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Unformatted text preview: monarchy, and were much superior, in extent and opulence, to those territories, which were subjected to the immediate jurisdiction and government of the king. The vassal was here more powerful than his liege lord: The situation, which had enabled Hugh Capet to depose the Carlovingian princes, seemed to be renewed, and that with much greater advantages on the side of the vassal: And when England was added to so many provinces, the French king had reason to apprehend, from this conjuncture, some great disaster to himself and to his family. But in reality, it was this circumstance, which appeared so formidable, that saved the Capetian race, and, by its consequences, exalted them to that pitch of grandeur, which they at present enjoy. The limited authority of the prince in the feudal constitutions prevented the king of England from employing with advantage the force of so many states, which were subjected to his government; and these different members, disjoined in situation, and disagreeing in laws, language, and manners, were never thoroughly cemented into one monarchy. He soon became, both from his distant place of residence and from the incompatibility of interests, a kind of foreigner to his French dominions; and his subjects on the continent considered their allegiance as more naturally due to their superior lord, who lived in their neighbourhood, and who was acknowledged to be the supreme head of their nation. He was always at hand to invade them; their immediate lord was often at too great a distance to protect them; and any disorder in any part of his dispersed dominions gave advantages against him. The other powerful vassals of the French crown were rather pleased to see the expulsion of the English, and were not affected with that jealousy, which would have arisen from the oppression of a covassal, who was of the same rank with themselves. By this means, the king of France found it more easy to conquer those numerous provinces from England, than to subdue a duke of Normandy or Guienne, a count of Anjou, Maine, or Poictou. And after reducing such extensive territories, which immediately incorporated with the body of the monarchy, he found greater facility in uniting to the crown the other great fiefs, which still remained separate and independant. But as these important consequences could not be foreseen by human wisdom, the king of France remarked with terror the rising grandeur of the house of Anjou or Plantagenet; and in order to retard its progress, he had ever maintained a strict union with Stephen, and had endeavoured to support the tottering fortunes of that bold usurper. But after this prince’s death, it was too late to think of opposing the succession of Henry, or preventing the performance of those stipulations, which, with the unanimous consent of the nation he had made with his predecessor. The English, harassed with civil wars, and disgusted with the bloodshed and depredations, which, during the course of so many years, had attended them, were little disposed to violate their oaths, by excluding...
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This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course CHIN 101 taught by Professor Dr.yu during the Spring '08 term at University Of Southern Mississippi .
- Spring '08