PHELIPS, Sir Robert (1585/6-1638), of Montacute, Som. and Drury Lane, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

b. c.1585/6, 1st s. of Sir Edward Phelips* and 1st w. Margaret, da. of Robert Newdigate of Newdigate, Surr.1 educ. M. Temple 1606; travelled abroad (France) 1608.2 m. aft. 27 June 1602, Bridget, da. of (Sir) Thomas Gorges† of Longford Castle, Wilts., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. (2 d.v.p.).3 kntd. 23 July 1603;4 suc. fa. 1614.5 d. 13 Apr. 1638.6 sig. Ro[bert] Phelipps.

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Hants and Wilts. 1605, Som. 1610, 1615, 1625;7 col. militia ft. Som. 1608-16, 1625-6;8 j.p. and custos rot. Som. 1611-14, j.p. 1616-26, 1628-d.;9 commr. aid, Som. 1612;10 steward, duchy of Cornw. manors, Som. 1615-d.;11 high steward, Ilchester, Som. 1615-d.;12 dep. lt. Som. 1616-25, 1628-d.;13 commr. oyer and terminer, Western circ. 1617-25, 1629-d.;14 commr. subsidy, Som. 1621-2, 1624, enclosure, Sedgemoor, Som. 1628;15 commr. knighthood compositions, Som. 1630-1;16 recorder, Langport, Som. 1632-d.17


One of the leading parliamentarians of his age, Sir Robert Phelips was remembered by Sir John Oglander* as ‘the best orator I ever heard’, a judgment amplified by (Sir) John Eliot*: ‘there was in this gentleman a natural grace of oratory, a moving and Nestorian way of rhetoric. A choice store he had and elegance of words, readiness and dexterity in fancy and conception, a voice and pronunciation of much sweetness’. The most persuasive aspect of Phelips’s delivery, Eliot insisted, was his ability to extemporize upon any subject, a gift valued highly by the Commons, ‘for in that place always premeditation is an error’. The impact of such off-the-cuff eloquence can be seen below in the privilege debate of 5 Dec. 1621, the foreign policy debate of 1 Mar. 1624, or the supply debate of 30 June 1625.18

In addition to his rhetorical gifts, Phelips demonstrated considerable managerial skills in helping to secure the prosecution of corrupt judges and the revocation of monopoly patents in 1621, and in promoting the passage of the Petition of Right in 1628. However, he was more of a virtuoso than a team player, particularly with his enthusiastic but often ill-coordinated interventions on behalf of the ‘patriot’ cause in 1624; he was also one of the few MPs of his generation who was prepared to disregard precedent in order to achieve a political goal. While Phelips was nowhere near as quick-tempered as Eliot, he was prepared to face confrontation over a key point of principle, regardless of the consequences: in December 1621 the Commons might well have sought a compromise over free speech in the absence of his determination; and his decision to speak out against compromise with the Crown’s agenda in August 1625 and February 1629 probably contributed to the early dissolutions on these occasions. There is thus some justice in the observation of Tom Barnes, the historian of Caroline Somerset, that Phelips did ‘infinite damage to the institutions which ... it was his first duty to preserve’, although this is perhaps more true of his role in local politics than at Westminster.19

Given his prominence in St. Stephen’s chapel throughout the 1620s, Phelips’s failure to acquire some bureaucratic or Court position is remarkable. In 1621 he followed a high-risk strategy of obstructing first Buckingham and then the king, which led to his imprisonment, but the gamble paid off in 1623/4, when Buckingham had to bid for his assistance in managing the Commons. On the strength of this performance Phelips had imminent expectations of preferment at Court, but the frustration of these hopes after Charles’s accession left him free to pursue more obstructive courses in Parliament in 1625, which resulted in his exclusion from the 1626 session altogether. His low profile during the Forced Loan and his role in promoting a settlement of differences thereafter via the Petition of Right could have been expected to lead to further overtures from the government, but there is no evidence that any fresh offer was made, although Phelips worked his way back into favour at local level during the 1630s. His increasing opposition to Catholicism and Arminianism during the 1620s cannot have endeared him to the most influential Court factions of the Personal Rule, but he was clearly prepared to downplay these views in order to secure local office thereafter, and others such as Sir Henry Vane* held Court office during the Personal Rule despite having similar views. It is possible that Charles conceived a personal dislike of Phelips, who, if he had not died, might have acquired office in the early days of the Long Parliament alongside those other 1620s malcontents, Sir John Digby*, 1st earl of Bristol and Bishop John Williams.

I. Early Life

Phelips may have acquired his first parliamentary seat, at East Looe in 1604, on the interest of chief justice (Sir) John Popham†, custos rotulorum of Somerset and grandfather of the 1601 Member Sir John Hanham*; he was also distantly related to the local landowner, Sir Reginald Mohun (1st bt.*). Given his later prominence, he played a relatively minor part in the proceedings of the first Jacobean Parliament. This was doubtless due to his youth, but it may also have owed something to the restraining influence of his father’s presence in the Speaker’s chair. In the 1604 session he was named to the committee for the bill barring outlaws from sitting in Parliament (31 Mar.) and another for the estate bill of his Somerset neighbour, Sir John Rodney* (26 April). He also took charge of the bill to codify the game laws (26 Apr.), which was rejected at its third reading on 19 May.20 In the second session he was appointed to attend the conference of 6 Feb. 1606 on the recusancy laws, and was one of the delegation named to deliver the grievances to the king (14 May). At the start of the next session, he was named to attend the conference at which the Lords set out their initial proposals for considering the Instrument of Union (24 Nov. 1606), but he otherwise played no recorded part in this important debate. On 3 Mar. 1607, when his father raised the issue of flood damage in Somerset and elsewhere around the Severn estuary, he was one of the committee appointed to consider relief measures.21

Phelips spent the summer of 1608 in Paris, the first of many foreign trips over the next decade. On returning to Somerset he acquired his first major local office as colonel of the Bath militia regiment. Although the city lay at the opposite end of the county from his own home, he proved attentive to his duties, his efficiency being commended by the lord lieutenant, the 1st earl of Hertford. He played no part in the debates on the Great Contract and impositions, which dominated the 1610 parliamentary sessions, but was named to a handful of bill committees during the spring session, the most significant of which was that for the punishment of the patentee Sir Stephen Procter (15 June). He left no trace on the sparse records of the autumn session.22 His father’s appointment as master of the Rolls in 1611 brought him certain benefits: in 1613 he was granted a reversion to the next vacancy as clerk of the petty bag and a long lease of Sherborne Park, forfeited by Sir Walter Ralegh† and conveniently situated for Montacute. However, the latter grant was quickly transferred to the Scottish favourite, the earl of Somerset.23

II. The 1614 Parliament

By his own account, Phelips originally had no desire for a parliamentary seat in 1614, but he changed his mind upon learning that his contemporary John Poulett*, who had briefly represented Somerset following a by-election in 1610, intended to stand again; he may already have come to regard Poulett as a rival, or simply been unwilling to see the latter claim a county seat by prescription. Sir Maurice Berkeley*, whose candidacy for the senior seat was uncontested, agreed to pair with Phelips, but urged him to ask Poulett to stand aside as a matter of courtesy. Phelips failed to do this, and when his supporters Francis James* and Thomas Hughes† began to canvass for votes, it was quickly feared that he intended to provoke a confrontation, particularly after the writ failed to reach the sheriff in time for the county court of 7 Mar., when Phelips’s father was suspected of having used his influence to detain it. Berkeley protested to Sir Edward Phelips, who took offence and ensured that the election, when it eventually took place, was hotly contested. Phelips’s party, organized by Thomas Warre*, claimed a majority at the cry, but then left the field before a poll could be held. Having failed in Somerset, Phelips subsequently found a seat at Saltash, Cornwall, perhaps on the interest of the Buller family, which was of Somerset origin. He nevertheless approached lord chancellor Ellesmere (Sir Thomas Egerton†) about the alleged misconduct of his adversaries in Somerset, and apparently considered petitioning the Commons.24

The controversy over the Somerset election probably explains why Phelips maintained a low profile in Parliament before the Easter recess. On 13 Apr. he was named to the committee to draft a petition assuring the king that the Commons’ debates would not to be manipulated by ‘undertakers’, and the following day was among those appointed to attend a conference with the Lords about the Palatine succession bill. Like several other Members, Phelips was well placed to know about ‘undertakings’: when a Parliament had first been mooted in the autumn of 1612, Sir Maurice Berkeley had warned him ‘not to seem too earnest in treating with Sir H[enry] N[eville I*]’, the architect of a scheme for parliamentary management which had become common knowledge by the time the session opened. Hence it was hardly surprising that when Sir Roger Owen reported his investigation of these allegations on 2 May 1614, Phelips was one of those who advised against further examination ‘for avoiding contention and heat’, and moved for a further protestation of the Commons’ impartiality.25 Despite the entreaties of several other would-be undertakers, the House resolved to continue the investigation. A scapegoat was needed to divert attention, and Phelips found one in Sir Thomas Parry*, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, who had pressured the burgesses of Stockbridge, Hampshire into sending him a blank election indenture. On 9 May, the voice vote on whether to hear the report of this dispute was inconclusive, whereupon Sir Walter Cope, one of Parry’s nominees, moved to postpone the hearing. Phelips, however, urged an immediate report. When others debated whether Parry should withdraw while the charges against him were presented, he snapped ‘that here appeared an undertaker and an undertaking’, and moved for Parry to be excluded while the matter was resolved. Parry subsequently left voluntarily, and the next day Francis Moore argued that there were extenuating circumstances which justified his conduct. Phelips, however, thought that it was ‘preposterous’ for Moore ‘to go about to extenuate his [Parry’s] fault before he were condemned’, and moved for Parry’s suspension and a bill to ban electoral nominations. Parry was expelled from the House on 11 May, and Neville was cleared of any blame for his project three days later.26

Undertaking was but a distraction from the substantive debate of the session, the abolition of impositions, in which Phelips played a more minor role. At the start of the session, impositions were given priority over supply, and on 5 May a dispute erupted when the report of the impositions bill was scheduled for the same morning as the supply debate. During this confrontation Phelips moved for a vote on whether the question to debate supply should be voted upon. This technical device would have allowed the House to postpone a subsidy debate until the Crown proved more accommodating over impositions, without rejecting the idea of supply altogether, which would have provoked an early dissolution. The motion was ignored, and the day ended without any firm conclusion on supply having been reached. It was, however, resolved to seek a conference with the Lords over the impositions bill, to which delegation Phelips was named (5 May). Before setting a date for the meeting, the Commons spent several days scrutinizing the legal records, and on 16 May Phelips seconded William Hakewill’s motion to search for further precedents and to consult the king’s counsel about their arguments for impositions. On the following day Richard Martin*, pleading at the bar as counsel for the Virginia Company, criticized the slowness of the Commons’ proceedings. Several Members took offence, but Phelips pleaded in mitigation ‘with what affection he spoke it’, and privately briefed Martin that evening, to ensure that his apology was sufficiently contrite to secure his discharge. The only dispute with the potential to distract the Commons from impositions thereafter was the quarrel over Alderman Cockayne’s project to restructure the English cloth trade. A debate on this issue was held on 20 May, when Phelips, having admitted ‘the weight of this question great’, moved to refer it to the grievances’ committee.27

The session reached a crisis when the Lords declined to hold a conference on impositions. Matters took a turn for the worse on 25 May, when Henry Mervyn reported Bishop Neile’s charge that the Commons’ attack on impositions ‘did not only cut off a branch, but strike at the root of the imperial Crown’. Phelips instantly moved to ask the Lords for information about this slur, warning that ‘we shall neglect [the] Lords if [the] Lords neglect this House’. He also moved to petition the king ‘not to prefer any traducer of this House’. The long debate which followed ended with a decision to collate reports of Neile’s words and to suspend all other business until this matter was resolved. On the following morning Phelips again pressed to go to the Lords, warning that an appeal to the king would give the Crown an implicit veto over freedom of speech. This motion was no sooner adopted than Phelips pressed for a vote to confirm the forbearance of other business. Speaker Crewe advised against this, but the House backed Phelips, thereby escalating the dispute into a major crisis. On 29 May Neile denied the accusations against him in the king’s presence. The next morning Phelips joined in further calls to go to the Lords for verification of the bishop’s words and urged that the cessation of business (which had angered James) remain in force.28 It was probably at this tense moment that Phelips met with his father, having been ordered by the Commons on 20 May to retrieve from him the original letter of October 1610 in which the king had offered to remove the Marcher shires from the jurisdiction of the Council in the Marches. At this meeting, Sir Edward upbraided his son for proposing, following the second reading of a bill to naturalize two Scottish courtiers (23 May), ‘that neither these, nor any other of that nation that shall be naturalized hereafter, may be of this House’. Sir Edward, doubtless recalling that his brother-in-law Christopher Piggot had briefly been incarcerated in February 1607 over a xenophobic outburst, warned his son that there was a danger that ‘a sinister interpretation’ of his speech would blight his career. At this, Sir Robert undertook not ‘to prejudice the advancement of His Majesty’s designs’ in future.29

On 31 May Phelips reported the loss of the original of the king’s letter of 1610. He left no trace in the surviving records during the final, fractious week of the session. However, shortly after the dissolution, he confessed to his father that on the last day of the session he had opposed Sir Herbert Croft’s ‘unseasonable proposition’ for one subsidy and two fifteenths. No such speech is recorded, perhaps because he had been, as he later insisted, careful to speak nothing ‘worthy of blame’. Leaving the Commons’ chamber at the end of this day, he also saluted Christopher Neville for a speech blaming the king for the dissolution, hoping ‘neither [your] meaning nor your words be misconstrued or miscarried’.30

