Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 3, 1620-1628. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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Die Lunæ, videlicet, 1 die Maii,
Absent Lords, excused.
Earl of Exeter,
Earl of Leicestre,
Lord Bishop of Bath. et W.
Abuse of the Sabbath.
Dyed and Dressed Cloths.
E. of Westm'land.
L. Viscount Say et Seale.
L. Bp. of Norwich.
L. Bp. of Rochester.
L. Bp. of Ely.
L. Bp. of St. David's.
Mr. Justice Yelverton,
Mr. Serjeant Richardson,
|To attend the Lords.|
Tenants of Bromfield and Yale.
Lord Chief Baron,
Mr. Baron Trevor,
Mr. Justice Jones,
Mr. Serjeant Damport,
|To attend the Lords.|
Certain Clergymen not to be Justices of the Peace.
|Mr. Justice Jones,||
To attend the Lords.
Mr. Justice Hutton,
Mr. Justice Harvey,
Mr. Serjeant Richarson,
Gentleman-Usher acquaints the House, that he has brought up the E. of Bristol.
Message from the King.
Attorney General to charge the E. with High Treason.
The Gentleman Usher made his Return unto the House, That, according to their Lordships Order, he had brought up the Earl of Bristol, and is ready to do further as they shall appoint; and then the Lord Keeper delivered a Message from the King to this Effect: videlicet, "That His Majesty hath commanded His Attorney General to charge the Earl of Bristoll (before their Lordships) with High Treason, and with other Offences and Misdemeanors, of a very high Nature; and then to proceed in a legal Course against him, according to Justice, and the usual Proceedings of Parliament."
E. of Bristol at the Bar.
Attorney General opens the Charge against him, but is interrupted by the Earl, who sets forth why he should not be impeached.
The said Earl being thus brought to the Bar, and kneeling (until the Lord Keeper willed him to stand up), the Lord Keeper told him, "That he was sent for, to hear his Charge of High Treason:" and Mr. Attorney General, being at the Clerk's Table, began to open the said Charge accordingly. But the Earl of Bristoll interrupted him; and said, "That he had exhibitted his Petition unto the House, that he might come up, and be heard in his Accusation of the Duke of Buckingham; and that thereupon he (being a Peer of this Realm) is charged with Treason: That he had heretofore informed the late King's Majesty (of Blessed Memory) of the unfaithful Service of the said Duke: And that thereupon the Duke laboured that he might be clapped up in The Tower presently at his Return out of Spaine, and called up the Lord Chamberlain to testify whether the Lord Marquis Hamilton had not told him so much; and had since laboured to keep him from this King's Presence; and now he is charged with Treason.
"That he had been often employed (fn. 1) as Ambassador in weighty Affairs, and never came Home tainted; and, at his Return now last out of Spaine, he laboured the late King James, that he might be heard before Himself; and His Majesty promised it (I pray God, said the Earl, that Promise did Him no Hurt, for He died shortly after): And for the said King's Promise, he vouched the Lord Chamberlain; and earnestly desired their Lordships to take all these into their Consideration; and to consider also, that this House is already possessed of his said Petition of his Accusation of the said Duke; and required, that their Lordships would first receive his Charge against the said Duke, and against the Lord Conway, and not to (fn. 2) invalidate his Testimony against them by the King's Charge against him; and protested that he spake for the King; that he is free, and a Peer of the Realm; and desired not to be impeached until his Charge of so high a Nature be first heard; and tendered to the House his Articles in Writing against the Duke of Buckingham, and his Articles in Writing against the Lord Conway;" which the House commanded the Clerk to receive, and so he did.
Then the Petition of the said Earl, exhibited to the House the 19th of April, was read; wherein he desired, that he might be heard in his Accusation of the said Duke; and, after long Debate, it was Agreed, (upon the Question), That the King's Charge against the said Earl, and the said Earl's Charge against the said Duke, and his Charge against the Lord Conway, should be presently read.
Mr. Attorney General, standing at the Clerk's Table, opened the King's Charge against the said Earl at large; but he delivered it not in Writing (vide hic postea, sexto Maii, where the Heads thereof are at large).
Then the Clerk read the said Articles, exhibited by the Earl of Bristol, against the Duke of Buckingham; and the Articles exhibited by him against the Lord Conway, which follow, in hæc verba: videlicet,
He impeaches the Duke of Bucks.
"1. That the Duke of Buckingham did secretly combine and conspire with the Conde of Gondamar, Ambassador for the King of Spaine, before his the said Ambassador's last Return into Spaine, in the Summer 1622, to carry His Majesty (then Prince) into Spaine, to the End that He might be informed and instructed in the Roman Religion, and thereby have preverted the Prince, and subverted the true Religion established in England; from which Misery this Kingdom (next under God's Mercy) hath, by the wife, religious, and constant Carriage of His Majesty, been almost miraculously delivered, considering the many bold and subtile Attempts of the said Duke in that Kind.
