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either wish or venture to speak slightingly of its members as a whole. I believe the Bar of England was never more full of men of the highest honour, probity, and learning. The generation has hardly yet passed away in which it gave us such men as Romilly and Brougham, Denman, Lyndhurst, and Campbell, and it has now among its ranks men who will be no unworthy successors to these. It would be idle in me to add to the noble vindication so lately made for the Bar by one who is himself an exemplar of all that is most eloquent, honourable, and dignified in the profession.* If there have been some of late, of unenviable notoriety, who have, unfortunately, been permitted to rise to a high rank, which has cast a momentary shadow on the reputation of the Bar, it is owing, I believe, to a laxity of discipline, the result, not of want of principle, but of confidence and forbearance.



PEASANTRY. Part VI.- Taxation, Purveyance, and other Grievances. THE HE thirteenth century was a critical epoch in English

history. It beheld the introduction of a number of constitutional changes. Up to that age the tenants had lived under their landlords, and were seldom reminded of their sovereign's existence. The government was chiefly supported by manorial assessments, and even the duties payable to the king-excepting irregular exactions, such as Danegeld—were rather seigneurial than regal perquisites. The ancient tallages were not abolished through the king's generosity: they had been levied by other lords, not by the king alone, and every king since the Conquest had been anxious to monopolize the power of taxation. A general tallage was apparently made

* See the speech of Mr. Serjeant Shee, in the case of Seymour v. Butterworth.-Law Magazine, vol. xiv., part 2.


for the last time in the year 1220; its amount was two shillings upon each plough. In 1255 Henry III. proposed to raise Horngeld—a tax upon kine—but could not get the consent of his barons. Before the time of Henry III. a tax upon moveables began to supersede the tallage. The rate of the new impost varied : it was a seventh, a ninth, a tenth, a thirteenth, a fifteenth, a twentieth, a thirtieth, or a fortieth part of the value of all moveable property. We are told by the Burton annalist that England was thirteenthed in the year 1207. After a time the tax was called the "fifteenth;" a tenth being usually taken from the cities, and a fifteenth from the rural districts. In the year 1189, the declared object of the tax was to promote a crusade; in 1207, to recover Normandy; in 1224 and 1297, it was paid in return for the king's confirmation of the charters; in 1289, for his expulsion of the Jews; but whatever the pretext of the levy may have been, the people were at first assured that it would be a temporary charge. In this respect it was like our blessed incometax. There were certain exemptions: in the year 1232, persons with goods under the value of fifteen pence-in 1294, persons with goods under the value of ten pence-were not taxed. There were other exemptions, but they were hardly in favour of the rustic population.* The return of the fifteenth of all moveables in the borough of Colchester and adjacent townships, for the twenty-ninth year of Edward I., comprehends clothing, bedding, linen, money, furniture, tools and utensils, wool, grain, suet, lard, firewood, seacoal, animals of the farm of all kinds, excepting poultry.f We may presume

* Bartholomew Cotton, 178, 254. See also Harl. 1885, f. 75—The Chronicles of Roger Wendover, Thomas Wikes, and Walter Hemingburgh-The Annals of Burton and Waverley.

† Two or three entries may be translated from the Rolls of Parliament, 243—

Geoffrey Leyston had on Michaelmas Day 1301 i bed worth ii* ii young pigs worth xiia' each. No other chattels.

Summa iiiis Inde xvm. iii'. qu. Nicholie Colbayn had . . . ii brass vessels worth xxv i bed unsound worth ii“ vid i gown unsound worth v" i heifer worth iii“ vid.

Summa xü Inde xv. xob'.

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that fowls were free, for we cannot believe that the people of Greenstead, Lexden, Mile-End, and West Donyland, had none of them in the year 1301. The fifteenth was considered a very great grievance. It was called a constant plague overrunning England every year, compelling the poor to sell their pots and pans, cows and clothing, and bringing to the ground many who had been used to sit upon benches. It was often unfairly collected. The tax of 1268 or 1269 was not taken up until the next year had advanced, when the farmers, with empty barns and diminished stocks of cattle, were required to pay a percentage upon the goods which they had owned at the preceding Michaelmas. There was much fraud and embezzlement in the collection of this and the other duties, and much more was levied than ever reached the king. The woolgatherers are said to have detained two or three stone of wool out of every sack.*

Purveyance, or the collection of supplies for the royal household, was another hardship. Until the purveyors were compelled by Act of Parliament to take corn by stricken measure, they used to buy corn by heaps, and acknowledge it by strikes; and thus a farmer giving them twenty-five quarters


William the Miller had ... in cash xüi" ind. in treasure i silver buckle worth ix'. i ring worth xiio. in his chamber i gown worth x* i bed worth iïi cloth worth ixd i towel worth vid. in his kitchen iii brass utensils worth iii“ viii'. i andiron worth vid. i trivet worth iiiia in his granary i quarter of wheat worth iiii“ i quarter of barley worth ii* ii quarters of oatmalt worth is a quarter ii pigs worth v" each ü young pigs worth xvid. each i pound of wool worth iï" faggots for firing worth ii“ vid.

