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And therefore to descend, if it may please your great enormities any aggravating, neither needeth majesty, to the third sort of abuse, which is of so great grace, as useth of itself to flow from the unlawful manner of their taking, whereof your majesty's princely goodness, any artificial this omission is a branch; and it is so manifold, persuading. There be two things only which I as it rather asketh an enumeration of some of the think good to set before your majesty; the one particulars, than a prosecution of all. For their the example of your most noble progenitors, kings price; by law they ought to take as they can of this realm, who, from the first king that enagree with the subject; by abuse they take an dowed this kingdom with the great charters of imposed and enforced price: by law they ought their liberties, until the last, all save one, who, as to make but one appraisement by neighbours in he was singular in many excellent things, so I the country; by abuse they make a second ap- would he had not been alone in this, have ordainpraisement 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 some laws or law against this kind of offenders; of plight, by reason of their great travel, then and especially the example of one of them, that they prize them anew at an abated price: by law king who, for his greatness, wisdom, glory, and they ht to take between sun and sun; by union of several kingdoms, resembleth your ma. abuse they take by twilight, and in the night- jesty most, both in virtue and fortune, King Edtime, a time well chosen for malefactors: by law ward III., who, in his time only, made ten several they ought not to take in the highways, a place laws against this mischief. The second is the by your inajesty's high prerogative protected, and example of God himself; who hath said and proby statute by special words excepted; by abuse nounced, « That he will not hold him guiltless they take in the ways, in contempt of your ma- that taketh his name in vain.” For all these jesty's prerogative and laws: by law they ought great misdemeanors are committed in and under to show their commission, and the form of com- your majesty's name: and therefore we hope your mission is by law set down; the commissions majesty will hold them twice guilty that commit they bring down, are against the law, and be these offences; once for the oppressing of the cause they know so much, they will not show people, and once more for doing it under the them. A number of other particulars there are, colour and abuse of your majesty's most dreaded whereof as I have given your majesty a taste, so and beloved name. So then I will conclude with the chief of them upon deliberate advice are set the saying of Pindarus, “Optima res aqua;” not down in writing by the labour of some commit- for the excellency, but for the common use of it; tees, and approbation of the whole House, more and so, contrariwise, the matter of abuse of purparticularly and lively than I can express them, veyance, if it be not the most heinous abuse, yet myself having them at the second hand by reason certainly it is the most common and general abuse of my abode above. But this writing is a col- of all others in this kingdom. lection of theirs who dwell amongst the abuses It resteth, that, according to the command laid of these offenders, and the complaints of the peo- upon me, I do in all humbleness present this ple; and therefore must needs have a more per- writing to your majesty's royal hands, with most fect understanding of all the circumstances of humble petition on the behalf of the Commons, them.
that as your majesty hath been pleased to vouchIt remaineth only that I use a few words, the safe your gracious audience to hear me speak, so rather to move your majesty in this cause: a few you would be pleased to enlarge your patience to words, I say, a very few; for neither need so hear this writing read, which is more material.
WHEN THE HOUSE WAS IN GREAT HEAT, AND MUCH TROUBLED ABOUT THE UNDERTAKERS
WHICH WERE THOUGHT TO BE SOME ABLE AND FORWARD GENTLEMEN; WHO, TO INGRATIATE THEMSELVES WITH THE KING, WERE SAID TO HAVE UNDERTAKEN, THAT THE KING'S
BUSINESS SHOULD PASS IN THAT HOUSE AS HIS MAJESTY COULD WISH.
