Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 18, 1705-1709. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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Die Lunæ, 28 Martii.
Bill for Sale of Lands, to discharge Debts, &c. of late Ld. Jeffries.
The Earl of Peterborow reported from the Lords Committees, the Bill, intituled, "An Act for vesting the Barony of Wem, and Manors of Wem and Loppington, and several Lands and Tenements, in the County of Salop, and the Manors of Dolby and Broughton, and Lands thereto belonging, in the County of Leicester, and the Manor of Fulmer, and several Lands and Tenements, in the County of Bucks, late the Estate of George late Lord Jeffreys, deceased, in Trustees, to be sold, for Payment of Debts and Portions, and other Purposes therein mentioned," as fit to pass, with some Amendments.
Relief of Noncommission Officers and Soldiers, &c. Bill.
Hodie 1a vice lecta est Billa, intituled, "An Act for the Relief of the Non-commission Officers and Soldiers of the respective Companies of the Three Regiments of Colonel Thomas Handasyde, Colonel John Livesay, and Lieutenant General Erle, and the Four Independent Companies at New York, in America."
Yorkshire Cloth Bill.
Commissions of Sewers, Bill.
Middlesex Register Bill.
Then the House (pursuant to Order) was adjourned during Pleasure, and put into a Committee upon the Bill, intituled, "An Act for the public registering of all Deeds, Conveyances, and Wills, that shall be made of, or that may affect, any Honours, Manors, Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments, within the County of Midd'x, after the Day of."
And the Earl of Stamford reported, "That the Committee of the whole House had made some Progress in the Bill; and desire another Time may be appointed, for the House to be in a Committee again, to proceed therein."
Bill for Improvement of the Union:
Rider offered to be added to it, concerning Trials for Treason:
"Provided always, and be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That no Person shall be tried for High Treason, or Misprison of High Treason, unless a Copy of his Indictment, together with all the Witnesses Names endorsed upon it, as it shall come from the Grand Jury, shall be delivered to the Prisoner Five Days at the least before the Trial of the said Prisoner."
Protest against rejecting it.
"We conceive it not for the Safety of the Subject, that the Names of those Witnesses Which shall appear endorsed on the Indictment when it comes from the Grand Jury shall be concealed from the Prisoner; who, by receiving Notice of such Witnesses Five Days before his Trial, may be enabled to discredit them, if he be innocent; and yet not enabled to escape, in case he be guilty.
Protest against it:
"1. We conceive the general Title of this Bill very improper, because it does not express the particular Purposes of it; which are, altering the Laws of the Northern Part of Britain, and the Method of Trials in Matters relating to Treason; and because we apprehend this Act will be so far from answering its Title, of improving the Union, that, we are humbly of Opinion, and sincerely persuaded, it may have a quite contrary Effect.
"2dly. The Preamble of this Bill may happen to give unnecessary Grounds of Suspicion to mistaken People, that there is a Tendency towards a total Alteration of the Laws of Scotland; which cannot but create great Uneasiness to that People, who rested in a Confidence that their private Laws were secured to them by the Articles of Union, so as not to be altered without the evident Utility of the People of Scotland.
"3dly. It does not appear to be necessary, that new Courts and Jurisdictions should be created, in a Country where the Courts of Justiciary were to be preserved in the Exercise of their Authority by the Articles of Union; though it might be thought reasonable that the same Facts and Offences might be esteemed Treason and Misprision of Treason, and that the Punishments might be likewise the same. And we do humbly conceive, that the Commissions of Oyer and Terminer may be construed an imparing of the Authority of the Courts of Justiciary in Scotland; and the entire Alterations of the Methods of Trials may render it very difficult to prosecute any Person for the Crimes of Treason, and very insecure for the People, who are to make their Defence in unknown Methods.
"4thly. The general Description of Treason in this Act, without specifying either the particular Facts that shall be accounted treasonable, or the particular Laws to be established in both Kingdoms, is a just Exception against the Bill; for it would have been a great Satisfaction to the People of North Britain, if these Laws had been reviewed in a Parliament, where their Representatives might have had the Time to have examined the Reasonableness of them, and had a Share in passing them; but the enacting all the Laws in Gross as the Laws of England, without entering into any Detail or Consideration of them, may create great Uneasiness.
"5thly. The present Laws of Scotland in relation to the Forfeitures ought to have been considered as established upon the most solemn Foundations, since they were settled upon the Tender of the Crown to King William, and accordingly passed into Laws at that Time; which the Subjects might well conclude they should never be deprived of: But the Proviso in this Act relating to Marriage Settlements is only a Remedy in Part, and but a Share of the just Provisions made on Behalf of the Subjects in that remarkable and happy Revolution, which so much improved the Constitution of both Kingdoms.
"Lastly, we conceive, that whereas the Qualifications for a Juryman, to be sworn upon the Pannel, is by this Act fixed to the Possession of Forty Shillings per Annum, it ought to have been kept up to what the Law of England now ordains in Trial; which is, that the Juryman be seised of Ten Pounds per Annum in his own Right, or that of his Wife's.
Message to H. C. with the Bill.
Judges to make a Collection of Statutes in Force relating to High Treason.
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Judges do forthwith make a Collection and Transcript of all the Statutes now in Force, relating to High Treason, and Misprision of High Treason, and lay the same before this House, in order to the printing and publishing thereof, for the better Information of the People of the Kingdom of Great Britain in relation to those Laws.
Privileges of Ambassadors, &c. Bill.
Ordered, That on Friday next, at Twelve a Clock, this House shall be put into a Committee again, to proceed on the Bill, intituled, "An Act for preserving the Privileges of Ambassadors, and other Public Ministers, of Foreign Princes and States."
Message from H. C. to return the Earl of Plimouth's Bill.
To return the Bill, intituled, "An Act to vest the Estate, which came to the Right Honourable Other Earl of Plimouth by his Mother, in Trustees to be sold, for raising Money, to pay off Debts charged upon his Paternal Estate; and to enable him to cut Coppices;" and to acquaint this House, that they have agreed to their Lordships Amendments made to the said Bill.