Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 7. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
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Monday, April 21.
His Majesty, in the House of Lords, acquainted both Houses, "That he had this day established a new Privy Council, the number of which should never exceed thirty (fn. 1): That he had made choice of such persons as were worthy, and able to advise, and was resolved, in all his weighty and important affairs, next to the advice of his Great Council in Parliament (which he should very often consult with) to be advised by this Privy Council: That he could not make so great a change without acquainting both Houses of Parliament; and he desired them all to apply themselves heartily (as he should do) to those things which were necessary for the good and safety of the Kingdom, and that no time might be lost in it (fn. 2)."
Tuesday, April 22.
Wednesday, April 23.
Mr Treby reports the Opinion of the Committee of Secrecy, concerning the Lord Bellasis's Plea, &c. and the rest of the Lords, [as follows, viz. "That Lord Bellasis, being impeached of High-Treason by the Commons, cannot make any Answer but in person.
"That the several writings put in by the Earl of Powis, Lord Stafford, and Lord Arundel of Wardour, which they call their several Pleas and Answers, are not Pleas or Answers, but argumentative and evasive; to which the Commons neither can nor ought to reply.
"That if the Answers of the said Lord Powis, Lord Stafford, Lord Arundel (as well as that of Lord Petre) were sufficient, yet there ought not to be any Proceeding against them, or any of them, until Lord Bellasis also put in a sufficient Answer in person.
"That the Commons do demand of the Lords, that their Lordships would forthwith order and require the said Lord Powis, Lord Stafford, Lord Arundel, and Lord Bellasis to put in their perfect Answers; or, in default thereof, that the Commons may have Justice against them."
Thursday, April 24. [Debate on the above Report.]
Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] Those persons tryed in Hen. VIII's time, were not arraigned before a Lord High Steward was appointed. Lord Hussey, Anne Bullen, and Lord Rochford, were arraigned before a Lord Steward. As for that of Lord Powis, it is a direct Answer for the other three. It is an Answer, if the Lords overrule not the Demurrers.
Serjeant Ellis.] The Lord Steward is the person that gives judgment; and he gives judgment where the Indictment is found below, and brought up to the Lords by Certiorari. And in that case the King makes a High Steward. But our case is, as they are a House of Lords. Before Lord Strafford's case, there was not a High Steward appointed. I confess, that sometimes others have been in the Chair. 2 Hen. VI, in Sir John Mortimer's case; it appears clearly on the roll, that that was an Act of Parliament upon a declaration of Treason upon 25 Edw. III. He was accused of suspicion of Treason, and committed to the Tower; and the Indictment was removed to Parliament. How we come to say breaking Prison, when committed for Treason, to be Treason, I will not puzzle any man. At that time a Bishop was Chancellor; and a Bishop could not sit, because it was a case of life, and so the Treasurer of the King's Houshold was put into the Chair. He was appointed by the Lords; but if they will make a High Steward, the Lords are left to their own pleasure.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] Suppose Lord Bellasis should die, shall no proceedings be? It is to the amazement of all the people that you proceed not—Lord Danby is now no longer behind the curtain, and I will suppose no man else is; therefore I propose that you would proceed to bring the Lords to their speedy Answer, that you may proceed upon them all together. But if the case be otherwise, proceed against four of them, if you cannot against the fifth.
Sir Fr. Winnington.] If you inform the Lords so much, they will enter it upon their Book, and so persons may have notice, that there be no delay in the Tryals. But farther, consider what the Managers should say at the Conference—Lord Bellasis's Plea is no Plea, being by Attorney. Lord Petre's is a good Plea, if not guilty, and we may come to the matter with him. The other three Lords plead not guilty to part, and no Plea to the rest; now the Question is, whether you will not send to the Lords, "That, if the Lords Prisoners do not give in their Answer in reasonable time, the Commons will ask Justice against them;" (else it is in the power of a Lord in the Tower to come to Tryal, or not, and he may put in odd Pleas ad infinitum,) "and if they put not in their Pleas in chief (as the Law terms it) that we may have Justice against them." In Law you may try four of them, but it is monstrously inconvenient, for then we must try them all over again.
Mr Garroway.] As to limiting the time to six years, we must submit to what the secret Committee have Evidence for. But I would demonstrate the whole thing: It has been in agitation sixteen years, and I second the Motion of "demanding Justice, &c."
Mr Powle.] To what Ellis says, to beginning the accusation "but from six years, &c." the Plot has been carrying on these ten or twenty years, and always will be. But as to the five Lords, it is not agreeable to your Evidence that they be bound to answer but for six years, for it would be a hard thing to say there is Evidence for it. I would have it left to the liberty of the Managers, and to desire the Lords at a Conference "That a speedy day may be given to the five Lords to answer, &c." for they have time enough.
Serjeant Ellis.] As for the general Plot of bringing in Popery, it has been a great many years, but what concerns these Lords has not exceeded six years. The Indictment must name some place, and a set time, but in course of Parliament we need not name particulars. But to give the Lords satisfaction, I would not name above six years. It may be, some will not be concerned two years.
Sir Henry Capel.] The King has ordered the Lords of the Treasury to give the secret Committee 100l. and it is paid into the hands of their Clerk. I move that you will address the King for 300l. more; for else there will be no sending into the country for Evidence. It will put delay into the business without it, and the Lords will be at a stand.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] No Money is issued out by the Lords of the Treasury but upon record, and for so small a sum as this, I would not have it upon record. But there lies a dormant Privy Seal in the Exchequer, and from that it may be paid, and I would address, &c.
Sir John Trevor.] The secret Committee has expected this, four or five days ago. I know there is a dormant Privy Warrant for secret service, and I desire the Gentlemen of that Committee may address the King about it; but it is not sit to be done by a public Motion. For this to go abroad in the world to be on your Books, is not fit for your credit.
Sir John Hotham.] I hope you will never enter into your Books, that there was ever such a thing done in such an Assembly. I say it not out of vanity; but, as poor a man as I am, I protest, I would give it out of my own Purse rather than this should be by a public Motion. I could not have believed but that the Commissioners of the Treasury would have done it out of their own pockets, rather than have made it public here.
Mr Powle.] Though there be a dormant Privy Seal, &c. neither Treasurers not Commissioners can dispose of it without the King's leave. If none of the Commissioners are here present, some Gentlemen will take care of it. Since I had the honour to be near the King, I cannot but observe, that there was never a Prince more inclinable to give his people satisfaction for the good of the Nation.
Friday, April 25.
Lord Bellasis's Answer was read, and Lord Danby's Plea (fn. 3).
Sir John Knight.] Lord Danby was impeached in the last Parliament, when he sat in his place; but he has done worse since the last Parliament was dissolved. I am unable to give answer to this, especially when it is called "a stamped Pardon by creation." I would refer it to the same Committee. It is of vast importance.
