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the revenue of the king; and the people were sensible that he would be
more vigilant in interposing with his good offices, when he reaped
such immediate advantage from them; and that injuries would be less
frequent, when, besides compensation to the person injured, they were
exposed to this additional penalty [q].
[FN [q] Besides paying money to the relations of the deceased, and to
the king, the murderer was also obliged to pay the master of a slave
or vassal a sum as a compensation for his loss. This was called the
MANBOTE. See Spell. Gloss. in verb. FREDUM, MANBOT.]

This short abstract contains the history of the criminal jurisprudence
of the northern nations for several centuries. The state of England
in this particular, during the period of the Anglo-Saxons, may be
judged of by the collection of ancient laws, published by Lambard and
Wilkins. The chief purport of these laws is not to prevent or
entirely suppress private quarrels, which the legislature knew to be
impossible, but only to regulate and moderate them. The laws of
Alfred enjoin, that if any one know that his enemy or aggressor, after
doing him an injury, resolves to keep within his own house, AND HIS
OWN LANDS [r], he shall not fight him till he require compensation for
the injury. If he be strong enough to besiege him in his house, he
may do it for seven days without attacking him; and if the aggressor
be willing, during that time, to surrender himself and his arms, his
adversary may detain him thirty days; but is afterwards obliged to
restore him safe to his kindred, AND BE CONTENT WITH THE COMPENSATION.
If the criminal fly to the temple, that sanctuary must not be
violated. Where the assailant has not force sufficient to besiege the
criminal in his house, he must apply to the alderman for assistance;
and if the alderman refuse aid, the assailant must have recourse to
the king; and he is not allowed to assault the house till after this
supreme magistrate has refused assistance. If any one meet with his
enemy, and be ignorant that he was resolved to keep within his own
lands, he must, before he attack him, require him to surrender himself
prisoner, and deliver up his arms; in which case he may detain him
thirty days: but if he refuse to deliver up his arms, it is then
lawful to fight him. A slave may fight in his master's quarrel: a
father may fight in his son's with any one, except with his master
[s].
[FN [r] The addition of these last words in Italics appears necessary
from what follows in the same law. [s] LL. Aelfr. Sec. 28 Wilkins,
p. 43.]

It was enacted by King Ina, that no man should take revenge for an
injury till he had first demanded compensation, and had been refused
it [t].
[FN [t] LL. Inae, Sec. 9.]

King Edmond, in the preamble to his laws, mentions the general misery
occasioned by the multiplicity of private feuds and battles; and he
establishes several expedients for remedying this grievance. He
ordained that if any one commit murder, be may, with the assistance of
his kindred, pay within a twelvemonth the fine of his crime; and if
they abandon him, he shall alone sustain the deadly feud or quarrel
with the kindred of the murdered person: his own kindred are free from
the feud, but on condition that they neither converse with the
criminal, nor supply him with meat or OTHER NECESSARIES: if any of
them, after renouncing him, receive him into their house, OR GIVE HIM
ASSISTANCE, they are finable to the king, and are involved in the
feud. If the kindred of the murdered person take revenge on any but
the criminal himself, AFTER HE IS ABANDONED BY HIS KINDRED, all their
property is forfeited, and they are declared to be enemies to the king
and all his friends [u]. It is also ordained, that the fine for
murder shall never be remitted by the king [w]; and that no criminal
shall be killed who flies to the church, or any of the king’s towns
[x]; and the king himself declares, that his house shall give no
protection to murderers, till they have satisfied the church by their
penance, and the kindred of the deceased, by making compensation [y].
The method appointed for transacting this composition is found in the
same law [z].
[FN [u] LL. Edm. Sec. 1. Wilkins, p. 73. [w] LL. Edm. Sec. 3. [x]
Ibid. Sec. 2. [y] Ibid. Sec. 4. [z] Ibid Sec. 7.]

These attempts of Edmond, to contract and diminish the feuds, were
contrary to the ancient spirit of the northern barbarians, and were a
step towards a more regular administration of justice. By the Salic
law, any man might, by a public declaration, exempt himself from his
family quarrels: but then he was considered by the law as no longer
belonging to the family; and he was deprived of all right of
succession, as the punishment of his cowardice [a].
[FN [a] Tit. 63.]

