Second Session of the Third Parliament.
On Tuesday, October 20, the Parliament met at Westminster, and the King being seated on the Throne, with the
usual Solemnity, made this Speech to both Houses.
'My Lords, and Gentlemen,
'I Have called you together as soon as was possible, and I
think it a great Happiness that this Year has passed
without any Disadvantage abroad, or Disorder at home,
considering our great Disappointment in the Funds given
at your last Meeting, and the Difficulties which have arisen
upon the Re-coining of the Money.
'This is so convincing a Proof of the good Disposition of
my Army, and of the steady Affections of my People, that
I cannot but take notice of it with great Satisfaction.
'Our Enemies have not been without hopes that such a
Conjuncture might have proved fatal to us: But as they
have failed in those Expectations, so I am fully persuaded
that your unanimous Proceedings, in this Session, will make
them for ever despair of an Advantage from any Disagreement among ourselves.
'It must be confessed, that the Business which you have
before you will be very great, because of the Necessity of
supplying former Deficiencies, as well as making Provision for the next Year's Service.
'And upon this Occasion it is fit for me to acquaint you,
that some Overtures have been made in order to the entering upon a Negotiation for a general Peace: But I am
sure we shall agree in Opinion, that the only way of
treating with France, is with our Swords in our Hands:
and that we can have no reason to expect a safe and honourable Peace, but by shewing ourselves prepared to make
a vigorous and effectual War: In order to which, I do
very earnestly recommend to you, Gentlemen of the House
of Commons, that you would consider of raising the necessary Supplies, as well for maintaining the Honour of
Parliaments in making good the Funds already granted,
as for carrying on the War the next Year; which I think
ought not to be less than what was intended to be raised
for that Purpose the last Session.
'I must also put you in mind of the Civil-List, which
cannot be supported without your Help; and the miserable
Condition of the French Protestants does oblige me to mention them to you again,
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'It may deserve your Consideration, whether there do
not still remain some Inconveniencies relating to the Coin,
which ought to be remedied: And I hope you will find
out the best Expedients for the Recovery of Credit, which
is absolutely necessary, not only with respect to the War,
but for carrying on of Trade.
'I am of Opinion, that there is not one good Englishman
who is not entirely convinced, how much does depend
upon this Session; and therefore I cannot but hope for
your Unanimity and Dispatch in your Resolutions, which
at this time are more necessary than ever, for the Safety
and Honour of England.'
Proceedings of the Commons.
The Commons having appointed their grand Committees,
for Religion, for Grievances, for Trade, for Courts of Justice,
and for Privileges and Elections, resolved, nemine contradicente,
That they would support his Majesty and his Government
against all his Enemies both at home and abroad, and that
they would effectually assist him in the prosecution and carrying on the War against France: And that an humble
Address should be prepared to be presented to his Majesty
pursuant to the said Resolution. Which Address was drawn
up by Mr. Montague, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and
presented to his Majesty on October the 23d, by the whole
House, in these Words:
'May it please your most excellent Majesty, This is the
eighth Year in which your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal
Subjects, the Commons in Parliament assembled, have assisted your Majesty with large Supplies for carrying on a
just and necessary War, in Defence of our Religion, Preservation of our Laws, and Vindication of the Rights and
Liberties of the People of England; which we have hitherto
preserved; and, by the Blessing of God, upon your Majesty's Conduct and good Government, will stedfastly maintain and entail on our Posterity.
'This has cost the Nation much Blood and Treasure,
but the Hopes of accomplishing so great and glorious a
Work, have made your Subjects chearfully support the
Charge. And to show to your Majesty, and to all Christendom, that the Commons of England will not be amused, or
diverted from their firm Resolutions of obtaining by War a
safe and honourable Peace, we do, in the Name of all those
we represent, renew our Assurances to your Majesty, that
this House will support your Majesty, and your Government, against all your Enemies both at home and abroad:
and that they will effectually assist you in the Prosecution
and carrying on the present War against France.'
His Majesty in answer was pleased to express himself
His Majesty's Answer.
'Gentlemen, The Continuance of your Zeal and Affection is the Thing of the world I value most, and I will
answer it by all the Ways I can think of; and I will
make your Good, and the Safety of the Nation, the principal Care of my Life.'
These Assurances of Affection on the one side, of Loyalty on the other, and of mutual Confidence on both, being happily given, the Commons entered with great Alacrity upon the three great Affairs that had been recommended to them from the Throne, to wit, The further remedying the ill State of the Coin: The providing a Supply for the
next Year's Service: And the Restoring of public Credit. All
which had a near Dependance the one upon the other, and
made the Difficulties more intricate and hard to compose.
Vote on the State of the Coin.
In order to remove the first and the last, the Commons
resolved on their very first Day of Meeting, That they would
not alter the Standard of the Gold and Silver, in Fineness, Weight
or Denomination; and that they will make good all Parliamentary
Funds since his Majesty's Accession to the Crown, that have been
made Credits for Loan from the Subject. And because the Circulation of Guineas was obstructed by reason of the Want
of other Coin, and by reason of the Act made the last Session,
to take off the Obligation of Coining Gold, a Bill was
Ordered to be brought in October the 22d, For the giving
Leave to import Guineas, and to coin Gold at the Mint.
Estimates of the Charge of the Navy, and Army.
The 28th, the Commissioners of the Admiralty presented
to the House, an Estimate of the Charge of the Navy for the
Year 1697; which for 40,000 Sea-men, Wear, Tear, Ordnance, the Officers of two Regiments of Marines, the Registry-Office, and the Ordinary of the Navy, was computed
at 2,523,954 l.
The same Day, likewise, the Earl of Ranelagh presented a List of the Land-Forces, and
the Sums necessary for their Support: An Abstract of which, as follows:
|Total of Horse,
Troops and Com. Officers. Non-Com. Offic. Private-Men. Together. Pay, per Ann. Servants allow'd Companies.
||Total of Dragoons,
||Total of Foot,
|Over and above which, Wanting
|For the Train
|For Transports, Hospitals, and Contingencies
The same day Complaint having been made of a printed
Pamphlet, entitled, An Account of the Proceedings in the House
of Commons, in relation to the re-coining the clipt Money, and
falling the Price of Guineas: They voted it to be false, scandalous and seditious, and destructive of the Freedom and
Liberties of Parliament: And ordered the said Pamphlet to
be burned by the common Hangman, and addressed his Majesty to issue his Proclamation, promising a Reward of 500 l.
for the Discovery of the Author of that Libel. And two
Days after, the House being inform'd of a printed Paper,
entitled, A summary Account of the Proceedings upon the happy
Discovery of the Jacobite Conspiracy; they resolved, that the
printing the Names of the Members of their House, and reflecting on them for their Proceedings in Parliament, was a
Breach of the Privileges of that House, and destructive of
the Freedom and Liberties of Parliament.
Deficiencies in the Funds.
November 3, Mr. Harley from the Commissioners for
stating the public Accounts presented an Account of the
Deficiencies of the several Funds, according to Order, viz.
|On the double 9d per Barrel Excise
|First 4s. Aid
|Second Quarterly Poll
|On the Act to enlarge Time for the purchasing Annuities, beside the growing Interest
On the Duty of Paper and Parchment, granted
for 4 Years as a Fund for 330,000 l. at 8
per Cent. Expected by what it has already
produc'd to be considerably deficient at the
end of that Term.
The Loans on the 3d 4s. Aid are suppos'd to be
very near satisfy'd by that Fund; but the
Certainty not yet known.
The Duties for 3 Years on Coffee, Tea, Chocolate and Spices, have not amounted to above
one fourth of what they were designed for.
Births, Burials, and Marriages, with a borrowing Clause for 650,000 l. at 8 per Cent. have
hitherto, except very lately, produc'd but
The Fund of Salt, Glass, and Tobacco Pipes, not
having rais'd the 2,564,000 l. principal Money design'd, remains to be dispos'd of by
The Account of Duties upon Houses granted
for 7 Years not yet come in.
What the last 4 s. Aid will fall short, cannot
as yet be judg'd.
Nor the Deficiency of every other Fund on account of the Re-coinage.
To this was added an Account of the clipp'd and new
Money delivered out and paid in at the several public Offices: The Total of which was as follows:
Clipp'd Money deliver'd out.
||New Money paid in
Order'd, That the Commissioners of the Treasury do account to this House, how the 2,564,000 l. to be rais'd by
the Duties on Salt, Glass and Tobacco-Pipes came to fail.
And a Motion being made, That the Returns made by the
Commissioners for stating the public Accounts, be referred
to the Committee of the whole House; it pass'd in the Negative, Yeas 54, Noes 271.
Supplies voted for the Land and Sea-Service.
The 4th, the House having considered the State of the
War for the Year 1697, both in relation to the Navy and
Land-Forces, which at their desire, his Majesty ordered to
be laid before them, they granted the Sum of Two Millions
Three Hundred Seventy-two Thousand One Hundred
Ninety-seven Pounds, for the Maintenance of Forty Thousand Seamen, and of the two Marine Regiments and for
the Ordinary of the Navy, and the Charge of the Registry
of Seamen; and the Sum of Two Millions Five Hundred
Seven Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty-two Pounds,
both for the maintaining Eighty-seven Thousand Four Hundred and Forty Men, which according to the List of the
Land-Forces delivered into the House, they voted necessary
to be employed in England, and beyond the Seas; and for
the extraordinary Service of the Office of Ordnance, the
Pay of the General Officers, and the Charge of the Transports, Hospitals, and other Contingencies of the War. Besides which, they afterwards, on December the 23d, voted
a Supply of One Hundred Twenty-five Thousand Pounds,
for making good the Deficiency in recoining hammer'd Money, and the Recompence to be given for bringing Plate
into the Mints to be coined.
Proceedings against Sir John Fenwick.
The 6th, Admiral Russel acquainted the House, that his
Majesty had been pleased to lay the Proceedings against
Sir John Fenwick before his Council, together with Copies
of his Information, in which were several Persons of Quality,
and among others himself. That he spoke this by his Majesty's Leave, who had likewise directed Mr. Secretary
Trumbal to lay the Papers, in which the said Information
was contained, before the House.
The said Papers were then delivered and read; after
which it was order'd that Sir John Fenwick should be immediately sent for from Newgate; and that no Persons
should be allow'd to speak, or deliver any Paper to him,
or receive any from him by the way.
Order'd to be attainted of High-Treason.
Accordingly, being brought to the Bar of the House, the
Speaker Paul Foley Esq; inform'd him, the House expected
a full Discovery of all he knew; which was of the more consequence, because in some of the said Papers he had asserted,
King James thought himself sure of the Army by means
of the Lord Marlborough; and of the Fleet by means of
Killegrew and Delaval. But not having the face to charge
Sir Cloudesly Shovel with Disaffection, he own'd Delaval
and Killegrew said, Shovel was not to be spoke to, but they
would secure him and let the French Fleet sail by. He added, the Lord Brudenel is out 6000 l. That he did not
write to King James in Person, but his Wife did. As to
his own Correspondence with the abdicated King, he confess'd he had two Letters from him, and no more; he said
further, That being coming in his Coach from Hyde-Park,
he met General Talmash in his, in St. James's Street, that
the latter beckon'd to him to go into St. James's Court;
that they came out of their Coaches and took a turn or two
there, at which time Talmash whisper'd him, We shall serve
both on the same side. He added farther, Brigadier Mayne
promis'd to come over to King James's Interest in Ireland;
and he said, Indeed I wonder he did not. He confess'd, Lieutenant-General Kirk had given King James the same Assurances. That Sheerness was to be secured by the DeputyGovernor; that the Lord Montgomery was in the Plot, and
had been with him about it several times. That several
great Lords, as the Duke of Shrewsbury, the Earl of Marlborough, the Lord Godolphin, Admiral Russel, &c. had
accepted of Pardons from King James. After which being
prest by the Speaker to make a sincere Confession, he complain'd, he had been very hardly dealt with, for whatever
he had said, the Answer was still, 'tis not satisfactory. The
House then resolv'd, that the Reflections contain'd in the
said Papers on several noble Peers, Members, &c. were
false, scandalous, and a contrivance to undermine the Government, and create Jealosiues between the King and his
People, in order to stifle the real Conspiracy. A Motion
was then made for Leave to bring in a Bill to attaint Sir
John Fenwick of High-Treason; and after a Debate the
House divided, Yeas 179, Noes 61. Sir Thomas Trevor,
then Attorney-General, was order'd to prepare and bring in
The 9th, the said Bill was read for the first time, and the
Question put for a second Reading; upon which the House
divided; Yeas 196, Noes 102; and Friday was appointed for
the second Reading: And that Sir John should have a Copy
of the Bill, and of the Order, and be allow'd Pen, Ink, and
Paper; and that Mr Attorney and Mr. Solicitor should be
ready to produce the Evidence against him that day.
Mr. Manley, a Member, committed to the Tower.
In the course of this Debate, Mr. Manley a Member,
having dropt the following Words, viz. It would not be the
first time that People have repented their making their Court to
the Government, at the Hazard of the Liberties of the People:
Exceptions were taken to the same, and tho' he endeavour'd
to palliate and excuse them, a Resolution pass'd, That for the
said Offence he should be committed to the Tower; where
he was detain'd till he petition'd the House to be enlarg'd.
The 11th, Resolv'd, That during the Continuance of the
Bank of England, no other Bank shall be established by Act
A Debate about the Form of Proceeding in the Case of Sir John Fenwick.
