Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Valentine, Benjamin

VALENTINE, BENJAMIN (d. 1652?), parliamentarian, was probably a native of Cheshire. He was elected on 3 March 1627–1628 to represent the borough of St. Germans in the parliament of 1628–9. He was in the House of Commons on 2 March 1628–9 when Speaker Finch would have obeyed the king's direction for adjournment. Valentine, with Denzil Holles [q. v.], held the speaker down in his seat while Sir John Eliot [q. v.] read out resolutions questioning the king's proceedings respecting religion and taxation. On 5 March, with Selden and Coryton, he was under examination at the council board, and was committed to the Tower. On 17 March he was examined before a committee of the council, when he refused to answer any questions respecting acts done in parliament. On 6 May he, with Selden, Holles, Strode, Hobart, and Long, considering themselves legally entitled to bail, applied to the court of king's bench for a writ of habeas corpus. Such stringent conditions were, however, imposed that Valentine absolutely declined to comply with them, and refused to accept bail (3 Oct. 1629). On 7 May an information was filed against him and others by the attorney-general in the Star-chamber, but the prisoners were proceeded against in the court of king's bench. Valentine's ‘plea and demurrer’ to the information of Attorney-general Heath, prepared by his counsel, Robert Mason [q. v.] and Henry Calthorpe [q. v.], was issued on 22 May, and was followed by a further plea on 1 June in answer to the altered information of 29 May. With Selden he should have appeared before the judges of the king's bench on 24 June, had not the king reversed the order for fear that bail should be granted. On 13 Oct. Heath brought in his information against Eliot, Holles, and Valentine in the court of king's bench. On 29 Oct. the three prisoners were transferred from the Tower to the Marshalsea. They appeared in court on 26 Jan. 1630, and again the following day, when Valentine's case was pleaded by Calthorpe. Judgment was pronounced on 12 Feb., when Valentine was fined 500l.

During the summer of 1630 Valentine, with Selden and Strode, was removed to the Gatehouse on account of the sickness in the town. Through the leniency of their keeper they were frequently released on short paroles. They visited Eliot in the Tower, and passed whole weeks in the country in their own houses or in those of their friends. Returning to the Gatehouse towards the end of September, they were put into closer confinement, and their keeper fined 100l. and committed to the Marshalsea. Valentine continued a prisoner for eleven years, and was finally released in January 1640. He took the protestation on 5 May 1641, and the covenant on 25 Sept. 1643. He was elected to represent St. Germans in the Long parliament. Compensation for his losses was granted him by the parliament between 1643 and 1648. Valentine died before 1653. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Springham, by whom he had at least one son, Matthias, who died in the winter of 1653–4, and is described in his will as of St. Clement Danes, Middlesex (P. C. C., Alchin, 319).

[Gardiner's Hist. of England; Calendar of Lancashire and Cheshire Exchequer (Record Soc.), 1885, p. 123; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1628–9; Forster's Sir John Eliot, vol. ii. passim; Official Ret. of M.P.'s, i. 474, 487; Lords' Journals, vii. 17, 18, ix. 187, 205; Addit. MSS. 20778 f. 11, 33924 f. 38; Familiæ Minorum Gentium (Harl. Soc.), p. 1307; Calthorpe's Argument for Valentine is preserved among the manuscripts in the Library of Exeter College, Oxford; information from Mr. W. Duncombe Pink.]

B. P.