The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part D. - From Elizabeth to James I.
by David Hume
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[Footnote 30: NOTE DD, p. 264. Strype, vol. iii. p. 542. Id. append, p. 239. There are some singular passages in this last speech, which may be worth taking notice of, especially as they came from a member who was no courtier; for he argues against the subsidy. "And first," says he, "for the necessity thereof, I cannot deny, but if it were a charge imposed upon us by her majesty's commandment, or a demand proceeding from her majesty by way of request, that I think there is not one among us all, either so disobedient a subject in regard of our duty, or so unthankful a man in respect of the inestimable benefits which by her or from her we have received, which would not with frank consent, both of voice and heart, most willingly submit himself thereunto, without any unreverend inquiry into the causes thereof. For it is continually in the mouth of us all, that our lands, goods, and lives, are at our prince's disposing. And it agreeth very well with that position of the civil law, which sayeth, 'Quod omnia regis aunt,' But how? 'Ita tamen ut omnium sint. Ad regem enim potestas omnium pertinet; ad singulos proprietas.' So that although it be most true that her majesty hath over ourselves and our goods 'potestatem imperandi,' yet it is true, that until that power command, (which, no doubt, will not command without very just cause,) every subject hath his own 'proprietatem possidendi.' Which power and commandment from her majesty, which we have not yet received, I take it, (saving reformation,) that we are freed from the cause of necessity. And the cause of necessity is the dangerous estate of the commonwealth," etc. The tenor of the speech pleads rather for a general benevolence than a subsidy; for the law of Richard III. against benevolence was nevei conceived to have any force. The member even proceeds to assert, with some precaution, that it was in the power of parliament to refuse the king's demand of a subsidy; and that there was an instance of that liberty in Heary III.'s time near four hundred years before. Sub Fine.]

[Footnote 31: NOTE EE, p. 266 We may judge of the extent and importance of these abuses by a speech of Bacon's against purveyors, delivered in the first session of the first parliament of the subsequent reign, by which also we may learn that Elizabeth had given no redress to the grievances complained of. "First," says he, "they take in kind what they ought not to take; secondly, they take in quantity a far greater proportion than cometh to your majesty's use; thirdly, they take in an unlawful manner, in a manner, I say, directly and expressly prohibited by the several laws. For the first, I am a little to alter their name; for in stead of takers, they become taxers. Instead of taking provisions for your majesty's service, they tax your people 'ad redimendam vexationem;' imposing upon them and extorting from them divers sums of money, sometimes in gross, sometimes in the nature of stipends annually paid, 'ne noceant,' to be freed and eased of their oppression Again, they take trees, which by law they cannot do; timber trees which are the beauty, countenance, and shelter of men's houses; that men have long spared from their own purse and profit; that men esteem for their use and delight, above ten times the value; that are a loss which men cannot repair or recover. These do they take, to the defacing and spoiling of your subjects' mansions and dwellings, except they may be compounded with to their own appetites. And if a gentleman be too hard for them while he is at home, they will watch their time when there is but a bailiff or a servant remaining, and put the axe to the root of the tree, ere even the master can stop it. Again, they use a strange and most unjust exaction in causing the subjects to pay poundage of their own debts, due from your majesty unto them; so as a poor man, when he has had his hay, or his wood, or his poultry (which perchance he was full loath to part with, and had for the provision of his own family, and not to put to sale) taken from him, and that not at a just price, but under the value, and cometh to receive his money, he shall have after the rate of twelve pence in the pound abated for poundage of his due payment upon so hard conditions. Nay, further, they are grown to that extremity, (as is affirmed, though it be scarce credible, save that in such persons all things are credible,) that they will take double poundage once when the debenture is made, and again the second time when the money is paid. For the second point, most gracious sovereign, touching the quantity which they take far above that which is answered to your majesty's use; it is affirmed unto me by divers gentlemen of good report, as a matter which I may safely avouch unto your majesty, that there is no pound profit which redoundeth unto your majesty in this course, but induceth and begetteth three pound damage upon your subjects, beside the discontentment. And to the end they may make their spoil more securely, what do they? Whereas divers statutes do strictly provide, that whatsoever they take shall De registered and attested, to the end that by making a collation of that which is taken from the country and that which is answered above, their deceits might appear, they, to the end, to obscure their deceits, utterly omit the observation of this, which the law prescribeth. 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 question is a branch; 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 at an imposed and enforced price. By law they ought to take but one apprizement by neighbors in the country; by abuse, they make a second apprizement at the court gate; and when the subjects' cattle come up many miles, lean and out of plight by reason of their 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 night time, a time well chosen for malefactors. By law, they ought not to take in the highways, (a place by her majesty's high prerogative protected, and by statute by special words excepted;) by abuse, they take in the highways. By law, they ought to show their commission, etc. A number of other particulars there are," etc. Bacon's Works, vol. iv. p. 305, 306.

Such were the abuses which Elizabeth would neither permit her parliaments to meddle with, nor redress herself. I believe it will readily be allowed, that this slight prerogative alone, which has passed almost unobserved amidst other branches of so much greater importance, was sufficient to extinguish all regular liberty. For what elector, or member of parliament, or even juryman, durst oppose the will of the court, while he lay under the lash of such an arbitrary prerogative? For a further account of the grievous and incredible oppressions of purveyors, see the Journals of the house of commons, vol. i. p. 190. There is a story of a carter, which may be worth mentioning on this occasion. "A carter had three times been at Windsor with his cart, to carry away, upon summons of a remove, some part of the stuff of her majesty's wardrobe; and when he had repaired thither once, twice, and the third time, and that they of the wardrobe had told him the third time, that the remove held not, the carter, slapping his hand on his thigh, said, 'Now I see that the queen is a woman as well as my wife;' which words being overheard by her majesty, who then stood at the window, she said, 'What a villain is this?' and so sent him three angels to stop his mouth." Birch's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 155.]

[Footnote 32: NOTE FF, p. 274. This year, the nation suffered a great loss, by the death of Sir Francis Walsingham, secretary of state; a man equally celebrated for his abilities and his integrity. He had passed through many employments, had been very frugal in his expense, yet died so poor, that his family was obliged to give him a private burial. He left only one daughter, first married to Sir Philip Sidney, then to the earl of Essex, favorite of Queen Elizabeth, and lastly to the earl of Clanriearde of Ireland. The same year died Thomas Randolph, who had been employed by the queen in several embassies to Scotland; as did also the earl of Warwick, elder brother to Leicester.]

[Footnote 33: NOTE GO, p. 276. This action of Sir Richard Greenville is so singular as to merit a more particular relation. He was engaged alone with the whole Spanish fleet of fifty-three sail, which had ten thousand men on board; and from the time the fight began, which was about three in the afternoon, to the break of day next morning, he repulsed the enemy fifteen times, though they continually shifted their vessels, and hoarded with fresh men. In the beginning of the action he himself received a wound; but he continued doing his duty above deck till eleven at night, when receiving a fresh wound, he was carried down to be dressed. During this operation, he received a shot in the head, and the surgeon was killed by his side. The English began now to want powder. All their small arms were broken or become useless. Of their number, which were but a hundred and three at first, forty were killed, and almost all the rest wounded. Their masts were beat overboard, their tackle cut in pieces, and nothing but a hulk left, unable to move one way or other. In this situation, Sir Richard proposed to the ship's company, to trust to the mercy of God, not to that of the Spaniards, and to destroy the ship with themselves, rather than yield to the enemy. The master gunner, and many of the seamen, agreed to this desperate resolution; but others opposed it and obliged Greenville to surrender himself prisoner. He died a few days after; and his last words were, "Here die I, Richard Greenville, with a joyful and quiet mind; for that I have ended my life as a true soldier ought to do, fighting for his country, queen, religion, and honor; my soul willingly departing from this body, leaving behind the lasting fame of having behaved as every valiant soldier is in his duty bound to do." The Spaniards lost in this sharp, though unequal action, four ships, and about a thousand men; and Greenville's vessel perished soon after, with two hundred Spaniards in her. Hacklyt's Voyages, vol. iii. part 2, p. 169. Camden, p. 565.]

