Proceedings in Parliament 1624: The House of Commons. Originally published by British History Online, 2015-18.
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THURSDAY, 15 APRIL 1624
I. JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, PA, HC/CL/JO/1/13
[CJ 767; f. 142]
Jovis, 150 Aprilis 1624
Carew Ralegh. This afternoon, knights, burgesses of Devon and Cornwall added.
Sir Francis Clerke's bill. This afternoon.
Bill of battle. Saturday, 2 [o']clock.
L. 1. An act concerning tobacco.
L. 1. An act concerning fees to be taken in cities, boroughs and towns corporate.
L. 2. An act for the naturalizing of Philip Jacobson of London, merchant.
Wednesday next, Star Chamber, 2 [o']clock.
[f. 142v] L. 2. An act for the relief of divers artisan clothworkers in London.
Monday, 2 [o']clock, Court of Wards.
Bill of usury. This afternoon.
Bill of free fishing. Tomorrow, 2 [o']clock. To be delivered to Mr. [Thomas] Wentworth and he required to attend. Court of Wards.
SIR EDWARD COKE reports the bill of inferior courts. The amendments twice read.
Ordered to be engrossed.
[f. 143] L. 2. An act against troublesome suits commenced against justices of peace.
|Sir George More||Mr. [William] Noye|
|Sir Thomas Hoby||Sir John Cutts|
|Mr. [Edward] Alford||Sir Clement Throckmorton|
|Sir Henry Poole|
|Sir Guy Palmes|
All to have voice. Friday, 2 [o']clock, Court of Wards.
SIR EDWARD COKE reports from the committee concerning the Lord Treasurer. That they have reduced the charges against him into heads agreed upon by the committee. His part, the bribes and Court of Wards, Sir Edwin Sandys the rest.
- 1. The bare charge of the first £500 from the petty farms.
- 2. The £500 from the great farms. Both as bribes.
- 3. The proofs.
- 4. The contrarieties, wherein [Abraham] Jacob crossed the other in 4 things, which after he acknowledged.
First, denied the receipt of the £500 but after confessed it. Secondly, denied to my Lord that he knew of the entry of it into the book, yet had the warrant for it. Then considered of the Lord Treasurer's defence. Where expected much from a man of his great wit, but found it very weak.
For the Court of Wards, he the projector and adviser of the alteration there, which the committee holds to be to the King's prejudice and grievance of the subjects. Double fees. Vast power to his secretary, who to have all petitions, who takes fees for all where the clerk was to take all petitions without fee.
For aggravation. The first bribe a sordid bribe in itself, but in circumstance beyond all example. A covenant in the lease of this petty farm under the Great Seal to have no impositions during that lease. The King's promise in verbo regio. £50,000 paid in hand. £44,000 and odd [f. 143v] rent, yearly. Lord Treasurer, that knew all this against the King's justice and honour, projected and advised the imposition of £3 upon a tun. The farmers hereupon exhibited their petition of right in respect of the King's covenant and royal word. Put in their bill into the Exchequer. Order, the King's attorney should answer. Michaelmas term passed. 22 December, they petitioned the King; pressed him with his covenant and word, and desired satisfaction. King referred it to the Treasurer, with whom they had dealt 10 months before for relief. He presently, about the beginning of January, agreed with them, and abated them £9,000 and £500, but from that time until July no dispatch. Then the bribe of £500 presently drew it on. Then the Parliament coming on, his conscience smote him. He told Jacob the £500 set on the petty farms was mistaken. No enemy to Parliament, but ever had a blow by Parliament. Wolsey. This shows what good Parliaments bring. This sordid bribery, for he is a judge. For the 2nd bribe, for not taking surety until he had this £500. If sufficient, why took them not without a bribe? If insufficient, why with a bribe?
For Court of Wards. Extortion in double fees; causing a new officer of secretary to take all petitions, [CJ 768] who took fees where the clerk to take none for petitions. This secretary has the power to suppress or prefer petitions, and causes at his power/
II. DIARY OF JOHN HAWARDE, WILTSHIRE AND SWINDON ARCHIVES, 9/34/2
Jovis, 15 Aprilis 1624
2. L. Bill pur apprentices de clothworkers.
Sur question, committe.
SIR EDWARD COKE reporte le bill pur avoydante vexacions in removante suits hors d'inferior courts.
Sur question, engrosse.
2. L. Bill pur easie pleading in actions versus justices de peace et autres officers etc.
Sur question, committe; touts davoir voices, Friday in [courte de] gards.
SIR EDWARD COKE et SIR EDWIN SANDYS sont reporte del choses touchante le Lord Tresorer Cranfield, et sur cest message fuit mise al seignours pur conference mes le temps et lieu sont deste referre al eux, et ils appoint cest afternoone at 3 a'clocke dambideux Huises al grande halle in Whitehalle, al quil temps le Lord [Edward] Coke et Sir Edwin Sandys sont reporte al Prince et touts les seignours la presente.
Bill pur naturalisinge le Marques [de] Hamilton fuit reporte par SIR THOMAS EDMONDES, Tresorer del Housholde, et sur question est deste engrosse, mes fuit mise del seignours ready ingrosse, et pur cest le question doit este pur passage. Mes quant le Huise est en message cest question ne doit este sur lour retorne.
Sur question fuit passe pur leye.
III. DIARY OF JOHN HOLLES, BL, HARL. MS 6,383
Thursday, 15th of April
SIR EDWARD COKE'S part of the report of the [Lord] Treasurer's charge concerning the Court of Wards and the bribes. He would not let [Abraham] Jacob go up clear, for in 4 things he contradicted himself. The first, he knew not, he said, of the entering of the £500 in the accounts, yet he himself gave order for it, etc. Concerning the Court of Wards, the Treasurer was the projector and adviser of new instructions. His extortion of fees upon petitions when they should be delivered to the clerk without fees. His sordid bribes of 2 £500 beyond all that ever he read or heard. The petty farmers had a proviso in their patent that there should be no new impositions laid upon them. This imposition according to the nature of all impositions in toto et tanto did so much impoverish their farms as they had not [f. 133] wherewith to pay their rent, for relief whereof they put up a petition of right to the King, and not of grace. This the King referred to the Treasurer, who contracted to give them in recompense £9,500 in 9 year[s], for which they could not in 6 months get a warrant until they had given £500; but when the Parliament came his conscience smote him, and he dealt with Jacob to blot it out of the accounts. No man that had been an enemy to Parliaments but had a blow by them, as Cardinal Wolsey.
For the other bribe, for taking security of the farmers of the great farms, was a plain bribe. For either the security was sufficient or not sufficient; if sufficient, he should take it freely without a bribe; if not sufficient, he should not have taken it with a bribe.
For the Court of Wards, he took away good orders and brought in bad. His secretary had his hand and stamp at command to do business without him. This secretary ever gave 6 months for finding an office for a ward, which if not then well found, before the next day came, which was 6 months after, he took the ward to himself as a concealed ward. As Master of the Wards he is sworn to serve the king and his people well and truly, which he does not do by extortion. His oath as a councillor is he shall counsel the king plainly, evenly and truly, which he did not by projecting these impositions. As Lord Treasurer his oath is he shall well and truly serve the king and his people without reward, which he did not by taking bribes, so as he is perjured in his threefold oath.
