Proceedings in Parliament 1624: The House of Commons. Originally published by British History Online, 2015-18.
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MONDAY, 26 APRIL 1624
I. JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, PA, HC/CL/JO/1/14
[CJ 690; f. 11v]
Lunae, 260 Aprilis, 220 Jacobi
L. 1a. An act for establishing a free school and house of correction near Boston within the county of Lincoln.
Staplers' bill. Tomorrow morning, 7 [o']clock, in the Court of Wards.
L. 1a. An act for the better explanation of a statute made 70 Ed. 4, entitled, An act for the election, oath, authority, searching and sealing of the wardens of worsted weavers in Norwich and Norfolk, and for some/
The younger brothers to have warning. 2 [o']clock, Thursday, Court of Wards.
MR. [HENRY] ROLLE reports the 2 bills concerning regulating of inns and hostelries, with amendments, which twice read. Both to be engrossed.
SERJEANT [RICHARD] DIGGES reports [Sir Thomas] Redferne's bill, agreed by all the committees. Engrossetur.
MR. SERJEANT [WILLIAM] TOWSE reports Colchester['s] bill with a proviso added for Mr. [sic] [Thomas] Lucas, and allowed. Engrossetur.
MR. [JOHN] CARVILE reports the bill for reversing of decrees in Chancery, with amendments in the title, preamble and body of the act, which twice read.
SIR EDWARD COKE. None of the English Court of Exchequer Chamber, Chancery by subpoena, Duchy Court, Court of [f. 12] Requests, Court of Wards. A writ of error [CJ 691] lies in the King's Bench for the Chancery, for that part where a court of record.
Recommitted. Tomorrow, 2 [o']clock, Star Chamber.
MR. [EDWARD] ALFORD. 101 orders set down in Cancellaria; 16,000 subpoenas; [blank] decrees without subpoena, bill or answer; [blank] decree against 1 where he never answered. But others: [blank] intolerable length of suits; dismission [sic] in Chancery to the common law; verdict and judgement there. Then a new suit in Court of Requests: [blank] fines ordinarily imposed; judging upon reports; [blank] determine matters in Chancery determinable at common law. Charge of days of hearing in Cancellaria. 2 proclamations:
This done by the King without our motion. To petition the King for this. [Blank] No petition in all his service in Parliament against injustice in Exchequer, C[ommon] Place [sic], King's Bench. [Blank] Moves a select committee of lawyers and others experienced in those courts for regulating the Chancery and reforming these abuses.
SIR D[UDLEY] DIGGES. To perfect the things treated, and not now to entertain new. To read the bill of usury.
SIR EUBULE THELWALL seconds the motion for a special subcommittee.
MR. [THOMAS] WENTWORTH. To frame a petition to the King for this. Briefs: any law or statute to the contrary notwithstanding. A committee.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS. That the committee appointed for it may proceed to examine the petitions, and to peruse the 101 orders. And that the committee examine what was done in this the last Parliament. [Blank] Seconds Mr. [Thomas] Wentworth's motion concerning briefs.
MR. [JOHN] DRAKE. That the briefs now command the high constables to gather all and charge petty constables.
SIR THOMAS HOBY. 6 or 7 justices of peace certify this course. To take away this as the root, even their certificate.
This for briefs referred to the committee for grievances, and to be recommended to be heard with as much speed as possible.
The report from the [committee for] grievances. Tomorrow.
A petition for Virginia read.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS. To respite the debate of this petition at this time. Moves Thursday next to hear them.
And all that will come to have voice; only those of the company to be present to inform, but to have no voice. Wednesday next in the afternoon, 2 [o']clock, in the Star Chamber. Counsel on both sides if desired.
Serjeant [Sir John] Davies and Serjeant [Sir Henry] Finch bring from the Lords the bill for restitution of possession, with some amendments.
The amendments twice read, and the Clerk ordered to put in the amendments into the engrossed bill, which thirdly read and passed, upon question.
L. 3a. An act against usury.
MR. [ROBERT] BATEMAN doubts this bill will hinder trade.
Upon question, passed.
MR. [JOHN] WHISTLER reports Oxford['s] bill, with 3 amendments, which twice read.
The bill, with the amendments, thirdly read and, upon question, passed.
