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

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plentiful. Another great council was held in August*, and Gif^at wun-
attended by a very large number of knights and esquires ^^w. August,
severally summoned by letters of privy seal. In this assembly
the king is said to have resolved on going to war with France
and Scotland. In the winter the king ordered the collection
of an aid on the marriage of his daughter Blanche to the count
palatine Lewis, son of the king of the Romans ^

Henry's popularity was on the wane ; he had not been suc-
cessful in Wales ; the exactions of his purveyors were a bitter
source of complaint among the people ' ; an attempt was made
upon his life. The next year, 1402, was one of still worse 51 i4o»^
omen. In Lent the lord Grey of Ruthyn was captured by Mortimer
Owen Glendower. In June, Edmund Mortimer, the brother Glendower.
of the late earl Roger of March who had been declared heir-
presumptive by Richard, fell into the hands of the rebel chief,
and after a short imprisonment married his daughter, pro-
claimed himself his ally, and declared that he was in arms to
maintain the right of his nephew to the throne \ The king's
invasion of Wales, now became an annual event, was more than
ever unsuccessful and calamitous ; it lasted for three weeks,
during which the army was nearly starved and nearly drowned ^

* Aug. 16 ; Ordinances, &c. i. 155. Adam of Usk mentions this council
and the determination to go to war, p. 67.

* The letters for collecting the aid were issued Bee. i, 1401, and Feb. 16,
1402 ; Bymer, viii. 232, 24a ; Bep. Keeper's Rep. ii. App. ii. p. 181 ; the
amount was 208. on the knight^s fee held immediately of the king, and the
same on every twenty pounds rental of land held of the king in socage,
according to Stat. 25 £dw. m. But the grant of the aid was not yet
made ; it was to be discussed in a great council in January 1402. See
p. 36, note 4, below.

* Ann. Henr. p. 337 ; Eulog. iii. 387 ; Rot. Pari. iii. 473. An exaction
on the sale of cloth produced loud complaints and riots in Somersetshire,
where the king was regarded as having broken his promise about taxation ;
Ad. Usk, p. 61.

* Old. i. 1 85 ; Chron. Henr. ed. Giles, pp. 37, 30. In a letter to his tenants
dated Dec. 13, 1402, Mortimer announces that he has joined Glendower in
a scheme to restore Richard if he is alive, or if he is dead to place the earl
of liarch on the throne ; Ellis, Original Letters, 2nd series, i. 24 ; Tyler,
Heniy of Monmouth, L 135. On the 28th of Feb. 1405 is dated the agree-
ment between Glendower, Mortimer, and Northumberland, for a division
of England and Wales between the three; ib. p. 150; Chron. Henr. ed.
Gilea, pp. 39 >q- ; Hall, p. a8.

* Aim. Henr. p. 343.

D %

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Rumour nothing being done against the foe. As Henry's failures less-
ia alive. ened his popularity, a mysterious reaction in favour of Bichard
began to set in. It was currently reported that he was alive
in Scotland. Franciscan friars went up and down the country
organising conspiracy. In May Henry had to chaise the
bishop of Carlisle and the earl of Northumberland to arrest
all who were spreading the felse news^; and a number of
executions followed^, showing that the king's patience was ex-
hausted and his temper embittered. Walter Baldock, an
Augustinian canon, and another priest who had engaged in
conspiracy, were hanged. Eight Franciscans underwent the
same fate, without any show of ecclesiastical remonstrance.
Sir Roger Clarendon, a son of the Black Prince, with his
esquire and page, perished in the same way and for the same
cause. A popular rising was expected in London ; Owen
Glendower and the Scots were believed to hold the strings of
a secret league, and the sorceries of the friars were supposed
to be the causes of the ill success of the king '. In one quarter
only there was b'ght. The earl of Northumberland and
Hotspur defeated the Scots at Homildon in September, and
in that victory crowned the series of their services to Henry
with a success which seems to have led to a final breach with
him. The victory of Homildon was the one piece of good news
which could be reported to the next parliament.

308. The last instalment of the tenth and fifteenth granted
in March 1401 was due in the following November, and as
a renewal of the grant would be immediately required, the
parliament was summoned for January 29, 1402 ; but if such
an assembly was ever held it left no traces whatever of its
action * ; there are no statutes, no rolls of proceedings, no writs

Battle of

tary history
of 1403.

^ Rymer, viii. 255 ; cf. pp. 261, a63, 268.

• Ann. Henr. pp. 309, 340; Wala. ii. 249; Eulog. iii. 389-394; Chr.
Giles, p. 38.