Summa Ixii" jüüd.. Inde xvm. iiiii“ ob' qū. Catherine Alman had i bed worth ii“ i bushels of rye worth iii' ob' the bushel i bushels of barley worth iirid ob' the bushel i cow worth me i young pig worth vi“.

Summa ix“. Inde xvm. vii“ qū.
* Ore court en Engleterre de anno in annum,

Le quinzyme dener, pur fere sic commune dampnum,
Et fet aualer que soleyent sedere super scamnum;
E vendre fet commune gent vaccas, vas, et pannum
Une chose est countre foy, unde gens gravatur,
Que le meyté ne vient al roy, in regno quod levatur ..
Uncore est plus outre peis, ut testantur gentes,
En le sac deus pers ou treis per vim retinentes.

(Wright's Political Songs. Camd. Soc. 183, 184.)

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of corn was credited for no more than twenty quarters. The very name of purveyor became odious, and was changed into chatour or achetour.* The purveyors did not pay cash for the goods taken by them, but gave wooden tallies, for which the farmers were to receive money at a future time. The peasants complained that their corn, cattle, and poultry were carried off, and that they received nothing but sticks instead. They could only describe their state of oppression by the use of whimsical metaphors; they declared that they were pinched, and peeled, and wrung, and picked clean, and plucked without scalding. The king's men—whether tax-gatherers or purveyors—went round the country in parties of eight or nine, turning the farmers out of doors, carrying away their stock, and outraging their wives and daughters. We should observe, however, that these outrages are reported by the disaffected. Libels and political invectives are not to be credited entirely. The daily records of the nineteenth century are full of evils and grievances, but we know that a picture drawn from such materials would be an unfair presentment of the condition of England.

There were plunderers pretending to be purveyors or taxgatherers: they were checked by an Act ordaining that all the king's takers, purveyors, and catours should carry the king's seal. Under a weak sovereign, unlicensed collectors of

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... ont pris les bledz a meyndre value qils ont valuz et auxint ont pris XXV quarters de bledz pur xx quarters pur ceo qils ont mesure chescun bushell a coumble. (4 Ed. III. c. 3; 5 Ed. III. c. 2; 36 Ed. III. c. 2.)

† I am so pyled with the Kyng,
That I most fle fro my wonyng,

And therefore woo is me.
I had catell, now have I non;
Thay take my bestis, and don thaim slon,

but a stick of tre. (“King Edward and the Shepherd,” in Hartshorne's Ancient Metrical Tales): not printed for the first time; there are black-letter fragments of it at Lambeth. Compare with it Wright's “ Piers Plowman,” 68. 28 Ed. I. c. 2.

Zet cometh budeles with ful muche bost,
Greythe me selver to the grene wax

(Political Songs, 149.) Jack Cade's followers complained of amercements called the “ greene

" *

course abounded, and regular takers became more than usually troublesome. Towards the end of the reign of Richard II.

A stop was put to all traffic, for merchants dared not travel for fear of being robbed. The farmers' houses were pillaged of grain, and their beeves, pigs, and sheep carried away, without the owners daring to say a word. These enormities increased so much, that there was nothing but complaints heard. The common people said, "Times are sadly changed for the worse since the days of King Edward of happy memory. Justice was then rigorous in punishing the wicked. Then there was no man in England daring enough to take a fowl or sheep without paying for them, but now they carry off all things, and we must not speak.

We should suppose that the husbandmen, in the civil wars which ensued, suffered as much, at least, as the general population; though we may doubt whether they were strong partisans of any dynasty. When Queen Margaret's army ravaged the southern counties in 1461, sacking corn, cattle, and household stuff-even tearing meat from the spits--we do not believe that a farmer, whose home had been so stripped, began to swear by the White Rose; we should rather think that he growled out, “A plague on both your houses !” In like manner, the clubmen of the seventeenth century, who fortified themselves against Cromwell in the old Roman camp at Shaftesbury, did not pretend to be cavaliers; they professed to care only for their goods.

“ If you offer to plunder or take our cattel,
Be assured we will bid


battel”was the legend upon their banner.f wax," more in sums of money than can be found due of record in the King's books. (2 Holinshed, 633.) Officers

, cryers of fee, and marshals of justices in Eyre . . . . . there is a greater number of them than there ought to be, whereby the people are sore grieved. (3 Ed. I. c. 30.)

* Froissart, chap. evi. † Sprigge's " Anglia Rediviva," 78, 79, 80. How many wretched souls have we heard to say in the late troubles, What matter is it who gets the victory? We can pay but what they please to demand, and so much we pay now. (Hobbes' Dialogue concerning the Common Law, quoted in Southey's Common-Place Book.)


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