The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 1, 1660-1680. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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Proceedings against Lord Stafford renew'd.
November 12. The House resolved, that a Message be sent to the Lords, to acquaint them with the Resolution of this House to proceed to the Trials of the Lords in the Tower, and forthwith begin with the Lord Viscount Stafford, and to desire their Lordships to appoint a convenient Day for the Trial of the said Viscount; and, likewise to desire their Lordships, that the Lords in the Tower may be confin'd and kept from Correspondence one with another, as usual in the like cases.
To which their Lordships reply'd the same day, That as to the Consinement of the Lords, they had already given orders as the House desired; and that as to the Trial of the Lord Viscount Stafford, they had appointed Tuesday come Fortnight for the said Trial.
And against such as had opposed the Right of the Subject to petition.
The 13th, Several Citizens of London having before delivered in a Petition against. Sir George Jefferies the Recorder of the said City; and having made good their Allegations before the Committee appointed to enquire after Persons who had offended against the Right of the Subject to petition, &c. the House resolved, that the said Sir George Jefferies, by traducing and obstructing petitioning for the Sitting of this Parliament, hath betray'd the Rights of the Subject.
Order'd, That an Address be made to his Majesty, to remove Sir George Jefferies out of all public Offices; and that the Members for London do communicate the Vote of this House, relating to Sir George Jefferies, to the Court of Aldermen for the said City.
Debate on his Majesty's Messige concerning Tangier.
Order'd farther, That the Committee last mentioned do enquire after all such Persons as have been advising or pro moting of the issuing out of the late Proclamation against tumultuous Petitioning, &c. and they are empowered to send for Persons, Papers, and Records.
The 17th, His Majesty's Message about Tangier was read. 'His Majesty did, in his Speech at the Opening of this Session, desire the Advice and Assistance of his Parliament, in relation to Tangier: The Condition and Importance of the Place obliges his Majesty to put this House in mind again, that he relies upon them for the Support of it; without which it cannot be much longer preserv'd. His Majesty doth therefore very earnestly recommend Tangier again, to the due and speedy Care and Consideration of this House.'
Sir William Jones.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very sorry that the Business of Supply for Tangier is now moved; because I take it to be a Place of great Importance, and that, as well for the Honour of the Nation, as Benefit of Trade, it ought to be preserved. But, Sir, we have now Things of greater Importance to look after, of so pressing a nature, and of so dangerous consequence, if delayed, that we cannot answer, either to our King or our Country, the preferring this before it. It is a Duty incumbent on us, to secure Things at home, on which our All depends, before we enter into an Expence of Time about securing Things abroad. If an Enemy were but coming to invade us, it might be proper to fortify DoverCastle, Portsmouth, or Plymouth, or any of our Port-Towns: But if an Enemy were actually landed, it would be more proper to strengthen London, or other in-land Cities or Towns. I am afraid, Sir, this is too much our Case; I am afraid we have got an Enemy within our Bowels, and a great one too; and that it is high time to make Preparation to oppose him. We have been already careless and inconsiderate too long; and shall we now go about Tangier, instead of continuing our Endeavours about that? Tangier may be of great Importance to Trade; but I am afraid, hath not been so managed, as to be any Security to the Protestant Religion. The Portugueze, when they delivered it up, did covenant to have one Popish Church remain there, for the Conveniency of some Priests and Friers, and others of that Nation that were permitted to stay there; but it was then agreed, That their Mortality should not be supplied, that so, after the decease of those Persons, the said Popish Church might be demolished, or converted to a Protestant Use: But I am well informed that it hath been otherwise managed; and that the Papists there are now more than ever. And was not my Lord Bellasis, now a Prisoner in the Tower for the Plot, Governor of Tangier? And, I think some others of that Religion; if not, I am sure the Soldiers and Commanders are most of that Religion; which makes me conclude, it is a kind of Nursery for Popish Soldiers; and haply for that Reason, as much as for the Advantage of Trade, may the Advice given his Majesty, in reference to Tangier, proceed. But, Sir, there is another Consideration, which will make the Debate of Tangier improper at this Time; it must end in Money, and not a little Sum neither, enough to raise an Army; which, although in time I doubt not but this House will be willing to advance, as far as his Majesty's occasions shall require; yet I think, Sir, we are not ready for it as yet. We must be better satisfied into whose Hands it will go; whether to such Persons as are for the Popish Interest, or Protestant; that so we may not be afraid, that, instead of going to the Support of Tangier, it should be employed to the Destruction of the Protestant Religion. When these things have been looked into, and secured, then it will be time to take care of Tangier, and of all other his Majesty's Dominions. In the mean time, our Duty binds us to give his Majesty all the satisfaction we can, as to our Proceedings; and therefore I humbly move you, that a Committee may be appointed to draw up an Address for that purpose.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, every one that knows how advantageously Tangier is situated, to command the greatest thoroughfare of Commerce in the World, and how by the Advantage of the Mole, it is like to prove an excellent Receptacle for our Merchant-Ships, to further and secure them in their Trading Voyages into the Streights, and for our Men of War, when they may be employed in those Parts, to check or oppose the Turks or other Enemies; how advantageous it is for carrying on a Trade with Spain, in cases of Extremity; and what hopes we have of opening a Trade into Barbary that way; I say, every one that will consider these things, will, I suppose, have reason to conclude, that it is a Place of great Importance, and not to be slighted. And I cannot believe that it is any Nursery for Popish Soldiers, as hath been argued; for it is well known under what a Regulation our Soldiers are, not only here in England, but in Ireland too, of taking such Oaths and Tests as secures them to be Protestants. And therefore I am confident they were not Papists when they went hence, or from Ireland; and I have not heard there is any such Conversion made among them there, nor do believe there are so many Instruments there for that Work. If this Business come before you unseasonably at this time, it is because the Necessity of the Affair requires haste: For, either this House must speedily give some Assistance for Tangier, or else it will be lost. For the Moors are come down with such a mighty Army, and his Majesty hath been at so great an Expence already, that he is not able of himself to do more to oppose them. And this sudden Danger could not by any means have been foreseen; for the Motions of the Moors with their Armies are not like those of Europe, but more quick and sudden; and their Designs and Consultations out of the reach of any Discovery by Intelligence, before put in execution. This Notice is more seasonable now, than it would have been after the Place had been lost, which I am afraid will be the next news, if something be not done by this House to relieve it. And therefore I humbly move you to think of some effectual way to relieve it for the present, and secure it for the future, against the like Attempts.