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The History of England From the Norman Conquest to the Death of John
War And Finance
by Adams, George Burton


Richard was indeed in prison in Germany. To avoid passing through Toulouse on account of the hostility of the count he had sailed up the Adriatic, hoping possibly to strike across into the northern parts of Aquitaine, and there had been shipwrecked. In trying to make his way in disguise through the dominions of the Duke of Austria he had been recognized and arrested, for Leopold of Austria had more than one ground of hatred of Richard, notably because his claim to something like an equal sovereignty had been so rudely and contemptuously disallowed in the famous incident of the tearing down of his banner from the walls of Acre. But a greater sovereign than Leopold had reason to complain of the conduct of Richard and something to gain from his imprisonment, and the duke was obliged to surrender his prisoner to the emperor, Henry VI.

When the news of this reached England, it seemed to John that his opportunity might at last be come, and he crossed over at once to the continent. Finding the barons of Normandy unwilling to receive him in the place of Richard, he passed on to Philip, did him homage for the French fiefs, and even for England it was reported, took oath to marry Adela, and ceded to him the Norman Vexin. In return Philip promised him a part of Flanders and his best help to get possession of England and his brother's other lands. Roger of Howden, who records this bargain, distinguishes between rumour and what he thought was true, and it may be taken as a fair example of what it was believed John would agree to in order to dispossess his imprisoned brother. He then returned to England with a force of mercenaries, seized the castles of Wallingford and Windsor, prepared to receive a fleet which Philip was to send to his aid, and giving out that the king was dead, he demanded the kingdom of the justices and the fealty of the barons. But nobody believed him; the justices immediately took measures to resist him and to defend the kingdom against the threatened invasion, and civil war began anew. Just then Hubert Walter, Bishop of Salisbury, arrived from Germany, bringing a letter from Richard himself. It was certain that the king was not dead, but the news did not promise an immediate release. The emperor demanded a great ransom and a crowd of hostages of the barons. The justices must at once set about raising the sum, and a truce was made with John until autumn.

The terms of his release which Richard had stated in his letter did not prove to be the final ones. Henry VI was evidently determined to make all that he could out of his opportunity, and it was not till after the middle of the year 1193 that a definite agreement was at last made. The ransom was fixed at 150,000 marks, of which 100,000 were to be on hand in London before the king should go free. It was on the news of this arrangement that Philip sent his famous message to John, "Take care of yourself: the devil is loosed." In John's opinion the best way to take care of himself was to go to Philip's court, and this he did on receiving the warning, either because he was afraid of the view Richard might take of his conduct on his return, or because he suspected that Philip would throw him over when he came to make a settlement with Richard. There were, however, still two obstacles in the way of Richard's return: the money for the ransom must be raised, and the emperor must be persuaded to keep his bargain. Philip, representing John as well, was bidding against the terms to which Richard had agreed. They offered the emperor 80,000 marks, to keep him until the Michaelmas of 1194; or £1000 a month for each month that he was detained; or 150,000 marks, if he would hold him in prison for a year, or give him up to them. Earlier still Philip had tried to persuade Henry to surrender Richard to him, but such a disposition of the case did not suit the emperor's plans, and now he made Philip's offers known to Richard. If he had been inclined to listen, as perhaps he was, the German princes, their natural feeling and interest quickened somewhat by promises of money from Richard, would have insisted on the keeping of the treaty. On February 4, 1194, Richard was finally set free, having done homage to the emperor for the kingdom of England and having apparently issued letters patent to record the relationship,57 a step towards the realization of the wide-reaching plans of Henry VI for the reconstruction of the Roman Empire, and so very likely as important to him as the ransom in money.

The raising of this money in England and the other lands of the king was not an easy task, not merely because the sum itself was enormous for the time, but also because so great an amount exceeded the experience, or even the practical arithmetic of the day, and could hardly be accurately planned for in advance. It was, however, vigorously taken in hand by Eleanor and the justices, assisted by Hubert Walter, who had now become Archbishop of Canterbury by Richard's direction and who was soon made justiciar, and the burden seems to have been very patiently borne. The method of the Saladin tithe was that first employed for the general taxation by which it was proposed to raise a large part of the sum. All classes, clerical and feudal, burgess and peasant, were compelled to contribute according to their revenues, the rule being one-fourth of the income for the year, and the same proportion of the movable property; all privileges and immunities of clergy and churches as well as of laymen were suspended; the Cistercians even who had a standing immunity from all exactions gave up their whole year's shearing of wool, and so did the order of Sempringham; the plate and, jewels of the churches and monasteries, held to be properly used for the redemption of captives, were surrendered or redeemed in money under a pledge of their restoration by the king. The amount at first brought in proved insufficient, and the officers who collected it were suspected of peculation, possibly with justice, but possibly also because the original calculation had been inaccurate, so that a second and a third levy were found necessary. It was near the end of the year 1193 before the sum raised was accepted by the representatives of the emperor as sufficient for the preliminary payment which would secure the king's release.