Serjeant Ellis.] I think this matter is of great weight, and worthy of your most serious consideration. The Earl of Danby has put his life upon his Plea, and if it does not stand good, your Articles are in force. He fully relies upon his Plea. I will give no opinion at present upon it, but I move that some select number of Gentlemen may be ordered to prepare, and consider the manner how this Pardon was obtained. You are not yet ready to consider; the more you do, it will be the better, and in a day or two's time you may give an Answer to it.
Sir Francis Winnington.] Since I have had the honour of being a Member of this House, great matters have been discoursed here. This is as great as can be. All the Plea is mentioned under the word "Protestation to all the Articles, &c."—And they have no more operation in Law than if not mentioned. The Earl of Danby has gone so far, as that the Commons are not obliged to any Answer. He has left no room to prove any one Article; for his Pardon is amounting to a confession. Should this Pardon have allowance, without the legal course of obtaining it? —If great men do exorbitances with Pardon, it takes away culpa as well as pæna. There's an end of all Justice against men, if such Pardons are allowed. No man is more tender of blood than I am; but put it in some way, that the matter may have some representation, to see what former ages have done in such cases, and see whether this is not a rare thing; and see what the Commons ought to stand upon. It is too big for a resolution of a Committee; I would have them only state the matter, and then consider what a condition we are in, as to Law, against such great men as these, when all we have is at stake.
Mr Garroway.] I honour the Gentleman in his station —But what becomes of us all, if this Pardon pass? If it had been done barefaced, it had been all one to me. Preparatory to referring it to some Committee of the Long Robe, they may inform you how the case stands in their Books, and you may take deliberation what to determine in the matter. Now I am up, I would move you to have those whom you refer it to, consider, whether you will not let this Pardon be pleaded for all, and then we may consider what that " All" is, that is pardoned. Next I move, that when the Report comes from the Bar about the Money, (let it come when it will,) that you give no Money till you have cleared yourselves of the Earl of Danby, before you proceed upon any Lord whatsoever.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I think it not fit to proceed till the Committee shall state the matter in point of Precedent. But I differ with the Gentleman that said "He cares not in what form the Pardon is done." For if that be not differenced, Chancellors may put Seals to raising Money, or any thing.—Per se solum, aut cum aliquâ aliâ Personâ. They may be females as well as males—I am of opinion, that we ought to have right in this, before we give Money; for the King has been deceived in this Pardon, and so has the Nation. But I would not put the Committee to needless trouble—I believe there are no farther Articles but since March last, and this Pardon does amount to a confession of the whole, &c.
Colonel Titus.] By the trouble this great person has given us, we may plainly see how much easier a favourite undoes a Kingdom, than serves a Kingdom. The man possessed with the Devil, in the Gospel, had his body torn, and foamed, before the Devil could be got out. Of Danby's protestations of not guilty, in his Pardon, I believe not one word. And I believe Danby does not believe one of them, else he would not need a Pardon. If he need it not, with what face can he plead his Pardon? In that he acknowleges his guilt, and if all knew as much as he, he stands in need of a greater. What offence is there not mentioned in this Pardon? And yet, what offence has he not done that he stands not in need of a Pardon? If by villainy he has got honours, if by rapine an estate, and if that Pardon is pleaded to a House of Commons, and made valid, ours will be like the Athenian Laws, to catch flies, while wasps and hornest break out. Will any good man have encouragement to do good, or discouragement for ill men? Has Danby any hopes of another world? He would never then be guilty of such crimes, to stand in need of such a Pardon. I move you "That a Committee of the Long Robe may search Precedents, and give you an account, &c."
Sir Henry Capel.] I differ with the Gentleman but in one particular. He says, "as Danby has given us trouble in his prosecution, so he has at his exit"—If it be as he says, the Articles are out of doors, and the Pardon only remains to be considered—When great men have committed great crimes, and such a body of men as the House of Commons have knowlege of them, we ought to bring such a man to Justice—And since he has got a Pardon, it is worthy of the consideration of the whole House, and not of a Committee barely. And therefore I would debate it in the whole House.
Sir John Trevor.] I doubt it will be a hard matter to put a limitation upon the King's Pardon unless by Act of Parliament, and that Act is yet to be found out. As for the King's Coronation Oath, Lord Latimer and Lyons, in Edw. III's time, were impeached by the Commons, and after their Tryal and condemnation, they were both pardoned. And this was at a time when arbitrary power was as high as ever since. 1 Richard II, this Pardon was complained of by the House of Commons, but the result at last was, they impeached the persons who procured the Pardons, and looked into the manner of procuring them. This I say, that the Committee may view the Precedents next, as to the manner of gaining of Pardons. When gained so much to the disnonour of the King and Kingdom, they were complained of and revoked. And next, though Danby has put his life upon this Pardon, and this Pardon be void; yet it lies upon your honour by Bill to show the King, how his honour is concerned in it, and the Nation's, and to desire him to revoke it.
Mr Sacheverell.] I differ from most Gentlemen, &c. or else I would not trouble you now. My opinion is, that this Pardon is illegally grounded, and that it is void in itself. If it pass, that this is a good Pardon, and that all such crimes as this Lord stands charged with, are pardoned at one blow, farewell all! There is one thing we ought to take high notice of; the Plea lays all the crimes, that he stands charged with, upon the King. I would show him, that this Plea of laying them upon the King, deserves as great an Article against him, as any of the rest, &c. and I would have it added for one.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If you go on without an Act of Parliament, and make this Pardon void, you save yourselves the labour of all proofs, and so you deprive him of all defence—You should not hinder the proceedings of the secret Committee; but if other matters are before you, prepare them into Articles, and go upon them; and then you may spend your time to consider whether it be proper to void this Pardon by Act of Parliament.
Sunday, April 27.
Several artifices were used to divert the business of this day, which was, "To consider how to preserve the King's Person from the attempts and conspiracies of the Papists, &c" by engaging the House into other Debates (fn. 4). Which being apprehended, occasioned several loud cries, "To the business of the day;" which was thus introduced by
Mr Harbord.] Mr Speaker, these several things started being off from your hands, I shall say something to the occasion of your meeting upon this extraordinary day. It is, "for the security of the King's Person, and for the preservation of the Protestant Religion established by Law." Nothing can be so fatal to our Religion, and by consequence our Laws and Liberties, as the danger of the first. Should his Majesty fall by any unhappy stroke, it would not be in our power to defend the Protestant Religion long. The way to do it, is to take away those men that are likely to destroy him, which are the Papists. And though it is not always convenient to take Precedents from ill times, yet, upon this occasion, I hope you will pardon me, if I make use of one. There were Gentlemen in the late times of usurpation, who exposed their lives and fortunes for the King's Restoration, called "Cavaliers." Cromwell found that nothing so much obviated their designs as to banish them from London, and he did it only by an Act of State; an Order of Council formed into a Proclamation; such a one as did execute itself. Many Catholics will now take the Oaths, and, under the notion of inhabitants, creep into Houses. Now since the danger of the King's Person is so great, by reason of their villainous conspiracies, I move, that there may be an Order for bringing in a Bill, to banish all Roman Catholics from this city, &c. for some time, and I hope that, in the interim, we may make such Laws as may put power into such hands as may preserve us. My meaning is, that no Papist shall stay in town but upon very good Protestant security. Unless you take some such course with these sort of men, you can have no safety.
