The State Papers are the official papers of the Secretaries of
State. When these papers came to be classified long after 1604, they
were divided into a Foreign, a Colonial, and a Domestic Series. The
following items were transcribed from Calendar of State Papers, Domestic
Series, of the Reign of James I, 1 (1603-1610): 14/VI Proclamation
Book 59 (82); VII (1), (2), (27), (82); VIII (93).
We have (before this time)
made known to our Subjects upon divers occasions, that we have received
great contentment in their generall conformities and submission to all
such courtes, as might best establish the possession of this Crowne, according
to the right of our Succession, as it would euer nourish in us an earnest
desire to show our selves carefull in all things, to preserue their greatest
affection, and to answere that expectation which (by their joyfull manner
of receiving us) Wee pereiued they had conceiued of our Government.
Whereof, as we well know, that Princes cannot yeeld, more generall, more
cleare, or more profitable proofe to their people, then by redressing abuses
wherewith they find their Subjects justly grieued either in constitution
or administration of their Lawes in being, or by seeking to establish new
Lawes for them, agreeable to the rules of Justice, whensoeuer time dosth
discouer any defects in the former Policy, or when accidents in the State
of any Common wealth require new ordinances: So seeing both these
things (which are of so great moment in a state) haue accustomed to be
considered and ordered (as in this, so in other well gouerned Common wealths)
by a Lawful assembly of the three Estates of the Realme, commonly called
the Parliament; Wee were desirous to haue summoned them long since, for
that purpose, .... We haue bethought our selfe, of as many wayes and meanes,
as may be, to preuent those inconuences, which dayly arise and multiply
by the peruerting of those ancient good orders, which were deuised by the
wisdome of former times to bee obserued in the calling of Parliaments.
Amongst which, because there is no one point of greater consequence, then the well chusing of knights and burgesses, who as they doe present the body of the third estate, so being eligible by multitude there are often many unfit persons appointed for that Seruice: And where it is so well knowen to euery private man of wit and judgement (much more to us who haue had so long experience of Kingly gouernment) how ill effects doe follow, when such as haue to doe in the matters of Common wealth, shall come to that great and common Councell, with other then publike minds, sincere and voyd of any factious humour and dependencie: We do hereby straightly charge and admonish all persons interested in the choise of knights for the Shires, First, that the Knights for the County be selected out of the principall Knights or Gentlemen - of sufficient hability within the County wherein they are chosen: And for the Burgesses, that choice may be made of men of sufficiency and discretion without any partial respects, or factious combination, which alwayes breed suspitions, that more care is taken to compasse priuate ends, then to prouide for making good and wholesome Lawes for the Realme. And because it is no more possible to draw sound Counsels and resolutions for inconsiderate or insufficient spirits, then to haue a sound or healthfull body composed of weake or imperfect members: We do likewise admonish all persons to whom it doeth appertaine. That seeing the dealing of causes in Parliament, requires conueniencie of yeeres and experience, there may be great heed taken by all those that will be accompted louers of their Countrey, that both Knights and Burgesses may be chosen accordingly, without desire in any particular men to please parents or friends, that often speake for their children or kinne, though they be yong, and little able to discerne what Lawes are fit to hinde a Common wealth. To the consultation whereof those persons would be selected principally of whose grauitie and modest conuersation men are likest generally to conceiue best opinions.
Next and aboue all things, concerning that one of the maine pillars of the Estate, is the preseruation of Unitie in the profession of sincere Religion of Almighty God: We do also admonish that there be great care taken, to auoid the choice of any person: either noted for their superstitious blindness one way, or for their turbulent humors other wayes: because their disorderly and unquiet spirits will disturb all the discreet and modest proceeding in that greatest and grauest Councill. Further we do command, that an express care be had that there be not chosen any persons Banquerupts or Outlawed, but men of knowen good behauiour and sufficient liuelyhood, and such as are not only taxed to the payment of Subsidies and other like charges, but also haue ordinarily payed and satisfied the same. Nothing being more absurd in any Common wealth than to permit those to haue free uoices for Law making, by whose owne actes they are exempted from the Lawes protection. Next, that all Sheriffes be charged that they doe not direct any Precept for electing and returning of any Burgesses to or for any ancient Borough towne within their Countie being utterly ruined and decayed, that there are not sufficient Resiants to make such a choice, and of whom lawful election may be made. Also to charge all Cities and Boroughs, and the inhabitants of the same, that none of them seale any Blanckes, referring or leauing to any others to insert the names of any Citizens or Burgesses, to serue for any such City or Borough, but that the inhabitants of euery such City or Borough, doe make open and free Election according to the Law, and set down the names of the persons whome they choose, before they seale the certificate.
