Friday, February 16.
Sir Robert Holt, a Member, and Prisoner in the Fleet, [at the
suit of Mr Edmund Prideaux] wrote a letter to the Speaker, of
his detainer there, desiring it might be represented to the House,
that he might have his Privilege of attendance—With a Petition, delivered by Sir Henry Pickering.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would refer the Petition to the
Committee of Privileges, and let them state the case to
The Speaker.] In Sir John Prettyman's case, he was
a prisoner, at the King's suit; but was brought to the
Bar, and discharged.
Mr Powle.] Would have the matter of a prisoner in
execution debated; men else may be wronged of their
just debts. In King James's time, Sir Robert Sbirley
was sent for out of prison by a Habeas Corpus (to Chancery) that the execution might not be voided.
The Speaker.] In Shirley's case, by the Statute of 7
of King James "all persons taken in execution, discharged by Privilege, shall, after Privilege, be retaken
upon the same execution, without prejudice to the creditor."
Mr Sawyer.] If this was an Adjournment, there would
be no Question of Holt's Privilege, and the Question
must be, Whether he was taken in time of Privilege, or
no. Frettyman's case. That Statute of 1st King James
extends only to matters within Privilege.
The Speaker.] No person that takes a Member out
of Privilege shall be punished; but it never was a Question, that a Member should be detained from your service here.
Sir Richard Temple.] That case, in the Act, 1 King
James, was grounded upon one taken out of Privilege.
No man denies but that the man must be delivered, to
attend your service. That Statute is for the interest
you may have in your Member, and the party have reexecution.
Mr Williams.] That Statute of 1 K. James was made
in favour of the Creditor, and not of the Member, and
it clearly concerns Members taken in execution in time
Sir Thomas Meres.] In the case of Prettyman, there
was a Petition, and the cause was heard at the Committee of Privileges, and there is no other case comes
home to this of Holt. If you will go by that case, you
must hear the creditors. If a Petition be pressed to be
read, he would have any Commoners Petition heard.
[The Petition from Sir Robert Holt's creditors was read.]
Sir Job Charlton.] The case is not Holt's unjust dealing with his creditors, but the danger of having your
Member detained from his attendance here, and you
may empty the House at this rate.
Sir Thomas Meres.] 1 K. James, Shirley was taken in
execution, in time of Privilege, some few days before
Mr Sawyer.] The thing was never done before Prettyman's case, and untill that case all former records are
flat precedents against it, when a Member has been
out-lawed before time of Privilege. He is as much for
Privilege as any man, where 'tis for our being, or wellbeing, but would not enlarge where we find no warrant for it by antiquity. Would refer this matter to
the Committee, and enquire the time when the Member was arrested.
Sir William Coventry.] There is Prettyman's case against Prettyman, one arrested at the suit of the King,
where he was the King's debtor, and another against a
private person. There is Privilege against the King,
but not in cases of felony, treason, or breach of the
peace. But, in ordinary prosecutions, there is Privilege
against the King, as well as against another man. He
(Prettyman) was judged to remain in prison, in the
King's case, against Privilege of Parliament. Would
not therefore swallow this case upon one precedent of
Prettyman, when another precedent of the same person
is in the case.
The Speaker.] No man can show a precedent of any
one Member detained in prison, since the Statute of
1 James, upon execution, the Parliament sitting.
Mr Vaughan.] That Statute was never extended in its
interpretation against common right. You ought to refer the creditors Petition to a Committee.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Would have you enquire
what the real Privilege of the House is. You have yet
heard but one party, the creditors. If you hear Holt
at the Bar, and hear him not as a Member, you make
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would have it heard at the Committee of Privileges (when it sits) the first thing. No
man will be so disingenuous, as to take any advantage
upon the point, the Prorogation being now in dispute.
Upon the Question, whether the Debate should be adjourned
to Monday, it passed in the negative, 154 to 143.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would commit it generally, without saying to what Committee, that the point of Privilege may not be precluded.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Wonders you will commit
it, and not name to what Committee, a thing never
done before !
