Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 12, 1666-1675. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Mercurii, 20 die Novembris.
Message from H. C. with a Bill.
A Message was brought from the House of Commons, by Sir George Downing and others; who brought up a Bill intituled, "An Act for assigning Orders in the Exchequer without Revocation;" to which their Lordships Concurrence is desired.
Bill for assigning Exchequer Orders.
Committees to meet.
E. of Clarendon not to be committed on a general Charge.
The Question being put, "Whether, upon these Precedents and Reasons of the House of Commons, and the whole Debate thereupon, their Lordships are satisfied to comply with the Desires of the House of Commons, for sequestering from this House and committing the Earl of Clarendon, without any particular Treason assigned or specified?"
ORDERED, That a Message be sent To-morrow Morning, to desire a Conference with the House of Commons, at Eleven of the Clock, in the Painted Chamber, upon the Matter of the late Conference concerning the Earl of Clarendon.
Memorandum, That, before the putting of the abovesaid Question, these Lords following desired Leave to enter their Dissents, if the Question was carried in the Negative: Which was granted; and their Lordships accordingly entered their Dissents, with these Reasons following:
Protest against it.
"We, whose Names are underwritten, do, according to the ancient Right and Usage of all the Peers of the Realm assembled in Parliament, after due Leave demanded from the House in the usual Manner and Form, as the Journal Book doth shew, enter and record our Protestation and particular Dissents, as followeth, and for these Reasons:
"1. That we are satisfied in Agreement with so much of the Reasons of the House of Commons alledged to that Purpose, as, upon a very long and solemn Debate in this House, did concur with our Sense, That the Earl of Clarendon should be committed to Custody, without assigning of special Matter until the particular Impeachment shall be exhibited against him by the Commons before the Lords in Parliament: Or else how shall any Great Officer of the Crown and his Complices be prevented from evading to be brought to a fair and speedy Trial?
"2. We do conceive that the Four Precedents urged by the House of Commons for his Commitment as aforesaid, and to justify the Way of their Proceedings by general Impeachment only, are valid, and full to the Point in this Case; and that the Precedent of William de la Poole Duke of Suffolk, in the 28 of H. VI. is no Precedent at all to the contrary, in regard that it was no Judgement nor Appeal in Parliament, but rather an Appeal to the King from the Judicature of the Parliament whilst the Parliament was sitting, which is not according to the Known Privileges and Customs of this House.
"3. The Earl of Clarendon's Power and Influences in the absolute Management of all the great Affairs of the Realm hath been so notorious, ever since His Majesty's happy Return into England, until the Great Seal was taken from him, that, whilst he is at Liberty, few or none of the Witnesses will probably dare to declare in Evidence all that they know against him; for Defect whereof, the Safety of the King's Person and the Peace of the whole Kingdom may be very much endangered.
"4. We conceive that, in Cases of Treason and traiterous Practices, the House of Commons have an inherent Right in them to impeach any Peer of the Realm, or other Subject of England, without assigning of special Matter; because Treason either against the King's Person, or the Government established, which are Indivisibles, is such a Specialty in itself alone, that it needs no further Specification as to the Matter of safe Custody; nor can it be suspected that so Honourable a Body as the House of Commons would have accused a Peer of the Realm of the Earl of Clarendon's Eminency and Condition, without very good Cause.
Pemb. & Montgomery.
Say & Seale.
Howard of Charlton.
Will. St. Davids.