The 13th, a Debate arose, whether the Mace ought to
lie upon the Table, while Sir John Fenwick was examined,
or whether the Serjeant ought to stand by him with it at the
Bar ? For there was not a Member in the House that had
been present at the hearing a Prisoner against a Bill of Attainder.
Some Gentlemen held, That Sir John Fenwick being a
Prisoner, the Mace ought to be at the Bar, and then no
Member could speak: Others said it ought to lie upon the
Table, and then every Member was at liberty to speak, and
ask Questions: A third was of Opinion, the Sheriffs of London could not have him in Custody here; but he must be
delivered to their Serjeant: To which it was replied, he
might be in Custody of the Serjeant without his Mace. And
another said, the Mace ought to lie upon the Table:
For never any Bill was read, but when the Mace was on the
Others observed, that when the Lord Torrington was
brought Prisoner from the Tower; and the House, upon
account of his Quality, did not order him to the Bar; the
Mace was upon the Table, while he was in the House; and
he gave an Account of his Conduct, and every Member was
at liberty to ask him what Question he pleased: And another Member said, if the Mace was not upon the Table,
their Mouths were muzzled: They were not in the Nature
of Judges; and should they pass a Vote, that the Judges
should ask no Questions ? Would they act in their highest Capacity without being a House ? adding, that when the Duke
of Leeds appeared there, the Mace was upon the Table.
To this it was answered, That though when the Mace was
carried from the Table, no Member had the liberty to
speak; yet any Member had the liberty to desire, that the
Counsel and the Prisoner withdraw; and then the Mace
might be brought to the Table.'
At length, the Question being put, it passed, that the
Mace should stand by Sir John Fenwick at the Bar.
It was resolved also, that the Bill should be read to Sir
John in the House, though the Mace was off the Table:
But then that it should be read again after Sir John was
withdrawn, when the Mace was upon the Table before the
Question was put.
The Counsel on both Sides.
Then Sir John Fenwick was brought in, and the Serjeant
took him to the Bar; where he stood by him with his Mace:
And Sir Thomas Powis and Sir Bartholomew Shower, were
admitted as Counsel for Sir John; and Mr. Serjeant Gould,
and Mr. Recorder Lovel, appeared as Counsel for the Bill.
Mr. Speaker then acquainted Sir John, that the House had
ordered a Bill to be brought in, to attaint him of High-Treason; which had been once read; and to which they permitted him to make his Defence by his Counsel, before it
was read a second Time: But they must not permit his Counsel to dispute the Power of Parliaments to pass Bills of Attainder, whenever they saw fit. After which the Bill was read,
being of the following Tenor:
The Bill read to Sir John.
That whereas Sir John Fenwick, Bart. had been indicted
for High-Treason, on the Oaths of George Porter and Cardel
Goodman, for compassing the King's Death, and adhering
to his Enemies: And whereas the said Sir John had procured
his Trial to be put off from time to time, on Pretence of
making a full Discovery of the Conspiracy against his Majesty; and, instead thereof, had contrived several false and
scandalous Accusations; reflecting on some Peers and Members of the Commons, with an Intent to undermine the Government, and create Jealousies between the King and his
Subjects: And whereas the said Cardel Goodman, one of
the Witnesses against the said Sir John, was in the mean
time withdrawn, so that his Evidence could not now be had:
It was therefore enacted, that the said Sir John Fenwick
should be convicted and attainted of High-Treason.
Mr. Serjeant Gould opens the Charge and the Evidence.
After the reading the Bill, Mr. Serjeant Gould opened the
Charge and the Evidence; but for the Pleadings on each side,
we must refer the Reader to the State-Trials.
Sir John and the Counsel on both sides, being withdrawn,
a Debate arose, whether Sir John should be allowed further time to produce his Witnesses ? which was thus opened
by Sir Thomas Littleton.
A Debate thereupon. ; Sir Thomas Littleton.
'Mr. Speaker, the Counsel could not think that the Bill
should set forth, that Sir John Fenwick was indicted, but
that the House would know by what Means. And that
Goodman was gone away, and we should not enquire by what
Means. What are the Objections made by the Counsel to
the Bill? Say they, we are ready to give Reasons against
the Bill: They do not say downright against your Jurisdiction;
but that they are ready to shew you, it is not reasonable in
this Case, as Circumstances stand, to pass this Bill: Sir John's
Petition was to be heard downright against the Bill. If that
was your Intention, to hear him to that only, I conceive you
would not have worded your Answer as you did: You ordered him Counsel to make his Defence; and, at the same
Time, ordered the King's Counsel to produce the Evidence:
How could they understand it, but to make a Defence to the
Evidence ? it may be they have a mind to another Fee:
Whether you will think fit in the Circumstances you stand,
to give them further time, I do not know; but the Circumstances of the Kingdom, and the King's Life, must be considered as well as Sir John Fenwick? What is the Meaning
that they are not prepared ? I suppose it is to have a Pretence
for further time: But I think your Order is so plainly worded, that they could not mistake it.'
Mr. Cowper, 'The Counsel for Sir John Fenwick say, we
come prepared to make a Defence to every thing charged in
the Preamble of the Bill; but what is not charged, we do
not come prepared to make a Defence to. Now they conceive the Fact of High-Treason is not charged upon him by
the Bill; and, if that be true, it is of great Weight; but as
it is, 'tis none: For first, it is plain, the Preamble recites,
that he was indicted for High Treason by the Grand Jury,
that is a Charge of High-Treason within the Bill: For it
says, he was charged by the Oaths of his Country, upon the
Oaths of two Witnesses; and there is the very Overt-Act
recited in the Preamble of the Bill. Now, allowing this
its due Weight, can any one think, that sits here as a private
Judge, that the High-Treason thus recited, as found by the
Grand Jury, is no Part of the Charge? the very Nature of
the Bill speaks: For could any one think, you would ground
a Bill of Attainder upon a Suggestion, that he, being indicted of High-Treason, had spirited away one of the Witnesses, or given a false Information ? So that this is tristing
with the House, with Submission.'
Sir Richard Temple, 'Can any body say any thing of the
Intention of the House, when it is reduced into a Bill ? Is it
not the Bill he is to make his Defence to ? And the Gentleman who spoke last, says, That no body could think otherwise: Why Sir, no body is to think otherwise than as the
Bill states it.
Now the Thing before you is, Whether upon the Suggestions in this Bill, it is fit for you to pass it? The Case
of Mortimer was, That he had made his Escape, being under
an Indictment of High-Treason, and it came before the
House, Whether upon the Statute of 25 Edw. III. it was
High-Treason ? but they did not debate the Fact. Now
you have brought a Bill here; and all the ground is, That
he was indicted for High-Treason; had thus and thus prevaricated and delayed his Trial upon Promises of Confession;
and in conclusion, one of the Witnesses is withdrawn. Sir,
no Man is to make his Defence but to what is in the Bill;
nor can you examine to any thing but what is suggested in
the Bill. If you had put the Issue upon the Guilt of Sir John
Fenwick, he must have had a fair Trial in some Place, and
that he cannot have here upon Oath; for upon all Bills of
Attainder hitherto, they have had a fair Trial above,' (in the
House of Peers.)
Mr. Hooper, 'The Question is, whether or no there be
a sufficient Guilt laid to this Man's Charge? For in all Courts
of Judicature, this is a certain Rule, you must proceed secundum allegata & prcbata; and you shall not go about to
prove a thing unless it be alledged. Now the Question is,
whether this thing be alledged in the whole Bill, that Sir
John Fenwick is guilty of High-Treason? and if not, you
will not go about to prove what is not alledged. 'Tis true,
it is alledged that a Bill hath been found; but several have
been indicted who have been acquitted. It is possible the
Prisoner at the Bar may be guilty; but I think we must
observe that Method here, that is observed every where else;
and that is, not to go about to prove any thing that is not
Mr. Sloane, 'I will allow the Bill might have been
drawn better, and that a bare Indictment is not a sufficient
Ground of itself for a final Decision of this Matter: But
when, at the time of finding the Indictment, there were two
Witnesses, and one of them is withdrawn, and, as is supposed,
by his Means; if the Bill seems imperfect for any thing before you now, you will not stay all Proceedings upon it;
but if you see it imperfect, and it may be amended, you will
amend it at the Committee. I think, the Favour you have
given is abused, and that it is perfect trifling from the Bar:
In one Breath they say, they could not get ready, for they
had no Notice till last Night; and in the next they say, they
will go on to every thing, but his being guilty; and I believe they never will be prepared for that.'
Mr. Attorney-General, 'Sir, I am very unwilling to speak
any thing in this Matter; because, Sir, by the Place I have
the Honour to serve his Majesty in, as one of his Counsel,
if it was in the Courts below, I must prosecute on the Behalf of the King: But, I am very sensible, while I am in
this House, I am in another Capacity; I am to vote here a
a Judge, and not as a Party.
'That which I do now trouble you about, is in relation
to the Matter that hath been objected, that the Bill does not
expresly affirm, that Sir John Fenwick was guilty of HighTreason, but only that he was indicted for it: Truly, I thought,
and do still, with humble Submission to the House, That
that Matter of affirming him to be guilty of High-Treason,
was not to be inserted in the Bill; for that will be the Consequence of your Judgment and Opinion upon hearing of the
Evidence. That worthy Member that spake last, said, the
Bill might be better drawn: I am sorry we had not his Assistance in it; but, with Submission to his Understanding, I
think that had been too much Presumption, till you are satisfied whether he was guilty or no: We could only go so far
as to set forth the Faults that we knew; as, that he was indicted, that we can verify, and cannot take this to be like
the Case of an Indictment; for there you must affirm such and
such things that cannot be altered afterwards; but a Bill in
Parliament hath many Steps, you read it several times, and
commit it; so that you alter the Suggestions of the Bill as
the Case appears to you to be verified; and if you be of Opinion that he is not guilty, you will not condemn him be
cause he is indicted: However, that is not immaterial, but
proper to be set forth for a Ground of your Proceedings, that
there was a Probability of his being guilty from that Accusation: Therefore, Sir, I confess, I cannot think that
those Gentlemen, that are of Counsel for Sir John Fenwick,
could think that you did intend to proceed otherwise than to
hear Counsel as to the Fact; they could not think that, upon
Proof of his being indicted, that would be Ground enough
for you to proceed to pass the Bill; for how could any body
think, but you would come to examine the Fact ? I cannot
see how they should come to mistake, unless it was wilfully.
Colonel Granvill: 'Sir, the Counsel (by what I observed from them) have started two Difficulties, and really
(to me) both seem very material: The First is, whether
the King's Counsel shall be at liberty to prove any thing
that is not suggested in the Bill; the other is, whether
Sir John Fenwick had due Notice to make his Defence.
'The first is a Matter of very great Moment: You are
proceeding upon a Bill, where not only the Life of Sir John
Fenwick, but the Life of every Man in England, is in some
measure concerned: When a Precedent is made in this Case,
no body knows who may be affected or hurt by it; and therefore I desire you will settle that Matter, and have the Judgment of the House, whether they will admit the Counsel to
prove any thing that is not suggested in the Bill: If you will,
I do not see how any Man that stands at the Bar of your House
can be prepared to make his Defence; for there shall be one
Crime alledged in the Bill, and when he comes to the Bar,
the Counsel that are to prosecute, shall go quite off from
that which is laid in the Bill, and produce you Evidence to
a new Crime; and he stares and looks round him, and you
had as good allow him no Counsel or Copy of the Bill. This
you thought so necessary for every Man, that was to come
upon his Trial for his Life, for Treason, that you altered
that Trial, and declared, no Man should have any Treason
proved against him, that is not alledged against him in the
'We have had great Complaints of Westminster-Hall,
and if the Parliament should proceed in this manner, may
have the same again: If they are too rash in their Proceedings, they will be countenanced mightily in them, if you
should proceed against a Man, and condemn him for one
thing when he is accused of another. I desire to know how
we can proceed in a Bill, upon which Sir John Fenwick is
to be proved guilty, and he hath no opportunity to answer
it? I take it, as this Bill is drawn, Sir John Fenwick's
Guilt is no way concerned in it: For, whereas the worthy
Gentlemen tell you, the Treason is specified, there is no
Treason specified, otherwise than he is indicted for it.'
Mr. Whitaker, 'As to the Exceptions made to the Insufficiency of the Bill, by which they pretend Sir John
Fenwick was led into an Error, so that he had no due
notice; I must needs, say, if they had been in WestminsterHall, they would have been in the right: But this House
is not bound to those Forms; for, I believe, the enacting
Clause would do the business of Sir John Fenwick wellenough, if all the rest were laid aside; and I will consider it, with as much Tenderness and Conscience for the
Prisoner at the Bar, as any that bring Arguments from
Westminster-Hall: I would consider, whether such a Defence as they have made, that from the Bill (as to what is
laid in it) he had not notice enough to prepare to make his
Answer. They say, a Recital is no direct Affirmation: In
Civil Matters, it is an Affirmation; for to say, Whereas
such a one is bound, is good in a Declaration upon a Bond;
now, I would know, Whether it be not enough to say, That
he is indicted, without an Allegation that he is guilty? Had
the Bill no Recital at all, it might have been necessary for
them to have desired the opinion of the House, to what they
should have answered; but here the Treason is specified in
the Preamble of the Bill; and I agree, that the King's
Counsel ought not to give Evidence of any Treason that is
not so specified.'
