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charitable uses, to avoid charge, there shall need no bill, but only exceptions to the decree, and answer forthwith to be made thereunto; and thereupon, and upon sight of the inquisition, and the decree brought unto the lord chancellor by the clerk of the petty bag, his lordship upon perusal thereof, will give order under his hand for an absolute decree to be drawn up.
94. Upon suit for the commission of sewers, the names of those that are desired to be commissioners are to be presented to the lord chancellor in writing; then his lordship will send the names of some privy counsellor, lieutenant of the shire, or justices of assize, being resident in the parts for which the commission is prayed, to consider of them, that they be not put in for private respects; and upon the return of such opinion, his lordship will give farther order for the commission to pass.
95. No new commission of sewers shall be granted while the first is in force, except it be upon discovery of abuse or fault in the first commissioners, or otherwise upon some great or weighty ground.
96. No commission of bankrupt shall be granted but upon petition first exhibited to the lord chancellor together with names presented, of which his lordship will take consideration, and always mingle some learned in the law with the rest; yet so as care be taken that the same parties be not too often used in commissions; and likewise care is to be taken that bond with good surety be entered into, in 200/. at least, to prove him a bankrupt.
97. No commission of delegates in any cause of weight shall be awarded, but upon petition preferred to the lord chancellor, who will name the commissioners himself, to the end they may be persons of convenient quality, having regard to the weight of
the cause, and the dignity of the court from whence the appeal is.
98. Any man shall be admitted to defend in forma pauperis, upon oath, but for plaintiffs they are ordinarily to be referred to the court of requests, or to the provincial councils, if the case arise in those jurisdictions, or to some gentlemen in the country, except it be in some special cases of commiseration, or potency in the adverse party.
99. Licences to collect for losses by fire or water are not to be granted, but upon good certificate; and not for decays of suretiship or debt, or any other casualties whatsoever: and they are rarely to be renewed; and they are to be directed ever unto the county where the loss did arise, if it were by fire, and the counties that abut upon it, as the case shall require; and if it were by sea, then unto the county where the port is, from whence the ship went, and to some sea-counties adjoining.
100. No exemplification shall be made of letters patents, inter alia, with omission of the general words; nor of records made void or cancelled; nor of the decrees of this court not enrolled; nor of depositions by parcel and fractions, omitting the residue of the depositions in court, to which the hand of the examiner is not subscribed; nor of records of the court not being enrolled or filed; nor of records of any other court, before the same be duly certified to this court, and orderly filed here: nor of any records upon the sight and examination of any copy in paper, but upon sight and examination of the original.
101. And because time and experience may discover some of these rules to be inconvenient, and some other to be fit to be added; therefore his lordship intendeth in any such case from time to time to publish any such revocations or additions.
THE PASSAGES IN PARLIAMENT
FRANCIS VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN,
LORD CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND.
A.NNO DOMINI 1620 AND 1621.
On Monday, the nineteenth day of March, 1620, in the afternoon, the commons had a conference with the lords; which conference was reported the next day by the lord treasurer, [who] delivered the desire of the commons to inform their lordships of the great abuses of the courts of justice: the information whereof was divided into these three parts.
First, The persons accused.
Secondly, Of the matters objected against them. Thirdly, Their proof.
The persons are the lord chancellor of England, and the now bishop of Landaff, being then no bishop, but Dr. Field.
The incomparable good parts of the lord chancellor were highly commended, his place he holds magnified, from whence bounty, justice, and mercy were to be distributed to the subjects, with which he was solely trusted, whither all great causes were drawn, and from whence no appeal lay for any injustice or wrong done, save to the parliament.
PROCEEDINGS IN PARLIAMENT AGAINST THE LORD CHANCELLOR. /23
That the lord chancellor is accused of great bribery and corruption, committed by him in this eminent place, whereof two cases were alleged:
The one concerning Christopher Awbrey, and the other concerning Edward Egerton. In the cause depending in the chancery between this Awbrey and Sir William Bronker, Awbrey feeling some hard measure, was advised to give the lord chancellor 100/. the which he delivered to his counsel Sir George Hastings, and he to the lord chancellor. This business proceeding slowly notwithstanding, Awbrey did write divers letters, and delivered them to the lord chancellor, but could never have any answer from his lordship; but at last delivering another letter, his lordship answered, If he importuned him he would lay him by the heels.
The proofs of this accusation are five:
The first, Sir George Hastings related it long since Unto Sir Charles Montague.
