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, 26 die Martii,
Præsens REX (fn. 1).
THE Lord Chief Justice sitting in the Lord Chancellor's Place as Speaker, and the Lords with their Robes attending the King's Coming, the Prince also being present in his Robes, and his Coronet on his Head, the King came, the Earl of Oxford, the Lord Great Chamberlain, with his Staff, and the Earl of Mountgomerie bearing the Sword, and the Serjeants with their Maces before, and entered at the Upper End of the Parliament Presence. The Lords all arose, and made their humble Obeisance unto His Majesty. And His Majesty, sitting under the Cloth of State, willed the Lords to sit down, and then made a most loving and gracious Speech unto them, confirming their ancient Privileges, and expressing his Willingness to ease His Subjects of their Grievances, and to punish such as had abused any Grants of Monopolies, to the Grief and Consumption of His loving Subjects, in hæc verba:
"The last Time I came hither, My Errand was to inform you (as well as My Memory could serve me of Things so long passed) of the Verity of My Proceedings, and the Cautions used by Me in the passing of those Patents, which are now in Question before you, to the Effect that they might not be abused in the Execution; and this I did by way of Declaration. But now I come (understanding the Time of your Censure to draw near) to express My Readiness to put in Execution (which is the Life of the Law) those Things which ye are to sentence (for even the Law itself is a dead Letter without Execution), for which Office God hath appointed me in these Kingdoms. And though I assure Myself that My former Behaviour, in all the Course of My Life, hath made Me well known for a just King, yet, in this special Case, I thought fit to express My own Intentions, out of My own Mouth, for Punishment of Things complained of. The first Proof whereof I have given, by the diligent Search I caused to be made after the Person of Sir Gyles Mompesson, who, though he were fled, yet My Proclamation pursued him instantly; and, as I was earnest in that, so will I be to see your Sentence against him put in Execution.
"Two Reasons move me to be earnest in the Execution of what ye are to sentence at this Time. First, That Duty I owe to God, who hath made Me a King, and tied me to the care of Government, by that Politick Marriage betwixt Me and My People. For I do assure you, in the Heart of an honest Man, and by the Faith of a Christian King (which both ye and all the World know Me to be), had these Things been complained of to Me before the Parliament, I would have done the Office of a just King, and out of Parliament have punished them as severely, and peradventure more than ye now intend to do.
"But now that they are discovered to Me in Parliament, I shall be as ready in this way, as I should have been in the other. (For I confess) I am ashamed (these Things proving so, as they are generally reported to be) that it was not My good Fortune to be the only Author of the Reformation, and Punishment of them by some ordinary Course of Justice. Nevertheless, since these Things are now discovered by Parliament, which before I knew not of, nor could so well be discovered otherwise, in Regard of that Representative Body of the Kingdom, which comes from all Parts of the Country; I will be never a whit the slower to do My part for the Execution. For as many of you that are here have heard Me often say, so I will still say, So Precious unto Me is the Publick Good, that no private Person whatsoever, were he never so dear unto Me, shall be so respected by Me, by many Degrees, as the Publick Good, not only of the whole Common Wealth, but even of any particular Corporation, that is a Member of it: And I hope that ye, My Lords, will do Me that Right, to publish to My People this My Heart and purpose.
"The Second Reason is, that I intend not to derogate or infringe any of the Liberties or Privileges of this House, but rather to fortify and strengthen them; for never any King hath done so much for the Nobility of England, as I have done, and will ever be ready to do. And whatsoever I shall now say and deliver unto you as My Thought, yet, when I have said what I think, I will afterwards freely leave the Judgment wholly to your House. I know ye will do nothing but what the like hath been done before; and I pray you be not jealous, that I will abridge you in any Thing that hath been used; for whatsoever the Precedents in Times of good Government can warrant, I will allow. For I acknowledge this to be the Supreme Court of Justice, wherein I am ever present by Representation; and in this ye may be the better satisfied by My own Presence, coming divers Times amongst you; neither can I give you any greater Assurance, or better Pledge, of this My Purpose, than that I have done you the Honour to set My only Son amongst you, and hope that ye with him shall have the Means to make this the happiest Parliament that ever was in England.
