Wednesday, October 27.
[Mr Dangerfield, according to Order, delivered his Evidence
relating to the Plot in writing.]
Mr Hyde.] I was unwilling to interrupt the Question
yesterday, of Dangerfield giving in his Narrative in writing. Though some may think hardly of me, yet I will
venture my estate and life as far as any man, to prevent
Popery, and a Popish Successor, if it will not bring us into
a War. As for the Narrative that Dangerfield has given
in, I cannot believe that Narrative. I will not insist upon an extraordinary act of the Council-Table upon Oath,
but this Narrative is not upon Oath, that he feared to be
crushed there, and therefore he had declared it here.
Those that know him, take him to be a man not of such
credit, to speak as he does of any man, much less of such
a person as the Duke. As to the Duke's oaths and imprecations that he speaks of, I never heard such a word
out of the Duke's mouth. But this invalidates his Testimony to me, that when he was examined at the Council,
"Did you see such a person?" "No," says he, "never in
my life;" and all upon his Oath; and then, "Yes, I think
once, and never but once." These are not great matters,
but this goes a great way with me, when in little matters
he will trifle thus; and this is a man I cannot believe.
What weight his Narrative will have with others I know
not. This I speak in discharge of my conscience. Let
us be angry with the Duke, but not with one another. I
freely and calmly speak this, because yesterday there were
wonderful reflections made on the Court and Council.
Who put them there? Them they serve. I was put in
by the King; I serve him, and none else. There has
been ill conduct. Yet in compassion to us as men, consider calmly of France and Popery; and yet great measures of late have been to take the King out of France and
to ally with Spain. Whilst I serve the King with honesty,
let me serve with reputation.
Sir Leoline Jenkins, Secretary.] I would not have stood
up about Dangerfield, but by reason some Gentlemen
have laid some weight upon it. The credit of the man
depends upon the Judges that must pass Judgment upon
his Evidence, considering the circumstances of his life. He
must be left upon the conscience of the Judge and Jury.
But especially I take notice as if the Duke of York found
fault with him for want of courage to kill the King. In
conscience I am persuaded that no subject has a greater
abhorrence of this fact than the Duke, and I wonder the
Duke should not be detected before now. By my profession (a Civilian) I am acquainted with the Law of
Nations, and no Nation will give credit to persons of
this man's life. Let us be calm in our Debates, and let
this Narrative have no more influence here, than it will
in all other Nations.
Colonel Birch.] I stand up to make a short Motion.
Let this Evidence of Dangerfield's be what it will, let
the House make their use of it; and I move, that a Justice of Peace may take it upon Oath.
Sir Francis Winnington.] We cannot order a Justice to
take it upon Oath, for we represent a Grand Jury, and
we cannot order an Oath to be taken. Let us recommend it only to the Justices, as we did in the business of
the Lords in the Tower.
Sir John Knight.] This time two years, you had several of Coleman's Letters, and of the Pope's Internuntio's,
read here, and amongst other Letters, one did declare to
take away the King's life, and that the Duke of York's
affairs and the Catholics were all one; they were to act,
and the Duke to stand still: But when the King should
be taken off, then was the time for the Duke to act. This,
the chief Letter, had miscarried, and the Committee of
Secrecy never had it. In August last I was sent for by
Mr Bedlow, who lay sick, and desired to speak with me (fn. 1) .
I went to him with a friend, and on the 16th of August last,
his words were these: "That he was in a dying condition, and was troubled that persons go about to make the
people believe that there was no Plot, but he desired to
clear his conscience now dying." He did now declare,
"That whatever he had given in upon Oath, or declared
against any person to be in the Plot, was but what is
truth: That the Papists do still design to take away
the King's life, and will never give over: That the
King had been often told of it, but no care was taken of
his life. Some of the Privy Council would needs have had
him give his full Evidence, but he would not, for fear of
being taken off." He desired that the Parliament might see
Lord Powis's and Lord Baltimore's Letters of Correspondence in Flanders about the Plot. He said something
against the Duke in Lord Chief Justice North's examination. He desired he would come to him that he might
discharge his conscience before he died.
Serjeant Maynard.] I cannot doubt of the Popish Plot,
since Godfrey's blood cries aloud in the land. When
Doctor Oates gave in his Narrative, it was sent for to
St Omers, and then they took pains to falsify it. This
Narrative of Dangerfield's is no Evidence. When he gave
Evidence against Mrs Cellier at the King's-Bench, it was
not taken because he was attainted, and not pardoned. I
speak not how he reflects on the Duke and the Earl of
Peterborough. Let not the Narrative be entered upon
your Books, but lie on the Table, and you will have
farther Evidence. And I would ground no present opinion upon it. You may make use of it when you will. If
upon Debate, the Question be put for publishing it, you
will have no more Evidence. If the Question go for it,
you are too soon. Though there is ground for you to accuse upon single Evidence, yet keep this Narrative in
your hands for the present.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] It is the Subjects Right to have
liberty to petition the King. There are Precedents in
Lord Hobart's Reports of the Right of petitioning; and
one of the great crimes of the Spencers, in Edw. II's time,
was "keeping Petitioners from the King." Hen. VIII.
asked, "Why they entered into Rebellion, and did not
petition him?" If that Right be denied, the people will
have no recourse but to their swords. In 1640, the late
King declared it to be the Subjects Right to petition,
and invites them to it. I suppose you have heard of
"Petitions," and "Abhorrences of Petitions (fn. 2) ." I had
the honour to present a Petition for the sitting of the
Parliament, and presently followed the printed Precedents
of Judgments against petitioning. Pray read that Petition, and the Precedents against it, and then you will see
what we have done, and what the Long Robe have done,
to betray our Liberties in the Right of petitioning.
