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Stephens's second collection, p.


CCIV. To the Marquis of BUCKINGHAM.

My very good Lord,

I AM very glad to hear of the honour his majesty intendeth to my noble lady your lordship's mother. (a) This, amongst many other things, sheweth in your lordship good nature, which is the root of all virtues, next religion. Besides, it doth sort well in states, when place and power do meet, and stand not too far at dis


For the passing of it by direction without bill signed, it cannot be in law. So is Mr. Attorney's opinion, and so is mine; and therefore there is presently a bill sent with an indorsement of passing it by immediate warrant, and this antedate.

For the antedate, I must present his majesty with my caution, and with my obedience.

For the statute tieth me from antedates; and indeed the mischief is infinite: for by that means the king may grant any land, etc. and take it away a month hence, 18 H. VI. and grant it another by an antedate. And surely were

cap. 1.

it land or the like, I would not say absit, or, Your majesty cannot do it, for a world; or, Your majesty is sworn and I am sworn; or such brave phrases: but surely, I say, I would in humbleness represent it to his majesty. (b)

But the case of honour differeth; for therein his majesty's prerogative and declaration is absolute, and he may make him that is last to be first. And therefore

(a) The advancement of this lady to the title of the countess of Buckingham, was, notwithstanding the reasons here alleged, so ill resented by the house of commons in 1626, that in article XI. of their impeachment of the duke her son, it was objected against him as one of his offences. Stephens.

(b) By this and the preceding letter it appears, that as my lord chancellor thought it his duty to offer to the king his reasons against passing of a patent: yet if then the king, who was judge of the inconvenience, was pleased to command it, he was obliged to allow the same. But in those things which were contrary to law, as it is to be presumed, that after an humble representation thereof, no prince would exact, so no minister in such a case would yield an obedience. Stephens.

upon his majesty's signification of his pleasure upon the indorsement of the bill signed, I take it I may lawfully do it.

I am here rejoicing with my neighbours the townsmen of St. Albans, for this happy day, the fifth (a) of August, 1618.


Your Lordship's most obliged friend
and faithful servant,


CCV. To the Marquis of BUCKINGHAM,

My very good Lord,

I THANK your lordship for your last loving letter. I now write to give the king an account of a patent I have stayed at the seal. It is of licence to give in mortmain eight hundred pound land, though it be of tenure in chief to (b) Allen that was the player, for an hospital.

(a) The fifth of August, being the anniversary of the king's deliverance from the earl of Gowry's conspiracy, was by some called the court-holiday, and ridiculed as a fiction; though the truth thereof being delivered down by archbishop Spotswood, and other good historians, I see no great reason to call it into question. Stephens.

(b) That Allen the player, who founded an hospital at Dulwich in Surrey, had been an excellent actor of the comical and serious part, will appear evident to any one that shall thoroughly consider the following epigram made by that admirable dramatic poet, Ben Jonson.


If Rome so great, and in her wisest age,
Fear'd not to boast the glories of her stage:
As skilful Roscius, and grave Æsop, men
Yet crown'd with honours, as with riches then ;
Who had no less a trumpet of their name,
Than Cicero, whose every breath was fame:
How can so great example die in me,
That, Allen, I should pause to publish thee;
Who both their graces in thyself has more
Outstript, than they did all that went before:
And present worth in all dost so contract,
As others speak, but only thou dost act?
Wear this renown. "Tis just that who did give
So many poets life, by one should live.

Stephens's second collection, p.


I like well that Allen playeth the last act of his life so well; but if his majesty give way thus to amortize his tenures, his courts of wards will decay; which I had well hoped should improve.

But that which moved me chiefly is, that his majesty now lately did absolutely deny Sir Henry Saville for 2001. and Sir Edward Sandys for 100l. to the perpetuating of two lectures, the one in Oxford, the other in Cambridge, foundations of singular honour to his majesty, the best learned of kings, and of which there is great want; whereas hospitals abound, and beggars (a) abound never a whit the less.

