Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

2

public security, and prefer turbulent of all Latin peoples, with the English liberty to arbitrary order. Better law, that heritage of all Teutonis suffer maranders whom they could peoples: one the work of absolute fgbt, than magistrates under whom princes, and tending, altogether to the ney would have to bend.

sacrifice of the individual ; the other This proud and persistent notion the work of the common will, tending rives rise to, and fashions Fortescue's altogether to protect the person. He whole work:

contrasts the maxims of the imperial Ther be two kynds of kyngdomys, of the jurisconsuls, who accord“ force of law c ch that one ys a lordship callid in Latyne to all which is determined by the Dominium regale, and that other is callid Do prince,” with the statutes of England, minium politicum e regale."

which are not enacted by the so e The first is established in France, and will of the prince, but with the The second in England.

concurrent consent of the whole king:

dom, by their representatives in Par. “And they dyversen in that the first may liament, more than three hundred rule his people by, such lawys as he makyth hymself

, and therefor, he may set upon them select persons." He contrasts the talys, and other impositions, such as he wy! arbitrary nomination of imperial offices hymselí, without their assent. The secund with the election of the sheriff, and may not rule hys people by other laws than such as they assenten unto; and therfor he says : may set upon them non impositions without “There is in every county a certain officer, their own assent."*

called the king's sheriff, who, amongst other

duties of his office, executes within his county In a state like this, the will of the all mandates and judgments of the king's courta people is the prime element of life. of justice: he is an annual officer; and it is not Sir John Fortescue says further :

lawful for him, after the expiration of his year,

to continue to act in his said office, neither ". A king of England cannot at his pleasure shall he be taken in again to execute the said make any alterations in the laws of the land, office within two years thence next ensuing. lor the nature of his government is not only The manner of his election is thus : Every regal, but political.”

year, on the morrow of All-Souls, there meet In the body politic, the first thing which in the King's Court of Exchequer all the king's lives and moves is the intention of the people, counsellors, as well lords spiritual and temporal, having in it the blood, that is, the prudential as all other the king's justices, all the barons of care and provision for the public good, which the Exchequer, the Master of the Rolls, and it transmiis and communicates to the head, as certain other officers, when all of them, by to the principal part, and to all the rest of the common consent, nominate three of every counmembers of the said body politic, whereby it ty knights or esquires, persons of distinction, subsists and is invigorated." The law under and such as they esteem fittest qualified to bear which the people is incorporated may be com- the office of sheriff of that county for the year pared to the nerves or sinews of the body nat- ensuing. The king only makes choice of one ural. ..

And as the bones and all the other out of the three so nominated and returned, members of the body preserve their functions who, in virtue of the king's letters patent, is and discharge their several offices by the nerves, constituted High Sheriff of that county.” so do the members of the community by the He contrasts the Roman procedure, law. And as the head of the body natural can- which is satisfied with two witnesses to not change its nerves or sinews, cannot deny to the several parts their proper energy, their due condemn a man, with the jury, the proportion and aliment of blood, neither can a three permitted challenges, the admiking who is the head of the body politic change i rable guarantees of justice with which the laws thereof, nor take from the people what the uprightness, number, repute, and is tbeirs by right, against their consents. For he is appointed to protect his subjects in condition of the juries surround the their lives, properties, and laws, for this very sentence. About the juries he says: epd and purpose he has the delegation of power bom the people."

“Twelve good and true men being sworn, a

in the manner above related, legally qualified, Here we have all the ideas of Locke that is, having, over and besides their move in the fifteenth century; so powerful ables, possessions in lạnd sufficient, as was is practice to suggest theory! so quickly station ; neither inspected by, nor at variance

said, wherewith to maintain their rank and docs man discover, in the enjoyment of with either of the parties; all of the neighbor liberty, the nature of liberty i Fortescue hood; there shall be read to them, in Englista goes further; he contrasts, step by by the Court, the record and nature al tbora step, the Roman law, that inheritance

* The original of this very famour treatine * The Difference, etc., p. i.

