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set forth the proofs of this particular challenge and offence now in hand, and brought to the judgment and censure of this honourable court; whereupon it appeared to this honourable court by the confession of the said defendant Priest himself, that he having received some wrong and disgrace at the hands of one Hutchest, did thereupon, in revenge thereof, write a letter to the said Hutchest, containing a challenge to fight with him at single rapier, which letter the said Priest did deliver to the said defendant Wright, together with a stick containing the length of the rapier, wherewith the said Priest meant to perform the fight. Whereupon the said Wright did deliver the said letter to the said Hutchest, and did read the same unto him; and after the reading thereof, did also deliver to the said Hutchest the said stick, saying, that the same was the length of the weapon mentioned in the Raid letter. But the said Hutchest, dutifully respecting the preservation of his Majesty's peace, did refuse the said challenge, whereby no farther mischief did ensue thereupon.
This honourable court, and all the honourable presence this day sitting, upon grave and mature deliberation, pondering the quality of these offences, they generally approved the speech and observations of his Majesty's said attorney-general, and highly commended his great care and good service in bringing a cause of this nature to public punishment and example, and in professing a constant purpose to go on in the like course with others: letting him know, that he might expect from the court all concurrence and assistance in so good a work. And thereupon the court did by their several opinions and sentences declare how much it imported the peace and prosperous estate of his Majesty and his kingdom to nip this practice and offence of duels in the head, which now did overspread and grow universal, even among mean persons, and was not only entertained in practice and custom, but was framed into a kind of art and precepts: so that, according to the saying of the Scripture, mi*c/iie/'is imagined like a law. And the court with one consent did declare their opinions: That by the ancient law of the land, all inceptions, preparations, and combinations to execute unlawful acts, though they never be performed, as they be not to be punished capitally, except it be in case of treason, and some other particular cases of statute law; so yet they are punishable as misdemeanors and contempts: and that this court was proper for offences of such nature; especially in this case, where the bravery and insolency of the times are such as the ordinary magistrates and justices that are trusted with the preservation of the peace, are not able to master and repress those offences, which were by the court at large set forth, to be not only against the law of God, to whom, and his substitutes, all revenge belongeth, as part of his prerogative, but also against the oath and duty of every subject unto his Majesty, for that the subject doth swear unto him by the ancient law allegiance of life and member; whereby it is plainly inferred, that the subject hath no disposing power over himself of life and member to be spent or ventured ac
cording to his own passions and fancies, insomuch as the very practice of chivalry in justs and tournays, which are but images of martial actions, appear by ancient precedents not to be lawful without the king's licence obtained. The court also noted, that these private duels or combats were of another nature from the combats which have been allowed by the law, as well of this land as of other nations,' for the trial of rights or appeals. For that those combats receive direction and authority from the law; whereas these contrariwise spring only from the unbridled humours of private men. And as for the pretence of honour, the court much misliking the confusion of degrees which is grown of late, every man assuming unto himself the term and attribute of honour, did utterly reject and condemn the opinion that the private duel, in any person whatsoever, had any grounds of honour; as well because nothing can be honourable that is not lawful, and that it is no magnanimity or greatness of mind, but a swelling and tumour of the mind, where there faileth a right and sound judgment; as also for that it was rather justly to be esteemed a weakness, and a conscience of small value in a man's self, to be dejected so with a word or trifling disgrace, as to think there is no re-cure of it, but by the hazard of life: whereas true honour in persons that know their own worth, is not of any such brittle substance, but of a more strong composition. And finally, the court showing a firm and settled resolution to proceed with all severity against these duels, gave warning to all young noblemen and gentlemen, that they should not expect the like connivance or toleration as formerly have been, but that justice should have a full passage without protection or interruption. Adding, that after a strait inhibition, whosoever should attempt a challenge or combat, in case where the other party was restrained to answer him, as now all good subjects are, did by their own principles receive the dishonour and disgrace upon himself.
And for the present cause, the court hath ordered, adjudged, and decreed, that the said William Priest and Richard Wright be committed to the prison of the Fleet, and the said Priest to pay five hundred pounds, and the said Wright five hundred marks, for their several fines to his Majesty's use. And to the end, that some more public example may be made hereof amongst his Majesty's people, the court hath further ordered and decreed, that the said Priest and Wright shall at the next assizes, to be holden in the county of Surrey, publicly, in face of the court, the judges sitting, acknowledge their high contempt and offence against God, his Majesty, and his laws, and show themselves penitent for the same.
