Page images
PDF
EPUB

only to be of counsel with the bishop for his | fession; but this I may truly say, They are second revenue, but chiefly for his government in causes to none in the Christian world. ecclesiastical: use your best means to prefer such to those places who are fit for that purpose, men eminent for their learning, piety, and discretion, and put the king often in mind thereof; and let them be reduced again to their first institution.

7. You will be often solicited, and perhaps importuned to prefer scholars to church living: you may further your friends in that way, "cæteris paribus;" otherwise remember, I pray, that these are not places merely of favour; the charge of souls lies upon them; the greatest account whereof will be required at their own hands; but they will share deeply in their faults who are the instruments of their preferment.

8. Besides the Romish Catholics, there is a generation of sectaries, the Anabaptists, Brownists, and others of their kinds; they have been several times very busy in this kingdom, under the colour of zeal for reformation of religion: the king your master knows their disposition very well; a small touch will put him in mind of them; he had experience of them in Scotland, I hope he will beware of them in England; a little countenance or connivancy sets them on fire.

9. Order and decent ceremonies in the church are not only comely, but commendable; but there must be great care not to introduce innovations, they will quickly prove scandalous; men are naturally over-prone to suspicion; the true Protestant religion is seated in the golden mean; the enemies unto her are the extremes on either hand. 10. The persons of churchmen are to be had in due respect for their work's sake, and protected from scorn; but if a clergyman be loose and scandalous, he must not be patronized nor winked at; the example of a few such corrupt many.

11. Great care must be taken, that the patrimony of the church be not sacrilegiously diverted to lay uses his majesty in his time hath religiously stopped a leak that did much harm, and would else have done more. Be sure, as much as in you lies, stop the like upon all occasions.

12. Colleges and schools of learning are to be cherished and encouraged, there to breed up a new stock to furnish the church and commonwealth when the old store are transplanted. This kingdom hath in later ages been famous for good literature; and if preferment shall attend the deservers, there will not want supplies.

II. Next to religion, let your care be to promote justice. By justice and mercy is the king's throne established.

1. Let the rule of justice be the laws of the land, an impartial arbiter between the king and his people, and between one subject and another: 1 shall not speak superlatively of them, lest I be suspected of partiality, in regard to my own pro

[They are the best, the equallest in the world between prince and people; by which the king hath the justest prerogative, and the people the best liberty; and if at any time there be an unjust deviation, "Hominis est vitium, non professionis."]

2. And as far as it may lie in you, let no arbitrary power be intruded: the people of this kingdom love the laws thereof, and nothing will oblige them more, than a confidence of the free enjoying of them; what the nobles upon an occasion once said in parliament, "Nolumus leges Angliæ mutare," is imprinted in the hearts of all the people.

3. But, because the life of the laws lies in the due execution and administration of them, let your eye be, in the first place, upon the choice of good judges: these properties had they need to be furnished with; to be learned in their profession, patient in hearing, prudent in governing, powerful in their elocution to persuade and satisfy both the parties and hearers; just in their judgment: and, to sum up all, they must have these three attributes; they must be men of courage, fearing God, and hating covetousness; an ignorant man cannot, a coward dares not be a good judge.

4. By no means be you persuaded to interpose yourself, either by word or letter, in any cause depending, or like to be depending in any court of justice, nor suffer any other great man to do it where you can hinder it, and by all means dissuade the king himself from it, upon the importunity of any for themselves or their friends: if it should prevail, it perverts justice; but if the judge be so just, and of such courage, as he ought to be, as not to be inclined thereby, yet, it always leaves a taint of suspicion behind it; judges must be as chaste as Cæsar's wife, neither to be, nor to be suspected to be unjust; and, sir, the honour of the judges in their judicature is the king's honour, whose person they represent.

5. There is great use of the service of the judges in their circuits, which are twice in the year held throughout the kingdom: the trial of causes between party and party, or delivering of the jails in the several counties, are of great use for the expedition of justice: yet, they are of much more use for the government of the counties through which they pass, if that were well thought upon.

6. For if they had instructions to that purpose, they might be the best intelligencers to the king of the true state of his whole kingdom, of the disposition of the people, of their inclinations, of their intentions and motions, which are necessary to be truly understood.

