Friday, March 1.
Mr Comptroller Wharton.] I stand not up to hinder
or interrupt the Debate, but, as the properest time, to
acquaint you, that I am to déliver a Message from his
Majesty. The Paper in my hand will express the matter
better than I am able to do it.
[The Letter from the King imported, "To desire the House to
regulate the abuses in collecting the Hearth-Money; or, if it
be a Grievance to the Subjects, his Majesty will consent to take
it away, as the House shall advise."]
—I cannot but say, this is the greatest honour the King
can do me, to make me a Messenger of this. I have
seen Messages for Money, but it is the first I ever heard
of of this kind, for the King to part with a Revenue.
I am to acquaint you farther, a little more fully than
in this Paper, viz. that the King was the first that moved
this in Council. He did it for the ease of the People,
and would always do so: He, and only he, is to have
the honour of it.
Sir Robert Howard.] It was very late, when no body
expected any such thing, that the King made this Motion in Council: The King said, "It was much in his
thoughts:" I could wish the House had heard his discourse of all this business; and in all his discourse from
Exeter hither, he expressed his inclination to do good
to the People.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I move, that both Houses would
join in an Address to the King, with their humble sense
and Thanks; and I would have it the Declaration of the
Sir Thomas Littleton.] We cannot but have a great
sense of this gracious condescension of his Majesty; perhaps the most grateful and the greatest grace that has
been done by any King formerly. And as this is a
great favour from his Majesty, so I hope we shall take
care, in due time, that his Majesty may be no loser.
Col. Birch.] I stand up to second not only our hearty
Thanks, with the concurrence of the Lords, but this
being such a Revenue that we were in no hopes ever to
have an end of it, I would also signify this extraordinary favour to the Nation, and give the King an extraordinary compensation.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I move to have an addition to the
Thanks, &c. "That the King need not doubt of the
affections of his People, to supply his occasions from
time to time."
Mr Hampden.] First resolve on Thanks, &c. and then
you may add as has been moved; but not to join the
Lords in any thing relating to aid, the King by way of
compensation. You may appoint a Committee to draw
up the Address.
[A Committee was appointed accordingly.]
Mr Hampden.] I am commanded by the King to acquaint the House, that several persons about the Town,
in Cabals, conspire against the Government, for the
interest of King James: Some the King has caused to
be apprehended and secured, and thinks he may see
cause to do so by others. If these should be set at liberty, 'tis apprehended we shall be wanting to our
own safety, the Government, and People. The King
is not willing to do any thing but what he may be
warranted by Law; therefore, if these persons deliver
themselves by Habeas Corpus, there may arise a difficulty. Excessive Bail you have complained of. If men
hope to carry their great design on, they will not be
unwilling to forfeit their Bail. The King asks your
Advice, and hopes you will give it, as likewise the
Lords. I forgot to tell you, some are committed on
suspicion of Treason only.
Mr Garroway.] This Message requires your Advice.
I conceive, the King is under some pressure by the Law;
he does consider your safety, without violating the
Law; our business is to take off all hardships from
the King, and to take the burden upon ourselves. It
is not unknown, at least some are suspected to be tampering, and the King has found out some, and by this
he may proceed to the remainder. In this, we must
consult the learned in the Law, to offer their opinions
upon the present sense of things, and to beseech the
King that no present proceedings may be against these
men, but to take some little time to consider of it.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] 'Tis of great consequence,
what Advice the Lords and Commons shall give in
this. In the mean time, I desire the King may make
no proceeding against these men; and I would add
Thanks to the King for asking your Advice; a thing
not very usual in this place!
Col. Birch.] I second that Motion. These are new
things; and the King having thus freely delivered
us from that badge of slavery, the Chimney-Money,
(by which a Freeholder was not left in England) I second the Motion, that such Thanks, and special Thanks,
may be given him on this occasion.
