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measure pursued by the Court during the time that the use of parliaments was suspended." But the sentences of fine, pillory, ear-cropping, and imprisonment for life in distant gaols, pronounced and executed upon Bastwick, the physician, and Burton, the divine, for reflecting upon the Bishops, might well bear a comparison.
A. D. 1637.
In the case of Lilburn the Lord Keeper took a very active part in supporting the jurisdiction of the Court. An information being exhibited against the defendant for a libel, Lilburn. he was called upon to answer interrogatories, that he might criminate himself, and refusing to answer them, he was brought up before the Lord Keeper and the other dignitaries forming this awful tribunal, for his contempt.-Lord Keeper. "Why will you not answer?”—Lilburn. “My honourable Lord, I have answered fully before Mr. Attorney General to all things that belong me to answer unto."- Lord Keeper. "But why do you refuse to take the Star Chamber oath?" -Lilburn. "Most noble Lord, I refused on this ground, because that when I was examined, although I had fully answered all things that belonged to me to answer unto, and had cleared myself of the thing for which I am imprisoned, yet that would not give content, but other things were put unto me concerning other men, to ensnare me and get further matter against me. And withal I perceived the oath to be an oath of inquiry, and for the lawfulness of which oath I have no warrant."-Lord Keeper. "Well, come, submit yourself unto the Court."- Lilburn. "Most noble Lords, with all willingness I submit my body unto your Honours' pleasure; but for any other submission, I am conscious to myself that I have done nothing that doth deserve a convention before this illustrious assembly, and therefore for me to submit, is to submit I know not wherefore." He was committed to the Fleet, and being brought up on a subsequent day still refused, in spite of all threats, to be sworn. — Lord Keeper. "Thou art a mad fellow, seeing things are thus, that thou wilt not take thine oath.”—Lilburn. “ My honourable Lord, I have declared unto you the real truth; but for the oath, it is an oath of inquiry, and of the same nature as the High Commission
then sentenced him to be fined 500l., to be whipt through the streets, to be set in the pillory, and to be remanded to the Fleet till he conformed. When in the pillory he distributed some papers, said to be seditious, because they vindicated his innocence, and for this new offence an order was made, on the suggestion of the Lord Keeper, to which Laud and all the other Judges assented, "that he should be laid alonewith irons on his hands and legs-in the wards of the Fleet, where the loosest and meanest sort of prisoners are used to be put.
These were sentences of the Star Chamber, Coventry's own Court, and generally pronounced with his own lips. But he must likewise be held responsible for the greater iniquities of the High Commission, which, if he did not prompt, he might easily have restrained, either by his private influence, or judicially by writs of prohibition, which he refused to issue.
He was further grievously to blame for vexations which he countenanced in extending the bounds of royal forests, ings of the and for the extortions practised under his superintendence in revising obsolete claims by the Crown to estates that had for generations been quietly enjoyed by the families now in possession of them.
3 St. Tr. 1315.
CONCLUSION OF THE LIFE OF LORD KEEPER COVENTRY.
WE have been relating the grievances of individuals which, though they excited much commiseration, might long have been borne without any general movement; but "SHIP Ship MONEY now threw the whole nation into a flame. The money. Lord Keeper, if not artifex, was particeps criminis. Noy, who had gained eminence in his profession by practising "in the sedition line," having ratted and been made Attorney General, was eager to show his devotion to the Court,—and, after a long examination of musty records in the Tower, finding that in time of war the King had first pressed ships into his service, had then asked the sea-ports to equip ships for him, and had occasionally afterwards ordered the adjoining counties to contribute to the expence,-framed his famous scheme, which, if it had succeeded, would have effectually superseded parliaments. He disclosed his invention to the Lord Keeper, and to Strafford, now high in the ascendant, and they both rapturously approved of it:-but foreseeing that its legality would come in question, and entertaining some misgivings respecting Sir Robert Heath, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, they, as a prudent preliminary, removed him from his office, and substituted for him Sir John Finch, one of the most unprin- Jan. 21. cipled and reckless Judges who ever disgraced the English Bench. The writs under the Great Seal, directed to the Sheriffs of every county in England, fixing, by royal authority, the sum to be raised in each county, and requiring that it should be rateably assessed, were then concocted; but Death of before they were issued their author suddenly died, and the chief burden of prosecuting the measure fell upon the Lord Keeper.
