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It is necessary to subject one's self in all fear to the powers ordained by God, and likewise to serve them. For every power is from God the Lord. Nor does it therefore seem absurd or foreign to ecclesiastics, by serving kings who are, as it were, pre-eminent, and other powers, to uphold their rights; especially in matters which are not contrary to divine Truth or honesty. But one should serve them not alone in preserving those dignities through which the glory of the royal majesty shines forth, but also in preserving the abundance of worldly wealth which pertains to them by reason of their station: for the former cast a halo round them, the latter aid them. For indeed abundance of means, or the lack of them, exalts or humbles the power of princes. For those who lack them will be a prey to their enemies, to those who have them their enemies will fall a prey. But although it may come about that these accrue to icings for the most part, not by some right that has been thoroughly examined into, but at times through paternal customs, at times through the secret designs of their own hearts, or occasionally through the arbitrariness of their own sole will, nevertheless their acts are not to be discussed or condemned by their subjects. For the cause of those whose hearts and the motions of whose hearts are in the hand of God, and to whom by God Himself the sole care of their subjects has been committed, stands and falls before a Divine tribunal alone, not before a human one. Let no one, therefore, no matter how rich, Hatter himself that he will go unpunished if he act otherwise, for of such it is written, " the powerful shall powerfully suffer torments." Therefore of whatever nature the origin or manner of acquiring may be or may seem to be, those who are officially deputed to look after the revenues should be none the more remiss in caring for them. But in the matter of collecting, guarding, and distributing them, careful diligence befits those who are about to render an account, as it were, of the state of the kingdom, which, through the revenues, is preserved from harm. We know, indeed, that chiefly by prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice, and other virtues, kingdoms are ruled and laws subsist; wherefore the rulers of the world should strive after these with all their strength. But it happens at times that what is conceived with sound counsel and excellent intent is carried through by, so to say, a routine-like method. But this is not only necessary in time of war but also in time of peace. For at the one time it displays itself in fortifying towns, in delivering to the soldiers their pay, and in very many other ways, according to the quality of the persons, for the sake of keeping up the condition of the kingdom; at the other, although the weapons are at rest, churches are built by devout princes, Christ is fed and clothed in the person of the poor, and, by persisting in other acts of benevolence, it exhibits itself in charity. But the glory of princes consists in the mighty deeds of both seasons, but it excels in those where, instead of temporal riches, lasting ones, with their blessed reward, are attained. Wherefore, illustrious King, greatest of earthly princes, inasmuch as we have often seen thee glorious in both seasons, not sparing indeed treasures of money, but providing for the suitable expenses according to the place, time, and persons, we have dedicated to thy Excellency this modest work, not written concerning great matters or in brilliant discourse, but in rustic style, having to do with the necessary observances of thy exchequer. We lately saw thee somewhat concerned as to these, so that, dispatching discreet men from thy side, thou didst address thyself to the then bishop of Ely in this matter. Nor was it extraordinary that a man of such surpassing genius a prince of such singular power, should, among other greater matters, also have provided for these. For the exchequer, indeed, comes to its laws not at hap-hazard, but through the thoughtfulness of great men; and, if its rules be regarded in all things, the rights of individuals can be preserved, and what is due to the fisc will come to thee in full; which same thy hand, which ministers to thy most noble mind, can suitably distribute.
In the twenty-third year of the reign of king Henry II. while I was sitting at the window of a tower next to the River Thames, a man spoke to me impetuously, saying: "master, hast thou not read that there is no use in science or in a treasure that is hidden ? " when I replied to him " I have read so," straightway he said: "why, therefore cost thou not teach others the knowledge concerning the exchequer which is said to be thine to such an extent, and commit it to writing lest it die with thee ? " I answered: " lo, brother, thou hast now for a long time sat at the exchequer, and nothing is hidden from thee, for thou art painstaking. And the same is probably the case with the others who have seats there." But he, " just as those who walk in darkness and grope with their hands frequently stumble, so many sit there who seeing do not perceive, and hearing do not understand." Then I, " thou speakest irreverently, for neither is the knowledge so great nor does it concern such great things; but perchance those who are occupied with important matters have hearts like the claws of an eagle, which do not retain small things, but which great ones do not escape." And he, " so be it: but although eagles fly very high, nevertheless they rest and refresh themselves in humble places; and therefore we beg thee to explain humble things which will be of profit to the eagles themselves." Then I; "I have feared to put together a work concerning these things because they lie open to the bodily senses and grow common by daily use; nor is there, nor can there be in them a description of subtile things, or a pleasing invention of the imagination." And he, " those who rejoice in imaginings, who seek the flight of subtile things, have Aristotle and the books of Plato; to them let them listen. Do thou write not subtile but useful things." Then I; " of those things which thou demandest it is impossible to speak except in common discourse and in ordinary words." " But," said he, as if aroused to ire, for to a mind filled with desire nothing goes quickly enough," writers on arts, lest they might seem to know too little about many things, and in order that art might less easily become known, have sought to appropriate many things, and have concealed them under unknown words: but thou cost not undertake to write about an art, but about certain customs and laws of the exchequer; and since these ought to be common, common words must necessarily be employed, so that the style may have relation to the things of which we are speaking. Moreover, although it is very often allowable to invent new words, I beg, nevertheless, if it please thee, that thou may'st not be ashamed to use the customary names of the things themselves which readily occur to the mind, so that no new difficulty from using unfamiliar words may arise to disturb us." Then I; " I see that thou art angry; but be calmer; I will do what thou cost urge. Rise, therefore, and sit opposite to me; and ask me concerning those things that occur to thee. Put if thou shalt propound something unheard of, I shall not blush to say ' I do not know.' But let us both, like discreet beings, come to an agreement." And he; " thou respondest to my wish. Moreover, although an elementary old man is a disgraceful and ridiculous thing, I shill nevertheless begin with the very elements.''
Disciple. What is the exchequer?
Master. The exchequer is a quadrangular surface about ten feet in length, five in breadth, placed before those who sit around it in the manner of a table, and all around it it has an edge about the height of one's four fingers, lest any thing placed upon it should fall off. There is placed over the top of the exchequer, moreover, a cloth bought at the Easter term, not an ordinary one but a black one marked with stripes, the stripes being distant from each other the space of a foot or the breadth of a hand. In the spaces moreover are counters placed according to their values; about these we shall speak below. Although, moreover, such a surface is called exchequer, nevertheless this name is so changed about that the court itself which sits when the exchequer does is called exchequer; so that if at any time through a decree any thing is established by common counsel, it is said to have been done at the exchequer of this or that year. As, moreover, one says today "at the exchequer," so one formerly said " at the tallies."
D. What is the reason of this name ?
M. No truer one occurs to me at present than that it has a shape similar to that of a chess board.
D. Would the prudence of the ancients ever have called it so for its shape alone, when it might for a similar reason be called a table (tabularium) ?
M. I was right in calling thee painstaking. There is another, but a more hidden reason. For just as, in a game of chess, there are certain grades of combatants and they proceed or stand still by certain laws or limitations, some presiding and others advancing: so, in this, some preside, some assist by reason of their office, and no one is free to exceed the fixed laws; as will be manifest from what is to follow. Moreover, as in chess the battle is fought between kings, so in this it is chiefly between two that the conflict takes place and the war is waged, the treasurer, namely, and the sheriff who sits there to render account; the others sitting by as judges, to see and to judge.
D. Will the accounts be received then by the treasurer, although there are many there who, by reason of their power, are greater .
M. That the treasurer ought to receive the account from the sheriff is manifest from this, that the same is required from him whenever it pleases the king: nor could that be required of him which he had not received. Some say nevertheless, that the treasurer and the chamberlains should be bounden alone for what is written in the rolls in the treasury, and that for this an account should be demanded of them. But it is believed with more truth that they should be responsible for the whole writing of the roll, as will be readily understood from what is to follow.
D. Is that exchequer, in which such a conflict goes on, the only one ?
M. No. For there is a lower exchequer which is also called the Receipt, where the money is handed over to be counted, and is put down in writing and on tallies, so that afterwards, at the upper exchequer, an account may be rendered of them; both have the same origin however, for whatever is declared payable at the greater one is here paid; and whatever has been paid here is accounted for there.
D. What is the nature or arrangement of the lower exchequer ?
M. As I see, thou canst not bear to be ignorant of any of these things. Know then that that lower exchequer has its persons, distinct from each other by reason of their offices, but with one intent devoted to the interests of the king, due regard, nevertheless, being paid to equity; all serving, moreover, not in their own names but in the names of their masters; with the exception of two knights, he, namely, who conducts the assays, and the melter. Their offices depend on the will of our king; hence they seem to belong rather to the upper than to the lower exchequer, as will be explained below. The clerk of the treasurer is there with his seal. There are also two knights of the chamberlains. There is also a certain knight who may be called the silverer, for, by reason of his office, he presides at the testing of silver. There is also the melter who tests the silver. There are also four tellers to count the money There is also the usher of the treasury and the watchman. These, moreover, are their offices: The clerk of the treasurer, when the money has been counted and put in boxes by the hundred pounds, affixes his seal and puts down in writing how much he has received, and from whom, and for what cause; he registers also the tallies which have been made by the chamberlains concerning that receipt. Not only, moreover, does he place his seal on the sacks of money, but also, if he wishes, on the chests and on the separate boxes in which the rolls and tallies are placed, and he diligently supervises all the offices which are under him, and nothing is hidden from him. The office of the knights, who are also called chamberlains because they serve in the name of the chamberlains, is this: they carry the keys of the chests; for each chest has two locks of a different kind, that is, to neither of which the key of the other can be fitted; and they carry the keys of them. Each chest, moreover, is girded with a certain immovable strap, on which, in addition, when the locks are closed the seal of the treasurer is placed; so that neither of the chamberlains can have access except by common consent. Likewise it is their duty to weigh the money which has been counted and placed by the hundred shillings in wooden receptacles, so that there be no error in the amount; and then, at length, to put them in boxes by the hundred pounds as has been said. But if a receptacle is found to have any deficiency, that which is thought to be lacking is not made good by calculation, but straightway the doubtful one is thrown back into the heap which is to be counted. And take note that certain counties from the time of king Henry I. and in the time of king Henry II. could lawfully offer for payment coins of any kind of money provided they were of silver and did not differ from the lawful weight; because indeed, by ancient custom, not themselves having moneyers, they sought their coins from on all sides; such are Northumberland and Cumberland. (joins thus received, moreover, although they came from a farm, were nevertheless set apart from the others with some marks placed on them. But the remaining counties were accustomed to bring only the usual and lawful coin of the present money as well from farms as from pleas. But after the illustrious king whose renown shines the brighter in great matters, did, in his reign, institute one weight and one money for the whole kingdom, each county began to be bound by one necessity of law and to be constrained by the manner of payment of a general commerce. All, therefore, in whatever manner they are bounder, pay the same kind of money; but nevertheless all do not sustain the loss which comes from the testing by combustion. The chamberlains likewise make the tallies of receipts and have in common with the clerk of the treasurer to disburse the treasure received when required by Wits of the king or an order of the barons; not, however, without consulting their masters. These three, all together or by turns, are sent with treasure when it is necessary. These three have the principal care of all that is done in the lower exchequer.
D. Therefore, as I perceive, these men are allowed to disburse the treasure received, in consequence of a royal writ or of an order from those who preside after consultation with their masters, however.
M. They are allowed, I say; in so far as they are entrusted with the payment of the servants of the lower exchequer, and with buying the small necessaries of the exchequer, such as the wooden receptacles, and other things which will be mentioned below, but not otherwise When any one brings a writ or order of the king for money, by command of their masters that sum which is expressly named in the writ may be paid, with the understanding that, before he go out, be shall count the money received. But if anything be lacking, he who received it shall return to the exchequer and shall give an oath to this effect: that he has brought back as much as he received, adding this, Upon his conscience, as is done in other things; and this being done the rest shall be paid him, it being first counted in the presence of all by the regular tellers. But if, the conditions being known to him, he shall have gone out of the door of the treasury, whoever the person, or however great the loss, no heed shall be paid to him. The offices of the knight silverer and of the melter are conjoined and belong rather to the upper exchequer, and therefore will be explained there with the other offices. The office of the four tellers is the following: When the money is sent to the exchequer to, be counted, one of them diligently mixes the whole together, so that the better pieces may not be by themselves and the worse by themselves, but mixed, in order that they may correspond in weight; this being done, the chamberlain weighs in a scale as much as is necessary to make a pound of the exchequer. But if the number shall exceed 20 shillings by more than six pence in a pound, it is considered unfit to be received; but if it shall restrict itself to six pence or less, it is receded, and is counted diligently by the tellers by the hundred shillings as has been said. But if the coins are from a farm and are to be tested, 44 shillings from the heap, being mixed together, are placed in a compartment by themselves, and on this the sheriff puts a mark; so that there may be afterwards a testing, which is commonly called assaying, of them, as will be made clear further on. It shall, moreover, be the care of those who preside over the Receipt by virtue of their masters that is of the clerks of the treasurer and of the chamberlains when the money is received, to put aside weights of the tested silver and coins from a farm, placing certain marks on the bags that contain them, so that, if the king wishes silver vessels to be made for the uses of the house of God, or for the service of his own palace, or perchance money for beyond seas, it may be made from this.
D. There is something in what thou hast said that strikes me.
M. Speak then.
D. Thou said'st, if I remember rightly, that sometimes money is brought to be paid into the exchequer which is judged unfit to be received, if, indeed, being weighed against a pound weight of the exchequer, a deficiency is found of more than six pence. Inasmuch, then, as all money of this kingdom ought to have the stamped image of the king, and all moneyers are bound to work according to the same weight, how can it happen that all their work is not of one weight ?
M. That is a great question which thou askest, and one which requires further investigation; but it can happen through forgers and clippers or cutters of coin. Thou knowest, moreover, that the money of England can be found false in three ways: false, namely, in weight, false in quality, false in the stamping. But these kinds of falsification are not visited by an equal punishment. But of this elsewhere.
D. If it please thee, continue concerning the offices as thou hast begun.
M. It is the duty of the usher to exclude or admit as is necessary, and to be diligent in guarding every thing which is shut in by the door; wherefore, as door money, he shall have two pence from each writ of exit. He furnishes the boxes to put the money in, and the rolls and the tallies and the other things which become necessary during the year; and for each box he has two pence. He furnishes the whole Receipt with wood suitable for the tallies of receipts and of accounts, and once, that is at the Michaelmas term, he receives five shillings for the wood of the tallies. He furnishes the wooden receptacles, the knives, the compartments, and the straps and the other minute necessaries of the fisc. At that same term are due two shillings for furnishing the ink of the whole year to both exchequers, and this amount, by ancient right, the sacristan of the greater church of Westminster claims for himself. The office of the watchman is the same there as elsewhere; most diligent guarding, namely, at night, chiefly of the treasure and of all those things which are placed in the treasury building. Thus thou hast the various offices of those who serve in the lower exchequer. And they have fixed payments while the exchequer is in progress that is from the day on which they are called together, to the day on which there is a general departure. The clerk of the treasurer who is below has five pence a day. The scribe of the same treasurer in the upper exchequer has likewise five. The scribe of the chancellor, five. The two knights who bear the keys have each eight, by reason of their knighthood. For they claim that they are bound to be ready with the necessary horses and weapons, so that when they are sent with the treasure they may thus more readily execute what pertains to their office. The knight silverer has twelve pence a day. The melter, five. The usher of the greater exchequer, five. The four tellers, each three pence, if they are at London; if at Winchester each one has two, since they are generally taken from there. The watchman has one penny. For the light of each night at the treasury one halfpenny.
D. For what reason does the usher of the treasury alone receive no pay ?
M. I do not exactly know. But, however, perhaps he does not receive any pay because he is seen to receive something as door money, and for furnishing the boxes and tallies; or perchance because he seems to serve, not the king, but the treasurer and the chamberlains in guarding the door of their building. In this way, then, has the arrangement of the lower exchequer or Receipt been made.
D. I have been so well satisfied in this regard that nothing seems to be wanting. Proceed now, if it please thee, concerning the greater exchequer.
M. Although the offices of those who have seats at the greater exchequer seem to differ in certain functions, the purpose, nevertheless, of all the offices is the same, to look out for the king's advantage; with due regard for equity, however, according to the fixed laws of the exchequer. The arrangement or ordering of the latter is confirmed by its antiquity and by the authority of the nobles who have their seats there. It is said to have begun with the very conquest of the kingdom made by king William, the arrangement being taken, however, from the exchequer across the seas; but they differ in very many and almost the most important points. Some believe it to have existed under the Anglo-Saxon kings, taking their argument in this matter from the fact that the peasants and already decrepit old men of those estates which are called of the crown, whose memory is gray in these matters, knew very well, having been taught by their fathers, how much extra money they are bound to pay on the pound for the blanching of their farm. But this argument applies to the payment of the farm, not to the session of the exchequer. The fact also seems to be against those who say that the blanching of the farm began in the time of the Anglo-Saxon kings, that in the Domesday book, in which a diligent description of the whole kingdom is contained, and in which the value is expressed of the different estates as well of the time of king Edward as of the time of king William, under whom it was made, there is no mention at all of the blanching of the farm: from which it seems probable that, after the time when that survey was made in the reign of the aforementioned king, the blanching of the farm was fixed upon by his investigators on account of causes which are noted below. But at whatever time it came into use, it is certain that the exchequer is confirmed by the authority of the great, so that it is allowed to no one to infringe its statutes or to resist them by any kind of rashness. For it has this in common with the Court itself of the lord king (Curia Regis), in which he in his own person administers the law, that no one is allowed to contradict a record or a sentence passed in it. The authority, moreover, of this court is so great, as well on account of the pre-eminence of the royal image, which, by a special prerogative, is kept on his seal of the treasury, as on account of those who have their seats there, as has been said; by whose watchfulness the condition of the whole kingdom is kept safe. For there sits the Chief Justice of the lord king by reason of his judicial dignity, as well as the greatest men of the kingdom, who share familiarly in the royal secrets. so that whatever has been established or determined in the presence of such great men subsists by an inviolable right. In the first place, there sits, nay also presides, by reason of his office, the first man in the kingdom, namely, the Chief Justice. With him sit, solely by command of the sovereign, with momentary and varying authority, indeed, certain of the greatest and most discreet men in the kingdom, who may belong either to the clergy or to the court. They sit there, I say, to interpret the law and to decide upon the doubtful points which frequently arise from incidental questions. For not in its reckonings, but in its manifold judgments, does the superior science of the exchequer consist. For it is easy when the sum required has been put down, and the sums which have been handed in are placed under it for comparison, to tell by subtraction if the demands have been satisfied or if anything remains. But when one begins to make a many-sided investigation of those things which come into the fisc in varying ways, and are required under different conditions, and are not collected by the sheriffs in the same way, to be able to tell if the latter have acted others wise than they should, is in many ways a grave task. Therefore the greater science of the exchequer is said ta consist in these matters. But the judgments on doubtful or doubted points which frequently come up can not be comprehended under one form of treatment; for all kinds of doubts have not yet come to light. Certain, however, of the matters which we know to have been brought up and settled, we shall note below in their proper place.
D. What is the office of this so important a member ?
M. Nothing can be more truly said of him than that he looks after all things in the lower and upper exchequer, and all the lower offices are arranged according to his will; in such wise, however, that they duly turn out to the advantage of the lord king. In this, moreover, among other things, his exalted character is seen, that he, under his own witness, can cause a writ of the lord king to be made out so that any sum may be delivered from the treasury, or that there may be computed to any one, whatever he knows ought, by command of the king, to be computed to him. Or, if he prefer, he can make his own writ, witnessed to by others, concerning these matters.
D. Great is this man to whose fidelity the care of the whole kingdom, nay, the very heart of the king is entrusted.
For, indeed, it is written: "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." But now, if it please thee, continue concerning the others.
M. Dost thou wish me to proceed with them according to the grade of their dignities, or according to the disposition of the seats ?
D. According as each one, by reason of his office, has attained his seat. For it will be easy, I imagine, to conclude the dignities from the offices.
M. That thou may'st understand in what order they are arranged, know that at the four sides of the exchequer four seats or benches are placed. But at the head of the exchequer that is, where the broad side is, in the middle, not of the seat, but of the exchequer, is the place of that chief man of whom we spoke above. In the first place on his left sits, by reason of his office, the chancellor, if he should happen to be present; after him the knight whom we call constable: after him, two chamberlains, he being first who, judging from his more advanced age, is the more venerable: after these, the knight who is commonly called the marshal. In the absence of these, others, however, are sometimes put in their place; or perchance even when they are present, if, namely, the authority of those who are delegated by the king shall be so great that the others ought to give place to them. Such is the arrangement of the first bench. In the second, moreover which is on the long side of the exchequer, sits, in the place at the head the clerk or another servant of the chamberlains, with the "recauta," that is, with the counter-tallies from the Receipt. After him, some coming in between who do not sit there by reason of their office but are delegated by the king, is a place almost in the middle of the side of the exchequer, for him who puts down the sums by the placing of counters. After him some, not by reason of their office, but nevertheless necessary. At the end of that bench sits the clerk who presides over the scriptorium, and he by reason of his office.. Thus thou hast the arrangement of the second bench. But at the right of the presiding Justice sits in the first place the now Bishop of Winchester, the former arch-dean of Poictiers, not, indeed, by reason of his office, but by a new decree; in order, namely, that he may be next to the treasurer and may diligently give his attention to the writing of the roll. After him, at the head of the third seat, on the right, sits the treasurer, who has to attend most carefully to everything which is done there, being bound to give an account, as it were, of all these things, if there shall be need of it. After him sits his clerk, the scribe of the roll of the treasury: after him, another scribe, of the roll of the chancery: after him, the clerk of the chancellor, who with his own eyes always sees to it that his roll corresponds to the other in every point, so that not one jot is lacking and that the order of writing does not differ: after him, almost at the end of that bench, sits the clerk of the constable, great, indeed, and busy at the court of the lord king, and having, indeed, here an office which he performs in person or, if the king shall seem to have more use for him elsewhere, through a discreet clerk. This, then, is the description of the third bench. On the fourth bench, which is opposite the Justice, Master Thomas, who is called Brunus, sits at the head with a third roll which has been added as a new institution, that is, by our lord king; for it is written, " and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." After him the sheriffs and their clerks, who sit there to render account with tallies and other necessaries. This then is the arrangement of the fourth bench.
D. Has then the scribe of Master Thomas his seat in the same range with the other scribes, and not rather above the others ?
