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THE
CONSTITUTIONAL DOCUMENTS
OF THE
PURITAN REVOLUTION
1625-1660

SELECTED AND EDITED
BY
SAMUEL RAWSON GARDINER, M.A., D.C.L.
THIRD EDITION. REVISED
1906

OXFORD AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6DP


PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

The documents in this volume are intended to serve either as a basis for the study of the Constitutional History of an important period, or as a companion to the Political History of the time. By far the greater number of them are printed in books which, though commonly to be found in large libraries, are, on account of their size and expense, not readily accessible to students in general. The MS. of the Constitutional Bill of the first Protectorate Parliament, in the handwriting of John Browne, Clerk of the Parliaments, is preserved at Stanford Hall in the possession of Lord Braye, with whose kind permission the copy used in this volume has been taken. It is possible that a great part of the document might have been recovered from the entries of clauses and amendments in the Journals of the House of Commons, but, as far as I know, this is the only complete copy in existence.

The documents in Part I of the present edition have been added at the suggestion of Professor Prothero, who very generously placed at my disposal the copies he had made with the intention of adding them to his own Statutes and other Constitutional Documents illustrative of the reigns of Elizabeth and James I (Clarendon Press, 1894). Though the Navigation Act of the Commonwealth has no claim to a place amongst Constitutional Documents, it is of sufficient importance to be printed in the Appendix.

S. E. G.


CONTENTS

PAGE

PART I.

From the accession of Charles I to the meeting of the third Parliament of his reign.

1. Speech of Sir Nathaniel Rich, proposing terms on which the House of Commons may be prepared to grant Supply. .... 1

2. Protestation of the Commons. ....... 2

3. Documents relating to the Impeachment of the Duke of Buckingham. ......... 3

4. The Restraint of the Earls of Arundel and Bristol. ..... 44

5. The King's Letter and Instructions for the collection of a Free Gift. .......... 46

6. Commission for raising Tonnage and Poundage with Impositions. .......... 49

7. The Commission and Instructions for raising the Forced Loan in Middlesex. ........ 51

8. The case of the Five Knights, before the Court of King's Bench. .... 57

PART II.

From the meeting of the third Parliament of Charles I to the meeting of the Long Parliament.

9. Notes of a Bill brought in by Sir Edward Coke to secure the liberties of the subject. ....... 65

10. The Petition of Right. ........ 66

11. The Remonstrance against Tonnage and Poundage. .... 70

12. The King's Speech at the Prorogation of Parliament at the end of the Session of 1628. ..... 73

13. The King's Declaration prefixed to the Articles of Religion. .... 75

14. Resolutions on Religion drawn by a Sub-Committee of the House of Commons. ........ 77

15. Protestation of the House of Commons. ..... 82

16. The King's Declaration showing the causes of the late Dissolution. .......... 83

17. The Declaration of Sports. ....... 99

18. Act of the Privy Council on the position of the Communion Table at St. Gregory's. ........ 103

19. Specimen of the first Writ of Ship-money. .... 105

20. The King's Case laid before the Judges, with their Answer. .... 108

21. Extracts from the Speech of Oliver St. John in the Ship-money Case. .......... 109

22. Extracts from the Argument of Sir Robert Berkeley, Justice of the King's Bench. ....... 115

23. The Scottish National Covenant. ...... 124

24. Petition of Twelve Peers for the summoning of a new Parliament. ........... 134

25. The King's Writ summoning the Great Council. ... 136

PART III.

From the meeting of the Long Parliament to the outbreak of the Civil War.

26. The Root and Branch Petition. ...... 137

27. The Triennial Act. ......... 144

28. The Protestation. ......... 155

29. Act for the Attainder of the Earl of Strafford. .... 156

30. Act against Dissolving the Long Parliament without its own consent. .......... 158

31. The Tonnage and Poundage Act. ...... 159

32. The Ten Propositions. ........ 163

33. Bill on Church Reform read twice in the House of Lords. .... 167

34. Act for the Abolition of the Court of Star Chamber. ....179

35. Act for the Abolition of the Court of High Commission. .... 186

36. Act declaring the illegality of Ship-money. ....189

37. Act for the limitation of Forests. ...... 193

38. Act prohibiting the exaction of Knighthood Fines. .... 196

39. Resolutions of the House of Commons on Ecclesiastical Innovations. .......... 197

40. Order of the House of Lords on the Services of the Church. .... 199

41. Extract from the Instructions to the Committee in Scotland, proposed by the House of Commons. ..... 199

42. The King's Speech to the Recorder of the City of London. .... 201

43. The Grand Remonstrance, with the Petition accompanying it. .... 202

44. The King's Proclamation on Religion. ..... 232

45. The King's Answer to the Petition accompanying the Grand Remonstrance. ......... 233

46. The Impeachment of one member of the House of Lords, and of five members of the House of Commons. .... 236

47. A Declaration of the House of Commons touching a late breach of their Privileges. ....... 237

48. The Clerical Disabilities Act. ....... 241

49. The Impressment Act. ........ 242

50. The Militia Ordinance. ........ 245

51. The Declaration of the Houses on Church Reform. .... 247

52. The King's Proclamation condemning the Militia Ordinance. .... 248

53. The Nineteen Propositions sent by the two Houses of Parliament to the King at York. ....... 249

54. Declaration of the Houses in Defence of the Militia Ordinance. .... 254

55. The King's Letter sent with the Commissions of Array to Leicestershire. ......... 258

56. The Votes of the Houses for raising an Army. .... 261

PART IV.

From the outbreak of the Civil War to the execution of the King.

57. The Propositions presented to the King at the Treaty of Oxford. ........... 262

58. The Solemn League and Covenant.. ...... 267

59. The Ordinance appointing the First Committee of both Kingdoms. .......... 271

60. The Ordinance appointing the Second Committee of both Kingdoms. .......... 273

61. The Propositions of the Houses presented to the King at Oxford, and subsequently discussed at the Treaty of Uxbridge. .......... 275

62. The King's Propositions to bo discussed at Uxbridge. .... 286

63. The Self-denying Ordinance. ....... 287

64. The Negative Oath. ......... 289

65. Order of the two Houses for taking away the Court of Wards. .... 290

66. The Propositions of the Houses sent to the King at Newcastle. .... 290

67. The King's first answer to the Propositions presented at Newcastle. ........... 306

68. The King's second answer to the Propositions presented at Newcastle. .......... 308

69. Suggested answer to the Propositions drawn up for the King by the leading Presbyterians and a small number of the Independents, and forwarded by the French Ambassador to Cardinal Mazarin to be laid before Queen Henrietta Maria. .... 309

70. The King's third answer to the Propositions presented at Newcastle. .......... 311

71. The Heads of the Proposals offered by the Army. .... 316

72. The King's answer to the Propositions of Parliament. .... 336

73. Letter of Charles I to the Speaker of the House of Lords. ... 338

74. The Agreement of the People, as presented to the Council of the Army. .......... 333

75. The Four Bills, with the Propositions accompanying them. .... 335

76. The Engagement between the King and the Scots. .... 347

77. Additional Articles of the Engagement. ..... 353

78. The King's reply to the Four Bills and the accompanying Propositions. .......... 353

79. The Vote of No Addresses. ..... 356

80. The Act erecting a High Court of Justice for the King's Trial. .... 357

81. The Agreement of the People. ...... 359

82. The Charge against the King. ....... 371

83. The King's reasons for declining the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice. ......... 374

84. The Sentence of the High Court of Justice upon the King. .... 377

85. The Death Warrant of Charles I. ...... 380

PART V.

The Commonwealth and Protectorate.

86. Act appointing a Council of State. ...... 381

87. Engagement taken by the members of the Council of State. .... 384

88. Act abolishing the office of King. ...... 384

89. Act abolishing the House of Lords. ...... 387

90. Act declaring England to be a Commonwealth. ... 388

91. Act declaring what offences shall be adjudged Treason. .... 388

92. Engagement to be taken by all men of the age of eighteen. .... 391

93. Act repealing several clauses in Statutes imposing penalties for not coming to church. ....... 391

94. Act for the Settlement of Ireland. ...... 394

95. Declaration by the Lord General and the Council on the dissolution of the Long Parliament. ..... 400

96. Summons to a Member of the so-called Barebones Parliament. .... 405

97. The Instrument of Government. ...... 405

98. An Ordinance by the Protector for the Union of England and Scotland. ......... 418

99. An Ordinance by the Protector for Elections in Scotland. .... 422

100. An Ordinance by the Protector for Elections in Ireland. .... 425

101. The Constitutional Bill of the First Parliament of the Protectorate. .........427

102. The Humble Petition and Advice. ...... 447

103. The Additional Petition and Advice. ..... 459

104. Writ summoning Richard Cromwell to the House of Lords of the Protectorate. ........ 464

105. The Declaration of Breda. ....... 465

APPENDIX.

The Navigation Act. ......... 468

INDEX ............ 472


INTRODUCTION

I. To the meeting of the Third Parliament of Charles I. [ — 1628.]

Revolutions, no less than smaller political changes, are to be accounted for as steps in the historical development of nations. They are more violent, and of longer duration, in proportion to the stubborn resistance opposed to them by the institutions which stand in their way; and the stubbornness of that resistance is derived from the services which the assailed institutions have rendered in the past, and which are remembered in their favour after they have ceased to be applicable to the real work of the day, or at least have become inapplicable without serious modification.

On the other hand, many who, throwing off the conservatism of habit, have bent themselves to sweep away the hindrances which bar the path of political progress, show an eagerness to put all established authority to the test, and to replace all existing institutions by new ones more in accordance with their ideal of a perfect State — an ideal which, under all circumstances, is necessarily imperfect. Revolutions, therefore, unavoidably teem with disappointment to their promoters. Schemes are carried out, either blundering in themselves or too little in accordance with the general opinion of the time to root themselves in the conscience of the nation; and, before many years have passed away, those who were the most ardent revolutionists; looking back upon their baffled hopes, declare that nothing worthy of the occasion has been accomplished.

The historian writing in a later generation is distracted neither by these buoyant hopes, nor by this melancholy despair. He knows, on the one hand, that, in great measure, the dreams of the idealists were but anticipations of future progress; and on the other hand, that the conservative misgivings of those who turned back were but the instrument through which the steadiness of progress indispensable to all healthy growth was maintained. A Revolution, in short, as an object of study, has an unrivalled attraction for him, not because it is exciting, but because it reveals more clearly than smaller changes the law of human progress.

One feature, therefore, is common to all Revolutions, that the nation in which they appear is content, perhaps after years of agitation, with just so much change as is sufficient to modify or abolish the institution which, so to speak, rankles in the flesh of the body politic. In the French Revolution, for instance, the existence of privileged classes was the evil which the vast majority of the nation was resolved to eradicate; and after blood had been shed in torrents, the achievement of equality under a despot satisfied, for a time at least, this united demand of the nation. Not the taking of the Bastille nor the execution of Louis XVI, but the night of August 4, when feudal privileges were thrown to the winds, was the central fact of the French Revolution. It was of the essence of the movement that there should cease to be privileged orders. It was a secondary consequence that the King's authority was restricted or his person misused.

In the English Revolution, on the other hand, it was of the essence of the movement that the authority of the King should be restricted. The Kingship had done too much service in the recent past, and might do too much service again, to be absolutely abolished, and there was no widespread desire for any social improvements. The abolition of the House of Lords and the sweeping away of Episcopacy were secondary consequences of the movement. Its central facts are to be traced in the legislation of the first months of the Long Parliament, especially in the Triennial Act, the Tonnage and Poundage Act, and the Acts for the abolition of the Star Chamber and the High Commission. Then, just as in the French Revolution the Reign of Terror followed upon the abolition of privileges on account of the suspicion that those who had lost by the change were conspiring with foreign armies to get them back; so in the English Revolution there followed, first the Civil War and then the trial and execution of the King, on account of the suspicion that Charles was personally unwilling to consent to the loss of power and was conspiring with foreign armies to recover it.

The authority inherited by Charles at his accession was derived from the Tudor monarchy, which had come into power in defence of the middle classes against the great landowners, and had maintained itself in power as the champion of a National Church against a foreign ecclesiastical organisation backed by foreign governments. No such conflict could be successfully waged without reliance on spiritual forces, as well as on the craving for the material advantages to be obtained by casting off the oppressions of the nobility at home or by repelling invaders from abroad. To some extent the spiritual force grew out of the struggle itself, and the exaggerated expressions of loyalty to the wearer of the crown, which fall so strangely on modern ears, were but the tokens of a patriotic tide of feeling which was indeed very far from clearing away evil passions, but which at all events did something to elevate the men who were subject to them. In the main, however, the spiritual force which bore Elizabeth to triumph was religious zeal, or at least zeal which was permeated by the influence of religion.

Of this combined effort of patriotism and religion the Tudor institutions bore the impress. Not only were the judges removable by the Crown, but the Court of Star Chamber, which could fine, imprison, and in certain cases sentence to the pillory, without the intervention of a jury, was composed of all the members of the Privy Council and of two of the judges, thus enabling the Sovereign to secure the decision in cases in which he was personally affected by a court in manifest dependence on himself. The same thing may be said of the Court of High Commission, which dealt with ecclesiastical offences and in which the judicial authority was practically exercised by the Bishops and the lawyers of the Ecclesiastical Courts, as the laymen named in the commission seldom or never attended to their duties. Again, the right exercised by Elizabeth of levying Impositions, or Customs-duties not voted by Parliament, was the germ of an unparliamentary revenue which might make it needless, except in times of great necessity, to consult Parliament at all. It is true that Elizabeth exercised her powers with extreme sagacity and moderation, and that the nation, confident in her leadership, had not been ready to take offence; but it was certain, that if the time should arrive when a ruler less trusted and less respected was on the throne, there would be a strong disposition to lessen his authority, especially if, as was the case at the opening of the seventeenth century, the reasons for entrusting the Crown with such extensive powers had ceased to exist.

This was precisely what happened during the twenty-two years of the reign of James I. James was out of touch with the national feeling, and though he was often wiser in his aims than the House of Commons, he usually sought to attain them in an unwise way. He was not tyrannical, but his policy and his conduct struck no roots in the heart of the nation; and it soon became impossible to regard him as in any sense a leader of the national action. At the same time his financial difficulties, caused partly by an unavoidable growth of expenditure, but partly also by his lavish generosity to his favourites, led him to press the real or supposed rights of the Crown farther than Elizabeth had cared to press them. Twice in his reign he raised a Benevolence, not indeed by positive order under the Great Seal, but by invitation conveyed in letters from the Privy Council. The most important financial step taken by him, however, was the levy of largely increased Impositions. Elizabeth had, indeed, for special reasons, levied a few; and one of these, the Imposition on currants, was in 1607 the subject of a trial in the Court of Exchequer, known as Bates's case. Bates, a merchant who refused to pay the duty, on the ground that the King had no legal power to take it without a grant from Parliament, was declared to be in the wrong, and the Crown found itself, by the opinion of the Court which was constitutionally entrusted with the decision of such questions, entitled to raise, in addition to the Tonnage and Poundage — which, according to established precedent, had been voted to James for life by the first Parliament of his reign — as much revenue from exports and imports as the amount of the consumption of foreign articles would permit. The claim of James to levy Impositions naturally raised opposition in the House of Commons, as it effected not merely the pockets of the members and their constituents, but the constitutional position of Parliament. According to the tradition of generations, the King ought in ordinary times 'to live of his own; ' that is to say, to supply his needs from his hereditary revenue and from the Tonnage and Poundage which was intended to enable him to defend the realm by sea. In extraordinary times, when there was war or rebellion or any other demand for unusual expenditure, he might fairly expect Parliament to vote him subsidies, a form of direct taxation loosely resembling the modern Income Tax. In the early part of James's reign, however, the increasing necessities of the Crown seemed likely to set at naught this old theory, and subsidies were sometimes demanded and even granted when there was neither war nor rebellion. The frequent convocation of Parliament became a necessity for the Crown, and the House of Commons, in proportion as the Crown entered on unpopular courses, saw its opportunity of bringing the Crown to act in accordance with its wishes by delaying or refusing a grant of subsidies. If however the King could substitute a certain revenue from Impositions levied by prerogative for an uncertain revenue from subsidies granted by Parliament, he would be relieved from the necessity of consulting Parliament except in really momentous crises.

The suspicion of danger which may have been entertained when Bates's case was adjudged in the Exchequer was converted into a certainty in 1608, when James ordered by letters patent the raising of new Impositions to the value of about £75,000, a sum which would increase in future years with the increasing trade of the country. When Parliament met in 1610 his right to do so was contested by the Commons, and a compromise was agreed to, by which James was to strike off about a third of the new duties as specially burdensome to the merchants, whilst the remainder, as matters then stood, about £50,000, was to be secured to him by an Act of Parliament in which words were to be inserted precluding him and his successors from ever again levying duties without Parliamentary consent. This compromise, however, was dependent on a larger bargain, known as the Great Contract, for the sale by the Crown in return of certain feudal rights, of which the principal was that of Wardship, for £200,000 a-year, and when the Great Contract failed, the compromise relating to the Impositions fell through as well. When the second Parliament of James I met in 1614, the Commons renewed their protests against the Impositions, but the Lords refused to discuss the question, and an early dissolution prevented any further steps from being taken.

This dispute on the subject of taxation affected the whole constitutional edifice. It raised the question which is at the bottom of all constitutional struggles, the question between the national will and the national law. Whatever may have been the value of the statutes and precedents quoted at the bar and on the bench in Bates's case, the judges were the only authorised exponents of the law, and the judges had decided that James's claim was legal. Against this there was nothing to allege but a resolution of the House of Commons, and a resolution of the House of Commons could not change the law. Only an Act of Parliament could do that, and in those days an Act of Parliament was not to be had without the real assent of King, Lords, and Commons. In this case, however, the assent of King and Lords was not to be had.

When the national will is strongly asserted, some way is certain to be found, in spite of all constitutional difficulties, to change the law. It is not to be supposed that any such assertion was likely to be made in 1610 or in 1614. Though the members of the House of Commons were dissatisfied, they were not as yet disaffected to the Crown, and even their dissatisfaction was not fully shared by the nation at large.

Nor were difficulties about religion likely, at this stage of our history, to incite to resistance. The Church of England during the Middle Ages had been to a great extent national, and when Henry VIII threw off the Papal jurisdiction she became entirely national. More than any other Church, indeed, she retained a connection with the past historical development of Catholic Christianity, and she claimed that in casting off the innovations of the Middle Ages she appealed to the Scriptures, and, in cases of doubt, to their interpretation by the Christian writers of the early centuries. Basing herself on this foundation, she retained the Episcopal office, which could be shown to have been in existence at least in very early times.

In theory a descendant of the Church of the first ages of Christianity, the Church of England cut off from Papal authority could not fail to be subjected to the influences of an age of religious change. On the one hand she was subjected to the Crown, because the nation was subjected to the Crown, and on the other hand her clergy and people were liable to be drawn this way and that by tides of opinion flowing in from the perturbed Continent. To enter into these matters in detail would be to write the religious history of the England of the sixteenth century, and it is enough to say that at the end of Elizabeth's reign, whilst the Queen had succeeded in maintaining Episcopacy and to a great extent the use of the Common Prayer Book as it had been settled soon after her accession, the doctrine taught and accepted by the vast majority of that part of the clergy which was in any real sense of the word religious was Calvinistic. Elizabeth was, however, slow to mark offences, and though she had insisted on the complete use of the Prayer Book and on conformity to the rubrics in important places such as Cathedrals and College Chapels, she had winked at refusals by the incumbents of country parishes to wear the surplice and to carry out certain other ceremonial rules. After the abortive Hampton Court Conference in 1604 James resolved to enforce conformity, and a considerable number of the clergy were deprived of their benefices for refusing to conform. These Puritans, as they were called, found support in the House of Commons on the ground that it would be well at a time when there was a dearth of good preachers to retain the services of men who were notoriously conscientious, and who were morally and intellectually qualified for the fulfilment of their ministerial office. The position of the non-conforming Puritans who appeared at Hampton Court and of their lay supporters may at this time be easily defined. Both accepted the Episcopal constitution of the Church and its relations with the Crown. Both accepted the Prayer Book as a whole, and the Calvinistic doctrine commonly taught in the pulpits. On the other hand, whilst the laymen did not offer any direct opposition to such ceremonies as the use of the surplice, some of the clergy resigned their cures rather than conform to them. Obviously the temper of the laity who sympathised with the non-conforming clergy was still less likely to lead to resistance than the temper roused in them by the levy of the new Impositions. Yet, though internal peace was maintained, there was a rift between the Crown and the House of Commons, and the rift was widened during the latter part of James's reign by difference of opinion on foreign politics. The proposed marriage of the Prince of Wales with a Spanish Infanta, and James's desire to settle the troubles on the Continent caused by the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War by means of the Spanish alliance, was received with disapprobation by all classes of Englishmen; and when, in the Parliament of 1621, the Commons petitioned the King to abandon the Spanish marriage, James denied the right of the House to treat of matters other than those on which he asked its advice. On this the Commons drew up a Protestation, claiming the right to discuss all matters relating to the affairs of the kingdom. James dissolved Parliament, and tore the Protestation out of the Journal Book.

In 1624 another Parliament met, which at first seemed likely to come to terms with the King; as after the failure of his negotiations with Spain he was about to take arms for the restoration of his son-in-law, the Elector Palatine. Differences of opinion, however, soon arose between James and the House of Commons as to the principles on which the war was to be conducted. An expedition sent out under Count Mansfeld ended in desperate failure. Under these circumstances James died in 1625. His successor, Charles I, was anxious to carry on war with Spain, but he was completely under the influence of the Duke of Buckingham, and all that went wrong was naturally attributed to Buckingham's mismanagement. Accordingly, the Commons in the first Parliament of Charles, which met in 1625, after showing their reluctance to grant supplies for the war, using Sir Nathaniel Rich as their mouthpiece in a last effort to find a compromise (No. 1, p. 1), proceeded to ask that the King should take the advice of counsellors in whom Parliament could confide. They did not indeed propose that he should dismiss Buckingham, but the granting of their request would have been a long step towards the establishment of a responsible ministry, and would have cut at the root of the Tudor system, under which the supremacy of the Crown was secured by the responsibility of ministers to itself alone. Charles, seeing the diminution of his authority which would result from the change, dissolved Parliament.

Charles's second Parliament met in 1626. An expedition to Cadiz had in the interval failed to accomplish anything, and there were reasons for believing that Buckingham was about to pick a quarrel with France in addition to the quarrel with Spain. All Buckingham's misdeeds were imputed to the most sordid motives, and the Commons had every inducement to believe the worst of his actions. Charges of crime in order to obtain the dismissal of a minister would commend themselves to a House which had no power to dismiss by simple resolution or petition, and Buckingham was therefore impeached as guilty, not of incompetence, but of high crimes and misdemeanours against the state (No. 3, p. 3). Charles, however, again interfered and dissolved his second Parliament as sharply as he had dissolved the first. Charles's failure in the same Parliament to keep under restraint the Earls of Arundel and Bristol (No. 4, p. 44), might have served as a warning to him that there were limits to the devotion even of the House of Lords.

In the autumn of 1626 Charles, finding his financial necessities pressing, and having failed to persuade his subjects to present him with a free gift (No. 5, p. 46), issued a commission for the levy of tonnage and poundage by prerogative (No. 6, p. 49), after which he proceeded to levy a forced loan (No. 7, p. 51). In 1627 he engaged in a war with France, and sent out a fleet and army under Buckingham to relieve the Huguenot stronghold of Rochelle which was being besieged by the King of France. This expedition, like the preceding one, ended in failure, and public opinion was even more excited against Buckingham than before. In the meanwhile the execution of the forced loan had been resisted, and Charles had imprisoned leading personages who had refused payment. Five of their number had applied for a writ of Habeas Corpus, and the King's claim to imprison without showing cause, — and thus by stating no issue which could go before a jury, to prevent the imprisoned person from obtaining a trial — was argued before the Court of King's Bench in what is known as The Five Knights' Case (No. 8, p. 57). In the end the five knights were remanded to prison, but the judges expressed so much doubt as to the King's right permanently to imprison that Charles's authority in the matter was considerably shaken. The general result was that the judges treated the King's power as something exceptional, to be employed in special crises, and though they were willing to trust the King to judge when such a crisis existed, they were unable to regard arbitrary imprisonment as an ordinary instrument of government.

Meanwhile, the soldiers who had returned from Rhé? were billeted in private houses in order that they might be kept in readiness for a fresh expedition in the following year, and were subjected to the discipline of Martial Law. Complaints were soon heard of the oppressive nature of the system. The Courts Martial too did not content themselves With the punishment of soldiers, but also punished civilians upon the complaint of soldiers.

II. From the Meeting of the Third Parliament of Charles I to the Meeting of the Long Parliament.

[1628-1640.]

When Charles's third Parliament met in 1628, it immediately occupied itself with these grievances. After a long struggle, in which he refused to accept a Bill proposed by Wentworth and brought in by Coke, with the object of preventing the repetition of the conduct complained of without passing judgment on the King's conduct in the past (No. 9, p. 65), Charles consented to the Petition of Right (No. 10, p. 66), which after declaring that the law had been broken, demanded that the King should acknowledge the exaction of ' any gift, loan, benevolence, tax, or such like charge, without common consent by Act of Parliament,' all imprisonment without cause shown, all billeting of soldiers in private houses, and all exercise of Martial Law to be illegal (No. 10, p. 69).

The Petition of Eight is memorable as the first statutory restriction of the powers of the Crown since the accession of the Tudor dynasty. Yet, though the principles laid down in it had the widest possible bearing, its remedies were not intended to apply to all questions which had arisen or might arise between the Crown and the Parliament, but merely to those which had arisen since Charles's accession. Parliament had waived, for the present at least, the consideration of Buckingham's misconduct. It had also waived the consideration of the question of Impositions. That this was so appears by a comparison of the language of the Petition of Eight with that of the Tonnage and Poundage Act of 1641 (No. 31, p. 159). The prohibition from taking without Parliamentary consent extends in the former to ' any gift, loan, benevolence, tax, or such like charge,' in the latter to any ' subsidy, custom, impost, or charge whatsoever. ' The framers of the Petition of Eight were the first lawyers of the day, and it can hardly have been through inadvertence that they omitted the decisive words necessary to include Impositions if they had intended to do so. Nor was it without significance that whilst the Houses in the preamble to the Petition of Eight refer to the imaginary statute de Tallagio non concedendo as enacting that 'no tallage or aid should be taken without consent,' they make no reference to the clauses in the Confirmatio Cartarum which refer to the duties upon merchandise.

The motives of the Commons in keeping silence on the Impositions were probably twofold. In the first place, they probably wished to deal separately with the new grievances, because in dealing with them they would restrain the King's power to make war without Parliamentary consent. The refusal of Tonnage and Poundage would restrain his power to govern in time of peace. In the second place, they had a Tonnage and Poundage Bill before them. Such a Bill had been introduced into each of the preceding Parliaments, but in each case an early dissolution had hindered its consideration, and the long debates on the Petition of Eight now made it impossible to proceed farther with it in the existing session. Yet, for three years the King had been collecting Tonnage and Poundage, just as he collected the Impositions, that is to say, as if he had no need of a Parliamentary grant. The Commons therefore proposed to save the right of Parliament by voting Tonnage and Poundage for a single year, and to discuss the matter at length the following session. When the King refused to accept this compromise they had some difficulty in choosing a counter-move. They were precluded from any argument from ancient statute and precedent, because the judges in Bates's case had laid down the law against them, and they therefore had recourse to the bold assertion that the Petition of Eight had settled the question in their favour (No. 11, p. 70). Charles answered by proroguing Parliament, and took occasion in so doing to repudiate the doctrine which they had advanced (No. 12, p. 73).

Soon after the prorogation Buckingham was murdered, and it is possible that if no other question had been at issue between the Crown and the Commons than that of the Customs-duties the next session would have seen the end of the dispute. The Church question had, however, by this time reached a new stage. To the dispute about surplices had succeeded a dispute about doctrine and discipline. A school of theological students had arisen which rejected the authority of Calvin, and took up the principle advocated by Cranmer that the patristic writings afforded a key to the meaning of the Scriptures in doubtful points. In prosecuting their studies they learnt to attach special value to the doctrine of sacramental grace, and to regard Episcopacy as a divine institution and not as a merely human arrangement; whilst, on the other hand, they based their convictions on historical study, thus setting their faces against the plea that truth was divinely revealed in the Scriptures alone, without the necessity of supplementing it by the conclusions of human reason. In the Ecclesiastical Polity of the great Hooker these ideas were set forth with a largeness of mind and a breadth of charity which made his work memorable as a landmark in the history of thought. It was the starting-point of a change which was to substitute reasonableness for dogmatism, and which was ultimately to blend with the political and philosophical ideas of the latter half of the seventeenth century in putting an end to intolerance and persecution. The followers of Hooker were at first the few who, in spite of their appeal to antiquity, were in their central convictions in advance of their age. To give such men their due is always hard for contemporaries, and it was especially hard at a time when the idea of an exclusive National Church had a firm hold on all minds. If there was anything likely to make it impossible, at least for the time, it would be an attempt to place them in positions of authority. Yet this was the very thing which Charles did. His trusted adviser in Church matters was Bishop Laud, and Laud, sharing Hooker's dislike of Calvinistic dogmatism, was fully penetrated with the conviction that he and his friends must either crush the Calvinists or be crushed by them, and that the only way to produce that unity in the Church which he desired to see was to be found in the authoritative enforcement of uniformity in the practices of the Church as laid down by law. Hence, both on the King's side and on that of his antagonists, political and religious considerations were closely connected. The Laudian clergy being in a minority exalted the Royal prerogative from which they expected protection, and declared themselves in its favour even in such purely constitutional questions as those relating to arbitrary taxation, whilst the Calvinistic clergy and laity, feeling themselves to be in a majority, exalted the authority of Parliament by which that majority was represented.

One of the questions at issue was Calvin's doctrine of predestination. The Calvinists held it to be one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity and condemned those who opposed it as Arminian heretics. Laud always asserted that he was not an Arminian, as he considered the question to be one beyond the reach of his faculties to resolve. It was doubtless upon Laud's advice, though ostensibly upon the advice of as many Bishops as could be got together upon short notice, that Charles prefixed a Declaration on the subject to a new edition of the Articles (No. 13, p. 7.5). The Commons on their re-assembly for the session of 1629 took offence not merely at the Declaration itself, but at the growth of ceremonialism amongst the clergy favoured by the Court, and their feelings were doubtless expressed by the resolutions drawn up by their sub-committee (No. 14, p. 77), though in consequence of the early dissolution those resolutions were never put to the vote in the House itself. The quarrel about religion would certainly have embittered the quarrel about Tonnage and Poundage, but the latter was complicated by a fresh dispute about the liability of some Customs-officers who had seized the goods of a member of Parliament for refusal to pay unvoted Customs, to answer their conduct before the House of Commons. The King declared that his ministers were responsible only to himself, and dissolved Parliament. Before the dissolution took place, the Commons voted a Protestation (No. 15, p. 82), and a few days later the King discussed the quarrel from his point of view in a published Declaration (No. 16, p. 83). Eleven years passed before a Parliament was again summoned.

During those eleven years the breach between the King and his subjects grew constantly wider. Not only Puritans but ordinary Protestants were alienated by Laud's efforts to enforce uniformity in the Church by insisting on obedience to the law as interpreted by the Ecclesiastical Courts. When in 1633 Laud became Archbishop of Canterbury he was able to act with greater authority. The Declaration of Sports (No. 17, p. 99) and the Act of the Privy Council on the position of the Communion Table (No. 18, p. 103) may be taken as specimens of the proceedings to which, under the influence of the Archbishop, Charles lent his name. For these proceedings there was always some tolerable reason to be given. The real objection to them was that they took no account of the religious feelings of the majority of religious men in England. In 1634 Laud undertook a metropolitical visitation of the Province of Canterbury which lasted for three years, and which imposed the new system upon every parish in the Province, whilst Neile, the Archbishop of York, took the same measures in the Northern Province. The authorisation of the circulation of books in which were set forth doctrines hardly distinguishable from those of the Roman Catholics, the intercourse of the King with the Papal agents established at the Queen's Court, and the infliction of cruel punishments, by order of the Star Chamber, upon those who maligned the Bishops or assailed their jurisdiction, spread far and wide the belief that a vast conspiracy to bring about the submission of the Church of England to the Pope was actually in existence.

Taken by itself, the dissatisfaction of thoughtful and religious men would not have produced a Revolution. It is never possible, however, to set at naught the feelings of thoughtful and religious men without taking steps which rouse the ill-feeling of those who are neither thoughtful nor religious. After the dissolution of 1629 Charles had enforced the payment of Tonnage and Poundage as well as of the Impositions levied by his father, and with an increasing trade and rising revenue was nearly in a position to make both ends meet, so long as he did not incur any extraordinary expense. The effort to pay off the debts incurred in the late war and to obtain a surplus led to the introduction of unpopular monopolies granted to companies, — thus evading the Monopoly Act of 1624, — to the levying fines upon those who had neglected to take up their knighthood according to law, and to the imposition of fines on those who had encroached on the old boundaries of the forests. A more serious demand on the purses of the subjects was made by the imposition of Ship-money in 1634. The assertions made in the first writ (No. 19, p. 105) set forth so much of the King's objects in demanding the money as could be made public, and there can be no doubt that a fleet was absolutely needed for the defence of the country at a time when the French and Dutch navies had so preponderant a force.

