Page images
PDF

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.

WILLIAM TALBOT.

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
BY SIR FRANCIS BACON, KNIGHT,

HIS MAJESTY'S ATTORNEY GENERAL,

AGAINST

MR. OLIVER SAINT JOHN,

FOR SCANDALIZING AND TRADUCING IN THE PUBLIC SESSIONS, LETTERS SENT FROM THE LORDS
OF THE COUNCIL TOUCHING THE BENEVOLENCE

My 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

lity, the court, and others here near at hand, an affection loving and cheerful, to present the king some with plate, some with money, as free-will offerings, a thing that God Almighty loves, a cheerful giver: what an evil eye doth 1 know not. And, my lords, let me speak it plainly unto you: God forbid any body should be so wretched as to think that the obligation of love and duty, from the subject to the king, should be joint and not several. No, my lords, it is both. The subject petitioneth to the king in parliament. He petitioneth likewise out of parliament. The king on the other side gives graces to the subject in parliament: he gives them likewise, and pourcth them upon his people out of parliament: and so no doubt the subject may give to the king in parliament, and out of parliament. It is true the parliament is intercursus mo gnus, the great intercourse and main current of graces and donatives from the king to the people, from the people to the king: hut parliaments are held but at certain times: whereas the passages are always open for particulars; even as you see great rivers have their tides, but particular springs and fountains run continually.

To proceed therefore: As the occasion, which was the failing of supply by parliament, did awake the love and benevolence of those that were at hand to give; so it was apprehended and thought fit by my lords of the council to make a proof whether the occasion and example both, would not awake those inlhe country of the better sort to follow. Whereupon, their lordships devised and directed letters unto the sheriffs and justices, which declared what was done here above, and wished that the country might be moved, especially men of value.

Now, my lords, I beseech you give me favour and attention to set forth and observe unto you five points: I will number them, because other men may note them; and I will but touch them, because they shall not be drowned or lost in discourse, which I hold worthy the observation, for the honour of the state and confusion of slanderers; whereby it will appear most evidently what care was taken, that that which was then done might not have the effect, no nor the show, no nor so much as the shadow of a tax i and that it was so far from breeding or bringing in any ill precedent or example, as contrariwise it is a corrective that doth correct and allay the harshness and danger of former examples.

The first is, that what was done was done immediately after such a parliament, as made general profession to give, and was interrupted by accident: so as you may truly and justly esteem it, "tanquam posthuma proles parliamenti," as an after-child of the parliament, and in pursuit, in some small measure, of the firm intent of a parliament past. You may take it also, if you will, as an advance or provisional help until a future parliament; or as a gratification simply without any relation to a parliament; you can no ways take it amiss.

The second is, that it wrought upon example, as a thing not devised, or projected, or required; no nor so much as recommended, until many that were never moved nor dealt with, e.rmero motu, had freely

and frankly sent in their presents. So that the letters were rather like letters of news, what Iu done at London, than otherwise: and we know "exempla ducunt, non trahunt;" examples they do but lead, they do not draw nor drive.

The third is, that it was not done by commission under the great seal; a thing warranted by a multitude of precedents, both ancient, and of late time, as you shall hear anon, and no doubt warranted by law: so that the commissions be of that style and tenour, as they be to move that and not to levy: but this was done by letters of the council, and no higher hand or form.

The fourth is, that these letters had no manner of show of any binding act of state: for they contain not any special frame or direction how the business should be managed; but were written as upon trust, leaving the matter wholly to the industry and confidence of those in the country: so that it «m an absque computo; such a form of letters as no man could fitly be called to account upon.

The fifth and last point is, that the whole carriage of the business had no circumstance compulsory. There was no proportion or rate set down, not so much as by way of a wish; there was no menace of any that should deny; no reproof of any that did deny; no certifying of the names of any that had denied. Indeed, if men could not content themselves to deny, but that they must censure and inveigh, nor to excuse themselves, but they must accuse the state, that is another case. But I say, for denying, no man was apprehended, no nor noted. So that I verily think, that there is none so subtle a disputer in the controversy of liberum arbilrium, that can with all his distinctions fasten or carp upon the act, but that there was free-will in it.

I conclude therefore, my lords, that this was a true and pure benevolence; not an imposition called a benevolence, which the statute speaks of; as yon shall hear by one of my fellows. There is a great difference, I tell you, though Pilate would not see it, between " Rex Judesornm" and " se dicens Regem Jndieorum." And there is a great difference between a benevolence and an exaction called a lwnevolence, which the duke of Buckingham speaks of in his oration to the city; and defincth it to be not what the subject of his good-will would give, but what the king of his good-will would take. But this, I say, was a benevolence wherein every man had a prince's prerogative, a negative voice; and this word ex*usez moy, was a plea peremptory. And therefore I do wonder how Mr. I. S. could foul or trouble so clear a fountain, certainly it was but his own bitterness and unsound humours.

