Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 1, 1618-29. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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Friday the Thirtieth of January, 1628. both Houses join in petitioning the King for a Fast.
Both Houses Petition the King for a Fast.
Most Gracious Sovereign, It is the very earnest desire of us your most dutiful Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this Parliament Assembled, that this Meeting may be abundantly blessed with all happy success in the great Affairs of Church and State, upon which we are to consult, and that by a clear understanding, both of your Majesty's goodness to us, and of our ever faithful and Loyal hearts to your Majesty's Royal Person and Service, (all jealousies and distractions, which are apparent signs of God's displeasure, and of ensuing mischief, being removed) there may this Session, and for ever, be a perfect and most happy Union and Agreement between your Majesty, and all the Estates of this Realm: But acknowledging, that neither this, nor any other blessing can be expected, without the especial Favour of Almighty God, upon the observation of the continued increasing miseries of the Reformed Churches abroad, (whose Cases, with bleeding hearts, we compassionate) as likewise of those punishments already inflicted, and which are like in great measure to fall upon our selves, we have just cause to conceive, that the Divine Majesty is, for our fins, exceedingly offended against us: Wherefore we do in these, and all other pious respects, most Dread Sovereign, humbly beseech your most Excellent Majesty, by your Royal Consent and Commandment, that not only our selves, but all People of your Kingdom, may be speedily enjoined, upon some certain day, by your Majesty to be prefixed, by publick Fasting and Prayer to seek Reconciliation at the merciful hands of Almighty God; so that the Prayers of the whole Kingdom, jonied with your Majesty's most Princely care, and the faithful hearts and endeavours of this Great Council assembled, may procure honour to Almighty God in the preservation of his true Religion, much honour to your Majesty, prosperity to your People, and comfort to your Majesty's Friends and Allies.
The Kings Answer to the Petition.
His Majesty's Answer.
My Lords and Gentlemen, The chief Motive of your Petition, being the deplorable condition of the Reformed Churches abroad, is too true: And our duty is, so much as in us lieth, to give them all possible help; but certainly, fighting will do them more good than fasting; tho' I do not wholly disallow of the latter: yet I must tell you, that the custom of fasting every Session, is but lately begun, and I confess, I am not fully satisfied with the necessity of it at this time.
Yet to shew you how smoothly I desire your business to go on, (eschewing, as much as I can, questions or Jealousies) I do willingly grant your request herein; but with this Note, That this shall not hereafter be brought into president for frequent Fasts, except upon great occasions; and for form and time, I will advise with my Lords the Bishops, and then send you a particular Answer.
Soon after the House of Commons presented a Declaration to the King, touching their Resolutions to give precedency to Religion.
The Commons Declaration to the King, to give precedency to Religion.
Most gracious Sovereign, We have within these three days received from your Majesty a Message, putting us in mind of our present entring upon the consideration of a Grant of Cunnage and Poundage; but the manner of possessing the Cause therewith being disagreeable to our order and Privileges, that we could not proceed therein; and finding our selves, in your Majesty's name, pressed in that business, and that we should give precedency thereunto, we cannot but express some sense of sorrow, fearing that the most hearty and forward affections, wherewith we desire to serve your Majesty, are not clearly represented unto you; besides, such is the solicitous care we have in presenting our selves in your Majesty's most gracious and good opinion, that it cannot but breed much trouble in us, (when ever we find our selves (as now we are enforced) to spend that time in making our humble Apologies, from whence do usually arise long Debates, which we conceide might very profitably be applied in the greater Services of your Majesty and the Common-wealth, which we did, with all humble diligence, apply our selves unto; and finding the extreme dangers wherewith our Keligion is threatned (clearly presenting it unto our thoughts and considerations) we thought, and we think we cannot, without inspiety to God, disloyalty to your Majesty, (and unthankfulness to those from whom we are put in trust) recard our Proceedings until something be done to secure us in this main point, which we prefer above our lives, and all earthly things whatsoever. And here we do with all humble thankfulness acknowlege your Majesty's most pious care, and Princely intentions, to suppress both Popery and Arminianism; the Professor of the one being an open enemy to the maintainer of the other, a subtile and more dangerous underminer of the Religion of Almighty God, established within your Realms and Dominions: The truth of which our whole Religion, or any part thereof (as being sufficiently know and received generally here of all the Members of our Church, except only of some Schismatical persons, who have, of late years, taken the boldness to broach their contrary corrupt opinions) we desire should not be called in question, or doubt; but howsoever it bath pleased your Majesty, to our exceeding great comfort, by many testimonies to declare your own constant resolution to maintain the said Religion, yet we see how your gracious purposes are therein cross, and into what a miserable condition your whole Kingdom is likely, by that means, to be reduced; we shall earnestly endeavour (as that which both nearly concern us) the safety and prosperity of your Majesty, and People, which are in such sort disordered, that ruin thereby threatned to both, may, by God's blessing be prevented; being most heartily sorry that these occasions are offered, which did thus hinder our proceedings: And therefore as well for dignity and necessity of the matter, as for that we conceive it to be the most speedy and effectual way, by uniting of all our hearts and endeavours to dispatch all other business of importance, particularly those which may seem more immediately to respect your Majesty's profit, we pray, that our resolutions of preferring this business before all others, may be acceptable to your Majesty, to whom, both in the matter and manner of our proceedings, we desire to give all possible satisfaction.
