The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 2, 1680-1695. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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SPEECHES, DEBATES, &c. in the House of Commons, from the RESTORATION.
The Trial of Lord Stafford.
The 30th of November, the House proceeded to the Trial of Lord Stafford; of which this is an Abstract:
The Managers for the Commons, among whom were the most considerable Lawyers in the House, as Serjeant Maynard, Sir William Jones, Mr. Treby, &c. open'd the Cause with great Copiousness and Eloquence: 'They began with the Plot in general, and laid open the Malice, Wickedness and Horror, of so dreadful, bloody and hellish a Design: They strenuously insisted on the express positive Oaths of the Witnesses, upon whom the Credit of the Plot chiefly depended: They expatiated upon Coleman's Letters, and others, clearly proving the Designs and Activity of the Writers: They press'd home the execrable Murder of Sir Edmund-bury Godfrey, charg'd upon the Papists, as well by the Oaths of self-acknowledg'd Partners in the Fact, as by a Letter sent from London to Tixall, intimating this very Murder the third Day after it was committed: They fully display'd the Sham-Plots and Counter-Contrivances, whereby the Papists would have suborn'd the King's Evidence, and turn'd all the Guilt upon his Majesty's most loyal Subjects: They urged the firing the City, the burning the Navy, the calling in French Armies, Wild-Irish, Spanish-Pilgrims, &c. They recapitulated the several Trials of Ireland, Whitebread, Langhorn, &c. and alledg'd the Votes of both Houses of Parliament declaring the Plot. To corroborate all which, they repeated the Cruelties of Queen Mary, the French and Irish Massacres, the Powder-Plot, &c. and they anatomiz'd the wicked Principles and Practices of Murdering, Lying, Equivocating, Forswearing, Faith-breaking, &c imputed to the Papists as held by them lawful and meritorious. In sum, nothing was omitted, or neglected through the whole Process, but the least Circumstance fully enforc'd and advanc'd, with such Art and Acuteness, as well answer'd to so great a Cause, prosecuted by so high an Authority, before so illustrious Judges, and so august an Assembly.
Evidences against him. ; Dugdale. ; Dates. ; And Turberville.
Some Witnesses were first produc'd to prove the Reality, or at least the Probability, of the Plot in general; but chiefly three appear'd against the Lord in particular, namely, Dugdale, Oates, and Turberville, the last said to be both a profligate and an indigent Person. 1. Dugdale swore, 'That at a certain Meeting held at Tixall in Staffordshire, about the End of August, or Beginning of September, 1678, the Lord Stafford, with Lord Aston and others, did, in the presence of the Witness, give his full consent to take away the King's Life, and introduce the Popish Religion. That on the 10th or 21st of September in the Forenoon, the Lord sent for the Witness to his Chamber, while he was dressing; and turning his Servants out, offer'd him five hundred Pounds for his Charges and Encouragement, to take away the King's Life; and further told him, he should have free pardon of all his Sins, and be sainted; for the King had been excommunicated, and was likewise a Traytor and a Rebel, and an Enemy to Jesus Christ.' 2. Oates swore, 'That in the Year 1677, both in Spain, and at St. Omers, he saw several Letters, sign'd Stafford, wherein his Lordship assured the Jesuits of his Fidelity and Zeal in promoting the Catholic Cause. That in 1678, being in London, his Lordship came to the Chamber of Father Fenwick, since executed, and there in his presence receiv'd a Commission from him, to be Pay-Master-General to the Army: Whereupon his Lordship said, he must of necessity go down into the Country to take account how Affairs stood there; and did not doubt but at his Return, Grove should do the Business. And, speaking of the King, he further added, He hath deceiv'd us a great while, and we can bear no longer.' 3. Turberville gave an account, of disobliging his Friends by leaving his Friar's Habit at Doway; and thereupon went into France, in the Year 1675, where at Paris getting acquaintance with his Lordship, he propos'd to the Witness a way, both to retrieve his Credit with his Friends, and make himself happy; and this was by taking away the Life of the King of England, who was a Heretic, and a Rebel against God Almighty. That when he took leave of him, his Lordship appointed to meet him at London; but he soon after return'd into France, not being willing to undertake the Proposals, and was discountenanc'd by his Friends, and reduc'd to Poverty.'
The accus'd Lord in his Defence, alledg'd many things to invalidate the Credit of the Plot, and particularly the Reputation of these three Witnesses. Against Dugdale, he produc'd Evidence, That he was a Person of an infamous Life; that he had cheated the Lord Aston his Master, and defrauded Work-Men and Servants of their Wages; that by his Extravagancies and Misdemeanours he had run himself into several hundred Pounds Debt, for which he was thrown into Jail, and despair'd of ever getting out from thence, otherwise than by making the pretended Discoveries. In the next place, that he had directly perjur'd himself, in divers Parts and Circumstances, as to Time and Place, in this and other Depositions: And further, he prov'd, That he had endeavour'd to suborn divers Persons to make false Oaths, and so to strengthen his own by other Men's Perjury. Against Oates, he enlarged upon the mighty Improbabilities, that so many great and rich Conspirators, who had trusted him with their greatest Secrets, and whose Lives were at his Mercy, should suffer him to be reduc'd to such a wretched degree of Beggary, as he was acknowledg'd to be when he made his first Discoveries. He likewise insisted upon his Omissions, Additions, and Contradictions, that plainly appear'd in his several Depositions about the Plot; and also upon his villainous feigning himself to be of another Religion, by solemn Renunciations of his Faith, and by such Sacraments on one side, and such Abjurations and Execrations on the other, as render'd him unfit to be admitted for an Evidence against any Man living. As to Turberville, he urg'd that he was perjur'd in this, and many other of his Depositions; and that his Narrative had many Mistakes and Blunders in it. He deny'd, that he or any of his Servants, ever saw him at Paris; and made some Remarks upon his Poverty and Want, his loose manner of Living, his shameful Cursing and Swearing; and particularly his using these Words, God damn me! there is no Trade good now, but that of a Discoverer.
The Managers Reply. ; Sir Will. Jones.
It would be too long to mention all the Particulars of this Trial, which lasted a whole Week, and in which great Skill and Dexterity was used by the Managers to support the Credit and Reputation of the Witnesses, among whom they believ'd there was no Contrivance or Consederacy. They argu'd, 'That they had made it plain and apparent in the Beginning of the Trial, by the Testimony of six Witnesses, by the Declarations of both Houses of Parliament, by Coleman's Letters, by the Trial and Conviction of other Traitors, that there was a general Design amongst the Papists, to introduce their Religion, by raising of Armies, murdering the King, and subverting the Government. And as to his Lordship's particular Case, they had three Witnesses, which sufficiently prov'd him guilty; and so expatiated upon the Danger of Popish Principles, &c.' And particularly Sir William Jones exerted his Skill and Eloquence in a long Speech, as much to prove the Reality of the Plot, as the Guilt of the Prisoner; and thus especially argu'd: 'So that I think now none remain that do pretend not to believe it, but two sorts of Persons; the one, those that were Conspirators in it; and the other, those that wish'd it had succeeded, and do desire it may so still.' And by way of Conclusion he said, 'The Evidence is so strong that I think it admits of no doubt; and the Offences prov'd against my Lord and the rest of his Party are so foul, that they need no Aggravation. The Offences are against the King, against his sacred Life, against the Protestant Religion, nay against all Protestants. — It is a Design that appears with so dreadful a Countenance to your Lordships, to this great Assembly, and to the whole Nation, that it needs not any Words I can use to make you apprehend it.' His Lordship made two several pathetic Speeches, besides his Answers to the Witnesses, and in conclusion declared, in the presence of God, of his Angels, of their Lordships, and all who heard him, that he was intirely innocent of what was laid to his Charge; that he left it to their Lordships to do justice, and with all Submission resign'd himself to them.
His second Defence, and the Judges Reply.
After this his Lordship had recourse to a point of Law, which many thought would have reliev'd him, and this was the Necessity of two Witnesses in the case of Treason: And whereas treasonable Words were sworn against him at two several Times and Places, viz. 75 and 78, France and England, and but by one Witness at each Time and Place, he conceiv'd he could not by their Testimony be legally convicted of Treason. This Objection, tho' reply'd to by the Managers, was thought of that Importance, that the Court judg'd it necessary to have the solemn Opinion of all the Judges present, which were ten in Number. The Lord Chief Justice North began with his in these Words: 'I do here deliver my Opinion, and am clear in it, That if there be several Overt-Acts or Facts which are Evidences of the same Treason, if there be one Witness to prove one such Overt-Act at one time, and another Witness to prove another Overt-Act at another time, both the Acts being Evidence of the same Treason, these are two sufficient Witnesses of that Treason, and will maintain an Indictment or an Impeachment of Treason.' The rest of the Judges declar'd themselves of the same opinion; and one of them, Baron Atkins, by way of Explanation, said, 'If a Man designs to kill the King, and buys Powder at one Place at one time, and a Pistol at another Place at another time, and promises a Reward to one to assist him to do the thing at a third Place and a third time, these are several OvertActs: But if the Law requires that each be prov'd by two Witnesses, I do not see how any Man can be convicted of Treason.'
Resolutions of the Commons.
December 6. The Lords, by Message, acquainted the House, that they had appointed the next day to give Judgment on Lord Stafford; on which the House resolved nem. con. That this House will then go, together with their Speaker, to the Bar of the House of Lords, to demand Judgment upon the Impeachment of the Commons of England against the said Lord; and ordered, that no Member do go into the Court at Westminster-Hall to-morrow Morning before this House shall have demanded Judgment, as aforesaid.
The 7th, the House resolved, That the Managers of the Impeachment against the Lord Stafford be empowered, in case the Lords should, immediately after the Fact found, proceed to Judgment, to insist upon it, that it is not parliamentary for their Lordships to give Judgment, until it be first demanded by this House.
He is found guilty.
Mr. Speaker then left the Chair, and the Committee of the Commons were present, at the Court in WestminsterHall, when the Peers found the said Lord guilty of HighTreason. When the Lord-Chancellor, now Lord High Steward, collecting the Votes, which were 55 guilty, 31 not guilty; the said High-Steward pronounced Lord Stafford guilty of High-Treason, who reply'd, God's holy Name be praised! And then being ask'd, what he could say for himself, why Judgment of Death should not pass upon him, according to Law? he added, 'My Lord, I have very little to say; I consess I am surpris'd at it, for I did not expect it. But God's Will be done; I will not murmur at it. God forgive those who have falsely sworn against me!'
Judgment demanded by the Commons.
After which the House, with Mr. Speaker and the Mace, went up to the Bar of the House of Lords, and, by Mr. Speaker, in the Name of the Commons in Parliament, and of all the Commons of England, demanded Judgment of High-Treason.
The House then return'd, and the Lords by Message signified, that they were going presently to give the said Judgment.
The managing Committee then went into WestminsterHall, and were present when the Lords gave Judgment, &c.
The Lord High-Steward's Speech upon it.
At which time, the Lord High-Steward made the following Speech to the Parliament: 'That which remains now to be done, is very sad on my Part; I have never given Sentence on any Man, and I am very sorry I must begin with your Lordship, a Person of your Quality and Fortune, descended of Noble Ancestors, a great Sufferer in the late Times, oblig'd to the Government for the Moderation you had in the Exercise of your Religion; oblig'd to the King's Father, and so much to this King: Yet you have gone about not only to consult his Death, but even the Destroying of three whole Nations, both of Body and Soul, as far as in you lay; of which you stand impeach'd by the Commons, and have been found Guilty by the Lords. There have been many and great Conspiracies against the Life of the King for the destroying of the Government; and they have been carry'd on by Consults, Letters and otherways; by the Burning of London, and the Death of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, the Plot hath been carry'd on abroad, at Whitehall, and London, and your Lordship hath been concern'd in them all, with a Mixture of Malice: You have call'd the King Heretic, and said, he was an Enemy to God Almighty; here the Proverb is verify'd, Curse not the King, tho' in the Inward-Chamber, for the Birds of the Air will reveal it. It hath pleas'd God to leave you to yourself, and you have digg'd a Pit, and fallen into it yourself. God never leaves any Man until they leave themselves; think not still well of your Religion, and let not blind Guides mis-lead you; true Repentance is never too late, and be not persuaded not to confess that Sin in public, which you possibly have been absolv'd of in private: For whatsoever Value you set on the Prayers of them you call Heretics, yet I am sure, That both they that clear'd you, and those that condemn'd you, are sorry for your Condition. I will pray for your Lordship; and this is the last Time I must call you my Lord.' And so he pronounc'd Sentence of Death against him according to the usual Form in Case of High-Treason.
The 9th, A Complaint of one Mr. Peter Norris, having been referr'd to a Committee, Col. Birch deliver'd in the following remarkable Report, from the said Committee, on that Occasion.