(IN THE PARLIAMENT 12 JACOBI. ]
commands the hearts, and the other commands
the heads; and others I know none. I think I have been hitherto silent in this matter of Æsop was a wise man that described the nature undertaking, wherein, as I perceive, the House is of the fly, that sat upon the spoke of the chariot much enwrapped.
wheel, and said to herself, “What a dust do I First, because, to be plain with you, I did not raise !” So, for my part, I think that all this well understand what it meant, or what it was; dust is raised by light rumours and buzzes, and and I do not love to offer at that that I do not not upon any solid ground. thoroughly conceive. That private men should The second reason that made me silent was, undertake for the Commons of England! why, a because this suspicion and rumour of undertaking, man might as well undertake for the four elements. settles upon no person certain. It is like the It is a thing so giddy, and so vast, as cannot | birds of Paradise that they have in the Indies, enter into the brain of a sober man: and, especi- that have no feet; and, therefore, they never light ally, in a new parliament; when it was impossible upon any place, but the wind carries them away: to know who should be of the parliament: and and such a thing do I take this rumour to be. when all men, that know never so little the con- And, lastly, when that the king had, in his two stitution of this House, do know it to be so open several speeches, freed us from the main of our to reason, as men do not know when they enter lears, in affirming directly, that there was no into these doors what mind themselves will be of, undertaking to him; and that he would have until they hear things argued and debated. Much taken it to be no less derogation to his own less can any man make a policy of assurance, majesty than to our merits, to have the acts of what ship shall come safe home into the harbour his people transferred to particular persons; that in these seas. I had heard of undertakings in did quiet me thus far, that these vapours were several kinds. There were undertakers for the not gone up to the head, howsoever they might plantations of Derry and Colerane, in Ireland, the glow and estuale in the body. better to command and bridle those parts. There Nevertheless, since I perceive that this cloud were, not long ago, some undertakers for the still hangs over the House, and that it may do north-west passage: and now there are some hurt, as well in fame abroad as in the king's ear, undertakers for the project of dyed and dressed I resolved with myself to do the part of an honest cloths; and, in short, every novelty useth to be voice in this House, to counsel you what I think to strengthened and made good by a kind of under- be for the best. taking; but for the ancient parliament of England, Wherein, first, I will speak plainly of the which inoves in a certain manner and sphere, to pernicious effects of the accident of this bruit be undertaken, it passes my reach to conceive and opinion of undertaking, towards particulars, what it should be. Must we be all dyed and towards the House, towards the king, and towards dressed, and no pure whites amongst us? Or the people. must there be a new passage found for the king's Secondly, I will tell you, in mine opinion, business, by a point of the compass that was what undertaking is tolerable, and how far it may never sailed by before? Or must there be some be justified with a good mind; and, on the other forts built in this House, that may command and side, this same ripping up of the question of contain the rest? Mr. Speaker, I know but two undertakers, how far it may proceed from a good forts in this House which the king ever hath; the mind, and in what kind it may be thought malilort of affection, and the fort of reason: the one cious and dangerous.
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 These things might be dissembled, and so committee.
things left to bleed inwards; but that is not the And, lastly, I will advise you how things are way to
cure them. And, therefore, I have to be handled at the committee, to avoid distrac- searched the sore, in hope that you will endeavour tion and loss of time.
the medicine. For the first of these, I can say to you but as But this to do more thoroughly, I must prothe Scripture saith, “Si invicem mordetis, ab ceed to my second part, to tell you clearly and invicem consumemini;" if ye fret and gall one distinctly, what is to be set on the right hand, and another's reputation, the end will be, that every what on the left, in this business. man shall go hence, like coin cried down, of less First, if any man hath done good offices to price than he came hither. If some shall be advise the king to call a parliament, and to inthought to fawn upon the king's business openly, crease the good affection and confidence of his and others to cross it secretly, some shall be majesty towards his people; I say, that such a thought practisers that would pluck the cards, person doth rather merit well, than commit any and others shall be thought Papists that would error. Nay, further, if any man hath, out of his shuffle the cards; what a misery is this, that we own good mind, given an opinion touching the should come together to fool one another, instead minds of the parliament in general; how it is of procuring the public good.
