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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Tuesday, January 27.
A Bill was brought in and read the first time, to prevent Imprisonment beyond the Sea; to be committed to none but legal and known Prisons, not in Scotland, &c. An action of false Imprisonment against Aiders, &c. Treble damages: Any person attainted of felony, or convicted, may be transported. Not to extend to Impeachments before the first Session of this Parliament.
Sir William Coventry.] Thinks it not necessary to have the Treaty of Breda before us. We all dislike the War, and shall easily concur in restoring the Treaty of Breda, which that War broke—Whether you will go Article by Article, or not? You will not take upon you to word the Articles; they were not sent you for that purpose; thinks that you will not mend any thing—The King's and the Lord Keeper's Speech are sent into Holland doubtless, and will not say our Debate is—Therefore offers this Question, "Whether there be matter contained in the Articles to be a ground for Peace?"
Sir George Downing.] He will not tell you his opinion of the War; most know it. He is not for going Article by Article. Will never consent to the main Treaty as it stands. If you confirm it, you confirm passports as they stand; not a ship can go to sea, but they may bring her into port. It ties you to keep out your flag all the voyage, and to tell the names of your Captain, Officers, and Passengers—If you proceed Article by Article, you will involve yourselves in many intricacies; but upon the whole matter, would have the King desired, by his means, to procure us a Peace.
Sir John Holland.] The King has been pleased to "desire our Advice;" he could have wished the King had been pleased to have desired it at the beginning of the War—So tender and precious a thing it is to part with his Prerogative, in asking our Advice; and therefore moves, in our duty to the King, "that we may go to the King, with our humble Thanks and humble Address for his Speech; and that we have considered the proposals of Peace, and that it is our opinion, that his Majesty has a foundation there to lay of an honourable Peace;" and hopes, in that, to discharge our duty to the King, and settle the people.
Sir Thomas Meres.] We all intend, he hopes, the word "separate;" but it may be as well omitted—Not to have such a word in our Address as may be catching at another Session—Not to weigh parts of the Articles, and yet to say "matter sufficient" in them, does not agree; but unless you see something more, you cannot, as a wise and solid Council, say, "there are grounds." Though men may be satisfied man by man, yet it must be as one collective body—Moves, by this Address, "to express the condition of the nation by the War"—A speedy Peace is most agreeable to the nation—Gives no judgment of the proposals, being not sufficiently informed of them; but considering the advantages of Peace, and disadvantages of War, a Peace is most desirable to this nation.
Mr Hampden.] You sit here upon the King's Speech, and it is offered to you—Wishes you would have gone on with the Articles, because Downing said, (who knows affairs) the first Article was not to be restrained—Will you go alone, without the Lords, and they without you, and give different Advice? We are both together the great Council, and should proceed by way of conference—Agrees with Meres for "thanks to the King, for his gracious Speech," and would then represent how grievous the War is, and how grateful Peace, and submit all to his Royal judgment.
Sir William Coventry.] Moves "going without the Lords." What Advice we shall give he knows not, but to stay for the Lords! We are not to pin our Advice upon the Lords sleeves, being the whole body of the Commons. In order to Hampden's Motion, of "going to the Lords," you must come to some opinion in it. Would have no part of the Address be what is mentioned—If, instead of Advice, you set out "the miseries of the War," thinks it not the way to have a good Peace. Enemies will take advantage of it—If Gentlemen do not offer any thing, it must ripen itself—Would not pass, by way of debating, the particular Articles, but the best method is to advise as generally as you can; not to direct particulars, nor yet to debar any particular information, only to give the King a general opinion—But does conceive they contain matter of Peace.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Intended not, by his Motion, any reason for the presumption of the Dutch; though you say nothing of it, they understand your condition. If you vote "sufficient ground for Peace," the Dutch will say, "the House of Commons are on our side."—Would give no presumption on that hand. Considering the present condition of the nation, Peace is most desirable—Moves as before.