Sir Edward Seymour, addressing himself to speak on the
other side, and observing a great many Lords in the Gallery, said, 'My Lords, and you Mr. Speaker, what hath
been said by that worthy Person that spoke last, no doubt,
is true; That if there had been no more than the enacting
Clause, it would have done Sir John Fenwick's Business with
a Witness, or, rather without a Witness. But that is not
the Question we are disputing here; the Question is, Whether you will give Sir John Fenwick longer time to make
his Defence to that Part he insists on, which is not contained
in the Bill? You are well satisfied, you cannot go through
with the Suggestions to-night, and the Debates, and what
relates to them; and I find no Person against putting it off,
but because it would be a Delay; and, if it be no delay,
that Reason is out of doors. They tell you the Counsel
could not but take notice of the Matters suggested in the
Indictment; I cannot think that it is reasonably argued, because they do know the Practice and Method is such, that
they can take notice of nothing but what is specified and
contained in the Bill: and therefore, there being no Guilt
charged on Sir John Fenwick in the Bill, it is reasonable
they should come and accuse themselves here, or make a
Defence to what is not charged? No: But, say they, it is
implied. This is an untrodden Path, and you ought to walk
as securely in it as you can. 'Tis extraordinary that you
bring Sir John Fenwick here to answer for Treason, when
it is allowed, in the Suggestions of the Bill, you have but
one Witness to that Treason; and, when you take these extraordinary Steps, you should comply with him as much as
you can in Forms: For if Treason be not Treason, unless it
be proved by two Witnesses, and you will give him liberty
to make his Defence, I think it no loss of time (for you
cannot go through the Bill to-night) to see whether Sir John
Fenwick be guilty of what is contained in the Indictment:
And I will give you one reason, why he could not be prepared to make his Defence in so short a time, namely, because he could not produce his Evidence, if he had any; and,
if you give him longer time, I suppose you will think fit that
Sir John Fenwick should give an account of what Witnesses he shall make use of for his Defence, and give him an
Order for those Witnesses to attend. (fn. 1)
Mr. Harley said, 'I find all Gentlemen that speak of
this Subject, do say, that this Matter is of an extraordinary
Nature, and you have entered into it by very extraordinary
Methods: But I must observe, that this being the first Bill
of this kind, that hath been brought into the House before
any Proof, Gentlemen must be excused if they are cautious
what steps they take; and when the Wisdom of the House
hath thought fit to take quite different Methods as to the
Preliminaries, it is not to be wondered at, if they meet with
Difficulties in their Proceedings.
'Some Gentlemen press for more time to be given Sir
John Fenwick, to be prepared; and others urge, that you
should declare whether the Counsel should be heard to any
thing, but what is suggested in the Bill: And, I think, you
must give a determination to the last Question, though the
House agree to give him longer time; for if you give him
longer time, it will afterwards come to the same Debate,
Whether they shall be heard to any thing but what is suggested in the Bill? If you should think fit to add any thing,
then it will be reasonable that he should be also heard to
that; for in the Case of the Death of a Man, let him deserve
never so much, yet he does not deserve to die unjustly by our
hands. It seems a very plain Proposition, that when a Man
is accused, he should not answer to what he is not charged
with; and to charge it with Innuendo's and Implications is
so uncertain, that I have always seen it denied in this House;
so I hope, I shall not see so great an Assembly give counsenance to it. They did tell you, they were prepared to speak
to the Reasonableness of the Bill; but this matter not being
suggested, they are not prepared to speak to it.'
Resolved to give Sir John further time; but that Evidence might be given of the Treason in the Indictment.
This Debate continued till it was very late, and at length
two Questions were, by the Direction of the House, put by
1. That Sir John Fenwick be allowed further time to
produce Witnesses in his Defence, against the Charge of
High-Treason; and that he name his Witnesses.
2. That the Counsel, that manage the Evidence against
Sir John Fenwick, be allowed to produce Witnesses, touching the Allegations in the Bill, and the Treasons whereof
he stands indicted.
Both which being resolved in the Affirmative, Sir John
Fenwick was called in again; and Mr. Speaker acquainted
him, that the House was willing to give him till Monday
next to make his Defence; and that if he gave in a List of
his Witnesses, he might have his Warrant for their appearing at that time.
Sir John brought to the Bar again. ; Porter's Evidence.
The 16th, Sir John being brought to the Bar again, Mr.
Serjeant Gould opened the Charge and the Evidence again,
as before: After which (tho' objected to by the Prisoner's
Council, and stiffly debated in the House) Captain Porter
was called as a Witness for the King, and gave the same
Evidence he had done at the Trials of the other Conspirators, of their meeting at the King's head in Leadenhallstreet, and at Mrs. Mountjoy's, at St. James's; at both which
Places he affirmed Sir John was present, and agreed to send
over Charnock to France, to invite over French Troops:
and that Sir John and all the Company agreed, to raise two
thousand Horse here, and join them on their Landing.
Then Mr. Serjeant Gould proceeding to ask Porter concerning the Lady Fenwick's and Clancy's tampering with
him, which Sir John's Counsel opposed, as contrary to
Law and the Practice of Courts; there being besides but
one Precedent, on record of a Wife's being admitted an
Evidence in her Husband's Case, viz. Lady Audley's;
which had been looked upon as illegal ever since.
Debate on admitting Evidence that Lady Fenwick had tamper'd with the Witnesses.
The Prisoner and the Counsel were ordered to withdraw,
and the House entered upon the Debate, whether Evidence
should be admitted of the Lady Fenwick's tampering with
the Witnesses? and those who were for hearing this Evidence, observed, That if they were tied up by the Forms
and Methods of inferior Courts, it was to no purpose to
bring the Prisoner before the House; if he could have been
convicted in the Courts below, there was no occasion for
this Bill: That in the Courts of Common Law all Facts
were tried by Juries, but here the whole House sat as Judges: A common Jury might be influenced by illegal or incompetent Evidence, which might not be fit, therefore, for
them to hear; but in the Court of Chancery such Evidence
was admitted every day; and the Reason was, that a Cause
was dispatched sooner by hearing it than not: That here
they ought to inform themselves by the best Lights they
could get; and if it should appear Sir John employed his
Lady to tamper with the Witnesses, it would have some
weight with them.
The House resolve to admit it.
On the other hand it was observed, That if the House
was not governed by the Rules of inferior Courts, they
ought to be guided, however, by that which was the ground
of their Practice, namely, Reason and good Sense, and the
common Rules of Equity: The House would not punish
one Person for the Act of another. The Counsel for the
Bill had not so much as opened, that Sir John was instrumental in the withdrawing of Goodman: and if the Lady
Fenwick was concerned in it, this could only affect Sir
John by way of Inference. But the Question being put,
That Porter be examined to the Attempt of taking off his
Testimony, it was resolved in the Affirmative.
Accordingly Porter was then examined, and declared, he
had been offered 300 Guineas, &c: to go into France. One
Mr. Roe likewise signify'd, that he had been offer'd 100 l.
a Year, to discredit Goodman's Testimony.
The Counsel for the Bill then mov'd for reading Goodman's Examination, taken before Mr. Secretary Vernon,
Goodman himself not being in the Kingdom; but this was
warmly oppos'd by the Council for the Prisoner, as what
was not allowable in a Suit of five Shillings.
Debate on the reading Goodman's Examination.
The Counsel and the Prisoner were then again order'd to
withdraw, and a new Debate arose; on which Mr. Manley
said, 'Every one that had look'd into the A B C of the Law,
knew that Examinations before Justices were never read.'
To which Mr. Sloan replied, 'I believe I may save a great
deal of trouble in this matter; for those Gentlemen at the
Bar that made the Objection, speak without Book, but I
speak by Book, having my Lord Chief-Justice Hales's Pleas
of the Crown in my hand: I think he was past his A B C
of the Law; I know not how far this Gentleman is advanced in his Pleas of the Crown in that part, where
he shews what is Evidence to the Petit-Jury; he says, first,
By the Statute 1 & 2 Philip and Mary, c. 13. The Justice
hath power to examine the Offender and Informer; and so
he goes on in several Particulars, and then he says, These
Examinations, if the Party be dead or absent, may be taken
Another Member replied, 'That such Depositions were
never given in Evidence in the worst of times; even at the
Trial of the Lord Mordant, when Juries were disused, it
would not be admitted; and they were tried by the Rules
of Law, or they were tried by nothing.'
Another said, 'He should not look upon himself to be so
tied up by the Rules of Law, but that he might hear all the
Evidence that could be offered: If they could not have the
two Witnesses, on whose Testimony the Bill was found, they
would take such Evidence as they could get.' And one said,
he had seen a Justice of Peace examined concerning the
Depositions he had taken, and he took it to be ordinarily
On the other side, Mr. Harcourt observed, 'That if they
were to collect all the Absurdities out of the Trials of the
late Reigns, they would not find more than had been advanced by the Counsel for the Bill; and if those Depositions
were Evidence, where the Witness was absent, there had
been no need of this extraordinary way of proceeding in
Parliament. This Gentleman was seconded by Mr. Harley,
who observed, 'That Bills of Attainder, and Judgments of
Attainder, had been reversed, for no other reason, but because the Parliament had not proceeded by the Rules of
Law; and if they were not bound by the Rules of Inferior
Courts, yet they must by the Laws and Practice of Parliaments: and it was never known that this House ever admitted Affidavits as Evidence; for if they did, they must
make this, which was a Superior Court, same and defective,
and to want the Assistance of an Inferior Court.
'Here it is that the Boundaries are establish'd for the Laws
and Liberties of Mankind, and this is an Observation that
is found in History, that those that have broke their Bounds
down, it hath return'd upon them to their Prejudice: Let
us not out of Hatred or Zeal against a guilty Man, lose our
It was replied by a Gentleman for the Bill, 'That though
this might be Evidence in Felony, in a Court of Law, yet
it could not be deemed Evidence there in Treason, because
the Law required two living Witnesses in Treason; there
was a Necessity therefore of resorting to the Parliament:
But in Cases of Felony, where two Witnesses were not required, such Evidence was admitted frequently: The Lord
Chief-Justice Hales's Opinion, also, was so, and that was
grounded on an Act of Parliament.'
A Gentleman, who was against the Bill, thereupon observed, 'That if an Act of Parliament could be produced for it,
the Debate was at an end; but if there was an Act positively
against such Evidence, then he hoped they would reject it:
That the Case in the Lord Chief-Justice Hales related only
to Felony; He says, that Informations may be taken of the
Person himself, (though not by the Common Law) by particular Acts of Parliament; and the Depositions of Witnesses might be admitted, but then the Party ought to be present; and if they would produce a Statute for an Authority,
they must offer a Statute that was in Point: He thought it
was of the last Consequence to admit Affidavits in that
To this a Member for the Bill answered, 'There had been
a Statute lately made, indeed, which required two living
Witnesses in Treason; but in that very Statute it was provided, that Proceedings in Parliament should not be affected by it; and he was not for refusing any Evidence in this
case, though never so small.' And a Gentleman observing
on the other side, that an Affidavit was never read in case of
an Impeachment, which very much resembled this:
A Member for the Bill took notice, 'That all the Cases
which had been cited, were brought from inferior Courts, except the last, which related to the Usage in less considerable
Cases: But a Bill of Attainder was an extraordinary thing, and
never used but upon extraordinary Occasions: The Question
here was only as to the Forms of their Proceedings; and
the Law had entrusted the Parliament with a greater Power
than they were now about to execute: They might declare
that to be a Crime, which was deemed no Crime before it
was committed; and surely they might determine what they
would admit as Evidence of a Crime.' Another added, 'There
was lodged in the Legislature, a Power to judge those Crimes
that were sheltered from the Law; and he thought never
any Attainder was brought in upon a juster Occasion than
this: The Prisoner was not only in a Plot to bring in a
foreign Power; but had given in a false and scandalous Information, to create a Distrust and Jealousy between the
King and his People; and had trifled with the Government, and gained so much Time, that he had found an Opportunity to corrupt one of the Witnesses; and it would be
hard if the Legislative Power could not reach him.'
It was replied by the other side, 'That though this House
was not bound by the Rules of inferior Courts, they ought
to give such Rules, and make such Precedents, as were fit for
other Courts to imitate: That this might be a dangerous
Precedent for future Parliaments to act by; For suppose
the Information Sir John Fenwick had given in, should
hereafter be produced as Evidence against any of those honourable Persons he had accused; and some Rascal in a
future Reign should come in also against them, would it not
be thought a great Hardship, and a Piece of Injustice, to
make such a Paper to supply the Place of a second Witness;
and pass a Bill to attaint them of High-Treason on such
Evidence? Of what Consequence would this be?
Resolved that Goodman's Examination should be read.
But the Question being put, That the Information of
Cordell Goodman, taken upon Oath, the 24th of April, 1695,
should be read: It was carried in the Affirmative; Yeas
218, Noes 145.
The Tenor of it.
Then the Prisoner and the Council were called in again;
and the Information of Goodman, made before Mr. Secretary
Vernon, was read; wherein he deposed, That there had
been a Conspiracy to seize the Person of King William,
and raise a Rebellion, for two Years then last past: In
which he charged Sir John Fenwick with being a Principal,
and brought several Circumstances to prove it.
In support of this, two of the Grand-Jury declared to the
House, that Goodman gave the like Evidence before them,
which had induced them to find the Bill.
A Motion being made to adjourn, it pass'd in the Negative,
Yeas 141, Noes 163.
The Record at the Conviction of one Cook, another of
the Plotters, was then offered, by the Council for the Bill:
Goodman's Evidence, said they, in that Case, affecting Sir
John Fenwick as much as Cook himself.
Debate on the Record of Cook's Conviction.
