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PROPOSALS OF THE COMMITTEE
REGULATING THE LAW,
Both in sense, form, and practice; communicated to publick view, by
especial order and command.
Quarto, containing eight pages.
ting the law, which have taken no small pains in sitting all this while, with the assistance of a single-soaled minister, have at last grown big of these high and mighty articles, and desire to be delivered of them into the world, for the publick applause and consent; for by them we hope to give a free interpretation of modern justice, and a strict account of the reformation of all fees, tedious demurs, and practice of courts, that by it the commonwealth may be eased of the burden of unknown charges, which waits upon buckram-bags, and we richly rewarded for our sweat and travel in so acceptable and laudable a work.
Proposal 1.. That, whereas all the good laws, statutes, and acts of grace in this kingdom have been derived clearly from noble and heroick princes, and their free grant, and (until they shall be repealed by a knack of parliament) are the sole tye and safety of human society, trade, and traffick, it is thought fit, that the charity and love of former Kings to their liege people be esteemed nothing to the mercy of the state we now live under, and the famous liberties, properties, and bounty of their generous spirits, we partake; and that it shall be thoạght reason, and law both, that an ordinance of parliament may take the wall of Magna Charta, though it be in the middle of Lincolu’s-Inn-Fields, and in all causes, and over all persons, to be supreme moderator.
2. That the sword was the first inventor of Kings, and the present upholder of states and parliaments; and therefore, notwithstanding any right or equity lo the contrary, the sword is the best law-giver; and, as it has attempted already to cut off the head of the commonwealth, so it does require all the rest of the members to an observance of its command, be it never so unjust, inhuman, cruel, sacrilegious, or profane.
3. That in all administrations of modern justice, we may be no more bound to conscience, than conscience is to us; for, let a man look over all the anatomy of the lawgivers, it is impossible to conjecture, in what part of that body conscience lies.
4. That the King's-Bench bar be subservient to the high court of justice, in regard the one has no power, but merely to distribute jus suum cuique, the candid censure of the law between man and man; the other has a sovereignty above sovereigns.
5. That the court of iniquity, alias the Chancery (where a man may be suspended and demurred in his just right, from generation to generation, by the power of the purse) may be judged no more by the keepers of the liberties and privileges of England, but rather to be taken in its true and genuine sense by the preservers of the controversies and sins of the people; and, whereas a man, after the expence of a thousand pounds to bring his suit to a hearing, was used to be blown off with a non-assumption of the engagement, they shall henceforth be allowed twenty shillings towards their costs and charges, and the half-dozen clerks daggled gowns scoured.
6. That that bloody and deadly term murderaverunt may be looked upon as a word in fashion; and because it concerns many of great quality, it is ordered, that it be always written in capital letters.
7. That as many, as swornaverunt themselves into the high stile of the knights of the post, are not a jot concerned in the act of degrading late honours conferred; but, this being an ancient order of knighthood, and very ready at all times, through the course of these ten years past, to be stead the commonwealth upon occasion, be it therefore confirmed, by all the sinews of the law, that this fraternity be upheld to perpetuity of ages.
8. That no adjournamentums of causes shall henceforth be allowed; for, suppose a man, having but one poor cotagium in the world, have a suit de pending pro cabagio, Anglicè, for a cabbage, in Michaelmas term, and, withal, a judgment and execution, the plaintiff
' must be constrain. ed, perhaps, to wait a twelvemonth for satisfaction, and to be paid in his own coin.
9. That it shall be held fit in a circuit or assize, though it become not a judge itinerant, with his bunch of gravity on his chin, to take bribes, yet it
may be convenient, that the price of a pair of gloves, called fifty pieces, be deposed in his clerk's pocket, to be presented to his lordship the next morning, when he goes to wash his hands, that, like Pilate, be might purify himself to the world in formality and circumstance, as in the case of Martin Sandy and Steyner.
10. That all attornie's of courts errant, passant, or regardant, may no more run up their clients with twelve-pence wet, and six-pence dry, besides baitings, breakfasts, collations, and Banbury cheeses; but that justice may ron clear, without proclivity, or irregular buggering of a countryman's purse, it is ordered, cum warranto, that the pettifogger shall require no more than his ten groats; and, if so be the free hearted client tickle him under the short ribs, with an ordinary of boiled beef at Feiter-lane end gratis, it shall be thought a considerable easeamentum of expence, and no more to be extoried for expedition.
