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The Leading Facts of English History
by D.H. Montgomery
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The recognition of the principle of international arbitration by England in the Alabama case (S598), in the Bering Sea Seal Fisheries dispute (1893), in the Venezuela boundary controversy (1896), and in the Newfoundland Fisheries case (1910) proved that the English people saw that the victories of peace are worth as much to a nation as the victories of war. The Hague Peace Conference Treaty, ratified by Great Britain with the United States and the leading nations of Europe and the Far East (1899), provided for the establishment of a permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague between all of the great powers which signed it. All appeals to it, however, are entirely voluntary.

Ten years earlier, a proposition to establish such a court for the purpose of strengthening the cause of international peace would have been looked upon as "a splendid but delusive dream." To-day many of the ablest men on both sides of the Atlantic believe that the time is not far off when England and America will agree to settle by arbitration all questions which diplomacy cannot deal with, which may arise between them. Sir Edward Grey, Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Mr. Asquith's Liberal Cabinet, fears that the continued expenditure on larger and larger armaments "will end in international revolution." On the other hand, those who are constantly advocating the building of more and bigger battleships admit that the Peace Party presents strong arguments in support of its views, and that "the war against war" is making progress.

621. Death of Gladstone; the Cabot Tower; Centennial of the First Savings Bank, 1899.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gladstone, the great Liberal leader, died, full of years and honors, at his residence, Hawarden Castle, in North Wales (1898). The "Grand Old Man"—as his friends delighted to call him— was buried in that Abbey at Westminster which holds so much of England's most precious dust. His grave is not far from the memorial to Lord Beaconsfield, the eminent Conservative leader, who was his lifelong rival and political opponent.

In the autumn (1898) the Cabot monument was opened at Bristol. It is a commanding tower, overlooking the ancient city and port from which John Cabot (S335) sailed in the spring of 1497. The monument commemorates that explorer's discovery of the mainland of the New World. An inscription on the face of the tower expresses "the earnest hope that Peace and Friendship may ever continue between the kindred peoples" of England and America.

In May of the next year, 1899, the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of savings banks in Great Britain was celebrated. Near the closing year of the eighteenth century, 1799, Reverend Joseph Smith, Vicar of Wendover in Buckinghamshire, invited the laborers of his parish to deposit their savings with him on interest. "Upon the first day of the week," said he, quoting St. Paul's injuction, "let every one of you lay by him in store."[1] He offered to receive sums as small as twopence. Before the end of the year he had sixty depositors. Eventually the government took up the scheme and established the present system of national postal savings banks.

[1] The quotation is from I Corinthians xvi, 2.

They have done and are doing incalculable good. At present there are over eleven million depositors in the United Kingdom. Most of them belong to the wage-earning class, and they hold more than 212,000,000 pounds. In this case certainly the grain of mustard seed, sown a few generations ago, has produced a mighty harvest.

622. England in Egypt; Progress in Africa.

While busy at home, the English had been busy outside of their island. Five years after the opening of the Suez Canal (1869), Lord Beaconsfield, then the Conservative Prime Minister, bought nearly half of the canal property from the Governor of Egypt. Since then England has kept her hand on the country of the Pharaohs and the pyramids, and kept it there greatly to the advantage of the laboring class.

About ten years later (1881), Arabi Pasha, an ambitious colonel in the native army, raised the cry, "Down with all foreigners—Egypt for the Egyptians!" Lord Wolseley defeated Arabi's forces, and the colonel was banished from the country.

Two years afterwards (1883) a still more formidable rebellion broke out in the Sudan,—a province held by Egypt. (See map facing p. 428.) The leader of the insurrection styled himself the Mahdi, or great Mohammedan Prophet. Then (1884) Gladstone sent General Gordon to withdraw the Egyptian troops from Khartoum, the capital of the Sudan. The Mahdi's forces shut up the heroic soldier in that city, and before help could reach him, he and all his Egyptian troops were massacred. No braver or truer man ever died at the post of duty, for in him was fulfilled Wordsworth's eloquent tribute to the "Happy Warrior."[1]

[1] See Wordsworth's poems "The Happy Warrior."

Many years later, Lord Kitchener advanced against the new Mahdi, and at Omdurman his terrible machine guns scattered the fanatical Dervishes, or Mohammedan monks, like chaff before the whirlwind. The next autumn (1899) the British overtook the fugitive leader of the Dervishes and annihilated his army.

Since then British enterprise, British capital, and American inventive skill have transformed Egypt. The completion of the great dam across the Nile, at Assouan (1902), regulates the water supply for lower Egypt. The creation of this enormous reservoir promises to make the Nile valley one of the richest cotton-producing regions in the world.

The "Cape to Cairo" railway, which is more than half finished, is another British undertaking of immense importance. (See map opposite.) When ready for traffic, through its whole length of nearly six thousand miles, besides its branch lines, it will open all Eastern Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Mediterranean, to the spread of commerce and civilization.

623. The Boers; the Boer War, 1899; Death of Queen Victoria (1901).

The history of the British in South Africa has been even more tragic than their progress in Egypt (S622).

In the middle of the seventeenth century (1652) the Dutch took possession of Cape Colony. (See map opposite.) Many Boers, or Dutch farmers, and cattle raisers emigrated to that far distant land. There they were joined by Huguenots, or French Protestants, who had been driven out of France. All of them became slaveholders. Early in the nineteenth century (1814) England purchased the Cape from Holland. Twenty years later the English Parliament bought all the negroes held by the Boers and set them free.

Eight thousand Boers, disgusted with the loss of their slaves and with the small price they had received for them, left the Cape (1836) and pushed far northward into the wilderness. Crossing the Orange River, they founded the "Orange Free State." Another party of Boers, going still further north, crossed the Vaal River (a tributary of the Orange) and set up the Transvaal, or "South African Republic," on what was practically a slaveholding foundation. Later (1852), England, by a treaty known as the Sand River Convention, virtually recognized the independence of the settlers in the Transvaal, and two years afterwards made a still more explicit recognition of the independence of the Orange Free State.

The Zulus and other fierce native tribes bordering on the Transvaal hated the Boers and threatened to "eat them up." Later (1877), England thought it for her interest, and for that of the Boers as well, to annex the Transvaal. The English Governor did not grant the Boers the measure of political liberty which he had promised; this led to a revolt, and a small body of English soldiers was beaten at Majuba Hill (1881).

Mr. Gladstone, the Liberal Prime Minister, did not think that the conquest of the Transvaal, supposing it to be justifiable, would pay for its cost, and he accordingly made a treaty with the people of that country (1881). Lord Beaconsfield thought this policy a serious mistake, and that it would lead to trouble later on. He said, "We have failed to whip the boy, and we shall have to fight the man." The Gladstone Treaty acknowledged the right of the Boers to govern themselves, but subject to English control. Three years later (1884) that treaty was modified. The Boers declared that the English then gave up all control over them, except with regard to the power to make treaties which might conflict with the interests of Great Britain. But this statement the English Government emphatically denied.[1]

[1] The preamble of the Convention or agreement made between England and the Boers in 1881 at Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal, secured to the Boers "complete self-government, subject to the suzerainty of her Majesty," Queen Victoria. In the Convention of 1884, made at London, the word "suzerainty" was dropped; but Mr. Chamberlain, Colonial Secretary of Great Britain, contended that it was implied or understood. This interpretation of the agreement President Kruger of the South African or Boer Republic absolutely rejected.

The discovery of diamond fields in Cape Colony (1867) and of the richest gold mines in the world (1884) in the Transvaal stimulated a great emigration of English to South Africa. In a few years the "Outlanders"—as the Boers called all foreigners—outnumbered the Boers themselves. The "Outlanders," who worked the gold mines and paid nearly all the taxes, complained that the laws made by the Boers were unjust and oppressive. They demanded the right to vote. The Boers, on the other hand, refused to give them that right, except under arduous restrictions, lest the foreigners should get the upper hand in the Transvaal Republic, and then manage it to suit themselves.

Things went on from bad to worse. At length (1895) a prominent Englishman of Cape Colony, Dr. Jameson, armed a small body of "Outlanders," who undertook to get by force what they could not get by persuasion. The Boers captured the Revolutionists and compelled some of the leaders to pay, in all, about a million dollars in fines. Dr. Jameson was sent to England and imprisoned for a short time. A committee appointed by Parliament investigated the invasion of the Transvaal and charged Cecil J. Rhodes, then Prime Minister of Cape Colony, with having helped on the raid. From this time the feeling of hatred between the Boers and the "Outlanders" grew more and more intense. Lord Salisbury, the Conservative Prime Minister, believed, with his party, that the time had come for decisive action on the part of the Government. The fires so long smoldered now burst into flame, and England resolved to fight to maintain her authority in the Transvaal.

