Debates in 1677: March 14th-16th

Pages 245-267

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 4. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

Wednesday, March 14.

Debate on the Lords Amendments resumed.

Mr Powle.] He is for expedition in this matter, for fear lest whilst we are consulting the securing of Flanders, it may be lost. The Lords Amendments speak not positively of the word "Sicily," but he is convinced, by the Debate, that it seems the better way to leave "Sicily" out of the Address, not being of equal consequence to England as Flanders is, and therefore not so convenient to stand in the same paragraph, left they think we value them alike—He would lay the whole weight of the Address upon "Flanders." He thinks "Sicily" included sufficiently in other words of the Address—And it goes farther than to both "Sicily and Flanders." 'Tis always the security of foreign powers abroad, to make War with France upon equal terms, and for us to give grains to preponderate. Visibly, there is no land power to oppose France, but the House of Austria. France makes encroachments all round on his neighbours, Lorrain, Flanders, Burgundy, &c. If Germany be not left in a condition to fight France, you will not obtain your end. France borders upon us, on the west part of England—Whether we name "Sicily," or no, is not much material—Spain will never enter into Alliance, unless Sicily be part of the terms with them. But he would make a distinction, that whenever the French touch Flanders, England is in a flame—He would have all the world know, that it is better to leave "Sicily" out of the Address, and to show the Lords by reasons, that it is not of equal moment with "Flanders."

The Amendment of "Sicily" was, by Vote, rejected.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] The difficulty is great, whether of taking in "Sicily," or not, on both sides of the Question. He has found that they of Flanders are so apt to lay the whole burden upon us, that it will load our negotiations—He was forming arguments out of the same topics that Powle's were, but he would let the Vote go.

Sir Philip Warwick.] The Lords proposition does not induce you to give Money. He would agree to the words "utmost assistance," as they are, from the Lords.

Mr Sacheverell.] Would have the thing, first weighed, the manner of its coming from the Lords, and the consequence, before you make the proposition, least you be tied up to the single Question we desire not to come to—Such a thing was never offered the House of Commons before. The Lords must either agree to our Address, or add; and none of this is done. They have agreed to the Address in the words of their Answer; and then they only express their fears, and would have "the humble advice backed with some assurances, &c." This they propose not by way of Amendment. Then consider what the Lords offer—But then 'tis left indefinitely—" Any Alliances"—And those proposed, &c. to be, in consequence, supported with lives and fortunes. He is amazed that the Lords should question that, when the House of Commons "advise" his Majesty, they should fail to "assist" him how to do it. They have always "assisted" in cases they like not, much more in this that they address for. He will make no hasty Motion; but his thoughts are, that, in this Conference, you should show the Lords that it is not regular, nor parliamentary; and when that is done, likewise to let the Lords know "that no Parliament ever failed of "assisting" those methods they advised, when taken"—He will not add any thing here, but show that 'tis irregular, and unparliamentary—And if the Alliances you have proposed force the King to a War, whenever his Majesty acquainted us that those Alliances have induced a War, the House never failed to assist him.

Mr Hampden.] By the rules of Parliament, you cannot take notice of this—There is nothing to graft this upon; and the Lords may still put in something new. It is against the common way of transacting between the two Houses; and is a point to be handled tenderly, and the Lords handle it so. 'Tis nice, and handled as such. The Lords are tender of their "Judicature," well, now nourished up, and grown to some stature— And we are tender of "Money." If you meddle with this part of the Lords Answer, or take notice of it, you then explain it, viz. That the Lords have begun with Money, and take it so for lives and fortunes. The Lord Chief Justice Vaughan, when he sat here, (a man of great learning and reason) was against such a Vote—You proffer it, and are to do it, but it is unparliamentary to make such promises. You never have failed the King, and need not promise—He desires the Conference may be for leaving out "Sicily," and then, according to the rules of Parliament, no Answer is to be given to the other; and he thinks by it you have only pursued the ends you aimed at.

The Speaker.] He takes this to be the case. You send an Address, and with it a Message to the Lords. In the Address to the King, the Lords are to join, and they amend part of the Address. To the regular matter of the Address they concur, but as to the making it to the King, with the reasons, in that they differ.

Sir Thomas Meres.] All Conferences are of two parts, something written, and discourse. To the Address written, agree or not—This or that addition, alteration, or Amendment, is in the line, or words—To that written down you give a written answer. That you have done. Now for the matter of discourse only. If the Lords intend to have an Answer, neither House tye themselves punctually to every thing—They touch what they can well answer. 'Tis said, "the Lords did it so tenderly and modestly, that they used but some intimation:"—He would have you do so too, with all the fairness that may be. It looks as if the Lords started at the word, when they mentioned it, and thought of the King's Speech; and he would have our Answer with all candour imaginable. You have gone as far as you can by your Vote. He is for no discourses. Would have reasons drawn by a Committee for not agreeing to the former part of the Lords Answer, but not put in writing. But for "Sicily," would have those reasons in writing—And would have every man's help in it.