Whilst the Parliament is sitting, the King's life is safe,
and those who advise the contrary would give him up.
In the intervals of Parliament you have lost Mr Bedlow's
Evidence—If there be men who advise to dissolve and
prorogue Parliaments, I hope the legislative Power will
bring those men to Justice. I would have you assert your
Right of petitioning what way you please.
Sir Robert Howard.] The King has sent out a Proclamation against petitioning (fn. 3) . When things are ill done,
many men have the confidence to put them upon the
King; so we scarce know who is guilty of them. Here
is a Proclamation, and you are going directly to make a
Vote against the King. Some of no knowledge in the
Law advised the King to this. I suppose this Precedent
against Petitions is a point of Law taken out of Crooke's
Reports, and made Law at the Council-Table; a Star
Chamber-case, arisen not by argument before the Judges
upon a cause started by the people of England: This is
brought in for Law, and upon that the Proclamation is
grounded. Saying prayers, and meeting together, at
this rate, may be a riot towards Heaven. Plainly here is
a thing given in for Law, therefore pray enquire who
gave this advice.
Mr Sacheverell.] If any man makes a question whether petitioning be our Right or not, he makes a question whether we be freemen or not; a thing never doubted but by those Judges, who have declared it for Law
(and I can prove it) that riots for the King's service are
well done. This is Scotch Law, and every step we make
tends that way; and so by Law we may be more under
slavery than France itself. If the Judges shall have such
power as to persuade the King to this, they are masters
of the whole Government, and the King shall never
know what is wrong, and consequently cannot do us
right. Not to advise to call the Great Council together,
when the Nation is in danger; and in the case of Lord
Danby's Pardon, the Commons to be denied Justice when
they desired it; when it cannot be denied to the meanest
subject!—It is time to let the Judges know, that, if they
will not do their duty, you will make them do their
duty, and inform the King that they have not. I would
therefore resolve, "That it is the undoubted Right of the
Subject to petition the King to reform Grievances, and
to address by Petition."
Mr Garroway.] I was neither Petitioner, nor Abhorrer. I am neither for palliating the thing, nor putting
it by. Put us a Question for this, and go on with the
other in due time.
Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That it is, [and ever hath
been,] the undoubted Right of the Subjects of England, to petition the King for the calling and sitting of Parliaments, and
redressing of Grievances.
Mr Hampden.] A Vote of the House of Commons is
no light thing, as in Alderman Chambers's Case of Tonnage and Poundege. The King, in his Letter to the
Convention from Breda, said, "He looked upon the
Parliament as the vital part of the Nation, and that it
was not safe without it." We know the King's opinion
already. I desire this may be added to your Vote,
"That those who represent the respective Places who
have petitioned, may give them the Thanks of the
House for petitioning the King for the meeting of the
(fn. 4) .] It was the Bishop's influence which
caused several to set their hands to the Petition of
Abhorrency in the County of Somerset, and to give the
King Thanks for the return of the Duke; which, in
plain English, is to thank him for Popery. I would
have these Abhorrers declared Enemies to the King and
Sir William Portman.] I was neither Petitioner nor
Abhorrer. It was not the Gentlemen of Somersetshire that
abhorred; it was only the Grand Jury.
Sir Francis Winnington.] You have asserted your Right:
I would now enquire into offenders. Those who advised
the King to issue out the Proclamation are Enemies to
both King and Kingdom. A Gentleman of Quality today brought me a Paper of Exorbitances in the County
of Berks, where the Petition was unanimously resolved
on the Bench. And reads the Order, viz.
"Now this Court, considering that the way of petitioning
the King for sitting of the Parliament is contrary to the
King's Proclamation, and, as we humbly conceive, against
his Prerogative, Ordered, That the Presentment aforesaid be obliterated and razed out of the Record of this
So that when you pass that Vote, I shall propose how
the Offenders may be brought to public Justice.
Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That to traduce such Petitioning as a violation of duty, and to represent it to his Majesty
as tumultuous and seditious, is to betray the Liberty of the Subject, and contributes to the design of subverting the ancient
legal Constitution of this Kingdom, and introducing arbitrary
Colonel Titus.] You are in the right in this Vote:
Then those who have done against it are in the wrong.
He that poisons me, or hinders me from an antidote,
contributes to destroy me. Are we so great sinners that
they will hinder us to pray? But for those that should
assert your liberties, to betray you! If there be any
amongst us that are loth we should fit, we may be loth
too that they should sit amongst us. Let every such
Member be heard in his Place, and then of right he may
be heard at the Bar. If Sir Francis Wythens
(fn. 5) be not in
the House, pray send for him, that he may be heard in
[He was ordered to attend in his Place, the next day.]
Mr Pilkington delivered a Petition [of divers Citizens of London,] against Sir George Jeffreys
(fn. 6) , Recorder of London, for threatening Petitioners and Jurors, &c.
Mr Boscawen.] Whatever is said of this House by ill
men, to divide the King and People, you have done well
to declare your Opinion in it thus far; and you may
imagine something may be attempted again, like the
Serpent to our first Parents in Paradise: They have made
their Prince believe what never was true. The King's
Prerogative, and the Subjects Privilege, is the greatest
security of the Nation; and when that is out of frame,
the Government, like a clock, is useless. Some designs, I
believe, will be on foot for separating us, as well as there
were for preventing our meeting. What has else prevented the Tryal of the Lords in the Tower, but these
Proceedings? Therefore I would obviate this. This
House is not a necessitous Body, but of sincere hearts;
not upon self-gain, and interest, as formerly; therefore
I would humbly represent to the King, "That we will
go as far to support the Government as ever any House
of Commons did;" and so make him confident of us.
The King's Person, we see, is in danger, and the Protestant Religion; and there is no better way to obviate
designs against him and the Government.
