« ForrigeFortsett »
form of an election, for free ac. acted ; in one of which we find knowledgment of his claim : for an express declaration, 46 That all the archbishop of York, and the the freemen in his kingdom bishop of Coutance, who offici. " should hold and enjoy their ated in the ceremony, feparately 16 lands and possessions free from demanded of the nobility, prelates of all unjuft exaction, and from all and people of both nations, (Eng- « callage ; so that nothing thould lish and Normans) who were pre. " be exacted or taken of them sent and aslifting, whether they con- " but their free fervice, which Jented that he foould reign over them? « they' by right owed to the and, with joyful acclamations, « crown, and were bound to per they answered, that they did. Be " form." It is farther faid, fore he afcended the throne, he " That this was ordained and made a compact with his new fub- « granted to them as an heredi. jects, by his coronation oath, the "tary right for ever, by the comsame with that of the Saxon « mon council of the kingdom." kings.
Which very remarkable facute is « Adistinction is to be made be. juftly styled by a learned author, tween the government of William Nathaniel Bacon, the firft Magna the First, which was very tyran. Charta of the Normans.' And it nical, and the constitution establish- extended no less to the English, ed under him in this kingdom, than to the Normans.!'. which was no abfolu:e monarchy, The noble writer is of opinion, but an ingraftment of the feudal that the English were not reduced tenures and other customs of Nor- fo low by William the Conqueror, mandy upon the ancient Saxon laws even at the end of his reign (as of Edward the Confeffor. He more some writers have supposed) as to than once swore to maintain those be inere abject drudges and Naves Laws, and in the fourth year of his to the Normans; in proof of which reign confirmed them in parlia- he shews, that the very year after rent ; yet not without great al. his death they raised an army of terations, to which the whole le. thirty thousand men, in fupport of his gilature agreed, by a more com. fon, William Rufus, against his broplete introduction of the Atriệt ther Robert and the whole force of feudal law, as it was practised the Normans; which army served in Normandy; which produced him bravely and faithfully in his a different political system, and distress, and to them he chiefly changed both power and property owed his preservation. So that. in many respects ; though the first their force was sufficient to main. principles of that law and gene- tain that prince of the royal family, ral notions of it, had been in use who courted them most, upon the among the English fome ages be throne of this kingdom, against all fore. But that the liberty of the the efforts of the contrary faction : subject was not so destroyed by a very remarkable fact, which als these alterations, as some writers most retrieved the honour of the : have supposed, plainly appears by nation. .. the very Atatutes that William en. The account his Lordship gires
of the accession of Henry the First, a determined and moderate role and the great things he did for of law. To use the words of one public liberty, contains fome curi- of our greateft antiquaries, Sir ous and uncommon observations. Henry Spelman; It was the ori.
" The nation resolved to give ginal of king John's Magné Charta; the crown to a prince, who should containing most of the articles of it; acquire and hold it under no other either particularly expressed; or in claim than a compact with his peo. general, under ibe confirmation it ple; and though it would be diffi. gives to the laws of Edward the cult to justify their proceedings Confeffor. So mistaken are they, either in conscience or law, their who have soppofed that all the policy may perhaps be accounted privileges granted in Magna Cbarta not unwise ; as it made the title of were innovations extorted by the the king become security for the arms of rebels from king John!. liberty of the subject. To give a notion which seems to have been that liberty a more solid and lasting firft taken up, not so much out of eftablishment, they demanded å ignorance, as from a base mocharter; which Henry granted five of adulation to some of our soon after his coronation, as he princes in latter times, who, enhad sworn to do before he was deavoaring to grasp at abfolute crowned. By this he restored the power, were desirous of any preSaxon laws which were in use un. tence to consider these laws, which der Edward the Confessor, but stood in their way, as violent énwith such alterations, or (as he croachments made by the barons fty led them) emendations, as had on the ancient rights of the crown: been made in them by his father with, whereas they were in reality refti. the advice of his parliament; at cutions and fanctions of ancient the same time annulling all evil rights enjoyed by the nobility and customs and illegal exactions, by people of England in former which the realm had been unjustly reigns; or limitations of powers ,opprefid. Some of those griev. which the king had illegally and
