Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 6. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
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Wednesday, November 6.
Debate upon printing Mr Coleman's three Letters. Mr Sacheverell moved it.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] As to what is objected, "that this will be publishing the King's evidence," Mr Coleman hears that all his Letters are seized, and we find him so perfect in his Letters, that he knows them better than any man can tell him; and it is giving him no advantage in publishing the King's evidence.
Colonel Titus.] Did Sir Edmundbury Godfrey murder himself, as the Papists would have it? Mr Oates was once thought an ingenuous man; and now he is called an ass and a knave. It is most requisite these Letters should be printed, to convince the world that such transactions have been.
Sir John Ernly.] If I knew any persons that are not satisfied that there was a Plot, I would be for printing the Letters. The Papists will never be satisfied that there was a Gunpowder-treason; nor will printing these Letters convince them there was a Plot. I think you can give no more satisfaction to the Protestants than they have already; and the Papists will not be satisfied by printing them—Therefore I am against it.
Mr Powle.] I have observed, that these designs of these Plotters have scarce been believed here, for some years. The Examinations and Confessions relating to the fifth of November were all made public, and why should not these?
Mr Secretary Williamson.] All that was done in printing the Conspiracy, &c. of the fifth of November, could not stop the mouths of people from doubting it. What you have done, is upon your Books. As to the three Letters, there they are, but I think it not seasonable they should be printed. It looks not grave nor decent to print them before Coleman's tryal; and then there will be a Narrative drawn carefully, to inform the world of all the circumstances. And since nothing can be lost by putting it off, and farther matter may be had, &c. I would have it remain in your power to print them, when it shall be more seasonable.
Sir Robert Carr.] Some expressions in these Letters seem to be harsh, with some reflections upon the King, which will not do so well; and if it were but for that reason only, I would not have them printed.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I remember no such expressions in the Letters. But when there has been so horrid a Plot made out upon oath, and it is yet in conspiracy upon the same thing; and when all the Papists are so active to stifle this Plot, is it not requisite that something should be abroad in the nation, to lay open this villainy, to confirm Protestants? Was not the treason of one man, Dr Lopez, against Queen Elizabeth, published? Our Votes tell the world no particulars of the Plot. These Letters will show all, and confirm the world—Therefore I am for the Address, &c. for printing, &c.
Colonel Titus.] I desire that both the Votes of the House, and the Reasons of those Votes, may be printed, which are the Letters; and then all the matter will be clear.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] If a Narrative of the Plot be drawn out of those Letters and other Papers, &c. and is in time to be printed, I wonder that at the same time you will print the Accusations of the Parliament in those Letters, without the defence. Will you print those Letters, and nothing in them appear of murdering the King's person? Will you therefore lay a plaister where there is no sore, and leave the sore raw? Do you see any thing in the Letters of raising an Army, or the Conspiracy of the King's death? To print these Letters will be but a half thing; and therefore I am against it.
Sir Thomas Higgins.] To what laughter will you expose the House, that by these Letters, this House should be accused to be such a prostitute body, as to take money for their Votes? I am against it.
Mr Sacheverell.] I am not for printing the Votes, &c. unless we print something else. I would ask both the Secretaries, whether it was not the opinion of both Houses, that there should be a War with France; and that the Army should be disbanded? And in the country they believed that neither would be, and it is plain that neither is done—I am for printing, &c.
Sir John Coventry.] If these Letters cannot be printed, let us have a Bill to bring in Popery, to make our conditions as well as we can in time. I think whoever is against printing, &c. has either taken money for his Vote, or is popishly affected.
Ordered, That an [humble] Address be presented to his Majesty for leave to print three of Mr Coleman's Letters (fn. 1), and that the concurrence of the Lords be desired; and a Committee was named to draw up the Address.
Mr Palmes.] The reflections upon the King, in the Letters, are by the Papists; and the same are from them upon us. I hope the printing these Letters will make the breach wider.
Sir John Birkenhead.] I move that all the means possible may be used to make Mr Coleman confess what Members have received the King of France's money.
Sir Thomas Mompesson.] I move that a Test may be upon the Members, whether they have received any of this money.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] I would examine likewise, whether they have received any money from the Lord Treasurer.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Coleman said, "He would clearly answer you any questions." If you please that some of your Members may ask him, he would give you the clearer answer. He said, "he would tell you clearly." As to the Lord Treasurer giving bribes to Members, that may be enquired into another time.
Mr Hampden.] To the best of my remembrance, Coleman made great protestations that he knew no more, but he told you of three and four hundred pounds given the last Session, and 2500l. He knew there was something done by the Spanish Ambassador and the Confederates on the other side also—He said it carelessly.
