Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 4, 1640-42. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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A Continuation of Historical Collections. Part III. Vol. I. Beginning Novemb. 3. 1640.
Tuesday the 3d of Novemb. 1640. being the Day appointed for the Meeting of the Parliament, Tbo. Earl of Arundel, Lord High Marshal of England, and Lord High Steward of His Majesty's Houshold, about Nine of the Clock in the Morning came into the outward Room of the Commons House, called the Lobby, accompanied with the Treasurer of the King's Houshold, and Sir Tbo. Roe, Knt. one of His Majesty's Privy Council, and others of the Privy Council, where the Cryer of the Chancery first made Proclamation in the King's Name, Charging all that were chosen to attend in this present Parliament, not to presume to sit till they had first taken the Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance; nor till the Sheriff make Return of his Writ to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, and his or their Names be there entred.
The Names of the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the Counties, Cities and Borough-Towns of England and Wales, and Barons of the Ports, in the Parliament Assembled at Westminster the 3d Day of November. 1640.
This being done, the Lord High Steward first Swore about sixty Members then present, and then made his Deputation under his Hand and Seal, which was openly Read by the Clerk of the Parliament, attending upon the Commons: By which he did Constitute and Authorise those of the Privy-Council, being Members of the House; as also some other Members, who were then Sworn; or any Six, Five, Four, or more of them, in his Place and Stead, to Administer the Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance to all such Members of that House, as during this present Parliament had not taken them. And then his Lordship de parted to wait upon the King, who about One of the Clock came in his Barge from White-hall to Westminster-Bridge, in the New Palace-Yard; where the Lords met Him; and from thence in great Solemnity, he came Accompanied with his Nobles through Westminster-hall and the Court of Requests, to the Abbey; where he heard a Sermon Preached by the Bishop of Bristol; and then came to the Lords House, where the Commons being sent for, and appearing; His Majesty spake as followeth.
The knowledge I had of the Design of my Scottish Subjects, was the Cause of my Calling the Last Assembly of Parliament: Wherein had I been Believed, I sincerely think, that Things had not fallen out, as now we see. But it is no wonder that men are so slow to believe, that so great a Sedition should be raised on so little1 Ground. But now my Lords and Gentlemen, the Honour and Safety of this Kingdom lying so near at stake, I am resolved to put my self freely and clearly on the Love and Affection of my English Subjects: As those of my Lords that waited on me at York, may very well remember I there declared.
Therefore my Lords, I shall not mention mine own Interest, or that Support I might justly expect from you, till the Common Safety be secured; Though I must tell you, I am not asbamed to say, those ChargesI have been at, have been meerly for the Securing and Good of this Kingdom, though the Success bath not been answerable to my Desires. Therefore, I shall only desire you to consider the best way, both for the Safety and Security of this Kingdom. Wherein there are two Parts chiefly considerable; First, The Chasing out of Rebels; and Secondly, That other in satisfying your Just Grievances;wherein I promise you to concur so beartily and clearly with you, That all the World may see my Intentions have ever been, and shall be, to make this a Glorious and Flourishing Kingdom. There are only Two Things that I shall mention to you; the one is to tell you, That the Loan of Money which I had lately from the City of London, (wherein the Lords that waited on me at York, assisted me) will only maintain my Army for Two Months, from the beginning of that time it was granted. Now my Lords and Gentlemen, I leave it to your Consideration, what Dishonour and Mischief it might be, if for want of Money my Army be Disbanded before the Rebels be put out of this Kingdom. Secondly, The securing against the calamities the Northern People endure at this time; and so long as the Treaty is on foot. And in this I say, not only They, but all this Kingdom will suffer the Harm; therefore I leave this also to your Consideration. For the Ordering of these great Affairs, whereof you are to Treat at this time, I am so consident of your Love to me, and that your Care is for the Honour and Safety of the Kingdom, that I shall freely and willingly leave to you where to begin: Only this, That you may the better know the State of all the Affairs, I have Commanded my Lord-Keeper to give you a short and free Account of those Things that have happened in this Interim; with this Protestation, That if this Account be not satisfactory as it ought to be, I shall, whensoever you desire, give you a full and perfect Account of every particular. One Thing more I desire of you, as one of the greatest means to make this a happy Parliament, That you on your Parts, as I on mine, lay aside all Suspicion one of another; for as I promised my Lords at York, It shall not be my fault, if this be not a happy and good Parliament.
My Lords, and you the Knights, Citizens,
and Burgesses of the House of Commons;
You have been Summoned by His Majesties Gracious Writ, under the Great Seal of England, and you are here this Day assembled for the holding of a Parliament. The Writ tells you, Tis to treat and consult of the high, great, and weighty Affairs, that concern the Estate and Sasety of the Kingdom. It tells you true; for since the Conquest, never was there a time that did more require, and pray for the best Advice and Affection of the English People. It is ill viewing of Objects, by viewing them in a Multiplying-Glass; and it is almost as mischievous in the Species of such a broken Glass, which represents but to the half. The only and the perpect way is to look in a true Mirror: I will not take upon me to be a good Looker in it. I will only hold it to you to make use of it.
The Kingdom of England is this Multiplying Glass; you may there see a State which hath flourished for divers hundred years, Famous for time of Peace and War, Glorious at home, and ever Considerable abroad; a Nation to whom never yet any Conqueror gave new Laws, nor abolished the old; nor would this Nation ever suffer a Conqueror to meddle with their Laws, no not the Romans, who yet whenas they subdued all the People, made it part of their Conquest to lead their Laws in Triumph with them. For the Saxons, Danes, and the Normans, if this were a time to travel in such Particulars, it were an easie task to make it appear, that they never changed the old established Laws of England, nor ever brought in any new; so as you have the Frame and Constitution of a Common-wealth, made Glorious by Antiquity. And it is with States, as with Persons and Families, certainly an uninterrupted Pedigree doth give Luitre. It is glorious in the whole Frame, worth your looking upon long, and your Consideration in every Part.
For his Excellent Majesty, that now is, Our most Gracious Sovereign, you had need wipe the Glass, and wipe your Eyes, and then you shall truly behold him a King of Exemplary Piety, and Justice, of Rare Endowments, and Abilities of Nature. And what he hath got by Acquisition, depth of Judgment, quickness of Apprehension, unparallel'd Moderation in great Councils, and great Affairs, such as you my Lords, that had the happiness to attend him at the Council of Peers at York, to our great Joy and Comfort can witness, and after Ages will remember, to his eternal Honour and Fame.
For his just and Pious Government, I dare boldly say, That if any under himas an Instrument, who have had the distributing of Justice to his People, have not done as they ought, the Fault is their own, and they have done contrary to the Royal Nature, and express Command of our Gracious Sovereign, from whom I have often learned this golden Rule and Maxim, He serves me best, that serves me with Honesty and Integrity.
Behold him in another part of himself, in his dearest Consort, our gracious Queen, the Mirror of Virtue, from whom since her happy Arrival, now after three lustres of Years, never any Subject received other than gracious and benign Insluence; and I dare avow, as the is nearest and dearest to our Sovereign, so there is none whose Affections and Endeavours (His Majesty only excepted) have, or do, or can co-operate more to the happy Success of this Parliament, and the never to be equall'd Joy and Comfort of a right understanding between the King and his People.
Where was there, or is there in any part of the World, a Nobility so Numerous, so Magnanimous, and yet with such a Temper, that they neither eclipse the Throne, nor over-top the People, but keep in a distance fit for the greatness of the Throne?
Where was there a Commonwealth so free, and the Balance so equally held as here? And certainly so long as the Beam is duly held, it cannot be otherwise. In right Angles, if you turn the Line never so little, it groweth quickly acute, or obtuse; and so States, the least Deviation makes a great Change. But His Majesties great Wisdom and Goodness, and the Assistance of this Honourable Assembly, I do not doubt, will be a means to make us steer between the Tropicks of Moderation, that there be no Declension from the Pole of Security.
You may remember the Summer preceeding this last, His Majesty went with an Army into the North, engaged in Honour so to do, by reason of the Courses that were taken by divers of the Subjects of Scotland, to the Prejudice of Monarchy, and rendring less glorious this Kingdom. I know not under what Pretence, but at that time they came very near England, with an Army, so that it was believed they would have then entred and invaded the Kingdom. They did prosess the contrary, neither did they want Remonstrances and Declaratioos to infuse this Opinion into the Hearts of his Majesties People, before it could appear by the Effects, what their Intentions from the beginning were. His Majesty by his Goodness and Wisdom, settled a Peace, and made a Pacification at Berwick, upon which both Armies were disbanded; which Pacification, and every Article of it, his Majesty for his part hath been so far from violating, that whensoever any Question shall be made of it, it shall plainly and clearly appear, that it was his Care to see it in all Things perform'd On the contrary, those Subjects of his, not contented with that Grace which his Majesty then gave them in those Articles of Pacification, have not only strained them beyond the Bounds and Limits of the Intention and Meaning; but they have over and above attempted, and acted divers Things so prejudicial to Monarchy, and contrary and repugnant to the Law, and settled Constitution, and Usage of that Kingdom, that his Majesty, could not in Honour connive at it.
This being made known unto his Majesty, and to his Privy-Council, by those who best knew the State and Affairs of that Kingdom, and that were most trusted and employed by his Majesty; his Majesty by the Unanimous Consent of his Privy-Council, resolved to raise an Army to reduce them to a modest and just Condition of true Obedience, and Subjection, to defend this Kingdom from all Damage and Danger, that by their means (how speciously soever they shadow their Pretences) might fall upon it.
His Majesty then foresaw, and foretold, that though the raising of an Army at this time, was but to stand upon their own Defence, as they professed, yet they had an Intention to enter this Kingdom, and to seize upon some Place of Importance and Eminency; and his Majesty in particular named Newcastle.
Had his Majesty then had Means and Money, as well as he had certain knowledge of their Intentions, I do believe that these Calamities that have fallen upon that Town, and the Counties adjoining, had been prevented. Perhaps the Misinterpretations of his Majesties Intentions, and the Misunderstandings of his Actions, and (I am afraid) the too benign Interpretation of the Attempts, Actions, and Profession of the Subjects in Scotland, added some Impediment to that which the most of us, I hope, have lived to repent of.
His Majesty howsoever went in Person to the North, to see his Army ordered, and to take care for the Safety and Defence of this Kingdom, as much as he possibly could. He had not long been there, but that which he foresaw, and foretold, fed out: For the Scots passed with their Army the Rivers Twede and Tine, and seized upon Newcastle; which of what Importance it is you all know; and then they forced Conforced Contribution of the Counties of Northumberland, and the Bishoprick of Durham, besides many other Spoils and Destructions that were committed.
His Majesty well considering of what Weight and Importance this was, and then having neither Time nor Place to call this Assembly of Parliament; he did resolve, as had been frequently used, to Summon a great Council of all the Peers, that by their Advice and Assistance there might be some Interruption given to the Calamity that was likely to spread over the whole Kingdom, and commanded Writs to issue out accordingly.
It was not to clash, or intersere with this Assembly, by acting or ordering any Thing which belongeth to this High and Supreme Jurisdiction, but only to give their Assistance for the present, to render Things more fit for this great Assembly.
The Lords understood it so, as will plainly appear by the Proceedings of that Assembly; of which, if those that were Officers, and Ministers there, had been come to Town, upon whose Help I rested for my particular Instructions, I should have been better able to have given you an Account; and his Majesty was pleas'd to let you know, That when there was an occasion of any Particular, you may be satisfied in it.
According to his Majesties Command, on the Twenty-fourth of September, all the Peers that were summoned, except some few, did meet; where his Majesty was in the first place pleased to declare unto us his Resolution to call a Parliament; and to all our Joys and Contents, as he hath now done it to yours and ours, declared, That there was nothing he did more desire, than to be rightly understood of his People: And whosoever he be, that shall go about (effect it I am sure he cannot) to attempt or endeavour to alter this gracious Deciaration and Resolution of His Majesty, or whosoever shall go about to poyson the Hearts of his good Subjects, with an opinion that it cannot be so; or lessen the affection of his loving Subjects, (for certainly never Subjects of the World better loved their King, than the English; nor ever did English men better I we a King, than now); if (I say) there be any such, may a Curse and Punishment fall upon them, but let the Royal Throne be established for ever.
In the first place it was touching an Answer to a Petition that had been, since his coming to York, and before his assembling the Lords, sent unto him from those his Subjects of Scotland, that were at Newcastle.
The next thing his Majesty conceived, and all that were there were of one Opinion, with one Voice and Consent, That it was not sit his Majesty should disband his Army, so long as the Scots Army was on foot; and his Majesty withed them to take into consideration, what way to have maintenance for his Army in the mean time.
His Majesty having opened the Cause of calling them together, was pleased to express himself, That he would leave to the Lords their freedom of Debate, and himself was ready to have been gone from the Council; but at the humble Suit of the Lords he stayed; and I am persuaded, that nothing was of that Joy to them, as his Majesty's Presence; with such freedom of discourse did every man deliver himself, with luch grace and sweetness did his Majesty hear them, and such content did they take in his moderating, guiding, and directing those Councils.
