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upon their posterity, so there ought to be, in the first root of this honour, some such active merit to the commonwealth, as may transmit a vigorous example to their successors to raise them to an imitation of the like.
I forbear reflections on those persons to whom this article collaterally relates, since the commands I have received from the commons concern the duke of Buckingham only; I shall therefore leave the first point concerning the offence, and come to the next point, viz. the grievance, which in the articles is expressed in three respects.
First, Prejudicial to the noble barons.
Secondly, To the king, by disabling him from rewarding extraordinary virtue.
Thirdly, To the kingdom, which comprehends all. First. It is prejudicial to this high court of peers. I will not trouble your lordships with recital, how ancient, how famous this degree of barons hath been in the western monarchies. I will only say, the baronage of England hath upheld that dignity, and doth conceive it in a greater height than any other nation.
The lords are great judges, a court of the last resort; they are great commanders of state, not only for the present, but as law-makers and counsellors for the time to come; and this not by delegacy and commission, but by birth and inheritance. If any be brought to be a member of this great body who is not qualified to the performance of such state functions, it must needs prejudice the whole body; as a little water put in a great vessel of wine, which, as it receives spirits from the wine, so doth it leave therein some degrees of its own infirmities and coldness.
Secondly. It is prejudicial to the king, not that it can disable him from giving honour, for that is a power inseparable from the crown; but by making honour or dinary, it becomes an incompetent reward for extraordinary virtue. When men are made noble, they are 5
taken out of the press of the common sort; and how can it choose but fall in estimation, when honour itself is made a press?
Thirdly. It is prejudicial to the kingdom. Histories and records are full of the great assistance which the crown had received from the barons, on foreign and domestic occasions; and not only by their own persons, but their retinue and tenants; and therefore they are called by Bracton, Robur Belli: How can the crown expect the like from those who have no tenants, and are hardly able to maintain themselves? Besides, this is not all; for the prejudice goes not only privately from thence, in that they cannot give the assistance they ought, but positively, in that they have been a greater burden to the kingdom since, by the gifts and pensions they have received; nay, they will even stand in need to receive more for the future support of their dignities.
This makes the duke's offence greater, that in this weakness and consumption of the state, he hath not been content alone to consume the public treasure, which is the blood and nourishment of the state, but hath brought in others to help him in this work of destruction; and that they might do it the more eagerly by enlarging their honour, he hath likewise enlarged their necessities and appetites.
I shall second this charge with two precedents; the first, 28 Henry VI. in the complaint against the duke of Suffolk, that he had married his niece to the earl of Kendal, and procured him 1000l. per annum in the duchy of Guyenne and yet this party was the son of a noble and well deserving father.
The second, in 17 Edw. IV. an act of parliament for the degrading of Thomas Neville, marquis of Montague, and duke of Bedford. The reason exprest in the act is, because he had not a revenue to support that dignity together with another reason, that when men are called to honour, and have not livelihood to support it, it induceth great poverty, and causeth briberies, extortions, embraceries, and maintenance.
This long and closely reasoned speech about a posset-drink, and sticking-plaister, applied by the duke of Buckingham to James I. a little before his death, is a proof of the gravity with which our ancestors could treat the meanest subjects, when they were con nected with serious consequences.
Mr. Wandesford's Speech.
THUS have your lordships heard this charge against the duke of Buckingham briefly stated; and now may it please you to have represented also to your wisdoms and justice the nature of this offence in itself, and how it stands apparelled with circumstances.
The various composition and structure of our bodies, the several natures and degrees of diseases, the quality and power of medicines, are such subtle mysteries of nature, that the knowledge thereof is not appre hended without great study and learning, not perfected without long practice and experience. This tender consideration induced, it seems, the charity and providence of that law, which makes it penal for unskilful empirics, and all others, to exercise and practise physic, even upon com mon persons, without a lawful calling and approbation; branding them that shall thus transgress as improbos, malitiosos, temerarios et audaces homines: but he that without skill and calling shall direct a medicine, which upon the same person had once wrought bad effects enough to have dissuaded a second adventure, and that when physicians are present, physicians selected for learning, and art, prepared by their office and oaths, without their consent, nay, even contrary to their directions, and in a time unreasonable, I say, must needs be guilty,
albeit towards a common person, of a precipitate and unadvised rashness; but to practise, my lords, such experiments upon the sacred person of a king, so great, so good, so blessed a prince; a prince under the protection of whose justice (to use the words often recorded by himself) every man sat under his own vine, and eat of his own fig-tree, extends this fault, this attempt, beyond all precedents, beyond all example; for though the days of the greatest princes, like their meanest subjects, be numbered, and a time appointed which they cannot pass, yet, while they are upon the earth, they are vessels of honour,. set apart for God's greater works; his vicegerents, not to be thought upon without reverence, not to be approached unto without a proper distance.
And so pious, my lords, are our laws. to put the subjects in mind of their duties towards the sacred sons of their prince, that in the attempt, even of a madman, upon the person of his king, his want of rea son, which, towards any of his fellow-subjects might acquit him of felony, shall not excuse him of treason.
And how wary and how advised our ancestors have been, not to apply any thing of this kind to the person of a king, may appear by a precedent in the 32d Hen. VI. where John Arundel, and others, the king's physicians and surgeons, thought it not safe for them to administer any thing to the king's person, without the assent of the privy-council, and express licence under the great seal of England.
I beseech your lordships to behold the difference of times: the modesty, the duty of those physicians, restrained them from acting that which their judgment and experience might have justified. But I am commanded to say the boldness of this lord admits no warrant, no command, no counsel, but, transported by the passions of his own will, he ventures upon the doubtful sickness of a king, with a kind of high, sole, and single counselling. The effects whereof, as in all
other things, so especially in such as this, have ever been decried as leading to ruin and destruction. Surely, my lords, si hæc fiant in viridi, in arido quid fiat? If this be offered to the anointed person of a king, what shall become of the common person of a subject?
What colour shall be given then, my lords, what excuse can be framed for a servant (a servant, too, obliged as much as the bounty of a great king, and the goodness of a master could make him) so much forgetting his duty as to hazard such a majesty upon so slight, so poor pretences?
Admit, my lords, (for that is all that can be alledged in this great duke's defence) that this sprang from af fection to his great master, the desire of his preservation; yet could this lord imagine, that any medicine could be so catholicly good at all times, in all degrees of age, for all bodies? But as I am commanded to say, what belief, what hopes could he have of this the second time, when the former appeared so unsuccessful?
It is a faint affection, my lords, where judgment doth not guide; a well regulated judgment should have directed a more advised, a more orderly proceeding; but whether it were a fatal error in judgment only, or something worse, my lords, in his affections, the house of commons leave to your lordships to search into and judge; only give me leave to remember, that this medicine found his majesty in the declination of his disease, and we all wish it had left him so; but his blessed days were soon hurried into worse, and, instead of health and recovery, your lordships shall hear, by good testimony, (that which troubles the poor and loyal commons of England) of greater distempers, as drought, raving, a fainting and intermitting pulse;-strange effects, my lords, to follow upon the applying of a mere treacle plaister! but the truth is, my lords, these testimonies tell us, that this plaister had a strange smell, and an invective quality, striking the malignity of the disease