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 Martis, videlicet, 24 die Aprilis,
THE Lords sitting in their Robes, and the Lord Chief Justice in the Place of the Lord Chancellor, expecting His Majesty's Coming into the Parliament House, the Earl of Oxon (Lord Great Chamberlain of England) and the Earl of Essex, who carried the Sword, coming before, the King entered; and His Majesty being placed in His Chair, under the Cloth of Estate, was pleased to make a Gracious Speech unto their Lordships. The Effect whereof followeth: videlicet,
The King's Speech.
His Majesty, in His said Speech to the Lords, made a short Repetition of the Speech used by His Majesty unto their Lordships and the Commons, at their last Access unto His Majesty, on Friday last: videlicet, "That at that Time he made a Recantation unto them of his former Determination not to use any Speeches unto them, but those usual at the Beginning and Ending of a Parliament; but the House of Commons do behave themselves so worthily unto Him, that therefore His Majesty is resolved to speak ostner unto them hereafter, as Occasion shall require."
1. For the first, His Majesty told them, That He had more Cause to give His Subjects Thanks for the Two Subsidies granted Him this Parliament, than any King ever had, both for that the same were granted in the Beginning of the Parliament, and for the Title of the Grant.
That His Majesty had taken up upon Trust aforehand the Sums granted Him by the said Subsidies, as well for the Defence of the Palatinate, as for the Maintenance of His Son-in-law and His Daughter, and their Children, and of the Dowager also (which are all expelled out of their Country), as also for Preparation of Arms for Recovery thereof.
That His Majesty had procured a short Truce, and did hope to procure a general Peace, and thereby to settle them in their Country again; but was to be at great Charges to send Ambassadors all over Christendom, for the effecting thereof; and, if this Peace cannot be obtained, then His Majesty intends to send His Army to recover the same. The great Charges of either of these cannot be supplied but by the Grant of more Subsidies.
And whereas some say, Subsidies may be granted at the next Session, lest, when the same is granted, His Majesty will dissolve the Parliament with the Session, within which short Time the important Businesses now intended cannot be finished; His Majesty protested before God, That, whether there be any more Subsidies granted him or no, he intends not to dissolve the Parliament until the Matters in Agitation be finished.
2. Touching the making of good Laws; His Majesty shewed, "That, at his first coming to the Crown, he commanded a Collection to be made of all Penal Statutes, the which Book (His Majesty hears this Day) is now finished; and he is very glad thereof; the said Penal Laws, some intricate, some obsolete, being the Ground-work of all Informers." Amongst other good Laws to be made, His Majesty especially recommended a Reformation of the Abuses of Informers, and that they be punished.
3. As touching the Complaints of Grievances, His Majesty commended the Complaint of all Publick Grievances, protesting, that He will prefer no Person whomsoever before the Publick Good. And His Majesty was pleased to put the Lords in Mind of their antient Orders of this House, in hearing the Complaints in the Examinations, and their Manner to give Judgment thereupon; and advised them to entertain nothing (the Time being precious) which was not Material and Weighty.
And whereas many Complaints are already made against Courts of Judicature, which are in Examination, and are to be proceeded upon by the Lords; His Majesty will add some, which He thinks fit to be also complained of, and redressed: videlicet, That no Orders be made, but in Publick Court, and not in Chambers; that excessive Fees be taken away; that no Bribary nor Money be given for the Hearing of any Cause. These and many other Things His Majesty thought fit to be done this Session. And His Majesty added, That, when He hath done this, and all that He can do for the Good of his Subjects, He confesseth He hath done but the Duty whereunto He was born.
And His Majesty was also pleased to say, That now He is come to speak somewhat in particular unto the Lords of this House for Himself; and told them, that as all Libels are generally punished, so a Libel against His Majesty, in open Parliament, must not escape.
His Majesty said, It seemed strange unto Him, that Sir Henry Yelverton should be examined here upon any Thing, save the Patent of Gold and Silver Thread; for that His Majesty did not conceive that any Matter was complained of against Sir Henry Yelverton, touching the Inns and Hosteries, whereof he was here also examined; touching which Patent Mompesson had made Complaint to His Majesty: That Sir Henry Yelverton refused to send any Process of Quo Warranto against a Multitude of Innkeepers; and His Majesty accepted Sir Henry Yelverton's modest Answer, that he misliked those Proceedings against His Subjects; but afterwards His Majesty understood that Mompesson agreeing that Sir Henry Yelverton should receive the Fees due unto him upon the said Process, he the said Sir Henry Yelverton yielded thereunto, and Mompesson never made further Complaint thereof.
