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that if they thought fit to secure themselves in their rights and liberties by way of bill, or otherwise, so it might be provided for with due respect to your honour, and the public good, you would be graciously pleased to give way unto it. Far from their intentions is it, any way, to incroach upon your sovereignty or prerogative; nor have they the least thought of straining or enlarging the former laws in any sort, by any new interpretations or additions; the bounds of their desires extend no further, than to some necessary explanation of that ■which is truly comprehended within the just sense and meaning of those laws, with some moderate provision for execution and performance, as in times past, upon like occasion, hath been used. The way how to accomplish these their just desires, is now under serious consideration with them; wherein they humbly assure your maj. they will neither lose time, nor seek any thing of your maj. but what they hope may be fit for dutiful and loyal subjects to ask, and for a gracious and just king to grant."
"His Majesty's Answer as delivered by the Lord-keeper.
"Mr. Speaker, and you gentlemen of the bouse of commons, His maj. bath commanded rne to tell yon, that he expected an Answer by your actions, and not delay by your discourse. Ye acknowledge his trust and confidence in your proceedings; but his maj. sees not how you do requite him by your confidence in his words and actions: for what need explanations, if ye doubted not the performance of the true weaning f For explanations will hazard an infcroacbruent upon his prerogative. And it may well be said, Wliat need a new hiw to confirm nn old, if you repose confidence in the declaration his maj. made: by mc to both homes? jAnd yourselves,acknowled«rje, that your greatest trust an<( confidence must be in his majesty's grace and goodness, without which mailing ye can frame will be of safety or nvnil to you: Yet, to shew clearly the sincerity of bis majesty's intentions, he is content that a bill be tlrav n for. a confirmation of Magna. Cbarta, and the 'other six statutes insisted upon, fur the subjects liberties, if ye shall chuse that as the best way; but so as it may be without additions, paraphrases, or explanations. Thus, if you please, •you may be secured from your needless fears, sad this parliament may have the happy wishedfor end: whereas, on the contrary, if ye seek ioityoynur kirrg.liy* new, and indeed impossible, bonds, you must be accountable to God «nd the country for the ill successioi this meeting. , Hisi&aj. hath given his Royal Word, that ye shall have no cause to complain hereafter: less ■than which hath been enough to reconcile great princes, and therefore oucht much more.to prevail between a king^ and his subjects. Lastly, 1 amcommanded to ti 11 you that his majesty's pleasure is, That without further replies orme-SH-es; orother tmneccssary trcfay»rye d<>-whirt ye irldoa toda speedily ; tcmenibeling toe lust
message that Secretary Cooke brought yon, in point of time; his majesty always intending to perform his promise to his people."
Debute on the King's AnsicerA Notwithstanding this intimation of his maj. s good pleasure for o hill, yet, the very next day, Mr. Secretary Cooke again pressed the house to rely upon the king's word, saying, 'That he had rather follow others than himself begin tlm business: loss of time hath been the greatest complaint: the matter fallen now into consideration, is what way to lake, w hethcr to rely on his maj.'s word or on a bill. It" we will consider the advantage wc have in taking his maj.'s word, it will be of the largest extent, and we shall chuse that which hath most assurance; an act of parliament is by the consent of the kin; and parliament, but this assurance by word is, that he will govern us by the laws: the king promises that, and also that they shall be so executed, that we shall enjoy as much freedom as ever: this contains many laws, and a grant of all good laws; nay, it contains a confirmation of those very laws; an assurance, which binds the kins further than the law can: first, it binds his affection, which is the greatest bond between king and subject; and that binds hi* judgment also, nay his honour, and that not at home only, but abroad. The royal word of a king is the ground of all treaty; nay, it binds his conscience. This confirmation between both houses is in nature of a vow : for roypart, I think it is the greatest advantage to rely on his maj.'s word.' He further added, 'Thisdebate was fitter to be done before the liouse, and not before the committee; and that it was a new course to go into ix committee of the whole house.'