Sir Philip Warwick.] If ever any precedent can be
shown, that before the Grand Committees were named,
ever any Committee else was named, he will yield the
Serjeant Maynard.] You can know the cause of detainer from no man, but the keeper of the prison.
There may be some causes why he may not be let out
free, as felony, treason, &c. But, as to this matter, precedents are on both sides, and he would refer the matter to
Resolved, That the matter of Sir Robert Holt's [case] being
[taken in execution, and] detained a prisoner in the fleet, and
thereby hindred from attending [the service of] this House, be
referred to a Committee.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The next step properly brings on
the business of the day. If the Prorogation we now
meet upon be contrary to two laws, and we meet
upon an Adjournment, then you have a Committee of
Privileges ready named. If the meeting be good upon
the Prorogation, then you are to name the Committee.
Mr Sacheverell.] As the next thing in order, moves
to consider of naming a Committee.
Mr Garroway.] The thing was moved yesterday, and
debated with modesty. In this matter he desires so
to serve his country, as not to be hanged for it hereafter, upon the unhappy consequence of the King's
death (which God avert!) If we now go on to the Question, then we shall see farther how this Prorogation for
fifteen months is good in law. If it be not good, then
how dangerous will our proceedings be as a Parliament? The Debate will be long; therefore would adjourn it till to-morrow, nine of the clock. And if
we shall be so happy as to bring this to an issue, 'twill
be much for our comfort, and the King's satisfaction.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Will always concur in all the
coolness in Debates that may be, and to come fresh to
this matter; and concurs with Garroway's motion.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The existence of this Parliament
is granted, on all hands; and so would adjourn the Debate till to morrow, nothing to intervene.
Saturday, February 17.
The same. Debate resumed.
Mr Sacheverell.] All his design in this matter is to
go on fairly—He takes the Parliament to be continued, by Prorogation, or Adjournment, or by somewhat
tantamount. 'Tis resolved fully that the Parliament
can be no way dissolved, but by the King. No other
way, but by matter of record, in the Journals. Either
then we stand on the state of the Prorogation, or Adjournment. Therefore he doubts not but as freedom of
speech is his and the whole Parliament's right, so there
will be a candid acceptation of what shall be said. The
matter now is discoursed abroad, (but he is satisfied of
his right) that the Lords sent to the Tower were censured for something we are now upon (fn. 1) . Takes it to
be his freedom, but desires that gentlemen will tell
him before hand, if 'tis not your pleasure, that he
should go on in this Debate.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] The gentleman has ingenuously told you of our freedom of Debate here, if we
keep within the bounds of prudence; but he doubts
this matter comes not properly under our Debate. As
to right, or as to conveniency, we run into intanglements without end, and have no fruit of it—But to the
Modus, how we are a Parliament, no fruit can be of
Debate how we are continued, and that can but end in
a Vote; which will not signify any thing. The Acts
of the Prince are sovereign Acts, and most sovereign.
Sees no effect if either House should take such Debates
in resolution. The two Houses may differ in opinion,
and neither can judge the thing, and consequently there
can be no determination—Therefore the Debate will be
highly inconvenient, and desires it may be laid aside.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Would have you consider
what you must do, and should, as well as what you may
do. He finds no obligation upon you; as when being
part of the legislative authority, and none of the judicial; and no part that we can assume in this determination—When we acquiesce in the Lords, if any Court
can judge it, that can, or the King. When the King
sends for you up, and he declares a Prorogation, and
you not hear it, is it more or less a Prorogation for your
not hearing it? 'Tis the Journal that proves it, and
the King says "you are prorogued," and will you say
"you are adjourned?—" You have no such power. The
main foundation is quite mistaken—Where there is an
illegality in the Act, that is no Act—The Act is vitiated so far as the Lords declare it—Great inconveniency
else will follow. Law is law, just or unjust. Suppose people married without licences, or after twelve of
the clock, or a child christened, and the sign of the cross
omitted;—is the child not christened, or the persons
not married? The law annulls it not. The law says,
"a man shall not be above an hour in an Alehouse, or
Tavern," and a man has been there three hours,—and
shall he not therefore pay his reckoning? He takes it for
granted that omission of circumstances does not annull
Mr Vaughan.] To Order. Would not slip on a rock,
as before. The Question was brought in by a sidewind, only to say, that we are a Parliament, and when
we come to argue that we are not—
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Goes on—Though the thing
were illegal, it infers no profitable Debate upon it.
