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The constitutional history of England in its origin and development, Volume 3 online

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of the council ^ Probably this was done in Beaufort's absence.

' Rot. Pari. iv. 377. • lb. iv. 362-774.

* OrdiaanoeB, iii. 174; Mongtrelet, liv. ii. c. 33.

* Ordinances, iii. 169. The duke was aUowed further to borrow 9000
marks of the king on July 9, 1427 ; Rymer, x. 374.

^ Beaufort*! force was from Cheshire and lAocasbire. Of. Monstrelet,
liv. ii. c. 36. * Chron. London, p. 114.

» The letter, dated Oct. 31, is given by Hall, p. 130.

* Ordinances, iii. 179. The loan of July 1427 was assigned on the
customs, the duchy of Lancaster, and the proceeds of wardships ; Rymer,
X. 375 ; Ordinances, iii. 271.

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Constitutional History,


Bedford re-

Treaty of
the two


invited to

It was time that Bedford should return; he left France on
receipt of his uncle's letter, and landed at Sandwich on the 20th
of December *.

333. The two brothers had not met since the death of
Henry V, and Gloucester was not able to resist the personal
influence of Bedford. It is probably to this period that we
should refer an interesting document, preserved among the
letters of bishop Beckington, duke Hurafrey's chancellor*. In
this treaty of alliance, as it professes to be, the duty of fraternal
unity is solenmly laid down, and a contract published which
is to disarm for the future the tongues of meddlers and de-
tractore. Seven articles follow, by which the dukes undertake
to bear true allegiance to the king ; next to the king to honour
and serve each other, to abstain from aiding each other's enemies,
to reveal to each other all designs that are directed against
either, to refuse belief to calumnious accusations, to form no
alliances without common consent or in prejudice of their
common alliances. These latter articles were no doubt caUed
for by Gloucester's treatment of the duke of Burgundy. Queen
Katharine also appears to have joined in the contract. On the
7th of January, 1426, was issued' a summons for parliament
to meet on the iSth of February at Leicester: the intervening
weeks were spent in an attempt to reconcile duke Humfrey with
the chancellor. On the 29th of January, archbishop Chichele, the
earl of Stafford, lords Talbot and Cromwell, and Sir John Corn-
wall, were sent to the duke, with elaborate instructions from
Bedford and the council, which had met at S. Alban's ^ It was
proposed that the council should reassemble at Northampton
on the 1 3th of February to prepare business for the parliament ;
at this council Gloucester was first invited and then urged to
attend, as he valued the unity of the lords and the common good
of the subjects ; the enmity between the duke and his uncle
must of necessity come before parliament, it were well that
it should be ended before the day of meeting : tbe duke had

• Bedford came to London, Jan. 10 ; Gregory, p. 160.

• Beokington's Letters, ed. WilliamB, i. 139-145.

• Lords' Report, iv. 863. * Ordinanoes, iii. 181-187,

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X^^II.] Bedford^s Arbitration. 103

refused to come to Northampton if he should there meet the Awrumenu
chancellor ; he was implored to set that feeling aside ; there to him.
would he no fear of a riot ; the bishop had undertaken to keep
his men in order, and the peace would be duly kept : it was
unreasonable in Qloucester, and even if he were king it would be
unreasonable in him, to refuse to meet a peer ; the king and coun-
cil were determined that Gloucester should have his rights ; he
could not insist on Beaufort's removal from office, but if anything
were proved against Beaufort, he would of course be dismissed.
If Gloucester refused to attend the council, he must come to the
parliament, and in that assembly the king would execute justice
without respect of persons. Whether the duke complied with the
request does not appear ; but the matter was not settled when
the parliament, which is called by the annalists the parliament The Pariia-
of bats or bludgeons, met \ The chancellor opened the proceed- Bat*,
ings with a speech, in which he made no reference to the quarrel ^;
for ten days the two parties stood face to face, nothing being done
in consequence of their hostile attitude. On the 28th of Feb-
ruary the commons sent in an urgent prayer that the divisions
among the lords should be reconciled ', and Bedford and the Bedford and
peers solemnly undertook the arbitration ; on the 7th of March mediate.
Gloucester and Beaufort consented to abide by that arbitration,
and to make peace on the terms which should be prescribed.
The charges of Gloucester against his uncle were stated ; he had
shut the Tower of London against him, had purposed to seize
the king's person, had plotted to destroy Gloucester when
visiting the king, had attempted the murder of Henry V when
prince of Wales, and had urged him to usurp his father's crown.
The bishop explained his conduct as impugned in the first and
third charges, and denied the truth of the rest The arbitrators
determined that Beaufort should solemnly deny the truth of the
charges of treason against Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI,

* Gregory, p. 160.

