Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 16, 1696-1701. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Sabbati, 24 die Maii.
Cardoso & al. Nat. Bill.
L. Somers's Answer to Articles of Impeachment against him.
"The Answer of John Lord Sommers, Baron of Evesham, to the Articles exhibited, by the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, in Parliament assembled, in the Name of themselves and of all the Commons of England, in Maintenance of their Impeachment against him, for high Crimes and Misdemeanors supposed to be by him committed.
"The said Lord Sommers, saving to himself all Advantages of Exception to the said Articles, and of not being prejudiced by any Words or Want of Form in this his Answer; and also saving to himself all Rights and Privileges belonging to him as One of the Peers of this Realm; for Answer to the said Articles, humbly saith,
"1. To the First Article, That he believes the now Emperor of Germany and The States Generall of The United Provinces being, in the Year One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty and Nine, engaged in a War with France, a Treaty and Alliance was concluded between them, and a separate Article then made, to the Effect in this Article mentioned; and that His Sacred Majesty did afterwards enter into, ratify, and approve the same; to which Treaty, separate Articles, and Ratification, (for more Certainty thereof) he referreth himself. And further faith, That, in the Year One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety and Eight, His Majesty, before He left England, was pleased to tell him, "That some Intimation had been given to the Earl of Portland, when in France, that the French King inclined to come to an Agreement with His Majesty concerning the Succession to the Crown of Spaine: And afterwards, in August One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety and Eight, (His Majesty being then in Holland, and the said Lord Sommers at Tunbridge Wells, by His Majesty's Permission, for Recovery of his Health), Mr. Secretary Vernon communicated to him a Letter he had then received, written by the Earl of Portland, by His Majesty's Order, wherein it was mentioned, "That Count Tallard (who was then Ambassador from the French King to His Majesty) had declared an Accommodation might be found out, in relation to the Succession of Spain, in case of that King's Death; and that His Majesty had founded France, upon what Terms an Agreement might be made; and the Conditions were near of this Nature, (videlicet,) That the Electoral Prince of Bavaria should have the Kingdoms of Spain, The Indyes, The Low Countryes, and all that depends upon the Spanish Dominions (except the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, Sardinia, the Province of Guy-puscoa on this Side of The Pyreneans, Fontarabia, and Saint Sebastian, Finall, and the Places in Tuscany of which Spain then stood possessed); in Consideration of which, France was absolutely to renounce the Right it pretended to the Succession of Spain, and Milan was to be given to the Arch-duke, Second Son to the Emperor; and that His Majesty commanded the said Mr. Secretary to speak to him the said Lord Sommers touching that Matter; and that his Lordship should discourse it with those he thought he might trust with that Secret; which to keep with the utmost Care, was, by the said Letter, mentioned to be of the highest Importance. And, at the same Time, the said Lord Sommers received a Letter from His Majesty, signed by Himself, intimating that Count Tallard had made some Propositions, touching an Agreement with His Majesty, concerning the Succession of the Kingdom of Spain; the which the said Earl of Portland would write to Mr. Secretary Vernon, to the End His Majesty might have some Opinions upon that Affair, which required the greatest Secresy, and in which no Time was to be lost if that Negotiation were to be carried on: And for that End, His Majesty thereby commanded the said Lord Sommers to send full Powers to him, under the Great Seal of England, with Blanks for the Names of Commissioners to treat with Count Tallard, which His Majesty, by His said Letter, was pleased to say, "He believed might be done secretly; that none but the Lord Sommers and Mr. Secretary Vernon, and those to whom the said Lord Sommers and Mr. Secretary should communicate it, might have Knowledge thereof; and that the Clerks who were to write the full Powers might not know what they were," or to the like Effect. And the said Lord Sommers did immediately return the Earl of Portland's said Letter to Mr. Secretary Vernon, and desired him to communicate the Contents thereof to the Earl of Orford and the now Lord Halifax (Two of the then Lords Justices, who, as