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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Friday, January 16.
Sir John Otway, Attorney of the Dutchy.] It is for the honour of this House to acquit the innocent, as well as condemn the guilty. He has heard nothing yesterday but what is a ground to vote Lord Arlington innocent, and moves it.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Some Gentlemen are so mistaken, as you will see by and by—He wonders that the Duke of Buckingham had the proof of common fame only against him—Lord Arlington has confessed enough to condemn him—He told you of a statue that might have been erected for him, for maintaining the Triple League. Knows not by whom, unless at Rome—He says he had a hand in the Prorogation—The War and the Declaration, were only to introduce a standing Army, without which, Popery could not be secured—Arlington has told you he had a hand in all these—It is fit he should fare no better than others—Would have no root of the Cabal to grow; every little weed will grow—Desires the same Question with the Duke of Buckingham, and believes it will pass.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Says still, he must speak tenderly of Lord Arlington, for the reasons he told you, but must go to the utmost of this matter—Would have the same vote pass, as the others had before.
Mr Howe.] Knows no other reason for this Lord's banishment, but for standing in the gap against all ill Counsels, and for the Privilege of Parliament—This is a malicious prosecution (explains himself)—Means not by any man here, but abroad, by the Duke of Buckingham—Hopes we are not Prosecutors, but Judges.
Sir Thomas Meres.] What the Gentleman said, he said negatively, "not here," but, affirmatively, "elsewhere"—He was yesterday of opinion that this Lord was innocent, and, it seems, is to day of the same—Will not pretend to give his opinion, but would be glad that Gentlemen of the Long Robe would speak, and consider what you shall do, if they declare it Treason; and that will be a guide to what you do—The main of the charge is, "revealing the King's secret Counsels to his Enemies," and "the Declaration."
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] The Declaration giving leave to the Papists to exercise their Religion, enemies to the Protestant Religion; that gave the jealousy—The Attorney General (Finch) told you, "that neither he, nor the Lord Keeper, nor the Judges, ever saw it before it was published"—Desires the opinion of the House what this amounts to?
Sir John Knight.] The common fame was, the King's Counsels were divided—If the things alleged were done before the general pardon, you have, by that Act, already forgiven it—Says it, that you may see upon what account you now stand—The charge should be, the times when the crimes were committed; if after the pardon, then let the charge go on—Let these things be known.
Sir Thomas Lee.] This is a various Debate before you; it is no less than High Treason; and yet Gentlemen say, "they have no desire of blood, only desire to have him removed from the King"—He wonders at it—Read the article, and if the Gentleman cannot make it good that brought it in, let him look to it.
Mr Garroway.] This article of High Treason the House will never put by, and take no cognizance of—Would proceed, as in Lord Clarendon's case; let them that brought it in, make it good, and then you discharge your duty, let the Act of Grace be what it will—If you come to prove the nature of the thing, consider then how far it is proved—Here is the Duke of Buckingham's Aye, and Lord Arlington's No—No man comes here to question the Pardon-Act—The Question is, whether a Cabal of seven, four, or five men, shall take all business into their hands, in such a conjuncture, to advise war, to the hazard of Religion, Laws, and all, and the King too; and so many honourable persons about him not employed, and they mislead the King—These are things of a high nature, and now Arlington would have no hand in them—But all of them were of a Cabal—Says not but things may be privately discoursed preparatorily, but the King is construed to act in Council, not in Cabal—Let the articles be read, and if Gentlemen will offer proof, another way, to a person, where you may have him for trial—(Removal is another thing) let any man fall as gently as he will, but must discharge his duty.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Must remember you of articles of this nature in Lord Clarendon's case—A Gentleman said, "I believe I can prove it; but if not, I can make it so fairly out, that you shall see no malice in it;" not being assured witnesses would stand to it—There was great presumption for it, without malice—The House consented to it, in desiring this moderate vote of removal of him to set forth only how unfit he is to be about the King.
