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Author(s): Albert Beebe White Source: The American Historical Review, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Oct., 1919), pp. 1-17 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1836371 . Accessed: 30/10/2013 13:33
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No doubt most who have been teachingthe history of this period with any care or engagedin researchupon it have becomesuspiciousof thistermand disinclined to use it.VolumeXXV] October. If thereis no groundin the phraseology of the timeforsuch suggestion we shouldknow it. The concern here is to know whetherit was so called. VOL.1 Not enoughstudy has been given to matters of language in connection withthe origin of Parliament. HIST. Parliamentwas rapidlybecomingthe usual name. Adams to a statementby Mr.2 directly 1 It is not in the least the object of the presentpaper to discuss whetheror not the central assemblymighthave been appropriately called a common council at that time-if indeed there is anythingto discuss along this line. and no one has stoppedto put themto the testof the sourcesand findout securelywhat theyoriginally meant. It is not a harmlessterm. REV. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . To English minds "Common Council" (as it is oftentranslatedand capitalized) is bound to suggestthingsnationalor representative or relatedto the middle classes. say. But thereit stands in most of the best books to troubleus with doubts.. words and phrases have been taken for grantedand traditions these have been passed on fromgeneration respecting to generationof students. or all of these.my attentionwas called by Professor G. XXV. the middle of the thirteenth when century.111. (I) IT This content downloaded from 78.165. 2 When this investigationwas nearly completed. Robert Steele in A Bibliographyof Royal Proclamnations of the Tudor and Stuart Sovereigns (Bibliotheca LinAM. B.165 on Wed. 1919 [Numberz WAS THERE A "COMIMON COUNCIL" PARLIAMENT? BEFORE has been more or less generallysupposed that the assembly which came to be called Parliamentwas at some earlier time called the "Common Council"-that would be some time between the Conquest and.-I. In this time of gleaningafter the great workersand the great discoveriesin English constitutional it has seemed worthwhile history to devoteone bit of investigation to thisphrase. It may play a trickupon any unwaryreader and even the cautious writermay corrupthimselfwith his own phrases.
Pasquet not only uses it freconciliumand comquentlybut takes pains to state that miagnum mune concilium(spellingthe latterword witha c) supersededcuria And Dr. while it is often by a meeting. Some veryrecentworkseven fact. The Lords' Committees Dignity of a Peer. Essai sur les Origines de la Chambre des Communes (Paris.unquesapplied to the advice offered tionablyon some occasions means nothingmore than what we should call public opinion. McKechnie. And the myth emphasizethe phrase in this sense.large or small.a real meaning. Hallam.at least unheeded.2 A. B. I. and the term 'commune consilium regni'.that germ of all that has made England famous in the realm of constitutional desiana. makes it than in the his regular appellation for the larger central assembly. 3. No assembly calling itself or called 'commune concilium regni' has left any trace upon the records.3 first editionof his greatwork on Magna Carta. His suggestionthat the "comantimon council" traditiongoes back for its source to the Stuart parliamentary to trace it back of the nineteenth quarians is interesting. though many have given the 'commune consilium regni' to the King who summonedthem. all studentsof English historyknow the is not dyingout. Steele's statement. This content downloaded from 78. 1914). The formeruse of the term seems entirelydue to the mistakes of the Stuart parliamentaryantiquarians. White the For it has been just thesegreatworkerswho have continued the " commoncouncil" and given thattradition respecting tradition who drew up the Reportson the authority. It is perhaps fair to add that I had adopted the large and small assembly sources of communeconsilium and the " public opinion" idea and phrase as part of my classificationand had so used them in a paper read publicly on the subject before I knew of Mr. It is importantin such mattersto adhere to the language of authenticrecords. I have made no attempt century.which have. he has surely stated an importanttruth about commune consilium (though showing an unnecessary anxiety to connect regni with the phrase). Pasquet.165. But he could not in this place offerany proof of his even supposingit had ever been a matterof enough interestwith him statement. V.are examples. Stubbs. p.111. Bemont. and the text-books of Taswell-Langmead and Medley. Thomas Duffus Hardy. "A phrase familiar to modern students is liable to much misconception-the 'commune concilium [sic] regni'. For that reason or because of its rather obscure and incidental appearance. It is not necessaryto extend the list or cite instances. The difference between 'concilium' and 'consilium' does not exist in our records until comparativelylate. at any rate until their formshave become mere conventions. vol. it has passed unnoticed. when speaking of articlesin the I2I7 ediand fourteenth the omissionof the twelfth tion of Magna Carta. he says: "All mentionof the CommuneConcilium-that predecessorof the modern Parliament.Maitland. Pike.and he statesin severalplaces thatthis was the assemblywhich became Parliament. Thus.165 on Wed. to make the necessary collectionof references. Liebermann." While I can not at all agree with Mr.in the second editionno less and conciliuM. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 3 D. Steele about the lack of an early distinction between concilium and consilium. of magnates.). Some of his pages bristlewithit. li-Iii.
