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" avoid it. But in all this business, the King remits * himself to your grave and mature advice, whereupon he purposeth to rely.”
This was the effect of the lord Chancellor's speech touching the cause of Britain ; for the King had commanded him to carry it so, as to affect the parliament towards the business; but without engaging the King in any express declaration..
The Chancellor went on :
“ For that which may concern the government at “ home, the King hath commanded me to say unto you; “ that he thinketh there was never any King, for the “ small time that he hath reigned, had greater and juster “ cause of the two contrary passions of joy and sorrow, " than his grace hath. Joy, in respect of the rare and “ visible favours of Almighty God, in girding the im“perial sword upon his side, and assisting the same his “ sword against all his enemies; and likewise in bless
ing him with so many good and loving servants and “ subjects which have never failed to give him faithful “ counsel, ready obedience, and courageous defence. “ Sorrow, for that it hath not pleased God to suffer him " to sheath his sword, as he greatly desired, otherwise “ than for administration of justice, but that he hath “ been forced to draw it so oft, to cut off traitorous and “ disloyal subjects, whom, it seems, God hath left, a “ few amongst many good, as the Canaanites amongst " the people of Israel, to be thorns in their sides, to
tempt and try them; though the end hath been
always, God's name be blessed therefore, that the “ destruction hath fallen upon their own heads.
" Wherefore his grace saith ; That he seeth that it " is not the blood spilt in the field that will save the “ blood in the city ; nor the marshal's sword that will “set this kingdom in perfect peace: but that the true
way is, to stop the seeds of sedition and rebellion “ in their beginnings; and for that purpose to devise, “ confirm, and quicken good and wholesome laws “ against riots, and unlawful assemblies of people, 6 and all combinations and confederacies of them, by “ liveries tokens, and other badges of factious de
pendence; that the peace of the land may by these “ ordinances, as by bars of iron, be soundly bound in “ and strengthened, and all force, both in court,
country, and private houses, be supprest. The care
hereof, which so much concerneth yourselves, and “ which the nature of the times doth 'instantly call ss for, his grace commends to your wisdoms.
“ And because it is the King's desire, that this peace, “ wherein he hopeth to govern and maintain you, do “ not bear only unto you leaves, for you to sit under “the shade of them in safety; but also should bear
you fruit of riches, wealth, and plenty : therefore his
grace prays you to take into consideration matter of “ trade, as also the manufactures of the kingdom, and “ to repress the bastard and barren employment of
moneys to usury and unlawful exchanges; that they
may be, as their natural use is, turned upon com“ merce, and lawful and royal trading. And likewise " that our people be set on work in arts and handi“ crafts ; that the realm may subsist more of itself; " that idleness be avoided, and the draining out of our “ treasure for foreign manufactures stopped. But you “ are not to rest here only, but to provide farther, that “ whatsoever merchandise shall be brought in from
beyond the seas, may be employed upon the com“ modities of this land; whereby the kingdom's stock “ of treasure may be sure to be kept from being “ diminished by any over-trading of the foreigner.
“ And lastly, because the King is well assured, that “ you would not have him poor, that wishes you rich; “ he doubteth not but that you will have care, as well “ to maintain his revenues of customs and all other
natures, as also to supply him with your loving aids, “ if the case shall so require. The rather, for that
you know the King is a good husband, and but a “ steward in effect for the public; and that what comes “ from you, is but as moisture drawn from the earth, “ which gathers into a cloud, and falls back upon
the “ earth again. And you know well, how the kingdoms “ about you grow more and more in greatness, and the “ times are stirring; and therefore not fit to find the
King with an empty purse. More I have not to
say to you; and wish, that what hath been said, “ had been better expressed: but that your wisdoms “ and good affections will supply. God bless your
It was no hard matter to dispose and affect the parliament in this business; as well in respect of the emulation between the nations, and the envy at the late growth of the French monarchy; as in regard of the danger to suffer the French to make their approaches upon England, by obtaining so goodly a maritime province, full of sea-towns and havens, that might do mischief to the English, either by invasion, or by interruption of traffic. The parliament was also moved with the point of oppression; for although the French seemed to speak reason, yet arguments are ever with multitudes too weak for suspicions. Wherefore they did advise the King roundly to embrace the Britons quarrel, and to send them speedy aids; and with much alacrity and forwardness granted to the King a great rate of subsidy, in contemplation of these aids. But the King, both to keep a decency towards the French King, to whom he profest himself to be obliged, and indeed desirous rather to shew war than to make it; sent new solemn ambassadors to intimate unto him the decree of his estates, and to iterate his motion, that the French would desist from hostility; or if war must follow, to desire him to take it in good part, if at the motion of his people, who were sensible of the cause of the Britons as their ancient friends and confederates, he did send them succours; with protestation nevertheless, that, to save all treaties and laws of friendship, he had limited his forces, to proceed in aid of the Britons, but in no wise to war upon the French, otherwise than as they maintained the possession of Britain. But before this formal ambassage arrived, the party of the duke had received a great blow, and grew to manifest declination. For near the town of St. Alban in Britain, a battle had been given, where the Britons were overthrown, and the duke of Orleans, and the prince of Orange taken prisoners, there being slain on the Britons part six thousand men, and amongst them the lord Woodvile, and almost all his soldiers, valiantly fighting. And of the French part, one thousand two hundred, with their leader James Galeot a great commander.
