Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 1, 1547-1629. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Saturni, 7o Julii, 1604
THIS Day the House assembled about Eleven a Clock, and expected the King's coming to the Upper House.
Message to attend the King.
About Two a Clock his Majesty, being set on his royal Throne, sent for Mr. Speaker and the Commons to come into his Presence.
Mr. Speaker's Speech to the King.
This is the Speaker's Speech to the King.
HISTORY, most high and mighty Sovereign, is truly approved to be the Treasure of Times past, the Light of Truth, the Memory of Life, the Guide and Image of Man's present Estate, Pattern of Things to come, and the true Work-mistress of Experience, the Mother of Knowledge; for therein, as in a Crystal, there is not
only presented unto our Views the Virtues, but the Vices; the Perfections, but the Defects; the Good, but the Evil; the Lives, but the Death, of all precedent Governors and Government, which held the Reins of this imperial Regiment: Where, although the same hath ever been managed with One Idea, or Form of Government; namely, by the Laws Direction, by Kings Rule, by Senates Advice, and by Magistrates Discipline; yet hath the same budded Fruits of several Kinds of Sense, moving from the Use or Abuse of Laws Direction, from the Virtue or Error of Kings Rule, from the Good or Evil of Senates Advice, or from the Justice or Injustice of Magistrates Discipline : For as good Government is the Guide-mistress of human Happiness, and Tutress of publick Commodity; so is ill Government the devouring Tyrant of Subjects Bliss, and the venomous Poisoner of Commonwealth well doing.
The Laws, whereby the Ark of this Government hath been ever steered, are of Three Kinds; the first, the Common Law, grounded or drawn from the Law of God, the Law of Reason, and the Law of Nature, not mutable; the second, the positive Law, founded, changed, and altered by and through the Occasions and Policies of Times; the third, Customs and Usages, practised and allowed with Time's Approbation, without known Beginnings : Wherein although we differ from the Laws of other States Government, yet have the Authors thereof imitated the approved Excellency of Plato and Aristotle, framing their Laws according to the Capacity, Nature, Disposition, and Humour of the Place and People ; by the Level of whose Line this State hath been commanded, governed, supported, and maintained these * * * Years, not inferior, but in equal Balance with any confining Regiment whatsoever; and have, by the Touchstone of true Experience, approved to be to the King his Scepter, to the Senate the Oracle of Counsel, to the Judge the Rule of Justice, to the Magistrate the Guide of Discipline, to the Subject the School-mistress of Obedience, to the Multitude the Preventer of Ignorance, the Standard-bearer of Sedition, and, generally to all, the Bond, that tieth Men to civil and orderly Course of Life. Finally, Laws are only Dials of true Direction ; Direction the Weapons of Government; Government the Armour of Peace; and Peace, the true Perfection of all worldly Happiness : But contrarywise, no Laws, no Direction; no Direction, no Government; no Government, no Peace; no Peace, utter Destruction; for, sine imperio, neither House, neither City, neither Nation, neither Mankind, nor the Nature of Things, nec ipse mundus stare potest. And yet the Good or Ill, both of Laws, and of each worldly Thing, consisteth in the Use or Abuse of the same; as, if well used, it yieldeth the Sweet of his true Property; but, if abused, that Sweet is turned to Sour ; or, if not used, loseth his Virtue: As, amongst earthly Things, Food hath his Precedency ; for being well used, it maintainethand supporteth the Life and Nature of Man; but abusedly taken, by Surfeit destroyeth the Body; or if not used, remaineth fruitless; so the Laws, if well disposed, are the Stern, that wieldeth the Ark of Civil Government; but perverted, become the Instruments of Destruction; or not executed, become corpus sine anima; and therefore are to receive either Life or Death, by the Good or Ill of the King's Rule, the Senates Advice, and the Magistrates Discipline. As concerning the Bliss or Bane of Kings Government, which in itself, and of itself, representeth a divine Majesty, it consisteth in Two general Parts; the One, Example, the other, Command: For as, from below, we receive either Light or Darkness from above, so doth the Subject from the Prince's Example receive either his Virtue, or his Vice; and Experience approveth, that the Estate of Commonwealths changeth with the Alteration of Princes Precedent. And therefore the Errors [a] of Princes are not hurtful in themselves, as are their erroneous Examples; whereby their People become infected: For it hath, and ever will be approved true, that Subjects, by Imitation of their Princes Example, for the most Part become like unto themselves ; for the excellent Splendor of the Kings Virtue doth [b] not only incite all Subjects to behold them, but exceeding Admiration and Imitation to love them,and, by loving to observe them. And therefore the Virtue of Vespasianus Example wrought more effectual Good amongst his People, than