' 'Arte magica,' Otterb. p. 236; *mala arte fratnim minoram/ Ann.
Henr. p. 343; Wals. ii. 251. 'All men trowed witches it made that
stoonde ' ; Hard}mg, p. 360.

* The writs for such a parliament at Westminster were issued on the
2nd of December; Lords* Report, iv. 776; and for convocation to be held
the first Monday in Lent; lb. p. 778. The Bolls of Parliament oantain

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xvin.] Parliament of 1401^. 37

of expenses, or of prorogation. The working parliament of the Ptoiiament
year met on the 30th of September * ; Henry Bowet, the king's September.
old chaplain, being treasurer, and bishop Stafford still chan-
cellor. The latter in his opening speech said what could be
said for the king, but did not attempt to conceal the distress
of the country. True, Henry had been, as the mightiest king
in the world, invited by the king of the Bomans to attempt
to heal the schism in the church, and the victory over the
Scots was an almost miraculous proof of divine favour. StiU

the realm was enduring punishment at God's hand'. The Conference
, ^ - , . , . , of lords and

commons in reply gave a proof of their earnest desire to work commons.

for the public good, that awoke the suspicions of the king ;

they desired, as they had done in the evil days of King Richard,

to have 'advice and communication' with certain of the lords

on the matters to be treated. Henry granted the request with

a protest that it was done not of right, but of special favour ;

and four bishops, four earls, and four lords were named '. The

most important business dispatched was the grant of supplies.

The subsidy on wool was continued for three years, tunnage and Grants of

poundage for two years and a half; and, protesting that the

grant should not be made an example for taxing except by the

will of lords and commons, the poor commons by assent of the

lords granted a tenth and fifteenth for the defence of the realm *.

% few petitions of the third year of Henry which might be referred to such
a parliament if it were really held ; but one of them speaks of the parlia-
ment as sitting at Coventry, so that probably they belong to 1404. The
biahop of Norwich was directed to attend a council to be held Jan. 27,
140a, on Aug. 24, 1401 ; Ordinances, i. 167; and we know from the minutes
of the oouncU held in November, that both a great council and a parliament
were to be held ; the aid for the marriage of Blanche was to be discussed
at the council on Jan. 37 ; Ordinances, i. 179. One short minute of such
a council is preserved ; ib. p. 180.

* Rat. Pari. iii. 485 ; Eutog. iiL 395.

* ' Dieux ad mys punissement en diverse manere sur ceete roialme'; 'le
roi de Borne, pur appaiser et ouster eel schisme ad escript a notre dit
seigneur le roi come a le pluis puissant roi du monde.' Bot. Pari. iii. 485.

* Rot. Pari. iii. 486.

* Dep. Keeper's Rep. ii. App. ii. p. i8a ; Rot. ParL iii. 493 ; Ann. Henr.
p. 3C0. Great sums were borrowed in anticipation of the first instalment
of the grants; letters asking for loans to the amount of a a, 200 marks
were iwued April i, 1403 ; Ordinances, &;c. i. 199-203. The clergy of
Canterbury met, Oct. ai, and on Nov. a 7 granted a tenth and a half.
Wilkiniy d(«c. iiL a7i.

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Constitutional History,


ProoeedingB The most important statute of the session is one which confirms

of the

commons, the privileges of the clergy; and the majority of the petitions

concern private suits. The commons seem however to be fully
aware of the character of the king's difficulties ; they pray that
the king will abstain from fresh grants, and retain the alien
priories in his hands; that Northumberland may be duly thanked,
Grey of Buthyn ransomed, and Somerset restored to his dignity
of marquess, an offer which he wisely declined. George of
Dunbar, earl of March, whose adhesion to the king had led to
the victory over the Scots, entreated Henry to recover for him
his lost estates. The increase in the number of petitions, the
revival of old complaints, the demand for the enforcement of
old statutes, show a great increase of uneasiness. The session
ended on the 25th of November'.

In February 1403 Henry married his second wife, Johanna
of Navarre, the widowed duchess of Brittany, an alliance which
gave him neither strength abroad nor comfort at home *. The
same month Stafford resigned the great seal, which was in-
trusted by the king to his brother, Henry Beaufort, bishop
of Lincoln. The appointment of Beaufort, coupled with the
nomination of the prince of Wales as lieutenant in Wales, and
Thomas of Lancaster, the king's second son, as lieutenant in
Ireland, perhaps implies that Henry was severing himself from
his old friends. Beaufort and Arundel do not seem to have
acted well together, and the proud independence of the Percies
was becoming, if not intolerable to the king, at least a source
of danger to him as well as to themselves.
The Percies. 309. Northumberland and Hotspur had done great things
for Henry. At the outset of his reign their opposition would
have been fatal to him; their adhesion ensured his victory.
He had rewarded them with territory' and high offices of
trust, and they had by faithful service ever since increased


* Rot. Pari. ill. 487, 488, 491, 495.