Secondly, the lord chancellor, fearing this would be complained of, desired silence of Sir George Hastings.
Thirdly, Sir George Hastings's testimony thereof; which was not voluntary, but urged.
Fourthly, the lord chancellor desired Sir George Hastings to bring the party Awbrey unto him ; and promised redress of the wrong done him.
Fifthly, that the lord chancellor said unto Sir George Hastings, if he would affirm the giving of this 100/. his lordship would and must deny it upon his honour.
The case of Mr. Edward Egerton is this: There being divers suits between Edward Egerton and Sir Rowland Egerton in the chancery, Edward Egerton presented his lordship, a little after he was lord keeper, with a bason and ewer of 50/. and above, and afterwards he delivered unto Sir George Hastings and Sir Richard Young 400/. in gold, to be presented unto his lordship. Sir Richard Young presented it, his lordship took it, and poised [it], and said, it was too much; and returned answer, That Mr. Egerton had not only enriched him, but had a tie upon his lordship to do him favour in all his just causes.
The proofs are the testimony of Sir George Hastings, and the testimony of Merefil, a scrivener, thus far: That he took up 700/. for Mr. Egerton, Mr. Egerton then telling him, that a great part of it was to be given to the lord chancellor; and that Mr. Egerton afterwards told him, that the 400/. in gold was given to the lord chancellor. At this conference was farther declared of a bishop, who was touched in this business, upon the bye, whose function was much honoured, but his person touched herein: this business depending being ordered against Edward Egerton, he procured a new reference thereof from the king to the lord chancellor: his lordship demanded the parties to be bound in 6000 marks, to stand to his lordship's award : they having entered into that bond, his lordship awarded the matter against Edward Egerton for Sir Rowland
Egerton; and Edward Egerton refusing to stand to the said award, a new bill was exhibited in the chancery; and thereupon his lordship ordered that his bond of 6000 marks should be assigned unto Sir Rowland Egerton, and he to put the same in suit in his lordship's name.
The bishop of Landaff, as a friend to Mr. Edward Egerton, advised with Randolph Damport and Butler, which Butler is now dead, that they would procure a stay of the decree of that award, and procure a new hearing: it was agreed that 6000 marks should be given for this by Edward Egerton, and shared amongst them, and amongst certain noble persons.
A recognisance of 10,000/. was required from Mr. Egerton to the bishop for the performance hereof: the bishop his share of this 6000 marks was to have [been] so great, as no court of justice would allow: they produce letters of the bishop naming the sum, and setting down a course how this 6000 marks might be raised, namely, the land in question to be decreed for Mr. Egerton, and out of that the money to be levied; and if this were not effected, then the bishop in verba sacerdotis promised to deliver up this recognisance to be cancelled. The new recognisance is sealed accordingly, and Randolph Damport rides to the court, and moved the lord admiral for his lordship's letter to the lord chancellor herein : but his lordship denied to meddle in a cause depending in suit.
Then the said Randolph Damport assayed to get the king's letter, but failed therein also: so that the good they intended to Mr. Egerton was not effected; and yet the bishop, though required, refused to deliver up the said recognisance, until Mr. Egerton threatened to complain thereof unto the king.
He showed also that the commons do purpose, that if any more of this kind happen to be complained of before them, they will present the same to your lordships, wherein they shall follow the ancient precedents, which show that great persons have been accused for the like in parliament.
They humbly desire that forasmuch as this concemeth a person of so great eminency, it may not depend long before your lordships; that the examination of the proofs may be expedited, and if he be found guilty, then to be punished ; if not guilty, the now accusers to be punished.
This being reported, the lord admiral presented to the house a letter, written unto their lordships, the tenor whereof followeth.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HIS VERY GOOD LORDS, THE LORDS SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL, IN THE UPPER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED.
"Mr VERY GOOD LORDS,
"I humbly pray your lordships all, to make a favourable and true construction of my absence. It is no feigning or fainting, but sickness both of my heart and of my back, though joined with that comfort of mind, that persuadeth me that I am not far from heaven, whereof I feel the first fruits.
"And because, whether I live or die, I would be glad to preserve my honour and fame, so far as I am worthy; hearing that some complaints of base bribery are coming before yqur lordships, my requests unto your lordships are:
"First, That you will maintain me in your good opinion, without prejudice, until my cause be heard.