[f. 133v] SIR EDWIN SANDYS'S part of [the] report concerning the Treasurer. He has had an unpleasing part laid upon him, for of all services he least desires the part of an accuser. He set it down in writing and read it, which was only concerning the new impositions, which he said he was directed by the committee to begin with a twofold protestation:
- 1. That they intend not now to question the king's power of imposing and that they will now quite forbear the name of "imposition", and only use that of "oppression".
- 2. To lay no aspersion upon the Council table or any member thereof, but the Treasurer the only projector.
These oppressions are on the wines, the sugar and grocery ware. Then to consider the circumstance of time of laying these new impositions presently after the dissolution of the last Parliament. By words he used, they conceive that by his malevolent suggestions to the King he was the chief cause of the breach of that Parliament. That presently after he projected the benevolence whereby he took from the subject £80,000, and presently after the subsidies giving. This was said only by way of aggravation and no part of his charge. The King in the Banqueting House before both Houses of Parliament protested he would lay no new impositions without assent of Parliament.
The chief cause of the decay of trade is the overburdening it with new charges. This imposition of wine was laid when the merchants had [blank] tun of wine in the river. [f. 134] Those that complained thereof he committed to pursuivants; the Council, in consideration of their loss, brought in the vintners to pay part of the charge and gave them leave to raise wine a penny in the quart; this lasted but a while. The merchants lost that year a great part of their principal by this new imposition. One year with another, they pay centum per centum. Cognac wine in France with all charges costs there £5 a tun. The merchants protest they paid to the King for 7[,000] or 8,000 tun, £30,000 in custom and impost. They compared their sufferings to the Israelites' brickmaking in Egypt. Thus much the merchants say. And now to the sense of the House.
Now for the sugar. The rent of the sugars was to Queen Anne £5,000 per annum, since that Eliot [sic] paid for it 10,000 marks, but his Lordship makes a clear gain thereof to his own purse £4,000 yearly.
The other complaint against him for composition for grocery ware, which he did without warrant, he usurping regal power.
SIR FRANCIS SEYMOUR. He shall never stand up for any private end, but when the public good is in question he will discharge his conscience. The proofs are yet very plain. But he would not suffer aggravations without proof, as that he should be an enemy to Parliaments, and that he should be a projector of the alterations in the Court of Wards, which was referred to all the officers; and to accuse him of more than can be proved will do him more right than otherwise. [f. 134v] He is no friend to protestations, for we have had ill luck with them. He disallowed that protestation concerning impositions as though we would lose our right, and to make this protestation to the Lords is needless.
For the second protestation of laying no aspersion upon the Council table or any member thereof, there was nothing said in this House that proved him the projector but only the propounder of it. And whereas one of them, viz. Secretary Calvert, said they took it with an implicit faith, under favour it is no honour for any of them to say so nor for us that are judges to go upon surmises in accusations. Whereas he is accused to have procured the dissolution of the last Parliament, the King himself said he had broken the neck of 3 Parliaments. And whereas he is accused to have projected the benevolence, it were well if we could prove it; but he being one that was called before the Council about the benevolence, he protested he saw no more forwardness in him than the rest.
SECRETARY CALVERT stepped up to defend his saying of implicit faith, saying that in this great Council all men did not understand all things, but some one, some another; and the Treasurer understanding the matter of trade best, they referred it to him. Therefore, under Sir Francis Seymour's favour, it was no dishonour for him to use that speech.
[WILLIAM] LORD CAVENDISH. About the end of the last Parliament, the Treasurer fomented the distemper about Flood [sic]. The Treasurer also then said that we should all see before that day fortnight that the King would have urging necessities to dissolve that Parliament; and what the Treasurer said or thought he will not say, but what followed we all know.
[f. 135] SIR JOHN SAVILE. He never heard so of any man, but one, as of the Treasurer, that no man never spoke good of him. Princes have more need of men of wit without honesty than honesty without wit. It is a carelessness in a master to keep an ill servant. We commonly judge the master by the man. He was against the two protestations.
SIR THOMAS WENTWORTH. The question being whether he should be charged with projecting or propounding to the Council the new imposition, unless anyone could charge him directly to have projected it, he wished to use only the word "propounding".
SIR HENRY POOLE. We are judges and must only go according to allegata et probata.
IV. DIARY OF SIR THOMAS JERVOISE, HAMPSHIRE RECORD OFFICE, 44M69/F4/20/1
Thursday, 15th April
The charge of my Lord Treasurer.
SIR EDWARD COKE report[s] only for the bribes and the Court of Wards.
- 1. The Court of Wards. He was the projector for the altering of the instructions to the abuse both of the king and subject, taking fees of all men.
- [2.] The first bribe, [£]500, it is a sordid one, a most foul one. There was a covenant under the Great Seal that there should no impositions be laid, a rent of £40,000 reserved. Against the word and justice of the King, he set the imposition of £3 upon the tun. They exhibited their petition of right against the King. Long did they sue, but could not get any relief but ill words until the £500 was paid; then they had their answer and dispatch of their business. 2 bribes, in that he would [not] [p. 136] take such security that was good for the King until the farmers did present him with £500.
The Court [of] Wards. By these instructions any man may have any petition concealed, by which it is in the power of the secretary to make and [sic] wardships a concealment.
Lastly, whereas he has taken [a] 3-fold oath, he has broke them all. For the first oath as being Master of the Wards, he shall do equal right to the king and subject and to uphold his Majesty, which he cannot do, putting his man in that power as that he have both his hand and seal, he may dispose of all business as he pleased. Second, being a councillor of state as he should give the king even and just counsel, which he has failed in projecting that impost as was contrary to his word and covenant. Third, as being Lord Treasurer he should [p. 137] by all just and good means look to the king's profit, which he did not do, for when the customs were to be secured, although at first he, as it seems, did dislike the security of those that then were farmers, yet after they did present him with a bribe of £500 he was willing to take their security and did dispatch them.
SIR EDWIN SANDYS'S report in the charge of impositions.
V. DIARY OF EDWARD NICHOLAS, TNA, SP 14/166
Thursday morning, 150 Aprilis 1624
Concerning the bill of continuance of statutes, Mr. [William] Noye in the chair.
Ordered, on question, by this committee that there shall be a proviso for transportation of beer at what prices so ever corn be at, and that such a proviso shall be drawn by Mr. [William] Noye and 4 others of this House, wherein there shall be an impost set to be paid to the King for such beer as shall be transported. The reason why this committee gave way for the transportation of beer in this large manner is because that thereby we sell our water, hops, malt and labours of our countrymen.
Mr. Speaker in the chair.
SIR EDWARD COKE reports from the committee appointed to collect the complaints or information against the Lord Treasurer. That he is to speak only of that which concerns the Court of Wards and the 2 bribes, the rest Sir Edwin Sandys is to report.
That [Abraham] Jacob is not to be reported to the Lords as a clear man for he crossed himself. First, that he received not £500 of Mr. [Bernard] Hide, which after when he was confronted he did confess. That the Lord Treasurer's answers to the charges of bribery are poor and weak, and where it was expected to have had the influence [f. 152v] of a good and extraordinary wit. That he is to aggravate the taking of bribes by the Lord Treasurer. That the impositions new laid on the wines did destroy the lease of the farmers. That the Lord Treasurer was the projector of this impositions [sic], which was contrary to the honour and justice of the King, and disabled the farmers so that [they] had not gain enough to pay their rent to the King for the customs which they farmed. That when the King had referred the consideration of the petty farmers' losses to the Lord Treasurer, and he had agreed that they should have abated £9,500 for 9 y[ears] et dimidium by £1,000 a year, but could not have a warrant to have a lease thereof until they gave him £500. That when the Parliament came then his conscience struck him, and SIR EDWARD COKE observes that the enemies to Parliament ever had a blow by Parliaments first or last, as had Cardinal Wolsey, who was a great statist but an enemy to Parliaments.
