Cecil Papers: March 1604

Pages 127-152

Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 23, Addenda, 1562-1605. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1973.

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March 1604

Steven Haristegin and John Harraneder to the King.
[Before March 13, 1603–4]. The French Ambassador has already presented petitions on their behalf concerning the damage inflicted on their ship and cargo by Captain Thomasin and his company, for whom Sir Robert Bassett became surety. After it had been decided to compensate them to the amount of £1500, Lady Bassett was summoned to make satisfaction to them. She, however, endeavoured to avoid that obligation by falsely stating that her husband's lands had been seized for debt by Lord Buckhurst, (fn. 1) Lord Treasurer, Mr Drake, the High Sheriff of Devon, and Mr Poole. Petitioners request that Lady Bassett be forced to pay the £1500 out of Sir Robert's lands or that, in view of his absence abroad, his property be distrained for that purpose.—Undated.
1 p. (P. 9.)
[See H.M.C. Salisbury MSS, Vol. XVI, p. 438.]
John Geynkyn and others to the Privy Council
[? After March 15, 1603–4]. The Lord Chancellor, the Lord Admiral, the Lord Treasurer, Sir John Stanhope and others of the Privy Council issued an order to the inhabitants between Temple Bar and Charing Cross to arrange a pageant to receive the King joyfully and loyally as he passed through London to Westminster. Petitioner and many other poor people and artisans have contributed liberally towards the same, but some of the better sort have refused to do so. They should be commanded to donate money or be summoned before the Council for contempt. —Undated.
1 p. (P. 732.)
[See Nichols Progresses of King James the First, Vol. 1, p. 375.]
Sir Richard Bulkeley to Lord Cecil.
[After March 16, 1603–4]. In answer to the petition of Jane Owen, he acknowledges that she inherited, as a child, the lands which were in the possession of Richard Owen, deceased, mentioned in her petition. Moreover Lewis Owen, Sergeant of the King's Larder, was granted the wardship of Jane Owen, and sued forth a commission to Bulkeley, to the Feodary and the Escheator of Anglesey, and to Henry Lloyd, esquire, who found that the King had a title to her wardship. After the bestowal of the wardship on Lewis Owen, Griffith ap John Griffith, "beinge a turbulent and clamarous person and a common solicitor of suts, having spent all his tyme in suts and brabells", exhibited a bill in the Star Chamber against the commissioners, (fn. 2) charging them with underhand actions. Petitioner has answered his allegations, but Griffith has now addressed a petition to Cecil in the hope of tarnishing Bulkeley's good name. Lastly, petitioner declares that he never claimed any interest in the wardship, and asks that Griffith be punished for his insinuations against him, "that thereby the Kings officers and commissioners hereafter maie not be discouraged to doe the Kings Matie any service. Otherwise the gentlemen in that contrie will absent them selves from executing any of the Kings commissions, and the tenurs that are due to the King there will hardely be founde."—Undated.
1 p. (P. 1554.)
William Carrier to Lord Cecil.
[Before March 17, 1603–4]. He is the Bailiff of the King's manor of Yaxley, and held the office for a long time under the late Queen Elizabeth. When the King came to the throne he renewed his patent at his own expense, but recently the King granted the manor to the Queen as part of her jointure. Petitioner understands that he has to renew his patent again from Cecil. In consideration of his lengthy service and his charges, he requests that he be granted the bailiwick.
In a different handwriting: Since he drew up his petition, petitioner has been given to understand that a Mr Proby, to whom he had entrusted his case and its presentation to Cecil, has procured a patent of the bailiwick in his own name. But since Proby is resident in London, he has to find a deputy to perform the duties of the office. Petitioner explains that he had sent up his old patent and the assignment which he had obtained from the King, to London with a Mr Tuck, one of Cecil's employees, inasmuch as he was afraid to come himself last Christmas because of the plague. Tuck appears to have been slack about the whole business, and petitioner asks that Proby surrender his patent to him, he himself undertaking to defray Proby's expenses in the matter.—Undated.
1 p. (P. 1518.)
[See Cal. S.P. Dom., 1603–10, p. 88.]
Sir John Croke to the King.
[After March 19, 1603–4]. Before being elected Speaker in the last Parliament and during the sessions of the present one, (fn. 3) he was unable to attend to his legal duties as much as he could have desired. He asks that he be awarded some fee farm so that he may enjoy a better estate, and thus be enabled to fulfil his duties with greater freedom and efficiency.—Undated.
½ p. (P. 639.)
James Annesley to Lord Cecil.
[1603–4, March 21]. He is one of the officers of the King's Cellar. Thirty years ago Robert Stokes died seised of certain lands in Newport Pagnell. For lack of lawful heir, the land is either to escheat to the King or a fine is due for alienation. He is brother-in-law to the deceased Stokes, and since the land forms part of the Queen's jointure, he asks that at the next court held in the manor an heir be presented or the property seized for the Queen's use. If an escheat is declared, petitioner requests that he be made tenant before any other.—Undated.
Note by Cecil: "I desire to be enformed of this by her Mats Chancelour."
Note by Sir Roger Wilbraham: "I think it meete your Lordship write to the Stuard to enquire of the Q's title, which founde he semes for his discoverie to deserve a lease for 21 yeres for such fyne as the stuard and dep. surveior shall advise." 21 Marcii, 1603.
1½ pp. (P. 1680.)
Parliamentary Debates.
1603–4, March 23. Die Veneris xxiii Martis, 1603. Sir Robert Wroth (one of the knights of the shire returned for the countie of Essex) moved that matters of most ymportance might first bee handled, and to that purpose hee offered to the consideration of the Howse: the Wardship of mens children as a burden and servitude to the subjects of this kingdome, etc.
Die Lune, 26 Martii
Sir Ffrancis Bacon (one of his Mats Councell learned) maketh report of the meeting of the Committees touching the matters formerly propounded by Sir Robert Wroth, and of the first endevoures and travell in the poynt of Wardship of mens children, relating breifly what was said Pro et Con, viz:
That it was a thing never petitioned, never wonne of any King.
But having his ground from the tenure of Scutagium, voyage royall in Esclose, that nowe determins by his Mats possessinge of the Crowne.
This no newe thing, for K.H.8, K.E.6 and Q.M. had a power graunted them by Parlyament to dissolve the Court of Wards.
That the intention of the Howse was that both the Kinge and meane Lords should bee comprehended.
The first resolution was for the matter, that petition should bee made to the King; then for the maner, it was debated: (1) whether first to agree upon the plott and to offer to the King the matter plotted, (2) or first to aske leave to treate, then, whether first to pray a conference with the Lords touching a petition to bee offered to his Matie for libertie to treate, which last was thought the best course, and so resolved by the house.
Agreed by the Committees and delivered into the House at the same tyme.
Concerning the Wardship of mens children, yt was agreed that the House should bee moved this day touching a conference to bee had with the Lords for joyning in a Petition to the Kings Matie, that hee would bee pleased to give them leave to enter into consideration of some project of recompence to bee given to his Highnes for easing the subjects in the wardship of their children for their bodies and lands.
