Cf)c (Sobcrnaitcc of ©nglanti

Cf)c (Sobcrnaitcc of ©nglanti

The Difference between an Absolute

and a Limited Monarchy

By S I R J O H N F O R T E S C U E , K t.

@ MebieeH




C H A R L E S P L U M M E R , M .A .
Fellow and Chaplain o f Corpus Christi College, Oxford



p r e f a c e *

T h e work here presented to the reader has been three
times previously printed; twice, in 1714 and 1719 by Mr.,
afterwards Sir John, Fortescue-Aland, who ultimately
became Lord Fortescue of Credan, and once by Lord
Clermont in his edition of the collected works of Fortescue1.
Of these editions the two first have become very scarce,
while the third is only printed for private circulation. Of
all three the value is very much impaired by the fact that
the text is based on a comparatively late manuscript;
while no attempt has ever been made to bring out the
historical significance and relations of the treatise. It is
hoped therefore that the appearance of the present
edition, which aims at supplying these deficiencies, will not
be considered to be without justification.

Had the treatise ‘ On the Governance of England ’ no
other claims on our attention, it would deserve consideration
as the earliest treatise on the English Constitution written
in the English language. But as a matter of fact, its
historical interest is very high indeed ; far higher, I venture
to think, than that of the author’s better-known Latin
treatise De Landibus Legum Anglice. We here see that

1 From two notices in Heame’s Collections (ed. Doble, i. 46, 154) it would
appear that Lord Fortescue of Credan at one time entertained the idea, ulti­
mately carried out by Lord Clermont, of printing a collected edition of the
works of their ancestor.


Fortescue, while remaining true to those liberal principles
of government which he had previously enunciated, was yet
keenly sensible of the evils of Lancastrian rule, and that in
the various remedies suggested by him, which have for
their object the strengthening of the powers of the Crown
and the reduction of the influence of the nobles, he was,
consciously or unconsciously, helping to prepare the way
for the New Monarchy.

This connexion of the work with the history of the time
I have endeavoured to draw out, by bringing together from
contemporary authorities whatever seemed to illustrate the
meaning of the author. The closeness of the connexion is
shown by the fact, more than once pointed out in the notes
to the present edition, that the language of Fortescue is
often identical with that of the public documents of the
period. And this in turn illustrates another point of some
importance to which I have also drawn attention; the fact
namely that Fortescue, first of mediaeval political philoso­
phers, based his reasonings mainly on observation of exist­
ing constitutions, instead of merely copying or commenting
on Aristotle.

It follows from this that the inspiration which Fortescue
derived from literary sources is subordinate in importance
to that which he drew from the practical lessons of history
and politics. But I have endeavoured to illustrate this
point also. The four works of which Fortescue seems to
have made most use are: the De Regimine Principum
which goes under the name of St. Thomas Aquinas, though
only a portion of it is by him; the treatise with the same
title by AEgidius Romanus; the De Morali Principum
Institutione of Vincent of Beauvais; and the Compendium
Morale of Roger of Waltham. The first two works have
been often printed, and are more or less well known; the
two last exist only in manuscript. It has added interest to
my study of Vincent of Beauvais’ treatise that I have been



able tc read it in the very manuscript used by Fortescue
himself. The Compendium Morale of Roger of Waltham
I think I may almost claim to have discovered; for though
it is mentioned by Leland and his copyists, it is clear that
they cannot have had much acquaintance with its contents,
otherwise they would not have fixed the author’s floruit as
they have done. Of Aristotle, except so far as Aristote­
lian doctrines are embodied in the above-named works, I
have shown that Fortescue knew nothing beyond the
collection of quotations which goes by the name of the
Auctoritates Aristotelis.

One of the most important sources from which an author
can be illustrated is himself. From this point of view I am
under the greatest obligations to the collection of Fortes-
cue’s Works printed— I wish I could have added, published
— by his descendant, Lord Clermont. It is I trust in no
captious spirit that I have occasionally pointed out what seem
to me omissions and mistakes on the part of the noble editor.
If all representatives of historic houses would imitate the
example set by Lord Clermont, light would be thrown on
many a dark corner of English history. I have also derived
much assistance from the scholarly notes on Fortescue’s
longest work, the 'De Naturd Lcgis Natures, with which
Lord Carlingford, then Mr. Chichester Fortescue, enriched
his brother’s edition of that treatise.

In regard to the Appendices, the first and third are
merely reprints from older and completer MSS. of docu­
ments already given by Lord Clermont; the second and
fourth are new, though I have given reasons for believing
that the last is a fragment of a treatise of which other
fragments have been printed by Lord Clermont. From
the second a brief extract was printed by Sir Henry
Ellis in his Historical Letters, though without recognising
either its author or its importance. It is however, as I
have shown, closely connected with the present work, the



historical bearing and significance of which it illustrates in a
very striking manner.

In reference to the life and times of Fortescue I have
been able to glean some facts which have escaped previous
biographers. These are derived chiefly from French and
Burgundian sources. I cannot help thinking that the value
of these authorities for English history, though long ago
pointed out by Mr. Kirk in his History of Charles the Bold,
has hardly been sufficiently appreciated by English histo­

rians ; while if the archives of France contain many more
documents bearing on English history equal in importance
to those printed by Mdlle. Dupont in her edition of Waurin
and by M. Quicherat in his edition of Basin (both published
under the auspices of the Society de l’Histoire de France),
much light may be hoped for from that quarter. A visit to
the Record Office enabled me to clear up some mistakes and
obscurities in regard to Fortescue’s landed property.

It will be seen that I have edited this work from a historical
and not from a philological point of view. Of the MSS.
employed in the formation of the text a sufficient account
will be found in the Introduction. A few words may here
be said as to the manner in which I have dealt with them.

' I have, I believe, noted all cases in which I have departed
from the reading of the MS. on which I have based my
text. In other instances I have only given such various
readings as seemed to me to have some historical or philo­
logical interest, or to be of importance as illustrating the
relations of the MSS. to one another. Forms of words
which appeared to me worthy of notice I have frequently
included in the Glossary, with an indication of the MS.
from which they are taken. Stops and capitals are intro­
duced in conformity with modern usage; quotations have
been indicated, as in MS. Y , by the use of Gothic letters.
I have not attempted to distinguish between Early English
p and Middle-English y, as they are sometimes called;

x preface*


they are used promiscuously, they fade imperceptibly into
one another, and after all the y is only p badly written.
I have printed p throughout. In regard to the junction
and separation of words the MS. has been closely followed.
The only exception is in the case of the indefinite article a
or an, which in the MS. is sometimes joined with and some­
times separated from the word to which it belongs; I have
always separated it. In the case of words just hovering on
the verge of becoming compounds, and neither completely
joined nor completely separated in the MS., I have followed
the example of Professor Earle and divided the elements by
a half-space, objecting with him to .the use of hyphens as
a purely modern invention. In the MS. the word and is
sometimes abbreviated, sometimes written in fu ll; it is
here always printed in full. With these exceptions the
peculiarities of the MS. followed are, I believe, faithfully
reproduced, extended contractions being marked in the
usual way by italics.

The Glossarial Index is merely intended to give help to
those who, reading the text for historical purposes, may be
puzzled by Middle-English forms or meanings. It makes
no pretensions to any philological value.

I trust that this work may prove useful both to teachers
and students of history in Oxford and elsewhere. But my
main object has been to illustrate my author, and that is
the point of view from which I would desire to be judged.

In a body of notes ranging over so many subjects, some
of them lying far outside the sphere of my ordinary studies,
it is hardly possible that there should not be slips and
blunders. For the correction of these, whether publicly
or privately, I shall always be grate fu la n d I should wish
to adopt as my own the words of one of the most unselfish
labourers in the field of learning, Hermann E b e l: ‘ oppro-
bret nobis, qui volet, modo corrigat.’

It only remains for me to pay the tribute of my hearty

b %



thanks in the many quarters where that tribute is due.
I have to thank the Delegates of the Clarendon Press for
the generous confidence with which they accepted the work
of an untried hand, and for the liberality with which they
permitted an extension of its scope much beyond what was
originally contemplated. To the Lord Bishop of Chester I
am under special obligations; who not only encouraged
me to undertake the work, but both as a Delegate of the
Press and in his private capacity helped it forward at a great
expenditure of trouble to himself; to his published writings
I, in common with all students of history, owe a debt of
gratitude which can never be adequately expressed. To the
Rev. C. W. Boase, Fellow of Exeter College, I am indebted
for constant encouragement and assistance ; nor am I the first
who has profited by his wealth of historical learning; while
Professor Skeat gave me much kind help and advice with
reference to points of philology. Mr. Edward Edwards,
the well-known and accomplished author of the Life of
Ralegh, took more trouble than I like to think of, in the
endeavour to clear up some points in which I was interested.
That his researches were not always crowned with success
does not diminish my sense of gratitude. The help which
I have received in regard to special points is acknowledged
in the book itself. I am indebted to Lord Calthorpe for
the facilities which he afforded me in consulting the Yelver-
ton MS., to Mr. Henry Bradshaw for similar favours in
regard to the Cambridge MS., and to the Master and
Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge, for the loan of their
MS. containing the Epitome; while to the Provost and
Fellows of Queen’s College, Oxford, my thanks are due for
allowing me even a larger use of their valuable library than
that which they so liberally accord to all Graduates. I
have to thank Mr. W. D. Selby, who directed my researches
at the Record Office; and Mr. E. J. L . Scott, of the Depart­
ment of MSS., who did me the like service at the British



Museum. A t the Bodleian I received constant help from
Mr. Madan the Sub-Librarian, while Mr. Macray was an
unfailing oracle on all points of palaeography. I should
like also to thank generally the officials of all the three
institutions which I have named, for their unfailing courtesy,
attention, and helpfulness. To the many friends who have
helped me, if indirectly, yet very really by their sympathy
and the interest they have taken in my work, I would also
here return my grateful thanks. To one of them this work
would probably have been dedicated, were it not that
dedications are said to be somewhat out of date in this
enlightened age.

c. C. c., Oxon.,
J u l y 29, 1885.





