« PreviousContinue »
But forasmuch as it were great improvidence to | depend upon the success of such treaties, and therefore good policy requires that we should be prepared for a war which we intend for the recovery and assuring of the said Palatinate, with the dependences, a design of no small charge and difficulty, the strength and conjunctures of the adverse party considered, we have thought good to take into our princely and serious consideration, and that with speed, all things that may have relation to such a designment; amongst which we hold nothing more necessary than to confer and advise with the common council of our kingdom, upon this so important a subject.
For although the making of war or peace be a secret of empire, and a thing properly belonging to our high prerogative royal, and imperial power; yet nevertheless, in causes of that nature, which we shall think fit not to reserve, but to communicate, we shall ever think ourselves much assisted and strengthened by the faithful advice and general assent of our loving subjects.
Moreover, no man is so ignorant, as to expect that we should be any ways able, moneys being the sinews of war, to enter into the list against so great potentates, without some large and bountiful help of treasure from our people; as well towards the maintenance of the war, as towards the relief of our crown and estate. And this the rather, for that we have now, by the space of full ten years, a thing unheard of in late times, subsisted by our own means, without being chargeable to our people, otherwise than by some voluntary gifts of some particulars, which though in total amounted to no great matter, we thankfully acknowledge at their hands; but as, while the affairs abroad were in greater calm, we did content ourselves to recover our wants by provident retrenchment of charge, and honourable improvement of our own, thinking to wear them out without troubling our people; so in such a state of christendom, as seemeth now to hang over our heads, we durst no longer rely upon those slow remedies, but thought necessary, according to the ancient course of our progenitors, to resort to the good affections and aids of our loving subjects.
Upon these considerations, and for that also, in respect of so long intermission of a parliament, the times may have introduced some things fit to be reformed, either by new laws, or by the moderate desires of our loving subjects, dutifully intimated unto us, wherein we shall ever be no less ready to give them all gracious satisfaction, than their own hearts can desire, we have resolved, by the advice of our privy council, to hold a parliament at our city of Westminster.
And because as well this great cause, there to be handled amongst the rest, and to be weighed by the beam of the kingdom, as also the true and ancient institution of parliament, do require the lower house, at this time, if ever, to be compounded of the gravest, ablest, and worthiest members that may be found: we do hereby, out of the care of the common good, wherein themselves are participant, without all prejudice to the freedom of elections, admonish all our
loving subjects, that have votes in the elections of knights and burgesses, of these few points following. First, That they cast their eyes upon the worthiest men of all sorts, knights and gentlemen, that are lights and guides in their countries, experienced parliament-men, wise and discreet statesmen, that have been practised in public affairs, whether at home or abroad, grave and eminent lawyers, substantial citizens and burgesses, and generally such as are interested and have portion in the estate.
Secondly, That they make choice of such as are well affected in religion, without declining either on the one hand to blindness and superstition, or on the other hand to schism or turbulent disposition.
Thirdly, and lastly, That they be truly sensible, not to disvalue or disparage the house with bankrupts and necessitous persons, that may desire long parliaments only for protection; lawyers of mean account and estimation; young men that are not ripe for grave consultations; mean dependants upon great persons, that might be thought to have their voices under command, and such like obscure and inferior persons: so that, to conclude, we may have the comfort to see before us the very face of a sufficient and well composed house, such as may be worthy to be a representative of the third estate of our kingdom, fit to nourish a loving and comfortable meeting between us and our people, and fit to be a noble instrument, under the blessing of Almighty God, and our princely care and power, and with the loving conjunction of our prelates and peers, for the settling of so great affairs as are before expressed.