"This I profess, and take Comfort in, that the House of Commons at this Time have shewed greater Love, and used Me with more Respect, in all their Proceedings, than ever any House of Commons have heretofore done to Me, or (I think) to any of My Predecessors. As for this House of yours, I have always found it respective to Me; and accordingly do I, and ever did, favour you, as ye well deserved. And I hope it will be accounted a Happiness for you, that My Son doth now sit amongst you, who, when it shall please God to set him in My Place, will then remember, that he was once a Member of your House, and so be bound to maintain all your lawful Privileges, and like the better of you, all the Days of his Life. But, because the World at this Time talks so much of Bribes, I have just Cause to fear the whole Body of this House hath bribed him, to be a good Instrument for you upon all Occasions; he doth so good Offices in all his Reports to Me, both for the House in general, and every one of you in particular.
"And the like I may say of one that sits there (Buckingham); he hath been so ready, upon all Occasions, to do good Offices, both for the House in general, and every Member thereof in particular. One Proof thereof, I hope, My Lord of Arundell hath already witnessed unto you, in his Report made unto you of My Answer touching the Privileges of the Nobility, how earnestly he spake unto Me in that Matter.
"Now, My Lords, the Time draws near of your Recess; whether Formality will leave you Time for proceeding now to Sentence against all, or any of the Persons now in Question, I know not: But, for My Part, since both Houses have dealt so lovingly and freely with Me, in giving Me, as a free Gift, Two Subsidies, in a more loving Manner than hath been given to any King before, and so accepted by Me; and, since I cannot yet retribute, by a general Pardon, which hath by Form usually been reserved to the End of a Parliament, the least I can do (which I can forbear no longer) is to do something in present for the Ease and good of My People.
"That of Gold and Silver Thread was most vilely executed, both for Wrongs done to Mens Persons, as also for Abuse in the Stuff; for it was a kind of false Coin. I have already freed the Persons, that were in Prison; I will now also damn the Patent; and this may seem instead of a Pardon. All these Three I will have re-called by Proclamation, and with you to advise of the fittest Form for that Purpose.
"I hear also, that there is another Bill amongst you, against Informers: I desire you, My Lords, that, as ye tender My Honour, and the Good of My People, ye will put that Bill to an End so soon as ye can; and, at your next Meeting, to make it one of your first Works. For I have already shewed My Dislike of that kind of People openly, in Star-chamber; and it will be the greatest Ease both to Me, and all those that are near about Me at Court, that may be; for I remember, that, since the Beginning of this Parliament, Buckingham hath told Me, he never found such Quiet and Rest, as in this Time of Parliament, from Projectors and Informers, who, at other Times, miserably vexed him at all Hours.
"And now I confess, that, when I looked before upon the Face of the Government, I thought (as every Man would have done) that the People were never so happy as in My Time; for even as, at divers Times, I have looked upon many of My Coppices, riding about them, and they appeared on the Outside very thick and well grown unto Me; but, when I entered into the midst of them, I found them all bitter within and full of Plains and bare Spots; like an Apple, or Pear, fair and smooth without, but, when ye cleave it asunder, ye find it rotten at the Heart: Even so this Kingdom, the external Government being as good as ever it was, and I am sure as Learned Judges as ever it had (and I hope as honest), administering Justice within it; and for Peace both at Home and Abroad, I may truly say, more settled, and longer lasting, than ever any before, together with as great Plenty as ever, so as it was to be thought, that every Man might sit in Safety under his own Vine, and his own Fig-tree: Yet I am ashamed, and it makes My Hair stand upright, to consider how, in this Time, My People have been vexed and polled, by the vile Execution of Projects, Patents, Bills of Conformity, and such like, which, besides the Trouble of My People, have more exhausted their Purses, than Subsidies would have done.
"Now, My Lords, before I go hence, since God hath made Me the great Judge of this Land under him, and that I must answer for the Justice of the same, I will therefore (according to My Place) remember you of some Things, though I would not teach you. For no Man's Knowledge can be so good, but their Memories will be the better to be refreshed. And now, because you are coming to give Judgment, all which moves from the King, that you may the better proceed, take into your Care Two Things. First, to do Bonum; Secondly, next, to do it Bene. I call Bonum when all is well proved, whereupon ye judge; for then ye build upon a sure Foundation: and by Bene, I understand that ye proceed with all Formality and Legality, wherein you have fit Occasions to advise with the Judges, who are to assist you with their Opinions in Cases of that Nature; and Woe be to them, if they advise you not well; so, the Ground being good, and the Form orderly, it will prove a Course sitting this High Court of Parliament.
