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

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64 Constitutional History. [cieap.

Petition of party was so powerful as \o attempt aggressive measures ; the
1410. knights of the shire sent in to the king and lords a formal

recommendation that the lands of the bishops and religious cor-
porations should be confiscated, not for a year only, as had been
suggested before, but for the permanent endowment of fifteen earls,
fifteen hundred knights, six thousand esquires, and a hundred
hospitals, £20,000 being still left for the king\ The extra-
vagance and absurdity of such a demand insured its own rejec-
tion : the lords did not wish for a multiplication of their rivals ;
the commons in a wiser moment would scarcely have desired
to give strength to the element which, as represented by the
Percies and their opponents, had nearly torn the kingdom to
pieces. The prince of Wales stoutly opposed the proposal and it
Henry asks was rejected. The king asked to be allowed to colle^ an annual
for life. tenth and fifteenth every year when no parliament was sitting'.
This was refused, but he obtained a gift of 20,000 marks and
grants of tenths, fifteenths, subsidies, and customs which lasted
for two years '. Notwithstanding the Lollard movement, two years
of steady government had benefited the country. Still the petitions
of the commons testify much uneasiness as to the governance,
both internal and external, of the realm ^, and the economy of
the court which they tried to bind with stringent rules. It
was remembered that in Richard's time the subsidy on wool

parliament allowing friars to preach against the Lollards without licence
from the bishops. In a oonvocation held Feb. 17, 1400, the statute
*de heretico* of 140 1 was rehearsed at length ; Wilk. Cone. lii. 328.

' Wals. ii. 282, 283. Fabyan, p. 575, giv^es a full account of the scheme ;
the temporalities are estimated at 32 2,000 marks per annum. It is described
more fiilly in Jack Sharp's petition in 1431. It is added that ;C 110,000
might be secured for the king; £110,000 for a thousand knights and
a thousand good priests, and still there would be left to the dergj
£143,724 108. 4|<2. And all this without touching the temporalities of
colleges, chantries, oaUiedrals, or canons secular, Carthusians, HospitaUers,
or Crouched Friars. Amundesham (ed. Riley), L 453-456. '

* Wals. ii. 238 ; of. Otterboume, p. 268.

* A fifteenth and a half, and a tenth and a half; Dep. Keeper's Rep. ii.
App. ii. p. 184; Rot. Pari. iii. 635; Euloff. iii. 417 ; Wals. ii. 283. The
clergy of Canterbury met to grant an aid, Feb. 17, I410; Wilk. iii. 324.
The York clergy granted a tenth May 23 ; ib. p. 333. A tenth and a half
tenth is mention^ in the Ordinances, i. 342. Commissions were israed
for raising a great loan the same year ; ib. p. 343.

* Rot. Pari. iii. 623-627.



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xviu.] Prominence of the Prince, 65

had brought up the national income to £160,000 ; although the The
subsidy on wool could not now be calculated at more than income.
£30,000, there were hopes that it might rise again ^. Half
the tenth and fifteenth granted in 14 10 reached the sum of
£18,692, and although the charges upon it amounted to more
than £20,000, still the sum was not much smaller than it had
been in the prosperous days of Edward III ^. A statute of this
session directed a penalty to be exacted from the sheriffis who
did not hold the elections in legal form, and made the conduct of
the elections an article of inquiry before the justices of assize '.
On the 2nd of Ifay the king's counsellors were named, and all
except the prince took the oath required ^.

318. The administration of Thomas Beaufort, like that ofTheprince
his predecessor, lasted only two years ; and during this time takes the ,
it is very probable that the prince of Wales governed ooundl.
in his father's name. From the month of February, 14 10,
he appears as the chief member of the council ^ which fre-
quently met in the absence of the king, whose malady was
increasing and threatening to disable him altogether. The
chief point of foreign policy was the maintenance of Calais,
which was threatened by Burgundy, and had thus early begun
to be a constant drain on the resources of England. At
home the religious questions involved in the suppression of

* Rot PatL ill. 615. The gtatement made is that the subsidy on wool in
the fourteenth year of Richard brought in ;C 160,000 over and above other
■oaroes of revenue. It was estimated at £50,000 in 141 1 ; Ordinances, ii. 7.

* The half tenth and fifteenth is £18,692 190. %\d, ; Ordinances, i. 344,
345. The charges, £20.639 I5«. 2(i.; ib. p. 347: these include the sea-
guard, the East March, the West March, Wales, Guienne, and Roxburgh.
The estimate for Calais in time of peace was £18,000, in time of war
£21,000 a year; that of Ireland about £4500; ib. p. 352.