Now to the particular charge: Amongst other counties, these letters of the lords came to the justices of D—shire, who signified the contents thereof, and gave directions and appointments for meetings concerning the business, to several towns and places within that county: and amongst the rest, notice was given unto the town of A. The mayor of A conceiving that this Mr. I. S. being a principal person, and a dweller in that town, was a man likely to give both money and good example, dealt with him to know his mind: he intending, ns it seems, to play prizes, would give no answer to the mayor in private, but would take time. The next day then being an appointment of the justices to meet, he takes occasion, or pretends occasion to be absent, because he would bring his papers upon the stage: and thereupon takes pen in hand, and instead of excusing himself, sits down and contriveth a seditious and libellous accusation against the king and state, which your lordships shall now hear, and sends it to the mayor: and withal, because the feather of his quill might fly abroad, he gives authority to the mayor to impart it to the jam ices, if he so thought good. And now, my lords, because I will not mistake or mis-repeat, you shall hear the seditious libel in the proper terms and words thereof.

[Here the papers were read.]

My lords, I know this paper offends your ears much, and the ears of any good subject; and sorry I am that the times should produce offences of this nature: but since they do, I would be more sorry they should be passed without severe punishment: "Non tradite factum," as the verse says, altered a little, •' aut si tradatis, facti quoque tradite pcenam." If any man have a mind to discourse of the fact, let him likewise discourse of the punishment of the fact.

In this writing, my lords, there appears a monster with four heads, of the progeny of him that is the father of lies, and takes his name from slander.

The first is a wicked and seditions slander; or, if I shall use the Scripture phrase, a blaspheming of the king himself; setting him forth for a prince perjured in the great and solemn oath of his coronation, which is as it were the knot of the diadem; a prince that should be a violator and infringer of the liberties, laws, and customs of the kingdom; a mark for a Henry the fourth; a match, for a Richard the second.

The second is a slander and falsification, and wresting of the law of the land gross and palpable: it is truly said by a civilian, " Tortnra legnm pessimn," the torture of laws is worse than the torture of men.

The third is a slander and false charge of the parliament, that they had denied to give to the king: a point of notorious untruth.

And the last is a slander and taunting of an infinite number of the king's loving subjects, that have given towards this benevolence and free contribution; charging them as accessary and co adjutors to the king's perjury. Nay, you leave ns not there, but you take upon you a pontifical habit, and couple your slander with a curse; but thanks be to God, we have learned sufficiently out of the Scripture, that " as the bird flies away, so the causeless curse shall not come."

For the first of these, which concerns the king, I have taken to myself the opening and aggravation thereof; the other three I have distributed to my fellows.

My lords, I cannot but enter into this part with some wonder and astonishment, how it should come into the heart of a subject of England to vnpour

forth such a wicked and venomous slander against the king, whose goodness and grace is comparable, if not incomparable, unto any of the kings his progenitors. This therefore gives me a jnstand necessary occasion to do two things: the one, to make some representation of his Majesty; such as truly he is found to be in his government, which Mr. I. S. chargeth with violation of laws and liberties: the other, to search and open the depth of Mr. I. S. his offence. Both which I will do briefly ; because the one, I cannot express sufficiently; and the other, I will not press too far.

My lords, I mean to make no panegyric or laudative; the king delights not in it, neither am I fit for it: but if it were but a counsellor or nobleman, whose name had suffered, and were to receive some kind of reparation in this high court, I would do him that duty as not to pass his merits and just attributes, especially such as are limited with the present case, in silence: for it is fit to hum incense where evil odours have been cast and raised. Is it so that king James shall be said to be a violator of the liberties, laws, and customs of his kingdoms? Or is he not rather a noble and constant protector and conservator of them all? I conceive this consisteth in maintaining religion and the true church; in maintaining the laws of the kingdom, which is the subject's birthright; in temperate use of the prerogative; in due and free administration of justice, and conservation of the pefice of the land.

For religion, we must ever acknowledge, in the first place, that we have a king that is the principal conservator of true religion through the christian world. He hath maintained it not only with sceptre and sword, but likewise by his pen; wherein also he is potent.

He hath awaked and re-authorized the whole party of the reformed religion throughout Europe; which through the insolencyand divers artifices and enchantments of the adverse part, was grown a little dull and dejected: he hath summoned the fraternity of kings to enfranchise themselves from the usurpation of the see of Rome: he hath made himself a mark of contradiction for it.

Neither can I omit, when I speak of religion, to remember that excellent act of his Majesty, which though it were done in a foreign country, yet the church of God is one, and the contagion of these things will soon pass seas and lands: I mean, in his constant and holy proceeding against the heretic Vorstius, whom, being ready to enter into the chair, and there to have authorized one of the most pestilent and heathenish heresies that ever was begun, his Majesty by his constant opposition dismounted and pulled down. And I am persuaded there sits in this court one whom God doth the rather bless for being his Majesty's instrument in that service.

I cannot remember religion and the church, but I must think of the seed-plots of the same, which are the universities. His Majesty, as for learning amongst kings, he is incomparable in his person; so likewise hath he been in his government a benign or benevolent planet towards learning: by whose influence those nurseries and gardens of learning,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »