Debates in 1680: October 21st-26th

Pages 347-365

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.


In this section

Thursday, October 21, 1680.

When his Majesty, in his Speech, endeavoured once more to wipe out the memory of past offences, by giving a very art ful turn to the several Prorogations which had postponed the Session, so much to the displeasure of the malecontents, saying, "He had made a good use of them by the measures he had taken with Spain and Holland, for mutual defence and succour, and that they could not fail to attain that end, and to spread and improve themselves still farther, if our divisions at home did not render our friendship less considerable abroad. To prevent these as much as may be (continued his Majesty) I think fit to renew to you all the assurances which can be desired, that nothing shall be wanting on my part to give you the fullest satisfaction your hearts can wish, for the security of the Protestant Religion, which I am fully resolved to maintain against all the conspiracies of our enemies, and to concur with you in any new remedies which shall be proposed that may consist with the preserving the Succession of the Crown in its due and legal course of descent. And in order to this, I do recommend it to you to pursue the farther examination of the Plot, with a strict and impartial enquiry. I do not think myself safe, nor you neither, till that matter be gone through with, and therefore it will be necessary that the Lords in the Tower be brought to their speedy Tryal, that Justice may be done." His Majesty then made a transition to the state of Tangier (then, and for a long time before, closely besieged by the Moors) and said, "the expence of it amounted to so vast a sum, that without their support, it would be impossible for him to undergo it," adding, however, "That he valued a perfect union among ourselves above all the treasure in the world; and that nothing but such an union could restore the Kingdom to that strength and vigour which it seemed to have lost, and raise it to that consideration which England used to have." His Majesty then proceeded thus: "All Europe have their eyes upon this Assembly, and think their own happiness or misery, as well as ours, depends upon it. If we should be so unhappy as to fall into such a misunderstanding among ourselves, as should render our friendship unsafe to trust to, it will not be to be wondered at, if our neighbours should begin to take new resolutions, and perhaps such as may be fatal to us. Let us therefore take care that we do not gratify our enemies, and discourage our friends, by any unreasonable disputes: If any such do happen, the World will see it was no fault of mine, for I have done all that was possible for me to do to keep you in peace while I live, and to leave you so when I die." His Majesty added, by way of compliment to both Houses, "That from so great prudence and good affection as theirs, he had nothing to fear."

And then the Lord Chancellor, by his Majesty's command, directed the Commons to return to their House, and proceed to the choice of a Speaker. They did so, and William Williams, Esquire, was unanimously chosen (fn. 1), and was, the next day, approved of by his Majesty.

Friday, October 22.

Mr Harbord.] Standing Rules are to be observed, before you enter into any Debate. I would have the Clause of the Statute read relating to our taking the Oaths and the Test, to know what you have to do.

Two days being spent in taking the Oaths, &c.

Monday, October 25.

The House proceeded to appoint Committees, according to the usual custom at the opening a Parliament, and the Committee of Elections being moved to be appointed,

Colonel Birch thus spoke.] The Kingdom has sufficiently felt the Grievance of the Committee of Elections and Privileges in former Parliaments. In short, this Committee has been very burdensome to the people, and has been near half the business of former Parliaments, and the Parliament has risen, and the business not been half done. The time has been (but I hope will never be again so) that a Vote of two or three has turned a great business, and the Nation has paid for it, and the work of Elections has been commonly to do things twice over, and after dinner has been an ill time for that Committee to sit. I hope it will be so no more. I assure you, that Committee has been more like a Pipeholder's Court, than a Committee of Parliament. Besides the great charge persons were put to, to stay in Town with their Witnesses, it may be ten or twelve weeks sometimes, and the business not done at last. But if you will hear those Elections in the House, and spare two or three hours, you will dispatch business in a quarter of the time. I submit it to you, whether yourselves will not have more Ease, and the people more Right, to hear Elections in the House; you, Mr Speaker, being a person quick, and can sum up Evidence, I wish all might be done before you. This may be somewhat new, but it alters nothing fundamental. There is no objection against it, but the newness of the thing, and we must now do new things, or else we shall never be upon a new bottom.