[Footnote 34: NOTE HH, p. 294. It is usual for the speaker to disqualify himself for the office; but the reasons employed by this speaker are so singular that they may be worth transcribing. "My estate," said he, "is nothing correspondent for the maintenance of this dignity, for my father dying left me a younger brother, and nothing to me but my bare annuity. Then growing to man's estate, and some small practice of the law, I took a wife, by whom I have had many children; the keeping of us all being a great impoverishing to my estate, and the daily living of us all nothing but my daily industry. Neither from my person not my nature doth this choice arise; for he that supplieth this place ought to be a man big and comely, stately and well-spoken, his voice great, his carriage majestical, his nature haughty, and his purse plentiful and heavy: but contrarily, the stature of my body is small, myself not so well spoken, my voice low, my carriage lawyer-like, and of the common fashion, my nature soft and bashful, my purse thin, light, and never yet plentiful. If Demosthenes, being so learned and eloquent as he was, one whom none surpassed, trembled to speak before Phocion at Athens, how much more shall I, being unlearned and unskilful to supply the place of dignity, charge, and trouble, to speak before so many Phocions as here be? yea, which is the greatest, before the unspeakable majesty and sacred personage of our dread and dear sovereign; the terror of whose countenance will appal and abase even the stoutest hearts; yea, whose very name will pull down the greatest courage? for how mightily do the estate and name of a prince deject the haughtiest stomach even of their greatest subjects? D'Ewes, p. 459.]

[Footnote 35: NOTE II, p. 299. Cabala, p. 234. Birch's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 386. Speed, p. 877 The whole letter of Essex is so curious and so spirited, that the reader may not be displeased to read it. "My very good lord Though there is not that man this day living, whom I would sooner make judge of any question that might concern me than yourself, yet you must give me leave to tell you, that in some cases I must appeal from all earthly judges; and if any, then surely in this, when the highest judge on earth has imposed on me the heaviest punishment, without trial or hearing. Since then I must either answer your lord-ship's argument, or else forsake mine own just defence, I will force, mine aching head to do me service for an hour. I must first deny my discontent, which was forced, to be a humorous discontent; and that it was unseasonable, or is of so long continuing, your lordship should rather condole with me than expostulate. Natural seasons are expected here below; but violent and unseasonable storms come from above. There is no tempest equal to the passionate indignation of a prince; nor yet at any time so unseasonable, as when it lighteth on those that might expect a harvest of their careful and painful labors. He that is once wounded must needs feel smart, till his hurt is cured, or the part hurt become senseless. But cure I expect none, her majesty's heart being obdurate against me; and be without sense I cannot, being of flesh and blood. But, say you, I may aim at the end. I do more than aim; for I see an end of all my fortunes, I have set an end to all my desires. In this course do I any thing for my enemies? When I was at court, I found them absolute; and therefore I had rather they should triumph alone, than have me attendant upon their chariots. Or do I leave my friends? When I was a courtier, I could yield them no fruit of my love unto them; and now that I am a hermit, they shall bear no envy for their love towards me. Or do I forsake myself because I do enjoy myself? Or do I overthrow my fortunes, because I build not a fortune of paper walls, which every puff of wind bloweth down? Or do I ruinate mine honor, because I leave following the pursuit, or wearing the false badge or mark of the shadow of honor? Do I give courage or comfort to the foreign foe, because I reserve myself to encounter with him? or because I keep my heart from business, though I cannot keep my fortune from declining? No, no, my good lord; I give every one of these considerations its due weight; and the more I weigh them, the more I find myself justified from offending in any of them. As for the two last objections, that I forsake my country when it hath most need of me, and fail in that indissoluble duty which I owe to my sovereign, I answer, that if my country had at this time any need of my public service, her majesty, that governeth it, would not have driven me to a private life. I am tied to my country by two bonds; One public, to discharge carefully and industriously that trust which is committed to me; the other private, to sacrifice for it my life and carcass, which hath been nourished in it Of the first I am free, being dismissed, discharged, and disabled by her majesty. Of the other, nothing can free me but death; and, therefore, no occasion of my performance shall sooner offer itself but I shall meet it half way. The indissoluble duty which I owe unto her majesty is only the duty of allegiance, which Imnever have nor never can fail in. The duty of attendance is no indissoluble duty. I owe her majesty the duty of an earl, and of lord marshal of England. I have been content to do her majesty the service of a clerk; but I can never serve her as a villain of slave. But yet you say I must give way unto the time. So I do; for now that I see the storm come, I have put myself into the harbor. Seneca saith, we must give way to fortune. I know that fortune is both blind and strong, and therefore I go as far as I can out of her way. You say the remedy is not to strive. I neither strive nor seek for remedy. But you say I must yield and submit. I can neither yield myself to be guilty, nor allow the imputation laid upon me to be just. I owe so much to the Author of all truth, as I can never yield truth to be falsehood, nor falsehood to be truth. Have I given cause, you ask, and yet take a scandal when I have done? No. I gave no cause, not so much as Fimbria's complaint against me; for I did 'totum telum corpore recipere,' receive the whole sword into my body. I patiently bear all, and sensibly feel all that I then received when this scandal was given me. Nay, more, when the vilest of all indignities are done unto me," etc. This noble letter, Bacon afterwards, in pleading against Essex, called bold and presumptuous, and derogatory to her majesty. Birch's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 338.]

[Footnote 37: NOTE KK, P. 321. Most of Queen Elizabeth's courtiers feigned love and desire towards her, and addressed themselves to her in the style of passion and gallantry. Sir Walter Raleigh, having fallen into disgrace, wrote the following letter to his friend, Sir Robert Cecil, with a view, no doubt, of having it shown to the queen. "My heart was never broke till this day, that I hear the queen goes away so far off, whom I have followed so many years, with so great love and desire in so many journeys, and am now left behind here in a dark prison all alone. While she was yet near at hand, that I might hear of her once in two or three days, my sorrows were the less; but even now, my heart it cast into the depth of all misery. I, that was wont to behold her riding like Alexander, hunting like Diana, walking like Venus, the gentle wind blowing her fair hair about her pure cheeks, like a nymph, sometimes sitting in the shade like a goddess, sometimes singing like an angel, sometimes playing like Orpheus; behold the sorrow of this world! once amiss hath bereaved me of all. O glory, that only sdineth in misfortune, what is become of thy assurance? All wounds have scars but that of fantasy: all affections their relenting but that of womankind. Who is the judge of friendship but adversity, only when is grace witnessed but in offences? There were no divinity but by reason of compassion; for revenges are brutish and mortal. All those times past, the loves, the sighs, the sorrows, the desires, cannot they weigh down one frail misfortune? Cannot one drop of gall be hid in so great heaps of sweetness? I may then conclude, 'Spes et fortuna, valete.' She is gone in whom I trusted; and of me hath not one thought of mercy, nor any respect of that which was Do with me now, therefore, what you list. I am more weary of life than they are desirous I should perish; which, if it had been for her, as it is by her, I had been too happily born." Murden, 657. It is to be remarked, that this nymph, Venus, goddess, angel, was then about sixty. Yet five or six years after, she allowed the same language to be held to her. Sir Henry Unton, her ambassador in France, relates to her a conversation which he had with Henry IV. That monarch, after having introduced Unton to his mistress, the fair Gabrielle, asked him how he liked her. "I answered sparingly in her praise," said the minister, "and told him, that if, without offence, I might speak it, I had the picture of a far more excellent mistress, and yet did her picture come far short of her perfection of beauty. As you love me, said he, show it me, if you have it about you. I made some difficulties; yet, upon his importunity, offered it to his view very secretly, holding it still in my hand. He beheld it with passion and admiration, saying, that I had reason, 'Je me rends,' protesting that he had never seen the like; so, with great reverence, he kissed it twice or thrice, I detaining it still in my hand. In the end, with some kind of contention, he took it from me, vowing that I might take my leave of it; for he would not forego it for any treasure; and that to possess the favor of the lovely picture, he would forsake all the world, and hold himself most happy; with many other most passionate speeches." Murden, p. 718. For further particulars on this head, see the ingenious author of the Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors, article Essex.]

[Footnote 38: NOTE LL, P. 337.

