The Journals of All the Parliaments During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. Originally published by Irish University Press, Shannon, Ire, 1682.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
THE JOURNAL OF THE House of COMMONS.
A Journal of the Proceedings of the House of Commons in the Parliament holden at Westminster, An. 1 Regin. Eliz. An. Dom. 1558. beginning there after one Prorogation of the same, on Wednesday the 25th day of January, and then and there continued until the Dissolution thereof, on Monday the 8th day of May An. Dom. 1559.
This Journal of the first Parliament of her Majesty, is not only stored with many good passages touching the ordinary reading, committing and expediting of Bills, but also with much extraordinary matter concerning the private priviledge of the House, and publick state of the Church, and CommonWealth; which in this great Council of the Kingdom received much alteration and change, to the yet lasting honour and welfare of them both. In which also (as in the preceeding Journal of the Upper House) I have enlarged and supplied many things in matter of form, which are not found in the Original Journal-Book of the same House, touching the Writ of Summons, the preferring, reading, and passing of Bills, with the committing and sending of them up to the Lords, and such like. Neither doth there want much enlargement out of Record, or otherwise, concerning the Election, Presentments, and Petitions of the Speaker, with all other things that are materially worthy of any Animadversion, or Annotation; which matters of Form or Explanation, I did the rather cause to be inserted in this first Journal of the Parliament, during her Majesties Reign, that so I might the better omit it in the following Journal, and have ready recourse hither unto it, being all fram'd into one structure or body in this present Journal, prout sequitur.
Sir Nicholas Bacon Knight, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, having received her Majesties Warrant for the making and Issuing forth of the Writs of Summons, did speedily cause them to be directed to such Peers and others, as were to attend in the Upper House, and to the several Sheriffs of England, for the Election and Chusing of the Knights, Citizens, Burgesses and Barons, that were to be present in the House of Commons. And although, neither any thing of this which hath preceeded, nor any Copy of the Writ sent to each Sheriff, be at all inserted into the Original Journal-Book of the House of Commons; yet as I have supplied that matter, which preceedeth, according to the form thereof, which was at this time used, and hath been since continued, so I have thought it not amiss, once for all, to add here also the Copy of the Writ at this time sent forth, which hath since received no alteration, and was as followeth.
Elizabetha Dei gratiâ Angl. Franc. & Hib. Regina fidei desensor, Ambrosio Jermyn Militi, Vicecomiti Norff. & Suff. salutem; Quia de avisamento & assensu Concilii nostri pro quibusdam arduis & urgentibus negotiis Nos, statum & defensionem regni nostri Angl. & Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ concernen. quoddam Parliamentum nostrum apud Civitatem nostram Westm. Vicesimo tertio die Januarii prox. futur. teneri ordinavimus, & ibidem cum Prælatis, Magnatibus, & Proceribus dicti Regni nostri Colloquium habere & tract. Tibi præcipimus firmiter injungentes quod factâ Proclamat. in prox. Comitat. tuo post receptionem bujus brevis nostri tenend. die & loco prædict. duos Milites gladiis cinct. magis idoneos & discretos Comit. prædict. & de qualibet Civitate Com. illius duos Cives, & de quolibet Burgo duos Burgenses de discretior. & magis sufficientibus libere & indifferenter per illos qui Proclam. bujusmodi interfuer. juxta formam statutorum inde edit. & provis. legi, nomina eorundum Milit. Civium, & Burgensium sic electorum in quibusdam indentur. inter te & illos qui hujusmodi electioni interfucr. inde conficiend. sive bujusmodi elect. præsentes fuerint vel absentes, inseri, eosq; ad dict. diem & locum venire fac. ita quod iidem Milites plenam, & sufficientem potestatem pro se & Communitate Comit. prædicti, ac dict. Cives & Burgenses, pro se & Communitat. Civitatum & Burgorum prædictorum divisim ab ipsis habeant, ad faciendum & consentiendum his quæ tunc ibidem de Communi Concilio dicti regni nostri (favente Deo) contigerint ordinari super Negotiis antedictis, it a quod pro defectu potestatis hujusmodi seu propter improvidam electionem Milit. Civium, aut Burgensium prædictorum, dicta Negotia infect a non remaneant quovismodo. Nolumus autem quod tu nec aliquis alius Vic. dicti regni nostri aliqualiter sit electus, Et Electionem illam in pleno Comitatu factam, distincte & aperte sub sigillo tuo & sigillis eorum qui electioni illi interfuerint, Nobis in Cancellar. nostram ad dict. diem & locum certifices indilate, remittens nobis alteram partem Indenturarum prædictarum præsentibus consut. una cum hoc breve. Teste meipsa apud Westmonasterium, Quinto die Decembris, Anno Regni nostri Primo.