'That the Committee had not thought fit to come to any Resolution, but had order'd him to report the Matter specially to the House.
Colonel Birch's remarkable Report of the Case of one Norris.
'That the Committee, in the first Place, procur'd certain Papers to be restor'd to the said Norris, which had been taken from him, and were lodg'd in the CouncilChamber.
'That it appear'd from the said Papers, and Certificate, deliver'd to the Chair-man of the Committee, by the Earl of Essex, That the said Norris was sent beyond Sea, by Dr. Tongue, to fetch over one Dowdal, an Irish-Priest, who was privy to the whole Plot; as, by several Letters to the said Dr. Tongue, perus'd by the Earl of Essex, was apparent. A known Merchant of London, had also declar'd, that the said Dowdal was an honest Man, of good Understanding, and of mighty Credit.
'That the Committee, proceeding to enquire, who had, at any Time, Knowledge of the sending over for the said Dowdal, found an Order of Council, dated July 18, 1679, permitting the said Dowdal, there call'd Edward; tho' not mention'd as a Priest, to come for Dover, and stay for a Month.
'And it, likewise, appears, that not long after the said Order was obtain'd, Dowdal died not without Suspicion that it was by Violence: Tho' it doth not appear that his Death was known in England, till the Return of Norris, which was about ten Months after the Date of the said Order: Upon which, the Committee proceeded to examine how it came to pass, that the said Norris was in such Danger beyond Sea, particularly when coming on board the PacketBoat at Calais; as likewise, concerning his Imprisonment at Dover, by a Message: And they found it to be, by a Description given of the said Norris to Secretary Jenkins, May 29, 1680, in these Words;
'Peter Norris, some call him Morris, a Scotchman, handsome, neat Face, sanguine Complexion, short Nose, bald Pate, white Whig, slender Body, little Stature, civil and smooth in Discourse, speaking French, aged 34 Years, more or less, Taylor by Trade. And, under this Description, written with another Hand, and Ink, these Words: Went into France, Wednesday was three Weeks, to bring with him a Priest.
'That it appear'd to the Committee, that this Description was given to the Secretary, by one Thomas Sherridan, who profess'd himself a Protestant, born in Ireland, formerly an Officer of the Revenue there, since belonging to the Duke's Court, while at Brussels, and from whence he came over with him in his Yacht: But, that he deny'd the writing any Part of it, except the last Line. That, it was written and brought to him by one Anthony Day, Physician to the late Army in Flanders
'That Sherridan having produced Day, both were examined severally. That the said Day confess'd himself a Papist, pleaded very little acquaintance with Sherridan; but that not having seen him for six Weeks, he made him a Visit, and being ask'd by him News of the Plot, he the said Day reply'd, that now the whole Plot would be discover'd, for there was one gone beyond Sea to fetch over a Priest that knew it all. That he doth not remember any more was then said: but that some few Days after, meeting Sherridan, the said Sherridan desir'd him to describe the Person that was so sent over; to which Day reply'd, that he did not know him, but that he had his Intelligence from one Butler, who kept a BrandyShop near the French Ambassador's. Sherridan then desired him to procure the Description of him, which he did; and it being shew'd to him, he confess'd he wrote it from the said Butler's Mouth, all but the last Line; adding, that Butler was now dead, but his Wife still living.
'That Sherridan being examined in his Turn, made good his former Confession: And that his acquaintance with Day was but slight, &c. That he went shortly after to Secretary Jenkins, to whom he disclos'd all he had learn'd of Norris and his Journey: And moreover, that he suppos'd the Priest who was to be brought over, was to be a Witness. That thereupon, the said Secretary commanded him to procure a Description of Norris, the Person sent over; which was all he remember'd to have pass'd at that Time. That some short time after, he met with Day, who gave him the said Description, in the Presence of one Wilson of the Middle Temple, which he deliver'd shortly after to Mr. Secretary, as he remembers, only with these Words; Sir, here is the Description of the Person I mention'd to you.'
After this Description, deliver'd to the Secretary, a Letter was written by Mr. Cook, which Mr. Secretary declared to the Committee he would take upon himself in these Words following:
SIR, Whitehall, May 31, 1680.
THE Right Hon. Sir Leoline Jenkins, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, being hastily called this Day to wait upon his Majesty at Windsor, hath commanded me to send you this inclos'd Description of a Person, who, if he shall happen to come from France, and land at your Port, Mr. Secretary saith, you will do the King and Kingdom great Service if you will keep a strict Eye upon him, and the Company that shall come with him, 'till they be all brought before Mr. Mayor, or other chief Magistrate of your Town, when Mr. Secretary directs to offer the said Persons the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy; and in case of their, or any of their Refusal of the same, to secure them and deal with them according to Law: Giving Mr. Secretary an account, with what Speed may be, of all the Proceedings in this Affair; if such Person, as is here described, shall come, and make no bones of taking the said Oaths. Yet, in case Mr. Mayor, or other Chief Magistrate, before whom they are brought, shall have reasonable ground to suspect, he is the Man so describ'd, and that he hath one or more in his Company, who may be reasonably suspected to be a Priest, some handsome course is to be taken to detain them till Mr. Secretary can be acquainted with what is done, and send such farther Directions as shall be thought necessary. Mr. Mayor's Authority, with your Prudence and Zeal in this matter, will, I hope, produce a good Effect upon this Command.
I am your most humble Servant, John Cooke,
Pray favour me with a Line, that this comes safe to hand.
A true Copy. John Pepper.
Upon this Norris was committed to the common Prison, as mentioned in his Complaint. All which being of more than ordinary nature, the Committee thought not fit to give any opinion; but humbly refer it to the Wisdom of this House.
The consequence of this was, that Sherridan and Day were ordered to be brought in Custody of the Serjeant at Arms to the Bar of the House, and a Committee was appointed to inspect their Papers: After which they were ordered to continue in Custody during the Pleasure of the House.
The 10th, the said Affair was farther debated; and Mr. Secretary Jenkins having given an account to the House of his Proceedings therein, and being withdrawn.
Sir Leoline Jenkins censured of the House.
Resolved, That the Imprisonment of Peter Norris at Dover was illegal; and that the Proceedings of Sir Leoline Jenkins, one of the principal Secretaries of State, by describing the said Peter Norris, and directing such his Imprisonment was illegal, arbitrary, and an Obstruction to the Evi, dence for the Discovery of the horrid Popish Plot.
The 14th, it appearing to the House by the Report made at the Bar, and by the Confession of Sir Robert Peyton (a Member) in his Place, that the said Sir Robert Peyton had negotiated with the Duke of York, by the means of the Earl of Peterborough, Mrs. Cellier, and Mr. Godfrey, at such time when they were turning the Popish Plot upon the Protestants.
Sir Rob. Peyton expelled.
Ordered, That Sir Robert Peyton be expelled the House, and that Sir Robert Peyton be brought to the Bar, and do receive the Censure of the House upon his Knees. But not being to be found, the House afterwards ordered him to be taken into the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms.
The 15th, his Majesty made the following Speech to both Houses of Parliament.
The King's Speech to both Houses.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'At the Opening of this Parliament, I did acquaint you with the Alliances I had made with Spain and Holland, as the best Measures that could be taken for the Safety of England, and the Repose of Christendom.
'But I told you withal, that if your Friendship became unsafe to trust to, it would not be wondered at, if our Neighbours should begin to take new Resolutions, and perhaps such as might be fatal to us.
'I must now tell you, that our Allies cannot but see how little has been done since this Meeting, to encourage their Dependance upon us. And I find by them that unless we can be so united at home, as to make our Alliance valuable to them, it will not be possible to hinder them from seeking some other Refuge; and making such new Friendships as will not be consistent with our Safety. Consider, that a Neglect of this Opportunity is never to be repaired.
'I did likewise lay the Matter plainly before you, touching the Estate and Condition of Tangier. I must now tell you again, that, if that Place be thought worth the keeping, you must take such consideration of it, that it may be speedily supplied; it being impossible for me to preserve it, at an Expence so far above my power.
'I did promise you the fullest Satisfaction your Hearts could wish, for the Security of the Protestant Religion; and to concur with you in any Remedies, which might consist with preserving the Succession of the Crown in its due and legal course of Descent.
'I do again with the same Reservations, renew the same Promises to you; and being thus ready, on my part, to do all that can reasonably be expected from me; I should be glad to know from you, as soon as may be, how far I shall be assisted by you; and what it is you desire from me.'
Debate upon it. William Gee.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would willingly move you to appoint a Day to consider of his Majesty's Speech now made to both Houses; because it is according to the usual Methods of Parliament; and I should be sorry to see this House shew less respect to his Majesty's Speeches, than former have done. But upon hearing it now read, I do conclude, that it will be to little purpose to appoint a Day for the Consideration of it; because every Paragraph of it tends to Money, unless that about securing Religion, if it may be so understood, notwithstanding the Reservation in it about the Succession. We have already endeavoured, by several Addresses we have made, to assure his Majesty of our Loyalty and Readiness to promote whatever may tend to his Happiness and Greatness; and that when we are secured of our Religion, we will readily give Money; we can do no more than confirm the same, after we have considered this Speech. We having not yet had any encouragement to give Money; we have made several Addresses for Relief of some Grievances the People lie under; but hath any one of them been granted? We have finished one Bill against Popery; but what Success hath it had elsewhere? thrown out as hastily as if it had carried a Fire-ball with it. And yet now it seems, there is nothing to be done but giving of Money; as if all our Complaints were granted, the Protestant Religion secured, and nothing wanting to satisfy the People: Sir, I think, the Complaints of the Nation; as to the Danger of Popery, are so great, and so reasonably grounded, as that it cannot be expected they should longer be satisfied with Words or Pretences; because we have met with many Disappointments, especially after giving of Money. And therefore considering the desperate case we are in, it will not be convenient we should go that way now; but keep our Money until we have got Laws. Which I think is the best service we can do those who sent us here, as the case stands. For these Reasons, I think, we had best adjourn the Consideration of this Speech to some other time.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have been long jealous that there are People that endeavour to create a Misunderstanding between his Majesty and this House, which it is our business to prevent. If there be a difference between two Men, and the one will not hear what the other offers, but be utterly against all Proposals, it would be hard to reconcile two such Persons; Treaties and Debates being a proper way to come to a fair Understanding. It is true, most of the Paragraphs of his Majesty's Speech are Memento's about Money; but in the conclusion; he is pleased to tell you, that he desires to know how far he shall be assisted by us; and what it is that we desire from him. Sir, I think, this is a fair step towards coming to a right Understanding; for I am apt to believe that if the King knew how reasonable the things are that we desire of him, and how ready we are to give him all the Assistance he can desire for the Support of the Government, that we should not long continue under these Misunderstandings; and therefore I humbly move you to appoint a Day to consider his Majesty's Speech.'
Resolved, That this House will on Saturday Morning next take into Consideration his Majesty's most gracious Speech, this Day made to both Houses of Parliament.
Debate on Popery.
The House then Resolved into a grand Committee, how to secure the Kingdom against Popery and arbitrary Government. Mr. Powle in the Chair.
'Sir, When I consider the Immunities and Advantages we enjoy by the excellent Composure of our Government both in Church and State: how the King, as Sovereign, enjoys all the Prerogative that can be necessary to make him either great or happy; and the People all the Liberty and Privilege that can be pretended for their Encouragement to be industrious, and for securing to themselves and Posterities the Enjoyment of what they get by their Industry; how the Doctrine of the Church is void of idolatrous, superstitious Opinions; and the Government of Tyranny, or absolute Dominion: I cannot but admire that there should be any Body amongst ourselves, that should aim at any Alteration, and be the Occasion of this Day's Debate. But, Sir, it is too evident that such there are; and that they have made a great Advance to effect their Design, by many Contrivances which they have pursued for a long Course of Years, according to the Results and Consultations held by Jesuits for that Purpose: But above all, by converting to their Religion James Duke of York, the presumptive Heir of the Crown; and by engaging him to espouse their Interest with that Zeal and Fervency, which usually attends new Converts: Especially when so great a Glory is proposed, as the rooting a pestilent Heresy out of three Nations; and the saving of so many Souls as would depend thereon. The sad effect of this Conversion we have felt for many Years, it having had the same Operations in our Body Politic, as some forts of lingring Poison hath in Bodies natural; made us sick and consumptive, by infecting and corrupting all the Food and Physic which hath been applied in order to preserve us from Popery and Slavery, worse than Death itself. From this fatal Act, the Declination of the Grandeur of this Monarchy may be dated; and to the Consequences thereof, its absolute Ruin (if not timely prevented) will be hereafter attributed. This being our Case, I could not but admire to see this House so long coming to consider this weighty Point: insomuch, that, I began to persuade myself, that either our Dangers were not so great as our Discourses, upon some other Occasions, had represented them, or that we were not in good earnest to endeavour any Redress. It is true, when we consider what Ill-fortune we have had with our Bill, lately sent up to the House of Lords, in having it thrown out in such a heat, without so much as a Conference, (though whenever they shall consider of it in cool blood, they will find there can be no other way to secure the Protestant Religion) we may with some reason be discouraged. But I hope, Sir, that, seeing our Country have thought us worthy to be their Representatives, we shall not be so easily daunted in what so nearly concerns them; but be as indefatigable in finding out ways for our Preservation, as our Enemies are to find out means for our Destruction; hoping we shall not meet always so bad Success in the House of Lords: For though the too much Kindness of some Men, who pretended to be for the Bill, but underhand made a Party against it, did this Time operate as fatally, as Enmity disguised in Friendship useth to do; yet I hope that on another Occasion we may have better Success; not doubting but a great many Lords, when they are persuaded that they shall not be able to find out any other way (as I hear they begin to despair they shall) to secure the Protestant Religion, that they will join with us in the same, or some other Bill to the same Purpose: Especially my good Lords the Bishops, who cannot be presumed to have made Peace with Rome, but to be ready to die for the Protestant Religion; and therefore, doubtless, will not long stick at joining in a Bill to save it But seeing that, according to the Course of Parliaments, we are not like to bring this to a Trial for a long Time, I am of Opinion, we had best try something else; and although I know not what other Act can be made to serve instead of that, but will either prove too weak, or too strong: yet seeing we are put upon it, we must try, that so we may not be represented as stubborn And therefore I humbly move you, that a Bill may be brought in for the Association of all his Majesty's Protestant Subjects.'
