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public security, and prefer turbulent of all Latin peoples, with the English liberty to arbitrary order. Better law, that heritage of all Teutonic suffer marauders whom they could peoples: one the work of absolute Sght, than magistrates under whom they would have to bend.
This proud and persistent notion gives rise to, and fashions Fortescue's whole work:
Ther be two kynds of kyngdomys, of the ich that one ys a lordship callid in Latyne Dominium regale, and that other is callid Doninium politicum e regale."
The first is established in France, and the second in England.
"And they dyversen in that the first may rule his people by such lawys as he makyth hymself, and therefor, he may set upon them talys, and other impositions, such as he wy! hymseli, without their assent. The secund may not rule hys people by other laws than such as they assenten unto; and therfor he may set upon them non impositions without their own assent."*
In a state like this, the will of the people is the prime element of life. Sir John Fortescue says further:
"A king of England cannot at his pleasure make any alterations in the laws of the land, for the nature of his government is not only regal, but political."
In the body politic, the first thing which lives and moves is the intention of the people, having in it the blood, that is, the prudential care and provision for the public good, which it transmits and communicates to the head, as to the principal part, and to all the rest of the members of the said body politic, whereby it subsists and is invigorated. The law under which the people is incorporated may be compared to the nerves or sinews of the body natural... And as the bones and all the other members of the body preserve their functions and discharge their several offices by the nerves, so do the members of the community by the law. And as the head of the body natural cannot change its nerves or sinews, cannot deny to the several parts their proper energy, their due proportion and aliment of blood, neither can a king who is the head of the body politic change the laws thereof, nor take from the people what
is theirs by right, against their consents. For he is appointed to protect his subjects in their lives, properties, and laws, for this very and and purpose he has the delegation of power brom the people."
princes, and tending altogether to the sacrifice of the individual; the other the work of the common will, tending altogether to protect the person. He contrasts the maxims of the imperial jurisconsuls, who accord "force of law to all which is determined by the prince," with the statutes of England, are not enacted by the so e will of the prince, ... but with the concurrent consent of the whole king dom, by their representatives in Parliament, ... more than three hundred select persons." He contrasts the arbitrary nomination of imperial offices with the election of the sheriff, and says:
"There is in every county a certain officer, called the king's sheriff, who, amongst other duties of his office, executes within his county all mandates and judgments of the king's courts of justice: he is an annual officer; and it is not lawful for him, after the expiration of his year, to continue to act in his said office, neither
shall he be taken in again to execute the said office within two years thence next ensuing. The manner of his election is thus: Every year, on the morrow of All-Souls, there meet in the King's Court of Exchequer all the king's counsellors, as well lords spiritual and temporal, as all other the king's justices, all the barons of the Exchequer, the Master of the Rolls, and certain other officers, when all of them, by common consent, nominate three of every county knights or esquires, persons of distinction, and such as they esteem fittest qualified to bear the office of sheriff of that county for the year ensuing. The king only makes choice of one out of the three so nominated and returned, who, in virtue of the king's letters patent, is constituted High Sheriff of that county."
He contrasts the Roman procedure, which is satisfied with two witnesses to condemn a man, with the jury, the three permitted challenges, the admirable guarantees of justice with which the uprightness, number, repute, and condition of the juries surround the sentence. About the juries he says:
"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 movein the fifteenth century; so powerful ables, possessions in land sufficient, as was said, wherewith to maintain their rank and is practice to suggest theory! so quickly station; neither inspected by, nor at variance does man discover, in the enjoyment of with either of the parties; all of the neighbor liberty, the nature of liberty ! Fortescue hood; there shall be read to them, in English, goes further; he contrasts, step by by the Court, the record and nature of the step, the Roman law, that inheritance
* The Difference, etc., p. i.
The original of this very famous treating de Laudibus Legum Anglia, was written la
"The same Commons be so impoverishid and distroyyd, that they may unneth lyve. Thay drink water thay eate apples, with bred nght brown made of 7. They eate no fleshe, but if it be selden, a li il. larde, or of the entrails or heds of bests sclayne for the nobles and merchants of the land. They weryn no wollyn, but if it be a pore cote under their uttermost garment, made of grete canvass, and cal it a frok. Their hosyn be of like canvas, and passen not their knee, wherfor they be gartrid and their thyghs bare. Their wifs and children gone bare fote.
