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CONSTITUTIONAL HISTOEY
OF ENGLAND



STUBBS



VOL. III.



Hontron



MACMILLAN AND CO.




PUBLISHERS TO TEE UNIVERSITY OP

Oxfortr



Clarcnbon |puss Btxm

THE CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY
OF ENGLAND

IN ITS ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT



BY



WILLIAM STUBBS, M.A.

Regius Professor oj Modem History



VOL. Ill



AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
M DCCC Lxxvni

[All rights reservedl



J/

6'-



V- i



C N T E N T S.



CHAPTER XVIII.

LANCASTER AND YORK.

622. Character of the period, p. 2. 623. Plan of the Chapter, p. 5.
624. The Revokition of 1399, p. 6. 625. Formal recognition of the new
Dynasty, p. 9. 626. Parliament of 1399, p. 15. 627. Conspiracy of the
Earls, p. 25. 628. Beginning of difficulties, p. 26. 629. Parliament
of 1401, p. 28. 630. Financial and political difficulties, p. 34. 631.
Parhament of 1402, p. 36. 632. Rebellion of Hotspur, p. 38. 633. Par-
liament of 1404, p. 41. 634. The unlearned Parliament, p. 46. 635.
RebeUion of Northumberland, p. 48. 636. The long Parliament of 1406,
p. 52. 637. Parties formed at Court, p. 57. 638. Parliament at
Gloucester, 1407, p. 60. 639. Arundel's administration, p. 62. 640.
Parliament of 1410, p. 63. 641. Administration of Thomas Beaufort,
p. 65. 642. Parliament of 141 1, p. 67. 643. Death of Henry IV,
p. 70. 644. Character of Henry V, p. 72. 645. Change of ministers,
p. 76. 646. Parliament of 1413, p. 78. 647. Sir John Oldcastle, p. 78.
648. Parliaments of 1414, p. 81. 649. War with France, p. 86. 650.
The remaining Parliaments of the reign, p. 86. 651. The King's last
expedition and death, p. 91. 652. Bedford and Gloucester, p. 94.
653. Arrangement for the minority of Henry VI, p. 96. 654. Impolitic
conduct of Gloucester, p. 98. 655. Quarrel with Bishop Beaufort,
p. 101. 656. Visit of Bedford, p. 102. 657. Gloucester's attempt to
govern, p. 106. 658. Renewed attack on the Cardinal, p. 110. 659.
Henry's visit to France and change of ministers, p. 112. 660. Continu-
ation of the quarrel, p. 114. 661. Bedford's second visit, p. 116. 662.
State of the government after Bedford's death, p. 121. 663. Approach-
ing end of the war, p. 125. 664. Character of Henry VI, p. 128.
665. The king's marriage, p. 131. 666. Death of Gloucester and
Beaufort, p. 135. 667. Administration of Suffolk, p. 140. 668. Fall
of Suffolk, p. 144. 669. Cade's rebellion, p. 150. 670. Struggle of
Somerset and York, p. 153. 671. First rising of the Yorkists, p. 160.
672. First regency of the Duke of York, p. 163. 673. Results of the
battle of St. Albaa|uD^^r0^^6^^Secpnd regency of York, p. 172.




vi Contents.

675. Sole rule of Henry and Margaret, p. 174. 676. The war of
Lancaster and York, p. 177- 677. The claim of York to the crown,
p. 184. 678. Accession of Edward IV, p. 188. 679. Edward's first
Parliaments, p. 194. 680, The close of the struggle, p. 198. 681. The
struggle of the Nevilles, p. 200, 682. Edward's supremacy, p. 212.
683. Eeign of Edward V, p. 220. 684. Eichard III, p. 225. 685. Fall
of Richard, p. 232. 686. The claim of the house of Lancaster to the
name of Constitutional Rulers, p. 233. 687. Parliamentary theory under
Lancaster, p. 237. 688. Fortescue's scheme of government, p. 240.
689. Practical illustration of constitutional working, p. 246. 690. The
council, p. 247. 691. The elections to the House of Commons, p. 256.
692. Freedom of debate in the House of Commons, p. 259, 693. Money
grants, p. 263. 694. Interference with the Royal household, p. 264.
695. Want of governance, p. 268, 696. Case for and against the
House of York as rulers, p. 273.



CHAPTEK XIX.

