Proceedings in Parliament 1624: The House of Commons. Originally published by British History Online, 2015-18.
This free content was born digital and sponsored by the History of Parliament Trust, with the support of the Leverhulme Trust and Yale Center for Parliamentary History. All rights reserved.
FRIDAY, 9 APRIL 1624
I. JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, PA, HC/CL/JO/1/13
[CJ 758; f. 118v]
Veneris, 9 Aprilis 1624
[Sir Thomas] Redferne's bill, Monday next.
Order for presenting recusants to be this day sevennight.
Free trade, all to have voice; and Mr. [John] Bankes added.
L. 1. An act/
[f. 119] L. 1. An act for the establishing of 3 lectures in divinity, given by Thomas Whetenhall, esquire.
L. 1. An act for the naturalizing of Sir Stephen Lesieur, knight.
L. 2. An act to confirm [blank] Sir Lewis Watson/
Mr. Secretary Calvert
Sir John Walter
Sir Thomas Trevor
Sir Thomas Grantham
Mr. [William] Noye
Mr. [Thomas] Hatcher
Sir Clement Cotterell
Sir William Beecher
Sir Arthur Mainwaring
Mr. John Drake
Sir Alexander St. John
Sir Montagu Bertie
Sir Charles Montagu
Tomorrow afternoon, Court of Wards, 2 [o']clock.
L. 1. Lead ore and mine.
SIR JOHN SAVILE. To have Sir Richard Lydall bring in his bonds.
Ordered, he shall. The execution of Sir John Jolles to be inserted to the order.
MR. [CJ 759] SOLICITOR undertakes my Lord of Kellie shall yield unto it.
[f. 119v] MR. [JOHN] GLANVILLE reports from the committee of privileges for Chippenham. The case thus. This a borough time out of mind sent burgesses in Edw. 6['s] time. A return by the mayor and burgesses at large, no certain number. Committee took 2 things into consideration:
- 1. Whether the charter altered the custom. Agreed, not.
- 2. Whether proved that the burgesses at large made their claim. Some contrariety in the testimony of the witnesses. Confronted them, but could not reconcile them.
The committee of opinion that Sir Francis Popham was well elected.
Met together. First chose Mr. John Maynard the first day. The second day came in more than 12 men. The warrant read above. When came down, the burgesses declared they gave their voice for Sir Francis Popham. Looked upon the return. 2 indentures returned. 1 between the sheriff and bailiff by name. To this 33 seals. Here returned Charles [Maynard] and Sir Francis Popham, Charles Maynard amended. The other indenture made between the sheriff and the other burgesses. 7 seals to this. Here Mr. [John] Maynard returned, and Mr. [John] Pym. So that nothing to be done, but that indenture withdrawn, and then Mr. John Maynard/
Resolved, that the new charter alters not the custom, and that the burgesses and freemen, more than 12, have voice in the election.
Resolved, that Sir Francis Popham is well chosen a burgess for Chippenham and that the void indenture shall be withdrawn, and Sir Francis Popham be admitted into the House.
[f. 120] Reports also for Newcastle-under-Lyme. The case thus. The custom this: the mayor, aldermen, 2 bailiffs and 24, and all common council used to return. This appeared by an ancient indenture. Have a new charter. Incorporated by a new name. Made a constitution that the mayor, 2 bailiffs and chief burgesses should elect. According to this they have elected. At the day, the chief at the upper room; none of the commonalty. Mr. [Richard] Leveson, 26; Sir Edward Vere, 16; [John] Keeling, 9. After, a 30 or 40 [men], afternoon, for Keeling, and so departed. 2 points:
- 1. Of opinion that Mr. [Richard] Leveson well chosen; nobody against him.
- 2. Next, that Mr. [sic] Edward Vere was not well elected, nor Mr. Keeling; and so a new writ.
The coming of these burgesses in an undue manner and went to the polling above. These were not lawfully present.
Resolved, upon question, that this late constitution alters not the former custom; and that Mr. Richard Leveson was well chosen; and that the election void for Sir Edward Vere and Keeling; and that a new writ shall go out for a new election for a new burgess.
For Stockbridge: resolved by the committee that the burgesses for that well elected.
So affirmed by the House.
For the county of Gloucester; examined that too. Appeared to the committee that the county court kept at the usual place. Made upon the poll. Proved done in a convenient place in a church. Committee thought this election the most fair of any that ever came before them. Resolved 4 points:
- 1. That Sir Thomas Estcourt well elected.
- 2. That no cause of further hearing.
- 3. Moved to pay costs. Mr. [Robert] Poyntz. But they cast off that consideration if no further pressed it.
- [f. 120v] 4. That the under-sheriff committed no misdemeanour.
Resolved, that Sir Thomas Estcourt is well elected; and that there shall be no further hearing of this cause; and no costs to be paid by Mr. [Robert] Poyntz if he trouble the House no further; and that the under-sheriff has committed no misdemeanour about this election.
The bill of elections to be prepared.
SIR EDWIN SANDYS reports from the committee for trade. In his former reports sundry branches only named but referred to a future examination. First, came to the overburdening of trade. Began by the great imposition of the Merchant Adventurers; called them before them yesterday. Next business was the pretermitted customs. Because the question of great importance, they proceeded to no resolution but referred it to the examination of this House. Their desire to have a day appointed for it, and the lawyers to be warned to attend. For the third point, some new impositions by reason of a new Book of Rates. These were the pretermitted customs, the impost on wines and composition for grocery wares. For the wines, informed that this new impost had originally order from the Council. There first taken into consideration upon an extreme necessity to support the King's royal daughter and her consort. But this brought to a privy seal, continued it until this Parliament. This new Book of Rates does make it perpetual. No limitation of time. Not conceived an error in the book, for in practice, which is the best expounder of the law, at this day levied. Some merchants made a grievous complaint against it, of the great rigor in raising of it. Deterred to complain in this House. The complaint of this of 4 kinds:
For the first, appears. For the second, so grievous that the burden on wine more than the wine itself. Third, fearful for the future. 2 imposts on all wines, 3 upon some. Et quis erit modus? For the fourth, more laid in London than other places. For the grocery wares, Lord Treasurer sent word that this an error in the book; cause why the book suppressed. The error is that it is not suppressed. The composition for London agreed on. Volenti non fit injuria. But not so for the outports. Never made any such contract. King stands in his original right of purveyance. A letter read of one [John] Gardiner to Mr. [Abraham] Jacob. Mr. Jacob showed him a warrant under my Lord's hand and seal to levy this money and to take no entries without it. A little variety in the former imposts. For the sugars, muscovadoes were but 50s. formerly, now £5. Thought an error in the printer. Delivered no opinion concerning these things, but referred the serious consideration thereof to this honourable House.
MR. [RICHARD] SPENCER. First, to consider the offence in general by reason of these new impositions. Who the authors? For the offence, 2: 1. against the laws; 2. overthrow the essence of a subject. 30 chap. Magna Carta. 25 Edw. I 7 chap. That they overthrow the being of a subject. He that has no propriety in his goods is not free. Allowance of impositions takes away all property. These new impositions against the liking of the King.
The offence in these particulars. First, the imposition on sugar. To send for the printer, Felix Kingston. Secondly, cui bono this increase is? Who farms it? Comes to the Lord Treasurer's purse. Thirdly, for the wines, the privy seal contradicts the Great Seal. Lastly, in the composition for grocery collected by a warrant from my Lord Treasurer.
[f. 121v] Thirdly, to consider what has been done in the like cases. 5th Edw. 3 Richard Lyons accused for imposition on wools. Judgement, to be committed to the prison during the King's pleasure. 15 Edw. 3 William, Lord Latimer impeached of the same offence. Divers others.
Lastly, what fit to be done now. To follow the steps of our ancestors. To present these things to the Lords, and desire judgement against the offenders. To appoint a select committee to prepare these things for the Lords, and then to desire a conference about it.
Mr. [Edward] Pitt delivers in a copy of the warrant of my Lord Treasurer to the customers of Poole for levying of 4d. upon every fardel of the merchant.
SIR ARTHUR INGRAM. Will give satisfaction for the message he brought from my Lord Treasurer. Asked my [CJ 760] Lord Treasurer about the Book of Rates. He told him the book not yet published. Said the book was stayed because of the composition for grocery wares. Said there is no warrant of his for levying of it since the printing of the new Book of Rates.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS. My Lord Treasurer said no direction had gone down for gathering the money since the book, yet true this money still gathered. Mr. Abraham Jacob, he a principal agent of my Lord for these businesses.
Matter divided, 2 parts: 1. ancient, concerning right; 2. modern, by way of increase. For the first, when questioned in the Queen's time and referred to the judges, no judgement given for them for any right of hers. Second, modern and excess. Precedents shown of former times how subjects have been dealt withal that have misled their sovereigns. Would have the right in general now declined. The wrong done to be referred to a select committee that should carefully inquire into it, what the wrong is and who the authors of it. [f. 122] Then, if any man guilty, to present him to the Lords to receive his due punishment. To have it referred to a committee to look upon these impositions to examine by what means they came, and those men that were deterred from complaining to be sent for to this committee.
[WILLIAM] LORD CAVENDISH. Will add somewhat by way of addition. Cannot tell who was the mover of this to the King, and yet expressed in the Book of Rates, the farmers of the Custom House. They confess this to be done against their will and liking, and very prejudicial to the farm. To go on this afternoon with the business of the Court of Wards and to have the report made of the 2 other matters examined.
SIR EDWARD COKE. As in the natural body, so in the politic. Humores moti, non remoti, laedunt corpus. Plain that the clause against impositions to be set unless by Parliament, parcel of Magna Carta. Edw. I would not exemplify the great charter unless this left out. So says Walsingham and Wendover. Custom came by act of Parliament. 1 in print, statute 25 Edw. 1. In old Magna Carta, "No aid nor taking nor mise nor any other thing taken unless by Parliament, unless wools, woolfells and leather, which was granted to us by the Commons". Which must needs be in Parliament. Rotulo patentium, Edw. 1. "Cum praelati, et magnates, et tota communitas, consesserint quandam novam consuetudinem, de lanis, pellibus et coriis". So that it is clear the King had it by act of Parliament. Parva custuma came also. Capituli Itineris. Justices in eyre gave charge against new customs levied in the kingdom, land, water or other place, and who was the occasion of it. [f. 122v] Nova custuma, parva of the stranger. Magna Carta against that. That gotten Carta 31. Edw. Mercatoria: divers privileges granted to them. Thereupon they granted 10 groats on a sack of wool. So that all custom granted by Parliament or by the stranger. After, Ed. 3, he had 20s. a sack of wool (no act for this) but not as an imposition. 11 Edw. 3 a law that whosoever should transport wool should be a felon. Then drapery began; then he made dispensation that they might carry wools, and he had 20s. a sack. So this not by prerogative. But this continued not long. Merchants consented to give him a greater subsidy for wool; but decried in Parliament because the Commons said the charge would lie on them. And so was overthrown. This another windlass. All the judges of England gave their opinion, though not in print. King Philip arrived at Southampton, for the honour of that town granted to that body that all sweet wines should be there only landed. If in any other place landed, 3 custom[s] to be paid. This well obeyed as long as Queen Mary lived. Then questioned, said to be against the law. Brought into the Exchequer Chamber. There solemnly argued. First point, whether the grant good to land all wines there. Secondly, whether the king could set a higher custom. Argued 3 year[s]. At [Lord] Dyer's chamber they resolved both points that neither could be done. When this known, went to the Parliament in 50 and there got an act of Parliament that all strangers should land their sweet wines there.
Only now to lay claim to our right. No time now to decrease the King's revenue. But this a strange case. Materiam superabit opus. The imposition more in value than the commodity itself. Colour upon colour, and metal on metal, damnable heraldry.
Lower the custom: Kingston.
[f. 123] Have the same great cause in terminis terminantibus. Was a great man, a Duke of Suffolk, a great favourite of Hen. 6. A main article against him that he procured divers grants from the King derogatory to the commonwealth. Banished for it. [William,] Lord Latimer's case in the very point. [Richard] Lyons, the projector, [William,] Lord Latimer the preferrer and abettor. Disabled to serve the King for imposing of a new found custom quinquagesimo Edw. 3. To have this first soundly examined, and then to prefer that with the other. To select some men.