Mr Secretary Coveniry.] Meres's Motion is not regular—Your advice! At what rate you shall have Peace! As if a man sends to one to borrow money to buy a manor, and he sends him word, "the manor is a good manor," but says not a word of the money—Thinks the King has not committed a sin against the Holy Ghost, in policy, that the Parliament should not tell him what to do; whether farther to advance, or take it upon the terms offered. The Lords have taken their method already, he thinks, and we may take ours. You may look upon and sift any Article—Come to some result, whether a foundation for Peace, or no. We come on to February, a time to think of setting out ships—Hopes it shall never be said, we meet not the King, when he comes so far to us—Shall any of his Ministers presume to advise him, now all is put into your hands? Men may give unfortunate counsel, but you are sent here to give counsel—Be the House of Commons on the Dutch side, as is said; is sure you are not on the King's side, if you give him no counsel. This the King desires of you, and pray take it into consideration.
Mr Boscawen.] So little fruit of the War, and you must pay the reckoning! You were not advised with for War, and if you advise Peace, all will be laid upon you. If we go upon these Articles, we embrace them particularly, and so it will be said, "the Parliament of England takes no notice of the Fishery"—We had no hand in the War, and desires not to meddle with the Articles.
Lord Cavendish.] Thinks it well moved about "the Lords concurring;" but thinks the Lords can give their advice cheaper than we can give ours; therefore would consider farther of it. Would generally "present to the King the state of the nation by the War;" and let some Members withdraw to form an Address.
Mr Seymour, the Speaker, out of the Chair.] Never had any inclination to the War—Cannot but take notice of some arguments from the War, of ruin of Trade—Cannot boast of our success in the War, but the least of the expences will come to the English account. The greatness and power of France are lessened, her treasures spent, and armies wasted—Appeals, if this, in great measure, is not come to pass— He saw the misfortune of Holland; cannot see, when he looks home, that it is our case—That care has been taken for the security of Commerce and Trade, that we had greater importation this War, than in Peace; no money went out of our country, and no foreign armies were in the country. The money went not out of the nation which the French King sent. Has learned here, that serpens qui serpentem devorat fit draco; and, after all, sees Gentlemen at a stand what to do—Has heard of Counsels in a corner—It is enough that the Treaty of Breda is ratified, and the business of the Flag explained, and in no danger for the future, as your advice will keep the Hollanders from infringing it—The King is not able to make a War. He knows they are at a stand in the Navy Office, and how will the Debate here of pressing men keep back men, and all misfortunes, formed in our imaginations, befall us, if we are not of opinion, "that the Articles are a ground for Peace!"
Colonel Birch.] Agrees, that nothing should drop here that may make the Dutch proud—Is one of those that would get what he can—Is far from believing that our condition is as Seymour has stated it—He has known what would set out a fleet. Formerly four pounds a month a head would do it lavishly. The landmen are paid elsewhere, and there are vast sums brought in, and believes there is no need of money—He tells you, "though it cost you much, yet it costs the Dutch more." Two neighbours went to law, and undid one another; and, sitting by the fire side, one was comforting himself thus, "but it cost my neighbour more than me"—We have made France too big. She has a better fleet than we, and knows our ports. This loss we shall pay for dear, remember it—In composing a quarrel, the arbitrators enquire first, how fell they out? Four great causes are said, the Medals, India, Surinam, and the Flag; why should we ravel into things, and say this is no cause of War? Cannot agree with several Motions—Somebody advised this War against consent, and without Parliament; something made them do it, and now they are afraid what to offer you; but plainness is best—An Address with thanks he agrees to in all humility, viz. "That the House of Commons is of opinion, that the terms of Peace are such as may be a ground to make a firm Peace, without reference to any other Prince, and most suitable to the nation."
Sir Thomas Lee.] Birch said, "he was willing to get what he can," and he is willing to lose as little as he can—Remembers when five millions were paid for a vote of "assisting with lives and fortunes," in the former Dutch War; he dreads that again—Some depredations of the Dutch were then, and the Parliament advised a War; but Peace was made; what the Articles were he never knew; there was money given for a fleet and none set out—How can we say, that these Articles, now, are a foundation of a Peace, which refer to other Articles which we must see; and, in the steps we go to obtain Peace, act so as not to be blamed when we go down? It feems to him to advise in the dark, in the whole lump. This looks to him as something done not to be owned—As for the fishing, he knows not what is done with that Article; they that made the War, he believes, know better—How much may be said? That you take this Peace upon you with all the Articles, or what argument may be drawn for money? Moves to "remit it to the King."
