Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 20, 1714-1717. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Lunæ, 23 Januarii.
Message from H. C. to desire the Passages may be cleared.
"The Commons, with their Speaker, do intend to come to the House of Lords, to demand Judgement against James Earl of Derwentwater, William Lord Widdrington, William Earl of Nithisdale, Robert Earl of Carnwath, William Viscount Kenmure, and William Lord Nairn; and therefore desire that the Painted Chamber and Passages to the House of Lords may be cleared."
The King to be attended with Address.
The Lord Chamberlain acquainted the House, "That the Lords with White Staves (according to Order) had waited on His Majesty, humbly to know what Time His Majesty would be pleased to appoint to be attended by this House, with their Address; and that His Majesty had been pleased to appoint this Day, at Two a Clock, at His Palace of St. James's:"
Porteous versus Fordice.
Upon reading the Petition and Appeal of Andrew Porteous, in Deboig; complaining of several Interlocutory Sentences, or Decrees, of the Lords of Session in Scotland, made the 22d, 29th, and 30th of July last, on the Behalf of Thomas Fordice and Janet Scot his Wife; praying, "That the same may be reversed; and that the Petitioner may have such other Relief as to the House shall seem meet:"
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Thomas Fordice and his said Wife may have a Copy of the said Appeal; and shall and are hereby required to put in their Answer thereunto, in Writing, on or before Monday the Twentieth Day of February next.
E. of Wintoun at the Bar, and desires further Time to answer.
The Earl of Winton being brought to the House (according to Order) by the Lieutenant of The Tower, the Gentleman Usher was commanded to bring him to the Bar; where he kneeled until he was directed by the Lord Chancellor to rise.
And his Lordship acquainted him, "That this was the peremptory Day, appointed by the House, for his putting in his Answer to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Commons;" and asked him, "If he was ready to put in his Answer?"
Judgement demanded against the Six Lords who pleaded guilty.
"By Command of the House of Commons, I do, in the Name of themselves and of all the Commons of Great Britain, demand Judgement against James Earl of Derwentwater, William Lord Widdrington, William Earl of Nithisdale, Robert Earl of Carnwath, William Viscount Kenmure, and William Lord Nairn, impeached by the Commons of High Treason, of which they have confessed themselves guilty."
Forms of proceeding to Judgement to be considered.
Ordered, That, To-morrow Morning, this House shall be put into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the Forms and Methods of proceeding to Judgement, in a Case of such Nature as that of the Six Lords who have pleaded guilty to the Impeachment of the House of Commons; and that the Judges do then attend.
E. of Wintoun to put in his Answer immediately:
Ordered, That the Earl of Winton be called in; and acquainted, "That this House, upon considering his Petition on Saturday last, for further Time to put in his Answer to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited against him, did reject the said Petition; and, having indulged him more than any other of the Lords impeached, are still of Opinion (this being the peremptory Day for putting in his Answer), to allow him no further Time; and that the Consequence of his refusing to plead, which will ensue in Law, is, that Judgement and Execution will be awarded against him, as if he had pleaded guilty."
"The said Earl, saving to himself all Benefit of Exception to the Incertainties and Insufficiencies in the said Articles of Impeachment contained, and also all Advantages and Privileges belonging to him as a Peer of Great Britain, for Answer to the said Articles, says, That he cannot but esteem it the greatest Addition to his Afflictions, to fall under the Displeasure of the Honourable House of Commons; yet, as his Innocence under these Misfortunes is his Support, so he hopes it will be his Security. He, being taken with Persons that were in Arms against the Government, might reasonably be presumed to be equally guilty, and to be justly joined with them in the same Impeachment; but when it shall appear how much the Circumstances of his Case differ from others, he does not doubt but your Lordships great Justice will distinguish him in Judgement; and that it will be as pleasing to that Honourable Body who are his Accusers, to have an innocent Man acquitted, as one that is guilty condemned. He begs Leave to take Notice, that he is descended from a very ancient Noble Family, in whose Blood the Streams of Loyalty were always pure, never corrupted or polluted with Treason or Sedition; and he never degenerated so much from his loyal Ancestors, as to form or carry on any Design to subvert or alter the Constitution of these Kingdoms; but, for the Preservation of it, was upon all Occasions ready to sacrifice his Fortune, and even his Life. He was so cautious to avoid giving Occasion to be suspected by the Government, that, about Eight Years ago, upon his Return from his Travels, he withdrew from