Journal of Parliamentary Speeches on the Petition of Right in 1628

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The manuscript is entitled A Journall booke conteyning the true copies and relations of all the Arguments of the Petition of Right and of all the materiall speeches and weighty causes debated by the House of Commons in the Parliament beganne and holden att Westminster 17o Martii 1627[/8], of wch the most materiall are of Records in the Commons House of Parliament. The original seventeenth-century volume, of 257 folios, has been added to early in the eighteenth century by the insertion of many additional speeches and debates.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles I's third Parliament in four years met on 17 March 1628. Members immediately began to air their grievances over their treatment by the King. Refusal by earlier parliaments to finance the King's unpopular foreign policy had caused his government to exact forced loans and to quarter troops in subjects' houses as an economy measure. Arbitrary arrest and imprisonment for opposing these policies had produced in Parliament a violent hostility to Charles and his favourite, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. The result was the Petition of Right, a statement of civil liberties sent by the English Parliament to Charles I as a prerequisite to any grant of taxation. The petition asserted four fundamental principles: that no taxes could be levied without consent of Parliament; no subject could be imprisoned without cause shown (reaffirmation of the right of habeas corpus); no soldiers could be quartered upon the citizenry; martial law could not be used in time of peace. Although Charles I was vehemently opposed to anything that would limit his prerogative, he eventually consented to the petition in June 1628, in return for badly needed subsidies.

Although the petition was of importance as a safeguard of civil liberties, its spirit was soon violated by Charles, who continued to collect tonnage and poundage duties without Parliament's authorization and to prosecute citizens in an arbitrary manner.

Conditions Governing Access

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from the bookseller Bernard Halliday in February 1930.

Note

Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928-35 (English MS 522).

Custodial History

The manuscript contains a bookplate of the Earl of Aylesford at Packington Hall, Warwickshire.

Related Material

The JRUL also holds an account of proceedings in the turbulent Parliamentary session of 1628/9, and related documents (ref.: GB 133 Eng MS 942).