This gave rise to another Debate, and the House being
clear'd in order thereto; a Gentleman, who was against
the Bill, observed, 'That such Evidence had never been admitted in a Court of Law, or in that House; namely the
Evidence that was given at the Trial of another, which Evidence was to be us'd against a Person who was not present, and
had no Opportunity of defending himself against it.' Another
Member demanded, 'If they were to read all the Trials for
the Plot.' Whereupon it was demanded, by a Gentleman who
was for the Bill, 'Why they admitted the Evidence Goodman had given to the Grand-Jury to be repeated? This
was but the Evidence of what he had said to the Petit-Jury:
If nothing but strict Proof was to be offered, this Bill had
never been brought in; but they were to accept of such
Proof as the Nature of the Thing would bear.'
To which the other side answered, 'If they had determined at first, that they would not expect legal Proof, they
might have shortned their Debates pretty much.' Another
said, 'They were put upon passing a Bill of Attainder against
a Man, and were not allowed to talk of Proofs: If they had
no Evidence for it, he was sure there was Evidence against
it: For at Cook's Trial, two or three Witnesses had sworn,
that Goodman was not at the Meeting at the King's-Head,
where he swore he was.' Another Gentleman put them in
mind,' That a great many Judgments in the late Reign had
been reversed, because they received such Evidence at those
Trials, as was not legal Evidence; and that this Grievance
was taken notice of in their Bill of Rights.'
To which it was replied, by a Gentleman for the Bill,
'That had Goodman sworn at that Trial, that Sir John Fenwick was not at the King's-Head, Sir John might have
produced a Witness, to prove what he had sworn; and why
might not the Evidence which made against him be proved?'
Whereupon a Member, who was against the Bill, replied,
'It was one thing to produce a Record to convict or attaint
a Person, and another, when it was produced, to prove a
Man perjured, or to invalidate his Testimony: For when
Evidence was brought against a Prisoner, he had no way
to lessen it, but by what was collateral: And where the Witness had given contrary Evidence at another Trial, or the
Prisoner had been acquitted, Then the Record might be
made use of against that Witness; but could never be made
use of to convict or attaint any Person.'
Resolved to read the Record of Cook's Conviction.
The other side said, 'They did agree, that neither the
Conviction of Cook, nor any Evidence upon his Conviction,
could be Evidence against Sir John Fenwick: But it was
one of the Allegations in the Bill, That several Gentlemen
were present at the Meeting at the King's-Head, where
Sir John Fenwick was charged to be; and they produced
it to make good that Allegation.' And the Question being
put, That the Record of the Conviction of Peter Cook be
read, it passed in the Affirmative; Ayes 181, Noes 110;
and accordingly that Record was read.
The Evidence of what Good-man swore at Cook's Trial offered.
The next Thing the Council for the Bill proposed, was,
to examine some of the Jury-men who served at Cook's Trial,
and some other Witnesses, to prove what Goodman had
sworn at that Trial; which the Council for the Prisoner
opposing, they were all ordered to withdraw again.
A Debate thereupon.
Then a Member, who was against the Bill, said, 'He
thought it had been admitted by the other side, in the former Debate, That no such Evidence ought to be admitted:
But, if they were not to be guided by the Rules of Westminster-Hall, he was sure they ought not to seek a Way to
the King's Favour, by attainting a Man of High-Treason,
upon incompetent Evidence.'
It was said on the other side, 'That it was every Day's
Practice in Civil Cases, to hear what a Witness had said at
another Trial between the same Parties, where a Witness
was dead.' To which it was answered 'That in those Courts
a Witness must swear true at his Peril; for if he did not, he
might be punished for it: But here, if he takes away a Man's
Life by what he says, what Remedy was there against
Others said, 'If there was not another Place where the
Witnesses would be sworn, they could not give their Consent to the passing this Bill, for the Witnesses for the Prisoner were not sworn: So that they could only give an Opinion upon the Probability of the Matter.'
Another Member against the Bill, said, 'He could not but
take notice of what had been said by the other side, That
they had done as much as this comes to already: This made
him still more apprehensive, and to take care what he did
now; since what the House did, had so quick an Operation, and they were already citing Precedents of that very
Day, and still making one thing a Handle to draw on
Resolved to examine the Witnesses of what Goodman swore at Cook's Trial.
However, it was Resolved upon the Question, That the
Council for the Bill should be allowed to examine Witnesses of what Goodman swore at the Trial of Cook; Ayes
180, Noes 102: And thereupon the Prisoner and the Council being called in again, two or three of the Jury-men at
Cook's Trial were examined, as to what Goodman said at
that Trial; and answered, That Goodman deposed, he was
introduced into the Company of the Conspirators at the
King's-Head, by Mr. Porter; and there Sir John Fenwick
and the rest agreed to send Charnock to France, to procure Forces from thence; and another Person, who was
present at Cook's Trial, testify'd the same: And it being
demanded of the Witness, If any Exception was taken then
to Goodman's Credit? he answered, It was objected that
Goodman had been guilty of several Crimes; to which it
was said, he had his Pardon, and was then a good Witness.
Sir John's Letter to his Lady offered as Evidence; but rejected.
Then the Council for the Bill desired to read the Letter
above mentioned to be written from Sir John Fenwick to
his Lady from Romney, after he was apprehended: But
Sir John's Council insisted, that this Case came short even
of Colonel Sidney's; this Piece of Evidence was therefore
void. And it being now very late, Sir John's Council were
ordered to make their Observations on the Evidence for the
Prisoner the next Morning: But were told, If they had any
Witnesses to examine, they must produce them that Evening;
for they could not hear Witnesses afterwards. To which Sir
John's Council answering, They should call no Witnesses; but
when they came to speak, they should give the House Satisfaction why they did not think it necessary to produce any;
the Prisoner and his Council withdrew, and the House soon
after broke up.
The Gentlemen charged by Sir John, move, he might prove the Charge.
The 17th, Sir John Fenwick and the Council on both
sides were called in again; and the Speaker directing the
Council for Sir John to make their Observations on the
Evidence that had been given; they did so; and were reply'd to by the Council for the Bill. After which, both
Parties being withdrawn, Admiral Russel moved, that Sir
John might be called in again, and asked, What Proof he
had, that he (the Admiral) sent Captain Lloyd to France,
and was guilty of the other Facts mentioned in the Paper
he sent to the King?
Then Colonel Crawford for himself, Colonel Godfrey
for the Lord Marlborough, Mr. Bridges for the Duke of
Shrewsbury, Mr. Boscawen for the Lord Godolphin, and
Colonel Granvill for the Lord Bath; desired Sir John might
be asked, What Proof he could make of the Facts, he had
charged them with respectively in the said Paper?
Sir John refuses to answer on that Head.
Another Member moved, That he should be asked in
general, what Proof he had of the Particulars in that Paper? But at length it was agreed, that the Paper should
not be produced; and that they should only ask him upon
every Name in that Paper, in the Order they were mentioned there, What he knew of that Gentleman? And accordingly, Sir John and his Council were called in again,
and Mr. Speaker demanded of him, What he knew of the
Lord Godolphin? (being the first Person mentioned in the
Paper.) To which Sir John answering, He hoped they
would not put him upon answering any thing that might
hurt himself, he was ordered to withdraw.
Mr. Vernon relates the Endeavours used by Sir John to put off his Trial.
Then it was moved, That Mr. Vernon might give an Account of Sir John's Practices, to get his Trial put off from
time to time, on pretence of making a Confession; this
being one of the Allegations in the Bill, of which no Proof
had been made: And it being agreed, that this ought to be
done in the Presence of Sir John and the Council, they
were called in again: And Mr. Vernon related, that the
Lady Mary Fenwick had applied to him to get Sir John's
Trial put off, on pretence of his making Discoveries; and
that several of the Ministry had attended Sir John, on his
Promises of making a full Confession: but that he had only
amused them from time to time, till Goodman was gone.
After which Mr. Speaker demanded of Sir John's Council,
If they had any thing to observe upon that Head.?
The Observations of his Council upon it.
Sir Thomas Powis answered, He did not find there was
any Degree of Treason in this Part of the Charge; and what
Crime they would construe it, he could not tell: That it
was usual for Persons, under an accusation, to endeavour
to put off their Trial, on Account of the Absence of their
Witnesses, or for other Reasons: But this was no Crime;
at least, not of the Nature the Bill charged.
Sir Bartholomew Shower added, If Sir John had prevaricated, as they called it, he hoped that was far from making him guilty of High-Treason; and that if this was an
Offence, it was so at Common-Law, and he might be punished for it by common Methods: And if it was no Offence,
he hoped they would not make it an Offence by a new Law,
so as to inflict the greatest Punishment for such an Artifice.
A Debate on the second reading of the Bill.
The Prisoner and Council being withdrawn, the Bill was
read a second time, after which there was a profound Silence:
Whereupon Mr. Speaker demanding, if he should put the
Question of Commitment? a Debate arose, which was begun
by Sir Thomas Dyke, who said, 'He hoped he would not put
the Question of Commitment, till some Exception was made
to the Bill; for he was sure it was as liable to Exceptions,
as any Bill that had been brought in a great while.'
Arguments for the Bill.
To this it was replied, 'That the Parliament would never
take a Cause from the ordinary Courts of Justice, or attaint
a Person of High Treason, unless in extraordinary Cases:
But here, it appeared, they had been deprived of the Evidence that was necessary in Inferiour Courts; and, in such a
Case, it was usual for the Parliament to interpose: For the
Parliament were not bound down by what was called legal
Evidence; but might make use of any Information that
could give them any Light into the Matter: They were
Judges of their own Methods, and could pass a Judgment
on Sir John Fenwick's Guilt, from the Circumstances before
them; and were not tied down by the Rules of WestminsterHall: That this Power indeed had been seldom exerted,
but where the Party was withdrawn from Justice, and could
not be come at in the ordinary Course: But this was a parallel Case; they could not come at Justice in the ordinary
Course, their Witness having been tampered with and withdrawn; and therefore, from what was admitted on the other
Side, the Parliament ought to exert their Power, when the
Offender could not be come at otherwise. This Case was
proper to be brought before the Parliament, which was vested
with a discretionary Power, to do whatever they apprehended for the Good of the Kingdom; and this they looked upon
as a fit Occasion to exert that Authority: That, indeed, this
Power was like Thunder in the hands of Providence, not
to be used but upon extraordinary Occasions; and then it
never ought to fail of doing Execution: For Men would
trifle and contemn that Power which was not able effectually
to exert itself. Some Gentlemen were afraid of making an
ill Precedent; but it was for that very Reason others were
for passing the Bill: For as the Law stood, he was but a
bungling Politician, that could not ruin the Government,
and yet not come within the Bill of Treason to be hanged
for it: And therefore, for the keeping Ministers of State in
awe, and that the Parliament might have it in their power
to punish such Offenders as they saw fit, as well as the Prisoner, they were for the Bill.
'It had been objected indeed, that Sir John Fenwick's
Life was not of that Consequence as some pretended: He
was not so considerable, that his Escape could bring any
Danger to the Public. But it was a very just Observation,
that if a Plot was discovered, and not thoroughly prosecuted,
it would strengthen and grow upon the Administration; and
it was ten to one, but the Government was subverted by the
Conspirators in the end. That no one could imagine, that
Sir William Perkins, Sir John Friend, and the rest that had
been discovered, were the only Persons concerned in this
Conspiracy; there must be much greater Men concerned in
it: And when they saw such a Struggle to get People out of
Jayl, and send them out of the Way, they must suppose
there was something extraordinary still to be done: And they
would not have Men think to secure themselves by bribing
and tempering with the Witnesses. It was notorious that
Parties were forming for King James; Persons were plotting in every Part of the Kingdom, and an open Invasion
threatened: And; if this was not a time to exert their extraordinary Power, when would it be a proper time?—Others
observed, that if the Laws of God and Nature required, that
no Man should be put to death without two Witnesses, it
was strange that all Christian Nations were not governed by
such Laws: But in Fact, no two Nations agreed in their
Manner of Proof; and we differed from all other Nations,
in bringing the Witnesses and the Prisoner Face to Face;
and requiring two Witnesses in Cases of Treason: Nor did
we ourselves, require the same Proof in some Cases as we did
in others; for one Witness was sufficient in Felony: And
before the Statute of Edward VI any Evidence was sufficient,
even in Treason, which was sufficient to incline the Jury to
give a Verdict: And for the Treason of Coining, such Evidence was still sufficient. That if this Precedent had been
made in the Case of an innocent Person, or even where the
Fact was doubtful, by a prevailing Party, it had been an
ill Precedent: But it being made for a Man that was notoriously guilty, and one who deserved this extraordinary
Resentment of the Nation; and who would have been brought
to Justice in the ordinary Manner, if he had not eluded if,
and made it impracticable; they thought, if it should appear, that the Nation would not be put off so, but make an
Example of him, Posterity would applaud and thank them
for it. They did not however condemn him, because he had
protracted his Trial; but because he had been guilty of
High-Treason, the worst of Treasons; which would have
been proved against him in the ordinary Way of Proceedings,
if he had not pretended to make Discoveries, and by that
Means put off his Trial till a Witness was gone; and when
he found himself out of the ordinary Reach of Justice, set
the Justice of his Country in defiance: And if these were
not sufficient Reasons to put him to death, yet they were
sufficient to justify their Proceedings against him in this Manner. And notwithstanding Sir John was represented as too
inconsiderable to endanger the Government; it appeared he
was to have been a General, and was acquainted with a
great many Officers: That he had not made an Atonement
to his injured Country, as he ought to have done, by an ingenuous Confession; and unless they proceeded steadily against
him, they should have none of the Discoveries they expected.
