Monday, April 21.
His Majesty, in the House of Lords, acquainted both Houses,
"That he had this day established a new Privy Council, the
number of which should never exceed thirty (fn. 1) : That he had
made choice of such persons as were worthy, and able to advise,
and was resolved, in all his weighty and important affairs, next
to the advice of his Great Council in Parliament (which he
should very often consult with) to be advised by this Privy Council: That he could not make so great a change without acquainting both Houses of Parliament; and he desired them all to
apply themselves heartily (as he should do) to those things which
were necessary for the good and safety of the Kingdom, and
that no time might be lost in it (fn. 2) ."
Tuesday, April 22.
The disbahding Bill was read the first time.
Wednesday, April 23.
Mr Treby reports the Opinion of the Committee of Secrecy,
concerning the Lord Bellasis's Plea, &c. and the rest of the
Lords, [as follows, viz. "That Lord Bellasis, being impeached
of High-Treason by the Commons, cannot make any Answer
but in person.
"That the several writings put in by the Earl of Powis, Lord
Stafford, and Lord Arundel of Wardour, which they call their
several Pleas and Answers, are not Pleas or Answers, but argumentative and evasive; to which the Commons neither can nor
ought to reply.
"That if the Answers of the said Lord Powis, Lord Stafford,
Lord Arundel (as well as that of Lord Petre) were sufficient, yet
there ought not to be any Proceeding against them, or any of them,
until Lord Bellasis also put in a sufficient Answer in person.
"That the Commons do demand of the Lords, that their
Lordships would forthwith order and require the said Lord Powis,
Lord Stafford, Lord Arundel, and Lord Bellasis to put in their
perfect Answers; or, in default thereof, that the Commons may
have Justice against them."
The Consideration of the above Report was adjourned to the
Thursday, April 24. [Debate on the above Report.]
Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] Those persons tryed in Hen.
VIII's time, were not arraigned before a Lord High
Steward was appointed. Lord Hussey, Anne Bullen, and
Lord Rochford, were arraigned before a Lord Steward. As for that of Lord Powis, it is a direct Answer
for the other three. It is an Answer, if the Lords overrule not the Demurrers.
Serjeant Ellis.] The Lord Steward is the person that
gives judgment; and he gives judgment where the
Indictment is found below, and brought up to the
Lords by Certiorari. And in that case the King makes
a High Steward. But our case is, as they are a House
of Lords. Before Lord Strafford's case, there was not
a High Steward appointed. I confess, that sometimes
others have been in the Chair. 2 Hen. VI, in Sir John
Mortimer's case; it appears clearly on the roll, that
that was an Act of Parliament upon a declaration of
Treason upon 25 Edw. III. He was accused of suspicion
of Treason, and committed to the Tower; and the Indictment was removed to Parliament. How we come to
say breaking Prison, when committed for Treason, to be
Treason, I will not puzzle any man. At that time a
Bishop was Chancellor; and a Bishop could not sit, because it was a case of life, and so the Treasurer of the King's
Houshold was put into the Chair. He was appointed
by the Lords; but if they will make a High Steward, the
Lords are left to their own pleasure.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] Suppose Lord Bellasis should
die, shall no proceedings be? It is to the amazement of
all the people that you proceed not—Lord Danby is now
no longer behind the curtain, and I will suppose no man
else is; therefore I propose that you would proceed to
bring the Lords to their speedy Answer, that you may
proceed upon them all together. But if the case be otherwise, proceed against four of them, if you cannot against
Serjeant Ellis.] I have it in command from the Committee of Secrecy to tell you, that they will not give
Evidence against the Lords for any thing done above five
years last past.
Sir Fr. Winnington.] If you inform the Lords so much,
they will enter it upon their Book, and so persons may
have notice, that there be no delay in the Tryals. But farther, consider what the Managers should say at the Conference—Lord Bellasis's Plea is no Plea, being by Attorney.
Lord Petre's is a good Plea, if not guilty, and we may come
to the matter with him. The other three Lords plead not
guilty to part, and no Plea to the rest; now the Question
is, whether you will not send to the Lords, "That, if
the Lords Prisoners do not give in their Answer in reasonable time, the Commons will ask Justice against them;"
(else it is in the power of a Lord in the Tower to come to
Tryal, or not, and he may put in odd Pleas ad infinitum,)
"and if they put not in their Pleas in chief (as the Law
terms it) that we may have Justice against them." In Law
you may try four of them, but it is monstrously inconvenient, for then we must try them all over again.
Mr Garroway.] As to limiting the time to six years,
we must submit to what the secret Committee have Evidence for. But I would demonstrate the whole thing:
It has been in agitation sixteen years, and I second the
Motion of "demanding Justice, &c."
Mr Powle.] To what Ellis says, to beginning the accusation "but from six years, &c." the Plot has been
carrying on these ten or twenty years, and always will
be. But as to the five Lords, it is not agreeable to your
Evidence that they be bound to answer but for six years,
for it would be a hard thing to say there is Evidence for
it. I would have it left to the liberty of the Managers, and
to desire the Lords at a Conference "That a speedy day
may be given to the five Lords to answer, &c." for they
have time enough.
Serjeant Ellis.] As for the general Plot of bringing in
Popery, it has been a great many years, but what concerns these Lords has not exceeded six years. The Indictment must name some place, and a set time, but in course
of Parliament we need not name particulars. But to give
the Lords satisfaction, I would not name above six years.
It may be, some will not be concerned two years.
Serjeant Maynard.] It may be, one Witness will swear
to "seven years." It will seem a hard thing that a man
must be put to answer for his whole life. I would confine
it to "seven years."
Sir Henry Capel.] The King has ordered the Lords of
the Treasury to give the secret Committee 100l. and it is
paid into the hands of their Clerk. I move that you
will address the King for 300l. more; for else there will
be no sending into the country for Evidence. It will put
delay into the business without it, and the Lords will be
at a stand.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] No Money is issued out by the
Lords of the Treasury but upon record, and for so small
a sum as this, I would not have it upon record. But
there lies a dormant Privy Seal in the Exchequer, and
from that it may be paid, and I would address, &c.
Sir John Trevor.] The secret Committee has expected
this, four or five days ago. I know there is a dormant
Privy Warrant for secret service, and I desire the Gentlemen of that Committee may address the King about it;
but it is not sit to be done by a public Motion. For this to
go abroad in the world to be on your Books, is not fit
for your credit.
Sir John Hotham.] I hope you will never enter into
your Books, that there was ever such a thing done in such
an Assembly. I say it not out of vanity; but, as poor a
man as I am, I protest, I would give it out of my own
Purse rather than this should be by a public Motion. I
could not have believed but that the Commissioners
of the Treasury would have done it out of their own
pockets, rather than have made it public here.
Mr Powle.] Though there be a dormant Privy Seal,
&c. neither Treasurers not Commissioners can dispose of
it without the King's leave. If none of the Commissioners are here present, some Gentlemen will take care of it.
Since I had the honour to be near the King, I cannot
but observe, that there was never a Prince more inclinable to give his people satisfaction for the good of the
[The Report was, upon the Question, agreed to by the House.]
Friday, April 25.
Lord Bellasis's Answer was read, and Lord Danby's Plea (fn. 3) .
Sir John Knight.] Lord Danby was impeached in the
last Parliament, when he sat in his place; but he has
done worse since the last Parliament was dissolved. I am
unable to give answer to this, especially when it is called
"a stamped Pardon by creation." I would refer it to the
same Committee. It is of vast importance.
