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great enormities any aggravating, neither needeth so great grace, as useth of itself to flow from your majesty's princely goodness, any artificial persuading. There be two things only which I think good to set before your majesty; the one the example of your most noble progenitors, kings of this realm, who, from the first king that endowed this kingdom with the great charters of their liberties, until the last, all save one, who, as he was singular in many excellent things, so I would he had not been alone in this, have ordain

And therefore to descend, if it may please your majesty, to the third sort of abuse, which is of the unlawful manner of their taking, whereof this omission is a branch; and it is so manifold, as it rather asketh an enumeration of some of the particulars, than a prosecution of all. For their price; by law they ought to take as they can agree with the subject; by abuse they take an imposed and enforced price: by law they ought to make but one appraisement by neighbours in the country; by abuse they make a second appraisement at the court-gate; and when the sub-ed, every one of them in their several reigns, ject's cattle come up many miles lean, and out of plight, by reason of their great travel, then they prize them anew at an abated price: by law they ought to take between sun and sun; by abuse they take by twilight, and in the nighttime, a time well chosen for malefactors: by law they ought not to take in the highways, a place by your majesty's high prerogative protected, and by statute by special words excepted; by abuse they take in the ways, in contempt of your majesty's prerogative and laws: by law they ought to show their commission, and the form of commission is by law set down; the commissions they bring down, are against the law, and because they know so much, they will not show them. A number of other particulars there are, whereof as I have given your majesty a taste, so the chief of them upon deliberate advice are set down in writing by the labour of some committees, and approbation of the whole House, more particularly and lively than I can express them, myself having them at the second hand by reason of my abode above. But this writing is a collection of theirs who dwell amongst the abuses of these offenders, and the complaints of the people; and therefore must needs have a more perfect understanding of all the circumstances of them.

It remaineth only that I use a few words, the rather to move your majesty in this cause: a few words, I say, a very few; for neither need so

some laws or law against this kind of offenders; and especially the example of one of them, that king who, for his greatness, wisdom, glory, and union of several kingdoms, resembleth your majesty most, both in virtue and fortune, King Edward III., who, in his time only, made ten several laws against this mischief. The second is the example of God himself; who hath said and pronounced, "That he will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." For all these great misdemeanors are committed in and under your majesty's name: and therefore we hope your majesty will hold them twice guilty that commit these offences; once for the oppressing of the people, and once more for doing it under the colour and abuse of your majesty's most dreaded and beloved name. So then I will conclude with the saying of Pindarus, “Optima res aqua;" not for the excellency, but for the common use of it; and so, contrariwise, the matter of abuse of purveyance, if it be not the most heinous abuse, yet certainly it is the most common and general abuse of all others in this kingdom.

It resteth, that, according to the command laid upon me, I do in all humbleness present this writing to your majesty's royal hands, with most humble petition on the behalf of the Commons, that as your majesty hath been pleased to vouchsafe your gracious audience to hear me speak, so you would be pleased to enlarge your patience to hear this writing read, which is more material.

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I HAVE been hitherto silent in this matter of undertaking, wherein, as I perceive, the House is much enwrapped.

commands the hearts, and the other commands the heads; and others I know none. I think Æsop was a wise man that described the nature of the fly, that sat upon the spoke of the chariot wheel, and said to herself, "What a dust do I raise!" So, for my part, I think that all this dust is raised by light rumours and buzzes, and not upon any solid ground.

The second reason that made me silent was, because this suspicion and rumour of undertaking, settles upon no person certain. It is like the birds of Paradise that they have in the Indies, that have no feet; and, therefore, they never light upon any place, but the wind carries them away: and such a thing do I take this rumour to be.

And, lastly, when that the king had, in his two several speeches, freed us from the main of our fears, in affirming directly, that there was no undertaking to him; and that he would have taken it to be no less derogation to his own majesty than to our merits, to have the acts of his people transferred to particular persons; that did quiet me thus far, that these vapours were not gone up to the head, howsoever they might glow and estuate in the body.

