Debates in 1679: March 24th-25th

Pages 38-55

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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In this section

Monday, March 24.

Sir Henry Capel reports, That he has searched the Lords Journal of the last Session of the last Parliament, in reference to the Judges Opinions about Commitments. This is entered the 7th of December, 1678. "The Lords entering into the consideration of the Impeachment, two questions did arise: 1. Whether the Judges always commit, or take bail, upon an accusation of Treason? And, 2. Whether a person, being indicted for Treason, the Judges are obliged to commit him?" The Judges, before they gave answer, desired to consult with their brethren. After they had consulted, they gave this answer: "At the King's Bench they always do commit, or take bail, as they think fit, and that the Court of King's Bench may bail him." Then it was proposed, Whether they bail for Misprision of Treason? They answered, "They do it as they please, in discretion." The question being put, in the Lords House, Whether the Earl of Danby shall be committed, &c. it was resolved in the negative, and there was an entry of the Protestation of some Lords, &c. but that being no part of your Order, we look it not out. "Whereas the Earl of Danby is impeached by the Commons, &c. and the Commons have exhibited several Articles, &c. specified, Ordered, That the Earl of Danby have a copy of the said Impeachment, &c. and Counsel to assist him in point of Law, for his defence." Another entry made of the Opinion of the Lords, in reference to the State of the Impeachments the last Parliament: "March 19, 1678-9, the House taking into consideration Petitions of Appeal, &c. Resolved, That, in all Impeachments, and all incidents relating thereunto, &c. all Appeals, Writs of Error, &c. dissolution of Parliament does not alter the state of them."

Colonel Titus.] If this Impeachment be a slight business, and the Lords will not commit the party, and the Lords will take no notice of your Message, the Treasurer sits there to judge himself. Let this go, and you can never answer it to the world, if you slight it to that degree as to adjourn the consideration of the Lords not committing him, sine die. I move, therefore, that you will adjourn the consideration of this Report to Thursday, ten of the clock.

Sir Francis Winnington reports.] We repaired to the Chancellor, according to your command, to enquire into the manner of passing the Lord Treasurer's Pardon. The Committee went to the several Offices, where Pardons always must pass. At Mr Secretary Coventry's Office there was no entry, and Mr Secretary said, "He knew nothing of the entering any such Pardon in his Office." Then the Committee went to Lord Sunderland's Office, (the other Secretary.) Mr Bridgman, his Secretary, assured us, "There was no entry of the Pardon there." We then sent the Chairman of the Committee to Lord Sunderland, &c. He sent us word, "He knew nothing of the Pardon till the King acquainted the Parliament with it." We found no entry, &c. at the Signet-Office. From thence we went to the Lord Privy Seal's Office, where was no entry, &c. and the Lord Privy Seal farther said, "That if such a Pardon had come to his Office, he would very well have considered it before he would have passed it." Then we went to the Lord Chancellor, &c. who said, "As to the Pardon, &c. he neither advised it, drew it, nor altered one word of it—And as to the manner, &c. the Treasurer delivered it to him, and asked him, "Whether omnia et omnimoda indictamenta, &c. impetitus vel non impetitus, did extend to the Impeachment?" The date the 1st of March, &c. The Treasurer desired "That it might pass with all the privacy in the world, because he intended not to make use of it, except false winesses should be produced against him at his tryal, and then he would make use of it at an extremity." He thereupon wrote the Treasurer a Letter, "That it was for the service of the King, that the Pardon should be considered, and if he would take his advice, he should let the Pardon pass in the regular course, to prevent resuming the Impeachment against him." Then the next day he met him, he declared to him the same advice. The Treasurer told him, "That the King was resolved to have it done in all privacy." The next day, the King commanded the Seal to be brought to him, and commanded him to take it out of the bag. Then the King wrote his name on the top of the parchment, and the person that usually carries the Purse set the Seal to it; and at that very time this was done he looked not upon himself to have the custody of the Seal." And the Chancellor farther said, "He took upon himself to make no Memorial of the Pardon in his Office, and that it was a stamped Pardon by creation."

