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year's imprisonment, pay a fine to the king, and make restitution to the defendant for his imprisonment and infamy; which provision was of considerable effect in discouraging the common use of appeals. If, on the contrary, the appellee were found guilty, he suffered the same judgment as if he had been convicted by indictment; the king having no power to pardon him, any more than he had to permit the payment of the weregild.
Chs. LVI., LVII.—The text of King John's great charter declares, that all these disputes shall be decided by a threefold law, peculiar to that place to which they might refer: as the law of England for English tenements; that of Wales for Welsh possessions; and that of the Marches, for those estates situate on the borders of the two countries. The term marches is derived either from the German word marck, a mark, limit, or boundary, or from the old French marque, signum ; and it signifies the line of distinction between two territories, considered as enemies' countries, which was anciently the case betwixt England, Wales, and Scotland. The Welsh marches are situate on the western and northern sides of Shropshire. They were governed by certain of the nobility called lords marchers, or marquesses of the marches of Wales, who possessed a kind of palatine authority in their respective territories, administered justice to the inhabitants in their own courts, and were gifted with several privileges and immunities, particularly under certain circumstances, with an exemption from the royal writ.
The law of Wales, which is also mentioned in this part of the great charter, refers to that code which was left to the ancient inhabitants, with such parts of the country as were not taken from them. It consisted of the statutes drawn up by Howel Dha, king of South Wales, in 940, and his council at "the White House on the River Taf,” which were formed of the ancient laws and customs of the country, then fallen into decay, amended and increased.
CH. LVIII.—The 68th and 69th chapters of this charter relate to two events in the life of King John, and his connection with the princes of Wales and Scotland. In 1211, the lords of the Welsh marches made several heavy complaints to Joho against Llewellyn, the great prince of North Wales, concerning his ravages and incursions into England, and the king, assembling an army, marched through the whole country, whence, however, he soon returned, with considerable loss. In 1212 he entered Wales, and, as many of the Welsh nobility were of his party, Prince Llewellyn, who had married Joan, the king's natural daughter, sent her to him to make terms of peace, which were afterward confirmed between the prince and the king. Hostages were then given, and Llewellyn promised the king toward his charges, 20,000 head of cattle and 40 horses. The patent roll of the 16th of John, 1215, membrane 9, records a warrant for the delivery of certain Welsh hostages, probably some of those mentioned in the text.
CH. LIX.-John's agreement with Alexander II., king of Scots, which occu. pies the 59th chapter, refers to the capture of his father William I., in 1173, at Alnwick in Northumberland, when he covenanted to restore all that he had taken from England, to do homage for his crown, and give as security the castles of Roxburgh, Berwick, Sterling, and Edinburgh. On November 220, 1200, the same king did homage to John at Lincoln, and then demanded of him the restoration of the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland, with all their appurtenances, as his ancient right and inheritance; but as they came to no agreement, William returned discontented into Scotland. But though this claim remained upanswered until the king's death in December, 1214, he had entered into such a friendly compact with John, as to send his son Alexander over to England, where he was knighted in 1212. In the civil wars of the barons, they invited Alexander to join them, after the conclusion of Magna Charta ; and in 1216, he entered England, where Norham Castle was surrendered to him upon terms. As he marched farther into the country, he took homage of Northumberland, and the barons of Yorkshire fled to him for protection from John's advancing army, before which, however, he was at length forced to retreat into his own kingdom. He afterward married Joanna, King John's eldest daughter by his third queen, Isabella of Angoulême, at York, on June 25th, 1221.