For sum of them, that was wonte to pay to his lord for his tenement which he hyrith by the year a scute payth now to the kyng, over that scute, fyve skuts. Wher thrugh they be artyd by necessite so to watch, labour and grub in the ground for their sustenance, that their nature is much wasted, and the kynd of them brought to nowght. Thay gone crokyd and ar feeble, not able to fight nor to defend the realm; nor they have wepon, nor monye to buy them wepon withal. . . This is the frute first of hyre Jus regale. But blessed be God, this land ys rulid under a better lawe, and therfor the people therof be not in such penurye, nor therby hurt in their persons, but they be wealthie and have all things necessarie to the sustenance of nature. Wherefore they be myghty and able to resyste the adversaries of the realms that do or will do them wrong. Loo, this is the frut of Jus politicum et regale, under which we lyve."*
Everye inhabiter of the realme of England useth and enjoyeth at his pleasure all the fruites that his land or cattel beareth, with al the profits and commodities which by his owne travayle, or by the labour of others, hae gaineth; not hindered by the iniurie or wrong deteinement of anye man, but that hee shall bee allowed a reasonable recompence.t Hereby it commeth to passe that the men of that lande are riche, havyng aboundaunce of golde and silver, and other thinges necessaire for the maintenaunce of man's life. They drinke no water, unless it be so, that some for devotion, and upyou a scale of penaunce, doe abstaine from
Latin between 1464 and 1470, first published in 1537, and translated into English in 1775 by Fran Gregor I have taken these extracts from the magnificent edition of Sir John Fortesque's works published in 1869 for private distribution, and edited by Thomas Fortescue, Lord Clermont. Some of the pieces quoted, left in the old spelling, are taken from an older edition, translated by Robert Mulcaster in 1567.-TR.
Of an Absolute and Limited Monarchy, 3d ed., 1724, ch. iii. p. 15.
↑ Commines bears the same testimony
other drinks. They eate plentifully of all kindes of fleshe and fishe. They weare fine woollen aboundaunce of bed-coveringes in their houses, cloth in all their apparel; they have also and of all other woollen stuffe. They have greate store of all hustlementes and imple mentes of householde, they are plentifully furnished with al instruments of husbandry, and all other things that are requisite to the accomplishment of a quiet and wealthy lyfe, according to their estates and degrees. Neither are they sued in the lawe, but onely before ordinary judges, where by the lawes of the lande are iustly intreated. Neither are they arrested o: impleaded for their moveables or possessions, or arraigned of any offence, bee it never so great and outragious, but after the lawes of the land, and before the iudges ature said."
All this arises from the constitution of the country and the distribution of the land. Whilst in other countries we find only a population of paupers with here and there a few lords, England is covered and filled with owners of lands and fields; so that "therein so small a thorpe cannot bee founde, wherein dwelleth not a knight, an esquire, or suche a housholder as is there commonly called a franklayne, enryched with greate possessions. And also other freeholders, and many yeomen able for their livelodes to make a jurye in fourme afore-mentioned. there bee in that lande divers yeomen, which are able to dispend by the yeare above a hundred poundes." † Harrison says: ‡
"This sort of people, have more estimation than labourers and the common sort of artificers, and these commonlie live wealthilie, keepe good houses, and travell to get riches. They
*De Laudibus, etc., ch. xxxvi.
"The might of the realme most stordytl. upon archers which be not rich men.' "Compare Hallam, ii. 482. All this takes us back as far as the Conquest, and farther. "It is reason. able to suppose that the greater part of those who appear to have possessed small freeholds or parcels of manors were no other than the original nation. A respectable class of fres socagers, having in general full right of alien. ating their lands, and holding them probab.y a a small certain rent from the lord of the manor frequently occurs in the Domesday Book.' At all events, there were in Domesday Book Saxons "perfectly exempt from villenage." This class is mentioned with respect in the treatises of Glanvil and Bracton. As for the reins, they were quickly liberated in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, either by their own energies or by becoming copyholders. The Wars of the Roses still further raised the commons; order were frequently issued, previous to a battle, te slay the nobles and spare the commoners. Description of England, 275.
