Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 7. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Saturday, May 24.
On the Earl of Danby's Plea of Pardon.
Mr Sacheverell.] If you allow this Plea of Pardon, your Lives, Liberties, and all, is given up. I move that you will stand upon the vindication of your Right, and send a Message to the Lords, "That, till the matter of Danby's Pardon be settled, and that of the Bishops, &c. you cannot proceed."
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I move that the whole House may go up to the Lords in a body to represent this matter, and to demand Justice against Danby. This will be so public a thing, that it will tend more for your advantage.
Mr Powle.] I attended the Committee of Lords and Commons yesterday, and "the Papers the Lords delivered us," we said, "we received only as Proposals; though the Lords were not so kind as to answer our Proposals, yet that we should theirs." And if you please, give directions, to have whereby to answer the Lords in what may arise.
Mr Garroway.] Consider the consequences; now to change Councils would be but a vain thing. Therefore I would have no other Question put, but to insist upon what you formerly resolved as to the Lords Spiritual, and to give Instruction to your Committee to make no Answer to the Lords Propositions yesterday, till we receive an Answer from the Lords concerning the Lords Spiritual. I am for drawing Reasons and Representations of your Proceedings to the Lords. If the Lords will deny us this, and go to a new way of Judicature; if it must be a breach, let it be a breach. I had rather the five Lords should escape, than that Danby's Pardon should stand good. If it does, you come here for nothing, but to give up the whole legislative Authority. (Yesterday, we had a sad example of Pensioners, &c. If their names rest upon your Books public, nay, though you take care to secrete them, the people will pull them to pieces.) I would insist upon your Right with Reasons, and have them printed.
Mr Hampden.] I should be sorry if the House was afraid to do its duty, for fear of a Prorogation. When I heard of "a stamped Pardon by Creation, &c." who knows but the five Lords in the Tower have such a Pardon? A hundred Papists at Rome may pretend to such a Pardon. I hope you will settle these points, and insist upon this of the Pardon.
Sir William Hickman.] That matter of the Pardon has been so long and fully debated, that I would lose no more time about it, but let the Committee draw Reasons, &c.
Mr Sacheverell.] I propose that you would resolve that an Answer be returned to the Peers, about the Tryal of the Lords, with Reasons why you cannot proceed, &c. and appoint a Committee.
[Resolved, That an Answer be returned to the last Message of the House of Peers, touching the appointment of the Tryal of the five Lords in the Tower to be on Tuesday next, with Reasons why this House cannot proceed to the Tryal of those five Lords, before Judgment be given of the Earl of Danby's Plea of his Pardon; and the point of the Bishops not voting in any Proceedings upon Impeachments in capital offences be settled; and the Methods of Proceedings adjusted; and that a Committee be appointed to prepare and draw up the same.]
Sir John Trevor reports from the Committee of Lords and Commons, &c (fn. 1).
Sir Francis Winnington reports, from the Committee of Secrecy, Money given to Members of the last Parliament, for Secret Service.] I have brought every particular information, and you shall see whether your Members have any wrong. There was 20,000l. per Annum paid quarterly by the Commissioners of Excise, "for Secret Service," to Members, &c. mostly by Mr Charles Bertie, whereof no account was given to the Exchequer, but "for Secret Service." Bertie was examined at the Committee, whether he paid any of the 20,000l. to Members of Parliament. He answered, "That he had a Privy Seal to pay it without account, and he was not at liberty to tell how he disposed of the Money, till he had the King's command." Next, though Sir Stephen Fox has taken a great deal of matter out of my hands, yet, there are some more than he has acquainted you with, who have received Money, viz. to Sir Richard Wiseman, and one Knight, which Wiseman paid, by a false name, each of them 400l. per Annum. Mr Roberts, at one or two payments, 500l. and Mr Price 400l. Sir John Fowell at twice had 500l. of Fox. Poole, Talbot, and Wheeler, as before. Now that I have summed up the substance of other Evidence from payments in Danby's time, there came in Tallies of 20,000l. per Annum, "for Secret Service," out of the Excise. Major Huntington and Sir John James paid the Money. Sometimes the Money was paid before the Quarter-day, and when Tallies were struck, Papers were delivered back. A Book of Names there was, to whom Money was paid; and Bertie had an Agent, who says, "That after the Treasurer was impeached, about the 24th of December, Bertie came in great haste to him for that Book with all Letters and Acquittances, and that Book has many false names in it. And if he saw the Book, he could tell what Members were concerned, and under what head he stands." The Book of 20,000l. was increased by Danby in his time, for formerly it was not above 12,000l. per Annum for Pensions. Farther, there was paid out of the Exchequer for Mr Chiffins, who delivered about a hundred Acquittances to Bertie. Before the Parliament did sit, there were greater sums paid, than at other times. The Paper the Committee took, &c. mentions other persons. Sir Joseph Tredenham had 500l. per Annum, and Mr Piercy Goring 300l. per Ann. Sir Robert Holt had several sums to maintain him in prison. Sir William Glascott, and Sir John Bramstone had several sums, but we could not discover the particulars. Wiseman, King, and Trelawney offered to sell their Pensions to the Commissioners of Excise, and did pretend, that they might have Money before-hand, and the Commissioners had a discount of 12 per Cent. (fn. 2)
[Ordered, That Sir Richard Wiseman and Mr Knight be immediately sent for to attend this House.]