Furthermore, we notify by these presents, that all Returnes and Certificats of Knights, Citizens and Burgesses ought and are to be brought to the Chancery, and there to be filed of Record. And if any shall be found to be made contrary to the Proclamation the same is to be reiected as unlawfull and insufficient, and the City or Borough to be fined for the same. And if it be found that they haue committed any grosse or wilfull default and contempt in their Election, Returne or Certificate, That then their Liberties according to the Law, are to be seized into our hands, as forfeited. And if any person take upon him the place of a knight, citizen or Burgesse, not being duely elected, returned and sworne according to the Lawes and Statutes in that behalfe prouided, and according to the purport, effect and true meaning of this our Proclamation, then euere person so offending to be fined and imprisoned for the same.
I must confesse, and you do knowe that I had no greate appetite to a Burgesse place, when you first propounded it: And now I do much more distast it, since your last letter aduertising some pretended difficultyes upon the proclamacion./ If the elections be past and I repulsed: I must lay the imputacion of so great a disgrace upon you that gaue me not tymelye aduertisement of their pretences; and knowing them, would neuertheless expose my name and condicion to the incerten hazard of inconstantuoyces, before you understood my meaninge.
If I be elected to this place: yet cann I not accept there of for some iust reasons which do at this present hinder it and aduise the contrarye./ The first is myne own indisposicion which maketh me unfitt to trauell; and I knowe not whether I shall be better able, at the tyme. The second is the sicklyness and weakness of my wife; who is not yet recouered but by longe infirmitye subiect to continewall relapses. The third is the hazard of the infection and contagion at London, in so great a concurse of people, as is like to be at this tyme, so as a man shall be scarce safe from damage, euen in the parliament howse. The fourthe is the great charge, incident to this place, without any allowance from the Town; which expense I wuld be now content to auoyd, because I must of necessitye make another iourney in June or July next about my busines with Mr. Rawlins./ The least of these reasons I do hold sufficient to moue me not to take upon me this preferment thoughe I were elected unto it: and therefore I pray you, if it fall cwt so well, (whereof I must doubt): to thank them affectionately in my name, and to acquaint them with some of these reasons: especially the 2 first, desiring them withall to proceed to a new election of some other; who may more conueniently attend the dewtys of this charge./ And from this resolucion I pray you not to seek to diuert me./.....
Your uery affect. louing brother
/signed/ E. Reynoldes..
Right trust and right Wellbeloued Cousins and Councellors We greet you well. Notwithstanding our more than louing propozition to the lower house of Parlement, when they were before us, and our more than fatherly conclusion with them, that yf they were in the wrong towards us they should not be ashamed to acknowledge it but submitt themselues to the opynion of the Iudges, whome they had heard to clearly speake, as we for our part were contented to conforme our self to their judgment. We haue not yet understood from you or from themselues that they haue taken any course to giue us satisfaction therein. But yf we should giue creditt to reporte we heare that they do persist in their former purpose taking upon them to iudge both of the opynion of the Iudges and of our Royal prorogation; which seemith so straunge to us that we haue thought good to require you to signifie unto them in our name that we epect they shall in that matter either giue us satisfaction or els delyuer up by wryting to you there, or send to us what further doubt, they fynde in that matter, wherein they are not yet resolued, to th'ende that therein we may giue them satisfaction. And that our expresse pleasure is that this be the first thinge they take in hand, And that no other matter be dealt in untill it be determyned.
April ___, 1604
This was th'effect of my
Speech in the Parliament, as neer as I can remember. If I can be
Charged with any other matter worthy of Censure or punishment which I cannot
by interpreting myselfe auoyde, or with trewth defend, I willingly yeild
myselfe an offender, yet in this sort that I aymed at no particularityes
neyther wittingly or willingly had a purpose to offende.