' Bot. Pari. iv. 295. The speaker was Sir Bichard Vernon ; the grant
was made June i. CI Amundeaham, L 9, 10; Chron. Giles, pp. 8, 9.
The clergy, April 27, granted a half tenth and a farthing in the pound ;
Wilk. Ckmo. iti. 461. 462.

* Bot. ParL It. 396; Ordinances, iii. 187.

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I04 Constitutional History. [chap.

Pacifioation whereupon Bedford should declare him loyal : he should then

and resigna- ^ , . •mi -

t^of disavow all designs against Gloucester, who should accept

the disavowal; and they should then take each other by the

hand ^ This was done and recorded on the 1 2th of March ' ;

on the 14th, Beaufort resigned the great seal, and the treasurer,

bishop Stafford, prayed to be discharged of the trea-surership.

John Kemp, bishop of London, became chancellor, and Walter

lord Hungerford treasurer'. On the 20th the parliament

Money was prorogued, to meet again on the 29th of ApriL In the
second meeting, grants of tunnage, poundage, and the subsidy
on wool were granted*, extending to November, 1431 ; the
council had been already empowered to give security for loans
amounting to £40,000. On the ist of June the parliament
separated. The king had during the latter days of the session
received from his uncle Bedford the honour of knighthood.

^^•^^ Bedford stayed sixteen months in England, and Beaufort,

the councfl. before he left, appeared from time to time at the council board * ;
at the end of the year he lost his brother the duke of Exeter,
and he probably thought that he might bide his time. He had
undergone a personal discomfiture, but the council might be
trusted not to allow duke Humfrey to have his own way.
The chancellor Kemp too, now archbishop of York, was a reso-
lute defender of constitutional right. In contemplation of his
return to France, Bedford held a council in the Star Chamber on

Address to the 28th of January, 1427 •. The chancellor, as spokesman of

Bedford by . ., , , , 1 . . 1 , , ,

srchbishop the councu, addressed him in a speech probably pre-arranged in
order to produce some effect on Gloucester. He reminded him
of the great responsibility which lay on that body during the
king's minority. The king, child as he was, centered in his
person all the authority that could belong to a grown-up king,

* The articles are given by Hall, Chr. pp. 130, 131 ; and Beaufort's
answers, pp. 131- 134; then the arbitrament, pp. 135-138; they are not
stated in the rolls of parliament. See also Arnold, dbr. pp. 387, 300.

* Rot. Pari. iv. 297.

* lb. iv. 399 ; Amundeeham, i. 9 ; Rymer, x. 353.

* Rot. Pari. iv. 302.
^ Beaufort was a member of the council Nov. 24, and Dec. 8, 1436, and

March 8 and 10, 1427 ; Ordinances, iii. 313, 221, 226, 355.
« Ordinances, iii. 331-343.


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XVIII.] Glouce%ief% Promise. 105

but the execution of that authority stood * in his lords, assembled The author-
either by authority of his parliament, or in his council, and in oouncU
especial in the lords of his council/ who might be called to
account for their administration ; * not in one singular person,
but in all my lords together,' except where the parliament
had given definite powers to the protector ; the council there-
fore asked for the duke's opinion on the present state of affairs,
and the feasibility of the present system of government^.

Bedford replied that it was his wish to act in all things under Bedford

, , , undertakes

advice and governance of the council, and then, with tears in his to respect it.

eyes, swore on the gospels that he would be counselled and

ruled by them. On the following day the chancellor aii<l^u*^J^^

council, thus fortified with a precedent, visited Gloucester, who *»ake the

was lying ill at his loilgings, and administered a formal remon- promise.

strance ; it was impossible for them to carry on the government

if he continued to claim the position which on several occasions

he had claimed. He had said more than once that * if he had

done anything that touched the king in his sovereign estate, he

would not answer for it to any person alive save only to the king

when he came to his age; ' he had also said, *Let my brother govern

as him list whilst he is in this land, for after his going over into

France I will govern as me seemeth good.' The council hoped

that he would give them the same answer that they had had from

Bedford ; and in fact Qloucester, after some words of apology,

repeated his brother's declaration. Bedford now prepared to re- Bedford

takes leave.
turn to France ; on the 25th of February* the council resolved

that it had been the late king's intention that he should devote

himself to the maintenance of the English hold on Normandy;

and the little king, now five years old, was made to understand

* There are two copies of the minute, in which this Btatement is worded
somewhAt differently ; the words occiur as in the text in Ord. iiL 238 ;
at p. 233 the sentence stands thus: 'the execution of the king's said
aatbority, as toward that that belongeth unto the politique rule and
goYemaille of his land, and to the observance and keeping of his laws,
belongeth unto the lords spiritual and temporal of this land at such time as
they be assembled in parliament or in great council, and else, them nought
being so assembled, unto the lords chosen and named to be of his continual

« OrdinAiioes, iii. 347.

