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

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 327



constitutional arrangements which Warham and his party now saw to be assailed. The history of the session falls into two sections, divided by a short recess at Easter for about a fortnight. The first portion was devoted to the question of supplies, the second to that of Church reform : convocation sat during the whole time. The measures proposed by the king with a view to increase the royal revenue were fair enough, and were, as it seems to me, in strict analogy with the policy of his greatest ancestor, Edward I. The first was the bill for the withdrawal of Annates from the pope ; a measure intended to secure for the king the profits and firstfruits on all appointments to bishoprics ; the act allowed the king to compound with the pope for all reasonable payments, and also provided for the confirmation and consecration of bishops without recourse to Rome. As a companion to this measure the king introduced bills of the same purport affecting the laity ; just as on the transmission of ecclesiastical property the firstfruits went to Rome, so, on the transmission of lay property in land, by the operation of the doctrine of wills and uses, the king lost his reliefs and primer seisins ; accordingly he proposed two measures, or one measure with double purpose,—a statute of wills, allowing a man to devise half his land by will, provided the other half, left to the heir, secured the king in his feudal rights ; and a statute of uses, intended to take the force out of the old practice of feoffment to uses. Both these statutes ultimately passed in a modified form, the Statute of Uses in 1536 and the Statute of Wills in 1540. By that time it would seem it was discovered that they might be accepted as boons, now they were vehemently objected to, and the opposition they excited threw the Commons for the moment on the side of the pope, and into opposition to the Annates Bill. The latter bill was presented to the Commons as a measure of their own : the king pro- T


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