Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 2. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
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Wednesday, January 14.
The adjourned Debate resumed.
Sir John Monson.] Would know whether the Speaker has any more letters, or intimations, from the Duke of Buckingham, and that, [if he had,] he would produce them.
Sir Eliab Harvey.] Moves to state the Question, upon the matter of the Debate adjourned yesterday; the Question, "To remove the Duke of Buckingham from his Majesty's person, and employments, for ever," to be the Address to the King.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Would do things so like an honest man, that, if informed of any other matter, he may not repent him of his vote. The Debate arises fairly from the first vote, "All Papists, and persons obnoxious, to be removed from the King." That he [will] stick close to. If the House will add "all others guilty of murder" &c. and have all scandalous livers removed, he is content—Many others may be as perplexed in the vote, and entangled, as he is; therefore would come to a fair Debate. If any person, be it who it will, is "so obnoxious," would fairly give his vote to have him removed—Would a man be content, that every Duke in England that has killed a man, or lived in adultery, should be comprehended in your vote as dangerous to the Government? Whether "seizing on money," "popishly affected," or "has made a League," let all these come fairly before us—How carefully did we proceed in the Duke of Lauderdale's vote? The Duke said, "he was not a man to be an Accuser, but, if examined, he would throw himself upon the judgment of the House;" if he did not make the League [French Alliance] he may know who did it: Shall we lose such an opportunity, as this offer of the Duke's? Though not expressed, yet it is fairly implied, that he can tell you—Would set the saddle upon the right horse, and send for him, if he will come.
The Speaker.] Dr. Williams addressed himself to him thus: "That his name, he has heard, was made use of in the House, about what he should hear the Duke say of the King; protests he never heard the words, nor said he heard them (fn. 1)."
Mr Robert Philips.] Dr. Williams told him, "That the words were not only spoken once, but frequently, by the Duke."
Sir John Coventry.] Has no malice against the Duke, but could not be silent when a worthy Member, Colonel Titus, can tell you as much.
Colonel Titus.] Rises up very unwillingly to speak in the matter, for he has been under a misfortune from this person—Will not do a public good for a private revenge—He has heard the same things from Dr. Williams.
Mr Sacheverell.] We are not going to hang the Duke, nor try him for his life; we only desire to remove him from the King. The Question might have been yesterday, but he being too foul, we would not touch him—Wheeler said, "affairs are not mended since Lord Clarendon's banishment;" but the House is a judge of that, not he; but if this person is not removed, will never move to have any removed more.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The Duke told you, "he had no hand in the French Alliance," and at the same time that "he would have had no ships, but towns:" Averse from the war, and yet would have towns and no ships! When he told you, "he was not for breaking the Triple Alliance," a thing of great honour! but "for putting most of the towns into the French hands," it was one of the elegancies of speech which men call a Bull—"Would have leave to sell his place"—He has, under the Signet, two thousand four hundred pounds a year, in compensation of what he has given for the place of Master of the Horse; and yet he affirms "he has nothing from the Crown"—The method we take is by common fame here; the wisest Parliaments have taken it before us. Henry IV. in the case of the Abbot of his Confessor, removed him for no other reason but for not being loved by the people, though the King knew nothing against him—Many more have been removed at the instance of the Commons—Would not have a hair of his head touched, but a learned Judge (Atkins) said here, in Lord Clarendon's case (about removing him) "Was he a young Gentleman, and came to town with money in his pocket, and gave it to a gamester to improve it for him by play, and he lost it, believes he should not put another bag into such unlucky hands to play for him"—Would have the Question, "That he is not a man fit to be about the King." Whom will you impute your Grievances to? No man will say, To the King; but if such a man's crimes must be alleviated, he is for the King and the Commonwealth—Would, perhaps, move you, that no Member for the future, whilst Parliaments sit, should have the temptation of offices—Moves for the single Question, as before.
Colonel Sandys.] Has met with a servant of the Duke's, who informs him, "that the Duke desires to be heard here again; being under a surprize yesterday, he has something farther to say."
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] Says the same.
Mr Russel.] Has no malice against the Duke of Buckingham, but would have this Question "for removing him" passed; fearing the danger the King and the nation are in, from a knot of persons that meet at the Duke's, who have neither Morality nor Christianity, who turn our Saviour and Parliaments into ridicule, and contrive Prorogations; and would have such persons removed.
Colonel Sandys.] Remembers that my Lord Keeper Finch desired to be heard, and was heard, but ran away; but the Duke has no reason to do so; you have dealt favourably with him: But would hear him; you cannot, it may be, have notice of things without hearing him.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Knows nothing of what the Duke intends, but he has been at the head of Councils, and knows much—The kingdom is in misery, a little knowledge of affairs may bring you to more, and you may at last know the end—He has no design, nor hopes, but to keep his property in the country—Pardons, it seems, in Parliament have not served the turn—Would call in any man that can inform the House.
Lord St John.] Is a friend to no man that gives ill counsels—Any in the private Cabal that advised against the House of Commons, "to force the House of Commons to pass Bills, and, if any refused, to take off their heads (fn. 2) —Would have these things enquired into—He has been told it by one of the Cabal (fn. 3).
Mr Sawyer.] Did not expect, yesterday, excuses, from the Duke, of his own actions, but discoveries of matters of concernment to the nation, relating to the Public; but would not call him in to do the same thing again, only would have light into those causes that have produced such ill effects. He was called in only for discovery—The House proceeds not by same of vulgar persons, but upon things as plain as the Sun. This new light, a thing called wit, is little less than fanaticism, one degree below madness—Of Democritus's family, he laughs always at all Religion and true Wisdom—We come here to take away examples of such things; such as this Duke, as great as any. This kind of Wit's best ornament is most horrid blasphemy, oaths, and imprecations, which have done more hurt, in a few years, than all the Convents and Jesuits could do in a hundred years—Prays, that the Duke may not be heard to "matters of excuse," to acquaint you with that which all the world is satisfied in; but confined only to "matters of discovery."
