Debates in the House of Commons, From the Year 1667 to the Year 1694.
[Monday, March 21, 1680,
The Parliament met at Oxford, when his Majesty spoke
to both Houses to the following effect: "That the
unwarrantable Proceedings of the last House of Commons were the reason of his parting with them; for that he,
who would never use Arbitrary Government himself, would not
suffer it in others: That whoever calmly considered the assurances he had renewed to that last Parliament, and what he
had recommended to them, his Foreign Alliances, the Examination of the Plot, and the Preservation of Tangier, and reflect
upon the strange unsuitable returns made to such Propositions,
by men assembled to consult, might rather wonder at his Patience, than that he grew weary of their Proceedings: That
he had thought it necessary to say thus much, that he might
not have any new occasion to recollect more of the late miscarriages: That it was his interest, and should be as much his
cause as theirs, to preserve the Liberty of the Subject; the
Crown not being safe when that is in danger: That by calling this Parliament so soon, he let them see, that no irregularities
of Parliaments should make him out of love with them, by
which means he gave them another opportunity to provide for
the public security, and had given one evidence more, that he
had not neglected his part.
"That he hoped the ill success of former heats would dispose them to a better temper: That as for the farther Prosecution of the Plot, Tryals of the Lords, &c. he omitted to press
them, as being obvious to consideration, and so necessary to the
public safety; but desired them not to lay so much weight
upon any one Expedient against Popery, as to determine that
all others were ineffectual.
"That as to what he had so often declared, touching the
Succession, he should not depart from it; but that, to remove
all reasonable fears of what might arise from the possibility of a
Popish Successor, if means could be found, that, in such a case,
the Administration should remain in Protestant hands, he should
be ready to hearken to any such Expedient, by which Religion
might be secured, and Monarchy not destroyed."
Lastly, he advised them "to make the known and established
Laws of the Land the Rules and Measures of their Votes; which
neither could, nor ought to be departed from, nor changed, but
by Act of Parliament:" And for a conclusion of all, he made use
of these words: "And I may the more reasonably require, that
you make the Laws of the Land your Rule, because I am resolved they shall be mine."
His Majesty then directed the Commons to return to their
House, and proceed to the Choice of their Speaker, when
the late Speaker, William Williams, Esquire, was unanimously
[March 22 and 23 were employed in the choice of a Speaker,
(see below) taking the Oaths, &c.]
Thursday, March 24.
[Debate on printing the Votes.]
Sir John Hotham.] Mr Speaker, what I am about to
move concerns us all. The last Parliament, when you
were moved to print your Votes, it was for the security
of the Nation, and you found it so; it prevented ill repre
sentations of us to the World by false copies of our Votes,
and none doubted your honour in the care of it; and I am
confident that this House will be no more ashamed of
their actions than the last was. Printing our Votes will
be for the honour of the King, and the safety of the Nation. I am confident, if it had been necessary, you would
have had Petitions from the parts I come from, that your
actions might be made public. As I came hither, every
body almost that I met upon the road, cried, "God bless
you!" I move, therefore, "That your Votes may be ordered to be printed, with the rest of your Proceedings."
And I shall only add, that yourself has done so well in taking that care upon you the last Parliament, that the
House will desire you to continue them in the same method.
Sir William Cowper.] That which put me upon moving the printing your Votes, the last Parliament, was false
Papers that went about, in former Parliaments, of the
Votes and Transactions of the House—Let men think
what they please, the weight of England is the People,
and the World will find, that they will sink Popery at
last. Therefore I second the Motion "for printing the
Mr Secretary Jenkins.] I beg pardon, if I consent not
to the Motion of "printing the Votes, &c." Consider the
Gravity of this Assembly; there is no great Assembly in
Christendom that does it—It is against the Gravity of this
Assembly, and it is a fort of Appeal to the People. It is
against your Gravity, and I am against it.
