Proceedings in the Commons, 1601: December 16th - 19th

Pages 327-336

Historical Collections: Or, An Exact Account of the Proceedings of the Four Last Parliaments of Q. Elizabeth. Originally published by T. Basset, W. Crooke, and W. Cademan, London, 1680.

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In this section

December 16th - 19th

Wednesday Decemb. 16.

On Wednesday Decemb. 16. A Bill for the Change of the Sirnames of those that shall Marry the two Daughters and Heirs of William Waller Esq; into the Name of Debden, was read the first time.

A Bill for Relief of the Poor, was Read, and Ordered to be Ingrossed.

A Bill to make the Lands and Tenements of Edward Lucas Gentleman, Deceased, Executor of the last Will and Testament of John Flowerdewe Esq; Deceased, liable to the payment of certain Legacies given by the last Will of the said Flowerdewe; and to the payment of divers other Debts, owing by the said Lucas, in his Life time; was read, and Ordered to be passed.

The Bill for the Appeasing of certain Controversies, between Francis Ketleby, and Andrew Ketleby, and Jane his Wife. The Substance of which is, that the Matter shall be referred to Sir Robert Cecil, Sir Walter Rawleigh, Sir Francis Hastings, Sir Edward Stafford, &c. And their Award to stand Good.

A Bill for the necessary Relief of Souldiers, and Mariners, was read, and Ordered to be passed.

A Bill for the true making of Woollen-Cloth, was read, and Ordered to be passed with a Proviso.

In the Afternoon.

A Bill about Souldiers and Mariners, &c.

A Bill concerning Captains, Souldiers, and Mariners, was read the second time; and by Reason of the Generality of the Bill, it was much excepted against by Sir Walter Rawleigh, and others.

Mr. Glascock speaks to it; and against Justices of the Peace.

Mr. Glascock said: 'Mr. Speaker, I have something Touching this Bill to deliver to the House, in discharge of my Conscience. And I do humbly and heartily pray you all, to hear me patiently and quietly, without Interruption.

'I have been observed Mr. Speaker, to be an Enemy to Justices of the Peace, and to have spoken Irreverently, and much against them: For my own part, I mind now to make my last Speech for this Parliament, and this Protestation withal: That I never used any Irreverent Language towards those, whose Honesty joyned with their Authority, and make them selves Famous, under the Title of Upright Justices. My Speech, was never uttered against them, but against two sorts of Justices, that have Authority at the Commission of Musters; (for all within the County, are Authorized Generally by the word Justices) by whom I would be loath to be Yoaked, or Commanded. The first is, the Uncircumcised Justice of Peace; the other, The Adultering Justice of Peace.

Two sorts of Justices of the Peace; called Uncircumcised, Adultering Justices.

'The Uncircumcised Justice, is he; who from base Stock and Linage, by his Wealth, is gotten to be within the Commission. And I call him Uncircumcised, because he hath not cut off the Fore-skin of his Offences; and so by his Vertue, wiped away the blot or stain of Baseness in his Birth and Lineage.

'The Adultering Justice is he, that is a Gentleman-Born, Vertuous, Discreet, and Wise; yet Poor and Needy. And so only for his Vertues and Qualities, put into the Commission. This Man, I hold unfit to be a Justice, though I think him to be a good Member in the Common-Wealth. Because, I hold this for a ground Infallible, That no poor Man ought to be in Authority; my Reason is this, he will so Bribe you, and Extort you, that the sweet Scent of Riches and Gain, takes away and confoundeth the true Taste of Justice and Equity. For the Scripture saith, Munera excœcant oculos Justorum; and Justice is never Imprisoned and Suppressed, but by Bribery. And such kind of Ministers I speak of. And I call him an Adulterating Justice; because, look how many Bribes he taketh, so many Bastards he begets to the Common-Wealth.

'Then let us see, whence these Justices do come, and how they be made. It cannot be denied, but all Justices are made by the Lord-Keeper; then he is in fault, and none else. For my own Opinion, I have ever held him to be a Man both Honourable, Grave, and Wise; so Just, that never was the meanest Subject so Wronged that he ever Complained.

