Sabbati, 26 die Martii, 1681.
Place for sitting.
SIR Robert Howard reports from the Committee appointed to consider of a more convenient Place in
Oxford for this House to sit in, That the Theatre was
the most convenient Place they could find for that
Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to his
Majesty from this House, by such Members thereof as
are of his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, humbly representing to his Majesty the Inconvenience of the
Place where the Commons now sit in Parliament: And
that the House having, by a Report from a Committee
appointed to consider of a more convenient Place for their
Sitting, been informed, That the Theatre in Oxford is a
more convenient Place for their Sitting; wherefore the
Commons humbly beseech his Majesty to command the
Theatre may be fitted and prepared for their Sitting there.
Conference desired on passing Bills.
Sir William Jones reports from the Committee appointed to prepare the Subject Matter of the Conference
desired to be had with the Lords, in Matters relating to
the Constitution of Parliament in passing Bills, the Matter agreed upon by the said Committee.
Ordered, That the Lord Dursley do immediately go
up to the Lords, to desire such Conference.
Sir John Fagg, being returned a Knight for the Shire
to serve for the County of Sussex, and likewise a Burgess
for the Borough of Steyning in the said County, made
his Election to serve for the said County.
Ordered, That Mr. Speaker do issue out his Warrant
to the Clerk of the Crown, to make out a new Writ for
the Election of a Burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the said Borough of Steyning, in the room of
the said Sir John Fagg.
New Sarum Election.
A Petition of the Citizens and Inhabitants of the Borough of New Sarum, touching the Election for that
City, was read.
Ordered, That the said Petition be referred to the Consideration of the Committee of Elections and Privileges;
to examine the Matter thereof; and to report the same,
with their Opinion therein, to the House.
Sir George Treby reports several Examinations taken
from Mr. John Sergeant and David Morrice relating to
the Popish Plot: Which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered the same in at the Clerk's Table: Where
the same being read, are as follows;
The Information of John Sergeant relating to the
BEING in Company with an English Gentlewoman
in Flanders, who is a Roman Catholick, about the Latter end of August 1679; and the Name of Mr. Gaven,
One of the Five Jesuits who suffered that Summer, coming
into Discourse; she began to express, with some Horror,
the Scandal she had received from a wicked Piece of Doctrine he maintained in her Hearing, which was, "That
the Queen might lawfully kill the King, for violating her
Bed:" And that when she set herself to oppose it, as a
most unchristian Doctrine, and tending to destroy Soul
and Body both; and alleged, That therefore it was better
to suffer it patiently for God's sake; he, with much Vehemency and Earnestness, stood to it, "That she might
not only lawfully do it, but was bound to it, and that, if
she did not, she was guilty of his greater Damnation in
letting him continue so long in Sin." This is the Substance of what she related; and, as near as I can remember the Words, the Gentlewoman's Surname is Skypwith;
her Christian Name, as I remember, Mary.
It pleased his most Sacred Majesty, to whom (as my
Duty bound me) I had writ it before, when I appeared
before his most honourable Privy Council, the last Day
of October following, to ask me, What were my present
Thoughts of the Truth of that Religion, at the Time that
I heard it: . . . . all Circumstances weighed: That I did
incline very much to believe it: For which Rashness and
Uncharitableness of mine (as some interpret it), in entertaining that Sentiment so easily upon the Testimony of
one single Person, great Noise has been made against me,
as if Passion had biassed me to that Persuasion: Wherefore, to clear my Ingenuity and Sincerity, in this Point,
to his Majesty and his Council, (of whose good Opinions
only I am solicitous), I humbly offer here the Reasons
which moved me to think thus: They are these;
I had particular Reason to judge, That this Person was,
at this time that I knew her (and she related this very
scrupulously), conscientious, and a good Woman: And I
conceived, her present Disposition was most (and indeed
only) to be considered in that present Relation; nor had I
ever heard any Harm of her former Life. She seemed
particularly conscientious in making this Relation, lifting
up her Hands and Eyes to Heaven, with these Words,
"God knows my Heart; I would not say it to gain the
whole world, if it were not true."
I had never heard, nor could then discern, that she had
the least Pique against Mr. Gaven's Order: She spoke it
voluntarily, none inciting or moving her to it.
The Manner in which she delivered it, seemed very candid and unaffected, and it came out naturally and occasionally; nor did it at all look like a premeditated or sought
Thing. She spoke it out of her Sense of the Scandal she
received by it; which seemed a Motive well becoming a
good Christian, and so an Argument of her Sincerity.
She told the same Story the Second time to another Person, myself present, at least the Substance of it: She never
recommended it as a Secret, either to him or me; whereas
one, who forges, would be apt to desire the Concealment
of the false Story they relate; lest, by discovering it, it
may come to be confuted, and themselves ashamed; which
she had the more Reason to fear, because the Thing related
was of so high a Consequence: She named Time, Place,
and Persons present; which exposed her to an easy Confute, if it were not true.
The Tenor, also, of the Discourse seemed to render it
credible; her Objection being such, as was likely to come
from a good, well-meaning Person, of her Pitch; and his
Reply abetting it, very like a Man wilfully bent to maintain an absurd Position (as is the manner of Passion and
Heat) with advancing another more absurd.
Now, as these Considerations inclined me strongly to
think her sincere, so it seemed to me, she could not be
mistaken in the Sense of his Discourse, or misunderstand
him; the Doctrine being about a Matter of Fact of the
highest Concern in the World; and the Words, which are
apt to express it, not being artificial or speculative, but
natural and common Language: Besides, her Contest
with him about it must needs have cleared his Meaning.