The Speaker.] Coleman said, "that he actually received 2500l. and a promise of 2500l. more, if he could carry the point to carry off the War."
Sir Thomas Meres.] All Coleman's Letters say the same thing of money not to engage against France. If you could make that discovery, you would do the best thing in the world to mend us here. I have observed there have been faults here for some years. Pray send to find it out.
Sir Henry Capel.] When it comes to this, that Members will be taking money for their Votes, perhaps they may do it for an Army, perhaps for Popery. They that do it in one thing will do it in more, and every thing.
Colonel Birch.] You may leave it to the wisdom of the persons that go to Coleman to make interrogatories in general, but in particular as to the 100,000 crowns mentioned in his Letters.
The Speaker.] Likewise as to the money he spoke of for solliciting the Bankers business.
The same Gentlemen who accompanied the Speaker to Mr Coleman, &c. were ordered again to ask him, "how he disposed of the 2500l. and any other sums paid to him by the Spanish and French Ambassadors, and to whom?"
Colonel Titus.] I have something in my hand fit to be communicated to you. It is the London Gazette translated into French, wherein there is a wonderful willing mistake. In the English Gazette it is, "that the Papists are commanded out of town, for their horrid designs against his Majesty, and the Government, and Religion." And yet in the French Gazette it is nothing, but "for not conforming to the Protestant Religion." I would know who translates the Gazette, and by whose authority it is printed?
Sir Thomas Clarges.] It is published by Privilege, and printed by one of the King's Printers. It is very well worth your enquiry who gives authority to this.
Colonel Birch.] I believe that the hand of Joab is in this matter—For this is to set all Princes in Christendom on persecuting the Protestant Religion, if it be avowed by authority that we banish the Papists for Religion only.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] This Translator has been employed these sixteen years by Authority, and the King's Printer does it by Patent. You may send for him if you please.
Sir Thomas Mompesson.] This Plot is not set out in the Gazette; but for some Protestants that assaulted a Convent, we heard of it for ten Gazettes following.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] My collegue and I have authority to correct Gazettes upon complaint made, but I hope that you think not that we are Gazetteers.
The Printer and Translator were sent for by Order.
Mr Powle.] If your apprehension of the Plot grows less, I fear your zeal in prosecuting it will grow less— Therefore I would have all the material Letters brought before you, that you may come to some result upon the whole; and I hope all men will speak their thoughts, without fear or flattery. I hope those Gentlemen near the King will come instructed to help us; and as this Plot has come in by the connivance of the Government, so I hope something will be done for the care of the Government, and that they will come prepared by to-morrow, by which time we shall have seen all the Papers.
Mr Hampden and Mr Boscawen moved, that what Coleman says to the Committee, &c. the Committee may be instructed to take under his own hand.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If they write it, and Coleman consent to it, it is as fair as if he wrote it.
Mr Sacheverell.] I wonder we have no more light. The Papers we have had, have been drawn from the Gentlemen that kept them. I would be answered to this: Coleman has had several Packets directed to him, since he was in custody; and Coleman's are not the only Papers that will inform us, but there have been several Jesuits lette s to Coleman. I believe the Clerks of the Council have more Letters; and I would know, by the Officers of the Post-house, how these Letters came to Coleman's hand. I believe you will find many more Letters, and I am not sure whether they did not come from St. Germain.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] There are other Letters. Several were under other names; and no man can say whom they were really sent to.
Mr Sacheverell.] I believe there are such Packets, and I believe it will be made out, that they have been concealed from us.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] It must lie upon the Clerks of the Council, if all the Letters are not brought you. This I recollect, that, before the King went to Newmarket, the Duke brought some to the King, which the King read, and sent the rest to the Council. But in those Letters there was nothing of Coleman. Such as I read, were from mothers to daughters in nunneries, and such like matter. They were all sent to the Lords of the Council, and the Clerks have them. I agree, that now all is at stake, you should have nothing with-holden from you.
Colonel Birch.] Sacheverell ties himself to a time. Not "all the Letters since the Plot was discovered" only. I desire a catalogue of all Packets, under the Clerks of the Council's hand, of all the Letters not yet come before you, and now in their keeping.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I need no conjuration of future fears to tell you more. I have told you all I know, and I did it with the earliest; but the great work is to contribute a remedy. I beseech you, that none that have the honour to serve the King may have these conjurations and exorcisms, to make farther discovery of what they know not.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I have concealed nothing, and I believe I have done as much as most men towards discovery. I know that I have not heard of any fresh Letters.
Thursday, November 7.
