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royal care and cogitations, howsoever he produceth the same to light, and to act per opera dierum.3

That his majesty shall make unto them now a declarative of two great causes, whereof he doubteth not they have heard by glimpses; the one concerning his high court of chancery, the other concerning the church and prelacy; but both of them deeply touching his prerogative and sovereignty, and the flowers of his crown.

That about the end of Hilary term last, there came to his majesty's ears, only by common voice and report, not without great rumour and wonder, that there was somewhat done in the king's bench the last day of that term, whereby his chancery should be pulled down, and be brought in question for pramunire; being the most heinous offence after treason, and felony, and misprision of treason; and that the time should be when the chancellor lay at the point of death.

That his majesty was so far from hearing of this. by any complaint from his chancellor, who then had given over worldly thoughts, that he wrote letters of comfort to him upon this accident, before he heard from him; and for his attorney, his majesty challenged him for not advertising him of that, of which it was proper for his majesty to be informed from him.

That his majesty being sensible of this so great novelty and perturbation in his courts of justice, nevertheless used this method and moderation, that before he would examine this great affront and disgrace offered to his chancery and chancellor, he would first inform himself whether the chancery or chancellor were in fault; and whether the former precedents of chancery did warrant the proceedings there after judgment passed at common law, which was the thing in question, and thereupon his majesty called his learned counsel to him, and commanded them to


3 Per opera dierum, alluding to the gradations Almighty God was pleased to observe in the creating of the world. In this paragraph Sir Francis Bacon insinuates, what he expressly declares Vol. II. Essay XLVII. p. 370. that in all negotiations of difficulty a man must first prepare business, and so ripen it by degrees. Stephens.

examine the precedents of chancery, and to certify what they found: which they did; and by their certificate it appeareth, that the precedents of that kind were many and precise in the point, and constant, and in good times, and allowed many times by the judges themselves.

That after this his majesty received from the lord chancellor a case, whereby the question was clearly set down and contained within the proper bounds of the present doubt; being, Whether upon apparent matter of equity, which the judges of the law by their place and oath cannot meddle with or relieve, if a judgment be once passed at common law, the subject shall perish, or that the chancery shall relieve him; and whether there be any statute of pramunire or other, to restrain this power in the chancellor; which case, upon the request of the lord chancellor, his majesty likewise referred to his learned counsel, and the prince's attorney Mr. Walter was joined with them, who, upon great advice and view of the original records themselves, certified the chancery was not restrained by any statute in that case.

That his majesty again required his learned counsel to call the clerks of the king's bench to them, and to receive from them any precedents of indictments in the king's bench against the chancery for proceeding in the like case; who produced only two precedents, being but indictments offered or found, upon which there was no other proceeding; and the clerks said, they had used diligence and could find no more.

That his majesty, after he had received this satisfaction that there was ground for that the chancery had done, and that the chancery was not in fault, he thought then it was time to question the misdemeanor and contempt in scandalizing and dishonouring his justice in that high court of chancery in so odious a manner; and commanded his attorney-general, with the advice of the rest of his learned counsel, to prosecute the offenders in the star-chamber, which is done; and some of them are fled, and others stand out and will not answer.

That there resteth only one part more towards his majesty's complete information in this cause: which is

to examine that which was done in open court the said last day of Hilary term, and whether the judges of the King's Bench did commit any excess of authority; or did animate the offenders otherwise than according to their duty and place; which inquiry, because it concerneth the judges of a court to keep order and decorum, his majesty thinketh not so convenient to use his learned counsel therein, but will commit the same to some of the council-table, and his learned counsel to attend them.

This declared, or what else his majesty in his own high wisdom shall think good; it will be fit time to have the certificate of the learned counsel openly read.

His majesty may, if he please, forbear to publish at this time at the table the committees; but signify his pleasure to themselves afterwards.

The committees named by his majesty, were the archbishop of Canterbury, secretary Lake, the chancellor of the exchequer, and the master of the rolls.

