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That you cause juries to be returned according to the number of the places of your sittings of the sufficientest of the freeholders, and that general warrants be sent forth to summon in every parish all the King's freeholders, and also to command all Constables and Bailiffs of Hundreds, petty Constables and Tithing men, to attend the service at your several meetings, and to present the names of all such freeholders and the quantities and yearly values of their lands, and where the same lie, with all circumstances that may certainly design the same.
You shall declare that aid as well to make the King's eldest son knight as to marry his eldest daughter is by the ancient common laws of this realm due to the King, as it is also due to other Lords that are subjects, as of mere right; and that at the first it was uncertain and to [be] imposed by discretion reasonably, and afterwards by a statute of the 25° Edwardi 3, at the suit of the subject and in his favour, the aid to the King was reduced to a certainty of 20s. for a Knight's fee, and 20s. for 201. land in soccage and so ratably.
Then may you declare the reasons why the like hath not been demanded of late times, if you find it needful: which are apparent for that Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, and King Edward had no children, and King Henry 8 died before his son was of the age of 15 or his daughters married. But you are to take knowledge that King Henry 7 had satisfaction by Parliament both for Prince Arthur his eldest son, and for the Lady Margaret his eldest daughter, and before that time aids were usually levied when there was cause, as appears by records as high as any extant. You are so to carry yourselves that you give no just cause of grievance to the subject, nor yet neglect the King's right and just profit, and therefore you shall observe the course hereafter prescribed.
You shall make declaration that the Kings purpose is not to search into the estate of any of his subjects, nor exactly to know the quantities or worth of their lands, nor to sift the tenures of the same, nor to strain their values, nor to have any record made or certified for any other purpose than for the taxation of this aid. But that his May's purpose is only to be satisfied of that duty of aid moderately valued which of right belongeth unto him ; for which cause his M. hath given you authority by his commission to proceed as well by composition as by the legal
course; and here you may make the people understand the difference and favour of this proceeding which is expressed unto you in the general articles: And therefore you shall advise them dutifully to yield to his M. what shall be found likely to be due unto him; wherein it is not meant that the values shall be strictly sifted, or the taxation made according to the full value, but after a moderate valuation of the land holden; wherein although you shall not need to proceed by Jury or Survey particularly, yet its so well known that by your own understanding amongst you of the freeholders' estates you may so estimate the values, as the King may not be wronged nor the subject pressed to the highest. In which case as they shall avoid all trouble and charges, so you may thereupon accept and take such composition as shall seem reasonable unto you, without making any particular record either of their tenures or values of their lands.
But if you shall find any to be wilful or obstinate, then you shall proceed with them according to the law. Also for your better understanding of the cases where aid is and of whom to be levied, you may help yourselves by the Instructions following.
All monastery and chantry lands are holden of the King immediately, either by Knight's service or soccage tenure, and therefore are all liable: as also all lands conveyed away from the Crown, though the same have been granted over since the statute of Quia emptores terrarum.
The lands of Bishops, Deans, and Chapters, Colleges and other spiritual corporations, Mayor and Communalties and other lay corporations, are to be charged according to their tenures, as particular persons where lands or tenements are holden in towns by free burgage, this in nature of a soccage, and to yield aid accordingly.
Where land is found to be holden by Knight's service not expressing the quantity of the Knight's fee, there it lies upon the tenant to prove the quantity of the Knight's fee, or else to be charged with a whole Knight's fee: And if a Knight's fee or any part of a Knight's fee be divided by several parts of the land holden, any one may be charged with the whole, and he to seek his contribution of the rest1 wherein the Mesne being the immediate tenant to the King is chargeable, there the aid is to be levied upon any other his own lands, and not upon the tenant's lands, except there be no other way to levy it.
So MS. I suppose there should be a stop after 'rest.'
If any lands holden in soccage of the King be let out for any particular estate at a low rent, he in the reversion is to be charged according to the value of the land as if it were in possession, and the aid thereupon arising may be taken out of his rent of that land or of any other his land, and for want thereof out of the land itself in the hands of the farmer.
Lands that appear to have been heretofore holden of a Mesne whose heirs are not at this day known, are to be taxed as lands holden immediately, except the Tenant can certainly assign the heir of the Mesne.
The Commissioners are to prefix further several days to the [blank in MS.] to bring in their informations for their presentments, and the Commission to be adjourned until the first of those days.
In the mean time, between that and the day of prefixion, the feodary and Jurors may agree upon one or more certain days of meetings to be held after that the jurors have taken knowledge of the lands in every Hundred. At which meetings the Feodary and parties whom it shall concern may inform them of anything pertinent to the said service or to their satisfaction in that behalf.
