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secure the support of this or that powerful Magnate. The bonds of society were loosened, the laws were disregarded; for, whatever crime a man committed, he had but to desert from the King to the Prince, or vice versa, to be sure of escaping punishment. Prince István himself, when he came to the throne, did indeed do his best, but his early death prevented his remedying the evils he had had so great a share in causing. Nor were they in any degree lessened by the cabals which succeeded during the minority of László IV. He himself was little calculated to inspire the people with respect for royalty, when they beheld it in his person brought up for reprimand before the Diet and obliged to promise improvement. The disorder and misery had reached such a pitch as to be entirely beyond the control of András III. In direct disobedience to the decrees of the Diet, the nobles held several offices which they of course could not discharge, and therefore farmed to others. The privilege of building castles had been granted to private persons since the Mongol invasion, by way of affording more points of defence, and more places of refuge to the dwellers in the open country, in case of any similar calamity. But then the castle must have a garrison, and the garrison only too frequently lived by plundering the neighbourhood.
The mainstay of the King, the country, and the general freedom, were the lower nobility; but still it was impossible to execute the decrees of the Diet of 1298, which are important only as indicating the general opinion and wish of the people. Yet in spite of all this misery and disorder, the municipal constitution of the counties had developed itself, and become one of the chief safeguards of the public liberty.
The nobles of each county held periodical assemblies called 'congregations,” for the election of magistrates and other civil officers; for the discussion of matters relating not only to the county but to the nation; and for drawing up instructions for the deputies, two or three of whom were sent by each county to the yearly Diet. The Magyar portion of Transylvania was divided into counties with the same organization; and to these "congregations' may it chiefly be attributed that the Lordslieutenant did not, during the reigns of some of the more feeble kings, become absolute rulers, and at length even hereditary lords of the counties. So also the discussions and resolutions of the congregations enabled the lower nobility to unite in steadily resisting the pretensions of the Barons, when they met at the Diet.
Great changes took place in the administration of justice during the thirteenth century, the ecclesiastical courts becoming more and more widely separated from the secular, till at length the former only were permitted to try causes which concerned the clergy, and likewise all matters relating to the marriage laws, which they judged not according to the law of the land, but the canonical law.
The Lord-lieutenant or Count was the chief judge of all the laity in the county, without distinction of rank; but no penalty of death or confiscation of property could be inflicted without the ratification of the
sentence by the King or his deputy the Palatine. In the provinces such cases were referred to the Ban or Vajda; but there was always the possibility of appeal from them to the King. In doubtful cases resort was still had to trials by fire, oaths taken on relics, and single combats ; but such causes could only be tried at a few privileged places, one of which was Grosswardein,* where, in the course of thirty-five years, more than a hundred causes were decided by oaths taken on the coffin of St. László. Duels were not always fought in person ; indeed, it seems probable that the state paid certain professional combatants, for we find that László IV. ennobled a celebrated royal champion, who had won eleven battles. A champion who betrayed the cause he had undertaken to defend was severely punished; thus a certain Achilles, having undertaken the cause of a Count Hector, at the first onset, threw away lance, shield, sword, and dagger, and was condemned to perpetual servitude with his whole family, all his property being given to Count Hector. Certain places also throughout Hungary, such as the chapter-houses, abbeys, and some of the houses of the Templars or Knights of St. John, had become loca credibilia, whether by law or custom is not clear. Here all sorts of covenants might be entered into, inheritances divided, persons adopted, &c. ; and here too the documents relating to such transactions, as well as important state-papers, were deposited. These places existed till 1848; and though many valuable papers were destroyed in the Turkish wars, a great quantity still remain, containing doubtless valuable information, which has not yet been thoroughly examined. As regards the army, the kings of the thirteenth century were worse off than their predecessors. In a foreign war they could rely only on the Kumans, (who were always ready to fight,) on the contingents from the Saxons and Székels, on the remains of the once numerous castle-militia, and on a few persons who held lands on condition of military service. The Magnates and nobles would not send troops, unless they were bribed or flattered; and as the treasury was soon exhausted, it was very difficult to keep such an army together. In civil war it was more difficult still, as the Magnates did not care to fight against one another, and the lower nobles were afraid to fight against the Magnates. On the other hand, if the country were threatened by a foreign foe such as Albrecht of Austria, all classes united to defend it. The power of the Popes, protested against by the people, and opposed even by the clergy, had gradually increased, though their legates were obliged to be more careful of their conduct in Hungary than elsewhere. Gregory VII. had been the first to require an oath of submission from the Archbishop of Gran, but his successors followed his example. There were great murmurs of dissatisfaction, but still the encroachments ere borne. When, however, the Pope thought to force upon Hungary a king of his own making, he was met by steady resistance; and it is worthy of remark, that this very house of Anjou, for whose advancement the Popes laboured so unscrupulously, when it did at length ascend the throne, turned its power against Rome and re-vindicated Hungary's independence of the Papal See.
