House of Lords Journal Volume 4: 11 May 1641

Pages 244-246

Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 4, 1629-42. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.

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DIE Martis, videlicet, 11 die Maii.


Richard Alexander's Petition.

Upon reading the Petition of Richard Alexander, Merchant, of Aberdine, desiring, "That himself and others with him may have Licence to go over with the Post, they being stayed by the stopping of the Posts;" it was Ordered, That he and his Company may have Liberty to pass the Ports.

Guernsey and Jersey Men desire Leave to have a Passage Home.

It was moved, That the Islanders, Inhabitants of Garnsey, that are in Town, may have Liberty to pass the Ports Home; which was Ordered accordingly, provided they return their Names hither.

Merchants Petition for opening the Ports.

After this, divers Petitions of Merchants were presented to the House, and some read; complaining of the great Loss and Prejudice which redounds to them, by staying of their Ships at the Ports; desiring Relief herein.

Hereupon a Message was sent to the House of Commons, by Baron Henden and Justice Heath:

Message to the H. C. for a Conference, about opening the Ports.

To desire a Free Conference, by a Committee of both Houses, presently, about the opening of the Ports for Trade.

Mariners assemble riotously, about stopping the Ports.

The Earl of Holland signified, "That last Night a Thousand Mariners were gathered together, because of the stopping of the Ships; and they came towards The Tower, and began to pull down a House; whereupon the Trained Bands which guarded The Tower shot about Three of them; and upon this they dispersed."

The Queen-mother desires a Guard.

And it was further signified to the House, "That, in regard of Tumults of People that are dispersed abroad, and the Report that some of them will come shortly into St. James's Fields, the Queen-mother desires that she may have a Guard about St. James's, for Her Safety."

Message from the H. C. with the Bill for raising Mariners;

and for a Conference, about the Affairs of both Kingdoms.

A Message from the House of Commons, by Sir Roger North, who brought up a Bill, which had passed that House, intituled, "An Act for the better raising and levying of Mariners, Sailors, and others, for the present Guarding of the Seas, and necessary Defence of the Realm;" and likewise desired a present Free Conference, if it may stand with their Lordships Conveniency, touching the Affairs of both Kingdoms.



That their Lordships will give a Meeting, in the Painted Chamber, presently, as is desired.

E. of Cumberland and Ld. Wentworth to see the E. of Strafford.

The Earl of Cumberland and the Lord Wentworth have Leave to see the Earl of Strafford in The Tower.

Answer from the H. C.

The Answer returned from the House of Commons is:

That they will give a present Meeting, in the Painted Chamber, as is desired.

Lords Reporters appointed.

The Earl of Essex, Earl of Dorsett, and Earl of Bristoll, were appointed to report the Conference which proceeded from the House of Commons.

Propositions for the Conference desired by the Lords.

And at the Conference which proceeded from this House, the Earl of Dorsett was to deliver the Proposition touching the opening of the Ports; and to let them know, "That this House hath received divers Petitions from Merchants, who have their Ships stayed, that they cannot go to Sea, which is much Loss and Prejudice to them." Next, the Earl of Holland is to signify unto them what he declared here, as the Desire of the Queen-mother, concerning a Guard for Her Security. And lastly, it was appointed, That the Letter which was sent to the Earl of Essex from Sir Phillip Carterett be read at the Conference.

Bill for prassing Mariners.

Hodie 1a vice lecta est Billa, An Act for the better raising and levying of Mariners and Sailors, and others, for the present Guarding of the Seas, and necessary Defence of the Realm.

The House was adjourned during Pleasure, and the Lords went to the Conference; which being ended, the House was resumed.

Conference reported. Consent to open the Ports.

And the Earl of Dorsett reported, "That he had delivered what was commanded him at the Conference; and that the House of Commons had the same Apprehensions of the freeing of the Ports, and the opening of them, so both Houses consented to it. Further, he reported their Information doth still increase their Fears concerning the Danger of the Kingdom; and the Probabilities that some of His Majesty's Dominions might be attempted from France, is the Reason of the shutting of the Ports, by which Reason, the Letters that were to go into Foreign Parts this last Week could not pass. Therefore it is the Desire of the House of Commons, that their Lordships would appoint a certain Number of Lords to join with Mr. Secretary Vane; and that they may have Power to send for all the Foreign Letters which came this Week, and those Letters which are to be exported, and open them; and, if they find any Thing concerning the Safety of the Kingdom, to make Use thereof; and such Letters which concern any Man's private Affairs, to be delivered to them."

Committee to open and inspect all Foreign Letters.

Hereupon these Lords were appointed, and Ordered by the House, to open and peruse the Letters as aforesaid: videlicet,

The E. of Essex.
E. of Dorsett.
E. of March.
E. of Bristoll.
E. of Berks.
L. Viscount Say & Seale.
Ds. Newnham.
Ds. Herbert de Cherbery.

