House of Lords Journal Volume 18
20 April 1709

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1767-1830

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'House of Lords Journal Volume 18: 20 April 1709', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 18: 1705-1709 (1767-1830), pp. 714-718. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=29762 Date accessed: 28 July 2014.


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DIE Mercurii, 20 Aprilis.

Domini tam Spirituales quam Temporales præsentes fuerunt:

Epus. Winton.
Epus. Petriburg.
Epus. Carliol.
Epus. Landaven.
Epus. Asaphen.
Ds. Cancellarius.
Comes Godolphin, Thesaurarius.
Ds. Sommers, Præses.
Dux Newcastle, C. P. S.
Dux Devonshire, Senescallus.
Dux Beaufort.
Dux Bolton.
Dux Buckingham & Normanby.
Dux Roxburghe.
March. Dorchester.
March. Annandale.
Comes Dorsett & Midd'x.
Comes Leicester.
Comes Denbigh.
Comes Rivers.
Comes Stamford.
Comes Winchilsca.
Comes Sunderland.
Comes Scarsdale.
Comes Radnor.
Comes Rochester.
Comes Scarbrough.
Comes Rochford.
Comes Orford.
Comes Jersey.
Comes Loudoun.
Comes Wemyss.
Comes Orkney.
Comes Seafield.
Comes I'lay.
Viscount Townshend.
Ds. Delawarr.
Ds. Pagett.
Ds. Howard Esc.
Ds. Byron.
Ds. Rockingham.
Ds. Cornwallis.
Ds. Dartmouth.
Ds. Guilford.
Ds. Weston.
Ds. Halifax.
Ds. Gernsey.

PRAYERS.

Portsmouth, Chatham, and Harwich, Harbours, Bill.

The Earl of Stamford reported from the Lords Committees, the Bill, intituled, "An Act for appointing Commissioners to treat and agree for such Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, as shall be judged proper to be purchased, for the better fortifying Portsmouth, Chatham, and Harwich," as fit to pass, without any Amendment.

Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, intituled, "An Act for appointing Commissioners, to treat and agree for such Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, as shall be judged proper to be purchased, for the better fortifying Portsmouth, Chatham, and Harwich."

The Question was put, "Whether this Bill shall pass?"

It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

Ordered, That the Commons have Notice, that the Lords have agreed to the said Bill, without any Amendment.

Message from H. C. to return the Bill for altering the Terms in the Court of Exchequer in Scotland.

A Message was brought from the House of Commons, by Mr. Farrer and others:

To return the Bill, intituled, "An Act for altering Whitsunday and Lammas Terms, in the Court of Exchequer in Scotland;" and to acquaint this House, that they have agreed to the same, with some Amendments, whereunto they desire their Lordships Concurrence.

Which Amendments were read Thrice, and agreed to; and Ordered, That the Commons have Notice thereof.

Records in Offices, &c. Report concerning the Method of keeping.

The Lord Halifax reported from the Lords Committees, appointed to consider of the Method of keeping Records and Public Papers in Offices, and how they are kept, and to consider of Ways to remedy what shall be found to be amiss, as follows; (videlicet,)

"The Lords Committees, appointed to inquire into the Manner of keeping the Records, &c. went to inspect the Records at The Tower of London; where they find great Progress has been made in forting and digesting them, especially since Mr. Topham was admitted into the Office of Keeper of the Records.

"The great confused Heap, which before lay covered with Dust, has been thoroughly cleansed, and put into Chests and Shelves, in order to be sorted.

"All the Rolls from the First Year of King John to the End of Edward the Fourth, and the Escheat Bundles from the Time of Henry the Third to the End of Richard the Third, are placed under their proper Years; and a Catalogue made of all the said Rolls.

Abstracts are made of the Norman, Scotch, Welch, and Irish Rolls, with Alphabetical Indexes of the Names of Persons and Places.

"All the Depositions in Chancery, in the Reigns of Queen Elizabeth, King James, and King Charles the First, are bundled up alphabetically, and a Calendar made of every one of them. The Bills and Answers, &c. of the Reign of King James the First are sorted and filed alphabetically, and Entries made of the Names of the Parties; and about Half of the great Number from the Beginning of King Charles the First to the Restoration are put into the same Order.