ances were specified in the charter, arbitrarily itretehed beyond their and the redress of them was there due bounds. In fome . respects expressly enacted. It also con. this charter of Henry the First was tained very confiderable mitiga- more advantageous to liberty than tions of those feudal rights, claim. Magna Charta itself." ed by the king over his tenants; The account which our noble and by them over theirs, which author gives of the military art in either were the most burthensome the times of which he treats, toin their own nature, or had been gether with his observations om made fo by an abusive extension. The ftate of naval affairs in EngIn short, all the liberty, that could land before and during that period, well be consistent with the fafety are so curious, that we shall trang and interest of the lord in his fie!, scribe the whole in his own words. was allowed to the vallal by this " The military art, during charter, and i he profits due to the the times of which I write, was former were settled according to in many particulars che fame
with that of the ancient Romans. having forbidden it in wais ben, We are informed by a contempo- tween Christian nations, it was rary German historian, that, in laid aside in this country; during the methods of encamping, and of the reigns of king Stephen and of begeging towns or calles, the em- Henry the Second. Nevertheless peror Frederick Barbarossa follow- Richard the First, at his return ed, their roles. And the histories out of Palestine, brought it again of the holy war, written within, into France, very fatally for him. the same age, describe the fieges, sell, as he was killed soon aftermade in Afia, by the English and wards by an arrow, shot out of that French, agreeably to those carried engine. on under the discipline of that na., "The manner of fortifying towns tion. We have one composed by, and castles, as well as the methods an Englishman, Geoffry de Vine. both of attack and defence, were sauf, that gives a particular rela- ftill much the same as had been tion of the liege of Acre, or Pro used by the Romans : but the ar., lemais, to which he accompanied mies differed much from those of King Richard the Firft. It ap- that people ; for their principal pears from thence, that the be- ftrengih wasin the cavalry; where. fiegers, among other machines: as, among the Romans, it was in which had been used by the Ro- the legions, which were chiefly mans, had moveable towers, built, composed of infantry. And this of wood, and of such a height,, variation produced others in the that the tops of them overlooked manner of fighting, and of rangthe battlements of the city. They ing the troops. Yet, upon many were covered with raw hides, to occasions, the horsemen dismounta prevent their being burnt; and, ed to fight on foot; and this seems had also a network of ropes which to have been done by the Enga hung before them, and was in- lish more frequently than by most tended to deaden the violence of other nations. The infantry, for the stones, that were thrown as the most part, were archers and gainst them from the engines of slingers ; nor were there any in the besieged. Those engines were the world more excellent at that called by this author petrariæ, but time than those belonging to this were the balillæ of the ancients ;, illand, the Normans having com. and, according to his account of municated their skill to the Saxons, them, their force was prodigious: and the Welsh being famous for they threw ftones of a vast weight, strength, and dexterity in draw. and were employed by the belieg. ing the bow, The offensive arms ers to batter the walls, as by the of the cavalry, were lances and besieged to defend them. He like. swords : but they also used battle, wile mentions the cross-bow among axes, and maces of different sorts; the weapons made use of in that and some fought with ponderous fiege. It had been introduced in mallets or clubs of iron. I can. to England by William the Con- not better describe their defensive queror, who greatly availed him. armour, than by tranflating the self of it, at the batile of Hastings: words of a contemporary historian, but the second Lateran council who has given an account of the
manner in which the order of with thort daggers, which were knighthood was conferred on the usually worn by the horfemen for Father of king Heory the Second. that purpose. It being customary
_They put on him (says that au. for all who were taken in war to " thor) an incomparable haber. ranfom therafelves with fums of “ geon, composed of double plates money, which were generally paid oor scollops of feel, which no ar- to those who took them in propor
row or lance coold penetrate, tion to the rank of the captives, « They gave him cuishes, or boots good quarter was given. I “ of iron, made equally strong. There is a remarkable passage, “ They put gilt Spurs on his feet, relating to this fubject, in Oderi. "'and hung on his neck a shield, cus Vitalis, a writer contemporary « or buckler, on which lions of with king Henry the Firtt. He “ gold were painted. On his tells us, that in a battle between
head they placed a helmet, Louis le Gros and that prince, of
which glittered all over with which an account has been given « precious stones, and was fo well in a former part of this work, nine « forged, that no sword could hundred knights were engaged, « cleave or pierce it."