Mr Boscawen.] If you had been a Privy-Council, then
it were fit what you do should be kept secret; but your
Journal-Books are open, and copies of your Votes in
every Coffee-house, and if you print them not, half
Votes will be dispersed, to your prejudice. This printing is like plain Englishmen, who are not ashamed of
what they do, and the People you represent will have a
true account of what you do. You may prevent publishing what parts of your Transactions you will, and
print the rest.
Mr Leveson Gower.] I find that those who write our
Votes and Transactions, and send them all England over,
are favoured, and I believe that no Gentleman in the
House will be against printing them, but Jenkins. I hope
you will not be ashamed of what you do; therefore I am
for printing your Votes.
Colonel Mildmay.] By experience we have found, that,
when former Parliaments have been prorogued or dissolved, they have been sent away with a Declaration
against them. If our actions be naught, let the World
judge of them; if they be good, let them have their virtue. It is fit that all Christendom should have notice of
what you do, and Posterity of what you have done; and
I hope they will do as you do; therefore I am for printing the Votes.
Sir Francis Winnington.] Because what has been said
by Jenkins is a single Opinion, for he says, "Printing
is an Appeal to the People," I hope the House will
take notice that printing our Votes is not contrary to
Law. But pray who sent us hither? The Privy-Council is constituted by the King, but the House of Commons is by the choice of the People. I think it not natural,
nor rational, that the People, who sent us hither, should
not be informed of our actions. In the Long Parliament it was a trade amongst Clerks to write Votes, and
it was then said, by a learned Gentleman, "That it was
no offence to inform the People of Votes of Parliament,
&c. and they ought to have notice of them." The Long
Parliament were wife in their generation to conceal many
things they did from the People; and the Clerk, who
dispersed the Votes, was sent away, and nothing done to
him. The Popish Party dread nothing more than printing what you do, and I dread that a man in Jenkins's
Post, (and such an Accusation upon him, as was in the
last Parliament) should hold such a position, "That printing your Votes is an Appeal to the People."
[Resolved, That the Votes and Proceedings of this House be
Mr Harbord.] Now you have passed this Vote for
printing, I would graft something upon it. I move, "That
the care of printing the Votes may be committed to the
Speaker," who so well acquitted himself in it the last
Which was ordered.
Mr Hopkins made a Motion to enquire into the miscarriage of
the Bill of Repeal of a Statute of 35 Elizabeth, which, in the last
Parliament, had passed both Houses (fn. 1) .
Mr Hampden.] I think the Motion is to enquire after
the shipping of that Act the last Parliament, and not presenting it for the Royal Assent. For my own part, I
look upon it as a breach of the Constitution of the Government. We are told that we are Publicans, and would
change the Government. But such as are about to do so,
it is a natural fear in them to be thought so, and they
will cast it upon others. In a crowd, it is frequent for
pickpockets to cry out, "Gentlemen, have a care of
your pockets," that they may be more safe themselves,
and have the less suspicion upon them. I will not
offer this to your consideration to-day, but move you
to adjourn it till to-morrow.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I shall humbly put in this
word. I doubt this matter will be too big for to-day; it
is of great importance, and will not be forgotten. Be
pleased to adjourn the Debate of it.
Which was accordingly adjourned to the next Day.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] I move, That, for the preservation
of the Protestant Religion, and the King's Person, a Bill
be brought in to prevent a Popish Successor, &c. and in
particular against James Duke of York, the same Bill which
passed the last Parliament.
