House of Tudor - Henry VII

Under Henry VII the country revived from the evils of a long civil war, in the course of which the chief nobility had been broken down, and the industry and commerce of the land interrupted. It was remarkable, nevertheless, that, during the past period, England was upon the whole an improving country. The evils of war had fallen chiefly on those who made it; the government, however disturbed by various claimants of the throne, was mild and equitable at least as compared with that of other countries; and the people at large throve under a system in which their own consent, by the voice of the House of Commons, was necessary to the making of every new law, and the laying on of every tax. The reign of Henry VII was much disturbed by insurrections, in consequence of his imperfect title. A baker's boy, named Lambert Symnel, and a Jew's son, named Perkin Warbeck, were successively set up by the York party the one as a son of the late Duke of Clarence, and the other as the younger brother of Edward V, but were both defeated. Warbeck was hanged at Tyburn in 1499; and nearly about the same time, Henry procured, by forms of law, the death of the Earl of Warwick, the real son of the late Duke of Clarence, a poor idiot boy, whom he had kept fifteen years in confinement, and whose title to the throne, being superior to his own, rendered him uneasy.

Henry though a cruel prince, as were most of the sovereigns of his age, was a sagacious and peaceful ruler. He paid great attention to all his affairs, and in some of his acts looked far beyond the present time. For example, by marrying his daughter Margaret to James IV of Scotland, he provided for the possibility of the future union of the two crowns. By a law allowing men of property to break entails, he insured the reduction of the great lords, and the increase of the number of small proprietors. His constant policy was to depress the chief nobles, and to elevate the clergy, lawyers, and men of new families, as most likely to be dependent on him. The greatest fault of his character was his excessive love of money, of which he amassed an immense sum. During his reign, Ireland was made more dependent on the English crown by a statute prohibiting any parliament from being held in it until the king should give his consent.