House of Lords Journal Volume 4: 10 November 1640

Pages 86-88

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 Martis, videlicet, 10 die Novembris.


Bp of Durham excused.

Lord Bishop of Durham excused being absent, because he is to preach at the Fast.

Dyed and Dressed Cloths.

Hodie 2a vice lecta est Billa, An Act for better venting of Dyed and Dressed Cloths, &c.

Committed to these Lords: videlicet,

L. Archbp. of Cant.
L. Treasurer.
L. Privy Seal.
E. of Bathon.
E. of Bedford.
E. of Hartford.
E. of Lincolne.
L. Bp. of Exon.
L. Bp. of Oxon.
L. Bp. of Bristoll.
Ds. Mowbray.
Ds. Wharton.
Ds. Mountague.
Ds. Pawlett.
Ds. Goringe.
Mr. Justice Reeves,
Mr. Justice Weston,

Their Lordships, or any Seven of them, to meet on Friday next, the 13th of November, at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon, in the Painted Chamber.

Merchants to attend the Committee.

Ordered, That some Merchants Adventurers, and Merchants of the Staple, be appointed to attend these Lords Committees on Friday next.

Longuevile's Claim to the Titles of Hastings and Ruthin, &c.

This Day was read the Petition of Charles Longovile, Esquire, Cousin and next Heir of Henry Earl of Kent, Lord Hastinges and Ruthin, deceased, touching his Claim and Titles of Lord Hastinges and Ruthin, &c. And it was committed to the Committee of Privileges; in the mean Time, the Earl of Kent to have Notice of it.

E of Warwick and L. Brooke's Privilege, being searched for Papers by a Secretary of State's Warrant.

It was moved, That whereas Two Peers of this High and Honourable Court have had their Studies and Pockets searched for Papers, that it may be considered whether it be not a Breach of the Privileges of a Peer of the Kingdom, especially it being done presently after the Dissolution of the last Parliament, and within the Time of Privilege of Parliament.

Sir William Beecher to be sent for as a Delinquent.

Whereupon the Earl of Warwick and the Lord Brooke were appointed by the House to declare the Manner of it; and, after their Lordships had made a full Relation of it to the House, their Lordships Agreed, That Sir William Bcecher should be presently sent for, and that he should come to the Bar as a Delinquent, until he brought the Warrants, and further cleared himself herein. And accordingly he was sent for by the Gentleman Usher.

Ordered, That, upon Thursday next, the House is to be called.


Hodie 2a vice lecta est Billa, An Act for Hospitals, &c. and committed to these Lords: videlicet,

L. Archbp. of Cant.
L. Privy Seal.
E. Marshal.
E. of Rutland.
E. of Bathon.
E. of Bedford.
E. of Warwicke.
L. Bp. of Winton.
L. Bp. of Chester.
L. Bp. of Sarum.
L. Bp. of Co. et Litchfield.
L. Bp. of Exon.
Ds. North.
Ds. Brooke.
Ds. Mountague.
Ds. Deincourt.
Ds. Pawlett.
Ds. Maynard.
Mr. Justice Barkley,
Mr. Justice Crawley,

To meet on Thursday next, the 12th of November, at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon, in the Painted Chamber.

Sir William Beecher at Bar.

Charged with searching the E. of Warwick and L. Brooke's Pockets and Studies, contrary to their Privilege.

The Gentleman Usher gave Notice to the House, That, according to their Lordships Order, he had brought Sir William Beecher; they appointed him to be brought to the Bar as a Delinquent. Then the Lord Keeper, having received Directions from the House, demanded of Sir William Beecher by what Warrant or Directions he did search the Pockets and Studies, and carry away the Papers of the Earl of Warwick and the Lord Brooke, Two Peers of this Honourable House, contrary to the Privilege of a Peer; especially being presently after the Dissolution of the last Parliament, and within the Time of Privilege of Parliament.

Refuses to answer.

Sir William Beecher answered, That he was a Clerk of His Majesty's Privy Council, and sworn to His Majesty's Service. Therefore desired their Lordships to give him Leave, that he might first acquaint His Majesty with it, before he answered.

Is desired to produce his Warrant.

Refuses it.

Whereupon he was commanded to withdraw; and their Lordships, after many Debates concerning his Answer, (fn. 1) were pleased to admit Sir Wiliam Beecher to be called in again, who kneeling as a Delinquent, the Lord Keeper was directed again by the House to ask him to shew his Warrant, and blamed him for laying the Business upon His Majesty, no such Thing being asked him: But he still refused to give a direct Answer, or to deliver his Warrants, but desired to be excused to answer until he had acquainted the King with it.

Whereupon he was commanded to withdraw again.

And, after much Consideration of the Lords, he had the Favour to be called in again; and the Lord Keeper told Sir William Beecher, that the Lords do take him to be the chief Actor of the Fact, and are resolved to proceed against him as the Principal, and accordingly to inflict Punishment upon him, unless he will now shew by what Warrant he did that Fact.

He answered again, Any Thing as may stand with his Duty to His Majesty, he must obey, for he hath exhorted others to Obedience; and he himself must obey, and suffer what their Lordships please to lay upon him.

Order concerning him.

