Vol. VII. No.3.]



“ It must be remembered, that, since the revolution, until the period we are speaking of, the influence * of the Crown had been always employed in supporting the Ministers of State, and in carryin ; on the “public busines, according to their opinions. But the party now in question is formed upon a very different * idea. It is to intercept the favour, protection, and confidence of the Crown, in the passage to its Minis" ters; it is to come between them and their importance in parliament; it is to separate them from all their « natural and acquired dependencies; it is intended as the control, not the support, of administration. The " machinery of this system is perplexed in its movements, and false in its principle. It is formed on a sups position, that the King is something external to his goverment; and that he may be honoured and aggrandized, even by its debility and disgrace. The plan proceeds expressly on the idea of enreebling the

regular executive power. It proceeds on the idea of weakeruing the Seace, in order to strengthen the Court. " The scheme depending entirely on distrust, on disconnexion, on mutability by priperple, on systematic " weakness in every particular member ; it is impossible that the total result should be substantial suength " of any kind." Burke's Thoughts on the Cause of the present Discontents. 65]


stances in which his family stood. Though LETTER VIT.

now genernily classed with the Princes of (The reader is desired to compare the facts the Blood, and next to the Duke of Bedford stated in the following letter with those (re- and Gloucester, yet they were excluded from lating to the same matters) which he will the eventual succession to the Crown. The find in the several histories of the lines and offspring of John of Gaunt by Catherine evedis here spoken of; because, as the sub- Swinford before marriage, they had only ject is of great constitutional importance, it been legitimated by statute, with the express is material that we should yield to the writer reservation of the royal digrity which they that superiority, in point of accuracy, which, were declared still incapable of inheriting. upon examination, he will, I am persuaded, The authority, however, which made, might be found fully entitled to.-Editor.] repeal the exception, if the occasion pre

SIR,—No sooner was the Parliament sented itself; and both the uncles of the inthas made complete in all its branches for fant King being without issue, the prospect the dispatch of business, than there appeared did not appear too distant to be kept in view. evident signs of a formidable opposition to They naturally endeavoured, therefore, to the claims of the Duke of Gloucester. The preserve a good understanding with Parlialeader was the Bishop of Winchester. This ment. The Bishop of Winchester, connect. prelate was ambitious; a master of political ed, as he was, easily obtained an ascendancy intrigue; though haughty in his nature, yet amorgihe spiritual peers, who, from the ab plausible and popular in his demeanour. sence of so many of the great lay-barons When his aspiring views, which looked 10 abroad, then actually formed (2) two-thirds the highest rank in the Roman Charch, suf- of the House; and at the head of the few fered some check from Henry the Filih, he lords who now returned, was the Duke of seems only to have turned his thoughts more Exeter, the younger brother of that prelate, attentively to the means of acquiring in- a nobleman, who having been educated tip fluence in the state at home. He emploved the Church in Italy, was eminent for learnhis vast wealth, not in magnificeut founda- ing, but betaking himse 'f to a nilitary life, tions of piety and charity according to the

had borne au illustrious share in the most notions of ihat age, but in liberal loans for briliiant exploits of the war in France, and the public service, by which he recommend- flourished in the esteem and affection of the ed himself to the King, whose military plans (3) Parliament and the nation. On the he thus facilitated, and won the favour of the people, the pressure of whose bur:hens our historians have noticed. I shall herehe in some measure suspended. He seems afier have occasion to mark the jealousy, particularly to have aimed at cultivating an which ihe Commons felt in this reign of their interest in Parliament, partly, perhaps, from

title to the Crown being set up in the person observing with the eye of a statesman, the of Margaret, włlose son afterwards didactual. growing authority of that body, and partly ly ascend the throne by the name of Henry perhaps, induced (1) by the peculiar circum- the VIlth.

(2) Compare the list in the summons (1) This situation of the family of the Bean- published by Dugdale, with ibe known numforts bad more influence on the parties of ber of the bishops, mitred abbots, and priors. this reign, and especially in the deadly feud (3) When Henry the Vih, after the batbetween them and the House of York, than tle of Agin court created him Duke of Exe


other hand, they whose honest purpose was the House to be made out. The Bishop of only that of improving the present opportu: Winchester and the Duke of Exeter, with nity to establish ihe supremacy of Parlia- Two other spiritual and ihree temporal peers, mint, were rejoiced to find leaders of such were chosen to conimuricate the result to weight as the Princes of the House of Beau- the Commons, who expressed their satisfacfort, concurring from wha:ever molives in tion ai lhe intelligence. the same desigo.

