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abated its rigour. After all, perhaps, the leprosy here alluded to by the statute may not be elephantiasis, but only a kind of itch, which the inhabitants of poor and mountainous countries are subject to, from a poverty of blood, occasioned by poverty of diet.” This seems to be a question for the doctors.
The 10th statute of Edward III., a sumptuary law, recites great inconvenience to the more opulent by excess in eating, to which 6 Les gentz du royalme sont usez plus que nul part ailleurs ;" and likewise the ruin to those of less affluent fortunes, from an absurd endeavour to imitate this extravagance. It therefore ordains, that no one should be allowed, either for his dinner or supper, above three dishes in each course, and not above two courses; and it is likewise expressly declared, that soused meat is to count as one of these dishes ; certain feasts and company days are, however, excepted, in which three courses may be allowed.
The 11th statute of Edward III., in the 4th chapter, amusingly regulates the quality of the apparel by the state of the pocket. It directs, that neither man nor woman who cannot afford to spend £100 a year should wear furs, under penalty of forfeiting the furs, and they are likewise made liable to an indictment. It would appear from ancient portraits, that before the manufacture of gold and silver and lace, furs constituted the greatest finery in dress.
STATUTE OF PROVISORS.
25 Edward III., stat. 1: A.D. 1351.—Sir Henry Spelman gives an account of the meaning of the word provisors, as used in this statute, the general signification of the word being synonymous with a purveyor—a Looker-out :- :-"Provisores etiam dicuntur, qui vel episcopatum, vel dignitatem aliam ecclesiasticam in Romanâ curiâ sibi ambiebant de futuro,
quod ex gratia expectativa nuncuparunt, quia usque dum vacaret expectandum esset.” As this statute is to be considered as a sort of manifesto against the Court of Rome, the preamble is more full and laboured than that of any other law which hath yet occurred.
36 Edward III.: A.D. 1362.-In his summary on this statute and the various statutes enacted in the reign of Edward III., Barrington observes of this monarch :-“He will for ever deserve to be venerated by posterity for the statute of provisors, by which the seeds were sown of that freedom and independency in the Church of England, which prepared the minds of men for the Reformation. Whatever may have first contributed to this, may justly claim our warmest gratitude ; though the dread of the Papal anathemas is now happily so far removed, that we can scarce credit any free people could have submitted to such encroachments and national indignities.” Thus have we had an imperfect picture of the old Statute Book of England. Next we shall make a brief reference to Ireland.
In reverting to the reign of Henry VII., we find many statutes passed in the Irish Parliament descriptive of the manners of the time, and of the state of social life in this city and kingdom. For example, an Act was passed to restrain the carrying of hawks out of this kingdom, by which it was enacted, “ that whatsoever merchant should take or carry any hawk out of the said land of Ireland, should pay, for every Goshawke, 13s. 4d.; for a Tiercel, 6s. 8d.; for a Falcon, 10s."
We have then an Act passed on the supplication of the Dean and Chapter of St. Patrick's, stating, “ That the church and close were situated in a low valley, and that the Dean and Chapter, fearing the violence of the waters and floods, to their great charge and cost, for the safeguard of the
church, had made divers issues for the free avoidance of all such sudden floods; also there was of old time, and now there are, two rivers or passages of waters, one upon every side of St. Patrick's-street, called the Podell, through which all such waters had a lawful course, and large passage, without any impediment; until now of late that the said rivers and podells be filled and stopped; so that within a few years and late dayes, the said church and colledge have been surrounded with great superfluities and abundance of waters, to the great hurt and damage of the said Dean and Chapiter and colledge : the premises considered, it is enacted, established, and adjudged, by authority of this present Parliament, that every man which doth dwell, or inhabit, or hath a house, upon the said Podell, shall cleanse and scour the said precinct, as it was of old time, within two months after this present Act passed, upon pain of twenty shillings, to be levied by the Proctor of the Church of St. Patrick aforesaid."
We next find a valuable Act against Provisors to Rome, reciting that “many strifes had prevailed betwixt the Prelates and other of the Church of Ireland, by reason of divers Provisors suing, by false suggestions made to the Court of Rome, for to deprive of possession the said Prelates, and other Beneficers, from their livelihood and benefices.” It was enacted 66 that all manner of statutes made within the realm of England, as well as within the land of Ireland, against Provisors, by this present Parliament, be authorised and confirmed, and be henceforth straightly executed in all points within the said land, according to the effect of the same.” A memorable instance of the assertion of the independence of the Church, by Irish Catholics, against the usurpations of Rome.
We have likewise an Act for the confirmation of the Sta
tutes of Kilkenny_with the exception of the enactment that every subject shall ride in a saddle. To have asked an Irishman to use a saddle, must have been to put him to torture. The Act also excepts those clauses which speak of the Irish language, upon which the criticism of Barrington thus runs :
“ There was indeed a statute made at Kilkenny, in the fortieth year of Edward III., (whilst the Duke of Clarence was Lord Deputy), to abolish the Brehon and introduce the English laws; but this law was certainly never carried into execution beyond the English Pale, any more than another, made in the tenth of Henry VII., by which the use of the Irish language was forbidden under penalties. The first statute which thoroughly established the dependence of the Irish was the famous law of Sir Edward Poynings, who was Lord Deputy of Ireland in the reign of Henry VII.” Here we have a true character of Poynings' law.
We may observe the philosophical advice given by a contemporary of Sir John Davis. Lord Bacon, in a letter to Secretary Cecil, in 1601, recommends the reforming the barbarous laws, customs, habits of apparel of the Irish, as also their poets and heralds, who enchant them in savage manners, and sundry other such dregs of barbarism.
We find another statute—“That every subject having goods and chattels to the value of £10, shall have an English bow, and a sheafe of arrows."
We have also an Act—“That no person or persons, of whatsoever estate, condition, or degree, he or they be of, take part with any lord or gentleman, or uphold any such variances or comparisons in word or deed, as in using these words, Cromabo, Butlerabo, or other words like, or otherwise contrary to the King's lawes, his crown, and dignity, and peace, but to call only on St. George, or the name of his Sovereign Lord, the King of England for the time being."
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENT.
King Henry has been praised by Lord Bacon for his ability and his policy. I prefer, however, the commentary of Barrington, where he says :-"Henry had, however, the merit, either from reasons of policy, or perhaps, more humane motives, to render the lower class of people more independent and free from the oppression of the rich and powerful, of which a statute of the eleventh year of his reign, entitled, “A mean to help and speed poor persons in their suits,' and commonly known by the name of the Pauper Act, is a very sufficient proof. He therefore deserves the honourable title which James I. says his grandfather had obtained, viz. : the poor man's king, a title which deserves to last to the remotest ages, when his elegant and expensive monument in Westminster Abbey is not to be found in its place.”
From the time of Henry VII. we have arrived at a great era in the history of England, and of the world. The union of the Roses had terminated the civil war in England. Her power was no longer broken by revolution and civil war; and she became, under the government of Henry VII., one of the great states of the civilized world. That world was about to be revolutionized in politics, in learning, in commerce, in religion. The discovery of America by Columbus, whom Henry meant to have aided, the discovery of the new passage round the Cape to the East Indies, by Vasco de Gama, produced consequences of moment to all the states of Europe. In that same age, the conquest of Constantinople, by the Turks, introduced into Italy, through the expulsion of the Greeks, their refined taste in poetry, and eloquence;while the use of printing and the invention of gunpowder changed at once the arts of peace and the arts of war, and prepared the human mind for the great events which were speedily to happen.