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of Bristol on a former very similar occasion,1 had no friends. The Lords were ready to join in censure: the King to issue a Proclamation, prohibiting "the buying, uttering, or reading" of his book; commanding all persons who possessed copies to take them presently to the Lord Mayor, the Sheriff of the County, the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor of the University (which ever was nearest), “that further order might be given for the utter suppression thereof:" and "because there should be better oversight of books of all sorts before they come to the press," announcing a resolution to "make choice of Commissioners that shall look more narrowly into the nature of all those things that shall be put to the press either concerning our authority royal, or concerning our government, or the laws of our kingdom; from whom a more strict account shall be yielded unto us than hath been used heretofore." Which proclamation, being read in the House by Mr. Speaker on the 27th of March, gave such satisfaction to the guardians of liberty, that they immediately passed the following resolutions:
"The Committee for Privileges to prepare an order touching this Proclamation:-For ever to remain here.
"Mr. Chancellor to go and give thanks presently to his Majesty."3
These resolutions, which should not be forgotten when the Proclamation is remembered, were passed on the 27th of March; a full month after the first discovery of the offending sentences and the shock of alarm which it produced. It must not however be supposed that nothing else was done during that month. The unanimity of Commons, Lords, and King in the censure of Dr. Cowell was in fact so perfect from the first, that as early as the afternoon of the 27th of February the Lower House was at leisure to hear the report of Salisbury's answer to their last enquiries, and to consider what they should do. The report being delivered, a long debate followed, in the course of which Bacon made a speech: his aim being (for the notes are too fragmentary to convey more than the general purport) to recommend some course which, without committing them prematurely in the matters of contract, would leave no doubt of their intention to be liberal in subsidies, after the ancient pattern; and to
1 See Vol. III. p. 208.
2 Book of Proclamations, p. 227.
3 Journals, p. 415. On the 30th of March Sir Geo. Moore reported the "regis tring of the Proclamation for D. Cowell's Book.-A special order offered and entered." Ib. p. 416.
remind them of the interest they all had in the reputation of harmony between King and people, and of the dangers which "noise of want" might entail. And the conclusion of the debate was in accordance with this view: for the final resolution was simply to inform the Lords that for supply they knew of no way but subsidy, which they would take into consideration in due time and do therein that which should become loving and dutiful subjects; and for support they must wait for their Lordships' answer to their enquiry whether Tenures were among the things in treaty.1
The answer when it came (it was given on the 2nd of March and reported by Bacon to the House on the 5th,) was indecisive, and was met by a message desiring a further conference on the matter of Tenures the object being "to urge reasons that might remove obstructions," 2 and the task being assigned to Bacon, who has left. his own report of what he said. The conference took place on
Thursday the 8th of March 1609–10. 3
A SPEECH OF THE KING'S SOLICITOR, USED UNTO THE LORDS AT A CONFERENCE BY COMMISSION FROM THE COMMONS; MOVING AND PERSUADING THE LORDS TO JOIN WITH THE COMMONS IN PETITION ΤΟ THE KING TO OBTAIN LIBERTY TO TREAT OF A COMPOSITION WITH HIS MAJESTY FOR WARDS AND TENURES; IN THE PARLIAMENT 7 JACOBI.4
The knights, citizens, and burgesses of the House of Commous have commanded me to deliver to your Lordships the causes of the conference by them prayed and by your Lordships assented, for the second business of this day. They have had report made unto them faithfully of his Majesty's answer declared by my Lord Treasurer, touching their humble desire to
1 There is a considerable difference here between the Journals of the two Houses. The Commons' Journal gives, as the final form of the message to be delivered on the 2nd of March (that part of it which relates to support) "And for the matter of support, because it dependeth upon your Lps' answer, we attend and desire the same at your Lordships' best opportunity." The Lords' Journal (March 3) represents the Lord Chancellor as reporting the Committees of the Lower House to have said at the conference the day before, "For the other point of support, they hold the same to be a matter most considerable, and proper to be framed by the Lords: whereof they expect to understand from their Lordships accordingly, when their Lordships shall find it convenient." Commons' Journal, p. 403; Lords' Journal, p. 560. I suppose the words of the report really were, proper to be framed in concert with the Lords"-or to that effect-(which the matter of the Subsidy was not).
2 Note of Bacon's Speech, C. J. 406.
3 Lords' Journal, p. 563-4.
* Harl. MSS. 6797, fo. 136: copy corrected in Bacon's hand.
obtain liberty from his Majesty to treat of compounding for Tenures. And first, they think themselves much bound unto his Majesty, that in re nová, in which case princes use to be apprehensive, he hath made a gracious construction of their proposition. And so much they know of that that belongs to the greatness of his Majesty and the greatness of the cause, as themselves acknowledge they ought not to have expected a present resolution; though the wise man say, Hope deferred is the fainting of the soul. But they know their duty to be to attend his Majesty's times at his good pleasure. And this they do with the more comfort, because in that his Majesty's answer (matching the times and weighing the passages thereof) they conceive in their opinion rather hope than discouragement.
