Imágenes de páginas

hended in the charge and sentence passed upon me. It is true, that after I had put the seal to the patent, the apothecaries (b) presented me with an hundred pounds. It was no judicial affair. But howsoever, as it may not be defended, so I would be glad it were not raked up more than needs. I doubt only the chair (c) because I hear he useth names sharply; and besides, it may be, he hath a tooth at me yet, which is not fallen out with age. But the best is, as one saith, satis est lapsos non erigere; urgere vero jacentes, aut præcipitantes impellere, certe est inhumanum. Mr. Chancellor, if you will be nobly pleased to grace me upon this occasion, by shewing tenderness of my name, and commisseration of my fortune, there is no man in that assembly from whose mouth I had rather it should come. I hope it will be no dishonour to you. It will oblige me much, and be a worthy fruit of our last reintegration of friendship. I rest

Your faithful friend to do you service.

(6) His lordship being charged by the house of commons, that he had received 100l. of the new company of apothecaries, that stood against the grocers, as likewise a taster of gold worth between 400 and 5001. with a present of ambergrise, from the apothecaries that stood with the grocers, and 2001. of the grocers; he admits the several sums to have been received of the three parties, but alledges, "that he considered those presents as no judicial business, but a "concord of composition between the parties: and as he thought "they had all three received good, and they were all common 66 purses, he thought it the less matter to receive what they volun"tarily presented; for if he had taken it in the nature of a bribe, he "knew it could not be concealed, because it must be put to the ac"count of the three several companies."

(c) Sir Robert Philips was chairman of the committee of the house of commons for inquiring into the abuses of the courts of justice. He was son of Sir Edward Philips, master of the Rolls, who died September 11, 1614, being succeeded by Sir Julius Cæsar, to whom the king had given, January 16, 1610-11, under the great seal, the reversion of that post.

Memoranda of what the Lord CHANCELLOR intended to deliver to the KING, April 16, 1621, (a) upon his first access to his Majesty after his troubles.

THAT howsoever it goeth with me, I think myself infinitely bound to his majesty for admitting me to touch the hem of his garment; and that, according to my faith, so be it unto me.

(a) A committee of the house of commons had been appointed about the 12th of March, 1620-1, to inspect the abuses of the courts of justice, of which Sir Edward Sackville was named the chairman, but by reason of some indisposition, Sir Robert Philips was chosen in his room. The first thing they fell upon was bribery and corruption, of which the lord chancellor was accused by Mr.Christopher Aubrey and Mr. Edward Egerton; who affirmed, that they had procured money to be given to his lordship to promote their causes depending before him. This charge being corroborated by some circumstances, a report of it was made from the committee to the house, on Thursday, the 15th of March; and a second on the 17th, of other matters of the same nature, charged upon his lordship. The heads of the accusation having been drawn up, were presented by the commons to the lords, in a conference, on Monday, the 19th of the same month. The subject of this conference being reported, the next day, to the house of lords, by the lord treasurer, the marquis of Buckingham presented to their lordships a letter to them from the lord chancellor, dated that day. Upon this letter, answer was sent from the lords to the lord chancellor, on the 20th, that they had received his letter, and intended to proceed in his cause, now before them, cording to the rule of justice, desiring his lordship to provide for his just defence. The next day, March 21, the commons sent to the lords a farther charge against the lord chancellor; and their lordships, in the mean time, examined the complaints against him, and witnesses in the house, and appointed a select committee of themselves to take examinations likewise. Towards the latter end of March the session was discontinued for some time, in hopes, as it was imagined, of softening the lord chancellor's fall; but, upon the re-assembling of the parliament, more complaints being daily represented, on Wednesday, April 24, the prince signified unto the lords, that his lordship had sent a submission, dated the 22d. Which the lords having considered, and heard the collection of corruptions charged on him, and the proofs read, they sent a copy of the same, without the proofs, to him, by baron Denham and Mr. Attorney General, with this message, that his lordship's confession was not fully set down by him; and that they had therefore sent him the particular charge, and expected his


That I ought also humbly to thank his majesty for that, in that excellent speech of his, which is printed, that speech of so great maturity, wherein the elements are so well mingled, by kindling affection, by washing away aspersion, by establishing of opinion, and yet giving way to opinion, I do find some passages, which I do construe to my advantage.

And lastly, I have heard from my friends, that, notwithstanding these waves of information, his majesty mentions my name with grace and favour.