Although Phelips had been ‘busy and factious in the House’, he was not among the Members arrested or detained after the dissolution. Nevertheless, he was removed from the county bench and banished from his father’s presence. He and his brother were granted a passport, and he spent much of the next few years in Spain, acquiring a fluent command of the language and becoming acquainted with both ambassador Sir John Digby and his future confidant Nathaniel Tomkins*. Shortly after his departure, his father died, whereupon he instructed his steward to raise £7,000 to pay Sir Edward’s debts with ‘the least diminution to my yearly revenue’ as possible. He was restored to the commission of the peace in 1616 by the king’s direct command, and the earl of Hertford added him to the lieutenancy on the grounds of ‘good experience of your sufficiency and readiness in executing your place of colonel’. However, perhaps because of continuing money problems, he returned to Spain for another two years. He acquired a systematic knowledge of French and Spanish affairs, including the decay of both countries’ representative institutions, and unlike most MPs, he did not come to regard Spain as a threat until the advent of the Bohemian crisis in 1619.31

III. 1621: Patentees and Impeachment

In view of the difficulties he had faced at the hustings in 1614, Phelips understandably declined to renew his candidacy for the knighthood of the shire in 1621. However, he may have encouraged the lord lieutenant’s grandson, Lord Beauchamp (William Seymour*), in his unsuccessful stand against Sir Henry Portman, 2nd bt.* and Robert Hopton*. Phelips himself was returned both at Bath and at Christchurch, where he was nominated by the Catholic peer Lord Arundell of Wardour; he was thus able to resign the latter seat to Tomkins. It was during the 1621 session that Phelips achieved his greatest impact in Parliament. Although no great committeeman, he made around 200 recorded speeches, a significant number of which formed the turning point of key debates. When he had his portrait painted in 1632, Phelips chose to commemorate the impeachment of lord chancellor St. Alban (Sir Francis Bacon*) as the highlight of his career.32

In light of the arrest of several MPs after the dissolution of 1614, the Commons could hardly avoid a privilege dispute in 1621. On 5 Feb. Sir Edward Giles called for a petition to the king for free speech, and another for the expulsion of Catholics from London. He was seconded, first by Sir Jerome Horsey, and then by Phelips who, in what was doubtless a carefully prepared speech, urged that ‘we should desire to be made free men before we can be fit to be counsellors’. Disregarding his obligations to Lord Arundell, he offered five reasons in favour of a petition against Catholics:

First, because it is the honour that every law-maker should give to his laws to see them executed; secondly, this would tend to the safety of the king and all of us that are assembled in Parliament; thirdly, it is unworthy that Papists should enjoy so large a privilege as true subjects that carry loyal hearts to their sovereign; fourthly, the suffering of them is very scandalous, for now to go to a sermon or a mass is counted all one; fifthly, it is unfit that deformers of religion and reformers both of that and other wrongs should be so near together.

Secretary Calvert insisted that the traditional request at the presentation of the Speaker made adequate provision for freedom of speech. However, his attempt to procure a swift vote of supply was ignored, and when the debate continued in committee that afternoon, his fellow privy councillor, Sir Edward Coke, ruled that freedom of speech took precedence. Phelips promptly moved for a bill ‘whereby our liberties and privileges might be preserved to posterity’, but when Calvert announced his preference for a petition, Phelips happily reverted to his former proposition, calling for a ‘petition of right for those privileges only which are supposed to have been broken’. A sub-committee was appointed to draft a petition, but a week later Coke reported that it had proved unable to agree upon a text. Several speakers then argued that the king’s personal guarantee was sufficient, but Phelips recommended approaching the Lords for assistance, ‘that our liberty may be preserved’. Although the peers had refused assistance over impositions in 1614, they could not, he observed, ignore a breach of parliamentary privilege. He was subsequently included on the committee ordered to draft a petition to the king and a fresh bill for free speech (12 Feb.), but neither proved necessary, as the issue was resolved by a fresh royal message on 15 February.33

No sooner had the free speech question been resolved than Sir George More raised the plight of the Palatinate, then under threat from Spanish troops, and moved for a grant of supply. Several others hastened to support this motion, and Secretary Calvert discussed the cost of an expeditionary force. Phelips was unmoved by these pleas: ‘the king’s debts and the subject’s grievances’, he suggested, should be considered alongside military operations. Phelips may also have been the speaker who warned that, ‘if we go to the Palatinate, a million will not discharge the army’. He ended by moving for a conference with the Lords, which breached the convention that supply originated from the Commons. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Fulke Greville and Sir Thomas Roe pounced upon this disruptive motion, and Phelips had to be rescued from his predicament by Sir Edward Coke. Despite this reverse, Phelips’s intervention broke the illusion of unity, and encouraged other doubters to speak out, as a result of which the fifteenths which normally accompanied a grant of subsidies were dropped. Phelips himself did not oppose a subsidy in principle, however, for despite his doubts about the uses to which subsidies might be put, he accepted that a grant of supply was the price for the king’s permission to investigate abuses of monopoly patents. Consequently, he assisted the swift passage of the subsidy bill through the House: when some moved to defer the committal at its second reading on 8 Mar., he successfully argued to the contrary; and at the report stage four days later, he ended a debate about exemptions for the Cinque Ports and Berwick by reminding the House that to amend the bill now would require that it be recommitted, whereupon the motion for engrossing the bill was passed unanimously.34

The attack on monopolists began in earnest on 20 Feb., when (Sir) Giles Mompesson* brought his patent for the licensing of inns before the committee for grievances. Phelips protested that ‘whereas the king hath referred a great part of the government of this kingdom to the justices of peace’, Mompesson’s patent ‘dishearteneth them, for it maketh a justice of peace to be buffeted by a base alehousekeeper’. Several speakers questioned abuses of the licensing procedure, but Phelips went further, producing testimony from two of his constituents, William Sherston* and William Chapman*, to show that Mompesson had increased the number of inns in Bath from six to 20. When Sir Edward Coke reported the charges against Mompesson to the House a week later, Phelips suggested that the records in the Tower be searched ‘so [that] we fall upon the punishment which is just and fit’. He was thereupon included on the search committee (27 Feb.), which subsequently uncovered the precedents that allowed the Commons to revive the judicial process of impeachment. In the light of this discovery Phelips moved to refer the charges against Mompesson to the Lords.35 However, Mompesson absconded on 3 Mar., whereupon Phelips moved to ask the Lords to arrange a close watch at the ports, a recommendation Calvert was happy to endorse. Phelips also argued that Mompesson’s flight amounted to a confession of guilt, and called for his expulsion from the House and for his other patents to be scrutinized. This fresh investigation began with an examination of Sir Henry Yelverton*, the disgraced former attorney-general, the results of which Phelips reported on 5 Mar.: Yelverton’s evidence damned Mompesson, but also implicated Sir Edward Villiers*, half-brother of the favourite, the marquess of Buckingham. Exploiting the impact of these revelations, Phelips seconded Sir Dudley Digges’s motion for a bill condemning both monopolies and the referees who had assessed their legal and political merits before their promulgation. He also moved to ask the Lords for Mompesson’s papers, which provided copious information about other abuses.36

Over the next few days, Phelips strongly urged the House to complete its examination of patentees other than Mompesson in time for a conference with the Lords scheduled for 8 Mar.; a few hours beforehand, he moved ‘to defer the conference [until] tomorrow, for [we] shall not be ready’, but Coke disagreed. Speaker Richardson, doubtless acting under orders, left the chair before a vote over whether to name the referees could be taken, and thus at the conference no-one dared to broach the subject. Recriminations flew the next morning, when Mallory led the criticism against the Speaker. Phelips seconded him, but he also blamed those who had presented the Commons’ case: ‘no noble or free man will be afraid to name those that fear not to wrong their country’. He insisted ‘that this matter of referees may be duly considered, without respect of places or persons’, and it was eventually agreed to hold another conference to rectify this omission. This boded ill for some of Buckingham’s closest associates, but before this conference took place, Phelips testified ‘that Sir Henry Yelverton did affirm that the Lord of Buckingham did never write, meddle or speak, or suffered his name to be used (for anything that ever he heard) about this patent of gold and silver thread’.37

Phelips’s recommendation against launching a direct attack on the favourite was vindicated on 10 Mar., when the king advised the Lords not to use Mompesson’s impeachment as a means to unseat Buckingham. Yet James conceded that the monopolies themselves should be rescinded, and allowed further investigation of the referees. Phelips remained active in the impeachment proceedings, and after Mompesson was condemned on 26 Mar. he moved to take up the king’s offer of a Proclamation repealing the patents for inns, gold and silver thread and concealed lands, which was carried out over the Easter vacation.38 However, the focus of his attention shifted to the referees, his first target being Bacon. The attack began with an innocuous motion on 12 Mar., when Phelips reported that Sir Edward Sackville, chairman of the standing committee for courts of justice, was too ill to discharge his responsibilities. Sackville’s indisposition was probably genuine - Phelips had already excused his absence once before - but on this occasion Phelips was ordered to take his place, and when he returned to the House three days later, Sackville waived the chairmanship, and Phelips was confirmed as his successor.39 The timing of this substitution was significant, as it was during the intervening three days that the committee had started to investigate complaints against the lord chancellor. The initial charges, concerning bribery in two lawsuits, were embarrassing rather than damning, and when Samuel More attacked Bacon for issuing an injunction against a suit in the Court of Wards, Phelips was one of those who had him called to order. However, once the examination was complete, Phelips urged that the charges be transmitted to the Lords: ‘it is a cause of great weight; it concerns every man here. For if the fountains be muddy, what will the streams be? If the great dispenser of the king’s conscience be corrupt, who can have any courage to plead before him?’ Having learned from the fiasco of the Mompesson conference, Phelips craved pardon for any omissions in his delivery of the allegations against Bacon on 19 Mar., and asked leave to add any further charges that might arise. He may, therefore, have had advance notice of the evidence given over the next few days by John Churchill, a Chancery registrar already accused of falsifying a record, who poured forth an endless catalogue of bribery which damned Bacon’s reputation beyond redemption, but saved his own neck.40

Apart from Bacon, the other minister exposed as a referee during the Mompesson investigation was lord treasurer Mandeville (Sir Henry Montagu*), chief beneficiary of the patent for licensing alehouses, which was held by two of his servants. Mandeville had been quick to throw himself upon the king’s mercy, and as he had only held the treasurership for a few months there was no catalogue of corruption to speed his downfall. Phelips, however, having heard Yelverton’s testimony on the abuses of the alehouse patentees, called ‘to have a full review again of this matter for the alehouses’ on 12 Mar., whereupon the patentees and witnesses were summoned.41 The inquiry apparently lapsed when the patent was rescinded on 30 Mar., but after Easter it reappeared as one of the charges brought against Yelverton in the Lords at the king’s command. Proceedings were revived in the Commons on 21 Apr. by William Mallory and Sir Francis Seymour, but Phelips was one of several MPs who urged caution, asking ‘whether we may guess His Majesty would not have the offenders further meddled with’. Further investigation was ordered, and Phelips was named to the resulting committee (21 April). Before it could report, however, James attempted to stop the investigation in both Houses. Undeterred, Phelips claimed that an investigation was justified because ‘the execution hath been more offensive than any ... to the king’s officers in the country’.42

The attack on ministerial misconduct was widened on 26 Apr., when Sir John Jephson and Sir John Davies complained of abuses in Ireland, the administration of which was largely in the hands of Buckingham’s creatures. Phelips promptly demanded an investigation: ‘these kind of foul abuses show how the ill carriage and behaviour of unworthy servants doth reflect on the king’s honour’. However, James quickly made it clear that he bore sole responsibility for Irish affairs, and although Phelips moved to ask for ‘leave to proceed to inquire after those grievances, that we may give His Majesty further information thereof’, the investigation was dropped. Another controversy was revived on 2 May with a report into the gold and silver thread patent, which named Sir Edward Villiers, then a Member of the Commons, as one of the chief beneficiaries. Mallory moved to exclude Villiers from sitting during the investigation, but Sir Edward, observing that the Lords had cleared him, stood his ground. Phelips sympathized with Mallory’s demand but admitted that, as matters stood, Villiers could only be asked ‘to forbear coming into the House’. In the end Villiers kept his seat but agreed to withdraw voluntarily. These clashes suggested that the House was unlikely to countenance another ministerial scalping, and thus when William Noye finally reported his investigation of the alehouse patent on 11 May, the only charge against Mandeville to be substantiated was the receipt of bribes worth £23. Phelips conceded that ‘this noble man, in so great a mischief as this was, hath committed as few errors as any man could do’, and Mandeville was duly exonerated.43

In the midst of the proceedings against ministerial corruption, the Commons provoked another confrontation, this time over Edward Floyd, a Catholic barrister who had rejoiced on learning of the Protestant rout at the Battle of White Mountain in November 1620. When news of Floyd’s behaviour was reported on 30 Apr. Sir Edwin Sandys and Phelips pounced. After Floyd denied having uttered the words imputed to him the following day, Phelips called him a ‘popish knave’ and moved to have him humiliated by being carried through the streets of London before being committed to the Tower as a close prisoner. In the short term this provoked a debate in which Members devised ever more lurid punishments to be inflicted upon Floyd, but Phelips’s intention in pursuing Floyd was probably to establish the Commons’ right to exercise its own legal jurisdiction independent of the Lords. This was the point the king questioned on 2 May, and while the lawyers struggled to justify their actions, Phelips merely urged ‘that we beseech His Majesty on so good an occasion, to give us leave to create this precedent, that our judgment and sentence may not be scandalized’. He was subsequently the first MP named to the committee appointed to decide what action to take (2 May). The king, however, refused to be swayed, and referred Floyd’s prosecution to the Lords. On 4 May Phelips dejectedly conceded that ‘we censured Floyd out of our duty and respect to the king and his children ... but we are unfortunate’. Coke attempted to salvage something by entering a formal record of the Commons’ judgment against Floyd, but on the following morning the Lords demanded to know why they had not been consulted about this sentence. The peers were not swayed by the arguments deployed at subsequent conferences, and on 8 May the Commons capitulated with as much grace as could be mustered.44

