IV. THE NORMANS.
Eadmerus, who wrote in the reign of Henry I., gives the LII. William I. as a confirmatory law. The charter given by Stubbs is a contraction of the law given by Eadmerus. The former uses the words OMNES LIBERI HOMINES; the latter, the words OMNIS LIBERI HOMO. Those interested can compare them, as I shall give the text of each side by side.
Since the paper was read, I have met with the following passage in Stubbs's "Constitutional History of England," vol. i., p. 265:
"It has been maintained that a formal and definitive act, forming the initial point of the feudalization of England, is to be found in a clause of the laws, as they are called, of the Conqueror, which directs that every FREEMAN shall affirm, by covenant and oath, that 'he will be faithful to King William within England and without, will join him in preserving his land with all fidelity, and defend him against his enemies.' But this injunction is little more than the demand of the oath of allegiance taken to the Anglo- Saxon kings, and is here required not of every feudal dependant of the king, but of every FREEMAN or freeholder whatsoever. In that famous Council of Salisbury, A. D, 1086, which was summoned immediately after the making of the Doomsday survey, we learn, from the 'Chronicle,' that there came to the king 'all his witan and all the landholders of substance in England, whose vassals soever they were, and they all submitted to him and became his men, and swore oaths of allegiance that they would be faithful to him against all others.' In the act has been seen the formal acceptance and date of the introduction of feudalism, but it has a very different meaning. The oath described is the oath of allegiance, combined with the act of homage, and obtained from all landowners whoever their feudal lord might be. It is a measure of precaution taken against the disintegrating power of feudalism, providing a direct tie between the sovereign and all freeholders which no inferior relations existing between them and the mesne lords would justify them in breaking."
I have already quoted from another of Stubbs's works, "Select Charters," the charter which he appears to have discovered bearing upon this transaction, and now copy the note, giving the authorities quoted by Stubbs, with reference to the above passage. He appears to have overlooked the complete narration of the alleged laws of William I., given by Eadmerus, to which I have referred. The note is as follows:
"Ll. William I., 2, below note; see Hovenden, ii., pref. p. 5, seq., where I have attempted to prove the spuriousness of the document called the Charter of William I., printed in the ancient 'Laws' ed. Thorpe, p. 211. The way in which the regulation of the Conqueror here referred to has been misunderstood and misused is curious. Lambarde, in the 'Archaionomia,' p. 170, printed the false charter in which this genuine article is incorporated as an appendiz to the French version of the Conqueror's laws, numbering the clauses 51 to 67; from Lambarde, the whole thing was transferred by Wilkins into his collection of ANGLO-SAXON laws. Blackstone's 'Commentary,' ii. 49, suggested that perhaps the very law (which introduced feudal tenures) thus made at the Council of Salisbury is that which is still extant and couched in these remarkable words, i. e., the injunction in question referred to by Wilkins, p. 228 Ellis, in the introduction to 'Doomsday,' i. 16, quotes Blackstone, but adds a reference to Wilkins without verifying Blackstone's quotation from his collection of laws, substituting for that work the Concilia, in which the law does not occur. Many modern writers have followed him in referring the enactment of the article to the Council of Salisbury. It is well to give here the text of both passages; that in the laws runs thus: 'Statuimus etiam ut omnis liber homo foedere et sacremento affirmet, quod intra et extra Angliam Willelmo regi fideles esse volunt, terras et honorem illius omni fidelitate eum eo servare et ante eum contra inimicos defendere' (Select Charters, p. 80). the homage done at Salisbury is described by Florence thus: 'Nec multo post mandavit ut Archiepiscopi episcopi, abbates, comitas et barones et vicecomitas cum suis militibus die Kalendarum Augustarem sibi occurent Saresberiae quo cum venissent milites eorem sibi fidelitatem contra omnes homines jurare coegit.' The 'Chronicle' is a little more full: 'Thaee him comon to his witan and ealle tha Landsittende men the ahtes waeron ofer eall Engleland waeron thaes mannes men the hi waeron and ealle hi bugon to him and waeron his men, and him hold athas sworon thaet he woldon ongean ealle other men him holde beon.'"
Mr. Stubbs had, in degree, adopted the view at which I had arrived, that the law or charter of William I. was an injunction to enforce the oath of allegiance, previously ordered by the laws of Edward the Confessor, to be taken by all FREEMEN, and that it did not relate to vassals, or alter the existing feudalism.
As the subject possesses considerable interest for the general reader as well as the learned historian, I think it well to place the two authorities side by side, that the text may be compared:
LII. William I., as given by Eadments. "De fide et obsequio erga Regnum.
"Statuimus etiam ut omnes LIBERI HOMINES foedere et sacramento affirment quod intra et extra univereum regnum Anglise (quod olim vocabatur regnum Britanniae) Wilhielmo suo domino fideles ease volunt, terras et honores ilius fidelitate ubique servare cum eo et contra inimicos et alienigenas defendere."
Charter from Textus Roffensis, given by Mr. Stubbs.
"Statuimus etiam ut omnis liber homo feodere et sacramento affirmet, quod intra et extra Angliam. Willelmo regi fideles ease volunt, terras et honorem illius omni fidelitate cum eo servare et ante eum contra inimicos defendere."