In the next place, I am to make an oblation of myself into his majesty's hands, that, as I wrote to him, I am as clay in his hands, his majesty may make a vessel of honour or dishonour of me, as I find favour in his eyes; and that I submit myself wholly to his grace and mercy, and to be governed both in my cause and fortunes by his direction, knowing that his heart is inscrutable for good. Only I may express myself thus far, that my desire is, that the thread, or line, of my life, may be no longer than the thread, or line, of my service: I mean, that I may be of use to your majesty in one kind or other.

Now for any farther speech, I would humbly pray

answer to it with all convenient expedition. To which he answered, that he would return their lordships an answer with speed. On the 25th of April, the lords considered of his said answer, and sent a second message by the same persons, that having received a doubtful answer to their message, sent him the day before, they now sent to him again, to know directly and presently, whether his lordship would make his confession, or stand upon his defence. His answer, returned by the same messengers, was, that he would make no manner of defence, but meant to acknowledge corruption, and to make a particular confession to every point, and after that an humble submission; but humbly craved liberty, that where the charge was more full than he finds the truth of the fact, he may make declaration of the truth in such particulars, the charge being brief, and containing not all circumstances. The lords sent the same messengers, to let him know, that they granted him time to do this till the Monday following; when he sent his confession and submission; which being avowed by him to several lords, sent to him, the lords resolved, on the 2d of May, to proceed to sentence him the next morning, and summoned him to attend; which he excusing, on account of being confined to his bed by sickness, they gave judgment accordingly on the 3d of May, 1621.


his majesty, that whatsoever the law of nature shall teach me to speak for my own preservation, your majesty will understand it to be in such sort, as I do nevertheless depend wholly upon your will and pleaAnd under this submission, if your majesty will graciously give me the hearing, I will open my heart unto you, both touching my fault, and fortune. For the former of these, I shall deal ingenuously with your majesty, without seeking fig-leaves or subterfuges.

There be three degrees, or cases, as I conceive, of gifts and rewards given to a judge:

The first is of bargain, contract, or promise of reward, pendente lite. And this is properly called venalis sententia, or baratria, or corruptelæ munerum. And of this, my heart tells me, I am innocent; that I had no bribe or reward in my eye or thought, when I pronounced any sentence or order.

The second is a neglect in the judge to inform himself, whether the cause be fully at an end, or no, what time he receives the gift; but takes it upon the credit of the party, that all is done; or otherwise omits to inquire.

And the third is, when it is received sine fraude, after the cause ended; which, it seems by the opinion of the civilians, is no offence. Look into the case of simony, &c.

Draught of another paper to the same purpose. THERE be three degrees, or cases, of bribery, charged, or supposed, in a judge:

The first, of bargain, or contract, for reward to pervert justice.

The second, where the judge conceives the cause to be at an end, by the information of the party, or otherwise, useth not such diligence, as he ought, to inquire of it. And the third, when the cause is really ended, and it is sine fraude, without relation to any precedent promise.

Now if I might see the particulars of my charge, I should deal plainly with your majesty, in whether of these degrees every particular case falls.

But for the first of them, I take myself to be as innocent as any born upon St. Innocent's day, in my heart.

For the second, I doubt, in some particulars I may be faulty.

And for the last, I conceived it to be no fault; but therein I desire to be better informed, that I may be twice penitent, once for the fact, and again for the error. For I had rather be a briber, than a defender of bribes.

I must likewise confess to your majesty, that at new-year's tides, and likewise at my first coming in, which was, as it were, my wedding, I did not so precisely, as perhaps I ought, examine whether those that presented me, had causes before me, yea or no.

And this is simply all that I can say for the present, concerning my charge, until I may receive it more particularly. And all this while, I do not fly to that, as to say, that these things are vitia temporis, and not vitia hominis.

For my fortune, summa summorum with me is, that I may not be made altogether unprofitable to do your majesty service, or honour. If your majesty continue me as I am, I hope I shall be a new man, and shall reform things out of feeling, more than another can do out of example. If I cast part of my burden, I shall be more strong and delivré to bear the rest. And, to tell your majesty what my thoughts run upon, I think of writing a story of England, and of recompiling of your laws into a better digest.

But to conclude, I most humbly pray your majesty's directions and advice. For as your majesty hath used to give me the attribute of care of your business, so I must now cast the care of myself upon God and you.

« AnteriorContinuar »