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730 PROCEEDINGS IN PARLIAMENT AGAINST THE LORD CHANCELLOR.
swered that he was sick, and protested that he feigned not this for any excuse; for if he had been well he would willingly have come.
The lords resolved to proceed notwithstanding against the said lord chancellor; and therefore, on Thursday the third day of May, their lordships sent their message unto the commons to this purpose, namely, That the lords are ready to give judgment against the lord viscount St. Alban, lord chancellor, if they with their speaker will come to demand it. And the commons being come, the speaker came to the bar, and making three low obeisances, said:
"The knights, citizens, and burgesses, of the commons house of parliament, have made complaints unto your lordships of many exorbitant offences of bribery and corruption committed by the lord chancellor; we understand that your lordships are ready to give judgment upon him for the same; wherefore I their speaker, in their name, do humbly demand, and pray judgment against him the lord chancellor, as the nature of his offence and demerits do require."
The lord chief justice answered,
"Upon complaint of the commons against the viscount St. Alban, lord chancellor, this high court hath hereby, and by his own confession, found him guilty of the crimes and corruptions complained of by the commons, and of sundry other crimes and corruptions of the like nature.
"And therefore this high court, having first summoned him to attend, and having his excuse of not attending by reason of infirmity and sickness, which, he protested, was not feigned, or else he would most willingly have attended; doth nevertheless think fit to proceed to judgment; and therefore this high court doth adjudge,
"I. That the lord viscount St Alban, lord
during the king's pleasure.
come within the verge of the court "This is the judgment and resolution of thU high court."
THE HISTORY OF THE REIGN
KING HENRY THE SEVENTH.
TO THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS AND MOST EXCELLENT PRINCE CHARLES, Prince Of Wales, Duke Op Cornwall, Earl Of Chester, Etc.
It May Please Your Highness,
In part of my acknowledgment to your Highness, I have endeavoured to do honour to the memory of the last king of England, that was ancestor to the king your father and yourself; and was that king to whom both unions may in a sort refer: that of the roses being in him consummate, and that of the kingdoms by him begun: besides, his times deserve it. For he was a wise man, and an excellent king; and yet the times were rough and full of mutations, and rare accidents. And it is with times, as it is with ways: some are more up-hill and down-hill, and some are more fiat and plain; and the one is better for the liver, and the other for the writer. I have not flattered him, but took him to life as well as I could, sitting so far off, and having no better light. It is true your Highness hath a living pattern, incomparable, of the king your father: but it is not amiss for you also to see one of these ancient pieces. God preserve your Highness.
Your Highness's most humble and devoted servant,
FRANCIS ST. ALBAN.
After that Richard, the third of that name, king in fact only, but tyrant both in title and regiment, and so commonly termed and reputed in all times since, was by the Divine revenge favouring the design of an exiled man, overthrown and slain at Bosworth-field; there succeeded in the kingdom the earl of Richmond, thenceforth styled Henry the seventh. The king immediately after the victory, as one that had been bred under a devout mother, and was in his nature a great observer of religious forms, caused " Te Deum laudamus " to be solemnly sung in the presence of the whole army upon the place, and was himself with general applause and great cries of joy, in a kind of military election or recognition, saluted king. Meanwhile the body of Richard, after many indignities and reproaches, the diriges and obsequies of the common people towards tyrants, was obscurely buried. For though the king of his nobleness gave charge unto the
friars of Leicester to see an honourable interment to be given to it, yet the religious people themselves, being not free from the humours of the vulgar, neglected it; wherein nevertheless they did not then incur any man's blame or censure: no man thinking any ignominy or contumely unworthy of him that had been the executioner of king Henry the sixth, that innocent prince, with his own hands; the contriver of the death of the duke of Clarence his brother; the murderer of his two nephews, one of them his lawful king in the present, and the other in the future, failing of him; and vehemently suspected to have been the impoisoner of his wife, thereby to make vacant his bed, for a marriage within the degrees forbidden. And although he were a prince in military virtue approved, jealous of the honour of the English nation, and likewise a good law-maker, for the ease and solace of the common people; yet his cruelties and parricides, in the
opinion of all men, weighed down his virtues and merits; and, in the opinion of wise men, even those virtues themselves were conceived to be rather feigned and affected things to serve his ambition, than true qualities ingenerate in his judgment or nature. And therefore it was noted by men of great understanding, who seeing his after-acts, looked back upon his former proceedings, that even in the time of king Edward his brother he was not without secret trains and mines to turn envy and hatred upon his brother's government; as having an expectation and a kind of divination, that the king, by reason of his many disorders, could not be of long life, but was like to leave his sons of tender years; and then he knew well, how easy a step it was, from the place of a protector, and first prince of the blood, t6 the crown. And that out of this deep root of ambition it sprung, that as well at the treaty of peace that passed between Edward the fourth and Lewis the eleventh of France concluded by interview of both kings at Piqueny, as upon all other occasions, Richard, then duke of Gloucester, stood ever upon the side of honour, raising his own reputation to the disadvantage of the king his brother, and drawing the eyes of all, especially of the nobles and soldiers, upon himself; as