Not that they would hang a Man because he would not confess; but, because he had been guilty of the deepest Treason, and aggravated his Offence in that Manner, he deserved to die; unless he would merit his Life by a Discovery
of what he knew.'
Arguments against the Bill.
On the other hand, the Gentlemen who argued against
the Bill, insisted, 'That the Person they intended to condemn
by this Bill was forthcoming: He had been indicted, had
pleaded, and was ready to undergo his Trial in the ordinary
Courts of Justice: That the meanest Subject was entitled to a
Trial by Jury: Even the Regicides who actually murdered
the King, and did not fly, were admitted to a Trial in the ordinary Courts of Justice, though a Bill of Attainder passed against
the rest: And it must be thought strange, that the same Parliament, which passed an Act requiring two Witnesses in
Treason, should pass an Act to put a Man to death without
one legal Witness, and without allowing him any Trial at
all. If Mr. St. John's Position in Lord Strafford's Case was
admitted, (viz.) That a subsequent Law might be made, to
take away a Man's Life, without any Evidence, other than
the private Opinion or Conscience of every particular Lawmaker; then no Man was safe. In the Lord Strafford's Case,
the Proceedings were first by Impeachment: The Witnesses
had been examined upon Oath in the House of Peers: and
the Bill of Attainder recited, that the Facts had been fully
proved. But for a Bill to begin originally in the House of
Commons; and Judgment to be given there to deprive a
Man of his Life, and all that was valuable, without the
Sanction of an Oath, was extremely hard.—That Bishop
Burnet, in his History of the Reformation, had observed,
that such Bills could not be enough condemned; for that
they were a Breach of the most sacred and unalterable Rules
of Justice. Had the Government been in danger from the
Prisoner, indeed ordinary Rules might have been dispensed
with: But this being for an Offence committed a Year before, the Persons executed who were concerned in it, and
all the Danger over, there could be no manner of Reason
for resorting to their Legislative Power to punish this Man:
The most that could be thought reasonable in this Case,
would be, to enact, that Goodman's Evidence, the Witness
who was fled, should be read at his Trial: They could not
condemn the Prisoner, and thereby put him in a worse Condition than if Goodman was here; for then he would have
had a Trial by a Jury, the Benefit of his Challenges, the
Witnesses sworn, and might have made his Exceptions to
their Testimony; all which he was deprived of here: That
the Parliament had Power to make such a Law, was admitted; but they thought it ought not to be used but upon
extraordinary Occasions, when the Offenders were so big,
that they could not otherwise be brought to Justice; or where
the Crimes did not fall under the Denomination of the Common Law, which was not the present Case: That there was
not one Precedent for attainting a Person who was in Custody
and forthcoming; but what had been universally branded:
They were rather Reproaches to the ill Reigns they were
made in, and to be marked out as Rocks to be avoided, than
Patterns to be imitated: That though it was true they were
not tied up by the Rules of Westminster-Hall, yet what was
Reason and Justice in Westminster-Hall was so every where
else; and so far as those Rules were founded on Reason and
Justice, they ought to be imitated: That they had indeed
made a Law to prevent People's being executed by an Arbitrary Power, and in an unlawful Manner in WestminsterHall; but if they made this Example, the Subject might be
perpetually executed here, and would be never the safer for
the Bill of Treasons: That after this Precedent, every Man
would be in danger of being proceeded against in like manner; and we might see Parties hang one another by
Turns, with great Violence. Some Gentlemen indeed had
said, they did not aim at the Prisoner's Blood, but at his
Confession; and so he was to be racked to Death from one
reading of the Bill to another, and possibly might come to be
hanged at last, not for High-Treason, but for not confessing
it. As to the Safety of the Government, which was pretended they did not see how the Safety of the Government
depended, upon his Life; or that it would be a Penny
the worse if the Bill did not pass: The Preamble to the Bill
for attainting the Duke of Monmouth gave a substantial Reason for it, that he was in Arms and could not be brought
to Justice, which implied that if he could have been brought
to Justice, they would not have attainted him: They did admit indeed, where the Government was at stake, and nothing
could preserve the Kingdom but breaking through the settled
Forms, there the Government might, and in all such Cases
would, break through them, whatsoever Rules were prescribed; but they did not think Sir John Fenwick's living
or dying of that Consequence as the passing this Bill of Attainder was. As to the Allegation of his having protracted
his Trial, it was natural, and what every body in such Circumstances attempted, and could not be a sufficient Ground
to attaint him: And as to his being instrumental in withdrawing the Evidence, this was neither proved, or so much
as suggested in the Bill; and if it had, did not demand so
severe a Punishment, any more than his having aspersed some
great Men, as the Bill charged: That it was true, he had
charged some Gentlemen, and it was very hard they should
sit as Judges on the Person who accused them, and endeavoured
to baffle his Evidence, by cramming a Bill of Attainder
down his Throat: And there were other Gentlemen in the
House, who were the King's Counsel and Prosecutors; and
it was hardly agreeable to Justice, that these should sit in
Judgment on the Prisoner: That High-Treason indeed was
a great Crime, but what was there in this Case to make it
differ so much from other Treasons, that they must proceed
in this extraordinary manner? He had aspersed great Men,
he had prevaricated with the Government, and protracted
his Trial till a Witness was withdrawn: But if these Reasons
were sufficient to induce them to have recourse to a Bill of
Attainder, then whenever there should be but one Witness
for the future, by virtue of this Precedent, the Legislature
must interpose, and a Bill of Attainder be brought in. True
it was, this might sufficiently convince Men that they could
never be safe, how artful soever they were in practising
against the Government: But then, what Security to the
Subject were all the Laws made for regulating Trials in
Cases of Treason? If when there was but one Witness, and
perhaps not one, the Person accused might be taken out of
the ordinary Courts of Justice and condemned to die, because
common Fame had declared him guilty: And if Goodman's
Paper, who was withdrawn, was to be admitted as an Evidence before the House, the Consequence of that would be,
that, if a Minister of State could hereafter get an Examination sworn before a Justice of Peace, and then send the Witness away, a Bill of Attainder might be clapped on the Back
of the Party accused, and this should be deemed sufficient
Evidence to destroy him: If after this Precedent, forty Men
should be taken up for a Plot, and there should be two Witnesses against twenty of them, and one against the other twenty, then a Bill of Attainder must be brought in to condemn
the latter without legal Evidence: And if this was to be the
Method of proceeding for the future, Men would be more
unsafe than they were before the Acts of Treason were made,
inasmuch as Parliaments were as liable to be influenced as
Juries, and their Power as irresistable.
'That most of the Attainders which had been produced as
Precedents had been reversed; because the Persons condemned had not had the Benefit of the Law, and if that was a
good Reason for reversing such Attainders, it was a good
Reason also why they should not proceed by Attainder:
And to tell them the Government was in Danger, and that
the Fate of England and Europe depended on this Bill, was
certainly offered, rather to amuse than convince them; it
was impossible the Government could be in Danger from one
they had in their power, and might restrain him of his Liberty for Life, and whose Estate and Interest were so inconsiderable. It was strange, the Government could not
support itself without taking away the Life of such a one,
contrary to the Rules of Law.
The Bill pass'd on the second reading, with an Amendment.
These Debates having continued till Eleven at night, the
Question was put, That the Bill be committed, which passed
in the Affirmative, Ayes 182, Noes 128: But the Committee
made an Amendment, by adding the following Words to
the Bill, viz. of which Treason Sir John Fenwick is guilty.
Divisions on a Bill for further regulating Elections.
The 23d, the Question was put for the second reading of
a Bill for farther regulating Elections of Members. (Against
which, the principal Cities had petition'd, as calculated to incapacitate several Persons for want of Estates in Land from being
elected.) It pass'd in the Affirmative, Yeas 50. Noes 43.
The Question being put, that the Bill be committed, it
pass'd in the Affirmative, Yeas 79. Noes 64.
The Bill to attaint Sir John Fenwick order'd to be ingross'd.
The same Day Mr. Norris, from the Committee of the
whole House, reported the Amendments made to the Bill to
attaint Sir John Fenwick, which were agreed to; and the
Question being put, that the said Bill and Amendments be
ingrossed; it passed in the Affirmative, Yeas 125. Noes 88.
The Coin-Bill pass'd.
The 24th, the Bill for remedying the ill State of the Coin
Report of the Committee appointed to inspect the State of Trade.
The same Day, Mr. Blathwaite presented the Report of
the Committee appointed to inspect the Trade of this Kingdom; in which the Dearness of Labour, the Exportation
of Wool, (properly called the selling the Trade instead of
the Commodities of the Kingdom,) the importing prohibited Goods, by Smugglers, the pernicious Art of Stockjobbing, and the Neglect of our Fisheries, are made appear
to be the principal Reasons, why the Commonwealth was
not in so flourishing a State as might be both expected and
In the said Report the Trade of the Plantations, in particular, Sugars, Tobacco, and Naval-Stores, were, in a particular manner, recommended to the Consideration of Parliament.
Report of the Miscarriage of the Land-Bank.
The same Day, likewise, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, according to Order, presented to the House an Account
how the 2,564,000 l. designed to be raised by a Duty on
Salt, Glass, and Tobacco-Pipes came to fail; the Account
of which was, that after all manner of Expedients had been
proposed by the Commissioners (for taking Subscriptions to
the National Land-Bank,) to render their Project palatable
to the Public, the Books were open'd at Exeter-Change,
June 5. when the Lords of the Treasury subscribed 5000 l.
on the King's behalf: That 2100 l. more was all subscribed,
between that and the Expiration of the Term limited by the
Act for taking the said Subscriptions. And that the said
Commissioners ascribed the Cause of their ill Success to be
the large Interest allow'd upon all Securities both public
and private, at the same time that they were limited to 5 per Cent.
The 25th, the Bill against Sir John Fenwick was read
a third time, and (fn. 2) several Speeches where made for and
against it; the Substance of which is contain'd in the two
'Mr. Methuin, Mr. Speaker, I have not troubled you in
any of those long Debates you have had on this Occasion,
and do it unwillingly now; but I do think it every Man's
Duty, in a Case of this great importance, freely to own his
Opinion, and give his Reasons for it.
'The greatest Part of the Debate hath run upon two
things: On the one side, the Inconveniency of Bills of Attainder, or at least the having them too frequent: On the
other side, that it is necessary to have them sometimes, that
no Persons might think they were out of reach, if they could
evade the Laws that were made to punish ordinary Offenders.
'I think both these Points too general, and that this Bill
(as every other) ought to have its fate upon the particular
Circumstances of the Case before you; and whoever gives
his Affirmative to this Bill, ought to be convinced that Sir
John Fenwick is guilty of High-Treason; and also that
there are extraordinary Reasons why the Nation does prosecute him in so extraordinary a Manner: And I do think
neither of these is sufficient alone.
'If between the Indictment and Arraignment or Trial,
Goodman should have died, and there had been no other
reason for attainting Sir John Fenwick, but only the want
of his Evidence; I should not have thought it a sufficient
reason, though we should have an Opportunity of being informed of his particular Evidence, and believed him guilty:
And if Sir John Fenwick does not appear guilty, I do not
think any Reason of State can justify this Bill, though he hath
prevaricated and behaved himself to the Dissatisfaction of
every body; therefore I think, there must be both these.
'You have heard the Evidence, and I shall not repeat it,
but rather come to those things that distinguish Sir John
Fenwick's Case; only this, you have received the Evidence
against Sir John Fenwick, and given him liberty to make
his defence, and have fully heard him; which, I think,
hath altered the reason of a great many Precedents, cited
from my Lord Coke and other Authors.
'That which distinguishes this Case, is, the great danger
the Nation was in from this Conspiracy, and the Sense the
Nation hath had of it; and I find, by the general Opinion
of all Persons, this danger is not thought yet at an end.
'There seems likewise to be an Opinion as general, that
Sir John Fenwick could have contributed to your safety by
'The next Circumstance is, that Sir John Fenwick,
knowing this and the expectations the Nation had from him,
that he could have contributed to your safety, hath made
use of that to put off his Trial; and, at last, has made such a
Paper, as does shew an inclination to do you all the prejudice he can; by pretending to create new dangers; and
by this means Sir John Fenwick, against whom there were
two Witnesses when he was indicted, hath delayed his Trial,
so that now there is but one; and there is a violent presumption that this Person is withdrawn by the practice of Sir John
'There remains yet with me as great a Consideration as
any of these; the public Resentment of the Nation for such
his behaviour, is the only Means his practice has left you to
prevent the danger that yet remains; and it seems necessary
for your safety, to take the next best way, to that he could
have led you to by his discovery. Against the Evidence
that hath been given, there have been great Doubts raised,
not so much whether it be such Evidence as ought to incline
us to believe him guilty: But whether it be such as you should
hear in the capacity you are in; and after it is found such as
it is, that is to say, not such as would convict him upon
another Trial, whether you ought to credit it, and that it
should influence you to give your Vote for this Bill of Attainder? This is a doubt that I find weighs generally with
them that differ from me in Opinion about this Bill; and
therefore I desire leave to speak to that particular.
'Tis said, that you are trying Sir John Fenwick, that
you are Judges, and that you are both Judges, and Jury,
and that you are obliged to proceed according to the same
Rules, though not the Methods of Westminster-Hall, secundum allegata & probata.
