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 Jovis, 19 Junii.
Leases, Dutchy of Cornwall, Bill.
Hodie 2a 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."
Committee to draw an Answer to the Commons Message 17th Inst. about settling Preliminaries for the Trial.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Committee appointed to consider the Manner of proceeding on Impeachments do withdraw presently, to draw an Answer to the said Message.
The House was adjourned during Pleasure, and put into a Committee upon the Bill, intituled, "An Act for granting an Aid to His Majesty, for defraying the Expence of His Navy, Guards, and Garrisons, for One Year; and for other necessary Occasions."
Glover versus Seignoret.
Low Wines, Coffee, &c. for Duties on, Bill.
Hodie 2a vice lecta est Billa, intituled, "An Act for granting to His Majesty several Duties upon Low Wines, or Spirits of the First Extraction; and continuing several additional Duties upon Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Spices, and Pictures, and certain Impositions upon Hawkers, Pedlars, and Petty Chapmen, and the Duty of Fifteen per cent. upon Muslins; and for improving the Duties upon japanned and lacquered Goods; and for continuing the Coinage Duty, for the several Terms and Purposes therein mentioned."
Union between England and Scotland, Proceedings relative to.
ORDERED, That a Committee of Nine Lords, to be chosen by balloting, be appointed, to inspect and examine what Proceedings have formerly been, in relation to a Union between England and Scotland; and report their Proceedings to this House.
Incledon's Petition dismissed.
Upon reading the Petition of Mr. John Incledon, Keeper of His Majesty's Royal House of Westm'r, relating to the Lord Great Chamberlain, upon Occasion of the Trial of the Earl of Orford in Westminster Hall:
Committee of Impeachments.
Answer to H. C. Message of 17th Inst. about settling Preliminaries for the Trials.
by a Committee of both Houses, &c.
Instant, say, The only true Way of determining which of the Two Houses has acted with the greatest Sincerity, in order to bring the impeached Lords to their Trials, is to look back upon the respective Proceedings.
"The Lords do not well understand what the Commons mean by that Resentment which they speak of in their Message. Their Lordships own, the House of Commons have a Right of Impeaching; and the Lords have the undoubted Power of doing Justice upon those Impeachments, by bringing them to Trial, and condemning or acquitting the Parties, in a reasonable Time. This Power is derived to them from their Ancestors, which they will not suffer to be wrested from them by any Pretences whatsoever.
"Their Lordships cannot but wonder, that the Commons should not have proposed a Committee of both Houses much sooner, if they thought it so necessary for the bringing on the Trials; no Mention being made of such a Committee from the First (fn. 1) of April to the Sixth of June, although during that Interval their Delays were frequently complained of by the House of Lords.
"The Manner in which the Commons demand this Committee, the Lords look upon as a direct invading of their Judicature: And therefore, as there never was a Committee of both Houses yielded to by the Lords, in Case of any Impeachment for High Crimes and Misdemeanors; so their Lordships do insist, that they will make no new Precedent upon this Occasion. Many impeached for Misdemeanors have in all Times been determined without such a Committee; and if now the Commons think fit, by an unprecedented Demand, to form an Excuse for not prosecuting their Impeachments, it is demonstrable where the Obstruction lies.
"As to the Preliminaries, which the Commons mention in particular, as proper to be settled at such a Committee, they have received the Resolutions of the House of Lords therein, by their Message of the Twelfth Instant; from which (being Matters relating entirely to their Judicature) their Lordships cannot depart.
"As to the last Pretence the Commons would make, to shelter the delaying the Trials, from some Expressions which sell from the Lord Haversham at the Free Conference, at which Offence was taken; their Lordships will only observe:
"First, That they have omitted nothing which might give the Commons all reasonable Satisfaction of their Purpose to do them Justice in that Matter, so far as is consistent with doing Justice to that Lord; and also to preserve all good Correspondence with them, as appears by the several Steps they have taken.
"Secondly, That this Business has no Relation to the Trials of the impeached Lords; and therefore their Lordships cannot imagine why the Commons should make Satisfaction and Reparation against the Lord Haversham a necessary Condition for the going on with the Trials, and at the same Time find no Difficulty in proceeding on other Business."
