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and authority, and undervaluing their power,


the wars in which they were engaged; break with the king of Spain, and marry his son to a princess of the reformed religion, with some other things: the commons having drawn up this petition and remonstrance, and it coming to the king's ears that they were about to present it, the following letter was written by him to the speaker, from New-Market:

Mr. Speaker, *' We have heard, by divers reports, to our great "grief, that our distance from the houses of parliament "caused by our indisposition of health, hath embold"ned some siery and popular spirits of some of the ** house of commons, to argue and debate publickly of *' the matters far above their reach and capacity, "tending to our high dishonor, and breach of preroga'* tive royal. These are therefore to command you, ** to make known, in our name, unto the house, that ** none therein shall presume henceforth to meddle with *' any thing concerning our government, or deep mat** ters of state, and namely not to deal with our dearest *' son's match with the daughter of Spain, nor to touch "the honour of that king, or any other our friends and "confederates : and also not to meddle with any man's ** particulars, which have their due motion in our or"dinary courts of justice. And whereas we hear, "that they have sent a message to Sir Edward Sandys, *' to know the reasons of his late restraint, you shall in "our name resolve them, that it was not for any mis** demeanor of his in parliament. But to put them out *' of doubt of any question of that nature that may arise *' among them hereafter, you shall resolve them in our *' name, that we think ourselves very free and able to "punish any man's misdemeanors in parliament, as ,' well during their sitting as after: which we mean "not to spare hereafter, upon any occasion of any *' man's insolent behaviour there, that (hall be minis

* * tred skill and capacity. And not contented herewith

*' tred unto us; and if they have already touched any "of these points, which we have forbidden, in any "petition of theirs, which is to be sent unto us, it is "our pleasure that you shall tell them, that except they "reform it before it come to our hands we will not frf) Franks u deign the hearing, nor answering of it." (d) Hereof'King* upon tne Commons drew up another petition, which ,James's,p. they sent accompanied with the former remonstrance; co. a,d to which the king answered among other things, " that

VofTp. "he must u,e the sirst words which (lueen Elizabeth "had used, in an answer to an insolent proposition, -*' made by a Polonian ambassador unio her; that is *' legatum expeBabamus beraldum accippimus; that he "wished them to remember that he was an old and ex*' perienced king, needed no such lessons as they had "given him; that they had usurped upon the prero"gative royal, and meddled with things far above tb.eic "reachi and then in the conclusion protested the con"trary; as if a robber, fays he, would take a man's "'purse, and then protest he meant not to rob him.. "After this he asks them how they could have presumed "to determine about his son's match, without corii"mitting of high treason? These are unsit things, cl (the breaking of the match with Spain, and conclud"ing one with a protestant) to be handled in paflia** ment, exeept your king should require it of you: for "who can have Wisdom to judge of things of that na"ture, but such as are daily acquainted with the par"ticulars of treaties, and of the variable and sixed "connexion of affairs of state, together with the know"ledge of the secret ways, ends, and intentions of "princes in their several negotiations? otherwise a "small mistaking of matters of this nature may pro"duce more effects than can be imagined: and there"fore, tie futor ultra crepidam." He concludes with faying, " we cannot alsow of the style (in the petition * and remonstrance) calling it your antient and un

"doubted .ivith he openly and avowedly violated theft'


*' doubted right and inheritance;. but could rather have ** wished, {hat ye had faid, that your privileges were *' derived from the grace and permission of our ancestors, ** and us; for most of them grow from precedents^ *' which (hews rather a toleration than inheritance."

