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which I am a debtor: some little helps, I have of | pains in the story of England, and in compiling a other arts, which may give form to matter: and I method and digest of your laws, so have I perhave now, by God's merciful chastisement, and formed the first, which resteth but upon myself, by his special providence, time and leisure to put in some part: and I do in all humbleness renew my talent, or half talent, or what it is, to such the offer of this latter, which will require help and exchanges as may perhaps exceed the interest of assistance, to your majesty, if it shall stand an active life. Therefore, as in the beginning of with your good pleasure to employ my service my troubles I made offer to your majesty to take therein.






WITH the first free time from your majesty's service of more present dispatch, I have perused the projects of Sir Stephen Proctor, and do find it a collection of extreme diligence and inquisition, and more than I thought could have met in one man's knowledge. For, though it be an easy matter to run over many offices and professions, and to note in them general abuses or deceits; yet, nevertheless, to point at and trace out the particular and covert practices, shifts, devices, tricks, and, as it were, stratagems in the meaner sort of the ministers of justice or public service, and to do it truly and understandingly, is a discovery whereof great good use may be made for your majesty's service and good of your people. But because this work, I doubt not, hath been to the gentleman the work of years, whereas my certificate must be the work but of hours or days, and that it is commonly and truly said, that he that embraceth much, straineth and holdeth the less, and that propositions have wings, but operation and execution have leaden feet: I most humbly desire pardon of your majesty, if I do for the present only select some one or two principal points, and certify my opinion thereof; reserving the rest as a sheaf by me to draw out, at further time, further matter for your majesty's information for so much as I shall conceive to be fit or worthy the consideration.

For that part, therefore, of these projects which concerneth penal laws, I do find the purpose and scope to be, not to press a greater rigour or severity in the execution of penal laws; but to epress the abuses in common informers, and some clerks and under-ministers, that for common gain partake with them for if it had tended to

the other point, I for my part should be very far from advising your majesty to give ear unto it. For, as it is said in the psalm, "If thou, Lord, should be extreme to mark what is done amiss, who may abide it?" So it is most certain, that your people is so ensnared in a multitude of penal laws, that the execution of them cannot be borne. And, as it followeth; "But with thee is mercy, that thou mayest be feared:" so it is an intermixture of mercy and justice that will bring you fear and obedience: for too much rigour makes people desperate. And, therefore, to leave this, which was the only blemish of King Henry VII.'s reign, and the unfortunate service of Empson and Dudley, whom the people's curses, rather than any law, brought to overthrow; the other work is a work not only of profit to your majesty, but of piety towards your people. For, if it be true in any proportion, that within these five years of your majesty's happy reign, there hath not five hundred pounds benefit come to your majesty by penal laws, the fines of the Star Chamber, which are of a higher kind, only excepted, and yet, nevertheless, there hath been a charge of at least fifty thousand pounds, which hath been laid upon your people, it were more than time it received a remedy.

This remedy hath been sought by divers statutes, as principally by a statute in 18, and another of 31, of the late queen of happy memory. But I am of opinion, that the appointing of an officer proper for that purpose, will do more good than twenty statutes, and will do that good effectually, which these statutes aim at intentionally.

And this I do allow of the better, because it is none of those new superintendencies, which I see many times offered upon pretence of reformation,

as if judges did not their duty, or ancient and sworn officers did not their duty, and the like: but it is only to set a custos or watchman, neither over judges nor clerks, but only over a kind of people that cannot be sufficiently watched or overlooked, and that is, the common promoters or informers: the very awe and noise whereof will do much good, and the practice much more.

I will, therefore, set down first, what is the abuse or inconvenience, and then what is the remedy which may be expected from the industry of this officer. And, I will divide it into two parts, the one, for that, that may concern the ease of your people, for with that will I crave leave to begin, as knowing it to be principal in your majesty's intention, and the other for that that may concern your majesty's benefit.

Concerning the ease of his majesty's subjects, polled and vexed by common informers.

The abuses or inconve


1. An informer exhibits an information, and in that one information he will put a hundred several subjects of this information. Every one shall take out copies, and every one shall put in his several answer. This will cost perhaps a hundred marks: that done, no further proceeding. But the clerks have their fees, and the informer hath his dividend for bringing the water to the mill.

