STAC 5/A39/5 - B A - 40 Eliz - AG v James Bowler see STAC Bowler
Transcribed by Helen Good
To the Queens Most excellent Majesty
Sheweth and informeth your majesty Edward Coke esquire your highness Attorney General That whereas the strength safety and preservation of the happy and quiet peace and tranquility of this your highness realm doth very greatly stand and consist in the faithfulness fidelity and upright dealing of such captains officers and other persons as your highness shall put in trust for the levying pressing and taking up of soldiers and men of war to be employed by your majestys commandment for the annoyance of the enemies of god and your majesty and for defence of your highness kingdoms and subjects in respect whereof such lieutenants captains and other officers so by your highness authorised and put in trust ought chiefly above all other persons to endeavour by their sincerity upright and uncorrupt usage to advance your majestys service to their uttermost powers and by all good means to win your highness subjects to hearty zeal and loyalty to adventure their lives in the face of your highness enemies for the defence of their natural prince and country. And on the other side there neither is now nor can be anything more dangerous and hurtful to the state of this your highness well ordered common wealth then that such persons into whose hands and charge the strength and defence of this your highness realm shall be committed should for their own private lucre or other respect impoverish and discharge your highness subjects by extortion oppressing or misusing of such companies as shall be under their commandment whereby your highness service in the weightiest affairs of your kingdom may be defeated hindered and overthrown. But so it is if it may please your most excellent majesty That one James Bowler of [blank] in the County of Norfolk yeoman nothing regarding the great importance of your majestys service but applying all his care and endeavour to contrive work and compass his own private lucre and unhonest gains and to extort and draw by diverse indirect and unlawful means from your majestys true and faithful subjects great and large sums of money. The said James Bowler taking upon him to be a minister or follower of some of the lieutenants of the said County of Norfolk by colour of the countenance and aucthority of the said lieutenants or some of them or of some person or persons that had or pretended to have aucthority and pretending to be employed in or concerning the leading enrolling ordering sparing or discharging of the said companies or of some of the soldiers belonging to the same within the said County of Norfolk did in the six & thirty year of your majestys reign corruptly extort and take of Robert Marman of Stradbrooke in the County of Suffolk being then a soldier pressed in the said County of Norfolk to serve your majesty when and where he should be in your highness name and by your highness aucthority commanded the some of six & twenty shillings for the discharge or sparing of him the said Robert Marman out of or from your highness said service, whereupon by means of the said James Bowlar he the said Robert Marman was discharged or spared and taken from your highness said service accordingly. And the said James Bowler hath in the said six & thirty year of your majestys reign under the colour and countenance aforesaid corruptly extorted and taken of divers other persons to your majestys Attorney General as yet unknown being then soldiers pressed to serve your majesty when and where they should be in your highness name and by your highness aucthority commanded divers sums of money armour and other things for the discharge or sparing of the said persons out of or from your highness said service as namely the several sums of 20s & 30s And therupon by the means of him the said James grievous extortions oppressions and injuries committed by the said James impoverishing and undoing of many your majestys faithful poor subjects, may be punished with such condign punishment as the quality of the said offences doth require And that all others to whom your majesty shall hereafter put in trust or use in such weighty service may be admonished and warned to bear greater respect to the honour of your majesty the state of their country and the discharge of their own consciences both towards god and also to your majesty. It may therefore please your most excellent majesty to grant your most gracious writ of Subpoena to be directed unto the said James Bowler commanding him thereby at a certain day & under a certain pain therein by your Highness to be limited personally to appear before your majesty in your highness High Court of Star Chamber then and there to Answer unto the premisses and to abide such punishment as by the order of the said Court shall be inflicted upon him.
6 May 40 Eliz William Mill
The Answer of Jeame Bowler Defendant To the Information of Edward Cooke Esquire Her Majestys Attorney General
The advantage of exception to the incerteinties and insufficiencies of the Information for ever saved, For full Answer and plain declaration of the truth, This Defendant sayeth, That one Robert Marman in the Information mentioned being as he said pressed for a soldier, at or about the time in the information mentioned and having lately left as he said a farm of the yearly rent of forty pounds by year and not thoroughly provided to bestow his stock of cattle then remaining upon his hand, being acquainted with one William Corbin, a great friend and near neighbour unto this Defendant, among other speeches that passed betwixt them he uttered in great grief, that if he then went out for a soldier he was utterly undone and the rather because of his said farm, which he so lately had left his stock of cattle not provided for. Whereupon the said Corbin knowing the acquaintance this Defendant had, was importunate with this Defendant to ride with his friend Robert Marman to Norwich and use the best means he could to enforme the deputy lieutenants of the said Robert Marman his desire for his discharge, and to help him the best he might therein, which this Defendant was hardly drawn unto because he was loathe to trouble any his acquaintance or to intermeddle with those matters. But at the earnest entreaty of the said Corbin and Morman in the end this Defendant condescended to their request, and did twice upon purpose ride to Norwich to effect the same and once to Beckeles, And did lie in the City four days and more only about that business. During his abode there, this Defendant expended thirty shillings and more. And in the end the said Marman his grief being set forth to the deputy lieutenants, without any one penny to this Defendant his knowledge given he was discharged. And thereupon the said Marman allowed to this Defendant twenty six shillings towards his charges as parcel of the said thirty shillings he expended in lying only about his business, Neither did this Defendant take any money to be any minister or officer for any matters in the bill mentioned, neither did he labour for discharge of an other pressed or likely to be pressed for a soldier. And for further answer he sayeth that he this Defendant is not guilty of any the misdemeanours or offences in the Bill or Information mentioned. And therefore most humbly prayeth to be dismissed this honourable Court