Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 2, 1629-38. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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Sir John Banks his Reply about the Censure of my Lord Bishop of Lincoln, and Mr. Osbaldston, the 14th of February, in the Star-Chamber, 1638.
'My Lords, The Defendents Counsel in their defence, does except against the Charge of the Information, and they laboured much to tie the Matters charged in the Information to the very day of the Month, seeking thereby to escape the Charge, contrary to their Judgments and the common course of Justice.
'Also they made question where those Letters should be found: but if they will, they may know that they were found at my Lord Bishop of Lincoln's House at Bugden, as is manifest by their own Witnesses Interrogatories. 1. & 71.
'It may be that some of the Lords may find some things in the Depositions that may serve one way or other, therefore I think it good they should be read; but for my own part, I am satisfied in my judgment.
'The Counsel for Mr. Osbaldston except against the Witnesses that prove the interpretation of the Letters, and would have Mr. Osbaldston to expound his own meaning, and if this should be allowed, every Libeller would thereby escape the Censure of the Court.
'First, They except against Cadwallader Powel, because he was before sentenced in the Star-chamber : But, my Lords, his Censure in the Star-chamber was not for any matter of Perjury, or Crime that should take away his Testimony; and the same thing for which he was sentenced, was my Lord Bishop himself Sentenced at the very same time.
'Secondly, The second Exception was, that Mr. Powel and Mr. Walker were made Defendents in this Court to take away their Testimony in this Cause, and the reason why they were not proceeded against (said the King's Attorney) was my Lords, because my Lord Bishop of Lincoln would not perfect his Examination, by which we should have the better proceeded against them, and when my Lord Bishop hath perfeceted his Examination, they shall be proceeded against.
'The third part of the Defence is this: That Mr. Osbaldston should call Doctor Spicer, Vermin, Hocus Pocus, Vrchin, and the like: therefore say they, those terms in these Letters are not to be applied to the Archbishop of Canterbury, but to Dr. Spicer. This is no exclusion, for I shall shew that those words must needs be intended and spoken against the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, and not of Dr. Spicer.
'In the Letter of the 9th of Jan. the words cannot be applied to be spoken of so mean a Man as Dr. Spicer: and so likewise in the Letter of the 30th of Jan. wherein he desires, that it should be kept secret: and if these words had been spoken of Dr. Spicer, they needed not be kept so secret. For Hocus Pocus and Vermin being spoken of Dr. Spicer, were published in Westminster Hall, and other places thereabouts, and therefore needed no secresie.
'As for Osbaldston, he hath long been a turbulent Medler, and a false Intelligencer of the Affairs of State; I may say he is Hocus Pocus, and a Jugler in the Affairs of State; and yet I am sorry that I shall charge him with that which is worse than the Charge laid against him in the Information, for he is guilty of gross and wilful Perjury, for he hath denied upon Oath that which was plainly proved against him.
'For the first, It is proved by Witnesses, That two days after 'Twelve-tide he gave order that his Letters should be opened that concerned his Law Suits, so that thereby he might colour the Matter, that they might not come into his own Hands. Again, he doth not say, That he did not receive the Letter of the 9th of January, besides his own Letter of the second of January, makes mention of three Letters which he received from Mr. Osbaldston : In one of which he should contribute Mony to the use of the Lord Treasurer for the ruin of the little great Man : So that it is confessed by his own Writings that he did receive them. And the Letter of the 30th of January was sent by a special Messenger to Lincoln therefore it is most probable that he received it, and your Lordships have heard Cadwallader Powel say, That my Lord of Lincoln demanding of him, Whether any of Osbaldston 's Letters were found? And he answering that they were. Then said the Bishop, Osbaldston is undone: So that I conceive your Lordships will not think, but that his Lordship received the Letters.
'But it is objected, That this is no Offence; For, say they, it's no Offence to receive Libellous Letters, and to keep them private. And as for my Lord of Lincoln, he did never publish any of them; and there is difference betwixt Osbaldston 's Case, and my Lord Bishop of Lincoln 's, for they were only sent to my Lord of Lincoln, but he did never contrive nor publish any of them.