Lord Cavendish.] When I look a year and a half backward, I think this a happy day. The King has taken
the last and only remedy, which is, to call a Parliament.
Therefore I look upon the late Prorogations as the acts
of ill Counsels, and our sitting as the King's own act.
If it be true, that the King is still beset by those who
inform him that this Parliament strikes at the Government, and would remove him next to his Brother, we
should do well to confirm the King in his good resolutions, by some Address, "That the interest of this
House is his, and that the sitting of the Parliament will
make him a great King."
Sir Richard Graham.] I think you have been well
moved. The eyes of Europe are upon the happiness or
misery of this Parliament. The Nation also expects to
be secured from Popery and arbitrary Government, and
without it we know not how to go home into our Country. I am informed that the King is now advised to send
the Parliament home—It is an observation, that States
fall and rise as natural bodies, and that States have times
to prevent their ruin; by such even steps Providence
proceeds. We are in misfortunes, and may be saved,
else we shall fall unpitied. (The rest the Compiler could
Mr Harbord.] I hope there is God's Blessing for this
Nation, or at least for the Protestant part of it, by the
wise steps we shall take. But there is a sort of people
who lay all the blame upon the King. You have a Petition against Sir George Jeffreys, for his arbitrary Proceedings in his place of Recorder of London; and lately at the
King's-Bench, persons have been convicted of Perjury. It
fell out that this Gentleman there did openly, when he
found himself charged there for taking these subornations,
say, "That he sat up three or four nights at Lord Danby's lodgings, by the King's command." It has not been
only the practice of this man, but of all the Benches
where they have power. I speak it with horror, that they
should father all these things upon the King. I doubt,
when you come to pinch them, they will lay it upon the
King. I have conversed with the King, and I doubt not
of the least Injustice from him. Therefore I would add
some Clause to the Vote, "That whoever shall lay any of
these things upon the King, are enemies to the King and
Mr Love.] I was some years past in that Parliament
(which, I thank God, we are rid of) where a man was still
a Presbyterian, or this, or that, if he spoke plainly of
Miscarriages. The Act, passed in that Parliament, for
regulating Corporations, set us all together by the ears.
These Petitioners in the City for the sitting of the Parliament were constrained, in some irregular way, to sign the
Petition. Till a Common Hall was called, they could do
nothing. Now, I thank God, we are in a Protestant
Parliament, and both those of this or that persuasion
will spend their blood for the Protestant Religion. The
whole body of the City of London are of the same mind,
and will join heart and hand with you, as these Gentlemen,
that serve with me, will attest.
Sir William Temple
(fn. 7) .] The fate of all Christendom will
be determined by the Session of this Parliament. And
unless the affairs of the Protestants shall be especially supported by the King, ours at home will be in an ill condition. Nothing will support them so much, as that there
is like to be union betwixt the King and his Parliament in what concerns us abroad as well as at home. (The
rest the Compiler could not hear.)
Mr Sacheverell.] I cannot agree to the Motion of the
Gentlemen who spoke last, though I cannot blame them
for making the Motion. I have seen so much here, that
I hope we shall go no more hoodwinked. We paid dear
lately for an actual War with France, and that brought
us a Peace. The King's Speech is to be well understood
before we come to a Resolution. The King says, "He
has made such Leagues with Spain, as he had made before
with the Dutch." And that League, the late Long Parliament, as bad as it was, declared not satisfactory. Pray
let us see this League, before that with an implicit faith
we take it, whether it be for the interest of England.
Will you leave it to the Ministers of State to judge, or
yourselves? We have had enough of that already, and it
may be, do the King more hurt than good with it. I remember Lord Arlington's Answer here in the House, why
the Parliament was not called to advise about the Dutch
War. He told you, "There was Money in the Exchequer to carry on that War without aid from the Parliament, and, it may be, the Parliament would not like the
War." But why has this Parliament been prorogued?
If they disliked the Parliament, why did they call them
again? It seems, there was like to be disturbances abroad,
and now they call this because they want Money. This
will be represented in the Country, that we pass Money
to support Alliances that we thought dangerous. It terrified them whom we ought to have supported by that
Peace, and are you doing the same thing again? State
the Question for redressing disorders at home, before you
leap into any thing abroad.
Mr Powle.] I shall appear to be as cautious of giving
Money as any man, till that necessary time comes. Till
then, I shall be as reserved as any man, as well to support the King at home as abroad. (The rest the Compiler
could not hear.)
Mr Hyde.] I desire to rectify a mistake in Sacheverell.
He tells you, "The King has made such an Alliance
with Spain as he made with the States of Holland." That
was not the Treaty. That in order to a General Peace
was that Treaty, but the defensive Treaty is that which
the King speaks of; the other is at an end.
Mr Sacheverell.] I observe that, in all these general
Questions, Money is still at the bottom. You will find
in that Vote the League offensive and defensive. But
what Judgment can you pass upon a thing you never
saw, by an implicit faith? We have sufficient testimony
that the Ministers of State have not mended. I wish
Mr Garroway.] I know no Treaty on foot, but with
the King of Spain, and that is no support of the Protestant Religion. So far as you will stand by the King in the
Government, I shall go along with you, but not "supporting with lives and fortunes," which we have been taken upon formerly when War or actual War, and all was
actual Peace. As soon as they have got your Money,
you may go home again, as you have done formerly.