7. To this end I could wish, that against every

circuit all the judges should, sometimes by the king himself, and sometimes by the lord chancellor or lord keeper, in the king's name, receive a charge of those things which the present times did much require; and at their return should deliver a faithful account thereof, and how they found and left the counties through which they passed, and in which they kept their assizes.

8. And that they might the better perform this work, which might be of great importance, it will not be amiss that sometimes this charge be public, as it useth to be in the Star Chamber, at the end of the terms next before the circuit begins, where the king's care of justice, and the good of his people, may be published; and that sometimes also it may be private, to communicate to the judges some things not so fit to be publicly delivered.

9. I could wish also, that the judges were directed to make a little longer stay in a place than usually they do; a day more in a county would be a very good addition; although their wages for their circuits were increased in proportion: it would stand better with the gravity of their employment; whereas now they are sometimes enforced to rise over-early, and to sit overlate, for the despatch of their business, to the extraordinary trouble of themselves and of the people, their times indeed not being "horæ juridice;" and, which is the main, they would have the more leisure to inform themselves, "quasi aliud agentes," of the true estate of the country. 10. The attendance of the sheriffs of the counties accompanied with the principal gentlemen, in a comely, not a costly equipage, upon the judges of assize at their coming to the place of their sitting, and at their going out, is not only a civility, but of use also: it raiseth a reverence to the persons and places of the judges, who coming from the king himself on so great an errand, should not be neglected.

11. If any sue to be made a judge, for my own part, I should suspect him: but if either directly or indirectly he should bargain for a place of judicature, let him be rejected with shame; "Vendere jure potest, emerat ille prius."

12. When the place of a chief judge of a court becomes vacant, a puisne judge of that court, or of another court, who hath approved himself fit and deserving, should be sometimes preferred; it would be a good encouragement for him, and for others by his example.

moneys for it; it may satisfy some courtiers, but it is no honour to the person so preferred, nor to the king, who thus prefers them.

14. For the king's counsel at the law, especially his attorney and solicitor general, I need say nothing: their continual use for the king's service, not only for his revenue, but for all the parts of his government, will put the king, and those who love his service, in mind to make choice of men every way fit and able for that employment; they had need to be learned in their profession, and not ignorant in other things; and to be dexterous in those affairs whereof the despatch is committed to them.

15. The king's attorney of the court of wards is in the true quality of the judges; therefore what hath been observed already of judges, which are intended principally of the three great courts of law at Westminster, may be applied to the choice of the attorney of this court.

16. The like for the attorney of the duchy of Lancaster, who partakes of both qualities, partly of a judge in that court, and partly of an attorney general for so much as concerns the proper revenue of the duchy.

17. I must not forget the judges of the four circuits in the twelve shires of Wales, who, although they are not of the first magnitude, nor need be of the degree of the coif, only the chief justice of Chester, who is one of their number, is so, yet are they considerable in the choice of them, by the same rules as the other judges are; and they sometimes are, and fitly may be transplanted into the higher courts.

18. There are many courts, as you see, some superior, some provincial, and some of a lower orb: it were to be wished, and is fit to be so ordered, that every of them keep themselves within their proper spheres. The harmony of justice is then the sweetest, when there is no jarring about the jurisdiction of the courts; which methinks wisdom cannot much differ upon, their true bounds being for the most part so clearly known.

19. Having said thus much of the judges, somewhat will be fit to put you in mind concerning the principal ministers of justice: and in the first, of the high sheriffs of the counties, which have been very ancient in this kingdom; I am sure before the conquest; the choice of them I commend to your care, and that at fit times you put the king in mind thereof; that as near as may be they be such as are fit for those places: for they are of great trust and power; the " posse comitatus," the power of the whole county being legally committed unto him.

13. Next to the judge, there would be care used in the choice of such as are called to the degree of sergeants at law, for such they must be first before they be made judges; none should be made serjeants but such as probably might be 20. Therefore it is agreeable with the intention held fit to be judges afterwards, when the expe- of the law, that the choice of them should be by rience at the bar hath fitted them for the bench: the commendation of the great officers of the therefore by all means cry down that unworthy kingdom, and by the advice of the judges, who course of late times used, that they should pay are presumed to be well read in the condition of

the gentry of the whole kingdom: and although the king may do it of himself, yet the old way is the good way.

