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.
16 Junii, 1628.
On this very Day the Duke signified unto the House, that he is informed, that one Mr. Christopher Lukener of the House of Com mons, hath affirmed, that his Grace did speak these Words at his own Table, viz. Tush, it makes no matter what the Commons or Parliament doth, for without my Leave and Authority, they shall not be able to touch the Hair of a Dog. And his Grace desired Leave of their Lordships, that he might make his Protestation in the House of Commons concerning that Speech. And to move them, that he which spake it of him, being a Member of that House, might be commanded to justify it, and his Grace heard to clear himself.
Their Lordships considering thereof, order'd, That the Duke shall be left to himself to do herein what he thinks best in the House of Commons. Whereupon the Duke gave their Lordships Thanks, and protested upon his Honour, that he never had those Words so much as in his Thoughts. The which Protestation the Lords commanded to be entred, that the Duke may make use thereof as need shall be.
First, That Melvin said, That the Duke's Plot was, that the Parliament should be dissolved, and that the Duke and King, with a great Army of Horse and Foot, would War against the Commonalty, and that Scotland should assist him; so that when War was amongst our selves, the Enemy should come in; for this Kingdom is already Sold to the Enemy by the Duke.
- 2. That the Duke had a stronger Counsel than the King, of which were certain Jesuits, Scotch-Men, and that they did sit in Council every Night, from one of the Clock till Three.
- 3. That when the King had a purpose to do any Thing, of what Consequence soever, the Duke could alter it.
- 4. That when the Ordnance was Shipp'd at St. Martins, the Duke caused the Soldiers to go on, that they might be destroy'd.
- 5. That the Duke said, he had an Army of 16000 Foot, and 1200 Horse.
- 6. That King James his Blood, and Marquis Hamilton's, with others, cries out for Vengeance to Heaven.
- 7. That he could not expect any Thing but Ruin of this Kingdom.
- 8. That Prince Henry was poison'd by Sir Thomas Overbury, and he himself served with the same Sawce, and that the Earl of Somerset and others could say much to this.
- 9. That he himself had a Cardinal to his Uncle, or near Kinsman, whereby he had great Intelligence.
That their Lordships had Reason to be satisfied with what was truly and rightly told them by the Lords of the Council, That this Commission was no more but a Warrant of Advice, which his Majesty knew to be agreeable to the Time, and the manifold Occasions then in Hand; but now having a Supply from the Loves of his People, he esteems the Commission useless; and therefore though he knows no Cause why any Jealousy should have risen thereby, yet, at their Desires, he is content it be cancelled; and he hath commanded me to bring both the Commission and Warrant to him, and it shall be cancelled in his own Presence.
The Day following, the Lord Keeper reported, That his Majesty had cancelled the Commission, and the Warrant for putting the Seal thereunto, and did there openly shew it; and a Message was sent to the Commons to shew them the said cancelled Commission and Warrant.
The Commons resume again the Debate upon the Bill of Tonnage and Poundage; whereupon Mr. Selden said, Whereas the King's Council objected, that 1 Eliz. saith, It was granted Time out of Mind to the King, I fear his Majesty is told so, and some Body doth ascertain him so: But we may clear that, for not only 1 Eliz. but also in the Statute of 1 Jac. the word Time out of Mind is, That whereas H. 7. and other his Majesty's Progenitors, have had some Subsidy for the guarding of the Seas; and there was never a King but had some Subsidy, in that Sense it is indeed Time out of Mind; yet is it a matter of free Gift: For publick Bills, the King saith, Le Roy veult; for Petitions of Right, Soit droit fait come est desire.
For the Bill of Subsidies, it is thus, The King heartily thanking the Subjects for their good Wills; In all the Bills of Tonnage and Poundage is the very same Answer, save one, which was 1 Eliz. and but for that only mistake of the Clerk, it hath ever the same Assent as the Bill of Subsidy.
Upon this Debate it was ordered, that a Committee be appointed to draw up a Remonstrance to his Majesty of the Peoples Rights, and of the undue taking of Tonnage and Poundage, and Impositions, without Act of Parliament; and to shew the Reasons, why the House cannot in so short a Time prepare that Bill.
Most gracious Sovereign, Your Majesty's most Loyal and Dutiful Subjects, the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, being in nothing more careful, than of the Honour and Prosperity of your Majesty, and the Kingdom, which they know do much depend upon that happy Union and Relation betwixt your Majesty and your People, do, with much sorrow apprehend, that by reason of the incertainty of their continuance together, the unexpected Interruptions which have been cast upon them, and the shortness of Time in which your Majesty hath determined to end this Sessions, they cannot bring to Maturity and Perfection, divers businesses of Weight, which they have taken into their Consideration and Resolution, as most important for the common good: Amongst other Things, they have taken into especial Care the preparing of a Bill, for the granting of your Majesty such a Subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage, as might uphold your Profit and Revenue in as ample a manner, as their just Care and Respect of Trade (wherein not only the Prosperity, but even the Life of the Kingdom doth consist would permit: But being a Work which will require much Time, and Preparation by Conference with your Majesty's Officers, and with the Merchants, not only of London, but of other remote Parts, they find it not possible to be accomplished at this Time: Wherefore considering it will be much more prejudicial to the Right of the Subject, if your Majesty should continue to receive the same, without Authority of Law, after the Determination of a Session, than if there had been a Recess by Adjournment only, in which Case, that intended Grant would have related to the first Day of the Parliament; and assuring themselves, that your Majesty is resolved to observe that your Royal Answer, which you have lately made to the Petition of Right of both Houses of Parliament; Yet doubting lest your Majesty may be mis-informed concerning this particular Case, as if you might continue to take those Subsidies of Tonnage and Poundage, and other Impositions upon Merchants, without breaking that Answer, they are forced, by that Duty which they owe to your Majesty, and to those whom they represent, to declare, That there ought not any Imposition to be laid upon the Goods of Merchants, Exported or Imported; without common Consent by Act of Parliament, which is the Right and Inheritance of your Subjects, founded not only upon the most Antient and Original Constitution of this Kingdom, but often confirmed and declared in divers Statute Laws.
And for the better Manifestation thereof, may it please your Majesty to understand, That although your Royal Predecessors, the Kings of this Realm, have often had such Subsidies and Impositions granted unto them, upon divers Decasions, especially for the guarding of the Seas, and the safeguard of Merchants: Yet the Subjects have been ever careful to use such Cautions and Limitations in those Grants, as might prevent any Claim to be made, that such Subsidies do proceed from Duty, and not from the free Gift of the Subjects. And that they have heretofore used to limit a Time in such Grants, and for the most Part but short, as for a Year or Two, and if it were continued longer, they have sometimes directed a certain space of Cessation, or Intermission, that so the Right of the Subject might be more evident. At other Times it hath been granted upon Occasion of War, for a certain Number of Years, with Proviso, That if the War were ended in the mean Time, then the Grant should cease: And of course it hath been sequestred into the Hands of some Subjects, to be employ'd for the guarding of the Seas. And it is acknowledged by the ordinary Answers of your Majesty's Predecessors, in their Assent to the Bills of Subsidies of Tonnage and Poundage, that it is of the Nature of other Subsidies, proceeding from the good Will of the Subject: Very few of your Predecessors had it for life, until the Reign of H. 7. who was so far from conceiving he had any right thereunto, that although he granted Commissions for collecting certain Duties and Customs due by Law, yet he made no Commissions for receiving the Subsidy of Tunnage and Poundage, until the same was granted unto him in Parliament. Since his time, all the Kings and Queens of this Realm have had the like Grants for life, by the free love and good will of the Subjects. And whensoever the People have been grieved, by laying any Impositions or other Charges upon their Goods and Merchandises, without Authority of Law (which hath been very seldom) Yet upon complaint in Parliament, they have been forthwith relieved; saving in the time of your Royal Father, who having, through ill counsel, raised the Rates and Charges upon Merchandises to that heighth at which they now are, yet he was pleased so far forth to yield to the complaint of his People, as to offer, That if the value of those Impositions which he had set might be made good unto him, he would bind himself and his Heirs, by Act of Parliament, never to lay any other: Which offer, the Commons at that time, in regard of the great burden, did not think fit to yield unto. Nevertheless, your Loyal Commons in this Parliament, out of their especial Zeal to your Service, and especial regard of your pressing occasions, have taken into their consideration, so to frame a Grant of Subsidy of Tunnage or Poundage to your Majesty, that both you might have been the better enabled for the defence of your Realm, and your Subjects, by being secure from all undue Charges, be the more encouraged chearfully to proceed in their course of Trade; by the increase whereof, your Majesties profit, and likewise the strength of the Kingdom, would be very much augmented.