"2. That Mr. Porter was made acquainted therewith, and sent into Spaine; and such Messages at his Return framed, as might serve for a Ground to set on Foot this Conspiracy; the which was done accordingly, and thereby the King and Prince highly abused, and their Consents thereby first gotten to the said Journey; that is to say, after the Return of the said Mr. Porter, which was about the End of December, or the Beginning of January, 1622; whereas the said Duke had plotted it many Months before.
"3. That the said Duke, at his Arrival in Spaine, nourished the Spanish Ministers, not only in the Belief of his own being Popishly affected; but did (both by absenting himself from all Exercises of Religion, constantly used in the Earl of Bristol's House, and frequented by all other Protestant English, and by conforming himself, to please the Spaniards, in divers Rites of their Religion, even so far as to kneel and adore their Sacrament) from Time to Time give the Spaniards Hope of the Prince's Conversion; the which Conversion he endeavoured to procure by all Means possible; and thereby caused the Spanish Ministers to propound far worse Conditions for Religion than had been formerly by the Earl of Bristol and Sir Walier Aston settled, and signed under their Majesties Hands; with a Clause, in the King of Spaines Answer, of the 12th of December 1622, that they held the Articles agreed upon sufficient, and such as ought to induce the Pope to the granting of the Dispensation.
"4. That the Duke of Buckingham, having several Times, in the Presence of the Earl of Bristoll, moved and pressed His late Majesty, at the Instance of the Conde of Gondomar, to write a Letter unto the Pope; and to that Purpose having once brought a Letter ready drawn, wherewith the Earl of Bristol, by His Majesty being made acquainted, did so strongly oppose the writing of any such Letter, that, during the Abode of the said Earl of Bristol in England, the said Duke could not obtain it; yet, not long after the Earl was gone, he procured such a Letter to be written from His late Majesty unto the Pope, and to have him styled Sanctissime Pater.
"5. That the Pope, being informed of the Duke of Buckingham's Inclination and Intention in Point of Religion, sent unto the said Duke a particular Bull, in Parchment, for to persuade and encourage him in the Perversion of His Majesty, then Prince.
"6. That the said Duke's Behaviour in Spaine was such, that he thereby so incensed the King of Spaine and His Ministers, as they would admit of no Reconciliation nor further Dealing with him; whereupon, the said Duke seeing that the Match would be now to his Disadvantage, he endeavoured to break it; not for any Service to the Kingdom, nor Dislike of the Match in itself, nor for that he found (as since he hath pretended) that the Spaniards did not really intend the said Match, but out of his particular Ends and his Indignation.
"7. That, after that he intended to cross the Marriage, he put in Practice divers undue Courses; as namely, making Use of the Letters of His Majesty (then Prince) to his own Ends, and not to what they were intended, as likewise concealing divers Things of high Importance from His late Majesty; and thereby overthrew His Majesty's Purposes, and advanced his own Ends.
"8. That the said Duke, as he had with his Skill and Artifices formerly abused Their Majesties; so, to the same End, he afterwards abused both Houses of Parliament, by his sinister Relation of the Carriage of Affairs, as shall be made appear almost in every Particular that he spake unto the said Houses.
"9. As for the Scandal given by his Personal Behaviour, as also the employing of his Power with the King of Spaine for the procuring of Favours and Offices, which he bestowed upon base and unworthy Persons, for the Recompence and Hire of his Lust: These Things, as neither fit for the Earl of Bristol to speak, nor indeed for the House to hear, he leaveth to your Lordships Wisdoms how far you will be pleased to have them examined; it having been indeed a great Infamy and Dishonour to this Nation, that a Person of the Duke's great Quality and Employments, a Privy Counsellor, an Ambassador, eminent in his Master's Favour, and solely trusted with the Person of the Prince, should leave behind him in a Foreign Court so much Scandal as he did by his Behaviour.
"11. That the Duke of Buckingham hath, in his Relations to both Houses of Parliament, wronged the Earl of Bristol, in Point of his Honour, by many sinister Aspersions which he hath laid upon him; and in Point of his Liberty, by many undue Courses, through his Power and Practices.
"12. That the Earl of Bristol did reveal unto His late Majesty, both by Word and Letter, in what Sort the said Duke had disserved Him, and abused His Trust; and that the King, by several Ways, sent him Word, that he should rest assured He would hear the said Earl; but that he should leave it to Him to take His own Time. And thereupon, few Days before His Sickness, He sent the Earl Word, that He would hear him against the said Duke, as well as He had heard the said Duke against him; which the Duke himself heard, and not long after His Blessed Majesty sickened and died, having been in the Interim much vexed and pressed by the said Duke.
Ld. Conway impeached by the E. of Bristol.
