Henry the Second


E-text prepared by Ted Garvin, Bonny Fafard, and Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders HENRY THE SECOND BY MRS. J. R. GREEN CONTENTS CHAPTER I HENRY PLANTAGENET CHAPTER II THE ANGEVIN EMPIRE CHAPTER III THE GOVERNMENT OF ENGLAND CHAPTER IV THE FIRST REFORMS CHAPTER V THE CONSTITUTIONS OF CLARENDON CHAPTER VI THE ASSIZE OF CLARENDON CHAPTER VII THE STRIFE WITH THE CHURCH CHAPTER VIII THE CONQUEST OF IRELAND CHAPTER IX REVOLT OF THE BARONAGE CHAPTER X THE COURT OF HENRY CHAPTER XI THE DEATH OF HENRY CHAPTER I HENRY PLANTAGENET The history of the English people would have been a great and a noble history whatever king had ruled over the land seven hundred years ago. But the history as we know it, and the mode of government which has actually grown up among us is in fact due to the genius of the great king by whose will England was guided from 1154 to 1189. He was a foreign king who never spoke the English tongue, who lived and moved for the most part in a foreign camp, surrounded with a motley host of Brabanons and hirelings; and who in intervals snatched from foreign wars hurried for a few months to his island-kingdom to carry out a policy which took little heed of the great moral forces that were at work among the people. It was under the rule of a foreigner such as this, however, that the races of conquerors and conquered in England first learnt to feel that they were one. It was by his power that England, Scotland, and Ireland were brought to some vague acknowledgment of a common suzerain lord, and the foundations laid of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was he who abolished feudalism as a system of government, and left it little more than a system of land-tenure. It was he who defined the relations established between Church and State, and decreed that in England churchman as well as baron was to be held under the Common law. It was he who preserved the traditions of self-government which had been handed down in borough and shire-moot from the earliest times of English history. His reforms established the judicial system whose main outlines have been preserved to our own day. It was through his "Constitutions" and his "Assizes" that it came to pass that over all the world the English-speaking races are governed by English and not by Roman law. It was by his genius for government that the servants of the royal household became transformed into Ministers of State. It was he who gave England a foreign policy which decided our continental relations for seven hundred years. The impress which the personality of Henry II. left upon his time meets us wherever we turn. The more clearly we understand his work, the more enduring does his influence display itself even upon the political conflicts and political action of our own days. For seventy years three Norman kings had held England in subjection

Alice Stopford Green

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