The Journals of All the Parliaments During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. Originally published by Irish University Press, Shannon, Ire, 1682.
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On Saturday the 5th day of November the Lord Chancellor declared unto the Lords the foul and indirect dealings practised by the Queen of Scots against her Majesty and the whole Realm, notwithstanding so many great benefits and favours which the said Queen of Scots had received of her Majesty; the which matter by William Lord Burleigh Lord Treasurer of England, as one unto whom the said Queen of Scots whole proceedings were better known by reason of his long Service done unto our most gracious Soveraign Lady since the beginning of her Reign, were more fully dilated.
On Monday the 7th day of November while the Lords were debating the matter of the Queen of Scots, the House of Commons came up and desired a Conference with some of the Lords of this House, what number it should please them to appoint, about the great matter of the Queen of Scots already opened unto them. Whereupon the Lords chose out to the number of twenty one, viz. the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Steward, the Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Kent, the Earl of Rutland and the Earl of Sussex: the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Durham, the Bishop of Winchester and the Bishop of Worcester; the Lord Admiral, the Lord Chamberlain, the Lord Cobham, the Lord Grey, the Lord Lumley, the Lord Shandois, the Lord Buckhurst, the Lord de la Ware and the Lord Norris.
On Wednesday the 9th day of November were read divers Letters as well of Anthony Babington to the Queen of Scots, as of the said Queen of Scots to the said Anthony Babington, Charles Paget and others.
On Thursday the 10th day of November the Lords Committees made report unto the whole House, that they of the House of Commons upon hearing the Sentence and divers of the special Evidences and Proofs whereupon the Sentence was grounded, openly read unto them, after long deliberation and consultation had betwixt them both publickly and privately, they all with one assent allowed the same Sentence to be just, true and honourable, and that they humbly desired their Lordships to make choice of such number of Lords as their Lordships should think meet, to joyn with them in Petition to her Majesty. Whereupon their Lordships made choice of the said Lords following, viz. the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, the Lord High Chamberlain, the Lord Steward, the Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Kent, the Earl of Rutland, the Earl of Sussex, the Earl of Pembroke and the Earl of Hartford, the Lord Chamberlain, the Lord Abergavenny, the Lord Zouch, the Lord Morley, the Lord Cobham, the Lord Grey, the Lord Lumley, the Lord de la Ware and the Lord Norris.
Memorandum, That the Commons House made request to have the Petition assented unto by both the Houses to be inrolled in the Parliament Roll, the which the Lords thought better to defer until her Majesties liking or misliking were first had of the same.
On Tuesday the 15th day of November the Lord Chancellor declared unto the whole House the order of proceeding of Committees in presenting the Petition unto her Highness, and that her Majesties Answer was in so eloquent and goodly sort, and with words so well placed, that he would not take upon him to report it as it was uttered by her Majesty, but that the effect was, that her Highness highly thanked her so dutiful and loving Subjects for their great care and tender zeal that they shewed to have of her safety; and were it not in respect of them and of the state of the Realm and maintenance of the true Religion, she would not ...... And that her Highness did well know the greatness of the peril and the dangerous practice attempted against her Person, and that her Majesty did acknowledge it to be the maintaining and defending hand of him that hath delivered her so often, and from so great perils. Her Highness concluded, it was a Cause of great moment, and required good deliberation, and that she could not presently give Answer unto them, but that her Highness would shortly deliver it to some of her Privy Council, which should declare unto them her Highnesses mind. And thus her Highness answered.
This day further the Lord Chancellor signified unto the Lords, that on Monday her Majesty commanded him to require the Lords to advise amongst them, if some other course might be taken without proceeding to the extremity of Execution, which her Highness could better like of, if any such might be found, and that her Highness looked for Answer from their Lordships.
Nota, That the whole entrance of this days business, viz. the Lord Chancellors Report of the Queens Answer, is crossed in the Original Journal-Book, but remaineth as legible as any other part, except a few interlined words; but by the whole course following, that ought to stand which is crossed, for without that the business following hath no coherence with the premisses.