Richard, set free on February 4, did not feel it necessary to be in haste, and he only reached London on March 6. There he found things in as unsettled a state as they had been since the beginning of his imprisonment. He had made through Longchamp a most liberal treaty with Philip to keep him quiet during his imprisonment; he had also induced John by a promise of increasing his original grants to return to his allegiance to himself: but neither of these agreements had proved binding on the other parties. John had made a later treaty with Philip, purchasing his support with promises of still more extensive cessions of the land he coveted, and under this treaty the king of France had taken possession of parts of Normandy, while the justiciar of England, learning of John's action, had obtained a degree of forfeiture against him from a council of the barons and had begun the siege of his castles. This war on John was approved by Richard, who himself pushed it to a speedy and successful end. Then on March 30 the king met a great council of the realm at Nottingham. His mother was present, and the justiciar, and Longchamp, who was still chancellor, though he had not been allowed to return to England to remain until now. By this council John was summoned to appear for trial within forty days on pain of the loss of all his possessions and of all that he might expect, including the crown. Richard's chief need would still be money both for the war in France and for further payments on his ransom; and he now imposed a new tax of two shillings on the carucate of land and called out one-third of the feudal force for service abroad. Many resumptions of his former grants were also made, and some of them were sold again to the highest bidders. Two weeks later the king was re-crowned at Winchester, apparently with something less of formal ceremony than in his original coronation, but with much more than in the annual crown-wearings of the Norman kings, a practice which had now been dropped for almost forty years. Whether quite a coronation in strict form or not, the ceremony was evidently regarded as of equivalent effect both by the chroniclers of the time and officially, and it probably was intended to make good any diminution of sovereignty that might be thought to be involved in his doing homage to the emperor for the kingdom.

Immediately after this the king made ready to cross to France, where his interests were then in the greatest danger, but he was detained by contrary winds till near the middle of May. In the almost exactly five years remaining of his life Richard never returned to England. He belonged by nature to France, and England must have seemed a very foreign land to him; but in passing judgment on him we must not overlook the fact that England was secure and needed the presence of the king but little, while many dangers threatened, or would seem to Richard to threaten, his continental possessions. Even a Henry I would probably have spent those five years abroad. Richard found the king of France pushing a new attack on Normandy to occupy the lands which John had ceded him, but the French forces withdrew without waiting to try the issue of a battle. Richard had hardly landed before another enemy was overcome, by his own prudence also, and another example given of the goodness of Richard's heart toward his enemies and of his willingness to trust their professions. He had said that his brother would never oppose force with force, and now John was ready to abandon the conflict before it had begun. He came to Richard, encouraged by generous words of his which were repeated to him, and threw himself at his feet; he was at once pardoned and treated as if he had never sinned, except that the military advantages he had had in England through holding the king's castles were not given back to him. Along all the border the mere presence of Richard seemed to check Philip's advance and to bring to a better mind his own barons who had been disposed to aid the enemy. About the middle of June almost all the details of a truce were agreed upon by both sides, but the plan at last failed, because Richard would not agree that the barons who had been on the opposing sides in Poitou should be made to cease all hostilities against each other, for this would be contrary, he said, to the ancient custom of the land. The war went on a few weeks longer with no decisive results. Philip destroyed Evreux, but fell back from Freteval so hastily, to avoid an encounter with Richard, that he lost his baggage, including his official records, and barely escaped capture himself. On November 1 a truce for one year was finally made, much to the advantage Philip, but securing to the king of England the time he needed for preparation.

