A History of Wealth and Poverty: Why a Few Nations are Rich and Many Poor, by John P. Powelson.

  1. The compromises of Edward I included the Statute of Quia Emptores (1290), which allows free alienation of land but prevents subin-feudation. Hence the new tenant becomes a vassal of the original lord and not, as heretofore, the vassal of the lord's vassal. Thus the feudal chain is not lengthened. This was a positive-sum move, wanted by both king — to keep better track of his vassals and his taxes — and the barons, who did not want intermediate responsibility for lands they had passed on to others. This law, according to some historians, facilitated the subsequent demise of feudalism, although the parties who drew it up had not so intended. [43]

    The Statute of Merchants (1285) was a compromise between the interests of parties to foreclosure. Although a merchant would receive seisin (a medieval term implying rights similar to ownership) over lands of a debtor in bankruptcy, the debtor might still arrange for the subsequent sale of these lands, provided he compensated the merchant (creditor) for improvements in the meantime. This law would protect both the debtor, who might fear that the land would be sold at a price no greater than his debt, leaving no residual compensation for him, and the creditor, whose claims would be satisfied to the full extent of the land value. Historians attribute these achievements mainly to Edward's advisors, and particularly to Burnell, his chancellor. When Burnell died in 1292, this period of creativity came to an end, and the latter part of Edward's reign (1292-1307) saw a return to destructive warfare that nearly crippled the monarchy. I have described the negotiations and compromises in these and others of Edward's land laws in greater detail in an earlier writing. [44]

  2. Large-scale production and wholesaling in the thirteenth century required pooling of products by cooperating masters. [45] Evolution was step by step: they did not jump at once into large companies of unified management.

  3. Edward III "established a harmonious relationship with his nobility, who eagerly joined his enterprises, and the Commons in Parliament, to whose self-importance Edward pandered in taxation and legislation." [46]

  4. In sixteenth-century England, new leaseholding arrangements forged a partnership between "innovating landlords" and "innovating tenants." Tenants demanded and received greater proportional shares in income as a price of their participation. [47] "[I]n particular, the displacement of the traditionally antagonistic relationship in which landlord squeezing undermined peasant initiative, by an emergent landlord/tenant symbiosis brought mutual co-operation in investment and improvement." [48] In historical accounts of the agricultural revolution, the role of landlords has probably been exaggerated and that of tenants underestimated.

  5. "Since they had to live together, the Dutch towns [in the seventeenth century] could not escape the need for joint action. 'Their interests,' as Pieter de la Court says, 'are intertwined one with another.' " [49]

  6. The Union of England and Scotland in 1707 was negotiated after a crisis precipitated by England. The Aliens Act of 1705 provided that the Scots would be treated as foreigners and subject to import duties unless they agreed to the Hanoverian succession, which would produce George I as king of a united country in 1714. Both sides agreed, presumably to their mutual benefit.

Appendix 5.2: Historical References to Vertical Alliances, Negotiation, Cooperation, and Compromise on Jurisdiction and Power in Europe

Gilles (1986:82-83) shows how the relationship between parlements and king was worked out in France. Tuchman (1978:298-99) writes of the compromises between England and France in the Hundred Years' War. Many compromises went into the formation of the Swiss Confederacy (Holborn 1959:51). Elizabeth I made many compromises concerning religion and other political matters (Miller 1987:18). European wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were increasingly resolved by compromise.

Twenty-five specific references follow.

  1. The English civil war between Stephen and Matilda ended in a compromise treaty in 1153, by which Stephen would remain king for life, but Matilda's son, Henry, would become his heir. (Matilda had died in 1151.)

  2. Despite the increased power of the barons relative to the English king and their temporary renouncement of allegiance, Magna Carta was an exercise in which barons, ecclesiastics, town burghers, and King John (r.1199-1216) all participated, each group to defend its own interests. Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, was a principal advisor to the barons, but his main aim was to protect the interests of the church while also preserving royal prerogative. [50]

  3. In 1216, the barons chose William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, as regent for the young Henry III. He "had already served under three English kings, and he enjoyed the confidence of Guala, the papal legate, who worked closely with him in a program designed to [end] civil war. . . . A generous amnesty brought disaffected subjects back to their allegiance to the crown. Within a year William had persuaded Louis of France to give up all hope of obtaining the kingship of England and to return to Paris." [51]

    Momentarily, it seemed that both barons and king were satisfied. By 1260 several barons had defected from their leader, Simon de Montfort, who wanted to continue the assault upon the king. However, the Provisions of Oxford affronted Henry's majesty. Taking advantage of baronial disunity, he stopped enforcing them, and in 1260 the pope absolved him from having to do so. Unwilling to accept the Papal decision, the barons restored the Provisions in 1263, and the civil war continued. Louis IX of France (later St. Louis, noted for his fairness) was called on to arbitrate the quarrel. In the Mise of Amiens of 1264, Louis annulled the Provisions of Oxford and restored the full authority of the king.

