« AnteriorContinuar »
and pregnant errors; and your majesty's great goodness, of which 1 have been so large a partaker, gives me strong assurance, that having been, by your gracious beams, drawn up from curth and obscurity, you will so uphold me, by n benign and gracious interpretation of all my words and actions, that I fall not down again, hke a crude and imperfect vapour; but consume the remainder of my days in zeal for your majesty's service. This great and glorious assembly, made perfect by your royal presence; like a curious perspective, the more I behold it, with the more joy and comfort I rind a lively representation of that true happiness, which, under yonr maj.'s gracious government, we all at this time enjoy: a better tongue were fitter to express it; but a rich stone retains its value, though ill set. Here, in the fulness and height of your glory, like the sun in the exaltation of his orb, sits your most excellent maj. the sovereign monarch of this famous isle, in a throne made glorious by a long succession of many and great princes. A meditation worthy our better thoughts, that we live neither enthralled to the fury and rage of the giddy multitude, nor yet to the distracted wills of many masters ; but under the command of a king, the stay and strength of a people; one, as Ilomer saith well of kings,
not to be laid in common balance with other men; for kings know no other tenure but God's service, and their value is only tried at his beam : whence the poets said, the parents of the first kiniis werecoelum& terra; divine institution, and human approbation. Besides, that ir is a sovereignty also hereditary; which makes the commonwealth the king's care, as that which is the king's own patrimony, and the inheritance of his children; when elective monarchies quickly run to ruin, and are commonly made poor by the enriching of several private families. On your right hand are the reverend, religious, and learned prelates, the lights of the church, fit to be set in golden candlesticks, and not made contemptible by parity or poverty: lively ideas of that blessing above all the rest, which, by Clod's great goodness, and your majesty's great piety, this realm enjoys, the liberty of the gospel, and the free profession of God's true religion. Your maj. passed the fiery trial in Spain, and gave us then assurance that your faith was built on that rock, against which the gates of Hell shall never prevail. Since your coming to the crown, by your royal edict, you have banished those incendiaries of Rome, the Priests and Jesuits, enemies to our church and state; so that now they are cither gone, or lurk in corners, like the sons of darkness. You have given life to the laws against Recusants; and, by your own pious example, have drawn more than you have compelled to come to church. Yet 'cogc ingredi, ut implcntur doinus mea,' was his command that made the treat feast, and is the duty of magistrates. And certainly, dread sovereign, true religion will ever be a target to them that are
a buckler to it: no cement so strong to hold your subjects hearts together in their due obedience. Our religion never bred a Clement or a RavilliaC: and that execrable villainy, never to be forgotten here; when all of us, horrcsco referens, in an instant should have been turned into ashes, and those scattered in the wind; was a monster that could never have been engendered, but by the Devil or the Jesuits.—On your left hand sit your nobles, the lights of honour, full of courage and magnanimity; yet in a right distance between crown and people, neither overshadowing the one, or oppressing the other.—Before your throne, like the 12 lions under Solomon's throne, sit the lights of justice, your grave judges and. sages of the law; learned and just as many apes have known, and learning justice by your greaf example. Our laws, as excellent as they are, (I am sure no human laws excel them, uor could so well suit with the constitution of this people) were they in the power of corrupt or ignorant men, (I know not which were wor^e, for one will perhaps oftcner err than the other bribe) justice could never keep her right channel, nor run clear; as in your maj.'s happy reign it ever hath.—I must not forget the other lights, the knights, citizens, and burgesses, the representatives of the third estate; who, although they move lower, and at more'distance from your royal person, yet, I am confident, will ever be found constant to the poles of love and loyalty.—It is a gracious favour of your maj. and our former kings, which I have often thought on, that when both houses are humble suitors for any thing, they are never denied; le roy s'avisera. (the king will advise of it) is the greatest denial. And t assure myself your maj. will find all your subjects so full of duty to your crown, and of true and loyal affection to your royal person, that you shall never have cause to think your gracious favours ill bestowed on them. This union of hearts, sir, is a greatness beyond that of tlia kingdom to which you are heir:
