Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 8. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
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Saturday, December 11.
[Resolved, in the Committee, That, in the Borough of Agmondesham, those Inhabitants only who pay Scot and Lot, have right to give Voices at the Election of Burgesses to serve in Parliament for the said Borough.] Obj. Burgage-Houses have Votes sui juris. "Paying Scot and Lot" are old Saxon antiquated Customs.
Sir William Jones.] This Question, of voiding the Election, ought not to be confined to Buckinghamshire. Persons ought not to have Voices, unless they contribute to the public Charge. England was never under so happy a change as not to pay Tenths and Fifteenths, Taxes and Subsidies. By the Argument I have heard, we shall have Alms-men to have Voices in Elections. Whoever has the misfortune to be a Pauper, must bear that, and if he be not able to pay towards the Charge of the Government, he ought not to have liberty of Choice of Representatives. You will have beggars, at this rate, come to have Voices, and what Choice they will make, you may know. In an Election of Knights of the Shire, an Elector must not only have a Freehold, but it must be of the value of forty shillings a year, which, when that Law was made, was as much as twenty pounds a year is now. This Borough was revived forty years ago, and that will make no Prescription, though possibly used by an Indulgence; in this case there is no Prescription. They bear no part of the burden of the Government, and are most liable to temptation of bribery for their Voices. I would have substantial men chuse Representatives; therefore I would not agree with the Committee.
Mr Powle.] By common Right, all ought to have Voices of Election in Boroughs, sui juris. He that is worth twenty shillings is as much rated, according to his proportion, as he that is worth twenty thousand pounds, though possibly not taxed above a fourth, or a half farthing, not worth gathering; but still he bears his proportion. It is not what the man pays, for he may bear it personally, though not in his purse. Custom cannot take place in this case, here. This Borough is not by Prescription, which is "out of man's memory," but revived forty years ago. Such as are not actually rated, if they are rateable, ought to have Votes.
Monday, December 13.
Sir William Jones, after having spoken of the continuation of the Plot, said,] It is worthy your consideration, that the Committee for the Tryals of the Lords look into their Papers, to see what Evidence they have against the rest of the Lords; if they have not two, that we may punish them by Imprisonment or Banishment, that the Nation may be secured. For that little time we are to sit (which I know not how long it will be) let us be like the man in the Gospel, that, when the hour comes, we may be found so doing. It is most profitable to do things most necessary, and I would have nothing else to intervene.
Mr Hampden.] I am impatient that we have done no more in this great work, moved by the learned Gentleman. It is fit for you to maim Popery, that it tread not on your heels. At present, it seems, we are in a Dead Sea. The Kingdom expects it from you, and the Nation; nay the Lords in the Tower, to be kept still in prison, and nothing proved against them. These things are fit for your consideration. You will know the danger of the Papists, when you are up. Thus far, therefore, I shall move you; and appoint your Committee to look over your Evidence against all persons concerned in the Plot—But yet there is such Evidence against the Lords in the Tower, though not sufficient to satisfy the Judicial Authority of Parliament, yet there may be such as may be fit only for the Legislative, and many others who have less proof against them may employ the Legislative Power. In the mean time, I move that the Committee may be appointed to pick out the names of them, whom they have the greatest Evidence against; and report them to you.
Sir John Hotham.] I like well these Motions. Jones moved a great thing, like himself, but you have not the Muster-roll of the Papists great enough before you. I like well that the Knights of the Shire bring in the names of all Recusants convict in their Counties; but I think there is not a Papist of Quality in England but is guilty of cutting all your throats: If I were to die, I think so. There are several other points; but we are not one bit safer than when we came hither first. As Joab said to David, Let us do like men, and leave the success to God. We do not only labour under Popery, but desperate arbitrary Power. By that Pensioning Parliament I was afraid every day that the Nation would have been given away. He that brought us to this, will not leave us now. We shall never be undone but by them. Some Laws which that Parliament made (Gentlemen then did see light at a little hole, I will not particularize them) may ruin us. Therefore I move this, "That you will be pleased to take into consideration Arbitrary Power;" how far it has been sustained, even by those Laws. I desire that a Committee of the whole House may consider these things in general.