It is to be noted, that this vexation is not met with by any statute. For it is no composition, but a discontinuance; and in that case there is no penalty, but costs: and the poor subject will never sue for his costs, lest it awake the informer to revive his information, and so it escapeth clearly.

2. Informers receive pensions of divers persons to forbear them. And this is commonly of principal offenders, and of the wealthiest sort of tradesmen. For

if one tradesman may presume to break the law, and another not, he will be soon richer than his fellows. As, for example, if one draper may use tenters, because he is in fee with an informer, and others not, he will soon outstrip the good tradesman that keeps the law.

And, if it be thought strange that any man should seek his peace by one informer, when he lieth open to all, the experience is otherwise: for one informer will bear with the friend of another, looking for the like measures.

And, besides, they have devices to get priority of information, and to put in an information

The remedies by the industry of the officer. 1. The officer by his diligence finding this case, is to inform the court thereof, who there- de bene esse," to preupon may grant good vent others, and to procosts against the infor-tect their pensioners. mer, to every of the subjects vexed: and withal not suffer the same informer to revive his information against any of them; and, lastly, fine him, as for a misdemeanor and abuse of justice: and by that time a few of such examples be made, they will be soon weary of that practice.

2. This is an abuse that appeareth not by any proceeding in court, because it is before suit commenced, and therefore requireth a particular inquiry.

And if it be said this is a pillory matter to the informer, and therefore he will not attempt it; although therein the statute is a little doubtful: yet if hanging will not keep thieves from stealing, it is not pillory will keep informers from polling.

And, herein, Sir Stephen addeth a notable circumstance: that they will peruse a trade, as of brewers or victuallers, and if any stand out, and will not be in fee, they will find means to have a dozen informations come upon him at once.

3. The subject is often for the same offence vexed by several informations: sometimes the oneinformernotknowing of the other; and often by confederacy, to weary the party with charge upon every of which goeth process, and of


But when it shall be the care and cogitation of one man to overlook informers, these things are easily discovered: for let him but look who they be that the informer calls in question, and hearken who are of the same trade in the same place and are spared, and it will be easy to trace a bargain.

In this case, having discovered the abuse, he ought to inform the barons of the exche. quer, and the king's learned counsel, that by the Star Chamber, or otherwise, such taxers of the king's subjects may be punished.

3. The officer keep ing a book of all the informations put in, with a brief note of the mat

ter, may be made acquainted with all informations to come in: and if he find a precedent for the same cause, he may inform some of

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The abuses are inconveni


1. After an information is exhibited and answered, for so the statute requires, the informer for the most part groweth to composition with the defendant; which he cannot do without peril of the statute, except he have license from the court, which license he ought to return by order and course of the court, together with a declaration upon his oath of the true sum that he takes for the composition. Upon which license so returned, the court is to tax a fine for the king.

This ought to be, but as it is now used, the license is seldom returned. And although it contain a clause that the license shall be void, if it be not duly returned; yet the manner is to suggest that they are still in terms of composition, and so to obtain new days, and to linger it on till a Parliament and a pardon come.

Also, when the license is returned, and thereupon the judge or baron to sesse a fine; there is none for the king to inform them of the nature of the of fence; of the value to

The remedies.

1. The officer in this point is to perform his greatest service to the king, in soliciting for the king in such sort as licenses be duly returned, the deceits of these fraudulent compositions discovered, and fines may be set for the king in some good proportion, having respect to the values both of the matter and the person: for the king's fines are not to be delivered, as moneys given by the party, "ad redimendam vexationem," but as moneys given "ad redimendam culpam et pœnam legis;" and ought to be in such quantity, as may not make the laws al

grow to the king if the suit prevail; of the ability of the person, and the like. By reason whereof, the fine that is set is but a trifle, as 20, 30, or 40s., and it runs in a form likewise, which I do not well like for it is "ut

parcatur misis," which purporteth, as if the party did not any way submit himself, and take the composition as of grace of the court, but as if he did justify himself, and were content to give a trifie to avoid charge.

Which point of form hath a shrewd consequence: for it is some ground that the fine is set too weak.

And as for the informer's oath touching his composition, which is commonly a trifle, and is the other ground of the smallness of the fine, it is, no doubt, taken with an equivocation: as taking such a sum in name of a composition, and some greater matter by some indirect or collateral mean.

