Imágenes de páginas

reign), cither erected or rebuilt since the commencement of

the barons' war. llenry III.'s In the 9th year of his reign, Henry, who was now Third Charter,

declared of age, re-issued Magna Charta and the Charter A.D. 1225. of the Forest, in consideration of the grant of an aid of a (9 llenry III.)

• fifteenth.' They contained only two alterations of importancc: (1.) In the preamble, the words ‘spontanea et bona voluntatc nostra' were substituted for the 'consilio;' a change which, though capable of being interpreted as an asscrtion on the King's part of his independence of the counsel of his baronage, was, with greater probability, intended to obviate any subsequent cvasion by him on the sround that his former charters, having been granted by others in his name during his minority, were no longer binding on himself.? (21. I final clause was added specifying the grant of the fifteenth' as the price of the king's concession : ‘And for this our gift and grant of these liberties and of other liberties contained in our charter of libcrtics of the forest, the arclibishops, bishops, abbots, priors, carls, barons, knights, freeholders, and all our subjects have given unto us the fifteenth part of all their movcables. And we have granted unto them for us and our heirs that neither we nor our heirs shall procure or do anything whereby the liberties in this charter contained may be infringed or broken; and if anything be procured by any person contrary to the premises, it shall be had of

no force nor effect.'? Subsequent

It is in the form in which it was promulgated in the tions of the 9th Henry III. that Magna Charta was confirmed by Charter. Edward I. in the twenty-fifth year of his reign. The

copy which heads our statute book is taken from an Inspeximus of the charter, so called from the letters patent prefixed in the name of Edward I., 'Inspeximus Magnam Chartam domini Henrici quondam regis Angliae patris

• Post multas vero sententiarum revolutiones, communiter placuit, quod rex tam populo quam plebi libertates, prius ab co prero conaissais jam major fuctus indulsit.' --Ann. Dunstapl. p. 93, A.D. 1225 ; Select Chart. 314.

· Stat. of the Realm, Charters of Liberties, 22-25.


nostri de libertatibus Angliae in hacc verba.' Regarding the Charter as the palladium of the nation's liberties, the people for centuries ever ready to purchase its confirmation from successive kings by the grant of a liberal subsidy. In this way it was solemnly confirmed no less than thirty-seven times down to the second year of Henry VI.

I The Charter was confirmed :

6 times by Richarı II. 6 times by llenry III.


llenry IV. 3 Filwara I.

Once by llenry 1. 14 Edward III.

llenry VI. "To have provluce it,' remarks Sir James Hackintoh, 'to live preserved it, to have inatured it, constitute the inmortal claim of England upon the es. ieem of mankind. ller l'acons and Shakespeares, her Milions and Newtons, with all the truth which they have revealeil, and all the generous virile which they have inspired, are of inferior value when compared with the sub. jection of men and their rulers to the principles of justice, ir inileed it be not more true that these mighty spirits could not have been forme except under cual laws, nor roused to full activity without the influence of that spirit which the Great Charter breathed over their foresathers.' (I list. Eng. i. 221.)





The king !T the head of the whole administrative system was the personally took part in King himself, personally taking part not only in legislation all branches but in fiscal, judicial, and every other kind of executive tration. business. It was not till long after the Conquest that the

kings of the English ceascd, occasionally at least, to attend and take part in the proceedings of their courts of law. Henry II. was accustomed to assist in dispensing justice both in the Curia Regis and in its financial committee the Exclicquer. Some of his sayings on the judgment seat have been preserved. In a case tried before him, shortly after his accession to the throne in 1 154, the defendant alleged that a charter of Henry I. produced in evidence liad been improperly obtained. Per oculos Dei,' exclaimed the King, taking the Charter into his own hands, 'si cartam hanc falsam comprobare posses, lucrum mille librarum mihi in Anglia conferres.'3 In another case, a dispute be


| The Norman period, comprising the reigns of the Conqueror and his three successors, was 'the epocii of the wth of a administrative system, having the source of its strength in the royal power. Under the new system, it is from the person, the household, the court, and the council of the king that all constitutional power radiates ; and in very many respects both the machinery and the terminology of government bear, down to the present day, marks of their origin in the domestic service of the palace.'—Stubbs, Const. Ilist. i. 337, 338.

: • Domini Regis Curia, in qua ipse in propria persona jura decernit.' Dial.

de Scac. i. c. 4. A trial before 3 Walter, Abbot of St. Martin of Battl: v. Gilbert de Balliol (Chron. Jonas. Henry, . in terii de Bello, 106 ; Bigelow's Placita Anglo-Normannica, 175). This case is person. interesting for the ligit which it throws alike on the working of the sendal

tenures, the system of judicature, and the social aspects of the 12th century.

tween Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury and the Abbot of St. Edmund as to a territorial franchise, we are told that the King, puzzled by the production of conflicting charters, declared Nescio quid dicam : nisi ut cartae ad invicem pugnent.' And when the Archbishop subsequently refused to accept the Abbot's offer to submit the dispute to the verdict of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, the King angrily arose and left the court, saying, 'Qui potest capere capiat.'! King John personally decided a case in