Nota, That this is not the direct Copy of any Writ, that I saw sent at this very time, but only applied to this time, according to the usual form of a like Writ, which also doth serve to discover all the Writs sent to the several Sheriffs of England, differing only from this in the name of the Sheriff and County.
And in the said Writ foregoing it is to be noted, that the words Supremum Caput Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, were wanting, which had been omitted also in the foregoing Parliament of her Sister Mary, which notwithstanding it was afterwards agreed in the House, on Friday the third day of Feb. following, that the Writs of Summons were well sent forth and returned, and that the Parliament ought to hold accordingly.
In the Antinet Writ also of Summons the cause of the Assembling of the Parliament was expressed, which at this day is not. Neither was there then any such clause in the Writ, as in this foregoing doth appear; viz. Nolumus autem, quod tu nec aliquis alius Vicecomes dicti regni nostri aliqualiter sit Electus: By reason of which words, some have conceived that the Sheriff of any County ought not to be Elected, or admitted a Member of the House of Commons.
But to this it may first be truly answered, that these words were primarily inserted into the said Writ, by virtue of an Ordinance only made to that end upon some special Occasion in the Parliament held in an. 46 Regis Ed. 3. as appears in the Parliament Roll of that Year, numero 13. remaining with divers others in the Tower of London; By which said Ordinance also Lawyers were as well excluded as Sheriffs.
Secondly, the constant practice in most times since doth sufficiently prove, of how little validity the said Ordinance of Parliament was conceived to have been, for the debarring of the said Sheriffs from being Members of the House of Commons. For the proof whereof I have only vouched such as fell out during her Majesties Reign, viz. in an. 27 Regin. Eliz. Decemb. 21. Tuesday, Ed. Leigh Esq; being returned and admitted into the House of Commons, as one of the Knights for the County of Stafford, was afterwards Elected to be Sheriff of the same Shire. In like manner Feb. the 23. Tuesday, Sir Edward Dimock Knight, was both Sheriff of the County of Lincoln, and a Member of the House of Commons, as appears in the Journal ensuing, in an. eodem 27 Regin. Eliz. So also in the Parliament, de an. 31 Regin. Eliz. Feb. 21. Friday, Mr Saint Pole served as one of the Knights for the County of Lincoln, being also Sheriff of the same Shire. And lastly in the Parliament, de an. 43 & 44 Regin. Eliz. Decemb. 2. Wednesday, Peter Frechevile Esq; was returned one of the Knights for the County of Darby, being afterwards appointed Sheriff of the same County, as was also Robert Lhuyde Esq; constituted Sheriff of the County of Merioneth in Wales, having been formerly returned Knight for the said Shire, as appeareth in the Journal of the same Parliament, on Tuesday the 8th of Decemb. In and by all which Presidents it doth appear, and may probably be gathered, that neither her Majesty, nor the House of Commons did conceive these two places to be incompetible, but that they might well stand and be in one and the same man, at one and the same time. For her Majesty did first make these foregoing persons Sheriffs of the several Counties aforesaid, not only after they were chosen, but returned also Members of the House of Commons, by which it is very plain she could not be ignorant of it; and therefore her self, and the said House, did both allow of their being made Sheriffs, as a thing well agreeing with the Priviledge of their former places, and the service of that House, and did not therefore give them a final discharge, but only Liberty of recess about their necessary affairs, into the several Counties before-mentioned, as in the Case of Sickness, or some other temporary cause of their absenting themselves from the House, which being expedited, they might return again to that service; for doubtless if the said House had conceived that they had been disabled from their serving there by their new Offices, it would have been ordered, that a Warrant should have been sent to the Clerk of the Crown, to have sent down a new Writ into the foresaid Counties, for a new Election to have been made; as in the Case of double Returns, Death, or the like, is used. And whereas in the Parliament de an. 43 & 44 Regin. Eliz. on Wednesday the 4th day of November, Sir Andrew Nowell being both Sheriff and Knight for the County of Rutland, was wholly discharged, and a Writ sent out, de novo, for a new Election; That Case differed from all the foregoing Presidents, and might well upon another reason, be ordered by the House; For the said Sir Andrew, being Sheriff of the foresaid County of Rutland, was afterwards Elected one of the Knights for the same, and so compelled to return himself, which could not be good in Law. But if the said Sir Andrew had been chosen a Knight of some other Shire, during his Sheriffalty, or had been constituted Sheriff by her Majesty of the said County, after he had been Elected and returned a Member of the House of Commons, the Cafe had doubtless differed, and the House would never have given Order for a new Writ to have been sent forth; which course they observed in the two before-cited Presidents of Mr Frechevile, and Mr Lhuyde in the same Parliament.
