House of Commons Journal Volume 1: 19 March 1604

Pages 139-140

Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 1, 1547-1629. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.

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Lunae, Martii 19, 1603

THE FIRST SESSION of the FIRST PARLIAMENT of our most gracious Lord King JAMES, begun and holden at Westminster, on Monday the Nineteenth Day of March, in the Years of his Highness' Reign, of England, France, and Ireland, the First, and of Scotland, the Thirty-seventh; and there continued until the Seventh Day of July 1604, and then prorogued until the Seventh Day of February next following, &c.


THE first Frame of this earthly Body of a Chaos became a distinct Essence of Creatures. MAN, the most noble by Nature, born to a Law, out of that gave Law to others, and to himself. Hence Order, the Lustre of Nature, guided by a First Essence, put all Government into Form: First, in Two, who, by Procreation, according to the Rule of Power (increase and multiply) made a Family, with One Head ; by Propagation, a Tribe, or Kindred, with One Elder, or Chief; by Multiplication, a Society, a Province, a Country, a Kingdom, with One or more Guides or Leaders, of Spirit, aptest, or, of Choice, fittest, to govern.

This Division, sorting itself into Proprieties, fell, in Parts of Right, greater and smaller, to some Tribe, Kindred, or elective Change of Person. Vicissitudo rerum, the Herald of Time, doth warrant this to be the true Original Pedigree of Government; and, by a present Change, in our own Eyes, hath made the Demonstration more subject to our Sense, by our Loss of an excellent Princess, by our Gain of a Successor, for eminent Virtue, and Experience in Government, famous, and peerless ; leading us, by a momentary Fear, to a better Sight of a permanent Happiness : The Taste and Comfort of which Happiness did first entertain us by his Majesty's Entry in Peace, by his Passage with Acceptance, and by his Settling with Glory and Policy ; wherein (his first Moving bearing some Resemblance of a new World) his first Care was, to re-create and renew his Laws, the Life of Government, by the greatest Council of the Kingdom, the High Court of Parliament; which, being compounded of the Three Estates (the Body Representative of this Commonwealth) was, of Custom, and, in a Manner, of Necessity, to be assembled at the City of Westminster, adjoining to the City of London, the Metropolis, or Mother City, of the Kingdom :

Why Summons deferred.

But, because these Cities, as likewise many other Parts of the Land, were at that time, and long after overspread with a dangerous Contagion, of Pestilence, the Summons of that Assembly was deferred until the One-and-thirtieth of January, 1603, next following. At which time, the Heat of that great Sickness abating, his Majesty, by the Advice of his Council, gave Warrant, under his Signature, to the Lord Ellesmere, Lord Chancellor of England, to send forth Writs of Summons, directed to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons of this Kingdom ; the Tenor of which Warrant followeth :

Warrant for issuing Writs.

JAMES, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. To Our trusty and well-beloved Counsellor, Thomas Lord Ellesmere, Our Chancellor of England, Greeting. Whereas We, by the Advice of Our Council, for certain great and urgent Causes, concerning Us, the good Estate and Common Weal of this Our Realm, and of the Church of England, and for the good Order and Continuance of the same, have appointed and ordained a Parliament to be holden at Our City of Westminster, the Nineteenth Day of March next coming; in which Case divers and sundry Writs are to be directed forth under Our Great Seal of England, as well unto the Prelates, Bishops and Nobility, of this Our Realm, as also for the Election of Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, of the several Counties, Cities, and Borough Towns of the same, to be present at the said Parliament, at the Day and Place aforesaid ; Wherefore We will and command you, forthwith, upon the Receipt hereof, and by Warrant of the same, to cause such and so many Writs to be made, and sealed under Our said Great Seal, for the Accomplishment of the same, as in like Cases hath been heretofore used and accustomed: And this Bill, signed with Our Hand, shall be, as well unto you, as unto every such Clerk and Clerks, as shall make and pass the said Writs, a sufficient Warrant and Discharge that Behalf. Given, &c.

Writs issued.

By virtue of this Warrant, and by the Lord Chancellor's Direction, several Writs issued out of the High Court of Chancery.

Form of Writ.

