Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 1, 1618-29. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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Sir W. Walter's opinion of the Cause of Grievances.
The Monday following, Sir W. Walter (if the name be not miswritten in our Collections) represented to the House, That the Cause of all the Grievances, was, for that (according as it was said of Lewis the Eleventh, King of France) all the Kings Council rides upon one Horse. And therefore the Parliament was to advise his Majesty, as Jethro did Moses, to take unto him Assistants with these qualities.
- 1. Noble, from among all the People; not Upstarts, and of a Night's growth.
- 2. Men of Courage;; such as will execute their own Places, and not commit them to base and undeserving Deputies.
- 3. Fearing God; who halt not betwixt two opinions, or incline to false Worship in respect of a Mother, Wife, or Father.
- 4. Dealing truly; for Courtship, Flattery, and Pretence, become not King's Counsellors, but they must be such as the King and Kingdom may trust.
- 5. Hating Covetousness; no Bribers, or sellers of Places in Church or Commonwealth, much less Honours and Places about the King, and least of all such as live upon other Men's ruins.
- 6. They should be many, set over thousands, Hundreds, Fifties, and Tens, (one Man not ingrossing all.) Where there is abundance of Counsel, there is peace and safety.
- 7. They must judge of small matters; the greatest must go to the King himself, not-all to the Counsel, much less any one Counsellor must alone manage the whole weight; but Royal Actions must be done only by the King.
- 8. Lastly, Moses chose them Elders, not Young Men. Solomon, by miracle and revelation, was wife being young; but neither his Son nor his young Counsellors had that privilege: No more is it expected in any of our Counsellors, until by age and experience they have attained it.
Sir John Eliot continued the Debate, and thus spake:
Sir John Eliot pursues the Argument against the Duke.
"We have had (says he) a representation of great fear, but I hope that shall not darkenour understandings. There are but two things considerable in this business: First, the Occasion of our Meeting: and secondly, the present State of our own Country. The first of these we all know, and it hath at large been made known unto us, and therefore needeth no dispute. The latter of these we ought to make known, and draw and shew it, as in a Perspective, in this House: For out will and affections were never more clear, more ready as to his Majesty, but perhaps baulk'd and check'd in our forwardness, by those the King intrusts with the Affairs of the Kingdom. The last Action, was the King's first Action; and the first Actions and Designs of Kings are of great observance in the eye of the World; for therein much dependeth the esteem, or disesteem of their future proceedings: And in this Action the King and Kingdom have suffered much dishonour; we are weakned in our strength and safety, and many of our Men and Ships are lost. This great Design was fixed on the Person of the Lord General, who had the whole command both by Sea and Land: And can this great General think it sufficient to put in his Deputy, and stay at home? Count Mansfield's Actions were so miserable, and the going out of those men so ill managed, as we are scarce able to say they went out. That handful of Men sent to the Palatinate, and not seconded, what a loss was it to all Germany? We know well who had then the King's ear. I could speak of the Action of Algier, but I will not look so far backward. Are not Honours now sold, and made despicable? Are not Judicial Places sold? and do not they then sell Justice again: Vendere jure potest, emerat ille prius. Tully, in an Oration against Verres, notes, That the Nations were Suitors to the Senate of Rome, that the Law, De pecuniis repetundis, might be recalled: Which seems Arrange, that those that were suitors for the Law, should seek again to repeal it; but the reason was, It was perverted to their ill. So it now with us; besides Inferiour and subordinate persons that must have Gratuities, they must now seed their great Patrons.
I shall to our present case cite two Presidents. The first is 16 H. 3. the Treasure was then much exhausted, many Disorders combined on, the King wronged by some Ministers; many Subsidies were then demanded in Parliament, but they were denied; And then the Lords and Commons joyned to desire the King, to re-assume the Lands which were improvidently granted, and to examine his great Officers, and the Causes of those Evils which the People, then suffered. This was yielded unto by the King, and Hugo de Burgo was found faulty, and was displaced; and then the Commons, in the same Parliament, gave Supply. The second President was in the tenth year of Richard the Second: Then the times were such, and Places so changeable, that any great Officer could hardly fit to be warmed in his Place: Then also Monies had been formerly given, and Supply was at that Parliament required; the Commons denied Supply, and complained, that their Monies were mis-employed; That the Earl of Suffolk then over-ruled all; and so their Answer was, They could not give: And they petitioned the King, that a Commission might be granted, and that the Earl of Suffolk might be examined. A Commission, at their request, was a warded, and that Commission recites all the Evil then complained of; and that the King, upon the Petition of the Lords and Commons, had granted that Examination should be taken of the Crown-Lands which were sold, of the ordering of his Household, and the Disposition of the Jewels of his Grandfather and Father. I hear nothing said in this House of our Jewels, nor will I speak of them; but I could wish they were within these Walls. We are now in the same case with those former times; we suffer alike, or worse: And therefore unless we seek redress of these great Evils, we shall find disability in the wills of the People to grant. I wish therefore, that we may hold a dutiful pursuance in preparing and presenting our Grievances. For the Three Subsidies and Three Fifteens which are proposed, I hold the proportion will not suit with what we would give; but yet I know it is all we are able to do, or can give; and yet this is not to be the stint of our affections, but to come again, to give more upon just occasions.
Three Subsidies and Three Fifteens Voted; Debate concerning the Dukeresum'd.
In the heat of these Agitations, the Commons notwithstanding re-membred the King's Necessities, and took the matter of Supply into consideration, and Voted Three Subsidies and Three Fifteens to be paid the last day of June and the last of October next following; and that the Act be brought in, as soon as Grievances are presented to, and answered by the King. And the Commons the same day resumed the Debate again concerning the Duke, and mis-government and the mis-imployment of the Revenue, &c. Ordered the Duke to have notice again thereof.
The next day the King sent a Message to the House of Commons, That they do to morrow at Nine of the Clock attend his Majesty in the Hall at White-ball, (and in the mean time all proceedings in the House and Committee to cease.) Where his Majesty made this ensuing Speech.
The King's Speech, March 29.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I Have called you hither to day, I mean both Houses of Parliament; but it is for several and distinct reasons: My Lords, you of the Upper House, to give you thanks for the care of the State of the Kingdom now; and not only for the care of your own Proceedings, but inticing your Fellow-House of the Commons to take that into their consideration. Therefore (my Lords) I must not only give you thanks, but I must also avow, That if this Parliament do not redound to the good of this Kingdom (which I pray God it may.) it is not your faults. And you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, I am sorry that I may not justly give the same thanks to you; but that I must tell you, that I am come here to shew you your errors, and, as I may call it, Un-parliamentary proceedings in this Parliament. But I do not despair, because you shall see your faults so clearly by the Lord Keeper, that you may so amend your proceeding, that this Parliament shall end comfortably and happily, though at the beginning it hath had some rubs.
"Then the Lord Keeper, by the King's command, spake next.
The Lord Keeper's Speech.
"My Lords, and you the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons: You are here assembled by his Majesty's commandment, to receive a Declaration of his Royal pleasure; which although it be intended only to the House of Commons, yet his Majesty hath thought meet, the matter being of great weight and importance, it should be delivered in the presence of both Houses, and both Houses make one General Council: And his Majesty is willing that the Lords should be Witnesses of the Honour and Justice of his Re-solutions. And therefore the Errand which, by his Majesty's direction, I must deliver, hath relation to the House or Commons. I must address my self therefore to you, Mr. Speaker, and the rest of that House.
"And first, his Majesty would have you to understand, That there was never any King more loving to his People, or better affectionated to the right use of Parliaments, than his Majesty hath approved him, self to be, not only by his long patience since the fitting down of this Parliament, but by those mild and calm Directions which from time to time that House hath received by Message and Letter, and from his Royal mouth; when the irregular humours of some particular persons wrought diversions and distraction, there, to the disturbance of those great and weighty affairs, which the necessity of the Times, the honour and safety of the King and Kingdom, called upon. And therefore his Majesty doth assure you, that when these great Affairs are settled, and that his Majesty hath received satisfaction of his reasonable demands, he will, as a just King, hear and answer your just grievances, which, in a dutiful way, shall be presented unto him and this his Majesty doth avow.
"Next, his Majesty would have you know of a surety, That as never any King was more loving to his people, nor better Affectionsted to the right use of Parliaments; so never King more jealous of his Honour, nor more sensible of the neglect and contempt of his Royal Rights, which his Majesty will by no means suffer to be violated by any pretended colour of Parliamentary Liberty; wherein his Majesty doth not forget that the Parliament is his Council, and therefore ought to have the liberty of a Council; but his Majesty understands the difference betwixt Council and Controlling, and between Liberty and the abuse of Liberty.
"This being set down in general, his Majesty hath commanded me to relate some particular passages and proceedings, whereat he finds himself aggrieved.
"First, Whereas a seditious Speech was uttered amongst you by Mr. Cook, the House did not, as they ought to do, censure and correct him. And when his Majesty, understanding it, did, by a Message by Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered to the House, require Justice of you, his Majesty hath since sound nothing but protracting and delays. This his Majesty holds not agreeable to the wisdom and the duty which he expected from the House of Commons.
