The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 6, 1714-1727. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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October 6. The Parliament being met at Westminster, pursuant to their last Adjournment, Gen. Stanhope acquainted the House, That it was the King's Pleasure, that the Parliament should be adjourn'd for a Fortnight; and therefore desir'd that the House would adjourn itself until the 20th of October: Which the House did accordingly.
October 20. Gen. Stanhope acquainted the House with his Majesty's Pleasure, that the Parliament be adjourn'd until the 5th of November. Upon which the Commons adjourn'd themselves to that Day, and afterwards to November 21st. and then to December 14. at his Majesty's Desire.
Sir Edw. Northey added to the Committee of Secrecy. ; Circular Letters order'd, to require the Members Attendance on the 9th of January, to which Time the House adjourns.
December 14. The Commons order'd, That Sir Edward Northey be added to the Committee of Secrecy, in the Room of Sir Richard Onslow, Bart. who had accepted the Place of one of the Tellers of his Majesty's Exchequer, and was not rechose. It was order'd likewise, that Mr Speaker do write circular Letters to all the Sheriffs of the Kingdom, to summon the Members in their respective Counties to attend the Service of the House upon the 9th of January: After which General Stanhope acquainted the House, that he had a Message from his Majesty to this House, sign'd by his Majesty; which he deliver'd to Mr Speaker, as follows, viz.
"His Majesty understanding, that many, both of the House of Lords and Commons are detain'd in the Country, as well by their private as the publick Business; and the Holidays being now so near, during which there is usually a Recess, it is his Majesty's Pleasure, that the Parliament adjourn to Monday the ninth Day of January next, at which Time his Majesty intends the Parliament shall sit to do Business.
The Parliament meet.
January 9. The Parliament being met at Westminster, the King went to the House of Peers, and the Commons being sent for up, and attending, the Lord Chancellor read his Majesty's Speech to both Houses, as follows:
The King's Speech.
"The Zeal and Affection to my Government, and the vigilant Care for the Safety of the Nation, which you have shewn in your respective Counties, have not only fully answer'd my Expectations, but give me Assurances that you are met together resolv'd to act with a Spirit becoming a Time of common Danger, and with such a Vigour, as will end in the Confusion of all those who have openly engag'd in this Rebellion, and in the Shame and Reproach of such as by secret and malicious Infinuations, have fomented, or by an avow'd Indifference, encourag'd this traiterous Enterprize.
"It is, I doubt not, a great Satisfaction to you to have observ'd, that the Powers you entrusted me with for the Preservation of the publick Safety, have been employ'd in the most proper and effectual Manner, and made strictly subservient to those Purposes only for which you intended them; and you must have had the Pleasure to reflect with me, that as the Measures taken for our Defence, have been just and necessary, so it has pleased the Divine Providence to bless them with a Series of suitable Success: And I cannot but take this Opportunity of doing Justice to the Officers and Soldiers of the Army, whose brave and faithful Discharge of their Duty, has disappointed our Enemies, and contributed so much to the Safety of the Nation.
"I did hope, that the detecting and preventing the design'd Insurrections in some Parts of the Kingdom, and the defeating in others, those who had taken up Arms against me, would have put an End to this Rebellion; but it is plain that our Enemies, animated by some secret Hopes of Assistance, are still endeavouring to support this desperate Undertaking; and the Pretender, as I have Reason to believe, is now landed in Scotland.
"It is however with Pleasure I can acquaint you, that notwithstanding these intestine Commotions, Great Britain has, in some Measure, recover'd its Influence and Reputation Abroad. The Treaty for settling the Barrier for the Netherlands, is now fully concluded between the Emperor and the States General, under my Guaranty. The King of Spain has agreed to a Treaty, by which that valuable Branch of our Commerce will be deliver'd from the new Impositions and Hardships to which it was subjected by the late Treaties, and will stand settled for the future on a Foot more advantageous and certain, than it ever did in the most flourishing Time of any of my Predecessors; and the Treaty for renewing all former Alliances between the Crown of Great Britain and the States General, is brought very near to its Conclusion.
"I must rely on your Affection to me, and your Care and Concern for the Safety of the Nation, to grant me such Supplies, as may enable me to restore and secure the Peace of the Kingdom; and I will order Estimates of the necessary Expences to be laid before you.
"Among the many unavoidable ill Consequences of this Rebellion, none affects me more sensibly, than that extraordinary Burthen which it has and must create to my faithful Subjects. To ease them as far as lies in my Power, I take this first Opportunity of declaring, that I will freely give up all the Estates that shall become forfeited to the Crown by this Rebellion, to be apply'd towards defraying the extraordinary Expence incurr'd on this Occasion.
"It is Matter of the greatest Uneasiness to me, that the first Years of my Reign, the whole Course of which I wish'd to have transmitted to Posterity, distinguish'd by the fair and endearing Marks of Peace and Clemency, should be clouded and overcast with so unnatural a Rebellion; which, however impotent and unsuccessful a due Care may render it in all other Respects, does most sensibly afflict me, by the Calamities it has brought on many of my faithful Subjects, and by those indispensible Returns of Severity which their Sufferings and the publick Safety do most justly call for. Under this Concern, my greatest Comfort is, that I cannot reproach myself with having given the least Provocation to that Spirit of Discontent and Calumny that has been let loose against me, or the least Pretence for kindling the Flame of this Rebellion.
