The speech or declaration of John Pym, Esq. &c.
Pym, John, 1584-1643.
Page  [unnumbered]Page  1



MAny dayes have beene spent in maintenance of the Impeachment of the Earle of Strafford, by the House of Commons, whereby he stands charged with High Treason: And your Lord∣ships have heard his Defence with Patience and with as much favour as Iustice would al∣low: We have passed through our Evidence, and the Result of all this is, that it remaines clearly proved, That the Earle of Strafford hath indeavoured by his words, actions, and counsells, to subvert the Fundamentall Lawes of England and Ireland, and to introduce an Arbitrary, and Tyrannicall Government.

This is the envenomed Arrow for which he inquired in the beginning of his Replication this day, which hath infected all his Blood: This is that Intoxicating Cup, (to use his owne Meta∣phor) which hath tainted his Iudgement, and poisoned his Heart: Page  2 From hence was infused that Specificall Difference which tur∣ned his Speeches, his Actions, his Counsels into Treason; Not Cumulative, as he exprest it, as if many Misdemeanours could make one, Treason; but Formally and Essentially. It is the End that doth enforme Actions, and doth specificate the nature of them, making not onely criminall, but even indifferent words and actions to be Treason, being done and spoken with a Trea∣sonable intention.

That which is given to mee in charge is to shew the quality of the offence, how hainous it is in the nature, how mischievous in the effect of it; which will best appeare if it be examined by that Law, to which he himselfe appealed, that universall, that supreame Law, Salus populi: This is the Element of all Lawes, out of which they are derived; the End of all Laws, to which they are designed, and in which they, are perfected. How farre it stands in opposition to this Law, I shall endevour to shew in some Considerations which I shall present to your Lordships, all arising out of the Evidence which hath beene opened.

[ 1] The first is this: It is an offence comprehending all other offences; here you shall finde severall Treasons, Murthers, Ra∣pines, Oppressions, Perjuries.

The Earth hath a Seminary vertue, whereby it doth produce all Herbs and Plants, and other Vegetables: There is in this Crime, a Seminary of all Evills hurtfull to a State; and if you consider the Reasons of it, it must needs be so: The Law is that which puts a difference betwixt good and evill, betwixt just and unjust; If you take away the Law, all things will fall into a con∣fusion, every man will become a Law to himselfe, which in the depraved condition of humane nature, must needs produce ma∣ny great enormities: Lust will become a Law, and Envy will become a Law, Covetousnesse and Ambition will become Lawes; and what dictates, what decisions such Lawes will pro∣duce, may easily be discerned in the late Government of Ireland: The Law hath a power to prevent, to restraine, to repaire evills; without this, all kind of mischiefes and distempers will breake in upon a State.

Page  3It is the Law that doth intitle the King to the Allegeance and service of his people, it intitles the people to the protection and justice of the King. It is God alone who subsists by him∣selfe, all other things subsist in a mutuall dependence and rela∣tion. Hee was a wise man that said, that the King subsisted by the field that is tilled: It is the labour of the people that sup∣ports the Crowne: If you take away the protection of the King, the vigour and cheerefulnesse of Alleg•••• will be taken away though the Obligation remaine.

The Law is the Boundary, the Measure betwixt the Kings Prerogative, and the peoples Liberty: Whiles these move in their owne Orbe, they are a support and security to one ano∣ther; The Prerogative a cover and defence to the Liberty of the people, and the people by their Liberty are enabled to be a foundation to the Prerogative; but if these bounds be so re∣moved, that they enter into contestation and conflict, one of these mischiefes must needs ensue: If the Prerogative of the King overwhelme the Liberty of the people, it will be turned into Tyranny; if Liberty undermine the Prerogative, it will grow into Anarchy,

The Law is the safegard, the custody of all private interest: Your Honours, your Lives, your Liberties and estates are all in the keeping of the Law; without this every man hath a like right to any thing, and this is the condition into which the Irish were brought by the Earle of Strafford: And the reason which hee gave for it, hath more mischiefe in it than the thing it selfe, They were a Conquered Nation. There cannot be a word more pregnant & fruitfull in Treason, than that word is: There are few Nations in the world that have not bin conquered; and no doubt but the Conqueror may give what Lawes he please to those that are conquered: But if the succeeding Pacts and Agreements doe not limit and restraine that right, what people can be secure? England hath been conquered, and Wales hath been conquered, and by this reason will be in little better case than Ireland. If the King by the Right of a Conqueror gives Laws to his people, shall not the people by the same reason be restored to the right of the conquered, to recover their liberty if they can? What can be more hurtfull, more pernitious to both, then such propositions at these? Page  4 And in these particulars is determined the first Consideration.