Sir Thomas Clarges.] In Edw. I, and Richard II's time, though the Commons did then decline the advice of War, yet they gave a subsidy upon it—Thinks this no foundation of money. If we give no advice, the War may go on, and then there will be a necessity for money, the revenue, the taxes to come, and the customs considered—Doubts our loss is not so little as is said. London, after the Plague and Fire, had lost two millions—He cannot refine so much upon the King's Speech as others, but plainly what is before him—Desires we may not lose this hold the King gives us, and approves of these Articles as a ground for Peace.
Mr Powle.] There is no precedent, that we have refused the King advice, but formerly it has been remitted to the King and his Council; and he would be advised by them—The Palatinate Treaty, and the marriage with Spain, the House then took no exceptions at, having the thing communicated to them, but advised the King to make War—If we lie at the mercy of an enemy, that will draw money from us, without doubt; but knows not how Peace will bring on money—The Intercursus Magnus with Charles of Burgundy—Fishing without licence and safe conduct in Henry VII's time—The Commons answer in 42 Edward III, "It was against their Allegiance to advise any thing against the Prerogative of the Crown"—If we cannot set out a fleet, we shall be in ill condition for War. The only way for our Trade is to get Peace, and secure the discontents at home, where people think we fight our great neighbours battles—Sees no danger in not advising a War, and the Articles are a sufficient ground for an honourable Peace.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Did the King then make War without the Commons, and they then complain? That precedent which Lord St. John mentions was very different from the case now. Foreign States make no contract with Parliaments—We cannot give encouragement to quit what has been so long in the Crown—As to the case of Religion so much in discourse, no considerable Protestants are in arms but the States and the King—You find good grounds to hope that the King may come to a speedy Peace.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Did foresee plainly that the King and his Council would be for a Peace; we think that the consequences will be, that the King of France will vomit up, by this, all he has gotten, and be reduced to the Pyrenean Treaty—But this will have another effect. Spain and France will by it make a better Peace. Monteri (fn. 1) will not hazard his army, governed by a Queen Regent, and an Infant King—The issue of running down the King of France will not answer expectation—Doubts whether these Articles be fit for us, we being so in the dark; and 'tis sic so great a body as we should be fully informed; therefore it is our desires; a Peace would be acceptable, but we are not in a condition to give advice in it.
Sir William Coventry.] The inference is, that Littleton is against any Peace—Recurs still to our own affairs—France is not likely to have Peace—It is our interest to have Peace before our neighbours, if we can. It becomes us better to offer our opinion on these conditions. You offer no more than what you are privy unto; but if generally, we are wholly in the dark as to the affairs of Christendom, since few of us have the means of knowing, how intelligences and reasons of state are abroad—If the posture of affairs alters, yet our reason remaining good, and the King not disobliging us if he makes no Peace; therefore would not address "generally," but "particularly, on the Articles."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Has little knowledge of state affairs more than what he collects out of news books, and about the town—France to have Peace sooner, after we have left her, than before, is a strange notion!—Great alarm of her conjunction with the King of England, master of the seas as well as the land! If we make a separate Peace, she will languish in her greatness, and must make Peace. The German Princes are concerned to rid themselves both of the French and German armies; the French army for the present, and the German army, lest they hereafter come under subjection to the Empire; and therefore it is their concern to have Peace.
Earl of Orrery.] Is one of the number that believes Peace desirable; he is of the latter opinion. If you advise "in general," you are in the dark; if, "as to Articles," you speak in the light, you know what you say: You are certain of Peace upon these Articles, the other not—Great difficulty for the King—Be pleased to vote "these Articles a ground for Peace," and when that ground is laid, proceed.
Resolved, That upon consideration of his Majesty's [gracious] Speech, and the Proposals from the States-General, this Committee is of opinion, that his Majesty be humbly advised to proceed in a Treaty with the said States, in order to a speedy Peace.
Wednesday, January 28.
A Petition was presented from Bernard Howard, Esq; (fn. 2) of Norsolk, containing an Oath he would take, to testify his being a good Subject, and to exempt him thereby from the penalty of the Law against Recusants.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If he differs from friends, craves pardon—The Laws against Popery are not so much for the revenue of the Crown, as for the security of the kingdom. It is for its safety for every Papist to be known—No man can believe what he has a mind to—This Gentleman tells you, "he will live quietly, and yet cannot change his religion, being born in it"—You may well receive the Petition.