yet it is believed that the process has been carried far enough so that any new instancesfoundwill not be likelyto upset the conclusions.165 on Wed. Champollion-Figeac.such as Domesday Book. This content downloaded from 78. 249. p. William of Poitiers. promising little of value for the presentpurpose. Simeon of Durham. however. Gervase of Canterbury. not in the conclusions. . Lettres de Rois. Various other sources. 8 Cases in which one chroniclercopies the identical language of another are. but in assembling the referencesand drawing the attentionof specialists in this fieldto an undoubtedly questionable tradition. and these are properly independentinstances for the present purpose. . Eadmer. While it is hoped that a fair degree of care has been used in going throughthe material. McKechnie.6 No claim of exhaustivesearch is made.and these have been transcribed withaccompanying text.. William of Jumieges. and he summarizeshis notions of the term by saying that "The same Latin words which signifyjoint 'consent' or counsel thus came to signifyalso . Robert de Monte. while there has been evident borrowingof ideas or fact.he adopts the name untranslated.111. and passing in turn into the modern Parliament. the following have been examined without revealing any instances of the phrase in question. the formof statementwas independent. always. 7 The writer is wholly aware. Richard of Devizes. Pipe Rolls.there can be no doubt that some instances have escaped notice. Reines. that whatever value this paper has lies. however. have been more or less fully examinedsome of them very carefully. John of Hexham. Henry of Huntingdon.takingthe liberty to change s to c in the second word. Gesta Herwardi.A "Commn11non. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and it will be observed that they have sometimes been passed rather freelyboth as to time and place. Publications of the Selden Society. Council" beforeParliamient? 3 laws and liberties-disappears. Guy of Amiens.. I94). Life of Anselm and Miracles of Anselm. The term curia regis is another about which much has been assumed and a good deal of myth and tradition gathered. supposingtheseto have been correctly drawn fromthe evidencealready in hand.165. It also should be studied. Aelred of Rievaulx. counted but once. sometimes he calls it the " CommonCouncil ". I49. of course. Besides these 4 W. Brevis Relatio.continuingunder a new nametheold cutria regis . Etienne de Rouen. as here. Edmundi. Ann. 6 Yet it would have been hard and in some cases inadvisable to hold strictlyto these boundaries. Besides the material indicated in the references. 5 Ibid. p. that 'Common Council' afterwards of such vital constitutional importance. S. . etc. Magna Carta (Glasgow. But there are not a few in which."4 Sometimes.7 Two hundredand fifty-eight independent8 instancesof the use of communeconsiliun have been found in this period. S."5 In the course of the investigation the resultsof which are here muchof the matterin print submitted. whichwas written in England betweenthe Conquest and the middle of the thirteenth century has been examined. Hence the referencesand this list (under the time-limitsindicated) constitute the bibliographyof this paper: William of Malmesbury. . et Autres Personnages des Cours de France et d'Angleterre.
out of numberlessexamples. Communeconsilium. " common decree". XX. These latter ". perpetual council. and a possible classification suggestsitselfwhen a large numberof contextsis studiedtogether. " common sentence or " judgment ". B. exceptionallyit denoted an assembly. such as "common assent". This bringsup a ratherimportant linguistic it to say that after point which cannotbe dealt with here. White there have been collected.165. and thelike.4 A. and theyhave taken this liberty evidently upon the in assumptionthat consiliumand conciliumwere interchangeable the Latin of the time. clearly belongsto a large familyof serviceablephrases. and often there are combinationsof the phrases (illustrationsof this may be found in orderto bringclearamongthosegivenbelow). made apparently ness or emphasis. Some of themcome very close to frequentmeaningsof "common counsel". XIX. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 330-333. in its standarduses.165 on Wed. " commonconsideration estimate ". that from early in the thirteenthcentury to be the regular name of the king's smaller. some two hundredcases of words or phrases similarto or in some way illustratingthe phrase under discussion.9 But.111. Conciliumwas always the name of an assembly. no two people would do it in the same way. This content downloaded from 78. 740-741.of course. " common consent ".be examinedwithin the limitsand purposesof this paper. I intend at some time to furnishfurtherevidence of this. Suffice notingthousandsof instances-too many to make it ever feasible to prove the point by a list of references-the writeris convinced betweenthese words in that therewas at least as much distinction the Conin England duringthe two centuries the writings following quest as there was in classical Latin. and. leaving this assertion unconsilium. however. common cannot.some of the cases would be veryhard to classify. Several different shades of meaningand usage of communeconsilim beginto standout beforethe work of collection has gone far. and should be mentioned beforetheyare taken up individually. And yet they constitute a fashion or trickof phraseology of the time which helps one to sense the contemporary force and meaningof the phrase in question. "common choice". the latter withtheirinterpretation formlooks betterin connection of it as an assemblyname. Others mightserve as well. Writershave feltfreeto change communeconsilium to communeconcilium(also to capitalizethe words eitheruntranslated or translated). One point-the spelling of the second word-applies equallyto all theseuses. that which later 868. " common discussion ". while retainingits standard meaning of advice or counsel. See American Historical Review. A five-fold classification has appeared convenient for presentation here. came also 9 It is my belief. underany scheme. consiliumregularlymeant counsel. became the Privy Council.