His Majesty, to clear Himself, did lay open unto the Lords the many former just Mislikes, which He had against Sir Henry Yelverton, before He questioned him, and His gentle Proceedings against him for the same; and shewed that the first Mislike He found in him was, that His Majesty, referring a Pardon of a Petty Theft to be considered of by him, and the then Solicitor, he alone took it into his Consideration, and signed a Pardon for Murther also.
That the said Sir Henry Yelverton passed at one Time Four Patents for His Majesty to grant, which the Lord Chancellor stayed at the Seal, the same being very inconvenient. Hereupon His Majesty intended to remove him, but by Way of Preferment; and, finding at that Time a Judge's Place void, He thought to have bestowed that upon him; but, because He had not any Precedent, that the King's Attorney General was ever preferred to any other than to a Place of Chief Judge, His Majesty did then forbear, expecting some other Preferment for him.
And His Majesty, hearing of the Charter of the City of London lately renewed, containing many new excessive Grants, although Sir Henry Yelverton therein exceeded His Majesty's Warrant; yet His Majesty was pleased, at the first, to tell him gently and privately thereof; and the said Sir Henry Yelverton, with many Deprecations, denied absolutely that any new Liberties were contained in the said Grant, and desired to kiss His Majesty's Hands on that Condition, and so did.
Afterwards, when His Majesty intended to question the said Sir Henry Yelverton for the same, the Lord Admiral besought His Majesty not to think of any private Wrongs done to his Lordship: In the Examination of this Business touching the Charter of London, Sir Henry Yelverton, at the first, justified himself by His Majesty's Warrant; and that, by that Warrant, he might have given away all London from Him; yet at last he made a good Submission in the Beginning; but, in the End, he said he had not wronged His Majesty in his Prerogative.
And sith that now Sir Henry Yelverton doth tax His Majesty, that he suffers for his good Service done, His Majesty requires the Lords (who are able) to do Him Justice, and to punish Sir Henry Yelverton for his Slander.
Message from the Lower House.
4. An Act for the Explanation of a Branch of the Statute, made in the Third Year of the King's Majesty's Reign of England, intituled, An Act for the better discovering and repressing of Popish Recusants.
2. That they received Complaints of divers exorbitant Oppressions and Bribery, committed by Sir John Bennet, Knight, late a Member of their House, but now expulsed by them out of their House. They desire also a Conference with their Lordships about him; the Time, Place, and Number of Committees, they humbly leave unto their Lordships.
Conferences concerning Informers reported. Order.
The Lord Treasurer reported the Conference with the Lower House, touching the Bill against Informers (and Memorandum, that during the Report all the Lords Committees, and the Attendants, stood up, as the Order is).
Upon a Motion made this Day unto the House, That there is a great Cause, in the Midst of Hearing, to be heard in the Star-chamber To-morrow, the Lords were contented not to sit To-morrow in the Morning. Provided, That it be not drawn into a Precedent; but that this House, being the Supreme Court, may sit upon any Star-chamber-day, notwithstanding the Absence of such Lords as do use to attend that Court.
Sir John Bennet.
Re-conference concerning Informers.
Their Lordships have also condescended to a Reconference with the Commons, touching the Bill against Informers, &c. at Four To-morrow in the Afternoon, in the Painted Chamber, by the former Committee of this House; and that the Committee of this House shall have Authority to depute a Sub-Committee of theirs, to confer with a Sub-Committee of the Commons, if Occasion be; and therefore the Lords desire the Commons to give their Committee the like Authority: And this their Lordships conceive to be the Meaning of both Houses, at the last Conference.
They will meet the Lords, for a Conference touching Sir John Bennett, at Four this Afternoon, in the Painted Chamber, with a Committee of their whole House; and To-morrow at Four in the Afternoon, the same Place, the former Committee of Commons will meet with the former Committee of the Lords, to confer touching the Bill against Informers, &c. and have given Authority to their Committee to depute a Sub-Committee, as is desired by the Lords.
The Prince to be a Member of all Committees.
Gold and Silver.
Writs of Certiorari.
Lord Chancellor's Submission.
It may please your Lordships, I shall humbly crave at your Lordships Hands a benign Interpretation of that which I shall now write. For Words, that come from wasted Spirits, and an oppressed Mind, are more safe in being deposited in a Noble Construction, than in being circled with any reserved Caution.
This being moved, and, as I hope, obtained, in the Nature of a Protection to all that I shall say, I shall now make into the rest of that wherewith I shall at this Time trouble your Lordships a very strange Entrance. For, in the Midst of a State of as great Affliction as I think a mortal Man can endure (Honour being above Life); I shall begin with the prosessing of Gladness in some Things.
