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II: Coke’s Speech and Charge at the Norwich Assizes - Sir Edward Coke, Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke, vol. II 
The Selected Writings and Speeches of Sir Edward Coke, ed. Steve Sheppard (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003). Vol. 2.
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Coke’s Speech and Charge at the Norwich Assizes
In 1606, Coke was sitting as justice in the Court of Assizes in Norwich. As was the custom, he charged the grand jury with the forms of crime it should consider in bringing indictments, but he particularly suggested the jurors should be concerned with official misconduct. The charge was recorded and published by Robert Pricket in London in 1607 under the title The Lord Coke His Speech and Charge. With a Discoverie of the Abuses and Corruption of Officers. Coke realized the charge was politically volatile, and it appears he was criticized at court, so, in the preface to his Seventh Part of the Reports, published in 1608, he repudiated the publication of the charge as misrepresenting his comments and being full of errors. See p. 164.—Ed.
(Preface, written by Robert Prickett)
To The Right Honourable the Earle of Exceter,
Knight of the most Honorable order of the Garter: and one of the Lordes of his Majesties most Honorable privie Counsel.
R. P. wisheth all encrease of Honor and endlesse happinesse.1
May it please your Hon. The observation which this world begets, may teach experience truly to report, that Love and Charity are for the most part growne so cold, even in the hotest Sun-shine of our Profession, as that despised Povertie, though addicted to the Religious exercise of endevors commendable, is in the best employment (which seemes with greatest Favor to smile upon his Hope) so coldly recompensed, as that pooreunpitieddejected miserable Povertie knowes neither Meanes nor Place how or where to warme it selfe.
Unhappie I, in this best time of greatest happines, who being as I am a Poore dispised, hated, scorned, and unrespected Souldier so unfortunate as no commended meanes, though many used, with confirmation both of love and Loyaltie, can bee of power from dispayres Gulfe, to raise a Spirit drowned, in worst of misery: but were I not indeered unto those by heaven made mine, who are indeed, to me, their life, more deare from whom there is no way to run, unlesse in me, selfe being be disolved, I would assuredly by heavens assistance in some honest War with use of Armes, give to my life so long as I should live, a living maintenance: but now Immured in my native home, unseperably Yoakt2 with leane-fact povertie. I have experience to conclude that as it is most certaine Pax procreat Bellum,3 so is it no lesse true, that a confirmed Peace, Non amat Filios belli,4 untill she hath need of them.
In this estate not knowing how to mend my selfe, Religions Lawe shall make my resolution honest, & though Rerum conditionem mutare non possum,5 yet I will have power to say Hoc possum magnum sumere animam et viro forti dignum,6 with patience therefore shal my grieved thoughts joyfully be thrown upon my makers providence bywhose assistance I will still resolve with a constant Bosome to persist in the prosecution of commendeddeedes, for this I know Spes mea, Christo vivens, Est vivere ut semper vivam.7
And thus, my Honorable Lord, having breathed forth a sight unto the grace of your compassionate respect: I humbly craveyour Honorwill vouch-safe, to patronize in this little booke (by me collected) not my owne but the words of that reverend and learned Judge, the Lord Coke, who at his coming to Norwich, did at the Assises there upon the bench, deliver a charge so exelent as that it worthyly deserves to bee continued in perpetuall memorie, which being thus prodused to a publique view, I hope it shall unto our Publickeweale remaine a worthy presedent, wherein Romes champions may with shame decerne their long continued shamefull practices, Puritans & Sismatickes learne to knowe with what Injustice they disturbe the happinesse of our most happie peace, our Justices, inferior officers, Jurors, and Commons generally, may in this booke find out commended documents, and instructions profitable as wel directing how to govern as to be governed: all which particulars the learned Judge hath wisely handled with such plausible Oratorical wisedomes eloquence, as that when I heard him speake, I thought the Poet had just cause to say, Prospera lux orritur linguisque; animisque; favete: Nam dicenda bono sunt bona verba die.8 If therefore in this following worke my Memory hath given a true instruction to my pen, I hope my labour shalbe accounted profitable, when it administersapublique benefit.
The Lord Coke, the Preface to his Charge given at the Assises houlden in Norwich, the fourth of August, 1606.
Because I perceive the time hath more swiftly passed then I did expect: my strife and labour with my selfe, hath bin in my selfe to abreviate what I purpose to speak. And though my speech shall principally bee directed to you of the Jurie, which are sworne: yet for that I know the scope and summe of my endevours are solely dedicated to Gods glory and my countries publicke benefit, I hope that all my words shall extend unto the generall good of all these here present; unto whom they are spoken. For I do purpose in my course, as it were with a finger to point out those growing and groning evils, which doe not only for the present time disturb & hurt our Publique Weale, but doe also strive, and that with a most dangerous force to deface, ruin, & utterly subvert the Honors of our auncient name, & our now Great Brittaines Monarchie. But before the substance of my intended speech receives his purposed begining, I think it not amisse first to begin with my selfe, and of my selfe to speake thus much.
There was a certaine young Romane, whose youth so directed his labours, with industrious care to attaine to knowledge by the reading and study of good letters, as that the Senat of Rome amongst themselves determined to make that yong man a Judge: thereby with honored reputation to recompence the travels of his youth, & to give encouragement unto other Romane Citizens by their good endevors to attain unto like estate & credit in the government of Romes Publique Weale.
It happened that shortly after the determination by the Consuls & Senat agreed upon, the yong man upon whom the place of a Judge should be conferred, comming unto the knowledge therof, fell presently into a deepe consideration with himselfe about the force & Office of that worthy place wherunto he should be called. And first considered that in his owne opinion, he was most unfit: sufficiently to execute the substantiall and somtimes dangerous (though most commended duties) properly belonging to so great a dignity. For this yong Roman having many Friends, Kinsfolkes, & Allies, some of them of such Rancke & Place, in the authority of government, as that their love or hate could not aptly draw unto it selfe a light or trivial respect (amongst whom) this young man thoght that comming to be a Judge; time might unhappely produce some such occation wherin his sentence, in the place of Judgement, might give distaste, procure enimies, loose Friends & gaine suspect of hatefull partialitie. From which corrupt & most impoysoned evill, thogh this yong Roman did never so much desire, to stand cleared, yet Judging amongst Friends, & Kinsfolks, he should assuredly (as he thought) by some detractors, be therof suspected.
The Romaine Cittizen having thus unto himselfe presented divers Obsticles and Objections, which could not in his owne sence receive sufficient contradiction, he resolved by no meanes to take upon him the place & person of a Judge: but did use all his Friendes and greatest power of meanes to perswade the Senate, to alter their determination concerning him and to bestow so great an Office on some other, that might more worthily deserve the same.
Whilest this young man continued in a discontented passion, with purpose to desire some good advice, he goeth unto a faithfull friend of his, whom he acquainted with what the Senate purposed, and how loath he was to undertake so high an Office as to be a Judge. His friend upon hearing the cause, presently concluded, that hee had great reason to shun the execution of such an Office, in the discharge where of, so much danger rested. For (said he) Cave ne sis Judex inter Amicos because inter Amicos Judicare1 Amongst friends to judge, is a thing nothing more dangerous. And therefore be constantly advised, that in any wise he should refuse such honor, though offered unto him: and rather be contented with a meane and privat life, then in such a place to be imployed; in which he should assuredly loose old friends, and get new enemies.
This yong man (though thus by his friend advised, and in himselfe resolved never to take upon him any such, as he accounted dangerous dignitie) yet when he understood, that the Senat would not be altered in their purpose, but that by them the place was decreed unto him, he then determined with himselfe, to trie the counsell of some other friend, whose Judgement and Experience might beare some generall note, in directing the high affaires to the State belonging. And in this purpose he went unto a certain Nobleman, whose prudent wisdome had oft bin used in businesse of most weighty consequence: unto whom, when he had laid open his mind, shewed his griefe, and signified the Senats pleasure. The noble Gentleman with pleasant, yet grave alacritie of spirit (seasoned with the soundnesse of a learned and understanding wisedome) did most powerfully advise, that this young man should cheerefully accept so worthy an Office, being so freely bestowed upon him. And that he should by no means seeme to neglect the gracious clemencie of supreme authoritie. Nor in any sort account it dangerous amongst friends to judge: for in the Office and execution of Judgement, he that is a Judge (Desinet esse Amicus 2) ceaseth to be a friend: for in the manner of judgement, no acquaintance, no griefes, no friends, no remembrance of fore-passed present, or hope of future friendship must direct the thoughts of him that is a Judge. All that on judgements seat is done, must be, because justice commaunds the doing thereof, and that with no other affection, but onely because it is just. And therefore said this Noble Gentleman unto his friend, arme thy selfe, in the constancie of a conscionably uprightnes, and be noe longer loath to execute the Honorable Office of a Judge, but in thy love to Romes Common-wealth, dedicate thy laboures to her publique benifit.
