Debates in 1690: April 25th-30th

Pages 75-102

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 10. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

Friday, April 25.

The Abjuration-Bill was read a first, and ordered to be read a second time.]

Saturday, April 26.

The Abjuration-Bill was read a second time.


Lord Digby.] 'Tis a tender point that I am going to speak to; and, before I enter into the Debate, I desire I may speak freely, without prejudice. Whatsoever concerns the Constitution of the present Government, I would not be thought to speak against; nor for King James, if I speak against the Bill. The Foundation of the Government is the Bill of Rights; wherein the King promises his part, &c. and we swear Fealty. This is our original Contract; if there be any, I am of opinion that is it. This Oath I took with a good Conscience, and will keep it. Till the King enlarges his part of the Contract, I think we should not enlarge ours. I have heard of Enemies against Kingly Government, and I fear this will create many more. This will not distinguish the Enemies from the Friends of the Government. If this be, now the King is going into Ireland, it may be of dangerous consequence. These Considerations weigh with me against the Bill.

Mr Cary.] I am so much a Friend to the Government, that, when this was first proposed, I was for it, and ready to take any engagement; but the reason then for it, makes me now against it. To distinguish Friends and Enemies, supposes a need to support the Government. Now you doubt your Weakness, and prove it too. Do you not discover the Weakness of the Government, when you find it ? The Oath of Allegiance has this Oath of Abjuration in it. Oaths lose their Value, when they lose their Necessity. Excommunication lost its Force, when made too cheap, in the Romish Church. I shall proceed to show, that this is no Security to the Government. They that will evade one Oath, will another. Those men that abjured King Charles II, did not they bring him in ? May not men that will evade these Oaths, come into Employment, and easily break through, and have advantage of betraying the Government ? They have taken the Oath of Allegiance; and if they have a mind to get off by evasion, they may do this of Abjuration. I am against a Committee, &c. because it is against the Government.

Col. Granville.] I stand up to move for Commitment, &c; and really I cannot understand the reason of those that oppose it. This only obliges us to what we all have done. In that Oath, I did heartily renounce all Allegiance and Kindness to King James. The duty to Religion obliged us to displace a Popish Prince: A Protestant Title is the best Title to the Crown of England. If we discover our weakness upon an ill bottom, it will only discover our Enemies. I have heard Exceptions against Ecclesiastics, &c. I cannot believe it, unless they have some secret reserves. If such men be in England, this Bill is absolutely necessary. From Treachery and False-heartedness is our ruin; [from those] who will part with all rules of Morality to ruin us again. Those who scrupled the former Oaths, will these; and your great tenderness, in the last Parliament, makes them scorn to owe any obligation to your Mercy, because, they say, you durst not do otherwise: They are not to be led by arguments of clemency and good-nature. I am for the Bill.

Lord Falkland.] I am an Advocate for the present Government; and, for the same reason, I was for the Abdication of King James, and for the settling of King William upon the Throne. The design of this Bill is to distinguish your Enemies: At home, they are too few to be feared, or too many to be provoked. When your Enemies see you reduced to the last extremity, how will they value you ? When Augustus Cæsar had a List given him of those who conspired against him, he burnt that List; which made those and their families his friends. If such think themselves bound in conscience to bring in King James, they will take this Oath to bring him in. Those who brought in King Charles II, valued themselves upon their Abjuration of him. Upon the whole, I am of opinion that this Bill is destructive to the Government: I am against it. I have taken the Oath of Allegiance to King William, and will keep it; and I did in that abjure King James. I have suffered too much in the last Government, ever to desire it to come back.

Sir John Thompson.] One thing is missing in the Bill, that all the Lawyers in England swear to it; and then the Divines will not scruple it.

Mr Harcourt.] I will support the Dignity of the Monarchy under the Government: Could I believe this Bill would conduce to it, I should be as forward for it as any man; for, that person that will equivocate with the Oath of Allegiance there is no security in it, and but little in this. I have often heard, that we have a powerful Enemy abroad, and a necessity to unite at home. This will endanger fomenting and increasing Jealousies. What we have done already does encourage our Allies, and deter our Enemies, and testify our firmness to the Government, by the great Sums of Money we have given to support it. I will discharge my Conscience, however I am mistaken. Such an unprecedented Oath will give occasion to think there is some defect in the Government, when such an Oath was never required in this Government to support it. Can we gain more Friends ? Those who quietly obey it, naturally, if they suffer by it, will find means to redress themselves. You will make no Friends by it; you will make Enemies. I hope there will be no Reflection upon me, as against the Government, because I am against the Bill.

Sir John Maynwaring.] I will give you my private Reason, why I am for this Bill. Suppose you have a Member within these Walls, that should say, "If you will do as I would have you, send away King William, and send back for King James." I have an attested Copy of this Information of one of your Members.

Sir John Guise.] When I see a Gentleman give you this account, who is not likely to run away, I would have it heard on Monday; and I doubt not but you will think it worthy your care to know who this Member was. If he does not make this out, he is under your censure, and you may send him to the Tower.

Sir Charles Kemeys.] I know not whether the Member that said the words, may be here to-morrow; though, I believe, Maynwaring may be here.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] This is an aspersion upon the whole House. For your own Honour, if there be such a rotten limb, let him be named and cut off.

Col. Birch.] 'Tis not to say, "Name him, name him:" But things of this consequence are determined by a Question.

