Debates in 1679: March 22nd

Pages 19-38

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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Saturday, March 22.

Mr Secretary Coventry acquainted the House, That, according to their command, he had waited on his Majesty with their Address about the paying Mr Bedlow 500l. as the first discoverer of the murder of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, who returned answer, "That he would take order to have it paid accordingly."

Then the Black Rod summoned the House to attend the King immediately in the House of Lords, where the King said:

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I should have been glad to see you had made any good progress in the matters I called you for. I perceive that your proceedings against my Lord Treasurer have hindered you therein: I am therefore now come to put an end to that business, such as I hope will be to your satisfaction. I have given him my Pardon under my Broad Seal, before the calling this Parliament, for securing both his life and fortunes, and if there should happen to be any defect therein, in point of form or otherwise, I will give it him ten times over, rather than it should not be full and sufficient for the purpose I design it. I never denied it to any of my servants or Ministers, when they quitted their places, as Lord Shaftsbury and the Duke of Buckingham well know. Besides, I must inform you, that there are great mistakes in those matters concerning him. For the Letters were written by my order. And for the concealing the Plot it was impossible, for he had heard nothing of that but what he had immediately from myself. I have dismissed him my Court and Councils, and not to return. Public business presses hard, and therefore I recommend them to you to go speedily upon them."


Mr Bennet.] As there has been too much heat used here formerly, so I hope this House will not be too cool now. If Pardons go on at this rate that the King has told us, we are in a desperate condition. In Spain, when a Don is sent to a Government, and is accused of ill administration, the Court squeezes some money out of him, and he is pardoned, and the next Don that governs does the same, and so thereby their Government is become most despicable. France is grown great by a contrary method. There is a Chamber of Accounts, and what the Officer has got more than the usual perquisites and profits of the place he must refund, and that goes on towards the War. Our case is much worse. When a Minister falls, as in Lord Clarendon's case, there was an Act of Banishment, and now, in the Treasurer's case, a Pardon. The Lawyers can best tell you whether this Pardon is good in Law. Instead of squeezing a Minister that has been faulty, he goes away with 247,000l.—An Army raised—And the Fleet unpaid, with Popish Captains in it! When he put the Papists in, then the Plot opened upon him. We shall be still worse, if this Minister rides off thus unpunished, and it will be always thus, whilst, after an Impeachment of High Treason, any man shall go at large. It is for the safety of the King and the Nation, that a Minister be afraid of this House. If you let this Minister go thus, three years hence you may have such another, and, in time, we shall be all beggars.

Sir George Hungerford.] Suppose the Treasurer be commanded by the King to do an ill thing, as the writing those Letters to Mr Montagu, &c. let him plead his Pardon at his tryal. We are not to take notice of it till then.

Mr Wogan.] As the matter stands upon Impeachment, the Pardon may be pleaded. Such an Impeachment or information he must plead his Pardon for, at his arraignment, and not before. We cannot take notice of it. Matter of fact cannot be pleaded against matter of record. We ought therefore to desire the Lords, that he may be secured to answer his charge.

Sir John Knight.] In the Treasurer's last Letter of 25th March, Mons. Barillon, the French Ambassador, and he, made up a Peace, when that Letter was written without the King's direction. When a man comes to be tryed, then is his proper time to plead his Pardon. This man must come to tryal, to show the world, how ill a Minister he has been to the King. All things have been done by him, and not by the King and Council. Therefore, pray go on with the Articles of Impeachment, and let him plead his Pardon upon his tryal, and show himself a Traytor to both King and Kingdom.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] If you should go by Address to the King, &c. as Sir Robert Markham has moved, let it go with a representation, in what condition the Nation is in. We have neither ships, money, stores, nor alliances, that I know of.

Mr Booth.] I think this is the first time, that either any King, or this King, sent for a House of Commons to attend him about such a business as this. I will not say that this is crossing us in these great matters, but it looks like it. The King has told us, "that it is usual for him to pardon his servants when he discharges them, &c." If it be a custom, it is an ill one, and the worst that can be. But if such Pardons be justifiable, they are not so in this man's case. No story can parallel the villanies and wickednesses of this man. The King tells us, "he would have us mind the great business of the Nation:" You have no greater business than this. If these Pardons are thus obtained, it will be such an encouragement to rogues! If the King will give us up, let us do our duty notwithstanding.