'Et penitus toto divisos Orbe Britannos,' is a name of udvantnge to this island, if the division he not among ourselves; which the God of Unity, for his mercy's sake, forbid; and so knit our hearts in love one to another, and all of us in love and loyalty to your most excellent majesty, that this renowned island perish not by our distractions; but may ever flourish, and be like Jerusalem, the city of God, where his name maybe for ever honoured. Great and glorious have been the actions of your royal progenitors; yet greater remain for your majesty; and mpst of theirs attend you for their perfection and consummation.—The first Christian king of Europe; the first that abated the swelling pride of the Pope of Rome, by banishing his usurped power over God's true vice-gerent; the first that established the true religion now profest, were all kings of England; and the last a young one.—Queen Elizabeth, though a woman, yet Spain hath cause to remember her; the protcstants of Prance and the Low Countries will never forget her: and were Henry the Great alive, he would say, i hat, in requital of the love this kingdom tin-wed hiin in her days, lie hath sent us one of his own loins, your royal consort; our most gracious queen, to propagate these blessings to us nnd our posterity for ever.—Your father, of ever blessed and famous memory, had a reign like Solomon's; for religion, no man knew more; nor no man's knowledge was of higher lustre and advantage to it: This age shall deliver it to the next, and all ages shall see it in liis kingly works.—Hut while under his glorious reign, we abounded in peace and plenty, our hands had forgot to war, and our fingers to fight,till at last, by your princely mediation, upon the humble suit of both these houses, the two Treaties were dissolved; and a foundation laid for your maj; to restore us to our antient and military honour; which I doubt will not quickly be.—Eritis sicut dii, was the serpent's counsel, and ruined mankind; nor is it tit for private men, much less for mc, to scaffch into the counsels or actions of kings; only, sir, ;rre me leave, from an heart full of 7eal to your jlory and greatness, to say to your maj. The times require you, religion calls upon you, to go on with that kingly courage you have begun, till die state of Christendom be settled in the right balance again.—We see how the eagle spreads his wings in Germany, reaching with his talons as far as the Sound and Baltic sea, Denmark and Sweden in danger of utter ruin; we see all the electorates, the choice of the empire, invested, in a manner, solely in the house of Austria; our religion in France, and every where, never so near a period: and we know who it is for whom all this works; he of whom the boast is made, llle cui monarchia mundi nascitur; who, by the ruin of us and our religion, will make a new Zodiack, and draw his Ecliptic Line through the east and West Indies: nut He that sits on high, will, in his good time, laugh them to scorn; nnd, as that wise woman said to king David, ' God will make to my lord the king a sure house, if my lord the king will fight the battles of Jehovah:' and let all England say, Amen.—I have presumed too far upon your royal patience, and therefore I will conclude with a few words for them that sent me, who are humble suitors to your excellent maj.: 1. For better attending the public and important services of the house, that ourselves and necessary attendance may bo free, both in our persons and goods, from ail arrests and troubles, according to our antient privileges and immunities. 2. That since, in I'll great counsels where difference of opinion >\ truth is best discovered by free debates; your majesty, according to our like antient use and privilege, will be graciously pleased to allow us liberty and freedom of speech ; and, I assure myself, we shnll not pass the latitude of duty and discretion. 9. That upon all occurrences of moment, fit for resort to your, own person, your maj. upon our humble suit, at your own kfst leisure, will vouchsafe- us access to your Vol. II.
royal person. 4. That all our proceedings, being lodged in our heart with belief of our zeal and loyalty, wc may reap the fruits of it by your ranj.'s gracious and favourable interpretation of all our actions.—One word more I humbly beg for myself: 'That though it be but the beginning of a parliament, I may now nnd ever enjoy your maj.'s most gracious, general and free pardon."
