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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 319



XII.] SPEAKER HARE. 3!3 to the lot of no other Christian commonwealth, the distinction that under him, without any single calamity, the land had not only flourished but had been restored to her perfect freedom. These words had a meaning; no doubt the absence of external calamity was a feature of Henry's reign, and was one cause of his influence with the people : on the other hand, the recovery of what seemed to the age to be spiritual liberty from Rome was a real thing in Hare's mind, not the mere compliment that was designed in the comparison by which Rich equalled Henry with Solomon, Samson and Absalom ; or with the sun itself, as drying up noxious vapours and cherishing the growth of all good seeds. Hare, however, had a difficult part to play, for, just before he- made this speech, he had been sent to the Tower for offending against the king's prerogative ; he had regained his liberty and his appointment as Speaker by a complete submission. There is no evidence, so far as I know, that the Commons had treated this imprisonment as a matter of privilege. It would be easy to parallel from the speeches of the chancellor the fulsome compliments of the Speakers, but I must hasten on to the more important questions of the direct dealings of the king or his prime ministers with the two houses ; and, as it would be impossible to go into any thorough details on this, I must content myself with occasional illustrations. Henry was generally present at the » opening and closing of the sessions, but he did not, in his later years, scruple to interpose from time to time in the deliberations of either house, and influence the voting. The first sensational event of the kind is Wolsey's adventure in the parliament of 1523, when More was Speaker. The great chancellor had in the usual way come down to the Commons and told them that the king's needs amounted to a sum of £800,000, and to raise that amount a subsidy of a fifth


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