Mr Secretary Jenkins.] You are upon rising, and
I shall not detain you long. I must give my Negative to this Motion; and my reason why I do so,
is, because the King has declared, in his Speech, "That,
as to the point of the Succession, he will not depart
from what he has so often declared." The King has
given his Vote against it; and therefore I must do so
Mr Leveson Gower.] The Duke of York is in Scotland,
and I hope the King will now come up to what he has
said in his Speech. My Liberty and Property are dear to
me, and I will support the King's Prerogative too; and
those People that are Bryars and Thorns scratch you in
your intentions against Popery; which, I see, we cannot prevent without this Bill, and therefore I am for
Colonel Birch.] I am heartily glad to find that the
zeal of the House still continues for the Protestant Religion. My opinion is, that we cannot preserve the
Protestant Religion with a Popish Successor to the
Crown, any more than water can be kept cold in a hot
pot. But I would do it in all the decent ways to come
at it. The King recommends to you, in his Speech,
"to look back to what he formerly said as to the Succession, &c." If there be no other way to prevent
Popery, my opinion is, that it will be more decent to
our Prince, and better for those who sent us hither,
before the Bill be brought in, to give it the Honour of a Day, to consider of Expedients to save
Religion, &c. for that I shall expect from some Honourable Persons; if none come, then you may proceed to
this Bill with more Honour; therefore appoint a Day for
Sir John Ernly.] I should not have troubled you but
from what was spoken last. By all means just and lawful,
we are to secure our Religion and Properties; we see the
great attempts made upon us from Rome, and we must do
something for our farther security. I will not speak of
the former Bill against the Duke, &c. nor of the King's
Speech: That gives you latitude for Expedients, and I
would not offer any if I thought they would not do as well
as that Bill, which is but an Expedient; but because the
King has declared against that Bill, and invited you to
Expedients, I would not put that Bill any more to the
hazard of rejection, but think of some Expedients.
Mr Harbord.] I can see no Expedient to save Religion, and preserve the King's Person, but the Bill to
exclude the Duke, &c. All Gentlemen, I believe, would
be willing as to the manner, and save the matter; but
when our Prince is encompassed with all the Duke's
creatures, the Duke's safety is because of their dependencies. The danger is not from Popery, but from
the King's being encompassed with the Duke's creatures. I would proceed in this matter with all decency;
and since a Day is moved for, pray let us have time to
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] You are invited, by the
King's gracious Motion, to consider how to preserve Religion, &c. I desire that we may not now put a Question for bringing in a Bill to exclude the Duke, else
properly we cannot consider any Expedients for preservation of Religion, &c.
Mr Whorwood.] The consideration of preserving the
Protestant Religion is a thing of that weight, that,
though we have showed our zeal to it, yet I would not
run upon a thing of this nature, without consideration.
They who advised the King's Speech, must answer for
it. The words of the Speech are, "If any other way
can be found out, &c." I think those about the King
have done enough to ruin him and us. But I would
have the King see, that we are so far from putting him
upon that stress, that we would help him out. I think
that Speech, which the King did read to us, had nothing of
the King's in it. He is a better man, and a better Protestant, than to do it of himself; therefore I would
not put on a Resolution, here, as flat and as short as
the King's Speech. The King has gone as far as this
Resolution comes to, in his Declaration about Dissenters
formerly, and yet he was persuaded to revoke it—If
Persons have been so prevalent about the King, as to put
the King upon this Speech, let me see those Persons so
forward to bring the King into a thing, to help him out;
if they do not, I hope the King will lay the blame at
their Doors, and not at ours. If they could have told
us what Expedients were necessary, they would have put
them into the King's Speech, and the Resolution-part, of
"not altering the Succession," would have been left out.
A little consideration, in this great matter, can do us no
hurt, and will satisfy the People without doors. But if
they about the King can find no Expedients, I hope he
will lay them aside, and take their Counsel no more.
Put not off the consideration farther than Saturday, and if
they can find us out an Expedient betwixt this and then,
it is very well.
Mr Powle.] I have always observed, that the most deliberate Proceedings have had the best success here, and
the best reputation abroad. I am as willing as any man
to come to this, but with deliberate steps. For my share,
though I hear of Expedients abroad, yet I cannot conceive
that a Title or Name can destroy the nature of Expedients. But the King, in his Speech, has held you out a
handle, &c. and I would not give those about the King
occasion to say, that this House is running into a breach
with him. I would pay the King all the respect in the
World; and you cannot avoid setting a time apart to consider Expedients, and I would not mix any thing with the
Debate that Day—I think to-morrow is too soon to debate
it. I shall propose Saturday for that consideration, and
then let us do what is fit.
