Front Page Titles (by Subject) Magna Charta. - History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, vol. 2
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Magna Charta. - Augustin Thierry, History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, vol. 2 
History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, translated from the seventh Paris edition, by William Hazlitt (London: H.G. Bohn, 1856). In 2 volumes. Vol. 2.
Part of: History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, 2 vols.
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John, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Earl of Anjou, to the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Earls, Barons, Justiciaries of the Forests, Sheriffs, Governors, and Officers, and to all Bailiffs, and others his faithful subjects, greeting. Know ye, that we, in the presence of God, and for the health of our soul, and the souls of all our ancestors and heirs, and to the honour of God and the exaltation of his Holy Church, and amendment of our Kingdom, by advice of our venerable Fathers, Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England and Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Henry, Archbishop of Dublin, William, Bishop of London, Peter of Winchester, Jocelin of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh of Lincoln, Walter of Worcester, William of Coventry, Benedict of Rochester, Bishops, and Master Pandulph, the Pope’s Sub-Deacon and ancient Servant, Brother Aymeric, Master of the Temple in England, and the Noble Persons, William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, William, Earl of Salisbury, William, Earl of Warren, William, Earl of Arundel, Alan de Galoway, Constable of Scotland, Warin Fitz Gerald, Peter Fitz Herbert, and Hubert de Burgh, Seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew Fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip Albiney, Robert de Roppell, John Marshall, John Fitz Hugh, and others our liege men, have, in the first place, granted to God, and by this our present charter confirmed, for us and our heirs for ever:
Norman origin, and at the same time established the right of the classes of Saxon origin to enjoy the ancient customs so favourable to them. It guaranteed their municipal franchises to the city of London and to all the towns of the kingdom; it modified the royal and seigneural statute-labour on the repair of castles, roads, and bridges; it gave special protection to merchants and traders, and, in suits against peasants, it prohibited the seizure of their crops or agricultural implements.
The principal article, if not as to ultimate results, at least in reference to the interests of the moment, was that by which the king promised to send out of the kingdom all the foreigners whom he had invited or received, and all his foreign troops. This article seems to have been received with great joy by all the people of England, without distinction of origin; perhaps, indeed, the English by race attached higher importance to it than to all the rest. That hatred of foreign domination which for a century and a half past had vainly fermented in men’s souls, impotent against the order of things established by the Norman conquest, was let loose against the new comers whom king John had enriched and laden with honours. From the moment in which their expulsion was legally pronounced, every Saxon lent his aid to execute the decree; the more noted foreigners were besieged in their houses, and upon their retreat their domains were pillaged.1 The peasants stopped on the roads all whom public report, right or wrong, indicated as foreigners. They called upon them to pronounce some English words, or, at all events, a sentence of the mixed language employed by the nobles in conversing with the inferior population; and when the suspected person was convicted of inability to speak either Saxon or Anglo-Norman, or to pronounce these languages with the accent of southern Gaul, he was maltreated, despoiled, and imprisoned without scruple, whether knight, priest, or monk. “It was a sad thing,” says a contemporary author, “for the friends of the foreigners to see their confusion, and the ignominy with which they were overwhelmed.”1
After having, against his will, and in bad faith, signed the charter, king John retired to the Isle of Wight, to await in security the occasion to resume the war. He solicited of the pope and obtained a dispensation from the oath he had sworn to the barons, and the excommunication of those who remained in arms to enforce his observance of his word. But no bishop in England consenting to promulgate this sentence, it remained without effect. The king, with what money he had left, hired a fresh body of Brabançons, who found means to land on the southern coast, and who, by their skill and military discipline, gained at first some advantages over the irregular army of the confederate barons and burghers. Thereupon, the former, fearing to lose all the fruit of their victory, resolved, like the king, to obtain foreign aid: they addressed themselves to Philip-Augustus, and offered to give his son Louis the crown of England, if he would come to them at the head of a good army. The treaty was concluded; and young Louis arrived in England with forces enough to counterbalance those of king John.