The report of the continuance of statutes peremptorily tomorrow at 8 of [the] clock, and the Speaker to silence any shall hinder it.
Wednesday, 9 [o']clock, peremptorily, for debate of the pretermitted customs.
The passed bills to be sent up tomorrow morning by Mr. Comptroller.
L. 3a. An act against exportation of wool, woolfells, etc.
Upon question, passed.
MR. [THOMAS] FANSHAWE reports the bill for abbreviation of Michaelmas term, with amendments. Engrossetur.
II. JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, PA, HC/CL/JO/1/13
[CJ 775; f. 164]
Lunae, 26 Aprilis 1624
L. 1. An act to establish a free school in the county of Lincoln.
L. 1. An act for better explanation of a statute made in the 7th year of Edw. 4th for the election, oath, authority, searching and sealing of the wardens of worsted weavers in Norwich and Norfolk.
L. 2. An act to establish and settle the estate of Sir William Somerville.
Thursday, Court of Wards, 2 [o']clock. The younger brothers to have notice.
MR. [HENRY] ROLLE reports the 2 bills for inns and hostelries. The amendments twice read.
Ordered, to be engrossed.
[f. 164v] SIR ROBERT PHELIPS. One [of] the burgesses of Weymouth dead. To have a new writ go.
SERJEANT [RICHARD] DIGGES reports [Sir Thomas] Redferne's bill. The amendments twice read.
Ordered, to be engrossed.
SERJEANT [WILLIAM] TOWSE reports the bill for repairing the haven of Colchester and paving of the said town. Amendments twice read.
Ordered, to be engrossed.
MR. [JOHN] CARVILE reports the bill for regulating of the Chancery. The amendments twice read.
SIR EDWARD COKE. Additio probat minoritatem. A rule in heraldry. Coram rege in the King's Bench; Coram rege in Cancellaria. That shows the Chancery to be the younger brother. This bill says there is no remedy to reverse decrees but in Parliament. That false. May be by a commission of review. [Thomas] Throckmorton's case. To have the bill recommitted.
The bill, upon question, recommitted. Tomorrow, 2 [o']clock, Star Chamber.
MR. [EDWARD] ALFORD. The last Parliament, a committee named to take view of a 100 and odd orders of the Chancery. That court grown from 4,000 to 16,000 writs in a year. A quaere, whether the Chancellor may judge of a matter of fact? Dislikes judging upon reports. Sees not how a judge can safely do it. Hen. 5 Commons complained of one that brought matters into the Chancery that were triable at the common law. Giving of money for days of hearing another great abuse. All this Parliament has not seen any petitions against the Exchequer, King's Bench [f. 165] and Common Pleas. God maintains the common law. To have a select committee to take these things into consideration.
SIR DUDLEY DIGGES. Pity these things were not moved sooner. The bell has tolled twice to bring this meeting to a session. To have those that have the chair entertain no new businesses, but to prepare that which is already come. To go on with the engrossed bills.
SIR ROBERT PHELIPS. To proceed as far as we may in this. A committee already appointed to view the petitions preferred to courts of justice and to think of some redress.
SIR THOMAS HOBY. To have some course taken for briefs. A great grievance, and the justices of peace much to blame that will set their hands to these.
This referred to the committee of grievances to be taken into consideration with as much speed and care as may be.
The report for [committee for] grievances, tomorrow.
MR. [NICHOLAS] FERRAR delivers in a petition from the Treasurer, Council and Company of Virginia.
And all that will come. Those that are of the company to be present to inform, but to have no voice. Wednesday, 2 [o']clock, Star Chamber. Counsel of both sides.
[f. 165v] A message from the Lords by Serjeant [Sir John] Davies and Serjeant [Sir Henry] Finch. The Lords have received a bill from this House entitled, An act to enable justices of peace to give restitution of possession in certain cases. They return it, with some amendments.
The amendments twice read and ordered to be inserted, and passed.
L. 3. An act against usury.
MR. [ROBERT] BATEMEN. The labour of this House has been to increase trade. Thinks this bill will decrease it. Money in Spain and Italy at a higher rate. All our monies will be carried there.
SIR FRANCIS NETHERSOLE. The reason why we are beaten out of trade by the Low Countrymen is because money there at 6 in the hundred.