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, among the rest of the Regiments that have been sent to Tangier, I think there is my Lord of Dunbarton's; haply that Air might have changed them, but I am sure they were looked upon as rank Papists all the while they were here, and, I believe, in Ireland too. I have heard that one Argument, that was lately given elsewhere against a Bill which we passed in this House, was, that the Duke had all the Papists in England ready for his Assistance; that his particular Friends had the Command of all the Places of Strength in this Nation; that he had an Army of twenty-two thousand Men in Scotland at his Command; that in Ireland the Papists were six to one for the Protestants; and that most of the Princes of Christendom were combined for his Assistance; add to this, that the Government of Tangier is also at his command, and, I think, we shall have no great reason to give Money as yet; I am very well satisfied, Sir, that we ought, and must put a trust in the King; an Argument much used in former Parliaments, I do admire hath been so long forgotten in this I am sensible too, that this Nation cannot be happy, unless there be such an Understanding between the King and his People, as that Money may be given. But, Sir, if the things I have repeated be true, as I am afraid they are, how shall we be sure, that what Money we give shall ever go to the King? May it not be intercepted by the mighty Power we have been speaking of? May it not be a great temptation for carrying on the Plot, especially as to that Part of it that refers to his sacred Life? If there were no other Reason to be given but this, why we cannot at this time give Money, I think it enough: For there is a perfect Contradiction between the King's Interest and the Duke's Interest; and until we see about the King, Persons less engaged for the Duke's Interest, we cannot answer the giving of Money; and I humbly move you, that the Committee may make this Consideration part of their Address.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Lord Bellasis hath not only been Governor of Tangier, but of Hull too; and what a Place is that to be entrusted with a Papist, I refer to your Consideration. And he was not only always in Places of great Trust, but in so great a Power, that none of the Laws of this Land could ever reach him. Only upon breaking out of the Plot, he was committed to the Tower; but now that he is there, he hath so much Power, (he or his Friends for him) as that he hath all the liberty he can there desire; and farther Proceedings against him are kept off by Prorogations and Dissolutions of Parliaments. By which the Evidence of the most material Witnesses, as to the Plot, is lost, and great Endeavours have not been wanting to corrupt or defame the rest. By which it is plain, though he be in the Tower, yet his Interest is not much abated; insomuch, as many believe, that the Duke's Interest and Popery, is in a great measure carried on, upon Consultations held with him, and some of the rest in the Tower. At least this is certain, that they know all Secrets of State as soon as any Persons without. And therefore I think we are not yet ripe to give Money for Tangier. And, Sir, I am of opinion, that Tangier is a Nursery for Popish Soldiers; amongst the rest, I think Captain Tom is there, who was to have headed the Apprentices Mutiny in London, and, if I be not misinformed, a Captain too for that intended eminent Service. When we are assured that we shall have a good Protestant Governor and Garrison in Tangier, then I shall heartily give my Vote for Money for it; but I am afraid that will never be, until we are sure of a good Protestant Successor at home. Sir, I see that new Dangers start up daily, and that the Popish Interest is strong enough to bid defiance to the Protestants, the Power and Merits of the Duke being magnified frequently above the King's. How to prevent the Growth of it, I do not know; all that we can do at this time is, to appoint a Committee to draw up an Address (as hath been moved) to represent things fairly to the King, and pray, Sir, let it be drawn with that Duty and Humility as becomes Subjects, but with that Truth and Plainness as becomes a true English House of Commons.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very sensible of the Danger of Popery, and am sorry to see that our Danger is now greater, than it was seven Days ago; seeing we are not like to have those Laws to secure us, which we hoped for; and therefore I am not for entering into any Debate about Money. But, Sir, seeing that Tangier is a Place of so great Importance, and in so great Distress, and seeing his Majesty hath so heartily and earnestly recommended it to the Care of this House, as well by this Message, as by his Speech at the Opening of this Parliament; I humbly conceive you will do well to order, that a true Account be brought in of the State of Tangier, that so it may be in a readiness to be considered at a more leisure time, when you have found out, and are assured, that you shall have some Expedients to secure you from Popery, that may satisfy this House instead of the Exclusion-Bill. Some such order may satisfy the World, that we were making all the haste we could to supply it, that so the Loss of it (in case it should so happen) may not be imputed to this House. And I make no doubt but there may be some way found out, so to lodge and appropriate the Money, as that it may be secure for that use; and therefore I humbly move you that you would order, that an Account of the State and Condition of Tangier may be brought in.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I could wish our Fears and Jealousies were either so inconsiderable, or so well over, as that we were ripe to consider the State of Tangier, and into whose hands to lodge Money for it. But if our Bill be miscarried, and the Power and Strength of the Duke's Party be as I have heard, I think we ought in the first place to consider, whether we have any thing to give or no. And if we find we have not, or that it is in great jeopardy, I think we ought first to secure that a little better, before we treat of securing Tangier. I confess the Arguments that I hear have been used elsewhere against our Bill, have a little startled me. For now I see why all the Laws made against the Duke have proved ineffectual; and that notwithstanding all the Endeavours of Parliament, he hath had the Administration of all Affairs, not only in England and Scotland, but I think in Ireland too, (if we believe the Irish Witnesses,) even since the breaking out of the Plot: Even because the Duke and the Popish Interest are, I am afraid, strong enough for the King and the Protestant Interest. And, if so, I think we may take it for granted, that we have not any thing of our own; for I conclude, if Popery come in, not only the Church-Lands, but all the Lands we have will be little enough for them; for they will never want a good, holy, sanctified, religious Pretence, to take them from us: Rather than fail, I doubt not but that they will be able convincingly to make out, that we are Bastards, or that they have a Right jure divino; to which there can be no opposition.
'Sir, I think we cannot answer to God nor Man the giving of Money, until there be a great Reformation all over the Nation, as to Persons in Trust and Command. Not but that there are very worthy Men in several Places; but I am afraid, no where without being overpowered by such who are for the Duke's Interest: And for my part, I desire to speak plain, I cannot make any Distinction between the Duke's Interest and the Popish Interest. If there be any body that can split that Hair, I wish he would do the House that Service; for I take it to be a material Point, and fit to be agreed some way. And if it be so, Sir, can we give Money, as long as there are eleven to seven in some Places certainly known, and all in others, and in Places of great Importance too ?
Sir, I am very sensible that this Session can never be successful, nor the Nation happy, unless we come to have so fair an Understanding with his Majesty, as that we may freely give him Money; which seeing it cannot be done with any Security to the King or his Government, as long as the great Affairs of this Nation are thus influenced, that there may be no just cause of having any Imputation lie at our door, I agree in the Motions that have been made for an Address, and desire it may be drawn very full and plain.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am much afraid of Tangier, but more of a Popish Successor. By the one we may lose something of Trade; but by the other, our Religion, and all we have, stands in danger. And therefore, until we are secured as to that, for my own part, I do not think myself concerned in any thing else. Sir, for these two Years last past, there hath been talk of Expedients to secure us against Popery; I believe it was only to quiet our Thoughts, while Popery steals on upon us. For we are so far from having any Expedients brought to perfection, to secure us against Popery, that all Endeavours go on as much as ever to bring in Popery: Parliaments are kept off; the Witnesses as to the Plots, both English and Irish, abused and consumed; the Churchmen set up to labour for a Prosecution of the Dissenters, in order to divide yet more the Protestant Interest; and false Witnesses, in favour of Popery, countenanced and encouraged.
