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Langdale. I was his Majestie's chiefest guide in his northern expedition, and he would often call for me by the name of his “honest guide.” He would employe me unto his enemies armye to discover unto him their strength and posture, wherein I so well pleased him, that he would graciously saye to me, “Well, Corker, if it ever please God to restore me thou shalt be rewarded.” And at that present in Newarke, he commanded Sir Edward Walker, his then Secretary, to give me an order for the apprehending any of my parishioners in rebellion, and to detaine them prisoners until they had satisfied me the profitts of my benefice due to me. I received some wounds in his service, the effects whereof I must carry to my grave. I have had two horses killed under me in fight, and how I have requittede itt, lett my actions to Cromwell's own Major Browne (which is sufficiently known) and others testify for me.
And that I intended well for his present Majestie lett this one actione beare witness. I with two more in my companie (one whereof is now in this town) when his Majestie came with his Scottish armie to Worcester, that we might hinder the then present power of all intelligence, adventured to seize the post packett within tenn miles of London, not without great danger: and if one private post had not accidentallye passed us, they in London would not have had any intelligence for some days.
My sufferings have not beene ordinarie ; for besides the losse of my benefice, since the beginninge of the warr, my house hath beene three tymes plundered, and all that I had taken from me. I was taken prisoner at Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, and sent to Lincolne Gaole, from whence Lambert commander then in chiefe before Pontefract Castle sent a partye of horse for me, to execute me upon the same gibbett with Mr. Beaumont: but I unhappily made my escape the night before. I saye unhappily, because if itt had not soe fallen out, I had died in a good cause and with a better conscience. I from thence went into Holland, where when I had spent that little stocke I had in the space of two years, I went with some others into the Isle of Sillye, where I had subsistence one whole yeare under the hon'ble Sir John Grenville. From thence I went to sea, and was there again taken, by Deane, and sent prisoner to Winchester gaole; where not dareing to send by my own name to my friends, I endured soe hard an imprisonment for one whole yeare, that I thought a bellye full of bread the greatest happiness in this world. From thence also I made my 'scape, and settled in Sussex, where I was not known, to teache a poore schoole.
Thus far I kept my loyaltie and integritie perfect; but now begins my fearfull apostacie. About three yeares agoe coming to London, I was taken prisoner there, the third time, by one Todd a soldier and a messenger of Cromwell's, and immediately carried before Thurloe; who at first deepely threatened me, objecting to me many of my actions in his Majestie's service, and escapes; but at last came upon me with a promise of securetie and reward if I would serve the present power as I had done their enemies; to which, through his cunning artifices and my own fears, I unhappily and ungraciously condescended. Whereupon he appointed one Mr. Moreland (who is my accuser) to convey to him my intelligence, who very well knowes that he and I did often agree that wee would never have a hand in any man's blood. And that this is reallye true may appeare by these two instances: I was taken prisoner by an order from Colonel Goffe, (he not knowing what security I had) and itt happened at the same time that Charles Davison (who was then newly escaped from Whitehall and in reall danger) was in bed with me, yett I found means to procure his escape, and conveyed also foure score pounds in gold from Mr. Berwicke afterwards to him to helpe him away. Soe alsoe some two nights before Dr. Hewitt's triall, Thurloe sent for me to know what particular testimonie I could give against him. I answered, I had no great acquaintance with him, neither did I heare any thing of him, more than his general affection to the Kinge's interest; that I had not beene above twice or thrice in his companie, and not at all above sixe monthes before; whereupon he turned from me in a furye, and told me he would hereafter look upon mee as one that still retayned my old principles. I believe Mr. Moreland can speake to both of these.
I never betrayed above five persons, (whereas I might have betrayed five hundredth all this tyme), three of which were rather by accident than will; and a fourth I got off again myselfe, pretending that if he were at libertie I could gain much intelligence by him, and this I did also for some other eminent persons, whose faces I never saw, nor ever desired to see, for I purposely waved my acquaintance with the Cavalier partye, that, hearinge little, I could not be tempted to reveale much. Several sums of money were conveyed through my hands for the King's business, as also foure several commissions sent by me into Shropshire, none of which I ever betrayed or revealed. I heare I am accused for a conference with Mr. Stapeley ; the truth is, I could not saye much, for our discourse was not much. I told Thurloe I believed the King would not trust him, for which I gave him two reasons, both which I hinted to Mr. Stapeley at our conference; and Mr. Stapeley may very well remember, that after that he came clearly off, and soe no doubt would have continued, if there had not beene some stronger information from other hands, for I never saw him after that tyme.