Sir Trevor Williams.] I do not so much fear the Papists, as Protestants. One has so many Counties under his command (Marquess of Worcester.) A man, so rotten in his Principles, to have such a Command! You may have all your throats cut.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Every one is ripping up the dangers we lie under. I do not think we shall knock all our enemies down at once. You are moved for the Committee, &c. which may examine what Protestants have had a hand in the Plot, as well as Papists. He that destroys me, I will destroy him if I can. I would have this matter of Sheridan farther enquired into. I close now with the first Motion, "To proceed upon those we have Evidence against."
Colonel Titus.] We have fat now several days since the Tryal, and these long Discourses of our Dangers put me in mind, that, in the Long Parliament, when we were proceeding upon an actual War against France, and gave Money for an Army; when we were busy in this matter, there came a Message from the Lords, "That they had Matters of great Importance to communicate to us;" which was, "That the Roof of the House was falling on our heads." Now the Roof is falling on our heads by the Plot, is there one step made forward in it, or any prospect? One would not think France was half so valiant, and that our Navy was out at sea—But we have no Ships nor Stores, no security at home or abroad: Like the Philosopher contemplating the Stars, and falling into a Ditch. The most considerable Papists are in this Town. The first thing King James and King Charles did, was to banish them out of Town—And to see the security we are in now, in the midst of our dangers, is strange. I will tell you a story. A Gentleman came to me one morning, well-habited, but his business was to beg. I expected a bigger errand from him. I told him, "I see you are in the garb of a Soldier, let your Religion be what it will; if you are a Papist, you may find employment under the King of France; if a Protestant, under the Prince of Orange. It is a sad thing such a man should go a begging!" He told me, "He should be glad to do it, but that himself and others were kept here with a mean Pension, sometimes paid them, and sometimes not, but they were told, that ere long there would be something for them to do." I join in the Motions that have been made, "To order the Committee to give you an account, what Persons they have Evidence against, what they are accused for, and what Proofs against them; and to take care to secure yourselves the best way you can, &c." and resolve, "That the Committee of the whole House consider the State of the Nation;" else we may be all lost. At first, things may be easily cured, though not so easily perceived. When things have got strength, they are more easily seen, but not so easily cured—And, "That the Committee may have power to bring in a Bill of Banishment of the Papists ten miles from London, and from the Court."
Sir Francis Winnington.] This House has been industrious in finding out and suppressing the Plot; and if others had been as willing as we, the Plot had not thus proceeded; but our business is not to die like fools. To say, that, because there may be but one single Witness, and the Papists pass with impunity, is as much as to say, "Let them cut your throats." This is a national Plot, and must have national Proceedings, and not to pick out one man only, as we have done Lord Stafford, to proceed against. It is not the intention of the Nation to tell the Lords what Evidence you have against them. As to that moved, of banishing the Papists twenty miles from London, it is as little as can be; it is dangerous to make in Parliament any exclusive Vote. I observe, that not one step has been made against the Papists since we came hither, nor do the new Justices suppress Popery more than before: No great Ministers have been removed, though Protestants yet are popishly affected—There are those that support the Papists: I would have those affected. I would not make any exclusive Vote, but, "That this House will, de die in diem, consider how the sense of the Nation is against Popery." When this is done, instruct your Committee how to give you an account of the Evidence. But this Grand Committee is to consider the State of the Kingdom, and when it is once ten of the clock, to let fall all other business, and put your finger upon the right point.
Sir William Jones.] I would have my Motion well understood. I would not have the Committee report the Evidence against any one, that they have two Statute Witnesses, but those that have not two against them, to report their names and cases. I would not excuse Sheridan. I would resume this matter still at ten of the clock, let other business be what it will.
Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That this House will, on Wednesday morning next, at ten of the clock, resolve itself into a Grand Committee, to consider of Ways and Means to secure the Kingdom against Popery and Arbitrary Power.
Mr Trenchard.] Consider how restless the spirit of Popery has been ever since the Reformation. This Plot was so near the execution, and the Papists are still so insolent, that you must not only suppress them, but extirpate them, or they will extirpate us.
