Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 3, 1620-1628. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
DIE Jovis, videlicet, decimo nono die Februarii,
MEMORANDUM, That on Thursday, the 19th of February, in the One and Twentieth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord James, by the Grace of God, of England, Fraunce, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. and of Scotland the Seven and Fiftieth, being the First Day of this Parliament, His Majesty, sitting in His Royal Throne, and the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and the Commons also being present, it pleased His Majesty to declare the Cause of Summons of this said Parliament, to this Effect: videlicet,
"My Lords Spiritual, (fn. 1) and you that are Gentlemen of the House of Commons of this present Parliament:
"It is a true Saying, and uttered by the Spirit of God, That the Glory of a King stands in the Multitude of His People. And I am sure, it is as true, that the Strength of a Kingdom stands next, and immediately after God's Protection, in the Hearts of the People. That you may see, and have a Proof, that I have not this only in My Tongue, but have it likewise settled in My Heart (as God can bear Me Record), and that every Way; I have therefore called you, at this Time, to speak freely My Mind unto you; for, remembering many Misunderstandings between Me and you before, I am now brought hither with an earnest Desire to do My Duty that God hath called Me unto, by declaring unto you the Verity of this, that God hath put in My Heart, and to manifest My Actions to be true by My Words. I remember very well, it is a very fit Similitude for a King and His People to be like to a Husband and Wife, for even as Christ, in whose Throne I sit in this Part of the Earth, is Husband to the Church, and the Church is His Spouse, so I likewise desire to be your Husband, and ye should be My Spouse; and therefore, as it is the Husband's Part to cherish his Wife, to entreat her kindly, and reconcile himself towards her, and procure her Love by all Means, so it is My Part to do the like to My People.
"There are but Two Ways of a King to shew His Love to His People; one, in the constant good Government of His People, which is perpetual during His Life; the other, in His Behaviour to the Representative Body of the Parliament; for the one, God knoweth, I never failed in it; I cannot do as well as I should; but, God knoweth, I desire My Government should be performed with an honest, just, true, and sincere Heart; and there is none of you that see or hear Me this Day, but have found the Fruit of it, one Time or other. For the other Point, belonging to the Representative Body, which is now the Cause of calling you together, what greater Evidence can there be, to shew Love between you and Me, and between Me and you (that are the Representative Body in a right Understanding), than, out of My own Mouth and Direction, to give you a Taste of My Love and Care of you all?
"The Properties and Causes of calling a Parliament (and so go the Writs) are, to confer with the King, and give Him their Advice in Matters of greatest Weight and Importance: For this Cause have I now called you together, that ye may have Proof of My Love, and of My Trust: I have now called you to give Me your Advices in the greatest Matter that ever could concern any King; a greater Declaration of My Confidence in you I cannot give.
"I have been these many Years upon Treaties; but, so far as I thought (and, God is My Witness, I never had any other Intention), for settling a Peace in Christendom, and settling of Peace at Home; and, in these Treaties, I went long on; but, finding in them a slower Success than I expected, or had Reason to do, I was willing, and especially in one Thing concerning the Estate of My Grand-children, to see a good and speedy End. And in this finding as great Promises as I could wish, and yet finding their Actions clean contrary, it stirred up My Son to offer himself to make that Journey; and I thank God, having him here now, I have no Cause to repent it; for, being of fit Age and Ripeness for Marriage, he urged Me to know the Certainty in a Matter of so great Weight, that he might not be put off with long Delays, for Delay in such a Case is more dangerous than Denial. In it I was content, as a rare Example, to grant his Desire, and with him I only sent the Man whom I most trusted, Buckingham, commanding him never to leave him, nor to return Home without him; and I thank God for it, for it hath learned Me a Wisdom, for in generalibus versatur dolus: I had general Hopes before, but Particulars will resolve Matters, Generals will not: and, before this Journey, Things came to Me as raw, as if I had never treated of them before; and I was as far disappointed of My Ends, as if I had been waked out of a Dream. Now I have put it into a Certainty; and whereas I walked in a Mist before, I have now brought it to Particulars. Now, My Lords, for the Particulars, they are gone so far, as both in the Treaty of the Match and of the Palatinate I know the utmost; I am resolved what may be, what I am like to obtain, and have had Promises and Projects, and that some of them very lately. But, to shew the Trust that I put in you, I am content, that My Secretaries, with the Information and Assistance of My Son and Buckingham, shall relate unto you all. And, when you have heard all Super totam materiam, I shall then intreat your good and found Advice, for the Glory of God, the Peace of the Kingdom, and Weal of My Children. Never King gave more Trust to His Subjects than to desire their Advice in Matters of this Weight: For, I assure you, ye may freely advise Me, seeing, of My Princely Fidelity, ye are intreated thereunto. And never Subjects had better Hearts and Experience to give Me good Advice than you, of which I make no Doubt; for, if you love yourselves, you will give Me good Advice, your own Felicity depending upon it.
