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England under the Tudors By Arthur D. Innes Characters: 34487

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:05


HENRY VII (iv), 1485-1509-ASPECTS OF THE REIGN

[Sidenote: 1485 Henry's position]

The task before Henry when he ascended the throne was a difficult one. He had to establish a new dynasty with a very questionable title, under conditions which could not have allowed any conceivable title to pass without risk of being challenged. It was therefore necessary for him not merely to buttress his hereditary claim by marrying the rival whose title was technically the strongest, and securing the pronouncement of Parliament in his favour, together with such adventitious sanction as a Papal Bull afforded; but further to make his subjects contented with his rule.

Two things were definitely in his favour. The old nobility who between the spirit of faction and the love of fighting had kept the country in a state of turmoil for half a century were exhausted-not merely decimated but almost wiped out; while the mass of the population was weary of war and ready to welcome almost any one who could and would provide orderly government. The country was craving to have done with anarchy.

[Sidenote: Studied legality]

A firm hand and a resolute will were thus the primary necessities; but tired as the nation was, it was still ready to resent a flagrant tyranny. The Yorkist Kings had seen that absolutism was the condition of stability; Henry perceived that, applied as they had applied it, the stability would still be wanting. He had to find a mean between the wantonly arbitrary absolutism which had been attempted a century before by Richard II. and recently by Edward IV. and Richard III. on the one hand, and on the other hand the premature application of constitutional ideas under the House of Lancaster. The actual method evolved was the concentration of all control in the hands of the King, accompanied by an ostentatious deference to the forms of procedure which were liable to be put forward as popular rights, and a very keen attention to the limits of popular endurance.

Thus Henry's first step was to summon Parliament and follow the Lancastrian precedent of obtaining its ratification of his own title to the throne. The next step, necessitated by his position, was to cut the claws of the Yorkists as a faction by striking at Richard's principal supporters. This could only be done effectively by treating them as traitors-a proceeding which could not but savour of tyranny, since they had at any rate been supporting the de facto King: so again Henry took the only means of minimising the arbitrary character of his action, by obtaining parliamentary sanction. Some ten years later, at the time of Perkin Warbeck's attempted landing at Deal, he procured the remarkable enactment that support of a de facto King should not in the future be accounted as treason to the successor who dethroned him-a measure characterised by Bacon, writing a hundred years later, as too magnanimous to be politic. In 1485 it would have been so; but at the actual time Henry was himself the de facto monarch; he had no wish to punish his predecessor's supporters further; and he was really providing an inducement to his subjects to be loyal to the ruling dynasty. At the same time he could pose as advocating abstract justice in preference to the prevailing practice by which he had himself profited; strengthening his own hands in fact, while in theory he was introducing into politics the recognition of an ethical principle which-as it happened-no longer conflicted with his own advantage.

[Sidenote: Policy of lenity]

In fact Henry had an unusual perception of the political uses of a judicious leniency: but the leniency was deliberate and considered. He could also strike hard, on occasion. The rebels who were taken in the fighting near Deal met with scant mercy; and a very few months earlier, the execution of the apparently trusted and powerful William Stanley had been a sharp reminder that the royal clemency could not be taken for granted. Three years later he carried severity altogether beyond the limits of justice in executing Warwick. But as a rule he was lenient to a degree which had even its dangers. Simnel was treated as of too small account to be worth punishing. Warbeck from his capture till his attempt to escape was maintained in comfort and almost in freedom. Suffolk's earlier escapades were pardoned. Kildare was repeatedly forgiven, and really converted into a loyal subject. The Cornish insurgents of the Blackheath episode were dealt with so tenderly that they took clemency for weakness. Warbeck's Cornish rising was turned conveniently to account for the replenishment of the royal treasury by the infliction of fines, but no one who had supported it could complain of harsh treatment; rather they must have felt in every case that they had been let off very easily according to all precedents.

Even when Lovel's and Simnel's risings were in actual progress, pardons were offered to such of the rebels as would make haste to repent; and there was no withdrawal of those pardons afterwards on more or less plausible pretexts, in the manner of preceding Kings and of Henry's successor after the Pilgrimage of Grace. Broadly speaking it was the King's policy to emphasise the fact that he had no intention of attempting to play the tyrant, or to vary a rash generosity by capricious blood-thirstiness, like Richard III. The sole victim of tyrannous treatment in this sense throughout the reign was the unhappy Warwick.