The reasons why the imposition of Ship-money gave more offence than the levy of Tonnage and Poundage are easy to perceive. On the one hand direct taxation is always felt to be a greater annoyance than indirect, and on the other hand Ship-money was a new burden, whereas Tonnage and Poundage, and even the Impositions, had been levied for many years. The constitutional resistance rested on broader grounds. To levy direct taxation to meet extraordinary expenditure without recourse to Parliament was not only contrary to the Petition of Eight, but was certain, if the system was allowed to establish itself, to enable the King to supply himself with all that he might need even in time of war without calling Parliament at all. As there could be no doubt that Charles's main ground in omitting to summon Parliament was his fear lest his ecclesiastical proceedings might be called in question, the dissatisfaction of those who resented his attack on their religion was reinforced by the dissatisfaction of those who resented his attack on the Constitution, and of the far greater number who resented his attack on their pockets.

On the King's side it was urged that Ship-money was not a tax at all, but an ancient payment in lieu of personal service in defence of the realm by sea, and also that the King was himself the sole judge of the existence of the danger which would require such exertions to be made. In 1637 Charles took the opinion of the judges on his case (No. 20, p. 108), and the whole question was thrashed out before the twelve judges in the Exchequer Chamber in the case of Hampden in 1637-38. The arguments on either side bristled with precedents and references to law books, but a fair idea of the broader grounds on which each party took its stand may be gathered from the extracts from the speech of Oliver St. John, who was one of Hampden's counsel (No. 21, p. 109), and from the argument of Sir Robert Berkeley (No. 22, p. 115). In reading St. John's speech, it must not be forgotten that he was precluded by his position as an advocate from adducing any considerations drawn from his suspicions of Charles's motives in levying Ship-money by prerogative rather than by Parliamentary authority.

Ultimately judgment was given for the King, only two of the judges dissenting on the main point at issue, though three others refrained from giving their support to the King on other grounds.

Whether, if England had been left to itself, any resistance would have ensued it is impossible to say. There were no signs of anything of the sort, and the whole organisation of the country being in the hands of the King, it would have been very difficult, unless the King chose to summon a Parliament, to obtain a nucleus for more than passive resistance. Passive resistance in the shape of a wide-spread refusal to pay Ship-money indeed existed, but however annoying may be the difficulties of a government exposed to general ill-will, they are not likely at once to endanger its existence. It is when dangers threaten it from abroad, and when it becomes necessary to rouse the national spirit in its defence, that the weakness of an unpopular government stands clearly revealed.

This danger was already approaching. In 1637 Charles attempted to force a new liturgy and canons upon the Scottish people, and in Scotland he had not the governmental organisation on his side which he had in England. The Bishops who had been set up by his father had far less influence than the English Bishops, and the members of the Privy Council which governed in his name, though nominated by himself, were for the most part noblemen whose position in the country was much stronger than that of the English nobility, and who were actuated by jealousy of the Scottish Bishops and by fear lest the King should give wealth and power to the Bishops at the expense of the nobility. In consequence, resistance not only broke out but organised itself; and in 1638 a religious manifesto, the Scottish National Covenant (No. 23, p. 124), was signed by the greater part of the nation. It attacked the church system of Charles, though it nominally professed respect for his authority and avoided all direct attack on Episcopacy.

All attempts at a compromise having failed, and an Assembly which met at Glasgow in the end of 1638 having continued to sit after Charles's High Commissioner, the Marquis of Hamilton, had pronounced its dissolution, and having then declared Episcopacy to be abolished, Charles attempted in 1639 an invasion of Scotland. He was unable, however, to bring money enough together to support an army, and he agreed in the Treaty of Berwick to terms which involved a practical surrender of his claims to dictate the religion of Scotland. His subsequent attempt to construe the Treaty to his own advantage led to the threat of a new war, and on April 13, 1640, by the advice of Strafford, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who had come to England in September, 1639, and had from that date become Charles's principal counsellor, an English Parliament met at Westminster.

The Short Parliament, as it was called, was soon dissolved. It was ready to grant supplies if the King would come to terms with the Scots, and this Charles refused to do.

A new war was the result. The Scots invaded England, defeated a large part of the Royal Army at Newburn, and occupied Northumberland and Durham. Charles had neither an army nor a people behind his back, and he was forced to treat with the invaders. The feelings of the English nation were expressed in the Petition of the Twelve Peers for a New Parliament, laid before the King on August 28, 1640 (No. 24, p. 134). In addition to the piled-up grievances of the past eleven years, was the new one that Charles was believed to have purposed making himself master of England as well as of Scotland by means of an Irish army led into England by Strafford, and paid by subsidies granted by the Irish Parliament. So utterly powerless was Charles before the demands of the Scots for compensation for the expenses of invading England that, on September 7, he summoned a Great Council, or an assembly of the House of Lords alone (No. 25, p. 136), to meet at York to advise him and to guarantee a loan. On November 7, the Long Parliament met at Westminster.

III. From the meeting of the Long Parliament to the outbreak of the Civil War.

[1640-1642.]

For the first time in the reign of Charles I, a Parliament met with an armed force behind it. Though the Scottish army, which continued to occupy the northern counties till August 1641, was not directly in its service, it depended for its support upon the money voted by the English Parliament, and would consequently have placed itself at the disposition of Parliament if Charles had threatened a dissolution. Charles was therefore no longer in a position to refuse his assent to Bills of which he disapproved, and the series of Constitutional Acts passed during the first ten months of the existence of the Long Parliament (Nov. 1640-August 1641), bear witness to the direction taken by it in constitutional matters. The Triennial Act (No. 27, p. 144), enacting that Parliament was to meet at least once in three years, and appointing a machinery by which it might be brought together when that period had elapsed, if the Crown neglected to summon it, struck at Charles's late system of governing without summoning Parliament until it suited him to do so, but it did nothing to secure the attention of the King to the wishes of the Houses. Whilst measures were being prepared to give effect to the further changes necessary to diminish the King's authority, the attention of the Houses and of the country was fully occupied by the impeachment, which was ultimately turned into the attainder of the Earl of Strafford.

No great constitutional change can take place without giving dire offence to those at whose expense the change is made, and Parliament had therefore from the very beginning of its existence to take into account the extreme probability that Charles, if he should ever regain power, would attempt to set at naught all that it might do. Against this, they attempted to provide by striking at his ministers, especially at Strafford, whom they knew to have been, for some time, his chief adviser, and whom they regarded as the main supporter of his arbitrary government in the past, and also as the man who was likely from his ability and strength of will to be most dangerous to them in the future, in the event of an attempted reaction. They imagined that if he were condemned and executed no other minister would be found daring enough to carry out the orders of a King who was bent upon reducing Parliament to subjection. They therefore impeached him as a traitor, on the ground that his many arbitrary acts furnished evidence of a settled purpose to place the King above the law, and that such a purpose was tantamount to treason; because, whilst it was apparently directed to strengthening the King, it in reality weakened him by depriving him of the hearts of his subjects.

Whether it was justifiable or not to put Strafford to death for actions which had never before been held to be treasonable, it is certain that the Commons, in imagining that Stafford's death would end their troubles, under-estimated the gravity of the situation. They imagined that the King, in breaking through what they called the fundamental laws, had been led astray by wicked counsel, and that they might therefore fairly expect that when his counsellors were punished or removed, he would readily acquiesce in changes which would leave him all the legal power necessary for the well-being of the State.

Such a view of the case was, however, far from being accurate. As a matter of fact, the Constitutional arrangements bequeathed by the Tudors to the Stuarts had broken down, and Charles could argue that he had but perpetuated the leadership of the Tudors in the only way which the ambition of the House of Commons left open to him, and that therefore every attempt now made to subject him to Parliament was a violation of those constitutional rights which he ought to exercise for the good of the nation. It is true that an ideally great man might have been enlightened by the failure of his projects, but Charles was very far from being ideally great, and it was therefore certain that he would regard the designs of the Commons as ruinous to the well-being of the kingdom as well as to his own authority. The circumstances of Stratford's trial increased his irritation, and he had recourse to intrigues with the English army which still remained on foot in Yorkshire, hoping to engage it in his cause against the pretensions of Parliament. It was against these intrigues that the Protestation (No. 28, p. 155) was directed. It was drawn up by Pym, and was taken by every member of both Houses as a token of their determination to resist any forcible interference with their proceedings. It was rapidly followed by the King's assent, given under stress of mob violence, to the Act for Stratford's attainder (No. 29, p. 156).

On the day on which the King's assent to Stratford's death was given, he also consented to an Act against the dissolution of the Long Parliament without its own consent (No. 30, p. 158). It was the first Act which indicated the new issues which had been opened by the manifest reluctance of Charles to accept that diminution of his power on which Parliament insisted. Taking into account the largeness of the changes proposed, together with the character of the King from whom power was to be abstracted, it is hardly possible to avoid the conclusion that nothing short of a change of Kings would meet the difficulties of the situation. Only a King who had never known what it was to exercise the old powers would feel himself at his ease under the new restrictions.

However reasonable such a conclusion may be, it was not only impossible, but undesirable, that it should be acted on at once. Great as was both physically and morally the injury inflicted on the country by the attempt of Parliament to continue working with Charles, the nation had more to gain from the effort to preserve the continuity of its traditions than it had to lose from the immediate evil results of its mistake. If that generation of Englishmen was slow to realise the truth in this matter, and suffered great calamities in consequence, its very tenacity in holding firm to the impossible solution of a compromise with Charles I, gave better results even to itself than would have ensued if it bad been quick to discern the truth. A nation which easily casts itself loose from the traditions of the past loses steadiness of purpose, and ultimately, wearied by excitement, falls into the arms of despotism.

In spite, therefore, of the appearance of chaos in the history of the years 1640-1649, the forces which directed events are easily to be traced. During the first months of the Long Parliament there is the resolution — whilst retaining the Kingship — to transfer the general direction of government from the King to Parliament and more especially to the House of Commons, a resolution which at first seems capable of being carried out by the abolition of the institutions which had given an exceptional position to the Tudor and Stuart sovereigns. Later on there is the gradual awakening of a part of the nation to the truth that it is impossible to carry out the new system in combination with Charles, and this leads to the putting forth by Parliament of a claim to sovereignty really incompatible with Kingship. Even those, however, who are most ready to break with the past, strive hard to maintain political continuity by a succession of proposed compromises, not one of which is accepted by both parties.

The Tonnage and Poundage Act, which became law on June 22 (No. 31, p. 159), bears the impress of the first of these movements. On the one hand, whilst it asserts the illegality of the levy of Customs-duties without a Parliamentary grant, it gives to Charles not merely the Tonnage and Poundage given to his father, but also 'such other sums of money as have been imposed upon any merchandise either outward or inward by pretext of any letters patent, commission under the Great Seal of England or Privy Seal, since the first year of his late Majesty King James, of blessed memory, and which were continued and paid at the beginning of this present Parliament' (p. 161). In other words, it followed the precedent of the abortive Bill of 1610 (see p. xiv) by including the Impositions in the grant, and thus enabled the King 'to live of his own' in time of peace. On the other hand, it shows how greatly Charles was distrusted by limiting the grant to less than two months, from May 25 to July 15 (p. 161).

The circumstances which caused this distrust are revealed in the Ten Propositions (No. 32, p. 163). The English army was still under arms in Yorkshire, and though it was about to be disbanded, the King proposed to visit Scotland with the intention, as was then suspected, and is now known, of stirring up the Scots to assist him in England. At such a time it may well have seemed unwise to make the King financially independent, and subsequent events increasing the feeling, the Tonnage and Poundage Act was renewed for short periods only, till the outbreak of the Civil War put an end to any wish to supply the King.

In spite of the King's hope of bringing about a reaction with Scottish aid, he did not feel himself strong enough to refuse his assent to the Bills prepared for cutting off the powers acquired by the Tudors, and on July 5 he gave his consent to the Act for the Abolition of the Star Chamber (No. 34, p. 179) and to the Act for the Abolition of the High Commission (No. 35, p. 186). The work of branding with illegality the extraordinary financial means to which he had himself resorted was completed by the Act declaring the illegality of Ship-money (No. 36, p. 189), the Act for the Limitation of Forests (No. 37, p. 192), and the Act prohibiting the exaction of Knighthood Fines (No. 38, p. 196).

Thus far Parliament had been practically unanimous. The Constitution which had been virtually modified in 1629 to the profit of Monarchy, was legally modified in 1641 to the disadvantage of Monarchy. If there had been nothing more than constitutional questions at issue, it is highly probable that if the King had continued to intrigue with the object of redressing forcibly the balance in his favour, Parliament, backed by the active part of the nation, would have at last been almost unanimous in demanding a change of sovereigns. It is however seldom, if it is ever the case, that political movements are determined on such simple lines. Human action is influenced by many motives, and as the political current shifts and varies, ideas which have at one time hardly obtained recognition rise to the surface and become all important in the direction of events.

At the end of August, 1641, the political changes which had been unanimously adopted, and which, with the exception of the clauses in the Triennial Act for the automatic assembling of Parliament, were permanently accepted in 1660 by the Government of the Restoration, had been accomplished. Room was thereby made for the consideration of another class of changes on which considerable difference of opinion existed. Something must be done to settle the Church as well as the State, and excepting so far as the abolition of the High Commission was concerned, there was no such agreement about ecclesiastical as there had been about political reforms. It was indeed generally desired that the Church, like the State, should be regulated by Parliamentary law rather than by the Royal authority; and that an end should be put to the alterations in the conduct of worship, which in Laud's eyes were but the restoration of legal order, whilst in the eyes of others they were unauthorised innovations. Further than this, agreement was not to be had. There were those who wished Episcopacy and the Common Prayer Book to be abolished, and there were others who wished them to be retained with some restraint of the authority of the Bishops, and with some more or less slight alteration of the forms of prayer.

These two tendencies had already made themselves felt: the first in the Root and Branch Petition (No. 26, p. 137), presented to the House of Commons on December 11, 1640, and in the so-called Root and Branch Bill for transferring Episcopal jurisdiction to Parliamentary Commissioners, which reached the committee stage in the House of Commons; the second in the Bill on Church Reform (No. 33, p. 167), which was read twice in the House of Lords. Neither of these obtained the final sanction even of the House in which it had been introduced, and when in the beginning of September, whilst the King was away in Scotland, the Houses prepared for a short recess, the Resolutions of the Commons on Ecclesiastical Innovations (No. 39, p. 197) and the publication of an Order of the Lords on the Services of the Church (No. 40, p. 199) showed that there were divergent tendencies in the two Houses at least so far as Church matters were concerned.

The event which precipitated the division of parties was the Ulster Rebellion. The first indication that the majority of the Commons felt that, with a war in Ireland in prospect, it was necessary that harmony should exist between the Crown and Parliament is to be found in the Instructions to the Commons' Committee in Scotland sent up to the Lords on November 8 (No. 41, p. 199). The demand made in these Instructions was for the appointment of councillors and ministers approved by Parliament (p. 200). To grant such a wish would practically annihilate the independent action of the Crown, and the division of parties on ecclesiastical affairs now gave to the King a majority of the Lords and a large minority of the Commons upon whom he could rely. All those, in short, who wished to see considerable ecclesiastical changes made in the Puritan direction supported the authority of the House of Commons, whilst those who wished the changes to be few or none supported the authority of the King. When Charles returned to London on Nov. 25 his speech to the Recorder (No. 42, p. 201) showed that he was aware where his real strength lay, and his policy was completely in accordance with his conscience. On Dec. 1 a deputation of the Commons presented to him the Grand Remonstrance (No. 43, p. 202), which had been carried by a small majority before his return. After setting forth at length the details of the late misgovernment, the House asked for the employment of ministers in whom Parliament might confide (p. 231), and for the reference of Church reform to a synod of divines whose conclusions might be confirmed by Parliament (p. 229). As there was to be no toleration of Nonconformity, the plan of the framers of the Grand Remonstrance was to substitute the general enforcement of their own form of Church government and worship for that which had recently been enforced by the authority of the King and the Bishops. On December 10 Charles answered indirectly by a Proclamation on Religion (No. 44, p. 232), and directly on December 23 by his answer to the petition accompanying the Grand Remonstrance (No. 45, p. 233). The general outcome of the discussion was that the House of Commons wanted their will to prevail in all that was to be done, whilst the King was ready to hear what they had to say and to assent to just as much as he pleased.

If only an appeal to force could be averted, the majority of the Commons had the game in their own hands. They had but to refuse to continue the grant of Tonnage and Poundage to reduce Charles to bankruptcy. It was the consciousness that this was the case which filled the air with rumours of Royalist plots during the last fortnight of December, and which brought a mob of apprentices to support the Commons in Palace Yard, and a crowd of officers who had served in the now disbanded army of the North to support the King at Whitehall.

Such a tension of feeling could not last long, and the King was the first to move. On January 3, 1642, his Attorney-General impeached five leading members of the House of Commons, and one member of the House of Lords (No. 46, p. 236). On January 4, the King came in person to the House of Commons to seize the five members. The five took refuge in the city, which rose in their defence, and Charles, finding the forces of the city arrayed against him, left Westminster on January 10. On January 17, the Commons set forth a declaration telling the story from their point of view, and defending their own constitutional position (No. 47, p. 237).

Though the King absented himself from Westminster, negotiations between him and the Parliament still continued. On February 13 he gave his consent to the last two Acts which became law in his reign. The first was the Clerical Disabilities Act (No. 48, p. 241), by which the clergy were disabled from exercising temporal jurisdiction and the Bishops were deprived of their votes in the House of Lords, the other the Impressment Act (No. 49, p. 242), authorising the impressment of soldiers for the service of Ireland. The fact that an army was being brought into existence for Ireland constituted a danger for whichever of the two parties failed to hold military command, and this last Act was soon followed by a claim put forward by Parliament to appoint the Lords Lieutenants of the Counties, who were at the head of the militia or civilian army which was, in time of peace, the only force at the disposal of the King. As Charles, naturally enough, refused to give such power into the hands of those whom he regarded as his enemies, the Houses, on March 5, passed a Militia Ordinance to the effect which they desired (No. 50, p. 245). An Ordinance was nothing more than a Bill which had been accepted by the two Houses but had not received the Royal assent, and for some months the Houses had claimed the right of acting on such Ordinances as if they had the force of law.

For the next few months a long and wordy controversy on the legality of this step arose, of which the King's Proclamation of May 27 (No. 52, p. 248), and the Declaration of the Houses of June 6 (No. 54, p. 254), may be accepted as specimens, whilst the Declaration of the Houses on Church Reform of April 8 (No. 51, p. 247) may be regarded as an attempt to minimise the difference between the two parties in ecclesiastical matters.

The Nineteen Propositions (No. 53, p. 249) have a wider scope. They set forth as a whole the constitutional changes demanded by the prevailing party at Westminster. They would simply have established government by persons appointed by Parliament in lieu of government by the King, and they may therefore be taken as definitely marking the acceptance by the majority of the House of Commons of the idea that the King's sovereignty must not merely be weakened but practically set aside (see p. xxxii). Against this proposed system were enlisted not only the feelings of Charles, but also those of every man who disliked the ecclesiastical or civil policy of the Houses. In other words, a question arose whether the unlimited power of the Houses would not be as despotically vexatious as had been the unlimited power of the King, and the solution of diminishing the sphere of government by enlarging the sphere of individual right did not as yet occur to either party.

Civil War was the natural result of such a condition of things. On June 12, Charles issued Commissions of Array (No. 55, p. 258) to summon the militia of the counties to his side, and on July 12, the Houses resolved, in addition to their claim to command the militia, to raise an army, and placed it under the command of the Earl of Essex (No. 56, p. 261). On August 22, the King raised his standard at Nottingham, and the Civil War began which was to decide, at least for a time, in whose hands was sovereignty in England.

IV. From the outbreak of the Civil War to the execution of the King.

[1642-1649.]

The effect of the Civil War is to be seen by comparing with the Nineteen Propositions (No. 53, p. 249), the Propositions presented to the King at Oxford on February 1, 1643 (No. 57, p. 262). So far as the constitutional proposals are concerned, the tendency of the latter document is to substitute indirect for direct action on the Crown. The following demands made in the Nineteen Propositions entirely disappear from the Oxford Propositions: namely, those for an oath to be taken by all Privy Councillors and Judges to maintain the Petition of Eight and certain statutes to be named by Parliament (§ 11), for the dismissal of all Privy Councillors and Ministers of State except such as were approved by Parliament (§ 1); for the permanent rule that no Privy Councillor was to be appointed without the approbation of Parliament, and that no public act in which the Privy Council was to be consulted was to be recognised as proceeding from the King unless it was signed by the majority of the Council[1] (§ 2); for the restriction of appointments of the chief officers of State to those whose nominations were approved by Parliament (§ 3); for the placing of the education of the King's children (§ 4) and their marriage (§ 5) under the control of Parliament; as well as to the restriction of the right of Peers hereafter created to sit and vote in Parliament to those who were admitted with the consent of both Houses (§ 19). In lieu of all this, in the Oxford Propositions, Parliament defined more clearly the exemptions which it demanded should be added to the general pardon to be issued, especially declaring that Newcastle and Digby were to be excluded (§ 13), and that Bristol and Herbert of Raglan were to be incapacitated from office (§ 6), whilst they contented themselves with asking for the restoration of such Parliamentary Justices of the Peace as had been put out of office since April 1, 1642, and for the deprivation of office of such as were excepted against by Parliament (§ 9), as well as for the restitution to office of such members of either House as had been deprived since the beginning of the Long Parliament (§ 14).

To some extent, no doubt, these great concessions may be regarded as proceeding from a desire to conciliate Charles, and to make possible the peace which seemed more desirable after a brief experience of war than it had seemed before the commencement of hostilities. That there was no intention of conceding the substance of the dispute, appears from the fact that the claim put forward in the Nineteen Propositions to the command of the militia and forts (§§ 9, 15), is fully maintained in the Oxford Propositions (§ 7). The alterations made on the subject of the judges however require some consideration. In the Nineteen Propositions permanent provision was made for the submission of the nominations of the two Chief Justices and of the Chief Baron [1] Thus anticipating the well-known clause in the Act of Settlement. to the approbation of Parliament (§ 3), whilst the appointment of puisne judges was left as before in the hands of the King. In the Oxford Propositions the names of twelve persons were recommended for judgeships, and of one person for the Mastership of the Rolls (§ 8), whilst no provision was made for the choice of their successors.

Taking these differences together, we seem to have arrived at a fresh stage in the constitutional ideas of the Long Parliament. In August, 1641, it seemed enough to wrest from the King the special powers acquired by the Crown since the accession of the Tudors, trusting to the power of stopping supplies to give everything else that might be needed. In June, 1642, it seemed necessary that Parliament should directly and permanently grasp the control over the military, administrative, and judicial powers of the Crown. In February, 1643, it appears to have been thought that financial and military control would be sufficient, without assigning to Parliament any permanent direct influence over the judicial and administrative appointments. Is it possible that this change was owing to an increasing perception of the truth that with Charles's successor it might be easier to come to terms, and that the only important difficulty was to tide over the years whilst Charles I, bred up as he had been under the old system, was still upon the throne?

That Charles I should have consented, even to these modified constitutional proposals, was not to be expected; and it was the less likely that there should be any expression of feeling amongst his supporters in favour of their acceptance, as whilst the constitutional demands of Parliament had become less strict, its ecclesiastical demands had become more strict than in the preceding June. The Nineteen Propositions had asked the King to consent to such a reformation of the Church government and liturgy as Parliament might advise (§ 8). The Oxford Propositions demanded in addition the immediate abolition of Episcopacy. The removal from the House of all the Episcopalian members, who were now fighting on the King's side, had probably combined with the desire of Parliament to gain the military assistance of the Scots to bring about this change.

When the negotiations at Oxford failed, and the prospects of success in the field grew more doubtful, the need for Scottish help grew more imperative. The terms of agreement between the two Parliaments were set forth in the Solemn League and Covenant (No. 58, p. 267). However helpful they may have been in bringing about the preponderance of the Parliamentary armies, they raised a fresh obstacle in the way of an understanding between the two English parties.

Everything therefore boded a continuance of the war, and the union of the armies of the Parliaments of England and Scotland rendered it necessary to establish some authority which would control the united armies. This was done by the two Ordinances of February 16 (No. 59, p. 271) and May 22, 1644 (No. 60, p. 273) appointing a Committee of both Kingdoms. Though this Committee was only to manage the war, it may be regarded as the first attempt to give practical shape to the idea of a government residing in a body of men acting under the control of Parliament.

The progress of the war in 1643 and 1644 resulted in sharpening the proposals presented to the King in November, 1644, and discussed at Uxbridge in the first months of 1645 (No. 61, p. 275). Not only did the demands for the exclusion from seats in the House of Lords of Peers afterwards created unless with the consent of Parliament, for the permanent submission of appointments of officers and judges to the approbation of Parliament, and for the education and marriage of the King's children being placed under Parliamentary control, which had been omitted from the Oxford Propositions, re-appear (§§ 19, 20, 21), but the necessity for Parliamentary approbation was to reach to all tile judges instead of being confined to three as in the Nineteen Propositions, and there was added a new proposition asking that the right of declaring peace and war might only be exercised with the assent of Parliament (§ 23), and setting up a permanent body of Commissioners to act in combination with a similar body of Scottish Commissioners to control all military forces in both kingdoms with the most extensive powers (§ 17). Besides this, long lists were drawn up of the names of those Royalists who were to be subjected to divers penalties, and whole categories of unnamed persons were added, the expenses of the war being laid upon these Royalist delinquents (§ 14). As to religion in England, not only was it to be brought to the nearest possible uniformity with that of Scotland (§ 5), but the King himself was to swear and sign the Solemn League and Covenant (§ 2). Such demands can only have been made with the object of trampling upon the King's feelings as well as upon his political authority, and it would have been far more reasonable to ask his consent to an act of abdication than to such articles as these.

Charles's counter-demands of January 21, 1645 (No. 62, p. 286), are conceived in a far more reasonable spirit. They appeal to the King's legal rights, asking, in short, that the Constitution should be accepted as it had stood at the end of August, 1641, and as it was to stand at the Restoration in 1660, and that the Common Prayer Book should be preserved from 'scorn and violence,' and that a Bill should ' be framed for the ease of tender consciences.' If constitutional settlements could be judged as they stand upon paper without reference to the character of those who would have to work them, there could be no doubt that the King's offer afforded at least an admirable basis for negotiation. To return to a legal position, and to allow the Houses to trust to their exclusive control over the supplies to win piecemeal reforms would be to anticipate the political situation of the Restoration Government. It was the general distrust of the character of Charles which made this impossible, and which made his abdication or dethronement the only possible temporary solution. It was the instinctive feeling that this was the case, combined with a strong disinclination to acknowledge that it was so, which led the party then predominant in Parliament to fling at the King the insulting Propositions of Uxbridge: and this party was that — not of wild fanatics or dreamers — but of the steady Parliamentarians, whose voices were always raised in favour of peace.

If the negotiations at Uxbridge failed, as fail they must, there was nothing for it but to prepare for war. The army was remodelled, and the new model army better paid and disciplined than former armies had been must be put under commanders who would think first of military success only, without being hampered by political considerations. To effect this, the Self-denying Ordinance was passed on April 3, 1645 (No. 63, p. 287), and in order to weaken the King's power the Houses drew up a Negative Oath (No. 64, p. 289) to be taken by Royalists who wished to forsake the King and to live peaceably under the protection of Parliament.

The year 1645, the year of Naseby, was too fully occupied with military events to leave much time for constitutional reforms or proposals. On February 24, 1646, however, Wardship and all burdens connected with feudal tenures were abolished by order of the Houses (No. 65, p. 290), an immense boon to the gentry and nobility who formed the bulk of the members sitting in either House. On April 5, Parliament, hoping to win over some at least of the King's adherents, passed an Ordinance, authorising them to come under the protection of Parliament, on swearing what was known as the Negative Oath (No. 64, p. 289), engaging themselves to give no support to the King in future.

On July 4, 1646, when the war was practically at an end, and the King was in the hands of the Scots at Newcastle, Parliament, in combination with the Scottish Commissioners residing at Newcastle, despatched fresh propositions to Charles (No. 66, p. 290). The Propositions of Newcastle were framed on those of Uxbridge, and were to a great extent identical with them. The demands for a Presbyterian settlement, for the King's taking the Covenant, for the appointment of judges and officers, for the sweeping penalties on delinquents, remained pretty much as they had been. The power of the Commissioners was however considerably modified, and the requests for subjecting peace and war as well as the education of the King's children to the control of Parliament disappeared entirely. The militia was to be placed under Parliamentary control for twenty years, a period which would probably embrace the whole of Charles's remaining lifetime.

To these propositions Charles, on August 1, gave an evasive answer (No. 67, p. 306); and on December 20 he gave a second answer in a similar strain (No. 68, p. 308).

When in February, 1647, the King was removed from the custody of the Scots at Newcastle to the custody of the English Parliament at Holmby House, it seemed as if there was no third course open to Parliament between the deposition of Charles and the acceptance of his terms. Charles had however been busy during the last months of his sojourn at Newcastle in holding out hopes of concession on his part, and especially of his granting Presbyterianism for three years, in the expectation that he would, during that period, be able to regain sufficient influence to obtain the restoration of Episcopacy and the Prayer Book when it came to an end. Parliament had now for some time been again split up into two parties. On the one side were the Presbyterians, who were attempting to organise an Erastian Presbyterianism in England, and whose principle was to substitute the predominance of Parliament in Church and State for that of the King. On the other side were the Independents, who wished to introduce a large, if not a complete toleration, and thus to liberate individual consciences from the control both of Parliament and King. As the Independents had a great hold upon the army, the Presbyterians, who in the beginning of 1647 commanded a majority in both Houses, had strong reasons for falling back on the King. The result was a consultation between their leaders, who were joined by one or two of the weaker Independents, such as the Earl of Northumberland, with the French ambassador Bellièvre, and the production on January 29 of a proposed answer which was to be sent through the Queen's hands to the King in order that, if he approved of it, he might return it to those who had drawn it up, on which they were ready to support the King's wish to come to London to enter into a personal negotiation with Parliament (No. 69, p. 309). On May 12, Charles sent to the Houses what was in form a third answer to the Propositions of Newcastle (No. 70, p. 311), but which was in reality intended to be a reply to the secret proposals of the Presbyterians, and which, in fact, accepted them with some not very important modifications.

The historical importance of these two documents can hardly be overrated. In them the alliance was struck between the King and the Presbyterian party which led to the Second Civil War in 1648 and ultimately to the Restoration in 1660. The Presbyterians, with a majority in Parliament at their disposal, gave up the attempt to coerce Charles which they had made in the Nineteen Propositions, and in the Propositions of Oxford, of Uxbridge, and Newcastle, and fell back on the principle of re-establishing his authority as it was in August, 1641, in return for the concession, scarcely more than nominal, of a three years' Presbyterianism.

The first step to the realisation of this scheme was an attempt on the part of the Presbyterians to get rid of the army, and when, chiefly through their mismanagement, the attempt failed, the army allied itself entirely with the Independents, carried off the King from Holmby House, and obtained the impeachment and suspension of the eleven leading Presbyterians in the House of Commons.

On August 1, the army came forward with its own plan for the settlement of the kingdom, the Heads of the Proposals which were drawn up by Ireton and amended by the Council of the Army after they had been informally submitted to the King (No. 71, p. 316).

The Heads of the Proposals were the most comprehensive attempt at a permanent settlement which had yet been devised. They did not, like the various propositions laid before Charles on former occasions, seek to establish a Parliamentary despotism upon the ruins of the despotism of the King. They proposed indeed to make the King's power subservient to that of the Parliament, but to lessen the power of Parliament by making it more amenable to the constituencies, and by restricting the powers of the State over the liberty of individuals.

The first object was mainly to be gained by providing for biennial Parliaments and for a redistribution of seats, which, by suppressing what in later times were known as rotten boroughs, would have made Parliament more representative (§ I, 1-5).

The second object was to be gained by the establishment of religious liberty, by depriving the Bishops of coercive jurisdiction, and by repealing all Acts imposing penalties upon attending or not attending on any special form of worship, or upon refusing to take the Covenant (§§ XI-XIIIj.

With the power of Parliament thus attenuated, it remained to be considered what were to be its relations with the Crown. Here the necessity of distinguishing between restrictions needed whilst the excitement of the Civil War was calming down, and restrictions permanently necessary, was not left out of sight. The militia was to be placed for ten years under the Parliament. After that it was to be commanded by the King, but not without the advice and control of Parliament (§ II, I, 2). For seven years there was to be a Council of State, the members of which were to be at once agreed on, and this Council of State was to superintend the militia and to conduct foreign negotiations, the final decision in peace or war being reserved to Parliament (§ III, 4, 5, 6). No attempt was made to interfere with the King's choice of his officers, except that Royalists who had borne arms against the Parliament were to be excluded from office for five years, and from sitting in Parliament till after the end of the second biennial Parliament (§ II, 4). No Peers created after May 21, 1642, were to sit in Parliament without the consent of the Houses (§ V). Acts under the King's Great Seal since it had been carried off from Parliament were to be declared invalid, and those under the Parliament's Great Seal to be valid (§ VII).