"Let those whose fatal Counsels laid the Foundation of all these Mischiefs, and those whose private Discontents and Disappointments, disguis'd under false Pretences, have betray'd great Numbers of deluded People into their own Destruction, answer for the Miseries in which they have involv'd their Fellow-Subjects. I question not, but that with the Continuance of God's Blessings, who alone is able to form Good out of Evil, and with the cheerful Assistance of my Parliament, we shall, in a short Time, see this Rebellion end, not only in restoring the Tranquility of my Government, but in procuring a firm and lasting Establishment of that excellent Constitution in Church and State, which it was manifestly design'd to subvert: And that this open and flagrant Attempt in Favour of Popery, will abolish all other Distinctions among us, but of such as are zealous Assertors of the Liberties of their Country, the present Establishment, and the Protestant Religion, and of such as are endeavouring to subject the Nation to the Revenge and Tyranny of a Popish Pretender.
An Address of Thanks to the King for the above Speech unanimously resolv'd on. ; Mr Lechmere's Speech thereon.
The Commons being return'd to their House, and having unanimously resolv'd on an Address of Thanks to his Majesty, sent to the Lords to desire them to continue sitting for some Time. This Message was carry'd by Mr Lechmere, who having reported to the House, that the Lords consented to do so, made a Speech to the following Effect, viz. 'That after the general Assurances the House had given to his Majesty, one Moment ought not to be lost, without taking some effectual Step towards making them good: That the first and great Concern was, to put an End to this Rebellion; not only to quiet the present Commotions, but to extinguish the very Possibility of their being renew'd: That for these Ends, every Gentleman would agree to strengthen the Hands of the King in such a Manner, as would enable him speedily and effectually to compleat this Work: That the House would do this with absolute Cheerfulness, from the certain Knowledge and Experience they had of the Wisdom and Justice of his Majesty, who would make no other Use of any Confidence his Parliament should repose in him, than to promote the common Welfare of his People; and that whatever extraordinary Assistance the present Juncture of Affairs should require, would be continued no longer than the publick Necessity call'd for: That the next useful and necessary Step, was the National Justice, which was incumbent on this House, in Duty to the King, as well as in Justice to the People: And as ungrateful and disagreeable a Part as this must be, yet, when the Design of the Enemy was become so desperate, and so avow'd, as to strike at the Crown upon the King's Head, and to involve the Nation in the Calamities of a Civil War, the House could not exert themselves too early, nor with too much Vigour; and that as the House acquitted itself on this Occasion, he promis'd himself the Effect would be answerable: That the Spirit which should be shewn in this Instance, would animate the Friends of the Government, both at Home and Abroad; and the Terror it must strike on our Enemies, would be equal at least, and contribute as much to the common Safety, as any other Preparation that had or could be made. He wish'd he could say or think, that this Rebellion was the Project of those only; who appear'd to head it; or that it was the Result of the weak or rash Counsels of those who publickly avow'd it: He wish'd he could say, that it was the Work of Papists only, or of those few Protestants who were wicked or weak enough openly to join in it. He wish'd he could say, that it was a Plot but of Yesterday, and that it had taken no deeper Root than ordinary Appearances would lead to suspect; but he thought it plain, that it was the Effect of many Years Labour, of the joint and united Labour of great Numbers, both Protestants and Papists, the plain and necessary Consequence of the Measures which had been carrying on for some Years last: That to frame a right Judgment of the Nature of this Rebellion, he thought it necessary for the House to look back, and consider the natural Tendency of the publick Proceedings of late Years, and the Connection they bore with the present unfortunate State of Things: When Men in sacred Functions suffer'd themselves to become State-Instruments, and the great Merit of such Men was, under the Pretence of asserting the Doctrines of the Church of England, to condemn the Revolution, he could never understand any other Design or Tendency from those Practices, than to undermine the Foundation of the Protestant Succession. He remember'd it was said upon a very solemn Occasion, by a very honourable Gentleman, 'That the condemning the late happy Revolution, could have no other Meaning, than to make Way for another:" That however wicked and dangerous these Practices were, they made too great an Impression, and contributed a great deal to the present Calamity: That as the Designs of the Enemy grew more avow'd, State-Principles of another Kind were advanc'd, which still conduc'd to the same End: That 'twas well known what Industry was us'd to inculcate the Notions of Hereditary Right to the Crown, in Opposition to the Settlement which had been made of it in the House of Hanover, by the Authority of Parliament, and with no other View, than to weaken that Settlement: That every one remember'd what extraordinary Pains were taken to poyson the People with this dangerous Notion; and that those who made the best Court to Men in Power, were such who espous'd this Opinion in the most notorious Manner: That he could not forget with what Tenderness a certain Divine of the Church of England was treated below Stairs, whilst under Prosecution for the most impudent Libel [The Hereditary Right asserted, &c.] that ever was publish'd against any Government, that had either Will or Power to maintain it self. He thought the Punishment that was inflicted on that Gentleman light enough, but he could not avoid taking Notice of a remarkable Passage, which then alarm'd every thinking Man, and will, one Time or other, deserve the Consideration of this House, viz. The Order from the Government, countersign'd by a Secretary of State, to the Judges of the Queen's Bench, after the Judgment pass'd, to supersede the ignominious Part of the Punishment, by Reason of the sacred Function of the Criminal; by which the most unexampled and dangerous Distinction was introduc'd; and which Proceeding could bear no other Construction, than as a License and Protection, even from the Government, to Men in holy Orders, to propagate that destructive Position with Impunity; and the Character of the Person, which ought in Justice to have aggravated his