Advertisement

The Norman Yoke

Chapter

Abstract

Theories of lost rights, of a primitive happy state, have existed in nearly all communities. The Fall of Man; the Golden Age; Arcadia; the Noble Savage — all these in their different ways express a belief that inequality and the exploitation of man by man have a historical origin, and a hope that the period of equality which survived in popular imagination may one day be restored. In England the peasant rebels of 1381 asked

‘When Adam delved and Eve span

Who was then the gentleman?’

A century and a quarter later Henry VII’s minister listed among the enemies of tranquillity a character called Arrogancy, who said to the common people, ‘Ye be the children and right inheritors to Adam, as well as they [the gentry]. Why should they have these great honours, royal castles, and manors, with so much lands and possessions, and ye but poor cottages and tenements?’1 This ‘old seditious argument’, as it appeared to a Royalist, was still being used in 1641: ‘We are all the sons of Adam, borne free; some of them say, the Gospell hath made them free. And Law once subverted, it will appeare good equitie, to such Chancellours, to share the earth equally. They will plead Scripture for it, that we should all live by the sweat of our browes’.2

Keywords

Seventeenth Century French Revolution English Constitution Historical Essay Arbitrary Taxation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 6.
    Bacon, op. cit. Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 2.
    G. Chapman, Dramatic Works (1873), III, p. 117.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 1.
    Bacon, Works (1826), IV, pp. 82, 101–4. Bacon seems to have changed his mind under James I: in 1608 he wrote that ‘the ancient laws and customs of this kingdom’ were ‘practised long before the Conquest’ (ibid., p. 309).Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 1.
    Lucy Hutchinson, Memoirs of… Colonel Hutchinson (ed. Firth, 1885), I, pp. 6–10.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Vane, A Healing Question, in Somers Tracts (1811), VI, p. 306.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 3.
    N. Bacon, op. cit., Part I (1647), p. 111; Part II (1651), p. 307.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 1.
    B. Whitelocke, Memorials (1853), III, pp. 260–73.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 3.
    Whitelocke, op. cit., III, p. 362. In 1653 a women’s petition to Cromwell asked for the abolition of the ‘Norman Yoke’ of perpetual imprisonment for debt (Margaret James, Social Polig during the Puritan Revolution, p. 329). There were many similar petitions — e.g. B.M. 669 19/39, petition of November 1654.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 3.
    Whitelocke, op. cit., III, p. 18.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 2.
    Catharine Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James I to the Elevation of the House of Hanover (1766–83), V, p. 381; VI, p. 71; cf. I, p. 273; II, pp. 1–3; III, p. 42; The History of England from the Revolution to the Present Time (1778), I, p. 5; An Address to the People of England, Scotland and Ireland (1775), p. 9; Observations on the Reflections of the Rt. Hon. Edmund Burke on the Revolution in France (1790), p. 30.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 2.
    A. Thierry, La Conquête de l’Angleterre par les Normands (1825), III, p. 408.Google Scholar

Notes

  1. 2.
    M. J. Boon, A Protest Against the Present Emigrationists (1869), quoted by R. Harrison in ‘The Land and Labour League’, Bulletin of the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, 1953, p. 176.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Christopher Hill 1997

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations