M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

The history of England : written in French (Volume 1) online

. (page 205 of 360)
Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 205 of 360)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Mjijtri t ^ je r c Afts, reftored to the fame ftate as before the incroach-
nta ore" ments of Richard, the Authors and Advifers of the Ufur-
cailrd tone- prions were called to an account. When King Richard
wa*Ju» . apprehended the Duke of Glccejler, and the Earls of
Cotton's' Warwick and Arundel, he was not inverted with that ab-
Abridg. folute power, fo liberally conferred upon him afterwards
by the Shrewsbury Parliament ; fo that he was forced to
proceed according to Law, in the condemnation of thefe
three Lords. To that end, he fo ordered it, that John
Holland Earl of Huntington, his Half- Brother Thomas Hol-
land Earl of Kent, his Nephew, Edward [ Plantogcnct ]
Earl of Albemarle, his Coulin, Son of the Duke of York,
John Beaufort Earl of Somerfct, Son of the Duke of
Lancajler by his third Wife, and the Lord Thomas Spencer,
were the Accufers of the three imprifoned Lords. The
Earl of Salisbury (3) and the Lord Morley (4), were re-
ported to be the chief contrivers of this Plot, After con-
demnation, Richard diftributed the Eftates of the three
Lords among the Accufers and Evidences. Moreover, he
made the Earl of Albemarle a Duke, and conferred the
Title of Duke of Exeter on the Earl of Huntington, of
Duke of Surrey on the Earl of Kent, of Duke of Somerfet
on the Earl of Somerfet, and of Earl of Glccejler on Tho-
mas Spencer.
Waiting- As it was publickly known, that the three Lords were

iinjuftly oppreffed by the late King, the Parliament
thought it neceffary to puniih the Authors and Inftru-
ments of this violence. For that purpofe, after reverling
the fentence againft the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, as
direftly contrary to the pardon that was granted them, it
was refolved, that the Accufers fhould be deprived both of
their new Titles, and the Eftates diftributed among
them (;). As to their own Lands, it was left to the
King, either to continue them in poffeffion, or turn them
out as he pleafed. Henry, willing to mow his clemency
in the beginning of his Reign, not only left them their
Eftates , but likewife reftored them to their Honours.
Moreover, he made the Duke of Exeter his Brother-in-
law (6) Governor of Calais. The Earl of Salisbury and
the Lord Morley, Richard's detefted Minifters, and princi-
pal Authors of the violence praftifed upon the Duke of
Glccejler, and the other two Lords, were releafed after a
fhort imprifonment, though the People loudly called for
their death. As the Friends of thefe Lords alledged in
their excufe, that Richard compelled them to aft, the
Parliament took occahon to pafs an Aft, declaring, That
for the future, compulfion fhould be no legal excufe to
juftify aftions contrary to Law.
General This affair being over, the Parliament prevailed with

Pardon. the King to grant a general Pardon, in which however
Were excepted, the Duke of Glocc/ler's Murderers. One
of the Villains (7) being apprehended and convifted, was
hanged at London, and his head fent to Calais, to be fixt
on one of the Gates.
Ibc Suaif. Though the injuftice done to the Earl of March was
jimjcttttdcn manifeft, it might in fome meafure be coloured, with
Lmate^ tne P retence °f rewarding Henry for the fignal fervice
walling. ' he had done the State. If this reward had been limited
Cotton's to his Perfon, perhaps it would not have feemed very
ftrange, that in fo extraordinary a cafe the Laws fhould
be fuperfeded in favour of a Prince, who had fo freely
expofed himfelf for the Publick. But at fuch Junftures,
it is very difficult to keep within the bounds of Equity.
The Parliament, not content with adjudging to Henry the
Crown taken from Richard, would moreover fecure it
to his Pofterity. To that end, an Aft was parted, fct-



Abridg.



tling the Succefiion on the Houfe of Lancafier ; firft on 1399.
the Perfon of the Prince of Wales, the King's eldeft
Son and his Heirs, then on his three Brothers and their
Iflue.

