Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 2. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, January 7, 1673–4.
When the Houses met, and the King, in his Speech, informed them, "That when he parted with them last, it was but for a little time, and with a resolution of meeting suddenly again: That that alone was enough to satisfy his Friends, that they need not fear, and his Enemies, that they could not hope for a breach between them. That he then told them, that the time of this short recess should be employed in doing such things as might add to their satisfaction: That he hoped he had done his part towards it; and if there were any thing else which they thought wanting, to secure Religion or Property, there was nothing which they should reasonably propose, but he would be ready to receive it. That he now expected they should do their parts too; for their enemies made vigorous preparations for war; and yet their chief hopes were to disunite them at home.
"That it was not possible for him to doubt their Affections at any time, much less at such a time as this, when the evidences of their Affections were become so necessary to them all. He desired them to consider, that, as the War could not be well made without a Supply, so neither could a good Peace be had without being in a posture of war. That he was very far from being in love with war, for war's sake; but if he saw any likelihood of peace, without dishonour to himself, and damage to them, he would soon embrace it: But that no proposals of peace had yet been offered, which could be imagined with intent to conclude, but only to amuse. That therefore the way to a good peace was, to set out a good fleet, which they had time enough to do very effectually, if the Supply was not delayed. That if, after this, a peace should follow, yet the Supply would be well given; for, whatever remained of it, he was willing should be appropriated for building more ships.
"He reminded them again of "his debt to the Goldsmiths;" and concluded with showing them the entire confidence he had in them. That, as he believed his Alliance with France had been strangely misrepresented to them, he would make no difficulty of letting the Treaties, without reserve, be seen by a small Committee of both Houses, who might report to them the true scope of them. He assured them, there was no other Treaty with France, either before or since, not already printed, which should not be made known; and having thus freely trusted them, he did not doubt but they would have a care of his Honour, and the good of the Kingdom."
The rest he referred to the Lord Keeper (fn. 1), who, in a long and laboured harangue, endeavoured to blacken the Dutch, by setting forth "the intractability of their Ministers at Cologne," and calling their letter to his Majesty, by their Trumpeter, "a Paper Stratagem." And he scrupled not to advance, "That if they should yet send any new Proposal, we might justly suspect that their end would be, if they could not divide, at least to amuse us, and lessen our care in providing for the war."
A Bill was read as usual at the opening a Session—It was for repair of a Church (fn. 2), &c.
It was moved "that none should have Voices in Elections, that were either Papists, or not conformable to the Church of England," and a Bill [was proposed] for that purpose, by Mr Milward (fn. 3).
Sir William Coventry answered.] That was the way to make Elections of Parliament-men in the Houses of Convocation, who declare what is the doctrine of the Church of England, and what is conformable—Besides, by that course, you give the Catholics a negative Voice upon Elections; Catholics would be for a man they would have rejected.
Monday, January 12.
Mr Sacheverell.] Complains of pressing for soldiers Men of Quality, against Magna Charta, and persons put to death against Law—Articles of war were complained of in the last Session, to set up Martial Law—You have made particular Laws about burning of houses, and yet by those Articles they may burn houses and stacks of corn, and death to any soldier that shall disobey—Soldiers sent beyond sea, which should stay here, for our safety—Therefore it is to no end to proceed to particular business till these things are remedied—He has told you his thoughts, and hopes that other Gentlemen will do the like.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] It will not be found out that men have been sent out of England against their wills—In Queen Elizabeth's time, she succoured France, and sent men into Ireland, and no Act of Parliament for doing it then—Never heard of any complaint of injuries done by the soldiers, but it was remedied; but the complaint should be, that such things have been done "by Authority"—Avers that no such things have been done by the King's Authority—The Articles were the same as in Lord Essex's army, and Lord Strafford's, the best of them extracted, and only to be executed when the army is beyond sea—When you find a fault, then lay it there—Let not the disorders of particular men be thought general—The King has told you what he is willing to do, and pray proceed to the King's Speech.
Sir John Monson.] As to the pressing of men in Queen Elizabeth's, and Edward VIth's time, the 16th of Charles I. declared it illegal, and an Act was then particular for the pressing of men for Ireland—It is said, we have had redress, when complained of, but he cannot but reflect, with what applause the Triple League was entertained, (that was too great a happiness to enjoy) but what we have had since, let every man judge—Dates the design from the great persons going into France, and the consequence, shutting up the Exchequer, and the Declaration, which struck at all our Laws, temporal and ecclesiastical, and all to countenance Popery—The Parliament then was by the same hand prorogued, that we might not consider other things—The forces sent out of Ireland, little to be spared there; the joy of the Papists; but an army was the foundation of their joy, which they flocked to, and had commands in—We have had invasion of Property; and till Grievances are redressed, we cannot proceed any farther—Hopes we shall have time to give those persons thanks who had a hand in the Prorogation, Declaration, &c. and hopes we shall be rid of Popery, and Popish Counsellors.