'And I conceive my Lord of Lincoln to be guilty of Perjury in this Cause; and, my Lord, that Perjuries are punishable in this Court, (though they are not charged in the Information) doth appear, Hill. 2. Eliz. & Hill. 4. Eliz.
'My Lords, I do wish that this Age that is so much infected with devising and divulging scandalous Letters and Words, that some exemplary Example might be made, that we might hear no more of such scandalous Matters.
'My Lords, before the Conquest they had very strict Laws against Libellers, (as to have their Tongues slit); And in the time of Ed. I. and Ed. 2. there were special Commissioners appointed to enquire after Libellers, as in the close Roll. Parliament, and so I humbly leave them to your Lordships.
'The Court proceeding to Sentence, declared in general, 'That they had received satisfaction that Mr. Osbaldston was the Contricer, Writer, and Publisher of those odious Appellations of those two great Personhs. That his Defence was reidiculous, and that his End was the ruin of the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury.
'As for the Bishop of Lincoln, they said, He was a Person of Quality, Parts, and Abilities, and one that once sat as Judge in this Court: That he shewed himself very indiscreet in concealing those Letters, and had thereby made himself guilty of a high Crime.
'And how far Osbaldston and the Bishop of Lincoln are guilty, I appeal to your Lordships. I shall now shew the extent of the Information, the Charge being laid to be in or about the 10th of February, M. 9 Car. Which Charge doth comprehend all libellous Letters, either before or since 9 Car.
'But it's true, if in the Letters will not appear that sense which is contained in the Charge, then they shall not be within the Charge of the Information, and therefore the Information admits of as much favour to the Desendents as may be: For this Court doth ratehr desire to find Men Innocent than Guilty.
'I shall now come to the Particulars, and shall herein observe teh course of teh Desendents Counsel, who have distinguished my Lord of Lincoln's Case from Osbaldston's, and so shall put a difference between them: For though Osbaldston be quilty, yet it's possible that my Lord of Lincoln may not be guilty.
'For first, Osbaldston was the Contriver and Publisher of those scandalous Letters; and I think there is no doubt at all, but that they were meant of the late Lord Treasurer, and teh now Lord Bishop of Canterbury.
'The second Witness is Cadwallader Powel, who faith, He used these words in a Letter, The little Vermin, the false Mediator, the Hocus Pocus. And the Bishop of Lincoln being in the Tower, demanded of Powel, Whether any of Mr. Osbaldston's Letters were found? who answered, That they were found; Then, said teh Bishop, Osbaldston is undone.
'Thus I have thought good to make a difference betwixt my Lord of Lincoln and Mr. Osbaldston; for it is consessed by my Lord of Lincoln, that by one of those is meant my Lord Treasurer; but that shall not convict Mr. Osbaldston, but it is plain by his own words what he meant. And that by those words should be meant Dr. Spicer, I hold it so ridiculous a Defence, that I think he could not have deceived his School-Boys with it.
'And that by Leviathan should be meant my Lord Richardson, there is no colour for that; for though Dr. Spicer were confounded, what would the King or State suffer by his ruin or confusion? so that certainly it is meant of the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury.
'And as for the second Charge, That he did Plot and Contrive for the ruin of the Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, I hold that he is guilty, and that he did stir my Lord of Lincoln to contribute Mony for that purpose.
'For my Lord of Lincoln, I shall only say this, That the Letter of the 9th of January is such a turbulent and scandalous Libel, that a Man of Place and Quality should not give any way thereunto; but that he should receive it, entertain it, and publish it, this shews that he had long a rancor and hatred towards my Lord Arch-Bishop.
'And for the Nick-names, I shall find my Lord of Lincoln guilty as far forth as Mr. Osbaldston, for he did entertain these Letters, and did publish them, and it was an Agreement and consederacy so to do.
'Thirdly, They endeavoured to prove, That my Lord of Lincoln never wrote any Letters containing any libellous Matter; when-as there was a Letter under his own Hand, which he would not consess, although he was brought like a Bear to the Stake, and three times examined about it.