[MR.] SPEAKER propounds some things to the House.
This committee is appointed by the House to examine and find out who advised the King and first projected the issuing out of the authority concerning this new imposition on wines, sugars and grocery, and to inquire who those men were that were deterred from complaining to this House, and who did deter them. And the Speaker to send his warrant for such men as the committee shall think fit to be examined in this business, and for such books, records and writings as may further that service. Tomorrow afternoon, Court of Wards, 2 [o']clock.
[f. 123v] MR. SOLICITOR spoke with Mr. [Abraham] Jacob. Found in him a desire to be heard. Will tell all the whole naked truth. Has recollected himself.
Ordered, that Mr. Jacob shall attend the committee this afternoon at 2 [o']clock.
Speaker to be here at 4 [o']clock.
MR. SOLICITOR. To give direction for a conference about the petition. To send a message to the Lords about it.
MR. [EDWARD] ALFORD. Some speech delivered in the Upper House by a great man, what the King would do about the treaties. To have him repeat it now to the House.
MR. SOLICITOR. Is ready to do it. Arises upon the first words of the petition, "It having pleased his Majesty to dissolve". Prince and Duke said at our first coming together, the King had done thus much. Spoken with the Spanish ambassadors. Told him, according to his advice given him, dissolved the treaties. And Duke said he saw the dispatch into Spain, wherein really signify so much. Did actually dissolve the treaties according to the advice of his Lords and Commons, which no King did ever deny.
Mr. Solicitor sent up to the Lords to desire their Lordships to appoint a time for the petition concerning recusants; and to let their Lordships know that we desire the conference for the bill of monopolies may be tomorrow morning.
The Lords now up. To go up tomorrow.
Mr. Solicitor tenders a petition from Mr. [Henry] Lovell.
Mr. Solicitor to set down in writing that which he has delivered about the dissolution of the treaties, and to be entered into the book.
[f. 124] Ordered, that the matter of the pretermitted customs shall be debated in the House on Tuesday next, and all [CJ 761] the lawyers of the House are especially required to attend and prepare themselves for it in the meantime.
Continuance of statutes. Tomorrow morning, 8 [o']clock.
SIR FRANCIS SEYMOUR. Agreed before by this House that the 3 subsidies and 3 fifteens should be paid within a year after the King's declaration. To know whether the House conceives this public declaration to be already made.
SIR THOMAS HOBY. To have the petition go forward. Not/
MR. SECRETARY [CALVERT]. True, that he one appointed to make up the publication. The Lords and they have had one meeting and have agreed on the heads of it. They ready to attend again, when the Lords will appoint, with their papers.
SIR EDWARD COKE. Until signification made to the other King, no dissolution of the treaties.
MR. SECRETARY CALVERT. A gentleman gone into Spain. Thinks he carried the dispatch. For one treaty, little ceremony to dissolve that. Only a communication of it at Madrid.
SIR THOMAS WENTWORTH. This question will come in properly when the subsidy bill comes in. In our last declaration to the King, as much about the dissolution of the treaties as in this petition. To go with the petition.
SIR EDWARD COKE reports Lord Viscount Montagu's bill. Sir Francis Englefield agreed to it.
Sutton's Hospital. This afternoon, and all to have voice.
[f. 124v] Veneris, 9 Aprilis, post meridiem
Speaker went into his chair.
SIR EDWARD COKE reports from the committee for grievances. Made an end of the first part of my Lord's charge, for the gratuities. For the matter of the court, for justice sake thought good to give him time to answer the charge of the bribes. Tomorrow, 2 [o']clock, afternoon, by his counsel, or as he will.
Resolved, upon question, that my Lord Treasurer shall have copies of these 2 charges, and that the committee of grievances shall sit tomorrow in the afternoon, 2 [o']clock. Then my Lord to come to his answer as pleases him.
The Speaker to be here tomorrow afternoon and to give second reading to private bills if any time for it.
Committee for poor. Wednesday next, in the House.
II. DIARY OF JOHN HAWARDE, WILTSHIRE AND SWINDON ARCHIVES, 9/34/2
Vendredis, 9 Aprilis 1624
1. L. Bill pur settling de terres in comte Dorset pur cutomerie terres.
1. L. Bill pur establishinge 2x [sic] lectures in Kent par Thomas Wentworth [sic], esquire.
1. L. Bill pur naturalizinge [Sir] Thomas [sic] Lesieur. Cest bill came from the Lords ingrossed.
2. L. Bill pur confirmacion d'exchange de terres enter le Prince et Sir Lewis Watson. Cest bill came from the Lords ingrossed.
Sur question, committe, Monday in the [Court of] Wards.
1. L. Bill pur le tithe de leade ore et leade mine in comte Derby. Put in by [William], the Lord Cavendish.
MR. [JOHN] GLANVILLE fait reporte de Chippenham sur novel hearinge par order:
- 1. More than the bailliffe and 12 have voyces.
- 2. Electon de Sir Francis Popham bon.
- 3. L'indenture to be mended, and the charter of no force for the election.
Sur queston, Sir Francis Popham bien chose.
Report auxy pur Newcastle-under-Lyme. They have a newe charter in 39 Elizabeth and par constitucion restrein l'electon al maior, aldermen et principall burgesses et exclude le comunaltie. L'election bon pur Sir [sic] Richard Leveson, et void pur Sir Edward Vere et [John] Keeling, et novell brief. Sur queston, confirme.
Stockbridge: sur queston, l'electon bon.
[p. 242] Reporte Glo[uce]ster[shire]: sur question, Sir Thomas Estcourt bien chose.
SIR EDWIN SANDYS fait reporte de trade.
MR. [RICHARD] SPENCER. [Blank]
MR. [ROBERT] BATEMAN. [Blank]
SIR EDWARD COKE. Humores mote et non remote corpus l'edunt. Par le grande chartre null custome ou imposition sans Parliamente. 25. E. 1 cap. 7 folio 35, custome de wooll, woollfells et lether et nemy par le commen leye. 3. E. 1 membrane 10 capitulo itineris, judges in eire give in charge quix novelll customes arise. 31. E. 6 null imposition sur strangers. [11. E. 3] felonie pur transporter wooll. Pur redemer cest offence par 20s. sur sacke 17. E. 3 marchants consente, mes descrie in Parliament.
King Philip pur lander touts sweete wines al Southampton, et triple cutome par autres licens. 2 Elizabeth 3 [case in Exchequer Chamber]. [p. 243] Reporte in le Lord Dyer, not printed. 5 Elizabeth [private acts, c. 3]. Duke de Suffolk [et] [William,] Lord Latimer's case. [Richard Lyons] a polipragmon to all theise, 50. E. 3. Royall righte to be declyned for this time.
A select committee to prepare theise thinges and they to sende for any, the Speaker to subscribe the warrants. Tomorrowe, Court of Wards, with bookes and noates, whoe advysed and firste projected [impositions].
Par le SECRETARY CALVERT pur le cleeringe del table de quil il est member, ils agree in implicite foye al projection del Lord Tresorer.
Whoe deterred and by whome?
III. DIARY OF JOHN HOLLES, BL, HARL. MS 6,383
Friday, the 9th of April
SIR EDWIN SANDYS'S report of the committee of trade. The pretermitted customs, being a question of right between the king and the subject, was referred to the House. The new imposition upon wines, being made upon the extreme necessity of the King's children, was by the privy seal to stand but until the next sessions [sic]. It is done without warrant of law. There are two imposts upon all wines, and 3 upon the new strong wines. The Treasurer sent a warrant to the outports to take the new composition for grocery or stop the entry of their wares that refused to pay.
MR. RICHARD SPENCER. Allow of impositions and you take away the very being of a free subject, for a man has no property in his goods, he is no better than a slave, for a pound may as well be imposed as a penny. The new imposition of sugar comes to the Treasurer's purse, for [f. 126] composition it cannot be called, the merchants of the outports never consenting to it, wherein also the privy seal contradicts the Great Seal. In the third place, we must consider what has been done to those offenders that have raised new impositions without assent of Parliament. He vouched the precedent of [William,] the Lord Latimer in Edward the Third's time, that was put to fine and ransom, committed during pleasure, put from the Council and disabled from bearing office for such offences; and so was his projector, George [sic] Lyons, a merchant and farmer of the Custom House, fined and committed.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS. This matter is divided into two parts, the first ancient, concerning right, whether the king can impose and whether the subject may be imposed upon, for in Queen Elizabeth['s] time, divers judges debating whether she might impose or no, gave no resolution. The second, modern, concerning increase. The punishment of those persons that have thus misled their prince's judgements to the prejudice of the people, in France is punished by death, as Enguerrand de Marigny, Earl of Longueville. He moved to have those other abuses of the Treasurer in new impositions committed and then presented to the Lords.
[WILLIAM] LORD CAVENDISH moved to have these 2 bribes of the Treasurer's presented to the Lords.
SIR EDWARD COKE. The clause of impositions is parcel of Magna Carta unless they be granted by a Parliament. King John granted the Magna Carta iisdem terminis that Henry the Third did, and in the 25 of Edward the First was enacted that no taking nor [f. 126v] taxing upon the subject shall be but by act of Parliament unless of wools and [wool]fells and leather. If this course of imposing be continued, it will overthrow not only property but all the trade and commerce of the kingdom. By Magna Charta, all merchant strangers are free from new impositions but by Parliament. In the 31 of Edward the 1 in consideration of divers privileges to merchant strangers, they gave him leave to impose 3s. 4d. upon a sack of wool. The great, the little and the new custom came in by Parliament. All the judges of England gave their opinions that these new impositions are against law.
There is a case in Dyer that King Philip, in memory and honour of his arrival at Southampton when he came to marry Queen Mary, got that all sweet wines should be landed there and pay treble custom to gratify that town. This, after Queen Mary died, was argued by all the judges in the [Ex]chequer Chamber and concluded that they could not tie the merchants to land all their sweet wines there nor impose more than usual, but at last by act of Parliament they obtained that all strangers should land their wines there. Colour upon colour and metal upon metal is ill armoury, so imposition upon imposition is damnable. The principal article against the Duke of Suffolk in Henry the 6['s] time was for procuring some grants against the common law of England. [William,] the Lord Latimer was the abettor, [Richard] Lyons was the projector, for all these great Lords have a projector or polypragmon; this was meant by Sir Arthur Ingram.
The SPEAKER put these questions to the House. Whether the King's royal [f. 127] right concerning impositions should be now declined?
It was ordered it should.
That a committee should be appointed to inquire who advised the King and first projected to lay these new impositions, and so to present them to the Lords.
This was also ordered.
That the Speaker shall have power to send his warrant for such as the committee shall think fit for this business, who would have complained of the Treasurer and were deterred, and by whom.
This also ordered.
SECRETARY CALVERT said the Treasurer first projected to the Council this new imposition upon wine for the Palatinate, and they received it upon an implicit faith.
SIR DUDLEY DIGGES. The Treasurer had a Richard Lyons to put this into his head.
SIR FRANCIS SEYMOUR moved to know what Digges meant by a Lyons.
MR. [WILLIAM] MALLORY moved that what the Solicitor had said concerning what the King had done in breach of the treaties, how that he had signified so much to the ambassadors and that Buckingham had seen a dispatch into Spain to that purpose, that this should be entered into the Clerk's book.
And so it was.
At the committee of grievances
The King's customs at Newcastle were farmed at £800, now at £2,600 per annum.
[Abraham] Jacob brought a paper of the business, which he read, with leave.
Sir Richard Weston desired in the Treasurer's behalf to have day set down to receive his answer and hear his witnesses.
Jacob's paper was that the Treasurer claiming 32 parts of the great farms, the farmers gave him £1,000 for them, which the farmers laying equally upon the petty and great farms, and the Treasurer hearing of it, [f. 127v] caused it to be transferred from the petty farms, and laid all upon the great farms.
Sir Edward Coke. This is a supplemental testimony and in writing, and no written testimony is of like force to viva voce.
And hereupon it was cast out of the House.
Sir Thomas Jermyn. This House being not the place of judgement, we being but the grand jury and the Lords the jury of life and death that must pass upon the Treasurer, therefore our House was not to assign him a day for his answer.