'Therefore, his Justice cannot be Taxed. I, but his Care may, for he only maketh them. No, I may more easily Excuse him, than our selves; for he maketh none, but such as have Certificates Commendatory from the Justices of Assize. Why then They be in fault; for impossible it is, my Lord-Keeper should know the Quality and Sufficiency of them himself, but only Per alium, in trust, as by the Justices of Assize. No, the Gall lies not there; for they neither (by Reason they are not always rideing one Circuit) are well acquainted with the natures of those secret Justices; but when any desireth to be a Justice, he getteth a Certificate from divers Justices of the Peace in the Country, to the Justices of Assize, Certifying them, of their Sufficiency and Ability. And they again make their Certificate (believing the former) to the LordKeeper, who at the next Assizes, puts them into Commission. And thus is the Lord Keeper abused, and the Justices of Assizes abused, and the Country Troubled with a Corrupt Justice, put in Authority.

'The Cause comes only from the Justices themselves. And who be they? Even all of you here present, or most of us. My Suit, therefore is, That you will abstain from such Commendations, and hold your Hands from Writing Iniquity, and doing so Sinful a Deed, as to Commend an unworthy Person, and not to Commend a Worthy, and Deserving Subject. And I think this a position both true and publique, that it is as great a Sin to add to the Unworthy, as to detract from the Worthy. And Mr. Speaker, if these Men may be excepted out of the Bill; I will not only be ready to go, but to run forth to have so good a Law Established.

Then Mr. Townshend (the Collector of this Journal) stood up and shewed, That in too much Generality, there never wanted Error. And so in this Bill, being too General, namely, all from the Age of Eighteen to Sixty must appear at Musters, and may be Prest; no exception of any, and therefore no Profession exempted.

A Motion made in Mirth.

It is not unknown unto you, that by Profession, I am a Lawyer, and therefore, unfit to be a Professor of the Art of War. Therefore, I pray, that it would please the House, if they would Commit the Bill; to Commit it to be returned on the last Day of the next Parliament; or else, that, as a Worthy Gentleman (Serjeant Heale) the last Parliament in a Bill of this nature, moved, to have an Exception or Proviso, for all Serjeants; it would please you to admit of a Proviso for all Lawyers. At which the House Laughed heartily, it being done for Mirth. And divers Motions of the like nature, were made.

Thursday Decemb. 17.

On Thursday Decemb. 17. Sir Edward Hobby shewed, 'The Parliament was now in the Wane; and Order had been taken Touching the Information delivered to this House in Mr. Bellgraves Case, but nothing done therein. And (as it seemeth by not taking out of the Process) a Prosecution of the Cause is intended, against the said Mr. Bellgrave.

'I think it therefore fit, because the chief scope of the said Information seemeth to be Touching a Dishonor offered to this House, that it would please you, that it might be put to the Question, Whether he hath Offended this House, yea, or no? If he hath, he desireth to be Censured by you. If he hath not, it will be a good Motive to the Honourable here present, who are Judges of that Court, for their Satisfaction, in cleering the Gentleman of that Offence, when it comes before them.

Mr. Speaker moved the House; That because the Parliament was like to end on Saturday, it would please them to send the Bill of Ordnance to the Lords. And that they might be moved to retain all private Bills in their Hands, until the Ten Pounds or Five Pounds was paid, according to our former Order.

So the House cried, Mr. Secretary Cecil, who went, and did accordingly. And then they proceeded in the Motion, concerning Mr. Bellgrave.

Mr. Comptroller said: 'I know the Gentleman to be an honest Gentleman, and a good Servant to his Prince and Country: And for his Offence to this House, I think it very fit to clear him: And do wish it may be put to the Question. If it please you he may be cleared; I will be ready to vouch your Sentence for his Offence to this House, when it comes there. But, if any other Matter appears upon opening the Cause, with That we have not to do withal.