Sir John Maynwaring.] Now I am commanded by the House to name the person that said the words, I shall do it. The reason why I did not name him was, because persons have sworn it. I cannot assert the Truth of it; but the Gentleman is Sir Thomas Grosvenor.

Sir Thomas Grosvenor.] There was a Bricklayer in Chester, who said, "He heard me say some words, when I stood for Parliament-Man." Alderman Streete took the Examination of the Man; he was privately examined. On Sunday morning I heard of it, and came to Chester in the afternoon; and several Citizens proffered to testify, upon Oath, what this fellow was. He was bound apprentice to a person in Chester, whom he robbed, and another at London, and then turned Fortune-teller. He came to Chester, and nobody would employ him, he was such a lying fellow. I caned this fellow for ill work he had done for me, and he swore he would be revenged of me. Alderman Streete threatened to lay this man by the heels, if he would not swear against me—He sent the Examination to Lord Shrewsbury. Col. Cholmondeley carried the Letter to my Lord, and the Examination, which attested the villainy of this fellow. I entered into a Recognizance of 5000l. to clear myself.

Col. Cholmondeley (fn. 1).] I am sorry this thing has been mentioned. Lord Shrewsbury told me, "That Sir Thomas Grosvenor need not trouble himself; for this was some Quarrel only about Elections."

Mr Shackerley.] I must justify this person—Because he would not take the Test, he was turned out of the Army—A Letter was sent from Captain Middleton, to cast Bullets, for the Army, out of the Lead-Mines; and this Streete made use of the Letter for casting of Bullets for King James.

Sir Robert Cotton.] I know, this Streete did promote the business, when the City of Chester declared for the Prince of Orange.

Mr Wharton.] I am sorry when there are any personal Reflections in this House; but if you cannot get off from it at present, appoint a day. The Gentleman is not accused by Maynwaring; but, for his justification, hearing this thing, he thought it his duty to acquaint you with it (fn. 2).

Sir Henry Goodrick.] My Opinion is, that this Bill is dangerous. This began the Barons Wars; but in those great Changes none of these Cures were ever attempted. The Possessor of the Crown ought to be obeyed. When you abjure a Government, you abjure your Lands. A man cannot say, he will abjure against God's will. I am as free to serve this Government as I was forward to bring it in. This is an Abjuration that I cannot say I can maintain: Abjuration is a renunciation of all protection that can come to me. Though some men will swallow Abjuration of the Royal Family, under a Branch whereof we sit, those of the Church of England will not do it. The utmost necessity made me break my Oath to King James: It was utmost Necessity, and those are terrible things— Upon the Revolution, Gentlemen could not dispossess themselves of the obligation of former Oaths—I will come closer—This Oath is to renounce and abjure all Allegiance to King James. The Oath of Allegiance to King William was generally taken all over England; and, of Ten Thousand in Holy Orders, not above Eighty, have refused it. Those who were for a Regency, I did not join with——As Christians, we ought to bear with one another; but two of your Members refused the Oath (fn. 3); one whereof was a man of great integrity, and known honour in his Country. That was a positive Oath; but when it is a Negation [the case is altered]—In the Revolutions of Naples and Sicily, [there was no Oath given] It never took place among Christians, to make an Oath of Abjuration. This being so, what necessity is there of this Oath for us, more than all the World besides ? Is not your Oath of Allegiance sufficient ? I cannot answer how a negative Oath may garble the Nation. I am a Counsellor, and am bound by my Oath to die for the honour and safety of the Government. In so near a Post to the King, I must do for his honour and safety, and the Kingdom's. To give power to a Justice of Peace (as by this Bill) to send a man to Jail, without Bail, is the highest point of Tyranny. Let it not be in our power to tyrannize over one another. I would take it into consideration to secure the Government; but, in the mean time, to reject this Bill.

Sir John Guise.] You are told, "That, in the Revolutions of Naples and Sicily, there was no Oath of Abjuration given." None but have heard what the Sicilian Vespers were—Augustus Cæsar had a List of those who conspired against him—He would know, whether Lentulus and Antony were against him—Or whether a King James in Ireland. His business was, who had no Right to the Crown, to oblige people to join with him to enslave the rest. I have heard a Lord speak of "an Original Contract." What have you done in this ? —If no Contract be broken by King James, you know the consequence—If King James's going into France is in the nature of a Demise, you know who must be King. If that come to be debated over again here, you may lay such stumbling blocks, that you may see Enemies rise, with Swords in their Hands, before you know you have an Enemy. 'Tis said, they will submit; but it is because they see a greater power, when the Oaths come to be published. When I come to abjure, I will abjure; I have not forsworn myself. I am absolved from my Oath, when it cannot be maintained—You will keep a reserve for King James, if he get the better; but I will either live or die with this Government. If you will not own yourselves, will people own you ?

