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 Jovis, 9 Februarii.
L. Gower takes his Seat.
This Day John Lord Gower sat first in Parliament, after the Death of his Father John Lord Gower; and took the Oaths, and made and subscribed the Declaration, and also took and subscribed the Oath of Abjuration, pursuant to the Statutes.
Message from H. C. for Places in Westminster Hall to be cleared.
To acquaint this House, that, they being informed several Persons do come into the Place where their Lordships sit in Westm'r Hall, and from thence into the Places appointed for the Members of their House; they do desire that their Lordships will order the said Place to be cleared of all Persons.
Bps. Protestation, on their withdrawing, previous to Judgement being passed on the Six Lords.
"The Lords Spiritual of the House of Peers do desire the Leave of this House to be absent, when Judgement is given upon the Lords who have pleaded guilty to the Impeachment of High Treason, brought up against them by the House of Commons; saving to themselves and their Successors all such Right in Judicature as they have by Law, and of Right ought to have."
Then the Commission appointing a Lord High Steward, for the further Proceedings against the Six Lords who have pleaded guilty to the Impeachment of the House of Commons, was read (all the Lords standing up uncovered), as follows:
Ld. Cowper's Commission as Ld. High Steward:
"Georgius, Dei Gratia, Magnæ Britanniæ, Franciæ, et Hib'niæ Rex, Fidei Defensor, &c. Prædilecto et Fideli Consiliario Nostro Willielmo Domino Cowper, Cancellario Nostro Magnæ Britanniæ, Salutem. Cum Jacobus Comes de Derwentwater, Willielmus Dominus Widdrington, Willielmus Comes de Nithisdale, Georgius Comes de Winton, Robertus Comes de Carnwath, Willielmus Vicecomes Kenmure, et Willielmus Dominus Nairn, coram Nobis, in præsenti Parliamento, per Milites, Cives, et Burgenses, in Parliamento Nostro assemblat. de Alta Proditione, per ipsos Jacobum Comitem de Derwentwater, Willielmum Dominum Widdrington, Willielmum Comitem de Nithisdale, Georgium Comitem de Winton, Robertum Comitem de Carnwath, Willielmum Vicecomitem Kenmure, et Willielmum Dominum Nairn, commiss. et perpetrat. in Nomine ipsorum Militum, Civium, et Burgensium, et Nomine omnium Communium Regni Nostri Magnæ Britanniæ, impetiti et accusati existunt; et ipsi prædict. Jacobus Comes de Derwentwater, Willielmus Dominus Widdrington, Willielmus Comes de Nithisdale, Robertus Comes de Carnwath, Willielmus Vicecomes Kenmure, et Willielmus Dominus Nairn, coram Nobis in præsenti Parliamento, de Proditione prædict. se esse culpabiles separatim cognoverunt: Nos, considerantes quod Justitia est Virtus excellens et Altissimo complacens, volentesque quod prædict. Jacobus Comes de Derwentwater, Willielmus Dominus Widdrington, Willielmus Comes de Nithisdale, Robertus Comes de Carnwath, Willielmus Vicecomes Kenmure, et Willielmus Dominus Nairn, de et pro Proditione unde ipsi ut præfertur impetit. accusat. et convict. existunt, coram Nobis, in præsenti Parliamento Nostro, secundum Legem et Consuetudinem hujus Regni Nostri Magnæ Britanniæ, et secundum Consuetudinem Parliamenti, audiantur, sententientur, et adjudicentur, cæteraque omnia quæ in hac Parte pertinent debito Modo exerceantur et exequantur; ac pro eo quod Proceres et Magnates in præsenti Parliamento Nostro assemblat. Nobis humillime supplicaverunt, ut Senescallum Mag. Britanniæ pro hac Vice constituere dignaremur: Nos, de Fidelitate, Prudentia, provida Circumspectione, et Industria vestris plurimum confidentes, ordinavimus et constituimus vos, ex hac Causa, Senescallum Mag. Britanniæ, ad Officium illud, cum omnibus eidem Officio in hac Parte debit. et pertinen. (hac Vice) gerend. occupand. et exercend., et ideo vobis mandamus, quod circa Præmissa diligenter intendatis, et omnia quæ in hac Parte ad Officium Senescalli Magnæ Britanniæ pertinent et requiruntur hac Vice faciatis, exerceatis, et exequamini cum Effectu. In cujus Rei Testimonium, has Literas Nostras fieri fecimus Patentes.