The Speaker, on Mr Palmes's Complaint of a Breach of Privilege, said,] You cannot hinder judgment after a tryal, but you may summon the parties and forbid them proceeding in general during Privilege, if judgment be not already entered.
The person was sent for, but not in Custody. See the Journal.
Sir Henry Capel reports, That, according to Order, he had been at Newgate, with Mr Hampden, Mr Boscawen, &c. The Keeper was not there; so they went again at four of the clock, and examined Mr Coleman, according to the Debate yesterday. First, about receiving money from foreign Ministers, he says, "that he received from Monsieur Rouvigny 300l. from Monsieur Courtin (fn. 2) 360l. for intelligence of every day's proceedings in Parliament. They encouraged him to keep a good table both in and out of Parliament-time too, to keep up persons to the interest of their master. Monsieur Barillon (fn. 2) entrusted him with 2500l. to distribute amongst Members of the House of Commons, to prevent a rupture with France; and accordingly he prepared some Guineas, but he gave none to any Members. He said, he excused it to his own conscience, because he was out of purse as much on the French account, in his way of living. The French Ambassador demanded an account from him of the money; he told him, he distributed it to several Members, but desired to be excused from telling their names. Barillon propounded to him to name some he had promised; he told Barillon he had given the money and promised the rest, which lay heavy upon his conscience (he said) because he had given none."
The Order does not warrant the Committee to report hearsays from Coleman; and therefore they would rather run the hazard of your displeasure, than report names, to offer that to the prejudice of any Member.
He said, "he received 360l. more for intelligence." We asked him, whether he received any money from the Spanish Agents, and what made the French Agents so busy?" He said, "seeing the Parliament was against the French, this money was to get some Parliament-men over, and prevent others from going from the French interest. As for the 100,000 Crowns, he thinks he might treat with Mons. St Germain, to prevent a rupture with France, but he received not that money." But I believe, in that he is faulty, for by the Letters Sir John Knight reported, of 1677, he did correspond with St Germain about it.
We asked him, "Whether he entered his foreign Letters in a book?" He said, "he entered only common Laws; and none till he corresponded with Le Chaise;" but his man said, "they entered those of 1677 and 1678." As to getting the Bankers Case considered in Parliament, he confesses, he enterprized that business, both for their Patent from the King, and an Act of Parliament, and he was to receive 30,000l. for it, the one half at the passing the Patent, and the other when the Act was passed; but this was reduced to 7000l. in silver, and the rest in Guineas, by moieties of 5000l. The contract was only verbal, nothing under hand. [Sir Robert] Vyner, [Mr] Whitehall, and [Alderman] Backwell engaged for the money."
Sir Nicholas Carew.] This money had an influence over our Councils, as well as the Privy Council, for this Act of Parliament and Patent for the Bankers money—I desire no Members may frequent Tables, and in particular Sir John Copleston's.
The Speaker.] You will do well to revive an old Law, that men live not above their Estates.
Sir John Ernly.] As for this money of the French Ambassador's, disposed of by Coleman, it may be ill to have Gentlemens names published, and they innocent. I believe Coleman has dealt ill with you in this, and I would have him re-examined.
Mr Boscawen.] Our enquiry was, what money was paid by Coleman? I think it would be ill for your Committee to tell you names, unless you command it; and worse for you to command it from your Committee. See the printed Journal.
Mr Powle reports the Address, &c. for printing Coleman's Letters to this effect, viz. "That since, notwithstanding the King's clemency, &c. the Papists do carry on their designs against the King, Religion, and Government, &c. we conceive it the best way to satisfy the minds of your Majesty's subjects, to cause some undeniable evidence of this Plot to be made public, to convince, &c. Therefore we desire that Mr Coleman's Letter to Father Le Chaise, of the 29th of September, 1675, and Mr Coleman's following Letter, acknowledging the sending the same Letter; and Le Chaise's Letter, mentioning the receipt of Mr Coleman's said Letter, may be printed and published, and that a full Narrative of the Plot may be set out in print."
Newcombe, the Printer, at the Bar.
The Speaker.] There has been a great, and supposed wilful mistake, in the translation of the Gazette into French, viz. "that the Papists, refusans de se conformer a la Religion Anglicane, "refusing to conform themselves to the Religion of England," &c. are commanded to go out of town," without mentioning the present Plot, &c. to be the occasion, as is in the King's Proclamation recited, &c. You are sent for, to know how this has been foisted in different from the Proclamation.
The Printer answered,] I do not understand French, but as the French copy is brought to me, I print it; and Mons. Moranville, the Translator, takes it, and if he translates it not right, he is to blame.