"Secondly, Whereas Doctor Turner, in a strrange Unparliamentary way, without any ground of knowledge in himself, or offering any particular proof of the House, did take upon him to advise the House to enquire upon sundry Articles against the Duke of Buckingham, as he pretended, but in truth to wound the Honour and Government of his Majesty, and of his renowned Father; and his Majesty, first, by a Message, and after by his own Royal Mouth, did declare, That that course of Enquiry was an Example, which by no way be could suffer, though it were against his meanest Servant, much less against one so near him; and that his Majesty did much wonder at the foolish in-solency of any man that can think, that his Majesty should be drawn out of any end to offer such a Sacrifice so unworthy of a King, or a good Master; yet for all this, you have been so far from correcting the in-solency of Turner, that ever since that time, your Committees have walked in the steps of Turner, and proceeded in an Unparliamentary Inquisition, running upon Generals, and repeating that whereof you have made Fame the ground-work. Here his Majesty hath cause to be exceeding sensible, that upon every particular, he finds the Honour of his Father stain'd and blemish'd, and his own no less; and withal you have manifested a great forwardness rather to pluck out of his bosom those who are near about him, and whom his Majesty hath cause to affect, than to trust his Majesty with the future reformation of these things which you seem to aim at: and yet you cannot deny, but his Majesty hath wrought a greater reformation in matters of Religion, execution of the Laws, and concerning things of great importance, than the shortness of his Reign, (in which he hath been hindred, partly through sickness, and the distraction of things, which we could have wished had been otherwise) could produce.
"Concerning the Duke of 'Buckingham, his Majesty hath commanded me to tell you, That himself doth better know than any Man living the sincerity of the Duke's proceedings; with what cautions of weight and discretion he hath been guided in his publick Imployments from his Majesty and his blessed Father; what Enemies he hath procured at home and abroad; what peril of his Person, and hazard of his Estate he ran into for the service of his Majesty, and his ever blessed Father; and how forward he hath been in the service of this House many times since his return from Spain. And therefore his Majesty cannot believe, that the aim is at the Duke of Buckingham, but findeth, that these Proceedings do directly wound the Honour and Judgment of himself, and of his Father. It is therefore his Majesty's express and final commandment, That you yield obedience unto those Directions which you have formerly received, and cease this Un-parliamentary Inquisition, and commit unto his Majesty's care, and wisdom, and justice, the future reformation of these things which you suppose to be otherwise than they should be: And his Majesty is resolved, that before the end of this Session, he will set such such a course, both for the amending of any thing that may be sound amiss, and for the settling of his own Estate, as he doubteth not but will give you ample satisfaction and comfort.
"Next to this, his Majesty takes notice, That you have suffered the greatest Council of State to be censured and traduced in the House, by Men, whose Years and Education cannot attain to that depth: That Foreign businesses have been entertained in the House, to the hindrance and disadvantage of his Majesty's Negotiations: That the same Year, yea, the first Day of his Majesty's Inauguration, you suffered his Council, Government and Servants to be parallel'd with the times of most Exception: That your Committees have presumed to examine the Letters of Secretaries of State, nay, his own, and sent a general Warrant to his Signet-Office, and commanded his Officers, not only to produce and shew the Records, but their Books and private Notes, which they made for his Majesty's service. This his Majesty holds as unsufferable, as it was in former times unusual.
"Next I am to speak concerning your Supply of Three Subsidies and Three Fifteens, which you have agreed to tender to his Majesty. You have been made acquainted with the greatness of his affairs, both at home and abroad, with the strong preparation of the Enemy, with importance of upholding his Allies, strengthening and securing both England and Ireland; besides the encountring and annoying the Enemy by a powerful Fleet at Sea, and the charge of all: This having been calculated unto you, you have Prosessed unto his Majesty, by the mouth of your Speaker, your carefulness to support the cause wherein his Majesty and his Allies are justly engaged; your unanimous consent and real intention to supply his Majesty in such a measure, as should make him safe at home, and feared abroad; and that in the dispatch hereof, you would use such diligence, as his Majesty's pressing and present occasions did require.
"And now his Majesty having erected a proceeding suitable to this engagement, he doth observe, that in two days only of twelve, this business was thought of, and not begun till his Majesty by a Message put you in mind of it, whilst your inquisition against his Majesty's direction proceeded day by day.
"And for the measure of this supply, his Majesty findeth it so far from making himself safe at home, and feared abroad, as contrariwise it exposeth him both to danger and dis-esteem; for his Majesty cannot expect, without better help, but the this Allies must presently disband, and leave him alone to bear the fury of a provoked and powerful Enemy: so as both he and you shall be unsafe at home, and ashamed and despised abroad. And for the manner of the Supply, it is in it self very dishonourable, and full of distrust; for although you have avoided the literal word of a Condition, whereof his Majesty himself did warn you, when he told you of your Parenthesis; yet you have put to it the effect of a Condition, since the Bill is not come into your House, until your Grievances be both preferred and answered. No such thing was in that expression and engagement delivered by your Speaker, from which his Majesty holdeth, that you have receded both in matter and manner, to his great disadvantage and dishonour. And therefore his Majesty commandeth, that you go together, and by Saturday next return your final Answer, what further Supply you will add to this you have already agreed on, and that to be without Condition, either directly or indirectly, for the supply of these great and, important Affairs of his Majesty; which for the reasons formerly made known unto you, can endure no longer delay; and if you shall not by that time resolve on a more ample Supply, his Majesty cannot expect a Supply this way, nor promise you to fit longer together; otherwise, if you do it, his Majesty is well content, that you shall fit so long, as the season of the year will permit; and doth assure you, that the present Addition to your Supply to set forward the work, shall be no hindrance to your speedy access again.
His Majesty hath commanded me to add this, That therein he doth expect your chearful obedience, which will put a happy issue to this Meeting, and will enable his Majesty, not only to a Defensive War, but to imploy his Subjects in Foreign Actions, whereby will be added to them both Experience, Safety, and Honour.
"Last of all, his Majesty hath commanded me, in explanation of the gracious goodness of his Royal intention, to say unto you, That he doth well know, that there are among you many wise and well tempered men, well affected to the Publick and to his Majesty's service; and that those that are willingly faulty, are not many: and for the rest, his Majesty doubteth not, but after his gracious admonition, they will in due time, observe and follow the better fort; which if they shall do, his Majesty is most ready to forget whatsoever is past.
The King proceeds.
Then his Majesty spake again,
"I must withal put you in mind a little of times past; you may remember, that in the time of my blessed Father, you did with your counsel and perswasion perswade both my Father and me to break off the Treaties; I confess I was your Instrument, for two reasons; one was, the fitness of the time; the other, because I was seconded by so great and worthy a Body, as the whole Body of Parliament: Then there was no body in so great favour with you, as this Man whom ye seem now to touch, but indeed, my Father's Government and mine. Now that you have all things according to your wishes, and that I am so far ingaged, that you think there is no retreat; now you begin to set the Dice, and make your own Game: But I pray you be not deceived, it is not a Parliamentary way, nor it is not a way to deal with a King.
"Mr. Cook told you, It was better to be eaten up by a Foreign Enemy, than to be destroyed at home. Indeed I think it more honour for a King to be invaded, and almost destroyed by a Foreign Enemy, than to be despised by his own Subjects.
"Remember, that Parliaments are altogether in my power for their Calling, Sitting, and Dissolution; therefore as I find the fruits of them good or evil, they are to continue, or not to be: And remember, that if in this time, instead of mending your Errors, by delay you persist in your Errors, you make them greater, and irreconcileable: Whereas on the other side, if you do go on chearfully to mend them, and look to the distressed state of Christendom, and the affairs of the Kingdom, as it lieth now by this great Engagement; you will do your selves honour, you shall encourage me to go on with Parliaments, and I hope all Christendom shall feel the good of it.
The Commons upon the Debate of what fell from his Majesty and the Lord Keeper, turned the House into a Grand Committee, ordered the doors to be locked, and no Member to go forth; and that all Proceedings in all other Committees shall cease, till the House come to a Resolution in this business.
His Majesty being informed, that some things in his own Speeches, and the Lord Keeper's Declaration, were subject: to misunderstanding, commanded the Duke to explain them, at a Conference of both Houses in the Painted-Chamber, held for that purpose.
The Duke, at a Conference, explains the King's late Speech, and the Lord Keeper's Declaration.
Whereas it is objected by some, who wish good correspondency betwixt the King and People, that to prefix a day to give or to break, was an unusual thing, and might express an inclination to the King to break; to remove this, as his Majesty was free from such thoughts, he hath descended to make this Explanation.
"That as his Majesty would not have you condition with him directly or indirectly, so he will not lie to a day, for giving further Supply; but it was the pressing occasion of Christendom that made him to pitch upon a day.
"His Majesty hath here a Servant of the King of Denmark, and another from the Duke of Weymer, and yesterday received a Letter from his Sister the Queen of Bohemia; who signified, that the King of Denmark hath sent an Ambassador, with power to perfect the Contract which was made at the Hague; so it was not the King but time, and the things themselves that pressed a time.
"Therefore his Majesty is pleased to give longer time, hoping you will not give him cause to put you in mind of it again; so that you have a greater Latitude, if the business require to think further of it.
"I am commanded further to tell you, that if his Majesty should accept of a less sum than, will suffice, it will deceive your expectations, disappoint his Allies, and consume the Treasure of the Kingdom: whereas if you give largely now, the business being at the Crisis, it comes so seasonably, it may give a Turn to the Affairs of Christendom.
"But while we delay and suffer the time to pass, others abroad will take advantage of it, as the King of Spain hath done, by concluding a Peace, as it is thought, in Italy, for the Valtoline, whereby our work is become the greater, because there can be no diversion that way.