he was assured, were then in Town), and also to such others as they and Mr. Secretary Vernon should think fit; who, in regard of the King's Command to have that Affair kept a Secret, thought fit to impart it to the Duke of Shrewsbury only (as the said Mr. Secretary afterwards acquainted the said Lord Sommers); and some Time afterwards the said Lord Halifax came down to the said Wells, and Mr. Secretary Vernon coming thither also about the same Time, they and the said Lord Sommers had Discourse together, concerning the said Proposal. And the said Lord Sommers, by Letter dated the Eight and Twentieth of August One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety and Eight, did (as his own Thoughts, and as what he apprehended to be the Result of their Consideration) humbly represent to His Majesty, First, That the entertaining of such a Proposal as was mentioned by Count Tallard seemed to be attended with very many ill Consequences, if the French did not act a sincere Part; but that they were soon at Ease as to any Apprehension of that Sort, being fully assured, His Majesty would not act but with the utmost Niceness, in an Affair wherein His Glory and the Safety of Europe was so highly concerned: That the Second Thing they considered, was the very ill Prospect of what was like to happen upon the Death of the King of Spain, in case nothing was done previously towards the providing against that Accident, which seemed probably to be very near, the King of France then having so great a Force in such a Readiness, that He was in a Condition to take Possession of Spain before any other Prince could be ready to make a Stand: That His Majesty was the best Judge whether that was the Case, who was so perfectly informed of the Circumstances of all Parts Abroad; but so far as related to England, it would be Want of Duty, not to give His Majesty this clear Account, That there was a Deadness and Want of Spirit in the Nation universally, so as not at all to be disposed to the Thoughts of entering into a new War; and that they seemed to be tired out with Taxes, to a Degree beyond what was discerned, until it appeared upon the Occasion of the then late Elections: That that was the Truth of the Fact, upon which His Majesty would determine what Resolutions were proper to be taken. The remaining Consideration was, what would be the Condition of Europe if the Proposal took Place? But of that they thought themselves little capable of judging; but it seemed, that, if Sicily was in the French Hands, they would be entirely Masters of the Levant Trade; that, if they were possessed of Finall, and those other Sea Ports on that Side (whereby Milan would be intirely shut out from Relief by Sea or any Commerce), that Dutchy would be of little Signification in the Hands of any Prince; and that, if the King of France had Possession of that Part of Guy-puscoa which is mentioned in the Proposal, besides the Ports He would have in the Ocean, it did seem He would have as easy a Way of invading Spain on that Side as He then had on the Side of Catalonia: But it was not to be hoped that France should quit its Pretensions to so great a Succession, without considerable Advantages; and they were assured, His Majesty would reduce the Terms as low as could be done, and make them (as far as was possible in the then present Circumstances of Things) such as might be some Foundation for the future Quiet of Christendom, which all His Majesty's Subjects could not but be convinced was His true Aim; and, if it could be brought to pass that England might be some Way a Gainer by that Transaction, whether it was by the Elector of Bavaria (who was the Gainer by His Majesty's Interposition in that Treaty) his coming to an Agreement to let the English into some Trade to the Spanish Plantations, or in any other Manner, it would wonderfully endear His Majesty to His English Subjects: That it did not appear, in case the Negotiation should proceed, what was to be done on His Majesty's Part, in order to make it take Place; whether any more was required, than that the English and Dutch should sit still, and France itself was to see it executed; and if that were so, what Security ought to be expected: That if, by their being Neuters, the French should be successful, they would confine themselves to the Terms of the Treaty, and not attempt to make further Advantages of their Success. And the said Lord Sommers faith, That, after the Writing of his said Letter, he had no Account whatsoever, nor heard any Thing of the said Treaty, or knew or heard whether the same was proceeded upon or not, until towards the latter End of September following, when he was acquainted by Mr. Secretary Vernon, "That he had received an Account, that a Treaty