Sir Robert Howard.] Does not desire to throw it out "with scorn." The Gentleman is of so much honour and gallantry, that he would not say, much less swear, a thing he would not perform—This deserves not "scorn" for a man to live quietly—It would be a good thing to be done for all other Dissenters—His allegiance, he shows you, is not vitiated by his religion. Leaves it fairly, and does not so much as move for a Committee to consider of it—If the way be thought worthy of this House, the Petitioner has showed himself a good subject.
Mr Garroway.] The Gentleman is of that honour, that what he has presented you in the Petition, is from his heart; believes he intended it clear and fair—Would prevent the growth of all that would destroy him and those of his belief—The King of France would not suffer his sister to come near him, before she changed her religion; but all our care is only to prevent the growth of Popery—Would think of some direction for a Bill, that these Gentlemen may have something for a rule, that they may walk comfortably under the Government. If relief, not by any single Petition, but by a Law—Is one of those that would have them live comfortably and securely in what they have, but no employment in the State or Militia, and if they thrust in, would have the Law capital. Was called to Order by
Mr Garroway.] Thinks we may debate the thing. If their names be entered into a book at the Assizes and Sessions, you may know their numbers, every Priest and Person, and the increase of them. As two thirds of their estates are under the power of conviction, though not presented, yet it terrifies: but as for riding armed, &c. he would restrain them; and to do something of this nature, to prevent the growth of Popery, would be serviceable for the nation.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Garroway's motion is not seasonable—Though Bernard Howard be his old acquaintance and particular friend, he must lay all that aside here, and would have the Petition laid aside—It desires not only the last Law against Popery, but all Laws, to be repealed for his sake, and this Oath only for his family; and by what justice can you deny another family? By this Oath they will use the King well when they have deposed him—Whether then will you allow all the Church of Rome to come into offices upon this Oath, which is not to renounce the authority of the Church of Rome? Would lay it aside.
Mr Powle.] This Gentleman (Howard) is of a most inossensive carriage, and he has heard him say, "he desired his religion only in silence." If you intend any distinction, or discrimination, of Papist from Papist, would do it for this Gentleman's sake.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The Laws of forfeiting two-thirds of their estates increased rather than diminished them. Those Laws are never executed—It is High Treason in the perverter and perverted, but never executed. Such rigorous and sanguinary Laws do more hurt than good—Men under great burdens never leave striving and struggling till they have got them off; but if a Law can be found out to make them of one common interest with the people, lessening the number of Priests, and a Register to discriminate persons, would be of great use.
Mr Garroway.] He desires that neither Howard, nor any of his opinion, may have any offices—As he would not have them persecute him, so he would not persecute them by an uneasy way of life. Others, it may be, are not so honest as he, therefore would not throw the Petition out with scorn, but "gently lay it aside."
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Had he thought the Petition would have produced so many favourable discourses of Popery, would not have been for the reading it; and should be very sorry the discourse should be out of doors—The Registers mentioned will rather give us terror with their numbers, than be of other use—Every Parliament makes Laws against them, and none are executed. There is great necessity to prevent the growth of Popery, and, with a Bill for prevention, these things may fairly come before you—In Barbodees, they are so much of the temper of indifference in Christianity, that, in the judicial Courts, if they swear upon their belief of the books of Moses, it is sufficient.
The Speaker.] You have ordered already a Committee to prepare a general Test, to distinguish between Protestant and Papist, and to prevent the growth of Popery, and Papists not to come near the Court nor City.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] Promotion and promoters of Popery ought to be punished by your opinion—Any countenance of this Petition would be of ill consequence—In Italy they say, "the inhabitants of this kingdom are not Christians." As to the word in the Petition of "keeping faith;" here Christians are separate from Hereticks—Would never have it countenanced by this House—Would spurn it out of your House.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Bernard Howard seems, by his Petition, not to be of the opinion of the Church of Rome; he shows you his great aversion to breaking faith—This of the Oath is of great weight, either general or partial. He ever thought it policy to divide enemies, and ever thought it charitable to favour the less criminal—It has been of great service and moment in Ireland—Some Catholics have, by this distinction, been excommunicated by the Pope; perhaps this Gentleman is—Will not say directly what to do in this business, but would not dismiss it.