Mr Sacheverell.] By the Report that is made to you, it is visible, that this Pardon, and the manner of gaining it, is as dark as the crimes it has pardoned, against the Stat. of Rich. II. which directs the method of passing the Seal, &c. That this Pardon is nought, I doubt not, and not according to that Statute, nor do I doubt that, when his cunning has deceived you, you may have your end. The subject has a right of entering a Caveat against any Patent. In the name of the House, if you, by Order, &c. resolve that no such Patent be entered, I doubt not but it will be so effectual, as that never an Officer in England would dare to touch it.

Mr Garroway.] The Treasurer has mistaken himself in this, &c. and I am glad he has so. Now let him have no advantage upon you, since he has missed the right way. Go on with your business of the Caveat, that neither this, nor any other Pardon, pass in this clandestine way.

Sir Francis Winnington.] I propose, that a form of a Caveat, &c. may be drawn, to be entered at the several Offices. I believe that no learned man can pretend, that a Pardon can pass in bar of an Impeachment. It is a duty we owe to our King and Country to be very cautious how to proceed in this matter; and that it may be put into such method as may have effect, I would not confine ourselves to a Caveat; that looks too little for the Commons of England. Consider these two things; first, what to do in this; and then, how to prevent it for the future; and I hope you will resolve on apt methods to prevent such mischiefs for the future.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] What is moved is full of reason. But as to the matter of prevention of passing Pardons in all future cases; if the Commons urge, that no Pardon shall pass till they be heard, no particular man goes to a general—That no man shall get a Pardon, till I am heard—That no Pardon shall pass for robbing or killing such a man, till I am heard generally—That never was; but that a Pardon pass no farther than a Caveat can prevent.

Mr Sacheverell.] The Motion that I made was not general, but only to this particular and individual person, the Treasurer.

Serjeant Ellis.] This Report is of great concern to do something upon it. Consider whether the Chancellor, by the duty and trust of his place, ought not to have acquainted the King with the exorbitancy of this Pardon; neither fit for the King to grant, nor the Treasurer to receive, in a clancular and clandestine manner. I think that you may declare "that the Chancellor has not done the duty of his place to pass this Patent;" an illegal Patent both in matter and manner! I offer it to your consideration whether the Pardon is not absolutely void? The King is the fountain of Justice and Mercy; he may pardon offenders, but some things the King cannot pardon, though the Indictment be in the King's name; as that of the repair of a high way, or a bridge, or any nusance, because all the people are concerned in it, and it is pro bono publico, &c. and is not this matter of the Treasurer, &c. as public as a high-way, or a nuisance, or any other thing? This Impeachment is at the suit of all the Commons of England; neither the King nor the Attorney General are parties to it. It is in the nature of an Appeal of Rape, which the King cannot pardon. And now that all the Commons of England are in the nature of Appellants, I offer it to your consideration, and would have the Gentlemen of the Long Robe consider, whether this be a good Pardon, or valid in Law, or not. I advise that, notwithstanding this Impeachment of the House of Commons, this Pardon has walked in the dark—Let the Treasurer put his case to it, whether it be a good Pardon in Law, and put it whether he ought not to be imprisoned. I move therefore that you will go on to the Lords upon the Impeachment, and desire that the Treasurer may be imprisoned. This is the reason of all our misfortunes, that the Lords do not imprison him, and do us Justice at the first.