The price of the king's head, or his weregild, as it was then called,
was by law thirty thousand thrimsas, near thirteen hundred pounds of
present money. The price of the prince's head was fifteen thousand
thrimsas; that of a bishop's or alderman's, eight thousand; a
sheriff’s four thousand; a thane's or clergyman's, two thousand; a
ceorle's, two hundred and sixty-six. These prices were fixed by the
laws of the Angles. By the Mercian law, the price of a ceorle's head
was two hundred shillings; that of a thane's six times as much; that
of a king's six times more [b]. By the laws of Kent, the price of the
archbishop's head was higher than that of the king’s [c]. Such
respect was then paid to the ecclesiastics! It must be understood,
that where a person was unable or unwilling to pay the fine, he was
put out of the protection of law, and the kindred of the deceased had
liberty to punish him as they thought proper.
[FN [b] Wilkins, p. 71, 72. [c] LL. Elthredi, apud Wilkins, p. 110.]

Some antiquarians [d] have thought, that these compensations were only
given for manslaughter, not for wilful murder: but no such distinction
appears in the laws; and it is contradicted by the practice of all the
other barbarous nations [e], by that of the ancient Germans [f], and
by that curious monument above mentioned, a Saxon antiquity, preserved
by Hickes. There is indeed a law of Alfred's, which makes wilful
murder capital [g]; but this seems only to have been an attempt of
that great legislator towards establishing a better police in the
kingdom, and it probably remained without execution. By the laws of
the same prince, a conspiracy against the life of the king might be
redeemed by a fine [h].
[FN [d] Tyrrel, Introduction, vol. i. p.126. Carte, vol. i. p. 366.
[e] Lindenbrogius, passim. [f] Tac. de Mor. Germ. [g] LL. Aelf. Sec.
12. Wilkins, p. 29. It is probable that by wilful murder Alfred
means a treacherous murder, committed by one who had no declared feud
with another. [h] LL. Aelf. Sec. 4 Wilkins, p. 35.]

The price of all kinds of wounds was likewise fixed by the Saxon laws:
a wound of an inch long under the hair, was paid with one shilling;
one of a like size in the face, two shillings: thirty shillings for
the loss of an ear, and so forth [i]. There seems not to have been
any difference made, according to the dignity of the person. By the
laws of Ethelbert, any one who committed adultery with his neighbour's
wife, was obliged to pay him a fine, and buy him another wife [k].
[FN [i] LL. Elf. Sec. 40. See also, LL. Ethelb. Sec. 34, &c. [k] LL.
Ethelb. Sec. 32.]

These institutions are not peculiar to the ancient Germans. They seem
to be the necessary progress of criminal jurisprudence among every
free people, where the will of the sovereign is not implicitly obeyed.
We find them among the ancient Greeks during the time of the Trojan
war. Compositions for murder are mentioned in Nestor's speech to
Achilles in the ninth Iliad and are called APOINAI. The Irish, who
never had any connexions with the German nations, adopted the same
practice till very lately; and the price of a man's head was called
among them his ERIC; as we learn from Sir John Davis. The same custom
seems also to have prevailed among the Jews [l].
[FN [l] Exod. cap. xxi. 29, 30.]

Theft and robbery were frequent among the Anglo-Saxons. In order to
impose some check upon these crimes, it was ordained, that no man
should sell or buy any thing above twenty-pence value, except in open
market [m]; and every bargain of sale must be executed before
witnesses [n]. Gangs of robbers much disturbed the peace of the
country; and the law determined, that a tribe of banditti, consisting
of between seven and thirty-five persons, was to be called a TURMA, or
troop: any greater company was denominated an army [o]. The
punishments for this crime were various, but none of them capital [p].
If any man could track his stolen cattle into another's ground, the
latter was obliged to show the tracks out of it, or pay their value
[q].
[FN [m] LL. Aethelst. Sec. 12. [n] Ibid. Sec. 10, 12. LL. Edg. apud
Wilkins, p. 80. LL. Ethelredi, Sec. 4 apud Wilkins, p. 103. Hloth.
and Eadm. Sec. 16. LL. Canut. Sec. 22. [o] LL. Inae, Sec. 12. [p]
LL. Inae, Sec. 37. [q] LL. Aethelst. Sec. 2. Wilkins, p. 63.]

Rebellion, to whatever excess it was carried, was not capital, but
might be redeemed by a sum of money [r]. The legislators, knowing it
impossible to prevent all disorders, only imposed a higher fine on
breaches of the peace committed in the king's court, or before an
alderman or bishop. An alehouse too seems to have been considered as
a privileged place; and any quarrels that arose there were more
severely punished than elsewhere [s].
[FN [r] LL. Ethelredi, apud Wilkins, p. 110. LL. Aelf. Sec. 4.
Wilkins, p. 35. [s] LL. Hloth. and Eadm. Sec. 12, 13. LL. Ethelr.
apud Wilkins, p. 117.]