Serjeant Ellis.] I think this matter is of great weight,
and worthy of your most serious consideration. The Earl
of Danby has put his life upon his Plea, and if it does
not stand good, your Articles are in force. He fully
relies upon his Plea. I will give no opinion at present
upon it, but I move that some select number of Gentlemen may be ordered to prepare, and consider the
manner how this Pardon was obtained. You are not yet
ready to consider; the more you do, it will be the better, and in a day or two's time you may give an Answer
Sir Francis Winnington.] Since I have had the honour
of being a Member of this House, great matters have
been discoursed here. This is as great as can be. All the
Plea is mentioned under the word "Protestation to all the
Articles, &c."—And they have no more operation in Law
than if not mentioned. The Earl of Danby has gone so far,
as that the Commons are not obliged to any Answer.
He has left no room to prove any one Article; for his
Pardon is amounting to a confession. Should this Pardon
have allowance, without the legal course of obtaining it?
—If great men do exorbitances with Pardon, it takes
away culpa as well as pæna. There's an end of all Justice
against men, if such Pardons are allowed. No man is
more tender of blood than I am; but put it in some way,
that the matter may have some representation, to see what
former ages have done in such cases, and see whether this
is not a rare thing; and see what the Commons ought
to stand upon. It is too big for a resolution of a Committee; I would have them only state the matter, and
then consider what a condition we are in, as to Law,
against such great men as these, when all we have is at
Mr Garroway.] I honour the Gentleman in his station
—But what becomes of us all, if this Pardon pass? If it
had been done barefaced, it had been all one to me. Preparatory to referring it to some Committee of the Long
Robe, they may inform you how the case stands in their
Books, and you may take deliberation what to determine
in the matter. Now I am up, I would move you to have
those whom you refer it to, consider, whether you will not
let this Pardon be pleaded for all, and then we may consider what that " All" is, that is pardoned. Next I
move, that when the Report comes from the Bar about
the Money, (let it come when it will,) that you give no
Money till you have cleared yourselves of the Earl of Danby, before you proceed upon any Lord whatsoever.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I think it not fit to proceed till
the Committee shall state the matter in point of Precedent. But I differ with the Gentleman that said "He
cares not in what form the Pardon is done." For if that
be not differenced, Chancellors may put Seals to raising
Money, or any thing.—Per se solum, aut cum aliquâ aliâ
Personâ. They may be females as well as males—I am
of opinion, that we ought to have right in this, before we
give Money; for the King has been deceived in this Pardon, and so has the Nation. But I would not put the
Committee to needless trouble—I believe there are no farther Articles but since March last, and this Pardon does
amount to a confession of the whole, &c.
Colonel Titus.] By the trouble this great person has
given us, we may plainly see how much easier a favourite
undoes a Kingdom, than serves a Kingdom. The man
possessed with the Devil, in the Gospel, had his body torn,
and foamed, before the Devil could be got out. Of Danby's protestations of not guilty, in his Pardon, I believe
not one word. And I believe Danby does not believe one
of them, else he would not need a Pardon. If he need it
not, with what face can he plead his Pardon? In that he
acknowleges his guilt, and if all knew as much as he,
he stands in need of a greater. What offence is there not
mentioned in this Pardon? And yet, what offence has he
not done that he stands not in need of a Pardon? If by
villainy he has got honours, if by rapine an estate, and if
that Pardon is pleaded to a House of Commons, and
made valid, ours will be like the Athenian Laws, to
catch flies, while wasps and hornest break out. Will any
good man have encouragement to do good, or discouragement for ill men? Has Danby any hopes of another world? He would never then be guilty of such
crimes, to stand in need of such a Pardon. I move you
"That a Committee of the Long Robe may search Precedents, and give you an account, &c."
Sir Henry Capel.] I differ with the Gentleman but in
one particular. He says, "as Danby has given us trouble
in his prosecution, so he has at his exit"—If it be as he
says, the Articles are out of doors, and the Pardon only
remains to be considered—When great men have committed great crimes, and such a body of men as the
House of Commons have knowlege of them, we ought to
bring such a man to Justice—And since he has got a
Pardon, it is worthy of the consideration of the whole
House, and not of a Committee barely. And therefore I
would debate it in the whole House.
Sir John Trevor.] I doubt it will be a hard matter to
put a limitation upon the King's Pardon unless by Act of
Parliament, and that Act is yet to be found out. As for
the King's Coronation Oath, Lord Latimer and Lyons,
in Edw. III's time, were impeached by the Commons, and
after their Tryal and condemnation, they were both pardoned. And this was at a time when arbitrary power
was as high as ever since. 1 Richard II, this Pardon was
complained of by the House of Commons, but the result
at last was, they impeached the persons who procured
the Pardons, and looked into the manner of procuring
them. This I say, that the Committee may view the
Precedents next, as to the manner of gaining of Pardons. When gained so much to the disnonour of the
King and Kingdom, they were complained of and revoked. And next, though Danby has put his life upon
this Pardon, and this Pardon be void; yet it lies upon
your honour by Bill to show the King, how his honour
is concerned in it, and the Nation's, and to desire him to
Mr Sacheverell.] I differ from most Gentlemen, &c. or
else I would not trouble you now. My opinion is, that
this Pardon is illegally grounded, and that it is void
in itself. If it pass, that this is a good Pardon, and that
all such crimes as this Lord stands charged with, are pardoned at one blow, farewell all! There is one thing we
ought to take high notice of; the Plea lays all the crimes,
that he stands charged with, upon the King. I would
show him, that this Plea of laying them upon the King,
deserves as great an Article against him, as any of the
rest, &c. and I would have it added for one.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If you go on without an Act of Parliament, and make this Pardon void, you save yourselves
the labour of all proofs, and so you deprive him of all
defence—You should not hinder the proceedings of the
secret Committee; but if other matters are before you,
prepare them into Articles, and go upon them; and
then you may spend your time to consider whether it be
proper to void this Pardon by Act of Parliament.
The Plea and Answer were referred to the Committee of Secrecy, to enquire into Precedents, &c.
[April 26. omitted.]
Sunday, April 27.
Several artifices were used to divert the business of this day,
which was, "To consider how to preserve the King's Person
from the attempts and conspiracies of the Papists, &c" by engaging the House into other Debates (fn. 4) . Which being apprehended, occasioned several loud cries, "To the business of the day;"
which was thus introduced by
Mr Harbord.] Mr Speaker, these several things started being off from your hands, I shall say something
to the occasion of your meeting upon this extraordinary day. It is, "for the security of the King's Person, and for the preservation of the Protestant Religion established by Law." Nothing can be so fatal to
our Religion, and by consequence our Laws and Liberties, as the danger of the first. Should his Majesty fall
by any unhappy stroke, it would not be in our power to
defend the Protestant Religion long. The way to do it,
is to take away those men that are likely to destroy him,
which are the Papists. And though it is not always
convenient to take Precedents from ill times, yet, upon
this occasion, I hope you will pardon me, if I make use
of one. There were Gentlemen in the late times of usurpation, who exposed their lives and fortunes for the
King's Restoration, called "Cavaliers." Cromwell found
that nothing so much obviated their designs as to banish
them from London, and he did it only by an Act of
State; an Order of Council formed into a Proclamation;
such a one as did execute itself. Many Catholics will
now take the Oaths, and, under the notion of inhabitants,
creep into Houses. Now since the danger of the King's
Person is so great, by reason of their villainous conspiracies, I move, that there may be an Order for bringing in a Bill, to banish all Roman Catholics from this city,
&c. for some time, and I hope that, in the interim, we
may make such Laws as may put power into such hands
as may preserve us. My meaning is, that no Papist
shall stay in town but upon very good Protestant security.
Unless you take some such course with these sort of men,
you can have no safety.
Mr Bennet.] I will speak to the Order of the day.
