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I beseech your lordship, care may be taken, that our general letter may be kept secret, whereof my lord chief justice will tell you the reason.
I send enclosed names for the speaker; and if his | to take into consideration grievances of like nature, Majesty, or your lordship, demand our opinion, which which have sprung up since the said last session, of them, my lord chief justice will tell you. It were which are the more like to be called upon, by how well it were despatched; for else I will not dine with much they are the more fresh, signifying withal, the speaker; for his drink will not be laid in time that they were of two kinds; some proclamations enough. and commissions, and many patents; which nevertheless, we did not trouble his Majesty withal in particular: partly, for that we were not then fully prepared, as being a work of some length, and partly, for that we then desired and obtained leave of his Majesty to communicate them with the council-table. But now since I, the chancellor, received his Majesty's pleasure by secretary Calvert, that we should first present them to his Majesty with some advice thereupon provisionally, and as we are capable, and thereupon know his Majesty's pleasure before they be brought to the table, which is the work of this despatch.
TO THE KING.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR most excellent MAJESTY, ACCORDING to your commandment, we have heard once more the proctors of the prerogative-court, what they could say; and find no reason to alter, in any part, our former certificate. Thus much withal we think fit to note to your Majesty, that our former certificate, which we now ratify, is principally grounded upon a point in law, upon the statute of 21 Henry VIII. wherein we the chancellor and treasurer, for our own opinions, do conceive the law is clear; and your solicitor-general concurs.
Now whether your Majesty will be pleased to rest in our opinions, and so to pass the patents; or give us leave to assist ourselves with the opinion of some principal judges now in town, whereby the law may be the better resolved, to avoid farther question hereafter; we leave it to your Majesty's royal pleasure. This we represent the rather, because we discern such a confidence in the proctors, and those upon whom they depend, as, it is not unlike, they will bring it to a legal question.
And hereupon his Majesty may be likewise pleased to call to mind, that we then said, and do now also humbly make remonstrance to his Majesty, that in this we do not so much express the sense of our own minds or judgments upon the particulars, as we do personate the lower house, and cast with ourselves what is like to be stirred there. And therefore if there be any thing, either in respect of the matter or the persons, that stands not so well with his Majesty's good liking, that his Majesty would be graciously pleased not to impute it unto us; and withal to consider, that it is to this good end, that his Majesty may either remove such of them, as in his own princely judgment, or with the advice of his council, he shall think fit to be removed; or be the better provided to carry through such of them, as he shall think fit to be maintained, in case they should
And so we humbly kiss your Majesty's hands, be moved; and so the less surprised. praying for your preservation.
Your Majesty's most humble and obedient
FR. VERULAM, CANC.
York-house, December 12, 1620.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR AND TWO CHIEF
OUR VERY GOOD LORD,
Ir may please his Majesty to call to mind, that when we gave his Majesty our last account of parliament business in his presence, we went over the grievances of the last parliament in 7mo,‡ with our opinion by way of probable conjecture, which of them are likely to fall off, and which may perchance stick and be renewed. And we did also then acquaint his Majesty, that we thought it no less fit
* Sir Thomas Coventry, who was made attorney-general, Jan. 14, 1620-1.
† Sir Henry Montagu of the king's bench, and Sir Henry Hobart of the common pleas.
First, therefore, to begin with the patents, we find three sorts of patents, and those somewhat frequent, since the session of 7mo, which in genere we conceive may be most subject to exception of grievance; patents of old debts, patents of concealments, and patents of monopolies, and forfeitures for dispensations of penal laws, together with some other particulars, which fall not so properly under any one head.
In these three heads, we do humbly advise several courses to be taken for the first two, of old debts and concealments, for that they are in a sort legal, though there may be found out some point in law to overthrow them; yet it would be a long business by course of law, and a matter unusual by act of council, to call them in. But that, that moves us chiefly to avoid the questioning them at the council-table, is, because if they shall be taken away by the king's act, it may let in upon him a flood of suitors for recompence; whereas, if they be taken away at the suit of the parliament, and a law thereupon made, it frees the king, and leaves him to give recompence only where he shall be pleased to intend grace. Wherefore we conceive
That which began February 9, 1609; and was prorogued July 23, 1610.
the most convenient way will be, if some grave and discreet gentleman of the country, such as have lost relation to the court, make, at fit times, some modest motion touching the same; and that his Majesty would be graciously pleased to permit some law to pass, for the time past only, no ways touching his Majesty's regal power, to free the subjects from the same; and so his Majesty, after due consultation, to give way unto it.
