Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 13, 1675-1681. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
DIE Sabbati, 28 die Decembris.
Domini tam Spirituales quam Temporales præsentes fuerunt:
L. Sandys takes the Oaths.
This Day Henry Lord Sandys took the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and made and subscribed the Declaration, in Pursuance of the Act for the more effectual preserving the Person of His Majesty and His Government, by disabling Papists from fitting in either House of Parliament.
The Earl of Essex acquainted the House, "That he had received an Information out of the Country, of very great Concernment."
Which was read, as followeth;
Stephen Dugdale's Information, concerning the Plot.
"December 24th, 1678.
"The Information of Stephen Dugdale Gentleman, late Servant to the Lord Aston of Tixball, concerning the Plot against our Sovereign Lord the King, as followeth:
"1. This Informant faith, That, presently after one Howard, Almoner to the Queen, went beyond the Seas, he was told by George Hopson (Servant to the said Lord Aston), "That there was a Design then intended, for the Reformation of the Government to the Romish Religion."
"2. He informeth, That, in the Beginning of September, 1678, he met in Tixall, nigh the Lord's Gates, the Lord Stafford; who said to this Informant, "It was sad that they were troubled, for that they could not say their Prayers but in a hid Manner: But suddenly there would be a Reformation to the Romish Religion; and if there was but a good Success, they should enjoy their Religion." And, upon the 20th Day of September last, the said Lord Stafford told this Informant, "That there was a Design in Hand; and if this Informant would undertake the Design, he should have a good Reward, and make himself famous."
"3. Upon the aforesaid Day, immediately after, this Informant went into the Chamber of Mr. Francis Vrie alias Evers (a Jesuit), in Tixall Hall, and asked him, "What the Lord Stafford meant by those Words?" And, after he had made him to swear Secrecy upon his Knees, he told, "He might be a Person employed in the Work, and have a good Reward, that would make him famous." And then he told him, "He must be instrumental, with others, in taking away the King's Life; and that it should be done by shooting, or otherwise; and that this Informant need not fear, for the Pope had excommunicated the King; and that all that were excommunicated by Him were Heretics, and they might kill them, and be canonized for Saints in so doing."
"4. This Informant faith, That the said Evers and Hopson both said, "That the Design was as well to kill the Duke of Monmouth as the King."
"5. That George North (Nephew to Pickering, and Servant to the Lord Aston) lately told this Informant, "That they had taken his Uncle (meaning Pickering), and put him into Newgate; and thought the King deserved such an execrable Death as was intended Him, because of His Whoring and Debauchery."
"6. That Mr. Evers said, "Mr. Bennyfeild had a Packet of Letters delivered to him from the Posthouse, which he feared the Lord Treasurer had Notice of; and therefore he delivered them to the Duke of Yorke, and the Duke of Yorke delivered them to the King; and that the King gave them to the Treasurer after He had read them; but that the King did not believe them, and therefore it was happy, or else the Plot had been discovered."
"7. That he had received many Packets of Letters for Evers; some of which this Informant broke up, and found them to be and tend to the establishing of the Romish Religion, &c.
"8. That he had received several Sums of Money himself, and knew of divers others that were employed to put forth Money, which was and is for the Jesuits Use.
Taken upon Oath, the 24th Day of December, 1678, before us,
Lords sent to the Tower, to examine L. Stafford about it.
ORDERED, That the Earl of Bridgwater and the Earl of Essex do immediately go to The Tower and examine the Lord Viscount Stafford upon this Information; and return before the House rises.
Hall, a Priest, Papers to be sent up.
Upon Report made by the Earl of Clarendon, from the Lords Committees for Examinations, "That one Roger Seise, an Officer under Captain Arnold, hath seized a Box of several Writings, belonging to one John Hall, a Popish Priest, which may be of great Use here:"
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Roger Seise be, and is hereby, required to take Care forthwith to send up with Safety the said Box of Writings to the said Lords Committees, sitting in the Lord Privy Seal's Lodgings near the House of Peers.
Report of Reasons for a Conference on Supply Bill for disbanding Forces from Abroad.