Sir, Great things are expected from this Day's Debate; and we could not well have entered into it sooner; it now comes more seasonable than it would have done before, because of the Opportunities we have had to feel the Pulse of Affairs since the Beginning of the Session; and the Time we have spent in asserting the Right of Petitioning, by which the Essence of Parliaments, and the Foundation of the People's Liberties were struck at. And the Trial of my Lord Stafford, and the Disinheriting-Bill could not possibly have been avoided And as our Labour hath not been lost in all, so I hope that at last we shall have some Benefit of that spent about the Succession-Bill. For, as it was said at the passing of the Bill, that there were a loyal Party that would never acquiesce in it; so I do believe, there is a true Protestant Party that will never acquiesce in any thing less, than what may be sufficient for the Security of their Religion; which, I am apt to believe, will end in that Bill. But in the mean time, that we may shew that we are not Humorists, let us try what Strength we can muster up to oppose these great Enemies by some other Laws; as when a House is on fire, we make use of Buckets and Tubs for casting of Water, until the great Engines can be got. But I would move you to be cautious what you do; for I am afraid that the Design of putting you upon finding out Expedients, is it not in order to have any thing done that may be effectual against Popery; but in order to have you offer at something that may purchase a Disrepute on the House, and give your Enemies an Advantage to pursue their Designs of breaking us, by alledging that you aim at Laws that will overturn the Government. For my part, I am fully persuaded, that this is the Design of those that have put the King so often to declare against altering the Succession, and to recommend other Ways; and that offer at what you will, if it be any thing that is like to prove strong enough to secure us against Popery, you will see the House put off before it comes to any Perfection; and that in time it will be made use of to arraign the Proceedings of Parliament, and to persuade the People, that this House did attempt to alter the Government by such and such Bills; and so by Degrees possess the People, that Parliaments are either dangerous, or inconsistent with the Government, that, if possible, they may be well content to be without them. Sir, I am afraid that the Popish Party are more serious in this Design than we are aware of; and that, next to the great Endeavours they have used for many Years to keep up our Divisions in Points of Religion; the next great Artifice which they depend on is, the infusing into the People the dislike of Parliaments; for they well know, that Popery can never be established in this Nation, as long as Parliaments are permitted to fit and act. Therefore, though I know it is below a House of Commons to mind every little Discourse; yet I think, if we conclude, that this powerful Party, amongst their many Designs, have this for one, that we ought to countermine it as much as we can. We cannot well comprehend what a Bill of Association will be before it be drawn up, nor what Difficulties may be found in the contriving of it; and therefore I think no great Debate will be necessary about it, before such a Bill be brought in. And I believe it will be found more likely to be serviceable, in case the Papists be banished; and therefore I conceive, a Bill for banishment of all the considerable Papists out of England, may be very necessary: And if at the same time that we endeavour to secure ourselves against Popery, we do not also do something to prevent arbitrary Power, it will be to little purpose; for the one will be sure to have a Hand to bring in the other; and I think nothing can prevent that, or rather both, better than frequent Parliaments. And therefore I humbly move you, that a Bill for securing frequent Parliaments may be taken into your Consideration.'
Sir G. Hungerford.
'Sir, I think you are well advised, that the Way to secure ourselves effectually against Popery, is to secure our selves also against arbitrary Government; and that the having of frequent Parliaments is the best Way to secure both; and therefore, Sir, I think you may do well to move the House, that a Committee be appointed to inspect what old Laws there are, for enforcing the sitting of frequent Parliaments; that if they should be found deficient, some new Laws may be made for that Purpose. I do agree, that a Bill for banishing out of England the most considerable Papists, may do well; but I hope, Sir, that if you banish the Men, you will banish some Women too; for I do believe, that some of that Sex have been great Instruments, in bringing about our Ruin. And if in time you will consider, how to prevent the Royal Family's marrying Popish Women, it would be of great Security for hereafter. For I am of Opinion, that the late Queen Mother's Zeal for her Religion, was not only a great Occasion (amongst many others) of the Miseries that befel us in 41; but the great Cause of all our Miseries now, by perverting the Duke from his Religion, as is reported; and may reasonably be believed, if we conclude, that she had that motherly Care for the Salvation of her Children, as other Mothers usually have; for, according to her Opinion, it was not to be obtained out of the Pale of that Church: And no Man can doubt, but that the Protestant Interest hath been much prejudiced, by his Majesty's marrying a Princess of that Religion: For we have plainly seen, since the Discovery of the Plot, how some of the most material Jesuits, and Popish Instruments, have sheltered themselves under her Royal Protection; and how they have helped to carry on the Plot, being so impudent, as to pretend they had her Patronage, and by abusing her Authority; but more especially by the Duke's marrying the Princess of Modena; because of her near relation to the Popes and Cardinals. All which was plainly foreseen by that Parliament which met a little before that Marriage in 1673, and therefore they made an Address to his Majesty, representing the said ill Consequences; desiring him not to permit it, because it would tend to the Destruction of the Protestant Religion. But their Endeavours were defeated by that Party, as we may guess, seeing we find so much Use of her Name in Coleman's Letters; for well might they who have over-ruled in so many great Affairs, as hath been instanced in this House, have an Influence also in this, that so that Party might not want so useful an Instrument in so great a Station; and so the Parliament's Address miscarried; but that they had either a good Judgment, or prophetic Spirit, I hope will never miscarry, but remain upon Record. And unless you believe, that these Ladies are less compassionate than others usually are, how can it be otherwise, their Principles considered? But, Sir, I will not trouble you farther about it; but suppose it may be worth your Consideration in due time. In the Interim, I agree for the Bill of Banishment and Association too.
'Sir, it is not to be doubted, but that Popery and arbitrary Government are so near of kin, that they cannot be separated; and therefore, if we destroy the one, we need not fear the Destruction of the other. Before our late miserable Wars, Popery was more in masquerade; and arbitrary Power, the Loans, Monopolies, and Ship-money, more invisible; now Popery is more visible, except in the Business of the Exchequer, which amounting to above one Million of Money, we may not admire we have not heard of more great Things of that kind, since especially; being we know how averse the King is to hearken to such Advice; but our Fears of Popery are the stronger, because of the Popish Successor; and therefore I cannot but commend the Policy of those who are tender in using arbitrary Proceedings at this Time, left the Fears and Jealousies that might arise from both together should prove intollerable.
'I must confess, Sir, I am at a great loss what to offer to your Consideration in this Matter; for our Danger is not only from the Strength of the Popish Party, but from the Weakness of the Protestants by reason of the Animosities which they sow amongst us, not only in Points of Religion, but of Interest too. For of late they have not been content with carrying on the Design of dividing the Churchmen and Fanatics, but of arraigning the last Parliament as omnipotent and dangerous, for going about to disinherit the Duke. They endeavour to divide the People in their Opinions as to Parliaments, and to render them incompatable with the Government, that, so, if possible, they may keep the Protestant Interest divided, and work them to destroy themselves, by engaging Party against Party, in hopes at last to have but one Party to deal with, and to have an Opportunity of gaining the weakest to their side by Assurances of Liberty of Conscience, or otherways, which must certainly be the Consequence of such a Contest. And although I am very unwilling to detract from the Merits of our Churchmen, for whom I have a great Veneration, yet I cannot but observe, how that ever since the Trial of Wakeman was over, but more about the Time of the Presbyterian Plot, they preached up (especially in public Assemblies) the Danger of Fanatics to be more than of Papists; and that to disinherit the Duke was against the Law of God. Which said Opinions, if they should be imbibed by the People, what will your Association-Bill signify, or any other Law you can make against Popery? Sir, I do not mention these things to you without a great deal of Regret; for I am well known to be a true Friend of the Church, and have (when I was thought worthy to be in Commission) exprest my self a severe Enemy to Fanaticism. But however, I cannot but observe this strange Contradiction, of pretending to keep out Popery, and yet at the same time to endeavour to divide the Protestant Interest, and to reserve a Right to make a Papist King. I must confess, I am more distracted from the ill Consequences I fear from such Contrivances as these, than from the Strength of the Papists themselves. They will certainly go on with their Interest, as long as they are secure of such Auxiliaries. These Things must be considered in the drawing your Bill, that so the Remedy you propose may be proportionable to your Disease. For an Act of Association may be several ways evaded by such Opinions as these, if they should grow amongst the People; and it will be an irreparable Blow to the Protestant Interest to accept of such an Expedient, if it should prove ineffectual. And therfore it ought to be so drawn, as may provide for all the Contrivances of that Party: For, Sir, I cannot imagine that ever Popery will attempt to come into this Nation bare-faced, but do expect that the Design will always be carried on, as hitherto, under some disguise, either by a Toleration in favour of tender Consciences, or in the Name of Churchmen, or a loyal Party, for the Defence of the Church or Government, to which some Presbyterian Plot would much conduce, and be an excellent Pretence for raising of an Army, and apprehending or disarming of such Persons as are most likely to oppose that Interest. I must confess, Sir, I have not very well digested what I have said to you on this Subject; but unless you can change the Interest at Court, and remove these Counsellors that are so much for the Duke, I think you may justly fear all these Stratagems, and that it will be impossible to contrive any Association-Bill that can provide against them. And therefore, that we may not spend our Time in vain, I would humbly move you, Sir, to go on with the Bill of Banishment, which is most likely to do you some Service. At least, by it we shall see, whether any thing will be granted against Papists, or no: For this Purpose it will be necessary, that the House be moved, that the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses be commanded to bring in a List of all the most considerable Papists in England, in order to banish the most notorious.
I. B. perhaps Col. Birch.
'Sir, I retain a good Opinion of an Association-Bill, notwithstanding what hath been said, as to the Weakness it may receive from our unhappy Divisions in Points of Religion and Interest, too much promoted by some of our Clergy. For, Sir, when I consider how the Laudean Principles, as to raising of Money without Parliaments in the late Times, infected most of our Clergy, so as that they not only preached up the King's absolute Authority over Men's Properties, but branded with the Title of Rebels, and condemned to hell those that offered to argue against it: I do conclude, that it is usual for one or two Bishops to give Measures or Directions to the rest of the Bishops, and they to the Clergy of their several Diocesses: And that therefore the Clergy derive their Politics generally from one or two Bishops in some great Station. Yet, Sir, when I remember how, after some little Time, many of the Clergy fell off, and would not follow such Instructions; and how the People soon excused themselves from following their Advice in such Politics, and would not freely pay illegal Taxes, notwithstanding all their Endeavours; I am apt to think, Sir, that as the People were not long then misled, so as to submit to lose their Property, so they will not now to any Thing that shall tend to the losing of their Religion and Property both. They will soon discover what is their Interest, and how true Interest will not lye. I have often told you within these Walls, they will soon apprehend that Popery will bring in Slavery, and reduce them not only to an idolatrous, superstitious Religion, but to wear wooden Shoes like the French, and to eat Herbs like the Spaniard, because they will soon know that they shall not be long Masters of any Thing they have: And however they may be persuaded for a while, I am confident they will at last consult how to save their Bacon. They will discern that the Clergy may be good Divines, but not so good Politicians; and that there may be some Difference in point of Interest between them and the Clergy, because Clergymen may be in a Possibility of being adavnced by Popery if they submit; but the Laity under a Probability of losing all, notwithstanding all submissions. Sir, I do not trouble you with this Discourse out of a Fear that our Clergy will not shew themselves good Pro testants; for I have that Veneration for them, and Opinion of them as to believe that many of the Bishops and Clergy too would as soon die for the Protestant Religion as many Persons in the Nation. But I am jealous that there is some over-awing Power got in amongst them, something answerable to that of a Popish Successor in the State; by whose Means those Bills were so easily pass'd in the late long Parliament, under a Pretence that they were for the Preservation of the Protestant Religion, which the Commons then found, and any Person that will now peruse them may find, would infallibly have brought in Popery: And how, since the Plot, the Danger of Fanatics is cried up more than that of the Papists; and how tender they are in the Point of a Popish Successor, or joining in any thing that is against him. But though these Things make me jealous there is some body that misleads them now in Matters relating to Popery, as formerly in Things relating to Property; yet I am of Opinion that they will ere long see, that to stand up for the Interest of a Popish Successor, to have a Popish King, to weaken the Protestant Interest, and speak ill of Parliaments, is not the right Way to preserve the Protestant Religion; but a plain Contradiction, and an Invention of Jesuits. And therefore, Sir, I am for going on with the Association-Bill; for I will never doubt that the true Interest of the Nation, in so great a Concern as this, will long be baffled by such Projectors. And therefore it is my Desire that the House may be moved to appoint a Committee to draw up a Bill for that Purpose.'