"There remains still several Things to be done, for putting these Records in Order.

"The Rotuli Franciæ, Romæ, Vasconiæ, & Almaniæ, are to be abstracted, and Indexes made to the Abstracts.

"The Patent, Charter, and Close Rolls of every Reign, are to be compared with the present Indexes; and the Deficiencies of them to be supplied, and the Errors corrected.

"Abstracts and Alphabets are to be made of the Chartæ Antiquæ and Miscellaneous Rolls.

"The Letters from Foreign Princes and States should be bound up in Volumes, according to the respective States, and in Chronological Order.

"The Papal Bulls should be digested into the same Order, and Abstracts should be made of the Contents.

"The remaining Bills and Answers in Chancery, should be sorted, and Entries made of the Names of the Parties.

"The great Heap of Writs and Proceedings at Common Law ought to be sorted into Reigns, and as near as possible into Subjects; and those that are of common Form may only be bundled up, according to the Reign and Subject; and those that contain special Matter, or relate to Lands, should be made up into select Bundles, and a proper Repertory made to them.

"Mr. Topham is employing his Clerks on this Work; and, when this is finished, the Records in The Tower will be in very exact and good Order.

"The Shelves and Presses are so well made, and the Office sitted up in such a Manner, that the Records were very dry, and in good Condition, this hard Winter; and there is Room made for a great Number of other Records, which may be transmitted thither.

"The Lords Committees being informed, "That several Records, belonging formerly to the Court of Wards, lay neglected, and in a perishing Condition, in a Fishmonger's House, in Fish Yard, near Westminster Hall;" they sent for Mr. Grimes, who had the Key thereof: And the Lords Committees themselves repaired thither, where they found a great Number of Books and Papers lying upon the Floor, in the greatest Confusion and Disorder. The Room is large, and sitted up with Shelves, and seems to be the Place where the Records of the Court of Wards were kept, when that Court was subsisting; but now, the Lead being stolen from the Top of the Roof, and the windows broken, the Rain has corrupted and destroyed many of these Papers.

"Upon examining Mr. Grimes as to these Records, he acquainted their Lordships, "That he had Recourse to the Transcripts of the Inquisitions post Mortem, lodged in this Place; but knew nothing of the rest of the Records that were there."

"He produced to the Lords Committees Four Books of alphabetical Indexes, which his Father had made to those Inquisitions; and a Paper, containing some Account of those Records, which was made some Years ago, which is annexed to this Report.

"The Records of His Majesty's Court of Wards do now lie in a Room in The Fish Yard, in Westminster. Lately one Peter Fabian did pretend to the keeping of the said Records: But the King's Fishmonger having some Rooms for his Stores, and a Room adjoining to that where the Records do now lie, he always kept the Keys; so that Fabian could never go in to make a Search, but by the Fishmonger's Leave; and the Fishmonger had Recourse to search them at Pleasure, or let any body go in, and do as they pleased.

"Whilst Fabian had the Custody of them, he lived in the Country (except sometimes in an issuable Term); so that the Fishmonger did what he thought fit with the Records, there being none to control him; and it is to be feared that many of the Records are embezzled, and the Books of Entries many of them are carried out of the Office, and are not to be found.

"The Room where the Records do now lie is much out of Repair, and it rains in very much; the Roof, being flat, is leaded, and much of the Lead gone.

"Peter Fabian is dead; and His Majesty's Fishmonger hath the Key, by Reason of the Pretence aforesaid: And if any of His Majesty's Subjects hath Occasion to make any Search, they let any body go in; and not knowing how to search, or use Records, they do manifest Damage every Time they go to search.

"An Account of the Records now remaining in the Treasury of the late Court of Wards.

There is about 140 Bundles of English Pleadings, very few of which have any Forrols; so that there is no Time nor any Thing writ on them, to distinguish in what particular Times they are of.

"There is about 45 Bundles of Leases of Lands, Wards, and Wardships of the Persons and Lands together.