Not flinching from the task, he assembled all the Judges Address of in the Exchequer Chamber previous to the Summer Circuit,
the Lord Keeper to
and after addressing them on various other topics, came to the legality of ship money. "I have but one thing more to the Judges, give you in charge, and it is a thing of great weight and importance; it concerneth the honour of his Majesty and the kingdom, and the safety of both. Christendom is full of war, and there is nothing but rumours of war. No doubt it hath ever been accounted the greatest wisdom for a nation to arm that they may not be enforced to fight, which is better than not to arm and to be sure to fight. Therefore his Majesty, in these doubtful times, hath not only commanded that all the land forces of the kingdom should be set in order and readiness, but to set to sea a royal fleet at his Majesty's great charge, but with the assistance of the maritime places of this kingdom. The causes, and occasions, and times of war, with the preparation and ordering of them, is proper to the King; and dutiful obedience in such things does best become the subject. And yet his Majesty hath vouchsafed, even by his writ, to declare enough to satisfy all well-minded men, and to express the dearness of his princely heart in aiming at the general good of his kingdom. Upon advice with his Council, he hath resolved that he will forthwith send forth new writs for the preparation of a greater fleet next year, and that not only to the maritime towns, but to all the kingdom besides: for since that all the kingdom is interested, both in the honour, safety, and profit, it is just and reasonable that they should all put to their helping hands. Now that which his Majesty requireth from you and doth command is, that in your charges at the assizes, and in all places else, where opportunity is offered, you take an occasion to let the people know how careful and zealous his Majesty is to preserve his honour, and the honour of this kingdom, and the dominion of the sea; and to secure both sea and land with a powerful fleet, that foreign nations may see that England is both ready and able to keep itself, and all its rights. And you are to let them know how just it is that his Majesty should require this for the common defence, and with what alacrity and cheerfulness they ought and are bound in duty to contribute to it; that foreign nations may observe the power and readiness of this kingdom, which will make them slow to contend
with us, either by sea or land; and that will be the best way to confirm unto us a sure peace."
The writs were issued, and were generally obeyed; but many grumbled,—some openly asserted that the imposition was unlawful, and it became of the utmost importance to ensure a favourable decision, should the question come before a court of law. The Lord Keeper therefore applied to the Judges,-dealing in the first instance in fraudulent generalities,—and obtained from them an unanimous resolution, that "as where the benefit redounded to the ports and maritime parts, the charge was, according to the precedent of former times, lawfully laid upon them; so, by parity of reason, where the good and safety of the kingdom in general is concerned, the charge ought to be borne by the whole realm."
Having laid this foundation, he in the following Term put Questions two specific questions to the Judges: 1. "Whether, in cases Judges. of danger to the good and safety of the kingdom, the King could not impose ship money for its defence and safeguard, and by law compel payment from those who refused?" 2. "Whether the King were not the sole Judge both of the danger, and when and how it was to be prevented?"
The twelve Judges having assembled in Serjeants' Inn Their Hall, they were told that their opinion was merely required opinions. for the private satisfaction of the royal conscience. Ten agreed to answer both questions, without qualification, in the affirmative. Two, Crooke and Hutton, dissented, but were induced to subscribe the opinion-upon the representation that, when the Judges were thus consulted, the judgment of the majority was that of the whole body.
To the dismay of Crooke and Hutton, and to the utter Fraud of astonishment of them and of all their brethren,-as soon as the Lord Keeper was armed with this opinion he assembled them all openly in the Star Chamber, and, with a full knowledge of the manner in which it had been obtained and signed,-after another elaborate panegyric on ship money, and heavy complaint of those who disloyally questioned the King's power to demand it, he thus proceeded, "When his Majesty heard
* 3 St. Tr. 837