It may not be amiss to subjoin some passages of these speeches; which may serve to give us a just idea of the government of that age, and of the political principles which prevailed during the reign of Elizabeth. Mr. Laurence Hyde proposed a bill, entitled, An act for the explanation of the common law in certain cases of letters patent. Mr. Spicer said, "This bill may touch the prerogative royal, which, as I learned the last parliament, is so transcendent, that the———of the subject may not aspire thereunto. Far be it therefore from me that the state and prerogative royal of the prince should be tied by me, or by the act of any other subject." Mr. Francis Bacon said, "As to the prerogative royal of the prince, for my own part, I ever allowed of it; and it is such as I hope will never be discussed. The queen, as she is our sovereign, hath both an enlarging and restraining power. For by her prerogative she may set at liberty things restrained by statute, law, or otherwise; and secondly, by her prerogative she may restrain things which be at liberty. For the first, she may grant a 'non obstante' contrary to the penal laws. With regard to monopolies and such like cases, the case hath ever been to humble ourselves onto her majesty, and by petition desire to have our grievances remedied, especially when the remedy touched her so nigh in point of prerogative. I say, and I say it again, that we ought not to deal, to judge or meddle with her majesty's prerogative. I wish, therefore, every man to be careful of this business." Dr. Bennet said, "He that goeth about to debate her majesty's prerogative had need to walk warily." Mr. Laurence Hyde said, "For the bill itself, I made it, and I think I understand it; and far be it from this heart of mine to think, this tongue to speak, or this hand to write any thing either in prejudice or derogation of her majesty's prerogative royal and the state." "Mr. Speaker," quoth Serjeant Harris, "for aught I see, the house moveth to have this bill in the nature of a petition. It must then begin with more humiliation. And truly, sir, the bill is good of itself, but the penning of it is somewhat out of course." Mr. Montague said, "The matter is good and honest, and I like this manner of proceeding by bill well enough in this matter. The grievances are great, and I would only unto you thus much, that the last parliament we proceeded by way of petition, which had no successful effect." Mr. Francis More said, "I know the queen's prerogative is a thing curious to be dealt withal; yet all grievances are not comparable. I cannot utter with my tongue, or conceive with my heart, the great grievances that: the town and country, for which I serve, suffereth by some of these monopolies. It bringeth the general profit into a private hand, and the end of all this is beggary and bondage to the subjects. We have a law for the true and faithful currying of leather. There is a patent sets all at liberty, notwithstanding that statute. And to what purpose is it to do any thing by act of parliament, when the queen will undo the same by her prerogative? Out of the spirit of humiliation, Mr. Speaker, I do speak it, there is no act of hers that hath been or is mores derogatory to her own majesty, more odious to the subject, more dangerous to the commonwealth, than the granting of these monopolies." Mr. Martin said, "I do speak for a town that grieves and pines, tor a country that groaneth and languisheth, under the burden of monstrous and unconscionable substitutes to the monopolitans of starch, tin, fish, cloth, oil, vinegar, salt, and I know not what; nay, what not? The principalest commodities, both of my town and country, are engrossed into the hands of these bloodsuckers of the commonwealth. If a body, Mr. Speaker, being let blood, be left still languishing without any remedy, how can the good estate of that body still remain? Such is the state of my town and country; the traffic is taken away, the inward and private commodities are taken away, and dare not be used without the license of these monopolitans. If these bloodsuckers be still let alone to suck up the best and principalest commodities which the earth there hath given us, what will become of us, from whom the fruits of our own soil, and the commodities of our own labor, which, with the sweat of our brows, even up to the knees in mire and dirt, we have labored for, shall be taken by warrant of supreme authority, which the poor subject dare not gainsay?" Mr. George Moore said, "We know the power of her majesty cannot be restrained by any act. Why, wherefore, should we thus talk s Admit we should make this statute with a non obstante; yet the queen may grant a patent with a non obstante to cross this non obstante. I think, therefore, it agreeth more with the gravity and wisdom of this house, to proceed with all humbleness by petition than bill." Mr. Downland said, "As I would be no let or over-vehement in any thing, so I am not sottish or senseless of the common grievance of the commonwealth. If we proceed by way of petition, we can have no more gracious answer then we had the last parliament to our petition. But since that parliament, we have no reformation." Sir Robert Wroth said, "I speak, and I speak it boldly, these patentees are worse than ever they were." Mr. Hayward Townsend proposed, that they should make suit to her majesty, not only to repeal all monopolies grievous to the subject, but also that it would please her majesty to give the parliament leave to make an act that they might be of no more force, validity, or effect, than they are at the common law, without the strength of her prerogative. Which though we might now do, and the act being so reasonable, we might assure ourselves her majesty would not delay the passing thereof, yet we, her loving subjects, etc., would not offer without her privity and consent, (the cause so nearly touching her prerogative,) or go about to do any such act.

On a subsequent day, the bill against monopolies was again introduced, and Mr. Spicer said, "It is to no purpose to offer to tie her majesty's hands by act of parliament, when she may loosen herself at her pleasure." Mr. Davies said, "God hath given that power to absolute princes, which he attributes to himself. Dixi quod Dii estis.'" (N. B. This axiom he applies to the kings of England.) Mr. Secretary Cecil said, "I am servant to the queen, and before I would speak and give consent to a case that should debase her prerogative, or abridge it, I would wish that my tongue were cut out of my head. I am sure there were law-makers before there were laws; (meaning, I suppose, that the sovereign was above the laws.) One gentleman went about to possess us with the execution of the law in an ancient record of 5 or 7 of Edward III. Likely enough to be true in that time, when the king was afraid of the subject. If you stand upon law, and dispute of the prerogative, hark ye what Bracton says: 'Praerogativam nestram nemo audeat disputare.' And for my own part, I like not these courses should be taken. And you, Mr. Speaker, should perform the charge her majesty gave unto you in the beginning of this parliament, not to receive bills of this nature; for her majesty's ears be open to all grievances, and her hands stretched out to every man's petitions. When the prince dispenses with a penal law, that is left to the alteration of sovereignty, that is good and irrevocable." Mr. Montague said, "I am loath to speak what I know, lest, perhaps, I should displease. The prerogative royal is that which is now in question, and which the laws of the land have ever allowed bad maintained. Let us, therefore, apply by petition to her majesty."

After the speaker told the house that the queen had annulled many of the patents, Mr. Francis More said, "I must confess, Mr. Speaker, I moved the house both the last parliament and this, touching this point; but I never meant (and I hope the house thinketh so) to set limits and bounds to the prerogative royal." He proceeds to move that thanks should be given to her majesty; and also that whereas divers speeches have been moved extravagantly in the house, which, doubtless, have been told her majesty, and perhaps ill conceived of by her, Mr. Speaker would apologize, and humbly crave pardon for the same. N. B. These extracts were taken by Townsend, a member of the house, who was no courtier; and the extravagance of the speeches seems rather to be on the other side. It will certainly appear strange to us that this liberty should be thought extravagant.

However, the queen, notwithstanding her cajoling the house, was so ill satisfied with these proceedings, that she spoke of them peevishly in her concluding speech, and told them, that she perceived that private respects with them were privately masked under public presence. D'Ewes, p. 619.

There were some other topics in favor of prerogative, still more extravagant, advanced in the house this parliament. When the question of the subsidy was before them, Mr. Serjeant Heyle said, "Mr. Speaker, I marvel much that the house should stand upon granting of a subsidy or the time of payment, when all we have is her majesty's, and she may lawfully at her pleasure take it from us; yea, she hath as much right to all our lands and goods as to any revenue of her crown." At which all the house hemmed, and laughed, and talked "Well," quoth Serjeant Heyle, "all your hemming shall not put me out of countenance." So Mr. Speaker stood up and said, "It is a great disorder that this house should be so used." So the said serjeant proceeded, and when he had spoken a little while, the house hemmed again; and so he sat down. In his latter speech, he said, he could prove his former position by precedents in the time of Henry III., King John, King Stephen, etc., which was the occasion of then: hemming. D'Ewes, p. 633. It is observable, that Heyle was an eminent lawyer, a man of character. Winwood, vol. i. p. 290. And though the house in general showed their disapprobation, no one cared to take him down, Or oppose these monstrous positions. It was also asserted this session, that in the same manner as the Roman consul was possessed of the power of rejecting or admitting motions in the senate, the speaker might either admit or reject bills in the house. D'Ewes, p. 677. The house declared themselves against this opinion; but the very proposal of it is a proof at what a low ebb liberty was at that time in England.

In the year 1591, the judges made a solemn decree, that England was an absolute empire, of which the king was the head. In consequence of this opinion, they determined, that even if the act of the first of Elizabeth had never been made, the king was supreme head of the church; and might have erected, by his prerogative, such a court as the ecclesiastical commission; for that he was the head of all his subjects. Now that court was plainly arbitrary. The inference is, that his power was equally absolute over the laity. See Coke's Reports, p. 5. Caudrey's case.]

