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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 413



XVI.] THE PARLIAMENTS. had things very much as he pleased, we conclude, as we have other reasons for concluding, either that the assembled estates were cowed into complaisance, or else that they were too busy about other matters to care for the excitement of a quarrelsome debate. J There were seven parliaments during the reign of twentyfour years ; and of these seven, one had three sessions and another two; six of them fall before the close of 1497, and before the end of Archbishop Morton's life. I think that, if we had nothing else to judge by, we should infer from this, that so long as Morton was minister the king retained the Lancastrian idea of ruling mainly through parliaments ;J whilst, during the nine years that followed the archbishop's death, he reigned chiefly through councils and held but one parliament. Morton was indeed a thorough Lancastrian, though not of the type of Archbishop Arundel. He had been the mainstay of the party in evil times, and the leader of intrigue under Edward IV and Richard III ; but the old political game of Lancaster had long been played out, and, although Morton probably retained the attachment to forms which marked it to the last, he, either as a politician or as overborne by the king, was not in his financial administration faithful to the constitutional principle. This matter touches, however, a point of character in which master and minister alike suffer. Henry VI I is constantly accused of avarice, and Morton to the popular mind is best known as the inventor of the fork, Morton's fork, the dilemma by which he proved the necessity of the benevolences, to the great dissatisfaction of the payers : if you spend much you have plenty ; if you spend little you must have saved ; out of your plenty, or out of your savings, you must pay. I do not know that I am concerned to defend Morton, who was certainly not an avaricious man himself, and who, if he incurs a part of his master's shame, incurs it as a too faithful


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