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from forgers, who were too skilful to fall into egregious mistakes, and yet not too skilful to be deceived in their calculations. *

27. When a singular date is found in a certain age and kingdom, the conclusion to be formed from it is, that it was allowed, but we must not infer that it was then in vogue.

28. Though the positive testimony of authors may prove that, in certain places, and at certain times, the year of the incarnation began in this or that manner,t we cannot always conclude that in those places and at those times, ecclesiastical and civil acts, would bear this date.

29. Dates, announcing the epochs of reigns evidently in contradiction to history, ought not to be rejected, and allowed to carry with them the instruments themselves into the same disgrace.

30. Dates, though unknown, if they do not formally contradict history and the unquestionable monuments of antiquity, ought to be received.

31. Variations in the regnal dates of princes in different diplomas, are not a sufficient reason to render them suspicious.

* See the citations of Bollandian and Mabillon, suprà.

+ The Merovingian Franks began the year at March ; the popes sometimes at Christmas, sometimes the first of January, and sometimes the twenty-fifth of March, commonly called the day of the Annunciation, and by us known as Lady-day. Under the Carlovingians two commencements of the year obtained; one at Christmas, and the other at the moveable feast of Easter, by which it happened that the same year, as 1358, contained two months of April, one entire, and more than two-thirds of the other. After 1564 the French commenced the year at January 1, but until 1572 we sometimes began at Christmas, sometimes March 25, and sometimes January 1. See Annunciatio, Annus ab Incarnatione, Kalendar, Years of Christ. The embarrassment, says M. Koch, which results in chronology, as well from the difference of styles as from the different commencements of the year, is evident. Nothing is easier than to mistake, and to seem to find contradiction where none exists; for those who employ these different styles, or commence the year diversely, give no intimation of their epoch, and all of them date from the year of the incarnation, without statiug whether they begin the year with the month of March, at Easter, or at Christmas.- Tableau des Revolutions de l'Europe, Tom. I., p. 37.



32. A false rule. Errors, in dates of original charters, appear and ever will appear a certain proof of falsification.

33. Charters are not always to be regarded with suspicion because their dates seem contradictory, and to be contrary to contemporaneous authors.


PARTICULAR RULES. 1. The dates of the day, the consulate, and the indictioii, appear in ecclesiastical acts of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries. *

2. After the sixth century, the Spanish and French bishops began to date by the regnal years of their princes.

3. The date of the incarnation, or the years of Christ, in some public acts of the eighth century, is not a sufficient reason to account them false, provided they are not anterior to the sixth century.

4. After the year 740, the date of the incarnation ought not to excite the slighest suspicion against acts of councils, even those of France.t

5. The affected multiplication of dates in charters, is no proof of imposture, nor ought disadvantageous suspicions to be formed of those compositions in which they are found, particularly from the ninth to the fourteenth century.

6. After the eighth century, dates of episcopacy, ordination, and pontificate, should awaken no suspicion of those acts in which they occur.

7. A diploma of the Merovingian monarchs would be false, if it contained the date of the consulate or the impe

rial year.

8. French kings of the first race very seldom dated their

In papal bulls, before the sixth century, the date of the day is expressed by kalends, nones, and ides; but, toward the end of that century, some bulls have the day of the month numbered from the first, instead of the kalends, nones, and ides, which, when used, appear to have been computed after the Roman manner. See Gloss., Art. Kalende.

Acts of Council only. There are many royal Saxon charters of the seventh century with these dates, as already observed. See Rule 11.



diplomas by the indiction, though that date was employed in their councils.

9. No royal diploma of the Merovingian race is dated with the year of the incarnation ; if that date appears, it must have been added by a posterior hand.

10. The formula, “feliciter," is frequently used at the end of dates, and in the subscriptions of royal diplomas anterior to the tenth century.

11. Dates of the indiction, and years of the incarnation, in diplomas of English kings of the seventh century, are by no means suspicious.

12. Diplomas of Charlemagne, dated by the indiction and years of the incarnation, before and after he became emperor, ought not to be rejected, if they are not reprehensible on other accounts.

13. Charlemagne and Otho I., soon after their elevation to the throne, computed their regnal years as if they had ended at this last epoch, so that the months which remained to be counted in their reigns in order to complete their years, are omiíted.

