Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 4, 1629-42. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Jovis, videlicet, 31 die Martii.
Bill for avoiding Actions in some Cases.
Ld. Seymour's Letter about his Return to Parliament.
A Letter of the Lord Seymour was read, dated from North'ton, the 30th of March 1642, intimating, "That he had received at North'ton an Order of this House, to command his Return to this House, which he intends as soon as he can:" Hereupon this House Ordered, That the Lord Seymour shall return unto the Parliament with all convenient Speed.
Marquis of Hertford Leave to speak with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
E. of Danby versus Sir William St. Ravy.
Ordered, That the Cause of the Right Honourable the Earl of Danby, against Sir William San Ravy, Knight, shall peremptorily (fn. 1) be heard at the Bar on this Day Month, being the 28th of April next; at which Time the Parties on both Sides are to produce their Witnesses at the Hearing; and that the said Sir William San Ravy, Knight, being served with this Order, or a true Copy thereof left at his Lodging in London if the be in Town, or at his House if he be returned into the Country, shall be a sufficient Warning; and he is to attend the said Hearing, by virtue thereof, accordingly.
E. of Suffolk excused.
Deputy Lieutenants for Suffolk.
Committee to prevent Mutinies in the Navy.
The Lord Admiral signified to this House, "That there hath been lately a Mutiny in the Navy; for the preventing of the like hereafter, his Lordship desired the Directions of this House therein, and what is fit to be done in it:" Hereupon this House appointed the Committee of Lords to meet when they please, and consider what they think fit to be done herein, and to make Report thereof to this House.
The L. Admiral.
Message to the H. C. with the Copy of the Kentish Petition.
Colonel Beeling to be brought to London, about the Irish Rebellion.
Upon Information this Day given to this House, "That one Colonel Beeling and others were taken in Suspicion, touching the present Rebellion in Ireland, and are now in Custody with the Mayor of Pembrooke, or Haverford West;" it is Ordered, That the said Colonel, and all others now in Detention with him upon Suspicion, touching the said desperate Treason, shall forthwith be conveyed from Sheriff to Sheriff, and be brought before the Lords in Parliament, whose Lordships will give such Directions touching the said Persons, as they in their great Wisdoms shall think fit.
Message from the H. C. for a Conference, touching a Charge against Benyon.
Report of the Conference.
Then the Lord Keeper reported the Effect of the Conference; which was, "That the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons, have brought up to their Lordships a Charge against George Benion, with a Petition annexed."
Articles of Impeachment against Benyon.
"Articles of Impeachment of George Benion, of London, Silkman, by the Commons assembled in Parliament, on the Behalf of themselves and of all the Commons of England, of high Crimes and Misdemeanors by him committed, as followeth:
"Whereas, upon due and serious Consideration of the imminent Dangers and present Distractions of this Kingdom, by Means of the Rebellion in Ireland, and of divers hostile Preparations and malicious Practices both of Foreign and Domestic Enemies, against the Peace and Safety of this Kingdom; and Ordinance of Parliament was thought fit, and agreed upon by both Houses of Parliament, to be presented to His Majesty, for His Royal Assent thereunto, for the speedy settling of the Militia of this Kingdom in safe Hands, and particularly that of the City of London (being of so high Importance) in the Hands of such Persons as were agreed upon by the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council of the same City, by and with the Approbation of both Houses of Parliament; the said George Benion, well knowing the Premises, and being a Man of Power and Credit in the said City, to the Intent to cross and hinder the said Ordinance, and to set Division between His Majesty and the Parliament, and between the Parliament and the said City, in or about the Month of February, One Thousand Six Hundred Forty and One, did wickedly and maliciously contrive and frame a false, dangerous, and seditious Petition, for and on the Behalf of himself and divers other Citizens (which Petition is hereunto annexed); a Copy whereof was afterwards, by himself and others, by his Instigation, presented to both Houses of Parliament, containing therein divers false and seditious Matters, particularly that the Ordering of the Arms of the said City of London had Time out of Mind been annexed to the Mayoralty for the Time being, and insinuating that, if the same should be conferred upon others, it would reflect upon the Government and Customs of the said City, which every Freeman of the said City was, by his Oath of Freedom, bound to maintain, to the utmost of his Power; and the said Benion, by false and sinister Persuasions, Solicitations, and Practices, procured divers Citizens to subscribe their Hands to the said Petition, contrary to their Intent and true Meaning, being thereunto misled and seduced by the said Benion; which Petition was so contrived, framed, and published, by the said Benion, on Purpose to divert His Majesty from assenting to the said Ordinance, and to work a Distraction in the said City, and to bring the Parliament, City, and whole Kingdom, into Disorder and Confusion.