* Statutes, ii. 162 ; Rot. Pari. iii. 641.

* Rot Pari. iiL 632.

' The princess name appears as first in the council from December 1406.
Ordinanoes, i 295 ; of p. 313. A petition is addressed by Thomas of Lan-
caster to the prince and other loids of the king's council, June 1410 ; ib.
339. A parliamentary petition, granted by the king, ' respectuatur per
dominum principem et consilium;' Rot. ParL iii. 643. A council was
held at the Coldharbour Feb. 8, 1410 ; ib. i 329. The Goldharbour was
gliven to the prince. Mar. 18, 1410, and he was made captain of Calais
the same day ; Rymer, viiL 628. He had the wardship of the heirs of
Kortiiner; ib. pp. 591, 608, 639.

VOL- m. p r^ \

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66 Constitutional History. [chap.

Arundd the Lollards and the reconciliation of the schism were com-

againat

OxforcL plicated by a renewed attack of archbishop Arundel on the

university of Oxford ^ In an attempt to exercise his right
of visitation, he was repulsed by the chancellor Courtenay and
the proctors. The archbishop, availing himself of his personal
influence with the king, compelled these officers to resign ; but^ as
soon as the university could assert its liberty, they were re-elected,
and it was only after a formal mediation proffered by the prince
that the conflicting authorities were reconciled. It is more than
probable that Arundel's conduct led to a personal quarrel with
the prince, who was his great-nephew ; he does not seem to
have attended any meeting of the privy council during this
period, or to have lent any aid to the ministers in their attempts
Jj»io»MJe«^to raise money by loan. Long afterwards, in the reign of
ftuniiy. Henry VI, it was remembered how there had been a great
quarrel between the prince and the pfimate, and how the
etiquette observed in consequence constituted a precedent for
time to come ^. A new cause of offence appears in the conduct
of the king's second son. John Beaufort, the quondam marquess
of Dorset, died in April 1410, and, notwithstanding their rela-
tionship, Thomas of Lancaster obtained a dispensation for a
marriage with his uncle's widow. The bishop of Winchester
refused to divide with him a sum of 30,000 marks which he
had received as his brother's executor, and a quarrel ensued
between Thomas and the Beauforts, in which the prince of

The expedi. "^^Tales took the side of his uncle *. It was at this juncture that

tionofi4ii •'

to France, the duke of Burgundy, finding himself hard pressed by the

Orleanists, requested the aid of England. The prince of
Wales* supported his application; a matrimonial alliance be-
tween him and the duke's daughter was set on foot; and
the king furnished the duke with a considerable force ^ which

} W»l8. ii. 385.

* Ordinances, iii. 186.

» Chron. Henr. ed. GUes, p. 62 ; Rot. Pat. Cal. p. 259.

* Hardyng, p. 367 ; Rymer, viii. 698 gq. ; Ordinances, ii. 19 sq.

* The expedition was under the command of the earl of Aruudd, Sir John
Oldcastle and Gilbert Um&aville, called the earl of Kyme ; Chnm. Henr.
ed. Giles, p. 61.



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xvm.] Parliament of i^ii. 67

defeated the Orleanists at S. Cloud in NoTember 141 1, and

haying received their pay returned home. On the 3rd of

November the parliament met again ^

319. This assembly no doubt witnessed scenes which it wasPuiiament

not thought prudent to record; but on the evidence of the

extant rolls it is clear that it was not a pleasant session ; and

it is probable that the king, under the influence of Arundel or of

his second son, made a vigorous effort to shake off the Beauforts.

On the third day of the parliament, when Thomas Chaucer, the

speaker, made the usual protestation and claimed the usual

tolerance accorded to open speaking, the king bluntly told him

that he might speak as other speakers had spoken, but that he

would have no novelties in this parliament ^ Chaucer asked The speaker

has to
a day's respite, and made a very humble apology. The estates apologise.

showed themselves liberal, granting the subsidy on wool, tun-
nage and poundage^ and a new impost of six and eightpence on
every twenty pounds* worth of income from land '. Yet^ not-
withstanding their complaisance, they were obliged to petition
the king for a declaration that he esteemed them loyal: so
great was the murmuring among the people that he had grounds
of enmity against certain members of this and the last par- The estates
liament. Henry declared the estates to be loyal * : but, in refer- lo^

^ Rot. ParL ilL 647. The council had been busy with the estimates as
early as April ; there was a deficit of ^£3,924 6«. 5^ The household ex-
penses are £[6,000 ; Ordinances, ii. 11, 12, 14.

» Eot. Pari. ill. 648.