"As it was a good rule to fear all things and nothing, and to be liberal was sometimes to be thrifty; so in this particular if you give largely, you shall carry the War to the Enemy's door, and keep that Peace at home that hath been: Whereas, on the contrary, if you draw the War home, it brings with it nothing but disturbance and fear, all courses of Justice stopt, and each Man's Revenue lessened, and nothing that can be profitable.
Another Explanation I am commanded to make, touching the grievances, wherein his Majesty means no way to interrupt your Proceedings, but hopes you will proceed in the antient way of your Predecessors; and not so much seek faults, as the means to redress them.
"I am further commanded to tell you, That his Majesty intends to elect a Committee of both Houses, whom he will trust, to take the view of his Estate, the defects of which are not sit for the eyes of a multitude; and this Committee will be for your ease, and may satisfie you, without casting any ill odour on his Government, or laying open any weakness that may bring shame upon us abroad. That which is proposed is so little, that when the payment comes, it will bring him to a worse estate than now he is in; therefore wishes you to inlarge it, but leaves the Augmentation to your selves; but is sorry, and touch'd in conscience, that the burthen should lie on the poorest, who want too much already; yet he will not prescribe, but wish, that you, who were the Abettors and Counsellors of this War, would take a greater part of the burthen to your selves; and any Man that can find out that way, shall shew himself best affected, and do the best service to the King and State.
The Duke then made his Address to them in his own behalf.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
The Duke renders an account of his Negotiation in the Low Countries.
"You were all witnesses yesterday how good and gracious a Master I serve; and I shall likewise be glad that you be witnesses how thankful a heart I have.
And I protest I have a heart as full of zeal to serve my Master, as any Man, and it hath been my study to keep a good correspondency betwixt the King and his People: and whatever thought hath been entertained of me, and I shall not alien my heart from that intention, but shall add spurs to my endeavours and actions, to vindicate my self from ill opinion.
"And however I lie under the burden of the same, it lies in your hands to make me happy or not; and, for my part, I wish my heart and actions were known to you all; then I assure my self, you would reassume me to your good opinions.
"When I had, with some hazard, waited on my Master into Spain, it is well known what testimony I gave of my Religion; and no Man that comes to a true and near view of my action, can justly charge me. Let me be excused, if I give account of this particular, when I should speak of the general; for this goes near my heart, and to dissemble with my Conscience, no ends of Fortunes in the Word can make me do it: For if I had any ill inclination, I had such offers made to me in Spain, as might have tempted me.
"If I would have been converted my self, I might have had the Infanta to put in my Master's Bed; and if my discontent should have risen here, I might have had an Army to have come with me: But I thought the offer foolish, ridiculous, and scornful, in that point of Religion.
"I will now take the boldness to speak a little in the general business; and I call it boldness to speak after one, who did so well the other day: But I had rather suffer in my own particular, than not refresh your memories with that which is materially needful.
"I shall not need to reflect so far back as to the beginning of those Counsels which engaged my Master into the War, they are well known; only I will so far touch it, as to say, That the last Year's preparations were not Voluntary, or out of Wantonness, but out of Necessity.
"My Master had good intelligence, that the King of Spain's eye was malitiously bent this way, which had been pursued accordingly, if the employment of the Low-country-men to the Bay of Todos los Santos had not diverted it.
"Now for the, Counsel which was used in fending out the Fleets, I will refer you to the relation of the Lord Conway, who, as well in this as other Resolutions, can tell you, that nothing was carried with single Counsels: And for my self, I know, that in all those Actions, no Man can stand up against me, to say, that I ever did go with single Counsels, or made breach of any; but have been an obedient Servant and Minister unto their Resolutions: The proof, whereof will appear in a Journal thereof, which my Lord Conway keeps.
"I confess, all Counsels were not ever as your selves would, nor have wished they should; if you had known them as my Master did, in whom the former affairs of State had bred such affections, that the business being altered, they were not to be trusted with the Charge.
"I will now give you an account of all my Negotiations, since my being at Oxford, both at home and abroad; and because there it was charged, that those things were carried with single Counsels, I was more careful to advise the King to have his Council with him in the Country, being to enter into War with an active King.
"And for my part, I did diligently wait on the Council, left all Recreations, all personal occasions, studying to serve my Master, and to gain the good opinion of both Houses. The Council of Woodstock generally advised the going out of the Fleet. And though it were objected, that the Season were not fit, yet the Action shewed the contrary, for they all arrived in safety. And for what was also objected, that the Provision was not good, experience tells you the contrary; for the preparations were all good in quality and proportion.
"And if the success were not such as any honest Man could wish, I hope I shall not be blamed, being not there in person, though I made the greatest suit for it to my Master, that ever I did for any thing: But his Majesty thought my service more useful in the Low Countries, to comfort his Sister, and to treat with the Kings of Denmark, Sweden and the States.
"And though the success (as l said) of the Fleet, were not an swerable to the desires of honest Men, yet it had these good effects: First, it put our Enemy to great charge in fortifying his Coasts. Secondly, they took so many Ships, as caused many of his Merchants to break, whereby the Army in Flanders suffered much: And lastly, they could carry no Treasure out to pay their Forces in Flanders.
"And for Omissions of what more might have been done, I leave that to its proper place and time, and let every Man bear his own burden.
"From Oxford the Council went to Southampton, where the State's Ambassadors did wait often on the King and Council, and a League Offensive and Defensive betwixt us and them was thought fit to be resolved on, whereof some reasons I will express, but not all. First, they are of our own Religion. Secondly, they are our Neighbours,; for situation so useful, as when they are in distress, it is policy in us to give them relief; therefore the King thought sit to do it in such manner, as might lay an Obligation on them; which if it had not; been done, they had. been pressed with a long War, and such a faction among themselves, as if the King had not joyned, and, in a manner, appeared their Protector, they had broke among themselves.
"And in this the King's care was not only of them, but of all Christendom, and of his own particular.
"For, as before he only assisted them, his Majesty's care now used Arguments to draw them to Contribution; so that they bear the Fourth part of the Charge of the War at Sea, according to such Conditions, as by the Lord Chamberlain you have heard.
"This League being perfected between the States and us, his Majesty, by advice of his Council, thought sit to send me to get such a League with the other Princes as I could: The Rendezvous was in the Low-Countries, being in a manner the Centre for repair for England, France; and Germany; I had Latitude of Commission to make the League with the most advantage I could.
"Now I had discovered from Monsieur B. the French Ambassador here that a League Offensive and Defensive would be refused; and I found the King of Denmark shie, and loath to enter into such a League against the King of Spain; and so partly out of Necessity, and partly out of reason of State, I was forced to conclude the league in general terms for the restoring of the Liberty of Germany without naming the King of Spain, or the Emperor, that other Princes might come in; and this to continue till every one had satisfaction, and nothing to be treated of, debated, or concluded on, but by consent of all parties. It did appear, that the Charge was so great, that the Kingdom could not endure it; and therefore I endeavoured in the Low-Countries to lessen it, and so the Sea charge was helped, and the Land assistance given unto them, is to cease six Months hence, which the Lord Conway said was to end in September next.
"Also with this Treaty it is conditioned with the King of Denmark, That when my Master shall by Diversion equal to this Contribution with his own Subjects, enter into Action, then his Charge to cease: Or if the King of France may be drawn in, of which there is great hope (though he hath now made peace in Italy) for that the Policy of France may not give way to the greatness of the House of Austria, and ambition of Spain, whose Dominions do grasp him in on every side. And if the business be well carried, his engagement to the King of Denmark may draw him in; so there is great possibility of easing our Charge.
"But all is in the discreet taking of the time; for if not, we may think the King of Denmark will take hold of those fair Conditions which are each day offer'd him; and then the Enemies Army will fall upon the River of Elve, and (the Lord Conway added) upon East-Frieze land, from whence they would make such progress, as (in my poor experience) would ruin the Low-Countries.
"And thus I think I have satisfied all of you, or at least given an account of my Negotiation in the Low-Countries, with the King of Denmark, Sweden, and the rest.
"I should be glad before I end, to say somewhat of my self, but I shall request your favourable construction, for I have been too long already; but I fear I shall offend, and therefore I will restrain my self to generals.
"If in any of these employments, my Errors may be shewed me, I shall take him for my best friend that will manifest them in particular. I have bent all my thoughts on nothing but my Master's honour, the Service of the State, and safety, of them both. I never had any end of mine own, and that may be perceived and proved by the expence of mine own estate. I am ashamed to speak it, and it would become another Man's Tongue better then mine own.
"My Journey into Spain, was all at my own Charge; my Journey into France, was at my Master's Charge; my Journey into the Low-Countreys was all at my own Charge.
"I am accused by Common Fame, to be the cause of the loss of the Narrow Seas, and the damage there sustained. That I can say, is this, since the War begun with Spain, I have always had Twelve Ships on the Coasts, and allowance but for Four, the rest my own care supplied. And for the Office of Admiral, when I came first to it, I found the Navy weak, not neglected by my Noble Predecessor for I cannot speak of him, but With honour; and I shall desire to go to my Grave with the honour he carried hence) but the not paying of Monies in time, there were such defects his care could not prevent; that if the War had then broke out, there would have been found few Ships, and those unserviceable. I was first perswaded to take this Office by perswasion of Sir Robert Mansel, and though I objected I was young, and unexperienced, yet he said that by my favour with my Master, I might do more good in procuring payment for that charge; And because I was young and unexperienced, I took advice, as I do in all things, and am not ashamed of it. I desired my Matter to grant a Commission as it were over me. I have found a great Debt, the Ships defective, and few in number, the yearly charge of fifty four thousand pounds, which was brought to thirty thousand pounds per annum. We built every year two Ships, and when so many were built as were requisite, we brought it to two and twenty thousand pounds per annum, which comes not to my hands, but goes into its proper streams, and issues from the Officers to that purpose deputed.