probable they are like to be found, and that they And this ends not in particulars, but will make will have a due feeling of the king's wants, and the whole House contemptible: for now I hear will not deal dryly or illiberally with him; this. men say, that this question of undertaking is the man, that doth but think of other men's minds, predominant matter of this House. So that we as he finds his own, is not to be blamed. Nay, are now, according to the parable of Jotham, in further, if any man hath coupled this with good the case of the trees of the forest, that when wishes and propositions, that the king do comfort question was, Whether the vine should reign the hearts of his people, and testify his own love over them ? that might not be: and whether the to them, by filing off the harshness of his preroolive should reign over them ? that might not be: gative, retaining the substance and strength; and but we have accepted the bramble to reign over to that purpose, like the good householder in the us. For, it seems, that the good vine of the Scripture, that brought forth old store and new, king's graces, that is not so much in esteem; and hath revolved the petitions and propositions of the good oil, whereby we should salve and relieve the last parliament, and added new; I say, this the wants of the estate and crown, that is laid man hath sown good seed; and he that shall aside too: and this bramble of contention and draw him into envy for it, sows tares. Thus emulation; this Abimelech, which, as was truly much of the right hand. But, on the other side, said by an understanding gentleman, is a bastard, if any shall mediately or immediately infuse for every fame that wants a head, is “filius into his majesty, or to others, that the parliament populi,” this must reign and rule amongst us. is, as Cato said of the Romans, “like sheep, that
Then for the king, nothing can be more oppo- a man were better drive a flock of them than one site, “ex diametro,” to his ends and hopes, than of them :” and, however, they may be wise men this: for you have heard him profess like a king, severally, yet, in this assembly, they are guided and like a gracious king, that he doth not so much by some few, which, if they be made and assured, respect his present supply, as this demonstration the rest will easily follow: this is a plain robbery that the people's hearts are more knit to him than of the king of honour, and his subjects of thanks, before. Now, then, if the issue shall be this, that and it is to make the parliament vile and servile whatsoever shall be done for him shall be thought in the eyes of their sovereign; and I count it no to be done but by a number of persons that shall better than a supplanting of the king and kingbe laboured and packed; this will rather be a dom. Again, if a man shall make this impressign of diffidence and alienation, than of a natural sion, that it shall be enough for the king to send benevolence and affection in his people at home; us some things of show, that may serve for and rather matter of disreputation, than of honour colours, and let some eloquent tales be told of abroad. So that, to speak plainly to you, the them, and that will serve ad faciendum popu. king were better call for a new pair of cards, than lum;" any such person will find that this House play upon these if they be packed.
can well skill of false lights, and that it is no And then, for the people, it is my manner ever wooing tokens, but the true love already planted to look as well beyond a parliament, as upon a in the breast of the subjects, that will make them parliament; and if they abroad shall think them- I 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 to deal plainly, if any man hath been diffident their confession, and how we shall prove against touching the call of a parliament, thinking that their denial ; it is an endless piece of work, and the best means were, first, for the king to make I doubt that we shall grow weary of it. his utmost trial to subsist of himself, and his own For a message to the king, it is the course I means; I say, an honest and faithful heart might like best, so it be carefully and considerately consent to that opinion, and the event, it seems, handled : for if we shall represent to the king the doth not greatly discredit it hitherto. Again, if nature of this body as it is, without the veils or any man shall have been of opinion, that it is not shadows that have been cast upon it, I think we a particular party that can bind the House; nor shall do him honour, and ourselves right. that it is not shows or colours can please the For any thing that is to be done amongst ourHouse; I say, that man, though his speech tend selves, I do not see much gained by it, because it to discouragement, yet it is coupled with provi- goes no farther than ourselves; yet if any thing dence. But, by your leave, if any man, since the can be wisely conceived to that end, I shall not parliament was called, or when it was in speech, be against it; but I think the purpose of it is shall have laid plots to cross the good will of the fittest to be, rather that the House conceives that parliament to the king, by possessing them that all this is but a misunderstanding, than to take a few shall have the thanks, and that they are, as knowledge that there is indeed a just ground, and it were, bought and sold, and betrayed; and that then to seek, by a protestation, to give it a that which the king offers them, are but baits remedy. For protestations, and professions, and prepared by particular persons; or have raised apologies, I never found them very fortunate ; but rumours that it is a packed parliament; to the they rather increase suspicion than clear it. 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.