Sir Thomas Lee.] The Question is, for committing the Bill. There are many things in the Bill fit to be altered and mended, that I do not like indeed; and, I think it too large in putting in "Ecclesiastical Persons." I think it fit, that those in Employment and Offices give Security to the Government. I am sorry there should be such an expectation of King James, that men should not renounce him. We used to say that Allegiance follows Protection. As to the Reverend Clergy that took the Oaths, it seems to me but a repetition of the Oaths; and I wonder that Gentlemen, by the same reason, are not against the Oaths and the Test to be taken in every new Office. The Oath of Abjuration was tendered to General Monk; he would not take it—It was imposed by a little Party here, and a few crept in together, but was not imposed upon the generality of the Kingdom. What was that Diana of the Covenant-Renunciation but a kind of Abjuration ? This is not so now in England, as Gentlemen would seem to have it. I would have it so understood and declared, that we may provide against them and him, by renouncing such obligation. This Debate seems to me to be more necessary, by what I have heard, when I am told, that men in Employment drink King James's health. As for new distinctions, what else were the Tests for, after the Oaths of Allegiance, whilst great men in Power drew men into Power ? But their Power sunk by the discountenance they gave to their old friends the Cavaliers, who might have been useful to them afterwards—What security can persons have, that obliging will not tie ? The King shows you, that he is not ignorant of designs on foot of secret Enemies. The way to have fewest Enemies is, the speediest discoveries; and that those in Employment and Trust in the Government declare they have no expectation, no desire, of Change in the Government.

Mr Roberts.] There is a third thing, called Interest, makes men stick to a Government.—I am attainted in Ireland. I came in with no Opinion of this Bill, and I am now confirmed, that you reject the Bill.

Sir Tho. Clarges.] The 27th of December, [1688] you attended on the Prince of Orange, and thanked him for his Expedition, &c. And then we asserted all our Rights, and then made a Tender of the Crown, and the Oath of Allegiance we have all taken, which is a Renunciation of King James; and it bears a just interpretation. Do you think the Government is yet insecure ? In your Act of Rights, you did declare him King, and swore Allegiance, &c. and I think the Act of Recognition did rather weaken—Where you put a Buttress, there the Building is weak. What say the Jesuits ? "Let them alone, and they will fall out among themselves; and King James will come in:" And nothing will tend more to bring in King James than this Bill. I am for the Government, and I did take the Oaths conscientiously, and will. No ambiguous Oath was ever taken; but when we come once to distinguish a Title, then we have Bill after Bill, to explain we know not what. The short Oath of Allegiance was a good and a wise Oath. The Bills for Money are depending, and this comes to interrupt them ! I humbly conclude, that this Bill may be rejected.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] It had been a great deal more ingenuous to have brought these objections upon the bringing in of the Bill. The Government being crazy, I would have Buttresses to support it. The Government was never asserted by the Churchmen, till Magdalen-College was touched. They have a notion in their heads of the Great Turk, that if they may be Bashaws, they will swear Allegiance to the Great Turk. If this Bill will bring in a Common-wealth, I am against it, and I cannot believe such a man (as Clarges) is in earnest, when he says so. We have had one Revolution, and, that we may not have another, I am for this Bill.

Sir John Lowther.] I speak now with great difficulty. My heart and judgment goes along with most part of this Bill, and I am content to be a Martyr for it; but I have a great deference to unity. Totally to reject this Bill, after our Votes are gone abroad of the first reading, may have no good effect. On the other side, to go against the grain of so many worthy Gentlemen, who would live and die with the King, is inconvenient. We have the example of a man of great authority (Lord Carmarthen.) I would have it fortified with such authority——There are Conspiracies among Protestants as well as Papists. I fear the Oath taken to abjure King James is not for Love of this King, but to abjure all Kings. I would not put so great discouragement as totally to reject this Bill, but you may model it. It may lie upon the Table, or be referred to a private Committee; but I would not instantly commit it to the whole House. Change the Abjuration into "Not assisting King James." He that agrees not to keep him out is not fit to be in the Government; but I do not desire that to be imposed upon every body, but to own the Government, and promise not to bring in King James. Consider the condition you will be left in; the King in Ireland; and, worse than all the rest, the Government will be left precarious in the hands of People, whether they will lend Money for the Army or Fleet, and all may be lost; and they descant, "That the Parliament would never reject this Bill, but for some uncertainty in the Government; and we will never lend our Money;" and the consequence may be, the Army will be upon free quarter, and the Navy not go out. Take it thus far into consideration; try if you can moderate the Bill to satisfy; and possibly, with a little pains, it may satisfy all persons.

Sir Robert Howard.] I shall speak with all the deference to every body that differs from me, that is fit. I know not what Lowther means by his "deference to a great Man," whom he names not. You are told, "This Renunciation is a new thing;" but Church and State can never be safe without it. What is your Religion, your Allegiance, but a Renunciation ? The old thing you ever have done. What are your penal Laws, and Test, but a Renunciation ? 'Tis the whole Government, and protection of Church and State. I believe it in the Peoples hearts already; and they may else renounce you, and go into a Commonwealth. I would not try whether we have Enemies too many, and Friends too few. I would rather know my fate, than silently live under I know not what. Consider what Renunciation is; you remove a King, and one may be King again. This being so, you have more cause now than ever to think of a Renunciation. The King goes into Ireland; and if King James should come here, and take possession, this will take that off from those that think themselves yet free to join with him. The people who generally lend Money in the Exchequer, are not people who expect that King James will pay them again. A Renunciation of all hopes of King James is the subject of the Bill.

Mr Ettrick.] When this Bill is laid aside, you may order another; but not for Justices of the Peace to imprison when they please. I can readily come up to this. I hear the Church mentioned: I fear it may be a Church-Trap. I should have been glad to see "the King's Heirs and Successors" in the Bill, that Monarchy may be supported by it. When the RumpParliament came to be in the feeblest condition, then came the Abjuration of Charles II.