[ 2] The second Consideration is this: This Arbitrary power is dangerous to the Kings Person, and dangerous to his Crowne: It is apt to cherish ambition, usurpation, and oppression in great men, and to beget sedition and discontent in the People; and both these have been, and in reason must ever be causes of great trouble and ateration to Princes and States.

If the Histories of those Easterne Countries be perused, where Princes order their affaires according to the mischievous prin∣ciples of the E. of Strafford, loose and absolved from all Rules of Government, they will be found to be frequent in com∣bustions, full of Massacres, and of the tragicall ends of Princes. If any man shall looke into our owne Stories, in the times when the Lawes were most neglected, he shall find them full of Com∣motions, of Civill distempers; whereby the Kings that then reigned, were alwayes kept in want and distresse; the people consumed with Civill warres: and by such wicked Counsells as these, some of our Princes have beene brought to such mise∣rable ends, as no honest heart can remember without horrour, and earnest Prayer, that it may never be so againe.

[ 3] The third Consideration is this, The subversion of the Lawes; And this arbitrary power, as it is dangerous to the Kings Per∣son and to his Crowne, so is it in other respects very prejudi∣ciall to his Majesty in his Honour, Profit, and greatnesse; and yet these are the gildings and paintings that are put upon such Counsels; These are for your Honour, for your Service; where∣as in truth they are contrary to both: But if I shall take off this varnish, I hope they shall then appeare in their owne native deformity, and therefore I desire to consider them by these Rules.

It cannot be for the honour of a King, that his sacred au∣thority should be used in the practise of in justice & oppression; that his Name should be applyed to patronize such horrid crimes, as have beene represented in Evidence against the Earle of Strafford; and yet how frequently, how presumptuously his Commands, his Letters have beene vouched throughout the course of this Defence, your Lordships have heard. When the Page  5 Iudges doe justice, it is the Kings Iustice, and this is for his ho¦nour, because he is the Fountaine of Iustice: but when they doe injustice, the offence is their owne: But those Officers and Ministers of the King, who are most officious in the exercise of this Arbitrary power, they doe it commonly for their advan∣tage; and when they are questioned for it, then they fly to the Kings interest, to his direction: And truly my Lords, this is a very unequall distribution for the King, that the dishonour of evill courses should be cast upon him, and they to have the ad∣vantage.

The prejudice which it brings to him in regard of his profit, is no lesse apparant: It deprives him of the most beneficiall, and most certaine Revenue of his Crowne, that is, the voluntary aids and supplies of his people; his other Revenues, consisting of goodly Demeanes, and great Manors, have by Grants beene alienated from the Crowne, and are now exceedingly dimini∣shed and impaired: But this Revenue it cannot be sold, it can∣not be burdened with any Pensions or Annuities, but comes in∣tirely to the Crowne. It is now almost fifteene yeeres since his Majesty had any assistance from his people; and these illegall wayes of supplying the King were never prest with more vio∣lence, and art, then they have beene in this time; and yet I may upon very good grounds affirme, that in the last fifteene yeeres of Queene Elizabeth, she received more by the Bounty and Affection of her Subjects, then hath come to His Majestes Cof∣fers by all the inordinate and rigorous courses which have been taken. And as those Supplies were more beneficiall in the Re∣ceipt of them, so were they like in the use and imployment of them.