M. He does indeed have his seat not with the others but above the others.
D. Why is this so ?
M Inasmuch as, from the beginning, the seats were so arranged that the scribe of the treasurer should sit at his side lest anything should be written which should escape his eye, and in like manner the scribe of the chancery at the side of the scribe of the treasurer, that he might faith fully take down what the latter wrote; and likewise the clerk of the chancery was of necessity next to that scribe, lest he might err: there was no place left in the order of the bench where Master Thomas's scribe might sit, but a raised place was given him that he might be above and overlook the scribe of the treasurer, who is the first to write, and may take down from him what is necessary.
D. He would need to have the eyes of a lynx so as not to err; for an error in these things is said to be dangerous.
M. Although, on account of being far off, he sometimes makes a mistake, yet, when the rolls are corrected, a comparison being made of all three, it will be easy to correct the mistakes.
D. Enough has thus far been said concerning the order of seating. Now proceed, if it please thee, concerning their offices, beginning on the left of the president.
In that order the chancellor is first; and as in the court, even so is he great at the exchequer; so that without his consent and advice nothing great is done or may be done. But this is his office when he sits at the exchequer to him pertains the custody of the royal seal which is in the treasury, but it does not leave there except when, by order of the Justice, it is borne by the treasurer or chamberlain from the lower to the upper exchequer, for the sole purpose of carrying on the business of the exchequer. This having been performed, it is put in its box and the box is sealed by the chancellor and is given thus to the treasurer to be guarded. Likewise, when it becomes necessary, it is proffered sealed to the chancellor before the eyes of all; it is never to be proffered, by him or by another, in any other way. Likewise to him, through a substitute, pertains the custody of the roll of the chancery; and, since it so seemed good to great men, the chancellor is equally responsible with the treasurer for all the writing on the roll, except alone what has been written down as having been received in the treasury: for although he may not prescribe how the treasurer writes, nevertheless if the latter shall have erred, it is allowed to him or to his clerk with modesty to chide the treasurer and suggest what he shall do. But if the treasurer persevere, and be unwilling to change, being himself confident, the chancellor can accuse him, but only before the barons, so that by them shall be declared what ought to be done.
D. It seems probable that the guardian of the third roll, also, is bound by the same responsibility as to the writing.
M. It is not only probable but true: for those two rolls have an equal authority in the matter of the writing; for so it pleased the originator.
The office of the constable at the exchequer is, in the case of royal writs concerning the issue of treasure or concerning any accountings to be made, to be witness, together with the president, for those who make the account. For in all such Writs it is necessary, according to ancient custom, that two witnesses shall be inscribed. It is likewise his office, when the king's soldiers come to the exchequer for their pay, whether they reside in the castles of the king or not, taking with him the clerk of the constabulary whose duty it is to know their terms of payment and the marshall of the exchequer, to compute their payments and to take their oath concerning arrears, and to cause the rest to be paid. For every payment of all persons whatever, whether of hawkers, or falconers, or bear-wardens, pertains to his office if he be present; unless perchance, the lord king shall have previously assigned some one else to this duty: for the constable can not easily be torn from the king, on account of greater and more urgent business. It is to be noted that the marshall of the exchequer takes from the payments of native knights what belongs to him by reason of his office; not however from alien ones. It is likewise common to him with the other greater barons, that no great measure shall be taken without consulting him.
The office of the chamberlains is akin to the office of the treasurer, for they are known to serve under one and the same mantle of honour or loss; and they have one Will with regard to the king's honour; so that what has been done by one may not be declared invalid by any of them.
For the treasurer receives the accounts for himself and for them; and, according to the qualities of the items, furnishes the wording for the writing of the roll; in all of which things they are bound by an equal bond of union. lend it is the same with regard to all other things which are done by him or by them saving their fealty to the lord king whether in the matter of writing, of receipts, of tallies or of expenses.
It is the duty of the marshal to put aside in his box the tallies of the debtors which the sheriff hands in, which, all the same, are put down on the roll; also the writs of the king concerning the computing or remitting or giving of those things which are demanded of the sheriff through the summons. On that box is placed the name of the county to which these belong, and it is necessary that, for the separate counties, separate boxes should be furnished to the marshal by the sheriff who renders his account.
D. There is something here that troubles me.
M. I quite foresaw it. But wait a little. Everything will be plain from what follows. Likewise if any debtor, not giving satisfaction for the amount of his summons shall have deserved to be siezed, he is handed over to the marshal to be guarded, and when the exchequer of that day is dissolved, the latter shall, if he wish, send him to the public jail; he shall not, however, be chained or thrust into the dungeon, but shall be apart by himself or above the subterraneous Jail. For although he be not solvent, he has not, nevertheless, on this account deserved to be put with the criminals; that is, provided he is not a knight; for concerning knights held for debt there is an illustrious decree of the king which will be noticed below in treating of the sheriff. It is likewise the marshal's concern, when the account of the sheriff, or administrator or whatever person sits to render account, is finished, to take an oath from him in public to the effect that, upon his conscience, he has rendered a true account. But if the :sheriff, or he who has accounted, is bound by any debt he shall add that he will not depart from the exchequer, that is, from the banlieu of the town in which it is, without permission of the barons, unless he is going to return on the same day. Likewise the marshal shall receive, numbered, the writs of summons made out against the term fixed for the next exchequer, sealed with the royal seal; and shall distribute them with his own hand to the usher of the upper exchequer to be carried throughout England. Thus thou host the different offices of those who sit on the first bench.
How at the head of the second seat the serjeant of the chamberlains comes first, a clerk or a layman, whose office can briefly be disposed of; in word, however, not in deed. He brings forth from the treasury the tallies against the sheriff or against him who renders account; and, when it is necessary, according as the manner of accounting demands, he changes or diminishes or adds to the tally, comparing it with the counter tally of the sheriff. This having been done at the Easter term, he gives back the longer one to the sheriff to bring again at the Michaelmas term. But at the Michaelmas term, when the amount of it shall have been put down in writing in the roll, he hands this same longer one to the marshal to put in his box.
D. I wonder at thy saying that a tally once offered for an account, should again be offered for another account.
M. Do not wonder; for with regard to whatever has been exacted, or paid by the sheriff at the Easter term, he must again be summoned; not, indeed, in order that what has been paid should be paid again, but that the sheriffs shall present themselves to give account, and that the tally offered for the payment previously made may be reduced to writing in the roll, and that thus he may be absolved from his debt. For so long as he has the tally in his possession, he will not be acquitted but will always be liable to be summoned.
D. And all this seems necessary. But proceed, if it please thee, concerning the offices.
M. Nay, since we have made mention of tallies, learn in a few words what the process is in which the matter of tallying consists. There is, then, one kind of tally which is called simply tally; another, which we call memoranda tally. The length of an ordinary tally is from the top of the forefinger to the top of the extended thumb; there it is perforated with a moderate borer. But a memoranda which is always accustomed to be made for a blank farm is a little shorter; for when the assay is made through which the farm is blanched, that first one is broken, and the tally of combustion being added to it, it then first merits the length of a tally. The incision, moreover, is made in this way: At the top they put 1000£, in such way that its notch has the thickness of the palm; 100£, of the thumb; 20£, of the ear; the notch of one pound, about of a swelling grain of barley; but that of a shilling, less; in such wise, nevertheless, that, a space being cleared out by cutting, a moderate furrow shall be made there; the penny is marked by the incision being made, but no wood being cut away. On the side where the 1000 is cut thou cost not put another number, unless, perhaps, the middle part of it; in such wise that thou in like manner cost tale away the middle part of its notch and cost place it below.(1) Just so if 100£ is to be cut in, and thou hast no thousands, thou shalt do the same; and if 20£, the same; and if 20 shillings, which we call a pound. But if many thousands or hundreds or twenties of pounds are to be cut in, the same law shall be observed, so that on the more open side of the tally, that is, that which is placed directly before thee, a mark being made, the greater number shall be cut Abut on the other, the lesser; but on the obverse side, is always the greater number at the top, but on the converse always the lesser, that is, the pence. For a mark of silver there is no special notch at the exchequer, but we designate it in shillings. But a mark of gold thou cost cut in the middle of the tally as though it were one pound. But one gold piece is not cut altogether like a silver piece, but by drawing the knife directly through the middle of the tally; not obliquely, as in the case of the silver piece. Thus, therefore, both, the arrangement of the positions and the difference of cut, determines what is gold and what is silver. But thou shalt learn all this more conveniently by looking at it than by hearing of it.
D. What remains of this will be made clear by ocular demonstration. Now, if it please thee, proceed concerning the offices.
M. After him, as we said above, a few discreet men who are delegated by the king coming in between, sits he who, by command of the king makes computations by the placing of coins used as counters. This office indeed is perplexing and laborious enough; and, without it, seldom or never could the business of the exchequer be carried on; but it belongs officially to none of those who sit there, but to him to whom the king or the Justice shall give it to fill. Laborious, I say, for other offices are filled by the tongue or the hand, this by both; in it "the hand, the tongue and the eye, and the mind are unwearied in labour."
This is his business: according to the usual course of the exchequer, not according to arithmetical laws. Thou wilt remember, I presume, my saying that on the exchequer was placed a cloth divided by stripes, in the spaces of which heaps of cash are placed. Now the calculator sits in the middle of the side, that he may be visible to all, and that his busy hand may have free course. He has placed already at his right hand, in the lower space, a heap of pennies from 11 down; in the second, of shillings from 19 down; but in the third, of pounds. And this heap, indeed, ought to be opposite and directly facing him, for in the ordinary accounts of the sheriff it is the medium; in the fourth is the heap of the twenties; in the fifth, of the hundreds; in the sixth, of the thousands; in the seventh, but rarely, of the ten thousands of pounds; rarely, I say, that is when, through the king or his mandate, the account for the receipts of the whole kingdom is received by the nobles of the kingdom from the treasurer and the chamberlains. Moreover, it is lawful for the calculator to put a silver piece in place of ten shillings, or a gold obol in place of ten pounds, so that the account may be more quickly made. He must take care, however, lest his too hasty hand proceed before his tongue, or the reverse; but at the same time that he counts he shall place the counter and designate the number, lest there be an error in the number. The sum, therefore, which is required from the sheriff being arranged in heaps, those sums which have been paid in, either to the treasury or otherwise, are arranged below, likewise in heaps. But if it be a farm by tale which is required of him, or any other debt which can be satisfied by tale only, there shall simply be made a deduction of the lower from the upper sum, and he shall be bounder for the rest; it shall be done otherwise, however if he be about to pay a blank farm; as will be more fully shown when we treat of the sheriff's business.
D. Spare a moment thy running pen that I may be allowed to say a few words.
M. It is thy turn to throw the die, nor may speech be denied thee.
D. It seems to me as if I were given to understand that by means of calculation, the same coin being placed for a counter shall signify now a penny, now a shilling, now a pound, now a hundred, now a thousand.
M. So it is, but only, however, if it is placed with coins corresponding to those values; or, if it is taken away from them, it can, at the pleasure of the calculator, be brought about that the one which signifies a thousand, by gradually descending, shall signify one.
D. Thus it happens when one of the people, since he is a man and can not be any thing else, ascends from the depths to the summit, temporal benefits being bestowed on him by the will of the President; and then, according to Fortuna's law, is thrust back into the depths, remaining what he was although he seemed by reason of his dignity and standing to have been changed from himself.
M. Know that thy words do not apply in all respects. But, however it may seem to others, I am well pleased that from these matters thou cost infer others; indeed it is praiseworthy to seek the flowers of mystic meaning in the winnowings of mundane affairs. And not alone in these things that thou cost mention, but in the whole description of the exchequer there are hiding places, as it were, of holy truths. For the diversity of officials, the authority of the judicial power, the impression of the royal image, the sending out of summonses, the writing of the rolls, the account of land rents, the exaction of debts, the condemnation or absolution of the accused, are a symbol of the strict examination that will be made when the books of all shall be opened and the gates closed. But so much for these things. Now let us proceed concerning the offices; after him who has charge of the counters, first, by reason of his office, sits the clerk who presides over the scriptorium of the king.
To him it pertains to find suitable scribes for the roll of the chancery, and for the writs of the king which are made in the exchequer, also for writing summonses; and to see to it that they are well done: which offices, although they are expressed in a few words, can scarcely be fulfilled even with infinite pains; as those know who have learnt by experience in such matters. Thus thou hast the offices of those who are placed on the second bench.
D. If I remember well, first at the right of the president sits the Bishop of Winchester, whose office at the exchequer I should like straightway to find out. For he is great and ought not to be busied save with great things.
M. He is great, without doubt; and, intent on great things, he is drawn in many directions, as is more fully shown in the Tricolumnis. He, before the time of his promotion, when he was serving a little lower in the court of the king (Curia Regis), seemed, by reason of his fidelity and industry, necessary to the business of the king, and very ready and officious in computations and in the writing of rolls and writs. Wherefore the place was given him at the side of the treasurer, so that with the latter, indeed, he might attend to the writing of the rolls and to all of these things. The treasurer, indeed, is distracted by so many and such great cares and solicitudes for all things, that necessarily at times slumber creeps over such great labours. For in human affairs hardly anything is entirely perfect.
D. What cost thou say ? For I do not even know what the Tricolumnis is.
M. It is a book, indeed, composed by us although in the time of our youth, concerning the three-fold history of the kingdom of England, under the illustrious king of the English, Henry the Second. And this, because we have treated it all through in three columns, we have called the Tricolumnis. In the first, indeed, we have treated of many matters concerning the English church, and of some rescripts of the apostolic see. But in the second, of the distinguished deeds of the aforesaid king, which exceed human belief. But in the third many public as well as. private matters are treated of, and also sentences of the court. If this by chance should fall into thy hands, see that it do not escape thee; for it may be useful in future times and entertaining to those who shall be interested in the state of the kingdom under the aforesaid prince. For although this king is descended from ancestral kings, and has spread his kingdom with triumphant victory throughout long spaces of land: it is nevertheless a great thing, that, by his mighty deeds, he has surpassed the title of fame so prodigal towards him. But enough of this. Now let uscontim1e the matter begun.
D. So be it, if it so please thee. It may be that due reverence for the treasurer is observed: here it seems derogatory to his dignity that in all things his sole faith is not trusted.
M. God forbid; nay rather, in this way his labours are spared and indemnity is assured to him; for it is not that he or another so many and so great they are who sit at the exchequer is not trusted: but that for such great matters and affairs of the kingdom, under so great a prince, it is fitting that great men and many of them be chosen; not, however, that they may look out for their own advantage, But they may serve the glory and honour of the king.
D Proceed, if it please thee, concerning the offices.
M. The office of the treasurer, or his care and business, could hardly be expressed in words, even though mine were the pen of a ready writer. For in all things, and concerning all things which are carried on either in the lower or the upper exchequer, his careful diligence is necessary. From what has been said before, nevertheless, it will be in great part clear in what things his principal care consists, so that he can not be torn from these so long as the exchequer lasts: namely, in receiving the accounts of the sheriff, and in the writing of the roll. For he furnishes the words, according to the nature of the matters, for the writing of his roll, from which afterwards that same wording is taken by the other rolls as has been said above; And he must take care that there be no mistake either in the number, or the cause, or the person, lest he be cancelled who is not quit, or he be summoned again who ought to be acquitted. For so great is the authority of his roll that it is permitted to no one to contradict it or to change it; unless, perchance, there be so manifest an error that it is clear to all: nor may it even then be changed unless by the common counsel of all the barons, and in their presence, the exchequer of that day being still in session. But a writing of the roll made in the year gone by, or even one of the current year, after the exchequer has been dissolved, may lawfully be changed by no one except the king, to whom, with regard to these matters, every thing is lawful that pleases him. Likewise it is the treasurer's duty to be associated in all great matters with his superiors, and to let nothing be hidden from him.
The office of the scribe who is next to the treasurer is to prepare the rolls for writing, from sheep-skins, not without cause. Their length, moreover, is as much as results from two membranes; not from random ones, but from large ones, prepared with care for this purpose: but the breadth is a little more than that' of one and a half. The rolls therefore, being ruled from the top almost to the bottom and on both sides, the lines being suitably distant from each other, the counties and bailiwicks of which an account is below rendered are marked at the top: but a moderate interval being left, the space as it were of three or four fingers, in the middle of the line is written the name of the county which is treated of in the first place. Then at the head of the following line is written the name of the sheriff, followed by this form of words: "that or that sheriff renders account of the farm of that or that county.' Then a little further on in the same line is written " in the treasury," and nothing else is added until the account is completed, for an important reason which is explained in the chapter on the sheriff.. Then at the head of the, following line is put down what part of the farm of the county is expended in alms and in the fixed tithes, what, also, in liveries. After these, at the head of the lower line are noted, among the lands given away, those which the generosity of the kings has conferred on churches or on those who did military service for them; among the estates called crown lands, which are blank, which by tale.
D. It surprises me, what thou sayest, that some estates are given blank, some by tale.
M. Let us proceed at present concerning the office of the scribe; and, when we are treating of the sheriff, ask me concerning this if thou wilt. After the lands given &way, a space being left of one line so that the things by their very nature may seem separate, those things are noted which were ordered to be expended from the farm by a writ of the king; for these are not fixed, but casual. Some also which are without writs are accounted for as by custom of the exchequer, concerning which we will speak later: and thus the account for the body of the county is terminated. After this, a space being left of about six or seven lines, an account is made of the purprestures and escheats under this form of words: " the same sheriff renders account of the farm of purprestures and en cheats "; but also of all the farms of manors and of the rent of woods which are annually due and paid. After these the accounts are put down in their order, excepting some cities and towns and bailiwicks of which the account) are greater because they have fixed alms or liveries or lands given; and to the administrators of such lands special summonses are sent concerning their dues to the king. Their accounts, moreover, are made up after the account of the county in which they are is altogether finished. Such are Lincoln, Winchester, Mienes (?), Berchamstead, Colchester, and very many others.
D. I wonder at thy saying that some fixed revenues are called farms, but some, rents.
M. Farms are of manors; rents, however, only of woods. For the things that come from manors are rightly called firm and immutable, because, through agriculture, they are every year renewed and return, and besides this constitute in themselves sure revenues by the perpetual law of custom. But what by a yearly law is due from woods which are daily cut down and perish for which there is not so firm or fixed a demand, but which are subject to rises and falls, though not yearly, yet frequent is called rent: and so, by elision, they say that these revenues are rented. Some nevertheless believe that what is paid by individuals is called rent; but a farm, what results from these rents; so that farm is a collective name like crowd: wherefore, as is believed, it is thus called rent to indicate a yearly payment and show that it is not firm. After these fixed payments, a space again being left, an account is made of the debts concerning which the sheriff has been summoned; the names, however, being first put down of those judges who have apportioned these debts. But lastly an account is made of the chattels of fugitives or of those mutilated for their offenses.. And all this being completed, the account of that county is terminated. The scribe must take care not to write anything of his own accord in the roll, except what he has learned from the treasurer's dictation. But if, per. haps, through negligence or any other chance he should happen to err in writing the roll, either in the name or the amount or in the matter in which the greater force of the writing consists, he shall not presume to erase, but shall cancel by drawing, underneath, a thin line, and shall write directly following what is necessary. For the writing of the roll has this in common with charters and other letters patent, that it may not be erased: and for this reason care has been taken to make them of sheep-skins; for they do not easily yield to erasure without the blemish becoming apparent.
D. Does that scribe furnish the rolls at his own expense or at that of the fisc ?
M. At the Michaelmas term he receives five shillings from the fisc, and the scribe of the chancery likewise another five; from which they procure the membranes for both rolls and for the summonses and receipts of the lower exchequer.
The care, the labour, the zeal of the remaining scribe sitting at his side consists chiefly in this, namely, that he shall take down from the other roll word for word; as we said before, the same order being observed. Likewise it pertains to him to write the writs of the king concerning outlays of the treasury, but only for those payments which, in the judgment of the barons, while the exchequer is in session ought to be made by the treasurer and chamberlains likewise he writes the writs of the king concerning the computing or remitting of those things which the barons have decreed should be computed or remitted at the exchequer. It is his duty also, when the accounts of the sheriff have been gone through, and the dues of the king for which the summonses are made, estimated, to write out the latter, with diligent and at the same time laborious discretion, to be sent throughout the whole kingdom: for by them, and on account of them, the exchequer of the following term is called together.
D. Under what form of words are writs of the king concerning outlays of the treasury drawn up ?
M. The treasurer and chamberlains do not expend the money received, unless by express mandate of the king or of the presiding justice: for when the general account is demanded from them, they must have the authority of a rescript of the king concerning the money distributed; moreover this is the wording under which they are drawn up: "H. king, etc., to N. the treasurer and to this man and that man, chamberlains, greeting. Pay from my treasury to that or that man, this or this sum. These being witnesses before N. at the exchequer." Moreover " at the exchequer " is added that thus there may be a difference from the writs that are made in the curia regis. It is also necessary, when a writ is made concerning an out lay from the treasury, as we have said, that that same scribe shall make a copy of it, which is commonly called counter-writ; and this the clerk of the chancery shall reserve in his own possession, in testimony of the payment made through the original writ of the king, which the treasurer and chamberlains have. Also writs of computing or remitting those things which the barons shall have decreed should be computed or remitted the will of our lord king having previously become known are drawn up under this tenor of words: " H. by the grace of God, etc., to the barons of the exchequer, greeting. Compute to that or that man this or this sum, which he expended for this or that affair of mine. These being witness there at the exchequer." Likewise: "The king to the barons of the exchequer, greeting. I remit to that man, or quit-claim to this or that one this or that. These being witnesses there at the exchequer." Copies of all these writs shall remain with the aforesaid clerk, as a proof that the writs were made out. For the original writs of computations or remissions are enclosed in the boxes of the marshall when the accounts of the sheriffs are made up; for the rest, unless a dispute arise concerning them, they are not to be shown. Moreover, what we have said of the writs of the king is likewise to be understood of the writs of the presiding justice; but only when the king is absent and, with the impress of his seal, the laws of the kingdom are estate" fished and the cases are called, so that they who are summoned before the court are condemned or acquitted. But so long as the king shall be in the kingdom of England, the writs of the exchequer shall be made in the royal name, under the witness of this same president and of some other magnate. What the tenor is, moreover, of those writs which are called summonses, will be more fully told below in the chapter on summonses.
The clerk of the chancellor, who is next to the latter, although he serves not in his own but in another's name, is, nevertheless, busied about great things, and is called in many directions: so that from the very beginning of the accounts to the end he can not be torn thence; unless perchance he is lenient to himself, a discreet representative being meanwhile substituted for him. He has the first care after the treasurer in all these things which are done there; principally, however, in the matter of writing the rolls and writs; for in these things he is chiefly versed. And he looks out lest the pen of his scribe, while he follows the other with equal steps, should commit an error. Likewise he looks diligently at the roll of the former year placed before him, until satisfaction shall have been given by the sheriff for those debts which are there marked, and for which he is summoned. Likewise when the sheriff sits to render account, the fixed payments from the county having been computed and put in writing, he takes from the sheriff the writ of summons to which the king's seal is appended, and presses the sheriff for those debts which are there written down, speaking in public, and saying; "render for this, so much; and for that, so much." The debts, moreover, which are paid entirely, and for which satisfaction is given, the same clerk cancels by a line drawn through the middle; so that there may thus be a distinction between what is paid and what is to be paid. He also guards the counter-writs of those drawn up at the exchequer. He also corrects and seals the summonses made as has been said before; and he has infinite labour and is the greatest after the treasurer.