Sir William Hickman.
'Sir, I think you have been well moved, as well for the Association-Bill as the Banishing-Bill. By the one, you will send your Enemies out of the Country; by the other be in a good Condition to keep them out, which may go a great way to secure us.'
Sir F. R. Sir J. H. and Mr. L. G. for the Banishing-Bill.
Sir Nich. Carew.
'Sir, I am not against any of these Bills, because they may be all convenient for the present Occasion; but if any Man think that these Bills will do without the Succession. Bill, I believe they will find themselves mistaken: For these Bills will signify nothing, unless you can remove your Popish Successor, and your Popish Interest. These Bills will not reach your Papists in Masquerade, who will certainly continue as long as there is a Popish Successor, and make your BanishingBill, and Association-Bill too, as ineffectual as white Paper. Let such as I could name to you have the Command of the Sea-Ports, (as I suppose they will without my naming them) and in the Lieutenancy, and Commission of the Peace, and when the present Heat is over, let the Papists come back when they will, they will have no Cause to doubt having a kind Reception. For you must not expect to have plain rustic Country Gentlemen, in such Commands, but well bred Courtiers, and some good, easy, credulous Gentlemen that will be persuaded there is no Danger in Popery; and then of what use will your banishing or Association-Bill be? As long as the Duke hath so many Friends at Court, (between whose Interest and Popery I cannot hear there is any Distinction) I think no Laws that we can make against Popery will do us any Good, because all the Laws we have already have done us none. For the same Arts and Power that have hitherto defeated all your other Laws, will also defeat what you are now about. And therefore, Sir, I am of opinion we are not now acting like the true Physicians of the Nation, but like Mountebanks. For the most we shall be able to do this Way, is to patch and plaister up our Sores, and have them hereafter break out incurable upon us. But if you are resolved to go on with these Bills that have been proposed, I will not offer to oppose the Sense of the Committee, but would move you, (that we may not forget, or lose in the Croud, that which at last, I believe, must be pursued, if ever you will do any Thing for your Religion) that in the first place you pass a Vote, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that as long as the Papists have any Hopes of the Duke of York's succeeding the King, the King's Person, the Protestant Religion, and the Lives and Liberties of the People, are in apparent Danger.'
'Sir, I have read that a great Minister of State of Spain, gave this short Advice to a Friend of his that was coming Ambassador into England; that he should not always aim at the best. I think it may be convenient for us to follow that Advice; for if we should not have something for our Security, before we get the best, I am afraid it may happen to us, as it did to a Man whose House was beset with Thieves; he was so long arming his Servants, and appointing them their distinct Quarters, that the Thieves broke in, and caught them all unprovided. I pray God it may not be our Case; though I am very sensible that none of these Bills can effectually do our Business; for nothing can secure us against this Party, but being free of their Principles as well as of their Persons; which I conclude will always remain in some Persons amongst us, notwithstanding your banishing of Papists, as long as there is a Popish Successor. For I remember what a great Man of Swedeland told me, that all Laws they could make had never any effect against them, until they not only banished them out of their Country, but secured the Government in the Hand of Princes of their own Religion; and I am afraid, that nothing less than the same Way will ever do our Business here. For it is not so much the Number of Papists, as their Principles, and the Danger of their getting the Government into their Hands, which we know they have been long aiming at, that may justly be feared, in which I am persuaded they will be so restless, as that we shall never be secure against them, unless we can banish their Principles from Court, as well as the People out of the Country.'
Sir Francis Winnington.
'Sir, what my good Friend that spoke last hath said, that we should get something, and not lose all, by aiming so earnestly at the best, is very well, if we were like to get any thing instead of it, that shall have the Appearance of being serviceable in this case: But I have seen old Parliamentmen mistaken sometimes, and I am afraid that he will sooner see this Parliament dissolved, than any thing granted that shall be material against Popery. And that the mentioning of these Bills shall afterwards arise in Judgment against you; however, I think we must adventure. What this Association-Bill may be, I cannot tell, until it be drawn; but I see no Opposition made to any of those Bills that have been proposed; and I believe there is much Business yet behind for this Day, and that you will do well to husband your time, and put this Business out of your Hands, by putting the Questions.'
Sir Richard Temple.
'Sir, you have been very well moved for the bringing in of such Bills as may tend as much to the Security of the Protestant Religion, as any that can be offered. That of Banishment will certainly go a great way to destroy, not only their Power, but their Interest and Principles too, and be a great disheartening to their Party abroad. That Interest will not then have so many Engines to work with here, as now they have. And the Bill of Association will be necessary, that we may have a Law to defend ourselves. The Association made in Queen Elizabeth's Time, will be a good Precedent to draw it up by. And seeing there is no Opposition, I move you to put the Question.'
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that one Means to suppress Popery is, that the House be moved that a Bill be brought in immediately, to banish all the considerable Papists out of the Kingdom.
'Sir, by offering at the Exclusion-Bill, we may conclude we have offended the Duke of York; by this Bill for Banishment, all the rest of the considerable Papists in England. As we have made many Enemies, so it will be convenient, that we should endeavour to get some Law to defend ourselves against their implacable Designs. For which a Bill for an Association of all his Majesty's Protestant Subjects may do well; and therefore I pray that we may move the House to have it brought in.'
'Sir, as we are sick of complicated Diseases, though all have their Original from one Cause, seeing we cannot be permitted to cure that Cause, we must think of many Remedies to cure the many Evils that sprout from it. The Banishing of the Papists alone will not do it: And I am not willing to pass any Judgment on the Association-Bill before I see it. But, Sir, what Fruit can you expect from your Laws, unless you can secure good Judges in Westminster hall, and good Men in Commission in all other Places? Is there at this time a Judge, a Deputy-Lieutenant, or a Justice of Peace in Commission, that you can expect shall act against the Duke of York? Or if any such be in, are they for more than a Colour? Are they not over-powered by such as are for the Duke's Interest? If this do not make all your Laws invalid, by not executing them; is there not an Army of about ten thousand Men under the Name of Guards? and may not more be raised? And what then will your Laws signify? Have we not already had some Experience of this, when the Toleration came out in 1672. when there was that Army at Black-Heath, and Clifford had the Management of the great Affairs of State? If the King had not then hearkened to the Advice of his Parliament, what would all the Laws that were then in force against Papists have signified? And may you not see the same again, if you do not take some care to prevent it? What great Difference between Clifford and some of our present great Ministers, only that he had that Weakness to declare himself to be a Papist, and these the Discretion to keep the Knowledge of their Religion to themselves. But we see they manage things as much in favour of Popery, as ever Clifford did. Did not that Toleration, that Army, and that Minister of State, repeal all your Laws as effectually, as if they had never been made? When I consider how the Triple-League was broke, after we had made Laws for the keeping it, by giving near three Millions; how the Peace was made up at Nimeguen, after we had made an Act for an actual War with France, and given above a Million for entring into it; I will never believe that any Law will be observed, make what you will, unless there be those about the King that may be for the keeping of it; otherwise you shall have such Judges, Justices, Deputy-Lieutenants, and other commissioned Officers, as will repeal your Laws at pleasure. And therefore I could wish you would consider well, how you possess those that sent you here, with an Opinion that they may depend upon such Laws as these. And at the same time, Sir, that you are consulting the Destruction of the Papists, I think you may do well to endeavour the Preservation of the Protestants. Is this a Time for the Church-men and Dissenters to quarrel? It is like two Men riding upon a Road, a Highway-man coming to rob them, instead of uniting to defend themselves, they quarrel and disarm one the other, and so were both robbed. I pray God, this do not prove at last our Case. For as that Project of the Papists hath, since Wakeman's Trial, had strange Success in dividing us; so no doubt but it will at last come to disarming us too; and how that will facilitate their Conquest, may be easily calculated? Is this a time to weaken the Protestant Interest, by tearing us in pieces by the Execution of Acts made against Papists? That Man who can believe, that that is the way to preserve the Protestant Religion, or Protestant Church, is fit to believe that St. Dennis walked many Miles with his Head under his Arm, or any other Popish Miracle whatsoever. And therefore I think you will do well to hasten the Bill for uniting of the Protestant Dissenters, that we may bring into the Church as many of them as is possible, and not longer be so infatuated as to gratify the Papists in that particular, by doing their Business in destroying one another; but prevent them if possible by Union, which will tend more to prevent Popery than all the Bills that have been proposed.
'Sir, I have read in Scripture, What King going to make War against another, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty? I take the Denial of the Bill of Exclusion to be a plain demonstration, that the Popish Party should not be deprived of a Right to govern us; and it is not to be doubted, that having that Right, they will be sure to make use of all the Power they can back it with. That we may be the better able to judge, whether we can fortify our selves sufficiently against such a Right, and the Power that will naturally follow it, I pray, Sir, let us follow our Saviour's Advice, and consult, whether with ten thousand we can meet twenty thousand.
'When I consider how the triple League was broke, and how all Alliances and Transactions relating to Peace and War have been since managed in favour of the French Interest, contrary to the true Interest of England, and the pressing Importunities of foreign Nations, as well as our own, I think we cannot but conclude that the Duke's Interest, the French Interest, and Popish Interest, are all one. And that the Duke's or Popish Interest have some great Dependance on the French King, for his Assistance in the settling of Popery here. And no Man can doubt this, but he that will not believe Coleman's Letters, or that there was a Peace made at Nimeguen, in order to put him in the better condition. If the Jesuits do manage all the Affairs of Europe, as is said, it may be justly feared, that the French King will improve this Argument so, as to get Flanders, if not Holland too, before he perform his Promise of giving them the expected Assistance; which, being it will conduce to the destroying of the Protestants abroad, as well as here, we may justly fear the Jesuits will never obstruct.
'Besides the Dependance which the Papists may have of Assistance from this mighty Monarch, in Ireland they are five to one for the Protestants, and amount to many hundred thousands, full of bloody Revenge, derived from their Ancestors, wanting nothing but Arms, (which they may have from France in a Night) to be enabled to massacre all the Protestants in Ireland, and to be ready to be transported hither. How the Plot hath been carried on there in order to it; how Endeavours have been there used to stifle and counterplot it; who commands all the English Coast opposite to Ireland, we know; and how our Forts and Castles are provided, the Examination of the Governor of Cheapstow-Castle may inform you.
'And that they may not want a Strength to compel us on every side, is not the Government of Scotland quite altered, by some Acts made within these few Years? Is it not become very arbitrary, Parliaments in a manner laid aside, and the Power invested in a Privy-Council? And is there not a standing Army of twenty two thousand Men, settled by Act of Parliament, with a Declaration, that they shall be ready to come into England upon any Occasion? And is not the Duke now there, managing the Government of that Kingdom, and Army too, by putting his own Creatures into the Council and into the Command of the Army, and using all other Ways imaginable to improve his Interest there?
'And may we not conclude, that in England there may be one hundred thousand Papists fighting Men, and that Portsmouth, Plymouth, Sheerness, Tilbury-Fort, and Hull, and all other Places of Importance, shall, when that Interest shall think it convenient, be in the Hands of Persons they may conside in, as well as the Command of the Militia and Fleet.