Mr Bennet.] I will speak to the Order of the day. It is my opinion, and ever was, that the King cannot be safe, unless the Papists be nothing. They have as great a zeal to bring in their King at Brussels, or here, (some say he is here (fn. 5),) as the Cavaliers had to bring in this King during the Rebellion. As to the Plot, &c. I believe this design has been carrying on ever since Lord Clifford's Ministry, for destroying the King, and making the Duke to succeed, and the thing was so very near effecting, that, if you had not discovered it, it might before now have been done. Coleman's Letters to the Pope, Cardinals, and French King's Confessor, were all penned and sent by the Duke of York's command. I consider truly how hard a work you have upon your hands. The Duke of York has as much right to succeed his brother, if he die without heirs, (which God forbid!) as my son has to inherit my estate after me. Therefore I desire that by some Law we may have power to arm ourselves against him, if he would bring in Popery amongst us. If the King have a son, then we are out of fear; but if a way cannot be found out that the King may have a son, then we are to go another way to work. I do believe that this Plot had not been carried on without the Duke of York's approbation, and that being so, you are to go another way to work. We know that Hen. VII. was attainted; should the Duke be so, the Lawyers will tell you, "that the possession of the Crown clears away all Attainders." I would have the Lawyers speak to it, and I would not sleep till something was done to secure the King's person, and the Protestant Religion.
Mr Mostyn.] The Duke of York, I believe, is not the only occasion of our apprehensions of Popery, &c. It was his quality, not understanding, (He meant the Plot, it occasioned a loud laughter,) that the Papists took encouragement from. But still the Dutchess of Portsmouth is here; from whom I apprehend as great danger, as from the Duke of York.
Sir John Knight.] What will signify banishing the Papists out of town for four or five months, unless you secure a Protestant Succession? When Idolatry was set up in Israel, then they were led away captive, &c. What we aim at is only for posterity, and but for our souls; and this is a proper day for that consideration, that we may overcome those persons that would subvert our Religion, which the very gates of Hell cannot prevail against. I think it not safe to let the Duke be out of the nation. And in the last Parliament it was a reason given against our addressing the King for removing the Duke for some time from Court. I do not know of what ill confequence it may be for the Duke to be in the hands of those contrivers of the destruction of both King and Kingdom. The Duke has had Letters and correspondences from the Jesuits, and now he is amongst the thickest of them. I would address the King, therefore, to let him see how much it is for his interest to persuade the Duke to be a Protestant, and to order the Duke to return into England.
Sir Hugh Cholmondeley.] I have a heart full of sorrow for the occasion of our meeting to-day, and of this day's Debate. It is a sad supposition, that the presumptive Heir of the Crown should change our Religion. The short Question is, whether there is any safety for the Crown, whilst the Papists wish the King dead. We can never be safe, till it be the Papists interest to have the King amongst the living, that their condition may be never the better for having a King of their own Religion. Therefore till you make it the interest of the Catholics to wish the life of the King, you do nothing. In general, I must say this, that we must do something as in the case of an infant or lunatic—Such an extraordinary case must have an extraordinary way.
Mr Pilkington.] The Israelites halted betwixt two opinions, God and Baal; they put away Baal and returned to the worship of God, and were happy. I would have a Committee to consider what has been proposed.
Sir Thomas Player.] I cannot but take notice of one Motion. I would be resolved from the Gentleman that moved it, whether it be a Protestant Motion or no—(It was from Cholmondeley, but that part of his speech the Compiler did not well hear.) He offered it as a way to render the King's Person more secure, that the Papists be put into a condition of more ease, by being freed from severe Laws, thereby not to be provoked to attempt any thing against the King.
Sir Hugh Cholmondeley.] What I proposed, was but by way of supposition. I believe it is impossible to plant Popery to any purpose in England, unless they persuade the King to be a Papist, and all the Protestants in England to be Papists too; else it will never be their interest to make attempts upon the King's Person.
Sir Thomas Player goes on.] We have to do with people of principles to destroy the King and our Religion, and that is the greatest part of their Religion, and which they hope to merit most by; and whilst they retain those principles, we have no moral security from them, unless we serve them as they would us, that is, root them out —We are come to that pass now, that Protestants and Papists cannot live together in England; and whilst the Papists have a prospect of a Popish Successor, they will never be quiet, but be always making attempts upon the King's Person. Consider whither you were going. It is but a few years and a few months, since Offices of the highest trust were in the Duke of York's disposal; they paid more reverence to the Successor than to the King himself; and here lay the weight of our misfortunes. The King, a Protestant, upon whom we must depend, neglected, unapplied to; the Duke, a Papist, adored; and why? Because he concerned himself to model England according to his own turn. From whence came modeling the Militia, the Justices of Peace, all the fortifications of England? Were they not of his modeling? And then came out the Plot to destroy the Protestants, as if they had all but one neck to be cut off at once. I do acknowlege myself to be one of those weak men that can see danger, but know not how to offer you remedy; so great mischiefs do we lie under! But at present I will presume to adventure to offer something to your consideration. Some time ago, I saw considerable Papers and transactions betwixt the Duke and the Pope. I did scarce believe it till I saw it. Some from his Highness to his Holiness gave him occasion of so great joy, (and surely they must be considerable Letters that made his Holiness so merry) and yet they made the old man weep; and that bespeaks excess of joy. Some time before there was notice given of such Letters coming, but they gave great trouble at Rome that they came not; but when they were received, his Holiness returned the Duke a most kind and obliging Answer, and her Highness the Dutchess was presented from the Pope with a holy token of consecrated Beads, and other fine things, which I do not understand, and I hope never shall. When the Duke's daughter was married to the Prince of Orange, the Duke vindicated himself from being guilty of it, and the Pope was satisfied with it. What has been transacted lately by Lord Danby, in having Money given from France that England might be governed without Parliament, and so enslaved for ever? And this was done, during the Duke's prevalency upon the Ministers. Now I move that you will be pleased to chuse a Committee to examine all the Papers that can be had, relating to the Duke, &c. and to extract all things done by the Duke, in setting up Popery and arbitrary Government, and whatever he was concerned in that matter, and report it to the House.
Sir Robert Markham.] I cannot believe but that the Philistines will be upon us, as long as the daughters of the Philistines are amongst us. I humbly move, that the Act of Association of 27 Q. Elizabeth may be read.
Sir William Franklyn.] Our Laws, Liberties, and all that should protect us are at stake now, and are fit to be taken care of; and yet there is something more necessary, and that is the life of the King (which God long preserve!) There is danger from the Papists; they get ground upon us to our destruction. It must be fear that must keep them quiet; and let them see, that when that fatal blow is struck, the Kingdom will rise as one man to prevent the effects of that blow. Let the Act of Association of 27 Elizabeth be read, and from thence take some measures for the preservation of the King's Person.
