« PreviousContinue »
authority and strengthening of your prerogative | not to be worthy to be card-holder, or candle-holder, according to the true rules of monarchy. will make profit of this accident as a thing of God's sending.
Now to reconcile and accommodate these two advices, which seem almost opposite; first, your Majesty may not see it, though I confess it to be suspicious, that my lord Coke was any way aforehand privy to that which was done; or that he did set it or animate it, but only took the matter as it came before him; and that his error was only, that at such a time he did not divert it in some good manner.
Secondly, if it be true, as is reported, that any of the puisne judges did stir this business; or that they did openly revile and menace the jury for doing their conscience, as they did honestly and truly, I think that judge is worthy to lose his place. to be plain with your Majesty, I do not think there is any thing a greater polychreston, or ad multa utile to your affairs, than upon a just and fit occasion to make some example against the presumption of a judge in causes that concern your Majesty, whereby the whole body of those magistrates may be contained the better in awe; and it may be this will light upon no unfit subject of a person, that is rude, and that no man cares for.
Thirdly, if there be no one so much in fault, which I cannot yet affirm either way, and there must be a just ground, God forbid else, yet I should think, that the very presumption of going so far, in so high a cause, deserveth to have that done which was done in this very case upon the indictment of serjeant Heale in queen Elizabeth's time; that the judges should answer it upon their knees before your Majesty or your council, and receive a sharp admonition at which time also, my lord Wray, being then chief justice, slipt the collar and was forborn. Fourthly, for the persons themselves, Glanville and Allen, which are base fellows and turbulent, I think there will be discovered and proved against them, besides the preferring of the bills, such combinations and contemptuous speeches and behaviours, as there will be good ground to call them, and perhaps some of their petty counsellors at law, into the
In all this which I have said your Majesty may be pleased to observe, that I do not engage you much in the main point of the jurisdiction, for which I have a great deal of reason, which I now forbear. But two things I wish to be done: the one, that your Majesty take this occasion to redouble unto all your judges your ancient and true charge and rule, That you will endure no innovating the point of jurisdiction, but will have every court impaled within their own precedents, and not assume to themselves new powers upon conceits and inventions of law; the other, that in these high causes that touch upon state and monarchy, your Majesty give them strait charge, that upon any occasions intervenient hereafter, they do not make the vulgar party to their contestations, by public handling them, before they have consulted with your Majesty, to whom the reglement of those things only appertaineth.
To conclude, I am not without hope, that your Majesty managing this business according to your great wisdom, unto which I acknowledge myself
Lastly, I may not forget to represent to your Majesty, that there is no thinking of arraignments until these things be somewhat accommodated, and some outward and superficial reconciliation at least made between my lord chancellor and my lord chief justice; for this accident is a banquet to all the delinquent's friends. But this is a thing that falleth out naturally of itself, in respect of the judges going circuit, and my lord chancellor's infirmity with hope of recovery and although this protraction of time may breed some doubt of mutability, yet I have lately learned out of an excellent letter of a certain king, that the sun showeth sometimes watry to our eyes, but when the cloud is gone, the sun is as before. God ever preserve your Majesty.
Your Majesty's most humble subject and bounden servant,
Feb. 21, 1615.
CXXXII. TO THE KING, ON THE BREACH
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, YOUR privy Council have wisely and truly discerned of the orders and demands of the new company, that they are unlawful and unjust; and themselves have now acknowledged the work impossible without them, by their petition in writing now registered in the council book; so as this conclusion of their own making, is become peremptory and final to themselves; and the impossibility confessed, the practice and abuse reserved to the judgment the state shall make of it.
This breach then of this great contract is wholly on their part, which could not have been if your Majesty had broken upon the patent; for the patent was your Majesty's act, the orders are their act; and in the former case they had not been liable to farther question, now they are.
There rest two things to be considered: the one. if they, like Proteus when he is hard held, shall yet again vary their shape; and shall quit their orders convinced of injustice, and lay their imposition only upon the trade of whites, whether your Majesty shall farther expect: the other, if your Majesty dissolve them upon this breach on their part, what is farther to be done for the setting of the trade again in joint. and for your own honour and profit: in both which points I will not presume to give opinion, but only to break the business for your Majesty's better judgment.
