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possible in the England of Henry III; it was not possible in the Angevin empire, for the empire was only kept together by those very ties of a common financial administration which it is the function of national sentiment to control.
It is worth while to dwell upon and illustrate these aspects of Angevin administration.
The exchequers of the various states which formed the empire, England, Normandy, Anjou, Poitou, seem to have been regarded as parts of a single system. The treasure which they collected and preserved was circulated freely from one part of the empire to the other. It is true that a considerable proportion of the royal income was earmarked for special purposes, such as the payment of tithes. But most of these appropriations were of ancient date; though protected by reverence or custom, they did not affect the general principle of feudal finance, the confusion of "public" with private revenue; they resulted from no development in public action, still less of public opinion. Hence the course of time, while it necessarily brought with it an addition to these obligations, brought no theory of the distinction between the national exchequer and the privy purse. The king issued the same form of writ for the passage of his dogs as he did for the payment of his mercenaries. With the proceeds of fines and dues
1. The co-operation between the exchequers of Caen and Westminster may be illustrated by the arrangements for the payment of Queen Berengaria's dower (Rot. Pat., 2b). Payments into one exchequer were deducted from payments due at the other (e.g., Rot. Scacc., ii, 496: the debts of the chamberlain of Tancarville). The Poitevin exchequer is mentioned in Rot. Norm., 28.
2. Above, p. 42. Compare Rot. Scacc., i, 56, 57, "pro thesauris portandis de Cadomo in Andegaviam et in plura loca per Normanniam"; Rot. Norm., 31: to the seneschal and barons of the Norman exchequer "computate R. Abbati 6375 marcas argenti quas liberavit in camera nostra ante exercitum Gasconie de thesauro nostro Anglie anno regni nostri secundo." The Norman treasuries were at Caen, Falaise (e.g., Rot. Scacc., i, 39), and apparently Vaudreuil (Rot. Chart., 17).
he might march to relieve a city, rebuild a church, buy a new coat of mail or pay his gambling debts.
The royal power over the proceeds of the feudal state extended also to the sources of revenue. Here, again, no distinction was made between the public and the private position of the king. All tenures were equally public or equally private; and as they were equally protected by law and custom, so beyond the scope of law, they were equally subject to royal policy or royal whim. The wisdom or folly of the king decided whether public policy or private caprice should dispose of demesne, escheats, wardships or forfeitures. By careful management Henry II had doubled his income; by mismanagement John brought chaos. In the latter's reign the royal chamber (camera) was a centre of intrigue and recklessness. Treasure poured in and was poured out in heedless confusion. Writ after writ issued from it at the dictation of the spasmodic policy or favour of the king, for the disposal of lands and rents. John was, it is true, a hard man at a bargain. The Bertram and a few other wardships sold well.1 Those escheats which he kept in his hands were highly farmed. An elaborate system of pledges enabled him, with no expense to himself, to insure the fidelity of his vassals by making them go warranty for each other. But his astuteness went no further. Lands and wealth which might have been absorbed in the royal demesne and given strength to local administration were scattered. As Philip ate his way into Normandy and occupied more and more territory, this disregard for economy reacted with
1. Rot. Pat., 19, October 18th, 1202: "sciatis quod concessimus Roberto de Tebovilla custodiam terre et filii et filie Roberti Bertram pro sex milia li. And., ita quod habebit predictos filium et filiam in custodia donec ad legitmam etatem pervenerint." The terms of the agreement which follows are detailed and interesting. See Stapleton, II, ccxi, note. The wardship was of the Norman honour of the Bertram house, which included property in Norfolk and Essex. It should be distinguished from the Northumbrian house (Red Book, ii, 698; Rotuli de Oblatis et finibus, 478).
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.1
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, practically 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 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
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 cn 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;1 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; 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.
2. The material is collected by Delisle, op. cit., pp. 195 seqq.
3. Rot. Scacc., i, 38 (1180): "in passagio episcopi Wintoniensis et Cambiatorum Regis de Turonis et Cenomannis." For the merchants of Piacenza, see 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 seqq.
4. Rot. Scacc., i, 136.