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Unformatted text preview: he would never grant them such liberties as must reduce himself to slavery.l No sooner were the confederated nobles informed of John’s reply, than they chose Robert Fitz-Walter their general, whom they called the mareschal of the army of God and of holy church; and they proceeded without farther ceremony to levy war upon the king. They besieged the castle of Northampton during fifteen days, though without success.m The gates of Bedford castle were willingly opened to them by William Beauchamp, its owner: They advanced to Ware in their way to London, where they held 24th May. a correspondence with the principal citizens: They were received without opposition into that capital: And finding now the great superiority of their force, they issued proclamations, requiring the other barons to join them, and menacing them, in case of refusal or delay, with committing devastation on their houses and estates.n In order to show what might be expected from their prosperous arms, they made incursions from London, and laid waste the king’s parks and palaces; and all the barons, who had hitherto carried the semblance of supporting the royal party, were glad of this pretence for openly joining a cause, which they always had secretly favoured. The king was left at Odiham in Surrey with a poor retinue of only seven knights; and after trying several expedients to elude the blow, after offering to refer all differences to the pope alone, or to eight barons, four to be chosen by himself, and four by the confederates,o he found himself at last obliged to submit at discretion. A conference between the king and the barons was appointed at Magna Charta, 15th Runnemede, between Windsor and Staines; a place which has June. ever since been extremely celebrated, on account of this great event. The two parties encamped a-part, like open enemies; and after a debate of a few days, the king, with a facility somewhat suspicious, signed and sealed the charter which was required of him. This 19th June. famous deed, commonly called the Great Charter, either granted or secured very important liberties and privileges to every order of men in the kingdom; to the clergy, to the barons, and to the people. PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 299 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 The freedom of elections was secured to the clergy: The former charter of the king was confirmed, by which the necessity of a royal congé d’elire and confirmation was superseded: All check upon appeals to Rome was removed, by the allowance granted every man to depart the kingdom at pleasure: And the fines to be imposed on the clergy, for any offence, were ordained to be proportional to their lay estates, not to their ecclesiastical benefices. The privileges granted to the barons were either abatements in the rigour of the feudal law, or determinations in points which had been left by that law, or had become by practice, arbitrary and ambiguous. The reliefs of heirs succeeding to a military fee were ascertained; an earl’s and baron’s at a hundred marks, a knight’s at a hundred shillings. It was ordained by the charter, that, if the heir be a minor, he shall, immediately upon his majority...
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This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course CHIN 101 taught by Professor Dr.yu during the Spring '08 term at University Of Southern Mississippi .
- Spring '08