Mr. Secretary Cecil said: 'Touching this great Offence in the Country; I have heard it spoken of diversly: but for my own part, I am rather apt to move Consideration against him, that drew the Bill (one Mr. Diott) and that he should be well Punished, who being a Member of this House, should seek to diminish the Prerogative of this High Court of Parliament, by praying Aid of the Star-Chamber, for an Offence done to Us, this Court Sitting. And I desire that two things may be Considered:

'First, That the Gentleman (Mr. Diott) make an Apology for his Action in drawing of the Information.

'And Secondly, That this Gentleman Mr. Bellgrave, may be cleared here; which will be a good inducement to the Lords, not to censure him heavily there.

Mr. Ravenscroft said: 'The Gentleman (Mr. Diott) is holden in the Reputation of an honest Man. And we ought not to proceed against a Fellow-Member, till he be called. It is not Apparent unto Us, that he made it; the Information is under Mr. Attornies Hand, and therefore, ought to be intended his; for now it is of Record under his Hand, against which we can receive no Averment of Speech of others, other than the Gentlemans own words viva vocæ. And that I think he will not confess. And so there was no more said of this Matter.

It was put to the Question, Whether he should be cleared of the Offence to the House; Yea, or No? And all cried, I, I, I, but only Young Mr. Francis Grantham, who gave a great No: At whom the House Laughed, and he Blushed.

Sir Fr. Hastings against Extravagant Speeches.

Sir. Francis Hastings said: 'Mr. Speaker, Because I see the House at so good Leasure; I will be bold to remember some Matters passed this Parliament, and deliver my Opinion, with desire of Reformation: I mean not to Tax any Man.

'Divers Speeches have been used concerning Justices of the Peace, so Slanderous and Defamatory; with so unwonted Epethites, with such Slanderous Definitions; a Testimony of Levity for the one, and scant found Judgment for the other.

'And therefore, I do humbly pray the Honourable here present, that those Justices which serves Religiously, Dutifully, and Carefully, may be Countenanced.

'The Church and Common-Wealth are two Twins, which Laugh and Live together. Long have we joyed in Her Majesty's Happy Government, and long may we.

'We have two strong Enemies; Rome, and Spain; from thence all our Rebellions have Proceeded, and by Treasons Hatched there, the Sacred Life of our Sweet Soveraign hath been sought, and indangered.

The Insolence of the Jesuits.

'The boldness of the Jesuits, and Seminaries, is greatly increased, and they be very diligent to pervert, which their often and ordinary Published Pamphlets, to every Mans view, well Testifieth, and Apparently sheweth the Perversness of their Spirits, and Corruptness of their Hearts. And the Multitude being Perverted: What Danger this may breed to the State, and our Sovereign Queen, Judge you.

'For my part, I am, and will be ready to lay my Life at Her Feet, to do Her Service; We had need to have special Care of them, for themselves do brag they have Forty Thousand true Hearted Catholiques (for so they call them) in England; besides, their retinue, poor Catholiques and Neuters, and I know not what. It is therefore fit, we look to this dangerous Case, and not to think our selves secure, because we find no harm: For it is a true Position; That Security without Providence, is most Dangerous.

I conclude only with this desire, that those who have Supream Authority, will look that those who have inferior Government, may do faithfully: And that we may be kept in Obedience.

Mr. Wingfeild, spake to the same effect: And because it had pleased the House, that the Clerks Servant should serve this Parliament, in his Masters steed, (Mr. Onslowe who was sick) that the House would in regard of his faithful Service, and diligent attendance, give Twelve Pence a piece; or what they should think good, every man in his discretion. That Motion was liked, and agreed to be gathered the next morning.

In the Afternoon.

A Bill to Change the Name of Wallers, to Dibdens.

A Bill for the Changing of the Surnames of William Waller Esquire, and his two Daughters; and the Names of them, that should Marry them, into the Name of Dibden; was Read the second time.