Mons. Moranville, the Translator.] I have been deputed to translate the Gazette these twelve years by Mr Newcombe, and this is an omission by inadvertency. Being asked the Question, I was born a Roman Catholic, and I am so still. They withdrew.
The Speaker.] This makes a presumption amongst strangers, that persons may be under persecution here for Religion only. I hope the House of Commons will take occasion to translate you somewhere else where you deserve.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] The Frenchman said, "Newcombe employed him to translate, &c." It is an aspersion upon Newcombe, and I would have Newcombe righted.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] The truth is, since the time that the King thought fit the Gazette should be published in French, the authority has not been properly and singly in the Printer, but in the King. This Frenchman was in the calamity of Mons. Fouquet. He was a considerable man then—He was at sea with Prince Rupert—He took compassion on him, and recommended him for this employment. When we had war with France, this man was suspected to hold correspondence with the French, and was turned out, and taken in again by the intercession of Prince Rupert. The man is a stranger to me, and when I came to be Secretary, he was found there Translator by me and left so, and he has no more relation to my business than my Hatter or Glover. You must take care that the next Gazette-day the mistake be rectified.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would know, whether this Gazette being printed with Privilege implies Licence? And nothing can be printed by Law, without Licence, for there lies the offence.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] The Gazette is matter of state, and so falls under that notion in the power of the two Secretaries—One Yard writes the Gazette. Not that every Gazette is licensed every week. The man that has the care of it has been frequently taxed for indiscretions, as giving notice when fleets of Merchants go out in time of War; and it is our duty to correct the person when he is faulty.
Colonel Titus.] If Papists have the writing of our history, we are likely to have a very incomparable one; it is our Privilege, and I would know who does this. If I was a Jesuit myself, I should think I had done as mischievous a thing to the Protestant Religion as I could imagine—I would know the Licenser of this Gazette.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] One part of this is for the Secretaries to answer, the other for the Translator; and they must answer it accordingly.
Colonel Birch.] I will make a few observations upon what has been said. I have told you "that the hand of Joab was in this matter," as now in this very employ of this Translator; there was great jealousy formerly that he held correspondence with the French King, and he was put out of his place, and put in again by the King. Still here is the old resort to the King; as if he was put in again because he held correspondence with the French King. Many a Protestant (and poor ones too) might have had this employ, and this man has, as much as in him lies, put all Popish Princes upon executing fire and faggot upon all the Protestants in Christendom.
Mr Williams.] Here is a Gazette published by the authority of England against England. The Law of England is, respondeat superior: It reflects upon the whole Protestant Religion, and all England. Let it be answered by those that authorize him—Sure the King's authority is abused—I would have you examine thoroughly.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] No man in particular is trusted with this matter.
Colonel Titus.] I observe that we are in extraordinary security sure, when a Frenchman, and a Papist, has the penning the Gazette.
Sir John Coventry.] If the Secretaries are so busy that they cannot look after the Gazettes, &c. they should have assistance; but I have seen very little fruit of their business yet.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] No Secretary can say that no man under him shall commit a fault; and I hope that they under us shall answer for their own faults. If for thirteen years together, he has been Translator, and done it well, we are not to blame for employing him; he may be now guilty of a fault, and punish him for it.
Sir John Coventry.] I ask that honourable person's pardon. I intended no reflection upon him, but on the other Secretary. Most of the House know our relation, and that we live well together.
The Speaker.] This has not fallen out by chance, but maliciously. I remember him at sea, when he was under Prince Rupert. I believe him to have accomplices, and I would have some Gentlemen withdraw to examine him.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The rise of this man's preferment was serving well with Prince Rupert at sea, thirteen years since; since which, things have been changed; but I see all is still laid upon the King. I would have him called in, to know who authorized him under his hand to translate the Gazette, and by what countenance he did it?
Mr Secretary Coventry.] He cannot commit adultery and not commit adultery; there may be an omission of one word by chance, but this is the change of the whole discourse in the Proclamation—Pray examine him farther.
Mr Williams.] Respondeat superior. If one of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's officers kills a man, he is not to answer for it; but what relates to his office he must answer for, be the fault through ignorance, or wilfulness. I would have it examined, whether any profit comes to any person, or is accruing to this person, by writing the Gazette? Then, whether it is one or more that has the profit? If it be found that they have benefit by it, let them also answer this offence. The Printer only prints what is brought him. Pray examine these things.
The Printer and the Translator were called in, and confronted.
The Speaker. It seems to be hard upon the Printer. What authority had you, Newcombe, to print the French Gazette?
Newcombe.] I have done it these thirteen years. It first began in Lord Arlington's time, and has continued so ever since. The Frenchman did not use to bring it to me to print; a boy brought it.
