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for - some military or political purpose, were always, in addition to their primary object, a protracted court of assize. Everywhere he inquired into the operation and administration of the laws, correcting what was amiss, and commending what he approved. Every morning, as soon as he arose, suitors were admitted into his bedchamber to communicate to him cases of difficulty, which the ordinary ministers of justice had failed to decide, and he held a court of appeal as he dressed.
But active as he was, and carefully as he economized his time, it is evident that it would be utterly impossible for him to discharge all the judicial functions of so vast an empire, especially among a people so addicted to acts of lawless violence as were his subjects. He therefore appointed in every district officers to act in his name and under his authority. These may be divided into two classes, the regular and the occasional. The former were resident governors to whom a province was assigned, in which they were to administer the laws, and for the good order of which they were responsible to the king. The only peculiarity in this part of his governinent was, the preference he displayed for ecclesiastics over secular or military nobles. He constantly displaced the latter for the former, and this especially in the conquered districts. The reason for this preference was twofold. First, because the clergy, though ignorant in comparison with the attainments of our age, were yet very far in
advance of the laity of their own day. They had at least some tincture of learning, and those whom he patronised and elevated were, for the most part, men who had distinguished themselves by diligence and progress in study at their respective schools. The ecclesiastics were, moreover, from their very position and profession, favourable to the promotion of civilization and the maintenance of peace-qualities rarely to be found among the rude secular nobles, whose only business was war, and whose only pastime was the chase. But he had a second motive; he believed that he should find his priestly funcionaries less ambitious, less anxious for personal aggrandizement, less desirous to erect their dioceses into independent principalities, than others.* Little did he know how dangerous a thing it is to employ religion as a political engine, and to withdraw the church from the performance of its spiritual functions by imposing upon it secular offices and honours. "Who made me a judge or a divider over you ?" is a question which it behoves the church to take up and reiterate from the lips of its Divine Master. Whilst Charlemagne lived, his vigorous government kept his ecclesiastical officials in check ; they continued submissive to his bidding, and the
* William of Malmesbury writes :-"Charles the Great, in order that he might check the ferocity of the people, placed ecclesiastics over almost all the provinces, considering that men in sacred offices would be less disposed than others to rebel or shake off their allegiance; and that if, laymen should attempt this under their government, they would be able to keep them in check by their spiritual terrors."
only evils which resulted from their appointment was, that they were withdrawn from the sacred duties of their own holy office. Scarcely was he dead, however, when Rome began to put in practice her invariable policy of making religious pretensions the path to temporal aggrandizement. The garb of humility and spirituality, which the bishops had worn to cloak their ambitious designs during the lifetime of the great monarch, were then stripped off, and the rights of their king and the liberties of their fellow-subjects were shamelessly trampled under foot. They declared their independence of all regal authority and restraint. They erected their dioceses into independent principalities. Their cathedrals were changed into strongholds filled with armed men, rivalling in strength and wickedness the castles of the feudal chiefs. Hence sprang those prince-bishops who wrought such fearful mischiefs throughout Germany in the succeeding century. Another fact is thus added to the demonstration afforded by all history of the truth, that whatever may be the professions of the Romish church, or whatever its conduct when under restraint, its real designs are secular aggrandizement, tyranny, and usurpation.
In order to superintend and control these stated and regular officers of his government, Charlemagne employed others, whose duties were but occasional and temporary, and who were called Missi Dominici. They were despatched as ambassadors into the provinces in
order to investigate the whole state of their affairs. Their duties were most multifarious. They included the superintendence of the conduct of the governors, the administration of the laws, the raising of troops and taxes, the disposition of the people, the competency of the clergy, the good order of the schools, and the management of the royal farms. On all these matters they had to report to the emperor, both as to the evils they found existing, and the measures they adopted to check them.
Of the need which existed for these Missi, or Commissioners, and of the mode in which they discharged the duties of their office, we have an illustration in the narrative given by Theodulf, bishop of Orleans, and Leidrade, bishop of Lyons, who had been appointed specially to investigate and reform the maladministration of the law in the southern provinces. According to the fashion of the times, they make their report in a very florid and verbose poem of nearly a thousand lines. The following condensed extract will give an idea of the whole :"A large crowd pressed around us of both sexes and of every age. The entire people promise us gifts, and think that by offering bribes whatever they ask is as good as done. Here one offered me crystals and precious stones from the east if I would inake him master of the domains of another; a second offered gold and silver if I would put him in possession of lands he coveted ; a third described a most exquisitely
chased antique vase, a masterpiece of art, saying,