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.
Monday, January 19.
Colonel Birch reports, That, according to command of the House, he, with the rest, &c. went with the Lieutenant to the Tower, where the Lieutenant treated them with great civility, as he does all persons—They went first to dinner, and then to business; but saw the Warrants and the Books before dinner—Then he reads the Order by which they went. They saw some Warrants not mentioned in the Order, but perused them all; he supposes they were Warrants of Commitments that were debated in the House. The first Warrant in Debate before you was, "The Commitment of Charles Muddiford, Gentleman," of which they took copies, viz.—"The body of Charles Muddiford, Gentleman, whom you are safely to keep, yet so as to have the liberty of the Tower, for matters of misdemeanor committed by his Father. By the King's command, Arlington." In the Lieutenant's Book of Entries, the very leaf before the Entry of this Warrant is taken out, part of the stitches remaining in three places. Upon Debate, the Lieutenant called to mind another Warrant, which had some mistake in it, which he took back to Sir Joseph Williamson, and had another instead. The next was "The Commitment of Sir Thomas Muddiford," signed above "C. Rex," and subsigned "Arlington" was, "You are to receive into your custody the body of Sir Thomas Muddiford, Baronet, lately arrived from Jamaica, whom you are to keep close prisoner, for several misdemeanors committed by him in Jamaica." The son is discharged, and the father is on his Habeas Corpus—The other command of "the Commitment of Mrs Dawson, and Overvechell, the Dutchman." That of Mrs Dawson is signed "Arlington, (Nov. 15.) Principal Secretary."—"You are to take into your custody Isabell Dawson, for corresponding with the King's enemies." The like Warrant, and in like manner signed, for Overvechell. "Daniel Van Overvechell, for corresponding with the King's enemies"—For the person said to be a Priest, both the warrants are fixed together, and the Lieutenant has brought them for you, signed "Trevor, Secretary," &c.
Sir John Robinson.] Produces the Justice's Warrant, and the King's Warrant, for his Commitment to the Tower, countersigned "Trevor," and the same for his discharge, and a bond to be transported in ten days time, the penalty 500 l.
Sir Trevor Williams.] Would have the Mittimus and Commitment read, because he has something to present you with of matter of fact thereupon. Mr Scudamore's Warrant was read—It was "a Priest taken in his function in all his formalities, 1671."
Sir John Mallet.] The Lieutenant of the Tower did tell you of a former Warrant for the Commitment of Charles Muddiford. In his return from the Tower, he went to Mr Muddiford's lodging, and made enquiry for that Warrant, and he showed him a Warrant, with only Lord Arlington's hand to it, "to take the body of Charles Muddiford," directed to Richard Ostler, a Messenger, and "to seize his books of accounts," and late at night he was committed to the Tower—The first Warrant had only Lord Arlington's hand to it, and not the King's.
Sir John Robinson.] Cannot say that the King's hand was to the first Warrant, or not to it. Will not say the leaf was torn out, or not torn out of the Book, but is sure there was nothing in it concerning Charles Muddiford. The King's hand was to have been to it, the Warrant running "Trusty and well-beloved." In the Secretary's Books there was no other Warrant.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] It is notorious that here were two Warrants, and believes that there were two to the Lieutenant; one was some time delivered out of his hand—It is certain there was another Warrant, which mentions "Papers and Books"—He scruples the "Charles Rex," which is more suitable to the character of the rest of the letter, and some kindred to the rest of the Warrant, and is not as the King usually writes—Takes farther notice that the Warrant was some time out of the Lieutenant's hand, with an under-clerk.
Sir Richard Wiseman.] Goes on—To the Article brought in of "imprisonment of Persons," says nothing—There is another of "suborning false Witnesses and giving money to accuse," and will produce, when occasion is for it, persons that will swear it—Thinks it not safe to name them, but will produce them when he sees occasion for it.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Is against Witnesses, the House having not yet resolved to proceed by way of impeachment—In Lord Clarendon's case, Witnesses were not called in—If there be subornation, it is remedied at Law, because he has heard the House say it, and would not take up your time.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] Arlington answers, "it was by the King's special liking." This he has heard with his own ears the King say, "none can beat the English but English;" so great was his opinion of his own subjects—What is from the unkindness of the people he thinks the King not well informed of—This his subjects must needs be troubled at, that a Foreigner must command them.
