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ELEGANT EXTRACTS,

FROM THE MOST

EMINENT PROSE WRITERS.

BOOK VI.

PARLIAMENTARY SPEECHES.

SPEECH OF MR. CRESKELD ON THE DETENTION

OF SOME MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF comMONS, 1626. I stand up to speak somewhat concerning the point of the subjects' grievances, by imprisonment: of their persons, without any declaration of the cause, contrary to, and in derogation of the funda, mental laws and liberties of this kingdom.

I think I am one of the puisnes of our profession, that are members of this house; but howsoever, sure I am, that, in respect of my own inabilities, I am the puisne of the whole house: therefore, according to the usual course of students in our profession, I may, as the puisne, speak first in time, because I can speak least in matter.

VOL. III.

In pursuance of which course, I shall rather put the case, than argue it; and therefore I shall humbly desire, first of all, of this honourable house in general, that the goodness of the cause may receive no prejudice, by the weakness of my argument; and next, of my masters here of the same profession, in particular, that they, by their learned judgments, will supply the great defects I shall discover, by declaring of my unlearned opinion.

Before I speak of the question, give me leave, as an entrance thereunto, to speak first of the occasion.

Ye all know that justice is the life and the heart's blood of the commonwealth; and if the commonwealth bleed in that master vein, all the balm in Gilead is but in vain to preserve this our body of policy from ruin and destruction. Justice is both columna et corona reipublicæ ; she is both thie column and the piilar, the crown and the glory, of the commonwealth. This is made good in scripture, by the judgment of Solomon, the wisest king that ever reigned on earth. For first, she is the pillar; for he saith, That by justice the throne is established. Secondly, she is the crown; for he saith, That by justice a nation shall be exalted.

Our laws, which are the rules of justice, are the ne plus ultra to both the king and the subject; and, as they are Hercules's pillars, so are they the pillars of Hercules to every prince, which he must not pass.

Give me leave to resemble justice to Nebuchadnezzar's tree; for she is so great, that she doth shade, not only the palace of the king, and the

house of nobles, but doth also shelter the cottage of the poorest beggar.

Wherefore, if either now the blasts of indigna. tion, or the unresistible violator of laws, necessity, hath so bruised any of the branches of this tree, that either our persons, or goods, or possessions, have not the same shelter as before, yet, let us not therefore neglect the root of this great tree; but rather, with all our possible means, endeavours, and unfeigned duties, both apply fresh and fertile mould under it, and also water it even with our own tears; that so these bruised branches may be recovered, and the whole tree again prosper and flourish. For this I have learned from an ancient father of the church, that though preces regum sunt armata, yet arma subditorum are but only preces et lachryme. · I know well that cor regis inscrutabile, and that kings, although they are but men before God, yet they are gods before men; and therefore, to my gracious and dread sovereign, (whose virtues are true qualities ingenerate, both in his judgment and nature) let my arm be cut off, nay, let my soul not live that day, that I shall dare to lift up my arm to touch that forbidden fruit, those flowers of his princely crown and diadem.

But yet in onr Eden, in this garden of the commonwealth, as there are the flowers of the sun, which are so glorious, that they are to be handled only by royal majesty; so are there also some daisies and wholesome herbs, which every common hand, that lives and labours in this garden, may pick and gather up, and take comfort and

repast in them. Amongst all which, this oculus diei, this bona libertas, of which I am now to speak, is not one only, but the chief.

SPEECH OF SIR ROBERT PHILIPS ON PUBLIC

GRIEVANCES, 1627. I READ of a custom amongst the old Romans, that once every year they had a solemn feast for their slaves, at which they had liberty, without excep. tion, to speak what they would, thereby to ease their afflicted minds; which being finished, they severally returned to their former servitude.

This may, with some resemblance and distinction, well set forth our present state, where now, after the revolution of some time, and grievous sufferance of many violent oppressions, we have, as those slaves had, a day of liberty of speech; but shall not, I trust, be hereafter slaves, for we are free. Yet what new illegal proceedings our states and persons have suffered under, iny heart yearns to think, my tongue falters to utter. They have been well represented by divers worthy gentlemen before me; yet .one grievance, and the main one, as I conceive, hath not been touched, which is our religion;-religion, Mr. Speaker, made vendible by commission; and men, for pecuniary annual rates, dispensed withal, whereby papists may, without fear of law, practise idolatry.

For the oppressions under which we groan, I draw them under two heads : acts of power

against law, and judgments of law against our liberty.

Of the first sort are, strange instructions, violent exactions of money thereupon, imprisonment of the persons of such who (to deliver over to their posterity the liberty they received from their forefathers, and lawfully were in possession of) refused so to lend; and this aggravated by the remem diless continuance and length thereof; and chiefly the strange, vast, and unlimited power of our lieutenants and their deputies, in billeting of soldiers, in making rates, in granting warrants for taxes as their discretions shall guide them. And all this against the law.

These last are the most insupportable burdens that at this present afflict our poor country, and the most cruel oppression that ever yet the kingdom of England endured. These upstart deputy lieutenants (of whom perhaps in some cases and times there may be good use, being regulated by law,) are the worst of grievances, and the most forward and zealous executioners of those violent and unlawful courses which have been commended unto them; of whose proceedings, and for the qualifying of whose unruly power, it is more than time to consult and determine.

Judgments of law against our liberty there have been three, each latter stepping forwarder than the former upon the right of the subject, aiming in the end to tread and trample under foot our law, and that even in the form of law.

The first was the judgment of the postnati, whereby a nation (which I heartily love for their singular good zeal in our religion, and their free

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