Parliamentary Elections

Parliamentary elections in Sandwich, 3 February 1621 (catalogue ref: SP14/119 f. 109).

The Parliamentary elections which took place throughout James’ reign could cause some popular disturbances. In this source we see a report that some ‘commoners’ wanted to have their votes restored.


Most honourable

Report (how true I know not) hath brought to my ears that some of the commoners of this town hath drawn a bill and thereto subscribed their names with a purpose to present it to the Parliament. The substance of it (as I hear) is for restoration of their voices, and to disanull [declare void] our late choice of Burgesses which was done (as they say) both against our choices, and the law, because they were not admitted to have any voice in their election: which caused me to turn over the records and review the orders and letters of the of the late Queen, and our now Sovereign’s most Honourable Privy Council for prohibition of the voices of the commoners and reducing the government of this town from a popularity to a claim selected number for avoiding of tumults which often happened in the first and better furthering all good proceedings for the better quiet and government of the Town. Which accordingly hath taken happy success by the second, and the decrees for establishment thereof by a general consent at Common assemblies here enacted the last whereof made primo Jacobi [James I]. I here enclosed send your Lordship together with the copies of all the letters both of the late Queen, and now King’s most honourable privy Council and the opinion of the Judge of this land published in the fourth part of my Lord Coke’s reports touching the law and the meaning of their Charges in this case, which with their Lords orders. And besides all this we have two precedents at the two last Parliaments at both which the Burgesses were chosen by Mayor, Jurates [magistrates] and Common Council and the Commons had nothing to do or intermeddle there in. This much duly obliged me to certify your Honour, which I had done before this, could occasion have suited for opportune a messenger as this. So beseeching the Almighty to bless preserve and keep your Lordship, I humbly take my leave and rest

Your Honour’s servant at command

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