4. The Restraint of the Earls of Arundel and Bristol.

A. Complaint of the House of Lords in Arundel's case.

[March 14, 1626. Lords' Journals, iii. 526. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 91, 92.]

The Earl of Arundel being committed by the King to the Tower, sitting the Parliament, the House was moved, to take the same into their consideration, and so to proceed therein, as they might give no just offence to His Majesty, and yet preserve the privilege of Parliament.

The Lord Keeper thereupon signified to the House, that he was commanded to deliver this message from His Majesty unto their Lordships, viz. That the Earl of Arundel was restrained for a misdemeanour which was personal unto His Majesty, and lay in the proper knowledge of His Majesty, and had no relation to matters of Parliament.

B. Petition of the Earl of Bristol.

[March 30, 1626. Lords' Journals, iii. 544. See Hist of Engl. vi. 94.]

The petition of the Earl of Bristol, for his writ of summons, being referred to the Lords Committees for privileges, &c., the Earl of Hertford reported the same, on this manner, viz.

My Lords, whereas the Earl of Bristol hath preferred a petition unto this House, thereby signifying that his writ of summons is withheld from him ... this petition being referred unto the Committee for privileges, and after diligent search, no precedent being found that any writ of summons hath been detained from any peer that is capable of sitting in the House of Parliament; and considering withal how far it may trench into the right of every member of this House, whether sitting by ancient right of inheritance or by patent, to have their writs detained; the Lords Committees are all of opinion, That it will be necessary for this House humbly to beseech His Majesty, that a writ of summons may be sent to this petitioner, and to such other Lords to whom no writ of summons hath been directed for this Parliament, excepting such as are made incapable to sit in Parliament by judgment of Parliament or any other legal judgment.

Whereupon the Duke of Buckingham signified unto the House, That upon the Earl of Bristol's petition, the King had tent him his writ of summons.

C. Lord Keeper Coventry's Letter to the Earl of Bristol.[1]

[March 31, 1626. Lords' Journals, iii. 563.]

My very good Lord, By His Majesty's commandment I herewith send unto your Lordship your writ of summons for the Parliament, but withal signify His Majesty's pleasure herein further; That, howsoever he gives way to the awarding of the writ, yet his meaning thereby is not to discharge any former direction for restraint of your Lordship's coming hither; but that you continue under the same restriction as you did before, so as your Lordship's personal attendance is to be forborne ...

Thomas Coventry.
Dorset Court,
March 31, 1626.

D. The remonstrance and petition of the Peers on the restraint of the Earl of Arundel.

[April 19, 1626. Lords' Journals, iii. 564. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 92.]

May it please your Majesty, we, the Peers of this your realm now assembled in Parliament, finding the Earl of Arundel absent from his place, that sometimes in this Parliament sat amongst us, his presence was therefore called for, but hereon a message was delivered unto us from your Majesty by the Lord Keeper, that the Earl of Arundel was restrained [&c., as above, p. 44]. This message occasioned us to enquire into the acts of our ancestors ... and after diligent search both of all stories, statutes and records that might inform us in this case, we find it to be an undoubted right and constant privilege of Parliament, that no Lord of Parliament, the Parliament sitting, or within the usual times of privilege of Parliament, is to be imprisoned or restrained without sentence or order of the House, unless it be for treason or felony, or for refusing to give surety for the peace ... wherefore we, your Majesty's loyal subjects and humble servants, the whole body of the Peers now in Parliament assembled, most humbly beseech your Majesty, that the Earl of Arundel, a member of this body, may presently be admitted, with your gracious favour, to come, sit, and serve your Majesty and the Commonwealth in the great affairs of this Parliament. And we shall pray, &c.

This remonstrance and petition being read, it was generally approved of by the whole House, and agreed to be presented unto his Majesty by the whole House.[2]

[1] On April 17, Bristol, who had come to London and justified his action that the King's writ of summons was of greater weight than a letter from the Lord Keeper, accused Buckingham before the House of Lords. On the 21st, Charles accused him of high treason before the same House.

[2] Arundel was at last released on June 5.


Contents | Home | Constitution Society

Popular Pages