Laudibus Legum Anglia, was writies love

in

a

"

Thus protected, the English commons other drinks. They eate plenifully of all kinden cannos be other than flourishing. Con- of fesae and fishe. They weare fine woollen sider, on the other hand, he says to the aboundaunce of bed-coveringes in their houses,

cloth in all their apparel; they have also young prince whom he is instructing, and of all other woollen stuffe. They have the condition of the commons greate store of all hustlementes and imple. France. By their taxes, tax on salt, nished with al instruments of husbandry. and

mentes of householde, they are plentifully furon wine, viiiering of soldiers, they are

all other things that are requisite to the accomreduced to great misery. You have plishment of a quiet and wealthy lyfe, according seen them on your travels. .

to their estates and degrees. Neither are they

sued in the lawe, but onely before ordinary The same Commons be so impoverishid iudges, where by tne jawes of the lande art and distroyyd, that they may unneth lyve. justly intreated. Neither are they arrested o: Thay drink water thay eate apples, with bred | impleaded for their moveables or possessiona, nght brown made of 77. They eate no fleshe,

or arraigned of any offence, bee it never so but if it be selden, a li il larde, or of the en- great and outragious, but after the lawes of the trails or heds of bests sclayne for the nobles land, and before the iudges ature said." and merchants of the land. They weryn no wollyn, but if it be a pore cote under their All this arises from the constitution uttermost garment, made of grete canvass, of the country and the distribution of and cal it a frok. Their hosyn be of like

the land. Whilst in other countries canvas, and passen not their knee, wherfor they be gartríd and their thyghs bare. Their we find only a population of paupers wifs and children gone bare fote.

with here and there a few lords, Eng. For sum of them, that was wonte to pay to land is covered and filled with owners his lord for his tenement which he hyrith by of lands and fields; so that “therein the year a scute payth now to the kyng, over that scute, fyve skuts. Wher thrugh they be

so small a thorpe cannot bee founde, artyd by necessite so to watch, labour and grub wherein dwelleth not a knight, an in the ground for their sustenance, that their nature is much wasted, and the kynd

of them esquire, or suche a housholder as is brought to nowght. Thay gone crokyd and ar

there commonly called a franklayne, en. feeble, not able to fight nor to defend the realm; ryched with greate possessions. And nor they have wepon, nor monye to buy them also other freeholders, and many yeowepon withal. ... This is the frute first of hyre

men able for their livelodes to make a Jus regale. But blessed be God, this land ys rulid under a better lawe, and therfor the jurye in fourme afore-mentioned. For people therof be not in such penurye, nor ther- there bee in that lande divers yeomen, by hurt in their persons, but they be wealthie

which are able to dispend by the yeare and have all things necessarie to the sustenance of nature. Wherefore they be myghty and able

above a hundred poundes.” | Harrito resyste the adversaries of the realms that do son says : 1 or will do them wrong. Loo, this is the frut of Jus politicum et regale, under which we lyve."*

“ This sort of people, have more estimation

than labourers and the common sort of artificers, Everye inhabiter of the realme of England useth and enjoyeth at his pleasure all the fruites

and these commonlie live wealthilie, keepe that his land or cattel beareth, with al the good houses, and travell to get riches. They profits and commodities which by his owne travayle, or by the labour of others, hae gaineth; * De Laudibus, etc., ch. xxxvi. not hindered by the iniurie or wrong deteine- | “The might of the realme most stoudyti. ment of anye man, but that hee shall bee al

upon archers which be not rich men.' Comlowed a reasonable recompence. .:: Hereby pare Hallam, ii. 482. All this takes us back as it commeth to passe that the men of that lande

far as the Conquest, and farther. “It is reason are riche, havyng aboundaunce of golde and sil- able to suppose that the greater part of those ver, and other thinges necessaire for the main

who appear to have possessed small freeholds tenaunce of man's life. They drinke no water, or parcels of manors were no other than the unless it be so, that some for devotion, and up- original nation. . A respectable class of fres gou a scale of penaunce, doe abstaine from

socagers, having in general full right of alien:

ating their lands, and holding them probab.y as Latin between 1464 and 1470, first published in a small certain rent from the lord of the manor 1537, and translated into English in 1775 by frequently occurs in the Domesday Book." At Franzo Gregor I have taken these extracts all events, there were in Domesday Book Sax. from the magnificent edition of Sir John For- ons “ perfectly exempt from villenage.” This tesque's works published in 1869 for private class is mentioned with respect in the treatises distribution, and edited by Thomas Fortescue, of Glanvil and Bracton. As for the reins, Lord Clermont. Some of the pieces quoted, they were quickly liberated in the thirteenth of left in the old spelling, are taken from an older fourteenth century, either by their own energies edition,

translated by P.obert Mulcaster in or by becoming copyholders. The Wars of the 1567.-TR.