CCXLV. TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR.*
MY HONOURABLE LORD,
I HAVE showed your letter and the proclamation to his Majesty, who expecting only, according as his meaning was, directions therein for the well ordering of the elections of the burgesses, findeth a great deal more, containing matter of state, and the reasons of calling the parliament: whereof neither the people are capable, nor is it fit for his Majesty to open unto them, but to reserve to the time of their assembling, according to the course of his predecessors, which his Majesty intendeth to follow. The declaring whereof in the proclamation would cut off the ground of his Majesty's and your lordship's speech, at the proper time; his Majesty hath therefore extracted somewhat of the latter part of the draught you have sent, purposing to take a few days' space to set down himself what he thinketh fit, and to make it ready against his return hither, or to Theobald's at the farthest, and then to communicate it to your lordship, and the rest of the lords. And so I rest
CCXLVI. TO SIR HENRY WOTTON.
MY VERY GOOD COUSIN,
THE letter which I received from your lordship upon your going to sea, was more than a compensation for any former omission; and I shall be very glad to entertain a correspondence with you in both kinds which you write of; for the latter, I am now ready for you, having sent you some ore of that mine. I thank you for your favours to Mr. Meautys, and I pray continue the same. So wishing you out of your honourable exile, and placed in a better orb, I rest
Your lordship's affectionate kinsman and assured friend,
FR. VERULAM, CANC.†
York-house, Oct. 20, 1620.
CCXLVII. LORD OF ST. ALBANS TO MR. MATTHEW.‡
THE report of this act, which I hope will prove the last of this business, will probably, by the weight it carries, fall and seize on me. And therefore, not now at will, but upon necessity, it will become me to call to mind what passed; and, my head being then wholly employed about invention, I may the worse put things upon the account of mine own memory. I shall take physic to-day, upon this change of weather, and vantage of leisure; and I pray you not to allow yourself so much business, but that you may have time to bring me your friendly aid before night, &c.
CCXLVIII. TO MR. MATTHEW, BELIEVING HIS DANGER LESS THAN HE FOUND IT.§
I SAY to you, upon the occasion which you give me in your last, Modicæ fidei, quare dubitasti? I would not have my friends, though I know it to be out of love, too apprehensive either of me or for me; for, I thank God, my ways are sound and good, and
* Mr. Stephens observes, when this letter was written, upon the occasion of my lord chancellor's publishing his Novum Organum, Sir Henry Wotton, so eminent for his many embassies, great learning, candour, and other accomplishments, was resident at Vienna, endeavouring to quench that fire which began to blaze in Germany, upon the proclaiming the elector Palatine king of Bohemia. How grateful a present this book was to Sir Henry, cannot better be expressed than by his answer to this letter: which though it may be found in his Remains, the reader will not be displeased to see part of it transcribed in this place.
"RIGHT HONOURABLE AND MY VERY GOOD LORD,
"I HAVE your lordship's letters dated October 20, and I have withal, by the care of my cousin Meautys, and by your own special favour, three copies of that work, wherewith your lordship hath done a great and ever-living benefit to all the children of nature, and to nature herself in her uttermost extent and latitude; who never before had so noble nor so true an interpreter, or, as I am ready to style your lordship, never
I hope God will bless me in them. When once my master, and afterwards myself, were both of us in extremity of sickness, which was no time to dissemble, I never had so great pledges and certainties of his love and favour: and that which I knew then, such as took a little poor advantage of these later times, know since. As for the nobleman that passed that way by you, I think he is fallen out with me for his pleasure, or else, perhaps, to make good some of his own mistakings. For he cannot in his heart but think worthily of my affection and well deserving towards him; and as for me, I am very sure that I love his nature and parts.
I HAVE been too long a debtor to you for a letter, and especially for such a letter, the words whereof were delivered by your hand, as if it had been in old gold for it was not possible for entire affection to be more generously and effectually expressed. I can but return thanks to you; or rather indeed such an answer, as may better be of thoughts than words. As for that which may concern myself, I hope God hath ordained me some small time, whereby I may redeem the loss of much. Your company was ever of contentment to me, and your absence of grief; but now it is of grief upon grief. I beseech you therefore make haste hither, where you shall meet with as good a welcome as your own heart can wish.
CCL. TO MR. MATTHEW, OWNING HIS IMPATIENT ATTENTION TO DO HIM SERVICE.¶ SIR,
It is not for nothing that I have deferred my essay De amicitia; whereby it hath expected the proof of your great friendship towards me: whatsoever the event be, (wherein I depend upon God, who ordains the effects, the instrument, all,) yet your incessant thinking of me, without loss of a moment of time, or a hint of occasion, or a circumstance of endeavour, or the stroke of a pulse, in demonstration
so inward a secretary of her cabinet. But of your said work, which came but this week to my hands, I shall find occasion to speak more hereafter having yet read only the first book thereof, and a few aphorisms of the second. For it is not a banquet that men may superficially taste, and put up the rest in their pockets; but in truth a solid feast, which requireth due mastication-&c.