Thirdly, if these two places should not be competible, then had it now lain in the Power of her Majesty (or may lie in the power of any Soveraign of this Kingdom) to have disabled as many Members from serving in the House of Commons, as she should or could have constituted Sheriff. She might have disfurnished (or any Soveraign for the time being may disfurnish) the said House at any time, of all or the greater part of the ablest Members thereof.
Nota also, That those words, viz. Duos Milites Gladiis cinctos, were inserted into the Writ of Summons after the Parliament, an. 13 E. 3. as may be gathered by the Parliament Roll of the same Year.
And whereas some have objected in the foregoing Case, to prove that a Sheriff ought always to be attendant upon the affairs of the County, and cannot therefore be a Member of the House of Commons: the Objection is idle, for till the tenth year of Queen Eliz. the Counties of Nottingham and Derby, and of Warwick and Leicester, had but two several Sheriffs, as were also the Counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, served with one Sheriff until the eighteenth Year of her Majesties Reign, and so are the Counties of Sussex and Surrey, served this present Year 1630.
And antiently also (as is plain by that MS. Catalogue of all the Sheriffs of England, or the most part, since the time of King H. 2. (which is in many mens hands) divers Counties were committed to one man, as in an. 1 H. 2. Richard Bassett, and Awbrey de Vere, were jointly constituted for Sheriffs of the several Counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Northampton, Essex, Huntington, Cambridge, and Hartford; and Robert Caran joined unto them for the Counties of Bedford and Buckingham. From the Female Coheirs of the foresaid Richard Bassett, being the Ancestor of the House of Weldon in Northamptonshire, are lineally and undoubtedly descended the Families of Chaworth, Stafford, Knyvet, Clinton Earl of Lincoln, the Howards of the House of Suffolk, and Clopton late of Kentwell in the County aforesaid; and from the before-mentioned Awbrey de Vere is lineally descended (as I take it) Robert de Vere the nineteenth Earl of Oxford, now living An. Dom. 1630.
Upon the receit of the before-mentioned Writ and Election made accordingly, the Sheriffs of every Shire made their several Returns, of which the Form being set down in the old Book of Entries, it shall be needless here to insert them. But now, having supply'd these matters of Form, according to the usual Presidents, the next passages follow out of the Original Journal-Book of the House of Commons.
On Wednesday the 23th of Jan. Anno Regni Regin. Eliz. Primo, The Parliament should have begun according to the Writs of Summons, but by the Queens Commission, directed to Sir Nicholas Bacon Knight, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, the Lord Treasurer and others, to Prorogue the same, until Wednesday the 25th day of the same Month; it was so done accordingly.
On Wednesday the 25th day of Jan. The Parliament held and began, according to the last Prorogation thereof; but there is no mention made in the Original Journal-Book of the House of Commons, where or by whom, the Names of the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the said House, were called; that so it might be seen who were present: But most certain it is, that at this day they took no Oath, before the beginning of this present Parliament, because that of Supremacy, which was afterwards taken, was not enjoyned by Statute till this first year of her Majesty. But most likely it is, that Hen. FitzAlan, Earl of Arundell, at this time Lord Steward of her Majesties Household, did both cause their names to be called in some place near the Upper House, and their Appearance to be Recorded, before her Majesties coming to the Upper House.
The manner of calling the Names of the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses in former times, did much differ from that which is used at this day, as appears by the Parliament Rolls in the Tower: for in an. 7 R. 2. the Knights and Burgesses were called by name, in presence of the King, which shews they staid without till then; And in an. 2 H. 4. & an. 4 H. 4. they were called by name, in the Chancery at Westminster-Hall, before the Chancellor and the Steward of the Kings House. And in an. 13 H. 4. the said Knights and Burgesses were called at the Door of the Painted Chamber, in presence of the Steward of the Kings House, as the manner is. Only one President differs from all the latter, which is found in the Original Journal-Book of the Upper House, de Anno 33 H. 8. where the Duke of Suffolk, Lord Steward, commanded the Clerk of the Parliament, to read the Names of the Commons, unto which every one answered, they being all in the Upper House below the Bar; and then the King came.