These are the Reasons, Why I apprehend that Relation
to be true; which yet I produce not here to charge Mr.
Gaven, but to discharge my own Credit and Conscience;
and to give Your Majesty and Your Council the best
Light I am able to judge of that Business. In Testimony
of what is above, I subscribe my Name,
February the 11th, 1679.
The Information of David Morris.
I underwritten do hereby, upon Oath, attest, That
being last August at Brussels, and going to see an old Acquaintance, I found Mr. Sergeant there, little thinking to
see him so near the Internuntio: He told me, There was
a Gentlewoman, who said, That Mr. Gaven maintained it
was lawful for the Queen to kill the King, for violating
her Bed: Which I hardly believing, he brought me upstairs, where she was; where I heard it with my own
Ears. After some Discourse concerning the Wickedness
of such Doctrines, I asked her, When this happened:
She answered, as I remember, In Covent Garden, at the
Brother-in-law's of Mr. Gaven; and named the Persons,
that were present; whom I knew not, nor did I think further of it, more than to admire the Indiscretion of his descending to such Particulars, and her Actings; his Heat to
maintain his Paradox, when she opposed him: The rest
I knew to be agreeable to their Principles; having bought
Escobar some Years since, on purpose to see whether the
Provincial Letters misrepresented them, or not; where
I found it lawful to kill a Man that calumniated a religious
Order: And I am sure, that what makes lawful for a
Jesuit to kill a Man that wrongs his Order, makes also
lawful for a Wife to kill her Husband, if he wrongs her
My going to Brussels was, to see what became of the
Benevolence sent by the Pope to those Countries for refuged English Catholicks; and found, Who vow immediate
Obedience to the Pope, to be the Distributors; and who
swore no Allegiance but to their King, to be debarred
such publick Favours: For the English Jesuit, Procurator
there, told a worthy Clergy Priest, there was nothing for
Him; meaning, Such as he: Of which I know no Reason,
unless it be, That the Clergy would never admit of any
extraordinary Authority from Rome; unanimously agree,
never to receive any Bulls, or other Orders from Rome,
without the King's Licence, and Permission of the State;
and ever opposed the Deposing Power; Duties which anciently belonged to the Imperial Crown of this Realm,
and ought still to be observed by us: Which Sufferings of
theirs, for so good a Cause, is humbly submitted to Your
Majesty's gracious Consideration.
Feb. 11, 1680.
Ordered, That the said Informations be forthwith
Excluding Duke of Yorke from the Crown.
The House having taken into solemn Debate and Consideration the Means for the Security of the Protestant
Religion, and for Safety of the King's Person; do
Resolve, That a Bill be brought in, to exclude James
Duke of Yorke, and all Popish Successors, from inheriting
the Imperial Crowns of England and Ireland, and the Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging.
Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to prepare
and draw up the said Bill.
And it is referred to Sir William Jones, Lord Russell,
Mr. Hampden, Mr. Paul Foley, Mr. George, Sir Robert
Clayton, Sir Thomas Meres, Lord Cavendish, Mr. Buscawen, Mr. Vaughan, Mr. Bennet, Colonel Mildmay, Sir
Francis Russell, Sir Fra. Winnington, Sir Philip Skippon,
Mr. Duboice, Sir Joseph Ash, Mr. Trenchard, Sir Gilbert
Gerrald, Sir William Cooper, Sir William Courtney, Mr.
Barker, Sir William Poultney, Sir Arthur Harris, Sir
Francis Drake, Mr. Hobby, Mr. Wharton, Lord Allington,
Sir Thomas Armstrong, Mr. Blagrave, Mr. Rolls, Sir
George Treby, Mr. Booth, Sir Robert Cotton, Sir Thomas
Lee, Mr. Knight, or any Five of them, to prepare and
draw up the same.
And then the House adjourned to Five of the
Clock in the Afternoon.
Lords refuse to receive Fitzharris' Impeachment.
THE House being informed, That the Lords had
refused to proceed upon the Impeachment of the Commons against Edward Fitzharris; and had directed,
That he should be proceeded against at the Common
And a Debate arising in the House thereupon;
Resolved, That it is the undoubted Right of the Commons in Parliament assembled, to impeach, before the
Lords in Parliament, any Peer or Commoner for Treason,
or any other Crime or Misdemeanor: And that the Refusal of the Lords to proceed in Parliament upon such Impeachment is a Denial of Justice, and a Violation of the
Constitution of Parliaments.
Resolved, That in the Case of Edward Fitzharris, who
by the Commons, had been impeached for High Treason
before the Lords, with a Declaration, that in convenient time they would bring up the Articles against him;
for the Lords to resolve, That the said Edward Fitzharris should be proceeded with according to the Course
of Common Law, and not by Way of Impeachment in
Parliament, at this time; is a Denial of Justice, and a
Violation of the Constitution of Parliaments, and an Obstruction to the further Discovery of the Popish Plot, and
of great Danger to his Majesty's Person, and the Protestant Religion.
Resolved, That for any inferior Court to proceed against
Edward Fitzharris, or any other Person, lying under an
Impeachment in Parliament for the same Crimes for
which he or they stand impeached, is a high Breach of
the Privilege of Parliament.
Ordered, That a Bill or Bills be brought in, for the better Uniting of all his Majesty's Protestant Subjects.
Ordered, That a Bill be brought in, for banishing the
most considerable Papists of England out of his Majesty's
Dominions, by their Names.
And then the House adjourned to Monday
Morning next, Eight of the Clock.