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Unformatted text preview: ces, whom no man must approach without a present, who sell all their good offices, and who intrude themselves into every business, that they may have a pretence for extorting money. Even justice was avowedly bought and sold; the king’s court itself, though the supreme judicature of the kingdom, was open to none that brought not presents to the king; the bribes given for the expedition, delay,h suspension, and, doubtless, for the perversion of justice, were entered in the public registers of the royal revenue, and remain as monuments of the perpetual iniquity and tyranny of the times. The barons of the exchequer, for instance, the first nobility of the kingdom, were not ashamed to insert, as an article in their records, that the county of Norfolk paid a sum, that they might be fairly dealt with;i the borough of Yarmouth, that the king’s charters, which they have for their liberties, might not be violated;k Richard, son of Gilbert, for the king’s helping him to recover his debt from the Jews;l Serlo, son of Terlavaston, that he might be permitted to make his defence, in case he were accused of a certain homicide;m Walter de Burton for free law, if accused of wounding another;n Robert de Essart, for having an inquest to find whether Roger, the butcher, and Wace and Humphrey, accused him of robbery and theft out of envy and ill-will, or not;o William Buhurst, for having an inquest to find whether he were accused of the death of one Godwin out of ill-will or for just cause.p I have selected these few instances from a great number of a like kind, PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 322 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 which Madox had selected from a still greater number, preserved in the ancient rolls of the exchequer.q Sometimes the party litigant offered the king a certain portion, a half, a third, a fourth, payable out of the debts, which he, as the executor of justice, should assist him in recovering.r Theophania de Westland agreed to pay the half of 212 marks, that she might recover that sum against James de Fughleston;s Solomon the Jew engaged to pay one mark out of every seven that he should recover against Hugh de la Hose;t Nicholas Morrel promised to pay sixty pounds, that the earl of Flanders might be distrained to pay him 343 pounds, which the earl had taken from him; and these sixty pounds were to be paid out of the first money that Nicholas should recover from the earl.u As the king assumed the entire power over trade, he was to be paid for a permission to exercise commerce or industry of any kind.w Hugh Oisel paid 400 marks for liberty to trade in England:x Nigel de Havene gave fifty marks for the partnership in merchandize which he had with Gervase de Hanton:y The men of Worcester paid 100 shillings, that they might have the liberty of selling and buying dyed cloth, as formerly:z Several other towns paid for a like liberty.a The commerce indeed of the kingdom was so much under the controul of the king, that he erected gilds, corporations and monopolies, wherever he pleased; and levied sums for these exclusive privileges.b There...
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- Spring '08