As the son of a former master of the Rolls, Phelips was concerned to ensure a thoroughgoing reform of ‘the unlimited power and abuse in Chancery, under which we all groan’. When discussing those committees which would remain in session over the Easter vacation, he was keen that those for the courts of justice and Chancery reform should be included. He also called for the masters in Chancery to be punished for their bribery in procuring a privy seal to increase their fees (27 Apr.); and he disapproved of the king’s personal intervention to secure a Chancery decree under which Sir George Marshall* had gained payment for procuring a knighthood (27 April). The question of Chancery reform was revived shortly before the summer recess, when Phelips noted ‘that only the judges of the Common Law have stood untainted’, and moved that the masters in Chancery apologize for ignoring the judges’ advice that an increase in their fees would be illegal.45

Phelips played only a modest part in investigating other abuses uncovered by the Commons. He promoted a petition against John Lepton’s monopoly of legal process before the Council in the North on 22 Mar., and when corruption charges against Sir John Bennet* were reported on 23 Apr. he was outspoken in his condemnation, moving for the charges to be transmitted to the Lords forthwith, without wasting time on further investigation. On 15 May he also reported on allegations of corruption brought against two diocesan chancellors.46

With his focus firmly on questions of ministerial corruption and legal reform, Phelips found little time for routine legislation or local affairs. On 26 Mar. he presented a petition for the enfranchisement of Ilchester, where he was high steward. This was successful and the borough thereafter became a regular source of electoral patronage, which he exercised in the first instance on behalf of (Sir) Richard Wynn, one of Tomkins’s colleagues in Prince Charles’s service.47 Although only a borough Member, he had no inhibitions about speaking for his county. He complained about the excessive use of official letters recommending charitable collections, which he claimed were raising £1,500 a year in Somerset (24 Apr.), and welcomed a bill to ban imports of Irish cattle which would, he claimed, drain his county of coin and ‘mar the kind and breed of our cattle here’ (9 May). He disapproved of the social consequences of the bill for enclosure of commons, and asked that Somerset be exempted (7 May). Perhaps at Wynn’s behest, he spoke in favour of the bill to abrogate the Shrewsbury drapers’ monopoly of the Welsh cloth trade, but urged that it be made a probationer (24 April). He also supported the bill to allow the Staplers to encroach upon the Merchant Adventurers’ monopoly of white cloth exports (7 May), and observed that a ban on the import of Spanish tobacco could hardly breach the 1604 Treaty of London, as some feared, because the Spanish themselves banned the export of various commodities (18 April).48

Unlike many Members, Phelips was acutely aware of the need to manage a crowded agenda, and many of his speeches were intended to steer debates. Thus at the end of an inconclusive discussion of the shortage of coin on 26 Feb., he moved for a standing committee to examine the evidence. Later the same day he moved to defer consideration of the Westminster election, both issues which might otherwise have delayed the following day’s report on Mompesson’s patents. On 16 Mar., with the Easter adjournment in sight, he moved that engrossed bills should begin receiving their third readings, and on 24 Mar. he broached the subject of the committees which were to remain sitting during the vacation. Shortly after Easter, the king urged the Commons not to take on so much business as to prevent them achieving their goals. Phelips, taking the hint, had a steering committee formed on 26 Apr. ‘to take a view of the grievances; to have the principal selected and the most best and public bills to be preferred; and for reformation of trade’. He repeated the same motion after the Whitsun holiday, warning that the Lords would hardly have time to pass more than a dozen bills, and moving ‘that public bills might be first, and the private bills last’; the rest, he suggested, should be continued in their present state until the next session by means of a brief statute.49

On 28 May Calvert announced the king’s decision to adjourn the session for the summer on 4 June. As time was now short Phelips insisted that regulation of Chancery, grievances and trade should take priority, and was even prepared to waive the pardon if time would not permit it to receive proper scrutiny. The king’s refusal to alter this strict timetable engendered ill-feeling: on 29 May Phelips admitted ‘I have fear of the state of this commonwealth ... now after 16 weeks we are brought to a few days wherein no business, almost, can be done’. By the next morning he claimed that adjournment was merely a prelude to dissolution, which lent an apocalyptic tone to his rhetoric:

he knoweth not whether he shall ever be of this House again or no, and therefore will now speak freely his conscience. That he believed at first that this Parliament would bring forth a happy success. He ever believed that God’s glory could not be maintained but by the spreading of the true religion; if those of our religion suffer abroad, it will defame and scandal our religion, for corruption grows apace.

Having calmed down somewhat overnight, on 31 May he resolved to return home ‘with a sorrowful mind ... that in all this time we have brought forth no fruit for the good of the king and the kingdom’.50

Phelips remained suspicious about the Crown’s intentions right up to the adjournment. On 1 June, clearly fearing that the rising of the House would be followed by arrests, as in 1614, he supported moves to ensure that parliamentary privilege remained in force over the summer; while on the following day, when a vote formally cleared Sandys of any blame for words spoken in debate, Phelips stated that he desired ‘no clearing, but by His Majesty, if he shall ever be questioned by him’. He declined the king’s offer to extend the session for ten days to allow the Commons time to pass bills, as this would mean that Parliament was prorogued rather than merely adjourned, so laying Members open to arrest. He was also concerned that an adjournment by royal commission might amount to a prorogation.51 The session, however, ended on a positive note, when Sir James Perrot moved ‘to adventure ourselves and all our estates’ in the cause of religion and the Palatinate, both somewhat neglected in recent months. Phelips enthusiastically endorsed this declaration, insisting, ‘we all undertake for the several shires and places for which we serve’, a resolution which was passed by general acclamation.52

IV. 1621: Confrontation and Dissolution

Parliament was recalled at short notice on 20 Nov. to deal with an escalation of the military crisis in Germany, but the first issue Phelips raised was that of parliamentary privilege. He questioned both the excessive use of parliamentary protections, and the absence of certain Members; it was Mallory who explained the latter point by asking why Sandys, who had been detained for several weeks after the adjournment, was not present. The details of the negotiations in Germany were outlined on 21 Nov., but on the following day Phelips persuaded the House to postpone discussion until the start of the following week, ‘that everyone may be the better prepared, and the House more full’.53 The debate was opened on 26 Nov. by several speakers who advocated a present vote of supply. Perrot, author of the declaration of 4 June, preferred a loan to subsidies, but Phelips was the first to oppose any present financial relief for the Crown. He agreed with those who favoured a war that Spain was primarily to blame for the crisis: ‘whilst we have treated of peace’, he protested, ‘they have still gone on with the war’. However, he then recalled the decay of trade and the threat posed by domestic Catholics, and insisted that

He would not have us at this time to grant any subsidy, but first to proceed with some bills to satisfy the country, and at our next meeting to grant subsidies, which meeting he would have should be as soon as it should please His Majesty: for the Palatinate may be otherwise supplied till that time.

On the following day he adopted Perrot’s suggestion of a short-term loan, and moved for a committee to discuss the threat from domestic Catholics, surely a distraction from the business in hand. However, on 28 Nov. he suddenly changed tack, rejecting calls to begin with other business, and acknowledging the general willingness of the House to vote supply. He was nevertheless only prepared to vote a single subsidy to maintain the Palatine garrison over the winter, and moreover argued that since one-third of the second subsidy voted in the spring still remained to be collected, the House need only vote around £45,000. This was hardly helpful to the government, which required a more substantial injection of cash, but it seems that Phelips objected not to a war, but to a ruinously expensive land war in Germany: on 29 Nov., when Sir George Goring moved to petition the king to give Spain an ultimatum if Catholic forces were not withdrawn from the Palatinate, it was Phelips who seconded him: ‘as the state of things are, our safety and happiness cannot be secured but by a difference with Spain’.54

Over the next few days the atmosphere in the Commons remained tense. Phelips played a key role in investigating a plot by two disgraced patentees, Lepton and Goldsmith, to revenge themselves on Sir Edward Coke, the chairman of the committee for grievances, by prosecuting him in Star Chamber. Phelips also protested that a composition demanded from London brewers in lieu of purveyance was a form of domestic imposition, and was thus illegal, and on 1 Dec. he supported a motion to summon Sir Edwin Sandys to explain whether he had been detained for matters raised in Parliament: ‘if we have any privileges in the House, we have them also out of the House, during the Parliament’.55 More significantly, when Coke reported a draft of the petition about a breach with Spain on 3 Dec., courtiers and Crown officials immediately attacked a clause asking that Prince Charles be married to a Protestant. Everyone understood that this rebuff originated with the king, but nevertheless a number of bold spirits, including Phelips, defended the Commons’ right to discuss the prince’s marriage:

the king invited us by a speech at Whitehall [30 Jan. 1621] to speak freely of the grievances of the kingdom. That there was never a question of a prince of England to marry with one of a contrary religion; and he doubteth not but we may create a precedent of it if we have not any.

He observed, correctly, that Queen Mary had allowed Parliament to debate the terms of her marriage to Philip II of Spain, and was prepared to concede ‘that we seek not to touch in the least point on the royal prerogative’. With this proviso added, the petition was dispatched to the king at Newmarket.56

Matters quickly spiralled out of control thereafter: before the petition could be delivered, the Commons received a royal letter expressing outrage at its presumption in discussing matters of state. Phelips retorted that ‘he wisheth the king knew our hearts, for the duty of all or the best part of His Majesty’s subjects is now in question’, and moved that the House adjourn for the day to consider its response. The delay merely tried his nerves, as on 5 Dec. he insisted that this letter breached the promise of free speech the Commons had received in February. Recalling how the House had offered a prompt vote of supply and forborne to discuss impositions and Irish grievances, he demanded to know, ‘what then the cause of this soul-killing letter from His Majesty?’ Secretary Calvert suggested that an apologetic response would mollify the king, but none would hear of it: ‘if we proceed by excuse, it presupposeth an error’, Phelips insisted. He also called for a cessation of all other business, as had occurred in 1614, although on this occasion no order was made.57

By the time a draft of the explanatory message to the king was reported on 7 Dec., it was known that James had refused to see the House’s petition. Consequently, some Members moved to annex the petition to the new message, a suggestion Sir Samuel Sandys and Phelips rejected as an unnecessary provocation. Phelips then pressed to send the Speaker to Newmarket with the new message, whereupon Calvert protested that if the House were deprived of his services it would be unable to go on with business. At this Phelips, declaring ‘that he had rather carry home no new laws, than ... carry the news of the loss of the privileges of our House’, moved once again for a cessation of other business until the privilege dispute was resolved. In the end, the Speaker was not sent, but even without a formal order the House refrained from business. On 10 Dec. the Lords attempted to break the deadlock by requesting a conference on the monopolies bill, but Phelips slyly observed that it could be interpreted as an infringement of the prerogative, and thus should not be debated until the king answered the Commons’ petition. He urged his colleagues to ‘resolve, but not to order, to sit without doing anything, till we have an answer from the king’, and the Lords’ request was declined.58

The next few days were tense but unproductive, as the Commons awaited the king’s answer. On 11 Dec. Calvert delivered a message from the king asking for the release of Coke’s tormentor, Goldsmith, who had been arrested by the House. At this Phelips, already wounded by reports flying around London ‘that we are not fit men to treat of matters of state’, moved to petition James to permit the investigation to proceed. He also demanded that Lepton, then at Newmarket passing ‘misinformations’ to the king, should be sent to Westminster to face his accusers.59 On the following morning Calvert delivered another royal message ordering the House to lay aside its cessation of business and resume the passing of bills. Phelips was now in a quandary, insisting ‘that if we proceed, on this message, with bills, we endanger all our liberties ... we are by this message in such a dilemma as we must either disobey the king’s command or forever lose our own privileges’. This struck a chord with the House, and a committee was appointed to draft an evasive answer to the message.60

The king’s answer to the Commons’ petition finally arrived on 14 December. On the one hand the Commons was chided for trenching upon matters of state, but on the other it was offered guarantees on free speech which echoed those given in February, allowed to proceed with the investigation of Lepton and Goldsmith, and urged to prepare a minimum of business for a prorogation on 22 December. Phelips was one of the few who refused to accept this response: he urged that the privilege dispute should be given priority over the Lepton and Goldsmith investigation, and questioned whether the king could impose his own business agenda upon the House. He then moved to adjourn until the next morning, thereby aiming to stifle attempts to resume the passing of bills.61 The mood of the House changed overnight, and when the debate resumed on 15 Dec., well-organized moves for a resumption of business were met with equally determined resistance. In a speech which set the tone, Phelips insisted, ‘had His Majesty heard our discourses, or could he with a perspective see our hearts, he would not have so misconstrued our actions’. He praised the king’s letter for its undertaking to defend religion, and its approval of the bill to prevent Catholic children being sent abroad for their education, and claimed that ‘if we had known sooner how far His Majesty had proceeded in the Match of Spain, we should not (as he thinketh) have meddled with, or touched that string’. The only question at issue, he insisted, was that of free speech, ‘since His Majesty hath said we hold our liberties by the grace of princes, and not by a right descended unto us’. The answer, he suggested, was a Protestation in which the Commons asserted their rights, in the manner of the Apology of 1604. Finally, he claimed it was too late to complete bills before Christmas, ‘for we have been diversely interrupted in our business’, and moved for yet another adjournment.62

On the advice of lord keeper Williams, James sent another message on 17 Dec., in which he chided Members for using ‘antimonarchical words to us concerning their liberties’, but promised to uphold all those liberties that could be proved by statute. Several lawyers pondered whether it were possible to formulate a systematic list of these statutes, while others warned that the king had not offered to uphold precedents. Phelips, scorning such ‘equivocal words’, called for a committee of the Whole to draft a Protestation, which was done.63 James’s patience now reached breaking point, and on the following morning he ordered the Commons to proceed with the subsidy bill, the pardon and the expiring laws continuance bill, or face an immediate end to the session. Phelips facetiously misinterpreted the king’s caustic remark that he would give Members ‘longer time for going home’, and once again moved a Protestation. Once this was agreed, he wasted more time by debating an answer to the king’s latest message, making it clear that he expected a swift end to the session, and retribution upon his own head:

We have no privilege if we have not election, jurisdiction, and safety of our persons after Parliament for what we speak in Parliament. The king’s speech in another Parliament was that he was but a plague to the commonwealth that should go about to persuade him to break our laws and privileges. We are not freeholders but tenants at will if the king can punish, in Parliament or after, a Member of this House for free speech.

