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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 298



IMPORTANCE OF THE DIVORCE. [XI. him out of the domestic scandals that divide courts; and although Bessie Blount and the Duke of Richmond became prominent about ten years after the reign begins, it is not until 1524 or 1525 that the divorce question even looms in the distance. Up to that time the want of constitutional principle in the king and his minister has been chiefly apparent in the matter of money-getting.( Soon after this Henry seems to have fallen in love with Anne Boleyn, and to have begun to contemplate the divorce. The mere formalities of obtaining such a divorce were not formidable; but the parties interested in preventing it were very formidable indeed. The emperor was the queen's nephew. The pope's power was being rudely shaken both in Germany and in Italy. T o be brief ; the pope was prevailed on to commission Wolsey and Campegio to determine the validity of the king's marriage ; when the trial had begun, the cause was called back to Rome ; Henry felt that his only chance of getting the divorce was to have it tried in England ; the pope felt that the only chance of avoiding a crisis, in which between Henry and Charles he must certainly either temporally or spiritually be ruined, was to keep the discussion languidly dragging on at Rome until the parties were tired, or something else turned up. This, thus early, Henry had the sense to see; he therefore destroyed Wolsey, and that by the very Statute of Praemunire at the evasion of which he had so long connived : his eyes were opened to the powers of the Praemunire, and in his confiscation of Wolse/s estates he had his first taste of spoil. He saw that the Praemunire made him absolutely master of the clergy, and, as absolute master, the primary owner of all Church property. Hence the great chain of ecclesiastical statutes follows in an order that we might almost dignify by the name of Evolution. As lord and master of the Church, he could utilise Church machinery to obtain the divorce and the marriage on which he had set his


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