Another way of prejudice to his Majesties profit, is this: Such Arbitrary courses exhaust the people, and disable them, when there shall be occasion, to give such plentifull supplyes, as otherwise they would doe. I shall need no other proofe of this, then the Irish Government under my L. of Strafford, where the wealth of the kingdome is so consumed by those horrible exacti∣ons and burdens, that it is thought the Subsidies lately granted will amount to little more then halfe the proportion of the last Subsidies. The two former wayes are hurtfull to the Kings pro∣fit, Page  6 in that respect which they call Luceum-Cessans, by dimi∣nishing his receipts; But there is a third, fuller of mischiefe, and it is in that respect which they call Damnum emergens, by in∣creasing his disbursements: Such irregular and exhorbitant attempts upon the Liberties of the people, are apt to produce such miserable distractions and distempers, as will put the King and kingdomes to such vast expences and losses in a short time, as will not be recovered in many yeeres: Wee need not goe farre to seeke a proofe of this, these two last yeares will be a sufficient evidence, within which time I assure my selfe, it may be proved, that more Treasure hath beene wasted, more losse sustained by his Majesty and his Subjects, then was spent by Queene Elizabeth in all the War of Tyrone, and in those many brave Attempts against the King of Spaine, and the royall assi∣stance which she gave to France, and the Low-Countries, during all her Reigne.

As for Greatnesse, this Arbitrary power is apt to hinder and impaire it, not onely at home, but abroad. A kingdome is a so∣ciety of men conjoyned under one Government, for the com∣mon good: The World is a society of kindomes and States. The Kings greatnesse consists not onely in his Dominion over his Subjects at home, but in the influence which hee hath upon States abroad, That he should bee great even among Kings, and by his wisedome and authority so to incline and dispose the affaires of oher States and Nations, and those great events which fall out in the World, as shall be for the good of Man∣kind, and for the peculiar advantage of his owne people. This is the most glorious, and magnificent greatnesse, to be able to re∣lieve distressed Princes, to support his owne friends and Allies, to prevent the ambitious designes of other Kings; and how much this Kingdome hath beene impaired in this kinde, by the late mischievous counsels your Lordships best know, who at a neere distance, and with a more cleare sight, doe appre∣hend these publique and great affaires, then I can doe. Yet this much I dare boldly say, that if his Majestie had not with great wisedome and goodnesse forsaken that way wherein the Earle of Strafford had put him, we should within a short time have beene brought into that miserable condition, as to have beene vselesse to our friends, contemptible to our enemies, Page  7 and uncapable of undertaking any great Designe either at home or abroad.

A fourth Consideration is, That this Arbitrary and Tyranni∣call Power, which the Earle of Strafford did exercise in his owne person, and to which he did advise his Majesty, is inconsistent with the Peace; the Wealth, the Prosperity of a Nation; It is destructive to Iustice, the Mother of Peace; to Industry, the spring of Wealth; to Valour, which is the active vertue where∣by the prosperity of a Nation can onely be procured, confirmed and inlarged.

It is not onely apt to take away Peace, and so intangle the Nation with Warres, but doth corrupt Peace, and puts such a malignity into it, as produceth the Effects of warre. We need seeke no other proofe of this, but the Earle of Straffords Govern∣ment, where the Irish, both Nobility and others, had as little security of their Persons or Estates in this peaceable time, as if the Kingdome had beene under the rage and fury of warre.

And as for Industry and Valour, who will take paines for that, which when hee hath gotten, is not his owne? Or who fight for that wherein he hath no other interest, but such as is sub∣ject to the will of another? The Ancient encouragement to men that were to defend their Countries was this, That they were to hazard their Person, pro Aris & Focis, for their Re∣ligion, and for their Houses; But by this Arbitrary way which was practised in Ireland, and counselled here, no man had any certainty, either of Religion, or of his House, or any thing else to be his owne; But besides this, such Arbitrary cour∣ses have an ill operation upon the courage of a Nation, by embasing the hearts of the people: A servile condition doth for the most part beget in men a slavish temper and dispo∣sition. Those that live so much under the Whip and the Pil∣lory, and such servile Engines, as were frequently used by the Earle of Strafford, they may have the dregs of valor, sullennesse, and stubbornnesse, which may make them prone to Mutinies, and discontents; but those Noble and gallant affections, which put men on brave Designes and Attempts for the preservation or inlargement of a Kingdome, they are hardly capable of. Shall it be Treason to embase the Kings Coyne, though but a piece Page  8 of twelve-pence, or six-pence, and must it not needs be the effect of a greater Treason, to embase the spirits of his Subjects, and to set a stamp and Character of servitude upon them, whereby they shall be disabled to doe any thing for the service of the King or Common-wealth?