"Now if any can shew me a project, how to maintain a War against Spain, Flanders, and the Turkish Pirates with less charge, he will do a great work and good service: I have had sometimes twenty, sometimes thirty Ships, though sometimes disastered by Tempest, which disperst the Hollander's Ships, and caused them to cut their Masts, and forsake Anchors.
"There are now twelve Ships victualled for two Months; and though many Reports have been, that they do not do their duty, yet I have advertised them thereof from time to time, and find no such fault in them.
"There are thirty Ships more at Plymouth, victualled for fix Months, and ten more ready, so soon as they may be victualled: I have been so frugal of making use of the old remain, that there is no need of Ammunition, or other necessaries.
"Besides all these, there are twenty Ships to come from the Low-Countries; so you have Twelve, Twenty, Thirty, and Ten more, which I think you have not heard of.
"And therefore if any have blamed me, I do not blame him, but think he hath done well, but when you know the truth, and when all this shall appear I hope I shall stand right in your opinions.
"Gentlemen, It is no time to pick quarrels one with another; we have Enemies enough already, and therefore more necessary to be well united at home.
"Follow not Examples, at least not ill examples of Gondomar and Ynojosa, who Would have had my head, when you thought me worthy of a salute. Now though I confess there may be some Errors, I will not justifie my self; yet they are not such gross defects, as the World would make them appear. I desire they may be admitted Cum Nota.
"They are no Errors of wilfulness, nor of Corruption, nor oppressing of the People, nor Injustice, but contrary; and then may I say, for what good done by me do I suffer?
"And now I might Answer more particulars, but I have been long, and so will forbear; and will conclude, if your Supply answer not your Promises and Engagements to my Master; you will make this place which hath been in Peace when others were in War, the seat of War when others are in Peace.
"Now Gentlemen, you that were Ancient Parliament-Men when this Council was first given, strive to make good your own Engagement, for the honour of your King, and your own safety. Let Religion, in which I would be glad to be more watchful and industrious than any, unite your hearts both at home and abroad; and you that are young Men, may in these active times gain honour and reputation, which is almost sunk, and gain the Ancient Glory of your Predecessors: and remember it is for restoring to her Inheritance, the most virtuous Lady I think in the World.
"I have nothing more, but to intreat your charitable opinion of me and my actions.
For the further vindicating of the Duke, the Lord Conway flood up and said,
The Lord Conway vindicates the Duke.
"That whereas divers jealousies have been raised in the House, that the Monies have been expended unusefully and without Council; himself who was the only Secretary, and had the hand in guiding the business, could best give an account of it.
"When King James of Glorious Memory, at the request of both Houses had broken both the Treaties, he considered how to maintain the War; for he saw that the King of Spain was awaked, and that the Palatinate must be got by the Sword, and that Spain would oppose it with all the power they could; and computing the charges, found the Subsidies granted too short; for that it could not be done without an Army of five and twenty thousand Foot, and five thousand Horse which would amout six hundred thousand pounds for the Armies yearly, and three hundred thousand pounds for the Navy; but, finding all his means short, and as the Proverb is, Not knowing of what wood to make his Arrows to hit the mark withal. Count Mansfield stirred up by his own judgment, came over and made overture, That for twenty thousand pounds a Month he would raise an Army of thirty thousand Men, and draw in the French King, Denmark, Sweden, Venice, Savoy, the Cantons of the Switzers, perhaps and some other German Princes, and raise a War in Alsatia, of great consequence to make a Diversion.
"Now about this time the Council of Austria resolved to call a dyet and exclude the Count Palatine, and put in a Popish Elector; and for that end offered a general Peace in Germany, and so left not a crevice to look into for assistance; but if any of them should aid the Count Palatine, he should be out of the Peace.
"The King accepts Mansfield's offer, conditionally that he drew in the French King: So Mansfield went over into France, and the King by advice of his Council sent Ambassadors into France, Denmark, Venice, Savoy, and Cantons of the Switzers, from whom he received cold Answers; for King James had stood so long on terms of Peace, as they doubted he would not be brought to enter into a War. But Count Mansfield procured the King of France to contract to receive our Troops, with promise to enter into the War, upon condition it might be regulated by the Council of the French King and England. This favour to Count Mansfield, That France agreed that his Armies should joyn with the Kings Troops, wrought the Princes of Germany to believe, that the King would enter into a War. Thereupon the Imperialists left their Dyet and sent Tilly to Eriezland, and to take up the River of Embden; which if he had obtained, they would have trampled the Low Countreys under foot, and would have become Governors of the Sea
"Upon this the King of Denmark sent to our King, and offered to raise an Army of thirty thousand Men, if our King would allow thirty thousand pounds a Month, and said, He would admit no time of respite; for if Tilly had not been presently met and headed, all had been lost. Whereupon our King called a Council, and appointed Commissioners; and from that time all the Warrants for the issuing of the Moneys, were all under the King's own hand to the Council of War, and from them to the Treasurers, and the Warrants were from the Lords of the Council for the levying of Men, and for Coats and Conduct-money. A List whereof is hereunder specified.
Thereupon the Duke asked the Question, whether any thing was done by single Council?
To which the Lord Conway Answered, " No; For the Treaty of Denmark, Project of Count Mansfield, Treaties with France, and the business of the Navy, were done all by the King himself; and who can say it was done by single Council, when King James commanded it, whose Council every Man ought to reverence, especially in Matters of War, whereunto that King was not hasty?
The Total of Moneys paid by Warrants of the Treasurers of the Subsidy Money.
A List of Monies disbursed for the War.
"Memorandum, that over and above the several Services before specified, and the several Sums issued, and to be issued by our Warrants for the same, We did long since resolve and order accordigly, that out of the Monies of the second and third Subsidies, these further Services should be performed, and the Monies issued accordingly, viz.
"But the said Subsidies being not like to afford means to perform these so necessary Works; We humbly commend the supply of what shall be wanting for the same unto your Majesty's Princely consideration.
Whilst the Commons were inquiring into Publick Grievances, the Lords represented to the King a Grievance to their own Order in this following Petition.
To the Kings most Excellent Majesty.
The Petition of your ever Loyal Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal now in Parliament Assembled,
In all humility sheweth,
The Lords Petition touching Precedency, chalenged by Scots and Irish Nobles.
That whereas the Peers and Nobility of this Kingdom of England, have heretofore in Civility yielded as to strangers Precedency, according to their several degrees, unto such Nobles of Scotland and Ireland, as being in Titles above them, have reported hither. Now divers of the natural Subjects of those Kingdoms resident here with their Familities, and having their chief Estates among us, do by reason of some late Dignities in those Kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland, claim Precedency of the Peers of this Realm, which tends both to the disservice of your Majesty, and these Realms and to the great disparagement of the English Nobility, as by these Reasons may appear.
- I. It is a Novelty without President, that Men should inherit Honours, where they possess nothing else.
- II. It is Injurious to those Countries from whence their Titles are derived, that they should have a Vote in Parliament, where they have not a foot of Land.
- III. It is a grievance to the Countrey Were they inhabit, that Men possessing very large fortunes and Estates, should be reason of Foreign Cities be exempted from those services of Trust and Charge, Which through their default become greater pressures upon others Who hear the burthen.
- IV. It is a shame to Nobility, that Persons dignified with the Titles of Barons Viscounts &c. should be obnoxious and exposed to arrest, they being in the view of the law no more than mere Plebeians.
We therefore humbly beseech your Majesty, that will be pleased according to the examples of the best Princes and times, upon consideration of these inconveniences represented to your Majesty, by the nearest Body of honour to your Majesty, that some course may be taken, and an order timely settled therein by your Princely Wisdom so as the in convenience to your Majesty may be prevented, and the prejudice and disparagement of the Peers and Nobility of this Kingdom be redressed.
To this Petition the King gave Answer, that he would take order therein.
The Earl of Bristol who continued under Restraint, and was debarred Access to his Majesty ever since his return out of Spain, had been examined touching his Negotiation there, by a Committee of Lords appointed by the King. Certain Propositions were tendred unto him in order to his Release, and composing of that Affair, concerning which he had written to the Lord Conway, and about this time received the ensuing Letter from him.
The Lord Conway, to the Earl of Bristol
The Lord Conway's Letter to the Earl of Bristol.