War began in the autumn of 1899, and the Orange Free State united with the Transvaal against Great Britain. (See map facing p. 428.) The Boers took up arms for independence. The English forces under Lord Roberts began fighting, first in behalf of the "Outlanders," next to keep the British Empire together, and, finally, "to extend English law, liberty, and civilization."

Mr. Chamberlain, who was in Lord Salisbury's Cabinet (S534), agreed with his chief that the sword must settle the question, but he said that the contest in South Africa would be "a long war, a bitter war, and a costly war." Events proved the truth of part of his prediction. The contest was certainly "bitter," for it carried sorrow and death into many thousand homes. It was "costly," too, for the total expense to England amounted to nearly 200,000,000 pounds.

England finally overthrew and formally annexed (1901) the two Boer republics, aggregating over one hundred and sixty-seven thousand square miles. But to accomplish that work she was forced to send two hundred and fifty thousand men to South Africa,—the largest army she ever put into a field in the whole course of her history. The great majority of the English people believed that the war was inevitable. But there was an active minority who insisted that it was really undertaken in behalf of the South African mine owners. They did not hesitate to condemn the "Jingo" policy[1] of the Government as disastrous to the best interests of the country. In the midst of the discussion Queen Victoria died (January 22, 1901). The Prince of Wales succeeded to the crown under the title of King Edward VII.

[1] Lord Beaconsfield, the Conservative Prime Minister (1874-1880), made several petty wars in South Africa and in Afghanistan. A popular music-hall song glorified his work, declaring: "We don't want to fight, but by Jingo, if we do, We've got the ships, we've got the men, We've got the money, too."

624. Summary.

Queen Victoria's reign of sixty-three years—the longest in English history—was remarkable in many ways.

The chief political events were:

1. The establishment of the practical supremacy of the House of Commons, shown by the fact that the Sovereign was now obliged to give up the power of removing the Prime Minister or members of his Cabinet without the consent of the House, or of retaining them contrary to its desire. 2. The broadening of the basis of suffrage and the extension of the principle of local self-government. 3. The abolition of the requirement of property qualification for Parliamentary candidates; the admission of Jews to Parliament; and the overthrow of the Spoils System. 4. The repeals of the Corn Laws; the adoption of the Free-Trade policy; and the Emancipation of Labor. 5. The Small Agricultural Holdings Act; the Irish Land Acts; the abolition of Church rates; and the disestablishment of the Irish branch of the Church of England. 6. The arbitration of the Alabama case. 7. The progress of transportation and of the rapid transmission of intelligence was marked by the extension of railways to all parts of hte British Isles and to many other parts of the Empire; the introduction of the telegraph and the telephone; the laying of the Atlantic cable; the introduction of penny postage; the rise of cheap newspapers, of photography, of wireless telegraphy, and of the use of electricity to drive street cars and machinery. 8. The progress of education was marked by the establishment of practically free elementary schools, free libraries, and the abolition of religious tests in the universities. 9. The progress of science and philosophy was shown by the introduction of painless and also of antiseptic surgery, the use of the German X ray, and the rise and spread of the Darwinian theory of Evolution. 10. Other events having far-reaching results were the terrible Irish famine, the Opium War, the Crimean War, the rebellion in India, the Trent affair, the war in the Sudan, and the great Boer War. 11. Finally, we see the important work accomplished in India, Egypt, and other parts of Africa; the acquisition of the control of the Suez Canal; and the great expansion of the power of the Empire in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

EDWARD VII—1901-1910

625. End of the Boer War (1902); Completion of Imperial Federation, 1910.

Not long after Edward VII came to the throne the Boers (S623) laid down their arms (1902) and recognized the King as their true and lawful Sovereign. The announcement set the "joy bells" ringing all over Great Britain.

Under Edward VII the Crown became the center of a greart movement for more complete Imperial Unity. We have seen that the process of forming a federation of Great Britain and her widely scattered colonies had made good progress under Victoria (SS618, 619). She had seen the creation of the Dominion of Canada (1867), the Dominion of New Zealand (1875), and the consolidation of the six Australian colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia (1901). Nine years later (1910) the four states which had been the scene of the Boer War (S623) were consolidated in like manner and received the name of the Union of South Africa.[1] Boer and Briton seem now to have made up their minds to live together as one family, and, as farmers and stock raisers, they will work out their destiny on the land. Speaking of the political significance of this event, a prominent official in South Africa said, "Without the influence of King Edward I, I do not think the union could have been effected."

[1] The Union of South Africa is formed of the states of the Cape of Good Hope, the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State. Lord Gladstone, son of the late W.E. Gladstone, was appointed Governor of the new Commonwealth, and General Botha, who had commanded in the Boer army, was made Prime Minister.

The establishment of the Union of South Africa completed the framework of the Imperial Federation (SS618, 619). Admiral Mahan, of the American navy, classes the expansion of the British Empire with that of the expansion of the United States, and declares that it ranks as one of the foremost facts of "contemporaneous history." The Commonwealth of Australia and the Union of South Africa (with the Dominion of New Zealand) mark the southern limit of the Imperial Federation. The Dominion of Canada marks its northeren limit. (See map facing p. 422.)

All these British possessions enjoy a degree of self-government which falls but little short of entire independence. In fact, commercially they are independent, for, as we have seen (S616), while England maintains free trade, her colonies still keep up a strict protective tariff and impose duties even on British imports. Notwithstanding this difference, all the colonies are loyal subjects of the English Crown, and all stand ready to defend the English flag.

626. The League of Empire.

While this successful movement toward Imperial Federation was going on, the organization of the League of Empire had been formed (1901) to cooperate with it and strengthen it.

The League is nonpolitical and nonsectarian. It aims to unite the different parts of the Imperial Federation by intellectual and moral bonds. It appeals to the whole body of the people of the Empire, but it deals especially with the children in the schools. It endeavors to educate them in the duties of citizenship, and it calls on them to salute the national flag as the symbol of patriotism, of unity, and of loyalty. A little later, Empire Day was established (1904) as a public holiday to help forward the work of the League. King Edward gave it his hearty encouragement, and it is celebrated throughout the British Isles and the self-governing colonies of the Imperial Federation.

627. The King's Influence in Behalf of Peace.

While seeking to make all England and English dominions in one spirit, King Edward constantly used his influence to maintain peace both at home and abroad. He was a man whose natural kindliness of heart endowed him with the double power of making and of keeping friends. Furthermore, he was a born diplomatist. He saw at once the best method of handling the most difficult questions. Those who knew him intimately said that "he always did the right thing, at the right time, in the right way."

To a great extent he was a creator of international confidence. In his short reign he succeeded in overcoming the old race feeling which made England and France regard each other as enemies. Again, Russia and England had been on unfriendly terms for nearly two generations, but the King, by his strong personal influence, brought the two countries to understand each other better.

He saw that Europe needed peace. He saw that the outbreak of a general war would strike the laboring man a terrible blow, and would destroy the fruits of his toil. When he ascended the throne (1901) the contest with the Boers in South Africa was still going on. General Botha, one of the Boer leaders, publicly stated that the King did everything in his power to secure the establishment of an honorable and permanent peace between the combatants. More than that, even, he was in favor of granting a large measure of self-government to the very people who had only just laid down the arms with which they had been fighting him.

But the King's influence for good was not limited to the Old World. It extended across the Atlantic. Mr. Choate, who was formerly our ambassador to England, said that Edward VII endeavored to remove every cause of friction between Great Britain and America. While he lay on a sick bed he signed a treaty relating to the Panama Canal, which made "it possible for the United States to construct the waterway and to protect it forever."[1]

[1] This was the treaty repealing the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850. See the address of Honorable Joseph H. Choate before the New York Chamber of Commerce, June 2, 1910.

628. The Politcal Battle in England; Labor gets into Parliament, 1906.

But the King's success in international politics did not secure peace in the field of home politics. Organized labor had long been bent on pushing its way into Parliament. In a few cases, like that of Joseph Arch (S600), it had elected a representative,[2] but these were scattered victories which made no great impression.

[2] Besides Joseph Arch, such men as John Burns and J. Keir Hardie.

The real upheaval came in the General Election of 1906. That contest wrought a silent revolution. Up to that date, with very few exceptions, the wealthy class was the only one which had been represented in the House of Commons. Furthermore, it cost a good deal of money for any candidate to get into the House, and as members drew no pay, it cost a good deal more money to remain there.