465. pp. De Nugis. p. This content downloaded from 78. 229. I. Dunst.however. Clauis. 5I9. Oftenit is understood to-as the generalopingroups. Matth. V. p. 497-4. Gesta Stephani. pp. ion or consentof a crusadinggroup. 25-26.. but no hintof this is in possiblyin formalmeetings the text. 54. 497. 710).I. I.. Annt. it is impossibleto conveythe full or correctimpression. pp. V. Paris. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . p. I49. Dutnst. Rot. Rot. [V. II.165. I98. pp. Giraldus Cambrensis. I9. 142. II. Itinerarium Peregrinorum. 232 (ter) . Letters of Henry III. 339. 7I. I34. 287. 258. 9I . Paris. Ord. 65. I. 36.. 563-564. I 0. I2I6-I225. Of course in some of these cases the common advice may have been obtained of the groups. 31. and within the groups the references are arranged chronologically as far as can be readily determined. pp. 84. p. or genobtainedin no definite consent. II. I. I33. II. Matth.I. p. Note Book. I4I. Placita. V. Bracton. 65. 55. 336. PatenitRolls.. Patrologia. Paris. Matth. p. III. 92. 74. II I. 235. 360. 481482. 341. Eadmer.. III. i6o. Map. Litt. Bigelow. 63. fromthe contextthatcertain or formalway.. 287. I." beforeParliamtent? A "Conu. Patent Rolls. I50. 686. Ann. Matth. Dunst. I. 944. Letters of Henry III. 64.. Florence of Worcester. 432. Paris. ItinerariumPeregrinorum. 304. 3I 5 . I225-I232. pp. ii8.it is impossibleto tell fromwhom it is supposed to come. Coggeshall. Matth. III. Burton. 10 Something of the distributionis shown here and in the other classes of cases by groupingthe referencesinto three periods. io66-iI54: Matthew Paris.it is necessaryand significant now to be concases of commnnne conisiliutm hundredand fifty-eight never sidered the spellingis uniform-always communeconsilium. III.or partiesare referred individuals. p.165 on Wed. II. 103. V. Chronicon. 387. Waverley. whichfollow). III. Ninety-two twelve-fifties. Patent Rolls. 30. Matth. Rigord. 2I8. Ordericus Vitalis (in Migne. eral understanding. 397. II. i6i. Sometimes. I. i65. Benedictus. New(burgh. 431. Pat. Litt. 260. 393. Patent Rolls. throughmaInstances have been found prettyevenly distributed terial writtenall the way from the late eleventhcenturyto the are listed here10 where the search ends. Historia Novorum. II. Patent Rolls. Paris.pp. 400. i9. VI. Walter of Coventry. Coventry. 209 (bis) . II. Litt. and the writerin his choice of language appears to have been uninfluenced by such associationof ideas. Wendover. 22-23. Diceto. Rot. 1154-I2I6: Materials for the History of Thomas Becket. Claus. IV. Hoveden. I32 (bis) . Ann.p. 384.nont Counlcil 5 to noticehere that in the two proved.. II5. p. I066-iI54. I2I6I250 (or later). Paris. I56. 54. 67. Undoubtedlythe most commonsense of communeconsiliumis that in which it approaches our phrase "public opinion". Matth. Letters of Henry III. Diceto. Benedictus. Paris. II54-I2I6. Diceto. CLXXXVIII. communeconcilium. I. Ann. 522. 341. p. (includingthe illustrations that there is space to give of this or In the few illustrations otheruses. 475-476. II. 453. Hoveden.111.. 678. Ann. 73. 8I. III.also of connection groups of messengersor ambassadors. pp. 233. II.98. V. II 85. Vit. 727.. 2I2.. Coventry. IV. Ann. 645. II. 36. This use is stable. pp. indeed it is very oftenused in witha fighting group or expeditionof some sort.or consultation. Burton. II.Opera. I2I6-I258: AnnX. Walter of Coventry. Burton.
II. si treugamcum misimus mox inquirendum. 17 Ann. 250.Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen..p."'6 Agitationof the bishops "Et sigillissuis scripto against the archbishop'svisitation(I250): quod comcommuniappensis."''7 muniauxilio et consilioarchiepiscopo 11 12 Matth. II. baronibussupradictisdiutinamobsidionemegerant. Paris.. Paris. 140. Eodemannoortaest gravisdissensio novumfecerant et civescivitatis. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I 7. alimentis.165. ad castellumde Muntsorelpervenissent. i8i. Canonicinamque murum Rothomagi et visumerat intusmercatores: suum. bona fide ad invicempromiserunt. 15 Ibid. 490.ut pabula quaererent. communiomniumconsilio decretumest. p."'15 From a letter of Richard of Cornwall giving an account of his apud Acon. III.sed inanem. 6I4. 16 Ibid. Dionisii. praedicto dicto rege factamnobis posset tenere. prosternerent subet murumillum funditus consilio irruerunt. Nazer silio.6 A. maxime ex eis qui victualia quaerebant. IV. as thosewho have ever done thiskind of collecting grows only conclusions of certain A feelingof the inevitableness list of acquaintancewiththe long and monotonous intimate through tells its tale. vigilia Sancti " Infra quem terminum crusade (I241): de communiconapplicantes.et colligerant circa coemeterium ut canonici et petierunt civitatis: . On the first contextsthemselves. Benedictus. B. cives ex communi verterunt.165 on Wed." In the same conflict " Barones itaque cum. resisterent. White will understand..12 Article 6 in the apocryphal"Willelmi ArticuliLondoniis Retracabout watchand " Statuimus[here followregulations tati" (12I0): et aldermanniet prepositiet ceteriballivi ward] proutvicecomites regni nostrimeliusper communeconsiliumad utilitatem et ministri Albini of William to A Fitz-Walter Robert of letter providebunt.ad detrimentum quodhoc fiebat civibus est quod quadamdie et nolebant.111."'13 in which he seems to be speaking for the baron's forces (12I5): "Et ideo per commune consilium prolongavimustorneamentum (I2I7): quod captumfuitapud Stanford". deficientibus dominus Boamundus et comes Flandrensis Robertus de communi exierunt. Dunst. 14 Matth. 68. inter canonicos. This content downloaded from 78. The verymonotony et Crusade (1097) : "Tandem innumerishinc et inde interfectis. ut sidionemdissolvissent. cimiteriiset ecclesiis omnibus more solito et obspoliatisper viam.Unde factum opus illud. canons and citizensof Rouen (1192): scilicet clericos. 13 Felix Liebermann. II. ut vobis alias significavimus. ubi Gilebertusde Gant cum aliis versus Lincolniam properarent."'l A quarrel betweenthe consilio.