Mr Powle.] We are not yet ripe for judgment—If Arlington be guilty of the article of High Treason, it is death; and corresponding with the King's enemies is so too—As the article is presented, without mentioning any time, so we know not whether it was done before, or since the general pardon—All manner of Treasons are not pardoned by the Act of Grace, so that till examination of witnesses we know not; therefore would have the Gentleman that brought in the article, put upon it—It is not consistent with your justice to have one part of his censure now, and another part another day. Would have it entire before you—If there be presumptions, then 'tis necessary to examine witnesses; we cannot answer passing it by to the King, nor the nation; and he would have the Long Robe give their opinion in it.
Sir Richard Temple.] To every article of Lord Clarendon's charge, there were two persons of the House to make it good, or who could produce persons that would; but not otherwise to engage the authority of this House—But it is not for the honour of this House, in so formal a charge as this, to withdraw all the articles to make a dust, and no more—If the articles can be proved, would go on with the proof; or if not, would have the Gentleman that brought them in withdraw them.
Sir Thomas Meres.] In Lord Clareudon's case, we called them "inducements"—That was your term of art then used—Has heard a Gentleman say, that he will prove them; has heard another Gentleman say it, that will—Here is High Treason, but go head by head, if you please.
Sir Robert Carr.] The charge in Lord Clarendon's case was generally undertaken, and he would have something of that nature done now—Though himself is related to him, yet in God's name go on; and thinks Gerrard a man of so much honour, that he will make them good, and hopes there is no clause in this pardon to exempt this Lord.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have the articles of Treason proceeded in; for the others are of another nature, and you are to proceed in another way—"That he may be sequestered from the King's presence," if proved.
Sir William Hickman.] If you go on to the articles of High Treason, that drowns all the rest—If you go to the Lords, if he be not pardoned in the Act of Grace, he may have one in his pocket—But are you sure that the King will pass the Bill? If he does pass it, it will be a thing of time, and we sent into the country, and no censure of misdemeanors—You may censure him, and afterwards impeach.
Sir Robert Holt.] Is not for losing time, but agrees not with that Motion; but certainly one article is the same with that of Lord Clarendon; and Mr Attorney Finch then told you, "If it was not Treason, he would advise you to make it so." If this be so, let it have its reward—But if this article be undertaken to be proved, why will you winnow a load of chaff for a handful of wheat? Therefore would go on with the article of Treason.
Sir Richard Temple.] You can take notice of no man's particular pardon, unless he pleads it, and you are to bring him to the shame of pleading it, and no suggestions are fit grounds for you to pass by his charge—In Lord Clarendon's case, after duly examining the articles, "the Standing Army and free Quarter," you declared no Treason, but " corresponding with the King's enemies," you did—If Gerrard has no ground for this article of Treason, he may withdraw it.
The Speaker.] 25 Edward III. No words Treason only by an act of this King; all treasonable words are to be informed in six months, and those words, before that statute of Charles II. were not Treason.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Words were maliciously spoken by the Duke, and two witnesses are to prove them; and then you yourself told us, that Dr. Williams renounced the hearing of them said by the Duke—He one witness, and therefore no Treason in the case.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] The reason why naming persons is excused; it may be a dangerous thing to persons, who would give evidence, the Speaker not to name persons, but inducements. He believes the charge will be proved—A person of quality undertakes for another that will give evidence—This Lord is fit to be laid aside, for his dangerous and notorious miscarriage in his intelligence the first Dutch war.