It is my opinion, and ever was, that the King cannot be
safe, unless the Papists be nothing. They have as great
a zeal to bring in their King at Brussels, or here, (some
say he is here (fn. 5) ,) as the Cavaliers had to bring in this
King during the Rebellion. As to the Plot, &c. I believe this design has been carrying on ever since Lord
Clifford's Ministry, for destroying the King, and making
the Duke to succeed, and the thing was so very near effecting, that, if you had not discovered it, it might before
now have been done. Coleman's Letters to the Pope,
Cardinals, and French King's Confessor, were all penned
and sent by the Duke of York's command. I consider
truly how hard a work you have upon your hands. The
Duke of York has as much right to succeed his brother,
if he die without heirs, (which God forbid!) as my son has
to inherit my estate after me. Therefore I desire that by
some Law we may have power to arm ourselves against
him, if he would bring in Popery amongst us. If the
King have a son, then we are out of fear; but if a way
cannot be found out that the King may have a son, then
we are to go another way to work. I do believe that
this Plot had not been carried on without the Duke of
York's approbation, and that being so, you are to go another way to work. We know that Hen. VII. was attainted; should the Duke be so, the Lawyers will tell
you, "that the possession of the Crown clears away all
Attainders." I would have the Lawyers speak to it, and
I would not sleep till something was done to secure the
King's person, and the Protestant Religion.
Mr Mostyn.] The Duke of York, I believe, is not the
only occasion of our apprehensions of Popery, &c. It was
his quality, not understanding, (He meant the Plot, it occasioned a loud laughter,) that the Papists took encouragement from. But still the Dutchess of Portsmouth is here;
from whom I apprehend as great danger, as from the
Duke of York.
Sir John Knight.] What will signify banishing the Papists out of town for four or five months, unless you secure a Protestant Succession? When Idolatry was set up
in Israel, then they were led away captive, &c. What we
aim at is only for posterity, and but for our souls; and
this is a proper day for that consideration, that we may
overcome those persons that would subvert our Religion,
which the very gates of Hell cannot prevail against. I
think it not safe to let the Duke be out of the nation.
And in the last Parliament it was a reason given against
our addressing the King for removing the Duke for
some time from Court. I do not know of what ill confequence it may be for the Duke to be in the hands of
those contrivers of the destruction of both King and
Kingdom. The Duke has had Letters and correspondences from the Jesuits, and now he is amongst the
thickest of them. I would address the King, therefore,
to let him see how much it is for his interest to persuade
the Duke to be a Protestant, and to order the Duke to
return into England.
Sir Hugh Cholmondeley.] I have a heart full of sorrow
for the occasion of our meeting to-day, and of this day's
Debate. It is a sad supposition, that the presumptive
Heir of the Crown should change our Religion. The
short Question is, whether there is any safety for the
Crown, whilst the Papists wish the King dead. We can
never be safe, till it be the Papists interest to have the
King amongst the living, that their condition may be
never the better for having a King of their own Religion.
Therefore till you make it the interest of the Catholics
to wish the life of the King, you do nothing. In general, I must say this, that we must do something as in the
case of an infant or lunatic—Such an extraordinary case
must have an extraordinary way.
Mr Pilkington.] The Israelites halted betwixt two opinions, God and Baal; they put away Baal and returned
to the worship of God, and were happy. I would have
a Committee to consider what has been proposed.
Sir Thomas Player.] I cannot but take notice of one
Motion. I would be resolved from the Gentleman that
moved it, whether it be a Protestant Motion or no—(It
was from Cholmondeley, but that part of his speech the
Compiler did not well hear.) He offered it as a way to
render the King's Person more secure, that the Papists be
put into a condition of more ease, by being freed from
severe Laws, thereby not to be provoked to attempt any
thing against the King.
Sir Hugh Cholmondeley.] What I proposed, was but by
way of supposition. I believe it is impossible to plant
Popery to any purpose in England, unless they persuade
the King to be a Papist, and all the Protestants in England to be Papists too; else it will never be their interest
to make attempts upon the King's Person.
Sir Thomas Player goes on.] We have to do with people of principles to destroy the King and our Religion,
and that is the greatest part of their Religion, and which
they hope to merit most by; and whilst they retain those
principles, we have no moral security from them, unless
we serve them as they would us, that is, root them out
—We are come to that pass now, that Protestants and
Papists cannot live together in England; and whilst the
Papists have a prospect of a Popish Successor, they will
never be quiet, but be always making attempts upon the
King's Person. Consider whither you were going. It is
but a few years and a few months, since Offices of the
highest trust were in the Duke of York's disposal; they
paid more reverence to the Successor than to the King
himself; and here lay the weight of our misfortunes.
The King, a Protestant, upon whom we must depend,
neglected, unapplied to; the Duke, a Papist, adored;
and why? Because he concerned himself to model England according to his own turn. From whence came modeling the Militia, the Justices of Peace, all the fortifications of England? Were they not of his modeling?
And then came out the Plot to destroy the Protestants,
as if they had all but one neck to be cut off at once. I
do acknowlege myself to be one of those weak men that
can see danger, but know not how to offer you remedy;
so great mischiefs do we lie under! But at present I will
presume to adventure to offer something to your consideration. Some time ago, I saw considerable Papers and
transactions betwixt the Duke and the Pope. I did scarce
believe it till I saw it. Some from his Highness to his
Holiness gave him occasion of so great joy, (and surely
they must be considerable Letters that made his Holiness
so merry) and yet they made the old man weep; and
that bespeaks excess of joy. Some time before there was
notice given of such Letters coming, but they gave great
trouble at Rome that they came not; but when they were
received, his Holiness returned the Duke a most kind and
obliging Answer, and her Highness the Dutchess was
presented from the Pope with a holy token of consecrated
Beads, and other fine things, which I do not understand,
and I hope never shall. When the Duke's daughter was
married to the Prince of Orange, the Duke vindicated himself from being guilty of it, and the Pope was satisfied with
it. What has been transacted lately by Lord Danby, in
having Money given from France that England might be
governed without Parliament, and so enslaved for ever?
And this was done, during the Duke's prevalency upon
the Ministers. Now I move that you will be pleased to
chuse a Committee to examine all the Papers that can be
had, relating to the Duke, &c. and to extract all things
done by the Duke, in setting up Popery and arbitrary
Government, and whatever he was concerned in that matter, and report it to the House.
Sir Robert Markham.] I cannot believe but that the
Philistines will be upon us, as long as the daughters of the
Philistines are amongst us. I humbly move, that the Act
of Association of 27 Q. Elizabeth may be read.
Sir William Franklyn.] Our Laws, Liberties, and all
that should protect us are at stake now, and are fit to be
taken care of; and yet there is something more necessary,
and that is the life of the King (which God long preserve!)
There is danger from the Papists; they get ground upon
us to our destruction. It must be fear that must keep
them quiet; and let them see, that when that fatal blow is
struck, the Kingdom will rise as one man to prevent the
effects of that blow. Let the Act of Association of 27 Elizabeth be read, and from thence take some measures for
the preservation of the King's Person.
Sir John Trevor.] The Papers mentioned, relating to
the Duke of York, are in the hands of the Committee
of Secrecy, and you may command them when you
Mr Bennet.] If you will have the Duke of York come
to the Crown, as other Kings do, speak plain English.
If you intend that, I will prepare to be a Papist.
Mr Leveson Gower.] I move to have that part of the
Act relating to the Queen's servants, exempting such a
number from the Test, &c. repealed.