But not being now able to accomplish this their desire, there is no course left unto them, without manifest breach of their duty, both to your Majesty and their Country, save only to make this humble Declaration: That the receiving of Tunnage and Poundage, and other Impositions, not granted by Parliament, is a Breach of the Fundamental Liberties of this Kingdom, and contrary to your Majesty's Royal Answer to the said Petition of Right. And therefore they do most humbly beseech your Majesty, to forbear any further receiving of the same; and not to take it in ill part from those of your Majesties loving Subjects, who shall refuse to make payment of any such Charges, without warrant of Law demanded.
And as by this forbearance, your most Excellent Majesty shall manifest unto the World your Royal Justice, in the observation of your Laws: So they doubt not, but hereafter, at the time appointed for their coming again, they shall have occasion to express their great desire to advance your Majesties Honour and Profit.
June 26. The Speaker being sent for to the King at Whitehall, came not into the House till about Nine a-Clock. And after Prayers, the Remonstrance concerning Tunnage and Poundage being ingrossed, was a reading in the House, and while it was a reading, the King sent for the Speaker, and the whole House, and the King made a Speech as followeth.
"It may seem strange, that I came so suddenly to end this Session, before I give my Assent to the Bills. I will tell you the Cause, though I must avow, that I owe the Account of my Actions to God alone. It is known to every one, that a while ago the House of Commons gave me a Remonstrance, how acceptable every Man may judge; and for the Merit of it, I will not call that in Question, for I am sure no Wise Man can justify it.
"Now since I am truly informed, that a Second Remonstrance is preparing for me, to take away the Profit of my Tunnage and Poundage, one of the chief Maintenances of my Crown, by alledging, I have given away my Right thereto by my Answer to your Petition:
"This is so prejudicial unto me, that I am forced to end this Session some few Hours before I meant, being not willing to receive any more Remonstrances, to which I must give a harsh Answer. And since I see, that even the House of Commons begins already to make false Constructions of what I granted in your Petition, left it be worse interpreted in the Country, I will now make a Declaration concerning the true Intent thereof.
"The Profession of both Houses in the time of hammering this Petition, was no Way to trench upon my Prerogative, saying, they had neither Intention or Power to hurt it. Therefore it must needs be conceived, that I have granted no new, but only confirmed the antient Liberties of my Subjects. Yet to shew the clearness of my Intentions, that I neither repent, nor mean to recede from any Thing I have promised you, I do here declare my self, That those Things which have been done, whereby many have had some Cause to expect the Liberties of the Subjects to be trenched upon, which indeed was the first and true ground of the Petition, shall not hereafter be drawn into Example for your prejudice; and from time to time, in the word of a King, ye shall not have the like Cause to complain. But as for Tonnage and Poundage, it is a Thing I cannot want, and was never intended by you to ask, nor meant by me, I am sure, to grant.
"To conclude, I Command you all that are here to take Notice of what I have spoken at this Time, to be the true intent and meaning of what I granted you in your Petition; but especially you, my Lords, the Judges, for to you only, under me, belongs the Interpretation of Laws; for none of the Houses of Parliament, either joint or separate, (what new Doctrine soever may be raised) have any Power either to make or declare a Law without my Consent.
After this Speech ended, the Bill of Subsidy was delivered to the Speaker, standing at the Bar in the Lords House, who made a short Speech, and shewed, that it was the greatest Gift that ever was given in so short a Time. And so craving Pardon for the Errors of the House, and his own, (which he knew to be very many) he desired the King to give his Royal Assent.
The King came so suddenly and unexpectedly to the House, that the Lords were not in their Robes, and the Commons had given no Direction or Order for the Speaker to deliver the Bill of Subsidies. Neither was it brought down to the Commons House, as it was used; but the Bills were read, and the Bill for the Sabbath, for Recusants Children, for Alehouse-Keepers, for continuance of Statutes, for the Clergys Subsidy, for the Lay Subsidy, all passed. But for the Bill for Explanation of the Statutes 3 Jac. about Leases of Recusants Lands, the King said, That in this short time he had not time sufficient to consider thereof; but he said, he found many Errors therein, though the Title be fair; and if at the next Meeting they would amend those Errors, it should pass.
Many private Bills passed also, and after they were all read, their Titles, and the King's Answer to them, which to the publick Bills was Le Roy le veult; to the private, Soit fait come il est desire.
At this Parliament, which begun at Westminster the 17th of March Anno Regni R. Caroli 3. these Acts were passed.
- 2. The Petition exhibited to his Majesty, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, concerning divers Rights and Privileges of the Subject, with the King's Assent thereunto in full Parliament.
- 3. An Act for repressing of all unlicensed Alehouses.
- 4. An Act to restrain the sending over of any to be Popishly bred beyond the Seas.
- 5. An Act for the establishing of Sutton's Hospital, &c.
- 6. An Act for the establishing of Tenants Estates of Bromfield and Yale, in the County of Denbigh, &c.
- 7. An Act for the Continuance and Repeal of divers Statutes, &c.
- 8. An Act for Five entire Subsidies granted by the Clergy.
- 9. An Act concerning the Title, &c. of Earl of Arundel, and for the annexing of the Castle of Arundel, and other Lands, to the said Title of Earl of Arundel.
- 10. An Act to assure the Jointure of the Lady Francis Nevil, and to enable the Lord Abergavenny to sell Lands.
- 11. An Act concerning the Lands of William Earl of Devon.
- 12. An Act to confirm the Estates of the Lord Morley's Tenants in Tatham and Gressingham.
- 13. An Act for re-estating of Lands of William Morgan Esq; and discharging the Trust concerning them.
- 14. A Declaration of the Commons against Dr. Manwaring.
- 15. An Act to enable Dutton Lord Gerrard to make a Jointure to any Wife that he shall hereafter Marry, and to provide for younger Children, and the securing of Portions for Alice, Frances, and Elizabeth Gerrard, Sisters of the said Lord Gerrard.
- 16. An Act for Restitution in Blood of Carew Rawleigh Esq; and to confirm Letters Patents made to the Earl of Bristol by King James.
- 17. An Act for the Naturalizing of Isaac Ashley, Henry Ashley, Thomas Ashley, and Bernard Ashley, Sons of Sir Jacob Ashley Knight.
- 18. An Act for Naturalizing of Samuel Powel.
- 19. An Act for Naturalizing of Alexander Levingston Gent.
- 20. An Act for the Naturalizing of John Trumbal, and of William Beere, Edward Beere, and Sidney Beere, and Samuel Wentworth.
- 21. An Act for the Amendment of a Word Miswritten in an Act made An. 21. Jac. R. to enable Vincent Lowe Esq; to sell Lands, &c.