relating to the Succession of the Crown of Spain had been adjusted, concluded, and signed, by the Commissioners named by His Majesty for that Purpose, and the Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of the French King." And the said Lord Sommers doth deny, that the said Treaty of Partition, or any Proposition for such Treaty, or the Transaction thereof, was communicated to him the said Lord Sommers; nor was he acquainted with the same, or the Design thereof, or any other Matter relating thereto, at any other Time, or in any other Manner, before he was told of the concluding and signing thereof as aforesaid, than as is herein before mentioned to be done by His Majesty as aforesaid, and by His and the said Earl of Portland's Letter herein before mentioned. And the said Lord Sommers doth deny he did, at any Time whatsoever, advise His Majesty to enter into the said Treaty, or any Way encourage or promote the same; but, having made the Objections before mentioned in his said Letter to His Majesty against the Propositions so communicated to him as aforesaid, and clearly laid open such Thoughts and Observations as occurred to him upon the said Matter, he did thereby (as he conceived) fully and faithfully discharge his Trust and the Duty incumbent on him. And the said Lord Sommers further faith, That afterwards Mr. Secretary Vernon did acquaint him, "That he had received, by His Majesty's Command, a Copy of the Treaty relating to the Succession of the Crown of Spain, and of Two secret Articles relating to the Matter of that Treaty; and that he had likewise His Majesty's Command, to prepare the Instruments for the Ratification of the same, and to have Blanks therein for the Names of the Commissioners of The States Generall;" and accordingly the said Mr. Secretary did prepare the said several Instruments, and did bring the same, so prepared, to the said Lord Sommers, to pass the same under the Great Seal; which was done accordingly, the said Lord Sommers having a good and lawful Warrant so to do: And the said Ratification was transmitted to His Majesty, to have the same perfected in his Presence; which Treaty and secret Articles were to such or the like Effect as in this Article is set forth; but for more Certainty he refers himself to the said Treaty and Articles. And the said Lord Sommers, not being privy in any other Manner than as aforesaid to the said Treaty, or the Transaction thereof, doth not know when, or in what Manner, the same was communicated to The States Generall.
"2d & 3d. To the Second and Third Articles; the said Lord Sommers faith, That he having received His Majesty's express Commands, by His Letter mentioned in his Answer to the First Article, to send to His Majesty full Powers, under the Great Seal of England, for negotiating the said Treaty, with Blanks for His Majesty's Commissioners Names, which, he humbly conceives, and is advised, was a sufficient Warrant for him to pass a Commission under the Great Seal for that Purpose; and the same being prepared in usual Form of Commissions of full Powers, with Blanks for Commissioners Names, according to His Majesty's Direction, he did affix the Great Seal to the same; and the said Commission was sent to His Majesty, then in Holland, to be perfected in His Prefence, by inserting the Names of such Persons as His Majesty should think fit to commissionate therein (as he conceives might legally be done); which Commissioners were to receive their Instructions from His Majesty, for the Execution of their said Power, together with the said Commission, in usual Manner; but what Instructions, or whether any Instructions in Writing, were given to the Commissioners, in relation to executing the said Power (the same no Ways concerning the said Lord Sommers) he knows not. And the said Lord Sommers faith, He did desire His Majesty, that a particular Warrant for the said Commission (which had been before sent by Mr. Secretary Vernon to His Majesty, as he informed the said Lord Sommers, for His signing) might be signed and returned; not that he doubted His Majesty's said Letter to be a sufficient Warrant; but for that such Warrant might be more proper to be produced, if Occasion should require, than His Majesty's said Letter, which, by reason of other Matters therein contained, ought not to be produced without His Majesty's Permission, and which is now made Use of by His Majesty's gracious Leave. And the said Lord Sommers further faith, That His Majesty having, by his own and the Earl of Portland's Letter before mentioned, directed that His Majesty's said Commands should be kept secret, he did not communicate the making of the said Commission, otherwise than to the Persons mentioned in his Answer to the said First Article.