D. Here Argus would be more useful than Polyphemus.
M The clerk of the constabulary is great, and busied at the curia regis; at the exchequer also he is called in, together with the magnates to all the most important affairs, and with his consent matters concerning the king are carried on. He is, moreover, sent by the king to the exchequer with the counter-writs against the terms of the exchequer, but only concerning those things which are done at the curia. He also, with the constable, sees to the payments of the knights, or of certain of them as has been said; and at times his office is laborious enough, although it is expressed in few words. Nevertheless he fills it very often through a substitute as does the chancellor; for the higher officials can not easily absent themselves from the presence of the king. Thus thou hast, to some extent, the distribution of offices of those placed on the third bench at the right of the president.
Now at the head of the fourth seat which is placed opposite the justices sits Master Thomas, called Brunus. His authority at the exchequer is not to be despised. For it is a great and mighty proof of his faithfulness and discretion that he was chosen by a prince of such excellent talents to have, contrary to the ancient custom, a third roll in which he may write the prerogatives of the realm and the secrets of the king, and which, keeping it in his own charge, he may carry wherever he wishes. He also has his clerk in the lower exchequer, who, sitting next to the clerk of the treasury, has free opportunity to write what is received and expended in the treasury.
D. Is, then, his faith and discretion so well known to the king that, for this work, no one else is considered equal to him in merit ?
M. He was great at the court of the great king of Sicily, provident in his counsels, and almost first in the privy council of the king. Meanwhile a new king arose who ignored him, one who, having evil men around him, persecuted his father in the persons of the latter's adherents. That man, therefore, his good fortune having changed, was compelled to flee for his life, and although access was open to him with the greatest honour to very many kingdoms, nevertheless, being frequently invited by Henry the illustrious king of the English, whose fame is less than the truth itself, he preferred to go to his native soil and to his hereditary and incomparable master. Being received therefore by him as befitted both, because in Sicily he had been concerned with great matters, here also he is deputed to the great affairs of the exchequer. Thus, therefore, he Attained an abiding place and an office of dignity. He is called in, also, with the magnates to all the great matters of the exchequer. The above, then, are the different prerogatives of all those who, by reason of their office, sit at the greater exchequer. It is next in order, if I mistake not, that we proceed to tell what their dignities are by reason of their sitting at the exchequer.
D. Nay, if it please thee, the office is still to be explained of the knight whom thou cost call the silverer, and also the office of the melter; for they have been put off thus far since they are akin to each other and pertain to the greater exchequer.
M. I see that the memory of the things promised does not escape thee, whence the sure hope is conceived that forgetfulness will not defraud thee of what I have already said. I thought, indeed, that I had satisfied thee concerning the offices because I had omitted no one of those who have seats at the exchequer. But those of whom thou cost remind me have not fixed seats allotted them; nay, they fulfil their office according to the command of the president or treasurer.
The knight silverer, then, carries from the lower to the upper exchequer the box of money to be tested, of which we spoke above; when he has brought this in, signed with the seal of the sheriff, he pours out in the exchequer, under the eyes of all, forty four shillings, which, when he took them from the heap, he lead previously marked; and mixing them together so that they may correspond in weight, he puts in one scale of the balance a pound weight in the other as many of the coins as shall be necessary; this being done, he counts them, so that it may be evident from the number if they are of legal weight. But of whatever weight they are found to be, he puts apart into a cup one, that is, twenty shillings, of which a test shall be made; but the remaining twenty four shillings he puts into a box. Likewise, besides the one to be tested, two pence are given to the melter, not from the fisc, but on the part of the sheriff; as a reward, so to speak, for his labour. Then there are chosen by the president, or, if he be absent, by the treasurer, two other sheriffs; so that they, together with the knight silverer and also the sheriff against whom the test is to be made, shall proceed to the fire; there the melter, warned before and having made the necessary preparations, awaits their coming. There again, in the presence of the melter and of those who have been sent by the barons, they are diligently counted and handed over to the melter.
He, receiving them, counts them with his own hand and thus places them on a vessel of burning embers which is in the furnace. Then, therefore, obeying the law of the art of melting, he reduces them to a mass, blowing upon, and cleansing, the silver. But he must take care lest it stand longer than necessary, or lest by excessive boilings he trouble and consume it; the former on account of the risk of loss to the king. the latter, to the sheriff; but he shall in every way, with all the industry possible, provide and procure that it be not troubled, but that it be boiled only so as to be pure. Those, moreover, who are sent there by the greater officials, should also see to this same thing. When the test, then, has been made, the others accompanying, the knight silverer carries the silver to th, barons; and then, before the eyes of all, he weighs it With the aforesaid pound weight. Moreover he then supplies what the fire has consumed, putting in coin out of that same box, until that which has been tested is in equilibrium with the weight; then the result of that test is inscribed above with these words: "Yorkshire. The pound burnt with so and so many pence loss "; and then that is called an assay; for it is not inscribed unless it be previously agreed that it ought to stand that way. But if the sheriff from whom it comes shall claim that more has been consumed than is just, by the heat of the fire, perhaps, or by the infusion of lead; or if the melter himself shall confess that, for some reason or other, the test was imperfect; again twenty shillings those which remain in the aforesaid box shall be counted before the barons, as has been described; so that, the same process being observed, a test may be made of them. Hence it must be clear to thee for what reason, from the great heap of money placed there originally, forty four shillings are, from the first, put aside in a box, on which is placed the seal of the sheriff. It is to be noted, indeed, that the melter receives two pence for the testing, as has been said. But if, by any chance, he should go through it again or even if he test it a third time he shall not receive anything, but shall be content with the two pence which he has once received.
D. I wonder that by such great men such diligence should be applied to the testing of one pound, since neither great gain nor much loss can come from it.
M. This is gone through with not on account of this pound alone, but on account of all those which, together with this, are paid by the same sheriff under the name of the same farm. For as much as, through the purging fire falls off from this pound, so much the sheriff knows is to be subtracted from each other pound of his sum: so that if he pays a hundred pounds by tale, and twelve pence have fallen off the test pound, only ninety five are computed to him.
D. Now I seem to see that, from these things, no small gain can arise; but to whom it ought to go I am ignorant.
M. It has been said, and it is always meant, that the advent age of the king alone is served in all these matters. Although, moreover, the combustion is subtracted from the tally of the sheriff, it is nevertheless placed apart on another, shorter tally, so that the treasurer and chamberlains may answer for the the total of it. But thou must know that, through this tally of combustion the farm of the sheriff is blanched; wherefore, in testimony of this, it always remains hanging to the greater tally.
D. A question strikes me here which I remember to have propounded when we were treating of the lower exchequer: why, namely, one pound should fall off more than another, since the condition ought to be the same of all those who have to do with coining money.
M. To this question, as to that former one, it is sufficient to reply that this can be done through forgers and clippers of coin. Some, moreover, have believed and I do not differ from them that the money of this kingdom was not lawful if the tested pound decreased more than six pence from the weight to which it corresponds when counted; and also that money of this kind, brought to the exchequer, ought to fall to the fisc, unless, perhaps, the coins are new and not customary, and the inscription upon them betrays their producer; for then that moneyer shall be strictly called to account for his work, and, according to the established laws, shall be condemned or absolved without loss to the sheriff. But if, the coin being proved and reproved by testing, the moneyer shall have been condemned and punished, the coins shall be reduced to a mass by the melter of the exchequer others skilled in this art being present and its weight shall be computed to the sheriff. But all this is almost abolished now and much relaxed; since, with regard to money, all sin in common; when, however, the money shall come to be of the right measure, and the one fixed by law, it will become necessary to keep the law as originally established. On the other hand, if any sheriff should have brought coins, a pound of which, when burned, kept within five or four or less, and they seemed to have been newly made, not usual or current, they were likewise called not lawful: exceeding, as it were, the common standard; whence, like the others, they also could be confiscated.
There are likewise at the exchequer fixed payments which are made at stated terms without a writ of the king: such is the salary of the " nauclerus," i.e., the master, of the king's ship which we call " esnecca," who receives twelve pence daily. For this, and for similar payments tallies are made by the chamberlains, since they do not have writs for them. The knight silverer, moreover, has the " recauta " of these, i.e., the counter-tallies. Likewise he and the melter when it becomes necessary, and the great quantity of money brought in burdens the tellers may, on being requested by the chamberlains, aid them in counting; it is, however, optional on their parts, not compulsory. Thus thou Last the offices of the knight silverer and the melter.
D. What are the signs of a test completed or of one not completed P
M. I do not sufficiently know; nor have I troubled myself about these things. But so long as over the already liquid silver a sort of little black cloud is seen to hover, it is called incomplete. But when, as it were, certain minute grains acend from the bottom to the top and there dissolve, it is a sign that the test is done.
D. By whom, and on what account, was this testing or combustion instituted ?
M. In order that it may be clear to thee concerning these things, I must begin a little further back. In the primitive state of the kingdom after the Conquest, as we have learned from our fathers, not weights of gold or silver, but solely victuals were paid to the kings from their lands, from which the necessaries for the daily use of the royal household were furnished. And those who had been appointed for this purpose knew how much came from the separate estates. But from the pleas of the kingdom and from feudal reliefs, and from the cities or castles by which agriculture was not practiced, cash money for the stipends or gifts of the soldiers, and for other necessary things came in. This arrangement, however, continued during the whole time of king William I., and up to the time of king Henry, his son; so that I myself saw some people who had seen victuals carried at stated times from the estates of the crown to the court: and the officials of the royal household knew from which counties corn and from which different kinds of meat, or fodder for horses, or any other necessary things, were due. These being paid according to the measure fixed upon of each thing, the royal officials put them to the account of the sheriff, reducing them to a total of money: for a measure, namely, of grain enough for the bread of a hundred men, one shilling; for the body of a fattened ox, one shilling; for a ram or a sheep, 4d.; for the fodder of twenty horses, likewise 4d. But as time went on, when the same king was occupied across the channel and in remote places, in calming the tumults of war, it came about that the sum necessary for meeting these expenses was paid in ready money. Meanwhile there kept coming to the court of the king a complaining multitude of peasants; or, what seemed to him worse, they frequently came in front of him as he passed, proffering their Sloughs as a sign of the defective agriculture; for they were oppressed by innumerable burdens on account of the victuals, which, having to traverse great distances in the realm, they brought from their lands. Yielding therefore, to their complaints, the opinion of the nobles having been ascertained, he sent out throughout the kingdom the men most prudent and discreet in these matters. These, going around and examining with their own eyes the different estates, and estimating the victuals that were paid from them, reduced them to a sum of money. They decreed, moreover, that for the sum of the sums which was arrived at from all the estates in one county, the sheriff of that county should be bounder to tile exchequer; adding that he shouldpay by scale, that is, besides each cash pound, 6d. For they thought that, in course of time, it might easily come about that money, then good, might fall from its condition. Nor did their opinion prove false. Therefore they were compelled to decree that the farm of manors should be paid, not alone by scale, but by weight; which could not be done without adding a great deal. This rule of payment was observed for many years in the exchequer: whence, frequently, in the old yearly rolls of that king, thou wilt find written: " in the treasury 100 pounds according to scale," or, " in the treasury 100 pounds according to weight." Meanwhile there came into prominence a prudent man, provident in his plans, discreet in discourse, and, by the grace of God, most remarkably adapted especially for great matters; thou would'st say that in him was fulfilled what is written, "the grace of the Holy Spirit knows no tardy delays." He being called to court by this same king, although unknown, vet not ignoble, taught by his example,
How poverty, (3) e'en when extreme, can be most fruitful of heroes !
He therefore, increasing in favour with his prince, with the clergy, and with the people, being made bishop of Salisbury, enjoyed the highest honours in the kingdom, and had a great knowledge of the exchequer; so that, as is not doubtful, but is manifest from the rolls themselves, it flourished greatly under him. And from his troughs we, also, have received. by tradition that little which we possess. Upon this point, at present, I omit to say much; because, as was due to the greatness of his position, he left a memory to survive him which gives proof of a most noble mind. He afterwards, by order of the prince, came to the exchequer; and after having sat there for some years, he learned that by the kind of payment described above the fisc did not fully get its dues: for although it seemed to get its dues in number and weight, it did not, nevertheless, in material. For it did not follow, when for one pound he paid twenty shillings in cash, even if they corresponded to a pound in weight, that he con" sequently paid a pound of silver: for he could have paid one mixed with copper or with any ore, since no test was made. In order therefore that the royal and the public advantage might at the same time be provided for, the advice of the king himself having been heard on this matter, it was decreed that the burning or testing of the farm should take place in the aforesaid manner.
D. Why do you say " the public advantage " ?
M. Because the sheriff, feeling himself wronged by the combustion of the deteriorated money, when he is about to pay his farm, takes careful heed that the moneyers placed under him do not exceed the bounds of the established standard; and when he has found them out, they are sail punished that others may be frightened by their example.
D. Ought then a blank farm to be paid by all the counties, or should a test be made in the case of all the counties ?
M. No; but those which by ancient right are said to belong to the royal crown pay thus. Those, however, which pay the fisc for some incidental causes, render their dues by tale alone; such are Shropshire, Sussex, Northumberland and Cumberland. It is open to the sheriff, instead of a blank farm, to pay the weight of tested silver; and thus he will escape the loss by combustion; provided, nevertheless, that the melter of the king shall decree that the same is worthy to be received. Thou knowest now what thou did'st ask about, namely, by whom and for what cause the testing was instituted.
D. I see that, by this, is fulfilled to the letter what is written: " each man's work shall be tried by fire." But now may it please thee to go on with what thou host begun.
M. So be it. It is in order, I believe, in accordance with the arrangement of the plan laid down, that we proceed to treat of the prerogatives of those who sit at the exchequer, whether officially, or by order of the king.
D. I wonder very much for what reason, when thou wert treating of the offices, thou did'st either refrain on purpose from speaking of the usher of the upper exchequer and his office, or else did'st pass it by, the evil of forgetfulness coming in the way.
M. I congratulate thee on thy memory of what has gone before; for, indeed, the glory of the teacher is in the proficiency of his pupil. Thou knewest that the already mentioned usher received his pay with the other officials, and therefore thou cost rightly ask what is his office. It is then as follows:
That usher, alone, without an associate, guards the door of the exchequer building: unless when, from his own home, he tales servants for the burdensome part of his office. Likewise the same man guards the door of the chamber of secrets, which is situated next to the exchequer building. Thither go the barons when a doubtful question is propounded to them in the exchequer, concerning which they prefer to deliberate by themselves rather than in the hearing of all. But it is chiefly on this account that they go apart by themselves, lest, namely, the accounts which are being made up at the exchequer should be impeded, and while they are delaying in private council, the usual course of the accosts goes on. But if any question should arise, it would be referred to them. It is also free to the usher, with impunity, to preclude ingress when he wishes, to any men even if great in authority who are not necessary to the matter in hand. To those alone, who sit at the exchequer by reason of their office or by mandate of the king, is voluntary ingress to either chamber permitted. But if they are persons vouched for, who can not suitably go in when alone, one or two may be shown into the outer building of the exchequer; but into the chamber of secrets only the officials enter, others being excluded; unless when they are called by their masters to perform some matters for the king. Likewise the usher receives the summonses, made out and signed by the marshal!. When the exchequer of that term has been dissolved, he bears them in his own person, or by means of a faithful messenger, throughout England, as has been said above. He also, by command of the president, calls into the latter's presence when he needs them, the sheriffs, who are dispersed in all directions outside the building. Likewise it pertains to him to see to any of the small matters which are necessary in the exchequer building such as placing and preparing the seats around the exchequer and the like. From the foregoing it is clear to thee, as we believe, concerning the offices of those who sit at the exchequer. We will now show what are their rights or prerogatives by reason of their sitting at the exchequer.
Still further, indeed, the tongue of the detractor must continue to spare us, and the tooth of envy, lest it leap upon us and tear us to pieces; for scarcely any of these things would come to thy knowledge if we saw fit to insist, not on the customary names of things, but on some exquisite scheme of words or on made up appellations.
D. A novelty of words was the one thing I warned thee to shun from the beginning, and I obtained from thee that thou should'st use common and customary words with regard to common things, lest unaccustomed novelty should disturb the rudimentary teachings. So, therefore, as thou host begun, may it please thee again to continue thy undertaking. But if, when thou cost thus advance, the emulous mind or tongue of a detractor should overtake thee, thou may'st obtain this from him, that he who in his writings is without sin shall cast the first stone at thee.
M. I willingly obey so long as that rule is observed. The pre-eminence of those sitting at the exchequer consists in many things. For whether they who sit there by his mandate are of the clergy or of the curia regis, from the day on which they come together, up to the general departure, they are not called to any other cases under any judges whatever; and if, by chance, they shall have been summoned, they are excused by reason of their public function. But if those who sit there are the accusers and not the accused, and have suits elsewhere, it shall be at their option either to have the case tried by a procurator, or to postpone the day without any detriment to their rights. But if the judge under whom their case is being tried, whether he be ecclesiastical or lay, being ignorant of this law, shall, after the already mentioned day of convocation to the exchequer, have cited any one of them, and shall, perhaps, by a judgment have despoiled the absent one of his possession or of some right, by authority of the prince and by reason of the session, his case shall be recalled to that state in which it was before the citation. But the judge has not, on this account, merited punishment; for he has followed out what belonged to his duty; although, by reason of the public function, it does not take effect. But if he shall have been so cited that the decisive day, fixed for him and determined by the law, shall come before the day of the convocation to the exchequer, he shall not be able to excuse himself on that account, or to evade the sentence of the judge, or to make it vain when declared against him; even though the one day be so near to the other that he be compelled to start on his journey. He shall, in that case, obtain for himself a procurator or sponsor, and shall himself, bent on the king's business, without guile, hasten to the court. The barons, moreover, who sit at the exchequer shall pay nothing under the name of customs for the victuals of their household bought in the cities and burroughs and ports. But if an officer of the revenues shall have compelled one of them to pay anything for these, if only one of his servants is present who is willing to prove by taking an oath that the things have been bought for his master's use: to the baron, indeed, the money exacted shall be restored entire, and the scoundrel of a collector shall pay a pecuniary punishment according to the quality of the person. Likewise if any one, even if great in the kingdom, shall, with inconsiderate heat of mind, injure any one who sits at the exchequer, through taunts or insults, an excess of this kind shall, if the president himself is present, at once receive a vindicating pecuniary punishment. But in the president's absence if the man constantly denies the injury done and those sitting there call out that he has said what he is charged with, he shall nevertheless straightway be judged guilty to the extent of a fine to the king whom he serves, unless he hastens to anticipate judgment by begging mercy. But if those who sit at the exchequer shall have mutually molested each other with any sort of contumelious attack, they shall make peace again; the others of their rank who serve with them acting as mediators, in such wise that satisfaction shall be rendered by him who, in their estimation, has injured an innocent person. But if he be unwilling to acquiesce, but. rather persevere in his rashness, the matter shall be laid before the president; and afterwards, from him each one shall receive justice. But if, through the devil, the instigator of evil, who does not look with unmoved eyes on the joyous happiness of fraternal peace, it should happen that occasion for discord should come up among the greater officials themselves; and thence which God forbid a war of insults should arise; and Satan adding goads, peace can not be restored by the other colleagues in those labours: the knowledge of all these things shall be reserved for the prince himself; who, according as God, in whose hand it is, inspires his heart, shall punish the offence; lest those who are set over others should seem to be able to do with impunity what they decree should be punished in others.
D. From this is manifest what Solomon says: "death and life are in the power of the tongue," and likewise James; " the tongue is a little member and boasteth great things."
M. So it is; but let us proceed concerning the prerogatives. Common assessments are held at times, throughout the counties, by itinerant justices whom we call deambulatory or wandering judges; the assessments are called common because, when the sum is known which is required in common from those who have estates in the county, it is distributed according to the hides of land, so that when the time comes for payment at the exchequer, nothing of it is lacking. From all these payments all those who, by mandate of the king, sit at the exchequer are entirely free, so that not only are none of them exacted from their do. mains but also none from all their fiefs. If, however, one who sits there has an estate either in farm or in custody or also as a pledge for money, he shall not be exempt, but rather more subject for these to the common law. In addition to and besides these exemptions, moreover, he shall be free at the exchequer from murder-fines, scutages and Danegeld. Moreover what pertains to him shall be deducted from the fixed total, and shall be placed to the account of the sheriff in these words: " remitted by writ of the king, to him or him this or that sum "; although, in fact, he has no writ of the king concerning this. Moreover he to whom anything has been remitted by the prince must see to it lest afterwards he require, from those in turn subject to him, the amount which has been remitted; he had the rather better be mindful of that word, " forgive and be forgiven "; for if this shall have been found out, the prince emulating the teaching of the Gospel, will neither let him go nor forgive his debt, but perhaps will punish him a hundred fold; for he is seen to abuse the favour bestowed on him, when he irreverently exacts from others what has been freely forgiven to himself.
D. It has been said, if I remember bright, that whoever, by precept of the king, sits at the exchequer is free, by reason of his sitting there, from certain things determined by the law. It was added also, if I recollect well, that the exchequer sits at the Easter term; that, however, the things that are done then are not entirely terminated, but that their consummation is reserved for the Michaelmas term. Since, now, it is possible, nay, frequently happens, that some one by mandate of the king is called to it at the Easter term, who at the Michaelmas term has either paid his debt to fate, or is transferred by order of the king to other business of the realm, or, what seems more weighty with some, having in the meantime become hateful to the king, is judged unworthy to perform such important duties: I ask does he who is quit at the Easter term, in which few things are terminated but all things renewed by repeating the summons, does such a one deserve to be absolved at the Michaelmas term, even when he has ceased to deserve his seat at the exchequer and the favour itself of his prince?
M. Probably an abundance of reasons can be found for taking either side of this question; but know that the choice of the royal munificence, after the favour of absolution has once been indulged, is always, even with pecuniary loss, more prone to the better part: indeed, the principle of the gifts and of the remissions of the king is the same, that just as his gifts cannot be recalled or re-demanded, so also the acquittals of the king, which are commonly called pardons, can not be invalidated. He therefore is free and absolved at the term of consummation who in any way merited to be absolved at the preceding one.