Sir Robert Howard.] Matters not when it was, but let Arlington plead the pardon—But we have no retreat now, without exposing the honour of the House. Has as much tenderness as generosity, and, as a private person, will use it for this Lord, but not as a Member—Naming any body will not cause taking him from the King, for that way of proceeding will be greater terror than the person you take away; and from the nature of the thing, judge the hearsay—This is a heavy charge, and he that brought it in, ought, as an Englishman, to have spoken with the evidence—By this proceeding, we shall bring up names under an heavy character; not usual here—Starting the name of a man here, to blow him up, is as much beneath the judgment as dignity of the House—Moves for Gerrard to have time; if he be sufficiently satisfied with the person that proves it, he to stand up and assure it—We are engaged, and must proceed now.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Because the person is not named that is to give evidence, hopes the Lord Arlington is innocent; but for the King's sake, and your honour, would have the thing come out—The King's person is in danger, and the Government, by this article—The King and you have nothing but Providence to rely upon for safety, if this article be so; and rather charge him, than let this article stand upon record—As dangerous a crime as can be, the King to have a Secretary of State that has betrayed him: For this Lord's Honour, and yours, proceed in it.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] Moves for time till to-morrow, to give a positive account, and answer, whether he can prove that article of Treason; and moves to adjourn the House till ten of the clock to-morrow morning.
Saturday, January 17.
Sir Winston Churchill.] Did not say, the other day, "That the Gentleman [Mr Howe] that informed you about the Duke of Buckingham's taking off the King's bridle, was not informed so," but "that that thing was not true"—Hears it resented by your Member, and desires to be justified.
The adjourned Debate concerning Lord Arlington was then resumed. [Debate on the last Clause, of "traiterously corresponding with the King's enemies, and, contrary to the trust reposed in him, giving intelligence to them."]
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] Has no design against Lord Arlington, but to show you that the charge in that Article is not a bare allegation; for there is a person at the door that informed him of it: But finding his evidence not ready, moves to withdraw the Article (fn. 1).
Sir Charles Wheeler.] He has spoken with the Gentleman that informs it—As for his character, he was zealous for the King's service in it, has been a Cavalier, and did the bravest and boldest action perhaps in all the war—This for the reputation of the man; but, he being not ready yet with his evidence, moves that the Article may be withdrawn, and that you may go on with this Lord, as you have done with the other two persons; and seconds Gerrard to the same purpose.
Sir John Knight.] Such a treasonable action as this, and the person at the door that can inform you of it;—he thinks it not fit to withdraw the Article. Arlington being a principal Officer of State, and the thing recorded upon your books, would have the person called in.
The Speaker.] Supposes you would have him called in, to say what he can, upon the Article of treason against Lord Arlington, of "traiterously corresponding with the King's enemies, and betraying his secret counsels, contrary to the trust reposed in him."
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] This Gentleman is of unspotted reputation, and what he had from him was his inducement to bring in the Article; but the proof is not yet ready, so moves you to proceed to the next Article.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] It concerns your honour, as well as your justice, to proceed—It having gone without doors, you have gone so far that you cannot retreat—You must say, it is so, or not so; impeachment, or no punishment—The Witness is an honest man, and has served the King well. Believes he has spoken his thoughts, and would have him called in, to know what time he will take for his Evidence.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] Is so confident of this Gentleman's worth, that he has the same confidence of what he says—He hears, that there have been attempts upon the person of the Gentleman that is to come over.
Sir Robert Holt.] It is before you, what time this Gentleman may come in. It is the custom of all Laws, either to produce witnesses to prove the thing, or to clear the party—If this Article be proved, you will have occasion to use your justice—Knows the reality of Gerrard—Witnesses are expected, it may be, in a week, and would adjourn the Debate to that time.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] Is but lately come into this House, and therefore it may be thought a presumption in him to say any thing—Moves "to present the thing to the King, that he may advise with his Council about it, to take what course he pleases," that we may discharge our duty.
Mr Garroway.] Would have the King acquainted with it, out of duty to him, for the care of his person, that he may know what we are doing, (though not without your leave.) In the mean while, that these Gentlemen may have time given them to bring in the evidence (but to leave it sine die.) Only for the present do your duty, and go on with the rest of the charge.
Sir Thomas Meres.] As for the Gentleman that brought in the charge, he has produced another to undertake the proof, and has gone off fair, and has fixed it upon this Captain; has brought his inducement to the Bar—Would give all help to Counsellors, and no discouragements to them—He finds on the Journal entered, "Articles of high misdemeanor, and others, on the brink of Treason;" therefore would go on to proof, with condign punishment, if not cleared.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Here are Articles exhibited—Will you proceed one way upon one, and another upon another? One Article, one head, "procuring Commissions to Papists as a favour to that Faction, and the other Secretary not acquainted with it."