The fifth Consideration is this, That the exercise of this Ar∣btrary Government, in times of sudden danger, by the inva∣sion of an enemy, will disable his Majesty to preserve himselfe and his Subjects from that danger. This is the only pretence by which the Earle of Strafford, and such other mischievous Coun∣sellours would induce his Majesty to make use of it; and if it be unfit for such an occasion, I know nothing that can be alledged in maintenance of it.

When warre threatens a Kingdome by the comming of a forraine Enemy, it is no time then to discontent the people, to make them weary of the present Government and more incline∣able to a Change; The supplies which are to come in this way, will be unready, uncertain; there can be no assurance of them, no dependence upon them, either for time or proportion: And if some money be gotten in such a way, the Distractions, Divisi∣ons, Distempers, which this course is apt to produce, will be more prejudiciall to the publique safety, than the supply can advantagious to it; and of this we have had sufficient experience the last Summer.

The sixt, That this crime of subverting the Lawes, and intro∣ducing an Arbitrary and Tyrannicall Government, is contrary to to the Pact and Covenant betwixt the King and his people. That which was spoken of before, was the legall union of Alle∣geance and Protection; this is a personall union by mutuall agreement and stipulation, confirmed by oath on both sides: The King and his people are obliged to one another in the neerest relations; He is a Father, and a childe is called in Law, Pars Patris: He is the Husband of the Common-wealth, they have the same interests, they are inseparable in their condition, be it good or evill; He is the Head, they are the Body; there is such an incorporation as cannot be dissolved without the de∣struction of both.

Page  9When Iustice Thorpe, in Edward the thirds time, was by the Parliament condemned to death for Bribery, the reason of that judgement is given, because he had broken the Kings Oath, not that he had broken his owne oath, but that hee had broken the Kings oath, that solemne and great obligation, which is the secu∣rity of the whole Kingdome: If for a Iudge to take a small summe in a private cause, was adjudged Capitall, how much greater was this offence, whereby the Earle of Strafford hath broken the Kings Oath in the whole course of his government in Ireland, to the prejudice of so many of his Majesties Subjects, in their Lives, Liberties, and Estates, and to the danger of all the rest?

The Doctrine of the Papists, Fides non est servanda cum Hae∣reticis, is an abominable Doctrine; yet that other Tenet more peculiar to the Iesuits is more pernicious, whereby Subjects are discharged from their oath of Allegeance to their Prince when∣soever the Pope pleaseth; This may be added to make the third no lesse mischievous and destructive to humane society, then either of the rest; That the King is not bound by that oath which he hath taken to observe the Lawes of the Kingdome, but may when he sees cause, lay Taxes and Burthens upon them with∣out their consent, contrary to the Lawes and Liberties of the Kingdome. This hath beene preached and published by divers; And this is that which hath beene practised in Ireland by the Earle of Strafford, in his government there, and endevoured to be brought into England, by his Counsell here.

[ 7] The seventh is this; It is an offence that is contrary to the end of Government; The end of Government was to prevent op∣pressions; to limit and restraine the excessive power and vio∣lence of great men, to open the passages of Iustice with indiffe∣rency towards all; This Arbitrary power is apt to induce and incourage all kinde of insolencies.

Another end of Government, is to preserve men in their Estates, to secure them in their Lives and Liberties; but if this Designe had taken effect, and could have beene setled in Eng∣land, as it was practised in Ireland, no man would have had more certainty in his owne, then power would have allowed him: but these two have been spoken of before, there are two behind more important, which have not yet beene touched.

Page  10It is the end of Governement, that vertue should be cherisht, vice supprest; but where this Arbitrary and unlimited power is set up, a way is open not onely for the security, but for the advancement and incouragement of evill; Such men as are ap∣test for the execution and maintenance of this Power, are onely capable of preferment; and others who will not be instruments of any unjust commands, who make a conscience to doe nothing against the Lawes of the Kingdome, and liberties of the Subject, are not onely not passable for imployment, but subject to much jealousie and danger.

