Historical Collections: Or, An Exact Account of the Proceedings of the Four Last Parliaments of Q. Elizabeth. Originally published by T. Basset, W. Crooke, and W. Cademan, London, 1680.
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November 11th - 15th
Wednesday, November the 11th.
He said, That forasmuch as it was dangerous to the Queen and State, that Purchases should be Annulled by Misprision, or the like; and lest the Queen should be Tenant in Tail, then all Sales made by her, should be void: Therefore, to avoid this Inconvenience, he had penned this Law, almost word for word, but altogether to the Sense of the Statute, made Anno, Hen. 8. cap. which is even in manner of a Petition: And it being but short, I pray it may be Read, and Received.
A Bill for the Abbreviation of Michaelmass-Term. It was put to the Question, whether it should be Committed, or no? And the greater Voice were, Yeas. Yet the Burgesses of London were against it. And therefore, at naming of Committees, they were exempted; but some would have them in, and others out: And after many Speeches made, Pro & Contra, it was alledged by Sir Edward Hobby, That they that had given their Voice against the Body of the Bill, could not be Committees.
'Touching the Bill, I dare not upon my own Judgment, be so venturous or bold, to Reject this Bill, unless first it might have a Commitment. For, the Wisdom of that Time, when it was first Instituted, was so apt to look into Imperfections, that doubtless, if any Inconvenience had been but espyed, they would straight have avoided it.
'Therefore, in my Opinion, it is not fit for us to look into the Actions of former Ages, but upon mature and advised Deliberation. I do therefore greatly commend the Wisdom of this House, in Committing of this Bill, and others of the like Nature and Consequence, before we Reject them.
'For the other Part, Though it be a Rule in the House, That those against the Bill should be no Committees; yet in a Case of so great Consequence, and so greatly touching the State of the City of London, there is no Reason, but they may have their particular Voices, as Committees, as well as any Member of this House: Neither have we any Reason to Exclude them, more than any other; especially they being Chosen for the most Principal City of this Kingdom; which is the Chamber of Her Majesty: whom we should the rather respect, for Her Majesties sake; who doth, and will remember their Loyalty and Faithfulness, shewed unto Her in the late dangerous Action, (meaning the Earl of Essex his Rising): For which, if ever Prince had Cause of Thankfulness to Her Subjects, doubtless Her Majasty is to confess as much.
'In my Opinion therefore, we should do great Wrong, and purchase them great Blame at their Hands that sent them hither in Trust, if in a Matter of this Consequence, and so particularly touching the State of this City, we should not admit them as Committees.
Mr. Wiseman said, 'That by Committing of a Bill, the House allowed of the Body thereof, though they disallowed of some Imperfections in the same. And therefore, committed it to some chosen Men in Trust, to Reform and Amend any thing therein, which they found Imperfect.
'And it is presumed, That he that will give his No to the Committing of a Bill, at the Commitment will be wholly against the Bill. And therefore, the House allowing of this Bill to be Committed, are, in my Opinion, to disallow any that will be against the Body of the Bill, for being Committees.
Mr. Comptroller said, He was of Opinion, for the Reasons beforealledged, That they ought to be Committees. But he moved another Question; whether a Committee, speaking against a Bill at the Commitment, may also Speak at the Ingrossing thereof, in the House, and have his Free Voice.
Sir Edward Hobby said, That may be resolved upon by Precedents: And for my own Opinion, I think, That he that is against the Body of the Bill, can be no Committee; and he that being a Committee, speaketh against a Bill, may also speak hereafter in the House.
Mr. Fulke Grevill said, A Committee was an Artificial Body, and framed out of Us, who are the General Body: And therefore, that which is spoken at the Committee, Evanescit, it is gone, when the Body, which is the Commitment, is dissolved: And then every particular Committee is no more a Part of the Artificial Body, but of Us the General Body, when he hath his Free Voice, as though he had never spoken before.