Though every one of these transactions in The first step was taken by the lords who some degree prejudged the claims of Hum. had met in the sort of council already men. phrey to ile government of the country, yet tioned. I hey lout no time io applying for he was not deterred from (7) bringing them a (4) contirniation of all the acts dove in distinctly to is ue. He urged his rigbt on consequence of ilir ir advice. The very ap- two separate grounds: the first that of his plication supposed ibat ibere was no auto- diceased brother's will; the second, that of tity but in Parliament, capable of sanction- his proximity in blood to the King. What. ing wluat had passed; and the justification fver were the impressions of the lords in fa. of their conduct was resied solely on the rour of their own privileges against his preexistence of an imminent and oserruling ne: lensious, they entertained the question with cessity. (5) The Bisbops of Daihaw and a solemnity suitable to its importance. They London followed, who respectively stated heard with attention whatever could be ad. their surrender of ihe great seals entrusted to vanced in support of the demand. A search their keeping, and desired a forinal discharge for precedents was instituted. The opinions tion Parliament.

of the judges were taken. The whole was The Commons now appeared on ihe stage. then made ihe subject of great and long deliThey sent a message reminding the Duke of beration. But it was finally determined, ibat Gloucester that the ibice great otüices under the claim bad no foundation either in precethe crown were vacant (0), and praying him, dent or the law of the land. Oo the first that with the advice of the lords spiritual point it was resolved, that the deceased king and temporal, he would informi them, whom had no power during his life, by his last will, it pleased the King 10 pame for his Chancel. or otherwise, to alter, change, or abridge the Jor, his Treasurer, and Keeper of the Privy law, without the assent of the three Estates; Seal. This gave rise to considerable debate; | and that, consistently with the law, he could but in the end she old officers were re-in. not cominit or grant the goveroment of the stated, and their appointments ordered by

country to any person longer than he himself

lived. On the second point, the lords deter, and proposed to Parliament to settle on c'ared, that they found the desire of the him 1000 1. a year, payable at the Exche- Duke of G'oucester not to accord with the quer, and 401. a year from the Customis at law, and to be repugnant to the rights and Eseter, the lords said, no objection could be liberties of Parliament, though they readily made, but only that it was not adequate to acquitted him of any intention to their prehis merits and services.

judice. (4) Rolls 1 H. VI. No. 12.

The great difficulty still remained of set(5) Ib. No. 13 and 14. In No 13 as also tling a proper form of government during in No. 12, the meetings at Windsor and the King's minority. And here nothing Westminster on the 281h and 30th of Sep- could be effected without the concurrence of teinber are said to have taken place as soon Humpbrey, who held all the power of the as the King's death was known for certain ; Crown in Parliament; a power frequently per veridicos nuncios intellecta. But we find exercised at that period in the gentle mode from a petition of John Foster, Clerk (Rolls of dissent which our constitution prescribes. Vol. IV. p. 19+) that the first intelligence Looking, therefore, to the possibility of the reached Biggleswade on the 10th, and of course London on the gih of September. The (7) These interesting proceedings upfor. regular official accounts, therefore, seem 10 tunately were not entered on the roll, poshave been kept back, probably for some poli-siblythrough the management of the Duke of zical purpose. The critical situation of Gloucester. But we have a short recital of France was the ipost likely cause.

them by the lords, in the 6th year of Henry (6) Ib. No. 16. The new patents are the Vlth (Rulls No. 25) from which the, daied on the 16th of Norember. The entry above is taken. That recital having been does not describe the Duke of Gloucester by

omitted by Cotton in abridging the entry. any other designation. All the petitions of it has hitherto e-caped the notice of our the Commons are addressed to him as the historians, though the only account which king's Commies oner.

we have.

upon him.

royal negative being put on such a plan as known appellations of (11. Tutor, Lieutethey might propo e, or even of an angry in- nant, Governor, Regent, and every other terruption of their sitting by a prorogation name which might be supposed to imply any or dissolution, the Houses passerl (8) à bill authority of government in the country, were which lodged an extraordinary trust in the all on principle rejected; and that of Prolords of the King's council to delerinine ac- fecior and Defender adopted, because it was cording to their discretion upon the marter thought to import only a personal duty of of all the peritions, as well from the Com. attendance to the actual defence of the mons as from others, which might remain kingdom, as well against enemies from with: Unanswered at the close of the session : and out, as rebels from within.

