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Lordship, however, has been too modest to say anything about the example which England may be justly said to have set to Europe on an occasion when the parties interested were reluctant to submit their dispute to either Pope or Emperor, and when Henry the Second of England was called upon to arbitrate between the Kings of Sevile and of Navarre. This Arbitration was of the first importance to Christendom, as the result of it was to lay the foundations of a peace, which was a requisite preliminary towards the successful combination of the forces of the Christian Powers of Spain against the Supremacy of the Moors. It was not, however, until the rival kingdoms of Castile and of Aragon had become consolidated in one monarchy in the latter years of the fifteenth century that the Moors were finally expelled from Spain.
There was, however, on the occasion of Lord Russell's address no reason to fear, that, if his Lordship had spoken freely on this subject, his utterance would have been held by his audience to savour of boastfulness, for our cousins on the other side of the Atlantic have a common share with ourselves in the inheritance of Fame, which is the appanage of the descendants of the men who lived in the twelfth century under the legal institutions of the sagacious King Henry II. of England. It is accordingly with a firm conviction, that our transatlantic cousins will sympathise with my endeavour, that I have ventured on the present occasion to supply, with my pen, what Lord Russell would possibly have thought it superfluous to allude to orally amidst a wealth of subjects of a more immediate interest to his audience.
I might with good reason have spoken of King Henry the Second of England on this occasion as a great King, for he undeniable artificer of England's greatness,
, inasmuch as he built up both a financial and a judicial system which have endured to the present day, and,
further, it has been justly observed by a living historian of great research, who avows himself to be an unfriendly critic of Henry the Second's government, that his ministers, who at the beginning of his reign were little more than officers of the King's household, were at the termination of it the administrators of the Realm of England. I am, however, content to pronounce Henry II. to have been one of the most sagacious of the Kings of England, and on that account I hold his conduct of the Spanish Arbitration to be worthy of our attention at the present day, for it shows that he considered it to be a personal honour to have been invited to Arbitrate between two independent princes, and that he felt it to be his duty on such an occasion to provide that his decision should be arrived at by a procedure which should secure it from any suspicion of partiality, seeing that one of the parties was his own son-in-law, namely, King Alfonso VIII., of Castile.
A full account of the method adopted by the King to secure such a result has been handed down to us in a Chronicle of the reign of Henry the Second, which is commonly attributed to Abbot Benedict of Peterborough, the text of which Chronicle was edited in print as Benedict's work for the first time at Oxford in 1735 by the indefatigable Thomas Hearne, whose book is extremely rare in the present day, but a copy of it exists in the Library of Lincoln's Inn.* The Spanish Arbitration thus became known to Men of Letters in the early part of the last century through this edition, the text of which was transcribed by Hearne from a manuscript then in the Library of the Earl of Oxford, and Hearne's transcript is preserved in the present day in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, where it has a place amongst the Rawlinson MSS. as B. 183. The student, however, in our time need not go in search of a
* There is also a copy in the Library of the Athenæum Club.
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 William 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 + 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.
† The Bishop of Oxford (Professor Stubbs) holds that Lord Burghley wrote this title, but high living authorities in the British Museum attribute it to Cotton.
Angliæ 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 aná 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 liave 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 de 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 et Franciscarum Rerum Scriptores, 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 Athenæum Club. I have 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.