D. Some things which have been said give me concern. First, that thou cost say that anything is remitted to any one under this tenor of words: "in pardons by writ of the king, to him or him, this or that," when, nevertheless, he has obtained no writ of remission from the king. For how it can happen that such writing of the roll is not found to be false, I do not see.
M. It gives thee concern not without cause; for it has long concerned me; and, as I believe, the reason of thus writing is not yet clear to all; wherefore, although it is no great matter that thou askest about, nevertheless it is unusual and does seem absurd that that is said to be remitted by writ of the king, which is always to be remitted without a writ. For which reason I once attacked on this very matter the bishop of Ely, as the man most skilled in this branch blessed be his memory for ever. He, the illustrious treasurer of that king of the English, Henry I., and the nephew of him of Salisbury whom we mentioned above, had a knowledge of the exchequer incomparable in his time: for being supreme in those things which pertained to the dignity of his standing, he made the fame of his name wide spread; so that almost alone in the kingdom he so lived and died that no envious tongue dares to blacken his glory. He, moreover, being frequently requested by the illustrious king, Henry the Second, reformed the knowledge of the exchequer which, the time of warfare having lasted for many years, had almost entirely died out; and, like another Esdras, sedulous restorer of the Bible) renewed the form of its whole arrangement. The prudent man, indeed, thought it better to mark down for posterity the laws constituted by the ancients, rather than, by his silence, to bring it about that new ones should be made. For modern times, in the matter of gaining money, have scarcely dictated laws gentler than the former ones. From him, therefore, in this matter, this is the kind of answer I received; " brother, he who has ears eager to hear, easily finds the tongue of a detractor; even he who has them not, will not easily escape the same. It was thus that there came to king Henry I. a certain man having the tongue of a serpent, saying to him: 'your barons who sit at the exchequer, why do they not pan the dues that arise from their lands ? For some have fixed payments at the exchequer for sitting there; some also, on account of their office, have estates and their fruits; hence, therefore, a heavy loss falls on the fist." When, therefore, he, urging the gain that it would be to the prince, repeatedly turned to the attack, these words at length possessed the latter's mind to such an extent, that he ordered all the established dues to be paid by all and to be remitted to no one, unless someone should have obtained from him an express mandate concerning this: and it was done accordingly. But as time went on, when the prince remembered the counsel of Achitopel, he repented of having acquiesced. He decreed, therefore, that all the aforesaid payments should be computed to those who served there, considering the loss of a small sum of money as nothing in comparison with the great honour gained. And so he despatched his writ to the exchequer, to the effect that those sitting there should, by a perpetual law, be free from these payments. From this writ, therefore, it was said then and is said now, " remitted by the king's writ "; and so it came about that what was granted to the fathers should even now continue in the case of their posterity. We remember ourselves in modern times to have seen a similar payment to this, which, after all this time was computed to those who deserved to be absolved under a similar tenor of words. For our lord king Henry II., at the Michaelmas term of the 24th year of his reign, ordered that the knights of the Temple and the brothers Hospitallers, and the monks of the Cistercian order, to whom, by the privileges in their charter, he had long since indulged quittance of all things pertaining to money jurisdiction over life and members being excepted, should really now be quit of all things pertaining to money throughout the different counties; so that henceforth they should not be compelled to bring their charters to the exchequer. And the authority of the royal piety decreed this that thus once for all, in the consideration of the barons they should be freed of all these things lest those who have gone over to the enjoyment of a better life, and are obliged the more to have freedom for prayer, should be compelled for such a cause to make a tedious and useless delay with their charters at the exchequer. By the counsel, therefore, and the deliberation of the barons who were present, a writ of the lord king was drawn up under this tenor: " I quit claim the knights of the Temple of five marks which are exacted from their vassals for default, and I prohibit that now from them or their vassals or their lands anything be exacted or received which pertains to money. These being witnesses, there." And in like manner as to the brothers Hospitallers and to the aforesaid monks. By the authority of this mandate, there fore, they will henceforth be quit, throughout the several counties of all things which pertain to money: so that that which we mentioned above may rightly be spoken of in the yearly roll as " remitted by writ of the king."
D. I have understood very well what has been said. Now, if it please thee, do not delay to make clear what are scutage, murdrum and Danegeld. They seem, indeed, to be something barbarous; but they concern me the more for the reason that, as thou sayest, those who minister at the exchequer are free from them.
It happens sometimes that, when the machinations of enemies threaten or attack the kingdom, the king decrees that, from the different knights' fees, a certain sum shall be paid, a mark, namely, or a pound; and from this come the payments or gifts to the soldiers. For the prince prefers to expose mercenaries, rather than natives to the fortunes of war. And so this sum, which is paid in the name of the shields, is called scutage. From this, moreover, they who sit at the exchequer are quit.
Murder (murdrum), indeed, is properly called the secret death of somebody, whose slayer is not known. For " murdrum " means the same as " hidden " or " occult." Now in the primitive state of the kingdom after the Conquest those who were left of the Anglo-Saxon subjects secretly laid ambushes for the suspected and hated race of the Normans, and, here and there, when opportunity offered, killed them secretly in the woods and in remote places: as vengeance for whom when the kings and their ministers had for some years, with exquisite kinds of tortures, raged against the Anglo-Saxons; and they, nevertheless, had not, in consequence of these measures, altogether desisted, the following plan was hit upon, that the so called " hundred," in which a Norman was found killed in this way when he who had caused his death was not to be found, and it did not appear from his flight who he was should be condemned to a large sum of tested silver for the fisc; some, indeed, to 36, some to 44£, according to the different localities and the frequency of the slaying. And they say that this is done with the following end in view namely, that a general penalty of this kind might make it safe for the passers by, and that each person might hasten to punish so great a crime and to give up to justice him through whom so enormous a loss fell on the whole neighbourhood. know that from such payments as we have said, those who sit at the exchequer are free.
D. Ought not the occult death of an Anglo-Saxon, like that of a Norman, to be reputed murder ?
M. By the original institution it ought not to as thou best heard: but during the time that the English and Normans have now dwelt together, and mutually married and given in marriage, the nations have become so intermingled that one can hardly tell today I speak of freemen who is of English and who of Norman race excepting, however, the bondsmen who are called " villani," to whom it is not free, if their lords object, to depart from the condition of their station. On this account almost always when any one is found thus slain today, it is punished as murder; except in the case of those who show certain proofs, as we have said, of a servile condition.
D. I wonder that this prince of singular excellence, and this man of most distinguished virtue, should have shown such mercy towards the race of the English, subjugated and suspected by him, that not only did he keep the serfs by whom agriculture could be exercised, from harm, but left even to the nobles of the kingdom their estates and ample possessions.
M. Although these things do not pertain to the matters undertaken and concerning which I have bound myself, I will nevertheless freely expound what I have heard on these matters from the natives themselves. After the conquest of the kingdom, after the just overthrow of the rebels, when the king himself and the king's nobles went over the new places, a diligent inquiry was made as to who there were who, contending in war against the king had saved themselves through highs. To all of these, and even to the heirs of those who had fallen in battle, all hope of the lands and estates and revenues which they had before possessed was precluded: for it was thought much for them even to enjoy the privilege of being alive under their enemies. But those who, having been called to the war, had not yet come together, or, occupied with family or any kind of necessary affairs had not been present, when, in course of time, by their devoted service they had gained the favour of their lords, they began to have possessions for themselves alone; without hope of hereditary possession, but according to the pleasure of their lords. But as time went on, when, becoming hateful to their masters, they were here and there driven from their possessions, and there was no one to restore what had been taken away, a common complaint of the natives came to the king to the effect that, thus hateful to all and despoiled of their property, they would be compelled to cross to foreign lands. Counsel at length having been taken on these matters, it was decided that what, their merits demanding, a legal pact having been entered into, they had been able to obtain from their masters, should be conceded to them by inviolable right: but that, however, they should claim nothing for themselves by right of heredity from the time of the conquest of the race. And it is manifest with what discreet consideration this provision was made, especially since they would thus be bound to consult their own advantage in every way, and to strive henceforth by devoted service to gain the favour of their lords. So, therefore, whoever, belonging to the conquered race, possesses estates or any thing of the kind, he has acquired them not because they seemed to be due to him by reason of heredity, but because his merits alone demanding, or some pact intervening, he has obtained them.
D. I do not exactly know what is a "centuriata" or hundred.
M. Wait a little; thou wilt know later in its proper place; that is, in the chapter on the Domesday book. Now let us proceed concerning Danegeld, and pay a little attention, so that the reason of this name may be clear to thee.
Our island, content with its own, does not need the goods of the stranger;
Therefore,with very good right, our predecessors have called it,
Truly the lap of riches; the hone, too, of every delight.
On account of this she has suffered innumerable injuries from outsiders, for it is written: " marked jewels attract the thief." For the robbers of the surrounding islands, making an irruption and depopulating the shores, carried off gold and silver and all sorts of precious things. But when the king and the natives, drawn up in warlike array, pressed on in defence of their race, they betook themselves to flight by sea. Now among these robbers almost the first, and always the most ready to do harm, was that warlike and numerous race of the Danes; who, besides possessing the common avarice of plunderers, pressed on the more eagerly because they claimed, of ancient right, some part in the domination of that kingdom, as the history of the Britons more fully relates. In order, therefore, to ward these off, it was decreed by the English kings that, from each " hide " of the kingdom, by a certain perpetual right, two shillings of silver should be paid for the use of the brave men who, patrolling and carefully watching the shores, kept off the attack of the enemy. Therefore, since principally on account of the Danes this revenue was instituted, it is called "Danegeldum " or "Danegeldus." This, therefore, under the native kings, was paid yearly, as has been said, until the time of king William I. of the race and people of the Normans. For in his day the Danes as well as the other robbers by land and by sea restrained their hostile attacks, knowing to be true that which is written, " when a strong man armed keepeth his palace his possessions are in peace." For they also knew, indeed, that men of surpassing velour do not suffer injuries to go unpunished. When, therefore, the land had long been quiet under the rule of this king, he became unwilling that that should be paid as a yearly tax which had been exacted by the urgent necessity of a time of war; nor yet, however, on account of unforeseen cases, did he wish it to be entirely omitted. It was occasionally paid, therefore, in his time and in that of his successor: that is, when, from outside nations, wars or rumours of wars arose. But whenever it is paid, those who sit at the exchequer, are free from it, as has been said. The sheriffs too, although they are not counted under the barons of the exchequer, are quit of this for their domains on account of the labour of collecting the tax. Know, moreover, that the domains of any one are called those which are cultivated at his own expense or labour, and likewise those which are possessed by his serfs in his name. For the serfs, according to the law of the kingdom, not only may be transferred by their lords from those places which they now possess to others; but they themselves also are sold or sundered in every possible way; with right they themselves, as well as the lands which they cultivate in order to serve their masters are considered domains. Likewise it is said by those to whom the ancient dignity of the exchequer was known from what they had seen with their own eyes, that its barons are free, for their domains, of essarts (clearance-fines) of the forests. With whom we also agree; adding the reservation, that they may be called quit of those essarts which had been made before the day on which the illustrious king Henry I. bade farewell to human affairs. For if they were quit of all, whenever made or to be made, the barons would seem to be free with impunity, according to their own will and judgment, to cut down their woods, in which the royal forest consists; which they can, in fact, by no means do with impunity, unless the consent of the: king or of the chief forester has first been gained. Nay, those who have their domicile in the forest may not take from their own woods what they want for the necessary uses of their homes, unless by view of those who are deputed to guard the forest. But there are many who wish to prove by their arguments that no one, by reason of his seat at the exchequer, is free from these essarts. If any one at all of those sitting there should, by any misfortune, commit a fault against the king for which he would merit to be punished with a pecuniary fine, he would not be freed from that punishment except by special mandate of the king. Since, therefore, a clearance is a fault committed against the forest of the king, he who thus errs and on this account receives a penalty, ought not, as they say, to be acquitted unless by express mandate of the king. Now although this reasoning is subtle and seems to some almost sufficient, it is to be said, in objection to it, that the penalty for clearance is fixed and common to those who err in this way; so that, namely, for the clearance of one acre of wheat land one shilling is paid; but for an acre in which oats are sown, six pence, by a perpetual law. Moreover from these items a certain total sum arises, for which the sheriff is compelled to account to the exchequer; just as from the established two shillings or one from the different "hides," one sum arises which is called the common assessment. Since, therefore, in these respects, the essart has an express similitude with the common assessment, as has been said, it would seem as if the barons, not without justice, should be considered quit from the essarts, just as from the other common assessments. Likewise the authority, not to be despised, of custom and long usage is against them (the cavillers). For those whose memory is hoary call to mind that it was so in past times. I myself, who speak with thee, have, in modern times, looked upon Robert, earl of Leicester, a discreet man, learned in letters and versed in matters of the law. He, while having an inborn virtue of mind, became also an emulator of his father's prudence: his industry examined into many matters under our prince Henry the Second, whom neither fictitious prudence nor dissimulated folly deceives; so that, by the king's order, not only at the exchequer did Robert obtain the dignity of president, but also throughout the whole kingdom. He once, when the visitation of the forests which they commonly call the "view" (reguarda), and which takes place every third year, was at hand, obtained a writ of the king to the effect that he should be quit of whatever might be demanded from his land for essarts, the sum being stated to which these amounted: and when this writ was brought and publicly read before the exchequer, all were amazed and wondered, saying: " does not this earl invalidate our privileges ? " And while those who sat there mutually regarded each other, Nigel of blessed memory, the whilom bishop of Ely, began, speaking thus with modesty: " My lord earl, thou cost seem to have invalidated, by this writ, the prerogative of the exchequer, since thou host obtained a mandate of the king for those things from which thou, by reason of thy seat at the exchequer, art free; and if one may logically draw an inference by deduction from the major term, whoever does not obtain a writ of the king concerning his essarts, will soon become answerable for their payment; but, with all due reverence, this mode of absolution is pernicious on account of the example it sets." When, therefore, as happens in doubtful cases, some were of one opinion, others of another, there was brought in, as a valid argument in this matter, the yearly (pipe) roll of the time of that great king of whom we spoke above, under whom the dignity and the knowledge of the exchequer are said to have flourished in a high degree; and something was found which seemed to justify the bishop who made the assertion concerning the prerogative of those sitting there. Having heard these things, the earl, after deliberating a little with himself, said: I confess that in this matter I obtained a writ of the king, not that I might invalidate your right but that thus, without trouble, I might avoid the too importunate exaction unknown, however, to the king of the collectors. Abandoning his writ, therefore, he chose to be absolved on account of the prerogative of his seat. Some time after, when the aforesaid bishop, detained by infirmity could not be present, and I myself supplied, as well as I could, his place at the exchequer, it happened that essarts were paid; when, therefore, what had been exacted from his domain had been paid, I complained publicly, alleging the right of exemption. By the common counsel and verdict of all, therefore, the sum which had been already paid was restored to me. Reserving, therefore, what had been raised from his domain, I restored to his serfs, in its entirety, what had been exacted from each one, so that the memory might survive and be witness in this matter.
D. With all due reverence, one should not use examples but reasons in these matters.
M. That is so; but it happens, at times, that the causes of things and the reasons of sayings are secret, and then it suffices to bring up examples relating to them; especially if they are taken from the cases of prudent men, whose deeds are circumspect and are not done without reason. But whatever we have said about these things, taking part for this privilege or against it, thou may'st be sure that in this matter we have called nothing certain, unless what the authority of the king decreed should be observed. But the account of the forests and also the punishment or absolution of those who transgress with regard to them, whether it be a pecuniary or a corporal one, is kept separate from the other judgments of the kingdom, and is subjected to the will of the king alone or to that of some one of his intimates specially deputed for this purpose. It subsists by its own laws, which, they say, are not subject to the common law of the kingdom, but to the voluntary decree of the princes; so that whatever has been done according to its law may be said to be not absolutely just, but just according to the law of the forest. The forests, moreover, are the sanctuaries of kings and their greatest delight; thither they go for the sake of hunting, having laid aside their cares for a while, so that they may be refreshed by a short rest. There, the serious, and at the same time natural uproars of the court having ceased, they breathe in for a while the boon of pure liberty; whence it comes that they who transgress with regard to the forest are subject to the royal displeasure alone.
D. From my earliest youth I have learned that it is wrong for a prudent person to prefer to suffer ignorance rather than to demand the causes of things that have been said; in order, therefore, that the foregoing may more fully be made clear, do not put off revealing what a forest is, and what an essart.
M. The forest of the king is the safe dwelling-place of wild beasts; not of every kind, but of the kinds that live in woods; not in all places, but in fixed ones, and ones suitable for the purpose; whence it is called "forests," the " e " being changed into " o," as if it were " feresta " . i.e., an abiding place for wild beasts.
D. Is there a forest of the king in each county ?
M. No; but only in the wooded ones, where the wild beasts can have their lairs and ripe nourishment: nor does it matter to whom the woods belong, whether to the king, or to the nobles of the kingdom, the wild beasts can none the less run around everywhere free and unharmed.
Essarts are commonly called what are named " occationes " in the works of Isidor; that is, when any groves or thickets in the forest, which are fit for pasture and for lairs, are cut down; after which same cutting down and tearing up by the roots, the land is dug up and cultivated. But if groves are so cut that anyone standing still, leaning against the remaining stump of an oak, or any other tree that has been cut down, shall, on looking round, perceive five that have been cut down, they consider this a wilderness (vastum) that is, a place laid waste (vastatum) so called by syncope. Such an excess, moreover, even if committed in one's own groves, is considered so grave that a man may never be acquitted of it by reason of his seat at the exchequer; but he ought rather to be pecuniarily punished according to the power of solvency of his rank. Thus far I have expounded, to some extent figuratively, what succint brevity has permitted, and what has at short notice offered itself to my mind, concerning the dignities of those sitting at the exchequer. But in these matters I have constituted for the munificence of the kings no bounds of which they may not overstep; they are all inclined, moreover, on account of the grace entrusted to them to promote the glory of their prerogative, especially those who are truly wise. But he most of mundane princes, the very great and illustrious king of the English, Henry the Second, strives always to increase the dignities of those serving under him; knowing for certain that benefits bestowed on his followers purchase, with titles of immortal fame, the glory of his name. Now then, let us turn our flowing pen to other things.
D. It is in order, if I mistake not, as I seem to have gathered from the foregoing, that thou should's" proceed concerning the king's seal and the doomsday book, of which the first, if I remember aright, is kept in the treasury and not allowed to leave it.
M. Nay, both of them, and also very many other things.
Know, moreover, that "thesaurus" sometimes means the money in cash itself, as well as gold or silver vessels of different kinds, and changes of vestments. According to this acceptation it is said, " where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also." For " thesaurus " is called the place in which it reposes, therefore " thesaurus " = " auri thesis," namely, the place of gold, So that if one asks about some one where he is, it may not incongruously be replied: " he is in the ' thesaurus,"' that is, in the place where the " thesaurus " is kept. Cash money, indeed, or the other things mentioned, having once been put in a safe place, are not taken away except when by mandate of the king, they are sent to him to be distributed for his necessary uses. But there are many things in the repository vaults of the treasury which are carried around, and they are shut up and guarded by the treasurer and the chamberlains, as has been more fully shown above: such are the seal of the king concerning which thou cost ask, the doomsday book, the so-called exactory roll, which some name the writ of farms. Likewise the great yearly (pipe) rolls, the rolls of accounts, a numerous multitude of privileges, counter-tallies of receipts, and rolls of receipts, and writs of the king concerning outlays of the treasury, and many other things which, when the exchequer is in session, are necessary to its daily uses.
What ought to be the use of the royal seal is clear from the foregoing: for with it are sealed the summonses that are made out, and the other mandates which pertain'' solely to the exchequer of the king; nor is it carried elsewhere; but, as has been said above, is guarded by the chancellor through a representative. It has, moreover stamped upon it, exactly the same image and inscription as the deambulatory seal of the court, so that both may be known to have the same authority of commanding, and that he who acts counter may be similarly judged guilty according to the one or the other. Then that book about which thou cost ask is the inseparable companion of the royal seal in the treasury. From Henry, formerly bishop of Winchester, I have heard as follows the cause of this institution.
When that distinguished conqueror of England, a relative by blood of this same prelate, had subdued the utmost limits of the island to his rule, and had tamed the minds of the rebels by examples of terrible things, he decreed, lest a free opportunity of erring should again be given, that the people subject to him should submit to written custom and laws. The English laws, therefore being laid before him according to their triple distinction that is, Mercian law, Dane law, and West Saxon law, some he rejected; others, moreover, approving he added to them the transmarine laws of Neustria which seemed most efficacious for protecting the peace of the kingdom At length, lest anything should seem to be wanting to the sum of all his forethought, having taken counsel, he despatched from his side the most discreet men in circuit throughout the kingdom. By these men, in this way, a diligent description of the whole land was made with regard to its woods as well as its pastures and meadows, also its agriculture; and this description having been noted down in common words, it was collected into a book; in order, namely, that each one, content with his own. right, should not with impunity usurp that of another. Moreover the survey is made by counties, by hundreds and by hides, the name of the king being marked at the very head, and then, in turn, the names of the other lords. being placed according to the dignity of their standing; that is to say, those who are tenants in chief of the king. Moreover against the separate names thus arranged in order are placed numbers by means of which, below, in the course of the book itself, whatever concerns these persons is more easily found. This book is called by the natives Domesday; that is, by metaphor, the day of judgment, for just as a sentence of that strict and terrible last trial cannot possibly be eluded by any art of tergiversation: so when, in the kingdom, contention shall arise concerning those things that are there noted, when the book is appealed to its sentence can not be scorned or avoided with impunity. On this account we have named this book the hoof of dooms; not that, in it, a sentence is given concerning any doubtful matters that come up, but that from it, as from a judgment that has been given, it is not allowed in any way to depart.
D. If it please thee, explain what is a county, what a hundred, what a hide; otherwise the things that have been said will not he clear.
M. The country people know this better; but, as we have heard from them, a hide, from its primitive institution, consists of a hundred acres: but a hundred, of several hundred hides the number not being a fixed ones however; for one consists of many, another of fewer hides. Hience thou wilt frequently find that, in the old privileges of the Anglo-Saxon kings, a hundred (hundredus) is frequently called a centuriate (centuriata). The county, moreover, consists in like manner of hundreds; that is, some of more, some of less, according as the land has been divided by discreet men. The county, then, is called from the count, or the count from the county. It is the count moreover, who receives the third portion of what comes from the pleas in each county. For that sum, which, under the name of a farm, is required from the sheriff does not all arise from the revenues of estates, but in great part from pleas; and of these the count (comes) receives the third part; he is therefore said to be so called because he shares with the fisc, and is a companion (comes) in receiving. Then the sheriff (vice-comes) is so called because he supplies the place of the count in those pleas in which the count shares by reason of his dignity.