Sir Richard Cust.] When Hen. VII. came to the Crown,
it took away all disability upon him by Attainder. But his
greatest strength to the Crown was not by his match
with the Lady Elizabeth, but by declaration of his title
by Parliament. What if, for your present security,
you made an Address to the King, with an humble proposal, that all Offices may be put into such hands (for the
people's satisfaction) as shall be recommended to his Majesty in Parliament, and that those Offices should not become void, nor be filled up, upon the death of the King,
but by Parliament. I see nothing can render such a proposal undutiful in presenting it, the present state of things
considered; and by this means you will be sure of a Parliament upon demise of the King. This I offer as my humble opinion.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I have heard various opinions
to-day, for remedy of the dangers we apprehend. We
are in great danger, and the remedy is very difficult. The
Statutes of Q. Eliz. and Hen. VII. are of great moment.
That of Q. Eliz. is not taken for an universal pattern,
but adapted to a present emergency only. I desire not a
Court to be set up, as in the Statute of Association. I
would have no new Court to meddle with men, or the
Heirs of the Crown. Let us have our own Laws, else
we shall fall into Aristocracy. I never saw a lawful Successor of the Crown disappointed, but, first or last, he
came back to the Crown again. To say, because a thing
has been so, it may be so; and because a thing has not
been so, it may not be so, is as bad. For by that Statute
that gave Hen. VIII. power to dispose of the succession of
the Crown by his last Will and Testament, he might
have given the Crown to his footman, if he pleased, and
made him King, and by Law too. But surely there were
never greater betrayers of their trust, than that Parliament was, to give the Crown to an arbitrary Prince, to
dispose of how he would. If we are tender of the Succession,
pray let us be more tender of the King, and not take that
power from him, so essential to the Government. Shall
we in Parliament bring the King to judgment (as is
moved?) That all Officers of the Militia, or the Courts,
&c. shall not be named but by us, I have as little hope of
succeeding in that, as I have reason to be of the opinion
of it, that we should think to carry the King with us,
and take from him that Government that must support
us and him. As to the Papists, they have deserved as ill,
and intended as ill, as possible, and it is but justice to extirpate them; but those measures must be prudential, not
to proclaim our intentions before we are able to maintain them. Lord Willoughby, when he was at Barbadoes,
sent order to the French, who had part of Nevis island, to
quit the island by such a day. The English and they had
lived neighbourly together long; they wondered at it;
but, when he came to take possession of the island, he
found that the French had cut the Governor's throat, and
made themselves masters of the island. Provide yourselves
first to maintain any great resolution you shall take against
the Papists. Now, at such a time that you make a declaration of so high a nature as you are about, set some day
apart to consider how to put the nation in a posture of defence; else you put the Papists upon revenge, and yourselves in no posture to execute any thing.
Colonel Birch.] That Honourable Person that spoke last
to Sir R. Cust's Motion, "for Offices, &c. to be put
into such hands as the Parliament should confide in," has
said it to be the worst Motion that has been made to remedy
our fears, &c. But I am one of those that thought it the
best Motion, and I know not why he should be against it,
but because it is a good Motion. If you do it not, instead
of this being the best day that ever I saw, I fear it will be
the worst that ever I saw. We have had many tales of
the French War from the Gentleman at the Bar (I fear it
will never be better.) We gave Money the last year for
the French War, and we were told of the truth and sincerity of that War; and the same Person tells us, "we are
to go calmly in the business of a Popish Successor."—The
Counsel is the same still, and I never expect better success as long as we have such Counsel. Must we prostitute
Religion? —Notwithstanding his tale of Lord Willoughby, and an island, I will go as far as I can for the safety of
the Kingdom as any man—And were it for my life, I
would take the advice given by Cust—But I must return
again to the Honourable Secretary. The Declaration of
the Succession by Parliament is no new thing. I am
sure it proved well in Queen Elizabeth's time. I know
not the occasion of affairs in Henry VIII's time; but the
Queen's time is parallel to ours, as to the fears of a
Popish Successor. Interest will not lie. But I will make
an addition to Cust's Motion. Are we come here to give
Money, for some few new men being put into the Privy
Council; and shall we do such things as we have done
before? I hope the King will not leave one of the Council that was at the giving such advice as we have had. I
would not give a penny for such advice. I am the weakest
in this great Assembly, but on this point I cannot stay myself. I would support the Government to the highest; but
this plaistering and patching spoils all. It must not be the
addition of four or five persons to the Council that will
do it; it must be thoroughly done. When there are no reserves, and when the King fears no body, when that is
done, we shall answer the rest. If the King fell by the
hands of violence, the saying that never a Papist should
survive him long, so resolutely here by some Gentlemen,
has, I think, saved the King hitherto. Till you admit
no claim to the Crown, till there be an examination of the
King's death in Parliament, you may be safe. As for
the Duke of York, I can scarce speak of him without
tears. I hope he will come over to us; but I shall never
desire to see that day he should be King without it. We
know what the Law of England says, if any man go over
to the Church of Rome—Coleman said, (when you appointted a Committee to go to him) "I have done nothing but
by my Master, the Duke's Order." I have a kindness for
the Duke, but I have bowels of compassion for the Kingdom too. I move therefore, "That a Bill may be brought
in, that at the fall of the King by any violent stroke
(which God forbid!) no person come to the Crown of
England till that be examined."
Mr Secretary Coventry.] It is our Privilege, that, if a
Member be reflected upon, he may answer. I am sorry
that the Gentleman (Birch) is a man of so good understanding, and yet does not understand me right. I appeal to you, Mr Speaker, whether I said one word of fear,
but to strengthen yourselves to execute your Laws. I
have said my Prayers to-day (I thank God) and last Sunday I received the Communion, and let that be my poison, if I did not believe we should have had a War with
France last year. Lord Danby's Letters to Mr Montagu
will show you enough to vindicate me. I wish that Gentlemen would weigh what they say, before they give such
reproaches. I have taken the Oaths required, at the Table, and if any man pretend to be the lawful Successor to
the Crown, and is not, I will not own him for my
Prince, be he who he will. We have heard of the Jesuits
swallowing the Oaths—We take those Oaths—And I have
heard of St Paul's anathema, and I will not be forsworn for
the King or any man. If you will object against any man,
you may, and inform if you please—But for the Parliament to nominate the King a Successor, I say it is against
Law and the Government. And if I am to blame, I
will expose myself, but I would not be reflected on.
Colonel Birch.] This I said, "That Honourable
Gentleman was an instrument to persuade and deceive us
into a French War, and there was not one word of it true."
When the Parliament did desire the King to enter into a
league with the Confederates, the return was, "That it
was an extravagant Motion." And who was the pleader
for it, but this Honourable Person?
Sir Robert Carr.] I am surprized at this Debate. Few
that know this Gentleman (the Secretary) but can justify
him from these aspersions.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] As for the business of the ships,
that was my brother Secretary's part (Williamson.) But
Birch said, "I told you no truth, &c." I aver, that if any
man told you, that what I did say was a truth, that I did not
believe to be a truth, if an Angel from Heaven said it, he
would not go back again thither. I would have Birch let
me recriminate what he did in the Parliament of 1641,
as well as he recriminates on me now.
Mr Colt took the Secretary down to the Orders of the House,
for recriminating upon Birch, for what he did in 1641.
Serjeant Maynard.] These things lose your time unnecessarily, in thus recriminating on one another; and it is
Mr Bennet.] We have been cheated sufficiently of our
Money; pray let us not be cheated of our Debate about
a Protestant Successor too.
Colonel Birch.] If you go not up the stream, you will
go down. Pray, Mr Speaker, hold us to any Debate that
has been proposed, or move what you please.
Mr Sacheverell.] Now a Bill has been moved, pray
make it effectual. It was moved "to banish the Papists twenty miles from London, and every one of
them not to stir five miles from home, &c." whether
you will order it, though they have houses in town, &c.