Then the Speaker stood up and said, I will propound two Questions, The First, If when a man hath spoken against the Body of a Bill, he may be a Committee? The Second, If any Committee speak against a Bill at the Commitment, yet whether he may speak again, and have his free Voice?
Now (quoth he) I will propound the first Question: All that will have a man, that hath been against the Body of the Bill to be a Committee, let them shew their Opinions by saying Yea. And not one said Yea. All that will not, say No. And all said No. So he did for the second Question; And not one said No, but all Yea.
Then he put it to the Question, whether they of London, notwithstanding this Order, in respect this Commitment so greatly concerned the State, should be Committees. And the Yeas were greater than the Noes.
Thursday Novemb. 12.
A Bill, for the Redressing of certain inconveniencies in a Stat. 21 Hen. 8. Cap. 13. Intituled, An Act against Plurality of Benefices, for taking of Farmes by Spiritual men, and for Residence. This Bill was drawn by Robert Eyre of Lincolns-Inn. That the Proviso of that Statute might be Repealed.
VVhilst there were divers Disputes of this Bill; Mr. Fleming the Queen's Solicitor took the Bill to look a word in it; after he had done and laid it on the Board, One Mr. Brown, Clerk, Comptroller to the Queens Houshold, stood up, and said, Mr. Speaker, You should, after a Bill is ingrossed, hold it in your Hand, and let no Man look into it; which was confessed by all. And so the Speaker took it.
The Bill for the Denization of certain Persons, viz. will. Millet, Ann Pope, George Chandlor, Peter Eaton, Nicholas Eaton, Nicholas Taylor, and others, was Read the second time, and put to the Question to be Ingrossed. And all said Yea, and there was not one No, and never Committed.
Friday Novemb. 13.
And a Bill against wilfull Absence from Church on Sundays; which Bill, Sir Rob. Wroth preferred. The Effect whereof is, for the better gathering of One Shilling for every Absence, which is given by the Stat. of 1 Reginæ, and the Statute is limited to indure the Queens Reign, (which was greatly whispered at, and Observed in the House).
'We that be here, cannot hear you that are above. I would it would please them that speak there, to speak Louder. Also, I am to Certify, that I am here for a Town, but not in mine own Countrey, Denbyshire, or for any part thereof; but if I should not speak something in behalf of my Country, I dare not go thither again.
'Therefore I heartily beseech you, Mr. Speaker, that the House may be Resolved what course is taken, according to the Order of the House, for the Election of a Knight and Burgess; for they can not but find themselves greatly grieved for want of the Election; but what is done I know not.
Mr. Secretary Cecil said, 'Because I am the Reporter of the Election, as also of the Proceeding, I will now also Certify you, that there was Order taken for the sending out of a new Warrant for the Election; but what is done therein, I also know not.
Mr. Speaker said, 'I gave Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown, according to the Antient Form, to send forth a new Writ; who answered me, That the Lord Keeper desired to have the Warrant directed to him to have a new Writ, and for his Warrant for Sealing thereof. So that nothing is done there in, until the Pleasure of the House be known.
Sir Edward Hobby said, 'There is no Court that doth not observe its Rights, and follow its Privileges; Much more this High Court of Parliament, being the Greatest, and Commander of all other Courts, doth and ought to Observe the same most strictly. And all the Precedents that I have seen, touching this Point, have ever gon to the Clerk of the Crown, and no other; And therefore, I take it, that that Course, cught inviolably to be Observed.
Sir George Moore said, 'I agree with the Gentleman that last spake, That Precedents ought to be Observed, yet to be altered upon urgent Occasions, or by necessity of time. Knowing this, I take it as my duty to Inform you, if any alteration hath been, it proceeded from imperfection of the Speaker. It was well Observed by an ancient Member of this House, who is now with God, that no Conference with the Lords touching a Subsidy, should be had; yet that Rule hath been altered in late Parliaments, by reason of special Causes: So I do think it would be more Honour to this House to direct a Warrant to the Lord-Keeper, than to an Inferiour Minister of the Chancery.