    The barons were defeated and Simon killed in 1265. Naturally, the ensuing settlement favored the king. Persuaded by Edward's uncle Richard and other advisors to be moderate, however, Henry and Edward did not press for the baronial humiliation they might have wanted. The rather mild Dictum of Kenilworth, which finally repealed the Provisions of Oxford, reflected "a concern for the proper administration of the law, the proper use of royal writs, and the appointment of disinterested judges." [52]

  4. Despite the fact that he had defeated Henry III of England militarily, Louis IX of France compromised with him in the Treaty of Paris in 1259. Henry renounced his claims to Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, and Poitou but kept his title to lands in Guyenne.

  5. The thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries are known as the eras of French centralization, with sovereignty over the provinces assumed especially by Philip II (r.1180-1223) and Philip IV (r.1285-1314). But from Philip IV on, we sense a tension over jurisdiction between king and local authorities, both nobility and parlements.

    In principle, the ancient precept prevailed: "What pleases the prince has the force of law." But in fact, power was shared through various devices. The king might issue an ordinance that the local authorities would register but not enforce unless the king came in person to request it. A parlement might declare a royal regulation "incomplete," to be implemented only when "completed" locally. Thus the nominal powers of the king, local nobility, and parlements were worked out informally on the basis of the relative real power of each. Since none of these wanted a violent showdown — although that occurred from time to time — each ended up respecting the others. The result was a compromise not ratified formally but informally allowed to evolve: [53] again a free market in institutions.

  6. Many times during the Hundred Years' War, the British and French negotiated. Tuchman [54] describes an unsuccessful effort in 1377: "Offers and counteroffers and intricate bargains were discussed concerning Scotland, Castile, Calais, a proposed new dynasty for Aquitaine under a son of Edward III who would renounce his ties to England, or failing that, a partition, or an exchange of fiefs as complicated as a game of jackstraws. As always since the war began, nuncios of the pope added their intensive efforts at mediation."

  7. Tuchman [55] tells how the Austrians compromised with the Sire de Coucy of France: they signed a treaty "by which they ceded to him the fief of the deceased Count of Nidau, including the town of Buren, in return for his renouncing his other claims."

  8. She also writes of another compromise between Coucy and the Habsburgs: "In . . . 1385-86, Coucy attended the wedding at Dijon of his Habsburg relative and recent enemy. . . . [I]t may be that Coucy's presence at Dijon was connected with the Habsburgs' desire for his support. In any event, his quarrel with his mother's family was apparently made up. 'They ended always by accommodating,' in the words of the discoverer of the document." [56] Already we see a shift from conflict over who has the power toward a concept of power sharing.

  9. When Genoa and France jointly attacked the Barbary Coast in 1390, during the Great Schism, which papal representative should bless the departing fleet? Genoa recognized one pope, France the other. So two priests officiated, one representing each pope. [57]

  10. The formation of the Swiss Confederacy required numerous compromises. One example among many: In 1491, Zurich and Lucerne opposed the admission of Friborg and Solothurn, which was favored by the other cantons. Civil war was threatened. The compromise, worked out by "Bruder Klaus" (Nikolas von der Flühe) affirmed the sovereignty of member states, with a renewal of contract every five years and other provisions. Under these terms, the admission of the two states became acceptable.

  11. "The Swiss ruled themselves by councils [in the sixteenth century], in war as in peace. No single general commanded the Swiss armies, but the captains of the individual units would go into a huddle before issuing the orders of the day." [58] This cooperation was precarious, however. For almost three centuries after Zwingli's death in 1531, religion so divided them that the confederation nearly fell apart.

  12. To settle the wars of the Roses and unite the warring houses, Henry VII, Lancastrian, married Elizabeth of York in 1486.

  13. Elizabeth I of England offered an alliance to Ivan IV of Russia "only if Ivan agreed to attempt third-party mediation of disputes before hostilities were declared — 'thinking it requisite,' she wrote in a letter, 'both in Christianity, and by the law of nations, and common sense not to profess enmity, or enter into effects of hostility against any prince or potentate, without warning first given.' " [59] She was thinking in particular of Ivan's war with Sweden. But Ivan refused the offer.

