The Right Honourable
Knights, Citizens and Burgesses
of the House of Commons
Humble Petition of Edmond
[decorative border beneath a shield]
Printed in the yeere, 1642.
The Right Honourable the Knights, Citizens and
Burgesses of the House of Commons, now
Assembled in Parliament.
The humble Petition of Edmond Felton, Gent.
Most humbly Sheweth,
That your Petitioners late Father, Thomas Felton, Esquire was authorized under the great Seale of England, and thereby imployed by and for her late Maiestie, Queen Elizabeth, of famous memory, and his late Maiestie, King Iames, of blessed memory, in following the discovery, and convicting of Recusants, and for Seizure of their Lands and goods and estates to their Maiesties use, by which he caused great summes of money, to be brought into their maiesties Coffers, to the value of 88400 l. or more, in the execution whereof, he spent a great Estate of lands of inheritance of his own, then in Suffolke, and thereby growne in debt through want of his owne recompence, was enforced to leave Wife and Children in great necessitie, as by the [
Honourable?] Letters of the late Lord Brooke will appeare.
That your Petitioner since his Fathers decease, hath suffered the oppression in the following Articles for discovering Sir Henry Spillers deceipts to the Crown, to the value of about one Thonsand pounds. [catchword: That]
That in the Ninth yeere of King Iames, or thereabouts, Mr. Henry Spiller, then a Clarke in the Exchequer Office (since a Knight) falsly suggested a debt of 567 l. to be due from your Petitioners said Father, to the Crowne, upon which suggestion, the said Sir Henry procured the Petitioners said Father to be imprisoned till hee died, not withought iust cause of a strong presumption of an untimely death, wherein[altered by hand to where as?] your petitioner, and his Mother in her life-time, and her children, have sithence received more then two thousand pounds, part of the Arrers proved to be due from your Petitioners said Father, for the foresaid service, And upon view of sundry Records, since found upon search, there is Ten thousand pounds or thereabouts still likewise due, and unpaid to your petitioners said Father for the service.
That shortly after (this being made known to some of the late Lords of the Privie Councell) Sir Henry Spiller sought to take away the life of one of your petitioners Witnesses, for a Rape supposed to be committed on one of his mens Children, of which hee was cleered in the open Court, at the Session: Shortly after, the said partie was thus nniustly and falsely accused, and charged with the said capitall crime, there were other most shamefull and unchristian-like plots used to take away his testimony; by which doings, the said partie hath continued heere thirty yeers prisoner, and so remaines still [manuscript addition: at his suit]
That the said Sir Henry caused the Brother of the said Witnesse to be arrested and imprisoned, for that hee relieved his Brother in prison, and thereby was undone, he being a Tradesman. [catchword: That]
That Sir Henry Spiller (to prevent your petitioners questioning of him for his fraudes to his late Maiestie, knowne to be discovered to the value of about one Hundred thousand pound) presently after the discease of your Petitioners Father, got all his Writings and Evidences whatsoever, concerning his Fathers proper estate, mortgaged in that service, so that your petitioner, his wife & Children, have hitherto lost their livelyhood, and constrained therby to grow much in debt, upon hard tearmes, and great losse, And this kind of doings hath been Sir Henries usuall practise to many, as appeareth by severall complaints, against him this Parliament.
That three letttrs are now remaining amongst the Records (writ by some of the Late Lords of the Privie Counsell) that do testifie your Petitioners late Father did great good service to his Prince and Country, and that his service was both dangerous, painfull and chargable, and by him most carefully and effectually followed, and without him hardly to be accomplished; neither would any undertake so dangerous a service, should he have to give it over.
That your petitioner obtained severall References from the late King, and his now Maiestie, but could not obtaine a hearing of him and his witnesses, And at those times your petitiioner, was imprisoned by Sir Henry, and the said Sir Henry Spiller caused your petitioner to be arrested in his Maiesties Court in White-hall, the same day he and his witnesses were to be examined in his Maiesties right, as will appear by a speciall warrant from some of the late Lords of the Privy Counsel, & from thence carried to the Marshal-[catchword: seys,]
seys, and constrained to put in bayle for Fifteene thousand pound, or had perished by that imprisonment.
That your Petitioner hath sixe times been arrested and imprisoned at Sir H. Spillers suit, & procurement; and this done at such times as your Petitioner sued or complained in the right of his Maiestie, and of the oppressions of his Father, and for no other cause; Sir Henry hoping by those imprisonments, to perish your Petitioner in prison (as he had done his late Father) and your petitioner hath by this means suffered neere sixe yeeres imprisonment.
Candlemas terme, in the 14. Caro. Sir Henry Spiller obtained of the Lord Chiefe Iustice, to send his servant to require your petitioners attendance on him at an houre, your Petitioner attended, and at his Lordships Chamber encountered with Sir Wil. Iones, since deceased, and Sir Henry Spiller, and the said Sir Iohn Bramston, charged your Petitioner to have scandalled Sir Henry by scattered papers, your petitioner iustified his papers to be true, containing the aforesaid fraud, and by him subscribed, and thereupon Sir William Iones proposed for the said Sir Henry Spiller, that hee might have the good behaviour against your Petitioner, and Sir Iohn Bramston asked Sir Henry, what hee said to it, who answered, I: and so the Petitioner left to the Tipstaves hand.