Upon question, passed.
MR. [JOHN] WHISTLER reports the bill to make the river of Thames navigable to Oxford. The amendments twice read.
L. 3. An act to make the river of Thames navigable to Oxford.
Upon question, passed with the amendments.
The report for continuance of statutes to be tomorrow morning, 8 [o']clock, peremptory. And then the names of recusants to be presented.
[f. 166] The debate of the pretermitted customs to be on Wednesday next, 9 [o']clock.
The engrossed bills to be carried up to the Lords.
L. 3. An act against exportation of wool, woolfells, morlings, shorlings, yarn made of wool, woolflocks, fuller's earth and fulling clay.
CHANCELLOR DUCHY. To have a proviso that no man shall be questioned by this law but within such a time.
Upon question, passed without any such proviso.
MR. [THOMAS] FANSHAWE reports the bill for abbreviation of Michaelmas term. The amendments twice read.
Ordered, to be engrossed.
III. DIARY OF JOHN HAWARDE, WILTSHIRE AND SWINDON ARCHIVES, 9/34/2
Lune, 26 Aprilis 1624
[MR. JOHN] CARVILE reporte le bill pur regularitie del Chancerye. Sur question, recommitte, touts davoir voices. Consider de briefs et ju[stices] de p[eace] nemy certifier peticions pur losses par fire ou sea.
Petition da Virginia Companie committee. Touts del companie pur declarer eux mesme et informer, mes nemy davoir voices, et touts autres davoir voice. Mercurii in camera stellata.
Message del seignours par [Serjeant Sir John] Davies et [Serjeant Sir Henry] Finch ove bill sent from us touchante restitution de possession par j[ustices] de p[eace] ove ascun amendments in paper. Sur question, amende al table, et sur 2nd question, passe pur leye.
3. L. Bill versus usurie.
Sur question, passe pur ley.
3. L. [MR. JOHN] WHISTLER reporte le bill pur faire le Thames navigable al Oxford ove les amendments. Sur question, passe pur ley.
3. L. Bill versus transportacion de wooll, etc.
Sur question, passe pur ley.
IV. DIARY OF EDWARD NICHOLAS, TNA, SP 14/166
Monday, 260 Aprilis 1624
Ordered, that a writ shall be sent for the election of a new burgess for Weymouth, Mr. [Matthew] Pitt, who served here for that town, being lately dead.
An act for reversing, altering or correcting of erroneous judgements, sentences, decrees or orders in courts of equity, recommitted tomorrow in Star Chamber.
SIR E[DWARD] COKE. That this bill reaches to all courts, that of the Chancery, of Duchy, of Requests, Court of Wards, which are no courts of record. It is rule in heraldry that additio probat minoritatem. The writs of King's Bench run teste coram dominam rege, and in Chancery coram rege in cancellaria. He says that because it is said in the bill that no writ of error lies on decrees in the Chancery, but in Parliament he would have the bill recommitted.
MR. [EDWARD] ALFORD. Would for the remedying of the court that some of the rules set down by Ellesmere [sic] and Bacon might be made law by a bill, though some of them are not good. That the Chancery is much swollen, for where heretofore there issued in a year but 4,000 writs, there issue now at the least 16,000 writs in a year. That there is now a cause depending that was at first dismissed out of the Chancery to the common law and after there was judgement at common law. Then it was commenced and now is depending in the Court of Requests. He would have a select committee to consider of all the abuses in courts of equity, and since it grows so near a sessions [sic] that a petition might be presented to the King for remedy thereof.
[f. 177v] MR. [JOHN] DRAKE says that he has a letter of complaint out [of] his country that the briefs are there too frequent and that they are now directed to the head constables of the country to go to several parishes to collect the same, which if they neglect they are punishable to be laid by the heels, and if they do execute it then must they neglect the business in the country. Desires that this may be petitioned against to the King.
Ordered, that this grievance of briefs shall be referred to the committee of grievances to be presented one of the first in the petition of our general grievances to the King, and that the committee of grievances shall prepare a general petition to be presented to the King at the end of this sessions [sic].