The Lord Privy Seal reported, "That the Committee have drawn up the Reasons to be delivered at a Conference, in Answer to the Reasons of the House of Commons, concerning the Amendments made by the Lords to the Bill for granting a Supply to His Majesty, for disbanding the Army."
Then the said Reasons were read, as followeth:
"This Conference, which is desired with the House of Commons, is founded principally upon Three Points; that of the Receiver General, that of the Place for lodging the Money, and that for the indemnifying for the Breach of the former Act, and the Penalty for offending against this.
"1. That the Appointment of the Receiver General being made an Amendment by their Lordships in reference to the Payment of the Money (granted by this Bill) into the Exchequer, their Lordships insist upon their Amendment, because the Money is to be paid into the Exchequer.
"2. That we conceive that the most expeditious and surest Way for Nomination of the Receiver is to leave it to His Majesty, who, as He is indisputably of the highest Trust, so He is most concerned for Himself and People, that the Army should be speedily and effectually disbanded.
"3. That we conceive it tends more to Certainty and Expedition, to leave His Majesty to make Use of such Officers as are now in Being, than to be to seek new Officers when the Act should be executed.
"The Reasons of our insisting to have the Money paid into the Exchequer are,
"1. Because the Court of Exchequer is an ancient Court, established both by Common Law and Statute, for all Receipts of His Majesty's Money, and managing Matters relating to His Revenue.
"2. That, finding it inconvenient and grievous to the Subject, that His Majesty's Revenue of all Sorts should not come into the Exchequer, divers Laws have been made to inforce the Payment of all Monies there.
"3. That no Way of Justice for an injured Subject in this Tax is provided by the Act, if it should be paid into the Chamber of London; whereas by Law every Subject injured concerning his Payment is to have Remedy before the Barons.
"4. That it is a Jealousy their Lordships cannot entertain of any Persons to be employed in the Work of Disbanding, that the Money should be misemployed; it being enacted under so great Penalty for Transgressors, and to be disposed by Commissioners appointed by the House of Commons.
"5. That we find by the Act, as it came from the Commons, no sufficient Security for the Money that shall be paid to the Chamberlain of London; nor any Remedy left for the Subject, but an Action of Debt against the Chamberlain in case of his Breach of Trust.
"6. That whereas the Army was continued in Pay after the Payments made for Disbanding, we do not find the Fault was in the Exchequer, which did regularly give their Orders according to the Act, but the Necessity of Affairs required it, as His Majesty signified to both Houses at the Opening of this Sessions, the Army was continued; which induced the House of Commons to propose an Indemnity to all such as have since continued in Arms: And this is not only a Reason for our Amendment, but an Answer to the First Reason of the House of Commons upon this Point.
"The First Part of your 2d Reason is answered in our former Reasons: As for the latter Part, that the Lords have not heretofore altered any such Disposition made in a Supply granted by the Commons (wherein the Lords cannot charge their Memories); yet their Lordships do herein but claim the Exercise of that Right they have to make Alterations according to their Judgements.
"That, the Matters being agreed on by them, it rests on them to satisfy us, where that general Clause is to which they refer, the Want of the Knowledge whereof is the Reason we do not agree with them, that we may consider whether it doth the intended Work effectually.
"To the Reason concerning Colonel Birch, the Lords agree.
"The Lords insist upon their Amendment, against the following Reasons offered by the Commons; because they conceive the effectual Disbanding of the Army is sufficiently secured as they have amended the Bill, and because to have passed the Bill in this Particular as the Commons sent it up would have invaded the King's declared Power and Authority to have raised or employed any of this Army upon any other Emergency, and disabled Him from filling up the standing Troops and Companies of His Guards, or furnished His Islands out of any of these Men after they are disbanded; which is likewise a main Reason why the Lords could not consent to make the Penalty of Felony so extensive as to reach any so employed. And we do insist for leaving out the Preamble to the Clause of Indemnity, because of the Necessity there was for the Army's Continuance, which we have mentioned in a former Reason. And for the same Reason we insist upon the Word ["such"], depending upon that Amendment of their Lordships; and so upon the following Amendment depending upon this Clause.