"That the said George Benion, out of a malignant and wicked Disposition, to scandalize the Parliament, and to interrupt the Proceedings thereof, in or about the Month of August last past, and and at several other Times, did falsely and maliciously give out and utter divers bold, arrogant, false, and scandalous Speeches, in Derogation and Contempt of the Privileges of Parliament, and of the Peers therein assembled, and particularly that the Privileges of Parliament were become the greatest Grievance of the Kingdom; and that he had the Power of the Chamber of London in his Hands; and, if the Bill of Protections (which Bill was then depending in Parliament) did not pass, he had made that Stop in the Chamber of London, that there should not be One Penny lent to the Parliament out of the said City; and swore by God, he would have the said Bill pass, and would not leave a Groat in the Chamber of London, but he would have the Privileges of the Lords down, and make them honest, and would make the Peers of this Realm as subject and liable to Arrest, as the Noblemen of France, Spaine; Poland, and other Foreign Countries; and said, he had computed the Lords Debts, and that they owed more than would drive the great Trade of the Kingdom; and further said, Now we shall see, when the Clothiers come up in a Multitude, what the Lords will do; for, said he, if the Multitude had not come, Strafford had not lost his Head, meaning thereby the Earl of Strafford, lately executed for High Treason: And the said George Benion, in a further Manifestation of his Hatred and Disaffection towards the Parliament, and to stir up the like Hatred in others, in or about the Month of July last past, he the said Benion, speaking of the Parliament, did falsely and maliciously utter these false and scandalous Words touching the same; videlicet,
"That they much complained of the King's arbitrary Power; and yet they go about an arbitrary Government themselves, which, being Four Hundred, will be more grievous than (fn. 2) the other.
"All which Matters and Things were committed and done, by the said George Benion, wittingly and maliciously, contrary to the Rights and Privileges of Parliament, and to the Laws of this Realm, to the evil Example of others, and to the great Danger of the said City and Kingdom: And the said Commons, saving to themselves the Liberty of exhibiting any other Accusation or Impeachment against the said George Benion, and also of replying to the Answer that he shall make to the said Articles, or any of them, or of offering Proof of the Premises, or of any of them, or of any other Accusation or Impeachment that shall be exhibited, as the Case, according to the Course of Parliament, shall require; do pray, that the said George Benion may be put to answer the said several Crimes and Misdemeanors, and to receive such condign Punishment as the same shall deserve, and that such Proceedings upon them, and every of them, may be had against him, as is agreeable to Law and Justice.
"That the City of London hath, Time out of Mind, enjoyed the Ordering of their own Arms, which hath successively been annexed unto the Mayoralty for the Time being; the Lord Mayor having always been a Person of Worth and Quality, and of their own Choice, and hath still advised with the Court of Aldermen in the Execution thereof; so that, if the same should be conferred upon others, we humbly conceive it would not only be a Personal Dishonour to the Lord Mayor, but also reflect upon the Government and Customs of the City of London, granted to the Citizens by the Great Charter of England, and confirmed by divers Acts and Charters since that Time, and which every Freeman of the said City is, by the Oath of his Freedom, bound to maintain, to the uttermost of his Power.
"This Honourable Assembly may be pleased to take into their grave Consideration, that Alteration in the ancient Government in this Renowned City may breed greater Distractions and Inconveniencies than for the present can be discerned, or in the future can be amended.
"Wherefore our humble Desire is, That, since the Government hath by Experience been found for the Honour of His Majesty, the Good of this City and whole Kingdom, and that in the most troublesome Times, as that it hath been admired and commended by Strangers, before any other City in the known World; that the same, by your Honourable Favour, may be continued as in former Times, without Alteration:
Observations upon Benyon's Charge.
The Articles being read; it was observed, and offered to their Lordships Consideration, "of what a Condition and Spirit this (fn. 3) Benion was, and how fit a Person to act such a Mischief; that he is a Man of a turbulent Spirit and unruly Tongue, a Citizen and Freeman of the City of London, which is the Metropolis and Epitome of the Kingdom, the Strength whereof is in the Government of the Common Council.
"That this Plot was like another Trojan Horse, full of Variety of Mischiefs, and pestilential Designs of Discord, according to Machiavill's Rule, Divide et impera; to divide between the King and His People, the Parliament and the City, and the City between itself; like a Worm gnawing between the Bark and the Tree.
"The Circumstances and Gradations of this Offence ascend to a great Height; as having Reference to the Common Council, whereto he ought to have submitted, being involved in the Votes; but he abounds in his own Sense, and spurns against it.
"2. It hath Reference to the annihilating and opposing the Ordinance of both Houses of Parliament for settling the Militia, the Parliament having Power of declaring what the Law is concerning itself; and also it lays a great Charge on both Houses, for arbitrary Power, Ambition, and Injustice, and hath scandalized their Members and Privileges.
