Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 2, 1578-1614. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Veneris, 25 die Novembris,
Commons request a Conference.
Committee for the Conference appointed.
Form of a Petition agreed on.
Committee appointed to present the Petition to her Majesty, in Conjunction with a Committee of the H. C.
WHERE, on the 7th Day of this instant Month of November, while the Lords were in Consultation about the great Matter of the Queen of Scots, the chief and only Cause of the Summons of this Parliament, they of the Commons House came up, and desired Conference with some of the Lords of this House, what Number it should please their Lordships to appoint, touching the said great Cause, which, as they affirmed, had been opened and declared unto them; whereupon the Lords made Choice of these Lords following: videlicet, the Archbishops of Cantorburie and Yorcke, the Lord Burghley, Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Derbie, Lord Steward, the Earls of Northum'land, Kent, Rutland, and Sussex, the Bishops of London, Durham, Winchestre, and Worcestre, the Lord Howarde Lord Admiral, the Lord Hunsdon Lord Chamberlain, the Lords Cobham, Graye, Lumley, Chandos, Buckhurst, Delaware, and Norris; and, to attend the said Lords, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, the Lord Chief Baron, and Justice Gawdie. The Place and Time of their Meeting was in the Outer Parliament Chamber, that Afternoon, at Two of the Clock; and, after often Meetings and long Conferences had, they agreed upon a Form of Petition, which by both the Houses should be presented unto Her Majesty, and that Choice should be made of a certain Number of either House, to prefer the same unto Her Highness; which being reported to this House, the Lords liked very well thereof, and thereupon made Choice of these Lords following: videlicet, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Great Chamberlain, the Lord Steward, the Earls of Northumb'land, Kent, Rutland, Sussex, Pembrooke and Hartf. the Lord Admiral and Lord Chamberlain, the Lords Aburgavenny, Zowche, Morley, Cobham, Graye, Lumley, Chandos, Buckhurst, Delaware, and Norris; and they of the Commons House appointed their Speaker, and all such of that House as were of the Privy Council, and so many others of that House as in all, with the said Privy Council, made up the Number of Fortytwo Persons, to join with the said Lords. And they altogether, understanding first Her Majesty's Pleasure for the Time of their Repair to Her Highness's Presence, which was signified to be on Saturday, the 12th Day of November; on which Day the Lord Chancellor in the Name of the Lords, and the Speaker in the Name of the Commons, declared unto Her Majesty, that both the Lords and Commons, after often Conferences and long Consultation, had concluded to be humble Suiters unto Her Majesty, by way of Petition; the Effect whereof was then, at good length, opened unto Her Majesty by the Lord Chancellor and Speaker; and the Petition thereupon delivered unto Her Majesty in Writing. And where it was before desired by them of the Commons House, that, presently upon the Agreement of the Form of the Petition, it might be entered into the Rolls of the Parliament, the Lords thought it better to stay the Entry thereof until it were presented unto Her Majesty; which being done, the Lords ordered, this Friday, the 25th Day of November, that the said Petition should be entered into this Roll of Parliament, in Manner and Form following:
Petition of both Houses to the Queen, praying her Majesty to put in Execution the Sentence passed upon Mary Queen of Scots.
"May it please your Most Excellent Majesty our most Gracious Sovereign, We Your Humble, Loving, and Faithful Subjects, the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, having of long Time, to our intolerable Grief, seen by how manifold, most dangerous, and execrable Practices, Mary, the Daughter and Heir of James the Fifth, late King of Scots, Dowager of France, and commonly called The Queen of Scots, hath compassed the Destruction of Your Majesty's Sacred and most Royal Person (in whose Safety, next under God, our chief and only Felicity doth consist), and thereby not only to bereave us of the sincere and true Religion of Almighty God, bringing us and this Noble Crown back again into the Thraldom of the Romish Tyranny, but also utterly to ruinate and overthrow the happy State and Common Weal of this most Noble Realm; which being, from Time to Time, by the great Mercy and Providence of God, and Your Highness's singular Wisdom, foreseen and prevented, Your Majesty, of Your exceeding great Clemency, and Princely Magnanimity, hath either most graciously passed over, or with singular Favour tolerated (although often and instantly moved by Your most Loving and Faithful Subjects to the contrary, in Times of Your Parliaments, and at many other Times), and hath also protected and defended the said Scottish Queen from those great Dangers, which her own People, for certain detestable Crimes and Offences to her imputed, had determined against her; all which notwithstanding, the same Queen was nothing moved with these and many other Your Majesty's most gracious Favours towards her, but rather obdurate in Malice, and, by Hope of continual Impunity, emboldened to prosecute her cruel and mischievous Determination, by some speedy and violent Course; and now lately a very dangerous Plot being conceived, and set down by Anthonye Babington and others, that Six desperate and wicked Persons should undertake the Execution of that most horrible Enterprize, to take away Your Majesty's Life (whom God of his infinite Mercy long preserve), she did not only give her Advice and Direction upon every Point and all Circumstances concerning the same, making earnest Request to have it performed with all Diligence, but did also promise Assurance of large Reward and Recompence to the Doers thereof; which being informed to Your Majesty, it pleased Your Highness, upon the earnest Suit