In 1906 the Liberal Party and the Labor Party gained a sweeping victory over the Conservative Party, and Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the Liberal Prime Minister, came into power, 1906-1908. Out of the six hundred and seventy members who had been elected to the House of Commons, fifty-four came from the ranks of the workingmen,—those to whom life means an unending struggle to live.[3] The combined Labor voters sent these men to represent them in Parliament, and then raised a fund to meet the expense of keeping them there.[4]

[3] John Burns, who was one of the earliest workingmen to enter Parliament as a Labor leader, said of himself, "Came into the world with a struggle, struggling now, with prospects of continuing it." [4] But later, the Court of Appeal (S588) decided that the Labor Party could not legally compel any member of the Labor Union to contribute to this fund against his will. Now (1911) Parliament pays all members of the Commons (see S591).

These "Laborites," as they are popularly called, claim that their influence secured the passage of the Old Age Pensions Act (1908), for the relief of the aged and deserving poor; the Act for Feeding Destitute School Children; and the Act establishing Labor Exchanges (1909) throughout the country to help those who are looking for work.

The entrance of the working class and of the Socialists into Parliament marks the transference of power from the House of Commons directly to the mass of the people. Public opinion is now the real active force in legislation, and the lawmakers are eager to know what "the man in the street" and the "man with the hoe" are thinking.

This closeness of touch between Parliament and People has evident advantages, but it also has at least one serious drawback. In times of great public excitement it might lead to hasty legislation, unless the House of Lords should be able to interpose and procure the further consideration of questions of vital importance which it would be dangerous to attempt to settle offhand (S631).

629. The Budget; Woman Suffrage; the Content with the Lords.

Mr. Asquith, the Liberal Prime Minister,[1] found that the Government must raise a very large amount of money to defray the heavy cost of the old-age pensions (S628) and the far heavier cost of eight new battleships. Mr. Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or Secretary of the Treasury, brought in a Budget[2] which roused excited and long-continued debate. The Chancellor's measure called for a great increase of taxes on real estate in towns and cities where the land had risen in value, and on land containing coal, iron, or other valuable minerals.[3]

[1] Mr. Asquith succeeded Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the Liberal Prime Minister (S628), who died in the spring of 1908. [2] The official estimate of the amount of money which the Government must raise by taxation to meet its expenses for the year, together with the scheme of taxation proposed, are called the Budget. [3] In all cases where the owner of the land had himself done nothing to produce the rise in value, the Chancellor called that rise the "unearned increment," and held that the owner should be taxed for it accordingly. Most great landowners and many small ones execrate the man who made a practical application of this unpalatable phrase.

The House of Commons passed the Budget (1909), but the House of Lords, which includes the wealthiest landowners in the British Isles, rejected it. They declared that it was not only unjust and oppressive, but that it was a long step toward the establishment of socialism, and that it threatened to lead to the confiscation of private property in land. A bitter conflict ensued between the two branches of Parliament.

This contest was rendered harder by the actions of a small number of turbulent women, who demanded complete suffrage but failed to get it (SS599, 608).[1] Adopting the methods of a football team, they endeavored to force themselves into the House of Commons; they interrupted public meetings, smashed winows, assaulted members of the Cabinet, and, in one case, tried to destroy the ballots at the polls,—in short, they broke the laws in order to convince the country of their fitness to take part in making them. Over six hundred of these offenders were put in prison, not because they asked for "Votes for Women," but because they deliberately, persistently, and recklessly misconducted themselves.

[1] The great majority of woman suffragists refused to adopt these violent methods.

630. A New Parliamentary Election; the Lords accept the Budget.

The rejection of the Budget by the House of Lords (S629) caused a new Parliamentary election (1910). The Liberal Party with the Labor Party again won the victory, but with a decidedly diminished majority. Mr. Asquith, the Liberal Prime Minister, declared that the policy of the Liberal Government forbade any concessions whatever to the Lords. The Lords thought it unwise to carry the contest further, and when the new Parliament met they bowed to the inevitable and reluctantly voted to accept the Budget,—land taxes and all.[2]

[2] The Liberal Party in power threatened, in case the Lords continued to refuse to accept the Budget, that they would either request the King to create a sufficient number of Liberal Peers to carry it (S582), or that they would make the country go through another election.

631. New Warships; a New Domesday Book; Death of King Edward.

This acceptance of the Budget made the Government feel reasonably sure that it would get the 16,000,000 pounds required to pay for eight new battleships (S629). It also encouraged the War Department to spend a considerable sum in experimenting with military airships as a means of defense against invasion. Great Britain, like Germany, believes that such vessels have become a necessity; for since a foreigner flew across the Channel and landed at Dover (1909), England has felt that her navy on the sea must be supplemented by a navy above the sea. Two of these government airships are now frequently seen cricling at express speed around the great dome of St. Paul's.

The Government also began preparations for the compilation of a new Domesday Book (S120), which should revalue all the land in the British Isles, in order to establish a permanent vasis for increased taxation.[1] The House of Commons furthermore took up the debate on adopting measures for limiting the power of Lords to veto bills passed by the Commons. While they were so engaged King Edward died (May 6, 1910); his son was crowned in 1911, with the title of George V.

[1] The last general valuation of the land was made in 1692; it was then fixed at 9,000,000 pounds. The land tax, based on this valuation, has yielded about 2,000,000 pounds annually. The Government expects that the new valuation will yield much more.

In the summer of 1911 Mr. Asquith, the Liberal Prime Minister, after prolonged and heated discussion, forced the House of Lords to accept the Veto Bill, which is now law. He did this by using the same threat which enable Earl Grey to carry the Reform Bill of 1832 (S582). The Veto Act makes it impossible for the House of Lords to defeat any Public Bill which the House of Commons has passed for three successive sessions, extending over a period of not less than two years. This momentous Act was passed at a critical time when the great Dockers Strike had practically closed the port of London, and had cut off the chief food supply of the city. A little later, the Prime Minister passed the Salary Bill, which pays the members of the House of Commons 400 pounds annually (S591). Next, the Government passed (1911) the Workmen's Compulsory Insurance Bill against sickness and unemployment. The worker and his employer contribute small sums weekly, the Government gives the rest. The law has an excellent motive.

632. General Summary of the Development of the English Nation.

Such is the condition of the English nation in the twentieth century and in the reign of King George V. Looking back to the time when Caesar landed in Britain, we see that since that period an island which then had a population of a few thousand "barbarians" (SS4, 18) has gradually become the center of a great and powerful empire (SS14, 15).

The true history of the country began, however, not with Caesar's landing, but with the Saxon invasion in 449, about five centuries later. Then the fierce blue-eyed German and Scandinavian races living on the shores of the Baltic and North Seas took possession of Britain. They, with the help of the primitive British, or Celtic, stock, laid the foundation of a new nation. Their speech in a modified form, their laws, and their customs became in large degree permanent.

Later, missionaries from Rome converted this mixed population to the Christian faith. They baptized Britain with the name England, which it has ever since retained (S50).

In the eleventh century the Normans, who sprang originally from the same stock as the Northmen and Saxons, conquered the island. They grafted onto the civilization which they found there certain elements of Continental civilization (S126). Eventually the Saxon yeoman and the Norman knight joined hands and fortunes, and became one people (S192).

This union was first unmistakable recognized in the provisions of Magna Carta (S199). When in 1215 the barons forced King John to grant that memorable document they found it expedient to protect the rights of every class of the population. Then nobles, clergy, farmers, townsmen, and laborers whether bond or free, stood, as it were, shoulder to shoulder.

The rise of free towns marked another long step forward (S183). That movement secured to their inhabitants many precious privileges of self-government. Then the Wat Tyler insurrection of a subsequent period (S251) led gradually to the emancipation of that numerous class which had long been in partial bondage (S252).

Meanwhile the real unity of the people clearly showed itself at the time when the Crown began to tax the poor as well as the rich. The moment the King laid hands on the tradesman's and the laborer's pockets they demanded to have their share in making the laws. Out of that demand, made in 1265, rose the House of Commons (SS213, 217). It was a body, as its name implies, composed of representatives chosen mainly from the people and by the people.

Next, after generations of arduous struggle, followed by the King's grant of the Petition of Right (S432) and then by the great Civil War (SS441, 450), it was finally settled that the House of Commons, and the House of Commons alone, had complete power over the nation's purse. From that time the King knew, once for all, that he could not take the people's money unless it was granted by the people's vote (S588).

After the flight of James II Parliament passed the Bill of Rights in 1689 and in 1701 the Act of Settlement (S497). These two revolutionary measures wrought a radical change in the government of England. They deliberately set aside the old order of hereditary royal succession and established a new order which made the King directly dependent on the people for his title and his power to rule (S497). About the same time, Parliament passed the Toleration Act, which granted a larger degree of religious liberty (S496), and in 1695 the House of Commons took action which secured the freedom of the press (S498).