"My Lords, and you Gentlemen all, I pray you judge Me charitably, as you would have Me to judge you; for I never made public nor private Treaties, but I always made a direct Reservation for the Weal Public, and Cause of Religion, for the Glory of God, and Good of My Subjects; I only thought good sometimes to wink and connive at the Execution of some Penal Statutes, and not to go on so rigorously as at other Times; but to dispense with any, to forbid or alter any that concern Religion, I never promised or yielded; I never did think it with My Heart, nor speak it with My Mouth. It is true, a skilful Horseman doth not always use the Spur; but must sometimes use the Bridle, and sometimes the Spur. So a King, that governs wisely, is not bound to carry a rigorous Hand over His Subjects upon all Occasions, but may sometimes slacken the Bridle, yet so as His Hands be not laid off the Reins. And so much for that Point to be cleared upon all Occasions.
"Now, albeit it be a great Matter to require your Advice, yet in this I pray remember the Weight of the Business, and Shortness of the Time, and spend as little Time as you may. For, as I told you before, Delay is Destruction to such weighty Occasions; I cannot limit you Hours and Days; but your own Hearts must do it; for every Man by Nature thinks the Time long here, according to his own Occasions at Home. Therefore, consider the State of Christendom, and the State of My Grand-children, My own Estate, and the State of My Kingdom, the Treaties, and all; and then upon all you are to give Me your Advice.
"My Lords, it is not enough, although you are never so willing to give Me your Advice (for to plant will not serve Turn), if, like a good Gardiner, I do not, as well as plant, weed away from the Roots, and take away the Obstacle that hinders your so happy Advice in deliberating of these Businesses, of which the whole Weed and manifest Hindrance that can be is your Jealousy of Me: Free Me from that, and for My Actions I dare avow them before God and his Angels. But Jealousy hath a deep Sting; take away that, and nothing can do you Harm: You are my Wife, and Jealousy is subject to a Wife; therefore remove it, and be not jealous of Me: For Matters of Privileges, Liberties, and Customs, be not over-curious; I am your own kindly King, ye never shall find Me curious in these Things; therefore do what you ought, and no more than your lawful Liberties and Privileges will permit, and ye shall never see Me curious to the contrary: I had rather maintain your Liberties than alter them in any Thing; shew a Trust in Me, and go on honestly, as you ought to do, like good and faithful Subjects; and what you shall have Warrant for, go on; and I will not be curious, unless you give Me too much Cause.
"The next Thing is, to beware that you take not in Hand the maintaining of idle Questions amongst you, which spoils great Businesses. Remember, beware of Genealogies and curious Questions, as St. Paul speaks; and do keep you to the Ground and Gravity of the great Business for which I call you; and next, for all other Things that are for the great Good, and Wellgoverning of the Kingdom; and let not any stir you up to Law Questions, Debates, Quirks, Tricks, and Jerks: but continue yourselves in that honest Modesty, whereby you may have My Prayers to God for you, and procure the Love of Me, and a happy End to this Parliament.
"God judge Me, I speak as a Christian Prince; never Man, in a dry and sandy Wilderness, where no Water is, did thirst more in hot Weather for Drink, than I do now for a happy Conclusion of this Parliament. And now I hope, after the Miscarriage of Three, this may prove happy. I am neither curious nor captious Eschew all Occasions of curious Questions, that may hinder you in this great Cause, for which I have called you; and remember, that spending of Time is spoiling of Business. And this I hope in God, and that by a Faith in God, that, by your Actions this Parliament, I shall clearly see your Hearts; and that you are the true Representative Body of My Subjects. For you know in your Consciences, that, of all the Kings that ever were, I dare say, never King was better beloved of his People than I am. Therefore, be ye true Glasses and Mirrors of their Faces; and be sure you yield true Reflections and Representations, as you ought to do. And, this doing, I hope you shall not only find the Blessing of God, but also by these Actions procure the Thanks and Love of the whole People, for being so true and faithful Glasses. And you shall never find Me desire any Thing of you, but what shall tend to the common Good and Weal of the Kingdom."
Commons directed to choose a Speaker.
His Majesty having ended His Speech, the Lord Keeper removed from his Place; and having conferred (upon his Knees) with His Majesty, returned, and signified unto the Commons His Majesty's Pleasure, That they assemble in their House, and choose one of their Members to be their Speaker, and to present him here to His Majesty on Saturday next, at Two in the Afternoon.