'Sir, these are strange Expedients against Popery; I begin to be persuaded, that our Case is very desperate, and that the Popish Party themselves cannot contrive any thing for us that will look like an Expedient: For I make no doubt, but the whole Cabal of Jesuits have been at work about it, and that they would have spawned something, if it had been possible, before now. But I believe it is found to be very difficult to find out any thing that will look like an Expedient, and yet not prove so: And therefore now they are plainly carrying on those things that must be prosecuted in order to establish Popery, in case the Expectation of Expedients should not longer lull the People asleep; the ridiculing of the Plot, the Divisions between our Churchmen and Dissenters, and the Danger or Inconsistency of Parliaments with a monarchical Government: Which things will deserve a longer Debate, when you shall think good to appoint a Day for them. But, in the mean time, without endangering the Religion and Government of the Nation. But that we may always shew to his Majesty's Messages, that Respect which is due to them, and, if possible, satisfy him, that our Resolutions are grounded on true Reason, let a Committee be appointed to draw up an Address, upon the Debate of the House.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think that nobody should move you to take the State of Tangier into your consideration at this time, without an Apology: For, if we should be persuaded thereto, we may be reflected on, as Nero was, for being playing on his Fiddle when Rome was on fire. When we are in such danger to have our Throats cut from within, to what purpose will it be to spend our time about securing things abroad? Especially when we plainly see, it cannot be effected by any Supplies, without increasing our Fears and Dangers of our Destruction. Is not all England in danger to be lost? Let us secure the Ship, before we dispose of the Cabbins. When we are secure against a Popish Successor, and the Fear of having a Popish King, then it will be time to think of Tangier: For, as the Power of a Popish Succesfor hath lately appeared in the Opposition made to our Bill, so, I make no doubt but it will appear in the Management of our Money too, if we should give any. When the Stomach is clean, what Food a Man takes turns to Nutriment, and preserves the Life and Strength of the Body; but when the Stomach is foul, Food turns to Humour and Destruction. Sir, so it is with the Body politic: When the King shall be pleased to remove from him such as give him ill advice, and are against the Protestant Interest, that so we may have reason to presume, that the Money will be employed for our good, then I hope we shall be ready to shew our Duty, in giving as much Money as his Occasions shall require; othertherwise I am afraid we may be served as we have been formerly. I remember when 1,100,000 l. was given for building of Ships, and not one Ship built; and above two Millions given to support the Triple League, and then it was presently employed for the breaking of it; when 1,200,000 l. was given for an actual War with France, when at the same time we were under all the Obligations for Peace, and so continued. Sir, these are such material Memento's, as we ought never to forget, until we have more cause to look forwards, and not backwards; which I pray God we may have very speedily, and then I shall be ready to join in giving of Money, and be very well content to forget all that is past. But I yet think our Condition is not so happy, but rather fear the Management of our Affairs is very much out of order: For, though we had never more Treasurers, we had never less Money; never more Admirals, yet never a worse Fleet; and though never more Counsellors, yet never less Safety. Of which I hope his Majesty is, or will be sensible. For it cannot be imagined, that, seeing he hath so much care for Tangier, he should want any for the Nation. That we may do our duty in giving him the best advice we can, let us give him the Grounds and Reasons of our Proceedings by an Address, as hath been moved.'
'Mr. Speaker, if ever there should happen in this Nation any such Change, as that I should not have liberty to live a Protestant, I am resolved to die one; and therefore would not willingly have the hands of our Enemies strengthened, as I suppose they would be, if we should give Money while we are sure it must go to the hands of the Duke's Creatures. Doth not the Duke's Interest endanger the King's Life? And are not our Lives and Fortunes in danger to be swallowed up by his Power ? And shall we yet make them stronger by putting Money into their hands? No Sir, they are too strong already; but whenever his Majesty shall be pleased to free us of the Danger of a Popish Successor, and remove, from his Council and Places of Trust, all those that are for his Interest, (because there can be no distinction made between the Duke's Interest and Popish) then, Sir, I will conclude, that what Money we shall give, will be disposed of according to his Majesty's own Royal Pleasure, and for the true Protestant Interest. And I shall be ready to give all I have in the world, if his Majesty should have occasion for it; but in the mean time I pray, Sir, let us not endeavour to destroy our selves by our own hands. It we may not be so happy as to better the Condition of the Nation, I pray, Sir, let us not make it worse. And until the King shall be pleased to give us encouragement to express our Duty and Loyalty to him, by giving him Money, let us do it by making an Address.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have reason to have some knowledge of Tangier, having been there myself, and conversed all my Life-time with Persons that have gone up and down the Streights, and been there many times, but I cannot agree with those worthy Members that make it a Place of so great Importance. That we shall ever thereby open a Trade with the Moors is a mere chimæra; they will not have any Trade with us. All the hopes we can have of any Advantage from it, is from the Mole, if it should be finished. But I am afraid we have seen the best of it, and that it will hardly ever be brought to more perfection than it is. But, Sir, if it should, in a time of Peace with Spain, it will be of little use to us; for the Bay of Cadiz is upon several Accounts so much more convenient for Ships to stop at, that it will always be preferred. For they will not only have a Safe-riding, but the Merchant Ships great Advantages made by Freight of Sales of Goods, which generally happens in that Port, and of good Company, whether going up or down the Streights. Our Men of War do not there want Conveniencies to careen, or other Necessaries, and will be then more ready to do the Nation Service, by convoying Ships, than at Tangier, as also to carry on the Money Trade. But it is true, that in a Time of a War with Spain, it would be very serviceable to us. But if it must cost 100,000l. per Annum, and if a War with Spain be not like to happen one Year in twenty, I am of opinion that the certain Charge will amount to more than the uncertain Inconveniency, and therefore that we need not be so extremely concerned for it.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I should not have concerned myself in this Debate, but that I differ from that worthy Member that spoke last: For I think it would be a great Blow, not only to the Honour, but to the Trade of the Nation, if Tangier should be lost: For it will always be serviceable, as well for our Men of War to resort for Provisions, and to be cleaned, in order to check the Rapine of the Turks, or oppose other Enemies, as for the Protection of our Merchant-men. In time of Peace with Spain, it will (if we have Enemies) be better to have two Ports than one; in time of War with Spain, much better have this than none: And even in the time of Peace, it must be serviceable upon many Occasions, because of its Situation on the Barbary side, as I take it, and Cadiz on the Christian Shore, and both near the Streights Mouth, the greatest Passage for Ships in the World. And by parting with it, we may not only be prejudiced for want of the Conveniency of it, but by the great Inconveniencies that may arise, by falling into the Hands of the French, Turks, Moors or Spauiards. And therefore I think the Charge of maintaining it must not be considered in this Case; and it is not so much, but that if we could once fall into the way of sending good Governors there, that would mind the promoting of Trade, haply the Gains that might be levied thereon would in some time prove sufficient to maintain the Garrison. And if we should now part with it, we should lose the two Millions we have laid out on the Mole, which I think may also be worth our Consideration. Sir, I do well remember what a Cry there was in this Nation, upon the delivery up of Dunkirk to the French; I believe if Tangier should be deliveréd up, there would be more, and I think not without cause too: For I am afraid, that whenever we may have a War with France, we shall find that he hath already too many Locks upon us in the Streights, seeing he is so formidable at Sea. And I think if it were for no other Reason but to secure the Place out of his Hands, we ought to keep the Possession of this Place.'
Sir L. Jenkins.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, by the Discourse which the worthy Member made who spoke last, I hope you are fully satisfy'd that Tangier is a Place of great importance, and you may conclude that his Majesty is clearly of that Opinion, or else it is not likely, that after he had recommended it to you in his Speech, he would now so soon have minded you of it again by his Message. And being so, I hope this House will not have the Loss of it lie at their Doors, which I take for granted, will be the Fate thereof, if some supply be not given for its support speedily: For his Majesty's Revenue will not bear the advancing of more Money towards it, the great Supplies lately sent having been very chargeable; and yet there must be an additional Supply, and that a considerable one too, ere long, to make up the Garrison four thousand Men, or else the Governor writes he cannot be in a Posture to defend the Town, the Army of the Moors is so potent.
'Sir, I have heard the many Reasons that have been given, why Money cannot be at present advanced, I cannot say, without being much concerned to hear the Ministers so arraigned, and I think without cause; for I believe there are none about his Majesty but what are very good Protestants, and willing to do all they can for that Interest: Which I hope upon a farther Consideration will not be found to be in such apparent danger. But if there be any thing amiss, which in the Management of so great Affairs under such Difficulties as the Nation hath lately struggled under, may possibly be, I am confident the loss of Tangier will no way remedy it; but, on the contrary, the giving of Money for the Support of Tangier, being his Majesty doth so earnestly desire it, is, I think, the only way of this House to gain a good Opinion with his Majesty, and to obtain what they desire; and therefore I hope you will take it into your Consideration.'