• • Utinam fikusto pede'; Otterboume, p. 259; Ann. Henr. p. 35a

' The earl, as late as March a, 1403, had a grant of the Scottish lands of
Douglas, which however could scarcely be a profitable gift so long as they
were in Scottish hands; Rymer, viiJ. 289.

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xvin,] BehelUon of Hotspur. 39

their claims to cratitude and consideration. The earl was grow- Growing dis-

,,_",,, . __ ° I ontent of

ingold; he was probably some years over sixty; Hotspur was the Fercies.

about the same age as the king. Both father and son were high-
spirited, passionate, suspicious men, who entertained an exalted
sense of their own services, and could not endure the shadow
of a slight. Up to this time not a doubt had been cast on their
fidelity. Northumberland was still the king's cliief agent in
parliament, his most valued commander in the field, his Mat-
tathias^ It has been thought that Hotspur's grudge against
the king began with the notion that tlie release of his brother-
in-law, Edmund Mortimer, had been neglected by the king,
or was caused by Henry's claim to deal with the prisoners taken
at Homildon ; the defenders of the Percies alleged that they
had been deceived by Henry in the first instance, and only needed
to be persuaded that Richard lived in order to desert the king '.
It is more probable that they suspected Henry's friendship, and
were exasperated by his compulsory economies. For two or
three years Hotspur had been engaged in a service which ex-
hausted his own resources, and he could get no adequate
supplies from king or council. A less impatient mind might
have been driven to discontent, and, when it was once known

' 'Gomes Northombriae rogavit regem ut solveret sibi aurum debitum
pro custodia marchiae Scotiae, ricut in carta sua continetur; Egomet
et filius metis expendimus nostra in custodia ilia : rex respondit : aurum
non habeo, aurum non habebis. Comes dixit : Quando regnum intrastis
promiaistis regere per consilium nostrum; jam multa a regno aunuatim
acdpitis et nihil habetis, nihil solvitis et sic communitatem vestram irri-
tatia. Deus det vobis bonum consilium ' ; Eulog. iii. 396. Other reasons are
given : Henry's demand that Hotspur should surrender his prisoner Douglas
(see Wavrin, p. 56; Rymer, viii. 392 ; Hairdyng p. 360), whilst Hotspur
insisted that the king should ransom Mortimer. Hardyng gives the formal
challenge made by the three Percies, embodying most of the charges made
in 1405 ; and also makes them fight for the right of the little earl of March
(p. 361). The challenge is made by the three Percies as ' procuratores
et protectores reipublicae,' and charges Henry with (i) having sworn falsely
at Doncaster that he was come only to recover his inheritance, in spite of
which he had imprisoned Richard and compelled him to resign ; (,3) he had
ahio broken his promise to abstain from uJlages ; (3) contrary to his oath
be had caused the death of Richard; (4) he had usurped the kingdom
which belonged to the earl of March; (5) he had interfered with the
dection of luughts of the shire ; (6) he had hindered the deliverance of
Edmund Mortimer and had accused the Percies of treason for negotiating
fbr his release. Hardyng, pp. 353, 353 ; Hall, Chr. pp. 39, 30. See also
lingard, iii. ax 3.

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presses for

Rebellion of

His profes-


that he was discontented, the same crafty heads ihat were
maintaining the strife on the Welsh and Scottish borders would
know how to approach him. Yet Henry seems to have con-
ceived no suspicion. In April he was employed in raising
money by loan to send to Scotland. Northumberland and
Hotspur were writing for increased forces. The castle of
Ormeston was besieged ; a truce made with its defenders was
to end on the ist of August ; the king was to collect all the
force of the country and to join in the invasion. Henry started
on his journey : still the old earl was demanding the payment
of arrears, and the king was fencing with him as well as he
could ; on the 30th of May ' he wrote for both help and money;
on the 26th of June ^ he told the king that his ministers were
deceiving him ; it was not true that he had received X6o,ooo
already; whatever he had received, £20,000 was still due.
On the loth of July Henry had reached Northamptonshire on
his way northwards ; on the 17th he had heard that Hotspur
with his uncle the earl of Worcester were in arms in Shrop-
shire *. They raised no cry of private wrongs, but proclaimed
themselves the vindicators of national right : their object was
to correct the evils of the administration, to enforce the employ-
ment of wise counsellors, and the proper expenditure of public
money *. The king declared in letters to his friends that the
charges were wholly unfounded, that the Percies had received
the money of which the country was drained, and that if they
would state their complaints formally they should be heard and
answered*. But it was too late for argument. The report
ran like wildfire through the west that Richard was alive,
and at Chester. Hotspur's army rose to 1 4,000 men, and not

^ Ordinances, &c. i. 203.

