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7. The Commission and Instructions for raising the Forced Loan in Middlesex.

[Sept. 23, 1626. 8. P. Dom. xxxv. 42, 43. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 144.]

Charles, by the grace of God [&c.], To our right trusty and right well beloved Counsellors George Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Thomas Coventry, Knight, Lord Keeper of our Great Seal of England, [and 40 others] greeting.

When the Imperial Crown of this realm descended first upon us, we found ourselves engaged in a war, undertaken and entered into by our late dear father of blessed memory, not willingly nor upon light or ill-grounded counsels, but by the many provocations of an ambitious enemy, and by the grave and deliberate counsels and persuasions of both the Houses of Parliament, upon promise of their continual assistance therein; and thereby not ourselves alone and our own people became thus engaged, but also our friends and allies, and amongst them and above all others our most dear uncle ... the King of Denmark ... whom in honour and in reason of State we may not desert, but by the advice of our Council are resolved to assist him presently with men and money, we evidently foreseeing that otherwise our common enemy will in an instant become master of all Germany, and consequently of all the ports and parts where the mass and bulk of our cloth is vented, and whence we must furnish ourselves of provision for our shipping, which how fatal it would be to us and our people may easily be discerned.

But when we came to enter into this great work, we found our treasures exhausted and our coffers empty, and our ordinary revenue hardly sufficient to support our ordinary charge, much less to undergo so great and extraordinary a burthen as a war will produce. Our affairs at home and abroad thus standing we, being willing to tread in the steps of our ancestors, with all the convenient speed we could, summoned a Parliament, but not finding that success therein which we had just cause to expect, we are enforced to this course we are now resolved upon; which was hastened the rather when our unavoidable necessities both at home and abroad multiplied upon us, when our enemies' great and mighty preparations both by sea and land threaten us daily, and when the late disaster[1] (the chance of war) which hath fallen upon our dearest uncle the King of Denmark, to the endangering of his royal person, the hazarding of his whole army, and the utter disheartening of all our party, do at once call upon us, and cry in our ears, that not our own honour alone, and the ancient renown of this nation (which is dear unto us), but the safety and very subsistence of ourself and people, the true religion of God, and the common cause of Christendom professing that true religion with us, are in apparent danger of suffering irreparably, unless not only a speedy but a present stop be made to so great a breach, which cannot endure so long a delay as the calling of a Parliament.

We therefore, in a case of this extremity, after diligent and deep enquiry into all the ways and means possible which are honourable and just in cases of such unavoidable necessity, have at last, by the advice of our whole Privy Council, resolved to require the aid of our good and loving subjects by lending unto us such a competent sum of money to be speedily collected to our use as may enable us to provide for their safeties and our own; to be repaid unto them as soon as we shall be any ways enabled thereunto, upon showing forth of the acquittance of the collector testifying the receipt thereof. And these sums we are confident will readily and cheerfully be lent unto us by our loving subjects, when they shall be truly informed from us of what importance and of what necessity that is which we now require of them, and when they shall be assured by us, which we faithfully promise and undertake on the royal word of a King, (which we will be jealous not to break with our people), that not a penny of those monies which thus we borrow of them shall be bestowed or expended but upon those public and general services only, wherein every of them and the whole body of the kingdom, their wives, children and posterity, have their personal and common interest.

Know ye therefore that we, reposing special trust and confidence in your fidelities ... appoint you to be our Commissioners, ... and command you ... that, all other occasions set apart, you or any three or more of you ... do with all speed, after the receipt of this our Commission, ... call before you all such persons within our county of Middlesex[2] and the liberties thereof as by our instructions (which we shall send unto you herewith) are appointed; and that ye acquaint them with this our will and pleasure, and see it ... performed accordingly ... And we authorise you or any two or more of you to minister an oath to such persons and in such cases as by our said instructions are directed.

... per ipsum regem [dated 23 Sept. 1626].

[Endorsed] A Commission to the Lords and others of His Majesty's Privy Council and others, concerning the loan of monies to His Majesty within the county of Middlesex.

Instructions which our Commissioners for the loan of money are exactly and effectually to observe and follow.

First, with all speed, after the receipt of this our Commission, ye shall assemble yourselves together; ye shall determine in what manner ye shall proceed to the execution of this our Commission in the several parts and divisions of the whole county; and before your departing ... you shall yourselves for a good example to others lend unto us those several sums of money which are hereby required of you to be lent, testified by the writing of your names with your own hands: that when you shall in our name require others to lend, they shall discern your own forwardness, and that you do not move others to that which you forbear to do yourselves; the Lords and others of our Privy Council, attending our person, having already done the same by the subscription of every of their names. And before your parting you shall cause those of that one hundred to appear before you, and proceed with them, according to these our Commission and instructions.

2. And because we would expedite this service, and ease you of importunity, and leave no way to the partial information of others, in the under or over valuation of men's estates (which is often subject to much error), we have thought this to be the most indifferent and equal way of conjecturing at every man's ability to lend, by taking those rates for our guide, at which they were assessed in the book of the last subsidy, and to require the loan of so much money only, as the entire rate and value comes unto at which they are rated and set there: as namely he that is set at one hundred pounds in lands, to lend us a hundred pounds in money, and so after that rate for a more or less sum. And he that is set at a hundred pounds in goods to lend us a hundred marks:[3] and he that is set at ten pounds goods, to lend us twenty nobles[4]: and so pro rata, for a greater or lesser sum. And where there are bearers or contributors they shall assist the subsidy-men.

