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 Jovis, 26 die Decembris.
L. Ward takes the Oaths.
This Day Edward Lord Ward took the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and made and subscribed the Declaration, in Pursuance of the Act of Parliament for the more effectual preserving His Majesty's Person and Government, by disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament.
E. Danby desires a Copy of Articles, &c.
The Lord Treasurer moved the House, "That he might not lye long under so heavy a Charge as is against him; and therefore prayed their Lordships Favour, that he might have a Copy of the Articles against him, and that the Proceedings thereupon may be put into a speedy Way of Dispatch."
Debate about his Commitment.
Absent Lords excused.
The Lord Chancellor acquainted the House, "That he had received a Letter from the Lord Bishop of Hereford, whereby he excuses himself from giving his Attendance on this House, in regard he is enquiring after the Discovery of Combe Abby by their Lordships Directions; where he hath found a Jesuits College, and a Library fit for a College of Jesuits. His Lordship is still in Prosecution thereof, and hopes to discover the Bottom of it. And because those Servants as he should send up to give their Lordships an Account of his great Age and Infirmities, whereby he is unable to take so great a Journey, are employed by him in the Discovery of Combe, he begs their Lordships Pardon for the same."
William Glasse and William Anderson, upon Oath, deposed at the Bar, "That the Earl of Bollingbrooke is so lame and indisposed, that he is not able to take so great a Journey in coming to attend this House."
Harcourt, a Priest, taken at Shrewsbury, to be brought up.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Sheriff for the County of Salop be, and is hereby, required to take and give Order for the sending of the said Valentine Harcourt in safe Custody, to appear at the Bar of this House; and that the Charge of the said Sheriff shall be allowed upon his Accompt in the Court of Exchequer: And it is further ORDERED, That the Sheriffs of the respective Counties through which the said Valentine Harcourt shall pass, in his being sent up as aforesaid, be aiding and assisting to the Furtherance thereof, as Occasion shall require; and this shall be a sufficient Warrant on that Behalf.
Bedloe and Oates, Complaint of their being injured in the Publication of Mr. Coleman's Trial.
Upon Complaint made to this House, by William Bedlo, "That he is wronged in the Publication of the Trial of Edward Coleman, by inserting what he said not, and omitting in Part what he did say;" and upon Information that Tytus Otes is injured in the same Manner:
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That it be referred to the Lords Committees for examining Persons and Papers concerning the horrid Design against His Majesty's Person and Government, to examine this Matter; and that the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench be present, and Tytus Otes and Wiliam Bedlo attend at such Time as their Lordships shall appoint for this Business.
Debate concerning E. of Danby.
Conference on the Supply Bill, for disbanding Forces from Abroad.
Report of it.
To the Amendment in the 6th Skin, 30 Line, they do not agree; because that, the Appointment of the Receiver General being made by their Lordships in reference to the Payment of the Money into the Exchequer, the Commons disagreeing with their Lordships in that Amendment, the Reason of that Appointment ceases; that, if there should be any Defect or Delay in the Nomination of the Receiver General, the whole Business of Disbanding might be disappointed or deferred.
"In the 8 Skin, 12 Line, they do not agree; because that, the Commons having the last Sessions granted a Sum of Money for the Disbanding of the Army, and entrusted it in the Exchequer, the Money had been issued for the Continuance of the Army, without ever disbanding any One Man, as far as they can understand; and the Commons cannot think it safe to trust the Money into the Exchequer again, it remaining in the Managery of the same Persons.
"That, the Commons having disposed of the Payment of the Money into the Chamber of London, the better to secure it from being misemployed, your Lordships have not at any Time heretofore altered or changed any such Disposition made in a Supply granted by the Commons.
"In the 18 Skin, 23 Line, after ["Dunbarton"], add ["of the Kingdom of Scotland"]; and after ["Morpeth"], add ["Eldest Son and Heir Apparent of Charles Earl of Carlile"]; and after ["Allington"] add ["of the Kingdom of Ireland"]: 24 Line, after ["Douglas"], add ["One of the Sons of Marquis Douglas of the Kingdom of Scotland"]: And 28 Line, after ["Obrien"], add ["late Eldest Son of the Earl of Thomond in the Kingdom of Ireland"]. Agreed to.