Sir William Jones.] That we may lose no time, I will put you in mind of the Statute 3James, by which the Papists were not to resort to this City. That Act is wonderfully deficient, for it is only for Papists convicted. The Papists shelter themselves here, and keeping them from hence will be one step to your security. Therefore pray order a Bill, in which you will banish all manner of Papists from this Town, and some from the Kingdom.
Mr Hampden.] Do not think, by such a Bill as this, to preclude yourselves from doing something farther. The Apprentices Plot was not so slight a thing as not to take effect under pretence of Tumult. Here is your danger; numbers of Papists about this Town. They that bring in a Bill, must leave Blanks for distance of Place. This is for present security. I would not grasp at too much at a time. By these steps, you go through your work. Banish them first this Town.
Sir Thomas Lee.] It is far from me to think that this Bill will be a plenary security. This great Town is a receptacle of people that may get into Arms with multitudes. This was the Place where the Papists intended to kill the King. I do not doubt but you will send the greatest away, that by their fortunes may support Popery; the little people cannot shift for themselves beyond sea, and we shall want their mouths: That may therefore be left to consideration.
Sir Robert Clayton.] I think, your entrance into this matter is well moved. We see nothing else but disorder and danger about now. I would not have one Bill only; the sore will be too big for the plaister: There are multitudes of buildings in this Town, inhabited by unknown unacountable persons, in houses with crucifixes upon them; they may throw multitudes into the City. Give them the plunder of the Town, and those rascally sort of people may be headed by any body: They may help Protestants as well as Papists; those that have the first occasion for them. Therefore I would secure London, and let this be one step to our common security, "That all Papists be banished twenty miles from London."
Colonel Titus.] I would not only have an objection answered, but remedied. "Drive the disease, if you can, from the vital parts," is the first thing the Physician does. If the Papists go with their Arms into the Country, the Kingdom may be in danger. Therefore I would have a Clause for disarming the Papists, and for effectual disarming them. The danger may justify your Proceedings, if it be made Felony for a Papist to ride armed.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I think it well moved, and I would have Jones and Hampden bring in a Bill to banish them twenty miles from London, the lines of communication. Preserve this City, and a great part of your security is gained. But as we cannot do this business all at once, so you have made a good step in what you have done, and, as it has been moved, "if Papists ride armed, to make it Felony." If you allow them to ride armed, they may easily repair higher again. I would not have the Bill of Banishment so extensive as to all the Papists in the Country; you will extend it not to all, but the most eminent, not those of inferior rank. For the present, I would have the Banishment of them extend to this Town, and Felony for any of them to ride armed.
Colonel Birch.] I sit uneasy whilst you are talking of these ways, as I did to-day, when you spent your time about the Turkey Company (fn. 1). Now you are going to take away the General, there is no danger of an Army. I have longed to see what kind of shed we shall have to keep us dry. I am never for encouraging a sort of people whom you cannot suppress. But when I with dread consider, that, by the Act of Militia, "No man must resist, or take up Arms against one commissioned by the King," you must think of something else than has been proposed. We do not know how soon somebody else may be King. I speak this the rather, that Gentlemen may by Wednesday summon up their thoughts, that when we see our safety rational, we may rely upon it. By all that you do, without some such cure, you do but increase our fears.
Sir Henry Capel.] We had better have half a loaf, than no bread: The whole loaf is the Bill that is lost in the Lords House. This House, I hope, will not sit down without thoughts of that Bill. Still the first Motion today was in pursuance of the Plot. This Motion now for a Bill is a present remedy against our danger. But if you proceed to consider the present State of the Nation on Wednesday, I hope that will bring in all our dangers.
Sir William Jones.] I desire to know whether I deserve the reflection that Capel has made upon me, as if by this Bill, &c. we depart from other things? I have learned here, that if one would hinder a thing from passing, other things are alleged as necessary as that. But you will never do any thing, unless something have precedency. Proclamations have been against Papists, in the late King's time and this, without effect. I think this Bill moved is not intended to be proceeded in, when all the rest are ready, but this is preferable for our present safety. This matter is of this nature, that we would be secure here, whilst we are debating this great matter. But because that great thing is not done (the Bill of Exclusion) shall we not do those things that may ease the way to the greatest? Let us, therefore, go to this matter of banishing the Papists from London; though it be not the greatest matter, yet it is great.