The Lord Keeper's Ansner.] To this the Lord . Keeper answered :* —'• Mr. Speaker, liis majesty, with no less content than attention, hath heard your eloquent discourse: he observes your beginning with his gracious encouragement and advice; not forsaking your humble modesty, but adding to it thankfulness, alacrity, and joy of heart; a just and right temper. He observes you derive these aright. First, from the Throne of Heaven: he looks thither with you, and joins in prayer, that both he and all this assembly mav, by that divine hand and power, be moulded into unity for the honour, safety, and good of the church and kingdom. Next, you apply yourself to the throne on earth: his maj. doth, graciously accept your protestations of the truth of your heart, the fulness of your zeal and duty to his maj. and the public: he believes it; and that not in you alone, but in all this assembly, so that you are secure not only from wilful and pregnant errors, but from doubt of sinister interpretation.—My lord the king is as an angel of God, of aquick, of a noble and just apprehension; he strains not ar gnats; he will easily distinguish between a vapour and a fog, between a mist of error and a cloud of evil; right he knows if the heart be right: for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.—You proceed to a survey of the lustre of this great and glorious assembly; and in that, as in a curious crystal, you observe the true happiness which we all here enjoy. You have distributed and divided aright; and whosoever sees it otherwise hath an evil eye, or a false glass. We have enjoyed it long, through the happy means of gracious and good princes; and the I way to enjoy it still, is to know and heartily to I acknowledge it, and that ' God hath not done | so to any other nation.'—The prime cause or means of this our happiness is, as you mention, the form of government under which we live; a monarchy, and the best of monarchies, wl ere sovereignty is hereditary; no inter regnum or competition for a crown; descent and succession arc all one. The spirit of God, by the mouth of the wisest of kings, long since pioclaimed this happiness, 'JJiessed art thou. O land, when thy king is the son of nobles.'— The frames of other states are subject, some to inconstant levity, some to fraction, some to emulation and ambition; and all to mauifcld distempers, in which the people go to wret k. Monarchy is the most natural, and in it unity
* From the 'Ephemeris Parliamentarian compared by the Manuscripts and Kushworfh.
is the best cemeut of all government; principally in respect of the unity of the head, which xominands the rest. And, therefore, other states, when thev have tried a while, do, fin' the most part, resolve into this; as into the best, for peace, for strength, and for continuance. But forms of other governments, though never so exact, move not of themselves, but nre moved of their governors: and, therefore, our monarchy, (as you have truly said) and this glorious assembly, the lively image and representation of our monarchy, arc made happy and perfect by the royal presence, that sits here in his highest royal throne; the throne of the law-giver, glorious in itself, glorious by those happy laws and oracles which have issued from it, and most glorious by them that sit on it, his maj. and his royal progenitors; incomparable kings, that, with so much honour, have swayed the scepter of this kingdom so many successions of ages.—In the next place, after the throne of maj. you look into the chair of doctrine, the reverend prelates; and upon the state of religion, their proper charge. This is the blessing of all blessings, the pledge and assurance that secures to us all the rest; that as our religion is most sincere and orthodox, so our clergy are eminent, both for purity of doctrine and integrity of life; our priests are cloatlicd with righteousness, and their hps preserve knowledge; and, therefore, God's saints may and do sing with joyfulness. I must join with you in attributing this our transcendent blessing, as in the first place, to God's goodness; so, in the second, to his majesty's piety; who, following the steps of his ever-blessed father, is careful that all the lamps of the church may be furnished with oil; and especially those, w hich are set on golden candlesticks, with the purest oil. The schools also, and nurseries of learning, never so replenished, especially with divinity,,as in this last age; and asHhey all shew his majesty's piety, so are they infallible arguments of his constancy.—The trial, which you call the fiery trial, undergone by his maj. in a place of danger, and against the power and policy of Rome and Spain, have approved his resolution immutable; and bis own remarkable example in his closet and his chapel, his strict over-sight of, and command to his houshold servants, and his charge to his bishops and judges, his edicts, his proclamations and commissions, and the like for the execution of the laws, and bis general care to preserve the fountain pure both from schism and superstition, are fair fruits and effects of a pious and zealous government.—from the chair of doctrine, you turn to the state of honour, unto the nobles and barons of Englaud. These are rohur belli, who, for the service of the king and kingdom, are to make good with their I words what the churchmen must hallow and bless by their prayers. And therefore, as the prelates are the great lights of the church, so the nobility are the stars of the state; and you know that the stars have fought, and fought powerfully, against the enemiesof God.—