Sir Henry Nevill offereth a motion touching two important causes to bee considered by the House, viz: (1) a declaration of all kinds of treasons, (2) an explanation of certaine maximes of the Common lawe touching the K. graunts: which he prayed (together with the matter of Wardship) might bee considered of and remembred by such Committees as should bee named for the conference to bee had with the Lords touching the matter of Wardship. But yt was thought fitt that the matter of Wardship onely and nothing els should bee handled in that conference: and xxiiii were presently named to bee sent to the Lords to pray a conference, viz:
All the privie councell of the House
Sir George Carew, vicechamberlaine to the Queene
Sir Ffrauncis Bacon
Sir Edwyn Sandys
Sir John Hollis
Mr Ffrauncis Moore
Sir Jerome Bowes
Sir Ffrauncis Hastinge
Mr Serjant Dodridge
Sir John Scott
Sir Richard Leveson
Sir Edward Hobby
Sir Maurice Berkley
Sir Edward Mountague
Mr Serjeant Tanfeild
Sir George Moore
Sir Arthur Atye
Sir Robert Wroth
Sir Henry Mountague
Sir John Thynne
Mr Ffuller
Sir Henry Nevill
Sir Thomas Lake
Mr Ffr. Clifford
Sir Robert Wingfeild
Sir Edward Hobby [sic]
Sir Maurice Berkley [sic]
The maner of proceeding in the matter of Wardship was further questioned, and being (by generall opinion) thought fittest to proceed by way of petition to the King, viz, that his Matie would bee pleased to give leave to treate, etc;
It was first propounded as necessarie that the Lords, being part of the Bodie and sensible of the same burden, should joyne in petition: and for that purpose the House presently to pray a conference with their Lordships: which upon the question being resolved, Sir John Stanhope, kt, vicechamb. to his Matie accompaned with the xxiiii Committees formerly named by speciall commission and message delivered to their Lordships the desire and pleasure of the House accordingly, and upon his returne reported for aunswere from their Lordships that they lyked and well approved the care and respect of the House in the course they tooke to pray such a conference, and that they would willingly and readily joyne with them in that or any other thing which might so much concerne the common good. And for their numb[er] tyme and place of meeting, send aunswere by messengers of their owne.
Sir John Popham, knight, Lo: Chief Justice of England, Sir Christopher Yelverton, knight, one of the Judges of the Common Pleas, Sir John Crook, knight, deputie Chancellor of his Mats Court of Exchequor and one of the Ks Serjannts at Lawe, and Sir Richard Swale, knight, Doctor of the Lawes and one of the Masters of his Mats Court of Chauncery, came downe in message from the Lords and delivered: That whereas yt pleased the House to pray conference touching their Lordships joyning with them in petition to his Matie for leave to treat of matter of Wardship, etc, that they were comannded to make knowne unto them howe well they lyked and how willingly they enterteyned their carefull consideration and motion in that matter as in all other matters of lyke importance. But desiered that some things els of the same kind, and of as great waight and moment, might bee drawne in to consultation together with the other at the same conference, as namely Respit of Homage, Licence of Alienation, etc, as also the generall abuse (so much complaynd of) of Purveyors and Cartakers of which greevance (they sayd) the Lords themselves had as much feeling as any whosoever, and wished that therein such an order, proportion and certainty might bee established as his Matie might bee better served, his Prerogative preserved and the country eased: and this they desiered might bee debated in the intended conference.
And that their Lordships had named thirty of that House to meete with such number of this House at the said conference as should bee thought fitt: the place and tyme to bee in the painted Chamber at two a clock in the afternoone.
To this the House assented and gave aunswere by Mr Speaker, that they would meet for conference with their Lordships with the number of six score at the tyme and place desiered. And to joyne with the xxiiii Committees formerly named and sent up to the Lords, were presently added for the said conference:
Sir Henry Hubbard
Sir William Killigrew
Sir Thomas Somersett
Sir William Herbert
Sir Edward Herbert
Sir William Harvey
Sir Philip Herbert
Sir Thomas Ridgway
Sir Robert Oxenbridge
Sir Valentine Knightley
Sir Ffrauncis Goodwin
Sir Ffrauncis Barrington
Sir Roger Aston
Sir Edward Stafford
Sir Robert Cotton
Mr Allen Persie
Sir William Woodhouse
Sir Roger Wilbraham
Sir John Townesend
Sir Oliver St John
Sir Robert Needham
Sir Edmond Bowyer
Sir Thomas Jermin
Mr George Smyth
Mr Martin
Sir Anthony Rowse
Sir Maurice Berkley [sic]
Sir Henry Carey
Mr Robert Askwith
Mr Lawrence Hyde
Sir Edward Grevill
Mr Ffrauncis Moore [sic]
Sir Thomas Monnson
Sir John Savill
Mr Nathaniel Bacon
Sir Nicholas Saunders
Sir Rowland Litton
Sir Charles Cornwallis
Sir John Leveson
Sir John Thynn [sic]
And these Committees (besides the matter of Petition to the King touching Wardship) had warrant and authoritie from the House to treat and debate of whatsoever should bee accidentally propounded or arise by occasion in the said conference.
xxviii Martii 1604
Sir Ffrancis Bacon maketh report of the conference yesterday betweene the Lords and this House wherein (he sayd) he was meerely a relator, no actor.
And sayd further that the Lords upon their first meeting desired the Committees of this house to make the proposition: whereupon yt was thought fitt by the said Committees not to mention any objections but onely to shew their dutifull respect in the handling of the matter, and, secondly, to open the greif adding some cautions and considerations to prevent mistakinge.
The grief was that every mans eldest sonne or heire (the dearest thinge he hath in the world) was by Prerogatyve warranted by the lawes of the land to bee in ward to the King for his bodie and lands, then which (they conceyved) to a free nation nothing to bee more greyvous. But they esteemed it onely a greif, no wrong, sythence yt hath beene patiently endured by our auncestors and by our selves, and therefore they did presse to offer yt to the Kings grace and not to his justice.
They knewe yt concerned the King in two sorts, (1) in his revenewe, (2) and in reward to his well deserving servants and officers of the wards.
That the discharge of the wardship of meane Lords was also to bee thought on. And concluded that their desire and resolution was not to proceed by way of Bill but by way of Petition to his Matie for licence to treat, etc.
Of the Lords, first one aunswered that they had as much feeling as any of the burden, and that with a double respect, because their families were planted in honor.
That there was one other great greevance complayned of in the matter of respect of Homage, wherein though the King were interressed in honor and profit, yet their desire was that yt might bee coupled in the Petition with the matter of Wardship, as growing upon that roote.
It was affirmed by another Lord that in the matter of respit of homage, present order was to bee taken by speciall direction from his Matie. And that for the greevance of Purveyors, etc.
Sir Ffrauncis Bacon continued the report of another Lords speach (which he said) he did but onely report not deliver as a message. It contayned 3 points, (1) his affection to the House of the Commons, (2) his good wishes unto yt, (3) the great benefit the King bringeth with him, as the peace wee have by him and the latitude and prospect of that peace. That the King was borne for us. That a people may bee without a King: a King cannot bee without a people. A perswasion that the House would aunswere him in all good correspondence, (1) in modestie, that our desires bee lymitted, (2) in plainnes, that wee lay our selves open in the naked truth of our hearts, (3) in order and comelynes of proceeding, which is the band and ornament of all societies.
