Albion Rising: A Henry Frederick Timeline

Chapter 2: Salisbury's Contract

Chapter 2: Salisbury’s Contract


February, 1610

The doors of the House of Lords slammed shut as the King departed. Robert, Earl of Salisbury had to admit, the King’s speech had been a fine piece of work. He had helped the King write it, or rather come up with the general gist of it, the King had perfected it himself. He knew how to work a crowd, when he really wanted to, did the King. It was a shame that he didn’t do it more often. If he did, Robert was convinced that his popularity would be much higher than it seemed to be now.

Robert had had to almost twist the King’s arm to get him to recall Parliament and end the prorogation. The King’s spending was getting out of control again, his lavishing of Carr and the Howards was far too much, and as such, they needed some form of relief. Whilst the King would not dismiss the Howards or Carr from the veritable mountain of offices they held, he had eventually come round to seeing sense in calling Parliament. It seemed, something in his legal studies with Coke had prompted him into wanting to bring the body back.

His speech had done wonders. Robert looked around the chamber, and saw that the Lords were murmuring amongst themselves, clearly animated. The Commons were beginning to file out of the chamber, and they too were murmuring amongst themselves. That gave Robert hope. Hope that this session of Parliament would be better than the last two, where a failed Union and disputes over Purveyance had dominated proceedings, and ended in animosity. Mainly from the Commons.

Robert knew that the King’s debts were high, incredibly high, and that asking for the sum needed to pay those debts off wouldn’t come without compromise. He had put the case before the King and thankfully the King had agreed. Three things would be put before Parliament for abolishment in return for an annual lump sum. Robert just hoped it would be enough and that Parliament would go for it.

The doors were slammed shut again, as the last MP departed the Lords’ chamber. Robert glanced at the Lord Chancellor, Ellesmere, to ascertain whether now was the right time to rise and speak. When the man looked at him and nodded, Robert rose. He winced slightly at a sharp pain in his chest, but ignored it. Ellesmere cleared his throat. “Quiet in the hall!” He boomed. It was a sign of how well respected he was that the entire chamber fell quiet. Ellesmere looked at him and said. “Lord Salisbury to speak.”

Robert took a breath and then spoke. “Thank you, Lord Chancellor.” He glanced around the chamber, noting all the eyes that were on him. “My lords, as His Majesty the King said in his glorious speech earlier today, we must put the divisions of the past behind us. We must work together to ensure that England can reach her glorious potential. Let us not stoop to petty grievances as if we were washerwomen bickering over a new piece of soap. Let us instead work together to build a glorious Eden in our earthly home.”
Robert looked around the chamber, and saw various Lords murmuring to one another, no doubt wondering where he was going with this.

“To that end,” he continued. “It is imperative that we first turn our considerations toward His Highness Prince Henry’s investiture as Prince of Wales.” Robert had totalled up the costs of everything that both the Prince and the King wanted to happen in the ceremony. It would not be cheap. Neither man did things on the cheap.

“The total cost as calculated by His Majesty’s treasury would come to roughly £25,000.” Robert said. That was at the extreme end, with all the finery, food, drink, and other assortments that would be needed. “Of that amount, His Majesty is willing to pay £15,000 from his own purse. Consequently, my lords, Parliament would need only pay the remaining ten.” Where the King would get that £15,000 from, Robert did not know. His Majesty had said something about using funds from his Scottish estates for it, but whether the Scottish Parliament would agree, Robert did not know.

The Lords were murmuring now, they didn’t sound quite as happy about this. “It is something that has concerned me, my lords, the issue of how Parliament can pay the remaining amount, and that is what I have come to present to you today.” He pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket and held it up for all to see. “I hold in my hand an account of where I believe the money can come from.” He put the paper down on the lectern in front of him and continued. “If Parliament was to raise a tax on the number of hearths in a household across the land, that could raise roughly £3000. Another £3000 could come from raising a temporary tax on lands valued at over £150, and then the final £4000 could come from a one time Parliamentary grant.”

It wasn’t perfect, Robert admitted. But at the same time, it was something. The King had been no help on that matter, but the Prince had. He’d scoured through the books to see how funding for previous investitures had been raised, and come up with the solutions. They might work.

He glanced around the chamber again, and saw that some of the Lords, were murmuring to one another. Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset was having a rather animated conversation with Robert’s own brother, Thomas, Earl of Exeter.

Robert ploughed on. “It is His Majesty’s view that this amount is reasonable and the means chosen are acceptable. Having looked through the laws, I find no reason to think otherwise.” He glanced at Dorset. “Unless there are those who think otherwise?”

The House fell silent then, all eyes were still fixed on him.