By the grave and sage advice of that Honored Lord, this yong man wasperswaded contrarie to his former purpose, with humble thankfulnes to accept that Office, which the Senate without any meanes of his, was pleased freelie to bestowe upon him: and yer genrallie made shew as if he ment the contrarie and soddainlie preparing a sumptuous Feast, unto which he envited all his Friends, Kinsfolke, and familiar acquintance, seeming that in regard he did rather choose to leave his Countrie, then to take upon him the Office of a Judge: he had provided a Banquet or Feast, to Banquet with his Friends before his departure: and in some solemne maner would take leave of them all. Who being, as they thought, to this end assembled: did sorrowfully expect the occasion of their griefe, by the departure of their friend, which when the yong man perceived, he spake thus unto them.
It is true that I purpose as I must, to take my leave of you all, and to be a stranger to my dearest friends, and nearest Allies: I must forget all former friendships, and my most familiar Acquaintance, I must accompt as greatest strangers unto me; Thus must I depart from you, & yet continue amongst you, for by the love, power & authoritie of the Senate, I am appointed to be a Judge, and in the seate of Justice, I must forget the remembrance of your former friendships and acquaintance, and onely in the person of a Judge, with respect tokeepemyconscience cleare, I must with equitie & uprightnes, justly administer justice unto you all. And this is my cause, by the love & favour of my greatest maister King James, in whose royall and gratious disposition I am, (Sinè precationeè, vel precatio,3 without price or request, freely called unto this great Office, by the favour of my King) Unto whose service, my life, and all I have is humbly bound, by him, and by his gratious Clemency, I am thus sent to bee a Judge amongst my Kinsfolkes and familiar friends, even in bosome of my native Country.
I must therefore as the young Romaine did, take leave of all former Acquaintance, & do that which is just unto all Estates and Degrees, without partialitie. Which dutie (by Gods permission and assistance) I will faithfully performe, so long as God and my King shall please: that in this place I be employed in the uprightnesse and equitie of Judgement, shall all my performance entirely consist. The contrarie whereof shall (as I hope) neither be desired nor expected. And thus much for my selfe.
¶ Here followeth the words of his Charge in Order.
As concerning the manner and Method of my charge, I will for order and memorie sake, extract or draw forth all that I purpose to speak, from five words in his Majesties Commission contained: the words are these; Quis, Quibus, Quid, Quomodo, and de Quibus.1Quis, from whom the Commission commeth; Quibus, to whom it is directed; Quid, what it concerneth; Quomodo, how it ought to be executed; and de Quibus, of who, and of what causes, wee are to enquire by vertue of the Commission unto us graunted: and this last, De Quibus is of all the rest the greatest.
As touching the first word, Quis, whom, or from whom our Commission commeth, that is, from the Imperiall Majestie of Great Brittaines Monarchie, our dread Lord, and Soveraigne, King James, the lawfull Heyre unto our Kingdomes Throne: whose Princely Scepter is his proper owne, by a most royall and lineall discent. It is his Commission, by whose powerfull authoritie we are now and at all times commaunded to doe him service: for the awfull sway of his Soveraigne government doth, ought, and must injoyne all his subjects to a due subjection and obedience; for he is over us the Lords annointed, and in these his Realmes and Dominions, in all Causes, & over all Persons, as well Ecclesiasticall as Civile, next under Christ Jesus our supreame Governour. Unto his Highnesse then let our lives submission bend; let our faiths loyaltie dedicate it selfe unto his vertues praise: and for the long continuance of his Majesties most happie, powerfull, and victorious Rule, let all good subjects pray.
Now that I have spoken from whom our Commission commeth, the next word which doth direct my worke is, Quibus, To whom it is directed, that is, To us his Majesties Justices of Assise, to whome by vertue of the Kings Commission is given such power, as that in the administration of Justice wee doe represent the person of our King: So as if in the time of the Assises one shall strike another in the presence of the Judge, be it no more then a blow on the eare, the Law provideth, That the offendor shall loose his hand, wherewith hee gave the stroake, because the offence was done as in the presence of the Prince: For the Law hath so much care to protect the person of a Judge: As that if a Justice of Assise shall happen by any in his Circuit to be slaine, the Law adjudgeth it to bee Lese Crimen Majestatis,2 An offence done against the Majestie of the King, and is punishable, as in cause of Treason.
To shew the worthinesse of our Place and Office, you shall understand, that the Kings Majestie at his Coronation is sworne to doe Justice unto all his Subjects, which in his owne Person it is impossible to performe. And therfore his Highnesse is constrayned by his Ministers, Deputies, Justices, and Judges, to administer Justice unto all his people. Men therfore (in such place employed) ought with wonderous care, & conscionable diligence to discharge the trust in them reposed: for unto them, & into their hands, is (as it were) delivered the Kings owne Oath; because, what he is sworne unto, must be by them in his behalfe performed. See then the dignity of the Justices and Judges of Assizes, Assignavimus vos Justiciaries nostros. We have assigned you our Justices, and you may administer Justice unto our Subjects. Thus by the Kings Commission the Kings owne Oath is put into our hands: and at this instant (in the place and person of a Judge) my Soveraignes Oath into my hands is put: I (though his unworthie Subject) am by his gracious clemencie Authorized (as in his owne person) according to his owne Oath, to administer Justice unto you his Subjects: Which duty (by Gods assistance) as I have vowed, I will faithfully performe: For if any (with a Kings Oath trusted) shall be so vilde, as to falsifie their trust, such offence is more then Capitall.
The Place of a Judge then, the greater that it is, so much the more should their care be, to discharge the same, upon whom so weighty an Office and Honorable Authoritie is bestowed.
From whom our Commission commeth, and to whom it is directed, hath bin briefely specified: I will now proceed, and shew out of this word Quid, what is in the Commission contained. Briefely therefore, it is that bounded limit, in which solely doth consist the strength of our authoritie; beyondwhich compasse we are commaunded not to passe: For it appointeth unto us the Justices of Assises, what it is that wee must execute, as well in causes betwixt partie and partie, as also the King and partie depending. So as wee are not onely to heare, judge, and determine, such Causes of Controversie, as shall by Writ of Nisi prius3 bee tryed, but also to examine, acquit, or condemne all such Prisoners, as shall for any offence against his Majestie bee brought before us, to receive their Tryall. So that by vertue of our Commission wee have authoritie, as in the person of our Soveraigne, to judge in causes, that doe concerne the life and death of the Subject.
That our Commission then is very Large, Ample, and Absolute, contayning in it selfe a powerfull Authoritie, may by your selves bee judged. And to the end, that Justice may by us receyve the more full sound and perfect Execution, Our Commission, when it hath largely described unto us what wee may doe therein, it then most sweetely doth Appoint, Limit, and Commaund. What manner of doing we must use in those thinges appointed to bee done, so that it dooth not onely give unto us authoritie, what to execute, but dooth also lay downe unto us the manner how our Authoritie must bee executed, and to the understanding here of, my next word Quomodo doth direct it selfe.
Wee then, the justices of Assises and Gaole Deliverie, are by his Majestie appointed to administer justice unto his Subjects; but Quomodo, how, not according to our owne Will, Conceit, or Opinion, but Secundum Legem & Consuetudinem Moduli Anglicani,4 According to the Lawe, Custome, and Manner of England: Which Lawe, Custome, and Manner must bee executed with Knowledge, judgement, understanding, and Equitie. For wee must know our selves, and Place wherein wee are: Wee must Knowe and understand each cause before us brought, and according to our Knowledge and understanding, wee must uprightly Judge, according to Equitie, without (in the least sort) beeing drawne, by respecting eyther Person or Profite, to beare a Partiall Hand in the Execution of Judgement.
Partialitie in a Judge, is a Turpitude, which doth soyle and stayne all the Actions done by him. A Judge that will bee Partiall, will receive a Bribe, and such an one cannot by any meanes bee just, in his manner of Judging. Brybes, and Partiall dealyng dooth defile the Puritie of Justice, with great suspected Evill: For a Judge, if but in some things he be knowne to take a Bribe, or be approved Partiall, he leaveth no one Action done by him, free from the like suspect. A Judge that for a Bribe will speake, and but once execute a Justice purchased, all his words & Actions for ever after may justly bee suspected, though never so uprightly done or spoken.
A Judge must uprightly, with an equall and indifferent eare and minde fully heare and understand each cause before hee judgeth; otherwise, it is not possible that justice should bee justly executed: And to judge in a point of difference, hearing but one partie speake, is assuredly to be unjust; for this sentence is directly true: Qui Judicat causam parte inaudita altera, Æquum licet, Statuat, Judex iniquus est:5 Who judgeth a cause for the one partie, not hearing the other, though what he doth, may stand to be upright, yet is the Judge unjust.