The entire conformity of language which then existed between the French and the Anglo-Norman barons necessarily modified, with the latter, the distrust and dislike ever inspired by a foreign chief; but it was different with the mass of the people, who, in reference to language, had no more affinity with the French than with the Poitevins. This dissonance, combined with the spirit of jealousy which speedily manifested itself between the Normans and their auxiliaries, rendered the support of the king of France more prejudicial than useful to the barons. Germs of dissolution were beginning to develop themselves in this party, when king John died, laden with the hatred and contempt of the entire population of England, without distinction of race or condition, actuated by which, the historians of the period, ecclesiastics though they be, give king John no credit for his constant submission to the holy see: in the history of his life they spare him no injurious epithet; and, after relating his death, they compose or transcribe epitaphs, such as these: “Who weeps, or has wept, the death of king John? hell, with all its foulness, is sullied by the soul of John.”1
Louis, son of Philip-Augustus, assumed, by the consent of the barons, the title of king of England; but the French who accompanied him soon conducted themselves as in a conquered country. The greater the resistance of the English to their vexations, the more harsh and grasping did they become. The accusation, so fatal to king John, was made against Louis of France: it was said that, in concert with his father, he had formed the project of exterminating or banishing all the rich and noble of England, and of replacing them by foreigners. Aroused by national interests, all parties united in favour of prince Henry, son of John, and the French, left alone, or nearly so, accepted a capitulation which gave them their lives, on condition of their immediate departure.
The kingdom of England having thus reverted to an Anglo-Norman, the charter of John was confirmed, and another, called the Forest Charter,1 giving the right of the chace to
[1 ] Matth. Paris, i. 383.
[1 ] Matth. Paris, i. 383.
[1 ] Script. rer. Anglic.—Matthew Paris, i. 288.
[1 ] “1. We will that all forests, which king Henry our grandfather afforested, shall be viewed by good and lawful men; and if he have made forest of any other wood more than of his own demesne, whereby the owner of the wood hath hurt, forthwith it shall be disafforested; and if he have made forest of his own wood, then it shall remain forest; saving the common of herbage, and of other things in the same forests, to them which before were accustomed to have the same. 2. Men that dwell out of the forest, from henceforth shall not come before the justicers of our forest by common summons, unless they be impleaded there, or be sureties for some others that were attached for the forest. 3. All woods which have been made forest by king Richard our uncle, or by king John our father, until our first coronation, shall be forthwith disafforested, unless it be our demesne wood. 4. All archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights, and other our freeholders, which have their woods in forests, shall have their woods as they had them at the first coronation of king Henry our grandfather, so that they shall be quit for ever of all purprestures, wastes, and asserts, made in those woods after that time, until the beginning of the second year of our coronation; and those that from henceforth do make purpresture without our licence, or waste or assert in the same, shall answer unto us for the same wastes, purprestures, and asserts. 5. Our rangers shall go through the forest to make range, as it hath been accustomed at the time of the first coronation of king Henry our grandfather, and not otherwise. 6. The inquiry or view for lawing of dogs within our forest shall be made from henceforth when the range is made, that is to say, from three year to three year; and then it shall be done by the view and testimony of lawful men, and not otherwise; and he whose dog is not lawed, and so found, shall pay for his amerciament iii.s. And from henceforth no ox shall be taken for lawing of dogs; and such lawing shall be done by the assise commonly used, that is to say, that three claws of the fore foot shall be cut off by the skin. But from henceforth such lawing of dogs shall not be, but in places where it hath been accustomed from the time of the first coronation of the foresaid king Henry our grandfather. 