Mr Garroway.] Fears not any thing the Duke can say, in "excuse" of himself; he had little advantage upon us by it yesterday. "Sequestering him only from his employments, and the King's presence," is a gentle way, and would have it done in as gentle words as possible—It is likely he may have been as ill an instrument as any; you have Grievances, but will you not have the causes discovered? Would call him in, and hear him at large—Would have Lord St. John's Question asked the Duke, or any other delivered you.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Lord St. John said, "one of the Cabal told him, &c."—Would know what the meaning of the Cabal is.
Mr Garroway.] That is so great a mystery, that he would know it above all things.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] We do things, not voluntarily, but by Law; the King's Privy Counsellors! and it is perjury for us to reveal—As for the Committee of foreign affairs (of which he is the only man of this House) wishes (he protests to God) that you knew what opinion he has ever given of affairs.
Sir William Lewis.] The way is to hear him at large, and then propose your Questions, and he has time by it to ask the King's leave to answer—That has been anciently done in these cases.
Mr Powle.] Commends Secretary Coventry for his secrecy. This House has liberty to examine any man, not being a Peer, and what he discovers is no breach of his oath; but if this House must take no notice of things, and persons are rescued from punishment, we may be all destroyed. A Privy Counsellor may do it safely, without breach of his oath—In Lord Strafford's case, examination was upon oath of what was done at the Council-table, and no exception was then taken against it—Cabal is a new word, and what is said there is not said in Council, any more than in the bed-chamber; and those few men of the Cabal to encroach upon Royal power, as the Duke of Ireland did!—Would have that Question "of the Cabal" proposed to the Duke.
Sir Thomas Meres.] "Cabal" and "Council" are different, but we have power over both.
Sir John Birkenhead.] In Lord Strafford's case, the Attorney General, when he was examined here, said, "he would answer, when he had his Master's leave"—It is perjury in any Privy Counsellor to answer without it.
Sir Charles Harbord.] To give counsel to the King "to take away Privilege of Parliament!"—No Council can protect him.
Serjeant Maynard.] Supposed this "of the Parliament-men's heads" (said in the King's Council) to be set upon the House;" will not meddle with that—Knows not how the Question propounded about the Cabal is understood.
Mr Sacheverell.] The Duke said, "three, four, or five thousand pound a-year some had got;" Would have him asked to every one of them.
The Speaker.] The things proposed to be asked the Duke he will state—"The private Cabal to destroy the Privileges of this House"—"Altering the Government, where and by whom?"—"What meant by four, five, or six thousand pounds a-year gotten?" " Who got it? and by what means the Triple Alliance was broke?" "The Smyrna fleet set upon?" "The Parliament prorogued?"
Sir Robert Holmes.] He was commanded to fall upon the Smyrna fleet, and has his orders to show from the Lord High Admiral to do it (fn. 4).
Sir Nicholas Carew.] "By whose advice a Frenchman was made General of an army, when here raised," another Question.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Count Schomberg is far from a Frenchman; his mother was an Englishwoman, and his father a German. He first commanded the Scots, under the Duke; and, would he have been a Papist, might long ago have been Marshal of France (fn. 5). —Though Germany be one country, they are not of one mind in this war; divers Princes are now arming in Germany, that will neither obey the Emperor, nor the King of France—He came first to Marshal Turenne, when he was a Protestant.
Sir William Coventry.] What was said from the Bar, of Monsieur Schomberg, needs not his confirmation. This Gentleman might be abler than another man, it may be reasonably supposed, for the King's service, having served long in Holland, and knows the condition of that country —Would lay no more weight on this than will be borne —I wish this was our greatest Grievance; the Gentleman came only for the command of the army, when intended for foreign service, and when that intention was laid aside, he went away.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Is for avoiding all things that give any umbrage or jealousy—It may be thought as necessary to have "a foreign army," as to have "a foreign General;" they may both give umbrage or jealousy, and therefore would avoid them.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Does not believe that an English General would serve for such purposes; but a "foreigner" has given us great jealousies, and would have that one of the Questions.
Mr Love.] Would have it another Question, "who advised that the army should be appointed to draw up towards London, to awe this House, to make us vote what they please?"
