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years, there was an intermission of impositions, as appeareth both by records and the custom-books.

but whether it be supplication, or whether it be | II.'s time to Q. Mary, which is almost two hundred condition, it rather implieth the king hath a power; for else both were needless, for "conditio annectitur ubi libertas præsumitur," and the word oppression seemeth to refer to excessive impositions. And, thirdly, that the statutes of tonnage and poundage are but "cumulative," and not "privative" of the king's power precedent, appeareth notably in the three pence overplus, which is paid by the merchants strangers, which should be taken away quite, if those statutes were taken to be limitations; for in that, as we touched before, the rates are equal in the generality between subjects and strangers, and yet that imposition, notwithstanding any supposed restriction of these acts of subsidies of tonnage and poundage, remaineth at this day.

To which I answer; both that we have in effect an equal number of years to countervail them, namely, one hundred years in the times of the three kings Edwards added to sixty of our last years; and "extrema obruunt media;" for we have both the reverence of antiquity and the possession of the present times, and they but the middle times; and, besides, in all true judgment there is a very great difference between an usage to prove a thing lawful, and a non-usage to prove it unlawful: for the practice plainly implieth consent; but the discontinuance may be either because it was not needful, though lawful; or because there was found a better means, as I think The sixth consideration is likewise of an objec- it was indeed in respect of the double customs tion, which is matter of practice, viz.: that from R. | by means of the staple at Calais.




THE proportion of the king's supply is not now | in question for when that shall be, it may be I shall be of opinion, that we should give so now, as we may the better give again. But as things stand for the present, I think the point of honour and reputation is that which his majesty standeth most upon, that our gift may at least be like those showers, that may serve to lay the winds, though they do not sufficiently water the earth.

To labour to persuade you, I will not: for I know not into what form to cast my speech. If I should enter into a laudative, though never so due and just, of the king's great merits, it may be taken for flattery: if I should speak of the strait obligations which intercede between the king and the subject, in case of the king's want, it were a kind of concluding the House: if I should speak of the dangerous consequence

which want may reverberate upon subjects, it might have a show of a secret menace.

These arguments are, I hope, needless, and do better in your minds than in my mouth. But this, give me leave to say, that whereas the example of Cyrus was used, who sought his supply from those upon whom he had bestowed his benefits; we must always remember, that there are as well benefits of the sceptre as benefits of the hand, as well of government as of liberality. These, I am sure, we will acknowledge to have come "plena manu" amongst us all, and all those whom we represent; and, therefore, it is every man's head in this case that must be his counsellor, and every man's heart his orator; and to those inward powers more forcible than any man's speech, I leave it, and wish it may go to the question.

VOL. II.-36








According unto your lordships' letters unto us directed, grounded upon the information which his majesty hath received concerning the scarcity of silver at the mint, we have called before us as well the officers of the mint, as some principal merchants, and spent two whole afternoons in the examination of the business; wherein we kept this order, first to examine the fact, then the causes, with the remedies.

And, for the fact, we directed the officers of the mint to give unto us a distinguished account how much gold and silver hath yearly been brought into the mint, by the space of six whole years last past, more especially for the last three months succeeding the last proclamation touching the price of gold; to the end we might by the suddenness of the fall discern, whether that proclamation might be thought the efficient cause of the present scarcity. Upon which account it appears to us, that during the space of six years aforesaid, there hath been still degrees of decay in quantity of the silver brought to the mint, but yet so, as within these last three months it hath grown far beyond the proportion of the former time, insomuch as there comes in now little or none at all. And, yet, notwithstanding, it is some opinion, as well amongst the officers of the mint as the merchants, that the state need be the less apprehensive of this effect, because it is like to be but temporary, and neither the great flush of gold that is come into the mint since the proclamation, nor, on the other side, the great scarcity of silver, can continue in proportion as it now doth.

Another point of the fact, which we thought fit to examine, was, whether the scarcity of silver appeared generally in the realm, or only at the mint; wherein it was confessed by the merchants, that silver is continually imported into the realm, and is found stirring amongst the goldsmiths, and otherwise, much like as in former times, although, in respect of the greater price which it hath with the goldsmith, it cannot find the way to the mint. And thus much for the fact.