The Writ for the Choice of the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, directed to the Sheriff of every County, is in this Form :

JACOBUS, Dei Gratia, &c. Vicecomiti Buck. Salutem. Quia de Avisamento et Assensu Concilii nostri, pro quibusdam arduis et urgentibus Negotiis, nos, Statum, et Defensionem Regni nostri Angliae, et Ecclesiae Anglicanae, concernentibus, quoddam Parliamentum nostrum, apud Civitatem nostram Westmonasterii,

Returns of Members.

According to the Tenor of which Writ, the Sheriffs, after their Assemblies and Elections in their several Counties, made their Returns, some before, some at the Day, and some after the Day appointed in the said Writ of Summons. Which Returns are usually made by Indenture in this, or the like Form :

Form of Return.

HAEC Indentura, facta Sexto Die Martii, Anno, &c. inter Majorem, Ballivos, et Burgenses Burgi de C. &c. in Comitatu D. ex una Parte, et E. P. Armigerum, Vicecomitem Comitatus praedicti, * * virtute Praecepti nobis in ea Parte directi, ex unanimi Consensu pariter et Assensu nostro, eligimus W. D. et C. P. Armigeros, Burgenses Burgi praedicti, ad interessendum pro nobis ad Parliamentum dicti Domini Regis, apud Civitatem Westmonasterii Decimo nono Die instantis Mensis Martii tenendum ; dantes, et per praesentes consedentes, praefatis Burgensibus, conjunctim et divisim, pro nobis, et Successoribus nostris, plenam et sufficientem Potestatem, ad faciendum et consentiendum hiis, quae de Communi Concilio dicti Regni dicto Domino Regi (favente Deo) contigerint ordinari. In cujus Rei Testimonium, uni Parti harum Indenturarum, penes nos praefatos Majorem, Ballivos, et Burgenses remanenti, praefatus Vicecomes Sigillum suum apposuit, alteri vero Parti dicti Major, Ballivi, et Burgenses Sigillum suum commune apposuerunt. Dat. apud C. praedict. Die. et Anno supradictis.

Subscribed by the greater Number of the Electors.

The same Form of Return is used for the Election of Knights of Shires, mutatis mutandis.

Return of Members.

This Return from every Sheriff was made into the Crown Office in the Chancery, and there filed; and from thence, in one authentic Book, the Names of, all the Knights, Citizens, Burgesses, and Barons of the Cinque Ports, certified to the Clerk of the Commons House of Parliament.

King goes to Westminster Abbey.

And upon the Nineteenth Day of March, the Day of Return mentioned in the aforesaid Writ of Summons; his Majesty, apparelled in his Parliament Robes, accompanied with Prince Henry his eldest Son, and Heir apparent, and attended with his Nobility, Officers, and Servants, in Robes of Scarlet, about Eleven a Clock in the Morning, passed in a Chariot of Estate from his Palace of Whitehall to the Abby of Westminster; where (according to former Custom) he heard a Sermon prepared by the Bishop of Duresme for that Time and Purpose.

The Text was * * * *

And the Heads of the Sermon were as followeth * * *

Members take oaths.

In this mean time, the Right honourable the Earl of Nottingham, Lord High Admiral of England, and Lord Steward of the King's Houshold (so intituled and appointed for the Time of Parliament) withdrew himself into the great Room, called the Court of Whitehall, or of Requests ; where his Lordship, being attended by Sir George Coppyn, Knight, then Clerk of the Crown, and Raphe Ewens, Esquire, Clerk of the Commons House of Parliament, with the Rolls of such Names of the Commons, as were returned, his Lordship commanded a Crier to call them ; and thereupon they came near, in a great Multitude (more than was ever seen on the First Day of a Parliament in any Man's Memory) and answered to their Names: This done, his Lordship gave the Oath of Supremacy to sundry of this Assembly ; as namely, to Sir John Stanhope Knight, Vicechamberlain to his Majesty, Sir John Herbert Knight, second Secretary to his Majesty, Sir Robert Wroth Knight, Sir George Moore Knight, Sir John Leveson Knight, Sir Henry Nevill Knight, Sir Edward Hobby Knight, Sir Thomas Walsingham Knight, Sir Richard Luson Knight, Sir Henry Mountague Knight, Sir Thomas Mounson Knight, Sir Richard Mollineux Knight.

Whom his Lordship appointed his Deputies for that Session, to minister like Oath to the rest of the Commons ; and for that Purpose directed his Warrant unto them in this Form :

Lord Steward's Deputation.