Less than thirty years afterwards another radical change took place. Hitherto the King had appointed his own private Council, or Cabinet (S476), but when George I came to the htrone from Germany he could speak no English. One of the members of the Cabinet became Prime Minister in 1721, and the King left the management of the government to him and his assoaciates (S534).

Two generations later another great change occurred. Watt's invention of a really practical steam engine in 1785, together with the rapid growth of manufacturing towns in the Midlands and the North of England, brought on an "Industrial Revolution" (S563). A factory population grew up, which found itself without any representation in Parliament. The people of that section demanded that this serious inequality be righted. Their persistent efforts compelled the passage of the great Reform Bill of 1832. That measure (S582) broke up the political monopoly hitherto enjoyed in large degree by the landholders, and distributed much of the power among the middle classes.

The next important change took place at the accession of Victoria (1837). The principle was then finally established that the ruling power of the government does not center in the Crown but in the Cabinet (S534). Furthermore, it was settled that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are responsible solely to the House of Commons, which in its turn is responsible only to the expressed will of the majority of the nation (S587).

In the course of the next half century the Reform Bills of 1867 and 1884 extended the suffrage to the great majority of the population (S600). A little more than twenty years later, in 1906, the combined Liberal and Labor parties gained an overwhelming victory at the polls. This secured the workingmen fifty-four seats in Parliament (S628), whereas, up to that time, they had never had more than three or four. It then became evident that a new power had entered the House of Commons. From that date the nation has fully realized that although England is a monarchy in name, yet it is a republic in fact. The slow progress of time has at length given to the British people— English, Scotch, Welsh, and Irish—the great gift of practical liberty; but along with it, it has imposed that political responsibility which is always the price which must be paid for the maintenance of liberty.

633. Characteristics of English History; the Unity of the English-Speaking Race; Conclusion.

This rapid and imperfect sketch shows what has been accomplished by the people of Britain. Other European peoples may have developed earlier, and made, perhaps, more rapid advances in certain forms of civilization, but none have surpassed, nay, none have equaled, the English-speaking race in the practical characer and permanence of its progress.

Guizot says[1] that the true order of national development in free government is, first, to convert the natural liberties of man into clearly defined political rights; and, next, to guarantee the security of those rights by the establishment of forces capable of maintaining them.

[1] Guizot's "History of Representative Government," lect. vi.

Nowhere do we find better illustrations of this truth than in the history of England, and of the colonies which England has planted. For the fact cannot be too strongly emphasized that *in European history England stands as the leader in the development of constitutional Government* (SS199, 497). Trial by jury (S176), the legal right to resist oppression (S261), legislative representation (SS213, 217), religious freedom (S496), the freedom of the press (S498), and, finally, the principle that all political power is a trust held for the public good,[1]—these are the assured results of Anglo-Saxon growth, and the legitimate heritage of every nation of Anglo-Saxon descent.

[1] Macaulay's "Essay on Sir Robert Walpole."

It is no exaggeration to say that the best men and the best minds in England, without distinction of rank or class, are now laboring for the advancement of the people. They see, what has never been so clearly seen before, that the nation is a unit, that the welfare of each depends ultimately on the welfare of all, and that the higher a man stands and the greater his wealth and privileges, so much the more is he bound to extend a helping hand to those less favored than himself.

The Socialists, it is true, demand the abolition of private property in land and the nationalizing not only of the soil but of all mines, railways, waterworks, and docks in the kingdom. Thus far, however, they have shown no disposition to attain their objects by violent action. England, by nature conservative, is slow to break the bond of historic continuity which connects her present with her past.

"Do you think we shall ever have a second revolution?" the Duke of Wellington was once asked. "We may," answered the great general, "but if we do, it will come by act of Parliament." That reply probably expresses the general temper of the people, who believe that they can gain by the ballot more than they can by an appeal to force, knowing that theirs is

"A land of settled government, A land of just and old renown, Where freedom broadens slowly down, From precedent to precedent."[2]

[2] Tennyson's "You Ask Me Why."

It is impossible for the great majority of Americans not to take a deep interest in this movement, for we can never forget that English history is in a very large degree our history, and that England is, as Hawthorne likes to call it, "our old home."

In fact, if we go back less than three centuries, the record of America becomes one with that of the mother country, which first discovered (SS335, 421) and first permanently settled this, and which gave us for leaders and educators Washington, Franklin, the Adamses, and John Harvard. In descent by far the greater part of us are of English blood or of blood akin to it.[1] We owe to England—that is, to the British Isles and to the different races which have met and mingled there—much of our language, literature, law, legislative forms of government, and the essential features of our civilization. In fact, without a knowledge of her history, we cannot rightly understand our own.

[1] In 1840 the population of the United States, in round numbers, was 17,000,000, of whom the greater part were probably of English descent. Since then there has been an enormous immigration, 40 per cent of which were from the British Isles; but it is perhaps safe to say that three quarters of our present population are those were were living here in 1840, with their descendents. Of the immigrants (up to 1890) coming from non-English-speaking races, the Germans and Scandinavians predominated, and it is to them, as we have seen, that the English, in large measure, owe their origin (SS37-39, 126). It should be noted here that the word "English" is used so as to include the people of the United Kingdom and their descendants on both sides of the Atlantic.

Standing on her soil, we possess practically the same personal rights that we do in America; we speak the same tongue, we meet with the same familiar names. We feel that whatever is glorious in her past is ours also; that Westminster Abbey belongs as much to us as to her, for our ancestors helped to build its walls and their dust is gathered in its tombs; that Shakespeare and Milton belong to us in like manner, for they wrote in the language we speak, for the instruction and delight of our fathers' fathers, who beat back the Spanish Armada and gave their lives for liberty on the fields of Marston Moor and Naseby.

Let it be granted that grave issues have arisen in the past to separate us; yet, after all, our interests and our sympathies, like our national histories, have more in common than they have apart. The progress of each country now reacts for good on the other.[2]

[2] In this connection the testimony of Captain Alfred T. Mahan, in his recent work, "The Problem of Asia," is worth quoting here. He says (p. 187), speaking of our late war with Spain: "The writer has been assured, by an authority in which he entirely trusts, that to a proposition made to Great Britain to enter into a combination to constrain the use of our [United States] power,—as Japan was five years ago constrained by the joint action of Russia, France, and Germany,—the reply [of Great Britain] was not only a positive refusal to enter into such a combination [against the United States], but an assurance of active resistance to it if attempted...Call such an attitude [on the part of England toward the United States] friendship, or policy, as you will—the name is immaterial; the fact is the essential thing and will endure, because it rests upon solid interest."

If we consider the total combined population of the United States and of the British Empire, we find that to-day upwards of 150,000,000 people speak the English tongue and are governed by the fundamental principles of that Common Law which has its root in English soil. This population holds possession of more than 15,000,000 square miles of the earth's surface,—an area much larger than that of the united continents of North America and Europe. By far the greater part of the wealth and power of the globe is theirs.

They have expanded by their territorial and colonial growth as no other people have. They have absorbed and assimilated the multitudes of emigrants from every quarter of the globe that have poured into their dominions.

The result is that the inhabitants of the British Isles, of Australia, of New Zealand, of a part of South Africa, of the United States, and of Canada practically form one great Anglo-Saxon race,[1] diverse in origin, separated by distance, but everywhere exhibiting the same spirit of intelligent enterprise and of steady, resistless growth. Thus considered, America and England are necessary one to the other. Their interests now and in the future are essentially the same. Bothe contries are virtually pledged to make every effort to maintain liberty and self-government, and also to maintain mutual peace by arbitration.

[1] Such apparent exceptions as the Dutch in South Africa, the French in Canada, and the Negroes in the United States do not essentially affect the truth of this statement, since in practice the people of these races uphold the great fundamental principles on which all Anglo-Saxon government rests.

In view of these facts let us say, with an eminent thinker[2] whose intellectual home was on both sides of the Atlantic: "Whatever there be between the two nations to forget and forgive, is forgotten and forgiven. If the two peoples, which are one, be true to their duty, who can doubt that the destinies of the world must be in large measure committed to their hands?"

[2] Dean Farrar, Address on General Grant, Westminster Abbey, 1885.

General Summary of English Constitutional History[1]

[1] This Summary is inserted for the benefit of those who desire a compact, connected view of the development of the English Constitution, such as may be conveniently used either for reference, for a general review of the subject, or for purposes of special study. —D.H.M.