[Sidenote: Repression of the nobles]

But the attitude of strict conformity to law was entirely compatible with that steady concentration of all real control in the King's hands, which was the leading object of Henry's policy. For this purpose the primary condition was that none of his subjects should be sufficiently powerful to challenge his authority and raise the standard of revolt, as the King-Maker and others had done in the past. The old nobility were practically wiped out. Insignificant husbands were chosen for the daughters of York. The blood of the Plantagenets ran in the veins of the house of Buckingham; but it was only in the last generation that the De la Poles had mated with the royal house, and their estates were much diminished; the Howards had suffered as supporters of Richard. Surrey indeed was deservedly restored to grace; but no amount of personal loyalty or of royal favour exempted the nobles from the severe restriction of the old practice of maintaining retainers in such numbers as to form a working nucleus for a fighting force; nor were they allowed to accumulate wealth dangerously. Henry was well pleased that his subjects should gather sufficient riches to feel a strong interest in the maintenance of order, but not enough to use it to create disorder.

Beyond this, however, he was careful to employ the nobles as ministers no more than he could help. He laid the burdens of statesmanship as much as possible on the clergy-on Morton and Fox and Warham. Fox, as Bishop of Durham, played a part in the relations of England and Scotland at least as influential as that of Surrey. After Morton's death Warham became Chancellor. Yet each of these three bishops felt happier in the conduct of his ecclesiastical functions than as a minister of the Crown. All three did worthy and conscientious service, but would willingly have withdrawn from affairs of State. They were counsellors, not rulers; the one real ruler was the King himself.

While the King restrained the power of the nobility as military factors in the situation, he developed his own control of military force by the revival of the militia system, always theoretically in force, but practically of late displaced by the baronial levies; and his hands were further strengthened by the possession of the only train of artillery in the realm, the value of which was markedly exemplified in the suppression of the Cornish insurgents.

[Sidenote: The Star Chamber]

Another instrument in the King's hands, invaluable for the purpose of holding barons and officials in check, was the institution which came to be known as the Star Chamber. [Footnote: Cf. Maitland in Social England, vol. ii., p. 655, ed. 1902; Busch, p. 267.] Beside the development of the House of Peers as the highest court of judicature in the realm, the development of the Great Council on similar lines had long been going on. The two bodies differed somewhat in this way-that the peers had the right of summons to the former, when the judges might be called in to their assistance; whereas there were ex officio members of the Council who were not peers, and considerable uncertainty prevailed as to the right of peers as peers to attend the Council. The customary powers of the Council arose from the need of a court too powerful and independent to be in danger of being intimidated or bribed by influence or wealth, able to penalise gross miscarriage of justice fraudulently procured, and to take in hand cases with which the ordinary courts would have had grave difficulty in dealing. In exercising this function the Council practically came to resolve itself into a judicial committee, meeting in a room known as the Star Chamber, and its authority was regularised by Act of Parliament in 1487. Absorbing into its hands offences in the matter of "maintenance" and "livery,"-i.e., broadly speaking, practices which the nobility had indulged in for the magnification of their households, and the provision of a military following-and being peculiarly subject to the royal influence, it was exceedingly useful to the King in keeping the baronage within bounds. Following, on the other hand, a procedure analogous to that of the ecclesiastical courts, unchecked by juries, and having authority to punish officers of the law whom it found guilty of illegal or corrupt practices, its influence was gradually extended, so that the fear of it guided the judgments of inferior courts. Under Henry VII., however, its functions were exercised at least mainly in the cause of justice-they were used, not abused-to the public satisfaction, as well as to the strengthening of the King's own hands. The moderation with which Henry used the powers he was accumulating concealed the latent possibility of the misuse of those same powers by a capricious or arbitrary monarch.

[Sidenote: Henry's use of Parliament]

Not less conspicuous is Henry's application of the same principles in his dealings with Parliament. He was careful, as we have seen, to secure for his own claims the sanction of the National Assembly, and to give due recognition to the authority of the estates of the realm. But he gave it no opportunity of acquiring powers of initiative, and he directed his financial policy to placing himself in such a position that he could escape that extension of its controlling powers, which naturally followed whenever a King found himself dependent on it for supplies. Throughout the first half of his reign he summoned frequent Parliaments, obtaining considerable grants on the pretext of foreign wars which were in themselves popular; but he turned the wars themselves to account by evading extensive military operations, and securing cash indemnities when peace was made. He even resorted, when a serious emergency arose, to benevolences, which were illegal; but he first secured the approval of the Council, which could still act to some degree as a substitute for Parliament when the Legislature was not in session, and he afterwards obtained the ratification of Parliament itself. By this means he obtained more than sufficient for the actual expenditure; in the meantime accumulating additional treasure by forfeitures from rebels and fines for transgression of the law. We have already observed his method of consistently resorting to pecuniary penalties as an apparently lenient form of punishment, which conveniently replenished his treasury. Thus, during the latter part of his reign, he was able to do without Parliaments almost entirely; supplementing his revenues through his agents Empson and Dudley, who made it their business to discover pretexts for enforcing fines under colour of law, and often with the flimsiest pretence of real justice.