' lb. i. 304 ; this letter is signed 'Yotre Mathathias,* in the old man's
own hand.

' lb. i. 206, 207.

* * Ut personae suae possent gaudere iademnitatis securitate et oorrigere
publicas gubemationes, et constituere sapientes consil'mrioe ad commodum
regis et regni. Scripserunt insaper qttod census et tallagia conoessa i^
sive donata pro salva regni custodia non sunt conversa in usus debitoe sed
devorata nimis inutiliter, atque consumpta* ; Annales Henr. pp. 361, 36a.
Cf. Otterboume, p. 240; Wals. ii. 355 ; Capgr. Chr. p. 28a.

* Ann. Henr. p. 362 ; cf. Eulog. iii. 395.

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xvin.] Growing Discontent, 41

suspecting the strength and promptness of the king, he sat down Hotspur at
with his uncle and his prisoner, the earl of Douglas, before
Shrewsbury. Henry showed himself equal to the need. From
Burton-on-Trent, where on July 17 he summoned the forces of
the shires to join him \ he marched into Shropshire, and offered
to parley with the insurgents. The earl of Worcester went
between the camps, but he was either an impolitic or a treacher-
ous envoy, and the negotiations ended in mutual exasperation.
On the 2ist the battle of Shrewsbury was fought; Hotspur was ^**^®^
slain : Worcester was taken and beheaded two days after. The July ai,
old earl, who may or may not have been cognisant of his son's
intentions from the first, was now marching to his succour.
The earl of Westmoreland, his brother-in-law, met him and
drove him back to Warkworth. But all danger was over. On Northum-


the I ith of August he met the king at York, and submitted submita.
to him^. Henry promised him his life but not his liberty.
He had to surrender his castles'; his staff as constable was
taken from him, and given to John of Lancaster ; but Henry
did not bear malice long ; the minor offenders were allowed to
sue for pardon^, and within six months Northumberland was
restored to his liberty and estates.

310. Although Hotspur's demands for reform were a mere Reality of
artifice, and his connexion with the Welsh proved his insurrec- difficulties.
tion to be altogether treasonable, subsequent events showed
that the reform was really wanted and that the spirit of dis-
content was becomins: dangerous in each of the estates. The Want of

cry was everywhere what had become of the money of the

nation % The king had none, the Percies had received none,
the people had none to give, the clergy were in the utmost
poverty. Yet war was everywhere imminent. The Bretons
were plundering the coast ; hostilities with Prance were only
staved off by ill-kept truces ; the Welsh were still in full force.
When Henry returned southwards and had gathered his forces
at Worcester early in September, it was found that he could not

1 Bymer, viii. 314.

* Otterbourne, p. 244; Annalee Henr. p. 371. ' Ordinances, 1. an.

* Rymer, viii 338; Ordinances, i. aia.

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42 Constitutional History. [chap.

The clergy move for want of supplies*. To an application which was
made for a grant from the clergy Arundel replied that they
were utterly exhausted ; and when, after an insolent demand
from the courtiers that the prelates should be stripped of their
equipages and sent home on foot, he had succeeded in as-
sembling the syiiod of his province and obtained a grant of half
a tenth, only £500 could be raised immediately on the security
Weakness of the grant'. Such a fact proves that all confidence in the
Kovemment. stability of the government was at an end. Complaints were
becoming louder, suspicions graver and more general. The
parliament summoned to Coventry in December, 1403, was after-
wards ordered to meet at Westminster in January, 1404'; a
great council was held preparatory to the parliament, and when
it met, every accusation of misgovemment, and every proposal
for restraint on the executive, which had been heard since the
days of Henry III, were repeated.