To give efficacy the King's commissioner, willing to show and splendor to his situation, a portion of that if any jealousy was entertained of him the Royal Patronage was settled exclusively in that respect, it was unfoanded, gave his

In every case of vacancy, he ready assent to the measure. He then ac- was to have the sole nomination of all the qniesced in taking (9) parliamentary contir. (12) Forresters, Parkers, and Keepers of mations of his two ottices of Great Chim berlain of England and constable of the tectar," and as “ Guardian," besides issuing Castle of Gloucester, lo hold i hem from the many instruments, actually held one parliadeath of the late king, as he held them be- ment. The patent of the new office of Profure by his grant. With these and the chief tector bears date on the 5th of December, place at the council-board the lords seem to which was, as the entry on the rolls exhave hoped and expected, that he might presses it, the 27th day of the parliament. have been satisfied; but he continued, not- (11) Though, I trust, the reader will withstanding, to insist, that whatever form give me credit for the greatest fidelity in my of government should be thought most ex- narrative throughout, yet I think it right to pedient, he should have a distinct and lead- adj here the words of the record itself, as ing situation at the head of it. He finally they strongly mark the spirit of the whole prevailed; and a (10) new office of pre-emic proceeding.“ We devised unto you,” (say bent dignity was created by the style of The Lords, 6 H. VI. No. 25.) a name * Protector and Defender of the Realm and “ different from other counseillers, pought " Church of England," to which was also " the name of Tutor, Lieutenant-Guvernour, annexed the Presidency of the King's Coun- flor of Regenl, nor no vame that shuld cil: and both were together conferred in emporte auctorite of governaunce of the the strictest manner according to proximity

" lood, but the name of Proteclour and of blood, on the Duke of Bedford, whenever Difensour, the which emporteth a perhe should be upon the spot, and during his " sonell duetee of entendance 10 the ac. abserce, on the Duke of Gloucester. The

" !ueil defense of the land, as well agenst title was, nevertheless, devised with particu- " yenemies urward, yf cas required, as lar caution and circumspection. The betier agense rebelles inward, yf any were, that

rs God forbede!"-The second title which (3) Rolls, 1 H. VI. No. 21.

is here expressed to be " Defensour,in (9) Ib. Nos. 22 and 23.

some other parts of the recordi is “ Defen(10) Ib. No 21. Hume, not knowing dour, and Defender." I have preferred tl. the real nature of the office of Guardian of latter, as more modern and familiar to us. Ibe Renlm, which was only conferred during one of his Majesty's present titles. the absence of the King abroad, and which (12) This act is to be found Ib. No. 25. gave a right to attest in his own name the How important the patronage of the foyal will and pleasure, and hold parlia- | Forests, Parks, and Wariens, was to the disments wiibon any other commission, gives charge of the military duties of the Protecit here as synoninious with Protector," an torale, may be learned from Sir J. Fortescue, officer who was substituted only for a King who in bis Treatise on the difference be. present, but incapable of acting for bim- tween an Absolute and Limited Monarchy, self, who altested no royal instrument in (c2p. 17) tells us, " Sum Forester of the his own narcie, and had no power in parlia. “ Kyngs, that haib none other lyvelord, may ment without a special commission for that bring moo men to the teid well arrayed, purpose. This confusion in the historian “ and namely for schoting, thin may sun is the more unpardonable, because when knight, or som esquier of night grete liveyoung, Henry was absent in France, at " loos, dwel'ing by him, and having non the time of his coronation there, in the " office. What thai(adds L-)." may greld ninth

year of his reigo, the Duke of Glou- " clc«rs do?"-- But the bullet patronage cester was made" Guardian," and us!

Pro. was in l. council.