I Received a Letter from your Lordship, dated the Fourth of this Month, written in Answer to a former Letter which I directed to your Lordship by his Majesty's Commandment. This lost Letter according to my Duty I have shewed unto his Majesty, who hath perused it, and hath commanded me to write back to you again, that he finds himself nothing satisfied therewith. The Question propounded to your Lordship from his Majesty, was plain and clear, Whether you did rather chuse to fit still without being Questioned for any Errors past in your Negotiation in Spain, and enjoy the benefit of the late gracious Pardon granted in Parliament, whereof you may have the benefit: Or whether for the clearing of your Innocency (whereof your self and your friends and followers are so confident) you will be content to wave the advantage of that Pardon, and put your self into a legal way of Examination for the Tryal thereof. His Majesty's purpose thereby, is not to prevent you of any favours the Law hath given you; but if your Assurance be such as your Words and Letters import, he conceives it stands not with that Publick and resolute prosession of your Integrity to decline your Tryal. His Majesty leaves the choice to your self, and requires from you a direct Answer without circumlocution or bargaining with him for future favours beforehand; but if you have a define to make use of that Pardon which cannot be denied you, nor is any way desired to be taken from you, his Majesty expects you should at the least forbear to magnifie your Service, and out of an opinion of your Innocency, cast an aspersion upon his Majesty's Justice, in not affording you that present fulness of Liberty and Favour which cannot be drawn from him, but in his good time and according to his good pleasure.
Thus much I have in commandment to write to your Lordship, and to require your Answer clearly and plainly by this Messenger sent on purpose for it, and so remain.
Whitehall, 24 March, 1626.
Your Lordship's humble servant
The Earl of Bristols Letter to the Lord Conway.
I Have received your Letter of the Four and twentieth of March, the Twenty eighth; and I am infinitely grieved to understand that my former Answer to yours of the fourth of March, hath not satisfied his Majesty, which I will endeavour to do this, to the best of my understanding; and to that end shall Answer to the particular points of your present Letter, with the greatest clearness I am able.
First, Whereas you say in your Letter, that the question propounded to me was plain and clear, viz.
Whether I would chuse to sit still without being questioned for any Errors Past in my Negotiation in Spain, and enjoy the benefit of the late gracious Pardon, whereof I may take the benefit? Or whether being content to wave the advantage of that Pardon, I should put my self into a legal way of Examination for the Tryal thereof? &c.
First, Your Lordship may be pleased to remember, your Last Proposition. was, Whether I desired to rest in the security I was in, which you now express, Whether I will chuse to sit still?
Secondly, Your Proportion was, Whether I would acknowledge the gracious Favour of his Majesty that now is, who had been pleased not to question my actions; when it is best known to your Lordship, That by a commission of the Lords, 1 was questioned upon Twenty Articles, divers involving Felony and Treason. Although it be true; that when I had so answered (as 1 am confident their Lordships would have cleared me) I was so unhappy as their Lordships never met more about that business.
But now your Proposition is, Whether I will now chuse to sit still without being further questioned for Errors past, whereas before it was required I should acknowledge that I have not been questioned at all, which is a different thing? But conferring both your Letters together, and gathering the sense and meaning by making the latter an Explanation of the former, which I could have withed your Lordship would have more clearly explained, I return unto your Lordship this plain and direct Answer.
That understanding by the Security I am in, and sitting still, and not being further questioned, I am restored to the bare Freedom and Liberty of a Subject and Peer (for a Man being called in question by his Majesty, if after his Majesty shall be pleased, out of his goodness, that he rest quiet and secure, and that he shall not be further questioned, I conceive that it is not apparent that his liberty naturally revolveth unto him, when by his Majesty's Grace he is pleased to declare, he shall not be further questioned, but may live in further security, So that understanding your Letter in this sort (for no direct Answer can be made, until the sense of the question be truly stated) 1 do most humbly acknowledge and accept his Majesty's Grace and Favour, and shall not wave any thing that shall come to me by the pardon of the 21. Jac. Regis, nor by the pardon of his Majesty's Coronation; and am so far from bargaining, as you are pleased, to express it for future favour (though I hope my humble and submissive courses of Petitioning his Majesty, neither hath, nor shall deserve so hard an Expression) that 1 shall not presume so much as to press for any favour, until my Dutiful and Loyal Behaviour may move his Majesty's Royal and Gracious Heart thereunto, but receive, with all humbleness, this my Freedom and, Liberty, the which I shall only make use of in such sort, as I shall judge may be most agreeable to his Majesty's pleasure.
As for the second part of your Letter, wherein you say, that if I desire to make use of that Pardon, his Majesty expects that 1 should at least forbear to magnifie my services; or out of an opinion of my own Innocency cast an aspersion upon his Majesty's Justice. To this point I answer, That as I hope I shall never err in that sort of immodesty of valuing my Services, which I acknowledge to have been accompanied with infinite weakness and disabilities, so I trust it shall not displease, that I make use, to mine own comfort, and the honour of my Posterity, of those many written Testimonies which my late most Blessed Master hath left me, of his gracious Acceptance of my Services for the space of Twenty years, So likewise I hope the modest avowing of mineInnocency will not he thought to cast any aspersion upon his Majesty's Honour or Justice. I must freely confess unto your Lordships, I am much afflicted to see Inferences of this nature made, both in your Lordship's last Letter, and in this. For if it shall he inferred as a thing reflecting upon the King's Honour, that a Man questioned, shall not endeavour to defend his own Innocency before he the convicted, it will be impossible for any Man to be safe; for the honour of his Majesty, is too Sacred a thing for any Subject, how innocent soever, to contest against. So likewise, God forbid that it should be brought into Conferences, (as in your former Letter) as a Tax upon the Government and Justice of his late Majesty, and Majesty that now is, that I should have suffered so long time, not being guilty. For as I never have been heard so much as to repine of Injustice in their Majesty's, in all my sufferings, so I well know, That the long continuance of my troubles may well be attributed unto other Causes; as to my own Errors of Passion, or other Accidents: for your Lordship may well remember, That my Affairs were almost two years since upon the point of a happy Accommodation, had it not been interrupted by the unfortunate mistaking of the Speeches I used to Mr. Clark.
I shall conclude by intreating your Lordship's favour, That I may understand from you, as I hope for my comfort, that this Letter hath given his Majesty satisfaction; or if there should yet remain any scruple, That I may have a clear and plain signification of the Kings pleasure, which I shall obey with all Humility,
Tour Lordship's humble Servant,
The Earl of Bristol Petitions the House of Lords.
The Earl of Bristol Petitions the House of Lords, shewing, That he being a Peer of this Realm, had not received a Summons to Parliament, and desires their Lordships to mediate with his Majesty, that he may enjoy the liberty of a Subject, and the Privilege of his Peerage, after almost two years restraint, without being brought to a Tryal. And if any Charge be brought in against him, he prayeth that he may be tryed by Parliament.
The Petition referred to the Committee of Privileges.
The business is referred to the Committee of Privileges, and the Earl of Hartford reported from that Committee, That it is necessary that their Lordships humbly befeech his Majesty, that a Writ of Summons may be sent to the Earl of Bristol; as also to such other Lords, whose Writs are flopped, except such as are made uncapable to sit in Parliament, by Judgment of Parliament, or some other legal Judgment.
Hereupon the Duke signified to the House, That upon the Earl of Bristols Petition to the King, his Majesty bad sent him his Writ of Summons; And withal, shewed to the Lords the Copy of a Letter written from the King unto the said Earl, being as followeth.
The King's Letter to the Earl of Bristol.
We have received your Letter addressed unto us by Buckingham, and cannot but wonder; that you should, through forgetfulness, make request to us of favour, as if you stood evenly capable of it, when you know what your behaviour in Spain deserved of us, which you are to examine by the observations we made, and know you well remember; how at our first coming into Spain, taking upon you to be so wise, as to foresee our intention to change our Religion, you. were so far from disswading us, that you offered your advice and secresie to concur in it; and in many other Conferences pressing to shew how convenient it was to be a Roman Catholick; it being impossible, in your opinion, to do any great action otherwise: and how much wrong, disadvantage, and disservice you did to the Treaty, and to the Right and Interest of our dear Brother and Sister, and their Children; what disadvantage, inconvenience, and hazard you intangled us in by your Artifices, putting off and delaying our return home; the great estimation you made of that State, and the low price you set this Kingdom at; still maintaining, that we, under colour of friendship to Spain, did what was in our power against them, which, they said, you very well knew: And last of all, your approving of those Conditions, that our Nephew should be brought up in the Emperor's Court; to which Sir Walter Ashton then said, That he durst not give his consent, for fear of his head: You replying unto him, that without some such great Action, neither Marriage nor Peace could be had.
Upon the receipt of the Writ, Bristol again Petitions the House of Lords, and annexes to his Petition the Lord Keeper's Letter, and his own Answer thereto, and desires to be heard in accusation of the Duke.
The humble Petition of John Earl of Bristol
Humbly shewing unto your Lordships,
The Earl of Bristol petitions the Lords upon receipt or his Writ.
That he hath lately received his writ of Parliament, for which he returneth unto your Lordships most humble thanks, but joyntly with it a Letter from my Lord Keeper, commanding him in his Majesty's name to forbear his personal attendance; and although he shall ever obey the least intimation of his majesty's pleasure, yet he most humble offerth unto your Lordship's wise considerations, as too high a point for him, how far this may trench upon the Liberty and Safety of the Peers, and the Authority of their Letters Patents, to be in this fort discharged by a Letter missive of any Subject without the King's hand: and for your Lordship's due information, he hath annexed a Copy of the said Lord Keeper's Letter, and his Answer thereunto.
he further humble petitioneth your Lordships, That having been, for the space of two years, highly wronged in point of his Liberty, and of his Honour, by many minister aspersions which have been cast upon him, without being permitted to answer for himself; which hath been done by the power and industry of the Duke of Buckingham, to keep him from the presence of his Majesty and the Parliament, left he should discover many crimes concerning the said Duke.
he therefore most humbly beseecheth, That he may be heard both in the point of his wrong, and of his Accusation of the said Duke: wherein he will make it appear, how infinitely the said Duke hath both abused their Majesty's, the State, and both the houses of Parliament, And this he is most confident will not be denied, since the Court of Parliament never refuseth to hear the poorest Subject seeking of redress of Wrongs, nor the Accusation against any, be he never so powerful: And herein he beseecheth Your Lordships to mediate to his Majesty, for the Suppliants coming to the house, in such for fort as you shall think fitting; assuring his Majesty. That all he shall say, shall not only tend to the service of his Majesty, and the State, but highly to the honour of his Majesty's Royal Person, and of his Princely Virtues: And your Suppliant shall ever pray for Lordships prosperity.
