Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 14, 1685-1691. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Sabbati, 25 die Maii.
Message from H. C. with a Bill for Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act.
Who brought up a Bill, intituled, "An Act for empowering their Majesties to commit without Bail, such Persons as they find just Cause to suspect are conspiring against the Government," to which their Lordships Concurrence is desired.
Right of the Subject, and Succession of the Crown, Bill.
Message to H. C. to return it.
To return to them the Bill for declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject, and settling the Succession of the Crown; in which their Lordships have made some Alterations, and desire the Concurrence of the House of Commons thereunto.
Titus Oates's Case, printed, owned by him.
"The said Titus Oates, in the Year 1678, discovered a horrid Popish Conspiracy, for the Destruction of the late King Charles IId, His present Majesty (then Prince of Orange), and the Protestant Religion within these Kingdoms; and proved it so fully, that several Parliaments and Courts of Justice, before whom he gave his Testimony, declared their Belief of it, by public Votes, and the Condemnation of several of the Conspirators, accused not only by him, but by several other Witnesses who had also a Knowledge of the said Conspiracy.
"The House of Lords, being sensible of the great Service of Oates, gave him their Thanks in a most public Manner; and addressed to King Charles the IId, to grant His Royal Protection to the said Oates, and to give him a Subsistence till the Parliament considered of a Reward suitable to his great and public Service to the King and Kingdom; and Three solemn Days of Fasting were proclaimed, at the Request of Three successive Parliaments, to implore GOD's Assistance in the full and farther Discovery of the villainous Machinations of the Popish Party.
"The said Oates discovered the traiterous Correspondency which Coleman held with Le Chaise (Confessor to the French King), which gave both Houses of Parliament full Satisfaction of the Popish Plot; and other Letters were produced by a Person of Quality, by which the Government was satisfied of the under-hand Dealing of a great Minister of State at that Time, in order to procure a great Sum of Money, to put off the Parliament. All which did still justify the said Oates, and verify the Truth of his Discovery.
"He appeared a Witness at The Old Bailey, against Whitebread, Fenwick, Ireland, Pickering, and Grove, 17 Dec. 1678. Whitebread and Fenwick were not then tried; but Pickering, Grove, and Ireland, were tried, against whom the Evidence was so full and plain, that they were all Three convicted upon the Testimoney of the said Oates and Mr. Bedloe, and were executed for High Treason.
"At the Trial, Two Things were objected against Oates's Testimony: First, That he swore he was present at the Consult held at London, April 24, 78, when the Jesuits alledged he was not there, but at St. Omer's; but, nothing being offered in Proof thereof, this Objection was looked upon as vain and frivolous.
"The Second Objection was, That Oates swore, Ireland was in Town between the 8th and 12th of August; and they alledged, he was out of Town all August; To this, Mr. Ireland produced Ellenor and Anne Ireland, who testified he set out for Staffordshire the 3d of August 78; one Harrison testified, he met Mr. Ireland on the 5th of August at St. Albains, and was in his Company till the 16th in Staffordshire; and Mr. Gifford swore, he saw Mr. Ireland Two Days after St. Bartholimew's Day, and the 9th of September, in Staffordshire.
"In Answer to which, Oates proved Ireland's being in Town great Part of August, by the Testimony of Mr. Bedloe and one Sarah Paine late Servant to the aforesaid Grove, who testified, the saw Mr. Ireland about the 12th of August at his own Door in Russell Street; whereupon the Jury found Ireland guilty, and the Lord Chief Justice Scrogs told them, "They had done like honest Gentlemen and good Protestants."
"Oates appeared at The Old Bayley, 13th June, 1679, when Whitebread, Fenwick, Harcout, and Turner, (all Jesuits and Priests) were tried for the same Conspiracy; and the same Objections were made to Oates's Evidence then, as at the former Trial; videlicet, That Oates was not in Town at the Consult, 24th April, 78; nor Ireland in Town between the said 8th and 12th of August, nor the 2d of September following.