Whereunto the King thus answered.
His Majesty's Answer to the Commons Declaration.
"Gentlemen, This Answer being somewhat long, may, in reason, require some time to reply unto it, since as most of you cannot but judge, this giveth no satisfaction. Therefore I shall give you some short Notes upon it; I cannot think, that whereas you allege that the Bill of Tunnage and Poundage was brought in against the privilege of your House; That you will offer to take so much privilege from every one of your Members, as not to allow them the liberty to bring in any Bill whatsoever; altho' it be in your power, when it is brought in, to do with it what you think good; and I cannot imagine, you coming together by my power, and to treat of things that I propound unto you; tho' in this particular I must confess, that this Bill was not to have been offered to you in my Name, as that Member of your House can bear witness. As for the cause of delay in my business, (being Religion) there is none of you shall have a greater care for the true preservation of it than my self, which since it is confessed by your Answer; you must either think I want power (which cannot be) or that I am very ill counselled, if it be in so much danger as you affirm: Tho' I may say much of this, I will say no more, but that for all this I shall not stop mine ears to you upon this subject, so that in form and matter you transgress not your limits; as for Tunnage and Poundage, I do not so much desire it out of greediness of the thing (being perswaded you will make no stop in it, when you once take it in hand) as out of a desire to put an end to those Questions that do arise between me and some of my Subjects, thinking it a strange thing, if you should give ear to those complaints, and not to take the sure and speedy way to decide them. Besides, I must think it strange, that this business of Religion should only be a hinderer of my affairs, whereas I am certainly informed all other things go according to their ordinary course; therefore I must still be instant with you, that you proceed with Tunnage and Poundage with diligence (not looking to be denied in so just a desire) and you must not think it strange, if I, finding you slack, give you such further quickning as I shall find cause.
Hereupon Secretary Cook did acknowlege, that at the presenting of the Bill of Tunnage to be read, he said, his Majesty much desired it, but it was a mistake that his Majesty commanded it.
Wednesday the 4 of February.
Debate about the King's Declaration concerning Disputes about Religion.
The House fell into debate of the King's Declaration published in print, to prohibit dispute of Preaching one way or other concerning the matters mentioned in the Declaration, alleging in the Debate, that the main end thereof was to suppress the Puritan Party, and yet to give liberty to the contrary side, and they conceived, that Bishop Laud and Bishop Montague, mentioned in the last Remonstrance, had advised the King to that Declaration; Bishop Laud being advanced since the last Session of Parliament to be Bishop of London, and Mr. Montague since that time made Bishop of Chichester; and a Warrant was granted to the Attorney-General to draw up a Pardon for him; but whereas the Warrant was but for one, the Attorney put four into the Pardon, (viz.) Bishop Montague, Doctor Cosens, Doctor Sibthorp, and Doctor Manwaring.
Tuesday the 10 of February.
Mr. Rolls sitting in Parliament, was called forth, and served with a Subpœna.
Whilst the House was in debate touching matters of Religion, the Warehouse of Mr. Rolls (Merchant, and Member of the House, then sitting in Parliament) was locked up by a Pursuivant, and himself called forth from the Committee, and served with a Subpœna.
Debate concerning the fame.
