Journal of the House of Lords Volume 36, 1779-1783. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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November 1780 1-10
DIE Mercurii, 1o Novembris 1780.
His Majesty being seated on the Throne, adorned with His Crown and Regal Ornaments and attended by His Officers of State, (the Lords being in their Robes) commanded the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to let the Commons know, "It is His Majesty's Pleasure that they attend him immediately in this House:"
The Commons of Great Britain assembled in Parliament, in consequence of Your Direction, and according to their ancient and undoubted Rights, have proceeded to the Election of a Speaker; and their Choice has fallen on me:
Before I submit myself, with all Humility, to Your Royal Determination, I feel myself bound to express the Apprehensions of my own Mind, that my best Endeavours will not be equal to the proper Discharge of the Duties of this important Trust; and I am an humble Suitor to Your Majesty, that you will give the House of Commons an Opportunity to re-consider what they have done, and to make another Election:
Mr. Cornwall, (fn. 1)
It is with more than ordinary Satisfaction that I meet you in Parliament, at a Time when the late Elections may afford Me an Opportunity of receiving the most certain Information of the Disposition and the Wishes of My People, to which I am always inclined to pay the utmost Attention and Regard.
The present arduous Situation of Public Affairs is well known: The whole Force and Faculties of the Monarchies of France and Spain are drawn forth and exerted to the utmost, to support the Rebellion in My Colonies in North America, and, without the least Provocation or Cause of Complaint, to attack my Dominions; and the undisguised Object of this Confederacy manifestly is, to gratify boundless Ambition, by destroying the Commerce, and giving a fatal Blow to the Power of Great Britain.
"By the Force which the last Parliament put into My Hands, and by the Blessing of Divine Providence on the Bravery of My Fleets and Armies, I have been enabled to withstand the formidable Attempts of My Enemies, and to frustrate the great Expectations they had formed; and the signal Successes which have attended the Progress of My Arms in the Provinces of Georgia and Carolina, gained with so much Honour to the Conduct and Courage of My Officers, and to the Valour and Intrepidity of my Troops, which have equalled their highest Character in any Age, will, Itrust, have important Consequences in bringing the War to a happy Conclusion: It is my most earnest Desire to see this great End accomplished; but I am confident you will agree with me in Opinion, that we can only secure safe and honourable Terms of Peace by such powerful and respectable Preparations as shall convince Our Enemies that we will not submit to receive the Law from any Powers whatsoever, and that we are united in a firm Resolution to decline no Difficulty or Hazard in the Defence of Our Country, and for the Preservation of Our essential Interests."
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I have ordered the Estimates for the ensuing Year to be laid before you: I see and feel with great Anxiety and Concern, that the various Services of the War must unavoidably be attended with great and heavy Expences; but I desire you to grant me such Supplies only, as your own Security and lasting Welfare and the Exigency of Affairs shall be found to require."
"I repose an entire Confidence in the Zeal and Affections of this Parliament, conscious, that during the whole Course of My Reign, it has been the constant Object of My Care and the Wish of My Heart, to promote the true Interests and Happiness of all My Subjects, and to preserve inviolate Our excellent Constitution in Church and State."
This Day James Earl of Salisbury sat first in Parliament after the Death of his Father James Earl of Salisbury; his Lordship having first at the Table taken the Oaths, and made and subscribed the Declaration, and also taken and subscribed the Oath of Abjuration, pursuant to the Statutes.
To offer His Majesty our most dutiful Congratulations on the Birth of another Prince, and the happy Recovery of the Queen; and to assure His Majesty, that every Addition to His domestic Happiness must always afford the highest Satisfaction to His faithful Subjects.
