Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/422

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No appeals or evocation of causes to Rome were to be allowed until the other grades of jurisdiction had been exhausted. Moreover, where the parties should be distant more than four days1 journey from the Curia, all ordinary cases were to be judged by those judges in partibus to whom they belonged by custom and right. The decree of the Council limiting the number of Cardinals to twenty-four was approved. Annates were abolished with a small reservation in favour of the existing Pope. A number of edicts of the Council, relating to the order of divine service and the discipline of the clergy, were confirmed. The decrees of the Council accepted without modification were to be put in force immediately within the kingdom, and the assent of the Council was to be solicited where modifications had been introduced. These purport to have been the decisions of the Council of Bourges, and the King at its request ordered that they should be obeyed throughout the kingdom and in Dauphine, and enforced by the royal Courts.

Yet republican as is the constitution of the Church as sanctioned at Basel and Bourges, it must be noticed that the sovereign authority of the King is expressly invoked by the Council of Bourges as necessary to secure execution of the reforms proposed; and in so far the Church of France is subordinated to the State, and the ultimate issue of these developments foreshadowed. The usurpation of authority is patent; and forgery was needed to support it. Few now believe in the Pragmatic Sanction of St Louis, which seems first to have seen the light after 1438. On the other hand the freedom of election conferred meant little more than the freedom to entertain recommendations from the King and other great personages. For the conflict of intrigue at the Court of Rome was substituted a conflict of influence within the kingdom, and the share of patronage obtained in this by the King was not destined long to satisfy him.

The position of the clergy and people was so far improved that the drain of treasure from France to Rome caused not only by the annates, but also in great measure by the receipts of non-resident beneficiaries, by the fees incident to litigation at Rome, and by the presents required from suitors and petitioners for favour, was under the Pragmatic greatly diminished. But the abuses in the Church, due to the holding of benefices' in plurality, were not directly touched by the decree. The holding of abbeys and priories in commendam, so detrimental to the discipline of the religious orders, remained unaffected. The University received considerable privileges, and the power of the Parlement over the Church was greatly increased.

Charles VII, though consistent in supporting Eugenius against the Council's Anti-Pope, as steadily maintained the Pragmatic against the repeated protests of successive Popes, and a very liberal Concordat offered by Eugenius for some reason never came into effect. The King did not however always respect the liberty of election which he had