But at this day they are called by their names by the Clerk of the Crown, in presence of the Lord Steward, in the Court of Requests: and now since the first Year of Queen Eliz. and from the fifth, the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the House of Commons (as hath been before observed) do take the Oath of Supremacy, and since the seventh of King James they take the Oath of Allegiance also, which the Lord Steward administers to some, and appoints certain of them his Deputies, to give the same unto the rest. 7 Jac. cap. 6.
These passages touching the Antient and Modern calling of the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the House of Commons, being not at all touched in the Original Journal-Book of the same House, but supplied from other Authority; now follows the residue of this days passages out of the foresaid Journal Book, with some Additions.
Upon the already named 25th day of January, her Majesty came to the Parliament Chamber, commonly called the Upper House, and being there set, and attended by Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper, and divers Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in their Parliament Robes, the House of Commons had notice thereof, and repaired thither. And being (as many as conveniently could) let in, and silence made, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, after an Excellent Oration by him made, containing the urgent causes for the Calling of this Parliament, declared the Queens pleasure to be, that the Commons should repair to their accustomed place, and there to chuse their Speaker.
Whereupon, the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses departing to their own House, did there take their several places, and most remaining silent, or speaking very submissively, Mr Treasurer of the Queens House, standing up uncovered, did first put the House in remembrance of the Lord Keepers late Speech, and of his Declaration of her Majesties pleasure, that they should chuse a Speaker, and therefore in humble Obedience to her Majesties said pleasure, seeing others remain silent, he thought it his Duty to take that occasion to commend to their Choice, Sir Thomas Gargrave Knight, one of the Honourable Council in the North Parts, a worthy Member of the House, and Learned in the Laws of this Realm: By which Commendations of his, of the aforesaid worthy Member of the House to their Consideration, he said he did not intend to debar any other there present, from uttering their free opinions, and nominating any other whom they thought to be more fitting, and therefore desired them to make known their opinions, who thereupon did with one consent and voice, allow and approve of Mr Treasurers nomination, and Elected the said Sir Thomas Gargrave, to be the Prolocutor, or Speaker of the said House.
The said Sir Thomas Gargrave being thus Elected Speaker, after a good pause made, stood up uncovered, and having in all humility disabled himself, as being unfurnisht with that Experience, and other qualities, which were required for the undertaking and undergoing of so great a Charge, did conclude with an humble Request to the House, to proceed to the New Election of some other more able and worthy Member amongst them.
But the House still calling upon him to take his place of Mr Speaker, the before-mentioned Mr Treasurer, and Mr Comptroller of her Majesties Houshold (as may very well be gathered) did rise from their places, and going unto the said Sir Thomas Gargrave, unto the place where he sate, did each of them take him, one by the right Arm and the other by the left, and led him to the Chair at the upper end of the House of Commons, and there placed him, where having fate a while covered, he arose, and so standing bare-headed, he returned his humble Thanks unto the whole House, for their good opinion of him, promising his best and uttermost endeavour, for the faithful discharge of that weighty place, to which they had Elected him. And soon after Mr Treasurer, and Mr Comptroller repaired to the Queen, to know her Highnesses pleasure, when Mr Speaker should be presented to her Majesty, for Confirmation of this Election; and soon after they returned, shewing her pleasure was that to be done on Saturday next, at one of the Clock in the Afternoon.
Here it shall not be amiss to add somewhat touching the Election of the Speaker, which, because I find it ready penn'd to my hand, in that elaborate MS. Intituled, Modus tenendi Parliamentum apud Anglos, Written by my kind Friend Henry Elsinge Esq; Clerk of the Upper House this present Year 1630. Libr. 1. cap. 7. §. 1. & 2. Therefore I shall without any great alteration here, add it in the next place; and first touching the Antiquity of the Speaker, it is most likely that he began to be when the House of Commons first sate.