That concerning that which is against the Lord Treasurer for the Court of Wards, he placed a new officer, his secretary, who was a secretary of extortion and corruption. That he gave his secretary too large a limit and vast a power by giving him, who had before his Lordship's seal, a stamp, whereby he did give day for the finding of offices for half a year and if he gave it but for another half year for the finding of the office, the ward had been concealed and then had it been the Lord Treasurer's. That it lay in the power of his secretary to deceive the King of his revenue and for wardships, which he cared not to do for the benefit of his lord and master. That [f. 153] Lord Treasurer violated all his 3 oaths: first, his oath as he was Master of the Wards, he swore well and truly [to] serve the king and his people; second, as he was Lord Treasurer, well and truly [to] serve the king and his people [sic]; third, as he was a privy councillor, that he honestly, justly and truly counsel the king. He says he will not weary us with an enumeration of all the Lord Treasurer's faults.
SIR E[DWIN] SANDYS reports the other part of the business against the Lord Treasurer, concerning the later new impositions which are the impositions laid upon impositions. To mak[e] 2-fold protestations which are exclusions of not intended conclusions. First protestation: that in this crimination of the Lord Treasurer, the House intends not to meddle with the dispute of the right of imposing claimed by prerogative without prejudice to the cause and intend only now to save the claim thereof, and therefore desire to lay aside the name of "imposition" and use the name of "oppression", wherein they only meddle with the Lord Treasurer, and not to reflect on his Majesty but the Lord Treasurer who was the only projector and prosecutor thereof and with all extremity and violence.
Second protestation: that there is no intent to lay any aspersion on the honourable board of the Council table nor any member thereof saving the Lord Treasurer only, the House of Commons having received satisfaction sufficient therein that his Lordship was the first propounder of the laying of these oppressions of £3 on a tun of wine. [f. 153v] The Lord Treasurer could not be ignorant that in the time of the Treasurer Salisbury, the King promised by his Majesty's solemn speech he would lay no more imposition without the consent of Parliament; and that the last Parliament, on complaint of the decay of trade in the House of Commons, the House made choice of the Lord Treasurer and employed him for the ease and bettering of trade, which his Lordship said he would make his masterpiece; that his Lordship made no other use hereof but only to devise how he might lay new impositions on merchandise.
A relation of the great mischiefs and miseries occasioned by this imposition laid on the wines, to the destruction of these wines which perished in the ships. 2,700 tun of wine in that year that the impost of wine was laid and then his Lordship commanded that no entry should be taken until he paid this impost and the wines now perished in [f. 154] the ships. Second, that concerning the second privy seal, the merchants accuse the Lord Treasurer with false information of his Majesty that they had voluntarily consented to this impost and that they were content to pay the impost of 20s. a tun. That the merchants say if their bonds be not delivered they are undone, but if they may be delivered they will give over their trade. That the merchants offered if [blank]. That cognac wine in France laid aboard stands the merchants in but £5 2s. the tun, and here at return is paid to the King for it the custom of £4 0s. The freight of this wine costs them 20s. the tun and some years the leakage costs them 40s. a tun. That one merchant, with his brother, has paid the King in less than 2 years £8,000 for custom. [Blank] That the merchants in general say they were [sic] if it were not for these great impositions, could drive twice as much trade as they do. That the Lord Treasurer [blank] has violated the King's gracious word and promise. That he done [sic] an act for the present grievous to the subject, for the future fearful by laying of impositions [f. 154v] without [illegible].
Concerning the sugars, there was paid by Mr. [Thomas] Havers to Queen Anne £5,500; since to others, Mr. [George] Herriot, for 10,000 marks. That now the Lord Treasurer's 2 servants have this custom at the farm of £2,000 per annum and they let it to the great farmers of the custom for £6,000 per annum. That it is like the King is well acquainted with this grant to the Lord Treasurer but we beseech the Lords to consider what merit of the Lord Treasurer may draw on so great a reward. [Blank]
That concerning the groceries, the Lord Treasurer has usurped even regal authority, for notwithstanding the composition for groceries agreed on between the King and the outports, yet the Lord Treasurer has made all the outports pay imposts; and where the town of Bristol on that agreement did pay at the Queen's going to Bath £800, they have notwithstanding impositions raised on them by warrant from the Lord Treasurer.
[f. 155] Solomon says that if thou sees oppression in a province by great men, marvel not at it, for a higher than he regards it. And we humbly and instantly pray and demand justice of these things of their Lordships.
SIR FRANCIS SEYMOUR would have nothing aggravated against the Lord Treasurer but what has been proved against his Lordship by proof. That he would not have us make any protestation at all, we have had such ill luck with protestations here. That he thinks it cannot be for the honour of any of the Council Board to say that that board did consent to the imposition on an implicit faith. That the King says that his Majesty did break the neck of Parliament, and if the King did it, then the Lord Treasurer did it not.
MR. SECRETARY CALVERT says that he remembers not whether he said the Lord Treasurer were the first projector or propounder of the new impost, but he thinks the words are all one. He says that the board did advise the King, but with an implicit faith by the Lord Treasurer, who had a great knowledge in matter of trade, and it is no dishonour [f. 155v] to that table to consent with implicit faith to any one great man in some particular, for it is not expected that everyone of that board should be skilful in all things; but he meant the Lord Treasurer was the first propounder of the impositions on wines.
SIR PETER HEYMAN says that the Lord Treasurer for the matter of benevolences said nothing to him nor pressed not anything of it, nor was so forward as other Lords in that business, and therefore he would not have that touched in our complaint against the Lord Treasurer.
MR. [JOHN] SELDEN says that if we use the word "imposition" we must touch on the right and lawfulness of laying of it, notwithstanding our protestation, and therefore he would have the word "oppression" only used and never to mention the protestation for the word "imposition".
SIR JOHN SAVILE. He never heard any man speak of any virtue in the Lord Treasurer. That he thinks the Lord Treasurer has no affection to Parliament nor ever will. That he believes the Lord Treasurer has done great dishonour to the King and an ill servant to the King and that he would never be better. That an ill servant is an argument of negligence in the master.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS would have this first protestation concerning impositions stand, but with some act of protestation that nothing left out or added by [f. 156] the Clerk of the Upper House shall not be prejudicial to the liberty of this House.
Ordered, that the first protestation delivered by Sir Edwin Sandys in his report shall stand, and in the second protestation shall be altered only the word of "projector", and "the first propounder of the impost of £3 on a tun of wine" set down instead of it. And that we shall not touch in our complaint any word on the dissolution of the last Parliament nor concerning the benevolences.
A message is sent to the Lords to pray a conference this afternoon concerning a member sitting in their Lordships' House.
Answer brought from the Lords: that they desire that committees of both Houses will meet for this business in the hall at Whitehall this afternoon at 3 o'clock.
