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As the king himself hath declared unto you the causes of the convoking of this parliament; so he hath commanded me to set before you the true institution and use of a parliament, that thereby you may take your aim, and govern yourselves the better in parliament matters: for then are all things in best state, when they are preserved in their primitive institution; for otherwise ye know the principle of philosophy to be, that the corruption or degeneration of the best things is the worst.
The kings of this realm have used to summon their parliaments or estates for three ends or purposes; for advice, for assent, and for aid.
For advice, it is'no doubt great surety for kings to take advice and information from their parliament. It is advice, that proceedeth out of experience; it is not speculative or abstract. It is a well-tried advice, and that passeth many revenues, and hath Argus's eyes. It is an advice, that commonly is free from private and particular ends, which is the bane of counsel. For although some particular members of parliament may have their private ends; yet one man sets another upright; so that the resultate of their counsels is, for the most part, direct and sincere. But this advice is to be given with distinction of the subjects: they are to tender and offer their advice by bill or petition, as the case requires. But in those things, that are Arcana Imperii, and reserved points of sovereignty, as making of war or peace, or the like, there they are to apply their advice to that, which shall be communicated unto them by the king, without pressing farther within the vail, or reaching forth to the forbidden fruit of knowledge. In these things the rule holds, tantum permissum quantum commissum.
TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
My very good Lord,
WITH due thanks for your last visit, this day is a playday for me. But I will wait on your lordship, if it be necessary.
I do hear from divers of judgment, that to-mor row's conference (a) is like to pass in a calm, as to the referees (b). Sir Lionel Cranfield, who hath been formerly the trumpet, said yesterday, that he did now incline to Sir John Walter's opinion and motion, not to have the referees meddled with otherwise than to discount it from the king; and so not to look back, but to the future. And I do hear almost all men of judgment in the house wish now that way. I woo nobody: I do but listen, and I have doubt only of Sir Edward Coke, who, I wish, had some round caveat given him from the king; for your lordship hath no great power with him: but I think a word from the king mates him.
If things be carried fair by the committees of the lower house, I am in some doubt, whether there will be occasion for your lordship to speak to-morrow; though, I confess, I incline to wish you did, chiefly because you are fortunate in that kind; and, to be plain also, for our better countenance, when your lordship, according to your noble proposition, shall shew more regard of the fraternity you have with great counsellors, than of the interest of your natural brother.
Always, good my lord, let us think of times out of parliament, as well as the present time in parliament,
(a) On Monday the 5th of March, 1620-1, the house of lords received message from the commons, desiring a conference touching certain grievances, principally concerning Sir Giles Mompesson. See Journal of the house of lords.
(b) Those, to whom the king referred the petitions, to consider, whether they were fit to be granted or no. This explanation of the word referees, I owe to a note in a MS. letter, written to the celebrated Mr. Joseph Mead, of Christ's College, Cambridge.
and let us not all be put es pourpoint. Fair and moderate courses are ever best in causes of estate: the rather, because I wish this parliament, by the sweet and united passages thereof, may increase the king's reputation with foreigners, who may make a far other judgment than we mean, of a beginning to question great counsellors and officers of the crown, by courts, or assemblies of estates. But the reflection upon my particular in this makes me more sparing, than perhaps, as a counsellor, I ought to be,
God ever preserve and prosper you.
Your Lordship's true servant all and ever,
March 7, the day I received
the seal, 1620.
FR. ST. ALBAN, Canc.
TO THE KING (a).
It may please your Majesty,
I RECEIVED your majesty's letter about midnight: and because it was stronger than the ancient summons of the exchequer, which is sicut teipsum et omnia tua diligis; whereas this was sicut me diligis;
(a) The date of this letter is determined to be the 8th of March, 1620-1, from the circumstance of its being mentioned to have been written on that Thursday, on which the house of lords adjourned to the Saturday following. It appears from the journal of that house, that on the 8th of March, 1620, the said house, at which were present the prince of Wales and marquis of Buckingham, was adjourned to Saturday the 10th, on which day a conference of both houses was held relating to the complaint of that of the commons against Sir Giles Mompesson. Of this conference the lord chancellor made report on Monday, March 12, to the house of lords, remarking, that "the in"ducement to this conference was to clear the king's honour, touch
ing grants to Sir Giles, and the passages in procuring the same." After this report of the conference, the lord Chamberlain, William earl of Pembroke, complained to the house, that two great lords, meaning the lord chancellor, and the lord treasurer, the lord viscount Mandeville, had, in that conference, spake in their own defence, not being allowed to do so when the committees were named. Upon which both the lords acknowledged their error, and begged pardon of the house.
I used all possible care to effect your majesty's good will and pleasure.
I sent early to the prince, and to my lord treasurer: and we attended his highness soon after seven of the clock, at Whitehall, to avoid farther note. We agreed, that, if the message came, we would put the lords into this way, that the answer should be, that we understood they came prepared both with examination and precedent; and we likewise desired to be alike prepared, that the conference might be with more fruit.
I did farther speak with my lord of Canterbury, when I came to the house, not letting him know any part of the business, that he would go on with a motion, which he had told me of the day before, that the lords house might not sit Wednesday and Friday, because they were convocation-days; and so was the former custom of parliament.
As good luck was, the house read two bills, and had no other business at all whereupon my lord of Canterbury made his motion; and I adjourned the house till Saturday. It was no sooner done, but came the message from the lower house. But the consummatum-est was past, though I perceived a great willingness, in many of the lords, to have recalled it, if it might have been.
So with my best tion, I rest
for your majesty's preserva
Your Majesty's most bounden
and most devoted servant,
FR. ST. ALBAN, Canc.
Thursday, at eleven of our forenoon [March 8, 1620.]
TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM (a).
My very good Lord, YOUR lordship spoke of purgatory. I am now in it but my mind is in a calm; for my fortune is not my felicity. I know I have clean hands, and a clean
(a) This letter seems to have been written soon after lord St. Alban began to be accused of abuses in his office of chancellor.
heart; and, I hope, a clean house for friends or servants. But Job himself, or whosoever was the justest judge, by such hunting for matters against him, as hath been used against me, may for a time seem foul, especially in a time, when greatness is the mark, and accusation is the game. And if this be to be a chancellor, I think, if the great seal lay upon Hounslow Heath, no body would take it up. But the king and your lordship will, I hope, put an end to these my straits one way or other. And in troth that, which I fear most, is, lest continual attendance and business, together with these cares, and want of time to do my weak body right this spring by diet and physic, will cast me down; and that it will be thought feigning, or fainting. But I hope in God I shall hold out. God prosper you.
TO THE CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY, SIR HUMPHREY MAY.
Good Mr. Chancellor,
THERE will come, upon Friday, before you a patent (a) of his majesty's for the separation of the company of apothecaries from the company of grocers, and their survey, and the erecting them into a corporation of themselves under the survey of the physicians. It is, as I conceive, a fair business both for law and conveniency, and a work, which the king made his own, and did, and, as I hear, doth take much to heart. It is in favorem vitæ, where the other part is in favorem lucri. You may perhaps think mẹ partial to apothecaries, that have been ever puddering in physic all my life. But there is a circumstance, that touches upon me but post diem, for it is compre
(a) The patent for incorporating the apothecaries by themselves, by the appellation of The masters, wardens, and society of the art and mystery of apothecaries of London, was dated December 6, 1617. They had been incorporated with the company of grocers, April 9,