The next, that, after this Example, it is like, that Judges will fly from any Thing that is in the Likeness of Corruption (though it were at a great Distance) as from a Serpent; which tendeth to the Purging of the Courts of Justice, and the reducing them to their true Honour and Splendor.
But, to pass from the Motions of my Heart, whereof God is only Judge, to the Merits of my Cause, whereof your Lordships are Judges, under God and his Lieutenant; I do understand, there hath been heretofore expected from me some Justification; and therefore I have chosen one only Justification, instead of all other, out of the Justifications of Job. For, after the clear Submission and Confession which I shall now make unto your Lordships, I hope I may say and justify with Job, in these Words: I have not bid my Sin as did Adam, nor concealed my Faults in my Bosom. This is the only Justification which I will use.
It resteth, therefore, that, without Fig-leaves, I do ingenuously confess, and acknowledge, that, having understood the Particulars of the Charge, not formally from the House, but enough to inform my Conscience and Memory, I find Matter sufficient, and full, both to move me to desert the Defence, and to move your Lordships to condemn and censure me.
Neither will I prompt your Lordships to observe upon the Proofs, where they come not home, or the Scruples touching the Credits of the Witnesses; neither will I represent unto your Lordships how far a Defence might, in divers Things, extenuate the Offence, in Respect of the Time or Manner of the Gift, or the like Circumstances, but only leave these Things to spring out of your own Noble Thoughts, and Observations of the Evidence, and Examinations themselves, and charitably to wind about the Particulars of the Charge here and there, as God shall put into your Mind; and so submit myself wholly to your Piety and Grace.
Your Lordships are not simple Judges, but Parliamentary Judges; you have a further Extent of arbitrary Power than other Courts; and, if your Lordships be not tied by the ordinary Course of Courts, or Precedents, in Points of Strictness and Severity, much more in Points of Mercy and Mitigation.
And yet, if any Thing which I shall move might be contrary to your Honourable and Worthy Ends to introduce a Reformation, I should not seek it. But herein I beseech your Lordships to give me Leave to tell you a Story. Titus Manlius took his Son's Life, for giving Battle against the Prohibition of his General; not many Years after, the like Severity was pursued by Papirius Cursor, the Dictator, against Quintus Maximus, who, being upon the Point to be sentenced, by the Intercession of some principal Persons of the Senate, was spared; whereupon Livy maketh this grave and gracious Observation; Neque minus firmata est Disciplina Militaris periculo Quinti Maximi, quam miserabili supplicio Titi Manlii. The Discipline of War was no less established by the Questioning of Quintus Maximus, than by the Punishment of Titus Manlius: And the same Reason is of the Reformation of Justice; for the Questioning of Men of eminent Place hath the same Terror, though not the same Rigour, with the Punishment.
But my Case standeth not there. For my humble Desire is, that His Majesty would take the Seal into His Hands, which is a great Downfall; and may serve, I hope, in itself for an Expiation of my Faults.
Your Lordships will be pleased to behold your chief Pattern, the King our Sovereign, a King of incomparable Clemency, and whose Heart is inscrutable for Wisdom and Goodness. Your Lordships will remember, that there sat not these Hundred Years before a Prince in your House; and never such a Prince, whose Presence deserveth to be made memorable by Records and Acts mixed of Mercy and Justice: Yourselves are either Nobles (and Compassion ever beateth in the Veins of Noble Blood) or Reverend Prelates, who are the Servants of Him, that would not break the bruised Reed, nor quench smoaking Flax. You all sit upon one high Stage; and therefore cannot but be more sensible of the Changes of the World, and of the Fall of any of high Place.
Neither will your Lordships forget, That there are Vitia Temporis, as well as Vitia Hominis; and that the Beginning of Reformations hath the contrary Power of the Pool of Bethesde; for that had Strength to cure only him that was first cast in; and this hath commonly Strength to hurt him only that is first cast in; and, for my Part, I wish it may stay there, and go no further.
Lastly, I assure myself, your Lordships have a Noble Feeling of me, as a Member of your own Body, and one that, in this very Session, had some Taste of your loving Affections; which, I hope, was not a Lightening before the Death of them, but rather a Spar of that Grace, which now in the Conclusion will more appear.
And therefore my humble Suit to your Lordships is, That my penitent Submission may be my Sentence, and the Loss of the Seal my Punishment; and that your Lordships will spare any further Sentence, but recommend me to His Majesty's Grace and Pardon for all that is past. God's holy Spirit be amongst you.