Sir Francis Hastings said, 'By the Leave of your Honourable Favours, I will shew you, that I my self was yesterday with the Lord Keeper, and how honourably I heard him speak of this House. That he desireth no more, than to shew the Love and Duty he beareth to this House, as also that himself would be our immediate Officer, and would be willing and glad to receive a Warrant from us, so it might be directed to him for his Discharge, be it in what Terms soever we pleased. And he said, he doubted not, but if this Honourable House knew so much, they would rather choose him, than any other Minister. Thus much I thought sit to certify this House of, which being spoken in private unto me, I now deliver in publick unto you: For my own Advice, I think nothing can be more Honourable to this House, than to have a person of so great Estate, to whom we may direct our Warrant as our Minister.
Mr. Francis Bacon said, 'It is far more Honourable for this House, in my Opinion, when our Warrant shall move the Principal Member of Justice, than when it shall command a base, petty, or inferiour Servant to the Clerk of the Crown, or the Clerk of the Petty-Bag. It will be said our Warrant emanuit improvide, when we shall direct our Warrant to these base Officers, when we may move the great Seal of England by it, even as soon as either Petty-Bag or Petty Officer.
Mr. Speaker said, 'I was ever Zealous and Jealous of the Privileges and Orders of this House. I was commanded by you to send forth a Warrant for the Election of a Knight and Burgesse, I found a Resolution and judgment Agreed and Resolved, That during the time of the Sitting of this House, the Speaker for any new Election, is to make a Warrant, directed
Mr. Secretary Cecil said, 'I shall move unto you a Conclusion, which will end this Controversy, and in the mean time be a Saving unto all persons: I mean not to second my former Errour, for which I was excepted to, That is, that Mr. Speaker, or any Member of this House should attend my Lord Keeper, but that four of this House, might be Assigned to go unto my Lord Keeper, to know the cause of the Stay, as also his Lordships request unto this House. And that other six may be Assigned to call before them the Clerk of the Crown, the Clerk of the Petty-bag, and the Clerk of this House, with their Precedents and Books, to see to whom this Warrant hath in former times been directed; and whether the Privileges in former times have daunced a Pavan too and Fro, and according to the time, have been altered. This to be done this afternoon, and to certify the House to morrow. And then, We to make a Determinate Resolution.
Mr. Holtcroft a Knight for Cheshire, said, May it please you, Mr. Speaker, the County-day for Denbyshire is on Thursday next; and therefore, there had need be speed made, or else there can be no Election this Parliament.
Saturday Novemb. 14.
Mr. Johnson said, Mr. Speaker, I being a Member of this House, I thought it my Duty to Inform you, That my self and divers others are served with Subpœnas. I do not this, either that I am loath to Answer, or desire to delay Justice, but to Inform the House thereof; left Peradventure it might be a Precedent, or some prejudice to the Priviledge of this House. Here is one, which is now delivered into my Hand. The House Cryed, Read it. So the Clerk Read it.
After the Reading of which, he certified the House thus much; That the Informer came to his Lodging this Morning, as he was coming out of the Doors, and asked for him; he told him, He was the Man: Then (quoth the Informer) the Queen Greets you well. what's this, (quoth I?) A Subpœna, (quoth the Informer) and I charge you to appear upon it, according to the Contents. Then I told him, I was of this House, and could not Attend: He answered me again; There it is, I care not; look you to it at your Peril.
Mr. David waterhouse stood up, and shewed, That the Subpœna came out of his Office; and further shewed The Necessity of Obeying it: For that a Cause for want of a witness, might be lost. And therefore, if the Hearing be appointed at a Day certain, the Client might peradventure be undone, if he should not have this Subpœna ad Testificandum, in due time, both served and appeared unto.