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I move, that persons who have received any Money the last Parliament, may be incapable of any trust in the Government, and refund what they have had."
Sir Francis Winnington.] When such a Report is brought in; it must be read at the Table, and I am to be discharged of the Papers, and then I shall make a Motion for your service.
Mr Sacheverell.] I see several Gentlemens names, who received Pensions; in other persons names besides their own, by names not known. And one of the Witnesses said, "To persons unknown, but by directions from Mr Bertie."
Sir Francis Winnington.] Another business has intervened. I found several Witnesses very willing to make discoveries, but in reality they were threatened. (But discourses of the Committee were divulged.) A little fellow (a Turnkey) led us to the greater. I move, therefore, that there may be some way, or method, to know the bottom of this; whether you will call Witnesses to the Bar, or to the Committee. Apply your remedy, when you know the disease. I do say, that if any man takes Money to sell his Country, I would use the utmost power of punishment, that Parliaments may not be lost.
Mr Bennet.] Here is good Evidence against Mr Bertie. If you have no farther account of this matter, proceed upon him. If you get the Book out of him, you have all. If not, make an example of him, and you will have the rest.
Sir John Trevor] If these Papers be left in the Clerk's hand, a superior power may command them from him; therefore let them be in the hands of the Chairman.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I would not be used as Sir Edmundbury Godfrey was, whilst I have such Papers about me, as I have reported. Really, I believe the Papers are of that nature, that they ought to be in the custody of the House, and let the Speaker keep them.
Sir John Trevor.] I kept Papers relating to the Plot two months in my hands, after I had reported them. I know no reason why Winnington should not keep them.
Mr Garroway.] Enter them upon your Books, and they will be as safe as all the rest of your transactions.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] I move that they may not be entered upon your Books, till Gentlemen that are named have justified themselves.—If you will enter upon their justification, I will now proceed to my own.
Mr Boscawen.] According to my observation, the Order of the House is, that immediately they be heard; and, in justice, do not enter it into the Journal till they be heard.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Your Question is, Whether the Papers shall be entered; but if these Gentlemen named think the entry will be detrimental to them, it is but reasonable that they should be heard.
Sir Francis Winnington.] There are very Honourable Persons named. Some say "Enter the Papers." But it is one of the hardest things in the world for a man to have Papers entered upon him; it is a kind of passing Judgment. The Votes will be sent all England over. Suppose those Gentlemen of Honour and Quality vindicate themselves, you will tear your Book sure, and not suffer them to be upon Record.
Lord Cavendish.] It will be no hardship upon them to have the Papers entered, for if they justify themselves, their innocence will be entered too.
Colonel Titus.] It is no crime at all to have Money, nor Pension, but to have it for an ill use. Therefore let every Member concerned be heard in his Place. He may justify himself.
Mr Garroway.] I am not against entering the Report. But before you give your Judgment, hear your Members in their Place. This is parliamentary; and then they are to withdraw, and you judge whether you will acquit, or condemn them.