Also, these fines, together trampled down light as they be, are and contemned. There- seldom answered and fore the officer ought put in process. first to be made acquainted with every license, that he may have an eye to the sequel of it: then ought he to be the person that ought to prefer unto the judges or barons, as well the bills for the taxations of the fines, as the orders for giving further days, to the end that the court may be duly informed both of the weight of causes, and the delays therein used; and, lastly, he is to see that the fines sessed, be

2. An information goeth on to trial, and passeth for the king. In this case of recovery, the informer will be satisfied, and will take his whole moiety, for that he accounts to be no composition: that done, none will be at charge to return the "postea," and to procure judgment and execution for the king. For the informer hath that he sought for, the clerks will do nothing without fees paid, which,

duly put in process, and answered.

2. The officer is to follow for the king, that the "posteas" be returned.

there being no man to prosecute, there can be no man likewise to pay; and so the king loseth his moiety, when his title appears by verdict.

3. It falleth out sometimes in informations of weight, and worthy to be prosecuted, the informer dieth, or falls to poverty, or his mouth is stopped, and yet so as no man can charge him with composition, and so the matter dieth.

4. There be sundry seizures made, in case where the laws give seizures, which are released by agreements underhand, and so money wrested from the subject, and no benefit to the king.

All seizures once made, ought not to be discharged, but by order of the court, and

3. The officer in such case, is to inform the king's learned counsel, that they may prosecute if they think fit.

4. The officer is to take knowledge of such seizures, and to give information to the court concerning them.

This is of more difficulty, because seizures are matter in fact, whereas suits are matter of record: and it may require more persons to be employed,asat the ports, where is much abuse.

therefore some entry

ought to be made of them.

There be other points wherein the officer may be of good use, which may be comprehended in his grant or instructions, wherewith I will not now trouble your majesty, for I hold these to be the principal.

Thus have I, according to your majesty's reference, certified my opinion of that part of Sir Stephen Proctor's projects, which concerneth penal laws which I do wholly and most humbly submit to your majesty's high wisdom and judgment, wishing withal that some conference may be had by Mr. Chancellor and the barons, and the rest of the learned counsel, to draw the service to a better perfection. And most specially that the travels therein taken may be considered and discerned of by the lord treasurer, whose care and capacity is such, as he doth always either find or choose that which is best for your majesty's service.

The recompense unto the gentleman, it is not my part to presume to touch, otherwise than to put your majesty in remembrance of that proportion, which your majesty is pleased to give to others out of the profits they bring in, and perhaps with a great deal less labour and charge.





I FIND it a positive precept of the old law, that there should be no sacrifice without salt: the moral whereof, besides the ceremony, may be, that God is not pleased with the body of a good intention, except it be seasoned with that spiritual wisdom and judgment, as it be not easily subject to be corrupted and perverted: for salt, in the Scripture, is a figure both of wisdom and lasting. This cometh into my mind, upon this act of Mr. Sutton, which seemeth to me as a sacrifice without salt; having the materials of a good intention, but not powdered with any such ordinances and institutions as may preserve the same from turning corrupt, or at least from becoming unsavoury, and of little For though the choice of the feoffees be of the best, yet neither can they always live;


and the very nature of the work itself, in the vast and unfit proportions thereof, being apt to provoke a misemployment: it is no diligence of theirs, except there be a digression from that model, that can excuse it from running the same way that gifts of like condition have heretofore done. For to design the Charterhouse, a building fit for a prince's habitation, for an hospital, is all one as if one should give in alms a rich embroidered cloak to a beggar. And certainly a man may see "tanquam quæ oculis cernuntur," that if such an edifice, with six thousand pounds revenue, be erected into one hospital, it will in small time degenerate to be made a preferment of some great person to be master, and he to take all the sweet, and the poor to be stinted, and take but the crumbs; as it comes to pass in divers hospitals of this realm, which have but the names of hospitals, and are only wealthy benefices in

respect of the mastership; but the poor, which ' in the beginning, that in these great hospitals the is the "propter quid," little relieved. And the revenues will draw the use, and not the use the like hath been the fortune of much of the alms of the Roman religion in their great foundations, which being begun in vainglory and ostentation, have had their judgment upon them, to end in corruption and abuse. This meditation hath made me presume to write these few lines to your majesty; being no better than good wishes, which your majesty's great wisdom may make something or nothing of.

