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 Martis, 15 die Aprilis.
King's Answer, concerning passing E. Danby's Bill.
The Lord Privy Seal reported, "That he and the other Lords have presented to His Majesty Yesterday the humble Address of this House, concerning His giving His Royal Assent to the Bill for the Attainder of the Earl of Danby.
Popish Lords to give in their Answers.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Earl of Powis, Lord Viscount Stafford, Lord Petre, and Lord Arundell of Wardour, be brought to the Bar of this House To-morrow Morning, at Eleven of the Clock, by the Lieutenant of The Tower, to put in their respective Answers to the said Articles of Impeachment: And this shall be a sufficient Warrant on that Behalf.
"The several Plea of John Lord Bellasis, now Prisoner in The Tower of London, to Part, and his several Answer to the Residue, of the Articles of Impeachment of High Treason, and other high Crimes and Offences, exhibited to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, against the said Lord, and others therein named, whereof the said Lord stands impeached, by the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses in Parliament assembled, in the Name of themselves and of all the Commons of England.
L. Bellasis's Answer to his Impeachment.
"The said Lord, in the First Place, and before all others, protesting his Innocence of and from all the Treasons, and other Crimes and Offences whatsoever, in the said Articles contained, and no Way acknowledging, confessing, granting, or admitting, all or any the Clauses, Articles, or Matters, in the said Articles of Impeachment contained or specified, so far as the same any Way concerns him, to be true, as in and by the same Articles of Impeachment is supposed; and humbly praying a favourable Construction by this most Honourable House of what the said Lord shall humbly offer, by Way of Plea, to such Part of the Impeachment as is hereunder mentioned, and that the same may not be taken or construed as any Subterfuge or Evasion of the Justice of this most Honourable House, to which the said Lord doth, with all Humility, wholly submit himself; desiring above all Things the Trial of his Cause by this most Honourable House, so that he may be provided to make his just Defence, for the clearing of his Innocence from the great and heinous Crimes charged upon him by the said Impeachment: This being prayed, as also Liberty to correct, amend, or explain, any Thing in this his Plea and Answer contained, which may any Way give this Honourable House any Occasion of Offence; and, he hopeth, being granted; the said Lord, as to that Part of the Impeachment which containeth the Matter following; namely, "That, for many Years now last past, there hath been contrived and carried on, by Papists, a traiterous and execrable Conspiracy and Plot, within this Kingdom of England and other Places, to alter, change, and subvert, the ancient Government and Laws of this Kingdom and Nation, and to suppress the true Religion therein established, and to extirpate and destroy the Professors thereof; and that the said Plot and Conspiracy was contrived and carried on, in divers Places, and by several Ways and Means, and by a great Number of Persons of several Qualities and Degrees, who acted therein, and intended thereby to execute and accomplish their aforesaid wicked and traiterous Designs and Purposes; that the said John Lord Bellasis, and the other Lords therein named, together with several other Persons therein likewise named or mentioned, as false Traitors to His Majesty and this Kingdom, within the Time aforesaid, have traiterously consulted, contrived, and acted, to and for the accomplishing the said wicked, pernicious, and traiterous Designs; and, for that End, did most wickedly and traiterously agree, conspire, and resolve, to imprison, depose, and murder, His Sacred Majesty, and to deprive Him of His Royal Estate, Crown, and Dignity; and, by malicious and advised speaking, writing, and otherwise declaring, such their Purposes and Intentions; and also to subject this Kingdom and Nation to the Pope, and to His tyrannical Government; and to seize and share amongst themselves the Estates and Inheritances of His Majesty's Protestant Subjects; and to erect and restore Abbies, Monasteries, and other Convents and Societies, which have been long since, by the Laws of this Kingdom, suppressed, for their Superstition and Idolatry; and to deliver up and restore to them the Lands and Possessions now vested in His Majesty and His Subjects by the Laws and Statutes of this Realm, and also to found and erect new Monasteries and Convents; and to remove and deprive all