- 22. An Act for Naturalizing of Sir Robert Ayton Knight.
- 23. An Act for Confirmation of Letters Patents made by King James to John Earl of Bristol.
- 24. An Act for Naturalizing of John Aldersey, Mary Aldersey, Anne Aldersey, Eliz. Aldersey, and Margaret Aldersey, &c.
- 25. An Act for the Naturalizing of Daniel Delingue Knight.
- 26. An Act for the Naturalizing of Sir Robert Dyel Knight, and George Kirk Esq;
- 27. An Act for the Naturalizing of James Freese.
In the Interval between the two Sessions, there hapned many remarkable Passages.
Doctor Manwaring's Sermons, entitled, Religion and Allegiance, were suppressed by Proclamation, the King declaring, that though the grounds thereof were rightly laid to persuade Obedience from Subjects to their Sovereign, and that for Conscience Sake; yet in divers Passages, Inferences, and Applications thereof, trenching upon the Laws of this Land, and Proceedings of Parliaments, whereof he was ignorant, he so far erred, that he had drawn upon himself the just Censure and Sentence of the High Court of Parliament, by whose Judgment also that Book stands Condemned: Wherefore being desirous to remove Occasions of Scandal, he thought fit that those Sermons, in regard of their Influences and Applications, be totally suppressed.
Then a Proclamation came forth, declaring the King's Pleasure for proceedings with Popish Recusants, and Directions to his Commissioners for making Compositions for two Parts of three of their Estates, which, by Law were due to his Majesty; nevertheless (for the most part) they got off upon easy Terms, by reason of Compositions at undervalues, and by Letters of Grace and Protection, granted from time to time to most of the Wealthiest of them.
This was seconded with another Proclamation, commanding, that diligent Search be made for all Priests and Jesuits (particularly the Bishop of Calcedon) and others, that have taken Orders by Authority from the See of Rome, that they be apprehended, and committed to the Gaol of that County where they shall be found, there to remain without Bail or Mainprize, till they be tried by due Course of Law; and if, upon Trial and Conviction, there shall be cause to respite the Execution of any of them, they shall not lie in the common Gaols, much less wander about at large, but according to the example of former Times be sent to the Castle of Wisbich, or some other safe Prison, where they shall remain under strait and close Custody, and be wholly restrained from exercising their Function, and spreading their Superstitious and Dangerous Doctrines.
"Whereas his Majesty hath been informed, that the Romish Priests, Jesuits, and Seminaries lurking in this Kingdom, do obstinately and maliciously continue their wonted Practices to supplant the true Religion established, and to seduce his People from Obedience, stir up Sedition, and subvert the State and Government so far as lieth in their Power: His Majesty therefore hath commanded us to signify unto your Lordships, that it is his express Will and Pleasure, according to his Declaration in Parliament, and his Royal Proclamation since published, you shall forthwith prepare and make ready the Castle of Wisbich, in the Isle of Ely, to receive and lodge all such Priests, Jesuits, and Seminaries, and other Prisoners, as shall be hereafter sent thither, and there treat and govern them according to such Instructions and Directions, as shall be prescribed by this Board.
The Jesuits taken in Clerkenwell being then in several Prisons, it was ordered by the Council they should all be removed to Newgate, and such of them as were not yet convicted and condemned, should be proceeded against until they were condemned, and then that they all should be sent to the Castle of Wisbich, according to the Proclamation in that behalf: And the Attorney-General was required to take Course to entitle the King to the Goods taken in the House which was designed for a College; and accordingly they were proceeded against, and but only one convicted: Which Proceeding was questioned in the ensuing Session of Parliament.
And upon Information, that there was a greater Concourse of Recusants in or near London than had been usual at other Times, the Privy-Council sent to the Lord-Mayor, to require him to cause diligent Search to be made within the City and Liberties thereof, and to find out what Recusants did Inhabit or Remain there as House-keepers, Inmates, or Lodgers, or in any manner, and to return a Certificate to the Board, both of their Names and Qualities, distinguishing which were Tradesmen that were there by Occasion of their Trades, according to the Statute in that behalf, and which were of no Trade, but resorted thither from other Parts of the Kingdom.
About the same Time, Mr. Montague, formerly mentioned, was designed to the Bishoprick of Chichester, upon the Decease of Bishop Carleton. Nevertheless his Appello Cœsarem was thought fit to be called in, the King declaring, that out of his Care to maintain the Church in the Unity of true Religion, and the Bond of Peace, to prevent unnecessary Disputes, he had lately caused the Articles of Religion to be re-printed, as a Rule for avoiding Diversities of Opinions; and considering that a Book written by Richard Montague, now Bishop of Chichester, entituled Appello Cœsarem, was the first Cause of those Disputes and Differences, which since have much troubled the Quiet of the Church, he would take away Occasion, by commanding all Persons that had any of those Books in their Hands, to deliver them to the Bishop of th Diocese; or, if it be in in either Universities, to the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor thereof, who were commanded to suppress them. And if any by preaching, reading, or making of Books pro and contra, concerning those unnecessary Questions shall revive the Difference, he was resolved to take such Order with them, and those Books, as they shall wish they had never thought upon those needless Controversies.
But e're this Proclamation was published, the Books were for the most part vended, and out of Danger of Seizure, and the suppressing of all writing and preaching in Answer thereunto, was (it seems by some) the Thing mainly intended; for the several Answers made by Doctor Featly, and Doctor Goad in their Parallels, by Master Burton, Master Ward, Master Tates, Master Wotton, and also by Francis Rows, Esq; in a Book, call'd, King James his Religion, were all suppressed, and divers of the Printers questioned in the High Commission.
Moreover, Bishop Montague, and Doctor Manwaring, procured a Royal Pardon of all Errors heretofore committed by them, either in Speaking, Writing, or Printing, for which they might be hereafter Questioned.
And Doctor Manwaring, censured by the Lords in Parliament, and perpetually disabled from future Ecclesiastical Preferments in the Church of England, was immediately presented to the Rectory of Stamford Rivers in Essex, and had a Dispensation to hold it, together with the Rectory of St. Giles's in the Fields.
The Town of Rochel was at this time straitly beleagured by the French King; and the King of England had prepared a Fleet to relieve it, under the Command of the Duke of Buckingham, who being advanced as far as Portsmouth, on Saturday August 23. being Bartholomew-Eve, was suddenly Slain in his own Lodgings there, by one Lieutenant Felton, about Nine in the Morning, who with one blow, having got a Knife for the purpose, struck the Duke under the left Rib, and up into the Heart, leaving the Knife in his Body, and got away undiscovered. In the fall to the Ground, the Duke was heard to say, The Villain hath killed me. Company coming presently in, found him weltring in his Blood; and each Person looking upon another, marvelled who should do so horrid an Act: A Jealousy was presently had of Monsieur Sobiez, who was then there labouring for speedy Relief to be sent to Rochel; but he protesting his Innocency, Felton immediately stept out, and said, I am the Man that hath done the Deed, let no Man suffer that is Innocent. Whereupon he was immediately apprehended, sent to London, and there imprisoned. The King was within Four Miles of Portsmouth, when the News was brought him of the Death of the Duke; he bid secure the Murderer: And Bishop Laud had Advertisement of his Death the 24th of August, being then at Croydon, with Bishop Neal and other Bishops, Consecrating Bishop Montague for Chichester.
