Of ever Bleſſed Memory,
to her Last
Popiſh Plots, &c.
London, Printed, 16791679.
The Last Speech of Queen Elizabeth to her Laſt Parliament,
Which began 1601-10-20October 20th 1601.
The1601-11-30Thirtieth of November Her Majeſty being ſeated under a Canopy of State in the Council Chamber; the Speaker, with about 180. of the Houſe of Commons preſented themſelves at her Majeſties feet, for that ſo Graciouſly and Speedily She had heard and yielded to Her Subjects deſires, humbly kneeling upon their knees: To whom She ſpake in theſe Words.
Mr. Speaker, We perceive, your coming is to preſent Thanks to Us; Know I accept them with no leſs Joy, than your Loves can have a deſire to offer ſuch a preſent; and do more eſteem it than any treaſure or riches. For the value of Them I know, but Loyalty, Love and Thanks I account unvaluable; and though God hath raiſed Me high, yet this I account the Glory of My Crown, that I have Reigned with your Loves. This makes Me that I do not ſo much rejoyce, that God hath made me a Queen, as to be a Queen of ſo thankful a people, and to be a means under God, to conſerve you in ſafety, and to preſerve you from danger; yea, to be an Inſtrument to preſerve you from diſhonour, ſhame and infamy; to keep you out of ſervitude and ſlavery under Our Enemies, and cruel tyranny and vile oppreſſion intended againſt Us. For the better withſtanding whereof, We take very acceptably your intended Supplies; and chiefly, that it manifeſteth your Love and Largeneſs of heart to your Sovereign. Of My Self I was never a greedy ſcraping graſper, nor ſtrict faſt-holding Prince, nor yet a Waſter. My heart was never ſet upon any wordly goods; but what you beſtow on Me, I will not hoard it up, but receive it, to beſtow on you again. Yea, my own properties I account yours, to be expended for your good, and your Eyes ſhall ſee the beſtowing of it for your welfare.
Mr. Speaker, I wiſh you and the reſt of the Gentlemen to ſtand up, for I fear I ſhall yet trouble you with a longer Speech.A2 Mr. Speaker, 2 A2v 2
Mr. Speaker, You give Me thanks, but I am more to thank you, and I charge you thank them of the Lower Houſe from me; for had I not received knowledge from you, I might have fallen into the lapſe of an errour, only for want of true Information. Since I was a Queen, I never yet put my Pen to any Grant, but upon pretext and ſemblance made, that it was for the good and avail of My Subjects in General, though a private profit to ſome of my antient ſervants, who have deſerved well. But that any Grant of Mine, ſhall be made grievous to My people, and oppreſſion to be priviledg’d under the Colour of our Patents, Our Princely Dignity ſhall not ſuffer it. When I heard it, I could give no reſt to My thoughts; and thoſe Varlets, lewd perſons, abuſers of My Bounty ſhall know, I will not ſuffer it. And Mr. Speaker, Tell the Houſe from Me, That I take it exceeding grateful, that the knowledge of theſe are come unto Me from them: and though amongſt them the principal members are ſuch as are not touched in private, and therefore ſpeak not from any feeling of the grief, yet We have heard, That other Gentlemen alſo of the Houſe who ſtand as free, have ſpoken as freely in it. Which gives Us to know, that no reſpects of Intereſts have moved them, otherwiſe than what they bear to ſuffer the diminution of Our Honor, and Our Subjects Love to Us. The zeal of which affection tending to eaſe My people and knit their hearts to Us, I embrace with a Princely care; for above all other treaſures, I eſteem My peoples love, more than which, I deſire not to merit: and God that gave me to ſit, and placed Me over you, knows, That I never reſpected My, but as your good was concerned in Me. Yea, What dangers! What perils! What practices I have paſt, ſome if not all of you know; but none of thoſe things ever moved me, or made me fear, but it’s God that hath delivered Me.
And in governing this Land, I have ever ſet the laſt Judgement day before My eyes, and ſo to rule, as I ſhall be judged and anſwer before a higher Judge, to whoſe Judgement Seat I do appeal, That never thought was cheriſhed in My heart, that tended not to My peoples good. And if My Princely Bounty hath been abuſed, and my Grace turned to the Hurt of My people contrary to My Will and Meaning, or if any Authority under Me have neglected, or converted what I committed to them from My deſign, I hope God will not lay their Culp upon My charge.
To be a King, and wear a Crown, is a thing more Glorious to them that ſee it, than it is pleaſant to them that bear it. For My Self, I was never ſo much inticed with the Glorious Name of a King, or the Royal Authority of a Queen, as delighted, that God made me his Inſtrument to maintain his Truth and Glory, and defend this Kingdom from diſhonor, damage, Tyranny and oppreſſion.
But ſhould I aſcribe theſe things to My Self or to My Sexly weakneſs, I were not worthy to live; and of all moſt unworthy of the Mercies I have received at Gods hands: but to God alone, and to him wholly is all given and aſcribed.
The Cares and troubles of a Crown, I cannot more fitly reſemble, than to the Druggs of an Apothecary perfumed with ſome Aromatical favour, or bitter Pills gilded over, by which they are made acceptable or leſs offenſive, when indeed they are bitter and unpleaſant. As for My own part, were it not for Conscience ſake to diſcharge the duty God hath laid upon Me, and to maintain his Glory, and keep you in ſafety, in my diſpoſition I ſhould be willing to Reſign that place I hold to any other, and be glad to be freed of the Glory with the labour. For it is not My deſire to Live and Reign longer, than My Life and Reign ſhall be for your good; and though you have had, and may have Mightier and Wiſer Princes ſitting on this Seat, yet you never had, nor ſhall have any that will love you better.
Thus Mr. Speaker, I commend Me to your Loyal Loves, and yours to My beſt Care and your further Counſels. And I pray you Mr. Controller and Mr. Secretary, and you of My Council, that before theſe Gentlemen depart into the Countrey, you bring them all to Kiſs My Hand.