A moſt Excellent and Remarkable
By that Mirrour and Miracle of Princes,
Of famous memory, in the Honourable the High
Court of Parliament, in the 1643ſeventeenth yeere
of her reigne;
Wherein ſhee fully expreſſeth the duty of Princes
to their Subjects, and that of Subjects
to their Princes:
Setting forth alſo, the good Opinion She had of the Juſtice
and Moderation of Our Engliſh Parliaments
towards both Prince and People,
As it is faithfully collected out of the Records of the
A Diſcourſe very ſuitable for theſe times.
London, Printed for
1643-01-28January 28. An. Dom.Anno Domine 1643.
A moſt Excellent and Remarkable Speech, Delivered by that Mirrour and Miracle of Princes, Queen Elizabeth, of famous memory, in the Honourable the High Court of Parliament . in the ſeventeenth yeere of her Reigne.
This preſent Seſſion of Parliament gathered together by Our command, for the good of Our ſelfe and the proſperity of Our Subjects, Wee wiſh may be as fortunate to them as conducing to Our intents, which ſhall ſtill guide themſelves to the advancement of Our peoples wel-fare. We are not ignorant of the imbecillity and unableneſſe of Our ſex to governe ſuch a powerfull and mighy Kingdom as this is, ſtrong in faction, through reaſon of diverſity of Religion now raigning in it, forraigne Princes, eſpecially the Pope and the King of Spaine, Our inveterate enemies, in regard of the profeſſion of the Goſpell, who, both by practices abroad, and incitations of Our Subjects at home, have fought all meanes to deprive Us of the royalty of this Our hereditary Kingdome; ſuch and ſo bloody minded A2 4 A2v 4minded are the devices of the Papiſts againſt Us, and all that love the true Worſhip of God, that they never ceaſe, like roring Lyons, to goe about day and night, ſeeking whom they may devoure: but though feare be naturally incident to Our ſex it is baniſhed from the condition of a Prince; as Wee are a woman. We may feare to fall under their malice; as Wee are a Prince, the Soveraigne of this Kingdome, Wee cannot dread their attempts, knowing that the awe which is intailed upon Majeſty, hath power to ſtrike dead all ſuch enterprizes of the moſt deſperate traytors that are; and for Our owne part, We ſhall no wayes be careleſſe of Our owne ſecurity: but as you, my Lords, and Our honourable the Houſe of Commons, have beene well and judiciouſly adviſed in enacting good and wholeſome lawes againſt theſe inhumane and barbarous traytors, the Recuſants of this Kingdome, ſo ſhall We without regard or feare of any, ſee they be put in execution. We have made it alwayes Our principall ſtudy, my Lords, to be well experienced in the duty of Princes towards their people, and by the inſtructions both of the Divine and Humane lawes, We find that Princes have as neere a relation, and as ſtrict an obligation to their Subjects, as Subjects have to them; ſecundum morem principis, after the manner which a Prince can be ingaged or obliged, that is, by the bond ſealed to the people at the Coronation; every Prince covenants with the people, to defend them from all injuries, domeſticke and forraigne, to inſtitute and ordaine good and wholſome lawes for their ſecurity, from oppreſſions one from another, and from the Prince himſelfe, who by the unlimited power and prerogative of his royalty, may onely, and yet more grievouſly afflict the people, then the people can any way injure one another; the people being equall one with another, and obliged to the ſame lawes, the Prince being above them. And ſurely wrongs from equalls are eaſilier righted then from ſuperiours, the eminence of power oft times blinding the Eagles eyes of equity.
A Prince ſhould therefore be toward the people, as that great 5 A3r 5great Prophet Samuel was toward the Iſraelites, whom, when hee had judged for many yeares, hee boldly challeng’d the whole Congregation to atteſt againſt him whoſe Oxe, or whoſe Aſſe he had taken, or from whom he had received any bribe to pervert Juſtice.
This, my Lords, have We in Our conſideration and reſolution, ſet downe as Our preſident in the government of this Our Engliſh Israel, whom Gods mercies have notified his peculiar people, and this we ſhall ever accompliſh, the due adminiſtration of Jutſtice. Princes as they are Gods on earth in title, ſhould be ſo in their actions: and We call you all to witneſſe, my Lords, this day, that in this ſeventeenth yeare of Our raigne over you, We have never performed any act prejudiciall to the liberty, or oppoſite to the known lawes of the land, which have been confirmed to them by ſo many Kings, Our Royal Progenitors; and ſurely what Monarch of England that ſhall at any time goe about to alienate the property of the Subject, or impoſe on their immunities any innovation, or diminiſhment, can never boaſt himſelfe to be abſolute Soveraigne of this Kingdome, nor to injoy His Crowne and dignity, with the well wiſhes, and affections of his Subject; for ſo large is the charter of the Engliſh Subjects liberty, which the piety of Our Royal Predeceſſors have granted them, and the merit of their own anceſtors purchaſed, that they are a free people, if compared with other Nations, who groan under the yoak and heavy burdens laid on their ſervile necks by their Soveraignes, cuſtome in ſuffring, making them undergo their ſuffrings with patience.