'But the State of the Matter, as it appears to me, is, that
you are here in your Legislative Power, making a new Law
for the Attainting of Sir John Fenwick, and for exempting
his particular Case from being tried in those Courts of Judicature, and by those Rules which you have appointed for the
Trial of other Causes, and trying of it yourselves (if you
will use that Word, though improperly) in which Case the
Methods differ from what the Laws made by yourselves require in other Cases; for this is never to be a Law for any
'Methinks this being the State of the Case, it quite puts
us out of the Method of Trials, and all the Laws that are
for limiting Rules for Evidence at Trials in WestminsterHall, and other Judicatures; for it must be agreed, the
same Rules of Evidence must be observed in another Place,
as well as Westminster-Hall, I mean in Impeachments; and
it has always been so taken.
'The Notion of two Witnesses being necessary, has so
much gained upon some Gentlemen, that we have had it
said, that this is required by the Law of Nature, the universal Law of Nations; may, by the eternal Law of God, and
I think, if it was so, there would be no doubt but it would
'And therefore to go to the bottom of the Matter: That
any Man deserves to be punished, is because he is criminal:
That this or that Man deserves it, is because he is guilty of
a Crime, let his Crime be made evident any way whatsoever: For whatsoever makes the Truth evident, is, and is
accounted in all Laws to be Evidence.
'Now, the Rules for examining whether any Person is
guilty, or not, and the Evidence that is allowed as sufficient,
is different in all Nations: No two Nations agree in the same
Evidence for the Trial of Criminals, nor in the Manner of
giving the Evidence against them.
'Your Trials differ from all other Nations, not only that
you are tried by a Jury, which is particular to you, but
that the Witnesses are to be produced Face to Face before
the Offender; and you have made Laws, that there shall be
two Witnesses in case of High-Treason; and herein you
are the Envy of all other Nations.
'Sir, the Evidence that is to be given against Criminals,
differs in the same Nation, when the Offence differs; there
is a Difference between the Evidence that will convict a
Man of Felony, and the Evidence that is to convict a Man
of Treason; and the Evidence to convict a Man for the
same Crime, hath been different in the same Nation at different times. No doubt, by the Canon-Law of England,
that Evidence was sufficient to convict a Man of any Crime,
which was sufficient to make the Jury believe the Person
guilty. Thus before the Statute of Edw. VI. a Man might
be convicted of Treason by one Witness; though that Statute was made upon great reason, and appears to be for the
Public Good, by the general Approbation it hath received;
yet I don't think in your Proceedings here you are bound
'But Sir, it is said, shall we that are the supreme Authority,
(as we are part of it) go upon less Evidence to satisfy ourselves of Sir John Fenwick's Guilt, than other Courts? And
shall we resort to this extraordinary way in this Case?
'Truly, if it shake the Manner of Trials below, I should
be very unwilling to do it; but I do take it clearly, that it
cannot make the least Alteration in the Proceedings of any
Court; but on the contrary, I think there is no stronger Arguments for your resorting to this extraordinary Way, than
that of the Care and Caution with which your Law hath
provided for Defence of the Innocent. For if we consider
all those Laws that have been made for that Purpose, tis
plain it must have been in the View of our Ancestors, that
many Criminals might by this means escape. Your Laws
are made for your ordinary Trials, and for those things that
happen usually; and there is no Government we know in
the World, where there is not Resort to extraordinary
Power, in Cases that require it. Your Government indeed
hath this Advantage, that you can keep to Rules which others
cannot: For in a very wise Government (as was observed by
a Person that was in this House the last time this was debated) all the Ways of punishing Crimes of this nature,
are extraordinary. Persons are condemned there, not only
unheard, but they are condemned before they are accused,
and that is thought necessary there, which will not be endured here: And yet that Government hath continued so
many hundred Years, and no endeavours have been made to
alter it, though so many noble Families have suffered by it;
because they are convinced, as to their Constitution, 'tis necessary.
'The next Argument is from the Precedent you are about
to make; and you have been told, whatever the other Precedents have been, what you do now will be a Precedent
for you and your Posterity: And whilst the Argument is
used only to make you cautious, and to make you consider
well, whether it is according to your Duty to your Country
to pass this Bill, (which no doubt is the only Question before
you) 'tis a good Argument.
'Sir, if this Precedent shall appear to Posterity to be a
Precedent of an innocent Man, or a Person whose Guilt was
doubted of, or one whose Guilt did plainly not appear, and
this Bill should be carried by a prevailing Party, I do agree
it were a very ill Precedent: But if the Case be, that this
Precedent will appear to Posterity upon the Truth of the
thing, to be a Precedent made of a Man notoriously guilty,
of a Man that had deserved this extraordinary Way of Proceeding, and this general Resentment of the Nation, and
that nothing could have hinder'd this Man from the common Justice of the Nation, but his having endeavoured to
elude it in this Matter; and if it appears that you would
not be put off so, but that your Indignation made an Example of this Man, I shall not be sorry it should appear to
Posterity; but I believe Posterity will (as I think they ought)
thank you for it.
'Sir, I do say for my own Particular, while I am innocent,
I should not think my Life in Danger to be judged by 400
English Gentlemen, and the Peerage of England, with the
Royal Assent: And, when I reflect, I cannot be of Opinion,
that the Government could have procured a Parliament, to
have passed a Bill of Attainder against my Lord Russel, or
Mr. Cornish, or Mr. Colledge: I do not think all the Power
of the Government could have prevailed to have done that,
although they could prevail to have them condemned by
the Forms of Law. And here I see that a great many Gentlemen have opposed every Step of this Bill, for fear of
making an ill Precedent: Yet these Gentlemen do believe
in their own private Consciences, that he is guilty: And I
cannot think that any innocent Person can be in danger by
such a Bill, when Gentlemen oppose this Bill only upon the
prudential Part, though they still confess him to be guilty.
'The Conclusion I make for myself is, that I am convinced
in my Conscience (which I think is sufficient, when I act
in the Capacity I now do) that Sir John Fenwick is guilty
of High-Treason, and that there are Reasons so extraordinary to support this Bill of Attainder, that I do not see how
any Person that is so convinced, can refuse to give his Affirmative to this Bill.'
Sir Godfrey Copley's Speech against the Bill.
Sir Godfrey Copley: 'Sir, I am very sensible a great deal
hath been said upon this Subject, but I think there is something in Duty incumbent upon every Man, especially upon
me, who cannot concur with the general Sense of the House,
to give my Reasons for my Disagreement; and I will make
use of no Arguments, but such as I cannot answer myself.
A great deal hath been said upon this Debate by Gentlemen learned in the Law; and many of these, though they
have said they would not speak against the Power of Parliaments, yet the greatest Part of their Arguments have
touched upon your Method of Proceedings; and to shew
you how they interfere with the Rules of WestminsterHall: So great is the force of Custom and Education! But
I acknowledge some have brought us Arguments quite of
'I take the Punishment of Offenders to be one of the necessary Supports of all Governments; and all Societies of
Men have laid down to themselves some Rules, by which
they judge whether Persons accused are innocent or guilty:
Therefore, in a Matter of this extraordinary Importance, it
is proper to consider what Rules we have to go by.
It is the Custom and Law of our Nation, to require two
positive Witnesses to prove Treason; and though, I think,
without the utmost necessity it is not prudent to deviate from
that Rule, yet I will not argue from thence that we are tied
up to it: No, it is most certain on the other hand, that the
Legislative Authority, which hath Power, if they think
good, to abrogate all Laws now in being, cannot be tied
up to any Rules of human Prescription. But Sir, there are
the eternal Rules of Equity, and Justice, and right Reason,
and Conscience; and these I think are unalterable and never
to be swerved from: And therefore I shall take the liberty
to see how far agreeable our Proceedings are to these
'Sir, I look upon it as a fundamental Breach of those Rules,
for an Accusation to be given in against any Man behind
his Back, by he knows not whom, or by any with whom
he is not confronted, and brought Face to Face.
'I am one of those that look upon Sir John Fenwick to be
guilty, and there is a Proof of it by one Witness; and to
this you have added an Indictment that is proved. Now I
must needs own, that I think that to be so far from giving
any Credit or Strength to the Evidence, that in my Opinion the Injustice which attends it, makes the Scales lighter
than they were before; for if any Bill or Writing sworn behind a Man's Back, may be used as part of Evidence, I do
by parallel Reason argue, that the like may make up the
whole at one time or other; and then the Information of
any two profligate Knaves before a Secretary of State, or a
Justice of Peace, shall be sufficient, without any living Testimony, to make a Man run the Hazard of his Life.
'Then Sir, I am not at all convinced of the necessity of
this Proceeding: I must confess, that those that brought this
Matter before us, are much wiser than I, and therefore I
will not examine what reason they had to do it; but it is so
little agreeable to me, I wish it had not come here. But is it
to be supposed that your Government is in hazard by any
Man that is fast in Newgate? Can any Man think, that Sir
John Fenwick can do any thing in his Condition, to hazard
it? Can you expect that a Man that hath been six Months
in Prison, and no body came at him, that he may make such
a Discovery as may be worth your while? But suppose you
had a Man of Invention and Practice, what a Spur do you
put to it? May not a Man of Parts, when he hath no other
Way to save himself, may not he form such a Plot, as
(should it gain Belief) might make the best Subject in England tremble?
'Tis not Sir John Fenwick's Life which I argue for; I
do not think it of so great Value, to deserve so long and
solemn a Debate in this House, nor the Consideration of so
great an Assembly after this manner. But I do say, if this
Method of Proceeding be warranted by an English Parliament, there is an end to the Defence of any Man living,
be he never so innocent.
'Sir, I remember I heard it mentioned on the other side
of the Way, by an honourable Person, who never lets any
Argument want its weight, that King James attainted a
great Number of Persons in a Catalogue, in a lump. Sir,
I am not afraid of what arbitrary Princes do, nor an Irish
Parliament; but I am afraid of what shall be done here: I
am concerned for the Honour of your Proceedings, that it
may be a Precedent to a future Parliament, in an ill Reign,
to do that which, I am satisfied, you would not do. I had
some other Thoughts, which I cannot recollect, though
these Reasons are sufficient to convince me.'
Members for and against the Bill. ; The Bill carry'd.
The other Members who spoke for the Bill, were Mr.
Montague, my Lord Cutts, Sir William Strickland, Sir
Herbert Crofts, Mr. Vernon, Mr. Smith, Mr. Boscawen,
Mr. Cowper, Mr. Sloan, Col. Wharton: Those who spoke
against the Bill, were Sir Charles Carteret, Mr. Manley,
Mr. Dolben, Sir Edward Seymour, Sir Robert Cotton, Lord
Norreys, Mr. Hammond, Mr. Bromley, Mr. Harcourt, Sir
Richard Temple, Mr. Paget, Mr. Jefferies, Mr. Edward
Harley. After the Arguments had been offered on both
sides, the Question was put for passing the Bill; whereupon
the House divided, and it was carried in the Affirmative by
189 Voices against 156, and sent up to the Lords by Mr.
The 27th, a Motion being made for a Time, when the
House should Resolve itself into a Committee on the Grievances
of the Kingdom, an Amendment was offer'd to it, by inserting
the Words State of the Nation, instead of Grievances, and
carry'd in the Affirmative, Yeas 137, Noes 113.
The same day, the House being principally taken up with
the Article of Ways and Means, we shall here insert an Abstract of the principal Proceedings on that Head during this
Proceedings on Ways and Means.
The Ways and Means of raising this Supply were, first,
a general Capitation or Poll-Tax: Secondly, a Tax of three
Shillings in the Pound upon Land: And thirdly, a Duty upon all
Paper, Paste-board, Vellum and Parchment, imported or made in
But still the greatest Difficulty of all, was the Loss of
Public Credit: For the Tallies struck, or Funds settled by
Parliament, especially such as were remote, were exchanged
for ready Money, at a mighty Loss: And the Government
was obliged to make excessive Discounts and Allowances to
bring Treasure into the Exchequer. This great Loss of
Credit, which was like to prove fatal to our Affairs abroad
the last Summer, arose chiefly from two things, First, the
Deficiencies of Parliamentary Funds, particularly the unhappy Project of the Land-Bank, which proved wholly abortive, and did not produce one Penny of above two Millions
and a Half with which it was charged: Secondly, the Recoining of our Silver. The first created Trust, and the
latter destroyed it, by making Money to be very searce. 'Tis
easy to imagine what perishing Circumstances the Nation
was in, when the Notes of the Bank of England, which had
been a mighty Help to the Public, were discounted at
twenty, and Tallies at forty, fifty, or sixty per Cent. The
Government had contracted a great Debt; some Funds were
wholly taken away, and the rest proved deficient; great
Numbers of Tallies were on Funds very remote, and many
had no Funds at all. Hereby the Trust and good Opinion
of the People were so far lost, that those few who had any
Money to lend, shewed the greatest Backwardness imaginable to bring it into the Exchequer, when they could Stockjob it to so great Advantage upon the Royal-Exchange; and
therefore all Loans to the Government were procured on
All Men were amazed and confounded at this Obstruction to Trade and Credit, and hardly believed that the Wit
of Man was able to find out an Expedient, that could be
effectual to retrieve so great a Mischief. The Nation is
the more obliged to the Wisdom, Sagacity, and Eloquence
of Mr. Montague, Chancellor of the Exchequer, who animated the whole Design, and projected the most likely
Methods to bring it to a happy Effect. The 25th, the
Commons had Resolv'd, That a Supply be granted to his Majesty
to make good the Deficiencies of Parliamentary Funds; and afterwards ordered an Estimate to be laid before them, of what
Sums were, or would be wanting to satisfy and discharge all
Principal and Interest due, or to become due on the several
Aids, Duties, or Funds, over and above all Arrears, standing out upon them which were determined; and besides all
Moneys to be raised by such as were then unexpired. And
the (fn. 3) Computation of all the particular Sums that were wanting to make good all the deficient Funds, being made, the
Whole amounted to five Millions, one hundred and sixty
thousand, four hundred Pounds. Having now got to the
Bottom of the Disease, they Resolved on a thorough Cure.
