Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 26.djvu/46

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as a spoliation of the church, but promised to treat with the clergy for additional grants. Henry now returned to his capital. The year had witnessed the culmination of his troubles, but the worst crisis was now over. Henry, however, came out of his difficulties a broken-down man. It was believed that he had been smitten with leprosy on the very day of Scrope's execution (Chron. Giles, p. 47; Cont. Eul. Hist. iii. 405). His health and vigour steadily declined.

Conspiracy at home was no longer formidable. The Welshmen were confined to their own hills, the French were beaten at sea, and were otherwise occupied. Before Easter 1405 an English ship had captured the heir to the Scottish throne, who, on the death of Robert III in April 1406, became James I. Northumberland and Bardolf took refuge in Wales. Yet Henry was more than ever in want of money.

Nearly all 1406 was taken up with the debates of the longest parliament that had hitherto sat (Stubbs, Const. Hist. iii. 52; Rot. Parl. iii. 567–607). The estates met on 1 March at Westminster, and demanded an acceptance of their policy and the expulsion of the Bretons, including two daughters of the queen (Otterbourne, p. 259). Henry on 22 May was forced to nominate a council, which included the chief parliamentary leaders (Rot. Parl. iii. 572; cf., however, Ord. P. C. i. 295 for the changes before the end of the year). The council, led by Arundel, refused to serve without fuller powers. The wastefulness of the king and courtiers was fiercely denounced. The commons next urged an audit of accounts, but in a personal argument Henry, in spite of a haughty refusal, had to give way. He passed Easter at Windsor, and was detained there for a long time by an attack, probably, of sciatica. He returned to Westminster before long, but was out of health all the summer. He attended a tournament between English and Scottish knights at London, and secured the appointment of his favourite, Bishop Bowet [q. v.], to York, in spite of the pope's preference for Robert Hallam [q. v.] At an autumn session (13 Oct. to 22 Dec.) Henry granted all that was asked of him, including a scheme of reform which pledged him to govern by the advice of his new councillors. On the last day of the session Henry, ‘of his own will and motion,’ commanded the councillors to swear to the new articles. The council at once busied itself with the reform of the household. Henry kept Christmas at Eltham (Otterbourne, p. 260), but soon after was requested to remove to some place where the reform of the household might best be effected (Ord. P. C. i. 296). His frank acceptance of his position as a constitutional king diminished his troubles at home; a civil war raged in Scotland, and an invasion of Guienne towards the end of 1406 by Louis of Orleans signally failed.

Henry's influence declined with his health. He seldom left the neighbourhood of London, and very few personal references to his action remain. He had little to do with the disputes between the two great parties in the council. But in the great struggle between the courtiers, headed by the Beauforts and the constitutional party, led by Archbishop Arundel, Henry seems on the whole to have taken Arundel's side (Stubbs, Const. Hist. iii. 57–9). It was Henry's policy to concentrate the great offices of state in his own family (Fortescue, Governance of England, ed. Plummer, p. 326). The real business of government fell chiefly into the hands of the Prince of Wales, who now had less distractions from the decline of the Welsh revolt.

In 1407 a severe blow was dealt to the Beauforts by Henry's confirmation of their charter of legitimation, with a clause excluding them from the succession. Henry held a parliament at Gloucester from 20 Oct. to 2 Dec. It made a liberal grant, and busied itself with the pacification of Wales. It also expressly vindicated the right of the commons to originate all money grants (Rot. Parl. iii. 608–21; Stubbs, Const. Hist. iii. 60–2).

Northumberland and Bardolf had sought to raise Yorkshire during the early months of 1408. Their defeat and death on Bramham Moor (19 Feb.) put an end to overt rebellion for the rest of the reign. Henry in the summer went to York, condemned many rebels, confiscated much land, and, regardless of benefit of clergy, hanged the abbot of Hales for taking a part in the rebellion. The exertion was too much for his health. After his return he was seized with a fit at Mortlake, and was for some time thought dead (Otterbourne, p. 263). On his recovery he devoted his reviving energies to the service of the church and the suppression of heresy. He took a special interest in Arundel's efforts to heal the schism in the papacy. He was present at at least one of the councils which the archbishop convoked (Cont. Eul. Hist. iii. 412), supported the proposal to convoke a general council at Pisa, was indignant at Gregory XI's breach of faith, and wrote him a letter, quoted with admiration by Walsingham (Hist. Angl. ii. 279–80). Yet he received with cordiality the nuncio sent by Gregory to excuse his conduct. But when the council of Pisa repudiated both rivals, and elected Alexander V, he transferred his