Colonel Titus.] Though it is said, "several discourses have been upon this occasion in favour of Popery," he has heard none—Whoever is under you and not at his ease, is always dangerous to the Government—Desires the Petition may be "withdrawn;" but would not "throw" nor "kick" it out. "Withdrawing it" shows you have no mind to do the thing, and yet is a respect to the person that brought it in.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] As to Sir William Lewis's motion of "retaining the Petition till the rest of the Bills of Popery come in;" the House seems neither to repeal nor increase the former Laws, but that Papists should not have power to influence the Government—Naturally the people favour all under severe Laws—Retain it till then, and then do what you please with it.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Finds persons run this discourse into generals—If it be said out of these walls, "deal kindly with Papists, it is the safest way," answers, we see the effect of kind dealing with them these ten or eleven years. But says Bernard Howard, "I will live at another rate, I will be kinder to Protestants than to other men;" but trust it to no more than one; see how he will do with it; and three years hence another—When the Bill comes in, you may admit the Gentleman a Proviso of this nature.
Sir William Coventry.] Should this have effect, as Meres says, surely so many would come in as would sink the boat that it could never sail. Whenever it comes you will find it of great weight, but, out of particular respect, would have the Petition lie on the table.
Colonel Birch.] Pretence of suffering has got the Papists much ground. Our neighbour, the King of France, has made a Law, that a Protestant, though next of kin to the Crown, shall not inherit, but a Papist next him; and we do a thing so contrary to all abroad, that it is an ill time to do it in—That being once done beyond sea by this Gentleman's means and others, would then begin to do it here, and not before.
Sir Thomas Higgins.] This Petition is not in favour of Popery, (laughed at) but one of the Popish Religion, encouraged by Lord Bristol's (fn. 3) Proviso, who was for your Bill in the House of Lords—Let the Petition lie upon your table till the Bill of Popery comes in.
Sir Thomas Doleman.] If the little thief gets in at the window of the house, he will soon open the great door to let in the rest of the thieves. Let one in by such a Petition and you may let in the rest; therefore would throw out the Petition.
Sir John Duncombe.] Would be glad to do any kindness for this Gentleman, but is not for the Petition; he has had, in effect, his Petition already; you see the inclination of the House to make them "live quietly." Howard asks it not for himself; he knows him a quiet man—It is for him and his family; the consequence whereof is, it confirms that family in being Papists by Law—Your design is to "prevent the growth of Popery." Your Debate preparing mens thoughts to "prevent disquiet," he would have him withdraw it (which was done.)
Thursday, January 29.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Alterations in the House ought to be by directions from the House; and in King James's time a warrant was directed from the Speaker to the Surveyor of the King's works, "To our loving friend," &c. to make alterations—Would have the back-stairs doors shut, and the Speaker's chamber only for Members.
Sir Robert Carr.] If the Lords had thought to have it joint, they would have sent to you; they have done it already, and concurrence now is not in their power. The Lords have viewed Treaties and you not, so you are upon different informations.
Sir William Coventry.] The King spoke to us both together, and, believes, hoped for a uniform advice, not to distract him—Sometimes it is commented that we have made a breach of privilege by not desiring the Lords concurrence. He speaks his story from without doors, as other men have done. That point is cleared there, but when we have our liberties and properties concerned, and fear obstructions from the Lords, we wave it—We know as much of the matter as probably we can, and the Lords are of our mind in this matter. 'Tis objected, "the Lords have thanked the King." It is answered, we cannot thank the King too often—Knows of no answer we have given the King for communicating any thing, but always "with thanks," and the Lords will not forget good breeding to thank with us, though twice.
Mr Attorney North.] The penalties in this Bill are like those in the Act of Popery; but those are remedied by conformity, but here is a perpetual disability of conforming, and loss of office, &c. "Legal and known prisons;" no imprisonment in Law in order to examination or punishment—If a man commits a murder in Ireland, or Jersey, &c. by this Bill there is no Law to try him here—If a man is committed to York jail, and lies by the way, that is a prison where he lies. Knows no need of such a Law, and mischiefs make a general Law. As the Law is, no man can be imprisoned, but in a legal prison, nor sent abroad, but in order to tryal.
Sir Richard Temple.] Custody, in order to examination, is not a prison—If we have value for our liberties, we would secure them by Law. Several have been sent to Tangier, and the islands, since the King came in—Thinks your provisions against it, in this Bill, not strong enough—Reached by actions and indictments; some people may be too great to be reached by actions, and the King may enter a Noli pros. upon an indictment, and hopes, upon commitment of the Bill, that may be remedied.
