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GENEALOGICAL TABLE OF THE HOUSE OF TUDOR.
HENRY VII.*-Elizabeth of York. 1509.
Arthur Catherine=HEN. VIII. Anne Boleyn James IV. Margaret Archibald of Arragon | married six
times; by third wife,
== Henry Douglas, Stuart, Earl of Angus.
Louis XII. of France.
For the ancestry of the Tudors see a table in "England under the Normans and Plantagenets," + A fuller table of the Suffolk branch of the Tudor family will be found in chapter v., par. 19.
THE TUDORS AND THE STUARTS.
THE TUDOR PERIOD, 1485 TO 1603.
ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN YEARS.
1. Henry VII. reigned 23 years; from 1485 to 1509.
2. Henry VIII.
1509 to 1547.
3. Edward VI.
Henry VII. reigned twenty-three years and eight months, from 22nd August 1485, to 21st April, 1509. Born at Pembroke Castle, 1456. Married Elizabeth of York, 18th January, 1486. Died at Richmond, 21st April, 1509. Buried in in the chapel he had built for himself at Westminster.
SECTION 1. PERIOD DURING WHICH HENRY'S REIGN WAS DISTURBED BY FACTIOUS YORKISTS.
1. Advantages under which Henry began his reign. No English King ever ascended the throne under so many auspicious circumstances as Henry Tudor. He united in his own person, by the pledge he had given to marry Elizabeth of York, the title of the two great families which had contended for the throne for so many years. The country was weary of war; the strength of the nobility was exhausted; and the commons had not yet learned to assert their rights without the guidance of the barons, whom they had regarded, during the Plantagenet period, as their natural leaders. Provisions were plentiful, wages high, and, consequently, a spirit of contentment generally prevailed. The discoveries of the Spaniards and Portuguese gave a new stimulus to commerce, which had languished under the civil wars; while the summoning of parliaments became regular; wise and salutary laws were en
acted; and the general policy of Europe was beginning to assume those aspects which form the chief features of the regular governments of modern times.*
2. The guiding principles of his government. The first of the Tudors thus found himself "the ruler of a rich and prosperous people, a poor and powerless aristocracy;" and though he had many qualities which fitted him for the position he had gained, especially an extraordinary prudence and foresight, and a wisdom which led him to exercise moderately the power which he might have made absolute, yet he possessed two furious passions, which often carried him beyond the limits of necessity, or the dictates of prudence. The first of these was—a hatred of the persons who had opposed him, that knew no limit but their death; the second, an inordinate love of money, however it might be obtained. "The untiring perseverance with which he combined both these passions in the merciless extortion of the remaining possessions of the Yorkists, and the eagerness with which he hunted them to the scaffold, is one of the great features of his reign." To the first of these vices the chief disorders of England under his administration are doubtless to be ascribed; for had Henry laboured more heartily to be the impartial ruler of all his subjects, a nation weary of civil war would have more uniformly submitted to a government which, though jealous and stern, maintained peace and justice.§
3. Henry's Title to the Throne. At the very opening of his reign, Henry was perplexed by the various and jarring grounds on which his title to the crown rested. There were three on which he could, justly or unjustly, claim the throne:
1. His marriage with Elizabeth.
2. His descent from the House of Lancaster.
The last was too odious to mention, and would have given the greatest umbrage to the nation for even William the Norman had not dared to base his pretensions to the throne on his right as a conqueror. The second was equally untenable: for even allowing the superior title of the house of Lancaster, Henry was not the true heir of that family, being descended from the Beauforts, the illegitimate offspring of John of Gaunt; who, although they had been legitimatized by act of parliament in the reign of Richard II., were expressly excluded from any right of succession to the throne, because of their descent. And, as regarded the first title, it only gave the King security in the event of his having issue by
* See Froude I, chap. 1.
+ White's Landmarks, 78. § Mackintosh, II., 69; also Knight's Popular History, II., 211.
Ibid, 79. Hume, III., 308.