7. Diceto. i86. II. Paris. II. 75. I. . p. Diceto. 69. 64.165 on Wed. Benedictus. 57. II. II. Close Rolls. 282-283. Coggeshall. in maximaanimi angustiapositi.A " CommonCouncil" beforeParliamient? 7 A second set of contextsis that in which the termdenotes the mutual advice.37I. Claus. Rot. Bracton. VI. . 275.VI. Walter of Coventry. I07. 3I6. 279-280. 282. I9. quos ipse et Wil18 II54-I2I6: a vestra majestate injunctum. 42I. Giraldus Cam- lowing this in the rolls there are fifteen uses of the term which are little more than formal repetitionsin duplicate letters sent to other places) . 68. VI. 33. 23.. i8. II. Diceto. for the Hist. Walter of Coventry.. 339. I. 368-369. consent. II. From a letter to Henry II.. IIo. 69. Litt. 339. I39-I40. Litt. Diceto. Ann. II. Matth. Perhaps the commonest illustration the English this use lies in the manypapal lettersscatteredthrough material. 45-46 (ter-in five letters fol- Rot. VII. Benedictus. by his envoys sent to Rome on the Becket matter(II71): Cum vero nos quatuorcum episcopis[two] quidem. pp. Burton. II. Eighty-one been collected. ei de communi nostro consilio e~xponentes quod nobisfuerat dominus papa in vos nominatim. 269. Patent Rolls. . 139Mat. 38.qui plurimum exire [fromSienna] desiderabant. Matth. 184. III. 202. Bigelow. 2I9. Letters of Henry III. This content downloaded from 78. Pat. III. 355. Diceto. Matth. non potuissemus. 269.19 A certaincase is to be triedin the locality (I226): "Et mandatum est vicecomitiDevonie quod certis die et loco. Matth. I27. et in totam vestram cismarinam terram et transmarinam. Select Charters (ninth ed. pp. Paris. Paris. I26. 293. there is a clearer indicationwhence the commoncounsel came of than in the precedingclass. 292.. II. But there are many other exremainsquite stable throughamples. Coventry. lata fuerat confirmare. Paris. out-no significant instanceshave increaseor decrease. Claus. p. Litt.). p. Paris. p.. And the English writersregularly use the same expression when they referto the papal acts. quod ea die immutabiliter disposuerat io66-iI54: 62. . 484. 133. I25. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 12I6-I255: Rot. Paris. II. 491 . 496 (bis). II. of Becket. p. William. Matth. 8o. Matth. Letters of Henry III. I. like the preceding. 346. V. Claus. II. V. Eadmer. Matth. I. 283. Placita. Thomas of Monmouth. Stubbs. I45. brensis. I. interdicti ferresentenet eam quae in episcopos tiam. p..Opera. 262. Opera. 47. Note Book. II.. Waverley. Diceto. Rot. II. or opinion of relativelysmall groupsgroups which seem not to have constituted a summonedassembly and yetabout whichthereis some definiteness of specification. 58. 4II. Hoveden.165. 532.p. This use. 425. 98. Paris. p. Paris. Hoveden. Litt. 20I. I. Rotuli Chart. Rot. . 208.II. 274. Placita. I88. pp. Benedictus. 66. 38i. Ann. Matth. IV. 282. III.ex communi consiliomedianocteet latenter exivimus. Hoveden. I. 2i6. 47I-473. I. II. de communi fratrum consilio.111. 500.St. II. pp.That is. I.. 68. I227-I23I. Giraldus Cambrensis. Pat. Materials for the History of Becket.'8 The followingmay serve to illustrate. I225-I232. 292. I90. Litt. 39-40. VII.Sic a curia venientes sero redierunt [two of the envoys]ad dominumpapam. 362. Itinerarium Peregrinorum. II. 6i9. Benedictus. II. VII. p. Opera.. I4I. 27.II. . The pope does thingsby the commoncounsel of the cardinals. Giraldus Cambrensis. I44.
de communiconsilio cura pastorali. I. ItinerariutnPeregrinorum. 202. B. 20 21 three duplicate letters following). I. p. I23. 4I. I. 732. 343. Pat. 463. for the Hist. 24 Claus.. Close Rolls. 55. 437. mtagnumiconciliumn. 239. regularibusinstitutis cessanter consultiorecensura compescant. Foedera. 8I. II. I2I6-I225. I..165 on Wed. Hoveden.8 A. Paris. Select Charters. 52. 32I. council"? Was it in a fair way to be so called when " parliament" began to usurp the place. I25. et vos eis fideliter et de communiconsilio inde disponentes. 190. Ann. 327...consilio.and now he is sending othersto "Volumus etiamet mandamus (I231): themwithadded instructions quod in omnibusnegociisnostrisvobis et ipsis injunctis. I227-I23I. 70. 317. I227-123I.. Patent Rolls. et conniventia.22 instancesin which Thirdly. Mat. 207. Florence of Worcester. I225-I232. V. Rymer.. 56-57. I00. Matth. Paris. I02. Rot. 463 . Rot. The distribution much from that of the precedingclasses. 58. 1225-I232. 209. Claus. I68. Eadmer. II. 399."2' In a charterof the abbot of St. Chart. secundum antiquam patrum bury ( I175): ut ii qui constitutisunt in consuetudinem concilia congregantur. 557. 123I-I234. IV. Paris.Opera. I I7. p."24A central assembly Patent Rolls. VI. IV. Bracton. p.p.subscriptasportionesduximusassignandas".colloquiumii Was it called the " common called-soon to be called parliatmtentumn. I2I6-I225. 73..111. 50I. 380-383 (the phrase is repeated in Benedictus. I. Litt. I234-I237. Patent Rolls. From a speech of the archbishopin an ecclesiasticalcouncil of the provinceof Canter"Ideo in ecclesia Dei. de communi fratrumnostrorumvoluntate.165.De Legibus. Coggeshall. I24-125.vitam subditorum eminentiori quae pullulant inet enormitates informent. 31I. VII.23 Here erable size and usually summonedfor a definite for the summonedassembly is a criticalpoint in the investigation. pp. Letters of Henry III. pp. IV. I.20 Certain men have been sent conveniantet diligenter to Rome on the king's business. 3I8. 44-45. pp. Litt. 430. 148. Giraldus Cambrensis. Benedictus. I69. Close Rolls. et plene".ipsi vobis assistatis. pp. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . pp. 29I. 283. Close Rolls. This content downloaded from 78. pp. II. II.of earlier names? The followingcases which it has seemed best seem typicalof this thirdset of contexts. 239. Albans (1258): "Deum habentesprae oculis. Dunst.: p. Letters of Henry III. pp. p.. 582. Litt. I2i6-I259. 84. 22 Matth. 45I. whose common counsel is oftenestmentionedis just that great it was surely council-conciliumn. Close Rolls. does not differ to illustrate somewhatmore fully. Rot. II.therehave been collectedfifty-three of considapparently the commoncounsel came from a gathering purpose. p. p. 669. of II54-12I6: Becket. White lelmus de Raleg et Hugo Peverel de communiconsilioprovidebunt. 23 io66-i I54: Eadmer. V. Matth..eadem vobis adinvicemcommunicantes. Patent Rolls. Rot.
