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ties, which they caused to be drawn up by a committee of the house, in order to be delivered to the king. It is entitled “A Form of Apology and Satisfaction to be delivered to his Majesty ;” and must ever be considered as an important constitutional document. It is addressed to the king, and it commences by expressing a desire to remove from the mind of the king (whom they style "a king of such understanding and wisdom as is rare to find in any prince in the world”) misinformation touching the estate of the House of the Commons, as to the privileges of the commons, and their several proceedings during this Parliament. They reduce these misinformations to three principal heads. “1st, Touching the cause of the joyful receiving of your majesty into the kingdom ;—2dly, Touching the rights and liberties of your subjects of England, and the privileges of this house ;-3dly, Touching the several actions and speeches passed in the house."
They declare, as to the first, that they received him not with fear, but with joy and cheerfulness, and with a general hope that, under his reign, peace, justice, and all virtue, should renew again and flourish. Touching the privileges (the second) the misinformation delivered was—1st, That we hold not privileges of right, but of grace only, renewed every Parliament, by way of donation, upon petition, and so to be limited ; 2dly, That we are no court of record, nor yet a court that can command view of records, but that our proceedings here are only to acts and memorials, and that the attendance with the records is courtesy, not duty; 3dly, and lastly, That the examination of the return of writs for knights and burgesses is without our compass, and due to the chancery.
They, in the name of the whole commons of England, and for themselves and their posterity, protest against these assertions, and desire that their protestation may be recorded to all posterity. And contrariwise, against these misinformations they most truly avouch:
“ 1st. That our privileges are our rights and due inheritance, no less than our lands and goods.
“ 2dly. That they cannot be withheld from us, denied, or impaired, but with apparent wrong to the whole state of the realm.
“ 3dly. That our making of request, in the entrance of Parliament, to enjoy our privilege, is an act only of manners, and doth weaken our right no more than our suing to the king for our lands by petition, which form, though new and more decent than the old by præcipe, yet the subject's right is no less now than of old.
“ 4thly. We avouch also, that our house is a court of record, and 80 ever esteemed.
" 5thly. That there is not the highest standing court in the land that ought to enter into competency, either for dignity or authority, with this high Court of Parliament; which, with your Majesty's royal assent, gives laws to other courts, but from other courts, receives neither laws nor orders.
“ 6thly and lastly. We avouch that the House of Commons is the sole proper judge of return of all such writs, and of the election of all such members as belong to it-without which the freedom of election were not entire; and that the chancery, though a standing court under your majesty, be to send out these writs and receive the returns, and to preserve them, yet the same is done only for the use of Parliament; over which neither the chancery, nor any other court ever had, or ought to have, any manner of jurisdiction."
The strain of such high principles, in a body which had addressed so much fulsome flattery to James, in the first acts of the Parlia. ment, may be conceived ; and in the session of 1606 the Commons receded so far as to expel a member at the king's dictation. The circumstances were as follows: Sir Christopher Pigott, having introduced into a speech some by-matters of invectives against the Scotch and the Scottish nation, the house was so amazed at the speech that they took no notice of it at the time, nor until three days afterward, when they received a message from the king saying, “ how much he did mislike and tax the neglect of the house, in that the speech had not been interrupted in the instant, and the party committed before it became public, and came to his highness's ear.”
The house sent the sergeant-at-arms for the offender: but after all, they said, they knew not what way to censure him for it; for freedom of speech in their house was a darling privilege. But it was resolved to expel him; and on his knees he received from the speaker the judgment of the house, committing him to the Tower during the pleasure of the house, and dismissing him from his place as knight of the shire.
Nevertheless the growing boldness of the Commons required from the king a counter assertion of his authority and principles of government, and, in a speech with which he opened the sessions of Parliament of 1610, he declared these in the highest strain of divine right. The contest, now commenced between prerogative and Parliament, was, in this reign, carried on by speeches, or state papers--the protocols, as it were, which preceded the declaration of actual war—and it is in these we must look for the pretensions and demands of the contending parties. From the long and pedantic speeches of James, a few extracts will show his view of his royal prerogative and position. “The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth; for kings are not only God's lieutenants, and sit upon God's throne, but, even by God himself, they are called gods. Kings have like power with God: they make and unmake their subjects; they have power of raising and casting down; of life and death ; are judges over all their subjects, and in all causes, and yet accountable to God alone.” He admits that “a king is bound to protect his people, and to govern them according to his laws; and therefore a king governing in a settled kingdom, leaves to be a king, and degenerates into a tyrant, as soon as he leaves off to rule according to his laws; ... and they that persuade them to the contrary are vipers and pests, both against them and the commonwealth; yet their punishment is with God, and no Christian man ought to allow any rebellion of people against the prince.” He concludes with this climax of divine right: “ That as to dispute what God may do is blasphemy, so is it sedition in subjects to dispute what a king might do in the height of his power; but just kings will ever be willing to declare what they will do, if they will not incur the curse of God. I will not be content that my power be disputed upon ; but I shall ever be willing to make the reason appear of all my doings, and rule my actions according to my laws."
