Samuel Rawson Gardiner.

The constitutional documents of the Puritan revolution 1625-1660 online

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as were for their own advantage, and forced to bring them to
those places which were much for the advantage of the mono-
polisers and projectors.

37. The Court of Star Chamber hath abounded in extra-
vagant censures, not only for the maintenance and improve-
ment of monopolies and their unlawful taxes, but for divers
other causes where there hath been no offence, or very small ;



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1641] The Grand Remonstrance 213

whereby His Majesty's subjects have been oppressed by grievous
fines, imprisonments, stigmatisings, mutilations, whippings,
pillories, gags, confinements, banishments; after so rigid a
manner as hath not only deprived men of the society of their
friends, exercise of their professions, comfort of books, use of
paper or ink, but even violated that near unicm which Gh>d
hath established between men and their wives, by forced and
constrained separation, whereby they have been bereaved of the
comfort and conversation one of another for many years together,
without hope of relief, if God had not by His overruling pro-
vidence given some interruption to the prevailing power, and
counsel of those who were the authors and promoters of such
peremptory and heady courses.

38. Judges have been put out of their places for refusing
to do against their oaths and consciences; others have been
so awed that they durst not do their duties, and the better
to hold a rod over them, the clause Quam diu 96 hem gesserit
was left out of their patents, and a new clause Dwomte bene
placito inserted.

39. Lawyers have been checked for being faithful to their
clients; solicitors and attorneys have been threatened, and
some punished, for following lawful suits. And by this means
all the approaches to justice were interrupted and forecluded.

40. New oaths have been forced upon the subject against law.

41. New judicatories erected without law. The Council
Table have by their orders offered to bind the subjects in
their freeholds, estates, suits and actions.

42. The pretended Court of the Earl Marshal was arbitrary
and illegal in its being and proceedings.

43. The Chancery, Exchequer Chamber, Court of Wards,
and other English Courts, have been grievous in exceeding
their jurisdiction.

44. l^e estate of many families weakened, and some ruined
by excessive fines, exacted from them for compositions of ward-



45. All leases of above a hundred years made to draw on
wardship contrary to law.

46. Undue proceedings used in the finding of offices to make
the jury find for the King.



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ai4 Constitutional Documents [1641

4f. The Ck)mmoD Law Courts, feeling all men more in-
clined to seek justice there, where it may be fitted to their
own desire, are known frequently to forsake the rules of the
Common Law, and straying beyond their bounds, under pretence
of equity, to do injustice.

48. Titles of honour, judicial places, serjeantships at law,
and other offices have been sold for great sums of money,
whereby the common justice of the kingdom hath been much
endangered, not only by opening a way of employment in places
of great trust, and advantage to men of weak parts, but also
by giving occasion to bribery, extoiiion, partiality, it seldom
happening that places ill-gotten are well used.

49. Commissions have been granted for examining the
excess of fees, and when great exactions have been discovered,
compositions have been made with delinquents, not only for the
time past, but likewise for immunity and security in offending
for the time to come, which under colour of remedy hath but
confirmed and increased the grievance to the subject.

50. The usual course of pricking Sheriffs not observed, but
many times Sheriffs made in an extraordinary way, sometimes
as a punishment and charge unto them ; sometimes such were
pricked out as would be instruments to execute whatsoever
they would have to be done.

51. The Bishops and the rest of the Clergy did triumph
in the suspensions, excommunications, deprivations, and de-
gradations of divers painful, learned and pious ministers, in
the vexation and grievous oppression of great numbers of His
Majesty's good subjects.

52. The High Commission gi*ew to such excess of sharpness
and severity as was not much less than the Bomish Inquisition,
and yet in many cases by the Archbishop's power was made
much more heavy, being assisted and strengthened by authority
of the Council Table.

53. The Bishops and their Courts were as eager in the
country; although their jurisdiction could not reach so high
in rigour and extremity of punishment, yet were they no less
grievous in respect of the generality and multiplicity of
vexations, which lighting upon the meaner sort of tradesmen
and artificers did impoverish many thousands.