For authorities, see Stubbs (449-1485); Hallam (1485-1760); May (1760- 1870); Amos (1870-1880); see also Hansard and Cobbett's "Parliamentary History," the works of Freeman, Taswell-Langmead (the best one-volume Constitutional History), Feilden's Manual, and A. L. Lowell's "The Government of England," 2 vols., in the Classified List of Books beginning on page xxxvi.

The references inserted in parentheses are to sections in the body of the history.

1. Origin and Primitive Government of the English People.

The main body of the English people did not originate in Britain, but in Northwestern Germany. The Jutes, Saxons, and Angles were independent, kindred tribes living on the banks of the Elbe and its vicinity.

They had no written laws, but obeyed time-honored customs which had all the force of laws. All matters of public importance were decided by each tribe at meetings held in the open air. There every freeman had an equal voice in the decision. There the people chose their rulers and military leaders; they discussed questions of peace and war; finally, acting as a high court of justice, they tried criminals and settled disputes about property.

In these rude methods we see the beginning of the English Constitution. Its growth has been the slow work of centuries, but the great principles underlying it have never changed. At every stage of their progress the English people and their descendants throughout the globe have claimed the right of self-government; and, if we except the period of the Norman Conquest, whenever that right has been persistently withheld or denied, the people have risen in arms and regained it.

2. Conquest of Britain; Origin and Power of the King.

After the Romans abandoned Britain the English invaded the island 449(?), and in the course of a hundred and fifty years conquered it and established a number of rival settlements. The native Britons were, in great part, killed off or driven to take refuge in Wales and Cornwall.

The conquerors brought to their new home the methods of government and modes of life to which they had been accustomed in Germany. A cluster of towns—that is, a small number of enclosed habitations (S103)— formed a hundred (a district having either a hundred families or able to furnish a hundred warriors); a cluster of hundreds formed a shire or county. Each of these divisions had its public meeting, composed of all its freemen or their representatives, for the management of its own affairs. But a state of war—for the English tribes fought each other as well as fought the Britons—made a strong central government necessary. For this reason the leader of each tribe was made king. At first he was chosen, at large, by the entire tribe; later, unless there was some good reason for a different choice, the King's eldest son was selected as his successor. Thus the right to rule was practically fixed in the line of a certain family descent.

The ruler of each of these petty kingdoms acted as commander-in-chief in war, and as supreme judge in law.

3. The Witenagemot, or General Council.

In all other respects the King's authority was limited—except when he was strong enough to get his own way—by the Witenagemot, or General Council. This body consisted of the chief men of each kingdom acting in behalf of its people.[1] IT exercised the following powers: (1) It elected the King, and if the people confirmed the choice, he was crowned. (2) If the King proved unsatisfactory, the Council might depose him and choose a successor. (3) The King, with the consent of the Council, made the laws,—that is, he declared the customs of the tribe. (4) The King, with the Council, appointed the chief officers of the kingdom (after the introduction of Christianity this included the bishops); but the King alone appointed the sheriff, to represent him and collect the revenue in each shire. (5) The Council confirmed or denied grants of portions of the public lands made by the King to private persons. (6) The Council acted as the high court of justice, the King sitting as supreme judge. (7) The Council, with the King, discussed all questions of importance,—such as the levying of taxes, and the making of treaties; smaller matters were left to the towns, hundreds, and shires to settle for themselves. After the consolidation of the different English kingdoms into one, the Witenagemot expanded into the National Council. In it we see "the true beginning of the Parliament of England."

[1] The Witenagmot (i.e. the Meeting of the Witan, or Wise Men, S80), says Stubbs ("Select Charters"), represented the people, although it was not a collection of representatives.

4. How England became a United Kingdom; Influence of the Church and of the Danish Invasions.

For a number of centuries Britain consisted of a number of little rival kingdoms, almost constantly at war with each other. Meanwhile missionaries from Rome had introduced Christianity, 597. Through the influence of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury (668), the clergy of the different hostile kingdoms met in general Church councils.[2] This religious unity of action prepared the way for political unity. The Catholic Church—the only Christian Church (except the Greek Church) then existing—made men feel that their highest interests were one; it "created the nation" (S48).

[2] This movement began several years earlier (S48), but Theodore of Tarsus was its first great organizer.

This was the first cause of the union of the kingdoms. The second was the invasion of the Danes. These fierce marauders forced the people south of the Thames to join in common defense, under the leadership of Alfred, King of the West Saxons. By the Treaty of Wedmore, 878, the Danes were compelled to give up Southwestern England, but they retained the whole of the Northeast. About the middle of the tenth century, one of Alfred's grandsons conquered the Dnaes, and took the title of "King of England."[1] Later, the Danes, reenforced by fresh invasions of their countrymen, made themselves masters of the land; yet Canute, the most powerful of these Danish kings, ruled according to English methods. At length the great body of the people united in choosing Edward the Confessor king (1042-1066). He was English by birth, but Norman by education. Under him the unity of the English kingdom was, in name at least, fully restored.

[1] Some authorities consider Edgar (959) as the first "King of all England." In 829 Egbert, King of the West Saxons, forced all the other Saxon Kings of Britian to acknowledge him as their "Overlord" (S49).

5. Beginning of the Feudal System; its Results.

Meantime a great change had taken place in England with respect to holding land (SS86, 150). We shall see clearly to what that change was tending if we look at the condition of France. There a system of government and of land tenure existed known as the Feudal System. Under it the King was regarded as the owner of the entire realm. He granted, with his royal protection, the use of portions of the land to his chief men or nobles, with the privilege of building castles and of establishing courts of justice on these estates. Such grants were made on two conditions: (1) that the tenants should take part in the King's Council; (2) that they should do military service in the King's behalf, and furnish besides a certain number of fully armed horsemen in proportion to the amount of land they had received. So long as they fulfilled these conditionms—made under oath—they could retain their estates, and hand them down to their children; but if they failed to keep their oath, they forfeited the land to the King.

These great military barons or lords let out parts of their immense manors,[2] or estates, on similar conditions,—namely (1) that their vassals or tenants should pay rent to them by doing military or other service; and (2) that they should agree that all questions concerning their rights and duties should be tried in the lord's private court.[3] On the other hand, the lord of the manor pledged himself to protect his vassals.

[2] Manor (man'or): see plan of a manor (Old French manoir, "a mansion") on page 75, the estate of a feudal lord. Every manor had two courts. The most important of these was the "court baron." It was composed of all the free tenants of the manor, with the lord (or his representative) presiding. It dealt with civil cases only. The second court was the "court customary," which dealt with cases connected with villeinage. The manors held by the greater barons had a third court, the "court leet," which dealt with criminal cases, and could inflict the death penalty. In all cases the decisions of the manorial courts would be pretty sure to be in the lord's favor. In England, however, these courts never acquired the degree of power which they did on the Continent. [3] See note above, on the manor.

On every manor there were usually three classes of these tenants: (1) those who discharged their rent by doing military duty; (2) those who paid by a certain fixed amount of labor—or, if they preferred, in produce or in money; (3) the villeins, or common laborers, who were bound to remain on the estate and work for the lord, and whose condition, although they were not wholly destitute of legal rights, was practically not very much above that of slaves (S113).

But there was another way by which men might enter the Feudal System; for while it was growing up there were many small free landholders, who owned their farms and owed no man any service whatever. In those times of constant civil war such men would be almost in daily peril of losing, not only their property, but their lives. To escape this danger, they would hasten to "commend" themselves to some powerful neighboring lord. To do this, they pledged themselves to become "his men," surrendering their farms to him, and received them again as feudal vassals. That is, the lord bound himself to protect them against their enemies , and they bound themselves to do "suit and service"[1] like the other tenants of the manor; for "suit and service" on the one side, and "protection" on the other, made up the threefold foundation of the Feudal system.

[1] That is, they pledged themselves to do suit in the lord's private court, and to do service in his army.

Thus in time all classes of society became bound together. At the top stood the King, who was no man's tenant, but, in name at least, every man's master; at the bottom crouched the villein, who was no man's master, but was, in fact, the most servile and helpless of tenants.

Such was the condition of things in France. In England, however, this system of land tenure was not completely established until after the Norman Conquest, 1066; for in England the tie which bound men to the King and to each other was originally one of pure choice, and had nothing directly to do with land. Gradually, however, this changed; and by the time of Edward the Confessor land in England had come to be held on conditions so closely resembling those of France that one step more—and that a very short one—would have made England a kingdom exhibiting all the most dangerous features of French feudalism.