This gave occasion of smart Debates in the House; some said, They were made the subject of scorn and contempt; others conceived this to be a bone thrown in by them that have drawn a cloud on the true Religion, to divert and interrupt them in the prosecution of that matter; and they desired the Messenger might be sent for, and be examined by what procurement this Subpœna was taken forth.
Sir Humphrey May, Chancellor of the Dutchy, and one of the Privy Council, assured the House, that this neither proceeded from King nor Council, and therefore desired it might be searched into the bottom.
The mistake of the Subpœna cleared.
And it was afterwards cleared by Master Attorney-General, by his writing a Letter to Mr. Rolls, that the serving a Subpœna upon him was a mistake; and prayed, that a favourable interpretation might be given of that matter.
A report from the committee for Tunnage and Poundage.
Upon report from the Committee for Tunnage and Poundage, Sir John Wolstenholme, Mr. Dawes, and Mr. Carmarthen were ordered to appear at the Bar on Friday next; and report was made to the House, that Master Attorney, notwithstanding his Letter, did give order for the Process against Mr. Rolls; and that in the Bill preferred in the Exchequer, it was expressed, the Merchants did plot, practise, and combine against the Peace of the Kingdom. This business being a matter of weight, the further consideration thereof was appointed for another day, and no Member might go out of the Town without license.
Thursday the 12 of February.
Committee meet again for Tunnage and Poundage.
The House was turned into a Committee concerning the business of Tunnage and Poundage, and several Merchants did Petition, that their Goods were not only seized, but Informations preferred in Star-Chamber against them. The Committee in their Debate inclined, That the Merchants might have their Goods before they enter upon the Bill for Tunnage; and Mr. Noy expressed himself in these words.
Mr. Noy. concerning Tunnage and Poundage.
We cannot safely give, unless we be in possession, and the proceedings in the Exchequer nullified; as also the Information in the Star-Chamber, and the annexion to the Petition of Right, for it will not be a Gift, but a Confirmation; neither will I give without the removal of these interruptions, and a Declaration in the Bill, that the King hath no right, but by our free Gift; If it it will not be accepted, as it is fit for us to give, we cannot help; if it be the King's already, we do not give it.
Barons of the Exchequer sent unto about staying the delivery of Merchants Goods.
Hereupon the House ordered, that the Barons of the Exchequer be sent unto, to make void their Injunction and Order concerning the staying of Merchants Goods; to which the Barons returned this answer.
The Barons Answer.
Whereas the Honourable House of Commons, by Order of the 12th of this instant February, have appointed, that notice shall be given to the Lord Treasurer, Chancellor, and Barons of the Exchequer, of a Declaration made by Sir John Wolstenholme, Abrah. Dawes, and Rich. Carmarthan, in the House of Commons, that the Goods that the Merchants brought into the King's Store-house, and laid up there for his Majesty's use, were detained, as they conceived, only for the Duty of Tunnage and Poundage, and other Sums comprized in the Books of Rates; which notice was given, to the end the said Court of Exchequer might further proceed therein, as to Justice shall appertain. Now the Lord Treasurer, Chancellor, and Barons, out of their due respect to that Honourable House, and for their satisfaction, do signifie, that by the Orders and Injunctions of the said Court of Exchequer, they did not determine, nor any way touch upon the Right of Tunnage and Poundage, and so they declared openly in Court, at the making of these Orders; neither did they, by the said Orders or Injunctions, bar the Owners of those Goods, to sue for the same in a lawful course; but whereas the said Owners endeavoured to take the same Goods out of the King's actual possession, by Writs or Plaints of Replevin, which was no lawful Action or Course in the King's Case, nor agreeable to his Royal Prerogative; therefore the said Court of Exchequer, being the Court for ordering the King's Revenue, by those Orders and Injunctions, stay those Suits, and did fully declare by the said Orders, that the Owners, if they conceived themselves wronged, might take such remedy as the Law alloweth.
The Answer of the Lord Treasurer and Barons, instead of satisfaction expected by the House, was looked upon as a justification of their actions: whereupon a motion was made to go on, to consider of their proceedings, and whether ever the Court of Exchequer held this course before, for staying of Replevins; and whether this hath been done by Prerogative of the King in his Court of Exchequer.
A report concerning Pardons to Dr. Manwaring, Mr. Montague, &c; Mr. Cromwel against the Bishop of Winchester.