Mr Leveson Gower.] If the Speaker had remembered all the King's Speech, he would have reported all. The King said, "he has given this Lord his Pardon before the Parliament met, and has done no more than he did to the Duke of Buckingham and Lord Shaftsbury." And I think, if he be so removed, as you are told, by the King, that the Nation is not in danger, and the King says, "he will pardon him again and again."

The Speaker.] I will not say, that the King did not say the words of "pardoning him again and again," but, on my credit, I do not remember them.

Mr Powle.] The King said "all those that had quitted his service he gave Pardons to, as you'll find Buckingham and Shaftsbury had." But, "that he would pardon him again and again," I did not hear.

Sir Charles Harbord.] It is ordinary for a Minister or Secretary of State to say, "Sir, I am going off from your service. Pray let me have your Pardon." Lord Bacon, Michell, Mompesson, Lord Middlesex, Lord Suffolk, had Pardons. But did the King ever pardon any one after an Impeachment was against them? This way of pardoning (an Impeachment depending) is of the most dangerous consequence in the world, both to King and people. I have said this fifty years ago. In the last King's time, projects and monopolies flew about, and I was troubled about them; those reduced the King, the best of Kings, and perhaps of men, to own them at the Council-Table. It is a destruction to the Laws of the Kingdom, and of the people. Takeaway the hearts of the people, and you ruin the King in countenancing these things. When the Treasurer of the Kingdom disposes of the public treasure, for the King's recreation, still it is pro bono publico. It is crimen læsi imperii to destroy the Treasury, which is for safety of the people. How shall the Commons be able to support the King, that he may aid his Allies abroad, when the Treasury is wasted? Whoever does this, commits Treason against his allegiance. I move, that you will make a remonstrance of the State of the Kingdom.

Sir Henry Beaumont.] I am glad to find reasons and arguments the same to day as they were yesterday. I am glad no crime is too big for this House to punish. If the Treasurer be not suspended in this sense, I hope he may be in another.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would have you represent to the King all the evils that may issue from this Pardon. The King in his Speech, at the opening of the Parliament, says, "that we were best able to vindicate him from the calumny put upon him by the worst of men." Nothing can make the King more happy, or shine in greatter lustre, than his Parliament. This is no factious Parliament; no Bands of Pensioners are here. Here the King's sceptre is of gold, and not a rod of iron—And the King shines in his greatest lustre. Though the King has pardoned my Lord Treasurer, the like was never done in any memory, when the whole body of the Kingdom hold up their hands for Justice against him. Those about the King have his ear, and represent things to him. If those about him (protectio trahit subjectionem,) intercept his Grace from his Parliament, not two nor ten can protect the King at Whitehall. Let us, in what we do, beget a confidence in the King. But still these unhappy actions and advices are the King's own; when we should deliver him from them, they are put upon him, and what those about him advise, is ill advice. I hope what Gower said may be forgotten, and I second the Motion for an Address, &c.

Mr William Harbord.] As for the Pardon, I know not what that is, nor what means "pardoning for murder;" which the King cannot pardon, because it is a crime against a greater than himself, against God. Some things the King will not pardon. Suppose any man had sold forty or fifty ships of the King's to the French King, or burnt them, does any man think that the King would pardon it? Let us proceed with safety to the King and ourselves. The Lords have refused you Justice, and have not committed the Treasurer to custody, and you ought to insist upon it as your right. When the Earl of Middlesex was charged in Parliament for embezzling the King's stores, he was immediately sequestered from Parliament. This Parliament has impeached the Treasurer, and the Lords deny us Justice, which their ancestors ever did us. As the King comes towards you, so I would have you go towards the King; and I believe the King will never allow those Letters to have been by his own order, but that the Treasuer has been well paid for it by somebody. I can never believe that the King is so ill a man, that, when a War was depending, &c. he should order those Letters, to bargain for a Peace. I desire Justice against the Treasurer, in the name of all the Commons of England, but yet with all good manners to the King. I would have a Committee to draw up a representation to the King of the miserable estate of the Kingdom, and that this Gentleman is the occasion of it. If you suffer this Pardon to pass over so, you'll never discover the Plot. And if the advice of this Gentleman had been followed, some heads of the last Parliament that were troublesome to this Gentleman had been cut off. A Gentleman told me this morning of stifling of evidence, by the artifice of somebody or other, (pray God it be not a Member!) that a principal Witness is leftout—Because a Pardon stifles all evidence. Put both Questions, the one for the representation, &c. and the other for the right of the Commons, in having the Treasurer sequestered from Parliament.

