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 Veneris, 7 die Januarii.
Epus. Bath & Wells.
Epus. St. Asaph.
L. Privy Seal.
Duke of Monmouth.
Duke of Newcastle.
Marq of Worcester.
Comes Dorset & Midd.
Comes St. Alban.
Comes (fn. 1) Ferversham.
Ds. North & Grey.
Ds. Grey W.
Ds. Howard Esc.
Ds. Herbert Ch.
Ds. Arundell T.
Ds. Butler W.
Message from H. C. to impeach L. C. Justice Scroggs.
"Articles of Impeachment of Sir William Scroggs Knight, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, by the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in their own Name and in the Name of all the Commons of England, of High Treason, and other great Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Articles of Impeachment against Sir Wm. Scroggs.
"Imprimis, That he the said Sir William Scroggs, then being Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, hath traiterously and wickedly endeavoured to subvert the fundamental Laws and the established Religion and Government of this Kingdom of England; and, instead thereof, to introduce Popery and an Arbitrary and Tyrannical Government against Law; which he has declared by divers traiterous and wicked Words, Opinions, Judgements, Practices, and Actions.
"Secondly, That he the said Sir William Scroggs, in Trinity Terme last, being then Chief Justice of the said Court, and having taken an Oath duly to administer Justice according to the Laws and Statutes of this Realm; in Pursuance of his said traiterous Purposes, did, together with the rest of the Justices of the same Court, several Days before the End of the said Term, in an arbitrary Manner, discharge the Grand Jury which then served for the Hundred of Oswaldston, in the County of Midd'x, before they had made their Presentments, or had found several Bills of Indictment which were then before them; whereof the said Sir William Scroggs was then fully informed, and that the same would be tendered to the Court upon the last Day of the said Term; which Day then was, and by the known Course of the said Court hath always heretofore been, given unto the said Jury, for the delivering in of their Bills and Presentments; by which sudden and illegal Discharge of the said Jury, the Course of Justice was maliciously and designedly stopped, the Presentments of many Papists and other Offenders were obstructed; and in particular a Bill of Indictment against James Duke of Yorke, for absenting himself from Church, which was then before them, was prevented from being proceeded upon.
"Thirdly, That whereas one Henry Carr had for some Time before published every Week a certain Book, intituled, "The Weekly Packet of Advice from Rome, or the History of Popery," wherein the Superstitions and Cheats of the Church of Rome were from Time to Time exposed; he the said Sir William Scroggs, then Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, together with the other Judges of the said Court, before any legal Conviction of the said Carr of any Crime, did, in the same Trinity Terme, in a most illegal and arbitrary Manner, make, and cause to be entered, a certain Rule of that Court, against the printing of the said Book, in bæc Verba:
"Dies Mercurii proxime post Tres Septimanas Sanctæ Trinitatis, Anno Tricesimo Secundo Caroli Secundi Regis: Ordinatum est, quod Liber, intitulat. The Weekely Packet of Advice from Rome, or the History of Popery, non ulterius imprimatur vel publicetur per aliquam Personam quamcunque. Per Cur.
"And did cause the said Carr, and divers Printers and other Persons, to be served with the same: Which said Rule and other Proceedings were most apparently contrary to all Justice, in condemning not only what had been written, without hearing the Parties; but also all that might for the future be written on that Subject; a manifest Countenancing of Popery, and Discouragement of Protestants, an open Invasion upon the Right of the Subject, and an encroaching and assuming to themselves a Legislative Power and Authority.
