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the House of Commonfl.

^ Christian IV.


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84 Constitutional Documents [1628-9

us; that (besides the Pope, and the House of Austria, and
their ancient confederates) the French King professed the
rooting out of the Protestant Keligion; that, of the Princes
and States on our party, some were overrun, others diverted,
and some disabled to give assistance: for which, and other
important motives, we propounded a speedy supply of treasure,
answerable to the necessity of the cause.

These things in the beginning were well resented by the
House of Commons, aiid with much alacrity and readiness
they agreed to grant a liberal aid : but before it was brought
to any perfection, they were diverted by a multitude of
questions raised amongst them touching their liberties and
privileges, and by other long disputes, that the Bill did not
pass in a long time; and by that delay our affairs were put
into a far worse case than at the first, our foreign actions
then in hand being thereby disgraced and ruined for want
of timely help.

In this, as we are not willing to derogate from the merit
and good intentions of those wise and moderate men of that
House, (to whose forwardness we attribute it, that it was
propounded and resolved so soon): so we must needs say,
that the delay of passing it, when it was resolved, occasioned
by causeIess,^alousieS) stirred up_ by men of another temper,
did much_ lessen both _the reputation' and reaUty of that
supply : andtbeir spirit, infused mfcaonany of the Commis-
sioners and_Assessors^^ CQiintryi hath returned up the
subsidies in such a scanty proportion, as is infinitely . short,
not only of our great occasions, but of the precedents of
former subsidies, and of the intentions of all well-affected men
in that House.

In those large disputes, at we permitted many of our high
prero gatives to be deb ated, which in the best times of our
predecessors had never been questioned without punishment
or sharp reproof, so we did endeavour to have shortened those
debates, for winning of time, which would have much advsui-
taged our great affairs both at home and abroad. And
therefore both by speeches and messages we did often declare
our gi*acious and clear resolution to maintain, not only the
Parliament, but all our people, in their ancient and just

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i6a8-9] The King's Declaration 85

liberties without either violation or diminution; and in the
end, for their full satisfaction and security, did by an answer,
framed in the form by themselves desired, to their Parliamen-
tary Petition S c oj^firm their a ncient and just liberties and
rights, which we resolve with all constancy ancl justice to

This Parliament, howsoever, besides the settling our neces-
sary supply and their own liberties, they wasted much time
in such proceedings, blasting our government, as we are un-
willing to remember, yet we suffered them to sit, until them-
selves desired us to appoint a time for recess, not naming either
adjournment or prorogation.

Whereupon, by advice of our Council, we resolved to pro-
rogue and make a Session ; and to that end prefixed a day,
by which they might (as was meet in so long a sitting) finish
. some profitable and good laws ; and withal, gave order for
a gracious pardon to all our subjects; which, according to
the use of former Parliaments, passed the Higher House, and
was sent down to the Commons. All which being graciously
intended by us, was ill-entertained by some disaffected persons
of that House, who by their artifices in a short time raised
so much heat and distemper in the House, — for no other
visible cause but because we had declared our resolution to
prorogue, as our Council advised, and not to adjourn, as some
of that House (after our resolution declared, and not before)
did manifest themselves to affect, — that seldom hath greater
passion been seen in that House, upon the greatest occasions.
And some glances in the House, but upon open rumours
abroad, were spread, that by the answer to the Petition we
had given away, .not only our impositions upon goods ex-
ported and imported, but the Tonnage and Poundage — whereas
in the debate and hammering of that Petition, there was no
speech or mention in either House concerning those impo-
sitions, but concerning taxes and other charges, within the
land; much less was there any thought thereby to debar us
of Tonnage and Poundage, which both before and after the
Answer to that Petition the House of Commons, in all their

» i. e. The Petition of Right.