"But I am gone farther than I meant in speaking of this excellent labour, while the delight I yet feel, and even the pride that I take in a certain congeniality, as I may term it, with your lordship's studies, will scant let me cease. And indeed I owe your lordship, even by promise, which you are pleased to remember, and thereby doubly binding me, some trouble this way; I mean by the commerce of philosophical experiments, which surely, of all other, is the most ingenious
Stephens's Second Collection, p. 129.
Sir Tobie Matthew's Collection of Letters, p. 20.
the days of sitting. And if it should be so, then the prince may vote, and likewise may be of a committee of the upper house, and consequently may be of a conference with the lower house, and the like.
of your affection to me, doth infinitely tie me to you. | solemnity, when they came without writ, but also on Commend my service to my friend. The rest tomorrow, for I hope to lodge at London this night, &c. Secrecy I need not recommend, otherwise than that you may recommend it over to our friend; both because it prevents opposition, and because it is both the king's and my lord marquis's nature, to love to do things unexpected.
This might have been made more manifest as to the presence, and acts of the prince in days of sitting, if, through the negligence of officers, the journal books of the upper house before the reign of king Henry VIII. were not all missing.
All which we thought it appertained to our care
CCLI. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.* to look through, and faithfully to represent to his
OUR VERY GOOD LORD,
We thought it our duty to impart to his Majesty, by your lordship, one particular of parliament business, which we hold it our part to relate, though it be too high for us to give our opinion of it.
The officers that make out the writs of parliament addressed themselves to me the chancellor to know, whether they should make such a writ of summons to the prince, giving me to understand, that there were some precedents of it; which I the chancellor communicated with the rest of the committees for parliament business; in whose assistance I find so much strength that I am not willing to do any thing without them: whereupon we, according to his Majesty's prudent and constant rule, for observing in what reigns the precedents were, upon diligent search have found as followeth.
That king Edward I. called his eldest son prince Edward to his parliament in the thirtieth year of his reign, the prince then being about the age of eighteen years; and to another parliament in the four and thirtieth year of his reign.
Edward III. called the Black Prince, his eldest son, to his parliament in the five and twentieth, eight and twentieth, and two and fortieth years of his reign.
Henry IV. called prince Henry to his parliaments in the first, third, eighth, and eleventh years of his reign, the prince being under age in the three first parliaments; and we find in particular, that the eighth year, the prince sat in the upper house in days of business, and recommended a bill to the lords. King Edward IV. called prince Edward, his son, to his parliament, in anno 22 of his reign, being within age.
King Henry VII. called prince Arthur to his parliament in the seventh year of his reign, being within age.
Majesty and having agreed secrecy amongst ourselves, and enjoined it to the inferior officers, we humbly desire to know his Majesty's pleasure, whether he will silence the question altogether, or make use of it for his service, or refer it to his council, or what other course he will be pleased to take according to his great wisdom and good pleasure.
This we have despatched the sooner, because the writs of summons must have forty days distance from the first days of the parliament. And for the other parts of our accounts, his Majesty shall hear from us, by the grace of God, within few days; evermore praying for his Majesty's prosperity, and wishing your lordship much happiness.
Your lordship's to be commanded,
FR. VERULAM, CANC. EDW. COKE, H. MONTAGU,
York-house, 21 Oct. 1620.
CCLII. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.†
MY VERY GOOD Lord,
WE have, these two days past, made report to the board of our parliament committee, upon relation whereof, for some things we provide, for some things we arm.
The king, by my lord treasurer's signification, did wisely put it upon a consult, whether the patents, which we mentioned in our joint letters, were at this time to be removed by act of council before parliament. I opined (but yet somewhat like Ovid's mistress, that strove, but yet as one that would be overcome) that yes. My reasons:
That men would go better and faster to the main errand.
That these things should not be staged, nor talked of, and so the less fuel to the fire.