These high pretensions did not intimidate the Commons, who, in this session, called in question a proceeding of the king's in relation to the custom of tonnage and poundage. An act of his
first Parliament granted to James the subsidy of tonnage and poundage for his life; but afterwards, by his own sole authority, he increased the duty on currants from two shillings and sixpence to five shillings per hundred weight. This being an imposition without the consent of Parliament, Bates, a Turkey merchant, refused payment, and he was prosecuted by the crown. The Court of Exchequer, subservient to the crown, had justified the imposition on the principle of the divine right of kings, and their superiority to all laws which they had not concurred in enacting. In the session of 1610, the Commons, although forbidden by the king, remonstrated against the imposition, and exeused themselves from compliance with his command not to enter upon the matter, by declaring that they claimed it was an ancient, general, and undoubted right of Parliament to debate freely all matters which do properly concern the subject, which freedom of debate being once foreclosed, the essence of the liberty of Parliament is withal dissolved.” And as to the imposition and judgment in the exchequer, after premising "that the policy and constitution of the kingdom appropriates unto the kings, with the assent of Parliament, as well the sovereign power of making laws, as that of taxing, or imposing upon the subjects' goods or merchandises, as may not, without their consents, be altered or changed ; " they say that "finding that your majesty, without advice or consent of Parliament, hath lately, in time of peace, set both greater impositions, and far more in number, than any your noble ancestors did ever in time of war--have, with all humility, presumed to present this most just and necessary petition to your majesty, that all impositions set without the assent of Parliament, may be quite abolished and taken away; and that your majesty, in imitation likewise of your noble progenitors, will be pleased that a law be made during this session of Parliament, to declare that all impositions set, or to be set upon your people, their goods and merchandises, save only by common consent in Parliament, are and shall be void.” The Commons followed up their protest with a bill abolishing impositions; but it was thrown out of the upper house,
The king's high notions of prerogative found a supporter in Dr. Cowell, a clergyman, who published a book called “ The Interpreter,” dedicated to Archbishop Bancroft. It was rumored that the king had spoken favorably of the book, and the indignation of the Commons was roused. It must be admitted that the royal prerogative was asserted in an extravagant form. The author's principles were these : 1st. That the king was solutus a legibus and not bound by his coronation oath. 2d. That it was not ex necessitate that the king should call a Parliament to make laws, but he might do it by his absolute power; for voluntas regis was lex populi. 3d. That it was a favor to admit the consent of his subjects in giving of subsidies. The Commons sent a message to the Lords that they had noticed Cowell's book; which, as they conceived contained matters of scandal and offence towards the high Court of Parliament, and was otherwise of dangerous consequence and example. Conferences were held between the Lords and Commons, and the king called the author before him, and heard his defence of his doctrines. He afterwards transmitted his judgment to the Lords to be communicated to the Commons; but it never was communicated, and the matter dropped, the Commons probably thinking that their remonstrance was sufficient.
The Commons in the same Parliament, when asked for a subsidy, gave priority to their grievances in ecclesiastical and temporal concerns. They complained of the high commission court, and of its proceeding to fine and imprisonment, powers beyond its jurisdiction. They disputed the king's power to make or alter laws by proclamations : they said that there was nothing more precious than to be governed by the certain rule of law, and not by any uncertain or arbitrary form of government. .. ." They asserted “the indubitable right of the people of this kingdom not to be made subject to any punishment that should extend to their lives, lands, bodies, or goods, other than such as were ordained by the common laws of this land, or the statutes made by their common consents in Parliament; and they pointed out that proclamations had of late years been more frequent, extending not only to the liberty and property of men, but altering the old laws and making new-even when the latter had been rejected in the same session of Parliament, and imposing penalties and punishments, so that a general fear was conceived and spread amongst the people, that proclama