Guilt, and heighten'd the Punishment, became his Indemnity against the Reproach of it, even by the Authority of the Government it self. He remember'd in what Manner every Thing of that Nature was treated in Westminster-Hall: what Severities were exercis'd against those Persons who had Courage enough to assert the Interest of their Country, and of the Protestant Succession, at the same Time that the Patrons of hereditary Right enjoy'd all Indulgences: That he mention'd these Things on no Uncertainties, having been an Eye-Witness of them himself, and it having fallen to his Share to bear some Part in them: That this was one of the most successful Parts of the Scheme of those who had fix'd their Eyes on the Pretender: That the House need not be told how far it had operated to the Prejudice of the Protestant Succession. That he could give many other Instances of this Kind; all which promoted the same End. The gross Distinctions that were coin'd to elude the Oaths that had been made for the Security of the Government; the Endeavours that were us'd to possess the People with false Fears of the Danger of the Church; and the little Care that was taken, to say no worse of it, to instil into the Youth of the Kingdom, such Principles as were consistent with the true Interest either of Church or State. That he look'd upon these Things which he had mention'd, to be the Foundation of the Scheme that was now, by this Rebellion, carrying on into Execution; and he own'd, that in this Respect, the Authors of it were wise in their Generation; for by these Arts, the very Principle on which the Protestant Succession is founded, was shaken; and tho' the Methods of doing it, were base and vile, yet the Dissatisfaction and Uneasiness that was created by them in the Minds of the People, made Way for the Change that was desir'd, That he crav'd Leave of the House, to put them in Mind of other Parts of this Scheme, that was carrying on at the same Time. The Enemies to the present Government judging aright for their own Purpose, by all Methods to attack the Consciences of the People, as to the Legality and Justice of the Settlement of the Crown in the House of Hanover, they thought it necessary, at the same Time, to disable, as far as they could, those Persons who had been most remarkable for their Services in the Support of it. That the great Effort was made at that Great Man, [the Duke of Marlborough] who is not only the Honour and Ornament of his Country, but the Glory of the Age he lives in. He added, he thought he should not be suspected of Flattery at this Time, nor, as he believ'd, at any Time, with Respect to that Great Man. That many who then heard him, remember'd the Part he took in Vindication of that Great Man, whilst his Character was under Debate in this House. That he could not forget the Rage and Inveteracy with which he was pursu'd; nor how much Stress was laid upon obtaining the Censures of Parliament upon him: That the Aspersions then thrown upon him, did not hurt that Great Man; and whatever Endeavours may at any Time be us'd to lessen him, will hurt none but those that shall promote them; but yet those vain Endeavours were a very useful Part of the Scheme then carrying on. 'Twas a necessary Step for those Men to put him out of the Way, whose very Name and Appearance, at that Time, would have been sufficient to raise Armies in Favour of the Protestant Succession, and the Liberties of his Country: But he could not but observe, that as serviceable as it was for the Measures of those Men to wound his Character, 'twas now a Reproach to the Kingdom, that those groundless Aspersions, which had been cast upon him, should remain upon the Journals of Parliament. That another Great Lord, [the Lord Viscount Townshend] fell under the Violence of those Times, whose Prosecution was attended with uncommon Fury. That himself had some Share in justifying that Great Man in this House, when he was voted an Enemy to his Country. That he observ'd at that Time, and the Event has made it evident, that the Barrier was but the Pretence, and the great Services he had done to the Protestant Succession, was the true Provocation which drew that Rage upon him. That two other honourable Gentlemen, [Gen. Stanhope and Mr R. Walpole then sitting near him,] had felt the Soverity of those Times: they had distinguish'd themselves by their Zeal and Firmness to the true Interest of their Country, and were too considerable to escape the Malice of those who had other Views. That those Proceedings, how uncertain soever the Design of them might appear while they were transacting, have been sufficiently explain'd by what has follow'd. That the Name of that General, for whose immediate Service the Great Man first mention'd, was blemish'd, and for whom there was Vanity enough to make him his Rival, is now become the Reproach of his Family and Country: He avows the Service of the Pretender, and e'er long we may hear of him at the Head of an Expedition for establishing Popery and arbitrary Power. That the Secretary of State, who distinguish'd himself in the Pursuit of the other Great Lord, has sufficiently explain'd his Designs to the whole World; and the next Tidings that we may expect from abroad, is, that he has taken upon him the Character of a Minister to the Pretender. That he look'd upon the disabling the great Asserters of the Protestant Interest, to be a second, and no small Part of the Scheme; and while these Things were carrying on, their little Engines and Tools were carrying on their Work in Westminster-Hall. That every Man who favour'd the Hanover Succession, was to be worry'd, and all open and scandalous Asserters of contrary Principles, were treated with all the Care and Tenderness of Friends. Charters of Corporations were attack'd in a more unprecedented and dangerous Manner, than in former Times, when Practices of that Kind were most justly complain'd of, and no Stone was left unturn'd to strengthen themselves in that Respect. That he would not then trouble the House any more upon that Head, having some Thoughts, e'er long, to present them with a small Collection of Things of that Kind, for their serious Consideration. That the Master-Strokes of this grand Scheme, were yet behind: That the surest Way to destroy the Government, has been always thought to be by its own Hands, that is, by the Authority and Power of Parliament. For this Purpose, a Confederacy, by which the Liberties of Europe had been so long sustain'd against the Power of France, was broke to Pieces by Votes that were obtain'd in this House in the most extraordinary Manner. That the Honour of the Nation, the Balance of Power, and the Protestant Interest in Europe, were effectually given up in the Negociations and Conclusion of the Peace, by which France was restor'd to its