CHAPTER XV. HENRY AND HIS SONS
For England peace was now established. The insurrection was suppressed, the castles were in the king's hands, even the leaders of the revolted barons were soon reconciled with him. The age of Henry I returned, an age not so long in years as his, but yet long for any medieval state, of internal peace, of slow but sure upbuilding in public and private wealth, and, even more important, of the steady growth of law and institutions and of the clearness with which they were understood, an indispensable preparation for the great thirteenth century so soon to begin - the crisis of English constitutional history. For Henry personally there was no age of peace. England gave him no further trouble; but in his unruly southern dominions, and from his restless and discontented sons, the respite from rebellion was short, and it was filled with labours.
In 1175 the two kings crossed together to England, though the young king, who was still listening to the suggestions of France and who professed to be suspicious of his father's intentions, was with some difficulty persuaded to go. He also seems to have been troubled by his father's refusal to receive his homage at the same time with his brothers'; at any rate when he finally joined the king on April 1, he begged with tears for permission to do homage as a mark of his father's love, and Henry consented. At the end of the first week in May they crossed the channel for a longer stay in England than usual, of more than two years, and one that was crowded with work both political and administrative. The king's first act marks the new era of peace with the Church, his attendance at a council of the English Church held at London by Archbishop Richard of Canterbury; and his second was a pilgrimage with his son to the tomb of St. Thomas. Soon after the work of filling long-vacant sees and abbacies was begun. At the same time matters growing out of the insurrection received attention. William, Earl of Gloucester, was compelled to give up Bristol castle which he had kept until now. Those who had been opposed to the king were forbidden to come to court unless ordered to do so by him. The bearing of arms in England was prohibited by a temporary regulation, and the affairs of Wales were considered in a great council at Gloucester.
One of the few acts of severity which Henry permitted himself after the rebellion seems to have struck friend and foe alike, and suggests a situation of much interest to us which would be likely to give us a good deal of insight into the methods and ideas of the time if we understood it in detail. Unfortunately we are left with only a bare statement of the facts, with no explanation of the circumstances or of the motives of the king. Apparently at the Whitsuntide court held at Reading on the first day of June, Henry ordered the beginning of a series of prosecutions against high and low, churchmen and laymen alike, for violations of the forest laws committed during the war. At Nottingham, at the beginning of August, these prosecutions were carried further, and there the incident occurred which gives peculiar interest to the proceedings. Richard of Lucy, the king's faithful minister and justiciar, produced before the king his own writ ordering him to proclaim the suspension of the laws in regard to hunting and fishing during the war. This Richard testified that he had done as he was commanded, and that the defendants trusting to this writ had fearlessly taken the king's venison. We are simply told in addition that this writ and Richard's testimony had no effect against the king's will. It is impossible to doubt that this incident occurred or that such a writ had been sent to the justiciar, but it seems certain that some essential detail of the situation is omitted. To guess what it was is hardly worth while, and we can safely use the facts only as an illustration of the arbitrary power of the Norman and Angevin kings, which on the whole they certainly exercised for the general justice.
From Nottingham the two kings went on to York, where they were met by William of Scotland with the nobles and bishops of his kingdom, prepared to carry out the agreement which was made at Falaise when he was released from imprisonment. Whatever may have been true of earlier instances, the king of Scotland now clearly and beyond the possibility of controversy became the liege-man of the king of England for Scotland and all that pertained to it, and for Galloway as if it were a separate state. The homage was repeated to the young king, saving the allegiance due to the father. According to the English chroniclers all the free tenants of the kingdom of Scotland were also present and did homage in the same way to the two kings for their lands. Some were certainly there, though hardly all; but the statement shows that it was plainly intended to apply to Scotland the Norman law which had been in force in England from the time of the Conquest, by which every vassal became also the king's vassal with an allegiance paramount to all other feudal obligations. The bishops of Scotland as vassals also did homage, and as bishops they swore to be subject to the Church of England to the same extent as their predecessors had been and as they ought to be. The treaty of Falaise was again publicly read and confirmed anew by the seals of William and his brother David. There is nothing to show that King William did not enter into this relationship with every intention of being faithful to it, nor did he endeavour to free himself from it so long as Henry lived. The Norman influence in Scotland was strong and might easily increase. It is quite possible that a succession of kings of England who made that realm and its interests the primary objects of their policy might have created from this beginning a permanent connexion growing constantly closer, and have saved these two nations, related in so many ways, the almost civil wars of later years.