Such were the principal proposals made in this noteworthy document. It is unnecessary to call attention to its vast superiority, from a constitutional point of view, to the Presbyterian plan of waiting upon events. Yet it was this very superiority which rendered it impossible to put it in execution. It contained too much that was new, too much in advance of the general intelligence of the times, to obtain that popular support without which the best Constitutions are but castles in the air; and even if this could have been got over, there was the fatal objection that it proceeded from an army. The Presbyterian plan was more suited to the slow and cautious progressiveness of human nature. It too, however, had for the present its root of failure in it, in that it was based on the calculation that Charles, if he were restored to power, would be amenable to Presbyterian pressure. He was already giving them hopes that he would be so. Before the end of July he had intimated to the Scots his readiness to make such concessions to them as would induce them to send an invading army to support the Presbyterians in England. The army, on its part, on August 6, took military possession of Westminster. Yet, even so, it found its hold upon Parliament uncertain, and instead of taking up the Heads of the Proposals, the Houses sent to the King a revised edition of the Propositions of Newcastle, differing only in a few unimportant particulars from the paper originally presented to Charles in 1646 by the Presbyterian Parliament and the Scots. In reply, the King, on September 9, despatched a letter expressing his preference for the army proposals (No. 72, p. 326). On November 11, he fled from Hampton Court, where he had been under the custody of the army, to the Isle of Wight, where he was placed in virtual imprisonment in Carisbrooke Castle. On November 16 he wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House of Lords (No. 73, p. 328), offering to abandon the militia during his own life, but refusing to abolish Episcopacy, and proposing three years' Presbyterianism, to be followed by a system to be approved of by the King and the Houses, with full liberty to all those who should differ on conscientious grounds from that settlement, and consenting to consider the proposals of the army concerning elections and the succession of Parliaments. Parliament replied on December 14, by sending the Four Bills (No. 75, p. 335), which, together with the accompanying demands, were tantamount to a reiterated request for the acceptance of the Propositions of Newcastle.

On paper, at least, Charles had the advantage; but on December 26, he concluded a secret engagement with the Scottish Commissioners (No. 76, p. 347), on the basis of the three years' Presbytery, but substituting for the full liberty for those who differed from the final settlement of the Church a clause providing that an effectual course was to be taken 'for suppressing the opinions and practices of Anti-Trinitarians, Anabaptists, Antinomians, Arminians,' &c. On this ground the Parliament of Scotland was to require the disbandment of all armies, and if that was denied, to assert 'the right which belongs to the Crown in the power of the militia, the Great Seal, bestowing of honours and offices of trust, choice of Privy Councillors, the right of the King's negative voice in Parliament,' &c. (p. 349). If this were denied, a Scottish army was to invade England with these objects, and also to endeavour that there might be ' a free and full Parliament in England, and that a speedy period be set to this present Parliament.' By additional articles (No. 77, p. 353), Charles engaged to certain personal conditions in favour of Scotsmen. The discrepancy between the terms offered to the Scots and those which he offered to the English Parliament offers a good illustration of the difficulty of coming to terms with Charles. The simple addition of the words 'the right of the King's negative voice in Parliament,' made the rest worthless. He would start with the understanding that Episcopacy was established by the law of the land, and would therefore hold its legal position as soon as the three Presbyterian years were over, except so far as it was modified by mutual agreement between Charles and the Houses. As, however, he was, according to the rules of the old Constitution and his present claim, entitled to reject any compromise which he disliked, he would find himself, when the three years were over, master of the situation.

Two days after the signature of the Engagement, Charles refused his consent to the Four Bills in a paper (No. 78, p. 353), to which the Houses replied on January 17. 1648, by the vote of No Addresses (No. 79, p. 356), breaking off all further negotiations with the King.

The secret engagement with the Scots produced the Second Civil War. The army returned exasperated, and after an attempt of the Parliament to come again to terms with the King in the Treaty of Newport, carried out Pride's Purge, and on January 8, 1649, obtained from the members who still remained sitting an Ordinance for the erection of a High Court of Justice for the trial of the King (No. 80, p. 357).

On January 15, 1649, whilst the King's fate was still in suspense, the Council of the Army set forth a document known as the Agreement of the People (No. 81, p. 359), a very much modified edition of the Agreement of the People offered by the Levellers in October, 1647 (No. 74, p. 333). It was a sketch of a written Constitution for a Republican Government based on the Heads of the Proposals, omitting everything that had reference to the King. The Heads of the Proposals had contemplated the retention of the Royal authority in some shape or another, and had been content to look for security to Acts of Parliament, because, though every Act was capable of being repealed, it could not be repealed without the consent both of the King and the Houses, and the Houses might be trusted to refuse their consent to the repeal of any Act which checked the despotism of the King; whilst the King could be trusted to refuse his consent to the repeal of any Act which checked the despotism of the Houses. With the disappearance of Royalty the situation was altered. The despotism of Parliament was the chief danger to be feared, and there was no possibility of averting this by Acts of the Parliament itself. Naturally, therefore, arose the idea of a written Constitution, which the Parliament itself would be incompetent to violate. According to the proposed scheme, the existing Parliament was to be dissolved on April 30, 1649. After this there was to be a biennial Parliament without a House of Lords, a redistribution of seats, and a rating franchise. For seven years all who had adhered to the King were to be deprived of their votes, and during the first and second Parliaments only those who had by contributions or by personal service assisted the Parliament, or who had refrained from abetting certain combinations against Parliament, were to be capable of being elected, whilst those who had actually supported the King in the war were to be excluded for fourteen years. Further, no official was to be elected. There was to be a Council for ' managing public affairs.' Further, six particulars were set down with which Parliament could not meddle, all laws made on those subjects having no binding force.

As to religion, there was to be a public profession of the Christian religion 'reformed to the greatest purity of doctrine,' and the clergy were to be maintained 'out of a public treasury,' but 'not by tithes.' This public religion was not to be 'Popery or Prelacy.' No one was to be compelled to conformity, but all religions which did not create disturbances were to be tolerated. It was not, however, to be understood ' that this liberty shall necessarily extend to Popery or Prelacy,' a clause the meaning of which is not clear, but which was probably intended to leave the question open to Parliament to decide. The Article on Religion was, like the six reserved particulars, to be out of the power of Parliament to modify or repeal.

The idea of reserving certain points from Parliamentary action was one which was subsequently adopted in the American Constitution, with this important difference, that the American Constitution left a way open by which any possible change could be effected by consulting the nation; whilst the Agreement of the People provided no way in which any change in the reserved powers could be made at all. In short, the founders of the American Constitution understood that it was useless to attempt to bind a nation in perpetuity, whilst the English Council of the Army either did not understand it, or distrusted the nation too far to make provision for what they knew must come in time.

It was this distrust of the nation — perfectly justified as far as themselves and their projects were concerned — which made it hopeless for the Council of the Army to build up the edifice which they designed. It is well to note that the document which to every sober student of Constitutional History seems evidence that the scheme of the army was a hopeless one, was published before the execution of the King. That that execution made the difficulties in the way of the establishment of a Republic greater than they had been, it is impossible to deny; but the main difficulties would have existed even if the King had been deposed instead of executed. There are two foundations upon which government must rest if it is to be secure, traditional continuity derived from the force of habit, and national support derived from the force of will. The Agreement of the People swept the first aside, and only trusted the latter to a very limited extent

The King's execution was not long in following. On January 20 the charge against him was brought before the High Court of Justice (No. 82, p. 371). On the 21st, Charles delivered his reasons for declining the jurisdiction of the Court (No. 83, p. 374). Sentence of death was pronounced on the 27th (No. 84, p. 377). The death-warrant was signed on the 29th (No. 85, p. 380), and on the 30th Charles I was beheaded.

V. The Commonwealth and Protectorate.
[1649-1660.]

On February 13, 1649, the existing House of Commons, now claiming the powers and style of the entire Parliament, though sitting with sadly diminished numbers, appointed a Council of State (No. 86, p. 381), and on the 22nd drew up an Engagement to be taken by the Councillors to maintain and defend resolutions of Parliament for the establishment of a Commonwealth without King or House of Lords (No. 87, p. 384). It abolished the office of King on March 17 (No. 88, p. 384), and the House of Lords on March 19 (No. 89, p. 387). On May 19 it finally declared England to be a Commonwealth (No. 90, p. 388). On July 17, 1649, it passed a new Treason Law (No. 91, p. 388); and on January 2, 1650, directed an Engagement of Fidelity to the Commonwealth to be taken by all men of the age of eighteen (No. 92, p. 388). On September 27, 1650, it repealed all Acts and clauses of Acts imposing penalties for not coming to Church, but enacted instead that every one on the Lord's Day, and on days of public thanksgiving and humiliation, should be present somewhere ' in the practice of some religious duty ' (No. 93, p. 391). So far the Parliament had gone in carrying out the Agreement of the People, but, as might be expected, it took no steps to limit its own powers, nor was it at all in a hurry to appoint a day for its own dissolution.

In the meanwhile, the only force which supported the new Commonwealth or could dictate to its representatives was that of the army. In 1649 a large part of the army under Cromwell had been engaged in the conquest of Ireland, and on August 12, 1652, an Act was passed for the settlement of Ireland on the principles which commended themselves to the conquerors (No. 94, p. 394). In 1650 Cromwell became Lord General, and in that year and in 1651 he conducted a war against the Scots, defeating them at Dunbar on September 3, 1650, and at Worcester on September 3, 1651. As soon as peace was restored, the leaders of the army became impatient for the fulfilment of the neglected demands of the Agreement of the People. On April 20, 1653, Cromwell dissolved the Parliament by force, and stated his reasons for doing so in a public Declaration (No. 95, p. 400). Instead, however, of summoning a Parliament either after the new scheme or after the old system, he allowed the Council of Officers, on advice from the Congregational ministers, to nominate an assembly, usually known by a nickname as the Barebones Parliament, to provide generally for the Commonwealth (No. 96, p. 405). In the end, the Assembly dissolved itself, surrendering authority to Cromwell as Lord Protector, who, on December 16, 1653, announced his intention of ruling according to a constitutional document prepared by a select body of officers, and known as the Instrument of Government (No. 97, p. 405).

The Instrument of Government was intended to suit a Constitutional Government carried on by a Protector and a single House. The Protector stepped into the place of the King, and there were clauses inserted to define and check the power of the Protector, which may fitly be compared with those of the Heads of the Proposals. The main difference lay in this, that the Heads of the Proposals were intended to check a King who, at least for some time to come, was to be regarded as hostile to the Parliament, whereas the Instrument of Government was drawn up with the sanction of the Protector, and therefore took it for granted that the Protector was not to be guarded against as a possible enemy. His power however was to be limited by Parliament, and still more by the Council.

Parliament was to be elected and to meet, not, as according to the Agreement of the People, once in two, but once in three years (§ 7), and to remain in session at least five months (§ 8). It was to be elected in accordance with a scheme for the redistribution of seats based on that set forth in the Agreement of the People (§ 10), the Protector and Council having leave to establish constituencies in Scotland and Ireland, which were now to send members to the Parliament of Westminster. It was the first attempt at a Parliamentary union between the three countries, carried out at a time when such a union was only possible because two of the countries had been conquered by one. Instead of the old freehold franchise, or of the rating franchise of the Agreement of the People, the franchise in the counties was to be given to the possessors of real or personal estate to the value of £200 (§ 18). As nothing was said about the boroughs, the right of election would remain in those who had it under the Monarchy, that is to say, it would vary according to the custom of each borough. This however was of less importance than it would have been in former years, as one of the main features of the Instrument was an enormous increase of the number of county members, and a proportional decrease of the number of borough members. In those boroughs in which the corporations elected, the feeling by this time would be likely to be anti-Royalist. The disqualification clauses were less stringently drawn than in the Agreement of the People, but all who had abetted the King in the war were to be deprived of their votes at the first election and of the right of sitting in the first four Parliaments (§ 14). Those who had abetted the Rebellion in Ireland, or were Roman Catholics, were permanently disqualified from sitting or voting.

The Council was named in the Instrument itself. When vacancies occurred, Parliament was to give in six names, to be diminished to two by the Council, out of which one was to be selected by the Protector (§ 25). The chief officers of the State were to be chosen 'by the approbation of Parliament.'

The clauses relating to the power of Parliament in matters of finance seem to have been modelled on the old notion that ' the King was to live of his own ' in ordinary times. A constant yearly revenue was to be raised for supporting an army of 30,000 men — now regarded as a permanent charge — and for a fleet sufficient to guard the seas, as well as £200,000 for the domestic administration. The total amount and the sources of the necessary taxation were to be settled by the Protector and Council; Parliament having no right to diminish it without the consent of the Protector (§ 27). With respect to war expenses, they were to be met by votes of Parliament, except that in the intervals of Parliament the Protector and Council might raise money to meet sudden emergencies from war till the Parliament could meet (§ 30), which the Protector and Council were bound to summon for an extraordinary session in such an emergency (§ 23).

As to legislation, a Bill passed by Parliament was to be presented before the Protector. If after twenty days he had not given his consent, or induced Parliament to withdraw the Bill, it became law unless it were contrary to the Instrument of Government (§ 24).

As to administration, 'the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal, the Treasurer, Admiral, Chief Governors of Ireland and Scotland, and the Chief Justices of both the Benches ' were to be chosen by the approbation of Parliament (§ 34). All other appointments were in the hands of the Protector.

The functions of the Council were of considerable importance. In all important matters the Protector had to act by its advice, and when Parliament was not in session it was to join him in passing Ordinances which were to be obeyed until in the next session Parliament either confirmed them or disallowed them (§ 30). On the death of the Protector it was the Council which was to elect his successor (§ 32).

The articles on Liberty of Worship (§§ 36, 37) are almost verbally taken from the Agreement of the People, except that for the clause 'Nevertheless, it is not intended to be hereby provided that this liberty shall necessarily extend to Popery or Prelacy,' is substituted ' Provided this liberty be not extended to Popery or Prelacy, nor to such as, under the profession of Christ, hold forth and practise licentiousness.'

To obtain some sort of confirmation for this new Constitution, the returning Officer was to obtain from the electors by whom the members of Parliament were chosen a written acknowledgment 'that the persons elected shall not have power to alter the government as it is hereby settled in one single person and a Parliament' (§ 12).

The Instrument of Government suffered not only under the vice of ignoring the probable necessity of constitutional amendment in the future, as is shown by its silence on this head, combined with the elaborate provisions for a change in the amount of money set aside for fixed charges; but also under the vice of having no support either in traditional loyalty or in national sanction. If, however, we pass over these all-important faults, and discuss it from the purely constitutional point of view, it is impossible not to be struck with the ability of its framers, even if we pronounce their work to be not entirely satisfactory. It bears the stamp of an intention to steer a middle course between the despotism of a 'single person ' and the despotism of a 'single House.' Parliament had supreme rights of legislation, and the Protector was not only sworn to administer the law, but every illegal act would come before the courts of law for condemnation. Parliament, too, had the right of disapproving the nominations to the principal ministerial offices, and of voting money for conducting operations in time of war. Where it fell short of the powers of modern Parliaments was in its inability to control administrative acts, and in its powerlessness to refuse supplies for the carrying on of the government in time of peace. A modern Parliament can exercise these powers with safety, because if it uses them foolishly a government can dissolve it and appeal to the nation, whereas Cromwell, who was but the head of a party in the minority, and whose real strength rested on the army, did not venture to appeal to the nation at large, or even to appeal too frequently to the constituencies who were to elect his Parliament.

The real constitutional safeguard was intended to be in the Council. Ultimately, after the death of the Councillors named in the Instrument, the Council would indirectly represent the Parliament, as no one would have a place on it whose name had not been one of six presented by Parliament. In the Council, the Protector would be in much the same position as a modern Prime Minister, in his Cabinet, except that each member of the Council held his position for life, whereas a modern Prime Minister can obtain the resignation of any member of the Cabinet with whom he is in strong disagreement. On the other hand, the greater part of the members of a modern Cabinet are heads of executive departments, and thus have a certain independent position of their own. In some respects indeed, the relations between the Protector and the Council were more like those between an American President and the Senate in executive session, than those between an English Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The members of the American Senate are entirely independent of the President, as the members of the Council of the Protectorate were entirely independent of the Protector when once they had been chosen. On the other hand, the two bodies differed in a most important particular. The tendency of the American Senate, which is never officially brought into personal contact with the President, is to be antagonistic to the President. The tendency of the Council of State, which was in daily contact with the Protector, was to work with him instead of against him.

The chief points in which the Parliamentary constitutional scheme (No. 101, p. 427) differed from the Instrument of Government will be best seen if given in a tabulated form: —

Subject.

1. Provision for Altering the Constitution.

2. Election of a future Protector.

3. Election of Council.

4. Tenure of a Councillor's office.

5. Revenue.

Instrument of Government. None.

Art. 32. By the Council.

Art. 25. Parliament to nominate six, of which the Council is to choose two, of which the Protector is to choose one.

Art. 25. Removable for corruption and miscarriage by a Commission of seven members of Parliament, six members of the Council, and the Chancellor. In the intervals of Parliaments may be suspended by the Council with the consent of the Protector.

Art. 27. Protector and Council to raise enough to support 10,000 horse and 20,000 foot, and to have £200,000 annually for purposes of government. Extraordinary forces to be paid by consent of Parliament.

Parliamentary scheme.

Cap. 2. By consent of Protector and Parliament.

Cap. 3. By the Council, except when Parliament is sitting, and then as Parliament may think fit.

Cap. 39. To be nominated by the Protector, and approved by Parliament.

Cap. 40. Not to continue in office more than forty days after the meeting of Parliament, unless approved by Parliament.

Cap. 18, 48. £400,000 to be permanently assigned to the Protector for military and naval expenses, £200,000 for purposes of government, and £700,000 a year till Dec. 25, 1659.

Subject.

6. Peace and War.

7. Control of the Army.

8. Religious Toleration.

Instrument of Government.

Art. 5. To be declared by Protector and Council.

Art. 4. Protector to dispose of the Militia and forces during the session of Parliament by consent of Parliament, and, when Parliament is not sitting, to dispose of the Militia with the consent of the Council.

Art. 37. Toleration of worship to be given to all such as profess faith in God by Jesus Christ, if they do not use it to the

Parliamentary scheme.

Cap. 52. War to be declared with consent of Parliament.

Cap. 53. Peace with consent of Parliament if sitting, or if not, with consent of Council, with such restrictions as may be imposed by Parliament.

Cap. 45. The Present Protector to dispose of the forces during the session with consent of Parliament.

Cap. 46. When Parliament is not in session, he is to dispose of the standing forces with the consent of the Council.

Cap. 48. Those forces are during the life of the present Protector to be no more in number than shall be agreed on between the Protector and the Parliament.

Cap. 47. After the death of the present Protector the standing forces are to be at the disposal of the Council till Parliament meets, and then to be disposed of as Parliament shall think fit.

[N.B. The Militia is expressly excluded from these forces by the final proviso of the Bill, Cap. 59. See Commonwealth and Protectorate, iii. 245.]

Cap. 42, 43. Toleration of worship for those who do not use it to civil injury of others, or the disturbance of the public

Subject. 8. religious toleration (continued).

Instrument of Government.

Civil injury of others, and the disturbance of the public peace; but this liberty is not to be extended to Popery or Prelacy, or practice of licentiousness.

Art. 38. All laws contrary to this liberty are null and void.

Parliamentary scheme. Peace. Bills, however, shall become law without the Protector's consent which restrain damnable heresies. What are damnable heresies, however, are to be agreed on by Protector and Parliament. Bills are also to become law without the Protector's consent for restraining atheism, blasphemy, popery, prelacy, licentiousness, and profaneness. Also Bills against those who publicly maintain anything contrary to the fundamental principles of doctrines publicly professed. What those doctrines are, however, is to be agreed on by the Protector and Parliament.

It will now be understood on what grounds Cromwell dissolved the House. He objected especially to the limitation of the grant of £700,000 a year being terminable in 1659, as taking military finance, and with it the control of the army, out of the hands of the Protector after that date. After this he was obliged to carry on the government without it, supplying himself with the necessary funds by the vote of the Council, according to Article 27 of the Instrument of Government. Special expenses arising from the necessity of suppressing a Royalist conspiracy were met by the imposition of a tithe on Royalists, which had no constitutional sanction at all.

Amongst the temporary Ordinances issued by the Protector before the meeting of his first Parliament was one for the union of England and Scotland (No. 99, p. 422), followed by another permanent Ordinance in accordance with Article 10 of the Instrument of Government, for the distribution of seats in Scotland. In accordance with the same article, another Ordinance was issued for the distribution of seats in Ireland (No. 100, p. 425). Irish elections, however, were only a matter of interest to the English and Scottish colony, as all Roman Catholics and all persons who had supported the late Rebellion were permanently excluded from voting.

In 1656, the Protector called a second Parliament. By excluding from it about a hundred members whom he judged to be hostile to his government, he found himself on amicable terms with the new assembly. It presented to him a Humble Petition and Advice, asking that certain changes of the Constitution might be agreed to by mutual consent, and that he should assume the title of King. This title he rejected, and the Humble Petition and Advice was passed in an amended form on May 25, 1657 (No. 102, p. 427), and at once received the assent of the Protector. On June 26, it was modified in some details by the Additional Petition and Advice (No. 103, p. 459). Taking the two together, the result was to enlarge the power of Parliament and to diminish that of the Council. The Protector, in return, received the right of appointing his successor, and to name the life-members of ' the other House,' which was now to take the place of the House of Lords.

The Parliament gained the control over its own elections, and security that its members should not be arbitrarily excluded. For the complicated scheme of nomination to the Council, which was now to be called by the old name of the Privy Council, was to be substituted nomination by the Protector, with the consent of the Council, and the subsequent consent of Parliament. The members were only to be removable with the consent of Parliament. The principle of a permanent revenue sufficient to support the government in times of peace was accepted, but the mode in which it was to be raised was to be settled by Parliament and not by the Council.

In the matter of religious liberty, the general lines of the Instrument of Government were followed; but certain opinions were named which must be held by all whose worship was to be tolerated (§ 11).

In accordance with the Petition and Advice (No. 102, § 5, p. 452), the Protector summoned certain persons to sit in the other House (No. 103, p. 463). A quarrel between the two Houses broke out, ostensibly on points of form, but in reality on a far deeper matter. The Humble Petition and Advice had not only given the Protector the right of naming the members of the other House, but had also declared that no future members nominated by himself or by any future Protector should be allowed to take their seats without the consent of the House (No. 102, § 5, p. 452). The result would be that, as Oliver had nominated Puritans only, no persons suspected of being opposed to Puritanism would be allowed to take their seats, and that consequently a Puritan barrier would be opposed to all anti-Puritan legislation by the representative House. Any attempt to weaken this barrier which had taken the place of the articles declared in the Instrument to be unalterable by Parliament roused Oliver's deepest indignation, and without delay he dissolved the Parliament in anger in 1658. After a period of disorder following Oliver's death in the same year, Charles II was restored to the Crown. Before he arrived he issued from Breda a Declaration of the principles on which he intended to govern (No. 105, p. 465). Those principles were set forth in four articles: — 1. There was to be a general amnesty, except so far as Parliament might except certain persons. 2. There was to be a liberty for tender consciences according to such laws as Parliament should propose. 3. There was to be security given for property acquired during the late troublous times, in such a way as Parliament might determine. 4. Finally, full arrears were to be paid to the soldiers according to an Act of Parliament.

The Government of the Restoration accepted as its legal basis the Acts passed by Charles I up to the end of August, 1641. Its principle however is to be found in the answer suggested to the King by the Parliamentary Presbyterians on January 29, 1647 (No. 69, p. 309). It was the policy of trusting to free discussion and the pressure of national opinion expressed in Parliament to decide disputed questions which then got the upper hand, so far as the Parliamentary Presbyterians were concerned, over the policy of imposing fixed conditions on the exercise of the Royal power. Such a policy necessarily brought the Cavaliers and the Parliamentary Presbyterians together, and it was to this union of the Cavaliers and the Parliamentary Presbyterians that the Restoration was due. The Cavaliers obtained the restoration of Monarchy and Episcopacy with the Book of Common Prayer. The Parliamentary Presbyterians obtained the dependence of the King and Bishops on Parliamentary action. Charles II was not what Charles I had been, nor were Juxon and Sheldon what Laud had been.

Charles II dated the Declaration of Breda in the twelfth year of his reign. In this there was, no doubt, much of the usual pretensions of dethroned Kings to regard all that passes in their absence as having no existence which demands recognition. Yet it was not with Charles II as it was with Louis XVIII, in the days of the Directory, the Consulate, and the Empire. Very few in France thought in those times that Louis XVIII ought to reign; whereas there is every reason to believe that the majority of political Englishmen during the Commonwealth and Protectorate thought that Charles II ought to be their King.

If then the Restoration was founded on the abandonment of the principles which were to be found alike in the Grand Remonstrance and in the Heads of the Proposals, are we to say, as has been said, that the whole Civil War was a mistake, and that the nation ought to have been guided in the autumn of 1641 by Hyde and Falkland, as it was to their principles that the Presbyterians returned in 1647, and the whole nation except a small minority returned in 1660? If constitutional forms were everything, it would hardly be possible to avoid this conclusion. As a matter of fact, however, great as is the importance of constitutional forms, the character of the governor and the governed is of far greater importance. The action of the Long Parliament up to August, 1641, effected necessary changes in the Constitution, but could not effect a change in the character of Charles I. Hence to the demand for the alteration of the Constitution was added, in addition to a call for ecclesiastical changes, a demand less universally felt, but felt by men of sufficient ability and strength of will to give effect to their resolutions, that Charles I must either bend or break. It was this part of the Revolution which was not accomplished till the deposition of Charles I, which unhappily took the form of his execution. After that there was nothing more to be done which could possibly have any permanent effect. Commonwealth and Protectorate were alike the creation of the army: and force, whilst it is able to remove obstacles from the natural development of a nation, is powerless permanently to block the way against it. The army could take care that a man like Charles I should not rule England, but the Agreement of the People, the Instrument of Government, and the Humble Petition and Advice were but academical studies, interesting as anticipating in many respects the constitutional and political development of England and of the United States of America, but utterly incapable of commending themselves to the conscience of contemporaries.


PART I
FROM THE ACCESSION OF CHARLES I TO THE MEETING OF THE THIRD PARLIAMENT OF HIS REIGN.

1. Speech of Sir Nathaniel Rich, proposing terms on which the House of Commons may be prepared to grant Supply.

[Aug. 6, 1625. Debates in the House of Commons in 1615 (Camden Soc.), Appendix, p. 139. See Hist. of Engl. v. 414.]

Some moved to give, and give presently, and some would not give at all, and some would give sub modo; and a fourth, to which he inclineth, is:

(1) That we should first move the King for his answer to our petition [l], for we can have no hope of a blessing so long as the execrable thing remaineth amongst us, and to have His Majesty s answer in Parliament, and after a parliamentary way.

(2) And there is a necessity that His Majesty should declare the enemy to give us satisfaction, and every one may contribute his reasons, which may do much good; but the proper design no man holdeth fit should be disclosed to us.

(3) And he wisheth that when His Majesty doth make a war, it may be debated and advised by his grave Council.

(4) And there is a necessity to look into the King's estate, how it may subsist of itself, which is an old parliamentary course, and hath always been used when as any great aid hath been required of the Commons.

(5) And also to crave His Majesty's answer to the impositions; and, as for that objection that the time is not now fitting, and that it will require a longer time than we may sit here, he thinketh not so, for a committee might be named to digest into heads, which might be presented unto His Majesty, and at this time to capitulate with the King, being[2] that never had the subject more cause to do it than we have now.

And is this without precedent? No, and that in the best time, even of that most renowned King, Edward III; for he pretending to make a war, as now our King doth, he did desire subsidies from his subjects, and they, before they would grant it, did capitulate with him, and you shall find by the very Act itself, which was in the twenty-second year of his reign, that they did grant him a subsidy, and but one; and that upon condition, too, that if he did not go on with his war, the grant should cease, and the same not to be levied.

[1] On religion.

[2] I.e. considering.


2. Protestation of the Commons.

[Aug. 12, 1635. Debates in the House of Commons in 1625 (Camden Soc.), p. 125. See Hist. of Engl. v. 431.]

We, the knights, citizens and burgesses of the Commons' House of Parliament, being the representative body of the whole Commons of this realm, abundantly comforted in His Majesty's late gracious answer touching religion, and his message for the care of our healths, do solemnly protest and vow before God and the world, with one heart and voice, that we are all resolved and do hereby declare that we will ever continue most loyal and obedient subjects to our most gracious sovereign Lord, King Charles; and that we will be ready in a convenient time and in a parliamentary way freely and dutifully to do our utmost endeavours to discover and reform the abuses and grievances of the realm and state; and in like sort to afford all necessary supply to his most excellent Majesty upon his present and all other his just occasions and designs; most humbly beseeching our ever dear and dread sovereign in his princely wisdom and goodness, to rest assured of the true and hearty affections of his poor Commons, and to esteem the same (as we conceive it indeed) the greatest worldly reputation and security a just King can have, and to account all such as slanderers of the people's affections and enemies to the Commonwealth, that shall dare to say the contrary.


3. Documents relating to the Impeachment of the Duke of Buckingham.

A. The King's reply to the Address of the House of Commons.

[March 15, 1626. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 22, 474, fol. 19. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 78.]

Mr. Speaker: Here is much time spent in inquiring after grievances. I would have that last, and more time bestowed in preventing and redressing them. I thank you all for your kind offer of supply in general, but I desire you to descend to particulars and consider of your time and measure, for it concerneth yourselves who are like first to feel it if it be too short.

But some there are — I will not say all — that do make inquiry into the proceeding, not of any ordinary servant, but of one that is most near unto me. It hath been said, 'What shall be done to the man whom the King delighteth to honour?' But now it is the labour of some to seek what may be done against the man whom the King thinks fit to be honoured.

In a former time, when he was the instrument to break the treaties,[1] you held him worthy of all that was conferred upon him by my father. Since that time he hath done nothing but in prosecution of what was then resolved on; and hath engaged himself, his friends, and his estate for my service, and hath done his uttermost to set it forwards; and yet you question him. And for some particulars wherewith he hath been pressed, however he hath made his answer, certain it is that I did command him to do what he hath done therein. I would not have the House to question my servants, much less one that is so near me. And therefore I hope to find justice at your hands to punish such as shall offend in that kind.

B. Speeches of the King and the Lord Keeper.

[March 29, 1626. Rushworth, i. 221 seq. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 82.]

His Majesty begins: —

My Lords and Gentlemen: I have called you hither to-day, I mean both Houses of Parliament, but it is for several and distinct reasons ... And you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons ... I must tell you that I am come here to show you your errors and, as I may term them, unparliamentary proceedings in this Parliament ...

[The Lord Keeper] ... First His Majesty would have you to understand, That there was never any King more loving to his people, or better affectioned to the right use of Parliaments, than His Majesty hath approved himself to be, not only by his long patience since the sitting down of this Parliament, but by those mild and calm directions which from time to time that House hath received by message and letter, and from his royal mouth; when the irregular humours of some particular persons wrought diversions and distractions there, to the disturbance of those great and weighty affairs, which the necessity of the times, the honour and safety of the King and Kingdom, called upon. And therefore His Majesty doth assure you, that when these great affairs are settled, and that His Majesty hath received satisfaction of his reasonable demands, he will as a just King hear and answer your just grievances, which in a dutiful way shall be presented unto him; and this His Majesty doth avow.

Next His Majesty would have you know of a surety, That as never any King was more loving to his people, nor better affectioned to the right use of Parliaments; so never King more jealous of his honor, nor more sensible of the neglect and contempt of his royal rights, which His Majesty will by no means suffer to be violated by any pretended colour of parliamentary liberty; wherein His Majesty doth not forget that the Parliament is his council, and therefore ought to have the liberty of a council; but His Majesty understands the difference betwixt council and controlling, and between liberty and the abuse of liberty. Concerning the Duke of Buckingham, His Majesty hath commanded me to tell you, That himself doth know better than any man living the sincerity of the Duke's proceedings; with what cautions of weight and discretion he hath been guided in his public employments from His Majesty and his blessed father; what enemies he hath procured at home and abroad; what peril of his person and hazard of his estate he ran into for the service of His Majesty, and his ever blessed father; and how forward he hath been in the service of this house many times since his return from Spain: and therefore His Majesty cannot believe that the aim is at the Duke of Buckingham, but findeth that these proceedings do directly wound the honour and judgment of himself and of his father. It is therefore His Majesty's express and final commandment, That you yield obedience unto those directions which you have formerly received, and cease this unparliamentary inquisition, and commit unto His Majesty's care, and wisdom, and justice, the future reformation of these things which you suppose to be otherwise than they should be. And His Majesty is resolved, that before the end of this session, he will set such a course both for the amending of anything that may be found amiss, and for the settling of his own estate, as he doubteth not but will give you ample satisfaction and comforts.