Robert cleared his throat. “His Majesty also acknowledges that there has been cause for concern regarding the spending that has happened over time. At present, His Majesty’s debts are beyond the means he has for paying for them, consequently, it is His Majesty’s wish that a trade be engaged in with Parliament.”

William Paulet, Marquess of Winchester was staring at him quite intently. Robert felt the pain in his chest again, but pushed it down.

“His Majesty proposes a Great Contract between himself and Parliament. In exchange for abolishing the right to create new impositions alongside the right to Wardship and Purveyance, His Majesty expects Parliament to agree to an annual grant of £200,000 to enable His Majesty to efficiently run the Kingdom.” Robert said.

The moment Robert finished speaking, the entire chamber erupted into sound. One person was shouting something that sounded vaguely like ‘treason’ another person was shouting in favour, and others were shouting a variety of other things. It was slightly overwhelming, Robert had to admit. If he were a weaker man he might be afraid, instead, he felt pain in his chest and put a hand to his centre to try and calm himself.

Lord Ellesmere eventually quietened things down by banging his gavel against something solid, three times. “Order!” He roared. “Order!”

When the House had fallen quiet, Ellesmere turned to him and asked. “Do you have anything else to add, Lord Salisbury?”

Robert shook his head. “No, Lord Chancellor, I do not.”

Ellesmere nodded and looked about the chamber. “Does anyone wish to respond to what Lord Salisbury has just said?”

Immediately the Earl of Bedford rose. Ellesmere acknowledged him with a nod.

A pause, then Bedford spoke. “Thank you, Lord Chancellor. My lords, Lord Salisbury, we have had quite an eventful morning.” That sparked some smatterings of laughter. Bedford continued. “His Majesty was right in his speech, we must work together to ensure the greatness of the Kingdom. If that includes partly paying for His Highness Prince Henry’s investiture, then I say we should do it, regardless of how.”

“Hear, hear!” Someone yelled.

Bedford continued. “However, on the point of this Great Contract that my Lord Salisbury mentions, I have two questions.”

Bedford paused, looked around the chamber and then looked directly at Salisbury. “My Lord Salisbury mentioned that His Majesty would give up the ancient rights of Wardship, Purveyance and the right to levy new impositions, in return for an annual grant of £200,000. On the surface this seems a fair compromise. However, when one considers that the value of Wardship itself is roughly £250,000[1], one must wonder if it would not be better to increase the amount that Parliament grants. And if so, why has my Lord of Salisbury given such a low amount.”

There were murmurs of approval at that, and Salisbury himself agreed, though he had deliberately put the figure at £200,000 so as not to scare anyone. He knew they would need agreement from the Commons.

Bedford continued. “Secondly, what is the level of His Majesty’s debt?”

That got even more people murmuring and Robert frowned. It was not good form for someone to ask about the debt, unless a minister had brought it up. Still, the matter had been raised, and now he would need to find a way to cover it, without mentioning it.

Bedford sat down, Ellesmere banged his gavel and looked at Robert. “Lord Salisbury, do you wish to respond?”

“I do.” Robert said. Ellesmere nodded and gestured for him to rise. Robert did so, wincing as pain shot through him again.

He cleared his throat. Stared right at Bedford and spoke. “I thank my Lord Bedford for his reply, and acknowledge that the money raised from Wardship is approaching the amount he mentioned. However, that is on a good day. The times are changing and we must adapt to them. If Parliament feels it right to raise the annual grant then His Majesty shall accept, if they do not then His Majesty will also accept. £200,000 is a base figure for starting negotiations.”

He saw Bedford nod, and then turned to face the rest of the chamber. “As to the debt, well, the debt currently stands at an amount slightly higher than the figure suggested for the annual grant. It is His Majesty’s desire that the annual grant alongside some other economies would go some ways toward clearing that debt.”

There were murmurs at that, Robert could see his brother Exeter frowning at him, whilst Dorset whispered into Exeter’s ear. Robert ignored them and sat down.

He waited to see if Ellesmere would call for anyone else to speak, and was pleasantly surprised when the man banged his gavel and said. “We shall adjourn for thirty minutes so that members may have their midday meal.” Ellesmere banged his gavel, as Lords started to rise. “Remember, thirty minutes. Thank you.”

Robert exhaled. His chest was on fire.



[1] A vast overestimation, something that was quite common in this era, and later eras of the Stuart period.
 
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I’m wondering if Henry Frederick survival effects the Thirty Years War, and if England is going to get fully involved. His survival also possibly butterflies Cromwell
 
I’m wondering if Henry Frederick survival effects the Thirty Years War, and if England is going to get fully involved. His survival also possibly butterflies Cromwell

Oh, the Thirty Years War, is definitely going to be impacted by a fair few things. As for Cromwell, well, you're going to be seeing him sooner than you think.
 
