Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 6, 1643. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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DIE Veneris, 5 die Aprilis.
L. Viscount Say & Seale.
Ds. Willoughby of Parham.
Answers from the H. C.
Redemption of Captives at Algiers.
Upon reading the Petition of many poor Women, on the Behalf of their distressed Husbands and Children, who are miserable Slaves and Captives in Argier, desiring their Lordships would please to take their Condition into Consideration, and Order some Course for their Releasement:" Hereupon this House Ordered, That it be referred to these Persons following; videlicet,
Mr. Wm. Cockaine.
Mr. Rob't Edwards.
Mr. Thomas Burnell.
Mr. Richard Midleton.
Mr. Wm. Ashwell.
Mr. Tho. Chamberlaine.
Mr. Thomas Lenthall.
Mr. Wm. Bateman.
Mr. Job Throgmorton.
Mr. Rob't Addie.
Mr. Rowland Wilson, and
Mr. Richard Legg.
Justice Reeves, Leave to be absent.
Heads for a Conference, concerning the Grounds of Peace, and the Dutch Papers.
Message to the H. C. for the Conference.
Message from thence, with some Particulars for Concurence.
Report concerning the Powers of the Scotch Commissioners, to treat about Peace.
The Earl of Lyncolne further reported from the Committee, "That they have considered of that Part of the Scottish Paper as concerns Peace; and the Committee, upon Perusal of it, find the Scottish Commissioners have only Power to consult and advise, but not to conclude; therefore the Committee offer it to the Consideration of this House, whether it be not fit to have some Lords join with a Committee of the House of Commons, to see their Powers in this Particular."
Answer from the H. C.
Reasons of the Lords, for adhering to their Resolutions, to refer the Grounds of Peace and the Dutch Papers to a new Committee.
When the Conference came up unto the Lords concerning the Grounds of Peace, upon the 15th of March, which was by the House of Commons desired to be referred to the Committee of the Two Kingdoms, the Lords considered that that Committee was appointed by Ordinance for another Purpose of a very dissering Nature, and all Consideration of Peace expressly prohibited to them in a Proviso: The Lords, well knowing that it is their undoubted Privilege to have the Liberty to nominate a new Committee of their own House when any new Power was to be granted, Resolved accordingly, upon serious Debate by a Question, That this new Power of laying Grounds for a just and safe Peace should not be referred to the former Committee appointed for managing the War, but to a new Committee of Nine, the Number whereof the Lords did acquaint the House of Commons with, without naming the Persons, as the House of Commons well (fn. 1) know the Custom hath ever been; neither need the Lords nominate the Persons in their own House, unless they please, until they receive Answer from the House of Commons that they agree to nominate a proportionable Number.
Upon the 19th Day, at another Conference desired by the House of Commons, there was communicated unto the Lords a Paper received from the Dutch Ambassadors, with a Desire, that should likewise be referred to the Committee of both Kingdoms.
Upon the 20th Day, before the Report of that Conference was made, their Speaker informed them of a Paper of the Dutch Ambassadors, received by him Five or Six Days before; but, not finding an Opportunity sooner, he then delivered it, and it was read, so that the House was possessed of it before the Report was made of the Conference; and being found to be a Business tending to the same End as the other represented at the former Conference concerning Grounds of Peace, the Lords did presently resolve to put it into the same Way; and if, by any Mistake of the Clerk (before the Lords of the Committee for the Journal Book had Leisure to view it), it was not entered accordingly, that can be no Prejudice to their Proceedings; and, though the Persons were not nominated till that Day, yet the Committee was resolved upon Five Days before.
This being the true State of the Business, the House of Lords are fully persuaded that they have great Reason to adhere to their former Opinion, of referring the Paper of the Dutch Ambassadors to the Committee of Nine; for the Lords are abundantly assured, that constant Prescription is on their Side, that though either House respectively may desire to refer any subsequent Matter to a former Committee, yet either House have a free Liberty to dissent from such a Desire, and are not obliged to express the Reasons which induce them to that Dissent, if they please to reserve them to themselves: But, though the Lords ought not to be urged to give any Account, or render a Reason of the Acts done in their House, yet they are freely willing, for the better Satisfaction of the House of Commons, to add some Reasons, and repeat those formerly given at a Conference, whereunto the Lords believe that the Commons have not as yet given any satisfactory Answer; and, though it be a Circumstance only which makes the Difference in Opinion at this Time betwixt the Two Houses, yet it is such a Circumstance as is of great Consideration in sundry respects:
1. Because, this being a new Power, the Lords do think it cannot be granted but by a new Ordinance; therefore, as it is most free to them, so it is most proper, to name a new Committee to that Purpose.
2. If it should be admitted that it might be done, yet in this particular Case the Lords House hold it unfit that the Matter of Peace should be referred to the former Committee of the Two Kingdoms, because it doth consist for the most Part of such Men as must necessarily be absent upon other Employment: Therefore the Lords did judge it to be most expedient to name this Committee of Nine, the most whereof are like to be present to attend that Service; for this Committee being, as you call it, a Ship, which contains the Power of managing the War already, the Lords cannot be persuaded that Three Lords and Nine Commoners can be sufficient to man this Ship; for, if this new Power should be granted which the House of Commons do desire, she would then be laden with whatsoever is dear unto the Three Kingdoms; and therefore, being a Trust of so universal a Concernment, the Lords dare not consent to delegate this Power to so small a Number.
"3. Though it is said that this Power is only to prepare Grounds of Peace, the Lords think that will be the same in Effect with that Ordinance first sent down from the Lords House; which they believe the House of Commons, in their grave Wisdoms, saw good Cause to wave, and send up another to them, which contained this Restraint for medling with Peace, unto which the Lords readily and chearfully agreed.
"Now then, if the Lords should be tied to refer whatsoever concerns Peace unto the same Committee, and no other, it were in Effect to revive the Powers of that Ordinance, which the House of Commons themselves did manisestly disapprove of.
"4. Because the Lords did from the Beginning desire to retain the ancient approved Custom of chusing Committees respectively in each House, however they yielded to pass the former Ordinance in respect of the present Exigents, there being an urgent Necessity for some to treat with the Scotts; but the Lords always intended that (before the Expiration of the Ordinance now in Force) to consult with the House of Commons of finding out some Expedient that might be more satisfactory, to both Houses.
"5. Because the Lords are confident that there can be no Pretence of Necessity of Secrecy in the Agitation of the Business of Peace, as in that of War; but, according to the old Maxim, Quod omnes tangit, ab omnibus debet tractari; and therefore no Reason any Lord should be debarred the Freedom to be present, and to contribute his best Assistance at this Committee, according to the Words in the Writs, Quod personaliter intersitis, de arduis Negotiis cum Magnatibus Colloquium babere et tractare, vestrumque Confilium impendere.
"Whereas it is said by the House of Commons, that to make Two Committees will put the Business into a dilatory Way; the contrary where of doth appear to the Lords, in regard they observe the usual Practice of Parliaments hath been, to make several Committees for Expedition, to the End that several (fn. 2) Businesses might be prosecuted at once, which is impossible can be done by One Committee."