7. No forester or bedel from henceforth shall make scotal, or gather garb, or oats, or any corn, lamb, or pig, nor shall make any gathering, but by the view [and oath] of the twelve rangers, when they shall make their range. So many foresters shall be assigned to the keeping of the forests, as reasonably shall seem sufficient for the keeping of the same. 8. No swanimote from henceforth shall be kept within this our realm, but thrice in the year, videlicet, the beginning of fifteen days afore Michaelmas, when that our gest-takers, or walkers of our woods come together to take agestment in our demesne woods, and about the feast of St. Martin, when that our gest-takers shall receive our pawnage: and to these two swanimotes shall come together our foresters, vierders, gest-takers, and none other, by distress. And the third swanimote shall be kept in the beginning of fifteen days before the feast of St. John Baptist, when that our gest-takers do meet to hunt our deer; and at this swanimote shall meet our foresters, vierders, and none other, by distress. Moreover, every forty days through the year our foresters and vierders shall meet to see the attachments of the forest, as well for greenhue, as for hunting, by the presentments of the same foresters, and before them attached. And the said swanimote shall not be kept but within the counties in which they have used to be kept. 9. Every freeman may agist his own wood within our forest at his pleasure, and shall take his pawnage. Also we do grant that every freeman may drive his swine freely without impediment through our demesne woods, to agist them in their own woods, or else where they will. And if the swine of any freeman lie one night within our forest, there shall be no occasion taken thereof whereby he may lose any thing of his own. 10. No man from henceforth shall lose either life or member for killing our deer: but if any man be taken, and convict for taking of our venison, he shall make a grievous fine, if he have anything whereof; and if he have nothing to lose, he shall be imprisoned a year and a day: and after the year and a day expired, if he can find sufficient sureties, he shall be delivered; and if not, he shall abjure the realm of England. 11. Whatsoever archbishop, bishop, earl or baron, coming to us at our commandment, passing by our forest, it shall be lawful for him to take and kill one or two of our deer, by view of our forester, if he be present; or else he shall cause one to blow an horn for him, that he seem not to steal our deer; and likewise they shall do returning from us, as it is afore said. 12. Every freeman from henceforth, without danger, shall make in his own wood, or in his land, or in his water, which he hath within our forest, mills, springs, pools, marl-pits, dikes, or earable ground, without inclosing that earable ground, so that it be not to the annoyance of any of his neighbours. 13. Every freeman shall have within his own woods, ayries of hawks, sparrow-hawks, faulcons, eagles, and herons; and shall have also the honey that is found within his woods. 14. No forester from henceforth, which is not forester in fee, paying to us ferm for his bailiwick, shall take any chimmage or toll within his bailiwick; but a forester in fee, paving us ferm for his bailiwick, shall take chimmage; that is to say, for carriage by cart the half year, ii.d. and for another half year, ii.d.; for an horse that beareth loads, every half year, an halfpenny; and by another half year, half a penny and but of those only that come as merchants through his bailiwick by licence to buy bushes, timber, bark, coal, and to sell it again at their pleasure; but for none other carriage by cart chimmage shall be taken; nor chimmage shall not be taken, but in such places, only where it hath been used to be. Those which bear upon their backs brushment, bark, or coal to sell, though it be their living, shall pay no chimmage to our foresters, except they take it within our demesne woods. 15. All that be outlawed for the forest only, since the time of king Henry our grandfather, until our first coronation, shall come to our peace without let, and shall find to us sureties, that from henceforth they shall not trespass unto us within our forest. 16. No constable, castellan, or any other, shall hold plea of forest, neither for greenhue nor hunting; but every forester in fee shall make attachments for pleas of forest as well for greenhue as hunting, and shall present them to the vierders of the provinces; and when they be enrolled and enclosed under the seals of the vierders, they shall be presented to our chief justicers of our forest, when they shall come into those parts to hold the pleas of the forest, and before them they shall be determined. And these liberties of the forest we have granted to all men, saving to archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights, and to other persons, as well spiritual as temporal, templars, hospitallers, their liberties and free customs, as well within the forest as without, and in warrens and other places, which they have had. All these liberties and customs, we, &c. as it followeth in the end of the Great Charter. And we do confirm and ratifie these gifts, &c. as in the end of the Great Charter specified, &c.