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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 418



EMPSON AND DUDLEY. [XVI savings from royal demesne and forfeitures, but which was partially, and in popular belief principally, accumulated by exactions made by Empson and Dudley. These two men, acting as members of the royal council and under the direct control of the king, had reduced to a system the extraction of money on false or exaggerated charges. They had revived old sentences an3~ancient worn-out claims, and had the king's connivance in exacting the pettiest sums./ In the year 1504 so great was the outcry against them that the king, suffering at the time from illness and taking a spell of penitence, issued letters ordering that all who had any reason to complain of injury inflicted in the king's name should come forward and have a hearing. But no real good was done, and the abuses continued to the end of the reign: the culprits had imprisoned . men without chance of hearing until they had paid their fines; / they had compelled others to recognise themselves as tenants in chief and so liablefor feudal aids'; they had refused livery / of seisin to wards, except on payment of enormous reliefs ;/ exacted two years' income from outlaws before they could sue for pardons ;/they had heard and disposed of matters that belonged to the courts of law, and had imprisoned and fined a jury, j These charges against them are in exact parallel with the abuses practised by William Rufus and remedied by Henry I and in Magna Carta. Yet they pleaded royal authority and the letter of the law, and, when the time of vengeance came, as it did at the very opening of the next reign, they perished on a charge of conspiring to govern the king and council, very much analogous to that which had been brought against the Despensers two centuries before, not on the ground of their real offences. 4 The next point to take is the legislation of the reign, on which I do not propose to say much, as it would be very tedious to repeat the dates and occasions of the parliaments, whilst to go into the social questions touched by the new laws


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