Mr Powle, Master of the Rolls.] Nothing is more natural among private persons, and the Government is to take the most natural way to preserve itself; and this is nothing but a zealous support with vigour; and therefore not only by Punishments, but the way has been taken by Oaths to preserve the Government. This Oath is to no other end than to respect those who are to be employed in the Government: 'Tis not universal, to peep into mens consciences that live peaceably, but that they who are to act ought to be zealous in it. I will not go so far back as the Wars of York and Lancaster. The Oath of Supremacy and Allegiance was perfectly an Abjuration of the Pope, and all his power, in Henry VIII's Reformation, when there was no prospect of opposition; but when there are pretended Titles against the present Government, 'tis reasonable to make men renounce them. "A King de facto, and a King de jure"—whoever mentions that de facto implies another de jure. There are two Allegiances in that case, and therefore fit to stick to one. To obey the King de facto, is no other than to obey till I have power to rebell. To let them go abroad, and scatter this fire, you will restrain ! I should be very sparing to impose this Oath on any but in Offices, but to have a discretionary power to give it. All Governments do it; and you must do this, if you will preserve it.

Sir Joseph Williamson.] It has been long known to many Gentlemen, that I have as much zeal for the Protestant Religion as any body. 'Tis unfortunate, when things are brought on suddenly, by surprize. The Question for this Bill came in in an angry time of day, when you were about the City Address. I shall ever be for keeping off from Heats and Parties. I cannot but observe, that it came in upon resentment. I went out for the Address, and against this Bill; but I see plainly, it resents matter of party and distinction; and, however well intended, it seems to be designed against one sort of persons. I take it, the Church of England is as sure to this Government as any other part of it. 'Tis their interest and preservation to despair of possibility of living under a Popish King. None did their duties with more courage than that body of Men, nor suffered more deeply. The Popish Party supported the lowest sort of men (the Quakers) to take them into their Party against the Church of England. I say to this Bill, the scope in consequence of it may weaken hands; 'tis not necessary, and therefore not advisable. I would have a day set to secure the Government against all ill-affected persons. Now the King is going for Ireland, we have no account of the Militia. Seeing it is not done elsewhere, I move for a day to consider it, "to secure the Government against all ill-affected persons."

Mr Comptroller Wbarton.] What fell from Williamson calls me up. It must touch upon me. This Bill was moved for by one and another; and I thought fit to follow it; and you might have rejected it upon the first Motion. We are in an actual War against one that was King, and some hope may be. This Bill is not against the Church of England. If any be against the Government, and this King, 'tis that Party, be it where it will, against which the Bill is intended. If it be left on your Books, that this Bill is rejected, I hope those against it will not be ashamed to let their Names go abroad.

[The Question for committing the Bill passed in the Negative, 192 to 178: And the Question for rejecting it passed in the Affirmative, 192 to 165.]

Monday, April 28.

On securing the Government.

Sir Joseph Williamson.] That Power I move for now, was formerly used and exercised in the Government; and if there be not some extraordinary Provision made, on extraordinary occasions, to lodge such a Trust, for some few months, against such persons as shall be justly suspected to conspire against the Government, to support the Government that has redeemed us from the danger of all our Rights, secular and divine, we are to despair for tolerable terms to live and breathe in, without such helps. No man will use that for his constant diet, that is his physic when indisposed; and I foresee that such a censure may be made upon this. In all Parliaments, they have found it necessary to lodge a Trust in the Crown: As when in Henry VIII's time there was a power pro interim, by Proclamation, &c. and a disposing of the whole Succession of the Crown, in the Recognition of Queen Elizabeth, 'tis taken notice of, "That that Law of Henry VIII shall be a Law in the Government for ever." Let no Gentleman think hardly of this Motion: I do not doubt but you will have a return suitable to the Trust. My Motion is, (and perfectly for righting myself, and the Gentlemen that voted with me on Saturday, that we lie under no misconstruction without doors,) "That a Power, for some few Months, be in the Crown, to commit Persons for treasonable Correspondence against King William with King James, without Bail."

Sir John Thompson.] If nothing but the Danger of the People will be the Security of the Crown, I fear we are in an ill condition. You did not give Power in the Privy-Council for six to commit without Bail: [Yet] they had the confidence, the Parliament sitting, to imprison one of your Members (fn. 4) (Lord Danby.) Give me time, and my family, to go out of England, and pass this Act (moved for) with all my heart.

Sir Edward Hussey.] If there be such Counsellors about the King, as to advise him to bring over Lord Dumbarton's Regiment (fn. 5); and if [there be] such Lords about the King, as say, "The Act of Recognition is neither good-sense nor reason;" I desire not to trust such with so great a Power as is moved for.

Sir William Whitlock.] I never thought of such a Motion to be made as came from Williamson; and I hope that no Englishman will give his consent to it. I will not trust the Government with six Privy-Counsellors, nor six-score. 'Tis strange that the Government of England should be brought to that pass, to be inconsistent with the safety of the People.