A Report was made from the Committee concerning the Pardons granted by the King since the last Session, to certain persons questioned in Parliament; and the Reporter informed the House, that they do find, upon examination, that Dr. Sibthorp and Mr. Cosens did sollicit the obtaining of their own pardons; and that they said, the Bishop of Winchester should get the King's Hand to them. And it did also appear to the Committee that the Bishop of Winchester did promise the procuring of Mr. Montague's pardon; that Dr. Manwaring sollicited his own pardon, and and that the Bishop of Winchester got the King's Hand to it. Mr. Oliver Cromwel being of this Committee, informed the House what countenance the Bishop of Winchester did give to some persons that preached flat Popery, and mentioned the persons by name, and how by this Bishops means, Manwaring (who, by censure the last Parliament, was disabled for ever holding any Ecclesiastical dignity in the Church, and confessed the Justice of that Censure) is nevertheless preferred to a rich Living. If these be the steps to Church-preferment (said he) what may we expect.
A complaint of the not licensing of Books against Popery.
A Petition from the Printers and Book sellers in London, was also presented, and complaining of the restraint of Books written against Popery and Arminianism, and the contrary allowed of by the only means of Dr. Laud, Bishop of London; and that divers of the Printers and Book sellers have been sent for by Pursuivants for printing Books against Popery; and that Licensing is only restrained to the Bishop of London and his Chaplains, and instanced in certain Books against Popery, which were denied to be Licensed.
Mr. Selden concerning Printing.
Upon which occasion Mr. Selden declared, That it is true, there is no Law to prevent the printing of any Books in England, only a Decree in Star-Chamber; and he advised that a Law might be made concerning Printing: otherwise, he said, a man might be Fined, Imprisoned, and his Goods taken from him, by virtue of the said Decree; which is a great invasion upon the Liberty of the Subject.
The House of Commons being informed, that an Information was preferred in the Star-Chamber against Richard Chambers, and others, concerning some matters that fell out about their refusal to pay Tunnage and Poundage since the last Session of Parliament, because the same was not granted by Act of Parliament, they referred the same to a Committee to examine the truth of their proceedings, and that whether they ought not to have privilege of Parliament, in regard they had then a Petition depending in Parliament, to protect them against the said proceedings; and Sir William Aston, Sheriff of London, being examined before the Committee concerning some matters about the Customers, and not giving that clear answer which he ought, and as the House conceived he might have done, was therefore committed to the Tower of London. And a Question was made in the House at that time, whether the House had at any time before committed a Sheriff of London to prison. To which Mr. Selden made answer, That he could not call to mind a president of sending one Sheriff of London to prison; but he well remembred a president of sending both the Sheriffs of London to the Tower, and instanced the Cafe.
Debates about increase of Popery.
Friday, February 13. The Parliament fell into consideration of the great increase of Popery; and it was moved to examine the releasing of the Jesuits that were arraigned at Newgate, whereof only one was condemned, tho' they were ten in number, and they all Priests, and had a College here in London about Clerkenwell: These men (said some) could not attempt these acts of boldness, but they have great countenancers.
Secretary Cook concerning the Priests arraigned at Newgate.
Hereupon Secretary Cook declared, That a Minister of State having notice of these ten persons, and this College intended to be kept at Clerkenwell, acquainted his Majesty with it; and I should not discharge my duty, if I should not declare how much his Majesty referred it to the especial care of the Lords of the Council, who examining the same, sent those ten persons to Newgate, and gave order to Mr. Attorney to prosecute the Law against them. He further added, That this College was first at Edmonton, removed from thence to Camberwel, and thence to Clerkenwell.
Hereupon it was ordered, That all the Knights and Burgesses of the House, shall, tomorrow morning, declare, what knowlege they have of Letters, and other means, that have been used for the staying of proceedings against Recusants; and Messengers were sent to Mr. Attorney, to examine him touching that matter.
Mr. Long, a Justice of Peace, examined.
Mr. Long, a Justice of Peace, who was said to understand much in the same business, was likewise sent for and examined, and said, That by the appointment of Mr. Secretary Cook, he apprehended these persons, and took their Examinations; and said further, That he heard they were delivered out of Newgate by order from Mr. Attorney: That Mr. Middlemore, a general Solicitor for the Papists, hired this House, and that there are divers Books of Accompt, of Receipts and Disbursments, to the value of 300 l. per ann. with divers Recusants names, who allowed towards the maintenance of this College; and these Books and Papers are in the hands of Mr. Secretary Cook.