Mr Russel.] You have had so exact an account, that he has little farther to say of our deplorable condition—With an ill Prince we must pray and suffer, but when God has blessed us with so good a King, and yet Property, Religion, and all invaded, we ought to find out the authors of our misfortunes, the ill Ministers about the King, that prorogued the Parliament; stopped the proceedings of the Courts of Justice; broke Articles, in that attack of the Smyrna fleet; shut up the Exchequer; have Pensions from France, and accuse us of being Pensioners to Holland—Desires not their ruin, but the security of our lives and fortunes for the future.
Sir Charles Harbord takes him down to Order.] The precedent of reading a Speech is dangerous—The Attorney, now Lord Keeper, reprehended him once only for making use of heads in a paper—Pray never let Speeches be read in Parliament.
Sir William Lewis.] The best reason he has yet heard for his going on, is, "that he has almost done"—It may be without doors ill reported, not to let him make an end; though he is not for reading of entire Speeches, yet short notes are always commendable—He may go on for this time, but hopes you will not admit it for the future.
Colonel Birch.] Is glad to see how merrily we begin, and hopes we shall continue so—It is the great part of an Orator to persuade, but hopes, as Paper Speeches may be laid aside here, they may also be in other places (the pulpits)—Whoever divides Religion into any other rivulets than Papist and Protestant, ruins all—He has manifested his loyalty at Worcester—He has constantly attended the Confession and Absolution, and the Communion, and hopes to be heard without prejudice—We have leave to debate our own security by the King's and the Lord Keeper's Speech, and therefore will open our present condition—Doubts not but the King will at last find, that they who advise him to follow the Parliament's Counsel are his best subjects—The Grievances, as to law [have been] opened very well, and the remedy; in some part; but thinks all in vain, if, by any means, we are incited to carry on this league with France, and war with Holland; and because of the second article of the treaty with France, "the setting up the Catholic Religion in every conquered town in Holland," if we must go on in that union, leaves it to every man's conscience in the consequence—Would not do by day, what he shall be ashamed of at night, that his conscience shall give him the lie—How we entered into this war he remembers—The Triple Alliance we thanked the King heartily for; how we came out of it, the Instructions will give you an account—The greatest Princes have called Parliaments to advise in peace and war; but he is still doubting that this Parliament was prorogued by strong persuasion—What is under the Great Seal is a man's freehold (he speaks not of his own concern, says nothing of himself) but [it has been] taken away from several persons—We have not had a smile, since the French alliance began, and the second article of that alliance is to set up the Pope; and now we are invited to carry on that war, he cannot consent to it—The consequence would have been, if the French King had continued in his greatness by conquests, we had not been doing here what we do now—Either France or Holland must be bigger: If France, we may purchase what we fear; if Holland, they may be too big to grant—Would be far from doing any thing derogatory to the King; but when the League is not honourable nor safe for the King, he cannot find arguments to part with our Money for the support of it—The discourse is now almost at every plough-tail—Says this only in bar, that when we have searched out who brought this League about, he is ready to secure our fears as to Religion, before we speak of any thing else.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Would know what it is he should speak to; several things relating to the War—Then he paused—was bid go on. As to the business of the War, he was ordered to tell Sweden, where he was Ambassador, "that if the King of France invaded any of the Spanish dominions, our King would defend the Triple League:" The proposition was, "in every town the French should have rendered to them, they should have a Papist Church as we would have a Protestant." Every man must answer in his turn for his actions, as he must do for his; but would not give an opinion to continue a war against the genius of the nation—But you have no peace, nor likelihood of any, but what must come from the conduct of this House, which a good Vote will certainly do, he believes—But Spain not only assists, but makes a League with Holland, without your knowledge; it was strange—Holland's new proffers are to give us some money, and to return prizes on both sides, which is impracticable—The King demands reparation for his subjects losses in Surinam, and that the Hollanders should not fish without leave, and regulating commerce; the King gives these back to the Spanish Ambassador—Instead of this, they send him a letter in answer to the King's last Reply, wherein they curtail the thing—Spain says, words not ambiguous; Holland, words to give content, but no money—Knows not what they will make of the flag. The Spanish Ambassador, three weeks after, contradicted all, and said he had a letter to recall the Articles, but did not deliver the letter; soon after he sent it, which was indorsed triplicate, three being written, it seems, for fear of miscarriage; but imagining some great advantages over the Duke of Luxembourg, or hopes of a breach betwixt the King and his Parliament, they insist thus—Would have you secure the kingdom, and if they know the time elapsed and no spring fleet (which they will know) and take their advantage, it is not England they covet, but the Plantations, to ruin your traffic and trade; by what they have done, we may conclude, that if we were down, all the world cannot set us up again—In the Streights they have twenty sail of men of war; should they send twenty more, what a condition are we in! They that are upon the Plantations are poor; we have the profit of them; if they were in the Hollanders hands, and they may have free trade, by the Hollanders temptations, and we low, we are in danger—Tell the King your Grievances, but so supply him that the navy may go on, which, you know, needs it; and if you put the King into these straits and desperation, what will be the consequence? Now for the Declaration against the French Treaty; being so deserted, Holland will have no need of you. Can any man have the impudence to say, that because you have a treaty with France, you are obliged to fight to the last man? Secure things in the treaty how you please, that the money may not be attached, and that it may be for shipping (which, under favour, the navy must have)—Moves that you will propose Grievances, and in the mean time that the kingdom may be secured.