concessum fuit nobis ab ipsis auxilium . Pat."29 Beginningof a letterfromKing Henry to the Bishop of Durham (1225): "Rex Dunholm' Episcopo etc.25 coram rege filio suo. II. Litt. Comitum. 238. divisit in quatuor partes Angliam. Cant'Archiepiscopi Episcoporum AbbatumComitum et Baronumde Regno nostro 25 By a misprintthis word appears concilio in the Rolls Series edition. Episcoporum. I. et postea misit eos per partes regni eis assignatas. Litt.. This content downloaded from 78.et Baronum nostrorumquos generaliterad presenciam nostram vocavimusconcessa fuitnobisquintadecima rerum mobilium regni nostri . Sciatisquod in presentia venerabilis patrisE. ut comiteset baronesAngliae essentapud Portesmue ad Pentecosten.165 on Wed.A "Common Council" beforeParliamlent? 9 arranges for an iter (II79): "Tunc rex congregatisepiscopis et comitibuset proceribusregni apud Windesovers. 30 Rot.111. 75. baronum. . 12I5] excommunicaveratbarones Angliae et omnes fautoreseorum. ut justitiam exercerent in populo. quod de communi consilio generalis concilii [Fourth Lateran. p. et unicuiquepartipraefecitviros sapientesde regno. II. Cum satis recolat discrecio vestra qualiter de communi consilio et spontanea voluntate Archiepiscoporum. InterimcomitesAngliae convenerunt ad collo- From the writsannouncinga tax (1207): "Sciatis quod per communeconsilium et assensumconciliinostriapud Oxoniam.165. et ex communi consiliomandaveruntregi quod non transfretarent cum illo. salutem. paratiequis et armisad transquiumintereos habitum apud Leicestre. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .communieorum consilio. but an examination of the manuscripthas shown the regular spelling.31 Concerning the assemblyat Merton which enacted the so-called statuteof thatname ( 1236): Rex Archiepiscopis EpiscopisAbbatibus Prioribus Comitibus Baronibus Militibuset omnibuslibere tenentibus in Hibernia constitutis Salutem. 27 Rot. I.28 Wendover's summaryof discussionsat Rome betweenthe ambassadors of Louis and the pope about the depositionof John (I2I6): "Item dicit Papa. Hoveden..abbatum et priorum. Claus.. nisi ille reddiderit eis jura sua.provisum est ad defensionem regni nostriet recuperationem juris nostri ".27 fretandum cum illo. . Satis vobis constat et bene recolitisqualiter de communi consilio et unanimi assensu omnium magnatum de regno nostro.I30 From a similar letter ( "233): "Rex abbati de Coggeshal' salutem."26 An episode of theyear120I: Statimpost Pascha praecepitrex. I6o-I6I. 31 I. I23I-1234. Paris. IV. Matth. .tam episcoporumquam comitum. 72. 31 Close Rolls. 662. 28 29 26 Ibid.
The text as there printedindicates erasure of nostro in the manuscript. 394. common deliberation. de communi regni.111. This content downloaded from 78. Michaelis ipso dominorege apud Westmonasterium regis consilioet consensudictorum suis. .statim omnes moriemur. die ultimo magnatibus.lo A. advice-all at one timeor anotherexpressedby comimuneconsilium popular notion or ideal which was -constituted an increasingly 32 Statutes of the Realm..3 discretidestinarentur about the in I252. should decide thatthe visitation or someoneactingon his authority. concilii. . 302. or spiritof a council ratherthan the council itself. II.unlessby chance (nisi forte) the metropolitan. .common Common action. " uses. maderespecting in Quindena S. 365-367. prorogaretur Papales proregedeprecatorias ad literas ut responsio esset. [Provisions of the council:] . 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . IV. ( I 259): suitinbaronialcourts.action."37If there factae suntprovisiones et magnatum. Et cumper commune consilium. communimajoris partis conciliiconsilio et assensu ". ut gravaminaterrae . Si a consiliocommuni. 4. common consent. written ". it is the personification result.34 habitoLondoniis From the recordof the year I247: "De parlamento consilioprovisumest. They are to be he says. qui sint de consilio33 domini regis . Probably the concilium indicates the synod of the province of Canterbury. [Grosse- totius et nobilesde discretioribus potentes assensu quatuoreligantur .165 on Wed.165. of the king's small. . passirn. et rege. of what Maitland called the slow and subtleprocess of persuch as the of an abstraction. .. or indeed in the preceding thingto be detectedin these illustrations. 36 Ann. 34 Matth. usque ad terminum singulos sollicitavit usquead noctem quod sex diebusduraverat. praelatos. to the bishops of the province of Canterbury exemptionof parish churchesfromprocurations. soludividamur. de communi et magnatibus is anysubscriptae.36 Provisions " Convenientibus etc. -32 From Matthew Paris's well-knownaccount of the I244 council init furnishes to appoint ministers(throughout.. 37 Letters of Henry III. . . thusexempt... Et murmurante tum est concilium. Burton.Quia scriptum testesays:] Non dividamur . which attempted and of the meanings of consiliumn) conciliumt illustrations teresting provisum a quo noluerunt recedere. et recedentibus praenotatum. sonification ". Paris. continuous council. deprecans ut in crastino iterum convenirent. . 594. White nuperprovisum magnatum consilioeorundem Anglie et de communi fuitquod. 33 That is. IV. B. p. Tandem de communi ad curiam Romanam nuntii domino Papae seriatim monstraturi From a letterof Innocent IV. vel de ought to be made-" ad singulorumvestrum petitionem. I.. 35 Ibid.. est.
