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afterwards to that of Bath and Wells, and employed him in many of his affairs of state, that had relation to Rome. He was a man of great learning, wisdom, and dexterity in business of state; and having not long after ascended to the degree of cardinal, paid the King large tribute of his gratitude, in diligent and judicious advertisement of the occurrents of Italy. Nevertheless, in the end of his time, he was partaker of the conspiracy, which cardinal Alphonso Petrucci and some other cardinals had plotted against the life of Pope Leo. And this offence, in itself so hainous, was yet in him aggravated by the motive thereof, which was not malice or discontent, but an aspiring mind to the papacy. And in this height of impiety there wanted not an intermixture of levity and folly; for that, as was generally believed, he was animated to expect the papacy by a fatal mockery, the prediction of a sooth-sayer, which was, "That one should succeed Pope Leo, whose name "should be Adrian, an aged man of mean birth, and "of great learning and wisdom." By which character and figure he took himself to be described, though it were fulfilled of Adrian the Fleming, son of a Dutch brewer, cardinal of Tortosa, and preceptor unto Charles the fifth; the same that, not changing his Christianname, was afterwards called Adrian the sixth.
But these things happened in the year following, which was the fifth of this King. But in the end of the fourth year the King had called again his parliament, not, as it seemeth, for any particular occasion of state but the former parliament being ended somewhat suddenly, in regard of the preparation for Britain, the King thought he had not remunerated his people sufficiently with good laws, which evermore was his retribution for treasure. And finding by the insurrection in the north, there was discontentment abroad, in respect of the subsidy, he thought it good to give his subjects yet farther contentment and comfort in that kind. Certainly his times for good commonwealth's laws did excel. So as he may justly be celebrated for the best lawgiver to this nation; after King Edward the first for his laws, whoso marks them well, are deep,
and not vulgar; not made upon the spur of a particular occasion for the present, but out of providence of the future, to make the estate of his people still more and more happy; after the manner of the legislators in ancient and heroical times.
First therefore he made a law, suitable to his own acts and times: for as himself had in his person and marriage made a final concord, in the great suit and title for the crown; so by this law he settled the like peace and quiet in the private possessions of the subjects: ordaining, "That fines thenceforth should be "final, to conclude all strangers rights;" and that upon fines levied, and solemnly proclaimed, the subject should have his time of watch for five years after his title accrued; which if he forepassed, his right should be bound for ever after; with some exception nevertheless of minors, married women, and such incompetent persons.
This statute did in effect but restore an ancient statute of the realm, which was itself also made but in affirmance of the common law. The alteration had been by a statute, commonly called the statute of nonclaim, made in the time of Edward the third. And surely this law was a kind of prognostic of the good peace, which since his time hath, for the most part, continued in this kingdom until this day: for statutes of non-claim are fit for times of war, when men's heads are troubled, that they cannot intend their estate; but statutes that quiet possessions, are fittest for times of peace, to extinguish suits and contentions, which is one of the banes of peace.
Another statute was made, of singular policy, for the population apparently, and, if it be thoroughly considered, for the soldiery and military forces of the realm.