The Protestation was hastily agreed that afternoon, but on returning to London James tore it out of the Journal with his own hands.64

Phelips left town for Somerset immediately after the prorogation, but this time he was not to escape: on 28 Dec. an arrest warrant was issued, and he was committed close prisoner in the Tower on 12 Jan. 1622, by which time James had decided to dissolve the Parliament and seek a negotiated settlement to the Palatine question. Interrogated by the Privy Council, Phelips was, according to his own notes, acknowledged by the chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Richard Weston*, to be ‘a discreet, impartial man’ in Parliament. He reminded the Council that he had spoken in favour of granting subsidies in the New Year, and had accepted the king’s undertakings on religion, and he conceded that ‘neither out nor in Parliament was it fit to jostle and contend with His Majesty’s undoubted and royal prerogative’. Rather less plausibly, he denied having colluded with the 3rd earl of Southampton and Sandys, asserting that he did ‘not speak in Sir Edwin Sandys’s business, but rather diverted it’. He also claimed ‘I meddled not with the last Protestation. Many can witness with me I misliked the manner of proceeding. I was at no committee in the framing or debating of either of the declarations and petitions’. There may have been some truth in the claim that Phelips had nothing to do with the precise wording of these documents, but in all other respects his argument was clearly disingenuous.65 By March 1622 Phelips had apologized to the king for his ‘errors and mistakings’ in Parliament. At around the same time he also corresponded with one of Buckingham’s clients, perhaps Sir George Paule*, who recommended his early release. He was subsequently moved to a better cell and allowed to see his family and consult his lawyers, but despite further entreaties from his friends, he and his fellow inmates Sir Edward Coke and William Mallory were not set free until August. Thereafter Phelips was confined to house arrest at Montacute for several months.66

V. The 1624 Parliament and the ‘Patriot’ Cause

While not deprived of local office, Phelips had no chance of redeeming his reputation at Court until Buckingham (now a duke) and Prince Charles returned from Spain in October 1623 with a determination to end the Spanish Match. As this required a fresh Parliament to provide supply for a war against Spain, Phelips was consulted by Buckingham about the prospects for a successful session. The debate which took place was recorded in the ‘dialogue between a councillor of State and a country gentleman’, which survives in Phelips’s papers. This document, in a copyist’s hand, was endorsed by Tomkins, who may have helped to draft it, but many of the opinions expressed by the anonymous ‘country gentleman’ echo Phelips’s known views. The gentleman began by disclaiming all ‘needless curiosity to busy myself in those things which concern me not’. When pressed by the courtier, however, he scorned the prospects for raising money by means of another Benevolence. He then expressed the hope that a Parliament might be summoned ‘if His Majesty should suddenly resolve upon a war, or of such a kind of proceeding as would little differ from a war’, which was precisely the scenario Buckingham envisaged. The two protagonists disagreed in principle about the utility of representative assemblies, and the gentleman blamed the courtier for the dissolution of February 1622, who insisted that the real cause was the ‘declaration’, presumably meaning the Protestation of 18 Dec. 1621. In response, the gentleman (echoing Phelips’s speech of 5 Dec.) observed that the prompt vote of supply in February, the decision to refrain from discussing impositions and the swift conclusion of the free speech debate with which the session opened demonstrated ‘as great and absolute a testimony of the duty and affection of the subject as ever any prince received’. The gentleman also recalled the subsidy granted in November 1621, albeit with ‘a circumstance of addition which peradventure did not well relish the Spanish taste’, an assertion borne out by ambassador Gondomar’s correspondence. As for a future Parliament, the gentleman hoped that it would relieve grievances, chasten domestic Catholics and give heart to the king’s foreign allies. He also speculated that the Commons would cast ‘a remiss and moderate eye’ upon former breaches of parliamentary privilege. In response, the courtier, recalling James’s remark of 17 Dec. to the contrary, confessed ‘I do not perceive that you are antimonarchically affected’. With that the seeds of a deal were planted.67

At the 1624 general election, Phelips was apparently returned for Somerset without a contest. He was succeeded at Bath by Buckingham’s financial adviser Sir Robert Pye, while Ilchester returned Tomkins and Wynn. News of Phelips’s rapprochement with Buckingham soon leaked out, as did similar ‘undertakings’ with Digges and Sandys, and consequently, although he remained among the most active Members of the Commons, Phelips found himself ‘much fallen in credit’ with the House.68 It was presumably knowledge of his new loyalties which moved Sir Edward Giles to recommend that Phelips help report Buckingham’s ‘Relation’ of the failure of the marriage negotiations in Madrid (23 Feb.), an offer Phelips politely declined. He did, however, honour the agreement reached in the ‘dialogue’ not to reopen the disputes of 1621 about free speech: on 27 Feb., when Sir John Eliot moved for a petition on this subject, and Sir Francis Seymour raised the even more explosive issue of the Protestation, Phelips reminded the House, ‘this our meeting not much less than a miracle’, and moved ‘not to meddle with matters past, but to provide [that] nothing done might be prejudicial in time to come’. The issue was shuffled off into a select committee (27 Feb.), where it was forgotten. The duke did not pull any punches in his Relation, leading the Spanish ambassador to complain to the king that the favourite deserved to lose his head. Phelips insisted that his new patron had said nothing ‘that might reflect [badly] on the king of Spain’. If anything dishonourable had been mentioned, it was ‘not the duke’s fault, but the king of Spain’s ministers’. Phelips was subsequently appointed to the committee to handle a declaration from both Houses which exonerated Buckingham (27 Feb., 1 March).69

The Commons held its first debate on the Spanish Match on 1 March. The day opened with a set-piece speech delivered by the 3rd earl of Pembroke’s client Sir Benjamin Rudyard, who claimed the Match had been a sustained exercise in Spanish duplicity. Anticipating war, he moved for a vote of supply in order to undertake defensive preparations. Phelips commended Rudyard’s advice, but would not hear of a defensive war. Instead, he moved ‘to endeavour what we have lost by prejudicial treaties, to recover by a manly and English way’. He expanded upon this advice:

the treaty hath been the best army that the king of Spain hath had many a year, for their gain thereby hath been great; but we thereby hath lost our friends abroad and lost our God thereby. Therefore obnoxious. For the Palatinate, it moveth to sighs to think of the loss of that and the distress of that lady which had been born under an unhappy planet ... Let us go nearer home and fix upon a diversive war upon Spain.

While this speech went a good way beyond the order of the day, which was the termination of the marriage treaties, it achieved the desired effect of persuading the House to vote for the motion, and when a message arrived from the Lords late in the day asking for a conference the following afternoon, Phelips was able to overcome Sir Dudley Digges’s reservations about rushing to judgment.70

Over the next three days, further revelations about Spanish diplomatic duplicity were relayed to the Commons by Phelips and others. During one of these reports, on 5 Mar., Sir Edwin Sandys produced a petition, drafted by the 3rd earl of Southampton, that engaged the Commons to ‘assist His Majesty with our persons and fortunes according to our abilities ... in a parliamentary way’. This echoed the wording of the Commons’ own Protestation of 4 June 1621, but circumstances had now changed: the fall of the Palatinate in 1622-3 meant that the House was now being invited to fund an offensive war in Germany. Alford immediately protested that this ‘engagement’ should not have been moved from the Lords, and while Phelips insisted ‘that a proposition coming from the Lords may be offered to the House without [prejudice]’, those who had misgivings about war suddenly found their voice, and the petition was rejected.71 Six days later the Commons returned to the question of a war. Phelips, having clearly been advised that the tone of his earlier speech was too belligerent, moved ‘that no speech of the war be taken up among us, but leave that to the king; it will make much dispute among us, it is needful for us only to labour the making good our advice by promise of assistance for the present’. At a joint conference that afternoon Prince Charles pressed for a vote of supply, in return for which he promised plenty of time for the Commons’ legislative agenda. This assurance was welcomed by Phelips, who declared the next morning ‘that as soon as His Majesty shall have declared the treaties broken, we will then express ourselves in some particular manner for his assistance’. However, this reversed the order of priority Charles had aimed for, prompting Secretary Conway (Sir Edward Conway I) to observe that James required that a vote of supply should precede a breach with Spain. Chastened by this experience, perhaps, on 13 Mar. Phelips moved for Archbishop Abbot to urge the king to dissolve the treaties with Spain the following day.72

Phelips’s rather mixed fortunes over these two weeks presumably explains why he was kept out of the limelight in the subsidy debate of 19-20 March. The first day’s debate opened well, but was derailed by Sir John Savile’s motion to know what the war would cost before voting funds. This sparked off a long and inconclusive debate, at the end of which Phelips wearily moved to resume the discussions the following morning. A consensus quickly emerged that three subsidies should be voted, and Phelips helped to establish some of the conditions under which this supply was to be granted. First, he endorsed James’s offer to assign the subsidies to treasurers appointed by the Commons; secondly, he was anxious that the preamble to the bill should incorporate both the royal declaration against Spain and the names of the Council of War who were to spend the money; thirdly, he moved to have the entire grant paid in a single year; and finally, he was responsible for inserting a clause allowing each county to offset the cost of recruitment against the subsidies it raised. Following the decision to vote three subsidies and three fifteenths, there was considerable nervousness that James would not accept the Commons’ offer. On 22 Mar. the king objected to the confessional tone of the draft declaration which accompanied the grant, whereupon Phelips and several others eagerly agreed to drop the offending wording. James’s acceptance of the offer on 23 Mar. was the signal for widespread celebrations, but by the time his speech was reported to the Commons two days later some doubts had emerged: Phelips pronounced it ‘reasonable clear’, but called to have the breach with Spain publicized throughout the courts of Europe.73

The chief problem for those who supported a breach with Spain in the weeks after Easter was to establish whether James was committed to such a rift before the subsidy bill completed its passage through the Commons. The yardstick Members selected as a measure for James’s intentions was his willingness to enforce the recusancy laws which, to the dismay of many, had been suspended for almost two years in order to further the Spanish Match. At the start of the session, both Houses had jointly asked James to issue a Proclamation banishing Catholics from London while Parliament was sitting. Phelips had supported this motion, and had also joined in the investigation of Sir Thomas Gerrard, 1st bt., a Catholic sympathizer who, having been returned for Liverpool, had scrupled to take the oaths and corporate communion required of all Members. Gerrard probably received such scrutiny because there was a rumour that the Spanish had four paid informers sitting in Parliament: on 11 Mar. Phelips claimed to be close to uncovering their identities; but nothing came of this boast.74 On 1 Apr., the first day after Easter, Buckingham asked the Commons for an advance on the subsidies in order to send the fleet out that summer; several Members demurred, and Phelips, observing the ‘thin House’, moved a postponement until the next day and diverted attention to the recusancy laws. The petition for enforcement of the recusancy laws which subsequently emerged largely followed the text of the petition drafted in 1621, but James was displeased at being asked to reimpose the penal statutes, which would, he insisted, create the impression that England had decided to embark on a confessional war and would discourage Catholic powers from seeking an alliance with her. Phelips was unmoved by this objection, however, and observing the ‘increase and insolency’ of Catholics since the suspension of the recusancy laws, was one of many who declined to back down. The petition remained stuck in committee for another two weeks, and it was not until Prince Charles interceded that it was finally accepted by James.75

Other recommendations for action against Catholics included a petition to the king for removal of recusant officeholders: Phelips was one of those sent to discuss this proposal with the Lords (3 Apr.), and as a knight of the shire he later reported that Somerset had no recusant officeholders. He was also involved in the preparation of the final draft for submission to the king (27 April).76 Once sure of the success of the recusancy petition, Phelips helped to speed up the progress of the subsidy bill. On 20 Apr. he called for ‘all possible haste’, while at the second reading on 24 Apr. he urged that the names of the treasurers-at-war be referred to the bill committee. On 1 May he moved for a swift decision over the dates for payment of each subsidy. When the bill was finally reported on 14 May, however, Phelips declined to accept Prince Charles’s suggestion for an alteration to the preamble, for fear of setting a precedent.77

At the start of the 1624 session, Phelips resumed his chairmanship of the committee for courts of justice. As in 1621, this was the ideal vehicle from which to launch attacks against ministerial corruption, and before the Easter recess Phelips had received information against lord keeper Williams, one of the enemies Buckingham was anxious to see removed from office. Williams, however, having learned from the errors of his predecessor, never accepted bribes and rarely signed a legal decree without expert advice. Consequently, over the course of several weeks all the charges against him were dismissed without prejudice. The bill for regulation of Chancery was also revived, although too late in the session to reach fruition, a matter of regret for Phelips.78 The major casualty of Phelips’s investigations during the session was that of lord treasurer Middlesex (Sir Lionel Cranfield*). The investigation began on 5 Apr., when Buckingham’s client Sir Miles Fleetwood* tabled a short information about corruption in the Exchequer. Phelips ominously moved ‘to hasten the business all that may’, and declined to transmit the charges to Middlesex at this early stage. Two days later the customs official Abraham Jacob began giving evidence, while at the same time the committee for trade gathered information regarding Cranfield’s promotion of impositions, or at least new customs levies not authorized by statute. Throughout these proceedings Phelips was aware of the need to avoid trenching on the prerogative, moving ‘to let the right of imposing sleep a while’. Nevertheless, he was keen ‘to represent this as a fault in the lord treasurer, and an injury to the commonwealth’, condemning Middlesex as ‘the projector’. On 14 May the treasurer was sentenced to loss of office, imprisonment and a fine of £50,000. When news of this punishment reached the Commons, Phelips moved to search for a way in which the judgment could be entered in the record without overturning the Commons’ claim to dispute the royal prerogative of imposing.79