Then Sir John Vanbrug, One of the Three Kings at Arms, being permitted to come to the Table; the House was called over by the Clerk; the said King at Arms marking such Peers as were present in a List.
The House was then adjourned into Westminster Hall, whither the Officers, Attendants, Lords Sons, and Peers, went in the Order directed; the said King at Arms calling them in their due Places by his List.
Then the said Commission for appointing a Lord High Steward was presented to the Lord High Steward, sitting upon the Woolsack, by the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, on his Knee: And the same being brought to the Table, and Proclamation made for keeping Silence; the said Commission was read (all the Peers standing up uncovered).
Six Lords at the Bar; and Articles, &c. read:
Proclamation was again made, for keeping Silence; as also Proclamation, requiring the Lieutenant of The Tower to bring forth his Prisoners to the Bar, according to the Order of the House to him directed.
And the Articles of Impeachment, exhibited by the House of Commons, against the Six Lords who have pleaded guilty, and the Earl of Wintoun, were read; as likewise the Answers and Pleas of the said Six Lords.
Then the Lord High Steward acquainted them, That, when they should find Occasion to say any Thing, they must address themselves to the Lords in general; and likewise all other Persons must do the same." And then further acquainted the said Lords, That they stood impeached by the House of Commons of High Treason, which was contained in the Articles now read; to which they had all pleaded guilty:" And asked them severally, "If they had any Thing to offer, why Judgement should not pass against them, according to Law?"
Ld. High Steward's Speech:
"You stand impeached, by the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, of High Treason, in traiterously imaging and compassing the Death of His Most Sacred Majesty; and in conspiring, for that End, to levy a bloody and destructive War against His Majesty, in order to depose and murder Him; and in levying War accordingly, and proclaiming a Pretender to His Crown to be King of these Realms.
"Which Impeachment, though One of your Lordships, in the Introduction to his Plea, supposes to be out of the ordinary and common Course of the Law and Justice, is yet as much a Course of proceeding according to the Common Law as any other whatsoever.
"If you had been indicted, the Indictment must have been removed, and brought before the House of Lords (the Parliament sitting); in that Case you had ('tis true) been accused only by the Grand Jury of One County: In the present, the whole Body of the Commons of Great Britain, by their Representatives, are your Accusers.
"And this Circumstance is very observable (to exclude all possible Supposition of Hardship as to the Method of proceeding against you), that, however all great Assemblies amongst us are apt to differ on other Points, you were impeached by the unanimous Opinion of the House of Commons (not One contradicting).
"They found themselves, it seems, so much concerned in the Preservation of His most truly Sacred Majesty and the Protestant Succession (the very Life and Soul of these Kingdoms), that they could not omit the First Opportunity of taking their proper Part, in order to so signal and necessary an Act of His Majesty's Justice.
"And thus the whole Body Politic of this free Kingdom has in a Manner rose up in its own Defence, for the Punishment of those Crimes, which, it was rightly apprehended, had a direct Tendency to the everlasting Dissolution of it.
"Part of which, as some of the Circumstances said to have attended your Surrender (seeming to be offered rather as Arguments only for Mercy, than any Thing in Mitigation of your preceding Guilt), is not proper for me to take Notice of.
"But as to the other Part, which is meant to extenuate the Crimes of which you are convicted, it is fit I should take this Occasion to make some Observations to your Lordships upon it; to the End that the Judgement to be given against you may clearly appear to be just and righteous, as well as legal; and that you may not remain under any fatal Error in respect of a greater Judicature, by reflecting with less Horror and Remorse on the Guilt you have contracted than it really deserves.
"If this should be supposed true, on some of your Lordships averring it; I desire you to consider, that, as it exempts you from the Circumstance of contriving this Treason, so it very much aggravates your Guilt in that Part you have undoubtedly borne in the Execution of it.
"For it shews, that your Inclinations to rebel were so well known (which could only be from a continued Series of your Words and Actions), that the Contrivers of that horrid Design depended upon you, and therein judged rightly: That your Zeal to engage in this Treason was so strong, as to carry you into it on the least Warning, and the very First Invitation: That you would not excuse yourselves by Want of Preparation, as you might have done; and that, rather than not have a Share in the Rebellion, you would plunge yourselves into it almost naked, and unprovided for such an Enterprize: In short, that your Men, Horses, and Arms, were not so well prepared, as they might and would have been on longer Warning; but your Minds were.