That your petitioner desired the Tip-stave to give him leave to send for sureties, but he refused, and without other warrant, carried him to the Kings Bench prison. [catchword: That]
That not long after, your petitioner tendered suerties to the said Iudges; But in the meane time, Sir Iohn Lenthall had contrary to Law, admitted of an Action, to be charged upon your petitioner in 2000. pound, at the said Sir Henry Spillers suite upon the case, for taxing him with the said fraud, whereas your petitioner was not imprisoned in law, by any Warrant from the said Iudge visiable, or if he had been, yet it is contrary to law, that a prisoner by command should be charged with Actions, and the action being for words, bayle was not requirable by law, neverthelesse, bayle was tendered and refused, and shortly after, the Clerke of the papers of the Kings Bench, gave your Petitioner notice by writing, that at the next sitting of the Lord Chiefe Iustice Bramston at Guild-hall, the said Sir Henry would goe to a triall with your petitioner; and in the meane time, Sir Henry Spiller got a verdict of [1000?] l. against your petitioner at Westminster (for which hee is yet prisoner to the Fleet) and by a Iuory of his owne choosing.
The cause your Petitioner did scatter papers against the said Sir Henry was, for that after speciall References from his Maiestie, your petitioner and his witnesses should be examined concerning Sir Henries fraudes to his Maiestie, and oppressions to your Petitioners Father, and himselfe, but could not be obtained, nor his iust complaints move some of His Maiesties great Officers to assist your Petitioner therein.
That your petitioner, as he was there writing in his Chamber, at the Kings-Bench prison, was assaulted with six or seven of the Marshalls servants, who did [catchword: vio-]
violently, and barbarously beat, and sore bruise him, and put him in feare and danger of his life, and most cruelly took, and haled him out of the Master-side, to the common Gaole of the said Prison.
That your Petitioner (was shortly after) most uniustly and disgracefully removed, [left margin, manuscript addition: Remoued by the late lo: keeper Finch./] and sent to the most infamous Goale of New-gate, and thither carried bound, as a Fellon, on pupose thereby to be maimed or made away, and after his remove from thence to the Master-side of the said Prison, was againe twice carried amongst the Fellons, without any offence by the Petitioner given; and to the end that no friends should be helpfull to your Petitioner, nor hee or they be believed in his complaint, it was given out by <manuscript addition: Ionson> the Gaolor of New-gate, he was a Mad-man, crazed in his braines, and not meet to be respected or credited in any thing, or to that effect. And this done on purpose to disgrace and discourage your Petitioner, and to hinder his proceedings against Sir Henry Spiller, in this cause, or on his Maiesties behalfe.
That shortly after this cruell usage of your petitioner, his wife fell sick, and lay at the point of death, to whom your Petitioner was not suffered to goe, but that day shee lay ready to depart this life, to the iudgement of all that saw her, in which sicknesse her skinne peeled all off her, as she had been poyson'd, and in this time of her extremity, your petitioner was removed from the Master-side in New-gate, to the Common Gaole there, and lodged many nights in a darke Duugeon Ward on the ground, where is most noysome scents; Long of which Imprisonment, a child of your [catchword: petitio-]
petitioners perished, for that neither hee nor his wife could give it its due, and the wife of your petitioner, then miscarried, being with Child.
That there was a plot presently after your petitioners imprisonment in the Kings Bench (as upon examination will appeare) by one in favour with Sir Henry Spiller, to have made your petitioner prisoner during Sir Henries life, a strong presumption it was, a combination betwixt Sir Henry, and the said partie, who lately in the presence of others said, None but, Rogues and Whores would speak against the said Sir Henry Spiller.
That a Committee this Parliament, being appointed by the Honourable House of Commons, for the examination of Sir Henries fraudes to the Crowne, and oppression to His Maiesties Subiects, your petitioner there with his witnesses (was ready) and did make good <manuscript addition: some of> Sir Henries fraudes to his late Maiestie, by which, and the like courses of the said Sir Henry, hath been losse to the Crowne above one Hundred thousand pound, and hee thereby hath purchased to himselfe many thousand pounds a yeere, much thereof taken in other mens names.
In Answere to so much of this, as concernes your Petitioner, Sir Hen. Spiller, at a Hearing before the Lords, produced three Letters. First, purporting an Offer of Composition made by your Petitioner, to the said Sir Henry. The second, An acknowledgement of Error in speaking words of the said Sir Henry. The third, A desire of reasonable satisfaction, with promise to desist from further prosecution. [catchword: To]
To all which, your Petitioners Councell was not instructed to answere, But your Petitioner for answer saith,
To the first, he was disabled by Sir Henrie, in want of his writings and Estate to prosecute Law, and therefore sought, but took no composition.
To the second, He was restrained of Libertie at Sir Henries Suite, without means to vindicate himselfe against his power and purse, and therefore for gaining of his libertie, did acknowledge the Error of having spoken that positively, which hee had only from the relation of the partie.
To the third, He answereth, That it was done when he had sought Iustice for the King, and for himself to his [priui? altered?] Councell frequently, and with more then ordinary prosecution, yet without fruit or remedie.
Your Petitioner humbly prayes your wonted Iustice in all, and expedition (suitable with the great Affaires) least it come unseasonably, he being destitute of subsistence.
And he shall ever pray, &c.