The Speaker.] Suppose he had brought Treason to you to print, are you excusable? Think you that the interest of England is so little worth, as for you to print you know nor what?
Newcombe.] I humbly beg pardon of the House. I understand not the French tongue. This week there were printed about five hundred of them, the usual number, and no more.
The Speaker.] If another person had brought you the French Gazette, would you have printed it?
The Speaker.] What authority did he bring you at first for printing it?
Newcombe.] It began to be printed in Lord Arlington's time, and the Frenchman can give you a better account of it than I can —I had authority to do it, it coming from a public office.
The Speaker.] How came you to this office of translating, &c.?
Monsieur Moranville.] In the time of the War, I was at sea with the Duke of Albermarle and Prince Rupert, and I had the translating the Gazette given me for a reward; and Prince Rupert recommended me to Lord Arlington.
The Speaker.] But afterwards you fell under a suspicion of holding correspondence with the French.
Moranville.] During that time I never was suspended from my place. I have 20s. a week from Mr Newcombe for translating, &c.
The Speaker.] The Printer then employs this man. By what Order do you do it?
Newcombe.] I have it by Order from Lord Arlington. There is an advantage to them that write the Gazette. Mr Yard is the man. I have sometimes paid him, and sometimes not, 15l. a quarter, 60 or 100l. a year.
The Speaker.] If the Frenchman will take the wilful omission in the Gazette, he may have the reward to himself.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] This man has no authority nor countenance to do any thing but translate. He tells you he had translated the Proclamation, which he had no authority to do.
Mr Sacheverell.] He translates it well in the former Gazette, but in this he wilfully makes mistakes. I would have the world know that the King and Parliament are both of a mind in the Address and Proclamation.
Mr Sollicitor Winnington.] If the Printer must give credit to what the Translator brings him, then he is not responsible for it—"Respondeat superior" is not in criminal matters. I take it to be in civil only. If he will tell you who put him upon this wilful mistake in the Translation, it is more for your service than punishing him in the Pillory for it.
Mr Williams.] I ask that learned Gentleman, If a person have a keeper of the records for him, and that a record be embezzled, whether the superior is not to answer for it?
Mr Sollicitor Winnington.] If the master of the office have Clerks that do so, as that by the loss or embezzlement of a record he forfeit his office, then respondeat superior; but I think that learned Gentleman may remember, that where the statute puts the sole confidence in another man, he must answer it; as in the case of an escape, in the sheriff, who must answer it, not the jailor, there it must go; but where the matter is capital, he must not answer it.
Mr Williams.] If the under-officer do an offence, which is capital, as razing of a record, this is matter of trust. The superior forfeits his office for the offence, but is not hanged; but the inferior officer that razes the record shall be hanged for it.
One said,] He would not have this matter referred to a Committee to examine, for those of the Translator's religion will say nothing. If you ask them what colour their hand is of, they will not tell you.
Ordered, That a Committee examine and state the matter, in order to an impeachment of the Translator, &c.
Sir Francis Drake,] Moved that it right be particularly recommended to the Committee, for the Secretaries to insert the mistakes of the Translator into the next Gazette.
It was moved, that an Order be made, to search the Translator's house for Papers; to which
The Speaker said,] The House had no authority to make any such Order; it is for a Justice of Peace only to do it.
Colonel Birch.] I did see one Order, since we met, to search houses, and may we not search this man's pockets and house too? I would have the Secretaries of State take care that the mistake in the next Gazette be rectified, &c. (fn. 3)
Sir John Knight reports five Letters to Bennifield at Windsor, from Fenwick, Whitebread, Fogarty, and Ireland, concerning assassinating the King. Sir John Nicholas delivered them him, who said, "he had them from Sir Philip Floyd this morning."
Sir Robert Southwell.] As soon as they came to Bennifield's hands, he brought them to the Duke of York. The Letters were something mysterious, and the Duke brought them to the King; and by these steps they came to the Lords of the Council.
Mr Sacheverell.] I am glad the Letters are come, let them come by what hand they please. I would know whether these Letters were not brought in after the accusation of Bennifield by Mr Oates?
Sir Robert Southwell.] One seems to be single; and three were inclosed to Bennifield. I suppose all of them were received by Bennifield. But as to Sacheverell's question, I suppose there was fifteen days difference in the time. We have gone with all the care in the world, to collect hands to compare the Letters with. We have of Ireland's hand, Bennifield's, Fogarty's, Whitebread's, and Blundell's hand; and, in Fenwick's bag, some of Mr Oates's hand.
Colonel Birch.] I would know whether this was one of the packets that were seized at Windsor, or whether they were others?