THE CLERGY, THE KING, AND THE POPE,

697. Problem of Church and State, p. 287. 698. Plan of the chapter,
p. 290. 699. The clerical estate or spiritualty, p. 290, 700. Relations
between the Pope and the Crown, p. 291. 701. Appointment op
Bishops, p. 295. 702. The pall, p. 296. 703. Legations, p. 298.
704. Papal interference in election of bishops, p. 302. 705.
Elections in the thirteenth century, p, 305, 706. The pope's claim
to confer the temporalities, p. 307. 707. Papal provisions, p. 310.
708. Legislation on provisions, p. 314. 709. The compromise on
elections, p. 316. 710. Elections to abbacies, p. 318, 7H. The ecclesi-
astical assemblies, p. 319. 712. Ecclesiastical Legislation; for the
clergy by the clergy, p. 322. 713. By the clergy for the laity, p. 325.
714. By parliament for the clergy, p. 326. 715. Statute of provisors,
p. 327. 716. Statute of praemunire, p. 330. 717. Legislation in parlia-
ment for the national church, p. 332. 718. Ecclesiastical Taxation ;
by the pope, p. 335. 719, Taxation by convocation, p. 337, 720.
Attempt in Parliament to tax the clergy, p. 340, 721, Of the clergy to
tax the laity, p. 340, 722, Ecclesiastical Judicature ; of the king's
courts over the clergy, p. 341. 723, Of the court Christian ; in temporal
matters, p. 344. 724. In disciplinary cases, p. 346. 725. Over ecclesi-
astics, p. 347. 726. Appeals to Rome, p. 348. 727, Legislation against
heresy, p. 353. 728. Social importance of the clergy, p. 365. 729.
Intellectual and moral influence of the clergy, p. 370.



Contents. vii

CHAPTER XX.

PAELIAMENTAKY ANTIQUITIES.

730. Parliamentary usages, definite or obscure, p. 375. 731. Plan of the
chapter, p. 377. 732. Choice of the clay for Parliament, p. 377. 733.
Annual Parliaments, p. 380. 734. Length of notice before holding
parliament, p. 381. 735. Choice of the place of session, p. 382. 736.
The palace of Westminster, p. 383. 737. Parliaments out of London,
p. 386. 738. Share of the council in calling a parliament, p. 388.
739. Issue and form of writs, p. 389. 740. Writs of summons to the
Lords, p. 391. 741. Writs of the justices, p. 395. 742. Writs to the
Sheriffs for elections, p. 396. 743. County elections, p. 403. 744.
R«tura on indenture, p. 407. 745. Borough elections, p. 413. 746.
Contested and disputed elections, p. 421. 747. Manucaption and
expenses, p. 425. 748. Meeting of parliament and opening of the
session, p. 426. 749. Separation of the houses, p. 430. 750. House of
Lords, p. 431. 751. Ranks of the peerage, p. 433. 752. Number of
lords temporal, p. 442. 753. Number of lords spiritual, p. 443. 754.
Justices in the House of Lords, p. 445. 755. Clerical proctors, p. 446.
756. Numbers and distribution of seats in the House of Commons,
p. 447. 757. Clerks, p. 451. 758. The Speaker of the Commons,
p. 452. 759. Business laid before the houses by the king, p. 456.
760. Supply and account, p. 457. 761. Form of the grant, p. 458.
672. Proceeding in legislation, p. 459. 763. The Common petitions,
p. 461. 764. Form of statutes, p. 464. 765. Details of procedure,
p. 466. 766. Sir Thomas Smith's description of a session, p. 467.
767. Judicial power of the lords, p. 476. 768. Prorogation, p. 480.
769. Dissolution, p. 482. 770. Writ of expenses, p. 483. 771. Dis-
tinctions of right and privilege, p. 485. 772. Proxies of the Lords,
p. 487. 773. Right of protest, p. 489. 774. Freedom of debate, p. 489.
775. Freedom from arrest, p. 494. 776. Privileges of peerage, p. 497.



CHAPTER XXI.

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL INFLUENCES AT? THE CLOSE OF THE
MIDDLE AGES.

777. Plan of the chapter, p. 500. 778. Variations of the political balance
throughout English History, p. 502. 779. The Kings : popular regard
for the Plantagenets, p. 506. 780. Growth of loyalty, p. 508. 781.
Doctrine of legitimism, p. 510. 782. M iterial and legal securities,



viii Contents.

