« PreviousContinue »
II. for persuading the king to forbear sending aid when it was required ; a capital crime in Parliamenta The loss of the duchy of Maine was laid to De la Pole, duke of Suffolk, (28 Henry VI.) in singly and unwisely treating of a marriage in France. A Spanish treaty lost the Palatinate : whose counsel hath pronounced so great power to the Spanish agent (as never before) to effect freedom to so many priests as have been of late, and to become a solicitor almost in every tribunal for the illaffected subjects, of the state, is worth the inquiry.
What grants of impositions, before crossed, have lately been complained of in parliament ? as that of alehouses, gold thread, intermitted customs, and many more, the least of which would have (50 Edward III.) been adjudged in parliament a heinous crime, as well as those of Lyon and Latimer. The duke of Suffolk, in the time of Henry VI. in procuring such another grant, in derogation of the common law, was adjudged in parliament.
The gift of honours, kept as the most sacred treasure of the state, now set to sale. Parliaments have been suitors to the king to bestow those graces, as in the times of Edward III. Henry IV. and Henry VI. More now led in by that way, only, than all the merits of the best deservers have got these last 500 years. So tender was the care of elder times, that it is an article (28 Henry VI.) in parliament against the duke of Suffolk, that he had procured for himself and some few others, such titles of honour, and those so irregular, that he was the first that was ever earl, marquis, and dụke, of the self same place. Edward I. restrained the number, in policy, that would have challenged a writ by tenure: and how this proportion may suit with the profit of the state, we cannot tell. Great deserts have now no other recompence than costly rewards from the king ; for we are now at a vile price of that which was once inestimable. If worthy persons have been advanced freely to places of greatest trust, I shall be glad. Spencer was
condemned in the 14 Edward II. for displacing good servants about the king, and putting in his friends and followers, nor leaving either in the church or commonwealth, a place to any, before a fine was paid unto him for his dependence. The like in part was laid by parliament on De la Pole. It cannot but be a sad hearing unto us all, what my lord treasurer lately told us of his majesty's great debts, high engagements, and present wants; the noise whereof I wish may ever rest inclosed within these walls. For, what an encouragement it may be to our enemies, and a disheartening to our friends, I cannot tell. The danger of those (if any, they have been the cause) is great and fearful. It was no small motive to the parliament, in the time of Henry III. to banish the king's half brethren for procuring to themselves so large proportion of crown lands. Gaveston and Spencer, for doing the like for themselves and their followers in the time of Edward II. and the lady Vessy, for procuring the like for her brother Beaumont, was banished the court. Michael De la Pole was condemned (10 Richard II ) in parliament, amongst other crimes, for procuring lands and pensions from the king, and having employed the subsidies to other ends than the grant intended. His grand-child, William duke of Suffolk, for the like was censured. (28 Henry VI.) The great bishop of Winchester (50 Edward III.) was put upon the king's mercy by parliament, for wasting in time of peace the revenues of the crown, and gifts of the people, to the yearly oppression of the commonwealth. Offences of this nature were urged, to the ruining of the last duke of Somerset, in the time of Ed. ward VI. More fearful examples may be found too frequent in records. Such improvidence and ill counsel led Henry III. into so great a strait, as after he had pawned some part of his foreign territories, broke up his house, and sought his diet at abbeys and religious houses, engaged not only his own jewels, but those of VOL. I.
the shrine of St. Edward at Westminster, he was in the end not content, but constrained to lay to pawn (as some of his successors after did) magnam coronam Angliæ, the crown of England. To draw you out to the life the image of former kings' extremities, I will tell you what. I found since this assembly at Oxford, written by a reverend man, twice vice-chancellor of this place; his name was Gascoign ; a man that saw the tragedy of De la Pole. He tells you, that the revenues of the crown were so rent away by ill counsel, that the king was enforced to live de tallagio populi ; that the king was grown, in debt quinque centena millia librarum; that his great favorite, in treating of a foreign marriage had lost his master a foreign duchy; that to work his ends, he had caused the king 'to adjourn the parliament in villis et remotis partibus regni, where few people propter defectum hospitii et victualium, could attend; and by shifting that assembly from place to place, to inforce (I will use the author's own words) illos paucos qui remancbant de communitate regni, concedere regi quamvis pessima. When the parliament endeayoured by an act of resumption, the just and fre. quent way to repair the languishing state of the crown (for all from Henry III. but one, till the 6 Henry VIII. have used it), this great man told the king it was ad dedecus regis, and forced him from it: to which the commons answered, although vexati laboribus et expensis nunquam concederent taxam regi, until by authority of parliament resumeret actualter omnia per. tinentia corona Angliæ ; and that it was magis ad dedecus regis, to leave so many poor men in intolerable want, to whom the king stood then indebted. Yet nought could all good counsel work, until by parliament that bad man was banished; which was no sooner done, but an act of resumption followed the inrollment of the act of his exilement. That was
That was a speeding. article against the bishop of Winchester and his brother,
in the time of Edward III. that they had engrossed the person of the king from his other lords. It was not forgotten against Gaveston and Spencer, in the time of Edward II. The unhappy ministers of Richard II. Henry VI. and Edward VI. felt the weight, to their tuin, of the like errors. I hope we shall not complain in parliament again of such.
I am glad we have neither just cause or undutiful dispositions to appoint the king a counsel to redress those errors in parliament, as those 42 Henry III. We do not desire as 5 Henry IV. or 29 Henry VI. the removing from about the king any evil counsellors : we do not request a choice by name, as 14 Edward II. 3, 5, 11, Richard Il. 8 Henry IV. or 31 Henry VI. nor to swear them in parliament, as 35 Edward I. 9 Edward II. or 5 Richard II. or to line them out their directions of rule, as 43 Henry III. and 8 Henry VI. or desire that which Henry III. did promise in his 42d year, se acta omnia per assensum magnatum de concilio suo electorum et sine eorum assensu nihil ; we only in loyal duty offer up our humble desires, that since his majesty hath with advised judgment elected so wise, religious, and worthy servants, to attend him in that high employment, he will be pleased to advise with them together a way of remedy for these disasters in the state, brought on by long security and happy peace, and not be led with young and single counsel.
GEORGE VILLIERS, ( Created Duke of Buckingham by James I.) Was born 1592, and was assassinated by Felton in 1628. It is
said that he had originally but an indifferent education. Perhaps it was owing to this that there is more ease and vivacity, and less peagantry, in the style of his speeches, than in those of most of his cotemporaries. We can hardly account for it from his haying been privately tutored by king James the First. The subject of the following speech was the war with Spain, and recovery of the Palatinate.
That the first and last time he had the honour to speak in this auditory, it was on the same business; and then he was so happy as to be honoured and applauded by both houses : and he made no question, but, speaking with the same heart, and on the same business, he should be so now : for, if they looked upon the change of affairs in christendom, they could not think it less than a miracle, that the king of Spain was sought and courted by all the world; he was become master of the Valtoline ; had broke all Germany in pieces, and was possessed of the Palatinate. The princes of Germany were weak, and not able to resist; and by reason of his master's neutrality, caused by a treaty, he kept all other kings and princes in awe. Now, on the contrary, the Valtoline is at liberty ; the war is proclaimed beyond the Alps ; the king of Denmark is in arms, with 17,000 footand 6000 horse, besides commis. sions to make them up 30,000; the king of Sweden is also interesting himself; the princes of the union are revived ; the king of France is engaged against Spain, and for that purpose, having made peace with his own subjects, had joined and confederated himself with Savoy and Venice. Why should not he, therefore, hope for the same success, considering that, since the time of his last speech to both