Sir Francis Russel.] I move for an explanatory Vote,
"That the Duke of York is the occasion of all these jealousies of the Papists;" and so have the Lords concurrence to it, and then you will have some ground to
Mr Boscawen.] As to what is said by Secretary Coventry,
of "being sworn to the King's lawful Successors," what
is so by Act of Parliament is lawful, and it is Præmunire to say to the contrary, by the Statute of Queen Elizabeth. There will be no means imaginable of preventing
Popery, if that Doctrine pass, that Laws, &c. signify
nothing to bind a Successor—Then give up the case
without any more ado. It is not in your power alone
to propose a Successor, without the Lords, &c. That encouragement which the Papists have had, has been from
the Duke of York: No man can say the contrary. The
Plot for introducing Popery, and all the consequences,
&c. had its rise from that unfortunate Prince's declaring
himself of another Religion.
Lord Russel.] I think we are but trifling hitherto.
What the Gentleman said that spoke last, comes home to
the point. It is high time to take consideration of this.
If we do not something relating to the Succession, we
must resolve, when we have a Prince of the Popish Religion, to be Papists, or burn. And I will do neither.
We see now, by what is done under a Protestant Prince,
what will be done under a Popish. This is the deciding
day betwixt both Religions. I am transported, I confess,
both with spiritual and temporal concerns. I have AbbeyLands, but I protest before God and man, I could not
be more against Popery than I am, had I none. I despise such a ridiculous and nonsensical Religion—A piece
of wafer, broken betwixt a Priest's fingers, to be our
Saviour! And what becomes of it when eaten, and taken
down, you know. The King, I believe, will do his part
in this matter, if we do ours. In the last Parliament, I
moved something of this nature, which was not a House
to do great things; but I hope this House will neither be
bribed, corrupted, nor cajoled, nor feasted, into the
giving up the grand concerns of our Religion and property. Therefore I desire, "That a Committee may be appointed to draw up a Bill to secure our Religion and Properties in case of a Popish Successor."
Sir John Trevor.] It has been moved by this Noble
Lord, "That a Committee may be appointed, &c." As to
limiting the Succession, it is no new thing. In Hen. IV's,
Hen. VI's, and Hen, VII's time, it was done, and Laws are
now in force made by some of them, though Usurpers.
And from those I collect, why should it not be Law
under a lawful Prince? The intail of the Crown was in
Hen. VIII's time, after his divorce, first from Queen Catharine, &c. and there was a necessity for him to make
that Law, for had he not made it, and disposed of the
Crown to his issue by Anne Bullen, and had not Hen. VIII.
had that power, you would never have had the Protestant
Religion in England; the Crown would have descended
upon Queen Mary; for Queen Elizabeth was disabled
from succeeding to the Crown by particular Act of Parliament, as Daughter to Anne Bullen. I conclude that it is in
Parliament to regulate the Succession of the Crown of
England at any time, without limitation, especially when
the Law of God and Religion are concerned, and no Civilian can say a word against it. As to the nomination
of the Officers of the Militia and Navy, &c. moved by
Cust, it has been denied by the King to be done in Parliament; but this has been done; the Parliament Lords
and Commons have desired the King to name them in
Parliament, to know whether they may be trusted or no.
The King's eyes are closed; he knows nothing of the
danger we are in, and the Commons have had always the
liberty to tell the King, that persons near him, that are
entrusted by him, are false to him, and Traytors; and
how should the King know it else? I therefore move,
"That the Officers of the Navy and Militia, &c. may
be by the King told in Parliament, that they may advise
and inform him, whether they be faithful and fit to be
trusted, or not."
Sir Henry Capel.] You have been told, "That the consideration of this day is of the greatest moment that ever
was to this Nation." This Session of Parliament must
quiet the minds of the people, as to their fears of Popery
and the Succession, &c. or never. In Queen Elizabeth's
time there were conspiracies against her, when Mary
Queen of Scots was taken off. In King James's time, the
Gunpowder-Treason. In the last King's time, a horrid Rebellion, that ended in his murder; but here the Crown is
under such a character as is more dangerous than all those;
and from Popery came the nation of a standing Army
and arbitrary power. At Oxford, when the Scholars cannot convince one another by argument, they throw loaves
at one anothers heads—Formerly the Crown of Spain,
and now France, supports this root of Popery amongst
us; but lay Popery flat, and there's an end of arbitrary
Government and Power. It is a meer chimæra, or notion,
without Popery;—and you have a good authority to put
the Question moved, &c. Here was a Proviso, the last
Parliament, to exempt the Duke of York from the Tests
to be taken in the Lords House, &c. I was against it, for
I would not publish to the World that the Duke was a
Papist. It is a Law now, and I can say nothing against
it; but I wish it be ever the better for him, or us. But
now I would pass this Vote, "That the Papists have
had all their encouragement from the Duke's being a
Mr Sacheverell.] I am for part of the Question; but
not for the whole. I am not of opinion "That the Duke
of York has been the sole cause of the insolence of the
Papists." There have been other causes.
Mr Garroway.] I would not lay the cause solely upon
the Duke, but "That he has been a great cause, &c."
This will reconcile the thing.
Mr Swynfin.] The Duke of York's being a Papist has
given encouragement to the whole Popish party, for
their attempts against the life of the King, and the
Protestant Religion. I move to have the Question so
Colonel Titus.] If you say "That the Duke has given
encouragement, &c." who knows not that? Never put
that into a Vote—If the major part of the House does
know that he is the sole cause, &c. I hope they will vote it.
We know that the Duke has been the cause, but not the
greatest encouragement to Popery, &c.
Mr Swynfin.] The Council of the King has failed him
in the discovery of this horrible Plot. The body of the
Bishops have failed him too. There are, by the informations, three hundred and sixty Jesuits in England. They
have their several Provinces and Dioceses; within the
Dioceses of the Bishops, they hold Synods; and all this
has gone under the Bishops noses; and I wonder that, in
their Visitations, not one of them should be found out,
nor at the Assizes, nor Sessions. Thus has this Plot
grown up. It now lies upon you; if you give it up, all
is gone here, and throughout all the World too. Both
Coleman's Letters are gone all the World over, for the extirpation of heresy, &c. and no sort of Religion can condemn you for taking care of your own Religion. You
will else be scorned. If you rise to day, and do nothing,
you will deceive both the Papists and Protestants; and I
would do neither. There is no going about to prove this
encouragement of the Duke's, &c. All the World knows
it; but I must say, though there have been many Motions made, I concur in this Question, "That the Duke,
being a Papist, has given encouragement to Popery, and
Mr Hampden.] I shall humbly propose, that this may be
the Question, viz. "That the Duke of York being a Papist, and the hopes of his coming such to the Crown,
have given the greatest countenance and encouragement to
the present conspiracies and designs of the Papists against
the King, and the Protestant Religion."
Which Question passed Nemine contradicente; and the Lords
concurrence was desired to it (fn. 6) .
Mr Colt.] If the Duke be found to have had a hand in
the Conspiracy, I know no reason, but that the Duke
may be impeached, though absent; and then there is a
good ground for a Bill to provide for a Protestant Successor.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I have lately taken the Oath
of Allegiance to the King and his Successors, which
implied the Duke of York; but I would have that
Statute read, to show our Country, that we are not
so nicely bound up by this Oath, as it seems to me we
The Statute of 30 Queen Elizabeth was read. The substance
of which was as follows: "If any person hold, affirm, or maintain, "That the Queen, by authority of Parliament, is not able
to limit and bound the Succession of the Crown, and that what
Law, or Laws, shall be made by the authority of Parliament, is not,
are not, and shall not be of sufficient force, &c. in possession, or
remainder," shall be judged a Traytor, and every person so holding shall forfeit, &c."