Sir John Talbot.] I confess to you, I am afraid what I shall say always, but more now I am in confusion, and shall speak my thoughts very indigestedly. I beg I may speak more than once if I have occasion. This is a great crime of betraying a Trust— Though this day I am more unfortunate to be in suspicion—But I desire I may be distinguished when I know the integrity of my own heart. Yesterday this was mentioned, &c. and is got about the town, and my reputation is exposed to censure. Let every man lay his hand upon his heart. I say, with great assurance, that directly or indirectly I never took one shilling as a gift, or begging, from the time the King came in. I do disown any thing by way of "Secret Service" to influence my Vote here. I will submit myself to the censure of the Law, to be tryed by that Law. I will submit it to any judicial way of proceeding. Give me leave to open this matter to you. I desire to justify myself, and to live no longer than I can do it. Some Gentlemen, besides those, have been mentioned, their number not great. When the Act passed for the Excise to be made a Revenue, when the King came in, it was thought an advantage to the Revenue, and ease to the Country, for Gentlemen to manage the Excise. For that Clause was put into the Act, to impower the King to let it for three years, that such Contracts might be good in Law, and another shall not proceed, but such as is recommended at the Quarter Sessions, and he shall have the refusal, and not to be let under the rate he refused it at. When the rate was put, we had the refusal, and this was my case: I paid the rent. At last Lord Clifford, when the Farm was just going out, made a private contract, without our knowlege, and disposed of all those Farms to four or five other persons, without our knowlege. I will not censure Lord Clifford, but I will say this, that the King's Revenue never was kept up, till it was in that method again. One of the Farmers told me, "That the Treasurer made a Contract to other persons, and let us go, and offered 10,000l. a year more than they were to give, and advanced it at 6l. per cent. and no more, and so made the proposition better." But he told us, the King was resolved, and wanted Money. (I think about this time the Triple League was broke.) I said to Lord Clifford, "That no man will turn out a tenant that pays his rent well: I hope the King will be no worse than other men." Lord Clifford replied, "The King intends not to use you ill, that have served him and his Father well." Upon this the King said, "He would not put us upon hardships, but we should have some consideration for our Farm." I appeal to Sir Stephen Fox, whether I am not in the list of names of those to whom the King intended to give compensation for their Farms taken out of their hands; and I appeal to him, whether I had not the Pension under that consideration. But had it been a Gift, or Grant, and not under any consideration whatsoever, the King has employed me in several Trusts; if I have changed my principles, or been guilty of the practices of any immorality, I beg that consideration, not to be exposed to that cruelty, not to be exposed to public censure.
Colonel Whitley.] I am one under that unfortunate list of Pensions. I was one of those in the recommendation of the Country, for the farming the Excise, &c. I had a Covenant of 10,000l. from Dashwood not to supplant me, &c. We fell into Suit, and at last into an Award, and till such time I never touched a penny of the Money. I had in all 900l. which I received at several times. This is the true state of the case. If I did betray my Country, &c. I am not only fit to be turned out of the House, but out of the World. I have had Money a long time due to me, and can get none of it. Be pleased to examine what relates to me as publickly as you please.
Sir Stephen Fox.] I did distinguish carefully, of the lists of persons lately concerned in farming, &c. and in it, several Members had Pensions; and some had that were not Members. Talbot was careful in expressing the reason in the Receipt of the Money. He would not receive it till he had it entire, and then received it, as a person lately concerned in the Excise. You were told yesterday, "That Talbot and Trelawney were concerned as Farmers." Howard was in a Farm, and came in upon another man's interest. Egerton, from first to last, was Farmer for Staffordshire.
Colonel Whitley.] Yesterday I attended disbanding the Army, and I had so great a trouble upon me, that I came to justify myself, and I crave leave to go back again. He had leave.
Mr Bennet.] Pray let us speak with a Bounty-man.
Sir Philip Howard.] If my Case be distinct from others, I hope I shall be so judged. I am one of those to be considered under the head of "Farmers of the Excise;" and I desire I may come under the head of those who came in upon a valuable consideration.
Mr Harbord.] This may well admit of a distinction, but not till you have farther heard the matter. If you find that the King's Bounty went to one sort of Parliament-men, and not to another, you may guess by that, for I could, in the last Parliament, have told you how the Question would go. If a Pensioner went not well, slash he was put out of his Pension. I believe these Gentlemen would not do an unworthy thing, but let the Committee examine it, that they that have had their share of that, may have share of this.
