Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Jovis, 7 die Novembris, 1678.
A PETITION of Charles Rawleigh Esquire, complaining of an undue Return of Maurice Bockland, to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough of Downton in the County of Wilts, in Injury of the Petitioner, who was duly elected, and ought to have been returned, was read.
Resolved, &c. That the said Petition be referred to the Consideration of the Committee of Elections and Privileges; to examine the Matter; and report the same, with their Opinions therein, to the House.
Privilege of a Member in a Suit.
A Complaint being made, of a Breach of Privilege, committed against Mr. Palmes, a Member of this honourable House, by Thomas Deane and John Blakestone, of Old Malton in the County of Yorke; in proceeding to a Tryal at Law this last Assizes, in a Cause wherein the Interest of Mr. Palmes was concerned; notwithstanding they had Notice, that Mr. Palmes was a Member of Parliament; and insisted upon his Privilege.
Ordered, That it be referred to the Consideration of the Committee of Privileges and Elections; to examine the Matter of the said Complaint; and report the same, with their Opinions therein, to the House: And that all further Proceedings at Law be stayed, until the Matter be heard: And that Summons be sent to the said Mr. Blakestone and Mr. Deane, forthwith to attend the said Committee: And that Notice of this Order be given to their Attorney at Law, and other Persons concerned therein.
Sir Henry Capell reports, That the Committee appointed to examine Mr. Coleman did, in pursuance of the Order, repair to Newgate to him; and examined him upon several Matters which were in Debate to the House; and had reduced his Examination into Writing: And that Mr. Coleman had himself signed it: Which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered the same in at the Clerk's Table: Which is as followeth;
Mr. Coleman says, That he received of Mons. Rovigny Three hundred Pounds, and of Mons. Courtin, Three hundred and sixty Pounds, for Intelligence given them of every Day's Proceedings in Parliament: And that Mons. Rovigny encouraged him to keep a good House, and That as well out of Parliament-time, as during the Sessions, that it might not be suspected.
That he received, the last Session, of Mons. Barillon, Two thousand Five hundred Pounds, which he intrusted him with, to distribute to Members of the House of Commons, to prevent a Rupture between the Two Crowns: And that, accordingly, he had prepared Guineas to distribute amongst them; but that he gave none to any Member of Parliament, but applied them to his own Use; and excused it to his own Conscience that he did so, because he thought he was as much out of Purse upon the French Account, in his Way of living. That the French Ambassador demanded an Account of the Two thousand Five hundred Pounds: And that he replied, He had distributed it to Members of the House of Commons; but desired to be excused as to their Names.
That Mons. Rovigny, believing, that, on the Side of the Confederates, Means were used to inflame the Parliament against France, did therefore encourage Mr. Coleman to pursue a Correspondence with Parliament-men, to prevent their Endeavours: That (to the best of his Remembrance), about December 1677, he thinks that he might in his Correspondence with St. Germaine, treat about procuring a Sum of Crowns (the certain Sum he remembers not) for preventing a Rupture with France, which he foresaw the Match with the Prince of Orange might occasion.
That, to his Remembrance, he entered no foreign Letters in his Book (or very unusually), other than common News, when the Correspondence between him and Mons. Le Cheze ceased; which was at least Two Years since.
That he was, by the First Contract, to receive Thirty thousand Pounds, for procuring a Security for the Bankers Debt, first by Patent, then by Act of Parliament; the one Half to be paid at Passing the Patent, the other Half at passing the Act: That, afterwards, this was reduced, by a second Contract, to Seven thousand Pounds in Silver, and Five thousand Guineas.
That of this, he has received about the Moiety of the Seven thousand Pounds in Silver, and no more; nor any Credit or Security for more, though by the second Contract he was to have received, not only half the Seven thousand Pounds in Silver, but also the Five thousand Guineas at passing the Patent.
Address for printing Coleman's Papers.