This report is to be prefixed, to be given in by Wednesday at night, that his majesty may communicate it with his council, and take farther order on Thursday thereupon, if his majesty be so pleased.

At this declaration, it is his majesty's direction, to the end things may appear to be the more evenly carried, that neither my lord chancellor nor my lord chief justice be present.

But then when his majesty entereth into the second declarative, my lord chancellor is to be called for: but my lord chief justice not; because it concerneth him.

For the second declarative: that his majesty hath reason to be offended and grieved, in that which passed touching the commendams, both in matter and manner: for the matter, that his majesty's religious care of the Church and of the prelacy, and namely, of his lords spiritual the bishops, may well appear, first, in that he hath utterly expelled those sectaries or inconformable persons that spurned at the government; secondly, that by a statute made in the first year of his reign, he

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hath preserved their livings from being wasted and dilapidated by long leases, and therein bound himself and his crown and succession; and lastly, that they see two bishops privy counsellors at the table, which hath not been of late years. :

That agreeably to this his majesty's care and good affection, hearing that there was a case of the bishop of Lincoln's, wherein his majesty's supreme power of granting Commendams, which in respect of the exility of bishopricks is sometimes necessary, was questioned to be overthrown or weakened; he commanded his attor ney-general, not only to have care to maintain it according to his place, but also that he should relate to his majesty how things passed; and did also command the bishop of Winchester to be present at the public argument of the case; and to report to his majesty the true state of that question, and how far it extended.


This being accordingly done; then upon report of the bishop of Winchester in presence of the lord chancellor, his majesty thought it necessary, that before the judges proceeded to declare their opinion they should have conference with his majesty, to the end to settlet some course, that justice might be done, and his regal power, whereof his crown had been so long vested, not touched nor diminished: and thereupon commanded his attorney, who by his place ought properly to signify his majesty's pleasure to his judges, as his secretary doth to his privy council, in the presence of the lord chancellor and the bishop, to signify his pleasure to the judges, that because his majesty thought it needful to consult with them in that case before they proceeded to: judgment; and that his majesty's business, as they all knew, was very great, and Midsummer term so near at hand, and the cause argued by his attorney so lately, they should put off the day till they might advise with his majesty at his next coming to town. That his majesty's attorney signified so much by his letters, the next { day after he had received his commandment, to all the judges, and that in no imperious manner, but alledg ing the circumstances aforesaid, that the case was lately? argued, his majesty's business great, another term at hand, etc.


Now followeth the manner that was held in this, which his majesty conceiveth was not only indiscreet, but presumptuous and contemptuous.

For first, they disobeyed this his majesty's commandment, and proceeded to public argument notwith standing the same; and thought it enough to certify only their mind to his majesty.

Secondly, in a general letter under all their hands, howsoever it may be upon divided opinion, they alledge unto his majesty their oath; and that his majesty's commandment, for the attorney's letter was but the case that it was wrapped in, was against law; as if maturity and a deliberate proceeding were a delay, or that commandment of stay in respect of so high a question of state and prerogative, were like a commandment gotten by importunity, or in favour of a suitor.

Thirdly, above all, it is to be noted and justly doubted, that upon the contrary, in this that they have done, they have broken their oath; for their oath is to counsel the King when they shall be called; and if when the King calleth them to counsel, they will do the deed first, and give him counsel after, this is more than a simple refusal.

Lastly, it is no new thing upon divers particular occasions, of a far higher nature than the consulting with their sovereign about a cause of great moment, to put off days, and yet no breach of oath. And there was another fair passage well known to my lord Coke, that he might have used if it had pleased him; for that very day was appointed for the King's great cause in the chancery, both for my lord Hobart and him; which cause ought to have had precedence afore any private cause, as they would have this seem to be.

To this letter his majesty made a most princely and prudent answer, which I leave to itself.:

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Upon this declaration his majesty will be pleased to have the judges letter and his own letter read. PEL Then his majesty, for his part as I conceive, will be pleased to ask the advice of his council as well for the { stay of the new day, which is Saturday next, as for the

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