There is 19 Books of Orders in the Reign of King James and King Charles the First, Four Books of Queen Elizabeth, and One of Queen Mary.

"There is Books, intituled, "Patent. et Decret." and distinguished into Parts, of which I have found 1st Part, 2. 4, 5, 6. 8. 10. 12, 13; so it is plain there is Four Books missing, to make out 13 Parts, besides what Books have been made since (for the 13th Part is about 16th and 18th of King James).

"There is Four Books of Particulars of Lands, that were made when the Ward came to sue out his Livery.

"There is 3 Books of Particulars of Wards that are under Age.

"There is 34 Books, intituled, "Visus," which were Particulars of the General Receivers of the Court of Wards.

"There is 18 Books of special Liveries.

"There is 9 Books of Indentures and Leases.

"There are several Bundles of Accompts of the Receivers General, engrossed in Parchment, and Books, all relating to the Revenue of the said Court.

"There are divers Bundles of Papers, containing Affidavits and Warrants of the Auditors, and Copies of Decrees and Pleadings.

"There are great Quantities of Depositions of Witnesses, that lie all in Confusion and Disorder.

"But the most useful of the Records are the Transcripts of Offices (post Mortem); many of which are lost, and those that remain, the most Part want Forrols (many are destroyed by Vermin, and divers damaged by the Rain, the Room being much out of Repair, and the Roof itself very very much decayed); and what is writ on the Backside, very difficult to be seen; but, so near as possibly I could, I have taken them right, and have marked them as follows;

Henr. VIIIvi, 35°, 36°, 37°, Michaelmas and Hillary. Note, this Office was erected 32 Henr. VIII. and He reigned 38 Years; so that there is at least 8 or 9 Bundles missing, for in every Year there should be Two Bundles.

"Edward the VIth, Trinity and Michaelmas, 1, 2, 3, 4. 6.

"Hillary and Easter, 1, 2, 3. 5, 6.

"Queen Mary, One Bundle.

"Queen Elizabeth, Michaelmas and Hillary, 2. 5, 6, 7. 10, 11, 12, 13. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. 31. 34. 40. 42.

"Easter and Trinity, 1, 2. 4. 6, 7, 8. 12. 14. 17. 19, 20, 21. 28, 29. 31. 36. 43.

"King James, Michaelmas and Hillary, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. 13, 14, 15. 19, 20, 21, 22.

"Easter and Trinity, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22.

"King Charles the 1st, Michaelmas and Hillary, 1. 3, 4. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 12. 14, 15, 16.

"Easter and Trinity, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 7, 8. 10. 12, 13, 14, 15. 17, 18.

"The English Pleadings are most of them but temporary Acts, during the Time of the Ward on whose Behalf exhibited; and will be of little or no Use to Posterity, only to preserve as Curiosity, to shew the Proceedings of that Court; and may very well be preserved, if the Room be made light, and to keep out the Rain.

"The Bundles of Leases cannot be of more Use than the former, and are (fn. *) now in better Condition.

"The Books can have nothing more done to them, than being kept dry, and clean from Dust as much as possible.

"The several Bundles of the Receivers Accompts are in very good Condition, except where the Rain came in.

"For all which Records, there are no Manner of Entries; and it is impossible the Profit should ever pay for the making of Entries, or be Encouragement for any one to set about so endless a Work.

"The Bundles of Transcripts that are left, would be a very good Work to preserve; and that must be by new forroling of them, and filing the loose ones in Order. There is about 115 Bundles, and every Forrol of Vellum will cost about Two Shillings, as I am informed. The doing of this will take some Time and Pains; but when once done, and taking Care to keep them dry, will preserve them.

"The loose Records, that lie about, and are trod under Foot, will be a Work of Time to sort; and cannot well be done, except there were Bags provided, to put those up in that are good for any Thing, and to lay the rest by; and that the old rotten Stuff might be thrown in some odd Hole, or else slung out of Doors.

"The several old Trunks, that are only Lumber, and take up Room, if thought convenient, might be disposed of as you think fit.