D. Do the counts receive those payments from each and all the counties ?
M. By no means: those alone receive them whonn the munificence of the kings, in view of service rendered, or of distinguished probity, has made counts, and on whom this same munificence has decided, by reason of this dignity, to confer them; on some as hereditary, on others for their own persons only.
The exactory roll is that in which, distinctly and diligently enough, are marked the farms of the king which arise from the separate counties, and the sum of which may not, indeed, be diminished, but is frequently increased by the laborious diligence of the justice. The reason of the remaining rolls, such as the yearly one and the others which we mentioned above, which are in the treasury and do not leave it, is clear enough from the foregoing. It remains, therefore, for us to turn to the greater and more necessary institutions of the exchequer, in which, as has been said, consists the more excellent, the more useful, and from many the more occult knowledge of the exchequer.
Hear me, brother, and, with the ears of one hearing, understand what I say unto thee. Thou wilt not repent of thy willingness to spend a short portion of time snatched from idleness upon matters of business. For there are some who do not blush to say in their hearts, " he who lays up knowledge lays up also grief ": to these learning is a burden, and it is a pleasure to play the fool. Therefore the truth is far removed from those who, fearing the pleasant labour of a pursuit, fall into error. They become blind of heart, therefore, and, not seeing the dangers of the way, fall headlong down a precipice. But thee, oh brother, let no day find idle; lest, perchance that condition of human infirmity which is most prone to evil subject thee, off thy guard, to certain of the worst things. But if, by chance, thou Last no affairs, nevertheless invent some honest ones, that thy mind, always exercised, may be more open to learning. Attend, therefore, a little to those matters in which thou hast involved us; not that from them thou wilt harvest great fruits of labour, but only lest thou be idle.
D. I fear lest the twilight of approaching night may put a sudden end to the matters in hand, and lest, omitting many necessary things, thou wilt so hasten that thou will'st free thyself of the importunity of an interrogator
M. May, I rather feared lest, after thy long silence, a long suppressed laugh might be shaking thee on account of my rustic style · or lest, perchance, thou wert silently cogitating how, without hurting me, thou mightest pluck thyself from these matters to which thou hast forced me. Therefore I confess that I had almost put an untimely end to what I was saving: but, nevertheless, since thou art docile and the zeal of attention has not yet grown tepid in thee, I will continue on the path begun. For the purpose, therefore, of complying with the order of business laid down, we must speak, in the first place, concerning summonses: for what debts they are made out namely, and how, and for what purpose. And that these matters may be more fully clear to thee, let the last of these three things be shown before the first, that is, for what purpose they are made.
A writ of summons, which is sealed by the image of the royal authority, having previously been sent out, those who are necessary are called together to the place named for they are not obliged to come unless a summons is first sent. Some, moreover, come in order that they may sit and judge, some that they may pay and be judged. The barons, of whom we spoke above, sit and judge by reason of their office, or by mandate of their prince. But the sheriffs and many others in the kingdom pay and are judged; of whom some are bound to voluntary offerings, some to necessary payments; concerning which we shall speak more fully below in treating of the sheriff. Now since there is a great number of these throughout all the counties, it ought to be expressed in order in the summons sent out, in the case of each one, how much ought to be paid at the next term, the cause also being added; as if it were said, "thou shalt have, from this man, this or that sum for this or this cause." Furthermore if, when the sheriff sits rendering his account, anything is required of any debtor in his county, of which, however, no mention was made in the summons, he will not be compelled to answer; but will rather be excused because a summons of this thing has not gone before. Summonses are made, therefore, for this purpose, that the farms of the king, and the debts which are to be required for different reasons, may flow into the fisc. But there are some things which must necessarily come through the hand of the sheriff, even though no summons concerning them is made out: but these are rather casual than fixed or certain' as will appear from what follows.
I must first tell how, or in what order, they are made out, and lastly, for what debts. :Know then, that when the exchequer of that term in which the summonses are made is dissolved, the debts due the king throughout the different counties are taken by the clerks of the treasury from the great roll of that year and are written down, together with the causes, on smaller rolls; this being done, those whom we call the greater barons go apart, and, each county being mentioned in turn, they decree, concerning its different debtors, for how much each ought to be summoned, consideration being had for the quality of the person, and for the nature of the matter and for the cause for which he is bounder to the king. The authentic yearly roll, also, from which the debts are taken, lies before the treasurer or his clerk, lest there might, perchance, in some way, have been an error in making the abstract of them. There is also another clerk who studiously puts down what they have agreed upon in the matter of the debts of which the abstract has been made; and concerning these a summons is made in these words: " H. king of the English, to that or that sheriff, greeting. See to it as thou lovest thyself and all thy possessions, that thou art at the exchequer in such or such a place, on the day after St. Michael's day, or on the day after the close of Easter, and that thou hast there with thee whatever thou owest of the farm of former years or of this year, and these debts mentioned here by name: from that man 10 marks, for that reason, and so on." Moreover, when all the debts which are contained in the greater yearly roll, with their causes, have thus been marked down there in order, the lesser rolls, those of the itinerant justices, are brought forth; from these are taken what things are, by their labour and industry, owing to the lord king in the different counties; and these being assessed by the greater barons, they are put down in the summonses; these things having been arranged in order, the summons terminates with these words: " and thou shalt have a 1 these with thee in money, tallies and writs and quittances, or they shall be taken from thy farm; witness that or that person, there, at the exchequer." Some have believed that one ought to say: " in money, or (vel) tallies, or writs, or quittances"; not understanding that vel is sometimes used subdisjunctively. Moreover, a contention of this kind concerning words is superfluous, since their meaning is clear: for whether thou sayest " in money and (vel) writs, and quittances," or " in money and (et) writs and quittances," the meaning is the same; so, namely, that in all these things, or some of them, he renders satisfaction for what is contained in the summons. Moreover, since a new disease should be met by new remedies, this addition was made in the summonses by a new statute since the time of king Henry I., namely: that " if by chance thou art summoned for the debt of any one who has not land or chattels in thy bailiwick, and thou knowest in whose bailiwick or county he has them: thou thyself shalt signify to such sheriff or bailiff this same fact by thy writ, some one bearing it who has been sent by thee, and who shall deliver thy writ to him in the county court if he can, or in the presence of many people." A ridiculous and dangerous enough subterfuge of certain people compelled the addition of this which we have stated. For when it became known to which addresses the summonses were sent out, before the summons concerning his debt came to the county, a man, sitting empty handed in his home awaited with confidence the advent of the sheriff and other officials, having emptied his barns and having put his money somewhere away from him, or having transferred it to a safe place; and, by this device, for many years the authority of a royal summons seemed to be eluded, not without loss. For the other sheriff to whose district a man, fearing such summons, had gone over with his property, did not dare to lay hands on his possessions, since he had no mandate to this effect. For this reason, therefore, the clause which we have mentioned was put in the summonses for some years; nor after that did any one have any ground of subterfuge for every debtor not rendering satisfaction in every way; saving, alone, him whom the most extreme want excuses. When, moreover, it had already become clear to all sheriffs and debtors that, in this way, their sophistical impudence could be put an end to, it became unnecessary any longer to add that clause, nor is it added now. The method described, however, of coercing debtors wherever they may have betaken themselves, continues among the sheriffs, and is kept up, being instituted, as it were, by a certain perpetual law.
D. I have heard, already, being told by many, that the exchequer is called together twice in the year, namely at the Easter term and at the Michaelmas term. Thou hast also said, if I remember aright, that the exchequer was not held unless the summonses had previously been sent out. Since, therefore, summonses are made out for each term, I ask thee please to reveal whether the same rule is observed in both summonses, or, if there is a difference in the tenor of the words, what it is and why it is so.
M. It is a great proof of thy advancement that thou Last already known enough to doubt of these things. To be sure it is as certain as possible that the exchequer is convoked and held twice in the year; being preceded, nevertheless, as has been said, by summonses. Thou cost remember very well the terms of both sessions. But mark that, in the Easter term, not accounts, but certain views of accounts are made by the sheriff; wherefore almost nothing of the things that are there done at that time is committed to writing; but the whole is reserved for the other term; and then, in the great yearly roll, the separate items are marked in order; some memoranda, however, which frequently occur, are written apart by the clerk of the treasury; so that, when the exchequer of that term is dissolved, the greater barons may decide concerning them; which things, indeed, on account of the number of them would not easily be recalled unless they were committed to writing. Furthermore there is written what part of his farm the sheriff pays into the treasury; and then, if he fully his obligation, in the same line: " and is quit "; if not, his debt is distinctly put down on the lower line, so that he shall know how much of the total of that term is wanting; and straightway he shall render satisfaction according to the judgment of those presiding. For each sheriff is to pay at that term the half of that farm which accrues from his county in a year. Know, moreover, that in these summonses the tenor of words is not changed unless so far as concerns the term or the place; when for instance, the greater barons have decreed that the exchequer of Easter is to be held in one place and the exchequer of Michaelmas in another. But although the same virtue of words is regarded in both summonses, the marking of the debts set down is different. For in the summons made out against the Easter term, since the year is said to commence then, it shall simply read: `` from such a one thou shalt have 10£." And from this summons he shall not be absolved unless he pay then or render satisfaction for 10£. But when the summons is to be made out against the Michaelmas term, in which that same year is closed and terminated and the yearly roll is made up, there shall be added to the aforesaid 10£ other 10£ or more, according as it shall seem fit to those presiding; and it shall read: '` from such a one thou shalt have 20£." He, however, who had at the Easter term paid 10 of this sum, but now pays 10£ in money and offers a tally for the 10 already paid, shall merit to be absolved from the summons: for it says in the summons `` thou shalt have all these in money and writs and tallies." Know moreover, that, when a summons is made out, if when it is corrected, an error shall be found, it ought not to be cancelled by drawing a line under it, and also not to be erased, because the writing is patent nay rather the summons in which the error was made ought to be entirely obliterated, so that what had been written will be visible to no one; the reason for which, if thou reflectest upon these things, may readily occur to thee.
D. Since, as thou sayest, that writing is patent, and is sent thus to the sheriff, and remains for a long time with him and his people, the safety of the summons is committed to his sole faith. He could, then, with impunity wipe out, change or diminish what he likes, since no copy of it remains with the barons.
M. Perhaps he could if he wished; but it would be a proof of an insane head if, of his own will, he were to subject himself to so great dangers; especially since he could not thus do away with his indebtedness to the kings and scarcely even defer it. For all the debts, for which summonses are made out, are kept diligently noted elsewhere; so that no one could by this device be freed from his debt even if the sheriff tried to bring it about. But for a greater safeguard in this affair we ourselves have seen how, by the archdean of Poictiers, now bishop of Winchester, copies of all summonses were made. Nor were at any time the originals sent out, unless copies of them had been made and diligently corrected. When, moreover, the sheriff sitting to render account, the summons was read by the clerk of the chancellor, the clerk of the archdean, looking at his copy, observed him lest he swerved from the truth. But as time went on, when the number of debts increased immensely, so that the length of one membrane did not suffice for one summons, this manifold and laborious labour was put an end to, and they were content, as formerly, with the original summons alone. Thus thou host, I think, as well as brevity permits, an explanation as to how and for what reason summonses are made. We are now free to examine by whom they ought to be made, although, from what has been said, this, too, is already clear for the most part.
Henry, the illustrious king of the English, is called the second of those kings sharing in this name; but, with regard to administration, he is believed to have been second in ability of mind to no one of modern times: for, from the very beginning of his reign, he directed his whole mind to this, that by many an overthrow he should destroy malcontents and rebels, and should mark in the hearts of men in every way the benefits of peace and faith. Although now, among all people, a wide-spread fame has made commonly known the great deeds of this man, so that it may now seem superfluous to insist on expounding them, yet there is one thing which I cannot pass over in silence, by which alone his singular probity and unheard of piety is established.
This was no work of man, but rather of pitying Godhead
That, with a few, himself nay, the whole world he resisted.
D. How it can be called a great deed to resist himself, I do not see, unless thou make it plain.
M. Although these things do not belong to the work begun or intended, nevertheless, mindful of that high-souled king, I have not been able to pass them over and keep my peace of mind. Thou may'st see, therefore, how miraculously that man resisted himself, against the sons indeed, of his own flesh, nay, further, the sole hope and. singular glory of his soul after God. When they were young and, by reason of their age, waxen beyond measure, and prone to every emotion of the soul, the pertinacious little foxes were carried away by wicked counsels, and, at length, turned their bowels against their father as against an enemy; " and a man's enemies have become they of his own household, and those who guarded his side have taken counsel against trim; saying" to his sons and his enemies " persecute him and take him for there is none to deliver him'; thou would'st say that in them the word of the prophet was fulfilled: " I have nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled against me." When, therefore, the wife was raging against the husband, the sons against their father, the servants, without cause, against their master, would'st thou not say with the best of reasons that a man was warring against himself ? But, against the numerous multitude of his enemies, the magnitude of the Divine grace alone aided him; and, as though God were fighting for him, he so in a short time got hold of almost all the rebels, that he was by far more strongly confirmed in the kingdom than before, by means of that very thing which was to have weakened him.
For those who had conspired against him, in all his strength, came to know through this, most plainly, that the club can not be extorted from the hand of Hercules except by force. Moreover, when they were taken, an unheard of clemency spared the enemies, the inciters of such a tremendous crime; so that few of them sustained the loss of their goods none, however, of their rank or their bodies If thou should'st read the revenge which David visited on the overthrowers of his son Absalom, thou would'st say that Henry had been far more gentle than he: although it is written of him, " I have found a man after mine own heart. Although, then, the great king had an abundant number of precedents, and might have exercised against them even the most shameful revenge, he preferred, nevertheless, to spare rather than to punish those whom he had beaten; in order that, even against their will, they should see his kingdom grow great. May that king, therefore, long live glorious and happy, and for the grace granted may he merit grace from on High. May his noble offspring also live, subject to their father and not unlike to him: and, since they are born to rule over nations, may they learn, by their father's and by their own example, how glorious it is " to spare the subjugated and to vanquish rebels." But let us proceed with what we have undertaken. But if thou cost wish to be more fully instructed concerning these and other mighty acts of his, examine, if it please thee, the book of which we spoke above (Tricolumnis). When, therefore, after the shipwrecked condition of the kingdom, peace had been reestablished, the king strove to renew again the times of his grandfather; and, choosing discreet men, he divided the kingdom into six parts, so that the chosen justices whom we call itinerant might go through it and restore the laws which had been abandoned. His envoys, therefore, being ready with their advice in the different counties, and exhibiting the fulness of justice to those who considered themselves wronged, assuaged the labours and expenses of the poor. It came about, moreover, in the case of these people, that the different misdemeanours were, for the most part, punished in different ways according to the nature of the matters, so that some made corporal, others, pecuniary amends. The pecuniary penalties of the delinquents, then, are carefully noted in the rolls of the itinerant justices, and when the exchequer sits they are handed over to the treasury in the presence of all. The justices, moreover, must see to it that they deliver to the treasurer correct rolls and ones arranged in order; for, having once handed them over, it will not be lawful even for the justices themselves to change one iota, even in a matter on which all the justices are of one mind.
D. In so far it is to be wondered at that, since they are the authors of their writings, and nothing is collected except he their own industry and labour, they may not, even when they consent together as to anything, change their own writing.
M. Inasmuch as the time for correction has been given them, and they knew the fixed rule, they have themselves to thank; for the total of the offerings will be required either from the debtors, if they are condemned to this, or from the justices themselves. So that if in the roll they have put any one down as condemned to pay 20, and, after the pledge has already been handed over to the treasurer, they shall remember that he may not be held but for ten: the judges themselves shall render satisfaction for the rest; for their writing, made and corrected with deliberation, may not be recalled after its surrender. The treasurer causes the debts of the rolls received to be diligently and distinctly marked by counties in the great yearly roll, together with the reasons: the names of the justices, as has been said, being first put down; so that, in this way, there may be clearness with regard to the things exacted. Prom these, therefore, the summonses shall be made out as follows: " according to the pleas of these or those men N. N., from this man so much," according as those presiding have formerly estimated the debts. Thou host learnt from the aforesaid, as we believe, so much as is necessary as to for what debts and how, and for what purpose, summonses are made out: now let us pass on to the duties of the sheriff. It is fitting, moreover, that thou should's" give alert attention to what is to be said; for, a, was said in the beginning, in these things consists the higher science of the exchequer.
All the sheriffs, therefore, and the bailiffs, to whom summonses are directed, are bound by the same necessity of the law; that is, by the authority of the royal mandate; that, namely, on the day mentioned and at the place designated, they shall come together and render satisfaction for their debts. In order that this may be clearer to thee, look more closely at the tenor of the summons itself, for it reads: " See to it, as thou cost love thyself and all thy belongings, that thou art at the exchequer of such and such a time and place; and that thou hast with thee whatever thou owest of the old farm and the new, and these debts written below." Pay attention, then, for two things are said which fit in with the two which follow; for this, " see to it as thou cost love thyself," refers to " that thou art there and there at such and such a time and place "; that expression, however, " and as thou cost love all thy belongings," seems to refer to this: " and that thou hast with thee these debts written below "; as if it were openly said, " thy absence, whoever thou art that receiveth a summons, unless it can be excused by causes necessary and defined by law, will redound to the peril of thy head; for thou wilt seem thus to have spurned the royal mandate, and to have acted irreverently in contempt of the royal majesty, if, being summoned concerning the matters for which thou tart bounder to the king, thou cost neither come nor send one to excuse thee. But if thou have been the cause that the appended debts were not paid, then, from the farm which thou art about to pay, the other debts for which thou art summoned shall be taken; but the farm shall be completed from thy chattels and the revenues of thy estate; thou thyself, meanwhile, if the barons have decreed it, being placed in a safe place in liberal custody." When, therefore, the aforesaid summons shall have been received by the sheriff, on the very day named he shall come and show himself to the president, if he happen to be there, or to the treasurer if the president himself should not be present. Then, having saluted the greater barons, he shall have that day to himself, being about to return to the exchequer both on the morrow and on each day thereafter. But if, by chance, he shall neither come nor send in advance a just excuse, on the first day he shall be condemned to pay to the king one hundred shillings of silver for each county; on the next, ten £ of silver; likewise on the third, as we have heard from those who were our predecessors, whatever movable goods he possesses shall be at the disposal of the king; but on the fourth, since now from this he is convicted of contempt for the royal majesty, he shall lie at the sole mercy of the king not only as to his property, but also as to his own person. There are those, nevertheless, who think that for the whole total a pecuniary punishment alone will suffice; in such wise, namely, that on the first day those absenting themselves should be punished to the extent of a hundred shillings; on the second, likewise to a hundred shillings; and so on for each day to the extent of another hundred. I do not disagree with them; that is, however, if he against whom the wrong has been done consents to this, it is probable enough, moreover, that the king would be willing to admit this kind of punishment, since his remarkable grace is slow to punish and swift to reward.
D. It is the part of an imprudent and alike impudent hearer to interrupt the flowing pen before an end has been reached of the things which are being said; and so I have borne it, revolving in mv mind what in part disturbs me: for thou hast said that if it rested with the sheriff that the debts appended were not paid, then they should be taken from the farm which he is about to pay. If, therefore, the sheriff shall have distributed by writ of the king, either in public works or otherwise, all that he was about to have paid in, what will be done ?
M. When, by mandate of the king, he shall have expended the farm of the county either for the expenses of the court, or in works or on anything else, if he is found to be backward in paying his debts, he shall be detained, on his oath, where the greater barons shall decree, until he give satisfaction for them as he would have done for his farm.
D. Since upon a sheriff summoned, and not coming or excusing himself, there falls a heavy loss both to his movable and his immovable property and to his own person, unless he explain away his absence as not voluntary but necessary: I ask, if it please thee, that thou delay not to reveal what causes, when summoned, he can allege as sufficient for his absence.
M. There are many kinds of excuses by which the absence of the sheriff is considered condoned, provided, nevertheless, that, the reason or excuse having been sent in before, he shall, on the day named, send ahead through lawful men the money of the king previously collected; and they, handing to the president the letters of excuse, and alleging the necessary causes of their master's absence, shall confirm the same, even by an oath taken in their own persons, if it shall please the president. But if the sheriff or any servant who has been summoned, detained by infirmity, can not be present, he shall add in his letters of excuse which are sent to the exchequer: `'and since I am unable to come, I send to you these my servants N. and N., that they may take my place and do what pertains to me; I being ready to ratify what they shall do."
He who excuses himself, moreover, shall provide that one or the other of those sent shall be a knight or other layman, joined to him by reason of blood or otherwise; that is, one to whose faith and discretion he may not hesitate to commit himself and his interests: for clergy alone should not be taken for this purpose; because, if they act wrongly, it will not be fitting to seize them for money or for the rendering of accounts. But if a sheriff who has been summoned shall happen to be absent, being hindered, not indeed through sickness, but for some other cause, he can, perhaps, even then be frreed from the punishment established: but no one shall be received for him to render his account except his first born son; not his general steward, even though he himself have sent his writ saying that he would ratify what such and such a one should do for him. But solely by the authority of a mandate of the king, or indeed of the president if the king be absent, can another be substituted to render his account. If, however, he shall be doing other business assigned to him by the lord king, he himself shall name some one present in his own person at the exchequer, who, according to what has been said above, can and ought to transact the business of the absent sheriff. That writ, moreover, of the king or the president or of the sheriff sending an excuse shall be kept in the box of the marshal!, of which we spoke above, in testimony of this matter. But if the sheriff, being needed elsewhere by the king, shall have been called by him outside of the kingdom; or, having received permission for family affairs, shall have arranged to leave the country, he shall first go to the president, and with his own lips shall delegate his functions at the exchequer to whatever lawful man he wishes; this being done, when he is absent he is neither compelled to send a writ nor to excuse his absence. But where the sheriff excuses himself on account of infirmity, when they shall come to write his account in the yearly roll, it shall road: "William, sheriff of London; Robert, his son, for him, renders account for the farm of London." But if, by mandate of the king, another is substituted for him, or he with his own lips, as has been said, shall have designated to the president some one in his place, then in all respects it is to read as if he himself, in his own person, were sitting and rendering an account.
D. Is illness the sole sufficient excuse by which one who absents himself after having been summoned can be preserved from harm ?