21. But I utterly condemn the practice of the later times, which hath lately crept into the court, at the back-stairs, that some who are pricked for sheriffs, and were fit, should get out of the bill; and others who were neither thought upon, nor worthy to be, should be nominated, and both for money.

22. I must not omit to put you in mind of the lord lieutenants and deputy lieutenants of the counties: their proper use is for ordering the military affairs, in order to an invasion from abroad, or a rebellion or sedition at home; good choice should be made of them, and prudent instructions given to them, and as little of the arbitrary power, as may be, left unto them; and that the mustermasters, and other officers under them, encroach not upon the subject; that will detract much from the king's service.

23. The justices of peace are of great use. Anciently, there were conservators of the peace; these are the same, saving that several acts of parliament have altered their denomination, and enlarged their jurisdiction in many particulars: the fitter they are for the peace of the kingdom, the more heed ought to be taken in the choice of them.

24. But, negatively, this I shall be bold to say, that none should be put into either of those commissions with an eye of favour to their persons, to give them countenance or reputation in the places where they live, but for the king's service sake; nor any put out for the disfavour of any great man: it hath been too often used, and hath been no good service to the king.

25. A word more, if you please to give me leave, for the true rules of moderation of justice on the king's part. The execution of justice is committed to his judges, which seemeth to be the severer part; but the milder part, which is mercy, is wholly left in the king's immediate hand: and justice and mercy are the true supporters of his royal throne.

26. If the king shall be wholly intent upon justice, it may appear with an over-rigid aspect; but if he shall be over-remiss and easy, it draweth upon him contempt. Examples of justice must be made sometimes for terror to some; examples of mercy sometimes, for comfort to others; the one procures fear, and the other love. A king must be both feared and loved, else he is lost. 27. The ordinary courts of justice I have spoken of, and of their judges and judicature: I shall put you in mind of some things touching the high court of parliament in England, which is superlative; and therefore it will behoove me to speak the more warily thereof.

28. For the institution of it, it is very ancient in this kingdom: it consisteth of the two Houses,

of peers and commons, as the members; and of the king's majesty, as the head of that great body: by the king's authority alone, and by his writs, they are assembled, and by him alone are they prorogued and dissolved; but each House may adjourn itself.

29. They being thus assembled, are more properly a council to the king, the great council of the kingdom, to advise his majesty in those things of weight and difficulty, which concern both the king and people, than a court.

30. No new laws can be made, nor old laws abrogated or altered, but by common consent in parliament, where bills are prepared and presented to the two Houses, and then delivered, but nothing is concluded but by the king's royal assent; they are but embryos, it is he giveth life unto them.

31. Yet the House of Peers hath a power of judicature in some cases: properly to examine, and then to affirm; or, if there be cause, to reverse the judgments which have been given in the court of King's Bench, which is the court of highest jurisdiction in the kingdom for ordinary judicature; but in these cases it must be done by writ of error "in parliamento:" and thus the rule of their proceedings is not "absoluta potestas," as in making new laws, in that conjuncture as before, but "limitata potestas," according to the known laws of the land.

32. But the House of Commons have only power to censure the members of their own House, in point of election, or misdemeanors in or towards that House; and have not, nor ever had, power so much as to administer an oath to prepare a judgment.

33. The true use of parliaments in this kingdom is very excellent; and they would be often called, as the affairs of the kingdom shall require; and continued as long as is necessary and no longer: for then they be but burdens to the people, by reason of the privileges justly due to the members of the two Houses and their attendants, which, their just rights and privileges are religiously to be observed and maintained: but if they should be unjustly enlarged beyond their true bounds, they might lessen the just power of the crown, it borders so near upon popularity.

34. All this while I have spoken concerning the common laws of England, generally and properly so called, because it is most general and common to almost all cases and causes, both civil and criminal: but there is also another law, which is called the civil or ecclesiastical law, which is confined to some few heads, and that is not to be neglected: and although I am a professor of the common law, yet am I so much a lover of truth and of learning, and of my native country, that I do heartily persuade that the professors of that law, called civilians, because the civil law is their guide, should not be discountenanced nor

discouraged: else, whensoever we shall have aught to do with any foreign king or state, we shall be at a miserable loss, for want of learned men in that profession.