Sir Thomas Player.] I am now convinced, that I am
not so near damnation as Mr Secretary Coventry has told
you, and that we are found Protestants in what we do.
But you will find it absolutely necessary to alter the Oath
in the Militia Act, about taking up arms against such as
are commissioned by the King, &c. Under this King we
are not under any temptation to break that Oath. I
believe nobody will plunder me, or cut my throat.
A Popish Successor may send Popish Guards, and we
shall not have the honour of ancient Martyrdom in
flames, but die like dogs, and have our throats cut;
and I must not take up arms to defend myself against such
rogues. Considering how near we are to that danger,
let us do something speedily, that we poor Protestants
may be secured from Popish Successors.
Mr Trenchard.] The matter of a Bill, upon the whole
Debate, is more easily justified, than the manner contrived. I move, "That you will appoint a day for the Letters relating in this point to the Duke of York to be
brought to you."
Sir John Trevor.] The Letters are from the Cardinal
of Norfolk and Father Anderton, from Rome, which relate
to the Duke of York. The Committee of Secrecy has no
use to make of those Letters, for Evidence against the
Lords in the Tower, but to show how the Plot has been
carried on at Rome. There is another Packet of Letters
of the Earl of Berkshire's on the same subject, which were
never yet read in the House.
Ordered, That the Committee of Secrecy do bring the Papers
of writing in their Custody, and report the effect of those which
relate to the Duke's bring concerned in the Plot.
[The farther Debate was adjourned to Wednesday.]
Monday, April 28.
Sir Francis Winnington reports the manner of the Earl of
Danby's obtaining, and the passing of his Pardon, as before;
and farther, that the time allowed the Committee was so short,
that they cannot discover the Advisers, or Procurers, of the Pardon, but they have some light of it.
Mr Bennet.] I believe it will not be found in LawBooks, that a Pardon has been obtained in this manner,
or that the Lord Chancellor ever parted with the Seal, as
you have heard it reported.
Serjeant Ellis.] The Question is, Whether this Plea of
Lord Danby's Pardon be a good Plea, and the manner
of obtaining it? The regular way of pardons is by the
Attorney General, and the Sollicitor General, &c. They
are men of the Law, and might stop it in their Office, and
the rest of the Offices, &c. It is the duty of the Lord
Chancellor's place, if he thought this not a good Pardon,
to have informed the King of it. But to pass by all this,
the Question before you is, Whether this be a good Pardon to hinder your Impeachment. I consefs, I am of
opinion, that the Pardon itself is not legal; it is a void
Pardon, and if you demur upon it, I hope the Lords will
give Judgment. If this Plea be over-ruled by the Lords,
you can never have justice against him, &c. This is as
cunningly as ever was done—captare vulgus—His Counsel knows we can take no issue upon this; he has not done
dutifully to the King; for the Commons cannot vindicate
the King's honour; for no issue can be joined upon this
Plea. I therefore would join in the Demurrer, and expect
the issue of this Pardon, and it is most proper to go to the
Lords to join in Demurrer, that this is no legal Pardon.
Sir John Trevor.] The Question is now this single
point, Whether this Pardon of the Earl of Danby be a
good and legal Pardon, or no? I will not contest the
point with Serjeant Ellis, whether this be a good Pardon,
or not. I protest before God, I am no advocate for Lord
Danby; but by the fair interpretation of the House, I will
open that part of the Pardon to you. I humbly conceive,
that in those two Precedents I vouched to the House the
other day (fn. 7) , I dealt fairly. One Precedent was 50 E.
III. in Lord Latimer's case. The other, of Richard Lyons, Merchant, was in the 1st R. II. The Precedent I
cited of Lord Latimer was contrary to the opinion of the
Committee. Latimer was impeached of High Treason,
and one or two more; the rest were of Misdemeanor.
First, he gathered the King's Impositions in Britany, and
gave him no account of them. Then he delivered up
the fort of St. Saviour. The last offence was, that he encroached upon Regal Power, and let go several felons,
and other prisoners, without the King's Order. Latimer
pretends, "He does acknowlege 2000 marks due to
the King, and submits to the King's grace and favour,
and that he cannot pay the 2000 marks without selling
his lands." To all the rest he gives answer—And
whereas Latimer confessed the matter, and produced no
Pardon from the King, he was condemned, but no quietus to Latimer. The Parliament ended, then the King
gives him his Pardon, not only for the 2000 marks—
He confesses all, offering the King 20,000l. and the
King pardons all the Impeachment. The thing is, the
Impeachment was impending, and here is a Pardon granted, but if the rest of the Impeachment fell by the dissolution of the Parliament, then all that I have said signifies nothing.
Serjeant Ellis.] In the Pardons of Lyons and Latimer,
it is plain that the King recites the Judgment given by
Parliament in their Pardon, and the King pardons what
belonged to him, which the King is so interested in, that
he may dispose of it how he pleases, and the King gave
Latimer his lands, as if no Impeachment had ever been
(though there was something that might import Treason
in the Impeachment, though not by the Stat. of 25 Edw.
III.) So the Lords put a fine upon him of 20,000 marks;
and after that the King pardoned all that belonged to him,
which the King may dispose of to whom he will; to the
party, if he pleases. I will not say there are no Precedents
of Pardon, &c. but the King never pardoned, till some
Judgment or Resolution was given of the offence in Parliament. But to pardon before Tryal, when the King
knows not what fact he is to pardon, is a dangerous Precedent. A man may destroy the Nation, if so, and do
what he will. This is a thing of a strange nature. The
King cannot pardon a man, an Impeachment depending.
Sir Francis Winnington.] This does not only concern a
particular man, but the Government of England. What
you debate is not conclusive either to the Commons or
Lord Danby, but only methods to discharge our duty to
the King, and those that sent us hither. As to Precedents of the manner and means of obtaining this Pardon,
no man can pretend any Precedent. Danby thought the
illegality of the Pardon so great, that the Officers, through
whose hands it must go, would not pass it, and therefore
took this course. But we must cut off the particles of
the manner of obtaining it. I am of opinion to demur
to this Plea of his Pardon, for it was never practised, and
Trevor's two Precedents are not to this case. A Pardon
granted "for all Offences to the 27th of February," which
is three months after the Impeachment was exhibited, and
the crimes, &c. perpetrated. State this fact only, and see
what a condition we are in, if this be a good Pardon.
As to the case of Latimer and Lyons, Trevor agrees that
the facts they were impeached of were confessed by the
Parties; and Latimer "submits himself to the Grace and
Favour of the King, but by special prayer, not to put
him to his fine, for he must sell his lands." What is the
meaning of Impeachment in Parliament? Because great
men commit great exhorbitances; and when the fact is
proved by the Commons, or the Party confesses, &c.
that is all the Commons can do, and the Lords give Judgment thereupon, and if the Party be reduced to Judgment, a right of his Forfeiture accrues to the King, and
all is vested in the King, and the King may pardon his
part. I conceive, without all scruple, that the Commons
right is to have Justice by Tryal. As for the Fine of
2000 marks, in Lord Latimer's Judgment, that came to
the King's Coffers, and the King might pardon it. In the
case of an Appeal of Murder, the King loses a subject,
and enquiry is made how he came by his death, &c.
The Wife and Heirs of the Party, &c. have their vengeance, and the King cannot pardon, &c. He cannot hinder execution of the Party; and no man can deny it.