Article. "Arlington gave advice against Maritime Towns." The Duke of Buckingham told you, "Arlington should say, we were not to expect Towns the first year, which was against Lord Shaftesbury's and his advice."
Mr Pepys.] They were supplied with thirty-one or thirty-two cables, and about fifteen or sixteen anchors. It was done against the advice of the Commissioners of the Navy—By the King's command, he, as Secretary of the Navy, countersigned the Warrants.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] Says this only, that if "advising the Declaration" be a crime, Arlington has confessed it, he takes it as a ground and foundation of bringing in Popery—If the present "Alliance with France" be a misdemeanor, he has likewise confessed it. Besides (he would not exasperate, and wishes the thing had never been started here) you have his own confession of "keeping a Priest in his house" against Law. Perhaps Father Patrick was but for raillery, being a buffoon; but when he was sent away, he was rewarded with an Abbey worth 800 l. a year—Would have this Lord fall as easily as you will; but "removed from the King's presence" as the other Lords.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] This is the fourth day of this Debate, and now hopes for some issue of it—The Debate now is, Whether to proceed by way of "impeachment" or "general fame." For impeachment there is no Article proper, but the last, and that not ready—Would proceed by "general fame."
Sir John Trevor.] Shall not speak upon the Article, but would say something he knows. Being with Mr Secretary Trevor, he did once ask him, "whether Lord Arlington advised the Declaration?" He answered, "Lord Arlington was not the principal adviser of it."
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Is not of opinion that there is so great stress in the paper, wherein are mentioned treasonable crimes, &c. although the Gentleman that brought it in should make it out—It may be by the King's allowance to do it, and the Gentleman that informed you cannot, it may be, penetrate it—This is not High Treason, but treasonable practices—We speak not to the power the King has of making the Treaty, but the great discontent it gave; but passes that over, and the rest, and moves that this Lord may be "removed from the King."
Mr Secretary Coventry.] A man may call a horse a bear, or a bull, or what he pleases, but what is Treason is Treason. "Correspondency with the King's enemies" is not Treason; we do it, and wishes we could do it more. Now the crime started against Lord Arlington was not pardoned (though Treasons are) but thought fit to be reserved out of the indemnity, and will you let it pass without notice? Neither King, Lords, nor Commons pardoned it in the Act, and will you pardon it? Moves that the Gentleman that informed you of this Article may produce his Witnesses, and proceed now in it.
Sir Robert Holt.] The Question moved for now is the same as against the Duke of Buckingham; a pretty way of hanging a man with a silken halter!—As to the Article of Popery, that the Herefordshire Priest was removed, &c. and the Justice that committed him was turned out of Commission, has been alleged, but not averred—The letter for Ireland, &c. was by order from the King and Council, and signed by Arlington, by command—Muddiford was committed by the King's command—He was for the preservation of the Triple Alliance—The war was by the advice of the Council—Would not have him removed.
Sir John Duncombe.] Probably, when you come to examine things, this Gentleman will appear of great temper and worth. He had no concealments in his discourse here. Has, in his conversation with him, always heard him speak well of this House—He is ready to bring him to justice, but when he examines what men are, looks into their little actions, not great—When men go abroad, they are in disguise, but they lay that aside at home; no man lives more orderly than Lord Arlington; you are secure in that; and from thence he goes to the public—Arlington is said to be "a friend to popish Officers." It is the King's goodness to us all, free access to his person—Must Arlington wash himself in the Thames, night and morning, from suspicions of Popery?—For "the standing army." What becomes of a Secretary of State if there be a standing army. They never agree in one government. Arlington has ever spoken for the honour of his master, and good of his country—For "the French war." A man may sometimes give evidence to the truth. Knows that the difference betwixt Buckingham and Arlington was pretty high about it—The "shaking the Triple Alliance" is laid to his charge. Lord Clifford said, "Arlington did desend himself in it to the last extremity, and that he was an honest man to his King and country." Arlington did as great service to the nation as possible by it. Speaks this to show how dark things are in common fame; therefore would have things made clear—Can say nothing to "the Counsellors," because obliged not to do it; but every man's person is set down that sat at that Debate in Council—You are upon the darkest thing in the world, and men are lost in the counsel of them; therefore be cautious how you proceed, that your children after you may not repent it—Proceed by Impeachment, and he shall be as ready to give his vote as any man.