"This may in Part only be true: But then your Lordships will at the same Time consider, that the laying waste a Tract of Land bears but a little Proportion, in Point of Guilt, compared with that Crime of which you stand convicted; an open Attempt to destroy the best of Kings, to ruin the whole Fabric, and raze the very Foundations of a Government the best suited of any in the World to perfect the Happiness and support the Dignity of human Nature: The former Offence causes but a Mischief that is soon recovered, and is usually pretty much confined; the latter, had it succeeded, must have brought a lasting and universal Destruction on the whole Kingdom.
"Besides, much of this was owing to Accident: Your March was so hasty, partly to avoid the King's Troops, and partly from a vain Hope to stir up Insurrections in all the Counties you passed through, that you had not Time to spread Devastations, without deviating from your main and, as I have observed, much worse Design.
"Farther, it is very surprizing, that any concerned in this Rebellion should lay their engaging in it on the Government's doing a necessary and usual Act, in like Cases, for its Preservation; the giving Orders to confine such as were most likely to join in that Treason: 'Tis hard to believe that any one should rebel, merely to avoid being restrained from rebelling; or that a gentle Confinement would not much better have suited a crazy State of Health, than the Fatigues and Inconveniencies of such long and hasty Marches in the Depth of Winter.
"Your Lordships rising in Arms therefore has much more justified the Prudence and Fitness of those Orders, than those Orders will in any Wise serve to mitigate your Treason: Alas! happy had it been for all your Lordships, had you fallen under so indulgent a Restraint.
"When your Lordships shall in good Earnest apply yourselves to think impartially on your Case; surely you will not yourselves believe that it is possible, in the Nature of the Thing, to be engaged, and continue so long engaged, in such a difficult and laborious Enterprize, through Rashness, Surprize, or Inadvertency; or that, had the Attack at Preston been less sudden (and consequently the Rebels better prepared to receive it), your Lordships had been reduced the sooner, and with less, if not without any, Bloodshed.
"No, my Lords, these and such like are artful Colourings, proceeding from Minds filled with Expectation of continuing in this World; and not from such as are preparing for their Defence before a Tribunal, where the Thoughts of the Heart, and the true Springs and Causes of Actions, must be laid open.
"And now, my Lords, having thus removed some false Colours you have used; to assist you yet farther in that necessary Work of thinking on your great Offence as you ought, I proceed to touch upon several Circumstances, that seem greatly to aggravate your Crime, and which will deserve your most serious Consideration.
"The Divine Virtues ('tis one of your Lordships own Epithets), which all the World, as well as your Lordships, acknowledge to be in His Majesty, and which you now lay Claim to, ought certainly to have withheld your Hands from endeavouring to depose, to destroy, to murder, that most Excellent Prince; so the Impeachment speaks, and so the Law construes your Actions; and this is not only true in the Notion of Law, but almost always so in Deed and Reality. It is a trite, but very true Remark, that there are but few Hours between Kings being reduced under the Power of Pretenders to their Crown and their Graves: Had you succeeded, His Majesty's Case would, I fear, have hardly been an Exception to that general Rule; since it is highly improbable that Flight should have saved any of that illustrious and valiant Family.
"It is a farther Aggravation of your Crime, that His Majesty, whom your Lordships would have dethroned, affected not the Crown by Force, or by the Arts of Ambition; but succeeded peaceably and legally to it; and, on the Decease of Her late Majesty without Issue, became undoubtedly the next in Course of Descent, capable of succeeding to the Crown, by the Law and Constitution of this Kingdom, as it stood declared some Years before the Crown was expressly limited to the House of Hanover: This Right was acknowledged, and the Descent of the Crown limited or confirmed accordingly, by the whole Legislature in Two successive Reigns; and more than once in the latter, which your Lordships Accomplices are very far from allowing would byass the Nation to that Side.
"How could it then enter into the Heart of Men to think, that private Persons might with a good Conscience endeavour to subvert such a Settlement, by running to tumultuary Arms, and by intoxicating the Dregs of the People with contradictory Opinions and groundless Slanders; or that God's Providence would ever prosper such wicked, such ruinous, Attempts?