if the king, by his voluptuous life and mean marriage, were become effeminate and less sensible of honour and reason of slate than was fit for a king. And as for the politic and wholesome laws which were enacted in his time, they were interpreted to be but the brokage of an usurper, thereby to woo and win the hearts of the people, as being conscious to himself, that the true obligations of sovereignty in him failed, and were wanting. But king Henry, in the very entrance of his reign, and the instant of time when the kingdom was cast into his arms, met with a point of great difficulty, and knotty to solve, able to trouble and confound the wisest king in the newness of his estate; and so much the more, because it could not endure a deliberation, but must be at once deliberated and determined. There were fallen to his lot, and concurrent in his person, three several titles to the imperial crown. The first, the title of the lady Elizabeth, with whom by precedent pact with the party that brought him in, he was to marry. The second, the ancient and long disputed title both by plea and arms, of the house of Lancaster, to which he was inheritor in his own person. The third, the title of the sword or conquest, for that he came in by victory of battle, and that the king in possession was slain in the field. The first of these was fairest, and most like to give contentment to the people, who by two and twenty years' reign of king Edward the fourth had been fully made capable of the clearness of the title of the white rose, or house of York; and by the mild and plausible reign of the same king towards his latter time, were become affectionate to that line. But then it lay plain before his eyes, that if he relied upon that title, he could be but a king at courtesy, and have rather a matrimonial than a regal power; the right remaining in his queen, upon whose decease, either with issue or without issue, he was to give place and be re
moved. And though he should obtain by parliament to be continued, yet he knew there was a very great difference between a king that holdeth his crown by a civil act of estates, and one that holdeth it originally by the law of nature and descent of blood. Neither wanted there even at that time secret rumours and whisperings, which afterwards gathered strength and turned to great troubles, that the two young sons of king Edward the fourth, or one of them, which were said to be destroyed in the Tower, were not indeed murdered, but conveyed secretly away, and were yet living: which, if it had been true, had prevented the title of the lady Elizabeth. On the other side, if he stood upon his own title of the house of Lancaster, inherent in his person, he knew it was a title condemned by parliament, and generally prejudged in the common opinion of the realm, and that it tended directly to the disinherison of the line of York, held then the indubitate heirs of the crown. So that if he should have no issue by the lady Elizabeth, which should be descendants of the double line, then the ancient flames of discord and intestine wars, upon the competition of both houses, would again return and revive.
As for conquest, notwithstanding Sir William Stanley, after some acclamations of the soldiers in the field, had put a crown of ornament, which Richard wore in the battle, and was found amongst the spoils, upon king Henry's head, as if there were his chief title; yet he remembered well upon what conditions and agreements he was brought in; and that to claim as conqueror, was to put as well his own party, as the rest, into terror and fear; as that which gave him power of disannulling of laws, and disposing of men's fortunes and estates, and the like points of absolute power, being in themselves so harsh and odious, as that William himself, commonly called the Conqueror, howsoever he used and exercised the power of a conqueror to reward his Normans, yet he forbore to use that claim in the beginning, but mixed it with a titulary pretence, grounded upon the will and designation of Edward the Confessor. But the king, out of the greatness of his own mind, presently cast the die; and the inconveniences appearing unto him on all parts, and knowing there could not be any interreign, or suspension of title, and preferring his affection to his own line and blood, and liking that title best which made him independent; and being in his nature and constitution of mind not very apprehensive or forecasting of future events afar off, but an entertainer of fortune by the day; resolved to rest upon the title of Lancaster as the main, and to use the other two, that of marriage, and that of battle, but as supporters, the one to appease secret discontents, and the other to beat down open murmur and dispute: not forgetting that the same title of Lancaster had formerly maintained a possession of three descents in the crown; and might have proved a perpetuity, had it not ended in the weakness and inability of the last prince. Whereupon the king presently that very day, being the two and twentieth of August, assumed the style of king in his own name, without mention of the lady Elizabeth at all, or any relation thereunto. In which course he ever after persisted: which did spin him a thread of many seditions and troubles. The king, full of these thoughts, before his departure from Leicester, despatched Sir Robert Willoughby to the castle of Sheriff-Hutton in Yorkshire, where were kept in safe custody, by king Richard's commandment, both the lady Elizabeth, daughter of king Edward, and Edward Plantagenet, son and heir to George, duke of Clarence. This Edward was by the king's warrant delivered from the constable of the castle to the hand of Sir Robert Willoughby: and by him with all safety and diligence conveyed to the Tower of London, where he Whs shut up close prisoner. Which act of the king's, being an act merely of policy and power, proceeded not so much from any apprehension he had of Doctor Shaw's tale at Paul's cross for the bastarding of Edward the fourth's issues, in which case this young gentleman was to succeed, for that fable was ever exploded, but upon a settled disposition to depress all eminent persons of the line of York. Wherein still the king out of strength of will, or weakness of judgment, did use to show a little more of the parly than of the king.
