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, 25 Martii.
D. of Rutland & al. Pet. referred to Judges.
Upon reading the Petition of John Duke of Rutland, on the Behalf of himself and John Manners Esquire, commonly called Marquis of Granby, his Eldest Son and Heir Apparent, an Infant, and of Robert Lord Lexington, on the Behalf of himself and Bridget Sutton his Daughter and only Child, an Infant; praying, "That Leave may be given to bring in a Bill, for settling and assuring several Estates, in the Petition mentioned, of the said Duke, for the Benefit of the said Marquis and the said Bridget Sutton, so as a Provision may be made for them and the Issue of their intended Marriage; and that the Estate, in the Petition likewise mentioned, of the said Lord Lexington, may be vested in Trustees, to be sold; and that the Money arising by such Sale be paid to the said Duke, as Part of the Portion of the said Bridget Sutton:"
It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Consideration of the said Petition be, and is hereby, referred to Mr. Justice Tracy and Mr. Justice Prat; who are forthwith to summon all Parties concerned in the Bill; and, after hearing them, to report to the House the State of the Case, with their Opinion thereupon, under their Hands; and whether all Parties that may be concerned in the Consequences of the Bill have signed the Petition; and also that the Judges, having perused the Bill, do sign the same.
Mutiny, &c. Bill:
The House (according to Order) was adjourned during Pleasure, and put into a Committee upon the Bill, intituled, "An Act for punishing Mutiny and Desertion; and for the better Payment of the Army and their Quarters."
Protest against it.
"1. Because no particular Reason or Occasion is so much as suggested in this Bill, for keeping on Foot a Standing Army, consisting of Thirty-two Thousand Men, in this Kingdom, in Time of Peace: And therefore this Act will be a Precedent for keeping the same Army at all Times, though this Kingdom be in Peace; which, we think, must inevitably subvert the ancient Constitution of this Realm, and subject the Subjects to arbitrary Power.
"2. Because, by this Bill, the Soldiers are exempted from being arrested, by Process of Law, at the Suit of any Person, for recovering a just Debt, or upon any Action whatsoever; which is a great Injustice to the Subject; taking from them the Benefit of the Law, for recovering their just Demands, and for obtaining Satisfaction for any Injury done them by a Soldier, either by wounding or maiming, or wrongfully taking away his Goods: And we conceive this will be so far from preserving good Order and Discipline in the Army, that, on the contrary, it will be a great Encouragement to the Soldiers to live in their Quarters in all Manner of Licentiousness, and to insult their Fellow-subjects both in their Persons and Estates; when they know that by this Law they, are disabled from obtaining any effectual Satisfaction from them, by the Course of Justice, for any such Violence or Injury: And the only Reason offered, to justify this Exemption from Arrests, being to prevent the taking Soldiers out of His Majesty's Service by collusive Arrests; we think the preventing such an imaginary Mischief can be no Reason to discharge the Persons of Soldiers from being taken upon any Civil Process, where the Cause of Action is real; which is a Privilege only belonging to a Peer of the Realm.
"3. Because this Bill doth establish Martial Law, extending to the Life of the Offenders in Time of Peace, which we conceive contrary to the ancient Laws of this Kingdom; and the Soldiers are obliged to obey the Military Orders of their Superior Officers, under the Penalty of being sentenced by a Court Martial to suffer Death for (fn. 1) his Disobedience, and that without any Limitation or Restriction, whether such Orders are agreeable to the Laws of the Realm or not; when, by the fundamental Laws thereof, the Commands and Orders of the Crown (the Supreme Authority) are bound and restrained within the Compass of the Law; and no Person is obliged to obey any such Order or Command if it be illegal, and is punishable by Law if he does, notwithstanding any such Order or Command, though from the King.
Message to H. C. that the Lords have agreed to the Bill.
Address, for Papers concerning the Riot at Oxford.
Ordered, That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, humbly to desire His Majesty, "That He would be graciously pleased to cause the proper Officers to lay before this House, the Complaints, Informations, and Depositions, relating to the Riots and Disorders complained of, as lately committed in the City of Oxford; together with an Account of what Proceedings have been had thereupon."
His Majesty, being seated on His Royal Throne, adorned with His Crown and Regal Ornaments, and attended with His Officers of State; the Lords being also in their Robes; commanded the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to signify to the Commons, "It is His Majesty's Pleasure, they attend Him immediately, in this House."