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subsidy of the Lords in Parliament. The Lords having complied, the King desired the Commons to follow the example of the Upper House. The Commons declared this was 66 a derogation of their liberties ;" and it was finally settled that "it should be lawful for the Lords to commune amongst themselves of the state of the realm, and that it should be lawful for the Commons on their part to commune together, and that no report should be made to the King of any subsidy by the Commons granted, and by the Lords assented to, before the Lords and Commons should be of one assent and accord in such matters, and then in manner and form as had been accustomed, that is by the mouth of the Speaker of the Commons." This was a great triumph for both Houses of Parliament, for it established the independent action of each, whilst it required the assent of both "to any report to the King," that is, to any law. "The two Houses of Parliament," observes Rowland, "thus acquired the constitutional action that now exists. In other words, the Regal or Executive functions of the government were separated from the Legislative; placing the latter in two distinct Houses, representing the aristocratic and democratic classes, with definite although similar functions, with separate power of deliberation, and with separate wills; but requiring joint concurrence in any measure that should be presented to the King, and his assent to it before it became a law."
It is assuredly remarkable that Constitutional Government should have made such progress as this in England in 1407. What a contrast to the condition of France and the rest of Europe at this time, which were wholly under the sway of force, and where such phrases
as "popular liberty," and "constitutional rights and usages," would have been unintelligible!
Henry V. succeeded his father in 1413, and suddenly forsook the dissolute ways to which he had abandoned himself while a Prince.
Seeing that France was a prey to a civil war between two Aristocratic factions contending for power, he declared war against her, won the battle of Agincourt, and finally became the Regent, after conquering nearly the whole of France.
Amid the din of war, little is heard of Parliament. In the second year of this reign, however, the House of Commons protested against statutes passed without their assent, "considering," as their Petition to the King declared, "that the Commons of your land, which is, and ever hath been, a member of your Parliament, are as well assenters as petitioners." The King, in his reply, promised that henceforth they should not be "bound without their assent."
Henry VI. was only eight months old when his father died, 1422. He was proclaimed King of England and France under the Regency of his uncles.
The war with France was carried on for some years; but peace was finally concluded, and cemented by the marriage of Henry with a French Princess, Margaret of Anjou.
The Government of England fell entirely into the hands of the Queen, as Henry was weak to imbecility.
A few years later, the Earl of Warwick, the "Kingmaker," who was connected with the York branch of the Royal Family, endeavored to raise the Duke of York to the throne occupied by Henry of the Lancaster
branch. The leaders in this civil war, the "War of the Two Roses," were Warwick and Margaret. The Barons sided with either faction, and after several battles, Margaret was forced to fly. Henry was imprisoned in the Tower, and Edward IV. of the York branch was made King, 1461. Warwick afterwards quarrelled with Edward, 1469, and espoused the side of Henry, who was restored to the throne, Edward being put to flight in his turn. In less than a year Edward returned with foreign troops, and, joined by his partisans, gave battle to Warwick at Barnet, 1471. Warwick was defeated and killed; Henry went back to the Tower; Margaret ultimately to France, and their son was assassinated. Edward IV. resumed the Crown, and for the rest of his reign gave himself up to the control of his favorite, Jane Shore.
Amid all the commotions of this tempestuous reign, the art of Printing, invented in Germany, crept into England. Caxton studied it whilst a merchant in Holland, and returning home in 1472, published the first printed book in 1474.
Edward V. was proclaimed King on his father's death, 1483, but being only 12 years old, his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, assumed the Regency. Two months later he was assassinated with his younger brother, in the Tower, by order of Gloucester, who then usurped the throne as Richard III. Detested for his many atrocities, Richard was defeated and killed at the battle of Bosworth Field, 1485, by the Earl of Richmond, who claimed the throne as descended from the widow of
* The "War of the Two Roses" was so called from the rival parties wearing badges inscribed with a red or a white rose. The Lancaster party wore a red, and the York party a white rose.
Henry V., who married Owen Tudor, a Welsh gentleman.
With the death of Richard III. and the accession of the Earl of Richmond as Henry VII., the civil war between the factions of York and Lancaster, which lasted some thirty-three years, ended.
THE MONARCHY AGAIN IN THE ASCENDANT.
THE growth of Parliament was utterly checked during this stormy period. From the date of Magna Charta down to Henry VI., the Barons and the Middle Class had co-operated to increase their power at the expense of the Monarchy. The civil war wholly changed the position: for the Barons and Middle Class were divided in their support to the rival pretensions of the two Royal claimants, and so wasted the energies hitherto concentrated on constitutional victories. The result was that when Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, mounted the throne, 1485, he found it easy to restore the Monarchy to the power it enjoyed before the birth of Parliament. "The destruction of the nobility in the civil wars," says Rowland," by lowering the power of the aristocracy, placed Henry VII. in a condition to acquire and exercise absolute power." The number of Barons was reduced to 40: the Clergy were thus in a majority in the House of Lords, and the Clergy gave their support to the King. The Commons, having lost their old leaders, made no opposition to Royal authority. The spirit of independence formerly displayed by the "citizens and burgesses" in Parliament was never visible during the period when the Tudor family occupied the throne. Henry VII. set the example of keeping the Nobility