When an Impeachment is by the Commons against a
great man, they are aggrieved, and they must have Justice. An Impeachment is to no purpose when a Pardon
shall stop our mouths—And there is no end to the oppressions of all great men, who are too big for inferior
Courts to deal with. The Committee does distinguish
Pardons, where Impeachments are depending, and where
not. We have proved our case, and a Pardon is clapped
upon you. I would argue it at the Lords Bar, and I hope
the Lords will not give Judgment in this case, &c. to be
a good Pardon. I only mention this, to show that is not
a point to give up. No great man was ever so stout yet,
as to get a Pardon when his Impeachment was depending. The late Duke of Buckingham, though he had a
Pardon, durst never bring it to light during his Impeachment, Certainly this experiment might have been found
out, had it been legal, in five hundred years. We are
not to give up this point. Now the Country has entrusted
us, let us do the best we can for them.
Sir John Trevor.] I say, a person impeached may deny one crime, and confess another. Lord Latimer was
impeached, and one of the crimes he was charged with he
did acknowlege, before they proceeded to the rest. There
is no relative expression in Lord Latimer's Pardon—
Quoad nos pertinet—The King cannot restore what he has
already given away—The 2000 marks were laid on
Latimer as a Fine; the 20,000 marks was his submission
to the King. That Impeachment was subsisting after the
Parliament, and this of Lord Danby is a Pardon, &c.
pending the Impeachment.
Mr Powle.] I confess I am unprepared to speak to this
matter. I find the case of Lord Latimer urged, which
was an Impeachment of 50 Edw. III. and sentenced then,
&c. But that in the case is not yet taken notice of, that in
51 Edw. III. the Parliament reversed all those Judgments,
and a particular Petition of the Commons complains,
"that Lord Latimer was unduly impeached, and desires he
may be restored in integro." Historians tell us of some
extraordinary power in calling that Parliament, by the
Duke of Lancaster, the King's Son. Sir John Peachy and
Lyons particularly petitioned that they might be restored.
Others, in 11 Rich. II.—A great number of Persons
were appealed by particular Lords, and some by the
Commons. The Judges were all impeached for giving
Judgment against a Judgment of Parliament, and were
banished to Ireland. Sir Robert Belknap and several others
were not restored but by Act of Parliament—11 Rich. II.
Squire attainted, restored 16 Rich. II. Another thing 19
Hen. IV. little different. In the Revolutions of York and
Lancaster there were few Impeachments, but by Bills of
Attainder—Little difference, being the assent of the whole
Body. There was a power lodged in the King that he
might pardon, &c. notwithstanding there was no Parliament, &c. A great instance that the King could not do it
without Parliament. Lord Bacon was fined for Misdemeanor; the King pardoned the Fine, but for the Judgment of his disability for Officers, he never pardoned. The
Duke of Buckingham concludes his Answer, "That what
he did was before the 21st of King James, and claims that
general Pardon, and the Coronation Pardon of King
Charles, and he had taken a Pardon, according to that
Grace of the King, to the 21st of February last Parliament."
The Duke thought it the better way to dissolve that Parliament, than to plead his Pardon. I think it not convenient to take Lord Danby upon the first advantage of this
first proposal, but peremptorily, if he insist upon his Pardon, judgment must go against him. For my share, I
would unwillingly insist upon it at the Lords Bar.
Serjeant Maynard.] People abroad know not what is
Plea, and what is not Plea; but it lies all upon the King.
The Plea is not yet entered, &c. and Lord Danby may
withdraw it. As things now stand, I would advise to
apply yourselves to the Lords, to know whether Danby
will stand to this Plea. If criminal, and that Plea be
found against him, he is gone; but in Parliament he
should not be taken with a Why not. I desire you would
go only on the crime, and not on point of Law.
Lord Cavendish.] The sense of the House is to demur to the Pardon. If Danby insist, &c. then to try
the validity of it. The Lord Chancellor said, "he intended to make use of it, if false witnesses should arise against
him." He cannot know false witnesses before he comes
to Tryal. I would desire the Lords to demand of Danby,
whether he will insist upon his Pardon, or his Plea.
Resolved, That a Message be sent to the Lords, to desire
their Lordships to demand of the Earl of Danby, whether he will
rely upon and abide by the Plea, or his Pardon.
Tuesday, April 29.
[Mr Speaker acquaints the House, That his Majesty was
pleased yesterday to return the Answer following to the Address
for executing Pickering, and other Popish Priests (fn. 8) , &c.
"I have always been tender in matters of blood, which my
subjects have no reason to take exception at. But this is a matter of great weight. I shall therefore consider of it, and return
you an Answer."]
Wednesday, April 30.
[The King sent for the House to attend him in the House of
Pcers, where his Majesty spoke as follows:
My Lords, and Gentlemen,
The season of the year advancing so fast, I thought it necessary to put you in mind of three particulars:
1. The Prosecution of the Plot.
2. Disbanding of the Army.
3. Providing a Fleet for our common security.
And to show you, that, whilst you are doing your parts, my
thoughts have not been misemployed, but that it is my constant
care to do every thing that may preserve your Religion, and
secure it for the future in all events, I have commanded my
Lord Chancellor to mention several particulars, which I hope
will be an evidence, that in all things that concern the public
security, I shall not follow your zeal, but lead it."
These memorable particulars were thus expressed by the
Lord Chancellor. "And to the end it may never be in the
power of any Papist, if the Crown descend upon him, to
make any change either in Church or State, I am commanded to tell you, that his Majesty is willing that provision
may be made, first to distinguish a Papist from a Protestant Successor, then to limit and circumscribe the authority of a Popisn Successor, in these cases following, that he may be disabled
to do any harm. First, in reference to the Church, his Majesty is content, that care be taken, that all Ecclesiastical Benefices and Promotions in the gift of the Crown may be conferred in such a manner, that we may be sure the Incumbents
shall be always of the most pious and learned Protestants, and
that no Popish Successor, while he continues so, may have any
power to controul such Presentments. In reference to the State,
and Civil Part of the Government, as it is already provided that
no Papist can sit in either House of Parliament, so the King is
pleased that it be provided too, that there may never want a
Parliament, when the King shall happen to die, but that the
Parliament then in being may continue indissolvable for a competent time; or if there be no Parliament in being, then the
last Parliament which was in being before that time, may reassemble, and sit a competent time, without any new Summons
or Elections. And as no Papist can by Law hold any Place of
Trust, so the King is content that it may be farther provided,
that no Lords or others of the Privy Council, no Judges of the
Common Law, or in Chancery, shall at any time, during the
Reign of a Popish Successor, be put in, or displaced, but by
the Authority of Parliament: And that care be taken, that
none but sincere Protestants may be Justices of the Peace. In
reference to the Military Part, the King is willing that no LordLieutenant, or Deputy Lieutenant, and no Officer in the Navy,
during the Reign of any Popish Successor, be put out, or removed, but either by the Authority of Parliament, or of such
Persons as the Parliament shall entrust with such Authority.
"It is hard to invent another restraint to be put upon a Popish Successor, considering how much the Revenue of the Succession will depend upon the consent of Parliament, and how
impossible it is to raise Money without such Consent: But yet
if any thing else can occur to the wisdom of the Parliament,
which may farther secure Religion and Liberty against a Popish Successor, without defeating the Right of Succession itself,
his Majesty will most readily consent to it (fn. 9) ."]
Mr Bennet.] I am glad to see how far the King will
come to us. First, I would give the King Thanks, &c.
and then secure the Protestant Religion in this King's
time, and for the time to come, and do no other business
Which was seconded by Sir Francis Russel.
Mr Sacheverell.] If you take the Chancellor's Speech
to be the King's, I will take the liberty to speak to it.
