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writings, by means of the art of printing, carried new thought into all the schools of Europe. In this reign, too, the great Christopher Columbus, aided and protected by Isabella of Castile, discovered the western hemisphere, called the New World, thus giving a great impetus to the life and intellect of continental Europe. Under Henry Seventh's auspices, Sebastian Cabot, a Venetian, discovered Newfoundland (1496).
From Erasmus, who visited England about this time, we learn that those arts which contribute to domestic comfort, health, and refinement, had made little progress. The ventilation of houses and their cleanliness were not attended to; hence the frequent plagues which afflicted the people, and the high rate of mortality. The sweating sickness carried off 20,000 people in London in 1485, and in 1500 an Asiatic plague swept off 30,000 citizens. Even in the better class of houses the floors were mostly of clay and strewed with rushes. "Fresh red rushes," he says, 66 are periodically strewn over them, but the old ones remain as a foundation for perhaps twenty years together," and must have generated all sorts of vermin, as well as decayed into a most unwholesome filth.
Contemporary Sovereigns and Events.-France: Charles VIII. Louis XII. Scotland: James III. and IV. End of the Moorish kingdom in Spain (1492). Columbus discovers America (1492).
During the fifteenth century Printing was invented, and made considerable progress. The study of Greek literature was revived in consequence of the dispersion of many learned Greeks after the fall of Constantinople. The doctrines of Wycliffe, the Reformer, were promulgated on the Continent by Jerome, and Huss, and Savonarola, who suffered death for their opinions. Mathematics progressed greatly. Watches were invented.
Questions.-1. What was the first step taken by Henry VII. in order to put an end to the rivalries of the two Houses of York and Lancaster? 2. What was the great object of the 7th Henry's policy; and what measures did he take to effect his ends? 3. Write an account of Lambert Simnel's imposture. 4. Give an account of the imposture of Perkin Warbeck. 5. What alliances did Henry form with a view to consolidate his power? 6. What was the general character of his Government? 7. What were the three great events of European importance that distinguished his reign?
THE REFORMATION BEGUN UNDER HENRY VIII., COMPLETED UNDER ELIZABETH-THE MONARCHY FIRMLY AND FINALLY ESTABLISHED ON THE RUINS OF FEUDALISM-PARLIAMENT, THE ONLY CHECK ON THE CROWN, MAINTAINS ITS RIGHTS WITH SOME FLUCTUATIONS, BUT MAKES LITTLE PROGRESS—THE EPOCH OF MARITIME DISCOVERY, OF COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE, AND OF THE PROGRESS OF THE MIDDLE CLASSES.
[Spenser, Shakspere, and Bacon flourished.]
1. Henry VIII,
HENRY'S CHARACTER AND VIEWS OF HIS RELATION TO THE CHURCH-WOLSEYALLIANCE AGAINST FRANCE-FLODDEN FIELD--THE FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD-THE REFORMATION-TYNDALE'S NEW TESTAMENT-DIVORCE OF CATHARINE OF ARRAGON, AND WOLSEY'S FALL-HENRY, SUPREME HEAD OF THE CHURCH-THOMAS CROMWELL-ROMAN CATHOLICS REGAIN INFLUENCE— HENRY'S DEATH AND CHARACTER.
HENRY was eighteen years of age when he ascended the throne. He had been carefully educated, and was well versed in theology, classical literature, history, and music, besides being accomplished in all warlike exercises. The value attached to an alliance with
Spain had induced Henry VII., as we said in the last chapter, to obtain from Pope Julius II. a dispensation, permitting his son Henry to marry Catherine of Arragon, his brother Arthur's widow. The betrothal had taken place in the previous reign, and immediately after Henry's accession, the marriage was solemnized. The festivities that followed quickly exhausted the well-filled coffers his father had left him. Empson and Dudley, the two lawyers by whose skill and subtlety Henry VII. had been enabled to accumulate these vast treasures, became the victims of the hatred which they had aroused, and were executed soon after. However odious and oppressive the proceedings of these ministers may have been, they only acted according to the commissions they had received from Henry VII., and their execution by his son was a gross violation of law and justice. He did it to satisfy the clamour of the people.