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1641] The Grand Remonstrance 215

54. And so afflict and trouble others, that great numbers to
avoid their miseries departed out of the kingdom, some into New
England and other parts of America, others into Holland,

55. Where they have transported their manufactures of
cloth, which is not only a loss by diminishing the present
stock of the kingdom, but a great mischief by impairing and
endangering the loss of that particular trade of clothing,
which hath been a plentiful fountain of wealth and honour
to this nation.

56. Those were fittest for ecclesiastical preferment, and
soonest obtained it, who were most officious in promoting
superstition, most virulent in railing against godliness and
honesty.

57. The most public and solemn sermons before His Majesty
were either to advance prerogative above law, and decry the
pix)perty of the subject, or full of such kind of invectives.

58. Whereby they might make those odious who sought
to maintain the religion, laws and liberties of the kingdom,
and such men were sure to be weeded out of the commission
of the peace, and out of all other employments of power in
the government of the country.

59. Uany noble personages were councillors in name, but
the power and authority remained in a few of such as were
most addicted to this party, whose resolutions and deter-
minations were brought to the table for countenance and
execution, and not for debate and deliberation,' and no man
could offer to oppose them without disgrace and hazard to
himself.

60. Nay, all those that did riot wholly concur and actively
contribute to the furtherance of their designs, though other-
wise persons of never so great honour and abilities, were so
far from being employed in any place of trust and power,
that they were neglected, discountenanced, and upon all
occasions injured and oppressed.

61. This faction was grown to that height and entireness
of power, that now they began to think of finishing their
work, which consisted of these three parts.

63. I. The government must be set free from all restraint
of laws concerning our persons and estates.



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2i6 Constitutional Documents L1641

63. n. There muBt be a conjunction between Papists and
Protestants in doctrine, discipline and ceremonies ; only it must
not yet be called Popery.

64. IIT. The Puritans, under which name they include
all those that desire to preserve the laws and liberties of the
kingdom, and to maintain religion in the power of it, must
be either rooted out of the kingdom with force, or diiyen
out with fear.

65. For the effecting of this it was thought necessary to
reduce Scotland to such Popish superstitions and innovations
as might make them apt to join with England in that great
change which was intended.

66. Whereupon new canons and a new liturgy were pressed
upon them, and when they refused to admit of them, an army
was raised to force them to it, towards which the Clergy and
the Papists were very forward in their contribution.

67. The Scots likewise raised an army for their defence.

68. And when both armies were come together, and ready
for a bloody encounter. His Majesty's own gracious disposition,
and the counsel of the English nobility and dutiful submission
of the Scots, did so far prevail against the evil counsel of others,
that a pacification was made, and His Majesty returned with
peace and much honour to London.

69. The unexpected reconciliation was most acceptable to
all the kingdom, except to the malignant party; whereof
the Archbishop and the Earl of Strafford being heads, they
and their faction began to inveigh against the peace, and to
aggravate the proceedings of the states, which so incensed His
Majesty, that he forthwith prepared again for war.

70. And such was their confidence, that having corrupted
and distempered the whole frame and government of the king-
dom, they did now hope to corrupt that which was the only
means to restore all to a right frame and temper again.

71. To which end they persuaded His Majesty to call
a Parliament, not to seek counsel and advice of them, but to
draw countenance and supply from them, and to engage the
whole kingdom in their quarrel.

72. And in the meantime continued all their unjust levies
of money, resolving either to make the Parliament pliant



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1641] The Grand Remonstrance 217

to their will, and to establish mischief by a law, or else to
break it, and with more colour to go on by violence to take
what they could not obtain by consent. The ground alleged
for the justification of this war was this,

73. That the undutiful demands of the Parliaments in
Scotland was a sufficient reason for His Majesty to take arms
against them, without hearing the reason of those demands,
and thereupon a new aimy was prepared against them, their
ships were seized in all ports both of England and Ireland,
and at sea, their petitions rejected, their commissioners refused
audience.

74. This whole kingdom most miserably distempered with
levies of men and money, and imprisonments of those who
denied to submit to those levies.