The Lord Keeper to the Earl of Bristol, March 31. 1626.
My very good Lord,
By his Majesty's commandment, I herewith send unto your Lordship your Writ of Summons for the parliament: but withal signifie his Majesty's pleasure herein further, that howsoever he gives way to the awarding of the Writ; yet his meaning is thereby, not to discharge any former directions for restraint of your Lordships coming hither, but that you continue under the same restriction as you did before; fo as your Lordships personal attendance is to be forborn; and therein I doubt not but your Lordship will readily give his Majesty satisfaction. And so I commend my service very heartily unto your Lordship, and remain,
Dorset-Court, March 31.1626.
Your Lordship's assured Friend and Servant,
THO. COVENTRY, C. S.
His Answer to the Lord Keeper.
May it please your Lordship,
I Have received your Lordships Letter of the 31 of March, and with it his Majesty's Writ of Summons for the Parliament; In the one his Majesty commandeth me, that all excuses set aside, upon my Faith and Allegiance I fail not to come and attend his Majesty; and this under the Great Seal of England. In the other, as in a Letter missive, his Majesty's pleasure is intimated by your Lordship, that my personal attendance should be forborn: I must crave leave ingeniously to confess unto your Lordship, that I want judgment rightly to direct my self in this Case; as likewise that I am ignorant how far this may trench upon the Privileges of the Peers of this Land, and upon mine and their safety hereafter: For if the Writ be not obeyed, the Law calleth it a Misprision, and highly fineable, whereof we have had late examples; and a missive Letter being avowed or not, is to be doubted would not be adjudged a sufficient discharge against the Great Seal of England: On the
Other side, if the Letter be not obeyed, a Peer may, De facto, he committed upon a contempt, in the interim, and the question cleared afterwards; so that in this case it is above mine abilities. I can only answer your Lordship, that I will most exactly obey; and to the end I may understand which obedience will be, in all kinds, most suitable to may duty, I will presently repair to my private Lodging at London, and there remain, until in this, and other causes, I shall have petitioned his Majesty, and understand his further pleasure For the second part of your Lordship's Letter, where your Lordship faith, That his Majesty's meaning is not thereby to discharge any former directions for restraint of your Lordship's coming hither, but that you continue under the same restriction as before; so that your Lordship's personal attendance here is to be forborn: I conceive your Lordship intendeth this touching my coming to Parliament only; for as touching my coming to London, I never had any time one word of prohibition; or colourable pretence of restraint; but on the contrary, having his late Majesty's experts leave to come to London, to follow my affairs; out of my respect to his Majesty, then Prince, and to the Duke of Buckingham, I forbore to come, until I might know, whether my coming would not be disagreeable unto them. Whereunto his Majesty was pleased to answer, both under the hand of the Duke, and of Mr. Secretary Conway, That he took my respect unto him herein in very good part, and would wish me to make use of the leave the King had given me: Since which time I never received any Letter or Message of restraint; only his Majesty, by his Letter, bearing date June the last, commandeth me to remain as I was in the time of the King his Father, which was with liberty to come to London to follow my own affairs as I please, as will appear unto your Lordship, if you will afford me so much favour as to peruse them. I have writ this much unto your Lordship, because I would not, through misunderstanding, fall into displasure by my coming up, and to intreat your Lordship to inform his Majesty thereof: And that my Lord Conway, by whose warrant I was only restrained in the late King's time, of famous memory, may whose warrant I was only restrained in the late King's time, of famous memory, amy produce any one word, that may have so much as any colourable pretence of debarring my coming up to London. I beseech your Lordship to pardon my desire to have things clearly understood; for the want of that, formerly, hath caused all my troubles; and when any thing is misinformed concerning me, I have little or no means to clear it; so that my chief labour is to avoid misunderstanding. I shall conclude with beseeching your Lordship to do me this favour, to let his Majesty understand, that my coming up is only rightly to understand his pleasure, whereunto I shall in all things most dutifully and humbly conform my self. And so with my humble service to your Lordship, I recommend you to God's holy protection, and remain,
April 12. 1626.
Your Lordship's most humble servant.
Hereupon the Lord Keeper delivered this Message from the King to the House of Lords.
A Message from the King to the House of Lords.
"That his Majesty hath heard of a Petition preferr'd unto this House by the Earl of Bristol, so void of duty and respects to his Majesty, that he hath great cause to punish him; That he hath also heard with what duty and respectfulness to his Majesty their Lordships have proceeded therein, which his Majesty conceiveth to have been upon the Knowledge they have, that he hath been restrained for matters of State; and his Majesty doth therefore give their Lordships thanks for the same, and is resolved to put that Cause upon the Honour and Justice of their Lordships and this House. And thereupon his Majesty commanded him (the Lord Keeper) to signifie to their Lordships his Royal pleasure, That the Earl of Bristol be sent for as a Delinquent, to answer in this House his Offences, committed in his Negotiations before his Majesty's being in Spain, and his Offences since his Majesty's coming from Spain, and his scandalizing the Duke of Buckingham immediately, and his Majesty by reflexion, with whose privity, and by whose directions the Duke did guide his Actions, and without which he did nothing. All which his Majesty will cause to be charged against him before their Lordships in this House.
The Lords appointed a Committeee to attend the King, and to present their humble thanks to his Majesty, for the Trust and Confidence he had placed in the Honour and Justice of their House.
The Marshal of Middlesex's Petition touching Priests.
About this time the Marshal of Middlesex petitioned the Committee of the House of Commons, touching his resistance in seising of Priests Goods.
A Warrant was made by Mr. Attorney-General, to John Tendring, Marshal of Middlesex, and other therein named, to search the Prison of the Clink, and to seise all Popish and Superstitious matters there found.
A Letter also was directed to Sir Geroge Paul, a Justice of Peace in Surry, to pray him to take some care and pains to expedite that services. On Good-Friday, April 7. Sir George Paul was ready by six a clock in the morning, five or six Constables being charged, and about an hundred persons to aid assist them. The Marshal being attended with the persons to aid and assist them. The Marshal being attended with the persons to aid and assist them. The Marshal being attended with the persons named in the Warrant, and divers others of his own servants, and the Aid being provided by Sir George Paul, came to the Clink, and finding a door open, without any Porter or Door-keeper at all, entred without resistance at the first appearing: But immediately upon discovery of his purpose, the concourse of People without, and his unexpected entrance giving occasion thereto, the Porter steps up, shuts the door, and keeps the Marshal, and some few that entred together with him, within, and his Aid without, resisting them that would enter, their Warrant being shewed notwithstanding, until by force another door was broken open, by which the other persons named in the Warrant, the Marshals Men, with the Constables, and others appointed for their assistance, with Halbards, did enter also, leaving sufficient company without to guard the three several doors belonging to the House.
Being within, the Marshall gave direction to his followers to disperse themselves into several parts of the house, to the end, that whilst he did search in one part, the other parts and places might be safely guarded, and so he proceedeth in his search; in the prosecution whereof he found four several Priests in the house, viz. Preston, Condon, Warrington, Prator. Preston was committed to the Clink about sixteen years since, and discharged of his Imprisonment about seven years ago, yet remained there in the Prison still, attended with two Women-servants, and one Man-servant, who, as it was suspected, had continued with him ever since Gunpowder-Treason, 1605. The keeping there by himself apart from the Keeper of the Prison, and had for his Lodging three or four several Chambers, part of the Bishop of Winchester's house, into which there was passage made through the Prisonsyard, no other entrance in or out of the same being discovered; and he affirmed, That he had a Warrant or License from the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury for his residence there, with liberty freely for himself and all Company that would resort to him thither.
There was found in his Chamber five or six Cart-loads of Books, set up with Shelves, as in a Library or Book-seller's Shop, supposed to be worth two thousand pounds at least; besides which, it was affirmed by the Keeper of the Prison, that he had a far greater Library abroad; for which the Keeper's Examination was taken before Sir Edm. Bower and Sir George Paul, Knights, Justices of Surry; wherein it was said, that Preston is either licensed, warranted, or protected by the Bishop of Canterbury, Durham, or Winchester, to that effect. There were also found two Altars, ready furpish'd for Mass, one more publick in an upper Chamber, the other more private in a Study, many rich Copes, Surplices, Wax-candles, Croffes, Crucifixes very rich, Beads, Jewels, Chains, Chalices of Silver, and of Gold, five or six Bags of Money, which were not opened, and loose Money, to the quantity of 100 l. thrown up and down in his Desk; abundance of Manuscripts, and a Pacquet of Letters bound up together with a thread:
In Cannon's Chamber was found an Altar ready furnished with many Plates, Jewels, Church-stuff, and many rich Pictures, divers Letters and Manuscripts, Wax-candles, and other such Popish materials; a great deal of his Chamber being shelved about, and full of Books; in one of his Studies also there were Books set in order upon shelves, as in Preston's Chamber, to a great value, and a private Altar furnished for Mass, his Hallowed Bread ready sitted, and his Holy-water, which Cannon himself cast out into the Chimney. In another Study of Cannon's were found great store of curious Tools and Engines to work withal, three Swords or Rapiers, one Pistol, and a Fowling-piece: Amongst other things were found Pictures of Queen Elizabeth, King James, Queen Anne, and King Charles; the taking whereof, being set apart with other stuff to be removed, did exceedingly move the Priest to Impatience. Of whom also it is to be noted, that he had in his custody all the Keeper's Warrants for Commitment of his Prisoners, which were found in his Chamber, together with some store of Plate, which, he said, was by him kept for the Keeper's Wife.