' Dep. K. Rep. ii. App. ii. p. 184 ; Rot. Pari. ill. 648, 671 ; Eulog. iii. 419.
On the 30U1 of November, 1410, the king ordered all persons holding forty
librates of land to receive knighthood before Feb. 2 ; Rymer, viii. 656.
The order to collect the fines thus accruing was issued May 20, 141 1 ; ib.
p. 685. The Canterbury clergy on the 21st of December granted a half
tenUi; Wilk. iii. 337. The York convocation followed, Ap. 29, 141 2;
ib. p. 338.

* Rot. Pari. Hi. 658. The language of the roll is mysteriouB. The king
■eot the chancellor to show the commons an article passed in the last par-
Uament. The speaker asked the king to say what he wanted to do with
itk Henry replied that he wished to enjoy the liberties and prerogatives of
his predec^sBors. The commons agreed and the king oanceUed the article.
The same day he declared the estates loyal. The article was possibly one
of t2ie two (Rot. Pari. iii. 624, 625) which compelled the king to devote
all his windMlfl to the payment of his debts, and forbade gifts. A letter
of the earl of Arundel to the archbishop, complaining of having been mia-
refweiented, probably belongs to the same buaineflB ; Ord. ii 117.

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68 Constitutional History. [chap.

At the end ence apparently to some restrictive measure adopted in the last

of the session .

the ministry parliament, he announced that he intended to maintain all the

privileges and prerogatives of his predecessors. The parliament
broke up on the 19th of December; on the 22nd a general
pardon was issued^; and on the 5th of January, 141 2, Beaufort
resigned the seals ^. The annalists of the period supply an im-
perfect clue to guide us through these obscurities. "We are told
that the Beauforts had advised the prince to obtain his father's
consent to resign the crown, and to allow him to be crowned
The prince in his stead ' ; that the king indignantly refused ; and that in
consequence the prince retired from court and council, his
J[J®^B^^ brother Thomas taking his place. It is to be observed that
*»»•»• many years later, when Bishop Beaufort was charged by Hum-

frey of Gloucester with having conspired against the life of

^ Bymer, viii. 711. Owen Glendower, and Thomas Ward of Trumping-
ton, who personated Richard II, were excepted.

« Rot. Pari. iii. 658.

* * In quo parliamento H^iricuB princepe desideravit a patre suo regni
et coronae resignationem, eo quod pater ratione aegritudinis non potent
circa honorem et utilitatem regni ulterius lahorare. Sed sihi in hoc noluit
penituB aasentire, immo regnum cum corona et pertinentiiB dummodo
habiiret spiritus vi tales voluit guhemare. Unde princeps quodammodo
cum buIb consiliariis aggravatus recessit et posterius quasi pro majori parte
Angliae omnes proceres suo dominio in homagio et stipendio copulavit;'
Chron. ed. Giles, p. 63. ' Interea dominus Henricus princeps offensus regis
faniiliaribus, qui ut fertur seminaverunt discordiam inter patrem et filium,
scripsit ad omnes regni partes, nitens repellere cunctas detractorum
maohinationes. Et ut fidem manifestiorem fibceret praemissorum, circa festum
Petri et Pauli venit ad regem patrem cum amicorum maxima firequentia et
obsequentium turba qualis non antea visa fiierit his diebus. Post parvissimi
temporis spatium gratulabunde susceptus est a rege patre, a quo hoc \mum
petiit ut delatores sui si oonvinci possent punirentur, non quidem juxta
meritum sed post compertum mendacium citra condignum. Rex vero
poetulanti videbatur annuere, sed tempus asseruit expectari debere parlia*
menti, videlicet, ut hii tales parium suorum judicio punirentur;* Otter-
bourne, p. ayi. According to the Chronicle of London the prince came to
London with a great retinue iu July 141 a and attended council on Sept.
a3, ' with a huge people * ; Chron. Lond. p. 94 ; Stow, Chr. p. 339. * Eodem
autein anno facta fuit conventio inter principem Henricum primogenitum
regis, Henricum episcopum WIntoniensem et alios quasi omnes dominos
Angliae, uter ipsorum adloqueretur regem ut redderet coronam Angliae, et
permitteret primogenitum suum ooronari, pro eo quod erat ita horribiHter
aspersus lepra. Quo allocuto ad consilium quorundam dominorum oedere
noluit sed statim equitavit per magnam partem Angliae non obstante lepra
supradicta * ; Eulog. iii. 421. Some other authorities are given in Mr.
WilliamB* Preface to the Gesta Henrici Y. Of. English Chronide, ed.
Davies, p. 37 ; Klaham, ed. Heame, p. 11.