For the first, I am sorry the occasion was given by my lord Coke's speech at this time of the com mitment of some of them, that they should seek omnem movere lapidem to help themselves.
it had been, if, as my lord Fenton said to me that morning very judiciously and with a great deal of
foresight, that for that time they should have had a bridge made for them to be gone. But my lord Coke floweth according to his own tides, and not according to the tides of business. The thing which my lord Coke said was good and too little, but at this time it was too much; but that is past. Howsoever, if they should go back and seek again to entertain your Majesty with new orders or offers, as is said to be intended, your Majesty hath ready two answers of repulse, if it please your Majesty to use them.
The one, that this is now the fourth time that they have mainly broken with your Majesty, and contradicted themselves. First, they undertook to dye and dress all the cloths of the realm; soon after, they wound themselves into the trade of whites, and came down to the proportion contracted. Secondly, they ought to have performed that contract according to their subscription pro rata, without any of these orders and impositions; soon after, they deserted their subscription, and had recourse to these devices of orders. Thirdly, if by order, and not by subscription, yet their orders should have laid it upon the whites; which is an unlawful and prohibited trade; nevertheless they would have brought in lawful and settled trades, full manufactures, merchandise of all natures, poll-money or brotherhoodmoney, and I cannot tell what. And now lastly, it seemeth, they would go back to lay it upon the whites; and therefore whether your Majesty will any more rest and build this great wheel of your kingdom upon these broken and brittle pins, and try experiments farther upon the health and body of your state, I leave to your princely judgment.
The other answer of repulse is a kind of apposing them what they will do after the three years contracted for ; which is a point hitherto not much stirred, though Sir Lionel Cranfield hath ever beaten upon it in his speech with me; for after the three years they are not tied otherways than as trade shall give encouragement, of which encouragement your Majesty hath a bitter taste: and if they should hold on according to the third year's proportion, and not rise on by farther gradation, your Majesty hath not your end. No, I fear, and have long feared, that this feeding of the foreigner may be dangerous; for as we may think to hold up our clothing by vent of whites, till we can dye and dress; so they, I mean the Dutch, will think to hold up their manufacture of dyeing and dressing upon our whites, till they can clothe: SO as your Majesty hath the
greatest reason in the world to make the new company to come in and strengthen that part of their contract; and they refusing, as it is confidently believed they will, to make their default more visible
to all men.
For the second main part of your Majesty's consultation, that is, what shall be done supposing an absolute breach, I have had some speech with Mr. Secretary Lake, and likewise with Sir Lionel Cranfield; and, as I conceive, there may be three ways taken into consideration: the first is, that the old company be restored, who, no doubt, are in appetite, and, as I find by Sir Lionel Cranfield, not unprepared;
and that the licences, the one, that of 30,000 cloths, which was the old licence; the other that of my lord Cumberland's, which is without stint, my lord of Cumberland receiving satisfaction, be compounded into one entire licence without stint; and then, that they amongst themselves take order for that profit which hath been offered to your Majesty.' This is a plain and known way, wherein your Majesty is not an actor; only it hath this, that the work of dyeing and dressing cloths, which hath been so much glorified, seemeth to be wholly relinquished, if you leave there. The second is, that there be a free trade of cloth, with this difference, that the dyed and dressed pay no custom, and the whites double custom, it being a merchandise prohibited and only licentiate. This continueth in life and fame the . work desired, and will have a popular applause : but, I do confess, I did ever think that trading in companies is most agreeable to the English nature, which wanteth that same general vein of a republic which runneth in the Dutch, and serveth to them instead of a company; and therefore I dare not advise to adventure this great trade of the kingdom, which hath been so long under government, in a free or loose trade. The third is a compound way of both, which is, to go on with the trade of whites by the old company restored; and that your Majesty's profit be raised by order amongst themselves, rather than by double custom, wherein you must be the actor; and that nevertheless there be added a privilege to the same company to carry out cloths dyed, and dressed, custom-free; which will still continue as a glorious beam of your Majesty's royal design. I hope and wish at least, that this which I have written may be of some use to your Majesty, to settle, by the advice of the lords about you, this great business: at the least it is the effect of my care and poor ability, which, if in me be any, it is given me to no other end but faithfully to serve your Majesty. God ever preserve you. Your Majesty's most humble subject and bounden servant, Feb. 25, 1615.