Mr. [Christopher] Brooke said of himself that as he was a weak man full of passions and compassion, he was sorry the Treasurer was thus accused. The charge was more than rewards or gratuities, nearest extortion, but less than bribery, for bribery must be corruption of justice. And for Sir Thomas Jermyn's comparison of grand jury, this House was to hear evidence on both sides. The Treasurer desired as much an acquittal in this House as the Upper.
Sir Humphrey May. The ancient style of the complaints of this House was called the clamour of the Commons (that word then being taken in a better sense than now) but now it would justly be called a clamour if we should only hear his accusation and not his defence. It was the saying of a divine that one had a bad cause but handled it well, another had a good cause but handled it ill; we have a good cause against the Treasurer, and so good as I see not what subterfuges he may have, and we should not handle it well if we gave him not a day for his defence.
Hereupon, tomorrow in the afternoon was given him to answer by himself, by writing or by counsel, as he would himself.
[f. 128] Mr. [John] Glanville concurred, saying it would derogate from the honour of the House, as if we had only power to hear on the one side, and also from the weight of our accusation when we should send it to the Lords, if we only heard one side.
The effect of the Treasurer's answer.
The stamp was only used for dispatch of suitors, not for profit; and there was never anything stamped without the signature of one of the officers, nor never did he take penny for anything stamped. He denied taking [£]2, [£]4 or £10 for petitions; and when the petitioners asked him what was his due, he said, nothing but what of their good wills they would give him, most commonly but 10s., sometimes more, but of at least the third part of the petitions nothing.
Sir Benjamin Rudyard. No man took anything for surrenders of continuance until [Lord] Wallingford. The surveyor's place is to make men sue out their liveries. He desired not only to satisfy the law but his own conscience, for it is but a narrow honesty which only respects the bounds of the law.
Sir Miles Fleetwood. [Nicholas] Herman, his secretary, has been tampering with all the witnesses.
Elizabeth Bradford says that Herman took 20s. of her for getting her petition answered. She offered him 10s. and he would not take it, said 20s. was his fee and that he had £5 for as little; and this he did before she could get her petition answered for her daughter's wardship.
Sir Miles Fleetwood. The profit of petitions to the Treasurer is at the least £300 [sic] per annum.
IV. DIARY OF SIR THOMAS JERVOISE, HAMPSHIRE RECORD OFFICE, 44M69/F4/20/1
9th April, in the morning
SIR EDWIN SANDYS'S report of the great committee of trade. To begin, first, with the Merchants [sic] Adventurers for the great sum which they pretend they have laid out by them, by pretence whereof they have laid many impositions upon cloth. Second, the pretermitted customs imposed upon cloth and woollen stuffs, being put into a printed book set out by my Lord Treasurer for wines, the new imposition upon them was, by order from the Council, occasioned for the means only for the King and Queen of Bohemia and to continue no longer than the present cause did then require, but now by the printed book made as a law certain, being a very great grievance. [p. 118] The merchants will not complain to this House, being much oppressed. The imposition is so grievous as it is as much as the price of wine itself. For the grocers: a member of this [House] brought a message from the Lord Treasurer that the imposition upon it was an error and therefore, being in the book, the said book to be suppressed. A letter from Weymouth wherein is expressed, two members of this House being burgesses for that place did say, that the impost upon grocery ware was unlawful and therefore no more money to be collected for that purpose, this being complained on in Parliament.
SIR A[RTHUR] INGRAM did answer that my Lord Treasurer did not give any power for any such imposition.
Yet SIR E[DWIN] SANDYS did see [p. 119] a warrant from my Lord Treasurer for the levying of this money for impost upon grocery. Sugar called muscovado, being a base sugar, the impost of that from 50s. is now raised unto £6 [sic].
A letter from my Lord Treasurer to the officers of the customers of Poole for the fees of that port.
SIR ROBERT HEATH delivered from the Duke of Buckingham that his Lordship had seen a letter which was sent from the King into Spain that upon the advice of both his House of Parliament he had dissolved both the treaties, whose advice the kings of England do ever observe.
That the pretermitted customs shall be debated on Tuesday next.
MR. SECRETARY CALVERT said that there was a messenger gone into Spain, which he conceived was with a dispatch to dissolve the 2 treaties.
[p. 120] At the committee [for grievances] in the afternoon
Doctor Chambers's patent to be heard on Friday next.
A petition delivered in the behalf of the town of Sandwich touching their electing of their mayor and burgesses. This petition put out of the House by a question.
A petition of Mr. Brandling about the patent of seacoal, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The patent to be brought into this House this day three weeks.
Sir Miles Fleetwood pro Lord Treasurer.
Abraham Jacob, re-examined, says first when the lease was to be agreed upon of the great farm with the Lord Treasurer.
Jacob pretended to speak something that might discover the abuse of the Lord Treasurer but when he was admitted he only tendered a paper, which [p. 121] was conceived to be of no validity and it was rather thought a trick of him to abuse the House and so merely rejected.
Appointed to hear the Lord Treasurer tomorrow in the afternoon either by himself or as he shall think fit, and to have the copy of the charge for bribery.
The 2 offences touching the Wards: for altering the instructions in the Court of Wards both against the profit of the King and subject.
Elizabeth B[radford] did deliver a petition unto Mr. [Richard] Chamberlain, clerk of the Court of Wards, for the wardship of her daughter; she gave to Mr. [Nicholas] Herman, the Lord Treasurer's secretary, 20s. which he demanded for his fee, saying that he has had £5 for a smaller matter.
Mr. [Edmund] Brewster. What was given at the delivery of the petition.
[p. 122] [Lawrence] Lownes says that Mr. Herman spoke with him, he exhibiting a petition for a wardship; Herman re[c]eive[d] of him 44s., which Mr. Bland did send him, being grandfather to the ward.
Mr. [Henry] Darrell says, before this late instruction were, the course was to deliver a petition to the clerk of the court, and paid 2s., but now petitions are delivered to my Lord Treasurer for which he has 10s., and 2s. to the secretary. The fee of the surveyor is first paid to my Lord Treasurer and after again to the surveyor, so the subject pays two fees which should be but one. He says he has seen divers things stamped and it is usually now used; the stamp is only but his name.
Jeffrey Bright says that the fees of compositions since the last instructions are come from 40s. to £4 8s. My Lord Treasurer and Mr. Herman receives part thereof. He has heard many [p. 123] suitors make great complaint of the delaying of their business. That he has seen many things signed with the stam[p], as on Monday last he carried a pair of indentures for the wardship of a body and Mr. Herman did in his own study sign them with the stamp.
Mr. Herman does rece[i]ve the petitions preferred to the Court of Wards but denies any fee demanded for it, yet confesses that what the good will of suitors be to bestow on him, that he does take. He confesses that he does usually sign petitions and warrants with the stamp of the Lord Treasurer's name, whereas by the sta[tute] no warrant could be signed by anybody but either the hand of the master or attorney or receiver. Now the stamp determines all, being unlawful, and the foundation of all suits in that court.
V. DIARY OF JOHN LOWTHER, CUMBRIA ARCHIVE CENTRE, CARLISLE, DLONS/L/2/1
[9 April 1624]
- 1. [sic] MR. [RICHARD] SPENCER. The impositions against Magna Carta, and 25 E. 1.
- 2. They overthrow the being of a free subject. That by the civil law a slave is he that has no property in that he holds as our villeins. That who may impose 1d. may a pound and take away all property away [sic] and make us slaves.
- 3. That imposition is against law.
- 4. That who advise this worthy [of] punishment. It appears Treasurer that now is by his Book of Rates advised the King. That it appears by the imposition of £5 in lieu of 50s. in sugars is by the Treasurer, who has the benefit of that farm. That the Great Seal is against the privy seal. That this composition made by the Lord Treasurer without assent is an imposition.
[f. 56v] 50 E. 3 numero 31 that it should be a capital offence to impose new impost. This our ancestors' care. R. 2 Richard Lyons accused by the King for setting [?King's] impositions, and a Lord of Parliament who pursued his project condemned with him. E. 3['s] Parliament, [William,] the Lord Latimer so accused and punished. Now to follow our ancestor[s] and to present these to the Lord[s] to desire a conference and to desire judgement when it is ripened.
[MR. ROBERT] BATEMAN. That merchants, if taxed at other's will, cannot hold any trade.
SIR R[OBERT] PHELIPS affirms the propositions of Mr. [Richard] Spencer for weight and consequence worthy consideration. First, the right; second, the practice. Queen Elizabeth's time the judges advised, found no reason to uphold impositions, whereof Dyer. We now do claim the same but avoid at present for the hopes of the good of this Parliament. For the present offence in France, Enguerrand, Earl of Longueville, for misleading the King of France in impositions about the time of R. 2 was hanged though an earl. A special committee to inquire how those last impositions were made, and how the King was persuaded to do it. And if a Lord Treasurer to be presented, how he stirs coldness and fear in the [f. 57] people, towards the King a great offence. And those deterred to be his accusers, to be inquired how deterred.
[WILLIAM], the LORD CAVENDISH, by addition. That it is expressed by the Book of Rates to be at the suit of the subject, which the customers do deny, and he knows somewhat. He desires to state the cause, Wards the afternoon to be examined. The bribes to be reported now and to be sent up if weighty. If you do stay for more, perhaps the Parliament dissolves.
SIR E[DWARD] COKE. Humores moti et non remoti corpus ledient. The right of impositions stirred, moderated and now drawn to the present time. King John made like charter, but E. 1 would not exemplify it. That none should impose [?undue] custom and wool custom 6s. 8d. given, 25 E. 1 recited to be granted before, Rot. patentium 3 E. 3 itineris in justices in eyre to inquire what new customs are levied. Custom of strangers imposed by Parliament 31 E. 1 Carta Mercatoria, 3s. 4d. more by them called parva custuma, 11 E. 3 felony to carry out wool, then made dispensation for 20s. a sack not prerogative. That expired he got the merchants to consent, 17 E. 3 it was decried by the Commons, in Dyer not printed. King Philip arrived at Southampton, granted all sweet wines to import at Southampton, [f. 57v] else to pay treble custom. After King Philip['s] death, resolved before the judges the grant was not good, second that it was. After 3 years' argument it was resolved that they could lay no imposition. After got an act of Parliament for strangers to land at Southampton. Colour on colour, metal upon metal, bad heraldry; so imposition upon imposition. Duke of Suffolk accused for procuring the King to make grants against common law, punished. 20 E. 3. [William,] Lord Latimer had a polypragmon, [Richard] Lyons, disabled for new found customs. So to examine this if this Lord Treasurer, and if he be found to be such then this to go up arm in arm.
- 1. Resolved at present to avoid the question of impositions by prerogative.
- 2. A committee to examine if the Lord Treasurer did advise it, and present it to the House and Lords.
- 3. To who deterred informers.
SECRETARY CALVERT. That the imposition for the wines was projected by the Lord Treasurer, but the Council joined with him in advice as submitted to him as best knowing.
[Committee for grievances]
[f. 58] [Abraham] Jacob excuses his want of memory and preparation and want of memory [sic], and because he now would go on a narrow bridge, he has written and reads it. First, the Lord Treasurer desires Mr. Jacob to have a part of the great farm, as before, and so got £1,000 and so divided it amiss.
Wards, that fees were received upon petitions and the fees exacted, 20s. by Elizabeth [Bradford], widow. Secretary Conway's man testifies but 1s. given and gave £5, 2 dishes — 32.
[Edmund] Brewster. For [Lady] Barker's [son's] wardship, gave £5 for that he would not admit the composition, and drew from Trinity to February, and then had the time enlarged.
[Lawrence] Lownes. Gave £44 for Marden's wardship upon petition.
[Henry] Darrell. Formerly to deliver petition to clerk and for ruling petition 2s., now 10s. and 2s., now the fee doubled for tendering. Before they might compound with 4, now not if the master agree not to it. His hand stamped to petitions.
Jeffrey Brent [sic]. That fees of continuance are revised by the last instructions as from 40s. to £4 8[s.]. Mr. [Nicholas] Herman stamped out of his presence.