Phelips clearly believed that his conduct in the 1624 Parliament deserved reward: it was rumoured that he might succeed (Sir) Dudley Carleton* at the Hague; and he applied to Buckingham for a mastership of Requests, congratulating the duke on breaking the Spanish party and hoping that ‘by your means I may be brought into His Majesty’s service’. However, he had to overcome rumours that he was conspiring with Digby, now earl of Bristol, who was confined to his estates at Sherborne Castle, only a few miles from Montacute. Following James’s death Phelips used Tomkins in his quest for a position at Court, who wrote to him in late March 1625 that, ‘Sir Edwin Sandys is sent for, and I conceive you may be so. I have been with [treasurer of the Chamber] Sir William Uvedale* and Mr. [Richard] Oliver* [Buckingham’s servant] about you, and do hourly expect your letter of thanks to the duke’. However, whatever the post in prospect may have been, it was presumably filled by one of Charles’s own servants, and this failure seems to have estranged Phelips from Buckingham.80

VI. The 1625 Parliament

In 1625 Phelips was again returned for Somerset, despite ‘scandalous speeches’ directed against him at the hustings by one of his enemies, who was later called to account by the Privy Council. However, he was forced to take second place to his inveterate enemy, John Stawell, a mere esquire.81 The shift in his allegiance became apparent on 21 June, when he made his first speech at Westminster. After surveying the crowded agenda before the House, he commended Mallory’s call to adjourn until Michaelmas to escape the plague, or failing that, ‘the putting it off to another place’. This motion, which would have wrecked any prospect of an early grant of supply, was laid aside, but the next morning, as the House argued about the priority to be accorded to the key issues of religion and supply, Phelips recommended that the Crown’s revenues be investigated, as they were ‘unable to support public charges’. Buckingham later interpreted this as a personal attack.82 Phelips also called for impositions to be considered during the passage of the Tunnage and Poundage bill, a motion he renewed at the bill’s second reading on 5 July, when he successfully persuaded the House to make Tunnage and Poundage ‘temporary till the payment of the last subsidy’ in April 1626. His notes for this speech show that he aimed to include impositions and the pretermitted customs in this temporary grant, which would have postponed a final confrontation over impositions.83 Phelips called twice to examine the accounts of the treasurers-at-war responsible for the 1624 subsidies, probably because the proviso he had secured for payment of local recruitment charges from the subsidies had not been honoured by the treasurers. On 6 July, as the adjournment loomed, he and Sir Edward Coke secured an order for the treasurers to attend the next sitting for further examination.84

The subsidy debate of 30 June was inaugurated by Sir Francis Seymour, who offered one subsidy and one fifteenth, a negligible sum intended to block any larger offer the Crown’s servants might propose. Others urged a more generous grant, but Phelips denied that the declaration of support for a war issued by the Commons on 11 Mar. 1624 created any obligation:

The promises and declarations of the last Parliament were in respect of a war; we know yet of no war or of any enemy. We have yet no account of the [1624 subsidy] money, which they say is ready; but what account is to be given of 20,000 men, of many hundred thousands of treasure, which have been expended without any success of honour or profit?

Recalling the effectiveness of the Elizabethan war effort, he moved to petition the king to reform the abuses of the Jacobean era, and ended by proposing an immediate vote on a grant of two subsidies, with no fifteenths. This was a modest improvement on Seymour’s original offer, and it is possible that Phelips believed he had discharged his duty to Buckingham. Certainly, Sir John Eliot recalled this speech as ‘a charm upon the courtiers to suppress their further craving’: no subsequent speaker dissented from this sum, and Phelips’s motion was carried unanimously.85 Phelips may have left London on the eve of the next supply debate, which took place on 8 July, as he is not mentioned in the records after 7 July.

Phelips played a less prominent role in the debates on religion, the other key issue of the session. He blamed the Spanish Match for much of the recent increase in recusancy, twice called to have previous recusancy petitions consulted as a template for a fresh Remonstrance, and was named to the drafting committee (24 June). On 1 Aug., when complaint was made about a pardon for a condemned Jesuit granted at the behest of the French ambassador, Phelips, drawing on his personal experience, observed that the like courtesy had never been afforded to English diplomats and called for further investigation. A petition was drafted, and when Phelips revived the issue five days later, a similar complaint was tabled by Sir Walter Earle and added to the petition.86 Early in the session, Richard Montagu, an Arminian clergyman whose published opinions had been investigated in 1624, was cited for writing a fresh polemic, Appello Caesarem. On 7 July Phelips successfully moved to require Montagu to give security for his appearance at Oxford, but Montagu failed to appear, pleading ill-health, whereupon Phelips moved to send the serjeant-at-arms to arrest him. Solicitor-general Sir Robert Heath then claimed parliamentary privilege for Montagu, who was a royal chaplain, and Phelips confessed that this complicated matters. He was added to the investigating committee (2 Aug.), but it never reported.87

The brief Oxford sitting was dominated by attempts to secure increased supply, which began with a personal plea from the king on 4 August. Buckingham’s supporters exercised all their charms in anticipation of this motion, and it was presumably at this time that Phelips was privately approached by lord keeper Williams. The latter’s entreaties clearly had little effect, as Seymour, Phelips and Sir Edward Coke led the opposition to increased supply when the subject was first raised on 5 August. On this occasion, the boldest speech was made by Phelips, who, recalling the thanks given for the original grant of 30 June, criticized (Sir) John Coke* for his unsuccessful attempt to procure an increase on 8 July. He blamed Buckingham for this change of heart: ‘those things were strange, but the adjournment and that meeting there [Oxford] far more, to have the whole kingdom hurried in such haste for the will and pleasure of one subject’. Throwing caution to the winds, he insisted ‘that he valued not his safety with the safety and welfare of the kingdom’, illustrating his resolve by attacking the French Match: ‘what were the Spanish [marriage] articles it was known, what then the French it was doubted. The papists did still increase, their priests and Jesuits grow more bold’. On impositions, he observed that the restraint showed by the Commons in 1621 and 1624 had only served to encourage Charles to collect Tunnage and Poundage before he had received a statutory grant, ‘as if right were an impertinence to states where power and force are extant’. He protested that ‘the whole kingdom was supposed to be comprehended in one man’, whose identity, though unstated, must have been obvious to all, and whose impeachment he called for. Scorning claims that the Crown could not borrow the paltry sum of £40,000 to send the fleet to sea, he concluded by moving for a petition to allow the Parliament to continue in session in order to concentrate on domestic grievances. Eliot, writing several years later, was filled with admiration for the breadth of vision in this speech, and by the end of the day the councillors were on the defensive.88

Buckingham was persuaded to abandon this approach overnight, a development of which Phelips was obviously unaware at the start of proceedings on 6 Aug., when he tried to distract the House by reviving the investigation into the pardoned Jesuit. Buckingham’s client Sir Henry Mildmay eventually invited Members to consider ways in which money could be raised without further parliamentary supply, and Sir Nathaniel Rich responded with constructive proposals for the settlement of outstanding disagreements. He was interrupted by the duke’s client Edward Clarke, who railed against the ‘bitter invectives’ of the previous day, but no lasting damage was done: although Seymour called for Clarke’s expulsion, Phelips was content to secure his committal to the serjeant-at-arms pending an apology, and the day ended with Phelips endorsing Rich’s proposal for a petition to the king to be allowed to deal with grievances.89 In a further concession to the Commons, on Monday 8 Aug. Buckingham delivered the king’s sympathetic answer to the recusancy petition, but the effect was spoilt by a renewed effort to secure additional subsidies. When this was reported to the Commons the following morning, Phelips, ‘though intimating his own opinion against giving, yet moved only for a committee of the whole House’, which was scheduled for the next day. He enlarged upon these views near the start of the long debate of 10 Aug.: ‘necessity’, he observed, was ‘in every Parliament a pressing argument, and one of those things can never be satisfied’. Warming to his theme, he tartly observed ‘either His Majesty is able to set out this fleet, or it is not fit to go at all’, a state of affairs he blamed on ‘the unfortunate counsel that brought us hither’. He moved to ask Sir Robert Mansell* whether the Council of War had been properly consulted about the forthcoming campaign (he said it had not), and to draft an explanation for this latest refusal of supply. On 11 Aug. complaints concentrated on the failures of coastal defence, and Seymour finally named Buckingham as the minister responsible. Phelips seconded his motion for a committee to investigate, on the grounds that ‘it is not fit to repose the safety of the kingdom upon those that have not parts answerable to their places’.90 Overnight the decision was taken for a dissolution, but as the commission was being drafted Sir Robert More made a final attempt to secure supply, which Phelips, doubtless remembering the similar circumstances of 1614, brushed aside. As Black Rod arrived at the door, a motion was made to exonerate ‘those who were likely to be questioned for that which they had spoken’, whereupon Phelips recalled that this had done him no good in 1621: ‘if he were questioned, he desired no other certificate but the testimony of his conscience; in confidence whereof he would appeal from King Charles misinformed to King Charles rightly informed’.91

VII. The Forced Loan and the 1628 Session

While there were no arrests after the dissolution, it is hardly surprising that Phelips’s overtures to Buckingham for a reconciliation bore no fruit. At the pricking of sheriffs in November 1625, Phelips was one of six ‘sticklers in the last Parliament’ whose names were inserted by the king, and was thus precluded from standing at the 1626 election. There were rumours that he would try to evade this ban by seeking election in another shire, as Sir Edward Coke did, but these came to nothing.92 As sheriff, he probably assisted in the election of his adherent Sir Henry Berkeley as knight of the shire, while his brother-in-law Sir Robert Gorges was returned for Taunton, and John Selden for Ilchester. Although Phelips’s enforced absence from the Commons saved him from direct involvement in the duke’s impeachment, the 18 months which followed the dissolution saw Phelips’s reputation at its nadir, as he was sacked from the county bench, while his local rival Poulett was raised to the peerage. Royal displeasure was increased by Phelips’s forceful agitation against the Benevolence of 1626 and his refusal to allow the county muster-master to train his militia regiment. When the Benevolence was replaced by a Forced Loan, Tomkins, having taken soundings among Buckingham’s circle, reported to Phelips that (Henry Rich*), earl of Holland undertook ‘to set you right at Court’ if Phelips paid promptly, while Sir Robert Pye* ‘seemed only to advise that you would not appear against it, nor be present unless you intended to conform yourself’. Thomas Carey* urged Phelips to work his way back into favour by promoting both the Loan and the enclosure of Roche forest, a local project yielding disappointing returns under Poulett’s management, while Laurence Whitaker* confided that plans to put Phelips on the Somerset Loan commission were no more than ‘an artifice’. Tomkins himself warned,

I should not in this case judge the middle way a good way. If you deny handsomely and faintly and are not a leader of those who shall refuse, you will hardly be held a meriter among them; if you do not avowedly declare yourself to advance the work, you shall have no thanks from the king.

Phelips eventually took Pye’s advice, retiring to London as collection of the Loan got underway in Somerset. As Tomkins predicted, his stance did him few favours at Court, although the Privy Council overlooked his refusal to billet an army officer at Montacute early in 1628.93

At the 1628 election, Phelips was concerned that his stance over the Loan might have jeopardized his re-election for the county seat: ‘if [John] Stawell or Sir Ralph Hopton* shall appear upon the place, they will hazard me’. These fears proved unfounded, and he was apparently returned unopposed with Sir Edward Rodney, a deputy lieutenant. Among his own adherents, Portman and George Browne defeated Stawell at Taunton, while Berkeley and Gorges were returned for Ilchester. In the Commons, surrounded by those who had suffered for their resistance to the Loan, he may have felt slightly uneasy at the start of the session: on the first day of business (20 Mar.), when a complaint was made against the Cornish deputy lieutenants for canvassing against the election of Eliot and William Coryton* as knights of the shire, he excused Sir Richard Grenville, father of one of those accused, for attempting to defend his son. His support for a fast was also couched in even-handed terms: ‘I hope by this meeting we shall discharge ourselves to God and His Majesty and the country, and free the country of their burdens’. He quickly re-established himself as one of the Commons’ leading orators, no mean feat in a session dominated by lawyers, and an accomplishment largely due to his skills at managing a crowded agenda. However, where he had been conspicuously intemperate at Oxford in 1625, he was now one of the leading moderates, working particularly closely with Sir Thomas Wentworth and Sir Edward Coke to persuade a reluctant House to accept some form of compromise in order to resolve the differences of the previous two years.94

The Commons discussed the king’s pressing need for money on 22 Mar., when half a dozen leading orators attempted to define the nature of the grievances for which supply would be exchanged. Sir Benjamin Rudyard struck a chord with his claim that ‘this is the crisis of parliaments’, while Wentworth laid down a brief agenda: imprisonment; employment abroad; seizure of goods; and billeting. Phelips welcomed and amplified both of these speeches:

Oh, Mr. Speaker, our religion, our religion is dispensable. A toleration of conscience is granted by a pecuniary commission, I have not seen it, but have heard of it and will produce good witnesses to avouch it. Preachers have sycophanted the king and abused his ears. The people ought to suffer no more than what they voluntarily assent unto here, but now there are acts of power against acts of law. Levies of money, imprisonments, though the parliaments tell us no man’s goods can be taken without consent.

