Page images
PDF
EPUB

HENRY THE FIFTH.
[1413—1422.]

.4

"This King," says Hollinshed, " even at first "appointing with himself, to shew that in his per"son princelie honours should change publicque "manners, determined to put on him the shape "of a new man. For, whereas aforetime he "had made himselfe a companion unto misrulie "mates of dissolute order and life, he now "banished them all from his presence, (but not "unrewarded, or else unpreferred,) inhibiting "them, upon great paine, not once to approach, "lodge, or sojourne within ten miles of his "court or presence; and in their places he te chose men of gravitie, wit, and high policie, "by whose wise councill he might at all times "rule to his honour and dignitie: calling to "minde, how once, to the offense of the King "his Father, he had with his fist stricken the "Chiefe Justice, for sending one of his minions "(upon desert) to prison, when the Justice "stoutlie commanded himself also strict to ward, ** and he (the Prince) obeied." •

[blocks in formation]

THOMAS POLTON,

One of the Ambassadors from England to the Council of Constance, in the thirty-first session of that Council, and in the year 1417, presented a memoir in favour of the privileges and dignity of his country, and of its right of being a nation by itself, which was read to the Council, and the claims asserted in it were allowed by that Assembly, in spite of the remonstrances made against it by the French Ambassador, who insisted that they should remain as formerly, by a decree of Pope Benedict IX. a part of the German Nation*.

On the arrival of Sigisinund the Emperor at the Council, in the fame year, the English repre

* The English were allowed to make the Fifth Nation. The reasons alleged by their Ambassadors for the allowance of their claim, were, That England had given birth to Constantino the Great; That it had never fallen into any heresy; That, whilst in France there was only one language spoken, in England five were spoken; and, That Albertus Magnus and Bartholomew Glanville had long since divided Europe into four Kingdoms—that of Rome, that of Constantinople, that of Ireland (which had since that time belonged to the English), and that of Spain, without making the least mention of France; and, That the Common Law takes notice of four Universities only, according to the four Nations—" that of Paris for the French, Oxford for the English, BoJogna for the Italians, and Salamanca for the Spaniards.

fented sented a sacred Drama before him, which was quite a novelty in Germany. It contained the Adoration of the Magi, and the Massacre of the Innocents by Herod. One ceremony the English observed in this Council, which had, perhaps, been better omitted,—the celebration of the Anniversary of the Canonization of Thomas a Becket, an arrogant insolent Prelate, who defied the laws of his Country and the King of it. "This Archbishop," says L'Enfant, in his History of this Council, " was canonized in 1173, "and has been ever looked upon by the Romish Church, if not as a martyr for the Faith, ** as a martyr for her pretensions. I do not, "however, think that his canonization could ** have been grateful to this Council."

HENRY THE SIXTH.
£ 1422—-1461.3

"This Prince," fays Hollinshed, " (besides "the bare title of royaltie and naked name of ** King,) had little appertaining to the port of a "Prince. For (whereas the dignitie of prince"dome standeth in sovereigntie) there were of "his Nobles that imbecilled his prerogative by ** sundrie practises, specially by main force, as c 2 seeking

[ocr errors]

20 HENRY THE. SIXTH.* * seeking either to suppresse, or to exile, or to "obscure, or to make him awaie; otherwise "what should be the meaning of all those "foughten fields most miserablie falling out * *both to Prince, Peere. and People, as at St. M Alban's, at Bloreheath, at Northampton, at *c Banberie, at Barnet, at Wakefield, to the effu* *sion of much bloud, and putting on of manie * * a plage, which otherwise might have been "avoided."

SIR JOHN FORTESCUE, Knt.

CHANCELLOR. AND CHIEF JUSTICE TO HENRY THE SIXTH.

Had M. Necker and M. de Brienne looked into a book written by this great and honest Lawyer, intitled, " Of Absolute and Limited "Monarchic," they would have there seen predicted, what, unluckily for them and the Kingdom, happened, by the measures which they suggested in hopes of gaining some money for their distressed and impoverished Sovereign. "The "Realme of France," says Fortescue, " gyveth "never freely, of their own good will, any sub** sydie to their Prince; because the Commons "thereof being so poor, as they may not gyve "any thing of their own goods; and the Kyng

A. "there "there askyth never subsydie of his Nobles, for"dreade that yf he chargy'd them so, they"would confedre with the Commons, and perad

"venture put him down.*'

* * # # #

"The poor man had been styred thereto by "occasion of his povertie for to get good; and "the riche men have gone with them, because "they would not be poor by losyng of their "goods. Trulie it is like, that this land (that ** of France) schuld be like unto the land of "Boeme (Bohemia), where the Comons for "povertie rose upon the Nobles, and made all ** the goods to be common. Item, It is the Kinge's "honour, and also his office, to make his realme "riche, and yt is dishonour, when he hath a poor "realme; of whichmenwill fay, that he reygneth "upon beggars, yet yt war much gretter dys"honour, if he founde his realme riche and then "made it poor; and also it were gretely agenste "his consyence, that ought to defend them and "their goods, if he take from them their goods ** without lawfull cause. From the infamie "thereof God defend our King, and gyve him "grace to augment his realme in richess, welth, "and prosperite, to his perpetual laude and "honour!"

C3

« PreviousContinue »