"4. To the Fourth Article; he faith, That Mr. Secretary Vernon having prepared, by His Majesty's Command, the Instruments for Ratification of the said Treaty, with Blanks therein, as is before set forth, he did affix the Great Seal to the said Ratification, with such Blanks (which he conceives, and is advised, he might lawfully do): And having also His Majesty's Command that the said Treaty should be kept secret, he did not communicate the same to the rest of the then Lords Justices, or His Majesty's Privy Council; which besides he conceived was unnecessary to be done, in regard His Majesty had then, by His Commissioners, perfected the said Treaty, so that the same could not be altered.
"5. To the Fifth Article; the said Lord Sommers faith, He believes that, in the Year One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety and Nine, another Treaty was entered into and concluded, between His Majesty, The States Generall, and the French King, to such or such like Effect as in this Article is mentioned; to which Treaty, for more Certainty thereof, he referreth himself: And denieth that he had any Knowledge of such Treaty, or any Transaction in order thereunto, save only that a Draught of the said Treaty was read over, in the Presence of divers of the Lords of His Majesty's Privy Council (whereof the said Lord Sommers was One): To which Draught the said Lord Sommers, as well as others then present, did make several Objections; but they were informed by His Majesty's Plenipotentiaries for transacting the said Treaty, who were then also present, that the said Treaty was so far perfected, that nothing could then be altered therein: And His Majesty afterwards, by His Warrant, requiring the ratifying of the said Treaty under the Great Seal, he did affix the Great Seal to such Ratification, being (as he conceives) obliged so to do.
"6. To the Sixth Article; he faith, He conceives it was not incumbent upon him, as Lord Chancellor, to see the Commissions or Ratifications in this Article mentioned enrolled ; the same being prepared and brought to the Great Seal by the Secretaries of State ready engrossed, and when sealed taken away by them, and the Original Treaties remaining in their Custody; but the Care of enrolling the same, if necessary, doth (as he conceives) belong to the Prothonotary of the Court of Chancery.
"7. To the Seventh Article; he faith, That, when the Great Seal was committed to his Custody, he took the Oath of Office, to the Effect in that Article set forth; and during the Time he had the Custody thereof, he did carefully, diligently, and honestly, endeavour to keep the said Oath, and hopes and believes he hath duly observed the same: And doth acknowledge, that, during the Time he was Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor, he did pass several Grants to divers Persons, of several Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, belonging to His Majesty in Right of His Crown of England; but faith, That before any of them came to the Great Seal, the same were regularly passed through the proper Offices, and brought with sufficient Warrants for the Great Seal; and believes more considerable Grants have passed in the like Number of Years in most of his Predecessors Times; and conceives, and is advised, that, being required by His Majesty, by proper Warrants, to pass the same, he ought so to do. And denies that he did ever advise, promote, or procure, any Grant to be made, to any Person whatsoever, of any forfeited Estate in Ireland, or did procure any Act or Bill, prepared for confirming any such Grant in the Parliament in Ireland, to be approved in the Privy Council in England: And saith, That what Bills of this Nature were remitted under the Great Seal of England, to be passed into Laws in Ireland, the same were first approved and passed in the Privy Council in England, according to the usual Form in such Cases; and, being so approved, were, by Order of Council, sent to the said Lord Sommers, who was, by the said Order, required to affix the Great Seal thereto.