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Did never say he would "undertake to prove," but "lay before you his knowledge"—We are debating this Earl "popishly affected"—Is just now informed, that, in Herefordshire, a Priest was taken, saying Mass in his Robes, and by Law committed, and several letters came to Mr Scudamore signed Arlington, to release him. The Justice answered, "he would not release him against Law:" the Priest was sent for to London, and never heard of more. The Member that told him is Col. Rolle—Goes no farther than "popishly affected." He has been asked without doors, what it is? Has answered, "one that is Papist or Protestant, as his ends prompt him to it"—Thus, would say something to what this Earl said here himself, viz. "promiscuously doing kindness to men of merit, without any nice distinction considering one or the other;" this is great ground to be "popishly affected;" one part of the Article—"By procuring Commissions to take in persons popishly affected, turned out of command by virtue of the late Act." If the book in the Secretary's Office be sent for, you will find the Commissions signed Arlington—He said, "he did not remember above one;" that is an uncertain Answer; but said, "that he signed Col. Panton's Commission, in hopes that he would afterwards comply." That is an instance out of his own mouth—Believes that there were twelve Commissions signed for Irish Papists, even after the Addresses and the Act against Popery.
Col. Rolle.] Saw such letters as are mentioned, which desired complaint to be made of the thing, but saw not Lord Arlington's letters; but the Gentleman is turned out of Commission of the Peace, and is now Sheriff. His name is Mr John Scudamore.
Sir Robert Carr.] Rolle tells you of letters—When you come to examine the thing, you will find a great mistake—He has enquired into it, but not exactly—Remembers that Lord Arlington did it not to the end alleged.
Mr Westsaling.] Such a person was taken in Herefordshire by Mr Scudamore, saying Mass; the information was given in at the Sessions, and the man left in prison—Before the Assizes, an Order was sent, and the man gone.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] The Article of "letting in Irish into walled towns and Corporations, against Law." They ought not, upon any interest or concern, to have done it—Produces a letter, signed "Arlington."
Sir Charles Wheeler.] He is not only a concurrent Counsellor, but a Prime Minister of State—He did not look into the book, but the person that got them could not procure the Officer that keeps the books to countersign them—He has as much as he can get in the business.
Mr Powle.] If the person coming now upon his tryal and the proof, has but inducements to charge him, it is proper for Wheeler to go through his whole charge without interruption, and afterwards to inform ourselves upon Queries.
Lord Cornbury.] These misdemeanors are pardoned by the Act of Grace—Your intention, he conceives, is "to remove evil Counsellors from the King," and an Address ordered—Supposes your intention is the same as in the former Proceedings, because of the Act of Grace.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] You see, this letter is contrary to Law, against all non obstante's—He lays it at this Lord's door, let who will bring it off—That Irish Act for Papists not to inhabit Corporations, &c. was made upon as great deliberation as possible, by the Councils of both Kingdoms.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Several Captains, and Colonels, that command in the Army abroad, are a great discouragement to the Protestants. Makes out Arlington's own words of "making no nice distinction," &c. Col. Fitzgerald and Sir Edward Scott.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] He confessed Father Patrick in his house—Not a "Frequenter" of Mass,—he denies it,—but in common acceptation of the words it implies that he does go to Mass—It is too much for a Protestant; it comes not high enough to justify him. He should say, "he abhors and detests the Church of Rome"—His procuring Pensions to Papists contrary to the late Act; cannot undertake to prove it, has only inducements—He is tender of names, but Sir Edward Scott and Col. Grace, these persons have Pensions.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] This is matter of Record, and you cannot pass it by. Lord Arlington did say, "Fitzpatrick was accused of Piracy, and complaint made of it"—The paper was thrown into the fire, but he continued to make the grant for the money—If such a sum as 10,000 l. per annum be granted to Papists in Ireland, it is a great blow to the King's Quit Rents there—Very near the Revenue of one whole County is run away with by one Papist; they are reserved for a remembrance of what condition Papists were who rebelled—Fitzpatrick had 500 l. per annum Quit Rents, and Col. Grace had some: And, which confirms all, the Papists had never been awaked in these things, but by the Declaration they are restored to liberty, and Lord Arlington's Counsels were concurrent—It was told Arlington, he says, that "it was the King's inherent Right, but when informed that it was against Law, he was against it." Here was great discontent, when that Lord was in this House, about that business, and he went out with thirty for the Proviso mentioned—It is much against his nature and disposition to do this, but in duty to God, the King, and People, and to secure Religion, he does it, and hopes every body is so sensible of it, that nothing is betwixt us and ruin but the spinning out the King's life to an extraordinary length, which God grant!—Moves to proceed with this Lord, as you have done with the others.