Be well Lord Sailsbury, be well.

I suggest calling for a Doctor during the recess. The King and Prince need you and you cannot die on them yet!
 
Chapter 3: A Prince's Court

Chapter 3: A Prince’s Court​





March, 1610





The reports Henry was getting back from Parliament suggested that this session was going far better than anyone could’ve expected. After the King’s opening speech-which Henry had to admit had been far superior to anything he’d ever heard the old man give before-Parliament had briefly debated the proposal that they fund part of his investiture as Prince of Wales, before voting unanimously-and that was incredibly rare for both houses to do so-in favour of the motion. The taxation had started this month.



There were of course other matters being discussed, mainly the Great Contract that the Earl of Salisbury had put before Parliament. Henry wasn’t sure how he felt about it. On the one hand, he could see the sense in getting Parliament’s approval for an annual grant. It would be a much easier and cheaper way to raise money, and as Henry’s own studies of English law showed, it was increasingly the only legal way to raise money for the funding of government. On the other hand, willingly handing over parts of the Royal Prerogative as if they were something that could be bartered away in some market, and not something that had been divinely ordained, didn’t sit right with him.[1] And he was sure they didn’t sit right with his father either.



He sighed. There was nothing he could do about it. Until he was invested as Prince of Wales and until he reached the age of majority he could not attend Parliament. Not in his own right. Though, the King had hinted that after the investiture ceremony, he might be named to the Privy Council, which would be a good thing unto itself. Giving him the chance to observe the workings of government, from a close angle.



The sound of somebody coughing pulled Henry out of his musings. He turned slightly to his right and saw Henry Radclyffe, the son of the Earl of Sussex looking at him intently. Henry raised an eyebrow, and Radclyffe spoke.



“My apologies, Your Highness, but I wondered if we might be able to discuss some of what has happened in Parliament?”



Henry looked at Radclyffe, then glanced at his tutor Adam Newton. He didn’t want to risk saying something that might get construed as being against his father. Newton gave a slight nod of his head, and Henry looked back at Radclyffe and said. “Certainly, what is it you wished to discuss?”



Radclyffe took a breath and then spoke. “Well, mainly about the Great Contract.”



Shit. Henry thought to himself, and then he chided himself for swearing. [2]He made a note to himself to give money to David to give to the beggars opposite the palace. He couldn’t deny them the chance to speak about the Great Contract without making it look suspicious, therefore he simply asked. “What about it?”



Radclyffe continued. “I don’t think it’s right that the King should have to bargain away elements of his prerogative in order for Parliament to do their duty.”



John Paulet, the heir of the Marquess of Winchester spoke then. “But surely something must give if Parliament is to do their duty. After all, it would not sit well within the frame of reference for how our Kingdom works if there was not a give and take.”



“Had Parliament demanded there be an exchange, I would agree with you, John.” Radclyffe replied. “But this just seems to me as though His Majesty is trying to avoid a scandal and is therefore giving way before the request has been made. It doesn’t sit right with me.”



“So, what would you prefer?” John asked. “That Parliament force His Majesty to give something up before they grant him the monies he needs?”



Edward Sackville, younger brother of the Earl of Dorset spoke up then. “Parliament cannot force His Majesty to do anything. They can only recommend.”



Henry saw that Paulet was about to contradict Edward, but then it seemed the other man remembered that Edward’s knowledge of the law was far superior to his own, and thus he fell silent. [3]



As if sensing that they were all waiting for him to say something, Adam Newton, their tutor spoke then. “Since you are all interested in discussing the Great Contract, let us discuss its merits and its faults, shall we?”



Henry repressed a smirk at that. He could just tell everyone was dreading this conversation now. Mr Newton was a great tutor, but they were all reaching that stage in life where they’d rather be doing anything than be stuck inside listening to him speaking about things like this. Henry looked at the window and tried to catch a glance of what it was like outside. He didn’t manage to see anything before Mr Newton spoke.



“Your Highness, why don’t you start us off? What do you make of the Great Contract?”



Henry opened his mouth and then closed it. This was a difficult question. He had to be very careful about how he phrased his answers. No doubt whatever he said would get back to his father, but more importantly it would get back to that dog Carr, who would spin it however he saw fit. He took a breath and then spoke. “I think that the Great Contract is something that must be considered with great cautiousness. It is something that is needed. The state of Royal Finances being what they are, we cannot rely on the old feudal rights forever, we must bring things into the modern era. However, I would be cautious about expecting a complete turnaround from this immediately.”



“And why is that?” Mr Newton asked.



Henry knew he had to be exceptionally careful about how he replied to this particular question. The wrong wording could get him in deep trouble. He exhaled then inhaled then said. “There are those around the court who are like leeches. They suck away the good will and the finances of the realm, for their own nefarious purposes. They will still be there even if this contract passes.”