Colonel Titus.] You have been told very true of the inconvenience of the Committee of Elections, and they have their name very truly given them, "the Committee of Affections." But to alter fundamentals of Parliament, and to take away the thing for the abuse of it, I am not for that. When you come to hear all Elections in the House, I fear you will have slow performances. Possibly Birch is in the right, and I am in the wrong, but this Committee has been so ancient, to prepare things for the Judgment of the House, and to leave them to their determination, that it is a thing of great moment to alter, and not suddenly to be resolved. Therefore I would adjourn the Debate till to-morrow.

Sir John Knight.] In the last Parliament, many Elections were heard at the Bar. But, for what is said of altering fundamentals of Parliament, it is in your power to alter inconveniences where you find them. A long time is taken up at the Committee, in hearing Causes of Elections, before they are determined in the House, and persons who have done Misdemeanors, the Parliament not sitting long, go away unpunished. By hearing the Causes in the House, you will have a great many inconveniences obviated.

Mr Hampden.] The Motion is of consequence, and so sudden, that I am very jealous of any innovation. I am for mending things, but not for a sudden change; and it may be, this may come to alter the way of passing Bills. It is true, I remember in the last Long Parliament, when, upon a Report from the Committee of Elections, a Question has been only put, "Whether you agree, or not, with the Committee?" without any Report made of the Evidence on both sides; and so the House has chosen the Members, and not the Country. But that is not the old way of making the Report, which was put to the Question point by point, as the matter was proved at the Committee, and then the House has the matter before them to pass a fair Judgment upon. This matter has been moved in former Parliaments, and Sir Thomas Crew, when Speaker, opposed it as irregular, and an innovation. Pray keep your Committee of Elections within compass, and that is the best remedy to prevent inconveniences, and go on to naming the Committee.

Serjeant Maynard.] I was in the Chair of the Committee of Elections in the Long Parliament, in 1641, and the course then was this: When the Committee was named, Petitions were put in, and as the Petitions were recorded, so they were dispatched. As they came in to the Committee, so they were heard, as were likewise Returns by undue Officers. But when the Committee came to Right of Elections, if any Question did arise, the point was stated, and referred to the judgment of the House. The mischief of the Committee of Elections comes from additions of names to the Committee by Motions in the House for persons. If the ancient course was observed, your trouble would be much shorter; that if any matter of great consequence arise, then to have it heard in the House. The course then in the House was this: The Report of the Committee of Elections, from the Chairman, was heard before any other Report, because you must have your Member to represent the Place. But I remember, I sat a year then before I could make a Report.

Mr Bennet.] I hope that if you will give Instructions to your Committee to bring in a Bill for regulating Elections, that will cure the business.

Mr Boscawen.] I desire that, before you name the Committee of Elections, you will take some Resolutions of Rules for them to govern themselves by.

Mr Garroway.] Why should there be a preference to any persons in nominating them of Committees? I do not see there will be practices, but I would obviate the late Long Parliament's Precedents, not to make a monopoly of men for a Committee. I would name a convenient number of this Committee, but would have no man excluded.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I have seen several Journals of Queen Elizabeth's Parliaments, where the Committee was limited to a number, and fixed, and I hope hereafter that that Committee shall not sit in the House, as it has done formerly, like a Grand Committee, for so it will be, if all that come shall have voices.

Mr Sacheverell.] Now you have stated the Question— I remember, that ten years ago I saw a Committee named, and five or ten were added to it by Motion, and whilst the Committee sat, in comes a small number who were prepared and treated at Taverns, and carried what Question they pleased; and from thence came the addition, "That all that came might have voices." But that we may not innovate, I would have it as Maynard has told you it was formerly, that when the fact was reported, the Reasons might likewise be reported, which induced your Committee to their Judgments. But that Long Parliament were ashamed of their Reasons, and durst not avow them to all the World. I am not ashamed of my reason, nor of old ways, nor honest, and pray let it be so reported now, and let all that come have voices.