p. 510. 783. Extent of tbe royal estates, p. 511. 784. Religious duty
of obedience, p. 512. 785. Fealty, homage, and allegiance, p. 514.
786. Law of treason, p. 516. 787. The Clergy, p. 520. 788. Weak-
ness of their spiritual position, p. 523. 789. Weakness of their temporal
position, p. 524. 790. The Baronage : their wealth and extent of
property, p. 525. 791. Their teiTitorial distribution, p. 527. 792. Class
distinctions, p. 530. 793. Livery and maintenance, p. 531. 794.
Heraldic distinctions, p. 533. 795. Fortified houses and parks, p. 536.
796. Great households, p. 538. 797. Service by indenture, p. 539.
798. Good and evil results of baronial leadership, p. 542. 799. Baronial
position of the bishops, p. 542. 800. The Knights and Squires, p. 544.
801. Their relation to the barons, p. 548. 802. Independent attitude of
the knights in parliament, p. 549. 803. The Yeomankt, p. 551. 804.
Expenditure of the squire and tenant farmer, p. 554. 805. The valetti
in parliament, p. 555. 806. The yeomen electors, p. 556. 807. The
Boroughs, p. 558. 808. The merchant guild and its developments,
p. 660. 809. Constitution of London, p. 567. 810. Importance and
growth of companies, p. 572. 811. Other municipalities, p. 577. 812.
Politics in the boroughs, and of their representatives, p. 588. 813. Poli-
tical capabilities of country and town, merchant, tradesman, and artificer,
p. 592. 814. The life of the burgher, p. 594. 815. Connexion with the
country and with other classes, p. 596. 816. Artisans and labourers,
p. 598, 817. The poor, p. 599. 818. The villeins, p. 603. 819. The
chance of rising in the world. Education, p. 606. 820. Class anta-
gonisms, p. 610. 821. Concluding reflexions. National character, p. 612.
822. Transition, p. 614. 823. Some lessons of history, p. 617.



CHAPTER XVIII.



LANCASTER AND YOUK.

2. Character of the period.— 623. Plan of the Chapter.— 624. The
Revolution of 1399. — ^■^^- I'ormal recognition of the new Dynasty.^
626. Parliament of 1399.— 627. Conspiracy of the Earls.— 628. Be-
ginning of difficulties. — 629. Parliament of 1 40 1. — 630. Financial and
political difficulties. — 631. Parliament of 1402. — 632. Rebellion of
Hotspur. — 633. Parliament of 1404. — 634. The unlearned Parlia-
ment. — 635. Rebellion of Northumberland. — 636. The long Parliament
of 1406. — 637. Parties formed at court. — 638. Parliament at Glou-
cester, 1407. — 639. Arundel's administration. — 640. Parliament of
1410. — 641. Administration of Thomas Beaufort. — 642. Parliament
of 1411.— G43. Death of Henry IV.— 644. Character of Henry V. —
645. Change of ministers. — 646. Parliament of 141 3. — 647. Sir John
Oldcastle. — 648. Parliaments of 1414. — 649. War with France. —
650. The remaining Parliaments of the reign. — 651. The King's last
expedition and death. — 652. Bedford and Gloucester. — 653. Arrange-
ment for the minority of Henry VI. — 654. Impolitic conduct of
Gloucester. — 655. Quarrel with Bishop Beaufort. — 656. Visit of
Bedford. — 657. Gloucester's attempt to govern. — 658. Renewed at-
tack on the Cardinal. — 659. Henry's visit to France and change of
ministers. — 660. Continuation of the quarrel. — 661. Bedford's second
visit. — 662. State of the govermuent after Bedford's death. — 663.
Approaching etid of the war. — 664. Character of Henry VI. — 665.
The king's marriage. — 666. Death of Gloucester and Beaufort. — 667.
Administration of Suffolk.— 668. Fall of Suffolk.— 669. Cade's re-
bellion. — 670. Struggle of Somerset and York. — 671. First rising of
the Yorkists. — 672. First regency of the Duke of York. — 673. Results
of the battle of S. Alban's. — 674. Second regency of York. — 675.
Sole rule of Henry and Margaret. — 676. The war of Lancaster and
York. — 677. The claim of York to the crown. — 678. Accession of
Edward IV. — 679. Edward's first Parhaments. — 680. The close of
the struggle.— 681. The struggle of the Nevilles.— 682. Edward's
supremacy.— 683. Reign, of Edward V. — 684. Richard III. — 685.
Fall of Richard. — 086. The claim of the house of Lancaster to the
VOL. UI. B



Constilutional History. [chap.

name of Constitutional Rulers. — 687- Parliamentary theory under
Lancaster. — 688. Fortescue's scheme of government. — 689. Practical
illustration of constitutional working. — 690. The coimcil. — 691. Elec-
tin3 to. the House of Commons. — 692. Freedom of debate in the
'/ Houte oi Commons. — 693. Money grants. — 694. Interference with the
, . Royal Household. — 695. Want of governance. — 696. Case for and
atrainst .wie House of York as rulers.