On Tuesday the 22d day of November after many Speeches which tended all to one effect, which was, that their Lordships in their opinions could not find any other way than was already set down in their Petition: then the Lords agreed that the matter should be put to the question; and being particularly asked every one his several voice, answered with one Consent, that they could find no other way.
The House of Commons came up, and desired the Lords to be content to appoint some of the Lords to confer with them upon the Answer that was to be made to her Highness, and to deliver the same to her Majesty. Whereupon the Lords made choice of these Lords following, viz. the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Lord Treasurer, &c.
And the said Lords upon Conference had with the Committee of the Lower House made report, that the like question was propounded to them of the House of Commons, and that they Answered all with one consent, no man gainsaying, that they could find none other way. Whereupon the said Committees of both Houses agreed upon this Answer to be made to her Majesty, That having often conferred and debated of that question according to her Highness Commandment, they could find none other way than was set down in the Petition. Which Answer for the Lords was delivered unto her Majesty by the Lord Chancellor, and for the Commons by their Speaker at Richmond on Thursday the 24th day of November.
If (said her Highness) I should say unto you that I mean not to grant your Petition, by my faith I should say unto you more than perhaps I mean. And if I should say unto you that I mean to grant your Petition, I should then tell you more than is sit for you to know. And thus I must deliver you an Answer Answerless.
Whereas on the 7th day of this instant Month of November whilst the Lords were in Consultation about the great matter of the Queen of Scots, the Chief and only Cause of the Summons of this Parliament, they of the House of Commons came up and desired Conference with some of the Lords of this House, what number it should please their Lordships to appoint touching the said great cause, which, as they affirmed, had been opened and declared unto them: Whereupon the Lords made choice of divers Lords (whose names see at large on Munday the 7th day of this instant Month of November foregoing) And to attend the said Lords were appointed the Lord Chief Justice of the Common-Pleas, the Lord Chief Baron and Justice Gawdic, the time and place of their meeting being in the very Parliament Chamber at two of the Clock in the Afternoon; and after often meeting and long Conferences had, they agreed upon a form of Petition, which by both the Houses should be presented unto her Majesty. And that Choice should be made of a certain number of either House to prefer the same unto her Highness. Which being reported to this House, the Lords liked very well thereof; And thereupon made Choice of divers Lords, whose names see at large on Thursday the 10th day of this instant November foregoing.
And they of the House of Commons appointed their Speaker and all the Privy-Council of that House, and so many others as in all with the Privy-Council made up the Number of 42. Persons, to join with the said Lords.
And they altogether understanding first her Majesties pleasure for the time of their repair to her Highness presence, (which was signified to be on Saturday the 12th day of November,) the Lord Chancellor in the name of the Lords, and the Speaker in the name of the House of Commons declared unto her Majesty, That both the Lords and Commons after often Conferences and long consultation had, concluded to be humble suitors unto her Majesty by way of Petition; the effect whereof was then at good length opened unto her Majesty by the Lord Chancellor and Speaker, and the Petition thereupon delivered unto her Majesty in writing. And where it was before desired by them of the said House of Commons, that presently upon the Agreement of the Form of the Petition it might be entered into the Rolls of the Parliament, the Lords thought it better to stay the enterance thereof until it were presented unto her Highness; which done, the Lords ordered that this Friday the 25th day of November the said Petition should be entered into the Parliament Roll in manner and form following, viz.