No issue can be of it. Will you go to the House of
Lords to reverse it, if it be your opinion that they are
out of the way? The Quære is, if your meeting should be
called in Question another time, and therefore for our
own safety we examine it. What can another Parliament question? Every thing, but a dead man—This
body cannot question it, but may not particular men?
God forbid he should say what a future Parliament cannot do! Every particular man must answer, and he has
as much to say for it as can be, viz. The King, Lords,
and Commons determine it to be a Parliament. But
suppose it were a Prorogation for ten, twenty, or thirty years. In the Chatham business, though the King
had prorogued the Parliament before, yet we met—
Whether can the King alter the time, or no? If he
cannot, the King will be put upon a necessity of parting from a Parliament, when he has no mind to it.
This power therefore of Prorogation must be. If the
King prorogue for twenty years, yet he may call you
at any day. But this would divide the whole nation,
if it should be that the Lords sit by a Prorogation,
and the Commons by an Adjournment. This is not
to quiet the people, nor to do good. What will you
debate of, if the Question be carried for an Adjournment?—Yet if any thing remain on your Journals,
'twill cause doubts abroad. Therefore would lay aside
the Debate, as fruitless.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Coventry has let you into the Debate, and has argued it, and you cannot now retract.
One side has argued, and may not the other? And the
House has twice ordered this very Debate. He concerns not himself with the Lords, they may have Judicatures that he knows not of, but 'tis his right to
speak, and he (Sacheverell) may go on with the Debate.
Mr Waller.] A day and an hour is now settled and
appointed for this Debate, and before had been the
proper time to dispute this. Sacheverell would not be
suffered to go on, and yet Coventry enters into the Debate. He has seen Parliaments here never elected nor
chosen by the people. The Convention made no doubt
of their sitting, though not called by the King's writ,
and he particularly heard the Debate of that call; that all
the nation might know they did not desire to perpetuate themselves—A Bill was read, and avowed by that
Parliament. He desires that Sacheverell may go on, and
he will then tell you his mind farther.
Sir John Ernly.] That books are written of this, he
makes no account of. But as for Adjournment, no man
will debate things settled. 'Tis in the power of the King
to make peace and war, dissolving and proroguing Parliaments. We must be judged by the King, and the
Lords entering his proroguing or adjourning the Parliament on record, and the Lords will not retract that.
And 'twill not be denied, but that we can adjourn as
we please. Will not enter into the Debate, but would
have Committees named.
Sir William Coventry.] Did never think of this hindrance that we have met with. It seems to him a confirmation of leave to enter into the Debate, by the day
appointed for it, and unless it had been under a general acquiescence, and no motion intervening, desires to reserve his opinion, till he can establish it by
those lights he shall receive by other men. He never
yet knew that what the Lords had done, was established
for a rule for us to go by. For sometimes we have
converted them, and in some things they us. The
Lords sending their Members to the Tower, for proposing and debating in their House the dissolution,
gentlemen have reason to use that caution, to have
some security whether they may debate this point, or
not. He has no desire that this, or the other opinion, may
prevail, but that we may not be questioned hereafter,
if hereafter it should be started, Whether two Bills of
the same nature can, in one Session, be Parliamentary. On that of recall of the French forces, and so of
all others, there may arise disputes, if this point be
not cleared. No man will say this is a trivial thing.
Shall we in such a weighty matter rest on any single opinion ? 'Tis the wisdom of this House to judge this,
and if we find inconveniences in the one or other, then
to embrace the least. He is sure he shall answer all
that is done here by his acquiescence in it. But that
the Lords authority should keep us from Debate, hopes
we never shall acquiesce in. Therefore would have a
Question, whether we should proceed or not.
Sir John Ernly.] Prorogation is the act of the King,
and not the Lords. They have no more power to
do it, than we with them.