For the third, we do humbly advise, that such of them, as his Majesty shall give way to have called in, may be questioned before the council-table, either as granted contrary to his Majesty's book of bounty, or found since to have been abused in the execution, or otherwise by experience discovered to be burdensome to the country. But herein we shall add this farther humble advice, that it be not done as matter of preparation to a parliament; but that occasion be taken, partly upon revising of the book of bounty, and partly upon the fresh examples in Sir Henry Yelverton's case of abuse and surreption in obtaining of patents; and likewise, that it be but a continuance in conformity of the council's former diligence and vigilancy, which hath already stayed and revoked divers patents of like nature, whereof we are ready to show the examples. Thus, we conceive, his Majesty shall keep his greatness, and somewhat shall be done in parliament, and somewhat out of parliament, as the nature of the subject and business require.
We have sent his Majesty herewith a schedule of the particulars of these three kinds; wherein, for the first two, we have set down all that we could at this time discover: but in the latter, we have chosen out but some, that are most in speech, and do most tend, either to the vexation of the common people, or the discountenancing of our gentlemen and justices, the one being the original, the other the representative of the commons.
There being many more of like nature, but not of like weight, nor so much rumoured, which, to take away now in a blaze, will give more scandal, that such things were granted, than thanks, that they be now revoked.
And because all things may appear to his Majesty in the true light, we have set down, as well the suitors as the grants, and not only those in whose names the patents were taken, but those whom they concern, as far as comes to our knowledge.
For proclamations and commissions, they are tender things; and we are willing to meddle with them sparingly. For as for such as do but wait upon patents, wherein his Majesty, as we conceived, gave some approbation to have them taken away, it is better they fall away, by taking away the patent itself, than otherwise; for a proclamation cannot be revoked but by proclamation, which we avoid.
For those commonwealth bills, which his Majesty approved to be put in readiness, and some other things, there will be time enough hereafter to give his Majesty account, and amongst them, of the extent of his Majesty's pardon, which, if his subjects do their part, as we hope they will, we do wish + Sir Thomas Coventry.
• Harl. MSS. Vol. 7000.
may be more liberal than of later times, a pardon being the ancient remuneration in parliament.
Thus hoping his Majesty, out of his gracious and accustomed benignity, will accept of our faithful endeavours, and supply the rest by his own princely wisdom and direction; and also humbly praying his Majesty, that when he hath himself considered of our humble propositions, he will give us leave to impart them all, or as much as he shall think fit, to the lords of his council, for the better strength of his service, we conclude with our prayers for his Majesty's happy preservation, and always rest, &c. Indorsed,
The lord chancellor and the two chief justices to the king, concerning parliament business.
TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR, AND THE LORD MANDEVILLE, LORD TREASURER OF ENGLAND.*
MY HONOURABLE LORDS,
His Majesty is pleased, according to your lordships' certificate, to rely upon your judgments, and hath made choice of Sir Robert Lloyd, knight, to be patentee and master of the office of engrossing the transcripts of all wills and inventories in the prerogative-courts, during his highness's pleasure, and to be accountable unto his Majesty for such profits as shall arise out of the same office. his Majesty's farther pleasure is, that your lordship forthwith proportion and set down, as well a reasonable rate of fees for the subject to pay for engrossing the said transcripts, as also such fees, as your lordship shall conceive fit to be allowed to the said patentee for the charge of clerks and ministers for execution of the said office. And to this effect his Majesty hath commanded me to signify his pleasure to his solicitor-general† to prepare a book for his Majesty's signature. And so I bid your lordship heartily well to fare, and remain
Your lordship's very loving friend,
Royston, December 17, 1620.
TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
I WAS so full of cold, as I could not attend his Majesty to-day. Yesterday I despatched the proclamation with the council. There was a motion to have sharpened it; but better none, than over sharp at first. I moved the council also for supplying the committee for drawing of bills and some other matters, in regard of my lord Hobart's ‡ sickness, who, I think, will hardly escape; which, though it be happiness for him, yet it is loss for us.
Meanwhile, as I propounded to the king, which Lord chief justice of the commonon-pleas.
he allowed well, I have broken the main of the parliament into questions and parts, which I send. may be, it is an over-diligence; but still methinks there is a middle thing between art and chance: I think they call it providence, or some such thing, which good servants owe to their sovereign, especially in cases of importance and straits of occasions. And those huffing elections, and general licence of speech, ought to make us the better provided. The way will be, if his Majesty will be pleased to peruse these questions advisedly, and give me leave to wait on him; and then refer it to some few of the council, a little to advise upon it. I ever rest
Your lordship's most obliged friend and faithful
TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR.