CHARLES Earl of Nottingham, Baron Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of England, and Lord High Steward of the King's Majesty's most honourable Houshold, To all, to whom these Presents, shall come, Greeting. Know ye, that I, the said Lord High Steward, by virtue of my said Office of Lord Steward, have constituted, named, and appointed, and by these Presents do constitute, name, and appoint, Sir John Stanhope Knight, his Majesty's Vicechamberlain, [a] Sir John Herbert Knight, Sir George Moore Knight, Sir Edward Hobby, Sir Henry Nevill, Sir John Leveson, Sir Thomas Walsingham, Sir Richard Leveson, Sir Thomas Mounson, Sir Robert Wrath, Sir Richard Mullineux, and Sir Henry Mountague, Knights, or any Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, or One of them, my Deputies and Deputy in my Place and Stead, to tender and minister the Oath of Supremacy, according to the Form and Effect prescribed and set down in the Statute

in that Behalf made in the First Year of the Reign of the late renounced Queen Elizabeth, to all and every Person, which is or shall be elected or appointed a Knight, Citizen, or Burgess, or Baron for any of the Five Ports, for the Parliament summoned to begin and to be holden the Nineteenth Day of this Instant March; and to take and receive the Oath of every the said Person and Persons, which is or shall be elected or appointed Knight, Citizen, Burgess, or Baron for any of the said Five Ports, as aforesaid, for the same Parliament, to be holden on the said Nineteenth Day of this Instant March: Giving them, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, and One of them, full Power and Authority to execute and perform the same; ratifying, confirming, and allowing all and whatsoever my said Deputies, or any Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, or One of them, shall do and perform in this Behalf, in as ample, perfect, and full Manner, as if I myself had personally been present, and done the same. In Testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal. Given the Nineteenth Day of March, in the first Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord James, by the Grace of God, King of England, France, and Ireland, the First, and, of Scotland, the Seven-and-thirtieth.


Form of Oath.

The Form of the Oath as followeth; viz.

" I A. B. do utterly testify and declare in my Conscience, that the King's Highness is the only supreme Governor of this Realm, and of all other his Highness' Dominions and Countries, as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical Things or Causes, as temporal; and that no foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State, or Potentate, hath or ought to have, any Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Preheminence, or Authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this Realm : And therefore I do utterly renounce and forsake all foreign Jurisdictions, Powers, Superiorities, and Authorities; and do promise, that from henceforth 1 shall bear Faith and true Allegiance to the King's Highness, his Heirs, and Successors; and to my Power shall assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Privileges, Preherninences, and Authorities, granted or belonging to the King's Highness, his Heirs and Successors, or united and annexed to the Imperial Crown of this Realm. So help me God, and by the Contents of this Book."

Lord Steward's Deputies.


That Privy Counsellors only heretofore, and not any Members of the House of other Rank, have been made Deputies to the Lord Steward.

Parliament opened.

This Day Knights and Burgesses returned (Three hundred, at least) were sworn, and took their Place in the House; and there expected some Message (as the Manner is) of his Majesty's Pleasure, for their Attendance in the Upper House: which, by some mistaking, being neglected, his Majesty begun and continued a long Speech, without the general Presence of the Commons. This Error bred some Question, and was so urged, as his Majesty, being made acquainted with it, did afterwards excuse it, and recompense it with a Repetition of his Speech the next Day, as appeareth Folio * *

The Error was discovered to grow by the Intrusion of sundry Gentlemen, his Majesty's Servants, and others (no Members of Parliament) into the Higher House, during the time of this his Majesty's Speech, who were taken for the Commons; and thereby his Majesty was induced to direct his Speech, as if the whole House of Commons had been present, and heard him. Notwithstanding, at the last, Warning, given to the Commons for their Attendance ; who, coming up into his Majesty's Presence Chamber for that Day (called the Higher House of Parliament) after some Pause, and Attention to his Majesty's Speech, then falling towards the End, made their wonted Suit, for Leave to assemble themselves in their usual Place of Meeting, and to make choice of One from amongst themselves, to be their Mouth and Speaker upon all Occasions, during the Time of the Parliament.