My Lords, as holding it most necessary, took the latter of those two Considerations propounded by his Majesty, into their thoughts, and that was the supplying, and supporting his Majesty's Army, till this Parliament might take some course in it. His Majesty, and my Lord, did declare themselves, as before I have opened unto you, That they could never attempt, nor had the least thought to make, by any Actor Order, any thing tending to Charge the Subject, but that it might be lest wholly to [the Supreme Jurisdiction.] And therefore not seeing any other way, they resolved by Letters to address themselves to the City of Londen, and with their Letters they sent half a dozen of my Lords.
My Lord Privy-Seal, my Lord of Clare, who was appointed to go, but his urgent occasions prevented him, Viscount Cambden, LordCoventry, Lord Goring, and—And as these Lords did express the Joy and content they took in the King's Grace, so the considence they had of his gracious assistance, was such, that they did freely offer themselves, (and as I dare say there is none but is yet ready) to enter into security with his Majesty. And the City gave an Answer sit for the Chamber of the King and part of the Money is already lent, and they will be ready, I assure my self, to supply the rest.
For the other part, the first thing propounded by his Majesty, was touching the Answer to be given to that Petition, and to the Demands of the Subjects in Scotland upon which occasion his Majesty was pleased by those great Officers and Ministers of his that knew best, and understood the Laws and Usages of that Kingdom, to expound their Demands particularly, and to make appear unto their Lordships upon every one, wherein they had exceeded the Articles of Pacification which his Majesty ever desired might be the square and rule of the Treaty with them.
My Lords took into consideration what was sit to be done; for his Majesty then professed, as he did often, during the time of that Council, to be wholly ruled, guided, and directed by their advice. For the Honour of this Nation, and Safety of it, he did leave it to their Wisdoms and Considerations, against whose Advice, and without whose Judgments and Advice, he would do nothing.
My Lords, howsoever they had received this Information, and Explanation upon every particular of their Demands, yet in Justice they thought it was sit to hear what could be said on the other side, how the objections might be answered, and what objections might be made by them against that which seemed to be plain enough.
For this purpose they were all of Opinion, and his Majesty was pleased to he of the same Opinion, That some Lords selected and trusted by that great Council, should treat with those Subjects of Scotland upon all those Particulars to the end that they might see what they did clearly intend; that so a firm Peace, which was most desired from us, might be had, or a Just War be begun.
My Lords of the Great Council, that were appointed for that purpose, were the Earls of Bedford, Hertford, Essex, Salisbury, Warwick, Bristol, Hoiland, and Berkshire; the Barons were, the Lords Wharton, Paget, Kimbolton, Brook, Pawlet, Howard of Escrick, Savile, and Dunsmore.
After which choice, and some general Instructions proceeding from the Debate and Discourses in that great Council, a Commission under the Great Seal was given to them, to enable them to treat and conclude as they in their Wisdoms and Judgments should think fit.
The Place appointed for this Treaty was at Rippon, where the Lords Commissioners wanted the happiness of that, which they and we had at York, his Majesty's Presence. And that might be the occasion that more time was spent in it, than otherwise would have been: Yet my Lords omitted not their parts, but were desirous to look into the depth, to see the utmost extent of their demands.
But before those of Scotland could come to the main Treaty, to explain themselves touching their Demands, they made a Preparatory Demand for maintenance for their Army, and did go so high as to demand Forty thousand Pounds a Month. My Lords (that were very unwilling to do any Act, or make any Order whatsoever, as I have opened unto you, for the sustenance, maintenance, and keeping afoot his Majesty's Army, without this great Assembly, which yet they all held fit should not be disbanded) were much starded at the demand of Maintenance for an Army which was not the King's, and which they did wish could not continue.
But my Lords, as under that name they could not hear it, yet they took into consideration the miserable condition of Northumberland, the Bishoprick of Durham, and Newcastle; they took into consideration too, the Counties of Cumberland, and Westmorland, which if the Scotish Army should enter, were scarce able at this time to defend themselves, and it was inconvenient to bring the King's Army thither.
Nay, their Lordships were satisfied, that the County of York was in danger, and that not to be prevented, but by a Battel, if the Scots came on with an Army. And my Lords were loth, where there were such odds, that a Battel should be adventured. And if the county of York should be in danger, we might quickly foresee how the danger might run over the whole Kingdom.
And my Lords, as well those that remained at York as those at Rippon, having received Complaints from the Bishop of Durham, and from Northumberland and Newcastle, and the Mayor of Newcastle being imprisoned, and some of his Brethren, (as was represented unto them) kept without Fire or Candle; and having heard of divers Wastes and Spoils done in the Country, my Lords did think fit, That fince the Counties of Northumberland, the Bishoprick of Durbam, and Newcastle, had already made a Composition and Agreement, That they would at least ratifie and confirm the Composition and Agreement, so as there might be a Cessation of Arms and Acts of Hostility; and that they which had fled from their dwellings in these Counties, might return in Safety: My Lords, for these Reasons thought fit at present to give way unto them, rather than to hazard so great Calamity and Affliction as would have fallen on those Counties: Hereupon they did conclude for 890 l. per diem; and this to continue for Two Months, if the Treaty before took not effect; the Two Months to begin from the 16th of October: Then they took Articles for the Cessation of Arms. So as now the state and condition of things, as they were acted, I have shortly and summarily delivered to you: I dare not venture on too many particulars, left my memory should fail; and if I have not done his Majesties Command, I beg his Majesty's Pardon.
And, My Lords, of what weight and importance this is to the whole Kingdom; what deep Consideration it requires in our Affection; what unsuspected Affections we had need bring with us, is easie to judge.
It is his Majesties Pleasure, That You of the House of Commons repair to your own House, to Chuse your Speaker, whom his Majesty expects you will present to him on Thursday next, at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon.
The King's Speech, and the Lord Keeper's being ended, the Members returned to the House of Commons, and Sir Henry Vane, the Elder, first broke Silence, putting them in mind of the Custom of Chusing a Speaker, and proposed William Lenthall, Esq; a Bencher of Lincolnslnn, who with One Consent was called to the Chair: He stood up, and desired to be excused, for the Weightiness of the Affairs, and for his Own sake, knowing his own weakness; or at least for their sakes: But they called him the more, To the Chair, To the Chair; and Two Members of the House, the one on the Right hand, and the other on the left, led him up; and after he was placed in the Chair, the House adjourned till Thursday the Fisth of November, at Nine of the Clock.
I Do expect, That you will hastily make relation to the House of Commons, of those Great Affairs, for which I have called you hither at this time, and also the Trust I have reposed in them, and how freely I put my self on their Love and Affections; and that you may know the better how to do so, I shall explain my self as concerning one thing I spake the last day: I told you the Rebels must be put out of this Kingdom; it's true, I must needs call them so, so long as they have an Army that doth invade us; and altho' I am under Treaty with them, and under my Great Seal do call them my Subjects; for so they are too. But the state of my Affairs in short is this: It's true, I did expect when I called my Lords and Great ones at York, to have given a Gracious Answer to all their Grievances; for I was in good hopes, by their Wisdoms and Affistances, to have made an end of that Business: But I must tell you, That my Subjects of Scotland did so delay them, that it was not possible to end there.
Therefore I can no ways blame my Lords that were at Rippon, that the Treaty was not ended; but must thank them for their Pains and Industry; and certainly had they as much Power as Affections, I should by that time have brought these Distempers to a happy Period: So that now the Treaty is transported from Rippon to London; where I shall conclude nothing without your knowledge; and I doubt not, but by your approbation; for I do not desire to have this great Work done in a corner: For I shall open all the steps of this misunderstanding, and Causes of this great difference between Me and my Subjects of Scotland; and I doubt not by your affistance to make them know their Duty, and to make them return, whether they will or no.
Most Gracious and Dread Sovereign,
In all submissive humbleness, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons are here assembled; who taking along with them your gracious Inclination, have defign'd me their Speaker, according to their Ancient Liberties.
Whereas I cannot but lament to think, how great a Mist may overcast the Hopes of this Sessions; yet it is a Note of Favour to me, who cannot but judge my self unfit for so great an Employment, and which appears so to the whole World.
Many there be of deep Judgment, and great Experience, that might have added Lustre to this Action, and Expedition to the Work, if they had pieased to have left me in that mean condition they found me;
Non mibi tacuisse nocet, Nocet esse locutum.
But is it yet too late? May I not appeal to Casar? Yes, I may; and in the lowest posture of humility, I humbly beseech your Sacred Majesty to interpose your Royal Authority to Command a review of the House, for there were never more than now fitted for such Employments.
I see before my eyes the Majesty of Great Britain, the Glory of Times, the History of Honour, Charles the First, in his fore front, placed by descent of ancient Kings, settled by a long Succession, and continued to us by a Pious and Peaceful Government.
In the midst of those, the Reverend Judges, whither both Parties (as to the Oracles of Judgment and Justice) may resort, Cisterns that hold fair Waters, wherein each deviation, each wrinkle is discernible, and from whence (as from the Center) each crooked line ought to be levelled; the Footstool of your Throne is fixed there, which renders you Glorious to all Posterity.
Here, we the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the Commons House, at Your Royal Feet, contracted from all Parts of Your Kingdom, Ensigns of Obedience and Humility; all these united by the Law equally distributed, which cements this Great Body to the Obedience of Your Sacred Majesty. And compels as well the Hearts, as the Hands, to contribute for the Preservation of Your Majesty and the Common Interest, Dissipates the Invaders of the Church and Common-wealth, and discovers the Impostures, but (give me leave, Dread Sovereign) knits the Crown to the Sacred Temples, and frees Majesty from the Interpretation of misdoing. Amongst these, this Great Council is most sovereign against the Distempers of this Nation.
It is reported of Constantine the Great, That he accounted his Subjects Purse his Exchequer, and so it is. Subtle Inventions may pick the Purse, but nothing can open it but a Parliament, which lets in the eye of Sovereignty upon the publick Maladies of the State, and vigilancy for the preservation of our ancient Liberties. For this, we need not search into Antiquity; if we look but a little back, there we shall see our Just Liberties Graciously confirmed by your most Sacred Majesty.
And such shall be our Deportment, that as we shall labour the continuance of our Liberties, so shall we carry a high regard to preserve that Sovereign Power, wherewith Your Majesty is invested for the preservation of Your Kingdom, and to render your Sacred Majesty Terrible to the Nations abroad, and Glorious at home.
Are these the Fruits we have enjoyed by Parliaments? We cannot then but wonder at that horrid invention in this place projected, monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens; but the Lord be thanked, Cui lumen ademptum est. Can this receive a palliation? Men, Fathers, and Brethren, and all at one blast; no reverence to Sacred Bones of Princes! were we not all in a lump by them intended to be offered up to Moloch ?
Let us never forget this Days Solemnization. But whither! It is too much boldness to presume longer upon Your Majesties Grace and Goodness; and therefore for the better expedition of this Service, we humbly desire;
Thirdly, That Your Majesty will vouchsafe our repair to Your Sacred Person, upon matters of Importance, according to the ancient Privileges of the House. That with such Alacrity we may now proceed to manifest to the World, that our Retirements were to reinforce a greater Unity and Duty; and to endeavour a sweet Violence, which may compel (pardon, dread Sovereign, the Word Compely Your Majesty to the Love of Parliaments.
And God will have the Honour, Your Sacred Majesty the Splendor, the Kingdom Safety; and all our Votes shall pass, That Your Sacred Majesty may long, long, long Reign over us; and let all the People say, Amen.
Afterwards the Commons returned to their House; and now the King's Mace was Carried before the Speaker; who so soon as he assumed the Chair, had the Mace laid upon the Table; and in the first Place the House settled the Grand Committee for Privileges and Elections, which usually had wont to consist of 40 in Number.
But Mr.Elsing, the Clerk, in setting down their Names, hastily writ down 47; whereupon it was moved to reduce the Number to Forty; but the Sense of the House was, they should stand who were named, it being no wilful Mistake of the Clerk, for that the Names were called on in a confused manner, which might make his Pen unawares increase the Number above Forty; and Mr. Maynard was chosen Chairman of that Committee at the first time of their Meeting.
This Committee is appointed to Examine and Consider of all Questions that grow and arise in Parliament about Elections, Returns, or other Privileges of the House, and to report their Opinions and Proceedings therein to the House, and have Power to send for Records, Parties, Witnesses, &c. and to hear Council, and for that Service to meet this Afternoon; and after, every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday in the Star-Chamber at Two of the Clock.
Ordered, That it should be referred to the Committee for Privileges to consider of the Claims and Interest of all such Boroughs, as pretend to have any Title to return any Members to sit in this House, and have of late times been discontinued.
It was farther Ordered, That all such as will Question any Elections, now presently Returned, shall do the same by Petition within 14 Days; and those that shall Question any Elections to be hereafter returned, shall likewise do the same within 14 Days after their respective Returns.
In the next Place the House proceeded to settle their Grand Committees, and Ordered a Committee of the whole House for Religion, to meet every Monday at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon in the House.
These Committees have Power to send for Writings, Books, Records, Papers, Officers, Parties and Witnesses, and to assign and hear Council, and are to report their Opinions and Proceedings to the House.