That in things of this nature, wherein the council had done the like in former particulars, which I enumerated, before parliament, near parliament, during parliament, the council were to keep their wonted centinel, as if they thought not of a parliament, to destroy in other patents as concealments. The reasons on the other side were:
Of king Edward VI. we find nothing, his years were tender, and he was not created prince of Wales. And for prince Henry, he was created prince of Wales during the last parliament at which he lived. | We have thought it our duty to relate to his Majesty what we have found, and withal that the writs of summons to the prince are not much differing from the writs to the peers; for they run in fide et ligeancia, and sometime in fide et homagio in quibus That it would be thought but an humouring of nobis tenemini, and after, consilium nobis impensuri | the parliament, being now in the calends of a parcirca ardua regni. Whereby it should seem that liament, and that after parliament they would come princes came to parliament not only in the days of up again. Stephens's Second Collection, p. 129.
+ Stephens's Second Collection, p. 137.
That offered graces, by reason and experience, lose their thanks.
That they are to be suffered to play upon something, since they can do nothing of themselves.
That the choosing out of some things, when perhaps their minds might be more upon other things, would do no great effect.
That former patents taken away by act of council, were upon the complaints of particular persons; whereas now it should seem to be done tanquam ex officio.
To this I yielded, though, I confess, I am yet a little doubtful to the point of suavibus modis. But it is true that the speech of these, though in the lower house, may be contemned; and if way be given to them, as I writ to your lordship of some of them in my last, it will sort to your honour. For other things, the lords have put them in a very good way, of which I will give express account when I see his Majesty, as also of other observations concerning parliament. For if his Majesty said well, that when he knew the men and the elections, he would guess at the success; the prognostics are not so good as I expected, occasioned by the late occurrents abroad, and the general licentious speaking of state matters, of which I wrote in my last. God ever keep you.
CCLVI. TO THE KING.§
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, TIME hath been when I have brought unto you gemitum columbæ from others, now I bring it from myself. I fly unto your Majesty with the wings of a dove, which once within these seven days I thought would have carried me a higher flight. When I enter into myself, I find not the materials of such a tempest as is come upon me: I have been, as your
Your lordship's most obliged friend and faithful Majesty knoweth best, never author of any immode
As soon as his Majesty's convenience would permit, I have acquainted him with the draught of the proclamation your lordship sent me by his Majesty's direction: his Majesty liketh it in every point so well, both in matter and form, that he findeth no cause to alter a word in it, and would have your lordship acquaint the lords of the council with it, though he assureth himself, no man can find any thing in it to be changed, and to take order for the speedy setting it forth. And so I rest
rate counsel, but always desired to have things carried suavibus modis. I have been no avaricious oppressor of the people. I have been no haughty, or intolerable, or hateful man, in my conversation or carriage : I have inherited no hatred from my father, but am a good patriot born. Whence should this be? For these are the things that use to raise dislikes abroad.
For the house of commons, I began my credit there, and now it must be the place of the sepulture thereof; and yet this parliament, upon the message touching religion, the old love revived, and they said, I was the same man still, only honesty was turned into honour.
For the upper house, even within these days, before these troubles, they seemed as to take me into their arms, finding in me ingenuity, which they took to be the true straight line of nobleness, without any crooks or angles.
And for the briberies and gifts wherewith I am charged, when the books of hearts shall be opened, I hope I shall not be found to have the troubled fountain of a corrupt heart, in a depraved habit of taking rewards to pervert justice; howsoever I may be frail, and partake of the abuses of the times.
And therefore I am resolved, when I come to my answer, not to trick up my innocency, as I writ to the lords, by cavillations or voidances; but to speak to them the language that my heart speaketh to me, in excusing, extenuating, or ingenuously confessing; praying to God to give me the grace to see the bottom of my faults, and that no hardness of heart do steal upon me, under show of more neatness of conscience, than is cause. But not to trouble your Majesty any longer, craving pardon for this long mourning letter; that which I thirst after, as the Ibid. p. 136. § Ibid.
hart after the streams, is, that I may know, by my matchless friend that presenteth to you this letter, your Majesty's heart (which is an abyssus of goodness, as I am an abyssus of misery) towards me. I have been ever your man, and counted myself but an usufructuary of myself, the property being yours. And now making myself an oblation to do with me as may best conduce to the honour of your justice, the honour of your mercy, and the use of your service, resting as clay in your Majesty's gracious hands. March 25, 1621. FR. ST. ALBAN, CANC.