The Duke of Buckingham was called in, as before, and then spoke thus:
"In the first place, I return this Honourable House humble Thanks for the Honour of twice admitting me; especially when I consider, how ill I expressed myself yesterday—Consider the condition I am in; in danger to pass for a vicious person, and a Betrayer of my Country, all the world over—I have the misfortune to bear the blame of other men's faults—I know that it is laid against me the "revealing the King's counsels," "correspondency with the enemy, in time of war," and "having hindered what the Council would have done"—I hope I shall have pardon, if I speak truth for myself. I told you, that, if the Triple Alliance had advantage in it, I had the honour to have as great a hand in it (I speak it without vanity) as any man: Then upon the French Ambassador's and other intelligence, I had orders to compliment upon the sad subject of Madame (fn. 6) —I thought it for the service of the King, that the French ought not to endeavour to be considerable at sea; we were jealous of them, that the Dutch should make their peace with them, because they had power to conquer. When I returned, I had all the demonstrations imaginable that the French had no such thoughts, but that the King of England should be master at sea—I pretend not to judge, whether I, or another, was in the right, but leave the House to judge. At that time, I, and Lord Shaftesbury, were of opinion not to begin a war, without advice of the Parliament, and the affections of the People, that the Parliament might join in it; and I believe the King, at the head of his Parliament, the greatest Prince in the world: This was Shaftesbury's opinion and mine, but not Lord Arlington's—Then I was of opinion not to make use of the French ships; but to have half the value of them in money, for English ships, which would have been of more service; the French ships of no use to us, because of no experience, and the use of our seas, learned by them, of great danger to us—Lord Arlington was of a contrary opinion—I was sent to Dunkirk to the King of France, Arlington to Utrecht—I endeavoured to have money, instead of ships; at my first audience, the French King was willing to comply with it, but, after some time, by letters and returns from hence, it was altered—I make no reflections, but declare matter of fact—Then Lord Shaftesbury and I were of opinion to order the war so, that the French were to deliver towns into our hands: An useful precedent! Lord Arlington was of opinion to have no towns at all delivered, for one year, and here is the cause of the condition of affairs, with that of the fleet, and the French army let go on to conquer; they get all, and we nothing, and agree for none neither---Consider who it was locked up with the French Ambassador (fn. 7) my spirit moves me to tell you. When we are to consider what to do, we must advise with the French Ambassador---I will not trouble you with Reports. Look not upon me as a Peer, but as an honest English Gentleman, who have suffered much for my love to my Country---I had a regiment given me, which was Sir Edward Scott's; and, not knowing the Law of England, I gave him fifteen hundred pounds for it; no Papists, nor Irish in the regiment---I will say nothing of my extraordinary gains. I have lost as much estate as some have got, and that is a big word---I am honest, and when I shall be found otherwise, desire to die---A man that has not gotten by all this---I leave it to you. If I am a Grievance, I am the cheapest Grievance, after all this, that ever this House had; and so humbly ask pardon of the House for the trouble, &c.
Then the Speaker told the Duke, "That he was commanded, by the House, to ask his Grace some Questions, if he pleased to make answer to them." The Duke answered, "he was willing."
Question 1. Whether any persons have, at any time, declared to him any of their advices, or ill purposes, against the liberty of this House, or propounded any ways to him for altering our Government; and if they did, what was that advice, and by whom?
Answer.] It is an old proverb, "Over shoes, over boots." This reflects upon one now not living [Lord Clifford] and I would have Pardon for not naming him, and fear it will be thought a malicious invention of mine. I have said nothing yet but what I can justify; but this not.
2. What his Grace meant by this expression yesterday ["that he had gotten nothing, and that] others had gotten four, five, or six hundred thousand pounds;" who they were that had gotten it, and by what means?
Answer.] I cannot acquaint you how they got it, because not well acquainted myself with the means of getting Money. What the Duke of Ormond has got is upon record. Lord Arlington has not got so much, but a great deal.
3. By whose advice the army was raised, and Papists set to officer them, and Monsieur Schomberg to be their General?
Answer.] I cannot say "by whose advice," but, on my honour, not by my advice; but was told by a man that is dead, "that Lord Arlington sent for him," and it will be easily proved.
4. Whether he knows, that any have advised to make use of the army to awe the Debates and Resolutions of this House?
Answer.] This is the same Question of a discourse from a man that is dead to a man that is living. If I had deserved it, I might have had the command of the army that Monsieur Schomberg had; but I have been told, that Lord Arlington would have the Government by an army.
5. By whose Counsel and Ministry the Triple League was made?
Answer.] Lord Arlington and I were only employed to treat, and finding the danger that we were [in of being] cheated, pressed the Ambassadors to sign before they had power—It was an odd request to the Ambassadors, yet they did sign.
6. Who made the first Treaty with France, by which the Triple League was broken, [and the Articles thereof?]
Answer.] I made no Treaty.
7. Who advised the shutting up the Exchequer, whereby the Orders of Assignment and Credit of the Exchequer [were broken and] destroyed?
Answer.] I was not the adviser. I lost three thousand pounds by it.
8. And the Declaration about matters of Religion made?
Answer.] I do not disown that I advised it, but no farther only than what might be done by the Declaration by Law.
9. And the Smyrna fleet fallen upon, before war was declared?
Answer.] It was Lord Arlington's advice; I was against it; so much against it (as careful of the honour of the nation) that I incurred some anger from the King. Lord Arlington principally moved it—And I might say more.
10. And the second Treaty with the French King at Utrecht, and the Articles thereof?
Answer.] Lord Arlington and I were sent over to Utrecht, and found in the common people of Holland, in our journey thither, the greatest consternation imaginable—Like burning the Rump in England, crying, "God bless the King of England!" and "cursing the States;" and had we then gone over and landed our men, we might have conquered the country; the Prince of Orange would have had Peace with France; but what share should we have had? Though he was the King's nephew, yet the King must be kind to his own country---If Peace had been then, we had been in worse condition than we were before: At last, the Prince of Orange hoped for a good Peace; but I was not for France to have all, and England nothing. The consequence would have been, Holland must depend on France, if France had conquered near Germany---I think it a wise Article, that France should not make Peace without us.
11. By whose counsels the war was made, without advice of Parliament; and the Parliament thereupon prorogued?
Answer.] Lord Shaftesbury and I were for "the advice of Parliament for the war"---I can say nothing to "the Prorogation"---I believe the Parliament will never be against a war for the good of England; and so desire the pardon of the House: I know not how words may have slipped me, and lay myself at the feet of the House, as an English Gentleman.
The Duke then saluted the House, as before, and withdrew.