[MN Rules of proof.]
If the manner of punishing crimes among the Anglo-Saxons appear
singular, the proofs were not less so; and were also the natural
result of the situation of the people. Whatever we may imagine
concerning the usual truth and sincerity of men who live in a rude and
barbarous state, there is much more falsehood, and even perjury among
them, than among civilized nations; virtue which is nothing but a more
enlarged and more cultivated reason, never flourishes to any degree,
nor is founded on steady principles of honour, except where a good
education becomes general; and where men are taught the pernicious
consequences of vice, treachery, and immorality. Even superstition,
though more prevalent among ignorant nations, is but a poor supply for
the defects in knowledge and education: our European ancestors, who
employed every moment the expedient of swearing on extraordinary
crosses and relics, were less honourable in all engagements than their
posterity, who, from experience, have omitted those ineffectual
securities. This general proneness to perjury was much increased by
the usual want of discernment in judges, who could not discuss an
intricate evidence, and were obliged to number, not weigh, the
testimony of the witnesses [t]. Hence the ridiculous practice of
obliging men to bring compurgators, who, as they did not pretend to
know any thing of the fact, expressed upon oath, that they believed
the person spoke true; and these compurgators were in some cases
multiplied to the number of three hundred [u]. The practice also of
single combat was employed by most nations on the continent as a
remedy against false evidence [w]; and though it was frequently
dropped, from the opposition of the clergy, it was continually revived
from experience of the falsehood attending the testimony of witnesses
[x]. It became at last a species of jurisprudence: the cases were
determined by law, in which the party might challenge his adversary,
or the witnesses, or the judge himself [y]: and though these customs
were absurd, they were rather an improvement on the methods of trial
which had formerly been practised among those barbarous nations, and
which still prevailed among the Anglo-Saxons.
[FN [t] Sometimes the laws fixed easy general rules for weighing the
credibility of witnesses. A man whose life was estimated at 120
shillings, counterbalanced six ceorles, each of whose lives was only
valued at 20 shillings, and his oath was deemed equivalent to that of
all the six. See Wilkins, p. 72. [u] Praef. Nicol. ad Wilkins, p 11.
[w] LL. Burgund. cap. 45. LL. Lomb. lib. 2. tit. 55, cap. 34. [x]
LL. Longob. lib. 2. tit. 55. cap. 23. apud Landenb. p. 661. [y] See
Desfontaines and Beaumanoir.]

When any controversy about a fact became too intricate for those
ignorant judges to unravel, they had recourse to what they called the
judgment of God; that is, to fortune: their methods of consulting this
oracle were various. One of them was the decision of the CROSS: it
was practised in this manner: when a person was accused of any crime,
he first cleared himself by oath, and he was attended by eleven
compurgators. He next took two pieces of wood, one of which was
marked with the sign of the cross, and wrapping both up in wool, he
placed them on the altar, or on some celebrated relic. After solemn
prayers for the success of the experiment, a priest, or, in his stead,
some unexperienced youth, took up one of the pieces of wood, and if he
happened upon that which was marked with the figure of the cross, the
person was pronounced innocent; if otherwise, guilty [z]. This
practice, as it arose from superstition, was abolished by it in
France. The emperor, Lewis the Debonnaire, prohibited that method of
trial, not because it was uncertain, but lest that sacred figure, says
he, of the cross should be prostituted in common disputes and
controversies [a].
[FN [z] LL. Frison. tit. 14. apud Lindenbrogium, p. 496. [a] Du
Cange, in verb. CRUX.]

The ordeal was another established method of trial among the Anglo-
Saxons. It was practised either by boiling water or red-hot iron.
The former was appropriated to the common people; the latter to the
nobility. The water or iron was consecrated by many prayers, masses,
fastings, and exorcisms [b]; after which the person accused either
took up a stone sunk in the water [c] to a certain depth, or carried
the iron to a certain distance; and his hand being wrapped up, and the
covering sealed for three days, if there appeared, on examining it, no
marks of burning, he was pronounced innocent; if otherwise, guilty
[d]. The trial by cold water was different: the person was thrown
into consecrated water; if he swam, he was guilty; if he sunk,
innocent [e]. It is difficult for us to conceive how any innocent
person could ever escape by the one trial, or any criminal be
convicted by the other. But there was another usage admirably
calculated for allowing every criminal to escape who had confidence
enough to try it. A consecrated cake, called a corsned, was produced;
which if the person could swallow and digest he was pronounced
innocent [f].
[FN [b] Spellm. in verb. ORDEAL. Parker, p. 155. Lindenbrog. p 1299.
[c] LL. Inae, Sec. 77. [d] Sometimes the person accused walked
barefoot over red-hot iron. [e] Spellm. in verb. ORDEALIUM. [f]
Spellm. in verb. CORSNED Parker, p. 156. Text. Roffens. p. 33.]