Moreover, the wisdom of this high and honourable court thought it meet and necessary, that all sorts of his Majesty's subjects should understand and take notice of that which hath been said and handled this day touching this matter, as well by his Highness's attorney-general, as by the lords judges, touching the law in such cases. And therefore the court hath enjoined Mr. Attorney to have special care to the penning of this decree, for the setting
forth in the same summarily the matters and reasons, which have been opened and delivered by the court touching the same; and nevertheless also at some time convenient to publish the particulars of his speech and declaration, as very meet and worthy to be remembered and made known unto the world, as these times are. And this decree, being in such sort carefully drawn and penned, the whole court thought it meet, and so have ordered and decreed, that the same be not only read and published at the next assizes for Surrey, at such time as the said Priest and Wright are to acknowledge their offences as aforesaid; but that the same be likewise published and made known in all shires of this kingdom. And to that end the justices of assize are required by this honourable court to cause this decree to be solemnly
read and published in all the places and sittings of their several circuits, and in the greatest assembly; to the end, that all his Majesty's subjects may take knowledge and understand the opinion of this honourable court in this case, and in what measure his Majesty and this honourable court purposeth to punish such as shall fall into the like contempt and offences hereafter. Lastly, this honourable court much approving that which the right honourable Sir Edward Coke, knight, lord chief justice of England, did now deliver touching the law in this case of duels, hath enjoined his lordship to report the same in print, as he hath formerly done divers other cases, that such as understand not the law in that behalf, and all others, may better direct themselves, and prevent the danger thereof hereafter.
THE KING'S ATTORNEY-GENERAL,
AGAINST WILLIAM TALBOT,
A COUNSELLOR AT LAW, OF IRELAND,
UPON AN INFORMATION IN THR STAR-CHAMBER " ORE TENTS," FOR A WRITING UNDER HIS HAND, WHEREBY THK 8AID WILLIAM
ULTIMO DIE TERMINI HILARII, UNDECIMO JACOBI REGIS.
I Brought before you the first sitting of this term the cause of duels j but now this last sitting I shall bring before you a cause concerning the greatest duel which is in the christian world, the duel and conflict between the lawful authority of sovereign kings, which is God's ordinance for the comfort of human society, and the swelling pride and usurpation of the see of Rome, in temporalibus, tending altogether to anarchy and confusion. Wherein if this pretence in the pope of Rome, by cartels to make sovereign princes as the banditti, and to proscribe their lives, and to expose their kingdoms to prey; if these pretences, 1 say, and all persons that submit themselves to that part of the pope's power in the least degree, be not by all possible severity repressed and punished, the state of christian kings will be no other than the ancient torment described by the poets in the hell of the heathen; a man sitting richly robed, solemnly attended, delicious fare, &c. with a sword hanging over his head, hanging by a
small thread, ready every moment to be cut down by an accursing and accursed hand. Surely I had thought they had been the prerogatives of God alone, and of his secret judgments: "Solvam cingula regum," " I will loosen the girdles of kings;" or again, "He poureth contempt upon princes;" or, "I will give a king in my wrath, and take him away again in my displeasure;" and the like: but if these be the claims of a mortal man, certainly they are but the mysteries of that person which "exalts himself above all that is called God," "supra omne quod dicitur Deus." Note it well, not above God, though that in a sense be true, but "above all that is called God;" that is, lawful kings and magistrates.
But, my lords, in this duel I find this Talbot, that is now before you, but a coward; for he hath given ground, he hath gone backward and forward; but in such a fashion, and with such interchange of repenting and relapsing, as I cannot tell whether it doth extenuate or aggravate his offence. If he shnll more publicly in the face of the court fall and settle upon a right mind, I shall be glad of it; and he
that would be against the king's mercy, I would he might need the king's mercy: but nevertheless the court will proceed by rules of justice.
The offence therefore wherewith I charge this Talbot, prisoner at the bar, is this in brief and in effect: That he hath maintained, and maintaineth under his hand, a power in the pope for deposing and murdering of kings. In what sort he doth this, when I come to the proper and particular charge, I will deliver it in his own words without pressing or straining.