For it may clearly be gathered ex Lib. Sancti Albani fol. 207. in Bibliotheca Cottoniana, that in the Parliament de an. 44 H. 3. The House of Commons had then a Speaker. For there Pope Alexander labouring to have Adomar, the Elect Bishop of Winchester, recalled from banishment; the Answer of the Parliament was as followeth: viz. Si Dominus Rex, & Regni majores hoc vellent, communitas tamen, ipsius ingressum in Angliam, jam nullatenus sastineret. Which is Signed and Sealed by all the Lords, and by Petrus de Mounteforti vice communitatis, which shews plainly that he was thire Speaker, for the very same words did Sir John Tiptofte their Speaker Sign and Seal to the Entaile of the Crown, Parl. an. 7 & 8 H. 4.
But it is true, that the first Speaker who is directly named in Record, was in the Parliament Rolls in the Tower de an. 51 E.3.N.87. The last day of the Parliament (faith the Records) Sir Thomas Hungerford Knight, Speaker, declared to the Lords, that he had moved the King to Pardon all such as were unjustly Convicted in the Last Parliament. And that the King willed him to make special Bills for them, which he had done for seven, &c. And therefore it can be no Argument, that the House of Commons had no Speaker, before the 51th year of E. 3. because no former Records mention him. For, this is to be noted, that the Antient Parliament Rolls did record only what Acts passed between both Houses, and what Laws were made, and omitted matters of Form and Ceremony.
There are also divers Parliament Rolls tempore R. 2. that do mention the Presentment of the Speaker, prout in an. 1 Rich. 2.n. an. 2 R. 2. n. 18. 20, 22, & 23 an. 4 R. 2. n. 10, 12, & 13. an. 5 R. 2. n. 10, & 16. & an. 21 R. 2. n. 8, 9, 14, & 15. So also the Speaker is mentioned in the Parliament Rolls, de annis 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, & 11 H. 4. and in the Parliament Rolls of H. 5. H. 6. and E. 4. remaining in the Tower, and in the Parliament Rolls of R. 3. H. 7. remaining in the Chappel of the Rolls in Chancery-lane; and since H. 8. time, the Original Journal-Books of the Upper House of divers of his Years, remain in the Parliament Office, scituate and being in the Palace-Yard at Westminster, at the South Corner thereof; as also the Original Journal-Books downwards to this time; and from the first Year of Ed. 6. to this day, the Original Journal-Books of the House of Commons, are in the Custody, or at the disposing of my kind Friend John Wright Esq; Clerk of the same House this present Year 1630.
And now here do, in the next place, follow certain Observations upon the Election of the said Speaker, transcribed also, with very little alteration, out of the before-mentioned Treatise of Mr Elsinge, Lib. & Cap. eodem, &. §. 2. in which two Questions are moved.
First, Whether the Commons might chuse their Speaker if the King Commands them not?
Secondly, Whether the Election be in their own absolute choice?
For to clear these two we must view the Antient Records; those of R. 2. are the first, that frequently mention the Speaker.
It doth not appear by any of them, that the Commons had ever any such Commandment to chuse their Speaker. Neither is there a word of it in any Record of E. 3. which have the Speeches at large, touching the Cause of Summons; most of them concluding with a Charge to the Commons, to consider and advise thereof amongst themselves; but nothing touching the Election of their Speaker: yet out of doubt they did first chuse their Speaker, before they entred into any Debate of their Charge.
The first Charge to chuse their Speaker is in an. 2 H. 4. and yet it is omitted again in the Parliament 7 & 8 H. 4. but (that only excepted) it is continued from the 2 H. 4. until this day: and the long use hath made it so material, that, without the Kings Commandment or leave, they cannot chuse their Speaker, which appears by this, that in an. 31 H 6. the Parliament being Prorogued, and the Speaker arrested in Execution, in the interim, before the access, the Commons prayed his Enlargement, which, after long Debates of the Priviledges of Parliament, was denied. And then certain of the Lords were sent to the House of Commons, and Commanded them, in the Kings name, to chuse a new Speaker; and thereupon they did so. Vid. An Account of this President at the end of this Session, out of Rot. Parl. 31 & 32 H. 6.
And of late Years, in the time of Queen Eliz. the Parliament being Prorogued at two several times, and the several Speakers dead in the interim, before their second access (as shall be more largely declared hereafter in these Journals) the Commons, before they proceeded to any business, acquainted the Lords therewith, and desired them to intimate the same to the Queen: and so were commanded by her Majesty to chuse new Speakers. Ut vide in an. 8 Regin Eliz. die 1 Oct. & in an. 23 Reginæ ejusdem die 18 Jan.