[MN Military force.]
The feudal law, if it had place at all among the Anglo-Saxons, which
is doubtful, was not certainly extended over all the landed property,
and was not attended with those consequences of homage, reliefs [g],
wardship, marriage, and other burdens, which were inseparable from it
in the kingdoms of the continent. As the Saxons expelled, or almost
entirely destroyed, the ancient Britons, they planted themselves in
this island on the same footing with their ancestors in Germany, and
found no occasion for the feudal institutions [h], which were
calculated to maintain a kind of standing army, always in readiness to
suppress any insurrection among the conquered people. The trouble and
expense of defending the state in England lay equally upon all the
land; and it was usual for every five hides to equip a man for the
service. The TRINODA NECESSITAS, as it was called, or the burden of
military expeditions, of repairing highways, and of building and
supporting bridges, was inseparable from landed property, even though
it belonged to the church or monasteries, unless exempted by a
particular charter [i]. The ceorles or husbandmen were provided with
arms, and were obliged to take their turn in military duty [k]. There
were computed to be two hundred and forty-three thousand six hundred
hides in England [l]; consequently, the ordinary military force of the
kingdom consisted of forty-eight thousand seven hundred and twenty
men; though, no doubt, on extraordinary occasions, a greater number
might be assembled. The king and nobility had some military tenants,
who were called Sithcun-men [m]. And there were some lands annexed to
the office of alderman, and to other offices; but these probably were
not of great extent, and were possessed only during pleasure, as in
the commencement of the feudal law in other countries of Europe.
[FN [g] On the death of an alderman, a greater or lesser thane, there
was a payment made to the king of his best arms; and this was called
his heriot: but this was not of the nature of a relief. See Spellm.
of Tenures, p. 2. The value of this heriot fixed by Canute's laws,
Sec. 69. [h] Bracton de Acqu. rer. domin. lib. 2. cap. 16. See more
fully Spellman of Feuds and Tenures, and Craigius de jure feud. lib.
1. dieg. 7. [i] Spellm. Conc. vol. i. p. 256. [k] Inae, Sec. 51.
[l] Spellm. of Feuds and Tenures, p. 17. [m] Spellm. Conc. vol. i. p.
195.]

[MN Public revenue.]
The revenue of the king seems to have consisted chiefly in his
demesnes, which were large; and in the tolls and imposts which he
probably levied at discretion on the boroughs and seaports that lay
within his demesnes. He could not alienate any part of the crown
lands, even to religious uses, without the consent of the states [n].
Danegelt was a land-tax of a shilling a hide, imposed by the states
[o], either for payment of the sums exacted by the Danes, or for
putting the kingdom in a posture of defence against those invaders
[p].
[FN [n] Spellm. Conc. vol. i. p. 340. [o] Chron. Sax p. 128. [p] LL.
Edw. Con. Sec. 12.]