Mr Hampden.] I am far from offering you any false security. If I deceive the House, I should not deceive myself. I take not this Bill for a remedy, but, sincerely, that this should lead you into farther remedy. Your danger is not only from Papists, but counterfeit Protestants. When all is done, you are but insecure without that great Bill; and if ever you come to that, do you think there is any security out of this Town, if the Papists ride with Arms? Other things will come on, but in the mean time do not let it be resented that these have been full remedies. In that I should mislead you, who must partake of the danger.
[Ordered, That Leave be given to bring in a Bill for banishing all Papists, and suspected Papists, from the Cities of London and Westminster, and twenty miles of the same, and for disarming of all Papists; with a Clause of Pains and Penalties against all such Papists as shall ride, go, or be armed: And a Committee was appointed accordingly.]
Tuesday, December 14.
Sir William Roberts reports, from the Committee, the matter relating to Sir Robert Peyton (fn. 2).
Sir Robert Peyton.] I am a little surprized to hear this Report. I did not hear this language at the Committee. Gadbury moved my meeting Lord Peterborough at his House to me, not I to him. I did say to the Duke, "That I was for the Bill of Exclusion, not for any pique against him, but for the good of the Nation." I never saw Mrs Cellier, nor heard of her, till after I was with my Lord of Peterborough, who repeated the actions that the Duke took ill from me. Mrs Cellier asked for Gadbury, and came into the Tavern where we were, where she discoursed of Chancery-Suits. But of "twenty thousand men (fn. 3)" that I could command, I know nothing of it. What passed was a mixed Discourse, after having drank a great deal of wine. Gadbury, in his examination, did accuse Cellier, and Lord Castlemaine (fn. 4), and at his Tryal did renounce all. You may see, by this, what manner of man Gadbury is; a man of uncertain Reputation, and I hope you will give no credit to him. In waiting upon the Duke, I aimed at no more than a personal reconciliation to the Duke; who said, "He was sorry I should have any marks of the King's displeasure, and that he would put me in Commission again;" which, I said, "I would not be, unless those Gentlemen came in again, who were turned out with me." The Duke pulled out of his pocket the names of Justices, but, upon enquiry, he found them not fit—"He must be satisfied of their inclination to the King's Service—They were under another Character at Court"—The Duke said farther to me, "You have appeared against the King and me, the last Parliament, and was of the Green Ribbon Club (fn. 5)." I parted with the Duke, and he was not well pleased with me, that I would not engage in some things, but would follow my Conscience; and I never saw the Duke since. There was Treason sworn against me upon Forgery, and I was committed to the Tower, and I might have been immediately tried upon it. I affirm, upon my Honour, I did not know how soon times might turn, and I lie in Jail, and so I made a personal reconciliation to the Duke, and I did only see him; in which, if I have offended, I humbly beg pardon of the House, and submit myself to your determination. I have always valued the opinion of the House, and asserted the Protestant Religion these twenty years. I have found out fifty thousand Pounds a year upon conviction of Papists Estates. I do declare, that whatever my misfortune is, I will assert the Protestant Religion, and will lose my Life and Fortune for it. I submit myself to this Honourable House in the whole affair.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Here is one passage an impossibility, what Gadbury has sworn. If any thing be reported that Gadbury said not, the Committee is to blame. Gadbury had several meetings with Mrs Cellier and Sir Robert Peyto; after the Duke went away. Peyton mistakes in matter of time. The Duke went to Brussels first, and then came away alone. Peyton tells you how he was prosecuted, and Witnesses suborned; that is a sign he had made no good and thorough bargain with the Duke.
Sir Robert Peyton.] When I was close Prisoner in the Tower, I was kept there very strict. Sometimes the Jailor called me to go; and if I asked "where?" he would say, "It is no matter whither." Then I was brought into the Lieutenant's lodgings, where PrivyCounsellors examined me, and threatened me, if I would not discover about the Presbyterian Plot; and they got those fellows to swear against me. But I would lose my life a thousand times rather than discover any thing. I did not know of a Presbyterian Plot against the King. He withdrew.