'Mr. Attorney well remembred the Law, That if a libellous Letter concerning a private Person, then he may conceal it; but if it concern a publick Officer, then the concealing of it makes him guilty thereof: And that the Letters were published is most certain, for they were openly spoken of by Women in the Market.
'Another thing of Mr. Recorder's was this; That if my Lord Bishop of Lincoln did understand Osbaldston's meaning, yet he did not understand that he meant my Lord Treasurer, and my Lord's Grace of Canterbury.
'The next Defence of Mr. Recorder was from this, That Mr. Osbaldston wrote to the Bishop of Lincoln, saying, I hope you will pick out the meaning, &c. so that there was no Consederacy and Agreement between them.
'For they said, Either his Deposition is impossible and beyond his knowledge, or else that his Reasons that moved him thereunto, are insufficient. But for my part I know not how a better Reason can be given.
'I say, It is a wonder that so many were brought forth now. But that they had bin lost, or that my Lord of Lincoln had burnt them: for had I a Friend that I professed so much kindness to, as he did to Osbaldston, I should be very sorry that he should suffer for his Letters.
'And for the Charge of the Desendents Counsel, for the subtil prosecution by the Sollicitor Kilvert, I shall say little, I know him to be of a good Carriage in other Businesses, therefore if any fault be, I shall only desire that it may be amended for the time to come. I hold that these Witness stand upright; and as for the other Witnesses, I submit unto your Lordships, for in Sentence I must consider the nature of the Cause, and the Persons.
'And i verily think, that none can accuse him of the least corruption. In a Court where most Causes of the Clergy are tried, I did never receive any private Message from his Lordship in the behalf of any Clergy Man, which is a thing to be much observed in him.
'For Mr. Osbaldston, he hath bin a Parson, a Prebend, and a School-master. My Lords, I will not suffer him, he is so turbulent a Person, and scandalous Libeller, to teach and instruct others. I would have him therefore deprived of all his Spiritual Dignities and Promotions, that he never have any place in the Church; neitehr hold I it fit that he should teach Scholars, (should I do him justice, I should adjudge him some severe corporal Punishment): I would have him deprived in the High-Commission Court, and then to be set on the Pillory in this Palace-Yard. And that he may be an Example to his Boys, I would have him also to stand in the Pillory in teh Deans-Yard, and one Ear to be nailed in the Palace, and the other Ear to be nailed in the Deans-Yard.
My Lord Chief Justice Bramston's Speech.
'That Osbaldston is guilty of every part of the Charge, I shall not need to make any question; neither shall I much stand upon the validity of the Witnesses, for I see nothing but that he is guilty of all the Charge.
'I will begin with the first Letter of the 9th of January, in which he would have two other Persons meant there, and not my Lord Treasurer, and my Lord's Grace of Canterbury; but the one to be meant my Lord Richardson, and the other Doctor Spicer.
'And for these words, the little medling Hocus Pocus works his own confusion, &c. How would this be meant of Dr. Spicer? For how did Dr. Spicer work his own Confusion? And who would give so much to consound Dr. Spicer? He is no such eminent Person, that any should give so much to confound him. So that this Letter is very clear against Osbaldston.
'And it shews a petulent Spirit, and an inveterate hatred and malice, that he did long bear against my Lord of Canterbury, without any reason or cause at all, for he doth not shew that he had ever received any wrong or injury from his Grace.
'I come now to the other Letter, wherein Osbaldston writ to teh Bishop of Lincol to contribute Charges to my Lord Treasurer, for the ruin of the littel great Man; by which must needs be meant the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury: so that i shall not stand longer upon Mr. Osbaldston; for is there were no Witnesses against him, yet I find Matter enough in his own Letters to prove him guilty of the whole Charge, and therefore I sentence him with my Lord Finch.
'If a libellous Letter concern a private Person, he that receives it may conceal it in his Pocket, or burn it; but if it concern a public Person, he ought to reveal it to some public Officer or Magistrate.
'But it is true, if he divulge it to any but to a Magistrate, he is a Libeller; and why should my Lord of Lincoln keep these Letters by him, but to the end to publish them, and to have them at all times in a readiness to publish upon every occasion?