Ordered, that Sir Edward Coke and Sir Edwin Sandys shall declare to the Lords at the conference the businesses against the Lord Treasurer.
Order, that those that sit in the chair for trade and grievances and courts of justice shall collect the most material business handled and ripe at those several committees and certify it to the House that something may be done therein for the good of the kingdom.
[f. 156v] Ordered, that the East India Company shall bring in their patent and all things belonging to that business to be by the committee of trade considered.
An act for the naturalizing of James, Marquess of Hamilton. 3. L. r. p. This bill is now passed this House, being sent from the Lords.
[Afternoon,] Thursday, 150 Aprilis 1624
At the hall in Whitehall there was a conference between the committees of both Houses when Sir Edward Coke and Sir E[dwin] Sandys did by appointment of our House deliver the complaints proved in our House against the Lord Treasurer.
VI. DIARY OF SIR WILLIAM SPRING, HOUGHTON LIBRARY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, MS ENG. 980
Thursday, the 15th
An act concerning tobacco.
An act concerning fees in cities and towns corporate.
An act for naturalizing Philip Jacobson, merchant. Committed.
An act for the relief of clothworkers and artisans in London. Committed.
The bill of free fishing in Newfoundland recommitted.
An act to make perpetual the statute of 7mo Jacobi for the ease in pleading in vexatious suits against justices of peace and inferior officers for doing their office. Committed.
An act for avoiding vexatious suits and delays caused by removing suits out of inferior courts, reported by SIR EDWARD COKE and passed to engrossing.
Here the Speaker went out of the chair and Mr. [William] Noye took the chair for the committee, and the House sat as a committee for the bill of continuance of statutes.
After, the Speaker took the chair again and the House sat as an House.
SIR EDWARD COKE reports the matters and heads of evidence concerning the Lord Treasurer's charges for the bribes, the Court of Wards. Observes that it is proved that the Treasurer was the projector of the change of the ancient and prime orders of the Court of Wards, whereby both the King and the subject is wronged, and the vast power that he has given the secretary to wrong the subject and defraud the King. That the bribe was a sordid fault in it[s] own nature, but by circumstance it is found beyond example because my Lord, being privy and present to the King's [p. 220] promise, first, that no imposition should be laid upon them, which was covenanted under the Great Seal and promised by the King verbo regio, and that they had also upon this disbursed £50,000 and covenanted to pay yearly £48,000 [sic], and that he notwithstanding all this had projected and imposed the £3 per tun; and the King upon complaint made unto him (and petition not of favour but of right) had referred them unto him to satisfy, yet he against all justice and honour of the King delayed and denied to grant them relief for half a year until they were compelled to give him the £500, and then immediately granted it to them. This imposition (as all others are) was in toto or in tanto a decay of the farmers. In all discourses series temporis is the best help to memory. In Michaelmas term was 12 month the petty farmers petitioned relief. In January following they compounded for allowance, and until July after they could get no warrant for it, and then the £500 was given and they had it. That it rested upon their account until the voice of the Parliament came, and then my Lord's conscience smote him and he caused it to be transferred from the petty farmers to the great.
He observes that ever those who have been enemies to Parliaments have been stricken by Parliaments. It is not only a bribe when money is received by a judge in a case depending in foro contentioso but when justice and equity is denied and delayed to those to whom it is due and that it will not be granted until money be given. And in this case of the second bribe my Lord Treasurer is in a dilemma; if the security of the great farmers were sufficient, why took [p. 221] he a bribe; if it were not, [why] took he the security?
For the Court of Ward[s] he has raised an office of fees and bribes, a secretary of fees and bribes, who takes double unwarrantable fees, one who may suppress any petition, or prefer what he will, and how dangerous may it be for any man to conceal petitions. He has the seal in his hands and can give what day he please for finding an office, and he has done it for 6 months at a time, and if he should give another day as much, by the change of the orders which make all wards the master's that are concealed one year all wards may thus become his.
He hence observes my Lord Treasurer's ingratitude to the King his master to whom he stands so infinitely obliged for all his honour and estate, to have that honour that no man ever had before, to be Earl of Middlesex, etc., and for him thus to betray his master's trust and raise an office to defraud him is a foul and vile offence. He has violated his oaths, for as he is Master of the Wards he is sworn to deal well and truly between the king and his people and to preserve the king's profit and not to decrease his revenue. As he is a councillor he is sworn to advise the king well and truly and he advised him ill when he projected the impositions. As Treasurer he is sworn to serve the king and his people, and it was a good piece of service to abuse the King and delay the subject against right and the King's honour.
SIR EDWIN SANDYS reports the charge of the Lord Treasurer concerning the matter of impositions and begins thus. Protestations are exclusions of conclusions not intended and in this report he must first use protestation. That the committee in the proceeding of this present business of the impositions did not intend to dispute the regal right of imposing claimed by prerogative, but at this time to waive it; [p. 222] that at this time the committee only intended to examine the matter of imposition as a matter of crimination of the Lord Treasurer, and hope that hereafter both the King shall be satisfied with their care in the support of the regal claim and the subject's right. And it is therefore desired that the word "imposition" may not be used but "oppression", always protesting they entered not hereby that anything shall reflect upon his Majesty. That they likewise protest that they do not intend to lay any imputation on the Council table, but on the Lord Treasurer only as the sole projector of these oppressions; and that this oppression does especially consist in 3 particulars, which fall out presently after that unhappy dissolution of the last Parliament, which they cannot but remember with grief, and by the way they observe that by certain speeches uttered by the Lord Treasurer that he in probability was the main mover of that breach, and that the great contribution was presently required also, of which they think him to be the chief instrument.
This being his projects on the land, his Lordship now extends his power to the seas. And, first, whereas the King had given his royal promise in the late Lord Treasurer Salisbury's time to lay no more impositions on the subject for trade without the allowance of the Commons, and that the Lord Treasurer that now is, being then a member of this House, was appointed to devise a means to ease the trade of the impositions it did bear, which office he was trusted with and undertook, promising it should be his masterpiece, yet since he has endeavoured to lay more upon it and to overload it. That the late imposition of the wines was strange and most unjust, for had they known it before they went they would not have gone, but notwithstanding the great loss and casualties of the voyage it was exacted [p. 223] on them forcibly. And when some of them refused, they were ill dealt with both by bad language and imprisonment, and their wines taken away, and vexed with pursuivants, to the great discouragement of the merchant and to the decay of trade, for at Rochelle there was a new imposition of 30s. upon a tun at the same time. And whereas it was pretended by my Lord that the imposition of wines here and in the outports was voluntary, they all deny it, only confessing that to avoid the daily vexation of the pursuivant they consented to the charge of 20s. per tun. They are so burdened with this as that they desire to give over the trade and to have out their bands. They protest they can hold no longer and that they suffer as the Israelites under a worse bondage than the brick making, and that if these impositions were not so grievous the merchants would double the trade. And hereupon the committee thought fit that the House of Commons (if the House assent to it) should complain of the Lord Treasurer for oppression.
The next complaint was concerning the sugars, the rent whereof was to Queen Anne £5,500 per annum, and the Lord Treasurer has now let it to two of his servants for [£]2,000 per annum, and they leave this to be considered of what service has deserved this reward. That all former favours and allowances of the custom of such goods as are imported and after 6 month exported again as had wont to be granted them, that they are now denied. They complain of the impositions of the outports without warrant from the King, that it is a grievous and insupportable injury.