Sir F. Winnington.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Apprehensions as to the State of the Nation, and Danger of Popery, are no way abated by what this honourable Member hath said; and therefore I think the Business of Tangier looks too little for this Day's Debate; especially if we consider how the Bill, upon which all our Hopes were grounded, as to the Security of our Religion, hath been used by the Lords, thrown out without so much as a Conference, whereas they do not usually do so, with Bills that relate to some little Trade. It is strange that after they have so often declared the Danger of Popery, and a Popish Plot, they will neither receive any Remedy from us, nor propose any to us. But rather, on the contrary, be so industrious to blast all our Endeavours that tend that way; well may we be afraid of our Religion, if the Fathers of the Church will join, in being against the only Means that can save it. These are fresh Instances of the mighty Power and Influence of a Popish Successor; what may we expect from them if we should have a Popish King? I think, Sir, it there were no other Reason, it is enough to make us cautious how we give Money; and to take such notice of it in our Address as may be convenient.'
Sir William Temple.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Debate hath more of Weight in it, than the Business of Tangier, I think. As Affairs now stand, the most Part of Christendom is concerned in it, I am sure all the Protestants. And therefore I hope your Patience will hold out, to have the whole Circumstances of it fairly examined: For the Arguments that have been offered in the Consideration of this Message, have inlarged the Debate farther than was at first intended, and have brought the whole State of the Nation in some measure before you, instead of that one particular Business of Tangier; so that now what Resolve you make will be a Discovery of your Inclinations, not only as to what you intend to do as to a Supply for Tangier, but as to giving Money for Alliances and all other Occasions, upon which Result, the good or bad Success of this Parliament doth depend. As to Tangier, I do agree with that worthy Member that spoke before, (though many are of a different Opinion) that it is not of any great use to us upon the account of any Advantage we shall make by it. But however, I think it is very well worth our keeping, because of the Disadvantages we should receive by it, if it should fall into the Hands either of the Turk, or Spaniard, but especially the French; who will not only be thereby enabled to fetter us, as to our Trade in the Levant, but to curb also all other Nations whatsoever, and be such an Addition to the too great Power he hath acquired, both by Sea and Land already, that I am of Opinion, we ought to be very cautious how we weaken the Security we now have that it shall not fall into his hands. But if the Mole and the Town could be blown into the Air, or otherwise reduced into its first Chaos, I think, considering the Charge it will cost keeping, England would not be much the worse for it; but to move you to consider any thing about that, at this time, cannot be proper, because the Moors have so besieged it, that the first Thing that must be done, whether in order to keep it, or destroy it, is, to beat them off, by some speedy Supplies which must be presently sent, or else the Town, according to the best Information come from thence, is like to be lost. And, Sir, I think this single Consideration may be persuasive to move you to give some such Supply, as may be precisely necessary for the Defence and Protection of this Place. A small Sum of Money, in comparison of what this House hath formerly given, may be sufficient to satisfy his Majesty's Expectation, and secure the Place too. But I must confess, Sir, it is not the Consideration of Tangier that makes me press you to it; but the deplorable Estate of the Protestants abroad. Sir, I have had the Honour to serve his Majesty in some Public Employments, and by that means may be a little more sensible of the State of Affairs in reference to our Neighbours, than others may be, having not only had the Advantage of Information, but was under a necessity of using my best Endeavours to get a true Account of them. Sir, I am confident the Eyes of all Europe are upon this Parliament; and not only the Protestants abroad, but many Catholic Countries, (who stand in fear of the Power of France) do think themselves as much concerned in the Success of this Parliament, as this House, and will be as much perplexed to hear any Ill-News thereof. This, Sir, as well as the Necessities of our Affairs at home, makes me trouble you at this Time, to desire you to be careful what you do, that we may not occasion in his Majesty any dislike to this House. Whatever you do as to the Business of Money for Tangier, I pray, Sir, let there be no notice taken in your Address, of the Lords having cast out your Bill; for we have no reason to think the King was any ways concerned therein. To throw out a Bill of so great Importance, without a Conference, was, in my humble Opinion, very strange, and contrary to the usual Proceedings of that House. But pray, Sir, let it lie at their doors that did it, for the King could not be concerned in a Parliamentary Way. For by this means we may obviate all Misunderstandings with his Majesty about this Affair, and, I hope, create in him a good Opinion of this House, upon which the Welfare not only of this Nation, but of Europe, doth much depend.
'Sir, his Majesty in his Message puts you in mind of giving Advice as well as Money. I think if we make that Expression the ground of our Address, we may naturally graft very good Things thereon, especially what may conduce to the Preservation of a fair Correspondence. Sir, Though a King alone cannot save a Kingdom, yet a King alone can do very much to ruin it: and though Parliaments alone cannot save this Kingdom, yet Parliaments alone may do much to ruin it. And therefore we cannot be too circumspect in what we do. It is our Fortune to fit here in a critical Time, when not only the Affairs of this Nation, but the Protestant Religion abroad, need our Continuance; and for the same reason we may justly fear, that there are those who endeavour to contrive the putting off this Parliament. I pray, Sir, let us not give them any Advantage, and then I doubt not but his Majesty's Care and Goodness will at last overcome all Difficulties, and bring this Session to a happy Conclusion.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think his Majesty may easily send Succour to Tangier without any great Charge. Here are three or four Regiments of Soldiers about this Town, which do rather hurt, than good to the Nation; and therefore may very well be spared; and then that Money which pays them now here, may pay them there, and so I suppose there will be no need of Money, save only for their Transportation.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, This Business hath been so long and fairly debated, as that I think it is high time you should come to a Question, and put the Business off your Hands. I hope there will be great care taken in drawing this Address, that so our Enemies may not have any ground to represent us as a stubborn Parliament, that have no Intention to give Money upon any Terms whatsoever. I think, Sir, we may be plain with his Majesty, and give him as full Assurance as ever any House of Commons did, that when we have those Things granted, which are unavoidably necessary for the Preservation of our Religion, that we will freely and heartily give Money for the Supply of his Occasions; and I cannot but hope, that such fair Proceedings will occasion a happy Issue to this Parliament. For it cannot be doubted, but that the King is very sensible, That he owes more to his People in general, than to any one Man, be he Brother, or any other Relation; and that he cannot, without much trouble to himself, because of his Coronation Oath, longer permit that our Laws and Religion should be in such imminent danger. And therefore I hope that we shall not only have a fair Correspondency continued, but also a gracious Compliance, in what we have desired for the effectual Security of our Religion, and therefore would desire you to put the Question for a Committee.'
Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to draw up an Address to be presented to his Majesty, upon the Debate of the House, humbly representing to his Majesty the dangerous State and Condition of the Kingdom, in answer to his Majesty's Message.
The Commons Address.
'May it please your most excellent Majesty, We your Majesty's most obedient and loyal Subjects, the Commons in Parliament assembled, having with all Duty and Regard taken into our serious Consideration, your Majesty's late Message relating to Tangier, cannot but account the Present Condition of it, as your Majesty is pleased to represent it in your sacred Message, (after so vast a Treasure expended to make it useful) not only as one Infelicity more added to the afflicted estate of your Majesty's faithful and loyal Subjects, but as one Result also of the same Counsels and Designs, which have brought your Majesty's Person, Crown and Kingdoms, into those great and imminent Dangers, with which at this Day they are surrounded; and we are the less surpriz'd to hear of the Exigencies of Tangier, when we remember, that, since it became part of your Majesty's Dominions, it hath several times been under the Command of Popish Governors, (particularly for some time under the Command of a Lord impeached, and now Prisoner in the Tower for the execrable and horrid Popish Plot) that the Supplies sent thither have been in great part made up of Popish Officers and Soldiers, and that the Irish Papists among the Soldiers of that Garrison, have been the Persons most countenanc'd and encouraged.
