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husbanding the possession of a victory, and well acquainted with the courage of the English, especially when they are fresh, kept themselves within their trenches, being strongly lodged, and resolved not to give battle. But meanwhile, to harass and weary the English, they did upon all advantages 5 set upon them with their light horse; wherein nevertheless they received commonly loss, especially by means of the English archers.
But upon these achievements Francis duke of Britain deceased; an accident that the King might easily have fore- 10 seen, and ought to have reckoned upon and provided for, but that the point of reputation, when news first came of the battle lost, that somewhat must be done, did overbear the reason of war.
After the duke's decease, the principal persons of Britain, 15 partly bought, partly through faction, put all things into confusion; so as the English not finding head or body with whom to join their forces, and being in jealousy of friends, as well as in danger of enemies, and the winter begun, returned home five months after their landing. So the battle 20 of St. Alban, the death of the duke, and the retire of the English succours, were, after some time, the causes of the loss of that duchy; which action some accounted as a blemish of the King's judgment, but most but as the misfortune of his times.
25 But howsoever the temporary fruit of the parliament, in their aid and advice given for Britain, took not, nor prospered not; yet the lasting fruit of parliament, which is good and wholesome laws, did prosper, and doth yet continue to this day. For, according to the lord Chancellor's admo- 30 nition, there were that parliament divers excellent laws ordained concerning the points which the King recommended.
First, the authority of the star-chamber, which before
subsisted by the ancient common laws of the realm, was confirmed in certain cases by act of parliament. This court is one of the sagest and noblest institutions of this kingdom.
For in the distribution of courts of ordinary justice, besides 5 the high court of parliament, in which distribution the
King's bench holdeth the pleas of the crown, the commonplace pleas civil, the exchequer pleas concerning the King's revenue, and the chancery the Pretorian power for mitigating
the rigour of law, in case of extremity, by the conscience 10 of a good man; there was nevertheless always reserved
a high and preëminent power to the King's council, in causes that might in example or consequence concern the state of the commonwealth ; which if they were criminal,
the council used to sit in the chamber called the star15 chamber; if civil, in the white-chamber or white-hall. And
as the chancery had the Pretorian power for equity; so the star-chamber had the Censorian power for offences under the degree of capital. This court of star-chamber is com
pounded of good elements, for it consisteth of four kinds of 20 persons, counsellors, peers, prelates, and chief judges. It
discerneth also principally of four kinds of causes, forces, frauds, crimes various of stellionate, and the inchoations or middle acts towards crimes capital or heinous, not actually
committed or perpetrated. But that which was principally 25
aimed at by this act was force, and the two chief supports of force, combination of multitudes, and maintenance or headship of great persons.
From the general peace of the country the King's care went on to the peace of the King's house, and the security 30 of his great officers and counsellors. But this law was
somewhat of a strange composition and temper. That if any of the King's servants under the degree of a lord, do conspire the death of any of the King's council or lord of the realm, it is made capital. This law was thought to be procured by the lord Chancellor, who being a stern and haughty man, and finding he had some mortal enemies in court, provided for his own safety; drowning the envy of it in a general law, by communicating the privilege with all 5 other counsellors and peers, and yet not daring to extend it farther than to the King's servants in check-roll, lest it should have been too harsh to the gentlemen, and other commons of the kingdom; who might have thought their ancient liberty, and the clemency of the laws of England 10 invaded, if the will in any case of felony should be made the deed. And yet the reason which the act yieldeth, that is to say, that he that conspireth the death of counsellors may be thought indirectly, and by a mean, to conspire the death of the King himself, is indifferent to all subjects as 15 well as to servants in court. But it seemeth this sufficed to serve the lord Chancellor's turn at this time. But yet he lived to need a general law, for that he grew afterwards as odious to the country, as he was then to the court.
From the peace of the King's house, the King's care 20 extended to the peace of private houses and families. For there was an excellent moral law moulded thus; the taking and carrying away of women forcibly and against their will, except female-wards and bond-women, was made capital. The parliament wisely and justly conceiving, that the 25 obtaining of women by force into possession, howsoever afterwards assent might follow by allurements, was but a rape drawn forth in length, because the first force drew on all the rest.
There was made also another law for peace in general, 30 and repressing of murders and manslaughters, and was in amendment of the common laws of the realm ; being this : That whereas the common law the King's suit, in case of
homicide, did expect the year and the day, allowed to the party's suit by way of appeal; and that it was found by experience, that the party was many times compounded
with, and many times wearied with the suit, so that in the 5 end such suit was let fall, and by that time the matter was
in a manner forgotten, and thereby prosecution at the King's suit by indictment, which is ever best, flagrante crimine, neglected; it was ordained, that the suit by indict
ment might be taken as well at any time within the year and 10 the day, as after; not prejudicing nevertheless the party's suit.
The King began also then, as well in wisdom as in justice, to pare a little the privilege of clergy, ordaining that
clerks convict should be burned in the hand; both because 15 they might taste of some corporal punishment, and that
might carry a brand of infamy. But for this good act's sake, the King himself was after branded by Perkin's proclamation, for an execrable breaker of the rites of holy church.
Another law was made for the better peace of the country; by which law the King's officers and farmers were to forfeit their places and holds, in case of unlawful retainer, or partaking in routs and unlawful assemblies.
These were the laws that were made for repressing of 25
force, which those times did chiefly require ; and were so prudently framed, as they are found fit for all succeeding times, and so continue to this day.
There were also made good and politic laws that parliament, against usury, which is the bastard use of money; and 30 against unlawful chievances and exchanges, which is bastard
usury; and also for the security of the King's customs; and for the employment of the procedures of foreign commodities, brought in by merchant-strangers, upon the native
commodities of the realm ; together with some other laws of less importance.
But howsoever the laws made in that Parliament did bear good and wholesome fruit; yet the subsidy granted at the same time bare a fruit that proved harsh and bitter. All 5 was inned at last into the King's barn, but it was after a storm. For when the commissioners entered into the taxation of the subsidy in Yorkshire, and the bishopric of Durham ; the people upon a sudden grew into great mutiny, and said openly, That they had endured of late years 10 a thousand miseries, and neither could nor would pay the subsidy. This, no doubt, proceeded not simply of any present necessity, but much by reason of the old humour of those countries, where the memory of King Richard was so strong, that it lay like lees in the bottom of men's hearts; 15 and if the vessel was but stirred, it would come up. •And, no doubt, it was partly also by the instigation of some factious malcontents, that bare principal stroke amongst them. Hereupon the commissioners being somewhat astonished, deferred the matter unto the earl of Northumber- 20 land, who was the principal man of authority in those parts. The earl forthwith wrote unto the court, signifying to the King plainly enough in what flame he found the people of those countries, and praying the King's direction. The King wrote back peremptorily, That he would not have one 25 penny abated, of that which had been granted to him by parliament; both because it might encourage other countries, to pray the like release of mitigation; and chiefly because he would never endure that the base multitude should frustrate the authority of the parliament, wherein 30 their votes and consents were concluded. Upon this despatch from court, the earl assembled the principal justices and freeholders of the country; and speaking to them in B. H.