Mr Powle.] The entering a Caveat by this House in the several Offices, &c. against this Pardon of the Treasurers is a diminution of the authority of the House; our obligation must be to the King—Not the Officers to go to every petty Office to enter Caveats. The very procuring this Pardon is criminal, and it will make those that have been faulty in it criminal. As for the Pardon, I take it to be a void Pardon—By 13 Richard II. "all Pardons for Treason, Murder, Rapes of women, &c." 18 Hen. VI. "there must be a Warrant from the Chancery; and a recipe for the date of all Pardons;" otherwise obtained, they are void within that Stat. Pardons must go by regular steps, and all things are to pass through those hands that may be accountable for them; otherwise, both the King and the subject may be abused. Lord Coke, in his Institutes, says, "that if the Lord Chancellor put the King's Seal to a Grant, without a Warrant to a Grant, it is Treason." If any thing passes the Seal without a Warrant, it is void. It is true, that Writs, and things of ordinary course, as Pardons for killing a person se defendendo, or by Chance-medley, may pass without Warrant; but where there is not a Warrant for the Great Seal, as the Statute appoints, it is absolutely void. The Order of the day is "to consider of the Conference with the Lords on Saturday," where they acquainted you with their intention about a Bill for banishment of the Treasurer, &c. I suppose that the meaning of the Lords is, that you should lay aside the Impeachment and embrace that Bill; but that way is very improper; for I never heard of a Conference upon an Order for a Bill to be drawn up, from either of the Houses. The same power that brings in this Bill on Saturday may throw it out on Monday, and can this convince any reasonable man that we do Lord Danby Justice? If Danby can be had to answer Justice, then there is no need of this Bill, nor Bill of Attainder. Lord Cromwell advised an Act of Attainder, and the person was never brought to tryal, and Lord Cromwell was attainted in the same manner. I hope, as that was the first Precedent, &c. so it will be the last. If men fly from Justice, let an Act of Attainder follow them; but I am for this Lord's tryal, and I would go on in the same steps as before. One process of Law is as much as judgment of Court. The Lords deny Justice to this House, and the whole Kingdom, &c. and I would send a Message to the Lords to demand Justice of them, and send it in writing, to desire that this Lord may be committed; and when the Lords will not do it, and refuse to take it into consideration, if great men may offend with impunity, I know not what will come of it. Therefore I move as before.

Sir William Pulteney.] It may be this Pardon is conditional, and will depend upon Averment; but admitting that the form be good, and the Non obstante, I cannot speak to it till I see it; but whether the King can pardon any great Minister impeached by the House of Commons, or not, is the Question?

Sir Thomas Lee.] I would have you demand a Conference, upon the subject-matter of the last Conference, and so take an opportunity of reasoning with the Lords on your right, &c. and how this Bill is not suitable to Justice, and that it will look like an encouragement, &c. of their assuming to commit, or not commit, a person impeached of Treason, arbitrarily, and the offender may be protected for want of Justice, that he may retire into the country. What is before you to-day is not the Pardon, &c. whether it be good or not good, but that the Lords should let slip the opportunity of committing him, and that he should be so near the King, as to put you to all this trouble. You may show the Lords, that they are the Great Court of Justice, and how can they punish inferior Courts for delay of Justice, when they snew them the example?

Sir Thomas Meres.] I would have a Conference with the Lords, rather than a Message; it loses time; as papers and letters do, when persons may speak together. I would ask a Conference upon the subject-matter of the last Conference.

Mr Vaughan.] By what appears to us, this Pardon, thus let go by the Lord Chancellor, is as ill as what Lord Danby has done. What we go to confer about, is not ours or the Lords right, as to the Pardon, but the right of the Kingdom. All the traytors in England may get away at this rate. I would therefore send to the Lords, to demand Justice against the Earl of Danby.

Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That a Message be sent to the Lords, to demand Justice, in the name of the Commons of England, against Thomas Earl of Danby; and that he may be immediately sequestered from Parliament, and committed to safe custody.

On a Motion for an Address to the King, to represent the irregularity of the Earl of Danby's Pardon, &c.

Mr Sacheverell.] I remember, of late, but one singular instance that you have had benefit by Addresses. That against the Duke of Lauderdale, and for preventing the growing greatness of France, you had excellent success in. That's a single instance against all, &c.