Mr Swynfin.] The Question is now, what we shall farther do with this Address, sent up to the Lords, and their Message. The Lords answer, "That they concur to the Address," and he thinks we may concur with that variation you have made of "Sicily"—And only now draw up reasons as to "Sicily," without saying any thing unnecessary, to make dispute whether the rest of their Message be parliamentary, or not. We desire to concur in the Address and matter. They say, we do the same thing desired, as it is in the Paper. He sees no distinction in the thing, and we need take notice of no more. Only there remains to appoint a Committee to draw up reasons why we agree not as to "Sicily."

Mr Vaughan.] The safety of the King and Kingdom is, that the Lords should concur with us in the matter and end of the Address. There are two principles in it, to secure our own Nation, and secure the Netherlands, and the manner is for stricter Alliances. But the Lords apprehend that the end is not brought about, because we do not encourage the King, &c. But we have done these methods. We have propounded Alliances, as proper to bring those ends about. The Lords say "because not backed with encouraging the King, &c. nor assurances, &c." Consider what kind of proposition this is; can we give the King greater security than what we lie under already? We cannot give greater divinely, civilly, or naturally; not only meat to satisfy the present hunger, but to secure from starving for the future. These itimations from the Lords are not regular, without Amendments of our Address, and possibly hereafter the Lords may do so in Bills. Therefore he is for reasons why we disagree to that part of the Lords Conference.

Col. Birch.] When we are once got out of the way, he sees what straits we are put to, and the farther the more we go out. He is of opinion, from one end to the other, that the Lords do not proceed in the ordinary way of transactions; not one step. Before ever the Lords enter into the matter, they tell us of "continuation of good correspondence," without doubt, for some great reasons. This is giving no Answer to our Message, and perhaps he can show you they could not. They tell you why it will not effect the end and the matter, intimating that something might be more effectual. Farther, they offer to your considerations whether "Sicily" should be added; this is not the ordinary way. From whence he collects, that the matter they like well, but they offered you the rest in as soft words as possibly theycould. Be it supposed, that we had said, "we will support the King in it with our lives and fortunes," before we sent it up—'Tis not the ordinary way of Parliament. If you had ever so much mind to make an addition to what is before you, you could not. It is as fully in your Address already, as if expressed. He offers this—Let the Lords know by a Message, "that their Answer is not in the usual way of Parliament." If you give reasons for it, you admit the thing; and the consequence is, either "agree," or "disagree." There is no third thing that can arise out of it. If they agree with us, he hopes the King will be advised by us both. If the Lords disagree, we go by ourselves. He cannot foresee the consequence of such hintings from the Lords, which may hint us out of all methods of Parliament.

Mr Waller.] He is not much in love with the Lords expression. But if it is an original Motion as to "Money," he likes it much worse. When the King came first in, there was a treaty with Portugal about the marriage with our [present] Queen. The Castilians threw papers about in Hyde Park, with reflections, to prevent it. The King asked the Lords advice about it, and, by a Conference, the Lords sent for us; and "there was a standing by the King in it," by the Lords, and here was great haste amongst us to concur with the Lords. But he told you then "he liked it not, that things like Money should come from the Lords." But he feared calling to the Bar for it. The House was disgusted, and he was not seconded in it. Consider that it is better to go in the light than in the dark. We ask the Lords concurrence with us, to stop the current of a great Prince—If there be union betwixt the Lords and us, all will go well—When the King shall ask the Lords, "This is your Address, and the Commons bring another." In this Address the Lords make many doubts—The Lords take it not ill that we bring them doubts; they take it well. We are a great nation, if safe at home—And we may be so abroad, unless the Lords and we fall a quarrelling, as we have done these two or three times; look big at one another, and so part. 'Tis not long ago that we joined with the French against the Dutch, and we gave advice no longer to go along with the French; in Holland their land was drowned, and their cities taken, and one Vote of ours drained their lands, and restored their cities. What is the King without you? Nothing. Nor you without him. Therefore in defending our neighbours, let us not fall out with the Lords— Avoid all quarrels, for our strength is union with the Lords, as Sampson's was in his hair. He moves, therefore, to agree, &c.

