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must recollect that its character was widely different from our present parliament, that there was nothing like our House of Commons, and that it consisted of great noblemen alone, lay and ecclesiastical.

No time was given to De Montfort to see how his plan would succeed, for prince Edward managed to escape from his keepers, and being joined by many of his friends, he marched against De Montfort and his partisans. This time the battle was fought at Evesham, De Montfort was slain, his army routed, and his body cruelly mangled by the prince's men.

But the work he had begun did not end with his death. The people cherished his memory, and long held his name in reverence as

“Sir Simon the Righteous.” And the plan of calling in the people to aid in the deliberations of the king's council, was continued as some say by king Henry himself. His son, prince Edward, who had defeated De Montfort, and who afterwards became our celebrated king Edward the First, certainly admitted the people to his councils, and the precedent has been followed by subsequent monarchs.

It was not to be expected that the people would have much influence at first, and the towns and the members they sent looked on this attendance at parliament as a burden, whereas it is now esteemed a high honour, and persons are willing to incur great expense, that they may have the privilege of sitting in parliament. But it was soon found that the House of Commons was a great power in the state, and it gradually rescued the country from the tyranny of the king and the nobles. It was originally summoned to countenance De Montfort's rule, and perhaps introduce innovations too daring to be introduced by one man; but it soon obtained the power of granting supplies, and this remains to this day the special prerogative of the Commons House of Parliament. They had the habit of coupling their grants of supply with demands for redress of grievances;

and this explains the statement that we have paid for our liberties in hard cash.

The powers of parliament increased from year to year, the Commons especially rising rapidly into importance.

The difficulties of the king were always made the means of augmenting the influence of parliament. The great king Edward the Third needed large levies of taxes for his French wars, and these were granted after numerous concessions on his part. By the end of his reign, i.e., in a little more than a hundred years from De Montfort's death, the following principles were established :—I. That it was illegal to raise money without the consent of parliament. II. That no laws could be altered without the consent of the two houses of parliament.—III. That the Commons have the right to enquire into grievances, and if need be, to impeach the king's ministers.

We need only add that the influence and power of parliament have since grown to such an extent that it is now practically supreme, the sovereign having only the power of vetoing any enactment that is distasteful. And even this power is hardly ever used.

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John { 1199
Henry to. 1215


\ 1189

1199 (Caur-de-Lion)


(murdered, 1202)

1215 (Lackland)

Edward I.

| 1272

1307 Edward 'II.

1307 1327 1327


Events between 1265 and 1455.

1282 A.D. Conquest of Wales.
1296. Wars with Scotland. -Scots defeated at Dunbar.
1314. Robert Bruce defeats the English at Bannockburn.
1340. Wars with France. Battles of Sluys 1340, and Cressy, 1346,

Capture of Calais, 1347, Battle of Poictiers, 1356.
1376. Death of Black Prince.
1381. Insurrection of Wat Tyler.
1384. John Wycliffe dies.
1415. War with France.-

French defeated at Agincourt (1420, Henry V. acknowledged as heir to the crown of France). 1422. Henry VI., an infant, crowned king of England, and soon after

France also. 1430. Joan of Arc.

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Sanguinary-bloody (Lat. sanguis (san- Temporary-lasting but for a time (Lat. guinis), blood).

tempus temporis], time). Evidently-plainly (Lat. video, I see). Intermission-break, interruption (Lat. Hereditary-descending from father to inter, among; mitto, I send).

son (Lat. heres (heredis), an heir). Fatal-deadly (Lat. fatalis, deadly). Mental derangement-insanity.

It is a very dreadful thing that nations have never been able to settle their disputes without an appeal to arms, and without wars in which untold mischief is often done to the contending parties. This has been a source of trouble to good men for ages, and it is strange that men with their powers of reason, have not yet got far above the brutes in the matter. All war is very shocking, but civil war, in which men of the same country are arrayed against their fellowcountrymen is especially dreadful. And yet there is hardly any country of importance, perhaps no country, that has been free from it.

The Wars of the Roses are the most sanguinary civil wars in our history. They arose out of a dispute between two branches of the family of Edward the Third, respecting the crown of England, and were called the Wars of the Roses, because the contending parties wore for their badges, the one a white, and the other a red rose. It is rather difficult to make the claims of the rival houses appear clearly, but we will try to do so.


1327 Edward .

1377 |

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On the death of Edward the Third, he was succeeded by his grandson, Richard the Second, for his heroic son Edward, the Black Prince, had died before his father. Richard was a brave but imprudent king, and became so unpopular that his cousin the Duke of Lancaster, the son of the third son of Edward the Third, managed to dethrone him, and to ascend the throne in his place, as our king Henry the Fourth. He pretended that he had a title to the crown, through his mother, but this was evidently false, and his real title was his power to seize and to maintain the

supremacy. He defeated a formidable attempt to depose him, and on his death, he left his crown to his son Henry the Fifth. Henry the Fifth distinguished himself by his wonderful successes in France, which ended in his being acknowledged as heir to the French crown. As was to be expected, he was very popular in England, and after the first few months of his reign, no attempt was made to dispute his title.

But Henry died, and left a son, who was only a few months old. He was crowned king as Henry the Sixth. As he grew up he became a pious man, but a weak and feeble king. It was his misfortune too that the French gained great successes in his reign, and for

this and for other reasons he was not liked by the people.

Now came the opportunity of the other claimant. So long as the throne was occupied by powerful and popular kings, there was small chance of his pretensions being noticed, but this king being weak and unpopular, he advanced his claim with good hope of success. The claimant was Richard, duke of York, who was sprung from a union of the families of the second and fourth sons of Edward the Third, and whose claim was therefore manifestly superior to that of king Henry the Sixth, if regard be paid to hereditary right. But as the crown had been in possession of three successive kings of the other branch of the family, many people thought it now belonged to them of right, and this is the opinion of most thoughtful men now. The Duke of York was a powerful nobleman,

and his cause was espoused by many of the nobles. King Henry too was afflicted with fits of temporary mental derangement, and York was appointed Protector of the realm in consequence of this. But on recovering from his illness, the king deprived the Duke of York of his office, and he raised an army to force the king to acknowledge him as his heir. Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou, was the real leader on the king's side, for the pious and well-meaning, but weak and unwarlike Henry, was quite unfitted to bear sway in such troublous times.

The first battle was fought at St. Albans in 1455. The Yorkists gained the victory, the king was taken prisoner, and was kindly treated by the Duke of York. And as Henry's illness appeared again, York was reinstated in his office of protector. Next year however, the king recovered, and York was removed. Then preparations were made for renewing the war, and though attempts were made to reconcile the contending parties, they proved unavailing, and the Yorkists gained other victories at Bloreheath and

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