Sir Henry Goodrick.] There was a Bill brought in to secure the Government, by an Oath of Abjuration, &c. 'Tis now proposed, that, after all the Informations of caballing against the Government, both by Papists, and worse, there seems something wanting in the Law to secure them. Let Gentlemen, who were engaged in the last Revolution, consider, if King James had pursued the advice, to have sent for the Heads of Parties against him, and clapped them up, where had the Revolution been ? We have Informations out of Lancashire, a chain of intelligence of persons plotting against the Government; but they are all gone, the birds are flown; and the King going now upon a hazardous Expedition, there will be a great check upon proceedings, without this Bill, for the Queen to govern in his absence. If your Militia be in so ill a condition, that they have no Arms nor Ammunition, what remedy is there but this Motion for suspension. of the Habeas Corpus Act but for a few Months, not perpetual, nor final ? My request to the House is, as you tender the safety of all that is dear to you, that such a Power may be vested. I, as an Englishman, ask it, and dare ask it.

Mr Harcourt.] As we are sent here to preserve the Liberties of England, so there is no greater security for them than this Act, and I think I have acquitted my trust very ill, if I give it up; a "security," a Member told you (Clarges) you had struggled many years for, and it is that now we contend for. It has been already suspended three times, and now you will do it a fourth ! Suspending it thus upon every occasion will, at last, amount to a repeal. At this particular time, now we have an Army of Foreigners in our Bowels, we should rather increase our Liberties than diminish them.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] There was a time when the Subject was removed from one Prison to another, and the Act evaded, though at the last he obtained this Act, which makes a penalty upon the Government that refused it. Are we entrusted with the People's Liberties, and shall we thus part with them ? If there be a suspicion upon any man of disturbing the Government, the Law justifies clapping him up. There is no end of this; the Nation in fear of one man, and another that is disaffected to the Government, is clapped up in Prison to endanger his health, and ruin his fortune, and destroy his reputation in the Government—Who will deal with them ? I will not, I assure you. We have laid a load upon our Estates, and now to lay a weight upon our Liberties !—No; I am not for that. That Government is precarious that must be supported by taking away the Liberty of the Subject.

Sir Robert Rich.] I was one that vowed never to give my consent to the suspending that Act; while I live, I shall ever make it my Darling. It was thought then necessary when we parted with it, but those that were to be clapped up by it, walked in the Court of Requests, and nothing was said to them. I am subject to the Law, but would have no Law strained upon me.

Col. Granville.] I am surprized to hear a Gentleman so forward, t'other day, to lodge a power in two Justices of the Peace to give the Oath of Abjuration, and now not to give this power to the King's Privy-Council. If men will not renounce King James, there ought to be a power to secure us from known Enemies, and because I would not put Arbitrary Power into any man's hand, I shall propose an Oath now, which no man will refuse; "To swear to King William and Queen Mary, their Heirs and Successors, according to the Act of Settlement the last Parliament, against King James, and his adherents." We have found the name and effect of tyrannical King James, and I hope we shall defend ourselves from the return of it.

Sir Robert Rich.] I am one of those who make no difference to swear Allegiance to this King, and to renounce King James; but as to imprisonment without Bail, I intended not to come up to that then, nor ever will.

Sir John Lowther.] I hope you will believe that I will do nothing to destroy the Liberties of the Nation; but am for suspending any Law, when the safety of the Nation depends upon it. I will not say where the fault lies, that the Nation is under these exigencies, but one reason is, that Judgments are not united, and, where there are divisions, it is impossible the public service can go on. Where a man is willing to sacrifice all, he is never so secure but he may have the censure of one or other, though I am satisfied in my conscience I do not deserve it. The Government is in necessity, and at a stop—There is Credit given, but, after all, when we do that which destroys it, that Credit will be ineffectual. What I told you before was, that whether they judge right or wrong, if there be designs, and if any thing here seems to countenance the designs of K. James, they will not lend Money, and it will be impossible to defend ourselves. The Oath of Abjuration is too extensive, and might have been mended, and since, nothing comes to supply it, and the Vote is gone over all England, Every body abroad makes not the judgment of it that you do; and, if you tell them you had no such meaning, but to support the Government, and tell them all the arguments; that the House of Commons wanted Precedents to do this, &c. but by their Representatives in the House of Commons, that goes abroad as the honest meaning of the Gentlemen here—This being your case, and as the Government must be carried on with Credit, I shall offer to propose something for your security; that something may be done to those we represent abroad, as well as our own safety within these walls. Every man ought to swear to be true to the Government, and not to take up Arms against it. Time, place, and circumstances, give the force to actions. All this considered, I desire you will give leave for such a Bill, to impower the King to imprison such as he suspects, and an Oath to all in authority, not to aid King James.

Sir Edmund Jennings.] I was of King James's Parliament, and the first that took Exceptions against his Speech. I was against the Bill of Abjuration on Saturday, and for one reason, though not mentioned, and it was for the sake of the Dissenters. How could it be supposed that they should take such an Oath, quite contrary to their Address to King James before ? And they will be as ready to take an Oath against King William upon occasion. It is the Monarchy that is aimed at. I am for a Bill of this nature, and an Oath, as has been moved.