11. That all dashes whatsoever, used in writing, shall be held for a capital crime; for, under the notion of a counter-stroke, the law and Lalin cases were so martyred, that it puzzled the worshipful the judges (having forgotten their grammar by long experience) to understand them;
and therefore it is desired, that all words be written at length, and not in figures, for the conveniency of the benchers.
12. That it may be thought reason that the word Villenagium be utterly expunged out of the terms of the law, since we are all freemen, and no more slaves, than they which row in the Turks gallies.
13. That, by the motion of Mr. Peters, the term simony may be looked upon as convenient, if not lawful, since the first day he begun to sell the patronage of South-Wales.
14. That the right heir at law is he alone that is in possession: and as, by the outing of the best tenure in England, we see it apparent, inter arma silent leges, so, whosoever he be, that is born to an estate, unless he can derive his claim from the engagement, he is no longer to be suffered by the sheriff of the county to live in peace, till such time as he has run the gauntlope at Haberdashers-Hall, and then he shall be freely manumitted.
15. That an under-sheriff, a jailer, a catch-pole, and clerk of assize, being individuums in natura, or termini convertibiles, shall no more be dashed in their reputation with the circumflex of a K, but rather to be considered as publick officers, which, in this catching age, ought to have a little touch of hocus pocus in all their performances.
16. That the excise, notwithstanding there be no law extant, or conscience, lo warrant so sore an imposition upon a free people, may be
' thought jure divino, because it evlarges the hawking-bags of the saints.
17. That no expedition be henceforth used in any court, practice, or procedure, but rather all delays and labyrinths to dwindle out a bumkin's patrimony to the last thread. That the puny clerks may be prevented in the vein of their spending money, and the masters of offices may be inriched with double fees, to the capacily of buying bishops lands and fee-farm rents; besides, the law being just shaking hands with us, it is necessary we make the most of it, while it is here.
18. That whereas a country sollicitor, vamped up to the singularity of a vinegar cloke, and a green bag, is wont to dun the offices with a pitiful importunity, more specially when his novice is at hand to quick
en him with a piece of four; it is desired he may make the benefit of a fallacia signi, when the term is ended, to keep his under-vamper in town to bear his charges, until the poor fellow is compelled 10 pawn his cloke in Long-lane, to carry him home, and then take his leave, with a philosophical bill of charges at his back, like an indenture in folio, to bemoan his lawship to his admiring friends.
19. That the term prerogative, being a sequestrable phrase, a malignant and dangerous word, full of plots and treasons, a word prayed and preached against by many well-wishing and contiding divines, and godly souls of this nation, may be laid aside, and charmed into the happy conversion of the people's birth-right. And since the representatives of the plebeians have the managing of all delinquent incumbrances: Be it proposed to be enacted and made law, that all such tyrannical expressions, denominations, or inventions be pocketed up, to raise the wages, salaries, stipendiaries, or allowances of the aforesaid representatives from this time forth for cvermore.
20. That whereas meum and tuum have been the oid pronouns of distinguishing titles and claims in this blind and ignorant patch of the world, in regard they are Latin, and so of grievous consequence to a people new lighted, in respect of their alliance, relation, affinity, and consanguinity to the pope, being their countryman: Be it confirmed by a perpetual decree, that those words are no better than Jesuits, and have nothing to do with us in the decision of rights of the new model.
21. That the thing called a King, a title of usurpation, to whom, by compulsion and imminent necessity, men of greatest rank, nobility, and professions, took most formally the oaths of allegiance and suprémacy; because we, that are wiser than our forefathers, know there is an inconvenience in having any one above us, to call us to an account, or controul the liberty of our concupiscence: It is beseeched, that all Britain, of what tongue, language, or speech soever, would be pleased to forget that obligation, and to acknowledge no supremacy but in themselves.
22. That, in all contracts, covenants, or agreements, it shall be considerable for every man to bave a mental reservation, or intricate meaning, that upon advantages we may turn weather-cocks, and adore those mighty and modern deities, profit and self-ends.