Sir William Coventry.] Though there are some mistakes in the method of the Lords, yet what they have said is a concurrence with you. They tell you, "they apprehend it may not altogether answer the end, &c." But they do concur so far as to answer that end. So that the whole is agreed, except "Sicily"—And they may reply to that; but not in the other matter. Neither tan the Lords nor we add any thing farther to that. The course of Parliament is this; we leave out "Sicily," and we give the Lords reasons for it. He thinks there is some mistake in the Lords Amendments, which are in totidem verbis in writing—But that which the Conferrers have put into your hands, ought to be in two Papers. He looks upon one part of the Paper as discourse, and it would be but an ordinary civility to take notice of it only by way of discourse, by a total silence in your reasons, but would not have it flat— That you would take notice of it. And would so coneive it sufficient, for that you hope neither the Lords or the King will doubt that this is in your care, and either the Lords nor we decline such assistances as the thing requires.

Sir Thomas Meres.] The Lord Treasurer read the Paper to us at the Conference, and he wrote till he came to the Amendments of "words in lines;" and then he believed he should have had the Paper given the Managers. Sir William Coventry demanded the Paper. The Treasurer seemed to be at a stand, whether to deliver it, or not. "Nay," said. Meres, "we must have the Paper by usual Order, because it mentions Amendments by lines;" and so the Treasurer gave it them.

Sir Job Charlton.] The Lord Treasurer Southamp/ton, at a Conference, once, gave the Managers the Paper, to help their memories, to prevent mistakes. But it is no more than the courtesy of the Lords. But the other Paper of Amendments of our Message he gave by itself, The first Paper was not entered into our Journal, but the other of the Amendments was; and it passed over in the House without any Debate.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] The matter from the Lords seems natural, as for a person to foresee that his suit should not miscarry—And there is no way for you not to be defeated in your suit, without answering what is necessary to it. That being so, what kind of Answer would you make the Lords, to give this Address recommendation to the King? The Lords have industriously used terms of greater civility than ordinary, and he would have you take this in the most favourable sense that may be; and, he believes, the Address is so much in their minds, that he agrees with the temperament the Lords have offered, and would therefore take good time before you give them your mind, and that as to "Sicily" in Paper. And for this, to say nothing of it.

The Speaker.] When you declared the Canary Patent illegal, you desired the Lords concurrence at a Conference. The Lords knew not your reason why, and could not concur, and so you sent reasons; but they were not entered into the Journal, because they were not delivered to the Lords in writing. So nothing is entered into the Journal, but what are immediate transactions of the two Houses; and these reasons were not delivered in writing.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The ancient way was not to deliver the Paper at a Conference: But the Lord that managed said, "I will lend you the Paper, but you must restore it me again."

Sir Robert Howard.] Always when Amendments of lines are expressed in a Paper, it is delivered to the Managers.

Serjeant Maynard.] If it be declared, that the King will make War with your advice, it is your duty to support him in it—If not, we have voted so much as may induce War, and so may be obliged to maintain it. In King James's time, Serjeant Glanville managed a Conference, much of the same nature with this. He is of this persuasion, that this from the Lords is an invitation to you to raise Money. Though now spoken softly, yet hereafter they may be plainer. Therefore, as this case stands, he would have a full agreement to the Message, and not be peevish in the manner, when we agree in the matter—You entertain such a proposition; therefore would have nothing said as to the manner. 'Tis unnecessary to do any thing—It may be of ill consequence at Conferences—Whatever is there is from the House—The Lords bring but their ears to the Conference—But as to what they enter, your book is not Record, theirs is;—and whatever is done, he would maintain a good correspondence.

A Committee was appointed to draw up Reasons to be offered at a Conference, upon the Debate.

Thursday, March 15.

Counsel was heard at the Bar for Mr Onslow, as Guardian to the Duke of Norfolk.