"That concerning the Indemnity being limited by the Commons to Officers and Soldiers, the Lords thought fit to enlarge it to all other Persons; it being a Work of Mercy, and no Officer impeached or questioned for Breach of the former Act. And for the same Reason, they insist upon their Two last Amendments."
The House agreed to this Report; and ordered to have a present Conference.
Message to H. C. for this Conference.
A Message was sent to the House of Commons, by Sir Miles Cooke and Sir John Hoskins:
To desire a present Conference, in the Painted Chamber, concerning the Subject-matter of the last Conference.
L. Privy Seal,
E. of Derby,
E. of Sarum,
E. of Aylesbury,
Bp. of London,
Bp. of Sarum,
and L. Freschevile,
Were appointed to manage this Conference.
ORDERED, That the Committee for Examinations do sit de die in diem.
Papers seized at Combe, in Herefordshire.
Upon Report made by the Earl of Clarendon, from the Lords Committees for Examinations, "That Captain Scudamor hath seized a great Number of Popish Books and Papers, at Combe, in Herefordshire:"
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Captain Scudamor be, and is hereby, required to cause the said Books and Papers to be forthwith conveyed and delivered to the Lord Bishop of Hereford, to be by his Lordship disposed of according to Law.
Pugh, a Priest, Papers to be sent up.
Upon Report made by the Earl of Clarendon, from the Lords Committees for Examinations, "That a certain Box of Writings, taken with one Pugh, a Popish Priest, which may be of great Use here, are in the Hands of Mr. Charles Price, a Justice of the Peace for the County of Monmouth:"
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Charles Price be, and is hereby, required to take Care forthwith to send up the said Box of Writings to the said Lords Committees, sitting in the Lord Privy Seal's Lodgings, near the House of Peers.
G. Mylborne examined before Bedloe:
The Serjeant at Arms brought George Mylborne to the Bar; at which Time William Bedloe was present.
Who, being asked, "Whether he knew the said George Mylborne, and what he had to charge him with?" answered, "He hath no particular Acquaintance with him; that he heard Father Pritchard and other Jesuits say, That the said George Milborne was as deeply concerned in the Plot as any Man; and that he was to be an Officer under the Earl of Powis."
George Mylborne denied he knoweth any Thing of this Business; nor never knew Father Pritchard. He hath seen Mr. Lewis, but never spoke with him. Also he said, "He never heard of any Design for propagating the Popish Religion."
Committed to The Gatehouse.
Whereas George Mylborne was this Day brought to the Bar, by the Serjeant at Arms attending this House, and there charged by William Bedloe to be engaged in the horrid Design against His Majesty's Person and Government:
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Serjeant at Arms shall deliver the said George Mylborne into the Prison of The Gatehouse at Westm. there to remain in safe Custody: And this shall be a sufficient Warrant on that Behalf.
To Sir Geo. Charnock Knight, Serjeant at Arms attending this House, and to the Keeper of the Prison of The Gatehouse, and their respective Deputies, and every of them.
The Messengers return with this Answer:
Answer from H. C.
That the House of Commons will give a Conference, as is desired.
Conference on Supply Bill.
The House was adjourned during Pleasure, and the Lords went to the Conference; which being ended, the House was resumed.
Report of it.
The Lord Privy Seal gave the House an Account, That the Managers have delivered the Reasons to the House of Commons, at the Conference, as they directed."
Midledorp & al. Hamburgh Merchants Relief Bill.
The Lords heard Counsel, at the Bar, upon the Bill for restoring the Goods of Peter Midledorp and others, seized by Danyell Gyles, near Portsmouth; as imported contrary to the late Act of Parliament against the Importation of French Goods.
But, by reason of public Business intervening, whereby the Cause could not be fully heard at this Time, it is ORDERED, That this House will proceed to hear the Cause on Tuesday next.
Message from H. C. to sit P. M.
A Message was brought from the House of Commons, by Mr. Bennet, &c.