I told Mr. Speaker that Aurora
was Muses amica, and therefore our Wytte beinge the freshest were most
apt to deale with matters of so great Consequence as was this Cause of
satisfaction to be giuen to the K. Maiestie. Wherein I would endeuer
with the rest of the House by all the meanes I were able, First therefore
I toke occasion to speake of the Kings gratious usage of us when we were
before him. To say any more I thought it not my part because I was
neuer able to attaine to the setting of it forth as it deserued yet I would
be bold to open to the Howse some things that I conceyued which might mynister
Matter of dispute in the House Concerning the manner of the Choyce of Sir
Francys Goodwyn as I was Credibly informed, and as I gathered by that Mr.
Speaker delyuered addinge a fourth Artycle to the three which Mr. Speaker
spoke of in his speech before the Kings Maiestie namely to matters of Circumstance,
Presidente, and Matters of lawe. I would add Matters of Contempt.
The first and last would I speake of, the other 2 I lefte to be discussed
and determyned by the Howse. First therefore, as I am informed, it
wilbe found that Sir Francis Goodwyne neuer affected to be a Knight of
the Shyre by waye of Opposition to Sir Jo. Fortescue, but desyred by all
meanes that Sir John Fortescue might have to first place and himselfe the
seconde And that to wytnesse this further all the Knightes of that Shyre
would testifye. For the Outlawry Certifyed against him I thinke it
will poue not the Sheriffes proper Acte, but a Rasure in the backsyde of
the Wrytt, and the returne in the piece of Parchment apart by itselfe made
by others, and not done by the Sheriffe merely out of his obedyence to
the Kings Proclamation. I told Mr. Speaker moreouer that if he shalbe
lawful for any great offycers, about the Kings Maiestie to alter the free
Choyce of Burgesses that inconuenyence that will come unto I will not speak
of but only leaue it to your Iudgemente. We haue thankes to God a
graious Kinge and if We were sure still to enioye him We need not doubt.
Besides though We haue no Cause to dread any such matter nowe, yet hereafter
God may punish us with a Kinge not so gratious, as We all find and [?tast]
he is. And who knowes not that Kings many tymes haue some about them that
may misinforme them, I pray God therefore continuewe his Maiestie longe
amongst us and graunt continuewance and increase of the Number of his faythfull
and Religious Councellors.
I prayed to haue leave to remember a speach of the Kinges to us the
last day uiz., that in Matters of Presydente his Maiestie told us We must
obserue and distinguish oftymes, for so they were to be allowed as the
Kinge and his Subjectes were. For many tymes a tyrannous Kinge would
Commaund such things to be done of his Subjectes which a gratious and loueing
Prince would not expect performance of, And so a Kinge of meane and humble
Spyritt might tollerate such thinges in Subiects which a Prince of more
Courage and Magnanimitye would not indure. I leaue the Application
of eueryones owne Conscyence. I said that I was neyther Carder nor
dycer nor such a professed Hunter or Hawker but that I spent some tymes
in readinge, and I could neuer read of the best Prynce that euer was, but
he might haue some that might misinforme him. Againe I sayd that
in Dauyds tyme, the wicked were in that prosperity that it had like to
haue made him to stagger. Tymes alter and tymes chaunge daily; And
therefore as in tymes of Peace it is good to prouyde for Warre; so it is
good to kepe old auncyent orders of Priuyledge especially of this Nature.