"8. To the Eighth Article; he faith, He did, during the Time he had the Custody of the Great Seal, receive the Profits and Perquisites thereto belonging, which before his Time were become very inconsiderable; and did also receive an Annual Pension or Allowance from His Majesty of Four Thousand Pounds, being the like Pension that had been allowed to several of his Predecessors; but denies that he did ever beg, or use any Means to procure, any Grant whatsoever from His Majesty, for his own Benefit: But faith, That what His Majesty was pleased to give him, proceeded from His Majesty's own Motion, and of His mere Bounty, and (as His Majesty was pleased to declare upon that Occasion) as an Evidence of His gracious Acceptation of the said Lord Sommers's zealous Endeavours for his Service; and the same was done without any previous Solicitation by him the said Lord Sommers, or any other to his Knowledge or Belief: And that, in the Year One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-seven, His Majesty, of His own Motion, did grant, for the Benefit of the said Lord Sommers, the Manor or Manors of Rygate and Howley, as in the said Article is mentioned; but the same was and is far short of the Value thereby suggested. And the said Lord Sommers further faith, He never pretended to purchase in his own Name, or in the Name or Names of any other Person or Persons in Trust for him, any of the Fee-farm Rents or other Rents vested in Trustees for Sale; but His Majesty, taking Notice that several of the said Fee-farm Rents, and other Rents so vested in Trustees, were unsold, and the said Trustees being, by the Acts of Parliament vesting in them the said Rents, declared to hold the same for the Benefit of His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, His Majesty did, in the Year One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-seven, of His own Motion, without any Solicitation, Procurement, or Means used by the said Lord Sommers, acquaint the then Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, or some or One of them, "That it was His Majesty's Pleasure, that Two Thousand One Hundred Pounds per Ann. of those Rents should be granted to or for the Benefit of the said Lord Sommers and his Heirs, and that all proper Methods should be used for vesting the same for his Benefit, as of His Majesty's Free Gift: And the said Acts of Parliament having directed that the said Trustees on Sales should convey the said Rents, pursuant to Contracts to be signed by the Lord Treasurer or Lords Commissioners of the Treasury for the Time being, or any Two of them, for the Satisfaction of the said Trustees only, and according to the Method that had been used from the Time of making the said Acts, in passing Grants of any of the said Rents, even such as were merely of the Bounty of His Majesty's Predecessors and of His Majesty, such Warrants were made by His Majesty to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, to contract, or give Warrants to the Trustees to contract, for the said Rents; and such Contracts were, pursuant thereunto, made; and such Grants of the said Rents were passed as in the said Article is mentioned; and the Money mentioned in such Contracts was, for the perfecting of His Majesty's said intended free Gift, discharged by Tallies struck for that Purpose: And the said Lord Sommers saith, The said Contracts were not intended or designed to make the Grantees of the said Rents appear to be Purchasers; but the said Lord Sommers always acknowledged he received the said Grants of His Majesty's Bounty; and, he humbly conceives, it was lawful for him so to accept the same.
"9. & 10. To the Ninth and Tenth Articles; the said Lord Sommers faith, That, after His Majesty had given such Directions to the Lords of the Treasury, for granting Fee-farm Rents and other Rents, to the Yearly Value aforesaid, for the Benefit of the said Lord Sommers and his Heirs; and after Warrants were signed by the Lords of the Treasury to the said Trustees, for making Contracts for conveying Rents of the said Yearly Value, for the Benefit of the said Lord Sommers; it did appear that the said intended Contracts and Grants could not be perfected, for that neither the Lords of the Treasury nor the said Trustees were sufficiently informed what Fee-farm Rents or other Rents remained undisposed of; so that the whole Benefit of His Majesty's intended Bounty would have been lost, without Information could be gained of such particular Rents: And the said Lord Sommers being informed, "That Reginald Marriott and John Digby, in this Article named, were the most likely, if not the only, Persons capable to give Information therein;" Application was made to them for that Purpose: And the said Marriott and Digby, being so applied to, after the said Warrants of His Majesty and the said Lords of the Treasury were executed as aforesaid, did refuse to give any Account of such Rents, unless they might have, as a Reward for their so doing, Rents amounting to near a Fourth Part of such Rents whereof they should give such Account, conveyed in Trust for them, in such Manner as in the said Article is mentioned; which the said Lord Sommers did (as he conceives he lawfully might, it being only to his own Loss and Prejudice) comply with, not in order to any such End as is suggested in the said Article, but that he might perfect the Grant before designed and appointed to be made to him by His Majesty of His own free Will, and not at the said Lord Sommers's Solicitation; the Discovery of any of the said Rents not being made by the said Marriott and Digby, or any other Person, till after the said Warrants of His Majesty and the Lords of the Treasury as aforesaid: And accordingly the several Grants in this Article mentioned were made to Hancock and Warner, in Trust for the said Marriot and Digby (as was affirmed to the said Lord Sommers). And the said Lord Sommers faith, There was not any Sum of Money paid as the Consideration of the Grants of the said Rents; but the Contracts were made, and the Payment of the several Considerations thereof were discharged, in the Manner, and for the Reasons, herein before set forth; and were not colourably or fraudulently contrived, in Deceit of His Majesty, or Elusion of the said Acts of Parliament.
