Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 1, 1618-29. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The impeachment of Buckingham
The Eighth of May, the Commons brought up their Charge against the Duke, which was delivered at a conference of both Houses, and spun out two days time. It was managed by Eight Members, and Six teen more as assistants. The Eight chief managers were, Sir Dudley Diggs, Mr. Herbert, Mr. Selden, Mr. Glanvile, Mr. Pym, Mr. Sherland Mr. Wandesford, and Sir John Elliot.
"There are so many things of great importance to be said in very little time to day, that I conceive it will not be unacceptable to your Lordships, if (setting by all Rhetorical Affectations) I only in plain Countrey Language, humbly pray your Lordships favour to include many excuses necessary to my manifold infirmities in this one word, I am commanded by the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the Commons House, to present to your Lordships their most affectionate thanks for your ready condescending to this conference; which, out of confidence in your great Wisdoms, and approved justice, for the service of his Majesty, and the welfare of this Realm, they desired upon this occasion. The House of Commons, by a fatal and universal concurrence of Complaints, from all the Sea-bordering parts of this Kingdom, did find a great and grievous interruption, and stop of Trade and Trassick: The base Pirates of Sally ignominiously infesting our Coasts, taking our Ships and Goods, and leading away the Subjects of this Kingdom into barbarous Captivity; while, to our shame and hindrance of Commerce, our Enemies did (as it were) besiege our Ports, and block up our best Rivers mouths. Our friends, on flight pretences, made Imbargoes of our Merchants Goods, and every Nation (upon the least occasion) was ready to contemn and flight us: So great was the apparent diminution of the ancient Honour of this Crown, and once strong Reputation of our Nation. Wherewith the Commons were more troubled, calling to remembrance, how formerly, in France, in Spain, in Holland, and every where by Sea and Land, the Valour of this Kingdom had been better valued, and even in latter times, within remembrance, when we had no Alliance with France, none in Denmark, none in Germany, no Friend in Italy; Scotland (to say no more) ununited, Ireland not settled in peace, and much less security at home; when Spain was as ambitious as it is now under a King (Philip the Second) they called their wisest: the House of Austria as great and potent, and both strengthened with a malitious League in France, of persons ill-affected, when the Low Countreys had no being: yet, by constant Counsels, and old English ways, even then, that Spanish pride was cooled, that greatness of the House of Austria, so formidable to us now, was well resisted; and to the United Provinces of the Low-Countreys, such a beginning, growth, and strength was given, as gave us Honour over all the Christian World. The Commons therefore wondring at the Evils which they suffered, debating of the Causes of them, sound there were many drawn like one Line to one Circumference, of decay of Trade, and strength of Honour and Reputation in this Kingdom; which, as in one Centre, met in one Great Man, the Cause of all, whom I am here to name, the Duke of Buckingham.
The Commons Declaration and Impeachment against the Duke of Buckingham.
For the speedy redress of great Evils and Mischiefs, and of the chief Cause of these Evils and Mischiess which this kingdom of England now grievously suffereth, and of late years hath suffered; and to the honour and safety of our Sovereign Lord the King, and of his Crown and Dignity:, and to the good and welfare of his People, The Commons in this present Parliament, by the Authority of our said Sovereign Lord the King, assembled, Do, by this their Bill, shew and declare against George, Duke, Marquis, and Earl of Buckingham, Earl of Coventry, Viscount Villers, Baron of Whaddon, Great Admiral of the kingdoms of England and Ireland, and of the principality of Wales, and of the Dominions and Islands of the same, of the Town of Calais, and of the Marches of the same, and of Normandy, Gascoign, and Guienne, General Governour of the Seas and Ships of the said Kingdom, Lieutenant General Admiral, Captain-General and Governour of his Majesty's Royal Fleet and Army lately set sorth, Master of the Horse of our Sovereign Lord the King, Lord Warden, Chancellor, and Admiral of the Cinque Ports, and of the Members thereof, Constable of Dover Castle, justice in Eyre of the Forests and Chases on this side the River Trent, Constable of the Castle of Windsor, Gentleman of his Majesty's Bed-Chamber, one of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy-Council in his Realms both in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and Knight of the most Honourable Order of the Garter: The Misdemeanours, Misprisions, offences, Crimes, and other Matters, comprised in the Articles following; and him the said Duke do accuse and impeach of the said Misdemeanors, Misprisions, offences and Crimes.
"This losty Title of this mighty Man, methinks, doth raise my spirits to speak with a Paulo major a Canamus and let it not displease your Lordships, if, for Foundation, I compare the beautiful structure, and fair composition of this Monarchy wherein we live, to the great Work of God, the World it self: In which, the solid Body of incorporated Earth and Sea, as I conceive, in regard of our Husbandry, Manufactures, and Commerce by Land and Sea, may well resemble us the Commons. And as it is encompassed with the Aire, and Fire, and Spheres Celestial, of Planets, and a Firmament of fixed Stars; all which receive their. Heat, Life, and Light from one great, glorious Sun, even like the King our Sovereign: So that Firmament of fixed Stars, I take to be your Lordships; whose Planets, the great Officers of the Kingdom; that pure Element of fire, the most Religious, Zealous, and Pious Clergy; and the Reverend Judges Magistrates, and Ministers of Law and justice, the Air wherein we breathe: All which encompass round with cherishing comfort, this Body of the Commons, who truly labour for them all; and though they be the Foot-Stool, and the lowest, yet may well be said to be the settled Centre of the State.
"Now (my good Lords) if that glorious Sun, by his powerful Beams of Grace and Favour, shall draw from the Bowels of this Earth an Exhalation that shall take Fire, and burn and shine out like a Star, it needs not be marvelled at, if the poor Commons gaze and wonder at the Comet, and when they feel the effects, impute all to the incorruptible matter of it; but if any such imperfect mixture appear, like that in the last Age in the Chair of Cassiopeia, among the fixed Stars themselves, where Aristotle and the old Philosophers conceived there was no place for such Corruption, then, as the Learned Mathematicians were troubled to observe the irregular Motions, the prodigious Magnitude, and the ominous Prognosticks of that Meteor; so the Commons, when they see such a Blazing Star in course so exorbitant in the affaires of this Common-wealth, cannot but look upon it, and for want of Perspectives, commend the nearer examination to your Lordships, who may behold it at a nearer distance. Such a prodigious Comet the Commons takes this Duke of 'Buckingham to be; against whom, and his irregular ways, there are, by learned Gentlemen, legal Articles of Charge to be delivered to your Lordships, which I am generally first commanded to lay open.
- "1. The Offices of this Kingdom, that are the Eyes, the Ears, and the Hands of this Commonwealth, these have been ingrossed, bought and sold, and many of the greatest of them holden even in the Duke's own hands; which severally gave, in former Ages, sufficient content to greatest Favourites, and were work enough for wisest Counsellors; by means where of, what strange abuses, what infinite neglects have followed? The Seas have been unguarded, Trade disturbed, Merchants oppressed, their Ships, and even one of the Royal Navy, by cunning practice, delivered over into Forreign hands; and contrary to our good King's intention, employed to the prejudice (almost to the ruin) of Friends of our own Religion.
- "2. Next, Honours, (those most precious Jewels of the Crown) a Treasure inestimable, wherewith your Noble Ancestors (my Lords) were well rewarded, for eminent and publick Service in the Common-wealth at home; for brave Exploits abroad, when covered all with dust and blood, they sweat in service for the Honour of this Crown. What back-ways, what by-ways, have been by the Duke sound out, is too well known to your Lordships? Whereas anciently it was the honour of (as among the ) the way to the Temple of was through the Temple of . But I am commanded to press this no further, than to let your Lordships know one instance may (perhaps) be given of some one Lord compelled to purchase Honour.
- "3. As divers of the Duke's poor Kindred have been raised to great Honours, which some have been, and are likely to be more chargeable and burthensome to the Crown; so the Lands and Revenues, and the Treasuries of his Majesty, have been intercepted and exhausted by this Duke and his Friends, and strangely mis-employed with strange confusion of the Accounts, and overthrow of the well established ancient Orders of his Majesty's Exchequer.
- "4. The last of the Charges which are prepared, will be an Injury offered to the Person of the late King, of blessed memory, who is with God, of which (as your Lordships may have heard heretofore) you shall anon have further information. Now upon this occasion, I am commanded by the Commons, to take care of the Honour of the King our Sovereign that lives, long may he live to our comfort, and the good of the Christian World) and also his blessed father, who is dead; on whom, to the grief of the Commons, and their great distaste, the Lord Duke did (they conceive) unworthily cast some ill odor of his own soul ways; whereas Servants were anciently wont to bear, as in truth they ought, their Master's faults, and not cast their own on them undeservedly. It is well known, the King (who is with God) had the same power, and the same Wisdom, before he knew this Duke, yea, and the same affections too; through which (as a good and gracious Master) he advanced and raised some Stars of your Lordships Firmament; in whose hands, this exorbitancy of will, this transcendency of power, such placing and displacing of Officers, such irregular running into all by-courses of the Planets, such sole and single managing of the great affaires of State, was never heard of.
"And for our most gracious Sovereign that lives, whose name hath been used, and may perhaps now be for the Duke's justification, the Commons know well, that among his Majesty's most Royal Virtues, his Piety unto his father, hath made him a pious nourisher of his Affections ever to the Lord Duke, on whom, out of that consideration, his Majesty hath wrought a kind of wonder, making Favour Hereditary, but the abuse thereof must be the Lord Duke's own: And if there have been any Commands, such as were, or may be pretended, his mis-informations have procured them; whereas the Laws of England teach us, That Kings cannot command ill or unlawful things, when ever they speak, though by their Letters Patents, or their Seals If the things be evil, these Letters Patents are void, and whatsoever ill event succeeds, the execution of such Commands must ever Answer for them.
Thus, my Lords, in performance of my duty, my weakness hath been troublesome unto your Lordships; it is now high time, humbly to intreat your Pardon, and give way to a learned Gentleman to begin a more particular Charge.
I. That whereas the Great Offices, expressed in the said Duke's Stile and Title, heretofore have been the singular Preferments of several Persons, eminent in Wisdom and Trust, and fully able for the weighty Service, and greatest Employments of the State, whereby the said Offices were both carefully and sufficiently executed By several Persons, of such Wisdom, Trust, and Ability: And others also that were employed by the Royal Progenitors of our Sovereign Lord the King in places of less Dignity, were much encouraged with the hopes of advancement. And whereas divers of the said Places severally of themselves, and necessarily require the whole care, industry, and attendance of a most provident, and most able Person: He the said Duke, being young and unexperienced, hath, of late years with exorbitant Ambition, and for his own profit and advantage, procured and ingrossed into his own hands the said several Offices, both to the danger of the State, the prejudice of that Service, which should have been performed in them, and to the great discouratenent of others; who by this his procuring and ingrossing of the said Offices, are precluded from such hopes, as their Virtues, Abilities, and Publick Employments might other wise have given them.
II. Whereas, by the Laws and Statutes of this Kingdom of if any person whatsoever, give or pay any sum of Money, Fee, or Reward, directly or indirectly, for any Office or Offices, which in any wise touch or concern the Administration or Execution of justice, or the keeping of any of the King's Majesty's Towns, Castles, or fortresses, being used, occupied, or appointed for places of strength and defence: the same person is immediately, upon the same see, Money, or Reward, given or paid, to be adjudged a disabled Person in the Law, to all intents and purposes, to have, occupy, or enjoy the said Office or Offices, for the which he so giveth or payeth any sum of Money, Fee, or Reward. He the said Duke did, in or about the Month of , in the Sixteenth year of the late King of famous memory, give and pay to the Right Honourable, , then Earl of , for the Office of Great Admiral of and , and the Principality of , and for the Office of General Governour of the Seas, and Ships of the said Kingdoms, and for the Surrender of the said Offices, then made to the said King by the said Earl of , being then Great-Admiral of the said Kingdoms, and Principality of , and General-Governour of the Seas and Ships, to the intent the said Duke might obtain the said Offices to his own use, the sum of Three thousand pounds of lawful Money of ; and did also about the same time procure, from the said King, a further reward, for the surrender of the said Office to the said Earl, of an Annuity of One thousand pounds by the year, for, and during the life of the said Earl; and by the procurement of the said Duke, the said late King, of famous memory, did, by his Letters Patents, dated the Seven and twentieth of , in the said year of his Reign, under the Great Seal of , granted to the said Earl the said Annuity; which he, the said Earl, accordingly had and enjoyed, during his life, and by reason of the said sum of Money, so as aforesaid paid by the said Duke. And of this the said Duke's procurement of the said Annuity, the said Earl did, in the same Month, surrender unto the said late King, his said Offices, and his Patents of them; and thereupon, and by reason of the premisses, the said Offices were obtained by the Duke for his life, from the said King of famous memory, by Letters Patents made to the said Duke, of the same Offices, under the Great Seal of , dated the Eight and twentieth day of , in the said Sixteenth year of the said late King. And the said Offices of Great Admiral and Governour, as aforesaid, are Offices that highly touch and concern the Administration and Execution of justice, within the provision of the said Laws and Statutes of this Kingdom; which, notwithstanding, the said Duke hath unlawfully, ever since the first unlawful obtaining of the said Grant of the said Offices, retained them in his hands, and exercised them against the Laws and Statutes aforesaid.
III. The said Duke did likewise, in or about the beginning of the Month of , in the Two and twentieth year of the said late King of famous memory, give and pay to the Right Honourable, , late Lord , Lord Warden of the Cinque-Ports, and of the Members thereof, and Constable of the Castle of , for the said Offices, and for the surrender of the said Offices of Lord Warden of the Cinque-Ports, and Constable of the said Castle of , to be made to the said late King of famous memory, the sum of One thousand pounds of lawful Money of ; and then also granted an Annuity of Five hundred pounds yearly to the said Lord , for the life of the said Lord ; to the intent that he the said Duke, might thereby obtain the said Offices to his own use. And for, by reason of the said sum of Mony, so paid by the said Duke, and of the said Annuity so granted to the said Lord , he the said Lord the Fourth day of , in the year aforesaid, did surrender his said Office, and his Letters Patents of them to the said late King: And thereupon, and by reason of the premisses, he the said Duke obtained the said Offices for his life, of the said late King, by his Letters Patents under the Great Seal of , dated the Sixth day of the said Two and twentieth year. And the said Office of Lord Warden of the Cinque-Ports, and of the Members thereof, is an Office that doth highly touch and concern Administration and Execution of justice; and the said Office of Constable of the Castle of , is an Office that highly concerneth the keeping and defence of the Town and Port, and of the said Castle of , which is, and hath ever been appointed, for a mod eminent place of strength and defence of this Kingdom; which notwithstanding, the said Duke hath unlawfully, ever since this first unlawful obtaining of the said Office, retained them in his hands, and exercised them against the Laws and Statutes aforesaid.
These Three Articles were discoursed upon by Mr. Herbert, and touching Plurality of Offices, he observed, That in that vast power of the Duke (a young unexperienced Man) there is an unfortunate complication of danger and mischief to the State, as having too much ability, if he be false, to do harm, and ruin the Kingdom; and if he be faithful, and never so industrious, yet divided among so many great Places (whereof every one would employ the industry of an able and provident Man) there must needs be in him an insufficiency of performance, or rather an impossibility, especially considering his necessary attendance likewise upon his Court Places.
To the Second and Third, namely, The buying the Office of Admiralty and Cinque-Ports, (both which he comprised in one) he said, That to set a price upon the Walls and Gates of the Kingdom, is a Crime which requires rather a speedy remedy than an aggravation, and is against the express Law of 5 Edw. 6. upon this foundation, That the buying of such Places doth necessarily introduce corrupt and insufficient Officers. And in the Parliament of 12 Edw. 4. it is declared by the whole Assembly, That they who buy those Places (these are the express words) bind themselves to be Extortioners and Offenders; as if they pretended it warrantable, or as if they did lay an Obligation upon themselves to fell again. And though the buying of such Places be not against any particular Law, enjoyning a penalty for them (the breach whereof is a particular Offence) yet as far as they subvert the good, and welfare, and safety of the People, so far they are against the highest Law, and assume the nature of the highest Offences.
IV. Whereas the said Duke, by reason of his said Offices of Great Admiral of the Kingdoms of England and Ireland, and of the Principality of Wales, and of the Admiral of the Cinque-Ports, and General Governour of the Seas and Ships of the said Kingdoms, and by reason of the trust thereunto belonging, ought at all times, since the said Offices obtained, to have safely guarded, kept, and preserved the said Seas, and the Dominion of them; and ought also, whensoever they wanted either Men, Ships, Munition, or other Strength whatsoever that might conduce to the better safeguard of them, to have used, from time to time, his utmost endeavour for the supply of such wants to the Right Honourable, the Lords and others of the Privy Council, and by procuring such supply from his Sovereign, or otherwise: As the said Duke hath, ever since the dissolution of the two Treaties mentioned in the Act of Subsidies of the One and twentieth year of the late King James of famous memory (that is to say) the space of two years last past, neglected the just performance of his said Office and Duty, and broken his said Trust: therewith committed unto him: and hath not, according to the said Offices, during the time aforesaid, safely kept the said Seas: insomuch that by reason of his neglect and default therein, not only the Trade and Strength of this Kingdom of England hath been, during the said time, much decayed, but the same Seas also have been, during the same time, ignominiously infested by Pirates and Enemies, to the loss both of very many Ships and Goods, and of many of the Subjects of our Sovereign Lord the King; and the Dominion of the said Seas (being the ancient and undoubted Patrimony of the Kings of England) is thereby also in most eminent danger to be utterly lost.