It was further reported from the Committee, that the Priest taken at Clerkenwell, which was condemned, should be Reprieved by a Warrant from the King, signified by a Privy Counsellor; and another Warrant was produced by the Keeper of Newgate, under the hand of the King's Attorney General to release the other nine Priests. To which Mr. Secretary Cook replied, The King being merciful in case of blood, gave direction for the Reprieving the condemned Priest. But the House not willing to let this pass, appointed certain of their Members to go to the Lord Chief Justice, and the rest of the Judges, who were there present at the Trial, to know why the Papers and Evidences which Mr. Long had to produce, were not made use of.
The Committee appointed to examine, the Attorney-General reported this Answer.
Sir Robert Heath his answer, concerning the prosecution of the Priests.
I did receive (said the Attorney) order touching some persons taken in Clerkenwell, conceived to be Priests, from the Council-board; and for that refer my self to the Order.
And I conceive I did follow the directions of that Order.
I did my self cause them to be sent for from the several Prisons where they were formerly committed, and I committed them all to Newgate, as the Order from the Council-board directed; and I gave directions for Indictments to be drawn against them, as for being Priests; and I sent for, and conferred with the Witnesses, and took their Informations; and I sent for Mr. Long, who was formerly acquainted with that business, as I was advised to do by Mr. Secretary Cook, and desired him to take special care thereof at the Sessions. And I did not conceive, that by the Order I was directed to go thither my self; but if I had been so directed, and had so conceived it, I should not have declined the service. I know not, nor never heard of any Lands conveyed to the use of these persons, or of any Foundation there; but there was some mention made thereof in some of the Papers delivered to me by Mr. Secretary, but so generally, as I know not how to enquire thereof; but I did take care to entitle the King to the Goods, as the especial direction to me was by the Order of the Board; and the Indictment failed to be found against all but one: And I have Warrant to the Treasurers Remembrancer of the Exchequer, for a special Commission to that purpose; and I advised with Mr. Long, who were fit Commissioners for that purpose; and after with Mr. Scrivener: and a Commission was granted to Gentlemen of very good quality, and an inquisition is found and returned accordingly, whereby the King is entitled to the Goods.
I had warrant from his Majesty to bail them: but for the manner of that, I must crave leave to acquaint the King therewith, before I answer any further.
I understood that an Indictment was preferred against three of them, for Treason, and I did direct Mr. Long, that if the Indictments should not be found for Treason, yet to tender them and all the rest the Oath of Allegiance, to bring them within the Kings mercy, upon a Premunire, if they should refuse the Oath: and I understood the Oath was ministred to them accordingly at that Sessions; and I understood after, that the Indictment was found against one of them only to be a Priest, and that the other were quit. Therefore receiving an express Commandment from the King for the bailing of them, I did conceive they were bailable, which otherwise of my self I would not have done: The Bonds I took, and keep them my self; for the surety, I refer my self to the Bond, and understand that some of them were House-keepers in the Town.
I gave directions for Indictments to be drawn against them; but I gave no special directions, whether it should be drawn against Jesuits or Priests, but left that to the care of Mr. Long; and did not then conceive there was any difference in the substance of the Indictment for Treason between Priests and Jesuits.
I can give no special reason, why I rather bound them to appear at the Council-Table, than at the Sessions, but only this, because I received my first directions from the Council-board.
When the Sessions was past, I did enquire of Mr. Long, what was the success of these Indictments; who informed me, That one only was found guilty of being a Priest; and thereupon I gave Order for the Commission before-mentioned to enquire of their Goods.
And being again sent unto for a clearer Answer, he said, For the Warrant which I received for the discharge of the Prisoners, and the Bond taken by me upon their deliverance, which has a dependance upon that Warrant, and whereof ye require an account, I have attended his Majesty, but yet have no leave to shew them; and the Bonds being taken but in December last, I keep them with me, as I conceive was proper for me place; but shall be ready to deliver them when I shall receive a Commandment to that purpose.
A Fast Mr. Dawes answer to the Commons.