Mr Garroway.] Secretary Coventry desires "that you would not press the King"—Wonders at it—When we were prorogued two months, those that advised it "pressed the King," and we must postpone all considerations, without consideration of Religion, Property, or Trade—Nothing, but we must carry on a war we know not how long; let those good Counsellors that advised it look after it—Did our Ambassadors give Holland no security by the Triple League and Breda, that we would not fall on them? We are told, "that our war will ruin our Plantations;" since March last we have laid out three hundred thousand pounds in freight to strangers; our corn vessels, passing from port to port, taken; some of our great ships swept away by the Dutch; our men pressed for sea and land—The Gentleman said, the last Session "he would warrant a peace with a Vote for money," but now he says otherwise—Londoners are at a tax upon the collier, and in the country we pay five and six pounds per chaldron—The Ploughman finds his wants; it is three hundred thousand pounds tax to London by proportion, and this is one of the benefits you have by the war, and the effects are upon the counties about London, decay of manufacture! War is a subtle thing; lose a correspondence in trade, and you know not how to get it again—The making bays, a great trade, you have lost by this war—If France can supply Spain with commodities, as they left you in the war so they will do in trade—We employ all foreigners for shipping, and if the war continues, your Act of Navigation will be of no use—Pressing of seamen! By the last fatal war you saw that the courage of your nation, when deserted by the French, brought you off; the French may serve you so by land—A war at sea will never make an end of the war—Grass grew in Middleburgh streets, now grown rich by depredations this war—Is one of those that are for peace, and hopes it is no crime to offer things with modesty—Would not depend upon the Spanish Ambassador, but upon a war upon the English interest, and never saw want of money or help—Cleanse the house at home; know those that have intrigued you; he would not sweep away Gentlemen by general Votes; would reach them according to Law, and go upon things—The Keeper says in his speech, "the fleet is in good readiness;" money remains not paid in of the last tax, prizes, and the advance upon the excise farm; therefore would have full enquiry into the state of the kingdom, but not like empirics, to give a catholicon for all diseases; but let Gentlemen propose the State of Affairs, and go upon that.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If we had gone on, the last Prorogation, things might not have been at this pass; but as those evil Counsellors about the King persuaded him then, they do still exasperate him, that our best Counsels will be perverted; this is the great Grievance—If it be apparent that any sort of men do design the ruin of the kingdom, so as to prostitute the King's word; and if any new treason be enacted, would have that made one—It is of consequence never to be recovered—No example that ever any war of this nature began without Parliament. Instances Edward I, Edward III, and Henry V, the miracle of men, that (unless our King) never any of more honour and gallantry since Julius Cæsar's time. Henry VIII. as ambitious, perhaps, as any, young, and though his coffers were full, advised, in the third year of his reign, with his Parliament, about making of war—The best thing to rivet the King and his people, is mutual confidence. 43 Edward III, when he was to make peace with Scotland with David Bruce, he advised with his Parliament—Richard II. would not make peace without subjecting his articles to the Parliament—Hopes, if so now, we shall do it for the King's honour—We may date a great deal of our misfortunes from the Million Act—Submits to all Gentlemens opinions here, the universal hatred against this French alliance—We were so jealous formerly of our ports, that no foreigners scarce with a packet-boat were suffered to enter them without leave, but now whole shoals of them—But it occurs to him, that the alliance with France is broken; all alliances are understood as to circumstances of things when made; it is strange that we should consent to the "Popish Article"—The Declaration of war by the French against the Duke of Brandenbourg, was for extirpation of Heresy; fears it interpreted a war upon ourselves—When we were ready with our fleet, the King of France goes to conquer Maestricht, pretends it would be presently taken, and then would fall down in order to our landing; instead of that, he flies into Germany, and never favours our landing; and does he think we are in league with him against all the world? Moves to adjourn the House till to-morrow, that we may enumerate our Grievances before we enter upon the Debate of Supply—Would have the Test Law against Popery revived, and some things added to it, and all to take it that are in the King's Counsels, and something for security of the King's person; and [would have] Religion, after the King's death, secured, and the Statute of Suggestions, for men to undergo a penalty if they make not accusations out; but the first thing to enter upon, would have "the Counsellors;" we have always gracious Answers from the King, but they are still intercepted: Proclamation against Papists, and yet Priests are walking in Whitehall in defiance of it; Popish commanders at the head of companies; no Minister sent with our companies into France to comfort the sick, and to do other spiritual offices, but exposed to Popery—One man has had seven pardons for treason and murder; shall we not put such out of the reach of pardon? The general pardon would not suffice, but special ones must be obtained since that pardon—Would go first upon "evil Counsellors."