Notwithstanding the Death of the Duke, the King pursued the Design of relieving Rochel, and again sent out a Fleet with Provision and Fireships to put relief into the Town; the Fleet went from Plymouth the beginning of September, did several Times attempt the Barricado, but in Vain, and so was enforced to give over any further Attempt; which the Rochellers perceiving, gave themselves for lost, and immediately came to a Capitulation, upon very mean Terms, as to themselves; yet Lewis King of France was careful by Articles (had they been performed) that those Outrages should not be committed upon the Entry of the Town (which the few remaining Inhabitants were much afraid of, and afterwards felt) and so mix'd Mercy with his Conquest; yet presently after, high Outrages were committed, and great was the Persecution of the Reformed Churches; which constrained them again to send to the King of England to implore Aid, with these Expressions, That what they writ, was with their Tears and their Blood. But the Treaty being shortly after made between the two Crowns, all Things were settled in Peace between the King and those of the Reformed Religion.
Concerning the State of Rochel at the Surrender, we have seen a Relation to this purpose, That the Misery of the Besieged was almost incredible, having lived long upon Horse-flesh, Hides and Leather, Dogs and Cats, hardly leaving a Horse alive, still in hopes, that the Relief promised from England would prove Effectual to them; they held it so long, till they were but about Four Thousand left alive of Fifteen Thousand Souls; most of them died with Famine, and when they begun to be pinched with the extremity of Hunger, they died so fast, that they usually carried their Coffins into the Church-yard, and other Places, and there laid themselves in and Died; great Numbers of them being unburied, when the Forces of the King of France entred the Town, and many Corpse eaten with Vermin, Ravens and Birds.
The Fleet which thus put to Sea for the Relief of Rochel, was defective, both in Victuals, which was tainted, and in Tackling, and other Materials; insomuch as at the return thereof, Information being given to the King and Council of divers Defaults and Defects in the said Ships, Victuals, and Provision, of this and the former Expedition to Rochel; and in the Discipline and Performance of Commands and Resolutions taken in that Action, to the great Prejudice of the Service; it was ordered, that the Earls of Denbigh, Lindsey, and Morton, and the Lord Wilmot, and Master Secretary Cook, should forthwith meet together, and consider of the Relation made by the Earl of Lindsey, and inform themselves of Defaults in the Particulars before mentioned, and make Report thereof to the Board. The Scots, under the Command of the Earl of Morton, and some Irish also, were sent to quarter in the Isle of Wight, which Island was unacquainted with the quartering of Foreigners.
In Essex many Robberies and Outrages were committed by the Soldiers then returned from Sea. Whereupon the Privy-Counsellers required the Justices of Peace in that County, to chuse a Provost-Marshal, for the apprehending of all such as wandred up and down the Countrey, or behaved themselves disorderly, that they might be punished according to Law; and to cause strong Guards and Watches to be kept in all Passages.
And upon Advertisement of some hostile Preparations from Foreign Enemies, the Privy-Council taking care for the securing the Coasts in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorsetshire, and Devonshire, renewed their Directions to the Lords of those Counties, for the careful watching of Beacons, &c.
About the Time the Fleet went last to the Relief of Rochel, the King being sollicited by the Ambassadors of the King of Denmark, and the United Provinces, to send Shipping to secure the Elbe, and Men for the Defence of Luckstat, resolved upon the sending of Five Ships accordingly, but first to dispatch the Men for the Relief of the Town, the preservation whereof did mainly import the security of the River, wherefore the Regiments then remaining in several of the States Garison Towns, which were reformed out of Four Regiments, under the Command of Sir Charles Morgan, and supposed to consist of two Thousand Men, were designed for this Employment; but in regard that by the Capitulations at the rendring of Stoade, these Soldiers were first to touch in England before they could engage in War against the Emperor, they were appointed to come to Harwich, and so sail thence to Luckstat, under the Command of their former General; and by reason of the absence of the English Fleet upon the Service of Rochel, the States and the Prince of Orange were desired to accommodate them with Ships of Convoy in crossing the Seas. But a while after, the King considering that the Six Months wherein that Regiment was bound not to serve against the Emperor were near expiring, and the Winter approaching, which by foul Weather and contrary Winds, might expose both Men and Ships to great danger in their crossing the Seas to England, and cause unnecessary Charge, commanded Sir Charles Morgan to forbear to touch at Harwich, but to shape his Course by the nearest and straitest way from Holland to Luckstat, and to stay at the Place of embarking, so many Days, as, with the time which will be taken up in their Passage, may accomplish the full Six Months: Moreover, these Reformed Regiments brought from Stoade, being found upon their Mustering Fourteen Hundred, the King made a Supply of six Hundred more by borrowing Six or Eight Men out of every Company, serving in the States Pay, under the Conduct of the Lord Vere, the Season of the Year not permitting to rely upon new Recruits from England, for which he engaged his Royal Word to the States and the Prince of Orange, that for every Man they lent him, he would send them two as soon as his Forces return from Rochel.
Touching the Horse levied in Germany, and intended (as was said) to be transported into England, about the last Session of Parliament, the Privy-Council now wrote to Dalbeer upon certain Overtures made by the King of Sweden and the Duke of Savoy to receive them into their Pay and Service, that he might dispose of the said Cavalry to those Princes being his Majesties Friends and Allies, with Condition that his Majesty be no further charged with their Pay, Transportation, or Entertainment in any manner whatsoever.
After the Death of the Duke, the King seemed to take none to favour so much as Dr. Laud, Bishop of London, to whom he sent many gracious Messages, and also writ unto him with his own Hand, the which contained much Grace and Favour, and immediately afterwards none became so intimate with his Majesty as the said Bishop.
By Orders from the Bishop, there were then entred in the Docket-book several Conge d' esliers and Royal Assents for Dr. May to be Bishop of Bath and Wells, for Dr. Corbet to be Bishop of Oxford, and for Samuel Harsenet then Bishop of Norwich to be Archbishop of York.
In the University of Oxford Bishop Laud bore the Sway. The Lord Chancellor William Earl of Pembrook committing his Power into his Hands. And this Year he framed the Statutes for the reducing and limiting the free Election of Proctors, which before (as himself-said) were Factious and Tumultuary, to the several Colleges by course.
Whilst Felton remained a Prisoner at London, great was the resort of People to see the Man who had committed so bold a Murder, others came to understand what were the Motives and Inducements thereunto; to which the Man for the most Part answered, that he did acknowledge the Fact, and condemned himself for the doing thereof. Yet withal confessed he had long looked upon the Duke an evil Instrument in the Commonwealth, and that he was convinced thereof by the Remonstrance of Parliament. Which Considerations, together with the instigation of the Evil One (who is always ready to put sinful Motions into speedy Actions) induced him to do that which he did. He was a Person of a little Stature, of a stout and revengeful Spirit, who having once received an Injury from a Gentleman, he cut off a Piece of his little Finger, and sent it with a Challenge to the Gentleman to fight with him, thereby to let him know that he valued not the exposing his whole Body to hazard, so he might but have an Opportunity to be revenged.
Afterwards Felton was called before the Council, where he confessed much of what is before-mentioned concerning his Inducement to the Murder: The Council much pressed him to confess who set him on work to do such a bloody Act, and if the Puritans had no Hand therein; he denied they had, and so he did to the last, that no Person whatsoever knew any Thing of his Intentions or Purpose to kill the Duke; that he revealed it to none living. Dr. Laud Bishop of London being then at the Council-Table, told him if he would not confess, he must go to the Rack. Felton replied, if it must be so he could not tell whom he might nominate in the Extremity of Torture, and if what he should say then must go for Truth, he could not tell whether his Lordship (meaning the Bishop of London) or which of their Lordships he might name, for Torture might draw unexpected Things from him; after this he was asked no more Questions but sent back to Prison. The Council then fell into Debate, whether by the Law of the Land they could justify the putting him to the Rack. The King being at Council said, before any such Thing be done, let the Advice of the Judges be had therein, whether it be Legal or no; and afterwards his Majesty the 13th of Novemb. 4 Car. propounded the Question to Sir Tho. Richardson, Lord Chief Justice of the Common-Pleas, to be propounded to all the Justices, (viz.) Felton now a Prisoner in the Tower, having confessed that he had killed the Duke of Buckingham, and said he was induced to this, partly for private Displeasure, and partly by reason of a Remonstrance in Parliament, having also read some Books, which he said defended that it was lawful to kill an Enemy to the Republick; the Question therefore is, Whether by the Law he might not be Racked, and whether there were any Law against it; for (said the King) if it might not be done by Law, he would not use his Prerogative in this Point. And having put this Question to the Lord Chief Justice, the King commanded him to demand the Resolution of all the Judges.