—Whereunto it was replied lv sir John LUiot, ' That the proceeding ill n committee is more honourable and advantageous both to the king and the house; for that nay leads most to truth, as it is a more opeu way. where every man may add his reasons, and make answer upon the hearing of other men's reasons and arguments.'—This being the general sense, the house was turned into a committee, to take into consideration what was delivered to the king by the Speaker, and wlmt was delivered to them by the lord-keeper, and all other Messages; and the CDtntWtK was not to be bounded l>y any former order. The key was brought up, and none were to go oat without leave first risked.— In the debate of this business at the-committee, some were for letting tiro bill rest: but sir Edw. Coke's reasons prevailed to the contrary. 'Was it ever known, said he, that general words were n sufficient satisfaction to particular grievances r was ever a verbal declaration of. the king, vcrbwm regis '■ when irriuvhnces be, the parliament is to redress li.cm. Hid eveir parliament jely on Messages ? Thev pofeop petitions of tlieir grievanri ■ and tbe-hina ever iiiiswcred.tfiem.i /Fire king's answer is very gracious; hut wnstistfae law ot the reulai, that is ilia auestioo. itpuino duiiIdcitcc njilusnjaj;;.but tlit kirns oMnt*peaUl'j record, and in particulars; and not in general. Did you ever know the king's message come into a bill of subsidies? all succeeding kings will say, ye must trust me as well as ye did my predecessors, and trust my messages; but messages of love never came into a parliament. Let us put up a Petition Of Right: not diat I distrust the king, but that I cannot laie his trust but iu a parliamentary way."
Proceedings of the ljords on Mutters of Privilege.] May 6. The lords had been, for some time, taken up with reading bills and other affairs of less moment, till this day, when the earl Marshal made a Report from their Committee of Privileges, &c. concerning four things wluch had been referred by thu house to their consideration. Which were these." "1. Whether a peer of parliament is to answer upon Oath, or upon his Honour only ?* 2. Whether a peer, having done his homage once to the kiug at his coronal ion, may be compelled to pay, in respect of homage, for lands held of die king in capite? 3. Whether the goods of a privileged person, taken in execution, (during the privilege of parliament,) ought nor to be delivered to the party by the said privilege? 4. To consider of a bill for the reIcasernent of such privileged persons, as should he arrested after the parliament ended, but during the privilege thereof."—His lordship furthcr reported "That the committee finding die first of these references to be general, they considered only of the Answers of peers as defendants in courts. And that they had perused all the precedents, which were, either for their Answers in this kind, upon Protestation of Honour only, or upon common Oath; and, after mature consideration, they all agreed, una >oce, that the nobility of this kingdom, and lords of the upper house of parliament, were, by antient right, to answer in all courts, as defendants, upon Protestation of Honour only, and uot upon common Oath.—As touching the Sod, in respect of Homage, the attorney-genera! desired to have time to consider thereof, and they agreed that he should be heard in the house as soou as he was ready.—To the 3rd, 'fey had all agreed, that the goods of a privileged person, taken in execution, ought to be redelivered, and freed, as well as the person. Concerning the bill for setting at liberty such privileged persons, as should be arrested after ■ lie parliament ended, and during the privilege thereof, they had heard it read, and appointed Mr. Attorney to draw a new bill."—This Report being ended, the house went into a committee for a free debate upon the first question. And, after many arguments, they came at last t J a general agreement; "That the nobility of this kingdom, as lords of the upper house of parliament, are, of antient right, to answer in all courts as defendants, upon Protestation o! Honour only, and not upon the common Oath."
* See the proceedings of the lords, relating » this point of pririk-ge. Vol. 1. p. I2<$i.