"Especially if in the next Place it be considered, that the most fertile Inventions on the Side of the Rebellion have not been able to assign the least Shadow of a Grievance as the Cause of it: To such poor Shifts have they been reduced on this Head, that, for Want of better Colours; it has been objected, in a solemn Manner, by your Lordships Associates, to His Majesty's Government, "That His People do not enjoy the Fruits of Peace, as our Neighbours have done, since the last War:" Thus they first rob us of our Peace, and then upbraid us that we have it not. It is a monstrous Rebellion, that can find no Fault with the Government it invades, but what is the Effect of the Rebellion itself.
"Your Lordships will likewise do well to consider what an additional Burthen your Treason has made necessary on the People of this Kingdom, who wanted, and were about to enjoy, some Respite: To this End, it is well known, that all new or Increase of Taxes were the last Year carefully avoided; and His Majesty was contented to have no more Forces than were just sufficient to attend His Person, and shut the Gates of a few Garrisons.
"But what His Majesty thus did for the Ease and Quiet of His People, you most ungratefully turned to His Disadvantage, by taking Encouragement from thence, to endanger His and His Kingdom's Safety, and to bring Oppression on your Fellow-subjects.
"Your Lordships observe, I avoid expatiating on the Miseries of a Civil War, a very large and copious Subject: I shall but barely suggest to you on that Head, that whatever those Calamities may happen to be in the present Case, all who are at any Time, or in any Place, Partakers in the Rebellion (especially Persons of Figure and Distinction), are in some Degree responsible for them; and therefore your Lordships must not hold yourselves quite clear from the Guilt of those Barbarities which have been lately committed by such as are engaged in the same Treason with you, and not yet perfectly reduced, in burning the Habitations of their Countrymen, and thereby exposing many Thousands to Cold and Hunger in this rigorous Season.
"I must be so just to such of your Lordships as profess the Religion of the Church of Rome, that you had One Temptation, and that a great one, to engage you in this Treason, which the others had not; in that it was evident, Success on your Part must for ever have established Popery in this Kingdom, and that probably you could never have again so fair an Opportunity.
"But then, good God! how must those Protestants be covered with Confusion, who entered into the same Measures without so much as capitulating for their Religion (that ever I could find from any Examination I have seen or heard); or so much as requiring, much less obtaining, a frail Promise, that it should be preserved, or even tolerated.
"It is my Duty to exhort your Lordships, thus to think of the Aggravations, as well as the Mitigations (if there be any), of your Offences. And if I could have the least Hopes, that the Prejudices of Habit and Education would not be too strong for the most earnest and charitable Entreaties, I would beg you not to rely any longer on those Directors of your Consciences, by whose Conduct you have very probably been led into this miserable Condition; but that your Lordships would be assisted by some of those pious and learned Divines of the Church of England, who have constantly bore that infallible Mark of sincere Christians, universal Charity.
"And now, my Lords, nothing remains, but that I pronounce upon you (and sorry I am that it falls to my Lot to do it) that terrible Sentence of the Law, which must be the same that is usually given against the meanest Offender in the like Kind.
"The most ignominious and painful Parts of it are usually remitted, by the Grace of the Crown, to Persons of your Quality: But the Law, in this Case, being deaf to all Distinctions of Persons, requires I should pronounce, and accordingly it is adjudged by this Court,
Judgement pronounced against them.
"That you, James Earl of Derwentwater, William Lord Widdrington, William Earl of Nithisdale, Robert Earl of Carnwath, William Viscount Kenmure, and William Lord Nairn, and every of you, return to the Prison of The Tower, from whence you came; from thence you must be drawn to the Place of Execution; when you come there, you must be hanged by the Neck, but not till you be dead, for you must be cut down alive; then your Bowels must be taken out, and burnt before your Faces; then your Heads must be severed from your Bodies, and your Bodies divided each into Four Quarters; and these must be at the King's Disposal.
Thanks to the Ld. High Steward for his Speech: and the Proceedings to be published.
"Ordered, That the Thanks of this House be, and are hereby, given to the Lord High Steward, for the Speech made by him this Day in Westminster Hall, at the Time he pronounced the Judgement of this House upon the Six Lords who had pleaded guilty to the Impeachment of High Treason exhibited by the House of Commons against them: And further, that the Lord High Chancellor do cause the said Speech to be forthwith printed and published; as also that the whole Proceedings on the said Impeachment be printed and published; and that the said Speech made by the Lord High Steward be entered in the Journal of this House."