He suggested that the Forced Loan contravened the 1484 statute banning benevolences, and attacked the deputy lieutenants, ‘a decemvir[ate] in every county’, for collecting Privy Seal loans. Somerset had gained its first taste of military occupation only weeks before the Parliament met, and he complained that ‘we now little differ from the course in Turkey ... Soldiers are laid upon us now as if we were the poorest slaves living’. He compared the injustice of the Five Knights’ case (the test case on the Forced Loan) to two other legal landmarks, Calvin’s case and Bate’s case. Once these grievances were resolved, he insisted, ‘I doubt not but the supply will be exceeding great ... for we shall give him a new people, being yet such a one as does no more than breathe’. Sir John Coke, now secretary of state, called him to order for referring to the recusancy composition commissions as ‘a toleration for idolatry’, but Phelips replied that he meant that dispensation from penal statutes might bring the law into contempt, and was cleared from giving any offence on a vote arranged by Wentworth.95

On 24 Mar. Secretary Coke urged that supply take precedence over grievances. Phelips warned that the Crown should not seek to ‘divert or interpose’ the Commons’ agenda, and was one of several speakers who protested ‘I have nothing that I know ... if our estates be subject to arbitrary discretion’. It was agreed that the House should begin by considering infringements of the liberty of the subject the following morning. ‘Liberty is the stamp of a free man’, Phelips insisted on 25 Mar., moving successfully to have attorney-general Heath summoned to rehearse the arguments he had deployed in the Five Knights’ case. On the following morning Secretary Coke tabled a list of the military projects to be funded from parliamentary supply, whereupon Phelips warned that ‘should supply be pressed too soon, it would hinder the quantity of the gift and alacrity of the giver’. He then played for time by asking whether the Crown was entitled to ask for payment of arrears.96 While lacking the legal training to contribute much to the debates on liberty of the subject, Phelips was not afraid to volunteer his opinions. Confinement to a specific place, a common punishment for Loan refusers, and one he had experienced for himself at Montacute in 1622, was, he held, ‘a greater punishment than imprisonment’; while he protested that the oath imposed by the Loan commissioners was illegal, because oaths could only be imposed by statute. ‘This oath’, he insisted, ‘was a species of Spanish Inquisition, to accuse ourselves and neighbours’. For this unexpected and unflattering analogy Secretary Coke once again called him to order, but Phelips replied that he had merely been alluding to the inquisitorial function of the oath. He then cited a range of English and French medieval authors to establish ‘that nothing can be taken from the subject but by his own consent’.97

On 28 Mar. the House came to debate the key issue of imprisonment without cause shown. John Whistler began with a lengthy recitation of precedents, whereupon Phelips urged that, to save time, alternate speakers should argue the case for and against, a procedure used in the impositions debates of 1610. Clearly keen to avoid delay over the technicalities of the case against the Loan, at the end of the day he moved to fetch the records of two of the key precedents from the Tower that night. Over the next few days solicitor-general Shilton (acting in Heath’s place) argued the Crown’s case, which revolved around the astonishing revelation that Sir Edward Coke, while chief justice, had once given a ruling upholding the Privy Council’s right of arbitrary imprisonment. Phelips, claiming that ‘opinions, judgments or precedents are but servants to parliaments, and not masters to control them’, pressed for a second opinion, in the shape of an Elizabethan ruling by chief justice Sir Edmund Anderson which invalidated Coke’s decision. He also refused to accept that Shilton’s draft of the judgment which ordered the prisoners in the Five Knights’ case to be remanded by the king’s special command was accurate. He had presumably taken advice from Coke on these technical points, as both assertions proved to be true. On 1 Apr. Eliot produced Anderson’s original notes, which confirmed that the text used by Shilton was incorrect, and that a writ of habeas corpus applied even in cases of confinement by the Privy Council. Phelips immediately moved to conclude the debate, and at the end of the day arbitrary imprisonment was unanimously voted to be illegal. His important role in this debate led Edward Littleton II* to choose him as an assistant when presenting the Commons’ case on arbitrary imprisonment to the Lords (4 April).98

Having voted down arbitrary imprisonment, on 2 Apr. the Commons inched a little closer to a grant of supply by debating the king’s propositions of 26 Mar. for military expenditure. Most speakers dwelt on particular items of expenditure, but Wentworth urged that the debate should consider the project as a whole, and moved a postponement for two days, in order to allow for completion of the liberty of the subject inquiry. Phelips supported him, and rejected Sir Henry Marten’s contention that the grievances under discussion amounted to no more than an accumulation of trivia:

I desire to know his opinion whether our essence, which is not yet concluded of, be not in question, and so a grievance. I shall not think we are in a certain way of subsistence, nor that the end of the Parliament will be happy, till money be the least thing thought of.

The debate on royal expenditure was duly adjourned in favour of an examination of billeting, an issue first raised in a complaint from Surrey on 28 Mar., when Phelips had reminded the House ‘there are complaints of this nature from all countries’. Five days later, he enlarged upon this point:

I must state the question higher than yet it is touched ... it contains all our complaints, both propriety of goods and liberty of persons ... as we are commanded to have a garrison on us even in our houses. It is grown to that height that those that are in commission do not only execute their commissions, but also mean persons under that pretence send warrants to other constables to lay their rates on us. If this be so, what need is there of parliaments?

Sir Edward Rodney, Phelips’s colleague as knight for Somerset, interpreted this as a personal attack, an assumption which was doubtless correct, as the next speaker, George Browne, complained about the billeting of troops in Taunton.99 The debates on liberty of the subject were thereafter quickly concluded, and Phelips was named to the committee designated to put the conclusions in order (3 Apr.), which cleared the way for the supply debate the following day. As in 1624, there were those who wished to play for time by discussing the expenditure propositions of 26 Mar. in detail, but Phelips, buoyed by encouraging messages from the king, recalled the decision of 2 Apr. ‘that we should not enter into particulars’, and the propositions were laid aside. Eliot then attempted to postpone the debate again, but was brought to heel by Seymour, who left Phelips to put the case for supply:

I advise a present dispatch this day. The supply of the king and the liberties of the subject are twins [a phrase taken from Seymour’s speech] ... I know no advantage by delay. We must make haste; and so make haste to present our grievances, that his supply and our liberties may go together, and we may get the opinion of the king for the gift.

Having rejected a vote of fifteenths, he recommended four subsidies, but others plumped for five, the same sum assessed for the Forced Loan, and the debate ended with Phelips signifying his assent; the motion passed unanimously.100

Secretary Coke conveyed the king’s thanks for the subsidy vote on 7 Apr., when Phelips was one of several speakers who raised the question of billeting, an issue which probably troubled the counties of southern England more than any other in the first half of 1628. Two days later, on 9 Apr., Phelips raised the case of John Baber, recorder and MP for Wells, Somerset, who had billeted troops on his town without any legal warrant for fear of what they might do if refused accommodation. The particular questions raised by this case did not reflect upon the lieutenancy or the Crown in any way, making Baber the ideal scapegoat, as Phelips gleefully observed. Rodney, who had dispatched the troops in question to Wells, was Baber’s only defender, and after pleading that he had only been obeying orders, Baber was lucky to escape with a suspension. Phelips obviously bore some unknown personal grudge in this case. On 16 May, calls for Baber’s reinstatement were quashed when Phelips produced two petitions against the hapless recorder. Rodney and Sir Ralph Hopton tried again on 29 May, but it was not until 17 June that Baber resumed his seat, at Rodney’s motion.101

Having agreed the heads of their grievances about the liberties of the subject, the Commons still had to convince the Lords to join it in approaching the king. During the six weeks it took to achieve this goal, Phelips played an important role in stiffening the Commons’ resolve not to accept any dilution of its original proposals. When the Commons opened its case to the Lords, the peers sided with attorney-general Heath, which led the Lower House to vote to lay aside supply until the grievances had been resolved (11 April). This provoked an angry message from the king, and assertions that the Commons was ‘antimonarchically inclined’, an echo of King James’s remark of 17 Dec. 1621. Phelips naturally objected to this slur: ‘take away that blot of "antimonarchical". Our late king said, were he to choose a law, he would choose our Common Law, and I say, were we to choose a government, it should be that of England’. Another squabble broke out on 14 Apr., when it was reported that Theoplilus Howard*, 2nd earl of Suffolk had said that John Selden*, one of the chief architects of the Commons’ case against arbitrary government, should hang for erasing a record relating to the Crown’s case. Sir Edward Coke compared this remark to Bishop Neile’s outburst which had helped to wreck the Addled Parliament, and it was presumably with this in mind that Phelips recommended approaching the king rather than the Lords for assistance: ‘I doubt not but His Majesty will lay the fault where the fault is’. The House decided otherwise, and Phelips was sent to seek an explanation from the Lords, where Suffolk naturally insisted his words had been misinterpreted.102 Two days later, the Commons was asked to present its case about the liberties of the subject to the judges. While others demurred, Phelips persuaded the House to have confidence in its own arguments. These were rejected by the judges, but when this fact was reported in the Commons (21 Apr.) Phelips defiantly moved to have the rival cases entered into the record for posterity. The Lords then offered a fresh proposition, ‘that the right and prerogative of the Crown and the liberty of the subjects do not clash one against the other’, but once again Phelips warned that the Commons should ‘take heed how we recede suddenly from our resolutions, which have been so legally and judiciously determined’.103

The Lords’ constant sniping at the Commons proposals for legislation eventually led to the conclusion that the bill to confirm the liberties then under consideration should be abandoned. On 30 Apr. Phelips, somewhat perplexed by these difficulties, protested that ‘His Majesty assured us he would confirm our liberties by bill or any other way’. However, on the following morning, when the king offered to confirm Magna Carta and other existing statutes as an alternative, Phelips had the presence of mind to insist that the Commons and not the Crown propose the remedy. Charles then raised the stakes, announcing an early end to the session on 13 May. Phelips, among others, still rejected any notion of capitulation, and eventually, on 6 May, the idea of proceeding by Petition of Right was adopted, which he welcomed with palpable relief: ‘though we have not Magna Carta, I hope we shall have as great a charter (I mean the king’s heart)’. The suggestion that the Petition be included in the preamble to the subsidy bill, which he had endorsed, was rejected, but his advice to include only the ‘murdering grievances’ was followed.104 After lengthy deliberation, the Lords offered to accept the Petition with a ‘saving clause’ to preserve the king’s prerogative. Phelips politely welcomed this suggestion, but reminded the House that it was ‘no way concluding’, and two days later he moved to ask the Lords ‘whether they do agree in sum and manner with us, else we are no forwarder than we were at first’. He was sent to ask for a conference, at which neither side was willing to give way, following which he insisted that the Petition must remain unaltered: ‘if the Lords will not take it thus, let them choose’. Over the next few days he was prepared to allow a few minor grammatical alterations to the text, but on 22 May both Phelips and Wentworth moved to wrap up this debate and seek a fresh conference with the Lords. Learning that the Lords had once again insisted upon some form of saving clause, Phelips snarled, ‘we have already expressed as much care over His Majesty’s prerogative as can be ... If our petition contain nothing in derogation to His Majesty’s right, why should there be more expense of time?’105

The Lords eventually capitulated on 26 May, whereupon Phelips and several others moved to engross the Petition and give the subsidy bill its long delayed second reading. Later the same day, he also moved to prepare a draft bill for Tunnage and Poundage, which had still not been passed three years into Charles’s reign. On the following day, doubts were raised about the form of the Petition, but Phelips observed that any attempt to redraft it as a bill would waste time and raise further controversy: ‘I was of opinion that this way of Petition was not unsafe, but I grounded myself on His Majesty’s royal word, which to me is stronger than any Act of Parliament whatsoever’.106 As the House awaited the king’s answer to the Petition, attention turned to the subsidy bill. Phelips welcomed Mallory’s motion to impose minimum ratings on English baronets and Scottish and Irish peers, but rejected a similar proposal for knights of the Bath. This upset Wentworth, a baronet, who asked not to have such a slur cast upon his honesty, and when the bill was reported on 10 June, Phelips announced that he had changed his mind about baronets, because of ‘their public merit in suffering for the liberties of England’; this motion was carried, to Wentworth’s glee. The investigation into Sir Thomas Monson’s* patent for bills before the Council in the North was also reported, at which Phelips recalled this to be a revival of Lepton’s patent, condemned in 1621: ‘why should anyone out of the ashes of Lepton, so decried, attempt this vindication ... Sir Thomas Monson was not ignorant of this of Lepton, and the validity of his patent’.107

The king’s first answer to the Petition, a bare confirmation, was entirely unsatisfactory, and on 3 June Eliot launched into a catalogue of the ministerial failures of the last three years. Phelips, having denied any advance knowledge of Eliot’s intentions, rehearsed his arguments once again at length, complaining that ‘we have an ill peace and a worse war’, and moving for a Remonstrance to inform the king about the shortcomings of his ministers. However, as in December 1621, he was careful to leave the king free to decide the remedies to be applied. Two days later, news that the king had decided to end the session on 11 June brought Phelips to depair:

When I remember with what moderation we began, with that temper proceeded in this Parliament, I am sorry to see nevertheless to what straits we are brought. Remember what we have omitted. We came hither full of wrongs and pressured; all are buried, and upon that grave rises up new miseries ... What shall we do? Since our humble purposes are prevented and that true remonstrance stopped ... shall we leave to be a Council?

On the next morning, Speaker John Finch II returned with another message urging that the Remonstrance should not dwell on things past, a concession Phelips had already indicated he was willing to make. He derived some crumb of comfort from this, but still feared the worst, repeating the argument he had used on the last day of the 1625 Parliament: ‘if anything fall out unhappily, it is not King Charles that advised himself, but King Charles misadvised by others and misled by misordered counsel’. With Members’ worst fears about to be realized, everyone clamoured to add their grievances to the Remonstrance; Phelips complained that ‘idolatry has kept God from the counsel and armies of England’, a reference to the scheme to compound for recusancy fines.108

While the king’s second answer to the Petition, received on 7 June, was deemed acceptable, neither this nor the king’s agreement to postpone the prorogation could stop proceedings on the Remonstrance. While some viewed the Remonstrance as a means of reviving the impeachment charges against Buckingham, there are signs that Phelips sought opportunities to be a little more constructive. When moving to wind up the debate on coastal defence (10 June) he did not specifically move to blame the duke for these shortcomings; while on the following day he warmly welcomed the statement by chancellor of the duchy Sir Humphrey May that the king had no intention of promoting either Catholics or Arminians: ‘It is true the king’s heart is right in religion and government, but our misfortunes are in ministers about him. We are glad to hear of His Majesty’s resolution that no man shall be advanced by him that holds Arminian or popish opinions’. Complaint was also made about the levying of fines imposed by proclamations, whereupon Phelips observed that King James had agreed not to do this in answer to the 1610 grievances. Having completed their deliberations, Members debated whether to name the duke as the prime cause of their grievances. Phelips struggled bravely to find a way to do this without giving undue offence:

Since the last Parliament has the duke done anything that can add merit to him? Not to name him is impossible, considering how he stands to us now, yet I would so name him that it should appear we do it out of duty to the king and the necessity we have, and not out of any respect to his merit. I desire we may put the question, that the power in the duke of Buckingham’s hands is the prime cause of all those disasters that have happened.