ancient and formidable State; and every Body remember'd how near they were, by the same Influences, to have given up the whole Trade of the Nation, to the Interest of the French King, who, after that, had no suitable Return left for him to make for such Services, but to bestow upon them a Pretender, bred up in his own Faith, and in his own Politicks. That nothing could have obstructed this, but the many miraculous Providences that immediately follow'd, when his Power throughout Europe was uncontestable; and, by the Measures that had been taken, the Protestant Succession had scarce a Friend left in the World. That the King's Accession to the Throne, accompany'd by so many providential Circumstances, as it disappointed the immediate Execution of the Scheme, so it quieted the Spirit of those Men for some Time. That if the House would make a right Judgment of the present Rebellion, they must compare the Steps that immediately preceded it, with those that were taken in the last Reign, when the Hope was to have brought about the same End without a Stroke; That the same Endeavours soon appear'd to propagate the same Principles, both in Church and State; and those Endeavours, tho' at first not so open, were yet as restless to create Dissatisfaction against his Majesty's Government, as they had been before to prevent its taking Place. As the Encouragement grew stronger, Tumults and Riots were universally fomented; and 'twas well known from what Quarter they rose, and against whom they were levell'd; but yet no one Instance has been assign'd, throughout his Administration, that could offend or provoke any but a Jacobite Spirit. That his Majesty has done, more for the Honour of the Church, and the true Interest of his Kingdom, than any of his Predecessors, in three Times the Number of Years: That his Personal Virtues, and the Wisdom and Steadiness of his Government, have retriev'd the Honour and Reputation of his Kingdoms, which had been so shamefully lost: That his Weight and Influence Abroad, and the Credit he has obtained in all the known Parts of the World, have already procur'd the Settlement of the Matters in Difference between the two chief Powers of Europe, from whom alone we can expect Assistance in Times of Danger. That no single Instance can be assign'd of Hardship or Oppression to any one of his Subjects, or that can give a just Reason of Dissatisfaction; but on the contrary, those who have shewn the greatest Aversion to his Government, have receiv'd the kindest Invitations, and enjoyed the highest Indulgences from him. That if any Errors may have been committed in any Parts of the Administration, during the present Disorders, every honest Man ought to judge of them by this one Rule, that is, the plain Design for which all Measures are calculated, which every Body must admit to be the Preservation of the Protestant Succession: That all Incidents of such an Administration, ought to be cover'd or justify'd by the Interest that shall appear to be carry'd on throughout the whole: That by the same Rule of Justice, when the Destruction of the Common Interest was the plain Intention of the late Administration, the greatest Weight ought to be laid on every little Circumstance that attended, in order to obtain a publick Satisfaction. That by taking in all these Considerations, he thought the House would make a full and right Judgment of the Nature of this Rebellion; from whence it took its Rise, how deep it had taken Root, to what Influences it was owing, and how far it extended; That the Part the Lord Derwentwater and others, had taken in it, were to be consider'd as the first Symptoms of that general Disorder, for which so much Foundation was laid; for which Reason, he thought that the House could not consider this otherwise, than as the Cause of the Nation, in the strongest Manner. That in Justice to the King, as well as to the People, they ought to take this into their own Hands, and not to entrust the Prosecution of it with any Body but themselves. That every Body knew to what Hazards Prosecutions in the ordinary Course of Justice, were liable, tho' they were never so well concerted by those whose Business it was to carry them on: But how sure soever this Success might be, in a Case so notorious as this, yet it was obvious to every Body, of what different Weight and Influence the Prosecutions of Parliament were, from those in the ordinary Forms. That he own'd he was surpriz'd that any Measures had been taken of that Kind, against the Peers who had been taken in open Rebellion, a Parliament fitting, which had shew'd so much Zeal, and had contributed so much to the Preservation of the Government, especially at a Time when the Crown on the King's Head was fighting for. That he very well knew, that tho' the House of Commons Right of Impeaching Criminals was unlimited, yet they would exercise that Power by the Rules of Wisdom and Discretion, and not engage in trivial Matters, but in such only, where the Offenders were not within the Reach of the ordinary Justice, or the Nature of their Crimes such as were not fit to be meddled with by the ordinary Jurisdictions. That the Case of the Lords taken in Rebellion, was indeed notorious, and of which the Proof would be easy; but tho' not from the Difficulty of the Prosecution, yet from the Weight and Consequence of it, he thought he need say little more to convince the House, to make it their own Prosecution, by which they engag'd every Commoner in Great Britain, as an immediate Party against those who had carry'd a War into the Bowels of the Kingdom. That no Instance ever had risen in the English History, where their Ancestors had permitted a Prosecution of this Kind, against the chief Actors, to be carry'd any where but in full Parliament. That the five Popish Lords were pursu'd by the loud Voice and Weight of the Commons of England; and tho' at that Time the Nation was in Peace, they would not permit the Fate of those Prosecutions to depend on the Care or Skill of those who are vers'd in the ordinary Forms of Justice; and their Success was answerable. That he own'd his Desire, upon all Occasions, to raise the Honour and Authority of Parliaments, which he thought the greatest Support of the Honour and the Prerogatives of the Crown; for which Reason, he took this Occasion to speak more fully to the Nature of Impeachments, and the rather, because he apprehended some Gentlemen had mistaken Notions concerning them: That the Power of Impeachments was the most valuable and useful Privilege that belong'd to the Body of the Commons, at least equal to that of giving Money, which belongs solely to them. That Gentlemen need not be apprehensive of any Intricacies in those Proceedings, especially at a Time, and upon an Occasion, when there was no Doubt of the Concurrence