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86 Constitutional Documents [i6a8-9

speeches and treaties, did profess they were willing to grant ;
and at the same time many other misinterpretations were
raised of that Petition and Answer, by men not well dis-
>^'> tiPg^igM S^L-^fi tween w ell-Qrdered liberty and licenHousness ;
as if b y our answer to that Petition we had let_ loose tie reins
of onr^jgovemment : and in this distemper, the House of
Commons laying aside the Pardon (a thing never done in
any former Parliament) and other business, fit to have been
concluded that Session, some of them went about to frame
and contrive a Remonstrance against our receiving of Tonnage
and Poundage, which was so far proceeded in the night before
the prefixed time for concluding the Session, and so hastened
by the contrivers thereof, that they meant to have put it to
the vote of the House the next morning, before we should
prorogue the Session: and therefore finding our gracious
favours in that Session, afforded to our people, so ill-requited, ^
and such sinister strains made upon our answer to that
Petition, to the diminution of our profit, and (which was
more) to the danger of our government: we resolved to
prevent the finishing of that Eemonstrance, and other dan-
gerous intentions of some ill-affected persons, by ending the
Session the next morning, some few hours sooner than was
expected, and by our own mouth to declare to both Houses
the cause thereof; and for hindering the spreading of those
sinister interpretations of that Petition and Answer, to give
some necessary directions for settling and quieting our govern-
ment until another meeting ; which we performed accordingly
the six and twentieth of June last.

The Session thus ended, and the Parliament risen, that in-
tended Remonstrance gave us occasion to look into the business
of Tonnage and Poundage : and therefore, though our neces-
sities pleaded strongly for us, yet we were not apt to strain
that point too far, but resolved to guide ourself by the practice
of former ages, and examples of our most noble predecessors;
thinking those counsels best warranted, which the wisdom of
former ages, concurring with the present occasions did ap-
prove; and therefore gave order for a diligent search of
records: upon which it was found, that although in the
Parliament holden in the first year of the reign of King

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1638-9] The King's Declaration 87

Edward the Fourth, the subsidy of Tounage and Poundage
was not granted unto that King, but was first granted unto
him by Parliament in the third year of his reign ; yet the
same was accounted and answered to that King, from the
first day of his reign, all the first and second years of his
reign, and until it was granted by Parliament : and that in
the succeeding times of King Bichard the Third, King Henry
the Seventh, King Henry the Eighth, Eling Edward the Sixth,
Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, the subsidy of Tonnage
and Poundage was not only enjoyed by every of those
Kings and Queens, from the death of each of them deceasing,
until it was granted by Parliament unto the successor; but
in all those times (being for the most part peaceable, and not
burdened with like charges and necessities, as these modern
times) the Parliament did most readily and cheerfully, in the
beginning of every of those reigns, grant the same, as a thing
most necessary for the guarding of the seas, safety and defence
of the realm, and supportation of the royal di^^nity: and in
the time of our royal father of^blessed memory, he eiyoyed the
same a full year, wanting very few days, before his Parlia-
ment began ; and above a year before the Act of Parliament for
the grant of it was passed : and yet when the Parliament was
assembled, it was granted without difficulty. And in our own
time we quietly received the same three years and more,
expecting with patience, in several Parliaments, the like grant
thereof, as had been made to so many of our predecessors;
the House of Commons still professing that multitude of other
businesses, and not want of willingness on their part, had
caused the settling thereof to be so long deferred : and there-
fore, finding so much reason and necessity for the receiving
of the ordinary duties in the Custom House, to concur with
the practice of such a succession of Kings and Queens, famous
for wisdom, justice, and government ; and nothing to the con-
trary, but that intended Eemonstrance, hatched out of the
passionate brains of a few particular persons; we thought it
was so far from the wisdom and duty of a House of Par-
liament, as we could not think that any moderate and discreet
man (upon composed thoughts, setting aside passion and dis-
temper) could be against receiving of Tonnage and Poundage ;