But before I come to the particular charge of this man, I cannot proceed so coldly; but I must express unto your lordships the extreme and imminent danger wherein our dear and dread sovereign is, and in him we all; nay, all princes of both religions, for it is a common cause, do stand at this day, by the spreading and enforcing of this furious and pernicious opinion of the pope's temporal power: which though the modest sort would blanch with the distinction of " in ordine ad spiritualia," yet that is but an elusion; for he that maketh the distinction, will also make the case. This peril, though it be in itself notorious, yet because there is a kind of dulness, and almost a lethargy in this age, give me leave to set before you two glasses, such as certainly the like never met in one age; the glass of France, and the glass of England. In that of France the tragedies acted and executed in two immediate kings; in the glass of England, the same, or more horrible, attempted likewise in a queen and king immediate, but ending in a happy deliverance. In France, Henry III. in the face of his army, before the walls of Paris, stabbed by a wretched Jacobine friar. Henry IV. a prince that the French do surname the Great, one that had been a saviour and redeemer of his country from infinite calamities, and a restorer of that monarchy to the ancient state and splendour, and a prince almost heroical, except it be in the point of revolt from religion, at a time when he was as it were to mount on horseback for the commanding of the greatest forces that of long time had been levied in France, this king likewise stillettoed by a rascal votary, which had been enchanted and conjured for the purpose.
In England, queen Elizabeth, of blessed memory, a queen comparable and to be ranked with the greatest kings, oftentimes attempted by like votaries, Kommervile, Parry, Savage, and others, but still protected by the Watchman that slumbereth not. Again, our excellent sovereign king James, the sweetness and clemency of whose nature were enough to quench and mortify all malignity, and a king shielded and supported by posterity; yet this king in the chair of Majesty, his vine and olive branches about him, attended by his nobles and third estate in parliament; ready in the twinkling of an eye, as if it had been a particular dooms-day, to have been brought to ashes, dispersed to the four winds. I noted the last day, my lord chief justice, when he spake of this powder treason, he laboured for words; though they came from him with great efficacy, yet he truly confessed, and so must all men, that that treason is above the charge and report of any words whatsoever.
Now, my lords, I cannot let pass, but in these glasses which I spake of, besides the facts themselve and danger, to show you two things; the one the ways of God Almighty, which turneth the sw ord of Rome upon the kings that are the vassals of Rome, and over them gives it power; but protecteth those kings which have not accepted the yoke of his tyranny, from the effects of his malice: the other, that, as I said at first, this is a common cause of princes; it involveth kings of both religions; and therefore his Majesty did most worthily and prudently ring out the alarm-bell, to awake all other princes to think of it seriously, and in time. But this is a miserable case the while, that these Roman soldiers do either thrust the spear into the sides of God's anointed, or at least they crown them with thorns; that is, piercing and pricking cares and fears, that they can never be quiet or secure of their lives or states. And as this peril is common to princes of both religions, so princes of both religions have been likewise equally sensible of every injury that touched their temporals.
Thuanus reports in his story, that when the realm of France was interdicted by the violent proceedings of Pope Julius the second, the king, otherwise noted for a moderate prince, caused coins of gold to be stamped with his own image, and (his superscription, "Perdam nomen Babylonis e terra." Of which Thuanus saith, himself had seen divers pieces thereof. So as this catholic king was so much incensed at that time, in respect of the pope's usurpation, as he did apply Babylon to Rome. Charles the fifth emperor, who was accounted one of the pope's best sons, yet proceeded in matter temporal towards pope Clement with strange rigour: never regarding the pontificality, but kept him prisoner thirteen months in a pestilent prison; and was hardly dissuaded by his council from having sent him captive into Spain; and made sport with the threats of Frosberg the German, who wore a silk rope under his cassock, which he would show in all companies; telling them that he carried it to strangle the pope with his own hands. As for Philip the fair, it is the ordinary example, how he brought pope Boniface the eighth to an ignominious end, dying mad and enraged; and how he styled his rescript to the pope's bull, whereby he challenged his temporals, "Sciat fatuitas vestra," not your beatitude, but your stultitude; a style worthy to be continued in the like cases; for certainly that claim is mere folly and fury. As for native examples, here it is too long a field to enter into them. Never kings of any nation kept the partition-wall between temporal and spiritual better in times of greatest superstition: I report me to king Edward I. that set up so many crosses, and yet crossed that part of the pope's jurisdiction, no man more strongly. But these things have passed better pens and speeches: here I end them.