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io6 Constitutional History, [chap.

that his uncle must leave him. On the 26th, the crown, which
had been kept by bishop Beaufort as a pledge, was placed
in the custody of the treasurer^; on the 8th of March, the
king, with Bedford, Beaufort, and the council, were at Canter-
Departure of bury. Immediately afterwards Bedford left. Beaufort accom-
Beaufort. panied him. On the 14th of May, 1426, he had applied for leave
1437. to go on pilgrimage^. He did not return until September, 1428,

having in the meanwhile been made a cardinal, legate of the
apostolic see, and commander of a crusade against the Hussites ^.
334. The conduct of Gloucester, when thus relieved from the
Glouoestep Pressure of his brother and uncle, was what might have been
J^I^J^^j^ expected. He resumed his designs against Burgundy, and
fiSwundy *^*®™P*^ ^ sow discord in his brother's council. A very
summary threat from Bedford was required before he would
desist^. In July he obtained the consent of the council to
raise men and money to garrison Jacqueline's castles and
towns in Holland; no further conquests were however to be
attempted without the consent of parliament *. Parliament was
Parliament Summoned for the 13th of October', but Gloucester was not
of 1427-^. allowed to open it ; the little king presided in person. Little
was done in the first session, and on the 8th of December it
was prorogued. In the second session, which began on the 20th
of January, 1428, Gloucester began to show his hand again.
On the 3rd of March he demanded of the lords a definition
of his powers as ' protector and defender of the realm of England
and chief counsellor of the king.' He quitted the assembly that
the lords might consider the question at their ease. They
returned a written answer, in which they reminded him that

* Ordinancee, iii. 350.

' Ellis, Originals Letters, and Series, i. loi ; Ordinances, iii. 195 ;
Rymer, x. 358.

' On Beaufort*s expedition to Bohemia, where he was in the autumn of
1427, see .tineas Sylvius, Hist. Bohem* c. 48; opp. p. 116; Baynald,
AD. 1427, § 5 ; Palacky, Gesch. v. Bohmen, iii. 438-467.

* Monstrelet, liv. ii. c. 38.

^ Ordinances, iii. 271 ; see above, p. loi.

* Hot. ParL iv. 316. John Tyrell was speaker. In this parliament a
number of women presented themselves with a letter complaining of duke
Humfrey's behaviour to his wife ; Amund. i. 20.

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xvin.] IZe Protectorate Defined. 107

at the beginning of the reign he had claimed the goTemance The lords, at
of the land in right of his blood and of the late king's will ; request, do-
that thereupon the records of the kingdom had been searched powers of the
for precedents, and the claim refused as grounded neither on
history nor on law, the late king having no power to dispose
of the government of England after his death without the
consent of the estates. Notwithstanding this, in order to main-
tain the peace of the land, he had been declared chief of the
council in his brother's absence ; but to avoid the use of the
title of Tutor, Lieutenant, Gk)vemor, or Regent, the name of
Protector and Defender was given him ; * the which importeth
a personal duty of ihtendance to the actual defence of the land,'
with certain powers specified and contained in the act. If the
estates had intended him to have further powers, they would
have given them in that act. On those terms he had accepted
the office. The parliament however knew him only as duke
of Gloucester, and saw no reason why they should recognise
in him more authority than had been formally given him.
They therefore prayed, exhorted, and required him to be con-
tent, and not desire, will, or use any larger power. By this
reply they were determined to stand, and they subscribed it
with their own hands, eleven bishops, four abbots, the duke
of Norfolk, three earls, and eight barons^. The consent of the Grants of
commons was not asked, but they showed their confidence in parliament.
the council by making liberal grants ; they were empowered to
give security for a loan of £24,000 ; tunnage and poundage were
granted for a year, and a new and complicated form of subsidy
was voted* Such a very decided rebuff would have quelled
the spirit of a braver man than Gloucester ; but the council did

' Rot. Pari. iv. 326, 327.

' lb. iv. 317, 318 : the grants were made on March 25, the last day of
thepaiiiameDt ; Amtind. i. 20.