Mr Hampden.] He has not an English heart that would
not see the King great amongst his neighbours. Some
things have been said that may justly give us jealousy,
that were done in the Long Parliament. As for those
Leagues, one was a prejudicial League, and the other
was a trifling one. I would not deceive the King by my
word nor reasonable expectation; if there be occasion for
Money, we have nobody here that is to have any share of
it, as formerly, when we durst not trust one another. Let
us assure the King "that we will maintain his person and
greatness," and leave the wording of the Address to the
Committee that is to draw it, not by confining them only to the Debate.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I cannot blame Gentlemen
that fear being bitten; but we have no biters in this Parliament. I believe there are several who carry it to the
King's ear, that we are for our own good, and not his.
Formerly they did give and take. This proposed is an
implicit Vote. Pray let the Question be general, neither
to seem to give, nor not to give.
Colonel Titus.] Pray consider what prejudice this may
be to the Protestant Religion abroad, when it has been
moved to support it, and you reject the Motion.
Which was added, &c.
Colonel Birch.] I have reason to believe, that those
about the King do tell him that they who will take his
Brother from him, will take him away too, and that you
are against the Government. If these men have their ends,
you are like to have another kind of Parliament than
this. The Protestant Religion is in danger abroad; and
he that sticks not to it abroad, cannot at home. Therefore I intreat that your Question may be such, as that
the World may take notice that the King and Commons
of England are one. It must appear from Dan to Beersheba,
that men are put in trust that will stand to the Protestant
Religion, and I am for the word "abroad" in the Question.
[Resolved, That an Address be made to his Majesty, declaring
the Resolution of this House to preserve and support the King's
Person and Government, and the Protestant Religion at home
And a Committee was appointed to draw up the same.]
Thursday, October 28.
[Lord Chief Justice North gave Information, "That the Papers
relating to Mr Bedlow's Testimony, taken by his Lordship at
Bristol, (See p. 367. Note) were by him delivered in to the Council, and by them transmitted to the House of Lords, and that one
of the Clerks of that House was attending at the door with those
And his Lordship being withdrawn,] Mr Brown, Clerk of the
House of Lords was, by Order, called in; and having delivered
four Papers to the House, desired a Receipt for them, because he
gave a Receipt for them to the Clerks of the Council.
[A Receipt was accordingly given by the Clerk of the House.]
Mr Garroway.] I would not read the Papers in my
Lord Chief Justice's presence; but let them be showed
him, and ask him whether these be the original Papers, and all taken when he last examined Mr Bedlow at
Mr Sacheverell.] There is a relation of North's, &c.
given in to the Council-Table. Pray examine that also.
Lord Chief Justice North was called in, and, after his respects
to the House, sat down in a Chair prepared for him within the
Bar, the Serjeant with the Mace standing by him.
Then the Speaker interrogated him as to the examinations of
Lord Chief Justice North.] I have viewed the Papers, and
that first is a relation of the Business which I sent up to the Council, which I would not trust by the Post, because it was of consequence. I have recollected all the passages in the Paper. I cannot speak to a word, but to the best of my remembrance. These
are all the passages I can recollect now; but, if any thing comes
farther to my memory, I shall declare it. I believe the hand to be
my Clerk's, who wrote it. When Bedlow had no more to say, I
read it to him when the company was withdrawn. Every word
that is written Bedlow did say, and it is all that he did say. There
is not any thing with-held nor concealed. He withdrew.
The other Paper was a Letter from Sir Leoline Jenkins; for
which see the Print, and the whole Account.
The Order was read for Sir Francis Wythens to answer in his
Place (fn. 8) , &c. which he did thus:
Sir Francis Wythens.] I account it the greatest misfortune in the world that I am fallen into the displeasure
of this illustrious Assembly. I am satisfied in my own
conscience, that I intended no ill. I am a stranger to
four parts in five of this House, and am fallen into the
displeasure of those that know no good of me; and likewise it is the first time I ever appeared as a delinquent to
excuse what I have done amiss. I do acknowlege it a
great offence in delivering the Address to the King from
the Grand Jury of Westminster, and I humbly confess I
did not think fit to baffle here. I was Chairman at the
Sessions, and the Justices made an Order, and agreed to
it, and desired me to present it to the Jury. At the
Justices request I did it, not as any voluntary act of
mine, but as theirs. I never was of any other opinion,
but that it was most lawful for Subjects to petition the
King, and to every man of common sense, who considers Sovereign and Subject, if he be not informed by Law,
natural reason does make it lawful and necessary. I was
offered a good Fee to be of Counsel for them, and refused
it, not because I was the King's Counsel, for it was before that—Where great Wisdom is, there is Clemency,
and as this House does observe the failings of persons, so
it pardons them when not out of wilfulness but frailty.
I had no base design in me. I am for the legal Government, and have been a Justice of Peace these three years,
and have, with great earnestness, prosecuted the persons
who would have destroyed the King and the Protestant
Religion. I never laid my hand upon a Protestant of any
persuasion. But when I consider the subject of Addresses, to stand by the King in the maintenance of the
Protestant Religion—I cannot pretend—I have many
failings, and though by this Vote you have made me so
unfortunate as to be an Offender against it, yet I am glad
all mens eyes are now opened, though by my extraordinary disrepute. I am an enemy to infallibility, and I cannot pretend to it. I humbly submit myself to you. Where
so great Prudence is, there will be Clemency.
The Grand Jury of Westminster attended at the Bar, about
the Petition of Abhorrence, &c.
Mr Whitaker.] I was employed in the prosecution for the Duke
of Buckingham, in the subornation of perjury against him (fn. 9) . I had
information that a Jury was packed, being of persons of no consideration. I had a copy of the names of the Grand Jury. I
found a great many suspicious men; but finding three or four
honest men, I made no great matter. But for fear afterwards that
the three good men should be put out, and new ones sworn who
had never any summons, by the means of Wythens, by which
means I should have great difficulty to get the Bill of Perjury
passed, by witnesses set up by Lord Danby—It seems, the Jury
were not to the purpose of Wythens.
