Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Sabbati, 27 die Novembris, 1680.
Court of Marches.
Westbury Return amended.
The Clerk of the Crown being called in, amended the Return for Westbury in the County of Wilts, by rasing out the Names of Richard Lewis and Henry Bertie Esquires, and inserting the Names of William Trenchard and Edward Norton Esquires, instead thereof.
Mr. Treby reports from the Committee of Elections and Privileges, That the Committee, having taken into Consideration the Matter touching the Election for the Borough of Wells, had agreed upon Two Resolves, to be reported to the House: Which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered the same in at the Clerk's Table: Where the same being read, are as followeth;
Resolved, That this House doth agree with the Committee, That Edward Berkley Esquire is not duly elected a Burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough of Wells in the County of Somersett.
Evidence against Impeached Lords.
Pardon of Denis.
Ordered, That an humble Application be made to his Majesty, from this House, by such Members thereof as are of his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, to desire his Majesty to grant a full and general Pardon to Mr. Barnard Denis.
Colonel Birch reports from the Committee to whom the Consideration of the Petition of Sir Thomas Whitgrave, Francis Eld, and Sampson Birche, was referred, That the Committee, having examined the Matter relating to Sampson Birche, had ordered him to make the following Report; viz.
That, about the Twenty-sixth of June last, the said Birche, riding on the Road from London towards Staffordshire, did ask one John Bradbury, then likewise on the Road, If he had seen Mr. Dugdale? Who answered Yes: To which Birch replied, That Dugdale, Oates, and Bedloe, were Rogues, to say there was any Plot of the Papists; but it was true, there was a Plot of the Presbyterians; and he would justify it: And, as to Dugdale, he had got the French Pox; and it would come up into his Head in a Fortnight's time; and he would not live to come into Staffordshire any more.
And further, That, about Midsummer last, one Thomas Launder being at Dinner in Westminster at a Place called Heaven, the said Birche came into his Company; and there affirmed openly, That there was no Popish Plot; but a Company of Rogues, and the Races in Staffordshire, had made this Plot.
And further, That the said Sampson Birche, being Keeper of the Prison at Stafford, did suffer Mr. Bromage, a Popish Priest condemned, to walk abroad into the Country to take the Air: But the said Birche saith, he went with the said Priest; and it was for Recovery of his Health.
And further reported to the House, That the said Birch is Mustermaster of the Horse and Foot in Staffordshire, and Keeper of such Arms as have been taken from Papists upon the Discovery of the Plot; which Arms are now in his Custody.
The Question being put, That the Consideration of the said Petition be referred to the Committee to whom the Bill for the better Encouragement of the Woollen Manufacture, by the general Wearing thereof, is committed;
|Tellers,||Mr. Vernon,||for the Yeas,||117.|
|Tellers,||Sir Thomas Armstrong,||for the Noes,||151.|
|Sir John Holmes,|
Ordered, That Mr. Stonehouse, Sir John Brookes, Mr. Arnold, Sir James Long, Mr. Barker, Sir Philip Skippon, Sir William Poultney, Mr. White, Mr. Pierpoint, Mr. Savage, Mr. Wyndham, Sir Richard Graham, Sir Samuel Bernardiston, Mr. Wright, Sir John Hobbart, Mr. Duke, Sir Philip Parker, Sir William Hickman, be added to the Committee to whom the Bills touching the Regulating of the Elections of Members to serve in the Commons House of Parliament, are committed.
Address on State of the Kingdom.