of such as tendred the Safety of Your Royal Person, and the good and quiet Estate of this Realm, to direct Your Commission, under the Great Seal of England, to the Lords and others of Your Highness's Privy Council, and certain other Lords of Parliament, of the greatest and most ancient Degree, with some of Your principal Judges, to examine, hear, and determine the same Cause, and thereupon to give Sentence or Judgment, according to a Statute in that Behalf made in the 27th Year of Your most Gracious Reign; by virtue whereof the more Part of the same Commissioners, being in Number Thirty-six, having, at sundry Times, fully heard what was alledged and proved against the said Scottish Queen, in her own Presence, touching the said Crimes and Offences, and what she could say for her Defence and Excuse therein, did, after long Deliberation, give their Sentence and Judgment, with one Consent, That the Death and Destruction of Your Royal Person was imagined and compassed by the said Anthonye Babington, with the Privity of the same Scottish Queen; and that she herself did also compass and imagine the Death and Destruction of Your most Royal Person. Now, forasmuch as we Your most humble, loyal, and dutiful Subjects, representing to Your most Excellent Majesty the universal State of Your whole People, of all Degrees, in this Your Realm, do well perceive, and are fully satisfied, that the same Sentence and Judgment is, in all Things, most honourable, just, and lawful; and having carefully and effectually, according to our most bounden Duties, weighed and considered upon what Ground and Cause so many traiterous Complots and dangerous Practices against Your Majesty's Royal Person and Estate, and for the Invading of this Realm, have, for the Space of many Years past, grown and proceeded, do certainly find, and undoubtedly are persuaded, that all the same have been, from Time to Time, attempted and practised by and for the said Scottish Queen, and by her Confederates, Ministers and Favourers, who conceive an assured Hope to atchieve speedily, by Your Majesty's untimely Death, that which they have long expected, and whereof, during Your Majesty's Life (which God long preserve, to our inestimable Comfort), they despair; to wit, to place her, the said Scottish Queen, in the Imperial and Kingly Seat of this Realm, and by her to banish and destroy the Professors and Professing of the true Religion of Jesus Christ, and the ancient Nobility of this Land, and to bring this whole State and Common Weal to Foreign Subjection, and utter Ruin and Confusion; which their malicious and traiterous Purposes they will never cease to prosecute, by all possible Means they can, so long as they may have their Eyes and Imaginations fixed upon that Lady, the only Ground of their treasonable Hope and Conceits, and the only Seed-Plot of all dangerous and traiterous Devices and Practices against Your Sacred Person; and seeing also what insolent Boldness is grown in the Heart of the same Queen, through Your Majesty's former exceeding Favours and Clemencies towards her, and thereupon weighing, with heavy and sorrowful Hearts, in what continual Peril of such like desperate Conspiracies and Practices Your Majesty's most Royal Person and Sacred Life (more dear unto us than our own) is, and shall be still, without any possible Means to prevent it, so long as the said Scottish Queen shall be suffered to continue, and shall not receive that due Punishment, which, by Justice, and the Laws of this Your Realm, she hath so often, and so many Ways, for her most wicked and detestable Offences, deserved; therefore, and for that we find, that, if the said Lady shall now escape the due and deserved Punishment of Death, for these her most execrable Treasons and Offences, Your Highness's Royal Person shall be exposed to many more, and those more secret and dangerous Conspiracies than before, and such as shall not or cannot be foreseen and discovered, as these her late Attempts have been, and shall not hereafter be so well able to remove and take away the Ground and Occasion of the same, as now by Justice may and ought to be done; we do most humbly and instantly beseech Your most Excellent Majesty, that, as well in respect of the Continuance of the true Christian Religion, now professed amongst us, and of the Safety of Your most Royal Person and Estate, as in Regard of the Preservation and Defence of us Your most loving, dutiful, and faithful Subjects, and the whole Common Weal of this Realm, it may please Your Highness to take speedy Order, that Declaration of the said Sentence and Judgement be made and published by Proclamation; and that thereupon Direction be given for further Proceeding against the said Scottish Queen, according to the Effect and true Meaning of the said Statute; because, upon advised and great Consultation, we cannot find, that there is any possible Means to provide for Your Majesty's Safety, but by the just and speedy Execution of the said Queen; the neglecting whereof may procure the heavy Displeasure and Punishment of Almighty God, as by sundry severe Examples of His great Justice in that Behalf, left us in the Sacred Scriptures, doth appear; and, if the same be not put in present Execution, we Your most loving and dutiful Subjects shall thereby (so far as Man's Reason can reach) be brought in utter Despair of the Continuance amongst us of the true Religion of Almighty God, and of Your Majesty's Life, and the Safety of all Your faithful Subjects, and the good Estate of this most flourishing Common Weal."
The Queen's Reply to their Petition.
THIS Day, the Lord Chancellor delivered Her Majesty's Answer to the Lords to the last Resolution; the Effect whereof was: "If, said her Highness, I should say unto (fn. 1) you, that I mean not to grant your Petition, by my Faith, I should say unto you more than perhaps I mean; and if I should say unto you, that I mean to grant your Petition, I should then tell you more than is fit for you to know; and thus I must deliver you an Answer answerless."