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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 1744 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #195 on: February 04, 2009, 01:24:24 pm »

lower courts were, to give them greater weight, confirmed by the general chapter. It was finally at the general chapter that all regulations, laws, and reformations, concerning the Fehm-law and courts, were made.

The emperor, even when the imperial authority was at the lowest, was regarded in Germany as the fountain of judicial authority. The right of passing capital sentence in particular was considered to emanate either mediately or immediately from him. The Fehm-courts were conspicuous for their readiness to acknowledge him as the source of their authority, and all their decrees were pronounced in his name.

As superior lord and judge of all the counts and tribunals, the emperor had a right of inspection and reformation over them. He could summon and preside in a general chapter.; he might enter any court; and the presiding count was obliged to give way and allow him to preside in his stead. He had the power to make new schöppen, provided he did so on Westphalian soil. Every schöppe was moreover bound to give a true answer to the emperor when he asked whether such a one was forfehmed or not, and in what court. He could also depose disobedient counts, but only in Westphalia.

The emperor could even withdraw a cause out of the hands of the tribunals. The right of appeal to him has been already noticed; but, besides this, he had a power of forbidding the count to proceed in the cause when the accused offered himself to him for honour and right; and it was at his own risk then that the count proceeded any further in the business. The emperor could also grant a safe-conduct to any person who might apply for it under apprehension of having been forfehmed, which safe-conduct the schöppen dared not violate. Even when

p. 374

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