Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 15, 1691-1696. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Jovis, 23 Novembris.
Domini tam Spirituales quam Temporales præsentes fuerunt:
Their Majesties Servants, this House not to receive any Petition for protecting them:
A Debate arose, "Whether this House shall receive any Petition for protecting Their Majesties Servants?"
And this Question was proposed, "Whether it shall be resolved, and ordered, That this House will not receive any Petition for protecting Their Majesties Servants; and that this Order be added to the Roll of Standing Orders?"
Then this Question was put, "Whether these Words shall be added to the Question, ["in Cases where they can have Relief elsewhere"]?"
It was Resolved in the Negative.
Then the main Question was put,
And it was Resolved in the Affirmative.
It is Resolved, and this Day ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That this House will not receive any Petition for protecting Their Majesties Servants; and that this Order be added to the Standing Orders of this House.
Protest against it.
"Against which Order, the Lords whose Names are subscribed do enter their Protestations, for these Reasons:
"1. That it hath been usual in all Times to relieve the King's Servants, in these Cases, upon their Petition in Parliament.
"2. That this Order seemed to us to be grounded upon a Mistake; which was, That the King's Servants in Ordinary were relievable otherways; that is, the Servants above Stairs, by the Lord Chamberlain; and those below, by the Lord Steward and the Board of Greencloth: Which is found impracticable; for neither the Lord Chamberlain's Order nor the Order of the Board of Greencloth can discharge any of the King's Servants that are imprisoned for Debt: All that they have ever done, or can do, is to commit those who do arrest them to safe Custody, who may redeem themselves (and have often done) by Habeas Corpus the next Day, and consequently the Servant left without Remedy.
"3. Whereas it hath been suggested, that at least Four Hundred of the King's Servants may claim Freedom from Arrests, and consequently this House be too much burthened with their Petitions; that Number seems to comprehend the Extraordinary Servants also, who claim no Privilege, and are declared by an Order of Council, made in King Charles the Second's Time, to be incapable of Protection from their just Debts: Whereas the Servants in Waiting are a far less Number; and Experience hath shewed us, that this House hath not been troubled with above Two or Three of their Petitions, at most, in any One Session.
Expunged by Vote the 30th of November.
"4. It seems unreasonable to us, that the King (who is the Head of the Parliament) should have His Servants in Ordinary taken from Him, more than is suffered to any Member of either House of Parliament.
"Norfolke & Marshall.
"Edw. Wigorn. Jo. Oxon.
Fox versus Harcourt, in Error.
Whereas there is a Writ of Error depending in this House, wherein John Fox is Plaintiff, and Symon Harcourte Defendant, upon which Errors are assigned and Issue joined:
It is this Day ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That this House will hear the Errors argued, upon the said Writ of Error, on Tuesday the Twelfth Day of December next, at Ten of the Clock in the Forenoon.
Dominus Custos Magni Sigilli declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque ad & in diem Veneris, (videlicet,) vicesimum quartum diem instantis Novembris, hora decima Aurora, Dominis sic decernentibus.