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have it thirty times confirmed, that the king might not commit his subjects, but at his own pleasure ? and that if he did commit any of his subjects without a cause shewn, that then the party must lie in prison during the king's pleasure ? Nothing can be imagined more ridicu. lous, or more contrary to reason and common sense.
From the precedents I observe, that many committed by the king or his counsel have been delivered upon habeas corpus, and that constantly. It is true that some precedents were brought on the king's part, that when some of these persons desired to be delivered by habeas corpus, the king, or his council, signified his majesty's pleasure that they should be delivered; or the king's at. torney hath come into court and released thein by the king's command. But this seems to make for the subject; for, it being in his majesty's power to deliver them, who, by his special commandment, and without any cause shewn, were imprisoned, may we not think that his majesty at that time, would rather have staid their deliver. ance by law, than furthered it by his letters, and so make the prisoners rather beholden to him for his great mercy, than to the judges for justice, had not his majesty known that, at that time, they ought to have been delivered by law ?
I think no man would imagine a wise king would have suffered his grace and prerogative (if any prerogative there were) to be so continually questioned; or his majesty and his council to be so far from commanding the judges not to proceed to de. liver the prisoners by them committed, without cause shewn, as that on the other side, (which is all the force of these precedents) the king and council should signify to the judges, that they should proceed to deliver the parties!
Certainly, if the king had challenged any such prerogative, that a person committed, without any cause shewn, might not be delivered by the judges without his consent, it would have appeared, by one precedent or other,
amongst all that have been produced, that his majesty would have made some claim to such a prerogative; but it appears, on the contrary, that in many of these cases the king nor his council did ever interpose ; and where they did, it was always in affirmation and encouragement to that court to proceed. And besides, the writing of letters from the king to the judges to do justice to his majesty's subjects, may, with as great reason, be in terpreted, that without those letters they might not do justice; as this, that the king signified his willingness that such and such persons, which were committed by him without cause shewn, should be delivered, therefore they could not be delivered without him ; which is a strange reason. So that finding the laws so full, so many, and so plain in the point ; and that whenever any committed without cause shewn, brought their habeas corpus, they were delivered, and no command ever given to the contrary, nor no claiin made on the king's part to any such prerogative; I may safely conclude, as the house of commons have done; and if any one precedent or two, of late, can be shewn, that the judges have not delivered the prisoners so committed, I think it is their fault, and ought to be enquired of; but contrarily, it seems to me to be an undoubted right of the subject, that if he be committed without cause, or without cause shewn, yet he may have some speedy course to bring himself to trial, either to justify his own innocency, or to receive punishment accord. ing to his fault; for God forbid that an innocent man, by the laws of England, should be put in worse case than the most grievous malefactors are, as must needs be, if, when a cause is shewn, he may have his trial; but if none, he must lie and pine in prison during the king's pleasure.
Mr. Serjeant Ashley, the other day, told your lordships of the emblem of a king; but, by his leave, he made a wrong use of it: for the king holds in one hand the globe, and in the other the sceptre, the types of sovereignty and mercy ; but his sword of justice is ever carried before him by a minister of justice, which shews that subjects may have their remedies for injustice done, and that appeals lie to higher powers; for the laws of England are so favourable to their princes, as to declare that they themselves can do no injustice.
Therefore I will conclude, as all disputes should do, magna est veritas et prævalebit ; and I make no doubt, we living under so good and just a prince as we do, when this is represented unto him, he will answer us, magna est charta et prævalebit.
SIR EDWARD COKE,
Sir Edward Coke's Speech against inserting the words
Sovereign Power," as applied to the Prerogative, in an Address to the Throne.
This is magnum in parvo. This is propounded to be a conclusion of our petition. It is a matter of great weight, and to speak plainly, it will overthrow all our petition; it trenches to all parts of it; it flies at loans, at the oath, at imprisonment, and at billetting of sol. diers. This turns all about again. Look into all the petitions of former times; they never petitioned wherein there was a saving of the king's sovereignty. I know that prerogative is part of the law; but sovereign power is no parliamentary word. In my opinion it weakens magna charta, and all the statutes; for they are abso. lute, without any saving of sovereign power; and should We now add it, we shall weaken the foundation of law, and then the building must needs fall. Take we heed what we yield unto. Magna charta is such a fellow,
that he will have no sovereign. I wonder this sovereign was not in magna charta, or in the confirmations of it. If we grant this, by implication we give a sovereign power above all laws. Power in law is taken for a power with force ; the sheriff shall take the power of the county ; what it means here, God only knows. It is repugnant to our petition, that is a petition of right, grounded on acts of parliament. Our predecessors could never endure a salvo jure suo, no more than the kings of old could endure for the church, salvo honore Dei et ecclesiæ. We must not admit of it, and to qualify it is impossible. Let us hold our privileges according to the law : that power that is above this, is not fit for the king and people to have it disputed further. I had rather, for my part, have the prerogative acted, and I myself to lie under it, than to have it disputed.
Was a native of Cornwall. He represented Truro in the long parlia
ment, was one of the lay members of the assembly of divines, and speaker of Barebon's parliament, and died in 1659. His speech against a Dr. Manwaring, who had written a flaming monarchical sermon, is so remarkable for its fanatical absurdity, and the uncouthness of the stile, that it certainly deserves a place in this collection, as a curiosity.
Mr. Rouse's Speech.
I AM to deliver, from the committee, a charge against Mr. Manwaring, a preacher and doctor of divinity ; but a man so criminous, that he hath turned his titles into accusation, for the better they are, the worse is he that dishonours them.
Here is a great charge that is upon him ; it is great in itself, and great because it hath many great charges in it ; serpens qui serpentem devorat, sit draco ; his charge
; having digested many charges into it, becomes a monster of charges.
The main and great one is this : a plot and practice to alter and subvert the frame and fabric of this estate and commonwealth.
This is the great one, and it hath others in it that give it more weight. To this end.
1. He labours to infuse into the conscience of his majesty, the persuation of a power not bounding itself with laws, which king James, of famous memory, calls in his speech to the parliament, tyranny ; yea, tyranny accompanied with perjury.
2. He endeavours to persuade the conscience of the subjects, that they are bound to obey commands illegal : yea, he damns them for not obeying them.
3. He robs the subjects of the property of their goods.
4. He brands them that will not lose this property with most scandalous speech and odious titles, to make them both hateful to prince and people ; so to set a division between the head and the members, and between the members themselves.
5. To the same end, not much unlike to Faux and his fellows, he seeks to blow up parliaments and parliamentary powers.
These five, being duly viewed, will appear to be sa many charges ; and they make up altogether the great and main charge--a mischievous plot to alter and subvert the frame and government of this state and commonwealth.
And now, though you may be sure that Mr. Manwaring leaves us no property in our goods, yet that he hath an absolute property in this charge, audite ipsam belluam. Hear himself making up his own charge.
ilere Mr. Rouse read several passages out of his