"Secondly, That, in regard I have sequestered my mind at this time, in great part, from worldly matters, thinking of my account and answers in a higher court j your lordships will give me convenient time, according to the course of other courts, to advise with my counsel, and to make my answer; wherein, nevertheless, my counsel's part will be the least: for I shall not, by the grace of God, trick up an innocency with cavillations, but plainly and ingenuously, as your lordships know my manner is, declare what I know or remember.
"Thirdly, That according to the course of justice I may be allowed to except to the witnesses brought against me, and to move questions to your lordships for their cross examinations, and likewise to produce my own witnesses for the discovery of the truth.
"And lastly, That if there be any more petitions of like nature, that your lordships would be pleased not to take any prejudice or apprehension of any number or muster of them, especially against a judge that makes 2000 orders and decrees in a year, not to speak of the courses that have been taken for hunting out complaints against me, but that I may answer them, according to the rules of justice, severally and respectively.
"These requests, I hope, appear to your lordships no other than just. And so, thinking myself happy to have so noble peers and reverend prelates to discern of my cause, and desiring no privilege of greatness for subterfuge of guiltiness, but meaning, as I said, to deal fairly and plainly with your lordships, and to put myself upon your honours and favours, I pray God to bless your counsels and persons. And rest
"Your lordships' humble servant, 19 March, 1620. FR. ST. ALBAN, CANC."
Upon which letter answer was sent from the lords unto the said lord chancellor on the said twentieth of March, namely, That the lords received his lordship's letter, delivered unto them by the lord admiral: they intend to proceed in his cause now before their lordships, according to the right rule of justice, and they shall be glad if his lordship shall clear his honour therein: to which end they pray his lordship to provide his just defence.
And afterwards, on Wednesday, the twenty-first of March, the commons sent a message unto the lords concerning their farther complaint against the said lord chancellor, which consisted of these four points, namely,
The first in chancery being between the lady Wharton plaintiff, and Wood and others defendants, upon cross bills; the lord chancellor upon hearing wholly dismissed them; but upon entry of the order, the cross bill against the lady Wharton was only
dismissed j and afterwards, for a bribe of 300c given by the lady Wharton to the lord chancellor, his lordship decreed the cause farther; and then hearing that Wood and the other defendants complained thereof to the house of commons, his lordship sent for them, and damned that decree as unduly gotten; and when the lady Wharton began to complain thereof, his lordship sent for her also, and promised her redress, saying, "That decree is not yet entered."
Secondly, in the suit between Hall plaintiff, and Holman defendant: Holman deferring his answer was committed to the Fleet, where he lay twenty weeks, and petitioning to be delivered, was answered by some about the lord chancellor, The bill shall be decreed against him, pro confesso, unless he would enter into a 2000c bond to stand to the lord chancellor's order; which he refusing, his liberty cost him one way or other one thousand pounds. Holman being freed out of the Fleet, Hall petitioned to the lord chancellor, and Holman finding his cause to go hard with him on his side, complained to the commons; whereupon the lord chancellor sent for him, and to pacify him, told him he should have what order he would himself.
Thirdly, in the cause between Smithwicke and Wiche, the matter in question being for accounts with the merchant, to whom it was referred, certified in the behalf of Smithwicke; yet Smithwicke, to obtain a decree, was told by Mr. Burrough, one near to the lord chancellor, that it must cost him 200/. which he paid to Mr. Burrough or Mr. Hunt, to the use of the lord chancellor; and yet the lord chancellor decreed but one part of the certificate; whereupon he treats again with Mr. Burrough, who demanded another 100/. which Smithwicke also paid to the use of the lord chancellor. Then his lordship referred the accounts again to the same merchant, who certified it again for Smithwicke; yet his lordship decreed the second part of the certificate against Smithwicke, and the first part, which was formerly decreed for him, his lordship made doubtful: Smithwicke petitioned to the lord chancellor for bis money again; and Smithwicke had all his money save 20/. kept back by Hunt for a year.
The lord chief justice also delivered three petitions, which his lordship received yesterday from the commons: the first by the lady Wharton, the second by Wood and Parjetor and others, and the third by Smithwicke.
The fourth part of the message consists only of instructions delivered unto the commons by one Churchill a register, concerning divers bribes and abuses in the chancery, which the commons desire may be examined.
The lords, in the mean time, proceeded to the examination of the complaints, and took divers examinations of witnesses in the house, and appointed a select committee of themselves to take examinations also.
And on Wednesday, the twenty-fourth of April, the prince his highness signified unto their lordships, that the said lord chancellor had sent a submission unto their lordships, which was presently read in luec verba:
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORDS OF THE PARLIAMENT IN THE UPPER HOUSE ASSEMBLED.
