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from Bacon by Hume, has now given way before the fact that the act in question was a mere transcript of another to the same effect passed in the reign of Richard III. The modern view is that the act last named was reënacted in Henry's reign not to give to the tenant in tail a greater power to alienate his estate, but by establishing a short term of prescription to put a check upon the large number of suits for the possession of land which sprang up after the civil war. 1
No reference to Henry's legislation, however brief, should Henry's omit the fact that, in the hope of developing English ship- act;
navigation ping, he enacted a navigation law,2 which provided that traders with Gascony should import their wine and woad only in English vessels manned by English seamen, when such could be obtained. To the legislation of Edward I. can be traced the protective beginnings of that system of national regulation designed for
gins with the protection of native as opposed to foreign interests, which the legislaappears as a definitely organized scheme of public economy in ward I.; the time of Elizabeth.3 This protective system which was gradually developed in the interests of industry, agriculture, commerce, and manufactures was first extended to English shipping by the navigation act of Richard II., which provided first navithat “ to increase the navy of England which is now greatly that of
gation act diminished, it is assented and accorded, that none of the king's Richard II.; liege people do from henceforth ship any merchandise in going out or coming within the realm of England, in any port, but only in ships of the king's liegance." 4 The navigation policy thus inaugurated by Richard, and neglected by the kings of the house of Lancaster, was not revived until the reign of Edward IV., when an act 6 was passed which seems to have expired at the end of three years. The next navigation act
See Reeves' Hist. Eng. Law, vol. modified some years later by 6 Rich. iii
. pp. 373, 374, and notes (Finlason II. i. c. 8; 14 Rich. II. c. 6. As to the
Controversy in the U. S.” Stanford
navigation policy of Richard, and no * It is a pleasure to be able to refer, navigation acts were passed under in this connection, to the great work Henry V.or Henry VII. Schanz, Hanof Cunningham, Growth of English In- delspolitik, vol. i. p. 363; Cunningham, dustry and Commerce, vol. i. pp. 243- Industry and Commerce, vol. i. p. 370 246.
and notes. 5 Rich. II. i. c. 3. This act was 3 Edw. IV. c. 1.
was that passed in the first year of Henry VII. Although Henry may have been too parsimonious to lead in the work of discovery," he was too wise not to see that a great change was at hand, a change destined soon to revolutionize the commerce of the world, and to lay the foundations for the great international trade of modern times. That he was infected with the spirit of maritime adventure, which was the leading feature of
the age, can hardly be doubted, when we find him in 1496 issuHenry's ing to the Genoese navigator, John Cabot, long a resident of patents to Bristol,2 that famous patent, the oldest surviving document
connecting the old land with the new, under which was made the first of those discoveries that became the basis of Eng
land's title to the soil of the New World. The Eng
6. Just as the long night of political reaction, which was lish Renais- coextensive with the supremacy of the York and Tudor monsance;
archy, began to settle down like a blight upon the growth of the English constitution, the dawn of the Renaissance began to break upon the life of the English people. While Edward IV. and Henry VII. were fastening upon the island kingdom that system of absolutism which had begun to prevail throughout the continental nations, the main body of the people were beginning to be stirred by the spirit of that new and marvellous era of national awakening generally known as the English Renaissance, a term which must not be confined to the mere revival of learning, but so expanded as to embrace the whole process of mental and material development which brought to the English people its new conceptions of philosophy and religion, its new understanding of government and law, its reawakened interest in the arts and sciences, its new-born activity in commerce and manufacture, as well as that spirit of discovery and adventure that widened its destiny through conquest and colonization in another hemisphere. During the period in which Edward IV. was overawing the law courts and trampling upon the parliament, the “shining seed-points of light,”
1 In 1488 Bartholomew Columbus resulted from their discoveries should came to Henry's court and sought in be brought to England. vain his patronage for his brother 3 In 1480 two ships set out from BrisChristopher. See Nar. and Crit. Hist. tol in quest of the island of Brazil. (Winsor), vol. ii. p. 102; Peschel, William of Worcester, Itinerary (Dal
laway), 153. “Such projects seem to 2 See vol. i. p. 17 and note 4. In have met with much support from the the patents granted to the Cabots it merchants there." — Cunningham, vol. was provided that whatever commerce i. p. 421.