To declare, that in the present arduous Situation of Public Affairs, we think it an indispensable Part of our Duty to make those spirited and vigorous Exertions which such a Conjuncture demands; and to assure His Majesty, that we are united in a firm Resolution to decline no Difficulty or Hazard in the Defence of our Country, and for the Preservation of our essential Interests:
To express the just and heartfelt Indignation with which we see the Monarchies of France and Spain leagued in Confederacy to support the Rebellion in His Majesty's Colonies in North America, and employing the whole Force of those Kingdoms in the Prosecution of a War waged in Violation of all Public Faith, and for the sole Purpose of gratifying boundless Ambition, by destroying the Commerce, and giving a fatal Blow to the Power of Great Britain:
To testify the great Satisfaction with which we have seen that the Force which, with just Confidence, was entrusted to His Majesty by Parliament, has, by the Blessing of divine Providence on the Bravery of His Fleets and Armies, enabled His Majesty to withstand the formidable Attempts of His Enemies, and to frustrate the great Expectations they had conceived:
To express Our Hope and Trust, that the Success of His Majesty's Arms in Georgia and Carolina, gained with so much Honour to the Conduct and Courage of His Majesty's Officers, and to the Valour and Intrepidity of His Troops, will have the most important Consequences; and that such signal Events, followed by those vigorous Measures which His Majesty recommends, and in which we are determined to concur, will disappoint all the Views of Our Enemies, and restore the Blessings of a safe and honourable Peace:
That we are satisfied, that the only Way to accomplish this great End, which His Majesty so earnestly desires, is to make such powerful and respectable Preparations as shall convince our Enemies that we will not submit to receive the Law from any Powers whatever, but, with that Spirit and Resolution which becomes us, will maintain the essential Rights, Honour, and Dignity of Great Britain:
"To testify the deep and most grateful Sense we have of the constant Solicitude His Majesty shews to promote the true Interests and Happiness of all His Subjects, and to preserve inviolate our excellent Constitution in Church and State; and humbly to assure His Majesty, that it shall be our earnest Endeavour to justify and deserve the Confidence which His Majesty so graciously places in our Affection, Duty and Zeal."
Their Royal Highnesses William Henry Duke of Gloucester and Henry Duke of Cumberland took the Oaths, and made and subscribed the Declaration; and also took and subscribed the Oath of Abjuration, pursuant to the Statutes.
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to return Your Majesty our humble Thanks for Your most Gracious Speech from the Throne.
Permit us to offer to Your Majesty our most dutiful Congratulations on the Birth of another Prince, and the happy Recovery of the Queen; and to assure Your Majesty, that every Addition to Your Majesty's domestic Happiness must always afford the highest Satisfaction to Your faithful Subjects.
In the present arduous Situation of Public Affairs, we think it an indispensable Part of our Duty to make those spirited and vigorous Exertions which such a Conjuncture demands; and we beg leave to assure Your Majesty, that we are united in a firm Resolution to decline no Difficulty or Hazard in the Defence of our Country, and for the Preservation of our essential Interests.
It is with just and heart-felt Indignation that we see the Monarchies of France and Spain leagued in Confederacy to support the Rebellion in Your Majesty's Colonies in North America, and employing the whole Force of those Kingdoms in the Prosecution of a War waged in Violation of all Public Faith, and for the sole Purpose of gratifying boundless Ambition, by destroying the Commerce, and giving a fatal Blow to the Power of Great Britain.
We have seen with great Satisfaction, that the Force which with just Confidence was entrusted to Your Majesty by Parliament has, by the Blessing of Divine Providence on the Bravery of Your Fleets and Armies enabled Your Majesty to withstand the formidable Attempts of Your Enemies, and to frustrate the great Expectations they had conceived; and we hope and trust that the Success of Your Majesty's Arms in Georgia and Carolina, gained with so much Honour to the Conduct and Courage of Your Majesty's Officers, and to the Valour and Intrepidity of Your Troops, will have the most important Consequences; and that such signal Events, followed by those vigorous Measures which Your Majesty recommends, and in which we are determined to concur, will disappoint all the Views of our Enemies, and restore the Blessings of a safe and honourable Peace.