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xvm.] Arundel again Chancellor. 69

Henry V, and having stirred him up to assume the crown
daring his father's lifetime, he solemnly denied the former
charge, but was much more reticent as to the latter^. It' can
scarcely be doubted that the matter had been broached, and pos-
sibly had been proposed in parliament on the first day of the
session, which seems to have been opened whilst the king was
absent through illness, although on the third day he was able
to receive and rebuke the speaker. But whatever were theAnmdel
circumstances, the result is clear ; Beaufort resigned the seals, power, and
Arundel returned to power; very soon afterwards the prince policy is
ceased to attend the council^; almost immediately the king
transferred his friendship from the duke of Burgundy to the
duke of Orleans, and sent an army to his assistance under
Thomas, who in preparation for his command was made duke
of Clarence. The dates of these transactions are tolerably clear.
On the 5th of January Arundel took the seals; on the i8th of
February the prince received payment of his salary for the
time that he bad served on the council : negotiations were still
pending with Burgundy. On the i8th of May the king con-
cluded his league with Orleans, the prince withholding his
consent for two days longer. On the 9th of July Thomas was
made duke of Clarence. Money for the expedition was raised by Second
loan'. The result of Clarence's enterprise was neither honourable toftance.
nor fortunate ; finding that the contending parties had united
against him, he ravaged Normandy and Quienne, and was
bought off at last by Orleans. It would appear that the enemies Attack on
of the prince of "Wales were not content with dislodging him of Wales.
from power; they brought against him a slanderous charge of
receiving large sums for the wages of the Calais garrison, and

' Rot. Pari. iv. 298 ; see below, pp. 105, 104; Hall, Chr. p. 133.

^ *Then the king discharged toe prince of his coonsayle, and set my
lord syr Thooias in bis stede.* Hardyng, p. 369.

On the i8th of Feb. 141a, Henry received looo marks as his wages
'tempoK quo fiiit de oonsilio ipsius domini regis'; Pell Rolls; Tyler,
Henry of Monmouth, i. 398. For the story of Henry carrying off his
feUier's crown, see Wavrin, p. 159.

' Bymer, yiii. 757* Archbishop Amndel lent 1000 marks for the ex-
pedition, Jnly 13; ib. p. 760; Ordin. ii. 33. The bishop of Winchester
was not asked to lend.



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70



Constitutional History,



[chap.



IllnesBof
the king.



Ue calls a
parliament
and dies.



not paying them. The matter came before the council, and the
charge was disproved *.

320. In the autumn of 141 2 the king became so ill that his
death was expected ; he had periods of insensibility, and was
much troubled in mind as well as in body. It is even possible
that the action of an ill-informed conscience, working upon
a diseased frame, made him look back with something like
remorse on the great act of his life. He had intended too to
go once more on crusade^, and had made great preparations,
hoarding perhaps for the purpose even when money was most
scarce. If his illness were to result in death, it would be a
sign that his great atonement was not accepted. It was said
that he professed that he would have resigned the crown to the
right heirs but for fear of his sons, who would not part with
their inheritance': anyhow he must have shuddered when he
thought of the bloodshed with which his throne had been
secured. After a very dangerous attack, however, at Christmas,
1 41 2, he rallied, and even called his parliament to meet on the
3rd of February *, The parliament met on that day, but it is
not certain that it was formally opened ; no record of its action
is preserved ; and on the 20th of March the king died. He iiias
buried in Canterbury, the great sanctuary of the English nation,
near his uncle the Black Prince,

This summary survey of the reign opens some important
questions for which it furnishes no adequate answer. There



* Ordinances, ii. 54, 35 ; Elmkam, ed. Heame, p. 11.

' Nov. 20, 1413, a council was held at WhitefriArs to prepare for the
cmsade; Fabyan, p. 576; Hall, Chron. p. 45; Rastall, p. 344; Leland,
OoU. ii. 487.

' John Tille the king's confessor moved him to do penance for the murder
of Richard, the death of Scrope, and the pretended title to the crown ;
he replied that on the first two points he had satisfied the pope and been
absolved ; ' as for the third point it is hard to set remedy, for my children
will not suffer that the regaUa go out of our lineage.' Capgr. Chr. p. 303.
The author, however, who tells this story to Edward IV, in an earlier work
puts some very pious advice to his son in the dying king*s mouth, and says
nothing about penance ; Capgr. 111. Henr. p. iii. Hardyng (p. 369) gives
a dying speech, but says that the king said nothing about either repentance
or restitution. Stow, p. 340, on the other hand, has a speech full of peni-
tence, especially warning Henry against the ambition of Clarence.