Sir Edward Seymour.] The Debate now is the effect of that on Saturday. I did not like the proposition then, and do as little affect this now. I shall be glad to return their kindness, and speak some of their arguments to-day. One would repeal the Habeas Corpus Act, and have another Oath—I take it only to be a way to make way for dispensing with the Habeas Corpus Act. You have been presented with several reasons for it; though Gentlemen did so mistrust themselves, that they did not name them. The Liberty of the Subject is always under the care of the Law, not to be imprisoned without a cause. A Lord anciently could not imprison his Bondman without cause, and our Ancestors were very improvident, if they left others the liberty of our persons: For the same necessity opens a door for my goods and lands as for my person—Here is an expedient to prevent assisting King James. Can it be imagined either of Papists, or those of particular dependencies ? As for the Papists, the Law against them already is so far from persecution, that they are under the favour of the Laws; and as for those of dependencies under that unfortunate Prince, it is strange they should now, that are under no reward but a halter. You must like the security where it is—I am glad sending us to Jail is an Abdication of that misfortune. What has risen from it, but a necessity of taking up Salt-petre at their own rates; to pass through mens grounds with the guards, &c. against their consent, to London, and the next to go toPrison ? We are for Abjuration one day, and prepare Heads for it, and give our Votes against it the next. Can I have any mercy from King James for entering into the Exeter Association ? Yet now I can scarce be cleared from being a Jacobite.—Either a Sheerness Plot, or a Cheshire accusation (fn. 6) (Maynwaring.) It may happen, that a Privy-Counsellor may owe me ill will, and imprison me by this power. Is this the way to pay Debts, or to get Security ? I think, by suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, all our Liberties have been lain with three times already; make her not a common Strumpet.

Col. Bircb.] I am an ancient man, and I believe you will think me subject to jealousy. I had many a thought in my head on Saturday, and you shall hear some of them presently. This power (moved for) is for the King, and some choice Counsellors. How has this grown a hard game before you, by some of great wisdom at the beginning of this game, else things could never go as they did in Ireland and at Sea ! I waited, and knew the conclusion would unriddle this business to you, and myself—Some, when we parted last, were of my opinion, that if things were managed a second year, as we had done the first, we should not have a third. If we had gone in time into Ireland, it had been reduced without fighting; there was no way to bring in King James; and presently then, in the midst of this great business, to prorogue the Parliament ! Then, as to the Dissolution, this was done by the choice Council; and what is to be done now ? There is a great deal of tenderness and earnestness for the King to go into Ireland, and we are as ready for King James to come hither, as for King William to go thither. It must be the fidelity of the Privy-Council that you must trust, and pray how has it been showed ?— The Army is to come out of Flanders, and those white Boys are to be our security, and those that will, let them take it— I do not doubt, but the Gentlemen that make you this Motion, will propose something more to your satisfaction. I shall never be brought to an opinion to trust those Counsellors who have so ill acquitted themselves. Pray throw out this Motion by a Question.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] The truth is, the Nation is in a sad condition, but I think not such a dissatisfaction in it, as to have no money lent. They in London have offered to lend as far as your Fund will bear. I do think the unsuccessful measures in the Government will make despondency in lenders. I made a proposition in the last Parliament (it was made ridiculous, but it was approved afterwards) to be in the field before King James, and then we had been masters of Dublin. I do not believe we are in such security, as not to make provision for some such thing as this Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. If Treasons, or such faults, are committed, by 7 King James I, Chap. 6, if any refuse the Oath of Allegiance, &c. Our distraction is so great, and our condition so doubtful, I know not what to move. In Queen Elizabeth's time, the Pope's Bulls were set up, and the Queen of Scot's party were conspiring—Secure the Government, and by that example do something for the preservation of the Government.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I am afaid we are going out of the way of Parliament. Let a Gentleman move what he will, when the Debate grows to a head, out of that you must collect a Question; all are desirous that you should state a Question, but you may have liberty to alter it. I am sorry to hear the Funds will bear no more than 220,000l. That the Funds are not full !— I could wish there are no worse reasons why men should not lend money.

Mr Hampden.] I am sorry for these heats. Once an unhappy Nation, the Jews, were cutting one another's throats, when their enemies were at their gates. Sometimes we are for swearing, at other times not, and in confusion. I could not be against the effect of the Motion, for some Security to the Government: "No, we will not do that, but we will throw this Question out of doors, and have no Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act." I think that Act the most sacred we have; but I have seen great infringements of that Act, and there have been ways to evade it; as, a man to be bailed at 4,000l, and I ask 40,000l. These have been ways found out to break it. I would have none of these: I am for the thing; but what will be the meaning of your Vote ? I know, Letters have been tiken of treasonable Correspondence; but it is against my Conscience, for men to be put to death, for what they might, in another reign, some time ago. Had you not better be at liberty to propose any thing, than have a thing lie in the way upon every Debate ? Before you adjourn, pray consider of securing the Government under the King and Queen.

Mr Ettrick.] In the last Parliament, I bore my Testimony against this Suspension, and expressed myself against it. Your first Vote was, not to suspend the Habeas Corpus; therefore put a Question that no man can differ from, and I do not doubt but your Liberty may be preserved, and the Nation's.

Col. Granville.] That the refusal of the Renunciation, &c. may not be resented abroad—I hope nobody will be so angry as to let the Government fall—If it be preserved, I care not in whose Hands, if I shall reap the benefit, though I had not the honour to contribute to it.

[In the Afternoon, the House attended his Majesty, and presented their humble Thanks for the great care he has expressed of the Church of England, in the late Alterations he has made in the Lieutenancy of the City of London. To which his Majesty was pleased to answer (as reported next day by the Speaker,)


It shall be always my endeavour to employ such Persons as shall be most serviceable to the Church and State."]

Tuesday, April 29.

In a Grand Committee, on securing the Government under King William and Queen Mary against the late King James, and all his Adherents.