"Fourthly, That he the said Sir William Scroggs, since he was made Chief Justice of the King's Bench, hath, together with the other Judges of the said Court, most notoriously departed from all Rules of Justice and Equality, in the Imposition of Fines upon Persons convicted of Misdemeanors in the said Court; and particularly, in the Term of Easter last past, did openly declare, in the said Court, in the Case of one Jessop, who was convicted of publishing false News, and was then to be fined, "that he would have Regard to Persons and their Principles, in the imposing of Fines; and would set a Fine of Five Hundred Pounds on one Person for the same Offence, for which he would not fine another One Hundred Pounds;" and, according to his said unjust and arbitrary Declaration, he the said Sir William Scroggs, together with the said other Justices, did then impose a Fine of One Hundred Pounds upon the said Jessop, although the said Jessop had before that Time procured one Hewet to be convicted as Author of the said false News; and afterwards, in the same Term, did fine the said Hewet, upon his said Conviction, only Five Marks. Nor hath the said Sir William Scroggs, together with the other Judges of the said Court, had any Regard to the Nature of the Offences, or the Ability of the Person, in the imposing of Fines; but have been manifestly partial and favourable to Papists, and Persons affected to and promoting the Popish Interest, in this Time of imminent Danger from them; and at the same Time have most severely and grievously oppressed His Majesty's Protestant Subjects, as will appear upon View of the several Records of Fines set in the said Court. By which arbitrary, unjust, and partial Proceedings, many of His Majesty's Liege People have been ruined, and Popery countenanced, under Colour of Justice; and all the Mischiefs and Excesses of the Court of Star Chamber, by Act of Parliament suppressed, have been again, in direct Opposition to the said Law, introduced.
"Fifthly, That he the said Sir William Scroggs, for the further accomplishing of his said traiterous and wicked Purposes, and designing to subject the Persons as well as the Estates of His Majesty's Liege People to his lawless Will and Pleasure, hath frequently refused to accept of Bail; though the same were sufficient, and legally tendered to him by many Persons accused before him only of such Crimes for which by Law Bail ought to have taken, and divers of the said Persons being only accused of Offences against himself; declaring at the same Time, "that he refused Bail, and committed them to Gaol, only to put them to Charges;" and using such furious Threats, as were to the Terror of His Majesty's Subjects; and such scandalous Expressions, as were a Dishonour to the Government, and to the Dignity of his Office; and particularly that he the said Sir William Scroggs did, in the Year One Thousand Six Hundred Seventy and Nine, commit and detain in Prison in such unlawful Manner (among others) Henry Carr, George Broome, Edward Berry, Benjamin Harris, Francis Smith Senior, Francis Smith Junior, and Jane Curtis, Citizens of London; which Proceedings of the said Sir William Scroggs are a high Breach of the Liberty of the Subject, destructive to the fundamental Laws of this Realm, contrary to the Petition of Right and other Statutes, and do manifestly tend to the introducing of arbitrary Power.
"Sixthly, That he the said Sir William Scroggs, in further Oppression of His Majesty's Liege People, hath, since his being made Chief Justice of the said Court of King's Bench, in an arbitrary Manner, granted divers General Warrants, for attaching the Persons and seizing the Goods of His Majesty's Subjects, not named or described particularly in the said Warrants; by Means whereof, many of His Majesty's Subjects have been vexed, their Houses entered into, and they themselves grievously oppressed, contrary to Law.
"Seventhly, Whereas there hath been a horrid and damnable Plot, contrived and carried on by the Papists, for the Murdering of the King, the Subversion of the Laws and Government of this Kingdom, and for the Destruction of the Protestant Religion in the same; all which the said Sir William Scroggs well knew, having himself not only tried, but given Judgement against several of the Offenders; nevertheless he the said Sir William Scroggs did, at divers Times and Places, as well sitting in Court as otherwise, openly defame and scandalize several of the Witnesses, who had proved the said Treasons against divers of the Conspirators, and had given Evidence against divers other Persons who were then untried; and did endeavour to disparage their Evidence, and take off their Credit; whereby, as much as in him lay, he did traiterously and wickedly suppress and stifle the Discovery of the said Popish Plot, and encourage the Conspirators to proceed in the same, to the great and apparent Danger of His Majesty's Sacred Life, and of the well-established Government and Religion of this Realm of England.
"Eighthly, Whereas the said Sir William Scroggs, being advanced to be Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, ought, by a sober, grave, and virtuous Conversation, to have given a good Example to the King's Liege People, and to demean himself answerable to the Dignity of so eminent a Station; yet he the said Sir William Scroggs, on the contrary, by his frequent and notorious Excesses and Debaucheries, and his prophane and atheistical Discourses, doth daily affront Almighty God, dishonour His Majesty, give Countenance and Encouragement to all Manner of Vice and Wickedness, and bring the highest Scandal on the Public Justice of the Kingdom.