Sir John King, the Duke of York's Sollicitor.] The Writ De lunatico inspiciendo was taken out in 1654, and the Duke of Norfolk was thereupon found lunatic, and then committed to the custody of the Earl of Northumberland, the present Marquess of Worcester (fn. 1), and Sir Richard Onslow, and since to the Marquess of Worcester and Mr Onslow. Mr Onslow was no way concerned in levying these fines. They were levied in 1654, before Mr Onslow had the custody of the Duke, and those fines were levied in pursuance of settlements made by Thomas Earl of Arundel, [the Duke's grandfather] not for above 150l. per ann. and then the Duke had intervals. 'Tis objected, "that Mr Onslow suffered the Duke to be abroad." He answers, that, all along, the resolution was to bring the Duke over; but they were satisfied abundantly that he could not be brought over without running the greatest hazard imaginable of his life. In 1652, the then power [Cromwell] had a design to bring him over. The Lady Arundel, his mother, and the Duke of Richmond, sent Mr Burberry with commission to bringhim over; but found, upon consultation of Padua physicians, (who gave it upon oath, and under their hands,) that it was not possible, without hazard of his life, to bring him over. In 1654, there was another design of the Committees then in being to have him over; but, even at that time, there were no hopes of bringing him but bound hand and foot, and with great hazard of his life. In 1656, there was a great plague in Italy, and then the intention was to remove him to Vincenza, which is but eighteen miles from Padua; and for three or four days he was so averse to remove, that he would neither eat nor drink but what they forced down him. So the physicians advised him to be let alone. In 1660, and 1661, there was a design to bring him over—All the rest of the family were satisfied with his being at Padua, except the three branches of it who petition. They have let him alone all this while. It has been lately certified (in February last) that he has a continual frenzy, and that there is no bringing him over but bound hand and foot. The Duke's estate is 1200 l. per ann. and very little over; which Mr Onslow has constantly remitted to him, and he has expended it. He has the best house in Padua, with twenty servants, who, out of compassion, bind him, for fear of beating out his own brains, till he is in some measure returned again to himself. Mr Onslow has behaved himself in his guardianship as a fair and worthy Committee of the Duke's person as a lunatic.


Mr Pepys.] Col. Birch said, "He would have the Duke brought back, because he was an Englishman, a Protestant, and a Peer of the Realm." He would ask this only Question, Whether a man in such a condition as the Duke is in, who raves "That he is of the Devil's religion," and other words more blasphemous, is not much of a madman? What should he do here? As a Peer, he knows no use of his Counsel, or any reason why he should come over. Therefore he would not agree with the Committee.

Mr Finch.] He is against agreeing with the Committee, their matter being complex, of divers things. The interest of the family is perfectly waved by the adverse party. They never proved the lady's interest in the life of this Duke. But another brother offered his hundred pound more than she can pretend to by the Duke's life, more like a father than a brother. One doctor, at the Committee, said, "That it was a fatuity, and that the older he grew the less it would be."—But the more inveterate, the more easily cured, none say—They spoke of remote knowledge, of eight years ago, not to be valued, but now you have a certificate taken upon oath—"Jurando attestamur." They certify now what they did not eight years ago; and he would not agree with the Committee.

[Resolved, That this House doth agree with the Committee, That an humble Address be made to his Majesty, that the Duke of Norfolk may be brought home into England from his Confinement beyond sea.]

Mr. Powle reports the reasons, to be offered at a Conference, for not agreeing with the Lords, &c. as follow:

"The Commons conceive that the nature of the Address sent up to your Lordships is such, (being for the preservation of his Majesty and his people,) that it can leave no room for his Majesty to doubt of such assistance as the safety of the Kingdom shall require."

"Reasons for the Commons not agreeing with the Lords in their Amendment of adding the words, "and in Sicily."

"First, The Address, mentioning the danger from the growth and power of the French King, the Commons conceive, doth, in those general words, comprehend not only Sicily, but any other part (though not particularly named) where his Majesty's prudence shall think fit that dangerous growth should be restrained."

"Secondly, The special mention of Sicily would seem to put less weight upon the preservation of the Spanish Netherlands, the conservation of which the Commons conceive to be of much more moment to his Majesty's Kingdoms than that of Sicily; for, though it may be of great importance to our trade, that Sicily be not in the hands of the French King, yet the safety of his Majesty's Kingdoms is not so immediately endangered thereby, and therefore ought not to be equally insisted upon."

The Lords agreed to the Commons reasons, and the Address was thereupon presented to the King by both Houses in the Banquetting-House.

Friday, March 16.

Debate on the recalling the English forces out of the French King's service.

Mr Hale.] They cannot be little ones about the King that suffer these things. How can we think of securing Flanders, whilst we are false to ourselves? He moves, therefore, "that such as have been aiding, assisting, or abetting, to men going over to the French service out of Ireland, (and some have been compelled out of Scotland) may be declared enemies to the King and Kingdom."

Sir John Knight.] Gives an account of a ship loaden with 500 men in Ireland, who landed at Brest in France. There have been no less shipped out of Ireland for France than 10 or 12,000 men; and this he will make out.

Lord Fitzbarding.] The Lord Lieutenant has stopped some, and taken all the care imaginable to prevent others going into France. He has done all he can by Proclamation, and by stopping such as have attempted to go over.

Sir George Downing.] If any, by order, trick, or connivance, have suffered these men to go over, he would have them declared enemies to their King and Country. The growing greatness of France is of more concern to us than all other considerations whatever. In the very port of London this thing cannot be hindered. Certain vessels have made it a constant trade of carrying men over to Dunkirk, and all that can be done by Law is done already. No power in Law can help it, and they will swear us out of it. There is no want of will in the Commissioners of the Customs, and yet they cannot prevent it.