'And for the otehr part of his Sentence of the Pillory, I am very sorry and unwilling to give such a Sentence upon any Man of his Calling and Degree. But when I consider the Quality of the Person, and how much it doth aggravate the Offence, I cannot tell how to spare him: for thes considerations that should mitigate, makes the Offence the greater, which makes me join with my Lord Finch in that part also.
'And seeing the Offence is against so Honourable a Person as my Lord's Grace of Canterbury, and there is not the least cause of any aggrievance or wrong tahat he hath done to my Lord of Lincoln, therefore in Damage I join with my Lord Finch.
'For Osbaldston, considering his place, I cannot but condemn him very much, for by what hath bin alledged, I verily believe that he did mean my Lord Treasurer, and my Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury: And my Lord Bishop of Lincoln, and Mr. Osbaldston, are both huilty of Crimes in a high nature; one would have thought that my Lord Bishop of Lincoln, being a Person of that Place and Quality, should not have run himself into such danger as to have meddled with such Matters; for had he not met with good Counsel, I conceive that he had plunged himself in as deep as Osbaldston in these practices.
For Oshaldston, I find him guilty of every part of the Charge; for the other I cannot sentence so deep; for I think my Lord of Lincoln is not guilty of the Plotting and Consederating, for teh scandalizing of those two honourable Person; I leave it to your Lordships Judgment, and lay all the Charge upon Oshaldston.
The Earl of Dorset's Speech at the Sentence of Mr. Osbaldston.
'A Ristotle in his Politicks, admits not in the Government, of any School-master to the exercise of Civil Duties, School-master commonly proving the Apes of Tyranny; and being used to imperiousness over Scholars, if you put a Sword of Justice into his Hand, you may easily guess how he will lay about him in the State and City.
'I know not with what spirit of Vanity this School-master was possessed, but we see the monstrous birth of it; if the Pedant had kept within his Rules, he might have bin taught not to have disturbed Government. Look upon this Pragmatical Person, and behold the FAct, and what were the Motives, what the Reasons to bring himself upon the Stage.
'His ill thoughts exprest in Ink as black as his Crime; his Pen was steep'd in Vinegar and Gall. What was it that stain'd the Bishop of Lincoln's Ear with the poison of ignominious Titles? It was the Pedant. Who was it, that as a Thief that had stollen another's good name away, cries, Burn my Letters, on purpose to go in darkness of the night? It was a Parson. Who was it that endeavoured to stain teh purity of my Lord Arch-Bishop's Honour with soul aspersions of Titles, little Grace, little Vrchin, Vermin &c. It was Mr. Osbaldston.
'Well, I will speak what I think, I fear none but God and the King, and I speak in truth, I am sure I shall offend neither of them. I have enquired of them who are learned in the Laws, who say, That the plainest Sense is to be taken. The Divines will tell you, That the easy Places shall explain the more obscure. And if any Man would examine those Letters, and with judicious comparing the Title of little Grace with the other, he will be forced to consess the sense of the other, or else be blind at noon-day.
'But, my Lords, I think the School-master alleges his Services to the Common-Wealth, and his being slighted for it; That he hath bin these many Years, and dedicated his Pains and Time for the good of the Flowers of the kingdom, Generosa debentur. But I will consider him as a Man subject to his Passion, (which to take away, were to take away the Man himself): I will allow him his Infirmities, but observe a little his Envy, see his Merits and Deserts, which he hath so souly abused, with the height of insolency and bold access, to the very Secrets of Empire and Government, to the disgrace of those Men of which the Common-Wealth consists. I know not, (my Lords) the Fault of the Man may transport my Speech that I abuse your Patience; but I shall give my censure of him; I learn'd in the university, how that a Syllogism doth ever follow the worst part, sequitur deteriorem ad partem, I am sure his Letter doth: he might have found a better medium to make up a Syllogism of a Libel, for he hath concluded in the worst Body of all the Figures, viz. in Bocardo: so I must concur with my Lord Finch in censure.