"11. To the Eleventh Article; the said Lord Sommers faith, He believeth that several of the Rents mentioned to be granted in Trust for him as aforesaid had been before granted to other Persons, by the said Trustees; and that others of them were not in the Power of the said Trustees to grant; which was and is very much to his Prejudice; and believes the same were inserted by mistaken Informations given touching the same, and not out of any Design; and the like Mistakes have frequently happened in other Grants of other of the said Rents: And denies that, to his Knowledge or Belief, any of the said Rents, so granted for his Benefit, were ever united or annexed to the Castle of Windsor, for any Purpose whatsoever; or that any Oppression or Vexation hath happened to any of His Majesty's Subjects, by reason of the granting of any of the said Rents; and, as he believes, little or no new Charge to the Crown.
"12. To the Twelfth Article; the said Lord Sommers saith, That His Majesty having designed, of His Bounty to him the said Lord Sommers and his Heirs, Fee-farm and other Rents to the Annual Value in the said Grants mentioned; and the said Trustees having covenanted, as was usual for them to do, that they had not made any former or other Grant or Conveyance of the said Rents, or any of them; and Three Hundred Forty-seven Pounds, Eleven Shillings, and Three Pence Farthing per Ann. of the said Rents so granted as aforesaid, having appeared to be granted before, or not to be grantable by the said Trustees, or not leviable on Surrender of such Rents, the said Trustees, by Warrant of the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury (who were thereunto sufficiently authorized), in Lieu and Satisfaction of the said Rents and Arrears thereof, and in Discharge of the Covenants of the said Trustees, did, the Twenty-first Day of October One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety and Nine, grant divers other Rents, amounting to the Yearly Value of Three Hundred Ninety-one Pounds and Three Pence Half-penny, to Richard Adney and his Heirs, as in the said Article is mentioned, which were not so granted as if the said Yearly Rents of Three Hundred Forty seven Pounds, Eleven Shillings, and Three Pence Farthing, had been bona fide purchased; but was in Lieu and Reprize for the same, as granted of His Majesty's Bounty, for the Benefit of the said Lord Sommers and his Heirs, as aforesaid; which, he conceives, might be and was lawfully done.