Sir Robert Southwell.] I saw all the packets that Dr Tongue had informed us of. I saw one to the Treasurer, of Sept. 3. which informed his Lordship, that one to Bennifield might be intercepted. He came on purpose to Windsor, where he found the Letters delivered out of the Post-office, and handed about.
Serjeant Gregory.] Oates discovered the matter, and handed it to the King, by my Lord Treasurer, the 13th of August. This was above a fortnight before that packet came to Windsor, and this notice was sent to the Lord Treasurer at Rycotte.
The Speaker.] Be pleased to give me leave to tell you the state of the matter, and what I know of it. Dr Tongue's information was referred, by the King, to the Lord Treasurer, who having had several conferences with Dr Tongue, who informed him, "that the matter was carried on by correspondence of letters from the conspirators, so it would be a great matter if those Letters were intercepted," said the Treasurer, "Is it not possible to intercept those Letters?" Tongue thought that might be easy, but till he had discourse with Mr Oates about it, he could not be positive. Mr Oates told Tongue, it might be easy, and where he might intercept them. In five or six days the Treasurer heard nothing from Tongue; who being at Rycotte, Tongue sent him word, there were packets gone to Windsor, from Ireland, Fenwick, &c. But Tongue's letter lay some time at Windsor, so that Bennifield received the Letters, and brought them to the Duke, who said, "he knew the names of the subscribers, but knew nothing of the contrivance, and he looked upon it as a trick." The Duke carried the Letters to the King.
Mr Sacheverell.] I desire to know, whether Bennifield was acquainted with these hands that wrote the Letters, as he says, he is not? And I would know, why my Lord Treasurer went out of town, and left nobody to negotiate with Tongue? You have forgot that part of the narrative.
The Letters were thus reported. The effect of them.
Whitebread's Letter, Aug. 29. "Make the Lord Brunall [supposed Brudenell] acquainted with our designs, if you think it convenient, &c." Indorsed, "For Mr Bennifield, at Windsor."—The next Letter was subscribed, "Nicholas Blundell." "Ireland is in an excellent posture; Harcourt and Jennison have notice, and so has Kenes. If the business hit not at Windsor, to attend 48 at Newmarket; if it hit right, we may use our Religion more publicly, and have more strings to our bow."—Another to Mr Bennifield, signed, "Fenwick, Aug. 26." "Ireland will stand; his Grace of Dublin is well; Ormond would fain be friends with the Catholics; 48 prepared for it; in Dublin they are kind to us in dispatching 48." Signed, "John Fenwick."— Another Aug. 1, 78. subscribed "Ireland." "Expect the progress of the business of 48." Another not superscribed: It begins, "Mr Bennifield, his Grace is in good health; Ormond is as much out with the Protestants as with the Catholics; he has granted them Commissions, but that will not do the business." Signed "Fogarty."
Sir Thomas Doleman.] Mr Oates saw but one line of these Letters, and he told us presently whose hands they were.
Mr Sacheverell.] Two things in these Letters give us great light. I take notice that all of them were delivered out at a time; and yet they were dated from places at several distances. That person in the cypher, if named, would give much light.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Salvetti, the Florentine Ambassador, has been under suspicion for giving covert to Letters, when the Dutch War was. He has not, in some years, applied himself to the King, under any public character. It is he whom complaint was made of, that, some days before Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's body was found, he spoke of the manner of his wounds.
Sir Gilbert Talbot.] Salvetti was at the door to-day, and was ready to be forth-coming. He stands not upon any character of Ambassador, or Envoy. Sir Barnard Gascoigne undertakes for him to appear (fn. 4).
Friday, November 8.
Mr Sollicitor Winnington reports the Address, &c. for a Proclamation to be issued for apprehending Bedingfield, Cattaway, Conyers, and other Priests, &c. and for the Lords Lieutenants and Deputies to disarm such as refuse the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, &c.
Ordered, That enquiry be made of the Clerk of the Crown, what Justices have been put in and out of Commission of the Peace, for seven years last past.
Sir John Coventry.] We talk here of Popery, and the Heir of the Crown protects Papists. I move for the Business of the Day, about removing the Duke from the King's Presence and Councils. There are Papists now walking about the Court of Requests.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I know not what that Gentleman would have. There is all the care taken imaginable to clear the Court of Papists, night and day, by the Council. One man drops a letter in an entry at Whitehall as a Papist, another as a Protestant, and takes liberty to impute any crimes to any man or woman whatsoever. I know not what can be more done than is done already, &c.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] When it shall please God (as in the course of Nature) that we lose the King, you may be fortified with such Laws as may be for yours and his safety.—The King, I may say, will say something to you of this nature to-morrow.