Mr Sterne (fn. 1).] We have spent much time in talking of the Treasurer's Pardon. Every one knows the King's power of pardoning; cases of appeal only excepted; but if you will have a Bill to restrain the powers in them, that may prevent it for the future. All Laws that are made, are to restrain that unlimited power in the King, for, without those Laws, all power is in the King. (He was out, and could proceed no farther, and Mr Seymour pulled him down.)

Sir Robert Southwell.] One word has dropped from Mr Harbord, "that there is an abominable Evidence concealed, in the murder of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey." I would have him named.

Sir Thomas Lee.] Pray let no interlocutory discourse divert us from the Question, of sending to the King, as was moved.

Sir Francis Winnington.] The Rights of the Crown are not only in the case of this Pardon, but of us and our Posterity when we have done. I never had any difference with this Lord, but as an enemy to the King and the Nation. Now, what is your duty to do in this case upon the King's signification of his intention of pardoning the Treasurer? which I suppose is, as it were, asking your advice in it. If the King will pardon the Treasurer, without all controversy he has acquainted you early with it, to be advised by you. I apprehend, that is the reason why we entertain the Debate. If the King proposes it as a legislative case, then it is but to give the King advice what is fit and convenient to be done and advised. But if you consider it as you are prosecutors, then you are to consider the legal part; and I will consider both. He that stands charged, and pretends to a Pardon, confesses the crimes he stands charged with; he takes sanctuary, and pleads his Pardon under the Great Seal of England. The Law of England says, "that, by taking a Pardon, he confesses the crimes he stands charged with." This being considered, what is fit in this case for us to do? A Pardon once granted is not the Law of Medes and Persians, not to be revoked. They have been damned in Westminster-Hall, much more may they be here. And now what is fit for us to do? What is this Lord guilty of? Either his Pardon is commensurate to his crimes, or it will do him no good. A less crime than of assuming Royal Power was in the Spencers case in Edw. II's time. The Treasurer has exhausted the Treasure of the Crown, by acquiring a great estate to himself, &c. and endeavoured to stifle the discovery of the Plot, when it was just coming to light. Now the King communicates his Pardon to you, for these and several other offences, &c. for your advice. In this matter I will speak plain, and discharge my conscience. The Law of England is of an admirable composition. When great men are in the Presence of the King, I must believe, that persons, in their several stations, are good or bad, according to the effects of their Ministry. Should a Minister of State have endeavoured to subvert the Government, Parliaments have power, by 25 Edw. III. to declare that Treason, and it is the wisdom of the Government to leave that declaratory power to Parliament, that no man, though ever so great, may be able to struggle with a Parliament. This Lord's crimes are so well known, that a man cannot pretend to be unprovided to speak to them—When came this great Lord in? When Popery came, and the Protestant Religion was discouraged, and no fitter man to succed Lord Clifford, than Sir Thomas Osborne, a private Gentleman in the Country! Have not French Councils and Popery prevailed, and the Triple League been broken? And had the Plot gone on, nothing could have saved our Religion but a hand from Heaven. No man has been preferred in Court, but a friend to the French Government. Money was given by the Parliament for a War with France, and this man, at the same time, treats for a base and dishonourable Peace. Though the Law was made severe, that the money should be employed for so many ships, yet they are not half built, though Mr Pepys said "they would be built in a year." And there was 600,000l. gone, for they got the money and prorogued the Parliament—Money was given to disband the Army, and that money was spent to keep them up, and then we were prorogued: But we have been so bit before, that no appropriating Clause we thought would serve turn, if the money was lodged in the Exchequer; and so the Chamber of London was thought of, to place it there; and this, you were told, was against the King's Prerogative, and that gave offence; though in the Palatinate War, the same thing had been done before, and so the Parliament was sent home; and this Lord is the person that breaks all your Laws. A Message was sent from the King, the last summer, "That things abroad had all tendency to Peace, but because of several emergencies of State, the King was advised to ask of his Parliament such a revenue as might bear proportion with his neighbouring Princes, the better to carry on and support the Government, &c." This project was then brought into the House, and then Gentlemen said, "That it was a subverting the Government, and the way to make Parliaments useless." And though many