Next to this His Majesty takes notice, That you have suffered the greatest council of State to be censured and traduced in this house, by men whose years and education cannot attain to that depth: That foreign businesses have been entertained in this house, to the hindrance and disadvantage of His Majesty's negociations: That the same year, yea the first day of His Majesty's inauguration, you suffered his council, government and servants to be paralleled with the times of most exception: That your committees have presumed to examine the letters of Secretaries of State, nay his own, and sent a general warrant to his Signet Office not only to produce and shew the records, but their books and private notes made for His Majesty's service. This His Majesty holds as unsufferable, as it was in former times unusual.

Then His Majesty spake again: —

I must withall put you in mind a little of times past; you may remember, that in the time of my blessed father, you did with your council and persuasion persuade both my father ana me to break off the treaties. I confess I was your instrument for two reasons; one was, the fitness of the time; the other because I was seconded by so great and worthy a body, as the whole body of Parliament; then there was nobody in so great favour with you as this man whom you seem now to touch, but indeed, my father's government and mine. Now that you have all things according to your wishes, and that I am so far engaged, that you think there is no retreat; now you begin to set the dice, and make your own game; but I pray you be not deceived, it is not a parliamentary way, nor is it a way to deal with a King.

Mr. Cook told you, It was better to be eaten up by a foreign enemy, than to be destroyed at home; Indeed, I think it more honour for a King to be invaded, and almost destroyed by a foreign enemy, than to be despised by his own subjects.

Remember that Parliaments are altogether in my power for their calling, sitting and dissolution; therefore as I find the fruits of them good or evil, they are to continue or not to be; And remember, that if in this time, instead of mending your errors, by delay you persist in your errors, you make them greater and irreconcileable. Whereas on the other side, if you go on cheerfully to mend them, and look to the distressed state of Christendom, and the affairs of the Kingdom as it lyeth now by this great engagement; you will do yourselves honour, you shall encourage me to go on with Parliaments; and I hope all Christendom shall feel the good of it.

C. Remonstrance of the House of Commons.

[April 5, 1626. Rushworth, i. 343 seq. See Hist. of Engl. vi. p. 85.[2]]

Most Gracious Sovereign ... Concerning your Majesty's servants and, namely, the Duke of Buckingham, we humbly beseech your Majesty to be informed by us your faithful Commons ... that it hath been the ancient, constant and undoubted right and usage of Parliaments, to question and complain of all persons, of what degree soever, found grievous to the commonwealth, in abusing the power and trust committed to them by their sovereign ... without which liberty in Parliament no private man, no servant to a King, perhaps no councillor, without exposing himself to the hazard of great enmity and prejudice, can be a means to call great officers into question for their misdemeanours, but the commonwealth might languish under their pressures without redress: and whatsoever we shall do accordingly in this Parliament, we doubt not but it shall redound to the honour of the Crown, and welfare of your subjects ...

D. The Commons' Declaration and Impeachment against the Duke of Buckingham.

[Presented to the House of Lords, May 10,1626. Lords' Journals, iii. 619. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 98-107.]

For the speedy redress of great evils and mischiefs, and of the chief of these evils and mischiefs, which this kingdom of England now grievously suffereth; and of late years hath suffered, and to the honour and safety of our Sovereign Lord the King, and of his crown and dignity, and to the good and welfare of his people; the Commons in this present Parliament, by the authority of our said Sovereign Lord the King assembled, do, by this their bill, shew and declare against George, Duke, Marquis and Earl of Buckingham, Earl of Coventry, Viscount Villiers, Baron of Whaddon, Great Admiral of the kingdoms of England and Ireland, and of the principality of Wales and of the dominions and islands of the same, of the town of Calais and of the marches of the same, and of Normandy, Gascony, and Guienne, General Governor of the seas and ships of the said Kingdoms, Lieutenant General, Admiral, Captain General and Governor of His Majesty's Royal Fleet and Army, lately set forth, Master of the Horse of our Sovereign Lord the King, Lord Warden, Chancellor, and Admiral of the Cinque Ports and of the members thereof, Constable of Dover Castle, Justice in Eyre of all the forests and chases on this side of the river of Trent, Constable of the Castle of Windsor, Gentleman of His Majesty's Bedchamber, one of His Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council in his realms both in England, Scotland and Ireland, and Knight of the most Honourable Order of the Garter; the misdemeanours, misprisions, offences, crimes, and other matters, comprised in the articles hereafter following; and him the said Duke do accuse and impeach of the said misdemeanours, misprisions, offences and crimes.

1. First, that whereas the great offices expressed in the said Duke's style and title have been the singular preferments of several persons eminent in wisdom and trust, and fully able for the weighty service and greatest employment of the State, whereby the said offices were both carefully and sufficiently executed, by several persons of such wisdom, trust, and ability; and others also that were employed by the royal progenitors of our Sovereign Lord the King, in places of less dignity, were much encouraged with the hopes of advancement; and whereas divers of the said places, severally of themselves, and necessarily, require the whole care, industry, and attendance of a most able person; he the said Duke, being young and inexperienced, hath of late years, with exorbitant ambition and for his own profit and advantage, procured and engrossed into his own hands the said several offices both to the danger of the State, the prejudice of that service which should have been performed in them, and to the great discouragement of others, that, by this procuring and engrossing of the said offices, are precluded from such hopes, as their virtues, abilities and public employments might otherwise have given them.

2. Whereas by the laws and statutes of this kingdom of England, if any person whatsoever give or pay any sum of money, fee or reward, directly or indirectly, for any office or offices, which in any wise touch or concern the administration of justice, or the keeping of any of the King's Majesty's towns, fortresses, or castles, being used, occupied or appointed as places of strength and defence, the same person is immediately, upon the same fee, money or reward, given or paid, to be adjudged a disabled person in the law to all intents and purposes, to have, occupy, and enjoy the said office or offices, for the which he so giveth or payeth any sum of money, fee or reward; he the said Duke did, in or about the month of January, in the sixteenth year of the late King James, of famous memory, give and pay unto the Eight Honourable Charles then Earl of Nottingham, for the office of Great Admiral of England and Ireland, and the principality of Wales, and office of the General Governor of the seas and ships, to the intent that the said Duke might obtain the said offices to his own use, the sum of three thousand pounds of lawful money of England; and did also about the same time, procure from the said King a further reward, for the surrender of the said office to the said Earl, of an annuity of a thousand pounds by the year, for and during the life of the said Earl; and, by the procurement of the said Duke the said King of famous memory, did by his letters patents, dated the 27th day of January, in the said year of his reign, under the Great Seal of England, grant to the said Earl the said annuity, which he the said Earl accordingly had and enjoyed during his life; and, by reason of the said sum of money so as aforesaid paid by the said Duke, and of his the said Duke's procurement of the said annuity, the said Earl of Nottingham did, in the same month, surrender unto the said late King of famous memory, his said offices, and his letters patents of them; and thereupon, and by reason of the premises, the said offices were obtained by the said Duke, for his life, from the said King of famous memory, by letters patents made to the said Duke of the same offices under the Great Seal of England, dated the 28th day of January, in the said sixteenth year of the said King of famous memory: And the said offices of Great Admiral and Governor, as aforesaid, are offices that highly touch and concern the administration and execution of justice, within the provision of the said laws and statutes of this realm; which notwithstanding, the said Duke hath unlawfully, ever since the first unlawful obtaining of the said grant of the said offices, retained in his hands, and exercised them against the laws and statutes aforesaid.

3. The said Duke did likewise, in and about the month of December, in the twenty-second year of the said late King James, of famous memory, give and pay unto the Eight Honourable Edward late Lord Zouch, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and of the members thereof, and Constable of the Castle of Dover, for the said offices, and for the surrender of the said offices of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of the said Castle of Dover to be made to the said late King, of famous memory, the sum of one thousand pounds Of lawful money of England; and then also granted an annuity of five hundred pounds yearly to the said Lord Zouch, for the life of the said Lord Zouch, to the intent that he the said Duke might thereby obtain the said offices to his own use; and for and by reason of the said sum of money so paid by the said Duke, and of the annuity so granted to the said Edward Lord Zouch the fourth day of December, in the year aforesaid, did surrender his said offices, and his letters patents of them, to the said late King; and thereupon, and by reason of the premises, he the said Duke obtained the said offices for his life from the late king, by his letters patents under the Great Seal of England, dated the sixth day of December, in the said twenty-second year. And the said office of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and of the members thereof, is an office that doth highly touch and concern administration of justice; and the said office of Constable of the Castle of Dover is an office that highly concerneth the keeping and defence of the town and port, and of the said Castle of Dover, which is and hath ever been, appointed a most eminent place of strength and defence of this kingdom; which notwithstanding, the said Duke hath unlawfully, ever since his first unlawful obtaining of the said offices, retained them in his hands, and executed them against the laws and statutes aforesaid.

4. Whereas the said Duke, by reason of his said offices of Great Admiral of the kingdoms of England and Ireland, and of the principality of Wales, and of Admiral of the Cinque Ports, and General Governor of the seas and ships of the said kingdoms, and by reason of the trust thereunto belonging, ought at all times since the said offices obtained, to have safely guarded, kept and preserved the said seas, and the dominion of them; and ought also, whensoever there wanted men, ships, munition or other strength whatsoever that might conduce to the better safe-guard of them, to have used, from time to time, his utmost endeavour, for the supply of such wants to the Eight Honourable the Lords and others of the Privy Council, and by procuring such supply from his sovereign or otherwise; he the said Duke hath ever since the dissolution of the two treaties mentioned in the Act of Subsidy of the one and twentieth year of the late King, of famous memory, that is to say, the space of two years last past, neglected the just performance of his said office and duty; and broken the said trust therewith committed unto him; and hath not, according to his said offices, during the time aforesaid, safely kept the said seas, in so much that, by reason of his neglect and default therein, not only the trade and strength of this kingdom of England hath been, during the said time, much decayed, but the same seas also have been, during the same time, ignominiously infested by pirates and enemies, to the loss both of very many ships and goods, and of many of the subjects of our Sovereign Lord the King; and the dominion of the said seas being the undoubted patrimony of the Kings of England, is thereby also in most eminent danger to be utterly lost.

5. Whereas, about Michaelmas last year, a ship, called the St. Peter of Newhaven[3] (whereof John Mallewe was master) laden with divers goods, merchandises, monies, jewels and commodities, to the value of forty thousand pounds or thereabouts, for the proper account of Monsieur de Villiers, the then Governor of Newhaven, and other subjects of the French king, being in perfect amity and league with our Sovereign Lord the King, was taken at sea, by some of the ships of His Majesty's late fleet, set forth under the command of the said Duke, as well by direction from the said Duke as Great Admiral of England as by the authority of the extraordinary commission which he then had, for the command of the said fleet; and was by them, together with the said goods and lading, brought into the port of Plymouth, as a prize, amongst many others, upon probabilities that the said ship or goods belonged to the subjects of the King of Spain; and that divers parcels of the said goods and loading were thence taken out of the said ship of St. Peter's; that is to say sixteen barrels of cochineal, eight bags of gold, three and twenty bags of silver, two boxes of pearls and emeralds, a chain of gold, jewels, monies, and commodities, to the value of twenty thousand pounds or thereabouts; and by the said Duke were delivered into the private custody of one Gabriel Marsh, servant to the said Duke; and that the said ship with the residue of her said goods and lading, was sent from thence up the river of Thames; and there detained; whereupon there was an arrest at Newhaven, in the kingdom of France, on the seventh day of December last, of two English merchant ships trading thither, as was alledged in a certain petition by some English merchants trading into France, to the Lords and others of His Majesty's most honourable Privy Council. After which, that is to say, on the 28th day of the said month, His Majesty was pleased to order, with the advice of his Privy Council, that the said ship and goods belonging to the subjects of the French king, should be re-delivered to such as should re-claim them; and accordingly information was given unto His Majesty's Advocate, in the Chief Court of Admiralty, by the Eight Honourable Sir John Coke, Knight, one of His Majesty's principal secretaries of state, for the freeing and discharging of the said ship and goods in the said Court of Admiralty. And afterwards, that is to say on the six and twentieth day of January last, it was decreed in the said Court, by the judge thereof, with the consent of the said advocate, that the said ship with whatsoever goods as seized or taken in her (except three hundred Mexico hides, sixteen sacks of ginger, one box of gilt beads, and five sacks of ginger more, mentioned in the said decree), should be clearly released from further detention, and delivered to the said master; and therefore a commission under seal was in that behalf duly sent out of the said Court unto Sir Allen Apsley, Sir John Wolstenholme, and others, for the due execution thereof: the said Duke, notwithstanding the said order, commission and decree, detained still to his own use the said gold, silver, pearls, emeralds, jewels, monies, and commodities, so taken out of the said ship as aforesaid; and for his own singular avail and covetise, on the sixth day of February last, having no information of any new proof, without any legal proceedings, by colour of his said office, unjustly caused the ship and goods to be again arrested and detained in public violation and contempt of the laws and statutes of this land, to the great disturbance of trade, and prejudice of the merchant.

6. Whereas the honour, wealth and strength of this realm of England is much increased by the traffic chiefly of such merchants as employ and build great warlike ships, a consideration that should move all Councillors of State, especially the Lord Admiral, to cherish and maintain such merchants; the said Duke, abusing the Lords of the Parliament in the twenty- first year of the late King James, of famous memory, with pretence of serving the State, did oppress the East Indian merchants, and extorted from them ten thousand pounds, in the subtle and unlawful manner following: — About February, in the year aforesaid, he the said Duke, hearing some good success that those merchants had at Ormuz, in parts beyond the seas; by his agents, cunningly, in or about the month aforesaid, in the said year of the said King, endeavoured to draw from them some great sum of money; which their poverty and no gain by that success at Ormuz, made those merchants absolutely deny; whereupon he the said Duke, perceiving that the said merchants were then setting forth in the course of their trade, four ships and two pinnaces, laden with goods and merchandize of very great value, like to lose their voyage if they should not speedily depart; the said Duke, on the first day of March then following, in the said year of the said late King did move the Lords then assembled in the said Parliament, whether he should make stay of any ships which were in the ports (as being High Admiral he might); and namely those ships prepared for the East India voyage, which were of great burthen and well furnished; which motion being approved by their lordships, the Duke did stay those ships accordingly: But the fifth of March following, when the then deputy of that company, with other of those merchants, did make suit to the said Duke for the release of the said ships and pinnaces, he the said Duke said, he had not been the occasion of their staying; but that, having heard the motion with much earnestness in the Lords' House of Parliament, he could do no less than give the order they had done; and therefore he willed them to set down the reasons of their suit, which he would acquaint the house withall; yet in the mean time he gave them leave to let their said ships and pinnaces down as low as Tilbury. And the tenth of March following, an unusual joint action was, by his procurement, entered in the chief Court of Admiralty, in the name of the said late King, and of the Lord Admiral, against fifteen thousand pounds, taken piratically by some captains of the said merchant ships, and pretended to be in the hands of the East India Company; and thereupon the King's Advocate, in the name of advocate from the King and the said Lord Admiral, moved and obtained one attachment, which by the Sergeant of the said Court of Admiralty was served on the said merchants, in their court, the sixteenth day of March following: Whereupon the said merchants, though there was no cause for this their molestation by the Lord Admiral, yet the next day they were urged in the said Court of Admiralty to bring in the fifteen thousand pounds or go to prison; wherefore immediately the company of the said merchants did again send the deputy aforesaid and some others, to make new suit unto the said Duke, for the release of the said ships and pinnaces, who unjustly endeavouring to extort money from the said merchants protested that the ships should not go, except they compounded with him; and when they urged many more reasons for the release of the said ships and pinnaces, the answer of the said Duke was, that the then Parliament House must be first moved. The said merchants being in this perplexity in their consultation, the three and twentieth of that month, ever ready to give over that trade; yet, considering that they should lose more than was demanded, by unloading their ships, besides their voyage, they resolved to give the said Duke ten thousand pounds for his unjust demands; and he the said Duke by the undue means aforesaid, and under colour of his office and upon false pretence of rights, unjustly did exact and extort from them the said merchants, the said ten thousand pounds, and received the same about the twenty-eighth of April following the discharge of those ships; which were not released by him, till they the said merchants had yielded to give him the said Duke the said ten thousand pounds for the said release, and for the false pretence of rights made by the said Duke as aforesaid.

7. Whereas the ships of our Sovereign Lord the King and of his kingdoms aforesaid are the principal strength and defence of the said kingdoms and ought therefore to be always preserved, and safely kept, under the command, and for the service of our said Sovereign Lord the King, no less than any of the fortresses and castles of the said kingdoms; and whereas no subject of this realm ought to be dispossessed of any of his goods or chattels, without order of justice, or his own consent first duly had and obtained; the said Duke, being Great Admiral of England, Governor General and keeper of the said ships and seas, and thereof ought to have and take especial and continual care and diligence how to preserve the same; the said Duke, on or about the end of July last, In the first year of our Sovereign Lord the King, did, under the colour of the said office of Great Admiral of England, and by indirect and subtle means and practices, procure one of the principal ships of His Majesty's navy royal, called the Vanguard, then under the command of Captain John Pennington, and six other merchant ships of great burthen and value, belonging to several persons inhabiting in London, the natural subjects of His Majesty, to be conveyed over, with all their ordnance, ammunition, tackle and apparel, into the ports Of the kingdom of France, to the end that being there, they might be more easily put into the hands of the French king, his ministers and subjects, and taken into their possession, command and power; and accordingly the said Duke, by his ministers and agents with menaces and other ill means and practices, did there, without order of justice, and without the consent of the said masters and owners unduly compel and enforce the said masters and owners of the said six merchant ships to deliver their said ships into the said possession, command and power of the said French king, his ministers and subjects; and by reason of this compulsion, and under the pretext of his power as aforesaid, and by his indirect practices as aforesaid, the said ships aforesaid, as well the said ship royal of His Majesty, as the others belonging to the said merchants, were there delivered into the hands and command of the said French king his ministers and subjects, without either sufficient security or assurance for re-delivery, or other necessary condition in that behalf taken or propounded, either by the said Duke himself, or otherwise by his direction, contrary to the duty of the said offices of Great Admiral, Governor General and keeper of the said ships and seas, and to the faith and trust in that behalf reposed, and contrary to the duty which he owed our Sovereign Lord the King in his place of Privy Councillor, to the apparent weakening of the naval strength of this kingdom, to the great loss and prejudice of the said merchants, and against the liberty of those subjects of our Sovereign Lord the King that are under the jurisdiction of the Admiralty.

8. The said Duke, contrary to the purpose of our Sovereign Lord the King and His Majesty's known zeal for the maintenance and advancement of the true religion established in the church of England, knowing the said ships were intended to be employed by the said French king against those of the same religion at Rochelle, and elsewhere in the kingdom of France, did procure the said ship royal, and compel as aforesaid the six other ships to be delivered unto the said French king's ministers and subjects as aforesaid, to the end that the said ships might be used and employed by the said French king, in his intended war against those of the said religion, in the said town of Rochelle, and elsewhere in the kingdom of France, and the said ships were, and have been since, so used and employed by the said French king, his subjects and ministers against them; and this the said Duke did as aforesaid, in gnat and most apparent prejudice of the said religion, contrary to the purpose and intention of our Sovereign Lord the King, and against his duty in that behalf, being a sworn councillor to His Majesty, and to the great scandal and dishonour of this nation; and notwithstanding the delivery of the said ships by his procurement and compulsion as aforesaid, to be employed as aforesaid, the said Duke in cunning and cautelous manner to mask his ill intentions, did at the parliament held at Oxon., in August last, before the committees of both Houses of the said Parliament intimate and declare, that the ships were not, nor should they be, so used and employed against those of the said religion, as aforesaid, in contempt of our Sovereign Lord the King, and in abuse of the said Houses of Parliament, and in violation of that truth which every man should profess.

9. Whereas the titles of honour of this kingdom of England were wont to be conferred as great rewards, upon such virtuous and industrious persons as had merited them by their faithful service; the said Duke by his importunate and subtle procurement, hath not only perverted that ancient and most honourable way, but also unduly for his own particular gain, he hath enforced some that were rich (though unwilling) to purchase honour, as the Lord Robartes, Baron of Truro, who, by practice of the said Duke and his agents, was drawn up to London, in or about October, in the two and twentieth year of the reign of the late King James of famous memory, and there so threatened and dealt withall, that by reason thereof, he yielded to give, and accordingly did pay the sum of ten thousand pounds to the said Duke and to his use, for which said sum the said Duke, in the month of January, the two and twentieth year of the said late King, procured the title of Baron Robartes of Truro, to the said Lord Robartes; in which practice as the said Lord Robartes was much wronged in his particular, so the example thereof tendeth to the prejudice of the gentry and dishonour of the nobility of this kingdom.

10. Whereas no places of judicature, in the courts of justice of our Sovereign Lord the King, or other like preferments given by the Kings of this realm, ought to be procured by any subjects whatsoever, for any reward, bribe, or gift; he the said Duke in or about the month of December, in the eighteenth year of the reign of the late King James of famous memory, did procure of the said King the office of High Treasurer of England to the Lord Viscount Mandeville, now Earl of Manchester; which office at his procurement was given and granted accordingly to the Lord Viscount Mandeville; and as a reward for the said procurement of the same grant, he the said Duke, did then receive to his own use, of and from him the said Lord Viscount Mandeville, the sum of twenty thousand pounds, of lawful money of England. And also in or about the month of January in the sixteenth year of the said late King did procure of the said King of famous memory, the office of Master of the Wards and Liveries to and for Sir Lionel Cranfield, afterwards Earl of Middlesex, which office was upon the same procurement given and granted to the said Sir Lionel Cranfield; and as a reward for the same procurement, he the said Duke had to his own use or the use of some other person by him appointed, of the said Sir Lionel Cranfield, the sum of six thousand pounds of lawful money of England, contrary to the dignity of our Sovereign Lord the King, and against the duty which should have been performed by the said Duke unto him.

11. That he the said Duke hath within these ten years last past, procured divers titles of honour to his mother, brothers, kindred, and allies; as the title of Countess of Buckingham to his mother, whilst she was Sir Thomas Compton's wife; the title of Earl of Anglesea to his younger brother Christopher Villiers; the titles of Baron of Newnham Paddox, Viscount Feilding and the Earl of Denbigh to his sister's husband, Sir William Feilding; the title of Baron of Stoke, and Viscount Purbeck, to Sir John Villiers, elder brother of the said Duke, and divers more of the like kind to his kindred and allies; whereby the noble Barons of England, so well deserving in themselves and in their ancestors, have been much prejudiced, and the Crown disabled to reward extraordinary virtues in future times with honour; while the poor estate of those for whom such unnecessary advancement hath been procured is apparently likely to be more and more burdensome to the King; notwithstanding such annuities, pensions, and grants of lands annexed to the Crown, of great value, which the said Duke hath procured for those his kindred, to support their dignities.

12. He the said Duke not contented with the great advancement formerly received from the late King, of famous memory, by his procurement and practice, in the fourteenth year of the said King, for the support of the many places, honours, and dignities conferred on him, did obtain a grunt of divers manors, parcel of the revenue of the Crown, and of the Duchy of Lancaster, to the yearly value of one thousand six hundred and ninety-seven pounds, two shillings, half-penny farthing of the old rent, with all woods, timber, trees, and advowsons; part whereof amounting to the sum of seven hundred forty seven pounds, thirteen shillings, and four pence, was rated at two and thirty thousand pounds, but in truth of a far greater value; and likewise, in the sixteenth year of the same King's reign, did procure divers other manors, annexed to the Crown, of the yearly value at the old rent of twelve hundred pounds or thereabouts, according as in a schedule hereunto annexed appeareth; in the warrant for passing of which lands he by his great favour, procured divers unusual clauses to be inserted; videlicet, that no perquisites of courts should be valued and that all bailiffs' fees should be reprised in the particulars upon which those lands were rated; whereby a precedent hath been introduced, which all those that since that time have obtained any lands from the Crown have pursued to the damage of his late Majesty, and of our Sovereign Lord the King that now is, to an exceeding great value; and afterwards he surrendered to his said Majesty divers manors and lands, parcel of those lands formerly granted unto him to the value of seven hundred twenty three pounds, eighteen shillings, two pence half-penny per annum; in consideration of which surrender, he procured divers other lands of the said late King, to be sold and contracted for by his own servants and agents; and thereupon hath obtained grants of the same, to pass from his late Majesty to several persons of this Kingdom, and hath caused tallies to be strucken for the money, being the consideration mentioned in these grants in the receipt of the exchequer, as if such money had really come to his Majesty's coffers; whereas the said Duke (or some other by his appointment) hath indeed received the same sums, and expended them upon his own occasions; and, notwithstanding the great and inestimable gain by him made by the sale of offices, honours, and by other suits by him obtained from His Majesty and for the countenancing of divers projects and other courses burthensome to His Majesty's realms both of England and Ireland; the said Duke hath likewise, by his procurement and practice, received into his hands, and disbursed unto his own use, exceeding great sums, that were the monies of the late King, of famous memory, as appeareth also in the said schedule hereunto annexed; and the better to colour his doings in that behalf, hath obtained several privy seals from his late Majesty, and His Majesty that now is, warranting the payment of great sums to persons by him named, causing it to be recited in such privy seals, as if those sums were directed for secret services concerning the State, which were notwithstanding disposed of to his own use, and other privy seals by him procured for the discharge of those persons without accompt; and by the like fraud and practice, under colour of free gifts from His Majesty, he hath gotten into his hands great sums, which were intended by His Majesty be be disbursed for the preparing, furnishing and victualling of his royal navy; by which secret and colourable devices the constant and ordinary course of the exchequer hath been broken, there being no means by matter of record, to charge either treasurer or victualler of the navy with those sums which ought to have come to their hands, and to be accounted for to His Majesty; and such a confusion and mixture hath been made between the King's estate and the Duke's as cannot be cleared by the legal entries and records, which ought to be truly and faithfully made and kept, both for the safety of His Majesty's treasure and for the indemnity of his officers and subjects, whom it doth concern: and also in the sixteenth year of the said King, and in the twentieth year of the said King, did procure to himself several releases from the said King, of divers great sums of the money of the said King by him privately received; and which he procured that he might detain the same for the support of his places, honours, and dignities; and those things, and divers others of the like kind, as appeareth in the said schedule annexed, hath he done, to the exceeding diminution of the revenues of the Crown, and in deceit both of our Sovereign Lord the King that now is, and of the late King James of famous memory; and to the great detriment of the whole kingdom.

13. Whereas especial care and order hath been taken by the laws of this realm to restrain and prevent the unskilful administration of physic whereby the health and life of man may be much endangered; and whereas most especially the royal persons of kings of this realm, in whom we their loyal subjects humbly challenge a great interest, are and always have been, esteemed by us so sacred, that nothing ought to be prepared for them, or administered unto them, in the way of physic or diet, in the times of their sickness, without the consent of some of their sworn physicians, apothecaries, or surgeons; and the boldness of such (how near soever unto them in place and favour) who have forgotten their duty so far as to presume to offer any thing unto them beyond their experience, hath been always ranked in the number of high offences[4] and misdemeanours; and whereas the sworn physicians of our late Sovereign Lord King James of blessed memory, attending on His Majesty in the month of March, in the two and twentieth of his most gracious reign, in the times of his sickness, being an ague, did, in due and necessary care of and for the recovery of his health and preservation of his person, upon and after several mature consultations in that behalf had and holden, at several times in the same month, resolve and give directions, that nothing should be applied or given unto His Highness by way of physic or diet during his said sickness, but by and upon their general advice and consents, and after good deliberation thereof first had; more especially, by their like care, and upon like consultations, did justly resolve, and publicly give warning to and for all the gentlemen, and other servants and officers, of his said late Majesty's bed-chamber, that no meat or drink whatsoever should be given unto him within two or three hours before the usual time of and for the coming of his fit in the said ague, nor during the continuance thereof, nor afterwards untill his cold fit were past; the said Duke of Buckingham, being a sworn servant of his late Majesty, of and in His Majesty's said bedchamber, contrary to his duty and the tender respect which he ought to have had of his most sacred person, and after the consultations, resolutions, directions, and warning aforesaid, did nevertheless, without any sufficient warrant in that behalf, unduly cause and procure certain plaisters and a certain drink or potion, to be provided for the use of his said Majesty, without the direction or privity of his said late Majesty's physicians, not prepared by any of His Majesty's sworn apothecaries or surgeons, but compounded of several ingredients to them unknown; notwithstanding the same plaister, or some plaister like thereunto, having been formerly administered unto his said Majesty, did procure such ill effects as that some of the said sworn physicians did altogether disallow thereof, and utterly refuse to meddle any further with his said Majesty until those plaisters were removed, as being prejudicial to the health of His Majesty; yet nevertheless the same plaister, as also a drink or potion, was provided by the said Duke, which he the said Duke by colour of some insufficient and slight pretences, did upon Monday the one and twentieth day of March in the two and twentieth year aforesaid, when His Majesty (by the judgment of his said physicians) was in the declination of his disease, cause and procure the said plaister to be applied to the breast and wrists of his said late Majesty; and then also at and in His Majesty's fit of the said ague, the same Monday, and at several times within two hours of the coming of the same fit, and before His Majesty's then cold fit was passed, did deliver and cause to be delivered several quantities of the said drink or potion to his late Majesty; who thereupon, at the same times, within the seasons in that behalf prohibited by His Majesty's physicians as aforesaid did, by the means and procurement of the said Duke, drink and take divers quantities of the said drink or potion applied and given unto and taken and received by his said Majesty as aforesaid, great distempers and divers ill symptoms appeared upon his said Majesty, insomuch that the said physicians, finding His Majesty the next morning much worse in the estate of his health, and holding a consultation thereabouts, did by joint consent, send unto the said Duke, praying him not to adventure to minister unto His Majesty any more physic, without their allowance and approbation, and his said Majesty himself, finding himself much diseased and affected with pain and sickness after his then fit, when, by the course of his disease, he expected intermission and ease, did attribute the cause of such his trouble unto the said plaister and drink, which the said Duke had so given and caused to be administered unto him. Which said adventurous act, by a person obliged in duty and thankfulness, done to the person of so great a King, after so ill success of the like formerly administered, contrary to such directions as aforesaid, and accompanied with so unhappy an event, to the great grief and discomfort of all His Majesty's subjects in general, is an offence and misdemeanour of so high a nature, as may justly be called, and is by the said Commons deemed to be, an act of transcendent presumption and of dangerous consequence. And the said Commons by protestation saving to themselves the liberty of exhibiting at any time hereafter any other accusation or impeachment against the said Duke, and also of replying to the answers that the said Duke shall make unto the said articles, or to any of them, and of offering further proof also of the premises, or any of them, as the case shall (according to the course of Parliament) require, do pray that the said Duke may be put to answer to all and every the premises; and that such proceeding, examination, trial, and judgment, may be upon every of them had and used, as is agreeable to law and justice.

E. The humble answer and plea of George Duke of Buckingham, to the declaration and impeachment made against him before your Lordships, by the Commons House of Parliament.

[Presented to the House of Lords, June 8, 1626. Lords' Journals, iii. 656. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 116.]

The said Duke of Bucks being accused, and sought to be impeached before your Lordships of the many misdemeanours, misprisions, offences, and crimes, wherewith he is charged by the Commons House of Parliament, and which are comprised in the articles preferred against him, and were aggravated by those whose service was used by that house in the delivery of them; doth find in himself an unexpressible pressure of deep and hearty sorrow, that so great and so worthy a body should hold him suspected of those things that are objected against him; whereas had that honourable house first known the very truth of those particulars, whereof they had not there the means to be rightly informed, he is well assured, in their own true judgments, they would have forborne to have charged him therewith. But the integrity of his own heart and conscience, being the most able and most impartial witness, not accusing him of the least thought of disloyalty to his sovereigns or to his country, doth raise his spirits again to make his just defence before your Lordships; of whose wisdom, justice, and honour, he is so well assured, that he doth with confidence and yet with all humbleness, submit himself and his cause to your examinations and judgments; before whom he shall, with all sincerity and clearness, unfold and lay open the secrets of his actions and of his heart; and, in his answer, shall not affirm the least substantial, and as near as he can the least circumstantial point, which he doth not believe he shall clearly prove before your Lordships. The charge consisteth of thirteen several articles; whereunto the Duke, saving to himself the usual benefit of not being prejudiced by any words or want of form in his answer, but that he might be admitted to make further explanation and proof as there shall be occasion; and saving to himself all privileges and rights belonging to him as one of the peers of the realm; doth make these several and distinct answers following, in the same order they are laid down unto him: —

I. To the first which concerneth the plurality of offices which he holdeth, he answereth thus: That it is true he holdeth those several places and offices which are enumerated in the preamble of his charge; whereof only three are worthy the name of offices; videlicet, the Admiralty, the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports, and Mastership of the Horse. The others are rather titulary, and additions of honour. For these offices he humbly and freely acknowledgeth the bounty and goodness of His Most Gracious Majesty who is with God; who, when he had cast an eye of favour upon him, and had taken him into a more near place of service about his royal person, was more willing to multiply his graces and favours upon him than the Duke was forward to ask them; and for the most part, as many honourable persons, and his own most excellent Majesty above all others can best testify, did prevent the very desires of the Duke in asking.