'To that Part of your Majesty's Message, which expresses a Reliance upon this House for the support of Tangier, and a recommendation of it to our speedy care, we do with all Humility and Reverence give this Answer: That although in due time, and order, we shall omit nothing incumbent on us for the Preservation of every Part of your Majesty's. Dominions, and advancing the Prosperity and flourishing Estate of this Kingdom; yet at this Time, when a Cloud, which has so long threatned this Land, is ready to break on our Heads in a Storm of Ruin and Consusion, to enter into any farther Consideration of this Matter, especially to come to any Resolution in it, before we are effectually secured from the imminent and apparent Dangers, arising from the Power of Popish Persons and Counsels, we humbly conceive will not consist either with our Duty to your Majesty, or the Trust reposed in us by those we represent.
'It is not unknown to your Majesty, how restless the Endeavours, and how bold the Attempts of the Popish Party, for many Years last past, have been, not only within this, but other your Majesty's Kingdoms, to introduce the Romish, and utterly to extirpate the true Protestant Religion. The several Approaches they have made towards the compassing this their Design (assisted by the Treachery of perfidious Protestants,) have been so strangely successful, that it is matter of Admiration to us, and which we can only ascribe to an overruling Providence, that your Majesty's Reign is still continued over us, and that we are yet assembled to consult the means of our Preservation. This bloody and restless Party, not content with the great Liberty they had a long time enjoyed, to exercise their own Religion privately amongst themselves, to partake of an equal Freedom of their Persons and Estates, with your Majesty's protestant Subjects, and of an Advantage above them, in being excused from chargeable Offices and Employments, hath so far prevailed, as to find countenance, for an open and avowed Practice of their Superstition and Idolatry, without controul, in several Parts of this Kingdom. Great Swarms of Priests and Jesuits have resorted hither, and have here exercised their Jurisdiction, and been daily tempering to pervert the Consciences of your Majesty's Subjects.
'Their Opposers they have found means to disgrace; and if they were Judges, Justices of the Peace, or other Magistrates, to have them turned out of Commission; and in contempt of the known Laws of the Land, they have practised upon People of all Ranks and Qualities, and gained over divers to their Religion; some openly to profess it, others secretly to espouse it, as most conduced to the Service thereof.
'After some time they became able to influence Matters of State and Government; and thereby to destroy those they cannot corrupt. The continuance, or prorogation of Parliaments, has been accommodated to serve the Purposes of that Party. Money raised upon the People to supply your Majesty's extraordinary Occasions, was, by the prevalence of Popish Councils, employed to make War upon a Protestant State, and to advance and augment the dreadful Power of the French King; though to the apparent hazard of this, and all other Protestant Countries. Great numbers of your Majesty's Subjects were sent into, and continued in the Service of that King, notwithstanding the apparent Interest of your Majesty's Kingdoms, the Addresses of the Parliament, and your Majesty's gracious Proclamations to the contrary. Nor can we forbear to mention, how that, at the Beginning of the same War, even the Ministers of England were made Instruments to press upon that State, the acceptance of one Demand, among others, from the French King, for procuring their Peace with him, that they should admit the public Exercise of the Roman Catholic Religion in the United Provinces; the Churches there to be divided; and the Romish Priests maintained out of the public Revenue.
'At home, if your Majesty did at any time, by the Advice of your Privy Council, or of your two Houses of Parliament, command the Laws to be put in execution against the Papists, even from thence they gained Advantage to their Party, while the Edge of those Laws was turned against the Protestant Dissenters; and the Papists escaped, in a manner, untouched. The Act of Parliament, enjoining a Test to be taken by all Persons admitted into any public Office, and intended for a Security against Papists coming into Employment, had so little Effect, that, either by a Dispensation obtained from Rome, they submitted to those Tests, and held those Offices themselves; or those put in their Places were so favourable to the same Interests, that Popery itself rather gained, than lost ground since that Act.
'But that their Business in hand might yet more speedily and strongly proceed, at length a Popish Secretary (since executed for his Treasons) takes upon him to set on foot and maintain Correspondencies at Rome, (particularly with a native Subject of your Majesty's, promoted to be a Cardinal) and in the Courts of other foreign Princes (to use their own Form of Speech) for the subduing that pestilent Heresy, which has so long domineered over this northern World; that is, to root the Protestant Religion out of England, and thereby to make way the more easily, to do the same in other Protestant Countries.
'Towards the doing of this great Work, (as Mr. Coleman was pleased to call it) Jesuits (the most dangerous of all the Popish Orders, to the Lives and Estates of Princes) were distributed to the several Precincts within this Kingdom, and held joint Councils with those of the same Order, in all neighbouring Popish Countries: Out of these Councils and Correspondencies was hatched that damnable and hellish. Plot, by the good Providence of Almighty God, brought to light above two Years since, but still threatning us; wherein Traytors, impatient of longer Delay, reckoning the prolonging of your sacred Majesty's Life, (which God long preserve) as the great Obstacle in the way to the Consummation of their Hopes; and having in their Prospect a proselyted Prince, immediately to succeed in the Throne of these Kingdoms, resolved to begin their Work with the Assassination of your Majesty; to carry it on with armed Force: to destroy your Protestant Subjects in England; to execute a second Massacre in Ireland; and so with Ease to arrive at the suppression of our Religion, and the subversion of the Government.
'When this accursed Conspiracy began to be discovered, they began the smothering it up with the barbarous Murder of a Justice of the Peace, within one of your Majesty's own Palaces, who had taken some Examinations concerning it.
'Amidst these Distractions and Fears, Popish Officers for the Command of Forces, were allowed upon the Musters, by special Orders (surreptitiously obtained from your Majesty) but counter-signed by a Secretary of State, without ever passing under the Tests prescribed by the aforementioned Act of Parliament. In like Manner, above fifty new Commissions were granted about the same time to known Papists, besides a great number of desperate Popish Officers, though out of Command, yet entertained at Half-Pay. When in the next Parliament, the House of Commons were prepared to bring to a legal Trial the principal Conspirators in this Plot, that Parliament was first prorogued, and then dissolved. The Interval between the calling and sitting of this Parliament was so long, that now they conceive Hopes of covering all their past Crimes, and gaining a seasonable Time and Advantages of practising them more effectually.
'Witnesses are attempted to be corrupted, and not only Promises of Reward, but of the favour of your Majesty's Brother, made the Motives to their Compliance! Divers of the most considerable of your Majesty's Protestant Subjects have Crimes of the highest Nature forged against them; the Charge to be supported by Subornation and Perjury, that they may be destroyed by Forms of Law and Justice.
'A Presentment being prepared for a Grand-Jury of Middlesex, against your Majesty's said Brother, the Duke of York (under whose Countenance all the rest shelter themselves) the Grand-Jury were, in an unheard of, and unprecedented, and illegal Manner, discharged; and that with so much haste and fear, left they should finish that Presentment, that they were prevented from delivering many other Indictments, by them at that Time found against other Popish Recusants. Because a Pamphlet came forth weekly, called, The weekly Packet of Advice from Rome; which exposes Popery (as it deserves) as ridiculous to the People; a new and arbitrary Rule of Court was made in your Majesty's Court of King's Bench, (rather like a Star-Chamber, than a Court of Law) That the same should not, for the future, be printed by any Person whatsoever.