his Laws: For obsequium in principes et aemulandi amor, are, of all other, most excellent Tractives to the Good or Ill of Subjects Course of Life ; and therefore the more curiously and respective ought they to be in their Acts and Actions, as the leading Stars of the People's Direction. The other resteth in his absolute Power of Command: For although the Law may direct, the Senate advise, and the Magistrate execute ; yet to determine and command is proper to the King himself: And therefore his Commands ought to be religious, for he therein becometh the President of many Millions of Souls; they ought to be just, for he sitteth in the Judgment Seat of the absolute King of Justice; they ought to be tempered with Mercy, for he representeth the divine Image of Mercy; they ought to be mild, for he is the Father, and the Subjects his Children ; they ought to be preservative, and not devouring, for he is the Shepherd, and they the Flock; they ought rather to prevent the Cause of Offence, than punish the Offender, for one is much more honourable than the other; they ought to be warranted by Law, for both by Office and Oath he is bound to his Law; they ought to proceed from Reason, for thereby he is reverenced as a God amongst Men; they ought to be prudent, for that makes him deified with Fame and Renown. Lycurgus never commanded ought to be done, that himself would not do; which made him honoured, reverenced, and obeyed, but Sylla commanding Sobriety, Temperance, and Frugality, himself practising the contrary, was both contemned and scorned: And therefore the King ought to patronize his Command by his Actions. Themistocles demanded, whether he were a good Poet, that in singing would transgress the true Rules of Musick? Being answered, No; replied, no more is that King, that commands without his Law. Theopompus being asked, why Lacedemon did so flourish; answered, because their King knew how to command : And Commandments, justly commanded, exact Performance; but things unduly required, do breed Mislike, and sometimes enforce Refusal. Claudian therefore concludeth, Peraget tranquilla potestas, quod violenta nequit; mandataque fortius urget imperiosa quies: And more gracious is the Name of Piety, than of Power. To conclude, Princes, by the Perfection of their Examples, and by the Virtue of their just Commands, become to God acceptable; to the World renowned, to their People beloved, to all Men with Reverence admired, and in the End with Glory immortalized; but if their Commands be unjust, unmerciful, cruel, devouring, lawless, unreasonable, and imprudent, he loseth the glorious Title of a good King, and becometh eternized with the deathless Fame of an hellish Tyrant; which all good Kings ought to eschew, as the devouring Devil of their Fame, Renown, and Eternity.
The third Place in the Commonwealth hath the Senate; For no King can, with his Diligence and only Wisdom, equally govern the whole Estate; for it is rather the Virtue of God than Man, effectually to know all things appertaining to Government: And therefore, as it is necessary for a Prince to see with his own Eyes, to hear with his own Ears, and to direct by the Dial of his own Judgment ; so is it requisite for a Prince to have many Eyes, many Ears, many Tongues, many Hands, many Feet, and many Wits, to see, to hear, to dispatch, to inform, and advise, for, in, and concerning the public State, as Preparatives to his commanding Judgment, and Preservatives against the common Evil. Romulus therefore refused to undergo the Burthen of Government alone, but chose unto himself a hundred Senators. Trajanus called his Senate his Father; for as the Father doth foretel his Son of the Good or Ill that may befall him, so ought the Senate to admonish the King of Things profitable, and unprofitable, to him and State. The Senate therefore ought to know the Law, the Liberties, the Customs, the Use. and Dis-
cipline, wherewith the State is governed ; they ought not only to know the Means, whereby the State may be beautified, amplified, and preserved, but also how the same may be weakened, impeached, or subverted; they ought also to know, what is the Majesty, Prerogative, Greatness and Jurisdiction of a King, and what is the due Right and Liberty of Subjects; for they are the Mean, and Judges between Force and Fear, Liberty and Servitude, the King and his People. A Counsellor ought therefore to be temperate, not passionate in his Affections; moderate, not transported with Appetites; mortified by Years, not inveigled by Youth; grave in his Behaviour, not light in his Condition; justly wise in his Advice, not crafty in his Counsel; virtuous in his Conversation, not vicious in his Disposition: A Counsellor thus complete, is to the King a watchful Tower, to the Law a graceful Ornament, to Government an absolute Guide, and to the People a beloved Oracle; but if he be passionate in his Affections, transported in his Appetites, inveigled by his Youth, light in his Condition, crafty in his Counsel, and vicious in his Disposition; then becometh he to the King a regardless and watchless Tower, to the Law a disgraceful Blemish, to the Government a blind dissolute Guide, and to the People a contemned fabulous Deceiver.
