The strength that Charlemagne had ins­til­led in the nation sub­sis­ted enough under Louis the Debonaire so that the state could sus­tain its gran­deur and be res­pec­ted by forei­gners. The prince’s mind was weak, but the nation was on a war foo­ting. Authority was waning within, yet might did not seem to be dimi­ni­shing without.

Charlemagne, his father, and his grand­fa­ther gover­ned the monar­chy in suc­ces­sion. The first flat­te­red the ava­rice of men of war ; the two others that of the clergy ; the chil­dren of Louis the Debonaire pro­vo­ked the ambi­tion of both.

In the French cons­ti­tu­tion, the king, the nobi­lity, and the clergy had in their hands all the autho­rity of the state. Charles Martel, Pépin, and Charlemagne some­ti­mes made allian­ces with one of the two par­ties to contain the other, and almost always with both of them ; but the chil­dren of Louis the Debonaire deta­ched both of these bodies from the king,1 and royal autho­rity revea­led itself too weak.2

[In the 1758 edition, the remainder of this sentence is replaced by Annex 26.]

[In the 1758 edition, a new chapter XXII (Annex 27) is inserted here.]