of both Houses. That the Impeachments were in themselves more plain, regular, and disentangled, than any other Forms of Justice. That they were particularly excepted out of the late Statute of Treasons, which had very much fetter'd the ordinary Course of Proceedings. That Impeachments were never made difficult, but when they were carried on against the Inclination of the Crown, or at a Time when there was no good Understanding between the two Houses; when little Occasions might be sought to raise Disputes, and interrupt them; or else when they are undertaken, before they are well consider'd; which could not be the present Case. That there was another Reason, which upon this Occasion should determine Gentlemen into this Method; which was the Consequence of the Judgment that should be obtained against those Lords; He asserted it as his clear Opinion, and which he thought he could maintain, 'That no Pardon under the Great Seal could discharge a Judgment obtain'd upon the Impeachment of the Commons:' That this Opinion had been strenuously asserted in this House in former Reigns; and he thought it not weakened by the Declaration in the Act of Settlement of the Crown upon the House of Hanover. That he had heard of a very new Distinction that had been coin'd without Doors, to avoid this Opinion, viz. 'That the Pardon was not pleadable in Bar of the Impeachment, and to prevent the Commons from examining into the Offence; but that it was pleadable after Judgment, and in Bar of Execution.' That whenever that Question should come properly before them, he undertook to shew the Idleness and Absurdity of that Distinction; That if that Distinction was fram'd to make Court to the Prerogative, he thought it the most false and destructive Piece of Flattery of the Kind, that ever had been rais'd. That it was the greatest Ease, Security, and Support of the Crown, in his Opinion, instead of any Diminution of it, that no such Power should be lodg'd there, to be exercis'd on any Occasion, to prevent the Possibility of the Crown's being wrought upon by any Influences to defeat the Judgment given in full Parliament, with the Concurrence of both Houses, against the highest Offenders; which must inevitably create the greatest Jealousy, and cause the highest Dissatisfactions between the Crown and the People: For this Reason, he took it to be the greatest Advantage to the Crown, that the Constitution of the Kingdom had not, as he thought, invested it with any such Power; and on the other Side it would clearly appear, that such a Power was utterly inconsistent with the Fundamental Rights of Parliament. That he own'd he was surpris'd to hear, that any such Distinction should be started at this Time: But if the Law was as he apprehended it to be, it was the strongest Reason for the Commons to interpose in this Prosecution, to defend the Crown from the many Importunities to which it would be subject in the ordinary Course of Justice; and that the Weight of the Prosecution, and the Consequences of it, should be born by the Commons, as it ought to be in a Case so National as this. That if Gentlemen wanted any other Motives to induce them to make this Prosecution their own, he had a Paper in his Hand, which would fire the Thoughts of every Gentleman there, [meaning the Pretender's Declaration:] That no Body could read, without the utmost Indignation, the Personal Indignities that were therein cast upon the best of Princes, whose Title to the Crown, they were bound by all the Ties of Duty, Affection, and Interest, to maintain. That the House could do no less than to reseat this so far, as to make themselves the Prosecutors of those who avow'd this Cause of the Pretender, and set themselves at the Head of Armies, in the Heart of the King's Dominions. That in this Paper, the House would see how they were treated themselves: That they were represented as the most illegal and infamous Assembly of Men that ever met together. That these Considerations ought in Justice to animate and invigorate their Proceedings in every Respect, 'till the Inveteracy and Insolence of the Enemy were entirely subdued: That he did not think that the Proceedings of this House ought, in any Case, to be governed by vindictive Considerations, but by such Circumstances only, as from their real Weight and Consequence call'd for the Interposition of the Commons: That he was sensible that the Commons had a great Work upon their Hands, upon other Impeachments, which they had thought fit to enter upon, and which were still depending: That he knew also what Situation these Impeachments were in; and hop'd they would be resum'd and carry'd on in due Season, with the same Vigour with which they were undertaken: That he likewise believed, that the Nation expected that their Inquiries upon that Head should be extended, and appear to be impartial, it not being possible that a greater Dishonour could be brought, or an heavier Imputation cast upon, the Proceedings of that House, than that of Partiality, which could not fail to sink their Credit, and to prevent all the good Effects that were hop'd and expected from them; However he concluded, that every Gentleman would agree with him, that the present Situation and Conjuncture of Affairs made it necessary to give the Preference to those Lords who had been taken in open Rebellion: And thereupon he impeached James Earl of Derwentwater of High Treason; which Impeachment he undertook to make good.'
The House resolve to impeach the Lords Derwentwater, Widdrington, Nithisdale, Wintoun, Carnwath, Kenmure and Nairn of High Treason.
Upon this, the House resolv'd to impeach the said Earl of High Treason; as they did likewise, upon the Motions severally made by Mr W. Pulteney, Mr Boscawen, Mr Hampden, Lord Finch, the Earl of Hertford, and Mr Wortley, to impeach of the same Crime William Lord Widdrington, William Earl of Nithisdale, George Earl of Wintoun, Robert Earl of Carnwath, William Viscount Kenmure, and William Lord Nairn. Then Mr Lechmere, and the other six Members, in Pursuance of the Commands of the House, carry'd up an Impeachment to the Bar of the House of Lords, in the Words following, viz.
The Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, having receiv'd Information of divers Treasons committed by a Great Peer of this House, James Earl of Derwentwater, have commanded me to impeach the said James Earl of Derwentwater of High Treason: And I do here, in their Names, and in the Names of all the Commons of Great Britain, impeach the said James Earl of Derwentwater of High Treason. And I am farther commanded by the House of Commons, to acquaint your Lordships, that they will, with all convenient Speed, exhibit Articles to make good the Charge against him.
Articles drawn up accordingly, and carried to the Lords by Mr Lechmere.