Wednesday the Eighteenth of February, the Fast was kept, and the Nineteenth of February, Mr. Dawes, one of the Customers, being called in to answer the point of Privilege in taking Mr. Rolls Goods, a Member of this House, said, That he took Mr. Rolls Goods by virtue of a Commission under the Great Seal, and other Warrants. That he knew Mr. Rolls demanded his Privilege, but he did understand his Privilege did only extend to his person, not to his goods. And he further said, He took those goods for such Duties as were due in the time of King James; and that the King had sent for him on Sunday last, and commanded him to make no other answer.
Mr. Carmarthen's answer.
Mr. Carmarthen, another of the Customers, being called in, said, That he knew Mr. Rolls to be a Parliament man, and told him, He did not find any Parliament man exempted in their Commission. And as for the words charged on him, that he should say, If all the Body of the House were in him, he would not deliver the goods; he answered, If he said he would not, it was because he could not.
Mr. Selden hereupon said, If there be any near the King that doth mispresent our actions, let the curse light on them, not on us; and believe it, it is high time to vindicate our selves in this case, else it is in vain for us to sit here.
The House in a Committee about the Customers answer.
It was hereupon resolved by question, That this shall be presently taken into consideration; and being conceived to be a business of great consequence, it was ordered, that the House be dissolved into a Committee, for the more freedom of debate; and that no Member go out of the House without leave, during the sitting of the Committee.
Mr. Noy was of opinion, That the Customers had neither Commission nor command to seize; therefore, without doubt, the House may proceed safely to the Question; that the Privilege is broken by the Customers, without relation to any Commission or Command from the King; which motion was seconded by Mr. Nathaniel Rich.
Message by Secretary Cook from the King about the Customers.
Monday the 22 of February, the same business continued under debate, and some were for a bare restitution of the Goods taken, others for impleading those who took them as Delinquents. In the mean time, Mr. Secretary brought this Message from the King, That it concerns his Majesty, in a high degree of Justice and Honour, that truth be not concealed; which is, that what the Customers did, was by his own direct Order and Command, at the Council-board, himself being present: And tho' his Majesty takes it well, that the House have severed his interest from the interest of the Customers, yet this will not clear his Majesty's Honour, if the said Customers should suffer for his sake. This Message was grounded upon this ensuing Order, made the day preceding, by the King, in full Council.
At Whitehall the 22 of February, 1628.
Order by the King and Council concerning the Customers.
This day his Majesty, in full Council, taking knowledge of the debate in the House of Commons the day before, concerning the Officers of his Customs, and of the respect used by the Committee to sever the private interest of the said Officers from that of his Majesty; holding it to concern him highly in Justice and Honour, to let the truth in such a point touching his Servants, to be either concealed or mistaken, did there declare, That what was formerly done by his Farmers and Officers of the Customs, was done by his own direction and commandment, and by direction and commandment of his Privy-Council, himself for the most part being present in Council: And if he had been at any time from the Council-board, yet he was acquainted with their doings, and gave full direction in it; and therefore could not in this sever the act of his Officers from his own act, neither could his Officers suffer for it without high dishonour to his Majesty. This being particularly voted by the whole Council, was the general assent of them all; and accordingly Mr. Secretary Cook had Order to deliver a Message the next day from his Majesty to the House of Commons.
The King's Commission to the Lord Treasurer, and Barons of the Exchequer, and to the Customers of the Ports, as to this effect.
The King's Commission to the Customers, &c.
Whereas the Lords of the Council, taking into consideration our Revenue, and finding that Tunnage and Poundage is a principal Revenue of our Crown, and has been continued for these many years; have therefore ordered all those duties of Subsidy, Custom and Impost as they were in the 21 of King James, and as they shall be appointed by us under our Seal, to be levied: Know ye, that we, by the advice of our Lords, declare our will, that all those Duties be levied and collected as they were in the time of our Father, and in such manner as we shall appoint; and if any person refuse to pay, then our will is, That the Lord Treasurer shall commit to prison such so refusing, till they conform themselves: And we give full power to all our Officers from time to time, to give assistance to the Farmers of the same as fully, as when they were collected by Authority of Parliament.
Resolve concerning Mr. Rolls.
Soon after report was made from the Grand Committee, that they took into their consideration the violation of the Liberty of the House by the Customers; and at last they resolved, that Mr. Rolls, a Member of the House, ought to have privilege of Person and Goods; but the Command of the King is so great, that they leave it to the House. After the passing of this Vote, the King's late Message by Secretary Cook was taken into consideration.