Post-master to bring the Letters.

And it was Ordered, That Tho. Witheringes, Esquire, Post-master to His Majesty for Foreign Parts, shall bring, or cause to be brought, unto the Lords Committees specially appointed in particular, who are to meet at Whitehall, all such Letters as shall be imported and exported unto his Hands, or to the Hands of his several Deputies, until the Pleasure of this House be further known; whose Lordships, with Mr. Secretary Vane, who are to open the Letters and peruse them, will give further Directions in this Particular.

The Ports to be opened.

Ordered, That, by the Advice of both Houses, all the Ports shall be forthwith opened.

Sir William Savil to see E. Strafford.

Ordered, That Sir William Savill, Baronet, have Leave to see the Earl of Strafford in The Tower.

This Day His Majesty sent a Letter to the House by the Prince's Highness, which was delivered to the Speaker; who read it, in hæc verba:

"My Lords,

Letter from His Majesty to the House, about the E. of Strafford.

"I did Yesterday satisfy the Justice of the Kingdom, by the passing of the Bill of Attainder against the Earl of Strafford; but Mercy being as inherent and inseparable to a King as Justice, I desire, at this Time, in some Measure, to shew that likewise, by suffering that unfortunate Man to fulfil the natural Course of his Life in a Close Imprisonment; yet so that, if ever he make the least Offer to escape, or offer directly or indirectly to meddle in any sort of public Business, especially with Me, by either Message or Letter, it shall cost him his Life, without further Process. This, if it may be done without a Discontentment to My People, would be an unspeakable Contentment to Me. To which End, as in the first Place I by this Letter do earnestly desire your Approbation, and, to endear it the more, have chosen him to carry it that of all your House is most dear to Me; so I desire that, by a Conference, ye would endeavour to give the House of Commons Contentment likewise; assuring you that the exercising of Mercy is no more pleasing to Me, than to see both Houses of Parliament content, for My Sake, that I should moderate the Severity of the Law in so important a Case. I will not say that your complying with Me in this My intended Mercy shall make Me more willing, but certainly it will make Me more chearful, in granting your just Grievances. But, if no less than his Life can satisfy My People, I must say Fiat Justitia. Thus again earnestly recommending the Consideration of My Intention unto you, I rest,

"Your unalterable and affectionate Friend,

"Charles R.

Whiteball, 11th May, 1641.

"If he must die, it were a Charity to reprieve him until Saturday."

Committee to wait on the King, with an Answer to this Letter.

This Letter, all written with the King's own Hand, the Peers this Day received in Parliament, delivered by the Hand of the Prince. It was Twice read in the House; and, after serious and sad Consideration, the House Resolved presently to send Twelve of the Peers, Messengers to the King:

"Humbly to signify, that neither of the Intentions expressed in the Letter could (with Duty in them, or without evident Danger to Himself, His dearest Consort the Queen, and all the young Princes their Children) possibly be advised."

Which being delivered, and more Expressions offered;

His Majesty's Reply.

His Majesty suffered no more Words to come from them; but, out of the Fulness of His Heart, to the Observance of Justice, and for Contentment of His People, told them, "that what He intended by His Letter was with an "If;" If it may be done without Discontentment to His People. If that cannot be, I say again the same that I wrote, Fiat Justitia.

"My other Intention, proceeding out of Charity, for a few Days Respite, was upon certain Information that his Estate was so distracted, that it necessarily required some few Days for Settlement thereof."

Whereunto my Lords answered, "Their Purpose was to be Suitors to His Majesty, for Favour to be shewed to his innocent Children; and, if he himself had made any Provision for them, that the same might hold."

This was well-liking to His Majesty, who thereupon parted from the Lords.

The King desires His Letter may be recorded.

At His Majesty's Parting, the Peers offered up into His Hands the Letter itself, which He had sent; but He pleased to say, "My Lords, what I have written to you, I shall be content it be registered by you in your House. In it you see My Mind. I know you will use it to My Honour."

This, upon Return of the Lords from the King, was presently reported to the House, by the Lord Privy Seal; and Ordered, These Lines to go out with the King's Letter, if any Copies of the Letter were desired.

Committee who waited on the King concerning this Business.

The Names of those Lords as were appointed to wait on the King concerning the Letter:

The L. Privy Seal.
L. Chamberlain.
E. of Bath.
E. of Essex.
E. of Dorsett.
E. of Sarum.
E. of Warwicke.
E. of Cambridge.
E. of March.
E. Holland.
E. Bristoll.
E. Berks.
L. Viscount Say & Seale.
Ds. Wharton.

Commons acquainted with the Committee being appointed for opening Foreign Letters.

After this, the House was adjourned during Pleasure; and the Lords went into the Painted Chamber, to let the Commons know the Names of those Lords as this House hath appointed to open and peruse the Letters, with Sir Henry Vane; which being done, the House was resumed.

