to which we are now so much accustomed, had not then arisThe inhabitants of the Low Countries were contending only for the maintenance of their former privileges; and amidst the horrible confusion of the civil wars in France, when every man's life was as uncertain as the cast of a die, there was no leisure or inclination for political theories. The circumstances of the times, however, brought every man to decide practically for himself, how far it was lawful for the subject to resist oppression from his governThere were even a few books written in those unquiet times in which this point was freely examined. Thus Hubert Languet, son of the governor of Burgundy and one of the best practical statesmen of the age, wrote, under the
name of Junius Brutus, a book that excited a great sensation; though it now appears to be of little value. It was entitled a Justification against Tyrants, and was published in Switzerland in 1577, though the titlepage bears the name of Edinburgh. Another work was published in Paris in 1589, entitled Four Books concerning the just Expulsion of Henry III. from the Kingdom of France. It was written by some partisan of the Duke of Mayenne, whose name has not been preserved. In 1592 the Abbé Raynald, Professor of Theology at Rheims, wrote, under the name of Rossæus, a book, the subject of which is sufficiently explained in the title. It was called A Treatise on the just Authority of the Christian Commonwealth over impious Kings and Heretics; and especially on the Right of Expelling Henry of Navarre or any other Heretic from the Kingdom of France. Two years afterwards, when Henry IV. made his entry into his good city of Paris, this book was burnt by order of the Parliament of Paris.
The political work of Mariana, the great historian of Spain, is on every account worthy of particular attention. He published at Talavera, in 1608, A Treatise on the Rights and Duties of a King, in three books, which he dedicated oddly enough to Philip II. It was intended to justify James Clement for assassinating Henry III. of France; and the grand principle of the work is, that the authority of the people is superior to that of kings. It was burnt by order of the Parliament of Paris in 1610.
But by far the most important political writer of the sixteenth century was John Bodin. He was born at Angers
in 1530; and applied himself to the practice of the law, first at Toulouse, where he read lectures on that science with much applause, and afterwards at Paris. But soon devoting himself to politics, he was made secretary to the Duke of Alençon, and travelled with him into England and Flanders. In 1576 he was chosen a deputy to the last States General held at Blois, in which he contended manfully for the rights of the people. He particularly opposed the designs of those who would have compelled all the subjects of the king to embrace the Catholic faith; by which he drew upon himself the marked displeasure of Henry the Third. He died of the plague at Laon, in 1596. He belonged to the Protestant party, but was so much in advance of his age in his sentiments of religious toleration, that he is represented by different writers as a Huguenot, a Papist, a Deist, a Jew, and an Atheist, to say nothing of his being reputed a sorcerer, a reproach which he shared with Friar Bacon. Chancellor D'Aguesseau pronounces him to have been a worthy magistrate, a learned author, and a good citizen.
He published at Paris in 1577 a treatise in French on the Republic, in one volume folio. It met with such success, that four editions were printed at Paris in three years (seven editions according to Dugald Stewart); an edition at Lyons in 1593, and another at Geneva in 1600. It was translated into Latin by the author and published at Paris in 1586, and another Latin translation, a very bad one, was printed at London about the same time. When the author visited England in 1579 with the Duke of Alençon, he found that public lectures were delivered on this work, both
in London and Cambridge. In 1606 it was "done into English" by Richard Knolles, with so much spirit and taste that the translation was considered superior to either the French or Latin original.
The leading principle of this work, so celebrated in its time and now so little known, is, that "a state is a collection of families, which, in accordance with the maxims of justice, transact their common affairs by a common head." This common head he supposed to unite the legislative and executive powers, and to be indivisible. He distinguished between monarchy and despotism, by the justice or injustice of the common head; and made the lawfulness of the government to depend entirely upon the justice with which it was administered.
"He appears to have been one of the first," says Dugald Stewart," that united a philosophical turn of thinking with an extensive knowledge of jurisprudence and of history." "In his views of the philosophy of law, he has approached very nearly to some leading ideas of Lord Bacon ; while, in his refined combinations of historical facts, he has more than once struck into a train of speculation, bearing a strong resemblance to that afterwards pursued by Montesquieu. Of this resemblance so remarkable an instance occurs in his chapter on the moral effects of climate, and on the attention due to this circumstance by the legislator, that it has repeatedly subjected the author of The Spirit of Laws' (but in my opinion without any good reason) to the imputation of plagiarism. A resemblance to Montesquieu, still more honorable to Bodin, may be traced in their com
mon attachment to religious as well as civil liberty. To have caught, in the sixteenth century, somewhat of the philosophical spirit of the eighteenth, reflects less credit on the force of his mind, than to have imbibed in the midst of the theological controversies of his age, those lessons of mutual forbearance and charity, which a long and sad experience of the fatal effects of persecution has, to this day, so imperfectly taught to the most enlightened nations of Europe.”
Bayle pronounces him an exact and judicious writer, of great genius, of vast knowledge, and of wonderful memory and reading; and in the opinion of La Harpe, his Treatise of the Republic was "the germ of The Spirit of Laws.'" A writer who thus anticipated Bacon and Montesquieu was no ordinary man.
July 24, 1824.