Colonel Birch.] What the Duke has told us are personal discourses of one that "is dead." He may inform us, if he pleases, of one of those "living"—Would have him declare them, and have him called in again.
Mr Sawyer.] What came from a dead man can be of no use imaginable; but here is no answer made to "setting upon the Smyrna fleet." Probably he is less guilty as to State affairs, but for public scandal, would have the Question put "for his removal."
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Hoped for great light from the Duke, but he gives no light as to persons of a contrary opinion to him.
Sir Courtney Poole.] Thinks us not so much in the dark—Thinks this noble Lord will satisfy you farther tomorrow—He named but one about the army: He may tell you more.
Sir William Lewis.] He had no proof of the most material points, but from a person dead.
Sir Thomas Lee.] All he has said terminates in one man; but he believes no man so big as he represents him—It was in his power to have given larger answers, if he would—He cannot believe that some one person, without help, could carry counsels against two or three, not one evil against two good—By the same right, you may send for him, as he came before; and if not, you may send to the House of Peers for their leave.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] We have little light from the Duke without explaining—No Oath of Secrecy does bind a man to promote an ill act; but as for promoting, or not promoting a league, 'tis no sin—In one of the Answers, the Duke makes Lord Arlington instrumental in breaking the Triple Alliance; but it is not the Duke's saying it, that makes him so; nor Lord Arlington's saying it that makes the Duke so: Otherwise, happy is the first accuser—Would be equal on both sides, but would ask, Whether any man believes that Lord Arlington would own all this? You are to have farther light from the Duke. Send to him to come again, if he be willing, or, if not, to the House of Lords, for leave for him.
Colonel Birch.] Would send out two Gentlemen to know, whether the Duke has any thing farther to say—That is parliamentary.
Sir Robert Howard.] Some things came from the Duke that require us to proceed more carefully, than we are about to do; but the Question that is pressed is like hearing him after, and condemning him first. Upon the whole, you cannot but think the time of the day, and the thing, great enough to put us upon considering it till to-morrow.
Mr Russel.] If the Debate be adjourned, the Duke, by his power, may prorogue us again, as he has done formerly.
Mr Sawyer.] Pities the Duke's condition here, and the loss of his estate; but would have you proceed in it.
Sir John Morton.] He that has made bold with his own King, in contempt, and with the King of Kings!—Would have the Question.
Sir Nicholas Pedley.] The Duke may have Patents for life. The Serjeant of your Mace has a Patent for his place, for life, and it is a freehold in him. You cannot take away the Duke's office without legal proceedings against him—By rule of Law, there must be a scire facias (which is a judicial Writ to call a man to show cause to the Court whence it issues, why execution of judgment passed, should not go out)—You cannot put a man from his freehold; and he would not have the Question.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Sees not such danger in this, as is alleged—By Impeachments, the Lords are Judges. By the Address we make to the King, the King cannot grant against Law more than is in his power—Would clear it to the House. It may fall out to have the same case before you again, and would not have any person out of the power of the House of Commons.
Mr Waller.] Moves, not for the Duke's sake, but for his own. You take away from him more than you leave him—Common fame against one of the Lords is the same thing here—You go with an humble desire to the King to have our judgment put in execution—Because you have not liked men, they have been removed —Some say, he never said the word alleged against him; others say, others said them—No proof—Witnesses may be corrupted—Not many men are hanged for want of their pardon, if recorded—Never any man was hanged, with his pardon in his hand—This is a great convulsion of state, a Peer to come down to your House. If times are so corrupt, I must piece out my innocence with a pardon—If this nation be ever preserved, it must be in this place; and where so great a power is, if not as exact a justice with it, we are not safe—God has given us great power, and thank God for it.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Duke's office is a Patent, and a Freehold—The Duke may have a recompence for his office.
Sir Charles Harbord.] The Duke's office cost him a great sum of money, and it may be any man's case—Pray be tender in what you cannot put the King upon, in point of Law.
Sir William Lewis.] We have cause to be tender in the things offered, and "to desire that the King would be pleased to give him leave to sell his place."
Lord Cavendish.] Should not be for the latter part of the Question, if it "took his place" from him, for the King may "give him leave to sell it."
Lord Cornbury.] Is not for taking away the Duke's life. Would have things rightly understood—It concerns not his Freehold; he holds it only during the King's pleasure. Is not against his "leave to sell it"—Do you intend to leave "employment" wholly out of the Question?—He has a Patent for Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and a Pension for it, and his Lieutenancy of Yorkshire; and, on the other side, would not recommend him to the King, and not think him sit to be about his person.
Sir John Duncombe.] Has a great compassion for this honourable person's misfortunes—What comfort can a man have, after such a charge, without some compensation for his place?—Which he moves for.
Mr Harwood.] Has had great honour for this person, but now must lay all aside here—With what face can you make such an Address to the King?—You do nothing to take away the King's charity, in compensation of his places, and doubts not but the King will do it—It is a burden greater than he could wish he had, but would not put it upon the King by our Address.
Sir William Coventry.] Makes this Declaration, not by what he shall say, to move you to a sharper censure than you intend—Moves only for the milder part of your Debate. "To remove him" is the general sense, but would not wound other men, by destroying his Patent, nor wound his Freehold, nor take away his Blood—(If that was intended, then another manner of proceeding must be, than has been already)—Would have added to the Question, "reserving to him the profits of such places, as of right, he has, by any inheritance, or freehold.
Sir William Hickman.] Seconds it.
Mr Powle.] Would have him "removed out of offices that are granted him at his Majesty's pleasure."
