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means by principes) Richardum, Edwardi principis filium, regem dicunt, by their common suffrages.
In the twenty-first year of Richard's reign, a parliament being assembled at Westminster, they drew up, by their common consent, a form, whereby he did resign the crown, and the name and power of king, discharging all his subjects from all oaths, which they had taken, of allegiance to him, confessing himself thereby insufficient for the government, and swearing never to make any pretences to the same for the future. All which he pronounced and subscribed, wishing (if it were in his power) to have Henry Duke of Lancaster for his successor; but since it was not, he desired the commissioners to signify his desires to the states of the realm. The next day all the states of the realm accepted his resignation, and, when that was done, they proceeded to read publickly his coronation oath, and all the breaches of it, that so it might appear how justly he had deserved to be deposed. All which are contained in thirty-three articles, entered at large in the rolls of parliament (and well deserve to be read) whereupon the states adjudged, that he shall be deposed, and appoint commissioners, ad deponendum eundem Richardum Regem ab omni dignitate, majestate, & honore regiis, vice, nomine, & authoritate omnium statuum prædictorum, prout in consimilibus casibus de untiqua consuetudine dicti regni fuit observatum ;* which the Bishop of St. A saph did, in full parliament, in their names, and by their directions. The same commissioners were also to resigur up to him their homage and fealty, and intimate the sentence of dea position; which they did accordingly, by the mouth of Sir William Thirning, whose words are at large entered upon record. Then did the parliament proceed to choose llenry the Fourth king; and upon this title only did he rely, though he mentioned some other trilling ones, as that he challenged it, being then void, by force, as descended to him from King Henry the Third. But this could ive him no title, for it is plain that,
of the issue of Lionel Duke of Clarence, the third son of Henry the Third, were in being, no right of blood could descend to him, who derived his pedigree only from John of Gaunt, who was but his fourth son. And he plainly shewed what a good opinion he had of a parliamentary title to the crown, when, in the seventh year of his reign, he procured an act of parliament to pass,+ whereby the inheritance of the crown and realms of England and France were settled upon himself, for life, and the remainder, entailed upon his four sons by name, and the issue of their bodies begotten. He was contented that it should be limited no farther, but that, after failure of his own issue, it should go according to the general direction of the law. And he made a charter soon after, whereby he settled the crown pursuant to this act of parliament: Post ipsum successive hæredibus suis de ipsius corpore legitimè procreandis *; which charter was again confirmed in parliament, the twenty-second of December, 8 H. 4, and the original charter is still to be seen in the Cotton library
• To depose the said King Richard from all royal dignity, majesty, and honour by the de. putation, in the name, ana by the authority of all the aforesaid states. as it has been observed in the like cases according to the ancient custom of the said kingdom of England. .:47 H. 4. cap. 2.
Immediately upon the death of Henry the Fourth, a parliament met at. Westminster, and there, according to the custom of the realm, it was debated, who should be king : But all men had enter. tained so good thoughts of Prince Henry, that, without staying till the whole assembly had declared him king, divers of them began to swear allegiance to him t. A thing strange, and without precedent, as only occasioned by the extraordinary opinion, which was gene. rally conceived of him before.
And the certain title vested in him by an act of parliament.
Henry the Fifth dying, and leaving but one son, who was an infant of eight months old, Titus Livius I says there was some doubt, whether he should be accepted as king; but as soon as his father's funerals were solemnised, the estates of the realm of England, assem. bling and consulting together, they declared Henry the Sixth to be their sovereign.
In the thirty-fifth year of Henry the Sixth, a new limitation of the crown was made by parliament; for, though the king had a son then living, yet it was enacted, that, during his own life only, Henry the Sixth should hold and enjoy the crown; and that, during his life, Richard Duke of York should be reputed and stiled heir apparent to the crown, and that it should be treason to compass his death ; and after the death, resignation, &c. of Henry, the crown was limited in remainder to Richard and his heirs, with a proviso, that if Henry, or any in his behalf, should endeavour to disannul or frustrate this act, that then Richard should have the present pos. session of the crown ||. And by force of this act of parliament, the same Duke of York, taking advantage of Henry's violation of it, did lay claim to, and attempt the recovery of the kingdom, as also did his son Edward after him, with better success; and Edward did openly insist upon this title in the speech, which he made at his coro. nation.