"In the 20th Skin, 23 Line, not agreed to; because that the Commons do not see any Occasion for the Addition of these Words in this Place, because it is sufficiently provided for in a general Clause in another Part of the Bill; and if they were necessary here, they ought to be likewise added in several Places.
"In the 21 Skin, leave out ["Colonel"], and after ["Birch"] insert ["Esquire"]; because that Colonel Birch had a Commission under the King to be a Colonel, and had the actual Command of a Regiment, after His Majesty's Restoration, till they were disbanded; and it is usual to give any Man that had such a Command the Title of Colonel ever after; and your Lordships have done the same immediately before, to Colonel Whitley.
"In the 26 Skin, 16 Line, they do not agree; because that the Commons, conceiving it necessary for the Peace and Safety of the Kingdom, that the Army should be immediately disbanded, have thought fit to prevent all Ways that have been, or may be used to continue it, and have therefore enumerated all those particular Ways by which some former Acts have been evaded, that thereby they might be declared to be within the Penalties of this present Act.
"In the 39 Line, not agreed to; because that, it being so highly necessary to the Peace of the Kingdom that these Soldiers should disperse immediately after their Disbanding, it is requisite to express the Penalty which they should incur in case of Disobedience; and the Commons do not think the Penalty of Felony too great, since, if they should continue together in greater Numbers, it might be the Occasion of many Murders, Robberies, and other Felonies that the Commons think fit to continue the Preamble to the Clause of Indemnity, because it contains the Reasons which induced the Commons to insert it into the Bill.
"In the 27 Skin, 14 Line, leave out ["such"], the Commons do not agree; because they, not agreeing to your Lordships in leaving out the Preamble, the Word ["such"] is necessary to be continued because it relates to it.
"That, this being an Act for the more effectual disbanding the Army, the Commons did limit the Indemnity to the Officers and Soldiers, being the Persons that were to be disbanded, that thereby they might be the more encouraged to disperse when they were satisfied they might return Home with safety; and the Commons conceive it is not necessary or convenient to extend it any further.
"26 Line, they do not agree to; because that the Commons do not think fit to extend the Indemnity to any Persons listed and mustered since the First of November last, because they see no Occasion why any such Persons should be taken into the Army, unless it were to increase the Charge, or for some other ill Purpose."
Lords Amendment to it insisted on.
Protest against it.
Heads to be proposed for another Conference on the Supply Bill.
L. Privy Seal.
E. of Huntingdon.
E. of North'ton.
E. of Clare.
E. of Peterboroug.
E. of Essex.
E. of Aylesbury.
E. of Guilford.
Their Lordships, or any Three; to meet at Six of the Clock this Evening, in the Prince's Lodgings. (fn. 1)
Prance's Examination about the Plot.
"Miles Prance, a Silversmith, being this Day examined at large, touching the Murder of Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey, and being upon Oath interrogated what he knew concerning the Plot, made Answer as followeth:
"That he was at Mr. Ireland's Chamber, in Russell Streete, some Time before Micheelmas; and that, Fenwicke and Grove being there present, Ireland said, "That there would be 50,000 Men in Arms." Prance asking, Where they would be had, and what to do?" Ireland said, "We must have them in a short Time, to settle Religion; or else all would be ruined."
"That, soon after this, Grove came to his Shop, to buy Two Silver Spoons, for a Christening where he was to be Godfather. Prance asked him, "What Office he should have in the Army?" He answered, "He did not know." But asking him, "Who was to govern this Army?" He said, "The Lord Powis, the Lord Bellasis, Lord Peters, and Lord Arundell."
"He further faith, That there came to his Shop Mr. Le Fevre, to buy a Second-hand Sword; and being asked by him, "What he meant to do therewith?" He answered, "He knew not what Times they should have." Prance replied, "What then shall we poor Tradesmen do?" He said, "That when Catholic Religion was brought in, it would be better for Tradesmen; and particularly there would be more Church Work for Goldsmiths."