Mr Swynfin.] Be the offender ever so great, or the offence, you may err in the manner of proceeding—Would have you proceed by such rules as agree with justice—In the Duke of Lauderdale's case, persons did prove things against him (your Members)—Looks for judicial proof before you; information has been, but remembers no proof—It has been the course, that great Ministers of State do take out those pardons, sometimes one or two in a year—As to impeachment, this way was well; for then all evidence on both sides is heard—Does not think "removal from the King's presence" a light thing. Put the case, you had this upon your own Members—Would you have Freeholds taken away without proof? Thinks it an ill precedent—Let the case be this, Lords or whose it will, we have nothing but justice for our own preservation—Whoever shall judge a man, and not hear him to the point, though his judgment be just, he is unjust in judging.
Colonel Strangways.] There is no freehold in a grant "at the King's pleasure"—Will you make Lex et consuetudo Parliamenti nothing?—We do as a Grand Jury does, persuaded in conscience that the thing is so—Neither Fornicator, nor Adulterer, &c. shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven—Hopes that virtue will be countenanced here—This vote is only "to remove such a Counsellor," to restore the King, and honour and integrity unto the kingdom: No sanguinary Law—Not for taking away his freehold, but only what he holds at the King's pleasure—Hopes that men of sobriety and honesty will be near the King, and would have the Duke removed.
Sir Thomas Meres.] "Removing from the King's person" is, in consequence, removing from places and employments—It is also said, "we are heard as a Grand Jury, in impeachments;" but, as you proceed now, there are objections; you now give your last judgment, whatever the King will do. Says another Gentleman, "you have heard no proofs;" but these shall not go without an answer—This House had great power in judgment by common fame, as every one of us is told without doors. Lex Parliamentaria. Thirty persons, in Mr Prynne's books, were desired to be removed from former Kings, because the people spoke ill of them; some of them, though not all, were removed—The Duke is a fine person, and taking with us, and we have a tenderness; but it does not become this House to countenance selling of places—Though common fame is the great prerogative of this House, yet would use it very sparingly.
Sir John Birkenhead.] Is against clancular and clandestine proceedings—In the common law, if the Christian neighbourhood say, "one keeps another man's wife," yet upon his oath he may clear himself—Lord Bacon calls common fame "acommon liar;" and the precedents cited, of removals, were in ill times—Is against the latter part of the Question.
Mr Powle.] Birkenhead said, "the precedents, cited, were of ill times,"—11 Richard II. a great while before his deposing: That was done in the 22d. The effects of those censures then kept things quiet, till his deposing—The Duke of Ireland was then removed, for encroaching upon Royal power—Wishes we might ever use this power moderately, and that we had no occasion of using it now—Birkenhead would not have mistaken him, if as well versed in History as Records.
Colonel Birch.] A good pattern before us, of what we may say of the dead—Is one of those [who] desired no resolution of this matter till another day; and did it then for another reason, not for favour to the Duke—It is the custom, that the Speaker call for a clear account, and wishes it had been now from the Duke: But cannot a Gentleman give a clear opinion in the Question? Would not call for it—When once the Debate was, in the Convention, of recommending Counsellors to the King, it was answered, "all the awe you have upon the King's Council hereafter is, if they be such as the people have an ill opinion of, you may remove them;" and it is better for us then to name them, for we must be reponsible for them—Shall you depart from this, and call for direct proof of persons only, and not things? You have great prejudice by it—You cannot take his freehold from him by your vote, and he is therefore for the Question.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Fears, that you may clash with the Lords upon another thing—When the point was of removal from the King's presence, 29 Henry VI. as now, the King answered, "he is content to remove them from his presence, except they be Lords, unless they approve." Whether any clear precedent, the Commons originally to go to the King to remove, in case of Peers, is not satisfied—It is not the case of the Duke of Lauderdale, who is no Peer.
Lord Cornbury.] Littleton is mistaken in the precedent of 29 Henry VI. The Duke of Somerset, and the Bishop of Winchester, were removed—The words of the accusation were, "The people spake ill of them"—The King grants the request of the Commons, unless to some few persons that were Lords, who are necessary about him —The Lords concurrence will beget another Debate, but the King is still at the same freedom.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If the Lords have any exceptions against our proceedings, let us not be without answers to them. 29 Henry VI. "The King is willing they shall be removed, to see if any one will approve."
Resolved, That an Address be presented to his Majesty, to remove the Duke of Buckingham from all his employments that are held during his Majesty's pleasure, and from his Presence and Councils for ever.
Thursday, January 15.
Lord Obrien delivered a Petition about "his Wife's lands granted away from him, and his writings taken from him by a file of musqueteers, and cannot obtain his right without your help." It was referred to a Committee.
Lord St. John.] Has advised with some Lawyers about a Bill he had formerly leave to bring in, of Habeas Corpus, for people sent into Ireland, and out of the reach of the law.
He had leave to bring it in.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] Has a complaint against a great Minister of State, the Earl of Arlington (fn. 8) —All great affairs and transactions go through his hands—He has been the great Treasurer; the management of that must pass by him—He has no prejudice to him, or disobligation from him, but it is a duty he owes the King and nation—It was just upon your heels the taking away your liberties, contrary to the Laws of the kingdom; and, to back this, an army was raised of dangerous men, unfit to command—Nothing has passed for some years but through his hands; the army, the Declaration; he the great conduit-pipe: This instance many within these walls know, and abroad he is reported a Papist, and reconciled to the Church of Rome—In the Journal you may find the Act for suppressing of Conventicles; upon his Majesty's power to suspend Laws in the Proviso; upon the division of the House, Arlington staid in for it with not above thirty—Every thing passed through his hands; all Licences, according to the Declaration.