May 8. The Attorney-General delivered in his Opinion to the house concerning Homage; "That he had advised with the barons of the exchequer therein, and had perused records, and finds that homage once done, for lands held of the king, the party is to do it no more. But, as touching homage done at the coronation, he found no allowance, for these 300 years past, for discharge of homage afterwards. He found also, that homage once' done, was to be certified out of chartcery into the exchequer; and he found no certificate of any coronation homage: that he sent to the heralds for a copy of the said homage, wherein he noted. That there were no words for anv land held of the king, as required by law.'' This Opinion was referred back to the committee of privileges; and the abp. of Canterbury acquainting the house, That he had a true copy of the Homage done by the lords at the coronation, he was desired to shew it the next day: when the abp. produced, his copy of Homage made by the peers, which, for the archbishops and bishops Kneeling, w as in these words. "I, A, will be faithful, and hear true faith and troth unto you, my sovereign lord, and to your heirs, kings of England; and I shall do, and truly acknowledge the service of the lands which 1 claim to hold of you, as in right of the church, as God shall help me." Then kissed the king's left cheek.—For the lay-lords, thus,: "I, N, r>ecoine your liegeman of life and limb, and of all earthly worship; and faith and troth I shall bear unto you, to live and die against all manner of folks. So God help me." This homage being ended, they put forth their hands and touch the crown by way of ceremony, as promising to support it with all their power.—After this, the question about Respect of Homage was again referred to the committee for privileges, &c.
A Conference concerning the Petition of Right,] May 8. The lords received a Message from the commons, importing, That they desired a further Conference with their lordships in pursuance of former conferences had of late. It seems the commons had now finished their Petition of Right, and a clause relating to martial law was added to it. The lords agreed to the proposal; and a conference, by committees of both houses, was held in the Painted Chamber at two that afternoon.—The report of this Conference w:is made the next day, hv (he lord keeper, who said, "That sir Rdw. (Joke, after making an excuse for his long stay, expressed the great joy of the commons for the good concurrence between the lords and them in this business. That, at the first conference, the commons shewed onto their lordships what evidences they had of their libcrlies. Since which time, they received five Propositions, penned hy u grave and reverend prelate, from their lordships; and it is fit they should give tlicm a reason, why they have heard no sooner from them concerning the same. And said, That after some debate among themselves, concerning those Proposition*, they received from his majesty five gracious Messages. I. That he would maintain all his subjects in their just Liberties of their Persons and Goods. II. That he would govern according to the laws and statutes of this kingdom. III. That we should find as much security in his majesty's word as m any law or statute whatsoever. IV. That we should enjoy all our freedoms, in as just and ample manner as our ancestors did in the time of any of his best predecessors. V. That for the securing of this, the house of commons might, if they thought fit, proceed by bill or otherwise.—Then he said, That these Messages of the king's being categorical, and their lordships Propositions but hypothetical, the commons had laid the latter aside; 'quia in potcntia majoris cessat potcstas minoris; & hie sunt causa;,' said the knight, why their lordships heard from the commons no sooner about their Propositions.—He next said, That according to the king's Message, the commons had thought good to proceed in a parliamentary way; ' pcriculosum cnim est, proborum virorum exeinplo non comprobarc;' and, if their lordships would please to concur herein, they doubt not but the success will be happy. That they had drawn up a Petition of Right, according to antient precedents, and left space for the lords to join therein with them. ■ And he affirmed, That this manner of proceeding, by petition, was the antient way, until the unhappy divisions between the houses of York and Lancaster."—After this Report was ended, the said Petition was twice read, and referred to a select committee of lords, who were to meet that afternoon, and inform themselves of precedents of this kind.
May 9. The lord-keeper reported, That the committee had considered of the change of some words in the Petition, without alteration of the substance thereof. Then the said changes were read, w hich are not necessary here to insert, since they "ill fall apter, when they come to be debated, between the two houses, afterwards.
The King's Letter to the Lords touching the liberty of the Subject.! May 12. The duke of Buckingham delivercda Letter from the King, sealed with the royal sipict, which was read first by the lord-keeper, and then by the clerk; *iz.
"To our Right Trusty and Right Well-beloved, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the Higher House of Parliament.