We are satisfied that the only way to accomplish this great End, which Your Majesty so earnestly recommends, is to make such powerful and respectable Preparations as shall convince our Enemies that we will not submit to receive the Law from any Powers whatever, but, with that Spirit and Resolution which becomes us, will maintain the essential Rights, Honour, and Dignity of Great Britain.
"We have a deep and most grateful Sense of the constant Solicitude Your Majesty shews to promote the true Interests and Happiness of all Your Subjects, and to preserve inviolate our excellent Constitution in Church and State; and we beg leave humbly to assure Your Majesty, that it shall be our earnest endeavour to justify and deserve the Confidence which Your Majesty so graciously places in our Affection, Duty and Zeal."
Ordered, Nemine Dissentiente, That a Message be sent from this House to the Queen, "humbly to congratulate Her Majesty on the Birth of a Prince, and upon Her Majesty's happy Recovery, in which we feel the deepest Interest and most tender Concern, and to assure Her Majesty that every Increase of Her Majesty's Domestic Felicity affords us the highest Satisfaction, and that we consider every Addition to the illustrious Family under which this Nation enjoys so many Blessings, as a farther Security to the Liberties and Happiness of a grateful People."
Lords Sub-Committees appointed to consider of the Orders and Customs of this House, and of the Privileges of the Peers of Great Britain, and Lords of Parliament, and to peruse and perfect the Journals of this and former Sessions of Parliament:
The House taking Notice, "That there is such an Interruption by Hackney Coaches, Carts and Drays, in the Streets and Passages leading to this House, that the Lords and others are frequently hindered from coming thereto:"
It is thereupon Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, That the High Steward of the City of Westminster, or his Deputy, together with the Justices of the Peace of the said City, shall, by their strict Care and Directions to the Constables and other Officers within their Jurisdiction, take special Order, That no empty Hackney Coaches be suffered to make any Stay between Whitehall and the End of Abingdon Street in Westminster, from Twelve of the Clock at Noon until Five of the Clock in the Afternoon of the same Day, during the Sitting of this Parliament; and that no Carriages, Drays, or Carts, be permitted to stop in the Streets and Passages between the End of Market Lane in Pall Mall, and the End of Abingdon Street, between the Hours aforesaid; or to pass through the Old Palace Yard from One of the Clock in the Afternoon, until One Hour after the Rising of this House, during the Sitting of this Parliament; and that all Carriages, Drays, or Carts, hereby permitted to pass through the said Streets and Passages, be obliged to go one after another, in the Manner following; (that is to say), all Carriages, Drays, or Carts, going towards Westminster, to keep on the Side of the Street or Passage next to Saint James's Park; and all those going the contrary Way, to keep on the other Side of the Street; and upon no Account whatsoever to presume to go Two or more a-breast during the Sitting of this Parliament; and herein special Care is to be taken by the said Deputy Steward, Justices of the Peace, Constables, and all other Officers herein concerned, as the contrary will be answered to this House: And it is further Ordered, That the High Bailiff of the City of Westminster, and the Justices of the Peace for the City and Liberty thereof, or some of them residing in Westminster, be served with the Order of this House, made this Day, for the Purposes aforesaid.
Le Duc de Richmond.
Le Duc de Beaufort.
Le Duc de Marlborough.
Le Duc de Ancaster & Kesteven.
Le Marquis de Rockingham.
Le Count de Denbigh.
Le Count de Chesterfield.
Le Count de Carlisle.
Le Count de Abercorn.
Le Count de Marchmont.
Le Count de Hardwicke.
Le Viscount Montague.
Le Viscount Hampden.
Le Viscount Townshend.
Le Baron Le Despencer.
Le Baron Middleton.
Le Baron Cadogan.
Le Baron Godolphin.
Le Baron Sandys.
Le Baron Grantham.
Le Baron Boston.
Le Duc de Portland.
Le Duc de Chandos.
Le Duc de Dorset.
Le Duc de Bridgewater.
Le Count de Stamford.
Le Count de Sandwich.
Le Count de Scarborough.
Le Count de Galloway.
Le Count de Sussex.
Le Count de Buckinghamshire.