For if it ly in the Lord Chauncelor to nomynate at his pleasure who shall
serue for the Parliament though he that is, is an honourable person, and
of high estate, and one We need not to feare, yet who knowes who shall
Besides I told him it was sayd [?these] partes of the Howse were Purytantes But I thought it was a Name giuen not a Name taken, but I wished because of that opynion of some it would please his Maiestie to picke them out by Commyssion by the pole; And if they were not found of true Religion to God, tried and faithful Subiectes of this Maiestie and louing and Charytable to thyr Brethren, that they should receyue such punishments as were answerable to bad and wicked men. Besides (Mr. Speaker) you see that uppon this matter it selfe there are in Lawe dyfferent opynions, as in the Statute of 7o H 4 about Returns, as a Graue Iudge whom I loue and reuerence with my hart, yet you see he Saith our Books are false printed and that if We would know the Truth We must haue recourse to the Records if it be so Mr. Speaker. We are but in euill State when the Booke printed shall direct one way and the Record another. We haue many graue and learned Lawyers of our Syde for the poynt of lawe Concerning both the Presydente, the Outlawry and returns, but it is alleadged they be younger men. It is sayd that the doctrine that succeeded Christ and his Apostles was the purest, and the reason (I take it) because they came new and ymmediately from the Fountaine, and it was fresh in memory as well as in Record, and therefore in that ponte I had rather rely uppon them than uppon [1 word] Iudges, who may sometimes thorough age forgett. I told Mr. Speaker that it was a daungerous estate we were in, when the Interpretation of the ludges should be different in tymes as they preceded each other in places of Iudgement. To which I haue heard that exceptions were taken to a great Iudge of the land now dead, hauinge Authoritye of precedent Iudges affyrmed by waye of proofe to him his aunswers was, that the Judge intepreted the Lawe in that sort in his tyme and his oppynion but otherwise nowe in his own tyme. Now I told Mr. Speaker, that for the Contempt in our Iudgment for the Choyce of Sir Fra. Goodwyne, I answere for myself as I think I may for all the Howse. I intended only the preseruation of our auncyent liberty without respect of any persons, for if I should regard that, they which know me and understand with whome I haue married know, that besides my duty to him as a priuy Councillor, I am twenty wayes more bound to Sir John Fortescue than to Sir Francys Fortescue, than to Sir Francys Goodwyn. And I told Mr. Speaker, that since the Kinge gaue us leaue to dispute the matter amongst ourselues, saying that out of his grace and Fauour he would be more glad not to haue Cause to pardon us than otherwyse, let us labour by all the meanes we can to informe one another how we may best giue satisfaction to the K. Maiestie and approue our iudgmente in this great Cause of Priuyledge. I told Mr. Speaker, that whatsoeuer I had said at this tyme, I intended in my hart all loyalltie and dutye to the K. Miestie, dutye to the honorable Howse of Parliament, without ayminge at any particular person eyther of Honor or place, but only by distinguishing of tymes and obseruing of Circumstances I was bold to deluyer my poore Opinion, wherein if I failed or said any thing that might distast any of the Howse I Craue their pardon, assuring them that no member of the Howse was euer more unwilling than myselfe to offend the least of them either in thought, word or deed. And so I Concluded with my desire, that with the same mynd as I had begunne and broken yee unto them not knowinge the depth of daunger, so all the trew harted Members of the Howse would follow me.
Sir Robert Wynfield
If you haue heard anythinge
of any Question between the King and the Lower House of parliament, you
may assure your Selfe, that the Cawse was only for Lacke of understanding,
what was intended by his Maiestie and not any other point of Importance;
Soe as if I did not Conceius that idle Discoursers are apt to make Comments
upon all Things according to the Leuity of their owne Brayne, I should
not haue touched it at all; For to be short That Sir Francis Goodwin hauing
laboured to be Knight of Buckinghamshyre, to the exclusion of an Antient
Counsellor Sir John Fortescue, it was aduised by the Kings Learned Counsell
and Iudges, whether there were not found means (by the Laws) to auoyde
it; whereupon it being found, that Sir Francis was outlawed, and soe certifyed
by the Sheriffe, consequently a new writ was sent forth, by uertue whereof
Sir John Fortescue was chosen, notwithstanding the Lower House, hauing
had notice, the Goodwin was once chosen, And hauing found that the outlary
was pardoned in effect by his Maiestys generall pardon at his Coronation;
Although in the true Construction of Law, He is not Rector in Curia,
untill he haue [?sued] out his Scire facias; They somewhat suddenly
fearing some Opposition (which was neuer intended) allowed of Goodwin,
and reiected the other, which forme of proceeding appeared Harsh to the
King, rather in Forme than matter; And therefore, being then desirous,
that the Higher House might haue some Conference with the Lower House (which
we of our selues did intimate unto them) they grew Jealous of that proposition
as a matter which they misliked to yield to, after a Iudgement; And therefore
rather did choose to sent to the King that they would be glad to show to
him selfe their Reasons, then to any other, taking it somewhat derogatiue
from their House, to attribute any Superiority to the Higher Howse, seeing
both House make but one body, whereof the King is the Head. This
being done after two Conferences in the presence of the King the Counsell,
and the Iudges, the matter was compounded to all mens Likinge, wherein
that which is due, is only due to ?Caesar. For but by his Wisdome
and dexterity it could not haue had any Conclusion, with soe generall applause;
This being found by Debate to be most Certayne, that neither of them both
were duely returned, And therefore it was resolued of all parties, that
a new writ should goe forth, by warrant from the Speaker, wherein none
of them should stand to be elected; and so much for the Truth of the Cause.