Herman. Does demand no fees but takes what is given, though sworn to the oath and instructions. He stamped a petition to give day to find an office. [f. 58v] The statutes appoints the master's hand to the writ, he stamps it. He brings message to the composition table that his Lord will have no more and will have this, and did not you so in the case of the Lord Gerard and committed him contrary to the opinion of the board to those next in remainder?
VI. DIARY OF EDWARD NICHOLAS, TNA, SP 14/166
Friday, 90 Aprilis 1624
An act for the erecting of lectures according to the last will and testament of Thomas Walton [sic], esquire. 1. L.
An act for the naturalizing of Sir Stephen Lesieur, kt. 1. L. Sir Stephen Lesieur was born in Geneva.
[f. 128v] An act for confirmation of an exchange of lands between the most excellent Prince Charles and Sir Lewis Watson, kt. and baronet. 3. L. [sic]. This bill came from the Lords and is passed this House without any alteration at the third reading.
An act concerning the tithe and tenth of lead ore and lead mine digged for and gotten within the manor of the High Peak in comitatu Derby.
MR. [JOHN] GLANVILLE reports from the committee of privileges concerning Chippenham that the committee's opinion was that more than the bailiff and the 12 burgesses of that town ought to have voices in the election there, and that Sir Francis Popham was duly chosen.
These opinions of the committee are here by the House confirmed.
SIR EDWIN SANDYS reports from the committee of trade that the question concerning the pretermitted customs being a matter of right between the king and the subject, it was thought fit by the committee to be further debated in the House at what day the House shall appoint. That the new imposition of wine had original from the Council and it was there debated only upon a great necessity for supply of the occasions of the King's children, and after it was ordered by a privy seal to continue only for that purpose until the next Parliament. But by a printed book set forth, it is to be continued without limitation and continues still now sitting the Parliament; and it is exacted in a rigorous manner and complained of to be unlawful, neither warranted by law, the act of the Privy Council, [f. 129] nor the privy seal. It is grievous to the subject and has doubled the imposition that was formerly laid on wine. It was also complained by the merchants of London to be partially imposed more on this town than on the outports.
Concerning the groceries, the Lord Treasurer sent word that the imposition laid thereon should not have been inserted into the book and that the book was called in for that purpose only, and that the Lord Treasurer had not given order for the levying of the composition for the groceries. Mr. [John] Gardiner of Weymouth's letter, dated 10 Aprilis 1624, to Mr. [Abraham] Jacob confessing that he had the Lord Treasurer's warrant for the levying of the money for the corporation on the groceries.
MR. [blank] SPENCER says that they, that these new impositions, are contrary to the law and particularly contrary to the 13 [sic] chapter of Magna Carta and 25 E. 1, and do overthrow the very essence of a subject and makes them villeins or slaves. That those who are the procurers of it are unworthy of liberty or being among subjects. That it is manifest by the Lord Treasurer's excuse that he procured these new impositions. The King promised that there should be no impositions increased on his subjects. That the new impositions on sugar is rented by the Lord Treasurer and it will not be difficult to prove that his Lordship has [f. 129v] and receives most good by it. That if impositions may be laid by the Lord Treasurer's procurement or at his pleasure, he will not blame any court of justice for taking away any man's estate, for indeed no subject has any estate, for if the Lord Treasurer or any other may impose a penny, he may by the same right impose a pound and so take away every man's estate. He would have us consider what our ancestors have done to such imposers of burdens on the subject in former times, and in that would have us seek the precedents what was done to Richard Lyons, a citizen of London, and [William, Lord] Latimer, Lord Chamberlain of the King's Household, who were both censured in Parliament for causing of impositions to be laid on trade and yet this was said to be imposed with the King's privity and by his command. He would have us take consideration of all these late new impositions and of the persons who were actors in the laying of it, and by a select committee to collect and set down the griefs of the subjects for the same impositions, and after send it up to the Lords, desiring their Lordships that the delinquents in that business may be proceeded against [f. 130] according to ancient precedents.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS desires us to consider in these impositions the matter of right. That in Queen Elizabeth's time it was referred to the judges, whereof Lord Dyer was one, to consider of the right of the Queen to lay impositions, but those judges made no certificate of that reference and by an apparent consequence they found no right that the Queen had to lay the same. Would have us consider what has been done in France against such as have imposed new charges. There was one, though he were made Earl of Longueville, had his estate confiscated and himself was hanged; other examples there are in that kingdom and in ours, but of late we have here dealt more favourably and mercifully with such delinquents. He would have us at this time decline the dispute of the right of laying new impositions but would have us appoint a select committee to examine the wrong done to the King and subject by those that have been the movers and causers of these new and late impositions expressed in the Book of Rates and otherwise, and also to hear those merchants that complain that they have been deterred from complaining against these new impositions. And that the select committee may prepare these [f. 130v] grievances concerning new impositions for the Lords that something may be speedily done therein.
SIR EDWARD COKE. That the clause against the setting of impositions and taxes is in the great charter of Magna Carta and though E. 1 would not confirm that charter until that clause were left out, but this takes it not away, for kings before and since confirmed that charter with that clause. By 250 E. 1 in old Magna Carta, parte 2a, folio 25, no taking nor taxing shall be made. That 1. Eliz. in the Lord Dyer's book, which says the king has custom by the common law of the realm, is deceived for it was anciently granted in Ed. 1['s] time by statute in Parliament. That if the king has power by his prerogative to raise impositions, that will not only overthrow all commerce and trade and does quite destroy all property, for no man can say this or that is his. All manner of customs are granted by Parliament. 11 E. 3, a law whosoever should transport wool without licence should be hanged, and then that King raised 20s. on a sack of wool for the licence granted, but this Parliament lived not long, being on continuance. That in the Lord Dyer's book, which he has under that judge's own hand and says there are in it many better cases than those that are put forth in print, it is there expressed that all the judges of the kingdom in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's time did resolve that it was against the law that imposition could be laid [f. 131] by the king or other than by Parliament; and that it was also resolved that it was against the law that all sweet wines should be landed at Southampton or any one commodity solely brought to one town or place. [Richard] Lyons was the projector and [William,] the Lord Latimer, Lord Chamberlain, was the setter of that patent awork and they were both grievously censured for imposing of a new found custom and such is that new impost on wines which does exceed the value of the wines. He wishes that a select committee may prepare this business for the Lords.
It is ordered that a select committee shall carefully examine and inquire who have been the first advisers and projectors to have the King's authority issue for the new impositions on wines, sugars and groceries, or other impositions, and to inquire who were deterred from complaining thereof and who did deter them; and this committee has power to send for any person by warrant from the Speaker to attend this committee and to bring with them such books or notes as shall be desired by this committee.
MR. SECRETARY CALVERT says that the new imposition laid on wines was only for that vintage and upon a great necessity for the present supplying of the King's children's pressing occasions; and in that when the lords of the Council knew not what ways to supply their wants, the Lord Treasurer proposed [f. 131v] the laying of that new impost, and therein the Lords, having an implicit faith that the Lord Treasurer knew with what conveniency it might be raised and that the Lord Treasurer would not do anything that might hinder trade, did join in the advice thereof to the King, and therefore he desires it may be ordered that the committee may inquire who were the first projectors and advisers of the laying of that new impost of 3 pound on a tun of wine.
MR. SOLICITOR says that at a conference with the Lords at the first access after Easter, the Prince and the Duke of Buckingham did both say that the King had spoken with the Spanish ambassador and told him that according to the advice given his Majesty by both Houses of Parliament his Majesty did dissolve both the treaties, that of the match and the other concerning the Palatinate. And the Duke of Buckingham did further say that he saw a dispatch written from our King to the King of Spain that he did by the advice of his Parliament, which no king did ever refuse, declare dissolved both those treaties.
Mr. Solicitor is ordered to set down this in writing and to deliver it tomorrow [to] the House to be entered in the Clerk's book.
Ordered that the business of the pretermitted custom shall be debated in the House Monday morning and all the lawyers of the House to attend that [f. 132] day for that business.
MR. SECRETARY CALVERT says that himself and the rest of the committees of both Houses appointed before Easter to draw up a declaration for the breach of both treaties have once met about it, and they are agreed on the heads of it and are ready to attend about it again when the Lords appointed by the Upper House shall call on it.
SIR THOMAS WENTWORTH says that the debate whether the two treaties of the match and the Palatinate be dissolved or no will be proper when the bill of subsidies come into the House, for that the money is to be paid within a year after the declaration.
Committee, 90 Aprilis 1624, concerning grievances
There is assigned to Brooke, King of Heralds for York, for counsel Serjeant [Sir Henry] Finch and Serjeant Bramston.
Petition of the free commons and freemen of Sandwich, that upon pretence of disorder they were restrained from the free election of mayors and other officers in that town.
Sir Edward Coke says that for the government of a town the private ordinances of the corporation are of force and binding, and that this petition is not fit to be embraced by this House.
Ordered, on question, by this committee that this petition of Sandwich shall not be here retained because it seeks to alter the ordinances of the town [f. 132v] and it does nothing concern the elections of burgesses to Parliament.
Sir Edward Coke says it is the common right of every man that all men may sell to whom they will.
Ordered that the patent for the ordering of [sea]coals and is granted to the town and corporation of Newcastle shall be brought into this House on tomorrow 3 weeks.
Concerning the Lord Treasurer.
Mr. Abraham Jacob, examined, says that yesterday when he was here he was unprepared, his memory being not good, and therefore he has since recalled himself and set down in writing what he knows concerning the business whereon he was yesterday examined.
The writing being by him read, it is the same in effect and as cunningly contrived as his first speech was yesterday.
Chancellor of the Exchequer says that Sir Miles Fleetwood has approved the esteem that ever has been had of him. That the Lord Treasurer acknowledges the just proceeding of this House in the business here depending and desires that he may have copies of his charge and then that the House will set a short day for his answer to be here given.
Sir Thomas Jermyn says that this is not the scene where the Lord Treasurer is to be judged but we are as the grand jury to find the business, and if there be any man dissatisfied that the 2 businesses complained against him be not fit to be transmitted to the Lords where he is to receive judgement or be cleared, he would have him to give his reasons [f. 133] for it; and therefore, he would not have us to hear the Lord Treasurer's answer but to send the business to the Lords to do that there in their House where it is most proper, but would he should have a copy of the charge against him.
Mr. [Christopher] Brooke says that the Lord Chancellor Bacon was not heard here because he desired it not. He would have the Lord Treasurer heard before we send it to the Lords.
Chancellor of the Duchy thinks we have a good cause against the Treasurer and would not have us mar it with handling. He is of opinion that the Lord Treasurer cannot clear the charge against him unless he shall plead an act of Parliament. He would have us appoint a short day to hear the Lord Treasurer before we send it up to the Lords.
Mr. [John] Glanville says that he would have us hear the Lord Treasurer tomorrow, since he desire[s] it, but by this his Lordship acknowledges that this House has power to convince him and there will be the less need for the Lords to make doubt of what we shall from here present against his Lordship.
It is ordered that the Lord Treasurer shall have copies of both his charges and time until tomorrow given him to make his answer here as he pleases.
The Lord Treasurer's answer touching the alteration of the instructions of the Court of Wards: confesses the instruction of the 11 December 1618. [f. 133v] That the alteration of those instructions were made as the King was informed by the consent of the officers. That it was derogatory to the Master of Wards to have the clerk receive the petitions which should be delivered to the master, and that it lay in the power of the clerk to keep petitions of wards and wardships from the knowledge of the master. [Blank] That the stamp was only used in business of course and to which other officers also do set their hands. That if his man has taken any extraordinary fees, his Lordship knows not of it and leaves him to answer for it.
Sir Benjamin Rudyard says he speaks only to justify himself, not to accuse any man. That long after the Court of Wards was erected there was a Master of the Liveries in the Chancery, but since it was annexed to the [f. 134] Court of Wards and now the Master of the Wards is called Master of the Wards and Liveries, and the surveyor of the Wards executes the place of Master of the Liveries; and he being surveyor did never in his life take anything concerning wards but only touching liveries. Augusta est conscientia ad legem tantam honestus esse. That the Lord Wallingford was the first Master of Wards did first meddle with tenders for liveries, but on complaint made the Lord Wallingford did redeliver it to him again. And this master did not touch on it until Michaelmas was twelvemonth when his Lordship took it into his own hands, and then business came so thick on him as that he caused a stamp to be made of his name, and then the Master of the Wards did cause that his secretary did manage all the duties belonging to the surveyor's place and all manner of liveries.