1. That the Lord Conway is so great a Servant of the Duke of Buckinghames, that he hath not stuck to send the Earl of Bristol plain Word, that if Businesses could not be accommodated betwixt him and the Duke, he must then adhere and declare himself for the said Duke, and therefore unfit to be a Judge in any Thing that concerneth the Duke or the Earl.
"2. That the said Lord Conway professeth himself to be a Secretary of the Duke of Buckingham's Creation, and so acknowledgeth it under his own Hand: and, although he be the King's Secretary of State, and a Privy Counsellor, he usually beginneth his Letters to the Duke, Most Gracious Patron.
"3. That, as a Creature of the said Duke's, the said Lord Conway hath been made the Instrument of keeping the Earl of Bristol from the King's Presence, and of imprisoning of him, by Warrants only under his own Hand, for which he cannot (as the Earl conceiveth) produce any sufficient Warrant.
"4. That, by the Space of Twelve Months last past, the said Lord Conway hath been the Cause of the Earl's Restraint, only by misinforming His Majesty, and procuring a Letter of Restraint upon undue Grounds; and when it was made apparent unto him that the said Earl was restored to his Liberty, freely to follow his own Affairs, by His late Majesty of Blessed Memory, he replied, That that Liberty, given him by His Majesty, expired with the King's Death.
"5. That the Earl of Bristol's Mother, lying sick, upon her Death-bed, desired, for her Comfort, to see her Son, and to give him her last Blessing; whereupon the Earl wrote to the said Lord Conway, to desire him to move the King for His Leave; which he putting off from Day to Day, told the Person employed, that, by reason of the Duke's Sickness, he could not find Opportunity to get the Duke's Leave to move the King; and having spoken with the Duke, he made a negative Answer in the King's Name; wherewith the Earl acquainting the King by some of His Bed-chamber, His Majesty was in a very great Anger, swearing the Secretary had never moved Him; and that to deny the said Earl Leave was a barbarous Part; and thereupon sent him presently free Leave; which the Secretary hearing of, sent likewise afterwards a Letter of Leave, but with divers Clauses and Limitations, differing from the Leave sent him from the King's own Mouth.
"6. That, having the Businesses of the Earl of Bristol in his Hands, and the Earl being commanded by the King to address himself in his Occasions unto his Lordship, he would never deliver any Message from the said Earl, without first acquainting the said Duke, and receiving his Directions; and, in a noble Manner of Freeness, stuck not to send him Word.
"7. That the Earl of Bristol having received from the Lord Conway Twenty Interrogatories, in His late Majesties Name, drawn up by a Commission of the Lords appointed to search into the Proceedings and Employments of the said Earl; in which Search there was more than Two Months spent, divers of the said Interrogatories involving Felony and Treason; and His Majesty having been pleased to assure the said Earl, both by Message and Letters, that, upon Satisfaction given to Himself and the Commissioners by his Answers, he would presently put an End to the Earl of Bristol's Business; the Earl of Bristol having so fully answered as would admit of no Reply, and that many of the Commissioners declared themselves to be fully satisfied; the said Lord Conway (being the Secretary in the Commission to whom it properly belonged to call the Lords to assemble), perceiving that the Earl of Bristol was like to be cleared, never moved for any further Meeting; neither have they ever been permitted to meet until this Day, whereby the Troubles of the Earl of Bristol have been kept on Foot till this present, and the said Earl's Imprisonment hath been enlarged Twenty Months; and, by the Artifices of the said Duke of Buckingham and the said Lord Conway (as shall be made appear), the said Earl hath been insensibly involved and stawked into the Troubles he is now in; which he doubted not but your Lordships will judge to be a very considerable Case.
"8. That, for a Colour of keeping the Earl from His late Majesty's Presence, it being pretended, after the Answer to the Twenty Interrogatories, that there were some few Questions more to be added; whereunto when he should have answered, His Majesty swore solemnly that, without any Delay, he should be admitted to His Presence; and that, within Two or Three Days, he should have the said Questions sent unto him; the Lord Conway, notwithstanding he acknowledged under his Hand that he had received His Majesties Directions for the sending of the said Articles, and was often thereunto solicited on the Behalf of the said Earl, would never send the said Questions; and at last answered, that he had no more to do with the Earl's Businesses.
