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 Martis, 17 Junii.
King's Answer to Addresses about L. Haversham, the Partition Treaty, &c. and Guards for L. Somers's Trial.
Leases, Dutchy Cornwall, Bill.
Hodie 1a vice lecta est Billa, intituled, "An Act to enable His Majesty to make Leases and Copies of Offices, Lands, and Hereditaments, Parcel of His Dutchy of Cornwall, or annexed to the same; and for Confirmation of Leases already made."
E. of Carlisle, Precedency, as Earl Marshal.
This Question was put, "That the Earl of Carlisle shall take Place this Day as Earl Marshal, with a Salvo Jure to all Persons concerned; and on Saturday next the Right of Precedency claimed by him shall be determined?"
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That this House will hear Counsel, and determine the Precedency claimed by the Earl of Carlisle, as Earl Marshal, on Saturday next, at Eleven a Clock; and that, in the mean Time, a Copy of the late Duke of Norfolk's Patent of Earl Marshal shall be sent to the Judges, and another Copy delivered to the Lords who think themselves concerned in the Earl of Carlisle's Precedency now claimed.
Message from H. C. concerning Impeachments depending, and their Complaint against L. Haversham.
To acquaint this House, "That the Commons, in this whole Proceeding against the impeached Lords, have acted with all imaginable Zeal, to bring them to a speedy Trial; and they doubt not but it will appear, by comparing their Proceedings with all others upon the like Occasion, that the House of Commons have nothing to blame themselves for; but that they have not expressed the Resentment their Ancestors have justly shewed, upon much less Attempts which have been made upon their Power of Impeachments.
"The Commons, on the Thirty-first of May, acquainted Your Lordships, That they thought it proper, from the Nature of the Evidence, to proceed in the First Place upon the Trial of the Lord Sommers. Upon the first Intimation from your Lordships, some Days afterwards, That you would proceed to the Trial of any of the impeached Lords whom the Commons should be first ready to begin with; notwithstanding your Lordships had before thought fit to appoint which Impeachment should be first tried, and affix a Day for such Trial, without consulting the Commons, who are the Prosecutors; the Commons, determining to expedite the Trials to the utmost of their Power, in Hopes of attaining that End, and for the more speedy and easy adjusting and preventing any Differences which had happened, or might arise, previous to or upon these Trials, proposed to your Lordships, at a Conference, the most Parliamentary and effectual Method for that Purpose, and that which in no Manner intrenched upon your Lordships Judicature, That a Committee of both Houses should be nominated, to consider of the most proper Ways and Methods of Proceedings upon Impeachments, according to the Usage of Parliament.
"In the next Message to the Commons, upon Monday the Ninth of June, your Lordships thought fit, without taking the least Notice of this Proposition, to appoint the Friday then following, for the Trial of the said Lord Sommers; whereunto, as well as to many other Messages and Proceedings of your Lordships upon this Occasion, the House of Commons might have justly taken very great Exceptions; yet, as an Evidence of their Moderation, and to shew their Readiness to bring the impeached Lords to speedy Justice, the Commons insisted only on their Proposition for a Committee of both Houses, to settle and adjust the necessary Preliminaries to the Trial; particularly, Whether the impeached Lords should appear, on their Trial, at your Lordships Bar, as Criminals; Whether, being under Accusations of the same Crimes, they should sit as Judges on each other's Trial for those Crimes, or should vote in their own Cases, as it is notorious they have been permitted by your Lordships to do in many Instances which might be given: To which Particulars your Lordships have not yet given a direct Answer, though put in Mind thereof by the Commons.
"Your Lordships, at a Conference, having offered some Reasons why you could not agree to a Committee of both Houses, to adjust the necessary Preliminaries; the Commons thereupon desired a Free Conference, and your Lordships agreed thereunto; at which, it is well known to many of your Lordships who were then present, what most scandalous Reproaches, and false Expressions, highly reflecting upon the Honour and Justice of the House of Commons, were uttered by John Lord Haversham, whereby the Commons were under a Necessity of withdrawing from the said Free Conference; for which Offence, the Commons have, with all due Regard to your Lordships, prayed your Lordships Justice against the Lord Haversham, but have as yet received no Manner of Satisfaction.
