Plato Kasserman (zenokarasu) wrote in little_details,
Plato Kasserman

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Judicial Authority of the King in Jacobean England

Would the king in a political climate parallel to Jacobean England have the power to condemn someone in absentia by decree and to dispatch a warship from the front lines in an active war (an underfunded one with not enough ships) in order to retrieve him, or would he be much more likely to have a lower court hold a mock trial and then have to appeal to Parliament for the warship?

This is for a high fantasy setting, but I want the political climate to be very similar. Christianity doesn't exist in this world, but the king is something like Catholic and the Parliament is something like Protestant. The condemned is a scholar guilty of teaching a heresy so absurd that no one is likely to even listen or care (an alternate model of the cosmos), but a powerful archbishop has become obsessed with seeing this man publicly executed as an example to other heretics (like the "Protestants"). The scholar has fled the country and the archbishop has decided to use his influence with the king to procure a vessel and temporarily abandon his diocese to personally chase him to the ends of the earth. This is such an unusual circumstance that it bares some explaining. Before the archbishop joined the church, he was a young boy on a ship in their equivalent to the Royal Navy. The captain of that ship had a letter of marque and was a well known privateer. He was so successful that it was rumored he had a vast treasure stockpiled away on some island somewhere. The archbishop never confirmed that rumor, but he always believed it. Well, the boy was caught stealing someone else's share of the loot and was subsequently thrown ashore. When his father found out, he was so ashamed that he forced the boy to commit himself to the church as penance. Being an ambitious sort, he eventually rose through the ranks and became the archbishop. Well, everyone thought the captain had died at sea years before, but the archbishop saw the heretic scholar leaving port in the company of an old seaman bearing his same features. His belief that they are on a quest to find the treasure is the source of his obsession. The archbishop wants his countrymen to believe it is just the scholar he is after because he wants the treasure for himself. He may have confided in the king alone as a way to convince him of the need for a ship (by telling him that the treasure would help fund his war and reduce his dependence on Parliament). If Parliament or some other official body becomes involved, they might agree to condemn the heretic but think it excessive to actually dispatch a ship to retrieve him. Instead, they might argue for exile and excommunication. I tried keyword searches in Google, and talking to English history professors, but I can't seem to find anything similar in actual government or court proceedings. By the way, where is a good resource to look at specific court cases and proceedings in Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline England?

Any other input you have about how archbishops, kings, courts, and parliaments relate to one another is more than welcome!

Keywords I used (in various combinations): Jacobean king "James I" authority judicial power condemn absentia parliament court proceedings

What I found were mostly specific events that didn't pertain very well to this fictional situation.
Tags: 1600-1699

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