Mr Hale.] Here is a great hardship upon these Gentlemen, I hope they will clear themselves. I would distinguish those who were recommended to farm the Excise, and those who were not, and by their Votes here. I would appoint the Committee to state the case of those recommended by the Country, and those not; but I would not have their names entered into the Journal.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] The Question before you is, "Whether you will enter the Report from the Secret Committee into the Journal?" A Pension to betray one's Country is a detestable thing to receive by any body, and I do utterly deny to have received any. I had the honour of the favour of my Prince, and I had his favour when I made application for it. Avarice was never my humour. A Gentleman having a small Government called Cheade Castle, which lay nearer me, upon a Reversionary Patent, I was put upon it to get him to resign his Government. He had 250l. and 250l. for quitting that Castle. I have had the honour here to be a zealous assertor of the Protestant Religion, and in the Country so too. As for my Vote here, I gave it for Money, that the King should not supply his necessity by extraordinary means. And something he reflected upon the Committee, which the Compiler could not hear.
Sir Francis Winnington.] As for what Tredenham says of the nature of the Secret Committee, he need not reflect on the Secret Committee, but that it borders upon "Secret Service." He has not observed the old Parliament Committees. I have heard that Tredenham has reported, "That because he defended the Duke of Lauderdale, I would be revenged of him." As for this Castle, &c. when I was Sollicitor General I passed a Warrant, &c. but I appeal to him whether he told me of the 500l.?— Because he has given some sparring blows toward me, I desire he may name the person.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] I desire that grace for my passion which I must allow for others. This putting me in the van (of the Report) of these Gentlemen, does look like something of pointing at me. I have had considerable places offered me, but I would not have Gentlemen turned out for me—As for this of Lauderdale, it is but a hearsay.
Sir Francis Winnington.] He dwindles this of Lauderdale to a flying report. There are thirty before him in the list, but had he been last you would have found him out.
Mr Harbord.] This is a hardship, that a private person should use one so, that has done you service. If Tredenham got a Castle one way, Winnington lost one of the best places in England, (Sollicitor General,) for doing his duty here, and I hope God will reward him.
Sir Henry Capel.] It is no wonder, if the Committee of Secrecy go new ways to work, (as Tredenham alleged,) you must consider that never such new things were done before. —Never such conspitacies. The Chairman (Winnington) has most dexterously and prudently made enquiry into this matter of the Pensioners, and it becomes you to be very severe to any man that makes such reflections. Many called Tredenham to the Bar.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] What need you call for proof? Tredenham has confessed "That he had 500l. to enable him to buy a Castle." What should you go about to proceed farther? He called to Winnington, "Prove it, prove it," very preremptorily, and you ought to censure him.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] I beg Pardon for being too ready to give credit to a report, &c. but when I consider the smallness of this matter of the Castle, which I did buy only for convenience of the situation near my estate, I submit to your censure, and beg your Pardon. Pray consider how difficult it is for me to speak. I have had no time to prepare myself.
Sir Eliab Harvey.] At this rate, all your Committees may be arraigned. It was so last Parliament in the Committee for Danby's Articles, &c. Mr Bertie arraigned the Committee then. I beg I may not be of any Committee for the future.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If you will send to Colonel Birch, who is Auditor of the Excise, &c. you may have all the Farmers of the Excise from 1672.
Sir Richard Wiseman at the Bar.
The Speaker.] The House is informed that you have disposed of several Pensions, of four times 400l. per Annum. From whom did you receive the Money, and to whom did you pay it, and for what use?
Sir Richard Wiseman.] Those I received and paid I will give an account of in writing. I never employed it for a Mr Knight, nor received it for Mr Knight. I know one Knight, Sir John Knight's son; when I saw him last, he was of the Temple; he had no transactions in the Money. I named him, because you, Mr Speaker, named him.
The Speaker.] Not long since, in the last Session of Parliament, you kept a good Table; of whom had you the Money to maintain it?
Wiseman.] My Tenants gave me my Money to keep my Table. I had no Money from Sir Stephen Fox, nor Mr Bertie, nor by his Order; nor from Mr Chiffinch, nor by his Order. (This he spoke rudely and surlily.)
The Speaker asking him, "Whether he had no Money for keeping a Table but from his Tenants?" in a very preremptory manner he answered, "No." He withdrew.
Sir Thomas Lee.] This answer of Wiseman, and the manner of it, is not usual. If you allow this to any man at the Bar, to give what he is asked in writing, you will lose your Authority, and make an ill example for the future. If once you be put off with writing Answers to your Questions at the Bar, he will have Counsel. You must tell him, "He contemns the Commons of England, if he makes no Answers to the Questions you ask him."