T her bith ij kyndes off kyngdomes, o f the wich
that on is a lordship callid in laten homtnfum regale,
and that other is callid homtnium poltffeiunt et regale’
And thai diu^rsen in that the first kynge mey rule
his peple bi suche lawes as he makyth hym self.
And therfore he mey sett vppon thaim tayles and
other imposicions, such as he wol hym self, 'with owt
thair assent. The secounde kynge may not rule his
peple bi other laweTthan such as thai assenten unto.
And therfore he mey sett vponthaim non imposi­
cions with owt thair owne assent. This diuersite is
wel taught bi Seynt Thomas, in hiTTokT^wTch~lie
wrote ah regent (£(pri he tegemme princtpum. But yet it
is more openly tredid in a boke callid tottipcnhium
moralfe pfjflosopfjte, and sumwhat bi Giles in his boke
he regenttne prtncfpum.. The childeryn o f Israeli, as
saith beynt Thomas, aftir that God hade chosen
thaim in populum pecultavem et regnum sacerhotale, were
ruled bi hym vndir J uges regalt'ler et poltttce, in to the
tyme that thai desired to haue a kynge, as tho hade
al the gentiles, wich we cal peynymes, that hade no
kynge but a man that reigned vppon thaim regaltter
tantutn. W ith wich desire God was gretly offend yd,
as wele for thair folie, as for thair vnkyndnes ; that

I to

sithyn thai had a kyng<?, wich was God, that reigned
vppon thaim politekily and roialy, and yet wold
chaunge hym for a kynge, a verray man, that wolde
reigne vpon hem only roialy. And therfon? God
manassyng^ hem made them to be ferde bi thondres
and oper gasteful thyng&y from the hevene. And
whan thai wolde not therby lefe thair folissh desire,
he charged }>e profet Samuel to declare vnto them
the lawe of such a kynge as thai askyd; wich
amonge oper thynges said that he wolde take from
thaim thair lande and gyf it to his servants, and
sett thair childeryn in his cartis, and do -to thaim
such oper many harmeful thinges, as in the viijth
chapiter o f the first boke o f kynges it mey apere.
Wher as bi fore that tyme, while thai were ruled bi
God roialy and politikely vndir Juges, it was not
lefull to any man for to take from thaim any o f
thaire godA, or to greve thair childeren pat hade not
offendid. W ereby it mey appere that in tho dayis
regimen poltttcum et regale was distyngued a regemfne
tantum regale; and that it was bettir to the peple to
be ruled politekely and roialy, than to be ruled only
roialy. Seynt Thomas also in his said boke prasith
fcominium politieum et regale, bi cause the prince that
reigneth bi such lordship^ mey not frely falle into
tyrannye, as mey the prince that reigneth regalt'ter
tantum. And yet thai both bith egall in estate and in
poiar, as it ■ mey lightly be shewed and pm rid by
infallyble reason.

3[ofm jFortestcue on

€ & e ^oaetnance o f GEnglano.




H it mey peraventur be mervellid be some men,
whi on reaume is a lordeship/o only roialle, and the
prince therof rulith it bi his lawe callid ^us regale;
and a nother kyngdome is a lordships roiall and
politike, and the prince therof rulith hit bi a lawe
callid §Jus poUititunt tt ttgale; sithin thes ij princes
bith o f bgal estate. T o this doute it mey be an-
swerde in this man^r. The first iristituefon o f thes
ij realmes vppon the incorperacion o f thaim is cause
o f this diuorsite. Whan Nembroth be myght for
his owne glorie made and incorporate the first
realme, and subdued it to hymself bi tyrannye, he
wolde not have it gouornyd bi any oper rule or lawe,
but bi his owne wille ; bi wich and for the accom-
plisshment ]>erof he made it. And therfore though
he hade thus made hym a realme, holy scripture
disdeyned to call hym a kyngo, gufa rc.r ftidtur n rrgtnfto;
wich thyngo he did not, but oppressyd the peple bi
myght, and therfore he was a tirraimt and callid
primus tirrannorum. But holy write callith hym roimstus
brnator toram Bomtno. Ffor as the hunter takyth the
wilde beste for to sle and ete hym, so Nembroth
subdued to hym the peple with myght, to haue \er
soruice and thair godA, vsing vppon thaim the lord-
ship^ that is callid homtnmm rtgalt tantum. Aftir
hym Belus that was fir§t.callid a kyngo, aftir hym is

sone Ninus, and aftir hym other paynemes, pat bi
ensampk o f Nembroth made heni realmes, wokle
not haue thaim ruled bi oper lawes then be ther
owne wylles. W ich lawes ben right gode vndir
gode princes, and thair kyngdomes bethe than most
resembled to the kyngdome o f God, wich reigneth
vpon man rulyngo hym bi his owne will. Wherfore
mony cristen princes vsen the same lawe ; and ther-
fore it is that J?e lawes seyn, guotr prlnctpl placutt, Itgis
&abet bfgotem. And thus I suppose first began in
Realmes ftonum'um tantunt regale. But aftirwarde,
whan mankynde was more ma/zsuete, and bettir dis-
posid to vertu, grete comunaltes, as was the felow-
ship\pe that came in to this lande with Brute, willyngo
to be vnite and made a body pollitike callid a
reawme, hauyngo an hed to gouorne it ;— as aftir the
sayngo o f the philisopher, euery comunalte vnyed o f
mony parties must nedis haue an hed;— than they
chese the same Brute to be per hed and kyngo. And
thai and he vpon this incorporation, instituczon, and
onyngo o f hem self into a reaume, ordenyd the same
reaume to be ruled and justified by suche lawes as
thai all wolde assent vn to ; wich lawe therfore is
callid poUttttum, and bi cause it is ministrid bi a kyngo,
it is callid regale. Policia dicitur a poles, quod est
plures, et geos, scientia; quo regimen politicum dicitur
regimen plurlum scientia slue conslllo mlntstratum. The
kyngo o f Scottis reignith vppon is peple bi this
lawe, videlicet, regemlne politico et regall. And as Dio­
dorus Siczdus saith in is boke he prlscls hlstorlls, the
reawme of Egipte is ruled bi the same lawe, and
therfore the kyngo therof chaungith not his lawc?s
with owt the assent of his peple. And in like fourme
as he saith is ruled the kyngdome o f Saba in Felici

112 %it | o | n jFortegcue on

A rabia, and the londe o f L ib ie ; and also the more
parte o f all the reawmes o f Affrike. Wich manor
rule and lordship/^ the said Diodorus in that boke
praisith gretly; ffor it is not only good for the
prince, that mey therby J?e more surely do justice
than bi is owne arbitrment; but it is also good for
his peple pat resseyue thairbi such justice as thai
desire thaimself. Now as mesemyth it is shewid
openly ynough, whi on kynge reignith vpon is peple
Uotm'm'o tanturn tegalt, and that other reignith honxmto
politico ft regal t ; ffor that on kyngdome be ganne of
and bi the might o f the prince, and that oper be
ganne bi the desire and instituezon o f the peple of
the same prince.

C & e ®oi)ernance o f OEnglano, n 3




A nd how so be it that pe Ffrenche kyngo reignith
vppon is peple bomi'm'o regalf, yet Seynt Lowes some
tyme kyngo ther, nor eny o f his progenitors sette
neuer tayles or oper imposicion vppon the peple o f
pat lande with owt the assent o f j>e iij estates, wich
whan thai bith assembled bith like to the courte of
the pzzrlement in Ingelonde. And this ordre kepte
many o f his successours in to late dayzV, that
Ingelonde men made suche warre in Ffraunce, that
the iij estates durst not come to gedre. And than for


that cause and for gret necessite wich the Ffrench
kyngg hade o f goode for the defence o f pat lande,
he toke vpon hyzzz to sett tayles and oper imposicions
vpon the commons with owt the assent o f the iij
estates; but yet he wolde not sett any such charges,
nor hath sette, vp/>on the nobles for fere o f rebillion.
And bi cause the commons per, though thai haue
grucched, haue not rebellid or beth hardy to rebelle,
the Ffrench kyng^s haue yerely sithyn sette such
charges vpon them, and so augmented the same
charges, as the same commons be so impou^rysshid
and distroyed, pat thai mowe vnneth leve. Thai
drinken water, thai eyten apples, with, brede right
browne made o f rye ; thai eyten no flesshe but y f it
be right seldon a litle larde, or o f the entrales and
heydes of bestis slayn for the nobles and marchauntey
o f the lande. Thai weren no wolen, but yf it be a
pouere cote vndir thair vttermest garnement, made
o f grete cazmuas, and callid a frokke. Thair hausyn
beth o f lyke cazmuas, and passyn not thair kne, wher
fore thai beth gartered and ther theis bare. Thair
wyfes and childeren gone bare fo te ; thai mowe in
non oper wyse leve. For sozzzme o f thaim pat were
wont to pay to his lorde for his tenement, wich he
hiryth by the yere, a scute, payith nowe to the kynge
ouer pat scute .v. scutes. Wher thurgh thai be
arted bi necessite so to wacch, labour, and grubbe in
the ground for thair sustenance, that thair nature is
wasted, and the kynde of hem broght to noght. Thai
gon crokyd, and ben feble, not able to fight, nor to
defende pe realme; nor thai haue wepen, nor money
to bie thaim wepen with all. But verely thai liven
in the most extreme pou^tie and misme, and yet
dwellyn thai in on the most fertile reaume o f the

z i 4 ^>ir 3lo&n jForteocue on

worlde. Werthurgh the Ffrench kynge hath not
men o f his owne reaume able to defende it, except
his nobles, wich beyren non such imposicions, and
ther fore thai ben right likely o f thair bodies; bi
wich cause the said kynge is compellid to make his
armeys and retenues for the defence o f his lande o f
straungers, as Scott&f, Spaynardey, Arrogoners, men
o f Almeyn, and o f oper nacfons, or ellis all his
enymes myght ouerrenne hym ; for he hath no
defence o f his owne except is castels and fortresses.
Lo this is the frute o f his 3Jus regale. Y f the reaume
o f Englonde, wich is an lie, and therfor mey not
lyghtly geyte soucore o f other landes, were rulid
vndir such a lawe, and vndir such a prince, it wolde
be than a pray to all oper nacions pat wolde conqwer,
rdbbe, or deuouir i t ; wich was well previd in the
tyme o f the Bretons, when the Scotto and the
Pyctes so bete and oppressid this lande, pat the
peple therof sought helpe o f the Romayns, to whom
thai hade be tributori. And when thai coude not be
defende be thaym, thai sought helpe o f the Duke of
Bretayn tho called litle Bretayn, and grauntid ther-
fore to make his brother Costantyne per kynge.
And so he was made kynge here, and reigned many
yeres, and his childirren aftir hym, o f wich gret
Artour was one o f thair issue. But blessyd be God,
this lande is rulid vndir a bettir lawe ; and therfore
the peple therof be not in such peynurie, nor ther by
hurt in thair persons, but thai bith welthe, and haue
all thingey nescessarie to the sustenance o f nature.
Wherfore thai ben myghty, and able to resiste the
aduersaries o f this reaume, and to beete oper reaumes
that do, or wolde do them wronge. Lo this is the
fruyt o f 2)U8 pollfttcunt et regale, vndre wich we live.

