Page images
PDF

copy of Hearne’s edition,* nor need he make a pilgrimage

to Oxford to satisfy himself with a sight of the Rawlinson _

MS., for another and a preferable manuscript has come to light during the present century, which seems to have been overlooked for a long time, during which its history is unknown, but its known history commences with the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when it was in the possession of \Villiam Cecil, the great Lord Burghley, the Queen’s High Treasurer and Her Majesty’s most highly trusted Councillor. Lord Burghley justly set a high value on this manuscript, and his signature is at the beginning of the volume. It passed from his hands into those of Sir Robert Cotton, a diligent collector at this time of rare MSS., and it is now preserved in the British Museum amidst the Cotton MSS. in a volume which is entitled Julius A. XI. On examining this MS. it would appear that Sir Robert Cotton carefully read and marked the manuscript, and has written on the margin of fol. 29 of the volume in which the manuscript is bound, and where Benedict’s work commences, the title ‘t Benedictus Abbas de Vita Henrici II. In explanation of this fact I may mention that Benedict’s Chronicle was originally anonymous, as was the condition of most Chronicles in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and as in those days copyright was unknown, if the authorship of a Chronicle was thought worth usurping, the MS. was copied without a word of acknowledgment, and the text was re-issued, so to say, under the copier's name. It has thus happened, not to mention other instances, that a text of Benedict’s Chronicle appears to have been copied for a work, of which a manuscript is preserved in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and is entitled “ Annales

* Professor Stubbs had a difficulty in procuring a sight of a copy.

T The Bishop of Oxford (Professor Stubbs) holds that Lord Burghley wrote this title, but high living authorities in the British Museum attribute it to C0ttOII. ’

[ocr errors]

Angliae per Walterum Coventrensem,” and it is numbered MS. CLXXV. in the College Catalogue. The pirated work in this particular case has also been discovered in another MS. under the pseudonym of Memoriale Walteri Coventrensis. In an analogous manner the Vitellius MS., E. XVII., which is in the Cotton Collection in the British Museum, and which, if I mistake not, is a remote ancestor of a MS. which Hearne consulted in preparing his edition of Benedict's Chronicle in 1735, was regarded in the Middle Ages as a continuation of the Chronicle of Simeon of Durham, and it was known under that name when it was presented by William Camden Clarencieux, King of Arms, to Sir Robert Cotton. The Julius manuscript, on the other hand, has maintained its identity down to the present day, but it remained a long time in obscurity, having been superseded, so to say, by a text which is preserved in the great compilation of Master Roger, of Hoveden, and which contains a record of the Spanish Arbitration that may be regarded as of rival authority with the contemporary record generally attributed to Benedict of Peterborough. Benedict was probably present at the King's Court, in which the proceedings of the Arbitration were carried on. He was at that time the Chancellor of Archbishop Richard of Canterbury, whose name stands at the head of the list of members of the Curia Regis, whom Benedict enumerates as being present, and it was the duty of the Chancellor to be in attendance on the Archbishop on such an occasion. Roger, of Hoveden, on the other hand, was a Royal Clerk or Secretary, who had been frequently employed by the King on diplomatic missions abroad and on delicate negotiations at home, who would probably be in attendance on the King himself at Westminster during the sittings of the King's High Court. Such a person would have had little difficulty in obtaining access to any official Court paper of the period, and Hoveden's

text of the Court papers of the Spanish Arbitration has all the appearance of being as authentic a record as that of Benedict himself. We need not therefore be surprised to find that several learned French scholars in the eighteenth century have thought more highly of Hoveden’s text of the Arbitration than of the text which Hearne had followed in his edition of Benedict’s Chronicle in 1735, and to which I have already briefly alluded. Professor Stubbs, now Lord Bishop of Oxford, who, as Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford, has edited in 1867, in the Rolls Series, the Chronicle commonly known under the name of Benedict of Peterborough, has prefixed to the first volume of his edition a most interesting preface, in which he alludes to the fact that a considerable portion of Benedict's Chronicle has been reprinted from Hearne’s edition, and has been incorporated into the 13th volume of the Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et dc la France,* and further that in the 17th volume of the same Recueil the editor has impugned the soundness of the text, which has been adopted by Hearne, and has framed a new text of Benedict’s work from a collation with Hoveden’s text. That process, however, need not be repeated in the present day, as we have now access to the Cecil manuscript, the author of which we know to have been the Archbishop’s Chancellor, and the penmanship of which has been pronounced by experts to be of the same period as the Arbitration itself. ‘