His Majesty hath commanded me to signify his pleasure unto you, that you give present order to the clerk of the crown to draw a bill to be signed by his Majesty for Robert Heath, late recorder of London, to be his Majesty's solicitor-general. So I rest
Your lordship's faithful friend and servant, G. BUCKINGHAM. Theobald's, 20th of January, 1620.
TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR.*
His Majesty hath commanded me to signify his pleasure unto your lordship, that Sir Thomas Coventry, now his solicitor-general, be forthwith made his attorney-general; and that your lordship give order to the clerk of the crown to draw up a grant of the said place unto him accordingly. And so I rest Your lordship's faithful friend and servant, G. BUCKINGHAM. Whitehall, 9th of January, 1620.
TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR.†
MY HONOURABLE LORD,
I HAVE been entreated to recommend unto your lordship the distressed case of the lady Martin, widow of Sir Richard Martin, deceased, who hath a cause to be heard before your lordship in the chancery, at your first sitting in the next term, between her and one Archer, and others, upon an ancient statute, due long since unto her husband; which cause, I am informed, hath received three verdicts for her in the common law, a decree in the exchequer chamber, and a dismission before your lordship: which I was the more willing to do, because I have seen a letter of his Majesty to the said Sir Richard Martin, acknowledging the good service that he did him in this kingdom, at the time of his Majesty's being in Scotland. And therefore I desire your lordship, that you would give her a full and fair hearing of her cause, and a speedy despatch thereof, her poverty being such, that having nothing to live on but her husband's debts, if her suit long depend, she shall be enforced to lose her cause for want of means to follow it: wherein I acknowledge your lordship's favour, and rest
Your lordship's faithful friend and servant, G. BUCKINGHAM. Whitehall, the 13th of January, 1620.
TO THE KING.§
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
I THANK God I number days, both in thankfulness to him, and in warning to myself. I should likewise number your Majesty's benefits, which, as, to take them in all kinds, they are without number; so even in this kind of steps and degrees of advancement, they are in greater number, than scarcely any other of your subjects can say. For this is now the eighth time that your Majesty hath raised me.
You formed me of the learned council extraordinary, without patent or fee, a kind of individuum vagum. You established me, and brought me into ordinary. Soon after you placed me solicitor, where I served seven years. Then your Majesty made me your attorney, or procurator-general; then privy counsellor, while I was attorney; a kind of miracle of your favour, that had not been in many ages; thence keeper of your seal; and, because that was a kind of planet, and not fixed, chancellor: and when your Majesty could raise me no higher, it was your grace to illustrate me with beams of honour, first making me baron Verulam, and now viscount St. Alban. So this is the eighth rise or reach, a diapason in music, even a good number, and accord for a close. And so I may, without superstition, be buried in St. Alban's habit or vestment.
Besides the number, the obligation is increased by three notes or marks: first, that they proceed from such a king; for honours from some kings are but great chancels, or counters, set high; but from your Majesty, they are indeed dignities, by the co-operation of your grace. Secondly, in respect of the continuance of your Majesty's favour, which proceedeth, as the Divine favour, from grace to grace. And, thirdly, these splendours of honour are like your freest patents, absque aliquid inde reddendo. Offices have burden of cares and labours; but honours have no burden but thankfulness, which doth rather raise men's spirits, than accable them, or press them down.
Then I must say, quid retribunam? I have nothing of mine own. That that God hath given me, I shall present unto your Majesty; which is care and diligence, and assiduous endeavour, and that,
This seems to have been written by lord St. Albans, just after he was created a viscount by that title, January 27, 1620.
which is the chief, cor unum et viam unam; hop-| Argus's eyes. ing, that your Majesty will do as your superior doth; that is, finding my heart upright, you will bear with my other imperfections. And lastly, your Majesty shall have the best of my time, which, I assure myself, I shall conclude in your favour, and survive in your remembrance. And that is my prayer for myself. The rest shall be in prayers for your Majesty.
TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR.*
MY NOBLE LORD,
I HAVE showed your letter of thanks to his Majesty, who saith there are too many thanks in it for so small a favour; which he holdeth too little to encourage so well a deserving servant. For myself, I shall ever rejoice at the manifestation of his Majesty's favour towards you, and will contribute all, that is in me, to the increasing of his good opinion; ever resting
Your lordship's faithful friend and servant,
Speech of the Lord Viscount ST. ALBAN, Lord Chancellor, to the Parliament, January 30, 1620.
MY LORDS AND MASTERS,
You have heard the king's speech; and it makes me call to mind what Solomon saith, who was also a king: “The words of the wise are as nails and pins, driven in and fastened by the masters of assemblies." The king is the master of this assembly; and though his words, in regard of the sweetness of them, do not prick; yet, in regard of the weight and wisdom of them, I know they pierce through and through; that is, both into your memories, and into your affections; and there I leave them.
As the king himself hath declared unto you the causes of the convoking of this parliament; so he hath commanded me to set before you the true institution and use of a parliament, that thereby you may take your aim, and govern yourselves the better in parliament matters: for then are all things in best state, when they are preserved in their primitive institution; for otherwise ye know the principle of philosophy to be, that the corruption or degeneration of the best things is the worst.
The kings of this realm have used to summon their parliaments or estates for three ends or purposes; for advice, for assent, and for aid.
For advice, it is no doubt great surety for kings to take advice and information from their parliament. It is advice, that proceedeth out of experience; it is not speculative or abstract. It is a well-tried advice, and that passeth many revenues, and hath
Harl. MSS. Vol. 7000.
On Monday the 5th of March, 1620-1, the house of lords received a message from the commons, desiring a conference touching certain grievances, principally concerning Sir Giles Mompesson. See Journal of the House of Lords.
It is an advice, that commonly is free from private and particular ends, which is the bane of counsel. For although some particular members of parliament may have their private ends; yet one man sets another upright; so that the resultate of their counsels is, for the most part, direct and sincere. But this advice is to be given with distinction of the subjects: they are to tender and offer their advice by bill or petition, as the case requires. But in those things, that are Arcana Imperii, and reserved points of sovereignty, as making of war and peace, or the like, there they are to apply their advice to that, which shall be communicated unto them by the king, without pressing farther within the veil, or reaching forth to the forbidden fruit of knowledge. In these things the rule holds, "tantum permissum quantum commissum."
TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
WITH due thanks to your last visit, this day is a play day for me. But I will wait on your lordship,
if it be necessary.
I do hear from divers of judgment, that to-morrow's conference+ is like to pass in a calm, as to the referees. Sir Lionel Cranfield, who hath been formerly the trumpet, said yesterday, that he did now incline to Sir John Walter's opinion and motion, not to have the referees meddled with otherwise than to discount it from the king; and so not to look back, but to the future. And I do hear almost all men of judgment in the house wish now that way. I woo nobody: I do but listen, and I have doubt only of Sir Edward Coke, who, I wish, had some round caveat given him from the king; for your lordship hath no great power with him; but I think a word from the king mates him.
If things be carried fair by the committees of the lower house, I am in some doubt, whether there will be occasion for your lordship to speak to-morrow; though, I confess, I incline to wish you did, chiefly because you are fortunate in that kind; and, to be plain also, for our better countenance, when your lordship, according to your noble proposition, shall show more regard of the fraternity you have with great counsellors, than of the interest of your natural brother.
Always, good my lord, let us think of times out of parliament, as well as the present time in parliament, and let us not all be put es pourpoint. Fair and moderate courses are ever best in causes of estate the rather, because I wish this parliament, by the sweet and united passages thereof, may increase the king's reputation with foreigners, who may make a far other judgment than we mean, of a beginning to question great counsellors and officers of the crown, by courts, or assemblies of estates.
Those, to whom the king referred the petitions, to consider, whether they were fit to be granted or no. This explanation of the word referees, I owe to a note in a MS. letter, written to the celebrated Mr. Joseph Mead, of Christ's College, Cambridge.
But the reflection upon my particular in this makes me more sparing, than perhaps, as a counsellor, I ought to be. God ever preserve and prosper you. Your lordship's true servant all and ever, FR. ST. ALBAN, CANC. March 7, the day I received the seal, 1620.
TO THE KING.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
I RECEIVED Your Majesty's letter about midnight and because it was stronger than the ancient summons of the exchequer, which is sicut teipsum et omnia tua diligis; whereas this was sicut me diligis; I used all possible care to effect your Majesty's good will and pleasure.