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88 Constitutional Documents [i

especially since we do, and still must, pursue those ends, and
undergo that charge, for which it was first granted to the
Crown; it having been so long and constantly continued to
our predecessors, as that in four several Acts of Parliament
for the granting thereof to King Edward the Sixth, Queen
^&i7y Queen Elizabeth, and our blessed father, it is in ex-
press terms mentioned, to have been had and enjoyed by the
: several Kings, named in those acts, time out of mind, by
- authority of Parliament: and therefore upon these reasons
^ we held it agreeable to our kingly honour, and necessary for
the safety and good of our kingdom, to continue the receipt
thereof, as so many of our predecessors had done. Wherefore
when a few merchants (being at first but one or two), fomented,
as it Ts "weir known, by those evil spirits, that would Cave
hatched that undutiful Remonstrance, began to oppose the
payment of our accustomed duties in the Custom House, we gave
order to the officers of our customs to go on, notwithstanding
th^t opposition, in the receiving of the usual duties ; and caused
those that refused to be warned to attend at the Council Board,
that by the wisdom and authority of our Council they might be
reducedJ:o^ obedience and duty ; where some of them, without
\ reverence or respectjto the honour and dignity of fhat jpresence,
behaved themselves witb such^oHnqpis and Insolenc^qf speech,
as was not to be endured by a far 'meaner ^assembTy, much less
to be countenance J by a Hoiise of Parliament, against the body
of our Privy Council. ^ . . "

And as in this we did what in reas(^n and honou!| was fit
for the present, so our thoughts werfe daily intefifive upon
the reassembling of our Parliament, with full intention on
our part to take away all ill understanding between us and
our people, whose love as we desired to continue and pre-
serve, so we used our best endeavours to prepare and facilitate
the way to it; and to this end, having taken a strict and
exact survey of our government, both in the Church and
Commonwealth, and what things were most fit and necessary
to be reformed: we found in the first place that much ex-
ception had been taken at a book entitled Appello Caesarem,
or an Appeal to Caesar y and published in the year 1625
by Richard Montague, then Bachelor of Divinity, and now

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i6a8-9] The King^s Declaration 89

Bishop of Chichester; and because it did open the way to
those schisms and divisions which have since ensued in the
Church, we did, for remedy and redress thereof, and for the
satisfaction of the consciences of our good people, not only
by our public proclamation, call in that book, which minis-
tered matter of offence, but to prevent the like danger for
hereafter, reprinted the Articles of Beligion, established in
the time of Queen Elizabeth of famous memory, and by a
declaration before those Articles*, we did tie and restrain all
opinions to the sense of those Articles, tfcat nothing might
be left for private fancies and innovations. For we call God
to record, before whom we stand, that it is, and always hath
been, our heart's desire to be found worthy of that title, which
we account the most glorious in all our Crown, Defender of
the Faith. Neither shall we ever give way to the authorising
of anything, whereby any innovation may steal or creep into
the Church, but to preserve that unity of doctrine and dis-
cipline, established in the time of Queen Elizabeth, whereby the
Church of England hath stood and flourished ever since.

And as we were careful to make up all breaches and rents
in religion at home, so did we, by our proclamation and
commandment, for the execution of laws against Priests and
Popish Recusants, fortify all ways and approaches against
that foreign enemy ; which, if it have not succeeded according
to our intention, we must lay the fault where it is, in the
subordinate officers and ministers in the country, by whose
remissness Jesuits and Priests escape without apprehension,
and Eecusants, from those convictions and penalties which
the law and our commandment would have inflicted on them:
for we do profess, that, as it is our duty, so it shall be our
care, to command and direct well; but it is the part of
others to perform the ministerial office, and when we have
done our office we shall account ourself, and all charitable
men will account us innocent, both to God and men; and
those that are negligent we will esteem as culpable both to
God and us, and therefore will expect that hereafter they give
us a better account.

And, as we have been careful for the settling of religion and
* See p. 75.

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quieting the Church, so were we not unmindful of the preserva-
tion of the just and ancient liberties of our subjects, which we
secured to them by our gracious answer to the Petition in Par-
liament, having not since that time done any act whereby to
infringe them : but our care is, and hereafter shall be, to keep
them entire and inviolable, as we would do our own right and
sovereignty, having for that purpose enrolled the Petition and
Answer in our Courts of Justice.

