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 Martis, 7 die Decembris.
Armsbelonging to Papists to be seized.
This House being informed, by the Earl of Shaftesbury, "That there are Arms concealed, belonging unto Papists; and that he will communicate to the Earl of Salisbury the Name of the Person in whose House they are:"
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That .......... be, and are hereby, authorized and required to repair to the House of any such Person as they shall be directed by the Earl of Salisbury and the Earl of Shaftesbury, and search for and seize such Arms as they shall find there, and give this House an Account thereof; and for so doing, this shall be a sufficient Warrant.
To ......... and to the Serjeant at Arms attending this House, his Deputy and Deputies, and to all His Majesty's Officers and Ministers Civil and Military, to be aiding and assisting in the Execution hereof.
Call of the House.
L. H. Steward desires Leave to sit, when he takes the Votes.
Whereas the Lord High Steward, in regard of his present Indisposition upon him, will not be able to stand up so long Time as the taking of the Votes of the Lords will require, desired he might have Leave of their Lordships to sit:
Manner of Lords giving Judgement.
The Lords considering of the Method and Manner in giving their Judgement in Westminster Hall; agreed, That every Lord should go into, and sit, in Westminster Hall, in his due Place; and when he gives his Vote, he is to lay his Hand upon his Breast, saying, "Guilty," or "Not Guilty."
Judgement to be given by every Lord upon Honour.
L. H. Steward Lave to sit, on taking the Votes.
L. H. Steward puts the Question.
The Lord High Steward, by a List, called every Peer by his Name, beginning at the lowest Baron; and asked them, "Whether the Lord Viscount Stafford be Guilty of the Treason whereof he stands impeached, or not?"
L. Stafford found Guilty.
The Lord High Steward counted the Votes; and declared, "That the Number of the Lords that have found William Viscount Stafford Guilty of Treason is Fifty and Four; and the Number of those Lords that voted him Not Guilty were Thirty and Two."
Memorandum, That whereas the Lord High Steward declared the Number of those Lords who found the Lord Viscount Stafford Guilty of Treason to be Fifty Four, and the Number Thirty Two that found him Not Guilty; since, it appears to be a Mistake in Counting, in regard the Paper taken by the Lord High Steward makes the Number to be Fifty and Five, and Thirty and One. This Memorandum is entered, this 14th Day of December, 1680, before us,
Then the Lord High Steward commanded William Viscount Stafford to be brought to the Bar; who being there, the Lord High Steward told him, "That the Lords have taken into Consideration the Impeachment of High Treason brought from the House of Commons against him, and likewise his Answer thereunto; and have considered the whole Evidence thereupon; and have found him Guilty of the Treason he stands impeached of; and asked him, What he had to say, why Judgement should not be pronounced upon him?"
Pleads in Arrest of Judgement.
"2. The other was, he craved the Benefit of the Provisos in the Act of 13. Caroli Secundi, intituled, An Act for Safety and Preservation of His Majesty's Person and Government, against treasonable and seditious Practices and Attempts."
Opinion of the Judges asked.
The House, upon Consideration hereof, demanded the Opinion of the Judges, "Whether the Lord Viscount Stafford's not holding up of (fn. 1) Hand at the Bar at his Trial for High Treason, be any Defect in the Proceedings against him?"
The Judges were of Opinion, "That, in Inferior Courts, the holding up of the Hand is no essential Part of the Proceeding, nor entered upon Record; and is often omitted, where the Court and Jury are otherwise ascertained that the Prisoner at the Bar is the Person indicted."
Stat. of 13 Car. 11. does not help him.
Commons demand Judgement.
They being admitted in; the Speaker demanded "Judgement of High Treason, against William Viscount Stafford, upon the Impeachment of the Commons of England in Parliament, in the Name of the Commons in Parliament, and of all the Commons of England."
Debate concerning the Judgement to be given.
The Judges were of Opinion, "That the Judgement for Treason, appointed by Law, is, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered; and in the Courts and Proceedings below, they can take no Notice of any Judgement for Treason but that."
Attorney General heard about it.
Who said, "He knew of no other Judgement by Law for Treason, but Hanging, Drawing, and Quartering. If any other Judgement were given, it would be prejudicial to His Majesty; and would be a Question in the Inferior Courts as to his Attainder for Treason."
Usual Judgement to be pronounced.
Message to acquaint H. C. that the Lords will presently give Judgement.
House adjourned to Westminster Hall.
Lord High Steward's Speech to L. Stafford.
"That which your Lordship hath said in Arrest of Judgement hath been found by my Lords, upon due Consideration had of it, to be of no Moment at all: It is no effential Part of any Trial, that the Prisoner should hold up his Hand at the Bar; there is no Record ever made of it, when it is done; the only Use of it is, to shew the Court who the Prisoner is; and when that is apparent, the Court does often proceed against him, though he refuse to hold up his Hand at the Bar: Therefore the Omission of that Ceremony, in this Case, is no legal Exception, as all the Judges have declared.
"And as to the Provisos in the Statute of the 13th Year of this King; their Lordships do find, that they are in no Sort applicable to this Case; forasmuch as the Proceedings against your Lordship are not grounded upon that Statute, but upon the Statute of the 25th of Edward the Third: And yet, if the Proceedings had been upon the latter Statute, the Provisos therein could have done your Lordship no Service at all.