SIR FRANCIS SEYMOUR thinks the complaint and charges plainly prove, but moves against the aggravations, which have only matter of probability for their ground, no direct proof, and to charge him without proof is to do him a courtesy. [p. 224] He likewise wishes that we advise well about the allowance of the protestations, and thinks it useless and needless to protest the right of the House of Commons, since this protestation is to go to the Lords where it cannot do us any good, and protestations of this House have not been fortunate. That we cannot justly term the Treasurer projector but propounder, for so it was said in express terms by him who excused the Council table and did impute the matter to him; and to say we will not lay an aspersion is to imply we may if we will; to say they did it by implicit faith is to lay an imputation upon them. For charging him with the being the breach of the Parliament, it is not for the honour of the House as a judge to censure upon surmise. The King himself said that himself did it, and of 3 Parliaments, and how can we charge the other? But if we could prove him the cause or mover of it, it were somewhat, but by conjecture it is not fit. For the benevolence, the Lord Treasurer did no more than the rest of the Council in it, and we can charge him with no more.
SIR GEORGE CALVERT says it is no dishonour to the board to say they went by an implicit faith, since some one man is better seen in some things than others, and the Lord Treasurer being better seen and acquainted with matter of trade than all the rest of the board, they gave credence unto him in what he propounded.
[WILLIAM,] THE LORD CAVENDISH, thinks it was proved that the Lord Treasurer was the man that altered [the] course of the Court of Wards and that he overruled the rest of the officers; and that if any way it may appear that he has not broken his oaths, then it may be left, but for aught yet appears to us he has, and therefore [p. 225] it is not amiss to enforce it against him. He thinks the protestation necessary for preservation of the liberties against impositions, lest else it will be thought that we desert them, having so much occasion to speak of them. And as concerning the breach of the Parliament, he wishes them to consider what the Treasurer did foment concerning Flood's [sic] business; and that he had said then that the House should see such pressing occasions that the King had (within a fortnight) as would satisfy all men, why the Parliament should be dissolved; except some will say it was prophetically spoken, for the cause never yet appeared. For the benevolence, the Treasurer pressed men severely and set down some contrary to their wills, etc.
SIR JOHN SAVILE thinks the Treasurer fully convinced of bribery and extortion, and that he has this hap above others, that whereas other men much faulty have had yet some friend speak some good of them, he never heard of anyone speak of any virtue or goodness in the Treasurer. He thinks him an ill councillor to the King, but thinks it also dishonourable to the House to use these aggravations, especially in want of direct proof. He likes not of the protestation neither, and wishes to be wary in it.
SIR R[OBERT] PHELIPS moves that a protestation may be drawn up and kept here as a record, to prevent any danger that may fall out to impeach the liberty of the Commons concerning impositions. For the aggravations (that the Treasurer occasioned the breach of the last Parliament), though he were the first that moved it and thinks it yet probable enough, yet he thinks it best to leave it now lest it prejudice our intended ends, etc.
[p. 226] The House orders the protestation to be sent to the Lords according to Sir Edwin Sandys's motion. For the not intending any imputation upon the whole Council Board but only on the Treasurer, it is ordered that it shall also go thus: that he was the first propounder of that imposition. For that of the breach of the Parliament, it is left.
A message is sent to the Lords for a conference about the charges and proofs against the Treasurer, and it is agreed by them to be of both the whole Houses at the hall at Whitehall this afternoon.
VII. DIARY OF SIR THOMAS HOLLAND, BODL., MS RAWL. D1,100
15 April, Thursday
An act concerning tobacco.
First read. An act concerning fees in cities and towns corporate.
Second read, committed, Saturday, Star [Chamber]. An act for the naturalizing Philip Jacobson of London, merchant.
Second read, committed. An act for the relief of artists and [sic] clothworkers in London.
The bill of usury is to be set on this afternoon.
Recommitted, Saturday, [Court of] Wards. The bill for free fishing in Newfoundland put into Mr. John Wandesford's hands and appointed to be sit on upon Saturday.
Put to the engrossing. An act for avoiding vexatious suits and delays caused by removing suits out of inferior courts.
Second read, committed, all [to have] voices, Friday, [Court of] Wards. An act to make perpetual the statute 70 Jac. for the ease in pleading in vexatious suits against justices of peace and inferior officers for doing their office.
[Committee of the Whole House]
Statutes continued. A/
[f. 23v] [SIR EDWARD] COKE, for [the Lord] Treasurer. The matter of bribes and Court of Wards. First, the bare charge of the £500 of the petty farms occasioned by the £3 tun of wine; then the other £500 of the great farms. [Abraham] Jacob said he received the £500. Being affronted, he denied the knowing of the entering the £500 into the book to the Lord and said he would look. My Lord, his answers poor and very weak for the Court of Wards. The defrau[blank]. Extortion of double fees. His vast liberty given to his secretary, he takes fees of any man that comes, great fees that touch all gentlemen of England.
For aggravation: the £500 is a sordid bribe. In the petty farms there was [f. 24] a covenant under the Great Seal that no imposition should be set; the citizens would have the King's word, and so had. Then they parted with £50,000 and £48,000 [sic] a year. The Lord Treasurer, for all this, the Lord Treasurer projected the imposition of £3. Then a petition of right was put into the Exchequer, charging the King to have a covenant. His Majesty referred it to the Lord Treasurer in December and made agreement for £9,500, but until July they could not get a warrant for drawing books. But upon the £500 giving all was procured, and upon the Parliament his Lordship's conscience was struck, and found fault at the laying the £500 upon the petty farms. They that hate Parliaments shall have a blow by Parliaments. [f. 24v] This [blank]. For the £500 before the sureties, if they were sufficient, why did he not take them without a bribe; if not/
For the Court of Wards, double fees, extortion and raising a new officer. This man may suppress any petition or prefer what he will. He has his seal and hand. 3 years was before for concealment, now it is but a year. He gave half a year for the finding of an office; if he give another half year, the ward is lost to the King. Next, my Lord's ingratitude to have that which no man ever had, the earldom of Middlesex, and raising him to so many [f. 25] great honours. Next, his violation of his oath by extorting upon the king's subjects and purchase the king's profits. Justly, as a councillor to the king, his violation of his oath was against the king's honour by imposition. As Treasurer, to serve the king and his people. Is it good service to abuse the King in impositions and delay the subject 10 months?
[SIR EDWIN] SANDYS. The charge of the new imposition. The imposition 2-fold. Protestation, exclusions. [Blank] Not intended in the crimination of the Lord Treasurer, grounded upon new impositions; not the power of prerogative drawing into this, but claiming the subject's right; and therefore to forbear the name of "imposition" and use the name of "oppression", and that name in no sort to reflect upon his Majesty.