Elizabeth Brainthwait [sic], examined, says that she delivered to Mr. [Richard] Chamberlain a petition for her daughter's fine; that she does not remember what she gave Mr. Chamberlain; but after she had compounded for her fine, she gave to Mr. [Nicholas] Herman 20s. for her petition. She offered him 10s. but his fee was 20s. and that he must have it and that he took £5 for as small a matter.
Mr. [Edmund] Brewster, examined, says that he gave Mr. Herman not above £5 for the schedule concerning the Lady Barker's [f. 134v] son's wardship, but he sent the reward to Mr. Herman after he had dispatched him but he never demanded anything of him for it.
Sir Miles Fleetwood says that when the term shall be, he doubts not but to make it appear by the number of petitions that were by Herman dispatched and the fees and moneys thereon taken that Herman received above £3,000 per annum.
Mr. [Lawrence] Lownes, examined, says that he gave Mr. Herman for Mr. Marden's petition 44s. which Mr. Bland sent to him, being the ward's grandfather, but Mr. Herman did demand nothing of this examinant.
Mr. [Henry] Darrell, examined, says that by the former instructions petitions were delivered to Mr. Chamberlain, the clerk of the Wards, for which 2s. only was paid, and now they are delivered to the Master of the Wards or his secretary and the fee for that is 10s. and after the other fee of 2s. is also paid. That the fee of 10s. is paid for the tender of liveries to the Master of the Wards and also afterwards 10s. more to the surveyor as being his ancient due fee. That the stamp, as he thinks, began to be used about midsummer last and that it is not like the Lord Treasurer's hand.
Jeffrey Bright, book-bearer of the Court of Wards, examined, says that the fees for continuance of liveries are raised since the last instructions from 4s. to £4 8s., whereof Mr. Herman received every term 10s. for the Lord Treasurer and Herman's man 1s. every term and the surveyor does receive the like fee of 10s. every term as of [f. 135] ancient he has used to do and his man 1s. more for his fee. That last Monday in Mr. Herman's study, Mr. Herman did set the stamp to two leases of wards in the absence of the Master of the Wards.
Sir Benjamin Rudyard says that a young man which served him, hearing that Mr. Herman's man received 1s. for entry of the continuances of liveries, he took also 1s. for entering of the same, but he turned him away for it.
Mr. Herman, examined, says that he received the petitions of wards which the clerk of the Wards did use to receive; that he never did demand any fee of any man for any petition delivered him concerning wards, but if anyone asked him what fee was due to him he said nothing but what they would give him, and if they did give anything he accepted it; if nothing, he was contented therewith.
Speaker in the chair.
Ordered that the Lord Treasurer shall have time until tomorrow in the afternoon to give in his answer in what manner he pleases and that he shall in the meantime have copies of the 2 charges against him.
VII. DIARY OF SIR WILLIAM SPRING, HOUGHTON LIBRARY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, MS ENG. 980
Friday, the 9th of April
An act for the quiet establishing the manor of [blank] in Dorsetshire.
An act for establishing 3 lectures of divinity devised by the will of Thomas Whetenhall, esq., deceased.
An act for naturalizing [Sir] Stephen Lesieur, gent.
An act for exchange of lands between the Prince and Sir Lewis Watson, baronet. Committed.
An act concerning the tithe of lead ore, etc. in the High Peak in Derbyshire, etc.
[MR. JOHN] GLANVILLE reports the committee [of privileges] for the election of Chippenham.
An[d] according to the opinion of the committee, the House orders that notwithstanding the town of Chippenham, being incorporated in Queen Mary's days, was then by charter assigned to have the election of the burgesses for the Parliament by the greater number of voices at the election of the mayor and burgesses of the corporation (that is, the aldermen or the 12 or 24 or the like according as the charter goes), yet that notwithstanding because it was proved that anciently before it was incorporate, the whole number of burgesses (that is, the freemen in that town that are the commonalty), they ought to have their voice at the election as they had before the corporation though they used not that privilege since, and upon this ground they adjudged Sir Francis Popham's election, which until now was disputable, to be good and admit him into the House.
He reports the committee for the election at Newcastle-under-Lyme, that Sir [sic] Richard Leveson was well chosen and Sir Edward Vere not, neither [blank] Keeling that complained of it, and the House orders a new election for one more.
Stockbridge election for [Sir Henry] Holcroft and [blank] was complained of, and for Gloucestershire for Sir Thomas Estcourt at the complaint of Mr. [Robert] Poyntz, but it was proved a very fair election, and both approved by the committee and the House, and that of Stockbridge was not altered.
[p. 194] SIR EDWIN SANDYS reports the committee of trade. That they examined something concerning the new impositions [on wines] which were said to be first taken and imposed by order from the Privy Council upon urgent and present necessity for the King's daughter, and that order was but for a time, but that after it was continued by privy seal until the Parliament, and in the book of the company, which their law, it stands as perpetual. That the merchants complained of it as absolutely unlawful, grievous for the present, fearful for the future; and that the burden is far greater than the benefit, for besides the ordinary duties of subsidies, composition or butlerage, they pay new two charges for ordinary wines and for sweet wines three; and that some that would have complained have been deterred and dare not.
For the impositions for grocery, they said they had received a letter from the Lord Treasurer that it was mistaken and should not have been entered into the book, but it is not yet suppressed. That some will say for the Londoners who for that imposition made a composition that volenti non fit injuria, but what authority or colour is there to exact it on the outports, and for proof that it is exacted a letter of one [blank] from Weymouth was shown, directed to [Abraham] Jacob, which contained that the officer there for the levying this new imposition being called in question by what authority he did it, he was enforced to show my Lord Treasurer's warrant for it, and SIR EDWIN SANDYS says further that Jacob showed a letter and warrant from the Lord Treasurer for the command for the levy of it, etc., and that the imposition new laid on the muscovadoes (that is, coarse sugars) is raised from 50s. to £5.
MR. [RICHARD] SPENCER says that this offence is against the laws of [the] kingdom and against the essence of a freeman and subject, and against the ancient charter of England, Magna Carta, which provides for freedom in buying and traffic; it overthrows the freedom of the subject and makes him a slave, in that deprives him of the propriety of his [p. 195] goods and makes them subject to his lord, and so enslaves him. But the imposition upon impositions is an insupportable injury, etc. But who is the procurer or doer of this or cause of it? The King's privy seal does warrant it, but yet the King is free, for the procurer and mover of this to the King is the offender and in all probability it must be the Lord Treasurer. There is an offence in the increase upon sugars, which is without authority, nay against the Great Seal. Then consider cui bono, and to whose profit this redounds, and it will fall out to be the Lord Treasurer and to his purse; and a strange case to warrant that by the privy seal which was contrary to the Great Seal. That the impositions for grocery is plainly the Lord Treasurer's act and is a great oppression, etc. He moves that a select committee may be appointed to collect these things which are grievances and that a conference may be desired of the Lords and these thing[s] presented to them as great grievances, and to resolve according to the example of our ancestors, the offenders in these courses may be punished, that in the 15 [sic] year of Edward the 3rd one who had caused these impositions to be laid upon the subject had judgement to lose his freedom of London, to be incapable of bearing office, and was fined and condemned to prison during the King's pleasure, yet he had excused himself by authority from the king.
MR. [EDWARD] PITT produces a copy of a letter sent from the Lord Treasurer for proof of the exaction of the grocery, 4d. the pack, etc.
SIR ARTHUR INGRAM says that my Lord Treasurer denied that ever the Book of Rates for these new impositions ever to be allowed by him, and that he has not since the printing of the book granted any warrants for the levy.
SIR R[OBERT] PHELIPS says it may be true that the Lord Treasurer of late has granted no new warrants, and yet by virtue of the old the levy is continued. He moves to have it considered both by antiquity of right or modern custom whether by the right of the king and the subject's privilege these impositions be allowable or not. That in Queen Elizabeth's time the judges did consult whether the royal right could lawfully press upon the right of the subject or not, and could not determine that it might. Yet moves that at this [p. 196] time we may avoid the dispute of anything that may irritate or provoke his Majesty or hinder the hopes of our proceedings. He notes the moderation used in modern times for the punishment of offenders in these kinds of excess, and that anciently both here at home and in foreign parts they proceeded against such with more severity, for besides the precedent alleged by the gentleman that spoke lately, there was near about that time in France 2 treasurers, and one a new made earl, that for the like offence was hanged, and the other displaced, etc. And for the excess itself he wishes that we should well inform ourselves what it is, by what authority done, how it is procured and by whose suggestion and persuasion. That he that gives the king bad counsel or denies good may justly be proceeded with for stirring the king against the people and for breeding a coldness of fear between the people and the king, and that having found him we may deal according to his demerits.
[WILLIAM], my LORD CAVENDISH, says to say who was the author of it he cannot, but to free them upon whom it is unjustly laid he can speak and testify. That whereas it has been pretended that the customers and farmer did petition to have these new rates, they do disclaim any such thing and say it was absolutely against their will and prejudicial to them. He moves that for the business of the bribes proved against the Lord Treasurer they would presently acquaint the Lords with it, and not to stay for more matters lest they stay until the Parliament be ended suddenly before the rest can be prepared, etc.
SIR EDWARD COKE. As in the natural body per humores motos, non remotos, morbus redit, so in the body politic it is best to remedy the evils thoroughly if once they be stirred and discovered, or else it is dangerous to have moved them at all. [p. 197] The clause of tallages, taxes and impositions not to be laid upon the subject was by Magna Carta, that none should be taken but by act of Parliament, and King John made a law iisdem terminis that Henry the 3rd did. But some will ask how the king came by custom then, and that he should have it in one king and not in another. It is answered by acts of Parliament. The statute of Edward the 1[st], the 25[th] year, ordains that no aid or taking shall be but by consent of Parliament but only of wool, woolfells, etc., which is there expressed to be granted him by the commonalty of England. In the 3rd of Edward the First it is recorded that the wools etc. were granted as a new imposition allowed by act of Parliament, so that, though my Lord Dyer left another opinion, yet it is plain no challenge to custom can be by common law.
But some put a difference between magna custuma and parva custuma and that the king may have the one by law though not the other; and that anciently the judges in eyre had it always in charge to inquire what new customs did arise and who were they that procured them. Indeed, the parva custuma is the custom laid upon the stranger and is a part of the king's prerogative, and yet by the statute of Mercatoria it was granted the king to have nova custuma of strangers so that it still arises by act of Parliament. Yet after, Edward the 3rd's time, he had 20s. for a sack of wool and there appears no act for it, whereupon some infer that it was then taken by prerogative. But this was the reason of it: by the law, the transporting of wool in the 11[th] year of Edward the 3rd was made felony; and now by contract with the king for a dispensation with the penalty of this law, the merchant agreed to give the king 20s. the sack, and so it remains in the Exchequer. After this the king had an officer that procured all the merchants to assent to pay the 20s., but the Parliament following decried it down because by this means the people lost, for the merchant would have it out of them and draw it from the subject. [p. 198] King Philip and Queen Mary, in regard of the King's first arrival at Southampton, granted that all sweet wines should be landed at that town or else to pay 3 times so much custom elsewhere, and a while in Queen Mary's days it was observed; but in Queen Elizabeth['s] it was argued by all the judges in the [Ex]chequer Chamber whether the king could raise new impositions or not and by them adjudged unlawful, but after they obtained in Parliament an act for sweet wines only.
No man can show anything anciently taken by the king, but that a good reason may be yielded for it, that it was not by prerogative; but if these wicked impositions may be suppressed the King shall be enriched by the wealth of his subjects. Yet he thinks it is now no fit time to lessen the King's rent and therefore will not press that too far, but for imposition upon imposition it is like metal upon metal in case of armoury, which is damnable, and he that advises the King to it is the offender. The accusation of the great Duke of Suffolk was, among many other things, that he had procured the King to do things contrary to law and to burden the subject. He was banished, etc. [William,] the Lord Latimer had a projector that moved him to the procuring the King impose upon the subject and it was one [Richard] Lyons, and he was grievously punished. This Lyons was the polypragmon and Latimer the patentee, as ever about these great persons such will attend, and they both were rewarded. But this imposition upon imposition is far worse, and therefore he moves that a committee may likewise collect the heads of this complaint and that it may be presented to the Lords with that of bribery and go together as a couple of comely companions.