'And what now, Sir, can any Man say is wanting, to enable this Party to make a great Contest with us, but a Popish King to head them? And does any Thing stand in their Way for that, but his Majesty's Life? And is it not strange, that though we see Things never so plain, there is no Remedy for poor Protestants? Can it be imagined, that if this Party should once have a King on their side, endowed with a valourous Spirit, and vowing Revenge, spurred on with a fiery Zeal, to get not only three Crowns on Earth, but the Crown of Glory in Heaven, by rooting a pestilent Heresy out of three Nations; that they will neglect so great an Opportunity for the establishing of Popery here? And will not the Divisions they carry on amongst us, as to Churchmen and Fanatics, Plot or no Plot, be very useful to them; but especially their Arraignments of Parliaments, and all that speak against Popery, as Forty-one-men, and Enemies to the Government, occasion a great Weakness on our side? I think, Sir, all this put together makes a great Strength for that Party, enough to bring us into Misery, whatever the Issue may be. I would now, Sir, give you some Account how the Protestants may be able in such a Case to defend themselves; but I protest, Sir, I know not what Defence they will be able to make legally. It is true, Sir, as long as our good King lives, we may live in quiet; but things being thus, are not the Papists under great Temptations to go on with their old damnable Design, or set up a new one for the Destruction of the King? And if it should so happen, either by their wicked Counsels, or naturally, I think there is no Way left us to oppose this Party, but by a Rebellion; and therefore I think we may conclude, that our Lives, Liberties, and Religion, are to terminate with the King's Life.
'I confess, Sir, this is a melancholy Discourse, but I am afraid too true; and that the more you consider of it, the more Reason you will have to believe, that there is such a Net spread to catch poor Protestants, as cannot fail to do it effectually, whenever the Jesuits shall be pleased to draw it. And our Condition looks the more dismal, because though King, Lords, and Commons, have so often declared, that there hath been a damnable, execrable, devilish, hellish, abominable Plot carried on by the Papists, yet that all Remedies against the like for the future must be denied us; I mean such as can signify any thing: And we must now again be exposed, as we were before the Plot broke out, to all their Barbarities, having only weakned that Party by executing about twenty old Men; but strengthened them much more, by having discouraged all Witnesses from ever revealing more of their Plots, and by the Discoveries they had made of the Strength of their Party, in the stifling of this Plot. And yet all will not open the Eyes of some Protestants, that so, if possible, we might be so happy as to lay our Divisions aside, and join against the common Enemy, without which we must certainly be ruined.
'And if this be our Case, and there be nothing wanting but a Popish King to complete our Misery, and the Art of Man cannot find out any Way to secure us against a Popish King, without the Exclusion-Bill; is it not strange it should be rejected in the House of Lords? I cannot believe that the Fathers of the Church should join in that, which must infallibly give Opportunity for the tearing out of the Bowels of their Mother, and destroying her for ever. If so, well may we lie down and cry, We have no body to help us but only thou, O God.
'Sir, I have troubled you too long, but I hope what I have said, may be of some use to you in resolving about these Bills that are proposed, though I think they will all come short of our Case. Seeing you have voted a Bill for the banishing of the Papists, I think you may do well to try what a Bill of Association may amount to: But I agree with the Opinion of those worthy Members that have told you, that these things are put upon you, that you may give occasion to those that wish ill to Parliaments, to argue thereby for your Dissolution; and afterwards to persuade the People that you went about to dissolve the Foundation of the Government. And therefore I do not expect any good Effect of these Bills.'
Sir Francis Roll.
'Sir, by the serious Discourse which that worthy Member hath made of the Sadness and Insecurity of our Condition, we may plainly see, how, by the Interest of the Duke of York, there is a great Power combined against us, and that our Condition is irrecoverable, if he should come to be King. And therefore, Sir, I desire you would put the Question, upon a Motion that was made a little while since, that it is the Opinion of this Committee, that, as long as the Papists have any Hopes of the Duke's succeeding to the Government of this Nation, the King's Person, nor the Protestant Religion, nor the Government of this Nation, can be secure.'
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that as long as the Papists have any Hopes of the Duke of York's succeeding the King in the Kingdom of England and Ireland, and Dominions thereunto belonging, the King's Person, the Protestant Religion, and the Lives, Liberties, and Properties of all his Majesty's Protestant Subjects, are in apparent Danger of being destroyed.'
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.
'Sir, I am of Opinion the Popish Plot goeth on as much as ever, and the Papists are so proud of it, that they cannot forbear bragging of their hopes to see better Days speedily. I think, Sir, seeing we are not like for one while to have the Exclusion Bill, we shall appear neglectful of our Duty, if we do not try what Security can be contrived by an Association-Bill: And therefore I humbly pray, that the House may be moved to appoint a Committee, to draw up and bring in a Bill for associating all his Majesty's Protestant Subjects.'
Sir Henry Capel.
'Sir, The Reason why we are now in this Debate, is because a Negative is pass'd on our Bill for excluding the Duke of York It is strange, seeing the Danger of the Protestant Religion is so great, (if there be any Intent to save it) that the only Bill which could serve for that end should be thought too much. I am of Opinion, that no other Bills can do us any Service at all (for it will be pretended they are all void, because made against the Right and Prerogative of your lawful King) without this ExclusionBill. Yet, seeing his Majesty hath so often in his Speeches recommended the Security of the Protestant Religion by other Ways, I think it is our Duty to try what other Laws can be made, though it be only to give the King and the World Satisfaction, and to enable us the better to judge, whether such Speeches proceed from his Majesty's Goodness, or from evil Counsel. I must confess, Sir, I am afraid, (seeing the Duke of York's Interest is now as great at Court as ever, and that there are so many of the Privy Counsellors for him, as well as most others in Places of Trust and Command) that they that advise the King to put in that Limitation in all his Speeches, do know, that without that Law there can be none made that can prejudice the Duke's Interest, and so consequently not save the Protestant Religion, and therefore they advise it. For how can we reasonably presume otherways, seeing his Interest is so fix'd as it is, and the Wheel within the Wheel continues, which hath been so often complained of. When I ponderate on the good things his Majesty always doth, when he is pleased to exclude the corrupt Politics, and Advice of others, I cannot but lament afresh our great Misfortune in having a Popish Successor, that should be able to create such an Interest, as to hinder us from the good Effect thereof. His Majesty did once declare, how sensible he was of the Inconvenience of being advised by private Cabals, and seemed resolved to dismiss them; and from that Time forward to advise with his Privy-Council, and in Cases extraordinary, with the great Council the Parliament. How he came to vary from that Resolution, I do not know; but I am afraid we shall not see any Alteration in favour of the Protestant Interest, until we see some Change in that Particular. For though the Duke's Friends may do very well to preserve the Duke's Interest, which upon all Accounts is Popery; yet, I think, they are very inconsistent with the Preservation of the Protestant Interest: And therefore until some Alteration is made in Council, as Parliaments have laboured in vain against Popery these two Years, so I am afraid we shall now. However, Sir, I am not against trying what Strength you can make of an Association-Bill; but I am afraid, that, without the Exclusion-Bill, you will find your Work endless; and that one Bill will occasion another, and all prove to little purpose without it, and that you will but give your Enemies a Handle to represent you amiss, and get nothing.'
'Sir, The many Discourses you have heard this day, touching the Strength of the Popish Interest at home, and how combined with foreign Power, doth not so much starile me, as to see, that all the Strength, upon which the Protestant Party must depend for Security, is put into the Hands of Persons who are for the Duke's Interest, which we have Reason to understand to be the same with Popery; not a Person being employed in any Place of Command or Trust, that ever declared against that Interest. If I be mistaken in what I say, I desire to be corrected; I speak according to the best Information I could have, and I believe all here know, what an exact Scrutiny there hath been often made in all Countries and Corporations, for the finding out of Men that way inclined, or otherways so qualified, as are not fit to make any Opposition to the Designs carried on by the Popish Party. And if by Chance any is put in, not fettered either by Opinion or Interest to that Party, upon the first Appearance he is presently discharged, as if he were a Traitor to his Country. And now, after a long Interval of Parliaments, and more and more Discoveries of the Reality and Danger of the Popish Plot, not only here but in Ireland, and of the many Contrivances of that Party to stifle new Evidence, and to corrupt and discourage the old, of the certain Ruin of the Protestant Religion from a Popish Successor and Popish King, what Remedies are we like to obtain this Session? I am afraid very few or none; for I must confess, I am still of Opinion, there can be none without the Exclusion-Bill, which the Lords have thrown out without so much as a Conference; and therefore I am afraid, that what the Witnesses have said they were told by several Jesuits, is true; That Popery was so clenched and riveted, that it did not lie in the Power of God, nor Man, to prevent the Settling of it in this Nation. And if we consider what an Interest that Party hath now at present, and how Things are prepared to afford them a greater Assistance hereafter; how a Popish King, as well as our Divisions and Animosities, will contribute to it, though I hope, God will make them Lyars; yet, I conclude, they have a great deal of Reason to be very confident. And I see not how we can help ourselves, seeing there are so many Ministers of State about the King, who are as a Partition-wall between him and his People. I find in Coke's Reports, that, when the Nation was in apparent Danger, the People might go directly to the King with their Grievances, and make their Complaints and Petitions known. I think we may do well to consult this Text, and see if we can find out any better Way than what we have tried already, to convey our humble Supplications to his Royal Person. In the mean time, I think you had not best to go off from the Bill of Association; for which we have a Precedent in Queen Elizabeth's time, first made by the Gentry, and afterwards confirmed by Act of Parliament.'
'Sir, I would not discourage you from going on with these Bills; but I am afraid they will fall far short of the Power and Strength that will be necessary, to root out an Interest that hath been above one hundred Years riveting itself by all Arts and Ways imaginable, and hath now fixt itself so near the Throne. I must confess, I am afraid we are at Labour in vain, and that this Interest hath so clenched itself, (as the Jesuits term it) that it will break not only this Parliament, but many more, if not all Parliaments, and the Protestant Religion too. It is too weighty to be removed, or perverted, by such little Bills as these: No, Sir, you will find, that nothing less than a firm Union amongst all the Protestants in this Nation can be sufficient to give any Check to this Interest. As long as there are amongst us so many Persons, as know not rightly how to apply the Dangers of the Church and State, nor the Miseries of forty one, but will be led by Popish Projectors, I am afraid such Bills as these will not do our Business: Because they will not destroy that footing which they have at Court, nor strengthen the Protestant Interest, which must have its Original from Union. It is strange that none but those who are for the Duke's Interest, should be the only Persons thought fit to be in Places of Trust! It is so strange a Way to preserve the Protestant Church and Religion, that it raiseth with me a Doubt, Whether any such thing be designed. Such Persons may be proper to manage Affairs in favour of the Popish. Interest; but it is to be admired, that they, and they only, should be thought fit to be intrusted with the Protestant Interest. I think it as hard for them to do it, as to serve two Masters. It is not usual in other Countries, to retain their Enemies in the Government, nor such as are Friends to their Enemies; and it is strange that we, of all other Nations, should fall into this Piece of Policy. But, Sir, for these Reasons you may conclude, that, unless what Laws you make be strong and well-penned, they will signify nothing against so powerful a Party as you have to do with.'
'Sir, Though it plainly appear, by what hath been said upon this Debate, that the Protestant Religion is in a dangerous Condition, yet when I consider how strangely God's Providence hath hitherto helped us, and defeated all the wicked Stratagems of this Party, I cannot despair. Notwithstanding the breaking of the Triple-League, the Dutch-War 1672, and the Assistance given the French, the Protestants abroad are not all destroyed: Neither by their firing of London, endeavours to corrupt Parliaments, and Contrivances against the King's Life, have they yet destroyed all at home. And as I doubt not but the King is willing to secure the Protestant Religion to us and our Posterities, so I hope he will hearken to us, and grant such Laws as may be necessary for the securing of it, he being most concerned therein. And therefore I hope that at last he will concur in such Laws as we shall propose for that End, or contrive better.'
Sir William Jones.
'Sir, There hath been so much said already upon the Subject-Matter of this Debate, that I shall have little occasion to trouble you long. The worthy Member that spoke a while since, hath shewed you from whence our Fears of Popery arise, from the Dependance they have of Assistance from France, Ireland, and Scotland, in case there should be a Popish King, besides the Party they have here, and the Advantage they will have by the Government, which is already secured for that Interest, and of itself would be sufficient to contest with the Protestant Interest, who, in such a Case, would have no King to head them, no Persons in any Place of Trust to execute any Laws in their behalf, nor no legal Power to defend themselves. And therefore, seeing there is a Negative pass'd upon the Bill, we had contrived to secure us from these great Dangers, I think, Sir, we may do well to try if we can get any thing else. But I am persuaded if this Association-Bill be made as it should be, that we shall have no better Success with it than we had with the ExclusionBill: For I am afraid, that though we are permitted to brandish our Weapons, yet that we shall not be allowed to wound Popery; but rather do believe, that they who advised the throwing out of that Bill, will also do the same by this, or dissolve the House before it come to Perfection: For this Bill must be much stronger than that in Queen Elizabeth's Days; that was for an Association, only after her Death, but I cannot tell if such a Bill will secure us now, the Circumstances we are under being very different. In Queen Elizabeth's Days, the Privy-Counsellors were all for the Queen's Interest, and none for the Successor's; now, most of the Privy-Counsellors are for the Successor's, and few for the King's. Then the Ministers unanimously agreed to keep out Popery, now we have too much Reason to fear, there are many that are for bringing it in. In those Days they all agreed to keep the Popish Successor in Scotland, now the major Part agreed to keep the Successor here; all which must be considered in drawing up of the Bill.'