Sir Edward Hobby alledged divers Precedents in this Point; as the 10th. of February, 27 Reginæ Mr. Kerle served one Roger Stepney with a Subpœna, into the Star-Chamber; for which he was adjudged to the Serjeant at Arms Keeping, for Six Dayes, and to pay Five Marks Charges. And the 25th. of March, 27 Reginæ, Mr. Crook served a Member of this House with a Subpœna, into the Chancery; and for so doing, was adjudged to give a Copy of the Bill, and Twenty Shillings for Charges; and was committed to the Serjeant's Keeping.
Mr. Wiseman said; 'That notwithstanding the Allegation and Excuse of the Gentleman, that spake in Favour of the Subpœna ad Testificandum, I think it deserveth no more Favour than the other: For if the Necessity of the Cause were such, that he must needs be served, and spared out of this House, the Party ought to ask Leave of the House, or at least of the Speaker; or intreat him to relate the same to the House.
Sir George Moore said; 'I think, as the Gentleman that last spake; for the like Subpœna being brought the Last Parliament, it grew a Question, whether it was an Impeachment to the Privileges of the House. And after some Dispute, an Antient Member of this House shewed divers Precedents, how that the Minds of the Members of this House ought to be freed, as well as their Bodies. Whereupon two Members of this House were sent, to require the Lord-Keeper to Reverse that Subpœna.
He said; 'We have called before us the Clerk of the Crown, the Clerk of the Petty-Bagg, and Our Clerk of the Parliament. The Clerk of the Crown shewed unto us five Warrants, and one Order, all in one Course, and one Form, in 27 Reginæ. Three of the Warrants were directed to the Clerk of the Crown, Two without Directions: & he shewed unto us Two Writs, without Warrants. Then we called the Clerk of the Petty-Bagg, who would shew us no Warrants, but only a Record of a Writ in his Roll, 39 Reginæ: Only, he said, (but we heard him not) That Warrants had been granted to the Clerk of the Petty-Bagg. The Clerk of the Parliament shewed unto us Two Precedents; one of the Fifth, and the other of the Thirteenth Reginæ; both without Direction; but-with these, or to the like Effect, as I take it: It is required, such and such a Thing be done, &c.
Sir Edward Hobby said; 'Because the Truth hereof might be made more plain, and that it pleased you to command my unworthy Self, to attend Yesterdayes Service; I will, under the Favour of the Gentleman that last spake, make a Repetition, ab Origine, a little longer than he did, for the Satisfaction of this House, and our Pains.
'It pleased you, to depute Six for this Service: Five attended the Serjeant at Law, (Mr. Serjeant Harris) of whose Furtherance we best hoped, yet deceived both your, and our Expectations. The Clerk of the Crown, the Clerk of the Petty-Bagg, and the Clerk of the Parliament, attended us. The Clerk of the Petty-Bagg, delivered unto us a fair Record, containing a Writ sent out Sedente Parliamento; for so are the Words: It was for the Knights in Yorkshire, and Lancashire, &c. This was all he could shew: Only, he said, An old Officer would be sworn; There were more, but lost by Mr. Garth's Decease.
'The Clerk of the Crown dealt with us two wayes. The First, By way of Experimented Officers: The Second, By way of Precedent. For the First, One Steven Browne was brought before Us; who had been an Officer in the Crown-Office, these Thirty-Six Years: And being asked, If he knew how Warrants were directed? He answered, That in the Time of the Lord-Keeper Bacon, when he was Speaker of this House, they were directed to the Clerk of the Crown. Being further asked, If they were ever impugned? He answered, No. Being asked, where these Warrants were kept? He answered, On the Labels in the House. The said Clerk shewed us Five Precedents, and One Order: The rest were lost, by Mr. Watson's Death; as the other Precedents were, by the Death of Mr. Garth.