Mr Garroway.] You are told by Downing, "that the Commissioners of the Customs cannot remedy mens going into France;" and therefore he would have you do it. Vessel after vessel goes over, and Mr Boreman's yatch, in particular, carries men over, and seven others. A Vote of yours may recall all these men. Such a mark of your displeasure may do it, and he hopes you may have such advantage by it, that all may reap benefit.

Sir John Ernly.] 'Tis said, "that from Ireland they send men into France;" and so they do into Flanders and Holland also; but the thing you are upon, is, the countenance of sending more to the French than the other way. There has been a Proclamation against it, and all the care taken that can be, and he wishes a Law were made to prevent it. But it occurs not to him how to prevent it, and he believes as many go over on one side as the other. He believes that the King countenances nothing of this, nor any public authority, but officers bred up that way will fill up their companies, and steal your men, and your money too, if they can.

Col. Sandys.] Hears it said, "No care can be taken more than is already."—That is a strange thing! If they forfeit their vessels, and are punished besides when they come home, that would remedy it.

Sir William Coventry.] He thinks this can be no long Debate, because there is nothing against it, and he hopes we shall have fruit of it. It would be an unfortunate Motion, if this should not take, and it would be thought abroad as if there was a propensity to France of some great men about us, which makes men dare not to execute the Proclamation. 'Tis so plain, that the world have seen it; and no fruit of it but the suspicions and ill will of our neighbours. Now a little encouragement, by a Vote, he hopes may prevent it. We are obliged to support it, and he would have a brand upon such as have suffered men to go over, since the King's Proclamation.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] Your Vote proposed is, "That they are Enemies to King and Country, &c." He esteems them so. But he knows not how a Vote of this House may operate; a Vote, a parte ante, of punishment to hang over their heads. This is meant to encourage men that execute the Proclamation, and in his place they never wanted encouragement; and he has been as forward to lay hands on the party offending. He submits it to you, what mortification this Vote would be upon those that serve the King, implying a neglect. At Yarmouth, within this fortnight, a Captain formed his company, and was stopped at Ipswich, going for Holland—It is likely that things will have these fates, and their goings over are done promiscuously.

Sir Samuel Barnardiston.] He will give you information of what he knows. One that came forth from Calais saw 700 men land there to recruit regiments in France.

Sir Charles Wheeler.] He has two sons in the Prince of Orange's service, and he would have no sort of justice come up to an after-game. He would know who they are that have suffered these men to go over; else you will put a great discouragement on those who have hindered it. Lay the load as heavy as you can, for the time to come.

Mr Vaughan.] When a Vote of this House, and the dignity of the Crown, are equally despised, it is time to look about us. When we are assisting that greatness of the French King, to our own destruction, we should not only have fallen undefended, but unpitied. When a Proclamation is grounded on a Vote of this House, not to be obeyed is a disparagement to Royal Authority. He has always been afraid of mincing the matter in this House. The body politic moves as the natural. We must mind as well not being hurt, as remedy when hurt. The very talking of these things in this House has done good, and he would have them voted "Enemies to King and Country, &c."

Earl of Ancram.] We are going about a good work, and he approves of it. Only he finds something of reflection on a person, in relation to forces gone out of Scotland into France; but let that Lord, whom it seems to reflect upon (the Duke of Lauderdale) if he opposed it not as much as in him lay, suffer your displeasure.

Col. Birch.] Now you begin at the right end. He is for naming the thing. We have had no luck in naming persons. He would have things find them out. But he has heard of some things stopped going for Holland, but of none for France. He has nothing to say to this or that person; but when the Nation sees you in earnest in things, you may be more successful in persons. Two years ago a Proclamation was directly against men going into France; but if no persons are to be found "Enemies to the King and Kingdom," this has spoiled all. If any Gentleman has any thing more particular, he would hear it. In the mean time, pass your Vote.

The Vote was stated, and passed afterwards, &c.

Resolved, That those persons who have either compelled, advised, assisted, or encouraged the raising, levying, [carrying,] or sending any of his Majesty's subjects into the military service of the French King, since his Majesty's Proclamation (issued upon an Address of this House) of the 19th of May, 1675, are and shall be esteemed Enemies to the peace and safety of the King and Kingdom.

Mr Dalmaboy.] The Spanish Envoy complained that men were landed at Calais. The King therefore sent a Letter to the Council of Scotland, not to do any thing against the Neutrality; and the persons were punished that did the contrary. A Proclamation was sent, and the King has taken all care to prevent it. There are three times the number go into Holland, than into France. There are in Holland three Scotch regiments of foot, and two of horse.