Serjeant Yelverton and Doctor Hone, brought a Bill from the Lords, Intituled, An Act for Reformation of Deceipts and Frauds of certain Auditers and their Clerks, in making of divers particulars.

Serj. Harris, to the Bill of Waller.

Serjeant Harris spake to the Bill of Waller: 'In Law there is a Bastard & a Mulier: And a Bastard hath the Name of the Mother; a Mulier, of the Father. If a man come into a Poulterers Shop to buy a Wood-Cock or Hen, he buyes it by the name of a Cock. And if it be a Goose, whether it be a Goose, or a Gander, he buyes it by the name of a Goose. And surely Sirs, because the Land came by a Match (by a Woman) with the Dibdens, he would have it go with the Name of the Woman. I think he deserves the name of a Goose, if not of a Wood-Cock for his Conceit; which, though it be a meer Toy, I wish it good passage. For there is an Order, that upon every private Bill, something must be given to the Poor, which will do them much good, and no harm, to the preferrers thereof.

A Bill for the Assize of Bread, was this day Read, and Ordered to be Committed.

A Bill for Reduction of all Brewers within two miles of the City of London, to the Company of Brewers there.

A Bill against Ingrocers, and Forestallers of Butter and Cheese.

A Bill against Cozening with False Dice.

A Bill for Reformation of Abuses in Physitians.

Friday December. 18.

On Friday December 18. As the Speaker was comming to the House in the morning, the Pardon was deliver'd unto him; which he took, and deliverd it to the House; which they sent back again, because, it was not brought according to course.

The Collection for the Clerk of the Parliaments Servant, supplying his masters Place of Twelve Pence a piece, according to Mr. Wingfeilds Motion Yesterday, was made; which amounted to about Twenty Five Pounds.

Mr. Boyer, Secretary to the Lord Treasurer, sitting in the middle of the House, on the left side, as you come in, next to Mr. Skipwith of Lincolns-Inn, swoonded upon a suddain, and was Recovered within a quarter of an hour. It was said he had a spice of the Falling-Sickness: he was carried out by the Serjeant of the House, and three of his men, into the outer Room. It was strange, to hear the diversity of Opinions touching this Accident. Some saying it was Malum Omen; others, that it was Bonum Omen.

Mr. Attorney General brought the Pardon, Intituled, An Act for the Queens Majesties most Gratious General, and Free Pardon. He came assisted on the Right hand, by Doctor Cary, and on the Left hand, by Doctor Stanhop; he also delivered unto us again, our Subsidy Bill, Intituled, An Act for the grant of Four Intire Subsidies, and eight Fifteens and Tenths, granted by the Temporalty.

The Bill for Auditors, was brought from the Committee, by Mr. Secretary Cecil.

Mr. Hackewell made a Motion, that the Speaker might say something touching the transportation of Ordnance, That seeing the Bill in the lower House is fallen into an everlasting sleep, and that he knew not thereof before this day, he could not be blamed for that which he could not have spoken before this time: but nothing was replied, or done.

The Subsidy of the Clergy was sent in a Roll according to the usual Acts; to which, Sir Edward Hobby took exceptions, because it was not sent in a long skin of Parchment under the Queens Hand and Seal: so it was sent back, and then the other was sent.

Quere of Mr. Phetyplace and Sir Robert Wroth, What was done with the Money, viz. 10 s. of every Knight, and 5 s. of every Burgess, collected for the Poor, and how it was agreed to be distributed?

Saturday, Decemb. 19.

On Saturday, Decemb. 19. about nine of the clock in the morning, this day being appointed to be the last day of the Parliament, and her Majesty appointed to come to the House, as the House sat quietly one talking with another, about a hundred being in the House,

A Case put by Mr. Wiseman, discussed, &c.

Mr. Wiseman stood up and said, Mr. Speaker, because I see our business is at an end, and that now we have little to do but only to attend her Majesties pleasure, I will be bold to put a Case to the House upon one of our new Statutes of Rogues, offering the Resolution thereof to your considerations, the Case being common, and sit by every man here to be understood. It is thus: A woman is begotten with Childe in one house, and before she appears to be with Childe, she goeth away and serveth in another house in another County. My Question is, Where this woman shall be relieved, and where this childe shall live?

