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The Parliament, partaking of Henry's impetuous ambition, but without the prudence which directed it, had no sooner been apprised by the speech or sermon of the chancellor, Bishop of Winton, that peace must be conquered by the sword, and that the war must be vigorously supported, than they granted two tenths and two fifteenths to be paid on all lay property at Candlemas and Martinmas next; but in consideration of the accelerated payment enacted the year before, and which was probably felt to be burthensome, a condition was annexed, that the levy of this new aid should in no manner of way be advanced, and that no other impost whatever should be laid on. A very important provision was, however, added, that the last instalment of one-fourth1 might be pledged for the repayment of such sums as any corporate bodies, prelates, or private individuals might lend to the King; and this in all probability is the origin of the loans which have formed so large and so fatal an article of our finances—loans which are made on the security of taxes, and by authority of Parliament;2 and which, if they have occasionally proved of signal service under the pressure of great emergencies, have been the fruitful source of wars, of public extravagance, and of burthens hardly to be endured by the most wealthy, as they are hardly to be approved by the most unreflecting, people.
The clergy were not behind the rest of the king
1 Half a tenth and half a fifteenth, payable Martinmas, 1417. « Note XL. 4
dom in testifying their disposition to co-operate in the execution of Henry's ambitious projects. The April 29 Convocation met when the Regent1 assem
1415. bled the Parliament, and granted a tenth for the support of the war, which had from the first been a favourite good work with these ministers of April l, peace. When the King afterwards brought 1416- them together, in the following spring, beside advancing the payment of that subsidy six Nov.9, months, they granted a second; and on 1416- their meeting in November they gave two more tenths, at the earnest request of the Bishop of Winton; so that they thus, within less than twelve months, taxed themselves for the military service of the State to the amount of no less than two-fifths of their whole personal property. They, indeed, were at this time in a more than ordinary accordance with the views of the civil power; for, beside their desire to find occupation for the prince and his barons, and to turn away all men's minds from the design cherished by the new sect against Church property, the King entirely agreed with them respecting the Schism of the Papacy, and the course to be pursued in consequence of that event, both at home and at the Council of Constance.
It was thought to afford a favourable opportunity for enforcing the laws made against provisors,2 that is, against all interference of the Roman See' with Church patronage in the hands of spiritual persons. The statutes made to restrain this usurpation, first by Edward I., at the close of his reign,2 afterwards by his son, and still more by his grandson,3 had been further enforced in the reigns of Richard II.4 and Henry IV. ;5 and the severe penalties of outlawry, forfeiture, and imprisonment, comprised in the process of praemunire, had failed to put down the practice of obtaining provisions or presentations to livings already full, and thereby disturbing the lawful possessors both of the patronage and the incumbency. Henry now took advantage of the Great Schism to promote a bill for still further enforcing the former acts; and a law was accordingly made, declaring all provisions void, denouncing the statutory penalties against all provisors or purchasers of such presentations, directing the process of praemunire against them; and further, giving treble damages to those who should sue out that process.
1 Bedford was termed only the king's lieutenant, the queen being regent, or custos regni—but he had all the power. * Provisors were the persons who obtained and used provisions.
It is to be observed, however, that the restriction of the Pope's patronage had been found to lessen the number of learned men in the Church, and the Commons besought the King to afford some relief to the students of the two Universities, aggrieved by their exclusion from Church preferment. But, instead of
1 3 Hen. V., St. 2, c. iv. Note XLI.
* 35 Ed. I., c. i. St. 2 (of Carlisle, made just before his death).
» 25 Ed. III., St. 4.
4 13 Ric. II., c. ii., iii.; 10 Ric. n. c. v.
s 7 Heu. IV , c. viii.; 2 Hen. IV., c. iii.; 9 Hen. IV., o. viii.
promoting a law to this effect, Henry referred the whole matter to the spiritual peers, who promised to provide some remedy;1 and the Convocation made an ordinance that alternate presentations should be bestowed on graduates. The King's favour towards the clergy was plainly evinced in this proceeding.
A further grace was shown to them by his obtaining an act which prohibited the preferment of Irish priests to livings or dignities in Ireland, and also forbade, under severe penalties, the bringing any native Irish as servants to attend prelates in the Irish Parliament.2 This statute, like one made at the beginning of the reign for driving all Irishmen, with a few exceptions, out of England, sets forth that the Irish are all enemies of the King and his realm.3
Finally, the Schism gave a fair occasion for at once declaring by statute that, while the vacancy of the Apostolic See continued, all dignities requiring papal confirmation should be validly holden, if the election were confirmed by the Metropolitan within whose province the dioceses were situated.4
Equally acceptable to the clergy was the conduct of Henry with respect to the Council of Constance. Indeed his intimate friendship with Sigismund, now ripened into an alliance, formed of itself a claim to the favour of the Church, to terminate whose scan1 Hot. Pari., iv. 82.
* Ibid., iv. 102.
* 1 Hen. V., c. viii.; explained by 2 Hen. VI., c. vii. The words used are, "shall be voided forth." * 3 Hen. V., c. xi. Rot. Pari., iv. 71.
dalous and perilous Schism that prince had devoted all his energies. The choice of the place of meeting, so material to the result in a case of this kind, had been entirely forced by him upon John XXIII., the only one of the three competitors whose election was valid. In order to remove this formidable obstacle to the operations of the Council, Sigismlmd had forgotten that to John he owed the imperial dignity; had sided with France against him in making him resign; had, upon his repenting and escaping, joined Frederick of Austria, with whom he took refuge, and who betrayed him; had kept him a close prisoner while the Council tried him upon charges, of which some were wholly fictitious, some wholly irrelevant; and had joined that body in deposing him Mftv 2y by a formal sentence, contrary to the law 1415of the Roman See. So vehement a zeal for the peace of the Church recommended Sigismund, and with him his ally of England, to the whole body of the clergy. But Henry, by the line which he instructed his ambassador to take at the Council, still further ingratiated himself with the English hierarchy. A dispute arose upon the claims of the English clergy to form a separate body or nation with a vote in the deliberations, the resolution having been taken at the beginning, to vote not individually but by nations. The inclination rather was to insist upon England being classed with the northern kingdoms under Germany, while Italy, France, and afterwards Spain, were admitted to have each a separate voice. But Henry's