But the principal causes of the conference now prayed (besides these significations of duty not to be omitted) are two propositions. The one matter of excuse of themselves. The other matter of petition. The former of which grows thus. Your Lordship, my Lord Treasurer, in your last declaration of his Majesty's answer, (which according to the attribute then given unto it by a great counsellor had imaginem Cæsaris fair and lively graven) made this true and effectual distribution: That there depended upon Tenures, considerations of Honour, of Conscience, and of Utility.
Of these three, Utility, as his Majesty set it by for the present out of the greatness of his mind, so we set it by out of the justness of our desires: for we never meant but a goodly and worthy augmentation of the profit now received, and not a diminution. But (to speak truly) that consideration falleth naturally to be examined when liberty of treaty is granted: but the former two indeed may exclude treaty, and cut it off before it be admitted.
Nevertheless, in this that we shall say concerning those two, we desire to be conceived rightly: we mean not to dispute with his Majesty what belongeth to sovereign honour or his princely conscience; because we know we are not capable to discern of them, otherwise than as men use sometimes to see the image of the sun in a pail of water. But this we say for ourselves, God forbid that we, knowingly, should have propounded anything that might in our sense and persuasion touch either of both; and therefore herein we desire to be heard, not to inform or persuade his Majesty, but to free and excuse ourselves.
And first in general we acknowledge that this tree of Tenures was planted into the prerogative by the antient common law of this land; that it hath been fenced in and preserved by many statutes; and that it yieldeth at this day to the King the fruit of a great revenue. But yet notwithstanding, if upon the stem of this tree may be raised a pillar of support to the Crown permanent and durable as the marble, by investing the Crown with a more ample, more certain, and more loving dowry, than this of Tenures; we hope we propound no matter of disservice.
But to speak distinctly of both, and first of Honour : wherein I pray your Lordships, give me leave, in a subject that may seem supra nos, to handle it rather as we are capable, than as the matter perhaps may require. Your Lordships well know the various mixture and composition of our house. We have in our house learned Civilians that profess a law that we reverence and sometimes consult with: they can tell us, that all the laws de feodis are but additionals to the antient civil law, and that the Roman Emperors in the full height of their monarchy never knew them; so that they are not imperial. We have grave professors of the Common Law, who will define unto us that those are parts of sovereignty, and of the regal prerogative, which cannot be communicated with subjects: but for Tenures in substance, there is none of your Lordships but have them, and few of us but have them. The King indeed hath a priority or first service of his Tenures, and some more amplitude of profit in that we call Tenure in Chief: but the subject is capable of Tenures; which shews that they are not Regal, nor any point of Sovereignty. We have gentlemen of honourable service in the wars both by sea and land, who can inform us that when it is in question who shall set his foot foremost towards the enemy, it is never asked whether he hold in knight-service or in socage. So have we many deputy lieutenants to your Lordships, and many commissioners that have been for musters and levies, that can tell us that the service and defence of the realin hath in these days little dependancy upon Tenures. So then we perceive that it is no bond or ligament of government, no spur of honour, no bridle of obedience. Time was when it had other use, and the name of knight's service imports it: but vocabula manent, res fugiunt. But all this which we have spoken we confess to be but in a vulgar capacity; which nevertheless may
serve for our excuse, though we submit the thing itself wholly to his Majesty's judgment.
For matter of Conscience, far be it from us to cast in anything willingly, that may trouble that clear fountain of his Majesty's Conscience. We do confess it is a noble protection, that these young birds of the nobility and good families should be gathered and clocked under the wings of the Crown. But yet Naturæ vis maxima: and Suus cuique discretus sanguis. Your Lordships will favour me to observe my former method. The common law itself, which is the best bounds of our wisdom, doth even in hoc individuo prefer the prerogative of the father before the prerogative of the king; for if lands descend, held in chief from an ancestor on the part of a mother, to a man's eldest son, the father being alive, the father shall have the custody of the body, and not the king. It is true that this is only for the father, and not any other parent or ancestor: but then if you look to the high law of tutelage and protection, and of obedience and duty, which is the relative thereunto; it is not said, Honour thy father alone, but Honour thy father and thy mother, etc. Again, the Civilians can tell us that there was a special use of the pretorian power for pupils, and yet no Tenures. The citizens of London can tell us, there be courts of Orphans, and yet no Tenures. But all this while we pray your Lordships to conceive that we think ourselves not competent to discern of the honour of his Majesty's crown, or the shrine of his conscience; but leave it wholly unto him, and alledge these things but in our
For matter of Petition, we do continue our most humble suit, by your Lordships' loving conjunction, that his Majesty will be pleased to open unto us this entrance of his bounty and grace, as to give us liberty to treat. And lastly, we know his Majesty's times are not subordinate at all but to the globe above. About this time the sun hath got even with the night, and will rise apace; and we know Salomon's temple (whereof your Lordship, my lord Treasurer, spake) was not built in a day: and if we shall be so happy as to take the axe to hew and the hammer to frame in this case, we know it cannot be without time; and
1 Originally "that as his M. opened the lap of his bounty and grace, in giving us liberty to treat of many things some never treated of before for our good comfort, so he would add this one, which with us was primum in intentione in matter of Retribution and Support."
2 Originally "that although it should be without noise, it cannot," etc.