75. The Earl of Strafford passed into Ireland, caused the
Parliament there to declare against the Scots, to give four
subsidies towaids that war, and to engage themselves, their
lives and fortunes, for the prosecution of it, and gave directions
for an army of eight thousand foot and one thousand horse
to be levied there, which were for the most part Papists.

76. The Parliament met upon the 13th of April, 1640.
The Earl of Strafford and Archbishop of Canterbury, with
their party, so prevailed with His Majesty, that the House of
Commons was pressed to yield a supply for maintenance of
the war with Scotland, before they had provided any relief
for the great and pressing grievances of the people, which
being against the fundamental privilege and proceeding of
Parliament, was yet in humble respect to His Majesty, so far
admitted as that they agreed to take the matter of supply into
consideration, and two sevei^al days it was debated.

77. Twelve subsidies were demanded for the release of ship-
money alone, a third day was appointed for conclusion, when
the heads of that party began to fear the people might close
with the King, in satisfying his desires of money; but that
withal they were like to blast their malicious designs against
Scotland, finding them very much indisposed to give any
countenance to that war.

78. Thereupon they wickedly advised the King to break
off the Parliament and to return to the ways of confusion, in



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ai8 Constitutional Documents [1641

which their own evil intentions were most likely to prosper
and succeed.

79. After the Parliament ended the 5th of May, 1640,
this party grew bo bold as to counsel the King to supply
himself out of his subjects' estates by his own power, at his
own will, without their consent.

80. The very next day some members of both Houses had
their studies and cabinets, yea, their pockets searched : another
of them not long after was committed close prisoner for not
deliyering some petitions which he received by authority of
that House.

81. And if harsher courses were intended (as was re-
ported) it is very probable that the sickness of the Earl of
Strafford, and the tumultuous rising in Southwark and about
Lambeth were the causes that such violent intentions were
not brought into execution.

82. A false and scandalous Declaration against the House
of Commons was published in His Majesty's name, which yet
wrought little effect with the people, but only to manifest
the impudence of those who were authors of it.

83. A forced loan of money was attempted in the City of
London.

84. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen in their several wards,
enjoined to bring in a list of the names of such persons as
they judged fit to lend, and of the sums they should lend. And
such Aldermen as refused to do so were committed to prison.

85. The Archbishop and the other Bishops and Clergy
continued the Convocation, and by a new commission turned
it into a provincial Synod, in which, by an unheard-of pre*
sumption, they made canons that contain in them many
matters contrary to the King's prerogative, to the fundamental
laws and statutes of the realm, to the right of Parliaments, to
the property and liberty of the subject, and matters tending
to sedition and of dangerous consequence, thereby establishing
their own usurpations, justifying their altar-worship, and those
other superstitious innovations which they fonnerly introduced
without warrant of law.

86. They imposed a new oath upon divers of His Majesty's
subjects, both ecclesiastical and lay, for maintenance of their



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i64t] The Grand Remonstrance. 219

own tyranny, and laid a great tax on the Clergy, for supply
of His Majesty, and generally they showed themselves very
affectionate to the war with Scotland, which was hy some of
them styled BeUum Hjnscopale, and a prayer composed and
enjoined to be read in all churches, calling the Scots rebels, to
put the two nations in blood and make them irreconcileable.

87. All those pretended canons and constitutions were
armed with the several censures of suspension, excommuni-
cation, deprivation, by which they would have thrust out
all the good ministers, and most of the well-affected people
of the kingdom, and left; an easy passage to their own design
of reconciliation with Bome.

88. The Popish party enjoyed such exemptions from penal
laws as amounted to a toleration, besides many other en-
c6uragements and Court favours.

89. They had a Secretary of State, Sir Francis Windebanck,
a powerful agent for speeding all their desires.

90. A Pope's Nuncio residing here, to act and govern
them according to such influences as he received from Rome,
and to intercede for them with the most powerful concurrence
of the foreign Princes of that religion.

91. By his authority the Papists of all sorts, nobility,
gentry, and clergy, were convocated after the manner of
a Purliament.