Mr Hampden.] This is a matter of great weight, and I
would adjourn it till to-morrow. As for the Reason of
proposing Expedients, I do not move to adjourn for that,
for it is as little Reason to me to expect any as it was the
last Parliament. That Parliament gave Reasons why
no Expedients could be of any effect but this Bill of
Exclusion, and that Parliament saw enough of Expedients. There are a great many talked of abroad in the
strcets, and will not you hear Expedients? What can a
man say less, with any modesty? But no man can say but
that we are in danger, if the Duke should come to the
Crown. But the Question is, Whether you will put off
this Debate? Therefore I move, "That the House will
take into consideration the security of the Protestant Religion to-morrow."
Sir Francis Winnington.] All that I shall propose is,
that you would so word the Question as to have no
diminution to the Motion made for the Bill, &c. upon
your Books, nor any prejudice or reflection. When this
Bill passed the last Parliament, it was Nemine contradicente,
and most of this Parliament were of the last. As for
"Expedient," it is a word mightily used, and talked
of, and willingly embraced; but none have been proposed. Let this matter be re-assumed on Saturday morning, and so taken into consideration, to secure the Protestant Religion, and not to let any thing appear upon
your Books, relating to Expedients, or preventing a Popish Successor.
Mr Trenchard.] I was much surprized at the King's
Speech, considering your weighty Reasons for the Bill, &c.
the last Parliament, and that the Lords found no Expedients effectual for preservation of Religion; but that the
King may see that what we do is out of a real sense of the
danger we are in, &c. and not in contradiction to him, and
when nothing is found effectual to save us, that we may
justify ourselves in what we do, therefore I am for adjourning the Debate.
[Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That this House will, on Saturday next, consider of means for the security of the Protestant
Religion, and for the safety of the King's Person.]
Friday, March 25, 1681.
Debate on Thanks to be returned to Counties and Boroughs
for freely electing their Members without charge.
Mr Swynfin.] When there has been a general corruption,
and all have not done their duty, you should distinguish
and give Thanks to them that have. As you have done
to Officers for doing their duty in suppression of Popery,
when, through the corruption of the times, some have
not done their duty. Nothing is more parliamentary than
to return Thanks, &c. and I desire that those Members
so elected should send their Thanks to those who chose
Which was ordered accordingly.
Debate on the Loss of the Bill passed last Parliament, for Repeal of a Statute of 35 Elizabeth
(fn. 2) .
Sir William Jones.] This matter deserves material consideration, whether in respect of the Loss of the Bill, or
the shaking the very Constitution of Parliament. The
Bill that is lost, is of great moment, and of great use to
secure the Country, and perhaps their lives too, in the
time of a Popish Successor. Those men that hindered
the passing that Bill had a prospect of that, and if it be
sent up again, we are like to meet with great opposition.
But be the Bill what it will, the Precedent is of the highest consequence. The King has his Negative to all Bills,
but I never knew that the Clerk of the Parliament had a
Negative, if he laid it aside, or not. But consider, if we
send up many good Bills, if this be not searched into, we
may be deprived of them. No man that knows Law or
History but can tell, that to Bills grateful and popular
the King gives his consent; but if this way be found
out, that Bills shall be thrown by, it may be hereafter
said they were forgotten and laid by, and so we shall never
know whether the King would pass them, or not. If this
be suffered, it is vain to spend time here, and it will be a
great matter to find time to redress it. I move, therefore,
"That a Message be sent to the Lords, for a Conference,
that some way may be found out to give us satisfaction in
this great matter."
Mr Boscawen.] I do concur with Jones, that Parliaments are prorogued and dissolved by the King, and now
here is a new way found out to frustrate Bills. The King
cannot take one part of a Bill and reject another, but
gives a direct Answer to the whole. But to avoid that,
this Bill was never presented to the King; a thing never
done before! I desire that we may send to the Lords for
a Conference, to represent this innovation, and that a
Committee be appointed to draw up Reasons for the Managers.