Petition of the Virginia Company showing the goodness of that country and the privileges that the King has granted by patents to them; that now when the material difficulties of plantation are passed over, there are many oppression of late used by the Lord Treasurer for his own private ends to the hindrances of trade there and tending to the destruction of that plantation, and refers the particulars to the relation of some of the council and company of that colony who are members of this House.
This petition is committed to be considered of by a committee of this House.
[f. 178] SIR NATHANIEL RICH says that this petition tends only to the reviving of a number of wranglings which the King and Council thought; doubted it would tend to sedition. That the sole commodity that comes from Virginia is tobacco, and there is a command that no tobacco shall be brought into this kingdom but from thence.
Ordered, that all that will come shall have voice, saving those that are of the company of Virginia or have interest therein. To sit Wednesday in the Star Chamber.
An act against usury. 3. L.
This bill is not to be in force until 240 Junii, which shall be anno 1625, to continue for the space of 7 y[ears] which shall be from 24 June 1625, and so to the end of the first sessions [sic] of the Parliament then next following. r. p. This bill is now passed this House.
An act for the making of the river of Thames navigable from the village of Bereford [sic] to the University of Oxford. r. p. This bill is now passed this House, being come from the Lords, with some amendments.
An act against the exportation of wool, woolfell[s], morlings or shorlings, yarn made of wool and wool flocks, fuller's earth and fuller's clay. Dormit Lords. [f. 178v] This bill is to continue until the next Parliament and is now passed this House.
SIR EDWARD COKE says that the former laws which made the exportation of wool felony had no proviso in it that the parties accused should be indicted within so many years after the fact committed, and there is now more need to punish exporters of wool than ever was and therefore would have no more provisos put into it than were in those former laws.
V. DIARY OF SIR THOMAS HOLLAND, BODL., MS RAWL. D1,100
First read. An act for the establishing a free school and correction house in the county of Lincoln, Middlecott.
An act for the explanation of a statute of 7 E. 4 for making and selling of worsteds.
Second read, committed, Tuesday, [Court of] Wards. An act for establishing lands upon Sir William Somerville.
Engrossing. [MR. HENRY] ROLLE'S report. The bills for inns and hoste[l]ries.
Engrossing. SERJEANT [RICHARD] DIGGES'S report of the bill of Mr. [sic] [Thomas] Referne.
Engrossing. SERJEANT [WILLIAM] TOWSE, report. The bill for Colchester.
Recommitted. MR. [JOHN] CARVILE, report. The bill for altering, correcting and reversing the courts of equity.
[SIR EDWARD] COKE. The court[s] of Chancery, [Ex]chequer, Wards, Duchy, Requests are not courts of record.
[MR. EDWARD] ALFORD moves that a committee be named to view 101 orders made by Egerton and Bacon. [f. 49v] There is come from 400 writs in a year now 16,000. He moves that a select committee of the lawyers in the House/
[SIR DUDLEY] DIGGES moves that we may not now entertain new businesses, but that the committee of the courts of justice and the committee of the grievances may select all such things wherein we may do our country service by commanding them up to the King.
[MR. THOMAS] WENTWORTH moves that a petition be addressed to his Majesty for the regulation of Chancery according to the king's conscience. For this he desires a committee may be appointed. He further adds that all our laws are frustrated by the Great Seal giving [f. 50] power contrary to our laws, as by briefs granting/
[SIR THOMAS] HOBY moves that a special consideration be had of those matters of briefs, for as they come down they are directed to the chief constables, who are so troubled with them that they weary them of their offices; that they gather them in time of divine service, and some will that no other shall be read but the same in one day, with divers other troubles. He moves that redress may be had herein.
It is ordered that the complaint against briefs be dealt in by the committee of grievances.
Petition from the company of Virginia. That the Lord Treasurer for his own ends has sought to destroy the good work, much to the disadvantage of the King, and therefore desire that some who are of that council and members of the House may be heard [f. 50v] that redress may be given for so good a work.
There is a committee appointed for the same purpose on Wednesday, Star Chamber.
[SIR EDWIN] SANDYS moves that everyone that will come may have voices.
[SIR NATHANIEL] RICH. If it were for the general good of Virginia, he verily believes all would very respectively consider of it, but he fears that this petition will revive a former wrangling which the Privy Council has been much troubled with.