Sir Thomas Lee.] This is a matter every man in the House is concerned in; if Defence from this Gentleman be not expected as well as Accusation, it is very strange if you should not do your Member Right; which you will not do, unless you commit his Defence as well as his Accusation.
Sir Thomas Player.] It is my misfortune, that I must declare against one I have been intimate with, and will venture to be so when I believe the person true to his King and Country, and the Protestant Religion. I will be contented to let the matter go as Peyton says, "That Gadbury courted him, and not he Gadbury." Whether I will be a knave by inclination, or sollicitation of another, surely that can be no extenuation of his crime. It may be, the House will do a great service to the Kingdom of England, to declare your resentment upon them that court so cursed an interest as that of the Duke of York. He has confessed that he has been with Gadbury, who is a predicting fellow, and pretends to prophecy. If you had all the story, you will find he made Peyton afraid of losing his Estate, and persuaded him, that the Duke, being the greatest man in England, he might make himself by his favour. The next is, Peyton's Correspondence with Mrs Cellier, which he does not deny, only in point of time, and that several times; but his best pretence for that is, "That Cellier was a good bawd, and, may be, could procure." But lay the bawd aside, and what must he converse with her for, but for promoting the Duke's design to ruin the Kingdom? And must be introduced by Lord Peterborough. Not one person Peyton corresponds with that you can make a good construction of. And I hope, in time, you will think of Lord Peterborough. Had I a mind to reconcile myself to the Duke, all the World should see that my going to him was out of an honest interest; but to go by night, like a rogue, makes it a work of darkness, not a compliment only to the Duke. But I know the Duke so well, that the Popish designs are not to converse with people in a compliment: He designs greater matters. I think him not fit to sit in this House, that holds Correspondence with the Duke. Pray clear the House of him, and of others too, if you find they have such Correspondence with the Duke. It was said by a Gentleman, "Probably, Gadbury might tell the story, that Peyton was come over to the Duke's interest, and probably Player was coming too;" but if you prove any subsequent act, as you have done upon Peyton, throw me out of the House too.
Mr Harbord.] This matter, relating to Player's coming over to the Duke, is introduced to divert the Debate. It is a strange liberty the Gentleman took in naming Player, who, we all know, some years past has been under the persecution of the Duke. We know him to be a man of Courage and Fidelity, and let nothing remain upon Player. He is a worthy Gentleman.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Player is a Gentleman so well known, that he needs no vindication. I find Peyton said nothing to clear himself at all. He says nothing of his going to the Duke, or meeting Lord Peterborough. That a Member of Parliament should go in the night-time to the Duke! He has told you what recompence he had for "his twenty thousand men." For what? to introduce a Common-wealth, if the King came to an untimely end. Here are good Principles for a Common-wealth, and Popery. I was afraid to come into his company, he talked so, and never was laid hold of, that he was a spy of the Court. He went down into Hertfordshire before the Election, and traduced Colonel Titus and Sir Henry Cæsar, "That they voted for the Duke," and took a box on the ear in a Coffee-house, and did not turn again. All that was by contrivance. I must speak my mind: I would have all rotten Members destroyed. This will ruin the Nation; therefore I move that he may be expelled.
Serjeant Maynard.] In the last Parliament, no man spoke so much contrary to what he is now accused of; he scared me so much, that I was afraid to come near him. So much for the Public in the House, no man was beyond him. Now he is coming to Judgment, be he what he will. I know not how he can answer his tricking with Cellier and Gadbury, and his going to the Duke at unseasonable times. A man is a good or a bad man, according to his Conscience. He cannot be worse than Gadbury, who swore against Cellier in his examination, but when she came to be indicted, he did as Reading would have done with Bedlow, which he did wickedly and abominably deny—If only upon Gadbury's Testimony, he did so knave himself, that he deserves an Indictment of Perjury. If your Member be of that Condition he appears to be by Gadbury's Information, who might put this Woman to swear his access to the Duke, I am not satisfied. I know not how to give my Vote to acquit him; but if upon Gadbury's Information only, I think he is not guilty.