111. 362. p. II.muchmightbe said about " or " community " idea in the middle of the rise of the " common Henry III. Select Charters. These have been separated (thirty-two are listedhere)40because the phrase has become so well knownthrough the famousarticlesXII. of course. I26.'s reign. V. 346. III. Matth. 236-237.. 'whena group. But to any one who has got the language-atmosphereof the time and who may venture to supply the unexpressed but determinativenotions of the occasional scanty context. To-day. p. and because writers have been especiallyinclinedto see an assembly in name this combination. Select Charters.39 The next group of cases. V. I2I6-I225. I40.which anyone who was convincedin advance that therewas a common council. 490. Were those who had charge of assemblies in the thirteenth centurytryingto get the " sense of the meeting as we sometimes say ? 39 No doubt here and in the other groups there is an occasional case. 40 II9I-I2I5: Giraldus Cambrensis. or assembly speaks in a formal way it usually means the majority. bothchronicleand official. sometimes in combination with other words)-comninuneconsilium regni. SI . I231-1234. Matth. 371. III.165 on Wed. 336. in ideas thesewords carriedwere ideas to conjure with those days. I77 (bis).. would so interpret. 349.pp. committee. Paris. Close Rolls. Select Charters. I. Patent Rolls. Matth. It is significant.that Maitland and McKechnie-both convincedthatat some timethe largercentral assemblywas called the CommonCouncil or the Common Council of the Realm-nevertheless translatethe two notable instancesof the phrase in Magna Carta as "common counsel"." bef A " Commnton Council ore Parliament? II beinghanded about in language. Walter of Coventry. particulartext with care the notionof an assembly-name 38 One is tempted to speculate on whether or not common counsel were a kind of predecessor of the majority idea. In view of this the burden of proof is always on the conciliar idea in the doubtfulcases. 252. Pat.there can be no doubt about the regular meaning of this phrase. VI. i86. and so called. p. and XIV. 295. Paris. When they studieda.. And. where the contextis scanty. 37. Patent Rolls. III. Matth. is littlemore than a variation of the preceding. I. I2I6-I255: Foedera. 65. I2I6-1225. Reports on the Dignity of a Peer. III. 324325.38 During the twelve-forties especially. 54. Gesetze. writings. 7I. 66. 9 (followed by two writson the same subject containingthe same words). pp. Flores Historiarum. 288. pp. 294. 68. Liebermann. the Latin of this time was no dead language. V. however. pp. But the majority opinion may or may not be a resultant. 7. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the fourth. 494 (bis). 54. Hoveden. Litt. Letters of Heury III. of Magna Carta.it is familiar to us as the "Common Council of the Realm'. Rot. Claus. used with stereotyped precision. I53.II.II. there were constantlyvarying shades of meaning and many individual vagaries. and which mightpuzzle an unprejudiced reader who should study that isolated text. Rot. were becomingsuddenlyfilledwithevery and the possibleuse and combination of coinmunis and comrnunitas. This content downloaded from 78. In fact. p.165. Litt. Opera. Paris. 344. I55 (an examination of the manuscripthas shown a printer's error in the Rolls Series text in making the second word concilium). It is wherethe termis followedby the word regni (sometimes alone. Paris. a rule proved by remarkablyfew exceptions.
eighty-one of themafter accusatives (thirty-seven tion. donec quid Romanus pontifexjudicaret. 236. instance the phrase is paralleled with conmmunis action is taken per Indeed this latter may appear independently: assensum regni et civitatis(London).communeconafter per or siliumt regni nostri (all but two of these twenty-three here) . B. for the Hist. McKechnie. Just consiliumregni.communeconsiliun.twelveafterex)." Mat. 327. 42 From "a document of nine articles. quia majores episcoporum.165 on Wed. which seem to be the heads of a in which they ask inter petition prepared by the Londoners. ut. of Becket.41 There obviously withoutpreposihave been 2I4 ablatives (I2I after de. commune regniconconsiliumii totiusregninostripredicti. end of the twelfthcenturyand growingrapidlyin the early thirteenth. "Rex vero haec tinent (II64). In one consiliumomtnium fideliumi assensus regni. And it maybe statedhere thatin theuses thus farconsidered (including the present) commune consiliumhas been found but verb and once in the nominative-thenthe subject of an intransitive bearingthe meaningof commonplan or counsel.appearing in various verbal settingsand combinations. XVII. agendum. Then it appears that commune phrase for an with the regni added is still a descriptive consiliumt abstractnotion. probably in I2I5.165. reportarent. et proceribussciscitaturquid convocatis pontificibus audiens. . coXmmune silium et approbatio. without furthermodifying the phrase comnmune words. Very littletrace is to be found of what Liebermannhas called "the operatingsubject of an action". forty per). Et commune quidem consilium erat. de juxta quod supra diximus.commune consilium domtini commtune liberatio. But the convincing is to bring the contextstogether.42 An examinacommunem conshows thatcommune these variousphrasesand contexts tionof silium withthe regni added was not becominga name of the great councilor of any otherbody.Romanum adirent pontificem. Beginningjust at the is not evenlydistributed. silium totiusregninostri. not unusual to findsuch assembly names as curia. p. turbatusplurimum. and later parliamentumin the nominative.regi se obligaverant. . three times. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 726. conciliun.111. alia the abolition of all tallages except" . et interim omnia ejus in pace essent. has been found twelve times. (then the words in the text). It is.and the following regninostriAngliae. comitmune de-per appearing more frequently once each: communeconconsiliumtotiusregnii. eleven times. and threegenitives.12 A. Magna Carta. colloquium. White procedurehere. English Historical Review. perturbationeregni et sacerdotii et reatu perjurii eum accusaturi. commune regni convocati consilium et delegati et regninostri.it signifiedsomethingnew in the contentand manner of 41 It has just been discovered that the archbishophas escaped to the ConThe Northamptoncouncil is still in session. IV.as in the othercases. of course. nostrorum regninostriAngliae. vanished. This content downloaded from 78. But it should be noticedthatthisuse like the preceding.