"13. To the Thirteenth Article; the said Lord Sommers saith, He doth admit that, in the Year One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-five, he being then Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, His Majesty being informed, as the Truth was, "That Thomas Too, John Ireland, Thomas Wake, and William Maze, and several other of His Majesty's Subjects in His Plantations of America, had associated themselves, and did frequently commit great Piracies, Robberies, and Depredations on the Seas, in the Parts of America, and other Parts, to the Hinderance and Discouragement of Trade and Navigation;" for preventing the said Mischiefs, did grant a Commission, as in this Article is mentioned, unto William Kidd in this Article named (who was then Commander of the Ship called The Adventure Galley, and was not then, to the Knowledge or Belief of the said Lord Sommers, esteemed a Person of ill Fame or Reputation), to apprehend, seize, and take into his Custody, the said Thomas Too, John Ireland, Thomas Wake, and William Maze, and all such other Pirates as he should meet with, in the Seas of America, or any other Seas, with their Ships and Vessels, and such Merchandizes, Monies, and Wares, as should be found on Board or with them, and to cause such Pirates to be brought to a legal Trial; the granting of which Commission was then apprehended to be necessary for the Preservation of Trade and Navigation: And the said Lord Sommers doth also admit, that a Grant, dated the Seven and Twentieth Day of May One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-seven, did pass under the Great Seal of England, as in this Article is mentioned; whereby, reciting the said Commission so granted to the said William Kidd, and that the said Adventure Galley was, with His Majesty's Knowledge and Royal Encouragement, bought and fitted out to Sea for the Execution of the said Commission, at the Charge of the Earl of Bellamont, Edmund Harrison, Samuel Newton, William Rowley, George Watson, and Thomas Reynolds, in this Article named, His Majesty, for encouraging and rewarding the said Undertaking, did grant unto the said Earl of Bellamont, Edmund Harrison, William Rowley, George Watson, Thomas Reynolds, and Samuel Newton (who was named by and in Trust for the said Lord Sommers), their Executors and Administrators, all and whatsoever Ships, Vessels, Goods, Merchandizes, Treasure, and other Things whatsoever, which, since the Thirtieth Day of April One Thousand Six Hundred Ninetysix, had been taken or seized upon or with, or did belong to, or should happen to be taken or seized upon or with, or which did or should belong to, the said Thomas Too, John Ireland, Thomas Wake, and William Maze, or their Adherents, or any other Pirates, by the said William Kidd, or other Commanders of the said Adventure Galley, or which by or by Means of the said Ship or Galley should be taken, or forced on-shore, on any of His Majesty's Plantations in America, so far as the said Premises, or any of them, did, should, or might, belong to His Majesty, or could or might be granted or grantable by Him, or was or were in His Power to dispose of: Which Grant was not intended to be without an Accompt; for the said Lord Sommers saith, That, by Indenture, bearing Date the Two and Twentieth Day of May One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-seven, made (after the Warrant for the said Grant was signed, and before it was past) between His Majesty of the one Part, and the said Earl of Bellamont, Edmund Harrison, William Rowley, George Watson, Thomas Reynolds, and Samuel Newton, of the other Part; they the said Earl of Bellamont, Edmund Harrison, William Rowley, George Watson, Thomas Reynolds, and Samuel Newton, did covenant, promise, and agree, with His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, well and truly to account for, and deliver upon Oath, to the Use of His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, or the Commissioners of His or Their Treasury, or His or Their High Treasurer, a clear Tenth Part (the Whole in Ten equal Parts to be divided) of all and every such Ships, Vessels, Goods, Merchandizes, and other Things whatsoever, which in and by the said Grant should be given, or which should from Time to Time be taken, or seized, or secured, by them, or any of them, their or any of their Executors or Administrators, Officers, Agents, Servants, or Assigns, by Virtue or Colour thereof; to which Grant and Indenture the said Lord Sommers for more Certainty referreth himself. And further faith, He conceives, and is advised, that the said Grant did not any Way tend to the Obstruction or Discouragement of Trade or Navigation, or to the Loss or Prejudice of Merchants, or others His Majesty's Subjects, or the Subjects of His Friends or Allies, nor to the Dishonour of His Majesty or the Kingdom; nor was the passing of the same any Breach of the Duty of the said Lord Sommers; but the said Grant was formed as a Recompense to the said Grantees, who, at their own Charge, had provided and fitted out the said Ship, to enable the said William Kidd to execute the Powers in the said Commission mentioned, whereby the Public might have received great Benefit, had the said William Kidd faithfully discharged the Trust in him reposed by His Majesty and the said Grantees; which he failing to do, the Owners of the said Ship have lost their Expences, and have not received any Benefit of His Majesty's said Grant.
