These are, briefly speaking, the decay of those great fabrics, church and empire, which ruled the middle ages both as ideas and as realities; the development of nationalities and languages; the enfeeblement of the feudal system throughout Europe; the invention and application of paper, the mariner's compass, gunpowder, and printing; the exploration of continents beyond the ocean; and the substitution of the Copernican for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy.
When the government of the state had entered into feudalism, and the king was as much senior as king; when the vassal relationship was recognized as a proper and legal foundation of public duties; when the two separate sides of early feudalism were united as the almost universal rule, so that a man received a fief because he owed a vassal's duties, or looked at in the other and finally prevailing way, that he owed a vassal's duties because he had received a fief; and finally, when the old idea of the temporary character of the precarium tenure was lost sight of, and the right of the vassal's heir to receive his father's holding was recognized as the general rule - then the feudal system may be called full grown.
The Fula portion of this province, held like the other Hausa states under a feudal system of large landowners or fief-holders, has been organized and assessed for taxation on the system accepted by the emirs throughout the protectorate, and the populations are working harmoniously under British rule.
The rude symmetry of the feudal system had been long ago destroyed by partial and unskilful adaptations to modern commercial life, effected at various dates and in accordance with various theories.
In Germany at the same period the feudal system debarred the Jews from holding land, and though there was as yet no material persecution they suffered moral injury by being driven exclusively into finance and trade.
The kingship formed the nucleus of new governments as the feudal system passed away.
It should also here be noticed that the changes introduced into the holding of the fiefs, whether by altering their boundaries or substituting Frankish for Lombard vassals, were chief among the causes why the feudal system took no permanent hold in Italy.
He failed, owing to the same reaction that was causing the feudal system to make inroads upon the army, the magistracy and industry; but in his fall he put on the guise of a reformer, and by a last wild plunge he left the monarchy, already compromised by the affair of the Diamond Necklace, hopelessly exposed (April 1787).
In the former treatise we have a clear and minute description of the rural practices of that period, and from the latter may be learned a good deal of the economy of the feudal system in its decline.
The kharaj, the jiziye, and the whole feudal system disappeared in theory, although its spirit, and indeed in some respects its practice, still exists in fact, during the reforming period initiated by Sultan Selim III., culminating in the Tanzimat-i-Khairiye (1839) of Abd-ul-Mejid, and the Hatt-iHumayun issued by the same sultan (1856).