« EdellinenJatka »
dingy hour, self-photographic, without resources but those of their own limited experiences and feelings, there is no romance in life, no song, no dream, or any escape from the dark commonplace which begins on the back-stairs and ends at a safe distance from the bath-room door.
Reaction from such dinginess has possibly now set in, for Reality is not the monopoly of any one school and cannot for ever live upon itself. It should indeed vitalise everything, especially Romance, for mankind in its highest, most actual, moments has inevitably been touched with the absolutely romantic. Jeanne d'Arc riding from Domrémy in her ordinary frock of red, Falkland in despair calling for Peace, Peace !' in the very jaws of the marching armies, Sidney in the sacrifice at Zutphen, Napoleon gambling with his star before the débâcle of Waterloo-it needs but the simplest examples from recorded history to prove that the principles of truth and romance, of reality and vision, are nearer to each other than breathing and closer than hands and feet. To exclude the spirit of romance, as the puddle realists determinately have done, is to render their realism untrue.
At the same time romance must be guarded lest it fall into fustian. In the infinite walks of literature no incompetence is more glaring than that shown by certain so-called romanticists. They have played to rags the plumed poses, mechanical clash of swords, hard riding and jingle of spurs, which had become stock and stagey. These conventions are still admirable, stimulating, healthily stirring, when given with propriety and sincerity; but too often have they become time-worn tricks to cozen the inexperienced, and the fruits of an exhausted fancy, with anachronism their ironical shadow.
Both these schools of fiction-the Realistic, the Romantic-are right in general and wrong in extremes. Romance is needed in a workaday world with its drabness of commonplace and eternal trivial round; while Reality is necessary to keep the imagination true. Will not our established novelists, even at the risk of losing something of their sales, aspire to new courses, and get away from their over-trodden tracks, even although, as is too often the case, their publishers insist; also will not
the reviewers more clearly encourage any endeavour to escape from the hackneyed-always provided that what is written has, if not the melody, at least the cadence of style? There is an infinite opportunity for work of the right excellence. It is, for example, grievous to see the class of fiction, the serial stuff, which the girl-typist reads in her tea-shop and the train, when she might so easily win an infinite enjoyment from Sir Walter Scott, Jane Austen, 'Robinson Crusoe,'Jane Eyre,' even Tom Jones.' Fielding's great work is actually in essence cleaner than the mawkishness the little lady reads, just as the frankness of The Beggar's Opera' is less dirty than much that has been enacted in the name of musical comedy.
We want a restored standard. Let critics and coteries renew their acquaintance with the greater works of the world—the Book of Job, 'Quixote,' and also realise anew the warm humanity of The Vicar of Wakefield,' • Esmond, Pickwick,' and then require from writers work in better keeping with the lofty traditions of English prose. Then we may hope ; for the Novel is, or should be, to these days what it was a few years since, much as the Play was to the Elizabethans, a mirror held to nature, reflecting the manners and thought of the times, the expression of a brave mind on questions æsthetic, artistic, spiritual, social, political; a work of beauty, a thing of joy.
C. E. LAWRENCE.
Art. 9.-NEW LIGHT ON MEDIÆVAL ENGLAND.
1. Chapters in the Administrative History of Mediæval
England: the Wardrobe, the Chamber, and the Small Seals. By T. F. Tout, M.A. Two vols. (Publications of the University of Manchester; Histor. ser. 34.)
Longmans, 1920. 2. The Evolution of Parliament. By A. F. Pollard, M.A.
As in modern England Parliament represents the paramount political power, constitutional history formerly inclined to look on the past development also from the parliamentary point of view. Stubbs indeed taught us, how much the English commonwealth owes to the strong monarchy of the Conqueror, to the two first Henries and Edward I. He showed that it was the king's court which served as the council of state, occasionally expanded into the great assembly, the mother of the House of Lords; and how from that royal household the oldest offices of state, Exchequer and Chancery, as well as the central courts of law, split off. But he left to his successor to explain the later development of royal administration after Henry II.