Whereas about Michaelmus last past, a Ship called the St. Peter of Newhaven, (whereof John Mallerow was Master) laden with divers Goods, Merchandise, Monies, Jewels and Commodities, to the value of Forty thousand pounds or thereabouts, for the proper accompt of Monsieur de Villieurs, the then Governour of Newhaven, and other Subjects of the French King, being in perfect Amity and League with our Sovereign Lord the King, was taken at Sea by some of the Ships of his Majesty's late Fleet, set forth under the command of the said Duke, as well by direction from him the said Duke as great Admiral of England, as by the Authority of the extraordinary Commission which he then had for the command of the said Fleet, and was by them, together with her said goods and lading brought into the Port at Plimouth, as a Prize among many others, upon probabilities that the said Ship or Goods belonged to the Subjects of the King of Spain: And that divers parcels of the said goods and lading were there taken out of the said Ship of St. Peter; (that is to say) sixteen Barrels of Cocheneal, Eight Bags of Gold, Twenty three Bags of Silver, two Boxes of Pearl and Emeralds, a Chain of Gold, Jewels, Monies and Commodities to the value of twenty thousand pounds or thereabouts, and by the said Duke were delivered into the private custody of one Gabriel Marsh, servant to the said Duke; and that the said Ship with the residue of her goods and lading was from thence sent up into the River of Thames, and there detained; whereupon there was an arrest at Newhaven in the Kingdom of France on the seventh day of December last of two English Merchant Ships trading thither, as was alledged in certain Petitions exhibited by some English Merchants trading into France, to the Lords and others of his Majesty's most honourable Privy-Council; after which (that is to say) on the 28 day of the said month, his Majesty was pleased to order, with the advice of his Privy-Council; that the said Ship and Goods belonging to the Subjects of the French King should be re-delivered to such as should reclaim them, and accordingly intimation was given to his Majesty's Advocate in the chief Court of Admiralty by the right honourable Sir Jo. Cook Knight, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, for the freeing and discharging the said Ship and Goods in the said Court of Admiralty: And afterwards, that is to say, on the fix and twentieth of January last, it was decreed in the said Court by the Judge thereof, with the consent of the said Advocate, That the said Ship with whatsoever Goods so seized on or taken in her (except three hundred Mexico Hides, Sixteen Sacks of Ginger, one Box of gilded Beads, Five Sacks of Ginger more mentioned in the said Decree) should be clearly released from further detention, and delivered to the Master; and thereupon under Seal a Commission was in that behalf duly sent out of the said Court to Sir Allen Appesly, Sir John Warstenholm and others, for the due execution thereof: The said Duke, not-withstanding the said Order, Commission and Decree, detained still to his own use the said Gold, Silver, Pearls, Emeralds, Jewels, Monies and Commodities so taken out of the said Ship as aforesaid: And for his own singular avail and covetousness, on the sixth day of February last, having no information of any new proof, without any legal proceeding, by colour of his said Office, unjustly caused the said Ships and Goods to be again arrested and detained, in publick violation and contempt of the Laws and Justice of this Land, to the great disturbance of Trade, and prejudice of the Merchants.
These were enlarged by Mr. Selden, who said, That by nature of his Office the Duke as Admiral ought to have guarded the Seas: By his Patent he is made Magnus Admirallus Angliœ, Hiberniœ, & Walliœ, Normanniœ, Aquitaniœ, Villœ Calesii & Marchiarum ejusdem, & prefectus generalis classium Marium dictorum regnorum. The Seas of England; and Ireland are committed to the Admiral, as a part of the Demesne and Possessions of the Crown of England, not as if he should thereby have Jurisdiction only, as in case of the Admirals in France or Spain. The State of Genoua, Catalonia, and other Maritime parts of Spain, the Sea-Town of Almain, Zealand, Holland, Friezland, Denmark, Norway, and divers other parts of the Empire, shew that the Kings of England, by reason that their said Realm hath used, time out of mind, to be in peaceable possession, are Lords of the Seas of England and of the Islands belonging to them. And though Grotius that Hollander wrote on purpose to destroy all Dominion in the East Ocean; yet he speaks nothing against the Dominions of our English Seas, howsoever he hath been misapprehended; but expresly elsewhere faith, Meta Britannicis littora sunt oris; the utmost limits of the Demesne of the Crown of England, are the Shores of the neighbouring Countries; the whole Sea, or the Territorium maximum that intervenes, being parcel of the possession of the Crown: the keeping and safeguard of these committed to the Lord Admiral by the name of the Prœfectus Marium & Admirallus, being but the fame anciently: Before the use of the word Admiral came in, which was under Edw. I. the Admirals had the Titles of Custodes Maris.
And this Prœfectura or Custodia, or Office of safe-guarding the Seas, binds him to all care and perpetual observance of whatsoever conduceth to that safe-guard, as in Custos Sigilli, Custos Marchiarum, Custos Portuum, & Custos Comitatuum, agreeable to the Practice of former times.
1. In certifying yearly to the King and his Council, the many Forces both of the King's Ships, and Ships of Merchants, the names of the owners, the number of Mariners, &c. That the King and his Council, may always know his force by Sea.
2. In shewing wants of Ships, &c. for the safe-guarding of the Seas, with the Estimates of the Supply, that so they might be procured. In personal attendance upon the service of guarding the seas upon all occasions of weight: In 7 H. 4. Nicholas Blackborn, and Richard Cliderowe one of the Knights of Kent were made Admirals for keeping the Seas, upon consideration had of it in Parliament, and the other Knight being Robert Clifford, it was agreed in Parliament that he should have the voices of both, because the other must of necessity be absent: And they both amongst other things petitioned the Council, that if the King in his Person should come on the Sea, they might have such a liberty to wait upon him, as they might make him their Lieutenant during the time for the service of their places. But the Council that allowed the rest, or most of their demands, answered to that, Le Council ne peut faire.
3. The weakning of the Naval strength, the Merchants being thereby discouraged from building Ships which they cannot use. In 1 Rich. 2. the Commons opened the two chief and almost whole Causes of the weakning the Kingdom at that time; the neglect of Chivalrie and eminent virtue not regarded nor rewarded; the decay of trade since the Navy was grown weak, besides all the loss of quiet possession of so large a Territory as the Seas of England and Ireland, by the free use of which, the ancient glory and greatness of the Crown of England hath so constantly subsisted.
Then he instanced in Michael de la Pool, Lord Chancellor, who in 9 Rich. 2. mis-spent Subsidies given pro salva custodia Maris, as appears in the Roll, and was adjudged in Parliament (though for other offences, because some other Lords of the Council hath been trusted with him, and it was not fit to impeach him sans les companions) the taking it for a crime without question fit to be complained of.
Then he brought examples of such who had been put to death, and confiscated for not safe-guarding Towns, and Castles, and Forts, which are of like nature with not safe-guarding the Seas, and with losing the possession of the Crown.
To the Fifth he said, The staying of the Ship called the Peter of Newhaven, and detaining part of the Goods, was against the Marine Laws of England, against the Common Laws, against the Laws of Merchants, and consequently the Law of Nations.
By the Marine Laws, agreeable to the Civil Laws, sentence given by any Subject or other against the King, may, upon new proof, be revoked, but not without new proof. He made, by his Patent, a Judge of all Maritime Causes, as well as Keeper of the Seas; his Jurisdiction was to be exercised juxta leges nostras Civiles & Maritimas, and accordingly to hear all Causes, and generally to proceed ex officio mero mixto & promoto secundum leges nostras Civiles & Maritimas.
All Justices, and all other deputed to do Law or Right, are commanded by Act of Parliament to permit the course of ordinary Justice; and although they be commanded to do the contrary, that they do execution aright, and according to Justice as far as in them lies; and so for any Letters of commandment which may come unto them from us, or from any other, or by any other cause.
Against what is agreed by the Leagues between us and Forreign Nations, That the Subjects of Nations in Amity with us, shall be well used and permitted, without molestation, for what cause or occasion soever, according to the Laws and Customs of the Places where they shall be.
I. Great damage to our English Merchants, that have suffered by reason of it in Forreign Parts, as they alledge. 2. It is a discouragement to those that are Subjects to the Marine Jurisdiction. 3. An example that may serve hereafter to justifie all absolute Authority in the Admiral, without Law or Legal course, over the Ships or Goods of all Merchants whatsoever, and so no security to Merchants. Lastly, He instanceth in the Duke of Suffolk, who was adjudged in Parliament for Treason; and among other offences it was said to his charge, that he took to his own use Goods Piratically taken, and expresly against the Order determined by the Lord Protector and the whole Council, whereunto his hand had been for the restitution of them.
VI. Whereas the honour, wealth, and strength of this Realm of England is much encreased by the Traffick, chiefly of such Merchants as imploy and build great warlike Ships, a consideration that should move all Counsellors of State, especially the Lord Admiral, to cherish and maintain such Merchants.
The said Duke abusing the Lords of the Parliament, in the One and twentieth year of the late King James of famous memory, with pretence of serving the State, did oppress the East-India Merchants, and extorted from them Ten thousand pounds, in the subtil and unlawful manner following.
About February, in the year aforesaid, he the said Duke, hearing some good success that those Merchants had at Ormus, in the parts beyond the Seas, by his Agents cunningly, in or about the month aforesaid, in the year of the said late King, endeavoured to draw from them some great sum of money; which their poverty, and no gain by that success at Ormus, made those Merchants absolutely to deny: Whereupon he the said Duke perceiving, that the said Merchants were then setting forth, in the course of their Trade, four Ships, and two Pinnaces, laden with Goods and Merchandise of very great value, like to lose their Voyage, if they should not speedily depart. The said Duke, on the first of March then following, in the said year of the said late King, did move the Lords then assembled in the said Parliament, whether he should make stay of any Ships which were then in the Ports, (as being High Admiral he might) and namely, those Ships prepared for the East-India Voyage, which were of great burthen, and well furnished: which motion being approved by their Lordships, the Duke did stay those Ships accordingly: But the fifth of March following, when the Deputy of that Company, with other of those Merchants, did make suit to the said Duke for the release of those Ships and Pinnaces; he the said Duke said, He had not been the occasion of their staying, but that having heard the motion with much earnestness in the Lord's House of Parliament, he could do no less than give the Order they had done; and therefore he willed them to set down the reasons of their suit, which he would acquaint the House withal; yet in the mean time gave them leave to let their said Ships and Pinaces fall down as low as Tilbury. And the tenth of March following, an unusual joynt Action was by his procurement entred in the chief Court of Admiralty, in the name of the said late King, and of the Lord Admiral, against them, for fifteen thousand pounds, taken Piratically by some Captains of the said Merchant's Ships, and pretended to be in the hands of the East-India Company; and thereupon the King's Advocate, in the name of Advocate for the then King and the said Lord Admiral, moved and obtained one Attachment, which by the Sergeant of the said Court of Admiralty was served on the said Merchants in their Court, the sixteenth day of March following: Whereupon the said Merchants, though there was no cause for their molestation by the Lord Admiral, yet the next day they were urged in the said Court of Admiralty to bring in the Fifteen thousand pounds, or go to Prison. Wherefore immediately the Company of the said Merchants did again send the Deputy aforesaid, and some others, to make new suit unto the said Duke, for the release of the said Ships and Pinaces; who unjustly endeavouring to extort money from the said Merchants, protested, that the Ships should not go, except they compounded with him; and when they urged many more reasons for the release of the said Ships and Pinaces, the Answer of the said Duke was, That the then Parliament must first be moved. The said Merchants therefore being in this perplexity, and in their consulration, the three and twentieth of that month, even ready to give over that Trade, yet considering that they should loose more than was demanded by unlading their Ships, besides their Voyage, they resolved to give the said Duke Ten thousand pounds for his unjust demands. And he the said Duke, by the undue means aforesaid, and under colour of his Office, and upon false pretence of Rights, unjustly did exact and extort from the said Merchants the said Ten thousand pounds, and received the same about the 28 of April, following the discharge of those Ships, which were not released by him, till they the said Merchants had yielded to give him the said Duke the said Ten thousand pounds for the said Release, and for the false pretence of Rights made by the said Duke, as aforesaid.
VII. Whereas the Ships of our Sovereign Lord the King, and of his Kingdoms aforesaid, are the principal strength and defence of the said Kingdoms, and ought therefore to be always preserved, and safely kept, under the command, and for the service of our Sovereign Lord the King, no less than any the Fortresses and Castles of the said Kingdoms: And whereas no Subject of this Realm ought to be dispossessed of any his Goods or Chattels without order of Justice, or his own consent first duly had and obtained; The said Duke being Great Admiral of England, Go vernour-General and Keeper of the said Ships and Seas, and therefore ought to have and take a special and continual care and diligence how to preserve the same; the said Duke in or about the end of July last, in the first year of our Sovereign Lord the King, did, under the colour of the said Office of Great-Admiral of England, and by indirect and subtil means and practices, procure one of the principal Ships of his Majesty's Navy Royal, called the Vantguard, then under the command of Captain John Penington, and six other Merchant Ships of great burden and value, belonging to several persons inhabiting in London, the natural Subjects of his Majesty, to be conveyed over, with all their Ordnance, Munition, Tackle, and Apparel, into the parts of the Kingdom of France, to the end that being there, they might the more easily be put into the hands of the French King, his Ministers and Subjects, and taken into their possession, command and power: And accordingly the said Duke, by his Ministers and Agents, with Menaces, and other ill means and practices, did there, without order of Justice, and without the consent of the said Masters and Owners, unduly compel and enforce the said Masters and Owners of the said six Merchants Ships, to deliver the said Ships into the said possession, command and power of the said French King his Ministers and Subjects; and by reason of his compulsion, and under the pretext of his power as aforesaid, and by his indirect practices, as aforesaid, the said Ships aforesaid, as well as the said Ship Royal of his Majesty, as the others belonging to the said Merchants, were there delivered into the hands and command of the said French King, his Ministers and Subjects, without either sufficient security or assurance for re-delivery, or other necessary caution in that behalf taken and provided, either by the said Duke himself, or other wise by his direction, contrary to the duty of the said Offices of Great Admiral, Governour General, and Keeper of the said Ships and Seas, and to the faith and trust in that behalf reposed, and contrary to the duty which he oweth to our Sovereign Lord the King in his place of Privy-Counsellor, to the apparent weakening of the Naval strength of this Kingdom, to the great loss and prejudice of the said Merchants, and against the liberty of those Subjects of our Sovereign Lord the King, that are under the Jurisdiction of the Admiralty.
VIII. The said Duke, contrary to the purpose of our Sovereign Lord the King, and his Majesty's known zeal for the maintenance and advancement of the true Religion established in the Church of England, knowing that the said Ships were intended to be imployed by the said French King against those of the same Religion at Rochel, and elsewhere, in the Kingdom of France, did procure the said Ship Royal, and compel, as aforesaid, the said six other Ships to be delivered unto the said French King, his Ministers and Subjects, as aforesaid, to the end the said Ships might be used and employed by the said French King, in his intended War against those of the said Religion in the said Town of Rochel, and elsewhere within the Kingdom of France: And the said Ships were, and have been since so used and employed by the said French King, his Ministers and Subjects, against them. And this the said Duke did, as aforesaid, in great and most apparent prejudice of the said Religion, contrary to the purpose and intention of our Sovereign Lord the King, and against his duty in that behalf, being a sworn Counsellor to his Majesty, and to the great scandaland dishonour of this Nation. And not with standing the delivery of the said Ships by his procurement and compulsion, as aforesaid, to be employed as aforesaid, the said Duke, in cunning and cautelous manner to mask his ill intentions, did, at the Parliament held at Oxford in August last, before the Committee of both Houses of Parliament, intimate and declare, That the said Ships were not, nor should they be so used and imployed against those of the said Religion, as aforesaid, in contempt of our Sovereign Lord the King, and in abuse of the said Houses of Parliament, and in violation of that Truth which every Man should profess.
"The Articles allotted to my charge are three, the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth; which I shall open with as much brevity and perspicuity as I may: The substance of several Cases concerning the same; The Evidence to make them good, together with such Observations as naturally arise out of the matter; whereby your Lordships may the better discern wherein the Duke's faults do consist, and what punishment may be answerable to such offences.
"The Sixth Article is a distinct Charge, different from the other two; wherefore I will handle it, with the Incidents thereof, by it self. The Seventh and Eighth Articles being of one nature and subject, are indeed several parts of one Charge, rather than several Charges, and have such a connection in themselves, that with your Lordship's leaves, I will handle them both together without dividing them, which I hold will be the shortest and fittest way to do right to the Cause, and to your Lordships.
"The Sixth Article giveth me occasion (my Lords) thus to enlarge my self. In a Treaty the 18 of August 1604. between our late Sovereign King James of glorious memory, and Philip the Third King of Spain, It was agreed, That there should be perfect Amity and Peace to endure for ever by Land, Sea, and Fresh-waters, between these Kings, their Heirs and Successors, their Dominions, Liege-men and Subjects then being or which should be; And that either party should then after abstain from all depredations, offences and spoils, by Sea, Land, and Fresh-waters, in what Dominions or Government soever of the other, and should cause restitution to be made of all depredations which then after should be committed, and the damages growing by means thereof; And that the said Kings shall take care that their Subjects should from thenceforth abstain from all force and wrongdoing, and that they likewise should revoke all Commissions and Letters-Patents of Reprisal or Mart, or otherwise, containing Licence to take Prizes; All which are declared by the said Treaty it self to be void, and that whosoever should do any thing contrary should be punished not only criminally according to the merit of his offence, but should also be compelled to make restitution and satisfaction for the losses to the parties damnified, requiring the same. Lastly it was concluded, That between them and every of their Subjects might be free Commerce in all the Dominions by Sea, Land, and fresh-waters, in which before the Wars there hath been Commerce, and according to the use and observance of the antient Leagues and Treaties before the Wars, the Customs as they were at that present rated according to the Ordinance of the Places being paid.
"This Treaty being settled and continuing, his late Majesty King James by his Highness Letters-Patents bearing date the 14th of September, An. 13 of his Reign, did grant unto the Governors of the Merchants of London trading into the East-Indies, and to their Successors, in cafe they be justly provoked or driven thereunto, in defence of their Persons, Goods or Ships, by any disturbance or hindrance in their quiet course of Trade, or for recompence or recovery of the Persons, Ships or goods of any of his Majesty's Subjects, that had been formerly in or near the East-Indies, or for any other just cause of their defence, or recompence of losses sustained; That then the Captains or principal Commanders of the said Company, or any other under their government, should or might attempt, surprise or take the Persons, Ships, and goods of any Prince or State, by whose Subjects they should sustain any wrong or loss in manner as aforesaid, as by the said Letters-Patents appeareth: Some years after the granting of these Letters-Patents under pretext that the said Treaty was broken, there was some interruption and violence offered by the King of Spain's Subjects in the Ports of East-India to the Merchants of the East-India Company trading into those parts, whereby they were much damnified; and thereupon suspecting that it might be in vain to complain for redress in an ordinary course of Justice in the East-India, or in default thereof to return into Spain, to make complaint to that purpose, where nothing was likely to be done till they had sent from thence again into the East-Indies, and received an answer; And after all this, upon denial of Justice in Spain to come into this Kingdom for Letters of Request, without which in ordinary course they should not use Reprisal, and many years would be spent before they could come to have an end of their suits; It is true, that thereupon, partly in their defence, and partly for amends, and partly for revenge, they did by pretext of the said Letters-Patents take some Goods of the Portugals in the East-Indies, Subjects to the King of Spain; and afterwards being commanded by the King of Persia to transport certain Forces of his in Ormus an Island situate in the Country of Persia, some goods of Portugal s Subjects to the King of spain were there taken by Captain Blith and Captain Wedel, and others of their Company, being servants and in pay under the East-India Company.