An Association-Bill voted.
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that the House be moved, that a Bill be brought in for an Association of all his Majesty's Protestant Subjects, for the Safety of his Majesty's Person, the Defence of the Protestant Religion, and the Preservation of his Majesty's Protestant Subjects, against all Invasions and Oppositions; and for preventing the Duke of York, or any other Papist, from succeeding to the Crown.
Proceedings on Mr. Seymour's Impeachment.
The 17th, Ordered, that Sir William Jones, Mr. Harbord, Sir Charles Musgrave, Sir F. Winnington, Sir Thomas Lee, and Sir William Pulteney, do withdraw, and put the Articles against Mr. Seymour into the Form of an Impeachment forthwith, and make Report thereof to the House; which being done, and agreed to by House:
Ordered, That Mr. Seymour be taken into the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, for securing his forth-coming to answer the Impeachment of this House against him, until he shall have given Security to this House, to answer to the said Impeachment; and that the Serjeant at Arms be empower'd to receive Security for the forth-coming of the said Mr. Seymour, to answer to the Impeachment of this House.
The same Day the House resolved into a Committee, farther to consider of Ways and Means to secure the Kingdom against Popery and arbitrary Government; and after several Debates, how ineffectual all Laws would prove, without good Judges, Justices, and others in Commission, that will execute them; and how frequent Parliaments would conduce to have Laws put duly in Execution;
Votes to secure the Kingdom against Popery, &c.
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this House, that the House be moved, that a Bill be brought in, for the more effectual securing of the Meetings and Sittings of frequent Parliaments.
Resolved, That this House do agree with the Committee, that a Bill be brought in that the Judges hereafter to be made and appointed, may hold their Places and Salaries, quamdiu se bene gesserint: And also to prevent the arbitrary Proceedings of Judges.
Resolved, That this House do agree with the Committee, that a Bill be brought in, against illegal-Exaction of Money upon the People, to make it High-Treason.
Debate on the King's Speech.
The 18th, His Majesty's Speech, made to both Houses December 15, was read.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Veneration that is due to all his Majesty's Speeches doth require, that we should seriously debate them before we give any Answer to them; but the Circumstances we are under at this Time challenge a more than ordinary Consultation: For, by the Tenor of the Speech, I conclude, that the Success of this Parliament depends upon our Answer to it; and consequently, the Safety of the Protestant Religion, both at home and abroad. And therefore I think myself very unable to advise in this Matter, and should not have attempted it, but that you have encourag'd me by your leave to speak first. So that if I offer any thing amiss, those that come after will have Opportunities to correct me. I would begin with the latter End of the Speech first; because that Part of it is most likely to beget a fair Understanding between his Majesty and this House. But I cannot but observe, what great care is here again taken to preserve the Succession in the right Line, as in all other his Majesty's Speches ever since the Plot broke out. I think more could not be done, though it were in behalf of the King's Son, and a Protestant too. That Limitation, and his Majesty's Offer of securing the Protestant Religion, (if by Succession in the right Line be meant the Duke) upon many Debates in this House is found irreconcilcable; and therefore must be imputed to those that have advised his Majesty thereto. To preserve the right Succession in the Duke, is to preserve something or nothing: The something must be no less than the Crown, in case of his Majesty's Death; and so consequently the Interest of the Popish Party, who, after one hundred Years Endeavours to have a Prince of their own Religion, the indefatigable Industry of the Jesuits to obtain it, and the Loss of so much Blood spent therein, will, besides their Principles and Inclinations, lay on them great Obligations, to make use of the Opportunity to establish their Religion again in this Nation. So that I must confess, these Reservations look to be like a perfect Design to save the whole Party, accompanied with a Power and a Pretence sufficient to enable them to accomplish their End. For to this the saving of the Duke's Right doth amount, and consequently the Destruction of the Protestant Religion: Which cannot be imagined to proceed from his Majesty. In former Times, the Interest of no one Man could ever bear up against the Interest of the Nation; now it seems, that the Religion, Lives, and Liberties of all the People of this Nation, nay, I may say, all the Protestants of the three Nations, must be all lost, rather than one Man be dispossest of his Right; though by his Act he hath made himself incapable to enjoy it. Certainly there must be more intended by this than the saving of one Man; it must be the saving of a Party: And therefore, Sir, I am afraid we are but where we were two Years ago: For it is plain to me, that there is a certain fatal Scheme, which hath been exactly pursued these twenty Years, in order to destroy the Protestant Interest, and hath had a strange secret Operation in the Management of all our Affairs: And although now and then some Accidents have happened, that have occasioned some alteration for a Time, as by his Majesty's recalling the Toleration, some Transactions of Parliaments, the breaking out of the Plot, and his Majesty's Toleration of his Council in 1679; yet I observe, that after a little while there is no change in the main; all returns to the old Scheme, as if there were a certain infallible Ballance that did preponderate. We have had so much Experience of his Majesty's Goodness and Inclinations, that we cannot but conclude, tha. there is still some such thing, as a Wheel within a Wheel; whether Jesuits, (for tis like them) or who, I cannot tell, nor how the Government is influenced, that the Protestants should not be able to obtain any thing for their Security. But we may guess and justly fear, that it will never be otherwise, as long as there is a Popish Successor. The truth is, we have a hard Task to serve our King and Country in such a Time as this is. We may expose ourselves to the Rage of a powerful Party; but, I am afraid, get little to secure ourselves against their Revenge. We are under the same inequality as fair Gamesters that meet with those that usefalse Dice; and are like to have the same ill luck at last, unless his Majesty should be pleased to consider, who stands up most for his Government, and who plays fairest; and accordingly, change his Councils. The first three Paragraphs of the Speech are about Alliances; the fourth, about Tangier; the fifth, about securing the Succession; the sixth, to know what we desire, and what we will do.
'Sir, I take no Delight in looking backward, but without doing it at this Time, I am afraid we shall not mend, as well as go forward. It is not to be doubted but that, as well for the Security of the Nation at home, as of Flanders against the Power of France, and the Protestant Religion abroad, we are under a Necessity to make Alliances; and that they cannot be made nor supported without Money. But did we not give above two Millions for the Preservation of the Triple-League? And were not the said two Millions by the Power of the French and Popish Party employed to break it? Did we not a little while since give about a Million and an half for an actual French War? And was there not presently a general Peace made? Do not all foreign Nations complain, that, notwithstanding all our Treaties, Pretences, and Declarations, we have been only true to France? And what Reason have we now to imagine, that if we should give Money for Leagues, that it would be employed otherwise than formerly? Is not the same Scheme of Government pursued still? Is not the French Ambassador, and the French Woman too, as great at Court as ever? And have not the Duke's Creatures the Management of all Affairs? And if the Duke's Interest, the French Interest, and the Popish Interest, be all one, can you imagine, that your Money shall be employed to make any Alliances, that shall be for the Advantage of the Protestant Religion? No, Sir, though his Majesty so intend it, yet the Wheel within a Wheel, which hath managed all other Alliances hitherto, will also manage these, and have the Disposal of our Money too, and pervert it to our Destruction. And, until Things settle here at home on a true Protestant Bottom, it cannot be imagined, that any foreign Prince will depend on us, or make Alliances with us. And therefore as well for that, as because our Money may not probably be disposed of for any good End, it is in vain to treat of either Alliances or Money. For, until the Interest be changed at Court, that so there may be a better Understanding between the King and his People, it cannot produce any Thing for our Advantage.
'As to Tangier and the Succession, there hath been so much said already, when those Points were debated, that I will not trouble you with more at this Time.
'But I beg leave to add something about the latter Part of the Speech, which doth a little comfort me, because I hope we may graft such an Answer thereupon, as may beget a right Understanding with his Majesty. I know this House is constituted of Persons different from that of the long Parliament, because of the many Pensioners that were in it; and that we need not now be afraid to talk of Money. I believe we all know, that without giving Money this Session, the Nation can never be happy, nor his Majesty's Government so formidable as it ought to be. And therefore I would humbly move you to appoint a Committee, to draw up an Address to assure his Majesty, that when his Majesty shall be pleased to grant us such Laws, as are necessary for the Security of our Religion, which may be particulariz'd in the Address; that we will be ready to give him what Money his Occasions may require, not only for the Support of Tangier, and Alliances, but to enable him to have a good Fleet at Sea, for the encouraging of Seamen, and security of Trade, and preservation of his Dominions; that so we may shew we are ready to express our Duty, as well by our Acts as Words.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, being it is so apparent that all our Fears of Popery arise from, and center in the Duke of York; and that is impossible the Affairs of this Nation should ever settle on a good Protestant Bottom, as long as there is a Popish Successor, which cannot be prevented but by the Succession Bill: that there may be no ill Construction made of our Desires, I would humbly move you to offer to supply the King with what Money he may need for the Support of Tangier and Alliances, upon his granting of the Succession Bill only, that so his Majesty may have no reason to be diffident of us; not doubting, but that if we can once lay a Foundation for a good Correspondence, that his Majesty will take so much Content in it, beyond what he doth now enjoy, that to preserve it he will afterwards grant us what more Bills may be farther necessary for the Security of the Protestant Religion. And therefore I am not for clogging this Address with any Request for any thing more, than that one Bill.
Sir William Jones.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have hitherto had so little Success in our Endeavours, that we may justly suspect, we are permitted to fit here, rather to destroy ourselves than to save our Country. It is a Matter of Admiration to me, that those who have so often advised his Majesty, to put this, and the former Parliaments, upon finding out Expedients for securing the Protestant Religion, without altering the Succession, should all this while find out none themselves; but still continue advising the King to put that upon us, which, after many Debates is found to be impossible. And that the King should always have at his Elbow Persons ready to remember him constantly to make this Limitation, which, in all appearance, must tend to the final Destruction of the Protestant Religion: And that there should be no body there to mind him of proposing some Expedients to prevent it, only in general Words, of which no use can be made. According to the Opinion of three successive Parliaments, the Limitation in favour of the Popish Interest is plain, intelligible, and practicable. I hope his Majesty, against the next Occasion, will require them that have so advised him, to make the Expedients and other ways to secure the Protestant Religion, as plain and practicable, that so we may see if the Security of the Protestant Religion be designed in good earnest by such Advisers, which I cannot believe; because what they propose is, in my Opinion, a Contradiction in itself. Without the Exclusion-Bill, there can be no Expedient but what will leave us in that miserable Condition, of having, first or last, a Contest with our lawful King. And there can be no such thing as setting up a Power to oppose him, but by putting a kind of supreme Authority in the Parliament; with a Power to oppose, as well by making War as Laws, which might prove the Destruction of the monarchial Government. The said Trust or Power (without the Exclusion-Bill) being not to be reposed in the next Heir, or any single Person, lest he should die before he come to have the Power in him, or utterly refuse to act, if he should live to have a Right, by virtue of such a Settlement, to administer the Government. In such a Case, there would be no lawful Power lodged any where else, to oppose such a King, and there must not be an Interregnum. By this short Account you may see, what Difficulties all Expedients will be liable to; and may conclude, that those that advise the King to make this Limitation, do intend it as an Expedient to make the Endeavours of Parliaments ineffectual, and to bring in Popery. And if you had offered at such Expedients as I have mentioned, as the last House of Commons was arraigned for omnipotent and arbitrary, so would this with some worse Character; as having attempted to destroy the monarchial Government, that if possible the King and People might be put out of love with Parliaments. But, Sir, though it is plain, that things are thus out of order, yet let us not be wanting in our Duty, but give such an Answer to his Majesty, as may, if possible, create in him a good opinion of this House, and satisfy him of the Necessity of the Bill of Exclusion; and that all other Acts of Grace will but serve to fatten us for the Slaughter of our Enemies. The last Part of this Speech, I believe, is his Majesty's own; he seems willing to know what you expect from him, and what you will do for him; which I think is a fair Proposition to come to an Understanding. And although it be not good manners to offer to make a bargain with his Majesty; yet, as in Bargains there is a quid pro quo, so in this. And I think, we need not fear talking of Money in this House, being all seem resolved to give it freely, if we can be secured of our Religion, but no otherwise. And therefore I humbly conceive you may accordingly express yourselves plain in your Address.'