€foe ©otiernance o f €n glan ti, ns

Sum what now I haue shewid the frutes o f both lawes,
ut tx frttclibtts m um cognosreti's eos.

n 6 31of)it jroctesicue on




S i t h y n our kynge reignith vpon vs be lawes more
fau^rable and good to vs, pan be the lawes b y the
whiche J?e Ffrench kyng<? rulith his peple, hit is
reason pat we be to hym more good and more
profitable than be the su g e tto o f the Ffrench k yn gf
vn to h y m ; wich it wolde sem e that w e be not, con-
siderynge’ pat his subiectte? yelden to h y m more in
a yere, than w e do to ow re soferayn lorde in ij
yeres, how so be it pat thai do so ayenst thar willes.
Neui?r the lesse when it is considerid, how a kynges
office stondith in ij thyng^, on to defende his
reaum e ayen J>air enem yes outwarde bi the swerde ;
a n o th e r that he defende his peple ayenst wronge
doers inwarde bi justice, as hit apperith bi the said
first boke o f kyngoy; wich p& Ffrench kynge dothe
not, though he kepe J ustice be tw ene subiet and
s u b g e t ; sithin he oppressith thaim more hym self,
than w olde haue done all the w ronge doers o f pe
reaume, j-ough thai hade no kynge. A n d sithyn it
is a synne to g y v e no m eyte, drynke, clothynge or
other alm es to hem that haue nede, as shal be de­
clared in the day off d o m e; how muche a greter

synne is it to take from the pore man is meyte, is
drinke, his clothyng^, and all that he hath nede off.
Wich werely doth the Ffrench kynge to mony a
thowsande of his subiecto, as it is be fore openly
declared. Wich thyng<? }>ough it be nowe colourid
per jus regale, yet it is tyranne. Ffor, as Seynt
Thomas saith, whan a kynge rulith his reaume only
to his owne profite, and not to the good off is
subiectey, he is a tyrant. Kynge Heroude reignid
vppon pe Jues tromfmo regalt; yet when he slowe the
childeren off Israeli, he was in that a tyrant, though
the lawes seen, guotr prtnctpf platutt, legts babet btgorem.
Wherfore Acab, wich reigned vppon the childeren
o f Israeli bi like lawe, and desired to haue hade
Nabothe his subgectey vyne yerde, wolde not by
that lawe take it ffrom hym, but prcferid hym the
value thereof. Ffor theys wordes seid to the pro­
fete, prrtftc cts regt'S, beth not ellis to say but,
pretn'c cts potestatent regt's. Wher fore as ofte as such
a kynge dothe any thyng£ ayenst the lawe o f God,
or ayenst pe lawe off nature, he dothe Avronge,
not -with stondynge the said lawe declared by the
pr^phete. And it is so, that the lawe off nature
woll in this case, pat the kynge shulde do to his
subgett&y, has he wolde ben done to hym self, yff he
were a subget; wich mey not be that he wolde be
almost distroied as bith J>e commons off Ffraunce.
Wherfore, a lbe i t that the Ffrench kynges reuenues
ben by suche meanes moche gratter than be the
revenues wich pe kyng<? owre sou^rayn lorde hath
off vs, yet thai ben not goodly taken, and the myght
o f his reaume is nerehande distroyed therby. By
wich consideracion I wolde nat that the kynges
revenues o f this reaume were made grette by any

C & e (Sofcernance o f <2EnglantJ. 117

such meane. And yet o f necessite thai muste be
gratter than thai bith at this day. And trewly it is
veray necessarie that thay be alwey grete ; and that
the kyng<? haue habundantly wherewith his estate
mey be honorably kepte fifor ryght mony causes, off
wech some shall nowe be remenbred.

ns %k 3Io6n jrortetfcue on




F f i r s t , yff a kyngz? be pore, he shall bi nescessite
make his expences, and by all pat is necessarie to
his estate, by creaunce and borowyngi?; wher through
his creauncers wolle Wynne vpon hym the iiijtb or
the vth pene o f all that he dispendith. And so
he shall lese whan he payith, the iiijth or the vth
pene o f his revenues, and thus be therby alway
porer and porer, as vser and chevisaunce encressith
the pouzv'te off hym that borowith. His creauncers
shul alway grucche ffor lake o f thair paymente, and
defame his highnes off mysgou^rnance, and defaute
o f kepyng^ o f days; wich yf he kepe, he most
borowe also much at the dayzk, as he didd firste;
ffor he shalbe than pou^rer than he was by the
value o f the iiijtlx or vth parte o f his first expences,
and so be alway p ou ter and pouter, vnto the
tyme he be the pou^rest lorde o f his lande. Ffor
such maner o f borowyng<? makith the grete lordis to

i r 9

be p ou ter than thair ten^nto. What dishonour
is this, and abatynge o f the glorie o f a kynge. But
yet it is most to his vnsuyrte. For his subgetto'
woll rather goo with a lorde pat is riche, and mey
pay thair wages and expenses, then with, thair kynge
pat hath noght in his purse, but thai most serue
hym, y f thai wil do so, at thair owne dispenses.
Iltm, y f the kynge be pouere, he shall o f necessite
make his giftes and rewardes by asseignementey, for
wich he shall haue but litle thanke. For the pouere
man hade leuer an c. marke in hande, then an c. +i.
bi asseignement, wich perauentar shall cost hym
right miche or he can gete his payment, and per-
auentur be neuer paid therof. And often tymes for
lake o f money the kynge shall be fayne to gyf awey
his lande to such as wolde haue ben feyner o f a c. hi
in hand, than o f xl. hi worth lande yerely, to the
grete abatynge o f his revenues and depopolacion of
his reaume. But the grettest harme that comyth
o f a kynges pouerte is, that he shal bi necessite be
arted to fynde exquysite meanes o f geytinge of
g o o d ; as to putt defaute in some of his subgettey
pat bith innocents, and vpon the riche men more
pen the pore, by cause that he mey bettir pay; and
to shew rigoure per as fauo^r awght to be shewid,
and fauour per as rigour shuld be shewid, to per­
version of Justice, and perturbacion o f the peas and
quiete o f the reaume. For, as the philosepher saith
in his Eytikes, Impossible est fafofgentem operatt bona.
Hit nedith not now to specifie mo o f the harmes
wich comyth to a reaume bi the pouerte o f per
kynge, how be it thai bith mony mo than we haue
shewid yet; for euery wise man mey se ham openly
i now. But we most holde it for vndouted, pat ther

C b e ©oiiemance o f dEnglanti,

mey no reaume pr^spere, or be worshipfull, vndir a
poure kynge.

i2o ^ ir 3iofm jFottescue on



A nd sithyn it is necessarie that the kyng<? be
alway riche, wich may not be with owt he haue
revenues sufficiant for the yerely mayntenance o f
his estate; if is behouefull that we furst esteme,
what his erly charges and expences bith likely to
drawe vnto. Ffor aftir that nedith his reuenues
to be pwporcioned; but yet thai nedi\n to be
grettcr than woll be the charges, for doute o f soden
cases, wich mey falle to hym and to his reaume.
Ffor Seynt Bernarde saith, pat y f a mann« ex­
penses be egall to his livelode, a soden chaunce
mey distroye his estate. The kynges yerely ex­
penses stonden in charges ordinarie, and in charges
extra ordinarie. His charges ordinary mey not be
eschewed, and therfore it nedith pat therbe lyvelode
asseigned ffor the payment therof; wich lyvelode be
in no wyse putte to no other vse. And yff it happen
that any patent be made o f any parte therof to oper
vse, pat thanne pat patent be voide and o f non
effect. Wich thyngc yff hit be ffermely estableshed,
the kynges ordinarie charges mey alway be paid in
hande, and the pro vision ffor hem mey alway be
made in seson; wich shalbe worth to the kynge the

X 21

iiijth or the vth parte o f the quantite o f his expenses
for ordinarie charges. This may in nothinge restrane
the kyngis pover. Ffor it is no poiar to mowe aliene
and put away; but it is power to mowe haue and
kepe to hym self. As it is no poiar to mowe synne,
and to do ylle, or to mowe to be seke, wex olde, or
that a man may hurte hym self. Ffor all thes
poiars comen o f impotencie. And therfore thay
mey prcperly by callid nown poiars. Wherfore the
holy sprites and angels, pat mey not synne, wex old,
be seke, or hurte ham selff, haue more poiar than
We, that mey harme owre selff wzt& all thes defautes.
So is the kynges power more, in that he may not
put ffrom hym possescions necessaries for his owne
sustenance, than yff he myght put ham ffrom hym,
and aliene the same to his owne hurte and harme.
Nor this is ayen the kyng&y prangatiff, be wich he
is exaltid above his subgette?; but rather this is to
hym a p/^rogatiff. Ffor no man saue he mey haue
ayen the lande pat he hath onA aliened. • This
livelode asseigned ffor the ordinarie charges shall
aftirwarde be neuer askid off the kyng, nor hi's
highnes shall thynke ffor pat, that he hath pe more
livelode to be given awey; but be reason hereoff
he' will ]?e more restrayn his yeftis off oper off his
livelod, co;zsideryng£ pat than it woll not be grette,
and therfore he shall haue more nede off it then
thai that will aske it. The ordenarie charges, wich
pe writer hereoff can nowe remenbr, be thies; the
kyng&y housholde, his warderobe. And how so be
it pat the kynge liste now, or will hereaftir, make
his howshold lesse than it was wonned to b e ; yet
his highnes shall pan haue therfore abouute his
persone, ffor his honour and suyrte, lordes, knyghtes,

C fje ®ot)ernance of (England

X 2 2

and sqviers, and oper, in also grete nombr, or gretter
than his howsolde was wonned to be, to his charges
p<?raduentzzr also gredy, as his houshold well ruled
was wonned to stonde hym inne. Wher fore here-
inne it nedith not to considre or to purvey, but only
ffor the kyng<y house, wich he may resume or
chaunge in to his new maxier, or other fourme at
his pleasur, and as it shalbe thought aftir the seasons
most expedient. The expenses off wich housholde
mey sone be estemed by the wich off olde tyme
haue be officers therin, and bi the clerkys off
theschekquer. The secounde ordinarie charge is
the payment off the wages and ffees off the kyng<y
grete officers, his courtes, and his counsell. Wich
charge woll alwey be grete, and thies m e» nedun to
be alway redely payid. Ffor indigens in ham is
not only vnworshipfull, but it mey d o . the most
harme pat mey falle o f eny nede in any estate o f
the lande, aftir the kyngej most grete estate. pe
thirde charge ordinarie is the payment o f the kepyng
o f the marches, wher in we beyre moch gretter
charges yerely than done the ScottzV, wich often
tymes is for the ffauour pat we do to the p<?rsones
pat kepe ham, wich ffauoure pe Scottzk do not. The
iiipk charge is the kepyng off Caleis, wich charge is
welynoghe knowen. pe vth charge is ffor the kynges
werkes, off wich pe yerely expenses mey not be es-
temede, but yet pe accoumptes off the clerkes off
the werfey wollyn shewe pe likenes peroff, wile pe
kynge makith no new werkzy. The kepyng^ off the
see I reken not amonge the ordinarie charges, how
be it the charge p*?roff is yerely borne, bi cause it
is not estimable, and the- kynge hath therfore pe
subsidie off pondage and tonnage. Nor the lesse

§>ir 3!ofm jForte0cue on


be that reason pondage and tonnage mey not be
rekenned as parcell off the revenues wich the kynge
hath ffor the mayntenance off his estate, bi cause it
aught to be applied only to J>e kepynge off the see.
And though we haue not alwey werre vppon the
see, yet it shalbe nescessarie pat the kyng<? haue
alway some ffloute apon the see, ffor the repressyng<?
off rovers, sauyng^ off owre marchaantes, owre
ffishers, and the dwellers vppon owre costes; and
pat the kynge kepe alway some grete and myghty
vessels, ffor the brekynge off an armye when any
shall be made ayen hym apon J?e see. Ffor thanne
it shall be to late to do make such vessailles. And
yet witti owt thaym all the kyng« navey shallnot
suffice to borde with carrikkes and oper grete ves­
sailles, nor yet to mowe breke a myghty ffloute
gadered off purpose. Now, as I suppose, we haue
rekened pe grettest parte off the kyng^s ordinarie
charges. Wherfore we woll considre next his extra
ordinarie charges, also ferre as mey be possible
to vs.

