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lords. The man was not, like the serf, free in regard to all but his lord, but free to enter into as many obligations as he liked, saving the irksome rights of his lord. It is for this reason that feudalism, as a social bond, required the guidance of a strong lord who could prevent the formation of these illicit unions. Lordship, in those states which were most properly feudal, was tempered by sovereignty.
The extent of the obligations which liege-homage secured, and the kind of action which might accompany their performance may best be seen from a treaty between Count Robert of Flanders and Henry I of England almost a century earlier. This treaty (1103) seems to have served as a model for later agreements. The king of England, in return for a fief, had received the homage of the count of Flanders. The count promised his support even to his life, 'saving his faith to Philip, king of the Franks. If the king of France planned an
' invasion of England, the count would dissuade him in every way that he could; and if the king persisted, would join in the expedition with the minimum force necessary to prevent his forfeiture of his French fief. Should Henry require his help in Maine or Normandy, he would come unless the French king forbad him by the judgment of his peers; and should the French king invade Normandy, the count would join him with only ten knights, leaving all the rest of his following in the Norman host to fight against their companions. 1
It is clear from this account that there was no hard and fast division between those feudal states, which like England and Normandy, insisted on full obedience, and the loose confederation of feudatories, in which a variety of
1. Lot, pp. 23–25. Sometimes a party to a treaty saved his rights to more than one lord. Thus, in August, 1205, Thomas of Saint-Valéry made a pact to help his brother William, count of Ponthieu and Montreuil, in the most emphatic manner, against all men "excepto domino meo rege Francio regeque Anglie” (Teulet, Layettes du Trésor des Chartes, i, 295, no. 779).
relations crossed each other. All kinds of modifications were possible, and even for England and Normandy it would be impossible to lay down a fixed rule. Alliance and allegiance were never far apart in the mediæval world. After the loss of Normandy, though some lords begged to be allowed to serve John in their hearts because they felt compelled to serve the king of France with their bodies, the English kings began, as we shall see, to draw a strict line between aliens and Englishmen. 1 It has been suggested that the events of 1204 were the real cause of the English law of aliens ;? if so the loss of Normandy, by turning vassals into subjects, helped lawyers to work out a most important chapter in the legal theory of the modern state. But in the meantime it was, as we have said, not easy to draw a hard and fast line. Doctrines of citizenship were opposed not merely to facts, but were opposed to the contractual element in feudalism. We saw in the last chapter how strong this was in Norman history. Again, the idea that citizenship was confined to one part of the earth's surface, to the exclusion of other parts, was opposed also to the whole teaching of the Church. All Christians were citizens of the world, protected by natural laws as well as by the law of their own countries. And here we brought to another problem which was of great interest during the struggle for Normandy. This was the problem created by Papal interference. So long as the dukes of Normandy were strong enough, the French kings were content to treat with them as with equals, in spite of their position as suzerains. Philip Augustus had very cleverly succeeded in maintaining the distinction between Normandy and the rest of the Angevin empire, but he
1. Histoire des ducs de Normandie (ed. Michel, 1840), p. 99. below p. 434.
2. Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, i, 460–462. problem which prevents such great legal difficulties in our own days was, of course, never solved completely by mediæval lawyers, and the account in the text merely states the tendency in theory and practice.
had never got a legal footing in Normandy itself. Owing to the quarrels between the sons of Henry II, who would not do homage to each other, he had stopped Henry's plan of uniting Normandy, Anjou, and Aquitaine under one head. Richard did homage to him for Aquitaine, and Philip acted as arbitrator, if not as a court of appeal between him and his father. He received the homage and listened to the appeals of the barons of Poitou. But with Normandy, with Henry or Richard as dukes of Normandy, he acted as an equal. When, however, in the reign of John, the balance of power was seriously threatened, Philip made claims which John refused to admit; and then it became necessary to appeal to a higher than feudal law, the law of right and wrong, to which all nations are subject. Innocent III, therefore, entered upon the scene, as the spiritual suzerain of Philip and the administrator of what philosophers term the law of nature. Innocent declared expressly that he was no judge of local or temporal law; he made no claim to set aside the feudal rights of the king of France; but all kings are bound by a higher law, which if they disobey, they may rightly be displaced. Hence he directed his legates to inquire into the rights of the case.4 Here, also, it is not easy to
1. Rigord, ed. Delaborde, i, 93; Gesta Henrici, ii, 50.
2. According to Rigord (i, 79) the papal legates bound Henry and Richard to abide in 1187 by the judgment of the French court. See Lot, op. cit., 81-83, 230.