M. Far from it; for there are many at the exchequer; but this in trials, as well as in other ecclesiastical and judicial matters, is the most usual. Thou must, however, be mindful of the things that have been said, in order to understand that no excuse brings it about that the money of the king which has been collected from a county is detained with impunity in the sheriff's keeping, or is not, on the day named, sent to the exchequer. Having sent the money, therefore, he may be excused through illness as has been said. Likewise if his first-born son, whom he has declared to be his future heir, should be considered nigh unto death, he will be excused. Likewise if his wife have begun to be in danger with the pangs of child-birth, or for any other cause lie nigh unto death, since she is a portion of his flesh, he can be excused. Likewise if his lord who is commonly called liege that is, he to whom alone, by reason of his dominion, he is so bound that as against him he owes nothing to any one except alone the king shall summon him to aid him, he being proceeded against in court for his own fief or for the greater part of it, or for any other reason which seems to redound to the detriment of that lord's standing or of his body, he can be excused; provided, however, that that lord is not able further to do without him, or otherwise to avoid the litigation. But if that same lord have entered a suit against another in an affair of this kind, and it is in his power without great harm to postpone the day, if he have summoned a sheriff of the lord king in the person of his vassal, indeed, the latter shall not be bound to come for he can not then be excused from the exchequer. Likewise if that same lord, oppressed by the weight of illness, wishes to mate a will in the presence of his people, and have called him in for this purpose with his other faithful men, he shall be excused. Likewise if his lord or his wife or his son shall have paid the debt of the flesh, and he shall have seen to the necessary funeral arrangements, he shall merit to be excused. There are also many other excuses for the absence of a sheriff, necessary, indeed, and determined by rule, which we do not deny or exclude; nay, when they shall seem sufficient to the greater barons, we willingly receive them; but, for the sake of example, we have given those which at present have occurred to our mind, they being, as it were, the more frequent ones.
D. I seem to gather from the aforesaid that a knight or other discreet person may be made a sheriff or other bailiff by the king, even though he hold nothing from the kings but only from others.
M. This prerogative belongs to the dignity of a public function, that no matter whose vassal any man in the kingdom is, no matter for whom he may do military or other service, if he be found necessary to the kings he can be freely taken and deputed to the royal service.
D. From this, indeed, I can see that that is true which is said:
"Dost thou not know that of kings the hands are extremely lengthy ?"
But now already, if it please thee, do not delay putting thy hand to the occupations of the sheriff; for on these matters, warned by thee, I have concentrated the whole zeal of my attention; knowing that in them, as has been said, the higher knowledge of the exchequer should be sought.
M. I congratulate thee on being mindful of what has been said; by which, I confess, thou hast added a stimulus to my almost languishing pen. know, then, that the sheriff, unless a test has first been made and the debts for which he was summoned have been paid, is not allowed to take his seat for the account; but that when he shall have come and already taken his seat, the other sheriffs are excluded; and he shall sit alone with his people, about to reply to the interrogations. He shall see to it, moreover that on the day itself, or on the day preceding, it shall have become known to the debtors of his county on what day he is going to sit and render account; and also, around the building of the exchequer and the village or the town, he shall, by the voice of a herald, make known to them that he is to sit then or there. Then when all are seated and listening, the treasurer, who, as has been said, by reason of his office sits opposed to him, asks him if he is ready to render an account; he replying, "I am ready," the treasurer goes on: " say, therefore, first, if the alms, if the tithes, if the fixed liveries, if the lands given are the same this year as they have been in the past." But if he reply that they are the same, then the scribe of the treasurer shall, in writing down these fixed payments, follow diligently the roll of the past year; the treasurer looking on the while, lest by chance the hand of the scribe should err. And since, in the chapter on the office of the scribe of the treasurer, I remember to have said enough concerning the order of writing, I pass these things over at present
D. Speak then, if it please thee, concerning those things which thou long since did'st put off until treating of the duties of the sheriffs; how it is, namely, that some lands are given by the king blank, some by tale; for this has troubled me from the beginning.
M. It is clear enough to thee, I believe, from the fore going, how it is that certain farms are paid blank, others by tale. A farm, indeed, is paid blank when it has been blanched by testing.
Who, indeed, was the author of this institution, and what the reason for starting it, is well enough known. We say, then, that a farm is paid by tale, when satisfaction is given for it by counting alone, and not by testing. When, therefore, the king has conferred on any one any estate, together with the hundred court and the pleas which come from this, they say that that estate was conferred on that man blank: and when, retaining for himself the hundred court through which the farm is said to have been blanched, the king has simply given the estate, not decreeing that it shall be with the hundred court, or blank, it is said to have been given by tale. Moreover, it is necessary that he on whom it has been conferred shall, at the Michaelmas term, bring to the exchequer the writ of the king, or his charter, for the estate conferred, so that it may be computed to the sheriff; otherwise it will not be written in the great yearly roll, nor will it be computed to the sheriff; it shall be written, moreover, thus: after the alms and tithes and fixed liveries of both kinds, at the head of the line: " to lands given to such a one N. 20£ blank, in such a place; and to such a one N. 20£ by tale, in such a place." Remark also, that if, perchance, among the lands given, thou findest: " to such a one or such a one 10£, blank or by tale, from a loan of the Since," when he who rejoiced in the benefit of the accord modation or loan shall pay the debt of fate, no opportunity is given to his wife or his children or to any one of his name, of making reclamation on account of that loan, unless by favour of the king; just as if it had been said, " to such a one 10 so long as it shall please the king."
D. What is what thou did'st speak of as liveries of both kinds ?
M. Some of the liveries are of poor people; as when solely from the promptings of charity, one penny a day, or two or more, are accorded to some one by the king for food and clothing. But some are of people who do service so that they receive them as wages; such are the custodians of the palaces, the guardians of the royal temples the pipers, the seizers of wolves, and the like. These, then are liveries of different kinds which are paid for different reasons, but are counted among the fixed payments. And' mark that, although the king is free to confer these liveries on any poor people whatever, they nevertheless, by ancient custom, are usually assigned to those who minister at court, and who, having no income, fall into bodily sickness and become unfit for labour. All of these things having been put down in order, the treasurer asks the sheriff if in addition to the fixed payments, he have expended anything by writ of the king. Then, one by one, the sheriff hands over to the clerk of the chancellor the writs of the king which have been sent to him. He, having read them in public, delivers them to the treasurer, so that the latter according to the form in which the writs have been drawn up, may furnish appropriate words for the writing of his roll: for he, as has been said, prescribes, and the others who write with him take down from his roll. This being done, the sheriff shows if, not through writs but through the fixed rule of the exchequer, he have expended any thing which ought to be computed to him; such are the payments of the king's approvers, and likewise those things which are spent in carrying out sentences and judgments.
Remark, moreover, that sentences are here usually called executions of the law carried out against any men; but judgments, the ordeals of the glowing iron or of boiling water. The liveries of approvers, therefore, are made on this basis. On account of the innumerable riches of this kingdom, and likewise on account of the inclination to drunkenness inborn in the natives which lust always follows as a companion, it happens that, in it, thefts, open or secret, and also homicides and crimes of different kinds, are frequently committed; the harlots adding incentives, so that there is nothing which those who subject themselves to their counsels will not dare or attempt. When therefore, any one one notoriously guilty of these things is taken by the royal servants who look out for the peace of the kingdom, on account of the great number of scoundrels and in order that, even in this way, the land may be purged from the miscreants, the judges at times agree upon this: that if any one of this kind, confessing his crime, be willing to challenge the accomplices in that crime, and be able, by engaging in a duel, to prove the crime of which he charges the other or others, he shall escape the death which he merited, and, with safety to his body, departing, nevertheless, beyond the boundaries of the entire kingdom, shall be dismissed and swear not to return. Some, moreover, having previously made an agreement with the judges, even though they prove their charges do not, nevertheless, go away in safety, but escaping hanging or some other disgraceful kind of death, which, by their own confession, they have merited, being punished however with mutilation of their members, become a miserable spectacle among the people and restrain rash undertakings by their terrible examples. Since, therefore, the charge of that crime being brought up against him and proved, he can save his life; and likewise, since whatever seems to promote the peace of the kingdom is, without doubt, to the advantage of the king, he is called a king's approver. From the day, moreover, on which he is received for the purpose of proving, until his promise has been fulfilled, or until he fails, he shall receive from the fisc each day one penny for his support, which penny is computed to the sheriff solely by custom of the exchequer. But if that approver shall have been ordered to be removed to another place, so that, it being easier for the judges to assemble there, he may fulfil his promise or perhaps, failing, may receive the condign punishment of his crimes: only the sum which he provides for taking vehicles thither and for furnishing him with victuals, shall be computed to the sheriff by custom; but the rest, not unless by writ of the king. There are, moreover, in certain counties, many who, as a privilege of their estates, lay avenging hands upon tee condemned; so that they punish some by hanging, others by mutilation of the members, or in other ways, according to the measure of the crime perpetrated. There are, on the other hand, counties in which those who are thus to be condemned are only punished when cash has first been paid by the fisc. Whatever, therefore, in order to put into effect these judgments or sentences, is paid by the sheriff to men of detestable avarice who receive this for the effusion of blood, it is computed to him as by custom of the exchequer; that is, not by writ of the king. And there is another thing which ought to be computed to the sheriff by custom alone: when the treasure of the king, being about to be borne by decree of the greater barons from one place to another has need of vehicles and minor things of the kind, the sheriff, by order of the treasurer, or the chamberlains, or their servants sent for this purpose, pays from his farm what is necessary, and this is computed to the sheriff without a writ, the treasurer himself, however, or any one of the aforesaid who has ordered this to be done, bearing witness concerning this matter in the presence of the greater barons; and then it shall read in the roll: "for these or these necessaries of the treasury, this or that, through such and such a one." Likewise if a royal fish is taken, a turbot or a whale or another of the kind, what is paid out by the sheriff for salting it and for furnishing other necessaries is computed without a writ. Likewise what is spent in cultivating the vines on the domains of the king, and in vintaging them, or in furnishing receptacles and other necessaries, is computed without a writ, on the oath of the sheriff, concerning which oath, how it is taken, whether once or oftener, we shall speak below. These, therefore, are the things which occur to us at present which are to be placed to the account of the sheriff by custom alone. Now let us continue concerning the other things which pertain to the account from the body of the county.
It happens sometimes that the king gives orders to the sheriff by his writ, that for fortifying castles or for building edifices and the like, he shall furnish from his farm what is necessary, by view of two or three men whose names are expressed in that writ; and that he adds at the end a short clause but one necessary for those making up the accounts: " and it shall be computed to thee at the exchequer." When, therefore, the time shall have arrived for the account of the sheriff, those who were chosen as overseers of the works come together, and having taken an oath in public that, to the best of their knowledge, the sum named has been expended to the king's advantage on that public work, a writ of the king shall there be made out at the exchequer, under the witness of the president and of another whom he shall name, in which that sum concerning which they have testified, and likewise the names of the overseers, shall be expressed; and then at length it shall be computed to the sheriff. But if, through these expenditures, the work of the king shall have been completed, that first writ, concerning the furnishing of the necessary amounts, which was sent to the sheriff, and this last one which is made at the exchequer, are placed in the marshal's box for the accounts rendered. If, however, something remains to be done on that work, the sheriff shall keep by him the writ that was sent him, until that same work is completed; so that from it he may have authority to furnish the amounts necessary for completing the work; but the other one shall be closed up in the box which has been mentioned. For when it is written in the yearly roll, " to that work 100£," there should consequently be added: "by writ of the king and by view of these N." But if there were no writ of the king containing the amount and the names of the overseers, the writing of the roll which says " by writ of the king " might seem to be false.
D. By this discourse I have been so thoroughly satisfied that I willingly omit those things about which I had already opened my mouth to inquire. For when a writ of the king is brought to the sheriff concerning the payment of the necessary sums for this or that work, and it is added: " and it will be computed to thee at the exchequer," or this: " spend from thy farm," which is almost of the same authority, it seemed superfluous that he should be put to the trouble of another writ; but I did not, indeed, understand that in such writ the amount was to be expressed, so that thus it might correspond to the authentic yearly roll, the tenor of words being the same.
M. Know likewise that in the affairs of the exchequer it is different than in other ones: for it is said in very many cases that what is expressed does harm, and what is not expressed does no harm: but here what is expressed helps and what is not expressed harms one. For example, if any one is bounder to the king for a hundred A, and brings to the exchequer his writ, that he is to be quit of the debt which he owes him, and even adds " the whole," and likewise expresses the reason but not the amount: he shall not be absolved on this account, but rather, through this, shall merit delay until another summons. For it should have been written in the roll: " remitted by writ of the king, to such a one N. one hundred pounds';; but since that is seen to be not altogether cancelled which is not yet expressed in the writ, he is compelled w ith much labour to seek the means by which he may merit to be absolved: therefore, in these matters, what is not expressed harms.
D. With all due reverence to the president and those who sit with him, it does not seem as if the mandate of the king were here fulfilled in all regards; for he is not quit whom the king, adding also the cause for which he was bounden to him, ordered to be quit.
M. May, a truce in these matters to the subtlety of thy scrupulous mind. Thou should'st have known, indeed, that ignorance of a law does not excuse the very men who have most to do with the law. He, therefore, who is bounder to the king, must diligently inquire how he can be fully absolved from this that is, according to the fixed law concerning these things; but if he have not done so he shall lay it to the charge not of the president but of himself; for the president is not allowed to change one iota of that which he brought him in the writ: since, therefore, he is not quit through this, he shall hasten to obtain what is needful.
D. I perceive that these things are observed principally on this account, that they may not be contradictory to the writing of the roll. But now let us proceed concerning the other matters.
M. When, therefore, all those things shall have been noted down which are either fixed or are to be computed by writ of the king, or by custom of the exchequer, then the account is left unfinished, as it were, and they turn to other things; for " and is quit" or "and he owes," by which, indeed, the account is said to be finished, is not written in the yearly roll until satisfaction shall have been given for every thing that is contained in the summons; the cause of which proceeding will be clear enough from what is to follow. After the account for the body of the county that is, for the principal farm, which, as has been said, is left unfinished until the end, a moderate space being left, the account is put down of the old farm of the county; that is, whatever by any chance had remained over from the previous year: but it shall only be thus if the sheriff who then served shall have been changed. But if the same one continue also in this year, he shall make satisfaction for the old farm before beginning an account of the new, and the old one shall be distinctly and diligently written down in the beginning, and afterwards the new one. For these things, know that the changed sheriff of the old farm is to be summoned like any other of the debtors; not for a part of it but for the whole, because it is a farm the payment of which ought not to be put off. But it suffices to send a summons for a debt of the old farm, for which he is bounder who is still serving, under this form of words: " whatever thou dost owe from the old farm and the new." Concerning which enough has been said above in the chapter on summonses.
After these things, moreover, a space of about six lines being left, there follows the account concerning escheats and trespass-lands, or, as we more usually say, " concerning purprestures and escheats." In the middle of the line, indeed, is made a heading in capital letters, "concerning purprestures and escheats "; but at the beginning of the lower one is written thus: "this same sheriff renders account for the farm of purprestures and escheats; namely for 40£ from this and for 20£ from that"; and then afterwards, according as, from the roll of the itinerant justices, it has previously been put down in the yearly one " total 100£." Then, at the end of that line where the total is, is written: in the treasury 20£ in so many tallies and owes four times 20£; or " paid in the treasury and is quit." But thou wilt learn the order of writing these things better by ocular demonstration than by a verbal description, however detailed.
D. What these escheats and trespass-lands are, and for what reason they flow into the fisc, I cannot see unless thou wilt explain it more fully.
M. It happens sometimes through the negligence of the sheriff or his servants, or also on account of a season of warfare continued for a long time, that those dwelling near the estates which are called crown-lands, usurp for themselves some portion of them and join it to their own possessions. When, therefore, the itinerant justices, through the oath of lawful men, shall have seized these, they shall be appraised separately from the farm of the county, and handed over to the sheriffs that they may answer for them separately; and these we call purprestures or trespass-lands. And when they are seized they are taken, as has been said, from their possessors, and henceforth go to the fisc. But if he from whom the trespass-land is taken be the author of the deed, then, in addition, unless the king spare him, he shall be pecuniarily most severely punished: but if he be not the author, but the heir of the author, then the revocation of that estate alone suffices for punishment. From which, indeed, as from many other things, the mercy of the king is proved; inasmuch as so enormous an excess of the father is not punished on the son who, until the inquest was made, was enriched at a loss to the public power.
Escheats, to proceed, are commonly called what falls to the fisc when those who are tenants in chief of the king die and there does not remain an heir by blood. Concerning these, moreover, together with the purprestures, the accounts are made under one rubric; so, however, that the names of the separate items are expressed in order. But when the father Of the family, be he knight or sergeant, who holds from the king in chief, shall have paid his debt to fate, leaving children, however, of which the eldest is a minor, his revenues, indeed, revert to the fist; but in this case it is not simply called escheat but escheat with heir. And thus neither is the heir taken from the inheritance nor the inheritance from him; but, being placed, together with his inheritance, under the guardianship of the king for the time of his pupillary age, both he and the other children shall recede from that inheritance, through the officials of the king, what is necessary. The remaining sums, however, which come from it, go to the royal uses. The accounts for them, moreover, are made separately; for not by perpetual, but by a certain temporary right, are they due to the fisc. For when the heir who is now a minor, having attained the benefits of a lawful age, shall know how to make disposition for himself and those belonging to him, he shall receive from the royal munificence what is due to him by paternal right; some, free, as it were by the sole favour of the prince; some, on promising a certain sum; concerning which, when the account shall be made, it shall read in the yearly roll: `' that or that person renders account for 100£ for the relief of the land of his father; in the treasury so much, and he owes so much." Concerning this, moreover, no further account shall be made in the yearly roll; for henceforth it does not revert any more to the fisc. But so long as it is in the hand of the king, it shall be written of thus in the yearly roll: "such a sheriff renders account for the farm of such an honour " if it is a barony; "in the treasury so much, and, for the care of the children of such a one, so much by writ of the king "; and this shall be made out there at the exchequer by custom "and he owes so much," or " and he is quit." But if this be a minor holding, so that there are one or two or three estates, it shall read thus: " that sheriff " or " that person N." he to whom the king chanced to have deputed the care of that matter " renders account for the farm of that land N., which belonged to that man N., which the king horde in his hand," or, " which is in the hand of the king with the heir "; " in the treasury so much, and owes so much ", or " and he is quit." Notice, moreover, that so long as that honour or estate shall be in the hand of the king, with the heir, all the alms and payments of the poor which were established by the former lords out of sole regard for charity shall be paid in their entirety to those to whom they are due, and shall be computed to the administrator at the exchequer: but the wages of servants, who may have seemed necessary to the lords for the performing of any services and have received their position for this purpose, shall be paid at will while the king has possession. When, moreover, the heritage shall have come into the hand of the heir he should inhere in the footsteps of his father; so that, indeed, as long as those shall live for whom these payments were established to be enjoyed during life, he shall satisfy them; and after this, if he wish, he shall use or not use their services.
D. Thou did'st say, if I remember aright, that if any one holding in chief from the king should die and leave a minor as heir, he who was left receives at length, after attaining his majority what is due him from the king some without payment some on promising money Moreover, what is thus paid thou cost call a relief. Say, therefore, if, from every estate which is held of the king in chief the relief ought to be exacted to the same amount, or if not to the same amount, wherefore this ?
M. I seem to have armed thee to my own ruin. For conjecturing others from the things that have been said thou cost vex me with armed questions. know, then, that a different amount arises. from the reliefs that are due to the king according to the different ranks of the possessors; for some, indeed, hold in chief from the king crown fiefs greater, namely, or lesser baronies. If, therefore, a father having a possession of this kind die, leaving an heir who is already adult, the latter shall give satisfaction for these things, not according to a fixed sum, but according to what he can obtain from the king. But if the heir be a minor, being placed in wardship, he shall await his majority; then moreover, either gratis as has been said, or, like the adult at the good pleasure of the king, he shall obtain his paternal heritage. But if any one should die, holding at the time a knight's fee from the king not, indeed, a crown fief, but rather one belonging to some barony which, for some reason, had lapsed into the hand of the king; such as a bishopric when the see is vacant: the heir of the dead man, if he be an adult, shall pay for a knight's fee 100 shillings; for two 10£, and so on, according to the number of knights which the heritage had owed to the lord before it had lapsed to the fist. But if an heir is left who is a minor, what comes from his heritage shall, by reason of the wardship, fall to the fisc for the time that he is under age, as has been said; if he have been left by his fattier an adult already, he shall pay for each knight's fee 100 shillings, or even proportionately less; that is, 50 shillings if he possess a half of a knight's fee, and so on. Nor may it be hidden from thee that, from him whom, together with the fruit of his possession, thou cost have in custody for several years, thou wilt not be able to ask a relief when he comes to his majority.
D. In this matter the law judges for the wards, decrees as well becomes pious minds.
M. Thus it is; but let us continue concerning what we have undertaken. There is likewise also a third kind of escheats which comes to the exchequer by perpetual right. When any tenant in chief of the king, conscious to himself of a crime committed, whether he be accused of it or not, nevertheless leaving all that he has, seeks to save his life by flight: or if, being convicted of that of which he is accused, or confessing the same, he is judged unworthy at the same time of his land and of his life: all things which were his by right are straightway confiscated; and all his revenues by a yearly, nay, also by a perpetual right, are paid into the exchequer by the sheriff, and what comes from the sale of what is movable among them goes to the king. Likewise if a man of whatsoever condition, or the slave or freeman of whatsoever lord, through fear of the more rigid law which the king has established on account of criminals, shall flee from his home, and, during the terms fixed and defined by law, shall not have presented himself or excused himself, or also if, the neighbourhood raising a hue against him, being suspected and afterwards taken, he shall be convicted by the fixed law of the assize as guilty of the crime: all his movable goods go to the fisc, the immovable, however, to the lords. The prices, however, of his movable goods shall be handed in by the sheriff to the exchequer, and shall be marked thus in the yearly roll: " the same sheriff renders account of the chattels of fugitives and of those mutilated by the assize of such a place; namely, from this one 5, from that one 10," and so on through the separate headings, their names being expressed and the sums which arise from the chattels of the different ones. At the end, moreover, shall be put down the total of all, and near the end of that same line in which the total is shall be written: " in the treasury 40£ in so and so many tallies, and he owes 10£," or " and he is quit." These, oh brother, are the things which we mentioned above which are to be carried to the exchequer by the sheriff even though no summons shall have preceded. Such is also treasure dug out of the ground, or otherwise found. Likewise, when any one having a lay estate, or also a citizen, practices public usury, if he die intestate, or also if, not giving satisfaction to those whom he has defrauded, he is seen to have made a will concerning his unrighteous acquisitions, but has not distributed these, nay rather has kept them by him; since, thus intent on gain, the desire of possessing is not believed to have left him: his money and all his movables are straightway confiscated, and, without a summons, are carried by officials to the exchequer. The heir of the deceased, moreover, may rejoice that he still has the paternal estate and the movable property, which were all but withdrawn from hum.