L. Haversham's Answer to the Charge of the H. C.
"The Answer of John Lord Haversham, to the Charge exhibited against him by the Commons, for Words spoken at a Free Conference, on the Thirteenth Day of this Instant June One Thousand Seven Hundred and One.
"The said Lord Haversham, saving to himself all Advantages of Exception to the said Charge, and of not being prejudiced by any 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 Charge, saith, That, on the Sixth Day of June One Thousand Seven Hundred and One, the Commons, by a Message sent to the Lords, desired a Conference, upon their Message to the Commons of the Fourth of June; in which Conference they proposed to the Lords, That a Committee of both Houses might be nominated, to consider of the most proper Ways and Methods of proceeding on the Impeachments of the Lords, according to the Usage of Parliament; that, on the Tenth of June, the Lords desired another Conference with the Commons, in which they delivered them their Reasons why they could not agree to the appointing of such Committee; (videlicet,)
"First, That they could not find, that ever such a Committee was appointed on Occasion of Impeachments for Misdemeanors; and their Obligation to be cautious in admitting any Thing new in Matters relating to Judicature.
"Secondly, That, although a Committee of this Nature was agreed to upon the Impeachments of the Earl of Danby, and the Five Popish Lords for High Treason; yet the Success in that Instance was not such, as should encourage the pursuing the same Method, though in the like Case; and, that after much Time spent at that Committee, the Disputes were so far from being there adjusted, that they occasioned the abrupt Conclusion of a Session of Parliament.
"Thirdly, That the Method of Proceedings on Impeachments for Misdemeanors are so well settled by the Usage of Parliament, that no Difficulties were likely to happen, nor none had been stated to them; and that all the Preliminaries in the Case of Stephen Goudett and others (which was the last Instance of Impeachments for Misdemeanors) were easily settled and agreed to, without any such Committee.
"Whereupon the Commons, on the Twelfth of June, desired of the Lords a Free Conference, on the Subject-matter of the last Conference: That the Lords, on the said Twelfth of June, came to Two Resolutions, in relation to the Lords impeached:
"That, upon the Thirteenth of June, Mr. Harcourt, One of the Managers, began the Free Conference on the Part of the Commons; and argued upon the Four Reasons given by the Lords, why they could not agree to the appointing a Committee of both Houses; and principally relied upon the Instance in the Case of the Popish Lords; and insisted upon the Delay that the not agreeiug to the Nomination of such a Committee would necessarily occasion, whereby the Lords Trials and the Justice due to the Nation would be retarded: And, departing from the Subject-matter of the said Conference (which was, whether it were requisite to appoint or not appoint such a Committee), the said Manager discoursed upon the latter of the Two Resolutions of the Lords communicated to the Commons, and said, "That he wished the Lords had sent down their Reasons as well as their Resolutions;" which Words seemed to the said Lord Haversham to carry therein an Implication, as if the said Resolution could have no Reason to justify it.
"That Sir Bartholomew Shores, another Manager for the Commons, observed the same Method of Discourse; and, having argued upon the Lords Reasons, departed from the Subject-matter of the Free Conference; and, inveighing against the Manner of the Lords Judicature asserted by their Resolutions, said, "That it was abhorrent to Justice;" which Expressions being foreign (as the said Lord Haversham apprehended) to the Subject-matter of the said Free Conference, which was, whether such Committee of both Houses should be appointed or not, the said Lord being appointed by the Lords for One of the Managers of the said Free Conference on their Behalf, in Vindication of the Honour and Justice of the House of Peers, and of their Judicature and Resolutions, in Answer to what had been said by the Managers for the Commons, he spoke to the Effect following: "Gentlemen, I shall begin what I have to say, as that worthy Member who opened this Conference, That there is nothing the Lords more desire, than to keep a good Correspondence, which is so necessary to the Safety of the Nation, and the Dispatch of public Business; and nothing they have more carefully avoided, than what might create a Misunderstanding between the Two Houses; a greater Instance of which could not be given, than the Messages my Lords returned to some the Commons had sent them up, in which they took Care to express themselves so cautiously, that no Heat might arise from any Expression of theirs; and as to what the worthy Members mentioned in relation to Delay, the repeated Remembrances sent the Commons, with relation to the sending up the Articles