The which Submission being read, first by the Clerk, and afterwards repeated by the Lord Chief Justice; the House was adjourned ad libitum, to the End, the whole House being a Committee, it might be the better debated, whether the said Submission were a sufficient Confession for the Lords to ground their Censure on.
Lord Chancellor to be charged with Particulars of Bribery, &c.
Their Lordships being all Agreed, That the Lord Chancellor's Submission gave not Satisfaction to their Lordships, for that his Lordship's Confession therein was not fully nor particularly set down, and for many other Exceptions against the Submission itself, the same in sort extenuating his Confession, and his Lordship seeming to prescribe the Sentence to be given against him by the House; their Lordships Resolved, That the Lord Chancellor should be charged particularly with the Briberies and Corruptions complained of against him; and that his Lordship should make a particular Answer thereunto; but, whether his Lordship shall be brought to the Bar, to hear the Charge, or that, Respect being had to his Person (as yet having the King's Great Seal), the Charge shall be sent unto his Lordship in Writing, it was much debated.
And the Lord Chief Justice returning to the Lord Chancellor's Place, his Lordship put it to the Question, videlicet, Whether the Charge shall be sent to the Lord Chancellor in Writing, or the Lord Chancellor brought to the Bar, to hear the same; and Agreed, by most Voices, The Charge to be sent to his Lordship.
Memorandum, That, during the Time the whole House was a Committee, the Collections of Corruptions charged upon the Lord Chancellor, and the Proofs thereof made by the Three Committees according to the Order of 19° instantis Aprilis, was read by Mr. Attorney General.
And the said Collection (without the Proofs) was now first read by Mr. Attorney, and then sent to the Lord Chancellor by Mr. Baron Denham, and him the said Attorney General, with this Message from their Lordships: That the Lord Chancellor's Confession is not fully set down by his Lordship, in the said Submission, for Three Causes: 1. His Lordship confesseth not any particular Bribe nor Corruption. 2. Nor sheweth how his Lordship heard of the Charge thereof. 3. The Confession, such as it is, is afterwards extenuated in the same Submission; and therefore the Lords have sent him a Particular of the Charge, and do expect his Answer to the same, with all convenient Expedition.
Lord Chancellor's Corruptions.
1. In the Cause between Sir Rowland Egerton, Knight, and Edward Egerton, the Lord Chancellor received Five Hundred Pounds, on the Part of Sir Rowland Egerton, before he decreed the same; proved by the Depositions,
4. In Sir Thomas Muncke's Cause, he received from Sir Thomas, by the Hands of Sir Henry Helmes, an Hundred and Ten Pounds; but this was Three Quarters of a Year after the Suit; proved by the Deposition of Sir Henry Helmes.
7. In the Cause between Fisher and Wrenham, the Lord Chancellor, after the Decree passed, received from Fisher a Suit of Hangings, worth an Hundred and Sixty Pounds, and better, which Fisher gave by the Advice of Mr. Shute; proved by the Deposition of Sir Edward Fisher.
9. He borrowed of Vanlore a Thousand Pounds, upon his own Bond, at one Time; and the like Sum at another Time, upon his Lordship's own Bill, subscribed by Mr. Hunt, his Man; proved by the Depositions of Peter Vanlore.
13. William Counton, being to have an Extent for a Debt of Twelve Hundred Pounds, the Lord Chancellor staid it, and wrote his Letter, upon which Part of the Debt was paid presently, and Part at a future Day; the Lord Chancellor hereupon sends to borrow Five Hundred Pounds; and, because Counton was to pay to one Huxley Four Hundred Pounds, his Lordship requires Huxley to forbear it for Six Months, and thereupon obtains the Money from Counton. The Money being unpaid, Suit grows between Huxley and Counton in Chancery, where his Lordship decrees Counton to pay Huxley the Debt, with Damages and Costs, where it was in his own Hands; proved by the Depositions of William Counton.
He received in the same Cause of the Apothecaries, that stood with the Grocers, a Taster of Gold, worth between Forty or Fifty Pounds, together with a Present of Ambergrease; proved by the Depositions of
To accomplish which, he used very indirect Means, by Colour of his Office and Authority, without Bill or Suit depending; terrifying the Vintners, by Threats and Imprisonments of their Persons, to buy Wines, whereof they had no Need nor Use, at higher Rates than they were vendible; proved by the Depositions of
Dominus Capitalis Justiciarius, Locum tenens Domini Cancellarii, declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque in diem crastinum, videlicet, 25I diem instantis Aprilis, hora 2a post meridiem, Dominis sic decernentibus.