Proponents of Limited Monarchy in Sixteenth Century France: Francis Hotman and Jean Bodin, by Beatrice Reynolds, Ph. D

Proponents of Limited Monarchy in Sixteenth Century France: Francis Hotman and Jean Bodin, by Beatrice Reynolds, Ph. D

Proponents of Limited Monarchy in Sixteenth Century France: Francis Hotman and Jean Bodin, by Beatrice Reynolds, Ph. D

Proponents of Limited Monarchy in Sixteenth Century France: Francis Hotman and Jean Bodin, by Beatrice Reynolds, Ph. D

Excerpt

The increasing absolutism of their monarch did not pass unquestioned by French publicists in the later middle age. Face to face with a power which was restrained only by the mild hand of precedent, courageous spirits like Philip Pot yet dared to affirm that the prince existed only by the will of the people; or to ask like Commines, " Is there a lord upon earth who dares to take a penny from his subjects without their consent, unless by tyranny? " Or earlier still, to address the king himself with these words : " C'est grant chose que d'estre roy ou prince; mais est encores plus grant chose de soubz‐ mettre à raison et aux loys le royaume."

In earlier Capetian days, when the realm of France included only the upper valleys of the Seine and the Loire, when the king lived upon the proceeds of his domain, and was merely first among many feudal lords, he was the owner of the land, and, as such, the dispenser of justice to all the dwellers thereon. He was their natural protector, the leader of the feudal host, and from him all authority flowed down. To the praepositi (prévôts) he delegated a share of this indeterminate power, but mindful of the usurpations of the great nobles who, in Carolingian times, had contrived to make their benefices hereditary, he selected officials of humbler origin for his domain.

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