CXXXIII. TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS.*
I HUMBLY pray you not to think me over-hasty or much in appetite, if I put you in remembrance of my motion of strengthening me with the oath and trust of a privy counsellor ; not for mine own strength, for as to that, I thank God, I am armed within, but for the strength of my service. The times I submit to you, who knoweth them best. But sure I am, there were never times which did more require a king's attorney to be well armed, and, as I said once to you, to wear a gauntlet and not a glove the arraignments, when they proceed; the contention between the chancery and king's bench; the great cause of the rege inconsulto, which is so precious to the king's prerogative; divers Rawley's Resuscitatio.
other services that concern the king's revenue and the repair of his estate. Besides, it pleaseth his Majesty to accept well of my relations touching his business, which may seem a kind of interloping, as the merchants call it, for one that is no counsellor. But I leave all unto you, thinking myself infinitely bounden unto you for your great favours, the beams whereof I see plainly reflect upon me even from others; so that now I have no greater ambition than this, that as the king showeth himself to you the best master, so I might be found your best serIn which wish and vow I shall ever rest, Most devoted and affectionate to obey your commands,
Feb. 27, 1615.
CXXXIV. TO HIS MAJESTY, ABOUT THE
silence: the other, that there may be special care
There is another business proper for me to crave
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, Ar my last access to your Majesty, it was fit for me to consider the time and your journey, which maketh me now trouble your Majesty with a remnant of that I thought then to have said; besides your old warrant and commission to me, to advertise your Majesty when you are aux champs, of any thing that concerned your service and my place. I know your Majesty is nunquam minus solus, quam
cum solus; and I confess, in regard of your great CXXXV. TO HIS MAJESTY, ABOUT THE CHANjudgment, under which nothing ought to be presented but well weighed, I could almost wish that the manner of Tiberius were in use again, of whom Tacitus saith, "Mos erat quamvis præsentem scripto adire;" much more in absence. I said to your Majesty that which I do now repeat, that the evidence upon which my lord of Somerset standeth indicted is of a good strong thread, considering impoisoning is the darkest of offences; but that the thread must be well spun and woven together; for, your Majesty knoweth, it is one thing to deal with a jury of Middlesex and Londoners, and another to deal with the peers: whose objects perhaps will not be so much what is before them in the present case, which I think is as odious to them as to the vulgar, but what may be hereafter. Besides, there be two disadvantages, we that shall give in evidence shall meet with, somewhat considerable; the one, that the same things often opened lose their freshness, except there be an aspersion of somewhat that is new, the other is the expectation raised, which makes things seem less than they are, because they are less than opinion. Therefore I were not your attorney, nor myself, if I should not be very careful, that in this last part, which is the pinnacle of your former justice, all things may pass sine offendiculo, sine scrupulo. Hereupon I did move two things, which having now more fully explained myself, I do in all humbleness renew. First, that your Majesty will be careful to choose a steward of judgment that may be able to moderate the evidence and cut off digressions; for I may interrupt, but I cannot
* Stephens's First Collection, p. 105.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY. THE last day when it pleased your Majesty to express yourself towards me far above that I can deserve or could expect, I was surprised by the prince's coming in: I most humbly pray your Majesty, therefore, to accept these few lines of acknowledgment. I never had great thoughts for myself, farther than to maintain those great thoughts, which, I confess, I have for your service. I know what honour is, and I know what the times are; but, I thank God, with me my service is the principal; and it is far from me, under honourable pretences to cover base desires; which I account them to be, when men refer too much to themselves, especially serving such a king. I am afraid of nothing but that the master of the horse, your excellent servant, and I shall fall out, who shall hold your stirrup best. But were your Majesty mounted and seated without difficulties and distastes in your business, as I desire and hope to see you; I should ex animo desire to spend the decline of my years in my studies: wherein also I should not forget to do him honour, who, besides his active and politic virtues, is the best pen of kings, and much more, the best subject of a pen. God ever preserve your Majesty. Your Majesty's most humble subject, and more and more obliged servant,
April 1, 1616.
+ Rawley's Resuscitatio.