Lord Cavendish.] When we consider the Prorogation, and the other misfortunes of the nation, fears we shall have the same advice as long as such "Counsellors" are about the King—Moves in the first place that we proceed to secure the nation by removing them.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Should be glad that the King might have some prospect, through this vote, that, when our Grievances are redressed, we may take his Supply into consideration—We carry on all things for the interest of the nation, and assist him upon the public interest of the nation, and no farther.
Sir Robert Howard.] Was sorry for the Prorogation when it was, but as the King has now invited and trusted you, make him not jealous of us—The eyes of all the World are upon us now, and should we not do things as amicably as possible, the censures of the people will lie as heavy upon us, as in any other thing—Winds up all in this Motion, "To order an Address to the King to give him thanks for his trust and invitation, and to tell him there remains something as to our "security"—No doubt we want many things, but shall we slip by the King in his invitations? Knows it not in your hearts, and if "evil Counsellors" be one thing, and all other things [are considered] one by one, then you are in a method.
Mr Jones.] Would always be tender in reflective expressions; he has neither preparation, nor intention, to offer Grievances, but from the greatness of the Debate, and the place he serves for, (London) something is expected he should say about their Grievances—He has sufficiently expressed his loyalty in the worst times, but being not a man of trade, knows no more than those that walk the streets speak of—The imposition upon Coals is hard upon the rich, but destructive to the poor; thousands had died for the want of them, but for the favourableness of the weather—He has known London these forty-five years, and never knew that impudence in Meetings that the Papists have now; they are so in most parts about; a great aggravation of their insolence and increase, that they attempt meeting where it never was—Protections from the Lords House, and this, ruin trade, together with shutting up the Exchequer; how can we be secure, that the Exchequer be not stopped to-morrow again? If ruin were at the door, and the nation ready to sink, who will send one hundred pounds thither? Still the Goldsmiths are postponed; was it their personal concern, would not regard it, but thousands are concerned in it—This is of more consequence than the rebuilding of the City, proportioning the Rates of the City to the Country, in Taxes.
[The Question being propounded, that the Thanks of the House be returned to his Majesty, for his gracious Speech; and the Question being put, That the House do now proceed in the Debate of that Question, it passed in the affirmative, 191 to 139.]
Sir Thomas Meres.] 'Tis not a real prejudice, so much as a sudden mischief, the concourse of Papists about this town, and he would have added to the Vote, "That the Lieutenancy in London and Westminster, and in the country, may be ready to secure the nation from Popish and other tumultuous designs against the King and Government."
Resolved, That this House will proceed, in the first place, to have Grievances effectually redressed, the Protestant Religion, Liberties, and Properties, effectually secured, to suppress Popery, and to remove persons, and Counsellors, popishly affected, or otherwise obnoxious, or dangerous, to the Government.
Resolved, That the humble and hearty Thanks of this House be returned to his Majesty for his gracious Promises and Assurances in his [last] Speech, and for those Acts which he has done [since the last Prorogation] towards [the suppressing and] discountenancing of Popery; and that he would please to [give] order [for] the Militia of London, Westminster, [and Middlesex] to be ready at an hour's warning, [and the other Militia of the Kingdom at a day's warning,] for the suppressing any tumultuous meeting of Papists, or other malecontent persons whatsoever; and that the House will go with this Address to his Majesty in a body.
Tuesday, January 13.
Mr Stockdale reads the Vote.] Many Grievances have been represented; the way is now, how you will redress your Grievances? The last Session [produced] many good Votes as to that, but we were prorogued; and to the intent that that may not happen again, consider that the same Counsellors are interposing, and interpreting our intentions may procure the same Prorogation; therefore moves to begin with the last part of the Vote first ["evil Counsellors."] You cannot have "Grievances effectually redressed," without "removing" those that have advised these things, and, when that is done, he perhaps will name one.
Sir Robert Thomas.] We have a great many Grievances; hazard of Religion, Counsellors advising the King to take away Religion and Properties: Must name one; (by the bye, the Black Rod [being] called in by you, Mr Speaker, the last Session, before he knocked (fn. 4), he could not do it then) a person that has contributed as much to our misfortunes as any man; the Duke of Lauderdale—You will have proofs of his advice by four of your Members; viz. " (fn. 5) Your Majesty is bound in honour to justify your Edicts—I wonder at the confidence of any person to deny your Majesty's Edicts, and those persons that do, I think, deserve to be most severely punished (fn. 6)." The Act of the Militia in Scotland—"which forces are to be in a readiness to be called to march into England or Ireland, upon any service where the honour, authority, or greatness of the King shall be concerned." Other Gentlemen know more—He has great forces in readiness and pay, and for no other end, he believes, than to awe us.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] We should never have "Grievances," but by such "Counsellors"—The Duke is at the head of a great army in Scotland; desires that we may move the King, that he may keep there, and return no more into England.