"In Sentence, ye are to observe Two Parts; first, to recollect that which is worthy of Judging and Censuring; and, secondly, to proceed against these, as against such like Crimes properly. We doubt there will be many Matters before you, some complained of out of Passion, and some out of just Cause of Grievance. Weigh both; but be not carried away with the impertinent Discourses of them that name as well innocent Men as guilty; let your Judgments only take hold of the guilty; proceed judicially, and spare none, where you find just Cause to punish; but let your Proceedings be according to Law: and remember, that Laws have not their Eyes in their Necks, but in their Foreheads. For the moral Reason of the Punishment of Vices in all Kingdoms and Common Wealths is, because of the Breach of Laws standing in Force; for none can be punished for Breach of Laws by Predestination, before they be made.
"There is yet one Particular, which I am to remember you of. I hear that Sir Henry Yelverton (who is now in The Tower, upon a Sentence given in the Starchamber against him, for deceiving My Trust) is touched concerning a Warrant Dormant, which he made while he was My Attorney; the which My Lord Treasurer here refused to set his Hand unto, like an honest Man, when it was brought unto him. I protest, I never heard of this Warrant Dormant before; and I hold it as odious a Matter as any is before you; and if, for respect to Me, ye have forborn to meddle with him in Examination, because he is My Prisoner, I do now here freely remit him unto you, and put him into your Hands.
"And this is all I have to say unto you at this Time, wishing you to proceed justly and nobly, according to the Orders of your House: and I pray God to bless you; and ye may assure yourselves of My Assistance; wishing that what I have said this Day amongst you may be entered into the Records of this House."
The House order Thanks to be rendered His Majesty, for His Speech.
The which Speech being ended, the Lords conceived so great Joy thereat, that they Ordered the whole House to go to the King, at One of the Clock in the Afternoon to render His Majesty most humble Thanks.
Hodie lecta est, the Collection of the Offences of Sir Gyles Mompesson, in the undue executing the Grant of the sole Manufacture of Gold and Silver Thread; and the Proofs of these Abuses were cited by Mr. Serjeant Crew (and by one Mr. Herne, attending him, that had known the Passage of the Cause); and were read by the Clerk.
And, upon serious Debatement of the Offences and the Proofs, it did appear, and the Lords were fully satisfied, That the said Sir Gyles Mompesson had erected a Court without Warrant; and also that he imprisoned the King's Subjects, and exacted Bonds from them by Threats, without Warrant; and afterwards, by undue Practices, procured a Proclamation, and other Warrants, to colour such his Doings; and yet executed all those Ills, and seized the Goods of divers Persons, contrary to such Authority so unduly procured by him; and that he neither paid the Ten Pounds Rent reserved to the King, nor brought in the Five Thousand Pounds Bullion yearly, as he pretended and covenanted to have done; and that all other his Offences and Abuses were duly proved against him.
Hodie lectæ sunt iterum, the Collections of the Abuses of Sir Gyles Mompesson, touching the Grant of Concealments, wherein was objected against him his Abuses, and the Proofs thereof; which being read, the Earl of South'ton and the other Lords joined in Committee with his Lordship to examine the same, justified their Knowledge of the Proofs; and, upon serious debating of the Abuses, the Lords were fully satisfied, and Resolved, That Sir Gyles Mompesson and his Agents, and not the King's Officers of the Exchequer, were in Fault, for the small Values found of the Lands, which he put in his Books. And further, That Sir Gyles had broken all his Directions; for he passed Things as not in Charge which were in Charge; and he passed Things at a less Rate than they were at this present.
And, whereas the said Sir Gyles had found a Piece of Ground, called Peasmersh, in the County of Surrey, at Ten Shillings per Annum, which was in the Possession of Sir George More, Knight, the now Tenant thereof; the said Sir George More, being sworn, did testify upon his Oath, that the said Land, called Peasmershe, intended to be passed by Sir Gyles Mompesson, in his Book of Concealments, at Ten Shillings per Annum, doth contain Seven Hundred Acres, many Acres worth Ten Shillings per Annum the Acre, but the most worth Thirteen Shillings and Four Pence an Acre per Annum.