Next to the care of religion and of our subjects' rights, we
did our best for the provident and well-ordering of that aid
and supply, which was granted us the last Session, whereof
no part hath been wastefully spent, nor put to any other use,
than those for which it was desired and granted, as upon
payment of our fleet and army ; wherein our care hath been
such as we chose rather to discontent our dearest friends and
allies, and our nearest servants, than to leave our soldiers
and mariners unsatisfied, whereby any vexation or disquiet
might arise to our people. We have also, with part of those
monies, begun to supply our magazines and stores of munition,
and to put our navy into a constant form and order. Our
fleet likewise is fitting, and almost in a readiness, whereby
the narrow seas may be guarded, commerce maintained, and
our kingdom secured from all foreign attempts. These acts
of ours might have made this impression in all good minds,
that we were careful to direct our counsels, and dispose our
actions, as might most conduce to the maintenance of religion,
honour of our government, and safety of our people. But
with mischievous men once ill-aflected, seu bene seu male facta
premunt; and whatsoever once seemed amiss is ever remem-
bered, but good endeavours are never regarded.

Now all these things that were the chief complaints the
last Session, being by our princely care so seriously reformed,
the Parliament reassembled the twentieth of January last.
We expected, according to the candour and sincerity of our
own thoughts, that men would have framed themselves for
the effecting of a jight understanding between "uj" and our
people; but some few malevolent persons, like empirics and
lewd artists, did strive to make new work, and to have 'some
disease on foot, to keep themselves in request, and to be

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1628-9] The King^s Declaration 91

employed aud entertained in the cure. And yet to manifest
how much offences have been diminished, the committees for
grievances, committees for Courts of Justice, and committees
for trade, have, since the sitting down of the Parliament,
received few complaints, and those such as they themselves
have not thought to be of that moment or importance, with
which our ears should be acquainted.

No sooner therefore was the Parliament set down but these
ill-affected men began to sow and disperse their jealousies,
by casting out some glances and doubtful speeches, as if the
subject had not been so clearly and well dealt with, touching
the liberties, and touching the Petition answered the last
Parliament. This being a plausible theme, thought on for
an ill purpose, easily took hold on the minds of many that
knew not the practice. And thereupon the second day of
the Parliament, a committee was appointed to search whether
the Petition and our Answer thereunto were enrolled in the
Parliament roll, and in the Courts at Westminster, and in
what manner the same was done. And a day also, was then
appointed, on which the House, being resolved into a com-
mittee, should take into consideration those things wherein
the liberty of the subject had been invaded, against the
Petition of Eight. This, though it produced no other effect
of moment or importance, yet was sufficient to raise a jealousy
against our proceedings, in such as were not well acquainted
with the sincerity and clearness of them. There followed
another of no less skill; for although our proceeding before
the Parliament, about matters of religion, might have satisfied
any moderate men of our zealous care thereof (as we are sure
it did the most), yet, as bad stomachs turn the best things
into their own nature for want of good digestion, so those
distempered persons have done the like of our good intents
by a bad and sinister intei-pretation ; for, when they did
observe that many honest and religious minds in that House
did complain of those dangers that did threaten the Church,
they likewise took the same word in their mouth, and their
cry likewise was Temflum Domini^ Templum Domini, when
the true care of the Church never came into their hearts;
and what the one did out of zeal unto religion, the other

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took up as a plausible theme to deprave our government, as
if we, our clergy and council, were either senseless or careless
of religion ; and this wicked practice hath been to make us seem
to walk before our people as if we halted before God.