It is the end of Government, that all accidents and events, all Counsells and Designes should be improved to the publique good: But this Arbitrarie Power is apt to dispose all to the maintenance of it selfe. The wisdome of the Counsell Table, the Authority of the Courts of Iustice, the industry of all the Officers of the Crowne have beene most carefully exercised in this; the Learning of our Divines, the Iurisdiction of our Bi∣shops have beene moulded and disposed to the same effect, which though it were begun before the E. of Straffords Imploy∣ment, yet it hath beene exceedingly furthered and advanced by him.

Vnder this colour and pretence of maintaining the Kings Power and Prerogative many dangerous practises against the peace and safetie of this kingdome have beene undertaken and promoted. The increase of Popery, and the favours and incou∣ragement of Papists have beene, and still are a great grievance and danger to the Kingdome: The innovations in matters of Religion, the usurpations of the Clergie, the manifold burdens and taxations upon the people, have beene a great cause of our present distempers and disorders; and yet those who have beene chiefe Furtherers and Actors of such Mischiefes, have had their Credit and Authority from this, That they were forward to maintaine this Power. The E. of Strafford had the first rise of his greatnesse from this, and in his Apologie and Defence, as your Lordships have heard, this hath had a maine part.

The Royall Power, and Majestie of Kings, is most glorious in Page  11 the prosperitie and happinesse of the people; the perfection of all things consists in the end for which they were ordained, God onely is his owne end, all other things have a further end beyond themselves, in attaining whereof their owne happinesse consists: If the meanes and the end be set in opposition to one a∣nother, it must needs cause an impotency and defect of both.

[ 8] The eight Consideration is, The vanitie and absurdity of those excuses and justifications which he made for himselfe, whereof divers particulars have been mentioned in the course of his De∣fence.

1. That he is a Counsellor, and might not be questioned for any thing which he advised according to his conscience; The ground is true, there is a liberty belongs to Counsellors, and no∣thing corrupts Counsels more then Fear; Hee that will have the priviledge of a Counsellor, must keepe within the iust bounds of a Counsellor; those matters are the proper subiects of Counsell, which in their times and occasions, may be good or beneficiall to the King or Common-wealth; But such treasons as these, the sub∣version of the Lawes, violation of Liberties, they can never be good, or iustifiable by any circumstance, or occasion; and therefore his being a Counsellor, makes his fault much more hainous, as being committed against a greater Trust, and in a way of much mischiefe and danger, lest his Maiesties conscience and iudge∣ment (upon which the whole course and frame of his Govern∣ment doe much depend) should be poysoned and infected with such wicked principles and designes: And this hee hath endeavoured to doe, which by all Lawes, and in all times hath in this Kingdome beene reckoned a Crime of an High Nature.

2. Hee labours to interest your Lordships in his cause, by al∣ledging, It may be dangerous to your selves, and your Poste∣rity, who by your birth are fittest to be neare his Maiesty, in places of trust and Authority, if you should be subiect to be questioned for matters delivered in Counsell. To this was an∣swered, that it was hoped their Lordships would rather La∣bour to secure themselves, and their posteritie, in the exercise of their vertues, then of their vices, that so they might together Page  12 with their owne honour and greatnesse, preserve the honour and greatnesse, both of the King and kingdome.

3. Another excuse was this, that whatsoever he hath spoken was out of a good intention; Sometimes good and evill, truth and falshood lie so neare together, that they are hardly to be distinguished: Matters hurtfull and dangerous may be accompa∣nied with such circumstances as may make it appeare usefull and convenient, and in all such cases, good intention will justifie e∣vill Counsell; But where the matters propounded are evill in their owne nature, such as the matters are wherewith the Earle of Strafford is charged, to breake a publique faith, to subvert Laws and Government, they can never be justified by any intentions, how speeches, or good soever they be pretended.

4. Hee alledgeth it was a time of great necessitie and danger, when such counsels were necessarie for preservation of the State. Necessitie hath beene spoken of before, as it relates to the Cause; now it is considered as it relates to the Person; if there were any necessitie, it was of his owne making; he by his evill counsell had brought the King into a necessitie, and by no Rules of Iustice, can be allowed to gaine this advantage by his owne fault, as to make that a ground of his justification, which is a great part of his offence.

