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houses, there was not one action, or a thought of his, that levelled at any other than one and the same object, which was to please their desires? If he should credit all rumours, which he would not do, he should speak with some confusion of fear to hold the same place he formerly did in their affections: but, having still the same virtuous ambition, and considering his own heart to the king and state, he could find no cause of alteration, but was all courage and confidence.
Here the duke made a request to the house of commons, that if any man had spoken or should speak any thing in discharge of his conscience, zeal of reformation, or love to his country, which may seem to reflect upon some particular person, he may be the last that shall apply it to himself: because he is confidently assured of two things; first that they are so just as not to fall upon him without cause who was so lately approved by them; and secondly, that himself shall deserve nothing that shall misbecome a faithful Englishman.
DR. JOHN WILLIAMS,
(Keeper of the Great Seal, Bishop of Lincoln, and. afterwards Archbishop of York,
"Was born in Caernarvenshire in Wales in 1582, and died in 1650. He preached James the First's funeral sermon, in which he compared him to king Solomon. How well he was qualified for this courtly task may be seen by the following specimen.
The Lord Keeper's Speech.
My lords, and you the knights, citizens, and burgesses of the house of commons: You are here assembled by his majesty's writs and royal authority, to hold a new par
liament, the general, ancient, and powerful council of this renowned kingdom: whereof if we consider aright and think of that incomparable distance between the supreme height and majesty of a mighty monarch, and the submissive awe and lowliness of a loyal subject, we cannot but receive exceeding comfort and contentment in the frame and constitution of this highest court, wherein not the prelates, nobles, and grandees, but the commons of all degrees have their parts; and wherein that high majesty doth descend to admit, or rather to invite the humblest of his subjects, to conference and counsel with him, of the great, weighty, and difficult affairs of the king and kingdom; a benefit and favour, whereof we cannot be too sensible and thankful; for sure I am, that all good hearts would be both sensible and sorrowful, if we did want it, and therefore it behoveth all, with united hearts, and minds free from distraction and diversion, to fix their thoughts upon counsels and consultations worthy of such an assembly; remembering, that in it is presented the majestyand greatness, the authority and power, the wisdom and knowledge, of this great and famous nation: and it behoveth us to magnify and bless God, that hath put the power of assembling parliaments in the hands of him, the virtue (inherent) of whose person doth strive with the greatness of his princely lineage and descent, whether he should be accounted major or melior, a greater king or a better man; and of whom you have had so much trial and experience that he doth as affectionately love, as he doth exactly know and understand, the true use of parliaments: witness his daily and unwearied access to this house,before his accession to the crown; his gracious readiness to all consequences of importance; his frequent and effectual intercession to his blessed father, of never dying memory, for the good of the kingdom, with so happy success that both this and future generations shall feel it, and have cause to rejoice at the success of his majesty's intercession. And when the royal diadem descended upon himself, presently, in the midst of his tears and sighs for the departure of his most dear and
royal father in the very first consultation with his privy council, was resolved to meet his people in parliament: and no sooner did the heavy hand of that destroying angel* forbear those deadly strokes, which for some time did make this place inaccessible, but his majesty presently resolved to recall it, and hath now brought you together, and in a happy time, I trust, to treat and consult with uniform desires and united affections, of those things that concern the general good.
And now being thus assembled, his majesty hath commanded me to let you know, that his love and affection to the public moved him to call this parliament; and looking into the danger, and the spreading of that late mortality, and weighing the multitude of his majesty's pressing occasions, and urgent affairs of state, both at home and abroad, much importing the safety and state of this kingdom, the same affection that moved him to call it, doth forbid him to prolong the sitting of this parliament: and therefore his majesty, resolving to confine this meeting to a short time, hath confined me to a short errand; and that is, that as a king, most agreeable to the kingly office, to the example of the best times and to the frame of modern affairs, his majesty hath called you together to consult and advise of provident and good laws, profitable for the public, and fitting for the present times and actions; for upon such depends the assurance of religion and of justice, which are the surest pillars and buttresses of good government in a kingdom for his majesty doth consider, that the royal throne, on which God out of his mercy to us hath set him, is the fountain of all justice, and that good laws are the streams and rills by which the benefit and use of this fountain is dispersed to his people. And it is his majesty's care and study, that his people may see, with comfort and joy of heart, that this fountain is not dry, but they and their posterity may rest assured and confident
in his time, to receive as ample benefit from this fountain, by his majesty's mercy and justice, as ever subjects did in the time of the most eminent princes, amongst his noble progenitors; wherein, as his majesty shews himself most sensible of the public good, so were it an injury to this great and honourable assembly, if it should be but doubted, that they shall not be as sensible of any thing that may add to his majesty's honour, which cannot but receive a high degree of love and affection, if his majesty, succeeding so many religious, wise, and renowned princes, should begin his reign with some additions unto those good laws which their happy and glorious times have afforded: and this his majesty hath caused me to desire at this time especially, above others; for his majesty having, at his royal coronation, lately solemnized the sacred rites of that blessed marriage, between his people and him; and therein by a most holy oath, vowed the protection of the laws and maintenance of peace, both to church and people, no time can be so fit for his majesty to advise and consult at large with his people as at this present time, wherein so lately his majesty hath vowed protection to his people, and they have protested their allegiance and service to him.
This is the sum of the charge which I have received from his majesty to deliver unto you, wherein you see his majesty's intent to the public; and, therefore, his desire is, that, according to that conveniency of time, which his affairs may afford, you will apply yourselves to dispatch the business of this parliament.
SIR HENEAGE FINCH.
Was recorder of London. I have given his speech on being chosen speaker, as a curious instance of the flowery style then in vogue. It is full of far-fetched thoughts, and fulsome compliments.
SINCE it hath pleased your majesty not to admit my humble excuse, but, by your royal approbation, to crown this election, after my heart and hands first lifted up to God, that hath thus inclined your royal heart, I do render my humblest thanks to your majesty, who are pleased to cast so gracious an eye upon so mean a subject, and to descend so low as, in a service of this importance, to take me into your princely thoughts and since we all stand for hundreds and thousands, for figures and cyphers, as your majesty the supreme and sovereign auditor shall please to place and value us, and, like coin to pass, are made current by your royal stamp and impression only, I shall neither disable nor undervalue myself, but with a faithful and cheerful heart apply myself with the best of my strength and abilities, to the performance of this weighty and public charge; wherein, as I do and shall to the end most humbly desire your gracious acceptance of my good intentions and endeavours, so I could not but gather some confidence to myself. that your majesty will look favourably upon the works of your own hands. And in truth, besides this particular, these public things, which are obvious to every understanding, are so many arguments of comfort and encouragement; when I contemplate and take a view of those inestimable blessings, which by the goodness of God we do enjoy under your majesty's most pious and prudent government.