are for the most part farmers to gentlemen," | inferior Norman nobility, and under at keep servants of their own. These were the patronage of the superior Norman they that in times past made all France afraid. 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 veríe good service; and the kings of England, in foughten battels, were wont to remaine among them (who were their footmen) as the French kings did among their horssemen: the prince thereby showing where his chiefe strength did consist."
with a serious character, have a reso When, as here, men are endowed lute spirit, and possess independent Such men, says Fortescue, might form habits, they deal with their conscience 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 unpopu and 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, still obscure, but more rich and powerful every century, which, founded by the down-trodden Saxon aristocracy, and sustained by the surviving Saxon character, ended, under the lead of the
*The following is a portrait of a yeoman, by Latimer, in the first sermon preached before Edward VI., 8th March 1549: My father was yeoman, and had no lands of his own; only he had a farm of £3 or £4 by year at the uttermost, and hereupon he tilled so much as kept half-a-dozen men. He had walk for a hundred sheep, and my mother milked thirty kine. He was able, and did find the king a harness, with himself and his horse; while he came to the place that he should receive the king's wages. I can remember that I buckled his harness when
he went unto Blackheath field. He kept me to school, or else I had not been able to have preached before the King's Majesty now. He married my sisters with £5 or 20 nobles a-piece, so that he brought them up in godliness and fear of God; he kept hospitality for his poor neighbors, and some alms he gave to the poor; and all this did he of the said farm. Where he that now hath it payeth 16 by the year, or more, and is not able to do any thing for his prince, for himself, nor for his children, or give a cup of drink to the poor."
This is from the sixth sermon, preached before the young king, 12th April 1549: "In my time my poor father was as diligent to teach me to shoot as to learn (me) any other thing; and so, I think, other men did their children. He taught me how to draw, how to lay my body in my bow, and not to draw with strength of arms, as other nations do, but with strength of the body. I had my bows bought me according to my age and strength; as I increased in them, so my bows were made bigger and bigger; for men shall never shoot well except they be brought up in it. It is a goodly art, a wholesome kind of exercise, and much commended in physic."
unknown in England, possessed fifty
lates were grievously oppressing the
*In 1246, 1376. Thierry, iii. 79.
t1404-1409. The commons declared that with these revenues the king would be able to maintain 15 earls, 1500 knights, 6200 squires, and 100 hospitals: each earl receiving annually 300 marks; each knight 100 marks, and the produce of four ploughed lands; each squire 44 marks, and the produce of two pivaghed lands
ecclesiastical courts, and tithes; e, earth was given over to evil; that the suddenly, amid the pleasant bate 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 Antichrist, with raised banner, enters a convent; bells are rung; monks in solemn procession go to meet him, and receive with congratulations their lord and father.* With seven great giants, the seven deadly sins, he be sieges Conscience; and the assault is led by Idleness, who brings with her an army of more than a thousand prelates: for vices reign, more hateful from being in holy places, and employed in the church of God in the devil's service:
It is the vision of Piers Ploughman, written, it is supposed, by a secular piest of Oxford.* Doubtless the aces of French taste are perceptible. It could not be otherwise: the people irom below can never quite prevent themselves from imitating the people above; and the most unshackled popular poets, Burns and Béranger, too often preserve an academic style. So here a fashionable machinery, the allegory of the Roman de la Rose, is pressed into service. We have Dowell, Covetousness, Avarice, Simona, Conscience, and a whole world of talking abstractions. But, in spite of these vain foreign phantoms, the body of the poem is national, and true to life. The old language reappears in part; the old metre altogether, no more rhymes, but barbarous alliterations; no more jesting, but a harsh gravity, a sustained invective, a grand and sombre imagination, heavy Latin texts, hammered down as by a Protestant hand. Piers Ploughman went to sleep on the Malvern hills, and there had a wonderful dream:
'Thanne gan I meten-a marvellous swevene, That I was in a wildernesse-wiste I nevere where;
And as I biheeld into the eest,-an heigh to
I seigh a tour on a toft,-trieliche y-maked,
A fair feeld ful of folk-fond I ther bitwene,
Werchynge and wandrynge-as the world asketh.
Some putten hem to the plough,-pleiden ful .elde,
In settynge and sowynge- swonken ful harde,
And wonnen tha. wastours-with glotonye dystruyeth." +
A gloomy picture of the world, like the rightful dreams which occur so often in Albert Durer and Luther. The Erst reformers were persuaded that the * About 1368.