Colonel Birch.] I remember not that success in other things, as in the Declaration, but I know not why we should not lay before the King the prejudice this will create, if the King renews the Pardon of Lord Danby. It is impossible this Nation should be defended, if there be this precedent of Money squandered away, as has been in these six years last past. There are twelve or thirteen petty farms upon the Customs, though given for the defence of the Seas by Act, &c. I would let the King know this. A thing may be well done by three or four Officers, and ill done with fourteen by putting in a friend. Money has been forgiven and remitted, for what consideration I know not. What has been well done with 400,000l. has been ill done with 700,000l. In the garrisons of thirty guns, not ten mounted; and this, by putting in friends to be Officers. As for the Plot, "Damn me, why should they meddle with the Plot?" And "There goes Oates, (says Danby) the Saviour of England; I hope to see him hanged within a month;" and persuades others to go away where they say he is gone—Rather be under one tyrant than a hundred—I mean France. As for this Pardon, had I a hundred lives to breathe, I would not breathe one of them if these things be endured. I would therefore represent to the King, in all humility, that he would be pleased to lay aside this Pardon.

Mr Garroway.] I would address the King with submission and gentleness; but before they should touch one penny of our Money, I would have satisfaction about this Pardon. But when they come with strained stories of necessity for Money, next to Perjury, the Plot was upon our purses, and then we were sent home, and did nothing for the Nation; and for these eighteen years we have done nothing. But I hope these Gentlemen will be wiser. If you will address the King, I am not against it, &c. and send to command the inferior Officers, &c. for the rest.

Sir John Ernly.] What calls me up is not for Money; I had no thoughts of it; but for the embezzlement of the Treasury for these seven years, as is alleged. I have a paper in my hand, of what has been done in the Exchequer. Of 900,000l. there has gone 700,000l. to the Navy, and the Bankers; since these six years, not particular to the King's purse one penny. But the additional Duty went only to the King's purse.

Mr Vaughan.] When a Motion for Money is unseasonable, it will be denied when it is seasonable. When Laws are broken, it is not by the Prince, but by his Ministers. Addresses have been denied; but (to what Ernly moved) as we have been unfortunate in our Addresses, so has the King been in having such Ministers, that have advised him to deny our Addresses. When Laws were abused, we addressed; and when we gave the King good reasons, he yielded to us, and you have as good reasons now as ever. You had success then, and I hope you will have so now.

Sir Francis Winnington.] When we appeal to the King in his Royal power, then it is reasonable he should do us right; but an Address is a kind of compliment and wish, and the King may deny us. All that is desired now is, to represent to the King the undue manner of Lord Danby's obtaining this Pardon. The parchment was brought to the King. I would know who brought it, ready cut and dried! When great men are too hard for honest men—All have complained of the exorbitancy of this man; and we are like to do little service in Parliament, when all the Answer to an Impeachment from the Commons is a Pardon. My Motion is, "That you would make an Address to the King to stop any farther Pardon, and on Thursday take into consideration how to prevent such unexampled mischiefs for the future." Else I shall neither esteem my life, nor my estate, to be my own.

Lord Cavendish.] I would have a Committee appointed to draw up an Address to the King, as was done in the case of the Declaration, "That such Pardons may not pass, but by Act of Parliament."

Sir Thomas Lee.] There is a difference betwixt desiring the King, "that it may be done for the future," and saying, "that it is against Law, and it ought not to be done." As Sir Thomas Clifford said, "Give the King Money by Land-Tax this once, and you shall for the future petition the King that you might give Money by LandTax again." If you enter a Caveat against this Pardon in the Offices, &c. it is below the dignity of the House. If you address the King, &c. I would express that the Pardon is against Law.

