« PreviousContinue »
my faults, and that no hardness of heart do steal upon me, under shew of more neatness of conscience, than is cause. But not to trouble your majesty any longer, craving pardon for this long mourning letter; that which I thirst after, as the hart after the streams is, that I may know, by my matchless friend that presenteth to you this letter, your majesty's heart (which is an abyssus of goodness, as I am an abyssus of misery) towards me. I have been ever your man, and counted myself but an usufructuary of myself, the property being yours. And now making myself an oblation to do with me as may best conduce to the honour of your justice, the honour of your mercy, and the use of your service, resting as clay in your majesty's gracious hands. FR. ST. ALBAN, Canc.
March 25, 1621.
CCLVII. To the KING.
It may please your most excellent Majesty, I THINK myself infinitely bounden to your majesty, for vouchsafing me access to your Royal Person, and to touch the hem of your garment. I see your majesty imitateth Him that would not break the broken reed, nor quench the smoking flar; and as your majesty imitateth Christ, so I hope assuredly my lords of the upper house will imitate you: and unto your majesty's grace and mercy, and next to my lords, I recommend myself. It is not possible, nor it were not safe, for me to answer particulars till I have my charge; which when I shall receive, I shall without fig-leaves or disguise excuse what I can excuse, extenuate what I can extenuate, and ingenuously confess what I can neither clear nor extenuate. And if there be any thing which I mought conceive to be no offence, and yet is, I desire to be informed, that I may be twice penitent, once for my fault, and the second time for my error. And so submitting all that I am to your majesty's grace, I restI rest
CCLVIII. To the KING's Most Excellent Stephens's
It may please your Majesty,
IT hath pleased God, for these three days past, to visit me with such extremity of head-ach, upon the hinder part of my head, fixed in one place, that I thought verily it had been some imposthumation. And then the little physic that I have, told me, that either it must grow to a congelation, and so to a lethargy; or to break, and so to a mortal fever and sudden death: which apprehension, and chiefly the anguish of the pain, made me unable to think of any business. But now that the pain itself is assuaged to be tolerable, I resume the care of my business, and therein prostrate myself again, by my letter, at your majesty's feet.
Your majesty can bear me witness, that, at my last so comfortable access, I did not so much as move your perfor majesty, by your absolute power of pardon, or otherwise, to take my cause into your hands, and to interpose between the sentence of the house; and, according to my own desire, your majesty left it to the sentence of the house, and it was reported by my lord
But now, if not per omnipotentiam, as the divines speak, but per potestatem suaviter disponentem, your majesty will graciously save me from a sentence, with the good liking of the house, and that cup may pass from me, it is the utmost of my desires.
This I move with the more belief, because I assure myself that if it be reformation that is sought, the very taking away the seal, upon my general submission, will be as much in example, for this four hundred years, as any farther severities.
The means of this I most humbly leave unto your majesty. But surely I conceive, that your majesty opening yourself in this kind to the lords counsellors, and a motion from the prince, after my submission, and my lord marquis using his interest with his friends in the house, may effect the sparing of a sentence, I
Stephens's second collection, p. 145.
making my humble suit to the house for that purpose, joined with the delivery of the seal into your majesty's hands.
This is the last suit I shall make to your majesty in this business, prostrating myself at your mercy-seat, after fifteen years service, wherein I have served your majesty in my poor endeavours with an entire heart, and, as I presumed to say unto your majesty, am still a virgin for matters which concern your person or crown; and now only craving, that after eight steps of honour I be not precipitated altogether.
But because he that hath taken bribes is apt to give bribes, I will go farther, and present your majesty with a bribe. For if your majesty give me peace and leisure, and God give me life, I will present your majesty with a good history of England, and a better digest of your laws. And so concluding with my prayers, I rest Your majesty's afflicted, but ever devoted servant, 21 April, 1621. FR. ST. ALBAN, Canc.
CCLIX. To the Prince of WALES.
It may please your Highness,
WHEN I call to mind, how infinitely I am bound to your highness, that stretched forth your arm to save me from a sentence; that took hold of me to keep me from being plunged deep in a sentence; that hath kept me alive in your gracious memory and mention since the sentence; pitying me as, I hope, I deserve, and valuing me far above that I can deserve: I find my words almost as barren as my fortunes, to express unto your highness the thankfulness I owe. Therefore I can but resort to prayers to Almighty God to clothe you with his most rich and precious blessings, and likewise joyfully to meditate upon those he hath conferred upon you already; in that he hath made you to the king your father, a principal part of his safety, contentment and continuance in yourself so judicious, accomplished, and graceful in all your doings, with more virtues in the buds (which are the sweetest) than
have been known in a young prince, of long time; with the realm so well beloved, so much honoured, as it is mens daily observation how nearly you approach to his majesty's perfections; how every day you exceed yourself; how, compared with other princes, which God hath ordained to be young at this time, you shine amongst them; they rather setting off your religious, moral, and natural excellencies, than matching them, though you be but a second person. These and such like meditations I feed upon, since I can yield your highness no other retribution. And for myself, I hope by the assistance of God above, of whose grace and favour I have had extraordinary signs and effects during my afflictions, to lead such a life in the last acts thereof, as whether his majesty employ me, or whether I live to myself, I shall make the world say that I was not unworthy such a patron.
I am much beholden to your highness's worthy servant Sir John Vaughan, the sweet air, and loving usage of whose house hath already much revived my languishing spirits; I beseech your highness, thank him for me. God ever preserve and prosper your highness. Your highness's most humble
and most bounden servant,
1 June, 1621.
FR. ST. ALBAN.
CCLX. To the KING.
It may please your most excellent Majesty,
I HUMBLY thank your majesty for my liberty, without which timely grant, any farther grace would have come too late. But your majesty that did shed tears in the beginning of my trouble, will, I hope, shed the dew of your grace and goodness upon me in the end. Let me live to serve you, else life is but the shadow of death to
Your majesty's most devoted servant,
4 June, 1621.
FR. ST. ALBAN.
Stephens's second col lection, P. 146.
Stephens's second collcction, P. 147.
CCLXI. To the Marquis of Buckingham.
I HEARTILY thank your lordship for getting me out of prison and now my body is out, my mind nevertheless will be still in prison, till I may be on my feet to do his majesty and your lordship faithful service. Wherein your lordship, by the grace of God, shall find that my adversity hath neither spent, nor pent my spirits. God prosper you.
Your lordship's most obliged friend
FR. ST. ALBAN,
4 June, 1621.
CCLXII. A Memorial for his MAJESTY'S service.
FOR that your majesty is pleased to call for my opinion, concerning the sacred intention you have to go on with the reformation of your courts of justice, and relieving the grievances of your people, which the parliament hath entered into; I shall never be a recusant, though I be confined, to do you service.
Your majesty's star-chamber, next your court of parliament, is your highest chair. You never came upon that mount, but your garments did shine before you went off. It is the supreme court of judicature ordinary, it is an open council; nothing I would think can be more seasonable, if your other appointments permit it, than if your majesty will be pleased to come thither in person, the morrow after this term (which is the time anniversary, before the circuits and the long vacation) and there make an open declaration:
That you purpose to pursue the reformation, which the parliament hath begun. That all things go well, in all affairs, when the ordinary and extraordinary are well mingled and tempered together. That in matters of your treasure you did rely upon your parliament for the extraordinary, but you were ever desirous to