From the state of honour, you come to the state of justice, and to the 12 lions under Solomon's throne, the judges and sages of the law; and as their peculiar charge intrusted to them by our sovereign, the laws of the kingdom: laws undoubtedly fitted to the constitution of this people, for Leges Angliae and Coiisuetudines Angli* are synonyma, and Consuetudo est altera natura; so as, besides the justness and Tightness of the laws, they are become natural to our people; and that is one of the powerfulest means which begetteth obedience: and such laws, in the mouths of learned and upright judges, ore like waters in a pure channel; which the fairer it runs, the clearer they run, and produce that whereof Solomon speaks, 'When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.'—From the law, you pass to the knights, citizens and burgesses, or the third estate, who represent the commons of England, in whom the scripture is verified; 'In the multitude of people is the king's honour:' and, therefofe, you may be sure that distance of place and order breeds no distance in affection; tor wise kings ever lay their honour next to their hearts, kings are pastores populi; and the shepherd's care is nothing less to the furthest, then to the next part of this flock; and it is as much towards the least of his lambs, as towards the greatest cattle. And as in the natural body, no member is so remote, but it is still within the care of the head: so in this great politic body of the kingdom, no rank or order of people is so low, or at such distance from the throne, but it daily feels the influence and benefit of the king's care and protection. And, to say the truth, in a well-governed kingdom, the superior ranks of nobles, of judges, and of magistrates, are not oidaincd for themselves, but as conduits for the king's justice, protection and goodness to the lower ranks of his people: and as the people are, so it is just cause they should be, constant to the poles of love and loyalty.—And thus having pursued both houses by divided parts, you join them together; and in that junction, you observe truly aud materially that the greatest denial of their joint requests, is, "The king will advise." A note very remarkable: it shews the indulgence of kings; it shews also the wisdom aud judgment of the houses; the king not willing to deny his people; people not willing to press their king to a denial: the one wise arid modest in their requests, and the other moderate and sweet in the answer; this is the antient and right way of union in parliament. May the God of Unity keep it in this, and all ensuing parliaments! This union you rightly call the union of hearts, and a greatness beyond the kingdoms which the king inherits: so then it is a present fit for a wise people to offer to their gracious king. Wise and magnanimous kings are a special gift from God, having hearts capable of greatness: union of hearts is greatness, and greatness was never unwelcome to kings; and therefore present and offer it to your king, sad you cauuut
doubt of acceptance.—Having spoken of union, you fail presently into n memorial of the great and glorious actions of his majesty's predecessors, and into the height and contemplation of greater that remain. If I mistake not your meaning, you would have it understood, that he union of prince and people made way to Jiose remarkable acts of former times; and that ve that wish the like success in our time, ihould look back upon our forefathers. Wislom requires it; honour and the times require t, that we should shew ourselves the sons )f our ancestors, at least, in holding that which hey left us. The pride of Rome abated, as ■ou say, by England, now lifts up her horns igain: religion, God's vine planted and deepy rooted here, over-spread into our neighiour countries, hath of late lost many of her podly branches. The Austrian Eagle, that ranted feathers till of late, now soars and >revs at will over all. Spain, so often foiled by hath, by disguised treaties, despoiled of
mr royal cedar; and posts apace to lus uniersal monarchy, to the ruin of us, our friends 3>d religion. God hath his time, and I trust
tune to stop their course: I know not but wc nay expect it as well now as ever. There is resolution in our king, and there is, I trust, for I am sure there was) a resolution in our arliament, for great actions. Our king as he ath a Solomon, so hath he many Davids in he glorious catalogue of his royal descent; J>d hath linked himself to the house of Henry he Great, who bears a glorious and auspiIous name suitable to his thoughts and deire*: and, therefore, since honour and religion all for it; and since you have encouraged TM to fight Jehovah's battles, let all put to heir hands, that our king and nation may ■>ve the honour to set Christendom in her ■ght balance.—And now to come to the petiwns you have made for the house. His inaj. lost graciously and readily grants them all, ccordmg to your true and antient rights and 'Alleges of parliament; which, his maj. trusts, na will take care not to exceed or transgress; ■nd, therefore, you may go chearfully together, 3d speedily set about the public affairs. And lay Almighty God prosper the works of youi andd, I say, the Almighty God prosper youi andy-work!"