Some took occasion to say, That these interruptions proceeded from some Prelates, and others, Abettors of the Popish Party, who fear to be discovered, and would provoke to a breach: To which Sir Humphrey May replied, We have Oyl and Vinegar before us; if you go to punish the Customers as Delinquents, there is Vinegar in the wound: Think rather of some course to have restitution. Others said, Delinquency cannot be named, but presently a breach must be intimated. When we do that which is just, let there be no fear nor memory of breaches, and let us go the Delinquency of the men.
Sir John Elliot's Speech against partilar, persons.
Hereupon Sir John Elliot made a Speech, and therein named Dr. Neal the Bishop of Winchester, and the great Lord Treasurer, In whose person (said he) all evil is contracted; I find him acting and building on those grounds, laid by his Master the great Duke; and his spirit is moving to these interruptions, and they for fear break Parliaments, lest Parliaments, should break them: I find him the Head of all the great Party; the (fn. 1) Papists, all Jesuits and Priests derive from him their shelter and protection, &c. A little interruption being here given, he proceeded further in his Speech: And afterwards the Speaker was moved to put the Question then proposed by the House; but he refused to do it, and said, That he was otherwise commanded from the King.
The Speaker refuses to put the Question; Mr. Selden's Speech thereupon.
Then said Mr. Selden, Dare not you, Mr. Speaker, put the Question when we command you? If you will not put it, we must sit still; thus we shall never be able to do anything. They that come after you may say. They have the Kings command not to do it. We sit here by the command of the King under the Great Seal, and you are, by his Majesty, sitting in this Royal Chair, before both Houses, appointed for our Speaker; and now you refuse to perform your Office.
Hereupon the House, in some heat, adjourned till Wednesday next.
On Wednesday the 25 of February, both Houses, by his Majesty's command, were adjourned until Monday morning the 2 of March.
The Speaker again refuseth to put the Question.
Monday the 2d of March, the Commons meet, and urge the Speaker to put the Question; who said, I have a command from the King to adjourn till March the 10th. and put no Question. And endeavouring to go out of the Chair, was notwithstanding held by some Members (the House foreseeing a dissolution) till this ensuing Protestation was published in the House; viz.
Protestation in Parliament propounded, whilst the Speaker was held in his Chair.
Whosoever shall bring in Innovation of Religion, or by favour or countenance seem to extend or introduce Popery or Arminianism, or other Opinion disagreeing from the truth and Orthodox Church, shall be reputed a capital Enemy to this Kingdom and Common-wealth.
- 2. Whosoever shall counsel or advise the taking and levying of the Subsidies of Tunnage and Poundage, not being granted by Parliament, or shall be an Actor or Instrument therein, shall be likewise reputed an Innovator in the Government, and a capital Enemy to the Kingdom and Common-wealth.
- 3. If any Merchant or person whatsoever, shall voluntarily yield, or pay the said Subsidies of Tunnage and Poundage, not being granted by Parliament, he shall likewise be reputed a Betrayer of the Liberties of England, and an Enemy to the same.
The King sends the Usher of the Lords House.
Hereupon the King sent for the Serjeant of the House; but he was detained, the door being look'd: Then he sent the Gentleman-Usher of the Lords House, with a Message; and he was refused admittance, till the said Votes were read. And then in much confusion the House was adjourned to the 10th of March, according as it was intimated from his Majesty. Nevertheless his Majesty, by Proclamation, dated the 2d of March, declares the Parliament to be dissolved.
The Passages of this day, and the preceding day, in Parliament, are hereafter more fully related in the proceedings of the King's Bench.
By the King. A Proclamation, about dissolving of the Parliament.
Whereas we, for the general good of our Kingdom, caused our high Court of Parliament to assemble and meet by Prorogation on the 20 day of January last past; sithence which time the same hath been continued. And although in this time, by the malevolent dispositions of some illaffected persons of the nouse of Commons, we have had sundry just causes of offence and dislike of their proceedings; yet we resolved with patience to try the uttermost, which we the rather did, for that we found in that nouse a great number of sober and grabe persons, well affected to Religion and Government, and desirous to preserve Unity and Peace in all parts of our kingdom. And there fore, having on the five and twentieth day of February last, by the uniform advice of our Privy-Council, caused both nouses to be adjourned until this present day, hoping in the mean time, that a better and more right understanding might be begotten between us and the members of that nouse, whereby this Parliament might have a happy end and issue.