"He further says, That one Mr. Moore, that belongs to the Duke of Norffolke, was seen by him riding in the Streets on a very brave Horse; upon which Occasion, meeting him afterwards in the Court at Somerset House, and speaking of that brave Horse, Moore wished that he had 10,000 of them, and hoped in a short Time that they might have them, for the Catholic Cause.
"That one Lawrence (an Apothecary in Drury Lane, over against the End of Queen's Streete), when the Oaths were upon tendering, wished, "That Half the Parliament were poisoned; for they would ruin them all."
Prance's Examination, concerning the Murder of Sir E. B. Godfrey.
"His Majesty, having this Morning appointed a Council Extraordinary, sent for Miles Prance, a Silversmith, and Prisoner in Newgate for the Murder of Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey; who appearing at the Board, His Majesty was pleased to tell him, "That if he spoke the Truth, and made it good, He would give him His Pardon." And the said Prance, being sworn, did promise that he would faithfully open all his Knowledge concerning that Murder; and did declare to the Effect following:
"That, about a Fortnight before the said Murder, he was spoken to by one Gerald, an Irish Priest that belonged to the Venetian Ambassador, to take Part in the Killing of a Man, not then telling him who it was; but, about a Week after, the said Gerald and one Greene an Irishman (that lays Cushions in the Chapel at Somerset-house), and Lawrence Hill that was formerly Servant to Doctor Gawden (and who then lived at the same Place in Somerset-house), did acquaint him, "That they intended to kill Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey; for that he was a great Enemy to the Queen or Her Servants; and that he had used some Irishmen ill;" and that Gerald told him, "That they were employed by the Lord Bellasise; and that there would be a Reward for them." That he did consent hereunto; and the rather, for some Malice he bore to Sir Edmond, who, about Two Years before (when he was troubled at Hicks' Hall about Parish Duties), did not consent to his Discharge, as another Justice did; but said, "That the Queen had no Power of protecting Her Servants:" Yet that, until this Motion was made him, he did not think of what had thus formerly passed. He said, They had been watching him a Week or a Fortnight before his Death; and that Greene had the same Morning called at his House, enquiring for him of the Maid; and that the said Greene, Gerald, and Hill, did dodge him from his House that Morning to all the Places he went to, until he came to his Death."
"And because His Majesty thought fit, for the better ascertaining the Relation he gave touching the Place and Manner thereof, to appoint his Grace the Duke of Monmouth and the Earl of Ossory to meet the Examinant at Somerset-house, and a Clerk of the Council to attend, and take the Information, from Place to Place, where the Things were acted; His Majesty did, in the Afternoon, sitting in Council, receive the following Report:
"In Obedience to Your Majesty's Order, signified to us this Morning in Council, we have been at Somersethouse, and there taken the Examination of Miles Prance, a Silversmith, touching the Murder of Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey, upon the Place where the same was committed; and, in Virtue of the Oath taken before Your Majesty, he declared as followeth:
"That it was either at the latter End or the Beginning of a Week, that Sir Ed. Godfrey did, about Nine of the Clock at Night, pass from towards St. Clements, as far as the Great Water Gate of Somersethouse, being watched and followed by Lawrence Hill, one Greene, and one Gerald: That Hill, making some Haste before, stept within the Wicket, which was open; and turning soon out again, called to Sir Edmond, as he was passing, and said, "That there were Two Men quarrelling within, who might soon be quieted, if once they saw him." Whereupon he entered through the Wicket, and after him Greene and Gerald; and down all went till they came to a Bench that is at the Bottom of the steep Descent, and joining to a Rail next to the Upper End of the Stables on the Right Hand: That, upon the said Bench, there were sitting, and attending their Coming, the Examinant Miles Prance, one Berry the Porter of the other Gate, together with an Irishman that lodged at Greene's House, whose Name he knows not; and by that Time they were come Half Way down, he the said Prance went up to the Wicket, there to attend and give Notice if any came; and at the same Time the said Berry went streight on from the Bench towards the Stone Stairs which lead to the Upper Court: That, when Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey came down to the Bench, Greene, who followed him, put about his Neck a large twisted Handkerchief; and thereupon all the rest assisted, and dragged him into a Corner which is behind the said Bench and the said Rail; and Greene, who informed him in the Manner hereof, and with whom he had before seen the said large twisted Handkerchief, added, "That he had thumped him on the Breast, and twisted his Neck until he broke it."