'The Clerk of the Parliament produced Warrants indefinite, of 13 Reginæ, when Sir Christopher Wray, Knight, was Speaker: As also, an Order dated the Eighteenth Day of March, 1580. die Sabbati; That a Warrant should be directed to the Clerk of the Crown, to Choose a New Burgess for Norwich, instead of one Beamont: The Words whereof were; It is required by the Knights, Citizens, Burgesses, and Barons, &c. And also, another Order, dated die Sabbati, 18 March, Anno 1580. In these Words; It is further Agreed upon, and Resolved by this House, That during the Time of the Sitting of this Court, there do not at any Time, any writ go out, for the Choosing or Returning of any Knight, Citizen, Burgess, or Baron, without the Warrant of this House, first directed for the same, to the Clerk of the Crown; according to the Antient Jurisdiction and Authority of this House, in that behalf accustomed. And another Warrant subscribed; Henry Gates, William Fleetwood; who were Committees in Examining of a Cause, touching one Henry Beremaker, and Anthony Wilde. The Effect whereof was; That for as much as they were Arrested into the King's-Bench, whereas we find them Privileged, as Members of this House; A warrant was directed to the Clerk of the Crown, for making VVrits of Privilege, as afore-said. Dated from Westminster, the Sixth Day of December, 1586.
Sir George Moore stood up, and shewed a Precedent, Dated on Fryday, the Second Day of March, 35 Reginæ: 'Where a New Writ was to be awarded out, concerning one Mr. Fitz Herbert; and a Writ of Privilege to come from the Chancery: And the Speaker made a Warrant to the Lord-Keeper, to make a New Writ, in the like Case; both touching Southwark, and Melcombe Regis. So, I think, the Warrant ought to be directed to the Lord-Keeper.
Mr. Tate of the Middle-Temple, shewed; 'That Ratio Legis, was Anima Legis: And he that presents a Precedent without a Reason, presents a Soul without a Body. There is a Difference of Writs: There be Brevia ex gratia Speciali, and Brevia Cursoria. The Writs which we speak of, are Brevia Cursoria: And therefore, when the Warrant hath gone from the Speaker to the Clerk, it hath caused the Writs to be Sealed of course, by the Lord-Keeper, &c.
Mr. Secretary Herbert shewed, 'How that He, with the other Three, by their Commandments, had been with the LordKeeper; whom we found most Honourably to Entertain both me, and the rest: and that his Lordship did greatly respect the Majesty and Gravity of this House; and said, He would be loth to derogate any thing from Either: Notwithstanding, he hoped and prayed, That if any former Precedents had improvidently gone from this House, or contrary to the most Antient Usage, that we would now Settle our Resolutions, and Establish and Decree that, which might be a sufficient warrant unto him, to put in Execution our Commandments; and also increase the Majesty and Honour of this House: Which he most heartily wished, might ever continue. And for my part, I can assure you, we cannot wish him to be more Honourable, or more Agreeable to this House, than we found him.
Mr. Doyley of Lincolns-Inn, said: 'Mr. Speaker, As I take it, there is a Precedent this Parliament, which will decide this Question. For there is an Honourable Person in this House, being Chosen with my self, Burgess for Wallingford, and also Knight of the Shire, chose to be Knight: And a Warrant went from You, Mr. Speaker, directed to the Clerk of the Crown, for Election of a New Burgess; who is Chosen, and Sworn; and is now a Member of this House: Mr. Thomas Fortescue, by Name.
Mr. Fleming, the Queen's Sollicitor, said: 'The Clerk of the Crown is our Immediate Officer; He is to be Attendant between the Two Doors of the Upper-house, and the Lower-house: When any Warrant-General is required, he is to Subscribe it, to Certifie it, &c. He is to convey our Minds and Messages to the Upper-house; yea, this Warrant is to be directed unto him.—Then all the House cryed, to have it put to the Question.
Then the Speaker stood up, and said: The Question must stand on Three Parts: First, If the Warrant shall be directed to the Clerk of the Crown? Secondly, If to the Lord-Keeper? Thirdly, If without any Direction?