Sir Edmund Jennings.] I would have the Militia considered, that there may be some way to call them together for some farther time; and as to the Papists, that they stir not from their Houses.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] You have been moved very well, "That the Deputy-Lieutenants, &c. may draw out the Militia for more days than are allowed in the Act." They are impowered, notwithstanding the Month's Pay to those who advanced it.

Serjeant Maynard.] If you would defend yourselves from Danger, consider what that Danger is, and the cause of that Danger. The Militia is in very bad condition. You have a great Enemy, the French King, and all the malice imaginable against you from a potent Adversary— The Oath is but Security to perform our Duty; but, when conquered, 'tis no more our Duty; it would make a mad World, if otherwise. I would have an Oath, "not to hear or know any thing prejudicial to the present King or Government, without discovering it to some Privy-Counsellor, and to have no Correspondence or Pension from the French King."

Col. Granville.] When I heard the Order of the Day read, I thought our Safety so much concerned, that, instead of breaking a Jest, (Napier) every body would rather contribute to the general Security. The Order of the Day tells you of one of your Enemies, your chiefest, King James. The Business of the Day is to find out his Adherents. For ought I know, they are here, and there, and amongst us; perhaps in the very Militia. These two or three days Debates convince me, that there is no Test great enough, but wherein King James is named; and those that will not declare against him, I shall always think Enemies; and I hope, now we are rid of him, to keep ourselves upon a Protestant foundation— You swear, and subscribe a free Declaration of your Intentions; they are concerning theirs as well as ours. You must secure some of them, and let this be tendered to People suspected, not with that Latitude, that Justices of the Peace may tender it to whom they please; but that the Queen, in the King's absence, may cause it to be tendered where there is just cause to suspect. When a man has once given security to the Government, he cares not how often he repeats it. The business of the Day is, to fortify ourselves against our Enemies, that Papists give security to the Government, and that Protestants go not about the Streets to corrupt People against the Government. I therefore move "for a Test against King James."

Sir John Thompson.] My Motion was, "To take the State of the Nation into consideration;" 90,000 men, that are their own Masters, will make every body afraid of them.

Sir Joseph Williamson.] This day looks melancholy; many worthy and judicious Members sit silent, and are not helpful. 'Tis moved, "To consider the State of the Nation," which is not only the greatest, but most powerful—but the greatest of all misfortunes is, to be divided at home—If we do not discover before they begin insurrections, it will be too late to suppress them. I hope for better effects abroad, if we do something of this nature, a tye between Sovereign and People suitable to the great Revolution. I wonder that the Oaths of Allegiance we take to the Crown, did not tye People to defend the Crown, and that might answer the intention of the Government.—I would take in the Quakers; they were in with King James, and are Factors for him still. I would have them protest and declare, subscribe and renounce all Correspondence with the King's Enemies, and particularly with King James, and the French King, and all their Adherents; and I wonder how this was left out in the last Oath. Do something of this in the first place, and then in the Militia.

[Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That, as one Head of a Bill for securing the Government, &c. by Order from their Majesties, the Lord-Lieutenants and DeputyLieutenants be impowered to draw together the Militia, with a Month's Pay, notwithstanding the Month's Pay already advanced to the Militia be not yet rcimbursed; and for a longer time than the Law already allows.

2. That, as another Head, all Papists, or reputed Papists, be obliged forthwith to repair to and continue at their respective dwellings; and not to depart from thence above the distance of milcs, without Licence; and that, if they be found at a greater distance, they be taken to be Papists convict, to all intents and purposes whatsoever.

3. That, as another Head, a Test, or Declaration of Fidelity to the Government under their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary, against the late King James, and all his Adherents, and all other Enemies to the present Government, as it is now established in Church and State, be enjoined to be made, repeated, and subscribed by all persons above sixteen years of age.

Which being reported, were agreed to by the House; and a Bill was ordered to be brought in accordingly.]

Wednesday, April 30.

An ingrossed Bill from the Lords, for the exercise of the Government by her Majesty, in the King's absence [commonly called "the Regency-Bill,"] was read the second time.

Mr Hampden.] This Bill is of great importance, and of great neceffity. Something, and something of this purpose, must be. This is to be done, and very hard to be done. If the Bill go away as it is, I doubt it will be a little troublesome. The King gives out the Commissions to the Justices of the Peace. If the Administration of the Government be solely in the Queen, will those old Commissions stand in force ? Will it not be in the nature of a Demise, a kind of interregnum, till all the Commissions of England be renewed ? They are not signed by the King and Queen, but signed only by the King. I know not which way to offer it to you, but I doubt it will make a Chasm in your Affairs. If this be worthy your consideration, I hope Gentlemen will speak to it.

Serjeant Maynard.] 'Tis worthy your consideration, what Council the King will leave with the Queen. If the Bill pass as it is, all the Justices of the Peace in England are none. I think, for my part, that they are determined. There must be some provision, that those Commissions do not determine. All the Regal Power now is acted in the name of the King and Queen; as this Act is now penned, how can any man distinguish those in the whole Regal Government ? Another thing;— in the King's absence, do you take all power from the King, that he can do nothing but by Commission from the Queen ? This is of vast consequence, in a hot War with a mighty Power, and all that is done in the name of King James. This makes the King no King, and the Queen no Queen.