"And the Examinant faith, That he did, in about a Quarter of an Hour after he had been standing at the Wicket, come down to see what was done, and found that they had throttled him; but his Body remained warm, and seemed hardly dead: But he, together with the said Hill, Greene, Gerald, Berry, and the Irishman, took him up, and conveyed him through a Door, which is on the Left Hand coming down at the Corner of the Coach Houses, which leads up several Stairs into a long dark Passage or Gallery, opening at last into the Upper Court; in which Passage there is a Door on the Left Hand, which, being opened, leads up with Eight Stairs into another House adjoining; but immediately on the Right Hand, being got up, there is a little Closet, or square Room, into which they conveyed the Body, and there set the Body bending with the Back against a Bed; which the Examinant, having now seen again, thinks to be the same Bed that was there at the said Time. He further faith, That Hill lived at this House, and that the Body was for Two Days left there in his Care; but then, being afraid of Discovery, Hill, Gerrald, Greene, Berry, and the Irishman, as they told him, did take and convey the Body from thence, about Nine or Ten of the Clock at Night, and carried it into the House, and into some Room towards the Garden; and that, while the Body lay there, he was by Hill conducted to see it, and saw the Body as it lay bended; and Greene and Gerald were present.
"That from thence, upon a Tuesday Night, the Body was brought back near to the Place where first it lay, into a Room in the said Gallery over against the First Door, somewhat higher up towards the Court, the Chamber belonging to some of the Servants of Sir John Arundell, where it remained until Nine or Ten of the Clock on Wednesday Night; and then, thinking fit to renove it to the little Room where first it lay, the Examinant happened to come as they were lifting it up the said Eight Steps; whereupon Hill and Berry fled, as supposing him to be some Stranger: But Gerald, Greene, and the Irishman stood still; and so he helped them to lift up the Body into the former Closet; and there it continued till after Twelve a Clock the same Wednesday Night. Hill and Berry came to them when their Fright was over; and Hill having got a Sedan, and placing it in the long dark Entry, at the Foot of the said Eight Stairs, they put the Body thereinto. The Examinant Prance and Gerald first took up the Chair, and conveyed it through the Upper Court; Berry the Porter opened Half the Gate, and let them out; and they rested not till they came to Covent Garden, where Greene and another Irishman took their Turns, and so carried the Sedan and Body in it as far as the new Grecian Church in The Soho; and there Hill met them with a Horse: Whereupon they took out the Body, and, forcing open the Legs, they set it upon the Horse; Hill riding behind to keep the Body up, while Greene, Gerald, and the Irishman, went on to accompany him. Berry the Porter did not depart from the Gate; and the Examinant Prance, fearing to be missed, returned Home when the Body was set on Horseback; and the Sedan, which was left in one of the new unfinished Houses, they took up, and brought it Home, as they came back.
"He was very positive as to the Place where the Murder was committed, and the Manner of it, as also for the Room where the Body was first laid: But, being desired to conduct us to the Room he spoke of near the Garden, he led us to the Corner of the Piazza on the Left Hand, and so down a Pair of Stairs; and so far seemed to be assured that he had been led, and did think that he had passed through the Great Court below: But, when from thence we went up and down into several Rooms, he seemed very doubtful, and could not ascertain the Place; saying, That he had never been there but that once, when Hill conveyed him thither, with a dark Lanthorn; but that it was some Chamber towards the Garden.
"In the House where the Body was first laid, we found a Woman, whose Deposition we have taken. She was Housekeeper to Doctor Godwin; and the said Hill had been a Servant to the said Doctor in this House for above Seven Years, and continued to live there, since the Doctor's Departure, until Michaelmas last; but that he hath been there several Times since: And she also knew the Examinant, and called him by his Name.