I sent early to the prince, and to my lord treasurer and we attended his highness soon after seven of the clock, at Whitehall, to avoid farther note. We agreed, that, if the message came, we would put the lords into this way, that the answer should be, that we understood they came prepared both with examination and precedent; and we likewise desired
TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.†
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
YOUR lordship spoke of purgatory. I am now in it; but my mind is in a calm; for my fortune is not my felicity. I know I have clean hands, and a clean heart; and, I hope, a clean house for friends or servants. But Job himself, or whosoever was the justest judge, by such hunting for matters against him, as hath been used against me, may for a time seem foul, especially in a time, when greatness is the mark, and accusation is the game. And if this be to be a chancellor, I think, if the great seal lay upon Hounslow Heath, nobody would take it up. But the king and your lordship will, I hope, put an end to these my straits one way or other. And in troth that, which I fear most, is, lest continual attendance and business, together with these cares, and want of time to do my weak body right this spring by diet and physic, will cast me down; and that it will be thought feigning, or fainting. But I hope in God I shall hold out. God prosper you.
to be alike prepared, that the conference might be TO THE CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY, SIR with more fruit.
I did farther speak with my lord of Canterbury, when I came to the house, not letting him know any part of the business, that he would go on with a motion, which he had told me of the day before, that the lords house might not sit Wednesday and Friday, because they were convocation-days; and so was the former custom of parliament.
As good luck was, the house read two bills, and had no other business at all: whereupon my lord of Canterbury made his motion; and I adjourned the house till Saturday. It was no sooner done, but came the message from the lower house. But the consummatum est was past, though I perceived a great willingness, in many of the lords, to have recalled it, if it might have been.
GOOD MR. CHANCELLOR,
THERE will come, upon Friday, before you a patent of his Majesty's for the separation of the company of apothecaries from the company of grocers, and their survey, and the erecting them into a corporation of themselves under the survey of the physicians. It is, as I conceive, a fair business both for law and conveniency, and a work, which the king made his own, and did, and, as I hear, doth take much to heart. It is in favorem vite, where the other part is in favorem lucri. You may perhaps think me partial to apothecaries, that have been ever puddering in physic all my life. But there is a circumstance, that touches upon me but
So with my best prayers for your Majesty's pre-post diem, for it is comprehended in the charge and servation, I rest
Your Majesty's most bounden and most devoted servant,
FR. ST. ALBAN, CANC. Thursday, at eleven of our forenoon [March 8, 1620].
*The date of this letter is determined to be the 8th of March 1620-1, from the circumstance of its being mentioned to have been written on that Thursday, on which the house of lords adjourned to the Saturday following. It appears from the journal of that house, that on the 8th of March 1620, the said house, at which were present the prince of Wales and marquis of Buckingham, was adjourned to Saturday the 10th, on which day a conference of both houses was held relating to the complaint of that of the commons against Sir Giles Mompesson. Of this conference the lord chancellor made report on Monday, March 12, to the house of lords, remarking, that "the inducement to this conference was to clear the king's honour, touching grants to Sir Giles, and the passages in procuring the same.' After this report of the conference, the lord chamberlain, William earl of Pembroke, complained to the house, that two great lords, meaning the lord chancellor, and the lord treasurer, the lord viscount Mandeville, had, in that conference, spake in their own defence, not being allowed to do so when the committees were named. Upon which both the lords acknowledged their error, and begged pardon of the house.
sentence passed upon me. It is true, that after I had put the seal to the patent, the apothecaries § presented me with a hundred pounds. It was no judicial affair. But howsoever, as it may not be defended, so I would be glad it were not raked up
+ This letter seems to have been written soon after lord St. Alban began to be accused of abuses in his office of chancellor.
The patent for incorporating the apothecaries by themselves, by the appellation of The masters, wardens, and society of the art and mystery of apothecaries of London,' was dated December 6, 1617. They had been incorporated with the company of grocers, April 9, 1606.
§ His lordship being charged by the house of commons, that he had received 1007. of the new company of apothecaries, that stood against the grocers, as likewise a taster of gold worth between 400 and 5007. with a present of ambergrise, from the apothecaries that stood with the grocers, and 2007. of the grocers; he admits the several sums to have been received of the three parties, but alleges, that he considered those presents as no judicial business, but a concord of composition between the parties; and as he thought they had all three received good, and they were all common purses, he thought it the less matter to receive what they voluntarily presented; for if he had taken it in the nature of a bribe, he knew it could not be concealed, because it must be put to the account of the three several companies.