Gentlemen in the last Parliament were willing to give money to the King, yet they supposed the granting the King so great a revenue as he then demanded, would make their use in Parliament cease, and so become insignificant. And upon their giving no money, their mettle broke off, and they had no money. This Lord must be the person that has done these things. How could this revenue, that the King asked of us the last Parliament, be brought to adjust that sum, but by him that knew and adjusted the Treasury? Things coming to this head, say they, "How shall we relieve ourselves?" Out comes a Plot, too hard for the Statesmen to suppress; and this demand was as a refuge to the Statesmen. They fly then to a Pardon for refuge, when the Letters this man is impeached for are all under his own hand, to subvert the Crown as well as the people. He that sets up Popery suppresses the Royal Family—The Spiritual Pope, and the Temporal Power of France, suppress both soul and body. But in the close of the last Parliament the inequality was so strong, that the strength of the pensioners did signify nothing, and the King sent them home and dissolved them. And I thank God here are none of them that I see. Empson and Dudley were mentioned; and was ever any man punished for not going against Law? It was answered, "That they stretched the Law farther than was intended." But shall he be pardoned that has gone against Law, and breaks the Law? No man is so mean as to have malice in his heart against the Treasurer, but the rights of the King are concerned in his crimes, and a good mettled man sets up again, and does the like exorbitances, and gets a Pardon from the King, and this shall be a reward for his crimes, and so escape unpunished. Since this Pardon of the Treasurer's was passed, he has got 5000l. a year for a Pension, and 1200l. a year of the Fee Farm Rents, which is part of the Queen's Jointure; and has taken it out of another branch of the revenue, because the Queen will not be so kind to him as to die. It has been said, "that the King lets the unfortunate fall gently;" but never that he rewarded a man that has been such an enemy to his King and Country. What then shall I propose to you in this case? I would make an Address to the King, to take consideration of this Pardon, &c.—One word I heard of the King's Speech, "that we should not dispute this Pardon, though it had not passed the usual formalities, &c." I believe it has not passed all the Offices; as the Secretary's, the Attorney General's, the Sollicitor General's, the Secretary's again for the Privy Seal, so that a Caveat may be entered, and so to the Great Seal, In all these gradations Pardons ought to pass, that the subject may enter Caveats. But if this Pardon has passed per saltum, I would move the King not to pass it, and represent to him the inconvenience of it. It is not without precedent that Pardons have been voided by scire sacias, when obtained upon false suggestions, &c. The Treasurer could never have got this Pardon, but that he used arguments to the King, "that he was for his Prerogative, and his sufferings were for that; and so the Pardon needed not to pass the usual form, that the Commons might not put in a Caveat." I would therefore some way address the King, to represent to him, how unjust it is this Pardon should pass, and pray that it may be stopped. If the legality of it be now argued, it is a very improper time. For the legislative part, we impeach him as demandants. The King speaks to us in his legislative capacity; this is nothing to the Impeachment that is in the Lords House. It was sent up the last Parliament, and the same Commons of England prosecute the Impeachment still—But it is to my admiration that he is not committed to custody, being charged with Treason, (when formerly the Lords committed persons when for Misdemeanor only) especially now there are such tricks of running away. We say it is not a good Pardon, and may have a fatal slip in it, because done in the dark— Let him plead his Pardon in bæc verba, and we will plead to it. I infer from hence, whether it be lawful, or not? And though the King be surprized in the grant of it, you may not be surprized. A man may have as much injustice in the manner, as the matter, of a grant. If the crimes of the Treasurer come to be judged capital, the forfeiture of his 1200l. a year—But those that come after us may say he is an example made of an offender, &c. You can but do these two things, either think him innocent, or make good your prosecution. It is a position in Law, "That the King's Mercy is boundless;" but upon an Appeal, if one kills my father, the King cannot pardon it: I am his heir; I may have vengeance. The King can pardon only what relates to himself, no more than he can pardon an action of Debt. I will come a little closer. There are mala prohibita, wherein one part of the forfeiture goes to the informer, the other to the King. Before the information is commenced, the King may pardon the whole, there being no informer, &c. I would therefore address the King, to know how this Pardon was obtained, and then demand Justice of the King, &c.