The gap is now being filled by Prof. Tout, a deep and far-sighted historian worthy of his late master-we know no higher praise. If hitherto the political life of the 13th and 14th centuries, so far as it allows at all of a philosophical explanation, has been illustrated by the evolution of parliament and national institutions only, the two volumes before us, which are soon to be completed by another pair, teach us that this method could reveal but half the truth. It is rather the king's household which, in the age of the Plantagenets, prepared a large part of the financial basis for their administration at home as well as for their futile attempt to retain their French possessions, and for their premature plan of uniting the British Isles under one sceptre.
The royal household, undifferentiated at first, was the source of all offices of state. It survived when Exchequer and Chancery had grown out of it.
Its two organs, already before 1200 called chamber' and 'wardrobe,' were chiefly financial institutions, but served partly, in contradistinction to the continental chamber,' as a sort of secondary chancery for administrative purposes. The mediæval lack of systematic order, nay, of distinct notions, as to political institutions, suffered one office to overlap the other, distributed identical functions to different boards, and fused the notion of the king as a man with the crown as the head of the nation. No wonder, then, that Chamber and Wardrobe constituted not only the king's privy purse and managed his personal correspondence, but also provided, received, and paid money for public affairs and drafted and sealed writs of administrative force. The describer of England's present system of government may indeed omit the green cloth of King George's court; its lineal ancestor, however, under the Edwards, stretched its influence far beyond the verge of the royal household.
In the early Middle Ages the camera, i.e. bedroom, appeared as the safest place where the owner of the house could deposit his treasure. The chamberlain of the Anglo-Saxon court, which was organised after the Frankish pattern, served therefore also as the king's treasurer. A Treasury distinct from the Chamber makes its appearance directly after the Norman Conquest. William I's chief treasury at Winchester was, however, something more than a storehouse of gold and silver. It kept also the Domesday-book, the origin of which we cannot conceive without supposing the pre-existence of a staff of economically skilled clerks; just as, to our mind, the Anglo-Saxon writ, coinage, and Danegeld seem sufficiently to prove that the crown before 1066 employed secretariats answering to the later Chancery and Exchequer-treasury. Those Winchester officers, endowed with land in Hampshire and called chamberlains and sometimes treasurers, had, so early as 1135, formed a permanent body with a fixed salary. The English Treasury, though not an imitation of the Norman, was intimately connected with the treasury at Rouen; the King-Duke received and paid private or national money promiscuously in one place or the other. While the Treasury remained fixed in the old West-Saxon capital, the Chamber continued to follow the king's person. It was staffed with distinct officers able at the same time to transact general affairs of state. As these often touched finance,
the Chamber could not but overlap the Treasury. But the two institutions were separate under Henry I. No unlettered layman being able to master all the treasurywork of writing, accounting, and auditing, the king gave the treasurership henceforth to a carefully trained clerk.
A third financial organ, the Exchequer, existed in England so early as 1117 and in Normandy in 1130. It accepted from the continent, no doubt in consequence of a definite act, the method of the abacus for keeping accounts, but continued the Anglo-Saxon practice of farms and tallies, through the medium of the Chamber, which, therefore, might be styled its grandmother, if we call the Treasury its direct mother. It soon subordinated and absorbed this its parent, leaving to Winchester a mere money-store without an office. Before 1177 the seat of the Exchequer was fixed at Westminster.
Prof. Tout, turning former investigations to the best advantage, examines all the recent researches about Norman finance. He not only makes use of the important books by Dr Poole and Prof. Haskins, but even of a modest paper in a review; and he adds newly detected facts as well as original remarks. He warns us, for instance, with his usual conscientiousness, not to feel too sure about Henry II's chief merit in administrative progress; such an impression might be caused by our scanty knowledge of the bureaucracy under Henry I. The Chamber remains essentially the same under both rulers. The Exchequer, on the other hand, appears separate, after 1159, under its own clerical treasurer and with two chamberlains who have no longer anything to do with the Chamber.
Nevertheless, the Chamber continued to play an important rôle as a second treasury, viz. as the king's privy purse and personal chancery, the officers of which used to be rewarded by a bishopric or the chancellorship, and to live in intimate association with the king's person. But it was the Exchequer which gained the high position of a national finance department, and received the bulk of public revenues. The Chamber, however, continued to administer separate royal manors, and to collect the profits from forests, vacant prelatures, and many fines. It kept its own rolls, now lost, and possibly used a special seal. Its chief post, the hereditary