Reviews of Books

1897 English Historical Review  
78 REVIEWS OF BOOKS Oct. course of development the gilds became more aristocratic in form, the exclusion of craftsmen became general. In dealing with the organisation of the gilds during their existence as private corporations, much light is thrown on the history of the Flemish Hanse-that interesting federation which gradually embraced the majority of the Flemish towns, although these still retained their local associations. During the course of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth
more » ... the exact time differing considerably in different districts, the gilds entered upon a second stage of their history in connexion, apparently, with the appearance of the ' Conseil.' This body rapidly obtained control over the economic administration of the town, and made its influence felt over the gilds. These lost their character as private and independent corporations, and gradually either disappeared altogether, or became integral parts of the municipal constitution, sanctioned by and subordinated to the public authority. The increasing resistance of the craftsmen would seem to have forced the older body in many cases to secure a stronger position by obtaining authoritative confirmation of its privileges. M. Vander Linden is strongly of opinion that daring the democratic revolution the artisans aimed not merely at the acquisition of political rights, but also at the improvement of their economic position-a view which is certainly borne out by the course of events in Brussels. In 1808 Duke John II, when introducing various democratic reforms, opened the gild to craftsmen ; and though the privileges were soon rescinded, and the ancient aristocratic gild replaced the new ' gilde commune,' the old monopoly was somewhat restricted (p. 55). The effect of the fundamental change in the character of the gild is well illustrated from the history of St. Omer and Valenciennes, and with greater fulness from Antwerp, Brussels, and other towns in Brabant. In many Flemish towns the connexion between the old landed aristocracy and the rich traders became in course of time identical; the gild disappears, and the intermunicipol federation alone survives until the fifteenth century. In Drabant the gild remained more sharply distinguished from the patriciate until the fourteenth century, and exercised a considerable influence upon the development of municipal institutions, with the origin of which, however* it had nothing to do; Dr. Gross has established the latter fact for England, and M. Vander Linden does the same for the Low Countries. There, as here, the importance of the gild merchant had vanished by the fifteenth century ; the name itself is rarely found, and then only in connexion with a political body of second-rate importance. These are the main lines on which an able and scholarly investigation has been made, and its results cannot but be useful to all students of the subject. ELLEM A. MCARTHUB.
doi:10.1093/ehr/xii.xlviii.778 fatcat:2arivb33ajf5loubfvirzxkg6u