The Articles he has to exhibit against Lord Arlington are under three heads.
1. That the said Earl hath been a constant and most vehement promoter of Popery and Popish Counsels.
2. That the said Earl hath been guilty of many and undue practices, to promote his own greatness, and hath embezzled and wasted the treasure of this nation.
3. That the said Earl hath falsely and traiterously betrayed the great trust reposed in him, by his Majesty, as Counsellor and principal Secretary of State.
[The Particulars of these Articles will follow in Lord Arlington's Speech in the House.]
Sir Robert Carr.] Assures you, that he does not oppose the bringing in the Articles, or any thing objected against Lord Arlington; but he has a letter to the Speaker to be communicated to the House.
Lord Obrien.] Knows not but what has been said yesterday may have been the occasion of this letter, and would have it read
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] Then proceeded to the Particulars of Lord Arlington's charge (which will follow in the Defence.)
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Lord Arlington, with Lord Ossory, brought him to kiss the King's hand, at his return from Jamaica, &c.—More may be said, but when his country's service, and the honour of the nation, is concerned, must lay all private considerations aside—To the first head of the Earl's "being a constant and most vehement promoter of Popery, &c." He serves for one of the Universities, (Cambridge) and so is more than ordinarily obliged to speak to this Article: The Declaration was a great means to bring about that end. A sad condition the kingdom of Ireland is in; it must cost our blood and treasure—There are sixty thousand Irish Papists; and at the King's return, special care was taken that they should not be in strong walled towns, and an Act passed for it there; and, notwithstanding that, a letter was signed by Lord Arlington, with a non obstante to this Act, "that Papists may inhabit walled towns"—Would have that letter read, and it will tell you how it does especially strike off that Act of Parliament—Lord Arlington was owner of a ship that fell to piracy and robbed the English; and, at this time, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland complains of this Fitzpatrick into England, but could have no answer—But he had two thousand pounds to pay his regiment—An objection may lie, "that all might pass his office, and he but a Minister, and does but obey command, being but a ministerial officer." In cases absolutely contrary to the Law of the land, there a Minister ought to be so generous as to put his Majesty in mind what is against Law, and will contribute to the King's hurt—In the time of the late King, Montrose had twenty thousand foot, twelve thousand whereof the King would have march into England to join with four thousand horse. The King knew not how to join them, and, in great courage, would go himself: Lord Gerrard, the General of the Horse, thought it treasonable to carry the King out of England, and told him, "Sir, I will go, if you please; but I will rather lay down my commission than carry the King out of England." How tender of their actions some men are! In the Act of Conformity there is "Assent and Consent;" we are sure that he that gives it is one of us. Here was "Assent and Consent" in Lord Arlington in this matter—The ministerial Apothecary, when we are sick, is called upon as well as the Doctor—The way of proceeding with the Duke of Buckingham had many Queries; what was proved? Would go on in this with the same vigour, and apply your Vote of the Duke of Lauderdale, of "dangerous and obnoxious to the Government," to the present affair—Will undertake to bring proof of the charge, and moves to address the King, "that this noble Earl may for ever be banished from the King's presence."
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Desires to tell you the custom of the Secretary's Office. (Wonders that the Proviso made so many years ago was now mentioned, which Lord Arlington was for, with thirty more, and then that Lord was not suspected of Popery.) The Grooms of the Bed-chamber sometimes get the King's hand, and they sometimes got the King's hand, and it was not allowed by the Secretaries, only to avoid counterfeiting the King's hand, and the thing entered in the office—If orders that the officers should not obey orders, without the Secretary's countersigning, in Council, let the Secretary's opinion be what it will, it is not in the Secretary's power to do what he will; but when the Council, or the King, order such a letter to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, it is not his fault—If Lord Arlington has counterfeited the King's hand, it is a fault, but if he has countersigned by order, he is not to blame: And will you for that banish him? A General is not punished, because he has done bravely, but because he has fought without order: It is not reasonable to remove Lord Arlington upon such allegations—In the Duke of Lauderdale's accusation, four Members deposed an article—You heard the Duke of Buckingham, and hopes you will do the same justice to this Lord—You are not ripe for Wheeler's vote—A Secretary of State may speak with Papists, and "because I bring a Petition from a poor Papist, therefore I am one," is no consequence—You have not yet stated what it is to be "popishly affected;" and therefore your judgment cannot be given—Is for all that deserye ill, to be punished; but do the same to this Lord as you have done to the rest.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] This Lord is in the mouths of all people, and in their hearts they are against him. He would have the articles read, and will give an account of them, one by one.
The Speaker.] Moves that he may read Lord Arlington's Letter. The Letter was read accordingly, as follows:
"Hearing that the Honourable House of Commons are informing themselves of public affairs, wherein, I humbly conceive, what I can say may be of use and satisfaction to them, I beseech you to do me the favour, by the means of this House, to obtain leave for me to be heard by the Honourable House.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Moves that Lord Arlington may be asked the same Questions with the Duke of Buckingham, excepting that of Monsieur Schomberg, being one of the articles Lord Arlington is accused of—Would have the rest, of which he is not accused.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Hopes that the House will not vote that we shall examine him—No Member of the Lords House can answer us.
Sir William Lewis.] He is at his own pleasure for answering our Questions—He, by his Letter, offers information only.
Sir Thomas Lee.] He is judge of his own discretion; you may ask him what you please.
Sir Robert Carr.] Believes, that any Question this House will ask this noble Lord, he will answer.