The said seven Members being returned to the House, and having reported what they had done, a Committee was appointed, of which Mr Lechmere was Chair-Man, and order'd to draw up Articles of Impeachment against the seven impeach'd Lords, which being drawn up accordingly, and agreed to by the House, were carry'd to the Lords by Mr Lechmere. The Articles at large the Reader may see in the STATE TRIALS, Vol. 6.
Mr Forster expell'd the House.
The Commons Address to the King.
'We beg Leave most heartily to congratulate your Majesty upon the Success that has attended your Arms; and it is with the greatest Satisfaction we observe, that the Officers and Soldiers of the Army have, by a brave and faithful Discharge of their Duty, deserv'd your Majesty's Approbation; and that the just and necessary Measures taken for strengthening your Majesty's Hands, have had so good an Effect, in preventing Insurrections in several Parts of the Kingdom.
'The wise and seasonable Provision which your Majesty has made, both at Home and from Abroad, for the Safety of the Nation; your Goodness in giving all such Estates as shall be forfeited by this Rebellion, in Ease of your People; and the tender Regard and Concern which you have been pleas'd to express for their Sufferings, call for all the Returns of Duty, Zeal, and Affection, which faithful and loyal Subjects can owe or pay to the best of Kings.
'This Rebellion, (for which not the least Colour of Provocation has been given) as it ought very justly to be the Object of your Majesty's Contempt, so it raises in your truly loyal Commons the highest Resentment and Indignation against those ungrateful desperate Rebels, whose pernicious Principles, private Discontents and Disappointments, have engag'd them to involve their Country in Blood and Confusion.
We look with Pity upon those unhappy deluded People, who by false Pretences, and malicious Insinuations, have been betray'd into their own Destruction; but we detest, and will do our utmost to confound the Devices of those, who, professing an unlimited Obedience, have stirr'd up a Rebellion against your Majesty, and, under the Disguise of the Danger of the Church, are endeavouring to introduce Popery: And when we reflect, that nothing less than our holy Religion, your Majesty's Crown, and the Liberties of our Country, are concern'd in the Event of this wicked Undertaking, We cannot but with Astonishment observe the Indifference of some in this great and important Juncture.
'But your faithful Commons, with Hearts full of a due Sense of the invaluable Blessings which they enjoy under your Majesty's most auspicious Government, offer their Lives and Fortunes in Defence of your undoubted Title to the Crown, in Support of the Protestant Religion, and in Maintenance of the Liberty and Property of the Subject; which, as they were wonderfully preserv'd to us by your Majesty's happy Accession to the Throne, can only be secur'd to Posterity by the Eye of Heaven watching over and guarding your sacred Person and your Royal Family.
'And that this Nation may long continue to be a Protestant and a Free People, your most dutiful and loyal Commons do most readily promise to grant such early and effectual Supplies, as may enable your Majesty to put an End to this unnatural Rebellion, to confound and extinguish for ever all Hopes of the Pretender, his open and secret Abettors, and secure the future Peace and Tranquility of your Kingdoms; being well assur'd, that your good People will think no Burthen grievous, that is necessary for the Preservation of all that is dear and valuable to them.
'But your Majesty's Care and Concern for the publick Welfare has not been confin'd to your own Kingdoms; and however your Enemies might flatter themselves, that these intestine Commotions would lessen the Influence of Great Britain in foreign Parts, your Commons with Admiration see, and with Gratitude acknowledge, the Effect of your Wisdom, which has been able to surmount these Difficulties, in settling the Barrier-Treaty for the Netherlands, between the Emperor and the States-General, under your Majesty's Guaranty; in having made so great a Progress towards renewingall former Alliances between GreatBritain and the States-General; and particularly in delivering that valuable Branch of our Commerce with Spain, from those grievous Impositions and Hardships to which it was subjected by the Treachery of the late Male-Administration.
'And as the same fatal and pernicious Counsels have been the Cause and Source of all the Mischiefs and Calamities that must attend this unnatural Rebellion; and as mities that must attend this unnatural Rebellion; and as your faithful Commons, desirous to testify their Zeal and Duty to your Majesty, and their Abhorrence of this treasonable Enterprize, have already exerted themselves in endeavouring to bring to speedy and exemplary Justice, the open and declar'd Instruments of this Rebellion, they think themselves oblig'd, in Justice to their injur'd Country, to continue in the most vigorous and impartial manner, to prosecute the Authors of those evil and destructive Counsels, which have drawn down these Miseries upon the Nation.
The King's Answer.
"I Return you my hearty Thanks for the kind and warm Assurances of Loyalty contain'd in this Address; from which I promise my self the most happy Consequences, since nothing can so effectually restore the Peace and Tranquility of the Kingdom; as the commendable Zeal you have express'd upon this Occasion.
January 21. The King went to the House of Peers, and gave the Royal Assent to a Bill intitled, An Act for continuing an Act to impower his Majesty to secure and detain such Persons as his Majesty shall suspect are conspiring against his Person and Government, &c.
Debate concerning the continuing the Bill for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act.
This Bill had been strenuously oppos'd: Mr Shippen made a Speech against it, in which he insisted, 'That it invaded the most valuable Right of English Subjects, encourag'd malicious Informations, and gave a Handle to those in Power to oppress innocent Persons; he therefore mov'd to have a Clause inserted in it, to prevent illegal Imprisonments, and for the better securing the Liberty of the Subject, in Cases not within the Purport of the said Act.' He was answer'd by Gen. Stanhope, who endeavour'd to shew the Necessity of such an Act, at a Time of open Rebellion; and appeal'd to the whole House, whether the King or his Ministers had made an ill or a wanton Use of the Power with which the Parliament had thought fit to intrust his Majesty.' And the Question being put upon Mr Shippen's Motion, it pass'd in the Negative.