[p. 199] The House orders that the dispute of the royal right shall at this time be declined, and for a committee as is moved by Sir Edward Coke, and to send for the parties that Sir Edwin Sandys said were deterred from complaining, that the Speaker in name of the House shall send warrants for them.
It is ordered that the pretermitted customs be debated in the House upon Tuesday next and all the lawyers of the House to be there.
At the committee [for grievances] this afternoon in the House
[Abraham] Jacob was produced again and exhibits a writing which he says is the sum of his knowledge upon more advised consideration than he spoke yesterday, being then so unexpectedly called as that he says he did not so fully and truly speak his knowledge as now in this he will, and he desires to read it himself. The effect of it was that the security failing which the great farmers promised and that farmers had notwithstanding obtained the grant, that then my Lord Treasurer (having formerly reserved 4:32 parts of the farm for Sir Arthur Ingram and his friends) did now claim them again, and that for to buy them out he gave the Lord Treasurer £1,000, which was laid £500 on the great farms and the other £500 on the small, until the Lord Treasurer, hearing of it, said it was to be laid all on the great, and that it was afterwards so altered, etc.
In reading this himself, I observed that he ever spoke of himself as if another had spoken of him, calling himself Mr. Jacob throughout, which made it suspicious not to be his own draft etc.
After which, the Chancellor of the Exchequer presents the Lord Keeper's [sic] thanks for the impartial hearing of his cause and desires that if the whole charge be come in against him, he may have a day appointed him to answer in.
And it is ordered that he may have copies of both the charges, if he will, and tomorrow in the afternoon to answer.
VIII. DIARY OF SIR THOMAS HOLLAND, BODL., TANNER MS 392
9 April 1624, Friday
First read. An act for the quiet establishing the customs of the manor of [blank] in Dorset.
First read. An act for the establishing 3 lectures of divinity by Thomas Whetenhall, esq., devised by his will.
First read. An act for the naturalizing Sir Stephen Lesieur, gent.
Second read, committed, Saturday, [Court of] Wards. An act for the confirmation of an exchange [of lands] between the Prince and Sir Lewis Watson, baronet.
First read. An act concerning the tithe and tenth of lead ore or lead mine in the High Peak in Derbyshire, and other places.
[MR. JOHN] GLANVILLE. For Chippenham, more than the bailiff and the 12 ought to have election. [f. 89v] Newcastle-under-Lyme, the ancient custom the mayor, aldermen, the bailiffs, 24, common council used to return; they got a new charter, by which they made a new constitution for election contrary to the former, which is held to be void.
[SIR EDWIN] SANDYS'S report for overburdening of trade. The great impo[blank]. The cause why they should lay it, then the levy and, thirdly, the state as it stand[s]. Next, the pretermitted customs. To clear a doubt concerning new impositions showed by a book newly printed, and compositions. For the matter of wines, had his original from order from the Council upon necessity for the King's daughter, which was but for that time, but after it was brought in by privy seal which continued until this Parliament and stands in the book for a continual law. The merchants made a complaint of the rigor of it. 4 kinds: absolutely unlawful, grievous for the present, fearful for the future and partial. Without authority, grievous, being greater than the benefit they reap in future. Then for the imposition for grocery, which was said was an error but yet it is not suppressed. For the imports volenti non fit injuria, but for the outports [blank]. A letter from Weymouth to [Abraham] Jacob. Jacob showed a letter and warrant from the Lord Treasurer for the command for it. Sir Arthur Ingram said that it was not my Lord's mind. Then they showed my Lord's letter under hand and seal. Likewise that the sugars called muscavadoes, where it had been 50s., were now raised to £5.
MR. [RICHARD] SPENCER. The offence in general against the laws of this kingdom. Next, the overthrow the essence. He that has not the propriety of his goods, he is a slave. Then, these impositions takes away every man's propriety. Then, who is the cause? There is mention in the Book [of Rates], by the privy seal. The act was expre[blank]. The increase of imposition upon sugar, what authority against the broad seal? Then cui bono, who has the profit? Then I think it comes to the Lord Treasurer's purse. Then the privy seal to contradict the Great Seal. Then the imposition upon wines. That we should follow the steps of our ancestors. Name a select committee to frame a conference with the Lords and to present these grievances.
[f. 90] [SIR ROBERT] PHELIPS mentions an earl in France, for putting imposition upon the subject, had his goods confiscated, and he was hanged. He moves that a committee may be selected to set down these grievances and prefer them to the Lords, and that we may further examine those who said they were deterred and feared, and by whom.
[SIR EDWARD] COKE. The clauses of taxes and impositions were parcel of Magna Carta, that none should be taxed. The king came to the customs of wool, woolfells and leather, was given by Parliament. 25 Ed. 1, that no taking shall be but by act of Parliament but of woolfells. 3 Ed. 1, fol. 35, for the grant of wool by Parliament. 151 fol., Magnas, that the justices in eyre did inquire what new customs were raised. Now there is parva custuma that is of the stranger, but 31 Ed. 1 he granted the strangers these privileges and they gave him 3s. 4d. more in a sack of wool than was given. After Ed. 3 he had 20s. in a sack of wool. 11 Ed. 3 that whosoever transported wool was a felon. Then he made a dispensation that they might carry, giving him xxs. a sack. Then 17 Ed. 3 that whereas the merchants had agreed to a greater subsidy in this year, it was cried down. King Philip arrived at Southampton when he married Queen Mary, granted that all sweet wines should land there; if at any other place they should pay treble damages. After the death of Queen Mary it was brought into the [Ex]chequer Chamber whether it was good to land all there, then whether the king and queen might set a greater tunnage than usual. They resolved neither of them could hold. But whether it be time to decrease the King's revenue he will not, yet to make a claim of the subject's right is seasonable for there is no prerogative. Imposition upon imposition is insufferable. He that gives the King advice, he is the offender. The accusation of the Duke of Suffolk, for procuring things contrary to law was banished. [Richard] Lyons was a projector, [William, Lord] Latimer did assist, for imposing of customs fined and ransomed. He moves that a selected committee may be chosen to prepare and inquire who have been the causers of these impositions.
[f. 90v] Committee. [?Order]. It is ordered that the committee is appointed by the House to examine who first projected this imposition and advised the King to have issued out this authority concerning wine, sugar and grocery, and who deterred these men.
Order. It is ordered Mr. Jacob shall attend the House this day at 2 of the clock.
Order. It is ordered that upon Tuesday next that the pretermitted customs be in debate and that all the lawyers of the House then to be here.
Order. It is ordered that tomorrow, eight of the clock, the statute of continuance be read and all the House to be here.
At the committee [of the Whole House] for the Lord Treasurer in the afternoon
Abraham Jacob. Coming out of the country and not knowing what to answer to, and hearing that the committee is not satisfied, he has therefore better collected his thoughts and set it down in writing. When the agreement was concluded for the lease of the great farms and a reservation made for Sir Arthur Ingram, afterwards, some securities falling off, the Lord Treasurer claimed 4/32 parts, which he paid a £1,000 for to the Lord Treasurer, £500 being laid upon the great farms and [£]500 upon the small farms. The Lord Treasurer, hearing the laying it upon both farms, said it was not to be laid upon the small farms.
Chancellor [of the Exchequer]. The Lord Treasurer presents his thanks for the impartial hearing of witnes[ses] and desires that if the full charge be laid against him, that his witnesses may be heard and a day given him to produce his witnesses.
It is ordered that the Lord Treasurer shall have copies of both charges and to give answer tomorrow in the afternoon.
Surveyor [of the Court of Wards]. The Master [of the Wards] sometimes signed some tenders and continuance. No man ever took any of those fees before Wallingford, when the secretary and solicitor had the surveyor's fee, which was 3s. 4d. The master should seal and the surveyor after. He never delayed any man's business half an hour nor his man ever took one penny for expedition. The Lord Treasurer said the tenders [f. 91] and continuances for favours that the King afforded the subject and it is fit they should pay well for them.
IX. DIARY OF JOHN PYM, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE RECORD OFFICE, FH/N/C/0050
April 9, 1624
An act for quiet establishing the customs of the manor of [blank] in the county of Dorset.
An act for the naturalizing of Sir Stephan Lesieur.
An act for confirmation of an exchange of certain lands between the Prince and Sir Lewis Watson. Committed.
[f. 55] An act concerning the tithes of lead from the mines in the county of Derby.
MR. [JOHN] GLANVILLE reported the case of Chippenham, which had been recommitted and was again heard by the committee upon supplemental proof. The state he delivered shortly thus. That some ancient returns were made by the bailiff and burgesses and other of the common council. And as there was difference in the records, so there was in the witnesses; some offered to prove that the inhabitants did join in the election in the time of Queen Elizabeth and in 10 of the King, but they were encountered with others in the negative. For this present election, it was agreed the bailiff and 12 met in an upper room where Mr. [John] P[ym] had the greater number. But as they came downward, it was now affirmed by the supplemental proof that the bailiff asked the commoners, being all in a lower room, for whom the[y] stood and that they answered for Sir Francis Popham.
Upon these premises three points were agreed by the committee:
- 1. That no charter could restrain the common right in elections, but that more than 12 ought to choose.
- 2. That this assent of the other inhabitants, though in another room, was available to accomplish the election for Sir Francis Popham.
- 3. That some should be appointed to view the indentures and to take order that none should remain upon the file contrary to this order.
All these points were affirmed by the House, upon question.
He proceeded to the case of Newcastle[-under-Lyme], upon the petition of Mr. John Keeling. In this town, by their ancient custom, the mayor, two bailiffs, 14 [sic] burgesses and all other freemen did make the election. By a charter 33 [sic] Eliz. they were made aliud corpus corporatum, and by a constitution 39 [sic] Eliz. the mayor, bailiff[s] and burgesses should, without the other inhabitants, make elections to the Parliament, which had been accordingly used. At this election the mayor and others were in an upper room; Sir [sic] [Richard] Leveson had 26 voices, Sir Edward Vere 16, Mr. Keeling 9, but divers of the inhabitants were in the street and Mr. Keeling, calling out at the window, was named by a great many.
It was agreed by the committee:
- 1. That the election for Sir [sic] [Richard] Leveson was good.
- 2. That in the second election, there was a nullity and that the voices in the street were not available for Mr. Keeling because first the quality of the persons who gave their voices could not be distinguished.
- 3. It was unreasonably propounded to them below after it was lost by voices above.
The election of Sir Richard Gifford and Sir Henry Holcroft for Stockbridge was confirmed, there being but one witness offered and in a point not very material.
The case of Gloucestershire: a petition was preferred by Mr. [Robert] Poyntz and these points were resolved.
- [1.] That Sir Thomas Estcourt was well chosen, though against his will and that he laboured [f. 55v] to have the election declared for Mr. [Robert] Poyntz.
- 2. That whereas Mr. [Robert] Poyntz petitioned for another hearing, the committee were well satisfied and there remained no cause of producing more witnesses.
- 3. That if he did no further press the House, they would omit the question of costs.
- 4. That the sheriff had well discharged his duty and was faultless.
SIR EDWIN SANDYS made a report from the great committee of trade, wherein these matters were referred to a further time, 3 points concerning the imposition by the Merchant Adventurers:
The pretermitted customs being a question of right between the king and the subject, the committee desired that before any resolution a day might be appointed to argue it in the House and the lawyers commanded to attend. Three other points concerning some new impositions in the Book of Rates were now opened. First, the late imposition upon wines had these degrees: it was originally set by order of the Council upon particular occasion for the support of his Majesty's daughter and was but for one time and no longer. Afterwards it was drawn into a privy seal, with a clause to continue until the next Parliament. And now the Book of Rates, which is the law of the Custom House, it is made perpetual. They cannot understand any warrant for this either from the King or the Lords, neither do they take it to be an error, for at this day it is levied and bonds are taken for it. And the committee is informed that divers merchants would have complained of the rigor used in levying of it, and were deterred from coming to this House. Some reasons were given of the complaint against this imposition:
- 1. That it was unlawful, being without warrant.