Wiseman again at the Bar.
The Speaker.] The House is not satisfied that you shall give your Answer in writing. They require a direct Answer from you to what Questions they shall ask you. I ask you, what Annuity or Pension you have received upon your account from the Excise, or any other person, for your particular use?
Wiseman.] If I might have ever so much, I cannot tell you. I ask but a reasonable thing, to give my Answer in writing, and I will justify it by Witnesses, and authentic Testimony. But to a thing I am not prepared to answer, my reputation will be lost without reparation. I say not, I will not answer, but I will make a reasonable Answer, like a reasonable man.
To the Speaker's Question,
Answer.] I remember no sum whatsoever.
To the Speaker's Question,
Answer.] I have received Money from the Excise, by a Letter from Mr Bertie.
To the Speaker's Question,
Answer.] The last sum I received was five or six years ago. I cannot remember how much any of the sums were.
The Speaker.] Did not you receive Money in the name of a Knight, or for one Mr Knight?
Answer.] I received none of the King's Money, for any other person, I aver it. I appointed nobody to do it.
To the Speaker's Question,
Answer.] I never gave any Money to pay bills for housekeeping, I stand upon it. He withdrew.
Sir Stephen Fox.] I did say Wiseman received 400l. per Annum from me, till Michaelmas 1675, and I did so at the Committee. I said I could give no answer to Knight, but Wiseman could, and for him 400l. per Annum was paid, and three other persons more. I charge not Wiseman with receiving this always, but some of it to him I never failed to pay.
Wiseman again at the Bar.
The Speaker.] You have had time given you to consider the Questions proposed. The House does expect a more direct Answer. This does so nearly concern you, that they expect you provided to give an Answer, and therefore have sent for you down again, before they give their Judgment.
The Speaker asked him the same Question.
Wiseman.] I received no Money from Sir Stephen Fox, and I know nothing of "Secret Service" received by the King's Order. Give me time, and I will tell you the exact sums I received.
The Speaker.] In this, you are disproved by Fox, and if you will run the hazard of the displeasure of the House, you must expect what will follow.
Wiseman.] I have told you, I remember not to have received 400l. per Annum from Fox. I cannot remember other sums. I persist in it, none by the King's Order. So far as I am able, on the sudden, I will give you an account. When the Excise was let by Lord Clifford, it was for 500,000l. per Ann. Some friends put me upon it to farm the Excise. We gave 20,000l. per Annum more, and 70,000l. advance Money, for which service the King directed I should receive some Money, but I remember not the particulars; there was but one Contract. I acted by another Party—I cannot tell whom—I do now remember the man, it was Alderman Ford. I know not whether I received seven, eight, or nine hundred pounds.
The Speaker.] Did you receive any Money from Mr Bertie?
Wiseman stood mute some time, and then answered,] I have not received any Money from Mr Bertie this year and a half. I had no Order for continuance of my Pension out of the Excise. That which the King gave me was annual, but I received it in a gross sum. I sold the annual Pension the King gave me for seven, eight, or nine hundred pounds. The Pension was not granted me for life, but till the King declared otherwise. The assignment of the Pension was made to the Commissioners, or Farmers; I believe it was assigned to Major Huntington, Mr Dawson, and Sir John James. This he spoke drawlingly, and withdrew.
Monday, May 26.
Mr Sacheverell reports the Narrative of the Proceedings relating to the Tryals, &c. and Reasons. Which see in the Journal.
A Motion being made for a softer term, &c. than "Injustice,"
Mr Garroway.] You cannot say less than you have done, for the Lords have denied you Justice. If the Lords come not up to the proposals of your Committee, print your narrative. If you are tender of words, when all is at stake, it is an ill time to temporize. I should be glad if the Lords would confer with you in a parliamentary way; if not, you cannot do less than vindicate what is in your power. And what will you signify, if a Minister of State go away unpunished, by a Pardon? If they will break the late King's Constitution (fn. 3), &c. let not us. I would keep the door open to reconciliation, but if the Lords will not come up to this, so reasonable, I would then publish the thing.