Mr Harbord.] Ever since King James's time, Popery
has been increased when the Parliament has been dissolved,
and suppressed whilst they have been sitting. Formerly,
since the Statutes against Popery, due Returns were made
into the Exchequer of Convictions of Papists, and the
Crown has been the better for it; but it is not so now.
But it is fit that those who give terror to the Government
should bear the more charge towards it. But that you
may proceed with more reputation, I would not go by
this way of Narrative at the Bar. Therefore I move
(though there be a sort of men who would cut people's
throats and ruin our Religion) that you will appoint
a Committee to receive Informations. If you try the
Lords in the Tower, you cannot take Evidence here. I
move not for a Secret Committee; they are like machinations of Statesmen. I would appoint twelve Gentlemen,
and command them to attend that service.
Colonel Birch.] I am much of this Gentleman's mind,
that a Secret Committee is not for your service. You
may, in the House, take such as are near at hand, to
give you Information.
Mr Rowe, Sword-bearer of Bristol, gave Information upon
oath, before Sir William Roberts, against Sir Robert Yeomans [of
Bristol, and against Sir Robert Cann, a Member of the House,
"That they did, in October 1679, publickly declare, that there
was no Popish Plot, but a Presbyterian Plot." The same was likewise attested by Sir John Knight, a Member.]
Sir Robert Cann.] A Jury of twelve men in Bristol will
not give credit to Sir John Knight's testimony.
He made several imprecations, "that what was said against him
by Rowe was not true," and swore "God damn him," &c.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I know not what credit Knight
is of at Bristol, but I am sure no Member took more
pains in the Committee for the Plot. Cann has made
such vast imprecations of his innocence, as I have heard
some bad men make when awed in Courts of Justice.
That a man of so good credit in this House should be
so reflected upon in Bristol, is strange!
Mr Hampden.] It is strange that the Corporation of
Bristol should send Knight hither to serve in Parliament,
and not believe his testimony! This is a downright recrimination. No man of the last Parliament but knows
that Knight was as diligent and faithful, as equal and
impartial, as any man, in the examination of the Plot.
But at this time of day, when all the rage of the Papists
is against you, a Member to be called all to naught,
whose credit is so well known here! No coherence can
explain what Cann has said of Knight. A fine piece of
wit to make this a fit discourse for this Place!
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] Cann knows best what he
has to say in explanation of himself. I move only to
Method. Though this be an extraordinary case, yet
you must preserve the Methods of the House, of Cann's
explaining himself in his Place.
Mr Powle.] The Reputation of Knight is so well
known, that little need be said to it. He has contributed so much pains and sincerity in the management of
Coleman's Letters, and to be chosen in several Parliaments
for Bristol, that he should be now of so little Reputation
here! Cann compares his own credit with Knight's. The
words are to be written down by the Clerk.
Mr Strode.] I heard Cann say, "God damn me, it is
Colonel Birch.] Write that down, as an addition to
what he said before. This execration is so like persons
that decry the Plot, that this must not pass without remark.
Sir Robert Cann.] I humbly beg the pardon of the
House for the rash words fallen from me. I do not use
to swear. I abhor Popery. I never said the words.
What I said was in passion, sincerely. He withdrew.
Mr Boscawen.] Should you not do Knight right in
this, you make the World believe something of this to
be true. This is the greatest Reflection upon Knight that
can be. Cann has imprecated extraordinarily, "That he
did not say the words, That this was a Presbyterian
Plot." Take this matter distinct from the former. Your
Reprimand ought not only to be for his rash imprecations, but for the abuse of Knight, your Member; else
what will be said at Bristol; that you have only called
Cann upon his knees at the Bar, and given him a Reprimand. Therefore I would have your Sentence distinct.
Mr Love.] Knight is a Merchant of Bristol, and a trading man of unquestionable Reputation at Bristol. He
was Chairman to the Committee about the Plot. He
took that pains that never man did in that Chair. I must
give that testimony of him. The Letter he told you of
yesterday, that is lost; his Reputation, if you vindicate
him not, will be nothing, when he produces the copy
of that Letter.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The imprecation is so ill that he
made, I desire not to remember it. All the excuse he
makes, is, "That it was a rash word." I desire that his
punishment may be in his purse, and commit him to the
Sir John Hotham.] It is well known how much this
Popish Plot has been decried. You turned out Mr Sackville, the last Parliament, for vilifying the King's Evidence, and speaking slightly of the Plot in Coffee-house
talk. You have a Vote in your Books, "That this is a
Popish Plot," and Cann was then a Member when that
Vote was made, and when Mr Sackville had the Justice
of the House; and now he to go about to traduce it,
and lead about people with these idle stories! I would
have many things printed, that spiritual men too may
be informed of your Proceedings. If Sackville deserved
to be turned out of the House, I desire that Cann, who
has seen all the Evidence of this horrible Plot, and yet
has traduced it, may not sit within these walls.
Sir Francis Winnington.] When Cann, at a public table at Bristol, shall be so frank as to declare this to be
no Plot, I think him not sit to be here to suppress the
Plot. Some men think, that if a man swears not, then
he is presently a Fanatic. Therefore if Cann be of that
opinion, and that this is no Popish Plot, but a Presbyterian, he is not fit to sit here; and pray send him
Colonel Titus.] If this should be represented to Juries
and Judges, that you countenance a person here, who
has represented this to the World to be a sham Plot,
and that both Juries and Judges have done wrong to the
persons executed for the Plot, with what face can you
go on in the prosecution of it? It is great injustice, if
this be suffered, to go on with farther examinations. For
a far less crime you expelled Mr Sackville, and I move
you to expell Cann.
Serjeant Maynard.] You have two things before you:
One is the offence of Cann committed in the House,
his recriminating on your Member, and his impious execrations; and the other, his offence out of the House, in
traducing the Popish Plot, by calling it a Presbyterian Plot.
You are to give sentence upon both distinctly.
Sir Robert Cann being upon his knees, at the Bar, the
Speaker thus gave Sentence.] Sir Robert Cann, you are guilty of a complicated crime, aggravated with circumstances.
You have been a Member of three Parliaments, and it is
expected you should know the Orders of the House. You
have offended against Order, and the common respect of
Society. You are a man of passion much above your
understanding. You have reviled and scandalized your
Fellow-Member and Neighbour, a man of worth and reputation, and when you come upon your defence of
your Charge, in traducing the Plot, you recriminate.
Every man is sensible of the danger of Popery, and you
to speak those words of a Member that has so well served
the Nation in the discovery of the Plot, a man of that
integrity! The reflection is upon your own head. To
use that imprecation of "God damn me, &c." An Oath
is so far from giving you credit in what you have said,
that it justly renders it suspicious. Your punishment is
made easy in only bringing you upon your knees for
your offence in those vile words.
This was his first Sentence. He withdrew, and was called again to his Place.
The Speaker then asked him, What have you to say
for yourself in publickly giving your opinion at Bristol,
"That there was no Popish Plot, but a Presbyterian
Sir Robert Cann.] I am as much against Popery as any
man. Upon all the protestations I can make, I never
said the words. I ever did, and ever shall believe this to
be a Popish Plot, as sure as you are in the Chair. I humbly
beg the pardon of the House, and am sorry I have given
offence. He withdrew.
Mr Hampden.] Let us hear all the Evidence against
him from Knight and the Sword-bearer of Bristol, and
then you may judge.
Mr Rowe, the Sword-bearer, at the Bar.] At a Sessionsdinner at Bristol, October 7, where were the Bishop and Sir
Robert Cann, Sir Robert Yeomans was talking, "That the
Dissenters in Bristol, at the Election, gave their Votes for
Knight." Yeomans said, "There was no Popish Plot," (speaking against the Dissenters.) Says Cann, "I am of Yeomans's opinion, that there is no Popish Plot, but a Presbyterian Plot." I
heard Cann say it at another time. Cann took his measures from
the Marquess of Worcester
(fn. 10) , who made it his whole business
to make the Mayor believe it. And this they gave out at the
Election of this Parliament; and by this fort of discourse they
worked off abundance of voices from Knight. They have their
great measures from my Lord of Worcester; he governs the City
in all things. By that Lord's means, it has cost me 50l. upon
an accusation before the Lords of the Council, and for what, I
know not to this day— (Here he was not suffered to go on, but
was ordered to withdraw.)
Sir John Hotham.] You have heard all that Cann says,
and it amounts to no more than a denial; so that you
have nothing more to do, if you are satisfied with the
Evidence, than to resolve how to proceed with Cann.
Colonel Titus.] Mr Sackville was a young Gentleman,
and a Soldier; and it was a less offence in him that you
expelled him for than in this man. Therefore that your
Justice may be uniform, pray search the Journals how
you proceeded in the case of Sackville.
Colonel Birch.] The case of Sackville was of a person
that never was a Member of Parliament when he committed the offence. So this of Cann is not the same case.
Colonel Titus.] As Cann's offence was greater than
Sackville's, so his punishment should at least be equal.
You should send him to the Tower; which you cannot do
when you have expelled him.
Resolved, That it doth appear, by Evidence, That Sir Robert Cann is guilty of publickly declaring, in the City of Bristol,
in October 1679, "That there was no Popish Plot, but a Presbyterian Plot," and that he shall be sent to the Prison of the
Tower, and be expelled the House.
Then the Speaker gave Sentence, viz.] Sir Robert Cann;
Since you have been a trumpet, to proclaim the Popish
Plot, no Plot of the Papists; being a Member of Parliament, and at a public time, and a public house; therefore the Sentence of this House is, That you be committed to the Tower, and you are actually cut off from
being a Member of this House, and you are no more to
be a Member of Parliament.
[Ordered, That Sir Robert Yeomans be sent for, in custody of
the Serjeant, &c.]
Friday, October 29.
Justice Newman, and Justice Robinson, of Westminster, gave the
House an account of Sir Francis Wythens's management of the
Petition of Abhorring, &c. from the Grand Jury of Westminster.
The Justices did generally decline it.
Mr Oates.] Some few days after the Petition was presented to the King, I met with Wythens in the Council-Lobby,
that day he was knighted. I told him, "I hoped to see him,
and all others that abhorred petitioning for the sitting of Parliament, hanged, for all their knighthood." He replied, "That
the King's Proclamation must be obeyed, and those that durst
petition for sitting of the Parliament, he would bind to their
good Behaviour." I believe there were near forty in the Lobby
when he said it.
Mr Papillon.] It seems, by the Evidence, that the
Clerk of the Peace moved the Justices to sign the Petition; and that Mr Robinson, and the rest, declined it.
Wythens was a promoter and a setter of it on, and he
moved the Justices, after dinner, to sign it; and knowing it to be against Law, and the subjects birth-right,
and he, a man of Law, not to inform them, but to move
the Justices to sign it!—I know not what more can be
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would be careful, in what concerns a Member, not to proceed hastily nor arbitrarily.
You have heard Wythens speak in his Place, and you are
not yet ripe upon a general Information to give an opinion, which no Court can give Judgment upon. I would
refer it to a Committee, that they may go upon it, to examine the matter, and have it reported, that we may have
something on our Books to justify what we shall do.