"The Commons restrain themselves from enumerating your Lordships very many irregular and unparliamentary Proceedings upon this Occasion; but think it is what they owe to public Justice, and all the Commons of England, whom they represent, to declare some few of those Reasons, why they peremptorily refuse to proceed to the Trial of the Lord Sommers on the Seventeenth of June:
"First, Because your Lordships have not yet agreed that a Committee of both Houses should be appointed, for settling the necessary Preliminaries; a Method never until this Time denied by the House of Lords, whensoever the Commons have thought it necessary to desire the same.
"Secondly, Should the Commons (which they never will do) be contented to give up those Rights, which have been transmitted to them from their Ancestors, and are of absolute Necessity to their Proceedings on Impeachments; yet, whilst they have any Regard to public Justice, they never can appear as Prosecutors before your Lordships, till your Lordships have first given them Satisfaction, that Lords impeached of the same Crimes shall not fit as Judges on each others Trials for those Crimes.
"The Commons are far from any Inclination, and cannot be supposed to be under any Necessity, of delaying the Trial of the Lord Sommers; there is not any Article exhibited by them, in Maintenance of their Impeachment against the Lord Sommers, for the Proof whereof they have not full and undeniable Evidence, which they will be ready to produce, as soon as your Lordships shall have done Justice upon the Lord Haversham, and the necessary Preliminaries in order to the said Trial shall be settled by a Committee of both Houses.
"The Commons think it unnecessary to observe to your Lordships, That most of the Articles whereof the Lord Sommers stands impeached will appear to your Lordships to be undoubtedly true, from Matters of Record, as well as by the Confession of the said Lord Sommers, in his Answer to the said Articles; to which the Commons doubt not but your Lordships will have a due Regard when his Trial shall regularly proceed."
Message from H. C. with a Bill.
Who brought up a Bill, intituled, "An Act for appropriating Three Thousand Seven Hundred Pounds, Weekly, out of certain Branches of Excise, for public Uses; and for making a Provision for the Service of His Majesty's Household and Family, and other His necessary Occasions;" to which they desire the Concurrence of this House.
Motion for Trial of L. Somers:
Protest against proceeding upon it:
"Dissentient. (fn. 1)
Jon at. Exon (fn. 3)
Bp. of Mereford excused:
Message to H. C. that the Lords are going to proceed on the Trial of L. Somers:
E. of Orford and L. Halifax, may withdraw at the Trial.
Proclamation to be made in the Hall:
"Whereas a Charge of high Crimes and Misdemeanors has been exhibited, by the House of Commons, in the Name of themselves and all the Commons of England, against John Lord Sommers: All Persons concerned are to take Notice, that he now stands upon his Trial; and they may now come forth, in order to make good the said Charge."
Court in Westm. Hall to be cleared:
E. of Anglesey excused:
House adjourned to Westm. Hall:
Articles and Answer read:
Lords adjourn to the House:
Question for L. Somers's Acquittal to be put in the Court below:
This Question was proposed, "That John Lord Sommers be acquitted of the Articles of Impeachment against him exhibited by the House of Commons, and all Things therein contained; and that the said Impeachment be dismissed."
Protest against it.
"Dissentient. (fn. 2)
Then it was agreed, and ORDERED, That, in Westminster Hall, the Lord Keeper shall read the Question; and then call the Junior Baron present first, and ask every Lord, "Whether Content, or Not Content?" And that every Lord stand up, when called to, and give his Vote, "CONTENT," or "NOT CONTENT;" and that the Lord Keeper, having taken their Votes, declare the Majority; and if the Majority be for acquitting the Lord Sommers, the Lord Keeper is to declare it so, and particularly to the Lord Sommers.
House adjourned to Westm. Hall.
And then declared, "That John Lord Sommers was acquitted of the Articles of Impeachment against him, exhibited by the House of Commons, and all Things therein contained; and that the said Impeachment was dismissed."
L. Somers acquitted, and Impeachment dismissed.
"It is Considered, ORDERED, and Adjudged, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That John Lord Sommers shall be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the Articles of Impeachment against him, exhibited by the House of Commons, and all Things therein contained; and that the said Impeachment shall be, and is hereby, dismissed."
Proceedings on Impeachments to be printed.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Proceedings in this House upon the Impeachments be printed; and that the Lords Committees appointed to consider of the Manner of proceeding on Impeachments do meet Tomorrow, at Ten a Clock, and inspect the Journals; and draw up the Matter relating thereunto, in order to be printed; and report to the House.
Dominus Custos Magni Sigilli declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque ad et in diem Mercurii, (videlicet,) decimum octavum diem instantis Junii, hora undecima Auroræ, Dominis sic decernentibus.