A very important affair ftill remained , concerning Tkc King
which the King was defirous to have the advice of the £j*« '**
Parliament before they broke up. The Commons, not „&,,/"„,
fatisfied with the bare depofing of Richard, after a very be Him <wub
irregular manner, would have had him tried in form, Richard,
and petitioned the King for that purpofe (8). It was Abrid~.
therefore to know how Richard was to be difpofed of,
that the King wanted the advice of the two Houfes.
The Archbifhop of Canterbury, who was charged with
his Orders, having cxafted an Oath of Secrecy from all
the Members, made the firft motion. It may well be
thought, that Richard had not many Friends in the Houfe,
and if any disapproved of the Proceedings againft him,
they were too much awed to venture to fpeak in his behalf.
There was one however bold enough, to f:iy publickly, what
others only thought, namely, Thomas Merks Bifhop of
Carli/lc, who, without regarding the motives which might
induce him, as well as the reft of Richard's Friends, to
keep filence, made a long Speech, wherein he alledged
every thing that could with any plaufiblenefs be faid
for the King depofed , and againft the King on the
Throne.

The Bifhop undertook to prove three things. " Firft, the Eilhep
" That there was no Authority which could lawfully £ j 1 -
" depofe a King of England. Secondly, That the of- Defence of
" fences Richard was accufed of deferved not Deport- Richard,
" tion, and befides were not proved. Thirdly, That
" the Crown was unjuftly adjudged to the Duke of Lan-
" cajler.

" He enlarged very much on the firft, fhowing the
" great difference between the feveral kinds of Go-
" vernment etiablifhed in the World. He confefled that
" in fome, the Prince or Head might be depofed, be-
" caufe the fupreme authority was not folely lodged in
" his Perfon, but the People, or Nobles, h;d a fhare. Of
" this fort he reckoned the Republicks, the antient Go-
" vernment of Rome, the Empire of Germany, the King-
" doms of Sweneland and Denmark, the Earldom of
" Flanders, and fome other States. But he maintained,
" it was otherwife in the Governments where the fu-
" preme authority refides in the fingle Perfon of the
" Sovereign. In this clafs he ranked the Kingdom' of
" Ifrael, among the Antients, with the three firft Em-
" pires ; and among the Moderns , England, France,
" Spain, Scotland, Mufcovy, Turkey, Perfia, and in ge-
" neral all the Kingdoms of Afia and Africa. With re-
" gard to thefe he alledged, that though the vices of a
" Sovereign fhould be not only detrimental, but even
" intolerable to his Subjects, he could not be lawfully
" depofed by any means whatever : That force could
" not be ufed, without incurring the Crime of Rebelli-
" on and Treafon ; and much lefs authority, fince there
" was not in the State any lawful authority but what
" was derived from him. He produced Arguments and
" Precedents from the Holy Scriptures and profane Au-
" thors, which cannot be repeated without being exceflively
" tedious".

Upon the fecond Article, he boldly afferted, " That
" the Crimes for which Richard was depofed, were ei-
" ther falfe'or aggravated : That indeed, he might be guil-
" ty of fome errors or overfights, but his faults could
" not be ftiled Tyranny : That if his Failings afforded
" juft caufe to depofe him, how many Sovereigns would
" daily be treated as Tyrants, and depofed by their Sub-
" jefts ? Every Tax, execution of Rebels, in a word,
" whatever was not relifhed by the People, would furnifh
" a pretence to dethrone the moft lawful Prince ". He
pafled over the more nightly the proofs of this fecond
Head, as the Parliament it felf feemed to queftion the
truth of the Crimes alledged againft Richard, fince there
was no ftep taken to prove them in a legal manner. By
the way, it is very likely that for fear of this reproach,
the Commons wanted to proceed in form againft the
depofed King.

Upon the third Article the Bifhop maintained, " That
" even fuppofing Richard guilty ; and granting the Na-



(1) Sec above, p. 469. Note (6).