"Charles R.—We, being desirous of nothing more than the advancement of the good and prosperity of our people, have given leave to free debate uuon the highest points of our prerogative royal; which, in the time of our predecessors, kings and queens of this realm, were ever restrained as matters that they would not have disputed; and in other things wc have been willing so far to descend to the desires of our good subject?, as might fully satisfy all moderate minds, and free them from all just
fears and jealousies; which, those Message* we have hitherto sent to the commons house will well demonstrate unto the world; yet ne find it still insisted upon, that, in no case whatsoever, should it ever so nearly concern matte? of state or government, neither we, nor our privy-council, have power to commit any mat* without the cause shewed; whereas it orten happens, that, should the cause be shewed, the service itself would thereby be destroyed and defeated; and the cause alledgcd must besodi as may be determined by our judges of our courts of Westminster, in a legal and ordinary way of justice; whereas the causes may be such, as those judges have not capacity of judicature, nor rules of law to direct and guide their judgment in cases of so transcendent a nature; which happening so often, the verj intermitting of that constant rule of government, practised for so many ages, within this kingdom, would soon dissolve the foundation and frame of our monarchy.—Wherefore, a to our commons we made fair Propositions which might equally preserve the just liberty of the Subject: so, my lords, we htrt thought good to let you know, that, without the overthrow of our sovereignty, we cannot suffer this power to be impeached: notwithstanding, to clear our conscience and just intentions, this we publish, That it is not in oct heart, nor will we ever extend our royal power, lent unto us from God, beyond the just rule a moderation, in any thing which shall be costrary to our laws and customs; wherein the safety of our people shall he our only aim. And we do hereby declare our royal pleasort and resolution to be, which, God willing,« shall ever constantly continue and maintain, That neither we, nor our privy-council, shall or will, at any time hereafter, commit or command to prison, or otherwise restrain the person of any man for not lending money unto us; nor f jr any other cause which in our conscience doth not concern the public good and safety ot us and our people: we will not be drawn v> pretend any cause, wherein our judgment sod conscience are not satisfied; which base thougl! w e hope no man can imagine, will fall into our royal breiist: and, in all cases of this nature, which shall hereafter happen, wc shall, upoa the humble petition of the party, or addre-s of our judges unto us, readily and really express the true cause of their commitment or restraint; so soon as with conveniency acd safety the same is fit to be disclosed and expressed: and that in all causes criminal, of ordinary jurisdiction, our judges shall proceed to the deliverance or bailment of the prisoner, according to the known and ordinary rul« <" the laws of this land, and according to tix statutes of Magna Charta, and those other si statutes insisted upon; which we do take knowledge stand in full force, and which we intend not to abrogate or weaken agams the true intention thereof. TIiis\rc hare LhonjL't fit to signify, the rather to shorten any lam; debate upon this great question; the ?e»5->* of tbe year being so far advanced, and our great occasions of state not lending many moro days fur longer continuance: of this session of parliament. Given under our signet, at our palace at Westin. 12th of May, in the 4lh year of our reign."
Conference on the King's Lfl7er.J The king's letter being read, a Message was immediately sent to the commons, fur a present Conference between both houses in the Painted Chamber. Which being agreed to, and the lords returned from it, the lord-keeper declin ed, 'That, according to the direction of the house, he informed the commons of their lordships desire to continue a good correspondence with them. That they desired this conference toshew their proceedings on tbe Petition of Right, presented to their lordships by the commons; which, after much debate in the honse, was referred to a select committee to be considered, ' Whether iny thing, not altering the sense of the Petition, might be varyed therein, so as it might be lit to receive from bis majesty a gracious Answ er:' iiiat the committee returned to the house these Alterations, which are now offered to the commous, only narratively; and that they left one great point, in the said petition, concerning Imprisonment without a cause expressed, to be debated by their house ; but, before the lords had entered into it, they received a gracious letter from the king, this morning, which oS-r< satisfaction to both houses therein; and belure ilicir lordships would proceed any further, they thought fit to acquaint them therewith.' That this being spoken, he, the lordkeeper, delivered unto the commons the said Petition of Right, and the Alterations thereof in paper; and that he, likewise, did deliver onto them a copy of the King's I-etter and read the original thereof, they acknowledging the stud copy to agree therewith verbatim; and then he desired the commons to expedite this business, unto which they answered, 'They came with ears only.'