It was moved and seconded in the House, That a Committee of the whole House might consider of the Petitions and Complaints which are come out of Ireland;; which Motion finding some opposition, it was put to the Question, Whether the Irish Affairs should be referred to a Committee of the whole House? (others being for a Select Committee.) The House was divided, and the Yea 's went forth, and the No 's staid in; but it was carried in the Affirmative; whereupon it was Resolved upon the Question, That the Irish Affairs shall be referred to a Committee of the Whole House, to meet to Morrow, being November the 7th, in the Afternoon, at Two of the Clock, in the House, and afterwards every Thursday, at the same Hour and Place, and this Committee is to have the like Power as the other Grand Committees of the whole House have.
The House proceeded according to Custom, and Ordered, That a Catalogue of all the Bills remaining in the last Session of Parliament, be brought here on Monday next, by the Clerk; and afterwards they proceeded to Read one of those Bills, which was, An Act concerning the Conversion of Tillage into Pasture; (Read the First time).
Upon Saturday, Nov. 7. The First Petition which was preferred and read in the House, was that of Susannah Bastwick; and afterwards, another of Sarah Burton, on the Behalf of their respective Husbands, close Prisoners in remote Islands; complaining of the severe Sentence of the Court of Star-Chamber, inflicted upon them in the Pillory; and that the Petitioners, their Wives, were by particular Order not to be permitted to come and visit their Husbands. Whereupon the House Ordered, That their said Husbands shall be forthwith sent for to the Parliament, in safe Custody, by Warrant of this House, directed to the Governors of the Isles where they are Prisoners, and to the Captains of the Castles there; and that the Cause of their Detainer may be certified hither also.
The next Petition preferred, was that of John Brown, a Servant to Mr. Prynn, close Prisoner in the Isle of Jersey, complaining of the Sentence in the Star-Chamber against his Master, and the Cruel putting it in Execution; and of his Banishment to a remote Island; desiring the House would send for his Master, more fully to make known his Case: And the House made the like Order for him, as was made for Dr. Bastwick.
The next was the Petition of John Lilburn, close Prisoner in the Fleet, complaining of the Sentence severely inflicted upon him by the Court of Star-Chamber: Whereupon it was Ordered, That he should have Liberty, by Warrant of this House, to go abroad in safe Custody, to prosecute his Petition Exhibited here; and that he be removed out of the Common Prison, where now be is, into some more convenient Place, and have the Liberty of the Fleet: And a Committee was appointed to take his Case into Consideration.
Then the Petition of Alexander Leighton was read, complaining of the Sentence against him in the Star-Chamber, and smart Execution thereof, being first Whipt, his Nose slit, branded in both Cheeks with a Red-hot Iron, his Ears cut off, and close Imprisonment: Whereupon a like Order was made concerning him, as for John Lilburn.
The Petition of Alexander Jennings, of the County of Bucks, was likewise read, complaining, That the Court of King's-Bench had deferred to Discharge or Bail him, being a Prisoner in the Fleet, by Warrant from the Lords of the Council, without any Cause expressed; and being brought up by Habeas Corpus, to the Bar of the Court of King's-Bench, the Writ and Return being read in Court, and the Return expressing no Cause of his Commitment, the Judges Remanded him to Prison, and advised him to bring a Certificate, That he had paid his Assessment for Ship-money, in the County of Bucks. And he further complained, That he met with the like hardship from that Court upon another Habeas Corpus, which he brought the next Term after; and the same Return made as at first; but could neither be Discharged nor Bailed. Whereupon he was likewise Ordered to have Leave to profecute his Petition, attended with a Keeper.
The first Member that stood up at this time to represent the Grievances of his Country, was Arthur Capel, Esq; then Knight of the shire for the County of Hertford, aftewards Lord Capel, who presented a Petition in the Name of the Freeholders of that County, setting forth the Burden and Oppressions of the People, during the long Intermission of Parliament, in their Consciences, Liberties, and Properties, and particularly in the heavy Tax of Ship-Money.
Mr. Henry Bellasis (Son to the Lord Falconberg) and Ferdinando Lord Fairfax, Knights of the Shire for the County of York, presented a Petition of the Gentry and Freeholders in that County, complaining of the Grievances before-mentioned, but more especially Representing Ship-Money as a Great and Crying Grievance.
Sir John Wray did the like for Lincolnshire, who was their Knight: Sir Hugh Cholmely presented Grievances suffered by the Town of Scarborough in Yorkshire: Sir Philip Musgrave, for Westmorland: Sir Francis Seymore, for Wilts: Sir John Packington, for Worcestershire: Sir Guy Palmes, for Rutland: Sir Edmund Montford, for Norfolk: Sir Tho. Barrington, for Essex: Mr.Will. Pierpoint, for Shropshire: Sir John Culpeper, for Kent: Sir Anthony Irby, for the Town of Boston in Lincolnshire; and divers other Knights and Burgesses did the like for other Counties and Boroughs.
To Redress Grievances, will not hinder, but further the Service of the King. To take away the Weights, does as much advantage Motion, as to add Wings. I shall first instance several Heads of those Grievances we labour under. 2. Demonstrate them to be as hurtful to the King, as to the People. 3. That the Remedies will prove equally good to both of them.
The King can do no Wrong; The Law casts all Miscarriages upon the Ministers: Thus the Influence of Heaven conveyeth Vigor into Sublunary Creatures; but the malignity of all Epidemical Diseases proceedeth from the ill-affected Qualities of the Earth or Air.
For the First, The Members are free from Arrests; to have Liberty of Speech; a Legislative, Judiciary, and Conciliary Power; being the same to the Body Politick, as the Faculties of the Soul to a Man.
These Privileges have been broken: First, in restraining the Members from Speaking. 2. In forbidding the Speaker to put a Question: Both of these practised in the last Parliament. 3. By Imprisoning divers Members for Matters done in Parliament. 4. By Proceedings against them for the same in the Inferior Courts. 5. Enjoyning them to give Security for their good Behaviour, and continuing them in Prison, even to the Death. 6. In abrupt Dissolutions of Parliament: The great Grievance; like the Execution of a Man, without being heard: It receives a Being by the Summons, and a Civil Death by Dissolution; not only thereby to dye, but to be made Intestabiles, uncapable of making their Wills, the good Acts that they were about.
The Second is, Encouragement of Popery: First, By Suspension of Laws against them: Now'tis certain, there can be no Security from Papists, but in their Disability; Their Principles are incompatible with any other Religion; Laws will not restrain them, nor Oaths; for the Pope dispenseth with both; and his Command acts them against the Realm in Spirituals and Temporals in Ordine ad Spiritualia Henry the Third, and Henry Fourth of France, were no Protestans, yet were murthered because they tolerated Reformation. 2. By allowing them Places of Trust and Honour in the Commonwealth. 3. Their free Refort to London, and to the Court, to communicate their Counsels and Designs, diving into the Secrets of State. 4. That as they have a Congregation of Cardinals at Rome, for advancing the Pope's Authority in England; so have they a Nuncio here for the Execution thereof.
Then as to Innovations of Religion introduced: First, Maintenance of Papish Tenets in Books, Sermons, and Disputations. 2. Practice of Popish Ceremonies countenanced and enjoined, as Altars, Images, Crucifixes, Bowings, &c. These I may in some respect compare to the Dry Bones in Ezekiel; which first came together, then Sinews and Flesh came upon them, afterwards the Skin cover'd them, and then Breath and Life was put into them; so first the Form, then the Spirit and Life of Popery was to come amongst us. 3. Preferment of Persons Popishly affected. 4. The discouragement of Protestants by over-rigid Profecutions of the scrupuious for Things indifferent: No Vice made so great as Inconformity; by punishing without Law, for not Reading the Book for Sunday Recreation; for not removing the Communion Table otherwise; for not coming to the Rails to receive the Communion; for Preaching on the Lord's Day in the Afternoon; for Catchising otherwise than as in the short Catechism in the Common Prayer-Book. 5. By incroachment of Ecclesiaitical Jurisdiction; Particularly, 1. In Fining and Improsoning without Law. 2. Challenging their Jurisdiction to be appropriated to their Order Jure Divino. 3. Contriving and Publishing new Articles of Visitation, new Canons; and the boldness of Bishops, and all their subordinate Officers and Officials.
As to the Third Sort of Grievances, I shall observe rather the order of Time when they were acted, than the Consequence; but when we come to the Care, it will be best to begin with the most important.
There is First Tunnage and Poundage, and the late new Book of Rotes taken by Prerogative, without Grant of Parliament; from whence these Inconveniences follow: 1. Mens Goods are seized, their Suits stopt. 2. Musenployment of the Sums of Money imposed; for though intended for the Guard of the Seas, they are disposed to other uses, and a new Tax raised for the same parpote. 3. The Burthen excessive, Trade hindred, Home Commodities abased, and Foreign Inhansed; by which means the Stock of the Kingdom is diminished, especially insupportable to the poor Planters in America, by the Tax upon Tobacco.
There is Composition for Knighthood; which though it refers to a former Custom, yet upon the same Grounds the King may renew it by a new Fine; immoderate multiplication of Distress and Issues, and inforce them to compound with the Commissioners. An Inundation of Monopolies undertaken by Papists, and full of Mischief. 1st, By Imparing the Goodness, and Inhansing the Price of Salt, Soap, Beer, Coals, &c. 2dly, Under colour of which, Trade was restrained to a few Hands. 3dly, Many Persons thereupon Illegally Imprisoned.
But the great and unparallel'd Grievance is the Ship-Money, being aggravated, not supported by the Judgment, which is not grounded upon Law, Custom, President, or Authority: It being improper for a Case of Necessity, and abounding in variety of Mischief. As, Ist. The General Extent to all Persons, all Times, and the Subject less remediless. 2dly, The Arbitray Proportion without Limits. 3dly, Imposed by Writ, and disposed by Instructions. Improper, for the Office of a Sheriff in the Inland Counties, and inconvenient for the Inhabitants; without rule, or suitable means for the levying or managing of it.
The Enlargements of Forests beyond the Bounds of the Statutes, 27 & 28 Ed. 1. Which Perambulation then were the Cause of that famous Charta de Foresta; And now reviving these old Questions, new Distempers may follow, and particular Obliquities we may already observe, and Surrepritious Proceedings, as in Essex; yet that Verdict was enforced in other Counties, and a Judgment upon the Matter after Three or Four Hundred Years quiet Possession of the Subject, who thereupon is forced to compound for great Fines.
The selling of Nusance: The King as a Father of the Commonwealth, is to take Care of the Publick Commodities and Advantages of the Subjects, as Rivers, Highways, and Common-Sewers, by ordinary Writs Ad quod Damnum: But now by a course Extrajudicial, by inforcing Compositions; so then, if really it be a Nusance that is compounded for, 'tis an hurt to the People; if no Nusance, then'tis a grand prejudice to the Party.
The Commission for Depopulations began some few years since; by both these Commissions, the Subject is restrained from disposing of his own; demolishing their Houses, punishing and fining their Persons for that, for which they are still liable by Law; for the King cannot License a Nusance; and although these are not Nusances, yet it is of ill consequence to be compounded for, and may make a president for Kings to License such things as are Nusances indeed.
Military Charges ought not to be laid upon the People by Warrant of the King's Hand, nor by Letters of the Council-Table, nor by order of the Lords Lieucenants of Counties, nor their Deputies. It began to be practised as a Loan for Supply of Coat and Conduct Money in Queen Elizabeth's time, with promise to be Repaid it, as appears by a Constat -Warrant in the Exchequer, and certain Payments: But now-a-days never Repaid. The first Particular brought into a Tax, was, the Musier-Masters Wages; which being but for a small Sum, was generally digested: Yet in the last Parliament, it was designed to be Remedied. But now there follows Pressing of Men against their Wills, or to find others. 2dly. Provisions for publick Magazines, for Powder, Spades and Pickaxes. 3dly. Salary of Officers, Cart-horses, Carts, and such like.
Monopolies countenanced by the Council-Table, and the Clause in their Patents of Monopolies, commanding the Justices of Peace to Assist them; whereby the great Abilities of that Honourable Board, receive a stain by such matters of so mean a report in the Estimation of the Law, so ill in the Apprehension of the People.
The High Court of Star-Chamber, called in the Parliament Rolls Magnum Concilium, to which the Parliaments were wont to refer such matters as they had not time to determine: A Court erected against Oppression; a Court of Councils, and a Court of Justice; now an Instrument of erecting and defending Monopolies, to set a face of publick good on things pernicious.
That great and most eminent Power of the King in Edicts and Proclamations, called Leges Temporis, used heretofore to encounter with sudden and unexpected danger, till the Great Council of the King could be called, hath of late been exercised for enjoining and maintaining Monopolies.
But the last and greatest Grievance leads us a step higher, even as high as Heaven, as the Throne of God, his Word and Truth. The ambitious and corrupt Clergy, Prcaching down the Laws of God, and Liberties of the Kingdom; pretending Divine Authority and Absolute Power in the King, to do what he will with us; and this Preaching is the high-way to Preserment; as one Manwaring Sentene'd in the former Parliament for this Doctrine, then a Doctor, is now become a Bishop.