(i, In the 15th of Edward 111. The Offences declared to be Treafon by that Statute are thefe : " Comparting or imagining the Death of the King,
" the Queen, or of their eldeft Son af J Heir : Violating the King's Companion, cr the King's eldeft Daughter unmarried, or the Wife of the King's
" eldeft Son and Heir: Leiying War againft the King in his Realm, or being an Adherent to the King's Enemies in his Re.ilm, giving them Aid or
••• Comfort in the Realm, or rl lev. here : Cnnterfeiting the King's Great, or Privy-Seal, or his Money, or bringing counterfeit Money into the Kingdom :

" Killing the Chancellor, Tieafurer, or any of the King's Juftices, in their Places, and in the Execution of their Office. Petit. Irtajor., h,

■when a Servant killcth his Miller, or a Wife her Husband, or when a Man fecular or religious liayeih his Prelate." StatiUtl at large, 25. Ed-w. 3.
(3) John di Montacute. (4) -Jboir.as Lord Marly.

(5) With this condition, That they fhould not be obliged to refund the Rents of the Linds, for the time they had jolVcfJed them. Waljing. p. 361

(6) Jcbn Hc'JjTid who had married his Sifter Eiiz.abtib, fecond Daughter of Jobr. of Gaunt, by Blanch J' .Jr.-.n. Dugdiitt Baron, Vol. II.
J. 78.

(7) Jobn Nail. He was executed November 28. Cotton 1 Abrtdj. p. 400, 401.

(S) Hothngjkead ! ys, the Commons Addrefs was to this purpol'c i~*That jinct Kiig Richard bad rtjigntd, and was lawfully dtpofid frim bit JtyafJPtg-
mty, Lc mijrbt lave 'Judgment decreed againfl h\m 9 p. 512.

" tion



Book XI.



r 3-



HENRY IV.



4S7



'399>



Tie Bifoip

trnphfoned.



Godwin m
Epif. Carl.



Extraordi-
nary Set.
'tree p^rtd
upm Ri.
chard.



" tion had Authority to depofe him, there wa? not the
" leaft colour of Jufiice to give the Crown to the Duke
" of Lancajier. That if the Duke was the true Heir of
" Richard, as he pretended, he muft wait his death be-
" fore he could inherit. But it was known to all then,
" there was a nearer Heir, whole Father was declared
" Succeffor of Richard by Ait of Parliament. " As for
Henry's pretended right from Edmund Crouch-back Son
of Henry III, the Bifhop difdained to conflder if, affirm-
ing, " he was very certain, that People of fenfe were
" afhamed of a Right, built upon fo {lender a Founda-
" tion. "

After this the Orator proceeded to examine the other
two Titles contained in the King's Proclamation, namely,
Conqueft, and Richard's Resignation. To the firft he
faid. " That a Subject could never pretend to a Right of
" Conquelt againft his Sovereign, fince the Victory it felf
" was high and heinous Treafon. " As for the refigna-
tion, he faid, " it was not only extorted by Force, but
" fuppoling it voluntary, could be of no Validity : That
" in Richard's fituation, it was not in his power to make
" a valid Act : That befides, fince by the Laws of the
" Land the King could not alienate the Crown Jewels,
" much lefs furely could he give away the Crown it
*' felf (1). " Then he fpoke of the general confent of
the People, though Henry had not thought proper to infift
upon it ; " That the Kingdom of England having ne-
" ver been Elective, it was ridiculous to afcribe to the
" People the power of difpofing of the Crown. " Laft-
ly, he replied to the objection, which might be alledged
from the depofing of Ediuard II, " That wife Men
" muft be guided by Law, and not by Examples and
*' Precedents. That however the depofing of Edivard II,
" was no more to be urged, than the poifoning of King
" 'John, or the murder of any other Prince : But even
" in the depofing of Edward II, care was taken to pre-
" ferve the Rights of the lawful Succeflbr. "

What the Bifhop had hitherto faid, might pafs for rea-
fons, to queftion whether Richard II could be lawfully de-
pofed. At molt, it might be conlidered as the private
opinion of the Speaker. But towards the conclusion of
his Speech, he launched out ftrangely againft Henry, and
expreiTed a paffion very injurious to the reafons he had
alledged. He faid, " it was to be feared the People of
" England would foon find themfelves in the cafe of
" /Efop's Frogs ; boldly adding, as long as Richard was
" alive, the Englifl) could not with Juftice own any other
" Sovereign. In fine, he maintained, that the Perfon
*' whom they called King, had committed much more
" heinous crimes, than thofe for which Richard was de-
" pofed : That he had, after his Banifhment, entered the
" Kingdom, contrary to his Oath, and without being le-
" gaily recalled : That, not content with diftutbing the
" quiet of the Land, by an unjuft and impious Infurrec-
" tion againft his Sovereign, he had moreover difpofleffed
" him : That he had alio demanded Judgment againft
" him, without offering to prove his accufation, or per-
" mitting the Party accufed to make his defence, con-
" trary to the exprefs Laws of the Realm. " He conclu-
" ded with faying, " That if the wrong done Richard
" was not capable of moving the Hearts of the Englijh,
" at leaft their common and manifelt danger ought to ftop
" the courfe of thefe violent proceedings. "