Our auncient Fathers did in their Pictures and Emblemes of ten time senclose a very great and substantiall wisedome: Justice (as you know) useth ever to bee painted with a Sword in the one hand, and a paire of Scales or Ballance in the other; thereby signifying, That Justice never strikes her Stroke, till first the cause be weighed in the Ballance; her Blow comes not, until the weight of the Cause to be tried, hath by an upright hand equally received sufficent triall: for then she knoweth rightly how to strike her stroke and not before: when the glory of her dignity shall receive perfectious Honor, as wel by protecting the Good, as in punishing the Bad.
Mee thinkes, that oftentimes when I ryde by the way, I see the Effects of Justice rightlie resembled, when I behold a River with a silver currant, bounded in her equall course, with what just proportion shee doth disperse her streames, without bewraying any little rage of intemperate violence. But if the passage of that streame bee stopt; then how like a raging Sea, shee over-flowes her banckes: and that then by an unresisted force, the Meadowes, humble Vallies, weake and low growne Shrubs are drowned up; enduring a recure-lessewracke, whilest Hilles & Mountaines stand safe from feare of harme. Even so it fareth with us: The equall course of Justice being stayed, the poore & meaner sort of people they are overwhelmed with wrongs oppression, whilest great and wealthy men, like Hilles and Mountaines, buyld their Stations sure, being freed from any cause of griefe: Justice with-held, only the poorer sort are those that smart for it.
Justice unto all estates doth measure an even proportion to rich and poore, her met-wand keepes an equall length, being sealed with the testimonie of an upright conscience. To Kings, Rulers, Judges, and Magistrates, this sentence is proper: Vos Dii estis;6 you are Gods on earth: when by your execution of Justice and Judgement, the God of heaven is by your actions represented: but if by us, that so are called Gods, Justice and Judgement be perverted; it will be heavy for our soules, when we shall dye like men.
Briefly, the office of a Judge, is patiently to heare each party speake soberly; to answere or object, directly; to see (as neere as may bee possible) each truth substantially prooved: And then to Judge with an upright heart according to Justice and Equitie: Never in any one thing preferring Conclusion, before a conscionable, wise, and judiciall Consideration. In which uprightnesse, the execution of Justice used by the Right Honourable (my most worthie Predecessor) in this place shall be an Example, which I will desire to follow.
Of all the Morall vertues, Justice (Queene like) is enthroned: for unto her onely is a Throne ascribed, because her Execution doth neerest represent Heavens eternall Deitie. Justice and Mercie are inseparable Vertues; Mercie and Judgement, as it was Righteous King Davids, and lately our good Queenes, heavenly Elizabeth: so it is nowe vertuous King James his Song, in whose princely breast Mercie and Judgement are most gloriously united. And to the end, that I his Subject, and in his place his Substitute, and you his Subjects may execute Justice as wee ought, I will nowe out of my last word, de Quibus, declare unto you, of whom, and of what Causes wee are to enquire, that Justice and Judgement may thereby receive a more cleare and powerfull Execution.
Those then of whome wee are in the first place to enquire, are such, by whome our King is most disobeyed, his State disturbed, and Kingdomes threatened: Whereof (if you consider) it will be evident, That all those growing and desperate attempting evils, by which, wee are most prowdly menaced and afflicted, doe principally proceed from three sorts of Recusants living amongst us. Of all which, the Popish Recusant is the most dangerous with our English Romanists will I therefore at the first begin, and in the discription of their Actions and practises, I doe desire that my wordes may bee entertained with your best Attention.
Our Worldes Admired Queene, Renowned Elizabeth, did (as you know) in the beginning of her Raigne, change the State of Religion in this Kingdome in her first Parlament, by the consent of her Lordes Spirituall and Temporall, being especially by the Lord of Heaven directed, Error, Popish blindnesse, and Faithlesse Constitutions grounded upon Humaine Traditions were extinct. And Religions Puritie according to the Law of Faith, was Reestablished, being built upon the unremoved foundation, of the alone Authenticke word Canonicall. The bookes of the old and newe Testament, from the trueth whereof, shee did alwayes direct the course of her so happie and Tryumphant Government.
Notwithstanding, the Change of Religon, it cannot bee denyed. That for the first tenne yeeres, of her Majesties Raigne, the estate of Romaine Catholique in England was Tollerable, though some were Committed in the beginning of her Comming to the Crowne, yet none but those whose precedent Actions, had caused the faith of their Allegience to remaine doubtfull, and so was the manner of their commitment mixed with such gratious Clemencie. As that they rather endured a favourable restraint, then any straight or rigorous imprisonment, But as well those so restrayned, as generally all the Papists in this Kingdome, not any of them did refuse to come to our Church, and yeeld their formall Obedience to the Lawes Established. And thus they all Continued, not any one refusing to Come to our Churches, during the first tenne yeeres of her Majesties government. And in the beginning of the eleventh yeere of her Raigne, Cornewallyes, Beddingfield and Silyarde were the first Recusants. They absolutely refusing to come to our Churches. And untill they in that sort began the name of Recusant, was never heard of amongst us.
In the beginning of the eleventh yeere, when three Recusants were onely in this Kingdome to bee found. In the same yeere, Pope Impius, though abusively surnamed Pius Quintus, his Hellishnes was informed by some of our English Jesuits, that such was the number of Romaine Catholiques here in England, as that if his Horriblenesse would denounce an Excommunication against the Queene there was in this Realme and Kingdome, a power Catholical which would presently upon an instant be in redinesse, to enter into open hostilitie with force sufficient to depose, and utterly to supplant her Highnes; and to reestablish the Romaine faith.
Pope Impius of that name the firste, upon the Information specified the better to sever his hope in his good meaning to this Kingdome, presently plotteth with the King of Spaine for a suddaine Invasion upon the present Excommunication of the Queene. And to this end one Robert Rodulphy a gentleman of Florence, was sent by the Pope, under colour of Marchandize, to sollicit a Rebellion amongst us. And gave order unto him for the receiving of one hundred and fiftie thousand Crownes, to set forward this Attempt. And Phillip King of Spaine, by the instance of the Pope, had determined to send the Duke of Alna into England, with all his forces in the Low Countries To Assist some great men amongst us, who were by the Pope Sollicited, to be the principall Agents in a most Rebellious enterprise, unto whome some of the one hundred and fiftie Thousand Crowns was delivered, and some other part sent into Scotland for the like effect.
Thus as you have heard even at the same time, when her Majesty the late Queene, delt most mercifully with the Papists, did the Pope with them conspire to worke her Ruyne, & this Kingdomes Overthrowe, secretly complaninghow on sodaine they might bring upon us Distructions, Spoyle, and generall Desolation, when our then Soveraigne that Queene of Vertue, knowing Shee had diserved no such evill, did not in the least sort suspect any such danger.
The Pope having as he thought surely Established the foundation of his hopes; Hee then Denounced the Excommunication against the Queene which was not unto her selfe made knowne, untill the intended Rebellion in the North brake forth, a little before Christmas, in the yeere 1569, being the twelfth yeere of her Highnesse Raigne. And then it was knowne, that the Pope had Excommunicated her Majestie. And thereby freed her Subjects as the Bull imported, from their Subjection and Obedience. But God was pleased that the Popes Bull was so Bayted, as that the Rebellion by it procured, was sodainly suppressed; For the Pope whose labour is to defend Lies, was himselfe deceived with a lie, for the strength of the Papists here not being such as hee was enformed, The true harted Protestants taking parte with their Soveraigne, did quickly Cutt the Throats of our English Romaines, dryving some of the heads of that Rebellion, unto a shamefull flight, and brought the rest by our Lawes Justice, to a shamefull death.
Her Majestie in the thirteenth yeere of her Raigne, having made the Law before specified, the very next yeere following, out Commeth Sanders Booke de Visibili Monarchya,7 wherein he plainely seteth downe how the Pope had sent one Morton and Web, two Priests before the said Rebellion to the Lords & Gentlemen in the North, to Excite them, with their followers, to take up Armes, signifying unto them the Popes Commandement: Alleadging, That her Majestie being excommunicated, Her Subjects were released from their Obedience. And therefore he doth Directly Justifie the sayd Commotion. Ascribing the evill successe thereof to the late publishing of the saide Excommunication. Because it was not generally knowne, untill the yeere after it was Denounced. When Felton had set it upon the Bishop of Londons gate. Affyrming that if it had bin published the yeere before, or when the Rebells were in Armes, they had assuredly prevailed against the Queene, and executed the saide Sentence at the same time, for her deposinge from the Crowne.