[It was agreed to.]

N. B. The Committee of Privileges is a standing Committee, and is never adjourned.

A Message from the Lords, by Lord Chief Justice Scrcggs, and Lord Chief Justice North:

[Mr Speaker,

The Lords have commanded us to acquaint you, that they have made an Address to his Majesty, and have received his Majesty's Answer thereto; which they have thought fit to communicate to this House as follows:

"Die Sabbati, 23 Octobris, 1680.

"Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, &c. That the Lords with White Staves do attend his Majesty, humbly to desire him, from this House, That whereas there hath been a discovery of a horrid Plot and Conspiracy by the Papists against his Majesty's Person and Government, which still continues, his Majesty will be graciously pleased to issue out his Royal Proclamation, thereby declaring, That if any person or persons shall, within the space of two months after the date of such Proclamation, come in, and give Evidence of any Treason or Conspiracy against his Majesty's Royal Person and Government, that then his Majesty will graciously pardon such person or persons all Treasons and Misprision of Treasons, and all offences in concealment of the same, to the time limited by the said Proclamation."

Answer. "His Majesty hath considered of the Address made by the House, and is so willing to encourage all persons who know any thing of any Treasons and Conspiracies against his Person and Government, that he will cause his Royal Proclamation to issuc, declaring that he will fully pardon and secure all persons who shall make such discovery, not only during the space of two months, as is desired, but at any time hereafter, whensoever such discovery shall be made."

[Ordered, That the consideration of the above Message be adjourned till to-morrow.]

Tuesday, October 26.

Debate on the above Message.

Colonel Titus.] Yesterday, when we had an account of this Address from the Lords, and the King's Answer to it, sent by the two Chief Justices, I thought there was no great matter in it. But the Lords, it seems, send a Message to the King, and receive an Answer to it, and then communicate it to us. This seems something odd, but I did believe that the Lords had a good intention in it; but now methinks it is not as harmless as I apprehended it at first; for by the Answer, the King will not only "pardon Treasons relating to the Plot," but "all Treasons," in an indefinite time. But how has this Plot been decried by the insinuation of some others, "That it was a Presbyterian Plot, and a Protestant Plot, and the Conspirators in a Meal-Tub (fn. 2) ?" But an indefinite time for all discoverers to be pardoned looks like encouragement for them that resolve to conspire. For instance; if at any time I can have my Pardon, I will go on with my Plot: and when it takes air, then I will come in and discover, escape myself, and hang my friends. It is good for one thing; clipping and coining may go on seven years, get money and discover some workmen, and so be a man. It is so like Popery that it makes me not like it; encouragement to go on in villainy, and have a Pardon at last. I would address the King to limit the time to two months, and then you may be as civil to the Lords as they have been to us.

Mr Boscawen.] What need discoverers come in two or three months hence, when they may come any time afterwards? I would not have you address the King alone, but would mend this Address of the Lords, and send it to them at a Conference.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] It seems, the Lords waved a Conference with us before they delivered this Address to the King. They do it, and make us the cat's foot. I would mend the Address, and send it to the Lords at a Conference.

Mr Sacheverell.] I do not approve of that, for several Reasons. Never since I sat here have I seen such a Precedent, that when either the Lords or Commons addressed the King separately, a Conference should arise upon it. Can the Lords alter their Address a second time? The Lords Precedents that come out of the ordinary course of Parliament, I shall never give countenance to make them good. Many things will arise upon this, if you go to Conference. I would rather lay this matter gently aside without doing any thing, and then try what power this House has by an humble Representation to his Majesty. If you address, it may be you will get no better Answer than the Lords have had. The way you took in Mr Coleman's case (when you had great dread of Coleman) was, you moved by Address to the King, "That if Coleman would make a discovery of what he knew, his Majesty would please to pardon him; and in case he would not discover, that his Majesty would please not to pardon him;" and the effects of that you saw. Unless you take that general way, the exceptions will be so numerous, that it may be you will have an Answer as displeasing to you as this to the Lords. See the former Precedents you have made use of, and limit your Address for Pardons, &c. to a time, which I take to be much the safer way.