5. He hath often insinuated this, That it was for his Majesties service in maintenance of that Soveraigne Power with which he is intrusted by God for the good of his people. The Answer is this, No doubt but that Soveraigne Power wherewith his Majestie is intrusted for the publique good, hath many glorious effects, the better to inable him thereunto; But without doubt this is none of them, That by his owne will he may lay any Taxe or Imposition upon his people without their consent in Parlia∣ment. This hath now been five times adjudged by both Houses: In the Case of the Loanes, In condemning the Commission of Excise, In the Resolution upon the Saving offered to be added to the Petition of Right, In the sentence against Manwaring, and now lately, In condemning the Shipmoney; And if the So∣veraigne power of the King can produce no such effect as this, the Allegation of it is an Aggravation, and no Diminution of his Page  13 offence, because thereby he doth labour to interest the King a∣gainst the just grievance and complaint of the People.

6. This Counsell was propounded with divers limitations, and Provisions; for se•••ing and repairing the libertie of the people. This implies a contradiction to maintaine an Arbitrary and absolute Power, and yet to restraine it with limitations, and provisions, for even those limitations and provisions will be sub∣ject to the same absolute Power, and to be dispensed in such manner, and at such time, as it selfe shall determine; let the grie∣vances and oppressions be never so heavy, the Subject is left with∣out all remedie, but at his Majesties owne pleasure.

7 He alledgeth, they were but words, and no effect followed. This needs no answer, but that the miserable distempers into which he hath brought all the three Kingdomes, will be evidence sufficient that his wicked Counsels have had such mischievous effects within these two or three last yeeres, that many yeeres peace will hardly repaire those losses, and other great mischiefes which the Common-wealth hath sustained.

These excuses have been collected out of the severall parts of his Defence; perchance some others are omitted, which I doubt not have beene answered by some of my Collegues, and are of no importance, either to perplex or to hinder your Lordships judge∣ment, touching the hainousnesse of this Crime.

The ninth Consideration is this, That if this be Treason, in the nature of it, it doth exceed all other Treasons in this, that in the Designe, and endeavour of the Author, it was to be a constant & permanent Treason; other Treasons transient, as being confined within those particular Actions and Proportions wherein they did consist, and those being past, the Treason ceaseth.

The Powder-treason was full of horror and malignity, yet it is past many yeeres since; The murder of that Magnanimous and glorious King, Henry the fourth of France, was a great and hor∣rid Treason; And so were those manifold attempts against Qu. Elizabeth of blessed memory; but they are long since past, the Detestation of them onely remaines in Histories, and in the Page  14 minds of men; and will ever remaine; But this Treason, if it had taken effect, was to be a standing, perpetuall Treason, which would have beene in continuall act, not determined within one time or age, but transmitted to Posterity, even from one gene∣ration to another.

[ 10] The tenth consideration is this, That as it is a Crime odious in the nature of it, so it is odious in the judgement and estimation of the Law; to alter the setled frame and constitution of Govern∣ment, is Treason in any estate; The Lawes whereby all other parts of a Kingdome are preserved, should be very vaine and defective, if they had not a power to secure and preserve themselves.

The forfeitures inflicted for Treason by our Law, are of Life, Honor, and Estate, even all that can be forfeited, and this Prisoner having committed so many Treasons, although he should pay all these forfeitures, will be still a Debtor to the Common-wealth: Nothing can be more equall, then that hee should perish by the Iustice of that Law which hee would have subverted; Neither will this be a new way of blood; There are markes enough to trace this Law to the very originall of this Kingdome: And if it hath not beene put in execution, as he allegeth, this 240. yeers, it was not for want of Law, but that all that time hath not bred a man bold enough to commit such Crimes as these; which is a circumstance much aggravating his offence, and making him no whit lesse liable to punishment, because he is the onely man that in so long a time hath ventured upon such a Treason as this.

It belongs to the charge of another to make it appeare to your Lordships, that the Crimes and offences proved against the Earle of Strafford, are High Treason by the Lawes and Statutes of this Realme, whose learning and other abilities are much bet∣ter for that service. But for the time and manner of performing this, we are to resort to the Direction of the house of Commons, having in this which is already done, dispatched all those in∣structions which we have received; and concerning further pro∣ceedings, for clearing all Questions and Objections in Law, your Lordships will heare from the House of Commons in con∣venient time.

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