Thus Trayterously with more then Brazen Insolence, did that Traytor Sanders spitt out his poysoned venim. Thereby desiring to Corrupt the hearts of her highnes Subjects, and to make them fit for a newe Rebellion, which course by him taken, was Immitated by Parsons, & many others to the like effect. Who ceased not by there Hereticall and Lying Pamphlits, with most Trayterous impudencie, to abuse her Majestie and the State. And not thus contented, in the yeere one thousand five hundred seventie and nine, Stukely assisted by Sanders, and other Catholiques, both English, Irish, and Italian, with the Popes Commission, entred into Ireland. The Pope himselfe, in the furtherance of that Course sending thither certaine forces upon his owne Charge, Whilest all that time, her Majestie that Queene of mercie was so farre frombeingmoved, as that with Patience, shee endured all these Injuries, onely inforcing that one Lawe, which as you have heard, shee most Justly made against them.
Whilest Ireland by the Popes procurement remained in Combustion. It happened that, Pius Quintus dyed, and Gregorie the thirteenth succeeded in his place, who presently Reneweth his Predecessors former Bull, and denounced her Majestie to bee Excommunicated, with Intimation of all other particulers in the former Bull mentioned, which done, there was by him sent over into England. Campion and Parsons, they came unto us in the yeere one thousand five hundred and eightie, their comming was to Alienate the hearts of her Majesties Subjects, from their due obedience. And to make a partie strong to depose the Queene, Joyning with the Pope, and King of Spaine, by whome there was then an intended preparation against us. But the Attempts and practises of them both at that instant fayling in England. The Pope as a Temporall Prince, displayeth his Banner in Ireland, with purpose to deprive her Highnes. First from that Kingdome, and then by degrees to depose her from this. Notwithstanding so mild was the proceedings of her Majestie against them, as that there were in the space of Tenne yeers, not much above twelve persons, that were by the Justice of her Lawes adjudged to die, and the most of them Semenaries, and all of them Convicted in causes of Treason.
Her Majestie when shee heard of the second Excommunication, and had seene what followed in her Kingdome upon the first. Shee was then in all Christian Pollecie enjoyned to prevent the successe of dangers imminent. Her Highnesse therefore, in the yeere one thousand five hundred eightie and one, caused a Proclamation to bee made for the calling home of her Subjects from beyond the Seas, such especially as were Trayned up in the Seminaries, perceiving that they learned nothing there but disloyaltie, & Treason. And presently after this her Proclamation, shee called a Parliament, wherein a Lawe was agreeable in effect to the sayd Proclamation, enforced with a penaltie of death, for any Jesuite or Seminary Priest, to repayre into England, and for any to receive or intertaine them, shee would willingly that those of such profession, should keep themselves without the Limits of her Kingdome.
But if against her will, they would come into her Land to sow the seed of Sedition, and Rebellion amongst her Subjects, and to lay, their plots how to supprize her life, and to make a way for Forraigne Enemies with bloodiehandes to enter uppon her Dominions. And by Hostill Invasion to bring her Kingdomes to distruction, and to expose her people unto the Slaverie of a servile yoake, What shoulde her Majestie lesse have done in the prevention of such a Lamentable evill, but to hang up them that were the principall Actors in so bloodie and Tragecall a Tyranny.
From the yeere eighty one, to eightie eight, her Majestie was not free from Continual Traiterous and Rebellious practises, desperately attempted against her life, or intended subvertion of her Kingdome. First the Popes forces being over-throwne in Ireland, the Pope and King of Spaine, presently joyned with the Duke of Guise, for the executing of a most desperate disignment against her Majestie. Arden and Someruilde, would have layd vyolent handes upon her sacred person. Doctor Parrie, intended the like villanie. Northumberland revolted from his Obedience. Mendoza the Jesuite, and others of that Crue or Sect, appointed by the Pope to order and Mannage these develish designments.
In the yeare eightie, to forerunne the purposed Spanish Invasion, against which time Campion, Parsons, Haywoode, and all the Jesuites and Seminaries, had so besturred themselves. There is certaine bookes printed beyond the Seas, sent hither into England, thereby to prepare the hearts of our people, to Joyne with Spaine, and to take up armes against their Soveraigne, with perswasions grounded upon this position. Viz. That in all warres which may happen for Religion: every Catholike man is joyned in conscience to imploy his person and forces by the Popes direction, that is, how far, when, where, & how either at home or abroad, he may and must breake with his temporall Soveraigne, and that upon paine of deadly sinne. Upon a foundation so diabolical: What fruits other then devillish can be expected? And yet, do but further note how damnable a spirit is in their bookes and writings bewrayed.
All the Papists in this kingdome, were most violently perswaded, that upon the Spanish invasion, they should all joyne their greatest force with Spaine. It was in them accounted an error of conscience, want of courage, and effeminate dastardie, that they had suffered her Majestie almost thirtie yeares to raigne over them. They were threatned with Excommunication, and utter ruine, both of themselves and their posteritie, if they did any longer obey and defend, or acknowledge her highnes to be their Queene or superior, and did not foorthwith joyne their forces to the Spaniards. And to the end, that this most godlesse, trayterous, inhumane and unnaturall appointment, by subjects to their lawfull annointed Soveraigne, and native countrey, might receive the better acceptance; There was used a most insinuating, though faithlesse manner of perswasion, guilded over with a seeming shew of Holinesse: (For thus, our English Romane Catholikes were promised) That in the king of Spaines armie, there were diverse Priests readie to serve everie mans spirituallnecessitie, by confession, counsell, and all consolation in Christ Jesus, and that they should be so assisted by the blessed patrons, both in heaven, and in earth, with the gard of all Gods holy Angels, with our blessed Saviour in the soveraigne Sacrament, and with the dailye, most holy Oblation of Christs owne deare body and bloud. As that it could not fall out otherwise, but that they should assuredly prevaile: Herby may the world perceive in what Angelike manner of brightnesse Popish doctrine can suite treasons damnable, even as blacke as hell.
You have heard what preparation was provided by the Pope and Papists, for the furtherance of Spaines intended invasion, we will now proceed to matter of action. And but call to our remembrance (that ever to bee remembred) powerfull worke of God: for our deliverance in the yeare 88. The king of Spanes Armado, that admirable, and warlike navie, so well furnished with valiant souldiers, and all munition fit for warre, when suddenly we were in danger by a Potent enemie to be surprised, when her late Majesties Royall Navie, was scarily put foorth to sea. And the best ships of strength not fully furnished with shot and powder, as was necessarie in so weightie a businesse: yet to the never dying glory of a maiden Queene, such was her princely power, although at sea but in part unprovided, as that by the love and grace of heavens eternall providence, her Majestie by a most noble Battell at sea, even in the presence of her kingdoms Territories, did utterly disperse and overthrow, that surnamed invincible Spanish navie, so that not any Spaniards floate, (unlesse brought captive could arrive) upon her Englands shoare. Nor but verie few of their so much admired fleete of shippes, returned to their native home. Thus did God on Queene Elizabeth bestow a glorious victorie, even in the despite of Pope, Papist, trayterous Jesuits, Seminaries, Monkes, Friers, and all the rablement of that Antichristian Sec.
The power of Spaine, was brought against us, by the procurement of our English Papists, and what recompence was intended for them, in the charitie of their catholike profession may appeare, by that which the Duke of Medina Sidonia affirmed, which was, That both Catholickes and Heretikes that came in his way, should be all one to him, his sword could not discerne them, so he might make way for his master, all was one to him. Thus did Papists, as still they doe, desire to worke our downefall in the certaintie of their owne destruction.
God having shewed his love to our late Queene and kingdome, by that wonderfull deliverance before described: The Pope to further his accustomed indevours, practised with Spaine, about a new invasion, and the better to bring his purpose to passe: Parsons, that auncient Jesuite, and most notorioustraytor, under the Pope, chiefe governour of all the Jesuits, (principall enemiesto Jesus,) was placed in the Spanish Court, by whose perswasion there was a new Seminarte erected at Valedolyde, from whence in three yeares, there was sent thirteene priests into England, to prepare a passage for the new intended invasion. Whereupon in the yeare 1591. a Proclamation went forth for the apprehending of all such Priests or Seminaries, as should come from Spaine. Because their intention was knowne unto the State here. But to the end the Divell (the Pope I should say) might want no instrument for the effecting of murthers, treasons, and rebellions, by Parsons procurement, more Seminaries were erected in Spaine, (and England still troubled with Romes trayterous disciples. But the new invasion being twise set on foote, God did so warre against their purposes, as that their prepared Navie was at sea, dispersed by stormes, so as most of them endured shipwracke.
That expectation failing, then was the Infant of Spaine intituled to the Crowne of England: (and to that end, sundry bookes divulged) Queene Elizabeth was by them accounted a tyrant: more tyrannicall then Nero, Decius, Dioclesion, Maxentius, or any the greatest persecutors of the Christians: Not thus contented, from the yeare 88. to the yeare 99. therewerecontinualtreasons practised against the Royall person of her late Majestie, Patricke, Collen, Lopez, Torke, Williams, Squire, all attempting to murther her Highnesse.