Tne subsidy was very curious ; all parishes the churches of which were
taxed above ten marks, were to pay I3«. \dr, below that sum 6g. %d.;
parishes containing ten inhabited houses, with the parish church assessed up
to 20t.y p*id 2#. ; every knight's fee paid 6«. %d, Tha tax was to be paid by
the panshioners ; Amund. i. 21 ; Bot. ParL iv. 318 ; Bep. Keepers Rep.
iii. 9. The clei^ in convocation also granted a half tenth and a graduated
tax 00 stipendiariea ; ib. p. 1 1. See below, p. 109.

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io8 Constitutional History. [chap.

Warwick not stop there. Henry V had directed that the earl of Warwick
to the king, should be the preceptor of his son. On the ist of June War-
wick was summoned by the chancellor to perform his office;
special instructions are given him * ; he is to do his devoir and
diligence to exhort, stir, and learn the king to love, worship,
and dread God, and generally nourish him and draw him to
virtue by lessons of history; he is further to teach him * nurture,
lit-erature, language, and other manner of cunning as his age
shall suffer him to comprehend such as it fitteth eo great a
prince to be learned of.' He shall have power to chastise him
if he does amiss, to dismiss improper servants, and to remove
the king^s person in case of any unforeseen'danger. Warwick,
who lived to attend on Henry until he was eighteen, discharged
his duties faithfully, and made his pupil a good scholar and an
accomplished gentleman. He could not make him a strong or
a happy man.
Beaufort's Beaufort had made the great mistake of his life in 1426, in
oeptingthe accepting the cardinalate '. He may well be excused for
hat. grasping at what was the natural object of clerical ambition

in his time, an object which ten years before he had foregone at
the urgent entreaty of Henry V, and which now seemed all the
more desirable when he saw himself ousted for a time from his
commanding position in the English council. But it was not
the less a blunder; it involved him immediately in the great
quarrel which was going on at the time between the church
His legation, and state of England and the papacy; it to some extent
alienated the national goodwDl, for the legation of a cardinal

' Ordinances, iii. 296; Eymer, x. 399; further inBtrnctioDa were givoD in
1432; Ordinancee, iv. 132.

' He was nominated to the cardinalate as early as Dec. 38, 141 7,
(Wharton, Ang. Sax. i. 800) by Martin Y at the council of Constance,
diichele addressed a strong protest on the matter to Henry V; this is
printed by Duck in his life of Ghichele (ed. 1699, PP* i^5~i3<)* According
to Gloucester's letter of accusation written in 1440 (Stevenson, Wars in
France, ii. 441) Henry refused him leave to accept the dignity, saying
that *be had as leef sette his coroune beside hym as to se him were
a cardinal's hatte, he being a cardinal.' The second nomination was made
on the 24th of May 1420 (Panvinius, Epitome Pontificum, p. 291), the
title beinii^ that of S. Eusebius; on the 25th of the next March he received
the cardinal's hat at Kouen. Se& Gregory, Chron. p. 161 ; Chron. Load,
p. 115 ; Hall, p. 139 ; Amundl i. 11.

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xvui.] Beanforfa Legation. 109

was inextricably bound up in the popular mind with heavy fees Beaufort's
and procurations, and it gave Gloucester an opportunity for
attack which he had sought for in vain before. His share
in the ecclesiastical struggle forms part of a very intricate
episode in our church history which cannot be touched upon
here. The bearings of his promotion on popular opinion and
on his relations to Gloucester were immediately apparent. He
returned to England in 1428, and was solenmly received at
London by the lord mayor and citizens on the ist of September.
Gloucester in the king's name refused to recognise his legatine
authority K He had already forwarded to Chichele the papal bull
under which he was commissioned to raise money for the Hussite
crusade. On the 23rd of November two papal envoys informed
the convocation of Canterbury' that the pope had imposed the
payment of an entire tenth for the Bohemian war. Some
similar proposition had been made to the council in the pre-
ceding May, but little notice was taken of the subject until the
cardinal returned. The alarm of a new impost, on a nation Alum at hia
already bearing its burdens somewhat impatiently, gave Glouces- m connexion
ter his opportunity. The cardinal was treated with great Hussite
re^)ect, and allowed to go on his mission to Scotland ', but on
the 17th of April, 1429, a question was raised in council which
involved his right to retain the bishopric of Winchester ; ought Gloucester
he, being a cardinal, to be allowed to officiate as bishop of Win-
chester and prelate of the Order of the Garter at the approach-
ing feast of S. George. The lords being severally consulted
refused to determine the point, but begged the bishop to waive
his right*. Notwithstanding this indication of his weakness. He is

allowed to

Beaufort, on the i8th of June, obtained leave from the king enlist forces.
and council to retain 500 lances and 2500 archers for his
expedition ^. On the same day was fought the battle of Patay,