Mr Boscawen.] We are not only to consider these
persons secured at present, but such as may be upon
the same occasion. 'Tis not unknown, that many Soldiers disbanded, or who have disbanded themselves,
have Arms in their hands. I have Letters, that the
Soldiers in Cornwall are as bad as the rest; and when
the Magistrates rejoiced at the happy change, the Soldiers killed a man. I would consider some regulation
or discipline of the Soldiers, and not to have them
proceeded against in Westminster-Hall, and to make
some temporary provision for the safety of the Government. There is a Kingdom near us, where these Soldiers may go without ships (Scotland). I would take
some effectual course. I have laid the thing before you.
* * * * *.] The matter before you requires no long
time of consideration; the King has sent for your Advice, and he knows well enough how the Law stands,
which ought to be inviolable, and I am always for keeping it. Therefore I would make immediate application to the King, to take up such persons as he shall
suspect to be obnoxious; like wise I would have a short
Bill, for two or three months, to enable the King to
commit such persons as he shall have cause to suspect,
without the benefit of Habeas Corpus.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] A thing of so extraordinary a
nature as this, requires time to consider of it. I cannot consent to this Bill. 'Tis said, "these men may
escape when bailed;" must we therefore intrench upon
the Habeas Corpus Act? I would rather advise, that
great security may be taken of them to appear, than
that that Bill should be intrenched upon; a thing so
sacred! The other Motion, about the disorders of the
Soldiers, seems to touch upon Martial Law. If they
do any violences, the Law is sufficient already; but if
Martial Law be necessary, let it be by way of tryal
by Juries. But I cannot abide Martial Law.
Sir Henry Capel.] This matter is for the House, and
not Advice proper for the Privy Council. 'Tis the
duty of every person about the King, to advise him to
take the opinion of this House. Pray let there be no
discouragement in the thing, the King asking your
Advice so graciously. This thing is not slight; 'tis
weighty, and a great deal is at the bottom. "That
the King would continue his care, and to thank the
King for it," was Clarges's Motion, which I second.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] I take the Act of Habeas Corpus to be the general security of all subjects. 'Tis not
to be understood, that that Law will be shaken when
you are gone, but to continue no longer than for the
persons already taken, and at present in pursuit.
Sir Richard Temple.] 'Tis happy we have such a
King, that is tender of our Laws and Liberties, and
that will advise with his Great Council. I fear, those
things offered you tend to more violation of that Law
than a Bill. The taking extraordinary Bail was as
much a violation of your Liberties as any, in the late
King's time; and there is no way but to provide a
short Law for it. If you advise the King to detain
these persons, and no more, what needed the King to
have had resort to you in this case? You can advise
nothing else, but what will shake the Habeas Corpus
Act. If it be required, in three days time they are
to have their Habeas Corpus. Since the King has had
recourse to us for Advice, let us give him none against
Law. You may advise the King, that there be no
proceedings, to deliver them, till you provide a
Law; and that, in the mean time, he may go on to
Mr Hampden.] Some of the persons apprehended
are sent to the Tower; and the King does not think
that a Habeas Corpus does not lie there, and therefore
sends you this Message. Lord Arran (who is committed) had not been taken, but that he fled in the
disguise of a footman's habit, and was stopped by a
Centry without Order. I am of opinion, before you
send up your Address, to have a Vote for a Bill for the
King to commit, without benefit of Habeas Corpus,
Mr Sacheverell.] The Message sent you is too
weighty to determine on a sudden; but thus far you
may go, to advise him to secure those he suspects. I
cannot consent to go any farther, nor consent, on every
great occasion, to dispense with that Act, and at last to
take it quite away; but to secure those whom the King
does suspect, or has cause to suspect at present.
Sir William Pulteney.] Suppose persons come to a
Judge for a Habeas Corpus, what shall the Judge do in
this case? To say, "that the House of Commons have
advised the King otherwise," shall that supersede the
Judge's proceedings? So that necessarily you must
have recourse to the Legislative Power, and leave the
matter stronger than before.
