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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/608

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

gifts went along with the transaction of public business, judicial as well as military—just as, in our own ancient shire-moot, local government, including the administration of justice, was accompanied by the furnishing of ships and the payment of "a composition for the feorm-fultum, or sustentation of the king"—so when, with successful resistance to excess of royal power, there came assemblies of nobles and representatives summoned by the king, there reappeared on a higher platform these simultaneous demands for money on the one side and for justice on the other. We may assume it as certain that, with an average humanity, the conflicting egoisms of those concerned will be the main factors; and that on each side the aim will be to give as little, and get as much, as circumstances allow. France, Spain, and England yield examples which unite in showing this.

When Charles V of France, in 1357, dismissing the States-General for alleged encroachments on his rights, raised money by further debasing the coinage, and caused a sedition in Paris which endangered his life, there was, three months later, a reconvocation of the states, in which the petitions of the former assembly were acceded to, while a subsidy for war purposes was voted. And, of an assembled States General in 1366, Hallam writes, "The necessity of restoring the coin is strongly represented as the grand condition upon which they consented to tax the people, who had been long defrauded by the base money of Philip the Fair and his successors." Again, in Spain the incorporated towns, made liable by their charters only for certain payments and services, had continually to resist unauthorized demands; while the kings, continually promising not to take more than their legal and customary dues, were continually breaking their promises. In 1328 Alfonso XI "bound himself not to exact from his people, or cause them to pay, any tax, either partial or general, not hitherto established by law, without the previous grant of all the deputies convened to the Cortes." And how little such pledges were regarded is shown by the fact that, in 1393, the Cortes who made a grant to Henry III annexed the condition that—

he should swear before one of the archbishops not to take or demand any money, service, or loan, or anything else of the cities and towns, nor of individuals belonging to them, on any pretense of necessity, until the three estates of the kingdom should first be duly summoned and assembled in Cortes according to ancient usage.

Similarly in England during the time when parliamentary power was being established. While, with national consolidation, the royal authority had been approaching to absoluteness, there had been, by reaction, arising that resistance which, resulting in the Charter, subsequently initiated the prolonged struggle between the king trying to break through its restraints and his subjects trying to maintain and strengthen them. The twelfth article of the Charter having