Lord Cornbury reports the Lords Answer to the Message, "That, as to Thanks, they had already attended the King in a body; and that, as to the Vote of Advice, they would return answer by Messengers of their own."
A Message from the Lords, "That, upon consideration of the King's Speech, and the whole matter now before them, they are of opinion, that his Majesty be humbly advised to proceed in a Treaty with the States-General, in order to a speedy Peace."
Sir Thomas Lee.] No penalty is too great or heavy for unlawful prisons. For murder committed beyond the sea, there is a remedy; for treasons, there is a special Act of Parliament for tryal in England—Formerly objected against the Bill—Less mischief to the English nation, that those men should go unpunished in the place where the offence is done (and few escaping there) than that Englishmen should be sent abroad for offences done here.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Hopes you will give power for the Sheriff, if he has it not already—The Green-Cloth Messengers imprison in their houses; they are "unlawful prisons," and would have these considered at the Committee.
Mr Powle.] Imprisonment to custody is no part of punishment, and so would have excessive Jailors fees of prisons stinted and settled—"Demeanor" when in custody, not for every slight commitment kept close prisoners—It is fit in treasons and great crimes, but not on every slight occasion—"For sending beyond seas," in King James's time, when the Union was so affected, 3 James, tryals should be—Not sending men abroad, though the danger were less in escaping tryal, than sending men over hither to be tried.
Sir John Duncombe.] It often falls cut in the Treasury, that men are taken into custody, for fear of losing the King's money—Sending a man to jail, and he meeting ill company there, may ruin him, therefore better for the subject.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Bill is tender in many places; if not committed close prisoner, very inconvenient in some cases—A man informs, that ships are to be burnt at Chatham, or the town to be fired, or a murder; if the party be not kept close, he may be tampered with by his accomplices. Such business cannot be done without it—When the Bill is committed, would have such regard had to it, that may make it possible to be practised.
Mr Waller.] "Common prison"—Sometimes the plague comes into it; sometimes a man is kept in an house, in favour of the prisoner—The Guards is no prison—Tells this story: In the Usurpation, some Gentlemen of good quality were sent to the Guards, at St. James's. They would have made their escape, and killed the soldier that guarded them; but they would not kill them again, for fear of retaliation in the King's quarters at Oxford. When they were indicted, some Counsel told them, they were in no legal prison, and it was not murder, being prisoners of war. There was a brave Jury upon them, (he speaks it for their honour) who found them not guilty—Would take care that no courts of Guards be prisons.
Colonel Birch.] Consider where our mischief in this has been. It has been very common to commit by the King's or some great Minister's warrant — He has heard in this House, that the King cannot commit a man to prison; it is not reasonable he should be both Party and Judge—Knows the King is uneasy by it. A man is first committed by a Privy Counsellor, and a day after the King's hand to it. Does not like it, that all things should resort to the King's command. If so, all your provisions against it signify nothing. Knows not by what causes and counsels, but put upon the King—The Doctrine he has always heard here is, "the King can do no wrong." It was told you, "a person may burn the ships." Can tell you of many committed, but where is any one proceeded against? When he has nothing left, then turn him out of prison, and no man knows what is become of him (the Herefordshire Priest)—No man is committed but cause is shown, and a person found by the Lord Keeper to prosecute—Make the Bill effectual, or not at all.
Sir Thomas Byde.] A year and half ago he was sent for by a Messenger, and brought to the Green Cloth, with four of his servants. He desired a copy of his accusation. They threatened to lay him by the heels, if he sued the Messenger. He paid five pounds for Mile-money. The term was not in being, and he could not have his Habeas Corpus, nor any remedy, and he fears it again—Sir William Boreman, of the Green-Cloth, told him, "you must not tell us of Statute-Law; neither Lawyer nor you understand Compting-house Law, which is our Law." So he paid his fees for being in custody.
Saturday, January 31.
A Petition was presented from Mr Henry Savile, and Sir Paul Neale, in reference to their being lawfully elected for Newark, craving leave to be heard by their Counsel (fn. 4).
Mr Sacheverell presents a Petition from the Freemen of Newark, viz. the new Charter obtained for the Mayor and Aldermen to be sole Electors, and they have taken Bolderton, Cottington, and Winthorp, into the liberties of Newark, as part of the Borough, and these places are under a new jurisdiction, and not capable, by the said Charter, of having any vote in Elections, and yet are liable to pay the charges of Burgesses in Parliament for wages.