3. When you have agreed amongst yourselves of the several days and places of your sitting ... you shall send your warrants under your hands, or the hands of two of you at the least, to the high constable, petty constables, and other officers of those several divisions, personally to warn all such persons who were assessed for the last subsidy, or to leave such warrant in writing at their dwelling-houses, that they fail not to give you meeting at the times and places appointed by you and that those officers to whom your warrants are directed fail not to give an account to you of their service therein.

4. That at every of those meetings, when there is a convenient number assembled, you use all possible endeavours, to cause every of them willingly and cheerfully to lend those sums unto us, opening unto them the necessity and unavoidableness of this course ... and assuring them that this course ... shall not be drawn into example or precedent.

5. That if you shall meet with any objections ... that you use all diligence for removing them ... And if any shall object or whisper, that if this way of raising money take place, then no Parliament shall hereafter be called, that you satisfy such, that the suddenness and importance of the occasions are such, as cannot possibly admit of that delay which the summoning assembly and resolutions of a Parliament do necessarily draw with it; ... but that we are fully purposed to call a Parliament as soon as fitly we may, and as oft as the Commonwealth and State occasions shall require the same ...

6. That ye appoint the days of payment of the sums of money to be lent unto us to be within fourteen days, and persuade such as shall be able to pay it, to pay it at one entire payment ... But to such as ye in your discretions shall think it more convenient, ye may accept of one half at the fourteen days, and the other half to be paid before the twentieth day of December now next ensuing.

7. That you treat apart with every one of those which are to lend unto us, and not in the presence or hearing of any others, unless you see cause to the contrary in your discretions. And as every one giveth consent, that you cause him or her to set his or her name and mark to a book, roll, or list, to be made by you, testifying their assent, with a mark or distinction of the times of payment accorded unto. And if ye shall find any who either shall deny to lend us, or shall make delays or excuses, let them know they do thereby incur our high displeasure; and if they persist in their obstinacy notwithstanding that, then ye shall examine such persons upon oath, whether he hath been dealt withal ... to refuse to lend, or to make excuse for his not lending: who hath so dealt with him, and what speeches or persuasions he or they have used, tending to that purpose. And ye shall also charge every such person in our name, upon his allegiance, not to disclose to any other what his answer was; and ye shall enjoin him in like manner to be forthcoming and ready to attend us or our Council when he shall be sent for, to answer his contempt and neglect of us in this case.

8. You shall show your own affections and zeal to this business and to our service by your effectual treating with all men freely to run this course, and in using your powers, favours and credits, which every [one] of you have in the country ... to advance this business, that it may come off cheerfully and soundly. And that ye yourselves by any means discover not any coldness or unwillingness to the service, whereby any other to their discouragement may gather that you have no heart to the work although for form's sake you must take it upon you, being employed therein; ...

9. That in your treating with your neighbours about this business, you show your own discretions and affections, by making choice of such to begin with, who are likely to give the best examples, and when you have a competent number of the hands to the roll or list of the lenders, that ye show the same to others, as they come before you, to lead them to lend in the like manner.

10. You shall observe and discover by all good ways and means, whether any, publicly or underhand, be workers or persuaders of others' dissent or dislike from this course, ... and as much as ye may, ye shall hinder all discourses about it. And ye shall certify our Privy Council, in writing, of the names, qualities and dwelling places of all such refractory persons, with all speed, and specially if ye shall discover any combination or confederacy against these our proceedings.

11. Ye shall let all to know whom it may concern, that we are well pleased upon lending of these sums required, to remit all that which by letters in our name was desired upon the late benevolence or free gift. And if any have already paid to our use any such sum, that the sum be accepted for so much as in part of this loan, and if it exceed the sum desired to be lent, that the surplus shall be repaid to them without fee or charge.

12. Likewise, if since the last Parliament any have received privy seals, our pleasure [is] that if they have not already paid in any monies thereupon, that they agreeing to the loan of the sum required be excused of the payment of the privy seals. And if they have already paid ... any such sum of money upon these privy seals, [allowance is to be made as in preceding clause].

13. If ye either know or find any able person not set in the last subsidy, that ye deal with every such inhabitant after the same manner and according to the same proportion as is held with other sufficient men according to your best judgments and discretions, and insert their names and sums in the said book, roll, or list, among the others of them. But ye are not to admit of any suit to be made, or any reasons to be given for the abating of any such sums, the time and the instant occasions not now admitting any such dispute, which would hut disturb and protract the service.

14. [appointment of collectors.]

15. [directions to collectors.]

16. And if any of the Commissioners shall be absent from the execution of this service (which we hope will not be), that the rest of you the Commissioners certify their names who shall make such default, as also the names of all such who upon these summons do not come and attend you.

17. And we do hereby explain and declare that the charge given by the said Commission, or by these our instructions, ... be not intended to any of our Privy Council, for that they are daily employed otherwise in our service, nor to any peer of this realm not resident in the county where he is named a Commissioner, nor to any other that by our special directions is otherwise employed in our service.

And these our instructions we require and command yon ... to keep secret to yourselves, and not impart or disclose the same to any others[5].

[1] The battle of Lutter, August 17, 1626.

[2] A similar Commission for London, containing 100 names, dated Feb. 5. 1628, is printed in Rymer, xviii. 835-8.

[3] A mark is 6s. 8d.

[4] A noble is 3s. 2d.

[5] An abstract of these instructions is given in Rushworth, i. 418, 419, under ten heads only.


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