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REVIEWS 547

failings of the Bourbon kings, the mediocrity of their entourage, and


such blunders as the Law against Sacrilege. But he is very effective
in showing how wrong it is to accept uncritically the damning judg-
ments of contemporary critics and propagandists (including men as
talented as Beranger) and to pass over in silence (as often happens)
the regime's impressive achievements in administration, economics, and
foreign policy. He sees the Restoration not as a blindly reactionary
attempt to salvage as much as possible of the Ancien Regime but as
an intelligent effort to reconcile the Old France and the New. The
Restoration suffered from the weaknesses inherent in any compromise,
but it was not doomed from the outset. Rather it was terminated
prematurely by the "perfectly avoidable" revolution of 1830. Its ter-
mination, de Bertier holds, was not only premature but tragic, for it
deprived France of "a principle of political authority, national unity,
and social stability whose equivalent she has never been able to dis-
cover." Perhaps some will be unwilling to follow de Bertier this far
in revising earlier evaluations of the Restoration. But critics will not
find gaps of any consequence in his research; he has studied all the
sources in print, plus much significant material which remains un-
published. The scholarly thoroughness of this synthesis is matched
by its high literary merit, a quality attested to by the Academic Fran-
gaise which awarded the work the Prix Gobert.
The new edition of the book is improved by the addition of an
index and an up-to-date bibliography. With so many French pub-
lications of postwar vintage already in a state of physical decomposi-
tion, it seems worth noting that the paper, binding, and type of this
new edition are far superior to that of the earlier one. Since the
author has produced a work of the highest merit, one not likely to
be superseded in the foreseeable future, it seems fitting that the print-
ers and their associated craftsmen should produce a volume of com-
parable quality and durability.
De Bertier has written a work which no professional student of
French and European history can ignore. Let us hope that a trans-
lator will soon make La Restauration available to a still wider public
in this country. J A M E S E. WARD

POLITICAL THOUGHT AND IMPERIAL SPAIN*


Bemice Hamilton reminds her readers that the bulk of Iberian
history still lies unworked in the archives. The writings of the four
figures she has studied illustrate the point. The works of Vitoria,
de Soto, Molina, and Suarez are seldom read in English; Vitoria's works
exist at all only in the form of surviving lecture notes taken by his
students. Thus her brief analysis of the thought of men, half forgotten
now, who were influential in their own time in Europe's foremost six-
teenth-century state, breaks some new ground for English and Amer-
Bernice Hamilton: Political Thought in 16th Century Spain: A Study of
the Political Ideas of Vitoria, De Soto, Suarez, and Molina. (Oxford: Claren-
don Press, 1963. Pp. 201. $4.80.)
548 THE REVIEW OF POLITICS

ican readers. She provides brief biographies of the four, devotes a


chapter to discussing their ideas in the context of sixteenth-century
history, and points out parallels between the problems of that age
and our own.
The bulk of her short book, however, is concerned with the writings
of Vitoria, de Soto, Molina and Suarez on public affairs. The latter term
is used deliberately. The age of specialization had hardly dawned in
sixteenth-century Europe and none of these men was really a political
philosopher in the modern meaning of that term. Their writings
were an amalgam of philosophy, theology, politics, moralizing and em-
piricism, all within a framework of Thomism and belief in natural
law. All of them regularly mingled what we call political theory with
discussions of church-state relations, heresy, conciliarism and papal
supremacy, the powers popes derive from God, the duties of ecclesi-
astics as citizens of a secular state, the circumstances in which a pope
may be deposed, the marks of a just war, the manner in which such a
war may be lawfully conducted, and similar subjects. Considerable
sections of the writings of Molina and Suarez consisted of criticism of
the rule of Elizabeth I in England and attacks upon both the deeds
and the words of James I. Both Suarez and James I spilled much ink
discussing the papal right to intervene in the affairs of a secular state,
indicating that both still regarded this as a practical possibility. Miss
Hamilton remarks: "It is a piece of historical irony that the first and
only English king to be executed after a public trial should have been
James' son, and that the execution should have been the work of the
least popish element in the community" (94).
One thread that runs through the thought of all four men is that
though they were professional religious and academicians they were
eminently "practical" persons. This was particularly true of Vitoria.
They never considered important questions from the standpoint of
first principles and logical deduction alone, but always inquired what
common custom was, what the experience of the past had indicated,
and what appeared to be the humane, common-sense essence of the
matter. At bottom, in secular matters, they held to two principles
above all others: all men are responsible for one another, and the weak
must be defended. This led them to many practical conclusions which
seem startlingly modern to people steeped in the Black Legend about
Counter-Reformation Spain. Vitoria argued that Christianity might
not be imposed on pagans since faith cannot be forced; that it was
unlawful to take the property of American Indians who were poten-
tially as rational as Europeans; and that Spanish rule of colonial
peoples was justified only if it was carried on primarily for the benefit
of the natives. Suarez hoped, and thought it likely, that just as custom
had been the basis for so much national law it might in time become
the basis for binding law in a true international community. All four
men shrank from defending the divine right of kings out of practical
realization of the fallibility of particular kings and somewhat muddled
conceptions of the relationship between the natural powers of kings
REVIEWS 549

and those of the people. They were monarchists in a general sense,


yet much concerned with the problem of what right of resistance
against royal tyranny was retained by the people and how this might
be exercised. Their specific prescriptions were invariably cautious and
empirical. They usually ran something like this: 1) weigh the relative
evils of suffering the status quo or acting violently to change it, never
forgetting that those who overthrow tyrants often outdo the crimes
of their predecessors; 2) try as many kinds of nonviolent persuasion
as ingenuity can devise; 3) resort to force and war only when all else
has failed and the situation is intolerable; and 4) pray to God for
guidance throughout. Better advice would be hard to find at any time.
Altogether Miss Hamilton has performed a genuine, if modest,
service to the better understanding of sixteenth-century Spain by
sketching for us the thought of four of the wisest and most humane
political commentators of that age. BERNARD NORLING

MEDIEVAL POLITICS*
As Greek political philosophy spread throughout the classical
world it came, in time, into contact with the three monotheistic reli-
gions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each reacted to it in its
own way. While the interaction of Greek political philosophy and
Christianity was of particular interest to Western medieval men, Jew-
ish and Moslem views of politics and science were also of deep interest
to them.
Since most Western medievalists do not know Hebrew or Arabic
and since many of the key texts in these languages have never been
translated into European languages this sourcebook is of very special
interest. Distinguished specialists have made their translations direct-
ly from the Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin. Most of the texts are pre-
sented here in English for the first time.
The section on Islam, edited by Mahdi of Chicago, has four sub-
stantial selections from Alfarabi, three from Avicenna, and one each
from Avempace, Ibn Tufayl and Averroes. The second section, on
Judaism, edited by Ralph Lerner of Chicago, has three texts of
Maimonides, and one each of Albo and Abravanel. The third sec-
tion, on Christianity, edited by Ernest L. Fortin of Assumption Col-
lege, Worcester, includes texts of St. Thomas, Roger Bacon, Giles of
Rome, John of Paris, Dante, Marsilius of Padua, William of Ockham,
and John Fortescue.
The medieval world may seem far away from the atomic age but
we still share with it the classical and Christian traditions, the inter-
est in science and freedom. All three of the religious traditions repre-
sented here considered political philosophy as the highest of the
practical sciences and struggled with the problems of political organ-
Ralph Lerner and Muhsin Mahdi with the collaboration of Ernest L.
Fortin: Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook. (New York: The Free
Press of Glencoe, Division of Collier-Macmillan, 1963. Pp. xii, 532. $10.00.)