Mr. Hamden reports from the Committee appointed to prepare an Address to his Majesty, upon the Debate of the House, humbly representing the dangerous State and Condition of this Kingdom, in Answer to his Majesty's Message relating to Tangier, an Address agreed upon by the Committee: Which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered the same in at the Clerk's Table: Where the same being read, was, after a long Debate, upon the Question, agreed to; and is as followeth;
WE Your Majesty's most Obedient and Loyal Subjects, the Commons in Parliament assembled, having, with all Duty and Regard, taken into our serious Consideration Your Majesty's late Message relating to Tangier, cannot but account the present Condition of it, as Your Majesty is pleased to represent it in Your said Message, after so vast a Treasure expended to make it useful, not only as one Infelicity more added to the afflicted Estate of your Majesty's faithful and loyal Subjects, but as one Result also of the same Counsels and Designs, which have brought Your Majesty's Person, Crown, and Kingdoms, into those great and imminent Dangers, with which at this Day they are surrounded: And we are the less surprised to hear of the Exigencies of Tangier, when we remember, that, since it became Part of Your Majesty's Dominions, it hath several times been under the Command of Popish Governors; particularly for some time under the Command of a Lord impeached, and now Prisoner in the Tower, for the execrable and horrid Popish Plot; that the Supplies sent thither have been, in great Part, made up of Popish Officers and Soldiers; and that the Irish Papists among the Soldiers of that Garison have been the Persons most countenanced and encouraged.
To that Part of Your Majesty's Message, which expresses a Reliance upon this House for the Support of Tangier, and a Recommendation of it to our speedy Care; we do, with all Humility and Reverence, give this Answer; That, although, in due Time and Order, we shall omit nothing incumbent on us for the Preservation of every Part of Your Majesty's Dominions, and advancing the Prosperty and flourishing Estate of this Your Kingdom; yet at this time, when a Cloud, which has long threatened this Land, is ready to break upon our Heads in a Storm of Ruin and Confusion, to enter into any further Consideration of this Matter, especially to come to any Resolutions in it, before we are effectually secured from the imminent and apparent Dangers arising from the Power of Popish Persons and Counsels, we humbly conceive will not consist either with our Duty to Your Majesty, or the Trust reposed in us by those we represent.
It is not unknown to Your Majesty, how restless the Endeavours, and how bold the Attempts, of the Popish Party, for many Years last past, have been, not only within this, but other Your Majesty's Kingdoms, to introduce the Romish, and utterly to extirpate the true Protestant Religion. The several Approaches they have made towards the compassing This their Design, assisted by the Treachery of perfidious Protestants, have been so strangely successful, that 'tis matter of Admiration to us, and which we can only ascribe to an over-ruling Providence, that Your Majesty's Reign is still continued over us, and that we are yet assembled to consult the Means of our Preservation.
Address on State of the Kingdom.
This bloody and restless Party, not content with the great Liberty they had a long time enjoyed to exercise their own Religion privately amongst themselves, to . . . take of an equal Freedom of their Persons and Estates with Your Majesty's Protestant Subjects, and of an Advantage above them, in being excused from chargeable Offices and Employments, hath so far prevailed, as to find Countenance: From an open and avowed Practice of their Superstition and Idolatry, without Controul, in several Parts of this Kingdom, great Swarms of Priests and Jesuits have resorted hither, and have here exercised their Jurisdiction, and been daily tampering to pervert the Consciences of Your Majesty's Subjects, their Opposers they have found means to disgrace; and, if they were Judges, Justices of the Peace, or other Magistrates, to have them turned out of Commission: And, in Contempt of the Laws of the Land, they have practiced upon People of all Ranks and Qualities, and gained over divers to their Religion; some openly to profess it, others secretly to espouse it, as mostly conduced to the Service thereof.After some time, they became able to influence Matters of State and Government, and thereby to destro those they cannot corrupt: The Continuance or Prorogation of Parliaments has been accommodated to serve the Purposes of that Party: Money raised upon the People, to supply Your Majesty's extraordinary Occasions, was, by the Prevalence of Popish Counsels, employed to make War upon a Protestant State, and to advance and augment the dreadful Power of the French King; though, to the apparent Hazard of this, and all other Protestant Countries: Great Numbers of Your Majesty's Subjects were sent into, and continued in the Service of that King; notwithstanding the apparent Interest of Your Majesty's Kingdoms, the Addresses of the Parliament, and Your Majesty's gracious Proclamations to the contrary: Nor can we forbear to mention: How that, at the Beginning of the same War, even the Ministers of England were made Instruments to press upon that State the Acceptance of One Demand, among others, from the French King, for procuring their Peace with him; that they should admit the publick Exercise of the Roman Catholick Religion in the United Provinces; the Churches there to be divided; and the Romish Priests maintained out of the publick Revenue.
