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of them, my lord chief justice will tell you. It were well it were dispatched; for else I will not dine with the speaker; for his drink will not be laid in time enough.
I beseech your lordship, care may be taken, that our general letter may be kept secret, whereof my lord chief justice will tell you the reason.
TO THE KING.
It may please your most excellent Majesty,
ACCORDING to your commandment, we have heard once more the proctors of the Prerogative Court, what they could say; and find no reason to alter, in any part, our former certificate. Thus much withal we think fit to note to your majesty, that our former certificate, which we now ratify, is principally grounded upon a point in law, upon the statute of 21 Henry VIII. wherein we the chancellor and treasurer, for our own opinions, do conceive the law is clear; and your solicitor-general (a) concurs.
Now whether your majesty will be pleased to rest in our opinions, and so to pass the patents; or give us leave to assist ourselves with the opinion of some principal judges now in town, whereby the law may be the better resolved, to avoid farther question hereafter; we leave it to your majesty's royal pleasure. This we represent the rather, because we discern such a confidence in the proctors, and those upon whom they depend, as, it is not unlike, they will bring it to a legal question.
And so we humbly kiss your majesty's hands, praying for your preservation.
Your Majesty's most humble
York-house, December 12, 1620.
FR. VERULAM, Canc.
(a) Sir Thomas Coventry, who was made attorney-general, January 14, 1620-1.
The Lord CHANCELLOR and two Chief JusTICES (a) to the Marquis of BUCKINGHAM. Our very good Lord,
IT may please his majesty to call to mind, that when we gave his majesty our last account of parliament business in his presence, we went over the grievances of the last parliament in 7mo, (b) with our opinion by way of probable conjecture, which of them are like to fall off, and which may perchance stick and be renewed. And we did also then acquaint his majesty, that we thought it no less fit to take into consideration grievances of like nature, which have sprung up since the said last session, which are the more like to be called upon, by how much they are the more fresh, signifying withal, that they were of two kinds; some proclamations and commissions, and many patents; which, nevertheless, we did not trouble his majesty withal in particular: partly, for that we were not then fully prepared, as being a work of some length; and partly, for that we then desired and obtained leave of his majesty to communicate them with the council-table. But now since I, the chancellor, received his majesty's pleasure by secretary Calvert, that we should first present them to his majesty with some advice thereupon provisionally, and as we are capable, and thereupon know his majesty's pleasure before they be brought to the table, which is the work of this dispatch.
And hereupon his majesty may be likewise pleased to call to mind, that we then said, and do now also humbly make remonstrance to his majesty, that in this we do not so much express the sense of our own minds or judgments upon the particulars, as we do personate the lower house, and cast with ourselves
(a) Sir Henry Montagu of the King's Bench, and Sir Henry Hobart of the Common Pleas.
(b) That which began February 9, 1609; and was prorogued July 23, 1610.
what is like to be stirred there. And therefore if there be any thing, either in respect of the matter, or the persons, that stands not so well with his majesty's good liking, that his majesty would be graciously pleased not to impute it unto us; and withal to consider, that it is to this good end, that his majesty may either remove such of them, as in his own princely judgment, or with the advice of his council, he shall think fit to be removed; or be the better provided to carry through such of them, as he shall think fit to be maintained, in case they should be moved; and so the less surprised.
First, therefore, to begin with the patents, we find three sorts of patents, and those somewhat frequent, since the session of 7mo, which in genere we conceive may be most subject to exception of grievance; patents of old debts, patents of concealments, and patents of monopolies, and forfeitures for dispensations of penal laws, together with some other particulars, which fall not so properly under any one head.
In these three heads, we do humbly advise several courses to be taken: for the first two, of old debts and concealments, for that they are in a sort legal, though there may be found out some point in law to overthrow them; yet it would be a long business by course of law, and a matter unusual by act of council, to call them in. But that, that moves us chiefly, to avoid the questioning them at the council-table, is, because if they shall be taken away by the king's act, it may let in upon him a flood of suitors for recompence; whereas, if they be taken away at the suit of the parliament, and a law thereupon made, it frees the king, and leaves him to give recompence only where he shall be pleased to intend grace. Wherefore we conceive the most convenient way will be, if some grave and discreet gentleman of the country, such as have lost relation to the court, make, at fit times, some modest motion touching the same; and that his majesty would be graciously pleased to permit some law to pass, for the time past only, no ways touching his majesty's regal power, to free the subjects from the same; and so
his majesty, after due consultation, to give way
For the third, we do humbly advise, that such of them, as his majesty shall give way to have called in, may be questioned before the council-table, either as granted contrary to his majesty's book of bounty, or found since to have been abused in the execution, or otherwise by experience discovered to be burdensome to the country. But herein we shall add this farther humble advice, that it be not done as matter of preparation to a parliament; but that occasion be taken, partly upon revising of the book of bounty, and partly upon the fresh examples in Sir Henry Yelverton's case of abuse and surreption in obtaining of patents; and likewise, that it be but as a continuance in conformity of the council's former diligence and vigilancy, which hath already stayed and revoked divers patents of like nature, whereof we are ready to shew the examples. Thus, we conceive, his majesty shall keep his greatness, and somewhat shall be done in parliament, and somewhat out of parliament, as the nature of the subject and business require.
We have sent his majesty herewith a schedule of the particulars of these three kinds; wherein, for the first two, we have set down all that we could at this time discover: but in the latter, we have chosen out but some, that are most in speech, and do most tend, either to the vexation of the common people, or the discountenancing of our gentlemen and justices, the one being the original, the other the representative of the commons.
There being many more of like nature, but not of like weight, nor so much rumoured, which, to take away now in a blaze, will give more scandal, that such things were granted, than thanks, that they be now revoked.
And because all things may appear to his majesty in the true light, we have set down, as well the suitors as the grants, and not only those, in whose names the patents were taken, but those, whom they concern, as far as comes to our knowledge.
For proclamations and commissions, they are tender things; and we are willing to meddle with them sparingly. For as for such, as do but wait upon patents, wherein his majesty, as we conceived, gave some approbation to have them taken away, it is better they fall away, by taking away the patent itself, than otherwise; for a proclamation cannot be revoked but by proclamation, which we avoid.
For those commonwealth bills, which his majesty approved to be put in readiness, and some other things, there will be time enough hereafter to give his majesty account, and amongst them, of the extent of his majesty's pardon, which, if his subjects do their part, as we hope they will, we do wish may be more liberal than of later times, a pardon being the ancient remuneration in parliament.
Thus hoping his majesty, out of his gracious and accustomed benignity, will accept of our faithful endeavours, and supply the rest by his own princely wisdom and direction; and also humbly praying his majesty, that when he hath himself considered of our humble propositions, he will give us leave to impart them all, or as much as he shall think fit, to the lords of his council, for the better strength of his service; we conclude with our prayers for his majesty's happy preservation, and always rest, &c.
The lord chancellor and the two chief justices to the king, concerning parliament business.
To the Lord CHANCELLOR, and the Lord MANDEVILLE, Lord Treasurer of England. (a)
My honourable Lords,
His majesty is pleased, according to your lordships' certificate, to rely upon your judgments, and hath made choice of Sir Robert Lloyd, knight, to be pa
(a) Harl. MSS. Vol. 7000.