Le Count de Radnor.
Le Count de Hillsborough.
Le Viscount Edgcumbe & Valletort.
Le Viscount Falmouth.
Le Viscount Wentworth.
Le Viscount Dudley & Ward.
Le Baron Abergavenny.
Le Baron Brownlow.
Le Baron Harrowby.
Le Baron Ponsonby.
Le Baron Wycombe.
Le Baron Sundridge.
DIE Jovis, 2o Novembris 1780.
Ds. Thurlow, Cancellarius.
Comes Hertford, Camerarius.
Comes Brooke & Warwick.
The Lord Chamberlain reported, "That the Lords with White Staves had (according to Order) waited on His Majesty, "humbly to know what Time His Majesty would please to appoint to be attended with their Lordships Address;" and that His Majesty had appointed this Day at Two o'Clock, at His Palace of Saint James."
Upon reading the Petition and Appeal of John Ambrose, complaining of an Order or Decree of the Court of Chancery, of the 15th Day of July 1780; and praying, "That the same may be reversed, or that the Appellant may have such other Relief in the Premises as to this House in their Lordships great Wisdom shall seem meet; and that Robert Hodgson Clerk, and Catherine his Wife, late Catherine Jolland Spinster, may be required to answer the said Appeal:
It is Ordered, That the said Robert Hodgson and Catherine his Wife, may have a Copy of the said Appeal, and do put in their Answer, or respective Answers thereunto, in Writing, on or before Thursday the 16th Day of this Instant November: And that Service of this Order upon the said Respondents, or their Clerk in Court in the said Court of Chancery, shall be deemed good Service.
Upon reading the Petition and Appeal of the Right Honourable James Earl of Clanbrassil, in the Kingdom of Ireland, complaining of Two Orders of the Court of Chancery in Ireland, of the 15th of January and 7th of July 1780; and praying, "That the same may be reversed, or that the Appellant may have such other Relief in the Premises as to this House, in their Lordships great Wisdom, shall seem meet; and that Robert Taylor Esquire may be required to answer the said Appeal:"
It is Oreered, That the said Robert Taylor may have a Copy of the said Appeal, and do put in his Answer thereunto in Writing, on or before Thursday the 7th of December next: And Service of this Order upon the Six Clerk Attorney or Sollicitor for the said Respondent in the said Court of Chancery in Ireland, shall be deemed good Service.
DIE Veneris, 3o Novembris 1780.
"Your wife and spirited Resolutions to prosecute the War with Vigour, and to maintain at (fn. 2) every Hazard, the essential Interests, Dignity and Honour of Great Britain, give Me the highest Satisfaction, and must be productive of the most salutary Effects both at Home and Abroad."
Ordered, That the Hearing of the Cause wherein Lord Macdonald is Appellant, and Norman McLeod Esquire, is Respondent, which stands appointed for Wednesday next, be put off to Wednesday the 10th Day of this Instant November.
Upon reading the Petition of John Sanders Plaintiff in a Writ of Error depending in this House, wherein George Jones is Defendant; setting forth, "That the Plaintiff has been advised to withdraw his Assignment of Errors, and not to prosecute his said Writ of Error any further;" and therefore praying their Lordships, That he may be at Liberty to withdraw his said Assignment of Errors; and that the said Writ of Error may be Non-pros'd, with such Costs, as to their Lordships shall seem meet; the Agent for the said Defendant having signed the said Petition as consenting thereto:"
It is Ordered, That the Petitioner do withdraw his said Assignment of Errors; and that the Defendant in Error do forthwith enter a Non-pros. on the said Writ of Error as desired; and that the Record be remitted to the Court of King's Bench, to the End Execution may be had upon the Judgement given by that Court, as if no such Writ of Error had been brought into this House; and further, That the Plaintiff in Error do pay, or cause to be paid, to the Defendant in Error, the Sum of Forty Pounds for his Costs, by reason of the Delay of the Execution of the said Judgement.