God Almighty knows, and Mr. Moreland can partly testifie, with what remorse and regret I acted my part in this sadd tragedie. I after desired of Mr. Moreland often to be dismissed, and suffered to live quietly in any corner ; but he always told me that it was very dangerous to incense those that were in soe great power. I confess, sometimes I had strange and desperate thoughts, devising with myself which way I might redeem my great guilt; and when I heard of Mr. Gardiner's plot against Cromwell's person, I was soe far from revealing it that I wished rather to join with him ; and notwithstanding the best art I could use, I never could be once admitted to see the Protector's face. I received not much money, part whereof I freely gave and lent to those cavaliers who were in distresse and captivitie.
This is my true and sad case, and itt is much the sadder, because I have none to pitye me; those of the King's enemies, against whom I have acted so violentlye at first, are glad of my ruine; and all his friends, whom I have so unworthily injured, cannott but justly desire itt; soe that I have noe hope but in the mercye of his Majestie, that as he may looke with an eye of justice upon his father's enemies, so he will looke with an eye of compassion upon his faithful servants ; of which number I was, dureing his whole life, as I can make it appeare by many particulars and signall expressions. But, if Almighty God have disposed otherwise, then I have nothinge left mee to doe, but to wash away my guilt with my tears and blood. All which I doe most humbly make bold to tender unto your Honor, beseeching you would be pleased to take notice hereof, and impart the same unto his most sacred Majestie, praying daily for his most happy reigne and future prosperitie; and also for your Honor, being always ready to submit to what shall be further inflicted upon and enjoined me, remaining
Your Honor's most afflicted and
FRANCIS CORKER. From the Tower, 10th June, 1660.
BARONIES BY WRIT.
The interest which many persons possess in Baronies that originated in a Writ of Summons to Parliament, renders it probable that notices of the existing state of those dignities will be acceptable to most of our readers.
With this hope, a series of articles will be given, showing among whom such titles as are vested in the heirs general of the first peer are now in abeyance; or, if the abeyance has terminated by the extinction of the other coheirs, on whom the right to the honour has devolved. For the account of these coheirs, we shall be indebted to Francis Townsend, Esq., Rouge Dragon Pursuivant. To the general, and indeed to almost all besides the professional reader, a few preliminary remarks are necessary, in explanation of the law which regulates the descent of “ Baronies by Writ,” or, as they are also called, “ Baronies in Fee;" and as claims to dignities of that nature are often alluded to in the newspapers, and occasionally form the subject of conversation in private society, the statements which will be submitted may perhaps afford information that will be deemed worthy of the regard of those who, though they would never seek it in dry treatises, may derive amusement from it when it is laid before them in language stripped of technical expressions.
The cause to which the origin of BARONIES BY Writ may be imputed, has been differently stated by the most distinguished writers on the subject; but as it is foreign to the object of these observations to enter into the inquiry, it is only necessary to remark, that though Writs of Summons to Parliament were probably issued at a much earlier period, the first Writ of that nature on record was dated on the 14th December, 49 of Henry the Third, 1264; and that after that year no similar Writ is extant until the 22d Edw. I., 1294, when about sixty persons were commanded to attend the King, wherever he might be, to advise on the affairs of the kingdom. It has been doubted, however, whether that Writ can be deemed a regular Writ of Summons to Parliament, notwithstanding that in one instance it was admitted as such by the House of Lords; and therefore, perhaps, the earliest Writ of Summons to Parliament, after the 49th of Henry the Third, is that tested on the 24th June, 23d Edw. I. 1295. Whatever may have been the principle relative to the descent of a dignity created by these Writs, it is certain that the effect of them was always to render the persons to whom they were addressed Barons of the realm ; and although some writers have expressed a different opinion, there are strong grounds for considering that the dignity thus created was always of an hereditary nature.
