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issued his writ for his execution ;' and the unhappy man atoned for his opinions by the penalty of fire.” This is the first instance of that kind in England.2

The next and last statute is directed against the Lollards by name. It states that “great rumours, congregations, and insurrections of people of the sect of heresy commonly called Lollardry, were of late made to subvert the Christian faith, and the law of God, and holy Church, to destroy the king and all the estates of the realm, and also all manner of policy, and finally the laws of the realm ;" and it required the chancellor, judges, sheriffs, and all officers having governance of people, to take an oath to use all their power and diligence to destroy the heresies called Lollardries. It directed that persons convicted should forfeit their lands and goods ; that the judges and justices of the peace should have power to inquire of heretics, and to order the sheriffs to arrest them; and as the cognizance of heresy belonged to the judges of holy Church and not to the secular judges, to send them in safeguard to the ordinaries, or to their commissaries, to be acquit or convict, after the laws of holy Church.3


Rymer, vol. viii. p. 178.

· Hume's History, cap. 18. 8 2 Henry V., cap. 7. The intent of the heretics called Lollards, etc., A.D. 1415.



A.D. 1485–1509. Reigned 24 years.

The Sixteenth Century.—Union of York and Lancaster.—Henry, Duke

of Richmond, crowned King.–Temporal Peers in a Minority.–First Parliament.—The Crown entailed on his Heirs. His Marriage.Supplies granted for War.—Benevolence.—Morton's Fork.-Statutes. --Allegiance to a King de facto, settled as a Constitutional Principle.—Court of Star-chamber.-Its Constitution and Power.—Prince Arthur.–His Marriage with Katherine of Arragon.-His Death. Prince Henry.--His Contract of Marriage with Katherine.--Marriage of Lady Margaret with the King of Scots.--General Laws.

WE now approach the sixteenth century, the commencement of which may be marked as the epoch of modern history. We behold a flood of light shed upon the nation, more remarkable even than that which illuminates the nineteenth century, because more contrasted with antecedent darkness. Printing, the art most productive of knowledge and freedom, had been invented in Germany, and introduced into Eng. land by Caxton. It was soon employed to dispel the ignorance that prevailed, and produced what is termed the revival of letters ;' and in defiance of the opposition of priests and monks, it gave to the people of England a possession next in importance to revelation itself,—the Bible translated by Tyndal into the English tongue. The application of the magnet to the purposes of navigation, in the same century, coincided nearly with the discovery of America, and of the passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope; and by the certainty which that invention contributed to

of war.

the science of navigation, those distant countries opened new sources of commerce, and became places of colonization for our adventurous countrymen. Gunpowder also superseded the ancient weapons, and caused a great revolution in the art

The union of the Roses had terminated the bloody strife of the houses of York and Lancaster. The Reformation began to dawn; and we shall, hereafter, have to notice the effect of its full lustre on the civil and religious freedom of the English people.

The defeat and death of Richard III., in the battle of Bosworth-field, on the 22nd of August, 1485, afforded an opportunity of uniting the two factions of York and Lancaster, by the marriage of a king of the house of Lancaster with a queen of the house of York. The nation, worn out by civil war, gladly accepted that arrangement; and Henry Tudor, Duke of Richmond, with a defective hereditary title, and chiefly as the leader of a victorious army, who proclaimed him king on the field of battle, was advanced to the throne as Henry VII., on a preceding agreement, that he should marry the Princess Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV." He himself would have desired to rest his right to the crown on hereditary right, or conquest, in preference either to a matrimonial or a parliamentary title; and he took care that his coronation, which took place on the 13th of October, 1485, should precede both his marriage, and the assembling of parliament. The revulsion from civil war and anarchy to tyranny, is so frequent a lesson of history, that we are not surprised at the absolute authority he obtained ; an authority which continued unabated during the reigns of his son, and grandchildren. But there is one redeeming circumstance, that the Tudor monarchs never employed their power to put aside the representative element of the government; and if parliament was often cowed and overawed, there was no systematic attempt to supersede it. The destruction of the nobility in the civil wars, by lower

1 Lord Bacon's Life of Henry VII., Spedding's ed. p. 29.




ing the power of the aristocracy, placed Henry VII. in a condition to acquire and exercise absolute power. The number of the temporal peers was reduced by the wars to about forty. The spiritual peers were, therefore, during his reign, the majority of the Upper House; and, by their means, he maintained a predominant influence there. “He kept,” says Lord Bacon, “a strait hand on his nobility; and chose rather to advance clergymen and lawyers, which were more obsequious to him, but had less interest in the people; which made for his absoluteness, but not for his safety. For his nobles, though they were loyal and obedient, did not co-operate with him, but let every man go his own


His first parliament met on the 7th of November, 1485. The king addressed them in a short speech, and told them that he was come to take possession of the crown of England, as well by his just title of inheritance, as by God's true judgment in giving him the victory over his enemy in the open field. The crown was settled on him and the heirs of his body, without reference to his promised marriage ; and thus he succeeded in the chief end of his calling the parliament, to have the crown entailed on himself. The statute was confirmed by the Pope's bull in the following year, so that,” observes Lord Bacon,“ to his three titles of the two houses and conquest, were added two, the authorities parliamentary and papal, which made it a wreath of five." 4 The speaker, afterwards, in the most humble and respectful manner, besought him to espouse and take to his bed the Princess Elizabeth. The speaker having ended, the lords spiritual and temporal, rising from their seats, made the same request; and the king, with his own mouth, answered, that he was willing to do as they desired him.5

In the beginning of the year 1486, the king solemnized

I Lord Bacon's Life of Henry VII., p. 242.
2 Rot. Parl., 1 Henry VII., p. 268.
3 Bacon's Henry VII., p. 37.

4 Idem.
5 Rot. Parl., 1 Henry VII. Parl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 418.

66 The

his marriage with the Princess Elizabeth, which, although designed to exclude all other titles, did not prevent this reign from being much disturbed by claimants or pretenders to the throne, and insurrections to support them. These, however, do not fall within the limits of our design.

Henry held seven parliaments in the course of his reign of twenty-four years. Every parliament granted him supplies or subsidies. His first parliament granted him tonnage and poundage for his life. He made his wars the ground of the subsidies he required; and did not disdain to submit to parliament, the expediency of the wars. In the second parliament, that met on the 9th of November, 1488, Thomas Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor, declared the cause of its being summoned. The French king had made hot war' on the Duke of Brittany. king prayeth your advice, which is no other but whether he shall enter into an auxiliary and defensive war for the Bretons against France-making, however, no conclusion or judgment of any point until his grace hath received your faithful and politic advices.” This parliament not only advised the king to espouse the cause of the Duke of Brittany (to prevent the increase of the power of France), and to send him some speedy aid, but they unanimously voted a large supply for that purpose.?

Another parliament met on the 17th of October, 1491, in which the king in person again laid the question of war with France before the parliament. He recommended the war, not for a few crowns of tribute or acknowledgment, but to try our right to the crown of France itself. He asked supply. “But for the matter of treasure, let it not be taken from the poorer sort, but from those to whom the benefit of the war may redound. France is no wilderness ; and I that profess good husbandry, hope to make the war (after the beginnings) to pay itself. Go, therefore, in God's

1 This was not effected by a statute, but by an indenture presented to him by the commons in parliament. (Rot. Parl., 1 Henry VII.)

? Bacon's Henry VII., p. 77.

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