Government (1485-1603)

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 15-04-19 17:55

The Council (VII)

Size:

- though around 227 members attended durng his reign, Henry's actual working council was a smaller affair of 6-7 members:

Members:

- the working council only rarely included the great magnates of the realm (though churchmen such as John Morton + Richard Fox were excellent administrators)

- Henry increased the power of his patronage by employing laymen such as Sir Reginald Bray (who led the Council Learned) & Edmund Dudley as skilled administrators

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The Council Learned (VII)

The main offshoot of the Council + developed in the second half of Henry's reign:

- Its function was to maintain the king's revenue + exploit his 'prerogative rights' (such as the Bonds & Recognisances which entrapped the king's subjects)

- Thomas Penn argues it caused fear & frustration (seen as 'shady' - was not a recognised court of law, there were no chances of appeals + bypassed the normal legal system)  

- associate Richard Empson's ruthless approach increasingly defined this council (he was a fiercly ambitious lawyer & bureaucrat)

- Bray's death in 1503, meant Empson was joined by Dudley (creating a feared combination of able + conscientious bureaucrats)                                                                      1. they therefore created enemies such as Richard Fox & Sir Thomas Lovell who removed them after Henry VII's death in 1509 

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Chamber (VII)

A politically important part of the household system presided over by the Lord Chamberlain:

- The Lord Chamberlain + other senior household officials were influential courtiers (it was a significant blow when Lord Chamberlain, Sir William Stanley was involved in a treasonous plot with pretender Perkin Warbeck in 1495)

- Henry's response was to remodel the Chamber + create a new Privy Chamber (the king could retreat + be protected by his most intimate servants)                                              1. Henry cut himself off form much of the traditional contacts at court                                2. this made it more difficult for those out of favour to regain the King's support

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Parliaments (VII)

Comprised the House of Commons & the House of Lords only met occasionally and was not central to the system of government:

- 7th November 1485 - 1st Parliament      

    1. called before Elizabeth's coronation in order to express independence from Yorkist support

    2. granted tonnage & poundage (customs revenue) for life

- His FIRST TWO parliaments passed numerous Acts of Attainder (declaring individuals guilty without the incovenience of a trial)

- OTHER PARLIAMENTS granted extraordinary revenue, most commonly in 15ths & 10ths

- Jan 1504 - LAST PARLIAMENT, limited the demand for extraordinary revenue

Henry called a total of 7 parliaments during his reign (only 2 in the last 14 years of his reign)...

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Law & Order (VII)

Nobles:

- relied upon to excercise power on his behalf (but the number of magnates had been reduced in the last years of the Wars of the Roses)

- murder of Northumberland in 1589 led Henry to release Yorkist Earl of Surrey (Surrey proved his loyalty through effective service in the North for ten years)

- in much of the rest of the country Henry relied upon trustworhty nobles such as the Earl of Oxford + Lord Daubeney (Henry also utilised a spying network)

Justices of the Peace:

- administered law & order on a local level (unpaid local gentry who wished to gain local prestige or simply fulfilling sense of duty)

- various Acts of Parliament increased the powers & responsibilities of JP's

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Historians on Nobility

Traditional historians such as A.F. Pollard regard Henry VI as 'anti-noble':

1) the king was reluctant to grant lands and titles as rewards, instead he preferred to award the ancient honour of the Order of the Garter

2) his readiness to use Acts of Attainder & financial sanctions

3) close surveillance of the noble families so that he claimed his full feudal rights

Modern historians such as P. Williams see Henry VII as having lack of trust & intolerence for nobles abusing their positions:

1) used Acts of Attainder as cheap, impartial justice to remove treachery

2) established the Star Chamber Act in 1587 to hear complaints against nobles

3) financial surveillance (Bonds & Recognisances) ensured obediance + loyalty

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Henry VII's Legacy

Parliament:

- After Henry VII's death the two main functions of Parliament remained largely unchanged (to grant extraordinary revenue + pass laws)

- neither Henry VII & Henry VIII in his earlier years felt dependent on Parliament (Henry VIII summoned parliament 4 times before 1529 + Wolsey regarded Parliament with distaste)

Councils:

- Henry had become disentchanted with reluctance of his father's senior councillors to wage war (both Archbishop Warham & Richard fox advised against war)

- before the 'Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber', under Henry VII the Privy chamber had been small + moderately staffed (though Wolsey reintroduced this in 1526)

- Lady Margaret Beaufort had directed much of the affairs in government (she distrusted Wolsey, however, her death in 1509 meant she had no influence over Henry VIII's governing)

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Parliaments (VIII)

After Henry VII's death the two main functions of Parliament remained largely unchanged (to grant extraordinary revenue + pass laws):

First Half:

- neither Henry VII & Henry VIII in his earlier years felt dependent on Parliament (Henry VIII summoned parliament 4 times before 1529 + Wolsey regarded Parliament with distaste)

- in the first part of his reign he was focused on securing revenue (in 1523 Parliament dismissed before voting on tax, leading to the Amicable Grant in 1525)