[Bound in white vellum, inscribed: 28-April-1604]
Most graciouse Kinge reade this, the sooner
the better, it concernes your Seruice.
From my faithfull harte,
and loyaltie, to your Highnes, the .l. of May laste, I caused a small Pamphlet
to be deliuered to your owne handes, with other particulars, declaringe
the corruption, and abuse, in the election of the Knights and Burgesses
of parlament, and accordinge to my Simple reatche, of the inconueniences
and mischiefes, accrewinge in a manner generallye to all your highnes Subjects,
beside to your Maiestie Particularlye, and so to yourselfe, much more,
then to any whosoeuer.
Not longe after when it pleased your highnes, to determine to haue a parlamente, aboue .9. weekes, before the certaine daye appointed, when the same shoulde being: of your Meiesties abundante grace, and Fatherlye care of your subiects, and people, you uouchsafed to make it knowne publicklye, thorowe the Realme, yea to be proclaimed, that Knightes, and Burgesses etc, of the parlaments, should be chosen, and retourned such persons, and in suche allowable forme, as the anciente lawes of the Lande, the worthynes of the Kingdome the reputation, of that honorable place, the Regallitie, and conueniencie, annixed to your crowne, and Highnes, and the good of eche one, did appointe, and expostulate: whereby should also be wyped, and clensed awaye, the gawles, filth, corruption and ruste, too much crepte in, for want of regarde thereof, amongste that assembly.
The .19. of last monthe the parlament began, where were retourned, and yet remaine, a great nomber of Knightes, and Burgesses, as lawfull members, at the best, contrary directly to the lawes of the Realme, and your most gratiouse care, and respecte for the generall benefitt of all proclaimed, with usrye fauorable perswations annixed, with some warnings, that he should be punished as greate reason is, who wolde do contrarye.
Nothithstandinge some Electors, haue perhap unwittinglye done amis, and other sciently, and likewise to those elected, your princelye wisdome knowes righte well what belongs to bothe.
I with all faithfulnes, and humilitie beseche your Highnes to pardon my presumption, to presume in wrytinge in this nature unto your Maiestie, when I doe confesses I play Phormio his parte who toke upon him to reade Artem militarem, to Hanniball, who was in a manner the onelye soldyer of the Worlde, and the other a simple pedante.
My faithe and dutie deuoted to all truth to your Maiestie and youres, which neuer shall faile come to me what will (and the splene againste me of some greate personages about you, whiche I haue done and do feele uerye heauely) which knowing your Heroical dispositian makes me dare to take uppon me Phormios office.
At this instant there is, or should be 439 or ther aboute of the common house of parlament whereof the firste day of the sessesions, ther were Knightes, and Burgesses, outlawed and Knightes and Burgesses otherwise unlawfully retourned: The lawe is broken: your Highnes authoritie, and open diuulged proclamation is neglected, to your greate indignitie, yea, and so publicklye, as in the common house of parlamente, where that bodye presents the most parte of the Realme, your Maiestie knowes how perillous it is, to let the ?names oute to such heades.
Pardon me good Kinge for my rashnes: If it shall stande with your Maiesties pleasure to commaunde to be examined, this smale booke of suche Knightes and Burgesses, as are misborne I belieue you will finde not few of them crepte in, by the meanes of some in greate credit, and nere aboute your Maiestie if it so fall out they came not in, to serue your tourne, nor the common wealths: beinge both againste laws, and your hig: proclamation: but in all likelyhode them selues and their freands who procured their roomes.