Roses still further raised the commons; order of an Absolute and Limited Monarchy, were frequently issued, previous to a battle, te 3d ed., 1724, ch. iii. P: 15.

slay the nobles and spare the commoners. Commines bears the same testimony

Description of England, 275.

a

[ocr errors]

are for the most part farmers to gentlemen,' inferior Norman nobility, and under ato' keep servants of their own. These wer they that in times past made all France afraid. the patronage of the superior Norman And albeit they be 'not called master, as gentle nobility, in establishing and settling a men are, or sir, as to knights apperteineth, but free constitution, and a nation worthy onelie John and Thomas, etc., yet have they of liberty. beene found to have done vere good service ; and the kings of England, in foughten battels,

IX. were wont to remaine among them (who were their footmen) as the French kings did among their horssemen : the prince thereby, showing with a serious character, have a reso.

When, as here, men are endowed where his chiefe strength did consist."

lute spirit, and possess independent Such men, says Fortescue, migh- form habits, they deal with their conscienco a legal jury, and vote, resist, be asso- as with their daily business, and end ciated, do every thing wherein a free by laying hands on church as well as government consists : for they were state. Already for a long time the exnumerous in every district; they were actions of the Roman See had pronot down-trodden like the timid peas. voked the resistance of the people, * ants of France; they had their honor and the higher clergy became unpopuzand that of their family to maintain ; lar. Men complained that the best “they be well provided with arms; livings were given by the Pope to nonthey remember that they have won bat- resident strangers; that some Italian, tles in France.” * Such is the class, vnknown in England, possessed fifty still obscure, but more rich and power-or sixty benefices in England ; that ful every century, which, founded by English money poured into Rome the down-trodden Saxon aristocracy, and that the clergy, being judged only and sustained by the surviving Saxon by clergy, gave themselves up to their character, ended, under the lead of the vices, and abused their state of immu

nity. In the first years of Henry III.'s * The following is a portrait of a yeoman, by reign there were nearly a hundred Latimer, in the first sermon preached before murders committed by priests then Edward VI., 8th March 1549: a yeoman, and had no lands of his own ; only

At the beginning of the fourhe had a farm of £3 or £4 by year at the utter-teenth century

the ecclesiastical rev. most, and hereupon he tilled so much as kept enue was twelve times greater than the half-a-dozen men. He had walk for a hundred civil ; about half the soil was in the sheep, and my mother milked thirty kine. He was able, and did find the king a harness, with hands of the clergy. At the end of the himself and his horse ; while he came to the century the commons declared that the place that he should receive the king's wages taxes paid to the church were five I can remember that I buckled his harness when times greater than the taxes paid to the he went unto Blackheath field. He kept me to school, or else I had not been able to have crown; and some years afterwards, preached before the King's Majesty, now. He considering that the wealth of the married my sisters with 25 or 20 nobles a-piece, clergy only served to keep them in so that he brought them up in godliness and idleness and luxury, they proposed to fear of God; he kept hospitality for his poor confiscate it for the public benefit. neighbors, and some alms he gave to the poor ; and all this did he of the said farm. Where he Already the idea of the Reformation that cow hath it payeth 616 by the year, or had forced itself upon them. They more, and is not able to do any thing for his prince, 191 himself, nor for his children, or give remembered how in the ballads Robin i cup of drink to the poor."