These Grievances are as well hurtful to the King as to the Subjects, by interrupting their Communion; they have need of his general Pardon, and to be secured from Projectors and informers; to be freed from Obsolete Laws, and from the subtle devices of such who seek to strain the Prerogative to their own private Advantage, and the Publick Hurt; and the King hath need of them for Counsel, for Support. Queen Elizabeth's Victorious Attempts, were for the most part carryed on upon the Subjects Purses, and not upon her own; tho' the Honour and Profit were Hers. These discontents at home diminish the King's Reputation abroad; and disadvantage his Treaties, and weaken his Party beyond Seas, by encouraging Popery; by forcing the Subjects to leave the Kingdom, to the prejudice of the King's Customs and Subsidies. As for inseance: Divers Clothiers forced away, who set up their Manufacture abroad to the hurt of the Kingdom. The King hath received upon the Monopoly of Wines, Thirty Thousand Pounds per Ann. The Vintner pays Forty Shillingsper Tun, which comes to Ninety thousand Pounds: The Price upon the Subject by Retail is increased Two pence a Quart, which comes to Eight Pounds a Tun; and so Forty five thousand Tun brought in Yearly, amounts to Three hundred sixty thousand Pounds; which is Three hundred and thirty Thousand Pounds loss to the Kingdom, above the King's Receit.
Now the Remedies, and removing these Grievances, consist of two main branches, in Declaring the Law where it is doubtful; and in providing for the Execution of the Law where it is Clear. But these I refer to a further time, and for the present advise speedily to desire a Conference with the Lords touching Grievances; and always to Humble our selves for God's Assistance.
Sir Benjamin Rudyard's Speech. Nov. 7. 1640.
We are here Assembled to do God's business and the King's in which our Own is included, as we are Cbristians, as we are Subjects: Let us first Fear God, then shall we Honour the King the more: For I am afraid we have been the less prosperous in Parliaments, because we have preferred other matters before Him. Let Religion be our Primum quærite, for all things else are but et cœtera's to it; yet we may have them too, sooner and surer, if we give God his Precedence.
We well know what Disturbance hath been brought upon the Church for vain petty trifles: How the whole Church, the whole Kingdom hath been troubled where to place a Metaphor, an Altar. We have seen Ministers, their Wives, Children, and Families undone, against Law, against Conscience, against all bowels of Compassion, about not Dancing on Sundays. What do these sort of men think will become of themselves, when the Master of the house shall come, and find them thus beating their fellow-Servants? These inventions were but Sieves made on purpose to winnow the bestmen, and that's the Devil's occupation; they have a mind to worry Preaching; for I never yet heard of any but diligent Preachers, that were vext with these and the like devices. They despise Prophecy, and as one said, they would fain be at something were like the Mass, that will not Bite: A Muzzl'd Religion. They would evaporate and dispirit the Power and Vigor of Religion, by drawing it out into solemn, specious Formalities, into obsolete antiquated Ceremonies new furbish'd up; And this (be-like) is the good work in hand, which Dr.Heylin hath so often celebrated in his bold Pamphlets. All their Arts and Actions are so full of mixture, involutions, and complications, as nothing is clear, nothing sincere in any of their Proceedings; let them not say, that these are the perverse suspicions and malicious interpretations of some few factious Spirits amongst us; when a Romanist hath bragged, and congratulated in Print, That the face of our Church begins to alter, the language of our Religion to change: And Sancta Clara hath Publish'd, That if a synod were beld, Non intermixtis Puritanis (Setting Puritans aside) our Articles, and their Religion would soon be agreed. They have so brought it to pass, that under the Name of Puritans, all our Religion is branded; and under a few hard words against Jesuits, all Popery is countenanced.
Whosoever squares his Actions by any Rule, either Divine or Humane, he is a Puritan; whosoever would be governed by the King's Laws, he is a Puritan; he that will not do whatsoever other men would have him do, be is a Puritan: Their great work, their Masterpiece, now is to make all those of the Religion, to be the Suspected Party of the Kingdom.
Let us further reflect upon the ill effect these Courses have wrought, what by a desection from us on the one side, and a Separation on the other; some imagining whither we are tending, made haste to turn or declare themselves Papists before-hand; there by hoping to render themselves the more Gracious, the more Acceptable. A great multitude of the King's Subjects, striving to hold Communion with us, but seeing how far we were gone, and fearing how much further we would go, were forced to Fly the Land, some into other inhabited Countries, very many into Savage Wildernesses, because the Land would not bear them: Do not they that cause these things, cast a Reproach upon the Government?
Mr.Speaker, Let it be our principal Care, That these ways neither continue nor return upon us: If we secure our Religion, we shall cut off and defeat many Plots that are now on foot by them and others: Believe it, Sir, Religion hath been for a long time, and still is the great design upon this Kingdom; it is a known and practised Principle. That they who would introduce another Religion into the Church, must first Trouble and Disorder the Government of the State, that so they may work their ends in a Confusion, which now lyes at the door.
I come next, Mr. Speaker, to the King's Business more paricularly, which inded is the Kingdoms; for one hath no Exitence, no Being without the other, their relation is so near; yet some have strongly and subtily laboured a diverce, which hath been the very Eane both of King and Kingdom.
When Foundations are shaken, it is high time to lok to the Builing; he hath no Heart, no Head, no Sense, that is not moved in his whole Man, to look upon the distreses, the miseries of the Comon wealth; that is nor forward in al that he is, and hath, to redres them in a right way.
The King likewise is reduced to great Streights, wherein it were undernes beyound inhumanity, to take advantage of him: Let us rather make it an advantage for him, to do him best Service, when he hath must need: Not to seek our own good, but in him, and with him, else we shall commit the same Crimes our selves, which we must condemn in others.
His Majesty hath clearly and frely put himself into the Hands of this and Parliament; and I presume, there is not a Man in this House but fels himself advanced in this high Trust; but if he prosper no beter in our hands than he hath done in theirs, who have hitherto had the handling of his Afaris, we shall for ever make our selves unworthy of so gracious a Considence.
I have often thought and said, That it must be some great extremity, that would recover and rectify this State; and when that Extremity did come, it would be a great hazard whether it might prove a Remedy or Ruin. We are now, Mr. Speaker, upon that vertical turning Point, and therefore it is no time to palliate, to foment our own undoing.
Let us set upon the Remedy We must first know the Disease; But to discover the Diseases of the State, is (according to some) to traduce the Government; yet others are of opinion, that this is the half way to the Cure.
His Majesty is wise than they that have advised him, and therefore he canot but se and feel their subverting, desiructive Councils, which speak louder than I can speak of them; for they ring a doleful deadly Knel over the whole Kingdom. His Majesty best knows who they are: For us let the maters bolt out the Men; their Actions discover them.
They have always peremptorily pursued one obstinate pernicious Course; First, they bring things to an extremity, then they make that extremicy of their own making, the reason of their next Action, seven times worse than the former, and there we are at this inftant.
They have almost spoiled the best institued Government in the World, for Soveraignty in a King, Liberty to the Subject; the proportionable temper of both which, makes the hapiest State for Power, for Riches, for Duration.
They have unmanerly and slubheringly cast al their Projects, al their Machinations upon the King; which no wise or good Minister of the State ever did, but would stil take al harsh, distastful things upon themselves, to clear, to sweten their Master.
They have eclipsed him by their interposition: But although gross condense Bodies, may obscure, and hinder the Sun from shining out, yet he is stil the same in his own splendor: And when they are removed, al creatures under him are directed by his Light, comforted by his Beams. But they have framed a superstitious seming Maxim of State for their own turn, That, if a King wil sufer Men to betorn from him, he shall never have any service done him. When the plain Truth is, that this is the surest way to preserve a King from having il Servants about him. And the Divine Truth is, Take away the wicked from the King, and his Throne shal be establish'd.
Mr. Speaker, now we see what the Sores are in general; and when more particulars shall apear, let us be very careful to draw out the Cores of them; not to skin them over with a slight Suppurating, Foltring Cure. lest they break out again into a preater Mischief. Consider of it, consult, and speak your Minds.
In hath heretofore been boasted, That the King should never call a Parliament, till he had no need of his People: These were Words of division and malignity. The King must always, according to his Occasions, have use of his People Power, Hearts, Hands, Purses; The People will always have need of the King's Clemency, Justice, Protection: And this reciprocation is the sweetest, the strongest Union.
In bath been said too of late, That a Parliament will take away more from the King than they will give him. It may well be said, That those Things which fall away of themselves, will enable the Subjects to give him more than can be taken any way elle. Projects and Monopolies are but leaking Conduit Pipes; the Exchequer it self, at the fullest, is but a Cistern, and now a brokena, one: Frequent Parliaments only are the Fountain: And I do not doubt but in this Parliament as we shall be free in our Advices, so shall we be the more free of our Purses; that His Majesty may expenimeptally find the real difference of better Councils, the true folid grounds of raising and establishing his Greatness, never to be brought again (by Gods blessing) to such dangerous, such desperate Perplexities.
Mr.Speaker, I contets I have now gore in a Way much against my Nature, and somewhat against my Cstom heretofore used in this Place; but the deplorable, dismal condition both of Church and State, have so far wrought upon my Judgment, as it hath convincel my disposition; yet I am not vir sanguinum, I love no Mans Ruin; I think God, I neither bate any Man's Person, nor envy any Man's Fortunters; only I am Zealous for a thorough Reformation, in a Time that exacts it, that extorrs it. Which I humbly befeech this House, may be done with as much Lenity, as much Moderation, as the publick Safety of the King and Kingdom can possibly admit.
Mr. Bashaw's Speech, Novemb. 7. 1640.
That rather Act than speak in those weighty businesses of the Kingdom, which have been so excellently handled by these worthy Gentlemen that spake last and therefore I will be short: For when I look upon the Body of this goodly and flow rishing Kingdom in Matters of Religion, and of our Laws, (for like Hippecrates' s Twins, they live and dye together) I say, when I behold these in that state and plight, as they have been reprefened to us, Flere magis libet quam dicere. But this our Comfort, Mr. Speaker, that we are all met together for the welfare and happiness of Prince and People; And who knows whether this may not be the appointed Time. wherein God will restore our Religion as at the first, and our Laws as at the beginning?
The Honour of a King consisteth in the weal of his People: This undoubted Maxim his Maieshath made god by His lare Gracious Speech and Promise to us, to redres all our Grievances, to destioy the Enemies of our Peice and Plenty.
To make a People Rich, they must have each and justice; Ease in their Consciences from the bane of Superstition; from the intolerable burthen of Innovation in Religion; and from the racks and tortures of new-fangled Oaths. They must be eased in their Persons (being liberi homines, and not Villani) from all illegal Arrests and imprisonment against Magna Charta, being our greatest Liberties; They must be eased in their Lands, from Forests where never any Deer fed; from Depopulations, where never any Farm was decayed; and from Inclosures, where never any Hedges were set. They must, lastly, be eased in their Goods, from the exactions and expliations of Pursevants and Aparitors, of Projectors and Monopolists, Humanarum calamitatum mercatores, as an Ancient finely calls them. And if the People have all these easements, yet if they have not Justice, they cannot subsist; Justice is to the Civil Body, as Food to the Natural; if the Stream of Justice be by Unrighteousness turned into Gall and Wormwood; or by Cruelty, like the Egyptian Waters, be turned into blood: these which drink of those Brooks must needs dye and perish.
The Law saith. That all Justice is in the King, who is stiled in our Book, Fons Justitiae and he commits in to his Judges for the Execution, wherein he trusts them with two of the chiefest Flowers which belong to his Crown; the Administration of his Justice, and the exposition of his Laws: But he will not trust them without an Oath required of them by the Statute of 18 Edw. 3. which is so strict and severe, that it made a Judge whom I know, though honest and strict, yet to quake and tremble at the very mention of it. The Effect of the Oath is, That they should do equal Law and execution of Right to all the King's Subjects, Poor as well as Rich, without regard of any Person. That they should not deny to do common Right to any man by the King's Letters, or for any other Cause: And in case such Letters do come, that they proceed to do according to the Law, notwith standing such Letters, or for any other Causes, as they will answer to the King, in Bodies, Goods and Lands. How this Oath hath been performed, we have seen and felt; I need say no more. But when I cast my Eyes upon the inferior Courts of Justice, wherein no such Oath is required; I mean the High Commission, and other Ecclesinstical Courts, my Soul hath bled for the Wrong and Pressures which I have observed to have been done and committed in these Courts, against the King's good People; especially for the most monstrous Abuse of the Oath ex Officio; which, as it is now used, I can all no other than Carnisicina Conscientiœ: I have some reason to know this, that have been an Attendant to the Court these Five Years for my self, and a dear Friend of mine, some time Knight of our Shire, for a meer trivial Business; that the most that could be proved against him, was the putting on his Hat in the time of Sermon; of which Court I shall say more, and make good what I say, when those Ulcers come to be opened.