The Speaker.] Reminded the House of making a noise yesterday, and that we ought not particularly to salute any man, because the respects of the House are paid by the Chair; an irregular motion when performed by any else.
Sir Edmund Jennins.] If you lose the opportunity of asking him Questions here, perhaps you will not see him again.
Colonel Birch.] Can any thing be more natural than asking of Questions? and the Speaker has drawn Questions this way and that way, till you have come to the bottom—If he gives full Answers, you need go no farther—It was not so managed yesterday.
Sir Charles Harbord.] If, upon the relation he makes, you find no cause, then would have no Questions asked —You cannot examine a Peer, nor can you send for him again.
Sir Robert Howard.] Sees no prejudice to ask Questions—The candour of the House for him—If he has not power to answer your Questions, he will let you know it—He may not have opportunity to speak of things without your Questions; and, if he be free in point of duty to the King, and reflections to himself, he is free.
Mr Sacheverell.] Would have no Questions asked him to accuse himself—Five of the Questions concern him, and he would have all these laid aside.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Those in the dark he would have questioned, but those in which he is concerned, and which were averred yesterday by the Duke, need not be asked him.
The Earl of Arlington was admitted into the House, in the same manner, in all respects, with the Duke of Buckingham. He then spoke to this effect: "I acknowledge the honour the House has done me in admitting me to speak here---In private conversation, and at dinners, I have met with a paper of Articles against me, in the nature of an impeachment, though upon uncertain grounds---Had I as much memory as innocence, I assure myself of all favour from this House---I have a bad memory, and so must make use of papers---I reduce the accusations to three heads. First, matter of Religion. Secondly, matter of War and Treaties. Thirdly, particular Fortune and Acquisitions I have got since the King's Restoration.
1st, For Religion. I never did one act to derogate from the Protestant Religion, neither have I heard mass, nor made any reconciliation to the Church of Rome---I hope you will not rest upon aspersions, unless any honourable Member will aver it on his knowledge, and, if so, I am content it should pass for a conviction---I am accused of "having a part in composing the Declaration for Liberty of Conscience." I was present in Council when it was resolved, that, in time of war, it might be of great advantage to do any temporary thing, till the Parliament might consider of it; but, as soon as I was convinced that it was contrary to law, I was the first man that advised to desist from what was not tenable by law---As for what concerns the Papists (Roman Catholics) I suppose, that, according to the function of my place, I might pen it, but it was brought to me changed to what was resolved in Council---To the charge of being "a favourer of Papists," I answer, In particular I have favoured those of the Church of England; but I have promiscuously obliged men of merit, without distinction of Religion.
To the 2d, "That I have promoted Irish Papists and Rebels, to be let into corporations and commissions of the peace, offices of trust, military and civil, &c." This is so ill imputed to me, that I was not at London, at the Council, but at my country house, when the order was made. Any Gentleman here, that knows the forms in this matter, can tell, that these letters are by the King's particular direction.
3. "Bringing the most violent Papists into command of companies and regiments of the King's English subjects, &c. and though they refused the oaths by the Act enjoined, procuring them new Commissions." It was affirmed to me, that Colonel Panton would take the Oaths and Test, and by his looks seemed to accept his commission accordingly---I dare pronounce that not one commission was signed by me, but for such as went into foreign parts, and were not likely to return.
4. "That I stopped prosecution of the piracy in Ireland, of one Fitzpatrick." My hand is no way seen in it, but in an order for his prosecution. A letter was sent me from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; but I gave no interruption, directly nor indirectly, to his prosecution.
5. "Entertaining and lodging in my house a Priest, contrary to the known laws, a noted Sollicitor of the Popish Faction, &c." I know of none, except Father Patrick, that ever frequented my house, unless by chance, upon some sudden emergency.
6. "That I was the adviser to begin the war, without consent of Parliament." Whatever others may have done, few had a more positive share in hindering it than myself---There was no such thing as "constraining the Ambassadors to sign," as was alleged (fn. 9). What was done was on the other side of the water, and I was sensible of all approaches of violation of the League; in this I can scarce vindicate myself without reflection on others: I cannot affirm, but will lay before you my presumptions and others in this business---France, to bring the Duke of Buckingham on their side, contrived his going over to Paris, on pretence of some easy coaches for the King, which he had leave for. The King warned him by no means to meddle with affairs---The King of France used him well, and gave him a jewel---He counselled me about it; to requite him, I told him in what state matters lay: "I see you fast to the Spanish interest, if you will procure me a pension from the Spanish Ambassador:" The Duke took the pleasure of telling the tale, and, upon my honour, I appeal if many have not heard the Duke say, with oaths, "Arlington is to be turned out, and he would furnish the King with a better Secretary;" which he might easily have done. The first time the Duke discovered himself, he desired to go with a compliment into France, which might have been done by a more ordinary man. He had authority to sound that Court, and brought word of the French resolutions for war, and so magnified that King and his Ministers, that all wondered at it---He brought accounts of resolutions of France for our interest, but no particulars; sometimes seriously, sometimes pleasantly. The King told me the reports. I answered, "Examine the thing, and be not guided by particular partiality." I have leave from the King for my coming hither, for the purgation of myself. I am taxed with having spoiled the treaty with France. Many, that I can name, present in Council, have heard the Duke say, "I am persuaded, what Lord Arlington says is with reflection---Either I did, or did not say, he changed the Treaty." I fear the Duke has forgot the Treaty. This French Treaty confirmed the Triple Alliance; the King established it in the Treaty---It is true, the progress of the war has begotten some disturbance; as the business of Charleroy. If