For, notwithstanding certain advantages,[2] feudalism had this great evil: that the chief nobles often became in time more powerful than the King. This danger now menaced England. For convenience Canute the Dane had divided the realm into four earldoms. The holders of these vast estates had grown so mighty that they scorned royal authority. Edward the Confessor did not dare resist them. The ambition of each earl was to get the supreme mastery. This threatened to bring on civil war, and to split the kingdom into fragments. Fortunately for the welfare of the nation, William, Duke of Normandy, by his invasion and conquest of England, 1066, put an effectual stop to the selfish schemes of these four rival nobles.

[2] On the Advantages of Feudalism, see S87.

6. William the Conqueror and his Work.

After William's victory at Hastings and march on London (SS74, 107), the National Council chose him sovereign,—they would not have dared to refuse,—and he was crowned by the Archbishop of York in Westminster Abbey. This coronation made him the legal successor of the line of English kings. In form, therefore, there was no break in the order of government; for though William had forced himself upon the throne, he had done so according to law and custom, and not directly by the sword.

Great changed followed the conquest, but they were not violent. The King abolished the four great earldoms (S64), and restored national unity. He gradually dispossessed the chief English landholders of their lands, and bestowed them, under strict feudal laws, on his Norman followers. He likewise gave all the highest positions in the Church to Norman bishops and abbots. The National Council now changed its character. It became simply a body of Norman barons, who were bound by feudal custom to meet with the King. But they did not restrain his authority; for William would brook no interference with his will from any one, not even from the Pope himself (S118).

But though the Conqueror had a tyrant's power, he rarely used it like a tyrant. We have seen[1] that the great excellence of the early English government lay in the fact that the towns, hundreds, and shires were self-governing in all local matters; the drawback to this system was its lack of unity and of a strong central power that could make itself respected and obeyed. William supplied this power,— without which there could be no true national strength,—yet at the same time he was careful to encourage the local system of self- government. He gave London a liberal charter to protect its rights and liberties (S107). He began the organization of a royal court of justice; he checked the rapacious Norman barons in their efforts to get control of the people's courts.

[1] See SS2, 3 of this Summary.

Furthermore, side by side with the feudal cavalry army, he maintained the old English county militia of foot soldiers, in which every freeman was bound to serve. He used this militia, when necessary, to prevent the barons from getting the upper hand, and so destroying those liberties which were protected by the Crown as its own best safeguard against the plots of the nobles.

Next, William had a census, survey, and valuation made of all the estates in the kingdom outside London which were worth examination. The result of this great work was recorded in Domesday Book (S120). By means of that book—still preserved—the King knew what no English ruler had known before him; that was, the property-holding population and resources of the kingdom. Thus a solid foundation was laid on which to establish the feudal revenue and the military power of the Crown.

Finally, just before his death, the Conqueror completed the organization of his government. Hitherto the vassals of the great barons had been bound to them alone. They were sworn to fight for their masters, even if those masters rose in open rebellion against the sovereign. William changed all that. At a meeting held at Salisbury, 1086, he compelled every landholder in England, from the greatest to the smallest,—sixty thousand, it is said,—to swear to be "faithful to him against all others" (S121). By that oath he "broke the neck of the Feudal System" as a form of government, though he retained and developed the principle of feudal land tenure. Thus at one stroke he made the Crown the supreme power in England; had he not done so, the nation would soon have fallen prey to civil war.

7. William's Norman Successors.

William Rufus has a bad name in history, and he fully deserves it. But he had this merit: he held the Norman barons in check with a stiff hand, and so, in one way, gave the country comparative peace.

His successor, Henry I, granted, 1100, a Charter of Liberties (S135, note 1) to his people, by which he recognized the sacredness of the old English laws for the protection of life and property. Somewhat more than a century later this document became, as we shall see, the basis of the most celebrated charter known in English history. Henry attempted important reforms in the administration of the laws, and laid the foundation of that system which his grandson, Henry II, was to develop and establish. By these measures he gained the title of the "Lion of Justice," who "made peace for both man and beast." Furthermore, in an important controversy with the Pope respecting the appointment of bishops (S136), Henry obtained the right (1107) to require that both bishops and abbots, after taking possession of their Church estates, should be obliged like the baron to furnish troops for the defense of the kingdom.

But in the next reign—that of Stephen—the barons got the upper hand, and the King was powerless to control them. They built castles without royal license, and from these private fortresses they sallied forth to ravage, rob, and murder in all directions. Had that period of terror continued much longer, England would have been torn to pieces by a multitude of greedy tyrants.

8. Reforms of Henry II; Scutage; Assize of Clarendon; Juries; Constitutions of Clarendon.

With Henry II the true reign of law begins. To carry out the reforms begun by his grandfather, Henry I, the King fought both barons and clergy. Over the first he won a complete and final victory; over the second he gained a partial one.

Henry began his work by pulling down the unlicensed castles built by the "robber barons" in Stephen's reign. But, according to feudal usage, the King was dependent on these very barons for his cavalry,— his chief armed force. He resolved to make himself independent of their reluctant aid. To do this he offered to release them from military service, provided they would pay a tax, called "scutage," or "shield money" (1159).[1] The barons gladly accepted the offer. With the money Henry was able to hire "mercenaries," or foreign troops, to fight for him abroad, and, if need be, in England as well. Thus he struck a great blow at the power of the barons, since they, through disuse of arms, grew weaker, while the King grew steadily stronger. To complete the work, Henry, many years later (1181), reorganized the old English national militia,[2] and made it thoroughly effective for the defense of the royal authority. For just a hundred years (1074- 1174) the barons had been trying to overthrow the government; under Henry II the long struggle came to an end, and the royal power triumphed.

[1] Scutage: see S161. The demand for scutage seems to show that the feudal tenure was now fully organized, and that the whole realm was by this time divided into knights' fees,—that is, into portions of land yielding 20 pounds annually,—each of which was obliged to furnish one fully armed, well-mounted knight to serve the King (if called on) for forty days annually. [2] National militia: see SS96, 140.

But in getting the military control of the kingdom Henry had won only half of the victory he was seeking; to complete his supremacy over the powerful nobles, the King must obtain control of the administration of justice.

In order to do this more effectually, Henry issued the Assize of Clarendon (1166). It was the first true national code of law ever put forth by an English king, since previous codes had been little more than summaries of old "customs." The realm had already been divided into six circuits, having three judges for each circuit. The Assize of Clarendon gave these judges power not only to enter and preside over every county court, but also over every court held by a baron on his manor. This put a pretty decisive check to the hitherto uncontrolled baronial system of justice—or injustice—with its private dungeons and its private gibbets. It brought everything under the eye of the King's judges, so that those who wished to appeal to them could now do so without the expense, trouble, and danger of a journey to the royal palace.

Again, it had been the practice among the Norman barons to settle disputes about land by the barbarous method of Trial by Battle (S148); Henry gave tenants the right to have the case decided by a body of twelve knights acquainted with the facts.

In criminal cases a great change was likewise effected. Henceforth twelve men from each hundred, with four from each township,—sixteen at least,—acting as a grand jury, were to present all suspected criminals to the circuit judges.[3] The judges sent them to the Ordeal (S91); if they failed to pass it, they were then punished by law as convicted felons; if they did pass it, they were banished from the kingdom as persons of evil repute. After the abolition of the Ordeal (1215), a petty jury of witnesses was allowed to testify in favor of the accused, and clear them if they could from the charges brought by the grand jury. If their testimony was not decisive, more witnesses were added until twelve were obtained who could unanimously decide one way or the other. In the course of time[1] this smaller body became judges of the evidence for or against the accused, and thus the modern system of Trial by Jury was established about 1350.

[3] See the Assize of Clarendon (1166) in Stubbs's "Select Charters." [1] The date usually given is 1350; but as late as the reign of George I juries were accustomed to bring in verdicts determined partly by their own personal knowledge of the facts. See Taswell-Langmead (revised edition), p.179.

These reforms had three important results: (1) they greatly dimished the power of the barons by taking the administration of justice, in large measure, out of their hands; (2) they established a more uniform system of law; (3) they brought large sums of money, in the way of court fees and fines, into the King's treasury, and so made him stronger than ever.

But meanwhile Henry was carrying on a still sharper battle in his attempt to bring the Church courts—which William I had separated from the ordinary courts—under control of the same system of justice. In these Church courts any person claiming to belong to the clergy had a right to be tried. Such courts had no power to inflict death, even for murder. In Stephen's reign many notorious criminals had managed to get themselves enrolled among the clergy, and had thus escaped the hanging they deserved. Henry was determined to have all men—in the circle of clergy or out of it—stand equal before the law. Instead of two kinds of justice, he would have but one; this would not only secure a still higher uniformity of law, but it would sweep into the King's treasury may fat fees and fines which the Church courts were then getting for themselves.