The next and immediate subsequent Place in the Commonwealth hath the Magistrate; for in vain is the Laws Direction, the King's Command, and the Senate's Advice, if not by the Magistrate's Discipline executed : For Laws, Command, and Advice receive not their Authority, when they are enacted, given, or advised, but when they are executed; not when they are enacted, but when they are observed; and therefore the Commonwealth doth put upon the Magistrate the Person of Severity, to execute the Laws Direction, Prince's Command, and the Senate's Advice. The Roman Magistrate therefore said. My Mother hath brought me into the World of mild and gentle Disposition, Sed Respublica me severum fecit: For Laws are delivered to the Magistrate as a Sword, to cut off the Reins of licentious Liberty; but if the Magistrate keep it sheathed, or rusty, is there any that will dread the Correction of so sheathed or rusty a Weapon? Secondly, Laws are ordained as Rules or Lines of Mens Lives: but if the Magistrates, through Fear or Pity, shall bend them to and fro, is there any Man that will regard so leaden a Rule ? Thirdly, Laws are established as Walls, or Forts, or Defence against Disorder; but if the Magistrate shall suffer them to melt with Favour, or rend asunder with Corruption, will not all Men contemn such Walls of Wax, or Forts of Cobwebs? The Memory of Nerva his Example approveth it; who, through too tender a Conceit of Pity, was noted over-sparing in Punishment of the People's Insolences; but in the End, his City thereby grew into such Contempt, both of his Person and Government, that of him it was said, That better it were for all good Men to live under the Government of Domitian, under whom nothing was lawful, than under Nerva, where all Things were lawful. And therefore the Magistrate ought to be sciens, Justus, et fortis: First to know what he is to execute; secondly, to be just in his Execution; and thirdly, not to fear the Face of any, in that he ought to execute; for he is the living Law, and the Law of the dumb Magistrate: And nothing is more pernicious in the Commonwealth, than an ignorant, unjust, and timorous Magistrate. To conclude, as the End of the Sailor's Endeavour is good Passage, the Physician's Travel Health, the Captain's Labour Victory; so the well Disciplining of the People ought to be the Magistrate's true Endeavour; which if he regardfully perform, then becometh he a good Pilot, a provident Physician, a victorious Captain, and a just well-deserving Magistrate; but if he be ignorant, remiss, timorous, unjust, or corrupt; then is he to the Life of the Law a deathful Murtherer, to the Soul of the King's Justice a betraying Teacher, to the Virtue of Senates Advice a deceiving Evil, and to the Body of the Commonwealth a devouring Wolf.