The humble Submission and Supplication of the Lord Chancellor.
"It Mat Please Your Lordships,
"I shall humbly crave at your lordships' hands a benign interpretation of that which I shall now write; for words that come from wasted spirits, and an oppressed mind, are more safe in being deposited in a noble construction, than in being circled with any reserved caution.
"This being moved, and as I hope obtained, in the nature of a protection for all that I shall say; I shall now make into the rest of that, wherewith I shall at this time trouble your lordships, a very strange entrance: for in the midst of a state of as great affliction, as I think a mortal man can endure, honour being above life, I shall begin with the professing of gladness in some things.
"The first is, That hereafter the greatness of a judge, or magistrate, shall be no sanctuary or protection of guiltiness: which, in few words, is the beginning of a golden world.
"The next, That after this example, it is like that judges will fly from any thing that is in the likeness of corruption, though it were at a great distance, as from a serpent; which tendeth to the purging of the courts of justice, and the reducing them to their true honour and splendour.
"And in these two points, God is my witness, that though it be my fortune to be the anvil, whereupon those good effects are beaten and wrought, I take no small comfort.
"But to pass from the motions of my heart, whereof God isonlyjudge, to the merits of my cause, whereof your lordships are judges, under God and his lieutenant. I do understand there hath been heretofore expected from me some justification : and therefore I have chosen one only justification, out of the justification of Job. For after the clear submission and confession which I shall now make unto your lordships, I hope I may say and justify with Job in these words, ' I have not hid my sins, as did Adam, nor concealed my faults in my bosom.' This is the only justification which I will use.
"It resteth therefore, that, without fig-leaves, I do ingenuously confess and acknowledge, that having understood the parliculars of the charge, not formally from the house, but enough to inform my conscience and my memory, I find matters sufficient and full, both to move me to desert my defence, and to move your lordships to condemn and censure me.
"Neither will I trouble your lordships by singling those particulars which I think
H°TMtiKP' might fal1 off« " °-uitl te exempta juvat spinis de pluribus una?" Neither will I prompt your lordships to observe upon the proofs, where they come not home, or the scruple
touching the credit of the witnesses. Neither will I represent to your lordships, how far a defence in divers things mought extenuate the offence in respect of the time and manner of the gift, or the like circumstances. But only leave these things to spring out of your own noble thoughts, and observations of the evidence, and examinations themselves; and charitably to wind about the particulars of the charge, here and there as God shall put into yonr minds; and so submit myself wholly to your piety and grace.
"And now I have spoken to your lordships as judges, I shall say a few words to you as peers and prelates; humbly commending my cause to your noble minds and magnanimous affections.
"Your lordships are not simply judges, but parliamentary judges; you have a farther extent of arbitrary power, than other courts. And if your lordships be not tied by ordinary courses of courts or precedents in points of strictness and severity, much more in points of mercy and mitigation.
"And yet if any thing which I shall move, mought be contrary to your worthy ends to introduce a reformation, I should not seek it: but herein I beseech your lordships to give me leave to tell you a story. Titus Manlius took his son's life for giving battle against the prohibition of his general: not many years after the like severity was pursued by Papirius Cursor, the dictator, against Quintus Maximus; who being upon the point to be sentenced, by the intercession of some principal persons of the senate was spared: whereupon Livy maketh this grave and gracious observation; "Neque minus firmata est disciplina militaris periculo Qiunti Maximi, quam miserabili supplicio Titi Manlii." The discipline of war was no less established by the questioning of Quintus Maximus, than by the punishing of Titus Manlius. And the same reason is of the reformation of justice; for the questioning . of men of eminent places hath the same terror, though not the same rigour with the punishment.
"But my case standeth not there; for my humble desire is, that his Majesty would take the seal into his hands; which is a great downfal, and may serve, I hope, in itself, for an expiation of my faults.
"Therefore, if mercy and mitigation be in your power, and do no ways cross your noble ends, why should I not hope of your lordships favour and commiseration?
"Your lordships will be pleased to behold your chief pattern, the king our sovereign, a king of incomparable clemency, and whose heart is inscrutable for wisdom and goodness. Your lordships will remember that there sat not these hundred years before, a prince in your house, and never such a prince, whose presence deserves to be made memorable by records and acts mixed of mercy and justice. Your lordships are either nobles, and compassion ever beateth in the veins of noble blood, or reverend prelates, who are the servants of Him, who would not 'break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax.' You all sit upon one high stage, and therefore cannot but be more sensible of the changes of the world, and the fall of any of high place.
