Page images
PDF
EPUB

If we behold the frame and the face of the government in general, we live under a monarchy, the best of governments, the nearest resemblance unto the divine majesty which the earth affords, the most agreeable to nature, and that which other states and republics do easily fall and reverse into, as the ocean, and are naturally dissolved, as into their primam materiam. The laws by which we are governed are above any value my words con set upon them ; time hath refined and improved them : they are equal at least to any laws human, and so curiously framed and fitted, that as we live under a temperate climate, so the laws are temperate, yielding a due observance to the prerogative royal, and yet preserving the right and liberty of the subject; that which Tacitus saith of two of the best of emperors, Res olim insociabiles miscuerunt, imperium et libertatem. And so far is this from the least diminution of sovereigns, that in this your majesty is truly stiled Pater Patriæ, and the greatest king in the world ; that is, king of such and so many free-born subjects, whose persons you have not only power over, but, which is above the greatest of the kings, to command their hearts. If time or corruption of manners breed any mists or grievances, or discover any defect in the law, they are soon reformed by parliament, the greatest court of justice, and the greatest council of the kingdom, to which all other courts and councils are subordinate. Here your royal person sits enthroned in the state of majesty, attended by a reverend and learned prelacy, a great and full nobility ; enthroned like stars in the firmament, some a greater, some of a lesser magnitude, full of light and beauty, and acknowledging to whom they owe their lustre; and by a choice number of worthy knights and gentlemen, that represent the whole body of your commons. But to leave generals; we live not under a monarchy only, the best of governments, and under a government the best of monarchics, but under a king

[ocr errors]

the best of monarchs, your royal person, whose eminent graces and virtues, which are inherent in your person (in whom greatness and goodness contend for superiority) it were presumption in me to touch, though with never so good a meaning ; they will not be bounded within the narrow compass of my discourse. And such pictures of a king are not to be made in limning, but from public things and actions which the least eye may see and discern ; and in them, obliquely and by reflection, cheerfully and with comfort, behold your person. What age

shall not record and eternize your princely magnanimities in that heroic action or venturous journey into Spain, or hazarding your person to preserve the kingdom? Fathers will tell it to their children in succession : after-ages will then think it a fable. Your piety to the memory of your dear father, in following and bedewing his hearse with your tears, is full in çvery man's memory. The public humiliation when God's hand lay heavy upon us, and the late public thanksgiving to Almighty God for removing his hand, both commanded and performed in person by your majesty, is a work in piety not to be forgotten ; and I trust the Lord will remember them, and reward them with mercy and blessing to your majesty, and the whole kingdom. Your love to justice, and your care in the administration of justice, we all behold with comfort, and rejoice to see it : the great courts of justice, from the highest to the lowest, furnished with judges of that wisdom and gravity, learning and integrity. The thrones of kings are established by justice; and may it establish, and I doubt not but it will establish, the throne of your majesty in your person, and in your royal line, to the end of time. But above all, and indeed it is above all, as far as heaven is distant from the earth, your care and zeal for the advancement of God's true religion and worship, are clearly and fully exprest, as doth appear both in your person and by your public acts and cdicts. It is true that it is said of princes, quod faciunt præcipiunt ; of your majesty bath are true, and a proposition made convertible. We have received a most gracious answer from your ma. jesty to all our late petitions concerning religion, seconded with a public declaration under the great seal, and enrolled in all the courts of justice, for your royal pleasure and direction to awaken and put life into these laws by a careful execution, with provision that the penalties, be not converted to your private coffers ; and yet the coffers of the king are not private coffers, but, by your express direction, set apart to public uses, such as concern the immediate defence of the kingdom, wherein we all have our share and interest. Your royal proclamation hath commanded those Romish priests and jesuits to banishment ; those incendiaries, that infect the state of this church and commonwealth. Their very entrance into this kingdom is, by a just and provident law, made treason ; their aims being in truth, (how specious soever their pretences be) nothing else but to plot and contrive treason against the state, and to seduce your natural born subjects from their true obedience, nourishing in their posterities factions and seditions ; witness those many treasons and conspiracies against the person of that glorious lady, whose memory will never die ; and that horrible matchless conspiracy, the powder treason, the master-piece of the devil. But God, that preserved her and your royal father against all their treacherous conspiracies, and hath given you a heart to honour him, will honour and preserve you ; religion will more truly keep your kingdoms, than the seas do compass them. It is the joy of heart of your majesty's loyal and well affected subjects, and will ever be the honour of your regal diadem, and the crown of your crown. The Spanish invasion in 1588, I hope will ever be remembered in England, with thankful acknowledgment to God for so great a deliver. ance ; and I assure myself it is remembered in Spain, but with another mind a mind of revenge ; they are

too constant to their counsels to acquit their resolutions and purposes that drew on that attempt. It was long before discovered, and since printed, not without their liking, that they affect an universal monarchy. Videor mihi videre (saith Lipsius of their state) solem orientem ab occidente ; a monster in nature. And one of their own, speaking of the two great lights which God had placed in the firmament, makes the pope luminare majus, præsidens urbi et orbi, and the king of Spain luminare minus ut subdetur urbi et dominetur per totum orbem.

A great flattery, and a bold and impudent allusion. But I trust, as God hath put it into the heart of your blessed father, by the matchless book of his, written to all christian monarchs and princes, (a work, by which he raised a monument to himself more lasting than marble) to denounce war to that adversary of God and kings, the pope ; so hath he set your sacred majesty upon the throne of your father, to do as many things worthy to be written, as he had written things worthy to be read : amongst them to restrain that unlimited pride and boundless ambition of Spain, to reduce it to their proper current and channel ; who, under the title of catholic king, makes his pretence to more countries and kingdoms than his own, and by colour of disguised treaties he invades the Palatinate, and dispossesseth the incomparable lady your royal sister, and the children of this kingdom, of their right, and their ancient patrimony and inheritance, to the discomfort and dishonour of this great and glorious nation. God in his mercy soon repair this breach by your royal hand ; and I assure myself, the hearts, the hands, and the purses of all good subjects, will say, Amen.

JOHN SELDEN,

(The well-known Author of Table- Talk, and other works

of great learning, )

Was born in 1584, and died in 1654. He was member at different

times for Great Bedwin, in Wiltshire, and Lancashire, and througb his whole lifc a strenuous oppositionist.

Mr. Selden spoke next in this debate, viz. on the impeachment of the duke of Buckingham, and argued, That the question was only, whether this house may proceed to transmit to the lords upon common fame ? and surely they might, elseno great man shall be accused by any particular, for fear of danger. The faults of the gods were not to be told, till the goddess Fame was born ; de eo male auditur, is put into indictments for murder. That this course of accusation was held in all the courts of christendom. That these cases were to be ruled by the law of parliaments, and not either by the common or civil law. In the case of the duke of Suffolk, (28th Henry VI.). there was a general rumour and noise of great offences done against the state. The commons, taking notice thereof, acquainted the Lords with that general rumour, praying them, he might be committed to the tower ; which the lords, upon consultation with the judges, refused, because the charge was only geperal : thereupon the commons instanced, in one particular, that the French king was ready to invade the kingdom, through his default ; whereupon he was presently committed. In the duke of Somerset's case, (29 Henry VI.) there was the like clamour upon common fame, and the parties complained of were removed from their offices.

« PreviousContinue »