For the lady Elizabeth, she received also a direction to repair with all convenient speed to London, and there to remain with the queen dowager her mother; which accordingly she soon after did, accompanied with many noblemen and ladies of honour. In the mean season the king set forward by easy journeys to the city of London, receiving the acclamations and applauses of the people as he went, which indeed were true and unfeigned, as might well appear in the very demonstrations and fulness of the cry. For they thought generally, that he was a prince, as ordained and sent down from heaven, to unite and put to an end the long dissensions of the two houses; which although they had had, in the times of Henry the fourth, Henry the fifth, and a part of Henry the sixth, on the one side, and the times of Edward the fourth on the other, lucid intervals and happy pauses; yet they did ever hang over the kingdom, ready to break forth into new perturbations and calamities. And as his victory gave him the knee, so his purpose of marriage with the lady Elizabeth gave him the heart; so that both knee and heart did truly bow before him.
He on the other side with great wisdom, not ignorant of the affections and fears of the people, to disperse the conceit and terror of a conquest, had given order, that there should be nothing in his journey like unto a warlike march or manner; but rather like unto the progress of a king in full peace and assurance.
He entered the city upon a Saturday, as he had also obtained the victory upon a Saturday; which day of the week, first upon an observation, and after upon memory and fancy, he accounted and chose as a day prosperous unto him.
The mayor and companies of the city received him at Shoreditch; whence with great and honourable attendance, and troops of noblemen, and persons of quality, he entered the city; himself not being on horseback, or in any open chair or throne, but in a close chariot, as one that having been sometimes an
enemy to the whole state, and a proscribed person, chose rather to keep state, and strike a reverence into the people, than to fawn upon them.
He went first into St. Paul's church, where, not meaning that the people should forget too soon that he came in by battle, he made offertory of his standards, and had orisons and " Te Deum " again sung; and went to his lodging prepared in the bishop of London's palace, where he stayed for atime.
During his abode there, he assembled his council and other principal persons, in presence of whom he did renew again his promise to marry with the lady Elizabeth. This he did the rather, because having at his coming out of Britain given artificially, for serving his own turn, some hopes, in case he obtained the kingdom, to marry Anne, inheritress to the duchy of Britain, whom Charles the eighth of France soon after married, it bred some doubt and suspicion amongst divers that he was not sincere, or at least not fixed in going on with the match of England so much desired: which conceit also, though it were but talk and discourse, did much afflict the poor lady Elizabeth herself. But howsoever he both truly intended it, and desired it, and desired also it should be so believed, the better to extinguish envy and contradiction to his other purposes, yet was he resolved in himself not to proceed to the consummation thereof, till his coronation and a parliament were past. The one, lest a joint coronation of himself and his queen might give any countenance of participation of title; the other, lest in the entailing of the crown to himself, which he hoped to obtain by parliament, the votes of the parliament might any ways reflect upon her.
About this time in autumn, towards the end of September, there began and reigned in the city, and other parts of the kingdom, a disease then,new: which by the accidents and manner thereof they called the sweating sickness. This disease had a swift course, both in the sick body, and in the time and period of the lasting thereof; for they that were taken with it, upon four and twenty hours escaping, were thought almost assured. And as to the time of the malice and reign of the disease ere it ceased; it began about the one and twentieth of September, and cleared up before the end of October, insomuch as it was no hinderance to the king's coronation, which was the last of October; nor, which was more, to the holding of the parliament, which began but seven days after. It was a pestilent fever, but, as it seemeth, not seated in the veins or humours, for that there followed no carbuncle, no purple or livid spots, or the like, the mass of the body being not tainted; only a malign vapour flew to the heart, and seized the vital spirits; »7hich stirred nature to strive to send it forth by an extreme sweat. And it appeared by experience, that this disease was rather a surprise of nature than obstinate to remedies, if it were in timelooked unto. For if the patient were kept in an equal temper, both for clothes, fire, and drink, moderately warm, with temperate cordials, whereby nature's work were neither irritated by heat, nor turned back by cold, he commonly recovered. But infinite persons died suddenly of it, before the mantier of the cure and attendance was known. It was conceived not to be an epidemic disease, but to proceed from a malignity in the constitution of the air, gathered by the predispositions of seasons; and the speedy cessation declared as much.