[MN Value of money.]
The Saxon pound, as likewise that which was coined for some centuries
after the Conquest, was near three times the weight of our present
money: there were forty-eight shillings in the pound, and five pence
in a shilling [q]; consequently, a Saxon shilling was near a fifth
heavier than ours, and a Saxon penny near three times as heavy [r].
As to the value of money in those times, compared to commodities,
there are some, though not very certain, means of computation. A
sheep, by the laws of Athelstan, was estimated at a shilling; that is,
fifteen pence of our money. The fleece was two fifths of the value of
the whole sheep [s]; much above its present estimation; and the reason
probably was, that the Saxons, like the ancients, were little
acquainted with any clothing but what was made of wool. Silk and
cotton were quite unknown: linen was not much used. An ox was
computed at six times the value of a sheep; a cow at four [t]. If we
suppose that the cattle in that age, from the defects in husbandry,
were not so large as they are at present in England, we may compute
that money was then near ten times of greater value. A horse was
valued at about thirty-six shillings of our money, or thirty Saxon
shillings [u]; a mare a third less A man at three pounds [w]. The
board wages of a child the first year was eight shillings, together
with a cow's pasture in summer, and an ox's in winter [x]. William of
Malmesbury mentions it as a remarkably high price, that William Rufus
gave fifteen marks for a horse, or about thirty pounds of our present
money [y]. Between the years 900 and 1000, Ednoth bought a hide of
land for about a hundred and eighteen shillings of our present money
[z]. This was little more than a shilling an acre, which indeed
appears to have been the usual price, as we may learn from other
accounts [a]. A palfrey was sold for twelve shillings about the year
966 [b]. The value of an ox in King Ethelred's time was between seven
and eight shillings; a cow about six shillings [c]. Gervas of Tilbury
says, that in Henry I.'s time, bread which would suffice a hundred men
for a day was rated at three shillings, or a shilling of that age; for
it is thought that, soon after the Conquest, a pound sterling was
divided into twenty shillings: a sheep was rated at a shilling; and so
of other things in proportion. In Athelstan's time a ram was valued
at a shilling, or four pence Saxon [d]. The tenants of Shireburn were
obliged, at their choice, to pay either sixpence or four hens [e].
About 1232, the Abbot of St. Alban's going on a journey, hired seven
handsome stout horses; and agreed, if any of them died on the road, to
pay the owner thirty shillings a-piece of our present money [f]. It
is to be remarked, that in all ancient times the raising of corn,
especially wheat, being a species of manufactory, that commodity
always bore a higher price, compared to cattle, than it does in our
times [g]. The Saxon Chronicle tells us [h], that in the reign of
Edward the Confessor, there was the most terrible famine ever known;
insomuch that a quarter of wheat rose to sixty pennies, or fifteen
shillings of our present money. Consequently it was as dear as if it
now cost seven pounds ten shillings. This much exceeds the great
famine in the end of Queen Elizabeth, when a quarter of wheat was sold
for four pounds. Money in this last period was nearly of the same
value as in our time. These severe famines are a certain proof of bad
husbandry.
[FN [q] LL. Aelf. Sec. 40. [r] Fleetwood’s Chron. Pretiosum, p. 27,
28, &c. [s] LL. Inae, Sec. 69. [t] Wilkins, p 66. [u] Ibid. p. 126.
[w] Ibid. [x] LL. Inae, Sec. 38. [y] p. 121. [z] Hist. Rames, p.
415. [a] Hist. Eliens. p. 473. [b] Ibid. p. 471. [c] Wilkins, p.
126. [d] Ibid. p. 56. [e] Monast. Anglic. vol. ii. p. 528. [f] Mat.
Paris. [g] Fleetwood, p. 83, 94, 96, 98. [h] p. 157.]

On the whole, there are three things to be considered, wherever a sum
of money is mentioned in ancient times. First, the change of
denomination, by which a pound has been reduced to the third part of
its ancient weight in silver. Secondly, the change in value by the
greater plenty of money, which has reduced the same weight of silver
to ten times less value compared to commodities; and consequently a
pound sterling to the thirtieth part of the ancient value. Thirdly,
the fewer people and less industry, which were then to be found in
every European kingdom. This circumstance made even the thirtieth
part of the sum more difficult to levy, and caused any sum to have
more than thirty times greater weight and influence, both abroad and
at home, than in our times; in the same manner that a sum, a hundred
thousand pounds, for instance, is at present more difficult to levy in
a small state, such as Bavaria, and can produce greater effects on
such a small community, than on England. This last difference is not
easy to be calculated: but allowing that England has now six times
more industry, and three times more people than it had at the
Conquest, and for some reigns after that period, we are upon that
supposition to conceive, taking all circumstances together, every sum
of money mentioned by historians, as if it were multiplied more than a
hundredfold above a sum of the same denomination at present.

In the Saxon times, land was divided equally among all the male
children of the deceased, according to the custom of Gavelkind. The
practice of entails is to be found in those times [i]. Land was
chiefly of two kinds, bockland, or land held by book or charter, which
was regarded as full property, and descended to the heirs of the
possessor; and folkland, or the land held by the ceorles and common
people, who were removable at pleasure, and were indeed only tenants
during the will of their lords.
[FN [i] LL Aelf. Sec. 37, apud Wilkins, p. 43.]

The first attempt which we find in England to separate the
ecclesiastical from the civil jurisdiction, was that law of Edgar, by
which all disputes among the clergy were ordered to be carried before
the bishop [k]. The penances were then very severe; but as a man
could buy them off with money, or might substitute others to perform
them, they lay easy upon the rich [l].
[FN [k] Wilkins, p. 83. [l] Wilkins, p. 96, 97. Spellm. Conc. p.
473.]

[MN Manners.]
With regard to the manners of the Anglo-Saxons we can say little, but



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