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INSURANCE AGAINST CASUALTIES.
All these penalties were of course independent of the judgement of the church, which punished theft with fasts and censures, as a sin against God.
But theft and murder were not the only chances against which the Anglo-Saxon insured himself. The chances of fire, the equally onerous expenses of travel, the legal fines in cases of unintentional guilt, the cost of burial, and masses for the dead, were all expenses which came within the scope of a guild. The system was probably developed from a Roman origin; the tendency of the trade colleges to become clubs (hetaria) had always been viewed with suspicion by the emperors; and the curious combination of festive meetings with the duty of burying the dead, and with the worship of the gods, meets us in Italy before the Anglo-Saxon name was breathed in Europe.2 There can be no doubt, however, that the Roman assurance system, as we may call it, coalescing with the Saxon police or frank-pledge system, produced results on an enlarged and important scale. Unions of two slightly different kinds became general. Men of a particular class would join together, like the thanes of Cambridgeshire, for mutual support in the courts of law; or, like the weavers of London, to maintain the privileges of their craft against interlopers. Sometimes an exchange of good offices would be made; and a guild of priests would give their prayers in return for the secular services of a guild of saddlers. But besides all this, the whole community
1 Trajan's prohibition to Pliny to found a college of smiths, who were to act as firemen, has been too much dwelt upon. He gives as his reason the special condition of Bithynia; but no doubt such corporations were suspicious Hetariæ quamvis breves fient.-Plin., Epist. x., 42, 43.
2 Mr. Kenrick, in his Roman Sepulchral Inscriptions, has given the rules of a college of the Cultores Dianæ et Antinoi, who were also a burial club. Every member presented an amphora of good wine; paid about fifteen shillings entrance-money, and a fee of twopence a month. The club was to meet once a month. A number of rules provided for the maintenance of order and good fellowship; regulated the expenses at funerals; and the fees of the delegates who attended them.
3 Hallam's Middle Ages, vol. iii., p. 23.
The saddlers of London did this with the canons of St. Martin's.-Madox Firma Burgi., chap. i., sec. 9.
COALESCENCE OF GUILDS INTO A CORPORATION.
of citizens in a town came gradually to regard itself as a body politic, punishing the unruly, supporting the sick and poor, distributing the chances of life among all the citizens, even collecting the debts of its members, and uniting to perform the offices of religion. So complete a combination as this, was of course late in its developement, and rare; but it may be given as the ideal of citizen life toward which Anglo-Saxon society was tending. More perfect than the private guilds, it in one instance at least suppressed them, and apportioned their property among the new municipality, with a regard to vested interests. But whether a town consisted of one or of many guilds, is unimportant. What is essential, is to remember that life and property were not secured to the Anglo-Saxon by the state, but by the loyal union of his free fellow-citizens; that honour and courage were expected from neighbours, as readily as, among ourselves, from the police; and that free co-operation secured the weak from the strong, provided for the destitute or orphan, and mitigated the ruinous losses against which no care can provide. The system may have been, must have been, imperfect in its workings. But the question is not merely one of material results: it is rather of moral education; and I believe the Saxon guilds are unmatched in the history of their times as evidences of self-reliance, of mutual trust, of patient self-restraint, and of orderly love of law among a young people.
It is interesting to contrast the Welsh expedient for enforcing justice where it was withheld with the Saxon frankpledge system. The laws ascribed to Dyvnwal Moelmud legalize, so to speak, the right of insurrection. In minor cases of wrong, a special commissioner is to reverse the decisions of the local magistracy. But where the king or his judges are the offenders, or in any other case "where law cannot be
I See the statutes of Berwick-upon-Tweed.-Wilda's Gilden-Wesen, pp. 366386. 2 Welsh Laws, vol. ii., p. 499. The date of these laws is very uncertain, but does not affect the argument. Their present form may be spurious; but substantially they no doubt represent primitive Welsh ideas on justice.
THE SESSION OF EMERGENCY.
obtained to afford clear and permanent right," the head of the family was entitled to demand justice for his clansmen, and by bringing into court the oaths of three hundred qualified men, could reverse the decision of the supreme courts. We only know that this abstract right existed, and cannot pronounce in what way it was practically applied. But two points in it are remarkable. The strong family feeling of the Kelts displays itself in the substitution of the "chief of kindred" for the hundred or tithing-man. "The session of emergency," as it is called, is characteristic of an impulsive rather than of an orderly race; it resembles the lynch law which has been derived from Galway, and recals the contrast of French progress by revolutionary movements with the slow, constitutional, onward march of English liberty. Clearly, differences of race can be dated back to the earliest historical institutions.