Sir Edward Dering.] We had a fair intimation that
the thing should be debated—But a kind of tacit Order. Would not put the Question on the Debate;
to have nothing on our books. That tacit Order was
only, whether Debate, or Adjournment. He consents
we should keep to that Debate.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] Would not, upon the Question, take in the King's Prerogative. We are all very
tender in questioning his power, to call, prorogue,
and dissolve Parliaments.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Was not forward for the Question, but because it was calmly reasoned, without Debate, and the Question then laid aside. The same temper now follows—And many inconveniences are laid
before you, and there may be more in this Question—
He sees no inconvenience but what may be remedied by
a short Bill—When there may be difference betwixt
the Lords and us, and if not an infinite necessity upon
us, yet he would avoid it. Difference in any other
way is to be avoided. He has reason to think that the
King will pass such a Bill—Would lay aside the Debate, as much better not to go forward.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The Question is, whether you will
proceed in the Debate, or no. You are told how to
remedy this doubt by a Bill, such a course cannot be
the remedy, because you cannot tell from what that
Bill must commence. If we shall get good Bills, would
willingly go home with the assurance of the time of
commencing them. If we cannot judge our own proceedings, we can judge of nothing. As for the Prerogative, we see that reversed when the thing cannot be done,
and, we may remember, the Canary Patent was voided
here, though granted by Prerogative. If the King
should make an Act to interrupt this Session, and that
we must begin again—He knows not the law (he confesses) but would hear it from them that do—Put the
Question, for satisfaction.
Serj. Maynard.] He knows his own opinion, and makes
little doubt of the legality of this Prorogation; but so
many do, that he would have every man go on as he
pleases, for his satisfaction.
Mr Garroway.] If the thing be left a moot point,
whether we shall debate it or not—For every man's
security, he would have the Question put for the House
to declare its sense, and if any man go beyond his duty
in it, you, Mr Speaker, will take him down to Order,
and before we say any thing farther, would have the
Question, whether we shall proceed in the Debate, or
Mr Vaughan.] Is against the Question; for when you
put the Question, you doubt, and yet take upon you
to determine. The matter of the Question is, whether
Committees shall be nominated; not whether we are a
Parliament, or not a Parliament. That is a safe Debate;
not to argue one thing, and be of another opinion; and
no Question at all, by this means, will be upon your
books of the legality of this Prorogation.
Col. Birch.] Did not think that a thing so universally
consented to would be opposed. A strange thing
it is surely, and for some great reason, if the thing is
not to be debated here, before you. The Lords may
be supposed to propose for money in the other House,
and that might be matter of their commitment. We
need not apprehend that so much. You cannot go off
from this Debate. 'Tis absolutely necessary that every
man should be free to debate, and what hinders it ought
to be removed. But if the thing be debated, and overruled, as it may be, in such an untrodden path, he knows
not what may become of us in our freedom. Therefore put the Question, whether we shall go on in the
Debate, or not.
Mr Swynfin.] The Question before you is, whether
you will proceed in the Debate; which he thinks is,
whether we now sit by an Adjournment, or a Prorogation, and you ought, by the duty of the Speaker's place,
to form us a Question upon it, as the sense of the
House seems to you; and then 'tis ripe for you—There
is no hurt in putting the Question, but great hurt in
not putting it—There seems a great tenderness in you;
but, by this Question of naming Committees, you multiply Debates, to no purpose. The main Question will
save us all that labour, or the Question, whether that
Question shall be put, or no, frees the House from
much trouble, and all doubts will be taken away by it.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Two things alter the case, without doors and within. He has heard that 1 Mary, there was a Question made of acting by that summons, because, in the writ of Summons, her style of
"Head of the Church" was left out, and it was referred to the Judges. The Parliament comes on, and it
was a Question then like this Question now. The like
was in Queen Elizabeth's time, and then there were no
such direful apprehensions of the consequences of such
a Question. But as for naming of Committees, and
then to resume the Debate of this doubt, he knows
not what two or three gentlemens words are good for to
secure it us. Then, it may be, we shall be told, we
must not meddle with it. Therefore he would not be
Then the Speaker stated the Question.