To let their Lordships know, that the Commons of England in Parliament assembled intend to sit this Afternoon; and they desire their Lordships would please to sit likewise.
The Answer returned was:
That their Lordships have considered their Message, and do intend to sit this Afternoon.
The Duke of Albemarle is added to the Committee for Examinations.
Dominus Cancellarius declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque in post meridiem hujus instantis diei, hora quarta, Dominis sic decernentibus.
Domini tam Spirituales quam Temporales præsentes fuerunt:
Report of Lords sent to examine L. Stafford in The Tower; and his Answer.
The Earl of Bridgwater and the Earl of Essex reported, "That, according to the Order of this House this Morning, they have been with the Lord Viscount Stafford, in The Tower; and have [ (fn. 1) examined his Lordship; who said,]
The Alterations above were made, this 7th of Jan. 1678, in the Presence of us,
Anglesey, C. P. S.
North & Grey.
"That he spent some Part of this last Summer in the Country in Shropshire and Staffordshire; some Time in August he went to Bathe; and from thence came to London, about a Week after Bartholmewtyde; where he staid some Days, and then went to Tixall, where he came at or near the 12th September.
"His Lordship knows Mr. Stephen Dugdale, who he takes to be the Lord Aston's Bailiff; but absolutely denies the having then, or at any Time either before or after, had any Discourse with him concerning a Design of introducing the Roman Religion, or any Thing relating thereunto.
"His Lordship also owns to know Mr. Ever, who, as he believes, has lived Two or Three Years in the Lord Aston's House; but also denies the having had any Discourse with the said Evers concerning the introducing of the Romish Religion.
"His Lordship also knows George Hopson, who waits on the Lord Aston in his Chamber.
"North, he takes to be Keeper there."
He desires a speedy Trial.
Their Lordships further reported, "That the Lord Viscount Stafford had Two Desires to present to this House:
"One, That he may have as speedy a Trial as may stand with their Lordships Conveniency.
"The other, That there may be a full House of Peers."
Message from H. C. for a Conference, on Supply Bill.
A Message was brought from the House of Commons, by Mr. Wharton and others:
That the Commons of England, in Parliament assembled, desire a Free Conference, concerning the Matter of the last Conference.
Exceptions taken to the Stile of it.
The House taking Exceptions to some Expressions in this Message, as not being according to the ancient Form of Messages, but of late Time introduced:
ORDERED, To have a Conference with the House of Commons thereupon on Monday next.
The Answer returned was:
Answer to H. C.
That the Lords have considered their Message, and do agree to a Free Conference; and do appoint the same to be presently, in the Painted Chamber.
The House was adjourned during Pleasure, and the Lords went to the Free Conference; which being ended, the House was resumed.
Report of the Conference on Supply Bill.
The Lord Privy Seal reported, "That the Lords have been at a Free Conference with the House of Commons, concerning the Amendments in the Bill for granting a Supply to His Majesty, of Two Hundred and Six Thousand Four Hundred Sixty-two Pounds, Seventeen Shillings, and Three Pence, for the effectual paying off and disbanding all the Forces raised, or brought over from Foreign Parts into this Kingdom, since the 29th of September, 1677; and argued and debated the Matters on both Sides, but came to no Agreement, or Resolution; therefore leave it to the Consideration of the House."
Proviso for preserving the King's Right in the Militia.
After Consideration hereof, it was agreed, to have a Proviso drawn up, and offered to the House, for preserving the King's Right in the Militia.
And the Lord Privy Seal, Duke of Bucks, and the Earl of Essex, were appointed to withdraw presently, and prepare such a Proviso.
The Lord Privy Seal reported the Draught of a Proviso.
Which was read, and debated.
It was proposed, "That the Question might be put, Whether this House should sit To-morrow in the Afternoon, upon this Bill."
Then a previous Question was put, "Whether this Question shall be put?"
It was Resolved in the Negative.
ORDERED, To go on in the Consideration of this Bill on Monday Morning next.
Dominus Cancellarius declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque in diem Lunæ, 30um diem instantis Decembris, hora nona Aurora, Dominis sic decernentibus.