And all these particular places he can and doth truly affirm, his late Majesty did bestow them of his own royal motion (except the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports only), and thereto also he gave his approbation and encouragement. And the Duke denieth that he obtained these places either to satisfy his exorbitant ambition or his own profit or advantage, as is objected against him; and he hopeth he shall give good satisfaction to the contrary, in his particular answers ensuing, touching the manner of his obtaining the places of Admiralty, and the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports; whereunto he humbly desireth to refer himself. And for the Mastership of the Horse to His Majesty, he saith it is a mere domestic office of attendance upon the King's person, whereby he receiveth some profit, yet but as a conveniency to render him more fit for his continual attendance. And in that place, the times compared, he hath retrenched the King's annual charge to a considerable value, as shall be made apparent. And for the number of places he holdeth, he saith that, if the Commonwealth doth not suffer thereby, he hopeth he may, without blame, receive and retain that which the liberal and bountiful hand of his master hath freely conferred upon him; and it is not without many precedents, both in ancient and modern times, that one man eminent in the esteem of his sovereign, hath at one time held as great and as many offices; but when it shall be discerned that he shall falsify or corruptly use those places or any of them, or that the public shall suffer thereby, he is so thankful for what he hath freely received, that, whensoever his gracious master shall require it, without disputing with his sovereign, he will readily lay down at his royal feet, not only his places and offices, but his whole fortunes and his life to do him service.

2. For his buying of the Admiral's place, the said Duke maketh this clear and true answer: —

That it is true, that in January, in the sixteenth year of his late Majesty's reign, his late Majesty by his letters patent under the great seal of England, granted unto the Duke the office of Admiralty, for his life, which grant, as he well knoweth it was made freely, and without any contract or bargain with the late Lord Admiral, or any other, and upon the voluntary surrender of that noble and well-deserving lord, so he is advised it will appear to be free from any defect in law, by reason of the statute of 5 Ed. VI, mentioned in this article of his charge, or of any other cause whatsoever. For he saith, that the true manner of his buying this office, and of all the passages thereof, which he is ready to make good by proof, was thus: That honourable lord, the Earl of Nottingham, then Lord Admiral, being grown so much in years, and finding that he was not then so able to perform that which appertained to his place, as in former times he had done to his great honour, and fearing lest His Majesty's service and commonwealth might suffer by his defeat, became an humble and earnest petitioner to his late Majesty, to admit him to surrender his office. His late Majesty was, at the first, unwilling unto it, out of his royal affection, to his person, and true judgment of his worth. But the Earl renewed his petitions, and in some of them nominated the Duke to be his successor, without the Duke's privity or forethought of it. And about that time a gentleman of good place about the Navy, and of long experience, of himself came to the Duke, and earnestly moved him to undertake the place. The Duke apprehending the weight of the place, and considering his young years and want of experience to manage so great a charge, gave no ear unto it; but excused it, not for form, but really and ingenuously out of his apprehension of his then unfitness for it. This gentleman not thus satisfied, without the Duke[5] applied himself to the late King, and moved His Majesty therein, and offered reasons for it, that the Duke was the fittest man at that time, and as the state of the Navy then stood, for that place; for he said it was then a time of peace; that the best service could be done for the present was to repair the navy and ships royal, which then were much in decay, and to retrench the king's charge, and to employ it effectually; and that before there was personal use of service otherwise, the Duke, being young and active might gain experience, and make himself as fit as any other; and that, in the mean time, none was so fit as himself, having the opportunity of His Majesty's favour, and nearness to his person, to procure a constant assignment and payment of monies for the navy, the want whereof was the greatest cause of the former defects. These reasons persuaded his late Majesty, and upon His Majesty's own motion, persuaded the Duke to take the charge upon him. And therefore the Earl, voluntarily, freely and willingly, and upon his own earnest and often suit, surrendered his place, without any precedent contract or promise whatsoever that might render the Duke in the least degree subject to the danger of the law (which was not then so much as once thought upon); and upon that surrender, the grant was made to the Duke. But it is true, that His Majesty, out of his royal bounty, for recompence of the long and faithful service of the said Earl, and for an honourable memory of his deserts to him and the Crown of England, did grant him a pension of ten thousand pounds per annum, for his life; which in all ages hath been the royal way of princes, wherewith to reward ancient and well-deserving servants in their elder years, when, without their own faults, they are become less serviceable to the state. And the Duke also, voluntarily and freely, and as an argument of his noble respect towards so honourable a predecessor, whom to his death he called father, whose estate, as he then understood, might well bear it, with his late Majesty's privity and approbation, did send him three thousand pounds in money; which he hopeth no person of worth and honour will esteem to be an act worthy of blame in him. And when the Duke had thus obtained this place of great trust, he was so careful of his duty that he would not rely upon his own judgment or ability; but of himself humbly besought his then Majesty to settle a Commission of fit and able persons for the affairs of the Navy, by whose counsel and assistance he might manage that weighty business with the best advantage for His Majesty's service; which commission was granted and still continueth; and without the advice of those commissioners he had never done any thing of moment; and by their advice and industry he hath thus husbanded the King's money, and furthered the service; that whereas the ordinary charge of the Navy was four and fifty thousand pounds per annum, and yet the ships were very much decayed, and their provisions neglected; the charge was reduced to thirty thousand pounds per annum; and with that charge the ships all repaired and made serviceable, and two new ships builded yearly; and for the two last years, when there were no ships built, the ordinary charge was reduced to twenty-one thousand six hundred pounds per annum; and now he dare boldly affirm, that His Majesty's Navy is in better state by much than ever it was in any precedent time whatsoever.

3. For his buying the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports, he maketh this plain ingenuous and true answer: —

That in December, in the two and twentieth year of his late Majesty's reign, he obtained the office of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and Constable of the Castle of Dover (being one entire office) upon the surrender of the Lord Zouch, then Lord Warden. The manner of obtaining whereof was thus: The Lord Zouch being grown in years, and with his almost continual lameness being grown less fit for that place, he discovered a willingness to leave it, and made several offers thereof to the Duke of Richmond, and Richard, Earl of Dorset, deceased; but he was not willing to part with it without recompence; notice whereof coming to the Duke, by an offer from the Lord Zouch, he, finding by experience how much and how many ways both the King's service might and many times did suffer, and how many inconveniences did arise to the King's subjects, in their goods and ships and lives, by the intermixture of the jurisdiction of the Admiralty and Wardenship of the Cinque Ports, by the emulation, disaffection and contention of their officers, as will clearly appear by these particulars, amongst many others that may be instanced.

(1) Where the Admiral's jurisdiction extends generally to all the narrow seas, the Warden of the Cinque Ports hath and exerciseth Admiral jurisdiction on all the sea coasts from Showe Beacon[6] in Essex, to the Red Noore[6] in Sussex; and within those limits there have been continual differences between the Lord Admiral and the Lord Warden, whether the Lord Warden's jurisdiction extends into the main sea, or only as far as the low water mark, and so much further into the sea as a man on horseback can reach with a lance; which occasioneth questions between those chief officers themselves.

(2) There are many and continual differences in executing warrants against offenders; the officers of the one refusing to obey or assist the authority of the other: whereby the offender, protected or countenanced by either, easily escapeth.

(3) Merchants and owners of goods questioned in the Admiralty are often enforced to sue in both courts, and often enforced, for their peace, to compound with both officers.

(4) The King's service is much hindered; for the usual rendezvous of the King's ships being at the Downs, and that being within the jurisdiction of the said Warden, the Lord Admiral or Captains of the King's ships have no power or warrant to press men from the shore, if the King's ships be in distress.

(5) When the King's ships or others be in danger on the Goodwins, or other places within view of the portsmen, they have refused to. help with their boats lest the King's ships should command them on board; whereby many ships have perished, and much goods have been lost.

(6) When the warrants come to press a ship at road for the King's service, the officers take occasion to disobey the warrants, and prejudice the King's service; for if the warrant come from the Lord Warden they will pretend the ship to be out of their jurisdiction; if the warrant come from the Lord Admiral, they will pretend it to be within jurisdiction of the Cinque Ports; and so whilst the officers dispute the opportunity of the service is lost.

(7) When the King's ships lye near the Ports, and the men come on shore, the officers refuse to assist the captains to reduce them to their ships without the Lord Warden's warrant.

(8) If the King's ships on the sudden have any need of pilots for the sands, coasts of Flanders or the like, wherein the portsmen are the best experienced, they will not serve without the Lord Warden's or his lieutenant's warrant, who perhaps are not near the place.

(9) When for great occasions for the service of the State, the Lord Admiral and the Lord Warden must both join their authority; if the officers for want of true understanding of their several limits and jurisdictions, mistake the warrants, the service which many times can brook no delay is lost, or not so effectually performed.

For these, and many other reasons of the like kind the Duke, not being led either with ambition or hope of profit, as hath been objected (for it could be no increase of honour unto him, having been honoured before with a greater place; nor for profit, for it hath not yielded him in a manner any profit at all, nor is like to yield him above three hundred pounds per annum at any time), but out of his desire to do the King and kingdom service, and prevent all differences and difficulties, which heretofore had, or hereafter might, hinder the same; he did entertain that motion: And doth confess, that not knowing, nor so much as thinking, of the said Act of Parliament before mentioned, he did agree to give the said Lord one thousand pounds in money, and five hundred pounds per annum, in respect of his surrender; he not being willing to leave his place without such consideration, nor the Duke willing to have it without his full satisfaction. And the occasion why the Duke of Buckingham gave that consideration to the Lord Zouch was, because the Duke of Richmond, in his life time, had first agreed to give the same consideration for it; and, if he had lived, he had had that place upon the same terms. And when the Lord Duke of Richmond was dead, his late Majesty directed the Duke of Buckingham to go through for that place; and, for the reasons aforementioned, to put both these offices together; and to give the same consideration to the said Lord which the Duke of Richmond should have given; and his late Majesty said, he would repay the money. And how far this act of his, in acquiring this office, accompanied with these circumstances, may be within the danger of the law, the King being privy to all the passages of it, and encouraging and directing of it, he humbly submitteth to judgment: And he humbly leaves it to your lordships' judgments, in what third way, an ancient servant to the Crown, by age and infirmity disabled to perform his service, can in an honourable course relinquish his place; for if the King himself gave the reward, it may be said it is a charge to the Crown; if the succeeding officer give the recompence, it may be thus objected to be within the danger of the law: And howsoever it be, yet he hopeth it shall not be held in him a crime, when his intentions were just and honourable, and for the furtherance of the King's service; neither is it without precedents, that, in former times of great employment, both these offices were put into one hand, by several grants. 4. To this article whereby the not guarding of the narrow seas, in these last two years, by the Duke, according to the trust and duty of an Admiral, is laid to his charge, whereof the consequence[s], supposed to have been merely through his default, are the ignominious infesting of the coast with pirates and enemies, the endangering of the dominion of those seas, the extreme loss of the merchants and decay of the trade and strength of the kingdom: —

The Duke maketh this answer, That he doubteth not but he shall make it appear, to the good satisfaction of your lordships, that, albeit there hath happened much loss to the King's subjects, within the said time of two years, by pirates and enemies, yet that hath not happened through the neglect of the Duke, or want of care or diligence in his place; for whereas, in former times, the ordinary guard for the narrow seas hath been but four ships, the Duke hath, since hostility began, and before, procured their number to be much increased; for since June 1624, there hath never been fewer than five of the King's ships, and ordinarily six, besides pinnaces, merchant ships and drumblers; and all these well furnished and manned, sufficiently instructed and authorized for the service. He saith he hath, from time to time, upon all occasions, acquainted His Majesty and the Council Board therewith, and craved their advice, and used the assistance of the commissioners for the Navy in this service; and for the Dunkirkers, who have of late more infested these coasts than in former years, he saith there was that providence used for the repressing of them, that His Majesty's ships and the Hollanders joined together, the port of Dunkirk was blocked up, and so should have continued, had not a sudden storm dispersed them, which being the immediate hand of God, could not by any policy of man be prevented, at which time they took the opportunity to rove abroad; but it hath been so far from endangering the dominion of the narrow seas thereby as is suggested, that His Majesty's ships, or men of war, were never yet mastered or encountered by them, nor will they endure the sight of any of our ships; and when the Duke himself was in person, the Dunkirkers came into their harbours But there is a necessity that, according to the fortune of wars, interchangeable losses will happen; yet hitherto, notwithstanding their more than wonted insolency, the loss of the enemy's part hath been as much if not more, than what hath happened unto us; and that loss which hath fallen hath chiefly come by this means, that the Dunkirkers' ships being of late years exercised in continual hostility with the Hollanders, are built as fit for flight as for fight, and so they pilfer upon our coasts, and creep to the shore, and escape from the King's ships; but to prevent that inconveniency for the time to come, there is already order taken for the building of some ships, which shall be of the like mould, light and quick of sail, to meet with the adverse part in their own way. And for the pirates of Sallee and those parts, he saith, it is but very lately that they found the way into our coasts; where by surprise, they might easily do hurt; but there hath been that provision taken by His Majesty, not without the care of the Duke, both by force and treaty to repress them for the time to come, as will give good satisfaction. All which he is assured will clearly appear upon proof.

5. To this article the Duke maketh this answer; that, about September last, this ship called St. Peter, amongst divers others, was seized on as lawful prize by His Majesty's ships and brought into Plimworth, as ships laden by the King of Spain. In the end of October or beginning of November, they were all brought to the Tower of London. All of them were there unladen but the Peter; but the bulk of her goods were not stirred, because they were challenged by the subjects of the French King; and there did not then appear so much proof against her, and the goods in her, as against the rest. About the middle of November, allegations were generally put in against them all, in the Admiral Court, to justify the seizure; and all the pretendants were called in: Upon these proceedings, divers of the goods were condemned, and (livers were released, in a legal course; and others of them were in suspense till full proof made. The eight and twentieth of December, complaint was made, on the behalf of some Frenchmen, at the Council board, concerning this ship and others; when the King by advice of his Council (His Majesty being present in person), did order that the ship of Newhaven, called the Peter, and the goods in her, and all such other goods of the other prizes as should be found to appertain to His Majesty's own subjects or to the subjects of Lis good brother the French King, or the States of the United Provinces, or any other princes or states in friendship or alliance with His Majesty, should be delivered: But this was not absolute, as was supposed by the charge; but was thus qualified, so as they were not fraudulently coloured; and it was referred to a judicial proceeding.

According to this great and honourable direction, the King's Advocate proceeded upon the general allegations formerly put in, the 26th of January; after, there was a sentence in the Admiralty, that the Peter should be discharged; and the King's Advocate not having then any knowledge of further proof, consented to it.

But this was not a definitive sentence, but a sentence interlocutory, as it is termed in that court. Within four days after this ship prepared herself to be gone, and was falling down the river; then came new intelligence to the Lord Admiral by Mr. Lieutenant of the Tower, that all those ships were laden by the subjects of the King of Spain in Spain; that the Amirantazgo wafted them beyond the North Cape; that they were but coloured by Frenchmen; that there were witnesses ready to make good this new allegation; neither was it improbable to be so, for part of the goods in that ship have been confessed to be lawful prize[8]. This ship being now in falling down the river, and being a ship of the most value of all the rest, the Duke acquainted the King therewith, and by his commandment, made stay of the ship, lest otherwise it would be too late: which the Duke, in the duty of his place of Admiral, as he believeth, ought to have done without such commandment; and, if he had not done so, he might worthily have been blamed for his negligence; and then he instantly sent for the Judge of the Admiralty, to be informed from him how far the sentence then already passed did bind, and whether it might stand with justice to make stay of her again, she being once discharged in such manner as before. The judge answered, as he was then advised, that it might justly be done, upon better proofs appearing; yet discreetly, in a matter of that moment, he took time to give a resolute answer, that, in the interim, he might review the acts which tad passed. The next day or very shortly after, the judge came again to the Duke, and upon advice, answered resolutely, that the ship and goods might justly be stayed, if the proofs fell out to be answerable to the information given; whereof he said he could not judge till he had seen the depositions; and, according to this resolution of the judge, did five other learned advocates, besides the King's Advocate, concur in opinion, being entreated by the Duke to advise thereof, so cautious was the Duke not to do an unjust act. Then he acquainted the King therewith; and His Majesty commanded him to re-seize this ship, and to proceed judicially to the proofs, and the Duke often required the King's Advocate to hasten the examination of the witnesses; and many witnesses were produced and examined, in pursuance of this new information; but the French merchants impatient of any delay complained again at the Council Board; where it was ordered, not barely, that the ship and goods should be presently delivered upon security; and upon security they had been then delivered if it had been given; and security was once offered, but afterwards retracted; and when all the witnesses produced were examined and published, the King's Advocate, having duly considered of them, forthwith acquainted the Duke that the proofs came too short for the Peter; and thereupon the Duke gave order instantly for her final discharge, and she was discharged by order of the court accordingly. By which true narration of the fact, and all the proceedings, the Duke hopeth it will sufficiently appear, that he hath not done anything herein on his part which was not justifiable, and grounded upon deliberate and well advised counsels and warrants; but for the doing of this to his own lucre or advantage he utterly denieth it; for he saith that there was nothing removed out of the ship but some monies, and some small boxes of stones of very mean value, and other small portable things easy to be embezzled; and whatsoever was taken out of the ship was first publicly shewed to His Majesty himself, and then committed to the custody of Gabriel Marsh in the article mentioned, by inventory, then and still Marshal of the Admiralty, by him to be safely kept; whereof the money was employed for the King's immediate service and by his direction; and the rest was left in safe keeping, and are all since delivered and reimbursed to the owners or pretended owners, and not a penny profit thereof, or thereby, hath come to the Duke himself, as shall be made good by proof; and whereas the suggestion hath been made, that this accident was the cause of the embargo of the ships and goods of our merchants trading for France, he saith that it is utterly mistaken; for divers of their goods were embargoed before this happened; and, if, in truth the French had therein received that injury as either they pretended or is pretended for them, yet the embargoing of the goods of the English upon that occasion was utterly illegal and unwarrantable, for by the mutual articles between the two Kings they ought not to have righted themselves before legal complaint and a denial on our part, and then by way of reprisal and not by embargo, so that the Duke doth humbly leave it to the consideration of your Lordships, whether the harm which hath happened to our merchants hath not been more occasioned by the unseasonable justifying of the actions of the French, which animated them to increase their injuries, than by any act either by the Duke or any other.

6. To this article which consisteth of two main points, the one of the extorting of ten thousand pounds unjustly and without right from the East India Company; the other, admitting the Duke had a right as Lord Admiral, the compassing of it by undue ways, and abusing the Parliament to work his private ends: —

The Duke giveth this answer, wherein a plain narration of the fact, he hopeth, will clear the matters objected; and in this he shall lay down no more than will fully appear upon proof.

About the end of Michaelmas term 1623, the Duke had information given him, by a principal member of their own Company, that the Company had made a great advantage to themselves in the seas of East India, and other parts of Asia and Africa, by rich prizes gotten there forcibly from the Portugales and others; and a large part thereof was due to His Majesty, and [to] the Duke as Admiral by the law, for which neither of them had any satisfaction.

Whereupon directions were given for a legal prosecution in the Court of Admiralty, and to proceed in such manner as should be held fittest, by the advice of counsel.

In the months of December and January in that year, divers witnesses were examined in the Admiralty, according to the ordinary course of that court, to instruct and furnish an informative process in that behalf.

Alter this, the tenth of March 1623,[9] an action was commenced in that court, in the joint names of His Majesty and the Admiral, grounded upon the former proceedings. This was prosecuted by the King's Advocate, and the demand at first was fifteen thousand pounds. The action being thus framed in both their names, by the advice of counsel, because it was doubtful in the judgment of the counsel, whether it did more properly belong to the one or to the other, or to both; and the form of entering that action being most usual in that court; on the 28th of April 1624 the judicial agreement and sentence thereupon passed in the Admiralty Court, wherein the Company's consent and their own offer plainly appeareth; so that, for the first point of the right, it was very hard to conclude that the Duke has no right contrary to the Company's own consent, and the sentence of the court grounded upon their agreement, unless it shall fully appear that the Company was by strong hand enforced thereto, and so the money extorted.

Therefore, to clear that scruple, that, as the matter of the suit was just, or at least so probable, as the Company willingly desired it for their peace, for the manner was just and honourable; your Lordships are humbly entreated to observe these few true circumstances. The suit in the Admiralty began divers months before the first mention of it in Parliament; and, some months before the beginning of that Parliament, it was prosecuted in a legal course, and upon such grounds as be yet maintained to be just. The composition made by the Company was not moved by the Duke; but his late Majesty himself, on the behalf of himself and of the Duke, treated with divers members of the Company about it, and the Duke himself treated not at all with them.

The Company, without any compulsion at all, agreed to the composition; not that they were willing to give so much if they might have escaped for nothing, but they were willing to give so much rather than to hazard the success of the suit. And upon this composition concluded by His Majesty, the Company desired and obtained a pardon for all that was objected against them. The motion in Parliament, about the story of the Company's ships then ready prepared and furnished, was not out of any respect the rather to draw them to give the composition, but really out of an apprehension that there might be need of their strength for the defence of the realm at home; and, if so, then all private respects must give way to the public interest. These ships upon the importunity of the merchants, and reasons given by them, were suffered nevertheless to fall down to Tilbury, by his late Majesty's direction, to speed their voyage the better, whilst they might be accommodated for this voyage without prejudice to the public safety. They were discharged when there was an accommodation propounded and allowed; which was, that they should forthwith prepare other ships for the home service, whilst they went on with their voyage; which they accordingly did.

That the motion made in the Commons' House was without the Duke's knowledge or privity; that when there was a rumour that the Duke had drawn on the composition by staying of the ships which were then gone, the Duke was so much offended thereat, that he would have had the formal communication to have broken off, and have proceeded in a legal course; and he sent to the Company to that purpose. But the Company gave him satisfaction that they had raised no such rumours, nor would nor could avow any such thing, and entreated him to rest satisfied with their public act to the contrary. That, after this, their ships being gone, themselves, careful of their future security, solicited the dispatch of the composition, consulted with counsel upon the instruments that passed about it, and were at the charge thereof; and the money was paid long after the sentence, and the sentence given after the ships were gone, and no security at all given for the money, but the sentence; and when this money was paid to the Duke, the whole sum (but two hundred pounds thereof only) was borrowed by the King, and employed by his own officers for the service of the Navy. If these things do upon proof appear to your Lordships, as he is assured they will, he humbly submittetli to your judgments, how far verbal affirmations, or informations extrajudicial, shall move your judgments, when judicial acts, and those which were acted and executed, do prove the contrary.

7. To this article, which is so mixed with actions of great princes, as that he dareth not in his duty publish every passage thereof, he cannot for the present make so particular an answer as he may, and hath, and will, do to the rest of his charge.

But he giveth this general answer, the truth whereof he humbly prayeth may rather appear to your Lordships by the proof than any discourse of his, which, in reason of state, will happily be conceived fit to be more privately handled.

That these ships were lent to the French King at first without the Duke's privity; that, when he knew it, he did that which belonged to an Admiral of England, and a true Englishman; and he doth deny that, by menace, or compulsion, or any other indirect or undue practice or means, by himself, or by any others, did deliver those ships, or any of them into the hands of the French, as is objected against him.

That the error which did happen, by what direction soever it were, was not in the intention any ways injurious, or dishonourable, or dangerous to this state or prejudicial to any private man interested in any of those ships; nor could have given any just offence at all, if those promises had been observed by others, which were professed and really performed by His Majesty and his subjects on their parts.

Since the Duke's answer delivered into the house, he hath himself openly declared to their Lordships, that for the better clearing of his honour and fidelity to the state in that part of his charge which is objected against him by this seventh article, he hath been an earnest and humble suitor to His Majesty, to give him leave, in his proof, to unfold the whole truth and secret of that great action; and hath obtained His Majesty's gracious leave therein; and accordingly doth intend to make such open and clear proof thereof, that he nothing doubteth but the same, when it shall appear, will not only clear him from blame, but be a testimony of his care and faithfulness in serving the state.

8. To this article, wherewith he is taxed to have practised for the employment of the ships against Rochelle, he answereth, that so far from practising, or consenting, that the said ships should so far be employed; that he shall make it clearly appear, that, when it was discovered that they would be employed against those of the religion, the protestation of the French being otherwise, and their pretence being that there was a peace concluded with those of the religion, and that the French King would use those ships against Genoa, which had been an action of no ill consequence to the affairs of Christendom; the Duke did by all fit and honourable means, endeavour to divert the course of their employment against Rochelle; and he doth truly and boldly affirm, that his endeavours under the royal care of his most excellent Majesty, hath been a great part of the means to preserve the town of Rochelle, as the proofs when they shall be produced will make appear; and when His Majesty did find that, beyond his intention and contrary to the faithful promises of the French they were so misemployed, he found himself bound in honour to intercede with the most Christian King, his good brother, for the peace of that town and of the religion, lest His Majesty's honour might otherwise suffer; which intercession His Majesty did sedulously and so successfully pursue that that town and the religion there will and do acknowledge the fruits thereof. And whereas it is further objected against him, that when, in so unfaithful a manner, he delivered the said ships into the power of a foreign state, to the danger of the religion, and scandal and dishonour of our nation, which he utterly denieth to be so; that to make his ill intentions in cunning and cautelous manner he abused the Parliament at Oxon, in affirming, before the committees of both houses, that the said ships were not, nor should be, so used or employed; he saith, under the favour of those who so understood his words, that he did not then use those words which are expressed in the charge to have been spoken by him; but, there being then a jealousy of the mis-employing of those ships, but the Duke having no knowledge thereof, the Duke knowing well what the promises of the French were, but was not then seasonable to be published; he, hoping that they would not have varied from what was promised, did say, that the event would show; which was no undertaking for them; but a declaration of that in general terms which should really be performed, and which His Majesty had great cause to expect from them.

9. That the Duke did compel the Lord Robartes to buy his title of honour, he utterly denieth; and he is very confident that the Lord Robartes himself will not affirm it, or anything tending that way; neither can he or any man else truly say so; but the said Duke is able to prove that the Lord Robartes was before willing to have given a much greater sum, but could not then obtain it; and he did now obtain it by solicitation of his own agents.

10. For the selling of places of judicature by the Duke, which are specially instanced in the charge; he answereth, that he received not, nor had a penny of these sums to his own use; but the truth is, that the Lord Mandeville was made Lord Treasurer by his late Majesty, without contracting for any thing for it; but, after that he had the office conferred upon him, his late Majesty moved him to lend him twenty thousand pounds, upon promise of re-payment at the end of a year. The Lord Mandeville yielded to it, so as he might have the Duke's word that it should be re-paid unto him; accordingly the Duke gave his word for it. The Lord Mandeville relied upon it, and delivered the said sum to the hands of Mr. Porter, then the Duke's servant, by the late King's appointment, to be disposed as His Majesty should direct; and accordingly that very money was fully paid out to others; and the Duke neither had, of a penny thereof to his own use, as is suggested against him. And afterwards when the Lord Mandeville left that place, and his money was not repaid him, he urged the Duke upon his promise; whereupon the Duke, being jealous of his honour, and to keep his word, not having money to pay him, he assured lands of his own to the Lord Mandeville for his security.

But when the Duke was in Spain the Lord Mandeville obtained a promise from his late Majesty of some lands in fee farm, to such a value as he accepted of the same in satisfaction of the said money; which were afterwards passed unto him; and, at the Duke's return, the Lord Mandeville delivered back unto him the security of the Duke's lands which had been given unto him as aforesaid.

And for the six thousand pounds supposed to have been received by the Duke for procuring to the Earl of Middlesex the Mastership of the Wards, he utterly denieth it; but afterwards he heard that the Earl of Middlesex did disburse six thousand pounds about that time; and his late Majesty bestowed the same upon Sir Henry Mildmay, his servant, without the Duke's privity; and he had it and enjoyed it, and no penny of it came to the Duke, or to his use.

11. To this article the Duke answereth, that it is true that his late Majesty, out of his royal favour unto him, having honoured the Duke himself with many titles and dignities of his bounty, and as a great argument of his princely grace, did also think fit to honour those who were in equal degree of blood with him, and also to ennoble their mother, who was the stock that bare them. The title of Countess of Buckingham, bestowed upon the mother, was not without precedent; and she hath nothing from the Crown but a title of honour which dieth with her. The titles bestowed upon the Viscount Purbeck, the Duke's elder brother, were conferred upon him, who was a servant and of the bed-chamber to his now Majesty, then prince, by his Highness's means. The Earl of Anglesea was of his late Majesty's bed-chamber, and the honours and lands conferred on him was done when the Duke was in Spain. The Earl of Denbigh hath the honours mentioned in the charge; but he hath not a foot of land which came from the Crown, or of the King's grant.

But if it were true that the Duke had procured honours for those that are so near and so dear unto him; the Law of nature, and the King's royal favour, he hopeth, will plead for his excuse; and he rather believeth, he were to be condemned of all generous minds, if being in such favour with his master, he had minded only his own advancement, and had neglected those who were nearest unto him.

12. To this article he answereth this, that be doth humbly, and with all thankfulness, acknowledge the bountiful hand of his late Majesty unto him; for which he oweth so much to the memory of that deceased King, and to the King's most Excellent Majesty that now is, and their posterity, that he shall willingly render back whatsoever he hath received, together with his life to do them service. But for the immense sums and values which are suggested to have been given unto him, he saith there are very great mistakings in the calculations, which are in the schedule in this article mentioned; unto which the Duke will apply particular answers in another schedule, which shall express the truth in every particular as near as he can collect the same; to which he referreth himself; whereby it shall appear what a great disproportion there is between conjectures and certainties. And those gifts which he hath received, though he confesseth that they exceed his merit, yet they exceed not precedents of former times. But whatsoever it is that he hath, or hath had, he utterly denieth that he obtained the same or any part thereof by any undue solicitation or practice or did unduly obtain any release of any sums of money he received. But he having at several times, and upon several occasions, disposed of divers sums of the monies of his late Majesty, and of His Majesty that now is, by their private directions, he hath releases thereof for his discharge; which was honourable and gracious in their Majesties, who granted the same for their servant's indemnity, and he hopeth was not unfit for him to accept of, lest in future times he or his might be charged therewith, when they could not be able to give so clear an account thereof, as he hopeth he shall now be well able to do.

13. To this charge which is set forth with such an expression of words as might argue an extraordinary guiltiness in the Duke, who by such intimate bonds of duty and thankfulness, was obliged to be tender of the life and health of his most dread and dear sovereign and master, he maketh this clear and true answer, that he did neither apply nor procure the plaister or posset drink, in the charge termed to be a potion, unto His Majesty, nor was present when the same was first taken or applied; but the truth is this, that His Majesty being sick of an ague, he took notice of the Duke's recovery of an ague not long before; and asked him how he recovered, and what he found did him most good. The Duke gave him a particular answer thereto; and that one who was the Earl of Warwick's physician had ministered a plaister and a posset drink unto him; and the chief thing that did him good was a vomit, which he wished the King had taken in the beginning of his sickness. The King was very desirous to have that plaister and posset drink sent for; but the Duke delayed it; whereupon the King impatiently asked whether it was sent for or not; and finding by the Duke's speeches that he had not sent for it, his late Majesty sent for John Baker, the Duke's servant, and with his own mouth commanded him to go for it. Whereupon the Duke besought His Majesty not to make use of it, but by the advice of his own physicians, nor until it should be first tried by James Palmer of his bed-chamber, who was then sick of an ague, and upon two children in the town, which the King said he would do. And in this resolution the Duke left His Majesty, and went to London; and in the mean time, in his absence, the plaister and posset drink was brought and applied by his late Majesty's own command. At the Duke's return, His Majesty was in taking the posset drink; and the King then commanded the Duke to give it to him, which he did in the presence of some of the King's physicians, they then no ways seeming to dislike it; the same drink being first taken by some of them, and divers of the King's bed-chamber; and he thinketh this was the second time the King took it.

Afterwards, when the King grew somewhat worse than before, the Duke heard a rumour as if this physic had done the King hurt, and that the Duke had ministered that physic unto him without advice. The Duke acquainted the King therewith. To whom the King, with much discontent, answered thus: 'They are worse than devils that say it;' so far from the truth it was, which now notwithstanding (as it seemeth) is taken up again by some, and with much confidence affirmed. And here the Duke humbly prayeth all your Lordships, not only to consider this truth of his answer; but also to commiserate the sad thoughts that this article hath revived in him. This being the plain, clear and evident truth of all those things which are contained and particularly expressed in his charge (the rest being in general require no answer); he being well assured that he hath herein affirmed nothing which he shall not make good by proof, in such way as your Lordships shall direct. He humbly referreth it to the judgment of your Lordships, how full of danger and prejudice it is to give too ready an ear and too easy a belief, unto reports or testimony without oath, which are not of weight enough to condemn any.