"In July 1623. Two Ships called the Lyon and the Jonas, being part of a Fleet belonging to the said Company, returned from Ormus aforesaid out of an East-Indian Voyage, and arrived in the Downs richly laden with Goods and Merchandise lawfully belonging to the said Company and estimated to the value of One hundred thousand pounds, The Duke of Buckingham, in or about October 1623. being advertised thereof, well knowing the Company to be rich, and apprehending in himself a probable ground how he might exact and extort some great sum of money from the said Company out of the profit of these Ships and their lading, by colour of his Office of Lord Admiral of England, and out of his power and greatness, his Office being used for a ground-work of his design therein, did thereupon pretend, that the lading of the said ships was for the most part with Goods Pyratically taken at Sea in the parts about Ormus aforesaid, and that a Tenth part, or some other great share thereof, did belong to him in the right of his said Office of Lord Great Admiral of England, and by virtue of his Letters-Patents and Grant from his late Majesty in that behalf; alledging withal, howsoever the said Company might peradventure answer the matter, yet there would and might be strong opposition against them. These words were used to possess them with fear, and to make them stand in awe of his power, when he should come afterwards particularly to press them to yield to his unjust demands. Having once resolved of his ends, which was to get Money, he thus proceeded to effect the same. In the Months of November, December, January and February then next following, he had divers times Treaties by himself and his Agents with the then Governour and others of the said Company, for the effecting of his said designs, wherein he still unlawfully pretended that a Tenth part, or some other great share out of the Lading of the said Ships belonged unto him; albeit the said Company upon right information of their Cause to their Council, both Civilians and Common-Lawyers, were advised that there did no Tenths or other such shares belong to the said Duke, as he pretended.
"And whereas the said Duke by this time finding that he could not prevail to get his ends by any fair course, continued yet resolute to make his gain upon the Company by right or wrong, as he might; and to that purpose made use of the following opportunities and advantages; in such cunning and abusive manner as I shall further open to your Lordships. The said Duke well knowing that the said Company had then four Ships, called the Great James, the Jonas the Star and the Eagle, and two Pinaces called the Spy and the Scout, the said Ships and Pinaces, with their Victuals, Store and Ordinance, were of the value of Fifty Four thousand pounds and more, laden with Lead, Cloth, and other Merchandise in them to the value of Twenty thousand Pounds and more, and having in them also about Thirty thousand pounds in Royals of Spanish Money; in all, One hundred thousand pounds and more.
"The Ships and Pinnaces were well near ready to set Sail for a Voyage into the East-Indies by the first day of March, in the One and twentieth year of his said late Majesty's Reign; and he well-knowing how great a hinderance it would be to the said Company, if the said Ships and Pinnaces should be stayed for any long time, the rather in regard if they did not set Sail about that time of the year, or within Twenty days after, they had utterly lost their Voyage for that year; the reason whereof dependeth upon a secret of Winds, called the Monsoons, which are constantly six Months Easterly, and six Months Westerly, every year at their set times, in those parts of Africa, about the Cape of Bona Speranza; (for of those Winds, all Ships going hence in the East-Indies, are to make their use, in the usual and due time; which yet cannot be done, if Men take not their opportunity by coming to the Cape in their proper and due season, and in so long and dangerous a voyage wherein the Equinoctial Line is twice to be passed, it is no good discretion to stay the utmost time in going from hence, in confidence of fair Winds, but rather to take time enough before-hand, for fear of the contrary: Nor can the Lord Admiral of England, who is Custos marium Domini Regis, and hath jurisdiction of all Foreign parts, s uper altum mare, be admitted to pretend himself ignorant of his Secret, Or of any other particulars belonging to the Seas and Voyages.) The Duke therefore apprehending, and well weighing how great a hinderance, or rather what an absolute loss it would be to the Company, if these their Ships and Pinnaces of so great value, and bound forth in so instant and difficult a Voyage, should be stayed for any long time, now they were ready to set Sail, and the season of going, upon point to expire: The said Duke upon the said first day of March, 1623. to effect his designs upon the said Company, and to get that by circumvention and surprisal, which in a legal and due course of justice he had not hopes to obtain: Not thinking it sufficient, that the sense of his displeasure lying over the Company as an ominous Cloud threatning a storm, if they did not appease him by some great sacrifice; and to cast them yet further into a farther strait, not sparing to abuse your Lordships in Parliament, by making you unwilling Instruments to give colour and advantage to his secret and Unlawful practices. Upon the said first day of March, he put your Lordships, sitting in Parliament in mind, touching the great business likely to ensue upon dissolution of the then Treaties with Spain, and that a speedy resolution thereof was necessarily required, for that the Enemy would pretermit no time; and if we should lose the benefit of that Spring, he said it would be irrevocable; and thereupon he took occasion to move that House, whether he should make stay of any shipping that were then in the Ports, (as being High Admiral he might) and namely, the said Ships prepared for the East-India Voyage, which were of great burthen, well furnished, and fit to guard our own Coasts: Which motion was generally approved of the whole House, knowing nothing of the Duke's secret designs and private intentions. And the same day a motion was made amongst the Commons in Parliament to the same effect, by Sir Edward Seymour, Knight, the Vice-Admiral to the Duke of the County of Devon; which in respect: of the time when, and person by whom it was propounded, is very suspicious, that it issued all from one Spirit, and that he was set on by the Duke, or some of his Agents; the truth whereof, your Lordships may be pleased to search out and examine as you shall see cause. By colour of this Order of the Lord's House of Parliament, the Duke caused John Pexal Marshal of the Admiralty, to make stay to be made of the said Ships and Pinnaces; howbeit notwithstanding all the occasion pretended for the defence of the Realm, there were not any other Ships staid at this time.
"The Company perceiving, by the course of things, from Whence these evils moved, upon the Fifth of March, 1623. became earnest Suitors to the said Duke for a Releasement of their said Ships and Pinnaces; Whereunto the said Duke replied, That he had not been the cause of their stay: but having heard the motion in the Lords House, he could do no less than order as they had done: Yet to attain his ends, and put them in some hope of favour by his means; he told them withal, That he had something in his Pocket might do them good, and willed them to set down what Reasons they would for their Suit, and he would acquaint the House therewith: Nevertheless about this time he presumed of himself at Theobalds, to give leave for the Ships and Pinnaces to fall down as far as Tilbury, there to attend such further directions as should be given unto them, with leave so to signify by word of mouth to the Sergeant of the Admiralty, for that the Duke had then no Secretary with him. Thus somewhile by threatening of strong oppositions and terrors, and otherwhile by intimating hopes of favour, and good assistance, the Duke sought to accomplish his purpose, yet prevailed not; and so the Tenth of March, 1623. the King's Advocate Dr. Reeves, Advocate for the King and Lord-Admiral, made Allegation in the Admiralty on the Duke's behalf; and by his procurements, that it appeared by examinations there taken, that 150000 l. and more, Pyratically taken by the said Captain Blith and Wedel, and their Complices, upon the Sea near Ormus, and in other parts within the Jurisdictions of the Admiralty, was come into the possessions of the Treasurers of the East-India Company, and remained in their hands, and prayed it might be attached; and the said Treasurers be monished to appear the Wednesday then next following, and there to bring in the 150000 l. to remain in Deposit with the Register of that Court.
"The same Tenth of March, a Warrant issued forth accordingly, directed to the Marshal of the said Court; and upon the same next Wednesday, the Seventeenth of March, the said Warrant was returned by the said Marshal, that the day before he had attached the said Moneys in the hands of Mr. Stone, then present in the Court, and had admonished him, and Mr. Abbot, the Deputy-Governour of that Company, and divers others then present; to bring the same into Court. Upon the same Wednesday also, it was prayed by the King's Advocate, That Mr. Stone, and all that had an interest in this Money, might be pronounced as in Contumacy, and therefore be arrested and detained until 150000 l. were brought into the Register. Hereupon Sentence of Contumacy was pronounc'd, but the payment thereof was respited until Friday following. Upon which Seventeenth of March, this Sentence being pronounced, Mr. Stone, Mr. Abdy, and others, Officers of the said Company, then present, informed how the Governour was lately dead, and buried but the day before; and that upon Wednesday then next following, they had appointed a Court for Election of a new Governour, and until then they could resolve of nothing, and therefore desired further respite. The Advocate nothing relenting at this reasonable excuse, and desire of the Company, did again earnestly press their Imprisonments, but the Judge took time to consider of it. The Company finding by these extraordinary and extreme courses, the drift of the Duke, whose greatness and power seemed unresistible, and his mind implacable, without satisfaction to his own content, and withal, observing what a streight they were cast into, by reason of the stay of their Ships; which, if it were much longer, they must needs lose their Voyage utterly for this year, and the very unloading of them would endamage them to the value of the sum extorted: And being told, that the Eye of the State was upon this business, and that it would light heavy upon them; and hearing the Duke protest, their Ships should not go, unless they compounded with him; and finding that he made difficulty of releasing their Ships, by saying, The Parliament must be moved, before they could be discharged, albeit the Wind were now fair for them: And making overture of some reasonable grounds of composition, by offering to grant Letters of Mart to the said Company for the future, against the Subjects of the King of Spain, while yet the Peace and Treaty between his late Majesty and the King of Spain, were not broken or dissolved.
"The said Company being intangled by the Duke's subtilty, and overcome at last by the terror of his power and greatness, was drawn to make offer of Six thousand pounds to the said Duke, which was rejected as a base offer. And now the time pressing them on very hard, some consultations were had amongst them: Whether it were better for them to make use of a Clause in their Patent, allowing them Three years to draw home their Estates, and so to let the Company die, and be dissolved, or else to yield to the Duke's desire: Yet in conclusion, they were drawn in to offer him Ten thousand pounds for their Peace, if it could serve; which offer was made unto him accordingly, but at first he would not accept it; howbeit, about the Three and twentieth of March, 1613. they agreed to give him the said Ten thousand pounds, which he accepted; and forthwith moving the Lords of Parliament, or acquainting them therewith, he retracted their Ships, and gave them leave to depart on their Voyage; which they accordingly did, setting sail the Seven and twentieth day of the same month from the Downs, And afterwards upon the Fifth of April, 1624. the Duke signified unto the Lords House of Parliament, That his Majesty, at the humble Petition of the East-India Company, had commanded him to discharge the East-India Ships, which he had once stayed, according to the Order of this House, made the First day of March then last past; and moved, That the said Order might be countermanded: and thereupon it was ordered, That the Clerk of that House should cross the said Order of the First of March out of his Book, which was done accordingly; and afterwards the said Ten thousand pounds was paid unto the said Duke; which he received and accepted accordingly. And upon the Eight and twentieth day of April aforesaid, suffered a colourable Sentence in the Admiralty to be given against him for their discharge, in such sort, as by the same Sentence appeareth. And for a colour, he sealed and delivered unto the said Company, a Deed of Acquittance or Release of the said Ten thousand pounds, and of all his pretended Rights against them, as by the Deed thereof also appeareth. And whereas it may be imagined by some misconceit, that out of this an aspersion may be said upon his late Majesty, in regard the Duke was pleased to say in the Conference between both Houses, 18 March last, That the said King had Ten thousand pounds of the said Company, by occasion of this business. The House of Commons have been very careful in their proceedings in this, as in all other things they have, and ever shall be, to do nothing which may reflect upon the Honour of their Kings: And in this particular, by that which hath been here at first declared of the manner and occasion of the said Goods and Monies taken from the said Portugals, and receiving the same as aforesaid, while the said Peace was continuing, and the said Treaties indissolved; it appeareth, that it had not been safe for the said Company to stand out a Suit concerning that business, wherein they might have need of his Majesty's Mercy and Pardon, but it was both safe and good for them to give Ten thousand pounds; and it well stood with his late Majesty's Honour for that sum to grant them a Pardon, which he did, to their great contentment and satisfaction; and yet we find, that this Ten thousand pounds also was paid into the hands of Mr. Oliver, the Duke's Servant, but find not any Record, by which it doth appear unto us, that ever it came unto his late Majesty's use. And it is observable in this case, That the oppression fell upon the same Company shortly after the great affliction which hapned unto some of them at Amboyna in the East-Indies, by means of the Dutch, which might have moved a Noble Mind, rather to pity than punish the Company, after such a Distress so lately suffered.
"Having now finished the Narrative part belonging to this Charge, I shall observe unto your Lordships upon the whole matter, the nature of the Duke's offences by this Article complained of, and what punishment it may deserve. His default consisteth in the unjust extorting and receiving the Ten thousand pounds from the East-India Company, against their wills, by colour of his Office. Yet, as offenders in this kind have commonly some colour to disguise and mask their Corruptions, so had he: His colour was the release of his pretended right to the Tenth part, or some other share of the Goods, supposed to be Piratically taken at Sea by the Captain, and the Servants, or the Company: And though his Lordship may perhaps call his Act therein, a lawful Composition, I must crave pardon of your Lordships to say thus, That if his supposed Right had been good, this might peradventure have been a fair Composition: The same pretence being unsound, and falling away, it was a meer naked Bribe, and an unjust Extortion; for if way should be given to take Money by colour of Releases of pretended rights, men great in power, and in evil, would never want means to extort upon the meaner sort at their pleasures, with impunity. It remains therefore, that I should prove unto your Lordships only two things: First, That a pretence of right by the Duke, if he had none, will not excuse him in this case; and in the next place, to shew by reason and good warrant, That he had in Law no right at all to Release.
"For the former, I will rely upon the substance of two notable Precedents of Judgments in Parliament, the one ancient in the 10th of Rich. 2. at which time the Commons preferred divers Articles unto the Lords in Parliament, against Michael de la Pool, Earl or Suffolk, Lord Chancellor of England accusing him, amongst other things, by the first Article of his Charge, That while he was Lord Chancellor, he had refused to give Livery to the chief Master of St. Anthony's, of the profit pertaining to that Order, till he had security from them, with sureties by Recognisance of Three thousand pounds, for the payment of One hundred pounds per annum to the Earl, and to John his Son, for their lives. The Earl, by way of Answer, set forth a pretended Title in his Son, to the chief Mastership of that Order, and that he took that One hundred pound per annum, as a Composition for his Son's right. The Commons replied, shewing amongst other things, That the taking of Money for that which should have been done freely, was a selling of the Law, and so prayed Judgment. In conclusion, the pretended right of his Son not being just, or approved, the offence remained single by it self a sale of Law and Justice, as the Law termeth it, and not a Composition for the Release of his Interest. So the Earl for this, amongst the rest was sentenced, and greatly punished, as by the Records appeareth.
"The other Precedent of like nature, is more Modern, in the Case of the Earl of Middlesex, late Lord Treasurer of England, who was charg'd by the Commons in Parliament, and transmitted to your Lorships for taking of Five hundred pounds of the Farmers of the Great Customs, as a Bribe, for allowing of that Security for payment of their Rent to the late King's Majesty, which, without such reward of Five hundred pounds, he had formerly refused to allow of. The Earl pretended for himself, That he had not only that five hundred pound, but Five hundred pounds more, in all, One thousand pounds, of those Farmers, for a Release of his Claim, to Four of Two and thirty parts of that Farm: But, upon the proof, it appearing to your Lordships, that he had not any such part of that Farm as he pretended, it was in the Thirteenth day of May, in the Two and twentieth year of his late Majesty's Reign adjudged by your Lordships in Parliament (which I think is yet fresh in your memories) That the Earl for this, amongst other things, should undergo many grievous Censures, as appeareth by the Records of your Lordship's House, which I have lately seen and perused.
"And now being to prove, that the said Duke had no Title to any part of the Goods by him claimed against the East-India Company, I shall easily make it manifest, if his Lordship's pretence by his own Allegation in the Admiralty were true, That the Goods, whereof he claims his share, were Pyratically taken. From which Allegation, as he may not now recede, so it is clear by Reason and Authority, That of such Goods, no part or share whatsoever is due to the Lord Admiral, in right of his Office, or otherways.
- "1. For that the Parties from whom the same were taken, ought to have restitution, demanding it in due and reasonable time; and it were an injury to the intercourse and Law of Nations, if the contrary should be any way tolerated.
- "2. By Law; for so are the Statutes of this Kingdom, and more especially in 27 Edw. 3. 13. whereby it was provided, That if any Merchant, Privy or Stranger, be robbed of his Goods upon the Sea, and the same came afterwards into this Realm, the Owner shall be received to prove such Goods to be his, and upon proof thereof shall have the same restored to him again.
"Likewise 1, 2, 3 Edw. 6. 18. in the Act of Parliament, touching Sir Thomas Seymour, Great Admiral of England, who therein, amongst divers other things, is charged with this, That he had taken to his own use Goods Piratically taken against the Law, whereby he moved almost all Christian Princes to conceive a grudge and displeasure, and by open War to seek remedy by their own hands: And therefore for this, amongst other things, he was Attainted of High Treason, as appeareth by that Act, wherein the Law is so declared to be as before is expressed.
"But if it should be admitted, that the Duke had right in this case, for which he might compound; yet the manner of his seeking to try and recover his right, is, in it self, an high offence, and clearly unlawful in many respects, whereof I will touch but a few: As, in making the most Honourable House of Parliament an Instrument to effect his private ends for his profit: In proceeding to arrest and stay the Ships of Men not apt to fly, but well able to answer and satisfie any just Suits which he might have against them, though their Ships had gone on in their Voyage: In prosecuting things so unseasonably, and urging them so extremely by his Advocate, for bringing of so great a sum of Money upon the sudden, and formally under colour of Justice and Service for the State: In reducing that Company into that strait and necessity, that it was as good for them to compound, though the Duke had no Title, as to defend their own just right against him upon these disadvantages, which by his power and industry he had put upon them.
Then he read the Seventh and Eighth Articles, which he handled joyntly, as being not two Charges, but two several parts of one and the same Charge; and when he had read them, he went on speaking further to their Lordships, as followeth.