Mr Garroway.] I was a friend to this Bill, and I agree
in all things concerning the weight of it. The laying
this Bill aside is such a Breach of the Constitution of Parliament, that it is in vain to pass any Bill if this be not
searched into. By the Constitution of Parliament all Bills,
but Money Bills, after they have passed both Houses,
are deposited in the Lords hands, and it is below you
to look after the Clerks for this Bill. If the Lords give
you no Answer for the loss of this Bill, that is satisfactory, I would then send to them to know the reason
why the Bill was not tendered to his Majesty with the
Sir Robert Howard.] I would have you search the
Lords Journals, and if you find no account of the Bill
there, then it will be time for us to go to the Lords,
Sir Richard Temple.] I have not much to offer you,
but I fully concur in the weight and consequence of this
matter, and you are to take all the care that can be to
secure it for the future. Never any thing of this nature was done before, but the Bill for the better observation of the Sabbath, in the late Long Parliament;
it was left upon the Table, at a Conference, and stolen
away. It is not proper to take notice of this in a Message to the Lords, because the miscarriage of this Bill
was in another Parliament. The matter must go upon
the desire of a Conference, concerning the Rights and
Privileges of both Houses of Parliament, and then you
may appoint a Committee to inform you of the progress
of this matter.
Mr Vaughan.] I think the passing over the enquiry after the loss of the Bill of the Sabbath was the great occasion of the loss of this. Consider how many interruptions Parliaments have had, of late, in the greatest businesses, by Prorogations and Dissolutions; and another way
to gratify your Enemies is to stifle your Laws when they
have a mind the People should have no benefit of them,
though they have passed both Houses; therefore I move,
&c. as before.
Sir Henry Capel.] I only differ as to the words of the
Message. I do agree to desire a Conference of the Lords,
where I would have no more said, than "to desire to
know what is become of the Bill." The Lords are the
depositaries of all Bills, but those of Money; and without any other words, I would send for a Conference, to
know what is become of the Bill. I know of but three
Negatives to Bills, but by this, there is a fourth; which
will destroy the Government.
Sir Francis Winnington.] You are not ripe yet for the
Debate, only for enquiring after this Bill, which had no
Answer from the King after it had passed both Houses.
Therefore I would only desire to know of the Lords what
is become of it. Put the Question, therefore, plainly upon the Bill.
Colonel Titus.] In things of this nature, it is the best
way to observe old methods, and the best method to know
one another's mind is by Conference. I remember, the
Lords once sent to us for a Conference, where they told
us the House was falling on our heads. The Lords sent
us not a Message, "That the Roof was falling and dangerous," but they sent for a Conference "on a matter of
great consequence;" therefore I would now send to the
Lords for a Conference "about matters relating to the
Mr Hampden.] I would say this in the Message;
"That we desire a Conference with their Lordships concerning the Constitution of Parliaments in matter of passing Bills."
Resolved, That a Message be sent to the Lords, desiring a
Conference with their Lordships in matters relating to the Constitution of Parliaments in passing of Bills: [And a Committee
was appointed to prepare the subject-matter.]
Sir Thomas Lee.] This is a thing of as high weight as
you can confer upon; therefore I would not do less in
this than in a thing of lesser moment. Let your Committee meet, and you agree on the subject-matter. Till
then, I know not what to say at a Conference, and that
will be Monday, at soonest. I would offer another thing
to the Lords at the Conference, the consequence of this
way of proceeding; and desire that their Lordships would
put this thing into examination, and find out the accomplices for punishment, and, at the same time, to desire a
Committee of both Houses to consider where the miscarriage lies.
Sir William Waller gives an account of the Discovery of
Fitzharris's Plot (fn. 3) ; and Sir George Treby reads his Examination.
Sir William Jones.] I like the Motion well for printing
Fitzharri's Examination. There is nothing in this Paper,
but what is sit to be printed; and what fully makes out
what we have heard before, and because we all know,
that, since Lord Stafford's Tryal, People have been prevailed upon to believe the Plot not true. This Paper
confirms Oates's, Bedlow's, and Prance's Informations;
but I would not have that Paper printed which reflects
upon the King.
Mr Secretary Jenkins.] I will not trouble you, but with
what part I had in this affair. The scandalous Paper reflecting upon the King was read over to his Majesty by
Waller; whereupon I issued out Warrants to apprehend Fitzharris, &c. and Waller saw the Execution of
Sir Francis Winnington.] This is of great importance,
and in it we ought to acquit ourselves like wise men.