The House being moved, "That Thomas Wildman of Lincoln's Inn, Gentleman, may be permitted to enter into a Recognizance for John Ambrose, on account of his Appeal depending in this House, he being in the Country:"
Also, "An Account of the Quantity of Lace legally entered at the Customs, together with the Amount of the Duties collected upon the same, within the Space of Seven Years, ending at the 31st of December 1778."
And also, "An Account of the Quantity of Lace legally entered at the Customs, together with the Amount of the Duties collected upon the same, from 1st August 1779, the Time when the Stamps were first affixed (in pursuance of the Directions of the Act of the Nineteenth of His present Majesty, "for more effectually preventing Smuggling,") to the 30th June 1780."
DIE Lunæ, 6o Novembris 1780.
The Lord Viscount Stormont (by His Majesty's Command) presented to the House, a Petition of Charles St. Clair, claiming the Title, Honour and Dignity of Lord Sinclair, with His Majesty's Reference thereof to this House; and the same were read by the Clerk, and are as follow;
That the Title of Lord Sinclair descended to John the Sixth Lord, who died without Issue Male, but left Two Grandsons, Henry and John St. Clair, by his only Daughter Catherine and John St. Clair Fiar of Herdmanston, her Husband, who was the eldest Son of Sir John St. Clair of Herdmanston, Knight.
That His Majesty King Charles the Second, by Letters Patent, dated the 1st Day of June 1677, in the Twenty-ninth Year of His Reign, in Consideration of the Antiquity, Fidelity and singular Services of the Family, and the Loss that the said John the Sixth Lord Sinclair had suffered from the late Usurpers who had seized his Estates and closely detained him in Prison until the Restoration of His said Majesty to the Throne, and as a Token of Royal Favour for such Fidelity, and to continue the Title of Honour and Dignity of the Family in the Person of the said Henry Grandson of the said John, agreeably to the aforesaid Designation, created the said Henry St. Clair, Grandson of John the Sixth Lord Sinclair, lawful eldest Son of Catherine only Daughter of John Lord Sinclair, begotten between her and John St. Clair Fiar of Herdmanston, and the Heirs Male of the Body of the said Henry; whom failing, John St. Clair his Brother German, and the Heirs Male of his Body; whom failing, Robert St. Clair Brother German of the said John St. Clair Fiar of Herdmanston, deceased, and the Heirs Male of his Body; whom failing, George St. Clair also Brother German of the said John St. Clair Fiar of Herdmanston, and the Heirs Male of his Body; whom failing Mathew St. Clair, his other Brother German, and the Heirs Male of his Body; whom failing, the nearest lawful Heir Male of the said Henry St. Clair Lord Sinclair; and did conser upon them the Title of Dignity and Honour of Lord Sinclair, with all the Honours, Dignities, Immunities, Privileges and Precedency in all Parliaments and General Assemblies of the States, as fully and as freely as the said Title was enjoyed by John Lord Sinclair deceased, or any of his Predecessors, or as to them it was competent by the first original Letters Patent of the said Honour and Dignity; and gave Power to take place in all Parliaments, General Assemblies of the State, and to have Precedency there to any Lords his Predecessors due and belonging, and to use and bear the Marks and Additions of Lords Sinclair, and to use and exercise every other Thing thereto belonging, with as much Liberty of Right as any of his Predecessors Lords Sinclair first had or might have had from His Majesty's illustrious Progenitors, Kings of Scotland.
That the aforesaid Henry Lord Sinclair married Grizel Daughter of Sir James Cockburn of that Ilk, and died in 1723, leaving by her Five Sons, namely, John, James, William, Henry and Mathew, all of whom died without Heirs Male of their Bodies.
That Charles the eldest Son of the said Matthew, married Elizabeth Daughter of the Honourable Sir Andrew Hume of Kimmergham, Knight, by whom he had a Son named Andrew, who married Elizabeth Daughter of John Ruthersurd of Edgerton, Esquire, by whom he left Two Sons, Charles Your Majesty's Petitioner, and Mathew.