At Home, if Your Majesty did, at any time, by the Advice of Your Privy Council, or of Your Two Houses of Parliament, command the Laws to be put in Execution against Papists; even from thence they gained Advantage to their Party, while the Edge of those Laws was turned against Protestant Dissenters, and the Papists escaped, in a manner, untouched: The Act of Parliament, injoining a Test to be taken by all Persons admitted into any publick Office, and intended for a Security against Papists coming into Employment, had so little Effect, that either, by Dispensations obtained from Rome, they submitted to those Tests, and held their Offices themselves; or those put in their Places were so favourable to the same Interests, that Popery itself has rather gained than lost Ground since that Act.
But, that their Business in hand might yet more speedily and strongly proceed, at length a Popish Secretary, since executed for his Treasons, takes upon him to set a-foot and maintain Correspondencies at Rome (particularly with a native Subject of Your Majesty's, promoted to be a Cardinal), and in the Courts of other foreign Princes, to use their own Form of Speech, "for the subduing that pestilent Heresy, which has so long domineered over this Northern World;" that is, to root the Protestant Religion out of England; and thereby to make way the more easily to do the same in other Protestant Countries.
Towards the doing this great Work (as Mr. Colman was pleased to call it), Jesuits, the most dangerous of all Popish Orders to the Lives and Estates of Princes, were distributed to their several Precincts within this Kingdom; and held joint Councils with those of the same Order in all Neighbour Popish Countries: Out of these Councils and Correspondencies was hatched that damnable and hellish Plot, by the good Providence of Almighty God brought to Light above Two Years since, but still threatening us; wherein the Traitors, impatient of longer Delay, reckoning the Prolonging of Your Sacred Majesty's Life (which God long preserve) as the great Obstacle in the Way to the Consummation of their Hopes; and having in their Prospect a proselyted Prince immediately to succeed in the Throne of these Kingdoms; resolved to begin their Work with the Assassination of Your Majesty; to carry it on with armed Force; to destroy Your Protestant Subjects in England; to execute a Second Massacre in Ireland; and so, with Ease, to arrive at the Suppression of our Religion, and the Subversion of the Government.
When this accursed Conspiracy began to be discovered, they began the smothering it with the barbarous Murder of a Justice of the Peace within One of Your Majesty's own Palaces, who had taken some Examinations concerning it.
Amidst these Distractions and Fears, Popish Officers for the Command of Forces were allowed upon the Musters, by special Orders surreptitiously obtained from Your Majesty, but countersigned by a Secretary of State, without ever passing under the Tests prescribed by the aforementioned Act of Parliament: In like manner, above Fifty new Commissions were granted about the same time to known Papists; besides a great Number of desperate Popish Officers, though out of Command, yet entertained at Half Pay.
When, in the next Parliament, the House of Commons were prepared to bring to a legal Tryal the principal Conspirators in this Plot, that Parliament was first prorogued, and then dissolved: The Interval between the Calling and Sitting of this Parliament was so long, that now they conceive Hopes of covering all their past Crimes, and gaining a seasonable Time and Advantages of practising them more effectually: Witnesses are attempted to be corrupted; and not only Promises of Reward, but of the Favour of Your Majesty's Brother, made the Motives to their Compliance: Divers of the most considerable of Your Majesty's Protestant Subjects have Crimes of the highest Nature forged against them; the Charge to be supported by Subornation and Perjury, that they may be destroyed by Forms of Law and Justice.