Serjeant Maynard.] The great danger the King's Person, our Laws and Liberties, have been in, you all know. What advice to give concerning this great Lord, I am at a stand. A great deal has been said, and with good affection, but some things mistaken. The King cannot pardon murder, unless it is said, in the Pardon, that it is murder. A man is found guilty of murder, and he pleads his Pardon; that is usual; but you have not read this Pardon, nor seen it. It cannot be allowed, till it be seen. But that which stumbles me most, is, that, when such acts are put upon you, the whole Nation is put upon ruin, if we do not take notice of this, when the King's life is at stake—This Lord being charged not only with concealing Treason committed, but a Plot whilst upon execution; I take that for more. I will never speak for favour, nor affection; but a Pardon does discharge him in point of Law, yet you may enquire into it, and it is in the power of Parliament to take off that Pardon; but I do not think that your Impeachment takes off the Pardon; but it is in your power, as a Parliament, to void these Pardons.

Lord Cavendish.] I am one of those for the King's power of pardoning, &c. as many of his predecessors have done. But applying this Pardon to the circumstances this Lord is in, it is cruelty to the Public to let this Pardon pass. I would therefore apply to the Lords, to remind them of our last Message.

Mr Vaughan.] I will say nothing to the legality or illegality of the Pardon. But whether, on such an occasion, this Pardon can be just. When a Pardon is destructive to the people, it cannot be. That cannot be a mercy to the people that is so. One thing cannot be pardoned; he is called to account for high offences; and that he should advise his own Pardon, (what use are you of?) an Impeachment depending. When men grow too big for the Laws, you can call them to account, else they will triumph over the King's Justice and yours too. Before ever the nature of his crimes is opened, here is a Pardon chopped betwixt you and Justice. It is a great and glorious Prerogative in the King to pardon offences, &c. but at this rate of pardoning, you may have all persons break loose, and all honest men in prison. If you prosecute not your Impeachment you mislead the King, and give countenance to those ill Counsels given the King. If he must have his Pardon, let it be loaden with all the notorious crimes. Naturally all is true out of the King's mouth, but this Speech he is advised to. If this man must have the benefit of such a Pardon, I hope you will take care that no man else may.

Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That a Message be immediately sent, to remind their Lordships of the last Message sent from this House, relating to the Earl of Danby; and to demand that Thomas Earl of Danby may be forthwith sequestered from Parliament, and committed to safe custody.

A present Conference was desired by the Lords, without declaring any subject-matter; which occasioned this Debate.

Mr Powle.] If the Lords may require Conferences, without declaring the subject-matter, it may be about Money, and then you will never reach them with a Conference about Judicature. They appoint place of Conference, and we do not. I am apt to think this an omission of memory in the Messengers; but if not, you must send an Answer by Messengers of your own.

Sir Thomas Meres.] The last Parliament, there was a present Conference desired by the Lords "on matters of great importance," and we granted it. When great things, as the Plot, &c. were on foot, that was some matter of Conference, but this is nothing at all. This is too big for me to advise upon. I will leave it to others.