Second Half:

- parliament met more frequently during the second half of his reign (Reformation Parliament 1592-36 + 4 more which all called for extraordinary revenue)

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Council (VIII)

The conciliar approach lasted from 1509-1514, until Wolsey reformed the system:

Causes:

- Henry had become disentchanted with reluctance of his father's senior councillors to wage war (both Archbishop Warham & Richard Fox advised against war)

- Wolsey had earned royal gratitude through his effective organisation of the French campaign (Margaret Beaufort had directed affairs + distrusted Wolsey but died in 1509)

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Privy Chamber (VIII)

Before 1519, Wolsey had no immediate control over this + after Henry VII established it:

- the role of the Privy Chamber was extended under Henry VIIII (Henry's 'minions' became Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, transforming its former status)

- in 1518, the Privy Chamber gained access to the Privy Seal (important as it authorised all state papers + Henry VIII hated & delayed signing papers)

- Wolsey set about the task of neutralising their influence (In 1526, the Eltham Ordiances reduced its size from 12 to 6 men)

- Wolsey's chief opponent, William Compton, was removed + replaced with neutral Henry Norris (however, this did not improve its efficiency)

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Star Chamber (VIII)

Established in 1487, it became the centre of both government + justice under Wolsey:

- Wolsey was not well placed to reform the legal system (despite this, he enjoyed the majesty of a judge in the Court of Chancery)

- from 1516, it enforced cheap, impartial justice previously avoided by nobles (however, Wolsey's effort was minimal so it continued to function as it did under Warham & Morton)

- some of Wolsey's judicial investigatins appeared to be personal vendettas (he prosecuted William Standish, Bishop of Asaph in revenge for a previous legal argument)                         1. Wolsey lost the case in the Star Chamber & had to submit publicly to Henry

- the caseload rose from 12 cases per year to 120 per year (Wolsey asked for complaints + promised social status would not bar justice)

- unable to hear all the suits, Wolsey established overflow tribunals (in 1539, the Star Chamber almost collapsed + many suits were abandonned or sent to local commissioners)

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Somerset (Edward VI)

Somerset:

- decisions by the council should have been made by the majority of 16 members, balanced by Protestants & religious conservatives (however, power was promptly delegated to Somerset as 'Protectorate')

- instead, Somerset governed largely with his own household (he was also able to control the Privy Chamber by appointing his supporter, Micahel Stanhope)

- he exerted control over factional rivalries within the first few weeks (he arrested his own brother, Thomas Seymour)

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Northumberland (Edward VI)

Northumberland:

- he was anxious to avoid the excessive concentration of power (there were no attempts to re-establish the 'protectorate' + but disabled the conservatives such as Southampton)

- Northumberland, as Lord Chamberlain appointed Sir John Gates as Vice-Chamberlain of the household in order to ensure control over the court

- Northumberland eventually abandonned the broadly collective approach to government (it became less concilar + more similar to Somerset's dictatorial rule - Paget was removed)

Northumberland's reputation was ultimately tarnished by his attempt to alter the succession using the Devyse (the next monarch would be Lady Jane Grey, wife of his son)...

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Government (Mary I)

Mary inherited a kingdom riddled with religious divisions + a substantial Protestant minority, which caused rivalries in government...

- Mary's loyal + trusted supporters such as Cardinal Pole, had no serious experience in government (Pole was never a member of the Privy Council)

- therefore, Mary had to rely on Edward's advisors (these often implicated the introduction of religious forms distasteful to her)

- religious conservatives excluded from influence under Edward VI, returned (for example, Bishop Stephen Gardiner from Henry VIII's reign + Lord Paget)

- Mary appointed 50 councillors during her reign (this led to an inefficient + faction-riddled government)

- though Paget opposed her religious programme he was indispensable (his death in 1555 left a gap in government, especially as Pole distanced himself from secular issues)

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Parliament (Mary I)

Mary's relationship with Parliament was one of cautious cooperation:

- a substantial minority of MP's (about 80) opposed the reversal of religious legislation under Edward

- quarrels with Parliament (1555 bill to seize Protestant property was defeated + ex-monastic property was not restored to the Church due to mainly self-interest)

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Privy Council (Elizabeth I)

Gentlemen of the Chamber no longer had rights of access to the monarch, leaving it considerably less influential...

- The council enforced laws, managed parliament + managed crown finances etc.

- the post of Lord Chamberlain was closely guarded (3 of them were close relatives to Elizabeth, such as her cousin Lord Hundson, appointed 1585)

- Elizabeth emphasised the importance of courtly life (Haigh argues that politicians like Cecil became courtiers & her courtiers like Leicester became politicians)

- the council never had more than 19 members - 11 at the end of her reign (in her early years it met 3 days a week, but 6-7 during the final decades)

- members included Cecil, Sir Francis Knolleys + Earl of Bedford (though, Elizabeth also relied on individuals for advice + outside the council)

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Structure (Elizabeth I)

During the early stages of Elizabeth's reign, the structure of gov. managed to avoid factional rivalry...