  14. "For much of Elizabeth's reign, the reality of government was not too removed from this ideal image of harmonious cooperation. In its dealings with local governors, the council showed tact and a willingness to listen and to change its mind." [60]

  15. Despite military victories over Austria in the War of the Polish Succession (1733-36), Cardinal Fleury of France (allied with Sardinia and Spain) proposed a compromise peace, to avoid possible intervention of England and Holland on the side of Austria. The French objective was met: that Lorraine be given to Stanislas Leszczynski, father-in-law of Louis XV, in compensation for relinquishing his claim as king of Poland. Lorraine would be ceded to France upon his death. France agreed to the Pragmatic Sanction of Charles VI, that his daughter Maria Theresa would become heiress to the Habsburg lands. Austria received Parma and Piacenza in compensation for Naples and Sicily, which it ceded to Spain. Francis Stephen, now displaced from Lorraine but soon to become the husband of Maria Theresa, became Grand Duke of Tuscany. Augustus II of Saxony, the Austrian and Russian candidate, became king of Poland. This agreement illustrates the complex compromise, which was becoming more usual in Europe. It contrasts with the simple occupation of territory by the victor.

  16. In the Declaration of Breda in 1660, Charles II issued a general pardon, to relieve the fears of parliamentarians and others who had opposed the king. He did not immediately reclaim crown or church lands that had been sold after the civil war; their settlement would be left to parliament. He also promised religious liberty. [61]

  17. By the end of the seventeenth century, the British king could achieve little without the cooperation of parliament. "Wise kings had always operated within the limits imposed by the need to maintain the co-operation of their leading subjects; now the need for that co-operation became more obvious." [62] Dickering behind the scenes between William III's ministers and members of parliament was common.

  18. By contrast in foreign relations, the British demanded the politically impossible of Louis XIV of France: that he withdraw support from his grandson Philip as king of Spain, to end the War of the Spanish Succession in 1709. This confrontational position was widely criticized at home, an indication perhaps that the British public was more prone to compromise in international affairs than was its government. But the new Tory government that began to negotiate peace in 1710 agreed that Philip V would remain king of Spain provided the French Bourbons would renounce any further claims on the Spanish crown. In return, Philip would renounce, for himself and descendants, any claim to the throne of France.

  19. The treaties of Utrecht (1713) and Rastatt (1714), which affirmed this agreement, were one grand compromise in which complex exchanges of territories took place. Most important among these, the Spanish Netherlands (now Belgium) was given to the United Provinces (now Netherlands), to be passed on to the Habsburg emperor, Charles VI, as soon as he agreed to set up a "Dutch barrier" to protect the United Provinces from invasion, and to continue closing the River Scheldt, to reduce competition with Dutch cities.

  20. In re-forming political units in France after the revolution, the controversy lay between départements drawn in rectangular blocs each with a capital city within a day's journey by horse from any interior location versus the ancient provinces. Those in favor of the former argued that for a clean slate: delegates from départements should represent the nation, not the special interests of centuries. Those for the latter wanted to preserve local cultural ties and languages. The compromise was to form départements but to draw boundaries that would respect, as far as possible, provincial and other historic lines of demarcation. [63]

  21. The Peace of Campo Formio (1797) was also a compromise, albeit in France's favor. Austria ceded its Netherlands (now Belgium) and Lombardy in exchange for Venice and Venetia. Secretly, the entire left bank of the Rhine was promised to France, except for Prussian possessions.

  22. The Congress of Vienna (1815) was Europe's crowning effort in complex compromise. France had been defeated, but it had not lost all power. Instead, Tallyrand was skilled in playing upon the divisions of the victors to acquire reasonable terms. Compromises were possible because all delegates wanted a balance of power, or a "Concert of Europe," for peace managed by the great powers. Castlereagh of England proved to be a consummate mediator.

  23. The Congress of Vienna also decided that Neuenberg, which belonged to the king of Prussia, should become a member of the Swiss Federation even though the king remained sovereign. For the moment, Prussia seemed content. In 1852, however, royal supporters in Neuenberg were defeated in an attempted coup and were imprisoned. Prussian King Frederick William IV demanded their immediate release and threatened invasion. In a compromise of 1857, he gave up all his rights except claim to a shadow title, and his supporters in Neuenberg were amnestied. [64]

  24. Besides sovereignty, the two major Irish grievances, early in the nineteenth century, were that Catholic peasants were paying heavy tithes to an official Protestant Church, and that many Catholic farmers were tenants of wealthy English Protestant landowners. The first was overcome by the disestablishment of the Irish (Protestant) Church in 1861. Gladstone's early compromises on the second grievance dissatisfied both the Land Leaguers on the one side and Queen Victoria and the House of Lords on the other, though the latter two finally yielded.