Sir William Coventry.] This is not the case of the two persons pretended to be elected, but upon the weight and validity of the King's Charter, an absolute new thing, and no way relating to Elections—Cannot say he looked upon the order; but the House saying, they would consider of it, it seems to be referred to the House—The persons returned have a certificate from the Clerk of the Crown; they are returned and sworn. If it must be referred to the Committee, they are to sit first—The respect of the King's Charter would challenge it from you, to be heard in the House—From a business that concerns a Member being heard here, the least respect you can show the King is to hear this here.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Where is an Election for Newark upon your books? The next return may be from the Royal Society; but just, that, if a Corporation of twelve men should be represented, the Royal Society should, a much better Corporation—Make it different, pray, from a case on your books; let this come to you by all the steps and degrees by which you can come rationally to this thing—If you refer it to the Committee of Privileges, he will set a time; if not, he can say more to it now.
Sir John Birkenhead.] The case is, a new Borough, of which you were never apprized, to be heard in the House; an error in the first step. The Commissioners should have acquainted you with it, and their Charter should have been read in the House. Let the Clerk read their Charter, and then judge, before you throw them away to the Committee of Privileges.
Sir Courtney Poole.] If they have surprized the King in the Grant, and we are surprized in the manner of examining it, would have it go to the Committee; you will soon, else, make the House a Committee for all business.
Sir William Coventry.] It is an unequal match betwixt me and you, Mr Speaker, in matter of Privilege; but as you mentioned that, the Charter ought to be read here; if you send the case to the Committee, you must allow it an Election, and allow your Members; and the thing is neither Privilege nor Election; it is the Privilege of the King, and you will not send him to a Committee! You must allow them Members; you cannot under any other qualifications—You may as well try the Lord Mayor's and City-Charters and Privileges at a Committee.
Mr Waller.] It is no case of the Members, but of the King. Old men told him, when he sat here (King James was a scholar, and a lover of them) that they then chose for the Universities; Mr Selden told it him; they then grumbled at it in the House—The Royal Society may as well as scholars of the Universities—Would have a special Committee of the Long Robe, to search Records about it, and report them.
Sir Anthony Irby.] You have sat here twelve years, and had no news of this Borough. If, the Parliament sitting, Boroughs be made, there may be as many new Members sent as we are already, and what will be the consequence of that?
Sir Richard Temple.] It is called, on one hand, the King's Prerogative, and, on the other, the Privilege of this House. If to be heard at the Committee, you are not like to hear of it again—The right of towns in general is not the business of the King—You will find "Universities" Corporations, but the unlimited power of it may have many consequences.
Serjeant Maynard.] If the Question be, whether the King may erect a new Borough, that cannot be denied; he may make a new County, as many have been—This is a general trust in the King; a great number sit here now by new Charters, and it is the same Privilege in this case, a case hard to be disputed here, that was never before so.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Gentleman behind him (Temple) has a mind to turn us all out rather than to take these in. Knows not where we are at this rate. If the Clerk of the Crown's Roll be good, you must call the House by it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If this House has any Privilege, it is, that none that are not of the House shall hear Debates; if there are no footsteps of their being in the Roll at the beginning of this Parliament. If a Charter should be granted to a particular man to sit here, would you admit it? This is of vast consequence, and divers points in it to be debated; but, above all this, here was a Charter granted, and here comes a new one to but a part of a body incorporated; that whole one shall be but part of one for this purpose of Parliament-men; therefore would commit it, that Gentlemen may have liberty to speak to it as often as they will.
Sir William Coventry.] Is willing ever to accommodate a business. Was willing to have it referred to a Committee; and moves for a Committee of the whole House, that it may be heard more solemnly, and that Gentlemen may speak as often as they please.
Mr Powle.] It is proper to go to the Committee of Privileges, as a return before you of two Members; when it is there, then it is proper to enquire how these men are returned—Supposes, that the Committee will never judge the validity of the King's Charter, but report the matter to you.
Sir John Duncombe.] It is complained of by Gentlemen, that this Charter is illegally obtained; who so fit to judge of these things as the House? It is a thing of more than ordinary consequence, and therefore would hear it in the House.
