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large you will not doubt; on the Lords' side, pour encherir la mérchandise, and this by my Lord Treasurer, who came upon some disadvantage, because our men were prepared, but did so well acquit himself ex re nata, and so clearly open all the particularities of the contract, that he gave very extraordinary contentment; though for the issue of it we know no more than before what judgment to make, for it is wrapped up in the clouds, and either we shall have it in a sweet shower or a storm the last day of the session. Yet there is likelihood of another conference before that day, when matters will be brought nearer to a point."1
Another reporter, also very well informed,-writing on the same day, but apparently at a later hour-gives further particulars : namely that Salisbury, having read a letter from the King in which he offered to meet them half way and take 200,000l., earnestly recommended them to accept the offer.
"And so as we were departing, he called us back again, and told us that now he had delivered his Majesty's final and peremptory resolution; that the distance was little and the bargain advantageous: If we now refused, his Majesty would instantly dissolve the Parliament, and would never make the like offer to this assembly. So we all returned to the House and instantly put it to the question, and yielded to give his Majesty a perpetual revenue of 200,000l. a year upon these conditions :
1. First, that the Court of Wards be dissolved, together with the Dependances, which are respite of Homage, restraint of Alienation, the prefines and the post-fines pro licentiâ concordandi.
2. Item, that purveyance be quite taken away; and to that end that the authority of the Green Cloth be put down.
3. Item, that Informers be banished.
4. Item, that his Majesty shall claim no old debts.
5. Item, that he shall lay claim to no lands which have been threescore years out of his possession.
6. Item, that contrary to the present use, all his Majesty's patents be strictly interpreted against the King and benign for the subject.
7. Item, that Lessees be not turned out of possession for non-payment. 8. Item, that the subject may be permitted to plead a general plea against his Majesty, etc., and divers other particulars of great moment.
Now remains there to be resolved on, the assurance, and with what cords we shall bind Sampson's hands, that is to say his Majesty's Prerogative; and secondly, the manner and means of levy, which will prove a business of great intricacy: and these two branches are referred till the next session of Parliament, which will be in October at the farthest and so for this time the King and Commons are like to part in the lovingest terms that ever any subjects of England did rise from Parliament."2
1 C. and T. of James I., p. 128.
2 Jo. Pory to Sir Ralph Winwood, 17 July, 1610. Winw. Mem. iii. p. 194.
Though the year was too far advanced to allow of their following the business to its full conclusion, there was every appearance (so far) of earnestness and good faith on both sides; and before they parted formal memorials were exchanged between the two Houses, setting forth the state of the negotiation, and binding themselves to go on with it at their return. But there was one important business which still remained to be transacted, and upon the issue of which the fate of the bargain might still depend. Thus far, the Commons had made good their resolution that Grievances and Supplies should proceed together with equal steps, and had found the fruit of it. But the steps could only be alternate. It was in this case the last step that gave the advantage; and Salisbury won it for the King. By dividing the Grievances into matters of government and matters of profit, and taking the last first, he contrived after all to extract a definitive assent from the Commons to the proposed terms of contract, before they had heard the King's answer to the most important articles in their petition. The memorials of the contract were exchanged on Saturday the 21st of July, and on Monday the 23rd his Majesty's gracious answer to the remaining grievances was read openly by the Clerk; after which the Parliament was immediately prorogued till the 16th of October. Now these remaining grievances included all those (the new Impositions only excepted) upon which the Government and the popular party were most at variance,— Deprived and silenced ministers, Pluralities and non-residents, abuse of Excommunication, authority of the Ecclesiastical Commission, Prohibitions, Proclamations, and Jurisdiction of Provincial Councils : -and although the answers when they came were put in as gracious a shape as could be devised, it was not possible to make them satisfactory to those with whom the complaint originated. To give them an opportunity of talking all these matters over in the House, while the contract remained unconcluded, would no doubt have been inconvenient. But would it have been less inconvenient than that they should be sent to talk them over for three months in the country, where the case on behalf of the government was not likely to be so well represented? I think not. The Memorial of the Contract drawn up by the Commons contains their answer to a question which had been proposed to them by the Lords-who would seem therefore not to have been without their apprehensions on this head —namely, "What matter of content in the interim, shall be brought down into the country ?" Their answer is
"1. To the meaner sort, the assuring them that nothing shall be levied upon their ordinary victual; videlicet, Bread, Beer, and Corn, nor upon their handy labours.
2. To the better sort, the view of those things, which in lieu of that sum we shall receive from his Majesty: whereof copies to be taken down by such as please.