€fre ®otietnance o f CnglanD*



T h e kynges extraordinarie charges bith so casuelle,
pat no man mey knowe hem in certaynte. But yet
he may esteme what somwe thai bith not like to
excede, but yff per ffall a case ou^r moch exorbitant;


and than it shalbe reasone, and also necessarie, pat
all the reaume beyre ffor pat case a synguler charge.
Such off the said extraordinarie charges as the *
writer hereoff can now remenbr be theis. Ffirst ]?e
Jcyng shall often tymes sende owt off this lande his
ambassatours, as well to the pope, as to diu^rse
kynges, prynces, and naeions; and oper while he
shall sende his pr<?curatours and messengers to the
counselles gen^ralles. Wich ambassatours, prccura-
tours, and messengers shall nede to be honorably
accompanyed, and well be sene, alsowell ffor the
worship^ off J>e reaume, as ffor the avaunsyng*? off
pe maters ffor wich thai shalbe sende, to J>e kyng^s
right grete charge, wich shalbe more or lesse, aftir
thair longe or shorte demure in thair viage. Item,
the kynge shall beyre yerely charges vnknowen in
re ceyvinge off ligate and messengers sende ffrom
the pope, and off ambassatours sende ffrom kyng<?s
and oper princes, and also ffrom grete commmalties
bi yonde pe see, wich will putt pe kyng to grete
expenses while thai bith here, and at thair depart-
ynge thai most nedw haue grete giftes and rewardes;
ffor pat be sitith pe kynges magnificence and liberalite,
also it is necessarie ffor the worship off his reaume.
Ettm, sithen it is not gode pat he rewarde such as do,
and shall do to hym smiice, or oper maner off
pleasures, with pe possescions and revenues o f his
crovne, nor with other possescions off his inherit­
ance ;— ffor thai be moch more necessarie for the
sustenance off his grete estate;— hit shall therfore
be necessarie, pat the kynge make such rewardes
with money owt off his cofers, and pat somme off
hem haue so largely perdff, as thai mey bie thaim
lande with all, yff thai will. Ffor be this meane ]?e

gift 3[o6n jFottescue on


kyng<?y estate shall alwey be kept vnblemyshed. And
off somme man is, highnes shall haue more thanke
ffor money then ffor lande; and also money is the
most convenient rewarde to hym pat hath not longe
serued. This charge woll all wey be grete, and so
inestimable grete, pat in som^e yere a grete lordly
lyvelod shalnot suffice to beyre it, though he wolde
selle grete parte per of. And trewly, when f>e kyng
rewardith is servants in this maner, he shewzM
grete ffauour to all his reaume. Item, it shall nede
pat the kyng haue such tresour, as he mey make
new bildyng^y whan he woll, ffor his pleasure and
magnificence; and as he mey bie hym riche clothes,
riche furres, oper than be wonned to fall vndre ]?e
yerely charges off his warderober, rich stones, serpes,
bauderikes, and oper juels and ornamento conue-
nyent to his estate roiall. And often tymes he woll
bie riche hangyng^ and other apparell ffor his
howses; vessaill, vestments, and oper ornaments
for his chapell; bie also horses off grete price,
trappers, and do o t lw suche nobell and grete costes,
as bi sitith is roiall mageste, off wich it is not now
possible to the writer hereof to remenbr the especial-
liteis. Ffor yff a kyng did not so, nor myght do, he
lyved then not like his estate, but rather in misene,
and in more subgeccion than doth a pmiate person.
Stem, the kyng£ shall often tymes sende his comis-
sioners in gret myght, and also his juges, to represse
and punysh riatours and risers; ffor wich cause he
shall odre whiles ride in his owne person myghtely
accompanyed. Wich thyng<? wolnot be done with
owt grete costes; ffor no man is bounde to serue
hym in suche cases at his owne dyspenses. Item, yff
ther come a sodayne armye vpon this londe by see

€ & e (governance o f aEnglano,

or by lande, pe kyng most encomptre them with a
lyke armye, or a gretter; ffor expenses wheroff
he shall not so sadanly haue any eyde off his peple.
Wherfore he most than do the expences with money
owt off his cofers, or put all is lande in jopardie. Loo
now we haue remenbred grete parte off the kyng^y'
extraordinaire charges ; and be ffore we haue shewid
grete parte off his ordinarie charges. Wherfore now
it is tyme pat it be shewid, how the kyngtf mey haue
revenues and livelode sufficient to beyre theis ij

126 %it 3fofm JFortegcue on




H it is shewid be ffore, how necessarier it is pat
livelod sufficient be asseigned ffor the kynges ordi­
narie charges, and that the same livelod be only
applied therto, and not aliened in tyme comyngd.
Ffor that asseigneme^t mey in no wise hurte f>e kyng,
considerynge pat yff any parte off pe revenues peroff
remayne ouer the paieme^t o f the same ordynarie
chargis, that so remaynynge is the kyng&y owne
money, wich he mey than imploye to oper vse at is
owne pleasur. And it is vndouted that the kynge
hath livelode sufficient wich mey be soo asseigned
for his ordinarie charges. Wherfore we haue now
no thyng ellis to be sercched, but what lyvelod pe
kyng hath ffor the payment off his charges extraor-
dinarie, ou<?r so moche livelod as shalbe asseigned

ffor his charges ordinarie; and yff he haue not live-
lod sufficient per to, how than his livelod mey be
made sufficient. Ffor his reaume is bounde by
right to sus.teyne hym in every thyng necessarie to
his estate. Ffor, as Seynt Thomas saith, <&ejc tratur
propter regnum, et non repum propter regem. Wherfore all
that he dothe owith to be referred to his kyngdome.
Ffor though his estate be pe highest estate temp^rall
in pe. erthe, yet it is an office, in wich he mynestrith
to his reaume defence and justice. And therfore he
mey say off hym selff and off his reaume, as the pope
saith off hym selff and off the churche, in pat he
writithe, seruus serttorum Uet. By wich reason, ryght
as every servant owith to haue is sustenance off hym
pat he someth, so aught j?e pope to be susteyned by
the chirche, and the kyng by his reaume. Ffor
nemo trcbct proprus expensts mtlftare. And owre lorde
saith, trtgnus est operartus ct'bo suo. Wherfore pe
appostill saith, commbm'cet is gut ratr?f?atur berbo, et gut
se rate b̂at, tn omnibus bouts. Wherfore sithen eu^ry
reaume is bounde to susteyn is kyng, yet moch more
be we bounde ther to, vppon whom owre kyng
reignith by so ffauerable lawes as is beffore de­

€ 6e ®<mtnance o f <2nglanD» ta7




B ut sithyn the said extraordinarie charges bith
so vncertayne J?at thai be not estymable, hit is not


possible to putt in certayne, what lyvelod will yerely
suffice to beyre ham. Wherfore we nede in this
case to vse coniecture and ymaginacipn, as to thynk
that per is no lordis livelod in Englond sufficient to
beyre the ' kynges extraordinare charges. Then
nedith it pat the kyng&r livelod, aboff such reuenues
as shalbe asseigned for his charges, .be
gretter-than the livelod off the grettest lorde in
Englande. And pgrauenture, whan liyelod sufficient
ffor the kynges ordinarie charges is lemitted and
asseigned therto, hit shall apere, that diuerse lordis
off Englande haue also moch livelode off thair owne,
as than shall remayne in the kyng^y handes ffor his
extraordinarie charges ; wich were inconvenient, and
wold be to the kyng<? right dredefull. For than such
a lord mey dispende more then the kynge, con­
sidering*? pat he is charged with no such charges
extraordinarie or ordinarie as is the kyng, except an
houshold, wich is but litle in comparison off the
kynges house. Wherfore yff it be thus, it shalbe
necessarie, pat ther be pzzrveyid ffor the kyng moch
gretter livelod than he hath yet. For mams corage
is so noble, pat naturally he aspirith to high things,
and to be exaltid, and before enforsith hym selff to
be alway gretter and gretter. Ffor wych the philo­
sopher saith, omnia amamtts seIj pttncipari matus. Wherof
it hath corny;? pat oftyn tymes, when a subget hath
hade also gret livelod as his prince, he hath anon
aspired to pe estate o f his prznce, wich by such a
man mey sone be gote. Ffor the remenante off the
subgette? off such a prznce, seyng pat yff so myghty
a subget myght opteyne pe estate off thair prznce,
thai shulde than be vndir a prz’nce double so myghty
as was thair old prz’nce ;— wich encrease any subget

© ir 3lo&n Jfortescue on


desirith, ffor his owne discharge off pat he beyrith to
the sustenance off his prm ce;— and therfore wolbe
right gladde to help such a subgett in his rebillion.
And also such an enterprise is the more ffeseable,
when such a rebell hath more riches than his souer-
ayne lorde. Ffor the peple will go wz't/z hym pat
best mey susteyne and rewarde ham. This matter
off doynge hath be so ofte practised nerehande in
euery reaume, pat thair cronicles be full off it. In
the reaume off Ffrazmce was neuer chaunge o ff .thair
kynge, sithyn it was ffirst inabyted by Ffrench men,
but by pe rebillion off such myghty subgettejr; as
Hyldericus kyng off Ffraunce, dissended off Clodone,
wich was ffirst Cristen kyng off Ffraunce, was putt
doune by Pepyne son to CarollzA Marcellus, wich
was the most myghty subget pat into that tyme was
euer sene in pe reaume off Ffraunce. And aftirwarde
Charles, discended off Carolus Magnus, sonne to the
said Pepyne by ix. or by x. genrracions, was put ffrom
the kyngdome o f Ffraunce by Hugh Capite, sonne
to Hugo Magiizzi1, Erie o f Paris, wich tho was the
myghtieste subgett off Ffraunce, and therfore create
and callid 3Dttx Jffranctae. And in owre dayzk we haue
sene a subgett off the Ffrench kyngar in such myght,
pat he hath gyven bataill to the same kyng, and putt
hym to flight, and aftirwad be hym beyng in
Paris is grettest cete, and soo keppid thair, vnto Jre
tyme his said kyng hade made such ende wzt/z hym,
his adherentex, and fauctours, as he desired. W e
haue also sene late in owre reaume, somme off the
kyngrx subgettex- gyff hj'm bataill, by occasion pat
thair livelod and offices were ]?e grettest off J?e lande,
and ellis thai wolde not haue done soo.