He was interrupted by SIR ROBERT KILLIGREW, who spoke to the orders of the House that it was fit that no further relation should be made but to the committee appointed.
Message from the Lords, was the sending down the bill to enable justices of peace to give restitution of possession, only with the [f. 51] amendment by inserting "judges".
It was thrice read, the amendment. The Clerk came in and put them into the engrossed bill, and passed it.
Engrossed [sic]. An act against usury.
VI. DIARY OF RICHARD DYOTT, STAFFORDSHIRE RECORD OFFICE, MS D661/11/1/2
Bill for reversing, correcting and altering decrees, sentences and orders in courts of equity. Recommitted.
[SIR EDWARD] COKE. No court of equity is a court of record. 37 H. 6. But proceeding upon writ, it is a court of record and a writ of error lies in B[anco] R[egis] upon judgement there. Additio probat minoritatem. B[anco] R[egis] the title is coram rege, in Chancery coram rege in cancellaria. A decree in Chancery may be reversed by a commission of review. So done in [Thomas] Throckmorton's case in Queen Elizabeth's time, most of the judges being in commission. It was a case fit to be reported, but there was command to the [?court]. So that the only remedy is not in Parliament. This remedy worse than disease. [f. 96] It will be a blemish to the House.
[MR. EDWARD] ALFORD. There be many good orders in the Chancery, but the last cuts the throat of all the rest, for it is that the Lord Chancellor may add to or diminish as he shall see cause. In H. 5 [?time] complaint was made that causes belonging to the law are determined in Chancery. He ought not to judge upon reports. [?No] reason [?men] should pay for days of hearing. They have not power to impose [?fines] as now they now do. Would have the learned lawyers consider how rules for regulating the Chancery and the abuses of the Chancery.
[SIR DUDLEY] DIGGES. The bell has twice tolled for end of the session. The motion is good. Would to God it had been made sooner, bu[t] [f. 96v] now 'tis too late, and would but hinder other great businesses now depending.
[MR. THOMAS] WENTWORTH. [Illegible] fuit plus quod par est plus liberit. He may do what he wills, cannot but will not what he should not. Briefs for collecting of money come with a notwithstanding anyone or statute to the contrary. And [?3 words illegible] rogues by statute. What is [illegible] [?but] to outlaw the [illegible], for an outlaw is but extra legem posit[u]s, which [?we are] when our laws are thus rendered fruitless. Would have us to make our address to the King to settle an order for the dispensing of his own conscience in Chancery. This court puts us all in a maze; we know not [f. 97] where we are. I have known one questioned why he should leave to his 3 son[s] £300 and to his 2 but £100, whereas the will of the donor has heretofore been observed.
A petition of the company of Virginia. Committed.
By the order of the House, none are to have voice that are parties, and therefore ordered that none of the company shall have voices, yet may come to give information in the Star Chamber upon Wednesday.
Bill to enable just[ices] of p[eace] to make restitution of possession in certain cases. Passed both Houses. Sent down with amendments in paper it [sic] in 2 words. It was not committed because no scruple or doubt in it. But the Clerk was [f. 97v] sent for up to insert the words "judges and". The question was, as many as think these amendments in the bill shall pass say yea. The question was not made of [?2 words illegible] of the amendments.
Bill for abatement of usury to 8 in 100. To take effect from June 25, 1625. Passed. To continue for the space of 7 years and so to the end of the next session of Parliament next following.
[MR. ROBERT] BATEMAN. It may be an occasion to hinder and diminish trade, and to draw away our treasure, for that in Italy and Spain the interest of money runs higher at 12 in 100 and at 15. There is a clause in the bill for the rating of wares and commodities etc., which I understand not.
[f. 98] SIR FRANCIS NETHERSOLE. I can give satisfaction to the first point; the 2nd I never heard of before. For the first, it is certain that the Low Countrymen do beat down our trade because they have money at 6 in 100. And here a man that has money will never almost adventure beyond sea in respect that it must be a very gainful trade that yields more than [illegible] in 100. But the second is meant only of loans, not sale of commodities.
Bill for making the river of Thames navigable from the village of Burcot to the town of Oxford. It came from the Lords, and with a few amendments it passed here too.
Amendments in both Houses are in paper and to be inserted into the bill in the House whence the bill originally moves.