Lord St. John.] The last Session, February, he was called to do it, but then refused, because there was a dispute then betwixt the Duke of Lauderdale and himself; Mr Howe, then sick, being concerned for Mr Whalley, desired him to go hear the business at the Council, where Mr Whalley (a Justice of Peace in Nottinghamshire) was summoned, who had committed a Preacher, contrary to the Declaration. Whalley was to answer the contempt, the Parson had no licence to preach, but entry was made of it in the Secretary's Book; a Law bound Whalley, and a Declaration did not bind him. Lauderdale then spoke the words mentioned by Sir Robert Thomas; that he wondered at the words, and said, "Lauderdale may be questioned in Parliament." Some Members being present, Lauderdale spoke as before, none else of the Council spoke, and all were bid to withdraw.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Now you are possessed of this, he shall offer his sense—The last Session, we were cut off in the beginning—In Scotland, an army is raised by this great Duke; though by Act of Parliament, yet his power is great, and the army under his power—It is in vain to act here, without converting our thoughts to Scotland. Pray God! this be not elsewhere—A man, so principled and arbitrary!—You had need look about you; needs say nothing to aggravate, the bare thing aggravates itself—A cloud hangs over us, and 'tis high time it was scattered; it has made Counsellors in England so much the bolder—Moves "To address the King to exclude the Duke of Lauderdale from his Counsels in England"—Keep him from Counsels here, and you may shake his authority in Scotland; he is in all respects a Commoner (fn. 9), and so we cannot clash with the Lords in point of tryal—There are twenty thousand foot, and two thousand horse, ready in Scotland, and no colour for it—A man of such principles is not fit to be trusted with such an army, nor [with] our Counsels, and, without any more ceremony, would address the King, as he is a Commoner.
Mr Powle.] Supposes that every man is sensible of a pernicious design to alter the Government, and these Counsellors have brought us to the brink of destruction—We have a gracious Prince, but the great design was, first to abuse the King, and then to oppress the people, fearing his good disposition to us—The Triple League was made to check a great Prince—To ruin the Protestant religion was the design, and, without Money, that was not to be carried on, which Money was given for the maintaining the Triple Alliance; and then more Money was got, by stopping the Exchequer, to the undoing of many hundreds of persons—Then a Declaration for the ease of tender consciences, and, under pretence of Toleration, suspending by it all Ecclesiastical Laws, and, in consequence, laying all Laws aside—Upon the declaration of war against Holland, armies were raised, and Popish officers at the head of them, and in places of civil authorities, honours, and dignities; then Popish officers are sent over into Ireland, Papists put into trust and office there; then in Scotland, an army is raised to march into England, &c. or for any other cause wherein "the King's honour or greatness may be concerned;" but the greatness of the King consists in governing a free people—The Parliament supplied and brought him from banishment, and, because the King would hearken to their advice, they must be prorogued, the juncture of their time not being fit for the fleet against Holland; they suppose we would give, and, if not, the necessity must justify raising of money—What benefit had we but fruitless battles at sea, and engaging us, by the French, with his Allies? The King was persuaded that the Parliament would not assist his interest, but doubts not but time will demonstrate the contrary—When we would have reached these men, we were prorogued, and now [there is] a necessity of giving money—The King's credit lost, the people poor, jealousies great, and all might have been remedied by our meeting—Lauderdale asserted "Edicts superior to Law," and [it was] spoken in the presence of the King and Council; no greater argument, though some, he doubts not, have done it privately, but he publickly—Hamilton's book asserts the King's authority of raising Money without Parliament, and it was countenanced by Lauderdale in 1667—When Lord Rothes was Commissioner, then was the foundation of this army, but it came not to maturity till 1669, when Lauderdale was Commissioner; [it was] then kept on foot, and boasted of—It is not unknown at what vast greatness this person has lived, thereby bringing the King into necessity, and disobliging the House, that we should not supply—Lauderdale sued out the King's pardon; a new trick our great men have gotten, fearing our enquiry, and would arm themselves against us with the King's pardon; let this be considered and weighed well—Less crimes than these have brought men to the scaffold, but the temper of this House is not desirous of blood. The 5th of Richard II. [Counsellors] were removed without cause; the people only spoke ill of them. 11 Richard II. the Duke of Ireland, and Sir John Crosby [were] impeached; the people spoke ill of them. 20 Henry VI. the Lord Dudley, for the same cause—It may be the case of Peers of England, and this upon no other article but merely the people speaking ill of them. 3 Charles I. remonstrance against the Duke of Bucks, Bishop Neale, and Archbishop Laud, to be removed, as evil Counsellors—Moves, "That this great person, the Duke of Lauderdale, may for ever be removed from the King's presence."
Sir John Trevor.] If you proceed merely to suspend him from the King's "Counsels," you may do it, but if from the King's "presence," where no manner of proof is taken, you ought to give him a day—By way of confiscation, or attainder, you give time, but as to "removal from Counsels," you need give none.
Mr Garroway.] Has often heard that this man brought the Declaration from Scotland to bring the late King to the block, and those people had a horror for the fact—Would have him come and answer it here, and all that are concerned with him—He has heard of one Murray, kept in the Tower, by the instigation of Lauderdale, for complaining against him; these are violences, when no Writs of Habeas Corpus can be had; and would send to the Gatehouse, where he now stands committed, for the Mittimus—You will find it of his own making, and illegal—Agrees to the Address "for removing him;" and would have a Bill to make it Treason if ever he return hither again.
