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Farther, I think fit to let your majesty know, that in my opinion I hold it a fit time to proceed in the business of the Rege inconsulto, which is appointed for Monday. I did think these greater causes would have come to period cr pause sooner: but now they are in the height, and to have so great a matter as this of the Rege inconsulto handled, when men do aliud agere, I think it no proper time. Besides, your majesty in your great wisdom knoweth, that this business of Mr. Murray's is somewhat against the stream of the judges' inclination: and it is no part of a skilful mariner to sail on against a tide, when the tide is at strongest. If your majesty be pleased to write to my lord Coke, that you would have the business of the Rege inconsulto receive a hearing, when he should be animo sedato et libero, and not in the midst of his assiduous and incessant cares and industries in other practices, I think your majesty shall do your service right. Howsoever, I will be provided against the day.
Thus praying God for your happy preservation, whereof God giveth you so many great pledges, I rest your Majesty's most humble and devoted subject and servant,
November 17, 1615.
Innovations introduced into the laws and government. (a)
In this he prevailed, and the commission was pared, and namely the point of alimony left out, whereby wives are left wholly to the tyranny of their husbands. This point, and some others, may require a review, and is fit to be restored to the commission.
1. The ecclesiastical commission.
(a) This paper was evidently designed against the lord chief jus
2. Against the provincial councils.
3. Against the starchamber for levying damages.
4. Against the admiralty.
5. Against the court of the duchy of Lancaster prohibitions go; and the like may do to the court of wards and exchequer.
6. Against the court of requests.
In this he prevailed in such sort, as the precedents are continually suitors for the enlargement of the instructions, sometimes in one point, sometimes in another; and the jurisdictions grow into contempt, and more would, if the lord chancellor did not strengthen them by injunctions, where they exceed not their instructions.
In this he was over-ruled by the sentence of the court; but he bent all his strength and wits to have prevailed; and so did the other judges by long and laborious arguments: and if they had prevailed, the authority of the court had been overthrown. But the plurality of the court took more regard to their own precedents, than to the judges' opinion.
In this he prevaileth, for prohibitions fly continually; and many times are cause of long suits, to the discontent of foreign ambassadors, and the king's dishonour and trouble by their remonstrances.
This is new, and would be forthwith restrained, and the others settled.
In this he prevaileth; and this but lately brought in question.
In this he prevailed, and gave opinion, that the king by his great seal could not so much as move any his subjects for benevolence. But this he retracted after in the star-chamber; but it marred the benevolence in the mean time.
In this, for as much as in him was, and in the court of King's Bench, he prevailed, though it was holpen by the good service of others. But the opinion, which he held, amounted in effect to this, that no word of scandal or defamation, importing that the king was utterly unable or unworthy to govern, were treason, except they disabled his title, &c.
In this we prevailed with him to give opinion it was treason: but then it was upon a conceit of his own, that was no less dangerous, than if he had given his opinion against the king: for he proclaimed the king excommunicate in respect of the anniversary bulls of Cana Domini, which was to expose his person to the fury of any jesuited conspirator.
By this the intent of the statute of 21 Henry VIII. is frustrated; for there is no benefice of so small an improved value as 8. by that kind of rating. For this the judges may be assembled in the exchequer for a conference.
16. Suits for legacies ought to be in their proper dioceses, and not in the prerogative court; although the will be proved in the prerogative court upon bona notabilia in several dioceses, commendams,&c.
The practice hath gone against this; and it is fit, the suit be where the probate is. And this served but to put a pique between the archbishops' courts and the bishops' courts. This may be again propounded upon a conference of the judges.
TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS.
THE message, which I received from you by Mr. Shute, hath bred in me such belief and confidence, as I will now wholly rely upon your excellent and happy self. When persons of greatness and quality begin speech with me of the matter, and offer me their good offices, I can but answer them civilly. But those things are but toys: I am yours surer to you than to my own life; for, as they speak of the Turquois stone in a ring, I will break into twenty pieces, before you haye the least fall. God keep you ever. Your truest servant,
Feb. 15, 1615.
My lord Chancellor is prettily amended. I was with him yesterday almost half an hour. He used me with wonderful tokens of kindness. We both wept, which I do not often.
A letter to Sir G. Villiers, touching a message brought to him by Mr. Shute, of a promise of the chancellor's place.