[f. 25v] The second protestation next, not to lay anything upon the Council table, but upon my Lord Treasurer as projector. 2 circumstances. 3 matters, wines, sugars and merchantable wares, which was put into execution presently after the dissolution of the last Parliament, which they cannot prove, yet by his Lordship's malicious speaking and of his malignant suggestions went an imposition of £80,000, which was laid upon the subject, which was much pressed by him. This being upon the land, the Lord Treasurer extended it to the seas. His Majesty's royal promise was in Salisbury's time that he would not lay any more [f. 26] impositions. Then, his Lordship being trusted as a member of the House with the matter of trade, instead of good service did overburden trade. [Blank] 19 Jac. 3 tun more than before [sic]; it was laid when they had above 2,000 tun upon the seas; this lay, and they suffered by leakage, and the Rochellers laid 30s. upon a tun. They that refused to give security or payment had their wines taken from them, and those that petitioned had a pursuivant set over them. [Blank] [f. 26v] Another privy seal 13 Jac., 10s. a tun of wine imported and 20s. exported [sic]. Until they agreed to all they were haunted with pursuivants, upon the bands. The merchants still complain of not having deliver[ed] their bands, and they will give over the trade. They compared his Lordship's rigor to the Israel brickmaking in Egypt. That the House of Commons complain of the Lord Treasurer/
[f. 27] Next, the sugar [blank]. They leave to their Lordships' consideration what service might draw on this reward.
Next, for grocery, the imposition which is without any warrant from his Majesty. [Blank]
[f. 27v] [SIR FRANCIS] SEYMOUR. That it is not fit to suffer such aggravations as are not proved in this House. Next, that he is a projector in the Court of Wards, which cannot be, because there were divers. And lastly, concerning the oaths, which he would not have wrested. For the 2 protestations, he does not love because they have not preferred it. First, that we should not question the right of imposition, but make a claim, which is to be done to the Lords, and that is to no purpose. Next, for the Council table, he does not remember my Lord Treasurer to be named the projector, but by naming the Lords, that we will not, it does imply we may if we will. By way of aggravation and saying the Lord Treasurer was the cause of dissolving the Parliament, [f. 28] except we could prove it. The King said he had broken the necks of 3 Parliaments, and therefore that clears my Lord. Lastly, for the benevolence, he was called up, and he did not see my Lord Treasurer forwarder than any other.
SECRETARY [CALVERT]. That it does not touch the honour of the board to say that the Lords had an implicit faith.
[WILLIAM, LORD] CAVENDISH. For my Lord's being a projector of the Court of Wards, that after it had a reference to [blank]. For the protestations, he thinks them necessary. For the breaking the last Parliament, towards the end of our meeting in summer, when Flud [sic] was in question, that he leading [sic] the distraction between the Lord[s] and us. [f. 28v] Then for the benevolence, that he did give men ill language and doubted what was offered, and when any resisted a pursuivant had charge of it.
[SIR PETER] HEYMAN. For the benevolence he was called, but my Lord Treasurer spoke not one word to him of giving, but he was enforced to attend 6 weeks about it.
[MR. JOHN] SELDEN. That we complain not of an imposition but as an oppression.
[MR. EDWARD] ALFORD. That the matter of imposition may be waived and hold to that of my Lord Treasurer and no further.
[MR. JOHN] MAYNARD. That we may decline to the matter who was the cause of dissolving the Parliament or was the cause of the benevolence, neither to speak of the imposition but of the oppression, which was imposition upon imposition.
[f. 29] [MR. THOMAS] WENTWORTH, lawyer. The word "imposition" is necessary because there was an imposing. A man may lay a burden upon his horse though he lay not such an one as may break his back. He thinks therefore that the protestation is both prudently and providently done.
[SIR JOHN] SAVILE. He must needs say of this Lord that he had heard never of any before, which was that he had not one virtue in him. It is the fashion of the world that he that has wit and no honesty shall be sooner employed than he that has honesty and wants wit too.
[SIR ROBERT] PHELIPS. For the protestation, he moves that our Clerk may have a record left with the Clerk that may be drawn up by 4 or 6, whereby it may remain upon occasion for the benefit of this House. [f. 29v] For aggravation, as he was the first that moved the 2 points, although he has some particulars conducing thereto, yet he shall willingly decline from it, and moves that it may be left out.
The first protestation stands by question.
The second protestation, wherein the Lord Treasurer was named a projector, he is now named a compounder.
The aggravation of my Lord Treasurer as being a chief cause of the dissolving the last Parliament and he being chief actor in the late benevolence are both left out.
[William,] the Lord Cavendish, is sent up with a message to the Lords to desire a conference concerning a great Lord sitting [f. 30] in their House.
Sir Edward Coke and Sir Edwin Sandys are appointed to deliver the business against my Lord Treasurer as they did report it.
SOLICITOR moves that the heads and circumstances being considered by the committee, there may be a day given for the bringing it in, for the pardon will be ready before the subsidies.
[SIR ROBERT] PHELIPS. That there are divers things to be considered before the bill of subsidies be drawn up, as the public declaration for the naming of treasurers and other things very considerable, and that there be an account of what is done in the general business of the House because we may be able to give satisfaction more than in generalities.
[f. 30v] The Lords have appointed a meeting of the committees of both Houses at three of the clock this afternoon at Whitehall in the hall.
It is ordered that the officers of the Mint to be here.
Third read, passed both Houses. An act for the naturalizing [the] Marquess [of] Hamilton.
VIII. DIARY OF JOHN PYM, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE RECORD OFFICE, FH/N/C/0050
April 150, 1624
An act for relief of poor clothworkers in and about London. Committed.
An act concerning the removal of actions out of inferior courts was reported and ordered to be engrossed.
An act to enlarge and make perpetual a law made 70 Jacobi for ease of pleading in suits prosecuted against justices of peace and constables.
- [1.] The former law made perpetual.
- 2. Churchwardens and overseers of the poor brought into the same proviso.
- 3. No such action to be brought in a foreign county, otherwise to be pleaded in bar.
- 4. In cases depending before the [Lord] President[s] of the North and Wales, the like damages as at common law.
[Committee of the Whole House]
The Speaker went out of the chair and some time was spent upon the bill for continuance and repeal of statutes.
SIR EDWARD COKE reported the preparation made by the committee for transmitting my Lord Treasurer's offences to the Lords concerning the 3 first charges which were assigned to his part, the 4th charge touching the new impositions being committed to Sir Edwin Sandys. In this report, first, he observed the state of the offences and then the aggravation.
- 1. The first charge was the bribe of £500 taken of the petty customers by reason of an imposition of £3 upon a tun of wine, whereof he was the projector.
- 2. The 2nd was the like bribe of £500 received of the great customers. The proof of both these charge[s] cleared by 4 witnesses. The defences full of weakness and contrariety.
- 3. The 3rd, that he procured the alteration of the instructions to the Court of Wards to the disprofit of the King and the oppression of the subject, by the extortion of double fees and a vast power [f. 65v] left to his secretary to exact upon every suitor.
The aggravations were these. In the first, that all bribes were sordid in their own nature. This had divers circumstances more than ordinary:
- 1. It was against a covenant under the Great Seal.
- 2. Against a contract in verbo regis, upon which £500,000 [sic] fine was given and £44,000 rent.
- 3. Wrested from them by delay in a case of great rights, being to have by agreement but £9,500 in recompense of £15,000 loss. Justice being to be yielded freely and readily, not only justice distributive in foro contentioso but also justicium administrativé virtute officii.
In the 2nd, by this dilemma, if the sureties were sufficient, why not admitted without a bribe? So justice was sold to the subject; if sufficient why with a bribe? So the King's interest was sold.
In the 3rd:
- 1. The pretence of a public service to the advancement of his own gain.
- 2. The transferring of that trust which his Majesty put in him to his man by leaving his seal and stamp of his hand to be used out of his sight.