But, under favour, the Speech will not do your work, and
we cannot, in my opinion, give Thanks for it, as the main
step in it overthrows all the rest, barely upon the case of
a Popish Successor, so that you have no security for Religion, till you find out a Popish King, and then I say
that what is offered will not do your work. I am far from
altering the Succession. Let the King and Council be as
Popish as they will (and I believe some of the Council are
so) yet I would take security that they shall do no hurt.
This Speech is merely to delude the people with security, when there is none. When a Popish King comes
to reign, all those proposals shall be done—But you have
no Law; and you do nothing, unless that Popish King
will assent to your Laws—This is a fair nothing. We are
not to invade the King's right, as we desire to enjoy our
own, and then we are not to touch the King's family in
the Succession more than we would touch one another.
Now for Succession; if a Popish King comes in, or one
that will overthrow the Protestant Religion, you cannot do
any thing in that without providing that no standing Army
shall be, to raise Money, &c. As to the Revenue, which
ends with the King, &c. I have seen the computation of
Mr Coleman, "how the King might live without a Parliament;" another Paper, in the introduction, "how the King
must be arbitrary, and have a standing Army in masquerade in the Fleet." When the two Lords of Buckingham
and Arlington were accused here about the Dutch War,
when they had made it, they put off the Parliament, and
prorogued it. Arlington's Answer was plain; "By the credit you had given the Exchequer, they could go on with
the Dutch War without you." Then he was asked, why
were we called in February after? He answered, "There
was no more Money left, and so they were forced to call
the Parliament." Now look back, and see whether you are
in any security, as the state of the Nation stands. I would
comply with the King, but without ruining the people.
Unless we can wind the King to a good will and liking
of what we shall do, all will be to no purpose; therefore
I would show the King that we have no design to ruin
him, or his family, but to save the Nation. Consider
whether, as the Law stands, made by the last Parliament (of the Militia Oath) if the King will not relieve us,
whether it is possible to be saved. The Papists practice
has been, either through insinuation of some particular
Person, or corruptions, the last Parliament, of Members,
(and I hope in time we shall know them) and which you
may hear of ere long. The Protestants are a great party; they will never lose their Religion. Now consider,
how stand you? Which way has the last Parliament put
it? To say the King is a Papist, that is penal; and then
there is a perpetual Clause in the Act of Uniformity and
the Militia Oath, of taking up Arms against persons
commissioned by the King—Will not you take this time
to tell the King, that you mean well to the Royal Family,
but would secure your Religion and Property? Therefore I move for a day, &c. to consider what will secure
you; and that a standing Army will not do; for who
can believe there is good will, &c. when there is an
Army to support the Government? It is talked, that
the subjects here are factious; of the Scotch Faction. All
that brand the people with rebellious and mutinous inclinations, those advise the King to take up his Prerogative. He that puts these things into the King's mind,
is against his interest—The People cannot hurt the
Crown. Where is that thing that must save the Nation?
The foundation of the Government is the People's hearts,
and upon the same foundation the King came in at his
Return; retrieve it to that day, and the Papists can never do you any hurt.
Sir Thomas Meres.] In the King's Speech, &c. there is
a provoking us to secure ourselves. "If any thing
whatsoever be for your good, or for your quiet, so as you
do not impede the Succession, &c." If this be not sit for
us to give Thanks for, in a Body of Lords and Commons, nothing can be. Thanks being moved, it is ungrateful for us not to do it.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] I rise up to speak to some words
I have noted down. Sacheverell made an elaborate discourse fully to many weighty things. The Question
was, "Whether Thanks should be returned to his Majesty for his gracious Speech?" which I thought would
have passed without any opposition, and not with words
of reflection. The words are these, "This is but to delude the eyes of those who are apt to be misled."
Serjeant Maynard.] What was said by Sacheverell was
with good zeal to King and Country. The effect of what
the King said, was, "Do what you can, what you will, to
secure Religion in the Succession, &c. only one thing reserved, viz. "Not to alter the Succession in the right
Line." No man can say, he is able to propound what is
fit to be done; but I believe it is one of the most gracious condescensions that ever was; and I would thank
God for it, and show your gratitude to the King, and enter it into your Books.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Sacheverell said nothing but
what was reasonable and proper for us to do at this
time. Gentlemen will find great mistakes in the Chancellor's Speech. First, it must be stated, that he is a Popish Prince. We have a Prince at present, and who can
say he is a Papist? No man can legally and properly say
it. If a Test be given him, who shall execute the discrimination upon the King? And if that be a necessary condition, the whole thing is ineffectual. If a Prince will
say, "I am no longer a Papist," and will go to Church,
and have a Dispensation from the Pope to do it, there is an
end of it; if so, the latter Clause of the Chancellor's
Speech will not help you at all—But this of Succession,
&c. in the Speech, must stand, and you can do nothing
farther that can help you. In the last Parliament, there
was a Motion, "When any Speech of the King's is reported, &c. that we come to no Vote, unless to adjourn the
consideration of it to another day;" and not the same
day debated, for there may be inconveniences in it. If
there be an Answer to your demand, then it may be, &c.
but if there be new matter in it unforeseen, and we give
Thanks for it, we may thank the King for we know not
what. Therefore I move to put off the consideration of it
to another day.
Mr Williams.] What Councils have done, they may
do. This may tend to a Precedent for the future. I
would return his Majesty Thanks for the gracious Expressions in his Speech, and no more.
Mr Garroway.] I have been here at many of these Debates, and I am sorry you should have a Question whether to give the King Thanks. As to what is said by
the Chancellor, the King has not so ordered him, as that
he cannot alter any thing, &c. for I have heard the Chancellor say one thing in the Lords House, and he has printed another. I am willing the King should know how we
recieve any gracious Expression of his. We saw, upon
pressures, when we were harder borne than now, that it was
always thought convenient to set a day, &c. and wave
sudden Thanks, upon a general Motion. The Chancellor's Speech, for ought I know, is a thing of his own.
That negation of altering the Succession is a kind of
chiding us for Sunday's work. If we do not something,
we are not upon an equal footing with the Papists. I
look upon those things as diversions for putting us off
from serious thoughts, as we have been served before. I
would set a day, &c.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Arguments are not well
founded against the Chancellor's Speech, or Thanks to
his Majesty for his gracious Speech. It is not like a Bill
sent down; it is unformed, and as you are to give the
form, the King's inclinations surely are worth your Thanks.
The King tells you what he would propose, not what
you shall propose; what he can concur with, and what
not. What if a Popish Prince will break all Laws? Human reason can go no farther than human reason can. I
can never believe that a Prince, come to the Crown so
clogged with prejudice against Popery, can ever set it up.
It is left to you to make Tests and Oaths to bar it. It is
left to you to form, &c. and what other things you can
think of. If you go without a Question of Thanks, it
will be very disadvantageous to you.
Mr Vaughan.] Primâ facie thé Speech, &c. has all
Grace imaginable, but we ought not to give sudden
Thanks, any more than make a sudden Law. If the
Crown of England hurts our Liberty, it sinks, and I question not, but if the King be too bountiful in his condescensions, that very bounty may hurt us. A great many
Graces may deserve your Thanks in due time; but
how qualified, I would have well considered.
Colonel Titus.] I would give Thanks for something
more than the gracious Expressions in the King's Speech.
That is, that the King will make good what he has told
us. The last Parliament was as liberal in Thanks as in
Money: I hope we shall not imitate them. I would use
the King, as we use God Almighty; we give Thanks
for fair weather and rain, but we give no Thanks for
clouds—Rain must fall first, clouds may blow over; the
rain may be prorogued, and perhaps we may give
Thanks for nothing. By Monday, possibly, Bills may
be passed, and by that time I hope we shall have reason to
give double Thanks.
Resolved, That the consideration of his Majesty's Speech, and
the Lord Chancellor's Speech, be adjourned till Monday next.