Protestant Bishops, and other Ecclesiastical Persons, from their Offices, Benefices, and Preferments; and by this Means to destroy His Majesty's Person, extirpate the Protestant Religion, overthrow the Rights, Liberties, and Properties, of all His Majesty's good Subjects, subvert the lawful Government of this Kingdom, and subject the same to the Tyranny of the See of Rome; and that the said Conspirators, and their 'Complices and Consederates, traiterously had and held several Meetings, Assemblies, and Consultations, wherein it was contrived and designed amongst them, what Means should be used, and what Persons and Instruments should be employed, to murder His Majesty; and did then and there resolve to effect it by poisoning, shooting, stabbing, or some such like Ways and Means;" and also to that Part of the Impeachment which chargeth, "That the said Lord Bellasis, and the other Persons in the said Impeachment named, the better to compass their traiterous Designs, have consulted to raise Men, Money, Horses, Arms, and Ammunition;" the said Lord, saving to himself the Liberty of answering over and denying all and singular the said Crimes and Offences charged upon him, saith, and humbly offereth to this most Honourable House, That the Charge of those Crimes and Offences, so imposed upon him by the said Impeachment, is so general and uncertain, that he cannot by any Possibility give any direct Answer thereto, nor make his just and lawful Defence upon any Trial of the same; for that the said Charge hath no Manner of Certainty in Point of Time, it being said only, "for many Years now last past, a traiterous and execrable Plot and Conspiracy hath been contrived and carried on;" which may be for Five, Ten, Twenty, or Thirty, or more Years past; whereby, although the said Lord knoweth himself to be altogether innocent of any such horrid and detestable Crimes as by the said Impeachment are objected against him, yet it is no Way possible for him, upon any Trial thereof, to be prepared with his just and lawful Defence, by Witnesses, to prove himself absent and in another Place at the Time of such Meeting or Consultation to or for any the wicked Designs and Purposes in the said Impeachment mentioned, as upon his Trial may be suddenly objected against him, when he cannot by any Care or Foresight whatsoever have such Witnesses ready as could disprove the same, if he were certainly charged for any traiterous Act or Crime at any Time certainly alledged in the said Impeachment; nor is the same Charge in the said Impeachment more certain as to the Place of any such traiterous Meeting or Consultation laid down in the said Impeachment, it being only alledged to be "at divers Places within the Realm of England and elsewhere;" which, for the Causes aforesaid, is likewise so utterly uncertain, that it deprives the said Lord of his just Defence upon his Trial: The Incertainty likewise of the Number of Meetings or Consultations to the wicked Purposes in the Impeachment mentioned, and the not shewing how many Times the said Lord met and consulted, and with whom in particular, doth likewise deprive him of all Possibility of making his Defence, or producing his Witnesses; for that the said Lord Bellasis, being wholly innocent, cannot suppose or imagine what Meeting or Consultation, either to raise Men or Money, for the carrying on of a traiterous Design, or to any other wicked Intent or Purpose in the said Impeachment mentioned, shall or may be objected against him upon his Trial; and it is as much impossible for him to bring Witnesses to prove all the Meetings he hath had with others in his Life-time, as it is for him to know, upon this general Charge, what Meeting or Consultation may upon his Trial be objected against him as a traiterous Meeting, or Consultation: And where it is in the said Impeachment charged upon the said Lord, "That he hath uttered Treason, by malicious and advised speaking, writing, and otherwise declaring;" that the said Lord saith, That never any traiterous Thought ever entered into his Heart; and therefore he cannot possibly know or discover what Words or Writing he ever spoke, uttered, writ, or declared, which are now charged upon him as Treason; there being no Words or Writing at all specified in the Impeachment, whereby the said Lord might know how to prepare his Defence against them, or that this most Honourable House might judge whether the same Words or Writing were in Law treasonable or not.
This foregoing Answer of the Lord Belasyse could not be examine by us, because the Original of it was, by Order of the House, delivered back to his Lordship before our Meeting to examine the Book; but it was read before us, May 1st, 1679.
