The Star Chamber under the early Tudors
Text taken from Chapter 1 of this thesis: The Court of Star Chamber is no exception to the rule that most of the interesting and important developments of the English Constitution have evolved from the one great institution, the King's Council or the Privy Council. The theory of the origin of the Star Chamber is simple and much less baffling than the facts of its beginning, which are hard to discover and more difficult still to interpret. The King's Council was powerful and dominating largely because it combined executive, legislative and judicial powers . In connection with the present subject, its judicial functions are of special importance. From the beginning of English constitutional development, the king, or more particularly, the king in council, was recognized as the ultimate source of justice. It was within the province of the king's authority to over rule the decisions of the courts of first instance if, in his judgment, the decree or sentence of the court was unjust. Likewise, he bad the power to redress grievances which could not for any reason be settled in the common law courts. The object of this thesis is to show by an examination of the records how the court originated and to point out its position, scope of activity and importance under the Tudors from 1485 to 1547. The Court of Star Chamber has been much misunderstood in the past. It has been generally condemned largely, it must be admitted, upon sentimental grounds and not on ths basis of scientific investigation. Most of the odium attaching to the Star Chamber is the result of Stuart misuse of its powers and not of the Tudor practices. An attempt will be made to show that the court, at least so far as the early Tudors are concerned, served a useful purpose and does not deserve the condemnation due to the confusion with Stuart tyranny and the employment of the court as a political agent of royal despotism.
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