Colonel Titus.] You were told the other day (by Howard) of the dismal state of the Exchequer by anticipations, and now by Ernly of the good estate of it, and what vast debts have been paid by this Treasurer, and a course taken for the payment of the Bankers; but in six Terms it will appear, there has been 231,000l. paid by the Treasurer for secret service. Both these accounts cannot be true. By another you are told, "that the Revenue is so anticipated, it is impossible to be redeemed." I am of opinion that you address the King, but am far from thinking it fit for the House to enter a Caveat, and as far from commanding the inferior Officers not to enter the Pardon, &c. But you may address for the inferior Officers to be punished for entering it. Put a brand upon this surreptitious way of obtaining Pardons, and provide against such things for the future. Back your Address with reasons, and appoint a Committee and prepare your reasons to obviate such an inconvenience for the future.

Resolved, That an humble Address be made to his Majesty, representing to his Majesty the irregularity and illegality of the Pardon lately granted to the Earl of Danby; and the dangerous consequence of granting Pardons to any persons that lie under an Impeachment of the Commons of England.

Mr Goring.] I understand that this is the day appointed for Mr Oates and Mr Bedlow to give evidence against some Members, &c. and I understand that Mr Oates has complained of me. I thought it a great misfortune; but if I gave Mr Oates ill language, he was even with me. I had a bad journey yesterday, and I expect my ague today, and I desire Mr Oates may be heard now.

It was adjourned to the next day.

Tuesday, March 25, 1679.

Mr Oates, at the Bar, reads his accusation against Mr Edward Sackville, viz. After the House of Commons had declared the Plot, and that I had given my evidence against Mr Coleman, and he was found guilty and executed, &c. Mr Sackville declared frequently in discourses, "That it was no Plot, and that he would lay 100l. that Oates was proved a rogue and a rascal."

The Speaker gave Mr Oates a reprimand for what he said the other day, viz. "The King holds his Crown by the same title I hold my liberty, &c."

Mr Oates answered,] I am sorry I gave offence to the House, in what I said, but it was my conscience, and it was truth; and though I may not say it here, I will say it elsewhere, and believe it too. He was ordered to withdraw.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Pray consider what this House will come to, if persons be permitted to speak here at this rate.

The Speaker resumed the Chair.

Sir Robert Howard.] Mr Oates went very high in his expressions the other day, and you gave him a gentle reprimand, but now he has asserted the judgment of the House of Commons and his judgment to be different. He says, "that he would say the words elsewhere." Let him know that the House will not suffer it. It is a high thing, and I would have him told of it sharply by the Speaker.

Sir Robert Peyton.] It will be very hurtful to give any discouragement to the King's Evidence. It has already gone all over the city.

Sir John Ernly.] He tells you, notwithstanding your tenderness in reprimanding him, "that he will say the words elsewhere." Send for him, and give him a reprimand.

Mr Garroway.] I would not enter into a Debate of this nature. Mr Oates is a passionate man, and none of the best mannered men, but no man can regularly censure Mr Oaies, but he must debate the merits of the thing he has said. Send for him in, and only admonish him to use better language for the future, but I would by no means enter into the arguments of the merits of the thing.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] This language is like a woman indicted for being a whore, and she says, "she is as honest as any woman in the highest place." This is very indecent.

Sir Robert Howard.] I know not but your safety depends upon what Mr Oates has to say of the Plot, and I would not discourage him.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I am concerned to speak at this time. Could I sit still, I would. Though the words which fell from Mr Oates are very considerable, and though they were true, yet all truth is not to be said at all times. You can do no less than reprimand him for what he has said; yet, though he be great evidence, he is not to be privileged to say what he pleases. The Long Parliament, in the height of their discontents, &c. were very tender of any reflections upon the King, though Debates went high in the House. You can do no less than reprimand him.