This Speech produced not the effect the Speaker ex-
pected. It was fo unfeafonable, that, fuppofing the Ma-
jority had been of his mind, it was impoffible to recede
from what had been done. But moft of the Members
perfilted in the fame Maxims they had followed when
Richard was depofed. Accordingly, the Bifhop reap-
ed no other fruit from his Harangue, than to be con-
fined in the Abbey of St. Albans, from whence how-
ever he was fhortly after rcleafed without farther punifh-
ment (2).

The Bifhop of Carlijle's opinion being unanimoufly re-
jected, the Parliament came, with regard to Richard,
to a refolution, feemingly fo extraordinary, that there is
fome reafon to fufpect, that Hiftory is defective in this
place. However all the Hiftorians agree, that it was re-
iblved, Richard fhould be kept in confinement during Life,
with a princely allowance : But in cafe any Perfon fhould
attempt his deliverance, Richard fhould be the firft Man
that fhould fuffer death. If this be true, it cannot be
denied that he was really condemned to die, fince his
Life was only granted him, on a condition not in his



Power. Befides, fucli a condition cannot be annexed fo -1399.
the Sentence of a Criminal, but on fuppoation that he is
already condemned.

It is not my bufinefs to determine, how far the auth'o- W.i.r.
rity of the Parliament may be extended, with icfpcct to "'' •*""""'
the King's Perfon. I fhall only obferve, that tilts is the
fecond inilance of the depofing of a King of England,
without hearing his defence, or fo much as phferving the
ufufll Formalities prefcribed by the Law, in the Trial of
the meaneft Subject. The Parliament which depofed Ed-
ward 11, was fatisfied nub decreeing, that he fhould be
kept in fafe Cuftody during Life. But this Parliament, to
Richard's depofing, add-, die fentence of Death : For no
otherwise can the condition be conlidered, Upon which his
Life is granted. Let us farther remark, that one of the
chief Articles of accufation againft this Prince, was bin
putting to death the Duke of GlcccJIer his Uncle, with-
out a previous Trial. And yet this fame Parliament con-
demns him unheard, upon his bare ConfeiTion, when a
Prifoner ; not, that he is guilt v of the particular crime
laid to his charge, but that he is in his own opinion un-
worthy to wear the Crown. Thcv are not content with
(tripping him of his Royalty, but order him to be impri-
foned for Life. What do I fay ? They really condemn
him to die, fince in feeming fo grant him his Life, they
add a condition, which probably muft foon make him lofri
it. If in perufing the Reign of Richard II, one can"t
help detcfting the Principles of the Shrewsbury Parliament,
which tended to fubject the Lives, Honour:;, and For-
tunes of the Nation to the King's Will, what ought we
to think of this ? By a contrary e.vcefs, they put the Life
and Honour cf the King Jiimfelf in the power of his Sub-
jects, and rcfufe th? .Sovereign a privilege, which e\'cry
Englijh Subject has a juft Right to demand. The exam-
ples thefe two Parliaments afford, are a clear evidence,
that the Englijh Conltitution ccn never pretend to that ■
degree of perfection, boafted by fome, till the bounds to be
prefcribed to the Prerogative Royal, and the privileges of
Parliament, are prccifely determined.