In Warrington's Chamber were found Books, Beads, Boxes of Oyl for Extreme Unction, and fuchlike trash, but the Wall thereof was broken down into another house adjoyning to the Prison, through which, it is conceived, that all the rest of Warrington's Provision was convey'd away, in the interim of the search made in the two former Chambers.
The fourth Priest, named Prator, was first committed to Gloucester-Goal, being suspected to be the Archbishop of those parts, and lay there till Lent-Assizes last drew on; but for fear of the severity of the Laws (as Davison and the Keeper did affirm) a Warrant was procured by the Papists for his remove from Gloucester to the Clink, where he was found a Prisoner. It was informed by the Keeper, that this Prator brought up from Gloucester a Gentlewoman, who lies in a Chamber next adjoyning to his Lodging, and that he paid two shillings six pence a week for her Chamber, and maintained a Maid-servant to attend her: It is supposed, that this Prison is her protection from the lawful proceedings that might be had against her in the Country for Recusancy.
In the Porter's Chambers were found seven or eight Popish Books.
In the Keeper's Lodging was found a Closet or Study, wherein Store of Writings, Letters, and long Catalogues of Books were found, with their several Prices, one rich Picture or Crucifix, a Picture of Mary Magdalen; of which two, the Keeper affirmed, that one of them cost thirty pound; and also many other rich Pictures, amongst which, one was a Picture of an old Priest, named Collington, of whom Cannon affirmed, in scoffing manner, That that Man's Beard had done King James more hurt, than an Army of ten thousand Men could have done. Preston's servants, being one Man, two Maids, the Gentlewoman that came from Gloucester, and her servant, and the Keeper himself, and Robert Davison his Man, were all examined before the said Justices. During the Marshal's tarrying in the Clink, it was observed, that both Preston and Cannon used all the means they could to have notice of the matter then in hand given to the Lord of Canterbury, and were very pensive, until they perceived he had notice of it. Whereupon they expressed much joy, being assured, as they said, that then there should be nothing removed out of the House. And it came to pass accordingly: For whilst the Marshal and his servants were in the search of the third Chamber, and had locked up divers other Chambers, wherein, as it was informed, there was store of Wealth, Church-stuff, Books, and other matters, which would have been found, if the search had been prosecuted; a countermand was brought from the Archbishop, and Master Attorney, whereby the proceeding of that business was staid, and the Marshal was forbidden to remove or take away any thing, so much as a Paper.
The Keeper and his Wife, and the Priests, did grievously threaten the Marshal, and all his Assistants, with very high terms, especially with Arrests and Imprisonments for their attempt in this service; one of them saying, that they should be imprisoned, as once one Harrison, a Messenger, who, for performing the like service in the Clink, was committed to the Marshalley, and kept there three years, until in the end he was discharged by an Order in the Parliament, as is credibly reported. Furthermore it is also humbly informed by the said Marshal, That upon the twenty second of March last, by a like Warrant from the Lord Conway, he did search the Bishop's Prison, called the New Prison in Maiden-lane in London, where he found six several Priests prisoners in several Chambers, an Altar, with all Furniture thereto belonging, with Church-Books and Stuff, which were as much as three Porters could carry away, and it is now in the hands of the Lord Conway. Of which service, if this Honourable House will call for a more particular account, the Marshal is ready to give further satisfaction.
He humbly prayeth the honourable favour of this House, for this encouragement and further abilities to the like services.
Archbishop of Canterbury's Letter in behalf of the Priests in the Clink, directed to Matter Attorney-General.
Good Mr. Attorney,
I Thank you for acquainting me what was done yesterday at the Clink: But I am of opinion, that if you had curiously enquired upon the Gentleman who gave the information, you should have found him to be a Disciple of the Jesuites; for they do nothing but put tricks on these poor Men, who do live more miserable lives, than if they were in the Inquisition in many parts beyond the Seas. By taking the Oath of Allegiance, and writing in defence of it, and opening some points of high consequence, they have so displeased the Pope, that if by any cunning they could catch them, they are sure to be burnt or strangled for it. And once there was a plot to have taken Preston, as he passed the Thames, and to have shipt him into a bigger Vessel, and so to have transported him into Flanders, there to have made a Martyr of him. In respect of these things, King James always gave his protection to Preston and Warrington as may be easily shewed. Cannon is an old Man, well affected to the Cause, but medleth not with any Factions or Seditions, as far as I can learn. They complain their Books were taken from them, and a Crucifix of Gold, with some other things, which, I hope, are not carried out of the house, but may be restored again unto them; for it is in vain to think, that Priests will be without their Beads or Pictures, Models of their Saints; and it is not improbable, that before a Crucifix they do often say their Prayers.
I leave the things to your best confideration, and hope that this deed of yours, together with my word, will restrain them for giving offence hereafter, if so be that lately they did give any. I heartily commend me unto you, and so rest;
Your very loving Friend,
By this time the Commons had prepared an humble Remonstrance to the King, in Answer to his Majesty's and the Lord Keeper's Speech.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
The commons remonstrance to the King, in answer to his majesty's and the Lord Keeper's Speech.
Whereas Your Majesty hath been pleased of late, at sundry times, and by several means, to impart unto us your Royal pleasure, touching some passages and proceedings in this present Parliament; We do first, with unspeakable joy and comfort, acknowledge your Mejesty's grace and favour, in that it hath pleased You to cause it to be delivered unto us by the Lord Keeper of Your Great Seal in Your own Royal Presence, and before both Houses of Parliament. That never King was more loving to his People, nor better affected to the right use of Parliaments; withal professing Your most gracious resolution to hear and redress our just Grievances. And with like comfort We acknowledge Your Majesty's goodness shining at the very entrance of Your glorious Reign, in commanding the execution of the Laws established to preserve the true Religion of Atmighty God, in whose Service consisteth the happiness of all Kings and Kingdoms.
Yet let it not displease Your Majesty, that we also express some sense of just Grief, intermitted with that great Joy, to see the careful proceedings of our sincere Intentions so misreported, as to have wrought effects unexpected, and, we hope, undeserved.
First, touching the Charge against us in the matter concerning Mr. Cook We all sincerely protest, That neither the words mentioned in Your Majesty's Message, nor any other of seditious effect were spoken by him, as hath been resolved by the house without one Negative voice. Howsoever, in a Speech occasionally uttered, he let fall some few words, which might admit an ill construction; whereat the house being displeased at the delivery of them, as was expressed by a general and instant Check, he forthwith so explained himself and his intention, that for the present, we did forbear to take them into consideration, which since we have done: and the effect therof had before this appeared, if by importunate business of your Majesty's Service we had not been interrupted.
The like interruption did also befall us in the Case of Doctor Turner, wherein the Duession being formerly stated, a Resolution was ordered to have been taken that very day, on which we received Your Majesty's command to attend You.
But for our own proceedings, We humbly beseech your Majesty to be truly informed. That before the Dverture from Doctor Turner, (out of our great and necessary care for Your honour and Welfare of Your Reaim) we had taken into serious consideration the Evils which now afflict your People, and the Causes of them, that we might apply our selves unto the fittest Remedies: In the pursuit whereof, our Committes (whatsoever they might have done) have in no particular proceeded otherwise, than either upon ground of knowledge in themselves, or proof by examination of Witnesses, or other Evidence, In which course of service for the publick good, as we have not swerved from the Parliamentary ways of our Predecessors, so we conceive, that the discovery and reforming of Errors, is so fat from laying an aspersion upon the present time and Government, that it is rather a great honour and happiness to both, yielding matter to great Princes, wherein to exercise and illustrate their Doblest virtues.
And although the grievous complaints of the Merchants from all parts, together with the common service of the Subjects well affected to those who profess our Religion, gave us occasion to debate some businesses that were partly Foreign, and had relation to affairs of State; yet we beseech Your Majesty to rest assured, it was exceeding far from our intention, either to traduce Your Counsellors, or disadvantage Your Degotiations.
And though some examples of great and potent Ministers of Privces, heretofore questioned in Parliament, have been alledged, yet was it without paralleling Your Majesty's Government, or Councils, to any Times at all, much less to Times of Exception.
Touching the Letter of your Majesty's Secretary, it was first alleged by your Advocate for his own Justification, and after by direction of the Committee produced to make good his Allegation.
And for the search at the Signet Office, the Copy of a Letter being divulged as in your Majesty's name, with pregnant cause of suspicion, both in the Body and Direction therof to be suppositious the Committes out of desire to be cleared therein, did by their Order send some of themselves to the Signet Office, to search whether there were any Records of Letters of that nature, without warrant to the officer for any, much less for a general search.