14. In the imperial and royal chanceries of Germany and France, particularly in the ninth century, the regnal years are sometimes counted by marking a new year at the commencement of each civil year, so that a prince who had reigned only a few months of one year, reckoned the second year of his reign after the first of January of the following year; and the same of other years.

15. The Roman indiction was followed, at least from the ninth to the fourteenth century, though this usage underwent many variations. The Constantinian indiction, employed in the same age, became most common in France and England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.*

16. The indiction, very rare in French diplomas previous to Charlemagne, was commonly employed by the Car

* See Giloss. Art. Era, tit. Correspondence of some epochs with the years of Christ.



lovingians and Capetans in the middle of the twelfth century.

17. Before the reign of Charles the Fat, which began in 876, the date by the year of the incarnation was rare in French diplomas; but before the reign of Hugh Capet it was frequent, without becoming the ordinary usage.

18. The formula, “ Regnante Christo,” was common in charters from the sixth to the twelfth centuries, but it was generally accompanied by other chronological indications.

19. Chronological errors are not sufficient to cause the rejection of diplomas and other writings in which they are found, unless the errors are intolerable.

20. Charters, of which the dates differ one or two years, from the vulgar era, particularly in the eleventh century, ought not to be suspected on that account.

21. An act dated in the year of grace, before the twelfth century, should be suspected.

22. A charter of the ninth or the following century, dated by the current year only, without the centuries or the millennary number, should not be rejected.*

23. From the eleventh century, at the latest, the custom of commencing the year at Easter existed, without occasioning the exclusion of other computations ; but it was not common in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

24. Dates in Arabian ciphers raise suspicion of those charters in which they are found before the sixteenth century.

25. From the seventh to the thirteenth century, there are innumerable title-deeds and charters, which, though devoid of all dates, are neither less authentic nor less valid.

26. Regal charters of the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, must not be suspected because they are dated from a place in which the king could not have been at that time. +

• See Gloss., Art. Century.
+ Innumerable instances of such dates occur throughout Rymer's Fædcra.



27. Decrees of judges [des baillis) and their deputies, dated from Paris, out of their jurisdiction, are exempt from suspicion.


In the consideration of English charters of whatever kind, the following circumstances may be noticed :

1. The formula, Teste Meipso, is peculiar to royal diplomas of this country, and was first introduced by Henry the Second, by whom it was frequently used.*

2. The words Hiis Testibus, in royal diplomas, are peculiar to that species designated as charters, and continued to be the ratifying formula until the 12th year of the reign of James the First, when charters were merged in letterspatent.

3. The royal style of charters and other acts, previous to the reign of Richard the First, was in the first person, ego; the plural number, nos, was introduced by this king.+

* Rotuli Literarum Clausarum, Introd., p. xviii, xix. A letter from Richard the First to his mother and the justiciaries of England, bears the date, “ Testibus nobis ipsis apud Hagenou xiü. cal. Maii, anno regni nostri quinto."-Rymer, Fædera, Tom. I. p. 726. A few months preceding the date of this letter, which corresponds with our 19 April, 1194, he writes in the incongruous style, “ Teste nobis metipsis prima die Octobris.”-Roger de Hoveden, p. 698. Rymer, p. 54 and p. 60. Our counts palatine sometimes used this formula: a charter of Ranulf de Blundeville, earl of Chester, is extant, with the words “ Teste meipso.”Harl. MSS., Codex 7386.

+ Speaking of two undated charters granted to the city of Chichester by king Henry, the parliamentary commissioners of municipal corporations say, “ It is not specified which Henry granted this and the following charter; we have assigned them both to Henry II., as the grantor uses the singular number 'I,' instead of “We,' which seems not to have been the practice in the reign of Henry III.”—Report, Part II., p. 715, s. iii. See also p. 843, s. iii. From a passage in Erasmus, quoted by Daines Barrington in his Observations on Ancient Statutes, or in a note, it would appear that king John was supposed by the learned foreigner to have introduced this style; and the same error is positively asserted by the anonymous anthor of the History of the High Court of Parliament in init., 8vo., Lond. 1731. He adds as the reason of the change in style; that the king by employing the plural number, wished to have it believed that his own act was the joint production of himself and his barons. M. Durand observes, that in all languages,

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