III. I come now to the consideration of those things which concern counsellors of state, the council table, and the great offices and officers of the kingdom; which are those who for the most part furnish out that honourable board.

1. Of counsellors there are two sorts: the first, “consiliarii nati," as I may term them, such are the Prince of Wales, and others of the king's sons, when he hath more, of these I speak not, for they are naturally born to be counsellors to the king, to learn the art of governing betimes.

2. But the ordinary sort of counsellors are such as the king, out of a due consideration of their worth and abilities, and, withal, of their fidelities to his person and to his crown, calleth to be of council with him in his ordinary government. And the council-table is so called from the place where they ordinarily assemble and sit together; and their oath is the only ceremony used to make them such, which is solemnly given unto them at their first admission: these honourable persons are from thenceforth of that board and body: they cannot come until they be thus called, and the king at his pleasure may spare their attendance; and he may dispense with their presence there, which at their own pleasure they may not do.

3. This being the quality of their service, you may easily judge what care the king should use in his choice of them. It behooveth that they be persons of great trust and fidelity, and also of wisdom and judgment, who shall thus assist in bearing up the king's throne, and of known experience in public affairs.

4. Yet it may not be unfit to call some of young years, to train them up in that trade, and so fit them for those weighty affairs against the time of greater maturity, and some also for the honour of their persons: but these two sorts are not to be tied to so strict attendance as the others, from whom the present despatch of business is expected.

5. I could wish that their number might not be so over-great, the persons of the counsellors would be the more venerable: and I know that Queen Elizabeth, in whose time I had the happiness to be born and to live many years, was not so much observed for having a numerous as a wise council.

6. The duty of a privy-counsellor to a king, I conceive, is not only to attend the council-board at the times appointed, and there to consult of what shall be propounded; but also to study those things which may advance the king's honour and safety, and the good of the kingdom, and to communicate the same to the king, or to his fellow

counsellors, as there shall be occasion. And this, sir, will concern you more than others, by how much you have a larger share in his affections.

7. And one thing I shall be bold to desire you to recommend to his majesty: that when any new thing shall be propounded to be taken into consideration, that no counsellor should suddenly deliver any positive opinion thereof: it is not so easy with all men to retract their opinions, al- though there shall be cause for it: but only to hear it, and at the most but to break it, at first, that it may be the better understood against the next meeting.

8. When any matter of weight hath been debated, and seemeth to be ready for a resolution; I wish it may not be at that sitting concluded, unless the necessity of the time press it, lest upon second cogitations there should be cause to alter; which is not for the gravity and honour of that board.

9. I wish also that the king would be pleased sometimes to be present at that board; it adds a majesty to it; and yet not to be too frequently there; that would render it less esteemed when it is become common: besides, it may sometimes make the counsellors not be so free in their debates in his presence as they would be in his absence.

10. Besides the giving of counsel, the counsellors are bound by their duties "ex vi termini," as well as by their oaths, to keep counsel; therefore are they called "de privato consilio regis," and "a secretioribus consiliis regis."

11. One thing I add, in the negative, which is not fit for that board, the entertaining of private causes of "meum et tuum;" those should be left to the ordinary course and courts of justice.

12. As there is great care to be used for the counsellors themselves to be chosen, so there is of the clerks of the council also, for the secreting of their consultations: and, methinks, it were fit that his majesty be speedily moved to give a strict charge, and to bind it with a solemn order, if it be not already so done, that no copies of the orders of that table be delivered out by the clerks of the council but by the order of the board; nor any, not being a counsellor, or a clerk of the council, or his clerk, to have access to the council books: and to that purpose, that the servants attending the clerks of the council be bound to secrecy, as well as their masters.

13. For the great offices and officers of the kingdom, I shall say little; for the most part of them are such as cannot well be severed from the counsellorship; and therefore the same rule is to be observed for both, in the choice of them. In the general, only, I advise this, let them be set in those places for which they are probably the most fit.