CXXXVI. TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS, ABOUT
I THOUGHT it convenient to give his Majesty an account of that which his Majesty gave me in charge in general, reserving the particulars for his coming; and I find it necessary to know his pleasure in some things ere I could farther proceed.
My lord chancellor and myself spent Thursday and yesterday, the whole forenoons of both days, in the examination of Sir Robert Cotton; whom we find hitherto but empty, save only in the great point of the treaty with Spain.
This examination was taken before his Majesty's warrant came to Mr. Vice-Chamberlain, for communicating unto us the secrets of the pensions; which warrant I received yesterday morning, being Friday, and a meeting was appointed at my lord chancellor's in the evening after council; upon which conference we find matter of farther examination for Sir Robert Cotton, of some new articles whereupon to examine Somerset, and of entering into examination of Sir William Mounson.
Wherefore, first for Somerset, being now ready to proceed to examine him, we stay only upon the duke of Lenox, who it seemeth is fallen sick and keepeth in; without whom, we neither think it warranted by his Majesty's direction, nor agreeable to his intention, that we should proceed; for that will want, which should sweeten the cup of medicine, he being his countryman and friend. Herein then we humbly crave his Majesty's direction with all convenient speed, whether we shall expect the duke's recovery, or proceed by ourselves; or that his Majesty will think of some other person, qualified according to his Majesty's just intention, to be joined with us. I remember we had speech with his Majesty of my lord Hay; and I, for my part, can think of no other, except it should be my lord chancellor of Scotland, for my lord Binning may be thought too near allied.
Now for Sir William Mounson, if it be his Majesty's pleasure that my lord chancellor and I shall proceed to the examination of him, for that of the duke of Lenox differs, in that there is not the like cause as in that of Somerset, then his Majesty may be pleased to direct his commandment and warrant to my lord chief justice, to deliver unto me the examination he took of Sir William Mounson, that those, joined to the information which we have received from Mr. Vice-Chamberlain, may be full instructions unto us for his examination. Farther, I pray let his Majesty know, that on Thursday in the evening my lord chief justice and myself attended my lord chancellor at his house for the settling that scruple which his Majesty most justly conceived in the examination of the lady Somerset; at which time, resting on his Majesty's opinion, that that evidence, as it standeth now uncleared, must “ secundum leges sanæ conscientiæ" be laid aside; the question was, whether we should leave it out, or try what a re-examination of my lady Somerset would produce? Whereupon we agreed upon a re-examination of my lady Somerset, which my lord chief justice and I have appointed for Monday morning. I was bold at that meeting to put my lord chief justice a posing question; which was, Whether that opinion which his brethren had given upon the whole evidence, and he had reported to his Majesty, namely, that it was good evidence, in their opinions, to convict my lord of Somerset, was not grounded upon this part of the evidence now to be omitted, as well as upon the rest; who answered positively, No; and they never saw the exposition of the letter, but the letter only.
I am farther to know his Majesty's pleasure concerning the day; for my lord chancellor and I conceived his Majesty to have designed the Monday and Tuesday after St. George's feast; and nevertheless we conceived also, that his Majesty understood that the examinations of Somerset about this, and otherwise touching the Spanish practices, should first be put to a point; which will not be possible, as time cometh on, by reason of this accident of the duke's sickness, and the cause we find of Sir William | Mounson's examination, and that divers of the peers are to be sent for from remote places.
It may please his Majesty therefore to take into consideration, whether the days may not well be put off till Wednesday and Thursday after the term, which endeth on the Monday, being the Wednesday and Thursday before Whitsuntide; or, if that please not his Majesty, in respect, it may be, his Majesty will be then in town, whereas these arraignments have been still in his Majesty's absence from town, Stephens's First Collection, p. 108.
then to take Monday and Tuesday after Trinity Sunday, being the Monday and Tuesday before Trinity term.