The fifteenth 622. If tlie onlv obiect of Constitutional History were tlie

century not ... . . -r. •

a period of investigation of the origin and powers of Parliament, the study

constitu- ° . . ® ^ ...

tionai de- of the subject might be suspended at the deposition of Richard II,
to be resumed under the Tudors. During a great portion of the
intervening period the history of England contains little else
than the details of foreign wars and domestic stniggles, in Avhich
parliamentary institutions play no prominent part ; and, upon
a superficial view, their continued existence may seem to be a
result of their insignificance among the ruder expedients of arms,
the more stormy and spontaneous forces of personal, political,
and religious passion. Yet the parliament has a history of its
own throughout the period of turmoil. It does not indeed
' develope any new powers, or invent any new mechanism ; its

special history is either a monotonous detail of formal proceed-
ings, or a record of asserted privilege. Under the monotonous
detail there is going on a process of hardening and sharpening,
a second almost imperceptible stage of definition, which, when
new life is infused into the mechanism, will have no small effect
in determining the ways in which that new life will work.
In the record of asserted privilege may be traced the flashes of
a consciousness that shew the forms of national action to be no
mere forms, and illustrate the continuity of a sense of earlier
greatness and of an instinctive looking towards a greater destiny.
And this is nearly all. The parliamentary constitution lives
through the epoch, but its machinery and its functions do not
much expand ; the weapons which are used by the politicians
of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are taken, with little
attempt at improvement or adaptation, from the armoury of
the fourteenth. The intervening age has rather conserved than
multiplied them or extended thei)' usefulness.



XVIII.] Close of the Middle Ages. 3

Yet the interval witnessed a series of changes in national life, T'*'**' ii'sto-

° _ rical nnixjrt-

mind, and character, in the relations of classes, and in the a»orioil.

destruction of a fabric of dynastic power, but pai-allel with if,
the trial and failure of a great constitutional experiment ; a
premature testing of the strength of the parliamentary system.
The system does not indeed break under the strain, but it bends
and warps so as to show itself unequal to the burden ; and, in-
stead of arbitrating between the other forces of the time, the par-
liamentary constitution finds itself either superseded altogether,
or reduced to the position of a mei'e engine which those forces
can manipulate at will. The sounder and stronger elements of



6 Constitutional Histori/. [chap.

English life seem to be exhausted, and the dangerous forces
avail themselves of all weapons with equal disregard to the
result. It is strange that the machinery of state suffers after
all so little. But it is useless to anticipate now the inferences
that will repeat themselves at every stage of the story.
Good an- 624. Although, as we have seen, the deposition of Richard II

theconstitti-and the accession of Heniy IV were not the pure and legitimate
iKcession of result of a series of constitutional workings, there were many
reasons for regarding the revolution of which they were a part
as only slightly premature ; the constitutional forces appeared
ripe, although the particular occasion of their exertion was to
a certain extent accidental, and to a certain extent the result of
private rather than public causes ^ Hichai'd's tyranny deserved
deposition had there been no Henry to revenge a private wrong ;
Henry's qualifications for sovereign power were adequate, even
if he had not had a great injury to avenge, and a great cause to
defend. The experiment of governing England constitutionally
seemed likely to be fairly tried, Henry could not, without
discarding all the principles that he had ever professed, even
attempt to rule as Eichard II and Edward III had ruled. He
had great personal advantages ; if he were not spontaneously
chosen by the nation, he was enthusiastically welcomed by them ;
he Avas in the closest alliance with the clergy ; and of the greater
baronage there was scarcely one Avho could not count cousinship
with him. He was reputed to be rich, not only on the strength
of his great inheritance, but in the possession of the treasure
whicii Kichard had amassed to his own ruin. He was a man of
high reputation for all the virtues of chivalry and morality, and

' 'kynge Henry was admytte

Unto the croime of Englandc, that did amounte

Not for desert nor yet for any witte,

Or might of him selfe in othervvyse yet,

But oidy for tlie castigation

Of king RichardeH wicked perversacion,

Of whicli the reahne then yrked everychone

Anil full glad were of his (leposicion,

And ghul to cronne kyng Henry so anone,

Willi all tlioyr hrrtes and whole atfeccioii

For liatied more of kyng Kijhardes defection

Then for the hjve of kyng Henry that daye :

tSci chaunged then the peoi)le on hym aye.' — Hardynj, p. 409.



will.] Character of Ilcnfy TV. *]

possessed, in liis four young sons, a ])le(lge to assure the nation Position of
that it would not soon he troubled with a question of succession,
or endangered by a policy that would risk the foi-tunes of so
noble a posterity. Yet the seeds of future diificulties were con-
tained in every one of the advantages of Henry's position ;
difficulties that would increase with the growth and consolida-
tion of his rule, grow stronger as the dynasty grew older, and
in the end prove too great for both the men and the system.

The character of Henry IV has been drawn by later historians Difficulty of

rcJidintf his

with a definiteness of outline altogether disproportioned to the character,
details furnished by contemporaries. Like the whole period on
which we are entering, the portrait has been affected by contro-



Online LibraryWilliam StubbsThe constitutional history of England, in its origin and development (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 70)