But now to come to the particular charge of this man, I must inform your lordships the occasion and nature of this offence: There hath been published lately to the world a work of Suarez, a Portuguese, a Professor in the university of Coimbra, a confident and daring writer, such a one as Tully describes in derision; "nihil tarn verens, quam ne dubitare aliqua de re videretur:" one that fears nothing but this, lest he should seem to doubt of any thing. A fellow that thinks with his magistrality and goose-quill to give laws and menages to crowns and sceptres. In this man's writing, this doctrine of deposing or murdering kings seems to come to a higher elevation than heretofore; and it is more arted and positived than in others. For in the passages which your lordships shall hear read anon, I find three assertions ■which run not in the vulgar track, but are such as wherewith men's ears, as I suppose, are not much acquainted ; whereof the first is, That the pope hath a superiority over kings, as subjects, to depose them; not only for spiritual crimes, as heresy and schism, but for faults of a temporal nature; forasmuch as a tyrannical government lendeth ever to the destruction of souls. So by this position, kings of either religion are alike comprehended, and none exempted, The second, that after a sentence given by the pope, this writer hath defined of a series, or succession, or substitution of hangmen, or bourreaux, to be sure, lest an executioner should fail. For he saith, That when a king is sentenced by the pope to deprivation or death, the executioner, who is first in place, is he to whom the pope shf.ll commit the authority, which may be a foreign prince, it may be a particular subject, it may be general to the first undertaker. But if there be no direction or assignation in the sentence special nor general, then, de jure, it appertains to the next successor, a natural and pious opinion; for commonly they are sons, or brothers, or near of kin, all is one: so as the successor be apparent; and also that he be a catholic. But if he be doubtful, or that he be no catholic, then it devolves to the commonalty of the kingdom; so as he will be sure to have it done by one minister or other. The third is, he distinguisheth of two kinds of tyrants, a tyrant in title, and a tyrant in regiment: the tyrant in regiment cannot be resisted or killed without a sentence precedent by the pope; but a tyrant in title may be killed by any private man whatsoever. By which doctrine he hath put the judgment of king's titles, which I will undertake are never so clean but that some vain quarrel or exception may be made unto them, upon the fancy of every private man; and also couples the judgment and execution together, that he may judge him by a blow, without any other sentence.
Your lordships see what monstrous opinions these are, and how both these beasts, the beast with seven heads, and the beast with many heads, pope and people, are at once let in, and set upon the sacred persons of kings.
Now to go on with the narrative; there was an extract made of certain sentences and portions of this book, being of this nature that I have set forth, by a great prelate and counsellor, upon a just occasion; and there being some hollowness and hesitation in these matters, wherein it is a thing impious to doubt, discovered and perceived in Talbot; he was asked his opinion concerning these assertions, in the presence of the best; and afterwards they were delivered to him, that upon advice, and sedato animo, he
might declare himself. Whereupon, under his hand, he subscribes thus;
May it please your honourable good lordships: Concerning this doctrine of Suarez, I do not perceive, by what I have read in this book, that the same doth concern matter of faith, (lie controversy growing upon exposition of Scriptures and councils, wherein being ignorant and not studied, I cannot take upon me to judge; but I do submit my opinion therein to the judgment of the catholic Roman church, as in all other points concerning faith I da And for matter concerning my loyalty, I do acknowledge my sovereign liege Lord King James, to be lawful and undoubted King of all the kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland; and I will bear tree faith and allegiance to his Highness during my life.
My lords, upon these words I conceive Talbot hath committed a great offence, and such a one, as if he had entered into a voluntary and malicious publication of the like writing, it would have been too great an offence for the capacity of this court. But because it grew by a question asked by a council of estate, and so rather seemeth, in a favourable construction, to proceed from a kind of submission to answer, than from any malicious or insolent will; it was fit, according to the clemency of these times, to proceed in this manner before your lordships: and yet let the hearers take these things right; for certainly, if a man be required by the council to deliver his opinion whether king James be king or no? am! he deliver his opinion that he is not, this is high treason: but I do not say that these words amount to that; and therefore let me open them truly to your lordships, and therein open also the understanding of the offender himself, how far they reach.
My lords, a man's allegiance must be independent and certain, and not dependent and conditional Elizabeth Barton that was called the holy maid of Kent, affirmed, that if king Henry VIII. did not take Catharine of Spain again to his w ife within a twelvemonth, he should be no king: and this was treason. For though this act be contingent and future, yet the preparing of the treason is present.