"Upon reading of which Report, it appeared that the Particulars were very consonant to what he had spoke at the Board in the Morning, before his going. At which Time, being also further asked, "Why he gave so different a Relation to the Committee of the Lords, from what he now so freely confessed?" He made Answer, "That he was in much Confusion before the Committee, being not sure of his Pardon; but now, being sure of it, and also upon his Oath, he did speak the whole Truth according to his Knowledge." And being then further asked, "Why he came not in upon the Proclamation, and the Rewards thereof?" He said, "He was afraid to trust thereunto." And being further asked, "What Reward he had received from those that employed him?" He said, "He had yet received no Reward, nor had he sought for any, but only the Promise of Gerald, that there should be a Reward by the Lord Bellasis." He says, "That he wrought in the Way of his Trade to the Queen's Chapel, and was a Roman Catholic; but that, about Eight Weeks ago, he had taken the Oaths." Being asked, "Whether there were no Guards in the usual Places at the Time of carrying on this Work?" He says, "He did not take Notice of any." And being asked, "Whether he saw Bedloe, when he was carried to see the Body when it lay in the Back Chamber, near the Garden?" He answered, "That he could not tell whether Bedloe were there or no; but does well remember that Gerald and Greene were then present." He adds, "That Hill, Greene, and Gerald, told him that they had, at Primrose Hill, thrust Sir Edmond's Sword through his Body, till it came an Inch out at his Back; and that he struggled very much at the Time they strangled him; but that Greene punched him with his Knees upon his Body, to hasten his Death."
Greene's Examination about it;
"His Majesty, having been informed, That the said Lawrence Hill, Henry Berry, and Robert Greene had been taken, the Two former secured in Newgate, and the latter in The Gatehouse, and having commanded them to be brought in the Afternoon; Robert Greene was called in, and being examined did say, "That he had lived for above Ten Years at Somerset House; his Business being to lay Cushions in the Chapel: That he knew Hill, Doctor Gawden's Man; also Gerald, that was at the Venetian Ambassador's, meaning of the Resident, whom he supposes to be a Priest; that he knows Prance the Goldsmith to the House; but for Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey, he never saw him dead or alive: That he never carried a Sedan, or any dead Body, to his Knowledge; and so utterly denied every Thing relating to the Murder." Prance being called in and confronted, urged the Matter unto him; "How he the said Greene had been at Sir Edmond's House, followed him from Place to Place, shewed him the twisted Handkerchief before he did the Work, and many other Particulars mentioned in the Report; and how could he deny them?" Greene denied every Particular, and said, "That all was false." Prance asked, "If he knew him?" Greene replied, "Yes, very well; and had drunk with him; but that he knew not Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey, or had ever seen him." "Yes, said Prance, we have often drunk together at The Plow, and there I shewed you Sir Edmond as he passed by; telling you, That he was the Man that would not allow the Queen's Servants any Privilege." Prance further asked him, "What was the Irishman's Name (a short well-set Man) that lay at such a Time in his House?" He answered, "His Name was Kelly, an Irish Priest, who went away a Fortnight before the Proclamation; and that he belongs, as he does think, to a Welsh Gentlewoman, that is a Roman Catholic." And being further asked, "How he came to be found out of his House?" He said, "That at Michaelmas, for about Four Nights, he was put out of his Lodging, by some People of Sir John Arundell's, for their Conveniency." He further faith, "He never had any Quarrel with Mr. Prance, or any Thing to say against him."
"Lawrence Hill, being called in, says, "That he had been long a Servant at Somerset House; that he knew Greene, Gerald, and Prance, but not Kelly; that he never had any Quarrel with Prance; and, for aught he knew, he might be an honest Man; that he had not long since been drinking at his House in Stanhop Streete, where he keeps a Victualing House, which he hired, and where he has lived since a Fortnight after Michaelmas last; that he never saw Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey but once at Somerset House, which was upon Occasion of a Pick-pocket that was there taken; that he was, about the Middle of October, busy about settling himself in the House he now is in; that, the Day Sir Edmond was killed, he was agreeing with his Landlord for the said House, but had not settled the Agreement till the Wednesday after; that he never rid with Sir Edmond upon a Horse, and knew very little of him; and denies vehemently all that is charged against him."