Hood ordered his folk to spare the This is from the sixth sermon, preached be yeomen, laborers, even knights, if they fore the young king, 12th April 1549:“In my are good fellows, but never to let time my poor father was as diligent to teach me to shoot as to learn (me) any other thing ; and abbots or bishops escape. The pre BO, I think, other men did their children.' He lates were grievously oppressing the taught me how to draw, how to lay my body in people by means of their privileges, my bow, and not to draw with strength of arms, as other nations do, but with strength of the * In 1246, 1376. Thierry, iïi. 79. body. I had my bows bought me according to 1404-1409. The commons declared that my age and strength; as I increased in them, with these revenues the king would be able ta so my bows were made bigger and bigger; for maintain 15 earls, 1500 knights, 6200 squires, men shall never shoot well except they be and 100 hospitals : each earl receiving annually brought up in it. It is a goodly art, a whole- 300 marks; each knight 100 marks, and the some kiod of exercise, and murn'commended in produce of four ploughed lands; each squire to physic."

marks, and the produce of two pivaghed lands

My father was alive.

nere.

ea:lesiastical courts, and tithes; wher, earth was given over to evil ; that the suddenly, amid the pleasant ba;ne or devil had on i his empire and his the monotonous babble of the Norman officers ; that Antichrist, seated on the versifiers, we hear the indignant voice throne of Rome, displayed ecclesias. of a Saxon, a man of the people and a tical pomps to seduce souls and cast victim of oppression, thundering against them into the fire of hell. So here them.

Antichrist, with raised banner, enters It is the vision of Piers Ploughman, a convent ; bells are rung; monks in written, it is supposed, by, a secular solemn procession go to meet him piest of Oxford.* Doubtless the and receive with congratulations their

aces of French taste are perceptible. lord and father." With seven great It could not be otherwise : the people giants, the seven deadly sins, he be. vom below can never quite prevent sieges Conscience; and the assault is therselves from imitating the people led by Idleness, who brings with her a'u ve ; and the most unshackled pop- an army of more than a thousand alar poets, Burns and Béranger, too prelates: for vices reign, more hateful often preseive an academic style. So from being in holy places, and embere a fashionable machinery, the alle-ployed in the church of God in the gory of the Roman de la Rose, is devil's service: pressed into service.

We have Do- “ Ac now is Religion a rydere – a romere well, Covetousness, Avarice, Simona,

aboute, Conscience, and a whole world of talk- A ledere of love-dayes--and a lond-buggere, ing abstractions. But, in spite of these A prikere on a paffrey--fro manere to ma vain foreign phantoms, the body of the

And but if his knave knele--that shal hrs poem is national, and true to life. The

coppe brynge, old language reappears in part; the He loureth on hym, and asketh hym--who old metre altogether, no more rhymes, taughte hym curteisie." + but barbarous alliterations; no more But this sacrilegious show has its day jesting, but a harsh gravity, a sustained and God puts His hand on men in

a invective, a grand and sombre imagi: order to warn them. By order of nation, heavy Latin texts, hammered Conscience, Nature sends forth a host down as by a Protestant hand. Piers of plagues and diseases from Ploughman went to sleep on the Mal- planets : vern hills, and there had a wonderful

“ Kynde Conscience tho herde, -and cam oat dream:

of the planetes, • Thanne gan I meten-a marveillous swevene,

And sente forth his forreyours- feveres und That I was in a wildernesse-wiste I nevere

fluxes, where i.

Coughes and cardiacles,-crampes and toothAnd as I bihceld into the eest,-an heigh to

aches,

Reumes and radegundes, and royal the sonne, I aeigh a tour on a tatt,--trieliche y-maked,

scabbes,

Biles and bocches, and brennynge agus*, A deep dale bynethe-a dongeon thereinne With depe diches and derke--and dredfulle of

Frenesies and foule yveles, -foraeres og sighte.

kynde.

There was A tair feeld ful of folk-fond I ther bitwene,

• Harrow! and Help!--Here Of alle nanere of men,-the meene and the

cometh Kynde!

With Deeth that is diedfulto ando se ale?' riche, Werchynge and wandrynge-as the world

The lord that lyved after lust--tho aic asketh.

cryde. . Some putten hem to the plough,--pleiden ful

Deeth cam dryvynge after,--and il is carta elde,

passhed la settynse and sowynge - swonken ful Kynges and knyghteskayrens and popen, harde,

Manye a lovely lady- and lemaaas @ And wonnen tha. Wastours-with glotonye

knyghtes,

Swowned and swelted for more of him dystruyeth." +

dyntes." I A gloomy picture of the world, like the frightful dreams which occur so often • The Archdeacon of Richmood, on bis tot

Albert Durer and Luther. The in 1216, came to the priory of Pridlington with Erst reformers were persuaded that the ninety-seven horses, twenty one digs, and there

. * About 1368.