- 2. Was very grievous for the present, the burdens upon wine coming to more than the price of the wine itself.
- 3. Fearful for the future, for besides the customs, impositions and butlerage, there are already 3 impositions upon wine:
- 1. The old impositions.
- 2. The new impositions.
- 3. The more new impositions.
Second, touching the grocery, they had received a message from my Lord Treasurer that it was a mistaking and ought not to be in the book. The composition was grounded upon a contract which was made only in London; for the outports his Majesty was in his original right. Yet a letter was produced from my Lord Treasurer whereby he commanded the customers to make no entry until this be paid.
Third, whereas sugar heretofore was at £2 10s. 0d. per chest, in this new book it was at £5 0s. 0d.; but this was by some thought to be an error, because nobody could justify [f. 56] that it had been taken.
MR. [RICHARD] SPENCER insisted upon 4 points:
- 1. That these impositions were offensive to all the subjects.
- 2. To inquire who was the procurer of them.
- 3. What our ancestors have done in the like case.
- 4. Touching our proceeding in this complaint.
For the first point he gave these reasons:
- 1. That it was against the law of Magna Carta and of Ed. 1, whereby it was expressed that nothing should be taken without the good will of the commons.
- 2. It did overthrow the very essence of a subject, took away his propriety and made him a slave, for by the civil law a slave has no propriety.
For the second, though the King's privy seal be vouched, yet his Majesty does nothing without advice, but that privy seal was only for the wines. The compositions for grocery were exacted by my Lord Treasurer's own warrant and the increase upon the sugars would have turned only to his profit.
For the third, he alleged 21 Ed. 3, that no impositions should be set but by common consent. 50 Ed. 3 the Commons prayed it might be a capital offence to lay any new impositions, and in the same year Richard Lyons was adjudged to perpetual imprisonment, fine and ransom, to which he added the judgement against [William,] the Lord Latimer. He concluded with a motion to present these grievances to the Lords and for preparation of them to appoint a select committee.
Another information was presented against my Lord Treasurer. That whereas an unjust fee of 4d. for every pack of goods was demanded in Poole and the members thereof, my Lord Treasurer, to enforce them to make payment thereof, had written to the customers willing and requiring them not to allow the benefit of [£]10 per £100 to all those that did refuse to pay the same; notwithstanding about 20 years since there was a commission to inquire of all fees and no such duty was certified, whereupon they had often petitioned his Lordship and had received very ill answers.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS, concerning the right of imposing. It was in the late Queen's time referred to the consideration of the judges, but they never delivered their opinions; a certain argument that they went not with the Queen. Since that, it has been largely debated in Parliament, 70 and 120. At this time it is well resolved not to stir it. Yet to declare it, so as to leave some footsteps of claim without disturbing our hope in these other businesses. But for the excess in these particular additions, let us inquire both the man and his authority. We have hitherto been very moderate. Our neighbours in the kingdom of France have been more earnest in the prosecution of 2 governors of the finances, whereof one, though he were an earl, had his estate confiscated and was hanged. There was never any ill man in this kind but would seek to countenance himself with the King's authority, but he is little less than a traitor that gives the King bad counsel and such as may make a separation between him and his subjects.
[f. 56v] In SIR EDWARD COKE'S speech these things were observed. That in Magna Carta there is a plain clause against all taxes without authority of Parliament. King John granted the like charter, but Walsingham said that E. 1 refused to exemplify it unless this clause were left out. That there is no customs' prerogative. That which is most ancient upon wool, woolfells and leather was given by act of Parliament. In 15 Ed. 1 are these words: "Nothing is to be taken except it be for wool, woolfells and leather", which was granted us by the commonalty, unless by act of Parliament. And in Rot. Par., 3 Ed. 1, membrana 10: Cum prelati, magnates et tota communitas concesserunt, etc. So that the Lord Dyer saying that this custom was by common law was mistaken. That which is called magna custuma was 6s. 8d. upon a sack of wool, and parva custuma was 3s. 4d., granted by merchants strangers in consideration of some privileges. An imposition laid by the consent of merchants 17 Ed. 3 was destroyed by Parliament. That he had a book of my Lord Dyer wherein the case was reported under his own hand, first, concerning Southampton; King Philip landed there, made a grant to that town that all sweet wines should be landed there and if any were landed elsewhere they should pay double [sic] custom. This was observed all his time but afterwards questioned and brought before all the judges in the [Ex]chequer Chamber and was 3 years in argument. In the end these two points were resolved:
- 1. The grant was void in respect of the monopoly and that notwithstanding it might lawfully be landed elsewhere.
- 2. The king could not set a higher imposition than the tunnage and poundage, but in 50 Eliz. they procured an act of Parliament for merchant strangers to land their sweet wines only there.
Among the articles against the Duke of Suffolk in the time of H. 6 this was one, that he had procured grants derogatory to the common law.
MR. SPEAKER reduced the whole debate to 3 questions:
- 1. For declining the right of imposing.
- 2. For a committee to inquire of the advisers of these new impositions.
- 3. To send for those merchants who had been deterred from complaining.
SECRETARY CALVERT. The Lords were in consultation for money, my Lord Treasurer propounded this way, they took it from him with an implicit faith and advised his Majesty. So the question must not be of the advice, but of the first project.
By occasion of MR. SOLICITOR'S motion to go in hand with the bill of subsidies, because that grant had reference to the King's declaration, it came in debate whether his Majesty had sufficiently declared.
For the affirmative was alleged:
- [1.] His speech to us.
- 2. The report of the Prince and my Lord of Buckingham of his declaration to the Spanish ambassador here, and his dispatch to his own ambassador there.
- 3. The preparation of a public declaration whereof these heads were drawn.
Yet for more caution, it was thought fit that a declaration should be inserted in the act of subsidy.
[f. 57] MR. SOLICITOR informed the House that he had spoken with [Abraham] Jacob, who told him he would now discover all.
Whereupon he was appointed to attend in the afternoon.
Eodem die, in the committee for grievances
A petition was preferred in behalf of the inhabitants of the town of Sandwich that they might be restored to their ancient liberty in the election of mayors and other officers; but it was rejected and a difference put between these elections and the elections of burgesses to the Parliament, which cannot be restrained by any order, decree or charter.
Another petition against the sole buying of [sea]coals by the [h]ostmen of Newcastle, by an occasion whereof this rule was given by Sir Edward Coke: if a new corporation be erected with a clause of restraint of good[s] foreign bought and foreign sold, it is void; but by prescription or act of Parliament such a restraint is good.
Mr. [William] Nyell presented a double complaint on the behalf of the fishermen in Ireland.
- 1. Against the customs, who exacted ixd. for every barrel of herring, iii[d.] for gauging, for the entry of a bark xs., of a boat xiiiis. [sic].
- 2. Against the officers of the admiralty, by whom they were restrained two times and 12d. a man exacted for attendance at courts, and xxd. a foot for tithe of the land upon the beach.
It was objected by Sir Edward Coke that the statute of Ireland made it lawful to take 9d. a barrel.
But it was answered that statute does charge only the merchants who buy to transport and not the fisherman.
Mr. Jacob, excusing his defect of memory, offered a writing which he desired might be read. It agreed fully with his former answers, but was more cunningly drawn. There was one slip which discovered it to be framed by others, for he was throughout named in the third person and with this addition, "Mr. Jacobs".
But Sir Miles Fleetwood took exception at this proceeding as irregular and advantageous that an examinate should deliver a prepared answer in writing, wherein he was seconded by Sir Edward Coke, and the paper rejected.
Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer. The accusation was probable, but no man could settle his opinion without hearing the answers, wherefore he moved that my Lord might have a copy and a day assigned.
Some spoke against the giving any further day, to transfer the complaint and leave him to clear himself with the Lords.
Against which Mr. [Christopher] Brooke gave these reasons:
- 1. For the proportion and congruity of our proceedings, we had already taken the like course in the other part of the complaint concerning the Court of Wards.
- 2. We cannot yet determine what offence it is. The taking of rewards is not so faulty as bribery; and if we consider the law, bribery is properly in a judge, extortion by colour of an office.
- 3. The Lord of St. Albans never desired to be heard. It is [f. 57v] true that our judgement is not definitive but only a judgement of information, but we see that grand juries may receive evidence of both sides.
Mr. Chancellor of the Duchy added that Job's good cause was spoiled with ill-handling, so might we spoil this. The complaints of this House were anciently called the clamour of the Commons, but the word had then a better sense. Let us so proceed in this business that it be not taken for a clamour indeed.
Mr. [John] Glanville. If he be heard, it will be an acknowledgment that this House is a proper place for the examination and our complaint will have more weight when it does not proceed from proof taken only ex parte.
It was ordered that he should be heard and receive a copy of his charge.
There was a paper presented from my Lord Treasurer, wherein first were set down the objections concerning the Court of Wards, and then this title — "The humble answer of the Earl of Middlesex, etc., to the after-mentioned complaints made to this honourable House" — followed with a defence according to the particulars of the charge.
- 1. That the former instructions were made by the officers without the master and the 2 auditors, whereupon he sued for an alteration and had a referment to 8 of the Council and the amendments were by the consent of the officers under all their hands.
- 2. The petitions ever since the erecting of the court were first delivered to the master, who alone can answer a petition and herein has usually employed the ministry of his secretary, and no power by these latter orders is given to take any fee, neither is there any complaint against him.
- 3. Tenders were ever made to the master until by the late orders they were appropriated to the surveyor; now they are left to them both and being a matter of necessity, that the subject might not be any more charged, he does take but half the fee and the surveyor the other half; but continuances are of grace, and yet for his part he takes but the old fee of xs.
- 4. The alteration of time for concealed wards is according to ancient precedents.
- 5. No inconvenience can be proved by the secretary's keeping the stamp, for it was never set but to matters of course and such as had passed the examination of other officers.
His secretary, Mr. Herman, being examined, denied the taking any fees or gratuities, only for petitions he had sometimes xs. and sometimes more, but for one third part not a penny.
Sir Benjamin Rudyard. That for a year and half [f. 58] after the erection of the Court of Wards, they had nothing to do with liveries. Afterwards, for relation between them, they were annexed to the court and a surveyor of the liveries appointed to be the second officer, which place has ever since remained distinct and has no proper charge if not of liveries, tenders and continuances. The master did sometimes sign continuances, but the stream ever went with the surveyors. Secretaries, to entice the attorneys and solicitors to come to them, would abate part of the fee. But the master never took anything until my Lord of Wallingford's time, upon which the King by his letter did assign them to himself, and so it continued until the alteration by these instructions, which appoint the master to sign first and then the surveyor, whereby he is locked up in his place, which is not only an injury but an indignity. Now by the stamp it is brought from the master to his man, and instead of a surveyor he is made a surveyor [sic]. He concluded with a protestation of his endeavour to satisfy not only the law but his own conscience and to give the subjects dispatch with sincerity, to maintain which he had refused very good offers.
Sir Miles Fleetwood offered a reply to my Lord's answers, which he said was built upon a false ground that the disposing of wards did heretofore belong to the master, and tendered witnesses to these points:
- 1. That the secretary had exacted divers fees:
- 1. A man of the Lady Edmondes, £5. This witness did not appear.
- 2. Elizabeth Bradford. She charged him with £20 [sic], which he denied.
- 3. Mr. [Edmund] Brewster for alteration of an instalment of £250. To this Brewster made a shifting answer, whereby he lost some of his own reputation rather than saved the secretary's.
- 4. One [Lawrence] Lownes, 44s. which was proved, but that it was a free gift without demand.
- 2. That the stamp was used to matters of importance one instance only was produced, which was of a warrant for a new day to find an office.
X. DIARY OF SIR WALTER EARLE, BL, ADD. MS 18,597
Friday, the 2nd of April [sic]
Bill touching the tithe of lead mines in the Peak in Derbyshire. First read.
MR. [JOHN] GLANVILLE'S report of the case of Chippenham upon the recommitment. The committee was of opinion:
- 1. That more than 12 ought to have voice in election.
- 2. That by most of the freemen, Sir Francis Popham was well elected, the election being begun in an upper room and perfected below.
- 3. There being 2 indentures, one of them to be withdrawn.
The House approved the same and ordered it accordingly, and that Sir Francis Popham should be admitted.