Sir Edward Cooke, his Matyes Atturney generall and Mr Doctor Hone bring a message from the Lords expressing with what acceptation their Lordships entertayned their motion yesterday, not onely for the matter, being of very great waight and consequence, but especially for the manner, namely that touching wardship they would not petition for ease in yt as matter of wrong but of greif, and pray to bee releyved by grace and not by justice. And their Lordships for aunswere were desierous and moved at that tyme to couple in the same Petition the matter of greyvance of respyt of Homage, which his Maty out of his gratious favour and love to his people had him selfe taken knowledge of. And as they conceyve yt to bee lykely that the conference may contynue betweene the two houses touching the said matters, as they are very zealous of the furtherannce of their purpose, so are they jealous of any impediment that may breed let or hinderannce therein. Therefore they desire for a more cleare proceeding and removing of all stumbling blocks that the former Committees may in a second conference to bee had, have authoritie to treat touching the case of Sir Ffrauncis Goodwyn, the knight for Buckinghamshire, before any other matter were further proceeded in.
The aunswere to this message was:
That they would returne aunswere by messengers of their owne.
Aunswere to this message by Mr Secretary Herbert:
That they did conceive yt did not stand with the honor and order of the house to give account of any their proceedings or doyngs. But yf their Lordships have any purpose to conferre, for the residue, that then they wilbee ready at such tyme and place, and with such number as their Lordships shall thinke meete.
Die Mercurii xvi° Maii 1604
Moved and perswaded, by long contynewed speach, that the matter of composition for Wardship, etc, might goe hand in hand with that of Purveyors.
In our message to the Lords to desire their Lordships to joyne in petition to his Matie for leave to treat, etc.
Others that the matter of Wardship may goe single.
These motions induced 3 questions, to bee agreed and made:
(1) Whether to desire the Lords to joyne with this House in a Petition for composition for Wardship.
(2) Whether composition for Wardship shall goe hand in hand with that of Purveyors.
Resolved to goe single.
(3) Whether to desire a conference touching the framing of a Petition for leave to treat, etc.
A Committee for conference with the Lords touching matters of Wardship moved and named.
All the privie Councell being members of the house
The Lo: Clinton
The Lo: Buckhurst
Sir Robert Wroth
Sir Henry Nevill
Sir Ffrancis Bacon
Mr Sollicitor
Sir George Moore
Mr Ffrauncis Moore
Sir Edward Hobby
Sir Nath. Bacon
Sir Edward Stafford
Sir Herbert Crofte
Sir John Hollis
Sir Hugh Beeston
Sir Ffranc. Hastinge
Mr Wentworth
Sir Thomas Crompton
Sir Edward Mountague
Mr Recorder of London
Sir Thomas Holcroft
Sir Daniel Dun
Mr Doctor James
Sir Edward Herbert
Sir Robert Wingfeild
Mr Fferiam Dodridge
Sir Henry Billingsley
Sir John Thynne
Sir Edmond Bowyer
Sir Thomas Dunton
Sir William Burlacy
Mr Sam. Bacchus
Sir Maurice Berkley
Sir Thomas Ridgeway
Sir John Savill
All the Serjants at Lawe
Sir Robert Oxenbridge
Sir William Strowd
Sir Thomas Ffreak
Sir Thomas Hesketh
Mr Pulliston
Sir Jerome Horsey
Sir John Harper
Sir Thomas Beamount
Sir Edward Tyrrell
Sir Ffrancis Knollys
Sir Ffrancis Popham
Sir Richard Verney
Sir William Wray
Sir Richard Leveson
Mr Ffuller
Mr Serjant Tanfeild
Mr Lawrence Hyde
Sir Edw. Lewkenor
Sir Peter Manwood
Sir Nicholas Saunders
Sir Roger Aston
Sir Edwyn Sandys
Mr John Hare
Sir Jerome Bowes
Sir Henry Bromley
Sir John Scott
Sir Edward Herbert [sic]
Sir Edward Grevill
Sir John Leveson
Sir Henry Beamount
These Committees are appointed to conferre with the Lords on Ffryday next at two aclock in the afternoone in Camera Picta, touching matters of Wardship, respytt of homage, Licence of Alienation, primer seisin, and other the incidents, as also touching their Lordships joyning with the House in Petition to his Matie for leave to treat, etc.
And are first to meete this afternoone in the Parliament house, there to prepare furnish and arme themselves with such reasons and arguments as may induce the proceeding in the said Petition and give some instruction in the framinge of the same.
xxiiii° Maii 1604
Mr Doctor Swale and Mr Doctor Hone come in message from the Lords saying that their Lordships had considered of their dooble motion for conference.
Touching thact of the union, they desire the meeting may bee this afternoone.
Ffor ecclesiasticall matters, this day fortnight in the afternoone.
Ffor the matter of wards, where yt is already appointed on Ffryday, they desire yt may bee deferred till Saterday.
xxv Maii 1604
Sir Edwyn Sandys produceth in writing the heads of such course as was thought meet to bee proceeded in by the Committee, touching the matter of Wardship, etc, at their last meeting, readeth yt and offereth yt to the consideration of the House. but nothing then done upon it.
xxvi Maii 1604
Sir Edwyn Sandys moveth that the House would bee pleased to consider of some directions for the proceeding of the Committee appointed to conferre with the Lords touching the matter of Wardship, etc, and offered to the House such as were set downe in writing and read yesterday by himself, which were presently read by the Clerk and approved by the House, to the effect following:
In the conference with the Lords touching a Petition to bee made to the King to have leave to treat with his Matie of a composition for tenures and wardships, etc, these things to bee propounded,
(1) Ffirst what wee desire.
(2) Secondly the reasons for our desire.
(3) Thirdly the removing of impediments which may bee objected.
(4) Ffourthly what course to bee taken for the levying and assessing of our composition, if it please his Matie to assent to it.
(1) Our desire is the taking away the tenures in capite, and knights service, and the burdens depending on them, as Wardship of lands and body, marriage of wards, liveries, respit of homage, licence of Alienation, primer seisin, relief, etc.
(2) The reasons for our desire may bee reduced into three heads:
(1) Ffirst why wee desire it.
(2) Then why wee desire it more of his Matie then our auncestors did of his progenitors.
(3) Lastly what reasons on his Maties behalf may induce him to graunt our desire.
Why wee desire it the reasons are many:
(1) It is but a restitution unto the originall right of all men by the lawe of God and nature, which is that children should bee brought up by their parents and next of kin, and by them bee directed in their marriages.
(2) The greevance and damage of the subject in his estate to the great hinderance and decay of mens houses and posterity, and to the disabling of them to serve their Prince and country.
(3) The great mischeif by occasion of forced and ill suited marriage.
(4) The contempt and reproach of our nation in forreyne countries, which doth also consequently redound upon our Kings.
Why wee desire it more of his Matie then our auncestors of his progenitors (although it have bene in former princes tymes desiered), there are some reasons which wee will expresse, and other some wee will leave to their Lordships provident considerations.
(1) The originall of these tenures, which draw Wardships, was serving of the King in his warres against Scotland which cause is now ceased.
(2) The generall hope that at his Maties entrie the whole land embraced, that they should bee eased of this burthen, which hope hath bene increased by his Maties benigne offer made the last summer, that men might before hand compound for their childrens marriages.
The reasons which on his Maties behalfe may induce him to graunt our desire are two:
(1) One reason moves from his Matie, viz, his owne most gratious and most noble disposition in so accepting our chearefull love and loyalty towards him, at his entry into this kingdome, as to promise withall that this our duty should bee returned unto us not in words but royall deeds, to the easing of those oppressions and burdens under which wee groaned.