Mr Sacheverell.] I would clear this point, which, I believe, is warrantable from the Lords themselves. If the Lords are more tender of our Rights than we ourselves, I know not what will become of the reputation of this House. The Lords have owned the Non-commitment of Lord Danby, when impeached of High Treason, &c. to be erroneous; and shall not we then say so? It was done in another Parliament, they have arraigned it, and you do so too, and I think the Lords proceeding is evasive.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] I would not deliver up our Rights, but I would not give the Lords just ground of exception. The word "Injustice" is hard—It founds brave for the Commons to quarrel with the Lords—It is a fine feather, but the Commons will pull it out. We have a great many good things depending, and if we can get them without quarrelling with the Lords, let us.
Sir Joseph Williamson.] The Question is, Who has brought us to this brink of extremity? I have wondered at these Proceedings. You have mighty reason for what you have done. You have dissembled these Proceedings of the Lords so much, that it justifies them in good correspondence. It was "Injustice" done you, the Noncommitment of Lord Danby, and the Lords have owned it "erroneous," but that comes not up to the point. If the prisoner escapes, for not committing him, that is "Injustice" with a vengeance. The Lords tell you, "The Bishops have asked leave to withdraw, &c." and they cannot depart without the Lords leave, &c. Is not this an Answer to your Question, and is not this an evasive Answer? There is a sense in the House not to use the Paper reported till the utmost extremity, and to come to expostulation. If you come to such an extremity, the words cannot be too sharp; and you may let it lie till you have use of the thing.
Sir Robert Howard.] In all the track of the whole business; there is a perfect track of evasiveness. The Bishops will sit on one point, and not on another. But I cannot imagine why we should call it "Injustice," what use there is of such a word. Now all things possible to be imagined require your help, is it not possible to say another word? This is a sentence pronounced upon the Lords Judicature. The Paper is well drawn, and there is no need of a hard passionate word to help the Reasons; they themselves will convince the World.
Mr Swynfin.] If you are resolved to lay by this Report unpassed till you go to the Committee of the Lords, then spend no more time on it now, till you have an Answer from the Committee of Lords and Commons.
Sir John Trevor reports from the Committee of Lords and Commons, that the Lords gave this Answer, "That they had no power from their House to give any farther Answer to those matters, or to debate the same with the Committee of this House."
Sir John Hotham.] To my observation, the Lords have not done what they ought, but have evaded your whole Proceedings; therefore I wonder we should be so nice in this matter that you have little time to spend in. If the Proceedings do not satisfy the World, it is not your fault. How will you answer it, when you consider that the Lords have done what a private man would not do to a private man? They have broken their word, and is not that "unjust" in the greatest measure? I desire you to agree with the Committee.
Mr Swynfin.] I would have the single Paragraph read, where the word "Injustice" is. You say, "The Lords are sensible of the Injustice, &c." You must have it out of the Lords Book to ground this upon. They say, "They have expressed no such thing." I would therefore have their own words, viz. "Error of their Proceeding."
Mr Vaughan.] He that argues upon the words, argues upon the whole thing. Unless you send to the Lords to sit, they will rise, and so it will be too late to deliver your Reasons, &c. the five Lords being appointed to come to Tryal to-morrow.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I would willingly hear Gentlemen argue, but you will lose the thing, unless you send to the Lords to desire a Conference, that so they may sit.
Colonel Titus.] I know not whether that may hinder you. It may be, the Lords will deny you Conference, and then there is an end of it.
Mr Sacheverell.] I should be loath to agree to go to the Lords for a Conference, and be denied it; but this is a matter of great importance to the Kingdom, and you may agree to that Conference "of matters of great consequence to the Kingdom, and for preservation of a good correspondence between both Houses."
Sir Francis Winnington.] I second that Motion. It has been supposed that the Lords will not grant a Conference on what relates to their Judicial Authority; but if the Lords will not confer with you upon what belongs to the Nation; whether we shall destroy our Laws, or preserve them—They give you excellent Rules of Discipline at the Committee, for your hats to be off (fn. 4), but not a word of Answer to our Questions about the Bishops, &c. We must at last name the Lords that obstruct this Proceeding, and if they deny us Conference, you may imagine the consequence.
Sir Eliab Harvey.] For satisfaction of the House, put in those two words to the Question, "Unjust and evasive," whether they shall stand in the Paper.
Colonel Titus.] Those who go about to deprive and hinder Gentlemen of Debate, destroy all liberty of Parliament Speech—One word seems so harsh that it is easily remedied, if you find a soft and smooth way of doing it. I would not use the rough, when a better and fairer way will do the thing. The King never gives a preremptory denial of a Bill, but "Le Roi s' avisera." I would not bring a railing accusation against the Devil himself. I would have the word "Error" instead of "Injustice."