"Your Lordships may have observed, how in handling the former Articles, I have in my discourse used the method of time, which I hold to be best for the discovery of the truth: I shall therefore, by your Lordships patience, whereof now I have had some good experience, use the like order in my enlargement upon these latter Articles; touching which, that which I have to say, is thus:
"In or about the Two and twentieth year of the Reign of our late dear Sovereign Lord, King James, of famous memory, there being then a Treaty between our said late Sovereign and the French King, for a Marriage to be had between our then most Noble Prince (now our most gracious King) and the French King's Sister (now our Queen) and for entring into an active War against the King of Spain, and his Allies in Italy, and the Valtoline. Our said late Sovereign passed some promise to the French King's Ambassador here, the Marquis D'Effiat, for procuring or lending some Ships to be employed by the French in that Service, upon reasonable conditions; but without thought or intent that they should be employed against the Kochellers, or any others of our Religion in France: For it was pretended by the French King's Ministers to our King, That the said Ships should be employed particularly against Genoua, and not otherwise. But afterwards some matter of suspition breaking forth from those of our Religion in France, that the Design for Italy was but the pretence to make a Body of an Army fall upon the Rochellers, or others of our Religion in that Kingdom; the King grew so cautious in his Conditions, that as he would perform his promise to lend his Ships, so to preserve those of our Religion, he contracted or gave directions, that the greatest part of the Men in the same Ships should be English, whereby the power of them should be ever in his hands.
And the Duke of Buckingham then, and yet, Lord Great Admiral of England, well knowing all this to be true, pretended he was and would be very careful, and proceed with Art, to keep the said Ships in the hands of our King, and upon our own Coasts; and yet nevertheless underhand he unduly intended, practised and endeavoured the contrary: For afterwards by his direction or procurement, in or about the two and twentieth year aforesaid, a Ship of his Majesty's called the Vantguard, being of his Majesty's Royal Navy, was allotted and apointed to be made ready for the Service of the French King, and seven other Merchants Ships of great burthen and strength, belonging to several persons, Natural Subjects, of our said late Sovereign Lord, whereby the Duke's direction inpressed as for the Service of his said late Majesty, and willed to make themselves ready accordingly. The Names and Tunnage of the said seven Merchants Ships were as followeth.
- "1. The Great Neptune, whereof Sir Ferdinando George was Captain.
- "2. The Industry, of the burden of Four hundred and Fifty Tuns, whereof James Moyer was Captain.
- "3. The Pearly of which Anthony Tench was Captain.
- "4. The Marigold of Three hundred Tuns, Thomas Davies Captain.
- "5. The Loyalty, of Three hundred Tuns, Jasper Dare Captain.
- "6. The Peter and John, of Three hundred and fifty Tuns, John Davies Captain.
- "7. The Gift of God of Three hundred Tuns, Henry Lewen Captain.
"Also about the same time a Contract was made by and between Sir John Cook, and other the Commissioners of his Majesty's Navy, as in behalf of his Majesty for his said Ship the Vantguard, and on behalf of the Captains, Masters, and Owners of the said seven Merchants Ships, but without their privity or direction, for the service of the French King, upon Conditions to be safe and reasonable for our King, this Realm and State; as also for the said Captains, Masters, and Owners of the said seven Merchants Ships, and for the Companies. For Sir John Cook drew the Instructions, for the direction of the said Contract; which Instructions passed and were allowed by the King, and such of the Council, as were made acquainted therewith, and used in this business. Which Instructions, as Sir John Cook hath since alledged in the House of Commons, there was care taken for Provision to be made, that the said Ship of his Majesty called the Vantguard, should not serve against the City or Inhabitants of Rochel, or those of the Religion in France nor take into her more Men of the French, than she could from time to time be well able to Command and Master. But whether the Instructions for the Merchants Ships, and the King's said Ship, were all one, is not yet declared unto the Commons; howbeit, it appeareth not, but that the Intent of our King and State was, to be alike careful for both. Nevertheless a form of Articles, dated the Five and twentieth day of March, in the Three and twentieth year of his said late Majesty's Reign, was prepared, ingrossed, and made ready to be sealed, without the knowledge of the Captains, Master, and Owners of the said Merchants Ships, between the said Marquis D'Effiat the Ambassador, on the one part, and the several Owners of the the said Merchants Ships respectively, on the other; viz. A several Writing Or Instrument for every of the said Ships respectively, whereby amongst other things, as by the same appeareth, it was covenanted and agreed by, and on the part and behalf of the Owners, to and with the said Marquis D'Effiat, to this effect, namely,
- "1. That their said Ships respectively, with a certain number of Men for every of them limited, with Ordnance, Munition, and other necessaries should be ready for the French King's Service, the Thirteenth of April then next following.
- "2. That they should go in that Service under a French General, to be as Captain in every of the said Merchants Ships respectively; of the appointment of the French King, or his Ambassador.
- "3. That they should serve the French King against any whomsoever, but the King of Great Britain,
- "4. That they should take in as many Soldiers into their said several Ships as they could stow or carry, besides their Victual and Apparel.
- "5. That they should continue six Months, or longer, in the Service, so that the whole time did not exceed eighteen Months.
- "6. That they should permit the French to have the absolute Command of their Ships, for Fights and Voyages.
- "I. That there should be paid to every Owner a Month's Freight in hand, after the rate agreed on; and freight for two Months more after the same rate, within Fifteen days after the date of the Articles; the computation of the Months, to begin from the 28th of March.
- "II. And that the Ships should be ready in a certain form prescribed at the end of the Service.
"When all things were in a readiness for circumvention and surprisal the Owners, Captains, and Masters of the said Ships, then, and not before, they were suddainly pressed to seal the Counterparts of the prepared Articles; and they were about the same time released and discharged from the Imprest of his Majesty's Service, and acquainted and designed to serve the French King, the said three Months Pay being offered, and afterwards paid unto them before-hand, as a Bait to draw on and intangle them in the business. Nevertheless, the Captains and Owners of the said Merchant Ships doubted upon some points, (to wit) First, against whom they should be employed. Secondly, What Foreign Power they should be bound to take into their Ships. And Thirdly, What sufficient security they should have for that Freight and re-delivery of their Ships.
"But there were private Instructions given to Captain John Pennington, Captain of the King's Ship the Vantguard; as for him and the whole Fleet, that he should observe the first Instructions, to wit, not to serve against those of the Religion, and to take into his Ship no more French-Men than they could Master. The pretence of Genoua, and these private Instruments for Pennington, were but a further Artifice of the Duke's to draw the Ships into France, and to conceal the breaking forth of the matter here in England: And the more to endear them, and confirm them in an opinion of right intention, they were commanded to conceal these private Instructions, as if the Duke and his Agents had trusted them more then they did the Ambassadors: By these and other like cunning and undue proceedings of the said Duke, the said Marquis D'Effiat sealed one part, and the Owners of the said Merchant Ships respectively sealed the other parts of the said pretended Articles; trusting they should not be bound to the strict performance thereof, by reason of the said private Instructions to the contrary. After the passing of these Articles, the said Ships being formerly ready, the said Duke May 8. 1625. made a Warrant under the Great Seal, to call the Companies aboard which had been raised and fitted for the said French service, according to former Instructions, and with first opportunity to go to such Port as the French Ambassador should direct, &c. there to expect Directions of the Party that should be Admiral of the said Fleet, so prepared, with a requir of all Officers to be assistant hereunto.
"All things being now in a readiness, Captain Pennington being Admiral of this whole Fleet, in May 1625. went with the Kings said Ship the Vantguard, and the seven Merchant Ships aforesaid to Diep in France. There instantly the Duke of Memorancy, Admiral of France, would have put two hundred French Soldiers aboard the Ship called the Industry, being no more Men then she could stow, but a far greater proportion of Men than her proper Company was able to command or master; and offered also to do the like to every one of the said Ships, telling the said Captain Pennington, and other the said English Captains and Owners, and their Companies in direct terms, that they were to go, and should go to serve against the City and Inhabitants of Rochel, and against those of our Religion: w hereunto they all shewing themselves unwilling, there were Chains of Gold and other Rewards offered unto some of the Captains, Masters, and Ownners, to induce them: All which they utterly refused, protesting unanimously against the Design, and would not take in above a fit number of Men, such as they might be able to command.
"Also the Company of the King's Ship did there inform Captain Pennington of this Overture made to go against Rochel, and exhibited a Petition to him against the same, subscribing their names to the Petition in. a Circle Or Compass, that it might not appear who was the beginner of the same, and then they laid it under his Prayer-Book, where he found and read it. Whereupon Captain Pennington and the rest consulted more seriously of the matter, and by a general assent returned all back to the Downs, where they arrived about the end of June, or beginning of July 1625. From thence Captain Pennington sent a Letter to the Duke of Buckingham by one Ingram, with the said Petition, and imployed him to become a Suitor to get a discharge from serving against Rochel: Ingram delivered the Letter to the Duke, and saw him read it together with the said Petition: whereby, as by other former and later means, he had full notice of the Design, and intent of the French to go against the Rochellers: James Moyer also about the same time came to the Court, and had conference with my Lord Conway and Sir John Cook (now Secretary) acquainting them what had passed at Diep, praying them to acquaint the Duke, which they did, and the Duke delivered the said Letter and Petition to Sir John Cook. The Duke of Chevereux and Monsieur de Villocleer being now come into England, as Extraordinary Ambassadors from the French King, they and the said Marquis D'Effiat, more especially D'Effiat, sollicited and got a Letter from the Lord Conway by the Dukes means, dated July 10. 1625. directed to Captain Pennington, whereby he took upon him to express and signify his Majesty's pleasure to be, That his Majesty had left the Command of the Ships to the French King, and that now Captain Pennington should receive into them so many Men as that King should please for the time contracted, and recommended his Letter to be as a sufficient Warrant in that behalf. All this while the King or Body of the Council were never made acquainted with any other design then that of Genoua, nor heard any thing of the passages at Diep, nor of the design of Rochel, nor of our Masters and Companies Petitions, Informations or Complaints thereupon. This Letter of the Lord Conways was sent by Parker from Hampton-Court unto Pennington, being now about the Downs, and Was not long after delivered into his hands. About this time Monsieur de la Touche, and others, as from the Duke de Rohan, and others of the Protestant Party in France, sollicited our King and Council against the going of the Ships, and had good words and hopes from both, but from the Duke the contrary, who told them, the King his Master was obliged, and so the Ships must and should go.
"The Ships remain still in the Downs, and afterwards, viz. about July 15. 1625. there was a Treaty at Rochester between the three Ambassadors Extraordinary of France, and James Moyer, and Anthony Touchin for themselves and other English Captains, and Masters of Ships, &c.
"The said Moyer and Touchin being by Message commanded to attend the Duke of Buckingham at Rochester, for conclusion and settlement to be had of this business, the said Ambassadors did there proffer and offer to the said Moyer and Touchin an Instrument in French, purporting thus, viz.
- 1. "That the said English Captains and their Companies should consent and promise to serve the French King against all, none excepted but the King of Great Britain, in conformity of the Contract formerly passed between D'Effiat and them.
- 2. "That they should consent and agree, in consideration of the assurance given them by the Ambassadors, to the Articles of March 25. 1625. whereby the French King should be made Master of the said Ships, by indifferent Inventory; that then they should by him be warranted against all hazards of Sea-fight, and if they miscarried, then the value thereof to be paid by the French King, who would also confirm this new Proportion within fifteen days after the Ships should be delivered to his use by good caution in London.
- 3. "That if the French King would take any Men out of the said Ships he might, but without any diminution of freight for or in respect thereof.
"The said James Moyer having gotten the French instrument interpreted answered, 1. They would not go to serve against Rochel; 2. nor send their ships without good warrant for their going; and 3. not without sufficient security to their liking for payment of their freight, and reddition of their Ships, or the value thereof; for the Ambassador's security was by them taken not to be sufficient, and they protested against it, and utterly refused this peraffetted Instrument: Here also Sir John Epsly and Sir Thomas Love disswaded the Duke from this enterprise telling him he could not justify nor answer the delivery of the Ships to the French.
"The Lord Duke being at Rochester, and there acquainted with all these proceedings, commanded the said Moyer and the rest before these Ambassadors, that they should obey the Lord Conway's Letter, and return to Diep to serve the French, and that so was our King's pleasure Howbeit herein his Majesty's pleasure appeared not, but the contrary yet privately at the same time the Duke told them, that the security offered, or formerly given by the Ambassador, was insufficient, and that though they went to Diep, yet they might and should there keep their Ships in their own power, till they had made their own Conditions to their own liking. July 16. 1625. the Duke of Chevereux, and Monsieur Villocleer, finding that they could not accomplish their designs at Rochester, but they must be fain to defer the getting thereof till the coming of the Ships back again to Diep, where it was thought that better opportunity, and more advantage for their ends would be had, did, to that purpose, make and ordain the Marquis D'Effiat their Deputy to contract with the Captains and Masters of the English Ships for the French King's service, as effectually as themselves might do, thereby transferring their power in that behalf to the said D'Effiat, who intended to go over to Diep forthwith about this business. The Duke of Buckingham having thus the second time dealt with the Captains and Masters to go to Diep, and arm'd arid prepar'd D'Effiat how and in what manner there to circumvent them, sent over to Diep privately, and underhand, his Secretary, Mr. Edward Nicholas, together with D'Effiat. Mr. Nicholas at and before the going over, had instructions from the Duke by word, to see the execution of the King's pleasure signified by the Letter from my Lord Conway, and to procure the Captains and Masters of the said Merchants Ships, to deliver over their Ships into the hands of the French, upon the security peraffetted at Rochester, by the three French Ambassadors, and by them delivered to the Duke of Buckingham, who committed the same to the said Mr. Nicholas, as the security, which in that behalf he was to take and accept. Mr. Nicholas, according to those Instructions, went to Diep with D'Effiat, and was there very urgent to get the Ships delivered to the French, according to the said Instructions at their coming over to Diep: D'ffiat entred a Suit and Protest against our Captains and Masters, and their original Articles, the better to enforce them to perform the same, without respect: to the Duke's verbal pretences or allegations, made to the Captains and Masters at Rochester, and in other places formerly to the contrary.
"The Captains and Masters came over again to Diep about July 20. where they found themselves in a strait, by reason of the said Protest there entred against them, the Duke's instructions by word being too weak to exempt them from obtaining their Contract under their Hands and Seals; also Mr. Nicholas using the King's name with threatning words, was there very earnest from day to day, and very vehemently pressed them to deliver over their Ships, before security given to their content, contrary to the former Proportion (viz. the Lord Duke's word to them at Rochester) which they refusing to yield unto, advertisement thereof was speedily sent to the Duke of Buckingham, and to his Agents in England; and Mr. Nicholas continued still at Diep about his former Negotiation.
"July 27 1625. Sir Ferdinando Gorge, Anth. Touching, James Moyer, Hen. Lewen, Tho. Davies, Jasy. Dard, and James Davies, as Owners and Captains of the said seven English Ships hired for the French, did express in writing, that they held it fit they should not quit their Ships, till they had made their own reasonable conditions, and were freed from the question and troubles they were in; and in particular,
- 1. "They pray to be free of the said Protest, that they might the better treat of their affairs.
- 2. "If the French King would have delivery of their Ships into his power and possession, that then they might have security by Money deposited in London, without revocation for satisfaction of their Ships, the former security by Merchants being insufficient, and a stop already made of their Pay, which, upon that security, they know not how to come by.
- 3. "Because their Ships, being Fortresses of this Kingdom, and the delivery of them over into the hands of a Foreign Prince without good warrant, concerneth even their very lives, that they might have a warrant in that behalf under the Great Seal of England, before they should be bound to deliver them over.
- 4. "To be free of their bonds entred into for not felling their Ordnance, and also free of punishment in that behalf; and they shewed how they were more cautious herein, for that Commissioners drew the first Articles, which were now wholly broken, and these Articles were to be done by themselves.
"And this writing they sent from their Ships by one Mr. Basset Cole, to present on shoar to the Marquis d'Effiat at Diep, appointed the said Mr. Cole to treat for a speedy conclusion according to these Articles; who treated accordingly: And the said Marquis, to induce him to yield to his demands, shewed a Letter in French, signed by the Duke of Buckingham, whereby the Duke promised his endeavours to get the Marquis's turn served touching these Ships
"The next day, viz. 28 July, 1625. Mr. Nicholas came aboard the Neptune, and declared in writing under his hand, how and why he was sent over by the Duke of Buckingham, as before, and craved the Captain and Master's Answer in writing under their hands, whether they would conform to the Lord Conway's Letter, and to the Instrument peraffetted at Rochester, for delivery over of the said Ships yea or no, offering to procure them a sufficient discharge to their contentment, for their so doing.
That they were willing to obey our King, but held not the security peraffetted at Rochester, by the three Ambassadors, to be sufficient (though honour able) and so they absolutely refused to deliver their Ships upon that security, desiring better caution in that behalf.
- 1. By the Merchants of Paris.
- 2. To be transferred to London.
- 3. Irrevocable.
- 4. And such as might not be protected by Prerogative; and to have this under the Hands and Seals of both Kings.
"All this while our King, or Body of the Council, knew nothing in certain of any other design of the French, than only of their pretence against Genoa, and believed, that all the Articles and Instruments that had passed between the French and us, or the Captains, Masters, and Owers of the English Ships had been penn'd and contriv'd with full and good cautions accordingly, for prevention of all dangers that might grow to the contrary. also the same 28 July, the Captains and Masters taking notice of Mr. Nicholas pressing them to deliver their Ships before security given to their content, contrary to former Propositions, which they held unreasonable, did make Answer unto the Marquis in writing, That until they should have security to their contentment, they would not quit the possession of their Ships unto the French, (which was but reasonable) and they sent therewith a valuation of their several Ships, as they would stand to. They likewise demanded a performance of all things, formerly sent to his Lordship from them by Mr. Nicholas (save only for the security by Money deposited) saying, That for all the rest they durst not proceed otherwise.
"But D'Effiat being consident of the Duke of Buckingham's Letters, promises, and proceedings aforesaid, would not consent to these reasonable demands of the Captains and Masters of the English Ships, protracting the time till he might hear further from the said Duke out of England.
While these things were thus in handling both in France and in England, there were written over out of France into England Letters of advertisment, how, and upon what ground, or by what act or means procured or occasioned, appeareth not; yet from one Mr. Larking, a servant to the Earl of Holland, and a kind of Agent, a person some way employed by our State, or under some of our Ambassadors or Ministers in France; That the Peace was conculded with those of our Religion in France; and that within fourteen days the War would break forth, or begin in Italy, with a design upon Genoa; a matter of great importance for annoying the Spaniard.