(2) An other reason must move from us: wee will offer unto his Matie the raysing of a perpetuall and certaine revenew out of our lands, not onely proportionable to the uttmost benefit that any of his progenitors ever reaped hereby, but also with such an overplus and larg addition as in great parte to supply his Maties other necessities.
(3) The impediments which may bee objected are these two principall:
(1) Ffirst, what to bee done touching the wards of subjects. They must bee also compounded for at such reasonable rate either of money in grosse or of yearely rent, as may give satisfaction and content to the severall lords.
(2) Secondly, what regard to bee had of his Maties officers. An honourable yearely pension to bee graunted unto them during their lives at the charge of the whole state and the same either to come to the Crowne after their decease, or else to bee extinguished to that rate, whereat wee shall make composition with his Matie.
(4) If his Matie bee pleased to compound with us, what course may bee taken for the levying and assessing of that which wee shall compound for, may then bee considered of when his Matie shall have assented to composition; howbeit because some thinke it a matter of impossibility or great difficulty to bee overcome, if their Lordships desire any project thereof, this may be proposed by way of overture to occasion their Lordships to thinke of a better and more exquisite.
This Session onely his Maty to bee agreed with for the generall somme of the yearely revenew to bee raysed, and commissioners to be chosen out of all the shires in England for the assessing of this revenewe.
The Commissioners first to informe themselves what land there is in knight service and capite, holden of his Matie, in every shire in England.
To set downe a proportionable rate what shalbee raysed of their lands and what of soccage land, if it bee thought fitt to taxe it also.
To consider then the proportion of the quantitie of ward land in every shire, and conferring the same with the whole quantitie of the severall shires (if soccage land bee also taxed) to allott what shalbee raysed out [of] every particular shire.
Afterward to devide themselves into the severall shires and agreeably to the proportion to proceed (as occasion shall require) to subdivide every shire, and so finally to the taxing of every perticular mans lande.
Their doeings to bee returned (as in way of proposition only) to the next Session of Parliament, which may proceede to a finall conclusion of this busines.
Moved by Mr Parkinson that some course bee taken to prevent that no newe tenures bee created hereafter.
Sir Robert Wroth. Impossible that any good should come of this course in the matter of Wardship, etc: hee foresawe it, hee knewe yt. Moved therefore that every man by his last will and testament might dispose of his child, paying the like fine, etc. And that some Bill to that purpose might bee thought on.
Primo Junii 1604
Sir Edwyn Sandys entreth into a report of the conference with the Lords touching matter of wardship, etc.
Hee related his owne speach to the Lords.
By the way, hee sayd: If the King did graunt yt, yt was great grace; yf deny yt, no wronge.
Hee recyted the direction for the conference formerly read in the house xxvi May which (hee sayd) the Committee pursued.
The reply by the Lords was three folde:
(1) Expostulation or freindly reprehension.
(2) Aunswere to the reasons.
(3) Admonition.
They put us in mynde what wee were.
In what state wee were the XII of March was twelvemoneth. That wee would have given halfe that we had to have that wee now enjoy. Under what kinge wee lyved, with what habilitie.
How wee had spent our tyme in matters of privilegde, purveyors, ecclesiastic, etc.
Tenures onely in this land;
Franck-almoigne. . Copie. Soccage.
Wardship not proper to England alone. Scotland and some parts of France subject to yt.
The last comission for compounding but satisfactorie to the people brought in not above 40001.
The revenewe of the wards 310001
Respytt of homage, licences of Alienation, etc, 100001
What the conceyte of forreine ambassadors would bee of the King in selling his prerogative.
Ffyve Lords did concurre in one sense.
Sensi ex composto rem geri
Replyed by one. Marriage of children, no prerogatyve, no dishonour to take yt away.
Much dispute followed this report by sundry members of the house.
Amongst others, moved by Sir T.R. that a Committee might bee named to take a survey of the proceeding of the House and to sett downe something in wryting for his Mats satisfaction and to exhibite yt unto him.
Mr Speaker propounded a petition to bee framed with reasons of satisfaction for the proceeding in matters of wardships, etc.
These both resolved upon the quest, and the former Committee named xx Maii for conference with the Lords touchinge Wardship, etc, appointed to meete with this authority, viz:
To take a survey of all the acts and proceedings of the House (which have bene excepted unto, or whereof any misinformation hath bene given unto his Matie,) from the beginning of this Session, and to advise of such a forme of satisfaction to bee offered to his Matie (eyther by writing or otherwise) as may informe him in the truth and clearenes of their proceeding, thereby to free them from the scandall of levitie and precipitation, so often imputed unto them. And particularly to consider of some satisfaction touching the proceeding in matter of wardship, etc. This being done to make report to the House, and from thence to receyve further direction.
To the former Committee were added upon this occasion;
Sir Robert Mannsell
Mr Yelverton
Mr Martin
Mr Hare
Sir Rowland Litton
Sir Ffrauncis Barrington
Uppon the whole matter this order following was conceived by the Clerk, being so directed.
This daye, Sir Edwyn Sandys making report of the late conference had with the Lords, according to a former commission of this house, touching the matter of Wardship and other the incidents thereunto, in steede of acceptation and assent to joyne in petition to his Matie, delivered from their Lordships no other then matter of expostulation, opposition of reason to reason: admonition or precise caution in proceeding, which suitinge with the groundes of his Maties speache subsequent, advisedly and of purpose made upon that occasion, to the whole House assembled by his Maties direction at Whitehall on Munday last (wherein many perticular actions and passages of the house were objected unto them with taxation and blame), summoned the dutie and judgement of the House to consider what were fittest to bee done. And amongst other, the motion of Sir Thomas Ridgeway, one of the knights for Devonshire, induced the House to this consideration, that synce yt appeared his Matie had made such an impression of myslike of the proceedings of the house in generall, as also that the groundes conceyved touching wardship and matters of that nature seemed to bee so weakened and impugned, yt were necessarie and safe for the House, and dutyfull and convenient in respect of his Matie, instantly to advise of such a forme of satisfaction, either by wrytinge or otherwise, as might in all humility informe his Matie in the truth and clearenes of the actions and intentions of the house from the beginning, thereby to free yt from the scandall of levity and precipitation, as also of the proceeding in particular touching the said matter of wardship, with this speciall care that a matter so advisedly and gravely undertaken and proceeded in might not die or bee buried in the hands of those that first bred yt.
v Junii 1604
His Mats message by Mr Speaker touching the matter of satisfaction.
xx Junii
The forme of an Apologie and satisfaction to bee presented to his Matie penned and agreed on by a former select Committee, was now reported and delivered into the House by Sir Thomas Ridgeway, one of the Committees, twice read, debated and agreed pro et con. Whether the matter and the manner fitt, or what was fytt to bee done in yt.