All these attempts, plots, projects, & trayterous stratagems, taking no effect. Then was there from the Pope a new Bull sent, wherby the Papists were commaunded to use a formall maner of obedience, until they might grow to be a strength sufficiently strong to depose the Queene. Which expectation once accomplished, then had they power by the said Bull to take up armes against her. Thus they never left continuall practising, untill a little before her Majesties death: about which time, by some of the principall Agents, in the last most horrible treason, there was complotted another Spanish invasion: For the accomplishing wherof, the yonger Winter was a messenger unto the King of Spaine, and Gujdo Fawkes unto the Pope, and a third was imployed to the Archduke.
The King of Spaine at that time beeing our enemie, entertained Winters motion, with most kinde acceptance, protesting that the English Catholiks should bee as deare unto him, as his home-borne Castillians, and in love to the intended businesse, vowed in the word of a King to defend their safety, (all which, as souldiers say, with pollicie in warre he might do) beeing then our enemy. But it is a matter cleane out of my Element, and therefore I will dispute no further about it: But the Counsell of Spaine holding a conference about the mannaging of the plot by Winter layd. It was objected that there would be want of horse for such a businesse. Whereupon Winter undertaketh to furnish them with a certaine number, and receiveth gold to that end. At last the purposed designement being embraced with a generall consent, a souldier standing by, being some Commander, a Captaine, or such like, ruffles out this souldier like Latine, Nunc temptus pro nobis erit aliquid obtinere: [Now shall it be time for us to get something]. But in the middest of this intended preparation, it happened, that her Majestie Royall, and most gracious Elizabeth died: And our now Imperiall Soveraigne King James, did both inherite her kingdomes and her vertues.
His Majestie beeing with peace established in his royall seate, the king of Spaine would no longer embrace his former purposed appointment: Nor would consent, that any thing should against a king be plotted, with whom he never had warre: Nor by whom he never received any injurie. So as our Papists were in that behalfe dismissed of their expected hope: and enforced to seeke out some other meanes; and now I will betray a secret (I am sure not generally knowne.) In the discourse whereof I doe desire attention.
Pope Clement the ninth, who was accounted the last best of many Popes, (all notwithanding being naught.) He understanding Spaines purpose, as before is specified, concerning an invasion, supposing that the Queene might die before that businesse tooke effect: And foreseeing unto whom thesekingdomes should of right descend, sent secretly a Bull into England, which was so closely concealed, amongst our Papistes here, as that her Majestie in her life time knewe not thereof. (For if she had) I am sure, that by reason of mine employment neare unto her: I should have heard if she had knowne any such thing. But assuredly both her selfe, and the State, were ignorant thereof.
But now this Bull being brought to light (which my selfe have seen & read) it importeth thus much quando contingeret illam miserimam Elizabetham mortuam esse.8 That when that miserable wench Elizabeth should happen to dye, Tunc nos volumus.9 Then we will, that all and every of you, do use your best & uttermost endevors quo basunque modes et vis10 by what strength or meanes so ever to keepe out the Scottish Hereticke, that in any wise he may not be admitted to the kingdome of England, unlesse he would reconcile himselfe to Rome, and hold his crowne of the Pope, and conforme himselfe and all his subjects to the religion of the Romane Church. This Bull until Garnet was taken, slept in England, beeing filled with a most proud, scornfull and Trayterous boldnesse.
When that miserimam faeminam11Miserable woman or wench Elizabeth shall dye, had the Papall proud usurper, no other attribute to bestowe upon a Queene then Miserable wench? shee lived Renowned thorough all the Corners of the worlde, shee ruled in peace, beloved of all her Subjects, unlesse those infected with the Romane Leprosie, shee was admired, & feared, confronting all oppositions, with undoubted confidence, shee was a Prince potent enough, to defend her Kingdomes and to helpe her Neighbours beeing oppressed with glorious victorie she beat Spaine from off her coasts, and rifled him in the bosome of his owne kingdome, wrapping his townes and shippes in cloudes of fire and smoake. She swaied the Roiall Scepter of her kingdomes government with triumphant victorie maintaining peace amongst her people, even in the worlds dispight, 44 yeares her unmatched wisdome, and unconquered prowes crowned her the Peereles wonder of her sexe: she liv’d and died a Queene, her life beloved, and her death lamented: And yet for all this, was she no more in the Popes account, then a miserable wench. Let the Popes pride sinke to hell: whilest heavens Elizabeth (whose blessed soule from earth to heaven is taken) doth, and shall with God and Christ for ever live in the heavenly glorie of eternall happinesse.
Pope Clement the ninth, having by his Bull, as before specified, given commaundement that the Papists should by all meanes howsoever withhold our now Soveraigne from his lawfull right. (And notwithstanding that Rebellious Commission,) his Majestie being with great joy peaceably enstalled. Peersie & Catesby went unto their great Provinciall Garnet, & of him enquired, whether the king being as he was already established, they might by vertue of the Popes Bull, use any meanes to supplant or depose him, considering they were not of force to withstand his comming at the first. And Garnet answered, that undoubtedly they might, whereupon they presently resolved to put in execution that most horrible powder treason, the like whereof, untill that time, was never to the world reported.
Some are of opinion, that if a tolleration of religion had bin admitted unto the Papists: that then no such bloudie stratagem should by any of them have bene practised. But if you shall consider the tenor of the Popes Bull, you may then perceive, that their request of indifferent Tolleration was but a colourable pretence in them. For that might not have served the turnes: For they were enjoyned to worke his Majesties overthrow, unlesse hee would reconcile himselfe to Rome, hold his Crown of the Pope, and conforme himselfe and all his subjects to the Religion of the Roman Church: It is not then a toleration only which they seeke, nor could they have beene contented therewith (although so much shall never be graunted unto them.) They may therefore easily despaire of the rest (though they the Pope and the Divell) doe never so much conspire to bring their Hell-borne practises to passe.
As touching the last horred treason, by inhuman savages complotted: I knowe not what to speake, because I want words, to describe the trayterous, detestable, tyrannicall bloudy, murtherous villany of so vilde an action. Onely this had their horrible attempt taken place. This Sea Invyronde ylande, the beauty, and wonder of the world. This so famous and farre renown’d great Brittains Monarchy, had at one blowe endured a recoverlesse ruine, beeing overwhelmed in a sea of bloud, all those evils, should have at one instant happened, which would have made this happiest kingdome of all kingdomes, the most unhappy. Our conquering Nation, conquered in her selfe: her faire and fertile bosome, beeing by her owne native (though foule unnatural children) torne in peeces, should have beene made a scorne to all the nations of the earth. This so well planted, pleasant, fruitfull worlds, accounted Edens paradise, should have beene by this time, made a place disconsolate, a wast and desert wildernesse, generally overrunne with heards of bloud-desiring wolves. This so well govern’d, Populous, potent Monarchy, had in one moment beene left without either King, Queene, Prince, State, Nobility, Law, Justice, or any strength of government, sodainly had we then beene throwne not onely to the cruelty of civill warre, that too too murtherous Domestick spoyling enemie: But also even in that instant generally have beene exposed unto the all-devouring hand of forraine Enemies, in our Congregations, the songs of Syon had no more been sung: But in their steed had bin brought unto us the songs of Gehenna set from Rome: that Sathans synagogue, all our best-freedomes liberty, had by this bene turn’d into the worst bondage of most slavish servitude: Papists, Romane Catholickes that would have wrought all our destructions thus; Should not justice, justly then commaund their actions chiefly to be enquired of.
If what hath bene spoken, be unto your memories committed, you may then consider, that from the eleventh yeare of Queene Elizabeths Raigne, untill the third yeare of our now Soveraignes government, the Papists have continually labored to advance the supremacy of the Romane Church, which to accomplish they have contended thirty foure years, in which time they have not omitted to practise Treasons and Rebellions onely amongst us here at home. But have also complotted to bring upon us Forraine Invasions, & that from time to time, so soone as they were dismissed of one hope, they presently set a foote some other project: both at home and abroad: and still being by the love and mercy of God towards us continually prevented: At last, taking counsell with hell, and Sathan, they had practised a most hellish attempt. wherein their Divellishnesse brought it selfe nearest to the nature of the Divell, making fire and brimstone the instruments of our destruction. And though the principall Actors of that evill, have thereby themselves destroyed: yet the former experience of their continuall attempting may give us warning, that they will not yet sease to attempt, and though that Jesuites and Seminaries have beene the principall Agents in all the severall complotted treasons, and that the Papists amongst us cannot generally be accused, yet thus much I must say, those persons, and that Religion whereby Jesuites and Seminaries are received, protected and concealed, are equally to be accounted daungerous, for were there not such receivers amongst us, Romes state, Traytors would not so fast come, swymming from Tyber hither to arrive at Tyborne. Onely I conclude, therefore, that if in great Brittaine, there were no Papists, this Monarchy should be as free from treason as any Nation in the world.