Pressing Mariners.

Hodie 2a vice lecta est Billa, An Act for the better raising and levying of Mariners, etc.

Committed to

The L. Great Chamberlain.
E. of Essex.
L. Bp. of Durham.
L. Bp. of Winton.
L. Bp. of Chichester.
Ds. Willoughby de Par.
Justice Reeves and
Justice Foster,
E. of Warwicke.
E. of Danby.
Ds. Grey de Warke.
Ds. Brudnell.
Ds. Howard de Estcrig.
Ds. Herbert de Cherbery.

Their Lordships, or any Five of them, to meet presently, in the Lord Treasurer's Lodgings.

Subsidy Bill.

The House was adjourned during Pleasure, and turned into a Committee; and the Bill of Subsidies was read and debated. The House being resumed, it was Ordered, The Bill should be reported to the House, fit to pass as it is.

A Message was brought up from the House of Commons, by the Lord Dungarvon, in Answer to the Message Yesterday; and presented an Order which their House had made, which was read:

Order of the H. C. concerning 80000£. Part of 110000£. from the City of London.

Confirmed by the Lords.

"Whereas it was this Day Ordered, by the Commons now assembled in Parliament, That the Lord Mayor of London be intreated from their House, that Fourscore Thousand Pounds, of the Sixscore promised to be advanced by the City, be paid in by Friday next; and that a Place be appointed where the Earl of Warwicke and Sir William Udall may resort for the receiving thereof; and that the Money shall be paid to them proportionably, videlicet, for every Five Thousand Pounds to Sir William Udall, to pay Three Thousand Pounds to the Earl of Warwicke; and so proportionably, until the Eighty Thousand Pounds be paid in. And the Lord Mayor to be further desired that all possible Diligence be used for bringing in of the other Forty Thousand Pounds:" It was this Day Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in this present Parliament assembled, That this Order is approved of, and made an Order of this House.

Bp. of Chichester took the Protestation.

The Lord Bishop of Chichester took the Protestation, and subscribed the same.

Pressing Mariners.

The Earl of Warwicke reported the Bill for the Mariners, as fit to pass as it is.


Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, An Act for the better pressing and levying Mariners, etc.

And, being put to the Question, it was Resolved to pass for a Law, nemine contradicente.

Suit to the King by the House, about the Wife and Children of the E. of Strafford;

and that his Creditors may be considered.

This House, upon Consideration, resolved to become Suitors to His Majesty, in Behalf of the Son, Daughters, and Lady of the Earl of Strafford, that, in Case there be no Provisions made for them by the said Earl, to present them to the King's Goodness; and that He will be pleased to take them in His Mercy and Consideration. Likewise to desire His Majesty, that the Creditors, and those that have Petitions depending in this House for Reparations from the Earl of Strafford (for which there is a provisional Order made in this House), may be taken into His Majesty's Consideration.

Order for a Conference about the King's Revenue.

Ordered, That this House intends to have a Conference with the House of Commons, about settling the King's Revenue.

Sutton Marsh.

Ordered, That the Cause concerning Sutton Marsh shall be further proceeded in, and heard by Counsel on both Sides, To-morrow Sevennight; at which Time all Witnesses and Persons interested therein are to attend this House.

Lords appointed to wait on the King about the E. of Strafford's Wife, Children, and Creditors.

Lords appointed to know of His Majesty when the Lords may wait on Him concerning the Earl of Strafford's Lady and Children, and the Creditors, that His Majesty will be pleased to take them into his Consideration: videlicet,

The Lord Chamberlain.
Earl of Essex.
Earl of Cambridge.
Earl of March.
Earl of Holland.
Lord Viscount Say & Seale.

E. of Warwick to receive and pay Money for the Scots.

Ordered, That this House doth Order, and give Power to the Earl of Warwicke, That he receive such Sums of Monies as the House of Commons have Ordered to be paid to him, for the Relief of the Scots and the Northern Counties; and that he pay the said Monies accordingly.

Committee for the Safety and Defence of the Kingdom.

Ordered, That the Committee for the Defence of the (fn. 2) Kingdom do take into Consideration the Memorials brought into this House by Sir Phillip Carterett, concerning the Isle of Jarsey.

Ordered, That the Earl of Leycester, Earl of Danby, be added to the Committee for the Defence of the Kingdom.

E. of Thanet versus Sir Richard Vivian.

Ordered, That the Lord Great Chamberlain, Earl of Bath, Earl of Essex, and Earl of Warwicke, or any Two of them, are to examine the Business concerning the Earl of Thanett and Sir Richard Vivion; and to report the same to this House.


Dominus Capitalis Justiciarius de Communi Banco, Locum tenens Domini Custodis Magni Sigilli, declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque in diem Mercurii, videlicet, 12m diem instantis Maii, hora 9a, Dominis sic decernentibus.


  • 1. Deest in Originali.
  • 2. Origin. King.