He humbly acknowledgeth how easy it was for him, in his young years and unexperienced to fall into thousands of errors, in those ten years wherein he had the honour to serve so great and so open-hearted a sovereign and master; but the fear of Almighty God, his sincerity to true religion established in the Church of England (though accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections, which he is not ashamed humbly and heartily to confess), his awfulness not willing to offend so good and gracious a master, and his love and duty to his country, have restrained him, and preserved him (he hopeth) from running into heinous and high misdemeanours and crimes. But whatsoever, upon examination and mature deliberation, they shall appear to be, lest in anything unwittingly or unwillingly within the compass of so many years he shall have offended, he humbly prayeth your lordships, not only in those, but as to all the said misdemeanours, misprisions, offences and crimes, wherewith he standeth charged before your Lordships, to allow unto him the benefit of the free and general pardon, granted by his late Majesty in Parliament in the one and twentieth year of his reign, out of which he is not excepted; and of the gracious pardon of his now Majesty, granted to the said Duke, and vouchsafed in like manner at the time of his most happy inauguration and coronation; which said pardon under the Great Seal of England granted to the said Duke, bearing date the tenth day of February now last past, and here is shown forth to your Lordships, on which he doth humbly rely. And yet he hopeth your Lordships in your justice and honour, upon which with confidence he puts himself, will acquit him of and from those misdemeanours, offences, misprisions. and crimes, wherewith he hath been charged. And he hopeth and will daily pray, that for the future, he shall, by God's grace, so watch over his actions, both public and private, that he shall not give any just offence to any.

[1] I.e. the negotiations with Spain, in 1624.

[2] The date there given of April 4 is incorrect.

[3] I.e. Havre de Grâce.

[4] 'Offenders,' in L. J.

[5] I. e. 'without the Duke's acting in the matter.'

[6] Shoeburyness.

[7] Professor Burrows has suggested to me that this must be the ' Rocks of Nore ' to the east of Hastings.

[8] 'Unlawful,' in L. J.

[9] I. e. 1623/4.


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.


5. The King's Letter and Instructions for the collection of a Free Gift.

[July 7, 1626. S. P. Dom. xxxi. 30, 31. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 125.]

Trusty and well beloved we greet you well. It is not unknown unto you that in February last our high Court of Parliament was by us summoned and assembled to treat of the great and weighty affairs concerning the Church of England and the true religion therein established, and the defence and safety of the Kingdom; and that they there continued together until the 15th of June last, within which time many things of good moment ... were propounded and began to be handled; and amongst other things, our Commons here assembled ... not for our own private use, but for the common safety of us and our people, did, with one unanimous consent, agree[1] to give unto us a supply of four entire subsidies and three fifteens, and did, by order of that House, set down the days and times for payment of the same; which their loving and free offer unto as we did graciously accept and rely upon, and dispose of our affairs accordingly, and afterwards with much patience, even beyond the pressing necessity of our public affairs, continually did expect the real performance thereof; and we are assured the same had been performed accordingly, had not the disordered passion of some members of that House, contrary to the good inclination of the graver and wiser sort of them, so far misled themselves and others, that they neither did nor would intend that which concerned the public defence of the Kingdom, for which they were specially called; wherefore, when no gracious admonitions could stay them (though much against our heart) we have dissolved that Parliament.

And the Parliament being now ended and yet the necessity of a supply of money lying still upon us ... and pressing us, without which the common safety of us and our people cannot be defended and maintained, but is in eminent and apparent danger to be assailed and swallowed up by a vigilant and powerful enemy, we have been enforced to cast all the ways and means which honourably and justly we might take for supply of these important affairs; and many several courses have been propounded and offered unto us: and although no ordinary rules can prescribe a law to necessity, and the common defence and safety and even the very subsistence of the whole might justly warrant us, if out of our royal prerogative and power we should take any way more extraordinary, or less indifferent to any part thereof, yet we desiring nothing more (next to the love and favour of Almighty God, by whose gracious assistance we desire to govern ourselves and all our actions) than the love of our people, which we esteem as our greatest riches, we have made choice of that way which may be most equal and acceptable to them. And therefore we do desire all our loving subjects, in a case of this unavoidable necessity, to be a law unto themselves and lovingly, freely, and voluntarily to perform that which by law, if it had passed formally by an act, as was intended, they had been compellable unto; and so in a timely way to provide not only for our but for their own defence, and for the common safety of all our friends and allies, and of our lives and honour; the performance of which our request will not only give us an ample testimony of the dutiful and good affections of our people in general, but will give us just encouragement the more speedily to meet in Parliament.

We therefore desire you forthwith to meet together and to take such order as may best advance our service, and in our name to desire and exhort our people according to such instructions as herewith we send unto you, that they would not fail freely to give unto us a full supply answerable to the necessity of our present occasions. And these our Letters, &c.

Instructions to the Justices of Peace in the several Counties.

1. That speedily upon receipt of these Letters you assemble together at some place convenient, and take them and the matter thereby commended unto you, into your due considerations.

2. That when ye are thus assembled, ye call to mind the resolution in the Parliament lately dissolved, to have given us four subsidies, and three fifteens, and that the several days of payment were ordered for the same; and therefore the sum of money to have been raised thereby was in the judgment of the Parliament but competent and the times of payment convenient for the present and pressing occasions, and we are confident that the same considerations will prevail with our people.

3. That you let them know how much it will avail to our affairs and to the affairs of our friends and allies, to assail our enemies on their own coasts; and that we have begun a preparation to that end but want monies to perfect the same. And that whilst we are in these consultations, we are advertised from all parts, of powerful preparations made to assail us at home, or in Ireland, or both.

4. That you put them in mind that nothing invites an enemy more to invasion than an opinion that that part intended to be invaded is either secure, or distracted, and so unprovided for a resistance.

5. That therefore you, the Deputy Lieutenants, give present direction to have all the troops and bands of the county completed, mustered, trained, and so well furnished that they may be prepared to march unto the rendezvous at an hour's warning upon pain of death.

6. That ye conclude upon a constant way of propounding and pursuing this our supply in your several divisions, to the inhabitants of all the whole county.

7. That when you have first settled this work among yourselves, ye agree how to divide yourselves throughout the whole county into so many parts and divisions as ye in your judgments shall think fittest....

8. [Collectors to be nominated by the justices.]

9. That ye assure them in our name and in our royal word, which we will not break with our people, that we will wholly employ all the monies which shall thus be given unto us, to the common defence of the kingdom and not to or for any other end whatsoever.

10. That together with the monies ye collect, ye send a perfect roll of the names of all those who do thus contribute, and of them who shall refuse, if any such be, that we may be thereby informed who are well affected to our service, and who are otherwise, and what monies are given unto us ...

11. And lastly that all this be instantly performed, for that all delays will defeat and overthrow our greatest counsels and affairs.

[1] The agreement was merely by resolution. No till having been founded on it, it had no legal force.


6. Commission for raising Tonnage and Poundage with Impositions.

[July 26, 1626. Rymer's Fœdera, xviii. 737. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 125.]

Charles, by the grace of God [&c.], to our Lord Treasurer of England, now and for the time being, the Commissioners of our Treasury for the time being, to our Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of our Exchequer, now and for the time being, to our Chief Baron and the rest of the Barons of our Exchequer [and others], greeting.

Whereas the Lords and others of our Privy Council have taken into their serious consideration the present state of our revenue arising by customs subsidy and impost upon goods and merchandise to be exported and imported out of and into this our realm ... and finding that it hath been constanly continued for many ages, and is now a principal part of the revenue of our Crown, and is of necessity to be so continued for the supportation thereof, which in the two last Parliaments hath been thought upon, but could not be there settled by authority of Parliament ... by reason of the dissolution of those Parliaments before those things which were there treated of could be perfected, have therefore ... specially ordered, that all those duties upon goods and merchandizes, called by the several names of customs subsidy and imposts, should be levied ... in such manner as the same were levied in the time of our late dear father King James ... and forasmuch as, through the want of a parliamentary course to settle the payment of those duties, many inconveniences may arise, which would tend to the impairing of our revenue of that nature, if in convenient time some settled course should not be taken for the prevention thereof: —

Know ye therefore that we ... by the advice of the Lords and others of our Privy Council, do by these presents declare our will and pleasure to be, that all those duties ... shall be levied in such manner as the same were levied at the time of the decease of our said late father, and upon such accounts and forms as now the same are collected, or hereafter shall be by us appointed ... all which our will and pleasure is shall continue until such time as by Parliament (as in former times) it may receive an absolute settling. And if any person whatsoever shall refuse or neglect to pay the duties ... aforesaid ... then our will and pleasure is, and we do further grant by these presents unto the Lords and others of our Privy Council for the time being, or unto the Lord Treasurer of England or Chancellor of our Exchequer, now or for the time being, full power to commit every such person to prison, who shall disobey this our order and declaration, there to continue until they ... shall have conformed and submitted themselves unto due obedience concerning the premises ...

Witness ourself at Westminster, the 26th day of July [1626]. Per breve a privato concilio.


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.


8. The Case of the Five Knights, before the Court of King's Bench.

[Nov. 15-28, 1627. State Trials, iii. 114-139. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 213.]

A. Return of the Warden of the Fleet to the Writ of Habeas Corpus.[1]

Responsio Johannis Liloe, guardiani Prisonae de le Fleet.

Ego Johannes Liloe [&c.] serenissimo domino regi apud Westminster. Post receptionem hujus brevis quod in hac schedula est mentionatum, certifico quod Walterus Erle miles, in eodem brevi nominatus, detentus est in prisona de le Fleet sub custodia mea praedicta, per speciale mandatum domini regis mihi significatum per warrantum dominorum duorum et aliorum de privato concilio perhonorabilissimo dicti domini regis, cujus quidem tenor sequitur in haec verba:

Whereas Sir Walter Erle, Knight, was heretofore committed to your custody, these are to will and require you still to detain him, letting you know that both his first commitment and this direction for the continuance of him in prison were and are by His Majesty's special commandment. From Whitehall, 7 Novembris 1627. Thomas Coventry C.S., Henry Manchester, Thomas Suffolk, Bridgwater, Kelly, R Dunelm., Thomas Edmunds, John Coke, Marlborough, Pembroke, Salisbury, Totnes, Grandison, Gulielm. Bath and Wells, Robert Naunton, Richard Weston, Humphry May.

To the Guardian of the Fleet or his deputy.

Et haec est causa detentionis praedicti Walteri Earl sub custodia mea in prisona praedicta. Attamen corpus ejusdem Walteri coram domino rege ad diem et locum praedictum, post receptionem brevis praedicti paratum habeo prout istud breve in Be exiget et requiret.

B. Serjeant Bramston's Argument.

May it please your Lordship, I shall humbly move upon this return in the behalf of Sir John Heveningham, with whom I am of Counsel — it is his petition — that he may be bailed from his imprisonment... The exception that I take to this return is as well to the matter and substance of the return, as to the manner and legal form thereof... For the matter and substance of the return, it is not good, because there ought to be a cause of that imprisonment. This writ [of Habeas Corpus] is the means, and the only means, that the subject hath in this and such-like case to obtain his liberty ... and the end of this writ is to return the cause of the imprisonment, that it may be examined in this Court, whether the parties ought to be discharged or not. But that cannot be done upon this return, for the cause of the imprisonment of this gentleman at first is so far from appearing particularly by it, that there is no cause at all expressed in it ... If the law be that upon this return this gentleman should be remanded — I will not dispute whether or no a man may be imprisoned before he be convicted according to the law — but, if this return shall be good, then his imprisonment shall not continue on for a time, but for ever; and the subjects of this kingdom may be restrained of their liberties perpetually, and by law there can be no remedy for the subject; and therefore this return cannot stand with the laws of the realm or that of Magna Carta, nor with the statute of 28 Edw. 3, c. 3; for if a man be not bailable upon this return, they cannot have the benefit of these two laws, which are the inheritance of the subject....

Mr. Selden's Argument.

My Lords, I am of counsel with Sir Edmund Hampden.... I shall humbly move you that this gentleman may also be hailed; for under favour, my Lord, there is no cause in the return why he should be any farther imprisoned and restrained of his liberty.... Now, my Lord, I will speak a word or two to the matter of the return; and that is touching the imprisonment, 'per speciale mandatum domini regis,' by the Lords of the Council, without any cause expressed.... I think that by the constant and settled laws of this kingdom, without which we have nothing, no man can be justly imprisoned by either of them, without a cause of the commitment expressed in the return.... The statute of Magna Carta, cap. 29 — that statute if it were fully executed as it ought to be, every man would enjoy his liberty better than he doth ... out of the very body of this Act of Parliament, besides the explanation of other statutes, it appears, 'Nullus liber homo capiatur vel imprisonetur nisi per legem terrae.' ... My Lords, I know these words, 'legem terrae,' do leave the question where it was, if the interpretation of the statute were not. But I think, under your Lordships' favour, there it must be intended, by ' due course of law,' to be either by presentment or by indictment. My Lords, if the meaning of these words, 'per legem terrae,' Were hut, as we use to say, ' according to the law' — which leaves the matter very uncertain; and [if] 'per speciale mandatum &c.' be within the meaning of these words 'according to the law,' then this Act had done nothing.

C. Attorney-General Heath's Argument. May it please your Lordship, against this return the counsel of the gentlemen have ... divided their objections into two main points, the one the form, the other the matter....

Touching the matter of the return, the main point thereof, it is but a single question and I hope, my Lord, of no great difficulty; and that is, whether they be replevisable,[2] or not replevisable. It appears that the commitment is not in a legal and ordinary way, but that it is ' per speciale mandatum domini regis': which implies, not only the fact done, but so extraordinarily done, that it is notorious to be His Majesty's immediate act and will it should be so: [and the question is] whether in this case they should be bailable or not in this Court.... The King cannot command your Lordship, or any other Court of Justice, to proceed otherwise than according to the laws of this kingdom, for it is part of your Lordship's oath, to judge according to the law of the kingdom. But, my Lord, there is a great difference between those legal commands and that absoluta potestas that a sovereign hath, by which a king commands. But when I call it absoluta potestas, I do not mean that it is such a power as that a king may do what he pleaseth, for he hath rules to govern himself by, as well as your Lordships, who are subordinate judges under him The difference is, the king is the head of the same fountain of justice, which your Lordship administers to all his subjects. All justice is derived from him, and what he doth, he doth not as a private person, but as the head of the commonwealth, as justiciarius regni, yea, the very essence of justice under God upon earth is in him. And shall we generally, not as subjects only, but as lawyers, who govern themselves by the rules of the law, not submit to his command, but make enquiries whether they be lawful, and say that the King doth not this or that in course of justice?

If your Lordship, sitting here, shall proceed according to justice, who calleth your actions in question? except there are some errors in the proceeding, and then you are subject to a writ of error. But who shall call in question the actions or the justice of the king, who is not to give any account of them? as in this our case, that he commits a subject, and shows no cause for it. The King commits and often shows no cause; for it is sometimes generally, 'per speciale mandatum domini regis': sometimes 'pro certis causis ipsum dominum regem moventibus.' But if the King do this, shall it not be good? It is all one when the commitment is ' per speciale mandatum [&c.],' and when it is ' pro certis causis [&c.]' ... And, my Lord, unless the return doth open to you the secrets of the commitment, your Lordship cannot judge whether the party ought by law to be remanded or delivered, and therefore, if the King allow and give warrant to those that make the return that they shall express the cause of the commitment — as many times he doth, either for suspicion of felony, or making money, or the like — ... this Court in its jurisdiction were proper to try these criminal causes, and your Lordship doth proceed in them, although the commitment be 'per speciale mandatum domini regis ' ... But if there be no cause expressed, this Court hath always used to remand them: for it hath been used, and it is to be intended a matter of State, and that it is not ripe nor timely for it to appear.

My Lord, the main fundamental ground of argument upon this case begins with Magna Carta ... No freeman can be imprisoned but by ' legale judicium parium suorum vel per legem terrae.' But will they have it understood that no man should be committed, but first he shall be indicted or presented? I think that no learned man will offer that; for certainly there is no justice of peace in a county, nor constable within a town, but he doth otherwise, and might commit before an indictment can be drawn or a presentment made. What then is meant by these words, ' per legem terrae'? If any man shall say, this doth not warrant that the King may, for reasons moving him, commit a man and not be answerable for it, neither to the party nor (under your Lordship's favour) unto any court of justice, but to the High Court of Heaven, I do deny it and will prove it by our statutes.

[Stat. 25 Edw. III, cap. 4; 28 Edw. III, cap. 3; and other Statutes, recited and examined.].

And now, my Lord, we are where we were, to find out the true meaning of Magna Carta — for there is the foundation of [our] case; all this that hath been said concerneth other things, and is nothing to the thing in question. There is not a word either of the commitment of the King, or commandment of the Council, in all the statutes and records....

The next thing I shall offer to your Lordships is this ... it is the resolution of all the judges, which was given in the 34th of Queen Elizabeth. It fell out upon an unhappy occasion, which was thus. The judges they complained that sheriffs and other officers could not execute the process of the law as they ought, for that the parties on whom such process should be executed, were sent away by some of the Queen's Council, that they could not be found. The judges hereupon petitioned the Lord Chancellor, that he would be a suitor to Her Majesty that nothing be done hereafter. And thereupon the judges were desired to show in what cases men that were committed were not bailable, whether upon the commitment of the Queen or any other. The judges make answer, that if a man shall be committed by the Queen, by her command, or by the Privy Council, he is not bailable. If your Lordship ask me what authority I have for this, I can only say I have it out of the book of the Lord Anderson, written with his own hand[3] ... This, my Lord, was the resolution of all the judges and [the] barons of the Exchequer, and not[4] [of] some great one.

Now I will apply myself to that which has been enforced by the counsel on the other side, which was the reason, that the subject hath interest in this case. My Lord, I do acknowledge it, but I must say that the sovereign hath great interest in it too. And sure I am that the first stone of sovereignty was no sooner laid, but this power was given to the sovereign. If you ask me whether it be unlimited — My Lord, I say it is not the question now in hand; but the common law, which hath long flourished under the government of our King and his progenitors, kings of this realm, hath ever had that reverent respect of the sovereign, as that it hath concluded the King can do no wrong.... But the King commits a subject, and expresseth no cause of the commitment. What then? shall it be thought that there is no cause why he should be committed. Nay, my Lord, the course of all times hath been, to say there is no cause expressed, and therefore the matter is not ripe; and thereupon the courts of judicature have ever rested satisfied therewith: they would not search into it. My Lords, there be arcana Dei, et arcana imperii, ... There may as much hazard come to the commonwealth in many other things with which the King is trusted, as in this particular there can accrue to the subject.... It may be divers men do suffer wrongfully in prison, but therefore shall all prisoners be delivered? That were a great mischief.... The King may pardon all traitors and felons; and if he should do it, may not the subjects say, If the King do this, the bad will overcome the good? But shall any say, The King cannot do this 1 No: we may only say, He will not do this.

... I shall conclude what I shall say in this case — to answer the fear rather than the just ground of them that say this may be a cause of great danger — with the words of Bracton [lib. i, cap. 8]. Speaking of a writ for wrong done by the King to the subject touching land, he hath these words: 'Si autem ab eo petatur (cum breve non currat contra ipsum), locus erit supplicationi, quod factum suum corrigat et emendet; quod quidem si non fecerit, satis sufficit ei ad poenam, quod Dominum expectet ultorem. Nemo quidem de factis suis praesumat disputare, multo fortius contra factum suum venire.' ... And therefore I pray your Lordship, that these gentlemen may be remitted, and left to go the right way for their delivery, which is by a petition to the King. Whether it be a petition of right or of grace I know not; it must be, I am sure, to the King, from whom I do personally understand that these gentlemen did never yet present any petition to him that came to his knowledge.

D. Lord Chief Justice Hyde's Judgment.

... The exceptions which have been taken to this return were two; the one for the form, the other for the substance.

... In our case the cause of the detention is sufficiently answered, which is the demand of the writ, and therefore we resolve that the form of this return is good.

The next thing is the main point in law, whether the substance or matter of the return be good or no: wherein the substance is this — he [the Warden] doth certify that they are detained in prison by the special command of the King; and whether this be good in law or no, that is the question.... [After examination of precedents] Then the precedents are all against you every one of them, and what shall guide our judgments, since there is nothing alleged in this case but precedents 1 That, if no cause of the commitment be expressed, it is to be presumed to be for matter of state, which we cannot take notice of; you see we find none, no, not one, that hath been delivered by bail in the like cases, but by the hand of the King or his direction.... We have looked upon that precedent that was mentioned by Mr. Attorney — the resolution of all the judges of England in 34 Eliz.... The question now is, whether we may deliver these gentlemen or not ... and this resolution of all the judges teacheth us; and what can we do but walk in the steps of our forefathers? ... If in justice we ought to deliver you, we would do it; but upon these grounds and these records, and the precedents and resolutions, we cannot deliver you, but you must be remanded.

[1] The writ is in the ordinary form.

[2] I.e. bailable.

[3] See Hist. of Engl. 1603-1642, vi. 244.

[4] Printed text, ' by.'

#


PART II
FROM THE MEETING OF THE THIRD PARLIAMENT OF CHARLES I. TO THE MEETING OF THE LONG PARLIAMENT.

9. Notes of a Bill brought in by Sir Edward Coke to secure the liberties of the subject.

[April 29, 1628. Harl. MSS. 1771, fol. 123. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 264-5.]

An Act for the better securing of every freeman touching the propriety of his goods and liberty of his person.

Whereas it is enacted and declared by Magna Carta that no freeman is to be convicted, destroyed, &c., and whereas by a statute made in E. 7, called de tallagio non concedendo; and whereas by the Parliament, 5 E. 3, and 29 E. 3, &c.; and whereas by the said great Charter was confirmed, and that the other laws, &c.

Be it enacted that Magna Carta and these Acts be put in due execution and that all allegements, awards, and rules given or to be given to the contrary shall be void; and whereas by the common law and statute it appeareth that no freeman ought to be committed[1] by command of the King, &c.; and if any freeman be so committed and the same returned upon a habeas corpus, he ought to be delivered or bailed, and whereas by the common law and statutes every freeman hath a propriety of his goods and estate as no tax, tallage, &c., nor any soldier can be billeted in his house, &c.

Be it enacted that no tax, tallage, or loan shall be levied &c., by the King or any minister by Act of Parliament, and that none be compelled to receive any soldiers into his house against his will.

[1] 'convicted ' in MS.


10. The Petition of Right.

[June 7, 1628. 3 Car. I, cap. I. Statutes of the Realm, v. 23. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 374-309.]

The Petition exhibited to His Majesty by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, concerning divers Rights and Liberties of the Subjects, with the King's Majesty's Royal Answer thereunto in full Parliament.

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty. Humbly show unto our Sovereign Lord the King, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembled, that whereas it is declared and enacted by a statute made in the time of the reign of King Edward the First, commonly called Statutum de Tallagio non concedendo[l], that no tallage or aid shall be laid or levied by the King or his heirs in this realm, without the goodwill and assent of the Archbishops, Bishops, Earls, Barons, Knights, Burgesses, and other the freemen of the commonalty of this realm: and by authority of Parliament holden in the five and twentieth year of the reign of King Edward the Third [2], it is declared and enacted, that from thenceforth no person shall be compelled to make any loans to the King against his will, because such loans were against reason and the franchise of the land; and by other laws of this realm it is provided, that none should be charged by any charge or imposition, called a Benevolence, or by such like charge,[3] by which the statutes before-mentioned, and other the good laws and statutes of this realm, your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax, tallage, aid, or other like charge, not set by common consent in Parliament:

Yet nevertheless, of late divers commissions directed to sundry Commissioners in several counties with instructions have issued, by means whereof your people have been in divers places assembled, and required to lend certain sums of money unto your Majesty, and many of them upon their refusal so to do, have had an oath administered unto them, not warrantable by the laws or statutes of this realm, and have been constrained to become bound to make appearance and give attendance before your Privy Council, and in other places, and others of them have been therefore imprisoned, confined, and sundry other ways molested and disquieted: and divers other charges have been laid and levied upon your people in several counties, by Lords Lieutenants, Deputy Lieutenants, Commissioners for Musters, Justices of Peace and others, by command or direction from your Majesty or your Privy Council, against the laws and free customs of this realm:

And where also by the statute called, 'The Great Charter of the Liberties of England,'[4] it is declared and enacted, that no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseised of his freeholds or liberties, or his free customs, or be outlawed or exiled; or in any manner destroyed, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land:

And in the eight and twentieth year of the reign of King Edward the Third[5], it was declared and enacted by authority of Parliament, that no man of what estate or condition that he be, should be put out of his lands or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disherited, nor put to death, without being brought to answer by due process of law:

Nevertheless, against the tenor of the said statutes,[6] and other the good laws and statutes of your realm, to that end provided, divers of your subjects have of late been imprisoned without any cause showed, and when for their deliverance they were brought before your Justices, by your Majesty's writs of Habeas Corpus, there to undergo and receive as the Court should order, and their keepers commanded to certify the causes of their detainer; no cause was certified, but that they were detained by your Majesty's special command, signified by the Lords of your Privy Council, and yet were returned back to several prisons, without being charged with anything to which they might make answer according to the law:

And whereas of late great companies of soldiers and mariners have been dispersed into divers counties of the realm, and the inhabitants against their wills have been compelled to receive them into their houses, and there to suffer them to sojourn, against the laws and customs of this realm, and to the great grievance and vexation of the people:

And whereas also by authority of Parliament, in the 25th year of the reign of King Edward the Third[7], it is declared and enacted, that no man shall be forejudged of life or limb against the form of the Great Charter, and the law of the land: and by the said Great Charter and other the laws and statutes of this your realm,[8] no man ought to be adjudged to death; but by the laws established in this your realm, either by the customs of the same realm or by Acts of Parliament: and whereas no offender of what kind soever is exempted from the proceedings to be used, and punishments to be inflicted by the laws and statutes of this your realm: nevertheless of late divers commissions under your Majesty's Great Seal have issued forth, by which certain persons have been assigned and appointed Commissioners with power and authority to proceed within the laud, according to the justice of martial law against such soldiers and mariners, or other dissolute persons joining with them, as should commit any murder, robbery, felony, mutiny, or other outrage or misdemeanour whatsoever, and by such summary course and order, as is agreeable to martial law, and is used in armies in time of war, to proceed to the trial and condemnation of such offenders, and them to cause to be executed and put to death, according to the law martial:

By pretext whereof, some of your Majesty's subjects have been by some of the said Commissioners put to death, when and where, if by the laws and statutes of the land they had deserved death, by the same laws and statutes also they might, and by no other ought to have been, adjudged and executed:

And also sundry grievous offenders by colour thereof, claiming an exemption, have escaped the punishments due to them by the laws and statutes of this your realm, by reason that divers of your officers and ministers of justice have unjustly refused, or forborne to proceed against such offenders according to the same laws and statutes, upon pretence that the said offenders were punishable only by martial law, and by authority of such commissions as aforesaid, which commissions, and all other of like nature, are wholly and directly contrary to the said laws and statutes of this your realm:

They do therefore humbly pray your Most Excellent Majesty. that no man hereafter be compelled to make or yield any gift, loan, benevolence, tax, or such like charge, without common consent by Act of Parliament; and that none be called to make answer, or take such oath, or to give attendance, or be confined, or otherwise molested or disquieted concerning the same, or for refusal thereof; and that no freeman, in any such manner as is before-mentioned, be imprisoned or detained; and that your Majesty will be pleased to remove the said soldiers and mariners, and that your people may not be so burdened in time to come; and that the foresaid commissions for proceeding by martial law, may be revoked and annulled; and that hereafter no commissions of like nature may issue forth to any person or persons whatsoever, to be executed as aforesaid, lest by colour of them any of your Majesty's subjects be destroyed or put to death, contrary to the laws and franchise of the land.

All which they most humbly pray of your Most Excellent Majesty, as their rights and liberties according to the laws and statutes of this realm: and that your Majesty would also vouchsafe to declare, that the awards, doings, and proceedings to the prejudice of your people, in any of the premises, shall not be drawn hereafter into consequence or example: and that your Majesty would be also graciously pleased, for the further comfort and safety of your people, to declare your royal will and pleasure, that in the things aforesaid all your officers and ministers shall serve you, according to the laws and statutes of this realm, as they tender the honour of your Majesty, and the prosperity of this kingdom.

[Which Petition being read the 2nd of June 1628, the King's answer was thus delivered unto it.

The King willeth that right be done according to the laws and customs of the realm; and that the statutes be put in due execution, that his subjects may have no cause to complain of any wrong or oppressions, contrary to their just rights and liberties, to the preservation whereof he holds himself as well obliged as of his prerogative.

On June 7 the answer was given in the accustomed form, Soit droit fait comme il est désiré.]

[1] This is now held not to have been a statute. See Stubbs, Const. Hist. (ed. 1875), ii. 143, Select Charters, p. 87.

[2] I have failed to discover this statute.

[3] In 1484, I Ric. III. c. 2.

[4] 9 Hen. III. 29.

[5] 28 Ed. III. 3.

[6] 37 Ed. III. 18; 38 Ed. III. 9; 42 Ed. III. 3; 17 Ric. II. 6.

[7] 25 Ed. III. 9.

[8] 9 Hen. III. 29; 35 Ed. III. 4; 28 Ed. III. 3.


11. The Remonstrance against Tonnage and Poundage.

[June 25, 1628. Rushworth, i. 628. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 323.]

Most Gracious Sovereign, your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, being in nothing more careful than of the honour and prosperity of your Majesty, and the kingdom, which they know do much depend upon that happy union and relation betwixt your Majesty and your people, do with much sorrow apprehend, that by reason of the incertainty of their continuance together, the unexpected interruptions which have been cast upon them, and the shortness of time in which your Majesty hath determined to end this Session, they cannot bring to maturity and perfection divers businesses of weight, which they have taken into their consideration and resolution, as most important for the common good: amongst other things they have taken into especial care the preparing of a Bill for the granting of your Majesty such a subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage, as might uphold your profit and revenue in as ample a manner as their just care and respect of trade (wherein not only the prosperity, but even the life of the kingdom doth consist) would permit: but being a work which will require much time, and preparation by conference with your Majesty's officers, and with the merchants, not only of London, but of other remote parts, they find it not possible to be accomplished at this time: wherefore considering it will be much more prejudicial to the right of the subject, if your Majesty should continue to receive the game without authority of law, after the determination of a Session, than if there had been a recess by adjournment only, in which case that intended grant would have related to the first day of the Parliament; and assuring themselves that your Majesty is resolved to observe that your royal answer, which you have lately made to the Petition of Right of both Houses of Parliament; yet doubting lest your Majesty may be misinformed concerning this particular case, as if you might continue to take those subsidies of Tonnage and Poundage, and other impositions upon merchants, without breaking that answer, they are forced by that duty which they owe to your Majesty, and to those whom they represent, to declare, that there ought not any imposition to be laid upon the goods of merchants, exported or imported, without common consent by Act of Parliament, which is the right and inheritance of your subjects, founded not only upon the most ancient and original constitution of this kingdom, but often confirmed and declared in divers statute laws.

And for the better manifestation thereof, may it please your Majesty to understand, that although your royal predecessors the Kings of this realm have often had such subsidies, and impositions granted unto them, upon divers occasions, especially for the guarding of the seas, and safeguard of merchants; yet the subjects have been ever careful to use such cautions, and limitations in those grants, as might prevent any claim to be made, that such subsidies do proceed from duty, and not from the free gift of the subjects: and that they have heretofore used to limit a time in such grants, and for the most part but short, as for a year or two, and if it were continued longer, they have sometimes directed a certain space of cessation, or intermission, that so the right of the subject might be more evident. At other times it hath been granted upon occasion of war, for a certain number of years, with proviso, that if the war were ended in the meantime, then the grant should cease; and of course it hath been sequestered into the hands of some subjects to be employed for the guarding of the seas. And it is acknowledged by the ordinary answers of your Majesty's predecessors in their assent to the Bills of subsidies of Tonnage and Poundage, that it is of the nature of other subsidies, proceeding from the goodwill of the subject. Very few of your predecessors had it for life, until the reign of Henry VII[1], who was so far from conceiving he had any right thereunto, that although he granted commissions for collecting certain duties and customs due by law, yet he made no commissions for receiving the subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage, until the same was granted unto him in Parliament. Since his time all the Kings and Queens of this realm have had the like grants for life by the free love and goodwill of the subjects. And whensoever the people have been grieved by laying any impositions or other charges upon their goods and merchandises, without authority of law (which hath been very seldom), yet upon complaint in Parliament they have been forthwith relieved; saving in the time of your royal father, who having through ill counsel raised the rates and charges upon merchandises to that height at which they now are, yet he was pleased so far forth to yield to the complaint of his people, as to offer that if the value of those impositions which he had set might be made good unto him, he would bind himself and his heirs by Act of Parliament never to lay any other; which offer the Commons at that time, in regard of the great burden, did not think fit to yield unto. Nevertheless, your loyal Commons in this Parliament, out of their especial zeal to your service, and especial regard of your pressing occasions, have taken into their consideration, so to frame a grant of subsidy of Tonnage or Poundage to your Majesty, that both you might have been the better enabled for the defence of your realm, and your subjects, by being secure from all undue charges, be the more encouraged cheerfully to proceed in their course of trade; by the increase whereof your Majesty's profit, and likewise the strength of the kingdom would be very much augmented.

But not now being able to accomplish this their desire, there is no course left unto them, without manifest breach of their duty, both to your Majesty and their country, save only to make this humble declaration, 'That the receiving of Tonnage and Poundage, and other impositions not granted by Parliament, is a breach of the fundamental liberties of this kingdom, and contrary to your Majesty's royal answer to the said Petition of Right.' And therefore they do most humbly beseech your Majesty to forbear any further receiving of the same, and not to take it in ill part from those of your Majesty's loving subjects, who shall refuse to make payment of any such charges, without warrant of law demanded.