But now deare Contrimen, seeing you have heard what godlesse and dangerous practises have continually by Romes favorites beene plotted against us. I desire that with attention you will understand what it is (as they say) for which with such vehemency they contend. The world is made believe, that the advancement of Religion is the onely cause for which they strive, wherein they joyne themselves unto the Pope, because there is no religion good, but that which is by the Pope allowed, wherein my purpose is to binde all Papists unto their owne assertion.
That Pius Quintus12 whome those of their side doe account to have beene a good Pope (though by false perswasions too much misled) before the time of his excommunication against Queene Elizabeth denounced, sent his letter unto her Majestie, in which hee did allow the Bible, and Booke of divine service, as it is now used amongst us, to bee authenticke, and not repugnant to truth. But that therein was contayned enough necessary to salvation, (though there was not in it, so much as might conveniently bee) and that hee would also allowe it unto us, without chaunging any parte: so as her Majestie would acknowledge to receive it from him the Pope, (and by his allowance) which her Majestie denying to do, she was then presently by the same Pope excommunicated: And this is the truth concerning Pope Pius Quintus, as I have faith to God and men. I have oftentimes heard avowed by the late Queene her owne wordes: And I have conferred with some Lordes that were of greatest reckoning in the State, who had seene and read the letter, which the Pope sent to that effect: as have bene by me specified. And this upon my credit, as I am an honest man, is most true.
By this then all our English Papistes, either Jesuites or Seminaries may learne to knowe that it is not Religion that they strive for, but onely to maintaine the Antichristian head of Romes usurpt supremacie. And if there bee in this presence any Romane Catholickes, or so manie of this nation, as shall heare of that which hath now beene spoken, I entreate them, as my deare and loving Countrey men, that they will no longer bee seduced, by any living spirite sent from Rome, the Pope, whom they beleeve, hath himselfe allowed, that in our Church, We have a doctrine of Faith and Religion, sufficiently necessarie to Salvation: Deere Countreymen, wee have then enough, and neede not the helpe of anie Pope, Sythence all the Papistes generally came unto our Churches before our late Queene Elizabeth was excommunicated.) Against our Dread Soveraigne there is no Excommunication denounced. In Gods name, then let us joyne in our prayers, and Sacraments, and performe a due obedience to God, and to our King, as wee are all of one Nation, so let us be all of one Church, and Christ beeing onely our head, let us all desire as in one sheepfolde, to be the sanctified members of his glorious bodie.
If there be any Papists so foolish, and altogether reasonlesse, as to expect that in time his Majestie may be drawne to such alteration, or Tolleration: as they desire, I will them assuredly to know, they hope in vaine, for his Majestie is, and ever hath beene confidently resolved, in matter of Religion, to continue the selfe same order and profession, which he now professeth. Whereof I will give you an instance, Since the time of the Earle of Northumberlands Imprisonment, there was amongst his papers found a letter, which was objected against him in Starre Chamber, when himselfe was called unto his answere: The letter was directed to the Kings Majesty, that now is, as he was then King of Scotland. In which amongst other things, the Earle had advised his Highnesse not to desire to bee proclaimed Heire apparant to this Crowne, nor proclaime Prince Henry to be the Prince of Wales, But to stay the time, untill the Queenes death. And that then he would resolve at his comming to admit unto the Catholicks a Tolleration for their religion, which he requested, because the Papists did put some trust in him, to Sollicit that businesse in their behalfe. This letter beeing read, his Majesties owne answer was shewed: (Till that time, by Gods owne hand preserved) to signifie unto the world his religious unremoved confidence. To the first parte of the Earles letter, his Highnesse answered, that he had no contrary purpose, but to attend Gods leasure. And for his motion concerning the Catholicks tolleration, he was purposed to come unto this kingdome in peace. But as touching matter of Government, he was resolved never to alter anything, either in Church or State. His Majesties most noble and Kingly resolution, not enduring then to temporize under any pretext of humane pollicy. Can it now be thought, that his Highnes will be removed in matter of Religion, from that Station whereupon his Soules salvation standeth built.
Such Papists (as notwithstanding the impossibility of their hope will still remaine perverse) despising to be admonished: Let them know for certainty, that the lawes concerning them, shall receive a most strict and severe execution, you therfore of the jury, ought to be very carefull in that businesse. And all the justices in their severall Limits, are in their allegiance to the King, bound in conscience to use all diligence so to observe the Papists, as that unto their houses, there bee not any Jesuites or Seminaries intertayned. For there practise, is to Alienate the hearts of our English Subjects, from the obedience to their soveraigne. In which imployment, though the Jesuites bee most notorious, yet I account the Seminarie Priests more dangerous; Because their estimation stealeth to it selfe a better opinion in the hearts of the simple.Notwithstanding, all their worke is directed to one and the selfe same end; If all good subjects then shall desire the administration of Justice, according to the Lawes established: they may either be converted or supplanted. By whome our subversion, and utter supplanting hath so often times beene attempted. I therefore leave them, their actions and proceedings to be judged off, and carefullie to be lookt into, by your most mature consideration and best diligence, least that our too too much conveniencie, doth yet untimely bring uppon us some dangerous mischief. Them and their actions therfore are principally in the first place to be enquired of, and that with such regard as their cunning may by no meanes outreach the meaning of the Statute Law inacted for their punishment, wherin though there be as much concluded, as the wisedome of our state could devise, in the prevention of any future evill, yet as I heare the Pope hath alreadygranted such dispensation, as that by their hellish sophistrie of equivocating, they may take a course wherein to deceive our hope of there amendment, but in Gods name let the law provided, receive a just and faithfull execution, & then doubt not, but their faithlesse Popish policie shall be sufficiently prevented. And that in time the most sacred person of Gods anointed King, whome Pope Clement the ninth, could proudly dare to tearm the scottish Heritike, shall underneath his Princely foot tread downe Romes faithlesse Papall proud and Antichristian heresy, & now in hells despight, vertuous King James being the Emperiall Majesty of great Brittaines Monarchy, the strength of whose establisht awfull government, makes the proudest Territories & most strong foundation of earths Babilonde to shake, I doubt not but in his royall selfe and his most blest posterity, as is already by force of his commaunding power, not without just cause fearfully suspected, the destruction of the scarlet whore shall be made certaine to her, and her adulterates, when they together shall bee with wrath destroyed for the accomplishing of which most glorious worke, let all true beleeving protestants, like faithfull subjects to their lawfull Soveraigne yeelde there best obedience to his highnesse lawes, and thus much concerning Romane Catholikes.
Those that you are in the second place to enquier of, are a second manner of Recusants, though nothing so dangerous as the Popish recusant is, yet are they a Sect not to be tollerated in any Monarchyall government. They are a certaine Brotherhood, which can indure no Bishops: The originall founder of their schisme, as they now professe, it hath (as some of them say) turnd an Apostatate, to his first profession, in so much as they are ashamed of his name, and will by no meanes in their fraternity be derived from him, yet they remaine knowne to the world, by the name of Brownings. The most part of them are simple, & Illiterate people. And they together with those of that sorte, which seeme to have learning, are as all the rest, onely arrogant, and wilfully perverse, fitter to be reformed by punishment, rather then by argument: And though their ignorance understands not what they doe, yet doe their endeavours strive to shake in sunder the whole frame of our Emperiall government, for if (as they desire) the forme of our Civill Lawes were abrogated, Then should our Common Law, and it of necessity fall togither. For they are so woven and incorporated each in other, as that without the one, the other cannot stand: for example.
An action Reall, beeing brought at common Law, in Bar thereof Bastardy is pleaded, our common Law can then proceed no further, untill by the civill Law the matter of Bastardy be determined, So is it in the right of a Womans Dowre, and in the tryall of Wills; In all these, and diverse others without the Assistance of the civill Law, the common Law hath no power to determine. If then the civill Law must of necessity remain, it is no lesse necessary that the judges therof should be continued.
And againe without the grave assembly of our Reverend Bishops, his Majesties high court of parliament, should be unfurnished, no law being there enacted, but that which is by the King, his Lords spirituall and temporall confirmed. These therefore that would have no Bishops amongst us, do in their desires strive, from his highnes, and the dignity of his State, to pluck the right hand of government, and as much as in them lyeth to break in sunder, the golden frame of just Authority for if no Bishops, then no Lawes, if no Lawes, no King; and to this height doth their presumption clime, although their ideot blindnes seems as if they did not understand so much, the mischiefe of their schisme is most unsufferable: For never was there a nation knowne to flourish having a Monarchie in the kingdome, and a Mallachie in the Church. And therfore you of the Jurie faile not to enquire of all such Sectaries and present them.