First, because, to be plain with you, I did not well understand what it meant, or what it was; and I do not love to offer at that that I do not thoroughly conceive. That private men should undertake for the Commons of England! why, a man might as well undertake for the four elements. It is a thing so giddy, and so vast, as cannot enter into the brain of a sober man: and, especially, in a new parliament; when it was impossible to know who should be of the parliament: and when all men, that know never so little the constitution of this House, do know it to be so open to reason, as men do not know when they enter into these doors what mind themselves will be of, until they hear things argued and debated. Much less can any man make a policy of assurance, what ship shall come safe home into the harbour in these seas. I had heard of undertakings in several kinds. There were undertakers for the plantations of Derry and Colerane, in Ireland, the better to command and bridle those parts. There were, not long ago, some undertakers for the north-west passage: and now there are some undertakers for the project of dyed and dressed cloths; and, in short, every novelty useth to be strengthened and made good by a kind of under-be taking; but for the ancient parliament of England, which moves in a certain manner and sphere, to be undertaken, it passes my reach to conceive what it should be. Must we be all dyed and dressed, and no pure whites amongst us? Or must there be a new passage found for the king's business, by a point of the compass that was never sailed by before? Or must there be some forts built in this House, that may command and contain the rest? Mr. Speaker, I know but two forts in this House which the king ever hath; the lort of affection, and the fort of reason: the one

Nevertheless, since I perceive that this cloud still hangs over the House, and that it may do hurt, as well in fame abroad as in the king's ear, I resolved with myself to do the part of an honest voice in this House, to counsel you what I think to for the best.

Wherein, first, I will speak plainly of the pernicious effects of the accident of this bruit and opinion of undertaking, towards particulars, towards the House, towards the king, and towards the people.

Secondly, I will tell you, in mine opinion, what undertaking is tolerable, and how far it may be justified with a good mind; and, on the other side, this same ripping up of the question of undertakers, how far it may proceed from a good mind, and in what kind it may be thought malicious and dangerous.

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Thirdly, I will give you my poor advice, what | selves betrayed by those that are their deputies means there are to put an end to this question of and attorneys here, it is true we may bind them undertaking; not falling, for the present, upon a and conclude them, but it will be with such precise opinion, but breaking it, how many ways murmur and insatisfaction as I would be loath to there be by which you may get out of it, and see. leaving the choice of them to a debate at the committee.

And, lastly, I will advise you how things are to be handled at the committee, to avoid distraction and loss of time.

For the first of these, I can say to you but as the Scripture saith, "Si invicem mordetis, ab invicem consumemini;" if ye fret and gall one another's reputation, the end will be, that every man shall go hence, like coin cried down, of less price than he came hither. If some shall be thought to fawn upon the king's business openly, and others to cross it secretly, some shall be thought practisers that would pluck the cards, and others shall be thought Papists that would shuffle the cards; what a misery is this, that we should come together to fool one another, instead of procuring the public good.

These things might be dissembled, and so things left to bleed inwards; but that is not the way to cure them. And, therefore, I have searched the sore, in hope that you will endeavour the medicine.

But this to do more thoroughly, I must proceed to my second part, to tell you clearly and distinctly, what is to be set on the right hand, and what on the left, in this business.

First, if any man hath done good offices to advise the king to call a parliament, and to increase the good affection and confidence of his majesty towards his people; I say, that such a person doth rather merit well, than commit any error. Nay, further, if any man hath, out of his own good mind, given an opinion touching the minds of the parliament in general; how it is probable they are like to be found, and that they will have a due feeling of the king's wants, and will not deal dryly or illiberally with him; this. man, that doth but think of other men's minds, as he finds his own, is not to be blamed. Nay, further, if any man hath coupled this with good wishes and propositions, that the king do comfort the hearts of his people, and testify his own love to them, by filing off the harshness of his prero