There were many monks in Hungary at this time, and one order, that of St. Paul the Hermit, which was peculiar to this country. The rule was not a very strict one, and the order perhaps more favoured than any other. There had been great disorders in the monasteries here as elsewhere, but the Mongol invasion had swept away not only much of the monastic wealth, which was not soon regained, but with it many abuses. The rise of the begging orders also had a good effect upon the rest, rousing them by their example to greater strictness and purity of life; and the lower classes seem also to have been influenced for good by the preaching of the Dominicans and Franciscans. But unfortunately, together with much that was good, the friars inculcated a spirit of intolerance, even of persecution, not only against Mahometans and Kumans, but even against members of the Greek Church. Happily, however, religious persecution has never readily taken root in Hungarian soil. The Greek Church had been increased by the addition of the Wallachs, and by the return of Servia to its communion; but in Hungary it had no Church constitution. As for the Mahometans, some of whom had come into the country with the Magyars themselves centuries ago, by the end of the thirteenth century they seem to have been all converted. Little more at least is heard of any further religious difficulties with them. But the heretics who gave the friars the most trouble were the Patareners, who had taken refuge in Bulgaria, Bosnia, and Dalmatia, and offered stout resistance to the attempts, not always gently made, by the Franciscans and Dominicans to bring them back to the Church. It is said they threw into a river and drowned thirty-two Dominicans, who were bent on converting them by force if not by persuasion. In spite, however, of all opposition, their numbers steadily increased, and so great were the piety, diligence, and purity of their lives, that many of the clergy joined them. * The Kumans on the other hand had joined the Church, and by this time were so softened by Christianity that, though they maintained their freedom, they had become entirely one with the Magyars, and their chiefs were enrolled among the Magyar nobility.
There is one other race about whom we must say a few words. Hated, despised, and persecuted, in every other kingdom of Europe, the Jews found themselves protected in Hungary. Not that they were popular with the people; quite the contrary, for they had been too often made the instruments for oppression and exaction; but they lived under the special protection of the King, and no one dared to molest them. Béla IV. granted them a most liberal charter, by which it was provided that no Jew should be condemned on the witness of a Christian alone; that law-suits between
In France they were called Waldenses and Albigenses, but in Italy Patareni, either from the sufferings they endured, or from Pataria, a district in Milan where they used to hold their secret meetings. They first appeared in some of the Hungarian provinces during the reign of Imre, (1199,) who refused to persecute them.