Sir Richard Temple.] It is well observed, "That the Lords Address to the King, and his Majesty's Answer, are out of all method of Parliament." Both the Message and Answer are subject to exceptions. If you like it so, you may concur with the Lords; if not, you may mend it by an Address of your own.

Mr Hampden.] No doubt but the thing is irregular, but I see no doubt but that if you pass it by without Conference, it is a neglect from you: But I alter my opinion as to Conference. I know not how the Lords can make another Address. I would not have you make an Address barely for two months, &c. But if a man will come and give evidence satisfactory, he shall have the benefit of it.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The Lords moving the King, &c. by Address, will be the subject of the Debate at the Conference, and Gentlemen may have full instructions for that. I confess, the like was never known, that the Lords should address the King, &c. and receive an Answer, and then the Commons should be acquainted with it. But it is not now a time to pick quarrels with the Lords, therefore I move you to make an Address to the King, &c.

Sir Francis Winnington.] I find, a Conference with the Lords is not practicable. But for an Address to the King, if you fear that a Proclamation will come out upon the Lords Address, and that yours may come too late, I would therefore move you, to avoid difference with the Lords, and amongst ourselves, that some of the Privy Council would address the King from the House, that the Proclamation may be suspended till we may make such an Address as in good manners we can.

Mr Garroway.] I am not for making any difference or disturbance with the Lords, and yet not for doing less than to satisfy ourselves with the depth of the Plot. Order it so, that such discovery as shall be made to this House, shall have such Pardon as you shall address the King for. Put the power into your own hands so as you may address the King for Pardon, as such a discoverer shall deserve his Majesty's grace and favour.

Sir John Knight.] I move, that you would address the King to put such Papers of the discovery of the Plot into your hands as have been found since the last Parliament, and likewise those relating to the Plot in Ireland.

Sir Henry Capel.] Consider the King's Speech, to take care of the prosecution of the Plot. The King has joined the Lords and Commons together, therefore let us not divide ourselves from the Lords. The Lords can administer an Oath; we cannot; and consider that the Commons are the Prosecutors of the Plot, and the Lords are the Judges, and how the Lords come to be so forward in this Address, I know not.

Mr Bennet.] In Parliament it is a Plot, and out of Parliament it is none. We are now come into the Plot again, and I would have this Address for us, and as long as we shall sit. We do not at all injure the Lords, if we address the King, as we are the Prosecutors.

Ordered, That an humble Address be prepared, to be presented to his Majesty, for the Pardon of such persons who shall, within a limited time, make satisfactory discovery to this House of the horrid Popish Plot. [And a Committee was appointed accordingly.]

Lord Russel.] I have seriously considered the danger we are in from Popery. To make a long discourse of it would be unnecessary, and we are in great danger too from conniving Protestants dismissing of Juries, when the matters relating to Popery are depending, and countenancing of abhorring Petitions. If there be so much favour and countenance showed to Popery by Men of Quality and Business, who make their court to the Heir presumptive, being a Papist, this Parliament must either destroy Popery, or they will destroy us; there is no middle way to be taken, no mincing the matter. New contrivances of Plots, and suborning Witnesses!—My humble Motion is, "That you will consider the danger we are in, and provide such effectual means to secure the Government and Religion, and quiet the just fears and apprehensions of the people, and provide against a Popish Succession."

On Sir Samuel Barnardiston's Motion, Mr Dangerfield was brought to the Bar, where he gave an account of the new sham Plot, as it is printed.