For the causes with the remedies, we have heard many propositions made, as well by the

Lord Knevet, who assisted us in this conference, as by the merchants; of which propositions few were new unto us, and much less can be new to your lordships; but yet, although upon former consultations, we are not unacquainted what is more or less likely to stand with your lordships' grounds and opinions, we thought it nevertheless the best fruit of our diligence to set them down in articles, that your lordships with more ease may discard or entertain the particulars, beginning with those which your lordships do point at in your letters, and so descending to the rest.

The first proposition is, touching the disproportion of the price between gold and silver, which is now brought to bed, upon the point of fourteen to one, being before but twelve to one. This we take to be an evident cause of scarcity of silver at the mint, but such a cause as will hardly receive a remedy; for either your lordships must draw down again the price of gold, or advance the price of silver; whereof the one is going back from that which is so lately done, and whereof you have found good effect, and the other is a thing of dangerous consequence, in respect of the loss to all moneyed men in their debts, gentlemen in their rents, the king in his customs, and the common subject in raising the price of things vendible. And upon this point it is fit we give your lordships understanding what the merchants intimated unto us, that the very voicing or suspect of the raising of the price of silver, if it be not cleared, would make such a deadness and retention of money this vacation, as, to use their own words, will be a misery to the merchants: so that we were forced to use protestation, that there was no such intent.

The second proposition, is touching the charge of coinage; wherein it was confidently avouched by the merchants, that if the coinage were brought from two shillings unto eighteen pence, as it was in Queen Elizabeth's time, the king would gain more in the quantity than he should lose in the price: and they aided themselves with that argument, that the king had been pleased to abate his coinage in the other metal, and found good of it: which argument, though it doth admit a difference, because that abatement was coupled with

the raising of the price, whereas this is to go alone; yet, nevertheless, it seemed the officers of the mint were not unwilling to give way to some abatement, although they presumed it would be of small effect, because that abatement would not be equivalent to that price which Spanish silver bears with the goldsmith; but yet it may be used as an experiment of state, being recoverable at his majesty's pleasure.

parts, it is supposed that all Spanish moneys, which is the bulk of silver brought into this realm, would, by means of such a proclamation, come into the mint; which may be a thing considerable.

The fifth proposition was this: It was warranted by the laws of Spain, to bring in silver for corn or victuals; it was propounded that his majesty would restrain exportation of corn "sub The third proposition is, concerning the ex- modo," except they bring the silver which reportation of silver more than in former times, sulted thereof, unto his mint; that trade being wherein we fell first upon the trade into the commonly so beneficial, as the merchant may East Indies; concerning which it was materially, well endure the bringing of the silver to the in our opinions, answered by the merchants of mint, although it were at the charge of coinage, that company, that the silver which supplies that which it now beareth further, as incident to this trade, being generally Spanish moneys, would matter. There was revived by the merchants, not be brought in but for that trade, so that it sucks with some instance, the ancient proposition, conin as well as it draws forth. And, it was added, cerning the erection of granaries for foreign corn, likewise, that as long as the Low Countries forasmuch as, by that increase of trade in corn, maintained that trade in the Indies, it would the importation of silver would likewise be help little, though our trade were dissolved, multiplied. because that silver which is exported immediately by us to the Indies, would be drawn out of this kingdom, for the Indies, immediately by the Dutch and for the silver exported to the Levant, it was thought to be no great matter. As for other exportation, we saw no remedy but the execution of the laws, specially those of employ-in foreign parts. To trouble your lordships ment, being, by some mitigation, made agreeable to the times. And these three remedies are of that nature, as they serve to remove the causes of this scarcity. There were other propositions of policies and means, directly to draw silver to the mint.

The fourth point thereof, was this: It is agreed that the silver which hath heretofore fed the mint, principally, hath been Spanish money. This now comes into the realm plentifully, but not into the mint. It was propounded, in imitation of some precedent in France, that his majesty would, by proclamation, restrain the coming in of this money "sub modo;" that is, that either it be brought to the mint, or otherwise to be but and defaced, because that now it passeth in payments in a kind of currency. To which it was colourably objected, that this would be the way to have none brought in at all, because the gain ceasing, the importation would cease; but this objection was well answered, that it is not gain altogether, but a necessity of speedy payment, that causeth the merchant to bring in silver to keep his credit, and to drive his trade: so that if the king keep his fourteen days' payment at the mint, as he always hath done, and have, likewise, his exchangers for those moneys, in some principal

The sixth proposition was, That upon all license of forbidden commodities, there shall be a rate set of silver to be brought into the mint: which, nevertheless, may seem somewhat hard, because it imposeth upon the subject that which causeth him to incur peril of confiscation

further with discourses which we had of making foreign coins current, and of varying the king's standard to weight, upon the variations in other states, and repressing surfeit of foreign commodities, that our native commodities, surmounting the foreign, may draw in treasure by way of overplus; they be commonplaces so well known to your lordships, as it is enough to mention them only.