It has been suggested by several critics, who have briefly noticed the Spanish Arbitration, that the text of the official

* This work is more generally known under the title of Gallicarum (rt Franciscarum Rerum Scriptures, par Dom Martin Bouquet, under which title it appears in the catalogue of the London Library. It will be found under the name of Bouquet (Dom Martin) in the catalogues of Lincoln’s Inn and of the Athenaeum Club. Ihave to thank Sir E. Thompson, K.C.B., and Mr. G. F. Warner, of the British Museum, for a clue to the correct title of this work.

papers has been copied from a common original, but no one has ventured to say in what archives the original may have been deposited or where we may look for it in the hope of coming upon its traces. It is a noticeable circumstance that the building known as the Exchequer, which in after times has served as the repository of our most valuable legal documents, was not in such use in the year 1177, in which year the Spanish Arbitration took place, and in which, according to the Dialogus de Scaccario, the first line of that treatise was drawn by Richard, Bishop of London, Treasurer of the Exchequer. If I had to embark my readers on a voyage of conjecture, I should accordingly set my vessel’s course on a direct line to the Tower of London, for there the official papers of the Arbitration would have been under the charge of the Great justiciar of England, the Alter Ego of the Crown in the absence of the King from the Realm of England, but my own opinion inclines to the view that the original papers were carried to Spain by the envoys on their return, and no originals remained in this country, with which Benedict’s text and Hoveden’s text might have been collated, so that the omissions of certain words in them might have been supplied, for certain gaps in the text do exist in both -cases.

There are, however, some matters within the region of sober fact which may interest the reader, and which are amongst the circumstances which account for the preservation of a formal record of the proceedings of King Henry’s Court on this occasion. It would appear from the Chronicle of Benedict, of Peterborough, that the Kings of Sevile and of Navarre sent each of them envoys of high rank to attend the King’s Court at such time and place as the King should appoint, and that the envoys first appeared before the King at Windsor on 8th March, I177, where they submitted to the King a Convention signed by the two Spanish monarchs on 28th August, 1176, in which they

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

agreed to submit their disputes to the judgment of the King of England, and bound themselves to abide by his award. The text of the Convention itself is recorded by Benedict, and is printed in the Rolls Series from the Cecil MS., the text of which will be found to be more correct than the text which Hearne has followed.

King Henry, on this occasion, appointed a day to hear the envoys in London, but at the first hearing of them it was found that their Spanish pronunciation of the Latin language would cause their arguments to be unintelligible to the earls and baron, who with the Bishops of the two provinces of Canterbury and York constituted the King’s High Court. The King accordingly adjourned his Court for three days, and directed the envoys of either party to state meanwhile the case of their party in writing. The respective claims of the two monarchs were thus reduced into the form of what civilians would describe in the present day as Acts on Petition, and were subscribed by the respective envoys, and having been duly propounded, have thus come to be preserved in writing in the present day. No responsive allegation appears to have been tendered on either side, and the King gave judgment, on the uncontradicted pleas of the two parties.

It is a. happy circumstance that on this occasion the official text of the King’s judgment has been preservedgin addition to the official text of the pleadings in the case, as the King’s judgment brings to our notice the names of the individual members of the Curia Regis, who attested the King’s judgment as witnesses, the signature of Archbishop Richard, of Canterbury being at the head of the Bishops, that of Geoffrey, the King's son, Earl of Brittany, at the head of the Earls, and that of Richard de Luci, the Great Justiciar of England, at the head of the Barons. It will thus be seen that the Chief of the King’s justices, the prototype, if I may use such a term, of the magistrate

« PreviousContinue »