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these charters reveals another fact of fundamental importance. Even more significant than uniformity of procedure in a chancery is the type of document issued, for since the strength of government lies not in legislation but in administration, a sure index of a state's efficiency will be found in the extent and character of its administrative correspondence. This test places the Norman empire far in advance of any of its contemporaries. Every payment from the treasury, every allowance of an account, every summons to the army, every executive command or prohibition, was made by formal royal writ—per breve regis, as we read page after page in the account rolls. Of the many thousands of such writs issued in Henry's reign, exceedingly few have come down to us, but no one can read these, terse, direct, trained down to bone and muscle, without realizing the keen minds and the clear-cut administrative methods which they represent. Take an example:[1]

H. Dei gratia rex Anglorum et dux Normannorum et Aquitanorum et comes Andegavorum R. thesaurario et Willelmo Malduit et Warino filio Giroldi camerariis suis salutem.

Liberate de thesauro meo xxv marcas fratribus Cartusie de illis l marcis quas do eis annuatim per cartam meam.

Teste Willelmo de Sancte Marie Ecclesia. Apud Westmoster.

The purpose of these writs might, of course, vary—seize A of this land; do right to B for that tenement;

  1. Delisle, p. 166, from Madox, Exchequer, i, p. 390.