There is only one thing more, which is, to put your lordships in mind of the extreme excess in the wasting of both metals, both of gold and silver foliate, which turns the nature of these metals, which ought to be perdurable, and makes them perishable, and, by consumption, must be a principal cause of scarcity in them both; which, we conceive, may receive a speedy remedy by his majesty's proclamation.

Lastly, We are humble suitors to your lordships, that for any of these propositions, that your lordships should think fit to entertain in consultations, your lordships would be pleased to hear them debated before yourselves, as being matters of greater weight than we are able to judge of. And so, craving your lordships' pardon for troubling you so long, we commend your lordships to God's goodness.







THE king hath heard and observed your grave and decent speech, tending to the excuse and disablement of yourself for the place of speaker. In answer whereof, his majesty hath commanded me to say to you, that he doth in no sort admit of

ferring it before other estates, it needs no answer; the schools may dispute it; but time hath tried it, and we find it to be the best. Other states have curious frames, soon put out of order: and they that are made fit to last, are not commonly fit to grow or spread: and, contrariwise, those that are made fit to spread and enlarge, are not fit to conFirst, Because if the party's own judgment tinue and endure. But monarchy is like a work should be admitted in case of elections, touching of nature, well composed both to grow and to conhimself, it would follow, that the most confident and overweening persons would be received; and the most considerate men, and those that understand themselves best, would be rejected.

the same.

Secondly, His majesty doth so much rely upon the wisdoms and discretions of those of the House of Commons, that have chosen you with a unanimous consent, that his majesty thinks not good to swerve from their opinion in that wherein themselves are principally interested.

Thirdly, You have disabled yourself in so good and decent a fashion, as the manner of your speech hath destroyed the matter of it.

tinue. From this I pass.

For the second part of your speech, wherein you did with no less truth than affection acknowledge the great felicity which we enjoy by his majesty's reign and government, his majesty hath commanded me to say unto you, that praises and thanksgivings he knoweth to be the true oblations of hearts and loving affections: but that which you offer him he will join with you, in offering it up to God, who is the author of all good; who knoweth also the uprightness of his heart; who he hopeth will continue and increase his blessings both upon himself and his posterity, and likewise upon

And, therefore, the king doth allow of the elec- his kingdoms and the generations of them. tion, and admit you for speaker.


THE king hath heard and observed your eloquent discourse, containing much good matter, and much good will: wherein you must expect from me such an answer only as is pertinent to the occasion, and compassed by due respect of time.

I may divide that which you have said into four parts.

The first was a commendation, or laudative of monarchy.

The second was indeed a large field, containing a thankful acknowledgment of his majesty's benefits, attributes, and acts of government.

The third was some passages touching the institution and use of parliaments.

But I for my part must say unto you, as the Grecian orator said long since in the like case. "Solus dignus harum rerum laudatur tempus;" Time is the only commender and encomiastic worthy of his majesty and his government.

Why time? For that, in the revolution of so many years and ages as have passed over this kingdom, notwithstanding, many noble and excellent effects were never produced until his majesty's days, but have been reserved as proper and peculiar unto them.

And because this is no part of a panegyric, but merely story, and that they be so many articles of honour fit to be recorded, I will only mention them, extracting part of them out of that you, Mr. Speaker, have said; they be in number eight.

First, his majesty is the first, as you noted it well, that hath laid "lapis angularis," the corner The fourth and last was certain petitions to his stone of these two mighty kingdoms of England majesty on the behalf of the House and yourself. and Scotland, and taken away the wall of sepaFor your commendation of monarchy, and pre-ration: whereby his majesty is become the mo

narch of the most puissant and military nations of the world; and, if one of the ancient wise men was not deceived, iron commands gold.

Secondly, the plantation and reduction to civility of Ireland, the second island of the ocean Atlantic, did by God's providence wait for his majesty's times; being a work resembling indeed the works of the ancient heroes: no new piece of that kind in modern times.