The Apologie directed to the Kings most excellent Matie from the House of the Commons assembled in Parliament
Most gratious Sovereigne, wee cannot but with much joye and thankfullnes of minde acknowledg your Mats great graciousnes in declaring lately unto us by the mouth of our Speaker, that you rested now satisfyed with our doings: which satisfaction notwithstanding, thoughe most desired and deare unto us, yet proceeding meerely from your Mats most gracious disposition, and not from any justification, which on our behalfe hath beene made, wee found this our joye intermingled with no small greife and could not (dread Soveraine) in our dutifull love to your Matie, and in our ardent desire of the continewance of your favour towards us, but tender in humble sort this farther satisfaction, being carefull to stand right not onely in the eye of your Mats grace, but also and that much more in the ballance of your princely judgement, on which all assurednes of love and grace is founded. Into which course of proceeding wee have not bene rashly carryed by vaine humour of curiosity, of contradiction, of presumption, or of love of our owne devises and doings (unworthy affections in a counsell of Parliament, and more unworthy in subjects towards their Lord and Soveraine, but as the searcher and judge of all harts doth knowe, for these and for no other undew endes in the world:
(1) Ffirst, to encrease and nourish your Mats gratious affection towards your loyall and most loving people.
(2) Secondly, to assure and knit all your subjects harts most firmely to your Matie.
(3) Thirdly, to take away all cause of jealousie on either parte and difference for tymes ensuing.
(4) Ffourthly and lastly, to prevent and controwle all sinister reports which might bee unseasonably spread, either at home or abroade, with prejudice to your Matie or the good estate of your kingdome.
With these minds (dread Soveraigne) your whole Commons of England, represented now in us, their knights, cittizens and burgesses, doe come with this humble declaration to your highnes, affiance of your most gratious disposition, that your Matie with benignity of minde, correspondent to our dutifullnes, wilbee pleased to peruse yt.
Wee know, and with great thanckfullnes to God acknowledge, that hee hath given us a kinge of such understanding and wisdome as is rare to finde in any Prince in the world: howbeit seeing no humane wisdome, how great soever, can peirce into the particularities of the rights and customes of people, or of the sayings and doeings of perticular persons, but by tract of experience and faithfull report of such as knowe them (which it hath pleased your Mats princely mouth to deliver), what greif, what anguish of mind hath yt bene unto us, at sometimes in presence to heare and see, in other things to finde and feele by effect, your gratious Matie (to the extreame prejudice of all your subjects of England and in particular to this House of the Commons thereof) so greatly wronged by misinformation as well touching the state of the one as the priviledges of the other, and their severall proceedings during this Parlyament, which misinformations, though apparent in themselves and to your subjects most injurious, yet have wee in some humble and dutifull respect rather hitherto complayned of amongst ourselves, then presumed to discover and oppose against your Matie.
But now no other helpe or redresse appearing, and findinge those misinformations to have beene the first, yea the cheife and almost sole cause, of all the discontentfull and troublesome proceedings, so much blamed in this Parlyament, and that they might bee againe the cause of like or greater discontents and troubles hereafter (which the Allmighty Lord forbid) wee have bene constrayned as well in duety to your royall Matie, whome with faithfull harts wee serve, as to our deare native country, for which wee serve in this Parlyament, to breake our silence and freely to disclose unto your Matie the truth of such matters concerning your subjects the Commons, as hitherto by misinformation hath bene suppressed or perverted. Wherein, that wee may more plainely proceede (which next unto truth wee affect in this discourse) wee shall reduce these misinformations to three principall heades:
(1) Ffirst, touching the cause of the joyfull receiving of your Matie into this your kingdome.
(2) Secondly, concerning the liberties and rights of your subjects of England and the priviledges of this House.
(3) Thirdly, touching the severall actions and speaches passed in the House.
(1) It hath bene tould us to our faces by some of no small place (and the same spoken also in presence of your Matie) that on the 24th of March was twelve moneth, wee stood in so great feare that wee would have given halfe wee were worth for the security wherein now wee stand, whereby some misunderstanders of things might perhaps conjecture that feare of our owne misery had more prevailed with us in the duty which on that day was performed than love of your Maties vertue and hope of your goodnes towards us. Wee contrarywise most truly protest the contrary that we stood not at that tyme, nor of many a day before, in any doubt or feare at all; wee all professing true religion by lawe established (being by manifold degrees the greater, the stronger and more respective part of this your Mats realme), standing cleare in our consciences touching your Maties right, were both resolute with our lives and all other our habilities to have mainteyned the same against all the world. And vigilant also in all parts to have suppressed such tumults, as but regard of our power, united minds and readines, by the malecontented and turbulent might have bene attempted. But the true cause of our extraordinary great chearefullnes and joye, in perfourming that days duety, was the great and extraordinary love which wee bare towards your Maties most royall and renowned person, and a longing thirst to enjoye the happy fruities of your Maties most wise, religious, just, vertuous and gratious hart, whereof not rumour but your Maties owne writings had geven us a strong and undoubted assurance. Ffor from hence (dread Soveraine) a generall hope was raysed in the minds of all your people that under your Matie religion, peace, justice and all vertue should renew againe and flourish, that the better sort should bee cherished, the bad reformed or repressed and some moderate ease should bee given us of those burdens and sore oppressions under which the whole land did groane. This hope being so generall and so firmely setled in the mindes of all your most loyall and most loving people, recounting what great alienation of mens harts the defeating of great hopes doth usually breede, wee could not in duty as well unto your Matie as to our countries, citties and boroughes, who have sent us hither, not ignorant or uninstructed of their griefes, of their desires and hopes, but according to the auncient use and liberty of Parlyament present our severall humble petitions to your Matie of different nature, some for right and some for grace, to the easing and releeving us of some just burdens and of other some unjust oppressions. Wherein what due care, what respect wee have had that your Maties honor and profit should bee conjoyned with the content and satisfaction of your people shall afterward in their severall due places appeare.
(2) Now concerninge the auncient rights of the subjects of this realme, cheifly consisting in the priviledges of this House of Parlyament, the misinformation openly delivered to your Matie hath bene in three things:
(1) Ffirst, that wee hould not our priviledges of right but of grace onely, renewed every Parlyament by way of donative upon petition and so to bee limitted.
(2) Secondly, that wee are no Court of Record ne yet a Court that can commaund view of Records, but that our proceedings here are onely to acts and memorialls, and that the attendance with the Records is curtesie not duety.
(3) Lastly, that the examination of the returne of writts for knights and burgesses is without our compasse and due to the Chauncery.
(1) Against which assertions (most gratious Soveraine) tending directly and apparantly to the utter overthrowe of the very fundamentall priviledges of our House, and therein of the rights and liberties of the whole Commons of your realme of England, which they and their auncestors from tyme immemoriall have undoubtedly enjoyed under your Maties most noble progenitors: wee the knights, cittizens and burgesses of the House of Commons assembled in Parlyament and in the name of the whole Commons of the realme of England, with uniforme consent, for our selves and our posterities, doe expressely protest as being derogatory in the highest degree to the true dignitie, libertie and authority of your Maties highe Court of Parlyament, and consequently to the right of all your Maties said subjects and the whole body of this your kingdome, and desire that this our protestation may bee recorded to all posterity. And contrarywise with all humble and due respect to your Matie, our Soveraine Lord and head, against those misinformations wee most truely avouch that our priviledges and liberties are our right and due inheritance, no lesse then our very lands and goods, that they cannot bee witheld from us, denyed or ympayred but with apparannt wrong to the whole state of the realme. And that our makinge request in the entrannce of Parlyament to enjoye our priviledges is an act onely of manners and doth weaken our right no more then our sewing the King for our lands by petition which forme, thoughe new and more decent then the old by Precipe, yet the subjects right is no lesse now then of ould.