We, that come out of the Country, hear that the treasonable Paper should have been sent to many Gentlemen, and
then they should have been seized upon as Traytors in the
Conspiracy in this Plot. All is now at stake; therefore
how long or short a time we are to sit here, (the Trooper,
Harrison, that was seized, said, "We should have other
Guards at Oxford than we had at Westminster,") let not
our courage lessen. This being our case, let us go to the
bottom of this business of Fitzharris. It has been moved,
"That he should be sent for hither;" but we have experience, that, when once an Accusation in Parliament is
against a man upon Record, and in the greatest Court in
the Kingdom made known, malefactors have not been
cleared, and have not had Justice; therefore I move,
"That you will take care that this man be impeached of
High-Treason," and, it may be, then he will tell you
Sir Robert Clayton.] When Mr Recorder and myself examined Fitzharris in Newgate, he asked us,
"Whether he had said enough to save his life?" We
told him, "We thought not; but if he would ingenuously confess what counsel he had for drawing and
modeling his treasonable Paper, and be ingenuous in
the whole, we would take his farther Examination;" and
wished him to consider of it. But, the next day after
he promised he would, he was removed out of our reach
to the Tower.
Resolved, That Edward Fitzharris be impeached of HighTreason, [in the name of all the Commons of England;] and
that Mr Secretary Jenkins do, to-morrow morning, go up, and
impeach him at the Bar of the Lords House.
Mr Secretary Jenkins.] The sending me up with this
Impeachment reflects upon his Majesty, my Master, in
the character I bear under him; and I will not go on
A great cry, "To the Bar, To the Bar."
Sir Thomas Lee.] I would not have said one word, but
that the very being of the Parliament is in the case. It is
to no end to sit here any longer, if this be suffered. Jenkins had no ground or reason to bring the King's name in
question, nor was there any reflection upon his Majesty,
or Jenkins, in sending him with the Impeachment. But,
for Jenkins to say, "Do what you will with me, I will
not go with the Message!" Let his words be first asserted,
and read to you, before he explain them, according to the
Order of the House.
Sir George Hungerford.] I never heard such words
uttered in Parliament before, "That the whole House of
Commons should reflect upon the King in sending him
with the Message," and "that he will not obey your
commands." Pray call him to the Bar.
At which there was a loud cry, "To the Bar, &c."
Mr Trenchard.] The House will grow contemptible to
the extremest degree, at this rate. Such a thing was
never before in Parliament, "That the whole House
should reflect upon the King," and for him to say, "Do
what you will with me, I will not go."
Mr Secretary Jenkins.] I said no such thing, "That
the House reflected on the King," but "That I take it
as a reflection upon the King, my Master."
His words were thus stated, "This Message had not
been put upon me but for the character I bear—I value
not my life nor liberty; do what you will with me, I will
Mr Secretary Jenkins.] I said "That this is put upon
me, to my apprehension, for the character I bear; and
do what you will with me, I will not go."
Sir William Jones.] I am sorry to see any Member behave himself at this rate. This confirms me in the opinion of the design some men have to depress the honour
of this House. A Book has been written by a Member
of this House (fn. 4) (which, in time, I hope, you will consider of) "That the House of Commons, in Hen. III's
time, sprung out of Rebellion." This goes on this day
in the same method. Let a man be of what Quality he
will, if he be too big to carry your Message, he is too
big to be your Member, and not fit to be chosen for one.