By the laws entitled the "Constitutions of Clarendon," 1164 (S165), the common courts were empowered to decide whether a man claiming to belong to the clergy should be tried by the Church courts or not. If they granted him the privilege of a Church-court trial, they kept a sharp watch on the progress of the case; if the accused was convicted, he must then be handed over to the judges of the ordinary courts, and they took especial pains to convince him of the Bible truth, that "the way of the transgressor is hard." For a time the Constitutions were rigidly enforced, but in the end Henry was forced to renounce them. Later, however, the principle he had endeavored to set up was fully established.[2]

[2] Edward I limited the jurisdiction of the Church courts to purely spiritual cases, such as heresy and the like; but the work which he, following the example of Henry II, had undertaken was not fully accomplished until the fifteenth century.

The greatest result springing from Henry's efforts was the training of the people in public affairs, and the definitive establishment of that system of Common Law which regards the people as the supreme source of both law and government, and which is directly and vitally connected with the principle of representation and of trial by jury.[3]

[3] See Green's "Henry II," in the English Statesmen Series.

9. Rise of Free Towns.

While these important changes were taking place, the towns were growing in population and wealth (S183). But as these towns occupied land belonging either directly to the King or to some baron, they were subject to the authority of one or the other, and so possessed no real freedom. In the reign of Richard I many towns purchased certain rights of self-government from the King.[1] This power of controlling their own affairs greatly increased their prosperity, and in time, as we shall see, secured them a voice in the management of the affairs of the nation.

[1] See S183.

10. John's Loss of Normandy; Magna Carta.

Up to John's reign many barons continued to hold large estates in Normandy, in addition to those they had acquired in England; hence their interests were divided between the two countries. Through war John lost his French possessions (S191). Henceforth the barons shut out from Normandy came to look upon England as their true home. From Henry II's reign the Normans and the English had been gradually mingling; from this time they became practically one people. John's tyranny and cruelty brought their union into sharp, decisive action. The result of his greed for money, and his defiance of all law, was a tremendous insurrection. Before this time the people had always taken the side of the King against the barons; now, with equal reason, they turned about and rose with the barons against the King.

Under the guidance of Archbishop Langton, barons, clergy, and people demanded reform. The Archbishop brought out the half-forgotten charter of Henry I (S135, note 1). This now furnished a model for Magna Carta, or the "Great Charter of the Liberties of England."[2]

[2] Magna Carta: see SS195-202; and see Constitutional Documents, p.xxix.

It contained nothing that was new in principle. It was simply a clearer, fuller, stronger statement of those "rights of Englishmen which were already old."

John, though wild with rage, did not dare refuse to affix his royal seal to the Great Charter of 1215. By doing so he solemnly guaranteed: (1) the rights of the Church; (2) those of the barons; (3) those of all freemen; (4) those of the villeins, or farm laborers. The value of this charter to the people at large is shown by the fact that nearly one third of its sixty-three articles were inserted in their behhalf. Of these articles the most important was that which declared that no man should be deprived of liberty or property, or injured in body or estate, save by the judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.

In regard to taxation, the Charter provided that, except the customary feudal "aids,"[3] none should be levied unless by the consent of the National Council. Finally, the Charter expressly provided that twenty-five barons—one of whom was mayor of London—should be appointed to compel the King to carry out his agreement.

[3] For the three customary feudal aids, see S150.

11. Henry III and the Great Charter; the Forest Charter; Provisions of Oxford; Rise of the House of Commons; Important Land Laws.

Under Henry III the Great Charter was reissued. But the important articles which forbade the King to levy taxes except by consent of the National Council, together with some others restricting his power to increase his revenue, were dropped, and never again restored.[1]

[1] See Stubbs's "Select Charters" (Edward I), p.484; but compare note I, p.443.

On the other hand, Henry was obliged to issue a Forest Charter, based on certain articles of Magna Carta, which declared that no man should lose life or limb for hunting in the royal forests.

Though the Great Charter was now shorn of some of its safeguards to liberty, yet it was still so highly prized that its confirmation was purchased at a high price from successive sovereigns. Down to the second year of Henry VI's reign (1423) we find that it had been confirmed no less than thirty-seven times.

Notwithstanding his solemn oath (S210), the vain and worthless Henry III deliberately violated the provisions of the Charter, in order to raise money to waste in his foolish foreign wars or on his court circle of French favorites.

Finally (1258), a body of armed barons, led by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, forced the King to summon a Parliament at Oxford. There a scheme of reform, called the "Provisions of Oxford," was adopted (S209). By these Provisions, which Henry swore to observe, the government was practically taken out of the King's hands,—at least as far as he had power to do mischief,—and entrusted to certain councils or committees of state.

A few years later, Henry refused to abide by the Provisions of Oxford, and civil war broke out. De Montfort, Earl of Leicester, gained a decisive victory at Lewes, and captured the King. The Earl then summoned a National Council, made up of those who favored his policy of reform (S213). This was the famous Parliamnet of 1265. To it De Montfort summoned: (1) a small number of barons; (2) a large number of the higher clergy; (3) two knights, or country gentlemen, from each shire; (4) two burghers, or citizens, from every town.

The knights of the shire had been summoned to Parliamnet before;[2] but this was the first time that the towns had been invited to send representatives. By that act the Earl set the example of giving the people at large a fuller share in the government than they had yet had. To De Montfort, therefore, justly belongs the glory of being "the founder of the House of Commons." His work, however, was defective (S213); and owing, perhaps, to his death shortly afterwards at the battle of Evesham (1265), the regular and continuous representation of the towns did not begin until thirty years later.

[2] They were first summoned by John in 1213.

Meanwhile, 1279-1290, three land laws of great importance were enacted. The first limited the acquisition of landed property by the Church;[3] the second encouraged the transmission of land by will to the eldest son, thus keeping estates together instead of breaking them up among several heirs;[1] the third made purchasers of estates the direct feudal tenants of the King.[2] The object of these three laws was to prevent landholders from evading their feudal obligations; hency they decidedly strengthened the royal power.[3]

[3] Statute of Mortmain (1279): see S226; it was especially directed against the acquisition of land by monasteries. [1] Statute De Donis Conditionalibus or Entail (Westminster II) (1285): see S225. [2] During the same period the Statute of Winchester (1285) reorganized the national militia and the police system (S224).

12. Edward I's "Model Parliament"; Confirmation of the Charters.

In 1295 Edwrad I, one of the ablest men that ever sat on the English throne, adopted De Montfort's scheme of representation. The King was greatly pressed for money, and his object was to get the help of the towns, and thus secure a system of taxation which should include all classes. With the significant words, "That which toucheth all should be approved by all," he summoned to Winchester the first really complete or "Model Parliament" (S217),[4] consisting of King, Lords (temporal and spiritual), and Commons.[5] The form Parliament then received it has kept substantially ever since. We shall see how from this time the Commons gradually grew in influence,—though with periods of relapse,—until at length they have become the controlling power in legislation.

[4] De Montfort's Parliament was not wholly lawful and regular, because not voluntarily summoned by the King himself. Parliament must be summoned by the sovereign, opened by the sovereign (in person or by commission); all laws require the sovereign's signature to complete them; and, finally, Parliament can be suspended or dissolved by the sovereign only. [5] The lower clergy were summoned to send representatives to the Commons; but they came very irregularly, and in the fourteenth centrury ceased coming altogether. From that time they voted their supplies for the Crown in Convocation, until 1663, when Convocation ceased to meet. The higher clergy—bishops and abbots—met with the House of Lords.

Two years after the meeting of the "Model Parliament," in order to get money to carry on a war with France, Edward levied a tax on the barons, and seized a large quantity of wool belonging to the merchants. So determined was the resistance to these acts that civil war was threatened. In order to avert it, the King was obliged to summon a Parliament, 1297, and to sign a confirmation of all previous charters of liberties, including the Great Charter (S202). He furthermore bound himself in the most solemn manner not to tax his subjects or seize their goods without their consent. Henceforth Parliament alone was considered to hold control of the nation's purse; and although this principle was afterwards evaded, no king openly denied its binding force. Furthermore, in Edward's reign the House of Commons gained (1322), for the first time, a direct share in legislation. This step had results of supreme constitutional importance.

13. Division of Parliament into Two Houses; Growth of the Power of the Commons; Legislation by Statute; Impeachment; Power over the Purse.