Mr Finch.] This is a matter of great consequence:
'Tis of absolute necessity, that those persons be secured
for tampering with the Government, and of as absolute necessity, that the Law be secured too. There is
no danger that persons should be delivered by Habeas
Corpus; for as there are no Judges yet appointed, they
can have no Writs, and so no necessity of bailing them
immediately. If they cannot be immediately delivered, and may be secured, the King can do that without
your Advice. But the Question is, What to do with
the persons attached, seeing they cannot immediately
be delivered? I think it fit to thank the King for his
Message, and to adjourn the Debate.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I speak to the Question,
for the Committee to draw up an Address of Thanks
to his Majesty, &c. I find Gentlemen of various opinions. I am for Thanks, and would have that Question single, else I know not how to give my Vote: I
would have Thanks to the King, for his gracious condescension in asking our Advice.
The Question passed accordingly.
Lord Falkland.] This Message from the King is of
great consequence; and I am not for giving single
Advice, but to give as much as we can. There is great
cause to apprehend danger from caballing, and the old
Army is discontented. Detaining these already apprehended, or that he shall have cause to suspect, I think we
may advise without encroachment upon the Law.
Sir Robert Clayton.] When you have taken these
People, how will you hold them in prison? Had it
not been for the Habeas Corpus Act, there had not been
many of us here now; we had been dead and rotten in
Prison. I would have the Debate deferred. When the
legislative power and the executive are far asunder, it
might be difficult, but they are together. I would have
this a temporary Bill for a short time, and not to be
drawn into example.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I am for that Motion for the
King to apprehend suspected persons: Till you give your
Advice, the King may do it without you. I would have
such Advice given, as may consist with the gravity of
this House. As for to-morrow, though the Tests, &c.
are to be taken; there is no danger in taking them
after to-morrow: I would have that understood that
you have no restraint upon you that may put it off.
As to this suspending the Habeas Corpus Bill, at present
I am under great restraints in Judgment, therefore I
would have it duly debated, and, it may be, I shall be
for a temporary Act.
Sir John Lowther.] I think you are told by the learned
persons "that it is no Question, but the King may secure
these suspected persons, and 'tis in his power, and supposed to be his Duty, and the proper Administration of
the Crown." I am not against adjourning the Debate till
to-morrow, but I would not increase Jealousies in People, that you will not take the Tests. Those who advised the King to desire a temporary Act seem rather to
confirm the Habeas Corpus Act, than to weaken it.
When you exercise the legislative Authority in this
Emergency, it is no invading your Law, but very necessary at present.
Mr Hampden.] The difficulty the King is in, is not
to apprehend these Persons, but what to do with them.
Your Advice is desired, and what he should do in this
difficulty. I think the King may legally commit and
do no man wrong. He asks your Advice, and I think
'tis no encroachment on the Habeas Corpus Act. No
man took more pains in it, nor values it more than I
do. These men will go on conspiring, and Gentlemen
say, to-morrow is appointed for taking the Oaths and
Tests. Those Gentlemen that refuse taking the Oaths
and Tests, will sit very uneasily here. But if you gravely
deliberate, and at the same time delay swearing Allegiance to the King, as though you intend no haste,
consider what will be said abroad. Therefore I move
for a temporary Act to dispense with the Habeas
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I stand up to vindicate myself:
I am as free as any body to take these Oaths. I desire
to justify myself.
Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to draw up a
temporary Bill, to enable his Majesty to secure and keep in
Custody all such as are committed for conspiring against the Government, and that no Person committed for Treason, or Suspicion of Treason, be bailed by any Judge upon a Habeas Corpus,
without consent of the Privy Council, till the first day of the
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] The Motion made last was
of an unusual nature. To order Gentlemen to draw up
a Bill, and immediately to bring it in! I think this is
of an extraordinary nature.
A Message from the Lords, That they have made the like Vote
with this House to stand by and affist his Majesty with their
Lives and Fortunes.
Mr Garroway.] For the touching Money matters, this
is no charge upon the Subject, therefore we may join
with the Lords in this, for every man is bound to it by
Mr Hampden.] As to Conference with the Lords about this Vote, that is at an end, (the Commons having
made the same Vote,) therefore I would think of some
way to present it yourselves as your own Vote.
Mr Garroway.] I have known, in such a case, that
both Speakers have gone up to the King, being a Message of the same thing.
The Speaker.] I remember not the same thing, or
that both Houses have gone up with each of their Votes.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I would inspect the Lords
Journal, &c. [Which was ordered.]