D. With regard to the foregoing remarks which have been made about usurers, a grave question strikes my mind, which, if it please thee, I should like to have more fully explained; for thou did'st say: " when any one having a lay estate, or also a citizen, practices public usury, etc."; from which words it seems that a certain distinction of persons can be made among those who are thus delinquent, and that the condition of clergy is one, that of laymen another, when they are equal in crime. Likewise from that which is added, " practices public usury," I presume that there can be a kind that is not public, and I am altogether ignorant whether any one who continues in it is subject to the law concerning that which is public.
M. In vain did I think to satisfy thee with short answers and commonplaces, since from such thou cost elicit a question, the explanation of which has hitherto been hidden from some of the skilled. But what thou sayest; " from thy words the condition of the clergy and of laymen who are thus delinquent seems to be unequal, when they are equal in crime," I do not approve of; for, as in their grades, so do they differ in their guilt; according to that saying: " the loftier the grade, the more grave the fall." Likewise, also, as it has seemed to some, they are unequal in good and meritorious works, for laymen, who are less bound by the restraint of a vow, seem to merit ampler grace; just as, in perverse acts, those who are under a vow of religion offend more gravely. But so much for these matters. Thou hast, indeed, from what precedes, a means of answering the first part of thy question. For inasmuch as a clerk practicing usury deserves to lose the privilege of his dignity, he merits for himself a like punishment with a layman who is thus delinquent, namely, that, when he himself dies, all his movable goods are due to the fisc. In fact we have heard from prudent persons that it is so. Against a clerk or a lay Christian thus delinquent, the royal power has no claim so long as they are alive, for there remains time for repentance; but he is the rather reserved for an ecclesiastical tribunal, to be condemned according to the quality of his rank. When, moreover, he shall have fulfilled the decree of fate, all his goods, the church having no claim on them, go to the king: unless, as has been said, while life remained he have worthily repented and, his will being made, he have entirely alienated from himself what he shall have decided to will away. It remains now for us to explain what we call public usury, and what not public; then, whether those who err in either are within the scope of the same law. We call it, therefore, public and common usury when, after the manner of the Jews, one is about to recede in kind, by convention, more than one has lent, as a pound for a mark, or, for a pound of silver two pence a week of gain, besides the principal: not public, indeed, but none the less to be condemned, when one receives any estate or church in return for a loan, and, the principal remaining intact, takes for himself the fruits of it until that principal have been paid. This kind, on account of the labour and expense which are usually bestowed upon agriculture, seems to be more allowable; but, beyond a doubt it is sordid and rightly to be counted as usury. But if the v creditor, avaricious and prone to the ruin of his soul, have seen fit to have the matter so expressed in writing that it shall read: " be it known to all, that I, N., owe X. one hundred marks of silver; and for these hundred marks I have pledged to him such a piece of land for £10, until I or my heir shall pay to him or his heir the aforesaid hundred marks ": when, after the death of the creditor, the tenor of this infamous charter shall come to the notice of the king or the chief justice, first, the foul pursuit of usury shall be condemned, and the creditor, betrayed by his writing, shall be judged a usurer, unworthy of his movable goods. But if he, whose estate it is, shall in some way have obtained from the king that that which was thus alienated shall be restored to him, he shall be bounder to the king for the whole principal, even if the creditor shall have possessed the estate for two years or more; the munificence of the king, however, usually enters into an agreement concerning the amount of that total, chiefly on account of the gift of especial grace which imposes on him the duty of preferring those who are faithful; and, furthermore, because in the name of the public power he is about to receive all the goods of that creditor or usurer who had grown rich to the enormous detriment of a faithful subject. There are also many other things which pertain separately to the fisc, which cannot easily be brought under one rubric; for they are not fixed but casual. The accounts of the escheats of this third kind, however, are made out not above, after the farms, but below, after all the pleas and before the chattels of fugitives: so that they, by their actual position, may be seen to pertain to the fisc on account of the enormous faults of the delinquents.
D. I wonder at the things that thou host said; for they do not seem to be able to agree with what goes before. For since it is free to the lords of bondsmen not only to transfer them but also to alienate them in every kind of way, as has been said above; and since they are rightly considered lords, not only of their chattels but also of their bodies: it is to be wondered at why, when the lord of the goods and of the guilty man has committed no offence against the law, he should be deprived of his possession. For it would seem just that the decree of the king should punish an excess in the person of the one who committed it, but that the movable goods, together with the estates themselves, should go to the use of the lords.
M. What troubles thee troubles me also; but I think it superfluous to delay long over these things, since they are foreign to the matters undertaken. But to satisfy thee: know that it is so on account of the law of the king alone; nor is there, indeed, anyone who may presume to act counter to a royal decree, which is made for the good of the peace. But if the chattels of their servants who were condemned by law came to the lords, perchance because the fervid thirst of human cupidity had a place in their midst, some would revel, on account of a small gain, in the slaughter of their servants even when innocent: therefore the king himself, to whom, even by God, the general care of his subjects is entrusted, decreed this to be so, in order that thus the guilty, satisfying the law, may be punished in the body, and that, their movable goods being retained by himself, they may not be exposed to their domestic enemies that is, to their lords. But, as we have said, the law of the king alone, made at the voice of necessity for the good of the peace, is the principal solution of this question.
D. I see that it does not happen without reason. Dow, if it please thee, continue. But there remains something in the foregoing which I should wish, if it please thee, to have more thoroughly explained. For thou did'st say that the movable goods of fugitives and those mutilated bylaws in consequence of a summons are brought to the exchequer and are written in the yearly roll in the proper place: thou Fast not said, however, what ought to be done with the chattels of robbers and thieves; whether, namely, they pertain to the king, or to whom they ought by right to go.
M. The condition is different of robbers, who are also called manifest thieves, and of those who steal in secret. Furthermore, of these as well as of those there are two kinds, from each of which the chattels go to different persons in a different way. Some robbers, indeed,
As well as some thieves, are lawless-outlaws, as we more usually call them, some not: they become outlaws or lawless, moreover, when, being lawfully summoned, they do not appear, and are awaited and even sought for during the lawful and fixed terms, and do not present themselves before the law. Of these, therefore, the chattels and also the lives are known to be in the hands of those who seize them, nor can they for any reason pertain to the king: of robbers, however, who have not yet sunk to this depth of misery, the goods, if they are seized, go to the fisc; but of thieves, to the sheriff under whom they are seized and punished. But if the sheriff have deemed the case of a thief worthy to be brought to court, to be there judged, nothing which that thief possessed is due to him, but all to the king. But if any one have pursued the man who robbed him, and have brought him up in the first court of the lord king, or also in the county court, and, according to the form of proof decreed by the judge, shall have proved him guilty of theft: that which was taken shall first be restored to the injured person from the chattels of the thief, if they are sufficient for that purpose; the affidavit or oath of him who claims it being first taken if it so please the justice of the lord king. Afterwards moreover, by the provident institution of those eager for peace, the same man is to receive, as a solace for his labour and expense, as much again as he had at first lost by the wiles of the thief. This double and prudently procured payment was called by the ancients, not without reason, " solta " and " persolta " or " prosolta ": first, indeed, what had been taken is also paid, and on account of this is called "solta "; then that which is added for the charge of labour or expense is called "pro" or "persolta." These things 'having been thus carried out, the remainder of the goods of the accused shall go to the fisc.
D. These things also seem necessary; but now, according to thy promise, proceed, if it please thee, concerning the rents of woods.
M. I congratulate thee since I see that thou hast held in memory as well the worth of what has been said, as the order of what is to be said. It remains, therefore, that I do not omit to satisfy thy wishes according to my powers.
After the account of the purprestures and escheats, there follows the account for wood-rents, very short and clear, under this tenor of words: " the same sheriff, or such another one N., renders account of 20£ from the rent of such a wood or forest of Northamptonshire; he has paid in the treasury and is quit." There are, however, some forests from which the tenth part of the fixed rents are paid to the head churches; so from Wiltshire and from Hampshire to Salisbury cathedral, but from Northamptonshire to Lincoln cathedral: the cause of which payment I have heard to be this, almost the whole or the greater part of what is paid for the forests comes from pleas and exactions; thus then, by giving the tenths, illicit gains seem to be to some extent redeemable. Of these, moreover, the accounts are made thus: " such or such a one renders account for 20£ from the rent of such a forest; in the treasury 18£ "; and at the head of the next line below, thus: " and in fixed tithes to such a church 40s. "; then at the end of that same line, a little apart from the rest of the writing, thus: " and is quit." Remark also that it has once been said to thee that all debts, and likewise those payments which shall have been made to the treasury, are to be placed apart from the rest of the writing; so that to the eye running over them and the mind assisting they may more readily occur; for summonses are made out for what is due, and quittances for what has already been paid. After the diligent account of the principal farm, the old or the new, and likewise after the account of the purprestures and escheats and of the wood-rents all of which, as has been said, are paid on a yearly basis there follows the account for the pleas and covenants; in which first, after a moderate space, a note is made in the middle of the line as to the justices to whom these belong.
We call pleas, indeed, the pecuniary penalties which delinquents call down upon themselves, but covenants, spontaneous offerings. When, therefore, the exaction of these is at hand, the summons is then first given over to the clerk of the chancellor; he attacks the sheriff for the separate items in order, saying: " render from such a one 10£, for such a reason "; but if what is required is paid in the treasury, it shall be written thus in the yearly roll: " N. renders account for 10£ for such a cause "; and then shall be written in order, " has paid in the treasury and is quit." But if it is by writ of the king that he is quit, provided, as we have said, that the amount is expressed in the writ, it shall read: " N. renders account for 10£," adding the cause; then, a little lower, in the same line: `'by writ of the king to that same X., 10£, and he is quit." But if he be summoned for l00s., when, nevertheless, the total of the debt is, in the yearly roll, 10£, and have paid 100s. in money or have obtained for l00s. a writ of the king, it shall read: " N. renders account for 10£., in the treasury 100 shillings and owes 100 shillings "; or " remitted by writ of the king, to X. himself 100 shillings and he owes 100 shillings." And mark that in all accounts concerning pleas and covenants, individuals shall respond for themselves, so that each one, namely, shall receive in his own name the burden of the debt if he do not give satisfaction for it, or the absolution if he pay the whole; with the exception of common assizes, Danegeld and murder fines, for, concerning these, the sheriff renders account, and, with reference to them, is himself written down in the yearly roll as either quit or in debt. But if the sheriff shall have been changed, he, nevertheless, who succeeds him shall answer for the same and be summoned concerning them; and, unless he render satisfaction, shall be coerced through the farm which he is about to pay. For whoever, when the sheriff is changed, succeeds to the burden of that office, receives from him rescripts of the debts of the king in that county; so that he may be able to know by this, when he shall receive the summons brought to him, from what persons what they owe is to be demanded. To the sheriff, therefore, pertains the general account, to him alone belongs the coercion of individuals; and he who shall have been sheriff when the account was made, shall be written down in this manner as quit or in debt.
D. I retain in my memory what ought to happen when any one, summoned concerning any debt, brings a writ of the king which expresses the required amount. But if he bring to the exchequer a charter of quittance for things of the same kind, so that it reads thus: " I will, therefore, that he hold all of these free and quit of pleas and murder fines," and of this and that and the like, will he not be pardoned ?
M. He will be, as a matter of fact; but it will not read: " remitted by charter of the king," or " by liberty of a charter " this or that; but rather, " by writ of the king ": but if the charter, not specifying, contains this: " he shall possess the foregoing free and quit of all exaction and secular service," he is not then quit through this of those things which are required of him, nor will it be written down among the pardons: for those who sit there are not willing that a special debt should be done away with by a general absolution.
D. That subtlety is pernicious enough; for he who is free from the whole of the parts, deserves also to be absolved from the parts of the whole.
M. It is true what thou sayest, nor do we disagree; but, nevertheless, we are explaining what takes place, not what perhaps ought to take place. When, therefore, for all these things which are contained in the summons, satisfaction shall have been rendered either in cash or by writs of the king, this rule of writing which is explained above is always to be employed: but when any one has not paid the whole of what is required of him, but a part of it, or perhaps none of it, the cause is straightway to be inquired from the sheriff as to why he was not solvent. But if the sheriff shall reply that he have diligently sought the chattels of the man in question, and could not find them, the treasurer shall say: " be on thy guard, for by personally taking an oath thou shalt confirm the truth of this matter," namely, that thou have sought and not been able to find that by which the demands might be satisfied. If he replies, " I am ready to do so," the taking of the oath shall be deferred until the account is finished; when, being once given, it shall suffice for many like cases. Concerning this oath, indeed, much has already been said near the beginning, and something remains to be said in its proper place.
Here, indeed, we must first distinguish with regard to debtors and debts; so that it may be clear to thee in the case of whom the oath offered shall be allowable, and in the case of whom, not. For if a knight or other freeman, or a bondsman, or any such person of whatever condition or sex, is bound to the king for any debt which, indeed, must be a punishment for a misdemeanour, not a spontaneous offering, the treasurer shall be content with that preferred oath of the sheriff which is to be taken at the end; and the man or woman, the action against whom, by reason of their poverty, has become void, shall again be written as debtor in this yearly roll as in the last. But it is otherwise if that debtor from whom the debt is sought is a citizen or burgher; if, namely, he is a citizen by birth, or if he have subjected himself of his own will to the laws of his fellow-citizens, necessity bringing it about. For it does not suffice for the sheriff that of these, if any do not render satisfaction for the sum required, he pay in, in order to thus be quit at the exchequer, the movable goods alone, or that he offer an oath as to his having sought and not found any: he must confiscate their homes and their estates and any revenues from the cities, and place them in the hands of others; so that, even in this way, the money due to the king may be forthcoming; but if none be found who will receive them, since men of the same condition mutually spare each other, he shall fasten up their houses with bolts and shall cause their estates to be diligently cultivated. But if in the meantime they pay what is required, by the hand of the sheriff what belongs to them shall be restored to the rightful owners without damage.
D. I cannot wonder enough, when the fault does not differ,
Why more severely our law should oppress this species of mortals.
M. The greatest part of the possession of those who have estates and lye by agriculture, consists in flocks, in cattle and in crops, and in like things which can not easily escape the notice of the neighbours. But to those who deal with wares, and who, sparing expense, press on with all their strength and in every way to multiply their possessions, money is the goal that they strive for. For, by means of this, commerce is more easily carried on, and this can readily be placed in safe and secret places: whence It happens that often he who is rich, when that which is hidden does not appear, will be reputed poor. For this reason, therefore, that law decrees more severely against those persons; for a superabundant well of wealth does not seem to be easily exhausted.
D. What a common assessment is, and who responds for it and in what order, is in great part plain from the foregoing. Now, if it please thee, explain about the aids or gifts of cities or burroughs; how accounts are made of them, and who chiefly are to be convened or coerced concerning them; for the manner of coercion is now plain from the foregoing.
M. I rejoice that thou art mindful of what has been said; and by this, I confess, thou cost encourage me the more. Know then that it makes a great difference whether the gift or aid of a city is fixed by the Justices according to the separate individuals dwelling in it, or if the citizens offer to the justices some amount which seems worthy of the prince, and it is accepted by them: for in these two cases the manner of coercion is different. For if the gift is fixed by the judges according to individuals, and any one of them be not solvent, the aforesaid law concerning insolvent citizens is observed; namely, that he shall be deprived of his houses and revenues until payment is made. But if it has been said by the citizens: " we will give to the king a thousand pounds," and this sum is judged worthy to be received, they themselves must provide that at the stated terms the same is paid. But if, by chance, they commence to malice excuses, alleging the poverty of some of those who were bound to supply some part of such sum, then diligently, that is by oath of the sheriff, inquiry is to be made if, at the time that the gift or aid was settled upon by those citizens, these persons had been incapable of paying. But if it shall be found to be thus, they shall provide:
others by whom the previous sum shall be paid, or the remainder shall be distributed in common. If, however, at the time it was settled upon, they were rich, but by the law of fortune, changeable by nature, they are now in want, patience is to be had with them until, by the grace of God, they shall grow rich again.
D. I perceive that in all things, keeping within due bounds, you always take the side of the king's advantage.
M. Thou cost retain in memory what is to be done concerning citizens or burghers who are not solvent. But if, by chance, any knight or other freeman, degenerating which God forbid from the dignity of his standing, proceed to multiply his money by public trade or by the most disgraceful kind of gain that is, by usury, and do not voluntarily pay what is demanded of him the sheriff shall not be absolved by an oath alone as to having found nothing, but when he shall have imparted this to the president, he shall obtain a strict mandate from him that, for the sum which is required from him, that man shall find sponsors within a fixed time; but if he will not, all his revenues shall be confiscated, since in this respect he may rightly be considered
Like to those who increase, whatever the means be, their fortunes.
D. It is indeed fitting that a degenerate knight or other freeman who loses his standing through disgraceful gain, should be punished beyond the common measure of freemen. But now, at length, if it please thee, explain what the things are which may be reckoned among the chattels of him who is bounder to the king, and whether from Al, until the sum required is raised, all things are to be taken by the sheriff; when, namely, the original debtor does not of his own will pay what is required.
M. Thou cost drive me into a sea of questions; God knows, I do not, where I am about to emerge. Know then that here again a distinction of persons is necessary as will be clear from what follows. I should wish thee, nevertheless, to spare me in this regard, and not compel me to say what will be displeasing to many.
D. So long as thou cost not stray from the path of the established law, thou wilt not merit the just anger of the prudent man; but if that which the law has decreed shall seem burdensome to any one, let him be angry at him who made it, not at thee.
M. From the beginning, by my promise, I became thy debtor. Hence it is that I am willing and bound to obey thee when thou cost wish or ask anything. The chattels which are lawfully sold, then, of debtors who do not of their own will pay what is demanded of them, are those goods which are movable and which move themselves: such are gold, silver, and vessels composed of the same; also precious stones, and changes of vestments and the like; also both kinds of horses, the ordinary ones, namely, and the untamed ones; herds also of oxen and flocks of sheep, and other things of the kind. The nature of fruits also and of some victuals is movable, so that, namely they may be freely sold; deducting only the necessary expenses of the debtor for his victuals so that, namely, he may provide for his needs, not his extravagance, and likewise may satisfy nature, not gluttony. For are these necessaries furnished to the debtor alone, but to his wife and children and to the household, which he was seen to have had while he was living at his own expense.
D. Why cost thou say " of some " victuals ?
M. Victuals which are prepared by them for daily use, and which without essential change are suitable for eating such as bread and drink may by no means be sold. Of victuals, then, only those are lawfully sold which, aside from necessary uses, had been reserved by the masters themselves that they might be for sale, such as meats laid in salt, cheeses, honey, wines, and the like. And mark that if that debtor who is not solvent have once obtained the belt of knighthood, though the other things are sold, nevertheless a horse, not any one but the one he uses, shall be reserved for him; lest he who, by rank, has become a knight, may be compelled to go on foot. But if he be a knight who Delights in the glory of arms, finds pleasure in rising his weapons, and who, his merits demanding, ought to be reckoned among the brave, all the armature of his body, together with the horses necessary to carry it, shall be left entirely free by the sellers; so that, when it is necessary, equipped with arms and horses, he can be called to the service of king and kingdom.
If, however, this man whom the law has partially favoured, hearing of the need of the king or kingdom, shall conceal and absent himself, or, being summoned for this purpose, do not come provided he serve not at his own expense, but at the king's, and have not given a plain excuse for his absence, the sellers shall not refrain from these arms, etc., either; but, content with the one single horse left to him on account of the dignity of knighthood, he shall be subject to the general rule. The sheriff, moreover, shall take care to warn his sellers that, with regard to the things to be sold, they observe this order: the movable goods of any one shall first be sold, but they shall spare, as much as possible, the plough oxen, by which agriculture is wont to be carried on; lest, that failing him, the debtor be still further reduced to want in the future. But if even thus indeed, the sum required is not raised, the plough oxen are not to be spared. When, therefore, all the saleable things that belong especially to him have been sold, if the amount is still not made up, they shall approach the estates of his bondsmen and lawfully sell their chattels, observing at the same time the aforesaid order and rule; for these are known to belong to the lord, as has been said above. This being done, whether the required sum is thus made up or not, our law orders the sellers to quit; unless, perhaps, it be scutage which is required from a lord. for if the chief lord who is bounder to the king for scutage do not pay, not only his own, but also the chattels of his knights and bondsmen everywhere are sold, for the matter of scutages regards his knights in great part; for they are not due to the king except by knights and by reason of military service. I myself, indeed, whose memory is not yet hoary, have seen how, for the personal debts of those who did not render satisfaction, not only their own, but also the chattels of their knights and bondsmen were lawfully sold. But the law of the illustrious king has decreed that this is to be observed only in the matter of scutages, the order being regarded that first their own, then the goods of others are to be sold. But if the knights have paid to the lord the produce of their fiefs and are willing to prove this by offering a pledge, the law forbids that their chattels be sold for those payments which are required from the lords.
Likewise the sheriff is to be warned that he diligently and carefully investigate, as well as he can, if there is any one in his county in debt to that debtor for the payment of money lent to him or deposited with him. But if it be found that there is, the sum which is required from his creditor, the man bounder to the king, shall be exacted from that debtor, and he shall be prevented by authority of the public law from being answerable for it to that creditor.
Likewise if a debtor, from the time when he began to be bounder to the king, shall have rented his estate or ret venue to another, or have given it as a pledge for money, or even which, perhaps, will seem absurd to thee have transferred his domain from himself by sale: if means can not otherwise be found to give satisfaction to the king, whoever the person be or by whatever title he may have gained possession, nevertheless what belongs to the king shall be taken from him; saving the proprietorship of the lord who has commenced to possess it with a just title. Unless, perchance, that debtor shall, in the beginning, of his own will pay to the king the price of the estate sold. For, in that case, the right of possession of the buyer shall remain undisputed. The cause of this, moreover, although it seems to be somewhat wrong and to serve too much the advantage of the king, thou wilt see to be evident, nevertheless, and just enough according to the laws of the count try. For whoever is found to have committed an offense against the royal majesty is at the mercy of the king in one of three ways, according to the quality of his crime. For he is sentenced, for lesser faults, either to the extent of all his movable goods, or of all his immovable that is, his estates and revenues, so that he shall be deprived of his heritage; but if for greater faults, or for any very great or enormous crimes, to the extent of his life or members. When, therefore, any one is condemned to the mercy of the king as to his movable goods, and the sentence is passed upon him by the judges in these words: "such a man is at the mercy of the king as regards his money," it is the same as if they said: "all his money." For the indefinite sentences of laymen have their signification not according to the interpretation of those for whom it is more safe that they should be so interpreted that is, of individuals, but are equal for all. Since, therefore the chattels of that estate which the debtor afterwards alienated had been condemned as at the good pleasure of the king, and he had not given satisfaction for the required sum, it is unjust that he should have alienated a thing that was not his own at a loss to the fisc.
