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way of it, I shall deliver unto you my apprehensions in general, of the vast importance and necessity that we should go thorough with it.
The result of my sense is, in short, this : That unless, for the frequent convening of parliaments, there be some such course settled, as may not be eluded; neither the people can be prosperous and secure, nor the king himself solidly happy. I take this to be the Unum necessarium. Let us procure this, and all our other desires will effect themselves, If this bill miscarry, I shall have left me no publick hopes; and, once passed, I shall be freed of all publick fears.
The essentialness, sir, of frequent parliaments to the happiness of this kingdum, might be inferred unto you, by the reason of contraries, from the woeful experience which former times have had of the misa chievous effects of any long intermission of them.
But, Mr, Speaker, why should we climb higher than the level we are on, or think further than our own horizon, or have recourse for exam. ples in this business to any other promptuary than our own memories ? nay, than the experience almost of the youngest here?
The reflexion backward on the distractions of former times upon intermission of parliaments, and the consideration forward of the mischiefs likely still to grow from the same cause, if not reformed, doubtless, gave first life and being to those two dormant statutes of Edward the Third, for the yearly holding of parliaments. And shall not the fresh and bleeding experience in the present age of miseries from the same spring, not to be paralleled in any other, obtain an awakening, a resure rection for them?
The intestine distempers, Sir, of former ages upon the want of parliaments, may appear to have had some other co-operative causes, as sometimes, unsuccessful wars abroad ; sometimes, the absence of the prince; sometimes, competitions of titles to the crown; sometimes, perhaps, the vices of the king himself.
But, let us but consider the posture, the aspect of this state, both towards itself, and the rest of the world, the person of our sovereign, and the nature of our sufferings, since the third of his reign ; And there can be no cause colourably inventable, whereunto to attribute them, but the intermission, or, which is worse, the undue frustration of parliaments, hy the unlucky use, if not abuse, of prerogative in the dissolving them.
Take into your view, gentleinen, a state in a state of the greatest quiet and security that can be fancied, not only enjoying the calmest peace itself, but, to improve and secure its happy condition, all the rest of the world, at the same time, in tempest, in combustions, in uncomposable
Take into your view, Sir, a king sovereign to three kingdoms, by a concentring of all the
royal lines in his person, as undisputably as any mathematical ones in Euclid: A king, firm and knowing in his religion, eminent in virtue : A king that had, in his own time, given all the rights and liberties of his subjects a more clear and ample confirmation, freely and graciously, than any of his predecessors (when the people had them at advantage) extortedly, I mean, in the petition of right.
This is one map of England, Mr. Speaker. A man, Sir, that should
present unto you, now, a kingdom, groaning under that supreme law, which Salus populi periclitata would enact; the liberty, the property of the subject fundamentally subverted, ravished away by the violence of a pretended necessity; a triple crown shaking with distempers ; Men of the best conscience ready to fly into the wilderness for religion : Would pot one swear this were the antipodes to the other? And yet, let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, this is a map of England too, and both, at the same time, true.
As it cannot be denied, Mr. Speaker, that since the conquest there hath not been, in this kingdom, a fuller concurrence of all circumstances in the former character, to have made a kingdom happy, than for these twelve years last past; so it is most certain, that there hath not been, in all that deduction of ages, such a conspiracy, if one may so say, of all the elements of mischief in the second character, to bring a fourishing kingdom, if it were possible, to swift ruin and desolation.
I will be bold to say, Mr. Speaker, and I thank God we have so good a king, under whom we may speak boldly of the abuse of his power by ilt ministers, without reflexion upon his person.
That an accumulation of all the publick grievances since Magna Charta, one upon another, unto that hour in which the petition of right passed into an act of parliament, would not amount to so oppressive, I am sure not to so destructive a height and magnitude to the rights and property of the subject, as one branch of our beslaving since the petition of right.
The branch, I mean, is the judgment concerning ship-money. This being a true representation of England in both aspects:
Let him, Mr. Speaker, that for the unmatched oppression and enthral. ling of free subjects, in a time of the best king's reign, and in
memory of the best laws enacting in favour of subjects liberty, can find a truer cause than the ruptures and intermission of parliaments : Let him, and him alone, be against the settling of this inevitable way for the frequent holding of them,
It is true, Sir, wicked ministers have been the proximate causes of our miseries; but the want of parliaments the primary, the efficient cause.
Il ministers have made ill times; but that, Sir, hath made ill ministers.
I have read, amongst the laws of the Athenians, a form of recourse in their oaths and vows of greatest and most publick concernment to a threefold deity, Supplicum Exauditori, Purgatori, Malorum depulsori.
I doubt not but we, here assembled for the commonwealth in this parliament, shall meet with all these attributes in our sovereign.
I make no question, but he will graciously hear our supplications : purge away our grievances, and expel malefactors, that is, remove ill ministers, and put good in their places.
No less can be expected from his wisdom and goodness.
But, let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, if we partake not of one attribute more in him; if we address not ourselves unto that, I mean Bonorum Conservatori, we can have no solid, no durable comfort in all the rest.
Let his Majesty hear our complaints never so compassionately.
If there be not a way settled to preserve and keep them good; the mischiefs and they will all grow again, like Sampson's locks, and pull down the house upon our heads: Believe it, Mr. Speaker, they will.
It hath been a maxim amongst the wisest legislators, that whosoever, means to settle good laws, must proceed in them, with a sinister opinion of all mankind; and suppose, that whosoever is not wicked, it is for want only of the opportunity. It is that opportunity of being ill, Mr. Speaker, that we must take away, if ever we mean to be happy, which can never be done, but by the frequency of parliaments.