- for example, no single minister - not even Cecil - had complete control over patronage (many also had wives or daughters who served in Elizabeth's Privy Chamber)

- John Guy argues that disputes between Leicester & Cecil were occasional + focused on specific policy issues

- various influential families at court + council balanced one another (for example, the Parrs & Boleyns were presented - family connections overcame religious differences)

       1. John Guy argues 'the keynote of the Elizabethan system was homogeneity'

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Protestant vs. Conservative (Elizabeth I)

CONSERVATIVES:

     1. young + impetuous Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk)

     2. Lord Treasurer, Marquis of Winchester (kept away from court in order to reduce political influence he had had under Mary I)

Deaths in the 1570's meant the conservative aristocracy reduced...

PROTESTANTS:

 1. Cecil & his allies favoured moderate + pragmatic policies (while Dudley, Earl of Leicester led more radical Protestant ideologies)

 2. a new nucleus of Protestant councillars were appointed in the 1570's like the Earl of Warwick (balanced by relative conservatives like Sussex & Hatton)

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Factional Rivalries (1558-1590s')

1567 - Leicester opposed match with Catholic Archduke Charles of Austria (Norfolk, Sussex  & Cecil in support + accused Leicester of exploiting Protestantism)

1578 - council was divided for 7 years over whether to support rebels in the Netherlands, only agreeing support in 1585 (Dudley was eager to cast Elizabeth as a Protestant champion)

1579 - Cecil supported marriage to Duke of Alencon for political advantages of french policy in the Netherlands (Dudley used public opinion, sermons + pamphlets to oppose it)

1593 - Essex admitted to the council + urged agressive FP (Robert Cecil, Raleigh & Cobham supported a maritime war policy)

1596 - Essex attempted to appoint Sir Robert Sidney as Lord Chamberlain (instead it was given to Cecil's ally, Cobham)

1598 - Essex argued with Cecil faction over who should be sent to Ireland as Lord Deputy (Essex half drew his sword on the Queen after she slapped him in the face)

1598 - during the Essex Rebellion many of his factions (Lord Mountjoy, Robert Sidney & Lord Henry Howard remained loyal to the Queen)

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Random Card

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Factional Rivalries (1558-1590s')

1567 - Leicester opposed match with Catholic Archduke Charles of Austria (Norfolk, Sussex  & Cecil in support + accused Leicester of exploiting Protestantism)

1578 - council was divided for 7 years over whether to support rebels in the Netherlands, only agreeing support in 1585 (Dudley was eager to cast Elizabeth as a Protestant champion)

1579 - Cecil supported marriage to Duke of Alencon for political advantages of french policy in the Netherlands (Dudley used public opinion, sermons + pamphlets to oppose it)

1593 - Essex admitted to the council + urged agressive FP (Robert Cecil, Raleigh & Cobham supported a maritime war policy)

1596 - Essex attempted to appoint Sir Robert Sidney as Lord Chamberlain (instead it was given to Cecil's ally, Cobham)

1598 - Essex argued with Cecil faction over who should be sent to Ireland as Lord Deputy (Essex half drew his sword on the Queen after she slapped him in the face)

1598 - during the Essex Rebellion many of his factions (Lord Mountjoy, Robert Sidney & Lord Henry Howard) remained loyal to the Queen

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Ministers (Elizabeth I)

30 years of success...

- William Cecil, Lord Burghley retained dominance at court in Elizabeth's early years (he was joined by close asscoiates such as Sir Francis Knolleys) 1. Elizabeth's favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester joined the Privy Council in 1562

- 1578 - council was divided for 7 years over whether to support rebels in the Netherlands, only agreeing support in 1585 (Dudley was eager to cast Elizabeth as a Protestant champion)

15 years of failure...

- a number of ministers died in quick succession during the 1580's leaving only 11 council members by 1597 (death of Dudley in 1588 was a significant blow)              1. replaced with middle-aged sons who often lacked their father's skills

- Burghley's effectivenes diminished in the 1590's (replaced by his son, Robert Cecil which angered the tempermental Earl of Essex, stepson of Dudley + favourite of the Queen)

1601 - during the Essex Rebellion many of his factions (Lord Mountjoy, Robert Sidney & Lord Henry Howard) remained loyal to the Queen

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Parliament (Elizabeth I)

30 years of success (1558-1588):

 - remained a useful tool for councillors to gauge opinions of the 'political nation' (of the 13 Parliamentary sessions in her reign, only 2 asked for revenue)

- 1563 & 1566 - the Queen had outbursts of irritation when the House of Commons sought to debate issues of marriage and succession (infringing the Royal Prerogative)

15 years of failure (1588-1603):

- her temper worsened with age (in 1593, Peter Wentworth was imprisoned for raising the issue of the succession)

1597-8 - arguably the her most important legislative achievement was the introduction of the Poor Law (Elizabeth was desperately short of cash + granted a triple subsidy)

1601 - the issue of monopolies broke down the relationship - the crown's officers lost control of the Commons (however her Golden Speech secured a quadruple subsidy)

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