"This Letter of Larking came to the English Court at Richmond, 28 July, when the Duchess of Chevereux's Child was there Christned, and the Contents thereof (as hath been alledged) were confirmed by the Ambassadors of Savoy and Venice: By the advantage and colour whereof, the Duke of Buckingham drew the King, who all this while knew nothing of the design upon Rochel, or those of our Religion, but thought the former Articles had been safe and well penned, both for him and his Subjects, (according to the most Religious and Politick intention, and instructions in that behalf originally given by his late Father) to write a Letter dated at Richmond the same 28 July, directed to the said Captain Pennington to this effect, viz.
"His Majesty did thereby charge and command the said Captain Pennington, without delay, to put his Highness's former command in execution, for consigning the Vantguard into the hands of the Marquis D'Effiat for the French, with all her Furniture, assuring her Officers, his Majesty would provide for their indemnity; and to require the seven Merchants Ships, in his Majesty's name, to put themselves into the service of the French King, according to the promise his Majesty had made unto him; and in case of backwardness, or refusal, commanding him to use all forcible means to compel them, even to sinking; with a charge not to fail, and this Letter to be his Warrant.
"This Letter was sent by Captain Thomas Wilbraham to Captain Pennington, who was yet in the Downs. In the beginning of August, 1625. Captain Pennington went over again to Diep, carrying with him the said Letters of his Majesty, and certain Instructions in writing from the Duke of Buckingham to Mr. Nicholas, agreeable in substance to the former verbal Instructions given by the Duke to him at Rochester, as the said Nicholas alledgeth: who also affirmeth, that in all things what he did touching that business, he did nothing but what was warranted by the Duke's Instructions to him: which, if it be true, then the Duke of Buckingham, who commanded and employed him therein, must needs be guilty of the matters so acted by the said Mr. Nicholas. If there be any subsequent act or assent of Council, or of some Counsellors of State for the going of these Ships to the French, or for putting them into their power, it was obtained only for a colour, and was unduly gotten, by mis-informing the Contents of the sealed Articles, and concealing the Truth, or by some other undue means: Neither can any such latter act of Council in any sort justifie the Duke's proceedings, which, by the whole current of the matter, appears to have been indirect in the business even from the beginning. About the time of Captain Pennington's coming over to Diep the second time, Mr. Nicholas did, in his speeches to the Captains and Masters of the seven Merchant Ships, threaten and tell them, That it was as much as their lives were worth, if they delivered not their Ships to the French, as he required; which put them in such fear, as they could hardly sleep: And thereupon two of them were once resolved to have come again away with the Ships; and Because the former threats had made them afraid to return into England, therefore to have brought and left their Ships in the Downs, and themselves, for safety of their lives, to have gone into Holland.
"Captain Pennington being the second time come into Diep, there forthwith delivered and put the said Ship the Vantguard into the absolute power and command of the said French King, his Subjects and Ministers, to the said French King's use, to be employed in his service at his pleasure; and acquainted the rest of the Fleet with the effect of his Majesty's Letter and Command, and demanded and required them also, to deliver and put their Ships into the power and command of the French King accordingly. The Captains, Masters, and Owners of the seven Merchant Ships refused so to do, as conceiving it was not the King's pleasure they should so do, without security for delivery of their Ships, or satisfaction for the same to their good contentment. Hereupon Pennington went on shoar at Diep, and there spake with D'Effiat the Ambassador, and shortly after returned aboard, and gave the Captains, Masters, and Owners an answer, resting upon the validity, and urging the performance of the former Contract made and peraffetted in England.
"Then the said Masters and Captains prepared to be gone, and weighed Anchor accordingly. Whereupon Captain Pennington shot at them, and forced them to come again to Anchor, as yielding themselves for fear to his mercy and disposal. Upon this, Captain Pennington and the French-Men, that now commanded the Vantguard, came aboard the Merchant Ships, and there proposed unto them a new way for their security touching their Ships, namely, to except the security of the Town of Diep: Whereupon they all went ashoar, except Sir Ferdinando Gorge, who, with his Ship, the Great Neptune, adventured to come away, as not liking these new and unreasonable Propositions. At their coming ashoar they spake with Mr. Nicolas, and there by his inforcement came to a new agreement to accept the Security of the Town of Diep, upon certain hard Conditions; namely, The said Marquis d'Effiat as Extraordinary Ambassador in England, and as having power by deputation from the Duke Chevereux and Villocleer, on or about August 15. 1625, did agree and promise to the said Moyer, Touchin, Thomas Davies, Dard, John Davies, Lewen as Captains and Owners of the said Ships, called the Industry, the Pearl, the Marygold, the Loyalty, the Peter and John, and the Gift of God, then being in the Road of the Town of Diep, That the French King should give and furnish to the said Owners (they being present, and accepting it in this Town) this sufficient security, That within fifteen days after the said French King should be in possession of the said Ships, he should give sufficient caution in London, for the Sum of Two hundred and thirteen thousand Livers, whereat the said Ships were estimated, with all that appertained to them, as Cannons and other Munitions of War, viz. Fifty thousand pounds. And in or about the same 15 of August, 1625. the Commonalty of the said Town of Diep entered security, and bound the Goods of their Commonalty to the said English Captains and Owners, That the said French King and his Ambassadors should furnish the Security within the City of London within the time and for the sum aforesaid.
"On or about August 16. 1625. the said Marquis D'Effiat, as well in his quality of being Ambassador, as by virtue of his said Deputation, did by publick Act promise unto the said Moyer, Touchin, & c. to give and furnish to them (they being present, and requiring it in the Town of Diep) sufficient security in the City of London, within fifteen days after the French King should be in peaceable possession of the said Ships, for the sum of two hundred and thirteen thousand Livers Turnoys, whereat the said Ships were valued, namely, for the said Ship called the Industry, and so a several Sum for every Ship, which Security should remain for assurance to pay to every of them the Prizes of their Ships, before specified in that Act, in case they should be left in the French King's hands, with other particulars in the said Act mention'd, without derogating nevertheless from the Clauses of the said Contract March 25. 1615. Albeit, because the said Ambassadors had sound it good now to discharge the English Mariners out of the said Ships, that therefore the freight agreed upon by the said former Contract should not be wholly paid, but only for the space of the first six months; yet if the French King would use them for twelve months longer, or for any less time, that then he should pay freight for the same according to a new particular rate and manner expressed in the said Articles, and bound the goods of himself and the said Duke of Chevereux and Monsieur Villocleer for the performance hereof, as by the said Article it self; reference being thereto had, amongst other things more fully appeareth.
"This Article being passed and recorded at Diep, all the said seven Merchants Ships, except the Great Neptune, who was gone away in detestation of the Action intended by the French, were forthwith delivered into the absolute possession, power, and command of the French King, and of his said Ambassador D'Effiat, and other the Ministers and Subjects of the French King; to be imployed by him in his service at his pleasure, and not one of all the English Company, Man or Boy, (other then one only Man, a Gunner as it should seem) would stay in any of those Ships, to serve against the Rochellers, or those of our Religion.
"As soon as these Ships were thus delivered into the possession and power of the French, the said Ambassador then moved them, and dealt earnestly with them for the sale of their Ships. Mr. Nicholas having finished the work he went for, at his coming from Diep he received a Diamond Ring worth Fifty pounds, and an Hatband set with sparks of Diamonds, worth one hundred Marks, of the Ambassador, as a recompence for his pains taken in this Imployment, which (although Ambassadors do confer greater rewards sometimes at their parting upon persons of Mr. Nicholas's quality, for less service done) yet was it more then so ill an office as he was imployed in, could in any sort deserve.
"The said Captain Pennington returned speedily into England, and took his journey towards the City of Oxford, where the Parliament was then fitting, by adjournment from Westminster thither, and there several Propositions were taken into debate for the good of our Religion, and the supply of his Majesty's occasions: For the well resolving and settling whereof the true knowledge who, and upon what occasions and terms the several Ships were sent, delivered, imployed, and to be imployed, was very requisite. Afterwards nevertheless upon or about August 6. 1625. at a meeting and conference between both the Houses of Parliament in Christ-Church-Hall, after the reading there of his Majesty's most gracious Answer to a Petition of the Lords and Commons formerly exhibited unto his Majesty touching our Religion, and much for the good thereof, the Duke of Buckingham well knowing all the passages which I have now related to your Lordships to be true, did not only cautelously conceal the same, but also much boldly and untruly, by colour of a Message delivered from his Majesty to both the House s, affirm unto them touching those Ships to this effect; That it was not always fit for Kings to give account of their Counsels, and that about five of the six Months were already past and yet the said Ships were not employed against Rochel; willing and advising the said Lords and Commons to judge the things by the event, to which he seemed to refer the matter. By which cunning Speeches the Duke intended, and accordingly did make the Lords and Commons then to believe that the said Ships were never meant, or any way in danger to be employed against the Rochellers or those of our Religion in France; and herein he did great injury and disservice to his Majesty, to the great scandal and prejudice of our Religion and Affairs, and highly abused both the Lords and Commons by this cautelous and subtle Speech and Insinuation, and thereby gave both House s occasion to forbear Petitioning or suing to his Majesty for Redress in this business, while the time was not then passed; for his Ships were not as then actually imployed against the Rochellers, albeit in truth they were then delivered into the French King's Power.
"And the same time before the Parliament was dissolved, Captain Pennington, who could have opened the whole truth of the business for the service of the King and the Realm, came to Oxford, but was there drawn to conceal himself by means of the Duke, and not to publish in due time his knowledge of the Premisses, as was there shortly after reported. The truth whereof, the Lords in this Parliament may be pleased to examine, as they shall see cause; the Parliament at Oxford being shortly after, viz. Aug. 12. unhappily dissolved.
"In or about September, 1625. the said Ships were actually employed against the Rochellers, and their Friends, to their exceeding great prejudice, and almost utter ruin. It hath been said by some of the French, that the Vantguard, she mowed them down like grass; to the great dishonour of our Nation, and the scandal of our Religion, and to the disadvantage of the great affairs of this Kingdom, and all Christendom.
"Also the Ships themselves were in eminent peril to to be utterly lost for lack of sufficient cautions. If they be come home since this Parliament fat down, long after the matter was here expounded and taken into examination; it may be well presumed, that it is by some underhand procuring of the Duke, and the secret complying of the French with him, to colour out the matter; which the Lords may examine as they see cause. The one and only Englishman that presumed to May in one of the Ships, and serve against the poor Rochellers of our Religion, at his return, was slain in charging a Piece of Ordnance, not by him well Sponged.
"In February last, 1625. Monsieur de la Touche having speech with Mr. Thomas Sherwell, a Member of the Commons House of Parliament, at Salisbury, as he was coming up to the Parliament, and Monsieur de la Touche going down into Somersetshire to Mr. John Paulets to Monsieur Sobysa; He told Mr. Sherwell, in the hearing also of one Mr. John Clements of Plymouth, who is now in Town, the words that the Duke had spoken to him the last Summer, touching these Ships; and thereupon used these words, Ce Duque est un mesbant homme.
"Upon this whole Narration of the Fact touching the manner of Delivery of the Ships to the French, divers things may be observed, wherein the Duke's offences do consist: as, in betraying a Ship of the King's Royal Navy into a Foreign Prince's hand, without good Warrant for the same; the dispossessing the Subjects of this Realm of their Ships and Goods by many artifices and subtilties, and, in conclusion, with high hand and open violence, against the good will of the Owners; In breaking the duty of Lord Admiral and Guardian of the Ships and Seas of this Kingdom; In varying from the original good Instructions, and presuming to give others of his own head in matters of State; In violating the duty of a sworn Privy-Counsellor to his Majesty; In abusing both House s of Parliament by a cautelous Mis-information, under a colour of a Message from his Majesty; and in disadvantaging the Affairs of those of our Religion in Forreign parts: Offences of an high and grievous nature.
"For the proof of some parts thereof, which are not the least, I offer to your Lordships consideration the Statute of the 2 & 3 of E. 6. touching the Duke of Somerset; wherein is recited, That amongst other things, he did not suffer the Piers, called the Newhaven and Blackerst, in the parts beyond the Seas, to be furnished with Victuals and Money, whereby the French were encouraged to invade and win the same; and for this offence, amongst others, it was Enacted, That a great part of his Land should be taken from him. And if Non-feazance in a matter tending to lose a fixed Castle belonging to the King, be an high offence; then the actual putting of a Ship-Royal of the King's, into the hand of a Foreign Prince, which is a moveable and more useful Castle and Fortress of the Realm, must needs be held a greater Offence.
"I will forbear to cite any more Presidents of this kind, Because some of those who have gone before me, have touched at divers Presidents of this nature, which may be applied to this my part. Only, Because the abuse of the Parliament, which is the chiefest Council of State and Court of Judicature in the Realm, is not the least offence in this business, I shall desire your Lordships to take into consideration the Statute of Westm. 1. cap. 30. whereby such as seem to beguile Courts of Justice, are to be sore judged in the same Courts, and punished, as by that Statute appeareth.
The Ninth and Tenth Articles were read next.
IX. Whereas the Titles of Honour of this Kingdom of England were wont to be conferred as great Rewards, upon such virtuous and industrious Persons as had merited them by their faithful service; the said Duke, by his importunate and subtle procurement, had not only perverted that antient and most honourable way, but also unduly, for his own particular gain, he hath enforced some that were rich (though unwilling) to purchase Honour: as, the Lord R. Baron of T. who, by practice of the said Duke and his Agents, was drawn up to London, in or about October, in the Two and twentieth year of the Reign of the late King James of famous memory, and there so threatned and dealt withal, that by reason thereof he yielded to give, and accordingly did pay the sum of Ten thousand pounds to the said Duke, and to his use: For which said sum, the said Duke, in the Month of January, in the Two and twentieth year of the said late King, procured the Title of Baron R. of T. to the said Lord R. In which practice, as the said Lord R. was much wronged in this particular, so the example thereof tendeth to the prejudice of the Gentry, and dishonour of the Nobility of this Kingdom.
X. Whereas no Places of Judicature in the Courts of Justice of our Sovereign Lord the King, nor other like Preferments given by the Kings of this Realm, ought to be procured by any Subject whatsoever for any Reward, Bribe, or Gift; he the said Duke, in or about the Moneth of December, in the Eighteenth year of the Reign of the late King James of famous memory, did procure of the said King, the Office of High Treasurer of England to the Lord Viscount M. now Earl of M. Which Office, at his procurement, was given and granted accordingly to the Lord Viscount M. And as a reward for the said procurement of the said Grant, he the said Duke did then receive to his own use of and from the said Lord Viscount M. the sum of 20000l. of lawful Money of England. And also in or about the Moneth of January, in this Sixteenth year of the Reign of the said late King, did procure of the said late King of famous memory the Office of Master of the Wards and Liveries, to and for Sir L. C. afterwards Earl of M. which Office was, upon the same procurement, given and granted to the said Sir L. C. And as a reward for the same procurement, he, the said Duke, had, to his own use, or to the use of some other Person by him appointed, of the said Sir L. C. the sum of Six thousand pounds, of lawful Money of England, contrary to the Dignity of our Sovereign Lord the King, and against the duty that should have been performed by the Duke unto him.
"Although I know that I shall speak to my own disadvantage, yet I shall labour to speak with as little disadvantage to the matter as I can. I have no learning or ornament, whereby I might shew my self, and I shall think it enough plainly to shew the matter: For all that I aim at, is, that I may lose nothing of the cause. And therefore, my Lords, I shall apply my self with as much convenient brevity, as one that knows that your Lordship's time is much more precious than my words: Your Lordships being such Judges, as will measure things by true and natural proportions, and not by the proportion of the action or expression.
"My Lords, this Charge, for matter of fact, is so notorious and apparent, that it needs no proof, that these Honours have been procured: And therefore I will only insist upon the Consequence. First, I will shew, that by this fact the Duke hath committed a great offence: And secondly, That this offence hath produced a great Grievance to the Commonwealth. And I will conclude, in strengthening the whole by some Precedents of former times, that Parliaments have proceeded in that course, in which your Lordships are like to proceed.
"First, to prove it a fault or an offence, I must prove that there was a duty; for every fault presupposeth a duty: And in this case the first work is to shew, that the Duke was bound to do otherwise: For which I need to alledge nothing else, than that he is a sworn Servant and Counsellor to the King, and so ought to have preferred his Majesty's Honour and Service before his own pride, in seeking to Ennoble all that Blood that concerned him. And it is not enough to say, that it is not questionable; for there have been great Men questioned in the like cases. There be some Laws made that are particular, according to the temper and occasions of several States: There are other Laws that be coessential and collateral with Government; and if those Laws be broken, all things run to disorder and confusion. Such is that Rule observed in all States, of suppressing Vice to encourage Virtue, by apt punishment and Rewards: And this is the fittest Law to insist upon in a Court of Parliament, when the proceedings are not limited either by the Civil or Common Laws, but matters are adjudged according as they stand in opposition or conformity with that which is Suprema Lex, salus Populi.
"2. By this late Law, whoever moves the King to bestow Honour, which is the greatest reward, binds himself to make good a double proportion of Merit in that party who is to receive it: The first, of value and excellence; the second, of continuance and durableness. And as this Honour sets Men up above others, so they should be eminent in Virtue beyond others: As it is perpetual, not ending with their persons, but descending upon their posterity; so there ought to be in the first root of this Honour some such active merit in the service of the Common-wealth, as might transmit a vigorous Example to his Successors, whereby they may be raised to an imitation of the like Virtues.
3. From the consideration of Honour, together with the price of Money; the which being compared together, may be reduced to two heads (may it please your Lordships;) the one being earthly and base, may be bought with a proportionable price of white and red Earth, Gold and Silver: The other, which is Spiritual (which is sublime) to which Money cannot be a proportionable price. Honour is transcendent, in regard it was held a Sacred and Divine thing; insomuch there was a Temple dedicated to her by the Romans: And so I conclude by prescription, that Honour is a Divine thing; for the Scripture calls Kings, Gods; and then those that are about Kings must needs be resembled to those Powers and Principalities that attend next to the Throne: And if Honour be such a Divine thing, it must not then be bought with so base a price as Money.
"And thus your Lordships have seen, that the sale of Honour is an offence unnatural against the Law of Nature. Now what an offence this is your Lordships may discern, considering the kinds of the offence, and the Adjuncts, which I now fall upon.