all Conversation, and confined himself to his House; never corresponded by Letter with any Person whatsoever: Yet, to his great Misfortune, he could not be quiet or safe in his Closet Retirement; for many Persons, both Officers and others of the Militia of the Shire of Lothian, under the specious Pretence of serving the Government, but in reality actuated by private Pique and Revenge, several Times, contrary to Law, forcibly entered by Night into his Dwelling-house called Seaton Palace, risled it, turned his Servants out of Doors, and carried away the Provisions of his Family: The most sacred Places did not escape their Fury and Resentment; they broke into his Chapel, defaced the Monuments of his Ancestors, took up the Stones of their Sepulchres, thrust Irons through their Bodies, and treated them in a most barbarous, inhuman, and unchristianlike Manner; Cannon and Mortars were brought to demolish his House; and several Troops of Dragoons having gotten the Possession thereof, some of them kept Guard there; and when they left it, many of the Militia entered, and kept Possession thereof till they were driven from thence by the Highlanders; by whom he was likewise very ill-treated, he being the only Person that was plundered by them. By these and many other Severities, the said Earl was forced to leave his House, and seek for Shelter among his Tenants and Neighbours, where he was pursued from House to House; and at last very unfortunately driven into the Company of some of the Gentlemen named in the Impeachment. He presumes to affirm to your Lordships, that he did not join them with a traiterous or rebellious Design; but only with an Intention to preserve himself from being insulted and assassinated; for he had been once before taken up without any Warrant or Authority; and having got from the Persons in whose Custody he was, they threatened, if they could retake him, to murder him; and had before imbrued their Hands in the Blood of the Son of a neighbouring Gentleman. He never intended to have left his own Country; and when some Gentlemen mentioned coming into England, he opposed it. He was far from assisting or encouraging them in their Undertakings. He was not admitted into their Secrets, nor informed of their Designs; and was so much a Stranger to their Proceedings, that; when they marched towards Northumberland, he was told, "They were going along the Skirts of the Hills in Scotland, to avoid General Carpenter;" but afterwards discovered they were in England, when it was too late; and to return alone into Scotland was too hazardous; which he did not attempt, because he had Reason to believe they would soon go back to Scotland.
"Although he was constrained to keep the other Lords and Gentlemen Company, yet he never joined with them in any Act of Hostility, nor assisted in taking any of the Public Money, or in seizing any Guns or other warlike Instruments, or countenanced or abetted them therein. He did not, at Preston or elsewhere, fire a Pistol, offer Violence to any Person whatsoever, or in any other Manner sight against or resist His Majesty's Forces; but with the rest surrendered himself to General Wills. The Honour of a Peer is more valuable than Life itself; and therefore he ought to be so much the more cautious that it be not stained with the least Imputation of Guilt. The said Earl knows his Innocence; and hopes your Lordships will excuse him, if, in Justice to himself, and for the Preservation of his Honour, he does not take upon him the Guilt of Crimes, the very Thoughts of which were always Strangers to his Breast: And therefore, in Answer to the Impeachment, he says, That he is not guilty of the Treason and other the Crimes and Misdemeanors mentioned in the said Articles, or any of them, in Manner and Form as is therein alledged; and, for his Trial, puts himself on your Lordships, who are his Peers; and begs your Lordships to believe, that this Answer proceeds from the Sense he has of the Truth of it, and not from Obstinacy, or any Inclination to give your Lordships and the Honourable House of Commons any unnecessary Trouble, or from the least Doubt or Mistrust of His Majesty's Clemency; but if, upon his Trial, it shall appear that he hath committed any Act, which, in the Rigour of the Law, may be construed to amount to the Crime of High Treason, he hopes the Innocence of his Heart, and his Ignorance of the Law, will, by the Power of your Lordships Intercession, render him an Object of His Majesty's Mercy, which he and the rest, at the Time of surrendering themselves, were encouraged by His Majesty's Officers to depend upon.
"The said Earl submits his Case, thus circumstanced, to your Lordships great Wisdom and Judgement; and humbly prays your Lordships favourable Interpretation thereof; not doubting but to make his Innocence appear to your Lordships Satisfaction.
E. of Wintoun remanded to The Tower.
L. Visc. Kenmure, Leave for Persons to come to him.
Upon reading the Petition of William Viscount Kenmure; praying, "That the Lord Forrester, Brigadier John Steuart a Member of the House of Commons, Major Ninian Boyd, and Doctor Wellwood, may be permitted to visit him, at such Time, and in such Manner, as to this House shall seem meet:"