Sir Robert Peyton.] In this relation of Mr Dangerfield I find myself named, and I am glad of it, that I have an occasion to give you a true relation. I was with the Duke of York upon this occasion. There was a Report, that I was one of the severest enemies against the Papists, and violent upon the Duke. Some time before my Election, I was at Mr Gadberry's, who told me, "That I should receive great opposition from the Duke at my Election." I said, "I mattered not that, as not in the Duke's power." "But," said Gadberry, "why are you so violent against the Duke?" Said I, "It was nothing but my Judgment, as it was the rest of the House." This was a transient discourse only. About ten days after, Gadberry made me a visit, and since I saw him, I had been with some Persons of Quality, who told me, "That the Duke would not believe but that I had some personal enmity against him, unless I would tell the Duke the contrary myself." I went out of town for some time, and at my return, Gadberry told me, that Lord Peterborcugh desired me to meet him at his house; where I did meet him, and nothing passed more than discourses, "That I had no personal animosity to the Duke, but what fell from me in the last Parliament was my Judgment." Lord Peterborough said, "He would have me personally tell the Duke so, to undeceive the Duke." He brought me to the Duke, where nothing passed but compliments from the Duke, who said, "He would be my friend." Lord Peterborough said, "He was glad of the reconciliation, and that I should come again into the Commission of the Peace if I pleased." But I desired not to be troubled with it, and the Justices names that I gave in were not liked. Then Lord Peterborough asked me "What I thought the Parliament would do?" I replied, "They are a great body of wise men, and I know not what they will do." But says my Lord, "I hope you will be the Duke's friend." To which I said, "That according to the Justice of the matter propounded, I would give my Judgment." He said, "The Parliament would do well to accept the King's Proposition." Upon my honour, though I am charged with this Presbyterian Plot, I take God to witness, and let my limbs be torn from my body, before I would have had a hand in so dishonourable a thing. I have heard my name traduced, and therefore I thought fit to give you this account.

Colonel Titus.] Peyton has been detected to have been with the Duke of York at unseasonable hours; if he has no excuse to make for himself, he has a very poor invention. He came to Gadberry, with a cloak about his face, to enquire what would befall him in the forty-seventh year of his age. Peyton, by seeming to be at a wonderful distance from the King and Duke, has laid a trap, and gone about to blast Gentlemens reputations at Elections for Parliament-men, and I wonder how he can answer to himself, much less to the World, what he has done. I would have the Gentleman withdraw, and appoint a Committee to examine the matter against him. Sir Robert Peyton withdrew.

Debate on Dangerfield's Accusation of the Earl of Anglesea, &c. See the printed Narrative.

Lord Annesley.] Great discovery has been made by Dangerfield relating to great men. If my Lord Privy Seal (Anglesea) be guilty of what Dangerfield charges him with, I am sorry I am related to so ill a man. I hope I shall not suffer in the opinion of the House for my relation to him. I desire you may immediately go upon the accusation of these great men.