against the impeached Lords, are a sufficient Instance how desirous they are that these Matters should proceed; and the Lords have this Satisfaction, that it is not on their Part that the Trials are not in a greater Forwardness. They cannot but look upon it as a great Hardship, that any should lie under long Delays on Impeachments. Persons may be incapable, Facts may be forgotten, Evidences may be laid out of the Way, Witnesses may die, and many the like Accidents may happen. The Instance the worthy Members give of the Popish Lords, as it is a Crime of another Nature, and not fully to the Point; so it seems to make against what it was brought for; for the worthy Members say, there was but One of the Lords brought to Justice, though Four more (as I take it) were accused: And can any Man believe that the Commons have a Mind to bring only One of these Lords to Trial? It is inconsistent with the Opinion that every Body must have of their Justice. And as to the Point of Judicature; it were very hard upon the Lords, that no Person should be brought to Trial till the Judicature of the House be so first. The Judicature of the Lords is their Peculiar, and hath in former Ages been sacred with the Commons themselves: And this House perhaps hath as much Reason to be jealous and careful of it as any other House ever had, especially when One single Precedent is so urged and insisted upon. One Thing there is, which a worthy Member mentioned, though I cannot speak to it at large, because I think myself bound up by the Resolutions of the House, yet it must have some Answer; (that is,) as to the Lords voting in their own Case, it requires an Answer, though I cannot enter into the Debate of it: The Commons themselves have made this Precedent; for in these Impeachments they have allowed Men equally concerned in the same Facts to vote in their own House; and we have not made the Distinction in ours, that some should vote and some not. The Lords have so high an Opinion of the Justice of the House of Commons, that they believe Justice shall never be made Use of as a Mask for any Design; and therefore, give me Leave to say, though I am not to argue it, it is to me a plain Demonstration, that the Commons think these Lords innocent; and I think the Proposition is undeniable; for when there are several Lords in the same Circumstances, in the same Facts, there is no Distinction; and the Commons leave some of these Men at the Head of Affairs, near the King's Person, to do any Mischief if they were inclinable to it; it looks is if they thought them all innocent. This is a Thing I was in Hopes I should never have heard asserted, when the Beginning of it was from the House of Commons." The said Lord being here interrupted; he desired to be heard out, and that his Words might be taken down in Writing. But the Managers for the Commons broke up, and departed, refusing to hear any Explanation. Now the said Lord, as to any implicit Charge of a Design to reflect on or dishonour the House of Commons, denies any such Design or Intention, having for many Years had the Honour to sit in the House of Commons, and having ever had an honourable and respectful Sense thereof; but the said Lord was led to express himself in the Manner aforesaid, for the Reasons aforesaid, and takes himself to be justified therein by the Facts and Reasons following: That the Nature of that Conference was, that it should be Free; the Occasion of it, because either House apprehended the other to be in an Error; and the End of it, that each Side may urge such Facts as are true, and such Reasons as are forcible to convince: That One Article of the Impeachment against John Lord Sommers was, That the Treaty of Partition of One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-nine was ratified under the Great Seal, which then was in the Custody of the same Lord, then Lord Chancellor of England: That the Commons, on the First of April One Thousand Seven Hundred and One, resolved, That the Earl of Portland, by negotiating and concluding the Treaty of Partition, was guilty of a high Crime and Misdemeanor; and, pursuant thereto, lodged an Impeachment against him in the House of Peers; which Vote and Impeachment could not have Reference to any Treaty, other than the Treaty of Partition of One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-nine, the Treaty of One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-eight not being before the House of Commons till after the Time of that Vote and Impeachment; and yet the Earl of Jersey, who then was Secretary of State and a Privy Counsellor, and actually signed the said Treaty of One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-nine, as a Plenipotentiary with the Lord Portland, stands unimpeached, and continues at the Head of Affairs, being Lord Chamberlain, near His Majesty's Person, and in His Presence and Councils, (without Complaint): That the Earl of Orford, and the Lords Sommers and Halifax, are severally impeached, for advising the