[Sidenote: Financial exactions]

It was in this field that Henry overstepped his normal policy of not only working through the law but avoiding misuse of it. For the filling of Henry's treasury, the law was abused. The exactions of Empson and Dudley were made possible by the statute of 1495, empowering judges, upon information received, to initiate in their own courts trials of offenders who were supposed to have escaped prosecution through the corruption or intimidation of juries. Empson and Dudley being appointed judges found it an easy task to provide informers, who laid before them charges on which a case could be made out for fining the accused. In theory, of course, the King was not responsible, and the guilty judges paid the penalty with their lives early in the following reign. But the King did in fact get his full share of the discredit attaching; and perhaps his methods in this particular have been emphasised out of proportion to other traits in his character and policy by popular writers. There is some reason to doubt if Henry was ever quite fully aware of the extent to which these extortions were distortions of law; and there is no doubt at all that Empson and Dudley did not conduct their operations with a single eye to their master's benefit, but contrived to intercept ample perquisites on their own account. The statute was soon repealed under Henry VIII.

[Sidenote: Trade theories]

Modern economic theories depend for their validity on the postulates of the transferability of capital and of labour. In proportion to the limitation of the industries possible to a community, their laws apply, or fail to apply, within that community. The development of a new industry may be impossible, in the competition with established rivals, without artificial assistance-assistance given to that industry at the expense of the community at large; the preservation of an existing industry may demand like assistance. When the labour and capital employed can be transferred productively to another industry, it is obviously better that the transfer should take place, and the failing industry lapse, than that the community should be charged with maintaining an industry which cannot support itself -whether or no the competitors driving it out of the market are enabled to do so only by like extraneous assistance. When the capital and the labour cannot be transferred, but the industry can be maintained by assistance, the question becomes one of weighing the cost of maintenance to the community against the injury to the community from the collapse of the industry. Thus in any state with its commerce in the making, when the transferability of capital and labour is at best in dispute, the theory of buying in the cheapest market, wherever it is to be found, is not in favour. It is held better to raise the prices to the point at which the native product pays its native producers. In mediaeval times the foreigner was prima facie a person who came not to bring trade but to appropriate it. Hence he was subjected to regulations, limitations and charges for permission to carry on his operations. The next stage is reached when reciprocal free trade is recognised as an advantage and mutual concessions are made, restrictions and duties becoming, so to speak, implements of war, often enough proving two-edged.

[Sidenote: Henry's commercial policy]

Henry VII. was not an economist far in advance of the theories of his age; but economic considerations, as they were then understood, carried much more weight, and generally played a much larger part in his policy than was customary with the king-craft of the times, or with state-craft outside the commercial republic of Venice, the commercial association of German Free cities known as the Hansa or Hanseatic League, and the Netherlands. Accordingly we find him using every available means to obtain a footing in fresh foreign markets for the main English products of his day-wool and woollen goods; to secure for English merchants the rights and privileges which would enable them to compete on equal terms with the foreigner, and to curtail those privileges of the foreigner in England. In the matter of wool, the primacy of the English article was so thoroughly established that little extraneous aid was required. But with manufactured woollen goods the case was different, since the Flemings held the lead; and shipping also demanded artificial encouragement-first, because it was necessary to enterprise in the development of the export trade, at present largely carried on in foreign bottoms; second, because the King was, at least to some extent, alive to the strategic uses of a fleet which could be requisitioned for war purposes.

[Sidenote: The Netherlands trade]

The great mart for English wool was the Netherlands, whose manufacturing business required the raw product: the Netherlanders were more dependent on England than the English were on them. Hence this trade was used by Henry throughout his reign as a poli

tical lever-a means to political ends rather than an end in itself. If his own subjects suffered from a customs war, Philip's suffered more. So long as Burgundy made trouble on behalf of Perkin Warbeck the battle went on. In 1496 Philip gave up the contest, and the Intercursus Magnus followed. Soon after the beginning of the new century the fight was renewed, to be terminated by what the Flemings called the Intercursus Malus, an arrangement so one-sided and pressing so hard on them that its terms were practically impossible of fulfilment; and Henry assented to their modification before his death, partly with a view to overcoming the reluctance of Margaret of Savoy to accept his matrimonial overtures.