And this ends not in particulars, 'but will make the whole House contemptible: for now I hear men say, that this question of undertaking is the predominant matter of this House. So that we are now, according to the parable of Jotham, in the case of the trees of the forest, that when question was, Whether the vine should reign over them? that might not be: and whether the olive should reign over them? that might not be:gative, retaining the substance and strength; and but we have accepted the bramble to reign over us. For, it seems, that the good vine of the king's graces, that is not so much in esteem; and the good oil, whereby we should salve and relieve the wants of the estate and crown, that is laid aside too: and this bramble of contention and emulation; this Abimelech, which, as was truly said by an understanding gentleman, is a bastard, for every fame that wants a head, is "filius populi," this must reign and rule amongst us.

Then for the king, nothing can be more opposite, "ex diametro," to his ends and hopes, than this: for you have heard him profess like a king, and like a gracious king, that he doth not so much respect his present supply, as this demonstration that the people's hearts are more knit to him than before. Now, then, if the issue shall be this, that whatsoever shall be done for him shall be thought to be done but by a number of persons that shall be laboured and packed; this will rather be a sign of diffidence and alienation, than of a natural benevolence and affection in his people at home; and rather matter of disreputation, than of honour abroad. So that, to speak plainly to you, the king were better call for a new pair of cards, than play upon these if they be packed.

And then, for the people, it is my manner ever to look as well beyond a parliament, as upon a parliament; and if they abroad shall think them

to that purpose, like the good householder in the Scripture, that brought forth old store and new, hath revolved the petitions and propositions of the last parliament, and added new; I say, this man hath sown good seed; and he that shall draw him into envy for it, sows tares. Thus much of the right hand. But, on the other side, if any shall mediately or immediately infuse into his majesty, or to others, that the parliament is, as Cato said of the Romans, "like sheep, that a man were better drive a flock of them than one of them:" and, however, they may be wise men severally, yet, in this assembly, they are guided by some few, which, if they be made and assured, the rest will easily follow: this is a plain robbery of the king of honour, and his subjects of thanks, and it is to make the parliament vile and servile in the eyes of their sovereign; and I count it no better than a supplanting of the king and kingdom. Again, if a man shall make this impression, that it shall be enough for the king to send us some things of show, that may serve for colours, and let some eloquent tales be told of them, and that will serve "ad faciendum populum;" any such person will find that this House can well skill of false lights, and that it is no wooing tokens, but the true love already planted in the breast of the subjects, that will make them do for the king. And this is my opinion touching

those that may have persuaded a parliament. | ingenuously confess, how far they will politicly Take it on the other side, for I mean, in all things, deny, and what we can make and gather upon

their confession, and how we shall prove against their denial; it is an endless piece of work, and I doubt that we shall grow weary of it.

For a message to the king, it is the course I like best, so it be carefully and considerately handled for if we shall represent to the king the nature of this body as it is, without the veils or shadows that have been cast upon it, I think we shall do him honour, and ourselves right.

to deal plainly, if any man hath been diffident touching the call of a parliament, thinking that the best means were, first, for the king to make his utmost trial to subsist of himself, and his own means; I say, an honest and faithful heart might consent to that opinion, and the event, it seems, doth not greatly discredit it hitherto. Again, if any man shall have been of opinion, that it is not a particular party that can bind the House; nor that it is not shows or colours can please the House; I say, that man, though his speech tend to discouragement, yet it is coupled with providence. But, by your leave, if any man, since the parliament was called, or when it was in speech, shall have laid plots to cross the good will of the parliament to the king, by possessing them that a few shall have the thanks, and that they are, as it were, bought and sold, and betrayed; and that that which the king offers them, are but baits prepared by particular persons; or have raised rumours that it is a packed parliament; to the end nothing may be done, but that the parlia- Why, then, the last part is, that these things ment may be dissolved, as gamesters used to call be handled at the committee seriously and temfor new cards, when they mistrust a pack : I say,|perately; wherein I wish that these four degrees these are engines and devices naught, malign, and of questions were handled in order. seditious.