Mr. Brown of the Court, said, In my opinion, the woman is to be relieved, and the childe also, where it is gotten: for their Masters may look better to them, than let their servants be so lewd: And therefore this coming by his negligence, or want of care, or perhaps by his too much familiarity with his servants, I see no reason but he in whose house the childe is gotten, should be charged with both.

Sir George Moore said, Partus sequitur ventrem; the Child followeth the Mother; and therefore where the Statute alloweth help to the Mother, there is relief also to be given unto the Childe.

Mr. Phetyplace said, I know not how it is in the Country, or in other places; but in the City I am sure, the man of the house is ever the reputed Father, till the true Father be known, or confessed by the Mother. If the Father be known, and able to keep the Childe, then by the Law he is constrained to relieve the woman and the Childe; if he be not able, the use with us in London is, That the Childe shall be delivered to some Hospital, or to the Parish, there to be relieved.

Mr. Wiseman said, I think I am not to be debarred from speech, for this is not More Parliamentario, but that I may deliver my Opinion: And I shall rather hold, she is to be relieved by neither, but that it should be accompted for her own sin and her own impiety; and the example of Penury (in no relief) is better than any Admonition. And if some straight and severe course be not used, the sin is so common, that in short time we shall have nothing more common, especially when we do use such cockering of them as we now do, and count it a matter of charity to relieve them.

Mr. Francis Moore thought, that both in charity and by law, they both ought to be relieved, by the express words of the Statutes.

Mr. Speaker moved the House to know their pleasures, whether they would adjourn the House till one of the clock; and as they were rising,

Mr. Herbert Crofts said, Mr. Speaker, though my Motion perhaps may seem unseasonable, yet I beseech the House to consider with me, a Speech that consisted yesterday of four parts (it being Mr Hackwell's Speech) laying open the dangerous mischiefs that come by transportation of Ordnance; and that due reformation thereof may be had for restraint of private transporting. I would onely put the House in mind, and you also, Mr. Speaker, that the Gentlemen which yesterday moved it, desired that Mr. Speaker might say something thereof to her Majesty in his Speech to be inserted; which I do again desire the more earnestly, because our Bill is fallen, as he said, into an everlasting sleep, and we have no remedy but by her Majesty.

Mr. Speaker said, If it please you, I mean upon the Motion the Gentlemen made yesterday, to say something therein both for your satisfaction and performance of my duty; and therefore this matter shall need no further to be moved. With which the House rested well satisfied, and so rose.

But it is to be noted, That the Speaker said not one word in his Speech to her Majesty touching the matter; which was greatly murmured at, and spoken against amongst the Burgesses, that the House should be so abused; but nothing was done therein.

In the Afternoon,

The Qu. in the Lords House.

About one of the clock, divers Gentlemen met together in the House, whither the Speaker came, and after the Privy-Counsellors; where, after sitting some half an hour at past two, they went up to the Upper House, and staid there at the Gallery-door about half an hour; and at length the door was opened: And the Lords of the Upper House being all sat, and her Majesty under a rich Cloath of Estate, the Speaker went to the usual place at the bar; where, after three Reverences made, and the like done in their times by all the Commons, the Speaker said to this effect.

The Speaker's Speech.

That Laws were not first made with humane Pen, but by divine Ordinance; that Politick Laws were made according to the evil conditions of men; and that all Laws served not for all times, no more than one Medicine for all Diseases: If he were asked what was the first and chiefest thing to be considered of, he would have said, Religion: If, what is the second? Religion: If what is the third? Religion. So Religion is all in all; for Religion breeds Devotion, Devotion breeds Zeal and Piety to God, which breedeth Obedience and Duty to the Prince; and Observance of the Laws, which breeds Faithfulness, Honesty, and Love, three necessary and onely things to be wished and observed in a well-govern'd Commonwealth. And that her Majesty, by planting true Religion, had laid such a foundation, upon which all these three Vertues were so planted and builded, that they could not easily be rooted up and extirpated: and therefore we did acknowledge, we ought and do acknowledge, we will praise God and her Majesty for it.