But as touching the second Question, surely the Election of the Speaker was antiently free to the Commons, to chuse who they would of their own House, which appears in this, that the King never rejected any, whom they made choice of.
Vide 5 R. 2. The Parliament began 4 Novemb. and the 18th of Novemb. the Commons came, and presented Sir Richard Walgrave, whom they had chosen for their Speaker, who excused himself, desiring to be discharged. But the King, Lui chargeast del faire sur sa ligeaunce, in as much as his Companions had chosen him; whereby it appears plainly, that the choice was absolutely in their own power.
These Animadversions touching the Antiquity and Election of the Speaker of the House of Commons, being thus inserted from several Authorities; Now follows the Presentment of the Speaker, and her Majesties allowance of him, out of the Original Journal-Book of the House of Commons, in which many things of Form are also added by my self, and divers divers Animadversions out of that before-mentioned elaborated MS. Treatise of Mr Elsinge's penning, Lib. 1. cap. 7. with some small Additions, or Alterations.
On Saturday, the 28th day of Jan. about one of the Clock in the Afternoon (to which day and hour the Parliament had been last Adjourned, or continued on Wednesday the 25th day of this instant Jan. foregoing) her Majesty, Sir Nicholas Bacon, and divers Lords Spiritual and Temporal were present in the Upper House; which said Lords, as also her Majesty, had on their several Parliament Robes, of which the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses and Barons of the House of Commons having notice, they repaired thither. Sir Thomas Gargrave was led up to the Rail or Bar, at the lower end of the said Upper House, who submissively excusing himself, he humbly desired the Queens Majesty to free him from that Imployment, and to Command her Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the House of Commons, to Elect amongst themselves some other more able Member, for the discharge of the said place; But notwithstanding these reasons her Majesty signified his allowance by the Mouth of the Lord Keeper.
Nota, That the excuse of the Speaker is at this day meerly formal, and out of modesty. For he first excuseth himself unto the Commons when they Elect him, and afterwards to the Soveraign when he is presented: But antiently, it seemeth they were both hearty and real, or else no excuse at all was made. And the first President of this nature, that is found in Record, is in the Parliament Rolls de an. 5 R. 2. n. 9. die 4 Novembris, where Sir Richard de Waldgrave Knight (the Lineal Ancestor in the Male Line of the several Families of Waldegrave in Suffolk) being chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, did excuse himself unto the said King, but was charged upon his Allegiance to undertake it, sith he was Chosen by the Commons.
The next is in an. 1 H. 4. of Sir John Cheny, who made no excuse at his Presentment. But the next day after, he and they came before the King, and declared his disability to serve, by reason of a sudden sickness, and that the Commons had chosen Sir John Dorewood in his place, beseeching his Majesty to allow thereof; which the King did, and Commanded Sir John Dorewood to be their Speaker. And then the said Sir John Dorewood made the common Protestation for himself and the Commons, but no excuse, N. 63.
The next excuse is in an. 5 H. 4. n. 8. of Sir Arnold Savage, which the King would not allow of. An. 6 H. 4. n. 8. Sir William Sturing made no excuse, and an. 7, & 8 H. 4. n. 9. Sir John Tibtot desired to be excused by reason of his Youth, but the King affirmed the Election; and all other Speakers in H. 4. his time desired to be excused.
Some Speakers also under H. 5. desired to be excused, and some others did not, for it was not constantly observed: but from the sixth year of H. 6. since which time they have all (except two) desired to be excused; yet none were excused, save only Sir John Popham Knight, an 28 H. 6. whom the King discharged, and thereupon the Commons chose and presented William Tresham Esq; who made no excuse, neither did Sir William Oldham an. 29 H. 6. desire to be excused.
These Animadversions upon the Speakers Speech, which he first makes unto her Majesty, containing his excuse, being thus inserted as aforesaid; now follows the second Speech of the said Speaker, upon his allowance by her Majesty. The substance of which, being not found in the Original Journal-Book of the House of Commons, I have supplied; according to the usual Form.
The said Sir Thomas Gargrave being allowed and confirmed Speaker of the House of Commons by her Majesty, having tendred his humble thanks for her Highness gracious Opinion of him, and added some Expressions in honour of her Majesty, in the end of his Speech; He came according to the usual Form, to make certain Petitions in the behalf of the House of Commons, and of himself: in which he did first desire Liberty of access, for the Members of the said House to her Majesties presence, upon all urgent and necessary occasions. Secondly, that if in any thing he should mistake, or misreport any thing, which should be committed unto him to declare, that his unwilling miscarriage therein might be pardoned. Thirdly, That they might have Liberty and Freedom of Speech, in whatsoever they had occasion to propound, and debate in the House. And lastly, that all the Members of the House, with their Servants, and necessary Attendants, might be exempted from all manner of Arrests, and Suits, during the continuance of the Parliament, and the usual space, both before the beginning, and after the ending thereof, as in former times hath always been accustomed.
