Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 6, 1643. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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'House of Lords Journal Volume 6: 12 September 1643', in Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 6, 1643, (London, 1767-1830) pp. 213-215. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/lords-jrnl/vol6/pp213-215 [accessed 5 March 2024]
DIE Martis, 12 die Septembris.
The Lord Grey of Warke was appointed by this House to be Speaker this Day.
Pettus and Aylett.
Upon hearing of the Counsel on both Sides, (fn. 1) in the Difference between Pettus and Aylett, and others, who were sent for as Delinquents: It is Ordered, That the said Mr. Aylett, and the others sent for as Delinquents, shall be discharged from their Restraint, this House conceiving they have committed no Contempt; and if the said Pettus will bring in a Petition, and possess this House Originally with the Merits of the Cause, this House will hear it when their Leisure shall serve.
Next, this House was adjourned during Pleasure, and the Peers went and robed themselves, to give Judgement against Mr. Justice Berkley.
The House was resumed.
Commons acquainted that the Lords are ready to give Judgement against Justice Berkley.
The Gentleman Usher of the Black (fn. 2) Rod was commanded, by the House, to give the House of Commons Notice, "That the Lords are ready to give Judgement against Mr. Justice Berckly, if they will come up with their Speaker, and demand it."
The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod returned Answer:
That the House of Commons were come with their Speaker; and the House commanded them to be admitted in: Which being done, the Gentleman Usher was commanded to bring Justice Berkly to the Bar, who kneeling as a Delinquent;
Commons demand Judgement against him.
The Speaker of the House of Commons said, "That whereas the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons, brought up an Impeachment against Sir Rob't Berckley Knight, One of the Judges of the King's Bench, of High Treason, and other Misdemeanors; since, the House of Commons have thought it fit to proceed against him only for his Opinion and Judgement touching Ship-money; for which he was commanded, by the House of Commons, in their Name, to desire their Lordships to give Judgement against him for the same."
Hereupon the Speaker of this House read the Judgement against the said Mr. Justice Berckley, as following in a Paper:
Recapitulation of his Offences.
"Whereas Sir Rob't Berkley Knight, One of the Justices of the Court of King's Bench, stands impeached before the Lords in Parliament, by the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons, of High Treason, and other great Misdemeanors; amongst which, in the Fourth Article, he standeth charged, That he, then being One of the Justices of the said Court of King's Bench, and having taken an Oath for the due Administration of Justice, according to the Laws and Statutes of this Realm, to His Majesty's Liege People, in or about the last of Novemb. 1635, subscribed an Opinion, in hæc verba:
I am of Opinion, That as where the Benefit doth more peculiarly redound to the Good of the Ports or Maritime Parts (as in Case of Piracy or Depredations upon the Seas), there the Charge hath been, and may be, lawfully imposed upon them, according to the Precedents of former Times; so, where the Good and Safety of the Kingdom in general is concerned, and the whole Kingdom in Danger (of which His Majesty is the only Judge), there the Charge of the Defence ought to be born by all the Realm in general. This I hold agreeable both to Law and Reason.
And in the Fifth Article of the said Impeachment, That he, the said Sir Rob't Berkley, then being One of the Justices of the Court of King's Bench, and duly sworn as aforesaid, in February, 1636, subscribed an Extrajudicial Opinion, in Answer to Questions in a Letter from His Majesty, in hæc verba:
"When the Good and Safety of the Kingdom in general is concerned, and the whole Kingdom in Danger, Whether may not the King, by Writ under the Great Seal of England, command all the Subjects of this Kingdom, at their Charge, to provide and furnish such Number of Ships, with Men, Victual, and Munition, and for such Time as He shall think fit, for the Defence and Safety of the Kingdom from such Danger and Peril, and by Law compel the doing thereof, in Case of Refusal or Refractoriness; and whether, in such Case, is not the King the sole Judge, both of the Danger, and when and how the same is to be prevented and avoided?
"May it please Your Most Excellent Majesty,
"We have, according to Your Majesty's Command, severally every Man by himself, and all of us together, taken into serious Consideration the Case and Question signed by Your Majesty, and inclosed in Your Royal Letter; and are of Opinion, That, when the Good and Safety of the Kingdom in general is concerned, and the whole Kingdom in Danger, Your Majesty may, by Writ under the Great Seal of England, command all the Subjects of this Your Kingdom, at their Charge, to provide and furnish such Number of Ships, with Men, Victual, and Ammunition, and for such Time, as Your Majesty shall think fit, for the Defence and Safeguard of the Kingdom from such Danger and Peril; and that, by Law, Your Majesty may compel the doing thereof, in Case of Refusal or Refractoriness; and we are also of Opinion, That, in such Case, Your Majesty is the sole Judge, both of the Danger, and when and how the same is to be prevented and avoided:
And in the Sixth Article of the said Impeachment, That the said Sir Rob't Berkley, then being One of the Justices of the Court of King's Bench, and duly sworn as aforesaid, did deliver his Opinion, in the Exchequer Chamber, against John Hampden Esquire, in the Case of Ship-money, That he, the said John Hampden, upon the Matter and Substance of the Case, was chargeable with the Money then in Question.
"The Lords in Parliament, having taken the said Charge comprised in the said Three Articles into their due Consideration, do find the said Sir Rob't Berkley guilty of the great Misdemeanors in the said Articles charged. And thereupon this High Court doth Award and Adjudge:
"That the said Sir Rob't Berkley Knight, One of the Justices of the Court of King's Bench, shall be fined in the Sum of Twenty Thousand Pounds, to be paid in at Guildhall, London, to be disposed of by the Authority of both Houses of Parliament for the Safety of the Kingdom; and, if it shall not be paid or satisfied within Six Weeks next after the Date of this Judgement, other Course shall be taken for the levying of it, by Authority of Parliament.
"2. That hereby he is discharged of being a Judge of the King's Bench, and made uncapable to hold any Place or Office in the State or Commonwealth; and that he shall be uncapable of any Honour in the future.
"3. That he shall be imprisoned in The Tower of London, during the Pleasure of this House."
This being done, the Commons, with their Speaker, went to their own (fn. 3) House.
Ordered, That Sir Rob't Berkley Knight shall stand committed to The Tower of London, according to the Judgement of this House, during the Pleasure of this House.
House adjourned till 10a cras.