Sir Henry Capel.] I have sat here many years, and I find that every Session of Parliament we are still troubled with Popery. In the descent of four Kings, still the Parliaments have been troubled with Popery. Laws have been made against it, and all fail. Sometimes Popery is in the Ministers of State, and in another state too, the Clergy; and now, to our misfortune, we find it in the Heir presumptive of the Crown, and the son of that father who died a Martyr for the Protestant Religion. This Parliament is to consider, not only the preservation of the lives of the King and us, but the safety of all Christendom, and the safety of that part especially that is not willing to be under the French Government. Therefore let us turn over every stone—If no remedy will cure the sore to the bottom, it is strange. Complaints have been made of Invasion of our Properties, that they are not secure—Does that perfectly cure us?—Or Popery?—In the last Parliament we had a long Bill against it, but it had no success. Addresses to remove persons have troubled the House; but that will divide us, unless relative to the Plot; but if none of these will perfectly cure us, we must proceed to Popery. I have observed, that still, in War, or Peace, the intention of the Parliament has been subverted —You must root out Popery. We have seen War betwixt England and a Protestant Nation, which has cost blood on both sides. And we have seen the mighty King of France come full sail to be Arbitrator betwixt us. Whereas, in Queen Elizabeth's time, she would not suffer him to set out a cock-boat; and now he sends a Declaration out, "That we were the aggressors, and he would side with Holland." We have seen the Triple Alliance, which, had it been kept, might have brought that King to the Pyrenean Treaty. And from what spring has all this come, but from Popery and France, and France and Popery? As formerly it did from Spain, when as formidable as now France is. Lately, the last Long Parliament would enter into a War with France; and when the Confederacy was made, then we were to draw the sword; and instead of that, we had a General Peace. Now after all this, would you have War as it has been already made, or Alliances, till you are upon a Protestant bottom? And the suppression of Popery will never be till then upon a strong bottom, and till you bring the King to be head of the Protestant Party; and even Catholic Princes would be glad of it. They else, unless they see that, will not join with us. I believe the King of Spain would be glad of it. When the Plot first broke out, I saw a little Book, wherein it was wished the King of England would send a good Protestant Ambassador into Spain, and not a man of divided principles. This being so, you must fall upon Popery. I remember, some time ago, when we were very zealous for the Church, and made Laws against the Quakers, and that the Non-conformist Ministers should not be suffered in Corporations: And what did all this? At the end of twelve years comes out the Declaration for Liberty, and did undo all that had been done; and at the tail of it was liberty for Popery, and two or three little men came into the Ministry, and put tricks upon us. But I must speak it to the honour of the Dissenters in that Parliament, (if there were any) that they all voted against the Declaration. What have not the Commons done to suppress Popery, and preserve Property? And yet they have the greatest breach of their liberties, their goods taken from them, and yet nothing like to the break of the Bank (fn. 3). The spring of all these is from France and Popery, and nothing else. I should be glad to be rid of this thing, Popery, for another Reason: It has been buzzed about by ill men, "Let the King have a care of the Parliament; they will pull down the Crown." If Popery be but suppressed, none of these discourses dare be uttered. The Parliament brought in the King without blood—But of late, still we are told that the Church is in danger, and the actions of 1641 thrown amongst us. Another Reason: We should have no need of turning out Justices of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenants. We should have no need of suppressing Petitions for the sitting of the Parliament, for it is our liberty, (I bless myself that any man dares say the contrary) if it was not for Popery. The old English Government has been, to keep a good Correspondence betwixt the King and his people; the King living upon his Rents, and frequent Parliaments petitioning and offering the King presents; and the King had his subjects purses freely; and all this must naturally fall upon us, if we suppress Popery. Therefore I hope you will pass a Vote "To consider of the prevention of Popery, and a Popish Successor."