He added two aggravations common to all the charges:
- 1. Ingratitude to the King, who had preferred him to the title of Earl of Middlesex, which never subject had before.
- 2. Perjury by the violation of a 3-fold oath as Lord Treasurer, Master of the Wards and councillor.
SIR EDWIN SANDYS reported the preparations concerning the last charge of the new imposition, before which the committee had directed there should be made a 2-fold protestation, of which word he gave this description, that it was an exclusion of conclusions not intended. The first protestation was that in this crimination of the Lord Treasurer, they intended not to draw in question the power by prerogative to impose, but waiving all dispute meant only to continue the claim of the subject; and therefore desired to forbear the name of "imposition" and to use the name of "oppression". The second, not to lay any imputations upon any of the honourable Lords or other of the Council, being sufficiently informed that my Lord Treasurer only was the projector of this grievance, which the rest of the Lords gave way out of an implicit confidence in him.
The committee further directed two circumstances to be remembered not by way of charge but by way of aggravation:
- 1. The circumstance of time, these oppressions being committed immediately after the dissolution of the last Parliament, whereof he had been a chief procurer, though secret.
- 2. That presently, after that breach, a benevolence was set on foot by his Lordship, which drew from the subject £80,000 with such violence and wrong as can hardly be matched with any precedent.
The charge itself contained 3 particulars in laying new burdens upon wines, sugars and grocery wares contrary to his Majesty's promise made to the Parliament in 70 Jacobi that he would lay no more impositions without consent of the Commons. Notwithstanding his notice of the general complaint from all the ports that the overburdening was the cause of the decay of trade, he being chosen as a man [f. 66] likely, because of his experience and breeding, to have a more special care of trade.
In the first point, concerning the £3 a tun laid upon wines, were observed these circumstances:
- 1. The loss of the farmers, who had paid £50,000 for a fine and engaged themselves for the rent of £44,000 upon his Majesty's covenant to lay no new imposition.
- 2. The injustice in respect of the merchants, who if they had known it before the voyage would not have brought in such [a] quantity, whereas the imposition was laid when there were 2,700 tun of wines in the Thames.
- 3. The rigor in getting it from them, some being committed, others their wines taken from them, and the rest forced to compound notwithstanding they had left a great part of their own principal to pay this charge divided into 3 parts in 3 years.
- 4. The first charge not being able to hold, a new privy seal was obtained, whereby xxs. a tun was imposed in London and 30s. [sic] in the outports, although divers merchants in an humble petition offered his Majesty a true information of the state of trade, from prosecuting whereof they were threatened with pursuivants and otherwise disheartened; and yet the charge is so excessive that the cognac wines, which in France cost but £5 a tun, pay the King here £4, so that one merchant protests that he had paid the King £8,000 in duties and not cleared £300 himself.
In the second point, being the new charge upon sugars:
- 1. That the new printed book was £5, whereas before it was but 50s., but this was said to be an oversight of the press and not proved to have been levied.
- 2. Whereas Mr. [Thomas] Havers's rent is £5,500 per annum and Mr. [blank] 10,000 marks, two of his Lordship's servants have £2,000 per annum; if by his Majesty's consent, they only observe it but take no exception to it.
- 3. Whereas divers having imported sugars and paid the duties, if they think good to export the same again within a year ought to pay none other duties outward, this allowance has been denied to them by his Lordship's direction.
In the 3rd point, touching the charge upon grocery, that that which was formerly taken as a composition was now by my Lord Treasurer turned into an imposition. Bristol had been discharged 110 Jacobi by decree of the Exchequer. When the Queen lay in those parts it cost them £500. Other outports were now enforced by my Lord Treasurer to pay such rates as were put upon them, or else (by warrant under his hand and seal) the customers were commanded not to make their entries.
To the two protestations there were some exceptions:
- 1. That the protestations of this House in general have had no very good success.
- 2. That it was not without some touch to the lords of the Council to say they were led by an implicit faith. Yet they were both allowed.
To the 2 general aggravations was objected:
- 1. That there was no proof before us to those points that my Lord Treasurer was an enemy to Parliament, that he was a chief cause of the dissolution of the last, and of the benevolence.
- 2. These were matters extrajudicial, no part of this cause, and could not fitly be bound up with it by way of aggravation.
- 3. The mentioning of them was not likely to be pleasing to the King.
- 4. That it might draw some other men to favour my Lord Treasurer, participating with [f. 66v] him in these points, which otherwise in the principal matter would leave him to himself.
For these reasons it was ordered that both those circumstances of aggravation should be left out.
A message was sent to the Lords to desire a conference concerning the complaints against my Lord Treasurer, and Sir Edward Coke and Sir Edwin Sandys were appointed to deliver the charge.
SIR THOMAS EDMONDES reported the bill for naturalization of my Lord Marquess [of] Hamilton, which he desired might be read. But it was put off until the return of the messengers.
MR. SOLICITOR desired a time for proceeding with the bill of subsidy, which was appointed Saturday in the afternoon.
[WILLIAM] LORD CA[VE]NDISH returned from the Lords with this answer, that they would meet in a committee of both Houses at Whitehall this afternoon at 3 o'clock.
An act for the naturalization of the Lord Marquess [of] Hamilton. Passed for a law.
The East India Company and the officers of the Mint were appointed to attend the committee for trade at their next meeting.
IX. DIARY OF SIR WALTER EARLE, BL, ADD. MS 18,597
Thursday, the 15th of April
Bill against importation of tobacco except, etc. First reading.
Bill for setting up of tables for customers' fees in all port towns. First read.
Bill for relief of the clothworkers of London. Second read, committed.
Bill against removing of actions out of inferior courts. Reported, put to engrossing.
Bill for the quiet of justices of peace touching the actions brought against them for executing their offices.
[f. 140] SIR EDWARD COKE'S report from the select committee touching the Lord Treasurer's business. The business reduced to heads, first, concerning the two bribes and the Court of Wards. The first £500 concerning the petty farm; the second £500 concerning the great farm.
The testimonies and the contradictions of [Abraham] Jacob:
- 1. He denied he received the £500, which after he confessed.
- 2. He denied to the Lord Treasurer that he knew of the entry of it on the account, yet he acknowledged it after.
He was in most disproved by 4 witnesses.
Touching the Court of Wards, oppressing the subject and defrauding the King, extorting fees, giving vast power to his secretary to exact fees undue.
The first bribe of £500. A covenant from the King under the Great Seal not to make new impositions. The merchants upon disbursing £50,000 had, besides, the King's royal word. £44,000 per annum reserved. The Lord Treasurer that was present did project and advise this imposition of £3 per tun. They put in a petition of right in the Exchequer. 22nd of December they petitioned the King. It was referred to the Lord Treasurer. In January  he agreed for £9,500 in recompense. He delayed the warrant half a year, and could not get it until the £500 was given. The Parliament coming, he sends for Jacob and tells him there was a mistake of £500 in setting £500 on the account of the petty farm.
[f. 140v] The 2nd £500 was for taking of sureties. If they were sufficient, they should have been taken without bribe.
For the Court of Wards, taking double fees, raising a new exacting office dangerous for the subject. This secretary has not only his seal but his hand, [blank] a stamp, gives days for finding offices; has given half a year whereas it is brought to that, that if it be half a year more it is a concealed ward.