Ch. LX.—The insertion of this clause of the great charter, by which all the engagements and limitations between the king and his barons, &c., are made binding on them toward their own dependents, has been sometimes attributed to John himself. “For," says Dr. Henry, in his History of Great Britain, after mentioning this probability," though the great barons were very desirous to prevent the tyrannical exercise of the feudal authority toward themselves, many of them were much inclined to exercise it in that manner toward their vassals, and continued to do so after this charter was granted.” “ This,” he continues, “both encouraged our kings to violate all its limitations, and furnished them with a ready answer to all the complaints of their barons." Lord Coke, however, views this clause in a very different aspect, since he says of it: “This is the chief felicity of a kingdom, when good laws are reciprocally, of prince and people, as is here undertaken-duly observed." Dr. Lingard, in his History of England, Vol. II., ch. xiv., page 257, seems to believe that as the great body of freemen was composed of the subvassals of the immediate tenants of the crown, the clause was inserted for them, because they had assisted in procuring the charter itself. By Samuel Henshall, it is asserted that John himself caused this passage to be included in the articles of the great charter ; and it is to be observed to be the only clause which affects the whole body of the people.
CH. LXII. -After the extended and violent hostilities, between the king and bis peers, the great charter properly contains one section, as an act of oblivion and reconciliation ; which it may be observed, has so much of a retrospective view, as to commence at the preceding Easter, April 29th, 1215. The peace was actually concluded on Friday, June 19th, and it was announced to the king's party by the following letter, which is entered on the patent rolls, and which in referring to the fines and tenseriæ,-a military tax or contribution-may be thought to have some allusion to the taking away of unlawful amerciaments, provided by chapter lv. of King John's charter.
“The king to Stephen Harengod, &c. Know ye, that a firm peace was, by the grace of God, made between us and our barons, on the Friday next after the feast of the Holy Trinity, at Runnemede near to Staines, and that there we took homage of the same. Wherefore, we steadfastly command and instruct you, as ye have respect unto us, and our honour, and the peace of our kingdom, that you shall no further disturb, nor do any evil to our barons, nor to others, for the future; nor permit any occasion to be taken from the former discord between us and them. We also command you, that of the fines and tenseriæ taken by us on account of that discord, if any remain to be paid after the aforesaid Friday, nothing shall be taken. And the bodies of the prisoners, and hostages, and such as are detained on account of those wars, or fines, or tense. riæ, aforesaid, shall be liberated without delay. All the aforesaid shall be done as ye have respect to our person. And in testimony of this matter we send to you: Witness myself, at Runnemede, the 18th day of June, in the Seven. teenth year of our reign."ter. Far from it.' It was in consequence of royal wrongs that the necessity of further guarantees of rights came to be manifest to every class in the community, and that the people were from time to time compelled to wrest from their sovereigns some part of the functions of government, until the crown became the weakest of the three estates. The great advantage acquired through the charter to the cause of freedom was this, that the people's ordinary rights were clearly stated and distinctly guaranteed, and that the right of revolution and rebellion was acknowledged to exist when other rights were outraged by the crown, The hope to be derived from these acknowledgments and recognitions lay in this, that a free parliament existed, jealous of its liberties and watchful of the sovereign, ready, as occasion offered, to restrain his power and to provide securities against the overweening claims of his prerogative. With such an institution, it could hardly be a matter of doubt that checks would be from time to time set on royal power, and that new agencies of government would be created which must in the end destroy the autocratic claims of English sovereigns, and in their stead erect a commonwealth of freemen. Some, perhaps, of the brave barons who took part in the long contest, of which Runnymede was but the first great battle ground, saw in the objects they attained a glimmering of something greater for posterity than they had yet imagined for themselves; but these were at the best but vague hopes. To overthrow consolidated and prescriptive power is no slight task; and it was only long-continued and repeated wrongs which educated them to know and guard their rights. Through the long term of years which intervened between the death of John and the accession of the Stuarts, there is little to be seen but a succession of vain contests, in wild civil wars, with now and then a step made or a step lost in the devel. opment of constitutional government. Freedom blooms more slowly than the century plant of South America ; and once destroyed, it cannot be restored to life and vigor but by copious waterings of blood. The moral of our illustration needs no exposition.