First, Whether we shall do any thing at all in Now for the remedy; I shall rather break the it, or pass by it, and let it sleep? matter, as I said in the beginning, than advise Secondly, Whether we shall enter into a partipositively. I know but three ways. Some mes- cular examination of it? sage of declaration to the king; some entry or Thirdly, Whether we shall content ourselves protestation amongst ourselves; or some strict with some entry or protestation among ourselves ? and punctual examination. As for the last of And, fourthly, Whether we shall proceed to a these, I assure you I am not against it, if I could message to the king; and what? tell where to begin, or where to end. For cer- Thus I have told you my opinion. I know it tainly I have often seen it, that things when they had been more safe and politic to have been are in smother trouble more than when they break silent; but it is perhaps more honest and loving out. Smoke blinds the eyes, but when it blazeth to speak. The old verse is “ Nam nulli tacuisse forth into flame it gives light to the eyes. But nocet, nocet esse locutum.” But, by your leave, then if you fall to examination, some person must David saith, “ Silui a bonis, et dolor meus renobe charged, some matter must be charged; and vatus est.” When a man speaketh, he may be the manner of that matter must be likewise wounded by others; but if he hold his peace charged; for it may be in a good fashion, and it from good things, he wounds himself. So I have may be in a bad, in as much difference as between done my part, and leave it to you to do that which black and white: and then how far men will you shall judge to be the best.
TO THE KING BY HIS MAJESTY'S SOLICITOR,
BEING CHOSEN BY THE COMMONS AS THEIR MOUTH AND MESSENGER, FOR THE PRESENTING TO
HIS MAJESTY THE INSTRUMENT OR WRITING OP
IN THE PARLIAMENT 7 JACOBI.
Most Gracious SOVEREIGN,
Only this, excellent sovereign, let not the sound The knights, citizens, and burgesses assembled of grievances, though it be sad, seem harsh to in parliament, in the house of your Commons, in your princely ears: it is but “gemitus columall humbleness do exhibit and present unto your bæ," the mourning of a dove; with that patience most sacred majesty, in their own words, though and humility of heart which appertaineth to love by my hand, their petitions and grievances. They ing and loyal subjects. And far be it from us, are here conceived and set down in writing, ac- but that in the midst of the sense of our griev. cording to ancient custom of parli ent: they ances we should remember and acknowledge the are also prefaced according to the manner and infinite benefits which, by your majesty, next taste of these later times. Therefore, for me to under God, we do enjoy; which bind us to wish make any additional preface, were neither war- unto your life fulness of days; and unto your line ranted nor convenient; especially speaking before royal a succession and continuance, even unto the a king, the exactness of whose judgment ought world's end. to scatter and chase away all unnecessary speech, It resteth, that unto these petitions here in. as the sun doth a vapour. This only I must say; cluded I do add one more that goeth to them all: since this session of parliament we have seen which is, that if in the words and frame of them your glory in the solemnity of the creation of this there be any thing offensive; or that we have exmost noble prince; we have heard your wisdom pressed ourselves otherwise than we should or in sundry excellent speeches which you have would ; that your majesty would cover it and cast delivered amongst us; now we hope to find and the veil of your grace upon it; and accept of our feel the effects of your goodness, in your gracious good intentions, and help them by your benign answer to these our petitions. For this, we are interpretation. persuaded, that the attribute which was given by Lastly, I am most humbly to crave a particular one of the wisest writers to two of the best em- pardon for myself, that have used these few perors, “Divus Nerva et divus Trajanus," so words; and scarcely should have been able to saith Tacitus, "ses olim insociabiles miscuerunt, have used any at all, in respect of the reverence imperium et libertatem ;" may be truly applied which I bear to your person and judgment, had I to ycur majesty. For never was there such a con- not been somewhat relieved and comforted by the servator of regality in a crown, nor ever such a experience which, in my service and access, protector of lawful freedom in a subject. have had of your continual grace and favour.