Thus to scorn the commands of the House, and to be too
big for a Messenger of the House of Commons! Secretaries
are sent on Messages every day, and is he too big for
this, to accuse a person of the Popish Plot? If this be so,
sit no longer here, but go home. His character is great,
but he may be privy to things hid from us, possibly, by
this extraordinary carriage. Is it come to that pass, for
us to be dealt withall as none of our predecessors ever were
before. If my brother, or son, dealt with the House thus,
I would have him made an example; and, for aught I see,
he provokes you more by his explanation; therefore pray
Mr Secretary Jenkins.] I am ready, and I think myself as much obliged as any man, to obey the Commands of the House. The Office I have under his Ma
jesty excludes me not; but the thing I stand upon is,
That the Motion was carried on in Ridicule. I have
an honour for this, and ever have had for all Houses
of Commons, but in this Message I must and will be
Sir Henry Capel.] "Ridicule" is not a word proper
for a House of Commons: What is appointed by them
is with all gravity, especially where the life of a man
is concerned, as it is in an Impeachment. We are
in an unfortunate age; now things come to light, more
than we were before; that now it must be said, "Impeachments of Treason strike at the King," and "the
Bill of excluding the Duke, &c. is levelled at the King,"
I am sorry it is said here, as well as in other places.
This that we put upon Jenkins is an Employment for
the King's Service, and he tells us, "It reflects upon
the King, and he will not go." All the Commons do
will be reversed, if this must pass for doctrine, "That
what we do reflects upon the King." But, Sir, we are
in a Ship, and we have to do with the Master, and he
with us. If this Gentleman would make any sort of
Excuse for himself, I would, for my share, pass it by;
but he has not taken it off, but rather aggravated it. If
he has nothing farther to say for himself, he must withdraw, and then I shall make a Motion, for the Honour
of the House.
Sir Thomas Meres.] I know no difference of any persons here; if Jenkins said, "I thought sending me with
the Impeachment reflected on the King; and in case it
be so, I will suffer any thing under that reflection," a
man may be mistaken in his thoughts: But, as I take it, he
said, "It was his thoughts that the Message was a reflection upon the King, and in that case he would suffer any
thing rather than a reflection upon the King in the Character he bears."
Sir John Ernly, after be bad inspired Jenkins with a
whisper, said,] It is an ill thing to stumble at the entrance. I do hope that Jenkins intended no disservice to
the House, in what he said, but on a perfect mistake.
I did apprehend, and so did some others, that he was
put upon it, by the Gentleman that moved it, in jest (Mr
Coningsby.) But be it in jest, or in earnest, he ought to
obey your Order; but every man cannot subdue his own
heart. But I would know of Jenkins, whether, upon farther consideration, he will undertake this Service, or no?
I am the worst advocate in the world for an obstinate
Person; but I humbly offer it to your consideration to
put the Gentleman upon it, whether he will go, or no,
before he withdraw.
Mr Secretary Jenkins.] Since the House is so favourable
as to hear me, I must say I did apprehend it a reflection
upon the King, which was the reason why I refused the
Message: But if I apprehend it a reflection upon the King
my Master, I am heartily sorry I should incur the displeasure of the House, and I hope you will pardon the
freedom of the Expression, of reflection upon the King.
I had no other consideration whatsoever that induced me
to say the words.
Mr Fleetwood.] I look upon this as so great a reflection upon the House, from this Gentleman, that he ought
to come upon his Knees, at the Bar, to ask pardon.
Mr Boscawen.] We are all subject to infirmities. Seeing the thing is so, Jenkins could not apprehend any reflection upon the King in the Message, but he might upon himself. The thing was a little smilingly moved;
but since he has explained himself, I would have this
passed by, as I should desire for myself, upon the like
Lord Cavendish.] The Gentleman's fault is a great one;
but after he has now begged the pardon of the House,
and that he is ready to obey the Order of the House, I
am willing to pass it over. Though it be a great fault, yet
it is too little to give occasion for a breach, at this
Mr Secretary Jenkins.] I am ready to obey the Orders
of the House, and I am very sorry that the words which
fell from me, gave the House offence.
And so the thing passed over, and he carried the Message.
Colonel Birch.] For the discovery of this Plot of Fitzharris we ought all to give God Thanks, next to the discovery of the Popish Plot. This is a great service to the
Nation, and it is not the first service that Sir William Waller has done the Nation. If ever the Thanks of the House
were deserved, it is for this discovery; therefore I move,
"That he may have the Thanks of the House."
The Thanks of the House were accordingly ordered to Sir
(fn. 5) .