A Presentment being prepared for a Grand Jury of Middlesex against Your Majesty's said Brother the Duke of Yorke, under whose Countenance all the rest shelter themselves, the Grand Jury were, in an unheard-of, and unprecedented, and illegal manner, discharged; and That with so much Haste and Fear, lest they should finish that Presentment, that they were prevented from delivering many other Indictments by them at that time found among other Popish Recusants.
Because a Pamphlet came forth weekly, called, "The Weekly Pacquet of Advice from Rome," which exposes Popery, as it deserves, as ridiculous to the People; a new and arbitrary Rule was made in Your Majesty's Court of King's Bench, rather like a Star Chamber than a Court of Law, That the same should not for the future be printed by any Person whatsoever.
We acknowledge Your Majesty's Grace and Care in issuing forth divers Proclamations, since the Discovery of the Plot, for the banishing Papists from about this great City, and Residence of Your Majesty's Court and the Parliament: But, with Trouble of Mind, we do humbly inform Your Majesty, That, notwithstanding all these Prohibitions, great Numbers of them, and of the most dangerous Sort, to the Terror of Your Majesty's Protestant Subjects, do daily resort hither, and abide here.
Under these and other sad Effects and Evidence of the Prevalency of Popery, and its Adherents, we Your Majesty's faithful Commons found this Your Majesty's distressed Kingdom, and other Parts of Your Dominions, labouring, when we assembled: And therefore, from our Allegiance to Your Majesty, our Zeal to our Religion, our Faithfulness to our Country, and our Care of Posterity, we have lately, upon mature Deliberation, proposed One Remedy of these great Evils, without which (in our Judgments) all others will prove vain and fruitless; and, like all deceitful Securities against certain Dangers, will rather expose Your Majesty's Person to the greatest Hazard, and the People, together with all that is valuable to them, as Men or Christians, to utter Ruin and Destruction.
We have taken this Occasion of an Access to Your Majesty's Royal Presence, humbly to lay before Your Majesty's great Judgment, and gracious Consideration, this most dreadful Design of introducing Popery, and, as necessary Consequences of it, all other Calamities, into Your Majesty's Kingdoms: And if, after all this, the private Suggestions of the subtle Accomplices of that Party and Design should yet prevail, either to elude, or totally obstruct, the faithful Endeavours of us Your Commons, for an happy Settlement of this Kingdom, we shall have this remaining Comfort, That we have freed ourselves from the Guilt of that Blood and Desolation, which is like to ensue.
But our only Hope (next under God) is in Your Sacred Majesty; That, by Your great Wisdom and Goodness, we may be effectually secured from Popery, and all the Evils that attend it; and that none but Persons of known Fidelity to Your Majesty, and sincere Affections to the Protestant Religion, may be put into any Employment, Civil or Military; that, whilst we shall give a Supply to Tangier, we may be assured we do not augment the Strength of our Popish Adversaries, nor increase our own Dangers.
Which Desires of Your faithful Commons if Your Majesty shall graciously vouchsafe to grant, we shall not only be ready to assist Your Majesty in Defence of Tangier; but do whatsoever else shall be in our Power, to enable Your Majesty to protect the Protestant Religion and Interest at Home and Abroad, and to resist and repel the Attempts of Your Majesty's and the Kingdom's Enemies.
Lord Stafford's Impeachment.
Mr. Speaker, The Lords have appointed a Committee of Five Lords to meet with a Committee of this House, to adjust the Methods and Circumstances in the Tryal of the Lord Viscount Stafford: And have appointed the Five Lords to meet this Afternoon at Three of the Clock, in the Inner Court of Wards.
Resolved, That a Committee be appointed, of Ten Members of this House, to meet the Committee of Lords, to adjust the Methods and Circumstances in the Tryal of the Lord Viscount Stafford; viz. Sir William Jones, Sir Francis Winnington, Sir Henry Capell, Mr. Hamden, Sir Thomas Lee, Colonel Titus, Mr. Powle, Mr. Garway, Serjeant Maynard, Mr. Treby.