« ПредишнаНапред »
The second resolution will rest in your majesty, leaving the new impositions, all monopolies, and other grievances of the people, to the consideration of the house, provided that your majesty's revenue be not abated ; which if your majesty shall refuse, it is thought that the disputes will last long, and the issues will be doubtful : and on the contrary, if your majesty vouchsafe it, it may perchance be styled a yielding, which seemeth by the sound to brave the regality.
But (most excellent prince) what other is it to the ears of the wise but as the sound of a trumpet, having blasted forth a false alarm, becomes the common air ? Shall the head yield to the feet? Certainly it ought, when they are grieved; for wisdom will rather regard the commodity, than object the disgrace; seeing if the feet lie in fetters, the head cannot be freed, and where the feet feel but their own pains, the head doth not only suffer by participation, but withal by consideration of the evil.
Certainly the point of honour well weighed hath nothing in it to even the balance; for by your majesty's favour, your majesty doth not yield either to any person or to any power, but to dispute only, in which the proposition and minor prove nothing without a conclusion, which no other person or power can make but a majesty : yea, this in Henry the Third's time was called a wisdom incomparable. For the king raised again, recovered his authority: for, being in that extremity that he was driven with the queen and his children, cum abbatibus et prioribus satis humilibus hospitia quærere et prandia. For the rest, may it please your majesty to consider, that there can nothing befall your majesty in matters of affairs more unfortunately, than meeting the commons of parliament with ill success : a dishonour so persuasive and adventurous, as it will not only find arguments, but it will take the leading of all enemies that shall offer themselves against your majesty's estate.
Le tabourin de la pauvreté ne fait point de bruit: of which dangerous disease in princes the remedy doth chiefly consist in the love of the people, which how it may he had and held, no man knows better than your majesty; how to lose it all men know, and know that it is lost by nothing more than by the defence of others in wrong doing: the only motives of mischances that ever came to kings of this land since the conquest.
It is only love (most renowned sovereign) must prepare the way for your majesty's following desires. It is love which obeys, which suffers, which gives, which sticks at nothing; which love, as well of your majesty's people, as the love of God to your majesty, that it may always hold, shall be the continual prayers of
Your majesty's most humble vassal,
PREROGATIVE OF PARLIAMENTS.
PROVED IN A DIALOGUE BETWEEN A COUNSELLOR OF STATE
AND A JUSTICE OF PEACE.
Counsellor. Now, sir, what think you of Mr. St. John's trial in the Star-chamber? I know that the bruit ran that he was hardly dealt withal, because he was imprisoned in the Tower, seeing bis dissuasion from granting a benevolence to the king was warranted by the law.
Justice. Surely, sir, it was made manifest at the hearing, that Mr. St. John was rather in love with his own letter; he confessed he had seen your lordship's letter before he wrote his to the mayor of Marlborough, and in your lordship's letter there was not a word whereto the statutes by Mr. St. John alleged had reference; for those statutes did condemn the gathering of money from the subject under title of a free gift; whereas a fifth, a sixth, a tenth, &c. was required. But, my good lord, though divers shires have given to his majesty some more some less, what is this to the king's debt ?
Couns. We know it well enough, but we have many other projects.
Just. It is true, my good lord; but your lordship will find, that when by these you have drawn many petty sums from the subjects, and those sometimes spent as fast as they are gathered, his majesty being nothing enabled thereby, when you shall be forced to demand your great aid, the
country will excuse itself in regard of their former payments.
Couns. What mean you by the great aid ?
Couns. By parliament; I would fain know the man that · durst persuade the king unto it; for if it should succeed ill, in what case were he ?
Just. You say well for yourself, my lord, and perchance you that are lovers of yourselves (under pardon) do follow the advice of the late duke of Alva, who was ever opposite to all resolutions in business of importance; for if the things enterprised succeeded well, the advice never came in question; if ill, (whereto great undertakings are commonly subject,) he then made his advantage by remembering his contrary counsel : but, my good lord, these reserved politicians are not the best servants ; for he that is bound to adventure his life for his master, is also bound to adventure bis advice, Keep not back counsel, saith Ecclesiasticus, when it may do good.
Couns. But, sir, I speak it not in other respect than I think it dangerous for the king to assemble the three estates, for thereby have our former kings always lost somewhat of their prerogatives. And because that you shall not think that I speak it at random, I will begin with elder times, wherein the first contention began betwixt the kings of this land and their subjects in parliament.
Just. Your lordship shall do me a singular favour.
Couns. You know the kings of England had no formal parliament till about the eighteenth year of Henry the First; for in his seventeenth year, for the marriage of his daughter, the king raised a tax upon every hide of land, by the advice of his privy-council alone. But you may remember how the subjects soon began to stand upon terms with the king, and drew from him by strong hand and the sword the great charter.
Just. Your lordship says well; they drew from the king the great charter by the sword, and thereof the parliament cannot be accused, but the lords.
Couns. You say well; but it was after the establishment of the parliament, and by colour of it, that they had so great daring; for before that time they could not endure to hear of St. Edward's laws, but resisted the confirmation in all they could, although by those laws the subjects of this island were no less free than any of all Europe.
Just. My good lord, the reason is manifest ; for while the Normans, and others of the French that followed the conqueror, made spoil of the English, they would not endure that any thing but the will of the conqueror should stand for law: but after a descent or two, when themselves were become English, and found themselves beaten with their own rods, they then began to favour the difference between subjection and slavery, and insist upon the law of meum et tuum, and to be able to say unto themselves, Hoc fac et vives : yea, that the conquering English in Ireland did the like, your lordship knows it better than I.
Couns. I think you guess aright: and to the end the subject may know that being a faithful servant to his prince he might enjoy his own life, and paying to his prince what belongs to a sovereign, the remainder was his own to dispose, Henry the First, to content his vassals, gave them the great charter and the charter of forests.
Just. What reason then had king John to deny the confirmation ?
Couns. He did not ; but he on the contrary confirmed both the charters with additions, and required the pope, whom he had then made his superior, to strengthen him with a golden bull.
Just. But your honour knows that it was not long that he repented himself.
Couns. It is true, and he had reason so to do; for the barons refused to follow him into France, as they ought to have done ; and to say true, this great charter, upon which you insist so much, was not originally granted regally and freely; for Henry the First did usurp the kingdom, and therefore the better to assure himself against Robert his eldest brother, he flattered the nobility and people with