For being sensible, that had some Deficiencies been taken care
of, and others neglected, Public Credit must have continued
lame, and the Government have halted, if it had not fallen
to the ground; they judged it of absolute necessity to make
Provision for the whole; that so there should remain no Tally
without a Fund, nor any Tally on a deficient Fund, but what
in its Course of Payment should be satisfied and discharged.
In order to this, they continued divers Duties arising not
only by the Customs, but by continued and additional Impositions; Paper and Parchment, Births, Marriages, and
Burials, Windows, the Subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage,
after the Day on which they would otherwise have expired,
to the first day of August, 1706. And appointed all the
Moneys which should arise, and be brought into his Majesty's Exchequer from any of these Taxes or Duties, from
the Day on which they were otherwise to expire, to the said
first Day of August, 1706, to be the general Fund for making good all the deficient ones, by the Satisfaction and Payment of the Principal and Interest due, or become due
thereupon. And that all Occasion of Complaint might be
removed, and equal Provision made for all, the Parliament
directed that all Moneys arising from the Duties, so as before continued and appropriated for the general Fund, should
be distributed and applied to pay Principal and Interest upon
every one of the deficient Funds, in proportion to the Sum
of which they were deficient; and that all the Money which
should be in such a due Proportion distributed, or placed
to the Account of each deficient Tax or Fund, for the Discharge of Principal and Interest, should be paid out to all
who were entitled to receive the same, in such Course and
Order, as if the same were Moneys really arising by the respective deficient Funds, and that without being diverted,
misapplied, or postponed; and made the Officers of his Majesty's Treasury liable to great Penalties, in case this Method
were not observed. Moreover, to remove all Doubts about
the Security intended to be given, in case on the first of
August, 1706, or within three Months, then next ensuing,
the whole Produce of the several Funds and Revenues appropriated for a general Fund, together with other Grants
then in being, should not be sufficient to discharge the Sum
of five Millions, one hundred and sixty thousand four
hundred Pounds, intended to be discharged; that then what
was deficient, should be made good out of such Aids or Revenues, as should be granted in the next Sessions of Parliament. Thus the Commons, by an admirable Stroke of Wisdom, as well as a noble Act of Public Justice, provided a
sufficient Security for this great Debt that lay heavy on the
Nation; which was all that could be demanded or expected,
at a time when Money was not in being, and therefore not to
be had. And because all the Branches of Public Credit did
plainly depend on, and mutually support one another, the
Parliament took into Consideration, by what Means they
might buoy up the Credit of the Bank of England, which
was then ready to sink.
In order to this, the Parliament on February 3d, agreed
to augment the common capital Stock of the Bank of England,
by admitting new Subscriptions; which new Subscriptions
should be made good in Tallies and Bank Notes. The proportion was four fifths of the first, and one fifth of the last,
and an Interest of eight per cent. was allowed, as well for
such Tallies that should be brought in, to enlarge their Stock
by Subscription, as for those Tallies which the Company
was then possessed of; provided they did not exceed the value of those Bank-Notes, which should be paid in upon this
engraftment on their Stock; and for securing the Payment
of this Interest of eight per cent. The additional Duty on
Salt was afterwards granted and appropriated. The time of
the Continuance of the Bank of England, they thought fit
to extend to the Year 1710, and resolved likewise, that before the day was fixed for the beginning new Subscriptions, the old Stock be made one hundred per cent. and
that what should exceed that value, should be divided
among the old Members: That all the Interest due on those
Tallies which would be subscribed into the Bank-Stock, at
the time appointed for Subscriptions, (to the end of the last
preceding Quarter, on each Tally) be allowed as Principal.
That Liberty be given by Parliament to enlarge the Number of Bank-Bills, to the value of the Sum which should be so
subscribed, over and above the 1,200,000 l. provided they be
obliged to answer such Bills at demand; and in default thereof,
to be answered by the Exchequer out of the first Money due
to them. That no other Bank be erected, permitted, or
allowed by Act of Parliament, within this Kingdom, during the Continuance of the Bank of England. That on such
new Settlement, the Bank of England be exempted from all
manner of Parliamentary Taxes. That no Act of the Corporation should forfeit the particular Interest of any Person
concerned therein. That Provision be made for the effectual preventing the Officers of the Exchequer, and all other
Officers and Receivers of the Revenue, from diverting, delaying, or obstructing the Course of Payments to the Bank.
That care be taken to prevent the abetting, counterfeiting,
or forging any Bank-Bills or Notes; as likewise against the
defacing, raising, or altering any Indorsement upon any such
Bill or Note. That the Estate and Interest of each Member
in the Stock of the Corporation, be made a personal Estate.
And lastly, that no Contract or Agreement made for any
Bank-Stock to be bought or sold, be valid in Law or Equity,
unless the said Contract be actually registred in the Books of
the Bank within seven Days, and actually transferred within
fourteen days next after the making such Contract. Upon
which Encouragements, a Million was subscribed and paid
in Tallies and Bank-Notes, as the Parliament had directed.
This Expedient was the Result of Mr. Charles Montague's
Skill and Prudence, and tho' many Persons who were interested in it, could not presently apprehend the Reasonableness
of it, yet the Advantages they afterwards received, did fully convince them, that no other way could have been found
to call back their sinking Credit: For the Value of two hundred thousand Pounds in Bank-Notes being sunk by the new
Subscription, the rest, as it was reasonable to believe they
would, began presently to rise in worth; and so likewise did
the Tallies, after so many as amounted to eight hundred
thousand Pounds were paid in to enlarge the Bank. Upon
this the Credit of the Bank recovered apace, till in a short
time their Notes, which bore no Interest, were equal with
Money, and their Bills that bore Interest better than Money:
And by this means the Face of Affairs was quickly much
changed for the better; Credit began to revive, and Money
to circulate on moderate terms; foreign Affairs were less to
our disadvantage, and soon after came to an equality: And
whatever hardships the People had undergone, by reason
of a long and expensive War, and the recoining the SilverMoney, which could not but occasion many Complaints, yet
the greatest part attributed this to the Necessity of Affairs,
and began to hope, both from the Prospect of a Peace, and
the Wisdom of those at the Helm, that they should enjoy
more favourable Times.
Want of Money in specie.
Another Evil of no less Difficulty or Importance than the
loss of Credit, (and which, as was hinted before, was one of
the Springs of the latter) remained still to be removed; and
that was the great Scarcity of Money. The Parliament, to
prevent disappointments, by settling Funds which might
be deficient, came to a Resolution on November 20th,
That the Supplies for the Service of the Year 1697, should
be raised within the Year. But how could above five Millions be raised within the Year, while the Silver-Money was
called in, and recoining, and there was not current Coin
enough in the Nation, to answer the Occasions of Trade,
and scarcely the Conveniencies and Necessities of Life?
This Vote of Parliament seemed impracticable; the Enemies
of the Government made themselves merry with it, and instead of raising their Spleen, 'twas the Entertainment of their
pleasant Humour: And many, even of the best Friends of
the Government, imagined that the Parliament by this, rather expressed their Zeal and Willingness, than their Ability
to support the State, and maintain the present Settlement.
But this Parliament, for whose Wisdom it was reserved to
surmount Difficulties, that were looked on as invincible,
made Money without Bullion, and distributed great quantities of Coin without the help of the Mint. This they did
by authorizing the Lords of the Treasury, to issue out Bills
from the Exchequer, to the value, first and last, of above
two Millions; which Bills were first appointed to be brought
in, and sunk upon the Capitation Tax. But before the
Session ended, the Parliament being convinced by the first
Collection of that Duty, that it would prove very deficient;
they appointed the Exchequer Bills to be brought in, on any
other of the King's Duties or Revenues, excepting the
Land-Tax; and allowed an Interest of seven Pounds twelve
Shillings per annum, upon the second issuing the said Bills
out of the Exchequer, whereas at first they bore no Interest.
By this the Parliament laid a good Foundation for PaperMoney to supply the Place of our Silver-Coin; for so many
Payments were at this time to be made into the Exchequer,
that when the People had assurance given them, that the Exchequer-Notes should be received back again in Payment of
the King's Taxes, they were very well satisfied to take them,
at first indeed at a small Discount, but not long after at an
equality. A great Number of these Notes were only for five
or ten Pounds, which answered the Necessity of Commerce
among the meaner People, for the common Conveniencies of
Life. And that those who had advanced Money on Loans on
any Part of the King's Revenues, might not be obliged to
receive it back in Notes that were under the Value of Money,
to strengthen the Reputation of these Bills, the Parliament
authorised the Lords of the Treasury, to contract with any
Corporation, or Numbers of private Men, and to allow
them a competent Præmium, provided they obliged themselves
to exchange those Notes for Ready Money, when tendred to
them for that purpose; which the Lords of the Treasury did
accordingly. The Credit of the Exchequer Notes being thus
secured, they daily rose nearer to par, till at last they exceeded the Value of Money: And whereas the Trustees, with
whom the Government had contracted to exchange them,
were at first allowed ten per cent. as a Præmium, they were
since contented to do it for four. These Bills passed as so
many Counters, which the People were satisfied to receive,
because they knew the Exchequer would receive them again
as so much ready Money: And these State-Counters so well
supplied the want of Money, till new Coin was issued from
the Mint, that Trade and Commerce were maintained, and
mutual Payments well enough made, to answer the Necessities of the Government and the People. This Project (which
proved an effectual, tho' a Paper-prop to support the State,
when its Silver-Pillars, if I may so speak, were for a time
removed) was likewise owing to the Prudence and Industry
of Mr. Charles Montague, as well as that of re-coining the
Money; which those very Men who envied most his Success
in the House of Commons, and growing Power at Court,
were afterwards contented to call a fortunate Temerity.
Royal Assent given to several Acts.
December 3. His Majesty gave the Royal Assent to the
following Bills, viz. An Act for importing and coining Guineas
and Half-Guineas. An Act for explaining an Act relative to the
Duties on Low Wines, and Spirits of the first Extraction. And an
Act for the further remedying the ill State of the Coin.
Copies of Grants from the Crown read.
The same Day the Copies of the Docquets of Grants of
Crown-Lands, and Sums of Money for the Year 1696, were
read, and are in Substance as follow.
A Revenue of 300 l. per Annum to Samuel Johnson Clerk,
out of the Letter-Office, (vid. Tome II. p. 334.)
A Grant of certain Buildings in White-Hall for 45 Years
at the Rent of 6 s. 8 d to the Earl of Portland.
A Warrant to the Exchequer for an Annuity of 400 l. to
be paid quarterly to Sir R. Killigrew.
A Grant to the Earl of Rochford, of all the Messuages,
and Tenements belonging to Powis-House, (the House itself
was excepted) divers Messuages and Lands in the Parish of
Hendon, together with the Rectory and Advowson of the
said Parish; at the yearly Rent of 13 s. 4 d. Likewise all Arrears and Mesne Profits arisen and payable out of the late
Marquiss of Powis's Estates in the Counties of Northampton
and Montgomery, now about to be pass'd to the said Earl;
likewise all Bonds, Mortgages, Debts, Sums of Money, Goods,
and Chattels, and other the personal Estate belonging to the
late Marquiss, and forfeited by reason of the High-Treason
by him committed.
A Grant to William Saunderson Esq; of 25 Load of Hay,
and 50 Quarters of Oats reserved on two Leases from the
Crown, of certain Lands and Tenements in East Greenwich.
A Grant to the Earl of Portland of the Mannor of Grantham, the Honour of Penrith, the Mannor of Drachlow
and Radheath, the Mannor of Torrington, the Mannor of
Pratington, Bristolgarth, Hornsey, Thurry, Barnsley, and
Leven, all part of the Ancient Revenue of the Crown of
England: And of the Mannor of Pevensey, parcel of the
Dutchy of Lancaster, together with the Mannor of EastGreenwich, to have and to hold for ever, at the yearly Rent
of 13 s. 4 d.
A Grant to Colonel Edward Leigh of 500 l. bequeathed
by his Sister to Edward Lord Griffin outlaw'd for HighTreason.
A Grant to Charles Bertie, Samuel Travers, James Herbert,
and Richard Powis Esqs; of Nercomb Farm, a Tenement in
King-Street, Deptford, a Ditch or Piece of Ground there, a
Close called West-Bromfield, together with certain other
Lands in Deptford aforesaid. The Rents of Assize in East-Peckham, Rents of Assize in East-Farleigh; likewise the TreasuryRents there; all in Kent: The Manors of East-Molsey, Hampton-Court Ferries, the Fisheries there, Richmond-Ferry,
three Tenements call'd the King's-Bench, the Crane, and the
Pike-Garden, in Southwark; the Scite of the Monastery of
East-Sheen, all in Surry: The Lands called Northley, and
Bernard's Castle; likewise Oldbury and Seabeth in Sussex:
Compthill-Park in Bedfordshire: Certain Lands in Shotover and Stowood, and certain other Lands in Oxfordshire:
The Manor and Park of Marybone; a third part of the Demesnes of the Forest of Gillingham in Dorsetshire: The Herbage, &c. of the Forest of Mara, in the Manor of Macclesfield: The Bailywick of the Hundred of Northwich: The
Fraternity of Ively in Cheshire, the Tythes of the Vicarage
of Hallifax, with their Appurtenances, to have and to hold
from the Decease of Katherine now Queen Dowager of England, at the Yearly Rent of 3 l. 13 s. 4 d. ½ for 35 Years.