Mr. Speaker, I say, these Worthies that spake before me, have told you of our Miseries; but I cannot tell you of the Remedies: For Things are come to that height, that I may say, as Livy said of the Roman State in his time, Neo vitia nostra scire possumus nec remedia; for no Laws will now do us good: Better Laws could not have been made, than the Statute of Monopolies against Projectors, and the Petition of Right, against the Infringers of Liberties; and yet, as if the Law had been the Author of them, there have been within these few Years more Monopolies and Infringements of Liberties, than have been in any Age fince the Conquest: And if all those vile Harlots, as Queen Elizabeth called them, that have been the Authors of those Evils, and the Troublers of our Israel, do go unpunished, it will never be better with us; for now during Parliament, like frozen Snakes their Poyson dries up but let the Parliament Dissolue, and then their Poyson melts and scatters abroad, and doth more hurt than ever. What then must be done? Why, what the Plaister cannot do must be done by the Saw; Ense recidendum est, ne pars sincera trabatur. I cannot better English it than in the Words of King, Let them be cut off in their wickedness, that have framed mischief as a Law. My Conclusion, Mr. Speaker, is this, Let the woful Violation of the Statute of Monopolies, and the Petition of Right, be made Felony, or Premunire at the least; but yet in the interim, let them be made Examples of Punishment, who have been the Authors of all those Miseries, according to the Counsel of Solomon; Take away the wicked from before the King, and his Throne shall be established in Righteousness.
Sir John Holland's Speech.
Times of Action are not for Rhetorick and Elocution, which emboldens me to rise; and tho' I must acknowledge my self one of the youngest Scholars, and meanest Prosicients in this great School of Wisdom, yet I conceive it a great part of my Duty at this time, both to deliver my Suit and Conscience. We are called hither, Mr. Speaker, by the Royal Power, we fit here by the King's Majesty's Grace and Favour; and since His Majesty hath been graciously pleased to leave the Government of all in our Hands, I doubt not but we shall lay such a Foundation in the beginning of this Parliament, that we shall make it a happy Age, a long lasting one; since the Dangers of these Times, the present Distempers of this State, and therein both His Majesty's and our Necessities, yea, and the whole Kingdom's Safety do require it.
We are called, Mr. Speaker, as I conceive, from the Reports you have made of His Majesty's Gracious Declaration, for Four Principal Causes. First, For Supply of His Majesty's Wants. Secondly, For Relief of our Brethren in the Northern Parts. Thirdly, For the Remove of the Scots Forces. Fourthly, For Redress of our own Grievances. That His Majesty's Wants are great and many, Mr. Speaker, I think there is no Man doubts it; and it is as certain our Grievances are so too, they are great and many both in Church and Commonwealth; I shall but touch them in either, since they have been so fully remonstrated in both.
First, In the Church, by the usurping Powers of some Prelates, and their Adherents; by which means many great Dangers, Innovations of Doctrines, of Discipline, of Government, have been thrust upon us.
Secondly, In the Church, by publick Sufferances of Priests and Jesuits, not only to come into the Land, by which means the Number of the Roman Catholicks is dangerously multiplied, Idolatry increased, and God's heavy Judgments highly provoked.
Thirdly, In the Common-wealth, by the late Inundations of the Prerogative Royal, which have broken out, and almost overturned all our Liberties, even those which have been best and strongest fortified, the Grand Charter is self. Mr. Speaker, that which hath been so oft, so solemnly confirmed in the Succession of so many Princes, ratified in His Majesty's Name, founded by the Wisdom of former Ages, purposely to keep the Beam even betwixt Sovereignty and Liberty:
Even this, Mr. Speaker, the dearest and chiefest Part of our Inheritance, hath been infringed, broken, and set at nought, in the Common-wealth, by the over-potency of some Great Ones, sacred Counsellors of State; by whose Advices it is thought the greatest part of these present Distempers, under which the Body of this Common-wealth at this time labours, do derive their Originals.
Fourthly, In the Commonwealth, by the mischievous Practices and Policies of some subtle Projectors; and under the Title of the King's Profit, and the publick Good, they have intitled themselves to great and vast Estates, and that by the damage of the whole Kingdom.
Fifthly, In the Common-wealth, by the Entertainment of Foreigners and Strangers, and that at His Majesty's excessive Charge; by which mean His Majesty's Coffers are emptied, His Revenues shortned, and the whole Kingdom many Ways oppressed. But, Mr. Speaker, I shall not trouble my self any further in so vast, so large a Field; I shall now represent my own weak Apprehensions for our Progressions in all the Particulars for which we have been called, and in all Humility submit them.
First, Touching supplying His Majesty's Wants, I do humbly desire we may proceed therein within its due time; and that with as much Loyal Duty and Liberality, as ever any People expressed towards their Prince; I think I may say the present Affairs of the Kingdom require it.
For the Relief of our Brethren in the Northern Parts, with a Sense of Charity, and Fellow feeling of their Miseries, Affictions and Losses, in removing the Scotish Army with a sose and gentle Hand of Mediation, Pacification, and Reconciliation, if possibly it may be wrought with His Majesty's Honour, and the Kingdom's Safety; if not, then to repel and repulse them with stout and resolute Spirits, with valiant and united Hearts and Hands, such as shall best suit with our Duty to God, our King, our Country; such as shall best become his Honour, and the ancient Renown of this English Nation.
In Redress of our Grievances, in those of the Church, which ought to have Priority in our Consultations, as well in respect of Necessity, as Dignity. In these, Mr. Speaker, I do humbly desire, and doubt not but we shall proceed with all true Piety, and well-grounded Zeal to God's House, and his Truth. In those of the Commonwealth, with a religious care of our Country's Freedom, in the faithful performance of the Trust reposed in us, by them that sent us, in the preservation of our Rights, our ancient Rights, the Rights of our Inheritance, our Liberties, our Privileges, our Properties.
Yet in all, Mr. Speaker, I do humbly desire we may proceed, as best suiting the Matter and Condition of these distempered Times, and as best becoming the Honour, Dignity, and Wisdom of this so great a Court, so great a Council, with all Temper, Modesty, and all due Moderation.
So numerous were the Complaints and Petitions touching Grievances, that the whole House was divided, and subdivided into above Forty Committees to hear and examine them; but the main were reducible to these Four General Heads:
- I. Committees concerning Religion, Innovations in the Church, and Grievances by Ecclesiastical Courts.
- II. Committees concerning publick Affairs in general, and particularly concerning Ireland and scotland.
- III. Other Committees were relating to Ship-Money, Judges, and Courts of Justice.
- IV. Committees concerning Popery; The Popish Hierarchy; The Pope's Nuncio, Plots, Designs, &c.
At this time the House desired Sir Thomas Roe, and Three Members more to withdraw, and Present to the House, Motives to be presented to the Lords for a Fast; and that both Houses might jointly move the King for the same. Upon Report from the Committee, this Message was agreed upon, That the House of Commons having taken into Serious Consideration, the weighty Occasions of this Assembly of Parliament; Concerning the true Worship of Almighty God, and the Safety and Welfare of the King and this whole Realm; and well knowing a right way to obtain a blessed Issue thereof, is to Implore the Divine Assistance, the Fountain of all Wisdom and Unity, to direct them all in their Consultations, by one Day's Solemn Humiliation in Fasting and Prayer; and in Confidence of their Lordships great Piety, to desire them to joyn with the House of Commons to move His Majesty for his gracious Allowance to so holy a Preparation to the Important Affairs of both Houses of Parliament; which being first begun and here done, that be would be further pleased to appoint another Day for a General Fast, throughout the whole Kingdom, in such seasonable Time as shall seem to his Wisdom most Convenient.
That His Majesty should be moved in the Name of both Houses, first for a Fast for both Houses and the City; and next for a General Fast through the whole Kingdom; and that the House of Peers did gladly receive that Motion from this House, and will joyn in an humble Petition to His Majesty, and will render this House an Account.
The Lords House sent us with this Message to the House of Commons, That their Lordships have presented to His Majesty the humble Desires of both Houses concerning a Fast; to which His Majesty bath been pleased to give a gracious Answer; and the Lords desire a present meeting of both Houses, concerning the Time and other Particulars. They further said, That the Number of the Lords appointed on this Occasion were Twelve.
Mr. Speaker returned Answer, That this House bath Considered of the Message, and will give the Lords a Meeting presently, with a Proportionable Number of the Commons. Whereupon the Committee following was named.
- Mr. Treasurer,
- Sir Thomas Roe,
- Mr. Hampden.
- Sir Benjamn Rudyard.
- Mr. Fiennes,
- Mr. Porter,
- Sir Francis Seymore,
- Sir Sidney Mountague.
- Lord Rich,
- Mr. Pym,
- Sir John Strangwayes,
- Mr. Comptroller,
- Lord Fairfax,
- Lord Russell,
- Lord Digby,
- Lord Wayman,
- Lord Ruthen,
- Lord Herbert,
- Sir Miles Fleetwood,
- Lord Cranborne,
- Lord Buckburst,
- Mr. Secretary Windebank.
That the Committee of Twelve Lords having met the Committee sent by this House, concerning their Resolutions of a Time for a Fast, their Lordships were pleased to send my Lord of Canterbury, my Lord Marshal, and my Lord Chamberlain, to His Majesty, to signify the Request of both Houses; and that His Majesty did graciously condescend to their Desires; referring to this Committee to appoint a Time for both their Contents: My Lords did therefore make a Motion unto us of the Committee of this House, That upon Resolution with themselves, if this House thought fit and convenient, That the particular Fast for both Houses, and the City of London, might be on Tuesday come Sevennight; and for the publick Fast throughout the Kingdom, to be to Morrow Month. They did think we had been prepared to have given them an Answer, and desired you instantly to send them Word; for they will fit purposely in the Painted Chamber till you send an Answer.
The House also at this time thought fit to appoint a Committee, with Power, to make Enquiry what Number of Papists are in and about London, and Ten Miles thereof, and how they are Armed; and that after the King's Proclamation shall come forth for Disarming of the Popish Recusants, and Removal of them according to His Majesty's Gracious Message, then to see how that Proclamation hath been Executed; and to have Power to send for any Records or Papers, that may inform the Committee of any Dispensations, Discharges, or Immunities granted to Recusants for exempting of them from the Penalty of the Laws, and are to meet in the Exchequer-Chamber.
The Lord Digby's SPEECH.
You have received now a solemn Account from most of the Shires of England, of the several Grievances and Oppressions they sustain, and nothing as yet from Dorsetshire: Sir, I would not have you think that I serve for a Land of Gosben, that we live there in Sun-shine, whilst Darkness and Plagues over-spread the rest of the Land: As little would I have you think, that being under the same sharp measure with the rest, we are either insensible and benumb'd, or that that Shire wanteth a Servant the present its Sufferings boldly.
It is true, Mr. Speaker, the County of Dorset hath not digested its Complaints in to that formal way of Petition, which others (I see) have done; but have intrusted them to my Partners, and my delivery of them by Word of Mouth unto this Honourable House. And there was given unto us in the County-Court, the Day of our Election, a short Memorial of the Heads of them, which was read in the hearing of the Freeholders there present, who all unanimously with one voice signified upon each Particular, that it was their Desire that we should represent them to the Parliament, which with your leave I shall do, and these they are.
- 1. The great and intolerable Burthen of Ship-Money, touching the Legality where of they are unsatisfied.
- 2. The many great Abuses in pressing of Soldiers, and raising Monies concerning the same.
- 3. The Multitude of Monopolies.
- 4. The new Canons and the Oath to be taken by Lawyers and Divines, &c.
- 5. The Oath required to be taken by Church-Officers to present according to Articles new and unusual.
- 1. The Imposition of a new Oath required to be taken by all Ministers and others: which they conceive to be illegal, and such as they cannot take with a good Conscience.
- 2. The requiring of a pretended Benevolence, but in Effect a Subsidy, under the penalty of Suspension, Excommunication and Deprivation, all Benefit of Appeal excluded.
Truly, Mr. Speaker, the injurious Sufferings of some worthy Members of this House, since the dissolution of the Two last Parliaments, are so fresh in my Memory, that I was resolved not to open my Mouth in any Business wherein freedom and plain dealing were requisite, until such Time as the breach of our Privileges were vindicated, and the safety of Speech settled.
But since such Excellent Members of our House, thought fit the other Day to lay aside that Caution, and to discharge their Souls so freely, in the Way of Zeal to His Majesty's Service, and their Countrey's good; I shall interpret that Considence of theirs for a lucky Omen to this Parliament, and with your permission, license my Thoughts too a little.
Mr. Speaker, under those Heads which I proposed to you, as the Grievances of Dorsetshire, I suppose are comprised the greatest Part of the Mischiefs which have of late Years laid Battery either to out Estates or Consciences.
Sir, I do not conceive this the fit Season to search and ventilare Particulars; yet I profess I cannot forbear to add somewhat, to what was said the last Day by a Learned Gentleman of the Long Robe, concerning the Acts of that Reverend New Synod, made of an old Convocation. Doth not every Parliament Man's Heart rise to see the Prelates thus to usurp to themselves the grand preeminence of Parliaments? The granting of Subsidies, and that under so preposterous a Name as of a Benevolence, for that which is a Malevolence indeed, a Malevolence I am confident in those that granted it against Parliaments; and a Malevolence surely in those that refuse it, against those that granted it; for how can it incite less? when they see wrested from them what they are not willing to part with, under no less Penalty than the loss both of Heaven and Earth: of Heaven by Excommunication; and of the Earth, by deprivation; and this without redemption by Appeal. What good Christian can think with patience on such an ensnaring Oath as that, which is by the New Canons enjoined to be taken by all Ministers, Lawyers, Physicians, and Graduates in the Universities where, besides the swearing such an Impertinence, as that things necessary to Salvation are contained in Discipline; besides the swearing those to be of Divine Right, which amongst the Learned, never pretended to it, as the Arch Things in our Hierarchy. Besides, the swearing not to consent to the change of that, which the State may upon great Reason think fit to alter: Besides the bottomless Perjury of an Et caetera. Besides all this, Mr. Speaker, Men must swear that they swear freely and voluntarily what they are compelled unto: And lastly, That they swear that Oath in the literal Sense, whereof no two of the Makers themselves, that I have heard of, could ever agree in the understanding.