A People, by the Direction of such Laws, by the Grace, Wisdom, and Justice of such a King, by the Advice of such a Senate, and by the Discipline of such Magistrates, governed, if not then loyal and obedient, are rather the Whelps of Wolves, than Sons of Men: rather Monsters of Nature, than Creatures of Reason; nay, more Devils in Condition, than Professors of Religion: From the Corruption of which Error your Majesty shall ever approve us to be as free, as Virtue is from Vice. And though, during the Time of these our Parliament Counsels, we have, through the Warrant of our long-continued Privilege, your gracious Approbation thereof, your Patience in hearing, your Wisdom in discerning, your Justice in adjudging, and your Clemency in relieving, presumed of you, as of our King, but more of you as of our good King, nay most of all of you, as a most absolute good Man, to propound, dispute, assent, and disassent, freely; to implore your royal Protection of our long-continued Liberties, your gracious Relieving of our Burdens (not by Authority imposed, but by the Corruption of base Officers extorted) and your discerning Consideration of our feared Dangers; wherein although we have proceeded without Flattery or Cowardice (the One never being a true Counsellor, nor the other a good Subject) yet hath the same been without Hearts or Minds Thought, either to distaste your gracious Pleasure, or to detract ought, that in Right, Honour, or Prerogative, yourself in your Wisdom should affect as good: For your Glory is, and must be, our Honour, your Greatness our Protection, your Abundance our Riches, your Safety our Security, your Content our Joy; otherwise were we worthily unworthy of the Blessings of the Religion, of the Peace, of the Safety, of the Grace, and, generally of all the Fruits of Happiness, which by you, from you, and under you, we do, and hope ever to possess. And as out of your princely Grace you pleased (to our exceeding Hearts Comfort) to say that you more [a] joyed to be King of such Subjects, than to be King over many Kingdoms; so do we, with true Zeal and Faith, protest more to joy in being the Subjects of such a King, than in the Freedom of any Liberty, which we shall ever with our Hearts Life Blood endeavour to approve against all Opposers and Opposition: And as God let him endure the Torment of ever dying Death, that otherwise shall in Mind conceit, or in Heart consent; so let him live hatefully to God and Man, that shall endeavour, or occasion in the least, to impeach and violate so royal and loyal a Conjunction between a Head so absolutely peerless, and a Body so faithfully loyal. And although your Majesty, more seeking to enrich your Treasure with the Hearts and Minds of us your Subjects, than with the Money and Treasure of our Purses, have lately, out of your abundant Grace, prevented our concluding to present you with a Subsidy of Crowns and Coin, being but a Blossom of the fruitful ever-bearing Tree of our abundant Love, Loyalty, and Duty (which we sooner shall leave to live, than leave unperformed) yet give us leave (of all other most worthy to be beloved Sovereign) not only to present you with our humble and dutiful Thanks, but also to present you with Five Subsidies, of far more precious Price and Worth: 1. The first consisting of many Millions of affectionated Hearts to love you: 2. Of Number of loyal Minds to obey you: 3. Of as many zealous Spirits to pray for you: 4. Of as equal proportioned Hands to fight for you: 5. And with the Treasure of the whole Kingdom to supply you; which the World shall both feel and know, when, where, and against whom whatsoever, your Majesty shall be pleased to dispose and command us. This we profess, protest, and present, neither out of servile Fear, nor base Flattery, both hateful to a King so absolute, wise, magnanimous, and gracious; but out of our endless Loves, Duties, and Loyalties, whereunto Death only, and nought else but Death, shall be of Force to give End.
Proclamation to Commissioners for Union with Scotland.
Where at the late Session of our Parliament of our Realm of England, One Act is made, authorizing certain Persons of both Houses to assemble and meet, and thereupon to treat and consult with certain selected Commissioners, to be nominated and authorized by Authority of the Parliament of our Realm of Scotland, for the Weal of both Kingdoms, at any Time before the next Session of this Parliament; and a like Act is passed in our Parliament of our Realm of Scotland, to give Authority to Commissioners nominated for that Nation; for the Performance whereof, it is necessary, that a certain Time be prefixed : We do therefore hereby make known and publish to all our loving Subjects, who are Commissioners by the Act appointed for that Treaty, as well of the One Nation as of the other, that we have found it expedient for the Commissioners of both Realms to appoint the first Day of the said Meeting to be on the twentieth Day of Octobe rnext ensuing the Date hereof, at our City of Westminster, in the Chamber of our Palace there, called the Painted Chamber; whereof we require them all, and all others, whom it may concern, to take Knowledge, and to keep the Day and Place accordingly.
Given at our Castle of Windsor, the fifteenth Day of September, in the second Year of our Reign of England, France, and Ireland, and of Scotland the eight-and-thirtieth.
By the King.
Proclamation for proroguing Parliament.