* Gregory, p. i6a ; Amund. i. 16; Foxe, Acts and Monuments, iii. 719. ^

* Tbe convocation opened July 5, and closed about Nov. 30, after
STAotiiig a half tenth to the king, and making some ordinances against the
LoUardi ; Amund. I 24, 32 ; WUkins, Cone. iii. 493 sq. 496 sq. 503.

" Amund. i. 33, 34 ; he passed through S. Alban's on his way Feb. 1 2,
and on his return about April 11; ib. ; Ordinances, iii. 318.

* Ordinances, iii. 323 ; Rymer, x. 414.

» Ordinances, iiL 330-332 ; Rymer, x. 419-422.

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no Constitutional History. [chaj>.

Beauforfc'B in which Talbot the English general was taken ^; and this,
to Bedford, coupled with the relief of Orleans by the Maid of Orleans in
the preceding month, had a marked effect on the council. On
the ist of July, at Rochester, the council agreed with the car-
dinal that his forces should be allowed to serve in France under
Bedford for half a year *. He yielded the point graciously; the
approaching parliament would have to decide whether he had
bettered his position.
Parliament 335. The parliament met on the 22nd of September'. The
condition of France was such that the council of that kingdom
had strongly urged the coronation of the young king *. Before
he could be crowned king of France he must be crowned king of
England ; preparations were accordingly made somewhat bur-
Henry's riedly, and the ceremony was performed at Westminster on the
6th of November ^ As soon as England had a crowned king the
office and duty of the protector terminated, and the lords spiritual
and temporal voted that it should cease ; on the 1 5th of November
End of the Gloucester was obliged to renounce it, retaining only the title
^ of chief counsellor, but leaving it open to Bedford to retain

or surrender it as he pleased *. This stroke told in &vour of
the cardinal, whp seems to have retained more power in par-
Failure of liament than in the council. The question of his position had

the attempt , , ^ *

to exclude been raised in a new form : was it lawful for him, a cardinal,

Beaufort ....

flromooundl. to take his place in the king's council ; the lords voted not only
that it was lawful, but that the bishop should be required to
attend the coimcils on all occasions on which the relations of
the king with the court of Rome were not in question. He

' Monstrelet, liv. ii. 0. 61.

' Ordinances, iil. 339. On June 32 the cardinftl had set out for Bohemia,
but remained in France with the regent, and returned for the coronation.
Gregory, p. 164; Hall, p. 15a ; Amund. i 38, 39, 42 ; Rymer, x. 424, 427 ;
Chron. Giles, p. 10. He lost his legation on the death of Martin V in
143 1, and the whole project came to an end.

' Rot. Part iv. 335 ; Amund. i 42. William Alyngton was speaker.

^ Rymer, z. 413, 414; letters to this effect were laid before a great
councU on April 15, 1429; Ordinances, iii. 322; and the king announced
his intention of going to France, Dec. 10 \ ib. iv. 10.

* The ceremonies are detailed in Gregory's Chronicle, pp. 165 sq. The
ampulla was used ; Ordinances, iv. 7.

• Rot. Pari. iv. 336 ; Rymer, x. 436.

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XVIII.] The County Franchise. ill

graciously accepted the position on the i8th of December ^, and Financial
nsed his influence with the commons to such purpose that on
the 2oth they voted a fifteenth and tenth to the king in addi-
tion to a like sum granted on the 12 th, with tunnage and
poundage until the next parliament '. The same day parliament
was prorogued to the 14th of January; in the second session S«»nd
the subsidy on wool was continued tq November, 1433; the Jan. 1430.
council had already been empowered to give security for loans
to the amount of £50,000*, and the payment of the second
fifteenth was hastened *. The nation was awaking to the neces-
sity of a great effort to save the conquests in France. The Law of

• , , county

most important statute of this parliament was one which further elections.

r^ulated the elections of knights of the shire, and fixed the
forty shilling freehold as the qualification for voting'. The
county elections had been a subject of intermittent legislation
since the beginning of the century, but it is difficult to connect
the successive changes which were introduced with any political

Online LibraryWilliam StubbsThe constitutional history of England in its origin and development, Volume 3 → online text (page 12 of 68)