- "1. It extremely deflowers the Flowers of the Crown; for it makes then cheap to all beholders.
- "2. It takes from the Crown the most fair and frugal Reward of deserving Servants: For when Honour comes to be at so mean a rate as to be sold, there is no great Man will look after it.
- "3. It is the way to make a Man more studious for lucre and gain, than of sufficiency of Virtue; when they know that they shall be preferred to Titles of Honour according to the heaviness of purse, and not for the weightiness of their merit.
- "4. It introduceth a strange confusion, mingling the meaner with the more pure and refined metal.
- "5. Lastly, It's a prodigious scandal to this Nation, (as the House of Commons think.)
"For Examples and Presidents, I am consident there are none; and your Lordships can look for none, Because it is not parallel'd to any President. But certainly it is now a fit time to make a President of this Man, this great Duke, that hath been lately raised to this transcendent height in our Sphere; who thinketh he cannot shine enough, unless he dim your Lordship's Honours, in making the same contemptible through the sale of it, by the commonness of it.
"Yet I am commanded further to observe another step of unworthiness in this Gentleman, who hath not only set Honour to sale by his Agents, but compelled Men likewise, unwilling to take Titles of Honour upon them. For the particular, that Noble Gentleman that this concerns, I am commanded to say of him from the House of Commons, That they conceive of him, that he was worthy of this Honour, if he had not come to it this way; They can lay no blame upon him, 'that was constrained to make this bargain to redeem his trouble. But we must distinguish of this, as Divines do betwixt the Active and Passive Usurers; they condemn the Active, speaking favourably of the Passive.
"And I must here observe to your Lordships, by the Directions of the House of Commons, That it seems strange to them, that this Great Man, whom they have taken notice of to be the principal Patron and Supporter of the Semi-pelagian and a Popish Faction, set on foot to the danger of this Church and State, whose Tenets are Liberty of Free-will, though somewhat mollified; That a Man, embracing these Tenets, should not admit of Liberty in Moral things: And that he should compel one to take Honour and Grace from a King whether he will or no; what is that, but to add Inhumanity and Oppression, to Injury and Incivility.
"But here I must Answer a President or two, which may be by misunderstanding enforced against me. 5 H. 5. There was Martin, and Babington, and others, which were chosen to be Serjeants, and they did decline from it out of their modesty, and doubted that their Estates were not answerable to their Place: Yet upon the charge of the Warden of England, they accepted it, and appeared to their Writs. Likewise there is a Writ in the Register, that many, by reason of the Tenure of their Lands may be compelled to be made Knights. But this makes rather against, than for this Faction: For it is true, that this is the Wisdom and Policy of the Common-Law, that those that be thought fit Men for Imployment, may be drawn forth to be employed for the good of the Common-wealth, where otherwise they would not take it upon them: But that any Man, for his gain, should force a Man to take degrees of Honour upon him; certainly this is beyond all Presidents, and a thing not to be exampled, either in our Nation, or any other.
"And further, I am commanded to tell your Lordships, That it is dangerous, that if a great Lord, by his power or strength, may compel a Subject to take such Honours, why may he not compel them as well to take his Lands at what price he will, and to sell them again as he thinks fit; yea, to Marry his Children as it pleaseth him? The consequence of this is great, if that it be well considered; and they conceive that it is of so great a consequence, that if it be not stopped, it may come in time to make way for a dangerous Subversion, and demonstrates a great Tyranny of a Subject, under a most wise, most gracious, and most moderate King.
"My Lords, Before I enter into the enforcement of this Article, I shall, by way of Protestation from the House of Commons, do in this, as I did in the other Article. And first, for the King's Majesty, under whom we are now happily governed and placed, I must, by their direction, say, for his honour, and our comfort, and, with humble acknowledgement, confess, that since his coming to the Crown, there have been Men of as great parts and learning advanced into Places in Church and Commonwealth, as any have been heretofore. And then for the first of those Lords, whose names are mentioned in this Article, I must say, that they do not intend to reflect at all upon him; nay, they think his person so worthy, as to be advanced to as high a Place, without any price at all, and that he ought to have kept it longer, if those that shuffled in those times, had not shuffled him out.
"Now to the matter of this Article, which is the Sale of Places of Judicature, being an offence: And to prove this, is all one as to make the Glass clear by painting of it. The grounds whereon I shall go, shall be laid open; Magna Charta, Chap. 29. The words are these; Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus Justitiam. It may be said, this comes not close to my purpose; yet, by your Lordships favour, I shall make it good, that it doth, and shall begin with the latter of the two first, Nulli negabimus: For if any that hath power or favour with the King, should procure him to delay the making of Judges, when there were Judges to take it, it will not be denied, that they do their best endeavour to make the King break his word; for if any use their favour about the King to procure Places of Judicature for Money, they do what in them lies to make Justice saleable; for it is plain, that he that buys must sell, and cannot be blamed if he do sell.
- "1. By this means, unable Men shall be sure of the precedence unto Places; for they being conscious of their own want of Merits, they must be made up by the weight of Gold.
- "2. It must needs hence follow, Suits, Contentions, Brawls, and Quarrels shall be increased in the Common-wealth. For when Men come to feats of Judicature by purchase, they must, by increase of Suits, increase their own profit.
- "3. Men will not study for sufficiency of Learning to be able to discharge their Places, but how they may scrape together Money to purchase Places.
- "4. It will follow, That those that have the best Purses, though worst Causes, will carry away the Victory always.
- "5. It will follow, That when they be preferred for Money to those Places, they are tied to make the best of those Places, viis & modis: And then the Great Man that sold those Places to them, must uphold them in their Bribery; and he is tied to it, because they are his Creatures; nay further, he is tied to support them in their Bribery, to advance their Places upon the next remove.
- "6. And lastly, when good Men, and well deserving, come to any Place, they shall not continue there, but they shall be quarrelled at, so that there may be a vacancy in that Place, and then some other shall suddenly step in the Saddle, by giving a competent price.
"Upon these and the like reasons, this fact of felling and buying Places and Offices of Trust, hath not only been declaimed against by Christians, but also by Moral Pagans. Aristotle in his 5. lib. of Ethicks, cap. 8. gives it as a Caveat, That no Man amongst the Thebans was to take upon him any place of Government in the Common-wealth, if that he were a Merchant, unless there were Ten years distance between. And the reason is this, Because Merchants are used to buying and selling, it is their Trade and Art to get Money, so that their fingers are accustomed to that which they cannot leave, when they come to Places of Trust and Judicature. Nay further, in honour of the Merchants, He is accounted the wisest Merchant that gains most; so that if such comes to Offices and Places of Trust, he thinks it best to advance his profit.
"Next to the Pagans, the Popes, a Generation full of Corruption, yet they, by their Bulls, are full of Declamation against such. And this is plain by a Bull of Pius Quintus, who lays the penalty of Confiscation of Goods of any that do for Money acquire any Offices, and condemns them by his Papal Sentence to be great sinners. So Gregory the Thirteenth condemns the like.
"And now to come nearer home, to come to that which will principally lead your Lordships, which are the Judgments of your Ancestors in Parliament; wherein it appears by the Statute 5 H. 6. that the same Statute condemns the Seller and the Receiver, as well as the Buyer and Giver. It further appears by the Preamble of that Statute, that such offences were against the Law, and they foresaw the Corruptions of those that came into those Places by those means, and that it is a hindrance of sufficient and worthy Men from those Places. And also 2 & 3 E.6. which was likewise cited in the Case of the Duke of Somerset, by which he was to forfeit his Estate, that one thing was for selling of Places in the Commonwealth for Money. And certainly with your Lordships favour, it is most just and probable, that they that profess themselves to be Patriots, and shew by their actions, that, they aim at their own lucre, and labour to hinder the distributing of Justice; it is most just and proper, that those Men should return back again to the Publick Treasury of the King and Kingdom, what they have by their unsatisfied lucre gotten.
"And so, my Lords, craving pardon of you for my boldness, confusion, and distractions, in going through this business, I humbly leave my self to the judgments of your favours and charities, and this Great Man the Duke to your wife Censure and Justice.
Then was read the Eleventh and Twelfth Articles.
"XI. That he the said Duke hath, within these ten years last past, procured divers Titles of Honour to his Mother, Brothers, Kindred, and Allies; as, the Title of Countess of Buckingham to his Mother, while the was Sir Thomas Compton's Wife; the Titles of Earl of A. to his younger Brother, Christopher Villiers; the Titles of Baron of M. P. Viscount F. and Earl of D. to his Sister's Husband, Sir W. F. the Titles of Baron of S. and Viscount> P. to Sir John Villiers, elder Brother unto the said Duke; and divers more of the like kind to his Kindred and Allies: whereby the Noble Barons of England, so well deserving in themselves, and in their Ancestors, have been much prejudiced, and the Crown disabled to reward extraordinary Virtues in future times with Honour; while the small Estates of those for whom such unnecessary Advancement hath been procured, are apparently likely to be more and more burthensome unto the King, notwithstanding such Annuities, Pensions, and Grants of I Lands annexed to the Crown, of great value, which the said Duke hath procur'd for those his Kindred, to support these their Dignities.
XII. He the said Duke not contented with the great Advancement formerly received from the late King, of famous memory, by his procurement and practice, in the Fourteenth year of the said King, for the support of the many places, Honours, and Dignities conferred on him, did obtain a Grant of divers Manors, Parcel of the Revenues of the Crown, and of the Duchy of Lancaster, to the yearly value of One thousand six hundred ninety seven pounds two shillings half-penny farthing, of the old Rent, with all Woods, Timber, Trees, and Advowsons; part whereof amounting to the sum of Seven hundred forty seven pounds thirteen shillings four pence, was rated at Two and thirty thousand pounds, but in truth of a far greater value. And likewise in the Sixteenth year of the same Kings Reign, did procure divers other Mannors annexed to the Crown of the yearly value, at the old Rent, of Twelve hundred pounds, or thereabouts, according as in the Schedule hereunto annexed appeareth: In the Warrant for passing of which Lands, he, by his great favour, procured divers unusual Clauses to be inserted, (viz.) That no Perquisites of Courts should be valued, and that all Bailiffs Fees should be reprised in the particulars upon which those Lands were rated; whereby a president hath been introduced, which all those who, since that time, have obtained any Lands from the Crown, have pursued to the damage of his late Majesty, and of our Sovereign Lord the King that now is, to an exceeding great value. And afterwards he surrendred to his said Majesty divers Mannors and Lands, parcel of those Lands formerly granted unto him, to. the value of Seven hundred twenty three pounds eighteen shillings and two pence half penny, per annum, in consideration of which surrender, he procured divers other Lands of the said late King to be sold and contracted for, by his own Servants and Agents, and thereupon hath obtained grants of the same, to pass from his late Majesty, to several persons of this Kingdom, and hath caused Tallies to be stricken for the Money, being the consideration mentioned in those Grants in the Receipt of the Exchequer, as if any such Moneys had really come to his Majesty's Coffers; whereas the Duke (or some other by his appointment) hath indeed received the same sums, and expended them upon his own occasions. And notwithstanding the great and inestimable gain by him made by the sale of Offices, Honours, and by other Suits by him obtained from his Majesty, and for the countenancing of divers Projects, and other Courses, burthensome to his Majesty's Realms, both in England, and Ireland; the said Duke hath likewise, by his procurement and practice, received into his hands, and disbursed to his own use, exceeding great sums, that were the Monies of the late King of famous memory, as appeareth also in the said Schedule hereunto annexed: And the better to colour his doings in that behalf, hath obtained several Privy Seals from his late Majesty, and his Majesty that now is, warranting the payment of great sums to persons by him named, causing it to be recited in such Privy-seals, as if those sums were directed for secret Services concerning the State, which were notwithstanding disposed of to his own use; and other Privy-seals by him have been procured for the discharge of those persons without accompt; and by the like fraud and practice, under colour of free gifts from his Majesty he hath gotten into his hands great sums which were intended by his Majesty to be disbursed for the preparing, furnishing and victualing of his Royal Navy; by which secret and colourable devices the constant and ordinary course of the Exchequer hath been broken, there being no means by matter of Record to charge either the Treasurer or Victualler, of the Navy with those sums which ought to have come to their hands, and to be accounted for to his Majesty; and such a confusion and mixture hath been made between the King's Estates and the Dukes as cannot be cleared by the Legal Entries and Records, which ought to be truly and faithfully made, and kept, both for the safety of his Majesty's Treasure, and for the indempnity of his Officers and Subjects whom it doth concern. And also in the sixteenth year of the said King, in the twentieth year of the said King, he did procure to himself several Releases from the said King of divers great sums of Money of the said King by him privately received, and which he procured, that he might detain the same for the support of his Places, Honours and Dignities. And these things, and divers others of the like kind, as appeareth in the Schedule annexed, hath he done, to the exceeding dimunition of the Revenue of the Crown, and in deceit both of our Sovereign Lord the King that now is, and of the late King James of famous memory, and to the detriment of the whole Kingdom.
"It hath pleased God (who hath the disposing even of all things in his hands) to cast this service now upon me, who did formerly my endeavour to decline it considering the weightiness of the business, the greatness of this presence, and my manifold defects, best known to my self: But another that should have with better contentment, I doubt not, performed this service, being now fallen sick, there is a necessity imposed on me by the House of Commons, wherein I shall be very plain and short, according to the warning I had; yet I shall deal plainly and faithfully, according to the sense of that House by whose command I now appear: And since I am now thrust as a Bush into the Gap, I hope your Lordships will not expect such a composure and strength of Speech which you have had from others of my Companions. The Subject that falls to my Lot to speak of before your Lordships, are Honour and Justice, two great Flowers of the Crown: I confess my self exceeding unfit and unable to speak of these Points before so great an Assembly of such Persons of so great Honour, and such Superior Judges of this Kingdom; but I must take my Lot: It pleaseth your Lordships, as in Sphere to take knowledge of the Grievances presented by the Commons House which I desire and hope your Lordships will not take presumption.
"May it please your Lordships, the parts of this Charge, as you discern upon the reading of it, are two; the one general, the other particular: The general is, perverting the ancient and noble course of attaining to the Titles of Honour. 2. The other, the compulsion or inforcement of Men unwilling to purchase Honour.
"For the first by way of Protestation, I am commanded by the House of Commons, to say, that they repine not at their advancement upon whom those Honours were conferred, but they think them worthy thereof; yet they wish, for their sakes, and the safety of this Nation, their virtues had solely raised them, and that they had not been forc'd and constrained to contribute to this bottomless Gulf to attain their Titles.
"They complain again of this unworthy way brought in by this great Man. They fall upon this in this manner, and found the Evils under which the Commonwealth suffers, and the causes of them being two principal Evils, which are the decay and stopping of the Trade, and the determination of Honour. In examination of which second Evil, the Trade and Commerce of Honour, we have, as the Commons do receive, constentum reum: For he endeavouring to colour the matter, says for himself, That he was not the only introducer and first bringer in of this; but they find that he was the first that defiled this Virgin of Honour so publickly, making an account, that all things and persons should stoop and subject themselves to his vain desires and extravagancy. Now that this commerce of Honour is an offence; then to prove what kind of offence it is, is the only thing I shall trouble your Lordships with.
- 1. "And first that it is an offence, I shall draw my first Argument from the Nature of Honour; Honour is a Beam of Virtue; now this Honour can be no more fixed upon an undeserving Person for Money, than fire can be struck out of a stick.
- 2. "From the Subject of Honour, which is Merit, for the which no price ought to be paid to any great Man by any undeserving person for the same, but their own merit and desert.
- 1. "First, it is prejudicial to the Noble Barons of this Kingdom.
- 2. "To the King, by disabling him to reward extraordinary Virtues.
- 3. "To the Kingdom, which comprehends both Kings, Lords, and People.
I. "For the first, he said, He would not trouble their Lordships with recital, how ancient, how famous the Degree of Barons hath been in these Western Monarchies; He said, the Baronage of England, hath longer upheld that Dignity, and doth yet retain a greater heighth than in any other Nation; they are great Judges, a Court of the last resort, they are great Counsellors of State, and not only for the pre-sent, but as Law-makers, Counsellors for the time to come; and this not by Delegacy and Commission, but by Birth and Inheritance; So that when any Man shall be made a Member of this great Body, who is not qualified for the performance of such noble Functions, it must needs be a prejudice to the whole Body and dishonour to the Head. As if a little Water be put into a great Vessel of Wine, as it receives spirit and strength from the Wine, so it doth impart some degrees of its own infirmity and coldness to the Wine.
"Secondly, It is prejudicial to the King; not that it can disable him from giving Honour (for that it is a power inseparable) but by making Honour ordinary, it becomes as an incompetent Reward for extraordinary Virtue when Men are noble, they are taken out of the Press of the common fort, and how can it chuse but fall in estimation, if Honour it self be made a Press?
"Thirdly, It is prejudicial to the Kingdom; the Stories and Records are full of the great assistance which the Crown hath received from the Barons, both in Foreign and Domestick Actions, not only by their own persons, but by the Retinue and Tenants, and therefore they are called by Bracton, Robur Belli; but how can we now expect the like from such as have no Tenants and are hardly able to maintain themselves?
"But this is not all; for the prejudice grows not primitively by defect of that assistance which they might give the State, but positively they have been a great burthen to the Kingdom by Gifts and Pensions already received, and yet stand in need of more for the future support of their Dignities; This makes the Duke's offence the greater, that in this weakness and Consumption of the Commonwealth, he hath not been contented alone to consume the Publick Treasure, (which is the blood and nourishment of the State) but hath brought in others to help him in this work of Destruction. And that they might do it more eagerly, by enlarging their Honours, he hath likewise enlarged their Necessities; and their Appetites. He did second his Charge with two Presidents; the first, 28 Henry 6. in the Complaint against the Duke of Suffolk, in the one and thirtieth Article of that Complaint, this was one of his Charges, that he William de la Pool Duke of Suffolk, had procured one who had Maried his Niece to be made Earl of Kendal, and obtained for him one thousand pounds per annum in the Duchy of Gienne; and yet this Party was the Son of a Noble and well deserving Father. So you see this is no new thing for the House of Commons to complain, that those that are near the King should raise their Kindred to an unnecessary Honour; and if that were worthy of punishment for advancing of one, then what punishment is he worthy of that hath advanced so many?