Mr Garroway.] Agrees with what the Speaker said,
but would have it with something more. The Question is plainly, whether we shall go on now upon the
matter of Prorogation, or Adjournment.
Mr Sawyer.] He takes the Question to be dangerous.
It doubts our being. By a previous Question you determine the matter. It will be upon your books. As
to that spoken of, 1 Mary, the House fairly concealing the doubt, they put no Question upon it, but referred it to the Judges. There it was never put to
vote, whether that was a Parliament, or not, but it was
referred to the Judges, as a scruple of law. What confusion would there be if we differ in the matter from
the Lords? And when the Records and Proclamation
say this is a Prorogation, shall any man say, whether
this be a Prorogation, or not? Things clearer then the
Sun are never put to the Question. Shall any man say
he doubts without reasons? Is there cause to make a
Question in this House? Things that are the essence of
government shall we make doubt of?
Mr Powle.] Many inconveniences have been alleged by this Question, but thinks them not of so much
weight, nor the government shaken, nor the being of
the House, because resolved. 'Tis said by it, we shall
thwart the Lords opinions. We do that every day in
Conferences; we to them, and they to us. The proper use of Parliaments is to inform the King, and by
this we do it. Unless some persons think themselves touched in the Prorogation's being carried in the negative. 'Tis
very necessary to mention freedom of speech: We hear
what is done in the Lords House, and he knows not,
but that gentlemen, who would avoid this Debate, may
call such to the Bar, as are of a contrary opinion.
Therefore the House has no security of entering into
this Debate till a Question be to admit the Debate. 'Tis
our right to demand a Question, and when we are under such a vote, we are under the protection of the
House. 'Tis said, "that the Question of Prorogation,
or Adjournment, will be brought in by a consequence
of the Question of naming Committees:" But, possibly,
that argument afterwards will not be suffered to be
used. 'Tis but on the word now of a few, and by the
Question of "Prorogation, or Adjournment," every
one may have security in what he shall argue, for the
Col. Titus.] Knows no way to be resolved of this,
but by a Question. It was no doubt. Why none, before concluded—We read no Bill of the last Session,
because we proceed not were we left off before. 'Tis a
doubt still—Some say it is not fit to be a Question; which
shows that the thing is not determined. 'Tis objected
that we have leave to go on, but 'tis true by a gentleman
only that has given leave; but did he fear his own censure only, he has no cause to fear. 'Tis said, in the
Lords House, it was debated; and there must be a
Question, unless we shall conclude the doubt without
Mr Hale.] He has no reason to believe the matter
so formidable, or intricate, but that gentlemen, upon
Debate, may bring it to light. To name Committees
before the Question, makes the Debate precluded. In
point of safety we cannot go on, unless we have the
warrant of a Question. We hear the Lords are committed for debating this matter, and closely (fn. 2) , and he
knows not what farther may become of them. No
man will say that he believes it against his duty to argue the point, but knows not what construction may
be made of it without a Question—Therefore moves
Sir Henry Capel.] Thinks it necessary we should have
a Question—Some apprehend a Question for fear of
precluding the Debate; others are cautious not to enter
such a Question into the Journal; others for liberty and
freedom of Debate. He offers this Question, to reconcile all—"That Sacheverell may go on in his Debate."
Mr Williams.] Some men are cautious, he finds, and
tender for any footsteps of this doubt upon our books.
Others are the same for freedom of Debate. He moves
for a Question, not only of the validity, but irregularity of the Prorogation.
Mr Boscawen.] He never knew a Debate here so long,
without either ordering the thing, without a Question
on the Debate, or deciding it by a Question upon the
Sir Thomas Clarges.] We must have some Question
stated. Moves that it may be this; "That the House
being moved about the validity of the Prorogation,
and some Debate arising thereupon, the Question may
be, whether we shall proceed upon that Debate."
Mr Garroway.] Knows the time when the House tacitly resolved a money Bill, and it being not sent up to
the Lords, soon after changed their minds. We may
be so used now, and would have security of a vote
therefore, to enter into this Debate for our freedom.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Would not go into the
Debate otherwise than we may well come out of it;
and would, for himself, have Sacheverell go on.