Treaty of Partition of One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-eight; and yet Mr. Secretary Vernon, who then was Secretary of State and a Privy Counsellor, and acted in the promoting of the Treaty of Partition of One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety-eight; stands unimpeached, an still continues One of the Principal Secretaries of State; and Sir Joseph Williamson, who was then a Privy Counsellor, and transacted and signed the Treaty of Partition of One Thousand Six Hundred Ninetyeight as a Plenipotentiary, stands unimpeached: That the Lord Halifax is impeached, for that he, being a Commissioner of the Treasury, assented to the passing of divers Grants from the Crown to several Persons of Lands in Ireland; and yet Sir Edward Seymour, Sir Stephen Fox, and Mr. Pelham, who, being severally Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, did severally assent to the passing of divers like Grants from His Majesty of Lands in Ireland, stand unimpeached: That, in the Impeachments against the Earl of Orford and Lord Sommers, One of the Articles against them is, for procuring a Commission to Captain William Kidd, and likewise a Grant under the Great Seal, of the Ships and Goods of certain Persons therein named, to certain Persons, in Trust for them; and yet other Lords, equally concerned in procuring the said Commission and Grant, stand unimpeached: That the said Mr. Secretary Vernon, Sir Edward Seymour, Sir Stephen Fox, and Mr. Pelbam, notwithstanding their being Parties in the same Facts charged in the said respective Impeachments, have been permitted to sit and vote in the House of Commons touching the said Impeachments, and the Matters thereof: That, these Facts being true, and publicly known, the Consequences resulting therefrom (as the said Lord Haversham apprehended) are undeniable; (videlicet,) That the doing of the same Thing by Two Persons, in equal Circumstances, cannot be a Crime in One, and not in the other: That the Commons had no Reason to insist, that the Lords should not permit that in their Members, which the Commons had first permitted, and continued to permit, and so begun the First Precedent, in their own Members: That it must be thought, that the impeached Lords (notwithstanding the Facts alledged in the Impeachments) are innocent of Danger to the King, when the Lord Jersey and Mr. Secretary Vernon, who were respectively concerned in the Partition Treaties, are permitted, without Complaint, to be at the Head of Affairs, and in the King's Presence, and of His Councils, as not dangerous: That the Word "Innocent," used in the Words spoken by the said Lord Haversham, can extend no further than to such Matters as were done by the impeached Lords of the same Nature with what was done by those unimpeached. All which Facts being true, and the Consequences obvious, the said Lord being ready to prove the same; he insists, that the Words spoken by him, at the said Free Conference, were not scandalous or reproachful, nor false, or reflecting on the Honour or Justice of the House of Commons; but were spoken upon a just Occasion, given in Answer to several Expressions that sell from the Managers for the Commons, remote (as he conceives) from the Matter in Question, and reflecting on the Honour and Justice of the House of Peers; and in Maintenance and Defence of the Lords Resolution and Judicature, and conformable to the Duty he owes to the said House; and the said Lord humbly demands the Judgement of this Honourable House therein: And the said Lord Haversham denies that he spoke the Words specified in the said Charge, in such Manner and Form as the same are therein set down.
"And having thus given a true Account of this Matter; and it being true and indisputable, that some Lords in this House, equally concerned in Facts for which other Lords are impeached by the House of Commons, are still near the King's Person, in the greatest Places of Trust and Honour, and unimpeached; and also, that several Members of the House of Commons, equally concerned in the same Facts for which some of the Lords are impeached, do, however, remain unimpeached; the said Lord thinks, such a Truth could never have been more properly spoken in the Maintenance and Defence of your Lordships Judicature and Resolutions; and insisteth, that what he said, at the Free Conference, was not any scandalous Reproach or false Expression, or any Ways tended to make a Breach in the good Correspondence between the Lords and Commons, or to the interrupting the public Justice of the Nation, by delaying the Proceedings on the Impeachments, as in the said Charge alledged; but agreeable to Truth, in Discharge of his Duty, and in the Defence of the undoubted Right and Judicature of this House.
Message to H. C. with a Copy of it.
Dominus Custos Magni Sigilli declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque ad et in diem Veneris, (videlicet,) vicesimum diem instantis Junii, hora undecima Auroræ, Dominis sic decernentibus.