In Edward III's reign a great change occurred in Parliament. The knights of the shire (about 1343) joined the representatives from the towns, and began to sit apart from the Lords as a distince House of Commons. This union gave that House a new charactyer, and invested it with a power in Parliament which the representation from the towns alone could not have exerted. But though thus strengthened, the Commons did not venture to claim an equal part with the Lords in framing laws. Their attitude was that of humble petitioners. When they had voted the supplies of money which the King asked for, the Commons might then meekly beg for legislation. Even when the King and the Lords assented to their petitions, the Commons often found to their disappointment that the laws which had been promised did not correspond to those for which they had asked. Henry V pledged his word (1414) that the petitions, when accepted, should be made into laws without any alteration. But, as a matter of fact, this was not effectually done until the close of the reign of Henry VI (about 1461). Then the Commons succeeded in obtaining the right to present proposed laws in the form of regular bills instead of petitions. These bills when enacted became statues or acts of Parliament, as we know them to-day. This change was a most important one, since it made it impossible for the King with the Lords to fraudulently defeat the expressed will of the Commons after they had once assented to the legislation which the Commons desired.

Meanwhile the Commons gained, for the first time (1376), the right of impeaching such ministers of the Crown as they had reason to believe were unfaithful to the interests of the people. This, of course, put an immense restraining power in their hands, since they could now make the ministers responsible, in great measure, for the King.[1]

[1] But after 1450 the Commons ceased to exercise the right of impeachment until 1621, when they impeached Lord Bacon and others.

Next (1406), the Commons insisted on having an account rendered of the money spent by the King; and at times they even limited[2] their appropriations of money to particular purposes. Finally, in 1407, the Commons took the most decided step of all. They boldly demanded and obtained *the exclusive right of making all grants of money* required by the Crown.[3]

[3] This right the Commons never surrendered.

In future the King, unless he violated the law, had to look to the Commons—that is, to the direct representation of the mass of the people—for his chief supplies. This made the will of the Commons more powerful than it had ever been.

14. Religious Legislation; Emancipation of the Villeins; Disfranchisement of County Electors.

The Parliament of Merton had already (1236) refused to introduce the canon or ecclesiatical law (S265). In the next century two very important statutes relating to the Church were enacted,—that of Provisors (1350)[4] and the Great Act of Praemunire, 1393,[1]—limiting the power of the Pope over the English Church. On the other hand, the rise of the Lollards had caused a statute to be passed (1401) against heretics, and under it the first martyr had been burned in England. During this period the villeins had risen in insurrection (1381) (SS250-252), and were gradually gaining their liberty. Thus a very large body of people who had been practically excluded from political rights now began to slowly acquire them.[2] But, on the other hand, a statute was enacted (1430) which prohibited all persons having an income of less than forty shillings a year—or what would be equal to forty pounds at the present value of money— from voting for knights of the shire (S297). The consequence was that the poorer and humbler classes in the country were no longer directly represented in the House of Commons.

[4] Provisors: this was a law forbidding the Pope to provide any person (by anticipation) with a position in the English Church until the death of the incumbent. [1] Praemunire: see Constitutional Documents, p. xxxii. Neither the law of Provisors nor of Praemunire was strictly enforced until Henry VIII's reign. [2] Villeins appear, however, to have had the right of voting for knights of the shire until the statute of 1430 difranchised them.

15. Wars of the Roses; Decline of Parliament; Partial Revival of its Power under Elizabeth.

The Civil Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) gave a decided check to the further development of parliamentary power. Many noble families were ruined by the protracted struggle, and the new nobles created by the King were pledged to uphold the interests of the Crown. Furthemore, numerous towns absorbed in their own local affairs ceased to elect members to the Commons. Thus, with a House of Lords on the side of royal authority, and with a House of Commons diminished in numbers and in influence, the decline of the independent attitude of Parliament was inevitable.

The result of these changes was very marked. From the reign of Henry VI to that of Elizabeth, a period of nearly a hundred and forty years, "the voice of Parliament was rarely heard." The Tudors practically set up a new or "personal monarchy," in which their will rose above both Parliament and the constitution;[3] and Henry VII, instead of asking the Commons for money, extorted it by fines enforcedby his Court of Star Chamber, or compelled his wealthy subjects to grant it to him in "benevolences" (S330)—those "loving contributions," as the King called them, "lovingly advanced"!

[3] Theoretically Henry VII's power was restrained by certain checks (see S328, note 1), and even Henry VIII generally ruled according to the letter of the law, however much he may have violated its spirit. It is noticable, too, that it was under Henry VIII (1541) that Parliament first formally claimed freedom of speech as one of its "undoubted privieges."

During this period England laid claim to a new continent, and Henry VIII, repudiating the authority of the Pope, declared himself the "supreme head" (1535) of the English Catholic Church. In the next reign (Edward VI) the Catholic worship, which had existed in England for nearly a thousand years, was abolished (1540), and the Protestant faith became henceforth—except during Mary's short reign—the established religion of the kingdom. It was enforced by two Acts of Uniformity (1549, 1552). One effect of the overthrow of Catholicism was to change the character of the House of Lords, by reducing the number of spiritual lords from a majority to a minority, as they have ever since remained (S406, note 2).

At the beginning of Elizabeth's reign the Second Act of Supremacy (1559) shut out all Catholics from the House of Commons (S382), Protestantism was fully and finally established as the state religion,[1] embodied in the creed known as the Thirty-Nine Articles (1563); and by the Third Act of Uniformity (1559) very severe measures were taken against all—whether Catholics or Puritans—who refused to conform to the Episcopal mode of worship. The High Commission Court was organized (1583) to try and to to punish heretics—whether Catholics or Puritans. The great number of paupers caused by the destruction of the monasteries under Henry VIII and the gradual decay of relations of feudal service caused the passage of the first Poor Law (1601) (S403), and so brought the Government face to face with a problem which has never yet been satisfactorily settled; namely, what to do with habitual paupers and tramps.

[1] By the Third Act of Uniformity and the establishment of the High Commission Court (S382). The First and Second Acts of Uniformity were enacted under Edward VI (S362).

The closing part of Elizabeth's reign marks the revival of parliamentary power. The House of Commons now had many Puritan members, and they did not hesitate to assert their right to advise the Queen on all questions of national importance. Elizabeth sharply rebuked them for presuming to meddle with questions of religion, or for urging her either to take a husband or to name a successor to the throne; but even she did not venture to run directly counter to the will of the people. When the Commons demanded (1601) that she should put a stop to the pernicious practice of granting trading monopolies (S388) to her favorites, she was obliged to yield her assent.

16. James I; the Divine Right of Kings; Struggle with Parliament.

James began his reign by declaring that kings rule not by the will of the people, but by "divine right." "God makes the King," said he, "and the King makes the law" (S419). For this reason he demanded that his proclamations should have all the force of acts of Parliament. Furthermore, since he appointed the judges, he could generally get their decisions to support him; thus he made even the courts of justice serve as instruments of his will. In his arrogance he declared that neither Parliament nor the people had any right to discuss matters of state, whether foreign or domestic, since he was resolved to reserve such questions for the royal intellect to deal with. By his religious intolerance he maddened both Puritans and Catholics, and the Pilgrim Fathers fled from England to escape his tyranny.

But there was a limit set to his overbearing conceit. When he dictated to the Commons (1604) what persons should sit in that body, they indignantly refused to submit to any interference on his part, and their refusal was so emphatic that James never brought the matter up again.

The King, however, was so determined to shut out members whom he did not like that he attempted to gain his ends by having such persons seized on charges of debt and thrown into prison. The Commons, on the other hand, not only insisted that their ancient privilege of exemption from arrest in such cases should be respected, but they passed a special law (1604) to clinch the privilege.

Ten years later (1614) James, pressed for money, called a Parliament to get supplies. He had taken precautions to get a majority of members elected who would, he hoped, vote for him what he wanted. But to his dismay the Commons declined to grant him a penny unless he would promise to cease imposing illegal duties on merchandise. The King angrily refused and dissolved the so-called "Addled Parliament."[1]

[1] This Parliament was nicknamed the "Addled Parliament," because it did not enact a single law, though it most effectually "addled" the King's plans (S424).

Finally, in order to show James that it would not be trifled with, a later Parliament (1621) revived the right of impeachment, which had not been resorted to since 1450.[2] The Commons now charged Lord Chancellor Bacon, judge of the High Court of Chancery, and "keeper of the King's conscience," with accepting bribes. Bacon held the highest office in the gift of the Crown, and the real object of the impeachment was to strike the King through the person of his chief official and supporter. Bacon confessed his crime, saying, "I was the justest judge that was in England these fifty years, but it was the justest censure in Parliament that was these two hundred years."

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