Whillt the two Houfes acted in common, and with c- t;,'}- ■■
qual ardour, for the iniereit of the Prince they had placed <dT« r " '".-
on the Throne, the Convocation was fitting in St. Pai>!'*. , j/fyijai
As the King rightly judged, that, in order to fupport him- <•..
felt in the Throne, it was abfolutely ncceflary to make
the Clergy his Friends, he fent the Earls of Northumber-
land and JVejlmoreland, to aftiire them of his protection.
The Earls being admitted into the Allemblv, faid, they
were come from the King, not to demand Money, as
was cuftomary in the late Reign, but to acquaint the
Clergy of the King's refolution to maintain their Pri-
vileges and Immunities. Adding, they had Orders fo af» He prmifa
fure the Convocation, that the King was ready to con- t0 ' x " r P a "
cur with them, in whatever means fhould be judged pro-
per to extirpate Herefy, and punifh obllinate Hereticks.
They concluded, - with defirinrr. the Clergy's Prayers for
th» welfare of the King and Kingdom. Nothing was more
apt to gain the Hearts of the Ecclefiafticks, than the
King's promife with regard to Hei efy. The number of
the Lollards, which daily increafed, gave the Clergy juft
occafion to fear, that in the end a Reformation might be
fet on foot, which could not be but very detrimental to
their temporal Jntercfts. Accordingly, the affurances the
King gave the Convocation, were received with great
Demonftrations of Joy and Thankfulnefs.

Some days after, the Parliament having finifhed the 7te Parlim
principal affairs to the King's fatisfiction, and, in appear- mean dij.
ance, with the approbation of the whole Kingdom, was.'-'"" / -
difiblved according to Cuftom. Prorogations were not
then fo frequent as fince (3).

During the whole Seffion, Henry had little attended to ^^^j.,,
foreign affairs. Thofe at home fcemed to him of much. 1.- .' ,.' -
greater moment, fince the bufinefs was to fettle a Revo- ' r *. c ="■•'*
lut'on that procured him the Crown. As fcon as he found a inc "
himfclf free from thefe firft concerns, he thorsht of
means to juftify to the other Sovereigns, the late altera-
tions in England. The depofing of a King being odious
in it felf, and feeming to affect all Princes, it was not
eafy to perfwade them, that a Nation had furfrcicnt reafon
to ufe (o violent a remedy, to free themfelves from Tyran-
ny. Upon this account, Henry difpatched Amballadors to
all the principal Courts of Eurofe (4), to endeavour to g ;, e
a plauhble colour to Richard's depofiticn, and his own
promotion. He was chiefly concerned to pacify the Court
of Fiance, as the only one whofe refentment was dange-



(1) If a King is ftibiecl to the Law, with regard to the Alienation of the Crown Jewels, why not in other refpects ? Rapm.

(2) He was depriv.d uf his Bilhuprick, and had the titular See o: Samis conferred on him by the Pope, Walling, p. 36+. There is
Reditution of the Temporalities of the See of Carh;le, to William Styrktand, or Strickland, his Succeilbr, dated November 15, tais Yea
trier's Ford. Tom. S. p. 106.

(3) Tuis Parliament granted the King for three Years the Subfidy of Wools, Slcins, and Wool. fells, viz. fifty Shillings for every Sack
and tcnrfomids from -Hangers, one Tenth, and on: Fifteenth. Cottm'i Abud'. p. 390. - -.In this Parliament King Ufry restored the
that had bceo leized by Edivard 1. 1. ( See above, p. 437. I Rymer's Fad. Tom. 8. p. lot, Sez.

(4) To the Pope he fe.it John Treveaant Bilhop of 'tirr:ford, Sir 7^1 Cbtjne, and John Cbcyn; Efq; To the Kinjs in 5. - :-, Jet*
St. Aj'pb, and Sir It tlliam farr. To the Emperor of (Jirmany, the Cilhop of Ba-^or, &c. Walfing. p. 362.



a Writ for the
1399. See Ry.

from Denirens,
Ahtn P Mr If 1,

Trir.zr Bifl-.op of



4*8



The HISTORY of ENGLAND.



Vol. I.



F i 399-. rous (1). He was not ignorant, that CharlesVl had form-
roiflart, e J a defign to revenge the injury done his Son-in-Law,

• 4- «• S 6, an j tna t his dirtemper, into which he was relapfed upon
hearing the news, hid hindered him from inftantly break-
ing the twenty eight years Truce, made with England.