The Erlis o f Lecestir and Glocestre, wich were }>e

C & e <$ot)ernance o f aBnglanD.

g>it 3!ofm JFoctesfeue on
grettest lordly off Englond, rose ayenest thair kynge
Herre the iijcle, and toke hym and his sonne prisoners
in the ffelde. Wich maner off demeyny^g^ the kyng
off ScottA pat last dyed dredyng to be practysed in
his lande, putt owt off the same lande pe Erie
Douglas whos livelod and myght was nerehande
equivalent to his owne, moved perto be no other
cause, saue only drede off his rebyllion. The crony-

, cles off euery reaume, and in especiall off Spayne and
Denmarke, bith full off such ensamples; and so
bith also the bokis off kynges in holy scripture;
wherfore it nedith not to write mor herein. And
also it mey not be eschewid, but pat the grete lordis
off pe lande by reason off nev dissenter ffallyng vnto
ham, by reason also off manages, purchasses, and
oper titles, shall often tymes growe to be gretter than
thai be now, and p^auentur somwe off hem to be
off livelod and poiar like a k yn g; wich shalbe right
god ffor the lande while thai aspire to non hygher
estate. Ffor such was J>e Duke o f Lancastre, pat
warred he kynge off Spayne, on off the myghtiest
kynges off Cristendome, in his owne reaume. But
this is writun only to the entent pat it be well vnder-
stande, how necessarie it is pat the kynge haue grete
possescions, and peculier livelod ffor his owne suirte;
namely, whan any o f his lordis shull happen to be so
excessyuely grete, as ther mought therby groue
perell to his estate. For certanly ther mey no
grettir p<?rell growe to a prince, than to haue a
subgett equepolent to hym selff.

C&e ©oticrnance of OEnglantJ. 131



Now that the lykennes off the kynges charges
ordinarie and extraordinarie bith shewid, and ouer
that, how necessarie it is that he haue grete livelod
abofif pe same charges, in wich it nedyth pat he
excede gretly every man off the lande, wych livelod
vndoutedly he hath not at pis day; hyt is therfore
byhouefull pat we now serch how the kyng mey haue
such livelod; but ffirst, off what comodites it mey
best be take. The kyng off Ffraunce myght not
sumtyme dyspende off his demaynes, as in lorde-
shipp<?s, and oper patrimo#ie peculier, so mich as
myght tho the kynge off England; wich mey well
appere be that the qwene off Ffraunce hath but v.
m marke yerely to huyr douer, wheras the qwene
off Englond hath x . m marke. Ffor in tho day is
therwas but litle more off thereaume off Ffraunce in
the kyng<?y hand^y, but pat parte wich is callyd the
lie off Ffraunce. Ffor all the remenant off the
reaume as Burgonye, Normandye, Guyne, Cham-
payne, Langdokq and Fflaunders, with mony oper
such grete lordship/<?s, were than in the hand<?y off
the Dussepers, and off oper pr/nces and grete lordis.
Ffor wych cause the gabell off the salt, and the
quaterimes o f the wynes were graunted to the kynge
by the iij estates off Ffraunce, wych was no litill
subsidie. Ffor ther is no man in Ffraunce pat mey
eyte salt, but yff he bie it off the kyng; and that is
now sett to so grete pn'se, pat the bushell, wich the

K 3

kyng bieth ffor iijd or iiijd, is solde to his peple ffor
ij8 and a j d, and other while more. And the iiijth
pype off the wynes that be made in Ffraunce mey
be no lityll thyng, sithyn the tyllyng off the vynes is
the grettest comodite off the reame; but pat co m o -
dite we haue not in this lande. Wher fore ther is no
p a rte off tho manors off subsidie pat myght be gode
ffor owre soutane lorde, but yff it were that he
myght sell to his subgetto the salte pat comyth
hyder. In wich thyngo he shall haue more groch-
yn g e off the peple than proffett. Ffor in Ffraunce
the peple sal ten but lytill mete, except thair bacon,
for thai wolde bie litil salte ; but yet thai be arted to
bye more salte than thai wolde. Ffor the kynget
officers bryngen to thair houses eu ery yere, also
moche salte as by thair co^iecture is ressnable to the
nombre off }>e men, womes, and childeren that
dwellen therin, ffor wich thai shall pay though thai
wolnot haue so muche. This rule wolde be sore
aborred in Englond, as well by the march<zunts pat
bithe wonned to haue thair ffredome in biyngo and
sellyngo off salte, as by the peple pat vsen moche to
salte thair mey t o more than do J>e Ffrenchmen; by
occasion wheroff thai woll than at eu ery mele groche
with the kynge, pat entreteth hem more rygoursly
than his progenitors haue done. And so his hyghnes
shall haue per off, but as hadd pe man pat sherid is
hogge, muche crye and litil woll. In Fflaunders,
and in oper lordeshippos off the Dukes off Burgoigne
downewarde, he takith cortayn imposicions made by
hym selff vppon en ery oxe, eu ery shepe, and vppon
oper thyngos solde; and also vppon eu ery vesaill off
wyne, eu ery barrel! off bere, and oper vitalles solde
in his lordeshippes, wich is no litil revenue to hym ;

*3* @>tr 31o&n jForteacue on


but yet he dothe it maugre the peple, wich God
defende pat the kyng£ oure sou^rayn lorde shulde do
vppon is peple, with owt thair< graunto or assent.
Nertheles with thair assent suche man^r off subsidie,
yff per couude not be fifounde a better meane off pe
encressynge off the kyng^y revenues, were not vn-
resnoble. Ffor therin and in the gabell off ]?e sake,
eu<?ry man shalbeyre pe charge peroff eyegally. But
yet I wolde not pat suche a newe charge were put
apon pe peple in owre sou^rayn lordA dayis, with
wich is pr<?genitours charged hem neu^r, yff a better
remedie coude be ffounde. Kyng£ Salamon charged
is peple with gretter ymposicions than thai were
wonned to beyre befifore his day is. And by cause
his sonne kynge Roboham wolde not ease hem
therofif, the x. parties off the peple, devided in xii.
parties, de p^rtide fifrom hym, and chese hem a new
kynge, and come neu<?r aftir pat tyme vndre is sub-
iection. Off wiche departyng God said hym selff
aftirwarde, a me factum est tstutr. Wiche is an en-
sample pat it is not good a kynge to ouer sore charge
his peple. Wherfore me thinkith, pat yff f>e kynge
myght haue is livelod ffor the sustenance off his
estate in grete lordshippes, manures, fifee ffermys,
and such other detnaynes, his people not charged, he
shulde kepe to hym hollych thair hertes, excede in
lordshipp^- all the lord*?* off his reaume, and ther
shulde non off hem growe to be like vnto hym, wich
thyng<? is most to be fered off all }>e worlde. Ffor
then with in ffewe yeres per shulde not remeyne
lordeshippes in is reaume, by wich pa\ myght growe
so grette. Ner thai myght growe soche be manages,
but yff the kyng wolde hit. Ffor to hym fallen all
pe grete mariages off his lande, wich he mey dispose

C b e ®otmnance o f <£n$lantb

134 ^ it aqftn jFottegcue on

as hym liste. And by discente per is not like to
ffalle gretter heritage to any man than to J>e kyng.
Ffor to hym bith cosens J»e most and grettest lord*??
off pe reaume. And by escheitte? per mey not so
muche lande fall to any man as to J?e kyng, by cause
pat no man hath so many tenants as h e ; and also
no man mey haue the escheitt&y off treson but
hym selff. And be pwrchas, yff this be done, per
shall no man so well encresse his livelod as the
kyng. Ffor ther shall non off his tenants aliene
livelod with owt is licence, wheryn he mey best
preferre hym selff. Nor per shall no livelod be kept
so holl as kyng&y, consideryng pat he mey not
onestly selle is lande, as oper men mey d o o ; and
also his sellyng wolde be the hurte off all his reaume.
Soche was pe sellynge off Chirke and Chirkes landes,
weroff neuer manne see a president, and God defende
that any man see mo soche hereaftir. Ffor sellynge
off a kyng<?.J livelod is pn>pirly callid delapidacion off
his crowne, and therfore is off gret infame. Now
we haue ffounde vndoutably, what man?r revenuez
is best ffor the indowme«t off the crowne. But
sithyn it is said before, pat the kyng hath not at
this day sufficiant therto, it is most convenient that
we nowe serch, how is hyghnes mey haue sufficiant
off suche revenues, wich we ffounde now best ther

135€ & c <®otiernance o f (Sttgianti*




T he holy patriarke Joseph, while he, vndr Pha-
raho kyng, gou^rned J?e lande off Egipte, rulid and
so entredid J?e peple per off, pat thai graunted to pay,
and paid to the same kynge, the vth parte o f thair
graynes, and off all oper thynge that growed to thaim
yerely off J?e erthe; wich charge thai beru?z yet, and
euer shall beyre. Wherthro thair prz'nce, wich now
is the Saudayn off Babilon, is on off the myghtyest
prznces off Je w orlde; and that notwz't/zstondynge
J?e same Egipciens bith the most riche commons pat
liven vndre any prznce. Wherby we bith lerned
pat it shalnot only be goode to owre prz'nce, but
also to vs selff, that he be well indowed; ffor ellzV
the patriarke wolde not haue made such a trety.
The Ffrench kyng in on thyng<?, pat is to say in
wyne, takyth more off is peple than dothe pe
Saudan; ffor he takith J;e iiijth peyne peroff. But
yet he takith no thyng<? off thair graynes, wolles, or
off any other gode pat growith to hem off thair
lande. The kynge owre sou^rayn lorde hade be
tymes, sithen he reigned vpon vs, livelod in lord-
shippes, landes, tenements, and renter, nerehand to
the value off pe vth parte off is reaume, afcoff the
possescions off pe chirche. Off wich livelod, yff hit
hade abiden still in his handes, he hade ben more
myghty in good revenues than any off pe said ij
kynges, or any kyng pat now reigneth vppon cristen


men. But this was not possible to haue ben done.
Ffor to some p a rte peroff the eyres o ff thaim pat
some tyme owed it be restored; some bi reason off
tayles, some bi reason off oper titles, wich the kyng
hath considered and thought hem good and reson-
able. And some off pe said livelod is god g ra se
hath geuen to such as haue sm ied hym so notably,
pat as thair renounne wolbe eternall, so it be sate
the kyng^y magnyficence to make thair rewardes
eutvdastynge in their heyres, to thair p^petuall
memorie and honour. And also the kyng hath
geven parte off this livelod to his moste worshipfull
brotherryn, wich not only haue sm ied hym in the
maner ffor said, but bith also so nygh in blode to
his highnes, that it besatte not is magnificence to
haue done in o]lev wyse. Neu^rthelesse somm e
men haue done hym serm ce, ffor wych it was reson-
able pat his grase hade rewarded hem ; and ffor
lakke off money, the kyng than rewarded pa.m with
lande. And to some men he hath done in lyke
wyse aboff thair merits, through ymportunite off
thair suytfow. And it is supposed pat some off hem
haue goton an c. hi. worth lande, pat wolde haue
holde hym content wzt/z cc. ii. in money, yff thai
myght haue hade it in hande. Wherfon? it is
thought, pat yff suche gyftis, and namely tho wich
haue be made inconsideratle, or aboff the mbytes
off hem that haue thaim, were refourmed; and
thai rewarded wz’t/z money, or offices, and some
with livelode ter m e off lyff, wich aftir thair dethis
wolcle than retorne to the Crowne, pe kyng
shulde haue suche livelod as we now seke ffor,
sufficiante ffor the mayntennance off his estate.
And yff it wolde not than be so gret, I holde it for

3[o&n jFortescue on


vndouted, pat the people off his lande woll be well
wyllung*? to graunte hym a subsidie, vppon suche
comodites off his reaume as bith beffore specified,
as shall accomplishe that wich shall lakke hym off
such livelod; so that is highnes woll establyshe ]?e
same livelod than remaynyzzge, to abide p^rpetuelly
to his crowne, with owt translatynge peroff to any
oper vse. Ffor ellis whan pat shall happen hereaftir
to be gyven awey, it shall nede pat is commons be
charged with a newe subsidie, and thus be kept
alway in pou^rte.