Mr Harbord.] Coleman did confess, "That he had twenty-five hundred Pounds from the French Ambassador to distribute amongst Members of Parliament," and your Committee prudently did not take any names from him, it being in his power to asperse whom he pleased, possibly some Gentleman against the French and Popish Interest. By one thing, I cannot but think Peyton guilty; his going so often to Cellier. I must think he had Commerce; but had he gone to the Duke, by means of an honest Gentleman not intrigued in his Interest, the Duke being a great Person, he might go; but why by the means of such Devils as Cellier, and Gadbury, and another Honourable Person whom I will not name? Why should a Gentleman that values his Reputation be so introduced into this habitude? He must, it is impossible but he must, be tainted. When Men of Honour introduce him, it is otherwise. But to come into the Country, into Hertfordshire, and at an Election to traduce Gentlemen by aspersions! He is not only unfit to sit here, but unfit for the Society of any Gentleman, and I move, "That you will turn him out of the House."
Mr Papillon.] I have no acquaintance with Peyton. I have as ill thoughts of such actions he is charged with, as any man; but I must crave pardon if I am not of the opinion of some Gentlemen. It may be the concern of any Gentleman here. You are going to expell him the House. What was his Crime? He was twice with the Duke. You are told what kind of person Gadbury is. I cannot believe what Gadbury says. I take it, that he denies all things but his being with the Duke. If it were our case, any of us might have gone to the Duke. I am afraid this Gentleman had too great an inclination to make some compliance with the Duke. Members in the Long Parliament, that have had Elections depending, it may be, a month or six weeks, when the contest has been over, and the matter at an end, or they thought they could get any advantage by it, have spoken a different language in the House to what they had done before. But Peyton would not come up to do the Duke's business, and then he was prosecuted with all the malice that could be, "That he was in the Presbyterian Plot with Cellier and Gadbury." And this is the bottom of it. I think he was inclinable to some compliance. But I cannot think this a crime for which he ought to be expelled the House.
Mr Love.] I attended the Committee that examined this matter. I did expostulate about the Report, of which I took notes. I have not an unworthy thought of the Reporter; but, I think, in some things he did mistake. But let it stand as it is. One time Gadbury said, "He went to Peyton first;" another time, "That Peyton came to him first." The Terms that he was to come over upon, were, to be Governor of Portsmouth, or Lieutenant of the Tower. "He told him he should lose a great deal of interest he had already, if he was not requited." This is the sum of his Charge, and he would have a Gentleman put into the Commission of the Peace again. Dangerfield has no acquaintance with Peyton—And so reports the rest of the Evidence.
Colonel Mildmay.] Here is a severe and hard Report made upon Peyton. Here have been great labours to out him of his Commission, and practising with Witnesses. He that gives the Evidence of "the twenty thousand men to set up the Duke of Monmouth," never saw Peyton; and whether Gadbury came to Peyton, or Peyton to Gadbury, is not so slight a thing as not to be remarked. Gadbury was asked it three times, and he answered, "I think, I did imagine it to be Peyton." This moves me to think, that Gadbury was an ill instrument of men that would be better, to ensnare Peyton, or gain him in to the Duke—And so be proceeded to give an account of Peyton's life, and his deportment the last Parliament.
Colonel Birch.] I desire, Gentlemen will consider well what they do, that nothing may be done at one time, that may not serve a turn at another. I would have upon your Books the cause of expelling Peyton the House. This, Gentlemen, has not been proved yet. I never heard, in my life, such a Report as this—I will not arraign it: I was not at the Committee; but I have heard that Peyton said to the Duke, "That he would not come into the Commission of Peace again, unless such persons came in"—I would do as I would be done by, in this matter. I would have every circumstance reported for him, as well as against him. If I move according to Order of Parliament, I must move "to re-commit the Report." I have much to say, if I come to judge Peyton, both ways; therefore pray re-commit it.