In a word, Mr. Speaker, to tell you my Opinion of this Oath, It is a Covenant against the King, for Bishops and the Hierarchy; as theScottish Covenant is against them only so much worse than the Scottish, as they admit not of the Supremacy in Ecclesiastical Affairs, and we are sworn unto it.
Now, Mr. Speaker, for those particular Heads of Grievances whereby our Estates and Properties are so radically invaded; I suppose (as I said before) that it is no Season now to enter into a strict Discussion of them; only thus much I shall say of them. with Application to the Country for which I serve, that none can more justly complain since none can more justly challenge Exemption from such Burthens thanDorsetshire, whether you consider it a Country subsisting much by Trade; or as none of the most Populous; or as exposed as much as any to Foreign Invasion.
Mr. Speaker, It hath been a Metaphor frequent in Parliament, and if my Memory fail me not was made use of in the Lord Keeper's Speech at the opening of the last, That what Money Kings raised from their Subjects, it was but as Vapours drawn up from the Earth by the Sun, to be distilled upon it again in structifying Showers. The Comparison, Mr. Speaker, hath held of late Years too unluckily; what hath been raised from the Subject by those violent Attractions, hath been formed, it is true into Clouds; but how? to darken the Suns own lustre, and hath fallen again upon the Land only inHail-stones and Mildews, to batter and prostrate still more and more our Liberties, to blast and wither our Affections; had not the latter of these been still kept alive by our King's own Personal Virtues which will ever preserve him in spight of all III Counsellors, a sacred Object, both of our Admiration and Loves.
Mr. Speaker,It hath been often said in this House, and I think can never be too often repeated, That the Kings of England can do no wrong; but though they could, Mr. Speaker, yet Princes have no part in the III of those Actions which their Judges assure them to the Just, their Counsellors that they are prudent, and their Divines that they are conscientious.
This Consideration, Mr. Speaker, leadeth me to that which is far more necessary at this Season, than any further, laying open of our Miseries, that is, the way to the Remedy, by seeking to remove from our Sovereign, suchunjust Judges, such pernicious Counsellers, and such disconscient Divines, as have of late Years, by their wicked Practices, provoked Aspersions upon the Government of the graciousest and best of Kings.
Mr. Speaker, Let me not be misunderstood; I level at no Man with a fore-laid Design; let the Faults, and those well proved, lead us to the Men: It is the Only true Parliamentary Method, and the only fit one to incline our Sovereign. For it can no more consist with a Gracious and Righteous Prince to expose his Servants upon Irregular Prejudices, than with a Wise Prince to with hold Malesactors, how great soever, from the Course of orderly Justice.
Let me acquaint you, Mr. Speaker, with an Aphorism in Hippocrates, no less Authentick, I think, in the Body Politick, than in the Natural; thus it is, Mr. Speaker, Bodies to be throughly and effectually purged, must have their humors first made fluid and moveable.
The Humours that I understand to have caused all the desperate Maladies of this Nation, are the III Ministers: To Purge them away clearly, they must be first loosened, unsettled, and extenuated; which can no way be effected with a Gracious Master, but by truly representing them unworthy of his Protection.
And this leadeth me to my Motion; which is, That a Select Committee may be appointed to draw out of all that hath here been represented, such A REMON STRANCE as may be a faithful and lively Representation to His Majesty of the deplorable Estate of this Kingdom, and such as may happily discover unto his Clear and Excellent Judgment, the Pernicious Authors of it. And that this Remonstrance being drawn, we may with all speed, repair to the Lords, and desire them to join with us in it: And this is my humble Motion.
Sir John Culpeper's Speech.
I Stand not up with a Petition in my Hand, I have it in my Mouth; and have it in charge from them that sent me hither, humbly to present to the Consideration of this House the Grievances of the County of Kent: I shall only sum them up; they are these:
First, The great increase of Papists, by the remiss Execution of those Laws which were made to suppress them. The Life of Laws is Execution; without this, they become but a dead Letter; this is wanting, and a great Grievance.
The Second is the obtruding and countenancing of divers new Ceremonies in Matters of Religion; as placing the Communion Table Altar-wise, and Bowing and Cringing too, towards it; the refusing the Holy Sacrament to such as refuse to come up to the Rails: These carry with them some Scandal, and much Offence.
The Third is, Military Charges; and therein first, Coat and Conduct-Money required as a Loan, or pressed as a Due, in each respect equally a Grievance. The Second is the enhancing of the Price of Powder, whereby the Trained-Bands are much discouraged in their Exercising: However little this may seem prima facie, upon due examination it will appear a great Grievance. The third is more particular to our County: It is this; the last Summer was Twelve-month, 1000 of our best Arms were taken from the Owners, and sent unto Scotland: The compulsary Way was this; if you will not send your Arms, you shall go your selves. Mr.Speaker, The Trained Band is a Militia of great Strength and Honour, without Charges to the King, and deserves all due Encouragement.
The Fourth is the Canons; I assign these to be a Grievance: First, in respect of the Matter, besides the Et caetera Oath. Secondly, in respect of the Makers; they were chosen to serve in a Convocation; that falling with the Parliament the Scene was altered: The same Men, without any new Election, shuffled into a Sacred Synod. Thirdly, In respect of the Consequence, which in this Age, when the second ill President becomes a Law, is full of Danger. The Clergy without confirmation of a Parliament, have assumed to themselves Power to make Laws, to grant relief by the Name of Benevolence, and to intermeddle with out Freehold by Suspensions and Deprivation; This is a Grievance of a high Nature.
The next Grievance is the Ship-Money: This cries aloud, I may say, I hope without Offence; this strikes the First-born of every Family, I mean our Inheritance: If the Laws give the King Power in any danger of the Kingdom, whereof he is Judge, to impose what and when he pleases, we owe all that is left to the Goodness of the King, not to the Law; Mr.Speaker, this makes the Farmers faint, and the Plough to go heavy.
The next is the great decay of Cloathing, and fall of our Wools: These are the Golden Mines of England, which give a Foundation to that Trade which we drive with all the World: I know there are many Stars concur in this Constellation; I will not trouble you with more than one Cause of it, which I dare affirm to be the greatest. It is the great Customs and Impositions laid upon our Cloath, and new Draperies. I speak not this with a With to lessen the King's Revenues, so it be done by a Parliament. I shall give my Voice to lay more charge upon the Superfluities (due regard being had to Trade) which we import from all other Nations: Sure I am, that those Impositions upon our Native Commodities are dangerous, give liberty to our Neighbours to Under sell: And I take it for a Rule, that besides our Loss in Trade, which is five times as much as the King receiveth, what is imposed upon our Cloaths is taken from the Rent of our Lands. I have but one Grievance more to offer to you, but this one compriseth many; it is a Nest of Wasps, or Swarm of Vermin, which have over-crept the Land, I mean the Monopolers and Polers of the People: These, like the Frogs of Egypt have gotten the possession of our Dwellings, and we have scarce a Room free from them: They sup in our cup, they dip in our Dish, they fit by our Fire, we find them in the Dye-fat, Wash-bowl and Powdering-tub; they share with the Butler in his Box, they have marked and sealed us from Head to Foot. Mr.Speaker, they will not bate us aPin; we may not buy our own Cloaths without their Brokage: These are the Leeches that have suck'd the Commonwealth so hard that it is almost become Hectical: And Mr. Speaker, some of these are ashamed of their right Names; they have a Vizard to hide the Brand made by that good Law in the last Parliament of King James; they shelter themselves under the Name of a Corporation, they make By-laws, which serve their Turns to squeeze us, and fill their Purses; unface these, and they will prove as had Cards as any in the Pack; these are not Petty-Chapmen, but Wholesale-Men. Mr. Speaker, I have Ecchoed to you the Cries of the Kingdom. I will tell you their Hopes: They look to Heaven for a Blessing upon this Parliament; they hang upon His Majesty's exemplary Piety, and great Justice, which renders his Fars open to the just Complaints of his Subjects; we have had lately a gracious Assurance of it: It is the wise Conduct of this, whereby the other great Affairs of the Kingdom, and this of our Grievances of no less Importance, may go Hand in Hand in Preparation and Resolution: Then by the Blessing of God we shall return home with an Olivebranch in our Mouths, and a full Confirmation of the Privileges which we received from our Ancestors, and owe to our Posterity, and which every Free-born Englishman hath received with the Air he breatheth in. These are our Hopes, these are our Prayers.
Mr. Harbottle Grimston's SPEECH.
These Petitions which have been read, they are all Remonstrances of the general and universal Grievances and Distempers that are now in the State and Government of the Church and Commonwealth; and it is not they alone, but His Majesty's gracious, Expressions the first Day of Parliament, that calls me up to speak at this present, contrary to my own Intentions.
Mr. Speaker, His Majesty, who is the Head of the Body Politick, and the Father of the Commonwealth, hath complained first, declaring his sensibleness of our Sufferings, and amongst other Things, hath put us in mind of our Grievances, and hath freely left it to our selves (for our redress and repair therein) to begin and end, as we shall think fit. And this draws me on with much Chearfulness and Zeal to contribute my poor Endeavours to so great a Work.
And Mr. Speaker, I conceive it will not be altogether impertinent for your Direction and Guidance in that great Place, which by the favour of His Majesty, and this House, you now possess, a little to recollect our selves in the remembrance of what was done the last Parliament, and where we ended.
Mr. Speaker, In the last Parliament, as soon as the House was settled, a Subsidiary Aid and Supply was propounded, and many Arguments used to give that the precedency before all other Matters and Considerations whatsoever.
On the other Side, a Multitude of Complaints and Grievances of all Sorts, as well concerning our Eternal, as our Temporal Estates, were presented, and put in the other Balance: The Wisdom of that great Council weighing both indifferently, and looking not only upon the Dangers then threatened from Scotland (which are now upon us) but likewise taking into their Consideration the Constitution of the present Government here at home, concluded that they were in no capacity to give, unless their Grievances were first redressed and removed.
For, Mr. Speaker, It then was, and still is, most manifest and apparent, That by some Judgments lately obtained in Courts of Justice, and by some new ways of Government lately started up amongst us, the Law of Property is so much shaken, that no Man can say he is Master of any Thing: But all that we have we hold as Tenants by Courtesy, and at Will, and may be stripped of it at pleasure.
Yet, Mr. Speaker, desirous to give His Majesty all possible Satisfaction and Contentment, as well in the Manner of Supply for Expedition, as in the Substance and Matter of it; we confined and limited our selves but to three Particulars only, and to such Matters as properly and naturally should have reference and relation to those three Heads.
- 1. The first was the Privileges of the Parliament.
- 2. The second, Matters of Religion.
- 3. The Property of our Goods and Estates.
Concerning the Violations of the first Sort, it was resolved by Vote, That the Speaker refusing to put a Question being thereunto required by the House; Or to adjourn the House upon any Command whatsoever, without the Consent and Approbation of the House it self; were Breaches and Violations that highly impeached our Privileges.
And having passed the Vote, I conceive it were sit we should now proceed a little further, and consider of a way how to be repaired against them that have been the Violators; for Execution does Animare Legem. The putting of an Old Law in Execution, you know, Mr. Speaker, does oftentimes do more good than the making of a new one.
As concerning the Violations of the other sort, done out of Parliament, in Courts of Justice, and at the Council-board, where neither our Persons, nor our proceedings, ought to have been controuled, or meddled withal; and as concerning Matters of Religion, and the Property of our Goods and Estates, there were divers Things then likewise agreed upon by Vote, whereupon a Conference was desired to have been with the Lords: But what Interjections and Rubs we met withal by the way, and how the Lords countervoted the precedency of our Grievances, and how our Speaker was taken away from amongst us, and what an unhappy Conclusion we had at the last, the remembrance of it were a Subject too sad to begin another Parliament withal.
Mr. Speaker, there are some worthy Gentlemen now of this House that were Members of the last Parliament, that carried themselves in the Matters and Businesess then and there agitated and debated, with great Wisdom, and unexempled moderation. But what had they at last Cast for all their Parins, in attending the publick Service of the Commonwealth? As soon as ever the Parliament was dissolved, their Studies and Pockets were searched, as if they had been Felons and Traytors, and They commited to several Goals, with an Intention, I am consident, of their utter Ruin and Destruction, had they not foreseen a Danger approaching: For, Mr. Speaker, if I be truly informed, an Information was drawn, or at least, Directions given for the drawing of it against them in the Star-Chamber.
Mr. Speaker, They might as well have made a new Law, and enjoined the Execution of that, as enjoined and urged the taking of the other, not being established by Act of Parliament; and in point of Mischief, the Safety of the Commonwealth, and the Freedom and Liberties of the Subject are more concerned in the doing of the one, than if they had done the other.