It is therefore the faithfull Protestant, that only sets the Crowne upon our Soveraignes head, & holds it up so fast, as no opposition can make it shake. And by their loyall hands will Heaven be pleased, to keep it safe from falling, which Mercy in the most Royall issue now established, God for christs his sake confirme unto us, so long as Sun & Moon endureth.
The last sort of Recusants, though troublesome, (yet in my conscience the least dangerous) are those which do with too much violence, contend against some ceremonies used in the Church, with whose indirect proceedings, in mine owne knowledge, his Majestie is not a little grieved. But I will hope (as his Highnesse doth) that in time, they will grow wise enough to leave their foolishnesse, and consider that ceremonies not against the Analogie of Faith, nor hindering Faiths devotion, are no such bug-beares as should scar them from the exercises of divine duties, nor cause them to disturbe the peace of our Church, whose government is more consonant to Scripture then all the best reformed Churches at this day in the world. You of the Jurie faile not therefore to enquire of their abuses, which doe delay to conforme themselves unto the lawes obedience, that such of them as doe growe insolent, may not goe unpunished: And thus much concerning our three sorts of Recusants.
Thus having touched these growing evills, which beeing well considered, doe cry for justice against themselves, threatning (if not suppresse) To make our Commonwealth to grone under the burthen of inforced calamity. I will now, from them proceed unto those growing enormities, whose ungovernd height is already to such imperfection grown, as that the justice of this kingdomes government, receiveth scandall by their meanes, and the publick weale grieved by unjust oppression.
I heare a generall complaint against the multiplicity of ecclesiasticall courts, and that causes are in them continued longer then an upright and orderly proceeding would necessarily inforce, by meanes wherof, his Majesties good subjects, do receive losse, and are much hindred, by there so often constrayned attendance. But in this Diocesse, I hope the occasion of any such complaints, shall no more be heard of, Because I speake before those reverend Magistrates, the Lord Bishop, and the Chancelour of that dioces being then present upon the bench, in whose authority consisteth sufficient power to reforme those abuses already complained upon, I will therfore insist no further, few words content the wise, what I have spoken, I know is heard by an approved wisedome.
As touching the pennall Statutes for the punishing of any unreverent demeanure in Churches, or violence offered to the ministers, or quarrellingstryking, or drawing of any weapon in Church, or Church yard, I know they be ordynary matters, given in every charge. And therfore you are not ignorant of the Lawes in that case made and provided: I will therfore in respect of the shortnesse of the time, onely point out unto you some severall officers, whose actions not beeing sufficiently looked into, many abuses are committed, which do passe unpunished.
Our common wealth, Receives much injurie by our Escheators, who by abusing their commission, doe most intollerable wrong, to many of his Majesties good Subjects, for an Escheator will come into the country, and beeing informed of an honest yeoman deceased, be it that his Lands, be not above the yearly value of forty or fiftie Pounds, & leaving an heire behind him, an inquiry shall bee made, by what evidence every acre of ground is holden, and finding but one peece, for which an expresse evidence cannot bee shewed, for that particular parcell, Then by a jury to that end Summoned by the Escheator, that peece of ground must be adjudged to be held in Capite. And so an office beeing found: all the whole inheritance must bee taynted, and the yong heire a warde to the King, who then beeing presently Begged by some one or other, by then hee hath compounded for his wardship, sued out his livery, and then perhaps marryed to one starke naught, or not worth any thing, the yong heire shall bee lest just worth so much, and no more: And this (as I thinke) is a most lamentable thing. God forbid that every man should be inforced by such course, to prove his right in every particular acre of ground which he hath. For many particular peeces are oft included in one evidence, without being distinguished by severall names. So that it is impossible, but by such course, as the Escheator takes, lands that never held in Capite, must needs be brought in compasse of such Tenure. And againe, the intent of the Law, for the benefit of the king, looketh only to Manors, Lands, and Tenements of great value, without having respect to such petty things. Where an heire to cleare the incumbrance, must overthrow his estate, loose his inheritance, and be undone for ever. But this notwithstanding, so the Escheator may have his part, in the spoile, he careth not to use any indirect corruption. You of the jurie therefore for the good of your selves and yours, carefully looke to the proceedings used in this case, and such abuse as you shall find therein, let it be presented. And such as shall bee found offendors, they shall know, that we have lawes to punish them. For proofe whereof, I would you could find out some, of whom there might be made an example: But if you will be content to let the Escheator alone, and not looke unto his actions, he will bee contented by deceiving you, to change his name, taking unto himselfe the two last syllables, only with the Es left out: and so turne Chetor.
We have then an excellent Officer, surnamed the Clarke of the Market, concerning whose office, for mine owne part, I see not the necessitie thereof, considering the Justices of peace in their severall limmits, are at every Sessions to enquire of, and to punish all those abuses which are by the Clarke of the market continued, under shew of reformation. For he will come downe and call before him all waights and measures, and where a fault is found, there must a Fee be payd, which is devided betwixt him and the Informer: So the offendor payes for his offence, to the end it might be continued, but not reformed. And thus the Clarke of the market by receiving bribes, enricheth himselfe, by abusing his Majesties lawes, and wronging his Subjects. It was once my hap to take a Clarke of the market in these trickes: But I advanst him higher then his fathers sonne; by so much as from the ground to the toppe of the Pillorie. If you of the Jurie will therefore have a care to find out these abuses, by Gods grace they shall not goe unpunished. For we have a Coyfe, which signifies a Scull: whereby in the execution of Justice, wee are defended against all oppositions, bee they never so violent.
There is a certaine ruffling officer, which will seeme to command much by the authoritie of his Commission. And he wilbe known to be a Purveyor. Some of which officers, if they can find nothing to be dealing with, they will purvey mony out of your purses: if you will suffer them. But know there is no mony to be purveyed, unlesse by the high way side, and any Purveyor that shall take such course, is but in his passage the high way to the gallowes.
But to speake of that, which may by them bee lawfully done, admit a Purveyor commeth downe with Commission, to take up timber for the Kings use; What timber is it then that he must take: He cannot come and pull downe any timber in my house, what then? May he go into any of my woods which I purpose to preserve, and there marke out of my best timber, and inforce me to suffer it to be felled, and carried away at the kings price? No, There is not any such authoritie granted unto him. But only thus, If I have any timber felled, which I purpose to sell: then may the Purveyor (the King having use of timber) come and make choise of what trees he will. For there is great reason, that in such case the king should first be served. But if any of you do desire to preserve your timber growing, be not scared with a Purveyorswarrant: Nor do not preserve the standing of your trees by bribing any one of them. The dignitie of his Majesties prerogative Royall is not used to enforce his subjects to indure wrong. But the rust being scoured off, which abused time, hath cast upon it, then will the glorie thereof shine in the perfection of an uncorrupted brightnesse. You of the Jurie therfore looke into the abuses done by Purveyors, and present them.
Resides these spoken of. There is also a Salt peterman, whose Commission is not to breake up any mans house or ground without leave. And not to deale with any house, but such as is unused for any necessarie imployment by the owner. And not to digge in any place without leaving it smooth and levell: in such case as he found it. This Salt-Peter man under shew of his authoritie, though being no more then is specified, will make plaine and simple people beleeve, that hee will without their leave breake up the floore of their dwelling house, unlesse they will compound with him to the contrary. Any such felow, if you can meete with all, let his misdemenor be presented, that he may be taught better to understand his office: For by their abuse the countrey is often times troubled.
There is another troublesome fellow called a Concealer, who is indeed little better then a plaine Cosioner, and would in many things be proved so, if well looked unto, there be many Statute lawes to prevent the occurrence of his mischiefe, give him not a peny for any of his claimes or titles: For they are meere illusions, and like himselfe not worth any thing.
There be 4 sorts of people, whom if you observe, you shall find not any of them to thrive. I have alwayes knowne them little better then beggers, and may easily be knowne by these names. A Concealer of whom I have spoken: unto whom is rightly joyned a Promooter, a Monopolitan, and an Alcumist: The Promooter is both a begger and a knave, and may, if well looked unto, in the part of an Informer (For many abuses) by your information eyther be well punished or reformed. Their Office, Iconfesse, is necessarie.Andyetitseldome happeneth, that an honest man is imployed therein: yet there is some hope, that by punishing their abuses, they may at the last bee made honest against their wils. In which imployment, you of the Jurie shall do well to use a respective diligence.