Serjeant Tremaine.] I have looked upon this Bill to be of great consequence; and great care must be taken that we have some Security in the King's absence. There are some Objections against it. I find the Bill says, "The Regal Government of England, and Dominions thereunto belonging, shall be in the Queen." [By this] 'tis a great doubt, when the King comes into Ireland, whether he has any Power at all in Ireland. Ireland is but an Appendage to England, and no other person can have it but the Queen; so that if the King comes into Ireland, that he may be in a capacity to do something, it will be your wisdom to put it out of all doubt. The Bill says, "The Administration shall be in the Queen;" if she dies, what then shall become of the Government ? Here will be a Failure, and a Stop.

Sir Robert Sawyer.] All that Objection may be easily obviated, leaving out the word "Territories;" when it comes to England and the Plantations, "Territories" makes it very doubtful. Then there is another Objection, "What if the Queen die ?" But that runs to whomsoever is made Custos Regni; and, no doubt, there is a ceasure of the Administration. A Custos Regni has been settled by Act of Parliament; and the same Objection made then as now. Another Objection is made, "That the Commissions in the King's name are all determined;" of that there is no colour. All Commissions are from the King and Queen; if once under the Seal, 'tis a sufficient Authority for all persons to act. The Custos Regni never removed any Commissions; they all run in the King's name. The Administration is nothing but to make the Great Seal speak. If you make that Alteration I mentioned, I believe there will be no dispute.

Sir John Guise.] 'Tis absolutely necessary, that this Bill be committed. I think Sawyer does not take it right; and possibly I may think as well of some, as of some others. I should be glad to hear, from the learned Counsel, whether these Commissions cease, or not ? I desire you will consider it a little longer.

Earl of Ranelagh.] When the King is in Ireland, he gives Commissions as King of England, not as General of the Army, surely.

Col. Birch.] To my mean capacity, this is a most dangerous Bill, and I do not know who is safe under it. The King's going into Ireland is another thing than if he had gone the 10th of March. The difficulty and danger is greater, and such an one, as we stand in relation to our own differences, and the power against us. We have a brave Army, a gallant Army; but so disappointed, that I fear the consequence: And should the King be in Ireland, and cannot come over to us, upon occasion, what condition are we in !—Your Commissions voided all in a lump; and who shall those Commissioners be that must turn the whole in the King's absence ? From what has been done, you may guess what will be done. By what has passed already, I am of Opinion, that the Bill is impracticable, and I would lay it aside.

Serjeant Blencoe.] It is said, "The King leaving the Kingdom, all Commissions cease." In answer to voiding the Commissions, 'tis said, "That those Commissions continue:" But when the King is gone, it determines that Power. All those Authorities derived from those Commissions cease, because the Authorities cease.

Mr Finch.] I stand up for Commitment of the Bill. I desire those Gentlemen to declare, whether the Queen be declared a Subject by this Bill ?

Sir Robert Howard.] I think you may declare the King as well no King, by the Bill.

Sir Thomas Lee.] 'Tis of some use, if things be opened before the Commitment, in order to improving your thoughts. All agree, that it will be a great difficulty. I consider this Law of transferring the Administration; 'tis a new word, but will carry all the Rights along with it, as if the Crown had descended. You are told of a Saving for Ireland; but there must be another Saving; for if Ireland be not reduced this Summer, we are all miserable. If the King can find it expedient not to go, it would be very happy; but, to reduce him to the necessity not to go, nor to stay !— I think, if the King should have advice of things from France and England, when in Ireland, I see no Power, by the Bill, that he has of one Ship. I would see, whether the Long Robe can bring this to the ancient Custom of Regency. What if this Bill had been turned to enable the King to make a Custos by Parliament ? This is a hint to the Long Robe that I dare not venture upon. I would not interfere with the King's measures, which, I believe, are taken with great deliberation; therefore go into a Committee to-morrow.

The Bill was ordered to be committed.

[Ordered That Mr Rowe (Member for St Michael's) have notice to attend this House, in his Place, on Friday morning next (fn. 7).]


  • 1. Brother to Lord Cholmondeley, made Cornet of Horse in 1685; and on King William's Accession, appointed a Groom of his Bed-chamber. He served in all the Wars of that Reign; and, at the Battle of the Boyne, commanded the HorseGrenadier Guards. Also at the Battle of Steenkirk, in 1692, when the King attacked the French Army in their Camp, he particularly distinguished himself, and was wounded. In 1697, he was appointed Brigadier General. In 1702, (1 Anne) he was constituted Major-General, and Governor of Tilbury Fort and Gravesend; and the next year he was declared Lieutenant-General of Horse. On the Accession of K. George I, he was continued in bis Posts, and soon after he was created a Peer of Ireland, by the Title of Lord Newburgh; as he was, in 1716, of England, by the same Title. In 1724, on his brother's death, he succeeded to the Title of Earl of Cholmondeley, and, soon after, was appointed Governor of Hull, &c. In 1727, he was made General of Horse; and, in 1732, Governor of Guernsey. He died in 1733, and was father of the present Earl.
  • 2. No mention is made of this in the Journal
  • 3. Lord Fanshaw and Sir Henry Monson.See Vol. IX.p.242-4.
  • 4. See Vol. IX. p. 356, &c.
  • 5. This Regiment had been sent over to Holland, for being concerned in a Mutiny. See Vol. IX. p. 164 5.
  • 6. See Page 79.
  • 7. On a complaint of Sir Edward Seymour. See the Day.