92. New jurisdictions were erected of Romish Archbishops,
taxes levied, another state moulded within this state, inde-
pendent in government, contrary in interest and affection,
secretly corrupting the ignorant or negligent professors of
our religion, and closely uniting and combining themselves
against such as were found in this posture, waiting for an
opportunity by force to destroy those whom they could not hope
to seduce.

93. For the effecting whereof they were strengthened with
arms and munitions, encouraged by superstitious prayers,
enjoined by the Nuncio to be weekly made for the prosperity
of some great design.

94. And such power had they at Court, that secretly
a commission was issued out, or intended to be issued to some
great men of that profession, for the levying of soldiers, and



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220 Constitutional Documents [1641

to command and employ them according to private instructionB,
which we doubt were framed for the advantage of those who
were the contrivers of them.

95. His Majesty's treasure was consumed, his revenue
anticipated.

96. His servants and officers compelled to lend great sums
of money.

97. Multitudes were called to the Council Table, who were
tired with long attendances there for refusing illegal payments.

98. The prisons were filled with their commitments; many
of the Sheriffs summoned into the Star Chamber, and some
imprisoned for not being quick enough in levying the ship-
money ; the people languished under grief and fear, no visible
hope being left but in desperation.

99. The nobility began to weary of their silence and patience,
and sensible of the duty and trust which belongs to them:
and thereupon some of the most ancient of them did petition
His Majesty at such a time, when evil counsels were so strong,
that they had occasion to expect more hazard to themselves,
than redress of those public evils for which they interceded.

100. Wliilst the kingdom was in this agitation and dis-
temper, the Scots, restrained in their trades, impoverished
by the loss of many of their ships, bereaved of all possibility
of satisfying His Majesty by any naked supplication, entered
with a powerful army into the kingdom, and without any
hostile act or spoil in the country they passed, more than
forcing a passage over the Tyne at Newburn, near Newcastle,
possessed themselves of Newcastle, and had a fair opportunity
to press on further upon the King's army.

1 01. But duty and reverence to His Majesty, and brotherly
love to the English nation, made them stay there, whereby
the King had leisure to entertain better counsels.

102. Wherein Gk)d so blessed and directed him that he
summoned the Great Council of Peers to meet at York upon
the 24th of September, and there declared a Parliament to
begin the 3rd of November then following.

103. The Scots, the first day of the Great Council, pre-
sented an humble Petition to His Majesty, whereupon the
Treaty ^as appointed at Eipon.



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1641] The Grand Remonstrance 221



104. A present cessation of arms agreed upon, and the full
conclusion of all differences referred to the wisdom and care
of the Parliament.

105. As our first meeting, all oppositions seemed to vanish,
the mischiefs were so evident which those evil counsellors
produced, that no man durst stand up to defend them: yet
the work itself afforded difficulty enough.

106. The multiplied evils and corruption of fifteen years,
strengthened hy custom and authority, and the concurrent
interest of many powerful delinquents, were now to be brought
to judgment and reformation.

107. The King's household was to be provided for: — they had
brought him to that want, that he could not supply his ordinary
and necessary expenses without the assistance of his people.

108. Two armies were to be paid, which amounted very
near to eighty thousand pounds a month.

109. The people were to be tenderly charged, having been
formerly exhausted with many burdensome projects.

no. The difficulties seemed to be insuperable, which by
the Divine Providence we have overcome. The contrarieties
incompatible, which yet in a great measure we have reconciled.

111. Six subsidies have been granted and a Bill of poll-
money, which if it be duly levied, may equal six subsidies more,
in all £600,000.

112. Besides we have contracted a debt to the Scots of
X2 20,000, yet God hath so blessed the endeavours of this
Parliament, that the kingdom is a great gainer by all these
charges.

113. The ship-money is abolished, which cost the kingdom
about £200,000 a year.

114. The coat and conduct-money, and other military
charges are taken away, which in many countries amounted
to little less than the ship-money.