3. In general, to all, his Majesty's gracious answer to our Grievances."
But this was written before the gracious answer to the last articles had been delivered, and it must have seemed doubtful, when it came, whether it was gracious enough for the purpose. To "the meaner sort" indeed, the assurance offered would probably be sufficient. But it was not with the meaner sort that the difficulty would lie. "The better sort," in balancing the cost against the gain, would compare the taxes to which they had been accustomed with those which were now threatened. Those who were old enough to have paid taxes for 20 years would remember what they had had to pay in 1593 and 1594, when for the first time a whole subsidy (which then yielded 152,7907.) was levied within the year, and this for two years in succession. That was the heaviest taxation that had ever been before or since, while it lasted: but the case was altogether exceptional, and in the two years which followed, only half the amount was paid-which was then the ordinary rate. After this followed seven consecutive years in which they had had to pay a whole subsidy each year; 141,000l. being the average of the first three, and 134,4717. the average of the last four.2 Since which time the sums annually received by the Government on account of the Fifteenths and Subsidies of the Laity, had been as follows:
Such being the experiences of taxation then fresh in memory, the Imatter of content" which the members of the Lower House had to carry down to their constituents in the country was that, in consideration of being relieved from certain burdens the value of which in money was estimated at 80,000l. per annum, they were to be burdened thenceforth with a perpetual tax of 200,000l., to be secured to the Crown" by Act of Parliament in as strong sort as could be devised:"4 which would be much the same thing as paying a whole
1 L. J.,
2 These figures are inferred from the table given at p. 149 (which states the value of the subsidy at each period) compared with the several subsidy Acts, (which give the times at which the several payments became due).
3 Gardiner, ii. p. 414.
4 L. J., p. 662.
subsidy every year, Parliament or no Parliament, with the addition of such subsidies as every Parliament would thereafter have to grant as the price and condition of being continued. For if without Parliament the Crown was to be assured of a larger annual income than it had ever had yet in times of peace, and almost as large as it had ever had for many years together in times of war, it would always be able to settle a dispute by a dissolution.
And if this was to be their position and prospect with regard to taxation, what would be their position and prospect with regard to Grievances? The fate of the Grievances-I do not say under which the people were then groaning, because I do not know that anybody groaned; but for the redress of which the House of Commons had just been petitioning,-could not fail to suggest the answer. Except in the matter of Impositions, the Government, though it promised to use its authority justly, did not talk of parting with any authority. Suppose any of the powers which it retained should be abused; suppose the favourite preacher should be silenced, the parish church left without a minister, fines illegally exacted, penalties imposed by Proclamations and enforced by the Star Chamber;-what was to be done? They could petition again; and if their petition produced no effect, they could refuse to grant any additional supply. But as they would not be able to suspend the 200,000l. per annum which was now to be made certain and perpetual, the refusal could be borne. They could pass Acts, and send them to the Upper House. But if those Acts were rejected, or returned with amendments, what could they do more? It seems to me that a member trying to explain to " one of the better sort" how, upon "the view of those things which in lieu of that sum they should receive from his Majesty," they had reason to rejoice in the bargain, must have had a hard task before him; and if we find that after three months spent in discussing the merits of the bargain with those whom it most concerned, members came back less in love with it, the fact will not be thought to need any curious explanation.
THAT I might not interrupt the history of the business in Parliament, I passed over a letter written by Bacon during the Easter recess, which will require a few words of explanation, and now that we have reached the long vacation may be more conveniently discussed.
Camden's Annals of Queen Elizabeth' were not published till 1615; when the first three books appeared. But we know from memoranda on the blank leaves of the original copy that the whole work had been completed in manuscript before the end of 1613, when he was engaged in revising it.' We know from a letter written by De Thou to Camden at Easter in that year that two several portions of it had already at two several times been sent to him by command of King James-apparently a good while before. We learn from a letter of Chamberlain's to Carleton, dated 29 Jan. 1611-12, as a piece of fresh news, that a" good part of Queen Elizabeth's life, collected with the help of Sir Robert Cotton and written by Mr. Clarencieux" had not long before been sent into France " for a present to Thuanus, to be inserted into his work."2 And as we know upon Camden's own authority that he had begun to "digest" his Annals in 1608,3 there is no difficulty in supposing that before Easter 1610 the first part was complete in manuscript and in a condition to be submitted to the King.
But Camden's name appears to have been at this time, for some reason or other, suppressed. Sir Robert Cotton had had a helping hand in the work: it was he who had been in communication with the King about it and being a man of higher reputation in matters of civil history, he was naturally supposed perhaps to be the author.4
2 S. P. Dom. James I. Vol. 68, No. 35.
1 Cott. MSS. Faust. F. I.-IV. 3 "1608. Annales digerere cœpi." Camdeni Epist., Addenda, p. 85. 4"Ad commentarios D. Cottoni quod attinet, scito duabus vicibus eos ad me jussu serenissimi Regis missos, qui res vestras pertexunt usque ad annum præteriti