Sir Richard Cust.] When Hen. VII. came to the Crown, it took away all disability upon him by Attainder. But his greatest strength to the Crown was not by his match with the Lady Elizabeth, but by declaration of his title by Parliament. What if, for your present security, you made an Address to the King, with an humble proposal, that all Offices may be put into such hands (for the people's satisfaction) as shall be recommended to his Majesty in Parliament, and that those Offices should not become void, nor be filled up, upon the death of the King, but by Parliament. I see nothing can render such a proposal undutiful in presenting it, the present state of things considered; and by this means you will be sure of a Parliament upon demise of the King. This I offer as my humble opinion.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I have heard various opinions to-day, for remedy of the dangers we apprehend. We are in great danger, and the remedy is very difficult. The Statutes of Q. Eliz. and Hen. VII. are of great moment. That of Q. Eliz. is not taken for an universal pattern, but adapted to a present emergency only. I desire not a Court to be set up, as in the Statute of Association. I would have no new Court to meddle with men, or the Heirs of the Crown. Let us have our own Laws, else we shall fall into Aristocracy. I never saw a lawful Successor of the Crown disappointed, but, first or last, he came back to the Crown again. To say, because a thing has been so, it may be so; and because a thing has not been so, it may not be so, is as bad. For by that Statute that gave Hen. VIII. power to dispose of the succession of the Crown by his last Will and Testament, he might have given the Crown to his footman, if he pleased, and made him King, and by Law too. But surely there were never greater betrayers of their trust, than that Parliament was, to give the Crown to an arbitrary Prince, to dispose of how he would. If we are tender of the Succession, pray let us be more tender of the King, and not take that power from him, so essential to the Government. Shall we in Parliament bring the King to judgment (as is moved?) That all Officers of the Militia, or the Courts, &c. shall not be named but by us, I have as little hope of succeeding in that, as I have reason to be of the opinion of it, that we should think to carry the King with us, and take from him that Government that must support us and him. As to the Papists, they have deserved as ill, and intended as ill, as possible, and it is but justice to extirpate them; but those measures must be prudential, not to proclaim our intentions before we are able to maintain them. Lord Willoughby, when he was at Barbadoes, sent order to the French, who had part of Nevis island, to quit the island by such a day. The English and they had lived neighbourly together long; they wondered at it; but, when he came to take possession of the island, he found that the French had cut the Governor's throat, and made themselves masters of the island. Provide yourselves first to maintain any great resolution you shall take against the Papists. Now, at such a time that you make a declaration of so high a nature as you are about, set some day apart to consider how to put the nation in a posture of defence; else you put the Papists upon revenge, and yourselves in no posture to execute any thing.
Colonel Birch.] That Honourable Person that spoke last to Sir R. Cust's Motion, "for Offices, &c. to be put into such hands as the Parliament should confide in," has said it to be the worst Motion that has been made to remedy our fears, &c. But I am one of those that thought it the best Motion, and I know not why he should be against it, but because it is a good Motion. If you do it not, instead of this being the best day that ever I saw, I fear it will be the worst that ever I saw. We have had many tales of the French War from the Gentleman at the Bar (I fear it will never be better.) We gave Money the last year for the French War, and we were told of the truth and sincerity of that War; and the same Person tells us, "we are to go calmly in the business of a Popish Successor."—The Counsel is the same still, and I never expect better success as long as we have such Counsel. Must we prostitute Religion? —Notwithstanding his tale of Lord Willoughby, and an island, I will go as far as I can for the safety of the Kingdom as any man—And were it for my life, I would take the advice given by Cust—But I must return again to the Honourable Secretary. The Declaration of the Succession by Parliament is no new thing. I am sure it proved well in Queen Elizabeth's time. I know not the occasion of affairs in Henry VIII's time; but the Queen's time is parallel to ours, as to the fears of a Popish Successor. Interest will not lie. But I will make an addition to Cust's Motion. Are we come here to give Money, for some few new men being put into the Privy Council; and shall we do such things as we have done before? I hope the King will not leave one of the Council that was at the giving such advice as we have had. I would not give a penny for such advice. I am the weakest in this great Assembly, but on this point I cannot stay myself. I would support the Government to the highest; but this plaistering and patching spoils all. It must not be the addition of four or five persons to the Council that will do it; it must be thoroughly done. When there are no reserves, and when the King fears no body, when that is done, we shall answer the rest. If the King fell by the hands of violence, the saying that never a Papist should survive him long, so resolutely here by some Gentlemen, has, I think, saved the King hitherto. Till you admit no claim to the Crown, till there be an examination of the King's death in Parliament, you may be safe. As for the Duke of York, I can scarce speak of him without tears. I hope he will come over to us; but I shall never desire to see that day he should be King without it. We know what the Law of England says, if any man go over to the Church of Rome—Coleman said, (when you appointted a Committee to go to him) "I have done nothing but by my Master, the Duke's Order." I have a kindness for the Duke, but I have bowels of compassion for the Kingdom too. I move therefore, "That a Bill may be brought in, that at the fall of the King by any violent stroke (which God forbid!) no person come to the Crown of England till that be examined."
Mr Secretary Coventry.] It is our Privilege, that, if a Member be reflected upon, he may answer. I am sorry that the Gentleman (Birch) is a man of so good understanding, and yet does not understand me right. I appeal to you, Mr Speaker, whether I said one word of fear, but to strengthen yourselves to execute your Laws. I have said my Prayers to-day (I thank God) and last Sunday I received the Communion, and let that be my poison, if I did not believe we should have had a War with France last year. Lord Danby's Letters to Mr Montagu will show you enough to vindicate me. I wish that Gentlemen would weigh what they say, before they give such reproaches. I have taken the Oaths required, at the Table, and if any man pretend to be the lawful Successor to the Crown, and is not, I will not own him for my Prince, be he who he will. We have heard of the Jesuits swallowing the Oaths—We take those Oaths—And I have heard of St Paul's anathema, and I will not be forsworn for the King or any man. If you will object against any man, you may, and inform if you please—But for the Parliament to nominate the King a Successor, I say it is against Law and the Government. And if I am to blame, I will expose myself, but I would not be reflected on.
Colonel Birch.] This I said, "That Honourable Gentleman was an instrument to persuade and deceive us into a French War, and there was not one word of it true." When the Parliament did desire the King to enter into a league with the Confederates, the return was, "That it was an extravagant Motion." And who was the pleader for it, but this Honourable Person?
Mr Secretary Coventry.] As for the business of the ships, that was my brother Secretary's part (Williamson.) But Birch said, "I told you no truth, &c." I aver, that if any man told you, that what I did say was a truth, that I did not believe to be a truth, if an Angel from Heaven said it, he would not go back again thither. I would have Birch let me recriminate what he did in the Parliament of 1641, as well as he recriminates on me now.
Mr Sacheverell.] Now a Bill has been moved, pray make it effectual. It was moved "to banish the Papists twenty miles from London, and every one of them not to stir five miles from home, &c." whether you will order it, though they have houses in town, &c.
Sir Francis Russel.] I move for an explanatory Vote, "That the Duke of York is the occasion of all these jealousies of the Papists;" and so have the Lords concurrence to it, and then you will have some ground to go upon.