To which Speech of the said Speaker the Lord Keeper, by her Majesties Commandment, made a large Answer (which is verbatim, set down in the Journal-Book of the Upper House upon this instant Saturday the 28th day of Jan.) in which he intimated at large, among other things, that her Majesty did graciously allow of those Liberties and Priviledges, for which the said Speaker had Petitioned, so as they were discreetly and modestly used.
In which Speech of the Speaker's in general, it may first be observed, that at this day it is in the Speakers Power, to deliver in his Speech what shall best please himself; whereas antiently he delivered nothing, but what the House gave him in Charge to speak, as may be gathered by the Parliament Rolls de an. 1 R. 2. an. 2. R. 2. an. 3 R. 2. an. 6 R. 2. & an. 17 R. 2. in an. 4, & in an. 10 H. 4. and in divers other Parliaments in the times of H. 5. H. 6. and Ed. 4.
And for those three Priviledges before mentioned, which Sir Tho. Gargrave the Speaker, did in his foregoing Speech desire of her Majesty, in the name and on the behalf of the House of Commons, they were no other, than the said House did doubtless enjoy in antient time; although they were never desired by the then Speakers of the same House, nor were any of them ever Petitioned by any Speaker, until in the Parliament de an. 28 H. 8. as may very probably be gathered by the Original Journal-Book of the Upper House de an. codem.
And as to the first Petition, which he made in the name of the House of Commons, for free access to her Majesty, it is plain, that the said House enjoyed it during the Reign of K. E. 3. prout patet ex Rot. Parl. de an. 51 Ed. 3 n. 87. when Sir Thomas Hungerford was Speaker, and in the time since under R. 2. H. 4. and their Successors, the Presidents are so frequent, as they need no vouching.
And as touching this foregoing Petition, it is first Recorded in the Original Journal-Book of the Upper House, to have been made de an. 28 H. 8. by Richard Rich, the then Speaker; and in a like Journal-Book de an. 31 H. 8. by Thomas Moyle the Speaker in that Parliament, and the same course hath been constantly observed by all the Speakers since, of whose Speeches there is any good memorial remaining.
And as touching the second Petition, which the said Sir Thomas Gargrave made unto her Majesty in the name of the House of Commons for freedom of Speech; there is no Record that it was ever Petitioned for, until in the Original Journal-Book of the Upper House, de an. 33 H. 8. it is entred to have been made by Thomas Moyle the then Speaker, yet was it never denied them before; for the said Commons would never suffer any uncomely Speeches to pass of private men in their House, much less of the King, or any of the Lords; and in Ed. 3. his time, who was an absolute Prince, and beloved of his People, the Commons themselves did oftentimes discuss, and debate many things concerning the Kings Prerogative, and agreed upon Petitions, for Laws to be made, directly against his Prerogative; as may appear by divers of the said Petitions: yet they were never interrupted in their consultations, nor received any check for the same; as may appear by the very Answers to their Petitions. The Presidents in the two succeeding Kings times, are not of so good a stamp, as those of Ed. 3. because R. 2. was much over-ruled in his young Years, and H. 4. was an Usurper, and so was compelled to seek for the love of his Subjects: yet was there one passage in his Reign, which proved him a most wise and just King, after he had attained the Crown. For in Rot. Parl. de an. 2 H. 4. n. 11. the Commons Petitioned the King, that he would not suffer any report to be made unto him, of any matters, either moved, or debated amongst them, until they be concluded, nor give them any credit; whereunto the King assented: and for the freedom of Speech, which the Commons enjoyed in succeeding times, the Presidents are so frequent, as they need no further vouching. And it is very well worthy the Observation, that whereas in the Session of Parliament de an. 8 Regin. Eliz. when Richard Onslow Esq; her Majesties Sollicitor, was Elected and allowed Speaker, by reason of the Death of Thomas Williams Esq;, who had been Speaker in the Session de an. 5. Regin. Eliz. and did Decease in the interim of the several Prorogations between the said two Sessions, the said Richard Onslow did, upon his Presentment to her Majesty, and allowance by her, only desire in the name of the House of Commons, free access to her Majesty; and did, either ignorantly, or wittingly, omit to make those two other Petitions on their behalf, for freedom of Speech, and freedom from Arrests and Suits; yet in the said Session, de an. 8 Regin. Eliz. the House of Commons, falling upon that great business of her Majesties Declaration of a Successor, did use greater liberty of Speech, than they had done, or did before or after in any other Parliament, during her Majesties Reign, when the said Speakers did most precisely desire the allowance of the said priviledge of freedom of Speech from her Majesty.