But the nature We know of all Engliſhmen to be ſuch, that faire words and gentle uſage may ſooner overcome and inſlave their huge ſtomacks and great ſpirits then any force or foule meanes whatſoever. There lives not in the whole world a more obedient people to their Soveraigne then Ours are ſo long as they continue, the Prince ſtudies to defend and preſerve their liberties, but if once they fal off from that opinion, either by the over ſeverity, or too much neglectlect A3 6 A3v 6lect of their Soveraigne in the managing the affaires of the Common-wealth: They are of all other Subjects moſt violent and implacable, which We conceive proceeds out of the extraordinary affection they beare their King, grieving inwardly, and taking from hence more to heart any indignity offered them then any Subject whatſoever.
But you my Lords, and you Our houſe of Commons, of this Our high Court of Parliament, to you the principall care of Our people by Us hath ever beene committed; Wee are ſo well aſſured, both by your own integrities, and the preſidents which you have given in former ages, both to Our Royall Father, and others of Our renowned Anceſtors, of your loyalties, that Wee ſhould eſteeme it an uncivill defect in Our judgement to doubt thereof: Wee know it was the Act of wiſedome of Parliament that united thoſe two long jarring Royall Families of Yorke and Lancaſter, both in Our ſelfe incorporated, by the marrying of Our Grandmother and Grandfather of famous memory. It was the power of Parliament that aſſiſted Our ſaid Grandfather againſt all thoſe conspiracies of Warbecke, Lambert, and others, and rendred him victorious over all of them. It was the wiſedome of His ſupreme Councell, the Parliament, guiding and couſelling His actions as well as His owne naturall prudence, that made Him bee accounted the very Solomon of his time throughout all Nations; and ſurely it cannot be denied, but it was the ſame genius of Parliament that in Our Royall Fathers time produced ſuch admirable effects, as were the denying the Antichriſtian Supremacy of the Pope, and the diſſolutions of thoſe Seminaries of ſloth and vices, the wealthy Abbies and Monaſteries, which had gotten into their poſſeſſion the very fat of this Land, flowing with milke and honey, and did alſo aſſiſt Him with aids of money in all his wars abroad, rendring His name terrible to other Nations. It hath been the juſtice of Parliament that hath ſetled the indubitate right of this Kingdome in his children, Our Brother, Siſter, and laſt of all, Our ſelfe, who 7 A4r 7who muſt acknowledge that the Parliaments congregated by Us, have been happy and fortunate, both to Our Selfe and people; they have augmented and ſetled Our Royall Revenue, diſcovered and puniſhed all dangerous conſpiracies againſt Us, making and providing ſharpe and fitting lawes for the determent of all deſperate wretches from practiſing ought of violence againſt Our Perſon. The Parliament hath by Our conſent, reduced coyne throughout Our Kingdome of England, and Principality of Wales, to its juſt and ſtaple value. Finally, the Parliament is the mediator betwixt the Soveraignes of this Kingdome and the people thereof, the beſt inheritance and ſupportment of the royalty of the one, and the liberty of the other.
To you therefore Our Lords and Commons, aſſembled in this Our preſent Parliament, to treat and manage the difficult affaires of this Kingdome, We doe moſt willingly commit and commend the care of them, We believe ſo many noble and wiſe men, as here are gathered together, cannot be recreant from the vertue of their Predeceſſors, who have obtained and ordained ſo many wholeſome and profitable lawes for the weale of the Subject, but be as induſtrious and zealous in the buſineſſe of the Commonwealth, as they have beene carefull husbands of their properties and patrimonies: they expect from you the confirmation and augmentation of their liberties; and for Our owne part, We are ſo confident of your well meanings to Us, what We will freely intruſt you with all the differences, or controverſies between Our Selfe and people, if any ſuch there be, that you may rectifie and reform them: Our people are as Our Selfe, and whatſoever ill or injury happens to them, either by the too much rigor of the lawes, or iniquity of the Judges, We ſhall judge as caſt upon Us; looke ſeverely to this buſineſſe, and to all other that ſhall either concerne the people, or the true ſervice of God, and you ſhall alwaies finde Us ready and willing to correſpond with your votes in any thing.We 8 A4v 8
We have only one thing to admoniſh you of which concernes Gods true Religion, and Our ſelfe and people neerly, to wit the power and ſtill increasing number of Popiſh Recuſants in this Kingdome; the Pope and Our English Fugitives ſending over from beyond Seas daily new Emiſſaries of untruth and ſedition amongſt Us; theſe muſt either be prevented, or as illegitimate and dangerous ſonnes of the Commonwealth, cut off, uſe in it your owne diſcretions; We are confident Our Parliament hath as great a ſtocke of wiſdome as the grand Councell of any Kingdome whatſoever, that the wiſeſt of the Kings Our Progenitors have relyed upon their prudence, well then may We, a poore weake woman put all Our confidence in your diſcretions, which wee ſhall ever as well as at this preſent time, beſeech the God of Heaven to increaſe and bleſſe, that the Land may be happy in the prudence of your Councels, and We rejoyce and be exalted and beloved of Our neighbors, to the peace of Our Kingdome and Our owne increaſe of happineſſe.