Having by these artifices made a jealous impression in the
hearts of many, and a day being appointed to treat of the
grant of Tonnage and Poundage, at the time prefixed, all
express great willingness to grant it. But a new strain is
found out, that it could not be done without great peril to
the right of the subject, unless we should disclaim any right
therein, but by grant in Parliament, and should cause all
those goods to be restored, which, upon commandment from
us or our Council, were staid by our officer until those duties
were paid, and consequently should put ourselves out of the
possession of the Tonnage and Poundage before they were
granted; for else, it was pretended, the subject stood not in
fit case to grant it. A fancy and cavil raised of purpose to
trouble the business; it being evident that all the Kings
before-named did receive that duty, and were in actual
^possession of it before, and at the very time, when it was
' grante'dlto them by- Parliament. And although we, to remove
all difficulties, did from our own mouth, in those clear and
open terms that might have satisfied any moderate and well-
disposed minds, declare that it was our meaning, by the gift
of our people, to enjoylt, an J that we did not challenge it
of right, but took it de bene esse, showing thereby not the
right but the necessity by which we were~to faEe itXwlierein
we descended, for their satisfaction, so far beneath ourself,
as we are confident never any of our predecessors did the
like, nor was the like ever required or expected from them).
Yet for all this, the Bill of Tonnage and Poundage wafe laid
aside, upon pretence they must first clear the right of the
subject therein ; under colour whereof, they entertain the
complaints, not only of John Rolle, a member of their House,
but also of Richard Chambers, John Fowkes, and Bartholomew
Oilman, against the officers of our customs, for detaining
their goods upon refusal to pay the ordinary duty, accustomed
to be paid for the same. And upon these complaints they
send for the officers of the customs, enforcing them to attend

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i6a»-9] The King^s Declaration 93

day after day by the space of a month together; they cause
them to produce their letters patents under our Giieat Seal,
and the warrants made by our Privy Council for levying of
those duties* They examine the officers upon what questions
they please, thereby to entrap them for doing our service
and commandments. In these and other their proceedings,
because we would not give the least show of interrupti<m, we
endured long with much patience both these and sundry other
strange and exorbitant encroachments and usurpations, such as
were never before attempted in that House.

We are not ignorant how much that House hath of late
years endeavoured to extend their privileges, by setting up
general ^commrtfees~Tor^ religion, for Courts of Justice, for
trade, and the like; a course never heard of until of late:
so as, where in formgfti mes the Knii^hts and Burgesses were
wont to communTcate to the House such business as they
brogght from their coun tries; now there are so many cEairs
erected, to make inquiry upon all sorts of men, where com-
plaints of all sorts are entertain ed, to the unsufPerabre dis-
turbance and scandal of justice and government, which, having
been tolerated awhile by our father and ourself, hath daily
grown to more and more height ; insomuch that y oung la wyers

sitting t^^®^^^,. ^^^ ^Pg} Jj^^_^,A^^^ *^® ^K^^'^* ^^ ^^
Judges : and somenave not doubted to maintain that the
resolutions of thgt^ House must bind the Judges, a Jhing never
heard of in ages ^ast : but in this last assembly of Parliament
they have taken on them much more than ever before.

They sent messengers to exami ne our Attorney-General
(who is an officer of trust and secrecy) touching the execu-
tion 01 some commandments^ oT'ours, of which, without our
leave first obtained, he was not to give account to any but
ourself. They sent a captious and directory message to the
Lord Treasurer, Chancellor, and Barons of the Exchequer,
touching some judicial proceedings of theirs in our Court of

They sent messengers to examine upon sundry questions, our
two (Siief Justices and three other of our Judges, touching
their judicial proceedings at the Gaol Delivery at Newgate, of
which they are not accountable to the House of Commons.

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94 Constitutional Documents [i6a8-9

And whereas suits were commenced in our Court of Star
Chamber, against Eichard Chambers, John Fowkes, Bartholo-
mew Oilman, and Richard Phillips, by our Attorney-General,
for great misdemeanours; they resolved that they were to
have privilege of Parliament against us for their persons, for
no other cause but because they had petitions depending in
that House ; and (which is more strange) they resolved that
a signification should be made from that House, by a letter
to issue under the hand of their Speaker unto the Lord Keeper
of our Great Seal, that no attachments should be granted out
against the said Chambers, Fowkes, Gilman, or Phillips, during
their said privilege of Parliament. Whereas it is far above the
power of that House Jbo £ive directioii td^ any of our Courts at
Westnunster to stop attachments against any man, though never
so strongly privileged ; the breach of privilege being"notm the
Court that grants, but in the party or minister that puts in
execution such attachments. And therefore, if any such letter

Online LibrarySamuel Rawson GardinerThe constitutional documents of the Puritan revolution 1625-1660 → online text (page 14 of 51)