Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 6, 1648-1651. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Die Sabbati, 22 Februarii, 1650.
MR. Millington reports from the Committee of plundered Ministers, The Examination of John Harris, Printer, and Mr. Strong, concerning the Book, intituled, "The Accuser shamed."
Which were this Day read.
Examinations taken before the Committee for plundered Ministers, concerning the Book, intituled, "The Accuser shamed;" in pursuance of an Order of Parliament to the said Committee directed.
John Harris, Printer, being examined, who was the Author of the said Book, intituled, "The Accuser shamed," now shewn unto him; upon his Examination faith, That he is scarce able to say, who was the Author of it: And that about Two Years since, he, this Examinate, printed a Book like the said Book now shewen: But whether the said Book were the Book the Examinate printed, or no, he knows not; having been since Abroad in the Service of the Parliament: But faith, that he, this Examinate, printed a Copy much to the Purpose of the said Book; which said Copy was sent unto him from Mr. Fry.
The said Mr. Harris being asked, Where the Copy of the said Book is, faith, That after they have printed and corrected Books of that Nature, the Copies are thrown about for Waste Paper.
And the said Examinate further faith, That there was some Alteration in that he printed, from the Copy sent him; viz. in the Title Page: And that the Difference between the Title Page as it came from the Author, and the Title Page produced, is only in these Words; viz. " The Accuser shamed;" which the Examinate put in himself, to make the Book the more vendible: And that the Examinate doth not, to his best Remembrance, observe any other material Difference: And that unless the Copies they print be Matter of Controversy, and licensed, they preserve not the Copies; but Business of this Nature, as Pamphlets, they never keep.
He knows not how many of them he printed; their ordinary Number of such Things, as they print, being One thousand: And that he, the said Examinate, never read any Thing of the Book, but the Title Page, to his Knowledge.
Being examined, who brought him the said Book, faith, That he that brought it him, this Examinate, came to him, under the Notion of Mr. Fry his Man; but the Examinate knows him not, having never seen him before or since: And that he, this Examinate printed the same at his own Charge.
The Examinate further faith, That the said Mr. Fry sent unto him, this Morning, for the said Copy; but he returned him the Answer, as he hath now done to this Committee.
Being examined, Whether he sent none of the said Books to Mr. Fry, after he had printed them; faith, That he had sent him about Half a Dozen, or a Dozen, the certain Number he remembers not: And, that for any thing the Examinate knows, the Book may be printed Twenty times over since, and with Twenty Alterations.
The Examinate, further examined, faith, That the said Mr. Fry did question the said Title; viz. "The Accuser shamed;" after the Examinate had so printed it; but nothing else, as the Examinate remembers.
Being asked, Whether the said Mr. Fry did own the Book, when he carried the said Books unto him, faith, That his Name was fixed to it: And that it was no way questioned, but that it was his Book.
Mr. Strong examined, faith, That, meeting with Mr. Fry, about Two Years since, in Westminster Hall, they had some Conference together; and something being spoken, that was also contained in that Book, the said Mr. Fry told this Examinate, That what he held in that Point, he had set forth in his Book: This Examinate told him. He thought, he the said Mr. Fry, would not have said, That that Book was his: Whereto the said Mr. Fry, replied, Yes, it is my Book from End to End.
And the said Examinate being asked, Whether it were that individual Book now shewn him, faith, There was the Name of no Book mentioned; but this Examinate understood the Book, the Copy whereof is now produced, to be the Book he meant, knowing no other Book of his, at that time, extant.
Further faith, That the said Mr. Fry did not say any thing to this Examinate, by way of Argument: But this Examinate retorted upon him, his own Argument in his Book; viz. "That you call them Persons or Substances: Yet they are Three:" Now, whether they be Three Persons, or Accidents, matters not: for the same Argument that is used in his, the said Mr. Fry his Book, must prevail against him, that they must be Three: But, whether the said Mr. Fry named the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, this Examinate remembers not: But faith, He did acknowledge they were Three, as far as the Examinate can remember: Neither doth this Examinate remember what Answer the said Mr. Fry gave him to the said Argument.
And this Examinate further faith, That the said Books were generally reputed to be the said Mr. Fry his Books: Yet this Examinate was not willing to believe it; but, when himself had said, it was his, he did then believe it; And concerning this Subject, this Examinate remembers not any other Discourse.
The House resumed the Debate upon the Report of the Exceptions taken to the said Books.
Mr. Fry being present gave his Answer to the several Exceptions taken by the Committee to the Two Books; the one, intituled, "The Accuser shamed," &c. and the other, intituled, "The Clergy in their Colours."
Resolved, That Mr. Fry do withdraw.
And he did withdraw accordingly.
And the House took into Debate the Report, by Parts.
The First Exception to the Book intituled, "The Accuser shamed," was again read.
Resolved, That it doth appear to this House, That Mr. John Fry is the Author and Publisher of this Book, except these Three Words "The Accuser shamed."
The First Exception to this Book was again read; together with the several Pages of the Book quoted.
Resolved, That this House doth agree with the Committee in the First Exception.
The Second Exception was read.
The Question being propounded, That the Matters contained in this Second Exception are erroneous, profane, and highly scandalous;
And the Question being put, That the Word "erroneous" be Part of this Question;
It passed with the Affirmative.
The Question being put, that the Word "profane" be Part of the Question;
It passed with the Affirmative.
The Question being put, That these Words "highly scandalous," be Part of the Question;
It passed with the Affirmative.
And the Question being put;
It was Resolved, That the Matters contained in this Second Exception are erroneous, profane and highly scandalous.
Resolved, That the Matter charged upon the said Mr. Fry, in the First Exception to this Book, is a Breach of Privilege of Parliament.
The First Exception to the Book called, "The Clergy in their Colours," was read.
Resolved, That these Expressions contained in this Exception are scandalous.
The Second Exception to the Book was read.
Resolved, That this Part of the said Book is erroneous.
Resolved, That both these Books, the one intituled,
"The Accuser shamed," &c. and the other intituled,
"The Clergy in their Colours," &c. be burnt.
Resolved, That the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex be authorized and required to cause all the printed Copies of both the said Books, and every of them, wheresoever they shall be found, to be burnt; some in the New Palace in Westminster, and some at the Old Exchange.
Resolved, That Candles be brought in.
And Candles were brought in, accordingly.
Resolved, That this House do proceed to Judgment now.
A Member disabled to sit.
The Question being propounded, That Mr. John Fry be disabled to sit as a Member of this House, during this Parliament;
And the Question being put, That that Question be now put;
It passed in the Affirmative.
And the main Question being put;
It was Resolved, That Mr. John Fry be disabled to sit as a Member of this House, during this Parliament.
Resolved, That the Votes concerning the said Books be printed and published.
The House adjourned itself to Tuesday Morning next, Eight of Clock.