Colonel Titus.] I am in some difficulty what to say. I commend Mr Oates's zeal, but I like not his heat. He has used the House of Commons little better than the King. I am not to be angry with a man for pulling me out of a ditch, though he tears my cloaths. Let him be called down, give him a reprimand, and let him proceed to manage his evidence.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Consider of it farther, before you call him down. Should he not answer your expectation, what would you do with him? The fault was only the unmannerliness of the expression. Consider of it. Should he say still "that it is his opinion," and you send him to the Tower, and that opinion be upon your Books, a day or two hence he may be cooler, and pray defer it.

Mr Seymour.] This is a new way of proceeding. Persons who have been reprimanded at your Bar, ought to go away satisfied with your pleasure. Though Mr Oates has done, and may do, great service to the Public, yet he has no privilege to be saucy to his Prince, and uncivil to you. When you told him of a thing not fit to be done, he tells you, "he will do it." You can do no less than reprimand him.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] I am glad you are out of this business, for fear you should fall into a worse business. I would have you tell Mr Oates, "That the House expects not expostulations nor answers from him, but obedience to the House, and no more."

Mr Oates at the Bar.

The Speaker.] I am commanded by the House to tell you, that the House is not satisfied with the reply you made when you was reprimanded for what you said the other day, and it does not become you at all. You come not here to expostulate, but to obey the Orders of the House.

Then Mr Oates produced the following evidences against Mr Sackville.

Mr Ray.] Mr Sackville said, "That Mr Oates, the main evidence against Berry, Hill, and Green, was perjured, and that the Parliament were a pack of knaves and fools to take cognizance of two such perjured rogues as Oates and Bedlow, and that, to his knowlege, the Plot would prove a fanatical sectary Plot to destroy Monarchy. That Bedlow was a perjured rogue, and a highway-man, and, he wondered that the House would take cognizance of him." This Mr Sackville said at the Coffeehouse in Bow-street, Covent Garden.

Mr Franklin.] I was at the Coffee-house, about a fortnight after Mr Coleman's tryal, where Mr Sackville said, "He thought that Mr Oates was mistaken in his evidence, and would lay a wager, that Mr Oates was proved perjured in a fortnight's time."

Mr Molineux.] I was at the Coffee-house with Franklin, and heard Mr Sackville say, "That it was no Plot, and it would be proved no Plot, for the evidence would be proved perjured in a month's time; and he would lay 100l. to some shillings, that there was no more truth in the Plot, than in the killing of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey; for it was the opinion of the best of the land, and the King believed that he had killed himself, and was not murdered." I was questioned by Mr Oates, why I did not complain of Mr Sackville; but men of better quality than myself heard what was said, and therefore I thought not fit to do it.

Mr Tizard.] I heard Mr Sackville in discourse several times say, "That there was no Plot, and that Oates and Bedlow were rogues, and not to be believed." But I do not remember particular words. At another time, in a great discourse, he was arguing against the Plot, and said, "Possibly we were in a dream, and that it was no Plot, and no murder, &c." and threatened to beat me for saying the contrary.

Mr Speke.] I was at the same Coffee-house, when I heard Mr Sackville say confidently, "That it was no Plot, and that Oates and Bedlow were rogues and rascals."

Mr Irwin, an old Taylor.] I heard Mr Sackville say, "That Oates and Bedlow were rascals, and that none but fools would believe them."

Another said, "he did remember little of Coffee-house talk; company came to him from the other table, and said, "they admired to hear so much vindicating of Popery."

Robert Smith.] I cannot say much of particulars, but observed Mr Sackville very zealous to persuade persons that there was no Plot, after the House of Commons had voted it a Plot, and persons were executed upon their Evidence, and "that none but fools and knaves would believe it a Plot." They withdrew.

A Message from the Lords, by Baron Thurland and Baron Littleton, That their Lordships had taken into consideration the matter relating to the Earl of Danby, and had ordered the Usher of the Black Rod (before they had received the last Message from this House) to take him into custody, and bring him to the Bar of the House of Lords to-morrow morning, and that the Usher had returned their Lordships answer, that he could not be found (fn. 1).