Piers Ploughman's Vision, i. p. 199, + Friers Ploughmar's Vision and Creed, ed. 6217-6228. T. Wright, 1856, i. p. 2, h. 21-44• .

I'Ibid., ii. Last book, p. 439. I 148149138

the

[ocr errors]

Here is a crowd of miseries, like like anxiety Piers Ploughman goes to those which Milton has described in seek Do-well, and asks each one te his vision of hu.nan life ; tragic pictures show him where he shall find him. and emotions, such as the reformers“ With us,” say the friars. “ Contra delignt to dwell upon. There is a like quath ich, Septies in die cadit justus, speech delivered by John Knox, before and ho so syngeth certys doth nat he fair ladies of Mary Stuart, which wel ;” so he betakes himself to *stady tears the veil from the human corpse and writing,” like Luther; the clerkus just as coarsely, in order to exhibit its at table speak .much of God ind of shame. The conception of the world, the Trinity, " and taken Bernarde to proper to the people of the north, all witnesse, and putteth forth presomp sad and moral, shows itself already. cions ... ac the carful mai crie and They are never comfortable in their quaken atte gate, bothe a fyngred and country ; they have to strive continual. a furst, and for defaute spille ys non ly against cold or rain. They cannot so hende to have hym yn. Clerkus live there carelessly, lying under a and knyghtes carpen of God ofte, and lovely sky, in a sultry and clear atmos- haveth hym muche in hure mouthe, ac phere, their eyes filled with the noble mene men in herte ;' and heart, innar beauty and happy serenity of the land. faith, living virtue, are what constitute They must work to live; be attentive, true religion. This is what these duli exact, keep their houses wind and Saxons had begun to discover. The water tight, trudge doggedly through | Teutonic conscience, and English good! the mud behind their plough, light sense too, had been aroused, as well their lamps in their shops during the as individual energy, the resolution to day. Their climate imposes endless judge and to decide alone, by and for inconvenience, and exacts endless en-one's self. Christ is our hede that durance. Hense arise melancholy and sitteth on hie, Heddis ne ought we the idea of duty. Man naturally thinks have no mo,” says a poem, attributed of life as of a battle, oftener of black to Chaucer, and which, with others, death which closes this deadly show, claims independence for Christian ind leads so many plumed and disor- consciences. ** derly processions to the silence and the

“ We ben his membres bothe also, eternity of the grave. All this visible

Father he taught us call him all, world 'is vain; there is nothing true Maisters to call forbad he tho; but human virtue, — the courageous

Al maisters ben wickid and fals.” energy with which man attains to self- No other mediator between man and command, the generous energy with God. In vain the doctors state that which he employs himself in the ser. they have authority for their words ; vice of others. On this view, then, his there is a word of greater authority, to eyes are fixed; they pierce through wit, God's. We hear it in the fourworldly gauds, neglect sensual joys, to teenth century this grand “word of attain this. By such inner thoughts God.” It quities the learned schools, and feelings the ideal model is dis- the dead languages, the dusty shelves placed ; a new source of action springs on which the clergy suffered it to sleep, up—the idea of righteousness. What covered with a confusion of commenta. sets them against ecclesiastical pomp tors and Fathers.t Wiclif appeared and insolence, is neither the envy of The poor and low, nor the anger of the

* Piers Plowman's Crede;

the Plowmax's oppressed, nor a revolutionary desire. Tale

, first printed in 1550. There were three

editions in one year, it was so manifestly Pro to experimentalize abstract truth, but testant. conscience. They tremble lest they † Knighton, about 1400, wrote thus of Walif: should not work out their salvation if

“ Transtulit de Latino in anglicam lingan

non angelicam. Unde per ipsum fit valgara, te they continue in a corrupt church ; they magis apertum laicis et mulieribus Lazare fear the menaces of God, and dare not scientibus quam solet esse clericis admods embark on the great journey with litteratis, et bene intelligentibus. . Et sic evalt unsafe guides. “What' is righteous- gelica margerita spargitur et a porcis concalon

(ita) ut laicis commune æternum quod ante ness?" asked Luther anxiously, "and fuerat clericis et ecclesiæ doctoribus talenteri how shall I obtain it ?." With supernum."

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »