Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 13, 1675-1681. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Lunæ, 11 die Novembris.
Commissions to Justices, to tender Oaths to Papists.
Bedloe to be examined by Lords Committees.
And, after he had been heard, it is ORDERED, That the said William Bedloe shall attend the Lords Committees appointed to examine Witnesses concerning the Murder of Sir Edmond Bury Godfrey; whose Lordships are to examine him, and receive from him such further Additions as he shall give under his Hand to his former Examinations, and make Report thereof to the House.
Cartridges in Choquee's House to be tried.
Lords Committees appointed to inspect the Cartridges which were found in Monsieur Choquce's House in The Savoy; and to be satisfied of the Numbers of them; and to try them, whether they are adapted only for Fireworks, or may be used to dangerous Designs: And have Power to send for what Persons they think fit, to give them the best Information concerning them, or the Nature of them:
E. of Salisbury.
E. of Strafford.
L. Arundell T.
L. Butler de M. Parke.
Report when the King will be attended with the Address.
The Lord Treasurer reported, "That the Lords with the White Staves have waited on His Majesty, to know what Time His Majesty will please to appoint for both Houses to wait upon Him, to present the humble Address of both Houses, for issuing out a Proclamation for apprehending several Priests and Jesuits; and His Majesty hath appointed this Afternoon, at Three of the Clock, in the Banqueting House at Whitehall, for that Purpose."
Message to H. C. to acquaint them with it.
Conference concerning Commissions to Justices of Peace, to tender Oaths to Papists.
Report of it.
"That, upon Examination of the Clerk of the Crown, touching the Neglect in issuing out of Commissions to the Justices of the Peace, pursuant to His Majesty's late Royal Proclamation, and the Address of both Houses, for administering the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy to Popish Recusants and Persons suspected so to be; and the Clerk of the Crown having informed the House of Commons, that a Draught of such Commissions was prepared by the Attorney General, and engrossed by the said Clerk of the Crown, and by him tendered last Thursday Morning to be sealed by the Lord Chancellor; and that nevertheless the said Commissions, neither then, nor at any Time since, to the Time of his Examination on Saturday last at Five a Clock in the Afternoon, were or have been sealed: And the House of Commons being very sensible of the great Danger that may ensue to His Majesty and this Kingdom by such Delay, and his Lordship being a Member of your House, have thought it fit to represent it to your Lordships; desiring that your Lordships will speedily enquire into the Reason of this great Neglect, and Contempt of His Majesty's said Proclamation; and do therein as to Justice shall appertain."
Heads for another Conference on this Subject.
And the Lord Chancellor to give them a fair Account of the Matter; which was, "To tell them, The Lords are well pleased with the Representation made by the Commons at the last Conference; and think it a Zeal well becoming the House of Commons, to take Care that we may not be defeated of the Fruit of the late Proclamation by the Default of any Man, whoever he be.
"But my Lords do not think that any Time hath been yet lost, or had been gained if the Commissions had issued out sooner; because there could have been no Execution of them until the Constables return the Names of the several Popish Recusants residing within their respective Limits, which are not yet ready in any Measure.
"Nevertheless, the Lords do not think it to be Satisfaction enough to the House of Commons, to shew there hath been no Negligence in this Matter; but they have commanded me to shew you further, that there hath been very great Diligence used in it.
"For, when Commissions were preparing in general Terms, the Lords had it under Consideration, what Exceptions were fit to be added to the Commissions, to limit and restrain the Justices of Peace from administering the Oaths improperly and unnecessarily.
"As for Example: The Peers are exempted by the Statute of 5to Eliz. from taking the Oath of Supremacy. Foreigners are exempted from taking those Oaths, which the Statutes impose only upon natural Subjects; and it might be convenient that Justices of Peace might be kept from mistaking the Law, by the very Exception in the Body of their Commission.
"Furthermore, it was thought very severe by the Lords, that such whom Age and Infirmity disables to go out of Town, should therefore be obliged to take the Oath of Supremacy, or else depart, though with Hazard of their Lives.
"And since that Six Lords of the Council are trusted with giving Licenses, upon prudential Considerations, and that the Chancellor, Treasurer, or One of the Secretaries, are to be One of the Six, to give Licenses; it was also thought very severe, that Persons so licensed should be forced to take the Oaths; and therefore my Lords thought fit, that these Points should be all provided for by special Exception in the Commissions.
"This is the Reason why the Commissions were delayed, to the End they might be fitted according to these Directions; and therefore the Clerk of the Crown told you true, that the Commissions were prepared by Mr. Attorney, and carried to the Seal, and were refused to be sealed, though he knew it only by hearsay: But, if he had attended in Court that Day, he might have been better enabled to tell you the whole Truth; which is this, That, as the Commissions were going to be sealed, Mr. Attorney, who sat by the Place where the Great Seal was working, stopt them from being sealed, because they were to be amended; with which I being acquainted, caused the Sealing to be stayed.
"And now, this Morning, the several Forms of Commissions being prepared, and the Lords made acquainted with it, their Lordships, upon further Debate, considering that the Proclamation issued out by the joint Address of both Houses did not think it convenient to make any Restrictions or Qualifications of the Commissions by Advice of One House only; and therefore, how severely soever it may light upon some particular Persons and Cases, yet their Lordships, to preserve a good Correspondence between the Houses, which they infinitely desire to cherish, have resolved to take away all Occasion of Jealousies or Debates, and that therefore Commissions shall issue in general Terms, which are all sealed this Morning accordingly. And so my Lords hope you have now your full Satisfaction."
Message to H. C. for it.
Papers concerning the Plot, delivered by the King, pursuant to Address.
And, after a long Debate concerning the agreeing with the House of Commons in the Address to His Majesty for the Printing of these Letters; (fn. 1)
This Alteration was made, this 7th of Decemb. 1678, in the Presence of us,
Message from H. C. to remind the Lords of the Bill to disable Papists from sitting in Parliament.
To put their Lordships in Mind of the Bill for the more effectual Preservation of the King's Person and Government, by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament; which they conceive is so effectual for the Good of the Kingdom.
King to be moved, for Plessington, L. Bellasis' Servant, to be released.
The House of Peers being satisfied, by a Report made from the Committee before whom William Bedloe was examined, "That Thomas Plessington, a Servant of the Lord Bellasis, now a Prisoner in The Gatehouse, being brought Face to Face with William Bedloe, before their Lordships; he declared, That the said Thomas Plessington was not One of the Persons that murdered Sir Edmond Bury Godfrey:"
It is thereupon ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Lords with White Staves do attend His Majesty, humbly to desire Him, from this House, "That His Majesty will be graciously pleased to give Order for the Discharge of the said Thomas Plessington from the Restraint he is under upon that Account."