Mr Streete.] Regularly [there can be] no other way but Impeachment, by the Articles before you—Whilst Arlington was a Student at Christ-Church in Oxford, there was no suspicion upon him. Knows not how abroad; but, as Duncombe says, "a man will pull off his vizard at home"—Has heard that the Declaration was brought to the Council ready drawn; he told you here, he opposed it. The man that justifies it, he takes to be the author of it—Would have a Committee of a few, though ever so close, to examine it, and if a clearness of proof be then produced, you can regularly go no other way. It is not the same case with the other two Dukes, and therefore you cannot go the same way.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] The Question is, Whether Impeachment, &c. Arlington, by his own discourse, has voided the Act of Popery, and confessed the Declaration, &c. So some would have Impeachment, and that will be invalid and good for nothing—If you go by way of Impeachment you must never hereafter go by common fame again, for that is done by some slight artifice to prevent common fame.
Mr Swynfin.] The Question is, "Whether you will proceed, as with the other two persons, by way of Address for their removal, or whether you will go to the Lords by way of Impeachment?" Offers his thoughts, but will not give one touch upon the merits of the cause—Consider, what judicial power you have; you may be put to defend it with the Lords. That which he finds most weighing with him, is an author that treats of judicial power, Lord Coke, in his Jurisdiction of Parliament. On the point of Judicature, he opens the whole power of Parliament: "That there is no judicial power seated in this house, is a great mistake; there is one in the Lords house without the Commons; another by the Commonalty without the Lords; and another mixed. The Lords, in all cases of Appeals from Chancery, &c. The Commons alone over their own Members, to imprison or fine any Commoner; and in Privilege many powers," but does not find any single power over any Peer and Commoner, unless to Privileges of their House. Next, is this a judicial power, or no? The Articles are of high misdemeanors, &c. and so to sentence him unfit, and address the King accordingly, because you judge him unfit, and therefore desire the King to put him away; this is a high judicial act—To say "this is no removing him from his freehold;"—it is his freehold and peerage; how can he be a Member of either House, and have a right to sit, and you remove him? If any Englishman's or denizon's right be taken, the higher the quality the greater the injury. It is the privilege of any person to come to the King—You cannot proceed alone; he reads it, nor observes it in any practice—Where have you ever proceeded to judgment by common fame? It will disable you for ever from going by way of Impeachment, if this way misses, and so disputes will arise betwixt the Lords and you.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Never understands judicial power in this House claimed, as a Court, of right and justice, and as different from a petition to the King; it is his opinion in all cases, where he can be regular, to do it. "These Articles have proofs," they say—Would never go to the King when the person may go to the Lords—Agrees that common fame is no ground of judgment—These Articles, if they must be on your book, must be proved to you as inducements to impeach; if true, you will have judgment of the Lords, if proved, and then the person is removed of course—Whenever the King will remove any officer about him, it is not against Law for him to do what he will—Moves to send up the Impeachment to the Lords.
Sir Cha. Wheeler.] Has not heard any man say that the crimes were not committed since the last general Pardon—Why shall not this Parliament be a precedent to future Parliaments, as well as former Parliaments to this? Doubts not but the proceedings are as fair in this as have been in any other case whatsoever—Lord Arlington avowed many things in his discourse here—The French might have fallen upon Amsterdam and taken their ships, and so have been masters at sea.