The report being ended, the lords referred" dieturthcr consideration of this business to the Jiternoon. At which time, it was put to the •jiitstion and agreed, That touching the point '?! Imprisonment, in the Petition, that bruise should move the commons. That the Petition may be reduced, in the aforesaid point, within t!ie compass of what his majesty had offered by bis gracious letter.
The same day when the King's Letter was communicated to the commons, they laid it aside: aud'sir Tho. Wentworth said, ' It was a letter of grace; but the people will only like of that which is done in a parliamentary way; besides, the debate of it would spend much Kmc, neither was it directed to the house of commons; and the Petition of Right would dear all mistakes: for, said he, some give it out, as if the house went about to pinch the kind's prerogative.'
Report of the Conference concerning the Petition of KigAf.] 'May 14th. Both houses Wet at a conference; after which, tbe lord
keeper reported the effect thereof to the lords, viz. "1st, 1 lis lordship repeated the heads of what he spake, according to the directions of the bouse, this morning iu the entrance of the said conference, on this manner: That at the lust meeting, the lords made to the ominous a Proposition of some Alterations to be made in the Petition; and doubt not but the commons have considered of ilieiu, and come prepared to confer. That, at the same time, the commons were made acquainted with his majesty's Letter; and had a copy delivered thent to consider of it, as the lords also promised to do. That the lords have done accordingly; and taken into their thoughts, 1. Tlie Propositions or tenets of the commons concerning, the Subject's Liberty. 2. That part of the petition which concerns it. And, lastly, his majesty's Letter. That, upon all these, they have not proceeded to any resolution exclusive or conclusive: not to exclude the right or liberty of the subject, nor the Propositions or Petition concerning the same; nor yet to exclude the prerogative, or right of the king; nor to conclude themselves from more mature resolutions. Uut upon consideration of the Letter, they find gracious intentions in the king, and divers royal and good offers touching the liberty and freedom of the people. That they have considered of the present affairs; that our coasts are infested by enemies, and likely to be more so, if there be no present preparations against them. That the state of the reformed religion abroad is miserable and distressed, and expects and depends on tbe success of this parliament; and therefore their lordships w ish such a course to be taken as may best beget a right understanding between the king anil Ins people. And, therefore, they have thought lit that the commons be moved, that the Petition concerning that point, for this time and session, be reduced into such a form as may be most agrceablc to that which by this letter we may expect to have from the king."
The lord-keeper further reported, " That he having said thus much, sir Edw. Coke, ones of the commons house, answered and c-xpresse d their great joy, for that the lords held so gocd correspondence with them, which they wculd endeavour to continue ; and proceeded to sr eak to their Petition; and of their lordships proposed Alterations and Amendments; ai:d of the king's Letter; and said, That thev had' voted their Petition, and expected reasons from the lords for those Alterations: and that the letter is no answer in a parliamentary way, to their petition, cce. That it will take up much time fully to consider thereof; and he oliered to satisfy their lordships in the other pert of the petition."
The lord-keeper also further reported, '■ That sirT). Diggs,oneofthecommons,desired to have leave to resort to their house, and they would return suddenly to the conference again."—• After some small stay, the commons reti rued to the conference: and the lords havitu notice thereof, the house was adjourned during plea
sure. Their lordships being returned, the | liouse was resumed: and the lord-keeper reported, That the commons said, that thcv had related unto their hou-e what their lordships had said concerning the king's Letter; and that their house had resolved not to enter into consideration thereof, for that it is no parliamentary course. And they explained w hat sir I'd. Coke had said, touching their voting of the Petition, viz. That they had voted it at a committee, not in their house, for otherwise they could not alter any part thereof."