"The second President is 17. Ed. 4. There passed an Act of Parliament for the degrading of John Nevil, Marquis Montague, and Duke of Bedford; the reason expressed in the Act is, because he had not a Revenue sufficient for the maintaining of that Dignity; to which is added another reason of that nature, that when Men of mean birth are called to a high Estate, and have not livelihood to support it, it induceth great poverty, and causes briberies and extortions, imbraceries and maintenance.
"My Lords, This Article consists of several Clauses, which in some respects may be called so many distinct Charges; for though they all tend to one end and scope, the diminishing the King's Treasure, yet it is by divers ways, so that every Clause is a particular Branch. Therefore he desired to break it into parts, and to select the most material, either in point of offence or grievance, intending to pass through them with this order; first, to declare the state of the proof, and then to add such reasons and inforcements as he did conceive most conduceable to that Judgment which the Commons were to expect from their Lordships.
1. "The sum of three thousand thirty five pounds per annum of old Rent, besides the Forrest of Layfield of which we have no value, and we can find no Schedule granted by the late King to my Lord of Buckingham within ten years past, as appeareth by the several Grants vouched in the Schedule annexed; and it was in it self a great grievance, that in a time of such necessity, when the King's Revenues are not able to support such a great charge, that so much Land should be conveyed to a private Man: this he acknowledged was not the Duke's case alone, for others had received divers Grants from the King, but none in so great measure.
"And because the Commons aim not at Judgment only, but at Reformation, he wished, that when the King should bestow any Land for support of Honours, that the caution which was wont to be carefully observed might again return into use; that is, to annex those Lands to the Dignity, left being obtained and wasted, the Party repair to the King for a new support; by which provision the Crown will reap this Benefit, that as some Lands go out of new Grants, others will come in by spent Intails.
"He said he would not trouble their Lordships with repetition of the Laws heretofore made for preventing the alienation of the King's Lands, and for resuming those that had been alienated, nor of the Ordinances made in this high Court for the same purpose, and Fines set upon those that presumed to break such Ordinances; he only added as a further enforcement of the Grievance, that when the King's Revenues be unable to defray publick necessities, the Commons must needs be more burthened with Supplies.
"2. His second Point was, the unusual Clauses which the Duke by his greatness hath procured to be inserted into the Warrants for passing of those Lands, of which two were mentioned; the first, That the casual profits should not be rated in the particulars; the second, That all Bailiff's Fees should be reprised: Both which are to be proved by the Warrants remaining with the Auditors of the Rates, and other Auditors; whereupon he presented these Considerations.
"First, That it was a mark of Ingratitude and Insatiableness in the Duke, thus to strain the King's Bounty beyond his intention; and that he would not receive this Bounty by the ordinary way, but by the way of practice.
"Secondly, it argued Unfaithfulness in him, that being a sworn Counsellor, he should put the King into such Courses of so much prejudice, deceitfully, in concealing the value of that which he bought; so that the King gave he knew not what; For under the proportion of Two thousand pounds, he gives it may be Four thousand pounds. And by this the King did not only sustain great loss for the present, but it opened a way of continual loss, which hath ever since been pursued by all those who have passed Lands from the Crown.
"Thirdly, The King is hereby not left Master of his own Liberality, neither in proportion nor certainty; for it might so fall out, that the Quantity passed from him, might be treble to that he in tended.
"That the best of the Lands and most: vendable being passed away, the worst lay upon the King's hand; that if he should have occasion to raise Money by sale of Lands, that course is not like to furnish him. Besides, that in the mean time betwixt the Grants and the Surrenders, opportunity was left to the Duke to cut down Woods, to enfranchise Copyholds, to make long Leases, and yet the old Rent remaining still, the Land may be surrendred at the same value. Whether this have been practised, he could not affirm, not having had time to examine it; yet he desired the Lords to enquire after it, the rather for that the Mannor of G. in Lincolnshire being dismembred, and Seventeen pounds of the old Rents sold out of it, was by a Surrender turned back upon his Majesty.
4. "The fourth point of this Branch was, The colourable Tallies divers parcels of these Lands had from the Crown in lieu of this surrender, being sold and contracted for by his own Agent, and the Money received by himself or to his use, and yet tallies were stricken out, as if it had really come to the Exchequer for his Majesty's service. This is to be proved by his own Officers, by the Officers of the Exchequer, and by the Tallies themselves, which Tallies amount unto 20563 l. 16 s. 8 d. Whence he observed,
"Thirdly, If the Title of those Lands should prove questionable, it appearing by Record, as if the King had received the Money, he was bound in honour to make restitution, and yet the Duke had the profit.
"But it may be said, This was the Purchaser's desire for their own security. Of which objection he made this use, That the Subjects generally took notice of so much Lands given to the Duke, that there is good cause to expect a Resumption.
"In the second general branch of this Article concerning Money, the first point observed was, the total sum received by him in ten years space, amounting to 162995 l. besides the grant he hath of the Overplus above three thousand pounds per annum to be made of the Third imposed upon Stranger's Goods, and besides the Moiety of Seven thousand pounds out of the Customs of Ireland, which he is bound to pay to the King; but whether it hath been paid, or no, is doubtful.
"Thus he delivered as a Sum Estimative, yet so computed as it may be more, but not less. And this total ariseth by free Gifts or Pensions to himself, else by profit of Farms, by Pensions to others; for Offices, whereof he received the profit, as the Admiralty, and Mastership of the Horse. All which appear by a Schedule annexed to his Charge.
"The Grievances consist in this; That the Commonwealth hath been bereaved of the use and employment of so Publick Treasure in a time of as great want, and great occasions in this State, as it hath had in many Ages, when the expences of the King's Court can hardly be supplied, when his Houses and Castles were unfurnished, when the Seas have been unguarded, the Coast subject to the incursion and spoil of Enemies by default of Provision in the Navy, to the dishonour of the Nation, and damage of the Subjects, and hazard of the whole. And the offence is this, that the wants in the Navy and the Stores being within his own Charge, he was no more sensible of them; whereby it appears, he preferred the serving of his own turn before his duty and before the safety of this State.
"The second point observed in this branch, was, That the Duke under pretence of secret services, had procured great sums of Money to be issued by Privy-seals to sundry persons named by himself, but afterward employed to his own use. Hereof two instances are propounded: the one of eight thousand pounds paid to Sir Robert Pye, 12 Aug. 1610. and by him disbursed for the Duke's purchase of Burleigh, and Sir Robert Rye discharged by another Privy-seal, 4 Junii following. The second instance is of Sixty thousand pounds paid to Burlimach by a Privy-seal, in September I625. which time the rather noted, because the Parliament at Oxford was broken up a little before out of discontent that the King was not supplied for the setting out of the Fleet, which would have been done with a less sum. For the proof of that the House of Commons will offer to your Lordships Witnesses.
"The quality of this offence he left to their Lordships judgment; yet propounding some things by way of inquiry, from whence it might receive measure and proportion. I. Whether it had not affinity with the Crime in the Civil Law, called Crimen peculates; which was when a Man did unjustly turn to his own use that Money which was either sacra, dedicated to God's service religiously; or religiosa, used about Funerals and Monuments of the dead; or publica, of which kind the matter now in question is? And this offence by that Law was Death and Confiscation of Goods and Estate. Which he notes the rather, that their Lordships might perceive, that in the wisest State the Publick Treasure was held in the same reputation with that which was dedicated to God and Religion. 2. And whether it doth not resemble another Crime in the same Law termed Crimen falsi, and is defined to be when a Man shall imitatione veri suum compendium alieno dispendio per dolum facere, by femblance of truth make gain to himself of other Men's losses: Which in the case of a Bondman was death, and in case of another Man banishment and Confiscation, or otherwise very penal, as the Judges should find cause of moderation, or rigour, in the nature and circumstances of the Fact. 3. Whether their Lordships will estimate it according to any Sentences in the Star-chamber, which have been very frequent in cases of Fraud: or according to the Common-Law, which so much detests this kind of dealing, as that they term it Covin, and make it vitiate ordinary and lawful actions. Or lastly, whether they will Measure it by that Judgment which the Duke hath passed against himself in the guilt of his own Conscience? (direct Actions are not afraid to appear open faced; but Injustice and Fraud desire to be masked with fubtilty and closeness.) It were offence enough, if there were no more but a cunning concealing of un thankfulness to hide his Majesty's bounty; or guilt of unworthiness, as if he durst not avow the receipt of that which he hath not merited; both which proceed from Malum culpe, or else that other kind of guilt which proceeds from Malum pœnæ, the fear of punishment foreseeing this Inquisition into his Actions, and hoping, under this disguise of Publick Service, to escape their Lordships Censure.
"The third point in this branch is, That he hath received sundry sums of Money intended for the maintenance of the Navy: whereof there are two instances: the one whereof is 20000 l. the other of 30000 l. both in January 1624. By Privy-seal, by the which these sums are issued, they appear to be Free Gifts: But by the affirmation of some in answer for the Duke, it hath been said, He was only the hand to convey them to the Treasury of the Navy. If the truth be according to the Privy-seal, they are to be added to the former Total as parcel of his own gain: If according to that allegation, it may prove a president of greater damage to the King, than the Money is worth; for by this way his Majesty hath no means by matter of Record to charge the Treasurer of the Navy with these sums, and may lose the benefit of the Aft of Parliament 13 Eliz. whereby Accomptant's Lands are made liable to the payment of their Debts to the King, and in many cases may be sold for his Majesty's satisfaction. The Treasurer of the Navy is a worthy Man, but if he should dye, the King loseth the benefit.
"The fourth point of this branch is, That he hath caused so great a mixture and confusion between the King's Estate and his own, that they cannot be distinguished by the Records and Entries which ought to be kept for the safety of his Majesty's Treasure, and indempnity of the Subject. This is proved in divers instances, whereof the last alledged is one, and others follow.
"By the wisdom of the Law in the constitution of the Exchequer, there be three Guards set upon the King's Treasure and Accompts. The first is a legal Impignoration, whereby the Estates personal and real of the Accomptants are made liable to be sold for the discharge of their debts which I mentioned before. The second an apt Controlment over every Office; by which the King relies not upon the industry and and honesty of any one Man; but if he fail in either, it may be discovered by some other sworn to take notice of it, and either to correct his Errors, or amend his Faults. The third is, a durable Evidence and Certainty, not for the present time only, but for perpetuity because the King can neither receive, or pay, but by Record.
"All these Guards have been broken by the Duke, both in the Cases next before recited, and in these which follow. The custom of the Exchequer is the Law of the Kingdom, for so much as concerneth the King's Revenue. Every breach of a Law by a particular offence, is punishable; but such an offence as this, being destructive of the Law it self is of a far higher nature.
"The fifth point of this second branch, is concerning two Privy-seals of Release; the one 16, the other 20 Jac. whereby this Duke is discharged of divers sums secretly received to his Majesty's use, but by virtue of these Releases to be converted to the support of his own Estate. The proof hereof is referred to the Privy-seals themselves. From which he made one observation, of the subtilty he used to wind himself into the possession of the King's Money, and to get that by cunning steps and degrees, which peradventure he could not have obtained at once. A good Master will trust a Servant with a greater sum that is out of his Purse, than he would bestow upon him being in his Purse; and yet after it is out of his hands, may be drawn more easily to make a Release, than at first to have made a Free Gift. This is a proper instance to be added to the proof of the point of mingling his own Estate with the Kings; and of the same kind be other particulars mentioned in the Schedule, though not expressed in the Charge; as Twenty thousand pounds received in Composition for the Earl of M. his Fine, which cannot be discovered whether part or all be converted to the Duke's benefit; and yet it appears by a Private-seal to be clearly intended to the Kings own service for the Houshold and Wardrobe, till by the Duke's practice it was diverted into this close and by-way.
"Another instance in this, is, His endeavour to get the Money which should be made of Prize-goods into his own hands; And for this purpose, he first laboured to procure that his Man Gabriel Marsh might receive it; and when it was thought sit some partner should be joyned with him, trial was made of divers, but none of any credit would undertake the charge with such a Consort. And the Commons have reason to think there was good cause of this refusal; for he is so ill an Accomptant, that he confessed in their House (being examined) that by authority from the Duke he received divers bags of gold and silver out of the S. Peter of Newhaven, which he never told.
"When this practice of imploying his own Man would take no effect, then he procured a Commission from Sir William Russel, who is indeed without exception an able and worthy Officer; but that is not enough for the King's security; For however he was to receive the Money, it was to be disbursed by and to the Duke's warrant and profit. Which Clause hath been altered since this was questioned in Parliament; and now it is to be issued from an immediate Warrant from his Majesty: But as it was, it may be noted as an encroachment upon the Office of my Lord Treasurer, whereby he might make a more easy way to some sinister end of his own; so that upon the matter, Sir William was but a safeguard of the Money for the Duke himself. And this I must note of some guilt in the very act of it.
"The last point upon this whole Charge, was a reduction of the value of the Land, together with the Money into one total, and to that purpose he rated the Land, being valued at a reasonable value, at forty years purchase; for although some of it was sold for thirty, yet a great part was worth more than a hundred years purchase, so as forty years is conceived to be an easie Medium; at this rate, 3055 l. amounteth to 121400 l. which being added to the total of the Money received, 162995 l. both together make the sum of 284395 l. besides the Forest of Layfield, and besides the profits made out of the thirds of Stranger's Goods, and the Moiety of the profit made out of the Customs of Ireland.
"This is a great sum in it self, but much greater by many Circumstances; if we look upon the time past, never so much came into any private Man's hands out of the publick Purse; if we respect the time present, the King never had so much want, never so many Forreign occasions, important and expensive; the Subjects have never given greater supplies, and yet those supplies unable to furnish these expences. But as' the Circumstances make the sum greater, so there be other Circumstances which make it less, if it be compared with the inestimable gain he hath made by the sale of Honours and Offices, and by projects hurtful to the State, both of England and Ireland; or if it be compared to his profusion, it will appear but a little sum. All these gifts, and other ways of profit notwithstanding, he confest before both Houses of Parliament, that he was indebted 100000 l. If this be true, how can we hope to satisfie his prodigality? if false, how can we hope to satisfie his covetousness? and therefore their Lordships need not wonder, if the Commons desire, and that earnestly, to be delivered from such a Grievance.
"That this complaint and proceedings of theirs may appear to be suitable to the proceedings of their Predecessors in like cases; he all edged three Presidents, which he said were Presidents in kind, but not in proportion, because there hath never been the like.
"The first, 10 Rich. 2. in the complaint against Michael de la Pool, Earl of Suffolk; out of which he took three Articles: the first, That being Chancellor, and sworn to the King's profit, he had purchased divers lands from the King, more than he had deserved, and at an under rate; yet this was thought to be an offence against the State.
"The second, That he had bought of one Tydman an Annuity of Five hundred pound per annum; which Grant was void by the Laws, yet he being Chancellor, procured the King to make it good by a new Grant, upon surrender of the old. This was complained of in Parliament, and there punished.
The third, Whereas the Master of St. Anthony's, being a Schisma tick had forfeited his Possessions into the King's hand; this Earl took them in Farm at Twenty Marks a year, converting the overplus, which was One thousand Marks, to his own profit, which would have come to the King.
"The next President, II Rich. 2. in the Judgment against Robert de Vere of Oxford, and others; out of which he took two Articles, the Fifth and Seventh: The Fifth was for taking Manors and Lands annexed to the Crown, whereby they themselves were enriched, and the King made poor. The Seventh was for intercepting the Subsidies granted for the defence of the Kingdom.
"The third President is that of 28 Hen. 6. in the Parliament-Roll, out of the complaint against William de la Pool, Duke of Suffolk, Article 29. That he being next and primest of Council to the King, he had procured him to grant great Possessions to divers persons, where by the King was much impoverished, the expence of his House unpaid, Wages, Wardrobe, Castles, Navy, Debts, unsatisfied; and so by his subtil Council, and unprofitable Labour, the Revenues of the Crown, and the Duchy of Lancaster, and other the King's Inheritances, so much diminished, and the Commons of the Kingdom so extremely charged, that it was near to a final destruction.
"The Fourth was, That the King's Treasure was mischievously distributed to himself, his friends and well-willers; so that for lack of Moneys, no Army, nor Ordnance, could be provided in time; and because these great persons were not brought to judgment upon these Articles alone, but for other misdemeanors, he made this observation, that ravening upon the King's Estate, is always accounted with other great faults that deserve judgment.
Then he said, he had done with that which had been left to him; and so he left the Duke to their Lordship's Justice, That as he had exceeded others in this offence, so he might not come behind them in punishment. And so he humbly desired their Lordships to be pleased to pardon his Delivery, and to give a favourable censure of him.
Lastly, The Thirteenth Article was read.
XIII. Whereas special care and order hath been taken by the Laws of the Realm, to restrain and prevent the unskilful Administration of Physick, whereby the health and life of Men may be much endangered-And whereas most especially, the Royal Persons of the Kings of the Realm, in whom, we their Loyal Subjects humbly challenge a great interest, are, and always have been esteemed by us so sacred, that nothing ought to be prepared for them, or administred unto them in the way of Physick or Dyet, in the times of their sickness, without the consent and direction of some of their sworn Physicians, Apothecaries, or Chyrurgeons. And the boldness of such (how near foever to them in place and favour) who have forgotten their duties so far, as to presume to offer any thing unto them beyond their experience, hath been always ranked in the number of high Offences and Misdemeanors. And whereas the sworn Physicians of our late Sovereign Lord King James, of blessed memory, attending on his Majesty in the Month of March, in the Two and twentieth, year of his most glorious Reign, in the times of his sickness, being an Ague, did, in due and necessary care of, and for the recovery of his health, and preservation of his Person, upon, and after several mature Consultations in that behalf had and holden, at several times in the same Month, resolve and give directions, That nothing should be apply'd or given unto his Highness, by way of Physick or Diet, during his said sickness, but by, and upon, their general advice and consents, and after good deliberation thereof first had, more especially by their like care, and upon like consultations; did justly resolve, and publickly give warning to, and for all the Gentlemen, and other Servants and Officers of his said late Majesty's Bed-Chamber, That no Meat or Drink whatsoever should be given unto him, within two or three hours next before the usual time of, and for the coming of his Fit in the said Ague, not during the continuance thereof, nor afterwards, until his cold Fit were past. The said Duke of Buckingham, being a sworn Servant of his late Majesty, of and in his Majesty's said Bed-chamber, contrary to his duty, and the tender respect which he ought to have had of his Majesty's most Sacred Person; and after the Consultations, Resolutions, Directions, and Warning aforesaid, did nevertheless, without any sufficient warrant in that behalf, unduly cause and procure certain Plaisters, and a certain Drink or Potion to be provided for the use of his said Majesty, without the direction or privity of his said late Majesty's Physicians, not prepared by any of his Majesty's sworn Apothecaries or Chyrurgeons, but compounded of several Ingredients to them unknown. Notwithstanding the same Plaisters, or some Plaister like thereunto, having been formerly administred unto his said Majesty, did produce such ill effects, as that some of the said sworn Physicians did altogether disallow thereof, and utterly refused to meddle any further with his said Majesty, until these Plaisters were removed, as being hurtful and prejudicial to the health of his Majesty; yet nevertheless the same Plaisters, as also a Drink or Potion, was provided by him the said Duke; which he the said Duke, by colour of some insufficient and flight pretences, did upon Monday, the one and twentieth day of March, in the two and twentieth year aforesaid, when his Majesty, by the judgment of the said Physicians, was in the declination of his disease, cause and procure the said Plaisters to be applied to the Breast and Wrists of his late Majesty. And then also at, and in his Majesty's Fit of the said Ague, the said Monday, and at several times within two hours before the coming of the said Fit, and before his Majesty's then cold Fit was passed, did deliver, and cause to be delivered, several quantities of the said Drink or Potion to his said late Majesty; who thereupon at the same times, within the seasons in that behalf prohibited by his Majesty's Physicians, as foresaid, did, by the means and procurement of the said Duke, drink, and take divers quantities of the laid Drink or Potion.
