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fatal effect upon the sound parts of the financial system. The bailiffs could not collect their farms, or availed themselves of the confusion to fill their own pockets. The men who had lost their lands either deserted or clamoured for compensation elsewhere. The rapid calls upon the exchequers of England and Normandy exhausted the treasure. John was thrown back increasingly upon men who were willing to profit by disorder and upon mercenaries whose depredations increased the general disaffection.
In England the effect of these practices would have been apparent at once. They could not have been continued without open exactions which would have led to resistance. Such was the course of events which produced the charter
1. This paragraph is based upon conclusions drawn from the Norman and Exchequer rolls. As an illustration I may take the fine owed by Robert of Thibouville for the Bertram wardship (see previous note). According to the original arrangement (Rot. Pat., 19) this sum, £6000 Angevin, was to be paid as follows : £1000 on the 30th November, 1202; the same sum at Easter and at Michaelmas, 1203; and £500 at each succeeding Easter and Michaelmas until the whole was paid. Robert actually paid £1000 on December 22nd, 1202 (Rot. Norm., 66); £1000 about the following Easter (ibid., 90); and £500 on the Monday after the feast of Saint Denis, i.e., after October 9th, 1203 (ibid., 106). Before the next payment was due Robert of Thibouville had joined Philip (cf. Cart. Norm., no. 204) and the English part of the Bertram inheritance came into John's hands (Rot. Norm., 129; Red Book, ii, 805; Excerpta e rotulis finium, i, 288). But King John had only enjoyed the first paid instalment. All the rest he had at first assigned to Hugh of Gournai in recompense for his lost lands (Rot. Pat., 26b) and one of Hugh's last acts, before his desertion in May, 1203, was to give a receipt for the second instalment of £1000 (Rot. Norm., 90). If Hugh had remained faithful, part of the fine would have gone to pay his debts to William Crassus (Rot. Pat., 28b). After his desertion John promised the next instalment to two of his Rouen creditors, Matthew the Fat and William the Miller : who had accommodated him with £400 and £100 respectively (Rot. Pat., 30). The fourth instalment which, owing to Robert of Thibouville's desertion, was never paid, had been promised to Master Peter of Verneuil (Rot. Pat., 43b). Hence, practic. ally the whole of this vast fine for the wardship of a great Norman honour would have been frittered away, for it is clear that John borrowed in anticipation of the instalments.
of Henry I and was later to produce the Great Charter. In Normandy the poison worked with more subtlety. The reason for the difference between the two countries is closely connected with the more cosmopolitan nature of Norman finance. Wider opportunities for credit were open to the kings on the continent than in England. Money was drawn from all quarters, and through the alien influences of trade and exchange public opinion in Normandy was diverted from politics. This tendency is, indeed, but one illustration of the fact that the central position of Normandy weakened the expression in the duchy of political and racial feeling It is significant that we hear of no constitutional opposition in Normandy. Except at the Christmas feast few great councils were summoned during this period. No government was more consistently personal than John's; and the fact that he resorted so capriciously and unintelligently to credit, though it hastened bankruptcy, helped to silence criticism and to maintain the supremacy of the administration which had been unchallenged since 1174. Moreover, it should be remembered that Normandy was the seat of war and that the money drawn from England and from the king's creditors was spent there. Though famine and disorder destroyed individuals, though the general discomfort resulted in a general acquiescence in the change to a French master, Normandy as a whole was probably not impoverished and did not feel the strain which was put upon England by the constant exportation of men and treasure.
1. John announces his inability to be present on the day fixed for what seems to be a great council at Rouen (Rot. Pat., 22). It was perhaps to have met on Saint Hilary's day, since the king writes en January 12th, 1203. Of course there was frequent consultation between the king and his followers during the various negotiations with the king of France, but his self-reliance is shown at the interviews in 1200 and in June, 1201, when he met Philip alone (Gervase of Canterbury, ii, 92; Howden, iv, 164).
It would lead us too far from our course to analyse at any length John's relations with his creditors. He was able to use a system which extended from Piacenza and Genoa to Cologne and Rouen. It is suggestive of the position which Normandy occupied in the commercial world that nearly every kind of coinage circulated freely except her own;' indeed a daring attempt might be made to measure changes in the political situation of the duchy from year to year by the changes which were produced in the relative values of the currency by high prices and the importation of bullion.2 The real danger to John's solvency did not, of course, lie in the fact that the accumulated wealth of Normandy or Touraine was at his service, but, as I have suggested, in the absence of any official restraint or audit of his operations. So long as the money-changers in the cities of Lombardy or the valley of the Loire 3 were employed to facilitate public business or to advance money to diplomatic agents, they performed a real service. King Richard found in Geoffrey of Val Richer, the important money-changer of Rouen, a most useful agent for the payment of his ransom ;4 and, again, when the building of Château Gaillard made it necessary to have recourse to a more centralised machinery than the
1. Delisle, in Bibliothèque, x, 185 seqq.
3. Rot. Scacc., i, 38 (1180) : “in passagio episcopi Wintoniensis et Cambiatorum Regis de Turonis et Cenomannis." For the merchants of Piacenza, ses especially Rot. Chart., 31, where it appears that certain men of Piacenza had lent a large sum to Richard's envoys “ad negocium karissimi nepotis Regis Othonis in curia Romana faciendum.” John promised repayment in four instalments (cf. 96b).