As touching the Monopolitane, hee for the most part useth at a deare rate to pay for his foolishnes: For some of that profession, have bene so wise, to sell twentie, thirtie, or perhaps fortie pound land a yeare, and bestow most part of the money in purchasing of a Monopolie: Thereby to anoy and hinder the whole Publicke Weale for his owne privat benefit: In which course he so well thriveth, as that by toyling some short time, either in Starch, Vineger, or Aquavitae, he doth in the end thereby purchase to himselfe an absolute beggerie, and for my owne part, their purposes and practises considered, I can wish unto them no better happinesse.
But then our golden Foole the Alcumist, he will be striving to make Gold and Silver, untill he leaves himselfe not worth a pennies weight in either of both. I will not deny, but to understand the nature, quintessence, & spirit of the Minerals, out of them to extract a Metaphisicall and Paracelsian manner of Physicke, may according to art be commendable, but by the studie of Alcumie, to desire to turne imperfect mettals into Gold and Silver, such labour I account ridiculous: Andoftentimes by thoseofthis Camicall Science is Fellony comitted: For by any imperfect commixture, to use multiplication, either in Gold or Silver, is directly Fellonie by Statute Law: you of the Jurie are therefore to enquire of such offendors, and present them.
Because I must hast unto an end, I wil request that you will carefully put in execution the Statute against Vagarants: Since the making whereof, I have found fewer theeves, and the Gaole lesse pestered then before.
The abuse of Stage players, wherewith I find the Countrey much troubled, may easily be reformed: They having no Commission to play in any place without leave: And therefore, if by your willingnesse they be not entertained you may soone be rid of them.
You are also concerning Innes and Alehouses diligently to observe what the Statute Lawe determineth. As also to keep the orders set down by my honorable predecessor, concerning which, there is now by the appointment of the Lords of the Counsel, certaine Briefes to be delivered unto all the Justices in their severall Limmits. And assuredly, if you of the Jurie, pettie Constables, Chiefe Constables, and Justices of Peace, wouldtogether; labourthatthe Lawes carefully Enacted for our good, might receive a a due and just execution, abuses would then bee reformed, God and our King faithfully served and honored. And the tranquillitie of our Publicke weale preserved: which so great happinesse, that it may the better be accomplished, I would request, that all imployed in any place of authoritie, would have an speciall care to suppresse that root of evill, from whence all mischiefs do proceed, and that is Idlenes: For idle persons are those of whome the Psalme speaketh, They doe wickedly all the day long, they imagine wickednesse upon their beds, the imaginations of their hearts are evill continually, and such for the most part are all those, given over to an idle deposition: who by their wickednes do make themselves worse then beasts: For, Homo malus infinitis modis plura mala perpetraverit quam bestia, an evill man by an infinit manner committeth more evill then a beast. For the reformation of which dangerous evill: you shall do well to have an especiall eye unto the company that frequent Taverns, Innes, Alehouses, Bowling allies, and such like thriftlesse places of resort, where you shall find Tradesmen, and Artificers, which have no other meanes whereby to live, then onely the lawfull use of their Science, or Manuall profession. And yet such is their unthriftie idlenesse, as they will spend their time and labors profit, at some, or all the places before recited: whilest their wives and children sit at home and weepe, wanting necessarie maintenance: Those of such condition, let them be enquired of and presented: For were the Justice of the Lawe rightly executed uppon such offendors (they receiving condigne punishment for their offence) would be inforced to betake themselves unto a better course of life, and live as becometh good Subjects in the list of a more commended obedience.
Of that idle company, you shall also finde some of our accounted Gallants young Gentlemen, upstarts, perhaps honest yeomens sonnes, that by their intemperate Ryote, love to spend their inheritance before they come to inherit, and being questioned for their chargeable and expensive manner of living, they will bravely answer that they spend nothing but their owne: And will seeme as if they scorn’d to be reformed by admonition or authority. The law provideth a course whereby to teach such vain & idle royoters so to spend, that they may keepe their own: For when by their misdemenor all their owne is spent; Then their next course is to live upon the goods of others: and then at last, such Gallants turning starke theeves, do make their last period at the Gallowes, reaping to themselves, by an untimely death, the fruit of idlenesse.
There is also a sort of idle seeming Gentlemen, whom if you do observe, you shall find them walking with a gray hound in a slip, or a birding peece upon their necke, and they forsooth will make a path over the Statute Lawe, and into any mans Groundes, Lordshippes, or Liberties, passe and repasse at their pleasure: As if it were lawfull for everie Fellow to keepe a Graye hound, and to hunt, when and where he listeth, or as if a birding peece were no Gunne, and so not included in the Statute made against Gunnes.
But if you would finde out those Fellowes, and present them, they shall be taught to knowe themselves: And that the wisedome of a Kingdomes state, in the framing of a Statute Law, could not be deluded by a vaine and shallow brain’d idlenesse of their ridiculous Foolery. Let them be therfore punished whose misdemenor in this case offendeth.
The better to prevent the Ryotous expence of unthriftie idlenesse, you shall do well to have a speciall care unto the Statute for Apparell, by the neglect whereof too much abuse is nourished.
As touching all the abuses last recited, have great respect to punish one abuse, in which all our idle Gallants and disordered disolutes do desire to swim, untill themselves, and their whole estate do sinke, in the Slymie dregs of Swinelike drunkennes, to drunkards therefore have especiall heed, you know the Lawe provideth for their punishment, & were such offendors duly presented, Indited, Fined, & imprisoned, they may by such good meanes be in time haply refined from that contagious evill, their continuall amisse, beeing continually with Justice punished, to the utter suppressing of such vile occasion: From whence as from Hels mouth flames forth, Ryoats, murthers, man-slaughters, quarrels, fightings, whoredemes, and presumptuous blasphemies, all proceeding from that sinke of sin, in whose sick healths is dronke the bodies Surfiting, and the Soules damnation. In this, as in all the rest of the abuses specified, use your best indeavors for the furtherance of a setled Reformation, according to the Lawes established: For you must know, that Vita &, vigor Juris, in execucione consistit, The life and strength of the Laws, consisteth in the execution of them: For in vaine are just lawes Inacted, if not justly executed.
And now my loving Countrey men, because I would that all which I have spoken, may receive a profitable remembrance. I will thus conclude, Similes and Comparisons doe best confirme our understanding: and do fastest cleave unto the memorie; my conclusion therefore, shall consist upon this one Similitude.
There was a certain man, who having a great account to make untoa mightie King, made triall of his best Friends, that might accompany him, in that dangerous journey, and not forsake him untill his account were made. This man upon his Inquisition found one friend that would go with him a great part of the way, but then forsake him. And that was his (Riches.) Some other Friends he found that would goe with him untill he came in sight of the Kings pallace, but then they would also leave him and beare him company nofurther, all these Friends were his wife and children, that would follow him to his grave. But at last, he found one Friend that would go with him into the presence of the King, and not forsake him, untill he had seene his account made and for ever beare the greatest part with him, either in woe, or happinesse, and this Friend was his Conscience; Deare Countrymen betwixt God and your Consciences therefore, make your peace, for he is the King, unto whom all of us must make a strickt account of all our actions done. This then considered, such would be our care, as God and our King should be obeyed, and our peace in this life, and in the world to come preserved. Unto which eternall grace be we all in Jesus Christ committed.
[1. ][Ed.: The Reader should note that the Preface is that of the reporter, and not, obviously, the words of Coke himself. It is reprinted here owing to Coke’s later disavowal of the printing, which may well have met with his initial approval.]
[2. ][Ed.: yoked.]
[3. ][Ed.: Peace begets war.]
[4. ][Ed.: does not love the sons of war.]
[5. ][Ed.: I cannot alter the condition of things.]
[6. ][Ed.: I may undertake this great [work], worthy of a spirited and mighty man.]
[7. ][Ed.: My hope, oh living Christ, is so to live that I may live for ever.]
[8. ][Ed.: The longed-for day is dawning; be favorable with your tongue and minds. Ovid, Fast. 1.71.]
[1. ][Ed.: Beware that you be not a judge between friends, [because] to judge between friends.]
[2. ][Ed.: ceases to be a friend.]
[3. ][Ed.: without payment or seeking.]
[1. ][Ed.: who, to whom, what, how, and concerning what things.]
[2. ][Ed.: crime of lèse-majesté (treason).]
[3. ][Ed.: A Court sitting with a jury.]
[4. ][Ed.: According to the law and custom of the manor of England. [Note: the original editor substitutes “manoriae,” or manor, for “Moduli,” or Manner.]]
[5. ][Ed.: Whoever gives judgment in a cause without hearing the other side, even if he decides fairly, is an unfair judge.]
[6. ][Ed.: You are Gods.]
[7. ][Ed.: Of Visible Monarchy.]
[8. ][Ed.: when the miserable woman Elizabeth should happen to die.]
[9. ][Ed.: then we will that you.]
[10. ][Ed.: by whatever means and ways.]
[11. ][Ed.: miserable woman.]
[12. ][Ed.: Pope Pius the Fifth.]