[f. 98v] Bill of continuances etc. peremptorily appointed tomorrow, and the Speaker to silence him that shall speak to interrupt that business.
Bill against exportation of wool, fuller's earth, etc. Passed. The offence willingly [2 words illegible] done [is] felony. To continue [?but] to the end of the first session of next Parliament.
CHANCELLOR OF DUCHY. I thought never to have given my consent to a sanguinary law. But the bill is of great importance and the offence very prejudicial to commonwealth. Therefore, I give my [?consent] to this but would have a short proviso that should be questioned within 4 y[ears].
[SIR EDWARD] COKE. 27 E. 3 felony, no time limited, and other laws [illegible] the same kind. The offender is allowed counsel, witnesses sworn 'tis but a probationer, and therefore fit [f. 99] to pass as it is without proviso.
[MR. CHRISTOPHER] BROOKE. Who knows who shall be of the next Parliament or whether this motion will be remembered. Tis dangerous for a man to be in danger of his life upon a [illegible] penal law whilst he lives. Would therefore have it to pass now as it is fit to continue hereafter.
Agreed to pass without proviso.
VII. DIARY OF JOHN PYM, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE RECORD OFFICE, FH/N/C/0050
April 26, 1624
An act concerning the abuses of worsted weavers.
An act for settling the uses of a fine acknowledged by Sir William Somerville. Committed.
MR. [HENRY] ROLLE reports two bills concerning inns and hostelries, and they were both ordered to be engrossed.
[f. 80v] SERJEANT [WILLIAM] TOWSE reports the bill for paving of Colchester and mending the haven.
A proviso for Sir Thomas Lucas was annexed and the bill ordered to be engrossed.
MR. [JOHN] CARVILE reports the bill for reversing, altering and correcting decrees in courts of equity.
SIR EDWARD COKE took exception to the recital in the preamble that there was now no remedy for decrees in courts of equity but in Parliament, for there lies a commission of review to be granted by the common law. The Exchequer Chamber, Court of Wards, Duchy Court and Court of Requests are no courts of record. The Chancery is a court of record, mixed of common law and equity, and the proceedings at common law may be examined by a writ of error in the King's Bench. Coram rege in banco addit[io] probat minoritatem.
Divers other propositions were made for reformation of the Chancery, being for the most part such as were delivered the last Parliament 18 Jacobi, March 26, fol. [blank].
This bill was not held to be sufficient neither in the manner nor in the extent, yet was recommitted.
A complaint was made against the multitude of briefs and licences for collections and the inconvenient clauses newly inserted.
- 1. That the constables being public officers are enjoined to receive and carry the money.
- 2. That no other briefs shall be read that day.
- 3. To go from pew to pew, which disturbs prayer.
- 4. To go to the houses of those that are not at church.
- 5. To certify the names of such as will not give. And that inconvenience grew for the most part by the certificate of justices of peace who are sworn to the law.
MR. [NICHOLAS] FERRAR presents a petition from the treasurer and company of Virginia, and Wednesday was appointed for the hearing of the cause.
The bill to enable justices to give restitution of possession in some cases, etc., was returned with an amendment whereby it was likewise extended to the judges, which was allowed and passed.
An act against usury. Interest reduced to [£]8 per £100. Scriveners to take but 5s. for the brokage upon £100, and but 12d. for a bond.
Exception was taken that money was higher in Spain and Italy.
It was replied that in Spain they needed not fear to be eaten out with foreign lenders, because their standard was such as that money will yield more profit in any part of Christendom.
MR. [JOHN] WHISTLER reported the bill for making the river of Thames navigable to Oxford.
An act against transportation of wool, woolfells, morlings and shorlings, fuller's earth and clay. Passed.
[f. 81] MR. [THOMAS] FANSHAWE reported the bill for abbreviation of Michaelmas term.
VIII. DIARY OF SIR WALTER EARLE, BL, ADD. MS 18,597
Monday, the 26th of April
MASTER OF THE ROLLS' [sic] report of the bill concerning inns and hoste[l]ries, bill concerning [h]ostlers and innholders. Passed to engrossing.
MR. [JOHN] CARVILE'S report of the bill for reversing decrees, etc., in courts of equity.
