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Remembereth further, in Awbrey his case, Sir George said lately to my lord, he must say, this money was delivered to him by him : whereto my lord ; “George, if you do so, I must deny it, upon mine honour.” That last night, before this committee sat, my lord said to Sir George and Sir Richard Young, they must answer this another day; for he would deny it, upon his oath.
That, in Egerton's business, he, by Merrifield's help, got money, put it into gold; told Merrifield, my Lord Chancellor was to have it, for help in his cause; and told him, he had done so.
As Lord Bacon sat in the House of Lords on the 17th, and then sat there, for the last time as Chancellor, I infer that there was some communication between him and Buckingham between the 17th and the 19th, and that the following letter was written during this interval :
To the Marquis of Buckingam.(a) My very good Lord, Your lordship spoke of purgatory. I am now in it; but my mind is in a calm, for my fortune is not my felicity. I know I have clean hands, and a clean heart; and, I hope, a clean house for friends or ser
But Job himself, or whosoever was the justest judge, by such hunting for matters against him as hath been used against me, may for a time seem foul, especially in a time when greatness is the mark, and accusation is the game. And if this be to be a chancellor, I think, if the great seal lay upon Hounslow Heath, no body would take it up. But the King and your lordship will, I hope, put an end to these my straits one way or other. And in troth that which I fear most is, lest continual attendance and business, together with these cares, and want of time to do my weak body right this spring by diet and physic, will cast me down; and that it will be thought feigning or fainting. But I hope in God I shall hold out. God prosper you. The following anecdotes seem proper for this place :
Extract d'un Lettre de Monsieur le Chevalier Digby à M. de Fermat. Et comme vous y parley de notre Chancellier Bacon, cela me fit souvenir d'un autre beau mot qu'il dit en ma presence une fois a feu Monsieur le Duc de Buckingham. C'étoit au commencement de ses malheurs, quand l'assemblée des états, que nous appellons le parlement, entreprit de la miner, ce qu'elle fit en suite ce jour la il eu eût la première alarme : j'étois avec le duc ayant disné avec lui; le chancelier survint et l'entretint de l'accusation qu'un de ceux de la chambre basse avoit presentée contre lui, et il supplia le duc i'employer son credit aupres du roi pour le maintenir toujours dans son esprit : le duc repondit qu'il étoit si bien avec le roi leur maître, qu'il n'étoit pas besoin de lui rendre de bons offices aupres de sa majesté, ce qu'il disoit, non pas pour le refuser, car il aimoit beaucoup, mais pour lui faire plus d'honneur : le chancelier lui repondit de tres bonne grace, qu'en il croyoit être parfaitement bien “ dans l'esprit de son maître, mais aussi qu'il avoit toujour remarqué que pour si grand que soit un feu, et pour si fortement qu'il brûle de lui-même, il ne laissera pourtant pas de brûler mieux et d'étre plus beau et plus clair si on le souffle comme il faut.'
One told his lordship it was now time to look about him. He replied, " I do not look about me, I look above me.”
[From the Tract.] Lunæ, 19th Martii, 1620.-A message was sent to the Lords by Sir Robert Phillips to desire a conference with them about the Lord Chancellor and Bishop of Landaff being petitioned against by Awbrey and Egerton.
Mr. Secretary Calvert brings a message from the king, that this parliament
(a) This letter seems to have been written soon after Lord St. Alban began to be accused of abuses in his office of chancellor.
hath sat a long time, and Easter is near come, and it's fit there should be a ces sation for a time, yet the king will appoint no time, but leaves it to yourselves. But for the beginning again, he thinks the 10th of April a fit time, but will appoint none, only he would have you take care, that there be no impediment in the subsidies. The king also took notice of the complaints against the Lord Chancellor, for which he was sorry: for it bath always been his care to have placed the best; but no man can prevent such accidents. But his comfort was, that the house was careful to preserve his honour. And his majesty thought not fit to have the occasions hang long in suspence, therefore would not have any thing to hinder it; but for the furtherance thereof, he proposed a commission of six of the higher house, and twelve of the lower house to examine it upon oath. This proposition, if we liked it well, he would send the like to the lords; and this he thought might be done during this cessation; and though he hoped the chancellor was free, yet if he should be found guilty, he doubted not but you would do him justice.
Sir Edward Coke said, we should take heed the commission did no hinder the manner of our parliamentary proceedings.
The answer returned to the king, was, rendering thanks for the first part of his gracious message ; and for the second, we direct that the like message may be sent to the lords, for there being so good a concurrence betwixt us, we may have conference with them about it. Then adjourned.
