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of the court, together with a declaration upon his oath of the true sum that he takes for the composition. Upon which licence so returned, the court is to tax a fine for the King.
This ought to be, but as it is now used the licence is seldom returned. And although it contain a clause that the licence shall be void if it be not duly returned, yet the manner is to suggest that they are still in terms of composition and so to obtain new days, and to linger it on till a parliament and a pardon come.
Also, when the licence is returned, and thereupon the Judge or Baron to sesse a fine, there is none for the King to inform them of the nature of the offence, of the value to grow to the King if the suit prevail, of the ability of the person, and the like. By reason whereof, the fine that is set is but a trifle, as 20, 30, or 40s., and it runs in a form likewise which I do not well like: for it is ut percatur misis, which purporteth as if the party did not any way submit himself and take the composition as of grace of the court, but as if he did justify himself and were content to give a trifle to avoid charge.
Which point of form hath a shrewd consequence for it is
the matter and the person: for the King's fines are not to be delivered as moneys given by the party ad redimendam vexationem, but as moneys given ad redimendam culpam et pœnam legis; and ought to be in such quantity, as may not make the laws altogether trampled down and contemned. Therefore the officer ought first to be made acquainted with every licence, that he may have an eye to the sequel of it. Then ought he to be the person that ought to prefer unto the Judges or Barons, as well the bills for the taxations of the fines, as the orders for giving further days, to the end that the court may be duly informed both of the weight of causes, and the delays therein used; and lastly, . he is to see that the fines sessed be duly put in process and answered.
And as for the informer's oath touching his composition, which is commonly a trifle, and is the other ground of the smallness of the fine, it is no doubt taken with an equivocation as taking such a sum in name of a composition, and some greater matter by some indirect or collateral mean.
Also, these fines (light as they be) are seldom answered and put in process.
2. An information goeth on to trial, and passeth for the King. In this case of recovery, the informer will be satisfied and will take his whole moiety, (for that he accounts to be no composition) that done, none will be at charge to return the postea, and to procure judgment and execution for the King. For the informer hath that he sought for, the clerks will do nothing without fees paid, which there being no man to prosecute there can be no man likewise to pay; and so the King loseth his moiety when his title appears by verdict.
3. It falleth out sometimes in informations of weight, and worthy to be prosecuted, the informer dieth, or falls to poverty, or his mouth is stopped, and yet so as no man can charge
2. The officer is to follow for the King, that the posteas be returned.
3. The officer in such case is to inform the King's learned counsel, that they may prosecute if they think fit.
him with composition, and so the matter dieth.
4. There be sundry seizures made, in case where the laws give seizures, which are released by agreements underhand, and so money wrested from the subject and no benefit to the King.
All seizures once made ought not to be discharged but by order of the court, and therefore some entry ought to be made of them.
4. The officer is to take knowledge of such seizures, and to give information to the court concerning them.
This is of more difficulty, because seizures are matter in fact, whereas suits are matter of record: and it may require moe persons to be employed, as at the ports, where is much abuse.
There be other points wherein the officer may be of good use, which may be comprehended in his grant or instructions, wherewith I will not now trouble your Majesty, for I hold these to be the principal.
Thus have I, according to your Majesty's reference, certified my opinion of that part of Sir Stephen Proctor's projects which concerneth penal laws, which I do wholly and most humbly submit to your Majesty's high wisdom and judgment; wishing withal that some conference may be had by Mr. Chancellor and the Barons and the rest of the Learned Counsel, to draw the service to a better perfection. And most specially that the travels therein taken may be considered and discerned of by the Lord Treasurer, whose care and capacity is such as he doth always either find or choose that which is best for your Majesty's service.
The recompence unto the gentleman it is not my part to presume to touch, otherwise than to put your Majesty in remembrance of that proportion which your Majesty is pleased to give to others out of the profits they bring in, and perhaps with a great deal less labour and charge.
Whatever may have been the value of Sir Stephen's projects for the reformation of abuses in other people, it seems that he failed altogether with regard to himself. Heavy complaints were brought against him in the Parliament of 1610, and substantiated to the satisfaction of both houses, and he enjoyed the unenviable distinction
of being specially and personally excepted from the operation of the general pardon with which the session closed: an accident which sufficiently accounts for our hearing no more of his projects.
The official business of the Solicitor-General, though important and laborious, was not for the most part of a kind to retain its interest after it was despatched. Suits to be reported on, patents to be drawn, causes to be argued, dues of the Crown under its various titles to be looked after and recovered, and so forth, were services which could not be dispensed with, but their importance was confined to the day. Among the few letters addressed by Bacon to Salisbury which remain among the State papers and all relate to matters of this kind, there are two which certainly belong to the summer of 1608; and a third which, being of the same sort and the true date not ascertainable, I shall insert along with them. They may help to show the kind of use which Salisbury made of Bacon : but the tone of the correspondence, though friendly and familiar, is still so very restrained and cautious, that I doubt whether much else can be gathered from them.
TO THE RT. HONBLE. HIS VERY GOOD L., THE L. HIGH TREASURER OF ENGLAND.1
It may please your L.,
I had cast not to fail to attend your L. to-morrow, which was the day your L. had appointed for your being at London. But having this day about noon received knowledge of your being at Kensington, and that it had pleased your L. to send for me to dine with you as this day, I made what diligence I could to return from Gorhambury. And though I came time enough to have waited on your L. this evening, yet, your L. being in so good a place to refresh yourself, and though it please your L. to use me as a kinsman, yet I cannot leave behind me the shape of a Solicitor, I thought it better manners to stay till to-morrow, what time I will wait on you, and at all times rest Your LPs most humble
This Wednesday, the 24th
of Aug. 1608.
The others have no address: but there can be so little doubt that
1 S. P. Dom. James I., xxxv. 65. Orig. own hand.
they also were addressed to the Earl of Salisbury, that I venture to insert the name.
TO THE SAME,1
It may please your Lo:
According to your Lo: warrant of the 15th of June last, I made a book ready for his Majesty's signature to the use of Mrs. Ellis of the benefit of an extent of the lands and goods of Richard Yonge her father, extended for a debt of 30001 upon recog: which book is since past the great seal. And now having received order from your Lo: for amendment of the defects in that patent, I find the case to be thus: That she hath since discovered two other debts of record, the one of 8511 19s 4d, the other of 2100 00S 00d remaining upon accompt in the Pipe office. And though it be true that she shall reap no benefit by the former grant except these debts be likewise released, in regard the King may come upon the said lands and goods for these debts; and it may be the meaning was in Queen Elizabeth to free and acquit Mr Yonge of all debts; for else Quid te exempta juvat spinis de pluribus una? yet I do not see how I may pass the book again with a release of these two debts, without your Lo: further warrant, which I humbly submit to your honourable consideration.
Your Lo. most humble
2o octobris, 1608.
It appears from the Calendar of State Papers that the required warrant was given. For on the 22nd of October, 1608, a grant was made "to Val. James to the use of Susan Ellis, of the benefit of the lands and goods of the late Rich. Young, Collector of Petty Customs, extended for a debt of 30001., and a release of two other debts due to the Crown."
It may please your L.,
TO THE SAME.2
I send the two Bills according to your L.'s pleasure signi
1 S. P. Dom. James I., xxxvii. 4. dictation, written very hastily.
This is either a copy or a draught from
2 S. P. Dom. James I., xxviii. 140. Original: own hand: but without date, docket, or superscription; the flyleaf being gone. In the margin, the words "Sr