23. That all records, or registers of antiquity, may be burnt and imbezzled, for fear, lest, in reading and turning over those slighted and moth-eaten papers, we may unwillingly be put in mind of a neglected and forgotten duty and obedience to magistracy, ministry, nay, I had almost said, sovereignty.
24. That every country-fellow may have the privilege of pleading his own cause, merely to humour the high shoes, notwithstanding we, in our known wisdom and integrity, shall give sentence according to our underfeeling and proper discretion.
25. That all committee-men shall be held forth saints at their death, and be inthroned in the church-windows, at the charge of the parish; because they have been most eminent instruments in the ingrossing and monopolising of all church-lands, glebe, and tythes.
26. That there may be a provincial pair-royal of judges selected for the determining of suits in the same country where they first take breath: Always provided, that if the parties be rich, fat, and well-liking, and of good credit in the sheriffs books, and withal able to endure the heat of a London trial : That, in such cases, there must and ought to be a further appeal to our palace at Westminster, where such differences are most peculiarly required to be decided with a wet finger.
27. That as the oath ex officio, or an injunction for a man to discover himself against himself, has always been held a most injurious circuiventing and unjust invention amongst grandees (except in matters of sequestration) it shall be lawful henceforward for no man to unrip, untruss, or divulge the least syllable of his own privity or hidden knowledge of deluding, deceiving, or cousening the commonalty, against his own conscience.
28. That the damnable expensive fees of all offices and officers shall be brought to an abatamentum, and be left to the pleasure of every man's heart to gratulate and requite his trustce; and so, the lawyers being
brought into subjection to the mercy of the bores and swads, they may not faunt so stately in their pontificalibus, being but publick servants, and a hickle of animals, which breathe by the iniquities of the land.
29. That, whereas incontinence has been evermore held by the ancients a most decried and punishable vice, and trick of youth in most countries, it is conceived fit to be esteemed venial, and more pardonable in this cold climate; and to permit all men, of experienced activity, the freedom of a wife and an intimate, for the fructifying of the sisterhood, and the enlargement of the number of the Geneva fry. 30. That the old
proverb, ' Change is no robbery,' be put in practice in these moderate times. And whereas the grievous and mighty tax, called ship-money, imposed by the royalists, bath been esteemed tyranny, injustice, and covetousness: The easy and frivolous sess of sixty-thousand pounds a month, loaded by the reformed sighers and groaners, shall be construed by all sorts of pay-masters a trife, a piece of nothingness, necessary to the supportation of the armies, and other small disbursements, which do not amount to half the sum.
31. That whereas the taking up of arms in former ages against a prince, by his own subjects, was by the law found treason; in respect that now we know he is but a man, obnoxious to death and mortality at pleasure; it shall no longer be judged treason, but convenience; and that such ought to be rewarded for it, under the notion of good service and gallantry.
32. That whereas in case of manslaughter, and other casual offences, men were allowed the benefit of their clergy; it is granted ne. cessary in this metamorphosis of things, that no man be put to his book again, for there is hardly one in a hundred can read his neck-verse, and so many of the good intenders to the weal-publick may incur the hazard of the hempen twist.
33. That all subsizing, querpo, gizzard clerks, which farm a parcel of scribbling at three pence a day, shall not be suffered hence-forward to lay out their fathers allowance, and their own lamentable revenue, upon a suit of cloaths, and a horse collar of ribbands. For, as it is even in the greatest order of the bustling gallants a most unseemly anting, loose, profuse, ugly garb, to be dressed about the hips like a
dancer, and to have more variety of strange colours than good conu.ons, it is judged commendable both in state policy and common civility to enact, that all such which are found whiffling in such antick dresses, be accounted no better than w-masters, tooth. drawers, and mountebanks, from this time forth for evermore.
34. That all lawyers wives, which have come sneaking into the Inns of Court, with their bag and baggage, whether it be to be proficients in their husbands'absence in the practice of fee-tail, or whether it be to convert those gallant edifices from a nursery of law, to a shambles of laundry-women, I know not; but it is requested to be voted, that all such presumptuous whipsters, with their litter and lumber, reduce themselves either into Ram-alley, Purple-lane, or Castle-Yard, more fit stages for such comical subjects, than seminaries of learning, and there to set up for themselves, where only such kind of cattle are to be expected.