A Grant to Alexander Johnson Esq; of an Annuity of 300 l.
chargeable upon several Manors, &c. forseited by Sir Roger
Strickland, for eight Years.
A Grant to Lord Raby of all Fines, called Port-Fines,
to be levied in the Court of Common-Pleas, for the Term
of 48 Years at the Yearly Rent of 2276 l.
A Grant to John Agar Esq; at the Nomination and Desire
of Arthur Earl of Torrington, of the House and Scite of
Oatlands in Surry; together with certain Chambers in
Serjeants-Inn, forseited by the Attainder and Outlawry of
Sir Edward Herbert, as likewise of his Majesty's Manors of
Greenwich at the Yearly Rent of 13 s. 4 d.
A Grant to the Lord Cutts of the Hundred of Durnford,
and other Manors, Castles, Towns, Rectories, Advowsons,
Goods, Debts, Chattels, &c. forfeited by the Outlawry of
John Caryll Esq; at the Yearly Rent of 13 s. 4 d.
A Grant to Thomas Hall Esq; of St. James's Market with
its Appurtenances, for 99 Years, to commence at the Expiration of a Term (of 44 Years, which was then to come,)
granted to the late Earl of St. Albans.
A Certificate was then read of the vacating a Grant by
Tally of 24,571 l. 5 s. 4 d. as of his Majesty's free Gift and
Royal Bounty, to the Earl of Portland, but not received, at
the Desire of the said Earl.
Arrears due to the Navy, Army, &c.
The same day likewise, by the Accounts presented to the House, it appeared that the Arrears due to the Navy amounted to l.
|To the Army
|To the Ordnance
(fn. 4) 439,544
Several Amendments to the Bill for the further regulating
Elections, being then made, a Motion was made, that the
said Bill with the Amendments be engrossed, and passed in
the Affirmative, Yeas 183, Noes 157.
The 4th, the Governour and Company of the Bank, attended with their Account Current, which was as follows.
|Debtor to sundry Persons for sealed Bank-Bills standing out
|To Ditto, on Notes for Running-Cash
|To Moneys borrowed in Holland
|To Interest due upon Bank-Bills standing out
|Creditor by Tallies on several Parliamentary Funds
|By ½ Year's Deficiency of the Fund of 100,000 l. per Ann. in the 2d Year
|By Mortgages, Pawns, Cash, &c.
The 5th, by the Report of the Committee appointed to
inspect the Mint, that from Jan. 1, 169⅚. to Nov. 30,1696.
Account of Money coined.
|The whole Coinage in the Tower amounted in Tale to about
|Of which had been paid in to the Exchequer
To Importers of Ingots l.
|To Importers of Plate
|Coin'd at the several Country Mints
Case of Conrade Greibe.
The 8th, the Committee appointed to examine the Petition of one Mary Greibe, made their Report; by which it
appeared that Conrade Greibe, Husband of the said Mary
Greibe, having undertaken to deliver two Petitions in behalf of certain Officers and Soldiers turn'd out of Count
Stanbock's Regiment, to the King and Parliament, was the
Day before seiz'd by one Kitson, a Messenger, by Warrant from Mr. Secretary Trumball, charging him with treasonable Practices. That he was kept in the said Messenger's
hands ten Days; during which time, he had been oftentimes refus'd an Examination: And that at last about two or
three o'clock in the Morning he was taken out of the Custody of the said Messenger by a Party of the Dutch Guards,
who carry'd him on board a Dutch Vessel, from whence he
was convey'd to Brussels, where he was thrown into a Dungeon, and is subsisted on Bread and Water only.
Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to his
Majesty, that he will be pleased to cause the Informations in
relation to Conrade Greibe, to be laid before the House; to
which his Majesty by Message, the 23d, return'd the following Answer.
'His Majesty having receiv'd an Address from the House,
whereby it was desir'd that he would please to cause the
Informations, in relation to Conrade Greibe, to be laid
before the House, is pleas'd to acquaint them, that upon
the Discovery of the late Conspiracy against his Person
and Government, the said Greibe was taken into Custody
among other suspected Persons, as concerned in that Plot;
and about the same time, several Informations being sent
and delivered to his Majesty, whereby he appeared to be
a very dangerous Person; his Majesty thought it for his
Safety not to suffer him, being an Alien, to continue longer
in this Kingdom; and did order the Duke of Wirtemberg, who was then going for Flanders, to transport him
thither, in order to send him to the Elector of Brandenburg, his natural Prince, which was done accordingly:
and the said Greibe was deliver'd to the General of the
said Elector, who was by him appointed to receive him,
together with the Informations.'
Enquiry into the Conduct of the Fleet ends in a Motion for Candles.
The 9th, the House took into Consideration, according
to Order, the Books and Papers laid before the House, relating to the Fleet; and enter'd upon Enquiries how it came
to pass, that the French Toulon Squadron was not intercepted when going into Brest: Upon which Vice-Admiral
Mitchel having been examin'd, and several Letters to and
from Admiral Russel having been read, a Motion was made,
that Candles should be brought in, which pass'd in the Negative, Yeas 128, Noes 150. Upon which, the House adjourn'd.
A Clause to render Merchants eligible, as Members of Parliament, being worth 5000 l.
The 20th, the engrossed Bill for further regulating Elections being read the third time, an engrossed Proviso
was offer'd and agreed to, to render any Merchant, being a
natural-born Subject of England, eligible, on his making
Oath, that he is worth 5000 l. in real and personal Estate: But
no Person to be esteemed a Merchant, for having Money in
the Bank, or any other Company.
The Question being then put, that the Bill do pass, it passed in the Affirmative, Yeas 200, Noes 160.
Report of the Committee upon the Abuses of Prisons.
The 30th, Mr. Pocklington, from the Committee on the
Abuses of Prisons, &c. among a Variety of other Matter,
reported to the House, that one Brunskill a Sollicitor, had
inform'd the said Committee, that Tilly (who had lately
procured an Act of Parliament to enable Bromshall, an Infant, to sell his Interest in the Fleet-Prison; which he,
Tilly, had purchas'd) as he was informed, should say, That
he obtain'd that Act by Bribery and Corruption.
That one Mrs. Hancock applying to Tilly not to protect
one Guy, being his Clerk of the Papers, because he was
perjured, &c. Tilly refused her Request: Upon which,
being ask'd how he would do, if the Matter should be laid
before Parliament? he reply'd, he could do what he would
there; that they were a Company of bribed Villains; that,
to his knowledge, they would all take Bribes; and that it
cost him 300 l. for his Share, and 300 l. for the other Shop
(meaning the King's-Bench) for bribing a Committee last
That she then, intimating that she must then apply to
the House of Lords; he answered, it was only palming 5
or 6 talking Lords, and they would quash all the rest.
And she then said, she would try the King and Council;
he added, the best of the Lord-Keeper's Fees were from
him: That as to the Judges, they were all such a Parcel of
Rogues, that they would swallow his Gold faster than he
would give it them; and that as to the Members of the
House of Commons, they were many of them Members of
That several other Persons had charg'd him with other
Particulars of the like nature.
And that the said Tilly, to invalidate their Testimony,
had insisted they were Persons of bad Character, and in a
Confederacy against him, &c.
Order'd, That John Tilly Esq; be taken into the Custody
of the Serjeant at Arms.
Jan. 5th, the said Mr. Pocklington from the said Committee likewise reported, that it was prov'd to them by two
Witnesses that one Francis Duncomb had likewise reported,
that he had distributed Money to several Members.
Order'd, That the said Francis Duncomb be taken into the
Custody of the Serjeant at Arms.
Royal Assent given to several Acts.
Jan. 11th, His Majesty came to the House of Peers, and
gave the Royal Assent to
An Act to attaint Sir John Fenwick, Baronet, of HighTreason.
An Act to attaint such of the Persons concerned in the late
horrid Conspiracy, to assassinate his Majesty's Royal Person, who
are fled from Justice, unless they render themselves to Justice;
and for continuing several others of the said Conspirators in Custody: and several private Acts.
Orders for dispersing a Mob.
The 21st, a tumultuous Croud of People filling all the
Passages to the House, and clamouring to have the Bill passed for restraining the Wear of East-India Silks; Orders
were given to the Justices to disperse them: and it was resolved, That the inciting and encouraging any Number of
Persons to come in a riotous manner, either to hinder or
promote the passing any Bill depending before this House,
being against the Constitution and Freedom of Parliament,
is a high Crime and Misdemeanour.
Farther Proceedings on the Report concerning the Abuse of Prisons.
The 27th, a Motion being made for reading the Report
deliver'd in by the Committee on the Abuses of Prisons, it
pass'd in the Affirmative, Yeas 152, Noes 107.
Accordingly, the said Report was read, and Mr. Tilly
being brought to the Bar to make his Defence, he desir'd
further time, and the House proceeded to take further Informations; on which occasion several Witnesses added yet
farther Particulars to his Charge, and several endeavoured
to prove that he was innocent of all: and that as it had been
before urg'd, those who accus'd him were prejudiced Persons,
and had enter'd into a Conspiracy against him; of which
many Instances were enumerated before the House.
The whole Affair ended in ordering the said Report to
be delivered to the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General,
and that they do take care to prosecute the Persons concerned for the Crimes therein mentioned.
As likewise, that one Robert Markham, who was convicted of having spoke scandalous Words of the House,
should for the said Offence be taken into the Custody of
the Serjeant at Arms.
The 28th, the Committee appointed to examine several
Petitions relating to the Newfoundland Trade, having made
their Reports, the House agreed with the said Committee
to the following Resolutions:
Votes relating to the Newfoundland Trade.
That the Trade to Newfoundland doth very much promote Navigation, increase Seamen, and is of great Profit
to this Nation, and of Advantage to us in the Balance of
'That the great Losses sustain'd in the Newfoundland
Trade were occasioned thro' Want of a sufficient Number
of Men of War, to secure its Harbours, and to protect the
'That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty,
that a competent Number of Men of War and LandForces be sent as soon as conveniently may be to regain the
lost Harbours in Newfoundland, to cruize on that Coast, to
guard the Fishery, and annoy the Enemy trading to those
Royal Assent given to several Acts.
The same day the King gave the Royal Assent to an Act,
for granting an Aid, as well by Land-Tax, as several Subsidies,
&c. and to two private Bills.
A Minute, which was ordered not to be printed.
The 29th, the Committee appointed to make Enquiry into
the Causes of the late Tumults, having made their Reports,
a Motion was made, and the Question put, That Gabriel
Glover, for speaking scandalous Words of this House and
their Proceedings, be taken into the Custody of the Serjeant
at Arms; it pass'd in the Negative.
Order'd, That the said Question be not printed.
The Printer of the Flying-Post order'd into Custody.
The next Business of Importance was to retrieve and maintain the public Credit; and to supply the Want of Money
by the Currency of Exchequer-Bills, and to support the
Bank of England: The Commons were so intent upon these
wise Ends, that when in a Paper, entitled the Flying-Post,
published on Thursday April the 1st, there was this Advertisement: We hear, that when the Exchequer-Notes are given out upon the Capitation-Fund, whosoever shall desire Specie
on them, will have it at five Pound and a half per Cent. of
the Society of Gentlemen that have subscribed to advance some
hundred thousands of Pounds: They voted this Passage to be
a malicious Insinuation, in order to destroy the Credit and
Currency of the Exchequer-Bills. They ordered the Printer, John Salisbury, to be sent for in Custody: And gave
leave to bring in a Bill, to prevent the Writing, Printing,
or Publishing any News without Licence. And yet when
such a Bill was presented by Mr. Pulteney, it was thrown
out before a second Reading; because tho' they saw the
Mischiefs of the Liberty of the Press, they knew not where
to fix the Power of Restraint.
A Bill to restrain the Press rejected.
An Act for a farther Imposition on Coals, for finishing and
adorning the Cathedral of St. Paul's, for preventing Abuses in
Prisons and pretended privileged Places, and to restrain the
Numbers and ill Practices of Brokers and Stock-Jobbers, put an
end to the Business of this Session.
And on April 16th, His Majesty came to the House of
Lords, when, after having given the Royal Assent to several
Bills, he made this Speech to both Houses.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'Having given my Assent to the several Bills you have
presented to me, I am now to return you my hearty
Thanks for what you have done this Session; which has
been carried on with great Prudence, Temper, and Affection.
'At the Opening of the Session, I told you how sensible I was of the Difficulties to be struggled with, which
were of such a nature, that, I will freely own, the Hopes
I had of our being able to overcome them, were founded
only upon the Wisdom and Zeal of so good a Parliament.
'My Expectation has been fully answered; you entered
upon the Business with so much Chearfulness, proceeded
so unanimously, and have at last brought things to such
a Conclusion, that we may hope to carry on the War
with Success, in case our Enemies do not think it their
Interest to agree to an honourable Peace: And so effectual a Provision being made for supplying the Deficiencies
of former Funds, (which is the best Foundation for reestablishing of Credit) I doubt not but in a short time it
will have a very happy Effect, to the universal Ease and
Satisfaction of my People.
'The Circumstances of Affairs making it necessary for me
to be out of the Kingdom for some time, I shall take care
to leave the Administration of the Government, during
my Absence, in the hands of such Persons as I can depend upon.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'I have nothing more to ask of you, but that you would
carry down the same good Disposition into your several
Countries, which you have expressed in all the Proceedings of this Session.'
And then the Parliament was, by his Majesty's Command