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Guildford into Kent in message; who calling the country together, did much commend from the King their fidelity, manhood, and well handling of that service; and gave them all thanks, and, in private, promised reward to some particulars.
5 Upon the sixteenth of November, this being the eleventh year of the King, was holden the serjeants' feast at Elyplace, there being nine serjeants of that call. The King, to honour the feast, was present with his Queen at the dinner; being a Prince that was ever ready to grace and 10 countenance the professors of the law; having a little of that, that as he governed his subjects by his laws, so he governed his laws by his lawyers.
This year also the King entered into league with the Italian potentates for the defence of Italy against France. 15 For King Charles had conquered the realm of Naples, and lost it again, in a kind of felicity of a dream. He passed the whole length of Italy without resistance; so that it was true which Pope Alexander was wont to say, That the Frenchmen came into Italy with chalk in their hands, to 20 mark up their lodgings, rather than with swords to fight. He likewise entered and won, in effect, the whole kingdom of Naples itself, without striking stroke. But presently thereupon he did commit and multiply so many errors, as was too great a task for the best fortune to overcome. 25 He gave no contentment to the barons of Naples, of the faction of the Angeovines; but scattered his rewards according to the mercenary appetites of some about him. He put all Italy upon their guard, by the seizing and holding of Ostia, and the protecting of the liberty of Pisa; which 30 made all men suspect, that his purposes looked farther than his title of Naples. He fell too soon at difference with Ludovico Sfortia, who was the man that carried the keys
which brought him in, and shut him out. He neglected to extinguish some relics of the war. And lastly, in regard of his easy passage through Italy without resistance, he
entered into an overmuch despising of the arms of the 5 Italians; whereby he left the realm of Naples at his de
parture so much the less provided. So that not long after his return, the whole kingdom revolted to Ferdinando the younger, and the French were quite driven out. Never
theless Charles did make both great threats, and great 10 preparations to re-enter Italy once again, Wherefore at
the instance of divers of the states of Italy, and especially of Pope Alexander, there was a league concluded between the said Pope, Maximilian King of the Romans,
Henry King of England, Ferdinando and Isabella King 15 and Queen of Spain, for so they are constantly placed in
the original treaty throughout, Augustino Barbadico duke of Venice, and Ludovico Sfortia duke of Milan, for the common defence of their estates: wherein though Ferdi
nando of Naples was not named as principal, yet, no doubt, 20 the kingdom of Naples was tacitly included as a fee of the church.
There died also this year Cecile duchess of York, mother to king Edward the fourth, at her castle of Bark
hamsted, being of extreme years, and who had lived to 25 see three Princes of her body crowned, and four murdered. She was buried at Foderingham, by her husband.
This year also the King called his parliament, where many laws were made of a more private and vulgar nature,
than ought to detain the reader of an history. And it may 30 be justly suspected by the proceedings following, that as
the King did excel in good commonwealth laws, so nevertheless he had, in secret, a design to make use of them, as well for collecting of treasure, as for correcting of manners; and so meaning thereby to harrow his people, did accumulate them the rather.
The principal law that was made this parliament, was a law of a strange nature; rather just than legal; and more magnanimous than provident. This law did ordain ; That 5 no person that did assist in arms, or oth se, the King for the time being, should after be impeached therefore, or attainted, either by the course of the law, or by act of parliament. But if any such act of attainder did happen to be made, it should be void and of none effect; for that 10 it was agreeable to reason of estate, that the subject should not inquire of the justness of the King's title, or quarrel ; and it was agreeable to good conscience, that, whatsoever the fortunes of the war were, the subject should not suffer for his obedience. The spirit of this law was wonderful 15 pious and noble, being like, in matter of war, unto the spirit of David in matter of plague ; who said, If I have sinned, strike me; but what have these sheep done ? Neither wanted this law parts of prudent and deep foresight : for it did the better take away occasion for the people to busy 20 themselves to pry into the King's title ; for that howsoever it fell, their safety was already provided for. Besides, it could not but greatly draw unto him the love and hearts of the people, because he seemed more careful for them than for himself. But yet nevertheless it did take off from 25 his party that great tie and spur of necessity, to fight and go victors out of the field; considering their lives and fortunes were put in safety and protected, whether they stood to it, or ran away. But the force and obligation of this law was in itself illusory, as to the latter part of it, by a 30 precedent act of parliament to bind or frustrate a future. For a supreme and absolute power cannot conclude itself, neither can that which is in nature revocable be made
fixed, no more than if a man should appoint or declare by his will, that if he made any later will it should be void. And for the case of the act of parliament, there is
a notable precedent of it in King Henry the eighth's time; 5 who doubting he might die in the minority of his son,
procured an act to pass, That no statute made during the minority of a King, should bind him or his successors, except it were confirmed by the King under his great seal
at his full age. But the first act that passed in King 10 Edward the sixth's time, was an act of repeal of that
former act; at which time nevertheless the King was minor. But things that do not bind, may satisfy for the time.
There was also made a shoring or under-propping act for the benevolence: to make the sums which any person 15
had agreed to pay, and nevertheless were not brought in, to be leviable by course of law. Which act did not only bring in the arrears, but did indeed countenance the whole business, and was pretended to be made at the desire of those that had been forward to pay.
This parliament also was made that good law, which gave the attaint upon a false verdict between party and party, which before was a kind of evangile, irremediable. It extends not to causes capital, as well because they are
for the most part at the King's suit; as because in them, 25
if they be followed in course of indictment, there passeth a double jury, the indictors, and the triers; and so not twelve men, but four and twenty. But it seemeth that was not the only reason ; for this reason holdeth not in
the appeal. But the great reason was, lest it should tend 30 to the discouragement of jurors in cases of life and death;
if they should be subject to suit and penalty, where the favour of life maketh against them. It extendeth not also to any suit, where the demand is under the value of
forty pounds; for that in such cases of petty value it would not quit the charge, to go about again.
There was another law made against a branch of ingratitude in women, who having been advanced by their husbands, or their husbands' ancestors, should alien, and 5 thereby seek to defeat the heirs, or those in remainder, of the lands, whereunto they had been so advanced. The remedy was, by giving power to the next, to enter for a forfeiture.
There was also enacted that charitable law, for the ad- 10 mission of poor suitors in forma pauperis, without fee to counseller, attorney, or clerk, whereby poor men became rather able to vex than unable to sue. There were divers other good laws made that parliament, as we said before : but we still observe our manner, in selecting out those, that 15 are not of a vulgar nature.
The King this while, though he sat in parliament, as in full peace, and seemed to account of the designs of Perkin,
, who was now returned into Flanders, but as a may-game; yet having the composition of a wise King, stout without, 20 and apprehensive within, had given order for the watching of beacons upon the coasts, and erecting more where they stood too thin, and had a careful eye where this wandering cloud would break. But Perkin, advised to keep his fire, which hitherto burned as it were upon green wood, alive 25 with continual blowing; sailed again into Ireland, whence he had formerly departed, rather upon the hopes of France, than upon any unreadiness or discouragement he found in that people. But in the space of time between the King's diligence and Poynings's commission had so settled things 30 there, as there was nothing left for Perkin, but the blustering affection of wild and naked people. Wherefore he was advised by his council, to seek aid of the King of Scotland, a