"That your Petitioner by the Limitations in the aforesaid Letters Patent granted by His Majesty King Charles the Second, is become entitled to the Title of Dignity and Honour of Lord Sinclair as the Heir Male of the Body of the said Mathew St. Clair, one of the Brothers of the aforesaid John St. Clair Fiar of Herdmanston."
His Majesty being moved upon this Petition, is graciously pleased to refer the same to the Right Honourable the House of Peers, to examine the Allegations thereof, as to what relates to the Petitioner's Title therein mentioned, and to inform His Majesty how the same shall appear to their Lordships.
Ordered, That the said Petition and Reference be referred to the Consideration of the Lords Committees for Privileges, to consider thereof, and report their Opinion thereupon to the House; and that Notice thereof be given to His Majesty's Attorney General and the Lord Advocate for Scotland.
The said Two Lords being in their Places, the Lord Chancellor, by Direction of the House, desired the Duke of Grafton, "To give the House an Account of the Correspondence that had passed between the Earl of Pomfret and his Grace."
Whereupon, The Duke of Grafton in his Place acquainted the House, "That on Sunday the 22d of October, he received a Letter from the Earl of Pomfret, dated October 22d, 1780;" which being shewn to his Lordship, he acknowledged it to be of his Hand Writing.
I am waiting at the Inn at your Park Gate, with a Sword and Pistols to fight you, if you choose to have a fair Chance for your Life; please to signify it to me immediately in Writing by the Bearer, who is intirely unacquainted with the Contents of this Letter.
If you desire to know why I have taken this Resolution, it is because you have used your Influence to
place as an Assistant to an Exciseman at Towcester,
a Man who has swore Destruction to my Property and
the Lives of my Children. I hope to convince you
Your obliged humble Servant,
I do not know even the Person you allude to, and I assure you I am incapable of an Action injurious to you. I have one Friend who is gone to Church, who will wait on your Lordship to convince you of this; and if you will do me the Honour to call here, I will assure you of it myself, when I am confident you will not desire to proceed to such Extremities with a Person who has wished to shew you always every Mark of Regard.
His Grace then acquainted the House, "That upon his Friend's Return from Church he told him what had happened; that they went to the Inn, but the Earl of Pomfret was gone." His Grace produced another Letter from his Lordship, which he received on the same Afternoon, and was brought by a Post Boy. The said Letter being shewn to the Earl of Pomfret, he acknowledged it to be his Hand-writing.
On the Receipt of your Grace's Letter I turned my Horses Heads, and being arrived at this first Post, take the Opportunity to inform you of the Cause, which alone could have urged me to pursue my Resentment to the utmost Degree.
I had a Gamekeeper named Langstaff, who a Year and a Half ago, on being disappointed in not being made my Steward, killed me a fine Stone Colt; and being dismissed on Suspicion little short of Proof, he swore he would be revenged on me, my Children, and my House. His Malice was so black and visible, that before the perpetrating the above, he had wheedled my youngest Son to go to see my Pointers; and if I had not luckily come in the Moment, I believe he meant to have demolished him, by knocking him on the Head, and, imputing it to the Kick of an Horse, have execused himself. His Agitation at my coming to the Stables, his Paleness, and dropping a Hammer from his Hand, make me declare in the Presence of God, to whom I appeal for the Sincerity of my Heart, that it was, in my firm Opinion, his full Intention.
In Two Days after his Apprehension, he got one Davis, a Blacksmith of Towcester, and his Intimate, to drive Two Nails into a Mare's Foot which I rode; and the Foot being examined by my Order, upon a Suspicion of the Villainy, Two Nails contiguous were drove into the Frog of the Foot. Of this Truth your Grace may see an Affidavit.