First, the Justices of Serjeants-Inn in Chancery-Lane did meet and agree, that the King may not in this Case put the Party to the Rack. And the Fourteenth of Nov. all the Justices being assembled at Serjeants-Inn in Fleet street, agreed in one, that he ought not by the Law to be tortured by the Rack, for no such Punishment is known or allowed by our Law.
And this in Case of Treason was brought into this Kingdom in the Time of Henry the Sixth: Note, Fortescue for this Point, in his Book de laudibus legum Angliœ, see the Preamble of the Act 28 H. 8. for the Tryal of Felony, where Treasons are done upon Sea, and Statute 14 Edw. 3. Ch. 9. of Jaylors or Keepers, who by Duresse make the Prisoners to be Approvers.
Since the last Session of Parliament, certain Merchants who traded in Wines, had been committed to the Fleet, for the Non-payment of an Imposition of 20s. the Ton, and were now at Liberty upon their entring into Bond for the Payment of that Imposition.
Moreover, the King in full Council declared his absolute Will and Pleasure to have his Entry of 2s. 2d. the Hundred upon all Currants to be satisfied equally with that of 3s. 4d. before the landing of that Commodity; it being a Duty laid by Queen Elizabeth, who first gave Being to the Levant Company, and which had been Paid both in his Father's Time and his Own, and that their Majesties were equally possessed of the whole Sum of 5s. 6d. the Hundred by a solemn and legal Judgment in the Exchequer, and he streightly charged his Council to examine the great Abuse in this Point, and to make a full Reparation to his Honour by inflicting Punishment as well upon Officers as Merchants, that for the future they may beware of committing such Contempts.
And divers Merchants of London having forcibly Landed, and endeavoured to carry away their Goods and Merchandizes from the Custom-house Key, without Payment of Duties, were summoned to the Council Table: And the Council was informed against them, that they had caused great and unlawful Assemblies of People to be gathered together, to the Breach of the King's Peace, and Mr. Chambers was committed to Prison by the Lords of the Council, for some Words spoken at that Time, Michaelmas, 4 Car.
Richard Chambers being in Prison in the Marshalsea, Del Hostel de Roy, desired an Habeas Corpus, and had it, which being returnable upon the 16th Day of October, the Marshal returned, that he was committed to Prison the 28th of September last, by the Command of the Lords of the Council. The Warrant verbatim was, that he was committed for insolent Behaviour, and Words spoken at the Council-Table, which was subscribed for by the Lord-Keeper, and Twelve others of the Council. [The Words were as Information was given, though not expressed in the Return, That such great Customs and Impositions were required from the Merchants in England, as were in no other Place, and that they were more screwed up, than under the Turk.] And because it was not mentioned what the Words were, so as the Court might adjudge of them, the Return was held Insufficient, and the Warden of the Prison advised to amend his Return: And he was by Rule of the Court appointed to bring his Prisoner by such a Day without a new Habeas Corpus, and the Prisoner was advised by the Court, That in the mean time he should submit to the Lords, and Petition them for his Enlargement. The Warden of the Prison bringing the Prisoner in again in Court, the 23d Day of October. Then Mr. Jermin for the Prisoner moved, That forasmuch as it appeared by the Return, that he was not committed for Treason or Felony, nor doth it appear what the Words were, whereto he might give Answer; he therefore prayed, he might be dismissed or bailed. But the King's Attorney moved, that he might have Day until the 25th of October, to consider of the Return, and be informed of the Words, and that in the interim, the Prisoner might attend the Council-Table, and Petition. But the Prisoner affirmed, That he oftentimes had assay'd by Petition, and could not prevail, although he had not done it since the beginning of October; and he prayed the Justice of the Law, and the Inheritance of a Subject; Whereupon, at his Importunity, the Court commanded him to be bailed: And he was bound in a Recognizance of Four Hundred Pounds, and Four good Merchants, his Sureties, were bound in Recognizance of One Hundred Pounds apiece, that he should appear here in Crastino animarum, and in the interim should be of the good Behaviour: And advertised him, they might, for contemptuous Words, cause an Indictment or Information in this Court to be drawn against him, if they would.
The Lords of the Council were much dissatisfied with the Bailing of Chambers. Whereupon the Judges were sent for to the Lord Keeper at Durham-house, where were present, besides the Lord Keeper, the Lord Treasurer, Lord Privy Seal, and the Chancellor of the Dutchy: And the Lord Keeper then declared unto them, that the said Enlargement of Chambers was without due Regard had to the Privy-Council, in not first acquainting them therewith. To this the Judges answered, That to keep a fair Correspondency with their Lordships, they had, by the Lord Chief Justice, acquainted the Lord Keeper in private therewith, before they bailed the Party: And that what they had done as to the bailing of the Prisoner, was according to Law and Justice, and the Conscience of the Judges. To this it was replied, That it was necessary, for the Preservation of the State, that the Power and Dignity of the Council-Table should be preserved, and that it could not be done without Correspondency from the Courts of Justice. So they parted in very fair Terms.
On Thursday the 27th of November, Felton was removed from the Tower to the Gate-house, in order to his Tryal, and was the same Day brought by the Sheriffs of London to the King's-Bench-Bar, and the Indictment being read, he was demanded whether he were guilty of the Murder therein mention'd: He answer'd, He was guilty in killing the Duke of Buckingham; and further said, that he did deserve Death for the same, though he did not do it out of Malice to him. So the Court passed Sentence of Death upon him; whereupon he offered that Hand to be cut off that did the Fact; but the Court could not, upon his own Offer, inflict that further Punishment upon him: Nevertheless the King sent to the Judges to intimate his Desire, that his Hand might be cut off before Execution. But the Court answered, that it could not be; for in all Murders, the Judgment was the same, unless when the Statute of 25 E. 3. did alter the Nature of the Offence, and upon a several Indictment, as it was in Queen Elizabeth's Time, when a Felon at the Bar flung a Stone at a Judge upon the Bench, for which he was indicted, and his Sentence was to have his Hand cut off; which was accordingly done. And they also proceeded against him upon the other Indictment for Felony, for which he was found Guilty, and afterwards hanged. And Felton was afterwards hung up in Chains, in manner as is usual upon notorious Murders.
In Michaelmas Term, the Farmers and Officers of the Custom-house seized great Quantities of Currants belonging to Mr. Samuel Vassal of London Merchant, because he refused to pay an Imposition of Five Shillings and Six Pence upon every hundred Weight of the said Currants so imported, alledged to be due, and demanded on his Majesty's Behalf: Mr. Vassal refused to pay the same, conceiving it was an Imposition against the Law of the Land. Whereupon the King's Attorney-General exhibited an Information in the Exchequer against the said Vassal, setting forth, that King James did, by his Letters Patents, command the taking the said Imposition; and that his Majesty that now is, by his Letters Patents, dated 26 Junii, 2 Caroli, by the Advice of his Privy-Council, did declare his Will and Pleasure to be, that Subsidies, Customs, and Impost should be levied in such Manner as they were in the Time of King James, until it might receive a settling by Parliament; and the Information did set forth, that the said Samuel Vassal, before the first Day of October, 4 Car. did bring into the Port of London 4638 Hundred Weight of Currants, for which he refused to pay Custom.