€ & e (fcotjetnance of Cnglann.



S ome men haue said pat it were good ffor the
kyng, pat the commons off Englande were made
pore, as be the commons off Ffraunce. Ffor than
thai wolde not rebelle, as now thai done oftentymes ;
wich the commons off Ffraunce do not, nor mey
d o o ; ffor thai haue no wepen, nor armour, nor good
to bie it with all. T o theis maner off men mey be
said with the phylosopher, alt pauca rcsptdentcs ijt facilt
cmmctanf. This is to say, thai that see but ffiew
thyng*?5, woll sone say thair advyses. Fforsoth
theis ffolke consideren litill the good off the reaume
off Englond, wheroff the myght stondith most vppon
archers, wich be no ryche men. And yff thai were
made more pou^re than thai be, thai shulde not

133 31o&n jfortegcue on
haue wherwft^ to bie h em bowes, arroes, jakkes, or
any oper armour off defence, wherby thai myght be
able to resiste owre enymes, when thai liste to come
vppon v s ; wich thai mey do in eu^y side, con-
sideryng*? pat we be a Ilelonde;. and, as it is said
be fore, we mey not sone haue soucour off any oper
reaume. Wherfore we shull be a pray to all owre
enymyes, but yff we be myghty off owreselff, wich
myght stondith most vppon owre pouere archers;
and therfore thai nedun not only haue suche able-
ments as now is spoken off, but also thai nedu« to
be much exc<?rsised in shotyng^, wich mey not be
done with owt ryght grete expenses, as eu^ry man
exp erte per in hnowith ryght well. Wherfore pe
makyng ponere o f pe commons, wich is pe makyng
ponere off owre archers, shalbe pe distruqcion o f the
grettest myght off ow re reaume. J Item, yff pou^e
men mey not lightly rise, as is~tne openion of thes
men, wich ffor pat cause wolde haue pe commons
pou^re; how than, yff a myghty man made a rysing^
shulde he be repressed, whan all the commons ben
so pouere, pat aftir such openyon thai mey not
ffeght, and be pat reason not helpe the kyng with
ffeghtynge ? And whi makith the kynge pe com­
mons eu ery yere to be mustered; sithen it were god
thai hade non harnes nor were able to ffight ?
O, howe vnwyse is pe oppenyon off thes m en; ffor
it mey not be mayntened be any reason!
whan any rysing^ hath be made in this londe be ffor
theis day A by commons, the poorest men per o ff
haue be f e grettest causers and doers therin. And
thryfty men haue ben loth therto, ffor drede off
lesynge off thair gode. But yet oftentymes thai
haue goo with thaym, through manasheyng# pat

ell/-? the same pou^re men wolde haue toke thair
godes, wher in it semyth pat pollute hath be pe holl
cause off all suche rysyng^r. The pouere man hath
be sturred perto be occasion off is pou^te, for to
gete gode and pe riche men haue gone w ith hem,
be cause thai wolde not be pou^e be lesynge off per
gode. What than wolde ffall, yff all the commons
were pouere ? Trewly it is lyke that this lande
then shulde be like vnto pe reaume off Boeme,
wher the commons ffor pouzrte rose apon the nobles,
and made all thair godis to be comune. Item, hit is
the kyngis honour, and also is office, to make is
reaume riche; and it is dishonour whan he hath but
a pou ere reaume, off wich men woll- say pat he
reigneth but vppon beggers. Yet it were moch
gretter 'dishonour, yff he ffounde is reaume riche,
and then made it pou ere. And it were also gretly
ayenest his cozzciens, pat awght to defende hem and
her godz?, yff he toke ffro hem thair godis with owt
lafull cause; ffrom the infame wheroff God defende
owre kyng, and gyff hym grase to augmente is
reaume in riches, welth, and pr^sperite, to his per-
petuell laude.and worship/te. Item, the reaume off
Ffraunce givith neu<?r ffrely off thair owne gode will
any subsidie to thair prz'nce, because ]?e commons
peroff be so pouere, as thai meynot give any thyng
off pair owne godA. And the kyng ther askith
neuer subsidie off is nobles, ffor drede pat yff he
charged hem so, thai wolde cozzfedre with pe com­
mons, and ptrauentz/r putt hym doune. But owre
commons be riche, and J^rfore thai give to thair
kynge, at somme tymes quizzsimes and dessimes,
and ofte tymes oper grete subsidies, as he hath nede
ffor pe gode and defence off his reaume. How gret

Cfce ©otoetnance of C n g la n o , 139

140 ^stc 31ofm JFottescue on
a subsidie was it, when the reaume gaff to thair
kyng a quinsime and a desime qui^queniale, and
the ixth fflese off thair wolles, and also the ixth shefe
off per graynes, ffor the terme off v. yere. This
•myght thai not haue done, yff thai hade ben im-
pou^rshed be thair kyng, as be the commons off
Ffraunce; nor such a graunte hath be made by any
reaume off cristendome, off wich any cronicle makith
mencion; nor non oper mey or hath cause to do so.
Ffor thai haue not so much ffredome in thair owne
god«, nor be entreted b y so ffau^rable lawes as we
be, except a ffewe regions be ffore specified. Stem,
we se dayly, how men pat haue lost thair godz'-y, and
be ffallen into pou<?rte, be com me anon robbers and
theVes ; wich wolde not haue ben soche, yff pou^rte
hade not brought hem perto. Howe many a theff
then were like to be in this lande, yff all the com­
mons were pouere. pe grettest surete trewly, and
also the most honour pat mey come to the kynge is,
pat is reaume be riche in euery estate. Ffor nothyng
mey make is people to arise, but lakke off gode, or
lakke off justice. But yet sertanly when thay lakke
gode thai woll aryse, sayng that thai lakke justice.
Neu*?r}>eles yff thai be not pouere, thay will neuer
aryse, but yff per prince so leve justice, that he give
hym selff all to tyranne.

C & e (Soticcnance o f C nglano. 141




Poufjste is not the cause, whi the commons off
Ffraunce rise not ayen thair sou^rayn lorde. Ffor
per were neu<?r people in pat lande more pouere, then
were in owre tyme the commons off the contre off
Caux, wich was tho almost diserte ffor lakke off
tillers; as it now well apperith be the new husbondry
pat is done per, namely in grobbyng and stokkyng
off treis, busses, and groves, growen whill we were
ther lordes off the contray. And yet the said
commons off Caux made a marvelous gret rysinge,
and toke owre townis, castelles, and ffortresses, and
slowe owre capitans and soudiours, at soche a tyme
as we hade but ffewe men off werre lyings in pat
contray. Wich prtfvith pat it is not pou^rte pat
kepith Ffrenchmen ffro rysing*?, but it is cowardisse
and lakke off hartes and corage, wich no Ffrenchman
hath like vnto a Englysh man. It hath ben offten
tymes sene in Englande, pat iij. or iiij. theves ffor
pou^rte haue sett apon vj or vij trewe men, and
robbed hem all. But it hath not bene sene in
Ffraunce, pat vj. or vij. theves haue be hardy to
robbe iij. or iiij. trewe men. Wherfore it is right
selde pat Ffrenchme?« be hanged ffor robbery, ffor
thai haue no harto to do so terable an acte. Ther
bith therfore mo men hanged in Englande in a yere
ffor robbery and manslaughter, then per be hanged
in Ffraunce ffor such man<?r o f crime in vij yeres.

142 § it 3lof>n jFoctcgcue on

Ther is no man hanged in Scotlande in vij yere to
gedur fifor robbery. And yet thai ben often tymes
hanged ffor larceny, and stelynge off good in the
absence off J>e owner peroff. But per harto serne
hem not to take a manys gode, while he is present,
and woll defende i t ; wich maner off takynge is callid
robbery. But J>e Englysh man is off ano]">er corage.
Ffor yff he be pouere, and see another man havynge
rychesse, wich mey be taken ffrom hym be myght, he
will not spare to do so, but yff pat pouere man be
right trewe. Wherfore it is not pouerte, but it is
lakke off harte and cowardisee, that kepith the
Ffrenchmen ffro rysynge.





T h is serche wich we nowe haue made, ffor to
vnderstonde how harmefull it wolde be to the kynge,
and to his reaume, yff his commons were pouere,
hath be a digression ffrom the mater in wich we
labour; pat is to say, ffor to vndirstonde howe the
kyng mey best haue sufficient and perdurable livelod
ffor the sustentacion off his estate. Wherfore it be
houyth pat we nowe resorte to the poynte in wich we
lafte, wich, as I remenbr, was this. W e ffounde be
grete causes, pat it was nedefull, Jat all suche giftes

as haue be made off the kynges livelod inconsederatly,
as not desorue't, or aboff the moretes o f hym pat
haue getun hym, were refourmed; so as thai wich
haue done any slu ice , be n ot. vnrewarded. Wich
thynge, as me thynkith, mey not perfidy be done,
wztAowt a genorall resumpcion, made be auctorite off
parlement; and pat ther be gyven to the kynge by
the same auctorite, a grete subsidie, with wich is
hyghnes, be pe advise off his counsell, mey rewarde
tho pat haue deserued rewardes, and awght not per-
fore to haue parte off his revenues, by wich is estate
moste nedA be mayntened; or awght not haue so
moch off pe revenues, as thai haue now, or not so
grete astate in the same. Considerynge pat all such
gyvinge awey off the kyng^y livelod is harmefull to
all is legemen, wich shall per by, as is be ffore shewid,
be arted to a newe charge ffor J>e sustenance off is
estate. But yet, or any suche resumpcion be made,
it shalbe gode pat a worshipfull and a notable coun­
sell be stableshed, be the advise off wich all new
gyftes and rewardes mey be modered and made, as
yff no such gyftes or rewardes had be made be ffor
this tyme. Provided alway, that no man be harmyd,
be reason off such resumpcion, in the arrerages off
such livelod as he shall pa.n haue, wich shall renne
aftir pat resumpcion, and bi fore pe said new giftes
and rewardes. And whan such a counsell is ffully
create and estableshed, hit shalbe gode pat all sup-
plicacions wich shalbe made to pe kynge ffor any
gifte or rewarde, be sende to pe same counsell, and
per debatid and delibered; ffirst whether }?e supliant
haue desorued such rewarde as he askith; and yff he
haue desorued hit, yet it nedith \at it be delibered,
whether the kynge mey gyve such rewarde as he