[f. 162v] SIR EDWARD COKE. Not fit to pass any bill here that may bring a blemish on the House. There is remedy besides by Parliament. [Thomas] Throckmorton's case in Queen Elizabeth's time. A review and reversal of a decree by commission.
The bill recommitted.
MR. [EDWARD] ALFORD. The court so exorbitant that whereas there were wont to issue but 400 writs yearly, now 16,000 writs issue out in a year. They use[d] to make decrees when there is neither bill nor answer put in. They use[d] to set fines upon men, and fines upon fines, and grant warrants for the sheriff to come with posse comitatus to put one in possession. In H. 4['s] time, complaint made in Parliament that the Chancellor Waltham, Bishop of Salisbury, did proceed in matters determinable at common law. The King himself has shown by proclamation his dislike of bills of conformity and chamber orders, yet nothing has been done in this Parliament. Motion that in regard it does so much concern the common justice of the kingdom, therefore there may be a select committee named.
Upon occasion of this motion, the abuse of briefs was complained of, and burdening the constables with them.
Referred to the committee of grievances, and this to be one of the first.
[f. 163] A petition from the company of Virginia expressing the King's grant of, etc., and the benefits like to ensue by the plantation:
- 1. Planting Christianity.
- 2. Employing our people.
- 3. Largeness of the country.
- 4. Increase of navigation.
- 5. Building of ships.
- 6. The diverse woods.
- 7. Advantage in case of war.
They complain on the Lord Treasurer that for his private ends had, etc.
SIR EDWARD COKE. This petition is considerable. Fit to have a committee.
A committee appointed, Wednesday.
A message from the Lords. The bill for restitution of possession in some cases, sent down with amendment.
Bill against usury. Passed.
IX. JOURNAL OF SIR SIMONDS D'EWES, BL, HARL. MS 159
Monday, April 260
A motion, and thereupon an order, for a new writ to issue out for Weymouth, one of the burgesses being dead.
MR. [EDWARD] ALFORD tendered a complaint against the Chancery, desiring it might be rectified. That court is grown from 400 to 16,000 writs in a year. He desires that 101 orders of the Lord Keeper Bacon, the Lord Chancellor Egerton and the Lord Chancellor Bacon may be revived [sic], and especially the last, which gives them power to add and alter at their pleasures. The grounds of his complaints were: that court assumes matter of fact as well as equity, which is not proper for it; causes are judged without bill and answer; the tedious length of suits, some 17 years, himself had one depending 23 years, others 27 years; they take fine upon fine, they judge upon report, take upon them to alter wills; they take money for a day of hearing; besides their bills of conformity and chamber orders. Long may the common law flourish. We hear of no petitions against other courts of justice.
A select committee appointed to consider of these and what else is fitting for the regulating of the Chancery, and so to petition the King about it.
[f. 108] SIR DUDLEY DIGGES thought it now too late to entertain new matters, the bell having twice tolled for the end of this sessions [sic]. (I suppose he meant the 2 readings of the bill of subsidies.) And so would rather have that summed up which has been done of the 3 grand committees already for trade, grievances and courts of justice, either of which had 2 days in a week allowed them.
A great complaint against briefs of churches, and particularly against that clause in them "any statute or ordinance to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding", which was interpreted as an outlawing to the kingdom, whereas they be against law, and they that bear them are by the law no better than rogues. In some of them the chief constables themselves are bound to go about to the several parishes of their hundreds and gather the money. They disturb divine service. Some gives [sic] leave to go home to men's houses, and some others to return the names of them that will not give. The justices were blamed that set their hands to them. They were held a great grievance and referred to that committee for further consideration.
A petition from the treasurer and company of Virginia, complaining their body was distempered and they unable to be their own physicians; ergo, entreat the House to take information of their state from such of the company as are members in the House.
Referred to a general committee, but they of the company to have no voices.
An act against usury, to bring it from 10 to 8 per centum. Passed. This is a probationer, to last from June 24, 1625, for 7 years after and so to the end of the first sessions [sic] of the next Parliament that shall then happen.
An act to make the river of Thames navigable from Burcot to Oxford. Passed.
An act against the transportation of wool, woolfells, morlings, shorlings, yarn made of wool, wool flocks, fuller's earth and fulling clay. Passed.