Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Martis, 10 die Januarii, 1670.
THE Petition of Sir Robert Atkins junior, was read; complaining of an undue Return, made by the Steward and Bailiff of the Town and Borough of Cirencester in the County of Gloucester, of one Henry Powle Esquire, to serve as a Burgess for that Place, in Wrong of the Petitioner, who was duly elected to serve for the same.
Ordered, That the said Petition of Sir Robert Atkins be referred to the Committee of Elections, to examine the Matter of the Petition; and report it, with their Opinions, to the House: And these Members following are added to the Committee, viz. Sir Henry Felton, Sir John Hotham, Mr. Ford, Mr. Nevill, Sir Courtney Poole, Sir Trevor Williams, Sir Will. Farmer, Sir Will. Bucknall, Sir Edmond Pye.
Privilege- Assault of Sir John Coventry.
The House then resumed the Consideration of the Assault, and Breach of Privilege, committed against Sir John Coventry, a Member of this House: And, having received an Account and Narrative of the whole Matter, as far as hitherto a Discovery is made thereof, from Sir Thomas Clergis, a Member of this House; before whom, and Two others of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, the Examination of the Witnesses which have testified in this Matter were taken, and returned into the Sessions, in order to the Trial of such Persons guilty as are in Custody: And, upon the whole Matter, it appeared, that near Twenty Persons armed, Horse and on Foot, were acting and assisting in this Fact, to assassinate and wound Sir John Coventry, as he was coming near to his House, from a Place where he supped that Night near by, only attended with a Foot-boy, having watched their Opportunity of doing it between Two and Three Hours, without any Provocation offered, or Offence given, by Sir John Coventry, to any of them; some of them wrapping him up in his Cloak, and holding him fast; and others cutting and maugling his Face, with a Knife, in a barbarous manner, when he could make no Defence for himself; robbing him of his Periwig, and his Servant of his Sword and Belt.
Upon Debate of which Matter, the whole House unanimously resenting this Fact, not only as a high Breach of Privilege, but an Attempt of dangerous Consequence to the King, his Laws and Government, and destructive to the very Essence and Constitution of Parliaments, and in itself a very vile and horrid Act; which did look to be no less than a Contrivance of some wicked Persons, that were Enemies to the King and Peace of his Kingdom;
After Debate whereof,
Resolved, &c. That a Bill be brought in, upon the Debates of the House, for setting a Day to such Persons as were Actors in the Fact concerning Sir John Coventry, to come in, and render themselves to Justice, or to be banished the Nation; with a Clause of Mercy to such as shall come in, and make a further Discovery of any of the Persons guilty, if they were not principal Actors in it themselves: And that no other Business be proceeded in, whilst the Bill is in passing this House: And it is recommended to Mr. Attorney General, Sir Thomas Meeres, Mr. Coleman, Sir Will. Coventry, Serjeant Mainard, Mr. Vaughan, Mr. Milward, Sir Thom. Clergis, Sir John Birkenhead, Sir Robert Atkins, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Garraway, Mr. Henry Coventry, Sir Robert Howard, Sir Thom. Lee, Sir Char. Harbord, Sir Francis Goodricke, or any Three of them, to prepare and bring in the Bill: And it is recommended to Sir Thomas Lee to take care thereof, that the Bill be made ready, and brought in To-morrow Morning: And they are to meet at Four of the Clock this Afternoon, in the Speaker's Chamber, &c.
And then the House adjourned till To-morrow Morning, Eight of the Clock.