Sir John Birkenhead.] The Duke of Ireland, Oxford, and Somerset, had a day assigned them—No man has been banished the King's Presence on this formality, though you cannot have greater evidence; it may be he may confess it—Many things are Law in Scotland, and not so here; would not have a precedent to reach every body—Assign him a day, and you will tread more safely, and do him right, and no man wrong.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Has heard a great man in the Rump, and a Counsellor then, say, "That Lauderdale did sollicit that bloody Kirk-Declaration against the King;" does not name the person, because desired not do it—Would have him "removed from the King's Person and Counsels for ever." This thing is not so hard; he at a great distance, and great affairs in Scotland to attend, and so he [may] excuse himself from coming, and perhaps when come we [may] not [be] sitting, and if he will come, at any time, he may be tried by Parliament.
Colonel Sandys.] Since he has heard that he [Lauderdale] had some part in the King's murder, that has raised him; and would have him as [much] sequestered from the world, as from the King, and would have "a Bill of Attainder against him."
Mr Sacheverell.] Fears that this Lord has not lost his old evil principles, but improved them; the Scotch Act of Militia plainly shows it—It puts the King in power plainly to alter any thing in Church or State, and so, by this army, Popery may be set up—Not content to keep their law in Scotland, but printed here by Authority—It was done this time twelvemonth, when the Question was, whether all your laws must be set aside; and therefore is for "secluding him forever from the King's presence," and "an Act of banishment."
Colonel Strangways.] Would have the words "obnoxious and dangerous" retained in the Vote—Our Saviour pardoned them that persecuted him, but where a man, by after-actions, has done ill, his righteousness shall be forgotten, when transgressing de novo—He abhors the crime; but consider your case; "sequestering him from the King's presence and the kingdom"—Common same from this House is a greater ground for accusation than thought to be.
Sir Richard Temple.] Does not remember that, by any of the precedents, men were sent for, and time given them to answer; this vote is with that moderation, "to remove" only—Would add something, that it may have more strength, viz. "as a man found by this House to be dangerous." Has heard of his being no less arbitrary in Scotland than here; to have made himself a perpetual Commissioner there.
Sir William Coventry.] The Bill against the Duke of Lauderdale, as proposed, is contradictory to what you have spoken of "removing him from the King's presence." The King may remove him, by his own power, "from his presence," at the request of any private man, and when it is done, it is well done—Every subject has a right of petitioning the King, though he be not of his Bed-chamber or Council; but it is not so easy a thing to exclude any man out "of the kingdom." To make a precedent to exclude a man "the kingdom," without hearing him, cannot agree to it.
Sir Robert Howard.] Doubts, if you should proceed farther than "removing him from the King's presence," you will deprive him of what you would not, his freehold: By Bill, an ill precedent! Would lay aside this for the present, and hopes that the Parliament will proceed by arguments of justice.
Sir Thomas Lee.] In the case of Lord Clarendon an Impeachment preceded; this upon other occasions, and the person absent—But "not to come to the King's presence" is in the King's power to suffer or not; and if the King will not be advised by a person, he does him no wrong—Would have it matter of Petition, and no farther.
Mr. Stockdale said,] He would not have the Letter now read, he having something to offer against the Duke of Buckingham (fn. 10). Whatever that Letter contains, he has a charge against the person, of as high a nature as the Letter can be—Says, it is irregular for the Speaker to bring us a new business; the Letter——He was interrupted by
Mr Stockdale.] Would have all men concerned, named; and you are possessed of one against whom he has acharge, the Duke of Buckingham; that, if encouraging or practising, and, he supposes, establishing Popery; if taking money from the subject, and breaking the Triple Alliance, and engaging us in this French Alliance [be a charge,] he has a charge against the Duke of Buckingham: The proofs are not so ready as the last, but the particulars will all be proved—Offers not an impeachment—Though the crimes may be proved, impeachments take up a long time; it may be longer than we have to sit—His own letters show corresponding with Peter Talbot, the pretended Archbishop. When Ireland was in great danger by Popery, he advised the army to be drawn out of that kingdom, and headed his own regiment with Popish officers. At Knaresborough, Whitsuntide last (the Standing Army was then forming) this Duke came into Yorkshire to raise men; a poor man, being pressed, came to the Overseers of the Poor, and told them, "You must provide for my wife and children, I am pressed away and cannot maintain them." The Duke sent for the Overseer, and beat him for not doing it, and sent a warrant to the Marshal of the West Riding of Yorkshire, to keep him, till farther order from him; the man applied to the Duke, and, after three days imprisonment, was delivered by the Marshal (Wainman) who demanded thirty pounds, fees, and got five pounds for three days: This was done, when there was a prospect of arbitrary Power, and this was the first action of Martial Law, committed by a Martial-man. The next is the Duke's taking of money, two shillings and six-pence, upon every horse exported at Dover, by virtue of his place of Master of the Horse, against Law—Breaking of the Triple Alliance—The Duke was sent into France, and what Treaty he made there we know by the effect; the Triple Alliance broken—Lord Bellasis was sent to Dunkirk, and the Duke, though he had no business, yet would go to see the King of France, and has heard what presents he had there, and believes it will be proved—His endeavours to take away the affections of the King's good subjects, by saying, "that the King was an arrant knave, and unfit to govern;" Doctor Williams can prove it—He has defrauded the King's servants of their wages, so disadvantageous to his service; this is public—Now there is a Petition against him in the House of Lords of a strange nature; killing the Earl of Shrewsbury (fn. 11), and living scandalously with his widow. Not only that, but he has attempted a horrid sin not to be named; not to be named at Rome, where their other practices are horrid—Moves, "that a person so dangerous to the Government, and of so ill a life and conversation, may be removed from the King's presence and from all his employments;" and for "an Act of Banishment" against him, as against the Duke of Lauderdale.