"For making good the First Objection, they produced a great Number of Boys from St. Omers, as Martin Hilsly, Parry Doddington, Gifford Palmer, Cox Billing, Towneley Fall, John Hall the College Butler, Cooke a Taylor of the College, and a Lay Brother of the Jesuits; these all testified, that Oates was at St. Omers all April and May; but the Evidence was so ridiculous, and the Witnesses appearing to be managed and suborned, the Court and Jury set no Value upon their Testimony: But, that the Falsehood of their Testimony might appear; to prove that Oates was in Town, the Counsel for the King produced Mr. Walker an aged Minister of the Church of England, Sarab Ivas, Mrs. Mayo, Mr. Page, Sir Richard Barker, John Butler, William Smith, and one Mr. Clay a Romish Priest, who were all positive as to Oates's being in Town, except Sir Richard Barker, and he testified what his Servants Page and Butler had told him; which gave great Satisfaction to the Court and Jury, and so Oates was set right as to that Point: But as to the Second Objection, which was, that Ireland was out of Town all August, and therefore that Oates was false in that Particular, they produced several Witnesses out of Staffordshire, to prove Ireland there: The Lady Southcot testified, that the saw him from the 5th of August to the 16th; and Sir John from August 5th till August 9th; and Mr. Edward Southcot from August 3d till August 16th; and Mrs. Harwell and her Daughter, who say, they saw him on August 17th; but this came not within the Compass of the Time assigned by Oates. Against these, Mr. Bedloe's Testimony and Sarah Paine. And some Time after this Trial, in came Mr. Jennison, who testifies, that he saw Mr. Ireland in August at London; all which overthrows the Testimony of Mrs. Ellenor Ireland and Mrs. Anne Ireland, and the Three Southcots, all Papists, and Relations of Mr. Ireland. The Testimony of Sarah Paine was so innocent, and without any Manner of Cunning, that the Court and Jury set a great Value upon her Evidence. Thus was that Objection then answered.
"Upon the 14th of June, 1679, at the Trial of Mr. Langhorne, Oates appeared at The Old Bayley, where the St. Omer Witnesses appeared again upon that Point of Time and Place; and the Court observed, "that they were mended in Testimony, and had improved themselves;" but the Witnesses produced against these Boys were so plain in their Testimony, that the St. Omer Boys were not believed in this Point at all.
"The Duke of Yorke, having a great Influence upon King Charles II. as also several others of the Popish Party, did prevail upon Him to suffer the said Oates to be indicted for Perjury, in Two several Indictments, 6 or 7 Years after he had given his Testimony concerning the Popish Plot; and brought the same to Trial on the 8th and 9th of May, 1685, in the Reign of King James II.; and produced the same Witnesses, with the Addition of some others, but all Papists and bred up at St. Omers, excepting One, who had his Education at St. Omers; he was turned Protestant as he pretended, and was made a Minister of the Church of Engl'd by the Bishop of St. Asaph. To these Witnesses Oates produced Two, Mrs. Mayo and John Butler, who were positive as to his being in Town in the Beginning of May, and one Page and Mr. Walker the Minister (the latter being aged above 80 Years old), through the long Distance of Time, could not be so positive as to the Year; and Page could not be positive, both being in Fear, by reason of the Lord Chief Justice Jefferies browbeating Oates's Witnesses, as several Honourable Peers of this House can testify. The Counsel perverting the Testimony, and the Lord Jefferies appearing so much Oates's Enemy, and no Counsel daring to appear for Oates, he was found guilty of Perjury upon the First Indictment, which did relate to his being in Town in April and May, 1678.
"Upon the 9th of May, 1685, Oates was tried upon a Second Indictment of Perjury; wherein it was alledged, that Ireland was not in Town between the 8th and 12th of August, as Oates had sworn it 6 or 7 Years before; for which were produced Mrs. Anne Ireland and her Mother Mrs. Ellenor Ireland, who were very positive to Mr. Ireland's going out of Town, August 13th, 1678; but a Third Witness being called, did plainly contradict their Evidence, and her Name was Duddle, which was observed by the Court; then one Mrs. Qunio was called, another Papist, and the Lord Aston; but he could not be positive, but only as to the Two Days he first saw Mr. Ireland; but Sir Edward Southcot was positive from the 3d to the 16th of August; and several other Witnesses were produced, but they coming not within the Compass of Time alledged by Oates, they are here omitted.
"The Distance of Time being such, that many of Oates's Witnesses were dead; as Sir Richard Barker and his Brother Mr. Barker, Doctor Tongue, Mr. Bedloe, Sarah Payne, Sarah Ives, William Smith, and Mr. Walker the Minister, are dead; Mr. Jenison was forced to fly into Holland, for Fear of being prosecuted; so that Oates, by reason of the Death of Sarah Payne and Mr. Bedloe, and the going of Mr. Jenison into Holland, had not the Benefit of their Testimony, and was convicted of the Second Indictment for Perjury.
"The aforesaid Indictments he hath removed into the Lords House, by Writ of Error; and if it be the Pleasure of this Honourable House to examine into the Merits of the Cause, he can produce Three Witnesses yet alive, that will justify his being in Town, at the Time the St. Omer Witnesses swore him to be out of Town; and he can produce Mr. Jennison, that can prove that Ireland was in Town in August, 1678, which contradicts all the Staffordshire Witnesses. And the said Oates humbly conceives, that the Testimony of Sarah Payne and Mr. Bedloe may be used on his Behalf, though they are dead; and also the Testimony of those who are dead, that have proved him the said Oates to have been in Town, against the impudent Perjuries of the St. Omer Witnesses, who swore him out of Town April and May, 1678.