For a man advanced in expectation of service to do such ill offices, a foul thing. Besides he has broken a 3-fold oath. That of the Court of Wards is to serve the king truly and to seek the king's profit. That of a councillor, truly, justly and evenly, to advise and counsel, etc. That of the Lord Treasurer, to truly serve the king and his people, and to do right, etc., truly counsel the king, not to decrease any part of his revenue.
SIR EDWIN SANDYS'S report of his part. First, the charge of oppression by the new impositions to be accompanied with two protestations:
- 1. That in this crimination of the Lord Treasurer, they intend not to draw into dispute the right of imposing, but waiving the dispute, to continue only the claim. They desire they may forbear the name of "imposition", and use the name of "oppression".
- [f. 141] 2. That they intend not to lay any aspersion on the rest of the Privy Council, being satisfied that the Lord Treasurer was the projector and prosecutor.
The oppression, wines, sugars, grocery. The time, immediately after the dissolution of the last Parliament, which they cannot without grief remember. He could not be ignorant that the King before both Houses of Parliament would have no new impositions laid. He could not be ignorant that the cause of decay of trade was the overburdening of it. The rent on the petty farm, [£]44,000. The King's covenant and his word being passed, he caused to be laid £3 on a tun when there was 2,700 tun of wine in the Thames. And they knew not of it before the arrival. Some that refused had their wines taken from them, some imprisoned. The merchants lost that year a great part of their principal. 13th of August, 20 Jac. another privy seal for laying 20s. per tun in London, and 13s. 4d. in the outports, under pretence of consent, which is denied, but only agreed to pay it until they had in their former bonds. They say they pay centum per centum for their merchandise. Cognac wines, [£]5 2[s.], £4 custom, 1s. 4d. freight, £2 leakage. [f. 141v] One that paid £8,000 custom last year will give over. They compared their burdens to that brick of the brickmakers in Egypt.
The matter of sugars. Queen Anne had £5,500, afterward 10,000 marks. Let now to two of his men for £2,000 per annum. They let it for [£]6,000, so he gains upon the King £4,000 per annum. The composition for grocery: the outports never agreed. The city of Bristol was discharged 11 Jac., yet it has been levied on the outports without any warrant from the King, for aught appears.
SIR FRANCIS SEYMOUR. Not fit to bring in anything by way of aggravation but what is proved, as namely that:
- [1.] Of his being an enemy to Parliaments.
- 2. Of his being a projector in the business of the Court of Wards.
Also, concerning the two protestations:
- 1. To what end shall we protest to the Lords we will not question the right of imposing.
- 2. For freeing the lords of the Council, and laying it on the Lord Treasurer to be the projector.
Concerning his breaking the Parliament, the King has taken it on himself.
SECRETARY CALVERT justified that the Lord Treasurer was the first proposer of the imposition. The Council took him to be best seen in those businesses.
[f. 142] [WILLIAM,] THE LORD CAVENDISH. It is proved that he was a projector in the business of the Court of Wards for he got it put into the hands of the court, whom he could rule, whereas before it was referred to 10 of the Council. In raising the benevolence, when some would give but thus much, he set down more and committed them to pursuivants, and threatened, etc.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS. No need to stick much at the protestation, seeing we rather maintain our right than impeach it. Touching the aggravations concerning the Parliament and the benevolence, it may well be waived.
Resolved, upon the question, to have the first protestation to stand, and the 2nd likewise, the word "projector" being altered into "propounder"; and for the aggravation concerning the dissolving the Parliament and the benevolence to be left out.
A message to the Lords to crave a conference.
The answer. The Lords appoint a committee of the whole House to meet with ours at 3 of the clock at Whitehall in the hall there.
Bill for naturalizing the Marquess [of] Hamilton. Passed.
Afternoon, the conference at Whitehall
Sir Edward Coke began. [f. 142v] The assembly of knights, citizens and burgesses of the House of Commons do represent the whole body of the commons, great multitudes. We are the best inquisitors. We have found gross and sordid bribes, procuring good orders to be altered, the oppression of the subject, deceit of the King.
For the first, 170 of the King a lease made of the customs of wines, a covenant, the King's royal word given. Anno 1621, £3 per tun imposed on wine. The merchants petitioned. The Lord Treasurer's rough answer. A petition of right in the Exchequer. Nothing done. They petitioned the King. £9,500 recompense. Could get no warrant in 6 months. Overture made for a gratuity. £500 being given, the warrant was granted. This being out of the petty farm and entered on the monthly account, and the yearly, the Parliament coming, the Lord Treasurer sought to have this put on the account of the great farm. The witnesses, [Bernard] Hide, [John] Harrison, [Abraham] Dawes, Jacob himself. Jacob's falsehoods discovered. The weakness of the Lord Treasurer's answer.
For the 2nd bribe, the farmers of the great farm were to put in surety, July 1622. The putting it in delayed. £500 given. Witnesses, [Sir John] Wo[l]stenholme, [Henry] Garway, [John] Williams, etc.
Touching the Court of Wards, [f. 143] instructions under the Great Seal. He procured them to be altered. Extortion, taking double fees. His secretary takes all petitions, which belongs to the clerk. [£]1, [£]2, [£]3, [£]4, £5 fees. His secretary has a stamp with his name, which he uses out of his presence. H. 8 set a stamp to an act of Parliament. The act overthrown. The secretary uses to give day for finding offices, and it is in his power to make concealed laws [sic] when he list. He has broken his 3 oaths of Treasurer, privy councillor and Master of the Wards.
Sir Edwin Sandys. Another complaint, matter of oppression. A two-fold protestation:
- 1. That in this crimination, they intend not to dispute the right of imposing.
- 2. To lay no aspersion on the Council Board.
The Lord Treasurer was first propounder. The impositions on wines, sugars and grocery ware. The King's speech to both Houses, a promise to lay no more impositions without consent of his people. The burdening of trade the decay of trade, as he well knew. As he said last Parliament, he would make it his masterpiece to, etc. A privy seal procured for imposing £3 a tun. Laid when there was arrived 2,700 tun of wine in 40 ships, much leakage, [f. 143v] 30s. per tun imposed by the Rochellers. The mariners stripped of their clothes. 20s. per tun allowed to satisfy them. The merchants threatened. Some committed to pursuivants. A great part of their principal lost. Some of them compare their bondage to brickmaking in Egypt. Another privy seal taking off 40s. per tun of the imposition, and laying 20s. Not laid by consent of the merchants, as was suggested, but rather by compulsion. They pay centum per centum, instance in cognac wines. Violated the King's promise and covenant. Imposing duties more than the value of the commodities.
The sugars, the King had above £6,000, he let it to two of his men for [£]2,000, they make [£]6,000. No allowance. Exportance thereby hindered. Composition for grocery ware turned to an imposition, without warrant for aught appears.
Thus have your Lordships heard a crying complaint, touching which the knights, citizens and burgesses humbly pray and demand justice of your Lordships.
X. JOURNAL OF SIR SIMONDS D'EWES, BL, HARL. MS 159
April 150, Thursday
A report from the committee and subcommittee for grievances about the Lord Treasurer['s] cause, where something else being put in by way of aggravation against him besides the former charge, after a long debate it was disliked and rejected.
In the afternoon at Whitehall, the Lord Treasurer's case was transmitted to the Lords by Sir Edward Coke and Sir Edwin Sandys.