CCLVII. TO THE KING.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I THINK myself infinitely bounden to your Majesty, for vouchsafing me access to your royal person, and to touch the hem of your garment. see your Majesty imitateth Him that would not break the broken reed, nor quench the smoking flax; and as your Majesty imitateth Christ, so I hope assuredly my lords of the upper house will imitate you and unto your Majesty's grace and mercy, and next to my lords, I recommend myself. It is not possible, nor it were not safe, for me to answer particulars till I have my charge; which when I shall receive, I shall without fig-leaves or disguise excuse what I can excuse, extenuate what I can extenuate, and ingenuously confess what I can neither clear nor extenuate. And if there be any thing which I mought conceive to be no offence, and yet is, I desire to be informed, that I may be twice penitent, once for my fault, and the second time for my error. And so submitting all that I am to your Majesty's grace, I rest
20 April, 1621.
CCLVIII. TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.+
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
IT hath pleased God, for these three days past, to visit me with such extremity of head-ache, upon the hinder part of my head, fixed in one place, that I thought verily it had been some imposthumation. And then the little physic that I have, told me, that either it must grow to a congelation, and so to a lethargy; or to break, and so to a mortal fever and sudden death: which apprehension, and chiefly the anguish of the pain, made me unable to think of any business. But now that the pain itself is assuaged to be tolerable, I resume the care of my business, and therein prostrate myself again, by my letter, at your Majesty's feet.
Your Majesty can bear me witness, that, at my last so comfortable access, I did not so much as move your Majesty, by your absolute power of pardon, or otherwise, to take my cause into your hands, and to interpose between the sentence of the house; and, according to my own desire, your Majesty left Stephens's Second Collection, p. 138.
it to the sentence of the house, and it was reported by my lord treasurer.
But now, if not per omnipotentiam, as the divines speak, but per potestatem suaviter disponentem, your Majesty will graciously save me from a sentence, with the good liking of the house, and that cup may pass from me, it is the utmost of my desires.
This I move with the more belief, because I assure myself that, if it be reformation that is sought, the very taking away the seal, upon my general submission, will be as much in example, for this four hundred years, as any farther severities.
The means of this I most humbly leave unto your Majesty. But surely I conceive, that your Majesty opening yourself in this kind to the lords counsellors, and a motion from the prince, after my submission, and my lord marquis using his interest with his friends in the house, may effect the sparing of a sentence, I making my humble suit to the house for that purpose, joined with the delivery of the seal into your Majesty's hands.
This is the last suit I shall make to your Majesty in this business, prostrating myself at your mercyseat, after fifteen years' service, wherein I have served your Majesty in my poor endeavours with an entire heart, and, as I presumed to say unto your Majesty, am still a virgin for matters which concern your person or crown; and now only craving, that after eight steps of honour I be not precipitated altogether.
But because he that hath taken bribes is apt to give bribes, I will go farther, and present your Majesty with a bribe. For if your Majesty give me peace and leisure, and God give me life, I will present your Majesty with a good history of England, and a better digest of your laws. And so concluding with my prayers, I rest
Your Majesty's afflicted, but ever devoted
21 April, 1621.
CCLIX. TO THE PRINCE OF WALES.‡
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR HIGHNESS,
WHEN I call to mind, how infinitely I am bound to your highness, that stretched forth your arm to save me from a sentence; that took hold of me to keep me from being plunged deep in a sentence; that hath kept me alive in your gracious memory and mention since the sentence; pitying me as, I hope, I deserve, and valuing me above that I can deserve: I find my words almost as barren as my fortunes, to express unto your highness the thankfulness I owe. Therefore I can but resort to prayers to Almighty God to clothe you with his most rich and precious blessings, and likewise joyfully to meditate upon those he hath conferred upon you already; in that he hath made you to the king your father, a principal part of his safety, contentment, and continuance in yourself so judicious, accomplished, and graceful in all your doings, with more Ibid. p. 145.
+ Ibid. p. 143.