For any thing that is to be done amongst ourselves, I do not see much gained by it, because it goes no farther than ourselves; yet if any thing can be wisely conceived to that end, I shall not be against it; but I think the purpose of it is fittest to be, rather that the House conceives that all this is but a misunderstanding, than to take knowledge that there is indeed a just ground, and then to seek, by a protestation, to give it a remedy. For protestations, and professions, and apologies, I never found them very fortunate; but they rather increase suspicion than clear it.

First, Whether we shall do any thing at all in it, or pass by it, and let it sleep?

Secondly, Whether we shall enter into a parti

Thirdly, Whether we shall content ourselves with some entry or protestation among ourselves? And, fourthly, Whether we shall proceed to a message to the king; and what?

Now for the remedy; I shall rather break the matter, as I said in the beginning, than advise positively. I know but three ways. Some mes-cular examination of it? sage of declaration to the king; some entry or protestation amongst ourselves; or some strict and punctual examination. As for the last of these, I assure you I am not against it, if I could tell where to begin, or where to end. For certainly I have often seen it, that things when they are in smother trouble more than when they break out. Smoke blinds the eyes, but when it blazeth forth into flame it gives light to the eyes. But then if you fall to examination, some person must be charged, some matter must be charged; and the manner of that matter must be likewise charged; for it may be in a good fashion, and it may be in a bad, in as much difference as between black and white: and then how far men will

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Thus I have told you my opinion. I know it had been more safe and politic to have been silent; but it is perhaps more honest and loving to speak. The old verse is "Nam nulli tacuisse nocet, nocet esse locutum.” But, by your leave, David saith, “Silui a bonis, et dolor meus renovatus est." When a man speaketh, he may be wounded by others; but if he hold his peace from good things, he wounds himself. So I have done my part, and leave it to you to do that which you shall judge to be the best.








THE knights, citizens, and burgesses assembled in parliament, in the house of your Commons, in all humbleness do exhibit and present unto your most sacred majesty, in their own words, though by my hand, their petitions and grievances. They are here conceived and set down in writing, according to ancient custom of parliament: they are also prefaced according to the manner and taste of these later times. Therefore, for me to make any additional preface, were neither warranted nor convenient; especially speaking before a king, the exactness of whose judgment ought to scatter and chase away all unnecessary speech, as the sun doth a vapour. This only I must say; since this session of parliament we have seen your glory in the solemnity of the creation of this most noble prince; we have heard your wisdom in sundry excellent speeches which you have delivered amongst us; now we hope to find and feel the effects of your goodness, in your gracious answer to these our petitions. For this, we are persuaded, that the attribute which was given by one of the wisest writers to two of the best emperors, "Divus Nerva et divus Trajanus," so saith Tacitus, "res olim insociabiles miscuerunt, imperium et libertatem;" may be truly applied to your majesty. For never was there such a conservator of regality in a crown, nor ever such a protector of lawful freedom in a subject.

Only this, excellent sovereign, let not the sound of grievances, though it be sad, seem harsh to your princely ears: it is but "gemitus columbæ," the mourning of a dove; with that patience and humility of heart which appertaineth to loving and loyal subjects. And far be it from us, but that in the midst of the sense of our grievances we should remember and acknowledge the infinite benefits which, by your majesty, next under God, we do enjoy; which bind us to wish unto your life fulness of days; and unto your line royal a succession and continuance, even unto the world's end.

It resteth, that unto these petitions here included I do add one more that goeth to them all: which is, that if in the words and frame of them there be any thing offensive; or that we have expressed ourselves otherwise than we should or would; that your majesty would cover it and cast the veil of your grace upon it; and accept of our good intentions, and help them by your benign interpretation.

Lastly, I am most humbly to crave a particular pardon for myself, that have used these few words; and scarcely should have been able to have used any at all, in respect of the reverence which I bear to your person and judgment, had I not been somewhat relieved and comforted by the experience which, in my service and access, I have had of your continual grace and favour.


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