Mr Boscawen.] As to what is said by Secretary Coventry, of "being sworn to the King's lawful Successors," what is so by Act of Parliament is lawful, and it is Præmunire to say to the contrary, by the Statute of Queen Elizabeth. There will be no means imaginable of preventing Popery, if that Doctrine pass, that Laws, &c. signify nothing to bind a Successor—Then give up the case without any more ado. It is not in your power alone to propose a Successor, without the Lords, &c. That encouragement which the Papists have had, has been from the Duke of York: No man can say the contrary. The Plot for introducing Popery, and all the consequences, &c. had its rise from that unfortunate Prince's declaring himself of another Religion.
Lord Russel.] I think we are but trifling hitherto. What the Gentleman said that spoke last, comes home to the point. It is high time to take consideration of this. If we do not something relating to the Succession, we must resolve, when we have a Prince of the Popish Religion, to be Papists, or burn. And I will do neither. We see now, by what is done under a Protestant Prince, what will be done under a Popish. This is the deciding day betwixt both Religions. I am transported, I confess, both with spiritual and temporal concerns. I have AbbeyLands, but I protest before God and man, I could not be more against Popery than I am, had I none. I despise such a ridiculous and nonsensical Religion—A piece of wafer, broken betwixt a Priest's fingers, to be our Saviour! And what becomes of it when eaten, and taken down, you know. The King, I believe, will do his part in this matter, if we do ours. In the last Parliament, I moved something of this nature, which was not a House to do great things; but I hope this House will neither be bribed, corrupted, nor cajoled, nor feasted, into the giving up the grand concerns of our Religion and property. Therefore I desire, "That a Committee may be appointed to draw up a Bill to secure our Religion and Properties in case of a Popish Successor."
Sir John Trevor.] It has been moved by this Noble Lord, "That a Committee may be appointed, &c." As to limiting the Succession, it is no new thing. In Hen. IV's, Hen. VI's, and Hen, VII's time, it was done, and Laws are now in force made by some of them, though Usurpers. And from those I collect, why should it not be Law under a lawful Prince? The intail of the Crown was in Hen. VIII's time, after his divorce, first from Queen Catharine, &c. and there was a necessity for him to make that Law, for had he not made it, and disposed of the Crown to his issue by Anne Bullen, and had not Hen. VIII. had that power, you would never have had the Protestant Religion in England; the Crown would have descended upon Queen Mary; for Queen Elizabeth was disabled from succeeding to the Crown by particular Act of Parliament, as Daughter to Anne Bullen. I conclude that it is in Parliament to regulate the Succession of the Crown of England at any time, without limitation, especially when the Law of God and Religion are concerned, and no Civilian can say a word against it. As to the nomination of the Officers of the Militia and Navy, &c. moved by Cust, it has been denied by the King to be done in Parliament; but this has been done; the Parliament Lords and Commons have desired the King to name them in Parliament, to know whether they may be trusted or no. The King's eyes are closed; he knows nothing of the danger we are in, and the Commons have had always the liberty to tell the King, that persons near him, that are entrusted by him, are false to him, and Traytors; and how should the King know it else? I therefore move, "That the Officers of the Navy and Militia, &c. may be by the King told in Parliament, that they may advise and inform him, whether they be faithful and fit to be trusted, or not."
Sir Henry Capel.] You have been told, "That the consideration of this day is of the greatest moment that ever was to this Nation." This Session of Parliament must quiet the minds of the people, as to their fears of Popery and the Succession, &c. or never. In Queen Elizabeth's time there were conspiracies against her, when Mary Queen of Scots was taken off. In King James's time, the Gunpowder-Treason. In the last King's time, a horrid Rebellion, that ended in his murder; but here the Crown is under such a character as is more dangerous than all those; and from Popery came the nation of a standing Army and arbitrary power. At Oxford, when the Scholars cannot convince one another by argument, they throw loaves at one anothers heads—Formerly the Crown of Spain, and now France, supports this root of Popery amongst us; but lay Popery flat, and there's an end of arbitrary Government and Power. It is a meer chimæra, or notion, without Popery;—and you have a good authority to put the Question moved, &c. Here was a Proviso, the last Parliament, to exempt the Duke of York from the Tests to be taken in the Lords House, &c. I was against it, for I would not publish to the World that the Duke was a Papist. It is a Law now, and I can say nothing against it; but I wish it be ever the better for him, or us. But now I would pass this Vote, "That the Papists have had all their encouragement from the Duke's being a Papist."
Mr Sacheverell.] I am for part of the Question; but not for the whole. I am not of opinion "That the Duke of York has been the sole cause of the insolence of the Papists." There have been other causes.
Mr Swynfin.] The Duke of York's being a Papist has given encouragement to the whole Popish party, for their attempts against the life of the King, and the Protestant Religion. I move to have the Question so altered.
Colonel Titus.] If you say "That the Duke has given encouragement, &c." who knows not that? Never put that into a Vote—If the major part of the House does know that he is the sole cause, &c. I hope they will vote it. We know that the Duke has been the cause, but not the greatest encouragement to Popery, &c.
Mr Swynfin.] The Council of the King has failed him in the discovery of this horrible Plot. The body of the Bishops have failed him too. There are, by the informations, three hundred and sixty Jesuits in England. They have their several Provinces and Dioceses; within the Dioceses of the Bishops, they hold Synods; and all this has gone under the Bishops noses; and I wonder that, in their Visitations, not one of them should be found out, nor at the Assizes, nor Sessions. Thus has this Plot grown up. It now lies upon you; if you give it up, all is gone here, and throughout all the World too. Both Coleman's Letters are gone all the World over, for the extirpation of heresy, &c. and no sort of Religion can condemn you for taking care of your own Religion. You will else be scorned. If you rise to day, and do nothing, you will deceive both the Papists and Protestants; and I would do neither. There is no going about to prove this encouragement of the Duke's, &c. All the World knows it; but I must say, though there have been many Motions made, I concur in this Question, "That the Duke, being a Papist, has given encouragement to Popery, and the Plot."
Mr Hampden.] I shall humbly propose, that this may be the Question, viz. "That the Duke of York being a Papist, and the hopes of his coming such to the Crown, have given the greatest countenance and encouragement to the present conspiracies and designs of the Papists against the King, and the Protestant Religion."
Which Question passed Nemine contradicente; and the Lords concurrence was desired to it (fn. 6).
Mr Colt.] If the Duke be found to have had a hand in the Conspiracy, I know no reason, but that the Duke may be impeached, though absent; and then there is a good ground for a Bill to provide for a Protestant Successor.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I have lately taken the Oath of Allegiance to the King and his Successors, which implied the Duke of York; but I would have that Statute read, to show our Country, that we are not so nicely bound up by this Oath, as it seems to me we are.
The Statute of 30 Queen Elizabeth was read. The substance of which was as follows: "If any person hold, affirm, or maintain, "That the Queen, by authority of Parliament, is not able to limit and bound the Succession of the Crown, and that what Law, or Laws, shall be made by the authority of Parliament, is not, are not, and shall not be of sufficient force, &c. in possession, or remainder," shall be judged a Traytor, and every person so holding shall forfeit, &c."