Sir John Coventry.] This man has made it his business to sow dissension betwixt the King and this House, but he is not a man to put things in execution when much danger is in the case—When the King had his Ministers in France, the Duke of Buckingham put many of his servants, incognito, to treat with the Ministers of that state, Papists and persons ill affected to our Government—It is a sad condition we are in, to have a man so near the King's person that contemns his person—This Duke has given night and lanthorn counsels, not to be owned by the rest of the Counsellors. He corresponds with a traytor, Peter Talbot; the letter was burned in the King's bedchamber, and part remains—Some say the Duke is not ashamed of that profession; it is known to you all, that these people have been protected by him: It may be said, that the officers of his regiment are Protestants, but we may thank the Commons of England for it—If these things be proved, he desires the Duke "may be removed from the King's person for ever."
Mr Howe.] Besides all this, when the King was at Windsor, because he would not stay so long as the Duke would have him (fn. 12), he took the bridle from the King's horse, to the great danger of the King's person, and the Duke was then Master of his Horse.
Sir Winston Churchill.] He that would answer this charge of the Duke's, may do himself more wrong than the Duke has. Wishes the particulars as easily proved as charged—The business of Windsor he knows—The Duke is not far from you, and supposes, if the letter be not of importance, the Duke has forfeited his understanding, as the charge makes him forfeit his reputation—Men of his quality will not inform you of trisles: The letter may be of concernment; it may discover something you know not (as that in the Lords House about a plot) therefore would read it.
Lord Cavendish.] Should the artifice of the man put it out of our power to proceed, it would be of ill consequence—Would have him "removed from Offices and Councils about the King" and "suspended his presence till farther proceeded against."
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Would first put the Question for "the Address," and then read the letter. No great need of particular proof; but all you desire, is, that he may not be near the King's person to pursue these dangerous Counsels—In Scotland, did he not correspond with Argyle and ransack the King's close-stool for papers? There were shrewd suspicions of him in the rebellion in the North, and soon after he got his pardon. Is it no crime to kill the husband, and prostitute the wife? He accuses him not, for it may be pardoned; but for us to countenance such things, will bring God's judgments upon us—After so great an accusation, to come so familiarly amongst the Lords, his Judges, and to do his offices about the King, argues a strange boldness—There are seven persons that have had five Pardons since the Restoration of the King; two by Act of Parliament, and three under the Great Seal, for murder, treason, &c. so that you can never lay hold of him—Since March last he has got another Pardon, and, as the Docket says, "for all treasons, insurrections, murders, misprisions, manslaughters, &c. committed or done before the 14th of November last." This is in some sort a confession of the guilt of so many crimes as are enumerated in the Pardon—You must give it, by Vote, for the safety of witnesses, and he to be "removed from the King's person." Men are awed; and at the reading of the Petition against him, in the House of Lords, there was a great silence—He has not common bowels of mercy; he beat an old Gentleman for desiring [him] not to ride over his corn, till the blood ran down his hoary head. At Barnet he beat a poor soldier in bonds about the unfortunate killing Lady Shrewsbury's coachman—Moves as before.
The Duke's letter was read. It was as follows: "Mr Speaker, I desire you to do me the favour to get leave of the [Honourable] House of Commons, that I may inform them, in person, of some truths relating to the Public; by which you will much oblige, &c.
Mr Garroway.] Hopes you will do justice to all men. If you pass your vote against him, of what validity will anything be that he can say? Moves that [that] right may be done to the Duke, [which] you will not deny to the meanest Commoner—Lord Chief Justice Keeling, and the Earl of Bristol, had a chair set for them: You heard them speak, and Bristol cleared your Member, Sir Richard Temple—Would now hear the Duke.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] It would have been well if he had rendered himself the last Session, when occasion was given, as well as now. This man has done his impieties in the face of the Sun; prevented our meeting in October last. Has he not perverted the King's word? Would only now have him "removed from the King's Council"—My Lord of Bristol's coming hither was a voluntary desire, and nothing against him here—Is not against his coming in, but would first "remove him from the King's person."