Mr Williams.] It is either "unjust" or "not unjust." The Law of Impeachment I take to be, when a man is impeached, &c. he ought to be committed; and if not observed by the Lords, they are "unjust." The Lords will strain the "Injustice" at your door; and to defend yourselves, you ought to express it; otherwise you are "unjust" to yourselves. If you speak, speak plain, and at a Conference you may maintain it. This Act of "Injustice" has led you to all this—If you study for nice words, you may beget another "Injustice."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I am of this mind, that the Lords have done "Injustice"—But the Lords have not acknowleged "Injustice," but "erroneously" only. You have no choice of words, but must say their own words.
Sir Thomas Meres.] I observe great earnestness in this matter, but Order must preserve the very being of this House. It will save time, and is the shortest way you can go. There are but few words excepted against in the Paper, and you ought, by Order, to read it Paragraph by Paragraph.
The Paragraph was read.
Mr Seymour.] Though we express great zeal to serve a turn now, yet this may be of great inconvenience to your Proceedings hereafter. I would have the words to be "Irregular and unparliamentary Proceeding." Till Gentlemen have more patience, and order, to hear me, I will trouble you no more.
Mr Garroway.] If nobody speaks against a Bill at a second reading, it is ordered to be ingrossed of course. You have had the Clause read, and exception has been made, &c. Before you can have any Question for the Clause, you must put the Question, "To put out the word."
Sir Thomas Clarges.] We are much out of the way, not to read the Paragraph. It is impossible for a man to carry it all in his head. I will only keep up my claim to Order. Leave out the word, and you have all your desire besides.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I cannot see how you can prosper in this word "unjust." By "unjust" he must be an ill man; a depravity of the will, voluntary, and willingly. "Error" is otherwise. You cannot make a term more biting nor afflicting.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I am one of those that think, whether "wilfully" or "ignorantly," that not to have Right in Westminster-Hall, is "unjust." The Bill of Banishment was "unjust," and Right was not done to the Commons, in not committing, &c. You were told by Titus, of Le Roi s'avisera, &c. That very Answer brought the Negative Voice in Question in the Long Parliament. Pray God you bring not your Right in Question too!
Colonel Titus.] If the Lords misinform you, by being misinformed themselves, you will not tell them they lye.
Sir Henry Capel.] The Lords and Commons co-operate, and such expressions are not to be used. This matter is different from the Courts of Westminster-Hall; the Lords are a higher Judicature. Methods of Proceedings should be in the most gentle way between both Houses.
Sir Francis Winnington.] Had it been, that we of the Committee took upon us what the Lords had said, and not reported it right, we had been strange persons; but we say, "That common Justice, and Right of imprisoning a person impeached, &c. was denied you." You affirm "That is denied you," and that is as high as the word "Injustice." If you had sent generally to the Lords, "That they had done you Injustice," that had been a reflection; but as you have penned it, it is otherwise. The Lords suffered Lord Danby to be present, and vote in his own Cause—It is a Judgment we make upon the Fact, and have stated it before. I will not contend for a word; but this I move, not to omit the word "Injustice" in the Paper, but put it in a greater manner if you will.
Mr Powle.] If you would save the Lords in the Tower, you may go in the harshest manner, &c. We are in an ill state, I fear, and too near a Breach. The thing presses, and we must avoid all delay. Many times we pass severe censures upon things; but this will engage us to justify what we say, and the Lords to defend, and you to maintain, &c. and spend much of your time. I make great difference betwixt "Not to do me Justice," and "to do me Injustice." The one is through Error, the other is wilfully. Any man may make it an "Error," but "unjust" no man can prove, for it is lodged in the cogitations of men. This may make the thing irreconcileable, to fly in the Lords faces, with what one Gentleman will not take from another. And I fear, if you come to debate it with the Lords, you will have the worst of it, and spin out many days, to maintain what you cannot.
Mr Sacheverell.] I would have Gentlemen know, that if the word "Injustice" be left out here, they may do it in another place. I would have you consider, whether the Lords that have done this, are ignorant of the whole methods of Parliament—And so you will call it "erroneous," and they lay aspersions as much—This justifies this House of Peers. The censure is the last Parliament's Proceeding.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Though this is not the same Parliament, yet the Lords are the same Persons and Judicature. If we have the very thing and sense, why may we not leave out the harsh word?