Sir Thomas Player.] I am now convinced, that I am not so near damnation as Mr Secretary Coventry has told you, and that we are found Protestants in what we do. But you will find it absolutely necessary to alter the Oath in the Militia Act, about taking up arms against such as are commissioned by the King, &c. Under this King we are not under any temptation to break that Oath. I believe nobody will plunder me, or cut my throat. A Popish Successor may send Popish Guards, and we shall not have the honour of ancient Martyrdom in flames, but die like dogs, and have our throats cut; and I must not take up arms to defend myself against such rogues. Considering how near we are to that danger, let us do something speedily, that we poor Protestants may be secured from Popish Successors.
Mr Trenchard.] The matter of a Bill, upon the whole Debate, is more easily justified, than the manner contrived. I move, "That you will appoint a day for the Letters relating in this point to the Duke of York to be brought to you."
Sir John Trevor.] The Letters are from the Cardinal of Norfolk and Father Anderton, from Rome, which relate to the Duke of York. The Committee of Secrecy has no use to make of those Letters, for Evidence against the Lords in the Tower, but to show how the Plot has been carried on at Rome. There is another Packet of Letters of the Earl of Berkshire's on the same subject, which were never yet read in the House.
Monday, April 28.
Sir Francis Winnington reports the manner of the Earl of Danby's obtaining, and the passing of his Pardon, as before; and farther, that the time allowed the Committee was so short, that they cannot discover the Advisers, or Procurers, of the Pardon, but they have some light of it.
Serjeant Ellis.] The Question is, Whether this Plea of Lord Danby's Pardon be a good Plea, and the manner of obtaining it? The regular way of pardons is by the Attorney General, and the Sollicitor General, &c. They are men of the Law, and might stop it in their Office, and the rest of the Offices, &c. It is the duty of the Lord Chancellor's place, if he thought this not a good Pardon, to have informed the King of it. But to pass by all this, the Question before you is, Whether this be a good Pardon to hinder your Impeachment. I consefs, I am of opinion, that the Pardon itself is not legal; it is a void Pardon, and if you demur upon it, I hope the Lords will give Judgment. If this Plea be over-ruled by the Lords, you can never have justice against him, &c. This is as cunningly as ever was done—captare vulgus—His Counsel knows we can take no issue upon this; he has not done dutifully to the King; for the Commons cannot vindicate the King's honour; for no issue can be joined upon this Plea. I therefore would join in the Demurrer, and expect the issue of this Pardon, and it is most proper to go to the Lords to join in Demurrer, that this is no legal Pardon.
Sir John Trevor.] The Question is now this single point, Whether this Pardon of the Earl of Danby be a good and legal Pardon, or no? I will not contest the point with Serjeant Ellis, whether this be a good Pardon, or not. I protest before God, I am no advocate for Lord Danby; but by the fair interpretation of the House, I will open that part of the Pardon to you. I humbly conceive, that in those two Precedents I vouched to the House the other day (fn. 7), I dealt fairly. One Precedent was 50 E. III. in Lord Latimer's case. The other, of Richard Lyons, Merchant, was in the 1st R. II. The Precedent I cited of Lord Latimer was contrary to the opinion of the Committee. Latimer was impeached of High Treason, and one or two more; the rest were of Misdemeanor. First, he gathered the King's Impositions in Britany, and gave him no account of them. Then he delivered up the fort of St. Saviour. The last offence was, that he encroached upon Regal Power, and let go several felons, and other prisoners, without the King's Order. Latimer pretends, "He does acknowlege 2000 marks due to the King, and submits to the King's grace and favour, and that he cannot pay the 2000 marks without selling his lands." To all the rest he gives answer—And whereas Latimer confessed the matter, and produced no Pardon from the King, he was condemned, but no quietus to Latimer. The Parliament ended, then the King gives him his Pardon, not only for the 2000 marks— He confesses all, offering the King 20,000l. and the King pardons all the Impeachment. The thing is, the Impeachment was impending, and here is a Pardon granted, but if the rest of the Impeachment fell by the dissolution of the Parliament, then all that I have said signifies nothing.
Serjeant Ellis.] In the Pardons of Lyons and Latimer, it is plain that the King recites the Judgment given by Parliament in their Pardon, and the King pardons what belonged to him, which the King is so interested in, that he may dispose of it how he pleases, and the King gave Latimer his lands, as if no Impeachment had ever been (though there was something that might import Treason in the Impeachment, though not by the Stat. of 25 Edw. III.) So the Lords put a fine upon him of 20,000 marks; and after that the King pardoned all that belonged to him, which the King may dispose of to whom he will; to the party, if he pleases. I will not say there are no Precedents of Pardon, &c. but the King never pardoned, till some Judgment or Resolution was given of the offence in Parliament. But to pardon before Tryal, when the King knows not what fact he is to pardon, is a dangerous Precedent. A man may destroy the Nation, if so, and do what he will. This is a thing of a strange nature. The King cannot pardon a man, an Impeachment depending.
Sir Francis Winnington.] This does not only concern a particular man, but the Government of England. What you debate is not conclusive either to the Commons or Lord Danby, but only methods to discharge our duty to the King, and those that sent us hither. As to Precedents of the manner and means of obtaining this Pardon, no man can pretend any Precedent. Danby thought the illegality of the Pardon so great, that the Officers, through whose hands it must go, would not pass it, and therefore took this course. But we must cut off the particles of the manner of obtaining it. I am of opinion to demur to this Plea of his Pardon, for it was never practised, and Trevor's two Precedents are not to this case. A Pardon granted "for all Offences to the 27th of February," which is three months after the Impeachment was exhibited, and the crimes, &c. perpetrated. State this fact only, and see what a condition we are in, if this be a good Pardon. As to the case of Latimer and Lyons, Trevor agrees that the facts they were impeached of were confessed by the Parties; and Latimer "submits himself to the Grace and Favour of the King, but by special prayer, not to put him to his fine, for he must sell his lands." What is the meaning of Impeachment in Parliament? Because great men commit great exhorbitances; and when the fact is proved by the Commons, or the Party confesses, &c. that is all the Commons can do, and the Lords give Judgment thereupon, and if the Party be reduced to Judgment, a right of his Forfeiture accrues to the King, and all is vested in the King, and the King may pardon his part. I conceive, without all scruple, that the Commons right is to have Justice by Tryal. As for the Fine of 2000 marks, in Lord Latimer's Judgment, that came to the King's Coffers, and the King might pardon it. In the case of an Appeal of Murder, the King loses a subject, and enquiry is made how he came by his death, &c. The Wife and Heirs of the Party, &c. have their vengeance, and the King cannot pardon, &c. He cannot hinder execution of the Party; and no man can deny it. When an Impeachment is by the Commons against a great man, they are aggrieved, and they must have Justice. An Impeachment is to no purpose when a Pardon shall stop our mouths—And there is no end to the oppressions of all great men, who are too big for inferior Courts to deal with. The Committee does distinguish Pardons, where Impeachments are depending, and where not. We have proved our case, and a Pardon is clapped upon you. I would argue it at the Lords Bar, and I hope the Lords will not give Judgment in this case, &c. to be a good Pardon. I only mention this, to show that is not a point to give up. No great man was ever so stout yet, as to get a Pardon when his Impeachment was depending. The late Duke of Buckingham, though he had a Pardon, durst never bring it to light during his Impeachment, Certainly this experiment might have been found out, had it been legal, in five hundred years. We are not to give up this point. Now the Country has entrusted us, let us do the best we can for them.