[Footnote 39: NOTE MM, p. 359. We have remarked before, that Harrison, in book ii. chap. 11, says, that in the reign of Henry VIII. there were hanged seventy-two thousand thieves and rogues, (besides other malefactors;) this makes about two thousand a year: but in Queen Elizabeth's time, the same author says, there were only between three and four hundred a year banged for theft and robbery; so much had the times mended. But in our age, there are not forty a year hanged for those crimes in all England. Yet Harrison complains of the relaxation of the laws, that there were so few such rogues punished in his time. Our vulgar prepossession in favor of the morals of former and rude ages, is very absurd, and ill-grounded. The same author says, (chap. 10,) that there were computed to be ten thousand gypsies in England; a species of banditti introduced about the reign of Henry VIII.; and he adds, that there will be no way of extirpating them by the ordinary course of justice. The queen must employ martial law against them. That race has now almost totally disappeared in England, and even in Scotland, where there were some remains of them a few years ago. However arbitrary the exercise of martial law in the crown, it appears that nobody in the age of Elizabeth entertained any jealousy of it.]

[Footnote 40: NOTE NN, p. 367. Harrison, in his Description of Britain, printed in 1577, has the following passage, (chap. 13:) "Certes there is no prince in Europe that hath a more beautiful sort of ships than the queen's majesty of England at this present; and those generally are of such exceeding force, that two of them, being well appointed and furnished as they ought, will not let to encounter with three or four of them of other countries, and either bowge them or put them to flight, if they may not bring them home. The queen's highness hath, at this present, already made and furnished to the number of one and twenty great ships, which lie for the most part in Gillingham Rode. Beside these, her grace hath other in hand also, of whom hereafter, as their turns do come about, I will not let to leave some further remembrance. She hath likewise three notable galleys, the Speedwell, the Tryeright, and the Black Galley, with the sight whereof, and the rest of the navy royal, it is incredible to say how marvellously her grace is delighted; and not without great cause, sith by their means her coasts are kept in quiet, and sundry foreign enemies put back, which otherwise would invade us." After speaking of the merchant ships, which, he says, are commonly estimated at seventeen or eighteen hundred, he continues: "I add, therefore, to the end all men should understand somewhat of the great masses of treasure daily employed upon our navy, how there are few of those ships of the first and second sort, (that is, of the merchant ships,) that, being apparelled and made ready to sail, are not worth one thousand pounds, or three thousand ducats at the least, if they should presently be sold. What shall we then think of the navy royal, of which some one vessel is worth two of the other, as the shipwright has often told me? It is possible that some covetous person, hearing this report, will either not credit at all, or suppose money so employed to be nothing profitable to the queen's coffers; as a good husband said once, when he heard that provisions should be made for armor, wishing the queen's money to be rather laid out to some speedier return of gain unto her grace. But if he wist that the good keeping of the sea is the safeguard of our land, he would alter his censure, and soon give over his judgment." Speaking of the forests, this author says, "An infinite deal of wood hath been destroyed within these few years; and I dare affirm, that if wood do go so fast to decay in the next hundred years of grace, as they have done or are like to do in this, it is to be feared that sea coal will be good merchandise even in the city of London." Harrison's prophecy was fulfilled in a very few years; for about 1615, there were two hundred sail employed in carrying coal to London. See Anderson, vol. i. p. 494.]

[Footnote 41: NOTE OO, p. 373. Life of Burleigh, published by Collins, f—44. The author hints that this quantity of plate was considered only as small in a man of Burleigh's rank. His words are, "His plate was not above fourteen or fifteen thousand pounds." That he means pounds weight is evident. For, by Burleigh's will, which is annexed to his life, that nobleman gives away in legacies, to friends and relations, near four thousand pounds weight, which would have been above twelve thousand pounds sterling in value. The remainder he orders to be divided into two equal portions; the half to his eldest son and heir; the other half to be divided equally among his second son and three daughters. Were we therefore to understand the whole value of his plate to be only 14 or 16,000 pounds sterling, he left not the tenth of it to the heir of his family.]

[Footnote 42: NOTE PP, p. 373. Harrison says, "The greatest part of our building in the cities and good towns of England consisteth only of timber, cast over with thick clay to keep out the wind. Certes, this rude kind of building made the Spaniards in Queen Mary's days to wonder; but chiefly when they saw that large diet was used in many of these so homely cottages, insomuch that one of no small reputation amongst them said after this manner: These English, quoth he, have their houses made of sticks and dirt, but they fare commonly so well as the king. Whereby it appeareth, that he liked better of our good fare in such coarse cabins, than of their own thin diet in their princely habitations and palaces. The clay with which our houses are commonly empanelled, is either white, red, or blue." Book ii. chap. 12. The author adds, that the new houses of the nobility are commonly of brick or stone, and that glass windows were beginning to be used in England.]

[Footnote 43: NOTE QQ, p. 375. The following are the words of Roger Ascham, the queen's preceptor: "It is your shame, (I speak to you all, young gentlemen of England,) that one maid should go beyond ye all in excellency of learning and knowledge of divers tongues. Point out six of the best given gentlemen of this court, and all they together show not so much good will, spend not so much time, bestow not so many hours daily, orderly, and constantly, for the increase of learning and knowledge, as doth the queen's majesty herself. Yea, I believe that besides her perfect readiness in Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish, she readeth here now at Windsor more Greek every day, than some prebendary of this church doth Latin in a whole week. Amongst all the benefits which God had blessed me withal, next the knowledge of Christ's true religion, I count this the greatest, that it pleased God to call me to be one poor minister in setting forward these excellent gifts of learning," etc. (page 242.) "Truly," says Harrison, "it is a rare thing with us now to hear of a courtier which hath but his own language; and to say how many gentlewomen and ladies there are that, besides sound knowledge of the Greek and Latin tongues, are thereto no less skilful in the Spanish, Italian, and French, or in some one of them, it resteth not in me, sith I am persuaded, that as the noblemen and gentlemen do surmount in this behalf, so these come little or nothing at all behind them for their parts; which industry God continue. The stranger, that entereth in the court of England upon the sudden, shall rather imagine himself to come into some public school of the university, where many give ear to one that readeth unto them, than into a prince's palace, if you confer thus with those of other nations." Description of Britain, book ii. chap. 15. By this account, the court had profited by the example of the queen. The sober way of life practised by the ladies of Elizabeth's court appears from the same author. Reading, spinning, and needlework occupied the elder; music the younger. Id. ibid.]

[Footnote 44: NOTE RR, p. 391. Sir Charles Cornwallis, the king's ambassador at Madrid, when pressed by the duke of Lernia to enter into a league with Spain, said to that minister, "Though his majesty was an absolute king, and therefore not bound to give an account to any of his actions, yet that so gracious and regardful a prince he was of the love and contentment of his own subjects, as I assured myself he would not think it fit to do any thing of so great consequence without acquainting them with his intentions." Winwood, vol. ii. p. 222. Sir Walter Raleigh has this passage in the preface to his History of the World: "Philip II., by strong hand and main force, attempted to make himself not only an absolute monarch over the Netherlands, like unto the kings and monarchs of England and France, but, Turk like, to tread under his feet all their natural and fundamental laws, privileges, and ancient rights." We meet with this passage in Sir John Davis's Question concerning impositions, (p. 161:) "Thus we see, by this comparison, that the king of England doth lay but his little finger upon his subjects, when other princes and states do lay their heavy loins upon their people. What is the reason of this difference? from whence cometh it? assuredly not from a different power or prerogative; for the king of England is as absolute a monarch as any emperor or king in the world, and hath as many prerogatives incident to his crown." Coke, in Cawdry's case, says, "that by the ancient laws of this realm, England is an absolute empire and monarchy; and that the king is furnished with plenary and entire power, prerogative, and jurisdiction, and is supreme governor over all persons within this realm,'" Spencer, speaking of some grants of the English kings to the Irish corporations, says, "all which, though at the time of their first grant they were tolerable, and perhaps reasonable, yet now are most unreasonable and inconvenient. But all these will easily be cut off, with the superior power of her majesty's prerogative, against which her own grants are not to be pleaded or enforced." State of Ireland p. 1637, edit. 1706. The same author, in p. 1660, proposes a plan for the civilization of Ireland; that the queen should create a marshal in every county, who might ride about with eight or ten followers in search of stragglers and vagabonds: the first time he catches any, he may punish them more lightly by the stocks; the second time, by whipping; but the third time, he may hang them, without trial or process, on the first bough: and he thinks that this authority may more safely be intrusted to the provost marshal than to the sheriff; because the latter magistrate, having a profit by the escheats of felons, may be tempted to hang innocent persons. Here a real absolute, or rather despotic power is pointed out; and we may infer from all these passages, either that the word absolute bore a different sense from what it does at present, or that men's ideas of the English, as well as Irish government, were then different. This latter inference seems juster. The word, being derived from the French, bore always the same sense as in that language. An absolute monarchy, in Charles I,'s answer to the nineteen propositions is opposed to a limited; and the king of England is acknowledged not to be absolute: so much had matters changed even before the civil war. In Sir John Fortescue's treatise of absolute and limited monarchy, a book written in the reign of Edward IV., the word absolute is taken in the same sense as at present; and the government of England is also said not to be absolute. They were the princes of the house of Tudor chiefly who introduced that administration which had the appearance of absolute government. The princes before them were restrained by the barons; as those after them by the house of commons. The people had, properly speaking, little liberty in either of these ancient governments, but least in the more ancient.]