Whereas, Mr. Speaker, it hath ever been the Tenet of our Church, That all Things necessary to Salvation are comprehended in the Doctrine of our Church only; And that hath always been used as an Argument, until this very present, against Antidisciplitarians, to stop their Mouths withal: and therefore that for that Reason they might with the less Regret and Offence conform and submit themselves to the Discipline of our Church.
And, Mr. Speaker, for prevention, in case the Wisdom of the State in this Great Council should at any time think fit to alter any Thing in the Government of our Church, they would anticipate and forestall our Judgments, by making us swear before-hand, that we would never give our Consent to any Alteration.
Nay, Mr. Speaker, they go a little further; For they would have us swear, That the Government of the Church by Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Archdeacons, &c. is Jure divino; their Words are, As of right it ought to stand; whereas, Mr. Speaker we meet not with the Name of an Archbishop, or a Dean, or an Archdecen in all the New Testament. And whatsoever may be said of the Function of Bishops, it is one Things: But for their Jurisdiction, it is merely Humana Institutione, and they must thank the king for it.
Mr. Speaker, What they meant and intended by this new Oath, and their Book of Canons, and their Book of Articles, which they would have our Church-wardens swoen unto, to enquire of, and to present thereupon, I must confess I know not, unless they have a Purpose therein to blow up the Protestant Religion, and all the faithful Professors of it, and to advance their Hierarchy a Step higher, which, I suppose, we all fear is high enough already.
Mr. Speaker, They have likewise in this Synod granted a Benevolence, but the Nature of the Thing agrees not with the Name; for in plain English it is six Subsidies to be paid by the Clergy in Six Years: And the Penalty they have imposed upon the Refusers for Non-payment, is to be deprived of their Functions, to be stripped of their Freehold, and to be excommunicated; and this Act of their Synod is not published amongst their Canons, for which they might have some colourable seeming Authority: But it comes out, in a Book alone by it self, in the Latin Tongue; supposing, as I conceive, that Lay men are as ignorant as they would have them; and thus they think they dance in a Net.
And as in this, so in most of their New Canons, if they be thoroughly considered, any judicious Man may easily discern and perceive, That they do therein like Watermen, that look one way and row another; they pretend one Thing, but intend nothing less: And certainly, Mr. Speaker, in this they have flown a high Pitch: for a Synod called together upon pretence of reconciling and settling Controversies and Matters in Religion, to take upon them the boldness thus out of Parliament to grant Subsidies, and to meddle with Mens Freeholds; I dare say the like was never heard of before; and they that durst do this will do worse, if the current of their raging Tyranny be not stopped in time.
Who are they, Mr. Speaker, that have of late Days been advanced to any Dignity or Preferment in the Church but such as have been notoriously suspicious in their Displines, corrupt in their Doctrine and in the most part, vicious in their Lives?
Hath not Ship money Coat and Conduct money and Money for other Military Charges, been collected and levied with as great Violence as ever they were; in violation of our Liberties, confirmed to us in our Petition of Right, notwithstanding all our Supplications and Complaints the last Parliament?
Mr. Speaker, I will tell you a Passage I heard from a Judge in the King's Bench: There was a poor Man committed by the Lords, for refusing to submict to a Project; and having attended a long time at the King's Bench Bar upon his Habeas Corpus, and at last pressing very earnestly to be bailed, the Judge said to the rest of his Brethren, Come Brothers (said he) let us bail him; For they begin to say in the Town that the Judges have overthrown the Law, and the Bishops the Gospel.
Mr. Speaker, I would not be misunderstood in what I have said: For there are some of both Functions and Professions that I highly honour and reverence in my heart for their Wisdoms and Integrities. But, Mr. Speaker, I may say it, for I am sure we have all felt it, that there are some of both Functions and Profession, that have been the Authors and Causers, of all the Miseries, Ruins, and Calamities that are now upon us.
Mr. Speaker, This is the Age; this is the Age Mr. Speaker that hath produced and brought forth Achitophels, Hamans, Wolsies, Empsons and Dudlies, Tresilians and Belknapps, Vipers and Monsters of all sorts and I doubt not, but when His Majesty shall be truly informed of such Matters as we are able to charge them withal, we shall have the same Justice against these, which heretofore hath been against their Predecessors, in whose wicked Steps they have trodden.
And therefore, Mr. Speaker, to put our selves in a way for our Redress and Relief I conceive it were fit that a Committee might be named to take these Petitions that have been now read, and all others of the like Nature, into their Consideration; to the end that the Parties grieved, may have just repair for their Grievances; and that our of them, Laws may be contrived and framed for the preventing of the like Mischiefs for the future.
Upon the before-recited Speech and Motion of the Lord Digby, a Committee of 24, was appointed, to draw out of that which had been presented to the House, some such kind of Declaration, as might be faithful Representation to this House of the State of the Kingdom: And any other Committee that shall find any Thing fit for this Business, that report it to the House; or recommend it to this Committee to be presented from them to this House.
- Lord Digby,
- Sir Fr. Seymour,
- Sir John Culpeper,
- Mr. St. John,
- Sir Tho. Widdrington,
- Sir Robert Harley,
- Mr. Selden,
- Mr. Miles Fleetwood,
- Mr. Pym,
- Mr. Harbottle Grimston,
- Mr. Kivton,
- Sir Walter Earl.,
- Sir John Clotworthy,
- Sir John Strangeways,
- Mr. Pierpoint,
- Mr. Bagshaw,
- Mr. Hampden,
- Mr. Capeil,
- Mr. Crew,
- Mr. Peard,
- Mr. Henry Bellasis,
- Sir Tho. Barrington,
- Sir Benj. Rudyard,
Also the House bearing in Memory Sir John Culpeper's Speech, against the Swarm of Projectors and Monopolists, fell into debate thereof; where, upon it was resolved upon the Question, That all Projectors and unlawful Monopolists whatsoever, or he that hath any Share, or lately had any Share in any Monopoly, or that doth receive any Benefit from any Monopoly or Project, or that hath procured any Warrant or Command for the restraint or molesting of any that have refused to conform themselves to any such Proclamations or Projects, are disabled by order of this House from sitting in it; and that Mr. Speaker issue out Writs for the Election of new Members in their room. And if any Man here knows any Monopolist, the shall name him to the House.
Mr. Crew, a Member of this House, fearing left some Prejudicate Opinion of him, might be left in the minds of some of the Members of this House, by some Words spoken by one of the Members, which he conceived might reflect upon his Deportment before the Lords of the Council, when he refused to deliver Petitions which came to his Hands, concerning Religion, in the Parliament which fate April 13. 1640. thought fit to make a Narrative of that Matter, and of his Commitment to the Tower for refusing to deliver the Papers.— And upon his Recital, and the other Member's Explanation of himself, it was clearly resolved by the House, That neither the one had done any Thing that might deserve the Last reproach of Unfaithfulness from this House, nor the other spoken any thing, that might give the least Colour of any such Thought of him.
It was referred to the same Committee, that is to peruse the Journal and Records of this House, to consider what the Duty of the Clerk is in the life keeping of the Records of this House, and what the Privilege of the Members of this House is, for the delivery or not delivery of any Papers delivered to this House by Complaints or otherwise.
The Humble Petition of the Freeholders of Warwickshire read, laying open the Misdemeanor of the High Sheriff of the said County, being werred to be true; and it was thereupon ordered, That George Warner, Esq; High Sheriff of the said County of Warwick, shall be sent for as a Delinquent, to Answer his Misdemeanors to this House, being complained of for denying the Poll when it was justly demanded.
The Humble Petition of the Freeholders and Inhabitants of the County of Leicester was read, complaining of Mr. Richard Holford, for casting out Words in disgrace of Sir Arthur Haslerig Baronet, after he was declared to be chosen Knight of the Shire for the County of Leicester, declaring openly in the Field, That they had chosen a Man for the Knight of the Shire, who had more Will than Wit; and that it was to the disparagement of the County: With other Words of Reflection. Whereupon it was resolved upon the Question, That the said Mr. Holford should be sent for as a Delinquent.
The Petition of the Gentry and Freeholders of the County of Northumberland, with a Schedule of particular Grievances annexed, complaining of the great Burthen of the Scots Army, was read, and much Debate was thereupon; but nothing then resolved on.
Sir William Widdrington, Knight of the Shire for the County of Northumberland, speaking concerning the Matter of the Petition, distaste was taken at him by the House, for calling the Scots, Invading Rebels; where upon Sir William standing up in his Place, to speak by way of Explanation, Capt. Charles Price moved the House, That they would give Losers leave to speak, with all the favourable Construction that one Member ought to give another; for his whole Estate was under the Scots Power: Where upon Sir William declared, That he knew the Scots to be the King's Subjects, and would no more call them Rebels: And with this Explanation the House rested satisfied.
Sir Edward Deering's SPEECH.
Mr. Speaker, It hath pleased God to put into the Heart of His Majesty, (for the King's Heart is in the Hand of the Lord) once more to assemble us into a Senate, to consult upon the unhappy Distractions, the sad Dangers, and the much feared twins of this lare flourishing Church and Kingdom. God be praised both for his Goodness and for his Severity whereby he hath impelled this Meeting; and humble Thanks unto His Majesty, whose Paternal Care of us his Subjects, I, willing to relieve us.
The Sufferances that we have undergone are reducible to two Heads. The first concerning the Charch; the second belonging to the Commonwealth. The first of these must have the First-fruits of this Parliament; as being the first in Weight and Worth, and more immediately referring to the Honour of God, and his Glory, every Dram whereof is worth the whole Weight of a Kingdom.
The Commonwealth (it is true) is full of apparent Dangers. The Sward is come home unto us, and the two Twin-Nations united together under one Royal Head, Brethren together in the Bowels and Bosom of the same Island, and, which is above all, imbanded together in the same Religion (I say the same Religion), by a Devilish Machination like to be fatally imbrew'd in each other's Blood, ready to dig each others Grave Quantillum abfuit!
For other Grievance also, the poor disheartned Subject sadly groans, not able to distinguish betwixt Power and Law. And with a weeping Heart (no Question) hath prayed for this Hour, in hope to be relieved; and to know hereafter, whether any Thing be bath, besides his Part and Portion of the common Air he breathes in, may be truly called his own.
These, Mr. Speaker, and many other, do deserve, and must shortly have our deep regard; but suo gradu, not in the first Place: There is a Unam necessarium above all our Worldly Sufferances and Dangers. Religion, the immediate Service due unto the Honour of Almighly God. And herein let us all be consident, that all our Consultations will prove unprosperous, it we put any Determination before that of Religion. For my part, let the Sword reach from the North to the South, a general Perdition of all our remaining Right and Safety threaten us in open view, it shall be so far from making me decline the first settling of Religion, that I shall ever argue, and rather conclude it thus. The more great, the more imminent our Perils of this World are, the stronger and quicker ought our care to be for the Glory of God, and the pure Law of our Souls.
If then, Mr. Speaker, it may pass with full Allowance, that all our Cares may give way unto the Treaty of Religion, I will reduce that also to be considered under two Heads: First, of Ecclesiastick Persons, Then of Ecclesiastick Causes. Let no Man start or be affrighted at the imagined Length of this Consultation; it will not, it cannot take up so much time as it is worth. This is God's and the King's; this is God's and the Kingdom's, may this is God's and the two Kingdoms Cause.
Now, Mr. Speaker, in pursuit of my own Motion, and to make a little entrance into this great Affair, I will present unto you the Petition of a poor oppressed Minister of this County of Kent: A Man Orthodox in his Doctrine, Consormable in his Life, Laborious in the Ministry, as any we have, or I do know.
He is now a Sufferer (as all good Men are) under the general Obloquy of a Puritan (as with other Things, was excellently delivered by that Silver Trumpet at the Bar.) The Pursuivant watches his Door, and divides him and his Cure asunder, to both their Griess: For it is not with him, as perhaps with some that set the Pursuivant at Work, glad of an Excuse to be out of their Pulpit. It is his delight to preach.
About a Week since, I went over to Lambeth to move that great Bishop, (too great indeed) to take this Danger off from this Minister, and to recall the Pursuivant. And withal, I did undertake for Mr. Wilson (for so your Petitioner is called) that he should answer his Accusers in any of the King's Courts in Westminster.
The Bishop made me Answer (as near as I can remember) in haec verba, I am sure that he will not be absent from his Cure a Twelvemonth together, and then (I doubt not) but once in a Year I shall have him.
This was all I could obtain; but, I hope, (by the help of this House) before this Year of Threats run round, his Grace will either have more Grace, or no Grace at all. For our manisold Griess do sill a mighty and vast circumference; yet so, that from every part our Lines of Sorrow do lead unto him, and point at him the Center, from whence our Miseries in this Church, and many of them in the Commonwealth, doth flow.
Sir John Wray's SPEECH.
It was well observed by my Lord-Keeper, That a Multiplying glass may deceive; but the right English Glass of the Commonwealth, never; in which I discern so comely and active a Motion, that out of all Question, some great Work is here to be done, something extraordinary is here to be decreed; or else God and the King, beyond all our Expectations, at the last Breach, would never so soon have cemented us again to meet in this Great Council.