Sir William Coventry.] Here are Statute books and Common-Prayer book for the use of the House; would have a book of maps for the help of our geography; for Meres says, you allow a month for a hundred miles distance, and you allowed but a month to Cologn in Sir Lionel Jenkins's case.
Sir Thomas Clarges reports precedents about alterations in the House, from 1 of King James—A Warrant from the Speaker to the Surveyor of the King's works—Want of place to sit by reason of new Charters.
Sir William Coventry.] The House may differ from the Committee, and he thinks Birkenhead has liberty to mistake as well as other men; but it is said, this day and that day, of entering the Order, because universal; the Clerk entered it not in short words, but at length—It has something of the matter of Newark Election in it (room for your burgesses to sit.) Would have it referred to the Committee of Privileges.
Lord Cornbury.] Is against an Address, especially at this time. If you have no more Counsellors to remove, nor other Grievances to redress, then you may now do it—Concerning one of these Dukes, for removal there is no reason; would have Gentlemen, therefore, to consider whether they have any other persons to remove, and then resolve, &c.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Differs from Cornbury. Two Lords in one Address is enough. Like rods, too many in a bundle, are not easily broken—Would take two or three at a time, and hopes at last to remove all the ill ones.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Would have the concurrence of the Peers, either at a Conference, with reasons, or at their Bar—Appoint a Committee to consider of the manner to begin a thing of this moment. Would not make ill precedents now.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would have a difference betwixt Lauderdale a Commoner, and Buckingham a Peer. A precedent, in case of a Commoner, was that of Sir John Griffith, who commanded Gravesend blockhouses; the Commons went to the King, and he displaced him (fn. 5).
Mr Garroway.] To subvert all Laws, and to say, "none shall be, but verbal Laws, for the future!"—You cannot be too severe—The King may do what he pleases with him in Scotland; you think him not fit to govern here.
Mr Stockdale.] Is indifferent whether we go to the Lords, or not, with the Address concerning the Duke of Buckingham—You have a great Privilege to address the King by common fame; his ill life, &c. Are you ever like to carry this charge of common fame to reach this man, &c.
Sir Thomas Meres.] In 3 Charles, there was a Debate about common fame, and your book tells you of what validity it was—Would lose no Privilege we have a right to, nor exceed that right—Would adjourn the Debate for two days.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] We went not on suddenly after the vote, and in a few days five thousand guineas were dispersed to adjourn it longer. It may be so many days more may cost so many guineas, and so make guineas dearer yet.
Colonel Strangways.] If Carew knows any Members that have received these guineas, he should name them; and would have a Test upon us—If any man be suspected of guineas or pension, let him purge himself.
Mr Harwood.] Both giver and taker manage their business very ill that will discover giver or taker—If any man's condition here be so that he cannot live without a salary, let him have it from the place that sends him—Here is common fame in the case, but since the great men were talked of here, many thousand guineas have been paid out in Lombard-street, which you may enquire into—Would have a Test to acquit every Gentleman of any thing so unworthy.
Colonel Birch.] Has heard such reports, both in town and country. Observe the case, and what need there is to bring you off—How will this reflect upon the King, that it is thought by the people that the King should give us money to do any thing contrary to the interest of the kingdom! You hear one named; if an extraordinary thing, there is an extraordinary occasion for ways to clear themselves—Present Member by Member, and in the presence of God and the House let them clear themself, as you once did about the Libel—Refer it to a Committee to examine this Masters, for the honour of the King, and vindication of the kingdom.
Sir William Coventry.] So much has been said in it, that it is for the honour of the House to have it thoroughly examined—Let a Committee consider the way, and let Masters be examined at the Committee, and not at the Bar; that admitting not so thorough a disquisition, the Mace being upon the Table, and the Speaker not quick enough to ask Questions; as Masters may retire, and recollect himself, whilst you are preparing new Questions, how to evade your Questions for discovery—A Committee is more likely to come to the quick and bottom of the matter.
The Committee soon after met, and Masters was examined as to the words, and, after much unwillingness to discover who said the words, at last said, "that being at Mr John Howe's house in Gloucestershire, where he was very civilly entertained several days, (and therefore did give this account with great unwillingness, begging to be excused) he did hear Mr Howe say, "That he hoped this Session might be worth five thousand guineas to him;" but whether in relation to the Irish Cattle coming in again, or what was precedent or subsequent in the discourse, does not at all remember."