Sir Thomas Meres.] He observes on this Question how some are winching—He would give the Proclamation all the advantage you can, and thinks it would do well, if you grounded it upon the Address made by this House, not as an ordinary Proclamation of trade, or such things.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The Proclamation you are moved for, was that grounded upon your Address of aggrandizing France, to the destruction of England—A great deal of difference from the other!

Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] According to his old manner of speaking, he'll call a spade, a spade. The Address was grounded upon Law, and we must either call them friends, or enemies. Those that are not for us, are against us. But let us do one another that right, as to own our former Vote, and to let the thing hunt the persons.

Mr Sec. Williamson.] He doubts that men shall be declared criminal from the time you antedate—Should you declare men criminal now? The Proclamation did not reach them. He believes "contrary" the more proper word. If "since," it must be "contrary", and if "contrary," "since" the Proclamation—"Contrary" is the more legal word, for it is relative to the levying of men, and "contrary" should stand.

Mr Sacheverell.] He wonders that the officers of the Customs, and one of the Governors in a high place (Col. Stroude) should not know of the King's Proclamation. It seems, gentlemen knew who these were, that ordered the men to go into France, and he would have them, whoever they are, be declared, and not shelter the great men who have done this. He hopes the Vote will find them out.

Mr Sec. Williamson.] He would shelter no man. His doctrine is, that those that offended "contrary to" the Proclamation should be found out.

Mr Garroway.] Put the Question whether the word "since" shall stand in the Question, to come fairly to an issue.

Sir Richard Temple.] He has no design to protect those whom the Laws do not protect. In the Proclamation, whoever abets, or contrives, is a principal, and it is not his business to fill his head with Proclamations.

Serjeant Maynard.] They that went away before the Proclamation, went for want to live, but there was no such necessity upon the advisers. It aggravates the fault, and lessens not the crime.

Mr Swynfin.] You are told "there is a necessity of the word "contrary;" else it would be no crime at all to go, &c." But that word comes more properly in another place, and the whole import of it is afterwards.

Mr Williams.] In this Vote, what we principally drive at is to punish counsellors of these mens going over. The Proclamation mentions "persons in the service of the French King," and calls them out of it, and prohibits persons going into that service; so that the counsellors are not within the words of the Proclamation. Perhaps by construction and inference they may be, but not directly "contrary"—He fears it will be but a cobweb Vote. Little things will be taken in, and great ones break out.

The words "and contrary to" were left out of the Vote.

Mr Sacheverell.] Now he offered not this of "compelling" in the Vote, in vain; for he has information, upon Oath, that both last year, and this year, the King's subjects have been "compelled" to go into the French service, and were tied like slaves, and put into the common jail; and such as, in obedience to the Proclamation, would not go, had their ears cut off. There is a Master in Chancery's hand to the information; and, farther than that, one that would have escaped, was tied to the main-yard of the ship, and hanged. The officers came to Edinburgh after the Proclamation— After they had tied these men back to back, no officer stopped, nor seized them. Some persons would have stopped these informations. Some great men would have stifled these evidences—This gentleman, for no other reason but because he knew of your Address, and was informed of this dealing with the King's subjects in Scotland, and thought it his duty to inform you, went with these gentlemen to a Master in Chancery, where they gave information of what was done in Scotland, &c. And for this, by a Warrant from one of the King's Secretaries (Williamson) now in his eye, his study was rifled, and he made a close prisoner, in a Messenger's house. He offers his Petition; if he cannot make it out, it is nothing to him.

The Petition was read, subscribed "John Harrington (fn. 2)," to the effect Sacheverell had opened. The Warrant of Commitment on the back side of the Petition, was read, viz. "You are to take into your custody John Harrington, for suspicious practices, &c."

Mr Sec. Williamson.] The ground of this proceeding against Harrington was, an Oath by one Harriot, Lemmon, and Murray, Scotchmen, at the instigation of Fonseça, (the Spanish Ambassador's Secretary) who had engaged Harriot, &c. to the utmost disturbance of the government, to create jealousy between the King and this House, clandestinely seeking out informations from Scotland. Harriot he found out, and examined him upon Oath. The purport was this: Harriot was one of the 500 men carried into Ostend, by one of their frigates, where he was not willing to serve, but was put in mind, that if he would pass into England, he should have his liberty. He got an Address to Fonseça, and this Harrington was to have the care of him, and gave him money; but took care to ask him about men pressed in Scotland, and other transactions there, and took notes;—which Harrington transcribed fair, and took him to a Master in Chancery, where he swore to that paper, though he never read it. But he said to the Master in Chancery "he had read it," but to him (Williamson) he deposed otherwise. This fellow said, "he swore not conjointly what the other deposed, but for himself only, and not to the cutting off ears." Says Harrington, "I'll get money for you to go thither—That will be good news to Duke Hamilton." This practice was so indirect, and by Harrington's carriage at the Council, he appeared to be the most grown young man in his impudence, and, he believes, in his loyalty—He stands committed for Contempt—He used that style, that air, and mien to the King (fn. 3), as "It may be so"—"I'll answer you no more" —And the King said, "I'll ask you no more." And for this he was committed by the Lords of the" Council's Order.