Mr. Speaker, What a happy sight would it be to see the King and his People accord? A Threefold Cord is not easily broken, and I hope King Charles his Threefold Kingdoms shall never be so divided, as to break in Pieces.
Mr. Speaker, God knows the Divisions of Great-Britain have half untwisted our Long Union; and I fear that God is angry with our National lukewarm Temper: The Zeal of his House hath not kindled that Flame in our Hearts, which our seeming good Actions have blown abroad; much like the walking of a Ghost, or lifeless Body, which affrights many, but pleaseth no Beholder. Omnia honesta opera voluntas Inchoat; It is the Heart or Will which gives the beginning to every good Action: And I hope our constant Resolutions will be to settle Religion in its Splendor and Purity, by pulling Dagon from the Altar, and whipping the Buyers and Sellers out of the Temple; Pars Prima bonitatis est velle sieri bonum. The first Part of Goodness is to have the will of being good.
God knows all our Hearts, and takes notice of our inward Resolutions, and for what Ends we come hither; if to propagate and advance his Glory and Gospel, blessed shall this Parliament and Nation be, and then most happy we, Whose God is the Lord, all Things shall work together for our good. For, Mr. Speaker, he that turns the Hearts of Kings like the Rivers of Waters, will make the King, and his Kingdoms, all of one Mind: Long live King Charles the Great, and his numerous Royal Issue, to defend the true Faith, which will protect and keep him and his, safe in his Father's Throne. Never King gave more full Content to his People, than His Majesty now hath done; and I hope, never Subjects came with better Hearts and Affections to their King and Country, than we do. Let it then appear, Mr. Speaker, by our outward Actions and Practice, that our inward Obedience, both of Heart and Hand is true, Loyal and currant Coin, not false nor counterseit. For Nemo veraciter dicit, Volo, qui non facit illud quod potest. No Man truly says, I am in Will and Heart resolved, unless according to his Ability, he endeavours to perform his Resolution; which to speak the Hearts of us all in this Renowned Senate, I am consident is fully #ed upon the true Reformation of all Disorders and Innovations in Church or Religion, and upon the well uniting and close rejointing of the now dislocated Great Britain: For, let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that God he thanked, it is but out of joint, and may be yet well set, by the skilful Chirurgions of this Honourable House, to whose loving and Christian Care, and to whose tender and upright Hands I leave it, only with this Aviso, Let Brotherly Love continue, and be constant, and of good Courage: For the Keeper of Israel, who neither slumbers nor sleeps, who delivered us from Rome's November Powder-blast, will, no doubt, still preserve his Anointed our Gracious King, and us his Loyal Subjects, from all Dangers of Fire, or Sword; For, Si Deus nobiscum quis contra nos?
A Message brought from the Lords by the two Lord Chief Justices, who said the Lords desired a Conference, and if it may be convenient presently in the Painted Chamber, their Number is 20, it is concerning Breach of Privilege of their House by some Members of this House. To which Answer was immediately returned by the same Messengers, That this House will meet their Lordships presently with a proportionable Number in the Painted Chamber. And the House appointed Mr. Selden, the Lord Digby, Sir Benjamin Rudyard, and Mr. St. John, to Report this Conference.
The Lord Digby Reported from the Conference, That according to the Command of this House, the Committee attended the Lords; the Occasion of this Conference was expressed by my Lord of Canterbury, which was, That they conceived there bath been a Breach of the Privilege of that House, occasioned by some Members of this House; the Matter of Fact was this, Two Lords of that House, viz. the Earl of Warwick, and my Lord Brook, since the Dissolution of the late Parliament, had their Persons seized, and their Pockets searched by a Clerk of the Council, Sir William Beecher, who being now called before the Lords, dischargeth himself upon two Warrants under the Hands of the two Secretaries, who were then Members of this House; the Warrants themselves are delivered unto me to be read here, and the Lords expressed it, was out of a desire of all good Correspondency between them and us, that they would not proceed in any Thing in that Business, without acquainting you with it; and that this was done without any Crime urged to be done by these Lords either before or since this Fact.
This Report being made, and the Warrants read, it was Ordered, That this Business should be referred to further Consideration till to Morrow Morning. Memorand. Mr. Speaker had the Warrants delivered to him.
Ordered, That Alderman Abel shall be sent for, to appear at the Committee for Grievances this Afternoon by Two of the Clock, and to bring with him his Patent concerning the Projects upon Wines, and all Articles and Covenants, and other Papers concerning that Business.
Sir John Clotworthy acquainted the House, That Mrs. Anne Hussey complained to an Honourable Member of this House, named Secretary Windebank, concerning O Conner an Irish Priest, who spake desperate Words, that there would be Cutting of Throats; and that there were for that Purpose 7000 Men in Pay; but he slightly referred the Examination of it to his Clerk, Mr. Read.
It was moved in the House, That if any Member of this House did know any Projector sitting there, that he should name him; whereupon one Member produced the Docket of Mr. William Sandys his Patent for raising 12d. upon the Chaldron more than the old Tax that was set upon the Chaldron of Coals at Newcasile, &c.
The Humble Petition of Peter Smart Prisoner in the King's Bench was read, complaining of Dr. Cosins his Innovations in Matters of Religion in the Church of Durham, and of his Prosecution of the said Mr. Smart in the High Commission Court at York where he was sentenced and deprived of his Living and Prebendary of Durham; whereupon it was Ordered, That Peter Smart's Petition be referred to the Committee, appointed to consider of Doctor Leighton's Petition: Who are to consider by whose Motions and Means Dr. Cosins was preferred to his late Dignity. And this Committee is impowered further, to consider whether any Man complained of here, being a Convocation-Man, may not by Authority of this House be sent for by the Serjeant at Arms.
It was likewise further Ordered, That Mr. Smart, in all his Particulars, shall have the Liberty as Doctor Leighton hath granted unto him, and that he may have Copies of the Records in the Kings-Bench, and the High Commission concerning his Business Gratis; and Mr. Selden in by Order of this House added to the same Committee.
Ordered, That two Members be sent to the Judges of the Kings-Bench, to acquaint them, that the House of Commons have taken notice of the Accu sation of O Conner an Irishman, a Romish Priest or Jesuit; and that it is now in agitation in this House; and therefore for divers Weighty Reasons, they do hold it fit that his Tryal be staid, till further Order be given from this House.
Ordered, That Sir Thomas Roe go up to the Lords with this Message; That whereas this House received from their Lordships a Message concerning the Treaty with the Scots at Rippon, and at York, To acquaint their Lord ships, That this House is ready to give them a Meeting when it stands with their Occasions; and as for the Matter propounded at the Conference, concerning Breach of Privilege by some Members of this House, they will return Answer in convenient time.
Sir Thomas Roe brought Answer, That the Lords will readily give a meeting to this House in the Painted-Chamber this Afternoon, at Three of the Clock, concerning the Declaration of the Treaty at Rippon; and the Proceedings of the Great Council at York, by a Committee of both Houses.
Mr. Perd Reports, That Mr. Glyn and himself acquainted the Judges of the Kings-Bench with the Order of this House, concerning O Conner; and their Answer is, That the Order of this House shall be Observed.
Upon the 11th of November a sudden Motion was made by Mr. Pym, declaring that he had something of Importance to acquaint the House with, and desired that the outward Room be kept from Strangers; and the outward Doors upon the Stairs lock'd; which being done, Mr. Pym informed the House, That there were several Persons, who have given Information, which does give a good ground for the Accusing of Thomas Earl of Strafford of High Treason, [he being then newly arrived from the Army:] Whereupon the House named Seven Persons presently to withdraw, viz. Mr. Pym, Mr. Strode, Mr. St. John, the Lord Digby, Sir John Clotworthy, Sir Walter Farl, and Mr. Hampden, to consider of the Information against the Earl of Strafford; who immediately retired into the Committee-Chamber, to prepare Matter for a Conference to be had with the Lords, and an Accusation against the said Earl.
Whilst the House of Commons was in Debate about this Business of the Earl of Strafford's there came a Message from the Lords, by the Lord Chief Justice Bramston, and Judge Forster, concerning a Treaty with the Scots, viz. That the King bath commanded the Lords, that were the Commissioners to Treat with the Scots Commissioners at Rippon and York, to give an Account to both Houses of Parliament of that which passed there; to which purpose the Lords desire there might be a Meeting by a Committee of both Houses this Afternoon, if the Occasions of this House will give Leave. To which an Answer was returned by the same Messengers to this Purpose, That the House bath taken into Consideration the Message from the Lords, but that at this time the House is in agitation of very weighty and important Business, and therefore they doubt they shall not be ready to give them a Meeting this Afternoon, as they desire; but as soon as they can, they will send an Answer by Messengers of their own.
Some few Members of the House of Commons were jealous that this Message was procured to divert the Debate about the Earl of Strafford; but it was not so, neither did it interrupt the same, longer than the delivery of the Message.
When the Messengers were gone, the Select Committee of Seven made their Report, That they did find Just Cause to Accuse the Earl of Strafford of High Treason: And further, That the House would desire the Lords, that be may be sequstred from Parliament, and Committed; and that with in some convenient time this House with resort to their Lordships with particular Accusations and Articles against him. And in the same Message, That the Lords be desired, that some fit Course may be taken, that there might be a free Passage between Ireland and England, notwithstanding any restraint lately made to the contrary.
The House of Peers after the said Accusation, sent a Message to the House of Commons, by the two Chief Justices, That the Lords have taken into Serious Consideration the Accusation sent from this House against the Earl of Strafford, that they have sequestred him from the House, and committed him into safe Custody, to the Gentleman Usher of their House and that they would move his Majesty that the Passage from Ireland into England may be open, notwithstanding any restraint to the contrary; which his Majesty upon Application by some of the Lords, was pleased to grant.
Now as to the further Proceedings of this House against the said Earl of Strafford, in order to his coming to Tryal, which began the 22d of March, 1640, the Author, for Methods sake, inserts many Particulars; but forbears to mention in this Book, any of the Proceedings during the time of his Tryal: Forasmuch as be bath faithfully publisbed that Tryal at large, to which be refers the Reader, being in a Volume in Folio by it self; wherein the Reader may receive a full Account of that most remarkable Tryal, and the Death of the said Earl, and Circumstances attending the same.
After the Accusation of the said Earl, the House fell into Debate concerning Sir George Ratcliff; some Members of the House giving Information against him, That there was cause to accuse him of High Treason, and that he ought to be sent for hither to answer it before the Parliament of England, tho' he be a Member of the Parliament now Sitting in Ireland; but some Seruples being made about sending for him, it was referred to a Committee of Seven, viz. Mr. Selden, Mr. St. John, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Solicitor, Mr.Maynard, Mr. Grimston, and Mr. Chadwell, to consider of that Matter, and to make a Report to the House; who afterward reported, That the Committee were of Opinion, that it is better to examine this Matter according to the Rules and Foundation of this House, than to rest upon Scattered Instances. And therefore,
The Committee in their Report distinguished between the Case of Sir George Ratcliff, and Sir Rovert King thus; We find an Information given of High Treason against Sir George Ratcliff, Which if it be true, Then there is no doubt but in case of High Treason, (which Privilege of Parliament neither here nor there doth reach unto,) Sir George Ratcliff may be sent for, though a Member of Parliament there.
For the other, Sir Rober King, the Case did differ; for to send for him to testify in any Ordinary Case, were of Dangerous Consequence; or to send for him to Testify in the King's-Bench, in Case of Treason where the Court doth ordinarily Sit; but this Case differs between sending for a Member of Parliament to give Evidence in any ordinary Thing, or in any ordinary Court; for the Parliament is a Court that doth not ordinarily Sit, a Court of the Great Affairs of the Kingdom; Therefore to be sent for hither to this High Court, and to testify in a Case of the Highest Nature, in case of reason, informed of against Sir George Ratcliff, we did conceive it to be no Breach of Privilege of Parliament, that he should be sent for; and if the House require of us our Opinion concerning the manner of sending for him, we shall tell them what we conceive of it.
Aquila Weeks, Keeper of the Gate-bouse, was called into the House who produced Three Warrants, signed under the Hand of Mr. Secretary Windebank, for the Discharge and Releasement of Fisher a Jesuit Committed by the Lords of the Council, and of Goodman a Priest Committed by Mr. Secretary Windebanke, and of Thomas Reynolds, a Priest Convicted; all being committed to his Custody.
Richard Johnson, Keeper of Newgate, being called in, declareth how he had been but two Years Keeper of Newgate; that few of the Books of Commitments or Releasements of former Prisoners came to his Hands. That Mosse, and Goodman the Priest or Jusuit, were committed to Newgate and released by Warrant from Mr. Secretary Windebanke; whereupon Mr. Secretary was intreated to withdraw; who accordingly did, into the Committee Chamber.
The Grand Committee of the whole House sate this Afternoon upon the Irish Affairs, and the Speaker sate by, according to an Order made in the Forenoon. And while the Committee was Sitting, there came Word that the Lords were come, and expected the Committee of this House at a Conference. Mr. Speaker assumed the Chair, and it was moved, That the Committees that sate in other Places, might be sent for to attend the Conference; and that those Gentlemen might be sent for by the Mace that were gone before to the Conference.