The Commons receive the Sacrament.'] Mar. 20.
was ordered, 'That all the members of that «iusc should receive the communion at St. Margaret's church, Westminster, on Sunday lie 6th of April next.' Particular persons 'ere assigned to see that each member took he same; who were to have, and produce in he house, certificates of it, before they were dlowed to sit there. But, lest this act "of <leotion should be termed, as it had been, an 'Id stale trick to catch concealed papists by, t was followed by a motion for a committee o be appointed, to draw up a Petition to ■he king, for a General Fast, to be observed nroujliout the kingdom. Thin Petition was
drawn, read and agreed unto, the next day; and the lords were desired to concur with them in it; which, being also consented to, the petition was presented to the king, in hapc verba:
Petition of both Houses for a Fast.] " Most Gracious Sovereign, We your most humble and loyal subjects, the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled; upon a tender and compassionate sense of the extreme calamities of the Reformed Churches abroad; and with much sorrow, apprehending the displeasure of Almighty God, declared against ourselves, by the manifold evils already fallen upon us and those which are further threatened; (as by your sacred maj. were intimated unto us) even to the utter destruction and subversion of this church and state, all which our sins have most justly deserved : and being now, by your majesty's gracious favour, assembled in parliament, (as the Great Council of this your kingdom) to consult of such means, as wc think fittest, to redress the
>eir patrimony those princely branches of | present, and prevent the future evils; wherein
we, through God's blessing, intend to employ our utmost endeavours, with as good hearts to your maj. and the public service, as ever people did, humbly beseech your maj. that by your special command, one or more days may be, forthwith, solemnly set apart; wherein, both ourselves and the whole kingdom may by fasting and prayers, seek reconciliation at the hands of Almighty God; and with humble and penitent hearts beseech him to remove those miseries that lie upon us and our neighbour churches; to avert those which are threatened; to continue the favours we yet enjoy; and, particularly, to bestow his nbundant blessing upon your maj. and this present pari. ; so that all our councils and resolutions, being blessed by bis Divine Assistance, may produce much honour, safety, and happiness to your maj. your people, and allies."
The King's Answer.'] To the above Petition, the king returned this answer. "His maj. is well pleased with the petition, and is well content to have a Fast: as for the time of keeping it, he appoints Saturday, April 5, in London, Westminster, and by both houses. Before w hich time it may be hoped that we shall have cause to praise God for the good success of what wo shall, by that time, resolve on; as, also, beg his mercies towards others, of our religion, now in danger and calamities, and both these in one." The king appointed the 21s of April for a general Fast throughout the rest of the kingdom.
Debute upon Public Grievances.] The commons went now upon the, old topic of Grievances; and many complaints were made against the government, for Billetting of Soldiers; liaising Money by Loans, by Benevolences and Privy Seals: and, what was too fresh in memory, the Imprisonment of certain gentlemen, who refused to lend, upon that account, and afterwards, bringing their Habeas Corpus, were, nevertheless, remanded to prison. AH these took place before the Supply;.