Sir Francis Winnington.] I believe that all here are willing to lay the foundation of the Protestant Religion, and come here, not out of prejudice to any persons, but to mend things. No man that knows any thing, but might be large upon the growth of Popery; and I shall show you the progress the Papists have made, since the dissolution of the last Parliament, by the Conspirators. When the good Patriots in the Long Parliament were out-voted in many things, yet they kept up the Protestant Religion. No man before the unhappy Dissolution of the last Parliament but was afraid that the Plot would have undone us. The Plot was discovered before the Long Parliament was dissolved; but there was a fate in it. The zeal of the last Parliament was to prepare things for Tryal of the Conspirators, which had so many interruptions of formalities, and we know what broke off that Parliament—Those minute and little things, not worth naming—But when things came quick upon them, then it was imputed to us, that we were hot men—They would have us moderate, and yet they know not what that was. When we were dissolved, they proceeded to no less than the turning the cannon upon us in the Protestant Plot; but it was a devilish ridiculous one of so many Lords and Gentlemen in it; and as they that invented it knew it was not true, so Protestants believed it not. As soon as the Protestants saw this, they were thinking how to secure themselves from this Book in the Meal-Tub (fn. 4). Things falling out thus, people knew not how to relieve themselves, so they go about to petition for the sitting of the Parliament—Papists were about town, and Protestants discouraged. So some make their Requests known in Grand Juries, and some in voluntary Petitions. Then comes out a Proclamation, and I am astonished who drew it. I believe that Mr Langhorn (fn. 5), had he been Attorney General, would not have been so insolent as to have drawn it. The Proclamation calls these "disorderly Petitions, tending to sedition:" Good God! what a case are we in? Judges of great eminence and integrity, that countenanced Petitions, were turned out, but I find not one Justice of Peace, popishly affected, turned out. Only such who in intervals of Parliament were active against Popery—When I consider this, there was another turn; a sort of men called "Abhorrers of petitioning for sitting of the Parliament." In several Charges of the Judges this Petitioning was proved Rebellion. Some ill or ill-considering men were drawn to abhor; and I hope some black character will be put upon those men, for an example to others. I have seen in a Gazette where the Courts of Justice have declared their extrajudicial Proceedings against printing without Licence, upon the Statute of Libels. But that truth should be suppressed is a badge of slavery—That nothing should be printed—now you must not tell truth. The King's Bench suppressed Care's (fn. 6) "Weekly advice against Popery." It seems, Popery was very uneasy to them, and they made a Rule of Court, that that book against Popery must not be published per aliquam personam quamcunque; that is, "No man shall write against Popery." How come the Judges to make a Law? When the Parliament is dissolved, Petitions are condemned, Abhorrers countenanced, and no man must write against Popery. When Grand Juries, who represent their Country, come, and their principal end is to suppress Popery, it fell out, that because there was a noise of some great men that were to be indicted for Popish Recusants, the Judges at the King's Bench dismiss them, and are resolved to let the Papists go (fn. 9). If Judges will thus act against their Oaths, and you shall not enquire after it for the service of your Country, here is a cessation of Justice in dismissing Juries whilst Indictments are depending, and this makes an end of all. When we see such a coherence and conspiracy against us, we must be ruined. The King, in his Proclamation, has said, we shall meet and sit, and he apprehended himself as well as us in danger from these men. Therefore let us go on to enquire into these miscarriages. Have not massacres been begun here (though the Papists say they are lies) on Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, that knew something of the Plot which Coleman would not have him? For the honour of our Religion, I desire Justice may be done upon these men, though I hate cruelty, and though all the Protestants in France were once assassinated. As for the assault upon Mr Arnold (fn. 7), I look upon him as much killed for the Public, as Godfrey was. If this be true, I say that life is sweet and Religion dear: I would preserve that Religion that must give me comfort when I am dying. But I fear, when the Parliament is gone home, the same game will be played again. Therefore let us keep up; and whereas the Papists say, this Parliament will alter the Government, whenever we once lay a foundation against this monster, Popery, the King and Kingdom will be glorious, our Civil Rights established, and we are slaves if they cease. If this be the case, pray put the Question for a Vote, "That we will proceed to secure the Nation against Popery, and to prevent a Popish Successor;" and if we do that, I hope the Protestant Religion will continue so long as the Sun and Moon shall endure.

Mr Montagu.] It will be a hard thing to say any thing after what has been so well debated. But out of duty and zeal to my Country, when so highly concerned, I shall presume to say, that if you please to look into the Court, the Council, the Country, Westminster-Hall, the Navy, the Forts, see who are preferred to Places, and by consequence who put them in! This convinces me, that Popery must come in, unless these things be prevented. Therefore pray put the Question as it has been moved.

Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That it is the Opinion of this House, to proceed effectually to suppress Popery, and to prevent a Popish Successor.

[Ordered, That Mr Dangerfield do put his Evidence into writing, and deliver it to the House to-morrow morning (fn. 8).]