Sir Robert Carr.] Clarges says, "It is the same Judicature of the Lords that was the last Parliament." But I think not, for Lord Danby was then present there; it is that you complain of; and now he is out. Leaving out the word "Injustice" makes the thing not at all the milder, for this varies not the sense at all.
Sir Edward Dering.] Those that are for leaving out the word, do it, not as a compliment to the Lords, but for decency to ourselves. I would therefore leave out the word.
Sir Robert Howard.] If it will give just offence, I would rather leave out the word than keep it in. Had I the greatest enemy in the world, I would not provoke him with ill words: He has then the advantage of me. I would avoid difference with the Lords now. I think it is the sense of those we represent, and I would leave out the word "unjust."
The word "unjust" was left out.
Resolved, That a Message be sent to the Lords, to desire their Lordships to sit some time. And then
Resolved, That a Conference be desired with the Lords upon Matters of great Importance to the Kingdom, and for preserving a good Correspondence between the two Houses (fn. 5).
Tuesday, May 27.
Colonel Titus.] I move you, that the Serjeant may go to the Lords Court in Westminster-Hall (fn. 6), with his Mace, and invert it when he comes to the Court, and command your Members that are there, to attend the House.
Mr Sacheverell.] I will not take it for granted, that the Lords will try the five Lords to-day, but make your Order conditional, viz. "If the Lords shall proceed to the Tryal of the five Lords in the Tower, &c. that then, none of your Members shall presume to be present, without leave of the House."
Serjeant Maynard.] "That in case the Lords shall proceed to the Tryal of the five Lords, none of your Members shall be present, without leave of the House," is moved. But I would send for your Members without saying any thing farther.
Sir Joseph Williamson.] I would not post up an Order with supposing that thing of trying the Lords. I would rather let the Order be barely, "That the Members do attend the service of the House."
Sir Francis Winnington.] The Order you are about to make, might have been as well, when the scaffolds were first erected. I would have the Order only, "That the Members do give their attendance upon the House."
[Ordered, That all the Members that are in the Hall be immediately sent for, to attend the service of the House.]
The Serjeant of the House reported, That he did obey the commands of the House, in giving notice to the Members, &c.
A Message from the Lords, That the Lords desire that this House will sit for some time; for they have received information, that his Majesty is coming in his Royal Robes, to say something to both Houses.
[Resolved, That this House will sit for some time.]
Sir John Trevor.] For introducing Popery one design was "arbitrary Government." And another you have had the examination of, viz. "Pensions." I know not whether the Clerks have taken that matter right; whether the Gentlemen that are to examine the Journal do agree; for we are all in the dark. Never Parliament proceeded in that hurly-burly that we have done. I would have Mr Kent answer to what Questions you shall require of him, and bring in a list of the Members of the last Parliament, that he paid Money to, and upon what account. If you have no Record of this, you will have more corruption the next Session of Parliament, than in the last Parliament, if you go off now, without making examples of those persons of the last Parliament, that have taken Money to betray us to slavery. Men live upon examples, and without them, all will go off, and men will do their knavery without fear. I would therefore have the Clerks prepare the Information of Sir Stephen Fox, and let him refresh his memory, to inform you, how many Members have had Pensions, how often Money has been given them and whether the payments are still continued; for I lay more upon that, than upon those who have Money pro hâc vice. If they have been paid, three, four, or five years, I will judge that those are in a continuing service. A man that has voted well one Session, and then they discontinue his Pension; something may be said for that to mitigate the crime; and I will have as much tenderness and respect, in such a case, as any man. Proceed in this way, and the people of England will thank you.
Sir Robert Clayton was just giving an account of persons who had Pensions out of the Excise, "upon consideration of their Farms," viz. Howard, Smith, Walden, Egerton, Gerrard, and Whitley; when the Black Rod knocked at the Door, and commanded the House to attend the King in the House of Lords, where his Majesty, in the following short Speech, prorogued the Parliament:
"My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I was in great hopes that this Session would have produced great good to the Kingdom, and that it would have gone on unanimously for the good thereof. But to my great grief, I see there are such differences between the two Houses, that I am afraid very ill effects will come of them. I know but one way of remedy for the present, assuring you, that, in the mean time, I shall show my sincerity with the same zeal I met you here. Therefore, my Lord Chancellor, I command you to do as I ordered you."