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TO THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAM.
My very good Lord,
THIS day I have made even with the business of the kingdom for common justice; not one cause unheard; the lawyers drawn dry of all the motions they were to make; not one petition unanswered. And this, I think, could not be said in our age before. This I speak not out of ostentation, but out of gladness when I have done my duty. I know men think I cannot continue, if I should thus oppress myself with business but that account is made. The duties of life are more than life; and, if I die now, I shall die before the world will be weary of me, which in our times is somewhat rare. And all this while I have been a little unperfect in my foot. But I have taken pains more like the beast with four legs, than like a man with scarce two legs. But if it be a gout, which I do neither acknowledge, nor much disclaim, it is a good-natured gout; for I have no rage of it, and it goeth away quickly. I have hope, it is but an accident of changing from a field-air (a) to a Thamesair; (b) or rather, I think, it is the distance of the king and your lordship from me, that doth congeal my humours and spirits.
When I had written this letter, I received your lordship's letter of the third of this present, wherein your lordship sheweth your solicitous care of my health, which did wonderfully comfort me. And it is true, that at this present I am very well, and my supposed gout quite vanished.
I humbly pray you to commend my service, infinite in desire, howsoever limited in ability, to his majesty, to hear of whose health and good disposition is
(a) Gray's Inn.
(b) Dorset-house, originally belonging to the bishops of Salisbury, afterward the house of Sir Richard Sackville, and then of his son Sir Thomas, earl of Dorset, and lord treasurer.
to me the greatest beatitude, which I can receive in this world. And I humbly beseech his majesty to pardon me, that I do not now send him my account of council business, and other his royal commands, till within these four days; because the flood of business of justice did hitherto wholly possess me; which, I know, worketh this effect, as it contenteth his subjects, and knitteth their hearts more and more to his majesty, though, I must confess, my mind is upon other matters, as his majesty shall know, by the grace of God, at his return. God ever bless and prosper you.
Your Lordship's true and most
Whitehall, this 8th of June, 1617.
TO THE LORD KEEPER. (a)
My honourable Lord,
YOUR lordship will understand, by Sir Thomas Lake's letter, his majesty's directions touching the surveyor's deputy of the court of wards. And though I assure myself of your lordship's care of the business, which his majesty maketh his own; yet my respect to Sir Robert Naunton (6) maketh me add my recommendation thereof to your lordship, whom I desire to give all the furtherance and assistance you can to the business, that no prejudice or imputation may light upon Sir Robert Naunton, through his zealous affection to attend his majesty in this journey.
I will not omit to let you know, that his majesty is very well, and receiveth much contentment in his journey. And with this conclusion, I rest
the 11th of June, 1617.
(a) Harl. MSS. Vol. 7006.
Your Lordship's most affectionate
(b) Surveyor of the court of wards.
TO THE LORD VISCOUNT FENTON. (a)
I THANK your lordship for your courteous letter: and if I were asked the question, I would always choose rather to have a letter of no news, than a letter of news; for news imports alteration: but letters of kindness and respect bring that, which, though it be no news amongst friends, is more welcome.
I am exceedingly glad to hear, that this journey of his majesty, which I never esteemed more than a long progress, save that it had reason of state joined with pleasure, doth sort to be so joyful and so comfortable.
For your parliament, God speed it well; and for ours, you know the sea would be calm, if it were not for the winds and I hope the king, whensoever that shall be, will find those winds reasonably well laid.
Now that the sun is got up a little higher, God ordains all things to the happiness of his majesty, and his monarchy.
My health, I thank God, is good; and I hope this supposed gout was but an incomer. I ever rest Your Lordship's affectionate and assured friend,
Whitehall, June 18 [1617.]
TO THE LORD KEEPER, WRITTEN FROM SCOTLAND, JUNE 28, 1618. (b)
I WILL begin to speak of the business of this day; opus hujus diei in die suo, which is of the parliament. It began on the 7th of this month, and ended this
(a) Sir Thomas Erskine, who for his service to the king, in the attempt of the earl of Gowry, was, upon his majesty's accession to the throne of England, made captain of his guard in the room of Sir Walter Raleigh. He was afterward created earl of Kelly.
(b) From a copy in the paper-office.
day, being the 28th of June. His majesty, as I perceived by relation, rode thither in great state the first day. These eyes are witnesses, that he rode in an honourable fashion, as I have seen him in England, this day. All the lords rode in English robes: not an English lord on horseback, though all the parliament-house at his majesty's elbow, but my lord of Buckingham, who waited upon the king's stirrup in his collar, but not in his robes. His majesty the first day, by way of preparation to the subject of the parliament, made a declaratory speech, wherein he expressed himself what he would not do, but what he would do. The relation is too prolix for a sheet of paper; and I am promised a copy of it, which I will bring myself unto your lordship with all the speed I may. But I may not be so reserved, as not to tell your lordship, that in that speech his majesty was pleased to do England and Englishmen much honour and grace; and that he studied nothing so much, sleeping and waking, as to reduce the barbarity, have warrant to use the king's own word, of this country unto the sweet civility of ours; adding farther, that if the Scotish nation would be as docible to learn the goodness of England, as they are teachable to limp after their ill, he might with facility prevail in his desire: for they had learned of the English to drink healths, to wear coaches and gay clothes, to take tobacco, and to speak neither Scotish nor English. Many such diseases of the times his majesty was pleased to enumerate, not fit for my pen to remember, and graciously to recognize, how much he was beholden to the English nation for their love and conformity to his desires. The king did personally and infallibly sit amongst them of the parliament every day; so that there fell not a word amongst them, but his majesty was of council with it.
The whole assembly, after the wonted manner, was abstracted into eight bishops, eight lords, eight gentlemen, knights of the shires, and eight lay burgesses for towns. And this epitome of the whole parliament did meet every day in one room to treat and debate of
the great affairs of the kingdom. There was exception taken against some of the lower house, which were returned by the country, being pointed at as men averse in their appetites and humours to the business of the parliament, who were deposed of their attendance by the king's power; and others, better affected, by the king's election, placed in their
The greatest and weightiest articles, agitated in this parliament, were specially touching the government of the kirk and kirkmen, and for the abolishing of hereditary sheriffs to an annual charge; and to enable justices of the peace to have as well the real execution, as the title of their places. For now the sheriff doth hold jura regalia in his circuit without check or controlment; and the justices of the peace do want the staff of their authority. For the church and commonwealth, his majesty doth strive to shape the frame of this kingdom to the method and degrees of the government of England, as by reading of the several acts it may appear. The king's desire and travail herein, though he did suffer a momentary opposition (for his countrymen will speak boldly to him), hath in part been profitable. For though he hath not fully and complementally prevailed in all things, yet he hath won ground in most things, and hath gained acts of parliament to authorize particular commissioners, to set down orders for the church and churchmen, and to treat with sheriffs for their offices by way of pecuniary composition. But all these proceedings are to have an inseparable reference to his majesty. If any prove unreasonably and undutifully refractory, his majesty hath declared himself, that he will proceed against him by the warrant of the law, and by the strength of his royal power.
His majesty's speech this day had a necessary connexion with his former discourse. He was pleased to declare what was done and determined in the progress of this parliament; his reasons for it; and that nothing was gotten by shouldering or wrestling, but by debate, judgment, and reason, without any inter