Mr Garroway.] He rises not up to justify Harrington's deportment to the King, but he has heard that the last day the Committee of Grievances sat, these people waited at the door to tell you what they petition now, and, he believes, Williamson will tell you what's become of Harriot, &c. now not to be found; taken out of his lodgings—Would ask Williamson about the commitment being brought hither to give evidence.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] He never saw him, since the deposition in his House. Harrington said to Harriot, "Go off; what you have said may cost you your own ears."

Sir Thomas Lee.] Williamson tells you of "Oath made of seditious practices."—Harrington brought them to be examined about men pressed, contrary to the King's Proclamation. Harriot informed a Master in Chancery of it upon Oath, and was not committed for Contempt of the King. See now, the crime is to go to a Master in Chancery, before the King, and he is committed to a Messenger before he was brought to the King, and there as a criminal, and asked Questions, and he would not inform against himself. This, it seems, is "unmannerly" and "sedition." No wonder we have so little account of miscarriages, when things are thus managed in Council.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] His commitment was for going where he ought not to go, in matters of State, to give Information, which belongs not to a Master in Chancery to examine. He should have come to those whom he ought. He wants breeding indeed, the best part of breeding, that of the mind, but for the other, he is a well-fashioned man.

Lord Cavendish.] He is far from excusing any man that has failed in good manners to the King; but he hears nothing alleged against his deportment at the Lords of the Council "but his looks, air, and mien." Nothing apparent against him, but that he is unwilling to answer against himself. Williamson said, "he was committed for carrying Men to depose before a Master in Chancery, in matters of State, before he came to the King's Council;" which he might justify, the Parliament sitting; especially apprehending that some of the King's Council are highly guilty of what we are about to remedy.

Sir Francis Winnington.] He attended the Council when Harrington was brought. He observes, that the weight of exception is put upon it; that he was committed that so he might be prevented coming here to inform you. If he knows the matter of fact, it is duty to acquaint you with it. Harrington, with another, was summoned to attend the Council, and came. Harrington was fairly asked Questions about disturbances of the Government, and what he knew of such a man. That no man is brought thither to accuse himself, is their rule; but to ask if he knew such a man, and what is become of him. Any man that owes allegiance to the King, ought not to refuse answering there. He looked not like an uneducated rustic man. No man behaves himself with more humanity than the King. But he never saw any gentleman more rude to another; throwing his head about—These were only Questions concerning other persons, asked fairly by my Lord Chancellor (fn. 4). And he answered, "Ask what Questions you will, I will answer you none." Those common Questions that he was asked, no man will deny to another. The Privy-Council may do what a CourtLeet may, quia male se gessit. 'Tis a common thing to commit upon rude deportment—And his commitment was, because he was of an ill behaviour before his Prince—The Law allows reverence to the King. He being present when this passed, he thought it his duty to acquaint you with it.

Mr Williams.] He stands not up to vindicate ill behaviour, but the Rights of our Liberties. He expected some particular certain cause from the great Minister (Williamson) of this man's commitment—He finds only suspicion of seditious practices—So general an allowance is not to be admitted. Men are not to be imprisoned upon notions. If he were committed on the account of seditious practices, this is not the manner. No man is imprisoned but by lex terræ et judicium parium suorum; by the King's Writ, not by verbal commandment from the King's Ministers. He does complain, and is in great fear of arbitrary proceedings. This way of commitment has been usual, but no Authority for it by Statute or Common Law: But many complaints of it.—"The King's presence!" —How far that may intrench upon the Liberty of the Subject, ought to be examined. He doubts. It is said, "He was judged by his eye and mien"—Every man has not bonne mine. Persons ought not to be committed for that in that place.

Sir William Coventry.] He fears that the business before you, the more you handle it, will run the more into your fingers. He could heartily wish the respectpart to the King declined, as it is not to be handled without pricking your fingers. Liberty is a tender thing, and may concern himself as well as another man. A Secretary of State may call a man before him, and if he refuses to answer, he may put him in custody; and when he has him, the King may have notice of it; but the crime of the Chancery-Affidavit, and the disrespect to the King intervening, he is committed for that. It seems, Harrington is in custody, and if he be of any use to you he will not be refused, if you send for him to know what is become of Harriot; but as to the disrespect-part, he would leave that.