(2) We avouch also that our House is a Court of Record and so ever esteemed, and that there is not the highest standing Court in this land that ought to enter into competency either for dignity or authority with these high Courts of Parliament which with your Maties royall assent give lawes to other Courts; but from other Courts receive neither lawes nor orders.
(3) And lastly wee avouch that the House of Commons is the sole proper judge of the returne of all such writts and of the election of all such members as belong unto it, (without which the freedome of election were not entire) and that the Chauncery, though as a standing Court under your Matie bee to send out those writts and to receive the returnes and to preserve them, yet the same is done onely for the use of the Parlyament, over which neither the Chauncery nor any other Court ever had or ought to have any manner of jurisdiction. Ffrom these misinformed positions (most gratious Soveraine) the greatest parte of our troubles, distrusts and jealousies have arysen, having apparently found that in this first Parliament of the happy reigne of your Matie the priviledges of our House, and therein the liberties and stability of the whole kingdome, have bene more universally and daungerously impugned then ever, as wee suppose, since the beginning of Parlyaments. Ffor although yt may bee true that in the later tymes of Queene Elizabeth some one priviledg now and then were by some particuler act, attempted against yt, not obscurely injured, yet was not the same ever by so publique speach nor by positions in generall denounced against our priviledges. Besides that in regard of her sexe and age, which wee had great cause to tender and much more upon care to avoyde all trouble which by wicked practize might have bene drawne to impeach the quiett of your Maties right in the succession, those actions were then past over which wee hoped in succeeding tymes of freer accesse to your highnes so renowned grace and justice to redresse, restore and rectifie. Whereas contrarywise in this Parlyament (which your Matie in great grace, as wee nothing doubt, intended to bee a President for all Parlyaments that should succeede) cleane contrary to your Maties so gratious desire by reason of those misinformations, not one priviledge but the whole freedome of the Parlyament and realme hath from tyme to tyme upon all occasions beene mainely hewed at; as the freedome of our persons in election hath beene impeached, the freedome of our speech prejudiced by often reproofe, perticular persons noted with taunte and disgrace, who have spoken their consciences in matters proposed to the House, but with all due respect and reverence to your Matie, whereby wee have in the end bene subject to so extreame contempt as a jaylour obstinately to withstand the decrees of our House, some of the higher clergie to write a booke against us even sitting in the Parlyament, the inferiour clergy to inveighe against us in pulpitt, yea to publishe their protestations tending to the impeachement of our most auncient and undoubted rights in treating of matters for the peace and good order of the church. What cause wee your poore Commons have to watch over our priviledges is manifest in itself to all men. The preroga tives of Princes may easily and doe daily growe. The priviledges of subjects are for the most parte at an everlasting stand. They may bee by good providence and care preferred, but being once lost are not recovered but with much disquiett. If good kings were immortall as well as kingdomes, to stryve so for priviledges were vanity perhapps and folly. But seeing the same God, who in his great mercy hath given us a wise kinge and religious, doth also sometymes permit hypocrites and tyrants in his displeasure and for sinnes of people, ffrom hence hath the desire of rightes, liberties and priviledges both for nobles and Commons had his just originall, by which an harmonicall and stable state is framed, each member under the head enjoying that right and perfourming that duty which for the honor of the head and happines of the whole is requisite. Thus much touching the wrong done to your Matie by misinformation touching our priviledges.
(3) The last kinde of misinformations made to your Matie hath bene touching the actions and speeches of perticular persons used in the House, which imputation notwithstanding, seeing it toucheth the whole House in generall who neither ought neither have at any tyme suffered any speach touching your Matie other then respective, dutifull and as became loyall subjects of a King so gratious. And for as much as yt ys very cleare unto us by the effect that dyvers things spoken in the House have bene perverted and very untruly reported to your Matie, yf it might so seeme fitt in your Maties wisdome and were seemely for us to crave, wee should bee most glad if for our better justification and for your further satisfaction, which wee principally desire, the accusers and accused might bee confronted.
And now (most gratious soveraigne) these necessary grounds of our cause and defence being truely layde and syncerely presented to your Mats grace and wisedome, the justification of such particulers, wherein your highnes seemed doubtfull of our dutifull carryage (though not so much for the matter as for the manner of our proceeding), wee trust wilbee plaine and expedite: which particulers wee find to have beene of three different natures:
(1) The first sort concerned the dignity and priviledges of our House.
(2) The second the good estate of the Realme and Church.
(3) The third was for the ease of certaine greevances and oppressions.
(1) In the first rank there were five particulers:
(1) The matter of the Gentleman Usher.
(2) Of the Yeoman of the Guard. (fn. 4)
(3) Of the election of the kt of Buckinghamshire.
(4) Of Sir Thomas Sherleyes deliverance.
(5) Of the Bishopp of Bristowes pamphlett.
(2) The second rancke had two particulers:
(1) The Union.
(2) The matter of religion.
(3) The third had three:
(1) The Bill of Asserte.
(2) Matter of Purveyors.
(3) The Petition for Wardship.
Of each of these wee must say somewhat to give your Matie satisfaction, and that with all brevitie to shunne tediousnes and trouble.
(1) The Gentleman Ushers faulte in depriving by his unaccustomed neglect a great parte of our House from hearing your Mats speach the first day of Parliament, wee could not, in the greife of being frustrate of our so loving and just desire to heare your Maties voice and renowned wisdome, but complaine of in decent sort amongst our selves. And further wee proceeded not, your Mats extraordinary great grace and favour in rehearsing the day ensueing your former admirable speach did give us content with aboundant increase of joye.
(2) The Yeoman of the Guards words were very opprobrious, and howsoever they might have beene not unfitly applyed to the pezants of Ffrannce and bores of Germany, yet could they not bee other then very reproachfull and injurious to the great dignity and honour of the Commons of this realme, who conteyne not onely the cittizens, burgesses and yeomanry but also the whole inferior nobilitie of the kingdome, knights, esquiors and gentlemen, many of which are come ymediately out of the most noble families, and some others for their worth advannced to the high honor of your Mats privy Counsell, and otherwise have bene imployed in very honourable service. In summe, the sole persons of the higher nobility excepted, they conteyne the whole flower and power of your kingdome, with their bodies your warres, with their purses your treasures are upheld and supplied. Their harts are the strength and stability of your royall seate. All these amounting to many millions of people are representatively present in us of the House of Commons. The wrong done to us doth redound upon the whole land and will so bee construed. Wee could not therefore doe lesse in our duty to the realme then to advertise such a delinquent of the unseemelynes of his fault, neither yet could wee doe more in duty to your Matie then uppon his acknowledgment thereof freely to remitt yt.
The right of the liberties of the Commons of England in Parlyament consisteth cheifly in three things:
(1) Ffirst, that the shyres, citties and boroughes of England, by representation to bee present, have free choyce of such persons as they shall put in trust to represent them.
(2) Secondly, that the persons chosen, during the tyme of the Parlyament as also of their accesse and recesse, bee free from restraint, arrest and imprisonment.
(3) Thirdly, that in Parliament they may speake freely their consciences without check and controllment, doing the same with due reverence to the Soveraigne Court of Parlyament, that is to your Matie and both the houses, who all in this case make but one politique body, whereof your highnes is the head.
Theise three severall braunches of the auncient inheritance of our libertie were in the three matters ensueing apparently injured:
(1) The freedome of election in the case of Sir Ffranncis Goodwyn.
