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Though we will not charge our countrymen with the neglect which the French author so freely admits against his own; yet, as far as our knowledge of German affairs is contrasted with that of the well-read Germans, we must allow there is such a deficiency, as must. render abortive to us many of the allusions of their historical poets: especially as German writers, calculating upon the spread of literature and spirit of close research among their countrymen, study to wrap up a world of meaning in short sentences, that cannot but be obscure to those who have not in mind the epoch and events to which the allusion refers. We conceive, therefore, that we shall be doing no disservice, if we refresh the memory of our readers by compressing and transposing into connected narrative, the notes, which M. Constant thought indispensable to the elucidation of “ Wallenstein.” He borrowed them from a number of authorities *, known only to the learned in this country; and, as we have had occasion to go over the same ground in a measure, in order to fill up his gaps, it strikes us that our article, though entirely new-cast, is strictly retrospective in its character--calculated to revive faded or antiquated literature; and only not a gloss or copy of an original text, because that text is a collection of isolated portions of history and biography, that illustrate particular passages of a work, without regard to order or tautology.
Our readers will find our sketch of the Life of Wallenstein in our next number.
The Parliamentary Writs, and Writs of Military Summons, to
gether with the Records and Muniments relating to the Suit and Service due and performed to the King's High Court of Parliament and the Councils of the Realm, or affording Evidence of Attendance given at Parliaments and Councils. Collected and edited by Francis Palgrave, Esq., F. R. S. and F. S. A., of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, Barrister at Law. Volume the first, 1827. Folio, pp. xcvi. and 982
1078. Ducatus Lancastria Pars Tertia.--Calendar to Plearings, De
positions, &c. in the Reigns of Henry VII., Henry VIII., Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Philip and Mary; and to the Pleadings of the first thirteen Years of the Reign of Queen
Elizabeth. Folio, 1827, pp. 509. Calendars of the Proceedings in Chancery, in the Reigns of Queen
Elizabeth. To which are prefixed Examples of earlier Proceedings in that Court, namely, from the Reign of Richard the
* Ilerschenhalm, Khevenhiller, Schiller, &r.
Second to that of Queen Elizabeth, inclusive, from the Originals in the Tower. Vol. I. folio, 1827, pp. 565.
The Record Commission, to which we are indebted for these valuable additions to historical, antiquarian, and biographical literature, has existed nearly thirty years, during which period about fifty folio volumes, each tending to the illustration of some or all of these subjects, have been given to the public. Although the former works which have issued from the Commission vary as much in their general interest as in the manner in which they are executed; though it may be doubted whether the most essential documents have always been selected, or whether the private wishes of certain individuals have not had an improper influence, we cheerfully bear testimony to the highly important benefits which have been conferred upon historical researches. It is gratifying to find that the energy of the Commission has rather increased than lessened; that the most recent of its publications are the most worthy of commendation ; and that they form an honourable contrast to the jobbing, unsatisfactory, and disgraceful manner in which some of the earlier volumes, the books misnamed a “Calendar to the Patent Rolls," and Calendars to the “ Inquisitiones Post Mortem,” for example, have been edited.
We regret much that we are prevented on the present occasion from inquiring how the Record Commission has performed its duties; the way in which it is conducted; and the objects which it has accomplished, and still purposes to attain. This, however, will probably be the subject of a future article; and we shall now only notice such of its publications as have appeared in the present year, commencing with those which relate to the earliest period, rather than attending to the order in which they were published. “The Parliamentary Writs” consist,
First, Of a chronological abstract of all the instruments contained in the volume; and which, being very wisely written in English, forms a kind of analysis of each record, adapted to the most general reader.
Secondly, A calendar of the writs of election, and returns thereof.
Thirdly, Writs, records, and muniments relating to the suit and service due and performed to the king's high court of parliament and the other councils of the realm, or affording evidence of attendance given at parliaments and councils during the reign of Edward the First.
Fourthly, Writs, records, and muniments relating to the military services due to the crown, whether by reason of tenure or of allegiance, during the reign of Edward the First.
To these succeed the appendix, alphabetical digest, introduction thereto, dig'est, and index.
We learn from the resolution of the Commissioners on the 27th of April, 1822, that it was resolved to reprint the rolls of parliament, pleas in parliament, and petitions ; to print records of inquisitions and proceedings in courts of inferior jurisdiction which originated in parliament; writs issued by the authority of the great council or parliament; writs of summons and of election, and returns of the commons to the conclusion of the period embraced by the rolls; and writs of wages, prorogation, &c. Pursuant to this resolution, it was farther resolved, at a board held above three years afterwards, namely, on the 1st of July, 1825, “ that Mr. Palgrave's specimen of the edition of · Parliamentary Writs' being approved of, he is desired to proceed with the printing accordingly.” Thus, in little more than two years that gentleman has produced the volume before us, which is perhaps one of the most extraordinary examples of laborious and painful research that has ever appeared : but before speaking of its contents we shall say a few words on the “resolutions” which we have quoted. It seems that the Record Commission purpose publishing every document that elucidates the early parliamentary history of the kingdom; and it is impossible to applaud that intention more highly than it deserves. Not only is the subject of the utmost importance in itself, but every other department of antiquarian literature, biography, and the history of this country, as well as of Scotland, and of France, Spain, and other continental nations, will be considerably illustrated, since the proceedings of parliament embraced objects connected with public affairs as well as those of a private or personal nature. As a body of evidence on history, manners, customs, individual character and conduct, property, and, in a word, on every thing relating to society, from about the middle of the thirteenth to the close of the fifteenth century, the rolls of parliament are of unequalled value. When we reflect on the tardiness which until lately has characterized this Commission, we confess our fears that it will be our grand-children rather than ourselves who will benefit by its proposed labours : but we entreat it not to relax in its efforts; and to apply, if necessary, to parliament for increased revenues, rather than that posterity only may benefit by the accomplishment of its plans. Mr. Palgrave has displayed unusual zeal in producing such a volume in so short a period, and from that fact we augur more favourably of the future; especially since we hope it is settled that the printing of the greater part of those records is to be intrusted to his superintendence.