Report of the case of Newcastle-under-Lyme. The opinion of the committee that the election of [Richard] Leveson was good, but of the other not.
The House resolved accordingly, and that private ordinance of the town could not debar the freemen of their voice.
The case of Stockbridge resolved in the Houses [sic] as the committee had done.
The case of Gloucestershire likewise.
SIR EDWIN SANDYS'S report from the committee of trade. The principal thing insisted on was the point of overburdening of trade, and therein:
- 1. The great imposition [f. 126] of the Merchants [sic] Adventurers.
- 2. The pretermitted customs, that being matter of right between the king and subject, the committee did not conclude anything.
- 3. The new impositions mentioned in a new Book of Rates, added concerning wines, the pretermitted custom and composition for grocery.
This imposition on wines was by order from the Council in case of necessity for present support of the Queen of Bohemia, but then there came a privy seal for continuing it to the Parliament. But the new book makes it perpetual and as a law, and the practice shows it. Some merchants complained of the rigor, and threatenings used, whereby they were deterred. It is complained of:
It raises so much as the wine itself is worth. Impost, old, new, later; partial, London more burdened than other parts.
Touching the grocery, the Lord Treasurer sent word it was an error in the book. But it appears it is levied. The merchants of London agreed, but not the outports. A letter read from [John] Gardiner of Weymouth to Mr. [Abraham] Jacob. It mentions a warrant, 24 February, [f. 126v] under the Lord Treasurer's hand and seal for levying it. Mr. Jacob yesterday showed the like warrant. The muscovadoes sugars raised from 50s. to £5.
MR. [RICHARD] SPENCER. Fit to consider of these new impositions:
Such impositions take away the propriety of men's goods, which distinguishes a freeman from a slave. So it takes away the being of a subject. Secondly, we should consider who are the procurers of this wrong. It appears who. Thirdly, the offence itself. Touching sugar, for any without public authority to lay such an imposition. And then cui bono? It will appear that of sugars should come to the Lord Treasurer's own purse. The new imposition by warrant from the Lord Treasurer; it appears what has been done. Record 21 E. 3, n. 16, no charge without assent; and 15 E. 3, n. 91, a capital offence when any for their particular profit lay new impositions. The punishment, Richard Lyons, 15 E. 3, n. 17, 18, 19, fine and ransom, imprisoned and not to bear office. 15 E. 3, 24, William, Lord Latimer. Now what we are to do. Tread in the steps of our ancestors. Recommend these things to the Lords to be proceeded in as our ancestors.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS. Complaint of impositions not only heretofore but in Queen Elizabeth's time, yea, in the King's time. In this Parliament it has been touched already. [f. 127] For the punishment of those that shall mislead the King in such a point, fit to consider. A select committee for the finding out of the authors of such evils. When this is done, send it up to the Lords.
[WILLIAM], the LORD CAVENDISH. Whereas the Book of Rates says in the preamble it was done by consent of the officers of the Custom House, they deny it.
SIR EDWARD COKE. The clause of not setting taxes but by Parliament, the charter of King John in Magna Carta has it. Wendover and Wals[ingham] say it was left out by [blank]. How came the king to his customs? Wool, woolfells and leather given by act of Parliament. The statute 25 E. 1, in Magna Carta, pars 2, no aid nor taking nor mise to be taken but by act of Parliament but of wools and woolfells and leather granted by the commonalty. Rot. Parl. [sic] 3 E. 1, memb. 1: Cum praelati et magnates, etc., concesserunt novam consuetudinem de lanis, etc. This was magna consuetude. The justices in eyre gave intelligence of new customs come up, Capitula Itineris, Magna Carta, fol. 151. How parva custuma came up. Some say the king may impose on strangers. No, it is against Magna Carta; it came in by Carta Mercatoria, 31 E. 1; [f. 127v] the merchants having a charter, granted the king 3s. 4d. in consideration of privileges. After E. 3 the king had 20s. for a sack of wool. Question, how came that now by prerogative? But a law made 11 E. 3 to make transporting of wool felony. The king made dispensations and had it for 20s. per sack. He got all the merchants to consent to give a greater custom on wools. But it was decreed 17 E. 3, the reason yielded, the burden would lie on the commonalty. All the judges of England resolved it to be against the law.
King Philip arrived at Southampton. To honour the town he granted that all sweet wines should be there landed, and if any other where then to pay treble custom. Complaint it was a monopoly. Argued in the Exchequer Chamber:
The argument continued 3 year[s]. The judges resolved neither could be done by law. In the Parliament 4 et 5 an act procured that all strangers should land their wines there. [f. 128] Not think fit to do more now than to make the claim. But this case in hand is a strange one, presently to be decried, imposition upon imposition. The King is said to do it, but vide by whose advice? A case, the Duke of Suffolk in Henry the 6['s] time, the principal article that he procured the King to make grants contrary to the common law. [William, Lord] Latimer's and [Richard] Lyons's case hits right. Lyons was the projector, both sentenced for imposing a new found custom, Latimer for the setting the projects on foot. Motion, a selected committee.
Resolved, by the question of the House, and ordered to name a select committee to find out the projectors and advisers of these new burdens, wine, sugar, grocery, and who were deterred from complaining and who deterred them. A select committee appointed.
SECRETARY CALVERT acknowledged the Council, not knowing how to furnish the money for the Queen of Bohemia and being at a nonplus, the Lord Treasurer projected this course which the Council with an implicit faith assented to. Therefore it were fit to limit the examination to the projectors and advisers [f. 128v] of the new impositions.
The relation of the Duke of Buckingham touching the King's actual dissolving the treaties by signification to the King's ambassadors and the dispatch into Spain, entered by order.
Friday afternoon, the general committee
Mr. Jacob called to be examined again touching the Lord Treasurer's business, desired to have a paper read wherein he had upon deliberation set down the whole business and the truth thereof. But it appeared to be the same in effect that he had delivered in word before, and no other.
Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer moved on the Lord Treasurer's behalf that as the House had heard the accusations against him, so they would hear his answer and such witnesses as he could produce to clear himself.
The business concerning the Court of Wards. The Lord Treasurer's answer in writing to what was laid to his charge was read, the copy of the charge being permitted him by order of the House.
Witnesses produced to prove extortions of [Nicholas] Herman, the Lord Treasurer's secretary of [f. 129] the Wards, for petitions.
The ancient manner concerning petitions was to deliver them to the clerk of the Wards and to pay 2s. for the fee; now they are delivered to the master or his secretary, and the fee is 10s. besides the other 2s.
The fee for continuances raised from 40s. to £4 8s., which Mr. Herman receives.
Mr. Herman called in. Denied the receiving any fees, acknowledged the setting the Lord Treasurer's stamp to petitions, etc., for giving days to find offices, etc. in his absence.
XI. JOURNAL OF SIR SIMONDS D'EWES, BL, HARL. MS 159
[9 April 1624]
The copy of a revocation of a protection made in the time of Parliament
[f. 23] Whereas Robert Howell, of London, merchant, being indebted unto divers persons in great sums of money, for delaying and defrauding of which said creditors he has absented himself in foreign parts until the calling of this Parliament, and now, as I am informed, privileged himself from all writs and actions under my protection, I not being willing to shelter any man of ability in this kind using indirect means to defraud others, do therefore utterly disannul and revoke any protection by me formerly granted to the said Robert Howell, and do give full power to all mayors, sheriffs, serjeants-at-mace, bailiffs, marshals' men or any other his Majesty's officers whom it shall concern to execute their several and respective office and offices as fully as if no such protection had been by me heretofore granted, any protection by me heretofore granted to the contrary notwithstanding, under my hand this ixth day of April, anno 1624. Edward Denny.
[f. 101v] April 90, Friday
An act about lead mine and lead ore in the Peak in Derbyshire.
Report from the committee of privileges. Ordered that for the town of Chippenham that more than the bailiff and 12 ought to have voices in elections, viz. all the burgesses and freemen, and that their new charter cannot alter their ancient manner of elections. Sir Francis Popham judged well chosen.
Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire. They obtained a new charter Eliz. 39 [sic] and reduced their number to 24, excluding the commonalty, and Sir Edward Vere so elected was now judged unduly elected and so for this time rejected and his other fellow burgess.
Report from the committee of trade upon that branch of overburdening trade and particularly by the new impositions of the late Book of Rates upon wines. It came from the lords of the Council for the Queen of Bohemia and was to last until the next sessions [sic] of Parliament, but this book made it perpetual, which was neither intended by the King nor Council but some other; and ergo, that imposition was judged unlawful as being:
- 1. Done by no warrant of law.
- 2. A grievance, the imposition coming to more than the very wine itself.
- 3. Partially laid, as appears by the complaint of the city.
As for the composition for grocery, which was willingly yielded unto by the city for the King's provisions and ergo no wrong done them, the city [sic] laid it upon the outports; they complained, the Lord Treasurer said was the cause why the Book of Rates was suppressed; but there was then a letter wrote from Weymouth from John Gardiner to Abraham Jacob that the collection of grocery was exacted and a warrant of the Lord Treasurer's produced to have it so.
The Book of Rates pretends in the preamble to be done at the humble suit of the city, but [Henry] Garway, [Bernard] Hide, etc., protested that it was done without their knowledge and much to their prejudice. Delivered by [WILLIAM], the LORD CAVENDISH.
Here came in MR. RICHARD SPENCER'S speech, vouching [f. 102] divers precedents what was to be done to such as should mislead the King.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS produced others in the King of France, and Longueville, though raised to be an earl, yet hanged for it.
SIR EDWARD COKE. Impositions were not to be laid but by Parliament, as appears by Magna Carta and prerogatives; customs were granted by them, as Ed. 1mi, 250 wool, woolfells and leather granted to the king by Parliament. And the justices in eyre inquired. Still was new customs peeped up in the kingdom. He wished that justices of assize might do the like. Ed. 1mi, 310, it is granted to the king by Parliament to impose upon the stranger, ergo he would not do it upon them. And Ed. 3tii, 110, it being made a felony to transport wool, the merchant gave the king 20s. a pack for leave to export it, ergo it was not yet an impost; and this consent of the merchant was reversed also anno 170 by the Commons, the charge in conclusion lying upon them.
Then he related a case: King Philip, arriving at Southampton, granted the landing of sweet wines there and awarded triple custom to them that should do otherwise. When Queen Mary died it was complained of as a monopoly. It was argued in the [Ex]chequer Chamber whether that grant was good or no, and upon 3 years' arguing there and at my Lord Dyer's chamber, it was resolved negatively and the triple impost made void. This case was not printed, but he having the Lord Dyer's own book by him, which he kept among his κειμήλια, he found it there written. So that, as he said, colour upon colour, or metal upon metal, is false armoury, and imposition upon imposition is worse policy and equity, and he that procured the King to do it was an offender. It was an article against the Duke of Suffolk that he had procured the King to impose something against law upon the subject. And [William,] the Lord Latimer's case is plain, who was sentenced for imposing a new custom by the projecting of his polypragmon upon one [Richard] Lyons, a citizen.
It was ordered to waive and set by the dispute of our claim in this particular, though we maintained the right, and a select committee appointed to [f. 102v] sum up the charge against the Lord Treasurer.
A motion upon which issued an order to enter the Prince and Duke of Buckingham's assurance of the dissolution of the 2 treaties with Spain into the Clerk's book.
In the afternoon
A message delivered by Sir Richard Weston from the Lord Treasurer that he might be heard in answer to what was objected against him, which was granted because it was but equal.
We had done it to others, yea, to himself in the former part of his charge; his answer was delivered in writing by Sir Henry Carey; so we should do iustum iuste and be able to give our judgements rightly when we sent this cause up to the Lords.
Besides, it would be an acknowledgment of the privileges of the House to have a Lord of the Upper House answer here.
[Nicholas] Herman, the Lord Treasurer's secretary, was charged to receive fees to the value of £3,000 per annum, whereas none was due unto him, and to execute the place of receiving petitions in the Court of Wards, unsworn, which was due to the clerk, a sworn officer of the king's.
Herman, being examined about the stamp, confessed to keep it and to have used it out of his Lord's presence, and not only to matters of course but to something particularly requiring his Lordship's directions, as appeared by some things produced in the House and showed him.