Mr Vaughan.] Suppose that the Lords shall tell you "that it is necessary to give Money to build ships." This Message cannot have a particular Answer now, but I would send an Answer by Messengers of our own.

Mr Sacheverell.] Take care how you accept this Message. This looks as if it were upon some matters not to be conferred upon. 1 K. James, after the House had resolved a point of their own Privileges, they answered the Lords, "that they could not confer upon that point, having resolved it already." Therefore now I would send the Lords Answer, "that you will send them an Answer by Messengers of your own." And then send them word "that this Message is unusual, and that we cannot grant them a Conference, before they declare the subject-matter."

Mr Seymour.] I am very desirous to keep a good correspondence with the Lords, and our endeavours are all little enough to preserve the nation from the dangers we lie are under. This is indeed an unusual Message. Formerly we have excepted against a general Conference, and now, in this here is no matter at all—This may disturb a good correspondence. I would therefore send a Message to the Lords, to let them know "that it is unusual to confer upon what we know not the subject-matter of before."

Resolved, That a Message be sent to the Lords, to acquaint them that it is not agreeable to the usage and proceedings of Parliament, for either House to send for a Conference, without expressing the subject-matter of that Conference.

Mr Hills, the Printer, at the Bar.

The Speaker.] Complaint hath been made to the House (fn. 2) of two scandalous Pamphlets that you have printed. The one is entitled, "A Letter from a Jesuit at Paris to his Correspondent in London, showing the most effectual way to ruin the Government and the Protestant Religion." The other is entitled, "Two Letters from Mr Montagu to the Lord Treasurer, &c. which were read in the House of Commons; together with the Lord Treasurer's Speech in the House of Peers, upon an Impeachment of High Treason brought against him, &c." These two Pamphlets the House looks upon as seditious, and to reflect upon the King and the Government. They were printed for Jonathan Edwin; but as Edwin says, "that you, Hills, printed them, and delivered them to him," what authority had you to print these libels?

Hills.] I had direction to print them from my Lord Treasurer, who told me, "he would secure me for doing it; by reason that false copies might go abroad, he would have his Speech printed from his own copy, that he might be vindicated. The other he would have printed, to disappoint the Papists, who have ill will to the Government, thereby to do service to the Nation." There is no name to it. I received them from my Lord Treasurer both at the same time. The Treasurer gave them out to be printed about a week before the Parliament sat. He withdrew.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] This is a Breach of Privilege, to print Letters read in the House of Commons. I move, "that the Printer and the Publisher may be committed to the Serjeant."

Sir Nicholas Carew.] I differ from Clarges. The Printer gives you a free account of the matter, and you ought to encourage him. You see, by this, the great power and authority the Treasurer had.

Sir William Pulteney.] Both the Printer and Publisher have offended against Law, and they have not excused themselves by putting it upon the Lord Treasurer. They have not a legal authority for what they have done. No man is to do unlawful things by the command of a great man; for in unlawful things no man is to be obeyed. Whether this be a Breach of Privilege of the House, I know not; but I am sure it is a Breach of the Law. And if the contrivers of this Book were known, they ought to be punished.

Sir Robert Carr.] I would not put any discouragement upon evidence here, but let the Law punish them. Do not make it more difficult for evidence to come hither. I desire they may have some reproof; but because they have ingenuously confessed the matter, I would not deter them with other punishment.

Hills was called in.

The Speaker.] You know well, that the printing that Book is against Law. But, it seems, you take my Lord Treasurer for collateral security. But because you have made an ingenuous confession of the matter, the House does discharge you.

It was moved, "that the Books should be burnt by the hands of the Hangman;" but it was alleged, "that that power was in the Lords, and not in the Commons."

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would not let this go for doctrine, that you have no Judicial Power. You have formerly condemned persons to ride with their faces to the horse's tail. In one of these Pamphlets, there are Members named, and both of them intrench upon your Privileges; and in that case you have power to punish. Another takes notice of Proceedings in Parliament. Give your opinion of these Papers, and then do what you will.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] The matter concerning the person of a Peer, you must properly complain to the Lords.