Mr Sackville.] I have heard my Lord Chief Justice Scroggs say, "That it was Mr Coleman's Letters, and not the evidence, that condemned him." As to the whole matter that has been said against me, it is a hard thing to prove a negative; it is impossible. But I have behaved myself so all my life, as never to be against the King, nor the Government. I believe that there was a Plot, but not every thing of the Plot. I shall limit my discourse so for the future, as not so much as to name Mr Oates, nor any thing of his former life. He withdrew.

Serjeant Maynard.] Our throats were in danger of being cut, and the King's life of being taken away, and Oates gave information of it. Coleman was tryed; his Letters were produced, which justified Oates's evidence; upon which he had his prosecution and death. The House of Commons voted this a Plot, &c. and the Lords also, and tryal went upon this, and clear evidence was the conviction of Coleman. What is now before you? We are called "fools, and knaves, and rogues, and mad men," for believing it. I hope the Gentleman will not continue among us, to be a companion of fools and knaves. Where did this Gentleman do this? At a coffee-house and taverns. It has been a great design, and general in the Nation, to disgrace the evidence and the Parliament, and then the Plot was a foolish thing. It is a great charge upon this Gentleman, and deserves the severest censure that can be. Put him into such a condition, that Mr Oates and Mr Bedlow may have remedy against him, and that is by expelling him the House.

It was moved, that the Evidence against Mr Sackville might be read.

Mr Hampden.] I remember not that ever the Clerks did read an Evidence given viva voce at the Bar, unless when a paper is given in (to be read) by the Evidence. The crime of this Gentleman is invalidating the King's Evidence. What has been delivered by the Witnesses is not so long, but it may be remembered. You need no more than to consider whether the Evidence be sufficient to prove the charge against the Gentleman.

Mr Vaughan.] Though the words were spoken of a Parliament that is gone, and dissolved, yet as to the Plot, their opinion is still your opinion. The words proved upon this Gentleman are as bad as can be; and if you believe them to be spoken, you need not any farther to have the Evidence repeated.

Sir Francis Winnington.] The particulars, as I apprehended, of the Evidence, were, that this Gentleman should say, "That Oates and Bedlow were perjured rogues," and "that the Parliament that voted it to be a Plot, were a pack of fools and knaves, that would meddle with the Plot, or believe it." Smith, and the first Evidence, proved, "That he said it was a fanatical Plot to destroy Monarchical Government." Pray put these things down in your Question.

Mr Du Bois bringing the words he had collected from the Evidence to the Clerk,

Sir William Coventry said,] No man takes notes exactly, and no man is to be believed more than another. When Witnesses give Evidence at a tryal, no man takes notes of it for the Jury, but they may take notes for themselves. When a Committee reports a matter, &c. then the Evidence is reported, because all of the House are not present at the Committee, and so all must be informed of the Evidence, to give judgment upon it. But in this case you have nothing farther to do, but to give your opinion of the whole matter. If you believe the Evidence, then put it into a general charge.

Resolved, That it appears to this House, by Evidence heard this day at the Bar, that Mr Edward Sackville, a Member of this House, has, in several public discourses, dishonoured and aspersed the King; and that he has gone about to make it be believed that there is no Popish Plot, by vilifying and disparaging the evidence given for the discovery thereof, and contemning the Proceedings of Parliament thereupon; and endeavouring to stifle the belief of the murder of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey by the Papists.

Ordered, That Mr Edward Sackville be sent to the Tower, and that he be expelled the House.

On a Motion that the King be moved to turn him out of his employments, &c.

Mr Secr. Coventry.] He has committed great faults, and all extensive to his punishment. But when the King is particularly moved, I would not have you confine the King to punishment, but leave that to the King.

Sir William Coventry.] The King must take cognizance that this Gentleman is turned out of the House. Is it your intention to have that a secret? For these and other reasons, the King may examine the matter over again, to punish it his own way; therefore I would leave that part of your punishment to the King, to do in it as he pleases.