"Neither will your lordships forget that there are vitia temporis, as well as tritia hominis; and that the beginning of reformations hath the contrary power of the pool of Bethesda j for that had strength to cure him only that was first cast in, and this hath commonly strength to hurt him only that is first cast in. And for my part, I wish it may stay there and go no further.
"Lastly, I assure myself, your lordships have a noble feeling of me, as a member of your own body, and one that in this very session had some taste of your loving affections; which, I hope, was not a lightening before the death of them, but rather a spark of that grace, which now in the conclusion will more appear.
"And therefore my humble suit to your lordships is, That my penitent submission may be my sentence, and the loss of the seal my punishment; and that your lordships will spare any farther sentence, but recommend me to his Majesty's grace and pardon for all that is past. God's holy Spirit be among you.
"Your lordships'humble servant, and suppliant, 22d April, 1621. "FR. ST. ALBAN, CANC."
The lords having considered of this submission, and heard the collections of corruptions charged upon the said lord chancellor, and the proofs thereof read, they sent a copy of the same without the proofs unto him the said lord chancellor, by Mr. Baron Denham.and Mr. Attorney-general, with this message from their lordships, namely,
That the lord chancellor's confession is not fully set down by his lordship, in the said submission, for three causes.
1. First, his lordship confesseth not any particular bribe or corruption.
2. Nor showeth how his lordship heard the charge thereof.
3. The confession, such as it is, is afterwards extenuated in the same submission; and therefore the lords have sent him a particular of the charge, and do expect his answer to the same with all convenient expedition.
Unto which message the lord chancellor answered, "that he would return the lords an answer with speed."
And on the twenty-fifth of April the lords considered of the lord chancellor's said answer, sent unto their message yesterday, and sent a second message unto his lordship to this effect, by the said Mr. Baron Denham, and Mr. Attorney-general, namely,
The lords having received a doubtful answer unto the message their lordships sent him yesterday; and therefore they now send to him again to know of his lordship, directly and presently, whether his lordship will make his confession, or stand upon his defence.
Answer returned by the said messengers, namely, "The lord chancellor will make no manner of defence to the charge, but meaneth to acknowledge corruption, and to make a particular confession to
every point, and after that an humble submission; but humbly craves liberty, that where the charge is more full than he finds the truth of the fact, he may make declaration of the truth in such particulars, the charge being brief, and containing not all circumstances."
The lords sent the same messengers back again to the lord chancellor, to let him know, that their lordships have granted him time until Monday next, the thirtieth* of April, by ten in the morning, to send such confession and submission as his lordship intends to make.
On which Monday the lord chancellor sent the same accordingly, and that follows in h<ec verba, namely:
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORDS SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL, IN THE HIGH COURT OF PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED:
The humble Confession and Submission of me the Lord Chancellor.
Upon advised consideration of the charge, descending into my own conscience, and calling my memory to account, so far as I am able, I do plainly and ingenuously confess that I am guilty of corruption, and do renounce all defence, and put myself upon the grace and mercy of your lordships.
The particulars I confess and declare to be a* followeth.
To the first article of the charge, namely, " In the cause between Sir Rowland Egerton and Edward Egerton, the lord chancellor received 300/. on the part of Sir Rowland Egerton, before he had decreed the cause:"
I do confess and declare, that upon a reference from his Majesty of all suits and controversies between Sir Rowland Egerton and Edward Egerton, both parties submitted themselves to my award by recognisances reciprocal in ten thousand marks apiece; thereupon, after divers hearings, I made my award with the advice and consent of my lord Hobard: the award was perfected and published to the parties, which was in February. Then some days after the three hundred pounds, mentioned in the charge, was delivered unto me. Afterwards Mr. Edward Egerton fled oft" from the award; then in Midsummer term following a suit was begun in chancery by Sir Rowland to have the award confirmed, and upon that suit was the decree made mentioned in the article.
The second article of the charge, namely, " In the same cause he received from Edward Egerton 400/."
I confess and declare, that soon after my first coming to the seal, being a time when I was presented by many, the 400/. mentioned in the said charge was delivered unto me in a purse, and, as I now call to mind, from Mr. Edward Egerton; bur, as far as I can remember, it was expressed by them that brought it to be for favours past, and not in respect of favours to come.
The article of the charge, namely, " In the cause between Hody and Hody, he received a dozen of * I presume it should be the twenty-ninth.