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


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 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 377

XIV.] POLICY OF ELIZABETH. and a few significant facts. The Elizabethan settlement in Church and State was a compromise, satisfactory to no party, and very unsatisfactory indeed to the constitutional lawyer or historian ; but, possibly, the best arrangement compatible with circumstances. She began her reign, of course, by a reversal of her sister's legislation; but she did not restore the Edwardian system ; she did not revive the Act of Henry VIII which had asserted the king's headship of the Church, or the Act of Edward which deprived the bishops of all original jurisdiction : the doctrine of the headship was opposed both by the Puritans and by the Catholic party; the abolition of all the high functions of the episcopate which was aimed at by Edward's advisers was a measure which contemporary history was showing to be dangerous. But, whilst she minimised the definition of authority, she retained the virtual exercise of it: her explanation of her supreme governorship might have satisfied every one but the most Tridentine papist, but she re-enacted the most stringent part of her father's act of supremacy; and, whilst she allowed the continuance of the church jurisdiction, she kept all control over the religious discipline of clergy and laity under the hands of the Court of High Commission. The Court of High Commission, consisting of a large number of lawyers and laymen and a small number of bishops and divines, stands to the Church in much the same relation as the Court of Star Chamber stands to the Courts of Common Law, and the Court of Requests to Chancery, a legal but most unconstitutional relation, and one which, however long it might be tolerated, was sure in the long run to endanger the whole fabric. As for legislation, Elizabeth acted, as we know, on a high principle of supremacy ; such measures of church discipline as required coercive authority she allowed the parliaments to pass, but she forbade any interference whatever where that authority was not necessary. As for the Β b 2

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