He was commanded again to withdraw himself. And the Lords considered what was fit to be done. And their Lordships conceiving that Sir William Beecher hath endeavoured to interest the King in the Matter, and hath not dealt clearly nor fairly with their Lordships; for the Earl of Warwick and the Lord Brooke have both affirmed, that they did see Warrants in his Hand, under both the Hands of the Secretaries of State, and so it aggravates his Offence, in using His Majesty's Name, when he might have put it upon the Secretaries; it was thought fit, by some Lords, That he should be called in again, and have an Oath administered unto him: But it was otherwise thought fit by the Lords, that he should not by Oath be forced to accuse himself, but to take the Execution of the Warrants for granted upon the Report of the said Two Peers of this Honourable House, and so proceed against him. And it was Ordered, That Sir William Beecher should stand committed, for his Contempt, for not giving this Honourable Court a direct Answer, being Thrice demanded; and for refusing to produce the Warrant whereby he did search the Two Lords Pockets and Study, and carry away their Papers: And for the Breach of the Privileges of the Peers of Parliament, and that in Time of Privilege of Parliament, their Lordships will now take it into their further Consideration. And it was Ordered, That Sir William Beecher shall be presently examined publickly in the House concerning these Particulars:

Particulars that he is to be examined upon.

1. Whether he did search the Pockets and Studies for Papers of the Earl of Warwick and the Lord Brooke?

2. Whether he did not shew the Earl of Warwicke Two Warrants and the Lord Brooke One Warrant?

3. What Names were subscribed to those Warrants?

4. Where those Warrants are?

Sir William Beecher being called in to the Bar, the Lord Keeper did examine him upon the aforesaid Questions, and Sir William Beecher confessed he did take Papers out of the Pockets and Study of the Earl of Warwick and the Lord Brooke; and he did shew their Lordships Warrants under the Hands of the Two Secretaries; and the Warrants he hath in his Custody. Whereupon an Officer of the House was appointed to go along with him, to fetch the Warrants, and it was Ordered, That Mr. Maxwell, Gentleman Usher, should go along with him, and should not suffer him to speak with any Body going or coming, but return hither presently again.

Delivers his Two Search Warrants.

Being returned; Sir William Beecher was called in, and the Lord Keeper demanded the Two Warrants of him, which being delivered to the Clerk by Sir William Beecher at the Bar, the Clerk delivered them to the Lord Keeper; and, by the Consent of the House, they were both read by the Clerk, being both subscribed by Sir Francis Windebanke and Sir Henry Vane, both Secretaries of State to His Majesty.

Committed to The Fleet.

After which Sir William Beecher was committed to The Fleet.

It was moved, That a Conference might be had with the House of Commons, with a Committee, to let them know that their Privileges have been infringed in this Particular, by Two Members of their House. Whereupon a Message was sent, by the Two Lord Chief Justices, to this Effect videlicet,

Message to the H C for Conference touching this Breach of Privilege by Two of their Members.

The Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in the High Court of Parliament assembled, do desire a Conference presently (if it may stand with their Conveniency), in the Painted Chamber, with the Number of Twenty Lords, touching something done to their Lordships, to the great Breach of their Privileges of Parliament, by some Members of their House.

Lord Committees for the Conference.

The Names of the Lords Committees about the Conference are these: videlicet,

L. Archbp. of Cant.
E. Marshal.
L. Chamberlain.
E. of Bathon.
E. of Bedford.
E. of Hartford.
E. of Essex.
E. of Bristoll.
E. of Dover.
L. Bp. of Winton.
L. Bp. of Bristoll.
Ds. Mowbray.
Ds. Wharton.
Ds. Dacres.
Ds. Kymbolton.
Ds. Grey de Werke.
Ds. Roberts.
Ds. Lovelace.
Ds. Pawlett.
Ds. Howard de Esgrick.
Ds. Savill.

Before the Committees met, the Lords thought it fit to consider of the Heads and Sense of the Matter that was to be delivered at the Conference, which in Effect was this:

Heads of the Conference.

That their Lordships have found their Privileges lately much intrenched upon; for Two Peers of this Honourable House, videlicet, the Earl of Warwicke and the Lord Brooke, have had their Pockets and Studies searched for Papers, which were carried away, contrary to the Privileges of a Peer of the Kingdom, and more especially it being done within the Time of the Privilege of Parliament; and Sir William Beecher being called before their Lordships, he produced Two several Warrants, being dated the Eighth Day of May, One Thousand Six Hundred and Forty, One for to search for all Papers and Writings of the Earl of Warwicke and the Lord Brooke, and to bring them to the Two Secretaries or One of them; which Warrants were both signed with the Handwriting of Sir Henry Vane and Sir Francis Windebancke, both Secretaries of State; and in the Warrants no particular Act laid to their Charge: But, being both Members of the House of Commons, their Lordships think it fit, for the preserving good Correspondency and Respect between both Houses, to acquaint the House of Commons first with it, before they proceed to any Reparation.

The Two Lord Chief Justices return this Answer to the Message to the House of Commons: videlicet,

Answer to the Message.

That the House of Commons will presently give a Meeting to the Lords Committees, with a proportionable Number, in the Painted Chamber.

Conference reported.

The Lords Committees went forth to the Conference. And when their Lordships returned, the Lord Archbishop of Cant. reported to their Lordships, That the Committees have met; and his Lordship, according to the Directions of this Honourable House, hath delivered the Sense of what was commanded him, and their Answer for the present is, That they came with good and ready Affections, but desire that they may go to their own House; and, because it being now late, they may have Leave until To-morrow Morning to return their Lordships an Answer; which was Agreed to, and so


Dominus Custos Magni Sigilli declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque in diem Mercurii, videlicet, 11m diem instantis Novembris, nona hora Aurora, Dominis sic decernentibus.


  • 1. Origin. they were.