It was also declared by Edward's first parliament, in the first year of his reign, that Henry the Sixth, having broken the aforesaid concord in many particulars, the crown was duely devolved to Edward the Fourth, by virtue thereof. · Afterwards Edward the Fourth, being driven out of the kingdom, in the tenth year of his reign, the parliament did again entail the crown on Henry the Sixth, and the heirs male of his body, with the remainder to George Duke of Clarence, brother to Edward the
Buck's Hist. R. 3. L. 2. F. 50. + Princeps Henricus, facto patris sui funere, concilium principum apud Westmonasterium convocandum curat, in quo de rege creando, more majorum, agitabarnr. Continuo aliquot principes ultro in ejus verba jurare cæperunt, quod benevolentiæ otticium nulli, priusquam rex renunciatus esset, præstitum constat. Adeo Henricus ab ineunte ætate spem oiuribus optime indolis fecit, Pol. Virg. 1. 92. Hist. Angl. in Vit. H. 5. | Hubington's Hist. Ed. 4. f. 10. Cott. Rec. 670. Fructus Temp. Part 7. F 169,
Hubingt. Ed. 4. F. 73.
I Titus Liv. MS. in Bibl. Bod. Cott. Record. P. 666.
Fourth, who was thereby also declared heir to Richard Duke of York.
It is worthy observation, that both the families of York and Lancaster claimed a title by act of parliament, and as long as that title continued, the issue of Henry the Fourth had never any disturbance from the pretences of the house of York, who had un. doubtedly the right of blood on their side. But as soon as Richard Duke of York had a title vested in him, by the statute made in the thirty-ninth year of Henry the Sixth, then he thought it was worth contending for; nor did he and his son desist, till they had driven out Henry the Sixth *.
Edward the Fourth did recover the kingdom again as suddenly as he lost it, and prevailed with his parliament to repeal that law which was made during his expulsion, and so left the crown to that un. fortunate young prince, Edward the Fifth, who held it long enough to have it put on him, with the usual solemnity; for though he was proclaimed, he was never crowned king: For his uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester, having secured him and his brother in the Tower, did cunningly insinuate the bastardy of his nephew, and that Edward the Fourth had another wife living at the time of his marriage to their mother, and also at the time of their birth.
The report found credit universally, insomuch that the Duke of Buckingham, coming to him at Baynard's Castle, with most of the great lords and wise men of the kingdom, and the mayor and alder. men of London, the Duke did, in their names, acquaint him, that they had unanimously thought fit to elect him king, as being heir to the royal blood of Richard Duke of York, upon whom the crown was entailed by the high authority of parliament.
It is very remarkable, that, in the midst of their highest flatteries, and courtship to him, they tell him only of this great and sure title by act of parliament; although, if he had been indeed (what was pretended) the heir of the house of York, his right, by descent, from Edward the Third, was unquestionable.
Richard, after some feigned excuses, did at last accept of their offer and election t; and the parliament being soon after assembled, they presented a bill to this effect: Please it your grace to understand the consideration, election, and petition under-written, of the lords spiritual and temporal, and of the commons, &c.' And thereby they declare the children of Edward the Fourth illegitimate, and that his brother George, Duke of Clarence, was attainted of hightreason by parliament, in the seventeenth year of Edward the Fourth’s reign, 'by reason whereof, all the issue of the said George
were, and are, disabled and barred of all right and claim, that in any case they might have or challenge by inheritance to the crown and dignity royal of this realm, by the ancient laws and customs of
the same' f. After which, considering that none of the uncorrupted lineal blood of Richard Duke of York could be found, but in his person (they say) we have chosen, and do choose, you our king and
Cott. Rec. F.709. * Buck's Bich. 3. Lib, 1. F. 22.
• Buck's Hist. Rich. 3. Lib.1. F. 20.
sovereign lord. Then the bill proceeds, in reciting, that all the learned in the laws do approve his title, and declaring him king as well by right of consanguinity and inheritance, as by lawful election, and entails the crown on him and the heirs of his body, and declares his son heir apparent. To which the king gave his royal assent in these words: Et idem dominus rer, de assensu dictorum trium'. statuum regni, & authoritate prædicta, omnia & singula præmissa, in billa prædicta contenta concedit, & ea pro vero & indubio pronun. ciat, decernit, & declarat *.