When Richard crossed to Normandy not to return, he left England in the hands of his new justiciar, Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, and soon to be appointed legate of the pope, at once the head of Church and State. No better man could have been found to stand in the place of the king. Nephew of the wife of Glanvill, the great judge of Henry II's time, spending much of his youth in the household of his uncle and some little time also in the service of the king, he was by training and by personal experience fitted to carry on the administration of England along the lines laid down in the previous reign and even to carry forward law and institutions in harmony with their beginnings and with the spirit of that great period. Indeed the first itinerant justices' commission in definite form that has come down to us dates but a few weeks after the king's departure, and is of especial interest as showing a decided progress since the more vague provisions of the Assize of Clarendon. A possible source of danger to a successful ministry lay in the quarrelsome and self-assertive Archbishop of York, the king's brother Geoffrey; but soon after Richard's departure Hubert deprived him of power by a sharp stroke and a skilful use of the administrative weapons with which he was familiar. On complaint of Geoffrey's canons against him he sent a commission of judges to York to examine the case, who ordered Geoffrey's servants to be imprisoned on a charge of robbery, and on the archbishop's refusal to appear before them to answer for himself they decreed the confiscation of his estates. Geoffrey never recovered his position in Richard's time.

The year 1195 in England and abroad passed by with few events of permanent interest. Archbishop Hubert was occupied chiefly with ecclesiastical matters and with the troubles of Geoffrey of York, and conditions in the north were further changed by the closing of the long and stormy career of the bishop, of Durham, Hugh of Puiset. In France the truce was broken by Philip in June, and the war lingered until December with some futile efforts at peace, but with no striking military operations on either side. Early in December the two kings agreed on the conditions of a treaty, which was signed on January 15, 1196. The terms were still unfavourable to Richard; for Philip at last had Gisors and the Norman Vexin ceded to him by competent authority and a part of his other conquests and the overlordship of Angoulème, while Richard on his side was allowed to retain only what he had taken in Berri.

As this treaty transferred to France the old frontier defences of Normandy and opened the way down the Seine to a hostile attack upon Rouen, the question of the building of new fortifications became an important one to both the kings. The treaty contained a provision that Andely should not be fortified. This was a most important strategic position on the river, fitted by nature for a great fortress and completely covering the capital of Normandy. At a point where the Seine bends sharply and a small stream cuts through the line of limestone cliffs on its right bank to join it, a promontory of rock three hundred feet above the water holds the angle, cut off from the land behind it except for a narrow isthmus, and so furnished the feudal castle-builder with all the conditions which he required. The land itself belonged to the Archbishop of Rouen, but Richard, to whom the building of a fortress at the place was a vital necessity, did not concern himself seriously with that point, and began the works which he had planned soon after the signing of the treaty in which he had promised not to do so. The archbishop who was still Walter of Coutances, Richard's faithful minister of earlier days, protested without avail and finally retired to Rome, laying the duchy under an interdict. Richard was no more to be stopped in this case by an interdict than by his own promises, and went steadily on with his work, though in the end he bought off the archbishop's opposition by a transfer to him in exchange of other lands worth intrinsically much more than the barren crag that he had seized. The building occupied something more than a year, and when it was completed, the castle was one of the strongest in the west. Richard had made use in its fortification of the lessons which he learned in the Holy Land, where the art of defence had been most carefully studied under compulsion; and the three wards of the castle, its thick walls and strong towers, and the defences crossing the river and in the town of New Andely at its foot, seemed to make it impregnable. Richard took great pride in his creation. He called it his fair child, and named it Chateau-Gaillard or "saucy castle."

Philip had not allowed all this to go on without considering the treaty violated, but the war of 1196 is of the same wearisome kind as that of the previous year. The year brought with it some trouble in Britanny arising from a demand of Richard's for the wardship of his nephew Arthur, and resulting in the barons of Britanny sending the young prince to the court of Philip. In England the rising of a demagogue in London to protest against the oppression of the poor is of some interest. The king's financial demands had never ceased; they could not cease, in fact, and though England was prosperous from the long intervals of peace she had enjoyed and bore the burden on the whole with great patience, it was none the less heavily felt. In London there was a feeling not merely that the taxes were heavy, but that they were unfairly assessed and collected, so that they rested in undue proportion on the poorer classes. Of this feeling William Fitz Osbert, called "William with the Beard," made himself the spokesman. He opposed the measures of the ruling class, stirred up opposition with fiery speeches, crossed over to the king, and, basing on the king's interest in the subject a boast of his support, threatened more serious trouble. Then the justiciar interfered by force, dragged him out of sanctuary, and had him executed. The incident had a permanent influence in the fact that Hubert Walter, who was already growing unpopular, found his support from the clergy weakened because of his violation of the right of sanctuary. He was also aggrieved because Richard sent over from the continent the Abbot of Caen, experienced in Norman finance, to investigate his declining revenues and to hold a special inquisition of the sheriffs. The inquisition was not held because of the death of the abbot, but later in the year Hubert offered to resign, but finally decided to go on in office for a time longer.