and only one each in the volumes for 123II234 ity. and it lies in the direction of an assemblyratherthan of the product of an assembly. 73). In some of these instances the nostrumalone constitutes the hint of an assembly name. in mostof them the personification is shadowyand incomplete. rather than the largersummoned assembly. p. I2I9( ?) . not only of the usefulnessand propriety of commonaction. . Henrico . with the institutions and practiceswhich finally resultedin concentrationof popularlychosen representatives of countyor borough. . the notionsof advice and of councilare shadingintoeach other. . The last group. . communeconsilium Aquis (ibid. and I236. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . indicates an approach to an assembly-name. in a French chronicle. in othersthe contextcontainsan added indication. 230). 45). and all.and perhaps for a long time. Much has stillto be learned fromthe language of the earlythirteenth century of the growing idea. but thereis personification creepingin. . second. .. 23I) . I. communeconcilium [sic] Burdegaliae (ibid.43 At this timethe king's council was regularly referred to as consiliumor consilium nostrumt. salutem (Foedera.. .but of a speakingand actingnation-an idea which had littleor no connection at the start. just as all markedchanges in phraseologydo.'s reign would yield more of them. Six such instances have been found in Henry lII. And one instance has been noticed in which the French central assembly which corresponded to the English great council was (II85). Rex majori et communi consilio Burdegaliae. II. Litt. 67). 3224. Two gen- and 1234-I237. I234 (ter). II.. They have all been found between 12I5 and 1236. Eleven of the seventeen cases of coimmune consilium nostrum are fromthe minoreralizations concerning themmaybe ventured:first.called "common council". In this connectionit may be appropriateto add that various French cities had governingbodies which were being called " common councils" at this same time. Henrico regi Angliae . 47. 1219. the smaller continuousbody.especiallyduringthat time of great conciliaractivity. 44 This content downloaded from 78. Rigord. The rolls abound with these terms." beforeParliamenit? A " Commo Council 13 thought. commune Vasacense consilium (Letters of Henry III. the minority of Henry III. communeconcilium [sic] Aquis (ibid.in the king's letters. theother six from I2I5..'s letters either to or from these cities: I206. Illustrissimo. The notion of counsel or advice is more or less clearlypresent. Rex etc.165.what personification there is lies in the directionof the king's council.Dei gratia. I23I. consistingof seventeencases. I243( ?). probablymorecommonly the latter. I.44 Not one of the phrases in this division 43 Probably the unprintedrolls later in Henry III. i2i9.. .althoughrathercuriouslynone has been found in the volume of printed Close Rolls for the years I237-1242.165 on Wed. p. Claus.111. In all of these cases our phrase is followed by -nostrum-commune consilium nostrum.in all but one or two of them. . of course. Majori et Juratis et communi consilio Burdegal' salutem (Rot. 33). I. The kind of businesstransactedis one of the indicationsof this.
37. Rolls. I.32. quae mercatoresvillae vestrae Burdegalensis adduxerunt cum vinis in "48 From I220: "Scias quod concessimusRoberto filio Angliam Walteriquod quietus sit de carucagio assiso per communeconsilium as an assemblyname. Cui volumus -concilium. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I234-1237. I.it is of nostrum.. I8I. I23I-I234. 507.de communi et volumus pater quodvenerabilis nostrorum Angliestatuimus et fidelium habeatet curamsub terreillius custodiam H. salutem. which appears to have been one of the less commonof its variantappellationsin the fourteenthcentury. custodiendum cui committatur communiconsilio nostro provideatur terminum. Dublin' Archiepiscopus nobisdonecaliud indestatuimus. fidelisuo.. Eliensem . p. colloquium. I.. Sometimes. Letters of Hentry III. 49 Rot. .commisimusdicustodiam lectis nobis in Christode Ely et de Bernewellprioribus.it is impossible it seems fairlyclear is meant.165. The other ten instances are: Patent pp. I22. Sciatis quod. 5I6. 476. 120. p. Rot. This content downloaded from 78. Rot. " commoncouncil". I2I6-1225.111. Claus. The king has been de Marsh should no longer be justiciar in stating why Geoffrey Ireland (122I) decetero terre nostre Hybern' ut ipsum ad hoc provocati Unde merito consilionostroet assensumagnatum preessenon velimus. p. I54. ad episcopatum omnium maneriorumpertinencium "Noveritis quod To the mayorand good men of Bordeaux (I2I9): de communiconsilio nostromensurarifecimusdolia vinaria. to tell in the case of a singlecontextwhich it is true. 50Ibid. 48 Letters of Henry III. case withconciliumn. I. PaterniS. 442. Litt."49 If thislast be interpreted the larger assemblyand seems an exception.I4 A.. 46 Seven illustrationsare given here. 384.. 352. p. .45 A letterof I2I5: carefully etc. 157.. Close Rolls. Claus. All this. .46 usque ad prefatum "Rex dilecto et I217: The firstof the cases in Henry's minority. I2I6-I225. 47 Patent Rolls. 288. White as is so oftenthe fromthe contextmean the largerassembly.can best be left to the reader's or indeed he woulddo well to examine judgmentof the illustrations. per ordinacionem domini legati et communisconsilii nostri. B. Litt. Pat.however. p. nmust or laterparliamentun. 4.165 on Wed. I. Patent I2I6-I225. Cant' Archiepiscopo patriin Christo Rex venerabili quod in Roff' castrum quatinus supplicandum devoteduximus tativestre post generale debetusque ad Paschamproximum manunostraexistere donecde custodiendum quod committatur . 552. Litt. all of these seventeencases.5" 45 Rolls... Falkesio de Brewte. but takingall these contextstogether called consilium Council-ordinarily Privy of the ancestor that the or consilium nostrumin the king's letters-was already in a fair way to acquire a name.
165. For example.he says. comtmuni con51Patent Rolls. p. withcommuni and suo. earls. with concilium. In William the Conqueror's ordinanceseparating the spiritualand temporalcourts. knights. and the uncritical way in whichit has generallybeen read has undoubtedly contributed to the "common council" tradition. It is as if therewere a root-ideaof calling or and thendispersing connected gathering withtheselattertermsthat is never found. especiallyin this part of the Close Rolls. And in all the personifications of consilium.understood withthe phrasealiorum fidelium suorumn. or the second day of. colloquium. but the kingwas in France.and he does this. it means the king's council. and second. It is believedthatthesecitations show the degree and nature of the personification as far as that can be done here.that it had been " held" or " celebrated "-the kind of indication found. " it means the counsel of the largergroup. The first one is veryfamiliar. alone or with the otherwords.barons. 452.111.withconsilium in any of its combinations. and usuallyof the smallerassembly. I225-I232. In 1234: Rex dilectoet fidelisuo Waltero de Clifford' salutem. p.unless by rarestexception.165 on Wed. that this was the firstday of. so in frequently the chronicles. Yet to one very familiarwiththese rolls there are possibilitiesfor to get the scribe's language-sense comparison and opportunities which are really determinative in the conclusion. Sciatis quod provisumest de communi consilionostroquod omnia castra que fuerunt in manu Petri de Rivall'"52 In the letter directlyprecedingthis on the roll. 52 Close Rolls.and on the same subject.A "CoatnuonCouncil" beforeParliaient? I5 Here is a clear indicationof both the small and large councils."51 Here theone wordconsiliois made to do doubleservice: in connection first. I23I-I234. The next illustration afterthe minority ( 123I ). in the case of the simple consiliumnostrum.the corresponding clause has the form de consilionostro.he decrees that the church laws are to be betterkept. it is noticeablethat.with colmune consiliumindicating is the former.althoughthe nostrunt seems to make this an assemblyname. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . yetthe commilune consilium nostrumit is never foundfollowing coramor the testeor in manyothercontextsof unmistakable personification which abound. Two anomalous and difficult cases remain to be considered.and finally with parlianentum. thatit was summonedfor a certaintime. and otherswho were to hold a tournament at Alvertonon a day named are orderednot to hold it thereat thattime: " Scituri pro certo quod in reditusuo ad regnumprovidebit rex de communi consiliosuo et aliorumfidelium suorumubi de licentiaregistorneare possint. This content downloaded from 78. 462.one never reads of its beginning or its being broughtto an end.