Jews should be settled by the King or his chancellor; and that a Jew who could prove by letter and seal having lent money to a Magnate on his estate, might, if the Magnate failed to repay the loan at the appointed time, take possession of the estate and enjoy its revenues till some Christian should redeem it; for, though in this matter of liberality to the Jews, Hungary had decidedly the advantage over her neighbours, the Jew could not possess land. He laboured, however, under few other disabilities. He pursued his ancient trade of money-lending, sometimes indeed to the advantage of the King; he might receive anything in pawn except blood-stained clothes, even articles belonging to the Church, if pledged by the Bishop; he had no injustice to fear if he brought a law-suit against a Christian; and if the latter took away his pledge by violence, the Jew was certain to obtain redress, and the Christian was equally certain to be punished; for any judge who deviated from the path of justice, and suffered himself to be prejudiced against a Jew, was deprived of his office. The Jew was allowed his own religious observance, his own burial rites, &c.; no higher toll was exacted from him as he travelled through the country with his merchandise, than from any Christian merchant ; no toll at all when he was carrying his dead. He was obliged, it is true, to dwell in the cities and towns, and he was excluded from public offices by the Golden Bull; but at a time when his race was so grievously oppressed in all other lands, Hungary must have been to him a haven of refuge. The last of the Arpáds granted to the Jews of Presburg equal rights with the other citizens. The citizen or burgher class was rising in importance throughout Hungary, though, from having no general constitution, it did not form such a compact political body as the nobility. Each town had its own peculiar customs, privileges, &c., so that there was not at present any bond of union to unite the burghers of one city with those of another. They had as yet no voice in the Diet, having been originally for the most part foreign settlers, as the name of 'hospites’ or guests, which was equivalent to citizens, sufficiently shews.
The name was indeed given more particularly to the inha tants of certain privileged districts, but it was now applied to them indiscriminately, without any regard to their extraction ; for the descendants of the colonists had long since become naturalized Hungarians; and many had adopted the Hungarian language and manners. As trade and manufacture increased, more places were raised to the dignity of towns, and the privileges of the towns already existing were extended. Commerce of all kinds had sustained a severe blow from the Mongols, but it had speedily begun to recover.
Workers in metal, weavers, tanners, and furriers, came by Béla's invitation, and established themselves in the cities of Pest, Buda, Stuhlweissenburg, Gran, &c. Husbandry was improved by the colonists, who brought the waste places, in which they were allowed to settle, into a state of cultivation. The Italians brought with them choice vines, which soon flourished in the Hungarian soil, and produced the famous Tokay wine, which was already an article of export. Cattle also were exported; but a tenth of all the horses of the kingdom were given to the Bishop of Erlau,* that he might keep them on his own lands to form a stud for the Crown-prince. Hungary's trade in fish was also not inconsiderable. The Danube was her great highway, connecting her with East and West, and bringing crowds of foreigners from all nations to visit her yearly September market at Buda, and the still more important one at Gran. Buda was one of the few places which acted upon free-trade principles, and laid no duty upon the merchandise landed in her port, or the ships anchoring there. The merchants were not so fortunate elsewhere, for there was a frontier duty to be paid to the King, and another to the Chapter, if they brought their goods to Gran, The Magnates too would extort a tax from them as they passed through their lands; yet, in spite of these drawbacks, trade flourished.
The separation between the nobles and the lower classes became wider during this century, partly perhaps because the former had lately generally adopted surnames. Formerly they had borne only Christian names ; sometimes, for distinction's sake, adding the name of their father. Now, however, they took family names, generally from one of their castles or estates, and in this case, the name was used adjectively, which gave rise to the Hungarian custom of always placing the family name before the Christian one. Persons of the same family now also adopted a common coat-of-arms, which tended to increase their family pride not a little. They were free from taxation, yet they alone enjoyed all the state offices, and they alone could be advanced to some of the higher dignities of the Church. But there was some compensation for the classes beneath them, since it was no unusual thing for an individual or even a whole district to be ennobled for service done to the state, and at the same time to receive a gift of waste land. It may be remarked that estates originally held as fiefs had by this time become very generally hereditary. After the invasion of the Mongols very many new nobles were created in reward for various acts of fidelity, valour, &c., some of them having previously been serfs. The lower classes living outside the towns and beyond the boundaries of the privileged districts, though originally free, as being either Magyars, or descended from the original inhabitants of the land, had gradually sunk till now they were not in any way to be distinguished from the bondmen or freedmen of the nobility. The lord on whose land they lived claimed from them a yearly contribution, regulated by law, consisting of money and corn, and also certain days of labour; but they were not bound to the soil, and having paid their tribute, they might move whenever they chose, taking their moveable property with them. If on their death they left no relation, and had made no will, their goods belonged to their lord, but not otherwise. The vassals of the Church were perhaps somewhat better off. Some of them were bound to military service, and they were often set free; but