  • 1. The Speaker, in his Speech of acknowlegement, most heroically devoted his estate, health, and life to their service, declaring also, in terms singular enough, "That he was their own Minister, their own only, their own entirely, and that he expected no boon, but by their grace and favour, to depart as he came, when they should please to command him." But resigned and devoted as he was to the House, he showed a more than ordinary stiffness when presented for his Majesty's approbation; making use of no disqualifying expressions, but standing before the Throne with the air of one, who expected, but who disdained to court, his Majesty's approbation. Ralph.
  • 2. Dangerfield, a subtle and dexterous man, who had gone through all the shapes and practices of roguery, and in particular was a false Coiner, undertook now to coin a Plot for the ends of the Papilts. He was in Jail for debt; and was in an ill intrigue with one Cellier, a Popish Midwife, who had a great share of wit, and was abandoned to lewdnels. She got him to be brought out of Prison, and carried him to the Countess of Powts, a zealous managing Papist. He, after he had laid matters with her, get into all companies, and mixed with the hottest men of the Town, and studied to engage others with himself to swear, "That they had been invited to accept of Commissions, and that a new form of Government was to be set up, and that the King and the Royal Family were to be sent away." He was carried with this story first to the Duke, and then to the King, and had a weekly allowance of Money, and was very kindly used by many of that side; so that a whisper ran about Town, that some extraordinary thing would quickly break out. Dangerfield having some correspondence with one Colonel Mansel, he made up a bundle of seditious but ill contrived Letters, and laid them in a dark corner of his room; and then some Searchers were sent from the Custom-House to look for some forbidden goods, which they heard were in Mansel's Chamber. There were no goods found, but as it was laid, they found that bundle of Letters; and upon that a great noise was made of a discovery. But upon enquiry it appeared the Letters were counterfeited, and the forger of them was suspected: So they searched into all Dangerfield's haunts, and in one of them they found a Paper that contained the scheme of this whole fiction, which, because it was found in a Meal-Tub, came to be called the Meal-Tub Plot. Dangerfield was upon that clapped up, and he soon after confessed how the whole matter was laid and managed: In which it is very probable he mixed much of his own invention with truth, for he was a profligate lyar. This was a great disgrace to the Popish Party, and the King suffered much by the countenance he had given it. Burnet.
  • 3. Meaning the shutting up of the Exchequer.
  • 4. See p. 354. Note.
  • 5. A notorious Papist, executed the year before.
  • 6. One Care was indicted for printing a weekly intelligence called "The Pacquet of Advice from Rome, or the History of Popery." This man had a strange knack of writing extraordinary well upon that subject, and the Paper was by most persons not only thought very ingenious, but also very useful at this time for the information of the people, because it laid open very intelligibly the errors and cheats of that Church. However, upon an Information given to the Court of King's Bench against this Care, this Rule was made; "Ordinatum est quod liber intitulat The Weekly Packet, &c. non ulterius imprimatur vel publicetur per aliquam personam quamcunque. Per Cur." Debates in the House of Commons for the year 1680.
  • 7. Lord Shaftesbury engaged the Lords Huntingdon, Grey of Work, Russel, Cavendish, Brandon, Sir Edward Hungerford, Sir Henry Calverly, Sir William Cowper, Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Sir Scroop Howe; Thomas Thynne, Thomas Forester, John Trenchard, and Thomas Wharton, Esquires, to go with him into WestminsterHall, and there to the Grand Jury for Middlesex all of them in a body publickly presented Reasons for indicting the Duke of York as a Recusant. The immediate effect of this daring action was not so great as was expected; for while the Jury were yet deliberating on the Presentment, the Court had the address to send for them up and discharge them. Ralph.
  • 8. One Mr Arnold, Justice of the Peace in Monmouthshire, who had distinguished himself by his zeal against Popish Recusants, was, about the middle of April (1680) waylaid in Bell-Yard, Fleet-Street, by two persons in disguise, who gave him four or five wounds in his body, and several cuts in his face, and, as it was given in evidence, would certainly have dispatched him, if it had not been for a pair of whalebone boddice, which, it seems, hindered the thrusts from being mortal. Ralph.
  • 9. See p. 358.