Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 1, 1547-1629. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Die Veneris, 23o Martii, 1603
First day of Business.
THIS Day may be called Dies juridicus, the first Day of Business; the other were but of Form and Ceremony; yet ever usual and necessary, in respect of the Magnificence and State of such an Assembly. Principium a Deo: The Beginning was with Prayers to God for good Success; and such Prayers as have been ordinary in former Parliaments, in the Reign of the late Queen, and are placed in the Front of the Book of Common Prayer, were read by the Clerk of the House (to whose Place that Service anciently appertains) and One other special Prayer, fitly conceived for that Time and Purpose, was read by Mr. Speaker; which was voluntary, and not of Duty or Necessity, though heretofore, of late time, the like hath been done by other Speakers.
O GOD most great and glorious, which dwellest in the Heavens over all, yet humblest thyself to behold the Things that are done upon the Earth; we thy People, and Sheep of thy Pasture, assembled, by thy Providence, to the Performance of this high Service, whereupon the Honour of thy Name, the Beauty of thy Church amongst us, the Glory of our King, and Wealth of our State, doth depend; knowing, that without thee we can do nothing, do, at this Time, with Fear and Reverence, in the Beginning of our Consultations, first look up to thee, from whom Wisdom and happy Success doth come; praying thee to look down from Heaven upon us with the Eye of thy Mercy; to draw near unto us with the Presence of thy Grace; to prepare us all with Counsel and Understanding; and to be President and Director of all our Conferences ; that those things may be propounded, conceived, allowed, and confirmed, that may best please thee, and most directly and soundly uphold the Honour of thy Name, the Sincerity of thy Worship, the Safety of our King, and Peace of thy People, even for thy Son our Lord's sake. And that we may not ourselves be any Lett to the Obtaining of these our Desires, either by means of any Sin formerly committed, or of any Corruption yet remaining in us; we humbly pray thee to forgive our Sins, and to blot out all our Iniquities; and to stand reconciled unto us in an everlasting Covenant of Peace, as if we had never sinned against thee. And because our Hearts, by Nature, are not fit for good Cogitations, create a new Heart, and renew a right Spirit, in us; remove far from us all vain-glorious Humour of commending our own Wit, all covetous Humour of advancing our private Profit, all envious Humour of disgracing other Mens Gifts, all malicious Humour of hurting any Man's Person, and finally, all froward Humour of opposing ourselves against just, needful, and godly things, by whomsoever propounded. Furnish us with Knowledge, Wisdom, and Zeal, by sending down thy Spirit into our Hearts, that we may understand, discern, prefer, and set forward, all things tending to the Advancement of thy Glory, and such as may be thought worthy our Assent and Furtherance.
And because all good things are not of equal Goodness, nor all needful things of equal Necessity; let our Care and Zeal be equally proportioned to the Degrees of Things, in Goodness and Necessity different: And therefore, first, make us careful of the Glory of thy Name, which is the high End of all thy Counsels and Works, and ought to be the last End, but first respected, of all our Purposes and Doings; and therein let our special Care be to provide for the Continuance of thy Word, and religious Practice of thy Worship, by the Ministry and Means that Christ hath planted in his Church : Next, let the Good of this whole Island move our Care and Zeal; which consisting in the Safety and Honour of the King, and the Enacting and Executing of good Laws, let us be wisely careful, and faithfully zealous for the Person of our King, whom thou, the King of Kings, hast in Mercy set over us. And because no Law can be good that is not agreeable to thy Law, which containeth the fundamental Equity of our Laws; in making Laws to govern thy People, let us always have an Eye unto thy Law, not digressing from the holy Equity thereof; and what through thy Mercy we shall here profitably enact, we pray thee, through the whole Kingdom it may be truly executed, that our great Labour may not be disgraced with little Fruit.
Hear us, we pray thee, O Father of Mercy, in these our most humble and needful Petitions; forgive, and answer us, according to thy fatherlv and great Goodness, for Jhesus Christ his Sake; to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, Three Persons and One God, be all Praise, Glory, and Power, now and for ever.
After Prayers ended and the House settled, with Expectation of what should be propounded for the Weal of the common Subject; Sir Robert Wroth, One of the Knights of the Shire returned for the County of Essex, moved, That Matters of most Importance might first be handled; and to that Purpose he offered to the Consideration of the House these Particulars; viz.
This Motion, for the time, passed with Silence; and Sir Edw. Mountague, One of the Knights for Northamptonshire, proceedeth in another; expressing Three main Grievances of his Country; and praying some Care to be had of Remedy for them ; viz.
Sir Thomas Crompton, Doctor of the Civil Law, and the King's Advocate, being One of the Burgesses returned for the University of Oxford,, by virtue of a new Charter granted by his Majesty, that now is, with some Length of Speech, examined the Circumstances, and approveth the general Purpose of the former Motion.
Another learned and good Member of the House, taking occasion, as well from Sir Tho. Shirley's Case, opened the last Sitting-day, as from the Course begun in these foresaid Motions, prayeth generally a Consideration of the Honour and Privilege of this House ; which (he said) ought to be kept sacred and inviolable ; and thereof a true Member of the Body ought to be sensible and careful; but unnatural and strange Members could not be so tender of the Welfare of the whole : And therefore it were fit to examine, whether every one here did hold his Place by a lawful and just Election, and Return, and were a true Member of the Body; that if any were found otherwise, he might be cut off and dismissed, as incompatible for the Service of this so honourable and well-compounded an Assembly.
