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his estates.1 The royal revenue was derived from the rents of the royal manors, the dues payable under the name of can on the produce of agriculture, hunting, and fishing, the customs on the export of various articles, on shipping, and the stated taxes which the feudal law exacted when the baron's eldest son was made a knight, when his eldest daughter was married, etc. Besides these sources of revenue, on an extraordinary occasion like a coronation, or the marriage of a princess, the barons bestowed upon their sovereign a benevolence. Of the crown, the greater and the lesser barons held their lands on condition of military service; and beneath the barons came the free farmers, or tenants of the crown, of the church, and of the barons, who also held their lands on condition of following their lords to battle, and who paid their rent in money and in can. The obligations of lord and vassal were reciprocal. 'By the Lord,' said the inferior, placing his hands between those of his chief, ' I promise to be faithful and true, to love all that thou lovest, and shun all that thou shunnest, conformably to the law of God and man; and never in will or weald, in word or work, to do that which thou loathest, provided thou hold me as I mean to serve, and fulfil the conditions to which we agreed when I subjected myself to thee, and chose thy will.' The administration of justice was in the hands of the king and the great justiciars ; and the greater barons and ecclesiastics tried and judged their own vassals in their own courts. 'At a very early period, probably about the middle of the twelfth century, in the reign of Malcolm IV., the land of Scotland began to be partially divided into royalty and regality. Those parts which were distinguished by the term royalty were subjected
1 On the great feudal officers, see Tytler's Hist, of Scot., vol. ii. pp. 238 to 244.
to the jurisdiction of the king and his judges; the districts, on the other hand, which were comprehended under the name of regalities, acknowledged the jurisdiction of those ecclesiastics or nobles who had received a grant of lands from the crown, with the rights of regality annexed to it.'1 The office of sheriff dates from early in the twelfth century. The country was divided into sheriffdoms, in which they held their courts. It was probably not until about the reign of David I. that the proof by witnesses began gradually to supersede the trial by ordeal of fire and water—the 'judicium Dei,' as it was called, 'where the theory of the law trusted to the direct intervention of the Deity to decide the rights of parties.'2 This resource was fallen upon when the accused person failed to clear himself by wager of battle, or by procuring a specified number of 'leal men,' called compurgators, to swear that they believed him innocent. It was practised either by boiling water or red-hot iron. 'The person accused either took up with his bare hand a stone sunk in the water to a certain depth, or carried the iron to a particular distance. The hand was immediately wrapped up and the covering sealed for three days, and if on examining it there appeared no marks of burning or scalding, the person accused was" pronounced innocent, if otherwise he was declared guilty.'3 When the law was in such a state, the Church in pity held out the refuge of sanctuary or Gryth, whereby the person fleeing from his too often merciless judges was safe within her doors, or within certain boundaries surrounding them. In the Old Testament we read of the divinely appointed 'cities of refuge,' for 'the slayer that killeth any person unawares.'
1 Tytler, vol. ii. p. 246.
2 Scotland in the Middle Ages, Cosmo Innes, c. vi. p. 185.
Peculiar privileges of Gryth were granted to certain churches, and the violation of this shelter was a grievous offence.
We shall not find any mention of a parliament, properly so called, until the year 1292, when there was one held by John Baliol; for although before this the king gathered his greatest and most sagacious friends to consult with him on the affairs of government, the nation was in no wise represented at these councils. The lowest class in the social feudal scale were the cottars, bondsmen, or villeyns, who were bought and sold with the land and the animals. Slavery became extinct in Scotland so early as the fifteenth century, —thanks to 'Halie Kirk.' To the poor bondsmen the Catholic Church was indeed a friend. To them, when fleeing from their hard masters, her doors were open, and once within that loving shelter they were only surrendered when their masters solemnly vowed that they would pardon them. From among the slaves on the church-lands, the bishops sometimes selected for ordination those that appeared most fitting, and they constantly placed the sons of slaves in their seminaries in preparation for the ecclesiastic state. When slaves were dedicated to the service of the altar, when the brothers of kings and the sons of slaves were united in one state, the stigma of their caste gradually disappeared, and their emancipation, as a work pleasing to God, followed.1 The great institution of chivalry, which enlisted in its ranks the manhood, and more especially the early manhood, of Europe, throughout the middle ages, sprung from feudalism. Chivalry in its intention, and as it first existed, taught men the sanctity of marriage and the defence of the oppressed, and in its devotion to the female sex was a witness to the
1 See on this subject, Dollinger's Hist, of the Church. Eng. Tr. by Rev. E. Cox, vol. iii. p. 168.
love and reverence to the most perfect development of womanhood in the Mother of our Lord. The discipline of the preparation for knighthood, coming as it did at the trial time of youth, should have acted favourably on the whole of after life. In Scotland, as in other countries, the young man spent his novitiate in the house of some baron (and his society must often have been a very desirable addition to the dreary establishment), where, first as a page, then as an esquire, the novice must give evident tokens of his qualifications for the honour he aspired to before he was considered worthy of initiation. Very solemn was the ceremony of reception. It was preceded by long fasts, by solitary nights of prayer in church, by confession of all the sins of youth, followed by the flood of grace which that act honestly performed is sure to bring. After the reception of the most holy Body and Blood of the Prince of Peace, the young man was arrayed in white robes, emblematic of the purity of manners of the true knight. Then, in the presence of him who was to knight him, he prostrated himself, and delivered up to him his sword, solemnly vowing to serve his prince, defend the faith, protect the persons and reputation of virtuous ladies, and to rescue at his life's hazard the life of widows, orphans, and of all the unhappy and unjustly oppressed. The attendant knights then put on him his armour and his spurs, and girded him with his new belt and sword, and he received the accolade or reminder of the severities of his profession,—three strokes on the neck with the sword or the hand, accompanied by the words, ' In the name of God, St . Michael, and St. George, I make thee a knight: be thou loyal, brave, and hardy.'1 There are many tales of chivalric deeds lessening the ferocity of war, pre
1 On Chivalry, see Russell's Modern Europe, vol. i. Let. xxii. pp. 191 to 198.
serving the maiden from shame, but nowhere is the spirit of Christian chivalry better witnessed to than when King David, as though in anticipation of it, longed and said, 'Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem which is by the gate! and the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David; nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord. And he said, Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this; is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? Therefore he would not drink it.'