Page:The Normans in European History.djvu/83

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NORMANDY AND ENGLAND

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taken in a feud, nor could arms, horses, or property be carried off from a combat. Burning, plunder, and waste were forbidden in pursuing claims to land, and except for open crime, no one could be condemned to loss of limb unless by judgment of the proper ducal or baronial court. Coinage, generally a valued privilege of the greater lords, was in Normandy a monopoly of the duke. What the absence of such restrictions might mean is well illustrated in England in the reign of Stephen, when private war, unlicensed castles, and baronial coinage appeared as the chief evils of an unbridled feudal anarchy.

In the administration of justice, in spite of the great franchises of the barons, the duke has a large reserved jurisdiction. Certain places are under his special protection, certain crimes put the offender at his mercy. The administrative machinery, though in many respects still primitive, has kept pace with the duke's authority. Whereas the Capetian king has as his local representatives only the semi-feudal agents on his farms, the Norman duke has for purposes of local government a real public officer, the vicomte, commanding his troops, guarding his castles, maintaining order, administering justice, and collecting the ducal revenues. Nowhere is the superiority of the Norman dukes over their royal overlords more clear than in the matter of finance. The housekeeping of the Capetian king of the eleventh century was still what the Germans call a Naturalwirthschaft, an