Sir John Trevor.] I say, a person impeached may deny one crime, and confess another. Lord Latimer was impeached, and one of the crimes he was charged with he did acknowlege, before they proceeded to the rest. There is no relative expression in Lord Latimer's Pardon— Quoad nos pertinet—The King cannot restore what he has already given away—The 2000 marks were laid on Latimer as a Fine; the 20,000 marks was his submission to the King. That Impeachment was subsisting after the Parliament, and this of Lord Danby is a Pardon, &c. pending the Impeachment.
Mr Powle.] I confess I am unprepared to speak to this matter. I find the case of Lord Latimer urged, which was an Impeachment of 50 Edw. III. and sentenced then, &c. But that in the case is not yet taken notice of, that in 51 Edw. III. the Parliament reversed all those Judgments, and a particular Petition of the Commons complains, "that Lord Latimer was unduly impeached, and desires he may be restored in integro." Historians tell us of some extraordinary power in calling that Parliament, by the Duke of Lancaster, the King's Son. Sir John Peachy and Lyons particularly petitioned that they might be restored. Others, in 11 Rich. II.—A great number of Persons were appealed by particular Lords, and some by the Commons. The Judges were all impeached for giving Judgment against a Judgment of Parliament, and were banished to Ireland. Sir Robert Belknap and several others were not restored but by Act of Parliament—11 Rich. II. Squire attainted, restored 16 Rich. II. Another thing 19 Hen. IV. little different. In the Revolutions of York and Lancaster there were few Impeachments, but by Bills of Attainder—Little difference, being the assent of the whole Body. There was a power lodged in the King that he might pardon, &c. notwithstanding there was no Parliament, &c. A great instance that the King could not do it without Parliament. Lord Bacon was fined for Misdemeanor; the King pardoned the Fine, but for the Judgment of his disability for Officers, he never pardoned. The Duke of Buckingham concludes his Answer, "That what he did was before the 21st of King James, and claims that general Pardon, and the Coronation Pardon of King Charles, and he had taken a Pardon, according to that Grace of the King, to the 21st of February last Parliament." The Duke thought it the better way to dissolve that Parliament, than to plead his Pardon. I think it not convenient to take Lord Danby upon the first advantage of this first proposal, but peremptorily, if he insist upon his Pardon, judgment must go against him. For my share, I would unwillingly insist upon it at the Lords Bar.
Serjeant Maynard.] People abroad know not what is Plea, and what is not Plea; but it lies all upon the King. The Plea is not yet entered, &c. and Lord Danby may withdraw it. As things now stand, I would advise to apply yourselves to the Lords, to know whether Danby will stand to this Plea. If criminal, and that Plea be found against him, he is gone; but in Parliament he should not be taken with a Why not. I desire you would go only on the crime, and not on point of Law.
Lord Cavendish.] The sense of the House is to demur to the Pardon. If Danby insist, &c. then to try the validity of it. The Lord Chancellor said, "he intended to make use of it, if false witnesses should arise against him." He cannot know false witnesses before he comes to Tryal. I would desire the Lords to demand of Danby, whether he will insist upon his Pardon, or his Plea.
Tuesday, April 29.
[Mr Speaker acquaints the House, That his Majesty was pleased yesterday to return the Answer following to the Address for executing Pickering, and other Popish Priests (fn. 8), &c.
"I have always been tender in matters of blood, which my subjects have no reason to take exception at. But this is a matter of great weight. I shall therefore consider of it, and return you an Answer."]
Wednesday, April 30.
And to show you, that, whilst you are doing your parts, my thoughts have not been misemployed, but that it is my constant care to do every thing that may preserve your Religion, and secure it for the future in all events, I have commanded my Lord Chancellor to mention several particulars, which I hope will be an evidence, that in all things that concern the public security, I shall not follow your zeal, but lead it."
These memorable particulars were thus expressed by the Lord Chancellor. "And to the end it may never be in the power of any Papist, if the Crown descend upon him, to make any change either in Church or State, I am commanded to tell you, that his Majesty is willing that provision may be made, first to distinguish a Papist from a Protestant Successor, then to limit and circumscribe the authority of a Popisn Successor, in these cases following, that he may be disabled to do any harm. First, in reference to the Church, his Majesty is content, that care be taken, that all Ecclesiastical Benefices and Promotions in the gift of the Crown may be conferred in such a manner, that we may be sure the Incumbents shall be always of the most pious and learned Protestants, and that no Popish Successor, while he continues so, may have any power to controul such Presentments. In reference to the State, and Civil Part of the Government, as it is already provided that no Papist can sit in either House of Parliament, so the King is pleased that it be provided too, that there may never want a Parliament, when the King shall happen to die, but that the Parliament then in being may continue indissolvable for a competent time; or if there be no Parliament in being, then the last Parliament which was in being before that time, may reassemble, and sit a competent time, without any new Summons or Elections. And as no Papist can by Law hold any Place of Trust, so the King is content that it may be farther provided, that no Lords or others of the Privy Council, no Judges of the Common Law, or in Chancery, shall at any time, during the Reign of a Popish Successor, be put in, or displaced, but by the Authority of Parliament: And that care be taken, that none but sincere Protestants may be Justices of the Peace. In reference to the Military Part, the King is willing that no LordLieutenant, or Deputy Lieutenant, and no Officer in the Navy, during the Reign of any Popish Successor, be put out, or removed, but either by the Authority of Parliament, or of such Persons as the Parliament shall entrust with such Authority.
"It is hard to invent another restraint to be put upon a Popish Successor, considering how much the Revenue of the Succession will depend upon the consent of Parliament, and how impossible it is to raise Money without such Consent: But yet if any thing else can occur to the wisdom of the Parliament, which may farther secure Religion and Liberty against a Popish Successor, without defeating the Right of Succession itself, his Majesty will most readily consent to it (fn. 9)."]
Mr Bennet.] I am glad to see how far the King will come to us. First, I would give the King Thanks, &c. and then secure the Protestant Religion in this King's time, and for the time to come, and do no other business whatsoever.