May it please your most Excellent Majesty, Our must Gracious Soveraign. We your humble, loving and faithful Subjects, the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, having of long time to our intolerable grief seen by how manifold most dangerous and execrable practices Mary the Daughter and Heir of James the Fifth late King of Scots Dowager of France and commonly called Queen of Scots, hath compassed the destruction of your Majesties sacred and most Royal Person, in whose safety (next under God) our chief and only felicity doth consist, and thereby not only to bereave us of the sincere and true Religion of Almighty God, bringing us and this Noble Crown back again into the Thraldom of the Romish Tyranny, but also utterly to ruinate and overthrow the happy State and Common Weal of this most Noble Realm; which being from time to time by the great mercy and providence of God, and your Highness singular wisdom foreseen and prevented, your Majesty of your exceeding great Clemency and Princely Magnanimity hath either most graciously passed over, or with singular favour tolerated, (although often and instantly moved by your most loving and faithful Subjects to the contrary in times of your Parliaments, and at many other times; and hath also protected and defended the said Scottish Queen from those great dangers which her own people for certain detestable Crimes and offences to her imputed, had determined against her. All which notwithstanding, the same Queen was nothing moved with these and many other your Majesties most gracious favours towards her; but rather obdurate in malice, and by hope of continual impunity imboldened to prosecute her cruel and mischievous determination by some speedy and violent course, and now lately a very dangerous Plot being conceived and set down by Anthony Babington and others, That six desperate and wicked persons should undertake that wicked and most horrible enterprize to take away your Majesties Life (whom God of his infinite mercy long preserve) she did not only give her advice and direction upon every point, and all circumstances concerning the same make earnest request to have it performed with all diligence, but did also promise assurance of large reward and recompence to the doers thereof; which being informed to your Majesty, it pleased your Highness upon the earnest Suit of such as tendred the safety of your Royal Person, and the good and quiet state of this Realm, to direct your Commission under the Great Seal of England to the Lords and others of your Highness Privy-Council, and certain other Lords of Parliament of the greatest and most antient Degree, with some of your principal Judges, to examine, hear and determine the same Cause, and thereupon to give Sentence or Judgment according to a Statute in that behalf made in the twenty seventh year of your most Gracious Reign : By vertue whereof the more part of the same Commissioners being in number thirty six, having at sundry times fully heard what was alledged and proved against the said Scottish Queen in her own presence touching the said crimes and offences, and what she could say for her defence and excuse therein, did after long deliberation give their Sentence and Judgment with one consent, that the death and destruction of your Royal Person was imagined and compassed by the said Anthony Babington with the privity of the same Scottish Queen; And that she her self did also compass and imagine the death and destruction of your most Royal Person. Now for as much as we your Majesties most humble, loyal and dutiful Subjects representing unto your most Excellent Majesty the universal State of your whole people of all degrees in this your Realm, do well perceive and are fully satisfied, that the same Sentence and Judgment is in all things most honourable, just and lawful; And having carefully and effectually according to our most bounden duties weighed and considered upon what ground and cause so many Traiterous complots and dangerous practices against your most Royal Person and Estate, and for the invading of this Realm have for the space of many years past grown and proceeded, do certainly find and are undoubtedly perswaded that all the same have been from time to time attempted and practised by and from the Scottish Queen, and by her Consederates, Ministers and Favourers, who conceive an assured hope to atchieve speedily by your Majesties untimely death that which they have long expected, and whereof during your Life (which God long preserve to our inestimable Comfort) they despair, to wit, to place her the said Scottish Queen in the Imperial and Kingly Seat of this Realm, and by her to banish and destroy the Professors and professing of the true Religion of Jesus Christ, and the antient Nobility of this Land, and to bring this whole State and Common-Weal to Foreign Subjection and utter ruin and confusion; which their malicious and traiterous purpose they will never cease to prosecute by all possible means they can, so long as they may have their Eyes and Imaginations fixed upon that Lady the only ground of their treasonable hope and conceits, and the only Seed-plot of all dangerous and traiterous devices and practices against your Sacred Person. And seeing also what insolent boldness is grown in the heart of the same Queen through your Majesties former exceeding favours and Clemencies towards her, and thereupon weighing with heavy and forrowful hearts in what continual peril of such like desperate Conspiracies