Mr Bennet.] The thing is notorious upon Evidence;
and you must not expect that Justices of the Peace, some
of whom live upon the profit of Warrants, will speak
plain. They will mince the matter. You have heard
two Witnesses, Robinson and Oates; you need not call
Sir Francis Wythens.] It will be a hard thing for me
to recollect the Evidence, especially in the confusion I
am in. I humbly request the House, that I may have
the Accusation in writing, for my memory will not serve
me to give an Answer to it at the present.
The Speaker.] You have liberty to make your Defence, and you have heard your Charge.
Sir Philip Musgrave.] I desire that your Member may
have liberty of Counsel, to be heard at the Bar in his
Defence. When a Gentleman is to receive Judgment,
he should have liberty, at the Bar, to make his Defence;
which if he cannot do, I shall be as forward to give
Judgment against him, as any man.
The Speaker.] It is disorderly to give him his Charge
in writing; but you may give him time to recollect himself, if you please.
Sir Francis Wythens withdrew during the Debate.
The Vote of the House was read, about petitioning, &c.
which see, p. 370.
Mr Harbord.] Next to Popery, this matter of petitioning is the greatest point. How will you come to
have Parliaments sit, when, it may be, those about the
King, of bigger bulk than this Gentleman, behind the
curtain persuade the King, that these Petitions are tumultuous and seditious? This Gentleman is Deputy Steward of Westminster, a standing Place in the Sessions,
where he presides and gives Rules; so that here is nothing but appointing a number to petition (as we see.)
What pity had the Judges on men, when a man was
fined 50l. for but saying, "he might petition?" The
whole Law is subverted by this. Judges may make, at
this rate, throwing a stone over a wall, and by chance
killing a man, murder. Reading was brought to our
Bar; you may remember upon what occasion. He was
sentenced, by the Judges, to the Pillory, and fined; he
never paid his Fine, and yet he goes abroad. Mr Tasburrow and Mrs Price pardoned their Fines. Harris the
Bookseller was set in the Pillory, and Mrs Cellier but upon
the Pillory. We are come to that pass, that, in plain
English, Protestants are punished, and Papists excused.
When we consider what a Grand Jury it was that presented this Petition of abhorring, and that a company of
beggarly Lawyers do these practices! Wythens was Judge
of this Court, and has, in his Place, declared his opinion
against petitioning for sitting of the Parliament. You
did justice yesterday upon Sir Robert Cann; but what
Wythens has done, was in the face of a Court, at Westminster Sessions. You will have no way to come by sitting of Parliaments, unless you make some examples;
and I would have you make this man one, and turn him
out of the House.
Mr Boscawen.] The Question is, Whether you are yet
ripe for Judgment upon this person? For justice sake, I
would not precipitate it, but give him time to make his
Defence; not that I believe the House will alter their
Judgment of the crime. Some Judgments of late, in
the Courts of Westminster, have been almost like Star-Chamber Sentences, which I hope in time you will take
Mr Papillon.] What is this Gentleman's crime? It is
betraying the Liberties of the Subjects of England, by
petitioning to subvert the Rights of the Subjects. He
has confessed it, and can bring no witnesses. The thing
is plain before you for Judgment. The main crime he
has confessed, of hindering these Petitions, &c. contrary
to the Liberty of the Subject, and their common natural
Right. Will you give him time to prove any thing
against his own Confession?
Colonel Birch.] I am afraid, that in so much zeal we
may make a bad Precedent. It may be, hereafter, Gentlemen may desire to have time granted them, and be denied it, if matters should turn.
Mr Garroway.] Will you give him time to prove
what he has confessed? If he can bring witnesses to disprove that, you may then give him time.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I am sorry for the misfortune
of this Gentleman of my own profession: But that our
Debates may not dwindle away in circumstances, I cannot sit still. It seems to some Gentlemen a hard thing,
not to allow one of your Members time to answer an
Accusation, as you allow other men. This case is of two
parts: One, of matter of fact, which he has confessed, and
yesterday acknowleged himself guilty of your Vote, and
was unfortunate: So that what relates to what he has
confessed, cannot be heard again; that is ridiculous.
Now whether that which he has confessed be sufficient
for you to give Judgment upon, is the matter before you.
Your time is precious, and danger great. There needs
no farther Debate upon what he has confessed, and so
much as to put a man under a great shock. He says,
"He is not so composed in mind as to carry in memory what was said." But here is the case: If the
House will not go upon his Confession, it is a strange
thing not to give him to a day. It is said, "That the
proofs are at the door." If you will go upon his Consession, it is one thing; but if you will hear farther
proofs, and allow him to make his Defence, if there be
more Witnesses at the door, you cannot deny hearing
Sir Francis Wythens was called to his Place, where he waved
The Witnesses were called in.
Mr Aaron Smith.] What I heard Wythens say, was after the
Abhorring Petition. At the Rainbow Coffee-house he did declare, "That petitioning for sitting of the Parliament was the seed
and spawn of Rebellion, and the Principles of 1641: That
none do presume to petition that are loyal Subjects: And that
none durst, nor ought to petition, when the King had signified
his pleasure against it, by his Proclamation."
Sir Francis Wythens's last Defence.] First, I give the
House humble thanks for their fair hearing me. I must
acknowlege, that I have been used with all candid proceeding. For what I am accused of here, there is but
one single testimony. As for what is said by Mr Robinson; he was the man that did propose this Address to me
first. It is a hard thing for me, in my own case only, to
give testimony. I desire the House will consider another
thing: Justice Newman testifies he heard no such proposal from me; and I hope that may be some confirmation of what I say. If there be any truth in me, I never
proposed any such thing as this Address. I neither forwarded it any more, nor was more industrious in it, than
in other things. I thanked the Grand Jury for the pains
they had taken, as usually the course is, in relation to
their Bills, and upon no other account; and I said, "I
would faithfully deliver the Address to the King." I neither commended nor discommended it, but took it as it
was. As for what Mr Oates says, that I should say in the
Lobby, I have recollected myself. He comes up to me,
and says, "You have a precious Grand Jury at Westminster: They are a company of rogues, and I hope one
day to see them all hanged." I said, "They were an
able Jury, and worth sixty thousand pounds amongst
them." In my whole life I never promoted any thing of
this nature; and if I had been so mighty violent a man,
I should have done something to have promoted this.