[Sidenote: The Hansa]

When Henry came to the throne, he found the export trade mainly in the hands of two foreign groups-the Hansa, who had acquired privileges in England which they did not reciprocate, and the Venetians, who held their own without privileges by superior commercial acuteness-and of two English groups, the Merchants of the Staple, who controlled the wool markets, and the Merchant Adventurers, who were mainly interested in the manufactured goods. The King therefore followed a consistent policy of straining, in a restrictive sense, the interpretation of the concessions made to the Hansa, of emphasising grievances against them and of pressing for counter- privileges; and he successfully negotiated with Denmark in 1489 a commercial treaty, which interfered with the Hansa monopoly of the Scandinavian trade, by placing English merchants on a competitive footing with them. In a similar manner, he brought pressure to bear on the Venetians by opening direct relations with the Florentines at their port of Pisa. It is curious to note incidentally that the export dues on raw wool were enormously heavier than those on the manufactured goods; the difference being made in order to encourage the home sale of the wool and to stimulate the home manufacture by this means, as well as by encouraging the foreign sale of the manufactured goods. It is also observable that when an attempt was made by the London merchants to capture the worsted trade, Henry nipped it in the bud. It was no part of his policy to allow corporations-any more than individuals-to become powerful enough to demand terms for their political support.

[Sidenote: The Navigation Acts]

Recognising, as we saw, the commercial advantage to England of doing her own carrying trade and of multiplying ships and seamen, Henry-tentatively at first, but with increasing confidence-adopted artificial methods of encouraging this branch of industry, at the expense of free competition. Very early in the reign a Navigation Act required that goods shipped for England from certain foreign ports should be embarked on English vessels, during a specified period. Then the Act was renewed for a longer period, and finally without a time limit, and with more extended application. A great impetus was given to English shipping, with momentous results which can hardly have entered into Henry's calculations. He could not have anticipated the vast extensions of empire which were to be the prize of the nations with ocean-going navies, with the ocean itself for the great battlefield; or even the extent to which commerce and naval preponderance were destined to go hand in hand. The monopoly of the States with a Mediterranean sea-board was coming to an end.

[Sidenote: Voyages of discovery]

Yet it was in his reign that the vast change was initiated. In 1492 Christopher Columbus made his great voyage: in 1497 Vasco da Gama sailed for India, not westwards but southwards and eastwards round the Cape of Good Hope. Ten years later, Albuquerque was founding a Portuguese Empire in the Indian seas. Spain and Portugal, pioneers of the great movement, led the way, one in the new world of the West, the other in the fabled world of the East; where for many a year to come they were to divide a monopoly authorised by the Papal Bull of Alexander VI. Before another century closed, their dominion was to be challenged by England grown mighty and by Holland emancipated. As yet, however, men dreamed only formless if gorgeous dreams of what the unknown realms might bring forth. England played no very large part in these early voyages. Christopher Columbus, craving to discover a westerly route to the Indies, and failing of Portuguese support, sent his brother Bartholomew to petition the English King for aid; but Bartholomew was captured by pirates. Ultimately he reached England, but before he could achieve his purpose, Christopher had found other helpers; the prize fell to Ferdinand and Isabella. The first historic expedition which sailed from English ports was captained not by an Englishman but by another Italian, John Cabot, and his son Sebastian, in 1497. The Cabots were Venetians who had for some time been established at Bristol. They aimed for a north-west passage, and found Labrador and Newfoundland, cold, inhospitable, producing no wealth: the explorers who sailed under Spanish auspices struck the wealthy and entrancing regions of the south. There was little enough material inducement beyond the simple spirit of enterprise to attract capital to expend itself in aid of the Bristol men who followed in the wake of Cabot. Henry deserves full credit for the encouragement and actual pecuniary help which he rendered at first, and no blame for its discontinuation. The daring of the adventurers was but ill repaid for the time; yet a mighty harvest was to be reaped by England in the days to come.

