Page images

No. XXI.

[Page. 107.]


The humble and just Remonstrance of the Knights, Citizens, and

Burgesses, in Parliament assembled,


THAT in all ages past since the happy subjection of this kingdom to the imperial crown of England, it was made and is a principal study and princely care of his majesty. and his noble progenitors, Kings and Queens of England and Ireland, to the vast expence of treasure and blood, that their loyal and dutiful people of this land of Ireland, being now for the most part derived froin British ancestors, should be governed according to the municipal and fundamental laws of England; that the statute of Magna Charta, or the great charter of the liberties of England, and other laudable laws and statutes were in several parliaments here enacted and declared, that by the means thereof, and of the most prudent and benign government of his majesty and his royal progenitors, this kingdom was, untill of late, in its growth to a flourishing estate, whereby the said people were heretofore enabled to answer their humble and natural desires, to comply with his majesty's royal and princely occasions, by their free gift of one hundred and fifty thousaad pounds sterling, and likewise by another gift of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds more, during the government of Lord Viscount Faulkland; and after, by the gift of forty thou. sand pounds, and their free and chearful gift of six intire subsidies, in the tenth year of his majesty's reign; which, to comply with his majesty's then occasions, signified to the then House of Commons, they did allo iv should amount in the collections unto two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, although (as they confidently believe) if the said subsidies had been levied in a moderate parliamentary way, they would not have amounted to much more than half the said sum, besides the four entire subsi. dies granted in this present parliament. So it is, may it please your lordship, that by occasion of ensuing and other grievances and innovations, (though to his majesty no considerable profit) this kingdom is reduced to the extream and universal poverty, that the same is now less able to pay subsidies, than it was here,

tofore to satisfie all the before-recited great payments. And his majesty's most faithful people of the same land do conceive great fears, that the said grievances, and consequences thereof, may hereafter be drawn into precedents, to be perpetuated upon their posterity; which, in their great hopes, and strong beliefs they are persuaded, is contrary to his majesty's royal and princely intention towards his said people: some of which said grievances are as followeth:

1st. The general apparent decay of trades, occasioned by the new and illegal raising of the book of rates, and impositions as twelve pence a piece custom for hides bought for four or five shillings, and other heavy impositions upon native and other commodities, exported and imported, by reason whereof and of extreme usage and censure, mercharts are beggared, and both disenabled and discouraged to trade, and some of the honourable persons, who gain thereby are often judges and parties; and that it is the conclusion his majesty's profit thereby is not considerably adyanced.

2diy, The arbitrary decision of all civil causes and controyersies, by paper petitions, before the lord lieutenant and lord deputy, and infinite other judicatories upon reference from them derived, in the nature of all actions determinable at the common law, not limited unto certain time, season, cause, or thing whatsoever; and the consequences of such proceedings, by receiving immoderate and unlawful fees by secretaries, clerks, pursuivants, serjeants at arms, and otherwise, by which kind of proceedings his majesty loseth a considerable part of his revenue, upon original writs and otherwise; and the subject loseth the benefit of his writ of error, bill of reversal, vouchers, and other legal and just advantages, and the ordinary course and courts of justice declined.

3dly. The proceedings in civil causes at council-board, contrary to the law and great charter, not limited to any certain time or season.

4thly. That the subject is, in all the material parts thereof, denied the benefit of princely graces; and more especially of the statute of limitations of 21 Jacobi, granted by his majesty in the fourth year of his reign, upon great advice of the councils of England and Ireland, and for great consideration, and then published in all the courts of Dublin, and in all the counties of this kingdom, in open assizes, whereby all persons do take notice, that, contrary to his majesty's pious intentions, his subjects of this kingdom have not enjoyed the benefit of his majesty's princely promise thereby made.

5thly. The extrajudicial avoiding of letters patents of estates of a very great part of his majesty's subjects under the great seal, (the public faith of the kingdom) by private opinions delivered at the council-board, without legal evictions of their estates, contrary to law, and without precedent or example of any former age.

6thly. The proclamation for the sole emption and uttering of tobacco, which is bought at very low rates, and uttered at high and excessive rates; by means whereof, thousands of families within this kingdom, and of his majesty's subjects in several islands, and other parts of the West-Indies, (as your petitioners are informed) are destroyed, and the most part of the coin of this kingdom is engrossed into particular hands, insomuch, as the petitioners do conceive, that the profit arising and engrossed thereby doth surmount his majesty's revenue, certain or casual, within this kingdom, and yet his majesty receiveth but very little profit by the same.

7thly. The unusual and unlawful encreasing of monopolies, to the advantages of a few, the disprofit of his majesty, and impoverishment of his people.

8thly. The extreme cruel usage of certain late commissioners, and others the inhabitants of the city and county of LondonDerry; by means whereof, the worthy plantation of that country is almost destroyed, and the said inhabitants are reduced to great poverty, and many of them forced to forsake the country; the same being the first and most useful plantation in the large province of Ulster, to the great weakening of the kingdom in this time of danger, the said plantation being the principal strength in those parts.