At the end of the debate, he again urged that the king be left to make his own decision about the charges contained in the Remonstrance.109

Part of the reason why Phelips did not rush to condemn Buckingham may have been his appreciation that the commonwealth faced other threats which could not be attributed to the duke. On 16 June he warned that the pardon might be vetoed if it included ‘ill men’, by which he probably meant Arminians. On the following day he backed complaints about ‘the great abuses in the whole kingdom done by ... saltpetremen’, while on 19 June he commended the king’s generosity in allowing the Lords to witness the cancelling of the excise commissions drafted but not implemented in February 1628.110 When (Sir) Edmund Sawyer* was interrogated about his role in drafting a new book of customs rates (20 June), a project which would have revived ancient controversies over impositions, Phelips pronounced himself unable to believe that the initiative for this had come from the king, and on the following day he helped to ensure that Sawyer was expelled from the House. The solution to this problem was the passage of the bill of Tunnage and Poundage, which had languished in committee since 4 April. At a meeting belatedly held on 24 June, Phelips sheepishly admitted, ‘herein we must now play an after game, and this is a work of long time which our few hours will not admit’. As he had done in 1625, he suggested a short bill to legalize the collection of customs until the next session, although he also made the provocative suggestion that the king should be petitioned to forbear from collecting impositions in the meantime.111

VIII. The 1629 Session

In the autumn of 1628 Stawell claimed that Phelips was a persistent absentee from the Somerset musters, and had told a high constable that the musters were unlawful and against the orders of Parliament: ‘what his ends are herein may be probably conjectured, which is to gain a double reputation for himself, one above by pretending good affections to the service, another here by showing his dislike against it’. However, on 31 Oct. 1628 the Privy Council dismissed the charge, and reprimanded Stawell for exceeding his authority in his inquiries.112 Phelips does not appear to have sought preferment during the jockeying for position at Court which followed Buckingham’s assassination in August 1628. When Parliament reconvened in January 1629, Phelips, while he remained as voluble as ever, was not always among the inner counsels of the two main factions seeking to control the Commons’ agenda: the group around Eliot and Selden, who pressed for a resolution of longstanding disputes over customs and impositions; and Pym, Rich and their allies, who focused on religion.113

As a man for whom secular grievances generally loomed larger than religious ones, Phelips was always more likely to be attracted to the debate over customs and impositions, an occasional interest of his since 1614, and his particular concern in the debate of 24 June 1628. When John Rolle* complained to the House about the seizure of his goods by customs officials on 22 Jan., Phelips recalled the examination of the customers in 1604, when Tunnage and Poundage had been collected before Parliament had passed a grant. The present instance, he argued, was even worse:

Look on the liberty of the subject, look on the privilege of this House; let any man say if ever he read or saw the like violations by inferior ministers that overdo their commands. They knew the party was a Parliament man; nay, they said if all the Parliament were in you, this we would do and justify (meaning the denial of the replevin).

His call for a select committee was opposed by Eliot and Selden, but the motion was carried, and he was included among its number (22 January). However, the king quickly stalled this investigation by calling for passage of the long-delayed Tunnage and Poundage bill, which was to be made retroactive to the beginning of the reign. The bill was tabled on 26 Jan., when Eliot quickly complained that it proposed to legalize impositions. Selden argued that the Crown had no right to initiate a supply bill, but Phelips stopped its progress more effectively by arguing that the investigation of Rolle’s case should take priority.114

At this point, and probably intentionally, the House was diverted into a debate on religion by Pym’s half-brother, Francis Rous, who condemned the subversion of the Church of England by Arminian clergymen. Seymour wandered off the point by attacking recusants, but Phelips, among others, brought the debate back on track: ‘two sects are dangerously crept in to undermine king and kingdom, if not now prevented, the one ancient popery, the other new Arminianism’.115 Phelips had occasionally touched upon this issue in 1628, when he had called for the attainder of Roger Manwaring for preaching a sermon justifying the Forced Loan, but by February 1629 he may have been alarmed by rumours of an anti-parliamentary alliance at Court between Catholics and Arminians.116 With little interest in theology, he remained silent while the committee for religion struggled to establish a workable definition of the church’s central doctrines. However, he was quick to express alarm on 4 Feb., when it emerged that Richard Montagu and three other clergymen investigated in the previous session had secured pardons shortly before Parliament reassembled. Terming them ‘the greatest enemies to the church and state’, he was one of those sent to question attorney-general Heath about the circumstances in which their pardons were procured. His report noted that while Sir Edward Sackville and Dudley Carleton, now respectively 4th earl of Dorset and Viscount Dorchester, had penned the original pardon for Montagu, Bishop Neile, chief wrecker of the Addled Parliament and the most senior anti-Calvinist on the episcopal bench, had both enlarged the list of offences to be pardoned and added the names of the three other clergymen to it. Three days later, however, Phelips was forced to admit that Neile was not culpable, as Heath had said that the alterations were made before the draft was sent to him. Consequently, when evidence was produced which showed that Neile had attempted to stop preaching against Catholicism, Phelips moved to have this fresh allegation investigated.117 If doctrine could not be defined in a sufficiently precise way to allow prosecution, other charges would serve: on 6 Feb. Phelips reported Heath’s information about a casual slander against the royal supremacy by John Cosin, a canon at Durham; and five days later he moved to examine witnesses to Neile’s ban on anti-Catholic preaching.118

On 10 Feb. the Arminian debate was interrupted by Rolle’s complaint that he had been summoned before Star Chamber. Given the timing, Phelips suspected this ‘to proceed from those who would take us off the matter of religion; it comes higher’. While he urged caution, lest this order proved to have come directly from the king, the House endorsed his motion to summon the pursuivant who had delivered the subpoena. On 12 Feb. his fears of collusion at the highest levels were confirmed when three other merchants whose goods had been seized complained that they, too had been called into Star Chamber. Phelips moved to petition the king for an end to these distractions, ‘for till His Majesty doth let us be free men we cannot proceed with the bill of Tunnage and Poundage’. It was instead resolved to adopt the motion of Eliot and Selden, which was to inform the Exchequer Court that Rolle’s goods were detained for refusal of Tunnage and Poundage; as no statute had yet been passed, the seizure must therefore be reversed. However, the barons declined to release Rolle’s goods, upon the legal technicality that Crown seizures were handled differently from those of private parties.119

While the Exchequer deliberated, the committee for religion returned to another staple, the pursuit of recusants, little heard of since the opening days of the session. On 13 Feb. Sir Richard Grosvenor called to revive the anti-Catholic investigations of the 1628 session. Phelips, presumably on cue, sprang to his feet with the claim that ‘this increase of papists is by connivance of persons that be in authority’. Observing that large numbers of Catholics were maintained abroad, he moved ‘that the clerk look up all petitions of religion’ in order to draft a fresh petition to the king. The House, however, decided to pursue its earlier investigation of the release of priests detained at a clandestine Jesuit college in Clerkenwell, Middlesex, a decision which Phelips endorsed on the following day. On 16 Feb. Phelips protested when it emerged that Star Chamber had decided to suspend the death sentences passed against these Jesuits, although he advised caution after it was decided to question the judges about the proceedings. They claimed not to have seen the incriminating paperwork seized at Clerkenwell, whereupon Phelips and others called for further witnesses to be examined.120

On 17 Feb. the customs dispute re-emerged with a petition from a merchant who complained that his goods had been stayed by the Privy Council only two days earlier. Phelips contemptuously snorted that there was ‘no purpose to sit here if these things be put upon us’. Nevertheless, he urged that consideration of this question be left until the debate on Rolle’s case scheduled for 19 Feb., a motion seconded by Eliot. Inquiries over the next few days established that the customs officials were aware of Rolle’s parliamentary status at the time they seized his goods. While Wandesford warned against censuring the Crown’s servants as delinquents for performance of their duties, Eliot and Selden were not inclined to compromise. Phelips sided with the radicals on 21 Feb.: ‘how easily we see the prerogative of princes thrive, when the liberties of subjects are at a stand’. It emerged that the customers’ paperwork was deficient, and they could therefore be proceeded against as trespassers, hence on 23 Feb. Phelips opened the debate with a call to ‘begin with the delinquency of these men, the customers, and sever them’ before proceeding to obtain restitution of Rolle’s goods, a motion which lost sight of the dispute’s origin as a privilege claim. Secretary Coke promptly informed the House that the king claimed personal responsibility for the customers’ actions, whereupon Phelips called for a cessation of business, as in 1614.121 This was duly ordered, but when the House reassembled two days later it was promptly adjourned for a week at the king’s command. Phelips was clearly not involved in the demonstration Eliot mounted on 2 Mar., but he agreed that Eliot’s charge that lord treasurer Weston was the main source of the king’s ‘ill counsel’ should be heard by the Commons. Accounts differ as to whether he believed Weston to be guilty.122

IX. Final Years

Shortly after they both returned to Somerset, Poulett alleged that Phelips ‘turned courtier ... upon design to withdraw the good opinion of the country from me’. The claim that Phelips had changed sides was quickly verified, for only six months after the dissolution the king expressed confidence that he would work for the Crown ‘rather than for the favour of the multitude’ over the enclosure of Sedgemoor. He also served as a commissioner for knighthood compositions in 1630-1, and in 1632 the Privy Council thanked him for informing them of ‘the opposition made by some turbulent persons against the binding forth of poor children as apprentices’.123 His willingness to co-operate perhaps owed something to a reduction in the fears for religion which he had voiced in the 1629 parliamentary session - he later described the puritans Burton, Bastwick and William Prynne† as ‘odd lunatics’ - but his standing with the government doubtless also improved because his local rival, Lord Poulett, remained hostile to Arminianism. It may have been Phelips who informed Bishop Laud of the ban on Somerset’s church ales by the assize judges. Laud considered him ‘neither Popish nor profane’, and when chief justice (Sir) Thomas Richardson* attempted to ignore a royal order to rescind the ban on church ales, it was Phelips who informed the king of his evasion.124

Phelips’s newfound loyalty never brought him the gainful office he urgently needed to stabilize his finances. Consequently, in 1632 he was obliged to settle most of his estates on his son Edward† in order to secure the latter’s marriage to a daughter of Sir Robert Pye, which secured payment of his debts. A survey of Montacute, valued at £589 per annum, noted opportunities for considerable agricultural improvements, but Phelips’s chief difficulty was profligacy: he admitted that he had been ‘expensive to the prejudice of our family’, and his son’s settlement left him unable to raise marriage portions for his daughters. He subsequently mounted a protracted campaign against Ship Money, but took such care to avoid offence that the Privy Council declared that ‘he had done nothing ... but what becomes a good subject and a well-affected person’.125 He died, ‘choked with phlegm’, on 13 Apr. 1638, and was buried at Montacute. Neither will nor administration has been found. An inventory of his goods shows the house to have been richly furnished. His elder son Edward represented Ilchester in the Short and Long Parliaments until disabled as a royalist, and sat in the Cavalier Parliament as knight of the shire.126

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / John. P. Ferris / Simon Healy