Mr Finch (fn. 1).] Differs from Wheeler—Consider what he moves—Heavy things!—Arlington "popishly affected!" —He challenges all mankind to prove him present at any rites of the Church of Rome. By his preferring Papists and Protestants promiscuously, he might as logically conclude "Protestants as well as Papists"—"Favouring them in Ireland, by letting them into corporations." He signed the letter virtute officii; it was an Act of Council, where he had not a concurrent voice; nor was present. The aggravation of his fault in the Declaration against his own knowledge, not Law—But Arlington is not accused to have penned one syllable of it, and 'tis laid upon a person dead (which fault charity covers)—He was the first that advised cancelling it—"The war." He thought there was money from France, and in the Treasury, for the service of the nation, and so no need of calling the Parliament—"To govern by an army." No Prince that ever governed by an army but was ruined by an army; an instance near us, in Cromwell—"Popish officers." Arlington has not one friend an officer in the whole army—For having "opposed the King's having land towns," gives you reasons, because he would have no army—"Monsieur Schomberg," a fit man to command an army to be sent abroad; and he commanded the English in Portugal during a session of this Parliament, and was not complained of then—"Procured a Lord to be proclaimed traytor by order of Council"—Arlington did no more than what any Justice of Peace may do—"His acquisitions"—no more than to support his dignity. If Arlington must answer for all the faults of offices and officers, you may then proceed against him—Gentlemen say nothing of their own knowledge, nor [bring] one witness to prove; the case is without proof, and ought to be scandalum allegatum & probatum. We must proceed as a grand inquest, and if guilty of such crimes, then address the King to remove him—If this be the way to remove officers without fault, all offices will be given for life; and so there is a freehold in them and it may be tried, and then you never can punish to any purpose upon common fame—Is there no more of the King's Council but Lord Arlington? and is it his crime to be in ill company? When he heard the Duke of Buckingham, he could not but conclude Arlington peccant; but when he heard Arlington vindicate himself, he thought them upon equal terms, and nothing from either of them to ground removal. If a man can give no natural reason of an effect, he will say it is witchcraft; and because you know not mysteries of state, must you lay the fault upon Arlington? Let not your first censure be excommunication—Moves, that, as you have begun in severity, so you would end in clemency, and not make this man a sole example.
Sir John Monson.] The Law makes others more incapable for preferment, and yet Arlington made them equal, Protestant and Papist—By Finch's consequence, no need of a Parliament but to give money—By Finch's argument, Arlington thought them both equal, and would proceed therefore equally with Arlington, in removing him with the rest of the Lords.
Lord Cornbury.] Keep to the Question; you have made no order yet; you may go to the Lords with it for their concurrence, and then the whole matter is before them, but if not that way—No entry upon your books of enquiry after proofs, in the Duke of Buckingham's case, but upon the fame of the wickedness of the man—Lauderdale's case was otherwise; you had the averment of your Members—Moves for the Question, whether you will now proceed by way either "of Impeachment" or "common Fame."
Mr Powle.] Every man that has a charge may bring his defence; if he be charged in a Court without jurisdiction, the Law makes it defamation rather than accusation; otherwise the charge remains to all posterity, and no possible way to bring him to tryal before the world—For "common Fame." Would impeach forward to greater things, but never backward to less things than what before you—If no proceedings, eat fine die. If you will not proceed, you say, in effect, he is not guilty—"His granting and procuring commissions and money given to Catholics since the Act against Popery, Priest in his house, and subornation of witnesses to destroy a great Peer"—It is expressly against your pardon, and done by one near the King's ear, which may reach us all—Moves to refer the Articles to a Committee, to hear what proofs, and hopes you will then pass such a censure upon him as he deserves, and from him then you shall have no less than against the rest.