[Footnote 45: NOTE SS, p. 392. Even this parliament, which showed so much spirit and good sense in the affair of Goodwin, made a strange concession to the crown in their fourth session. Toby Mathews, a member, had been banished by order of the council, upon direction from his majesty. The parliament not only acquiesced in this arbitrary proceeding, but issued writs for a new election: such novices were they as yet in the principles of liberty. See Journ. 14th Feb. 1609. Mathews was banished by the king on account of his change of religion to Popery. The king had an indulgence to those who had been educated Catholics; but could not bear the new converts. It was probably the animosity of the commons against the Papists which made them acquiesce in this precedent, without reflecting on the consequences. The jealousy of liberty, though roused, was not yet thoroughly enlightened.]

[Footnote 46: NOTE TT, p. 394. At that time, men of genius and of enlarged minds had adopted the principles of liberty, which were as yet pretty much unknown to the generality of the people. Sir Matthew Hales has published a remonstrance against the king's conduct towards the parliament during this session. The remonstrance is drawn with great force of reasoning and spirit of liberty; and was the production of Sir Francis Bacon and Sir Edwin Sandys, two men of the greatest parts and knowledge in England. It is drawn in the name of the commons; but as there is no hint of it in the journals, we must conclude, either that the authors, sensible that the strain of the piece was much beyond the principles of the age, had not ventured to present it to the house, or that it had been for that reason rejected. The dignity and authority of the commons are strongly insisted upon in this remonstrance; and it is there said, that their submission to the ill treatment which they received during the latter part of Elizabeth's reign, had proceeded from their tenderness towards her age and her sex. But the authors are mistaken in these facts: for the house received and submitted to as bad treatment in the beginning and middle of that reign. The government was equally arbitrary in Mary's reign, in Edward's, in Henry VIII. and VII.'s. And the further we go back into history, though there might be more of a certain irregular kind of liberty among the barons, the commons were still of less authority.]

[Footnote 47: NOTE UU, p. 398. This parliament passed an act of recognition of the king's title in the most ample terms. They recognized and acknowledged, that immediately upon the dissolution and decease of Elizabeth, late queen of England, the imperial crown thereof did, by inherent birthright and lawful and undoubted succession, descend and come to his most excellent majesty, as being lineally, justly, and lawfully next and sole heir of the blood royal of this realm. I James I. cap. 1. The Puritans, though then prevalent, did not think proper to dispute this great constitutional point. In the recognition of Queen Elizabeth, the parliament declares, that the queen's highness is, and in very deed and of most mere right ought to be, by the laws of God and by the laws and statutes of this realm, our most lawful and rightful sovereign, liege lady, and queen, etc. It appears, then, that if King James's divine right be not mentioned by parliament, the omission came merely from chance, and because that phrase did not occur to the compiler of the recognition; his title being plainly the same with that of his predecessor, who was allowed to have a divine right.]

[Footnote 50: NOTE XX, p. 405. Some historians have imagined, that the king had secret intelligence of the conspiracy, and that the letter to Monteagle was written by his direction, in order to obtain the praise of penetration in discovering the plot. But the known facts refute this supposition. That letter, being commonly talked of, might naturally have given an alarm to the conspirators, and made them contrive their escape. The visit of the lord chamberlain ought to have had the same effect. In short, it appears that nobody was arrested or inquired after for some days, till Fawkes discovered the names of the conspirators. We may infer, however, from a letter in Winwood's Memorials, (vol. ii p. 171,) that Salisbury's sagacity led the king in his conjectures, and that the minister, like an artful courtier, gave his master the praise of the whole discovery.

[Footnote 51: NOTE YY, p. 417. We find the king's answer in Winwood's Memorials, vol. iii. r. 198, 2d edit. "To the third and fourth, (namely, that it might be lawful to arrest the king's servants without leave, and that no man should be enforced to lend money, nor to give a reason why he would not,) his majesty sent us an answer, that because we brought precedents of antiquity to strengthen those demands, he allowed not of any precedents drawn from the time of usurping or decaying princes, or people too bold and wanton; that he desired not to govern in that commonwealth where subjects should be assured of all things, and hope for nothing. It was one thing 'submittere principatum legibus,' and another thing 'submittere principatum subditis.' That he would not leave to posterity such a mark of weakness upon his reign; and therefore his conclusion was, 'non placet petitio, non placet exemplum.:' yet with this mitigation, that in matters of loans he would refuse no reasonable excuse, nor should my lord chamberlain deny the arresting of any of his majesty's servants, if just cause was shown." The parliament, however, acknowledged at this time with thankfulness to the king, that he allowed disputes and inquiries about his prerogative much beyond what had been indulged by any of his predecessors. Parliament. Hist. vol. v. p. 230. This very session he expressly gave them leave to produce all their grievances, without exception.]

[Footnote 52: NOTE ZZ, p. 420. It may not be unworthy of observation, that James, in a book called The true Laws of free Monarchies, which he published a little before his accession to the crown of England, affirmed, "That a good king, although he be above the law, will subject and frame his actions thereto, for example's sake to his subjects, and of his own free will, but not as subject or bound thereto." In another passage, "According to the fundamental law already alleged, we daily see, that in the parliament, (which is nothing else but the head court of the king and his vassals,) the laws are but craved by his subjects, and only made by him at their rogation, and with their advice. For albeit the king make daily statutes and ordinances, enjoining such pains thereto as he thinks meet, without any advice of parliament or estates, yet it lies in the power of no parliament to make any kind of law or statute, without his sceptre be to it, for giving it the force of a law." King James's Works, p. 202. It is not to be supposed that, at such a critical juncture, James had so little sense as directly, in so material a point, to have openly shocked what were the universal established principles of that age: on the contrary, we are told by historians, that nothing tended more to facilitate his accession, than the good opinion entertained of him by the English on account of his learned, and judicious writings. The question, however, with regard to the royal power, was at this time become a very dangerous point; and without employing ambiguous, insignificant terms, which determined nothing, it was impossible to please both king and parliament. Dr. Cowell, who had magnified the prerogative in words too intelligible, fell this session under the indignation of the commons. Parliament. Hist vol. v. p. 221. The king himself after all his magnificent boasts, was obliged to make his escape through a distinction which he framed between a king in abstracto and a king in concreto: an abstract king, he said, had all power; but a concrete king was bound to observe the laws of the country which he governed. King James's Works, p. 533. But how bound? by conscience only? or might his subjects resist him, and defend their privileges? This he thought not fit to explain. And so difficult is it to explain that point, that to this day, whatever liberties may be used by private inquirers, the laws have very prudently thought proper to maintain a total silence with regard to it.]

[Footnote 53: NOTE AAA, p. 434. Parliament. Hist. vol. v. p. 290. So little fixed at this time were the rules of parliament, that the commons complained to the peers of a speech made in the upper house by the bishop of Lincoln; which it belonged only to that house to censure, and which the other could not regularly be supposed to be acquainted with. These at least are the rules established since the parliament became a real seat of power and scene of business: neither the king must take notice of what passes in either house, nor either house of what passes in the other, till regularly informed of it. The commons, in their famous protestation 1621, fixed this rule with regard to the king, though at present they would not bind themselves by it. But as liberty was yet new, those maxims which guard and regulate it were unknown and unpractised.]

