history of england_david hume

This last difference is not easy to be calculated but

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Unformatted text preview: ommodities; 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 PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 135 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 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 hundred fold 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.z Land was chiefly of two kinds, bookland, or land held by book or charter, which was regarded as full property, and defended to the heirs of the possessor, and folkland, or the land held by the ceorles and common people, who were removeable at pleasure, and were indeed only tenants during the will of their lords. 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.a The pennances 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.b With regard to the manners of the Anglo-Saxons we can say Manners. little, but that they were in general a rude, uncultivated people, ignorant of letters, unskilled in the mechanical arts, untamed to submission under law and government, addicted to intemperance, riot, and disorder. Their best quality was their military courage, which yet was not supported by discipline or conduct. Their want of fidelity to the prince, or to any trust reposed in them, appears strongly in the history of their later period; and their want of humanity in all their history. Even the Norman historians, notwithstanding the low state of the arts in their own country, speak of them as barbarians, when they mention the invasion made upon them by the duke of Normandy.c The conquest put the people in a situation of receiving slowly, from abroad, the rudiments of science and cultivation, and of correcting their rough and licentious manners. PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 136 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 [Back to Table of Contents] IV WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR Consequences of the battle of Hastings — Submission of the English — Settlement of the go...
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