and practices your Majesties most Royal and Sacred Person and Life (more dear unto us than our own) is and shall be still, without any possible means to prevent it, so long as the said Scottish Queen shall be suffered to continue, and shall not receive that due punishment which by Justice and the Laws of this your Realm she hath so often and so many ways for her most wicked and detestable offences deserved; Therefore, and for that we find that if the said Lady shall now escape the due and deserved punishment of Death for these her most execrable Treasons and offences, your Highness Royal Person shall be exposed unto many more and those more secret and dangerous Conspiracies than before, and such as shall not or cannot be foreseen or discovered as these her late attempts have been, and shall not hereafter be so well able to remove or take away the ground and occasion of the same as now by Justice may and ought to be done; We do most humbly beseech your most Excellent Majesty, that as well in respect of the continuance of the true Religion now professed amongst us, and of the safety of your most Royal Person and Estate, as in regard of the preservation and defence of us your most loving, dutiful and faithful Subjects, and the whole Common-Weal of this Realm, It may please your Highness to take speedy Order, That Declaration of the same Sentence and Judgment be made and published by Proclamation, and that thereupon direction be given for further proceedings against the said Scottish Queen according to the effect and true meaning of the said Statute : Because upon advised and great consultation we cannot find that there is any possible means to provide for your Majesties Safety, but by the just and speedy Execution of the said Queen, the neglecting whereof may procure the heavy displeasure and punishment of Almighty God, as by sundry severe Examples of his great Justice in that behalf left us in the Sacred Scriptures doth appear. And if the same be not put in present Execution, We your most loving and dutiful Subjects shall thereby (so far as mans reason can reach) be brought into utter despair of the continuance amongst us of the true Religion of Almighty God, and of your Majesties Life, and the Safety of all your faithful Subjects, and the good Estate of this most flourishing Common-Weal.
Nota, That the Parliament was Adjourned without any new Commission from her Majesty which had been used in the last Parliament, in Anno 27 Regin. Eliz. Anno Dom. 1584. where the Adjournment was from the 27th day of December unto the 4th day of February, which was near upon the same intervenient time or space for which this present Parliament de Anno 28, & 29 Regin. Eliz. was now Adjourned.
But the reason and cause is very plain why this Parliament was now Adjourned without any such Commission from her Majesty, although she her self was absent, and this was only in respect that her Highness Person was represented by Commissioners, to whom at first she had by Commission under the Great Seal delegated full and absolute power not only to begin but also to continue, Adjourn or Prorogue this instant Parliament (ut vide on Saturday the 29th day of October foregoing) which said Delegates or Lords Lieutenants did here being present Adjourn the same accordingly.
Concerning which said Adjournment and these two Meetings of one and the same Parliament there hath been much mistake and difference both in the Original Journal-Book of the Upper House, and in that also of the House of Commons, in the very Rolls of the Statute of this Parliament transcribed by the Clerk of the Upper House into the Chancery, and remaining in the Chappel of the Rolls, and lastly in the very Printed Books of the Statutes thereof.
For in the first place Mr Anthony Mason at this time Clerk of the Upper House, Entereth these two meetings of this one and the same Parliament in two several Books, as if they had been two several Sessions; to which mistake he was the rather induced, because divers Lords did send their new Proxies upon the second meeting of the two Houses on Wednesday the 15th day of February, & Anno Regin. Eliz. whereas it doth not appear that in the last Parliament de Anno 27 Regin. Eliz. that any new Proxies were then returned upon the second meeting of the two Houses after a like Adjournment. But the reason of this seemeth to be, not only in respect of this Adjournment, that it was somewhat longer than that former in the twenty seventh year of her Majesty (which lasted not full two Months, whereas this present Adjournment continued for the space of seventy five days or two Months and a Fortnight at the least.) But also because divers of the Lords both Spiritual and Temporal, who were present at this first meeting, being desirous (as it should seem) to hear that great business of the Scottish Queen debated and resolved on, did after this Adjournment and their recesses into their several Countries get Licence of her Majesty to be absent from the second meeting of this Parliament, which ensued on Wednesday the 15th day of February following in Anno 29 Regin. Eliz. and in which there were none but ordinary matters likely to be handled (Execution and Justice being done upon the Scottish Queen the 8th day of February immediately preceding the said second meeting) and did thereupon send their several Proxies of which such as were unusual and extraordinary are set down in the Journal ensuing according to the several days on which they were returned.