"All which Incertainties, and the imminent and apparent Danger of the said Lord's being thereupon surprized in his Trial of a Cause of this Consequence to the said Lord, wherein his Life, and Honour more dear to him than his Life, and all else that is dear to him in this World, are immediately concerned, being seriously weighed and considered by your Lordships; he humbly prayeth, as by his Counsel he is advised, That your Lordships will not put him to answer the said Impeachment, as to the Charges herein above recited, till the same be reduced to some competent Certainty, that the said Lord may know what to answer unto, and may be thereby enabled to make his just Defence accordingly: All which notwithstanding, he humbly submitteth to your Lordships grave Judgements and Considerations; professing himself always ready and willing to do and submit to whatsoever your Lordships in Justice shall order and think fit. And as to all other the Treasons, Crimes, and Offences whatsoever, contained, mentioned, or specified in the said Impeachment; the said Lord, protesting that they are incertainly and insufficiently alledged, and therefore saving to himself the Benefit of Exception thereto, for Answer thereto, saith, That he is not, nor ever was, guilty of the said Treasons, Crimes, and Offences, or of any or either of them, of which he stands charged by the said Impeachment; and, for his Trial thereof, putteth himself upon, and humbly submitteth to, the Judgement of your Lordships; whose Justice the said Lord now doth, and always shall, rely upon, and therein acquiesce.
To be communicated to H. C.
State of Ireland.
Address to seize Papists there.
And the Earl of Bridgewater reported, "The Committee of the whole House are of Opinion, That an Address be made to His Majesty, from this House, that upon the account of the late horrid Conspiracy, and the present Prospect of Affairs, and that several Things are under Consideration for preventing the Dangers that may thereby arise, and for the Preservation of His Majesty's Person, Kingdoms, and Dominions, that His Majesty will be pleased to give Order to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in the mean Time, to seize such Persons, being Papists, in Ireland, as his Lordship and the Council shall judge to be dangerous to the Government there."
Sir Rowland Belasyse, Leave to go beyond Sea.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Sir Rowland Belasyse, and Two Servants, videlicet, Thomas Warring, and Edward Part, be, and are hereby, authorized and permitted to repair to any of His Majesty's Sea Ports of this Kingdom, and thence to pass into the Parts beyond the Seas; and for so doing, this shall be a sufficient Warrant.
Turner versus Sir R. Henley.
Whereas Sir Robert Henly was, by Order of the Second Day of this Instant April, required to put in an Answer, in Writing, to the Petition of Gawen Turner and Anne his Wife, within One Week next after Notice given him for that Purpose:
"Time for that Purpose;" it is thereupon ORDERED, That the said Sir Robert Henley hath hereby a Fortnight's Time longer given him for putting in his said Answer, than was granted to him by the Order of the said Second Day of this Instant April as aforesaid.
Whereas there is a Petition of Appeal of William Ward, an Infant, by Edward Lord Ward his Guardian and next Friend, and John Levett Gentleman and Mary his Wife, depending in this House, to which Mr. Nathaniell Booth hath put in his Answer in Writing:
Ward & al. versus Booth.
This House being moved, on the Behalf of the said Nathaniell Booth, "That a Day may be appointed, to hear Counsel thereon;" it is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That this House will hear Counsel, at the Bar, on both Parts, upon the said Petition and Answer, on Tuesday the Twenty-ninth Day of this Instant April, at Ten of the Clock in the Forenoon; whereof the said Nathaniell Booth is to cause timely Notice to be given to the said William Ward's Guardian, and the other Persons concerned therein.
Howard, Leave to stay in Town.
Whereas Bernard Howard Esquire, who, in Obedience to His Majesty's late Proclamation, had withdrawn himself from the Cities of London and Westminster, had Leave given him, on the 18th Day of March last, to come to and stay in Town for One Month, but no longer, to attend some Business of great Importance to him; which is not yet perfected, though the Time granted for the effecting thereof be near elapsed:
This House being moved, "That he may have Leave to stay some Time longer for that Purpose;" it is this Day ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Bernard Howard be, and is hereby, authorized to stay in the Cities of London and Westminster, or either of them, for the Purpose aforesaid, for the Space of One Month from the Date of this Order, but no longer.
Mrs. Thymelby, Leave to stay in Town.
This House being moved, "That she may have Leave given her to stay in Town some Time longer;" it is ORDERED, That the said Mrs. Thymelby be, and is hereby, authorized and permitted to stay in the Cities of London and Westminster, or either of them, for the Space of One Month from the Date of this Order, but no longer.
Sir W. Andrews, an Agent in the Plot, committed to The Gatehouse.
It is this Day ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Officer in whose Custody the said Sir William Andrewes now is shall forthwith deliver the said Sir William Andrewes into the Prison of The Gatehouse at Westminster, there to remain a Prisoner till further Order; and this shall be a sufficient Warrant on that Behalf.