Inclosures at that time began to be more frequent, whereby arable land, which could not be manured without people and families, was turned into pasture, which was easily rid by a few herdsmen; and tenances for years, lives, and at will, whereupon much of the yeomanry lived, were turned into demesns. This bred
a decay of people, and, by consequence, a decay of towns, churches, tithes, and the like. The King like wise knew full well, and in no wise forgot, that there ensued withal upon this a decay and diminution of subsidies and taxes; for the more gentlemen, ever the lower books of subsidies. In remedying of this inconvenience the King's wisdom was admirable, and the parliament's at that time. Inclosures they would not forbid, for that had been to forbid the improvement of the patrimony of the kingdom; nor tillage they would not compel, for that was to strive with nature and utility: but they took a course to take away depopulating inclosures and depopulating pasturage, and yet not by that name, or by any imperious express prohibition, but by consequence. The ordinance was, "That all houses "of husbandry, that were used with twenty acres of
ground and upwards, should be maintained and kept "up for ever; together with a competent proportion "of land to be used and occupied with them;" and in no wise to be severed from them, as by another statute, made afterwards in his successor's time, was more fully declared this upon forfeiture to be taken, not by way of popular action, but by seizure of the land itself by the King and lords of the fee, as to half the profits, till the houses and lands were restored. By this means the houses being kept up, did of necessity enforce a dweller; and the proportion of land for occupation being kept up, did of necessity enforce that dweller not to be a beggar or cottager, but a man of some substance, that might keep hinds and servants, and set the plough on going. This did wonderfully concern the might and mannerhood of the kingdom, to have farms as it were of a standard, sufficient to maintain an able body out of penury, and did in effect amortise a great part of the lands of the kingdom unto the hold and occupation of the yeomanry or middle people, of a condition between gentlemen and cottagers or peasants. Now, how much this did advance the military power of the kingdom, is apparent by the true principles of war and the examples of other kingdoms. For it hath been held by the general opinion of men of best judgment in the wars,
howsoever some few have varied, and that it may receive some distinction of case, that the principal strength of an army consisteth in the infantry or foot. And to make good infantry, it requireth men bred, not in a servile or indigent fashion, but in some free and plentiful manner. Therefore if a state run most to noblemen and gentlemen, and that the husbandmen and ploughmen be but as their workfolks and labourers, or else mere cottagers, which are but housed beggars, you may have a good cavalry but never good stable bands of foot; like to coppice woods, that if you leave in them staddles too thick, they will run to bushes and briers, and have little clean underwood. And this is to be seen in France and Italy, and some other parts abroad, where in effect all is noblesse or peasantry. I speak of people out of towns, and no middle people; and therefore no good forces of foot: inso much as they are enforced to employ mercenary bands of Switzers, and the like, for their battalions of foot. Whereby also it comes to pass, that those nations have much people, and few soldiers. Whereas the King saw, that contrariwise it would follow, that England, though much less in territory, yet should have infinitely more soldiers of their native forces than those other nations have. Thus did the King secretly sow Hydra's teeth; whereupon, according to the poet's fiction, should rise up armed men for the service of this kingdom.
The King also, having care to make his realm potent, as well by sea as by land, for the better mainte nance of the navy, ordained; "That wines and woads "from the parts of Gascoign and Languedoc, should "not be brought but in English bottoms;" bowing the ancient policy of this estate, from consideration of plenty to consideration of power. For that almost all the ancient statutes incite by all means merchant-strangers, to bring in all sorts of commodities; having for end cheapness, and not looking to the point of state concerning the naval power.
The King also made a statute in that parliament, monitory and minatory towards justices of peace, that
they should duly execute their office, inviting com plaints against them, first to their fellow-justices, then to the justices of assize, then to the King or Chancellor; and that a proclamation which he had published of that tenor, should be read in open sessions four times a year, to keep them awake. Meaning also to have his laws executed, and thereby to reap either obedience or forfeitures, wherein towards his latter times he did decline too much to the left hand, he did ordain remedy against the practice that was grown in use, to stop and damp informations upon penal laws, by procuring informations by collusion to be put in by the confederates of the delinquents, to be faintly prosecuted, and let fall at pleasure; and pleading them in bar of the informations, which were prosecuted with effect.
He made also laws for the correction of the mint, and counterfeiting of foreign coin current. And that no payment in gold should be made to any merchantstranger, the better to keep treasure within the realm, for that gold was the metal that lay in the least room.
He made also statutes for the maintenance of drapery, and the keeping of wools within the realm; and not only so, but for stinting and limiting the prices of cloth, one for the finer, and another for the coarser sort. Which I note, both because it was a rare thing to set prices by statute, especially upon our home commodities; and because of the wise model of this act, not prescribing prices, but stinting them not to exceed a rate; that the clothier might drape accordingly as he might afford..
Divers other good statutes were made that parliament, but these were the principal. And here I do desire those into whose hands this work shall fall, that they do take in good part my long insisting upon the laws that were made in this King's reign. Whereof I have these reasons; both because it was the preeminent virtue and merit of this King, to whose memory I do honour; and because it hath some correspondence to my person; but chiefly because, in my judgment, it is some defect even in the best writers of history, that they do not often enough summarily deliver and set