It is worth mentioning here, that there exists a copy of the coronation oath of the kings of England, corrected by Henry before he took it, and in which the clause which binds the king to support the Church is altered so as to read as follows:-" The king shall swear that he shall keep and maintain the lawful right and the liberties of old time granted by the righteous Christian kings of England to the holy Church of England, not prejudicial to his jurisdiction and dignity royal." This is a very clear indication that from the very commencement of his reign, Henry had made up his mind regarding the course which he was to pursue in reference to the frequently agitated question of the papal supremacy. He started with the determination to assert the superiority of State over Church, and though vacillating in other points connected with the reformed doctrines, his strong self-will and tyrannical nature came to the aid of his judgment in this important matter.
The complicated relations of the European states, and the ambitious and aggrandizing spirit of their respective sovereigns, obliged Henry at once to apply his mind to the more serious interests of government. He was ably seconded by the magnificent genius of his favourite minister Cardinal Wolsey, who, though of humble origin (some say he was the son of a butcher of Ipswich), yet
CAMPAIGNS IN FRANCE.
possessing an intellect that enabled him to master every subject he approached, had risen rapidly to the highest offices in the kingdom, both ecclesiastical and civil.
Italy was then struggling for her independence. Spain were fighting for her as their prey. In 1510, the warlike Pope Julius II. formed a league with the Venetians, Ferdinand of Arragon, the Emperor Maximilian, and Henry VIII., for the purpose of expelling the French from Milan, and restoring its native duke, Maximilian Sforza. To compel the French king Louis XII. to withdraw his army from Italy. Henry and his father-in-law, the astute Ferdinand of Arragon, landed their united forces at Bayonne, Henry having previously announced his intention of claiming the old Plantagenet inheritance of Guienne. The result of the campaign was, that Ferdinand got possession of Navarre, which has ever since continued a part of Spain; and in spite of the brilliant courage of young Gaston de Foix, the French king's nephew, and his victory at Ravenna in 1512, the French were compelled to evacuate Milan. Henry made vigorous preparations for the next year's campaign: the Parliament voted liberal subsidies, and in April 1513 the battle-field was transferred to the north of France, and an army of 25,000 men was landed at Calais. Before joining his troops, Henry, for the sake of security, appointed Catherine to be Regent during his absence, and ordered the execution of Edward de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, a Yorkist, and nephew of Edward IV., who had been confined in the Tower since 1506, and of whom Henry never ceased to entertain suspicions. Henry then sailed on his invading expedition, and was joined by the Emperor Maximilian, who, though a veteran knight, yet, desiring to flatter the young king of England, served under him as a volunteer. They laid siege to Terouenne in Picardy. A French army coming to succour the town, was met by the English cavalry and archers at Guinegate; and so instantaneous was the defeat of the French, that the action was called the Battle of the Spurs (1513). The town immediately surrendered to Henry, who soon after met with equal success at Tournay.
While the campaign in France was thus proceeding prosperously, James IV. king of Scotland, although married to Margaret, Henry's sister, had, in accordance with Scotch policy, renewed his alliance with Louis XII., and whilst Henry was invading France, James, at the head of a large army, entered Northumberland. It is right to state that the Queen of Scotland's feelings had been outraged by her brother withholding from her Henry VII.'s legacy. The Earl of Surrey hastened to encounter the Scottish king with an army of 26,000 men. They met at Flodden, where a fierce and bloody battle was fought. King James, with the bravest of his nobility and 10,000 men, were left dead on the field (1513). Queen Margaret, his widow, was appointed regent during her son's minority, and for many years after Scotland was in a state of anarchy. Margaret, who was a profligate woman, married Douglas earl of Angus, from whom she afterwards obtained a divorce, in order to marry Lord Methven, and was from him also in due season divorced. Angus became the leader of a party devoted to an alliance with England, while the Earls of Albany and Arran, and the famous Cardinal Beaton, remained the stanch allies of France.
The object of the war having been achieved by the expulsion of the French from Italy, peace was concluded, and to cement and seal it, Henry gave his younger sister Mary in marriage to Louis XII., who survived his nuptials but six weeks, and was succeeded on the throne of France by Francis I. (1515). Mary soon after married Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk.
In 1519, Charles v., king of Spain and the Netherlands, was elected Emperor of Germany. The immense preponderance of power which Charles thus acquired, excited the fears and jealousy of Francis I., so that the history of European politics during the rest of Henry's reign is mainly taken up with the wars occasioned by the rivalry of Francis and Charles, who both eagerly sought the English king's alliance. In 1520 Henry had an interview with Francis between Guines and Ardres, which, from the pomp and splendour displayed, was called the Field of the Cloth of Gold. This meeting, however, resulted in no advantage to Francis, for