"3. Concerning the Time when Bynion committed these Offences; it was when the Kingdom was full of Fears, Dangers, and Distractions; and, taking Advantage of this Opportunity, he endeavoured to put all into Confusion; so as the Bark was not to be saved, but by casting Anchor, and standing together, and opposing these Mischiefs.
"He did not only act his Part himself, but persuaded others, both at The Exchange and at the Scrivener's Shop, to subscribe the Petition, which was a Thing contrary to the Opinion of the Common Council, as being a Matter of great Presumption, and tending to Sedition; for, it is feared, the Consequence of this Example will be an Occasion to other Places to follow the same Steps, whereof some Passages have already appeared.
Benyon brought to the Bis, to hear his Charge read.
This being reported; The House Ordered, That Mr. Benyon should be brought to the Bar, to hear his Charge read; and accordingly he was brought as a Delinquent, kneeling, until he was bid by the Speaker to stand up, and his Charge was read unto him; which being done, he was demanded what Answer he would make to the said Charge; and he humbly desired that he might have a convenient Time given him to make his Answer; and, for the better enabling of him thereunto, he desired he might have Counsel assigned unto him, and he have Liberty to go unto them to instruct them; and that he may have a Copy of his Charge.
Time given for him to put in his Answer, and Counsel assigned him.
Then he was commanded to withdraw; and the House taking these Requests into Consideration, Ordered, That the said George Benyon shall put in his Answer to the Articles of Impeachment brought up from the House of Commons against him, on Monday next, being the 4th Day of April, 1642; and that, in the Interim, the said George Benion shall have free Liberty, for the enabling himself to make his said Answer, to go to his Counsel, and to his own House, or elsewhere, with his Keeper; and that his Counsel formerly assigned to him shall be likewise assigned for him in this Cause.
Time for him to answer the L. St. John's Petition.
Message from the H. C. for the Committee to examine the Kentish Petition to meet.
To desire that the Committee for the Examination of the Business touching the Kentish Petition may have a Time appointed, to meet and examine some Witnesses that stay in Town to be examined; and that the Committees may have Power given them to meet as often as they shall see Cause, from Time to Time.
Committee to meet about it.
Ordered, That the Committee for examining the Business concerning the Kentish Petition have hereby Power given them to meet, from Time to Time, as often as they please, and this Afternoon, at Three of the Clock, in the Painted Chamber.
Answer to the H C.
That this House hath appointed the Committee for the Kentish Petition to sit this Afternoon, at Three of the Clock, in the Painted Chamber, and hath given them Power to meet afterwards, from Time to Time, as they please; and that this House will fit a while, as is desired.
E. of Carlile Leave to be absent.
Absent Lords excused.
Lady Hastings versus Mr. Poulton.
Ordered, That the Cause of the Lady Hastings, against Francis Poulton, Esquire, shall be heard on Wednesday the Sixth of April next at this Bar; and both Parties, having Notice, are to attend with their Counsel accordingly: And further it is Ordered, That the said Lady Hastings shall have a Warrant for her Witnesses to attend the said Hearing, upon the returning of their Names unto the Clerk of the Parliament.
L. Loftus's Cause.
The Bishops petition to be bailed.
The Petition of the Bishops in The Tower, that are impeached by the House of Commons, was read; desiring, "That some speedy Order may be taken for their Enlargement upon Bail or otherwise, as their Lordships shall think fit."
To be communicated to the H. C.
Message from the H. C. for a Conference concerning a Message from the King.
Bill to amend the Act for reducing the Irish Rebels.
Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, An Act for adding and explaining of certain Clauses in another Act, made this Parliament, intituled, "An Act for the speedy and effectual reducing of the Rebels, in His Majesty's Kingdom of Ireland, to their due Obedience to His Majesty, and the Crown of England."
Sent to the H. C.
To deliver the aforesaid Bill to them; and to tell them (fn. 4) that this House hath passed the same.
Day for calling the House, and subscribing the Adventure for Ireland.
Committee for the Collections for the Poor of Ireland.
Ordered, That the Committee appointed for the disposing of the Collections for the Poor of Ireland, collected in this House, shall meet, and dispose of the same; and these Lords following shall be added to the said Committee: videlicet,
The L. Admiral.
The E. of Holland.
The L. Viscount Say & Seale.
The L. Bruce.
The King's Answer from York to be considered.
Ordered, That this Report be made To-morrow; and that all Businesses (excepting the Committee for Ireland and the Committee for the Kentish Petition) are put off until the Houses have considered of His Majesty's late Answer sent from Yorke unto the Parliament.