After which said Plaisters, and Drink or Potion, applied and given unto, and taken and received by his said Majesty, as aforesaid, great distempers, and divers ill symptoms appeared upon his said Majesty; insomuch that the said Physicians finding his Majesty the next morning much worse in the estate of his health, and holding a Consultation thereabout, did, by joint consent, send to the said Duke, praying him not to adventure to minister to his Majesty any more Physick, without their allowance and approbation. And his said Majesty himself finding himself much diseased and affected with pain and sickness, after his then Fit, when by the course of his Disease he expected intermission and ease, did attribute the cause of such his trouble unto the said Plaister and Drink, which the said Duke had so given, and caused to be administred unto him. Which said adventurous act, by a Person obliged in duty and thankfulness, done to the Person of so great a King, after so ill success of the like formerly administred, contrary to such Directions as aforesaid, and accompanied with so unhappy event, to the great grief and discomfort of all his Majesty's Subjects in general, as an offence and Misdemeanour of so high a nature, as may justly be called, and is, by the said Commons, deemed to be an act of transcendent presumption, and of dangerous consequence.
Mr. Wandesford deputed to enlarge and aggravate upon the Thirteenth Article, commended the Charity and Providence of that Law, which makes it penal for unskilful Empiricks, and all others, to exercise and practice Physick upon common persons, without a lawful Calling and Approbation, branding them that thus transgress as Improbos, Ambitiosos, Temerarios, & Audaces homines: But he that without skill and calling shall direct a Medicine, which upon the same person had wrought bad effects, enough to have disswaded a second adventure; and then when Physicians were present, Physicians selected for Learning and Art, prepared by their Office and Oaths, without their consent, nay, even contrary to their Direction, and in a time unseasonable; he must needs (said he) be guilty, albeit towards a common person, of a precipitate and unadvised Rashness, much more towards his own Sovereign. And so pious are our selves to put the Subjects in mind of their duty towards their Princes, Persons so Sacred, that in the attempt of a Mad-man upon the King, his want of Reason, which towards any of his fellow Subjects might have quit him of Felony, shall not excuse him of Treason. And how wary and advised our Ancestors have been not to apply things in this kind to the Person of a King, may appear by a President, 32 Hen. 6. where John Araudel, and others the King's Physicians and Chyrurgeons, thought it not safe for them to administer any thing to the King's Person, without the assent of the Privy Council first obtained and express Licence under the great Seal of England.
This Medicine found his Majesty in the declination of his disease, (and we all wish it had left him so) but his better days were shortly turned into worse; and in stead of health and recovery, we hear, by good testimony (that which troubles the poor and loyal Commons of England) of great distempers, as Droughts, Raving, Fainting, an intermitting Pulse, strange effects to follow upon the applying of a Treacle Plaister. But the truth is, Testimony tells us, that this Plaister had a strange smell, and an invective quality, striking the malignity of the disease inward; which Nature otherwise might have expelled outward. Add to this the Drink, twice given to his Majesty, by the Duke his own hands, and a third time refused, and the following complaint of that blessed Prince, the Physicians telling him, to please him for the time, That his second impairment was from cold taken, or some other ordinary cause: No, no, said his Majesty, it is that which I had from Buckingham. And though there be no President (said he) of an act offered to the Person of a King, so insolent as this; yet it is true, that divers persons as great as this, have been questioned and condemned for less offences against the Person of their Sovereign. It was an Article amongst others laid against the Duke of Somerset, for carrying Edward the Sixth away in the night time, out of his own head, but from Hampton-Court to Windsor; and yet he was trusted with the Protection of his Person. Presidents failing us in this point; the Common Law will supply us. The Law judgeth a Deed done in the execution of an unlawful act, Man-slaughter, which otherwise would but have been Chance medly; and that this act was unlawful, the House of Commons do believe, as belonging to the Duty and Vocation of a sworn and experimented Physician, and not the unskilfulness of a young Lord. And so precious are the lives of Men in the eye of the Law, that though Mr. Stanford faith, If a Physician take one into his Cure, and he die under his hands; it is not Felony, because he did it not feloniously. Yet it is Mr. Bracton's opinion, that if one that is no Physician or Chyrurgeon undertake a Cure, and the Party die under his hands, this is Felony. And the Law goeth further, making Physicians and Chyrurgeons themselves accountable for the death of their Patients, if it appear they have transgressed the Rules of their own Art; that is, by undertaking a thing wherein they have no experience, or having yet failed in their care and diligence.
Lastly, he said, He was commanded by the House of Commons to desire their Lordships, that seeing the Duke hath made himself a President in committing that which former Ages knew not, their Lordships will, out of their Wisdom and Justice, make him an example for the time to come.
"Your Lordships have heard, in the Labours of these two days spent in this service, a representation from the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the Commons House. of Parliament, of their apprehension of the present evils and dangers of this Kingdom; of the Causes of the same; and of the application of them to the Duke of Buckingham, so clearly and fully, as I presume your Lordships expect I should rather conclude, than add any thing to his charge.
"Your Lordships have heard how his Ambition was expressed in procuring and getting into-his hands the greatest Offices of Strength and Power of this Kingdom, by what means he had attained them, and how Money stood for Merit.
"There needs no Argument to prove this, but the common sense of the miseries and misfortunes which we suffer; adding but one, the Regality of our Narrow Seas, the ancient Inheritance of our Princes, lost or impeached.
"This I need not further to press, but from hence my Observation must descend to his other Virtues, and that by way of Perspective: I shall give it so near and short, as rather to exercise your Lordships memory, than to oppress your patience.
"first, I propose unto your Lordships, the inward Character of the Duke's mind, which is full of collusion and deceit; I can express it no better than by the Beast, called by the Ancients Stessionatusa. Beast so blurr'd, so spotted, so full of soul lines, that they knew not what to make of it: so do we find in this Man's practice, who first inveagled the Merchants, drawing them to Diep to be inthralled; then dealt deceitfully with the King to colour his offences, his design being against Rochel and the Religion: Next with the Parliament, to disguise his actions; a practice no less dangerous and disadvantagious to us, than prejudicial to our Friends and Allies.
"Next, I present to your Lordships, the Dukes high oppression, and that of strange latitude and extent, not to Men alone, but to Laws, and Statutes, to Acts of Council, to Pleas and Decrees of Court, to the pleasure of his Majesty, all must stoop to him, if they oppose or stand in his way. This hath been expressed unto you in the Ship called the S. Peter, and those of Diep; nay, he calls on the colour of his Majesty's great Name to shadow his design.
"It had been his duty, nay, the rest of the place, not to have translated them into the hand of Strangers; that had his Majesty yielded in that point, the Duke should have opposed it by his continual Prayers and Intercessions, making known unto his Majesty the Inconveniencies likely to ensue; and not to rest there, but to have reported it to your Lordships sitting in Council, to have desired and prayed your aid and assistance, in a matter of so great importance: And if this had failed, he should have entred into a Protestation against it. This hath been done by worthy Predecessors in that office, and this hath been the worthy discharge of the great Trust reposed in his Place.
"I heard the Ships were returned, but I know it not; but if I knew so, this neither excuseth, nor qualisieth the Duke's offence. The French in this case are to be commended, not he excused; he left them in the hands of a Foreign Power, who when they once had them, for any thing he knew, might easily have kept them.
"The third Head is, The Duke's Extortion, in exacting from the East-India Company, without right or colour, Ten thousand pounds, exquisitely expressed, and Mathematically observed by the Gentleman (you know by whom employed) who, by his Marine experience, learned this Observation, That if the Fleet gained not the Wind by such time at the Cape, the Voyage was loft.
"Next to the soul Extortion, is Bribery and Corruption in the sale of Honour and Offices of Command. That which was wont to be the Crown of Virtue and Merit, is now become a Merchandise for the greatness of this Man, and the Justice it self made a prey unto him. All which particulars your Lordships have heard opened, and enforced, with Reasons and Proofs, what in themselves they are; and therefore I spare further to press them.
"In the fifth place, observe a wonder in Policy and in Nature, how this Man, so notorious in evil, so dangerous to the State in his immense greatness, is able to subsist of himself, and keep a Being: To this I answer, That the Duke hath used the help of Art to prop him up; It was apparent, that by his skill he hath raised a Party in the Court, a Party in the Countrey, and a main Party in the chief Places of Government in the Kingdom: So that all the most deserving Offices that require Abilities to discharge them, are fixed upon the Duke, his Allies and Kindred. And thus he hath drawn to him and his, the Power of Justice, the Power of Honour, and the Power of Command, and, in effect, the whole Power of the Kingdom, both for Peace and War, to strengthen his Allies; and in setting up himself, hath set upon the Kingdoms Revenues, the Fountain of Supply, and the Nerves of the Land.
"He intercepts, consumes, and exhausts the Revenues of the Crown, not only to satisfie his own lustful desires, but the luxury of others; and by emptying the Veins, the Blood should run in, he hath cast the Body of the Kingdom into an high Consumption.
"Insinite sums of Money, and Mass of Land, exceeding the value of Money, Contributions in Parliament have been heaped upon him, and how have they been employed? Upon costly Furniture, sumptuous Feasting, and magnificent Building, the visible evidences of the express exhausting of the State; and yet his Ambition, which is boundless, resteth not here, but, like a violent flame, bursteth forth, and getteth further scope: Not satisfied with injuries, and injustice, and dishonouring of Religion, his attempts go higher, to the prejudice of his Sovereign, which is plain in his practice. The effects I fear to speak, and fear to think. I end this passage, as Cicero did in a like case, Ne gravioribus utar verbis quam rei natura fert, aut levioribus quam cause necessitas postulat.
"Your Lordships have an Idea of the Man, what he is in himself, what in his affections. You have seen his power, and some, I fear, have felt it; you have known his practice, and have heard the effects. It rests then to be considered, what (being such) he is in reference to the King and State; how compatible or incompatible with either? In reference to the King, he must be stiled the Canker in his Treasure; in reference to the State, the Moth of all Goodness. What future hopes are to be expected, your Lordships may draw out of his Actions and Affections; I will now see, by comparison with others, to what we may find him likened; I can hardly find him a Match or Parallel in all Presidents; none so like him as Sejanus, who is thus described by Tacitus, Audax, fui obtegens, in alios criminator, juxta adulator & superbus.
"To say nothing of his Veneries, if you please to compare them; you shall easily discern wherein they vary; such boldness of the one hath lately been presented before you, as very seldom or never hath been seen. For his secret Intentions and Calumniations, I wish this Parliament had not felt them, nor the other before. For his Pride and Flattery, it is noted of Sejanus, that he did Clientes suos Provinciis adornare. Doth not this Man the like? Ask England, Scotland, and Ireland, and they will tell you. Sejanus's pride was so excessive, as Tacitus faith, He neglected all Council, mixed his business and service with the Prince, seeming to consound their actions, and was often stiled Imperatoris laborum socius. How lately and how often hath this Man commixed his Actions in Discourses with Actions of the King's?
"My Lords, I have done, you see the Man; only this which was conceived by the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, should be holdly by me spoken, That by him came all these evils, in him we find the Cause, and on him we expect the Remedies, and to this we met your Lordships in Conserence; to which, as your Wisdom invites us, so we cannot doubt, but in your Lordships Wisdom, Greatness, and Power, we shall, in due time, find Judgment as he deserves.
"I conclude, by presenting to your Lordships the particular Censure of the Bishop of Ely, reported in the 11th of Rich. I. and to give you a short view of his faults. He was first of all noted to be luxurious; Secondly, He married his own King to Personages of highest rank and places; Thirdly, no Man's business was done without his help; Fourthly, He would not suffer the King's Counsel to advise in matters of State; Fifthly, he grew to such a heighth of pride, that no Man was thought worthy to speak unto him; And lastly, His Castles, and Forts of Trust; he did obscuris & ignotis hominibus tradere. His doom was this, Per totam insulam publice proclamatur, pereat qui perdere cuncta sestinat, opprimatur ne omnes opprimat.
That this great opposition against the Duke, was stirred up and maintained by such as seek the destruction of this free Monarchy. Because they find it is not yet ripe to attempt against the King himself, they endeavour it through the sides of the Duke. The persons agreeing in this one mischief, are of divers sorts and humours. First, medling and busie persons, who love popular speeches: Secondly, covetous Landlords, Inclosers, Depopulators, &c. who being of the Parliament, ease themselves in Subsidies, and lay it on the true Commons, and cry out, the Grievances are caused by the Duke. Thirdly, Recusants, who hate the Duke for the breach of the Spanish Match. Fourthly, Persons indebted, who by Priviledge of Parliament, avoid payment. Fifthly, Puritans and Sectaries, though two of them scarcely agree in what they would have: Haters of Government, and would have the King's power extinguish'd in matters Ecclesiastical, and limited in Civil. Sixthly, Male-contents, who look upon the Duke with an evil eye, because themselves are not preserred. Seventhly, Lawyers, who are very sit in Parliament to second any Complaint against both Church and King, and all his Servants, with their Customs, Antiquities, Records, Statutes, Presidents, and Stories. Eightly, Merchants and Citizens, who deceive the King of Custom. Ninthly, Innovators, Plebicola.
That since the time of Henry the Sixth, these Parliamentary discoursings might never be suffered, as being but certain symptoms of subsequent Rebellions, Civil Wars, and the dethroning our King, and no one Patriot daring to oppose them, left he incur the reputation of a Fool or Coward in his Country's Cause.
It behoveth, without doubt, his Majesty to uphold the Duke against them, who, if he be decourted, it will be the Corner-stone, on which the demolishing of his Monarchy will be builded: For if they prevail with this, they have hatched a thousand other demands to pull the Feathers of Royalty.
Wars in this time, spent in Treaties, &c. And his Majesty can testifie for the things done in his time. And all these, though actions of the King, are imputed to the Duke: Who if he suffer or obeying his Sovereign, the next attempt will be to call the King to account for anything he undertakes, which doth not prosperously succeed, as all men would desire it.
If it please his Majesty to remove and set aside all these disadvantages, he shall find the Charge against the Duke very empty and of small moment: And if his Majesty and the Duke's Grace think it no Impeachment to their Honors, all that the Parliament hath objected against the Duke, except two or three things that may receive an Answer, is pardoned at the King's Coronation, which benefit every poor Subject enjoyeth.
'The cause, and only cause of my coming to you this day, is to. express the sense I have of all your Honor's; for he that toucheth Any of you, toucheth me in a very great measure. I have thought sit to take order for the punishing some insolent speeches lately spoken. I have been too remiss heretofore in punishing such speeches as concern my self; not that I was greedy of their monies, but that Buckingham, through his importunity would not suffer me to take notice of them, left he might be thought to have set me on, and that he might come the forwarder to his Tryal. And to approve his innocency as touching the matters against him, I my self can be a Witness to clear him in every; one of them.
'I speak not this to take any thing out of your hands; but to shew the reason why I have not hitherto punished those insolent speeches against my self. And now I hope you will be as tender of my Honor, when time shall serve, as I have been sensible of yours.
The Commons taking into serious consideration the main mischief's and inconveniences which this renowned kingdom both now suffer, threatening apparent danger to the King and Commonwealth, have by search and disquisition into the Causes thereof found that they do principally flow from the exorbitant power and abusive carriage of the Duke of Buckingham, whereof he hath this Parliament been impeached before their Lordships by the Commons, besides an accusation of a Peer in their own house who bath chrged him (as they are inforsmed) of High Treason; they therefore with one voice make intire Declaration, That they hold it a thing of dangerous Consequence both for the present and future times, that a man of so great eminence, power and authority, being impeached and accused of such high Crimes and Dffences, should yet enjoy his
Liberty, bold so great a part of the strength of the Kingdom in his hands at as a Peer in Parliament, and be acquainted with the Counsels thereof, whereby inevitable mischief may suddenly fall upon the Kingdom, Wherefore they have thought it their Duty to recommend this their unanimous Desire to their Lordship, as agreeable to Law and reason, Chat they would be pleased forthwith to commit the Person of the said Duke to Case Custody.
If I should hold my peace, it would argue guilt; If I should speak, 'it would argue boldness, being so foully accused. Your Lordships see what complaints are made against me by the House of Commons. How well I stood in their opinions not long since, your Lordships know it. What I have done since to lose their good opinions, I protest I know not. I cannot so distrust my own Innocency, and my heart which abhors guilt, as to decline any Course, or Court of Justice: And had they not brought My Cause to your Lordships, it should have been my own work; and they have done me a Favor to deliver me out of their hands into your Lordships.
I will not speak any thing to cast dirt at those, who had taken Pains to make me so soul; but to protest my innocency in that measure, which 'I shall ever hope to prove, it being before such just Judges, I desire my Tryal may be hastned, That I may no longer suffer than I must needs. And now that my Accuser hath not been content only to make my Process, out to prescribe to your Lordships the manner of your Judgment, and to Judge me before I am heard, I shall not give way to any of their unjust demands, &c.