The year 1197 promised great things for Richard in his war with the king of France, but yielded little. He succeeded in forming a coalition among the chief barons of the north, which recalls the diplomatic successes of his ancestor, Henry I. The young Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault had grievances of his own against Philip which he was anxious to avenge. Count Philip, who had exercised so strong an influence over King Philip at the time of his accession, had died early in the crusade, and the Count of Hainault on succeeding him had been compelled to give up to France a large strip of territory adjoining Philip's earlier annexation, and on his death Count Baldwin had had to pay a heavy relief. The coalition was joined by the Counts of Boulogne and Blois, and Britanny was practically under the control of Richard. Philip, however, escaped the danger that threatened him by some exercise of his varied talents of which we do not know the exact details. Led on in pursuit of the Count of Flanders until he was almost cut off from return, he purchased his retreat by a general promise to restore the count all his rights and to meet Richard in a conference on the terms of peace. On Richard's side the single advantage gained during the campaign was the capture of the cousin of the French king, Philip of Dreux, the warlike Bishop of Beauvais, whose raids along the border and whose efforts at the court of Henry VI of Germany against his release from imprisonment had so enraged Richard that he refused upon any terms or under any pressure to set him free as long as he lived. The interview between the kings took place on September 17, when a truce for something more than a year was agreed upon to allow time for arranging the terms of a permanent peace.

The year closed in England with an incident of great interest, but one which has sometimes been made to bear an exaggerated importance. At a council of the kingdom held at Oxford on December 7, the justiciar presented a demand of the king that the baronage should unite to send him at their expense three hundred knights for a year's service with him abroad. Evidently it was hoped that the clergy would set a good example. The archbishop himself expressed his willingness to comply, and was followed by the Bishop of London to the same effect. Then Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, being called upon for his answer, to the great indignation of the justiciar, flatly refused on the ground that his church was not liable for service abroad. The Bishop of Salisbury, next called upon, made the same refusal; and the justiciar seeing that the plan was likely to fail dissolved the council in anger. One is tempted to believe that some essential point is omitted from the accounts we have of this incident, or that some serious mistake has been made in them, either in the speech of Bishop Hugh given us in his biography or in the terms of Richard's demand recorded in two slightly different forms. Hubert must have believed that the baronage in general were going to follow the example given them by the two bishops and refuse the required service, or he would not have dissolved the council and reported to the king that his plan had failed. But to refuse this service on the ground that it could not be required except in England was to go against the unbroken practice of more than a hundred years. Nor was there anything contrary to precedent in the demand for three hundred knights to serve a year. The union of the military tenants to equip a smaller force than the whole service due to the lord, but for a longer time than the period of required feudal service, was not uncommon. The demand implied a feudal force due to the king from England of less than three thousand knights, and this was well within his actual rights, though if we accept the very doubtful statement of one of our authorities that their expenses were to be reckoned at the rate of three shillings per day, the total cost would exceed that of any ordinary scutage.

Richard clearly believed, as did his justiciar, that he was making no illegal demand, for he ordered the confiscation of the baronies of the two bishops, and Herbert of Salisbury was obliged to pay a fine. It was only a personal journey to Normandy and the great reputation for sanctity of the future St. Hugh of Lincoln that relieved him from the same punishment. The importance of the right of consent to taxation in the growth of the constitution has led many writers to attach a significance to this incident which hardly belongs to it. Whatever were the grounds of his action, the Bishop of Lincoln could have been acting on no general constitutional principle. He must have been insisting on personal rights secured to him by the feudal law. If his action contributed largely, as it doubtless did, to that change of earlier conditions which led to the beginning of the constitution, it was less because he tried to revive a principle of general application, which as a matter of fact had never existed, than because he established a precedent of careful scrutiny of the king's rights and of successful resistance to a demand possibly of doubtful propriety. It is as a sign of the times, as the mark of an approaching revolution, that the incident has its real interest.