"All which I submit to your Consideration (this being a true Account of the Office at present); and I shall do therein as you shall order and direct.

"At the Desire of the Officers, the Lords Committees repaired to the Two Offices where the Records of the Queen's Bench are kept.

"There are Two Places near Westminster Hall, called, "The Treasuries of the Court of Queen's Bench," wherein are kept all the Records of that Court, both of the Crown Side and Plea Side.

"In One of these Places, called "The Upper Treasury," are kept all the Records from the 1st of Henry the VIth, till within Ten Years of the present Time. This is a large spacious Room, where the Records lie in good Order, with Labels and Endorsements upon them, distinguishing the Times.

"But the Room under this, was formerly a Cook's Shop, and is now partly a Wash-house and partly a Stable; which is a very improper Situation for Records of so much Consequence.

"In the other, called "The Lower Treasury," are kept all the Records under Ten Years standing. This is a low damp Place, fitter for a Cellar, than for the Use it is put to.

"The Officers complain, that it is so noisome and unwholesome, that they are not able to fit in it; and that it rots the Records. They desired the Lords Committees to represent to your Lordships, that they might have another Place for that Office.

"Upon the Whole, it is the Opinion of the Committee, That the Lord Treasurer be desired to cause an Inquiry to be made into the Titles of the Persons that are possessed of the Houses or Rooms adjoining to Westminster Hall, and the Offices of the Courts of Justice.

"And, that the Earl of Bindon, Earl Marshal, having represented to their Lordships, that the Records and Books belonging to the Court of Wards may be of Use, for making out the Descents and Pedigrees of the Nobility; that Her Majesty be humbly desired to give such Orders therein, as to Her Majesty shall seem meet."

Inquiry to be made about the Titles to the Houses near the Record Offices; and the Records of the Court of Wards to be preserved:

Upon Report from the Lords Committees appointed to consider of the Method of keeping Records and Public Papers in Offices, and how they are kept, and to consider of Ways to remedy what shall be found to be amiss:

It is Resolved, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Lord Treasurer be desired to cause an Inquiry to be made into the Titles of the Persons that are possessed of the Houses or Rooms adjoining to Westminster Hall and the Offices of the Courts of Justice; and that the Earl of Bindon, Earl Marshal, having represented to the said Committee, "That the Records and Books belonging to the Court of Wards may be of Use, for making out the Descents and Pedigrees of the Nobility;" that Her Majesty be humbly desired to give such Orders therein, as to Her Majesty shall seem meet.

Resolution to be laid before the Queen.

It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain do lay these Resolutions before Her Majesty.

The Queen's General Pardon:

The Earl of Sunderland, Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State, acquainted the House, "That Her Majesty had commanded him to offer Her Majesty's most gracious General and Free Pardon."

Then,

Unica vice lecta est Billa, intituled, "An Act for the Queen's most gracious General and Free Pardon."

The Question was put, "Whether the Bill, intituled, "An Act for the Queen's most gracious General and Free Pardon," shall be humbly accepted, and passed?"

It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

Memorandum, That all the Lords sat uncovered during the Time the Act was read; and; at the putting the Question, they stood up to give their Votes; and did continue standing so uncovered until the Lords had done voting.

Message to H. C. with it.

A Message was sent to the House of Commons, by the Lord Chief Justice Holt and Mr. Baron Lovell:

To let them know, that Her Majesty hath been pleased to send the Bill, intituled, "An Act for the Queen's most gracious General and Free Pardon;" which the Lords have humbly accepted; and passed; and now send it down to them.

Acts for Encouragement of Coinage to continue, Bill.

The House was adjourned during Pleasure, and put into a Committee upon the Bill, intituled, "An Act for continuing the former Acts for the Encouragement of the Coinage; and to encourage the bringing Foreign Coins, and British or Foreign Plate, to be coined; and for making Provision for the Mints in Scotland; and for the prosecuting Offences concerning the Coin in England."

After some Time spent therein, the House was resumed.

And the Lord Halifax reported, "That the Committee of the whole House had gone through the said Bill; and think it fit to pass, without any Amendment."

Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, intituled, "An Act for continuing the former Acts for the Encouragement of the Coinage; and to encourage the bringing Foreign Coins, and British or Foreign Plate, to be coined; and for making Provision for the Mints in Scotland; and for the prosecuting Offences concerning the Coin in England."

The Question was put, "Whether this Bill shall pass?"

It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

Ordered, That the Commons have Notice, that the Lords have agreed to the said Bill, without any Amendment.

Message from H. C. to return the Bill to prevent Mischiefs by Fire.

A Message was brought from the House of Commons, by Mr. Dolben and others:

To return the Bill, intituled, "An Act for making more effectual an Act made in the Sixth Year of Her Majesty's Reign, for the better preventing of Mischiefs that may happen by Fire;" and to acquaint this House, that they have agreed to their Lordships Amendments made thereto.

Militia Bill,

Hodie 2a & 3a vice lecta est Billa, intituled, "An Act for raising the Militia for the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Nine, although the Month's Pay formerly advanced be not re-paid."

The Question was put, "Whether this Bill shall pass?"

It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

Ordered, That the Commons have Notice, that the Lords have agreed to the said Bill, without any Amendment.

Several Duties to continue, Bill.

The House was adjourned during Pleasure, and put into a Committee upon the Bill, intituled, "An Act for continuing several Impositions and Duties, to raise Money by Way of Loan; and for exporting British Copper and Brass Wire, Duty-free; and for circulating a further Sum in Exchequer Bills, in case a new Contract be made in that Behalf; and concerning the Oaths to be administered in relation to Italian Thrown Silks; and touching Oils and Plantation Goods of Foreigners, taken, or to be taken, as Prize; and concerning Drugs of America, to be imported from Her Majesty's Plantations: and for appropriating the Monies given in this Session of Parliament; and for making out Debentures for Two Transport Ships, in this Act named; and to allow a further Time for registering certain Debentures; and for Relief of Persons who have lost such Tickets, Exchequer Bills, Debentures, Tallies, or Orders, as in this Act are mentioned."

After some Time spent therein, the House was resumed.

And the Lord Delawarr reported, "That the Committee of the whole House had gone through the said Bill; and think it fit to pass, without any Amendment."

Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, intituled, "An Act for continuing several Impositions and Duties, to raise Money by Way of Loan; and for exporting British Copper and Brass Wire, Duty-free; and for circulating a further Sum in Exchequer Bills, in case a new Contract be made in that Behalf; and concerning the Oaths to be administered in relation to Italian Thrown Silks; and touching Oils and Plantation Goods of Foreigners, taken, or to be taken, as Prize; and concerning Drugs of America, to be imported from Her Majesty's Plantations; and for appropriating the Monies given in this Session of Parliament; and for making out Debentures for Two Transport Ships in this Act named; and to allow a further Time for registering certain Debentures; and for Relief of Persons who have lost such Tickets, Exchequer Bills, Debentures, Tallies, or Orders, as in this Act are mentioned."

The Question was put, "Whether this Bill shall pass?"

It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

Ordered, That the Commons have Notice, that the Lords have agreed to the said Bill, without any Amendment.

Transcripts, Acts, and Method of Trials, relating to Treason, Judges to sign.

It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That when the Judges have perused the Transcripts of the several Acts, or Parts of Acts, or Statutes, now in Force, relating to High Treason, and Misprision of High Treason, and also the Method of Trials for such Crimes, they do subscribe their Names to the said Transcripts and Methods of Trial.

Transcripts, &c. to be printed.

It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That when the several Transcripts, or Collection of the Statutes now in Force, relating to High Treason and Misprision of High Treason, and the Methods of Trial for those Crimes, shall be subscribed by all the Judges, they shall be forthwith printed and published by Her Majesty's Printers, for the better Information of the People of Great Britain, in relation to those Laws.

Adjourn.

Dominus Cancellarius declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum effe usque ad et in diem Jovis, vicesimum primum diem instantis Aprilis, hora undecima Auroræ, Dominis sic decernentibus.

Footnotes

* Sic.