To this Information, the said Samuel Vassal appeared, and pleaded the Statute of Magna Charta, and the Statute De talagio non concedendo; and that he was a Subject born under the King's Allegiance, and a Merchant, and that the said Imposition of Five Shillings Six Pence upon every Hundred Weight of Currants, was not Antiqua seu recta consuetudo, and that it was imposed without Assent of Parliament: To which Plea, the said Attorney-General demurred in Law, and Mr. Vassal joined in Demur, &c.
Afterwards the Barons of the Exchequer did publickly deny to hear Master Vassal's Council to argue for him, saying, That his the said Vassal's Case would fall under the same Rule with one Bates's Case, and therefore the Case was already adjudged. Master Vassal's Council alledged, That they had nothing to do with Bates his Case, but desired to argue Mr. Vassal's Case. The Barons replied, That they knew the Opinion of the Court, and should be heard no further; and said, That the King was in possession, and they would keep him in possession. And shortly after, the Court of Exchequer imprisoned the said Mr. Vassal, for not paying such Sums of Money, as the Officers of the Custom-house required, as due upon the said Imposition; and he could not obtain Restitution of his Goods, and the Court gave their Opinion upon the said Information for the King against Mr. Vassal.
About the same time, divers Goods and Merchandizes belonging to Richard Chambers of London, Merchant, were seized and conveyed into Store-houses at the Custom-house, by the Officers of the Custom, because the said Chambers refused to pay the Subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage demanded by the Farmers; the said Chambers conceiving no such Subsidy or Duty was due or payable, the same having not been granted by Parliament to his Majesty, and having sued forth a Writ of Replevin, the proper Remedy in Law to regain the Possession of his Goods; the Barons of the Exchequer did order an Injunction, under the Seal of the said Court, directed to the Sheriffs of London, commanding them thereby not to execute the said Writ, or any the like Writs of Replevin, that should afterwards be sued forth by any Person or Persons, for the delivery of any Goods in the like Nature detained, and did declare publickly in Court, that the said Goods by Law were not repleviable; and the Sheriffs of London did accordingly forbear to execute the said Writ of Replevin. Master Chambers finding this Obstruction, offered to give great Security unto the Court, for Payment of such Duties as should be made apparent to be made payable to his Majesty in such Manner as the said Barons should direct the Court; afterwards debating this Matter, would not give Way thereunto, unless the said Chambers would deposite all such Sums of Money, as the said Officers respectively demanded of him, for Duties to his Majesty, which he refused to do. The Court did order the Officers of the Customs to detain double Value of the Sums by them demanded for Duties to his Majesty, and to restore the Residue.
The meeting of the Parliament now drawing nigh, the King consults with a select Committee of his Privy Counsellors, what probably the Parliament, at their next meeting, would insist upon, and how the Privy Council (who are Members of the Parliament) shall demean themselves in such Cases: And first, it was proposed to his Majesty's Consideration, That if in the House of Commons it shall be moved with any Strength, That the Merchants Goods be delivered, before they proceed to the Bill of Tonnage and Poundage, the Answer by such as are Privy Counsellors and Members of the House to be, That if the House intend to grant Tonnage and Poundage to the King, as it hath been granted to his Predecessors, it will end all Dispute; but if they proceed otherwise, then before they come to a Resolution, the King to speak to them, and to declare, That though his Predecessors claimed it not but by Grant of Parliament, yet took it de facto, until it was granted by Parliament, and that his Majesty hath done the like; and that if they will pass the Bill to his Majesty, and his Ancestors had it, his Majesty will do any reasonable Thing, to declare, that he claims not Tonnage and Poundage otherwise than by Grant in Parliament; but if this do not satisfy, then to avow a Breach upon just Cause given, not sought by the King.
And for bringing the King's Business to a speedy Issue, it was advised, That the Bill of Tonnage and Poundage be prepared before the Parliament sit, in the same Form as it passed to King James, adding Words to give it from the First Day of the King's Reign, and that the Bill be presented at the first sitting of the Parliament, and the Privy Council of the House to declare, that his Majesty caused it to be timely presented, to cut off all Questions and Debates, and to persuade them to a dispatch thereof, and that they will return a speedy Answer, whether they will grant Tonnage and Poundage or not.
They also took into Consideration divers other Matters, which they apprehended the Parliament would insist upon, as proceeding to censure the Actions of the Duke of Buckingham, to accuse some of the King's Servants now living, upon common Fame, to cast personal Aspersions in Parliament upon the King's Counsellors, or to charge them with giving ill Counsel to the King, to handle Questions touching Matters of Religion, proper for his Majesty and a Convocation to determine, to raise Objections against his Majesty's Speech the last Day of the last Session as trenching upon the Liberty of the Subject, in these and the like Cases, the Privy-Council of the House were to be instructed how to demean themselves, and to advise all fair and possible means to have a good Agreement between his Majesty and his People. But in case the House proceed upon any of the Particulars before-mentioned, and draw towards a Resolution, that the Privy-Council who are of the House, do intimate that these Debates will tend to a Breach, and will not be admitted of, and the King thereupon to declare himself presently, that he will not suffer such irregular Courses of Proceeding.
So soon as the Parliament re-assembled on Tuesday the 20th of Jan. In the first Place, the Commons enquired whether the Petition of Right, with his Majesties Answer unto it were enrolled in the Parliament Rolls, and the Courts of Westminster, as his Majesty promised them the last Session: And they found his Majesty's Speech made the last Day of the Session, entred by his Majesty's Command, together with the Petition. And Mr. Norton, the King's Printer being called into the House and demanded by what Warrant the Additions (besides his Majesty's Answer) to the Petition of Right were printed, he said there was a Warrant as he thought from the King himself; and being demanded whether there were some Copies printed without Additions, he said there were about 1500, but they were suppressed by Warrant, and Mr. Attorney General commanded that no more of them should be printed, and that those that were first printed should not be divulged.
The next Thing taken into Consideration, was the Violation of the Liberties of the People, since the End of the last Session, even contrary to the Petition of Right; some having been since the time committed, and a Command sent to the Sheriff, not to execute a Replevin, when Mens Goods and Merchandizes have been taken away; and it was instanced in the Case of Mr. Rolls a Merchant, and known to be a Member of the House, to whom it was said by some of the Officers of the Custom-House, If all the Parliament were in you, we would take your Goods.
By this Information you see how unfortunate these Times are, and how full time it was for this Assembly to meet to serve his Majesty, and to serve their Country; and I am confident, that coming hither with fulness of Affection, to our King and Country, all will conduce to a happy Conclusion, and the King's Honour: Indeed our own great and weighty Affairs wound deep; cast your Eyes which way you please, you shall see Violations on all Sides; look on the Liberty of the Subject, look on the Privilege of this House, let any say if ever he saw or read the like Violations by inferior Ministers that over-do their Command; they knew the Party was a Parliament Man, nay, they say if all the Parliament were in you, this we would do and justify it. If we suffer the Privilege of Parliament and Liberty of Subjects to be thus violated, for fear of Complaint, we give a Wound to the Happiness of the Kingdom. The course of Justice is interrupted, and an Order in the Exchequer made for the stay of the Goods; and since there is a Seizure, upon the approach of Parliament, of Goods amounting to five thousand Pounds, for a pretended Duty of two Hundred Pounds Custom, it's time to look about us.