Mr Sacheverell.] If you take the Chancellor's Speech to be the King's, I will take the liberty to speak to it. But, under favour, the Speech will not do your work, and we cannot, in my opinion, give Thanks for it, as the main step in it overthrows all the rest, barely upon the case of a Popish Successor, so that you have no security for Religion, till you find out a Popish King, and then I say that what is offered will not do your work. I am far from altering the Succession. Let the King and Council be as Popish as they will (and I believe some of the Council are so) yet I would take security that they shall do no hurt. This Speech is merely to delude the people with security, when there is none. When a Popish King comes to reign, all those proposals shall be done—But you have no Law; and you do nothing, unless that Popish King will assent to your Laws—This is a fair nothing. We are not to invade the King's right, as we desire to enjoy our own, and then we are not to touch the King's family in the Succession more than we would touch one another. Now for Succession; if a Popish King comes in, or one that will overthrow the Protestant Religion, you cannot do any thing in that without providing that no standing Army shall be, to raise Money, &c. As to the Revenue, which ends with the King, &c. I have seen the computation of Mr Coleman, "how the King might live without a Parliament;" another Paper, in the introduction, "how the King must be arbitrary, and have a standing Army in masquerade in the Fleet." When the two Lords of Buckingham and Arlington were accused here about the Dutch War, when they had made it, they put off the Parliament, and prorogued it. Arlington's Answer was plain; "By the credit you had given the Exchequer, they could go on with the Dutch War without you." Then he was asked, why were we called in February after? He answered, "There was no more Money left, and so they were forced to call the Parliament." Now look back, and see whether you are in any security, as the state of the Nation stands. I would comply with the King, but without ruining the people. Unless we can wind the King to a good will and liking of what we shall do, all will be to no purpose; therefore I would show the King that we have no design to ruin him, or his family, but to save the Nation. Consider whether, as the Law stands, made by the last Parliament (of the Militia Oath) if the King will not relieve us, whether it is possible to be saved. The Papists practice has been, either through insinuation of some particular Person, or corruptions, the last Parliament, of Members, (and I hope in time we shall know them) and which you may hear of ere long. The Protestants are a great party; they will never lose their Religion. Now consider, how stand you? Which way has the last Parliament put it? To say the King is a Papist, that is penal; and then there is a perpetual Clause in the Act of Uniformity and the Militia Oath, of taking up Arms against persons commissioned by the King—Will not you take this time to tell the King, that you mean well to the Royal Family, but would secure your Religion and Property? Therefore I move for a day, &c. to consider what will secure you; and that a standing Army will not do; for who can believe there is good will, &c. when there is an Army to support the Government? It is talked, that the subjects here are factious; of the Scotch Faction. All that brand the people with rebellious and mutinous inclinations, those advise the King to take up his Prerogative. He that puts these things into the King's mind, is against his interest—The People cannot hurt the Crown. Where is that thing that must save the Nation? The foundation of the Government is the People's hearts, and upon the same foundation the King came in at his Return; retrieve it to that day, and the Papists can never do you any hurt.
Sir Thomas Meres.] In the King's Speech, &c. there is a provoking us to secure ourselves. "If any thing whatsoever be for your good, or for your quiet, so as you do not impede the Succession, &c." If this be not sit for us to give Thanks for, in a Body of Lords and Commons, nothing can be. Thanks being moved, it is ungrateful for us not to do it.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] I rise up to speak to some words I have noted down. Sacheverell made an elaborate discourse fully to many weighty things. The Question was, "Whether Thanks should be returned to his Majesty for his gracious Speech?" which I thought would have passed without any opposition, and not with words of reflection. The words are these, "This is but to delude the eyes of those who are apt to be misled."
Serjeant Maynard.] What was said by Sacheverell was with good zeal to King and Country. The effect of what the King said, was, "Do what you can, what you will, to secure Religion in the Succession, &c. only one thing reserved, viz. "Not to alter the Succession in the right Line." No man can say, he is able to propound what is fit to be done; but I believe it is one of the most gracious condescensions that ever was; and I would thank God for it, and show your gratitude to the King, and enter it into your Books.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Sacheverell said nothing but what was reasonable and proper for us to do at this time. Gentlemen will find great mistakes in the Chancellor's Speech. First, it must be stated, that he is a Popish Prince. We have a Prince at present, and who can say he is a Papist? No man can legally and properly say it. If a Test be given him, who shall execute the discrimination upon the King? And if that be a necessary condition, the whole thing is ineffectual. If a Prince will say, "I am no longer a Papist," and will go to Church, and have a Dispensation from the Pope to do it, there is an end of it; if so, the latter Clause of the Chancellor's Speech will not help you at all—But this of Succession, &c. in the Speech, must stand, and you can do nothing farther that can help you. In the last Parliament, there was a Motion, "When any Speech of the King's is reported, &c. that we come to no Vote, unless to adjourn the consideration of it to another day;" and not the same day debated, for there may be inconveniences in it. If there be an Answer to your demand, then it may be, &c. but if there be new matter in it unforeseen, and we give Thanks for it, we may thank the King for we know not what. Therefore I move to put off the consideration of it to another day.
Mr Garroway.] I have been here at many of these Debates, and I am sorry you should have a Question whether to give the King Thanks. As to what is said by the Chancellor, the King has not so ordered him, as that he cannot alter any thing, &c. for I have heard the Chancellor say one thing in the Lords House, and he has printed another. I am willing the King should know how we recieve any gracious Expression of his. We saw, upon pressures, when we were harder borne than now, that it was always thought convenient to set a day, &c. and wave sudden Thanks, upon a general Motion. The Chancellor's Speech, for ought I know, is a thing of his own. That negation of altering the Succession is a kind of chiding us for Sunday's work. If we do not something, we are not upon an equal footing with the Papists. I look upon those things as diversions for putting us off from serious thoughts, as we have been served before. I would set a day, &c.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Arguments are not well founded against the Chancellor's Speech, or Thanks to his Majesty for his gracious Speech. It is not like a Bill sent down; it is unformed, and as you are to give the form, the King's inclinations surely are worth your Thanks. The King tells you what he would propose, not what you shall propose; what he can concur with, and what not. What if a Popish Prince will break all Laws? Human reason can go no farther than human reason can. I can never believe that a Prince, come to the Crown so clogged with prejudice against Popery, can ever set it up. It is left to you to make Tests and Oaths to bar it. It is left to you to form, &c. and what other things you can think of. If you go without a Question of Thanks, it will be very disadvantageous to you.
Mr Vaughan.] Primâ facie thé Speech, &c. has all Grace imaginable, but we ought not to give sudden Thanks, any more than make a sudden Law. If the Crown of England hurts our Liberty, it sinks, and I question not, but if the King be too bountiful in his condescensions, that very bounty may hurt us. A great many Graces may deserve your Thanks in due time; but how qualified, I would have well considered.
Colonel Titus.] I would give Thanks for something more than the gracious Expressions in the King's Speech. That is, that the King will make good what he has told us. The last Parliament was as liberal in Thanks as in Money: I hope we shall not imitate them. I would use the King, as we use God Almighty; we give Thanks for fair weather and rain, but we give no Thanks for clouds—Rain must fall first, clouds may blow over; the rain may be prorogued, and perhaps we may give Thanks for nothing. By Monday, possibly, Bills may be passed, and by that time I hope we shall have reason to give double Thanks.