[Sidenote: The rural revolution]

If England, however, did not for more than half a century turn the new discoveries to material account, wealth and prosperity did increase greatly in the towns, and the country recovered her lost position among the commercial nations-partly from Henry's policy directed to that end, partly from the comparatively settled conditions of life which gradually prevailed. In the agricultural districts, however, this was hardly the case, owing to the increasing tendency to substitute pasture for cultivation. The country had no difficulty in producing sufficient for its own consumption; and the development of the woollen manufacture made sheep-farming in particular much more lucrative. But sheep-farming called for the employment of many fewer hands; proprietors dispossessed small tenants to make large sheep-runs; migration from the rural districts to the nascent manufacturing centres was not a simple matter; and thus there was no little distress, and a great multiplication of beggars and vagabonds. The monasteries, which in the past had been progressive farmers, had degenerated into landlords easy-going indeed but without enterprise. The wealth of the gentry increased, but unemployment increased also, and labour at the same time became cheaper. The evil was to a great extent realised; in the Isle of Wight, which was rapidly becoming depopulated, an attempt was made to improve matters by limiting the size of farms; the heavy export duties on raw wool were doubtless intended actually to restrict the output as well as to divert it to English rather than foreign manufacturers; but since this did not effectively check the growing demand at home, the production of wool remained so lucrative that it continued to be more attractive than cultivation. Attempts were made to transfer labour from agriculture to manufacture by interfering with, the restrictions imposed by the trade-guilds (which always aimed at making themselves close bodies), the object of such legislation being quite as much to prevent idleness as to relieve distress. Nevertheless, the evil grew. Sir Thomas More in his introduction to the Utopia, written early in the next reign, gives a vigorous sketch of the prevalent vagabondage just before the death of Cardinal Morton, adding to the causes above mentioned the number of lackeys employed by the wealthy who when dismissed became a useless burden on the community. He also charges the land-owners, expressly including many abbots and others of the clergy, with causing depopulation and misery by forcing up rents. From him too as well as from other sources we learn of the frequency of crimes of violence, attributed by him to the reckless employment of the death penalty for minor offences, encouraging the fugitive criminal-already doomed if caught-to take life without hesitation.

[Sidenote: The Church]

To a certain extent, then, we have to note among the causes of change in rural districts the failure of the monasteries to discharge their old function of agricultural leadership. In other respects, also, these communities had fallen from the high standards of earlier days. Discipline was lax. Visitations instituted by Cardinal Morton revealed the presence of gross immorality, not only among the very small houses, but in so great an institution as the Abbey of St. Albans, where the highest officials were guilty of the gravest misbehaviour; and the correspondence seems to imply that the disapprobation was by no means in proportion to the offences, from which it is fair to infer that no high standard was normally expected. The most to be looked for was an absence of flagrant misconduct. The clergy were much more particular about ceremonial observances and ecclesiastical privileges than about the morals either of themselves or of their flocks. But as yet there was no sign of a coming Reformation. Lollardry, it is true, had never been killed; its anti-clerical propaganda was by no means inactive. But it worked beneath the surface, and could not be taken to indicate an approaching convulsion. The greatest Churchmen of the day, Morton, Warham and Fox, were absorbed-albeit reluctantly-in affairs of State. Blameless, even austere in their own lives, patrons of learning, sincerely pious, they lacked the Reformer's passion, without which it was vain to combat the vis inertiae; generated by long years of clerical sloth, and of the formalism by which the highest Mysteries were vulgarly distorted into superstitions and Faith into ceremonial observances.

[Sidenote: Henry and Rome]

The first Tudor himself was a pious man, as piety was reckoned: punctual in observances, commended and complimented by Popes. His chapel in Westminster Abbey is evidence of his zeal in one direction; he gave alms with a business-like regard to their post-mortem efficacy. Throughout his reign the Popes made much talk of a new crusade, and Henry seems to have been the one European monarch who took the idea seriously. It is true that when Alexander VI. appealed in 1500 for funds to that end, the English King preferred to be excused; but the polite irony of his refusal was more than justified by his confidence that if the Pope got the money it would not be expended for the benefit of Christendom; moreover, he did actually hand over four thousand pounds. In fact, he took the Church as he found it. There was but one almost infinitesimal curtailment of ecclesiastical privileges in his reign, necessitated by political considerations and accepted by the Pope, whereby the right of Sanctuary was withdrawn in cases of treason.