In the second place touching the Original Journal-Book of the House of Commons these two meetings of one and the same Parliament are set down as two several Sessions, the one by Mr Fulk Onslow at this time Clerk of the House of Commons, and the other by Mr William Onslow his Kinsman, who being a Member of the House was Licenced by it to supply the place of the said Mr Fulk Onslow, who by reason of his sickness was not able to attend, who enters this second meeting of the House of Commons upon Wednesday the 15th day of February in these words, viz.
In the third place the Roll of Statutes transcribed by Mr Anthony Mason into the Chancery and remaining in he Chappel of the Rolls, is intituled as followeth, Rotulus Parliament de Anno Regni Regin Elizabeth. vicesimo octavo. Whereas the words should likewise have been added, viz. & vicesimo nono.
In the fourth and last place the Printed Books of Statutes are likewise mistaken; for Christopher Barker at this time Printer to the Queens Majesty, who Printed the Statutes of this Parliament at large in Anno 1587. maketh no mention of any Parliament or meeting of Parliament in Anno 28 Regin. Eliz. but mentioneth that Book of Statutes in this manner, Anno 29° Regin Eliz. at this present Session of Parliament holden by Prorogation at Westminster the 15th day of February in the 29th year of the Raign of our most gracious Soveraign Lady Elizabeth, &c. Whereas if he had intituled it truly, it should have been thus: At this present Parliament holden at Westminster the 29th day of October in the 28th and 29th years of the Raign of our most Gracious Soveraign Lady Elizabeth, &c. Mr Poulton also in his Abridgement of Statutes Printed by the Company of Stationers, Anno Dom. 1612. setteth down a false Title before the Statutes of this Parliament, viz. Statutes made at the Session of Parliament holden by Prorogation at Westminster the 29th day of October, Anno 28 Eliz. and Anno Dom. 1587. &c.
In which said Title there are these two notorious and gross mistakes: The first in that he saith this Parliament was holden by Prorogation, whereas the former Parliament, held in Anno 27° Regin. Eliz. being dissolved upon the 14th day of September in Anno 28 Regin. ejusdem, this Parliament begun and held in the said 28th and 29th years of her Majesty was newly Summoned, and not held by Prorogation.
His second mistake is more gross than this, in that he allots all these proceedings to the year of our Lord 1587. whereas both meetings did begin and end during the year 1586. reckoning the year to begin upon the 25th day of March, as in all the Journal-Books of Parliaments and the Printed Books of Statutes and all Records and private Instruments it is always observed. All which may show how great inconvenience it may bring to take up things upon trust from others without searching out the truth, seeing so many men in that which they were best skilled in, and had doubtless so industriously travelled in, yet should be so grosly mistaken; for it is not worth the proof that this was an Adjournment and not a Prorogation, seeing it is positively entred in the Original Journal-Book of the Upper House on Friday the second day of December foregoing. And likewise when the two Houses did meet again on Wednesday the 15th day of February following, the foresaid JournalBook beginneth thus:
Die Mercurii 15° die Februarii, in quem diem hoc præsens Parliamentum Prorogatum fuerat, Proceres tam Spirituales quàm Temporales, &c. Or thus: viz. In quem diem, &c. Sessio Parliamenti Prorogata fuit teneri & inchoari apud Westminster die & loco prædict. Domini tam Spiritual. quàm Temporal. quorum nomina Subscribuntur, præsentes fuerunt, &c.
To which also may lastly be added, that no Bill passing the two Houses in the first meeting of this Parliament, nay for ought that can be gathered out of the Original Journal-Book of the Upper House, no one Bill having so much as any reading there, as hath been before observed, and so no Royal Assent putting life into any one Law, it could not be a Session but a meer meeting, which continued from Saturday the 29th of October unto Friday the second day of December in Annis 28, & 29. Regin Eliz. Anno Dom. 1586.
This doubt being thus fully cleared and the mistakings upon which it grew being likewise discovered, the residue of the Journal of this present Parliament upon the second meeting of the two Houses next ensueth.