Mr Vaughan.] Declares that he thinks this Prorogation
of above a year not to be against law; and would have
Sacheverell go on.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] As to the Lords judicial proceedings, Prorogation, and Adjournment, is the same
thing. Persons are anew summoned in an Adjournment,
that have causes depending before them. As for the dissolution of this Parliament, by this long Prorogation,
no man has it so much as in his thoughts. The matter
is only for the different effects of Prorogation and Adjournment, wrapped up in ambiguous terms. Thus gentlemen are not secured by your vote, and that is hard.
Mr Garroway.] Is sorry that Vaughan and others will
only have a vote for Sacheverell to proceed in the Debate. Pray then let every man have a Committee appointed to determine what every gentleman has to say,
and then you may order it as you please.
Sir William Coventry.] One man may say, that we
meet by an Adjournment, and another not; no man can
see what all the House can see; and it may be, it may
prove neither one, nor the other, but dissolution, when
'tis examined. He has heard say, that formerly there
was some suspicion of the cieling above the House falling
down, and all the House ran out of doors. Was it
then prorogued, adjourned, or dissolved? Upon that
the House was judge, and he desires only a fair Debate
upon the thing.
Mr Sawyer.] There is no parallel reason in this with
what Coventry alleges of "the falling of the cieling."
What necessity is here of this Debate? There was in
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have the Question put, whether leave shall be now given to go on with the Debate
of the Prorogation; and that was the first Question.
Lord Cavendish.] One ill effect of this long Prorogation is, that you, Mr Speaker, have forgot what
you ought to do, in your place, in stating the Question; which is not "for the naming of Committees,"
but the general Question "whether we shall proceed
upon the Debate of the Prorogation, or not."
Sir Thomas Meres.] He has told you that the Prorogation is against two laws, and another gentleman has
entered into the Debate. Having named it, you, Mr
Speaker, once stated it, "whether we should go on,
upon the Debate of the validity of the Prorogation."
The Question is, "whether we shall proceed"—Now
you are gone from that foreign matter of "naming
Committees", you may as well go upon the Bill first
read—But the case is now changed, and very much
changed, upon the Speaker's changing the Question.
He is not for Apocrypha, or unwritten tradition, of
leave to go on, without a Question. He is for Scripture, and would have the matter written—And now
you give us quite another Question "of naming Committees." He commended the Speaker for stating the
first Question, and he received his commendation, and
admitted it; and he never commended the Speaker
without cause—You, Mr Speaker, having changed the
first Question, he fears another change, therefore he
is for the Question.
The Speaker.] That he may not forfeit the commendations of Meres, he will state the matter, &c.
Sir Thomas Lee.] One tells you, "that yesterday the
Peers debated this new matter, and resolved, and some
of them were committed to the Tower for that Debate."
(Would be glad to be mistaken in the matter.) But
'tis a good caution for our Members to be assured of
freedom of Debate. Should that fall out, he fears that
Sawyer will not make the Prorogation so good as he
hopes he will. No man has waved or doubted his right
of Debate. But would have it cleared what negative,
or affirmative, can be given, before the matter of Prorogation be resolved.
Sir Charles Harbord.] Will not say that the Prorogation was convenient, but thinks it legal. He could have
wished that no Question had been made of it, but since
it is, would expect a resolution, since 'tis thought necessary to debate it here. There is no Question, whether
by an Order, this Debate shall go on for better security. Put what question you will propose, 'twill come
to the same consequence, affirmative, or negative.
Mr Sec. Coventry.] Is sorry that any man should outgo him in his honour and duty to the House, &c.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Vaughan moved this of naming Committees, as an expedient. But 'twas not the
first Question proposed—Asks the Speaker, upon what
account the first Bill was withdrawn, but upon this
Sir Richard Temple.] The Bill was withdrawn in consideration of this Debate. He moved for Committees
to be settled, the first day we met; and gentlemen
would not, because of precluding the Debate.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The Lords were committed for
saying "the Prorogation was illegal," and we have
reason to apprehend it.