and only two of them killed: This armour, it may be pre- " because (fays the historian) they sumed, was richer than that of or. “ were cloathed all over with iron, dinary knights, and of more ex. " and from their fear of God, and cellent workmanship in the temper " the acquaintance they had cone of the steel; but in other respects “ tracted by living together, they much the same. The habergeons, “ spared one another, and rather' or coats of mail, were different "defired to take than kill those from the cuirasses used in later" who fled.” Some battles in Ira. times, being formed of double ly, which Machiaval bas describ. plates of iron, and covering the ed as fought by the mercenary arms and shoulders of the knights, bands of that country, in the four. as well as their bodies. Under teenth and fifreenth centuries, were these they wore other coats, of lea-' of the fame kind. But it must be ther, or of taffety, quilted with observed, that one of the reafons wool... The several parts of the here given by Odericus Vitalis, outward armour were so artfully why fo few of the knights, or men joined, that the whole man was at arms, were slain in this action, defended by it from head to foot, viz. that they spared one another, and rendered almost invulnerable, out of regard to the acquaintance except by contufions, or by the they had contracted by living to. point of a lance or sword running gether, did not hold in engage. into his eye, through the holes ments between different nations, that were left for fight in the vizor that were not fo connected as the of the helmet: but if it happened French and Normans; nor in civit that the horse was killed or thrown wars, where the animofity is in. down, or that the rider was dif- creased, not diminithed, by the mounted, he could make but little knowledge which the adverse para resistance, and vas either taken ties have of each other: and there. prisones orxNain on the ground fore in these we do not find that
the battles were fo harmlefs : yet the weapons of an enemy; and at the greatest. flaughter was general. the same time he could wield the ly made of the foot, who were nei- moft ponderous weapons, which ther fo well armed for defence as the armour of others was unable the knights, nor able to pay fo to refift.' This advantage was ftill, high a price for their ransoms increased, if his sword was finely
Roger de Hovedon speaks of tempered, and his defenfive arms horfes covered with arm ur in the were rendered more impenetrable reign of Richard the Firft : but I by the skill of the armourer in pre. find no mention thereof in the paring the steel. Thus some ex. times of which I write ; and that traordinary acts of personal valour, they were not usually so armed in which are related in our ancient the reign of Henry the First, may histories, and seem to us quite in. be proved from an action before credible, may indeed be true. A related, between Odo de Borlengi single man, in a narrow pass, may and the barons of Normandy, who have defended it against a great had revolted againfi thac prince; number of assailants; and the fucin which all the horses of the re- cess of a battle may have fome. bels were killed by the arrows of times been decided by the particuthe English, though not one of the lar prowess of a few knights, or riders was wounded. i ' men at arms. Geoffry de Vine. - In the above recited passage, fauf, in his account of the crusade concerning the arms that were againit Saladin, makes the officers given to Geoffry Plantagenet, of the Turkish forces say to that when he received the order of prince, 'in excuse of their having knighthood, it is said, “ they been béaten in an engagement with it brought him a lance of ash, arm. the English, that they could not hurt “ed with the steel of Poicou, and the enemy, who were not armed as r. a sword from the royal creasure, they were, but with impene frable " where it had been laid up from armour, which yielded to no wea. "old times, being the workman: pons ; so that in afaulting them they “thip of Galan, the most excel. seemed to ftrike againyt Aints. The “ lent of all swordsmiths, who came author describes the Turks, " had exerted in forging it his ut. in another part of his book, as « moft art and labour. Alkil. being armed very nightly, but ful swordsmith was then so neces. bearing a quiver full of arrows, 1 sary to a warrior, that it is no club fet chick with sharp spikes, a wonder the name of one who ex. sword, a light javelin, and a thort celled in his profession should be dagger or knite. Yet it appears, thus recorded in history, and a from his own relations of several sword of his making depofired in battles, that with these weapons the treasury of a king. It must they often killed a great number be observed that, in chofe days, of the Chriftians: and therefore a superior degree of bodily strength we must understand the passage save a double advantage : for the before cited with some allowance It rongeft, kaight could wear the for a degree of exaggeration. We heaviest armour ; whereby he was also find that the armour of the better secured than others against knights in those days was not al.: Vol. X. .