Warrens belonging to the Crown through- five articles were settled and sent down to out England and Wales; and the right of the Commons, by whoin they were returned presentation to all benefices in the King's with a slight amendment. By virtue of these gift, above the annual value of twenty provisions the members of the council were inaths, including the prebends and canoories again declared to have the appointment of of ihe Royal Chapels. Yet the very officers, justices of the peace, sheriffs, and escheators, whom he had once appointed under this customers, controllers, weighers and search. act, were instantly made independent of ers, and all other such officere, except those hing; for they could only be removed by the who were to be appointed by the Protector, council: and the council was to bestow all the Bishop of Winchester, or others under the higher offices, even in the department special acts of Parliament or former grants of the garests, and all other offices which of the Crown: all wardships, marriages, and were noe specifically granted to the Protec- farins were to be at their disposal to make tor, 103 (13) very considerable number. In the most for the advantage of the public, trat body also, was particularly vesied the without favour, partiality, or collusion: promotion to the deaories of the Royal Cha- none of their acts were to be valid, unless pels, and all other ecclesiastical benefices six, or at least four, besides the officers of which were not these specified as in the gift the council, were present; on all important of the Protector, or did not by custom belong questions the whole council, or at least, a to the Chancellot; or Lord Treasurer. With majority of the whole, was required to atthese powers, and under these limitations, tend; and wherever the matier was such Humphrey consented to take upon himselt that, according to the established usage, the the execution of this new office; but he pro- King ought to be consulted, no proceeding tested, that his acceptance of it should not be was to be had without the advice of the of prejudice to me right of his brother. Protector : the Lord Treasurer and the

The Commons cow interposed to desire Chamberlains of the Exchequer were to have that the council might be forthwith formed. each a key to the King's receipt : but they Sixteca peers, therefore, were named as as. were to be under oath not to make any persistants to the Protector, Besides the Duke son bat the members of the council privy to of Exeter, there were five ecclesiastics, in- the knowledge of the sum there deposited: clading the Bishop of Winchester, five earls finally, the clerks of the council were to be and five barons. The choice was undoubt. sworn daily to take down the names of the edly good. They were alle persous of prin- members who were present, and faithfully cipal ace in their several ranks. For the to enter all their acts and orders, that it better regulation of their proceedings (14) might be seen, " what, how, and by whom

to any thing passed." Though the Privy (13) We have in general but a very im- Councillors in the former reigos had received perfect action of the extent of the influence salaries according to their respective ranks, of live Crown in those says. For soth,"

and the Bishop of Winchester himself bad (says Sir J. Fortescue, in the same chapter) been so paid, yet the wary prelate and his ce it is not lightly estemable, what might the colleagues made a shew of disinterestedness, “ King may have of bis officers, yf every which could not but be highly popular, by

of them had" but one office, and served professing to devote themselves to the public non other man but the Kyog. Now it is without any reward for their trouble. But

easye to be esteemed how many men may “ be rewarded with office, and how gretely, ferred with a view to popularity. There “ yf they by dyscretely gevyn. Tbe Kyng are two striking exceptions: one is an or“ geryth' mon than a thousand offices, besyds der of the Council to confer different salathuos that my Lord Prince gevitb."--In ries on their own members according to England and Wales together, the Council their respective ranks (2 H. VI. Rolls, Vol. must have had the disposal of nearly a thou- V. cap. 404) and this entry is partly in Lasand, and all the most valuable in the num- tin, and partly in Norman French; the ber.

other is an instrument first giving power to (14) Ib. No. 27 to No. 33 inclusive. It the Earl of Warwick, the King's Governor is remarkable that the articles were sent (6 H. VI. Ib. p.411) to inflict corporal down to the Commons "in Englisb, but the chastisement on his pupil at his own discreamendment sent up from the Commons was tion, and this is in Norman French. Nei. in Norman French, the formal language of ther of these subjects were likely to be very legislatia ou Most of the other regula- popular. It was probably thought that on tiofis.

gedigg the Council were these occasions it might be as well to use

at Junguage was pre- languages not generally understood.