This report ended, the lords considered what should be more said unto the commons; who attended in the Painted Chamber. And, after some small debate, it was agreed to return to the said conference, and the lord-keeper to let them know, that it is not the intent of the lords to rest only upon the king's Letter, for an ansvfer to the petition; but to move the commons to frame the Petition, so as it may be best accommodated for the king's answer; and then to proceed in a parliamentary w ay. Their desire is not to change the substance of the Petition, (by those Alterations propounded,) but only to alter some phrases, which may, haply, be displeasing unto his majesty. And that the lords desire, that the point of Imprisonment may have precedency, before they debate any other point of the Petition.—Then the house was again adjourned during pleasure: and the lords went to the conference. Being returned, and the house resumed, the lordkeeper reported the Commons Answer to be, "That they conceive the lords propounded not unto them, that they should wholly rely on the king's Letter, for an answer to the Petition: yet, notwithstanding, they cannot proceed upon the said letter, it not being a parliamentary way. That if the lords will be pleased to propound the Alterations of the Petition, they will confer thereon."—This report ended, the lords began to debate amongst themselves an accommodation, touching the point of Imprisonment. And the house being put into a committee, and having agreed not to be concluded by any proposition of accommodation, it was resumed again. Agreed upon the question, That to-morrow morning the house shall proceed to the accommodation of this point in the Petition.
The Lords Addition to the Petition of Right.] The lords debated this matter for some days longer, till, on the 17th, their committee brought in an Addition to the Petition of Right; which was read in these words:
*' We humbly present this Petition to your majesty, not only with a care of preserving our own liberties, but with due regard to leave entire that sovereign power, wherewith yourmaj. is trusted, for the protection, safety, and happiness of your people."
The said committee declared, That this was offered to be considered of, for an accommodation only, not that it should conclude their lordships in their opinion, nor exclude the Petition of Right presented to them by the commons.
Conference thereupon.] The lords agreed to these proposals of their committee, and resolved to have another conference witb the commons, both about this Addition, and some other Alterations, formerly pro-' posed, to their Petition of Right: in which, inter alia, the lord keeper was to tell them, That the lords did desire a good correspondency with them, which would tend to a happy success of this parliament. This conference was held in the afternoon of that day; when the lord keeper opened it in the manner foU lowing: "That whereas at the last conference there were some things propounded that carae from their lordships, out of a desire the Petition might have the easier passage with hit maj. not intending to violate, in any manner, the substance of the Petition ; but it was then thought, that there was another part of the Petition of as great importance and weight: the lords, since the time of that conference, have employed themselves wholly to reduce the petition to such a frame and order, that they may give both to you and them hope of acceptance. And, after many deliberations, and much advice taken, my lords have resolved to represent unto you something which they have thought upon, yet not as a thiug conclusive to them or you; and, according to their desires (having mentioned it in the beginning) have held it lit to conclude of nothing, till that you be made acquainted with it; and that there may be a mature advisement between you and them, so that there may be the happier conclusion in all this business. This being the determination of the lords, that nothing that is now offered unto you should be conclusive; yet they thought it convenient to present it unto you. This Alteration, (yet not alteration but addition) which they shall propound unto you, to be advised and conferred upon, which is no breach of the frame; they think meet, if it shall stand with your liking, to be put in the conclusion of the Petition, which I shall now read unto you. "We humbly present this Petition to your maj. not only with n care of preserving our own liberties, but with due regard to leave entire that sovereign power wherewith your maj. is trusted for the protection, safety, and happiness of your people." This is the thing the lords do present unto you as the subject of this conference, concerning the adding of this in the conclusion of the Petition: and as they know this is new. and that you cannot presently give an answer to it, therefore they desire that you do, with some speed, consider of it; and their lordships will be ready this afternoon."
Debate in the Commons on the Lords Addition.] The commons being returned to their house, and the Addition being debated, it produced several speeches. For the following we are obliged to Mr. Rushworth:
Mr. A/ford said, 'Let us look into the Records, and see what they are; what is 'Sovereign power?' Bodin saith, That it is free from any conditions. By this wc shall acknowledge