Sir Thomas Meres.] I think those Papists walking in the Hall is a contempt of the King's Proclamation. It is no great matter for them to go ten miles out of town. If you do not something immediately, you will show remissness. Suppose the case had not been a Papist, but a Fanatic; he would have been otherwise used. This ought, this very hour, to be punished, or we cannot sit here with honour or safety.
Sir William Hickman.] If the Papists intend mischief, they will strike presently; therefore, as Meres has moved, I would not be baffled in the Proclamation, but take present remedy to secure yourselves from these mens attempts. You cannot else be safe.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] They must be Popish Recusants by Law; but though the Proclamation be not Law, yet the constant ancient use of it has made it Law. This Proclamation is by the advice of Lords and Commons, and I would have them that contemn it, be remarkably punished for their contempt. Though going armed in time of Parliament has no written Law against it, yet it is Usage of Parliament that they are punished that go armed.
Sir Robert Southwell.] I think it my duty to inform the House, that I suppose Colonel Macarty is in town. He married Lord Strafford's sister, who is a Protestant. He has left his command in France, and came over in obedience to the King's Proclamation. Upon his Petition to have liberty to stay in town, he was called in to the Committee of the Council, where he swore "he had a law-suit to attend in town, and he should suffer much by it if he were absent."
Sir John Holman.] I cannot speak of my own knowlege, but I am credibly informed there are forty Papists in the Court of Requests.
Sir John Ernly.] Macarty is a Roman Catholic, and I do believe that the Lords of the Council have given some dispensations or permissions to stay. But for thirty or forty Catholics to be in the Court of Requests!—Send for them, to know how they dare to contemn your Authority.
Colonel Titus.] I was up even now in the Lords Lobby. I saw Macarty there, and I believe the greatest part of the Lobby were Papists; and this is their obedience to the Proclamation. In the Court, and St James's Park, there were not three people formerly but I knew them, unless citizens, and now not three people I do know. They speak Irish and French. I would have you send the Serjeant to apprehend these people.
Colonel Macarty was brought to the Bar.
The Speaker.] The House, having a tender regard to the disturbance of the public Peace, hath desired his Majesty to issue out his Proclamation, commanding all Papists to depart out of town, &c. in a time limited, &c. and finding you yet remain in town, contrary to the Proclamation, under the character of a Papist, have caused you to be apprehended, &c. and brought before them.
Colonel Macarty.] I did not stay in town out of contempt to the King's Proclamation. Having served the King, &c. I presumed to petition the King, that I hoped I might be one exempted; and gave a reason for it in my Petition. I was told, "that inasmuch as I had intimation I might stay in town till my Petition was answered, I did not go." As soon as I had information that I was named here,—I confess it was an indiscretion in me to come to Westminster; but I came only to spend my time, not knowing what to do else. I will ever carry myself with all submission to this House.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Six Privy Counsellors may grant a man licence to stay. It is hard a man should go away, till he knows whether he has licence, or not, to stay, till he might have permission.
Sir Charles Harbord.] His behaviour here, and submission, has been what becomes him, and you may give him a reasonable time to obtain licence.
Sir Henry Capel.] He has acknowledged his fault, but he tells you that his stay depended upon his Petition. I would have that Petition speedily answered. I would have him called in, and let the Speaker give him some admonition of the Proclamation.
Sir Thomas Meres.] There may be some ill inference made by the Lords of the Council, from your cool management of this matter, and they will dispense with the more Papists.
Sir Thomas Lee.] He told you "he had intimation of what you were about." Though Gentlemen called "the door, the door," though people went not out, yet what you were doing went out to him. This makes me suspect, what Mr Coleman said, of the corrupting your Members, to be true. I do believe the Papists expect some mitigation of the Proclamation.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] A Law-suit is a pretty reasonable excuse to stay, &c. but not at this time. Every body has more or less of Law-occasions. Upon Affidavit that a man is gone out of town upon the Proclamation, if he be defendant, the Court will not proceed; and as for plaintiffs, they may stay till the next Term, and it is no great prejudice to them to be gone.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] The safety of the kingdom is of much more value than any man's private interest. I would have him called in, and warned of the Proclamation.
Colonel Titus.] I would have no excuses nor prefaces made to him, but plainly tell him, you expect his obedience to the Proclamation.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] You cannot let him know less than "that he has committed a crime to be here after the Proclamation, and that you expect his obedience to it." I would have something done, by way of Conference, with the Lords. There are abundance of Papists now in arms, and we are in great danger of them.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would not, for Macarty's own sake, take notice of his obedience to the King's Proclamation, as is moved, in coming out of the French King's service, because he stayed there contrary to three Proclamations.