But touching publick Records, we have not sorborn, as often as our businesses have required, to make search into them, wherein we have done nothing unwarranted by the Laws of your Realm, and the constant usage of Parliaments. And if for the ease of their Labours, any of our Committees have desired the help of the Officers, Repertories, or Breaviats of Direction, we conceive it is no more than any Subject in his own affairs might have obtained for ordinary Fees.
Now concerning Your Majesty's Servants, and namely, the Duke of Buckingham, we humbly beseech your Majesty to be informed by us your faithful Commons; who can have no private end but your Majesty's Service, and the good of your Country, That it hath been the ancient, constant, and undoubted Right and Usage of Parliaments, to question and complain of all persons of what degree soever, found grievous to the Commonwealth, in abusing the power and trust committed to them by their sovereign. A course approved not only by the examples in your Father's days of famous memory, but by frequent presidents in the best, and most glorious Reigns of your Doble progenitors, appearing both in Records and Histories; without which liberty in Parliament, no private Man, no Servant to a King, perhaps no Counsellor without exposing himself to the hazard of great enmity and prejudice, can be a means to call great Officers into question for their misdemeanors, but the Common wealth might languish under their pressures without redress: and whatsoever we shall do accordingly in this Parliament, we doubt not but it shall redound to the honour of the Crown, and welfare of your Subjects.
Lastly, We most humbly beseech your Majesty graciously to conceive, that though it hath been the long Custom of Parliaments to handle the matter of Supply with the last of their businesses, yet at this time out of extraordinary respect to your person, and care of your Affairs, we have taken the same into more speedy consideration, and most happily on the very day of your Majesty's Inauguration, with great alacrity and unanimous consent: After a short Debate, we grew to the Resolution for a present Supply well known to your Majesty.
To which, if addition may be made of other great things for your Service, yet in consulation amongst us, we doubt not but it will appear, That we have not receded from the truth of our first Intention, so to supply you, as may make you safe at home, and feared abroad, specially if your Majesty shall be pleased to look upon the way intended in our promise, as well as to the measure of the gift agreed.
With like humility we beseech your Majesty not to give ear to the officious reports of private persons for their own ends, which hath occasioncd so much loss if time, nor to judge our proceedings whilst they are in agitation, but be pleased to expect the issue and conclusion of our labours, which we are confident will manifest and justice to your Majesty the sincerity and loyaity of our Hearts, who shall ever place in a high degree of happiness the performing of that duty and service in Parliament, which may most tend to your Majesty's Honour and the good of your Kingdom.
The House adjourned for a week..
Unto this Remonstrance the King said, he could give no present answer, but desired the house to adjourn for a week as the Lords had done; and they adjourned accordingly.
Private advice given to the Duke
In the interim it was intimated in writing to the Duke, that he should procure his Majesty to signifie to a certain number of Lords, that he hath endeavoured to divert the Charge against the Duke because his Majesty hath had found knowledge and experience of his service and fidelity.
That his Majesty may let them know, that he is now pleased to reveal some secrets and mysteries of State. That the King his Father finding the Palatinate more than in danger to be lost, and his Majesty being in Spain, and there deluded, and his abode and return both unsafe, it was a necessity of State to sweeten and content the Spaniard with the hope of any thing which may satisfie and redeem those Engagements. And that therefore the King willed the Duke to yield discreetly to what he should find they most desired, and this was chiefly the point of Religion; So as in this, and of the like kind, the Duke upon his Majesty's knowledge was commanded, and put the Instrument trusted by the King in this Exigent, or if you you will say, Extremity.
Upon the same ground, though not in so high a degree, the sending of the Ships to Rochel may be excused. Touching the vast Creation of Nobility, his Majesty may declare that his Father was born a King, and had long experience of that Regiment, found that this State inclined much to popularity; and therefore thought fit to enlarge the number of his Nobles, that these being dispersed into several Counties might shine as Lamps of Sovereignty in protecting their own degrees, and at their own charge inure the people with respect and obedience to greatness. And the King may protest that this was a Child of his Father's best Judgment and the Duke the Instrument thereof. And if you say, there was Money many times given for these Honours; nay if you say, that Money hath been given for places of Clergy and Judicature, take this of me, it is so in all other Countries; as in France and Spain, &c. though I am not satisfied in this opinion. And if it be said, the King should have had the Money which the Duke took to his own use, I believe this last (may the King say) is more than any Man can prove; neither will I deliver what I know therein, only this I will say, I know the Duke's particular service, and affection towards me, and that he and his will lay down themselves, and all they have at my feet.
Is it for a King to use his Servant and Instrument as he doth his Horses, and being by hard riding in his service foundred and lame to turn them out to Grass or to the Cart? I must therefore (may the King say) in right of the King, my Father's Honour, protect a Man (though justly seeming guilty, yet) in my own knowledge innocent: Will you therefore deny the King to favour whom he pleaseth, which the King never denied to you that are his subjects; Well commend me to my Lords, and tell them that if any such thing hath been formerly done amiss by others, I have power and will to redress it, and to prevent the like.
The Bishops commanded to attend the King.
At this time the King commanded all the Bishops to attend him, and when they were come before him, being fourteen in number, he reprehended them, that in this time of Parliament they had not made known unto him what might be profitable for the Church, whose cause he was ready to promote. And he laid this Charge upon them, that in the Cause of Bristol and Buckingham, their Consciences being their Guides, they should follow only proofs and not rumours.
The Commons sent again to the Duke by Sir John Epsly, to let him know that they were passing Articles against him, and that they had given the Messengers to take notice thereof out of the Clerk's Book, whereof he might take Copy of it if he pleased; and that they expected his Answer that day before ten of the Clock, if he pleased to send any.
This the Duke signified to the Lords, who did not think fit that he should answer, as appears by the ensuing Report made by Sir John Epsly.
The Duke's Answer to a Message from the Commons reported.
"This day his Grace gave us this Answer, (after he had moved the Lords) that he should with great care make all due acknowledgment of your respect: and favours in giving him this notice,which though it do invite him to render unto you such a satisfaction that he hopes may acquit and restore to him your good opinion, and might prevent your proceedings, which otherwise by a Parliamentary course are like to follow; Yet according to his duty, he moved the Lords of the Upper-House, upon your notice given him, they would by no means, as things now stand, give him leave to answer, in regard he is not ignorant you are presently to enter into consideration of his Majesty's Message; and that by a delay therein your own purposes will be in some sort disappointed, and the affairs of Christendom much prejudiced; but for that upon a resolution you have deferred and respited that service until those things depending against him be first determined, he out of fear that his necessary defence would spin out a great deal of time, which is more precious, is the willinger to obey their Lordships, that so he might hasten without obstacle or interruption given unto him to keep day with his Majesty; and this he doth as he conceives to his own infinite prejudice, knowing how grievous it is to be transmitted as a Grievance by the voice of this House: but he doth profess he will rather hazard the safety of his Fortunes, Reputation, and himself, than to be the least occasion of any that may work disaffection or misunderstanding between the King and his People. And it is his Protestation, that whatsoever interruption is made by his actions, his endeavours shall be as long as he hath any favour with his gracious Matter, to take opportunity of doing good Offices to this House, and of rendring all that he can be able for the safety of the state, and the general good of the Common-wealth. And this he faith you may the easier believe, because his Majesty can witness that he hazarded in his Father's time the loss of the best affection of the best of Masters to obtain for them their desire. In this zeal he was desirous to have appeared unto you ever since the beginning of this Parliament, and in this zeal he doth now present himself unto you. But to return to the main point, he, left we should be mistaken, gave us occasion, in plain words, to remember you, that it is not he that doth refuse to answer, but the Lords commanded him not to answer, which he the chearfullier obeyed, in respect of his fidelity to prefer the Universal Weal before his own particular, and in the mean time he desireth the charitable opinion of this Noble House, until he be convinced that he shall appear worthy of it, which his own innocency maketh him confident that he shall not.
Whilst the Duke stood ready to be impeached, his grace propounded to the Lords of the Council to have it moved to the King, that in regard of the important services by Sea, the usual pay to the Sailers might be raised from Fourteen to Twenty Shillings a Month, which was as much as they ordinarily received for Merchant's wages: The King being therein moved, was consenting. Nevertheless multitudes of the pressed Marriners ran away, leaving his Majesty's Ships unfurnished, and his service disappointed.
There was a great Debate in the House of Commons, whether the Committee of Twelve (where Mr. Glanvil had the Chair) shall consider of any new matter not heretofore propounded in the House against the Duke? And it was resolved in the Affirmative.
Glanvil's report form the Committee.
Mr. Glanvil reports from the Committee the Examination concerning a Plaister and a Posset applied and given to King James in his sickness, when the King's sworn Physicians had agreed upon other Directions. Hereupon it was resolved, That this should be annexed to the Charge against the Duke, as a transcendant presumption of dangerous consequence.
Hereupon his Majesty sent this Message to the Commons.
The King's Message touching new matters against the Duke.
That he having given way to Enquire about the Duke of Buckingham, and hearing that there is new matter intended to be brought against him, nevertheless leaveth the House to their own way to present the business to him, or to the Lords; withal advising them to consider of the season of the year, and to avoid all loss of time.
It was Ordered, That Thanks should be returned to his Majesty for this Message.