Thirdly, This kingdom, now first in his majesty's times, hath gotten a lot or portion in the new world, by the plantation of Virginia and the Summer Islands. And certainly it is with the kingdoms on earth as it is in the kingdom of heaven: sometimes a grain of mustard-seed proves a great tree. Who can tell?

Fourthly, His majesty hath made that truth which was before titularly, in that he hath verified the style of Defender of the Faith: wherein his majesty's pen hath been so happy, as, though the deaf adder will not hear, yet he is charmed that he doth not hiss. I mean in the graver sort of those that have answered his majesty's writings.

Fifthly, It is most certain, that since the conquest ye cannot assign twenty years, which is the time that his majesty's reign now draws fast upon, of inward and outward peace. Insomuch, as the time of Queen Elizabeth, of happy memory, and always magnified for a peaceable reign, was nevertheless interrupted the first twenty years with a rebellion in England; and both first and last twenty years with rebellions in Ireland. And yet I know, that his majesty will make good both his words, as well that of "Nemo me lacessit impune,” as that other of " Beati pacifici.”

Sixthly, That true and primitive office of kings, which is, to sit in the gate and to judge the people, was never performed in like perfection by any of the king's progenitors: whereby his majesty hath showed himself to be "lex loquens," and to sit upon the throne, not as a dumb statue, but as a speaking oracle.

Seventhly, For his majesty's mercy, as you noted it well, show me a time wherein a king of this realm hath reigned almost twenty years, as I said, in his white robes, without the blood of any peer of this kingdom: the axe turned once or twice towards a peer, but never struck.

Lastly, The flourishing of arts and sciences recreated by his majesty's countenance and bounty, was never in that height, especially that art of arts, divinity; for that we may truly to God's great glory confess, that since the primitive times, there were never so many stars, for so the Scripture calleth them, in that firmament.

These things, Mr. Speaker, I have partly chosen out of your heap, and are so far from being vulgar, as they are in effect singular and proper to his majesty and his times. So that I have made good, as I take it, my first assertion; that

the only worthy commender of his majesty is time: which hath so set off his majesty's merits by the shadow of comparison, as it passeth the lustre or commendation of words.

How then shall I conclude? Shall I say, "0 fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint ?" No, for I see ye are happy in enjoying them, and happy again in knowing them. But I will conclude this part with that saying, turned to the right hand: "Si gratum dixeris, omnia dixeris." Your gratitude contains in a word all that I can say to you touching this parliament.

Touching the third point of your speech, concerning parliaments, I shall need to say little for there was never that honour done to the institution of parliament, that his majesty did it in his last speech, making it in effect the perfection of monarchy; for that although monarchy was the more ancient, and be independent, yet by the advice and assistance of parliament it is the stronger and the surer built.

And therefore I shall say no more of this point; but as you, Mr. Speaker, did well note, that when the king sits in parliament, and his prelates, peers, and commons attend him, he is in the exaltation of his orb; so I wish things may be so carried, that he may be then in greatest serenity and benignity of aspect; shining upon his people both in glory and grace. Now you know well, that the shining of the sun fair upon the ground, whereby all things exhilarate and do fructify, is either hindered by clouds above or mists below; perhaps by brambles and briers that grow upon the ground itself. All which I hope at this time will be dispelled and removed.

I come now to the last part of your speech, concerning the petitions: but before I deliver his majesty's answer respectively in particular, I am to speak to you some few words in general; wherein, in effect, I shall but glean, his majesty having so excellently and fully expressed himself.

For that, that can be spoken pertinently, must be either touching the subject or matter of parlia ment business; or of the manner and carriage of the same; or, lastly, of the time, and the husbanding and marshalling of time.

For the matters to be handled in parliament, they are either of church, state, laws, or grievances.

For the first two, concerning church or state, ye have heard the king himself speak; and as the Scripture saith, "Who is he that in such things shall come after the king ?" For the other two, I shall say somewhat, but very shortly.

For laws, they are things proper for your own element; and, therefore, therein ye are rather to lead than to be led. Only it is not amiss to put you in mind of two things; the one, that ye do not multiply or accumulate laws more than ye need. There is a wise and learned civilian that applies the curse of the prophet, "Pluet super eos laqueos."

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