Macarty was called in.
The Speaker.] The House has considered your discreet and submissive answer; and though it would better have become you to have given obedience to the Proclamation, yet the House discharges you, and expects you should immediately give obedience to the King's Proclamation.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] You have been informed, that eighty Papists, under one officer, in one company, are going into Ireland, &c.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Amongst Mr Langhorn's Papers, there is a Deed concerning Lady Elizabeth Delaval; she desires she may have it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I would have it delivered back to the King, to do what he pleases in it.
Sir John Trevor.] It may be, she may demand a Deed which belongs not to her, and possess herself of it to another man's wrong.
Mr Sacheverell.] I would have great care taken what you do in this point. Perhaps the Deed is to make out a title. I would rather have a list of what Deeds she wants, brought in, that none may have prejudice.
Mr Powle.] All want this Deed, to consummate an agreement in the Family. I am a trustee for her. She has applied to the King, and the King has sent her hither.
The Speaker.] You know not how this Deed came into Mr Langhorn's hands; and you ought not to dispose of any man's evidence,
Colonel Birch.] In two or three days the Committee will have dispatched Langhorn's study, and that time can do no great prejudice to the parties to stay, and you may remit it till then (fn. 5).
Mr Hampden informed the House, that Mr Ayliffe could give the House an account about the eighty soldiers, Papists, in one company, going into Ireland:
The Speaker saying, Who is it? The Clerk replied, "That it is Mr Ayliffe, who put the sabot, (in which there were Beads and a Cross, and upon it written, Utrum horum?) under the Chair, some years since, and that he was mad."
Mr Boscawen.] Moved that the Clerk might be called to the Bar, for reflecting upon a Gentleman that came to give the House Information.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I fear he that comes to you with Information, will, with some, go for a madman.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] It seems, what the Clerk said was but an answer to the Speaker's question, and but a distinction, "that it was that Mr Ayliffe that put the sabot under the Speaker's Chair." He might do then an indiscreet thing, but now he comes as evidence, you must not put discouragement upon him.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Mr Ayliffe had his pardon for that very thing of the sabot.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] The Prophets of old were called "madmen;" he may be styled "a Prophet;" for what he laid under your Chair was very near coming to pass.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Mr Ayliffe is a man of sense, and one that points directly at what he intends. You will find him a man of good sense.
Sir Thomas Lee, upon Ayliffe's going away.] No wonder when you talked of the sabot, that Ayliffe went away, nor when you talked of the Proclamation, that the Papists went away (fn. 5).
Complaint was made of a defect of the Prayers, ordered for the Fast, they making no mention of Popery, nor of the Plot.
Colonel Birch.] It is strange that we should have Prayers made, and not one word in them of the Papists, nor the Plot named. I would compare whether the book of Prayers be according to your Address.
Sir Thomas Meres.] I fear the words were so feeble in that Address, that they may doubt whether there be a Plot; but since the matter has been so clear, and no mention made, in the Prayers, of Popery or a Plot, I would have them mended, and referred to a Committee, to address the King for it.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If the Address was cold, I fear the Proclamation for the Fast was cold too. I thought that my Lords the Bishops would have prayed for the preservation of the King's person from the Plot, &c. but I fear they look too much for a rising Sun of another nature. They are rather for Latin Prayers than English. If this form of Prayer must be, to discourage the people, I would rather have the Fast let alone.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Reflections now are not well upon that body of men (the Bishops) that are to support the Religion we now contend for.
Colonel Titus.] They must not give occasion, and then there will be no reflection upon them; but as the book is penned, it is as if they were afraid to own the Plot. The Antinomians are of opinion "that God sees no sins in his servants;" I fear some see no fault in the Papists. I remember I heard a Sermon at Whitehall the 5th of November, and there was not a word in it of the Gunpowder Treason, or any thing proper for the 5th of November, but it was full of Invectives against Fanatics, more proper for the 30th of January.
Sir John Birkenhead.] That book for the Fast was made adequate to that of the Gunpowder-Treason. Now to pronounce thus upon a book, that does not give you a narrative of the Plot, is strange—Pray let the Committee see the book.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I would have some Prayers added to the book. They may be time enough done for London, and possibly in letters may be sent down into the country. There may be mistakes in Prayers, as well as there was lately in the Gazette. Some Clergy took notice of the omission in the country, and it became a country-wonder; which wonder may be taken off in some measure. If some Prayer be added, it will show something to the world to spur up belief of this Plot.
It was referred to a Committee to prepare an Address to the King, that some Prayer or Prayers [for the Cities of London and Westminster] may be added to the Service-book for the Fast.