At the day of adjournment the Jurors are to deliver in their remembrances in paper, which are to be perused by the Commissioners as instructions and not as presentments.
And if any differences happen concerning tenures, quantities, or values, then the feodary or other commissioners are to inform the Jurors therein by records or other proofs, and so to proceed to presentment, except they can grow to composition as aforesaid.
And because the feodary of the county hath the daily use carriage and custody of records and other proofs that are to give light and furtherance to this service, that therefore he be always one at all sittings concerning the said service.
That the taxations and rates made by composition be engrossed into two Rolls indented, entituled, The Roll of Compositions made by force of the Commission for levying the King's Majesty's aid for the marriage of the Lady Elizabeth's grace his M. eldest daughter in the County of -———. And the same to be signed and sealed by the Commissioners and collector; the one part thereof to be delivered to the collector and the other part to be certified into the Exchequer; and the taxations and rates found by Inquisition or set by the Commissioners to be also engrossed
into two other Rolls indented, entituled the Rolls of the sums found by Inquisition and set by the Commissioners by force of the Commission for levying the K's M's aid for the Marriage of the Lady Elizabeth's grace the K's M's eldest daughter.
That such as shall not satisfy the aid before the return of the Commission be certified into the Exchequer and left to the process of the Court.
That you the Commissioners take knowledge that it is his M's pleasure that [blank in MS.] of you shall levy or collect the moneys from time to time arising by this Commission, and that the rest of you the Commissioners be discharged thereof, and will give order that you shall receive your full discharge in that behalf by further order of his Court of Exchequer.
It is his M's pleasure that you forbear to proceed with any the Lords spiritual or temporal concerning this aid except you receive further order from his M. for that his M. intendeth to grant a special commission for that service, as was heretofore done in the aid for the Prince.1
It is his M. further pleasure that you likewise forbear to proceed to the execution of this Commission for any of the lands or possessions of the Masters, Wardens, Provosts, Principals, Governors, fellows, and scholars of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge or of either of them.
This "aid" brought into the Exchequer about 22,000l. But as the extraordinary expenses connected with the marriage considerably exceeded that sum, it did not help to rectify the finances or reduce the debt.
Before calling another Parliament, it had been resolved to try whether by better management of the Crown property the ordinary receipts could not be brought nearer to an equality with the ordinary expenditure. Of the progress of that enquiry we learn something from a letter of Bacon's to the King, dated the 18th of September 1612, which is preserved among his own papers now at Lambeth, but (the sheets having been misplaced and the connexion not ob
1 Copies of the Instructions for levying the Aid upon the Lords spiritual and temporal, and upon the Colleges and the Houses of the University of Cambridge, may be seen in Harl. MSS. 354, f. 70 b.
served) has hitherto been exhibited as two incomplete letters, the first wanting the beginning and the second wanting the end, instead of one complete. It is rather singular that Birch, who first printed them from the orignals, should not hvae detected this error, because he must have seen another paper in the same volume,2 which settles the question.
TO THE KING.3
It may please your excellent Majesty,
I have with all possible diligence, since your Majesty's progress, attended the service committed to the sub-commissioners touching the repair and improvement of your Majesty's means; and this I have done not only in meeting and conference and debate with the rest, but also by my several and private meditation and inquiry. So that besides the joint account which we shall give to the Lords, I hope I shall be able to give your Majesty somewhat ex proprio. For as no man loveth better consulere in communi than I do, neither am I of those fine ones that use to keep back any thing wherein they think they may win credit apart, and so make the consultation almost inutile; So nevertheless, in case where matter shall fall in upon the bye, perhaps of no less worth than that which is the proper subject of the consultation, or where I find things passed over too slightly, or in case where that which I should advise is of that nature as I hold it not fit to be communicated to all those with whom I am joined, these parts of business I put to my private account; not because I would be officious (though I profess I would do works of supererogation if I could), but in a true discretion and caution. And your Majesty had some taste in those notes which I gave you for the wards, (which it pleased you to say were no tricks nor novelties, but true passages of business) that mine own particular remembrances and observations are not like to be unprofitable. Concerning which notes for the wards, though I might say sic vos non vobis, yet let that pass.
I have also considered fully of that great proposition, which your Majesty commended to my care and study, touching the
1 Letters, etc., of the L. Ch. Bacon, pp. 30-34.
2 Gibson's Papers, vol. viii. fo. 242.
Gib. Pap., vol. viii. fo. 9, and fol. 242: the last being the draft: both in Bacon's own hand: docketed, also in Bacon's hand, "My letter to the King, touching his estate in general, September 18th, 1612."