3. Later chroniclers affirmed that Henry was condemned by Louis of France to lose all his fiefs after the marriage with Eleanor of Aquitaine (1152, but it is doubtful whether this is correct (Lot, op. cit., 205–11). Rigord speaks of a summons before the French court when Henry refused to surrender Gisors in 1186. If he is correct, this is the first time that the legal claim was made by Philip.
4. See especially Innocent's letter of October 31, 1203, to Philip of France (Migne, Patrologia Latina, ccxv, 176; Potthast, Regesta Ponti. ficum Romanorum, vol. i, no. 2009). He urges Philip to let his legate decide "non ratione feudi, cuius ad te spectat judicium, sed occasione peccati, cuius ad nos pertinet sine dubitatione censura."
distinguish the threats of a spiritual ally from the injunctions of a suzerain.
With such considerations in mind it will be easier to interpret aright the treaties, negotiations, claims of suzerainty, threats of forfeiture and so on, in the reigns of Richard and John.
The treaty which Richard made with Philip at Messina, on their way to the Holy Land, is the most convenient text with which to commence an inquiry into the state of political affairs after the death of Henry II. The treaty was made in March 1191. It is of additional interest to us because from the outset its tenor was disputed. Immediately after his hurried return to France King Philip presented himself on the Norman border, and, showing what seemed to be Richard's charter containing the treaty, demanded the surrender of his sister, Alice, and the great castle of Gisors. The seneschal, William Fitz Ralf, refused without further instructions to act according to the charter. Doubtless he had heard that for a time the great seal had been lost in the Mediterranean when the vice-chancellor, Mauchien, had been drowned; he had received no letters from the king directing the surrender of one of the great strongholds of the Norman Vexin, upon which Henry II had lavished such wealth and labour.2 He refused to move, and as the French barons refused to join Philip in an attack upon the lands of a Crusader, Philip was forced to retire.3 Now, while Philip displayed what purported to be Richard's charter, the English Exchequer preserved the treaty in the charter of the French king. The original has not come down to
1. Gesta, ii, 236.
3. Gesta, ii, 236; Will. Newb., p. 367. Richard's change of seal, though mainly due to fiscal reasons, implied the danger from false seals. See the charter in Delisle's Introduction to Recueil des Actes de Henri II, p. 192. For false seals, cf. Walter Map, De nugis curialium, ed. Wright, p. 235. Cf. below, p. 151.
us, and therefore it is not possible to decide with certainty whether Philip produced a forgery. But the evidence is certainly in favour of the version preserved in England, that Philip agreed to surrender all claims to the Norman Vexin and Gisors, which, though they had long been subject to the Norman duke, had always been regarded since the marriage of the young King Henry to Margaret of France as the dowry of a French princess. After the death of Margaret they became the dowry of Philip's sister Alice. Richard had refused to marry Alice, and Philip claimed the dower. If we accept the English version of the treaty at Messina, he consented to give up his claim. 2
The fate of Normandy turned upon the surrender of the French claim to the Norman Vexin. When the chroniclers of the period summarised the treaty of Messina, they excluded everything but that. When Richard's envoys were urging the grievances of their master at the
1. The treaty is printed by Rymer (ed. Record Comm., 1816), i, 54, from a document now in the Record Office (Exch. T. R. Diplomatic Doc.6) which is a fragment of a roll of the second half of the thirteenth century. It contains also the treaties of 1195 and 1200. It is therefore not the original, as has been often assumed. The scribe's lack of acquaintance with Normandy may be seen from the fact that he writes Melpha for Neelfa or Neelpha (Neaufle).
2. We have at this point to be satisfied with the evidence of the Anglo-Norman chroniclers. Richard of Devizes (Howlett, Chronicles of Stephen, etc., iii, 403) and the dean of St. Paul's (Rad. Dic., ii, 86) who were of course contemporaries, give the version in favour of Richard. The important Gesta Henrici (ii, 161, 236), followed by Roger of Howden (iii, 99; ii, 167), agree with Philip. This would be disturbing, since the author of the Gesta was particularly well informed in affairs of state, but for the considerations that the Gesta relies throughout this part of the narrative upon the authority of some person who had come home in Philip's train, and that the author ceased to write before Richard's return to England, indeed, shortly after Philip's return, whereas all the other chroniclers had time to hear from the other side. Still, one would think that a copy would have been sent home to the English and Norman officials at once.