HYDE, Lawrence II (1562-1641), of West Hatch and Heale, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. 1562, 2nd s. of Lawrence Hyde I by his 2nd w. and bro. of Henry, Nicholas and Robert. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1579, BA 1580; M. Temple 1580, called 1589. m. Barbara, da. of John Baptista Castillion of Benham Valence, Berks., 12s. 5da.1 Kntd. 1614.
Auditor to Earl of Hertford by 1603; Autumn reader, M. Temple 1608, treasurer 1616; recorder, Bristol 1605-15, Queen’s attorney 1614.2
Receiving only small provision under his father’s will, Hyde became, in the words of his nephew Edward, Earl of Clarendon, a ‘lawyer of great name and practice’. He became counsel for Salisbury cathedral, with a house in the Close there, and before the end of Elizabeth’s reign he had prospered sufficiently to purchase the manor of Heale in the parish of Woodford. He also held Donnington rectory, Wilts. By 1603, when he was counsel for Sir Edmund Cary in litigation over the estate of Charles Danvers, he had already been appointed auditor and, presumably, legal adviser, to the Earl of Hertford. This commission is sufficient to explain his return for Marlborough. His return for Heytesbury in 1597 was owed to the Thynne family, which his father had served for many years. It has not been ascertained whether it was he or his father who came in for Chippenham in 1586, nor how the return was effected. The father’s landlord, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke was probably behind it.3
In Elizabeth’s last two Parliaments, Hyde was an active committeeman. Though it is just possible that some of the entries in the journals to Mr. Hide (Hyde, Hithe, etc.) may apply to George, Henry or Nicholas Hyde, they are far more likely to refer to Lawrence. They concern, in 1597-8, Wantage (10 Nov., reported 14 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.); legal affairs (16 Nov., 1 Feb.), poor relief (22 Nov.), defence (16 Jan.) and a private dispute (20 Jan.). In 1601 they were on the penal laws (2 Nov.), the business of the House (3 Nov.), horse stealing (3 Nov.), cloth (18 Nov., 4 Dec.), and monopolies (23 Nov.). In the 1601 Parliament Hyde frequently intervened in debate. On 2 Dec. he spoke on the depredations of the pirates on the English coast: ‘Within these twelve days one man lost £200 only by the Dunkirkers’. His real contribution, however, was on monopolies. On 18 Nov. he offered his own bill ‘containing but twelve lines’ instead of one suggested, with ‘a very long title’. Hyde’s bill was ‘an exposition of the common law touching these kinds of patents, commonly called monopolies’. This was not proceeded with, but a new procedural dispute arising two days later, Hyde said:
To end this controversy because the time is very short, I would move the House to have a very short bill read, entitled ‘an act for explanation of the common law in certain cases of letters patent’.
The bill was received enthusiastically, and later that day (20 Nov.) Hyde made a speech which, in its appeal to precedent, anticipated many to be made in the 1620s:
I confess, Mr. Speaker, that I owe duty to God, and loyalty to my prince. And for the bill itself I made it, and I think I understand it; and far be it from this heart of mine to think, this tongue to speak, or this hand to write any thing, either in prejudice or derogation of her Majesty’s prerogative royal and the state. But because you shall know that this course is no new invention, but long since digested in the age of our fore-fathers above three hundred years ago, I will offer to your considerations one precedent 10 Ed. 3. at what time one John Peach was arraigned at this bar in Parliament, for that he had obtained of the King a monopoly for sweet wines. The patent after great advice and dispute adjudged void, and before his face in open Parliament cancelled, because he had exacted 3s.4d. for every tun of wine; himself adjudged to prison until he had made restitution of all that ever he had recovered, and not to be delivered till after a fine of £500 paid to the King. This is a precedent worthy of observation, but I dare not presume to say worthy the following. And Mr. Speaker, as I think it is no derogation to the omnipotence of God to say he can do all but evil; so I think it is no derogation to the majesty or person of the Queen to say the like in some proportion. Yet Mr. Speaker, because two eyes may see more than one, I humbly pray that there might be a commitment had of this bill, lest something may be therein which may prove the bane and overthrow thereof at the time of the passing.
As mentioned above, Hyde was appointed to the monopolies committee set up three days later. Again, on the bill prohibiting the export of iron ordnance, 8 Dec., when the Crown was making its usual stand on the royal prerogative:
Mr. Speaker, it is doubted by some that this bill will not pass by reason of the sudden ending of the Parliament; for that, I think if we give not too much stop to private bills, this bill would quickly pass. And I see no reason but we may well proceed by bill, and not touch her Majesty’s prerogative; for her Majesty is not more careful and watchful of her prerogative than the noble princes of famous memory King Henry VIII her father and King Edward VI her brother were. Then there was no doubt or mention of the prerogative: and therefore I think our surest and soundest course is by way of bill.
This provoked from Knollys, comptroller of the Household, the comment:
herself and her progenitors will not be forced ... I do not hold this course ... to stand with respect or duty.
Hyde made a typical intervention (2 Dec.) in the debate on the church attendance bill (the 1s. fine for recusants), to the committee of which he was appointed:
Every man agrees this bill hath good matter, and we all agree and consent to the substance, though dissent to the form; some have more wit, and some have more understanding than others. If they of meaner capacity and judgment spake impertinently, let us not in a spleen straight cry, away with the bill; but let us give it the same favour we give to bills of far inferior nature, that is a commitment.
But perhaps his determination to uphold the Commons in the face of, if not against the royal prerogative can be seen best in his speech of 27 Nov., in support of the motion to write into the records of the House the royal message abolishing monopolies. To the objections of Privy Councillors such as Cecil (‘Now what needs this new zeal ?’) and the elder statesman Sir Francis Hastings (‘it ought to be written in the tables of our hearts’) he replied:
I think the gentleman that set this motion on foot, spake out of joy for her Majesty’s grace and zeal to have performance of her promise. In that he wished it might be recorded in paper here or parchment, it is not to be intended but he meant also in our hearts, which remain no longer than we live; but records remain long, and will give a lively memory in ages to come.
Hyde sat in James’s first Parliament, took a court appointment in 1614, and died on 26 Jan. 1642.
Neale, Commons, 395; Parlts. ii. 377, 421; D’Ewes, 554, 555, 556, 558, 561, 581, 584, 592, 622, 623, 624, 642, 645, 649, 657, 664, 668, 672; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 103, 105, 224, 225, 230, 232, 258, 277, 282, 294; Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv), 99.