1922 337 Council, Star Chamber, and Privy Council under the Tudor s I. THE COUNCIL TV7 EXT to parliament the chief organ of English constitutional J_ i development has been the king's council. Indeed, during the Tudor period the king's council may seem to have been more important than his parliaments, but that importance has not induced an adequate treatment of its history by historians. Professor Baldwin has in an admirable monograph traced the varying phases of the king's council throughout the middle ages, but no historian has yet dealt in a similarly systematic way with its no less intricate history under the Tudors. Particular activi- ties of the council, in the white hall 1 and in the star chamber, have been learnedly illustrated by Mr. Leadam, Mr. Baildon, and Miss Scofield, as well as by earlier writers such as Sir Julius Caesar, William Lambard, William Hudson, and a host of others whose works remain in manuscript ; but no one has attempted a more comprehensive survey of the council as a whole than such as are embedded in the general constitutional histories of Hallam and Gneist. 2 Constitutional history has lain rather outside the scope and interests of historians of the Reformation and of the struggle between England and Spain, and they have devoted less attention to the subject than his- torians of the middle ages or of the seventeenth century. It has naturally followed that generalizations about the council made by medievalists and by modern historians have been read forwards or backwards into the Tudor period, to the damage of the connecting link and to the confusion of the true develop- ment of the various bodies or institutions to which the medieval council gave birth. The particular confusions with which this essay is concerned are those between the council and the privy council on the one hand, and between the privy council and the star chamber on 1 The white hall in which counsel sat to transact the business of what came to be known as the court of requests was south-west of Westminster Hall, and was not the modern Whitehall. 2 For sixteenth-century constitutional history Gneist is, I think, a better guide than Hallam. VOL. XXXVH. NO. CXLVII. Z
Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/345
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.