Colonel Titus.] It is a great Rule "to do as I would be done by," and so I would do in this matter truly. Whenever I speak vehemently against Popery, and am zealous against the Duke, and after that sneak to a Midwise (fn. 6), and a Fortune-teller (fn. 7), to bring me to the Duke, then throw me out of the House. I wonder at the good-nature of Birch, who is always against Great Men accused. But as to this man, I value his good-nature. Gentlemen to be great Patriots here, and then to truckle, and go to the Court, to get Places! Whenever any man does this, and has intimacies like these, throw him out of the House. What was his business with the Duke? Could what he said give satisfaction to the Duke for all his vehemence against him? And to do this by night! This was for no sinister end, sure! It is, in effect, Sir Robert Peyton to be heard against Sir Robert Peyton, to re-commit the Report. After Peyton had been with the Duke, and had not received any great satisfaction, he comes to a Gentleman, and calls him by his name, and tells him, "It is now in my power to do you a kindness, that I have long meditated." He tells him, "You do not know what I am doing." The Gentleman comes to a Member, and tells him, "Are you acquainted with Peyton? Have a care of him." He gave several warnings of it, and told the person that warned me. I desire that you would expell him the House, and let the Country chuse you a better Member, and a worse if they can.
Colonel Birch.] I spoke only to recommitting the Report. But, at this rate, all Debate will cease. Titus was pleased to say, "That he wonders at my good-nature; when Great Men are accused, I am always against them." I know what it is to fly at all, and bring to pass nothing. One great Person was accused upon Town-talk. I appeal to you else. As for the other two great Persons, I spoke my mind, and shall speak more, when any thing comes before you, and appears not sufficient on your Books. If this matter be recommitted, I shall say nothing now; if not, I shall say more.
Mr Vernon.] I was here in Town all this Winter, and met with many Gentlemen (and amongst the rest Mr Umfreville,) who did in Discourse say, "That Sir Robert Peyton was put again into the Commission of the Peace by his interest with the Duke," and bad me have a care of him.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I am sorry that heats should arise amongst ourselves, when against Popery and Arbitrary Government we are all of a mind; but when we come upon particular persons, then we differ. As to Sir Robert Peyton's cause, I have known him long by face, but have not been much in his company. He seemed, the last Parliament, to be much against Popery, and against the Duke's Succession; and before he came into Parliament, he asserted as much, in his way, against Popery and Arbitrary Government as any man. When a man is in extraordinary superlative extremes, there is justly a suspicion of him. I hope, ere long, to see who are Papists, and who are Protestants, and who are affected to Popery, and who to the Protestant Religion. The Question is now, that something may appear upon your Books for the Honour of the House, in your Judgment upon this man. That is most for the Honour of the House wherein you do your duty; and to put a mark upon men, who swerve from the Protestant Interest. It is no offence to have been in the Duke's company; but was Peyton ever in his life before in the Duke's company? And it was at a time when the Parliament was dissolved: He saw that, and the advance of Popery, and how the Protestant Religion was mauled in the Courts of Justice: When Peyton saw this, his courage began to shake. I hope, this excellent body of men will despise interest, when the Protestant Religion and their Country are concerned. To re-commit the Report is to no purpose, unless you would enquire into all the course of his life. Our Law says, "A Jury is bound to find the Person guilty, after the Confession of the party, else they are liable to an Attaint." Peyton did confess, "That Cellier, Gadbury, and Lord Peterborough were instrumental to bring him to the Duke by night;" and Peyton said, "He had not come into the Commission of the Peace, but to have four more Gentlemen in." This is an unanswerable proof of an Agitation, and, it may be, it was to corrupt those four Gentlemen he brought in. But the Question is, Whether there was not an Agitation with the Duke? The matter urged is an immaterial point, not fit to re-commit it upon; else he may spend a year in the House to do mischief. He did confess such an Agitation with the Duke. If the World shall see such a man sit here consulting and having Agitation with such men, without doors, they will think that, because Peyton has got a great interest with the Duke and my Lord of Peterborough, you are afraid to meddle with him. Peyton, as a private Gentleman, if they could not agree upon the first bargain, if the Parliament should be prorogued or dissolved, will go to his first Agitation. Let us have none here but true men, stout and brave; and pray, no more of Peyton.
Vote. It appearing to this House, by the Report made at the Bar, and by the Confession of Sir Robert Peyton, in his Place, That Sir Robert Peyton had secret negotiations with the Duke of York, by the means of the Earl of Peterborough, Mrs Cellier, and Mr Gadbury, at such time when they were turning the Popish Plot upon the Protestants;