* Lords* Report, iv. 813.



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xvin.] Poverty and Disaffection. 71

are two hostile and most dangerous influences at work during Oaoses of
the first half of it; the extraordinary poverty of the country, ties of the
and, partly resulting from it, the singular amount of treason and*^*"'
insubordination which reached its highest point in the rebellion
of the Percies. Of the first of these it is now impossible to say
how far it was real or how £eu* fictitious : it is possible that the
country was now beginning to realise fully the result of the long-
continued drain caused by the wars of Edward III and the ex-
travagance of Richard II : it is possible that the public feeling of
insecurity had led men to hoard their silver and gold, instead of
contributing to the support of a government which they did not
believe to be stable. Whichever be the true hypothesis, the Poverty of
king's poverty and the national distress served to augment dis-
affection : the hostile action of the Percies was unquestionably
caused by financial as well as political disputes. The second
evil influence was in great measure the result of Henry's ill
lack, his inability to close the Welsh war, and the tardiness
of his preparations against France and Scotland. The moment DimflRection
his personal popularity waned, the popular hatred of Richard
began to diminish also; the mystery of his death gave open-
ing for a semi-legendary belief that he was still alive ; and that
£aith, whether fiedse or genuine, became a rallying point for the
disaffected, the last cry of desperate men like Northumberland
and Bardolf. Welcome as Henry's coming had been, violence
had been done to the conscience of the nation, and it needed
only misfortune to stimulate it into remorse for the past and
misgiving for the future. And there were physical evils to
boot, famines and plague. There was the religious division to
complicate matters still more; for Richard's court had been
inclined to LoUardy, while Henry, imder whatever temporary in-
fluence he acted, was hostile to the heretics. Yet on the whole Work of
Henry left behind him a strongly founded throne, and a national
power vastly greater than that which he had received at his
coronation. And some portion of the credit is due to him
personally: he was not fortunate in war; he outlived his early
popularity; he was for years a miserable invalid ; yet he reigned
as a constitutional kmg; he governed by the help of his



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7a Constitutional History, [chap.

strength < parliament^ with the executive aid of a council over which par-
liament both claimed and exercised control. Never before and



never again for more than two hundred years were the commons

so strong as they were under Henry IV ; and, in spite of the

dynastic question, the nation itself was strong in the determined

action of the parliament. The reign, with all its mishaps,

exhibits to us a new dynasty making good its position, although

based on a title in the validity of which few believed and which

fewer still understood; notwithstanding extreme distress for

money, and in spite of much treachery and disaffection. All the

intelligent knowledge of the needs of the nation, all the real belief

in the king's title, is centered in the knights of the shire ; there

is much treason outside, but none within the walls of the house

wr*h?^ of commons. The highest intelligence, on the whole, however,

AnmdeL is plainly seen to be Arundel's, and next to his, although in

opposition for the time, that of the prince of Wales. The

archbishop knows how to rule the commons and how to guide

the king ; he believes in the right of the dynasty, and, apart

from his treatment of the heretics, realises the true relation of

king and people. If his views of the relation of Church and

State, as seen in his leading of the convocation, are open to

exception, he cannot be charged with truckling to the court of

Rome.

Ch^<Jter 321. The reign of Henry IV had exemplified the truth that

of Henry IV, a king acting in constitutional relations with his parliament

may withstand and overcome any amount of domestic difficulty.

He had known when to yield and when to insist^ and thus,

in spite of the questionable character of his title, much ill

success, harassing poverty, unwearied and unsuspected treasons,

bad seasons, and bad health, he had laid the foundations of a

strong national dynasty. His parliamentary action was one

long struggle, but it was a struggle fairly conducted, and he,

as well as the parliament, stood by the constitutional com-

in relation promise, maintained the constitutional balance. The history of

to that of _- , , ,

Henry V. Henry V exhibits to us a king acting throughout his reign in the

closest harmony with his parliament, putting himself forward

as the first man of a nation fairly at one with itself on all



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XVIII.] Character of Henry V. 73

political questions, a leader in heart and soul worthy of Eng-
land, and crowning his leadership with ample signal successes.
Henry IV, striving lawfully, had made his own house strong ;
Henry V, leading the forces with which his fether had striven,
made England the first power in Europe. There were deep and
fatal sources of weakness in his great designs, but that weakness
was not in his position at home ; it was not constitutional weak-
ness, although the result which it precipitated went a long way



Online LibraryWilliam StubbsThe constitutional history of England in its origin and development, Volume 3 → online text (page 8 of 68)