Sir Robert Howard.] Do you not depend upon Lord Arlington to accuse Lord Arlington, catching at flying words that fell from him, and making them fresh foundations of a charge, and wrap up all the greater in the lesser?—Thinks he spoke ingenuously in all his answers—Those that first defamed our government by piracy, Muddiford, &c. were turned out for that piracy—As for the motion made by Lord Cornbury, there will be fair time for people to resort to it, and would see clearly into this business; your Member may have his witnesses ready, they may have farther information—After such a charge, the nation must see the bottom of it, and impeach him.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] Does not think that an English hand should carve Arlington's statue (in his speech) for making the Triple Alliance, nor the Parliament erect it; if any, it must be from Rome—This great Lord was told, that the Declaration was legal, but were either the Judges, or the King's Counsel, consulted? The martial Law, and Popery, might be as necessary as the Declaration. Now he is up, will reflect upon some other things; his being "popishly affected;" he has reason to believe so, by his countenancing Father Patrick—He knows, that to harbour a Priest, knowing him to be so, by 27 Eliz. is Felony—He seemed to wear a fool's coat, but under that he carried on his master's interest, the Pope, and finding himself discovered he ran away—No person is too great for an impeachment of this House. Nothing but favour can bring Papists above Protestants—He acknowledges his concurrence with others for prorogation of the Parliament; the Exchequer full, and enough to carry on the war, but not to pay the King's debts—The breaking the Triple Alliance was the true reason for putting off the Parliament; another reason he told you, "he knew not how well the Parliament was inclined to this peace." The Parliament was thought always best to advise and redress, but now laid aside, and a corner in this Lord's chamber thought more fit than the advice of this House—Consider what end we have in our enquiry, either to justify or condemn, and who but the author? We have liberty to discuss things thus, and from hence, it may be, date our future happiness, and let us now make it appear that regulation, and not passion, governs the House; and moves that you will deal with Lord Arlington as with the Dukes.
Mr Henry Seymour (fn. 2).] What Lord Arlington's heart is he knows not, but he has received the Communion with him since the Act against Popery came out.
Mr Neale.] If he be guilty, remove him, or hang him, which you will—Tells the story of Paculius. "If all the Senators be like him, clap them all up."—Then they would remove them one by one. "But pray," says another, "consider who shall be in his room." When any one was offered, "Oh! he is a rogue and a rascal;" and so of many others that were offered. At last, he counsels them thus, "Let them all alone till you can find others to supply their place." Applies the story—Would have Arlington "impeached and tried."
Mr Garroway.] Agrees with neither of the proposals; they go too fast. Arlington's accusation, in your book, is of a high nature; and you only proceed to an Address to the King "for his removal." Some are for "Impeachment," grounded upon the Articles—If by an Address, Arlington will stand upon your books as acquitted of them.
Sir George Downing.] Let him stand or fall, as he shall appear. Several have aggravated his crimes with circumstances, and yet are for the Address to the King. Should not your proceedings be higher? A man may be indicted for murder, and all murder, and we therefore pray his ears may be cut off; but to aggravate the crimes, and not proceed upon them, agrees not with reason. If they were extenuated, it is reasonable; but he stands not as the other Lords before you. Articles against him are entered, and you vote him "not fit to come into the King's presence," and you are adjourned or prorogued without farther proceedings; here are you on record the most partial people in the world—Here is a precedent against you, his "betraying Counsels," "suborning witnesses," and the House of Commons pray the King to remove him, and he keeps his offices of freehold still;—can this be honourable for you, the grand Inquest of the kingdom? Why must you do this? Because the Gentleman has a pardon! you must try him. No pardon hinders proceedings of justice. After sentence, then possibly a pardon is pleadable, but then, and not before. This is such a continuance of a pardon, that never let it be said, nor admitted here—God forbid that men should not be accused by common fame, but not condemned! Lord Arlington, an old Cavalier, who served the King, was with him abroad, was never suspected to be a villain, and now must be sequestered from the King upon common fame of suborning witnesses, &c. Did common fame ever say such a cruel thing as nature abhors? "Betrayed the King's Counsels," &c. when the King was in all his miseries and low [state] abroad, did he do this? Moves for the Question.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] His taking out a pardon since March last, after the general pardon, is the thing—If you have not proof of the Articles, it is not for your honour to proceed in them—Moves this Question to reconcile all, "whether the House will go on with the Articles."
Lord Cornbury.] Where was the honour of the House, when Lord Orrery was accused of High Treason, and upon your Journal it is dismissed to proceedings at Law (fn. 3)? It is evident, that upon your first vote of Grievances, he [Lord Arlington] is as fit to be removed as the rest.