[From the Journals.] Die Lunæ, videlicet, 19th die Martii, Domini tam Spirituales quam Temporales, quorum nomina subscribuntur, præsentes fuerunt:
p. Carolus, Princeps Walliæ, etc. Archiepus, Cant.
p. Jac. Ley, Miles, et Bar. Ds. Capit. p. Archiepus, Eborum.
Justic. Locum tenens, etc. Memorandum, that, by reason of the want of health and indisposition of the Lord Chancellor, a commission was awarded to Sir James Ley, knt. and bart. Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, signed by the king, and under the broad seal, to execute the same place; the which commission was delivered to the clerk, to be read.
Message from the lower house, by Sir Robert Phillipps and others,
That, in the search of the abuses of courts, they have found abuses in certain eminent persons; for the which they desire a conference ; that such course may be taken, for redress thereof, as shall stand with the order and dignity of a parliament, the time and place, and number of committees, they humbly leave to their lordships.
Answer returned, The lords are well pleased to accept of the conference required ; the committee to be of this whole house, at two of the clock this afternoon, in the painted chamber.
[From the Tracts.] Martis, 20 Martii, 1620.—Sir Edward Giles made a motion that one Churchill should be called in ; whereupon there was a petition of one Montacute Wood, &c. against my Lord Chancellor for taking 3001. of the Lady Wharton, and making orders, &c. which was read. Churchill and Keeling were said to be witnesses, and a committee was appointed to examine them.
Sir Robert Phillips reports from the conference that, according to the commandment of this house, he had delivered those heads which were agreed on at the conference yesterday, excusing himself, if he had failed in any point; that the lords accepted it with a great deal of affection, as sensible of the wrongs of the commonwealth ; returned answer by the Lord Treasurer, first by way of question, whether we would not return it them in writing? Resolved, no, for no cause, this consisting only of two or three points clear and plain. Next for the letters, and other things which the lords desire would acquaint the house, and doubted not but it would be yielded, that they would proceed in this matter with care and diligence, and expedition.
A message from the lords, to signify that they have taken into consideration the last conference, and shall need the testimony of two members of this house ; and therefore desire that voluntarily, and without ordering, as private persons, they make declaration upon oath, and the like for others, if occasion
Answer returned, that the gentlemen would attend voluntarily as private men, and (upon private notice) be examined.
Sir Robert Phillips reports from the committee appointed for the examination of Churchill, from which particular a general may be extracted, conducing 10 the discovery of corruption in the Lord Chancellor.
The Lady Wharton having a cause depending in chancery, many orders were made in it; amongst the rest, there was an order made for dismission, by the consent of the counsel on both sides; which my lady disliking, took Churchill, the Register, into her coach, carried him to my Lord Chancellor's, and so wrought, that he was willed not to enter the last order; so that my lady was left at liberty to prosecute it in chancery, brought it to a hearing, and at length got a decree. Keeling being examined, saith, that near about the time of passing this decree, my lady took 1001. he saw it, and she made him set down the words and stiles, which she would use in the delivery of it. Then she goeth to York House, and delivered it to my Lord Chancellor, as she told him. She carried it in a purse ; my lord asked her what she had in her hand ? She said, a purse of her own making, and presented it to him ; who took it, and said, what lord could refuse a purse of so fair a lady's working! After this, my lord made a decree for her, but it was not perfected ; but 2001. more being given, (one Gardener being present), her decree had life. But after the giving of the 1001. because she had not 2001. ready in money, one Shute dealt with her to pass over the land to my Lord Chancellor, and his heirs, reserving an estate for life to herself; but she knowing no reason to disinherit her own children, and confer it upon a lord who had no children, asked Keeling, her man, what he thought of it? He, like an honest servant, was against it. Shute knowing this, sets upon Keeling, and brought him to be willing my lady should do it, with power of revocation upon payment of 2001. in a reasonable time. Keeling lets fall some speeches, as if he had left York House for the corruption which was there, which he himself knew in part. Gardener, Keeling's man, confirmed the payment of the 3001. for the decree, viz. 1001. before, and 2001. after. This purchased decree being lately damned again by my Lord Chancellor, was the cause of this complaint.
Keeling saith, Sir John Trevor did present my Lord Chancellor with 1001. by the hands of Sir Richard Young, for a final end to his cause. Sir Richard
Young answered, that when he attended upon my Lord Chancellor, Sir John Trevor's man brought a cabinet, and a letter to my Lord Chancellor, and entreated me to deliver it, which I did openly; and this was openly done, and this was all I knew of it.
