Page images

much interest in mens good will and good opinions, because it maketh me the fitter instrument to do my master service and my friend also.

After I was set in chancery, I published his majesty's charge which he gave me when he gave me the seal; and what rules and resolutions I had taken for the ful filling his commandments. I send your lordship a copy of that I said. My lord Hay coming to take his leave of me two days before, I told him what I was meditating, and he desired me to send him some remembrance of it; and so I could not but send him another copy thereof. Men tell me it hath done the king a great deal of honour; insomuch that some of friends that are wise men and no vain ones, did not stick to say to me, that there was not these seven years such a preparation for a parliament; which was a commendation, I confess, pleased me well. I pray take some fit time to shew it his majesty, because if I misunderstood him in any thing, I may amend it, because I know his judgment is higher and deeper than mine.


I take infinite contentment to hear his majesty is in great good health and vigor; I pray God preserve and continue it. Thus wishing you well above all men living, next my master and his: I rest

Your true and devoted friend and servant,

Dorset-house, which putteth me
in mind to thank your lordship,
for your care of me touching
York-house, May 8, 1617.

Stephens's CLXXVII. An Account of Council Business, and other matters committed to me by his MAJESTY.

first collection, p.202.

FIRST, for May-day; at which time there was great apprehension of tumult by prentices and loose people; there was never such a still. The remedies that did the effect were three:

First, The putting in muster of the trained bands and military bands in a brave fashion that way. Next

the laying a strait charge upon the mayor and aldermen for the city, and justices of the peace for the suburbs, that the prentices and others might go abroad with their flags and other gauderies, but without weapon of shot and pike, as they formerly took liberty to do: which charge was exceeding well performed and obeyed. And the last was, that we had, according to our warrant dormant, strengthened our commissions of the peace in London and Middlesex, with new clauses of lieutenancy; which as soon as it was known abroad, all was quiet by the terror it wrought. This I write, because it maketh good my farther assurance I gave his majesty at his first removes, that all should be quiet; for which I received his thanks.

For the Irish affairs, I received this day his majesty's letter to the lords, which we have not yet opened, but shall sit upon them this afternoon. I do not forget, besides the points of state, to put my lord treasurer in remembrance, that his majesty laid upon him the care of the improvement of the revenue of Ireland by all good means, of which I find his lordship very careful, and I will help him the best I can.

The matter of the revenue of the recusants here in England, I purpose to put forward by a conference with my lord of Canterbury, upon whom the king laid it, and upon secretary Winwood; and, because it is matter of the exchequer, with my lord treasurer and Mr. Chancellor; and after to take the assistance of Mr. Attorney, and the learned counsel; and when we have put it in a frame, to certify his majesty.

The business of the pirates is, I doubt not, by this time come to his majesty, upon the letters of us the commissioners, whereof I took special care; and I must say, I find Mr. Vice-Chamberlain a good able man with his pen. But to speak of the main business, which is the match with Spain, the king knows my mind by a former letter; that I would be glad it proceeded with an united council; not but that votes and thoughts are to be free: but yet after a king hath resolved, all men ought to co-operate, and neither to

be active nor much locutive in oppositum; especially in a case where a few dissenting from the rest, may hurt the business in foro famæ.

Yesterday, which was my weary day, I bid all the judges to dinner, which was not used to be, and entertained them in a private withdrawing chamber, with the learned counsel. When the feast was passed, I came amongst them, and sat me down at the end of the table, and prayed them to think I was one of them, and but a foreman. I told them I was weary, and therefore must be short, and that I would now speak to them upon two points. Whereof the one was, that I would tell them plainly, that I was firmly persuaded, that the former discords and differences between the chancery and other courts were but flesh and blood; and that now the men were gone, the matter was gone; and that for my part as I would not suffer any the least diminution or derogation from the ancient and due power of the chancery, so if any thing should be brought to them at any time, touching the proceedings of the chancery, which did seem to them exorbitant or inordinate, that they should freely and friendly acquaint me with it, and we should soon agree; or if not, we had a master that could easily both discern and rule. At which speech of mine, besides a great deal of thanks and acknowledgment, I did see chear and comfort in their faces, as if it were a new world.

The second point was, that I let them know how his majesty, at his going, gave me charge to call and receive from them the accounts of their circuits, according to his majesty's former prescript, to be set down in writing; and that I was to transmit the writings themselves to his majesty; and accordingly as soon as I have received them I will send them to his majesty.

Some two days before I had a conference with some judges, not all, but such as I did choose, touching the high commission, and the extending of the same in some points; which I see I shall be able to dispatch by consent, without his majesty's farther trouble.