Mr Powle.] In one Paper there is what was spoken in the upper House, and you cannot well judge that; but "the Jesuit's Letter" is perfectly under your cognizance. A passage in it relates to four letters; whom he means by them, I know not; one of them may be interpreted for myself, my name beginning with a P. For my part, I take it to be no scandal to be thought no friend to the Treasurer.

Colonel Titus.] If I am intended to be the man that begins with T, the Treasurer has expressed his opinion of me in this Letter; and I'll be judged by the House, if I have not done as much by him. The scandal of the Pamphlets is to the King's Person and Government, and the Privileges of the House; and I say, I had rather be guilty of all those crimes than of divulging these Letters. The scandal is to the King and Government. He extolls the French Government, and speaks with contempt of ours. If there be any reason to hate the Government, and to have the King's Person in contempt, it is because the Lord Treasurer is Prime Minister.

It was referred to a Committee.

Sir Robert Howard.] In the time of the late War, I could find out, in dungeons and prisons, those who were for the King, and all that they suffered to be good subjects. But I begin to find now, that to reach a Minister is going through the King's sides, and wounds him. Here is the Nation represented, and that which supports the King, is his three States—Now I can speak; formerly I wanted courage and honesty to do it. This maxim has raised some people to that height they are at; to do ill, and put it upon the King. The worst action in the world is selling a Parliament of England, to be laid to the charge of the King. I hope never to hear that charge upon him more. If this be suffered, where shall right ever be found, but by the audacious method of selling the King? He is in the wrong!—But whoever hereafter shall dare to produce the King for author of ill Government, I would have it capital, and let it lie upon him to answer it. The condition of the King, at this time, is deplorably low, from 1674, 75, and 76, and I want not proofs to show it—If, in 1674, I said, "that this will destroy the King," it was well prophesied. If we well know the Revenue, it is in the most deplorable condition that can be. The Government must be preserved by truth. Money, given for nothing, will effect nothing, and will be resolved to nothing. As to the Treasury-part, Lord Clifford was a great man, and he left it flourishing, and in good order, and I know the King might have been supported in his necessities. I was Secretary to the Treasury, and look upon that charge as upon myself. The Revenue was then clear, and had no charge, and it was the felicity of Sir Thomas Osborne to come in so. And having said this, now is the time to come close to the King; and I move that the Address which you intend may say that to the King, which may restore us perfectly to the King. Now is your opportunity to let the King see matter of fact, how his condition is reduced, to shutting all things from his ears; and that no man that touches a Minister, but touches him—Draw up your own condition to him, and represent to him the Councils that have inclosed him, and that you are ready to be received by him, as you will receive him, that the King and you may be joined and knit, never to be dissolved.

Mr Sacheverell.] I agree with Howard in one point. I have lived to see other Ministers and actions than this Lord Treasurer—Else Gentlemen might take it for granted, that the only evils we groan under are from this man. I am not of opinion that to remove Ministers from the King will better our condition, unless those maxims of State they govern by be removed. Whoever comes in to be a Minister, follows the same maxims of State. This matter will be too long for this day. I would debate it on Monday. I will only open it, in general, to them that were not here before to see matter of fact. I take it for granted that the maxims of State we have been ruled by, have not been what the Kingdom has formerly been governed by. The love of the people is the security of the King; and the Law of England is the security of the King; it does not injure him. All our misfortune arises from the late times. When the King came home, his Ministers knew nothing of the Laws of England, but foreign Government, things managed by a premier Minister of State. One maxim they brought over, viz. "Make much of your enemies; your friends cannot hurt you." Another was, "Make the people poor, and you will make them obedient." Which makes the people fear, that they looked upon greater security than the hearts of the people. Another maxim was, "To make the Parliament give money longer than the people can bear it." Another was, "That when money was given by the Parliament to particular uses, the Crown might dispose of it as it pleased, and the people must give money again." I will go back to 1667. Money was given for a Navy, and there was none, and whilst the Navy was exposed, I was an eye-witness of that miserable spectacle at Chatham. Next there was an Act, &c. to call men to account for great sums of money in arrear, &c. and the Commissioners were not suffered to proceed any farther in it, and persons concerned gave no farther account. Then the Triple League was broken, and Lord-Keeper Bridgemen, though he was a man of great integrity, yet was forced in a Speech to say what he did. We gave money to support it, and then it was laid aside. In 1670, as flourishing a condition as the Treasurer was in, the credit of the Nation was stopped, and, I doubt, no man knows when the Exchequer will get up its credit again. Then, a War was made with Holland, and all the money the Parliament gave to pay the King's debts was applied to that War, and more money was given, and they might have paid the debts of the Exchequer. Was not this an excellent administration of the Treasurer? And all this was done before the Lord Treasurer came into the Office, so that, unless you alter these maxims of State, by which we were governed, it is no matter who is Lord Treasurer. I would consider these things, in order to represent them to the King, &c.