And then he descended to speak of Governments and Laws of Nations; amongst and above all which, he principally preferr'd the Laws of this Realm; which, he said, were so many and so wise, that there was almost no offence, but it was met with in a Law.

Notwithstanding her Majesty being desirous, for the good of her Realm, to call a Parliament for redress of some Laws, and for making some new; Her dutiful and loving Subjects, having considered of them, have made some new, and amended some old; which they most humbly desire may be made Laws by her most Royal Assent, which giveth life unto them.

And so, after thanks given for the Pardon, by which we dread your Justice and admire your Mercy, and a Prayer, That she would accept, as a testimony of our Loves and Duties offered unto her with a free heart and willing spirit, four entire Subsidies, and eight Fifteenths and Tenths, to be collected of our Lands and Livelihoods; (in speaking whereof, he mistook, and said, Four entire Fifteenths and eight Subsidies; but he was remembred by some of the Counsel that stood neer about him, and so spake right as aforesaid:) And also pardon craved for his offences, if either he had forgotten himself in words or action, he ended.

To which, the Lord Keeper answered thus in effect.

The L. Keepers Speech in answer.

First, AS touching her Majesties proceeding in the Laws for her Royal Assent, that should be as God should direct her sacred spirit. Secondly, For your presentation of four entire Subsidies, and eight Fifteens and Tenths; And thirdly, Your humble thank-fulness for the pardon for them and your self; I will deliver her Majesties Commandment with what brevity I may, that I be not tedious to my most gracious Soveraign.

First, She saith touching your proceeding in the matter of her Prerogative, that she is perswaded Subjects did never more dutifully; and that she understood you did but obiter touch her Prerogative, and not otherwise but by humble Petition: and therefore that thanks that a Prince may give to her Subjects, she willingly yieldeth. But she now well perceiveth that private respects are privately masked under publick pretences.

Secondly, Touching the presentation of your Subsidies, she specially regardeth two things, both the persons, and the manner: For the first, he fell into commendations of the Commonalty; for the second, the manner, which was speedy, not by perswaston, or perswasive inducements, but freely, and of duty, with great contentment. In the thing which we have granted, her Majesty greatly commendeth your confidence and judgments; and though it be not proportionable to her occasions, yet she most thank fully receiveth the same, as a loving and thank-ful Prince. And said that no Prince was ever more unwilling to exact or receive any thing from the Subject than she our most gracious Soveraign; for we all know she never was a greedy Grasper, nor straight-handed keeper: And therefore she commanded me to say, That you had done (and so she taketh it) dutifully, plentifully, and thank-fully.

For your self, Mr. Speaker, her Majesty commanded me to say, That you have proceeded with such wisdom and discretion, that it is much to your commendation, and that none before had deserved more. And so he ended, after an Admonition given to the Justices of Peace, That they would not deserve the Epethites of prowling Justices, Justices of Quarrels, who counted Champerty good Chevesance; suing Justices, who did suck and consume the Wealth and Good of the Commonwealth; and also to those who do lie, if not all, the year, yet at least three quarters of the year, at London.

After this Speech ended, the Clerk of the Crown read the Titles of several Acts. To the general Acts which were allowed, the Clerk of the Parliament answered, Le Roygne leveult: To the private Acts to be passed, Soit come il est desiré: To the general Acts not passed, Le Roygne s' adviserá: And so to the other. To the Subsidies and Pardon, as in the last Parliament. Which done,

Parl. dissolved.

The Lord Keeper said, It is her Majesties pleasure, that this Parliament shall be dissolved; and she giveth license to all Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, to depart at their pleasure: And so

God save the Queen.

And all the Commons said aloud,