  • 1. A. Kittermaster, ‘Sir Edward Phelips’, Som. and Dorset N and Q, xxxi. 306-15.
  • 2. M. Temple Admiss.; Som. RO, DD/PH/219/15-16.
  • 3. Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 83; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 153; Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 357.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 118.
  • 5. C142/366/190.
  • 6. C142/571/151.
  • 7. C181/2, ff. 129v, 246; 181/3, f. 186.
  • 8. Hertford Ltcy. Pprs. (Wilts. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 142; Som. RO, DD/PH/225/5.
  • 9. Q. Sess. Recs. ed. E.H. Bates Harbin (Som. Rec. Soc. xxiii), p. xxiii; C231/4, ff. 16, 259; Som. RO, DD/PH/219/66.
  • 10. Harl. 354, f. 68.
  • 11. Som. RO, DD/PH/225/36; E306/15/10.
  • 12. Som. RO, DD/PH/223/35.
  • 13. Som. RO, DD/PH/199; T.G. Barnes, Som. 1625-40, p. 317.
  • 14. C181/2, f. 269v; 181/3, ff. 178v, 259.
  • 15. C212/22/20-3.
  • 16. E178/7154, f. 168C, 178/5614, ff. 7, 13.
  • 17. Som. RO, DD/PH177.
  • 18. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB53; Procs. 1625, pp. 278, 507-8; CJ, i. 658; ‘Nicholas 1624’, ff. 33-4.
  • 19. Barnes, 298.
  • 20. CJ, i. 160b, 184a, 185a, 186a, 975b.
  • 21. Ibid. 263a, 309a, 324b, 346a.
  • 22. Som. RO, DD/PH219/15-16; Hertford Ltcy. Pprs. 138, 142; CJ, i. 440a.
  • 23. CSP Dom. 1611-18, pp. 200, 206, 211; T.D. Hardy, Principal Officers of Chancery, 127.
  • 24. M. Kishlansky, Parl. Selection, 85-101.
  • 25. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 76, 82, 121; Som. RO, DD/PH/219/107.
  • 26. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 180-2, 196, 202-3, 238, 244-7.
  • 27. Ibid. 152-3, 272, 283-5, 299.
  • 28. Ibid. 339-40, 348, 358-60, 385.
  • 29. Ibid. 296-7, 305, 319; Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, ii. 340-1; CJ, i. 335b; Som. RO, DD/PH/224/80.
  • 30. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 390, 437-8; Som. RO, DD/PH/224/80.
  • 31. Chamberlain Letters, i. 540; APC, 1613-14, p. 505; Som. RO, DD/PH/221/6, DD/Ph/222/5; C231/4, f. 16; C78/292/2; Barnes, 26; K.S. van Eerde, ‘Spanish Match through an English Protestant’s Eyes’, HLQ, xxxii. 71.
  • 32. J.K. Gruenfelder, Influence in Early Stuart Elections, 163-4; Dorset RO, DC/CC, acc. 7998, unfol. (Phelips to Mayor, 6 Jan. 1621); M. Rogers, Montacute House, 18.
  • 33. CD 1621, ii. 18, 24-6, 59, 83-4; iv. 12; v. 448; CJ, i. 517b-18a; C. Russell, PEP, 92-3; R. Zaller, Parl. of 1621, pp. 37-41.
  • 34. Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 48; CD 1621, ii. 87-9; iv. 57-8; CJ, i. 544a, 551a; Zaller, 47-8.
  • 35. Zaller, 48-9; Nicholas, i. 69-71; CD 1621, ii. 109-10, 146; iv. 111-12; CJ, i. 530a-b, 533b; C.C.G. Tite, Impeachment and Parl. Judicature in Early Stuart Eng. 89-99.
  • 36. CJ, i. 535-6, 538-9; Nicholas, i. 117-18; CD 1621, ii. 159, 164-8; Tite, 98-100.
  • 37. CJ, i. 541-3, 546b; Nicholas, i. 135-40; CD 1621, ii. 199-200; Tite, 101-3; Zaller, 66-7.
  • 38. Zaller, 67-71; Russell, PEP, 109-11; CJ, i. 551a, 557b, 577a-b; CD 1621, ii. 272; Stuart Royal Procs ed. J.F. Larkin and P.L. Hughes, i. 502-3.
  • 39. Nicholas, i. 59-60; CJ, i. 549b, 555b.
  • 40. CJ, ii. 554, 560a, 561b, 564-6, 591a; CD 1621, ii. 224-6, 237-9; Zaller, 74-85; Tite, 110-14; Russell, PEP, 111-13.
  • 41. CD 1621, ii. 166-7; CJ, i. 550a; Zaller, 70-1.
  • 42. CD 1621, iii. 69; CJ, i. 586a; Nicholas, i. 292, 310; Zaller, 119-23.
  • 43. Nicholas, i. 327, 358; ii. 3-4; CD 1621, vi. 150-2; Zaller, 119-23.
  • 44. CJ, i. 597b, 601a, 608b, 613-14; Nicholas, ii. 7, 20; Zaller, 104-15; CD 1621, iii. 128; Tite, 122-31; Russell, PEP, 117-18.
  • 45. Zaller, 90-9; CJ, i. 574a; CD 1621, ii. 327-30; v. 107, 181.
  • 46. CJ, i. 569a; CD 1621, ii. 265-6, 269; iii. 261-3; Nicholas, i. 298-9.
  • 47. CJ, 572b; E. de Villiers, ‘Parlty. Bors. Restored by House of Commons, 1621-41’, EHR, lxvii. 188.
  • 48. CJ, i. 590a, 611b; Nicholas, i. 270; ii. 34-5, 48; CD 1621, iii. 66.
  • 49. CJ, i. 528-9, 558b, 592b; CD 1621, ii. 262, 383-4; vi. 166; Zaller, 99-100; Nicholas, ii. 95.
  • 50. CJ, i. 629b; Nicholas, ii. 115, 123; CD 1621, ii. 401, 415; iii. 345-6; Zaller, 133-5.
  • 51. Nicholas, ii. 145-6, 430; CJ, i. 634b, 636a, 637a; Zaller, 135-6.
  • 52. CJ, i. 639a; Zaller, 136-8; Russell, PEP, 119-20.
  • 53. CJ, 641a; CD 1621, ii. 179-80, 194.
  • 54. Nicholas, ii. 211-13, 223-4; CD 1621, v. 225; vi. 326; CJ, i. 650a; Zaller, 151-3; Russell, PEP, 129-34; C. Russell, ‘Wentworth and anti-Spanish sentiment’, Pol. World of Thomas Wentworth ed. J.F. Merritt, 55-8.
  • 55. CJ, i. 652b; CD 1621, ii. 481; vi. 216; Nicholas, ii. 259-60.
  • 56. G. Redworth, Prince and the Infanta, 31-6; Zaller, 154-7; Russell, PEP, 134-5; Nicholas, ii. 271, 275.
  • 57. Nicholas, ii. 278, 280, 287; CJ, i. 568; CD 1621, vi. 226; Zaller, 158-9.
  • 58. Nicholas, ii. 296-7, 302; CD 1621, vi. 228; Zaller, 161-3.
  • 59. Nicholas, ii. 308-10; CD 1621, vi. 232.
  • 60. CJ, i. 661b; Nicholas, ii. 311; Zaller, 164-5.
  • 61. Nicholas, ii. 328-30; CD 1621, vi. 236-7; Zaller, 165-8.
  • 62. Nicholas, ii. 333-5; CD 1621, v. 238-9; vi. 238-9; Zaller, 168-70.
  • 63. Nicholas, ii. 340-3; CJ, i. 666b; CD 1621, vi. 241; Zaller, 172-4.
  • 64. CJ, i. 668a; Nicholas, ii. 352-5; CD 1621, vi. 245; Zaller, 175-9, 185.
  • 65. APC, 1621-3, pp. 107, 115; Som. RO, DD/PH/216/32, DD/PH/224/87; K. Sharpe, ‘Introduction: Parl. Hist. 1603-29’, Faction and Parl. ed. K. Sharpe, 16, 32.
  • 66. CSP Dom. 1619-23, pp. 362; APC, 1621-3, pp. 167-7, 307-8; Som. RO, DD/PH/224/82-3; Zaller, 188-9; T. Cogswell, Blessed Revolution, 159-60; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 421, 438, 448-9.
  • 67. Som. RO, DD/PH/227/16; Cogswell, 157-8; B.C. Pursell, ‘James I, Gondomar and the Dissolution of the Parl. of 1621’, Hist. lxxxv. 435-41.
  • 68. Som. RO, DD/PH/219/62; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 549; Cogswell, 160-1.
  • 69. CJ, i. 716b, 719b, 721-4; ‘Nicholas 1624’, ff. 4v-5; Holles 1624, p. 35; Som. RO, DD/PH/227/16; Russell, PEP, 161-2.
  • 70. ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 33; CJ, i. 722-3; ‘Holland 1624’, i. f. 12; Cogswell, 174-8.
  • 71. CJ, i. 724-8; ‘Holland 1624’, i. f. 31v; Cogswell, 184-6.
  • 72. ‘Spring 1624’, p. 107; ‘Pym 1624’, i. f. 27; CJ, i. 736a; Cogswell, 188-94.
  • 73. ‘Holland 1624’, i. ff. 61v, 69; ‘Spring 1624’, pp. 145-6; Holles 1624, p. 51; ‘Nicholas 1624’, ff. 97v-98v, 102; CJ, i. 746b, 750b; Cogswell, 203-26.
  • 74. CJ, i. 673-4; 679a, 680b, 683a; R. Ruigh, Parl. of 1624, pp. 224-5.
  • 75. CJ, i. 751-2; Holles 1624, pp. 56-7; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 184; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 153v; Cogswell, 232-4, 248.
  • 76. CJ, i. 691b-2a, 754a, 776b.
  • 77. ‘Holland 1624’ ii. ff. 41-2; CJ, i. 690a, 696a; ‘Hawarde 1624’, pp. 290-1.
  • 78. CJ, i. 672a, 699-700, 706, 712-13, 738-9, 766b, 775b.
  • 79. Ibid. 757-60, 764a, 775a, 789a; ‘Nicholas 1624’, ff. 112-13, 146v; Holles 1624, p. 68; Russell, PEP, 198-202; Ruigh, 316-41.
  • 80. Cogswell, 153-6, 160; Som. RO, DD/PH/221/32; Cabala Sive Scrinia Sacra, 314.
  • 81. APC, 1625-6, pp.103-4.
  • 82. Procs. 1625, pp. 206-11, 216, 220; Russell, PEP, 220-1; Som. RO, DD/PH/221/12; C. Thompson, ‘Court Pols. and Parl. conflict in 1625’, Conflict in early Stuart Eng. ed. R. Cust and A. Hughes, 172-3.
  • 83. Procs. 1625, pp. 313-14, 317; Russell, PEP, 227-9; Som. RO, DD/PH/216/8.
  • 84. Procs. 1625, pp. 210, 278, 323; Russell, PEP, 222-4.
  • 85. Procs. 1625, pp. 274-9, 507-8; Russell, PEP, 224-6; Thompson, ‘1625’, p. 175; R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 245-6.
  • 86. Procs. 1625, pp. 231, 240, 376, 412-14; Russell, PEP, 239-40.
  • 87. Procs. 1625, pp. 334, 378-81; Russell, PEP, 207, 240-1.
  • 88. J. Hacket, Scrinia Reserata, ii. 17; Procs. 1625, pp. 540-3; Russell, PEP, 241-7; Thompson, ‘1625’, pp. 181-2.
  • 89. Procs. 1625, pp. 413, 418-19; Russell, PEP, 247-8; Thompson, ‘1625’, pp. 181-3.
  • 90. Procs. 1625, pp. 433, 448-9; Russell, PEP, 248-51; Thompson, ‘1625’, pp. 183-4.
  • 91. Procs. 1625, pp. 474-6; Russell, PEP, 251-2.
  • 92. T. Birch, Ct. and Times Chas. I, i. 63; Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 29-30; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 628.
  • 93. Som. RO, DD/PH/219/66-7; Barnes, 39, 163, 249; R. Cust, Forced Loan, 106-8, 153-4; CD 1628, ii. 379, 389, 627.
  • 94. Som. RO, DD/PH/221/2-3; CD 1628, ii. 34-6.
  • 95. Russell, PEP, 340-1; CD 1628, ii. 65-71, 73-4.
  • 96. CD 1628, ii. 83, 92, 99-100, 122-3, 129.
  • 97. Ibid. ii. 129-30, 133-5, 138.
  • 98. Ibid. 175-6, 179, 212-13, 218-21, 229; Russell, PEP, 351-2.
  • 99. CD 1628, ii. 170, 251, 254-5, 263; Barnes, 256-8; P. Christiansen, ‘Arguments on billeting and martial law in the Parl. of 1628’, HJ, xxxvii. 543, 546.
  • 100. CD 1628, ii. 277-8, 297-8, 300, 309-13.
  • 101. CD 1628, ii. 328-9, 377-9, 383-6; iii. 429-30, 435; iv. 19-20, 352.
  • 102. Ibid. ii. 436-7, 445-6, 454-5, 448.
  • 103. Ibid. ii. 483, 487-8; iii. 7-9, 12, 61-5, 98.
  • 104. Ibid. iii. 172-3, 189, 272-3, 277-8.
  • 105. Ibid. iii. 454, 469, 464, 468, 493, 501, 535, 582, 595; Russell, PEP, 372-3.
  • 106. CD 1628, iii. 613, 615, 617, 627; Russell, PEP, 374.
  • 107. CD 1628, iv. 17-18, 27, 228; Russell, PEP, 375-6.
  • 108. CD 1628, iv. 70, 74, 118, 139, 156; Russell, PEP, 377-82.
  • 109. CD 1628, iv. 203, 210, 243-4, 267-8.
  • 110. Ibid. iv. 333-4, 340, 348, 380, 393.
  • 111. Ibid. iv. 418-19, 447-59; Russell, PEP, 385-8.
  • 112. Som. RO, DD/PH/222, ff. 22, 34; DD/PH/224, f. 142; APC, 1628-9, pp. 170, 219; Barnes, 265-6.
  • 113. L.J. Reeve, Chas. I and the road to Personal Rule, 71-2.
  • 114. CD 1629, pp. 7-8, 108-9; HMC Lonsdale, 61; CJ, i. 921a; Russell, PEP, 402-4; C. Thompson, ‘Divided leadership of the House of Commons in 1629’, Faction and Parl. 250-2.
  • 115. CD 1629, pp. 16, 109-10, 247; Russell, PEP, 404-5; Thompson, ‘1629’, p. 253.
  • 116. CD 1628, iii. 405-6; Reeve, 54-7.
  • 117. CD 1629, pp. 37-40, 124-6; Russell, PEP, 410-12; Thompson, ‘1629’, pp. 255-60.
  • 118. CD 1629, pp. 44-5, 58-60, 130, 174-5; Thompson, ‘1629’, pp. 260-1.
  • 119. CD 1629, pp. 55-6, 142-4, 186; Thompson, ‘1629’, pp. 263-5.
  • 120. CD 1629, pp. 69-70, 145, 204, 208, 213-20.
  • 121. Ibid. 93, 167-9, 217-18, 238-9; Thompson, ‘1629’, pp. 265-70.
  • 122. CD 1629, pp. 243, 265; Thompson, ‘1629’, pp. 270-3.
  • 123. HMC 3rd Rep. 282; PC2/42, f. 137; Russell, PEP, 424; CSP Dom. 1629-31, p.120.
  • 124. T.G. Barnes, ‘County pols. and a puritan cause celebre’, TRHS (ser. 5), ix. 113, 116; Works of Abp. Laud ed. J. Bliss, iv. 253; A. Fletcher, Reform in the Provinces, 51; Strafforde Letters, i. 167.
  • 125. Smyth Corresp. (Bristol Rec. Soc. xxxv), 113-15; VCH Som. iii. 217; Barnes, 26, 214; CSP Dom. 1635, pp. 409, 502; 1637, pp. 98, 111.
  • 126. Strafforde Letters, ii. 164; C142/571/151; Rogers, 18.