On Simon and Jude's eve, the king dined with Thomas Bourchier, archbishop of Canterbury and cardinal j and from Lambeth went by land over the bridge to the Tower, where the morrow after he made twelve knights bannerets. But for creations he dispensed them with a sparing hand. For notwithstanding a field so lately fought, and a coronation so near at hand, lie only created three: Jasper, earl of Pembroke, the king's uncle, was created duke of' Bedford; Thomas, the lord Stanley, the king's father-in-law, earl of Derby; and Edward Courtney, earl of Devon; though the king had then nevertheless a purpose in himself to make more in time of parliament; bearing a wise and decent respect to distribute his creations, some to honour his coronation, and some his parliament.
The coronation followed two days after, upon the thirtieth day of October, in the year of our Lord, 1485; at which time Innocent the eighth was pope of Rome; Frederick the third emperor of Almain; and Maximilian his son newly chosen king of the Romans; Charles the eighth king of France; Ferdinando and Isabella kings of Spain; and James the third king of Scotland: with all which kings and states the king was at that time in good peace and amity. At which day also, as if the crown upon his head had put perils into his thoughts, he did institute, for the better security of his person, a band of fifty archers, under a captain to attend him, by the name of yeomen of his guard: and yet, that it might be thought to be rather a matter of dignity, after tj>e imitation of what he had known abroad, than any matter of diffidence appropriate to his own case, he made it to be understood for an ordinance not temporary, but to hold in succession for ever after.
The seventh of November the king held his parliament at Westminster, which he had summoned immediately after his coming to London. His ends in calling a parliament, and that so speedily, were chiefly three: first, to procure the crown to be entailed upon himself. Next, to have the attainders of all his party, which were in no small number, reversed, and all acts of hostility by them done in his quarrel remitted and discharged; and on the other side, to attaint by parliament the heads and principals of his enemies. The third, to calm and quiet the fears of the rest of that party by a general pardon; not being ignorant in how great danger a king stands from his subjects, when most of his subjects are conscious in themselves that they stand in his danger. Unto these three special motives of a parliament was added, that he, as a prudent and moderate prince, made this judgment, that it was fit for him to hasten to let his people see, that he meant to govern by law, howsoever he came in by the sword; and fit also to reclaim them to know him for their king, whom they had so lately talked of as an enemy or banished man. For that which con
cerned the entailing of the crown, more than that he was true to his own will, that he would not endure any mention of the lady Elizabeth, no not in the nature of special entail, he carried it otherwise with great wisdom and measure: for he did not press to have the act penned by way of declaration or recognition of right; as, on the other side, he avoided to have it by new law or ordinance, but chose rather a kind of middle way, by way of establishment, and that under covert and indifferent words: "that the inheritance of the crown should rest, remain, and abide in the king," &c. which words might easily be applied, that the crown should continue to him; but whether as having former right to it, which was doubtful, or having it then in fact and possession, which no man denied, was left fair to interpretation either way. And again, for the limitation of the entail, he did not press it to go farther than to himself and to the heirs of his body, not speaking of his right heirs: but leaving that to the law to decide: so as the entail might seem rather a personal favour to him and his children, than a total disinherison to the house of York. And in this form was the law drawn and passed. Which statute he procured to be confirmed by the pope's bull the year following, with mention nevertheless, by way of recital, of his other titles, both of descent and conquest. So as now the wreath of three, was made a wreath of five; for to the first three titles of the two houses, or lines, and conquest, were added two more, the authorities parliamentary and papal.
The king likewise, in the reversal of the attainders of his partakers, and discharging them of all offences incident to his service and succour, had his will; and acts did pass accordingly. In the passage whereof, exception was taken to divers persons in the house of commons, for that they were attainted, and thereby not legal, nor habilitate to serve in parliament, being disabled in the highest degree; and that it should be a great incongruity to have them to make laws, who themselves were not inlawed. The truth was, that divers of those, which had in the time of king Richard been strongest, and most declared for the king's party, were returned knights and burgesses for the parliament; whether by care or recommendation from the state, or the voluntary inclination of the people; many of which bad been by Richard the third attainted by outlawries, or otherwise. The king was somewhat troubled with this; for though it had a grave and specious show, yet it reflected upon his party. But wisely not showing himself at all moved therewith, he would not understand it but as a case in law, and wished the judges to be advised thereupon; who for that purpose were forthwith assembled in the exchequerchamber, which is the council-chamber of the judges, and upon deliberation they gave a grave and safe opinion and advice, mixed with law and convenience: which was, that the knights and burgesses attainted by the course of law should forbear to come into the house, till a law were passed for the reversal of their attainders.
It was at that time incidently moved amongst the judges in their consultation, what should be done