A Message from the Lords: "The Lords desire a present Conference, &c. upon matters relating to the Earl of Danby."

Mr Powle reports, That the Duke of Monmouth opened the Conference thus: "I am commanded by the Lords to acquaint you, that their Lordships, having taken into consideration matters relating to the Earl of Danby, together with what his Majesty was pleased to say upon that subject, have ordered that a Bill be brought in, by which Thomas Earl of Danby may be made for ever incapable or coming into his Majesty's presence, and of all Offices and Employments, and of receiving any Grants or Gifts from the Crown, and of sitting in the House of Peers."

The Earl of Essex added, "That the Bill relates to the beginning of the Parliament."

Lord Fauconberg (fn. 3).] The Lords made haste to the Conference; and to take away all difference between the two Houses, have sent the special matter of the Conference.

Earl of Shaftsbury.] The Lords are well contented, if you have a mind to it, to send the special matter of the Conference; but it was the ancient way and usage of Parliament to send without it, &c. but out of compliance to the Commons the Lords have now sent special matter.

[Debate on the Conference.]

Mr Powle.] I think, this Conference is of the greatest consequence imaginable, and will cause great Debate. I desire that we may have time to think of it. Now it is too late to proceed, and let it be adjourned to Monday.

Mr Vaughan.] Time is protracted by adjourning the Debate, but not lost. Your steps will be the warier by consideration, and I second Powle.

[It was ordered accordingly.]

Mr Powle.] I would know how this Pardon of the Treasurer stands. If it has passed without the due formality, the Lord Chancellor deserves to be impeached for it, next to the Treasurer himself. I think it is the next crime. I would have enquiry made of the Lord Chancellor, how this Pardon was obtained, and into all other Offices; it is of so dangerous a consequence.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I second the Motion, that two or three Members may attend the Chancellor, to know whether the Pardon passed his Office, and so the rest of the Offices.

Sir Francis Winnington.] A great Lord in Office (Lord Anglesea) said, "he knew nothing of this Pardon, till he heard of it in the Lords House." This Pardon is of more consequence than twenty Treasurers.

Mr Sollicitor Finch.] As to the method of passing this Pardon by the Chancellor, Nature bids me speak. Since I heard of the passing this Pardon, I have enquired into it; and the more I have enquired, it is the more for the service of the Lord that keeps the Seal. If the person be innocent, it was ill for him to get his Pardon. I cannot say who advised this Pardon, or who was for it, but who was against it I do know. When the Lord Chancellor dissuaded this Pardon to be given, and when he denied the Seal, and wrote a Letter to have it pass in the usual forms, a command was sent from the King, that he should come to Whitehall, and he brought the Seal to the King, and the King commanded the Officer, in his presence, to seal it. The Parchment had C. R. on the top. This is the true state of the affair; and if you enquire into it, you will find it so. Pardon me, if my relation to this Lord constrains me so early to give you an account of this.

Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to repair to the Lord Chancellor, and the other Offices, and enquire into the manner of suing forth the Pardon of Thomas Earl of Danby; and make their Report, &c. [on Monday.]


  • 1. The Archbishop of York's son.
  • 2. This Complaint was made the day before.
  • 3. Son in Law to Oliver Cromwell, and Great Uncle to the present Earl. He died in 1700.