Gesetze. 447.and. however. the Gravamina Cieri..in parts almost a transcript. 57 Speaking in general of this second charter of Stephen. B. documentbeing beyond question. This surely looks like an assemblyname. the HBeref ab IncarnationeDomini MCXXXVI. L..I6 A. used an earlyand correct undoubtedly drawingup theirgravamnicta. Poole has remarked: "It is in fact a very peculiar document. withthis language is evident. The othercase is to be foundin the rediscovered knownas the Herefordoriginal. of Wilwhich containsa paraphrase. siastical council. White et abbatum et cilio et consilio archiepiscoporun et episcoporumi. 54 55 This content downloaded from 78. Wilkins. The othertwo originalsend withthe words: " Apud Oxeneforde. R.anno ab IncarnationeDomini MCXXXVI. "The Publication of Great Chartersby the English Kings ".'s reignwere have become corrupt. I. The clergy. 485. The earliest manuscript theanomalous of this ordinancenow existingand theone containing form is from the thirteenth century-ample time for the text to who in Edward II.then the following and meaningless. Is there not another evidence of this in the fact that the word observatae after fueruntin the firstsentence-necessary to the sense-is found only in the gravamina paraphrase? 56R. II. This is a cortn muni consilio archiepiscoporum. Poole. The trouble omniumn principutm If conine conciliummeans the great council. XXVIII. Concilia. p.'s reign. ordinance with a copy of the it was written That liam's ordinance.165. in communiconcilio". the precedingprepositionin The authenticity of the precludesany of the usual interpretations. This of its finding at Oxford about eight document and the circumstances describedby Dr. 446-448. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .56 He years ago have been recently points out the variationsof this original from the Salisbury and Exeter originalsfromwhich our texts of that charterhave always been printed. Eng. L. regni.it stands back there in I136 an isolated usage in that period.111. Hist.anno mei primo". accordingto the classification perfectly just used. Poole.. In view of this Lieberwords are superfluous conciliumrefersto some ecclemann seems to hint that comimitune is probably solved.of Stephen'ssecond charter. would fall in the thirdgroup.etc. Dr.54 at hand is clear. Here it is statedthatWilliam made his decree de episcoporum. copy..53 The difficulty of comparingthis language throughLiebermann'sothersuggestion with the documentof Edward II.57 53 Liebermann. It looks as though a scribe familiar with the style of French charters had attemptedto produce a diploma in the Old English form. sed regni ord originalends: " Apud Oxeneforde. normaluse of the term. 314.55 thirdoriginal.165 on Wed. Rev. The most noticeablevariationis the one which concernsus here." Ibid.
and obviously as names.and quite correctly.such as curia. There were others.165.for the place was supplied by the already existing concilium-much the same thing as saying that it was already there itself with but the change of a single letter. ALBERT BEEBE WHITE. provided some such body were having a continuous and important history.etc. prominently 60 Modern Language Review.that just as parliamentum was for long rather the name of an act than a body and the personification was far from complete even in the fourteenthcentury. As has been shown elsewhere.so commune consilium had had a somewhat similar history.111. The usual names were conciliun. IX. it was used with the names just cited.only never reaching the final stage of development. conciliumuniversale. If there were anythingof this sort with respect to the great council.parliamentum mightat any time begin to pass over fromdiscussion to a discussing body.60 It grew rapidly. anythingregularly.and finally fell before it. 58 It mightbe urged.and those were the names alternatively which it finallyand directlydisplaced.A "Common Council" beforeParliament? 17 The conclusionfromall this is so obvious that it needs barely to be stated.much less common. But consilium would not be likely so to pass. 30 Oct 2013 13:33:46 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .and it is the writer'sbelief that consilium did undergo personification with respect to this smaller body. This content downloaded from 78. But just as soon as parliamentumappeared in the field the old names began to diminish in frequency. 92-93. The last termbecame popular toward the end of the twelfthcentury. 59 In almost all the instances in which this word was applied to the.great council. conciliumgenerale. as soon as the ancestor of the Privy Council was importantor continuous enough to be called it was called consilium. congregatio. magnumconcilium.59 conventus. Words like tractatum. But to this it must be replied that all the while commune consilium was a common phrase the old names for the central assembly continued. But the king's group of permanent counsellors was not called concilium.165 on Wed. There was no era of a " commoncouncil" in between.parliamentum began to be used as a name for the larger central assemblyas early as I239. and colloquium. There is no evidencethat communecontsilittm was or was becomingan assemblyname in England except the slightapproach along this line which has been noted with respect to the smaller council.but never displaced the other two. a priori. at least with respect to the larger central assembly. some judicial activity or function of that body seems to have been in the writer's mind.58 And it must be remembered thatduringall thetimeunderconsideration therehad been termsused obviouslyas names of what is usually.colloquium. before the process was appreciably started parliamentum had arisen and occupied the ground. called the " great council"-the ancestorof the House of Lords.