No state can wisely be confident of any publick ministers continuing good, longer than the rod is over him.
Let me appeal to all those that were present in this house at the agitation of the petition of right. And let them tell themselves truly, of whose promotion to the management of affairs do they think the genierality would at that time have had better hopes than of Mr. Noy and Sir Thomas Wentworth, both having been at that time, and in that business, as I have heard, most keen and active patriots; and the latter of them, to the eternal aggravation of his infamous treachery to the commonwealth, be it spoken, the first mover, and insister to have this clause added to the petition of right, that, for the comfort and safety of his subjects, his Majesty would be pleased to declare his will and pleasure, that all ministers should serve him according to the laws and statutes of the realm.
And yet, Mr. Speaker, to whom now can all the inundations upon our liberties, under pretence of law, and the late shipwreck at once of all our property, be attributed more than to Noy; and those, and all other mischiefs, whereby this monarchy hath been brought almost to the brink of destruction, so much to any as that grand apostate to the commonwealth, the now Lieutenant of Ireland'?
The first, I hope, God hath forgiven in the other world; and the lat», ter must not hope to be pardoned it in this, till he be dispatched to the other.
Let every man but consider those men as once they were.
The excellent law for the security of the subject, enacted imme. diately before their coming to employment, in the contriving whereof, themselves were principal actors.
The goodness and virtue of the king they served, and yet the high and publick oppressions that in his time they have wrought. And surely there is no man but will conclude with me, that as the defiçience of parliaments hath been the causa causarum of all the mischiefs and dis. tempers of the present times : So the frequency of them is the sole catholiek antidote that can preserve and secure the future from the like.
Mr. Speaker, let me yet draw my discourse a little nearer to his Majesty himself, and tell you, that the frequency of parliaments is most essentially necessary to the power, the security, thc' glory of the king.
There are two ways, Mr. Speaker, of powerful rule, either by fear, or Jove; but one of happy and safe rule, that is, by love, that firmissimum Imperium quo obedientes gaudent.
To which Camillus advised the Romans. Let a prince consider what it is that moves a people principally to affection, and dearness, towards their sovereign, lie shall see that there needs no other artifice in it, than to let them enjoy, unmolestedly, what belongs unto them of right: If that have been invaded and violated in any kind, whereby affections are alienated, the next consideration, for a wise prince that would be happy, is how to regain them, to which three things are equally necessary.
Reinstating them in their former liberty.
But the third, as essential as all the rest, till we be certain of triennial parliaments, at the least, I profess I can have but cold hopes of.
I beseech you, then, gentlemen, since that security for the future is so necessary to that blessed union of affections, and this Bill sy necessary to that security ; let us not be so wanting to ourselves, let us not be so wanting to our sovereign, as to forbear to offer unto him this powerful, this everlasting philter, to charm unto him the hearts of his people, whose virtue can never evaporate.
There is no man, Mr. Speaker, so secure of another's friendship, but will think frequent intercourse and access very requisite to the support, to the confirmation of it: Especially, if ill offices bave been done between them ; if the raising of jealousies hath been attempted.
There is no friend but would be impatient to be debarred from giving his friend succour and relief in his necessities.
Mr. Speaker, permit me the comparison of great things with little :: What friendship, what union, can there be so comfortable, so happy, as between a gracious sovereign and his people. And what greater misfurtune can there be to both, than for them to be kept from intercourse, from the means ef clearing misunderstandings, from interchange of mutual benefits?
The people of England, Sir, cannot open their ears, their hearts, their mouths, nor their purses, to his Majesty, but in parliament.
We can neither hear him, nor complain, nor acknowledge, nor give, but there.
This bill, Sir, is the sole key that can open the way to a frequency of those reciprocal endearments, which must make and perpetuate the happiness of the king and kingdom.
Let no man object any derogation from the king's prerogative by it. We do but present the bill, it is to be made a law by him ; his honour, his power, will be as conspicuous, in commanding at once that a parliament shall assemble every third year, is in commanding a parliament to be called this or that year: There is more of his Majesty in ordaine
ing primary and universal causes, than in the actuating particularly of subordinate effects.
I doubt not but that glorious King Edward the Third, when he made those laws for the yearly calling of a parliament, did it with a right sense of his dignity and honour.
The truth is, Sir, the kings of England are never in their glory, in their splendor, in their majestick sovereignty, but in parliaments.
Where is the power of imposing taxes? where is the power of restoring from incapacities? Where is the legislative authority marry, in the King, Mr. Speaker. But how? In the King, circled in, fortified and evirtuated by his parliament.
The King, out of parliament, hath a limited, a circumscribed jurisdiction : But, waited on by his parliament, no monarch of the east is so absolute in dispelling grievances.
Mr. Speaker, in chacing ill ministers, we do but dissipate clouds that may gather again; but, in voting this bill, we shall contribute, as much as in us lies, to the perpetuating our siin, our sovereign, in his vestical, in his noon-day lustre.
POWER OF THE PEERS AND COMMONS OF PARLIAMENT,
IN POINT OF JUDICATURE.
Written by a learned Antiquary, at the request of a Peer of this
Printed in the year 1640. Quarto, containing twelve pages,
To give you as short an account of your desires, as I can, I must
crave leave to lay before you, as a ground, the frame or first model of this state.
When, after the period of the Saxon time, Harold had lifted himself into the royal seat, the great men, to whom but lately he was no more than equal, either in fortune or power, disdaining this act of arrogancy, called in William, then Duke of Normandy, a prince more active than any in these western parts, and renowned for many victories he had fortunately atchieved against the French King, then the most potent monarch in Europe.