King's Speech relating to the Pretender's heading the Rebellion in Scotland.
"I Had Reason to believe, when I spoke last to you, that the Pretender was landed in Scotland; the Accounts I have receiv'd since do put it beyond all Doubt, that he is heading the Rebellion there, and does assume the Stile and Title of King of these Realms; his Adherents do likewise confidently affirm, that Assurances are given them of Support from Abroad. This Parliament hath, on all Occasions, express'd so much Duty to me, and so true a Regard for the religious and civil Rights of my People, that I am perswaded this daring Presumption of our Enemies will heighten your just Indignation against them, and beget such farther Resolutions as, with the Blessing of God, will enable me to defeat their Attempts.
"The most effectual Way to put a speedy End to these Troubles, will be to make such a Provision as may discourage any Foreign Power from assisting the Rebels; I do therefore hope, that every sincere Protestant and true Briton will look upon the extraordinary Expence which a timely Preparation may require, to be the best Husbandry, since it will, in all human Probability, prevent that Desolation and those Calamities, which would unavoidably ensue, if the Rebellion should be suffer'd to spread, and be supported by Popish Forces from Abroad.
"The World must be convinc'd, by all you have already done, that you have nothing but the Honour and Interest of your Country at Heart; and for my own Part, I rely entirely upon you, and doubt not but you will take such Resolutions, at this Juncture, as will be most for the present Safety, and future Ease of my People.
The Commons Address of Thanks.
We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, do, with all Humility, return our unfeigned Thanks for your Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne, and for your great Goodness in communicating to us those important Advices which so highly concern the immediate Safety of your Kingdoms.
'We can never sufficiently express our grateful Sense of your Majesty's constant Care and Tenderness for your People, on every Occasion, since your Accession to the Throne of your Ancestors; but 'tis with the utmost Satisfaction of Heart, that we now experience the happy Effects of that just Confidence which your loyal and affectionate Commons have already repos'd in your great Wisdom, for making such Augmentation of Troops as your Majesty should find necessary for our common Safety: And tho' the Growth of the Rebellion has already necessitated an Increase of Forces, yet we must ever acknowledge your wise and tender Concern for your People, in having made Provision for our Defence in such a Manner, at this Time of common Danger, as must convince the World, that it is with the utmost Reluctancy to your Majesty, that any farther Burthens are brought on your Subjects; and that your Majesty has nothing at Heart, but the Security and Welfare of your People.
'Your dutiful Commons do likewise acknowledge, with the highest Gratitude to your Majesty, that by the prudent Disposition of your Forces, not only the Designs of our Enemies to have rais'd Insurrections in many Parts of the Kingdom have been entirely frustrated, and the Peace and Tranquility of these Nations thereby, in a great Measure, preserv'd; but to that, we owe, under God, those signal Successes which have check'd the Progress of the Rebellion, and which have given us, your faithful Commons, so early and just an Occasion to exert our selves in the most vigorous and effectual Manner, for bringing some of the chief Actors to condign Punishment. We are astonish'd at the daring Presumption of the Pretender and his Adherents; and do most sincerely and heartily assure your Majesty, that our Indignation is hereby heighten'd against them; and that we cannot so far forget our Duty and Affection to your Majesty, and our Concern for our Religion and Liberties, as not to take, at this critial Juncture, such farther Resolutions, as will enable your Majesty, with the Blessing of God, to defeat their Designs. Your faithful Commons being therefore firmly and unalterably resolv'd to spare no Expence, and to decline no Hazard for the Support of your Majesty's Title and Government, whereon all that is dear and valuable to us and our Posterities, under God, entirely depends; and being most earnestly desirous to give all imaginable Proofs of our constant and unshaken Zeal and Affection for your sacred Person, and being throughly convinc'd that we cannot more effectually consult our own Security, than by testifying our entire Confidence in your Majesty's known Justice, Wisdom, and Goodness, do most humbly beseech your Majesty, that you will be graciously pleased to give Directions, from Time to Time, for such farther Augmentation of Troops as the Exigency of Affairs shall render necessary.
'And we farther assure your Majesty, that we will grant such Supplies as shall be sufficient, not only to maintain such additional Forces, and to defeat all Attempts of your Enemies, both at Home and Abroad, and to prevent those Calamities which must ensue, if this unnatural Rebellion be suffer'd to spread; but also to enable your Majesty, with the Blessing of God, effectually to shew your Resentment against any foreign Power, that shall presume, directly or indirectly, to abet or support the Pretender or his Adherents.
The King's Answer.
"I Thank you heartily for this Address. If any Thing could add to the good Opinion this House of Commons deserves from me, it would be the Zeal and Unanimity you have shewn upon this Occasion. You may depend upon my continuing always, as I have hitherto done, to make Use of the Confidence and Powers you put in me, only for restoring and securing the Peace and Quiet of my People.
The Particulars of the Trials, Condemnation, &c. of the impeach'd Lords before the House of Peers, being related at large in the sixth Volume of STATE TRIALS; and the inserting of them here being also foreign to our Design, which is only to mention such Proceedings as were the Subject of some SPEECHES or DEBATES in the House of Commons, We think it proper to omit the same.
King's Speech relating to the Pretender's Flight out of Scotland.
"I Take this Opportunity of acquainting you, that my Forces have oblig'd the Pretender to fly out of Scotland; and he is since, as I am informed, landed near Gravelines, but I don't yet know, whether any Country in Amity with us, will give him Protection, after having so publickly invaded our Kingdom.