In the first Year of King James, by reason of the Sickness that there was, the Parliament was Prorogued; and then there were some so bold as to take this Tunnage and Poundage, and then we questioned the Men that demanded it. Let us proceed with affection of Duty, and make up. Breaches; let a Committee be appointed for the Examination of these Proceedings.
This Business was referred to a Committee, and the Officers of the Custom-House (who had seized these Merchants Goods) were ordered to be sent for, and whilst they were in Debate of this Business, the King sent a Message to the House, and willed them to desist from further Debate of those Matters concerning Tunnage and Poundage, till the next Day in the Afternoon, at which time he would speak with them at the Banquetting-House at Whitehall, where his Majesty made this Speech.
The Care I have to remove all Obstacles that may hinder the good Correspondency between me and this Parliament, is the Cause I have called you together at this time, the particular Occasion being a Complaint made in the Lower House. And for you, my Lords, I am glad to take this, and all other Occasions, whereby you may clearly understand both my Words and Actions; for as you are nearest in Degree, so you are the fittest Witnesses unto Kings.
The Complaint I speak of is for staying Mens Goods that denied Tunnage and Poundage; this may have an easy and short Conclusion, if my Words and Actions be rightly understood: For by passing the Bill as my Ancestors have had it, my by-past Actions will be included, and my future Proceedings authorized, which certainly would not have been stuck on, if Men had not imagined that I had taken these Duties as appertaining to my Hereditary Prerogative; in which they are much deceived, for it ever was and still is my Meaning, by the Gift of my People to enjoy it; and my Intention in my Speech at the ending of the last Session concerning this Point, was not to challenge Tunnage and Poundage as of Right, but de bene esse, shewing you the Necessity, not the Right by which I was to take it, until you had granted it to me; assuring my self, according to your general Professions, you wanted Time, not Will to give it me.
Wherefore now having Opportunity, I expect that without loss of Time, you make good your Professions, and so by passing of a Bill, put an end to all the Questions arising from this Subject; especially since I have cleared the only Scruple that can trouble you in this Business. To conclude, let us not be jealous one of the others Actions; for if I had been easily moved at every Occasion, the Order you made on Wednesday last, might have made me startle, there being some shew to suspect that you had given your selves the liberty to be the Inquisitors after Complaints (the Words of your Order being somewhat too largely penn'd) but looking into your Actions, I find you only hear Complainers, not seeking Complaints; for I am certain you neither pretend, nor desire the liberty to be Inquisitors of Mens Actions before particular Complaint be made.
This I have spoken to shew you how slow I am to believe harshly of your Proceedings, likewise to assure you that the Houses Resolutions, not particular mens speeches, shall make me judge well or ill, not doubting, but according to my example, you will be deaf to ill reports concerning me, till my words and actions spake for themselves, that so this Session beginning with confidence one towards another, it may end with a perfect good understanding between us: Which God grant.
Monday the 26 of January.
"Mr. Secretary Cook delivered a Message from the King to the House of Commons, that the Bill for Tunnage and Poundage might be speedily taken into consideration, and that time might not be slipt; and did very much press (in his Majesty's name) the reading thereof, as a matter of weight and importance; and said, That he spake it for their service, and that moderation in their proceedings would be of great advantage to them. But the House being troubled to have the Bill imposed upon them, which ought naturally to arise from themselves, did at the same time forbear to speak their minds freely, and resolved to husband their time, and did accordingly further impower the Committee to examine violation of Liberty, and Property since the last Session of Parliament; and resolved to proceed in the next place with matters of Religion, and particularly against the Sect of Arminians. Upon which occasion, Mr. Rous spake to this purpose.
"Mr. Speaker, We have of late entered into consideration of the Petition of Right, and the violation of it, and upon good reason; for it concerns our Goods, Liberties, and Laws: But there is a Right of higher nature, that preserves for us far greater things, Eternal life, our Souls, yea, our God himself; a Religion derived to us from the King of Kings, confirmed upon us by the Kings of this Kingdom, Enacted by Laws in this place, streaming down to us in the blood of Martyrs, witnessed from Heaven by Miracles, even miraculous deliverances, and this Right, in the name of this Nation, I this day require and claim, that there may be a deep and serious consideration of the violation of it; I desire it may be considered, what new paintings are laid on the old face of the Whore of Babylon, to make her shew more lovely, and to draw so many Suitors to her. I desire that it may be considered, how the See of Rome doth eat into our Religion, and fret into the banks and walls of it, the Laws and Statutes of this Realm, especially since those Laws have been made in a manner by themselves, even by their own Treasons, and bloody Designs: And since that Popery is a confused heap of Errors, casting down Kings before Popes, the Precepts of God before the Traditions of men (living and reasonable men) before dead and senseless stocks and stones; I desire that we may consider the increase of Arminianism, an Error that makes the Grace of God Lackey it after the will of man, that makes the Sheep to keep the Shepherd, and makes a mortal seed of an immortal God. Yea, I desire that we may look into the very belly and bowels of this Trojan Horse, to see if there be not men in it ready to open the Gates to Romish Tyranny, and Spanish Monarchy: For an Arminian is the Spawn of a Papist, and if there come the warmth of favour upon him, you shall see him turn into one of those Frogs that rise out of the bottomless pit; and if you mark it well, you shall see an Arminian reaching out his hand to a Papist, a Papist to a Jesuit, a Jesuit, gives one hand to the Pope, another to the King of Spain, and these men having kindled a fire in our Neighbour-Countrey, now they have brought over some of it hither, to set on flame this Kingdom also; yea, let us further search and consider, whether these be not the men, that break in upon the Goods and Liberties of this Common-wealth, for by this means they make way for the taking away of our Religion: It was an old trick of the Devil, when he meant to take away Job's Religion, he begun at his Goods, saying, Lay thy hand on all he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. Either they think thereby to set a distaste between Prince and People, or else to find some other way of supply, to avoid or break Parliaments; that so they may break in upon our Religion, and bring in their errours. But let us do as Job did, who being constant against temptation, held fast his Religion, and his Goods were restored to him with advantage; so if we hold fast God and our Religion, these things shall be added unto us: Let us consider the times past now, how this Nation flourished in honour and abundance, when Religion flourished amongst us; but as Religion decayed, so the honour and strength of this Nation decayed also: When the Soul of a Common-wealth is dead, the Body cannot longer over-live it. If a man meet a dog alone, the dog is fearful, tho' never so fierce by nature; but if that Dog have his Master by him, he will set upon that man, from whence he fled before. This shews, that lower natures being back't with the higher, increase in courage and strength; and certainly man being back't with Omnipotency, is a kind of Omnipotency. All things are possible to him that believeth, and where all things are possible, there is a kind of Omnipotence. Wherefore let us now, by the unanimous consent and resolution of us all, make a vow and covenant, henceforth to hold fast, I say, to hold fast our God, and our Religion; and then may we from henceforth certainly expect prosperity on this Kingdom and Nation: And to this Covenant let every man say, Amen.
Tuesday the 27 of January.
A Report was made to the House from the Committee for Religion, of matters concerning Religion, which passed the last Session, and were since that time delivered by the Clerk (by command from the King) to some whom his Majesty had sent for the same; for want whereof, the Committee could not proceed. Hereupon Master Secretary Cook brings this Message from the King, That his Majesty understanding the Remonstrance concerning Religion was called for, was pleased (to take away all question) to command him to deliver it unto them; hoping nevertheless, that they will proceed with the Bill for Tunnage and Poundage, and give precedency to that business, and so put an end to a further dispute between some of his Subjects [meaning the Customers, and Merchants, whose Goods were seized by the Customers for Tunnage and Poundage] or else he shall think his Speech, which was with good applause accepted, had not that good effect which he expected.