nor did the house incline to grant any till these Grievances were redressed. In the debate v pun these matters, several speeches of the members are preserved both in print and manuscript; all which we have ranged in the best order we could, distinguishing the several authorities from whence they are taken: it happened on the 22nd of March, and w as opened by sir Francis Seymour, to the following effect :•
Sir Francis Seymour. 'This is the great council of the kingdom; and here, if not here alone, his maj. may see, as in a true glass, the state of the kingdom. \Ve are all called hither, by his writs, to give him faithful counsel; such as may stand with his honour; but that we must do without flattery: and being chosen by the commons to deliver up their just Grievances, this we must do without fear. Let us not be like Carubyses's judges; who, being asked by him concerning something unlawful, said, 'Tho' there were no written law, the Persian kings might do what ihcylist.' This was base flutter}', fitter for reproof than imitation; and as flattery, so fear taketh away the judgment. I shall shun both these; and speak my mind w ith as much duty to his maj. as any man, not neglecting the public. But how can we speak our affections while we retain our fears, or speak of giving, till we know whether we have any thing to give: for if his maj. may be persuaded to take what he will, what need we to give? That this hath been done, appeareth by ihc Billetting of Soldiers; a thing no way advantageous to his service, and a burthen to the commonwealth: the Imprisonment of gentlemen for the Loan; who if they had done the contrary for fear, their faults had been as great as those who were the projectors of it. To countenance these proceedings, hath it not been preached in the pulpit, or rather prated, 4 All we have is the king's jure divino?' But when, preachers forsake their own calling, and turn ignorant statesmen; we see how willing they are to change a good conscience for a bishoprick. It is too apparent the people suffer more now than ever: will you know the true reason? We shall find those princes have been in greatest wants and necessities, that have exacted most of their subjects. The reason is plain: a prince is strongest by faithful and wise counsel: I would I could truly say such had been employed abroad. I speak this to shew the defect proceeded not from this house. I must confess he is no good subject that would not willingly and freely lay down his life, when the end may be the service of his maj. and tlie good of the commonwealth: but he is no good subject, but a slave, that will let his goods be taken from him against his will, and his liberty against the laws of the kingdom. In doing this we shall but tread the steps of our forefathers, who still preferred the public interest
before their own rights, nay, before their oun lives. It will be a wrong to us, to our posterities, to our consciences, if we shall forego this. This we shall do well to present to fus maj. I offer this in the general, thinking the particulars fitting for committees. What I may now say, or shall then, I submit to better judgments.'
Sir Jo/in FJliut did passionately and rhetorically set forth our late Grievances; he misliked much the violating of our laws, urged many good arguments for our propugmag them; and concluded for a committee.*
Sir Humphrey May. 'Let us take heed of distrusting the king, w ho is young and vigorous, full of spirit and courage, and may be won to our desires by our complying: he alledged all these illegal proceedings were actions of necessity, and the like; with other things, by way of excuse.?'
Sir Tho. Edmonds. 'The king congratulating this present parliament, he prays for a speedy Supply; he assures us of his gracious inclination towards us, and of the consequences of this meeting; doth intimate how much the safety of ourselves and confederates abroad depends upon the good success thereof, and he wisheth a general oblivion of things that are past, lest they cause distractions anew, without a primary and free Supply to his majesty.*'
Sir Hob. Philips. 'I read of a custom among the old Romans, that once every year they had a solemn feast for their slaves; at which they had liberty, without exception, to speak what they would, thereby to ease theii afflicted minds; which being finished, they severally returned to their former servitude, This may, with some resemblance and distinction, well set forth our present state; when now, after the revolution of some time, and grievous sufferance of many violent oppressions we have, as those slaves had, a day of liberty of speech; but shall not, I trust, be hereaftei slaves, for we are free: yet what new illega proceedings our states and persons have sufferec under, my heart yearns to think, my tongue takers to utter. They have been well reprc sented by divers worthy gentlemen before me yet one Grievance, and the main one, as 1 conceive, hath not been touched, which is ou: Religion: religion, Mr. Speaker, made vendibli by commission ; and men, for pecuniary annua rates, dispensed withal; whereby Papists may without fear of law, practise idolatry. For tin oppressions under which we groan, I draw them under two heads; Acts of Power agains Law, and Judgments of Law against ou Liberty. Of the first sort are, strange lnstruc tions; violent Exactions of Money thereupon Imprisonment of the Persons of such who (ti deliver over to their posterity the liberty the; received from their fore-fathers, and lawful!; were in possession of) refused so to lend; an( this aggravated by the remediless continuant
* From Sir John Napier's manuscript, | see p. 223.
* From the ' Ephemeris Parliamentana, corrected by sir J. Napier's MS.