Pnprfah tt Henry chofe, for Ambafladors, the Bifhop of Durham

1 •beCmrtof j j. J £ Jl'arcciler (2), who had Inftructions, to pro-

irance. -' j' * if l

Aft. i'ub. pofe a perpetual League and Alliance between the two
via p.:«8, Crowns. Moreover, he ordered them to make overtures
for a double Marriage. The firft, which lie had project-
ed, was between Henry his tldeft Son, and a Daughter of
the French King, or one of his Uncles : The fecond, be-
tween his own Daughter and one of the fame King's Sons,
Tbt AmiaJ- or neareft Relations. The AmbalTadors met with a cold
coidi' r" reception in France ; but, as they had Orders not to ob-
ctived. ftruct their Negotiation, by ftanding on Ceremony, they

patiently waited till the French were grown cooler.
DifpoHtion As for the other Courts of Europe, Henry had no occa-
ef the other fion to proceed fo cautioufly. The Emperor JVenceJlaus,
Courti. wn0 was fli]i a j; VCj was z Prince grown ftupid with
drinking, and withal, like the reft of the German Princes,
regardlefs of what parted in England. As for the Kings
of Cajlile and Portugal, they were rather gainers than
lofers by a Revolution, that advanced their Brother-in-
law to the Throne. So, they readily approved, or at
lcaft feemed to approve it.
The Gafcons But another affair of more importance created the new
read} n n. }£j n g great unealinefs. Guienne was going to revolt. Al-
Froiffart, ready the Gafcons publickly talked, of putting themfelves
1. 4. c. 56. under the Dominion of France. It was the City of
vfi'i b.mo Bourdeaux, Richard's Birth-place, that ftirred up the
&c. ' whole Province, prompted by her affection for that un-

happy Prince, whofe misfortune fhe lamented. On the
other hand, the Court of France, watchful to irmrove
thefe difpofitions, had fent the Duke of Bourbm into Gui-
enne, to inflame thefe difcontents. The famous Robert
Knollcs Governour of that Province, who was no lefs com-
mendable for his Prudence than Valour, could hardly curb
T'"^"'' the rebellious Spirit of the Gafcons. Nay perhaps he would
never have accompli filed it, had he not been timely af-
fifted by the Earl of IVorceJler (3), who being in Embaf-
Tbey ar, fy at p a ris, fpeedily ported to Bourdeaux. The moderati-
sfptjjt . ^^ ^^j prudent conduct of thefe two Lords, effected what
could fcarce have been executed by Force, and at length
they had the fatisfaction of feeing the commotions appeafed.
Iht Scots Henry had moreover upon his hands another affair,

'«*'Werk- w hich gave him no lefs difturbance. As he was fenfible,
Willing. triat am 'dft a " tne Acclamations he was flattered with,
it could not be, but that the late Revolution had bred ma-
ny Male-contents, it was his intereft to keep Peace with
his Neighbours. Accordingly this was his purpofe, leaft
a foreign War employing his Forces abroad, he fhould be
unprovided, in cafe of any fudden Infurrerftion. Befides,
a War would have obliged him to demand Supplies of the
Parliament, which he was willing to avoid, till his Domi-
nion was more firmly eftablifhed. Thefe confederations
made him extremely uneafy, to hear that the Scots had
broke the Truce, and taken U'erk Caftle (4). He thought
beft, however, to take no notice of this infult, till it was
more in his power to revenge it. But leaft this diffimu-
lation fhould incourage the King of Scotland, he fent Am-
Embaffes to baffadors to demand fatisfadtion for this outrage. How-
Scotland, ever, as the Scots complained likewife, on their fide, of
Vlll n 11-. fame breach on the part of the Englifh, he made ufe of
that pretence to demand a Confirmation of the Truce, by
a mutual reparation of the damages the two Nations had
done each other. When Robert broke the Truce, he
imagined France would take his part, and that the depo-
fing of Richard would raife Commotions in England,
A Negaia- which he defigned to improve. But finding Fiance re-
'"*' mained quiet, and England undiftuibed, he did not think

fit to pufli his enterprize further. So, without much
Solicitation, he agreed to put his affairs with Henry in
Negotiation.
Hemy tria Things being thus in a fair way abroad, Henry chiefly



Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 205 of 360)