Parliament In this parliament bishop Beaufort was chancellor, the lord
of January, r l '

M04. Roos of Hamlake treasurer, and Sir Arnold Savage again

speaker of the commons. The election of Savage was in itself
a challenge to the king ; his long speeches invariably contained
unpalatable truths. As was generally the case, the minister
spoke chiefly of foreign dangers, the commons thought and said
most about domestic mismanagement, the sudden diminution
of the revenue, the lavish grants of the king, the abuses of
liveries, the impoverishment of the royal estates, the extravagant
administration of the household. A demand for a conference
of advisers resulted in a formal array of such complaints ; if
those complaints were satisfied, the commons would show them-
selves liberal and loyal \ An unexpected amount of favour
was shown to the earl of Northumberland ; the peers refused
to find him guilty of treason ; it was not more than trespass •

* Ann. Henr. p. 373; cf. Eulog. iii 398. A council was held at
Worcester ; Rot. Pari. iii. 525.

' Ann. Henr. p. 374. The clergy of Canterbury met October 7, and
granted a half tenth ; Wilkins, Cono. iii. 274.

* Lords' Report, iv. 785-790 : it met Jan. 14, Rot. Pari. iii. 522 ; and
sat until March 20, Lords' Report, i. 496 ; the great council was held before
Christmas, Rot. Pari. iii. 525.

* Rot. ParL iii. 523, 524.

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xviu.] Parliament of 1404, 43

he was admitted to pardon and took the oath of fealty. The Lenity of the

, parliuDcnt.

struggle in the north was, it seemed, to he regarded as a case of
private war rather than of rehellion. The earls of Westmore-
land and Northumberland were prayed to keep the peace ; the
commons returned thanks to the king for Northumberland's
pardon, and showed the extent of the public suspicions by a
petition that the archbishop of Canterbury and the duke of
York might be declared guiltless of any complicity in Hotspur's
rising '. But the most significant work of the session was the Attack on
attack on the household. On a petition of the commons four household,
persons were removed from attendance on the king, his con-
fessor, the abbot of Dore, and two gentlemen of the chamber ;
the king excused his servants but complied with the request^
and undertook to remove any one else whom the people hated '.
The same day, February 8, it was determined that an ordinance
should be framed for the household, and the king was asked to ap-
point his servants in parliament, and those only who were honest,
virtuous, and well renowned. Nor did the attack stop here : the Outciy
old cry against aliens was after so many years revived ; the king's tto^
second marriage might, like the second marriage of Richard, be
a prelude to constitutional change. The commons demanded the
removal of all aliens from attendance on either king or queen ;
a committee of the lords was appointed to draw up the needful
articles, and they reported three propositions : all adherents of
the antipope were to be at once expelled from the land; all
Germans and orthodox foreigners were to be employed in gar-
risons and not made chargeable to the household ; all French,
Bretons, Navarrese, Lombards and Italians were to be removed
from court, exception being made in favour of the two daughters
of the queen, with one woman and two men servants. Henry
yielded so graciously that the commons relaxed their rigour and
allowed the queen to retain ten other friends and servants. On
the ist of March a fundamental change was introduced into the
administration of the household, and a sum of Xi 2,100 arising

* Rot. Pari iii. 324.

« lb. iii 525. 526. » lb. iii. 525.

* Ann. Henr. p. 379 ; Rot. Pari iii. 527 ; Eulog. iii. 400.

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44 Constitutional History, [cHiiP.

Payment to from various specified sources was set apart from the general

of the revenue of the crown to be devoted to this purpose \ The

archbishop of Canterbury declared the king's consent to this,

and made in his name a repeated declaration of his purpose to

Declaration govern justly and to maintain the law. A further condescen-

of the names . , 1 1. - i. i i .1 -11... <. i

of the eion to public feelmg was made by the publication of the names

of the persons whom the king had appointed to act as his great

and continual council. The list contains the names of six

bishops, Edward of Rutland, who had now succeeded his father

as duke of York, the earls of Somerset and Westmoreland, six

lords, including the treasurer and privy seal, four knights, and

three others'. Sir John Cheyne and Sir Arnold Savage are

among the knights, and their presence shows that neither the

Wycliffite propensions of the one nor the aggressive policy of the

other was regarded as a disqualification for the office of coxm-

Petitions. cillor. A petition and enactment on the abuse of commissions
of array show that the king's poverty was leading to the usual
oppressive measures for maintaining the defence of the country',
and the number of private petitions for payment of annuities
proves that the plea of poverty was by no means exaggerated.
Yet the commons refused to believe that it was true. If we may
trust the historians, the argument on the subject led to personal

Online LibraryWilliam StubbsThe constitutional history of England in its origin and development, Volume 3 → online text (page 5 of 68)