"Who would have thought, that a Person of your Quality, of so noble Extraction, of so considerable Estate and Fortune, so eminent a Sufferer in the late ill Times, so interested in the Preservation of the Government, so much obliged to the Moderation of it, and so personally obliged to the King and His Royal Father for Their particular Favours to you, should ever have entered into so infernal a Conspiracy, as to contrive the Murder of the King, the Ruin of the State, the Subversion of Religion, and, as much as in you lay, the Destruction of all the Souls and Bodies in Three Christian Nations?
"That there hath been a general and desperate Conspiracy of the Papists, and that the Death of the King hath been all along one chief Part of the Conspirators Design, is now apparent, beyond all Possibility of Doubting.
"What was the Meaning of all those Treatises, which were published about Two Years since, against the Oath of Allegiance, in a Time when no Man dreamt of such a Controversy? What was the Meaning of Father Conyers' Sermon upon the same Subject; but only because there was a Demonstration of Zeal, as they call it, intended against the Person of the King, which the Scruples arising from that Oath did somewhat hinder?
"To what Purpose were all the Correspondencies with Foreign Nations, the Collections of Money among the Fathers Abroad and at Home? What was the Meaning of their governing themselves here by such Advices as came frequently from Paris and St. Omers? and how shall we expound that Letter which came from Ireland, to assure the Fathers here, "that all Things were in a Readiness there too, as soon as the Blow should be given."
"Does any Man now begin to doubt how London came to be burnt? or by what Hands and Means poor Justice Godfrey fell? And is it not apparent, by these Instances, that such is the frantic Zeal of some bigoted Papists, that they resolve, no Means, to advance the Catholic Cause, shall be left unattempted, though it be by Fire and Sword?
"As the Plot in general is most manifest, so your Lordship's Part in it hath been too too plain. What you did at Paris, and continued to do at Tixall in Staffordshire, shews a settled Purpose of Mind against the King. And what you said at London, touching honest Will, shews you were acquainted with that Conspiracy against the King's Life, which was carrying on here too. And in all this, there was a great Degree of Malice; for your Lordship at one Time called the King "Heretic and Traitor to God;" and at another Time, you reviled Him, for misplacing His Bounty, and rewarding none but Traitors and Rebels.
"And thus, you see, that which the Wise Man forewarned you of is come upon you, Curse not the King, no not in thy Heart; for the Birds of the Air shall reveal, and that which hath Wings will declare the Matter.
"In the First Place, your Lordship now sees, how it hath pleased God to leave you so far to yourself; that you are fallen into the Snare, and into the Pit, into that very Pit which you were digging for others: Consider, therefore, that God Almighty never yet left any Man, who did not first leave Him.
"In the next Place, think a little better of it than hitherto you have done, what Kind of Religion that is, in which the blind Guides have been able to lead you on, into so much Ruin and Destruction, as is now like to befall you.
"In the last Place, I pray your Lordship to consider, that true Repentance is never too late: A devout penitential Sorrow, joined with an humble and hearty Confession, is of mighty Power and Efficacy, both with God and Man.
"There have been some of late, who have refused to give God the Glory of His Justice, by acknowledging the Crimes for which they were condemned; nay, who have been taught to believe, it is a mortal Sin to confess that Crime in Public, for which they have been absolved in Private; and so have not dared to give God that Glory, which otherwise they would have done.
"Perhaps your Lordship may not much esteem the Prayers of those whom you have long been taught to miscall Heretics; but, whether you do or no, I am to assure your Lordship, that all my Lords here, even they that have condemned you, will never cease to pray for you, that the End of your Life may be Christian and pious, how tragical soever the Means are that must bring you thither.
"When you come there, you must be hanged up by the Neck, but not till you are dead; for you must be cut down alive: Your Privy Members must be cut off; and your Bowels ript up, before your Face; and thrown into the Fire: Then your Head must be severed from your Body, and your Body divided into Four Quarters; and these must be at the Disposal of the King.
Lord High Steward dissolves his Commission.
Thanks to him for his Speech, and desired to print it.
ORDERED, That the Thanks of this House be given to the Lord High Steward, for his Speech this Day to the Lord Viscount of Stafford, in Westminster Hall, at what Time his Lordship pronounced the Judgement of this House against him; and his Lordship is hereby desired to print and publish the same.
L. Stafford to have Access of Friends.
ORDERED, by the Lords in Parliament assembled, That all the Relations and Friends of the Lord Viscount of Stafford have hereby Leave given to them, and every of them, to have free Access to his Lordship, now Prisoner in The Tower; and this shall be a sufficient Warrant on that Behalf.
Sir Oliver Boteler versus Reg. m, &c. in Error.
Udon reading the Petition of Sir Oliver Boteler Baronet; shewing, "That this House having appointed to hear Counsel To-morrow, upon his Appeal from a Decree made in the Court of Chancery, to which Appeal His Majesty's Attorney General (among others) was to put in his Answer, which was not done till Yesterday; so that, by reason of the Public Business of this House, he could not have a Copy thereof timely enough to instruct his Counsel fully; and therefore that he may have a further Day assigned for that Purpose:"
It is thereupon ORDERED, by the Lords in Parliament assembled, That this House will hear Counsel, at the Bar, upon the said Appeal and Answers, on Saturday the Eleventh Day of this Instant December, at Ten of the Clock in the Forenoon; whereof the said Sir Oliver Boteler is to cause timely Notice to be given to His Majesty's Attorney General, and the other Respondents, for that Purpose.