And as by this forbearance, your Most Excellent Majesty shall manifest unto the world your royal justice in the observation of your laws: so they doubt not, but hereafter, at the time appointed for their coming again, they shall have occasion to express their great desire to advance your Majesty's honour and profit.

[1] Tonnage and Poundage was granted for life to Edward IV in 1464 (3 & 4 Ed. IV), Rol. Parl. v. 508. It was also granted in 1483 to Richard III for life (1 Ric. III), ib. vi. 238.


12. The King's Speech at the Prorogation of Parliament at the end of the Session of 1628.

[June 26, 1628. Lords' Journals, iii. 879. See Hist. of Engl. vi. 324.]

It may seem strange, that I come so suddenly to end this Session; wherefore before I give my assent to the Bills, I will tell you the cause, though I must avow, that I owe an account of my actions to none but to God alone. It is known to every one, that a while ago the House of Commons gave me a Remonstrance,[1] how acceptable every man may judge; and for the merit of it, I will not call that in question, for I am sure no wise man can justify it.

Now since I am certainly informed, that a second Remonstrance[2] is preparing for me to take away my profit of Tonnage and Poundage, one of the chief maintenances of my Crown, by alleging I have given away my right thereof by my answer to your Petition; this is so prejudicial unto me, that I am forced to end this Session some few hours before I meant it, being willing not to receive any more Remonstrances, to which I must give a harsh answer.

And since I see that even the House of Commons begins already to make false constructions of what I granted in your Petition, lest it might be worse interpreted in the country, I will now make a declaration concerning the true meaning thereof:

The profession of both Houses, in time of hammering this Petition, was no ways to intrench upon my Prerogative, saying, they had neither intention nor power to hurt it. Therefore it must needs be conceived that I have granted no new, but only confirmed the ancient liberties of my subjects: yet to show the clearness of my intentions, that I neither repent, cor mean to recede from anything I have promised you, I do here declare, that those things which have been done, whereby men had some cause to suspect the liberties of the subjects to be trenched upon, — which indeed was the first and true ground of the Petition, — shall not hereafter be drawn into example for your prejudice; and in time to come, on the word of a king, you shall not have the like cause to complain.

But as for Tonnage and Poundage, it is a thing I cannot want, and was never intended by you to ask, nor meant —

I am sure — by me to grant.

To conclude, I command you all that are here to take notice of what I have spoken at this time, to be the true intent and meaning of what I granted you in your Petition; but especially, you my Lords the Judges, for to you only under me belongs the interpretation of laws; for none of the House of Commons, joint or separate, (what new doctrine soever may be raised) have any power either to make or declare a law without my consent[3].

[1] A general remonstrance on the misgovernment of the kingdom, in which Buckingham was named as the author of abuses, had been presented to the King on June 17.

[2] See No. 11.

[3] The last clause of this paragraph is corrected from Parl. Hist. ii. 434


13. The King's Declaration prefixed to the Articles of Religion.

[November, 1628. Commonly printed with the Book of Common Prayer. See Hist. of Engl. vii. 20.]

Being by God's ordinance, according to our just title, Defender of the Faith, and Supreme Governor of the Church, within these our dominions, we hold it most agreeable to this our kingly office, and our own religious zeal, to conserve and maintain the Church committed to our charge, in the unity of true religion, and in the bond of peace; and not to Buffer unnecessary disputations, altercations, or questions to be raised, which may nourish faction both in the Church and Commonwealth. We have therefore, upon mature deliberation, and with the advice of so many of our Bishops as might conveniently be called together, thought fit to make this declaration following:

That the Articles of the Church of England (which have been allowed and authorised heretofore, and which our clergy generally have subscribed unto) do contain the true doctrine of the Church of England agreeable to God's Word: which we do therefore ratify and confirm, requiring all our loving subjects to continue in the uniform profession thereof, and prohibiting the least difference from the said Articles; which to that end we command to be new printed, and this our declaration to be published therewith:

That we are supreme Governor of the Church of England: and that if any difference arise about the external policy, concerning the injunctions, canons, and other constitutions whatsoever thereto belonging, the Clergy in their Convocation is to order and settle them, having first obtained leave under our broad seal so to do: and we approving their said ordinances and constitutions; providing that none be made contrary to the laws and customs of the land.

That out of our princely care that the churchmen may do the work which is proper unto them, the Bishops and Clergy, from time to time in Convocation, upon their humble desire, shall have license under our broad seal to deliberate of, and to do all such things as, being made plain by them, and assented unto by us, shall concern the settled continuance of the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England now established; from which we will not endure any varying or departing in the least degree.

That for the present, though some differences have been ill raised, yet we take comfort in this, that all clergymen within our realm have always most willingly subscribed to the Articles established; which is an argument to us, that they all agree in the true, usual, literal meaning of the said Articles; and that even in those curious points, in which the present differences lie, men of all sorts take the Articles of the Church of England to be for them; which is an argument again, that none of them intend any desertion of the Articles established.

That therefore in these both curious and unhappy differences, which have for so many hundred years, in different times and places, exercised the Church of Christ, we will, that all further curious search be laid aside, and these disputes shut up in God's promises, as they be generally set forth to us in the holy scriptures, and the general meaning of the Articles of the Church of England according to them. And that no man hereafter shall either print, or preach, to draw the Article aside any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and full meaning thereof: and shall not put his own sense or comment to be the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense.

That if any public Reader in either of our Universities, or any Head or Master of a College, or any other person respectively in either of them, shall affix any new sense to any Article, or shall publicly read, determine, or hold any public disputation, or suffer any such to be held either way, in either the Universities or Colleges respectively; or if any divine in the Universities shall preach or print any thing either way, other than is already established in Convocation with our royal assent; he, or they the offenders, shall be liable to our displeasure, and the Church's censure in our commission ecclesiastical, as well as any other: and we will see there shall be due execution upon them.


14. Resolutions on Religion drawn by a Sub-Committee of the House of Commons.

[February 24, 1628-9. Cobbett's Parliamentary History, ii. col. 483. See Hist. of Engl. vii. 65.]

Heads of Articles to be insisted on, and agreed upon, at a Sub-Committee for Religion.

I. That we call to mind, how that, in the last Session of this Parliament, we presented to His Majesty an humble declaration of the great danger threatened to this Church and State, by divers courses and practices tending to the change and innovation of religion.

II. That what we then feared, we do now sensibly feel; and therefore have just cause to renew our former complaints herein.

III. That, yet nevertheless, we do, with all thankfulness, acknowledge the great blessing we have received from Almighty God, in setting a king over us, of whose constancy in the profession and practice of the true religion here established, we rest full assured; as likewise of his most pious zeal and careful endeavour for the maintenance and propagation thereof; being so far from having the least doubt of His Majesty's remissness therein, that we, next under God, ascribe unto his own princely wisdom and goodness, that our holy religion hath yet any countenance at all amongst us.

IV. And for that the pious intention and endeavours, even of the best and wisest princes, are often frustrated through the unfaithfulness and carelessness of their ministers; and that we find a great unhappiness to have befallen His Majesty this way; we think, that being now assembled in Parliament to advise of the weighty and important affairs concerning Church and State; we cannot do a work more acceptable than, in the first place, according to the dignity of the matter, and necessity of the present occasions, faithfully and freely to make known, what we conceive may conduce to the preservation of God's religion, in great peril now to be lost; and, therewithal, the safety and tranquillity of His Majesty and his kingdoms now threatened with certain dangers. For the clearer proceedings therein, we shall declare, I. What those dangers and inconveniences are. 2. Whence they arise. 3. In some sort, how they may be redressed.

The dangers may appear partly from the consideration of the state of religion abroad; and partly from the condition thereof within His Majesty's own dominions, and especially within this kingdom of England.

From abroad we make these observations: 1. By the mighty and prevalent party, by which true religion is actually opposed, and the contrary maintained. 2. Their combined counsels, forces, attempts, and practices, together with a most diligent pursuit of their designs, aiming at the subversion of all the Protestant Churches in Christendom. 3. The weak resistance that is made against them. 4. Their victorious and successful enterprises, whereby the Churches of Germany, France, and other places, are in a great part already ruined, and the rest in the most weak and miserable condition.

In His Majesty's own dominions, these: 1. In Scotland, the stirs lately raised and insolences committed by the Popish party, have already not a little disquieted that famous Church; of which, with comfort we take notice, His Majesty hath expressed himself exceeding sensible; and hath accordingly given most royal and prudent directions therein. 2. Ireland is now almost wholly overspread with Popery, swarming with friars, priests, and Jesuits, and other superstitious persons of all sorts; whose practice is daily to seduce His Majesty's subjects from their allegiance, and to cause them to adhere to his enemies. That even in the city of Dublin, in the view of the State, where not many years since, as we have been credibly informed, there were few or none that refused to come to church, there are lately restored and erected for friars, Jesuits, and idolatrous mass-priests, thirteen houses, being more in number than the parish churches within that city; besides many more likewise erected in the best parts of the kingdom; and the people, almost wholly, revolted from our religion, to the open exercise of Popish superstition. The danger from hence is further increased, by reason of the intercourse which the subjects, of all sorts, in that kingdom, have into Spain, and the Archduchess's country; and that, of late, divers principal persons being

Papists are trusted with the command of soldiers; and great numbers of the Irish are acquainted with the exercise of arms and martial discipline; which, heretofore, hath not been permitted, even in times of greatest security. 3. Lastly, here in England we observe an extraordinary growth of Popery, insomuch that in some counties, where in Queen Elizabeth's time there were few or none known Recusants, now there are above 2000, and all the rest generally apt to revolt. A bold and open allowance of their religion, by frequent and public resort to mass, in multitudes, without control, and that even to the Queen's Court; to the great scandal of His Majesty's government. Their extraordinary insolence; for instance, the late erecting of a College of Jesuits in Clerkenwell, and the strange proceedings thereupon used in favour of them. The subtle and pernicious spreading of the Arminian faction; whereby they have kindled such a fire of division in the very bowels of the State, as if not speedily extinguished, it is of itself sufficient to ruin our religion; by dividing us from the Reformed Churches abroad, and separating amongst ourselves at home, by casting doubts upon the religion professed and established; which, if faulty or questionable in three or four Articles, will be rendered suspicious to unstable minds, in all the rest, and incline them to Popery, to which those tenets, in their own nature, do prepare the way: so that if our religion be suppressed and destroyed abroad, disturbed in Scotland, lost in Ireland, undermined and almost outdared in England, it is manifest that our danger is very great and imminent.

The causes of which danger here, amongst divers others, we conceive to be chiefly these instanced in: 1. The suspension or negligence in execution of the laws against Popery. 2. The late proceedings against the College of Jesuits[1]. 3. Divers letters sent by Sir Robert Heath, His Majesty's Attorney, into the country, for stay of proceedings against Recusants. 4. The publishing and defending points of Popery in sermons and books, without punishment; instance Bishop Montague's three books, viz. ' The Gag'[2] ' Invocation of Saints,'[3] and his 'Appeal;'[4] also Dr. Cosin's ' Horary'[5] and the Bishop of Gloucester's Sermons.[6] 5. The bold and unwarranted introducing, practising, and defending of sundry new ceremonies, and laying of injunctions upon men by governors of the Church and others, without authority, in conformity to the Church of Rome; as, for example, in some places erecting of altars, in others changing the usual and prescribed manner of placing the communion table, and setting it at the upper end of the chancel, north and south, in imitation of the High Altar; by which they, also, call it, and adorn it with candlesticks, which, by the injunctions, 10 Eliz., were to be taken away; and do also make obeisance by bowing thereunto, commanding men to stand up at Gloria Patri; bringing men to question and trouble for not obeying that command for which there is no authority; enjoining that no woman be churched without a veil; setting up of pictures, lights, and images in churches; praying towards the east, crossing ad omnem motum et gestum. 6. The false and counterfeit conformity of Papists, whereby they do not only evade the law, but obtain places of trust and authority: instance Mr. Browne of Oxford, and his treatise written to that purpose; the Bishop of Gloucester; and the now Bishop of Durham. 7. The suppressing and restraint of the orthodox doctrine, contained in the Articles of Religion, confirmed in Parliament, 13 Eliz., according to the sense which hath been received publicly, and taught as the doctrine of the Church of England in those points, wherein the Arminians differ from us and other the Reformed Churches; wherein the essence of our Articles, in those controverted points, is known and proved. 8. The publishing of books, and preaching of sermons, contrary to the former orthodox doctrine, and suppressing books written in defence thereof: instance Bishop Montague's 'Gag' and 'Appeal,' Mr. Jackson's ' Book of the Essence and Attributes of God,' Dr. White's two sermons preached at Court, one upon the 5th of November, the other on Christmas Day last: and for orthodox books suppressed, instance in all that have been written against Bishop Montague and Cosin, yea even Bishop Carleton's book. 9. That these persons who have published and maintained such Papistical, Arminian, and superstitious opinions and practices, who are known to be unsound in religion, are countenanced, favoured, and preferred: instance, Mr. Montague made Bishop of Chichester; also the late Bishop of Carlisle,[7] since his last Arminian sermon preached at Court, advanced to the bishopric of Norwich; a known Arminian[8] made Bishop of Ely; the Bishop of Oxford,[9] a long-suspected Papist, advanced to the bishopric of Durham; Mr. Cosin, advanced to dignity and a great living; Dr. Wren, made Dean of Windsor, and one of the High Commission Court. 10. That some prelates near the King, having gotten the chief administration of ecclesiastical affairs under His Majesty, discountenance and hinder the preferment of those that are orthodox, and favour such as are contrary: instance, the Bishops of Winchester[10] and London,[11] in divers particulars. The points wherein the Arminians differ from us and other the Reformed Churches, in the sense of the Articles confirmed in Parliament, 13 Eliz., may be known and proved in these controverted points, viz.: I. By the Common Prayer, established in Parliament, 2. By the book of Homilies, confirmed by the acts of religion. 3. By the Catechism concerning the points printed in the Bible, and read in churches, and divers other impressions published by authority. 4. Bishop Jewel's works, commanded to be kept in all churches, that every parish may have one of them. 5. The public determination of divinity professors, published by authority. 6. The public determination of divines in both the Universities. 7. The Resolution of the Archbishop of Canterbury and other rev. bishops and divines assembled at Lambeth, for this very purpose, to declare their opinions concerning those points, anno 1595, unto which the Archbishop of York and all his province did likewise agree. 8. The Articles of Ireland, though framed by the Convocation, there, yet allowed by the Clergy and State here. 9. The suffrage of the British divines, sent by King James, to the Synod of Dort. 10. The uniform consent of our writers published by authority. 11. The censures, recantations, punishments, and submissions, made, enjoined, and inflicted upon those that taught contrary thereunto, as Barrow and Barrett in Cambridge, and Bridges in Oxford.

The remedy of which abuses we conceive may be these: 1. Due execution of laws against Papists. 2. Exemplary punishments to be inflicted upon teachers, publishers, and maintainers of Popish opinions, and practising of superstitious ceremonies, and some stricter laws in that case to be provided. 3. The orthodox doctrine of our Church, in these now controverted points by the Arminian sect, may be established and freely taught; according as it hath been hitherto generally received, without any alteration or innovation; and severe punishment, by the same laws to be provided against such as shall, either by word or writing, publish anything contrary thereunto. 4. That the said books of Bishop Montague and Cosin may be burned. 5. That such as have been authors, or abettors, of those Popish and Arminian innovations in doctrine, may be condignly punished. 6. That some good order may be taken for licensing books hereafter. 7. That His Majesty would be graciously pleased to confer bishoprics, and other ecclesiastical preferments, with advice of his Privy Council, upon learned, pious, and orthodox men. 8. That bishops and clergymen being well chosen, may reside upon their charge, and with diligence and fidelity perform their several duties, and that accordingly they may be countenanced and preferred. 9. That some course may, in this Parliament, be considered of, for providing competent means to maintain a godly, able minister in every parish church of this kingdom. 10. That His Majesty would be graciously pleased to make a special choice of such persons, for the execution of his ecclesiastical commissions, as are approved for integrity of life and soundness of doctrine.

[1]Hist. of Engl. vi. 238.

[2]A gag for the new gospel! No! a new gag for an old goose. 1624.

[3]Immediate address unto God alone ... enlarged to a just treatise of invocation of taints. 1624.

[4]Appello Caesarem, 1625.

[5]A collection of private devotions ... called the Hours of Prayer, 1627.

[6] Probably the Fall of Man, by Godfrey Goodman, published in 1616. He was now Bishop of Gloucester. A new edition was issued in 1629 against his wish.

[7] Francis White.

[8] John Buckeridge.

[9] John Howson.

[10] Richard Neile.

[11] William Laud.


15. Protestation of the House of Commons.

[March 2, 1628-9. Rushworth, i. 660. See Hist. of Engl. vii. 75.]

1. Whosoever shall bring in innovation of religion, or by favour or countenance seek to extend or introduce Popery or Arminianism, or other opinion disagreeing from the true and orthodox Church, shall be reputed a capital enemy to this Kingdom and Commonwealth.

2. Whosoever shall counsel or advise the taking and levying of the subsidies of Tonnage 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 Commonwealth.

3. If any merchant or person whatsoever shall voluntarily yield, or pay the said subsidies of Tonnage 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[1].

[1] This protestation was recited by Holies after the Speaker had been held down in his chair, as the King was approaching to break open the door of the House of Commons.


16. The King's Declaration showing the causes of the late Dissolution.

[March 10, 1628/9. Rushworth, i. App. I. See Sut. of Engl. vii. 78.]

Howsoever princes are not bound to give account of their actions, but to God alone; yet for the satisfaction of the minds and affections of our loving subjects, we have thought good to set down thus much by way of declaration, that we may appear to the world in the truth and sincerity of our actions, and not in those colours in which we know some turbulent and ill-affected spirits (to mask and disguise their wicked intentions, dangerous to the State) would represent us to the public view.

We assembled our Parliament the seventeenth day of March, in the third year of our reign, for the safety of religion, for securing our kingdoms and subjects at home, and our friends and allies abroad; and therefore at the first sitting down of it we declared the miserable afflicted estate of those of the reformed religion, in Germany, France, and other parts of Christendom; the distressed extremities of our dearest uncle, the King of Denmark[1], chased out of a great part of his dominions; the strength of that party which was united against us; that (besides the Pope, and the House of Austria, and their ancient confederates) the French King professed the rooting out of the Protestant Religion; that, of the Princes and States on our party, some were overrun, others diverted, and some disabled to give assistance: for which, and other important motives, we propounded a speedy supply of treasure, answerable to the necessity of the cause.

These things in the beginning were well resented by the House of Commons, and with much alacrity and readiness they agreed to grant a liberal aid: but before it was brought to any perfection, they were diverted by a multitude of questions raised amongst them touching their liberties and privileges, and by other long disputes, that the Bill did not pass in a long time; and by that delay our affairs were put into a far worse case than at the first, our foreign actions then in hand being thereby disgraced and ruined for want of timely help.

In this, as we are not willing to derogate from the merit and good intentions of those wise and moderate men of that House, (to whose forwardness we attribute it, that it was propounded and resolved so soon): so we must needs say, that the delay of passing it, when it was resolved, occasioned by causeless jealousies, stirred up by men of another temper, did much lessen both the reputation and reality of that supply: and their spirit, infused into many of the Commissioners and Assessors in the country, hath returned up the subsidies in such a scanty proportion, as is infinitely short, not only of our great occasions, but of the precedents of former subsidies, and of the intentions of all well-affected men in that House.

In those large disputes, as we permitted many of our high prerogatives to be debated, which in the best times of our predecessors had never been questioned without punishment or sharp reproof, so we did endeavour to have shortened those debates, for winning of time, which would have much advantaged our great affairs both at home and abroad. And therefore both by speeches and messages we did often declare our gracious and clear resolution to maintain, not only the Parliament, but all our people, in their ancient and just liberties without either violation or diminution; and in the end, for their full satisfaction and security, did by an answer, framed in the form by themselves desired, to their Parliamentary Petition[2], confirm their ancient and just liberties and rights, which we resolve with all constancy and justice to maintain.

This Parliament, howsoever, besides the settling our necessary supply and their own liberties, they wasted much time in such proceedings, blasting our government, as we are unwilling to remember, yet we suffered them to sit, until themselves desired us to appoint a time for recess, not naming either adjournment or prorogation.

Whereupon, by advice of our Council, we resolved to prorogue and make a Session; and to that end prefixed a day, by which they might (as was meet in so long a sitting) finish some profitable and good laws; and withal, gave order for a gracious pardon to all our subjects; which, according to the use of former Parliaments, passed the Higher House, and was sent down to the Commons. All which being graciously intended by us, was ill-entertained by some disaffected persons of that House, who by their artifices in a short time raised so much heat and distemper in the House, — for no other visible cause but because we had declared our resolution to prorogue, as our Council advised, and not to adjourn, as some of that House (after our resolution declared, and not before) did manifest themselves to affect, — that seldom hath greater passion been seen in that House, upon the greatest occasions. And some glances in the House, but upon open rumours abroad, were spread, that by the answer to the Petition we had given away, not only our impositions upon goods exported and imported, but the Tonnage and Poundage — whereas in the debate and hammering of that Petition, there was no speech or mention in either House concerning those impositions, but concerning taxes and other charges, within the land; much less was there any thought thereby to debar us of Tonnage and Poundage, which both before and after the Answer to that Petition the House of Commons, in all their speeches and treaties, did profess they were willing to grant; and at the same time many other misinterpretations were raised of that Petition and Answer, by men not well distinguishing between well-ordered liberty and licentiousness; as if by our answer to that Petition we had let loose the reins of our government: and in this distemper, the House of Commons laying aside the Pardon (a thing never done in any former Parliament) and other business, fit to have been concluded that Session, some of them went about to frame and contrive a Remonstrance against our receiving of Tonnage and Poundage, which was so far proceeded in the night before the prefixed time for concluding the Session, and so hastened by the contrivers thereof, that they meant to have put it to the vote of the House the next morning, before we should prorogue the Session: and therefore finding our gracious favours in that Session, afforded to our people, so ill-requited, and such sinister strains made upon our answer to that Petition, to the diminution of our profit, and (which was more) to the danger of our government: we resolved to prevent the finishing of that Remonstrance, and other dangerous intentions of some ill-affected persons, by ending the Session the next morning, some few hours sooner than was expected, and by our own mouth to declare to both Houses the cause thereof; and for hindering the spreading of those sinister interpretations of that Petition and Answer, to give some necessary directions for settling and quieting our government until another meeting; which we performed accordingly the six and twentieth of June last.

The Session thus ended, and the Parliament risen, that intended Remonstrance gave us occasion to look into the business of Tonnage and Poundage: and therefore, though our necessities pleaded strongly for us, yet we were not apt to strain that point too far, but resolved to guide ourself by the practice of former ages, and examples of our most noble predecessors; thinking those counsels best warranted, which the wisdom of former ages, concurring with the present occasions did approve; and therefore gave order for a diligent search of records: upon which it was found, that although in the Parliament holden in the first year of the reign of King Edward the Fourth, the subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage was not granted unto that King, but was first granted unto him by Parliament in the third year of his reign; yet the game was accounted and answered to that King, from the first day of his reign, all the first and second years of his reign, and until it was granted by Parliament: and that in the succeeding times of King Richard the Third, King Henry the Seventh, King Henry the Eighth, King Edward the Sixth, Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, the subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage was not only enjoyed by every of those Kings and Queens, from the death of each of them deceasing, until it was granted by Parliament unto the successor; but in all those times (being for the most part peaceable, and not burdened with like charges and necessities, as these modern times) the Parliament did most readily and cheerfully, in the beginning of every of those reigns, grant the same, as a thing most necessary for the guarding of the seas, safety and defence of the realm, and supportation of the royal dignity: and in the time of our royal father of blessed memory, he enjoyed the same a full year, wanting very few days, before his Parliament began; and above a year before the Act of Parliament for the grant of it was passed: and yet when the Parliament was assembled, it was granted without difficulty. And in our own time we quietly received the same three years and more, expecting with patience, in several Parliaments, the like grant thereof, as had been made to so many of our predecessors; the House of Commons still professing that multitude of other businesses, and not want of willingness on their part, had caused the settling thereof to be so long deferred: and therefore, finding so much reason and necessity for the receiving of the ordinary duties in the Custom House, to concur with the practice of such a succession of Kings and Queens, famous for wisdom, justice, and government; and nothing to the contrary, but that intended Remonstrance, hatched out of the passionate brains of a few particular persons; we thought it was so far from the wisdom and duty of a House of Parliament, as we could not think that any moderate and discreet Wan (upon composed thoughts, setting aside passion and distemper) could be against receiving of Tonnage and Poundage; especially since we do, and still must, pursue those ends, and undergo that charge, for which it was first granted to the Crown; it having been so long and constantly continued to our predecessors, as that in four several Acts of Parliament for the granting thereof to King Edward the Sixth, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and our blessed father, it is in express terms mentioned, to have been had and enjoyed by the several Kings, named in those acts, time out of mind, by authority of Parliament: and therefore upon these reasons we held it agreeable to our kingly honour, and necessary for the safety and good of our kingdom, to continue the receipt thereof, as so many of our predecessors had done. Wherefore when a few merchants (being at first but one or two), fomented, as it is well known, by those evil spirits, that would have hatched that undutiful Remonstrance, began to oppose the payment of our accustomed duties in the Custom House, we gave order to the officers of our customs to go on, notwithstanding that opposition, in the receiving of the usual duties; and caused those that refused to be warned to attend at the Council Board, that by the wisdom and authority of our Council they might be reduced to obedience and duty; where some of them, without reverence or respect to the honour and dignity of that presence, behaved themselves with such boldness and insolency of speech, as was not to be endured by a far meaner assembly, much less to be countenanced by a House of Parliament, against the body of our Privy Council.

And as in this we did what in reason and honour was fit for the present, so our thoughts were daily intentive upon the reassembling of our Parliament, with full intention on our part to take away all ill understanding between us and our people, whose love as we desired to continue and preserve, so we used our best endeavours to prepare and facilitate the way to it; and to this end, having taken a strict and exact survey of our government, both in the Church and Commonwealth, and what things were most fit and necessary to be reformed: we found in the first place that much exception had been taken at a book entitled Appello Caesarem, or an Appeal to Caesar, and published in the year 1625 by Richard Montague, then Bachelor of Divinity, and now Bishop of Chichester; and because it did open the way to those schisms and divisions which have since ensued in the Church, we did, for remedy and redress thereof, and for the satisfaction of the consciences of our good people, not only by our public proclamation, call in that book, which ministered matter of offence, but to prevent the like danger for hereafter, reprinted the Articles of Religion, established in the time of Queen Elizabeth of famous memory, and by a declaration before those Articles[3], we did tie and restrain all opinions to the sense of those Articles, that nothing might be left for private fancies and innovations. For we call God to record, before whom we stand, that it is, and always hath been, our heart's desire to be found worthy of that title, which we account the most glorious in all our Crown, Defender of the Faith. Neither shall we ever give way to the authorising of anything, whereby any innovation may steal or creep into the Church, but to preserve that unity of doctrine and discipline, established in the time of Queen Elizabeth, whereby the Church of England hath stood and flourished ever since.

And as we were careful to make up all breaches and rents in religion at home, so did we, by our proclamation and commandment, for the execution of laws against Priests and Popish Recusants, fortify all ways and approaches against that foreign enemy; which, if it have not succeeded according to our intention, we must lay the fault where it is, in the subordinate officers and ministers in the country, by whose remissness Jesuits and Priests escape without apprehension, and Recusants, from those convictions and penalties which the law and our commandment would have inflicted on them: for we do profess, that, as it is our duty, so it shall be our care, to command and direct well; but it is the part of others to perform the ministerial office, and when we have done our office we shall account ourself, and all charitable men will account us innocent, both to God and men; and those that are negligent we will esteem as culpable both to God and us, and therefore will expect that hereafter they give us a better account.

And, as we have been careful for the settling of religion and quieting the Church, so were we not unmindful of the preservation of the just and ancient liberties of our subjects, which we secured to them by our gracious answer to the Petition in Parliament, having not since that time done any act whereby to infringe them: but our care is, and hereafter shall be, to keep them entire and inviolable, as we would do our own right and sovereignty, having for that purpose enrolled the Petition and Answer in our Courts of Justice.

Next to the care of religion and of our subjects' rights, we did our best for the provident and well-ordering of that aid and supply, which was granted us the last Session, whereof no part hath been wastefully spent, nor put to any other use, than those for which it was desired and granted, as upon payment of our fleet and army; wherein our care hath been such as we chose rather to discontent our dearest friends and allies, and our nearest servants, than to leave our soldiers and mariners unsatisfied, whereby any vexation or disquiet might arise to our people. We have also, with part of those monies, begun to supply our magazines and stores of munition, and to put our navy into a constant form and order. Our fleet likewise is fitting, and almost in a readiness, whereby the narrow seas may be guarded, commerce maintained, and our kingdom secured from all foreign attempts. These acts of ours might have made this impression in all good minds, that we were careful to direct our counsels, and dispose our actions, as might most conduce to the maintenance of religion, honour of our government, and safety of our people. But with mischievous men once ill-affected, seu bene seu male facta premunt; and whatsoever once seemed amiss is ever remembered, but good endeavours are never regarded.

Now all these things that were the chief complaints the last Session, being by our princely care so seriously reformed, the Parliament reassembled the twentieth of January last. We expected, according to the candour and sincerity of our own thoughts, that men would have framed themselves for the effecting of a right understanding between us and our people; but some few malevolent persons, like empirics and lewd artists, did strive to make new work, and to have some disease on foot, to keep themselves in request, and to be employed and entertained in the cure. And yet to manifest how much offences have been diminished, the committees for grievances, committees for Courts of Justice, and committees for trade, have, since the sitting down of the Parliament, received few complaints, and those such as they themselves have not thought to be of that moment or importance, with which our ears should be acquainted.

No sooner therefore was the Parliament set down but these ill-affected men began to sow and disperse their jealousies, by casting out some glances and doubtful speeches, as if the subject had not been so clearly and well dealt with, touching the liberties, and touching the Petition answered the last Parliament. This being a plausible theme, thought on for an ill purpose, easily took hold on the minds of many that knew not the practice. And thereupon the second day of the Parliament, a committee was appointed to search whether the Petition and our Answer thereunto were enrolled in the Parliament roll, and in the Courts at Westminster, and in what manner the same was done. And a day also was then appointed, on which the House, being resolved into a committee, should take into consideration those things wherein the liberty of the subject had been invaded, against the Petition of Eight. This, though it produced no other effect of moment or importance, yet was suflicient to raise a jealousy against our proceedings, in such as were not well acquainted with the sincerity and clearness of them. There followed another of no less skill; for although our proceeding before the Parliament, about matters of religion, might have satisfied any moderate men of our zealous care thereof (as we are sure it did the most), yet, as bad stomachs turn the best things into their own nature for want of good digestion, so those distempered persons have done the like of our good intents by a bad and sinister interpretation; for, when they did observe that many honest and religious minds in that House did complain of those dangers that did threaten the Church, they likewise took the same word in their mouth, and their cry likewise was Templum Domini, Templum Domini, when the true care of the Church never came into their hearts; and what the one did out of zeal unto religion, the other took up as a plausible theme to deprave our government, as if we, our clergy and council, were either senseless or careless of religion; and this wicked practice hath been to make us seem to walk before our people as if we halted before God.

Having by these artifices made a jealous impression in the hearts of many, and a day being appointed to treat of the grant of Tonnage and Poundage, at the time prefixed, all express great willingness to grant it. But a new strain is found out, that it could not be done without great peril to the right of the subject, unless we should disclaim any right therein, but by grant in Parliament, and should cause all those goods to be restored, which, upon commandment from us or our Council, were staid by our officer until those duties were paid, and consequently should put ourselves out of the possession of the Tonnage and Poundage before they were granted; for else, it was pretended, the subject stood not in fit case to grant it. A fancy and cavil raised of purpose to trouble the business; it being evident that all the Kings before-named did receive that duty, and were in actual possession of it before, and at the very time, when it was granted to them by Parliament. And although we, to remove all difficulties, did from our own mouth, in those clear and open terms that might have satisfied any moderate and well-disposed minds, declare that it was our meaning, by the gift of our people, to enjoy it, and that we did not challenge it of right, but took it de bene esse, showing thereby not the right but the necessity by which we were to take it (wherein we descended, for their satisfaction, so far beneath ourself, as we are confident never any of our predecessors did the like, nor was the like ever required or expected from them). Yet for all this, the Bill of Tonnage and Poundage was laid aside, upon pretence they must first clear the right of the subject therein; under colour whereof, they entertain the complaints, not only of John Rolle, a member of their House, but also of Richard Chambers, John Fowkes, and Bartholomew Gilman, against the officers of our customs, for detaining their goods upon refusal to pay the ordinary duty, accustomed to be paid for the same. And upon these complaints they send for the officers of the customs, enforcing them to attend day after day by the space of a month together; they cause them to produce their letters patents under our Great Seal, and the warrants made by our Privy Council for levying of those duties. They examine the officers upon what questions they please, thereby to entrap them for doing our service and commandments. In these and other their proceedings, because we would not give the least show of interruption, we endured long with much patience both these and sundry other strange and exorbitant encroachments and usurpations, such as were never before attempted in that House.

We are not ignorant how much that House hath of late years endeavoured to extend their privileges, by setting up general committees for religion, for Courts of Justice, for trade, and the like; a course never heard of until of late: go as, where in former times the Knights and Burgesses were wont to communicate to the House such business as they brought from their countries; now there are so many chairs erected, to make inquiry upon all sorts of men, where complaints of all sorts are entertained, to the unsufferable disturbance and scandal of justice and government, which, having been tolerated awhile by our father and ourself, hath daily grown to more and more height; insomuch that young lawyers sitting there take upon them to decry the opinions of the Judges; and some have not doubted to maintain that the resolutions of that House must bind the Judges, a thing never heard of in ages past: but in this last assembly of Parliament they have taken on them much more than ever before.

They sent messengers to examine our Attorney-General (who is an officer of trust and secrecy) touching the execution of some commandments of ours, of which, without our leave first obtained, he was not to give account to any but ourself. They sent a captious and directory message to the Lord Treasurer, Chancellor, and Barons of the Exchequer, touching some judicial proceedings of theirs in our Court of Exchequer.

They sent messengers to examine upon sundry questions, our two Chief Justices and three other of our Judges, touching their judicial proceedings at the Gaol Delivery at Newgate, of which they are not accountable to the House of Commons.

And whereas suits were commenced in our Court of Star Chamber, against Richard Chambers, John Fowkes, Bartholomew Gilman, and Richard Phillips, by our Attorney-General, for great misdemeanours; they resolved that they were to have privilege of Parliament against us for their persons, for no other cause but because they had petitions depending in that House; and (which is more strange) they resolved that a signification should be made from that House, by a letter to issue under the hand of their Speaker unto the Lord Keeper of our Great Seal, that no attachments should be granted out against the said Chambers, Fowkes, Gilman, or Phillips, during their said privilege of Parliament. Whereas it is far above the power of that House to give direction to any of our Courts at Westminster to stop attachments against any man, though never so strongly privileged; the breach of privilege being not in the Court that grants, but in the party or minister that puts in execution such attachments. And therefore, if any such letter had come to the Lord Keeper, as it did not, he should have highly offended us if he had obeyed it. Nay, they went so far as they spared not the honour of our Council Board, hut examined their proceedings in the case of our customers, interrogating what this or that man of our Council said in direction of them in the business committed to their charge. And when one of the members of that House, speaking of our counsellors said we had wicked counsel; and another said that the Council and Judges sought to trample under feet the liberty of the subject; and a third traduced our Court of Star Chamber for the sentence given against Savage, they passed without check or censure by the House. By which may appear, how far the members of that House have of late swoln beyond the rules of moderation and the modesty of former times; and this under pretence of privilege and freedom of speech, whereby they take liberty to declare against all authority of Council and Courts at their pleasure.

They sent for our Sheriff of London to examine him in a cause whereof they had no jurisdiction; their true and ancient jurisdiction extending only to their own members, and to the conservation of their privileges, and not to the censure of foreign persons and causes, which have no relation to their privileges, the same being but a late innovation. And yet upon an enforced strain of a contempt, for not answering to their satisfaction, they commit him to the Tower of London, using that outward pretext for a cause of committing him, the true and inward cause being, for that he had showed himself dutiful to us and our commandments in the matter concerning our customs.

In these innovations (which we will never permit again) they pretended indeed our service, but their drift was to break, by this means, through all respects and ligaments of government, and to erect an universal over-swaying power to themselves, which belongs only to us, and not to them.

Lastly, in their proceedings against our customers, they went about to censure them as delinquents, and to punish them for staying some goods of some factious merchants in our store-house, for not paying those duties which themselves had formerly paid, and which the customers, without interruption, had received of all other merchants many years before, and to which they were authorised both by our Great Seal and by several directions and commandments from us and our Privy Council.

To give some colour to their proceeding herein, they went about to create a new privilege (which we will never admit), that a Parliament-man hath privilege for his goods against tile King; the consequence whereof would be, that he may not be constrained to pay any duties to the King during the time of privilege of Parliament. It is true, they would have this case to have been between the merchants and our farmers of our customs, and have severed them from our interest and commandment, thereby the rather to make them liable to the censure and punishment of that House. But on the other side, we holding it both unjust and dishonourable to withdraw ourself from our officers in anything they did by our commandment, or to disavow anything that we had enjoined to be done; upon Monday, the twenty-third of February, sent a message unto them by Secretary Coke[4], thanking them for the respect they had showed in severing the interest of our farmers from our own interest and commandment. Nevertheless we were bound in honour to acknowledge a truth, that what was done by them was done by our express commandment and direction; and if, for doing thereof, our farmers should suffer, it would highly concern us in honour. Which message was no sooner delivered unto them, but in a tumultuous and discontented manner they called Adjourn, Adjourn; and thereupon, without any cause given on our part, in a very unusual manner, adjourned unto the Wednesday following.

On which day, by the uniform wisdom of our Privy Council, we caused both Houses to be adjourned until the second day of March, hoping that in the meantime a better and more right understanding might be begotten between us and the members of that House, whereby the Parliament might come to a happy issue.

But understanding by good advertisement that their discontent did not in that time digest and pass away, we resolved to make a second adjournment until the tenth of March, which was done, as well to take time to ourself to think of some means to accommodate those difficulties, as to give them time to advise better; and accordingly we gave commandment for a second adjournment in both Houses, and for cessation of all business till the day appointed, which was very dutifully obeyed in the Higher House, no man contradicting or questioning it. But when the same commandment was delivered in the House of Commons by their Speaker, it was straightway contradicted; and although the Speaker declared unto them it was an absolute right and power in us to adjourn as well as to prorogue or dissolve, and declared and read unto them divers precedents of that House to warrant the same; yet our commandment was most contemptuously disobeyed, and some rising up to speak said they had business to do before the House should be adjourned[5].

Whilst the Duke of Buckingham lived he was entitled to all the distempers and ill events of former Parliaments, and therefore much endeavour was used to demolish him, as the only wall of separation between us and our people. But now he is dead, no alteration was found amongst those envenomed spirits which troubled then the blessed harmony between us and our subjects, and continue still to trouble it. For now under the pretence of public care of the Commonwealth they suggest new and causeless fears, which in their own hearts they know to be false; and devise new engines of mischief, so to cast a blindness upon the good affections of our people, that they may not see the truth and largeness of our heart towards them. So that now it is manifest, the Duke was not alone the mark these men shot at, but was only as a near minister of ours, taken up, on the by, and in their passage to their more secret designs; which were only to cast our affairs into a desperate condition to abate the powers of our Crown, and to bring our government into obloquy, that in the end all things may be overwhelmed with anarchy and confusion.

We do not impute these disasters to the whole House of Commons, knowing that there were amongst them many religious, grave, and well-minded men; but the sincerer and better part of the House was overborne by the practices and clamours of the other, who, careless of their duties, and taking advantage of the times and our necessities, have enforced us to break off this meeting; which, had it been answered with like duty on their parts as it was invited and begun with love on ours, might have proved happy and glorious both to us and this whole nation.

We have thus declared the manifold causes we had to dissolve this Parliament, whereby all the world may see how much they have forgotten their former engagements at the entry into the war, themselves being persuaders to it; promising to make us feared by our enemies and esteemed by our friends, and how they turned the necessities grown by that war to enforce us to yield to conditions incompatible with monarchy.

And now that our people may discern that these provocations of evil men (whose punishments we reserve to a due time) have not changed our good intentions to our subjects, we do here profess to maintain the true religion and doctrine established in the Church of England, without admitting or conniving at any backsliding either to Popery or schism. We do also declare that we will maintain the ancient and just rights and liberties of our subjects, with so much constancy and justice that they shall have cause to acknowledge that under our government and gracious protection they live in a more happy and free estate than any subjects in the Christian world. Yet let no man hereby take the boldness to abuse that liberty, turning it to licentiousness; nor misinterpret the Petition by perverting it to a lawless liberty, wantonly or frowardly, under that or any other colour, to resist lawful and necessary authority. For as we will maintain our subjects in their just liberties, so we do and will expect that they yield as much submission and duty to our royal prerogatives, and as ready obedience to our authority and commandments, as hath been promised to the greatest of our predecessors.

And for our ministers, we will not that they be terrified by those harsh proceedings that have been strained against some of them. For, as we will not command anything unjust or dishonourable, but shall use our authority and prerogatives for the good of our people; so we will expect that our ministers obey us, and they shall assure themselves we will protect them.

As for our merchants, we let them know we shall always endeavour to cherish and enlarge the trade of such as be dutiful, without burthening them beyond what is fitting; but the duty of five in the hundred for guarding of the seas, and defence of the realm, to which we hold ourselves still obliged (and which duty hath continued without interruption so many succession of ages), we hold no good or dutiful subject will deny it, being so necessary for the good of the whole kingdom: and if any factious merchant will affront us in a thing so reasonable, and wherein we require no more, nor in no other manner, than so many of our predecessors have done, and have been dutifully obeyed, let them not deceive themselves, but be assured that we shall find honourable and just means to support our estate, vindicate our sovereignty, and preserve the authority which God hath pat into our hands.

And now having laid down the truth and clearness of our proceedings, all wise and discreet men may easily judge of those rumours and jealous fears that are maliciously and wickedly bruited abroad; and may discern, by examination of their own hearts, whether (in respect of the free passage of the Gospel, indiffèrent and equal administration of justice, freedom from oppression, and the great peace and quietness which every man enjoyeth under his own vine and fig-tree) the happiness of this nation can be paralleled by any of our neighbour countries; and if not, then to acknowledge their own blessedness, and for the same be thankful to God, the author of all goodness.

[1] Christian IV.

[2] i. e. The Petition of Right.

[3] See p. 75.

[4] Sir John Coke.

[5] Note by Rushworth: 'Here are the passages concerning the members' deportment in the House, mentioned in this Declaration, which we forbear to repeat, in regard the same are at large expressed in the Information in the Star Chamber, before mentioned.'


17. The Declaration of Sports.[1]

[October 18, 1633. See Hist. of Engl. vii. 318-324.]

Our dear father of blessed memory, in his return from Scotland, coming through Lancashire, found that his subjects were debarred from lawful recreations upon Sundays after evening prayers ended, and upon Holy-days; and he prudently considered that, if these times were taken from them, the meaner sort who labour hard all the week should have no recreations at all to refresh their spirits: and after his return, he further saw that his loyal subjects in all other parts of his kingdom did suffer in the same kind, though perhaps not in the same degree: and did therefore in his princely wisdom publish a Declaration to all his loving subjects concerning lawful sports to be used at such times, which was printed and published by his royal commandment in the year 1618, in the tenor which hereafter followeth:

Whereas upon our return the last year out of Scotland, we did publish our pleasure touching the recreations of our people in those parts under our hand; for some causes us thereunto moving, we have thought good to command these our directions then given in Lancashire, with a few words thereunto added, and most appliable to these parts of our realms, to be published to all our subjects.

Whereas we did justly in our progress through Lancashire rebuke some Puritans and precise people, and took order that the like unlawful carriage should not be used by any of them hereafter, in the prohibiting and unlawful punishing of our good people for using their lawful recreations and honest exercises upon Sundays, and other Holy-days, after the afternoon sermon or service, we now find that two sorts of people wherewith that country is much infected, we mean Papists and Puritans, have maliciously traduced and calumniated those our just and honourable proceedings: and therefore, lest our reputation might upon the one side (though innocently) have some aspersion laid upon it, and that upon the other part our good people in that country be misled by the mistaking and misinterpretation of our meaning, we have therefore thought good hereby to clear and make our pleasure to be manifested to all our good people in those parts.

It is true that at our first entry to this Crown and kingdom we were informed, and that too truly, that our county of Lancashire abounded more in Popish Recusants than any county of England, and thus hath still continued since, to our great regret, with little amendment, save that, now of late, in our last riding through our said country, we find both by the report of the Judges, and of the Bishop of that Diocese, that there is some amendment now daily beginning, which is no small contentment to us.

The report of this growing amendment amongst them made us the more sorry, when with our own ears we heard the general complaint of our people, that they were barred from all lawful recreations and exercise upon the Sunday's afternoon, after the ending of all divine service, which cannot but produce two evils: the one the hindering of the conversion of many, whom their priests will take occasion hereby to vex, persuading them that no honest mirth or recreation is lawful or tolerable in our religion, which cannot but breed a great discontentment in our people's hearts, especially of such as are peradventure upon the point of turning: the other inconvenience is, that this prohibition barreth the common and meaner sort of people from using such exercises as may make their bodies more able for war, when His Majesty or his successors shall have occasion to use them; and in place thereof sets up filthy tippling and drunkenness, and breeds a number of idle and discontented speeches in their ale-houses. For when shall the common people have leave to exercise, if not upon the Sundays and Holy-days, seeing they must apply their labour and win their living in all working-days?

Our express pleasure therefore is, that the laws of our kingdom and canons of the Church be as well observed in that county, as in all other places of this our kingdom: and on the other part, that no lawful recreation shall be barred to our good people, which shall not tend to the breach of our aforesaid laws and canons of our Church: which to express more particularly, our pleasure is, that the Bishop, and all other inferior churchmen and churchwardens, shall for their parts be careful and diligent, both to instruct the ignorant, and convince and reform them that are misled in religion, presenting them that will not conform themselves, but obstinately stand out, to our Judges and Justices: whom we likewise command to put the law in due execution against them.

Our pleasure likewise is, that the Bishop of that Diocese take the like strait order with all the Puritans and Precisians within the same, either constraining them to conform themselves or to leave the county, according to the laws of our kingdom and canons of our Church, and so to strike equally on both hands against the contemners of our authority and adversaries of our Church; and as for our good people's lawful recreation, our pleasure likewise is, that after the end of divine service our good people be not disturbed, letted or discouraged from any lawful recreation, such as dancing, either men or women; archery for men, leaping, vaulting, or any other such harmless recreation, nor from having of May-games, Whitsun-ales, and Morris-dances; and the setting up of May-poles and other sports therewith used: so as the same be had in due and convenient time, without impediment or neglect of divine service: and that women shall have leave to carry rushes to the church for the decorating of it, according to their old custom; but withal we do here account still as prohibited all unlawful games to be used upon Sundays only, as bear and bull-baitings, interludes and at all times in the meaner sort of people by law prohibited, bowling.[2]

And likewise we bar from this benefit and liberty all such known Recusants, either men or women, as will abstain from coming to church or divine service, being therefore unworthy of any lawful recreation after the said service, that will not first come to the church and serve God: prohibiting in like sort the said recreations to any that, though conform in religion, are not present in the church at the service of God, before their going to the said recreations. Our pleasure likewise is, that they to whom it belongeth in office, shall present and sharply punish all such, as in abuse of this our liberty, will use these exercises before the end of all divine services for that day: and we likewise straightly command that every person shall resort to his own parish church to hear divine service, and each parish by itself to use the said recreation after divine service: prohibiting likewise any offensive weapons to be carried or used in the said times of recreation: and our pleasure is, that this our Declaration shall be published by order from the Bishop of the Diocese, through all the parish churches, and that both our Judges of our circuit and our Justices of our Peace be informed thereof.

Given at our Manor of Greenwich the four and twentieth day of May, in the sixteenth year of our Reign, of England, France and Ireland; and of Scotland the one and fiftieth.

Now out of a like pious care for the service of God, and for suppressing of any humours that oppose truth, and for the ease, comfort and recreation of our well-deserving people, His Majesty doth ratify and publish this our blessed father's Declaration: the rather, because of late in some counties of our kingdom, we find that under pretence of taking away abuses, there hath been a general forbidding, not only of ordinary meetings, but of the Feasts of the Dedication of the Churches, commonly called Wakes. Now our express will and pleasure is, that these Feasts, with others, shall be observed, and that our Justices of the Peace, in their several divisions, shall look to it, both that all disorders there may be prevented or punished, and that all neighbourhood and freedom, with manlike and lawful exercises be used: and we further command all Justices of Assize in their several circuits to see that no man do trouble or molest any of our loyal and dutiful people, in or for their lawful recreations, having first done their duty to God, and continuing in obedience to us and our laws: and for this we command all our Judges, Justices of Peace, as well within liberties as without, Mayors, Bailiffs, Constables, and other officers, to take notice of, and to see observed, as they tender our displeasure. And we further will that publication of this our command be made by order from the Bishops, through all the parish churches of their several dioceses respectively.

Given at our Palace of Westminster, the eighteenth day of October, in the ninth year of our Reign.

God save the King

[1] The fall title is, ' The King's Majesty's declaration to his subjects concerning lawful sports to be used. Imprinted at Lond. by Robert Barker, Printer to the King's most excellent Majesty: and by the Assigns of Robert Bill, m.dc.xxxiii.'

[2] See 33 Henry VIII. c. ix. § 11.


18. Act of the Privy Council on the position of the Communion Table at St. Gregory's.

[November 3, 1633. Prynne's Canterbury's Doome, 88. See Hist. of Engl. vii. 310.]

At Whitehall, the third day of November, 1633.

Present, the King's Most Excellent Majesty. Lord Archbishop of Canterbury [William Laud], Lord Keeper [Sir Thomas Coventry], Lord Archbishop of York [Richard Neile], Lord Treasurer [Earl of Portland], Lord Privy Seal [Earl of Manchester], Lord Duke of Lennox, Lord Chamberlain [of the Household, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery], Earl of Bridgwater, Earl of Carlisle, Lord Cottington, Master Treasurer [of the Household, Sir Thomas Edmondes], Master Comptroller [of the Household, Sir Henry Vane], Lord High Chamberlain [Earl of Lindsey], Earl Marshal [Earl of Arundel], Master Secretary Coke, Master Secretary Windebanke.

This day was debated before His Majesty sitting in Council, the question and difference which grew about the removing of the communion table in St. Gregory's church, near the cathedral church of St. Paul, from the middle of the chancel to the upper end, and there placed altar-wise, in such manner as it standeth in the said cathedral and mother church (as also in all other cathedrals and in His Majesty's own chapel), and as it is consonant to the practice of approved antiquity: which removal and placing of it in that sort was done by order from the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's who are ordinaries thereof, as was avowed before His Majesty by Doctor King and Doctor Montfort, two of the prebends there; yet some few of the parishioners, being but five in number, did complain of this act by appeal to the Court of Arches, pretending that the Book of Common Prayer and the 82nd Canon do give permission to place the communion table where it may stand with the most fitness and convenience. Now His Majesty having heard a particular relation made by the counsel of both parties of all the carriage and proceedings in this cause, was pleased to declare his dislike of all innovation and receding from ancient constitutions, grounded upon just and warrantable reasons, especially in matters concerning ecclesiastical order and government, knowing how easily men are drawn to affect novelties, and how soon weak judgments in such cases may be overtaken and abused. And he was also pleased to observe, that if these few parishioners might have their wills, the difference thereby from the foresaid cathedral mother church, by which all other churches depending thereon ought to be guided, would be the more notorious, and give more subject of discourse and disputes that might be spared, by reason of St. Gregory's standing close to the wall thereof. And likewise for so much as concerns the liberty given by the said communion book or canon, for placing the communion table in any church or chapel with most convenience; that liberty is not so to be understood, as if it were ever left to the discretion of the parish, much less to the particular fancy of any humorous person, but to the judgment of the ordinary to whose place and function it doth properly belong to give direction in that point, both for the thing itself, and for the time, when and how long, as he may find cause. Upon which consideration His Majesty declared himself, that he well approved and confirmed the act of the said ordinary, and also gave command that if those few parishioners before mentioned do proceed in their said appeal, then the Dean of the Arches[l] (who was then attending at the hearing of the cause) shall confirm the said order of the aforesaid Dean and Chapter.

[1] Sir Henry Marten.


19. Specimen of the first Writ of Ship-money.

[October 30, 1634. Rushworth, ii. 257. See Hist. of Engl. vii. 356, 369.]

Carolus Rex, &c.

To the Mayor, commonalty, and citizens of our city of London, and to the sheriffs of the same city, and good men in the said city and in the liberties, and members of the same, greeting: Because we are given to understand that certain thieves, pirates, and robbers of the sea, as well Turks, enemies of the Christian name, as others, being gathered together, wickedly taking by force and spoiling the ships, and goods, and merchandises, not only of our subjects, but also the subjects of our friends in the sea, which hath been accustomed anciently to be defended by the English nation, and the same, at their pleasure, have carried away, delivering the men in the same into miserable captivity: and forasmuch as we see them daily preparing all manner of shipping farther to molest our merchants, and to grieve the kingdom, unless remedy be not sooner applied, and their endeavours be not more manly met withal; also the dangers considered which, on every side, in these times of war do hang over our heads, that it behoveth us and our subjects to hasten the defence of the sea and kingdom with all expedition or speed that we can; we willing by the help of God chiefly to provide for the defence of the kingdom, safeguard of the sea, security of our subjects, safe conduct of ships and merchandises to our kingdom of England coming, and from the same kingdom to foreign parts passing; forasmuch as we, and our progenitors, Kings of England, have been always heretofore masters of the aforesaid sea, and it would be very irksome unto us if that princely honour in our times should be lost or in any thing diminished. And although that charge of defence which concerneth all men ought to be supported by all, as by the laws and customs of the kingdom of England hath been accustomed to be done: notwithstanding we considering that you constituted in the sea-coasts, to whom by sea as well great dangers are imminent, and who by the same do get more plentiful gains for the defence of the sea, and conservation of our princely honour in that behalf, according to the duty of your allegiance against such attempts, are chiefly bound to set to your helping hand; we command firmly, enjoining you the aforesaid Mayor, commonalty and citizens, and sheriffs of the said city, and the good men in the same city and in the liberties, and members of the same, in the faith and allegiance wherein you are bound unto us, and as you do love us and our honour, and under the forfeiture of all which you can forfeit to us, that you cause to be prepared and brought to the port of Portsmouth, before the first day of March now next ensuing, one ship of war of the burden of nine hundred tons, with three hundred and fifty men at the least, as well expert masters, as very able and skilful mariners; one other ship of war of the burden of eight hundred tons, with two hundred and sixty men at the least, as well skilful masters, as very able and expert mariners: four other ships of war, every of them of the burden of five hundred tons, and every of them with two hundred men at the least, as well expert masters, as very able and skilful mariners: and one other ship of war of the burden of three hundred tons, with a hundred and fifty men, as well expert masters, as very able and skilful mariners: and also every of the said ships with ordnance, as well greater as lesser, gunpowder, and spears and weapons, and other necessary arms sufficient for war, and with double tackling, and with victuals, until the said first of March, competent for so many men; and from that time, for twenty-six weeks, at your charges, as well in victuals as men's wages, and other things necessary for war, during that time, upon defence of the sea in our service, in command of the admiral of the sea, to whom we shall commit the custody of the sea, before the aforesaid first day of March, and as he, on our behalf, shall command them to continue; so that they may be there the same day, at the farthest, to go from thence with our ships, and the ships of other faithful subjects, for the safeguard of the sea, and defence of you and yours, and repulse and vanquishing of whomsoever busying themselves to molest or trouble upon the sea our merchants, and other subjects, and faithful people coming into our dominions for cause of merchandise, or from thence returning to their own countries. Also we have assigned you, the aforesaid Mayor and Aldermen of the city aforesaid, or any thirteen, or more of you, within thirteen days after the receipt of this writ, to assess all men in the said city, and in the liberties, and members of the same, and the landholders in the same, not having a ship, or any part of the aforesaid ships, nor serving in the same, to contribute to the expenses, about the necessary provision of the premises; and to assess and lay upon the aforesaid city, with the liberties and members thereof, viz. upon every of them according to their estate and substances, and the portion assessed upon them; and to nominate and appoint collectors in this behalf. Also we have assigned you, the aforesaid Mayor, and also the Sheriffs of the city aforesaid, to levy the portions so as aforesaid assessed upon the aforesaid men and landholders, and every of them in the aforesaid city, with the liberties and members of the same, by distress and other due means; and to commit to prison all those whom you shall find rebellious and contrary in the premises, there to remain until we shall give further order for their delivery. And moreover we command you, that about the premises you diligently attend, and do, and execute those things with effect, upon peril that shall fall thereon: but we will not, that under colour of our aforesaid command, more should be levied of the said men than shall suffice for the necessary expenses of the premises; or that any who have levied money for contribution to raise the aforesaid charges, should by him detain the same, or any part thereof; or should presume, by any manner of colour, to appropriate the same to other uses; willing, that if more than may be sufficient shall be collected, the same may be paid out among the contributors, for the rate of the part to them belonging.

Witness myself, at Westminster the twentieth day of October, in the tenth year of our reign[1].

[1] In 1635 the writs were extended to the inland counties.


20. The King's Case laid before the Judges, with their Answer.[1]

[February 7, 1637. Rushworth, ii. 355. See Hist. of Engl. viii. 207.] Carolus Rex.

When the good and safety of the kingdom in general is concerned, and the whole kingdom in danger, whether may not the King, by writ under the Great Seal of England, command all the subjects of our kingdom at their charge to provide and furnish such a number of ships, with men, victuals, and munition, and for such time as we shall think fit for the defence and safeguard of the kingdom from such danger and peril, and by law compel the doing thereof, in case of refusal or refractoriness: and whether in such a case is not the King the sole judge both of the danger, and when and how the same is to be prevented and avoided?

May it please your Most Excellent Majesty, We have, according to your Majesty's command, every man by himself, and all of us together, taken into serious consideration the case and question signed by your Majesty, and inclosed in your royal letter; and we are of opinion, that when the good and safety of the kingdom in general is concerned, and the kingdom in danger, your Majesty may, by writ under the Great Seal of England, command all your subjects of this your kingdom, at their charge to provide and furnish such a number of ships, with men, victuals, and munition, and for such time as your Majesty shall think fit for the defence and safeguard of this kingdom from such danger and peril: and that by law your Majesty may compel the doing thereof in case of refusal, or refractoriness: and we are also of opinion, that in such case your Majesty is the sole judge both of the danger, and when and how the same is to be prevented and avoided.

John Bramston, George Croke, John Finch, Thomas Trevor, Humphry Davenport, George Vernon, John Denham, Francis Crawley, Richard Hutton, Robert Berkeley, William Jones, Richard Weston.

[1] An earlier opinion had been given by the Judges at Finch's instance in November, 1635 (Rushworth, iii. App. 249), to the following effect: —

'I am of opinion that, as when the benefit doth more particularly redound to the ports or maritime parts, as in case of piracy or depredations upon the seas, that the charge hath been, and may be lawfully imposed upon them according to precedents of former times; so when the good and safety of the kingdom in general is concerned, and the whole kingdom in danger (of which His Majesty is the only judge), then the charge of the defence ought to be borne by all the realm in general. This I hold agreeably both to law and reason.'


21. Extracts from the Speech of Oliver St. John in the Ship-money Case.

[November, 1637. Rushworth, ii. 481. See Hist. of Engl. viii. 271.]

My Lords, by the law the King is Pater familiae, who by the law of economics is not only to keep peace at home, but to protect his wife and children and whole families from injuries from abroad.

It is his vigilance and watchfulness that discovers who are our friends and foes, and that after such discovery first warns us of them, for he only hath power to make war and peace.

Neither hath the law only intrusted the care of the defence to His Majesty, but it hath likewise, secondly, put the armatam potestatem and means of defence wholly in his hands; for when the enemy is by him discovered and declared, it is not in the power of the subject to order the way and means of defence, either by sea or by land, according as they shall think fit; for no man without commission or special license from His Majesty, can set forth any ships to sea for that purpose; neither can any man, without such commission or license, unless upon sudden coming of enemies, erect a fort, castle, or bulwark, though upon his own ground; neither, but upon some such emergent cause, is it lawful for any subject, without special commission, to arm or draw together any troops or companies of soldiers, or to make any general collections of money of any of His Majesty's subjects, though with their consent.

Neither, in the third place, is His Majesty armed only with this primitive prerogative power of generalissimo, and commander-in-chief, that none can advance towards the enemy until he gives the signal, nor in other manner than according to his direction; but likewise with all other powers requisite for the full execution of all things incident to so high a place, as well in times of eminent danger as of actual war. The sheriff of each county, who is but His Majesty's minister, he hath the Posse Comitatus; and therefore it must needs follow, that the Posse Regni is in himself.

My Lords, not to burn daylight longer, it must needs be granted that in this business of defence the suprema potestas is inherent in His Majesty, as part of his crown and kingly dignity.

So that as the care and provision of the law of England extends in the first place to foreign defence, and secondly lays the burden upon all, and for ought I have to say against it, it maketh the quantity of each man's estate the rule whereby this burden is to be equally apportioned upon each person; so likewise hath it in the third place made His Majesty the sole judge of dangers from foreigners, and when and how the same are to be prevented, and to come nearer, hath given him power by writ under the Great Seal of England, to command the inhabitants of each county to provide shipping for the defence of the kingdom, and may by law compel the doing thereof.

So that, my Lords, as I still conceive the question will not be de persona, in whom the suprema potestas of giving the authorities or powers to the sheriff, which are mentioned in this writ, doth lie, for that it is in the King; but the question is only de modo, by what medium or method this supreme power, which is in His Majesty, doth infuse and let out itself into this particular; and whether or no in this cause such of them have been used, as have rightly accommodated, and applied this power unto this writ in the intended way of defence for the law of England, for the applying of that supreme power, which it hath settled in His Majesty, to the particular causes and occasions that fall out, hath set down methods and known rules, which are necessary to be observed.

In His Majesty there is a two-fold power, voluntas, or potestas interna, or naturalis; externa, or legalis, which by all the Judges of England, 2 E. 3. fo. 11, is expressed per voluntatem Regis in camera, and voluntatem Regis per legem.

My Lords, the forms and rules of law are not observed; this supreme power not working per media, it remains still in himself as voluntas Regis interna, and operates not to the good and relief of the subject that standeth in need.

To instance,

His Majesty is the fountain of bounty; but a grant of lands without Letters Patent transfers no estate out of the King to the patentee, nor by Letters Patents, but by such words as the law hath prescribed.

His Majesty is the fountain of justice; and though all justice which is done within the realm flows from this fountain, yet it must run in certain and known channels: an assize in the King's Bench, or an appeal of death in the Common Pleas, are coram non judice, though the writ be His Majesty's command; and so of the several jurisdictions of each Court, the justice whereby all felons and traitors are put to death, proceeds from His Majesty; but if a writ of execution of a traitor or felon be awarded by His Majesty, without appeal or indictment preceding, an appeal of death will lie by the heir against the executioner. If the process be legal, and in a right Court, yet I conceive that His Majesty alone, without assistance of the Judges of the Court, cannot give judgment. I know that King John, H. 3, and other Kings, have sat on the King's Bench, and in the Exchequer; but for ought appears they were assisted by their Judges. This I ground upon the Book Case of 2 R. 3. fo. 10 & 11.

Where the party is to make fine and ransom at the King's vill and pleasure, this fine, by the opinion of the Judges of England, must be set by the Judges before whom the party was convicted, and cannot be set by the King: the words of the book are thus: In terminis, et non per Regem per se in camera sua nec aliter coram se nisi per justitiarios suos; et haec est voluntas Regis, scilicet per justitiarios suos et per legem suam to do it.

And as without the assistance of his Judges, who are his settled counsel at law, His Majesty applies not the law and justice in many cases unto his subjects; so likewise in other cases: neither is this sufficient to do it without the assistance of his great Council in Parliament; if an erroneous judgment was given before the Statute of 27 Eliz. in the King's Bench, the King could not relieve his grieved subjects any way but by Writ of Error in Parliament; neither can he out of Parliament alter the old laws, nor make new, or make any naturalizations or legitimations, nor do some other things; and yet is the Parliament His Majesty's Court too, as well as other his Courts of Justice. It is His Majesty that gives life and being to that, for he only summons, continues, and dissolves it, and he by his le volt enlivens all the actions of it; and after the dissolution of it, by supporting his Courts of Justice, he keeps them still alive, by putting them in execution: and although in the Writ of Wast, and some other writs, it is called Commune Concilium Regni. in respect that the whole kingdom is representatively there; and secondly, that the whole kingdom have access thither in all things that concern them, other Courts affording relief but in special causes; and thirdly, in respect that the whole kingdom is interested in, and receive benefit by the laws and things there passed; yet it is Concilium Regni no otherwise than the Common Law is Lex Terrae, that is per modum Regis whose it is; if I may so term it in a great part, even in point of interest, as he is the head of the Commonwealth, and whose it is wholly in trust for the good of the whole body of the realm; for he alone is trusted with the execution of it.

The second thing which I observe is this, by the cases before cited it appears, that without the assistance in Parliament. His Majesty cannot in many cases communicate either his justice or power unto his subjects.

My Lords, I have now done with the stating of the question: the things whereupon I shall spend all the rest of my time are these five.

1. Admitting that the ordinary means before-mentioned had been all used, and that they had not been sufficient, whether in this case His Majesty, without consent in Parliament, may, in this case of extraordinary defence, alter the property of the subject's goods for the doing thereof.

2. In the next place I shall endeavour to answer to some objections which may be made to the contrary.

3. In the third place, for qualifying of this I shall admit, that in some cases the property of the subject's goods, for the defence of the realm, may be altered without consent in Parliament; and I shall show what they be in particular, and compare them and the present occasion together.