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wherewith he is to acquaint his majesty, be of such consequence, it would be dangerous and prejudicial to his majesty, to delay him too long. Notwithstanding, if you shall advise of any other reasons to the contrary, his majesty would have you, with all the speed you can, to send them unto him; and in the mean time to keep back his majesty's letter, which is herein sent unto you, from my lord Coke's knowledge, until you receive his majesty's further direction for your proceeding in his business.
And so I rest,
your ever assured friend at command,
the 3d of October, 1616.
To the Right Honourable Sir Francis Bacon, Knight, his Majesty's Attorney-General, and of his most honourable privy council.
TO THE KING.
It may please your most excellent Majesty,
We have considered of the letters, which we received from your majesty, as well that written to us both, as that other written by my lord Villiers to me, the attorney, which I thought good to acquaint my lord chancellor withal, the better to give your majesty satisfaction. And we most humbly desire your majesty to think, that we are, and ever shall be, ready to perform and obey your majesty's directions; towards which the first degree is to understand them well.
In answer therefore to both the said letters, as well concerning matter as concerning time, we shall in all humbleness offer to your majesty's high wisdom the considerations following:
First, we did conceive, that after my lord Coke was sequestered from the table and his circuits (a), when
(a) On the 30th of June, 1616. Camdeni Annales Regis Jacobi I. p. 19; and Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, Vol. I. Lib. VI. p. 18,
your majesty laid upon him your commandment for the expurging of his Reports, and commanded also our service to look into them, and into other novelties introduced into the government, your majesty had in this your doing two principal endsalah
The one, to see, if upon so fair an occasion he would make any expiation of his former faults: and also shew himself sensible of those things in his Reports, which he could not but know were the likest to be offensive to your majesty.
The other, to perform de vero this right to your crown and succession, and your people also; that those errors and novelties might not run on, and authorize by time, but might be taken away, whether he consented to it or no..
But we did not conceive your majesty would have had him charged with those faults of his book, or those other novelties; but only would have had them represented to you for your better information.
Now your majesty seeth what he hath done, you can better judge of it than we can. If, upon this probation added to former matters, your majesty think him not fit for your service, we must in all humbleness subscribe to your majesty, and acknowledge that neither his displacing, considering he holdeth his place but during your will and pleasure, nor the choice of a fit man to be put in his room, are council-table matters, but are to proceed wholly from your majesty's great wisdom and gracious pleasure. So that in this course, it is but the signification of your plea sure, and the business is at an end as to him. Only there remaineth the actual expurgation or animadversions of the books.
But if your majesty understand it, that he shall be charged, then, as your majesty best knoweth, justice requireth, that he be heard and called to his answer, and then your majesty will be pleased to consider, before whom he shall be charged; whether before the body of your council, as formerly he was, or some selected commissioners; for we conceive your majesty will not think it convenient it should be before us
two only. Also the manner of his charge is considerable, whether it shall be verbal by your learned council, as it was last; or whether, in respect of the multiplicity of matters, he shall not have the collections we have made in writing, delivered to him. Also the matter of his charge is likewise considerable, whether any of those points of novelty, which by your majesty's commandment we collected, shall be made part of his charge; or only the faults of his books, and the prohibitions and habeas corpus, collected by my lord of Canterbury. In all which course we foresee length of time, not so much for your learned council to be prepared, for that is almost done already, but because himself, no doubt, will crave time of advice to peruse his own books, and to see, whether the collections be true, and that he be justly charged; and then to produce his proofs, that those things, which he shall be charged with, were not conceits or singularities of his own, but the acts of court, and other like things, tending to excusation or extenuation; wherein we do not see, how the time of divers days, if not of weeks, can be denied him.
Now for time, if this last course of charging him be taken, we may only inform your majesty thus much, that the absence of a chief justice, though it should be for a whole term, as it hath been often upon sickness, can be no hindrance to common justice. For the business of the king's bench may be dispatched by the rest of the judges: his voice in the star-chamber may be supplied by any other judge, that my lord chancellor shall call; and the trials by nisi prius may be supplied by commission.
But as for those great matters of discovery, we can say nothing more than this, that either they are old or new. If old, he is to blame for having kept them so long: if new, or whatsoever, he may advertise your majesty of them by letter, or deliver them by word to such counsellor as your majesty will assign.
Thus we hope your majesty will accept of our sincerity, having dealt freely and openly with your majesty, as becometh us: and when we shall receive
your pleasure and direction, we shall execute and obey the same in all things; ending with our prayers for your majesty, and resting
Your Majesty's most faithful, and
October 6, 1616.
most bounden servants, to
T. ELLESMERE, CANC.
REMEMBRANCES OF HIS MAJESTY'S DECLARATION, TOUCHING THE LORD COKE.
THAT although the discharging and removing of his majesty's officers and servants, as well as the choice and advancement of men to place, be no counciltable matters, but belong to his majesty's princely will and secret judgment; yet his majesty will do his council this honour, that in his resolutions of that kind, his council shall know them first before others, and shall know them, accompanied by their causes, making as it were a private manifesto, or revealing of himself to them without parables.
Then to have the report of the lords touching the business of the lord Coke, and the last order of the council read.
That done, his majesty farther to declare, that he might, upon the same three grounds in the order mentioned, of deceit, contempt, and slander of his government, very justly have proceeded then, not only to have put him from his place of chief justice, but to have brought him in question in the star-chamber, which would have been his utter overthrow; but then his majesty was pleased for that time only to put him off from the council-table, and from the public exercise of his place of chief justice, and to take farther time to deliberate.
That in his majesty's deliberation, besides the present occasion, he had in some things looked back to the lord Coke's former carriage, and in some things looked forward, to make some farther trial of him.
That for things passed, his majesty had noted in him a perpetual turbulent carriage, first towards the liberties of his church and estate ecclesiastical; towards his prerogative royal, and the branches thereof; and likewise towards all the settled jurisdictions of all his other courts, the high commission, the star-chamber, the chancery, the provincial councils, the admiralty, the duchy, the court of requests, the commission of inquiries, the new boroughs of Ireland; in all which he had raised troubles and new questions; and lastly, in that, which might concern the safety of his royal person, by his exposition of the laws in cases of high
That, besides the actions themselves, his majesty in his princely wisdom hath made two special observations of him; the one, that he having in his nature not one part of those things, which are popular in men, being neither civil, nor affable, nor magnificent, he hath made himself popular by design only, in pulling down government. The other, that whereas his majesty might have expected a change in him, when he made him his own, by taking him to be of his council, it made no change at all, but to the worse, he holding on all his former channel, and running separate courses from the rest of his council; and rather busying himself in casting fears before his council, concerning what they could not do, than joining his advice what they should do.
That his majesty, desirous yet to make a farther trial of him, had given him the summer's vacation to reform his Reports, wherein there be many dangerous conceits of his own uttered for law, to the prejudice of his crown, parliament, and subjects; and to see, whether by this he would in any part redeem his fault. But that his majesty hath failed of the redemption he desired, but hath met with another kind of redemption from him, which he little expected. For as to the Reports, after three months time and consideration, he had offered his majesty only five animadversions, being rather a scorn, than a satisfaction to his majesty; whereof one was that in the prince's case