Mr Boscawen.] It is worthy your consideration, whether you will acquaint the King that you have turned out your Member; but then you may let the King know his crimes, and you will see whether such persons will be kept still about the King.

Mr Mildmay.] The danger of England is not so much by Papists, as by Protestants in masquerade—Some prosessed Protestants hold dangerous correspondences with Papists; and whether this Gentleman be not such a correspondent, as disparages the Protestants, and King, and Parliament? This now is a precedent—The spirit of England is as much in this Plot as ever; but I know not how that place was spirited that sent this Gentleman hither. I would therefore address the King, to let him see the sense of the House, of the danger the Kingdom is in, of any man thus mixed and touched, to be in any employment; and humbly to desire his Majesty, that he may be dismissed from all his employments, and disabled from farther employment; that this may be no discouragement to Parliaments.

Resolved, That his Majesty be humbly addressed to remove Mr Sackville from all public Employments and Trusts.

Mr Boscawen.] When sentence is giving, the Serjeant ought to be within the Bar with the Mace, and the Gentleman without the Bar. I know not how you will favour this Gentleman, but, by course of Parliament, he ought to kneel while the Speaker gives the sentence.

Lord Cavendish.] I like any opinion of the House that looks like justice, and not animosity. Col. Wanklyn was turned out of the House, for selling protections, and he did not kneel (fn. 2). I would have nothing look like partiality.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I am unwilling to speak in this case, but I would not have examples of the last Parliament, where we were pretty tender to one another. No man knew, in Wanklyn's case, whose turn it might be next. When judgment is given to a man's face, he always kneeled, &c. In the last Parliament, some were sent to the Tower without hearing their sentence. But pray let this sentence be, according to the old course of Parliament, kneeling.

Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] All the Journals since Queen Elizabeth's time show, that all persons sentenced at the Bar were upon their knees, and I know no reason this Gentleman should be dispensed withal.

No Question was put upon Mr Sackville's receiving his sentence upon his knees, it being agreed to be the constant Order of the House.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] I am not satisfied with it, but would have a Question for it.

Sir Thomas Player.] In putting this Question, pray do not make a doubt, whether you'll have less honour done you than your Predecessors have had. It is an acknow ledgment that he was a guilty person, and his sentence just, and pray let old customs be kept.

Sir Ralph Ashton.] I never knew that a criminal was not brought upon his knees to receive his sentence at the Bar, since the 21st of King James.

Mr Sackville was brought to the Bar, and kneeling,

The Speaker said,] The House has considered of the crimes you have been accused of, and the evidence, &c. They find them of a dangerous nature, and tending to the dishonour and scandalizing of the King, and justifying those who were in conspiracy against his life. You have contemned the Parliament, and slighted the Members; you have cut off mens procuring further discovery of the Plot; and, in what you say in your discourse, you follow the dead to his grave, (Godfrey,) who died for his service to the King and Kingdom. Therefore I am ordered to tell you, that you are to be committed to the Tower; and, because you have so little regard to the safety of the King and Kingdom, I am to discharge you from your attendance any longer in Parliament.

Mr Sackville.] I hear there is an Address intended to the King to remove me from my employment. I hope it is not the desire of the House to ruin me, for I have nothing else to eat bread with.

He was taken into the Serjeant's custody.

Mr Oates named several Members for evidence against Mr Sackville.

[Ordered, That a Bill be brought in to summon Thomas Earl of Danby to render himself to justice, by a day to be therein limited, or, in default thereof, to attaint him.]


  • 1. Though the Gentleman Usher reported, that the bird was flown, yet the contrary was true; for though his servants denied him, both at his house in town and at Wimbleton, Sir John Reresby saw him come out of his closet at midnight, from a consultation with his intimates the 24th, which was the very day the Lords made the Order for his commitment; and when he did disappear, it was only to take sanctuary at Whitehall Ralph.
  • 2. See Vol. V. p. 57.