Likewise the sheriff is to be warned on account of the oath, concerning those who do not pay, which is required of him nay, which he himself is seen to have offered of his own free will, in order that thus he might be absolved frown the summons made against him, that he do not receive from any debtor who does not pay the king, anything, in the meantime, that was justly due to himself. For it is not likely that the sheriff could not find enough to pay the sum due the king among the chattels of him who, willingly or unwillingly, has paid what is required to the sheriff himself. But if, before taking the oath, the sheriff has remembered of himself or through another that he has received something from such persons; or even after taking it, provided the exchequer of that day is nevertheless not yet dismissed; that is, while his account is fresh; and if, coming in public, he be willing to prove with querulous voice-taking an oath concerning these things that he had forgotten at that time having received anything: he shall be acquitted on paying in the name of the debtor the money received. But if which God forbid after giving his oath, and after the exchequer is dissolved, this should become known through another, he shall not then be released simply on payment of what he had received, but, being declared at the good pleasure of the king on account of his offense, he shall be pecuniarily punished. Finally, let it suffice to have warned the sheriff that after receiving the summons he shall diligently inquire in the neighbourhood if the man who was not solvent, by taking a wife, or the woman by marrying some one richer, or in any other way, has grown rich, so that he or she may give satisfaction for what is required. If this be found to be so, upon the oath of the sheriff he or she shall be obliged to pay. But if none of these things be found to be so, the sheriff can then, with a clear conscience, give an oath concerning this, and avoid the imminent loss of his possessions.
D. Should a husband, indeed, be called to account for a wife who was bounder to the king and who has already died, or ought a woman who survives her husband to be called to account for him ?
M. Thou hast heard often enough, that " he who cleaves to a woman is made one flesh," in such way, however, that he is her head. With right, therefore, he is to be called to account for her, for the woman has not power over herself, but the man over her. But if the husband have had offspring by her, to which offspring, by reason of the wife, the heritage is due, and, the wife being already dead, the money due to the king has not yet been paid: then that husband is to be called to account in the name of the heir, and coerced, but otherwise not. A woman, on the other hand, who survives her husband, and has offspring, and remains in widowhood with it, is to be called to account and coerced by reason of the offspring to whom the heritage is due; in such manner, however, that her dowry shall be spared, since it is the price of her virginity. But if, leaving her children, the woman cleave to another husband, the lawful heir is to be called to account for the debt of his father. If, however, a woman who has committed an offense and is bounder to the king, her former husband being dead without children, shall transfer herself and her heritage to another, her debt is to be required from the new husband. This is, then, what thou did'st ask. And in this way a man is to be summoned on account of the wife and a wife on account of the husband. Thou may'st be sure also that the lawful heir who succeeds to a debtor is to be called to account for him: so that he may succeed to the burdens as well as to the emolument. The bondsman alone, and he who dies without heritage, are, after their chattels have been sold, freed from their debt by death's last throw. They are, however, not cancelled from the yearly roll in which these debts are entered, unless by writ of the king; when, namely, it is suggested to the king concerning these by the treasurer, that it is useless to write them in the roll, since by no arrangement could it come about that the money due from them should be forthcoming.
In addition it is fitting thou should'st know that, in the matter of requiring debts due to the king and of coercing debtors, the conditions do not apply equally to the chief barons of the king and to others who here and there are punished for their offenses by fines to the king. Concerning those, then, who hold nothing in chief from the king, the foregoing rule is observed. But if one who holds a barony from the king, having heard the summons, shall, either in his own person or at the hand of his general steward, whom people ordinarily call seneschal, give a pledge into the hand of the sheriff to the effect that, on the day of his account, he will give security to the barons of the exchequer for this sum and for this summons: then the sheriff may rest content.
If, however, being summoned by the voice of the herald, he do not come on the day of the account, and do not render satisfaction of himself or through another, the sheriff shall be considered to have done what pertained to him; but the case being carefully jotted down separately at the treasurer's dictation, in the memoranda of the exchequer, shall be reserved for the end of the session; when, counsel having been taken, he who thus offended may be more severely punished. But if, after the account of the sheriff is ended, he shall come and render satisfaction, by the favour of those in session and by the indulgence of the law he may be absolved. But it is necessary that the sheriff receive his oath in the county court, before the eyes of all; because if, by chance, he who gave it wishes to do evil and to dewy that he gave it, the recollection of the county will suffice for the whole burden of proof against him. But if the sheriff shall confess that it was given him in any other manner, he shall be considered to have done nothing. Therefore the required sum shall straightway be taken from his farm, so that he shall satisfy the summons which says in this regard: `' or they shall be taken from thy farm."
But if one who does not deny that he gave an oath shall come on the day named and do not render satisfaction, he shall, if he is a lord, be detained at the exchequer as long as it shall be in session taking an oath to the marshal!, as we said above, that he will not go beyond the banlieu of the town unless by permission of the barons. But when the exchequer of that term is dissolved, if he have not yet rendered satisfaction, he shall be put in a safe place, in free custody, until the king himself, if he be present, or the president with the others in session shall decree what is to be done with a man who confesses that he promised on oath to render satisfaction, and has in no wise done so. But if a knight or other person who is his steward come and do not render satisfaction, he shall be siezed for breaking his oath and shall be given over to the custody of the marshal!, being lawfully liable to be bound when the exchequer is dissolved, and to be put in prison whether he be a knight or no. But a knight who does not render satisfaction for his own debt, when, nevertheless, he has taken an oath that he would do so, shall be kept in liberal custody after the exchequer is dissolved not in a prison, but within the enclosure of the prison building, giving an oath personally that he will not go away from there without the king's or the president's permission. For the illustrious king of memorable nobility decreed that whoever is resplendent with the dignity of knighthood may not be sent to prison for his own debt, when he is considered a pauper by the sheriff and the neighbourhood alike; but he shall be kept apart, at large, within the enclosure of the prison building. But whoever, by order of his lord, has given an oath to the sheriff, as has been said, and comes but does not pay: the law decrees that such a one shall be siezed and put in prison when the exchequer dissolves, whether he be a knight or no. And since any baron is free to set up the oath of his official for the debt that is required of himself, so that he may in the meantime be free from the importunity of the sheriff and may himself arrange his affairs more conveniently: lest thus the authority of the king's mandate be eluded to an infinite extent, it is decreed that, when he is siezed who, by not rendering satisfaction, has brought judgment upon himself as being guilty of a broken oath, straightway servants shall be sent by the sheriff who, going through the estates of the chief lord, selling his chattels as best they can, shall bring the sum required to the exchequer of that term. And, finally, he who was siezed for breaking his oath shall pay a pecuniary fine according to his means, and shall not, even though the lord order it, be any more permitted to give an oath concerning that debt.
Furthermore, lest the chief lord may presume upon this with impunity, if he should, by chance, be again summoned for that debt, he shall not again merit the benefit of delay through the oath of a substitute, but solely through his own. Some, indeed, believe that he may not any more, even through his own oath, obtain from the sheriff a delay until the exchequer meets which benefit or delay, indeed, they who are bounder to the exchequer consider great, for they can in the meantime dispose more favourably of their possessions and prepare what is needed for a payment that is put off for a while, but they say rather that, having receded the summons, the sheriff may be allowed to lay hands at once upon their chattels, according to the common law regarding others. I do not altogether disagree with such people, I confess; but nevertheless there should be many evidences and proofs to make it seem probable that the lord allowed his knight to be exposed to such hazards in order that, even thus he himself might in the meantime go free. The most valid proof, moreover, against the lord in this matter is if he is considered, by the sheriff and the neighbourhood alike, well to do, abounding in possessions able to pay.
D. It is indeed fitting that he should cease to merit a favour granted to him who has abused the same to the detriment of him who granted it.
M. Thou hast from the foregoing to some extent a distinction as to which chattels may be sold and which not, and also with regard to what persons discretion is to be used and to what persons not; that is, in the case where debtors who are bounder to the king for pecuniary punishments are not solvent. It remains for us to show what ought to be done concerning voluntary oblations when they likewise do not pay them.
Know then that of the oblations to the king some are offered for a present benefit, some for a prospect. We say that one offers for a present benefit, when the offering is accepted by the king, and he who offers it receives from the king in proportion to what he has offered: as when any one, for some liberty, for an estate or for a farm or for the wardship, to be enjoyed until he is of age, of some one who is a minor, or for any thing else which seems to add to his convenience or honour, offers of his own accord to the king £100 or 100 marks, and, the king consenting, immediately after the offer receives what he wished for. Concerning those, therefore, who bind themselves of their own will, and who, after having made an agreement with the prince, have already begun to hold possession, our law decrees that, so long as they pay, they may enjoy and make use of the benefits indulged to them. But if, after having been summoned for the debt of the king, they cease to pay, they shall straightway be deprived of what they had obtained; in such manner, however, that if while the exchequer lasts they render satisfaction for the same, without damage that which was taken away shall be restored. And note that any person, of whatever condition or sex, will always be subject to this rule concerning voluntary offerings, that, namely, he shall satisfy the summons or do without what he had obtained; unless the king himself, out of regard for a service rendered or for his poverty, indulge him something beyond the ordinary. So it is, when, on behalf of the offerer of a large sum at any exchequer he decrees that a certain portion shall be paid by himself, and makes this known through his writ to the barons. On the other hand, offerings are said to be made for a prospect when any one, for the sake of having justice done him concerning a certain estate or revenue, offers a certain sum to the king; not, however, in order that justice be done do not burst out upon us and say that justice is venal with us but that it be done without delay. Know, however, that not every thing thus offered is accepted by the king, not even though it seem to be immeasurably great. For to some, solely out of regard for a service rendered, or out of charity, he exhibits gratis the plenitude of justice; to others, moreover, according to the law of human nature, he is willing neither for prayer nor for price to show favour, the merits of those who are meanwhile known to be in possession coming in the way. Or perchance the merits of those themselves who make the demand by no means call for this, they being accused of having committed some offense either against the state or against the king himself. Concerning such persons, moreover, the illustrious king has thus decreed: that, before they have justice that is, before they obtain it by a sentence, or if, the matter being settled altogether contrary to them, they have abandoned all hope, they shall pay nothing in the way of offerings, but it shall suffice for the sheriff to reply concerning such persons: " they have not yet had justice." The sheriff shall, nevertheless, take care lest it happen through the debtor himself that his case does not come up for action, if, namely, he be unwilling to bring the matter before the law, so that, in this way, the king shall be defrauded of the money promised to him. For when this has been found out the subterfuge shall not avail him, but he shall be coerced in all things as though he had obtained justice through a sentence It is a sign, moreover, of such wilful delay, when, keeping by him the writ of the king, he does not use it. However, through the compassion of the prince, they usually proceed rather gently with those who, after promising the money, let the case fall, lest, frustrated in their hope, being deprived also of their possessions without having gained any thing, they be reduced to despair by a double misfortune.
There are likewise payments of a third kind which do not seem altogether fit to be counted under offerings, but are rather called fines to the exchequer. They are made, namely, when one holding a barony in chief from the king dies and leaves an heir, and that heir compounds with the king for what sum he can, in order that he may merit to enter upon his father's privileges; which fine we commonly call a relief. If it is a barony, indeed, it is at the good pleasure of the king what the amount of the relief ought to be, if, however, it is a question of an escheat which has fallen into the hands of the king through default of an heir or otherwise, for one knight's fee he shall pay under the name of a relief to the king only so much as he would have been about to pay to his lord; that is, one hundred shillings. Some think, moreover, that those who are bounder to the king for reliefs, and do not pay when summoned, are subject to the rules regarding free will offerings, namely, that when they do not pay they shall be deprived of the favours obtained. But it can be more truly said that it shall be proceeded in the case of reliefs as in the case of pecuniary penalties; for the heritage due to the children by reason of their succession seems to exclude them from the rule concerning voluntary payments.
It likewise happens at times that, for some reason or other there are promised to the king royal birds; hawks, namely, or falcons. But if he who promises says in explanation, "a hawk of the present year," or "one that has already moulted,'' or also expresses the origin, saying, " I will give an Irish one," " a Spanish," " a Norwegian one," he shall render satisfaction accordingly. But if neither he who promises, nor he to whom it is promised shall specify, it shall rest with the discretion of the promiser whether he shall pay one that has moulted or not. But if it shall be judged sound and healthy by the hawk-keepers of the king, it shall be received no matter what its extraction. But if, having been summoned, he shall carry to the exchequer one worthy to be received, and there be no one there to receive it, he cannot, even if, after this, the summons is pat off for a year, or two years or more, be compelled to pay any other than the one he prefers: one that has moulted, namely, or one of the present year. But if, having been summoned, he shall procure in some way that the payment be deferred, he shall, according to the number of years during which the delay is granted to him two years, namely, or three, or so on, pay one that has moulted. Concerning these birds, moreover, a summons is not made out against the Easter term, for their use is rare in the summer time; for then they are diligently guarded, being shut up in mews, so that, their old ones being laid aside, the glory of their feathers may return and their youth be renewed like that of the eagle. But those that are due to the king shall be called for against the Michaelmas term; so that, as the winter approaches, they may be fitted for the service of the king. In coercing those, moreover, who thus bind themselves of their own accord and who do not pay, the aforesaid rule concerning voluntary offerings shall be observed.
Besides this, those should know who voluntarily bind themselves to the king for a sum of ready cash, that they are likewise bounder to the queen, although it has not been expressed. Although not expressed, indeed, it is nevertheless, comprised in the promise: so that when he shall have promised one hundred or two hundred marks to the king, he is in like manner bounder to the queen to the extent of one mark of gold for a hundred marks of silver promised to the king, two marks of gold for two hundred, and so on. In collecting these, moreover, the sheriff shall in all things observe the same rule which he observed with regard to the debts of the king, not, however, before, but after the latter have been collected. When, therefore, summonses are made out concerning debts to the king, a clerk of the queen, appointed for this, is present, and adds in the summons: "from such a one thou shalt have a hundred marks for such a cause, and one mark of gold for the queen." The amounts called for, moreover, are received separately at the exchequer by her officials constituted for this purpose. Know that even though the king relinquish the half or the whole of the money promised to himself, or even put off sending a summons for it, nevertheless, as to what pertains to the queen it shall be done in all things according as it seems good to her; so that, if she be unwilling, what is due to her may neither be remitted nor put off, but the amount of the summons shall be paid, and those who do not pay shall be coerced in the aforesaid manner.
D. Is anything due to the queen from sums under one hundred marks promised to the king ?
M. To some it seems right that it should hold good for as low as ten marks so, namely, that he who has promised 10 to the king is bounder to the queen for one ounce of gold; to others, not unless for a hundred or more promised in the beginning. Concerning these things, therefore, wait with modesty for the present; for, the matter not being ended yet, the clearing up of it is suspended. On the part of the queen, indeed, litigation concerning this is being carried on with the debtors, and as yet the case is in the hands of the judge. From the amercements of the Jews, moreover, and from the redemption of moneyers her portion is due to the queen in the aforesaid form, just as we have said that it is from voluntary offerings..
D. With regard to pecuniary fines, and voluntary offerings, does the same law coerce clergy and laymen without a difference ?
M. With regard to voluntary offerings one law is observed for all: that, whether he who does not pay be clerk or layman, he shall be deprived of the benefit until he render satisfaction. The same observance is regarded likewise in the case of every thing else that is due to the king, through any agreement, from the clergy if, namely, they have neglected to announce the privilege of their standing and of free possession. Concerning those, moreover, who do announce it, learn what ought to be done, if it please thee, from discreet and God-fearing laymen; for I omit these things on purpose at present, lest I be said to have dictated to the men of my condition my own rules and more gentle laws.
D. Thou didist say, if I remember aright, that baronies or estates frequently come into the king's hands; I should wish thee, therefore, please to explain in what manner the income of escheats cows into the fisc; whether in one way or in different ways.
M. When a barony or any great holding falls into the hands of the king, by his or by the president's mandate there are sent to it discreet men of both orders, who going through the different localities reduce the revenues of the same to a total, and agree that for this total the sheriff or some one else shall be bounder at the exchequer. When, therefore, he who has been appointed for this purpose renders satisfaction for this total in money, or writs and tallies afterwards giving an oath that it is a true account, he deserves to be acquitted. And concerning it there shall be written this in the yearly roll: " such and such a one renders account for the farm of such an honour; in the treasury so much, and he is quit"; or " and he owes.". But when the king has committed the custody of his escheat to the faith of some one in such wise, namely, that the latter is to pay the income from it into the exchequer, then, after the account has been made, the oath shall not be given in the aforesaid tenor of words; but rather to the effect that, as much as he has received from it in money or in any other things whatever, so much, upon his consciences he has paid into the exchequer: excepting alone such victuals as have been brought to him, he not extorting them under the semblance of voluntary contributions.
D. Does that administrator, then, receive the necessaries of life from these revenues ?
M. Although it is written: " Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn," nevertheless, except by express mandate of the king, he receives nothing from them; for, whoever he be, he shall serve the king at his own expense in these matters. Concerning such a one, moreover, it shall be written thus in the yearly roll: " such and such a one renders account for the income from such an honour on his affirmation." When, therefore, satisfaction has been rendered for all the aforesaid fixed or casual payments, and the separate items have, in due form, been written down in order in the roll, all those who have seats there are called together to complete the account of the principal farm, he whose name is marked at the head of the roll returns, and the account is completed in the following order. The farm paid this term by the sheriff, concerning which a test has been made, shall first be distributed by the calculator in coin heaps in the spaces marked by the stripes; then, deducting for the combustion, as has been said, the same is blanched, and the little tally of combustion being appended to it, though not being computed to the sheriff, the sum which is left is put on a tally likewise, also, what had been paid at the Easter term, and blanched, is put on the same tally. Likewise, also, the amount of combustion for that term is placed together with the combustion of the final term; so that there may be one tally for both payments, and, in the same way, one for combustion. This having been done, the treasurer bringing forth the exactory roll which we mentioned above causes the total for that county to be arranged above in heaps and in order. From this, then, is deducted what was paid into the treasury and blanched; after this, whatever the king has conferred on any one blank from the farm of the county. After this, again, the amount of the other payments made by writ of the king, or otherwise, is arranged in heaps, and is reckoned as blanched by the subtraction of twelve pence from each pound, just as that which is paid in the treasury is blanched by combustion. Then, indeed, a subtraction is made of the expenses below from the total above; and, if he have deserved to be altogether absolved, there is written at the end of that account in large letters . " and he is quit "; or below, at the head of the lower line: " and he owes." Then, at length, the account being ended, the amount of the payments actually in the treasury is put down where we said some time since `' in the treasury " was written where a blank had been left on purpose, lest the scribe might, perhaps, be obliged to erase; which, especially with regard to numbers and names and calises, is, as we said long since, to be avoided.
The account for the body of the county being settled, as has been said, the oath of the sheriff is taken by the marshall once, under the aforesaid form; and, after being thus absolved he is dismissed. Some, however, believed that the sheriff should give a separate oath for each separate item that needed confirmation, so that he should give his oath as often as he said that anything was so which could be confirmed by his oath alone. But this was seen to be a very pernicious subtlety by prudent men and ones skilled in the divine Law, because when once he had given his oath, he had, upon his conscience, made a lawful account for everything. Therefore, after a while, this opinion together with its author came to be rightly despised, and they were content with one oath that is, with an oath once given; for they are one body in the confession of one faith.
D. I perceive by the already languishing pen that the end of speaking is at hand. But, although the twilight of approaching night, and the more extended labour of a more lengthy task call us to other things and compel us to breathe a little, I should like thee, nevertheless, if it can be done, to give certainty to the mind of thy pupil which is in suspense and fluctuating at present by reason of thv words, by showing, namely, how it is, as I remember thee to have said in the beginning, that the whole description of the exchequer is a sort of hiding place for sacred truths, which are to be revealed when the books of all are opened and the gates closed.
M. It is great what thou askest and needs further investigation; nor, by my promise, did I become thy debtor to the extent of explaining these things. I pass them over, then, at present, reserving them for the disputation of another day. I fee;, indeed, lest if I should impose a new burden on one who is already charged with so many thou would'st give way under the weight; and, likewise, if' to that already said and which is to be committed to memory, I should add the study of something new, I should drive thee to hate both. Be content, therefore, with the things that have already been said, and to which thou did'st drive me; for thou host in them, as much as could offer itself to a fresh memory, an explanation, as it were from the first principles, of whatever seemed best to thee relating to the science of the exchequer. But as to explaining exactly the different things which in the course of time must necessarily come up, for that, neither a man's strength, nor perhaps his life would suffice. For from varied and unusual cases either no system at all can be formed, or one hitherto unknown. But for this reason I shall be rather exposed to the tongues of detractors when, as time goes on, many doubtful and hitherto unheard of points shall happen to be brought up. And when they find nothing here concerning these or similar points, they will commence to mock, saying: this man began to build and could not or did not know how to finish. I do not differ from them. I have followed, indeed, myself as the worst of masters; but have nevertheless, thou compelling me, done what I could without a leader and without a model. For I put my axe to a rude and untouched forest, cutting wood for royal edifices, to be planed by the tool of a more skilful builder. When, therefore, from this material the structure of the royal palace shall have arisen, let him who made the beginning merit the first, even though not the chief thanks.
Farewell, illustrious king.
(1) The meaning of this passage is obscure. The Latin reads: " Ex qua vero parte millenarius inciditur, alium non pones numerum. nisi forte mediam ejus partem. sic ut mediam similiter incisionis ejus demas, et infra eonstituas." Back
The Dialogue concerning the Exchequer, is one of the few actual treatises of the middle ages. It is a most learned essay concerning all that went on at the bi-yearly meetings of the exchequer officials, and branches out into a description of all the sources of revenue of the English crown, and of the methods of collecting them. The value of this essay for early English history cannot be over-estimated; in every direction it throws light upon the existing state of affairs.
According to Brunner, Gneist, Pauli, and E. Liebermann the Dialogue was completed in the winter of 1178-9.
Stubbs thinks-or has thought-that it was composed after 1181, perhaps as late as 1188. The author of the work, whose name is not mentioned in the two existing manuscripts, has been proved by Madox to be Richard, son of Bishop Nigel of Ely. Richard, as well as his father, was for many years a high official at the exchequer, was clear-headed and logical, and was, in addition, gifted with great literary ability. His knowledge of the classics is shown by his frequent quotations from them.
As a result of the combination of so many good qualities in its author the Dialogue is not only learned but readable and interesting. There is much to make one believe that the work has an official character, and that it was composed by order of the government. Liebermann regards it as a parallel work to Glanville's Tractatus.
In general Richard's assertions are deserving of the highest confidence. Occasionally, indeed, in the matter of derivations and of the origin of institutions, he is found to be weak.
Much of his information was gained orally, and in all cases he seems to have gone directly to the highest authority on the particular point to be treated of.
Henderson, Ernest F.
Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages
London : George Bell and Sons, 1896.