Sir Audley Mervyn (-1675
The speech of Sir Audley Mervyn knight; His Majesties prime Serjeant at Law, and Speaker of the House of Commons in Ireland. Delivered to His Grace James Duke of Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the 13 day of February, 1662. in the presence-chamber in the castle of Dublin. Containing the sum of affairs in Ireland; but more especially, the interest of adventurers and souldiers.
[London] Printed at Dublin; and reprinted at London by J. Streater by special order, 1662
Quarto, 7 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches. A-E4, F2.(lacking F2 Blank?)) One of many editions from 1662?
PLEASE SEE THIS LINK FOR A GREAT exposition on the importance of this speech:
“This paper will reinterpret from the perspective of legal history a significant political event in Restoration Ireland: the February 1663 speech about the Court of Claims by Sir Audley Mervyn, Speaker of the Protestant-dominated House of Commons.
The Court of Claims’ challenge, as a newly-created legal institution, was to impartially implement the Act of Settlement amidst deep political conflict. Historians have properly situated Mervyn’s speech in this political struggle. The Commons, alarmed the Court was finding many Catholics innocent of rebellion and restoring them to Protestant-held land, sought to change the Court’s rules. While Charles II’s government rebuffed Mervyn, the Court soon was allowed to expire without hearing most Catholic claims.
Still, what did Mervyn say? The political account has portrayed his speech as a mere list of demands, mentioned a few with an apparent Protestant bias, and quoted some inflammatory language. This paper will portray Mervyn’s speech as it was: a 38-page document making 20 proposals, notably about burden of proof, and admitting historical documents. Crucially, Mervyn defended his proposals with detailed legal reasoning, citing cases and interpretative rules to demonstrate Court deviations from English legal principles. The paper will assess examples of those arguments, concluding some were legally reasonable by the standards of Mervyn’s time. His political bias should not obscure plausible criticism of the Court. Further research should consider whether the Court, by modifying some procedures, might have muted Protestant opposition enough to buy time to continue its work, benefiting Catholics in the long run.”
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