And for the same intent, we did again this day command the like Adjournment to be made, until the Tenth day of this month: It hath so hapned, by the disobedient and seditious carriage of those said ill affected Persons of the nouse of Commons, that we and our Regal Authority and Commandment have been so highly contemned, as our Kingly Office cannot bear, nor any former Age can parellel. And therefore it is our full and absolute resolution to dissolve the said Parliament, whereof we thought good to give notice unto all the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and to the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of this present Parliament, and to all others whom it may concern, that they may depart about their needful affairs, without attending any longer here. Nevertheless we will, that they, and all others shall take notice, that we do, and ever will dissinguish between those, who have shewed good affection to Religion and Government, and those that have given themselves over to faction, and to work diffurbance to the Peace and good Order of our Kingdom.
Given at our Court at Whitehall, this second day of March, in the fifth Year of our Reign of Great Britain, France, and Ireland.
This Proclamation was not published till after the Tenth of March.
Warrants to apprehend several Members of Parliament.
The day following, Warrants were directed from the Council to Denzil Holles Esq; Sir Miles Hobert, Sir John Elliot, Sir Peter Hayman, John Selden Esq; William Coriton, Walter Long, William Stroud, Benjamin Valentine, commanding their personal appearance on the morrow. At which time, Mr. Holles, Sir John Elliot, Mr. Coriton, Mr. Valentine, appearing, and refusing to answer out of Parliament, what was said and done in Parliament, were committed close Prisoners to the Tower; and Warrants were given, the Parliament being still in being, for the sealing up of the Studies of Mr. Holles, Mr. Selden, and Sir John Elliot; Mr. Long, and Mr. Stroud not then, nor of some time after appearing, a Proclamation issued forth for the apprehending of them.
On the Tenth of March, being six days after the Commitment of the said Members, his Majesty being set in his Royal Throne, with his Crown on his Head, in his Robes, and the Lords in their Robes also; and divers of the Commons below the Bar, but not the Speaker, neither were they called: His Majesty spake as followeth.
The Kings Speech at the dissolution of the Parliament.
I never came here upon so unpleasant an occasion, it being the dissolution of a Parliament; therefore men may have some cause to wonder, why I should not rather choose to do this by Commission, it being rather a general Maxim of Kings, to leave harsh Commands to their Ministers, themselves only executing pleasing things: yet considering that Justice as well consists in reward, and praise of Vertue, as punishing of Vice, I thought it necessary to come here to day and to declare to you and all the world, that it was meerly the undutiful and seditious carriage in the Lower House, that hath made the dissolution of this Parliament; and you, My Lords, are so far from being any causers of it, that I take as much comfort in your dutiful demeanour, as I am justly distasted with their proceedings; yet to avoid their mistakings, let me tell you, that it is so far from me to adjudge all the House alike guilty, that I know that they are many there as dutiful Subjects as any in the world, it being but some few Vipers among them that did cast this mist of undutifulness over most of their eyes: Yet to say truth, there was a good number there, that could not be infected with this contagion; insomuch that some did express their duties in speaking, which was the general fault of the House the last day. To conclude, as those Vipers must look for their reward of punishment, so you, My Lords, must justly expect from me that favour and protection, that a good King oweth to his loving and faithful Nobility.
And now, My Lord Keeper, do what I have commanded you.
Then the Lord Keeper said, My Lords, and Gentlemen of the House of Commons, the Kings Majesty doth dissolve this Parliament.
Whilst the King is preparing a Declaration of the Causes and Motives which induced him to dissolve this Parliament, let us see what followed hereupon.
Libels cast abroad.
The discontents of the common people upon this dissolution were heightned against the powerful men at Court, and the Kings most inward Counsellers: For some few days after, two Libels were found in the Dean of Pauls yard, one against Bishop of Laud, to this effect: Laud, look to thy self, be assured thy life is sought as thou art the fountain of wickedness, repent of thy monstrous sins before thou be taken out of the world; and assure thy self, neither God nor the World can endure such a vile Counsellor or whisperer to live. The other was as bad against the L. Treasurer Westen.
Members examined before the Lords of the Council.
The King purposing to proceed against the Members of the House of Commons, who were committed to prison by him in the Star-Chamber, caused certain Questions to be proposed to the judgment upon the 25 of April.