115. The monopolies are all suppressed, whereof some few
did prejudice the subject, above £1,000,000 yearly.

116. The soap £100,000.

117. The wine £300,000.

118. The leather must needs exceed both, and salt could be
no less than that.



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229 Constitutional Documents [1641

119. Besides the inferior monopolies, which, if they could
he exactly computed, would make up a great sum.

120. That which is more beneficial than all this is, that
the root of these evils is taken away, which was the arbitrary
power pretended to be in His Majesty of taxing the subject,
or charging their estates without consent in Parliament, which
is now declared to be against law by the judgment of both
Houses, and likewise by an Act of Parliament.

121. Another step of great advantage is this, the living
grievances, the evil counsellors and actors of these mischiefs
have been so quelled.

122. By the justice done upon the Earl of Strafford, the
flight of the Lord Finch and Secretary Windebanck,

123. The accusation and imprisonment of the Archbishop of
Canterbury, of Judge Berkeley ; and

124. The impeachment of divers other Bishops and Judges,
that it icf like not only to be an ease to the present times, but
a preservation to the future,

125. The discontinuance of Parliaments is prevented by the
Bill for a triennial Parliament, and the abrupt dissolution of
this Parliament by another Bill, by which it is provided it
shall not be dissolved or adjourned without the consent of both
Houses.

126. Which two laws well considered may be thought more
advantageous than all the formei*, because they secure a full
operation of the present remedy, and afford a perpetual spring
of remedies for the future.

127. The Star Chamber.

128. The High Commission.

129. The Courts of the President and Council in the North
were so many forges of misery, oppression and violence, and
are all taken away, whereby men are more secured in their
persons, liberties and estates, than they could be by any law
or example for the regulation of those Courts or terror of
the Judges.

130. The immoderate power of the Council Table, and the
excessive abuse of that power is so ordered and restrained,
that we may well hope that no such things as were fre-
quently done by them, to the prejudice of the public libei*ty,



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x64i] The Grand Remonstrance 923

will appear iu fdture times but only in stories, to give us and
our posterity more occasion to praise God for His Majesty's
goodness, and the faithful endeavours of this Parliament.

131. The canons and power of canon-making are blasted by
the votes of both Houses.

132. The exorbitant power of Bishops and their courts are
much abated, by some provisions in the Bill against the High
Commission Court, the authors of the many innovations in doc-
trine and ceremonies.

133. The ministers that have been scandalous in their lives,
have been so terrified in just complaints and accusations, that
we may well hope they will be more modest for the time to
come ; either inwardly convicted by the sight of their own folly,
or outwardly restrained by the fear of punishment.

134. The forests are by a good law reduced to their right
bounds,

135. The encroachments and oppressions of the Stannary
Courts, the extortions of the clerk of the market. .

136. And the compulsion of the subject to receive the Order
of Knighthood against his will, paying of fines for not receiving
it, and the vexatious proceedings thereupon for levying of those
fines, are by other beneficial laws reformed and prevented.

137. Many excellent laws and provisions are in preparation
for removing the inordinate power, vexation and usurpation of
Bishops, for reforming the pride and idleness of many of the
clergy, for easing the people of unnecessary ceremonies in re-
ligion, for censuring and removing unworthy and unprofitable
ministers, and for maintaining godly and diligent preachers
through the kingdom.

138. Other things of main importance for the good of this
kingdom are in proposition, though little could hitherto be
done in regard of the many other more pressing businesses,
which yet before the end of this Session we hope may receive
some progress and perfection.

139. The establishing and ordering the King's revenue,^ that
to the abuse of officers and superfluity of expenses may be cut
off, and the necessary disbui'sements for His Majesty's honour^
the defence and government of the kingdom, may be more cer-
tainly provided for.



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224 Constitutional Documents [1641

140. The regulating of courts of justice, and abridging both
the delays and charges of law-suits.

141. The settling of some good courses for preventing the
exportation of gold and silver, and the inequality of exchanges
between us and other nations, for the advancing of native com-
modities, increase of our manufactures, and well balancing of
trade, whereby the stock of the kingdom may be increased, or
at least kept from impairing, as through neglect hereof it hath



Online LibrarySamuel Rawson GardinerThe constitutional documents of the Puritan revolution 1625-1660 → online text (page 26 of 51)