"The Papists themselves having justified Oates's Testimony, by their open and avowed Violation of our Laws, Liberties, and Religion, and executing those Things in the Reign of the late King, which he did discover them to have been contriving in the Reign of King Charles 2d, which was the Sum and Substance of his Testimony: he hopes the Reputation of St. Omers Witnesses who were bribed with Places and Offices in the Army, and had Sums of Money given to them, shall not prevail with this House from setting aside the Judgements brought before your Lordships.
"All which is humbly offered to the Consideration of your good Lordships and your Honours of the House of Commons, whether he ought to have undergone such a villainous Judgement, or been found guilty of the aforesaid Two Indictments."
Protest against it.
"We whose Names are underwritten, having been present at this Debate of the Matter mentioned in the Vote above written, concerning a printed Paper owned by Tytus Oates; and the Question being, Whether the same doth contain Matter in it which is a Breach of the Privilege of this House? Which was Resolved in the Affirmative. We do dissent from and protest against the said Vote, for the Reasons following:
"1. For that the Matter resolved to be a Breach of the Privilege of this House is not plainly and distinctly expressed in the said Vote, as we humbly conceive it ought to be; nor doth it appear therein what particular Privilege of this House is broken by any Matter contained in the said Paper; and that therefore this Vote can be of no Use, to support any Privilege of this House, or prevent the Breach of any of them for the future.
"2. Because the said Vote may tend to the Disunion of both Houses, which, we humbly conceive, may prove of dangerous Consequence to the King and Kingdom; we apprehending the whole Drift of the said Paper to be, in order to have Relief in a Legislative Way; and accordingly the Case and Prayer is directed to both Houses.
"3. Because this Day being appointed, by Order of this House, to have the Opinion of the Judges on the Writ of Error in the Case of the said Titus Oates; and the said Judges attending accordingly; we did think it proper that this Honourable House would have heard their Opinion in the said Cause; and thereupon have (according to the usual Course of other Courts of Judicature in such Cases) proceeded to Sentence before the taking into Consideration the said Paper introduced but this Morning into the House.
Oates committed to The King's Bench.
"ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod attending this House, his Deputy or Deputies, do forthwith convey Tytus Oates in safe Custody to the Prison of The King's Bench, there to remain during the Pleasure of this House, for publishing and owning a printed Paper, containing Matter in it which is a Breach of the Privilege of this House.
"ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That Tytus Oates be, and is hereby, committed to the Marshal of The Marshalsea of The King's Bench, there to remain during the Pleasure of this House, for publishing and owning a Printed Paper containing Matter in it, which is a Breach of the Privilege of this House; and that the Marshal of The Marshalsea do detain him accordingly.
Heads for a Conference on the additional Poll Bill.
The Lord Bishop of Sarum reported from the Committee, Reasons to be offered to the House of Commons at a Conference, why this House do not agree for leaving out the Clause made by this House in the additional Poll Bill.
"1. That it is the common Course of Parliaments, to pass explanatory Acts, if any Thing that has been omitted or ill expressed in any other Act passed in the same Session; and One of that Sort has passed in this present Session.
"2. That the House of Commons have in this Bill taken Care of the Serjeants Inns, and the Inns of Court and Chancery, that they should be rated by their own Members; and that, since there is no Comparison to be made between them and the Peers of England, therefore the Peers ought to be rated by none but those who are of their own House.
"3. That the House of Peers, out of their extraordinary Zeal for the reducing of Ireland, the Poll Bill coming up so late to them from the House of Commons that they had not so much Time to deliberate upon every Part of it as had been necessary if so pressing an Occasion would have allowed it, did make this Omission; which, for that Reason only, ought not to turn to their Prejudice, it being their undoubted Right, which has been preserved in all former Poll Bills, and particularly in the last, which was passed in the 29th Year of King Charles the IId.; the Proviso of that Bill being conceived in the same Forms with the Proviso now offered."
Bernadiston versus Soame, in Error.
Whereas Sir Samuell Bernadiston brought his Writ of Error into this House, and hath assigned Errors thereupon; to which Sir William Soames was Defendant, who left Dame Katherine Soames, his Widow, his Executrix; and the House being moved, that the said Dame Katherine Soames may join Issue thereupon:
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Dame Katherine Soames be, and is hereby, required to join Issue in the said Writ, on or before Thursday next, being the 30th Instant, at Ten of the Clock in the Forenoon; whereof the said Sir Samuell Bernadiston is to cause Notice to be given to the said Dame Soame, to the End she join Issue accordingly.
Marq. de Halyfax, Orator Procerum pro Tempore, declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque in diem Lunæ, videlicet, 27um diem instantis Maii, hora decima Aurora, Dominis sic decernentibus.