A third grave Person, and an ancient Parliament-man, remembereth and alloweth the Motions made by Sir Robert Wroth and Sir Edward Mountague; but moveth, that nothing might be offered in a general and vanishing Speech, without a Bill ready framed, and exhibited to the House by the Mover.
Hereupon the Motion was continued, that a select Committee might be named for the Consideration of the Particulars mentioned by Sir Robert Wroth; and to that Purpose were called, and set down by Name, the Lord Clynton, the Lord Buckhurst, Sir Rob. Wroth,Sir Henry Nevill, Mr. Solicitor, Sir Francis Bacon, Sir George Moore, Mr. Francis Moore, Sir Edward Hobby, Mr. Nath. Bacon, Sir Edward Stafford, Sir Herbert Crofts, Sir John Hollice, Sir Hugh Beeston, Sir Fr. Hastings, Mr. Wentworth, Sir Tho. Crompton, Sir Edward Mountague, Mr. Recorder of London, Sir Tho. Holcroft, Sir Daniel Dunne, Doctor James, Sir Edward Herbert, Sir Robert Wingfield, Sir Peter Manwood, Sir Nicholas Saunders, Sir Roger Aston, Sir Edwyn Sandys, Mr. John Hare, Mr. Serjeant Dodrige, Sir Henry Billingsley, Sir Robert Maunsfeild, Sir Fr. Knollys, Sir Fra. Popham, Sir Richard Verney, Sir William Wray, Sir Richard Luson, Mr. Fuller, Mr. Serjeant Tanfield, Mr. Lawrence Hyde, Sir Edward Lewknor, Sir Jerome Bowes, Sir Henry Bromley, Sir John Scott, Sir Edward Herbert, Sir Edward Grevill, Sir John Luson.
Their Authority was, to consider of some important Matters offered this Day, by way of Motion, to the House, by Sir Robert Wroth, One of the Knights for Essex; the Heads whereof appear in these Particulars; viz.
For the Three Grievances opened by Sir Edward Mountague, were named, all the Privy Council being Members of the House, the Lord Clynton, the Lord Buckhurst, Sir Edward Mountague, Sir Fr. Hastings, Sir Robert Stanford, Sir Thomas Crompton, Sir John Heigham, Sir Hugh Beeston, Sir Valentine Knightley, Sir Henry Mountague, Sir Geo. St. Poll, Sir Lewis Lewknor, Sir Daniel Dunne, Sir Richard Warberton, Mr. Mercer, Mr. Henry Yelverton, Mr. Rich. Martyn, Mr. Tate, Sir John Luke, Sir Thomas Walsingham, Mr. Edward Hext, Sir William Bowyer, Sir Robert Townsend, Sir John Townsend, Sir Thomas Ridgeway, Mr. Edward Seymour, Sir John Hollis, Mr. D. Steward, Sir Geo. Carew, One of the Masters of the Chancery, Sir Robert Cotton, Sir William Liggon, Serjeant Snigg, Sir Edw. Denny, Sir Edw. Lewknor, Sir Tho. Edmonds, Sir Fr. Bincks, Sir Fr. Barrington, Mr. Wiseman, Sir Richard Spencer, Mr. Fr. Moore, Sir Geo. Fleetwood, Mr. Johnson, Sir John Bennett, Mr. Fuller, Sir Edwyn Sandys, Sir Geo. Moore, Sir Edw Hobby, Sir Tho. Lake, Sir Oliver St. John, Sir Edw. Stafford, Mr. Serjeant Tanfield, Mr. Serjeant Hubbard, Sir Rob. Wingfield, Mr. Lawrence Hyde, Mr. Dyett, Mr. Wynch, Mr. Antrobus.
Warrants for issuing Writs.
Mr. Speaker stood up, and informed the House, that if any Burgess were returned for Two Places, or any Member or the House deceased, during the Time of the Session of any Parliament, the ancient Course had been, for the Speaker, in the Name of the House, to direct a Warrant under his Hand to the Clerk of the Crown, to make forth a Writ for a new Election; and sithence the like had happened in this Session, and might daily happen, he therein prayed to know the Pleasure of the House.
Sir Geo. Coppyn Knight, Clerk of the Crown in the Buckingham Chancery, this Day (according to former Order) being Election. attended by the Serjeant of the House with his Mace, appeared at the Bar, and produced all the Writs of Summons, Indentures, and Returns, made of the Knights for Buckinghamshire for this Parliament; which were severally read by the Clerk of the House; and then the Clerk of the Crown commanded to retire to the Door ; And after, Sir Francis Goodwyn himself, whom it specially concerned, attending to know the Pleasure of the House, was called in, to deliver the State of his own Cause, Ore tenus; wherein he was heard at large; and commanded again to retire, until the House had determined what to do.
A Prisoner discharged.
Here Brian Tash, a Yeoman of the Guard, for his Contempt to the House being in the Custody of the Serjeant, according to former Order, was brought to the Bar by the said Serjeant: And, upon his Submission, and Confession of his Fault, Mr. Speaker pronounced his Pardon and Dismission, paying the ordinary Fees to the Clerk and Serjeant: And, in the Name of the House, gave him Advice and Warning, for his better Care and Carriage hereafter, upon any the like Occasion, in the Course of his Service and Attendance.
Member desires to be excused from Attendance.
Mathew Chub Esquire, Burgess for the Town of Dorchester in the County of Dorset, having written his Letters to Mr. Speaker, desiring to be excused for his Attendance at the Parliament, for that he was employed in his Majesty's special Service, as a * * * in the Country; Mr. Speaker moved to understand the Opinion of the House; which was clear, that he ought not to be excused : Yet the Case was further referred to the Examination of the general Committees for Returns and Privileges.