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of his good and lawful people of the fame Neighbourhood, where such Leeds be done in due manner, or by Process made by Writ original at the Common Law, Nor that none be our of his Franchises, nor of his Free holds, unless he be duly brought in answer, and fore-judged of the fame by the Course of the Law. And if any thing be done against the fame, it shall be redressed and holden for none.
By 28. Edw. III. Chap. 3. It is Establisht, That no Man, of what Estate or Condition that he be, Thall be put out of Land or Tenement, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without being brought in answer by due process of Law.
And by 37. Edip III. Chap. 18. It says, Tho' it be contained in the Great Charter, That no Man be taken nor imprisoned, nor put out of his freehold, without process of the Law, nevertheless divers people make falle Suggestions to the King himself, as well for Malice as otherwise, whereof the King is often grieved, and divers of the Realm put in damage, against the Form of the same Charter : Wherefore it is ordained, That all they which make suggestion shall be sent with the same suggestions before the Chancellor, Treasurer and his Grand Council, and that they there find Surety to pursue their suggestions, and incur the same pain that the other should have had if he were attainred, in case that his suggestions be found evil : And that then process of the Law be made against them without being taken and imprisoned against the Form of the laid Charter, and other Statutes.
In the 38. Edw. III. Chap. 9. is contained the Informers punishment, in these Words, It is
aflented, assented, That if he that maketh the complaint, cannot prove his Intent against the Defendant by the Process limited in the fame Article, he shall be commanded to Prison, there to abide till he hath made gree to the Party of his damages, and of the slander that he hath suffered by such occasion, and after shall make fine and ransome to the King. And the point contained in the same Arcicle, that the Plantiff shall incur the fame pain, which the other should have if he were attainted, shall be out in case that his suggestion be found untrue.
And still there is another Law made 42. Edw.III. chap. 3. In these Words : At the Request of the Commons, by their Petitions put forth in this Par > liament, to eschew the Michiefs and Damage done to divers of his Commons by false Accusers, which oftentimes have made their Accusations more for revenge, and singular benefit, than for the profit of the King or his people: which accused Perlons, some have been taken, and sometime caused to come before the Kings Council by Writ, and other. wise upon grievous pain against the Law. It is assented and accorded for the good Governance of the Commons, That no Man be put to answer without presentment before Justices, or Matter of Record, or by due process, and Writ original, according to the old Law of the Land. And if
any thing from henceforth be done to the contrary, it shall be void in the Law, and holden for errour.
These are Laws that are as much in force as any Statutes whatever, and ought to be as duly obferved: But I beseech you consider to what a degree they have been violated by the Privy Counsel: How have they sent for Gentlemen from all parts of the Nation, upon meer Flamms and Stories ? No Man could be quiet, but upon any groundless pretence away went a Messenger, to bring up that Man, not considering the great charge and trouble they put the Gentleman upon by it. I will men. rion only that of Sir Giles Gerrard; he was sent for up by a Messenger to answer to I know not what, a' bufmers about a Black Box, and who charged him with it : But when it came to be examined it proved nothing but Town talk, and what a pudder did they make ? In our Countrey when a Man makes a great ftir about a matter, and it 'ends in nothing that is significant, we tay, Billy boas found a Pin : So I pray what did this hurly burly of the Black Box end in, but nothing that was worth a straw? And to this mighty purpose Sir Giles was fetcht from his House in the Country: And several other Gentlemen have been thus ufed against Law and Reason. It's strange the Privy Council should not remember the Bill of Habeas Corpus, which passed in the laft Parliament, that might have brought to their remembrance these Laws that I have mentioned, and might further convince them how precious a thing we esteem our Liberty : It puts me in mind of the Petition of Right, and what I have heard and read after it was passed, how foon it was violated and broken.
The Privy Council has been very unjust to these Gentlemen whom they have molested by their Meffengers, in that they have not made their Accusers to find Sureties to make good their Accusations as the Law requires, 37. Edw. III. 18. for then idle Stories would not be so currant by reason of the Punishment inflicted on those falfe Accusers by 37. Edw. III. 18. and 38. Edw. IV. 9. which
Lawes are grounded upon the Word of God, Deuteronomie 19. chap. 18. and 19.ver. But now fuch Fellows ás are mentioned in the 37. Edw. JII. 18. and in 42. Edw. III. 3. who make their Accusation for Malice, or for Revenge, or singular benefit, more than for the Profit of the King, or his Feople; these I say, shall be allowed to accuse honeft Men, though they cannot prove a word of what they say, and for these devices are we to be forc't from our Habitations to appear before the King and his Council
. Methinks it's hard play, and yet what remedy have we left but to sit down and be quiet ? But without doubt the Land intended a Redress in these Cales, for 25. Edw. III 4. says, that whatever is done contrary to that Law shall be redress’t and holden for none; but it does not tell us how satisfaction is to be had : But since it is left uncertain, I hope for the future we shall fo order it, that every Man may have relief against this great Oppression, and that I humbly move ; for if we let this alone, we leave an Arbitrary uncontroulable Power in the Privy Council, which will never stop till it has made the Law subject to them.
But I have heard it objected, that if this Power of sending for People be not allowed to the Privy Council, then you put them in a worser condition than any Justice of Peace, becaufe by his Warrant he can send for any body in the County where he lives. I must in the first place deny this altogether; for the consequence is not true: In the next place, I say that the Law is the best Judge of this, whether the Privy Council ought to have such an unlimited Power, and what the Law has determined over and over again ought not to be dil
puted puted by us ; besides it is a thing of dangerous consequence to put Discretion into the Ballance with so many written Lawes which conserve so dear a thing as our Liberty.
But the Power of the Privy Council is not hereby made less than that of a Justice of Peace ; for a Justice of Peace it is to be supposed will not send out his Warrant but upon a just and reasonable ground: What Justice of Peace ever sent out a Warrant of the good Behaviour against any perfon, but he either first heard the party accused, (which is the juster way ) or else the matter was proved upon Oath? Or when was any warrant of the Peace issued out but it was grounded upon the Oath of him that demanded the Surety of Peace? And whatever Warrants or Precepts are granted by a Justice of Peace, they ought to be for just caules, or else he violates his Truft: So the Privy Council may upon a just Accufation send for any person, but without that they cannot, and therefore I do not see wherein a Justice of Peace has a greater power than the Privy Council, or if he had, yet it would not be so great a Mischief, for he can only send for any person that is in the County; but the Privy Council are not limited to this or that County, but their power extends all over England.
But besides, it is unjust to be punisht without a cause, and restraint or being debarrd of Liberty is a punishment, and whoever he be that would have the Privy Council to exercise this Power, when he has known what it is to be brought up by a Messenger npon an Idle Story, let him then tell me how he likes it, and answer me if he