Sir William Coventry.] You are reduced now to what
Question shall be put. He'll remind you, that 'twas
the general intention, that naming of Committees, and
reading Bills, should be postponed to this Debate. No
other Question is sufficient, or can bring us to our
end, but that of the Prorogation, &c. If you lay aside
the Debate of the validity of the Prorogation, and go
on to reading Bills, and naming Committees, if any
man upon that will enter into the validity of the Prorogation, you are precluded. But an avowed Question
is, that the validity of the Prorogation may be debated.
If we have any Question short of that, we are not at
Sir Winston Churchill.] Thinks himself not so vain as
to be able to satisfy any other gentleman, by what
he shall say in this matter. 'Tis but his own reason
only. He hears from gentlemen, whose integrity he
has as little reason to suspect, as their understanding,
that they are possessed with the same fear others are,
and proffer this Question as a security to them, not to
be ensnared in the debate. If then it be so, we ought
to be cautious how we give it. For 'tis a kind of engagement to steer by—What shall be the result of this
Debate? The law respects inconveniences before mischiefs, should it so fall out that the matter is too high
for this place—But there is no doubt of freedom of Debate, which is our birth right, but not freedom of
speech. Suppose the Question pass, that 'tis a good
Prorogation, and gentlemen are over voted, but not
over reasoned, and they think they cannot act as a Parliament, and so withdraw—(He has seen a great part of
the House go out upon the miscarriage in a vote, and
thereupon the odium has been laid upon those that staid
in, and they have had the blame of he dares not say
what.) And they should go away home—Who must bear
the burden of that? In this we are not judges of the
King's prerogative, and we know not what exceptions
may be taken—Suppose the King lay up some of our
Members for meddling with his prerogative—Then how
far are we engaged to justify our Members in what
they say? Wishes it were debated.
Sir Henry Ford.] He did not call Churchill down—
But because the King's father did so in 1641—Would
have no such suppositions.
Sir Eliab Harvey.] If the Question be, whether the
Committees shall be named, he cannot give an account
how he gives his vote. If we vote that Committees
go on, where they left off, we agree it a good Adjournment—He is not satisfied which it is, but is satisfied that 'tis one of these, Adjournment, or Prorogation.
Sir William Coventry.] We have been debating two
Questions, naming of Committees, or whether we shall
debate the validity of the Prorogation. If it pass in
the negative for naming Committees, then the next
Question must be of the validity of the Prorogation;
if that be so, he is ready for the Question.
Mr Swynsm.] He never saw Questions kept off so before in this manner, &c.
Sir William Coventry.] The House lays claim to two
Questions; so we may have them both in order—Let
the previous Question be put.
Sir Thomas Lee.] In 1640, the method of the Journals was altered, when they would obscure what he
hopes will never again be said here. If all (as formerly) was entered into the Journals that was said upon
Debate to day, then gentlemen would not be misrepresented, and these apprehensions that we have upon us
might be spared.
Sir William Coventry.] He thinks this business now
much more weighty then he at first apprehended it, because it sticks so much upon the Speaker's hands in
stating it. We go to look for our security in this Debate, and you tell us 'tis not to be found. We would
have it in scriptis, that it may be found upon occasion.
Now the matter is changed since yesterday. Now gentlemen are doubtful of their security, from something
without doors, (from the Lords House) which prompts
them the more to it. We cannot debate it without an
Order, not only under the security of transitory words,
which we forget who says—And according to Order we desire it. But he is so contented to come to a
resolution, that he will rather submit to any Question,
so that the rest of the Questions are not thereby secluded:
And so we put out to sea again. 'Tis a right that ought
not to be denied us, that, after the previous Question is
past, then that Question of our security in the Debate.
The Speaker.] The first Question is the previous
Question, "whether the House will proceed to naming
of Committees; "and the second Question, he said, he
Mr Hampden.] The Speaker himself had stated it upon the motion of Mr Williams, who would have put
in the words "validity of the Prorogation."
The previous Question being put was carried [193 to 142.]
So the House proceeded to name their Grand Committees.