'As for my Lord of Lincoln, linked in this Cause, I honour the Man for many Causes, in many Relations, but for his Secretary Walker, and the Clerk of his Kitchin, and the rest (where-ever the Letters were found); they have dealt like Acteon's Hound, that turned against and devoured his Master; the false Secretary, the unjust Steward, and the unlawful Clerk of the Kitchin, who were sed at my Lord Bishop of Lincoln's Table in his prosperity, and now in his adversity they fall upon their Master to devour him. I must say of him, he hath forgotten himself, and afree to teh Censure which the Lord Chief Justice Bramstone hath given against him. He did not as Peter did. when he had denied his Master, go our and weep bitterly for his offence; but he justifies himself, and therefore he is fallen into the Lime-twigs of his Adversary.
'For Osbaldston, I find him guilty of every part of the Charge; and that he is not sentenced in a higher nature is, causa de bona fortuna, for had he bin suffered to have persisted in his course, he had surely into a most dangerous Error.
'am sorry for my Lord Bishop of Lincoln, he hath shewed him self very indiscreet, being a Person of Place and Quality, he now falls low in his Estate and Dignity; and these things will make his Spirit fall lower than his Body; and therefore I agree in all things with my Lord Finch.
'For Osbaldston, I find him guilty of the whole Charge. For my Lord Bishop of Lincoln, I cannot find him to deeply guilty as Osbaldston. But certainly my Lord's Grace of Canterbury hath bin exceedingly wronger. Therefore I give Damages with my Lord Finch.
The Earl of Manchester, Lord Privy-Seal, his Speech.
'Not as Peter did when he had denied his Master, to go out and weep bitterly for his Offence, but to justify himself: Yet how can my Lord of Lincoln deny the Letter that he wrote with his own hand, and yet he will not consess it to be his own Letter.
'And after he was Prisoner in the Tower, he called to Mr. Cadwallader Powel, and demanded if any of Mr. Osbaldston's Letters were found? Who answered, That they were found. Then said the Bishop, Osbaldston is undone.
'And as for the Bishop of Lincoln, I hold that he should also make an acknowledgment in writing to the Arch-Bishop, for he is a Person of great Place and Quality. And my Lord of Lincoln is under Canonical Obedience to the Arch-Bishop by his Oath; and Disobedience is a breach of his Oath; therefore he should acknowledge his Offence under his own hand.
'For my Lord's Grace of Canterbury, he hath ever carried himself with much Gravity in his Place, and Piety towards God and the King, and the public Good; therefore I leave him in honour as I found him, and Sentence the Bishop of Lincoln with my Lord Bramstone; and Osbaldston with my Lord Finch.
The Lord Keeper his Speech.
'My Lords, For the Letter of the 9th of January, my Lord Bishop of Lincoln doth deny that he received it; and therefore I think that he conceived it to be a scandalous Letter, which made him to deny it.
'It was the saying of one that was late Lord Chancellor, That he never like a Cause, where there were divers Answers in it; neither can I like this, when my Lord Bishop of Lincoln hath been so often examined, and will not make a perfect Answer, for he hath thrice bin examined upon this Letter, which is a shrewd Argument unto me, that he knew well that there was scandalous Matter contained it it.
'Next, my Lords, is the publishing of these libellous Letters, and I think it very fit that my Lord of Lincoln should be charged with the publishing of them. If they were in the Band-Box, then that was a publishing of them; and he delivered a Letter to his Secretary, which was a publishing thereof.
'If there were no other proof but this, I should think my Lord Bishop of Lincoln and Mr. Osbaldston to be guilty, not only of contriving, but also of publishing and divulging scandalous Libels against the Lord Arch-Bishops of Canterbury, and the State.
It concerns the late Lord Treasurer, one of his Majesty's Privy-Council, and my Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, two Honourable Persons: And my Lord Arch-Bishop had not only bin a Friend to the Bishop of Lincoln, but a faithful Mediator fro him to his Majesty, and was always very faithful in returning his Majesty's Answer unto him; and yet notwithstanding all this, my Lord of Lincoln hath done many heinous Offences against the said Arch-Bishop of Canterbury.
The Sentence of the Court was,
'That Mr. Osbaldston should be fined five thousnd Pounds to the King, and pay five thousand pounds Damages to the Arch-Bishop; be deprived of all Spiritual Dignities and Promotions; imprisioned during the King's Pleasure, and make Submission.