+Fiers Ploughman's Vision and Creed, ed. 1. Wright, 1856, i. p. 2, l. 23–44.
"Ac now is Religion a rydere -a romere
A ledere of love-dayes--and a lond-buggere,
And but if his knave knele--that shal his coppe brynge,
He loureth on hym, and asketh hym--whc taughte hym curteisie." ↑
But this sacrilegious show has its day and God puts His hand on men in order to warn them. By order of Conscience, Nature sends forth a host of plagues and diseases from the planets:
"Kynde Conscience tho herde,-and cam out of the planetes,
And sente forth his forreyours-feveres and
Coughes and cardiacles,-crampes and tooth-
Biles and bocches,-and brennynge agues,
Harrow! and Help!-Hera cometh Kynde!
With Deeth that is dredful-to undo we alle!' The lord that lyved after lust-tho alcad cryde.
Deeth cam dryvynge after,--and al is duste passhed
Kynges and knyghtes, kaysers and popes, Manye a lovely lady-and lemmaas e knyghtes,
Swowned and swelted for sorwe of his dyntes." I
quath ich, Septies in die cadit justus, and ho so syngeth certys doth nat wel;" so he betakes himself to study and writing," like Luther; the clerka at table speak much of God and of the Trinity, "and taken Bernarde to witnesse, and putteth forth presomp cions ... ac the carful mai crie and quaken atte gate, bothe a fyngred and a furst, and for defaute spille ys non so hende to have hym yn. Clerkus and knyghtes carpen of God afte, and haveth hym muche in hure mouthe, ac mene men in herte ;" and heart, inner faith, living virtue, are what constitute true religion. This is what these duli Saxons had begun to discover. The Teutonic conscience, and English good sense too, had been aroused, as well as individual energy, the resolution to judge and to decide alone, by and for one's self. "Christ is our hede that sitteth on hie, Heddis ne ought we have no mo," says a poem, attributed to Chaucer, and which, with others, claims independence for Christian consciences.*
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 speech delivered by John Knox, before the fair ladies of Mary Stuart, which tears the veil from the human corpse just as coarsely, in order to exhibit its shame. The conception of the world, proper to the people of the north, all sad and moral, shows itself already. They are never comfortable in their country; they have to strive continually against cold or rain. They cannot live there carelessly, lying under a lovely sky, in a sultry and clear atmosphere, their eyes filled with the noble beauty and happy serenity of the land. They must work to live; be attentive, exact, keep their houses wind and water tight, trudge doggedly through the mud behind their plough, light their lamps in their shops during the day. Their climate imposes endless inconvenience, and exacts endless endurance./Hense arise melancholy and the idea of duty. Man naturally thinks of life as of a battle, oftener of black death which closes this deadly show, and leads so many plumed and disorderly processions to the silence and the eternity of the grave. All this visible world is vain; there is nothing true but human virtue, the courageous energy with which man attains to selfcommand, the generous energy with which he employs himself in the service of others. On this view, then, his eyes are fixed; they pierce through worldly gauds, neglect sensual joys, to attain this. By such inner thoughts and feelings the ideal model is displaced; a new source of action springs up-the idea of righteousness. What sets them against ecclesiastical pomp and insolence, is neither the envy of the poor and low, nor the anger of the oppressed, nor a revolutionary desire to experimentalize abstract truth, but conscience. They tremble lest they + Knighton, about 1400, wrote thus of Wiclif: should not work out their salvation if "Transtulit de Latino in anglicam linguam, non angelicam. Unde per ipsum fit vulgare, a they continue in a corrupt church; they magis apertum laicis et mulieribus legare fear the menaces of God, and dare not scientibus quam solet esse clericis admod embark on the great journey with litteratis, et bene intelligentibus. Et sic eva unsafe guides. "What is righteous-gelica margerita spargitur et a porcis concaloscar (ita) ut laicis commune æternum quod ante ness?" asked Luther anxiously, "and fuerat clericis et ecclesiæ doctoribus talenta how shall I obtain it?" With supernum."
"We ben his membres bothe also,
Al maisters ben wickid and fals."
*Piers Plowman's Crede; the Plowman's Tale, first printed in 1550. There were three editions in one year, it was so manifestly Fo testant.