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ferior Officers are always ready to ape them 5 and crimes that in the commission are common to all men very soon descend from the Prince to the Page. In the King's progresses during the late Reign, the Court and its Followers committed many outrages of a very serious nature, in places where they lodged; such as extorting money from the hosts who entertained them, and abusing the chastity of women without restraint. But now the grievance was become much worse; for Henry's Attendants, in his progresses, plundered every thing that came in their way; so that the country was laid waste wherever the King travelled; for which reason people, when they knew of his approach, left their houses, carrying away what provisions they could, and sheltering themselves in the woods and bye-places, for fear their provisions should be taken away by the King's Purveyors*. These things called loudly for redress : it was therefore made public, by the King's command, that whoever, belonging to the Court, spoiled
any goods of those who entertained them in these progresses, or abused the persons of their hosts, should, on proof, have their eyes put out, or their hands and feet cut off*To us these seem cruel and unwarrantable punishments; but it must be remembered that, at this day, punishments were not prescribed, but arbitrary; there was no common law, and but little statute-law, and nothing to regulate the hand of Justice, which was directed by caprice, and the temper of the reigning King. Coiners of false money were grown so numerous and bare-faced, employed and even protected by the great men about the Court, that this kind of imposition on the publick became, among the rest, an object of redress, and the penalty inflicted was the loss of eyes and genitals.
Taking the whole together, one must conclude that the profligacy, and wanton cruelty, of the King's Suite must have been very enormous, to have required punishments so repugnant to natural mercy;—but we can
but ill judge, at so distant a period, of the necessity there might be for such severity.
The Kings, in these ages, moved their Court very frequently, and often to considerable distances; and, as the state of the roads would not permit them to travel far in a day, they were forced to accommodate themselves as well as they could at such houses as lay convenient, there being then no receptacles of a public nature. These motions of so large a body of people, added to the frequency of them, were often, of themselves, very oppressive to the Yeomanry, who were obliged to supply the Court with carts and horses from place to place; and the abuse the people sustained in this kind of Purveyance was the occasion of edicts afterward to restrain any from taking carriages from the subject, for this purpose, except by the persons authorized and appointed to the office, who were called the King's Carttakers, a post which is now in being, though out of use. But, although the Court was not fixed in these times, yet the Kings generally
kept the Feast of Christmas in one place*, according to their liking or convenience. The other Feasts they kept at different places,
* Pro more, as the Monkish writers say: though Henry I. does not appear to have confined himself to keep the Feast of Christmas at one place. According to the Saxon Chronicle, William I. had stated places for each Feast; and on these occasions the Kings wore their Crowns. "Ter gessit [Willielmus] suam Coronam singulis annis quoties esset in Anglia.; ad Pascha earn gessit in Winchester; ad Pentecoslen in Westminster; et ad Natales in Gloucester." Chronic. Saxon, p. 190. So hefore anno 1085 "Rex induta Corona tenuit Curiam in Winchester ad Pascha, atque ita Itinera instituit ut esset ad Pentecosten apud Westminster; ubi armis militaribus honoravit iilium suinn Henricum;" p. 187,
William Rufus was not so uniform. He sometimes held his Court at one, and sometimes at another; but for the most part the Easter-Court at Winchester, as his Father had done. At Whitsuntide 1099, he kept his Court for the first time in his new Hall at Westminster (Saxon Chronicle); for which purpose, I suppose, he built it. Henry I. was not regular in the places where he kept his Court, but it was held oftener in Westminster Hall than any where else, perhaps on account of its novelty and convenience in point of magnitude, or for greater magnificence. The
as it happened, they having Palaces almost at every considerable place in the Kingdom, viz. besides London and its environs, at York, at Gloucester, Winchester, Salisbury, Marlborough, Bath, Worcester, and many other places, too numerous to mention nominatim. The great Feasts (together with that of St. George, after the institution of the Order of the Garter,) were kept with great solemnity, even so late as the Reign of King
when the public observance of
them was dropped by the King and Court.
Henry was not wanting in splendour and magnificence on these occasions. Eadmerus, speaking of one of them, and more might be produced, says, "Hex Henricus [in Festivitate Pentecostes] curiam suam Lundoniae
custom of wearing the Crown during the celebration of the great Festivals was much left off, however, after Henry II. It is said to have grown by degrees into disuse after Henry II. and his Queen, 1136, laid their Crowns on the Altar, after their third Coronation at Worcester, vowing they would never wear them, again. What the occasion of this vow was, nobody has told us; and Lord Lyttelton does not even guess at the reason.