"9. That the Earl of Bristol being set free by His late Majesty to come to London, to follow his own Affairs as he pleased; and thereupon having his Writ of Parliament sent unto him, without any Letter of Prohibition; but the Earl of Bristol, out of his great Desire to conform all his Actions to that which he should (fn. 2) understand would best please His Majesty, sent to know whether his Coming or Stay would be most agreeable unto His Majesty, who was pleased to answer, by a Letter from my Lord Duke of Buckingham, that He took in very good Part the said Earl's Respect unto Him; but wished him to make some Excuse for the present; the which accordingly he did; and moved, that he might have a Letter of Leave, under the King's Hand, to warrant his Absence; but, under Colour of this Letter of Leave, upon the Earl of Bristol's own Motion and Desire, the said Lord Conway sent a Letter from His Majesty, absolutely forbidding his coming to Parliament; and therein likewise was inserted a Clause, that the Earl should remain restrained, as he was in the Time of His late Majesty; and so thereby a Colour of Restraint, under His Majesty's Hand, was gotten, which could never be procured in His late Majesty's Time, whereby the Earl of Bristol hath been unduly restrained ever since, without being able to procure any Redress, or to make the Lord Conway willing to understand his Case; although he sent him all the Papers, whereby he might clearly see, that the Earl was not under Restraint in His late Majesty's Time: But never other Answer could be procured from him, but that he judged the said Earl was under Restraint; and that his Liberty was expired by the late King's Death, as is abovesaid.
"10. That the said Lord Conway, knowing that the Match for the marrying of the King of Bohemia's eldest Son with the Emperor's Daughter, and being bred in the Emperor's Court, was allowed and propounded by His late Majesty; and that His Majesty, by His Letters unto His Son-in-law, declareth that He thinketh it the fairest and clearest Way for the Accommodation of His Affairs, and that He will take sufficient Care for his Breeding in true Religion; and, notwithstanding that the said Earl received a Copy of the said Letter, by the late King's Order, with other Papers, setting down all that had been done in the said Business, and His Majesties Assent thereunto, from the Lord Conway himself; yet hath he suffered it to be charged as a Crime against the Earl of Bristol, both in the Twenty Interrogatories and in His Majesty's late Letter, that he should consent to the breeding of the young Prince in the Emperor's Court; and, further in the Interrogatory, he alledgeth it as an Aggravation against the said Earl, that the breeding of the said Prince in the Emperor's Court inferred the Perversion of his Religion, when he knew that his said Breeding was never thought nor spoken of by the King nor any other, but with that express Clause and Condition, that he should be bred in his own Religion, and have such Tutors and Servants as his Father should appoint.
"11. That the Lord Conway hath been the Cause of all the Earl of Bristol's Troubles, by his dubious and intrapping Dispatches; and inferring that the said Earl hath failed in his Directions, when it shall be made appear that his Dispatches contained no such Directions, as he hath alledged were given.
Motion for the E. of Bristol's Commitment and Indictment.
These being read; the House was moved to proceed against the Earl of Bristol now, upon the King's Charge; and hereafter against the Duke upon the Earl's Charge; and that the said Earl might be committed, and indicted presently; and these Precedents were cited for this Manner of Proceeding, videlicet, Anno 4° Edwardi III, for the Lord Berkleyes Imprisonment and Indictment. Anno 21° Richardi II, for the Commitment of the Earls of Arundell and Warwicke. And Anno 28° Henrici VI, for the Commitment of the Duke of Suff. Which Precedents were neither read nor approved of. But the Judges were appointed to withdraw, and consider of the said Precedents, and of the Manner of Proceedings in other Courts in Matters of this Nature: who being returned, desired to be excused to deliver any Opinion of the Precedents of Parliamentary Proceedings; for that the Lords only are Judges of Parliamentary Proceedings: But they declared that, in Accusations of Treason before them, in their Courts, if good Matter appear, and one Witness for the same, they use to commit the Party accused; and then he is indicted in the King's Bench, if the Treason be within the Statute of 25 Edward III. If it be not within that Statute, the Judges are not to proceed until the Parliament hath declared whether it be Treason or no. And if the Treasons be committed beyond the Seas, then the Party accused is to be indicted in the King's Bench, or before Commissioners, according to the Statute of 35 Henry VIII. And the Judges reported a second Way of Proceedings against Parties accused of Treason; videlicet, by Bill of Attainder in Parliament, which is to pass both Houses. But how the Proceedings ought to be in this Case, they humbly left it to their Lordship's Considerations.
Committed to the Custody of the Gentleman-usher.
The House not being satisfied herewith, touching the Commitment of a Peer of the Realm upon a bare Accusation; It was Agreed, That the Earl of Bristol shall remain committed in the Gentleman-usher's House; and Access of Friends to be permitted to come unto him; and the Committee of Privileges to peruse the Precedents of this Nature, and make Report to the House.
And it was further Ordered, and Agreed, That the King's Charge against the Earl of Bristol shall be first heard; and then the Charge of the Earl against the Duke; but yet so as the Earl's Testimony against the Duke be not prevented, prejudiced, nor impeached.
E. of Bristol at the Bar.
These being thus Agreed on; the Earl of Bristol was brought to the Bar again; and the Order of the House, touching the said Charges and his Manner of Commitment, signified unto him by the Lord Keeper.