WHEREAS at the late Rising of the first Session of our Parliament, we did prorogue the same until the seventh Day of February next, intending then to hold at that Time another Session thereof; we have since been informed from divers parts of our Realm, that some Contagion of Sickness doth yet so continue in many of our principal Cities and Towns, and is also scattered in divers other Places of less Note, as, if we should, against the Spring of the Year, draw so great a Concourse of People together, as the Assembly of the Parliament bringeth with it (the Continuance whereof is uncertain) it were much to be doubted, that the Infection of the Plague might be renewed again in our City of London, which is our Chamber, and the Place of our most ordinary Residence; as it did the first Year of our Entry, by reason of the great Assembly at our Coronation, which, if the settling of our State here had not necessarily required to be then performed, we would have forborn: And forasmuch also as, for these Two Years past, by reason of our Entry into this our Kingdom, our Coronation, the Holding of our Parliament, and such other Solemnities, requiring the Presence of Persons of the best Sort, the most Part of the Gentlemen of Quality of this Realm have been absent from the Places of their ordinary Abode, whereby the Countries have wanted their Assistance in the Government of them, and our People the Comfort of their Presence and Hospitality; we have therefore thought it convenient to prorogue our said Parliament until the third Day of October next ensuing; at which Time we intend, by God's Grace, to hold another Session thereof; and in the mean time, all those, who repaired hither about the Commission concerning the Union, or do now reside here in Expectation of that Session of our Parliament at the Time appointed, may return to their own Homes, until the said third Day of October, when we will expect again their Attendance: And in the mean time we do straitly [charge] and command [them, and all others,] who have any Trust to them from us, either in the [Commission of Peace, or otherwise, for the] good Government of our People, that they do [immediately repair Home to their own Dwellings, to attend such Services, as to them belong to do; whereof, by their Absence, both we and our Subjects are defrauded. Given at our Palace at Westminster, the twenty-fourth Day of December, in the second Year of our Reign of Great Britain, France and Ireland.]
By the King: A Proclamation for proroguing the Parliament,
Proclamation for proroguing Parliament.
WHEREAS at the Rising of the late Session of our Parliament, we prorogued the same until the third Day of October now next ensuing; we have since considered, that the Holding of it so soon is not so convenient, as well for that the ordinary Course of our Subjects resorting to the City for their usual Affairs at the Term, is not, for the most Part, until All-hallow-tide, or thereabouts; as also for that the Concourse of People, which followeth the Assembly coming from all Parts of the Realm, in many whereof there may yet remain some Dregs of the late Contagion, may be an Occasion to revive it in that Place, where our most Abode is: And therefore we have thought it fit to prorogue it further for One Month's Space, which will fall out upon Tuesday the fifth Day of November next; at which Day our Purpose is (God willing) to hold the same; and do hereby give Notice to all, whom it concerneth, that they may frame their Affairs accordingly, and attend at the said fifth Day of November to that Service.
Given at our Honour of Ampthill, the twenty-eighth Day of July in the third Year [of our Reign of Great Britain, France, and Ireland.]
1. Reading -
AN Act for the better Execution of Statutes.
Absence of a Member by Sickness.
Sir Geo. Somers, One of the Burgesses for Lyme Regis, bringeth in Certificate of the Sickness of the Gout of one John Hassard, the other Burgess, and desireth to have him discharged.
Writs during Prorogation.
A Committee to consider of that, and of the Granting of Writs by the Lord Chancellor, during the Time of Prorogation.
Committee of Privileges.
Privileges and Returns: - Sir Geo. Moore, Sir Rob. Wingfield, Mr. Fuller, Sir Fr. Hustings, Sir Jo. Heigham, Sir Edw. Hext, Sir Rob. Knolles, Mr. Tate. Sir Geo. Somers, Sir Edw. Mountague, Sir Rob. Cotton, Sir Rob. Worth, Sir Edw. Hobby, Mr. Hyde, Mr. Solicitor: - Tomorrow, in the Temple Hall.
Sir Geo. Somers moveth, touching an Incorporation of Merchants, since the last Parliament, granted by Letters Patents from his Majesty: - Mr. Secretary Herbert, Sir Geo. Moore, Sir Geo. Somers, Sir Wm. Stroud, Sir Tho. Ridgeway, Sir Jo. Heigham, Mr. James, Sir Herbert Crofts, Mr. James of Newport, Sir Christofer Perkins, Mr. Tolderby, Mr. Martin, Mr. Edw. Manne, Mr. Chapman, Sir Walter Cope, Sir Tho. Freak, Sir Jo. Williams, Sir Henry Billingsley, Sir Rob. Johnson, Mr. Gore, Sir Edwyn Sandys, Sir Dan. Dun, Sir Rob. Maunsell, Sir John Trevor, Sir Carye Rawley, Sir Tho. Waller, Knights of Maritime Counties, Mr. Adrian Staughton, Sir Rich. Spencer, Sir Geo. Smyth, Mr. Prowse, Mr. Fuller: - To consider of the Incorporation of the Spanish Company: - Tuesday 4 Februarii, Temple Hall.