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❧ By the King.

WEe haue (before this time) made knowen to our Subiects vpon diuers occasions, that we haue receiued so great contentment in their generall conformitie & submission to all such courses, as might best establish the possession of this Crowne, ac­cording to the right of our Succession, as it would euer nourish in vs an earnest desire to shewe our selues carefull in all things, to preserue their greatest affection, and to answere that expectati­on, which (by their ioyfull maner of receiuing vs) Wee perceiued they had conceiued of our gouernment. Whereof, as we well know, that Princes cannot yeeld, more generall, more cleare, or profitable proofe to their people, then by redressing abuses, wherewith they finde their Subiects iustly grieued, either in constitution, or administration of their Lawes in beeing, or by seeking to establish newe Lawes for them, agreeable to the rules of Iustice, whensoeuer time doth discouer any defects in the former Policy, or when ac­cidents in the State of any Common wealth require new ordinances: So seeing both these things (which are of so great moment in a State) haue accustomed to bee considered and or­dered (as in this, so in other well gouerned Common wealths) by a Lawfull assembly of the three Estates of the Realme, commonly called The Parliament; We were desirous to haue summoned them long since for that purpose, if the Infection (reigning in the City of London and other places of our Kingdome) would haue permitted the Concourse of so great a multi­tude into one place, as that Assembly must necessarily bring with it. Which great Contagion being now by the goodnesse of God abated, and likely (as we hope) to be shortly quite extin­guished in and about the sayd City, Wee haue resolued to hold a Parliament at our Citie of Westminster, as soone as we shall finde, that the same may be done without the perill afore­said. In which, as God doth know, that we haue nothing to propound for satisfaction of any priuate desire, or particular profite of our owne, but meerely and onely to consult and resolue with our louing Subiects of all those things, which may best establish the Publike good, with the generall safety and tranquillity of this Realme: (on which it hath pleased God to multiply so many blessings) so to the intent that this assembly of our Parliament (being grounded vpon so syncere an intent on our part) may be matched with a like integritie on theirs, And as it is the first in our Raigne, so to be found not onely worthy of the High Title it beareth, to be the Highest Counsell of the Kingdome, but also to be a President for hereafter of the true vse of Parliaments, We haue bethought our selfe, of as many wayes and meanes, as [Page]may be, to preuent those inconueniences, which dayly arise and multiply by the peruerting of those ancient good orders, which were deuised by the wisedome of former times to bee obser­ued in calling of Parliaments.

Amongst which, because there is no one point of greater consequence, then the well chusing of Knights and Burgesses, who as they doe present the body of the third Estate, so being eligible by multitude there are often many vnfit persons appointed for that seruice: And where it is so well knowen to euery priuate man of wit and iudgement (much more to Vs who haue had so long experience of Kingly Gouernment) how ill effects doe follow, when such as haue to doe in matters of Commonwealth, shall come to that great and Common Councel, with other then publike minds, syncere, and voyd of any factious humour or depen­dencie: We doe hereby straightly charge and admonish all persons interessed in the choise of Knights for the Shires, First, that the Knights for the County be selected out of the princi­pall Knights or Gentlemen of sufficient hability within that Countie wherein they are cho­sen: And for the Burgesses, that choice be made of men of sufficiency and discretion without any partiall respects, or factious combination, which alwayes breed suspitions, that more care is taken to compasse priuate ends, then to prouide for making good and wholesome Lawes for the Realme. And because it is no more possible to drawe sound Counsels and re­solutions from inconsiderate or insufficient spirits, then to haue a sound or healthfull body composed of weake and imperfect members: We do likewise admonish all persons to whom it doth appertaine, That seeing the dealing in causes of Parliament, requires conueniencie of yeeres and experience, there may be great heede taken by all those that will be accompted louers of their Countrey, That both Knights and Burgesses may be chosen accordingly, without desire in any particuler men to please parents or friends, that often speake for their children or kinne, though they bee very young, and little hable to discerne what Lawes are fit to bind a Common-wealth, To the consultation whereof those persons would be selected principally, of whose grauity and modest conuersation men are likest generally to conceiue best opinion.

Next and about all things, concerning that one of the maine Pillars of this Estate, is the preseruation of Vnitie in the profession of sincere Religion of Almighty God: We doe also ad­monish, that there be great care taken, to auoyd the choice of any persons either noted for their Superstitious blindenesse one way, or for their turbulent humors other wayes: because their disorderly and vnquiet Spirits, will disturbe all the discreet and modest proceeding in that greatest and grauest Councill. Further wee doe command, that an expresse care bee had, that there be not chosen any persons Banquerupts or Outlawed, but men of knowen good behauiour and sufficient liuelyhood, and such as are not onely taxed to the payment of Subsidies and other like charges, but also haue ordinarily payed and satisfied the same, Nothing being more absurd in any Common wealth, then to permit those to haue free voices for Lawe making, by whose owne Actes they are exempted from the Lawes protection. Next, that all Shiriffes be charged that they doe not direct any Precept for electing and re­turning of any Burgesses to or for any ancient Borough towne within their Counties, be­ing so vtterly ruined and decayed, that there are not sufficient Resiants to make such choice, and of whom lawfull election may be made, Also to charge all Cities and Boroughes, and the inhabitants of the same, that none of them seale any Blanckes, referring or leauing to any others to insert the names of any Citizens or Burgesses, to serue for any such Citie or Bo­rough, but that the Inhabitants of euery such Citie or Borough, doe make open and free Election according to the Lawe, and set downe the names of the persons whom they choose, before they seale the Certificate.

Furthermore We notifie by these Presents, that all Retournes and Certificats of Knights, Citizens and Burgesses, ought and are to be brought to the Chancery, and there to be filed of Record. And if any shall be found to be made contrary to this Proclamation, the same is to be reiected as vnlawfull and insufficient, and the Citie or Borough to be fined for the same. And if it be found that they haue committed any grosse or wilfull default and contempt in their Election, Retourne, or Certificate, That then their Liberties according to the Lawe, are to be seized into our handes, as forfeited. And if any person take vpon him the place of a Knight, Citizen, or Burgesse, not being duely Elected, Retourned, and sworne according to the Lawes and Statutes in that behalfe prouided, and according to the purport, effect and true meaning of this our Proclamation, Then euery person so offending to bee fined and im­prisoned for the same.

Wee doe also hereby giue warning to the Lords and others that are to serue in this Par­liament, to haue speciall care, (as they tender our displeasure) That they admitte none to haue the name or countenance of their seruants & attendants, during the Parliament, seeing such questions of Priuiledge haue in times past consumed a great part of the time appoynted for the Parliament, wherby the seruice for the Realme hath bene hindered, and the Subiects drawen to great charges and expences, by attending much longer then otherwise needed.

Hauing at this time bene the more carefull to set downe a particular Order & forewarning for preuenting of these seuerall abuses afore mentioned, that thereby there may arise at that Publike and solemne meeting, such a Comely proportion and laudable Sympathy betweene the honourable, iust, and necessarie Lawes that are to be made and established at this Parli­ament, and the commendable discretion, with all other wise and vertuous qualities meete for such persons as are to be the members and assisters of Vs, in so honourable, lawfull, and necessary an Action, as may both put Vs, and all our good Subiects in a sure expectation of a happy issue to follow thereupon: Wee doubt not but these our Directions thus made ma­nifest, shall be duely obserued, according to the important consequence thereof, and the perill of our heauie displeasure to all those that shall offend in the contrary.

God saue the King.

❧ Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Maiestie. Anno 1603.

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