Message to the Lower House.
Lord Admiral desires to be excused attending in the Afternoon.
The Lord Admiral desired to be excused, if he should be absent this Afternoon; he will assent to their Lordships Censure of Sir Gyles Mompesson; affirming, that the said Sir Gyles had highly abused the King, and therein abused his Lordship more than any of the Lords.
Sir Gyles Mompesson.
It was much debated amongst the Lords, what Punishment Sir Gyles Mompesson deserved, for his high Offences. And, for that the Punishment heretofore inflicted upon Empson and Dudley was much spoken of, the Lords required to hear their Indictments.
To the End that it might be more freely discussed, of what Nature the said Offences are, and what Punishment is fit to be inflicted upon the Offender, the House was Adjourned ad placitum, the Lord Chief Justice removing to his Place of Assistance.
It being also declared unto the Lords, by the Earls of Arundell and Cambridge (nemine dissentiente), that their Lordships may proceed further against Sir Gyles Mompes- son, hereafter, if more Matter, or Matters of a higher Nature, can be found against him;
Message concerning Sir Gyles Mompesson.
That, if the Commons, with their Speaker, will, according to the ancient Custom of Parliament, come to demand of the Lords, That Judgement be given against Sir Gyles Mompesson, for the heinous Offences by him committed, they shall be heard; and also, That the Lords desire a Conference with them To-morrow Morning, in the Painted Chamber.
The House present Thanks to His Majesty for His Speech.
In the mean Time, the Lord Treasurer reported, That (according to the Order of the House made this Morning) the Prince his Highness, accompanied with many Lords, did present unto His Majesty most humble Thanks, for His Majesty's most Gracious Speech unto their Lordships this Morning. The which Thanks, with the manner of presenting the same, His Majesty joyfully accepted of, and, in many favourable and kind Words, expressed such His Acceptation; saying, that the Lords have taken the right Way to catch a King, videlicet, by speaking to Him by His Son.
Commons demand Judgement against Mompesson.
The Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons, accompanied with their Speaker, came to the Bar; where the Speaker repeated the Message which the Lords had sent unto them, and said, "The Commons, by me their Speaker, demand Judgment to be given against Sir Gyles Mompesson, according as the Heinousness of his Offence doth require."
The Lord Chief Justice, being in Place of the Lord Chancellor, answered: "Mr. Speaker, The Lords Spiritual and Temporal have taken Knowledge of the great Pains the Commons have taken, to inform their Lordships of many Complaints brought unto them, against Sir Gyles Mompesson and others, whereof their Lordships received divers Instructions from them; and thereupon, proceeding by Examination of divers Witnesses upon Oath, they find Sir Gyles Mompesson, and divers others, guilty of many heinous Crimes, against the King's Majesty, and against the Common Wealth.
"Time will not permit their Lordships to deal with all the Offenders at this Time; they will now give Judgement upon Sir Gyles Mompesson (according to your Demands); and hereafter their Lordships will proceed against the other Offenders."
Judgement of Sir Gyles Mompesson.
"1. That Sir Gyles Mompesson shall stand, and be from henceforth, degraded of the Order of Knighthood, with Reservation of the Dignity of his Wife and Children; and the Ceremonies of Degradation to be performed, by Direction of the Earl Marshal's Court, whensoever he shall be taken.
"7. And that the King's Majesty shall have the Profits of his Lands for Life; and shall have all his Goods and Chattels as forfeited; and that he shall undergo Fine and Ransom, which their Lordships assess at Ten Thousand Pounds.
Gold and Silver Thread.
Ordered, That Richard Norton and Jervis Unwoon, Two Delinquents committed by this Court, upon Complaint of the Commons, for many Abuses touching the sole Manufacture of Gold and Silver Thread, shall be enlarged, upon sufficient Bail taken by the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench.
Dominus Capitalis Justiciarius, Locum tenens Domini Cancellarii, declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque in diem crastinum, videlicet, vicesimum septimum diem Martii, Dominis sic decernentibus.