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greater than that of the lords and commons put together.
Besides this, in the reign of Henry the Seventh a new tribunal was established, which put greater power into the king's hands. It was called the Court of the Star Chamber. In this Court, certain officers appointed by the king had the power of judging and sentencing men without allowing them a trial by jury. This was quite contrary to the Great Charter; yet the Court of the Star Chamber was allowed to exist one hundred and fifty years. It was in the end the cause of great trouble.
But there are better things for which to remember the reign of Henry the Seventh. We have already said that the gentlemen of England were beginning to love reading and study, instead of spending all their time in war and hunting. In this reign they advanced much in learning, and began to study the Greek language. For hundreds of years there had scarcely been one man in England who knew anything about Greek; but there were several now, and amongst them were Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, and Hugh Latimer, all of whom became famous men in their time. Linacre, the first great English physician, was one of the Greek students; and Dean Colet, who founded St. Paul's School, that 153 boys might receive a good education free of expense, was another.
The principal buildings erected in the reign of Henry the Seventh are remarkable for the profusion of ornamental carving with which they are decorated: that beautiful portion of Westminster Abbey was added, called the Chapel of Henry the Seventh; and the greater
part of the Chapel of King's College at Cambridge, the finest of its kind in the world, was built at this time. It had been begun by poor King Henry the Sixth, who also founded the great public school of Eton, before the troubles of his reign began.
In the reign of Henry the Seventh, Englishmen first sailed across the Atlantic, and touched the shores of America.
Columbus discovered that great new world in 1492. About four years afterwards, a Venetian mariner, named Cabot, who had settled at Bristol, set out with a small company of Englishmen to find lands to the north of those which Columbus had seen; and, in 1497, he discovered the isle of Newfoundland. Afterwards he explored a large portion of the coast of North America.
HENRY VIII., 1509.-BATTLE OF FLODDEN, 1513.-FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD, 1520.
(From 1509 to 1520.).
HENRY THE EIGHTH was not quite eighteen years old when he became king. He was a very handsome and accomplished prince. He was also much more learned than most men of his time; for his great natural abilities had been carefully cultivated by his tutors. His frank, joyous manners charmed the people, and very few persons suspected that a cruel imperious temper lay hidden beneath those fair
When once Henry the Eighth had set his mind on a thing, no considerations of justice or mercy could turn him aside from the pursuit of it; but in the first years of his reign this evil disposition was hardly perceived. All was gaiety and enjoyment, and the young king's chief fault seemed to be that of wasting money in an endless succession of In this manner the great treasures amassed by his father were dissipated, and at the end of a few years he was obliged to ask his parliament for a fresh supply of money. They granted it willingly, for Henry was about to invade France, and the English were as eager to conquer the country as they had been in the days of Edward the Third, and Henry the Fifth.
But Henry the Eighth, though personally brave, was no conqueror. He took a few towns, and routed a body of French troops which were sent against him; but the chief event of the war did not take place in France. The French were in alliance with the Scots, and when Henry invaded France, the Scottish king, James the Fourth, attacked England. He crossed the border with the finest army ever raised in Scotland, but his progress was quickly arrested by the English forces under the Earl of Surrey. On the 9th of September, 1513, the two armies came in sight of one another at Flodden, near Wooler, in Northumberland. The battle raged till nightfall; then the broken remains of the Scottish host drew off under cover of the darkness. They had lost their gallant king, and almost every gentleman in Scotland capable of bearing arms, besides ten thousand of the common soldiers.
FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD.
After this terrible overthrow the Scots were glad to make peace. Soon afterwards the war with France was also brought to a close, and the treaty was sealed by the marriage of the French king, Lewis the Twelfth, to Henry's youngest sister, Mary, a beautiful girl of sixteen. Lewis died three months after, and Mary gave her hand to a nobleman of her brother's court, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.
Francis the First, who succeeded Lewis on the throne of France, was a warlike prince, ambitious of conquest and military glory; like Henry he was also fond of feasts, and tournaments, and all kinds of athletic sports; and the two kings were disposed, at first, to be very friendly. In June, 1520, they agreed to meet at Ardres, near Calais, attended by all the chief nobles of England and France. So splendid an encampment had never been seen before. The meeting-place was called the Field of the Cloth of Gold; and gold and silver tissue, rich jewels, and armour of the most costly workmanship, met the eye on all sides. The days were spent in feats of arms, the nights in amusement, and the attendants of the two kings were so anxious to excel one another in the splendour of their dress, that it was said of many a foolish young courtier, that he wore all his estates on his back.
There was another monarch, younger than Henry and Francis, but wiser and more powerful than either of them, who paid court to the English king. This was Charles, King of Spain, Emperor of Germany, and Ruler of the Netherlands and of a large part of Italy. Charles and Francis were jealous of each other's power; they saw that if they went to
war, the help of England would enable either of them to prevail over the other; and Henry liked to feel himself of so much consequence, and used to boast that he held the balance between the two most powerful sovereigns in Europe.
He was too fickle to be a firm friend to either of them; but, in general, he sided with Charles, and made war upon France two or three times in the course of his reign. Enormous sums of money were spent in these military operations, which only ended in the conquest of Boulogne, and a few other towns. The most important events of the reign of Henry the Eighth were those which occurred in his own palace and kingdom. First it must be told how he treated his wives, of whom he married six in succession.
THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY THE EIGHTH.
VERY soon after Henry became king, he married Katharine of Arragon. This was contrary to the law of the Church, which forbade a man to marry his brother's widow; but Henry the Seventh had obtained the Pope's permission to give Prince Arthur's widow to Henry. Katharine was a sensible and amiable woman, and for many years she and the king lived happily together; but they had the grief to lose all their children, excepting one, a daughter named Mary.
At the end of several years, a very beautiful young lady, named Anne Boleyn, became one of