The Duke of Buckingham was ordered to be called in (fn. 13), and a Chair was set for him on the left hand of the Bar, the Serjeant standing with his Mace on his right hand. Then the Duke saluted the House round.
The Duke sat a short space, covered; then the Speaker asked him, &c. and showed him the Letter, which the Duke owned. The Speaker then said, "The House is ready to hear what your Grace has to say, relating to the public service."
The Duke, standing, then said] I have written something, (fumbling a Paper in his hand) but will trust to my own present thoughts. I give this Honourable House humble Thanks for the honour done me, in admitting me to come and speak here. I have always made it my business to get the good opinion of this House; I desire that my actions may be examined, and I will stand, or fall, by the censure and judgment of this House: The business against me, I understand is the breaking of the Triple Alliance; I had as great a hand in making it as any man: My going to Holland was to hinder De Witt's conjunction with France, and I did no ill service in it, and the more the thing is examined, the more my innocence will appear—I was not of the opinion of a War, and France to take all, and give us nothing; if my advice had been followed, there would have been better effects—It is not my practice to accuse, but it is hard if a man may not clear himself—I have been in as much danger, for my respect to this House, as any man; have been turned out of all my Places at Court; proclaimed Traytor; Witnesses hired to swear against me, and confessed so; no man can be exempted from malicious accusations, and all for favouring Bills from this House; and, after the proclaiming me Traytor, I had a Letter from a Sister of mine, which was alleged one from Dr. Haven, a Conjurer, but through his name any man might see Richmond and Lenox (fn. 14)—I was not afraid of my enemies in the House of Commons, but afraid of being tried for my life, before you met. There have been great desires of having me removed from the King. I can hunt the Hare with a pack of Hounds, but not with a pack of Lobsters (fn. 15)—If this House desires it, I will remove from the King, and go beyond sea; no man ought to serve the King, whom the nation has no good opinion of—I have spent an estate in the King's service, when others have got thousands. Beggars that run away with the bags, when a robbery is done, you stop; but a fine Gentleman, riding upon the highway, you let go—I desire to be removed from my place, and to have leave to sell it—Persons are vehement upon me, and would ruin me—I submit myself, and actions, to the good construction of the Honourable House---and withdraws.
Lord Buckhurst (fn. 16).] The Duke has informed you of nothing concerning "public affairs," and why will you put him out of all capacity? Though his relation to him were ever so near, or obligations ever so great, would have him answer his accusations: But hear him first.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] This Duke's is not the same case with the Duke of Lauderdale's. The King may turn any man out of his service, and especially on your desires; but when it shall be upon record, that the Duke has uttered such words against the King, if a man asks whether such words are Treason, it may be represented, that he said the words, "of the King's being a Knave, and unfit to govern."
Mr Boscawen.] Has no kindness nor relation to the Duke, but we ought to hear him. Your judgment will not be thought just, though it is so in truth, by persons that understand not the reasons—Would have him acquainted with what is against him, and then you may proceed.
Colonel Birch.] The Duke has not spoken one word of "public" in what he has offered, but all "private." It seems to him, that he would be drawn to accuse, but in modesty would not do it of himself—Would adjourn now, and let him know, "if he has any "public" thing to say, we are ready to hear him."
Mr Garroway.] Would make no false steps in the bufiness; would adjourn the Debate, but would have nothing said to the Duke. He seemed discomposed, and fumbled with a paper, and would "sell his place," and could "hunt with hounds and not with lobsters;" but if any man desires he may be heard on any "public occasion," would have him heard, but not any thing "private" from him.
Lord Cornbury.] Observes that the Duke has good intelligence of what we do here; for he began his discourse with the great business of France—If you accuse him, he is pardoned, and has the King's pardon; being so secured, there is no justice to proceed upon these crimes—But suppose he should acquit himself of all the great matters relating to the King, yet here is a crime in the face of the Sun, a murder, and his living with that miserable woman in that perpetual adultery. He never was tried for killing her husband, and would be satisfied how you may try him; but how will you reach him? He must be tried by the Lords. Every body knows the great friendship that you, Mr Speaker, have for him; and would not have you write or speak to him—But if he has any thing more to say, you may hear him to-morrow.
Sir John Monson.] Has attended this noble Lord's speech, but wonders that he should interpret the weighty affairs of this House to be his own private affairs, and believes, that his mind changed from what he had to say at first, upon our Debate.
The Speaker.] Reminded the House, That it is against Order, that Members should salute Messengers from the Lords House, as if this House was the School of Compliments.—The Speaker only ought to do respect for the whole House.
A Message from the Lords, That the King has appointed both Houses to attend him with the Petition concerning a General Fast (fn. 17), in the Banquetting-House, to-morrow at three of the clock in the afternoon.
[Mr Speaker reports, That he had presented the Addresses to his Majesty, who was pleased to return Answer to this effect: "That he was always ready to preserve them in their Liberties and Properties, and to secure the Protestant Religion; and would take care the Militia should be in readiness upon all occasions, to secure the Government."]