I did call upon the committees also for the proceed

ing in the purging of Sir Edward Coke's Reports, which I see they go on with seriously.*


[ocr errors]

4 During the time that my lord chief justice Coke lay under the displeasure of the court, some information was given to the king, that he having published eleven books of Reports, had written many things against his majesty's prerogative. And being commanded to explain some of them, my lord chancellor Ellesmere doth thereupon, in his letter of 22 October 1616, write thus to the king: "According to your majesty's directions signified unto me by Mr. "Solicitor, I called the lord chief justice before me on Thursday "the 17th instant, in presence of Mr. Attorney, and others of 66 your learned counsel. I did let him know your majesty's acceptance of the few animadversions, which upon review of his own labours he had sent, though fewer than you expected, and "his excuses other than you expected:" And did at the same time inform him, that his majesty was dissatisfied with several other passages therein; and those not of the principal points of the cases judged, but delivered by way of expatiation, and which might have been omitted without prejudice to the judgment; of which sort the attorney and solicitor-general did for the present only select five, which being delivered to the chief justice on the 17th of October, he returns his answers at large upon the 21st of the same month, the which I have seen under his own hand. 'Tis true the lord chancellor wished he might have been spared all service concerning the chief justice, as remembering the fifth petition of dimitte nobis debita nostra, etc. Insomuch that though a committee of judges was appointed to consider these books, yet the matter seems to have slept, till after Sir Francis Bacon was made lord keeper, it revived, and two judges more were added to the former. Whereupon Sir Edward Coke doth by his letter make his humble suit to the earl of Buckingham, 1. That if his majesty shall not be satisfied with his former offer, namely, by the advice of the judges to explain and publish those points, so as no shadow may remain against his prerogative, that then all the judges of England may be called thereto. 2. That they might certify also what cases he had published for his majesty's prerogative and benefit, for the good of the Church, and quieting mens inheritances, and good of the commonwealth. But Sir Edward then, or soon after, coming into favour by the marriage of his daughter, I conceive there was no farther proceedings in this affair. It will be needless for me to declare what reputation these books have among the professors of the law; but I cannot omit upon this occasion to take notice of a character Sir Francis Bacon had some time before given them in his proposition to the king, touching the compiling and amendment of the laws of England. "To give every man his due, had it not been for Sir Edward Coke's Reports, which though they 66 may have errors and some peremptory and extrajudicial reso"lutions more than are warranted, yet they contain infinite good “decisions and rulings over of cases, the law by this time had "been almost like a ship without ballast: for that the cases of "modern experience are fled from those that are adjudged and "ruled in former time." Stephens,

first collec

Thanks be to God, we have not much to do for matters of counsel, and I see now that his majesty is as well able by his letters to govern England from Scotland, as he was to govern Scotland from England.

Stephens's CLXXVIII. A note of some precedents as come nearest the case of the Lord Brackley: referred to in the foregoing letter.

tion, p. 206.

THE lord Hay was created baron of Sawley, 28 Junii 13 Regis, without the ceremony of robing, as I take it, but then the patent, as I conceive it also, delivered to the person of the said lord Hay by the king's own hands; and again, the dignity of a baron hath incident to it only the ceremony of robes, and not the cincture of the sword, coronet, etc.

The duke of Lenox was created earl of Richmond, 6 Octobris 11 Regis, without any of the ceremonies, as I take it, but the patent, as I conceive it also, was delivered to the person of the said duke, with the hands of the king: and again, in regard he was invested of the superior dignity of duke of Scotland, the ceremonies were not fit to be iterated.

King Henry VII. created Edward Courtenay knight, earl of Devon, 26 Octobris, 1 Regni, teste meipso apud Westmonasterium, etc. Whereby it may be collected, that it was done without the solemnities; for that where the solemnities were performed, it hath used to be with a hisce testibus, and not teste meipso; and whether it were delivered with the king's hand or not, it appears not.

Edward VI. created William earl of Essex, marquis of Northampton, 16 Feb. 1 Edw. VI. and it is mentioned to be per cincturam gladii, cappam honoris, et circuli aurei impositionem; but whether the delivery was by the king's own hand non constat, but it was teste meipso, and not hisce testibus,

The same king created John viscount L'Isle, earl of Warwick, the same time, and it is mentioned to be per cincturam gladii, etc. but it was teste meipso, and not hisce testibus.

Edward VI. created Thomas lord Wriothesley, earl

« PreviousContinue »