[Footnote 54: NOTE BBB, p. 452. Some of the facts in this narrative, which seem to condemn Raleigh, are taken from the king's declaration, which, being published by authority when the facts were recent, being extracted from examinations before the privy council, and subscribed by six privy councillors, among whom was Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, a prelate nowise complaisant to the court, must be allowed to have great weight, or rather to be of undoubted credit. Yet the most material facts are confirmed either by the nature and reason of the thing, or by Sir Walter's own apology and his letters. The king's declaration is in the Harleian Miscellany, vol. iii. No. 2.

1. There seems to be an improbability that the Spaniards, who knew nothing of Raleigh's pretended mine, should have built a town, in so wide a coast, within three miles of it. The chances are extremely against such a supposition; and it is more natural to think that the view of plundering the town led him thither, than that of working a mine. 2. No such mine is there found to this day. 3. Raleigh in fact found no mine, and in fact he plundered and burned a Spanish town. Is it not more probable, therefore, that the latter was his intention? How can the secrets of his breast be rendered so visible as to counterpoise certain facts? 4. He confesses, in his letter to Lord Carew, that though he knew it, yet he concealed from the king the settlement of the Spaniards on that coast. Does not this fact alone render him sufficiently criminal? 5. His commission empowers him only to settle on a coast possessed by savage and barbarous inhabitants. Was it not the most evident breach of orders to disembark on a coast possessed by Spaniards? 6. His orders to Keymis, when he sent him up the river, are contained in his own apology; and from them it appears that he knew (what was unavoidable) that the Spaniards would resist, and would oppose the English landing and taking possession of the country. His intentions, therefore, were hostile from the beginning. 7. Without provocation, and even when at a distance, he gave Keymis orders to dislodge the Spaniards from their own town. Could any enterprise be more hostile? And, considering the Spaniards as allies to the nation, could any enterprise be more criminal? Was he not the aggressor, even though it should be true that the Spaniards fired upon his men at landing? It is said he killed three or four hundred of them. Is that so light a matter? 8. In his letter to the king, and in his apology, he grounds his defence on former hostilities exercised by the Spaniards against other companies of Englishmen. These are accounted for by the ambiguity of the treaty between the nations. And it is plain, that though these might possibly be reasons for the king's declaring war against that nation, they could never entitle Raleigh to declare war, and, without any commission, or contrary to his commission, to invade the Spanish settlements. He pretends indeed that peace was never made with Spain in the Indies; a most absurd notion! The chief hurt which the Spaniards could receive from England was in the Indies; and they never would have made peace at all, if hostilities had been still to be continued on these settlements. By secret agreement, the English were still allowed to support the Dutch, even after the treaty of peace. If they had also been allowed to invade the Spanish settlements, the treaty had been a full peace to England, while the Spaniards were still exposed to the full effects of war. 9. If the claim to the property of that country, as first discoverers, was good, in opposition to present settlement, as Raleigh pretends, why was it not laid before the king, with all its circumstances, and submitted to his judgment? 10. Raleigh's force is acknowledged by himself to have been insufficient to support him in the possession of St. Thomas, against the power of which Spain was master on that coast; yet it was sufficient as he owns, to take by surprise and plunder twenty towns. It was not therefore his design to settle, but to plunder. By these confessions, which I have here brought together, he plainly betrays himself. 11. Why did he not stay and work his mine, as at first he projected? He apprehended that the Spaniards would be upon him with a greater force. But before he left England, he knew that this must be the case, if he invaded any part of the Spanish colonies. His intention therefore never was to settle, but only to plunder. 12. He acknowledges that he knew neither the depth nor riches of the mine, but only that there was some ore there. Would he have ventured all his fortune and credit on so precarious a foundation? 13. Would the other adventurers, if made acquainted with this, have risked every thing to attend him? Ought a fleet to have been equipped for an experiment? Was there not plainly an imposture in the management of this affair? 14. He says to Keymis, in his orders, "Bring but a basket full of ore, and it will satisfy the king that my project was not imaginary." This was easily done from the Spanish mines, and he seems to have been chiefly displeased at Keymis for not attempting it. Such a view was a premeditated apology to cover his cheat. 15. The king in his declaration imputes it to Raleigh, that as soon as he was at sea, he immediately fell into such uncertain and doubtful talk of his* mine, and said that it would be sufficient if he brought home a basket full of ore. From the circumstance last mentioned, it appears that this imputation was not without reason. 16. There are many other circumstances of great weight in the king's declaration: that Raleigh, when he fell down to Plymouth, took no pioneers with him, which he always declared to be his intention; that he was nowise provided with instruments for working a mine, but had a sufficient stock of warlike stores; that young Raleigh, in attacking the Spaniards, employed the words, which, in the narration, I have put in his mouth; that the mine was movable, and shifted as he saw convenient; not to mention many other public facts, which prove him to have been highly criminal against his companions as well as his country. Howel, in his letters, says, that there lived in London, in 1645, an officer, a man of honor, who asserted that he heard young Raleigh speak these words, (vol. ii. letter 63.) That was a time when there was no interest in maintaining such a fact. 17. Raleigh's account of his first voyage to Guiana proves him to have been a man capable of the most extravagant credulity or most impudent imposture. So ridiculous are the stories which he tells of the Inca's chimerical empire in the midst of Guiana; the rich city of El Dorado, or Manao, two days' journey in length, and shining with gold and silver; the old Peruvian prophecies in favor of the English, who, he says, were expressly named as the deliverers of that country, long before any European had ever touched there; the Amazons, or republic of women; and in general, the vast and incredible riches which he saw on that continent, where nobody has yet found any treasures. This whole narrative is a proof that he was extremely defective either in solid understanding, or morals, or both. No man's character indeed seems ever to have been carried to such extremes as Raleigh's, by the opposite passions of envy and pity. In the former part of his life, when he was active and lived in the world, and was probably best known, he was the object of universal hatred and detestation throughout England; in the latter part, when shut up in prison, he became, much more unreasonably, the object of great love and admiration.

As to the circumstances of the narrative, that Raleigh's pardon was refused him, that his former sentence was purposely kept in force against him, and that he went out under these express conditions, they may be supported by the following authorities: 1. The king's word, and that of six privy counsellors, who affirm it for fact. 2. The nature of the thing. If no suspicion had been entertained of his intentions, a pardon would never have been refused to a man to whom authority was intrusted. 3. The words of the commission itself where he is simply styled Sir Walter Raleigh, and not faithful and not beloved, according to the usual and never-failing style on such occasions. 4. In all the letters which he wrote home to Sir Ralph Winwood and to his own wife, he always considers himself as a person unpardoned and liable to the law. He seems, indeed, immediately upon the failure of his enterprise, to have become desperate, and so have expected the fate which he met with.

It is pretended, that the king gave intelligence to the Spaniards of Raleigh's project; as if he had needed to lay a plot for destroying a man whose life had been fourteen years, and still was, in his power. The Spaniards wanted no other intelligence to be on their guard, than the known and public fact of Raleigh's armament. And there was no reason why the king should conceal from them the project of a settlement which Raleigh pretended, and the king believed, to be entirely innocent.

The king's chief blame seems to have lain in his negligence, in allowing Raleigh to depart without a more exact scrutiny: but for this he apologizes by saying, that sureties were required for the good behavior of Raleigh and all his associates in the enterprise, but that they gave in bonds for each other: a cheat which was not perceived till they had sailed, and which increased the suspicion of bad intentions.

Perhaps the king ought also to have granted Raleigh a pardon for his old treason, and to have tried him anew for his new offences. His punishment in that case would not only have been just, but conducted in a just and unexceptionable manner. But we are told, that a ridiculous opinion at that time prevailed in the nation, (and it is plainly supposed by Sir Walter in his apology,) that, by treaty, war was allowed with the Spaniards in the Indies, though peace was made in Europe: and while that notion took place, no jury would have found Raleigh guilty. So that had not the king punished him upon the old sentence, the Spaniards would have had a just cause of complaint against the king, sufficient to have produced a war, at least to have destroyed all cordiality between the nations.

This explication I thought necessary in order to clear up the story of Raleigh; which, though very obvious, is generally mistaken in so gross a manner, that I scarcely know its parallel in the English history.]