'Mr. Speaker, If you do not represent all your Grievances in this Address, as the Condition of your giving Money, whatever you shall offer at afterwards will be looked upon as clamorous, and out of order. And therefore I would advise you, not to omit any one Grievance you expect any Remedy in. And I am for enumerating all your Grievances, in the Address, which have been lately debated. And I do admire nobody takes notice of the standing Army; which if not reduced to such a Number as may be convenient for Guards, and so limited, that they may not be increased, unless in case of a Rebellion, or an Invasion, all your Laws may signify nothing. And I am not satisfied in the making such general Offers of Money. For if you do, you will hear in time, that the Fleet needs one Million; Alliances, as much more; and Tangier (tho' I think not worth keeping) little less. A Demand of three Millions, grounded on your general Promise, would perplex the House how to come off with that Reputation, which a House of Commons ought to preserve with the King. I know not how such a Promise may be turned upon you; and therefore I am either for demanding more, or promising less.'
Sir E. Harvey.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very unwilling to have this Parliament broken; yet I cannot agree, that, to prevent it, we should offer so much, and demand so little, as has been mentioned. Have we not sat two Days in a Committee, to examine the dangerous Estate of the Kingdom, and ordered several good Bills to be brought in thereupon, for the securing us against Popery and Arbitrary Power? And shall we now the next day lay all those Bills aside, and be content with the Exclusion-Bill only, which I think will be worth nothing, unless you can get more. And therefore, though to obtain them, you spoke plain English, and mentioned what Sum you intend to give; I think you will be safer to offer Money in general Words, without declaring what, or enumerating your Bills.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I cannot agree with this worthy Member; for it would take up some Days Debates, to agree what Sum is necessary to supply his Majesty's Occasions, and what Sum to express. And it may be to no purpose, as the Case stands with us, unless we are sure his Majesty would find out some way to bring the Exclusion-Bill about again, then indeed we might come to Particulars. In the mean time, a Promise in general Words may be sufficient, and save the House a great deal of time. And for my part, I am not for enumerating many Bills, but should be content to give Money upon having the Exclusion-Bill only; which being so precisely necessary for the Preservation of our Religion, all the World would justify us in the demanding it before we part with Money; and therefore I desire the Committee may draw up the Address accordingly.'
Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to prepare an humble Address to his Majesty, upon the Debate of the House, in answer to his Majesty's Speech.
The 20th of December, 1680, Mr. Hampden reports the Address; which was read.
The humble Address of the House of Commons presented to his Majesty, in answer to his Majesty's gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, upon the 15th Day of the same December:
The Commons Address.
'May it please your most excellent Majesty, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, having taken into our serious Consideration your Majesty's gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, on the 15th of this Instant December; do, with all the grateful Sense of faithful Subjects and sincere Protestants, acknowledge your Majesty's great Goodness to us, in renewing the Assurances you have been pleased to give us, of your readiness to concur with us in any means for the Security of the Protestant Religion, and your gracious Invitation of us, to make our Desires known to your Majesty.
'But with Grief of Heart we cannot but observe, that, to these princely Offers, your Majesty has been advised (by what secret Enemies to your Majesty, and your People, we know not) to annex a Reservation, which, if insisted on in the Instance to which alone it is applicable, will render all your Majesty's other gracious Inclinations of no Effect or Advantage to us. Your Majesty is pleased thus to limit your Promise of Concurrence, in the Remedies which shall be propos'd, that they may consist with preserving the Succession of the Crown in its due and legal Course of Descent. And we do humbly inform your Majesty that no Interruption of that Descent has been endeavoured at by us, except only the Descent upon the Person of the Duke of York, who, by the wicked Instruments of the Church of Rome, has been manifestly perverted to their Religion. And we do humbly represent to your Majesty, as the Issue of our most deliberate Thoughts and Consultations, that for the Papists to have their Hopes continued, that a Prince of that Religion should succeed in the Throne of these Kingdoms, is utterly inconsistent with the Safety of your Majesty's Person, the Preservation of the Protestant Religion, and the Prosperity, Peace and Welfare of your Protestant Subjects.
'That your Majesty's sacred Life is in continual danger, under the Prospect of a Popish Successor, is evident, not only from the Principles of those devoted to the Church of Rome, which allow, that an heretical Prince (and such they term all Protestant Princes) excommunicated and deposed by the Pope, may be destroyed and murdered; but also from the Testimonies given in the Prosecution of the horrid Popish Plot, against divers Traitors, attainted for designing to put those accursed Principles into practice against your Majesty.
'From the Expectation of this Succession, has the Number of Papists in your Majesty's Dominions so much encreased within these few Years, and so many been prevailed with to desert the true Protestant Religion, that they might be prepared for the Favours of a Popish Prince, as soon as he should come to the Possession of the Crown; and while the same Expectation lasts, many more will be in the same danger of being perverted.
'This it is that has hardened the Papists of this Kingdom, animated and confederated by their Priests and Jesuits, to make a common Purse, provide Arms, make application to foreign Princes, and sollicit their Aid, for imposing Popery upon us; and all this, even during your Majesty's Reign, and while your Majesty's Government and the Laws were our Protection.
'It is your Majesty's Glory and true Interest, to be the Head and Protector of all Protestants, as well abroad as at home: But if these Hopes remain, what Alliances can be made for the Advantage of the Protestant Religion and Interest, which shall give confidence to your Majesty's Allies, to join so vigorously with your Majesty, as the State of that Interest in the World now requires, while they see this Protestant Kingdom in so much danger of a Popish Successor? By whom, at the present, all their Councils and Actions may be eluded, as hitherto they have been; and by whom (if he should succeed) they are sure to be destroyed.
'We have thus humbly laid before your Majesty, some of those great Dangers and Mischiefs, which evidently accompany the Expectation of a Popish Successor. The certain and unspeakable Evils which will come upon your Majesty's Protestant Subjects, and their Posterity, if such a Prince should inherit, are more also than we can well enumerate.
'Our Religion, which is now so dangerously shaken, will then be totally overthrown; nothing will be left, or can be found to protect or defend it.
'The Execution of old Laws must cease, and it will be vain to expect new ones. The most sacred Obligations of Contracts and Promises, (if any such should be given) that shall be judged to be against the Interest of the Romish Religion, will be violated; as is undeniable, not only from Argument and Experience elsewhere, but from the sad Experience this Nation once had on the like occasion.
'In the Reign of such a Prince, the Pope will be acknowledged supreme, (though the Subjects of this Kingdom have sworn the contrary) and all Causes, either as spiritual, or in order to spiritual things, will be brought under his Jurisdiction.
'The Lives, Liberties, and Estates of all such Protestants, as value their Souls and their Religion more than their secular Concernments, will be adjudged forfeited.
'To all this we might add, that it appears in the Discovery of the Plot, that foreign Princes were invited to assist in securing the Crown to the Duke of York, with Arguments from his great Zeal to establish Popery, and to extirpate Protestants (whom they call Heretics) out of his Dominions; and such will expect Performance accordingly.
'We farther humbly beseech your Majesty, in your great Wisdom to consider, whether, in case the Imperial Crown of this Protestant Kingdom should descend to the Duke of York, the Opposition which may possibly be made to his possessing it, may not only endanger the farther Descent in the Royal Line, but even Monarchy itself.
'For these Reasons, we are most humble Petitioners to your most sacred Majesty, that, in tender Commiseration of your poor Protestant People, your Majesty will be graciously pleased to depart from the Reservation in your said Speech; and when a Bill shall be tendred to your Majesty, in a Parliamentary way, to disable the Duke of York from inheriting the Crown, your Majesty will give your Royal Assent thereto; and as necessary to fortify and defend the same, that your Majesty will likewise be graciously pleased to assent to an Act, whereby your Majesty's Protestant Subjects may be enabled to associate themselves for the Defence of your Majesty's Person, the Protestant Religion, and the Security of your Kingdoms.
'These Requests we are constrained humbly to make to your Majesty as of absolute Necessity, for the safe and peaceable Enjoyment of our Religion.
'Without these Things, the Alliances of England will not be valuable, nor the People encouraged to contribute to your Majesty's Service.
'As some farther Means for the Preservation both of our Religion and Property, we are humble Suitors to your Majesty, that from henceforth such Persons only may be Judges within the Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales, as are Men of Ability, Integrity, and known Affection to the Protestant Religion: And that they may hold both their Offices and Salaries, quamdiu se bene gesserint. That (several Deputy-Lieutenants and Justices of the Peace fitly qualified for those Employments, having been of late displaced, and others put in their room, who are Men of arbitrary Principles, and Countenancers of Papists and Popery) such only may bear the Office of a Lord-Lieutenant, as are Persons of Integrity and known Affection to the Protestant Religion. That Deputy-Lieutenants, and Justices of the Peace, may be also so qualified, and may be moreover Men of Ability, of Estates and Interests in their Country.
'That none be employed as military Officers, or Officers in your Majesty's Fleet, but Men of known Experience, Courage, and Affection to the Protestant Religion.
'These our humble Requests being obtained, we shall, on our Part, be ready to assist your Majesty for the Preservation of Tangier; and for putting your Majesty's Fleet into such a Condition, as it may preserve your Majesty's Sovereignty of the Seas, and be for the Defence of the Nation.
'If your Majesty hath, or shall make any necessary Alliances for defence of the Protestant Religion, and Interest and Security of this Kingdom, this House will be ready to assist and stand by your Majesty in the support of the same.
'After this our humble Answer to your Majesty's gracious Speech, we hope no evil Instruments whatsoever, shall be able to lessen your Majesty's Esteem, of that Fidelity and Affection we bear to your Majesty's Service: but that your Majesty will always retain, in your Royal Breast, that favourable Opinion of us your loyal Commons, that those other good Bills which we have now under Consideration, conducing to the great Ends we have before mentioned, as also all Laws for the Benefit and Comfort of your People, which shall from time to time be tendred for your Majesty's royal Assent, shall find acceptance with your Majesty.'
A Debate on the Speech. ; Edward Vaughan.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have hearkned with all the Attention I could to this Address, and do agree with the first Part of it. The Dangers and Inconveniencies arising from a Popish Successor are very obvious; and that there will be no Peace nor Tranquillity in this Nation for the present, as long as there is a Popish Successor; and that our Religion will be lost, if there should be a Popish King, I am afraid, is too true: But yet I must crave leave to dissent from the true Opinion of those worthy Members that have drawn it, as to the other Parts thereof. I think it is not convenient, at this time, to press so hard for the Exclusion-Bill, because we know we cannot have it without a Prorogation; which, for my part, I fear at this time, as much as I do a Popish Successor; for I do believe, if it should happen, that you will sooner see the Duke at Whitehall, than this Assembly met together again, between these Walls: And therefore, I am not willing to give the Popish Party such an Advantage to procure our Dissolution, left they should lay hold of it, as I believe they would; by which the Protestant Interest, both abroad and at home, would be ruined. And as I cannot agree in this, so neither in pressing the Association-Bill; for, being it hath not yet been brought into the House, we do not well know what will be the Purport of it. And it is not proper, that we should ask of the King we know not what; not expect that he should grant us what he can know nothing of. And truly, Sir, I think that these things about the Judges, Deputy-Lieutenants, and Justices of the Peace, are too minute things to be insisted on at this time, compared with others which might be demanded. Queen Elizabeth's Counsellors never thought her safe, until the Popish Successor was inclosed in a Tower; and I am afraid that you will never be safe, until you take some such Course that may bring things to an Issue. When you have done that, and banished all the considerable Papists out of England, I think we shall not be in so apparent Danger, as we now are. And seeing this may probably be granted, and the other Bills not, I humbly move you to recommit the Address, that it may be better considered. I know not how this may agree with the Sense of the House; but I shall always crave Leave to speak in this Place according to my Conscience, that so I may have Peace within me; but readily submit to better Judgments.'