About the time that Richard sent over to England his demand for three hundred knights news must have reached him of an event which would seem to open the way to a great change in continental affairs. The far-reaching plans of the emperor, Henry VI, had been brought to an end by his death in Sicily on September 28, 1197, in the prime of his life. His son, the future brilliant Emperor Frederick II, was still an infant, and there was a prospect that the hold of the Hohenstaufen on the empire might be shaken off. About Christmas time an embassy reached Richard from the princes of Germany, summoning him on the fealty he owed the empire to attend a meeting at Cologne on February 22 to elect an emperor. This he could not do, but a formal embassy added the weight of his influence to the strong Guelfic party; and his favourite nephew, who had been brought up at his court, was elected emperor as Otto IV. The Hohenstaufen party naturally did not accept the election, and Philip of Suabia, the brother of Henry VI, was put up as an opposition emperor, but for the moment the Guelfs were the stronger, and they enjoyed the support of the young and vigorous pope, Innocent III, who had just ascended the papal throne, so that even Philip II's support of his namesake of Suabia was of little avail.

From the change Richard gained in reality nothing. It was still an age when the parties to international alliances sought only ends to be gained within their own territories, or what they believed should be rightfully their territories, and the objects of modern diplomacy were not yet regarded. The truce of the preceding September, which was to last through the whole of the year 1198, was as little respected as the others had been. As soon as it was convenient, the war was reopened, the baronial alliance against the king of France still standing, and Baldwin of Flanders joining in the attack. At the end of September Richard totally defeated the French, and drove their army in wild flight through the town of Gisors, precipitating Philip himself into the river Epte by the breaking down of the bridge under the weight of the fugitives, and capturing a long list of prisoners of distinction, three of them, a Montmorency among them, overthrown by Richard's own lance, as he boasted in a letter to the Bishop of Durham. Other minor successes followed, and Philip found himself reduced to straits in which he felt obliged to ask the intervention of the pope in favour of peace. Innocent III, anxious for a new crusade and determined to make his influence felt in every question of the day, was ready to interfere on his own account; and his legate, Cardinal Peter, brought about an interview between the two kings on January 13, 1199, when a truce for five years was verbally agreed upon, though the terms of a permanent treaty were not yet settled.

In the meantime financial difficulties were pressing heavily upon the king of England. Scutages for the war in Normandy had been taken in 1196 and 1197. In the next year a still more important measure of taxation was adopted, which was evidently intended to bring in larger sums to the treasury than an ordinary scutage. This is the tax known as the Great Carucage of 1198. The actual revenue that the king derived from it is a matter of some doubt, but the machinery of its assessment is described in detail by a contemporary and is of special interest.58 The unit of the new assessment was to be the carucate, or ploughland, instead of the hide, and consequently a new survey of the land was necessary to take the place of the old Domesday record. To obtain this, practically the same machinery was employed as in the earlier case, but to the commissioners sent into each county by the central government two local knights, chosen from the county, were added to form the body before whom the jurors testified as to the ownership and value of the lands in their neighbourhoods. Thanks to the rapid judicial advance and administrative reforms of the past generation, the jury was now a familiar institution everywhere and was used for many purposes. Its employment in this case to fix the value of real property for taxation, and of personal property as in the Saladin tithe of 1188, though but a revival of its earlier use by William I, marks the beginning of a continuous employment of jurors in taxation in the next period which led to constitutional results--the birth of the representative system, and we may almost say to the origin of Parliament in the proper meaning of the term--results of even greater value in the growth of our civil liberty than any which came from it in the sphere of judicial institutions important as these were.

Now in the spring of 1199 a story reached Richard of the finding of a wonderful treasure on the land of the lord of Chalus, one of his under vassals in the Limousin. We are told that it was the images of an emperor, his wife, sons, and daughters, made of gold and seated round a table also of gold. If the story were true, here was relief from his difficulties, and Richard laid claim to the treasure as lord paramount of the land. This claim was of course disputed, and with his mercenaries the king laid siege to the castle of Chalus. It was a little castle and poorly defended, but it resisted the attack for three days, and on the third Richard, who carelessly approached the wall, was shot by a crossbow bolt in the left shoulder near the neck. The wound was deep and was made worse by the surgeon in cutting out the head of the arrow. Shortly gangrene appeared, and the king knew that he must die. In the time that was left him he calmly disposed of all his affairs. He sent for his mother who was not far away, and she was with him when he died. He divided his personal property among his friends and in charity, declared John to be his heir, and made the barons who were present swear fealty to him. He ordered the man who had shot him to be pardoned and given a sum of money; then he confessed and received the last offices of the Church, and died on April 6, 1199, in the forty-second year of his age.