On the Twelfth Instant he makes his Re-appearance; and it is universally given out by your Grace's Favour and Protection. It became a Cause of Glory, and Mr. Smith receives, in your Grace's Name, Thanks for the Honour conferred on him, in being appointed Assistant to Mr. Gurney the Exciseman. A Person of Credit in Confidence told me, that Mr. Smith said your Grace had wrote to a Mr. Gamon to have the Villain fixed at Towcester. The 13th, the Day immediately succeeding, a Riding Mare of my Steward's is stabbed in the Side with a Knife; and the 15th, the finest Mare I ever bred, or ever saw, has her Belly ripped open at Grass, and all Guts let out; she died: All this while your Grace's Tenant Mr. Barford parading about the Country with him. I had the Fellow taken up on the Suspicion: Mr. Barford appears before Mr. Eccles a Magistrate, and they there gave him to understand they were under your Protection.
Amazed at what Interest such a Man could get recommended, and believing from Smith's Aftertions, and the extraordinary going out of the usual Method to set him on at Towcester; for how could I possibly conceive that the Excise Office would deviate from the common Rule, but upon Application from the highest Authority? Alarmed at the imminent Danger of my Children, and the deep Distress of Mind that poor Lady Pomfret labours under, finding the Abuse of your Grace's Name made to animate and encrease the Flame; what other Part could I act, than endeavouring to remedy the Evil, by going to what I was made to believe was the Source.
My Lord, Mr. Smith ought to be made to give a
circumstantial and minute Account of these Proceedings; and I hope and trust that you will order him
to do so to me. The dishonouring your Character
with the Suggestions of your protecting and employing Murderers, brings a Stain on your high and noble
Name, which never yet has dishonoured the lowest
Rank of our Nobility. I now shall proceed on my
Return Home, not without a Dread of hearing of
some Massacre. My Children are restrained from
going into the Gardens, and Watches are kept on all
Sides. May you, my Lord, enjoy all the Blessings
due to a good Citizen, which I firmly believe you to
be; and with the greatest Respect subscribe myself,
"Then he sent an Answer to this Letter by the Post Boy who brought it, directing him, in case the Earl of Pomfret was gone from Barton Mills, to bring it back, which the Boy did, not finding his Lordship there; that he sent the Letter by the Post the next Day."
I was thoroughly convinced that your Lordship was proceeding on a Misinformation in regard to me. Whatever Use has been made of my Name on this Occasion, I repeat to your Lordship, is totally without Foundation; and I shall take the earliest Opportunity to have it so explained.
My Groom is just arrived with my Hunters from the Forest: He tells me that Mr. Smith was to set out with the Hounds as this Morning (Monday) for this Place; so that he will not be able to wait on your Lordship so soon as I could have wished; but I will take Care that he writes to you a full Account of the Transaction about this Fellow by the first Post after his Arrival here, and prove to your Lordship that I neither know him, nor have taken any one Step whatever about him.
His Grace acquainted the House, "That Mr. Smith, immediately upon his Return to Euston, wrote to the Earl of Pomfret, on Thursday the 26th of October last; but the Post not going out till the next Day, his Lordship could not have received Mr. Smith's Letter, when his Lordship wrote again to His Grace another Letter, which he produced; and which being shewn to the Earl of Pomfret, he acknowledged it to be of his Writing."
I return your Letters with the Discredit and Contempt they deserve, and shall proceed according to the Rules of Honour in the Pursuit of that Satisfaction I am entitled to. The Unwillingness to offend against the Custom of giving Credit to the Assertions of a Nobleman suspended my Resentment; it was but a Truce, and now my Enmity revives till our Meeting.
His Grace then acquainted the House, "That upon Receipt of this Letter he then had Recourse to Law, and swore the Peace against the Earl of Pomfret before Two Justices of the Peace in Suffolk; that on Wednesday last he came to Town, and on Friday last he received a Letter from the Earl of Pomfret, brought by his Lordship's Servant, which was produced; and being shewn to his Lordship, he acknowledged it to be his Hand-writing, at the same Time declaring, he wished he had not made use of such irascible Words, and that it might not be read."