Sir Robert Howard.] The members accusing have so much stuck to this Question, that it makes him suspect they have not evidence. The Articles are entered into your day-book—If Impeachment goes on, you must have evidence at the Committee; it may be, then other witnesses may come to induce you to do then what you are about now, the removal of this Lord—As we must love justice, so it must not be slow justice; the liberty of all subjects is infringed, if a man be deeply charged, as this Lord is, and you smother and bury it without proceeding—Let them not say, we suspected our Members and proceeded not—Have evidence for ground, and so proceed.
Mr Sacheverell.] Wonders that his removal should be a Question; he finds no reason for Impeachment, though he has attended for it. The Articles are of two sorts, criminal and capital; it is strange now we should be concerned for proof for things, which he has confessed, of "criminal" matters, and we doubtful of the "capital," and yet impeach—Proof is never sought against a prisoner when he has confessed the fact—"Prorogation at the beginning of the war"—He told you, they were informed from the Treasury, "that there was money sufficient to carry on the war." It seems it was agreed by the Cabal, as long as they had money, no Parliament; and had they any, we had not been here now. It is a dangerous thing to have a great sum of money there, and hopes that will be remembered. "He was but one, and joined with the rest;" therefore begin with him, and in time with the rest; and would have the Question upon him now.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Upon what fell from Lord Arlington, when he was here, "that he concurred, in Council, for the Declaration, and French Alliance," &c.—they are things done long ago (a year and half since) and not complained of, and the general pardon since. Wonders, when you knew and complained of all these things, you should pass a pardon—It is no extraordinary thing for a master to part with an old servant, and to ask a reason for it; but, because you will accelerate a business, will you go without doing it?—Let his tongue be out, if ever he speaks for him, or any man, that had a hand in breaking the Triple Alliance—Is not France less, and Holland less, than it was? Have they not consumed men and treasure, which you have not? But for a man that advises never to advise more, you will leave the King to be his own Counsellor—Approbation of it was in Parliament, but made before the Lord Keeper's speech—For money, Arlington put it off to those that dealt in it; but, upon the whole, he is against a censure so severe as this.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Whatever the Clerk reads on the table is entered in the Journal—It was voted, "head by head," and not in the Journal; no precedent of it; he finds it very fatal for Lords to come here—If a prisoner confesses the fact, before arraignment, he may be charged with it, though he may deny it, at arraignment—It does not look so very generous, when persons discourses are taken advantage of—We are not like ever to have Impeachment, unless proofs go on. To go to charge without any proof! Would any Member of this House be content, if only charging him by an eloquent tongue? No answer to proof; yet, would any man be so judged? Here are certainly right and property taken from him; can any thing be a harder judgment? Will you petition what you yourselves think not reasonable? He said the other day, "that the House did but rarely proceed upon common fame, and if you had such a power, it was the Prerogative of the House, and would have it seldom used"—No Minister of State, be he ever so wise, ever so good, but will offend somebody able to speak against him, and lies in great danger; such a terror as this may discourage him in his place—If you are satisfied to draw this sharp sword, begs it may be very sparingly used.
Mr Harwood.] Nothing can be farther said, that has not been said twenty times over—Matters of religion were never so till now—As for Lord Arlington, he has known him long, but never mistrusted him, for matters of religion; twenty-nine years since in France, but now he is in England, and has great influence upon great men—As for Father Patrick's conversation in Court, it has been too much: believes few Papists are gone out of town since the Proclamation, and some say they will not stir—We must go a great deal farther yet than we have done—"Money in the Exchequer, and therefore we prorogued"—He cannot forget that—This of "Removal" is no judgment, and hopes Arlington will never come to that.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Is always for particular matter, when it is to be had; now from what has been said, thinks this Lord "fit to be removed"—"An offensive war," in which all the King's subjects are concerned, "without consent in Parliament!" It is forgotten, how wasted we are in the country; it is forgotten, how near the French were to have been masters of the Dutch ships at Amsterdam, and the loss of so many of our men—Those that advised the offensive war, and that without Parliament, induce his vote in the affirmative, for such a Counsellor "to be removed."