Sir Thomas Lee.] "That we should be remembered how we give our Votes in Parliament," thinks himself concerned—We ought not to remember what we speak, nor how we vote here—Would not have Arlington's going out with thirty for the Proviso, spoken of here.
Mr Powle.] As to the point of Arlington's Vote, would have it wholly laid aside. There may be ill instances made of such things, and it may be thought fire raked up in ashes, and it may flame out on occasion.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Would have you proceed against the Lord, and the thing, and not have it slabbered over, but is not for removing all Officers for some you dislike—As for Wheeler's Assent and Consent, it is the first time he understood affection and indifference to be the same thing—He urged "that Lord Arlington made no nice distinction of men," &c. He speaks not as to Religion; Is not every Judge bound to do equally to Papist and Protestant, and cannot a Secretary deliver a Papist's Petition? But let it be made out that because he is a Protestant, therefore his Petition is not delivered, and a Catholic's is; charge him with unlawful things to Catholics—(When he speaks in this case for Lord Arlington, he speaks for himself) The Irish letter, &c. was an Act of Council, and Lord Arlington was but one man in it—If Secretary Coventry be commanded to write a letter, he must write a letter, but Arlington tells you, "he was not at the Council then, and had no share in it"—The Act says, "no Papist shall inherit, &c. but by particular leave from the King"—The Lieutenant and Council are to consider what is convenient for Corporations—What commission is granted is not from the Secretary's but the Colonel's recommendation, who comes to the King with it, and the King signs it, and the Secretary allows it—He did not think Colonel Panton at that time a Papist; but when the Test came, he was no longer an Officer—There is no protestation in the Privy Council, as in the Lords House; every man is a concurrent Counsellor.—Would any man have told you, that Secretary Coventry should have opposed the business of tacking, or any other sea affair, that knows not the name of one rope? But Lord Arlington taking this to be the King's prerogative, he consented to it; but being a man that does not understand the law, and Arlington not being a man of the law, but concurring with men of the law, and the crime lying there, would have a formal charge against him.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] The Lord Keeper never told Arlington, that it was law, nor any Judges of the land, and yet he was for it—Arlington has embezzled the treasure of the nation, for his own private fortune—When the business of Ireland was legally stated, he disturbed it by his suggestions.
Sir Thomas Lee.] We have been three days upon these Articles. When shall we have an end? Monday is for the business of pressing, which frights people, and there Religion and Property are to be considered. Pray neglect not these weighty things—Knows not what security we have of the Gentleman's health on Monday, and would proceed now.