It so hapned, though the report was that Osbalston was run away, that he was in Court standing in the Croud, he might command his Tipstaff to apprehend him; as soon as the major part of the Court had past Censure upon him, although the Lord Keeper had not then given his Sense; therefore he got out of Court, went to his Study at the School, burnt some Papers, and writ on a Paper, which he left on his Desk, That if the Arch-Bishop inquire after me, tell him, I am gone beyond Canterbury. Whereupon Messengers were sent to the Port-Towns to apprehend him; but he lay hid in a private House in Drury-Lane, till the Parliament met in November 1640.
The late Disorders in Our Realm of Scotland, begun upon pretence of Religion, but have bin raised by factious Spirits, and somented by some few ill, treacherous affected Persons, whose aim hath bin, by troubling the Peace of that Our Kingdom, to work their own particular Ends, and indeed to shake off all Monarchial Government; although We often assure them, that We resolve to maintain constantly their Religion established by the Laws of that kingdom; is now grown to so high and dangerous Consequence, that under their minister Pretences, they have so far reduced many of our People there, that great and considerable forces are raised and assembled in such fort, as We have reason to take into Our Consideration, the Defence and Safety of this Our kingdom of England: And therefore upon due and mature consultation with the Lords of our Privy-Council, We have resolved to repair, in Our Roial Person, to the northern Parts of this Our kingdom, there, by the help of Almighty God, and the assistance of Our loving Subjects, to make Resistance against any Invasion that may happen. And to the end that this with expedition may be effected as We desire, to the glory of God, and the Safety of Us and this our kingdom of England, We have directed, that a considerable Army, both of horse and foot, shall forthwith be levied out of all the Shires of this Our kingdom, to attend Us in this Action; wherein We nothing doubt, but that the Affection, Courage, and fidelity of Our People will appear. We in the mean time have thought fit to give you notice of this Our Resolution, and of the State of these Affairs: And withal hereby do require you to attend Our Roial Person and Standard at Our City of York, the first day of April next ensuing, with such equipage, and such forces, as your Birth, honour, and Interest in the Commonalty doth oblige you to, &c. And We do, and have reason to expect from you a performance hereof; and these Our Letters shall be as sufficient and effectual a Warrant and Discharge unto you, to put your self, and such as shall attend you, into Arms and Order as aforesaid, as if you were authorized thereunto under Our Great Seal of England. And We do hereby require you to certify under your hands, within fifteen Days after the receipt hereof, what Assistance We shall expect from you herein, and to direct the same to one of Our Principal Secretaries of State.
What was contributed in other Diocesses, we want a perfect account thereof; but in all these forementioned, every particualr Clergy Man's Contribution is specified by Name; and the Names of those who refused, or were unable to contribute, were specially certified, and returned to the Arch-Bishop.
On Thursday and Friday last, the Clergie met at Bedford, before Mr. Commissary, Mr. Thorne, and my Self. We found them willing to contribute as much as was propounded. The poorest that gave any thing at all, gave no less than 3s. 10 d. in the pound, without deducting of Tenths; the most gave after 4 s. some 5 s. some after 6s. in the pound. Much of the Mony is paid in, and I suppose it will be all in Mr. Commissary's Hands by the 26th of this Month, the day appointed for the paiment. I doubt not but the Clergie of England will teach the Ministers of Scotland Duty and Obedience; and if their Laity will be taught the like by Ours, his Majesty I hope will have a Roial and Joiful Progress into Scotland; which God grant.
At this Meeting, I understand that Dr. Micklethwait is the Man in nomination for Sandy; he is my old Acquaintance, and very good Freind, whom I love with all my heart, for I take him to be a right Man for the Church; and if it might please God that he might be better accommodated nearer his own Means, I think we should mutually rejoice.
As the Clergy of the Church of England did liberally contribute to assist his Majesty with a supply of Mony against the Scots, so the Subjects of England, of the Romish Religion, were not wanting to follow that Example; nor the Queen in countenancing the same, as by the Papers following will appear.