"All which Words, Opinions, and Actions, of the said Sir William Scroggs, were by him spoken and done, traiterously, wickedly, falsely, and maliciously, to alienate the Hearts of the King's Subjects from His Majesty, and to set a Division between Him and them, and to subvert the fundamental Laws and the established Religion and Government of this Kingdom, and to introduce Popery and an arbitrary and tyrannical Government, and contrary to his own Knowledge and the known Laws of the Realm of England; and thereby he the said Sir William Scroggs hath not only broken his own Oath, but also, as far as in him lay, hath broken the King's Oath to His People, whereof he the said Sir William Scroggs, representing His Majesty in so high an Office of Justice, had the Custody; for which the said Commons do impeach him the said Sir William Scroggs of the High Treason against our Sovereign Lord the King and His Crown and Dignity, and other the high Crimes and Misdemeanors aforesaid.
"And the said Commons, by Protestation, saving to themselves the Liberty of exhibiting at any Time hereafter any other Accusation or Impeachment against the said Sir William Scroggs, and also of replying to the Answer that he shall make thereunto, and of offering Proofs of the Premises, or of any other Impeachments or Accusations that shall be by them exhibited against him as the Case shall (according to the Course of Parliament) require; do pray, that the said Sir William Scroggs, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, may be put to answer to all and every the Premises, and may be committed to safe Custody; and that such Proceedings, Examinations, Trials and Judgements, may be upon him had and used as is agreeable to Law and Justice, and the Course of Parliaments."
Debate about his Commitment.
Carried in the Negative.
Protest against that Resolution.
"First, We that are of that Opinion, that he ought to be committed, are deprived of giving our Votes, by putting only the Question of Bail; we being rather for Bail, than to let him go altogether free.
"Besides, we did think it very unsafe, and not agreeable to Justice, that he should be at large, and execute his Place of Lord Chief Justice, whilst he lies under the Charge of an Impeachment of High Treason.
Shaftesbury. Clare. Bedford.
Essex. Stamford. C. Cornwallis.
Maclesfeld. Grey. Pagett. Herbert.
L. C. J. Scroggs to give 10,000 l. Bail for his Appearance:
ORDERED, That Sir William Scroggs, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, do (in this House) enter into a Recognizance to our Sovereign Lord the King, of Ten Thousand Pounds, with Two sufficient Sureties to be bound with him in Five Thousand Pounds apiece; upon Condition, That he shall attend upon this Court from Time to Time, till he be discharged of his Impeachment brought up from the House of Commons.
Then Sir William Scroggs was brought to the Bar; and, after he had kneeled, the Lord Chancellor told him, "That the House had ordered, That he should enter into a Recognizance of Ten Thousand Pounds, with Two Sureties to be bound with him in Five Thousand Pounds apiece, to attend this House from Time to Time, until he was discharged of his Impeachment."
Memorandum, quod Willielmus Scroggs Mil. Capitalis Justic. Domini Regis, recognovit se debere Domino Regi Decem Mille Libras; Carolus Comes Dorset et Midd. recognovit se debere Domino Regi Quinque Mille Libras; et Christopherus Dominus Hatton recognovit se debere Domino Regi Quinque Mille Libras, levari de Terris, Tenementis, Bonis et Catallis suis, ad Usum Domini Regis.
The Condition of the abovesaid Recognizance is such, That if the said Sir William Scroggs shall attend upon this Court from Time to Time, till he shall be discharged of his Impeachment brought up from the House of Commons, then this Recognizance to be void; or else to remain in full Force and Virtue.
Not to be suspended from his Office.
Protest against that Resolution.
Message from H. C. to impeach the E. of Tyrone.
"That the Commons in Parliament assembled (having received Information against the Earl of Tyrone) have commanded him, in their Name, and in the Name of all the Commons of England, to impeach Richard Earl of Tyrone, of High Treason.
L. C. J. Scroggs to put in his Answer.
ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That Sir William Scroggs Knight, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, may have a Copy of the Articles of Impeachment brought up by the House of Commons against him this Day; to which he is hereby required to put in his Answer in Writing, at the Bar of this House, on Friday next, being the Fourteenth Day of this Instant January, at Ten of the Clock in the Forenoon.
Address concerning FitzGerald and Downey.
ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Lords with White Staves do attend His Majesty, to desire Him from this House, "That His Majesty will be pleased to give Order for the safe bringing of Maurice Fitz Gerald and Murtagh Downey out of the Kingdom of Ireland to this House, to give Evidence of what they know concerning the horrid Popish Plot and Conspiracy in that Kingdom."