But the barbarous murder of his nephews did soon beget such an universal detestation of Richard, in the minds of the people, that they resolved he should no longer reign over them; and so, taking hold of a pretence, which Henry Duke of Richmond set up, they joined with him against Richard. Though Henry's title was indeed no more than a meer pretence; for not only the right of the house of York (as far as blood could give right) was before that of the house of Lancaster, but also he had no manner of interest in that title, which the Lancastrian line had, since his claim was under a bastard begotten in adultery; and besides, his mother, Margaret Countess of Richmond, as heir, to whom he pretended he claimed, was then living. Therefore Comines, the most judicious writer of that age, and who knew well what was the sense of Europe, concerning his title, says plainly (though he wrote in the time of Henry the Seventh) Qu'l n'avoit croir, ne pile, ne nul droit (comme jeo croy) a la couronne d'Angleterre.
Nevertheless, Henry having slain Richard in Bosworth-field, the crown was there put on his head by the Lord Stanley, with the general acclamations of the people. But he was wise enough to think his title to it was not very good, till it was made so, by an act of parliament, and therefore, in the first year of his reign, he pro. cured one to pass in these words; For the Wealth, Prosperity, and Surety of this Realm of England, 6 and for avoiding of all Ambiguities and Questions (the wisest of
our princes, you see, had no little opinion of the authority of a parliament in this point) be it ordained, &c. That the inheritance of
the crown of the realms of England and France, with all the pre. • eminences and dignities royal to the same appertaining, and the ligeances to the king belonging, beyond the seas, &c. shall be, rest, remain, and abide in the most royal person of our Sovereign Lord, Henry the Seventh, and in the heirs of his body lawfully coming perpetually, with the grace of God, and so to endure, and no (other t.
Thus did the wisest of our kings establish himself, and the best of our historians I mentions it as one of the greatest instances of his wisdom, that he did not press to have this as a declaration or recognition of ancient right, but only as an establishment of the possession,
And the same lord, the king, by, and with the consent of the said three estates of the kingdom, and by the authority aforesaid, doth grant all and singular the premises, contained in the aforesaid bill, and pronounceth, decreeth, and declareth the same for true and undoubted. † Bucks Rich. 3. Lib. 3. F. 145,
$ Lord Bacon H. 7.F: 11,12.
which he then had; nor to have the remainder limited to any person after the determination of his estate, but was content with the settlement upon himself, and the issue of his own body, leaving it to the law, to decide what was to follow upon the failure of such heirs.
Nor can any thing be more clear, than that Henry the Seventh de. pended intirely on this parliamentary title, without extending any pretences of his wife's (who was heir of the house of York) beyond this establishment, inasmuch as the oaths of allegiance, and other publick tests and securities, which were required at that time of the subjects, were not in general terms, to the king, his heirs, and successors, but only to the king, and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten. An instance of this (without going any further) may be seen amongst the records, printed at the end of the late History of the Reformation *, where Cardinal Adrian, when he was promoted by Henry the Seventh to the bishoprick of Bath and Wells, renounces all clauses in the pope's bulls, which may be prejudicial domino meo supremo, & hæredibus suis corpore suo legitimè pro. creatis, Angliæ regibus ; and he does afterwards swear allegiance to him, in the very same words, without taking any notice of remoter heirs.
Henry the Eighth, the heir to this entail, succeeded his father; and though he attempted as much for arbitrary power, and used par. liaments with as little respect as any of his predecessors; yet even he never doubted of their power in settling the succession, but valued it much and resorted to it frequently.
In the twenty-fifth year of his reign an act + passed, wherein the parliament say, they were bounden to provide for the perfect surety of the succession (they did not certainly reckon themselves bound to do a thing that was not in their power.) And then they take notice of the great mischiefs and effusions of blood which had happened by reason of the doubtfulness of the true title; and for the avoiding of all future questions, do enact, that the imperial crown of this realm
shall be to King Henry the Eighth, and the heirs of his body lawfully begotten on Queen Anne, and the heirs of the bodies of such several sons respectively, according to the course of inheritance; and for default of such issue, then to the sons of his body in like manner; and upon failure of such issue, then to the Lady Elisabeth, and after her to any other issue in tail, and then the remainder is limited to the right heirs of Henry the Eighth. By the same statute every subject at his full age is obliged to take an oath to defend the contents of it, and the refusal is made misprision of treason. And the next parliament I, which was held in the year following, does particularly enact an oath for that purpose.
Some few years after, these acts were repealed, and the parliament | entailed the crown upon the king, and the heirs of his body by Queen Jane; and power is given the king, for want of issue of his body, to dispose of the succession by his letters patents, or his last will.
Barnet's Hist. of the Reformation, Collect. ad Lib. 8. F. 3, 4. + St.85 H. 8. cap. 28.
* 20 H. 8. cap. 2.
| 28 H. 3. Rast. Crown që