[merged small][ocr errors]

that it was only a shew, they subsequently Our historians in general say, that the discovered, when their immediate object charge of the young king's person, and the was answered ; since.(15) almost two years care of his education, were commited by afier, they not only voted to themselves the this Parliament in the Eishop of Winchester old salaries of Privy Councillors, but com- and Duke of Exeter; and Hunc has aspated them retrospectively, from the day signed as a reason, that they were peculiarly when they were originally chosen in this qualified for this trnst, because they were parliament. On the other hand, the Pro. | ibemselves for ever excluded from the tector coald not wait to play so fine a game., throne. But there is no trace of the fact, Without a salary, be was totally unable to much less of the reason, in any authentic maintain the necessary state and consequence

record. The dying father, indeed, when of his office; and, as there was no prece

he wished to divide the government of his dent, he could only measure the magnitude dominions between his two brothers, is reof he allowance by his own notions of the presented as having destined his two uncles eminence of his situation. He therefore io be the tutors and preceptors to his son, as carly granted to himself, with the consent soon as he should be of age to benefic by of the Board, an(16) annuity of 8000 marks; their instructions; and certainly the Royal a sum equivalent to double the present ap. Family could not have supplied two other poiotments of a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. persons so well qualified by their learning And this, with a tacit reference to his own for the trust. They were, however, too claim of right, he asked and obtained from prudent to betray such an ambition, as would the date of his royal brother's death. It have been manifested by a premature desire was regarded with dissatisfaction by the na- to anticipate the name of an office, which tion as excessive, and,(17) from time to time, could then have no real existence, and to suffered various reductions.

lend, in their own case, an appearance of

that confirmation to the will of the deceased (15) The entry is in the Rolls, Vol. Vo King, which they opposed in the instance Appendix, p. 404. It is dated on the joih of the Duke of Gloucester. It seems to me of July, in the second year of Henry the evident from the (18) articles which three Sixth, or A. D. 1424. The King's reign began on the 31st of August, and ihe sala- H. VI) says, “it was otherwhile the somme ries were to be reckoned from the gih of 6. of 8000 marcs, otherwbile 6000 marcs, December, in the first year of Henry VI, “ otherwhile 5000 marcs, and otherwhile or, A. D. 1422. The highest salary was " 1000 marcs yerly." He himself consented 300 marks, the lowest 40 pounds a year. to take only 2000 marks, as Chief of the From Rymer, Vol. X, p. 360, it appears, Council, the Protectorate having then ceased. that the act did not finally pass the Council See Rolls, Vol. IV. p. 424. till the 1st September, 1424.

(18) The 2d and 3d articles are those to (16) The parliamentary historians say, which I allude, and especiaily the second. that it was settled so in Parliament. But It is in substance-That the Lord Bishop of there is no trace of it. The writ of Privy Winchester, without the advice and consent of Seal granting it is in Rymer, Vol. X. p. 268. the Lord Duke Gloucester, or of his Ma. It pusports to be done by advice of the King's jesty's Privy Council, contrived and purCouncil. The date is ihe 27th of February. posed to lay hands on his Majesty's person, 1 H. VI. or, A. D. 1422-3. An endorse- and to have removed him from Eltham, the meat upon it states the “

present copy” to place where he then was, 10 Windsor, there have been read on the 2d of March, in to put him under tbe government of such perCouncil, and Letters Patent to have been or- suns as be pleased. To this the Bishop an. dered accordingly. In the Latin of that age, wered, --That he never coulit propound lo

copia" usually meant a fair draft, or a himself any advantage by removing the King, duplicate, and not what we commonly call or taking him into bis custody or charge, wr a“ copy." It is hardly applicable in any did be ever intend to meddle with any thing sense to the actual, single, perfect instru- about the King's person, without the advice ment under seal. It was probably a draft of the Privy Council. The answer to the submitted in that shape for consideration,, by 3d article also, would probably have nesta the Duke of Gloucester. There is no where tioned it, if the Bishop had the charge of the any reference to any former entry, under King's person ; and if his broiber, the Duke which it was prepared. The Keeper of the of Exeter, bad been joined with him, he Privy Seal was present, and signed the en- must have been named on the one side or dorsed order. He might then also seal the the other, in these proceedings. There writ.

would also have probably been some docu(17) The Duke of Bedford (11 and 12 ments shewing the salary allowed for this;

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »