Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART I: FROM THE ACCESSION OF CHARLES I TO THE MEETING OF THE THIRD PARLIAMENT OF HIS REIGN. - The Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution, 1625-1660
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PART I: FROM THE ACCESSION OF CHARLES I TO THE MEETING OF THE THIRD PARLIAMENT OF HIS REIGN. - Samuel Rawson Gardiner, The Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution, 1625-1660 
The Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution, 1625-1660, selected and edited by Samuel Rawson Gardiner (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1906).
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FROM THE ACCESSION OF CHARLES I TO THE MEETING OF THE THIRD PARLIAMENT OF HIS REIGN.
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 1625 (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 petition1 , 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, being1 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.
Protestation of the Commons.
[Aug. 12, 1625. 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.
Documents relating to the Impeachment of the Duke of Buckingham.
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 treaties1 , 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.
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 and 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.
Remonstrance of the House of Commons.
[April 5, 1626. Rushworth, i. 243 seq. See Hist. of Engl. vi. p. 851 .]
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 . . .
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 Right 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 Right 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 Right 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 Newhaven1 (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 Right 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 great 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 grant 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 offences1 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 Commmons 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.
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:—
1. 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 Duke1 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 Beacon1 in Essex, to the Red Noore2 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 divers 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 his 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 prize1 . 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 had 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.
After this, the tenth of March 16231 , 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 submitteth 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 he 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.
The Restraint of the Earls of Arundel and Bristol.
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.
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 sent him his writ of summons.
Lord Keeper Coventry’s Letter to the Earl of Bristol1 .
[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 . . .
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 House1 .
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, agree1 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 us 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.
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 constantly 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 . Per breve a privato concilio.
The Commission and Instructions for raising the Forced Loan in Middlesex.
[Sept. 23, 1626. S. 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 disaster1 (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 Middlesex1 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 these 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 marks1 : and he that is set at ten pounds goods, to lend us twenty nobles2 : 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 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 but 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 you . . . to keep secret to yourselves, and not impart or disclose the same to any others1 .
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.]
Return of the Warden of the Fleet to the Writ of Habeas Corpus2 .
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 se exiget et requiret.
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 bailed; 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 but, 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.
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 replevisable1 , 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 be 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 ‘legal 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 hand1 . . . This, my Lord, was the resolution of all the judges and [the] barons of the Exchequer, and not2 [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? 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.
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? 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 ] On religion.
[1 ] I.e. considering.
[1 ] I.e. the negotiations with Spain, in 1624.
[1 ] I.e. Havre de Grâce.
[1 ] ‘Offenders,’ in L. J.
[1 ] I. e. ‘without the Duke’s acting in the matter.’
[1 ] Shoeburyness.
[2 ] Professor Burrows has suggested to me that this must be the ‘Rocks of Nore’ to the east of Hastings.
[1 ] ‘Unlawful,’ in L. J.
[1 ] I. e. 162¾.
[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.
[1 ] Arundel was at last released on June 5.
[1 ] The agreement was merely by resolution. No bill having been founded on it, it had no legal force.
[1 ] The battle of Lutter, August 17, 1626.
[1 ] A similar Commission for London, containing 100 names, dated Feb. 5. 1628, is printed in Rymer, xviii. 835-8.
[1 ] A mark is 6s. 8d.
[2 ] A noble is 3s. 2d.
[1 ] An abstract of these instructions is given in Rushworth, i. 418, 419, under ten heads only.
[2 ] The writ is in the ordinary form.
[1 ] I.e. bailable.
[1 ] See Hist. of Engl. 1603-1642, vi. 244.
[2 ] Printed text, ‘by.’
[1 ] The date there given of April 4 is incorrect.