[Footnote 55: NOTE CCC, p. 458 This parliament is remarkable for being the epoch in which were first regularly formed, though without acquiring these denominations, the parties of court and country; parties which have ever since continued, and which, while they often threaten the total dissolution of the government, are the real causes of its permanent life and vigor. In the ancient feudal constitution, of which the English partook with other European nations, there was a mixture, not of authority and liberty, which we have since enjoyed in this island, and which now subsist uniformly together; but of authority and anarchy, which perpetually shocked with each other, and which took place alternately, according as circumstances were more or less favorable to either of them. A parliament composed of barbarians, summoned from their fields and forests, uninstructed by study, conversation, or travel; ignorant of their own laws and history, and unacquainted with the situation of all foreign nations; a parliament called precariously by the king, and dissolved at his pleasure; sitting a few days, debating a few points prepared for them, and whose members were impatient to return to their own castles, where alone they were great, and to the chase, which was their favorite amusement: such a parliament was very little fitted to enter into a discussion of all the questions of government, and to share, in a regular manner, the legal administration. The name, the authority of the king alone appeared, in the common course of government; in extraordinary emergencies, he assumed, with still better reason, the sole direction; the imperfect and unformed laws left in every thing a latitude of interpretation; and when the ends pursued by the monarch were in general agreeable to his subjects, little scruple or jealousy was entertained with regard to the regularity of the means. During the reign of an able, fortunate, or popular prince, no member of either house, much less of the lower, durst think of entering into a formed party in opposition to the court; since the dissolution of the parliament must in a few days leave him unprotected to the vengeance of his sovereign, and to those stretches of prerogative which were then so easily made in order to punish an obnoxious subject. During an unpopular and weak reign, the current commonly ran so strong against the monarch, that none durst enlist themselves in the court party; or if the prince was able to engage any considerable barons on his side, the question was decided with arms in the field, not by debates or arguments in a senate or assembly. And upon the whole, the chief circumstance which, during ancient times, retained the prince in any legal form of administration, was, that the sword, by the nature of the feudal tenures, remained still in the hands of his subjects; and this irregular and dangerous check had much more influence than the regular and methodical limits of the laws and constitution. As the nation could not be compelled, it was necessary that every public measure of consequence, particularly that of levying new taxes, should seem to be adopted by common consent and approbation.

The princes of the house of Tudor, partly by the vigor of their administration, partly by the concurrence of favorable circumstances, had been able to establish a more regular system of government; but they drew the constitution so near to despotism, as diminished extremely the authority of the parliament. The senate became in a great degree the organ of royal will and pleasure: opposition would have been regarded as a species of rebellion: and even religion, the most dangerous article in which innovations could be introduced, had admitted, in the course of a few years, four several alterations, from the authority alone of the sovereign. The parliament was not then the road to honor and preferment: the talents of popular intrigue and eloquence were uncultivated and unknown: and though that assembly still preserved authority, and retained the privilege of making laws and bestowing public money, the members acquired not upon that account, either with prince or people, much more weight and consideration. What powers were necessary for conducting the machine of government, the king was accustomed of himself to assume. His own revenues supplied him with money sufficient for his ordinary expenses. And when extraordinary emergencies occurred, the prince needed not to solicit votes in parliament, either for making laws or imposing taxes, both of which were now became requisite for public interest and preservation.

The security of individuals, so necessary to the liberty of popular councils, was totally unknown in that age. And as no despotic princes, scarcely even the Eastern tyrants, rule entirely without the concurrence of some assemblies, which supply both advice and authority, little but a mercenary force seems then to have been wanting towards the establishment of a simple monarchy in England. The militia, though more favorable to regal authority than the feudal institutions, was much inferior in this respect to disciplined armies; and if it did not preserve liberty to the people, it preserved at least the power, if ever the inclination should arise, of recovering it.

But so low at that time ran the inclination towards liberty, that Elizabeth, the last of that arbitrary line, herself no less arbitrary, was yet the most renowned and most popular of all the sovereigns that had filled the throne of England. It was natural for James to take the government as he found it, and to pursue her measures, which he heard so much applauded; nor did his penetration extend so far as to discover, that neither his circumstances nor his character could support so extensive an authority. His narrow revenues and little frugality began now to render him dependent on his people, even in the ordinary course of administration: their increasing knowledge discovered to them that advantage which they had obtained; and made them sensible of the inestimable value of civil liberty. And as he possessed too little dignity to command respect, and too much good nature to impress fear, a new spirit discovered itself every day in the parliament; and a party, watchful of a free constitution, was regularly formed in the house of commons.

But notwithstanding these advantages acquired to liberty, so extensive was royal authority, and so firmly established in all its parts, that it is probable the patriots of that age would have despaired of ever resisting it, had they not been stimulated by religious motives, which inspire a courage unsurmountable by any human obstacle.

The same alliance which has ever prevailed between kingly power and ecclesiastical authority, was now fully established in England; and while the prince assisted the clergy in suppressing schismatics and innovators, the clergy, in return, inculcated the doctrine of an unreserved submission and obedience to the civil magistrate. The genius of the church of England, so kindly to monarchy, forwarded the confederacy; its submission to episcopal jurisdiction; its attachment to ceremonies, to order, and to a decent pomp and splendor of worship; and, in a word, its affinity to the tame superstition of the Catholics, rather than to the wild fanaticism of the Puritans.

On the other hand, opposition to the church, and the persecutions under which they labored, were sufficient to throw the Puritans into the country party, and to beget political principles little favorable to the high pretensions of the sovereign. The spirit too of enthusiasm; bold, daring, and uncontrolled; strongly disposed their minds to adopt republican tenets; and inclined them to arrogate, in their actions and conduct, the same liberty which they assumed in their rapturous flights and ecstasies. Ever since the first origin of that sect, through the whole reign of Elizabeth as well as of James, Puritanical principles had been understood in a double sense, and expressed the opinions favorable both to political and to ecclesiastical liberty. And as the court, in order to discredit all parliamentary opposition, affixed the denomination of Puritans to its antagonists, the religious Puritans willingly adopted this idea, which was so advantageous to them, and which confounded their cause with that of the patriots or country party. Thus were the civil and ecclesiastical factions regularly formed; and the humor of the nation, during that age, running strongly towards fanatical extravagancies, the spirit of civil liberty gradually revived from its lethargy, and by means of its religious associate, from which it reaped more advantage than honor, it secretly enlarged its dominion over the greater part of the kingdom.

This note was in the first editions a part of the text; but the author omitted it, in order to avoid as much as possible the style of dissertation in the body of his History. The passage, however, contains views so important, that he thought it might be admitted as a footnote]

[Footnote 56: NOTE DDD, p. 465. This protestation is so remarkable, that it may not be improper to give it in its own words. "The commons now assembled in parliament, being justly occasioned thereunto, concerning sundry liberties, franchises, and privileges of parliament, amongst others here mentioned, do make this protestation following: That the liberties, franchises, and jurisdictions of parliament are the ancient and undoubted birthright and inheritance of the subjects of England; and that the urgent and arduous affairs concerning the king, state, and defence of the realm and of the church of England, and the maintenance and making of laws, and redress of mischiefs and grievances which daily happen within this realm, are proper subjects and matter of counsel and debate in parliament; and that, in the handling and proceeding of those businesses, every member of the house of parliament hath, and of right ought to have, freedom of speech to propound, treat, reason, and bring to conclusion the same; and that the commons in parliament have like liberty and freedom to treat of these matters, in such order as in their judgment shall seem fittest; and that every member of the said house hath like freedom from all impeachment, imprisonment, and molestation, (other than by censure of the house itself,) for or concerning any speaking, reasoning, or declaring of any matter or matters touching the parliament or parliament business. And that if any of the said members be complained of or questioned for any thing done or said in parliament, the same is to be shown to the king by the advice and assent of all the commons assembled in parliament, before the king give credence to any private information." Franklyn, p. 65. Rush, vol. i p. 53. Kennet, p. 747. Coke, p. 77.]

[Footnote 57: NOTE EEE, p. 434. The moment the prince embarked at St. Andero's, he said to those about him, that it was folly in the Spaniards to use him so ill, and allow him to depart: a proof that the duke had made him believe they were insincere in the affair of the marriage and the Palatinate; for as to his reception in other respects, it had been altogether unexceptionable. Besides, had not the prince believed the Spaniards to be insincere, he had no reason to quarrel with them, though Bucking-* *ham had. It appears, therefore, that Charles himself must have been deceived. The multiplied delays of the dispensation, though they arose from accident, afforded Buckingham a plausible pretext for charging the Spaniards with insincerity.]