[Sidenote: Learning and letters]

Practically it is only in the beginnings of an educational revival that we find promise of the dawn of a new order. It was in Henry's reign that the study of Greek, and with it the new criticism, began to establish itself. Grocyn and Linacre led the way. In the last decade of the century John Colet was lecturing at Oxford, the apostle of the new learning on its religious side; calling his pupils to the study of the Scriptures themselves, rather than of the schoolmen or doctors of the Church; treating them as organic treatises, not as collections of texts. There he won the friendship of young Thomas More; thither on flying visits came Erasmus twice. Colet, made Dean of St. Paul's about 1505, continued to carry on his educational work as the founder of the famous St. Paul's School; winning renown also as a great preacher and a fearless moralist; a man of rich learning, of a reverent enthusiasm, of a splendid sincerity, of a noble simplicity; the prophet of much that was best, and of nothing that was not best, in the coming Reformation.

But during Henry's reign Colet's figure is almost the only one-apart from such representatives of erudition and scholarship as Grocyn and Linacre- which stands forth holding out a promise of intellectual and moral progress. In effect there was no literature; in this respect Scotland was in advance of England with the verse of William Dunbar. More's Utopia was still unwritten. When Henry died the Universities had not yet, or had only just, received within their portals the men who were to fight the theological battle of the Reformation. More than half a century was to pass before the splendid sunrise of the Shakespearian era.

[Sidenote: Henry's character]

It has hardly, perhaps, been the custom to render full justice to the founder of the Tudor dynasty. His reign is stamped with a character sordid and unattractive. There is no romance in it, no clashing of arms, no valiant deeds, no suggestion of the heroic. The King's enemies are, for the most part, contemptible persons; the King himself is a cold-blooded, long-headed ruler, merciful indeed, but from policy, not from generosity, and of a meanness in money matters very far from royal. Yet he was not without virtues. He was not unjust; he was a statesman more loyal to his pledges than most of his contemporaries or their successors. He gave something like order and rest to a distracted land, and raised her again to a position at least respectable among the nations, securing himself on a most unstable throne without resorting to the usual methods of the tyrant. Had he died when Morton died, the baser aspects of his reign would never have achieved so unlovely a prominence as they have done.

The truth is, indeed, that judged by the first half of his reign alone Henry might have been numbered among the princes with a title to be regarded almost with affection. It is only in the light of the later years that even his financial policy really assumes a mean aspect, though occasionally it came perilously near what may be called sharp practice-and the excuse was great, seeing that a full treasury was an absolutely necessary condition of establishing the new rule. The imprisonment of Warwick was an act of palpable injustice, yet the risk of letting him go free would have been enormous. In another ruler than Henry, the leniency which we attribute to astute policy would have been freely described as surprising magnanimity. He never betrayed a loyal servant. His genuine appreciation of the true spirit of chivalry was shown when he took Surrey [Footnote: Surrey, the son of "Jockey of Norfolk," Richard's supporter, was imprisoned in the Tower. At the time of Simnel's insurrection his gaoler offered to let him escape, but he refused, saying that the King had sent him to confinement, and only from the King would he accept release.] from the Tower to entrust him with high command in the North. The luckless Lady Katharine Gordon, the wife of Perkin Warbeck, was treated with remarkable courtesy and liberality. There was even a genial humour in the King's behaviour to Kildare. His own marriage he doubtless looked upon as a purely political affair; but while his wife lived his loyalty to his marriage vow is in strong contrast to the general licentiousness of the princes of his day; and the picture of Henry and Elizabeth striving in turn to comfort each other on Prince Arthur's death, as recorded by a contemporary, [Footnote: Gairdner, Chron., i., p. 36; Leland's Collectanea, v., p, 373.] can hardly be fitted on to the conception of Henry as a man almost without the more tender feelings of humanity.

[Sidenote: Deterioration after 1499]

Yet all this is forgotten or discoloured by reason of the ugly picture of those later days when Morton and Prince Arthur and Elizabeth were gone. It seems, indeed, as though a certain moral deterioration had set in from the time when Henry made up his mind to do violence to his conscience by making away with Warwick in 1499. Morton, his wisest counsellor, of whom More gives a most attractive portrait in the Utopia, died the next year; Arthur, whom he loved, in the spring of 1502; Elizabeth, always a refining and softening influence, within a twelvemonth of Arthur. To these latter years belong almost entirely the extortions of Empson and Dudley; the harsh treatment of Katharine of Aragon, a helpless hostage in his hands; the revolting proposal for a union with the crazy Joanna of Castile. This view is further borne out when we observe that in these years also his political foresight degenerates into craftiness, personal animosities playing a larger part. The intellectual falling off is hardly less marked than the moral. For the personal repute of a King who was almost, if not quite, one of the great, it is to be regretted that his last years have cast a permanent cloud over a reign which emphatically made for the good of the nation over which he ruled.

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