Cfre ®otiemance o f CnglanO. 143


■* 5-}'t

| f §

%ix 3[ofm JFottegcue on
askith off his revenues, savynge to hym selff sufficiant
ffor the sustenance off his estate. Ffor ellis such
givings were no vertu, but a spice o f prodigalite, and
as ffor so moch it were delapidacion off his crowne.
Wherfore no prmat person woll, be reason off libera-
lite, or off rewarde, so abate is owne livelod, as he
mey not kepe such estate as he did be ffore. And
trewly it were bettir, pat a przuat person lakked is
rewarde wich he hath well deserued, then that be his
rewarde pe gode publike and all the lande were
hurte. Wherfore to eschewe theis ij harmes, it mey
then be advised be the counsell, how such a person
mey be rewarded with office, money, mariage,
ffraunches, pmielage, or such oper thynge, off wich
}?e crowne hath grete riches. And verely yff this
ordre be kept, the kynge shalnot be greved be im-
portunite o f suytours, nor thai shall be importunite
or brocage optayne any vnresonable desires. O what
qwiete shall growe to f>e kyng by this ordre; and in
what reste shall than his people lyff, hauynge no
colour off grochynge wzt/iz soche as shall be aboute is
person, as thai were woned to haue, ffor pe gyvynge
awey off his londe, and also ffor the myscounsellynge
off hym in many oper cases ; nor off mz/rmor ageynee
the kyngee person, ffor pe mysgouernance off his
reaume! Ffor in this counsell mey be determynyd
euery case off deficulte, or the kyng do any thyng
perm. And the wise man saith, bin' multa ronsflta, tin
gains. And trewly such a cozztenuall counsell mey
wel be callid, multa tonstlfa, ffor it is ofte, and euere
day cou»sellith.

f45C & e ©otoernance o f (En g la n d




T h e kyngis counsell was wonned to be chosen off
grete pr/nces, and off the gretteste lordes off J?e
lande, both spz'rzVuelles and temfwrellis, and also
off oper men that were in grete auctorite and offices.
Wich lordes and officers had nere hande* also mony
maters off thair owne to be treded in the counsell,
as hade pe kynge. Wherthrough, when thai come
togedre, thai were so occupied w tA thair owne
maters, and -with the maters off thair kynne, ser-
uantes, and tenantes, pat thai entendet but litle, and
oper while no thynge, to pe kyngzy maters. And
also per were but ffewe maters off the kyng^, but
yff J>e same maters toucheden also )>e said coun­
sellers, thair cosyns, per seruantes, tenantes, or such
oper as thai owed ffauor vnto. And what lower
man was per sytinge in pat counsell, pat durste say
ayen the openyon off any off the grete Iordis ? And
whi myght not then men make be meanes off cor-
rupcion somm e off the seruantes and counsellers off'
somwe off the lordes to moue the lordes to p a r-
ciallite, and to make hem also ffauorable and parcial
as were the same seruantes, or the parties pat so
moved hem ? Then couude no mater treted in the
counsell be kept przve. Ffor the lordes oftentymes
tolde ther owne counsellours and seruantes, that
hade suyd to hem ffor tho maters, how thai had
sped in ham, and who was ayen ham. How mey

. L

pe kyng be counsellyd to restrayne gyvinge a wey
off his londe, off gyvinge off offices, corodeis, or
pencions off abbeyis, by suche grete lordes to oper
menys seruantes, sithyzz thay most desire such giftes
ffor thaim selff, and thair seruantes ? Wich thyng^y
considered, and also mony oper wech shall be shewid
hereaftir, hit is thought gode, that J>e kynge had
a counsell chosen and estableshed in the fourme
that ffolowz’t/z, or in some oper ffourme like perto.
Ffirst, pat ther were chosen xij spzW/uell men, and
xij tempered men, off pe wysest and best disposed
men pat can be ffounde in all the parties off this
lande; and that thai be sworne to counsell the
kynge aftir a ffourme to be devysed ffor per owthe.
And in espetzall, pat thai shall take no ffee, nor
clothyng*?, nor no rewards off any man, except only
off J?e kynge; like as pe Justices off f>e kynges
benche, and off J>e Common place be sworne, when
thai take ther offices. And pat thes xxiiij. be alway
counsellers, but yff per be any defaute ffounde in
hem, or pat hit lyst the kynge, be the advise off pe
more parte off hem, chaunge any off hem. And
pat enery yere be chosen be pe kynge iiij. lordes
spzVzVuell, and iiij lordes temporal!, to be ffor pat
yere off j>e same counsell, in like ffourme as pe said
xxiiij*1 shall be. And that thai all haue an hed, or
a cheeff to rule pe counsell, on off pe said xxiiij*',
and chosen be the kynge, havynge is office at the
kyng&r pleasur; wich mey thanne be callid, (Enpttnlfe
constltarms. It shall not be necessarie, pat the xij
spzVzVuell mezz off this covnsell, haue so gret wages
as the xij tempo rail m en; be cause thai shull not
nede to kepe an houshold in thair contray; while
thai ben absent, as the tempered men moste nedt'y

1*6 fo & n jForteiffcue on


doo, ffor thair wyffes and childeren. By wich cow-
si deraci on the spmVuell juges in the courte off par-
liment off Parys, taken but cc. ffrankes by pe yere,
where as J>e tempexell juges peroff taken by the yere
ccc. ffrankes. The said viij.te ]ordes also, wich be
reason off per baronyes and estate?, bith to J>e kyng,
constlt'att natt, and periere awghton to counsell hym at
all tymes when he woll, nede not to haue gret
wages ffor thair attendance to is covnsell, 'wich shall
last but ffor a yere. Ffor temporell mew, wich be
reason off per enheritaunce and livelod bith made
shyreffiw ffor a yere, taken off pe kynge litle, and
all most nothyng ffor thair s lu ice off pat yere.
And thoughe pat wages off the said xxiiijd' coun­
sellers seme a newe and a grete charge to pe kynge,
yet when hit is considered, how gret wages the grete
lordly and other men, wych were off the kyrigry
counsell in tymes passede, toke ffor. thair attendance
therto, wich maner off counsell was nothynge so
behouefull to.the kyng and to his reaume as this
will be, wich wages shall than forthwarde cesse; pe
wages off pe xxiiij.^ counsellours shall apere no gret
charge to the kynge. And I can suppose, pat some
kynges be ffor this tyme, haue gyven to some on
man pat hath srrued hym,also moche livelod yerely,
as the.said wages wyll com to. And if the same
wagis be thought to grete charge vnto pe kyng, fe
forsaid' counsellours mowe be in lesse nowmbre, as
to be xvj counsellours off p7wvatis personis, with ij
lor dr? spAZ/uell, and ij lordrr temprrell; so as then
thai be in all but xx.tJ prrsones. Thies counsellors
mowe cowtenually, at soche owres as shal be as-
seigned to thaym, comuwe and delibre vppow the
matcris o f defeculte that Fallen to the kynge; and

C & e (©otietnance o f € n g la n u .


then vppon |?e matures off pe pollycye off J?e reaume;
as how pe goyng owt off pe money may be re-
strayned, how bullyon mey be brought in to fe
lande, how also plate, juelles, and mony late borne
owt, mey be gey tun ageyn; off wich right wyse men
mowe sone fynde the meanes. And also how J>e
prz'ses off marchaundise growen in this lande mey
be holde vp and encressed, and the przses off mer-
chandyses browght into this lande abatid. How
owre nauy mey be mayntened and augmented, and
vppow suche oper poynt&y off police, to the grettest
pre>fyte and encresse, pat eu er come to this lande.
How also pe lawes mey be amendet in suche thynge^
as thay neden reformacion in ; wher through pe pa r-
lemenfcy shall mowe do more gpde in a moneth to
f>e mendynge off the lawe, then thai shall mowe do
in a yere, yff pe amendynge peroff be not debatyd,
and be such counsell ryped to thair hand^s. per
mey be off this covnsell, when thai liste come perto,
or pat thai be desired be )?e said counsellors, pe
grete officers off pe lande, as Chaunceler, tresourer,
and przve seell; off wich pe chaunceler, when he is
present, mey be pzrsydent, and haue pe supprmie
rule off all J?e counsell. Also the Juges, the Barones
off pe exchequier, pe clerke off the rolles, and suche
lordes as J?e forsaid counsellors woll desire to be
with thaym for m attes off gret deficulte, mey be off
this counsell when thai be so desyred, and ellzk not.
All oper matures wich shall consume this counsell, as
whew a Counsellor dyeth, how a new counsellor
shall be chosen, how mony owres off the day this
counsell shall sytt, when thai shall haue any vaca-
sion, how longe any off hem mey be absent, and
how he shall haue his leue, with all oper artycles

% it 3fof*n JFottescue on


necessarye ffor the derheynyng^ and rule off this
counsell, raowe be conseyued be layser, and putt in
a boke, and that boke kept in this counsell as a
registir or a ordinarye, howe thai shall doo in euery

€ b e <Sot>etnance o f C nglano.




T he Romaynes, while thair counsell callid pe
senate was gret, gate, through pe wysdome off that
counsell, the lordship/^ off gret partye o f the world.
And aftirward Julyus, thair ffirst emp^rowre, coun­
selled by pe same senate, gate the monarchic ner-
hande off all pe world. Wherthrough Octavian, per
secounde empmiur, compounded all pe world to be
discribed as subget vnto hym. But aftir this, when
yll dysposed emp^rours, as Nero, Domician, and
oper had slayn grete parte off pe senatours, and
dyspiced the counsell off pe senate, the estate off pe
Romans and off per empmmrs beganne to fall
doune, and hath ffallen alwey sythyn, in to suche
decay, pat nowe the lordeshipp^s off pe eppm iur bith
not so gret, as be pe lordeshippes off some kynge,
wich, while pe senate was hole, was subget to pe
emp^rour. Be wich ensapple it is thought, pat yff
thekyng haue such a Counsell as is beffore specified,
his lande shall not only be ryche and welthy, as were

is® 3lofm JFortegcue on

pe Romans, but also is hyghnes shalbe myghty, and
off poiar to subdue his ennemyes, and all oper that
he shall liste to reygne uppo». O ff such ensamples
mony o f the bokes off cronycles be fu ll; and in
especiall J?e cronycles off pe. Lacidemonies, and off pe
Authenences, wich, whill thai prospered, were best
counselled, and most dyd aftir counsell off any people
off j?e world, excepte the Romayns. But when thai
lafte such counsell, thai ffell into non poiar and
pouorte; as off the Cite off Athenes it mey well
apere, be that it is nowe but a poure vilage, and some
tyme was the moste worshipfull Cyte off Grece.