But the House thought fit to prefer Religion, and to give it the first place in their Debates, saying, If Popery and Arminianism join hand in hand together, it would, by degrees, bring in Spanish Tyranny, under which these Laws and Liberties must cease. Besides, that it was fit time to enquire what persons have been advanced to Ecclesiastical Preferments, and to whom Pardons have been granted since the last Session; That Religion concerns the King as well as the Subjects, and the work of the Lord must not be done negligently. Whereupon the House was dissolved into a Committee, and gave Religion the precedency of Tunnage and Poundage. And in the Committee, Mr. Pymme spake as followeth.
- "1. The cessation of the execution of Laws against Papists.
- "2. How the Papists have been employed and countenanced.
- "3. The Law violated in bringing in of superstitious Ceremonies amongst us, especially at Durham by Mr. Cozens, as Angels, Crucifixes, Saints, Altars, Candles on Candlemas-day, burnt in the Church after the Popish manner.
- "1. That a way be open for the truth.
- "2. That whereas by the Articles set forth 1652. and by the Catechism set forth in King Edward the Sixth's days, and by the writing of Martin Bucer and Peter Martyr, who were employed in making our Articles; and by the constant professions, sealed by the blood of so many Martyrs, as Cranmer, Ridley, and others; and by the 36 Articles in Queen Elizabeth's time, and by the Articles agreed upon at Lambeth, as the Doctrine of the Church of England, which King James sent to Dort and to Ireland, and were avowed by us and our State; his Majesty hath expressed himself, in preserving unity in Religion established, tho' his Royal intention, notwithstanding, hath been perverted by some to suppress the Truth. Let us shew wherein these late opinions are contrary to those settled Truths, and what men have been since preferred, that have professed these Heresies; what pardons they have had for false Doctrine; what prohibiting of Books and Writings against their Doctrine, and permitting of such Books as have been for them: Let us enquire after the Abettors; let us enquire also after the Pardons granted of late to some of these, and the presumption of some that dare preach the contrary to truth before his Majesty. It belongs to the duty of a Parliament to establish true Religion, and to punish false; we must know what Parliaments have done formerly in Religion. Our Parliaments have confirmed general Councils. In the time of King Henry VIII. the Earl of Essex was condemned for countenancing Books of Heresie: For the Convocation, it is but a Provincial Synod of Canterbury, and cannot bind the whole Kingdom. As for York, that is distant, and cannot do any thing to bind us or the Laws; for the High Commission, it was derived from Parliament.
"Wednesday 28. Secretary Cook delivered another Message to the House concerning the precedency of Tunnage and Poundage, declaring, that His Majesty intends not thereby to interrupt them, as to Religion so that they do not intrench on that which belongs not to them; which Message was seconded by Sir Thomas Edmonds, in these words.
"I am sorry the House hath given cause to so many Messages about Tunnage and Poundage, after his Majesty hath given us so much satisfaction: You may perceive his Majesty is sensible of the neglect of his business; we that know this, should not discharge our duties to you, if we should not perswade you to that course which should procure his Majesty's good opinion of you: You your selves are witnesses, how industrious his Majesty was to procure your gracious Laws in his Father's time, and since, what enlargement he hath made of our Liberties, and still we give him cause to repent him of the good he hath done. Consider how dangerous it is to alienate his Majesty's heart from Parliaments.
"When men speak here of neglect of duty to his Majesty, let them know, we know no such thing, nor what they mean: And I see not how we do neglect the same. I see it is in all our hearts to expedite the Bill of Tunnage and Poundage in due time: Our business is still put back by these Messages, and the business in hand is of God; and his Majesty's affairs are certainly amiss, and every one sees it; and wo be to us, if we present them not to his Majesty.
The House resolved to send an Answer to the King, that these Messages are inconvenient, and breed debates and loss of time; and did further resolve that Tunnage and Poundage, arising naturally from this House, they would in fit time take such a course therein, as they hoped would be to his Majesty's satisfaction and honour. And so again agreed to proceed at present in matters of Religion.
Sir John Elliot, upon this occasion, spake to this purpose, "I have always observed (said he) that in the proceedings of this House, our best advantage is order; and I was very glad when that noble Gentleman, my Countrey-man, gave occasion to state our Proceedings; for I fear it would have carried us into a Sea of confusion and disorder. And having now occasion to present my thoughts in this great and weighty business of Religion, I shall be bold to speak a few words.
"There is a jealousie conceived, as if we meant to dispute in matters of Faith; it is our profession, this is not to be disputed: It is not in the Parliament to make a new Religion, nor, I hope, shall it be in any to alter the body of the truth, which we now profess. I must confess, amongst all those fears we have contracted, there ariseth to me not one of the least dangers in the Declaration that is made and publish'd in his Majesty's name, concerning disputing and preaching; let not this my saying bear the least suspicion or jealousie of his Majesty, for if there be any misprison or errour, I hope it is those Ministers about him, which not only he, but all Princes are subject unto; and Princes, no doubt, are subject to mis-informations, and many actions may be entitled to their Names, when it is not done by themselves. Antiochus King of Asia sent his Letters and Missives to several Provinces, that if they received any dispatches in his name, not agreeable to justice, Ignoto se literas esse scriptas ideoq; iis non parerent; and the reason of it is given by Gratian, because that oftentimes by the importunity of Ministers, Principes sœpe constringuntur, ut non concedenda concedant, are drawn to grant things by them not to be granted; and as it was in that age, so it may be in this. And now to the particular in the Declaration, we see what is said of Popery and Arminianism, our Faith and Religion is in danger by it, for like an Inundation it doth break in at once upon us. It is said, if there be any difference of Opinion concerning the seasonable interpretation of the 39 Articles, the Bishops and the Clergy in the Convocation have power to dispute it, and to order which way they please, and, for ought I know, Popery and Arminianism may be introduced by them, and then it must be received by all: A slight thing, that the Power of Religion should be left to the persons of these men; I honour their profession, there are among our Bishops such as are fit to be made examples for all Ages, who shine in virtue, and are firm for our Religion, but the contrary faction I like not. I remember a Character I have seen in a Diary of E. 6. that young Prince, of famous memory, where he doth express the condition of the Bishops of that time under his own hand-writing, That some for sloth, some for age, some for ignorance, some for luxury, and some for Popery, were unfit for Discipline and Government. We see there are some among our Bishops who are not Orthodox, nor sound in Religion, as they should be; witness the two Bishops complained of the last meeting of the Parliament; I apprehend such a fear, that should we be in their power, we may be in danger to have our Religion over-thrown. Some of these are Masters of Ceremonies, and they labour to introduce new Ceremonies into the Church; yet some Ceremonies are useful. Give me leave to join, that I hold it necessary and commendable, that at the Repetition of the Creed we should stand up, to testifie the resolution of our hearts, that we will defend the Religion which we profess; and in some Churches it is added, they did not only stand upright with their bodies, but with their swords drawn. Let us go to the ground of our Religion, and lay down a Rule on which all others may rest; then when that is done, it will be time to take into consideration the breakers and offenders of that Rule: Hereupon, after some debate, the Commons entred into this Vow.
The Vow of the House of Commons in Parliament.
We the Commons in Parliament Assembled, do Claim, Protest, and Avow for Truth, the sense of the Articles of Religion, which were established by Parliament, in the Thirteenth Year of our late Queen Elizabeth, which by the publick Act of the Church of England, and by the general and currant Expositions of the Writers of our Church, have been delivered unto us. And we reject the sense of the Jesuits, and Arminians, and all others, wherein they differ from us.