The preface to the “ Parliamentary Writs” abounds in so much valuable information relative to the manner in which peers and others were summoned to parliament, or to perform military service, and consequently adds so materially to our knowledge of the early legislative assemblies of the realm, and at the same time so satisfactorily explains the contents of the volume, that we shall extract the greater part of it.
« The collection, of which this is the first volume, includes all the records which show the constituent parts of the ancient legislative and remedial assemblies of England, beginning with the reign of Edward I., the period when they first assumed a definite organization. Before this era, neither the principles nor the practice of the constitution can be ascertained with certainty ; but, under the government of Edward, a settled and uniform usage may be discerned, from whence the parliament received an organization nearly approaching to the form in which it now subsists. Considerable obscurity prevails with respect to the rights and functions of the individuals who enjoyed the privilege or were subjected to the duty of attendance. The fact, however, of such attendance is evinced by documents existing in a series which, although not entirely unbroken, is sufficiently complete to afford a satisfactory view of the estates, orders, and members who composed the great councils of the realm. These documents may be arranged under the following sections :
“ I. Writs of summons addressed to the prelates, the earls, and to the individuals generally, but not invariably, designated as · barones,' • proceres,' or ' magnates ;' and also to the justices, clerks, and others of the council. In most instances the writs are extant on the dorses of the close-roll, upon which, each set of writs appears to have been entered or enrolled from a pannel or schedule (such as is now termed a parliamentary pawn) which remained on the file*. Two only of these pannels have been found; the one belonging to the reign of Henry III., and the other to the reign of Edward II. Occasionally the clerks of the chancery contented themselves with tacking the pannel to the roll (the breviate of the writs issued for the council of the 16 Edw. I. may be quoted as an exemplification of this practice, p. 18, No. I.). Most of the riders or schedules now attached to the rolls appear to be pannels of this description; and, had it not been for the precaution of annexing them to the larger record, the information which they convey would have been lost. All documents which bore a direct relation to the rights of property, or to judicial proceedings, were recorded in the chancery with considerable care, but much less attention was paid to those which referred only to current transactions ; and it is probable that the neglect of the clerks of the chancery in omitting to enrol the pannels is the principal cause of the paucity of parliamentary writs of summons in the earlier periods. Of original writs of summons, fifteen belonging to 34 Edw. I. (pp. 165, 166, Nos. 4 to 20.) were found in the bundle which contains the writs of election of that year.
“ II. Proxies of the prelates, earls, and proceres.'-It is stated by Selden and Hody, that proxy-rolls were formerly extant in the Tower. The editor has been informed that none can now be found;
* They are now kept in the Petty Bag Office.
and, as it appears from these writers that the records were much decayed, it is to be apprehended that they have since perished. About fifty original proxies, principally of the reign of Edward II., have been preserved amongst the parliamentary petitions, and they will appear in their proper order.
« III. Precepts and mandates issued by the metropolitan and diocesan prelates, pursuant to the præmunientes clause in the writs of summons, requiring the attendance of the inferior clergy; and procurations executed by the capitular and parochial clergy, pursuant to such precepts and mandates. Some of these documents have been obtained from the monastic Lieger Books in the Museum and else-, where: the best information, however, is derived from episcopal and capitular registers; and his grace the archbishop of Canterbury, and the honourable and very reverend the dean of Canterbury, having permitted the editor to examine the archives both of Lambeth Palace and of the cathedral, the series of precepts and procurations, so far as relates to the see of Canterbury, has been completed.
“ IV. Writs for the election of the members of the commons house of parliament, and returns.— The enrolments of these writs, which usually accompany the enrolments of the writs of summons, require no peculiar remark. The original writs and returns, the most important and valuable portion of the present work, were first assorted by Prynne, who, in the dedication of the “ Brevia Parliamentaria Rediviva," addressed to Charles II., has described his proceedings with his characteristic quaintness and verbosity.”
But we have no room for Mr. Prynne's garrulity. It is essential antiquaries should know, that
“ Notwithstanding the pains which that most laborious antiquary has bestowed on his work, it is by no means remarkable for aca, curacy. He has fallen into many important errors in his readings of the names ; and some entire sets of writs are referred to years to which they do not belong. Prynne was followed by Browne Willis, who, in his “ Notitia Parliamentaria,” intended to have given complete lists of the knights, citizens, and burgesses, which he has arranged according to counties; but only three volumes of the work were published by the author.
“ V. Writs for levying the expenses of the knights, citizens, and burgesses. These are enrolled upon the close-rolls in the same manner as the other writs. They are also made out from schedules and pannels (p. 156, No. 50.), and they are also issued upon dockets or warrants under the privy seal (p. 156, No. 48.). These circumstances may account for the non-appearance on the rolls of the writs de expensis, during the earlier periods, when such detached documents were not always recorded by the clerks.
“ VI. Writs of military summons specially addressed to individuals usually considered as the greater or lesser barons of the realm.These are enrolled on the close-rolls.
“ VII. Writs for the performance of military service, or relating thereto, addressed to the sheriff of the county. These writs were returned in a manner nearly analogous to the parliamentary writs,