'We acknowledge your Majesty's Grace and Care, in issuing forth divers Proclamations since the Discovery of the Plot, for the banishing Papists from about this great City, and Residence of your Majesty's Court and the Parliament; but with Trouble of Mind do we humbly inform your Majesty, That, notwithstanding all these Prohibitions, great Numbers of them, and of the most dangerous Sort, to the Terror of your Majesty's Protestant Subjects, do daily resort hither, and abide here. Under these, and other sad Effects and Evidences of the Prevalency of Popery, and its Adherents, We your Majesty's most faithful Commons found this your Majesty's distressed Kingdom, and other Parts of your Dominions, labouring, when we assembled.
'And therefore from our Allegiance to your Majesty, our Zeal to our Religion, our Faithfulness to our Country, and our Care of Posterity, We have lately, upon mature Deliberation, proposed one Remedy of these great Evils; without which (in our Judgments) all others will prove vain and fruitless; and (like all deceitful Securities against certain Dangers) will rather expose your Majesty's Person to the great Hazard, and the People, together with all that's valuable to them, as Men or Christians, to utter Ruin and Destruction. We have taken this Occasion of an Access to your Majesty's royal Presence, humbly to lay before your Majesty's great Judgment and gracious Consideration, this most dreadful Design of introducing Popery, and as necessary Consequences of it, all other Calamities, into your Majesty's Kingdoms. And if, after all this, the private Suggestions of the subtle Accomplices of that Party and Design should yet prevail, either to elude, or totally obstruct the faithful Endeavours of Us your Commons, for an happy Settlement of this Kingdom, We shall have this remaining Comfort, That we have freed ourselves from the Guilt of that Blood and Desolation which is like to ensue. But our only Hope, next under God, is in your Sacred Majesty, That, by your great Wisdom and Goodness, we may be effectually secured from Popery, and all the Evils that attend it: And that none but Persons of known Fidelity to your Majesty, and sincere Affections to the Protestant Religion, may be put into any Employment, civil or military; that whilst we shall give a Supply to Tangier, we may be assured we do not augment the Strength of our Popish Adversaries, nor encrease our own Dangers. Which Desires of your faithful Commons, if your Majesty shall graciously vouchsafe to grant, we shall not only be ready to assist your Majesty in Defence of Tangier, but do whatsoever else shall be in our power, to enable your Majesty to protect the Protestant Religion and Interest at home and abroad; and to resist and repel the Attempts of your Majesty's, and the Kingdom's Enemies.'
Proceedings against the Earl of Hallifax.
The same day a Debate arising in the House, on a Motion for an Address to his Majesty to remove George Earl of Hallifax from his Majesty's Presence and Councils for ever; the Question was put to adjourn the said Debate, and pass'd in the Negative, Yeas 95, Noes 219. After which the said Address was voted.
Address concerning Sir George Jefferies.
'We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, &c. having received a Complaint against Sir George Jefferies, Knt. your Majesty's Chief Justice of Chester, and heard the Evidence concerning the same, and also what he did alledge and prove in his Defence; and being thereupon fully satisfied that the said Sir George Jefferies, well-knowing, that many of your Protestant Subjects, and particularly those of your great and famous City of London, out of Zeal for the Preservation of the Protestant Religion, and your Majesty's Person and Government, and in hopes to bring the Popish Conspirators to speedy Justice, were about to petition to your Majesty in an humble, dutiful and legal way, for the sitting of this Parliament; the said Sir George Jefferies not regarding his Duty to your Majesty, nor the Welfare of your People, did, on purpose to serve his own private Ends, and to create a Misunderstanding between your Majesty and your Subjects, tho' disguis'd with the Pretence of Service to your Majesty, maliciously declare such Petitioning sometimes to be tumultuous, seditious and illegal; and, at other times, did presume publickly to insinuate and assert, as if your Majesty would deprive the Citizens of London of their Charters, and divers other Privileges and Immunities, and Advantages; and also, of your Royal Favour: And in case they should so petition, there should not be any Meeting or Sitting of Parliament: thereby traducing your Majesty, as if you would not pursue your gracious Intentions, the rather because they were grateful to your good Subjects, do, in most humble manner, beseech your Majesty to remove the said Sir George Jefferies out of the said Place of Chief-Justice of Chester, and out of all other public Offices and Employments under your Majesty.'
Sir Gilbert Gerrard prefers Articles of Impeachment against Edward Seymour Esq;
The 26th, Sir Gilbert Gerrard acquainted the House, That he had Articles of Impeachment of High Crimes, Misdemeanours and Offences, against Edward Seymour Esq; a Member, and Treasurer of the Navy; the Contents of which were to the following Effect:
'1. That whereas 584,978 l. was appropriated by Act of Parliament for the Building 30 Ships of War, and it was enacted that the Treasurer of the Navy should keep all Monies paid on that Account distinct and a-part from all other Monies, and should issue the same by Warrant of the principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy, to the said specify'd Use, and to no other whatever: The said Edward Seymour, being Treasurer of the Navy, contrary to his Duty, had lent the Sum of 90,000 l. at 8 per Cent. Part of the Sum above-mentioned, towards the Support and Continuance of the Army, after such time as by Act of Parliament the said Army ought to be disbanded; whereby the said two several Acts were eluded, and the said Army was kept on foot, to the great Disturbance, Hazard, and Danger of the Peace, and Safety of this Kingdom; and the Nation was afterwards put to a new Charge of raising 200,000 l. for the disbanding the said Army.
2. That whereas a Poll-Tax was granted to enable his Majesty to enter into an actual War with France, and for the Repayment of any such Persons as should furnish his Majesty with Money or Stores for that end: And whereas certain East-Land Merchants did supply great Quantities of Naval Stores, on being assur'd that 40,000 l. Part of the Money rais'd by the said Act, was at that time actually in the hands of the said Edward Seymour, which he likewise acknowledged, and did promise to pay the said Merchants in part of Satisfaction for the said Stores; he the said Edward Seymour did issue out the said Sum to the Victuallers of the Navy by way of Advance for Provisions not brought in, contrary to the Meaning of the said Act, and of which the said Merchants did complain in Parliament.
'3. That the said Edward Seymour being Treasurer of the Navy, and then, and still having a Salary of 3000 l. per Annum clear for the same, during the time he was Speaker for the late long Parliament, did receive out of the Monies appointed for secret Service the yearly Sum of 3000 l. over and above the said Salary, which was constantly payed to him, as well during the Intervals, as the Sessions of Parliaments; and particularly during the Prorogation of fifteen Months.
'4. That during the Dutch War, the said Edward Seymour being one of the Commissioners of Prizes, did fraudulently and unlawfully unlade a Prize-Ship, without Order or Authority, and did house the Lading of the said Ship, and lock up; and afterwards, without the Presence of any Store-Keepers, did sell the same for Muscovado Sugars, and did account with his Majesty for the same as such: when in truth, the said Ship was laden with Cochineal, Indigo, and other Merchandizes of a great Value.
The 22d, Mr. Trenchard, according to Order, exhibiting the Address to his Majesty to remove the Earl of Hallifax, when a Motion was made to re-commit the said Address; but pass'd in the Negative, Yeas 101, Noes 213. After which, some Amendments being made to it, it was agreed to by the House, and was as follows:
Address to remove Lord Hallifax.
'Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, &c. being deeply sensible of the manifold Dangers and Mischiefs that have been occasioned to your Kingdom by the Dissolution of the last Parliament, and by the frequent Prorogations of the present Parliament, whereby the Papists have been greatly encouraged to carry on their wicked and damnable Conspiracies against your Royal Person and Government, and the Protestant Religion now established amongst us, have had many opportunities to contrive false and malicious Plots against the Lives and Honours of several of your loyal Protestant Subjects; und having just reason to believe, that the said Dissolution was promoted by the evil and wicked Councils of George Earl of Hallifax, do, therefore, most humbly pray your Majesty, for the taking away all Occasion of Distrust and Jealousies, between your Majesty and us your loyal Commons; and that we may with greater Chearfulness, proceed to perfect those Matters now before us, which tend to the Safety and Honour of your sacred Person and Government, and the Preservation of the true Protestant Religion, both to ourselves and our Posterity, That you would be graciously pleased to remove the said George Earl of Hallifax from your Presence and Councils for ever.
His Majesty's Answer.
'His Majesty, having receiv'd the Address of this House, relating to the Earl of Hallifax, has thought fit to return this Answer: That he conceives the said Address to be liable to several Exceptions: But, having a great Desire to preserve all possible good Understanding with this House, he chuses to decline to enter into Particulars, to avoid all Occasions of Dispute.
'But he answers them at the same time, that whenever the House shall, in a due and regular course, prove any Crime either against the said Earl of Hallifax, or any other Person, who either now is, or hereafter shall be in his Council, he will leave him or them to their own legal Defence, without interposing to protect them.'
Both Houses address for a Fast.
The 23d, both Houses agreed to address his Majesty to appoint a Day to be solemnly set apart, wherein both themselves and all his Majesty's Subjects might, by Fasting and Prayer, endeavour a Reconciliation with Almighty God, and with humble and penitent Hearts implore him by his Power and Goodness to divert those Judgments. (before enumerated) and defeat the wicked Councils and Devices of our Enemies, &c.
Debate on dismissing a Middlesex Grand-Jury.
Sir William Jones.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Preservation of the Government in general, as well as our particular Safeties, have a dependance upon the Matter that is now before you; in which there are so many Miscarriages so complicated, as there ariseth some Difficulty how to examine them. I cannot but observe, how the Proclamation is here again mentioned; by which you may conclude there lieth a great weight on the People's Right to petition by means thereof; and that the best way to remove it is, to find out the Advisers and Contrivers of that Proclamation, in order to proceed against them according to their Deserts. Without which, what you have done in asserting the Right of petitioning, will remain with some doubt; and those that advised the proclaiming to the People, that it is sedit ous to petition the King, without that Chastisement they deserve. And therefore I humbly conceive, you will do well to consider of it as soon as you can. It is not strange, that the Proclamation shall be made use of with Country Gentlemen; to get Abhorrers to petitioning; seeing the Judges themselves have made use of it to that purpose: They should have known, that though a Proclamation might be of great Use, to intimate the Observation of a Law; yet that it had never been used instead of a Law. But yet I do not admire so much at this, as I do at the Discharge of the Grand-Jury, before they had finished their Presentments. It tends so much to the Subversion of the established Laws of this Land, that I dare pronounce that all the Laws you have already, and all that you can make, will signify nothing against any great Man, unless you can remedy it for the future. I observe, there were two Reasons why this Grand-Jury were so extrajudicially discharged; one, because they would otherwise have presented the Duke of York for a Papist; the other, because they presented a Petition to be delivered to the King, for the sitting of the Parliament; which they said it was not their business to deliver. Tho' I cannot but observe, how, upon other occasions, they did receive Petitions, and delivered them to the King; and all the Difference was, that those Petitions so delivered, were against Sittings of Parliaments. The truth is, I cannot much condemn them for it; for if they were guilty of such Crimes as the Witnesses have this day given you Information of, I think they had no reason to further Petitions for the Sitting of a Parliament. But, Sir, this Business will need a farther Information; and therefore I humbly pray it may be referred to a Committee.'
Sir Francis Winnington.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think we are come to the old Times again, when the Judges pretended they had a Rule of Government, as well as a Rule of Law; and that they have acted accordingly. If they did never read Magna Charta, I think they are not fit to be Judges; if they have read Magna Charta, and do thus so contrary, they deserve a severe Chastisement. To discharge Grand-Juries, of purpose to disappoint them of making their Presentments, is to deprive the Subject of the greatest Benefit and Security the Law hath provided for them. If the Judges, instead of acting by Law, shall be acted by their own Ambition; and endeavour to get Promotions, rather by worshipping the rising Sun, than by doing justice, this Nation will soon be reduced to a miserable condition. Suppose that after the Discharge of this Grand-Jury, some Person had offered to present some Murder, Treason, or other capital Crime, for want of the Grand-Jury there would have been a Failure of Justice. As Faults committed by Judges are of more dangerous consequence than others to the public; so there do not want Precedents of severer Chastisements for them, than for others. I humbly move you, first, to pass a Vote upon this Business, of discharging Grand-Juries; and then to appoint a Committee to examine the Miscarriages of the Judges in Westminster-Hall, and to report the same with all speed to you.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, as it hath been observed, that this Business hath some reference to the Proclamation; so I believe, there is something of the Plot in it too. And therefore I think if this Plot does not go on, it will have the worst luck that ever Plot had; seeing the Judges, as well as most other Persons in public Places, have given it as much Assistance as they could. But whereas some have spoken ill of these Judges, I desire to speak well of them in one thing: I am confident they have herein shewed themselves grateful to their Benefactors; for I do believe, that some of them were preferred to their Places of purpose, because they should do what they have done. Laws of themselves are but dead Letters; unless you can secure the Execution, as well of those you have already, as of those you are now making, we shall spend our Time to little purpose. Therefore I second the Motion that hath been made for a Vote to declare the Sense of the House, as to the discharging of Grand-Juries; and for referring the farther Examination to a Committee.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Business of this Debate is a great instance of our sick and languishing Condition. As our Ships, Forts, and Castles, are for securing us from the Danger of our Enemies from abroad, so our Laws from our Enemies at home; and if committed to such Persons as will turn their Strength upon us, are equally dangerous. Sir, We all know how the Government of Scotland hath been quite altered since his Majesty's Restoration, by some Laws made there; pray let us have a care that ours be not altered, by the corrupt Proceedings of Judges, lest we be reduced to the same weak Condition of defending ourselves against Popery and arbitrary Government here, that they are there. If Judges can thus prevent the Penalties of the Law, by discharging Grand-Juries before they have made their Presentments, and can make Laws by their Rules of Court, I think the Government may soon be subverted; and therefore it is high time for this House to speak with those Gentlemen. In former times several Judges have been impeached, and hanged too, for less Crimes than these; and the reason was because they had broke the King's Oath as well as their own. If what hath been said of some of these Judges be fully proved, they shall not want my Vote to inflict on them the same Chastisement. The truth is, Sir, I know not how the ill Consequences we justly fear from Judges can be prevented, as long as they are made durante bene-placito, and have such Dependencies as they have. But this must be a Work of Time: In order to remedy our present Grievances, let us pass a Vote upon this Business of discharging Grand-Juries; and that it may be penned as the Case deserves. If you please, let it be drawn up by a Committee that may withdraw for that purpose; and let there be also one appointed to examine the Miscarriage of the Judges.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would beg leave to observe to you, because I think it may be necessary to be considered by your Committee, what an opinion was given not long since by some of these Judges about Printing; which was, that Printing of News might be prohibited by Law; and accordingly a Proclamation issued out. I will not take on me to censure the Opinion as illegal, but leave it to your farther Consideration. But I remember there was a Consultation held by the Judges a little before; and they gave their opinion, that they knew not of any way to prevent Printing by Law; because the Act for that purpose was expired. Upon which, some Judges were put out, and new ones put in; and then this other opinion was given. These things are worthy of a serious Examination. For if Treasurers may raise Money by shutting up the Exchequer, borrowing of the Bankers, or Retrenchments; and the Judges make new Laws by an ill Construction, or an ill Execution of the old ones: I conclude, that Parliaments will soon be found useless; and the Liberty of the People an Inconvenience to the Government. And therefore, I think, Sir, you have been well moved to endeavour to pass your Censure on some of these illegal Proceedings by a Vote; and to refer the farther Consideration to a Committee.'