At this the commons were alarmed; and therefore solemnly protested that the liberties, franchises, privileges and jurisdictions of parliament, are the antient and undoubted birthright and inheritance of the subjects of England; that the affairs of church and state are proper subjects of counsel and debate in parliament; that in! handling of them every member ought to have freedom of speech; and that they are not to be impeached, molested dr imprisoned for the fame, without the advice; and assent of all the commons assembled in parliament. But this protest had no effect on the king. His anger was not abated, he grew not more cairn or considerate," but in full assembly of his council, and in the presence of the judges declared the faid protestation to be invalid, void, and of no effect; and did further tnariusua prapria^ take the faid protestation out of the journal book of the clerk of the commons house of parliament (e) ' 'i- {c)TnoUWith reason then did I fay,- thitJameS treated his par-,in* P. Haments, in many cafes, most contemptuously ; and RJu"^'rth. e,ven a parliament, concerning which he himself had Vol. I. p. declared, .that a part Bf it, " the house of commons, had 46—j+. "shewed greater love, and used him with more respect ** in all their proceedings; than ever any house of com"moits had hitherto done to him, or, as he thought, "to any of his predecessor." (f) Their love and re-(/).Respect were requited by language destitute of aH ""flity*"^ arid politeness, and they were threatened, bullied, and insulted. Yea, what was more extraordinary was, that anew doctrine was broached by James, th;U the privileges and liberties of parliament, with respect to the commons, were derived from the crown, and were rather matters of toleration, than inheritance: This'

O struck

privileges, by imprisoning, and otherwisegrieving such of their members as had juuu]


struck directly at their rights and privileges, and was that which they had the greatest reason to resent. For if they were derived from the crown, and were things barely tolerated by it, they might be abrogated and destroyed ; and consequently the constitution might be altered, and despotism take place. But 'James was mistaken with regard to the foundation of the privileges and sights of the house of commons. They flowed not from the grace of our kings j but were coæval with our con(g) Sec Sir stitution; as some of our best writers (g) have shewn k "ns's^ow- 'n opposition to those ecclesiastical, or court parasites, er, luriidic- who vainly strove to persuade the world of the contrary. tion, and May they be perpetual! may all our princes think it prii m.nt° theis duty and interest inviolably to preserve them ; and rol.Lond. may they be used so as to secure the liberties, the rights '6*9- and the welfare of the meanest individual.

Sydney en government,

p. 379. sol. [uuu] He violated the privileges of parliament, by Lond. 1698. imprisoning and otherwise grieving such of the memrit'of jt»t"^Ers as na^ ac^ed >n tne house difagreeable to his will.] Vol. 1. p. Vi7e have heard James in the foregoing note, declaring 230. and that he meant not to spare punishing any man's behahe°nd*Vcol. viour in parliament, which should be insolent. By inie«ion;, p. solent, 1 suppose he meant unacceptable, or difagree45- -able to himself or minister, how beneficial soever it

might be, or intended to be to the public. For 'tis the manner of princes bent on establishing their own wicked wills, in contradiction to law and the common good, to. give odious names to the actions of the sons of liberty, and brand them with ignominious titles.

However, James sully made good his threats. He punished those who were for assisting the protestants abroad, for breaking with Spain, and making a marriage for prince Charles with one of their own religion. For soon after his tearing the protestation of the commons out of the journal book with his own hand, he dissolved


dared to speak contrary to his riiind in the

house j

the parliament, and " committed Sir Edward Cook, *' and Sir Robert Philips to the Tower; Mr. Selden, "Mr. Pym, and Mr. Mallory, to other prisons and c' consinements. Likewise Sir Dudley Diggs, and Sir "Thomas Crew, Sir Nathaniel Rich, and Sir James "Perrot, for punishment were sent into Ireland, to "enquire into sundry matters concerning his majesty's "service." (A) This was a direct breach of the privi- ^u(^ leges of the parliament as every one must see. For if 1. p. 5'5. the members of it are liable to be called to an account Franklin, and punished for what they may have spoken, by any butp" * the body to which they belong, the freedom of if ceases, and it no longer has that power and independency which is allotted to it by the constitution. But the violating the privileges of parliament was no new thing to 'James. For having dissolved the parliament in 1614, " it pleased him the very next morning to "call to examination, before the lords of his council, "divers members of the house of commons, for some "speeches better becoming a senate of Venice, where "the treaters are perpetual princes, than where those "that speak so irreverently, are so soon to returns '' (which they should remember) to the natural capaci"ty of subjects. Of these examinants four are com'' mitted close prisoners to the Tower: 1. Sir Walter "Chute. 2. John Ha/kyns," (a man of great parts, learning and merit, who lay in prison a sull year, where he was intimate with Sir Walter Raleigh, and revised his history, and where he wrote the following lines to his little child Benjamin.

Sweet Benjamin, since thou art young,
And hast not yet the use of tongue,
Make it thy slave while thou art free,
Imprison it* lest it do thee.)

O 2 3. One

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