(This illustrious Assembly may confound a man in what
he has to say.) I confess, I might have said to the
Grand Jury, "That this is not a good way;" and I was
to blame that I did not; and I am now much more convinced of my error in this place, where I have heard
things debated with such calmness and moderation. I
have no more to say, but humbly to submit to the determination of the House. I have to do with Persons of
Honour and Judgment. I know not that I have given
any disgust to any person of any profession whatsoever.
I make my humble submission to this House, which I
must ever honour, where I have had all the favourable hearing I could desire—I desire one word more: I am so far
from knowing Smith (who testified against me) that I never saw him. No man goes so seldom to Coffee-houses
as myself, and there I scarce speak one word. I do not
remember any such discourse with Smith, or any man
else. I would confess it, if true; and it is not worth
my while to deny it. I never received any letter for
putting in or out of Jurymen, I speak it in the presence
of God; and so I leave myself to the mercy of this
House; they are great and good. He withdrew.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] This Gentleman is that unfortunate man that led the dance in these Addresses for other
parts of the Kingdom. I hope they are Protestants that
made these Addresses, but they have kept too great a
distance from them. As for this Gentleman, there is a
necessity that you should do Justice upon him. I am forry this Gentleman should fall under these misfortunes, but
if this thing be not punished, you will make people bold
and confident. I shall conclude with this Motion, "That
this Gentleman be excluded this House, for betraying the
Rights and Liberties of this House."
Sir Thomas Player.] If this doctrine be preached,
"That petitioning for sitting of the Parliament is like
1641," what will become of us that made the Vote the
other day, "That it is the People's Right to petition
for sitting of the Parliament, &c.?" And I second the
Motion for expelling this Gentleman the House.
Resolved, That Sir Francis Wythens, by promoting and presenting to his Majesty an Address, expressing an Abhorrency to
petition his Majesty for the calling and sitting of Parliaments,
hath betrayed the undoubted Rights of the Subjects of England.
Ordered, That Sir Francis Wythens be expelled the House for
this high Crime, [and that he do receive his Sentence at the Bar,
upon his knees, from the Speaker.]
The Speaker thus gave Sentence of Expulsion.] This is a
great Crime, committed by you, a Member of Parliament,
against the Parliament; a Crime against known Law!
And you being a Lawyer have offended against your own
profession. You have offended against yourself, your own
Liberty, your own Right as an Englishman. This is not
only a Crime against the living, but a Crime against those
unborn. I know your sense of honour, that you cannot
but receive this Sentence with apprehension, which I am
to pronounce against you; which is, that you are dismembered from this Body.
Saturday, October 30.
Signior Francisco de Faria
(fn. 11) , being called in, gave his Evidence
at the Bar concerning the Popish Plot.
Lord Russel.] I think you have made a good Vote to
proceed in the examination of the Plot. Now whether
will you set a day to consider of suppression of Popery,
and preventing a Popish Successor? Let us do it for the
King's sake as well as our own. Neither the King's Person can be safe, the Government, nor the Protestant Religion, till the contrivers of the Plot be brought to condign punishment. I would declare, therefore, "That
you will proceed against all that have had a hand in
the Plot;" and I desire you would appoint a Committee
to inspect the condition of the Plot, and the Evidence,
how it was left in the last Parliament.
Sir Henry Capel.] The Motion is good, and I believe
will take up no great Debate. We are all sensible how
long the Prosecution of the Plot has been depending,
now two Parliaments. We are not to forget our Vote of
Popery, and a Popish Successor. I would therefore proceed to the full examination of the Plot, and appoint a
Committee for it.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I need not stand up to give
Reasons why you should proceed to this Question. But
I stand up for Instructions to your Committee. Therefore, as you have done your duty to make those Votes,
which comfort the hearts of Protestants, yet you had so
much business on foot, and so many good Motions, were
then made, that they were not denied, but you could not
go through with them. Now the Plot still goes on, for
if Gentlemen in the Country are not favourable to Papists, they are in danger of their lives. The last Parliament, the Master of the Rolls moved, as a parliamentary
thing, "That the Journals should be viewed, to see what
you had left undone the last Parliament." I conceive, by
the proposal of this Question, that the House is fully convinced to proceed to prepare things to bring these persons
to Judgment. There was an Order of the House to enter
Mr Treby's Report into the Journal. In a few days he
may make that Report, that the World may see that you
do not only vote, but will do also.
Mr Hampden.] There is no doubt, besides the necessity of affairs, and the King's recommendation in his
Speech, to prosecute the Plot, that you owe it to public
Justice, not to let men lye two years in the Tower. Pray
hold to this Resolve, "That the House will proceed to
the full examination of the Plot, in order to bring the
Offenders to public Justice."
Which was accordingly voted.
Colonel Titus.] When any thing disgusts those who
would not have Parliaments, I cannot blame them for
"abhorring," &c. were I in their circumstances. But
when the World shall see Parliaments go on where they
left off, it will put them by that way of proceeding. Therefore I desire that the Journals of the two last Parliaments
may be inspected.
[A Committee was appointed accordingly.]
Francisco de Faria was heard, upon his own desire, as to the
Tryal of Sir George Wakeman, relating to Lord Chief Justice
Scroggs's deportment, &c. (fn. 12)