Sir Francis Winnington (fn. 1)
'Mr. Speaker, in the Front of Magna Charta it is said, nulli negabimus, nulli differemus justitiam; we will defer, or deny Justice to no Man: To this the King is sworn, and with this the Judges are entrusted by their Oaths. I admire what they can say for themselves; if they have not read this Law, they are not fit to sit upon the Bench: And if they have, I had almost said, they deserve to lose their Heads.
'Mr. Speaker, the State of this poor Nation is to be deplored, that in almost all Ages, the Judges who ought to be Preservers of the Laws have endeavoured to destroy them: and that to please a Court-Faction, they have by Treachery attempted to break the Bonds asunder of Magna Charta, the great Treasury of our Peace. It was no sooner passed, but a Chief Justice (Hubert de Burg) in that day, persuades the King he was not bound by it; because he was under Age when it was passed. But this sort of Insolence the next Parliament resented, to the Ruin of the pernicious Chief Justice. In the time of Richard II. an unthinking dissolute Prince, there were Judges that did insinuate into the King, that the Parliament were only his Creatures, and depended on his Will, and not on the fundamental Constitutions of the Land: which treacherous Advice proved the Ruin of the King; and for which all those evil Instruments were brought to Justice. In his late Majesty's time, his Misfortunes were occasioned chiefly by the Corruptions of the long Robe; his Judges, by an extrajudicial Opinion, gave the King Power to raise Money, upon any extraordinary occasion, without Parliament; and made the King Judge of such Occasions: Charity prompts me to think they thought this a Service to the King; but the sad Consequences of it may convince all Mankind, that every illegal Act weakens the Royal Interest; and to endeavour to introduce absolute Dominion in these Realms, is the worst of Treasons: Because whilst it bears the Face of Friendship to the King, and designs to be for his Service, it never fails of the contrary Effect.
'The two great Pillars of the Government, are Parliaments and Juries; it is this gives us the Title of freeborn Englishmen: For my Notion of free Englishmen is this, that they are ruled by Laws of their own making, and tried by Men of the same condition with themselves The two great and undoubted Privileges of the People, have been lately invaded by the Judges that now sit in WestminsterHall; they have espoused Proclamations against Law; they have discountenanced and opposed several legal Acts, that tended to the Sitting of this Honourable House; they have grasped the Legislative Power into their own hands, as in that Instance of Printing; the Parliament was considering that Matter, but they in the interim made their private Opinion to be Law, to supersede the Judgment of this House. They have discharged Grand-Juries, on purpose to quell their Presentments, and shelter great Criminals from Justice; and when Juries have presented their Opinion for the Sitting of this Parliament, they have in Disdain thrown them at their Feet, and told them they would be no Messengers to carry such Petitions; and yet in a few days after, have encouraged all that would spit their venom against the Government: they have served an ignorant and arbitrary Faction, and been the Messengers of Abhorrences to the King.
'Mr. Speaker, what we have now to do, is to load them with Shame, who bid defiance to the Law: They are guilty of Crimes against Nature, against the King, against their Knowledge, and against Posterity. The whole Frame of Nature doth loudly and daily petition to God their Creator; and Kings, like God, may be addressed to in like manner, by Petition, not Command. They likewise knew it was lawful to petition: Ignorance can be no Plea, and their Knowledge aggravates their Crimes; the Children unborn are bound to curse such Proceedings, for 'twas not Petitioning, but Parliaments they abhorred. The Atheist pleads against a God, not that he disbelieves a Deity, but would have it so. Tresilian and Belknap were Judges too; their Learning gave them Honour, but their Villainies made their Exit by a Rope. The End of my Motion therefore is, that we may address warmly to our Prince against them: Let us settle a Committee to enquire into their Crimes, and not fail of doing justice upon them that have perverted it; let us purge the Fountain, and the Streams will issue pure.'
Votes in consequence of this Debate.
'Resolved, That the discharging of a Grand Jury by any Judge, before the End of the Term, Assizes, or Sessions, while Matters are under their Consideration, and not presented, is arbitrary, illegal, destructive to public Justice, a manifest Violation of his Oath, and is a means to subvert the fundamental Laws of this Kingdom.
The 24th, Mr. Attorney-General being call'd in, and examin'd touching the manner of issuing forth the Proclamation, stiled, A Proclamation against tumultuous Petitioning; and giving account to the House, that. Sir Francis North, Chief Justice of the Common-Pleas, was'advising and assisting at the said drawing and passing the said Proclamation: It occasion'd a Debate, which terminated in the following Resolution:
An Impeachment order'd against Ld Chief Justice North.
'That the Evidence this Day given to this House against Sir Francis North, Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas, is sufficient ground for this House to proceed upon an Impeachment against him for high Crimes and Misdemeanours; and the Heads of an Impeachment were ordered to be prepared accordingly.'
Another against Mr. Seymour.
The 26th, the House resumed the Impeachment of Mr. Seymour. Resolv'd nem. con. That there was Matter sufficient to impeach the said Mr. Seymour, on every Article exhibited against him; and order'd, that a Committee be appointed to prepare the said Impeachment.
Report from the joint Committee of both Houses relating to Lord Stafford's Trial.
The 29th, Sir William Jones reported from the said joint Committee, That the said Committee did meet on Saturday last, and that the Committee of the Lords being ask'd by the Committee of this House, whether their Lordships had any Propositions to make to the said Committee, touching the Methods to be observ'd in the Trials of the Lords in the Tower? Their Lordships made answer, that the Lords had sent down a Paper to this House, containing several Propositions, and that the Committee Lords knew of no other Propositions.
That their Lordships being ask'd, whether the Commission of the Lord High-Steward was drawn in the same manner as that in the last Parliament; and whether the Clause cujus Præsentiæ in hac Parte requiritur, were inserted: Their Lordships answer'd, that they could not give any account thereof; but that they would make Report of the said Propositions to the House of Peers, and would afterwards give answer to the Committee therein.
That their Lordships being ask'd, whether they would give any assurance that the Lords Spiritual would be absent at the Trials? Their Lordships answer'd, that they had no power from the House of Lords to give any account in that matter; but that their Lordships would report the same to the House of Peers, and return an Answer to the said Committee at the next Meeting, which was agreed to be that day at 12 o'clock.
The second Report.
'That as to the Question, whether the Lord High Steward's Commission be the same as it was the last Parliament, the Lords answered that the Commission differ'd not from the former, otherwise than that the Name of the Lord High-Steward is inserted in this, in the Place where the Names of the five Popish Lords impeached, were inserted in the last.
'That the said Committee having acquainted the Lords Committee with the Vote of this House of coming to the Trial of Lord Stafford as a Committee, made a Proposal to the said Lords, taking no notice of the Rules sent down from the Lords, viz. That when the Commons should be ask'd any Question in the Trial, they should apply themselves to the Lord High-Steward; and that the Committee making some Exceptions thereto, they taking the Lord High Steward not as a necessary Part of the Court, but only as the Speaker of the House of Lords; alledging, that when the Commons speak to the Court, they ought to say, My Lords, not My Lord, or your Grace: and that then the Committee adjourn'd to nine o'clock to-morrow Morning.'