Sir Henry Capel.] This is an unhappy Debate, and he desires we may be rid of it as soon as we can— He would preserve a good correspondence with the King, and seconds the motion, to be tender to meddle with this person. If a common Justice of the Peace may commit him in this case, much more the Council Board. We are gone and lost for ever, if we pay not respect to our Prince, and if ever to any Prince, to this. We know the tenderness of his nature—He would send for Harrington, and interrogate him what you please, as to the other business.

Mr Vaughan.] No man that understands his Duty to his Prince, but will say that Harrington's gesture deserves censure. Remember your own Stations: When your Laws are contemned, Justice is violated, and expected to be relieved at a Committee of Grievances; and if a person be so used that comes hither, you must enquire into it. He would adjourn the business to tomorrow, and let the Petitioner come then to the bar to give you an account of the grievance.

Col. Birch.] If we slubber over this day's work, we shall never remedy it again. Such things as these come bye ways—But this shall not fright him—But the Warrant of Commitment must tell you what this is. Williamson ought to have secured the person that gave information, as well as have committed Harrington. He would adjourn the Debate to to-morrow.

Mr Sacheverell.] He loves plain English, and hopes other Gentlemen do so too. As this Case seems to him, if this be allowed, there needs neither Star-chamber, nor Oath, ex officio—Not only the Council-table, but the Lords House commit for "Contempt—" (A very brave word!) He asks whether any Commitment can be without specifying special Matter of Crime, and not mere Contempt? Would know, how Harrington stands committed? Whether upon the first, second, or third Commitment? In the first, the Lords of the Council charge Crime—Aggravate that to misbehaviour, and that holds water, and they commit him to the Tower. Suppose all the case be true of misdemeanor, he asks, Whether for misdemeanor a man may be committed close prisoner? And whether they are not to take bail, if it be tendered? He would have them speak out, and then he will tell you more what he has to say.

Serjeant Maynard.] Harrington may be brought to the Bar, if he desires it. He may be indicted or bailed. The Countess of Shrewsbury complained to the Council-table, that the Lady Arabella was treating with foreign Ministers. The Lady Arabella refused to answer. By the advice of the Judges (at Common Law) she was committed, and it was no new thing. E. 1. A Clerk forged a Fine; the Lord Chancellor examined him; he was convicted, but removed to the Exchequer, and there tryed, and was convicted. Some matters of State must be looked after, in another manner than the common way—He cannot but justify the Secretary's warrant-general, "for misbehaviour." But that about "pressing the men in Scotland," he does not. He would adjourn the Debate till to-morrow.

Lord Cavendish.] Moves for this other person, Harriot, to be brought likewise.

Mr Secretary Williamson said.] On his honour and sincerity, he knew not where he was, nor where to find him.

Mr Harrington was ordered to be brought to the Bar to-morrow.

Sir Francis Winnington.] If persons had the spirit of prophecy, this of his Commitment may be debated today; but cannot without his Commitment. Whenever an offence is committed against the King, as Contempt, the person (though committed by the King) may be delivered by Habeas Corpus, or Bail. He always will justify the legal Prerogative, but also the liberty of the subject—Knows no fine laid for miscarriage, but for Contempt of the Council there is a Statute. The Council may commit in many cases, but in order to Tryal. No man can say they can judge or fine a man. But where Treason is brewing, if a man may not be committed by the Council, he fears the Government will shake—But still in order to Tryal —No Judgment but in order to Bail, or Habeas Corpus.

Sir William Coventry.] He would not have us run into Harrington's crime, whilst we debate it, and make the King stay for us, being this day ordered to attend him at three o'clock.

[The House went up accordingly to attend his Majesty, &c.]


  • 1. Afterwards Duke of Beaufort. His sister was married to the Earl of Norwich, the Duke of Norfolk's brother, and next heir.
  • 2. This gentleman was the Son of a Cavalier who had suffered much in the Royal cause. His case, as Published by himself, under his own name, is in Lord Somers's collection, Vol. XXX. It is likewise taken notice of, in the MS called England's Looking-glass.
  • 3. "Mr Secretary Williamson (says Mr Marvell) decyphered Harrington's very looks, and but that his Majesty remained still, being flesh and blood, it might have been imagined by his discourse, that Mr Harrington had the head of a Gorgon."
  • 4. "While under examination he was not well treated by the Lord Chancellor," (these are his own words) "and extremely ill by the Lord Treasurer."