THE ANGLO-SAXON COMMONWEALTH.
GROWTH, RIGHTS, AND REVENUE OF ROYALTY.-FUNCTIONS OF THE WITAN.— GROWTH OF FEUDALISM.-THE ROMAN AND ANGLO-SAXON FAMILY.-GROWTH OF VILLEINAGE.-LOCAL TENURES.-NATURE OF ANGLO-SAXON LIBERTY.SOCIETY, FOOD, AMUSEMENTS, AND DRESS IN THE ANGLO-SAXON TIMES.
THE importance of royalty was sensibly increased in England by the events of the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, and by the fusion of Roman with Saxon ideas. The change in the ceremony of coronation would alone indicate this: the old king had been lifted up on a shield, and carried three times round the ranks of his shouting warriors, while a sacrifice was offered up; the king of later times received a sword as head of the host, a crown as chief judge, a sceptre in token of royalty, and a rod for the chastisement of evil-doers.1 Once invested, the king's first duty was to ride round the limits of his dominions, confirm the local customs, and receive in return the homage of his new subjects. At twelve years old, every male was compelled to take the oath of allegiance, whose breach, by Alfred's laws, was punished by death. The theory of Anglo-Saxon justice was that every man should endeavour to right himself before he applied to the king for redress. But as provinces of different origin, with dissimilar local customs, were united under one sovereignty, applications to the supreme power became more and more frequent; the number of royal commissioners was multiplied; their functions were extended; and writs were introduced to transfer causes from the local courts to their cognizance.
1 Grimm's Rechts-Alterthümer, pp. 234-237; Silver's Anglo-Saxon Coronation Service, pp. 6-8. See, however, Flor. Wig., vol. i., p. 173, and else
where, "levavere in regem."
2 Kemble's Saxons in England, vol. ii., chap. ii.
RIGHTS OF ROYALTY.
The rights, limitations, and feudal relations of English royalty, were very complex. All public property was vested in the Anglo-Saxon king; grants of folc-land required his previous sanction; rivers and roads were under his jurisdiction, and offences there committed against the peace were offences against the king; treasure-trove, by a just analogy, belonged to the sovereign. These rights, to which Roman law has no parallel, are no doubt based on the facts of original conquest. To the chief, as representative of the tribe, accrued all that the individual could not claim. Whether the king was punishable for crimes against the law is doubtful; we never hear of bloodmoney being exacted from an English king, and Edgar's penance was of course canonical; Canute once, indeed, paid a were-gild, but it was for the special offence of having killed a guild-brother. If the sovereign was really irresponsible, the worst precedent of Roman law was paralleled, if not imitated, in his case; and, with even greater stringency, the rights of the English treasury could be barred by no prescription, while four years were sufficient against the imperial fiscus. The king's revenue was derived from several sources. He inherited crown-lands, distinct at once from the folc-land, and from his own private property; his officers received the customs; the Roman abuse of purveyance was retained in England, and gradually extended to the king's officers, to his retinue, and
1 Grimm's Rechts-Alterthümer, pp. 247-250; Leges Edw. Conf., s. 14; Leges Henrici Imi, cap. x.; A. S. Laws, vol. i., pp. 448, 518, 519. As the fee of the soil had in theory been derived from the sovereign, treasure-trove belonged to him.
2 The nullum tempus occurrit regi, is, I believe, immemorial in English law. As early as the time of Henry II., it was held that the crown could recover lands unjustly severed from its domain after any lapse of time.-Dial de Scac., lib. ii., cap. 10. On the other hand, bona vacantia, i.e., the goods of persons dying without succession, could be acquired by prescription under Roman law, until they were reported to the fiscus.—Sandars's Institutes of Justinian, lib. ii., tit. 6. "By four years' possession the exchequer is barred to seize forfeited goods; and if the exchequer sells or gives to a private person, his title upon the mere delivery is unquestionable; but the injured person has his remedy against the exchequer if he sues in time."-Code, lib. 7, tit. 37, 1 and 2; quoted in a New Institute of the Civil Law, p. 108.