There are many other references in the records. Reference should also be made to John's dealings with the Templars; see Delisle's article in the Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions, xxxiii, pt. 2, pp. 10 se99.
4. Rot. Scacc., i, 136.
local services, Geoffrey was again employed. But Richard and John were unable to resist the temptation to borrow and to go on borrowing. John borrowed from everybody, so that the records of the last months of his rule in Normandy give the impression that the revenue must have been far exceeded by his anticipations. The money which he received, for example, from Laurence of the Donjon, a wealthy citizen of Rouen was almost entirely repaid by the officials of the English, not of the Norman, exchequer.2
How far John interfered with the actual operations of trade and the private obligations of his subjects is uncertain. The exigencies of warfare caused an occasional diversion of shipping, or prohibition of the export of corn. But, as a restriction of supplies would speedily have followed any tyrannical interference, the king seems to have been careful, on the whole, to respect commercial interests. A more dangerous tendency was shown by the practice of rewarding public service by the remission of debts which his vassals owed to private creditors. That King John had recourse to such action as this is sufficient proof that he was getting to the end of his
1. Rot. Scacc., ii, 300. He was used permanently (cf. i, 236) as a financial agent, but the ransom and the building of Château Gaillard seem to have given him especial prominence.
2. See especially Rot. de Liberate, 40, 57. Laurence was one of the viscounts, or royal farmers at Rouen (Rot. Norm., 107), and apparently in this capacity received certain orders from John (ibid., 48, 49, 50, 59, 100). He received £1000 in 1203 from the English officials which had been granted to the citizens of Rouen for the fortification of their city (Rot. Pat., 25), and at the same time sterling money to the value of £2536. 10s. 10d. Angevin, which he had lent to John (ibid.).
3. See the case of Roger Wascelin of Barfleur and the merchants of Aquitaine (Rot. Chart., 60).
4. General inquisition into unlicensed export on February 11th, 1203 (Rot. Pat., 25).
5. Cf. Rot. Pat., 13b, July 6th, 1202. A general order that victuals coming to Rouen by way of the Seine shall be allowed to pass, and not be bought “nisi per bonam voluntatem mercatorum qui illud adduxerunt antequam pervenerint apud Rothomagum." On the subject generally, see English Historical lieview, xxi, 642.
resources. But, in the majority of cases, the creditors who suffered were Jews, and it is well known that the financial operations of the Jewish community were undertaken in face of the risks which were incident to their privileged position. Their elaborate system of agency and credit, ? which has been explored by modern scholars, may well have included means of mutual insurance. Moreover both Richard and John found by experience that it was wise to give definite protection to the Jews and to their bonds. 3 In Normandy, as in England, they were an integral part of the demesne, attached to the chief castles or grouped in the larger towns, and placed under the supervision of special wardens.5
1. For examples, see Rot. Norm., 47, 60, 61, 73, 100. The release of debts was accompanied by restoration of charter and chirograph, which points to a royal control of Jewish bonds in Normandy and Aquitaine, as in England (Select Charters, p. 262). For the kind of service rendered in return, see Rot. Norm., 107, where twenty days' service at Tillières is promised, and Rot. Pat., 32b, “sciatis quod quietavimus Radulfo de Ruperia de plegiagio Willelmi Lexoviensis Episcopi versus Deodanum (sic) Judeum de Vernolio de debito quod ipse Episcopus debuit eidem Judeo, et pro ista quietacione tenebit predictus Radulfus tres milites in servicio nostro cum equis et armis a Dominica proxima ante festum Beati Petri ad vincula anno regni quinto usque ad Natale Domini sequens.” Cf. Rot. Norm., 100.
2. Jacobs, “Aaron of Lincoln," in Jewish Quarterly Review, 1898, X, 629; and the same writer's Jews in Angevin England.
3. Above, note 1. John's charter to the Jews of England and Normandy, 1201, in Rot. Chart., 93. Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, i, 468; McKechnie, Magna Carta, p. 266.
4. Cf. Cart. Norm., nos. 207, 208. In February, 1203, John took £200 from the Jews at Domfront, for the payment of the garrison and for the building operations (Rot. Norm., 79). There were also Jews at Verneuil, Rouen, Montivilliers, Lillebonne (Rot. Norm., 61) L'Aigle, Bernay (Rot. Scacc., ii, 315), Caen, Pont-Audemer (Rot. Norm., 116, 118). In 1200 Deodatus of Verneuil found pledges up to a sum of £960 " quod non recedat a terra” (Rot. de Oblatis, 73).
5. Rot. Norm., 116 : “custodia escaetarum Normannie et Judeorum preter Judeos Rothomagi et Cadomi.” Richard Silvain collected a tallage of £1000 imposed by John on the Jews of Normandy (Rot. Scacc., ii, 543).