(2) The freedome of the persons elected in Sir Thomas Sherleyes imprisonment.
(3) The freedome of our speach, as by dyvers other reproofes, so also in some sort by the Bishop of Bristowes invective.
(3) For the matter of Sir Fra. Goodwyn, the knight chosen for Buckinghamshire, wee were, and still are, of cleare opinion that the freedome of election was in that action extreamely injured: that by the same right it might bee at all tymes in a Lord Chauncellors power to reverse defeate, to reject and substitute all the elections and persons elected over all the realme. Neither thought wee that the judges opinion (which yet in due place wee greatly reverence) being delivered what the Common law was, which extends onely to inferior and standing courts, ought to bring any prejudice to these high courts of Parlyament, whose power being above the lawe is not founded on the Common lawes but have their rights and priviledges peculiar unto themselves.
Ffor the manner of our proceeding which your Matie seemed to blame, in that the second writ going out in your Maties name, wee presumed to censure it, without first craving accesse to acquaint your highnes with our reasons, therein wee trust our defence shall appeare just and reasonable. It is the forme of the Court of Channcery, as of dyvers other Courts, that writts going out in your Mats name are returned also as to your Matie in that Court from whence they issue; howbeit no man therefore ever repayreth to your Mats person, but proceeds according to lawe, notwithstanding the writt. This being the universall custome of this kingdome, yt was not nor could bee admitted into our conceits that the difference was betweene your Matie and us (for God forbid that betweene so gracious a Sovereign and so dutiful and loving subjects any difference should arise). But it alwayes was and still is conceived that the controversy was betweene the Court of Channcery and our Court (an usuall controversy betweene Courts about preheminences and priviledges), and that the question was whether the Channcery or our house of the Commons were judge of the members returned for yt. Wherein, though wee supposed the wronge done us to bee most apparant and extreemely prejudiciall to the rights and liberties of this realme, yet such and so great was our willingnes to please your Matie as to yeld to a middle course proposed by your highnes, preserving onely our priviledges, by voluntary cession of the lawfull knight. And this course as it were of deceiving our selves and yelding in our apparant right, whensoever wee could but invent such wayes of escape, as that the President might not bee hurtfull, wee have held (dread Sovereigne) more then once in this Parliament, upon desire to avoyde that which your Matie by misinformation (whereof wee have had cause to stand alwaies in doubt) might bee distastfull or nor approvable. So deere hath your Mats gracious favour bene unto us.
(4) In the delivery of Sir Thomas Sherley our proceedings were long, our defence of them shalbee breif. We had to doe with a man (the warden of the ffleete) so untractable, and of so resolved o[b]stinacy as that nothing wee could doe, no nor your Maties royall word for confirmation thereof, could satisfy him for his owne security. This was the cause of the lengthe of that busines. Our priviledges were so shaken before and so extreamely vilified as that wee held it not fitt in so unseasonable a tyme and against so meane a subject, to seeke our right by any other course then by course of lawe or by any other strength then by our owne.
(5) The Bishop of Bristowes booke was injurious and greevous to us, being written expressely with contempt of the Parliament and of both the houses in the highest degree; undertaking to refute reasons proposed by the Commons, approved by the Lords, confirmed by the judges and finally by your royall Matie not disassented to. And to increase the wrong with strannge untruth, hee had perverted those reasons in their mayne drifte and scope, pretending that they were devised to impugne the union ytself, whereas by their title and by themselves it was cleere and evident that they were onely used against alteration of name and that not simply but before the union of both realmes in substance were perfected. This booke being thus written and published to the world, conteyning moreover sundry slannderous passages and tending to murmure, distraction and sedition, wee could not doe lesse against the writer thereof then to complaine of this injury to the Lords of the higher house, whereof hee had now attained to bee a member. These wronges were to the dignity of our house and priviledge.
(1) Touching the causes apperteininge to the State and Church: true it is wee were long in treating and debating the matter of union. The proposition was new, the importance great, the consequence farre reaching and not discovered but by long dispute. Our number also is larg, and each hath liberty to speake. But the doubts and difficulties once cleered or removed, how farre wee were from opposing to the just desires of your Matie (as some evill disposed minds would perhapps insinuate who live by division and prosper by the disgrace of other men) the great expedition, alacrity and unanimity which was used and shewed in passing of the Bill may sufficiently testify.
(2) For matter of Religion it will appeare by examination of truth and right that your Matie should be misinformed if any man should deliver that the Kings of England have any absolute power in themselves either to alter religion (which God defend should bee in the power of any mortall man whatsoever) or to make any lawes concerning the same, otherwise then, as in temporall causes, by consent of Parliament. Wee have and shall at all tymes by our oathes acknowledg that your Matie is soveraine Lord and supreame Governour in both. Touching our owne desires and proceedings herein they have bene not a litle misconceived and misreported. Wee have not come in any puritane or Brownish spirit to introduce their party or to worke the subversion of the State Ecclesiasticall as now yt stanndeth: things so farre and so cleerely from our meaning as that with uniforme consent in the beginning of this Parliament wee committed to the Tower a man who, out of that humour in a petition exhibited to our house, had slanndered the Bishops. But according to the tenor of your Maties writts of summons, directed to the counties from which wee come, and according to the auncient and long continued use of Parliaments, as by many records from tyme to tyme appeareth, wee came with another spiritt, even the spirit of peace. Wee disputed, not of matters of faith and doctrine; our desire was peace only and our devise of unitie, how this lamentable and long lasting dissention amongst the ministers (from which both atheisme, sects and ill life have received such encouragement and so daungerous encrease) might at length before help come to late bee extinguished. And for the wayes of this peace wee are not addicted at all to our owne inventions but ready to imbrace any fitt way that may bee offered, neither desier wee so much that any man in regard of weaknes of conscience may bee exempted after Parlyament from ob[e]dyence to lawes established, as that in this Parliament such lawes may bee enacted as by relinquishment of some few ceremonies of small importance, or by any way better, a perpetuall uniformity may bee enjoyed and observed. Our desire hath also bene to reforme certen abuses crept into the Ecclesiasticall State even as into the temporall. And lastly that the land might bee furnished with a learned, religious and godly ministery, for the mayntenance of whome wee would have granted no small contribution, if in these (as wee trust) just and religious desires wee had found that correspondence from other, which was expected. These myndes and harts wee in secrett present to that Soveraigne Lord who gave them, and in publique professe to your gracious Matie who wee trust will so esteeme them.
(1) There remaynes the matters of oppression and greevance. In the Byll of Asserts your Mats Counsell was heard, namely your Sollicitor and Sir Ffranncis Bacon. It was also desiered by the house that other of your Counsell would have bene present. Wee knew that our passing the Bill could not bynde your Matie; howbeit for sundry equitable considerations, as to us they seemed, wee thought fitt to give so much passage to the Bill in hope that your Matie might either bee pleased to remitt in some sort unto this equity that right which the rigour of law had given, or otherwise bee entreated by this kind of sollicitation to let them fall into your Mats hands, full of piety and mercy, and not into the jawes of devouring promoters. And this doe wee understand to bee your gratious intent, wherewith wee rest joyfully content and satisfied.