In tyme past not longe nether, but euen since a childe, and two women, raignde: Many of the greatest subiects in Engl: were in parlament openlye complained of, by the people whom they had oppressed tirannised and misbehaued themselues to the prince and state, and called to answer, and found guiltie, were punished accordinglye, diuerse of whose cases if it shall like you Maiesties you may reade in the next leafe following: If particular subiects may at their pleasure, haue scope, and do nominate Knightes, and Burgesses of parlament, they will keep them selues from being complained of, and if they shoulde be so, finde freands in corners to pleade and yeilde uioces for them: especially the companye swarming with mercinarye lawyers, many of whome can talk and lye well. So as your Highnes and the common welthe shall many time haue what they please to aforde. Let your Maiesties layall subiects haue full libertie to complaine, be hearde, and righted of those who haue wronged and oppressed, and freely against the greateste Subiecte to alledge, their undutifull carriages against your Hig. and Iustice.
Once again good Kinge I must beseche pardon to say unto you That in this parlament there is nothing in a manner but confusion and insufficiencie, and therefore it is more than muche to be feared, that such rootes will carrye like fruites, for your Maiestie, and the state. And whatsoeuer shall happen there to increase their liberties were it uery preposterous, yt shalbe carefullye registered for euer to serue their tourne, wherfore principiis obstare so to courbe the unrulye.
May it please your most escellent Maiestie if you dissolue the house, upon some cause as shall seeme beste unto you, the misshapen boye will be broken: When your Hignes will you may summone it againe.
In the meane tyme you may let some of the chiefe offenders feele what your proclamation tolde them to learne them to regard it more: And I doe not (pardon me if I beseche you good Kings) think him a fitt man to be in commission of the peace among your people, or in any seruice belonging to your Hignes who can so contemptuouslye in publicke behaue them selues to your Maiestie and the plaine lawe: and at the next elections, your Maiestie shall finde an other, and a more uniforme bodie of parlament, and more correspondente to so worthye a kingdome as this is, and so considerate a prince as your High:
The God aboue powre uppon your Maiestie his blessings and fauor that by you this longe afflicted lande may receaue comforte and releife: and your Hig: glorye and safetie, and yours and mercye, and weeding out the ennemyes therto.
21 April 1604
Your Maiesties most faithful, layal
and dutiful to serue you
7 July 1604
...I haue more to say to
you, my Masters of the lower house both in regard of former occasions,
and now of the speakers speach. It hath bin the forme of most kings
to giue thancks to theyr people howeuer theyr deserts were. Of some,
to use sharpe admonishment and reproofs. Now if you expect either
great prayse or reproofs out of custome I will deceaue you in both.
I will not thanck where I think no thancks due. You would think me
base if I should: It were not Christian it were not Kingly.
I do not thinck you, as the body of the realme, undutifull; there is an
old rule qui bene distinguit bene docte. This house doth not
so represent the whole commons of the realme as the shadow doth the body
but onely representatiuely. Impossible it was for them to know all
that would be propunded here: much more all those answeares that you would
make to all propositions. So as I account not all that to be done
by the Commons of the land which hathbin done by you. I will not
thanck them for that you haue well done nor blame them for that you haue
done ill. I must say this for you; I neuer heard nor read that there
were so many wise, and so many iudicious men of that house generally.
But where many are some must needes ydle heads, some rash, some curious,
some busy Informers. The greatest part of you were not affected.
But where there is a like liberty the worst likely carries away the best.
The reason is the corruption of our nature The pertnes and bolches /boldness?/
of some cries all modest man downe. You see I am not such a stock
as to prayse faults. I can not say you all did well or all ill.
And whether well or ill you must not expect I will giue you the same answeare.
There were wise men amongst you; so was there a role of knauery.
I doe not thinck that any of you had seditious minds to overthrow and confound
this Monarchy, but owt of diuers humors and respect; you were moued to
curiousities. . . .
In my gouernment; by-past of Scotland (where I ruled amongst men not of the best temper). I was heard not only as a King, but suppose I say it, as a Counselor. Contrary, here nothing but curiousity from morning to euening to find faults with my pre-positions. There, all things warranted that same from me: Here all things suspected. . . .