The same Thursday evening, before we entered into this last matter, and in the presence of Mr. Secretary Winwood, who left us when we went to the former business, we had conference concerning the frauds and abusive grants passed to the prejudice of his Majesty's state of revenue; where my lord chief justice made some relation of his collections which he had made of that kind; of which I will only say this, that I heard nothing that was new to me, and I found my lord chancellor, in divers particulars, more ready than I found him. We grew to a distribution both of times and of matters, for we agreed what to begin with presently, and what should follow, and also we had consideration what was to be holpen by law, what by equity, and what by parliament; wherein I must confess, that in the last of these, of which my lord chief justice made most account, I make most doubt. But the conclusion was, that upon this entrance I should advise and confer at large with my lord chief justice, and set things in work. The particulars I refer till his Majesty's coming.
The learned counsel have now attended me twice at my chamber, to confer upon that which his Majesty gave us in commandment for our opinion upon the case set down by my lord chancellor, whether the statutes extend to it or no; wherein we are
more and more edified and confirmed that they do | put his Majesty in mind at his coming, to appoint not, and shall shortly send our report to his Majesty. Sir, I hope you will bear me witness I have not been idle; but all is nothing to the duty I owe his Majesty for his singular favours past and present; supplying all with love and prayers, I rest,
some time for us to wait upon him all together, for the delivery in of the same, as we did in our former certificate.
For the revenue matters, I reserve them to his Majesty's coming; and in the mean time I doubt not but Mr. Secretary Winwood will make some kind of report thereof to his Majesty.
For the conclusion of your letter concerning my own comfort, I can but say the Psalm of "Quid retribuam?" God that giveth me favour in his Majesty's eyes, will strengthen me in his Majesty's service. I ever rest
Your true and devoted servant,
Your true friend and devoted servant,
April 13, 1616.
CXXXVII. TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS, ABOUT
He is full of protestations, and would fain keep that quarter towards Spain clear: using but this for argument, that he had such fortunes from his Majesty, as he could not think of bettering his conditions from Spain, because, as he said, he was no military man. He cometh nothing so far on, for that which concerneth the treaty, as Cotton, which doth much aggravate suspicion against him: the farther particulars I reserve to his Majesty's coming.
In the end, tamquam obiter, but very effectually, my lord chancellor put him in mind of the state he stood in for the impoisonment; but he was little moved with it, and pretended carelessness of life, since ignominy had made him unfit for his Majesty's service. I am of opinion that the fair usage of him, as it was fit for the Spanish examinations, and for the questions touching the papers and despatches, and all that, so it was no good preparative to make him descend into himself touching his present danger; and therefore my lord chancellor and myself thought not good to insist upon it at this time.
I have received from my lord chief justice the examination of Sir William Mounson; with whom we mean to proceed to farther examination with all speed.
My lord chief justice is altered touching the reexamination of the lady, and desired me that we might stay till he spake with his Majesty, saying it could be no casting back to the business; which I did approve.
Myself with the rest of my fellows, upon due and mature advice, perfected our report touching the chancery; for the receiving whereof, I pray you Stephens's First Collection, p. 112. + Ibid. 114. REX. I say with Apollo, "Medio tutius itur," if it may
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, YOUR Majesty hath put me upon a work of providence in this great cause, which is to break and distinguish future events into present cases; and so to present them to your royal judgment, that, in this action, which hath been carried with so great prudence, justice, and clemency, there may be, for that which remaineth, as little surprise as is possible; but that things duly foreseen may have their remedies and directions in readiness; wherein I cannot forget what the poet Martial saith ; "0 quantum est subitis casibus ingenium!" signifying, that accident is many times more subtle than foresight, and overreacheth expectation; and besides, I know very well the meanness of my own judgment, in comprehending or forecasting what may follow.
It was your Majesty's pleasure also that I should couple the suppositions with my opinion in every of them, which is a harder task; but yet your Majesty's commandment requireth my obedience, and your trust giveth me assurance.
I will put the case, which I wish; that Somerset should make a clear confession of his offences, before he be produced to trial.
In this case it seemeth your Majesty will have a new consult; the points whereof will be, 1. Whe ther your Majesty will stay the trial, and so save them both from the stage, and that public ignominy. 2. Or whether you will, or may fitly by law, have the trial proceed, and stay or reprieve the judgment, which saveth the lands from forfeiture, and the blood from corruption. 3. Or whether you will have both trial and judgment proceed, and save the blood only, not from corrupting, but from spilling.
stand with law; and if it cannot, when I shall hear that he confesseth, I am then to make choice of the first or the last.