I am now in your Neighbourhood, armed with Pistols and a Sword, and once again provoke you to come out and fight me; for I cannot have Recourse to your Baseness in employing People to murder. This Letter is authenticated, as have been all the others I have sent you, by reading them to credible Men, who will bear Testimony against you. Your affected Delays, and despicable Evasions, protract the Danger to the which my Wife and Children are exposed, whilst my House is surrounded by your Assassins; therefore return me an Answer, appointing Time and Place and Weapons: I cannot nor will not villainously like you pursue your Life without exposing my own to equal Danger: But Time presses, and every Moment of Delay yielded to your Cowardice, adds to the Danger created by your Scoundrel Machinations against my Family. Be expeditious, I have had Patience enough.
I am very sorry to find since I came here, that I have been, through unintentionally, the Occasion of Uneasiness to your Lordship, and of the Duke of Grafton's Name being mentioned in a Matter wherein His Grace was not either directly or indirectly concerned in any respect whatever. The real State of the Business is plainly this: Some Time after Langstaff was discharged by your Lordship, I was desired by some of my Neighbours to get him into the Excise, and considering it as an act of Charity, I applied to Mr. Stonhewer, whom I had troubled on former Occasions of the same Kind, when he was Commissioner, to know if he could procure an Order for instructing a Person that was desirous of coming into the Excise. His Answer to me was, that he would endeavour to do it; and after some Time he wrote to me, to acquaint me, that one of the Commissioners had engaged to put him upon his List, and that if I would send him his Name and Place of Abode, he would be ordered to be instructed this Year. I did so, and he has been ordered to be instructed at Towcester, because the Officer there was the nearest to the Place where Langstaff lived at the Time his Name was sent, which I find is the constant Practice of the Office, and not as your Lordship supposes from any particular Application or Influence; the Commissioner to whom he was recommended, and the Gentleman by whom he was recommended, being unacquainted with any Particulars relating to him. I am also assured that this Circumstance of his being instructed at Towcester disqualifies him from ever being employed in Northamptonshire, it being an invariable Rule never to station an Excise Officer either in the County in which he was instructed or in which he was born, so that your Lordship may be satisfied there could be no Intention to offend you by his being instructed there. As to what your Lordship mentions of my having said that the Duke of Grafton had wrote a Letter to a Mr. Gamon to have Langstaff fixed at Towcester, I do most solemnly protest to your Lordship I never did say so. I could not say so without the grossest Falsehood, as I know most certainly that His Grace had never been applied to, nor had ever the least Concern or Knowledge of the Business; and as to my glorying in it, I can assure your Lordship I am heartily sorry I had any Thing to do with it, which I certainly should not, had I conceived it would have given any Offence to your Lordship, as I have upon every Occasion wished to shew all possible Respect to your Lordship.
"Jo. (fn. 3) Smyth."
Then the House entered into Consideration concerning the Crime of sending the Challenge, which the House conceived tended to the Breach of the Public Peace, and the great Indignity and Dishonour which redounded to this House thereby.
"Resolved by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, that George Earl of Pomfret having sent a Challenge to His Grace the Duke of Grafton, hath been guilty of a high Contempt of this House."
Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said George Earl of Pomfret for his said Offence, be, and he is hereby committed to His Majesty's Tower of London; and this shall be a sufficient Warrant in that Behalf.
Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod attending this House, do forthwith take into his Custody the Body of George Earl of Pomfret.
Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, That the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, in whose Custody the said George Earl of Pomfret now is, do forthwith convey the said George Earl of Pomfret to His Majesty's Tower of London; and this shall be a sufficient Warrant in that Behalf.
Then it was moved to resolve, "That the Behaviour of His Grace the Duke of Grafton throughout the whole of this Affair, hath been highly laudable and meritorious, consistent with the Character and Feelings of a Man of Honour, and the Dignity of a Peer of this House."
Notice was taken, "That the Time limited by the Standing Orders of this House of the 5th of April 1720, requiring Appeals to be prosecuted within Eight Days from the First Day of every Session or Meeting of Parliament expires on Wednesday next."