(2) This greevance was not unjust in rigour of law and was perticular. But a generall extreeme unjust crying oppression is in Cartetakers and Purveyors, who have ravaged and ransacked, since your Maties coming in, farre more then under any of your royall progenitors. There hath bene no prince since Henry the third (except Queene Elizabeth) who hath not made some one law or other to represse or lymitt them. They have no prescription, no custome to plead, ffor there hath not bene any Parliament wherein complaynt hath not bene made and clayme of our right, which doth interrupt prescription. Wee have not in this Parlyament sought any thing against them but execution of those lawes which are in force already. Wee demaund but that justice which our Princes are sworne neither to deny, delay nor sell. That wee sought into the accompts of your Mats expence was not our presumption but upon motion from the Lords of your Mats Counsell and offer from the officers of your highness houshould, and that upon demannd of a perpetuall yerely revenew in leiwe of the taking away of these oppressors, unto which composition neither know wee well how to yeld, being only for justice and due right which is unsaleable. Neither yet durst wee ympose it by lawe upon the people without first acquainting them and havinge their consent unto it. But if your Matie might bee pleased in your gracious favour to treate of composition with us for some greevance which is by lawe and just, how ready wee should bee to take that occasion and colour to supply your Mats desire concerning these also, which wee hold for unjust, should appeare, wee nothinge doubt of your Maties full satisfaction.
(3) And therefore wee come lastly to the matter of Wardes and such other just burthens (for so wee acknowledg them) as to the tenures of capite and knights servyce are incident. We cannot forgett (for how were it possible) how your Matie in a former most gracious speach in your Gallery at Whitehall advised us, for unjust burthens, to proceede against them by Bill, but for such as were just, if wee desiered any ease, that wee should come to yourselfe by way of Petition, with tender of such countervayleable composition in proffit as for the supporting of your royall estate was requisite. According to which your Mats most favourable graunt and direction wee prepared a petition to your most excellent Matie for leave to treate with your highnes touchinge a perpetuall composition to bee raysed by yeerely revenewe out of the lands of your subjects for Wardshipps and other burdens depending on them or springing with them, wherein wee first entered into this duetifull consideration that this prerogative of the Crowne, which wee desiered to compound for, was a matter of meere proffit and not of any honor at all or princely dignity, ffor yt could not then neither yet can by any meanes sincke into our understandinge that these aeconomicall matters of education and marriage of children (which are common also to subjects) should bring any renowne or reputation to a potent monarch whose honour is setled on a higher and stronger foundation: ffaithfull and loving subjects, valiannt souldiers, an honourable nobility, wise councellors, a learned and religious clergie, a contented and happy people, are the true honour of a king. And contrariwise, that it would bee an exceeding great honour and of memorable renowne to your Matie with all posterity, and in present an assured bond of the harts of all your people, to remitt unto us this burden under which our children are borne. This prerogative then appearing to bee a meere matter of proffit, wee entred into a second degree of consideration, with how great greevance and domage of the subject, to the decay of many houses and disabling of them to serve prince and country, with how great mischeife also by occasion of many forced and ill suited marriages, and lastly, with how great contempt and reproach of our nation in all forreine countries, how small a commodity was now raised to the Crowne in respect of that which, with great love, joy and thanckfullnes for restitution of this originall right in disposing of our children, wee would bee content and glad to assure unto your Matie. We fell also from hence into a third degree of consideration, that it might bee that in regard that the originall of these wardships was serving of the kinge in his warres against Scotland, which cause wee hope now to bee at an everlasting end; and in regard moreover of that generall hope which at your Maties first entrie the whole land embraced (a thinge knowne unto all men) that they should now forever bee eased of this burthen, your Matie out of your most noble and most gracious disposition and desire to overcome our expectation with your goodnes might be pleased to accept an offer of our perpetuall and certaine revenewe, not onely proporcionable to the uttmost benefit that any of your progenitors ever reaped thereby, but also with such an overplus and large addition as in great parte to supply your Maties other occasions, that our ease might breede your plenty. With these humble minds, with these dutifull respects wee entended to crave accesse unto your Matie. But that ever it was said in our House by any man that this was a slavery under your Matie more then under our former Princes, hath come from an untrue and calumnious reporte. Our sayings have always bene, that this burthen was just, that the remitting thereof must come from your Maties grace, and that the denying of our suite were noe wrong unto us. And thus most gracious soveraigne, with dutifull minds and syncere harts towards your Maty, have wee truly both disclosed our secreat intents and delivered our outward actions in all these so much traduced and blamed matters. And from henceforward shall remayne in great affiannce that your Matie rests satisfyed both in your grace and in your judgment, which above all thinges worldly wee must desire to effect before the dissolvinge of t is Parliament, where in so long tyme, with so much paines and endurance of so great sorrowe scarce any thinge hath bene done for their good and content who sent us hither, and whome wee left full of hope and joyfull expectation.
There remayneth (dread Soveraigne) yet one part more of our dutie at this present which faithfullnes of hart, no presumption, doth presse upon us. We stand not in place to speake or to doe things pleasing: our care is and must bee to confirme the love and to tye the harts of your subjects the Commons most firmely to your Matie. Herein lyeth the meanes of our well deserving of both. There was never Prince entered with greater love, with greater joy and applause of all his people. This love, this joy, let it nowe flourish in their harts for ever. Let no suspition have accesse to their fearefull thoughts, that their priviledges, which they thinck by your Matie should bee protected, should now by sinister information or counsell bee violate or impaired, or that those which with dutifull respect to your Maty speake freely for the right and good of their country, shalbee oppressed or disgraced. Let your Matie bee pleased to refuse publique information from your Commons in Parlyament as in the civill estate and government, ffor private informations passe often by practize. The voyce of the people in thinges of their knowledge is said to bee as the voyce of God. And if your Matie shall vouchsafe at your best pleasure and leasure to enter into gracious consideration of our petitions for ease of these burthens, under which your whole people have of longe tyme mourned, hopeing for releife by your Matie: then may you bee assured to bee possessor of their harts for ever; and if of their harts, then of all they can doe or have. And so wee your Matyes most humble and loyall subjects, whose auncestors have with loyalty, readynes and joyfullnes served your famous progenitors, Kings and Queenes of this Realme, shall with like loyalty and joye, both wee and our posteritie, serve your Matie and your most royall issue for ever with our lives, lands, goods and all other our habilityes, and by all meanes endevour to procure your Maties honour with all plenty, tranquillity, content, joy and felicity.
Moved by Sir William Strowde that the forme of satisfaction touching the proceedings of the House penned by the Committee and by them reported and read in this House might bee recommitted and some more Committees added, and such of the first Committee or others as found any cause of exception or were not present at the former severall meetings might bee commaunded to attend that they might receive satisfaction from the rest, or otherwise yeild their reasons of difference, so as upon report to the House some resolution may bee taken for further proceeding or surceasing in the said busines. And according to the motion ordered and the Committees appointed to meete on Munday next in the Court of Wards.
30 pp. (367.)
[See H.M.C. Salisbury MSS, Vol. XVI, pp. 42–3, 141–4.]


  • 1. Created Earl of Dorset on March 13, 1603–4.
  • 2. Griffith ap John Griffith exhibited his bill in the Star Chamber on March 16, 1603–4. [See Edwards Star Chamber Cases relating to Wales, James 1, Anglesey, 157/13.
  • 3. The first Parliament of James I was summoned on March 19, 1603–4.
  • 4. For this incident see Parliamentary History of England, Vol. V, 1603–23, p. 53.