Lord Cornbury.] You have not voted whether to proceed head by head, in the charge, or for what fell from Lord Arlington here—We are not upon the Question, who is fit for employment, but who unfit? Arlington is as guilty as either of the other Lords, and to his dull understanding it is plain—He will speak to the Declaration, but will not touch upon any thing already said—He thinks, the Declaration gave great disturbance, and cause of jealousies—Arlington said, "he was present at Debates, but had not drawn it, but concurred in it, as a thing prudent at that time to quiet the people, by reason of the war. The legality of it was not his profession, but he was induced to believe it the King's Prerogative by persons upon whose credit he durst have ventured his life and estate." Probably this Lord might be thus induced to give the King that advice, but the King's learned Counsel knew nothing of it; but could not be of the opinion of any Lawyer that gave him advice, contrary to (what he could not but know) several Votes of this House, and the King's Answer to our Address, and present with the King—He must know it was not then legal, because no Lawyer could say to the contrary—His opinion was known to the Catholics (indecent for him to say much more, out of respect) Why were so many Papist officers employed? "He took no notice of their Religion, but proceeded indifferently." It is to be wished he had done so, but he did not—In the last Dutch war, there was an Address to the King for removal of Papists from command, and these very men were then put into command. This is matter of fact, and the honour of the kingdom is concerned in it—Arlington said, that "the Papist officers were far the more skilful men." Some did serve the King very well, and others understood not their trade till they had learned it abroad; and some young Gentlemen, that had never served the King, being then not of age, were lately perverted, and their friends Protestants—"The letter to Ireland" told you, that when the King offers any thing, the Secretary must sign; but observe, these pensions were by the sollicitation of Colonel Talbot, and though Arlington was then at his country house, yet Talbot made his addresses to him, and perhaps upon common fame— He was instrumental in protecting Talbot, the pretended Archbishop of Dublin—Has been told, that there was a time when a foreign Ambassador has not been a domestic with a Secretary of State; believes he was not with the other Secretary—Thinks he has not got so much as the charge is in England, but he tells you nothing of his estate in Ireland, and another pension during life, and ten thousand pounds out of Ireland, but more in England. Great sums of money have been charged for intelligence; since May last, one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, and a pension of two thousand pounds per annum—Does think it just, if you think the nation the worse; and upon these inducements, desires the Question of "fit, or not fit, to be removed." He thinks, from the notoriety of these reasons, he is "fit to be removed."
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] Three millions of money have passed through his hands upon record. He illegally and causelessly imprisoned Mr. Charles Muddiford, and hopes that a person better acquainted with the thing will inform you of it.
Sir John Mallet.] He has heard of this case of Sir Thomas Muddiford's, who was long in the Tower, and did think to have presented it by way of Petition himself; but has had generous thoughts, not to add load, or weight, of accusation, on a person that has so much weight charged upon him already—In 1663, Sir Thomas Muddiford was Governor of Jamaica, and did his duty there; he improved trade ten times more considerably than it was before, as will appear by the Island's Address of thanks to the King—It was suggested to the King by Lord Arlington, that he was not so useful, and he procured an order to place another in his stead; and his son being a considerable man of trade, this young Gentleman was committed to the Tower, not for his own crime, as appears by the Warrant, but his father's. They seized all his papers and accounts, and he stood nine months committed to the Tower, to his great disadvantage; but all was for inspection into his father's estate, of which likewise he was to give an account; but whether by the Lieutenant of the Tower's favour, or how, he was set at liberty, but remanded shortly after prisoner. About that time, his father was brought over prisoner, by a Lieutenant and two files of musqueteers, and so sent to the Tower close prisoner, and had no opportunity to speak with his son, where he lay a year. He told him (Mallet) that he was advised to move for a habeas corpus, but Mallet did not move, but a Serjeant at Law did, Serjeant Hopkins. The alias Mallet moved for—Can, if required, give a farther account of it in writing. The Knight took a Spaniard, that was a pirate, and, by his getting a vast estate, was, by means of the Spanish Ambassador, imprisoned—Several sollicitors proposed to Mallet, if Sir Thomas would give three thousand pounds, he should be released.
Sir John Robinson, Lieutenant of the Tower.] Thinks that the Warrant he received for the commitment of Mr. Charles Muddiford, when he was committed to his custody, was by the King's Warrant, and so was his father's, Sir Thomas; but cannot charge his memory with it.
Colonel Birch.] Would search this business to the bottom—He will advise and help you, and when he does otherwise, would be told of it—Would see, by Sir John Robinson's books, how these prisoners are entered, and the Warrants of Commitment, (but wonders Robinson remembers them not) with all the circumstances relating thereto.