The twelfth century was drawing to its end when Richard died, but the close of the century was then as always in history a purely artificial dividing line. The real historical epoch closed, a new age began with the granting of the Great Charter. The date may serve, however, as a point from which to review briefly one of the growing interests of England that belongs properly within the field of its political history--its organized municipal life. The twelfth century shows a slow, but on the whole a constant, increase in the number, size, and influence of organized towns in England, and of the commerce, domestic and foreign, on which their prosperity rested. Even in the long disorder of Stephen's reign the interruption of this growth seems to have been felt rather in particular places than in the kingdom as a whole, and there was no serious set-back of national prosperity that resulted from it. Not with the rapidity of modern times, but fairly steadily through the century, new articles appear in commerce; manufactures rise to importance, like that of cloth; wealth and population accumulate in the towns, and they exert an unceasing pressure on the king, or on the lords in whose domain they are, for grants of privileges.

Such grants from the king become noticeably frequent in the reign of Richard and are even more so under John. The financial necessities of both kings and their recklessness, at least that of Richard, in the choice of means to raise money, made it easy for the boroughs to purchase the rights or exemptions they desired. The charters all follow a certain general type, but there was no fixed measure of privilege granted by them. Each town bargained for what it could get from a list of possible privileges of some length. The freedom of the borough; the right of the citizens to have a gild merchant; exemption from tolls, specified or general, within a certain district or throughout all England or also throughout the continental Angevin dominions; exemption from the courts of shire and hundred, or from the jurisdiction of all courts outside the borough, except in pleas of the crown, or even without this exception; the right to farm the revenues of the borough, paying a fixed "firma," or rent, to the king, and with this often the right of the citizens to elect their own reeve or even sheriff to exempt them from the interference of the king's sheriff of the county. This list is not a complete one of the various rights and privileges granted by the charters, but only of the more important ones.

To confer these all upon a town was to give it the fullest right obtained by English towns and to put it practically in the position which London had reached in the charter of Henry I's later years. London, if we may trust our scanty evidence, advanced at one time during this period to a position reached by no other English city, to the position of the French commune.59 Undoubtedly the word "commune," like other technical words, was sometimes used at the time loosely and vaguely, but in its strict and legal sense it meant a town raised to the position of a feudal vassal and given all the rights as well as duties of a feudal lord, a seigneurie collective populaire, as a French scholar has called it.60 Thus regarded, the town had a fulness of local independence to be obtained in no other way. To such a position no English city but London attained, and it may be thought that the evidence in London's case is not full enough to warrant us in believing that it reached the exact legal status of a commune.

We find it related as an incident of the struggle between John and Longchamp in 1191, when Longchamp was deposed, that John and the barons conceded the commune of London and took oath to it, and about the same time we have proof that the city had its mayor. Documentary evidence has also been discovered of the existence at the same date of the governing body known on the continent as the échevins. But while the mayor and the échevins are closely associated with the commune, their presence is not conclusive evidence of the existence of a real commune, nor is the use of the word itself, though the occurrence of the two together makes it more probable. Early in 1215, when John was seeking allies everywhere against the confederated barons, he granted a new charter to London, which recognized the right of the citizens to elect their own mayor and required him to swear fealty to the king. If we could be sure that this oath was sworn for the city, it would be conclusive evidence, since the oath of the mayor to the lord of whom the commune as a corporate person "held" was a distinguishing mark of this relationship. The probability that such was the case is confirmed by the fact that a few weeks later, in the famous twelfth clause of the Great Charter, we find London put distinctly in the position of a king's vassal. This evidence is strengthened by a comparison with the corresponding clause of the Articles of the Barons, a kind of preliminary draft of the Great Charter, and much less carefully drawn, where there is added to London a general class of towns whose legal right to the privilege granted it would not have been possible to defend.61 That London maintained its position among the king's vassals in the legally accurate Great Charter is almost certain proof that it had some right to be classed with them. But even if London was for a time a commune, strictly speaking, it did not maintain the right in the next reign, and that form of municipal organization plays no part in English history.62 It is under the form of chartered towns, not communes, that the importance of the boroughs in English commercial and public life continued to increase in the thirteenth as it had in the twelfth century.

Footnotes

[57] Ralph de Diceto, ii, 113.

[58] Roger of Howden, iv. 46.

[59] Round, The Commune of London.

[60] Luchaire, Communes Françaises, 97.

[61] Articles of the Barons, c. 32; Stubbs, Select Charters, 393.

[62] See London and the Commune in Engl. Hist. Rev., Oct. 1904.

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