"14. To the Fourteenth Article; the said Lord Sommers saith, He did not delay any Proceedings, in any Cause or Causes depending before him as Chancellor of England, longer or otherwise than as the Circumstances and Justice of each Cause required; but did, to the very manifest impairing of his Health, constantly apply himself to the Dispatch of the Causes depending before him; and denies that he did ever make, by Colour of his Office, any arbitrary or illegal Order, to the Subversion of any Law or Statute of this Realm; or did ever assume to himself any arbitrary or illegal Power, or ever reverse any Judgement given in the Court of Exchequer, otherwise than as is warranted and allowed by the Law, and in the Presence of the Barons of the Court of Exchequer, who were always present in the Court of Exchequer Chamber when their Judgements were examined, as the Statute in such Cases directs; nor did ever deliver, in any Court of Judicature, or other Place whatsoever, any Position whatsoever, dangerous to the legal Constitution of the Kingdom, or destructive to the Property of the Subject, as is charged by the said Article.
"And as to all other Matters and Things in the said Articles contained, and not herein before particularly answered unto; the said Lord Sommers saith, he is Not Guilty of them, or any of them, in Manner and Form as the same are charged upon him in and by the said Articles; and humbly submitteth himself to your Lordships Judgement.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That a Copy of the Answer of John Lord Sommers (delivered this Day to the Articles of Impeachment depending against him) be sent to the House of Commons. And accordingly,
L. Sommers's Answer sent to H. C.
Messages from thence, with Bills; and to return the Countess of Anglesey's Bill, for a Separation; Fawconer's Bill; and Lostland & al. Nat. Bill.
To return the Bill, intituled, "An Act for separating James Earl of Anglesey from Katherine Countess of Anglesey his Wife, for the Cruelty of the said Earl;" and to acquaint this House, that they have agreed to the same, without any Amendment.
With a Bill, intituled, "An Act for erecting a Court of Request, or Conscience, in the City and County of the City of Norwich, for Recovery of small Debts under Forty Shillings;" to which they desire the Concurrence of this House.
Who brought up a Bill, intituled, "An Act for discharging a Mortgage upon the Estate of Peter Trevisa Esquire, deceased, and providing a Maintenance for his Widow and Children;" to which they desire the Concurrence of this House.
To return the Bill, intituled, "An Act for the vesting and settling several Messuages, Lands, and Tenements, belonging to John Fawconer Esquire, in Trustees, to be sold, for Payment of Debts;" to which they have agreed, with some Amendments, whereunto they desire the Concurrence of this House.
Who brought up a Bill, intituled, "An Act for confirming a Decree made in Chancery, between John Edwards Gentleman Complainant, and Sir Francis Charlton Baronet and others Defendants;" to which they desire the Concurrence of this House.
Bp. of Ely to preach the 29th.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Lord Bishop of Ely be, and he is hereby, desired to preach before this House, in the Abbey Church at Westminster, the Nine and Twentieth Day of this Instant May.
After hearing Counsel and Witnesses, on the Behalf of Mrs. Perkins, for the Bill, intituled, "An Act for making a competent Provision for the Maintenance of the Children of Edmund Perkins Esquire, by Elizabeth his Wife, out of the Fortune of the said Elizabeth; and for the Education of the said Children in the Protestant Religion established by Law:"
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That Mr. Perkins shall be heard, by his Counsel and Witnesses, against the said Bill, on Monday next, at Eleven a Clock, the First Business.
Sir David Mitchell versus Colinge.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That this House will hear One Counsel upon the Petition of Sir David Mitchel, as also One Counsel upon the Petition of Mr. Colinge, on Tuesday next, at Eleven a Clock.
Dominus Custos Magni Sigilli declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque ad et in diem Lunæ, (videlicet,) vicesimum sextum diem instantis Maii, hora undecima Auroræ, Dominis sic decernentibus.