There was a hushed silence at his response, as if everyone was waiting to see how Mr Newton would reply, the man smiled as he spoke. “And how would you ensure that the leeches are removed, for the future?”



Henry took a deep breath; his tutor was asking him some seriously difficult and dangerous questions. He both appreciated and loathed the questions. They were making him think on his feet, which he supposed wasn’t a bad thing. “I would limit those who are able to get Royal Patronage. Those who bring something of value to the Kingdom, either through their brains, their military ability or their artistic value would be rewarded with Patronage.”



“And how would you assess this?” Newton asked.



“With mine own judgement.” Henry said. “And with the advice of those who have knowledge within these fields.” He smiled after he had finished.



Newton smiled as well. “A good answer.” The man then looked around at the rest of his friends and said. “That is how you decide whether something is of value or not, gentlemen. Not by trusting your instincts alone, but the counsel of others as well. Remember you are all the future members of His Highness government and court, and Kingdom. You must hone your instincts to ensure you never give bad judgement.” Newton bowed to Henry, rose and then departed.



There was a silence after he had departed, when they all shared a look with one another, wondering what exactly had prompted that particular speech. A silence that was only broken by Cahir O’Doherty[4]who quipped. “What the bloody daises was that about?”



“Jar.” Henry remarked as he laughed.



O’Doherty laughed and took out a small bag and emptied it out onto the table at the side, he then moved back. “But seriously what was that?” O’Doherty asked, his accent thickening.



“Who knows.” Henry Radclyffe said. Radclyffe then grinned. “But enough about that.” A pause and then. “John Harington, you were awfully quiet during all of that. Were you too busy thinking about a certain Lady Manners?”



Henry swivelled in his chair and looked at Harington, the man he was closest to, and asked. “Lady Manners?”



Harington blushed. “Mary Manners. My father and the Earl of Rutland are discussing whether it would be right for us to marry.”



“And?” Henry asked. “What do you think?”



John sighed. “I don’t know.”



Henry frowned. “What do you mean you don’t know?” They’d all met the Manners family, it was hard not to when the Earl of Rutland constantly hovered around court like a fly. Mary Manners was perhaps the most beautiful of all the Manners sisters. With long flowing raven hair, piercing blue eyes, and a smile that just smacked of mischief. Henry had seen John talking with the girl, there was a connection there. Of that he was sure.



“I’ve heard she’s interested in someone else.” John said simply.



“Who?” Henry asked.



“Some minor knight’s son. A tenant of her father’s.” John said.



“And you think she’d rather go for him than you?” Henry asked perplexed.



“I don’t know.” John said, then before anyone else could speak about it, his friend turned the tables on him. “And what about you, Your Highness? Which of the litany of Princesses being discussed do you find the most attractive?”



Henry laughed. “Well played.” He said to John, then looking around the room he said. “I am not marrying a Spanish Princess. Not in any lifetime.” He found the very thought repellent. Regardless of what his father or mother might say, Spain was the enemy.



“Does His Majesty see it that way?” John asked.



Henry laughed. “I do not know, but I will ensure that he does.” He could be persuasive when he wanted to be.



“And what about France?” John asked.



“I have heard it said that King Henri is willing to let his daughter come to England to be raised here under our influence.” Henry said. If he remembered correctly, it had been Lord Salisbury who had said that to him. “If that is so then she might well convert.” That would be good.



“And if not her?” John asked.



“Then you’re scraping the barrel.” Edmund Butler quipped.



Henry laughed. “Then it would be the Polish Princess. And she does seem to be smart.” At least from what their ambassador to Poland had written to say.



“But you would prefer the French Princess?” Robert Maxwell asked.



“I would prefer a Protestant Princess, but yes, if it must be a Catholic Princess, I would rather it be a French Princess.” Henry admitted.



“Well let us hope the Almighty agrees.” Colin Mackenzie said.



“Indeed.” Henry said, convinced that God would not abandon his hopes to fate.



[1] And here we have something that will go onto define Henry (minor spoilers), his desire to work with Parliament competing with his desire to protect the Royal Prerogative.
[2] Another thing about Henry, he made those in his household who swore in front of him put money in a jar. The money was then donated to the poor.
[3] Keep an eye on Edward Sackville, he’s going to be important.
[4] Another small change from otl, in our timeline, O’Doherty started a rebellion the day his application to join Henry’s household was accepted. Here, he never rebels. You’ll see why in a little bit.
 
I am not sure who Elisabeth is free to be offered as she is likely engaged in Savoy
True, depends, Sarah Fraser mentions in her bio of henry that henri iv ane james were discussing a marriage between their eldest two, whilst henri was apparently also in talks with savoy
 
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