Sir Edward Coke said, it was strange to him that this money should be thus openly delivered, and that one Gardener should be present at the payment of the 2001.
Ordered, That Sir Robert Phillips do deliver to the lords this afternoon the Bishop of Llandaff's and Awbrey's letters, and all other writings that he hath. Then adjourned.
(From the Journals.] Die Martis, videlicet, 20th die Martii.—The Lord Treasurer reported the conference yesterday with the commons.
At which conference, was 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 three parts : 1. Of the persons accused. 2. Of the matters objected against them. 3. Their proof. The persons are, the Lord Chancellor of England, and the now Lord Bishop of Landaph (being then no bishop, but Doctor Feild). The incomparable good parts of the Lord Chan
cellor 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.
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, the other concerning Edward Egerton.
In the cause depending in chancery between this Awbrey and Sir William Brouncker, Awbrey, feeling some hard measure, was advised to give the Lord Chancellor an hundred pounds; 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 importune him, he will lay him by the heels.”
The proofs of this accusation are five :
1. Sir George Hastings related it long since unto Sir Charles Montague. 2. The Lord Chancellor, fearing this would be complained of, desired silence of Sir George Hastings. 3. Sir George Hastings testimony thereof, which was not voluntary, but urged. 4. The Lord Chancellor desired Sir George Hastings to bring the party (Awbrey) unto him, and promised redress of the wrongs done him. 5. That the Lord Chancellor said unto Sir George Hastings, if he would affirm the giving this hundred pounds, his lordship would and must deny it upon his honour.
The case of Edward Egerton is this. There being suits depending 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 ewre of fifty pounds and above; and afterwards, he delivered unto Sir George Hastings and Sir Richard Younge, four hundred pounds in gold, to be presented unto his lordship. Sir Richard Younge presented it; his lordship took it, and poised it, and said it was too much, and returned answer, that Mr. Egerton had not only inriched him, but had laid 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
Merefyll, a scrivener, thus far, that he took up seven hundred pounds 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 four hundred pounds in gold was given to the Lord Chancellor.
At this conference, was further 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 first to be bound in six thousand 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 this bond of six thousand marks should be assigned unto Sir Rowland Egerton, and he to put the same in suit, in his lordship’s name. The Bishop of Landaph (as a friend unto Edward Egerton) adviseth with Randolph Davenport and Butler (which Butler is now dead), that they would procure a stay of the decree upon that award, and procure a new hearing. It was agreed, that six thousand pounds should be given for this by Edward Egerton, and shared amongst them and certain honourable persons. A recognizance of ten thousand pounds was required from Mr. Egerton to the bishop, for performance hereof ; the bishop's share of this six thousand pounds was to have been so great, as no court of justice would allow. They produced letters of the bishop's, naming the sum, and setting down a course how this six thousand pounds might be raised; videlicet, 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 promised, in verho sacerdotis, to deliver up the recognizance to be cancelled. The recognizance is sealed accordingly; and Randolph Davenport rides to the court, and moved the Lord Admiral for his lordship's letter to the Lord Chancelloi herein ; but his lordship denied to meddle in a cause depending in suit. Then the said Randolph Davenport essayed 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 recognizance, until Nir. Egerton threatened to complain thereof to 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 shew that great personages have been accused for the like in parliament.
They humbly desire, that, forasmuch as this concerns 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 accusers to be punished.
This report ended, the Lord Admiral declared, that he had been twice with the Lord Chancellor, to visit him, being sent to him by the king. The first time, he found his lordship very sick and heavy; the second time he found him better, and much comforted, for that he heard that the complaint of the grievances of the commons against him were come into this house ; where he assured himself to find honourable justice; in confidence whereof, his lordship had written a letter to the house. The which letter the Lord Admiral presented to the house, to be read; the tenor whereof followeth :
“To the Right Honourable his very good Lords, the Lords Spiritual and
Temporal in the Upper House of Parliament assembled. “My very good lords, “I humbly pray your lordships all to make a favourable and true construction of my absence. It is no feigning, por fainting, but sickness both of my heart and of my back; though joined with that comfort of mind, that perswadeth 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, as far as I am worthy, hearing that some complaints of base bribery are come before your 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 sequestred my mind at this time, in great part, from worldly matters, thinking of my account and answer in a higher court, your lordships would give me some 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 ingenu. ously (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 examination, and likewise to produce my own witnesses for discovery of the truth : and lastly, if there come 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 two thousand decrees and orders 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 your persons; and rest
“ Your lordships' humble servant, 19th March, 1620
Fr. St. ALBAN, Canc."