And now, thirdly and lastly, touching that Petition, which Sir Thomas Gargrave the Speaker made unto her Majesty, for freedom from Arrests; It is plain, that the Commons, and the Lords of the Upper House, have not only always enjoyed the same for themselves and their necessary attendants, but also have been exempted from Suits at Law, during the continuance of the Parliament; not only in legal Courts, but in the very Court of Chancery, Star-Chamber, and such like, unless some Criminal matter be laid unto their Charge, which draws into question the life it self; which I have caused to be inserted into the preceeding abstract of Sir Thomas Gargraves Speech, because he either did Petition for freedom from Suits, as well as for freedom from Arrests, or he ought to have done it. For it is plain, by the close Rolls of Ed. 2. remaining in the Tower, that the Barons, and such others as were Summoned to Parliament in the seventh and eighth Years of his Reign, were exempted from Answering to any Suits before the Justices of Assize, during the Parliaments continuance; where the Proclamations sent to the said Justices, for that purpose, contain these words, viz. Quod supersedeant ubi Barones & alii summoniti ad Parliamentum Regis sunt partes, & vide Rot. Claus. de. an. 7 Ed. 2. Membrana 24. & de an. 8 Ed. 2. in. 22, & 23.
And for the several Presidents, how frequently the Members of the House of Commons were exempted, both from Arrests and Suits, during all the Parliaments of her Majesties Reign, they are so many, and sell out so often, as may be seen by every ensuing Journal almost of the House of Commons, that they need no vouching.
These Animadversions being thus added, touching the Speakers Speech, and the Petitions on the behalf of the House of Commons contained therein, now follows the departure of the said Speaker, being fully invested in his place by her Majesties allowance, down unto the House of Commons, out of the Original Journal-Book of the same, with some Additions in matter of Form.
Sir Thomas Gargrave aforesaid, being now setled in the place of Speaker, after his humble reverence made unto her Majesty, departed with the other Members of the House of Commons, unto their own House, the Serjeant of the same carrying the Mace all the way before the said Speaker, which was in like sort born before him, during this Parliament, both when he repaired unto, and when he departed from the said House.
The Speaker being placed in the Chair, ...... Seymore Esq; Clerk of the foresaid House of Commons, who fate uncovered at a Table at the upper end of the House, just before the Speaker, stood up and read a Bill, which had been treated of in the last Parliament, being intituled, The Bill touching felling of Wood and Timber Trees in Forrests and Chases, which done, kissing his hand, he delivered the said Bill to the Speaker, who standing up uncovered (whereas otherwise he sitteth covered) and holding the Bill in his hand, said, The Bill is thus Intituled; and then having read the Title of the Bill, as is before set down, he opened to the House the substance thereof, which it is most probable he did out of the Breviate which was filed to the Bill, and had been delivered unto him, together with the Bill, by the Clerk of the House aforesaid; which being done, he then said, This is the first reading of the Bill, and so delivered it unto the Clerk again, which ended, the House arose; which hath been the constant use and custom ever since, as also divers years before, that after the presentment, and allowance of the Speaker, one Bill be once read after his return from the Upper House unto the House of Commons.
On Monday the 30th day of January, the Bill for the avoiding of French Wares and Wines, and the Bill touching any variance of Grants made by Corporations, were each of them read the first time.
Mr Treasurer with 23. others of this House (whose names are wholly omitted in the Original Journal-Book of the House of Commons, through the negligence of ...... Seymour Esq; at this time Clerk of the same) were appointed to meet together, and to treat for a convenient Subsidy, and also to consider touching the validity of the Writ of Summons, both of the last Parliament and also of this present Parliament; in which said Writ, the words Supremum caput Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ were wanting, vide February 3. postea.
On Tuesday the 31th day of January, it was agreed in the House, that a Book for the Subsidy be drawn by several of the Committees.