And in like manner, if a man should voluntarily publish or maintain, that whensoever a bull of deprivation shall come forth against the king, that from thenceforth he is no longer king; this is of like nature. But with this I do not charge you neither; but this is the true latitude of your words. That if the doctrine touching the killing of kings be matter of faith, then you submit yourself to the judgment of the catholic Roman church : so as now, to do you right, your allegiance doth not depend simply upon a sentence of the pope's deprivation against the king; but upon another point also, if these doctrines be already, or shall be declared to be matter of faith. But, my lords, there is little won in this: there may be some difference to the guilt of the party, but there is little to the danger of the king. For the same pope of Rome may, with the same breath, declare both. So as still, upon the matter, the king is made
but tenant at will of his life and kingdoms; and the allegiance of his subjects is pinned upon the pope's acts. And certainly, it is time to stop the current of this opinion of acknowledgment of the pope's power in temporalibu,s; or else it will sap and supplant the seat of kings. And let it not he mistaken, that Mr. Talbot's offence should be no more than the refusing the oath of allegiance. For it is one thing to be silent, and another thing to affirm. As for the point of matter of faith, or not of faith, to tell your lordships plain, it would astonish a man to see the gulf of this implied belief. Is nothing excepted from it? If a man should ask Mr. Talbot, Whether he do condemn murder, or adultery, or rape, or the doctrine of Mahomet, or of Arius, instead of Suarez? Must the answer be with this exception, that if the question concern matter of faith, as no question it doth, for the moral law is matter of faith, that therein he will submit himself to what the church shall determine? And, no doubt, the murder of princes is more than simple murder. But
to conclude, Talbot, I will do you this right, and I will not be reserved in this, but to declare that that is true; that you came afterwards to a better mind: wherein if you had been constant, the king, out of his great goodness, was resolved not to have proceeded with you in course of justice ; but then again you started aside like a broken bow. So that by your variety and vacillation you lost the acceptable time of the first grace, which was not to have convented you.
Nay, I will go farther with you: your last submission I conceive to be satisfactory and complete; but then it was too late, the king's honour was upon it; it was published, and a day appointed for hearing; yet what preparation that may be to the second grace of pardon, that I know not: but I know my lords, out of their accustomed favour, will admit you not only to your defence concerning that that hath been charged, but to extenuate your fault by any submission that now God shall put into your mind to make.
A CHARGE GIVEN
HIS MAJESTY'S ATTORNEY GENERAL,
MR. OLIVER SAINT JOHN,
FOR SCANDALIZING AND TRADUCING IN THE PUBLIC SESSIONS, LETTERS SENT FROM THE LORDS
I Shall inform you ore tenux, against this gentleman Mr. I. S. a gentleman, as it seems, of an ancient house and name; but for the present, I can think of him by no other name, than the name of a great offender. The nature and quality of his offence in sum is this: This gentleman hath upon advice, not suddenly by his pen, nor by the slip of his tongue; not privately, or in a corner, but publicly, as it were, to the face of the king's ministers and justices, slandered and traduced the king our sovereign, the law of the land, the parliament, and infinite particulars of his Majesty's worthy and loving subjects. Nay, the slander is of that nature, that it may seem to interest the people in grief and discontent against the state; whence might have ensued matter of murmur and sedition. So that it is riot a simple slander, but a seditious slander, like to that the poet speaketh of—" C'alamosque armare veneno:" A venomous dart that hath both iron and poison.
Vol. I. 2 y
To open to your lordships the true state of this offence, I will set before you, first, the occasion whereupon Mr. I. S. wrought: then the offence itself in his o«'n words: and lastly, the points of his charge.
My lords, you may remember that there was the last parliament an expectation to have had the king supplied with treasure, although the event failed. Herein it is not fit for me to give opinion of a house of parliament, but I will give testimony of truth in all places. I served in the lower house, Bnd I observed somewhat. This I do affirm, that I never could perceive but that there was in that house a general disposition to give, and give largely. The clocks in the house perchance might differ; some went too fast, some went too slow; but the disposition to give was general: so that I think I may truly say, " solo tempore lapsus amor."
This accident happening thus besides expectation, it stirred up and awaked in divers of his Majesty's worthy servants and subjects of the clergy, the nobi