This being granted unto them, and Thursday following appointed for the Presenting of their said Speaker (being chosen) to his Majesty, they returned back to their said Place of Meeting; and Mr. Secretary Herbert (having attended the same Day in the Upper House, from the first Coming of his Majesty thither) made a brief Report of his Highness' Speech there used; and, in Conclusion, made known to the House, that his Majesty was graciously pleased, they should, with all Liberty and Freedom, dispose themselves to the Choice of a Speaker: Wherein if he might presume to deliver his own Opinion, though the House were compounded of many worthy and excellent Members; yet, in regard of Knowledge of the Laws of the Land, the Gift of Utterance, his long Experience and Practice in Parliament, he thought no Man more fit for that Place and Service, than Sir Edward Phelips, his Majesty's Serjeant at Law, and One of the Knights for Somersetshire, returned into this Parliament.

Here, after some Silence, the Names of others were muttered; as of Sir Francis Hastings, Sir Henry Nevill, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Edward Hobby, Sir Henry Mountague, the Recorder of London, and others; but the more general Voice ran upon Sir Edward Phelips; who thereupon stood up, and used some Speech to excuse and disable himself, to this Effect * * * *

Sir E. Phelips chosen Speaker.

But the House, notwithstanding his Excuse, was willing to proceed to Question, and directed the Clerk, sitting at the Board (as the Order is, before the Speaker be chosen) to make the Question upon his Name; scil. " All that will have Sir Edw. Phelips Speaker, say, Yea, &c." Which done, he was by general Acclamation chosen for Speaker, and by Two of the more eminent Members of the House, viz. Sir John Herbert and Sir Edward Stafford (leading him, as the Form is) placed in the Chair, the ancient Seat of Speakers. Being set, after some Silence and Pause, he stood up, and uttered a gratulatory Speech of Form and Thanks, to this Effect ***

Warrants issued.

This Day Two several Warrants, by Direction from the House, issued under the Hand of Mr. Speaker; which, because they are not usual, for Precedent sake, I have here inserted ;

For erecting new Seats in the House.

Warrant for Erecting of new Seats, for more Ease and Room in the House.

" Whereas the Members of the Commons House of Parliament, by reason of more Charters granted by his Majesty, as also by their Attendance in greater Multitudes, than heretofore hath been usual, do want convenient Room to sit in the Place accustomed for their Meeting, and many thereby forced to stand in the Entrance and Midst of the House, contrary to Order; it is required, on the Behalf of the said House, that the Officers of his Majesty's Works do immediately give Order for the erecting and fitting such and so many Rooms and Seats, as the whole House may sit, and attend the Service with more Ease and Conveniency. And this shall be your Warrant."


" To my very loving Friend the Surveyor, and other the Officers of his Majesty's Works, to whom it may appertain."

Warrant for new Writ.

A Warrant, where a Burgess, returned for Two Places, chooseth One, for a new Election in the Place left void.

" Whereas Sir Francis Bacon Knight, One of his Majesty's Counsel Learned, is returned a Burgess of this present Parliament, as well for the Borough of St. Albans in the County of Hertford, as for the Town of Ipswich in the County of Suffolk; and because, as a Member of this House, he can be admitted to do Service for no more but One of them, and hath made choice (as of course in the like Cases he may) to appear for the Town of Ipswich : It is therefore required, on the Behalf of the said House, that his Majesty's Writ be forthwith directed, in Form usual, for the Electing and Returning of another

Burgess in the Room and Place of the said Sir Francis. And this shall be your Warrant.

Your loving Friend, Ed. Phelips, Speaker.


" To my very loving Friend Sir Geo. Coppin Knight, Clerk of the Crown in his Majesty's High Court of Chancery."


Complaint was made by Sir Herbert Croft, of Bryan Tassh, a Yeoman of his Majesty's Guard, who keeping One of the Doors in the Upper House, and Sir Herbert himself, and some others of the Commons, offering to come in, he repulsed them, and shut the Door upon them, with these uncivil and contemptuous Terms,

" Goodman Burgess, you come not here."

The Question moved in this, was (assuming it for a great Contempt) whether the House of itself should proceed to punish it, or address themselves to the proper Officers, the Lord Chamberlain, Captain of the Guard, &c. And so was left for this Day. Vide Folio * *

A Precedent of the like Contempt by a Gentleman Usher, remembered to have been questioned in the House, the Parliament proceeding, in her Majesty's Time.