[Footnote 58: NOTE FFF, p. 486. Among other particulars, he mentions a sum of eighty thousand pounds borrowed from the king of Denmark. In a former speech to the parliament, he told them that he had expended five hundred thousand pounds in the cause of the palatine, besides the voluntary contributions given him by the people. See Franklyn, p. 50. But what is more extraordinary, the treasurer, in order to show his own good services, boasts to the parliament, that by his contrivance sixty thousand pounds had been saved in the article of exchange in the sums remitted to the palatine. This seems a great sum; nor is it easy to conceive whence the king could procure such vast sums as would require a sum so considerable to be paid in exchange. From the whole, however, it appears, that the king had been far from neglecting the interests of his daughter and son-in-law, and had even gone far beyond what his narrow revenue could afford.]

[Footnote 59: NOTE GGG, p. 486. How little this principle had prevailed during any former period of the English government, particularly during the last reign, which was certainly not so perfect a model of liberty as most writers would represent it, will easily appear from many passages in the history of that reign. But the ideas of men were much changed during about twenty years of a gentle and peaceful administration. The commons, though James of himself had recalled all patents of monopolies, were not contented without a law against them, and a declaratory law too; which was gaining a great point, and establishing principles very favorable to liberty: but they were extremely grateful when Elizabeth, upon petition, (after having once refused their requests,) recalled a few of the most oppressive patents, and employed some soothing expressions towards them.

The parliament had surely reason, when they confessed, in the seventh of James, that he allowed them more freedom of debate than ever was indulged by any of his predecessors. His indulgence in this particular, joined to his easy temper, was probably one cause of the great power assumed by the commons. Monsieur de la Boderie, in his despatches, (vol. i. p. 449,) mentions the liberty of speech in the house of commons as a new practice.]

[Footnote 60: NOTE HHH, p. 491. Rymer, tom. xviii. p. 224. It is certain that the young prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II., had Protestant governors from his early infancy; first the earl of Newcastle, then the marquis of Hertford. The king, in his memorial to foreign churches after the commencement of the civil wars, insists on his care in educating his children in the Protestant religion, as a proof that he was nowise inclined to the Catholic, Rush. vol. v. p. 752. It can scarcely, therefore, be questioned, but this article, which has so odd an appearance, was inserted only to amuse the pope, and was never intended by either party to be executed.]

[Footnote 61: NOTE III, p. 499. "Monarchies," according to Sir Walter Raleigh, "are of two sorts touching their power or authority, viz. 1. Entire, where the whole power of ordering all state matters, both in peace and war, doth by law and custom appertain to the prince, as in the English kingdom; where the prince hath the power to make laws, league, and war, to create magistrates, to pardon life, of appeal, etc. Though to give a contentment to the other degrees, they have a suffrage in making laws, yet ever subject to the prince's pleasure and negative will. 2. Limited or restrained, that hath no full power in all the points and matters of state, as the military king that hath not the sovereignty in time of peace, as the making of laws, etc., but in war only, as the Polonian king." Maxims of State.

And a little after: "In every just state, some part of the government is, or ought to be, imparted to the people, as in a kingdom, a voice and suffrage in making laws; and sometimes also of levying of arms, (if the charge be great, and the prince forced to borrow help of his subjects,) the matter rightly may be propounded to a parliament, that the tax may seem to have proceeded from themselves. So consultations and some proceedings in judicial matters may in part be referred to them. The reason, lest, seeing themselves to be in no number nor of reckoning, they mislike the state or government." This way of reasoning differs little from that of King James, who considered the privileges of the parliament as matters of grace and indulgence, more than of inheritance. It is remarkable that Raleigh was thought to lean towards the Puritanical party, notwithstanding these positions. But ideas of government change much in different times.

Raleigh's sentiments on this head are still more openly expressed in his Prerogatives of Parliaments, a work not published till after his death. It is a dialogue between a courtier, or counsellor, and a country justice of peace, who represents the patriot party, and defends the highest notion of liberty which the principles of that age would bear. Here is a passage of it: "Counsellor. That which is done by the king, with the advice of his private or privy council, is done by the king's absolute power. Justice. And by whose power is it done in parliament but by the king's absolute power? Mistake it not, my lord: the three estates do but advise as the privy council doth; which advice if the king embrace, it becomes the king's own act in the one, and the king's law in the other," etc.

The earl of Clare, in a private letter to his son-in-law, Sir Thomas Wentworth, afterwards earl of Strafford, thus expresses himself "We live under a prerogative government, where book law submits to lex loquens." He spoke from his own and all his ancestors experience. There was no single instance of power which a king of England might not at that time exert, on pretence of necessity or expediency: the continuance alone, or frequent repetition of arbitrary administration, might prove dangerous, for want of force to support it. It is remarkable, that this letter of the earl of Clare was written in the first year of Charles's reign; and consequently must be meant of the general genius of the government, not the spirit or temper of the monarch. See Strafford's Letters, vol. i. p. 32. From another letter in the same collection, (vol. i. p. 10,) it appears that the council sometimes assumed the power of forbidding persons disagreeable to the court to stand in the elections. This authority they could exert in some instances; but we are not thence to inter, that they could shut the door of that house to every one who was not acceptable to them. The genius of the ancient government reposed more trust in the king, than to entertain any such suspicion; and it allowed scattered instances of such a kind, as would have been totally destructive of the constitution, had they been continued without interruption.

I have not met with any English writer in that age who speaks of England as a limited monarchy, but as an absolute one, where the people have many privileges. That is no contradiction. In all European monarchies the people have privileges; but whether dependent or independent on the will of the monarch, is a question that in most governments it is better to forbear. Surely that question was not determined before the age of James. The rising spirit of the parliament, together with that king's love of general, speculative principles, brought it from its obscurity, and made it be commonly canvassed. The strongest testimony that I remember from a writer of James's age in favor of English liberty, is in Cardinal Bentivoglio, a foreigner, who mentions the English government as similar to that of the Low Country provinces under their princes, rather than to that of France or Spain. Englishmen were not so sensible that their prince was limited, because they were sensible that no individual had any security against a stretch of prerogative: but foreigners, by comparison, could perceive that these stretches were at that time, from custom or other causes, less frequent in England than in other monarchies. Philip de Comines, too, remarked the English constitution to be more popular in his time than that of France. But in a paper written by a patriot in 1627, it is remarked, that the freedom of speech in parliament had been lost in England since the days of Comines. Franklyn, p. 238. Here is a stanza of Malherbe's Ode to Mary de Medicis, the queen regent, written in 1614.

Entre les rois a qui cet age Doit son principal ornement, Ceux de la Tamise et du Tage Font louer leur gouvernement: Mais en de si calmes provinces, Ou le peuple adore les princes, Et met au gre le plus haut L'honneur du sceptre legitime, Sauroit-on excuser le crime De ne regner pas comme il faut.

The English, as well as the Spaniards, are here pointed out as much more obedient subjects than the French, and much more tractable and submissive to their princes. Though this passage be taken from a poet, every man of judgment will allow its authority to be decisive. The character of a national government cannot be unknown in Europe; though it changes sometimes very suddenly. Machiavel, in his Dissertations on Livy, says repeatedly, that France was the most legal and most popular monarchy then in Europe.]

[Footnote 62: NOTE KKK, p. 499. Passive obedience is expressly and zealously inculcated in the homilies composed and published by authority in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The convocation, which met in the very first year of the king's reign, voted as high monarchical principles as are contained in the decrees of the University of Oxford during the rule of the Tories. These principles, so far from being deemed a novelty introduced by James's influence, passed so smoothly, that no historian has taken notice of them: they were never the subject of controversy, or dispute, or discourse; and it is only by means of Bishop Overall's Convocation Book, printed near seventy years after, that we are acquainted with them. Would James, who was so cautious, and even timid, have ventured to begin his reign with a bold stroke, which would have given just ground of jealousy to his subjects? It appears from that monarch's Basilicon Doron, written while he was in Scotland, that the republican ideas of the origin of power from the people, were at that time esteemed Puritanical novelties. The patriarchal scheme, it is remarkable, is inculcated in those votes of the convocation preserved by Overall; nor was Filmer the first inventor of those absurd notions.]


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