Y ff it woll lyke pe kyng to gyff non office, into
the tyme pat his entente therin be comened with his
counsell, and thair opiniyon by his hyghnes vnder-
stonde in the same, he shall mowe so rewarde his
seruantes with offices, as tlier shall be lityll nede to
gyff hem moch off his livelod, and his offices shall
then be geuen to soche as shall only s/?rue hym selff.
Wher through he shall haue than a greter myght,
and a garde off his officers, when he liste to call
thaym, than he hath nowe off his oper ffeed me;/
vndre the astate off hrdes. Ffor the myght off j/e
lande, aftir the myght off )?e grete lordes' per off,

stondith most in J>e kyngor officers. Ffor thai mowe
best rule J>e contreis wheras J>er offices ben, wich is
in enery partie off pe lande. A pouore baylyff mey
do more in his bayille, then any man off his degre
dwellyngo with in his office. Some fforester off J>e
kyngor, that hatk^non oper livelod, mey brynge moo
men to pe ffelde well areyed, and namely ffor sho-
tynge, then mey some knyght or Squyer off ryght
gret lyuelod, dwellyngo be hym, and hauynge non
offyce. What than mey gretter officers do, stewards
off gret lordeshippes,reseyvors, constables off Castels,
maystir fforesters, and such oper officers ; be sydis
the hygher offycers, as Justices off fforestes, Justices
and Chambirlayns off Contreis, pe warden off pe
porter, and such oper ? Ffor sothe it is not lyghtly
estymable, what myght pe kynge may haue off is
officers, yff entry off hem hade but on office, and
sorued non oper man but J>e kynge. Nor hit is ease
to be estemed, howe mony men mey be rewarded
witJt offices, and how gretly, yff thai be discretly
geue/z. The kynge givyth mo than Mft offices, be
sydes tho pat my lorde pe prz’nce geuyth, off wich I
reken J?e officers, as the kynge.? officers. Off thes
officers some mey dispende by pe yere, by reason off
is office, cc. fi., some p. c.Fi., some a c. marc, some
xl. "hi., some 1. marc, and so downwarde. So as pe
lest off hem, J>ough he be but a packer, takynge but
ijd on a dey, yet he hath be J>e yere iij. fi. xd, be sydes
his dwellynge in pe logge, his cowe ffor is mylke, and
such oper thynge goynge abowte hym, and the flees
off is office, so as J>̂ t office is to hym also profitable
as wolde be a c. s. off ffee or rente, wich is a feyre
lyuynge ffor a yoman. How mony men then off
euzry estate, and off entry degre, and how gretly,

€ & e ^otiecnance o f C n g la n u , igi

i g a

mey the kynge rewarde vritk offices, w ith owt gyuyng^
awey off his livelod. Fforsoth the grettest lordes
livelod in Englande mey not suffice to rewarde so
many men, though he wolde depa rte hit eue r y dell
among^y is; nor ij. the gretteste lordcy off
Englond mey make so gret a myghte as pe kynge
mey haue only off his officers, yff thai were holliche
and only is serwantes, and en ery off hem had but on
office. T o this sane suche lordes and oper men, such
as axen off pe kyng offices ffor thair seruantes, that
thai and all thair s^uantes shall alwey serue pe kynge,
and is officers shul do hym the bettir seruyce, by
reason thei bith in per seru ice ; ffor thai woll helpen
hym to do so, and suffre non in thair companye, but
suche as woll do so. Wher to may be said, that it is
trewe thai shall do the kyng s lu ice while thai be in
thair companie; but so shulde thai haue done, though
the kynge had nener made thaym his officers. Wher
fore pe kynge sAal not be the bettir served, pat he
hath y en e n his offices to thair serxxantes, but raper
worse. Ffor owre lorde said, jBtmo potest tiuobus
ftotttmts serutre. And so }?e kynge shall lese the offices,
as ffor any syngular service he shall haue ffor hem ,
or pat the same officers shulde thynke them selff by
hold vnto the kynge ffor per offices, wich is hyghnes
hath yeue?z them at pe contemplacion off per maisters,
and ffor no reward off any s lu ice pat thai haue done,
or shul doo vnto hym selff. Be consideracion wheroff
per olde maistirs shall be bettir serued be thaym
than thei were be fore ; and so be more myghty in
thair contraes to do what them liste; and the kynge
in lasse myght, and haue the ffewer officers to
represse hem when thai do a mysse. And this hath
causyd mony men to be suche braggers and suytours

>̂it 3!ofm jFovtescue on

to pe kyng, ffor to haue his offices in per contraes to
thaym selff, and to per men, pat almost no man in
sume contray durste take an office off f»e kyng, but
he ffirst had pe good will off J?e said bragers and
engrossers o f offices. Ffor yff he dyd not so, he
shuld not aftir pat tyme haue pease in his contray;
wheroff hath corny® and growen mony gret trowbels
and debates in dyu^se contnzes off Englond. Wich
matures thrugly considered, it semyth verely good,
pat no man haue any office o f pe kyng^ yefte, but
he be ffirst sworne that he is seruant to non oper
man, or woll s e m e any oper man, or take is clothyng*?
or ffee while he seruyth pe kyng. And pat no man
haue mo offices then on, except pat the kyng&s-
bretheryn mowe haue ij offices ; and suche men as
s^rue pe kyng abouute his person, or in his counsell,
mowe haue in per contrays a parkership/e ffor per
disporte when thay come whom, or such an oper
office, as thai mey wele kepe by per deputes.

€&e ©otiernance of CnglantJ. 153




A nd yff hit woll lyke the kynge to yeve no
corodie nor pencion, wich he hath be ryght off his
corowne, off euery abbey prz'ory, and oper howses
founded vpon hospitalite be any off his pn>geni-
tours, into pe tyme that his entente perin be co-

154 g>it 3!o&n jfortesfcue on
m u n e d and d ely b ered with h is fforsaid co u n sell, and
pat his. h y g h n es h au e v n d e rsto n d per o p e n y o n in pe
s a m e ; th an shall m e n o ff h is h o w so ld b e rew arded

w ith co ro d yes, and h au e h o n e ste su sten an ce in per
o ld e d a y ^ w h en thai m e y no lo n g e r s m i e ; a n d pe
c la rie s o ff is chapell pat h au e w yfes, o r b e n ot
avauw sed, b e rew ard ed w ith p en cion s w ith ow t g re te
a b a ty n g e o f f pe kyng&? rev en u es, ffor per r e w a r d s
o r su sten an ce . F fo r such co ro d es an d pencions
•vCere ffirst g e v e n to J>e k y n g ffor th e sa m e entent.

B u t n ow e o ff late tym e, o per m e n th en ]?e k y n g e s
s e r v a im to h au e a sk y d J>em, an d b e im p ortu n e su te

h a u e g e y te n g re t parte o ff th ay m , to }>e k y n g ^ g re t
h a rm e an d hurt o ff h is said seru a n tes ; w ich b e pe
ca u se per o ff lyu en in pe grelter penurie, an d in non
su y rte o ff per su sten an ce in ty m e co m y n g , w hen thai
sh all n o t m o w e d o pe k y n g s m iic e .



A n d w h en pe k y n g , b e J?e m e an es afor said or
o per w yse , h ath g o ty n ayen his lyu elo d , y f f th en it
w o ld e ly k e is m o st n ob le g ra ce to esta b lysh , and as
w h o sayth , a m o rty se pe sa m e ly u e lo d to is crow ne,
so as it m e y neu<?r b e a ly en ed perfro, with ow t pe
a sse n t o ff h is p a rle m e n t, w ych th an w old b e as a
n ew e ffundacion o f is crow ne, h e shall b e perhy the

grettest ffounder off }?e world. Ffor per as oper
kynges haue ffounded byshopriches, abbeys, and
oper howses off relegyon, J?e kyng shall pan haue
ffounded an holl I'eaume, and endowed it with
gretter possescions, and better then euer was any
reaume in cristendome. This man er off ffundacion
mey not be ayenste J?e kyng<w pr^rogatyff, or his
liberte, no more than is pe ffundacion off an abbey,
ffro wich he mey take no pztrte off pe possescions
wich he hath omis geve hym, w ith owt J>e assent off
per covent. But this man<?r off endowment off his
crowns shalbe to pe kyng a g retter prsrogatyff, in
pat he hath then enriched is crowne with such riches
and possescions, as neusr kyng shall mowe take
from if with, ow t pe assent off is holl reaume. Nor
this mey be to pe hurte off pe prerogatyff or power
off is successours; ffor, as it is shewid be fore, it is
no prsrogatyff or power to mowe lese any good, or
to mowe wast, or put it awey. Ffor all such thynges
come off impotencie, as doyth power to be syke or
wex olde. And trewly, yff pe kyng do thus, he
shall do perby dayly more almes, J>an shall be do be
all the ffundacions pat eu er were made in Englond.
Ffor eusry man off pe lande sha\ by this ffundacion
emery day be the meryer, pe surer, ffare pe better in
is body and all his godA, as eu^ry wyse man mey
well conseyue. The ffundacion o f abbeys, o f hos­
pitals, and suche other houses, is nothyng in com-
pansoun herof. For this shalbe a collage, in whiche
shul syng and pray for eu^rmore al the men of
Ingland sp/Vz'/uel and tempurel. And ther song
shalbe suche among other antemes: I blissed be
oure lord God, for that he hath sent kyng Edward
the iiij to reigne vpon vs. H e hath don more for

(Sotjernancc of GEnglantJ. 155



Sofm jKotteacue on
vs, than euer dide kyng o f Inglond, or myght have
done before hym. The harmes that hath fallen in
getyng o f his Realme, beth now bi hym turned
into our altheyr goode and profite. W e shul nowe
mowe enjoye oure owne goode, and live vndir jus­
tice, which we have not don o f longtyme, God
knowith. Wherfor o f his almesse it is that wee
have al that is in oure wone.



I t is nat ment bi the premisses, but that the
kyng without the assent o f his parlement shal gyve
to suche as don hym singuler service, land for ter me
o f theyr lives. For therby his corowne may nat be
disherited; for that land wil sone come ageyn. But
than it were goode that the same land be no more
gyven ; for ellis importune suters wil gape vpon
suche reu^rsiouns, and oftentymes asken hem or
they befall. And whan they bien fal, the kyng
shal have no rest with suche suters, vnto the tyme
his highnesse have gyven agey» al suche lond as he
hath oonys gevyn. Bi contynuaunce \eroi, that land
shal nat serve hym but for giftes, as don offices,
corodies, and pensiouns. And triewly it were goode
that of al the kynges giftes his patentis maden men-
cioun that they were passed, he autsanwnto constltt gut;
and namely for a yeere or ij. Ffor if such an ordre

be kept, men wil nat be so hasty to aske rewardis,
but if thei be o f right goode merites; and many
men wil than be o f better gou^rnaunce, for the
kynges counseil shuld deme hem worthy to be re­
warded. And they that opteyne nat that they
desire shal have thanne litel coloure o f grucche,
considryng that they-lak it bi the discrecioun o f J>e
kyng&s counseil. And the kyng shal have herby
grete rest,, and be wele defended ageyn suche im­
portune suters. And yit he may leve this ordre
whan that hym list.

€ & e ®otiernance o f (Eng land m


Second Im pression 1926
F irst E dition 1885

This impj'ession has been p rodu ced photograph ica lly by the
Muston C o m p a n y , f r o m sheets o f the F irst E dition

Printed wholly in Englandfor the Muston C o m p a n y

By L ow e 8c B rydone , P r in t e r s . L t d .

Pa r k St r e e t , C amden T o w n , L o n don , N.YV. i