"It may here properly be remembered, that Anne Broadstreete, formerly Housekeeper to Doctor Gauden, did, in her Deposition, affirm, "That Lawrence Hill left that Place at Michaelmas, or thereabouts, going then to a House of his own in Stanhop Streete." But, when Prance told her, "She was mistaken, and that he did not leave his Lodging there in Somerset House until a Fortnight after Michaelmas:" She seemed very warmly to contradict him; whereas Hill himself doth better agree with Prance concerning the Time.
"Prance, being called in, accuses Hill of all the Particulars to his Face; which he denies again with Imprecations. And when His Majesty asked Prance, "Whether he would on his Salvation declare all he said to be true?" He made Answer, "That it was as true as God is true; and that he did upon his Salvation affirm it." Hill faith, "That Prance testified all this to save himself:" Whereupon, being asked the Meaning of those Words, he said, "He spoke the Discourse of his House, when People were drinking, and did there Report that Prance was pardoned; but he then little thought that he should come to be questioned on such an Account." Being further asked about the said Kelly, he says, "There was such a Man that did frequent the Queen's Chapel." And Prance being asked the Colour of the Horse which Hill brought for the Body, he said, "That, though the Night was dark, yet he could discern the Horse to be a Brown Horse."
"Henry Berry, being called in, says, "That he knows Greene the Cushion-keeper; that he knows not Kelly nor Gerald; that he knows Hill since he first came to Somerset-house as a Servant to Doctor Gauden; that he knows Prance, and has seen him at Chapel, and never heard ill of him; but denies that he ever acted any Thing with him concerning Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey, or ever sat with him upon that Bench; that he has seen Sir Edmond, and particularly as he passed by about a Year ago; but that he knew him not, or ever saw him dead, or knew that he ever went out of Somerset-house in a Sedan; or that he ever saw Prance, Greene, or Gerald, carry a Sedan."
"Prance, being called in, urges home upon Berry all the Particulars aforementioned, and the Share he had therein. As to the Sittings upon the Bench, Berry doth acknowledge that he hath often sat there, and sometimes with one Bourk that lay at Green's House, but never with him. He disowns all the Accusation; but says,
Prance & al. to be further examined.
(fn. 2) Upon reading the Examinations of Miles Prance, Robert Greene, Lawrence Hill, and Henry Berry, concerning the Plot and Murder of Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey, taken at the Council Board; as also the Report made by the Duke of Monmouth and the Lord Butler of Moore Parke concerning the same, which, by His Majesty's Order, were brought before this House:
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That it be referred to the Lords Committees for examining Persons and Papers concerning the Plot and Murder of Sir Edmond-bury Godfrey, to send for and further examine the said Persons, or any of them, as their Lordships shall see Cause, and give this House an Account thereof.
Thorne and Tasbrough to be examined.
(fn. 2) ORDERED, That it be referred to the Lords Committees for examining Persons and Papers, to examine Richard Tasbrough Esquire, and Thomas Thorne, who is now in the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms attend
Bully, a Priest, in Winton Gaol.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That it be referred to the Lords Committees for examining Persons and Papers, to consider whether the said John Bulley shall be sent for to Town, or left to his Trial by Law in the County where he now is.
E. of Devon, excused.
Robert Loudon and John Chaddock, upon Oath, deposed at this Bar, "That the Earl of Devon, being lame of the Gout, is not able to take so great a Journey as to come up, to give his Attendance on this House."
A Nunnery at Ripley.
The Lord Bishop of London acquainted the House, "That whereas the Lord Archbishop of Yorke hath received an Order, from this House, to enquire after a Nunnery said to be in Ripley in Yorkeshire, wherein Women are educated in the Popish Religion; whereupon his Grace hath made Enquiry into the Matter, and cannot hear that within the Parish of Ripley there either is, or hath been, any such Place or House as a Nunnery, wherein Women are educated in the Popish Religion; but is informed that at Dall Banck, in the Township of Thornton, and Parish of Ripon, Two Miles from Ripley, that there were Three Gentlewomen that did endeavour to teach Scholars for some few Months; but of what Profession they were of, it is not known."