Mr. Powle reports from the Committee appointed to draw up an Address to be presented to his Majesty, to desire his Majesty, That Two Letters of Mr. Coleman's and One of Mons. Le Cheze, may be printed and published; That the Committee had agreed upon an Address: Which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered the same in at the Clerk's Table: Where the same was twice read; and, with an Amendment made at the Clerk's Table, upon the Question, agreed.
Resolved, &c. That the Concurrence of the Lords be desired to the said Address; And that the Address be written over fair, and a Blank left for the Concurrence of the Lords: Which Address is as followeth; viz.
WE Your Majesty's most Dutiful and Loyal Subjects, the and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, considering how restless the Endeavours of Priests and Jesuits, and other Popish Recusants, have always been, to pervert Your loyal Subjects, and to reduce this Kingdom again under the Bondage of Popish Superstition; and seeing how that, notwithstanding Your Majesty's Goodness and Clemency, they have, for several Years past, carried on a most wicked Design for the utter Extirpation of the Protestant Religion and the Government established in this Kingdom; and since we find it necessary to proceed against them with greater Severity than hath hitherto been used; we do humbly conceive, that the best Way to satisfy the Minds of Your Subjects, and to stop the Mouths of our Adversaries the Papists, whose daily Practice is to raise Scandals upon Your Majesty's Person, and to defame the Protestant Religion, and those that profess the same will . . to cause some undeniable Evidences of their Transactions Here, and their Correspondencies Abroad, to be divulged: We do therefore most humbly desire, that Your Majesty would be pleased to order, That Mr. Coleman's Letter to Mons. Le Cheze, the French King's Confessor, dated the Twenty-ninth of September 1675, wherein much of the said Matter is contained; as also another Letter of Mr. Coleman's to the same Person wherein he owns the Sending of the said Letter; and Mons. Le Cheze's Answer, whereby he acknowledges the Receipt thereof; may be speedily printed and published, for the present Satisfaction of Your Majesty's Protestant Subjects, until a further Narrative of the Particulars relating to this horrid Conspiracy may be publickly set forth.
Ordered, That Mr. Powle do carry up the Address to the Lords for their Concurrence: And do likewise put the Lords in mind of the Bill, intituled, An Act for the more effectual Preserving the King's Person and Government, by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament.
Mistranslation of the Gazette.
Mr. Newcomb being called in, to give an Account concerning the Translation of the Gazette into French; informed the House, That he was only concerned in setting the Press; and that he understood not the French Tongue: And that Mons. Moranville had been employed in that Affair for many Years, and was the only Corrector of it.
Ordered, That it be referred to a Committee, further to examine the Matter concerning, the translating, printing, and publishing the French Gazette: And they are to take the Particulars of the Examinations, in order to the Forming an Accusation at the Bar of the House of Lords.
And it is referred to Serjeant Seis, Mr. Williams, Sir Jos. Tredenham, Sir Tho. Mompesson, Col. Titus, Sir Ch. Harbord, Col. Birch, Sir Jo. Birkenhead, Sir Nich. Carew, Mr. Solicitor General, Mr. Sachaverell, Mr. Powle, Sir Tho. Lee; or any Three of them: And they are to meet at Three of the Clock in the Afternoon, in the Speaker's Chamber: And it is recommended to the Care of Serjeant Seis.
Ordered, That such Letters, amongst Mr. Coleman's Papers, as are written with Lemon or Vinegar between the Lines, be fairly transcribed; and such of them as are written in French, or undecyphered, be translated and decyphered; to the end the same may be read to the House.
Murder of Sir E. Godfrey.
Ordered, That Five be the Quorum of the Committee appointed to examine concerning the Murder of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey: And that Sir Edw. Harlow, Sir Trevor Williams, Sir Fra. Russell, Sir Ro. Barkley, Sir Fr. Drake, Col. Birch, Mr. Whorwood, and Sir John Moreton, be added to the Committee.