Wherein I desire to be thus understood, that if this foundation, such as it is, be perfect and good in law, then I am too well acquainted with your majesty's disposition, to advise any course of power or profit that is not grounded upon a right: nay, farther, if the defects be such as a court of equity may remedy and cure, then I wish that, as St. Peter's shadow did cure diseases, so the very shadow of a good intention may cure defects of that nature. But if there be a right, and birthright planted in the heir, and not remediable by courts of equity, and that right be submitted to your majesty, whereby it is both in your power and grace what to do: then I do wish that this rude mass and chaos of a good deed were directed rather to a solid merit, and durable charity, than to a blaze of glory, that will but crackle a little in talk, and quickly extinguish.

revenues; and so, through the mass of the wealth, they will swiftly tumble down to a misemployment. And if any man say, that in the two hospitals in London there is a precedent of greatness concurring with good employment; let him consider that those hospitals have annual governors, that they are under the superior care and policy of such a state as the city of London; and, chiefly, that their revenues consist not upon certainties, but upon casualties and free gifts, which gifts would be withheld, if they appeared once to be perverted; so as it keepeth them in a continual good behaviour and awe to employ them aright; none of which points do match with the present case.

The next consideration may be, whether this intended hospital, as it hath a more ample endowment than other hospitals have, should not likewise work upon a better subject than other poor; as that it should be converted to the relief of maimed soldiers, decayed merchants, householders aged, and destitute churchmen, and the like; whose condition, being of a better sort than loose people and beggars, deserveth both a more liberal stipend and allowance, and some proper place of relief, not intermingled or coupled with the basest sort of poor; which project, though speAnd this may be done, observing the species cious, yet, in my judgment, will not answer the of Mr. Sutton's intent, though varying "in indi-designment in the event, in these our times. For viduo:" for it appears that he had in notion a triple good, a hospital, and a school, and maintaining of a preacher: which individuals refer to these three general heads; relief of poor, advancement of learning, and propagation of religion. Now, then, if I shall set before your majesty, in every of these three kinds, what it is that is most wanting in your kingdom; and what is like to be the most fruitful and effectual use of such a beneficence, and least like to be perverted; that, I think, shall be no ill scope of my labour, how meanly soever performed; for out of variety represented, election may be best grounded.


certainly few men in any vocation, which have been somebody, and bear a mind somewhat according to the conscience and remembrance of that they have been, will ever descend to that condition, as to profess to live upon alms, and to become a corporation of declared beggars; but rather will choose to live obscurely, and as it were to hide themselves with some private friends: so that the end of such an institution will be, that it will make the place a receptacle of the worst, idlest, and most dissolute persons of every profession, and to become a cell of loiterers, and cast serving-men, and drunkards, with scandal rather than fruit to the commonwealth. And of this kind I can find but one example with us, which is the alms-knights of Windsor; which particular would give a man a small encouragement to follow that precedent.

Concerning the relief of the poor; I hold some number of hospitals, with competent endowments, will do far more good than one hospital of an exorbitant greatness: for though the one course will be the more seen, yet the other will be the more felt. For if your majesty erect many, Therefore the best effect of hospitals is, to make besides the observing the ordinary maxim, the kingdom, if it were possible, capable of that Bonum, quo communius, eo melius," choice law, that there be no beggar in Israel: for it is may be made of those towns and places where that kind of people that is a burden, an eyesore, there is most need, and so the remedy may be a scandal and seed of peril and tumult in the state. distributed as the disease is dispersed. Again, But chiefly it were to be wished, that such a begreatness of relief, accumulated in one place, doth neficence towards the relief of the poor were so rather invite a swarm and surcharge of poor, than bestowed, as not only the mere and naked poor relieve those that are naturally bred in that place; should be sustained, but, also, that the honest like to ill-tempered medicines, that draw more person which hath hard means to live, upon whom humour to the part than they evacuate from it. the poor are now charged, should be in some sort But calefly I rely upon the reason that I touched eased: for that were a work generally acceptable

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