9thly. The late erection of the court of high commission for causes ecclesiastical, in these necessitous times, the proceedings of the said court in many causes without legal warrant, and yet so supported, as prohibitions have not been obtained, though legally sought for; and the excessive fees exacted by the ministers thereof, and the encroaching of the same upon the jurisdiction of other ecclesiastical courts of this kingdom.

10thly. The exorbitant and barbarous fees and pretended customs exacted by the clergy, againsť the law, some of which have been formerly represented to your lordship.

11thly. The petitioners do most heartly bemoan, that his majesty's service and profit are much more impaired than ad. vanced by the grievances aforesaid; and the subsidies granted in the last parliament having much increased his majesty's revenue, by the buying of grants and otherwise : and that all his majesty's debts then due in this kingdom, were satisfied out of the said subsidies, and yet his majesty is of late (as the petitioners have been informed in the House of Commons) become indebted in this kingdom in great sums.

And they therefore humbly beseech, that an exact account may be sent to his majesty, how and it what mạnner his treasure is jssued.

12thly. The petitioners do humbly conceive just and great fears at a proclamation published in this kingdom in anno Domini 1635, prohibiting inen of quality or estates to depart this kingdom into England without the lord deputy's licence, whereby the subjects of this kingdom are hindered and interrupted from free access and address to his sacred majesiy and privy council of England, to declare their just grievances, or to obtain remedies for them in sort as their ancestors have done in all ages since the reign of King Henry the Second, and great fees exacted for every of the said licences.

1Sthly. That of late his majesty's attorney-general hath exhibited informations against many ancient boroughs of this kingdom into his majesty's court of Exchequer, to shew cause by what warrant the said boroughs (who heretofore sent burgesses to the parliament) should send the said burgesses to parliament: and thereupon, for want of an answer, the said privileges of sending burgesses were seised by the said court: which

proceedings were altogether coram non judice, and contrary to the laws and privileges of the House of Parliament, and (if way should be given thereunto) would tend to the subversion of parliaments, and, by consequence, to the ruin and destruction of the commonwealth.

And the House of Commons hath hitherto in this present parliament been deprived of the advice and council of many profitable and good members, by means thereof.

14thly. That by the powerfulness of some ministers of state in this kingdom, the parliament in its members and actions hath not its natural freedom.

15thly. That the fees taken in all the courts of justice in this kingdom, both ecclesiastical and civil, and by other inferior officers and ministers, are so immoderately high, that it is an unspeakable burthen to all his majesty's subjects of this kingdom, who are not able to subsist, except the same be speedily remedied and reduced to such a moderation as may stand with the condition of this realm.

And lastly, The gentry and merchants, and other his majesty's subjects of the kingdom, are of late, by the grievances and pressures aforesaid, and other the like, brought very near to ruin and destruction : and the farmers of customs, customers, wait. ers, searchers, clerks of unwarrantable proceedings, pursuivants and gaolers, and sundry others, very much enriched; whereby, and by the slow redress of the petitioner's grievances, his majesty's most faithful and dutiful people of this kingdom do conceive great fears, that their readiness, approved upon all occasions, have not been of late rightly represented to his sacred majesty : for remedy whereof, the said petitioners do humbly and of right bescecl your lordship, that the said grievances and

pressures may be speedily redressed: and if yout lordship shall not think fit to afford present relief therein, that your lordship might admit a select coinmittee of this house, of persons unin. terested in the benefit arising of the aforesaid grievances, to be licensed by your lordship to repair to his sacred majesty in Ença land, for to pursue the same, and to obtain fitting remedy for their aforesaid, and other just grievances and oppressions : and upon all just and honourable occasions they will, without respect of particular interest or profit to be raised thereby, most humbly and readily in parliament extend their utmost endeavours to serve his majesty, and comply with his royal and princely occasions. And shall

And shall pray, &c.


[PAGE 114.]




WHEREAS we, his majesty's loyal subjects of his highness's kingdom of Ireland, have, of long time, groaned under many grievances and pressures, occasioned by the rigorous government of such placed over us, as respected more the advancement of their own private fortunes, than the honour of his majesty, or the welfare of his subjects; whereof we have heretofore in humble manner declared ourselves to his highness, by our agents, sent from the parliament, the representative body of the kingdom, notwithstanding which, we find ourselves of late threatened with far greater and more grievous vexations, either with captivity of our consciences, or utter expulsion from our native seats, without any just grounds given on our parts, to alter his majesty's goodness, so long continued to us. Of all which, we find great cause of fears in the proceedings of our neighbour nations; and do see it already attempted by certain petitioners, for the like course to be taken in this kingdom, for the effecting thereof, in a compulsory way; so as rumours have caused fears of invasion from other parts, to the dissolving of the bond of mutual agreement, which hitherto hath been hela inviolable, between the several subjects of this kingdom, and

« PreviousContinue »