France disturbs, this Treaty is violated---France was thus warned. The King of France asked leave for some forces to pass through Flanders: Monteri gave him a civil denial; which being resented by the King, on the behalf of France, diverted the French King from marching. As for "the delivery of towns to us," 'tis so silly a thing, that it deserves not an answer. We have ever pressed France for money instead of ships. France had stores, but could not spare money. The King sent to compliment the King of France at Dunkirk---Buckingham offered himself, and treated of things unknown to me---He hoped satisfaction to wait upon so great a King, so obliging, when we approached so near the war. Ambassador Montagu, under the King's own hand, was commanded not to speak to the Ministers, but to the King of France himself---Six thousand men for the King to maintain---I pressed the King that Montagu might desist from that proposition---Buckingham was the head of them, and his officers. As to my charge of "being privately shut up with the French Ambassador;" my doors were not shut to him, nor the Spanish Ambassador; but as for "pensions," those that wrote the paper of articles should have had the good manners to have told mine. As for "Monsieur Schomberg's being General of the English;" his mother was an Englishwoman, and he commanded the King's troops in Portugal. If he would have changed his Religion, he might have been Marshal of France---'Twas not strange he should be sent for to command, when a descent was intended into Holland, in which country he had long commanded---Though Buckingham is a man of wit and parts, yet his experience is little or none at all in military affairs. Buckingham proposed that he might go to Utrecht, and I be joined with him, to temper him with my slow pace. Hard by, the King of France staid in his camp ten days, expecting the Holland Deputies; neither Prince was to treat without the other---I and Halifax were for moderate courses; Buckingham was for exorbitant. As to "the Parliament's not being acquainted with the war by my means;" it was represented, that the King had money to carry it on; it was never moved, nor urged, by any, that the war should come to the Parliament. And as for our "having towns," what should we have done with them, if the King of France had given us half his conquests? To "the falling upon the Smyrna fleet before war was declared against Holland," I remember that my opinion was not prevalent, for I never pretended to maritime affairs; neither do I remember, that I had more concernment in it than others. "That we should be governed by a standing army." None in this House, nor out of it, abominate it more than I. I think it impossible to awe it with 20,000 men. I never heard the thing said, no, not by the Duke of Buckingham. It was never in debate, and we never had it in our mouths. As for "my having had extraordinary Grants from the King, &c." had I presumed to beg of the King, as others have done, I might have had more; but if I have to maintain half the dignity of my employment, I am the falsest man that lives. I never begged any thing in England, but "I have had ten thousand pounds out of Ireland." I have Lord Bense's estate, in Ireland, given me, (which I begged) which he forfeited in the Rebellion, worth a thousand pounds per annum. I proved I was never in Rebellion, and so I claimed his estates myself. "Engrossing all affairs into my hands." I should think myself the happiest man in the world, if I might retire from the management of affairs---Any Gentleman of honour or parts, that hath had any business with the King, I have gone with and assisted---I beg pardon for tiring the House with this abrupt paper---I doubt not but to be found an innocent man---If what I have said is applicable to any thing the House desires to be informed of, I will serve the House---I think myself safe in your hands, and lay myself at your feet."
Then the Speaker desired to know, "Whether he was pleased to make answer to some Questions he had in command from the House to ask his Lordship?" Who answered, "he was willing."
Question 1. Whether any persons have, at any time, declared to him any of their advices or ill purposes against the liberties of this House, or propounded any ways to him for altering the Government; and if they did, what was that advice, and by whom?
Answer.] I cannot apply this to any discourse I have heard, either public or private.
2. By whose advice the army was raised, and Papists set to officer them?
Answer.] On account of the war there was a necessity of good officers, and the Papist officers, many of them, were represented more skilful; but cannot apply the advice to any person.
3. And that army to awe the Debates of this House?
Answer.] I can say nothing to it.
4. By whose Counsel and Ministry the Triple League was made?
Answer.] It has been suggested, by me. Sir William Temple was the fortunate man that dispatched it.
5. Who advised the first treaty with France?
Answer.] The making that League was the concurrent opinion of us all. I did not expect the French in earnest, if some blots had not happened.
6. By whose advice the Exchequer was shut up?
Answer.] You may easily believe I was passive in it---I can say but suspicions only---Many things were proposed, but I have nothing to do with the Treasury.
7. By whose advice the Declaration for liberty was made and published?
Answer.] It was a concurrent opinion, and, we thought, upon good grounds, and advisable by law; but when found contrary to law, I detested it.
8. By whose advice the Smyrna fleet was fallen upon?
Answer.] It was a concurrent advice, and I cannot apply it to any man's particular advice.
9. By whose advice the war was undertaken without advice of Parliament?
Answer.] There was all probability of peace imaginable, and it was ill to show our adversaries any ill distempers, and it was a concurrent opinion.
10. And the Parliament prorogued upon it, in November last?
Answer.] It is a hard matter to say, who was the adviser. I protest, I know not the author of it---I may wrong persons---I have presumptions, but no evidence.
Then his Lordship, after saluting the House, withdrew (fn. 10).
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Since he had the honour to sit, sometimes the King comes to Lord Arlington's lodgings, and the Ambassador came with some news of importance. He has been private with him, but the French Ambassador never sat in council that he knows.
Mr Howe.] Moves to vote him innocent.
Mr Stockdale.] Would have no Question now of nocent or innocent, but moves for the "Fast Preachers."
Sir Robert Howard.] When the Declaration passed, he happened to meet Lord Arlington, who asked his opinion of it, and said, "he used all his interest against it, and pray use you your's"---As for the shutting up the Exchequer, he looked upon it as a chimæra, and impractica ble
The farther Debate was adjourned to ten of the clock the next day.