When the news of this battle came over into England, it was time for the King, who now had no subterfuge to continue farther treaty, and saw before his eyes that Britain went so speedily for lost, contrary to his hopes: knowing also that with his people, and foreigners both, he sustained no'small envy and disreputation for his former delays, to dispatch with all possible speed his succours into Britain; which he did under the conduct of Robert, lord Brooke, to the number of eight thousand choice men well armed; who having a fair wind, in few hours landed in Britain, and joined themselves forthwith to those Briton forces that remained after the defeat, and marched straight on to find the enemy; and encamped fast by them. The French wisely husbanding the possession of a victory, and well acquainted with the courage of the English, especially when they are fresh, kept themselves within their trenches, being strongly lodged, and resolved not to give battle. But meanwhile, to harass and weary the English, they did upon all advantages set upon them with their light horse; wherein nevertheless they received commonly loss, especially by means of the English archers.
But upon these atchievements Francis, duke of Britain, deceased; an accident that the King might easily have foreseen, and ought to have reckoned upon and provided for, but that the point of reputation, when news first came of the battle lost, that somewhat must be done, did overbear the reason of war.
After the duke's decease, the principal persons of Britain, partly bought, partly through faction, put all things into confusion ; so as the English not finding head or body with whom to join their forces, and being in jealousy of friends, as well as in danger of enemies, and the winter begun, returned home five months after their landing. So the battle of St. Alban, the death of the duke, and the retire of the English
succours, were, after some time, the causes of the loss of that duchy; which action some accounted as a blemish of the King's judgment, but most but as the misfortune of his times.
But howsoever the temporary fruit of the parliament, in their aid and advice given for Britain, took not, nor prospered not; yet the lasting fruit of parliament, which is good and wholesome laws, did prosper, and doth yet continue to this day. For, according to the lord Chancellor's admonition, there were that parliament divers excellent laws ordained concerning the points which the King recommended.
First, the authority of the star-chamber, which before subsisted by the ancient common laws of the realm, was confirmed in certain cases by act of parliament. This court is one of the sagest and noblest institutions of this kingdom. For in the distribution of courts of ordinary justice, besides the high court of parliament, in which distribution the King's bench holdeth the pleas of the crown, the common-place pleas civil, the exchequer pleas concerning the King's revenue, and the chancery the Pretorian power for mitigating the rigour of law, in case of extremity, by the conscience of a good man; there was nevertheless always reserved a high and pre-eminent power to the King's council in causes that might in example or consequence concern the state of the commonwealth ; which if they were criminal, the council used to sit in the chamber called the star-chamber; if civil, in the white-chamber or 'white-hall. And as the chancery had the Pretorian power for equity; so the star-chamber had the Censorian power for offences under the degree of capital. This court of star-chamber is compounded of good elements, for it consisteth of four kinds of persons, counsellors, peers, prelates, and chief judges. It discerneth also principally of four kinds of causes, forces, frauds, crimes various of stellionate, and the inchoations or middle acts towards crimes capital or heinous, not actually committed or perpetrated. But that which was principally aimed at by this act was force, and the two chief supports of force, combination of multitudes, and maintenance or headship of great persons,