"The Dangers to which the Nation was expos'd, made me determine, that neither the extraordinary Rigour of the Season, nor any fallacious Proposal of the Rebels, should divert me from using all possible Endeavours towards putting a speedy and effectual End to this unnatural Rebellion.
"I must return you my Thanks for the great Progress you have made in the Supplies. The necessary Dispositions are made for raising additional Forces: But as I shall always consult the Ease of my People, as far as it is consistent with their own Security, so I shall not make use of the Confidence you have plac'd in me, unless the restless Malice of our Enemies should make it necessary to go on with those Levies.
"I promise my self, from the Zeal and Wisdom of this Parliament, that the future Happiness and Tranquility of my Subjects, will be establish'd on a solid Foundation; and such Measures taken, as may deprive our Enemies at Home of the Power, since that alone can deprive them of the Inclination, again to attempt the Disturbance of my Government. This, therefore, is what I think my self oblig'd to recommend to you, as a Deliberation of the utmost Importance to the future Safety, Ease, and Prosperity of my People.
The Commons Address.
'We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, do, with Hearts full of Gratitude, return your Majesty our unfeigned Thanks for your most gracious Speech from the Throne; and do beg Leave most heartily to congratulate with your Majesty, upon the Success with which it has pleased Almighty God so far to bless your Arms, as to force the Pretender out of your Majesty's Dominions.
'We are willing to hope, that no Prince or State in Amity with your Majesty, will give Refuge, Countenance, or Protection to a Person, who in so notorious a Manner, has disturb'd the Peace of your Kingdoms; but the Dangers to which your Majesty's sacred Person and Government, the Religion, Laws, and Liberties of our Country, have been once expos'd by this vile Attempt, would leave your Commons without Excuse to those they represent, if they should see, with Patience, the Nation expos'd to the like Hazard for the future, by the Pretender to your Majesty's Crown being shelter'd in your Neighbourhood: We do therefore make it our humble Request to your Majesty, that you will use the most earnest and pressing Instances with all Princes and States in Amity with your Majesty, that he may not be harbour'd in their Territories; and we beg Leave to give your Majesty the strongest Assurances that we will, to the utmost of our Power, contribute whatever shall, by your Majesty, be judg'd necessary to render those Instances effectual.
'The tender Regard which your Majesty expresses for the Ease of your People, in declining to put the Nation to any farther Expence at present for additional Forces, does, if possible, heighten that Confidence which we so justly had repos'd in you: But we beseech your Majesty, that in settling the Proportion of Forces to be maintain'd this Year by Sea and Land, your Majesty will have such a Regard to the Disposition and Preparations of our Neighbours, from Time to Time, as to provide effectually for the Security of your Kingdoms against any Power that shall presume to countenance or abet the Pretender. Your Commons cannot sufficiently express the just Sense they have of your Majesty's consummate Wisdom and firm Resolution not to be diverted or amus'd by any Difficulties of the Season, or any specious Artifices, from pursuing the Rebels in Scotland to their several Retreats, since that Method alone could restore and secure, with Honour, Peace and Tranquility to that Part of your Dominions.
''Tis with the utmost Concern we observe, that the Malice and Inveteracy of our Enemies at Home, is so great, that they want not the Inclination to disturb your Majesty's Government; but your faithful Commons, in Duty to your Majesty, and Love for their Country, will endeavour to deprive them of the Power, by taking such prudent and necessary Measures, as may most effectually secure the future Safety, Ease, and Prosperity of your People.'
"I Thank you for this dutiful and affectionate Address. I will endeavour, by all proper Means, to prevent the Pretender's being suffer'd to give perpetual Jealousies, by continuing in our Neighbourhood; and will, if the Advices I shall receive from Abroad do render it necessary, not lose any Time in making such an Augmentation of Forces by Sea and Land, as may, with the Blessing of God, effectually answer your Wishes to see the Nation secur'd from any foreign or intestine Attempt whatsoever."
The Commons adjourn, to prevent any Application to them in Favour of the impeach'd Lords.
February 21. Several Petitions were deliver'd to the House of Commons in Behalf of the Earl of Derwentwater, Lord Widdrington, Earl of Nithisdale, Earl of Carnwath, Lord Viscount Kenmure, and Lord Nairn, after Sentence of Death had been past on them; nevertheless, though many Members were inclined to Mercy, yet, upon a Motion made by those of the contrary Opinion, who were for having the Law executed in its full Rigour, and therefore were desirous to be rid of any farther Importunities on this Account, the Question was put, that the House should adjourn to the first of March, which was carry'd in the Affirmative, by a Majority of seven Voices only.
Mr Lechmere's Motion for a Bill to strengthen the Protestant Interest.
March 1. The Parliament met, according to their Adournment: The next Day Mr Lechmere made a Speech on the Male-administration of the Ministry during the last Years of the late Queen, particularly with Relation to the Hardships then put on the Dissenters, who, he added, were firm Friends to the Protestant Succession; and the visible Connivance and Favour shewn to the Roman Catholicks, the open and declar'd Enemies of it and of the Illustrious House of Hanover; and concluded with a Motion for bringing in A Bill to strengthen the Protestant Interest in Great Britain, by inforcing the Laws now in being against Papists. He was seconded by the Lord Coningsby; and no Member opposing the Motion, the Bill was ordered to be brought in accordingly.
Nothing farther occur'd in the House of Commons, which gave Occasion to any Speeches or Debates 'till the 19th of April, except their Proceedings at the Bar of the House of Lords against the Earl of Wintoun, one of the seven impeach'd Lords, the Particulars of which are to be found at large in the STATE TRIALS, Vol. 6.