The Abbot of St. Martin al acuire certain lands, partly by purchase anıl partly by gift, from a sub-lenant of the Janor of Barnhorn, with inte consent or Wichelari de Balliol, who liell the same of the Count of Eu: anili dona. rion had been contirmed by the Count and by the King ellenry l.). Withciaril afterwards vii--cineri the Alliot for refusing cactions, and 10 re-zi:1:00 1175 obtainable citler during the remainler vi llenry I.'s reign, or untier Siepien,

in whose lime justice was little regarleil, and he who was strongen! Sot most.' On the accession of llenry II. qui avita tempora renovaret,' ibini Walter renewed his claim against Gilberi ile Balliol, ihe heir of Withelari. and the king grants a writ to Jolin, Count of Eu, commanding him, personails or by the Sheriit of Sussex, io do justice to the .lbloi. The defendant manages by various subterfuges to evacie the trial ; and at length the plaintiff, with mucii clifficulty, gets the suit callci up into the Curia Kegis. But the king is unable to attend personally, and the cause though much litigaterl before the king's Justices is brought to no satisfactory conclusion. Ultimately the suit comes before the king himself at Clarendon. The Abbot's case is stated by Osmund :1 monk of Battle, and Peter de Chriel, a knight, and the deeds of purchase and donation and the charters of contirmation are read in Court. The vie fendant objects that the deeds of his ancestors have no seal. Thereupon Richard de Lucy, the chief justice (who was also, we are told, the Abbot's brother), asks whether the objector himself has a seal, and on receiving an affirmative reply, sneers at the modern custom for every little knight to have a seal, and overrules the objection. (“Moris,' inquit, antiquitus non erat quemlibet militulum sigillum habere, quod regibus et praecipuis tantum com. petit personis, nec antiquorum temporibus homines ut nunc causidicos vel in. credulos malitia reddebat.') Undismayed, Gilbert proceeds to question the confirmatory charter of Henry I. ; whereupon the King interposes with the exclamation Per oculos Dei,' given in the text, and adds : Si monachi per similem cartam et confirmationem hujusmodi jus in praesenti loco scilicet Clarendona, quem plurimum diligo, se habere possent ostendere, nihil esset in quo eis juste possem contradicere, quo minus eis omnino dimitteretur.' Then turning to the Abbot anci his advocates, “” Ite,” inquit, “et consilio habito, invicem conferte, si forte sit aliquid cui amplius quam huic cartae velitis inniti. Non tamen vos puto ad praesens aliam quaesituros probationem." After this expression of opinion from the Court, it is not surprising that the Abbot, though he retired in obedience to the royal command, quickly returned anci expressed his intention to produce no further proof but to take his stand upon the charter. Judgment is given for the plaintiff, “unanimi consensu totius curiae,' followed by a king's writ • ad quatuor miiites qui tunc ex ejus prae. cepto vicecomitatum Suthsexiae regebant,' directing them to ascertain the boundaries of the lands in question, by the oaths of twelve men of the vicinage, and then to reinstate the plaintiff. Which was accordingly done by Richard de Chaaines, one of the four knights, ‘sociorum suorum sibi vice commissa.'

Archbishop of Canterbury v. Abbot of St. E:lmund. Circa 4.1). 1186.



the Exchequer in the sixth year of his reign. Henry III. frequently sat in Westminster Hall with his judges ; and several instances are recorded of criminal jurisdiction exercised in person by John, Henry III., Edward I., and Edward II. Still, the exercise of ordinary jurisdiction by the King was an exception to the general rule. Edward IV., we are told, sat in the King's Bench for three consccutive days, in order to see how his laws were executed, but it is not said that he interfered in the proceedings. By the usage of many centuries it has now been long an undisputed principle that, although the King should be present in a court of justice, he is not entitled to determinc any cause but by the inouth of his judges, to whom he has committed the whole of his judicial authority; '* When James I. sat personally in court and wished to interfere, he was told by the judges that he could not deliver an opinion."

Next to the King in power and authority was his chief minister, the Justiciar, the supreme administrator of law and finance. He was 'the greatest subject in England,' the representative of the King in all matters, and by virtue of his office, lieutenant, viceroy', or regent of the kingdom during the king's absence. The justiciar was, as we have scen, a new officer appointed by the Conqueror, not only to carry on the government during his frequent absence

The Justi ciar.

Chron. Jocelin. de Brakelonda, p. 37 (Camden Soc.) ; Bigelow's Placita Anglo-
Vormannica, 238.

1 Allen on the Royal Prerogative, 92 ; Vadox, Hist. of the Exch. i. 191; Dialogus de Scacc. 1. i. c. 4 ; Palgrave, Eng. Com. i. 292. In early times even queens consort sometimes sat in court. Matilda, in the absence of Ilil. liam the Conqueror, held pleas in person in the county court (Domesday, lleining: p. 512; coram Regina Matilda in praesentia ir. vicecomitum '). The good Queen Vaud,' wife of Henry I., was present at a trial in the Exchequer between the men of Periton and the Ablot of Abingdon (“Quia rex tunc in Vormannia erai, regina, quae tunc praesens aderat, taliter hoc sigillo sue confirmavit : Sciatis quod Faritius abbas de Abbendona in curia domini mei et men apud Winioniam., in thesauro '&c. (Hist. Von. Abingd. ii. 85 [Rec. Com.], Bigelow's Plac. Ang. Norm. 99). Henry III.'s queen also held pleas in person (Spence, Equit. Jurisdiction, 101, n.).

: Stow, Chron. 416 (1631).
3 Coke, 4th Insi. 73.
* Blackstone, iii. 41.
5 Supra, p. 72.

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