Sir William Jones.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very glad that worthy Member agrees in the Apprehensions of the Dangers arising from a Popish Successor, and in the Necessity of the Bill of Exclusion; and am very sorry I cannot agree with him in the rest of his Discourse. I cannot imagine, without a high Reflection upon his Majesty, that if he should be persuaded to prorogue the House for two or three Days, in order to pass the Exclusion-Bill, that he should, instead of permitting us to meet again, dissolve the Parliament; which is quite contrary to it. I fear a Prorogation, without being intended for this; but if once we could prevail with his Majesty to do it for this end, I should not doubt the desired Effect. And in pressing the Association-Bill, we shall not press the King to grant us we know not what: The Word Association may very well be understood, and the Ends of it are declared to be for the Security of his Majesty's Person, and the Protestant Religion. And if, when drawn, it should be directed to other Ends, I suppose this House will take care to mend it; if not, the King's Promise can bind no farther than to pass a Bill for those Ends. But I do much admire to hear, that the having of good Judges, Justices, and Commanders at Sea and Land, is a trivial thing; for I think that all other things you desire without it, would signify nothing, As long as the Laws and Militia of the Nation are in the Hands of Persons not well affected to the Protestant Interest, I am afraid we shall have no Security against Popery. As to the new Way that hath been proposed, of bringing Matters relating to the Popish Successor to such an Issue, as that he may be secured, as in Queen Elizabeth's time. If he had been sensible, that there are none in Office but what are for his Interest, he would first have agreed to have endeavoured to have got such changed, before he would have proposed that Way. And it would be necessary that we should also have such PrivyCounsellors as Queen Elizabeth had, and not eleven to seven for the Popish Successor. And therefore seeing these Proposals have no more Appearance of being for your Service, I see no reason you have to be diverted from the Way you were going: And therefore I humbly move to agree with your Committee.'
The Speech agreed to.
The House agreed.
Debates on a Bill for uniting his Majesty's Protestant Subjects.
The 21st of December, 1680. A Bill was read for uniting his Majesty's Protestant Subjects.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, It is not to be doubted but that the Happiness of this Nation, and Safety of our Religion, doth depend very much upon preserving the well-constituted Government of the Church; and that the Government in the State will not long stand, if that be pulled down, to which, I am afraid, this Bill will contribute very much. Sir, it is well known, how, notwithstanding all the Endeavours of his Majesty, as well in Parliament as otherwise, all the Acts that are in force against Dissenters, all the Endeavours of he Fathers of the Church, there are a Sort of Men, and great numbers too, who will neither be advised nor overruled; but, under the Pretence of Conscience, break violently through all Laws whatsoever, to the great Disturbance both of Church and State. And if you should give them more Liberty, you will encourage them to go on with more Boldness; and therefore I think it will be more convenient to have a Law for forcing the Dissenters to yield to the Church, and not to force the Church to yield to them; and I think we are going quite the wrong way to do the Nation good. And therefore I am against this Bill.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would not open my Mouth in favour of this Bill, if I thought it would any ways prejudice the the Church, or Church-Government; but I believe it may have a quite contrary Effect, and tend more for the Preservation and Safety of the Church and Church-Government, than any Bill whatsoever that could be contrived. We have a Church-Government settled by Law, to which the major Part of the People, like good Christians and loyal Subjects, give obedience; but it is our Misfortune that there are in the Nation a great many, who will not submit to this Government, who may be divided under three Heads: 1. The Papists, who differ from us in Points of Faith, and will not give any obedience but to the Church of Rome: 2. Independants, Presbyterians, and some others, who agree in Points of Faith, and differ only in Points of Doctrine and Ceremonies: 3. Quakers, who disagree not only in Points of Doctrine and Ceremonies, but in Points of Faith, and are a head-strong fort of unreasonable People, that will not submit to any Laws made about Religion, but do give obedience to the civil Magistrates upon all other Occasions. The Church of Englandmen are not only the greatest Number, but have the Government of their side. What Laws to make, that may tend most to the preserving of it, is your Business. It is in danger from the Papists on the one hand, and the rest of the Protestant Dissenters on the other, who in some measure agree in their Enmity and Disrespect to the Church, and therefore the more Care ought to be taken for its Preservation.
'Having thus, Sir, discovered the Danger of the Church in general, it will be necessary, in order to find out a Remedy, to discourse a little of the Strength and Interest of each Party in particular.
'Sir, the Papists are not the greatest number, but yet, in my Opinion, upon several Considerations, are most to be feared, because of their desperate Principles, which make them bold and indefatigable, and the Assistance they may may have from Rome, France, and Ireland; but above all, from the great Share they have in the Management of the Government, by the Means of a Popish Successor, and the Fear of their getting the Government into their Hands here after by having a Popish King: Which of itself hath been sufficient in former Times to change the Religion of this Nation, and, as may justly be feared, may have the same Effect again, unless the Protestants be well united. The Presbyterians, Independants, and all other Dissenters, may be more in number than the Papists, and may be willing enough to have the Church-Government altered, if not destroyed; yet, being they cannot have any Succour from abroad, nor from the Government here at home, I cannot see any great Danger from them: For, it is not probable they shall ever have a King of their own Opinion, nor a Parliament, by the Discovery they made of their Strength in the last Elections: For, according to the best Calculation I can make, they could not bring one in twenty: And therefore, because they have not such bloody, desperate Principles as the Papists, and because we agree in Points of Faith, and so there is no such great Danger from them as from the Papists, I think we have reason to conclude, that the Church is most in danger from the Papists, and that therefore we ought to take care of them in the first Place; and we cannot do that by any way more likely to prove effectual, than by some such Bill as this. Because, if it should have the Effect designed, of bringing in many of the Diffenters into the Church, it would disappoint them of the great Hopes they have grounded on our Divisions, and make the Church stronger, not only to oppose the Papists, but such Fanatics as may not come in. And if we should be so unfortunate, as that this Bill should not have this Success, I do not understand it will any way weaken the Church-Government: And therefore I am for this Bill.'
F. perhaps Foley.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Bill is intended for the Preservation of the Church, and I am of Opinion, is the best Bill that can be made in order thereto, our Circumstances considered: But I know not what Effect it may have, because you are to deal with a stubborn fort of People, who in many Things prefer their Humour before Reason, or their own Safety, or the public Good. But, Sir, I think this is a very good time to try, whether they will be won by the Cords of Love or no, and the Bill will be very agreeable to that Christian Charity which our Church professes; and I hope that in a Time of so imminent Danger as we are in of a common Enemy, they will consider their own Saftey, and the Safety of the Protestant Religion, and not longer keep afoot the unhappy Divisions that are amongst us, on which the Papists ground their Hopes. But rather, seeing the Church doth so far condescend, as to dispense with the Surplice, and those other Things which they scruple at, that they will submit to the rest that is enjoined by Law, that so we may unite against the common Enemy: But if this Bill should not have this desired Effect, but, on the contrary, notwithstanding this Condescension, they should continue their Animosities and Disobedience to the Church, I think still the Church will gain very much hereby, and leave that Party without Excuse, and be a just Cause for the making of more coercive Laws. So that, upon all Accounts, you have been well moved for thepassing of this Bill.'
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, I very much admire to hear it alledged, that this Bill will tend to the Advantage of the Church; for how can the pulling down of the Pales, and weakening the Laws against its Enemies, be a way to preserve it? I am of another Opinion, and do think this Bill may not only occasion a great Weakness, but give, I fear, a mortal Wound to the Church. Is it not much more reasonable, that the Dissenters should submit to the Church, than the Church to the Dissenters? And I am afraid, if once the Government should begin to yield to them, it will be as in Forty-one, nothing will serve but an utter Subversion; the having of one thing will give occasion for demanding more; and it will be impossible to give them any Satisfaction, without laying all open and running into confusion. It is our Misery, that the Church is in so much danger of Popery; pray, Sir, let us have a care how we encrease her Danger from Fanatics. Instead of this Bill, I humbly conceive, that Laws to force the Execution of such Laws as as are in being against the Dissenters, and what more may be necessary to compel an entire Obedience, (seeing the Experience we have already had of this other way hath not proved effectual) may more contribute to the strengthening of the Church, and prevention of Popery.
'Mr. Speaker, Sir, As well Church-men as Dissenters do all know we have a dangerous common Enemy that is got within our Bowels, and wants nothing but a King to their Minds to have the Strength of the Nation, as well Civil as. Military, at their command; and so consequently, a sufficient Power to destroy the Protestant Religion, if not prevented by a timely Union of the Protestant Interest. The Question that may properly arise at this time is, whether the putting the Laws we already have in execution, and making more against Dissenters, in order to bring them into the Church by Force, or the making of a Law to bring them in by fair means, be the most likely way to unite us, that so we may be in a better Condition to oppose the common Enemy. It is obvious to me, that the making of new Laws, or Execution of the old, at this time, is the ready way to ruin us; and what the Papists do certainly desire and aim at, above all things whatsoever: For, if it should be put in practice, the Effect would be this; it would be the Occasion of throwing off the farther Prosecution of the Plot and Popery, and in a little time occasion, not only more Heats and Animosities, but such a revengeful implacable Spirit amongst us, as would prove irreconcileable, and give opportunity for the Popish Interest to join with either Party, or at least ways abet and assist them under hand, so as that they shall easily be provoked to destroy one the other. But if this should not happen, what real Love, Friendship, or Obedience, can the Church expect from such Persons, as by the Execution of such Laws may be forced to come to Church? How can they be depended on, or the Church be strengthened by them? You may prevent their Conventicles, and force them either to come to Church, or pay Fines, or be imprisoned; but you cannot expect that their Opinions or Affections should be altered by such Proceedings, without which the Church can never be the stronger. It must be a Work of Time to reconcile the Divisions that are amongst us, and may be a great and necessary Employment for many Parliaments hereafter, when the common Enemy doth not give such a just Occasion of Distraction, and for employing all your Thoughts and Care about him; when they may have more Leisure, because their Dangers may not be so imminent But to go about it at this Time by any such Laws is already way to weaken the Protestant Interest, and bring Ruin upon us. But suppose we should follow this Advice, and make new Laws, and require a severe Execution of the old, how can you imagine that, as long as the Popish Interest is so prevalent, the Execution of such Laws should be continued longer than may be subservient to the Interest of that Party? Have we not had a sad Experience of this? Hath the Oxford-act, or that of the 35 of Queen Elizabeth, or any other against the Dissenters, been executed in favour of the Church? Are not the Dissenters as many, if not more, now than ever? And is not Experience in all Affairs the best Master? And is there any thing more visible, than that these Laws have been made use of to serve the Popish Interest, or as Engines rather for the Affairs of the State than Church? When in the Year 1670, by the severe Execution of these Laws, all Meetings in Conventicles were prevented, and many Dissenters came to Church, did not the Toleration happen thereupon? And was not the Execution of the Laws put afoot, as may be presumed, by that great Papist Clifford, who had then the greatest Share (under his Majesty) in the Administration of the Government? If the Execution of the Laws against Dissenters had been for the Advantage of the Church, why was there then granted a Toleration? And if the Toleration had been intended for the Advantage of the Protestant Religion, why were not the Churchmen, nor Dissenters of any kind pleased with it? And if the Oxford-Act, and other Laws against Dissenters, were projected in favour of the Protestant Religion, it was strange that they were so much promoted (as any Members now here, who did serve in those Parliaments do remember) by Sir Thomas Clifford, Sir Solomon Swale, and Sir Roger Strickland, who have since all appeared to be Papists. Sir, we have been strangely led by the Popish Interest for many Years already; I pray, Sir, let us not now at last do like Narcissus, to be so much in love with a Shadow, as to fall into a Gulph, and drown ourselves, Sir, I am afraid the Name of Church hath been strangely made use of to bring in Popery. I hope we shall endeavour to preserve, not only the Name, but the Substance, I mean the Protestant Religion, otherwise we may come off no better than the Dog in æsop's Fables with his Shoulder of Mutton. I hope that what I have said will not represent me as an Enemy to the Church, or Church-government; I am sure, I am not conscious to myself, that I ever entertained a Thought against the Preservation of either. All what I have said doth proceed from an Apprehension that our Churchmen of late have been out of the right Way to preserve either our Religion or our Church; because the Courses which they take must (though I am far from suspecting they design it) give a great Assistance to Popery. I remember that, after the Plot broke out, there was for a little while a kind of Reconciliation amongst Protestants, and an united Opposition made to the Common Enemy; and how then the Popish Interest gave way, we may all remember; but this was too much in favour of the Protestant Religion to hold long. Within a few Months the Fire broke out again, and the Pulpits and the Press, instead of being employ'd against the Common Enemy, were reduced to their old Way, of carrying on the Divisions amongst Protestants: And how the Popish Interest have since gone on triumphant again, all here, I suppose, may know. Sir, the Church hath two strong Enemies, the Papists and Fanatics. We are already engaged in a sharp Contest with the Papists, and find they are strong enough for us; why must we now also enter into a fresh Engagement with the Fanatics, especially when we may be sure thereby to strengthen our Enemies, and weaken ourselves? Such Advice cannot proceed from such as are Friends to the Protestant Church: If we should make new Laws against Dissenters, as hath been moved, and enforce the Execution of the old ones, as long as we have a Popish Successor, can any Man imagine, that the Execution of them will be longer kept a-foot, than will consist with the Popish Interest? Sir, our Church and Religion will be lost, if Union be not improved amongst Protestants, and I think no Bill can promote it like this, And therefore I am for the passing of this Bill.'
Resolved, That the said Bill be committed upon the Debate of the House.