The following is a translation of the usual Writs of Summons to Parliament:
“ The King, &c. to our beloved and faithful .... Whereas, upon certain arduous matters concerning us and our realm, and other nobles and magnates of the same realm, which without you and their presence we will not have despatched, we desire to hold our Parliament, and to have with you a conference and treaty hereupon. We command you in the faith and homage wherein you are bound to us, strictly enjoining you to be with us at Westminster on the day of the month of
next coming, or at least, before the end of the day following, at furthest, to treat with us upon the said matters, and to afford your counsel: and this you are in no wise to neglect. Witness, myself,” &c.
The dignity created by the receipt of this Writ, and an attendance in Parliament accordingly, descends to the heirs general of the body of the individual to whom it is addressed: thus on his death without male issue, the Barony becomes vested in his daughter or daughters. If he has only one daughter, she succeeds to it; but if there be more than one the title falls into ABEYANCE among them, and continues in that state either until all but one of the daughters, or the sole heir of only one daughter survives; in which case the Barony devolves on the surviving daughter, or on the heir of her body. If, however, the representation of such daughter be in her coheirs, the dignity falls into abeyance among them, unless the Crown exercises its prerogative of allowing the Barony to either of them. It must be remembered that the representation of a Barony by Writ is always vested in the heirs of the body of the person first created : thus, on the death of a Baron who inherited the dignity, without issue, the title, if he has no brother living, or there be no issue of such brother, will become vested in his sister or sisters, or their heirs : in default of which, it will revert to his eldest uncle of the side from which he inherited the dignity, or his issue; failing which, to his aunts and their issue the females of each generation being preferred to the males of the preceding ge
neration. On the failure of the issue of a Baron who inherited a dignity from his mother, and also of the other issue of his mother, the dignity, of course, devolves on his maternal ancestors or their descendants.
The earliest instance of the Crown having terminated an abeyance of a dignity is presumed to have taken place in the reign of Henry VI.; though the right to do so has been considered as one of the royal prerogatives from a much earlier period. But perhaps the Writ of Summons to James Tuchet, as Lord Audley, in the 8th Henry V., may be cited as the first example of the exercise of it. Though allowed to dispose of a Barony in abeyance to either of the coheirs, the Crown cannot bestow it on any other person than one of the representatives of the first Baron The manner of terminating the abeyance of a dignity in favour of a person who is not a peer, is by the issuing of a Writ of Summons by the style and title of the Barony in abeyance.
As, however, it is a well-known principle in the Law of Dignities, that a Writ of Summons to Parliament does not give an estate of inheritance to the person summoned, and his heirs, unless it be followed by an actual sitting in Parliament; and that the fact of such sitting shall not be presumed, even from an unbroken series of Writs, to the same person, or to several persons in lineal succession from father to son; but that the sitting must be proved, from the records of Parliament, by the person claiming an inheritance in the dignity conferred by such Writ or Writs ; the only dignities of which the coheirs will be here traced are of those in which proof of such sitting in Parliament exists. The extent to which this principle operates to the virtual extinction of Baronies which have originated in Writs of Summons only, is not so generally known. Previous to the first year of King Henry VIII., 1509, when the Journals commence, the Rolls of Parliament are the only records of the proceedings in that assembly: but those Rolls contain no regular lists of the peers who attended, nor any mention of their names, except of such as happened to be appointed triers of petitions, or to act in some other particular capacity. So few are the persons thus incidentally recorded as attending and sitting in Parliament, in comparison with the number summoned, that at least one half of the Baronies which originated in Writs of Summons, are virtually extinguished by the impossibility of proving sittings .
1 It may with much reason be insisted, that the issuing of a consecutive series of Writs, not only to one individual, but to his son, and even in many cases to his grandson, though no notice of either of them having ever sat in Parliament can be found, must at least be deemed presumptive evidence that the Crown considered they were entitled to such Writs; and as in early periods of our history it appears to have been an imperative duty in those who were summoned to attend Parliament to obey such summons, it can scarcely be supposed, that persons who were repeatedly commanded to do so should for any time presume to disobey the King's Writs.' If it be admitted, that even in one instance a person so summoned obeyed the King's command by attending Parliament, such obedience was a sitting under a Writ: hence it is barely possible for any one at all acquainted with the manners and customs of the times to believe, that in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, a series of Writs for even ten years should have been issued without the person to whom they were addressed having obeyed them, much less that two or more