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the papal admission that problems of secular law were beyond the cognisance of Rome. The assembly of Mantes, in which the bishops and barons of France asserted his right to disregard papal injunctions, was a turning point in the history of the French state. Or, again, the adventurous enquirer might try to estimate the importance of the conquest of Normandy in the history of private rights in international law. For the first time in the modern world one highly organised state had annexed another. In spite of his claims as a suzerain, who was unlawfully resisted by the Normans on behalf of a disinherited lord, Philip made no attempt at widespread confiscation. The Normans did not suffer as the English had suffered after 1066. Are we not at the beginning of all those conventions about rights of property, and municipal custom, which protect the vanquished even against the right of conquest? If so, the loss of Normandy helped to lay down precedents which might establish international custom during the transition from medieval to modern warfare. Or, again, one might raise that vague and elusive subject, the origin of England's claim to the narrow seas, and ask-not very profitably--whether John did or did not order foreign ships to lower their flag to his ships, and, if he did, whether it was before or after he ceased to rule both sides of the English Channel.2 But it is sufficient to remind ourselves that when the Normans became French they did a great deal more than bring their national epic to a close. They permitted the English once more to become a nation, and they established the French state for all time.
1. See Wheaton's International Law, part iv, ch. ii, § 346, and notes (eighth edition, p. 432 seqq). For later medieval literature upon this subject, see Walker, A History of the Law of Nations, vol. i (1899), e.g., p. 230.
2. For John's alleged ordinance of March 30, 1201, see the Black Book of the Admiralty, I, xix, and Fulton, The Sovereignty of the Sea (1911), pp. 39-43.
I. King John and Arthur of Brittany.
Few references have been made in the preceding work to the murder of Arthur in 1203 as a cause of the loss of Normandy. It is clear, I think that Philip, rightly or wrongly, attacked Normandy in pursuance of the condemnation of John by the royal court in 1202. It is also fairly certain that Philip was not convinced of Arthur's death and John's crime before the spring of 1204, when Normandy was more than half won. Yet, after studying, in the order of their composition, the authorities which refer to or discuss the alleged condemnation of King John by his peers in the French court after Arthur's death, I have been led to feel considerable doubt concerning the orthodox view on the subject. That view is the negative conclusion reached by M. Bémont in his well-known thesis a quarter of a century ago.1
M. Bémont rests his case upon the fact that no contemporary authority, official or unofficial, refers to King John's condemnation, until 1216 and later. In testing the value and importance of this fact, it is impossible to separate the evidence for Arthur's death from the evidence for John's trial at the French court. The conclusions at which a study of this evidence has brought me may be stated as follows:
1. There was no certainty in contemporary knowledge of how Arthur died, but it does not follow that John was not condemned. What evidence there is, apart from the chronicle of Margam, goes to show that he was condemned,
1. For the literature of the whole subject, see Petit-Dutaillis, Studies supplementary to Stubbs' “Constitutional History," i, 108; Lot, Fidèles ou Vassaux? (Paris, 1904), p. 87, note. For a very sceptical criticism of the documents of 1216, not dealt with here, see Lehmann, Johann ohne Land, pp. 45-119.