14. But in the quality of the persons, I conceive it will be most convenient to have some of every sort, as in the time of Queen Elizabeth it

was one bishop at the least, in respect of ques- | presumed to be vigilant, industrious, and discreet tions touching religion or church government; men, and had the language of the place whither one or more skilled in the laws; some for martial they were sent; and with these were sent such affairs and some for foreign affairs: by this as were hopeful to be worthy of the like employmixture one will help another in all things that ment at another time. shall there happen to be moved. But if that should fail, it will be a safe way, to consult with some other able persons well versed in that point which is the subject of their consultation; which yet may be done so warily, as may not discover the main end therein.

IV. In the next place, I shall put you in mind of foreign negotiations, and embassies to or with foreign princes or states; wherein I shall be little able to serve you.

1. Only, I will tell you what was the course in the happy days of Queen Elizabeth, whom it will be no disreputation to follow: she did vary, according to the nature of the employment, the quality of the persons she employed; which is a good rule to go by.

8. Their care was, to give true and timely intelligence of all occurrences, either to the queen herself, or to the secretaries of state, unto whom they had their immediate relation.

9. Their charge was always borne by the queen, duly paid out of the exchequer, in such proportion, as, according to their qualities and places, might give them an honourable subsistence there: but for the reward of their service, they were to expect it upon their return, by some such preferment as might be worthy of them, and yet be little burden to the queen's coffers or revenues.

10. At their going forth they had their general instructions in writing, which might be communicated to the ministers of that state whither they were sent; and they had also private instructions 2. If it were an embassy of gratulation or cere- upon particular occasions: and at their return, mony, which must not be neglected, choice was they did always render an account of some things made of some noble person, eminent in place and to the queen herself, of some things to the body able in purse; and he would take it as a mark of of the council, and of some others to the secretafavour, and discharge it without any great bur-ries of state; who made use of them, or commuden to the queen's coffers, for his own honour's sake.

nicated them, as there was cause.

11. In those days there was a constant course held, that, by the advice of the secretaries, or some principal counsellors, there were always sent forth

3. But if it were an embassy of weight, concerning affairs of state, choice was made of some sad person of known judgment, wisdom, and ex-into several parts beyond the seas some young perience; and not of a young man not weighed in state matters; nor of a mere formal man, whatsoever, his title or outside were.

4. Yet in company of such, some young towardly noblemen or gentlemen were usually sent also, as assistants or attendants, according to the quality of the persons; who might be thereby prepared and fitted for the like employment, by this means, at another turn.

5. In their company were always sent some grave and sad men, skilful in the civil laws, and some in the languages, and some who had been formerly conversant in the courts of those princes, and knew their ways; these were assistants in private, but not trusted to manage the affairs in public; that would detract from the honour of the principal ambassador.

men, of whom good hopes were conceived of their towardliness, to be trained up, and made fit for such public employments, and to learn the languages. This was at the charge of the queen, which was not much; for they travelled but as private gentlemen: and as by their industry their deserts did appear, so were they farther employed or rewarded. This course I shall recommend unto you, to breed up a nursery of such public plants.

V. For peace and war, and those things which appertain to either; I in my own disposition and profession am wholly for peace, if please God to bless this kingdom therewith, as for many years past he hath done: and

1. I presume I shall not need to persuade you 6. If the negotiation were about merchants' af- to the advancing of it; nor shall you need to perfairs, then were the persons employed for the suade the king your master therein, for that he most part doctors of the civil law, assisted with hath hitherto been another Solomon in this our some other discreet men; and in such, the charge Israel, and the motto which he hath chosen, was ordinarily defrayed by the company or socie-Beati pacifici," shows his own judgment: but ty of merchants whom the negotiation concerned. he must use the means to preserve it, else such a 7. If lieger ambassadors or agents were sent to jewel may be lost. remain in or near the courts of those princes or states, as it was ever held fit, to observe the motions, and to hold correspondence with them, upon all occasions, such were made choice of as were

2. God is the God of peace; it is one of his attributes, therefore by him alone we must pray, and hope to continue it: there is the foundation.

3. And the king must not neglect the just ways

« PreviousContinue »