out of which the new life was to spring, were being sown amid the embers of the dying mediævalism. The reign of mon- the reign of archy in England, as in the rest of Europe, brought with it brought
monarchy peace, which gave a marked impetus not only to agriculture with it and manufacture, but to foreign commerce. The shores of the Mediterranean no longer marked the limits of the maritime world; the dominion of the seas had already begun to pass from the Italian seaports to the nations bordering on the Atlantic seaboard; the great era of discovery and conquest had now come, in which English seamen and soldiers were soon to bear their part. During the sixteenth century the Cabots, era of disGilbert, Barlow, Amidas, Drake, and Raleigh braved every conquest ; hardship and faced every danger in the prosecution of American discovery; and in the next age their work was crowned by the brave English hearts who at last overcame the terrors of the wilderness, and laid the foundations of the great republic beyond the sea. While the geographical horizon of the English people was thus being widened by discovery and conquest, its intellectual activities were being stirred by the new light now streaming across the Alps from the ancient world. To the Italy of Petrarch we must look for the cradle of the Italian ReRenaissance. Petrarch it was who in the fourteenth century taught his countrymen how to study the Latin masters in a humanistic spirit, and he also pointed out to them the necessity of recovering a knowledge of Greek, which had become, in the full sense of the term, a dead language. Before its capture by the Turks, enthusiastic scholars had visited Constantinople "as the sacred city of the new revelation," and after its fall the Greek scholars who were driven into exile found in the cities of Italy not only congenial homes, but earnest disciples, who were ready to break the new revelation to the Latin and Teutonic world. In that way Italy became the seat of a vast intellectual revival; in her cities the ancient fountains were unsealed from which the two great streams of classic literature flowed into France and Spain, into Germany and the Netherlands, and finally into England. The art of printing, which printing; had been discovered just in time to aid in the distribution of the new learning throughout the Continental nations, stood ready to welcome its advent into the island kingdom. Caxton, the first English printer, after a prolonged absence in Flan
ders, returned home about the year 1476, bringing with him a printing-press, with the use of which he had probably become familiar at Bruges. Encouraged by the patronage of Edward IV., and such of his despotic courtiers as Gloucester, Rivers, and Tiptoft, and sustained by the growing literary spirit of the age, Caxton printed many of the classics, and all of the best specimens of English literature in poetry and prose. At his death in 1492 he left his art established in England upon a firm foundation. Thus, while Edward and Henry were laying deep the foundations of the monarchy, they were also furthering the establishment of a new institution, which was destined to contribute most to its overthrow. Through the agency of the printing-press, books which had been the property of the few became the possession of the many; by its levelling hand the new "seed-points of light” were sown in every household, and the result was a reëxamination of the whole field of knowledge, a process which shook at last the foundations both of the church and the monarchy.
Great, however, as was the progress made by the New Learngress of the ing during the reign of Henry VII., under the lead of Grocyn, ing under Colet, More, and Erasmus, the group of scholars of which they Henry VII.;
were the central lights remained a small one until after the the fresh accession of Henry VIII. Then it was that the circle widadvance under
ened; then it was that the “new order ” began in earnest; Henry
then it was that England, thus ushered into the new era, defiVIII.
nitely entered upon a career of intellectual development abreast with the foremost of the continental nations.
1 During Edward's reign the statutes clesiastical law were also published. and year-books were first printed. The Reeves' Hist. of Eng. Law, vol. iv. pp. great text-books of Littleton on the 158, 159. common law and Lyndwode on the ec
HENRY VIII, AND THE BREAK WITH ROME.
1. DURING the period of transition that intervened between Outline of the accession of Edward IV. and the death of Henry VII., the contenha the work of reorganizing and consolidating the powers of the monarchy, which had risen triumphant out of the wreck of feudalism and the civil war, went steadily on. The dominant purpose that guided this work of reconstruction was to so endow the monarchy with self-sustaining force as to render it forever free from dependence upon and subserviency to that system of parliamentary sovereignty which had been carried to its highest point in the days of the Lancastrian kings. To transfer the supreme powers of the state from the king Supreme in parliament to the king in council, without working any the state change in the outward form of the constitution, and without transferred destroying any of its vital elements, was the cardinal idea that king in parpervaded the policy which Edward inaugurated and Henry the king in expanded. The details have already been drawn out through which this end was accomplished, by the establishment of a fiscal system which made the crown independent of parliamentary grants, except at long intervals and upon unusual occasions, and by the abnormal expansion of the powers of the council, in which the royal will was omnipotent. Under the new system as thus organized the council became, as from the in the Norman and early Angevin days, the body from which emanated all the more important acts of government, whether the more administrative, legislative (by way of ordinance), fiscal, or politi- acts of govcal. The parliament still survived for purposes of extraordinary deliberation. To the law courts was still committed the L'pon that subject, see vol. i. pp. vide funds, by which the administration
council emanated all
could be carried on; at another to re.? As Coke has expressed it, “The view minute accounts, to communicate king's will is the sole constituent of a with aliens or merchants, or to interprivy councillor.”
fere for the preservation of the king's $'" It had at one moment to settle peace.” – Dicey, The Privy Council, questions of policy; at another to pro- p. 50.