    The debate over Irish Home Rule and the "Irish Land War" combined intransigence and compromise throughout the nineteenth century but finally ended in peaceful settlement. Repeal of the Union had become an almost holy cause for members of Young Ireland, with intransigence on both sides. Nevertheless, "O'Connell was prepared to compromise with the British government and seek more modest, but more obtainable objectives than repeal." [65]

    Charles Parnell, Irish Member of Parliament, alienated the hard-line Fenians by cooperating with Gladstone to hammer out new land laws promising improved rights for tenants. But ownership became overwhelmingly Irish only after the Land Act of 1903, by whose terms English landlords were bought out and their properties sold to Irish tenants at prices attractive to each, with the government subsidizing the difference and lending money to the purchasers.

    Home rule came in 1921 after some violent skirmishes often called the Irish war. Final resolution is still evasive, however, for violence continues in northern Ireland. Here it resembles earlier European history, in which religion blended with mistrust and the search for power: belief that a proper society demanded sovereignty for one's own group.

  25. Many of the military compromises in Europe occurred as a result of exhaustion, when no side could win. Then only negotiated settlements were possible. The Peace of Cambrai ended the Italian Wars in 1517, with Francis I of France, Emperor Maximilian, and Charles I of Spain agreeing to settle their differences and undertake a crusade against the Turks. In the French-Habsburg Wars, impending bankruptcies brought both sides to the negotiating table at Cateau-Cambrésis in 1559, which stabilized relationships among European states until the next century. But the Thirty Years' War repeated the exhaustion, calling for new negotiations at Westphalia in 1648. The wars of Louis XIV (Devolution, Dutch War, League of Augsburg, and Spanish Succession) also ate into the social and economic fabrics of Europe, requiring the treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt, also complex compromises. By 1739, however, the lessons had been forgotten again, and a new round — the wars of Jenkins' Ear, Austrian Succession, and Seven Years' — repeated the history of exhaustion and compromise. Yet all these wars and all these treaties contributed to the shift in philosophic emphasis from simple conquest to complex compromise, which was so manifest in the Congress of Vienna.

Appendix 5.3: Historical References to Negotiation, Cooperation, and Compromise on Religious Questions in Europe

During Stephen's reign (1135-54) in England, ecclesiastical courts had assumed jurisdiction which under Henry I had belonged to lay courts. In an effort to return to the former balance, Henry II issued the Constitutions of Clarendon of 1164, affirming royal rights over the church. While many historians believe he overshot his mark, and while these constitutions were a principal cause of the break between Henry II and Thomas Becket, nevertheless they contained one element of compromise. Disputes over whether land had been granted in church or lay jurisdiction would be decided by a jury.

The roles of priests were constantly under dispute. Gratian examined the arguments, pro and con, on whether priests should read profane literature. In compromise, he concluded that they might read it for instruction but they should not enjoy it. [66]

To heal the Great Schism of 1378-1417, the Western Church called on the conciliar theory of earlier writers such as Marsilius of Padua and William of Ockham, according to which a general council of the church has greater authority than the pope. The Council of Constance in 1414 dismissed one pope, received the resignation of another, and deposed a third, thus preparing the way for compromise reunification of the church under a single pope.

Elizabeth I's Religious Settlement of 1559 "preserved the traditional system of church government, based on bishops, and introduced a form of worship somewhere between Catholicism and full-blooded Protestantism." [67] Elizabeth feared that Catholicism might challenge her authority as it had the sovereigns of France and Holland. All English were required to attend Anglican services, but Catholics might avoid this by paying a one-shilling fine. Otherwise, they were left alone, and they might conduct mass privately. [68]

Although James I (r.1603-25) insisted on religious conformity with himself as head of the church, nevertheless he was relatively tolerant of other faiths. His "declared intention was to heal divisions and to avoid extremes, which was seen most clearly in his ecclesiastical policy. . . . For most of his reign, the church enjoyed an unaccustomed peace, as James held the balance between its disparate elements." [69]

In 1610, a coalition of England, France, and the Netherlands was poised to oust the Habsburg rulers of Julich-Cleves in Germany. The threatened opposition by the Catholic League would doubtless have meant war. But the death of Henry IV of France enabled his widow, Marie de Medici, to reverse his plan to invade Spanish Milan. Instead, she sought compromise and peace with Spain, and the war was avoided. [70]

The Netherlands became tolerant of religious diversity because "it was compelled to be tolerant, obliged to take all the men it needed, from wherever they came." [71] Only thus would such a small nation acquire a sufficient labor force with the skills to compete economically with the powers surrounding it.

Sweden's alliance with France in 1631, during the Thirty Years' War, required Protestant Gustavus Adolphus to agree that the Catholic religion would be protected wherever it was found in conquered territories. [72]

In the 1790s, the Irish used England's war with France as a lever to move toward civil and political rights for Catholics ("Catholic Emancipation"). Various concessions were made during the decade. A severe Irish rebellion in 1798, along with a French invasion, persuaded Pitt that the two kingdoms should unite. [73] The Irish agreed, on condition of full emancipation. Union was effected in 1801.


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