If his majesty do like to pass the book at all; yet if he would be pleased to abridge the 800l. to 500l. and then give way to the other two books for the university, it were a princely work. And I would make an humble suit to the king, and desire your lordship to join in

(a) It were to be wished this observation did not hold true to this day for though the foundations of hospitals are to be commended, which Sir Francis Bacon hath done both in this letter, and other his writings; yet it shews that some more adequate remedy for supporting the poor, than what arises from these charities, or even from the laws enacted for their relief, was then, and yet is to be desired. And as the defect thereof is no small reproach to the government of a country, happy in its natural product, and enriched by commerce; so it would be an act of the greatest humanity, to provide for the poor, and that idleness and beggary, the successive nursery of rogues, might as far as possible be extirpated. Upon this occasion I cannot but take notice of a story which has been spread abroad to the defamation of Sir Francis Bacon, though upon no good ground, as far as I can judge, as if in the accomplishment of the foundation of the Charter-house hospital, begun by Mr. Sutton, and carried on by his executors, Sir Francis, who was then the king's solicitor, had, for some ill designs of gain to himself or others, endeavoured to have defeated the same. The fact was, that the heir at law supposing, notwithstanding what Mr. Sutton had done in procuring acts of parliament and patents from the king, in order to establish this noble charity, that the greatest part of his estate was descended to him, it was argued on his behalf by the solicitor-general, by Mr. Henry Yelverton, and Mr. Walter, men of great reputation in those times and whatever ill intentions some of the court might have, my request to the reader is, that before he pass any censure upon Sir Francis Bacon, relating hereunto, he would please to peruse his advice, printed in Vol. III. p. 388, given to the king touching Mr. Sutton's estate. Stephens.

it, that it might be so. God ever preserve and prosper


Your Lordship's most obliged friend

and faithful servant,


York-house, Aug. 18, 1618.

I have written to my lord chamberlain, being chancellor of Oxford, to help in the business.

CCVI. To the Marquis of BUCKINGHAM.

My very good Lord,

WHAT passed in your lordship's presence, your lordship can tell, touching the navy. The morrow following we concluded in approbation of the books, save in one point, touching the number convenient for manning the ships, wherein the number allowed by the commissioners had, in my judgment, a little of the merchant; for to measure by so many as were above dead pays, is no good argument. For the abuse of dead pays is to be amended, and not the necessary number abated. In this his majesty may fall upon a middle proportion between that of the commissioners and that of the officers.

It were good, now the three books, which we have appointed to be ingrossed into one ledger-book, are affirmed, there were a short book of his majesty's royal directions, and orders thereupon, extracted.

For the commission of the treasury, I persuade myself, they are of the first hours that have been well spent in that kind. We have put those particulars, whereof his majesty gave us charge, into a way.

Bingley's information will be to good purpose, and we find another of like nature revealed to Mr. Secretary and myself. God ever prosper you.

Your Lordship's most obliged friend

and faithful servant,


Stephens's second col


p. 84.

9 October, 1618.

Stephens's second collection, p. 85.

CCVII. To the Marquis of BUCKINGHAM.

My very good Lord,

LOOKING for matter of service, I have found out a suit
for myself; and it is proper for me more than all men,
because it is within the account of the hanaper. But
I have made a law to myself, that I will never beg any
thing which shall not bring gain to the king. There-
fore my suit is, to farm the profits of the alienations,
yielding a thousand pounds a-year more to the king
than hath been yielded communibus annis, by a medium
of seven years. If the king be pleased to grant me
this, it will a little warm the honour he hath given me;
and I shall have a new occasion to be, as I ever have
been, and shall be,

Your Lordship's obliged friend
and faithful servant,

York-house, October 9, 1618.


Ibid. p. 86. CCVIII. To the Marquis of BUCKINGHAM. My very good Lord,

THIS morning Mr. Attorney came to me, and desired of me the many writs of Ne ereant regnum against most of the Dutch merchants, (a) and withal let me un

(a) The affair of these Dutch merchants is in some measure represented in this letter, and those of October 9, and Nov. 9, 1619. But Mr. Stephens in his Introduction, p. 45, 46, gives us, by the assistance of some authentic papers, the following account of the affair: Upon the 19th of October, 1618, the attorney-general having applied to the lord chancellor for writs Ne excant regnum, against these merchants, afterward exhibited an information against about one hundred-and-eighty of them, for transporting beyond the seas vast quantities of gold and silver in money, plate, and bullion, since the beginning of king James I.'s reign. The attorney at first brought the cause to an hearing against about twenty of them, who were supposed the greatest offenders, and most able to make restitution. Their fines amounting in the whole to 150,000/. of which Mr. William Courteen, and two others, were condemned in 20,000l. each; the advice which the lord chancellor gave the king, not to grant away the fines of such ten of them as Sir Thomas Vavasor the discoverer should choose, and which it seems he had in a manner been promised, was a piece of service worthy the place

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