The Bill for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act was read the
first, and immediately after, the second, time, and ordered to be
[March 2 was employed in taking the Oaths.]
Monday, March 4.
On the Bill for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act.
Sir Edward Seymour.] I apprehend, nothing but the last
necessity will cause you to part with the Habeas Corpus
Act; the same example for others may be for the suture to do it. In what I say, I move for Privilege of
Parliament; I would not have that suspicion extend to
Members of Parliament. I think it reasonable, when
you provide for the security of the Public to provide foryour own. I would have no Members taken upon suspicion of practising against the Government; but when
they shall be first adjudged criminal here.
Sir William Williams.] Consider the quick flight this
Bill has made here; 'twas voted, brought in, and committed all in one day. As you have overruled your own
Order, so I must not wonder at irregularities, but I hope
you will be tender in it for the future.
Sir Edward Seymour.] I spoke it now; if I am irregular, 'tis because I am going into the Country with
your leave, and shall not have opportunity to do it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I think the Motion not irregular,
For many more Reasons, for re-commitment; for if the
Bill be once brought in, in Parchment, at the last reading it must be laid aside if it cannot be mended at the
Table. I know 'tis a thing of great consequence for
Members to be taken out of this House. But the ancient right, in the case of the five Members in 1640,
was, that the cause of accusations must be showed in
Parliament, and ought to be so, as well in accusation
of Treason, as suspicion of Treason.
Sir William Williams.] There is no Privilege to any
Member in case of Treason—That care may be taken
in the ingrossment.
Sir Richard Temple.] No Privilege to a Member, &c.
A Member may be accused untruly, for the cause and
matter ought to be true. For Misdemeanor, or breach
of the Peace, a Member is not to be tried in time of
Parliament. 'Twas the case of Lord Devonshire
(fn. 1) , and
Lord Lovelace. They pleaded they ought not to be
tried in time of Parliament, though the misdemeanor
was great, and done in the Court.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The charge of the five Members was undoubtedly Treason, but to be taken out of
the House was a breach of Privilege, and afterwards
owned and disclaimed by King Charles I, to be a rash
attempt. A man may make a Motion for a Bill, in a
thing unforeseen, and if it cannot be well done at the
Table, you may re-commit the Bill. I move therefore, that some few Gentlemen may draw a Clause. You
run the utmost hazard by bringing in a rider, which
cannot be mended at the Table, and so the thing may
be utterly lost.
Sir Robert Howard.] A thing of so ordinary and plain
a nature as this may be brought in Parchment, and pray
put an end to this thing.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If you think this Proviso necessary,
three words do it, viz. "Provided that it does not extend to Privilege of Parliament," and I hope you intend it to those Members that do not attend in Parliament, and are absent (reflecting upon Seymour who
had leave to go into the Country.)
Tuesday, March 5.
Sir Joseph Tredenham reports several Grievances to be presented
to the King for redress. See the Journal.
Sir Robert Howard.] You have received a Report
from the Committee in general: I would have some use
of it, though it is actum agree, to do it over again—
We have a great example of the King; instead of those
indirect means used formerly to get Money, he has
given you Money. He has been so far from breaking
your Laws, that he has not so much as bowed them—
I will wind all up in one Motion, to incite every Member to close with it. I find all the Answers from Burton
and Graham, relating to the blood spilt by their Prosecution, that of the Sheriffs of London, &c. "that they
were but ministerial in them;" they ought to be
made an example, if they have a mind to gratify
themselves by that, to make them originals, and a
Bill of Attainder to be brought against them. Let us
free ourselves from the guilt of that blood spilt, to
all Posterity, and not leave ill Ministers, by these Examples, to do the same again. 'Tis impossible we
should live, and not have blood upon us, if we pass
this by unpunished. The next is the murdering our
Civil Rights in Corporations, in taking away Charters, &c. If we do not punish these things, Corruption still remains encouraged, and we shall cause this
to descend to Posterity. If the fault be in the Jury,
and they will not tell us who gave the Counsels, they must
take it upon themselves. To proceed upon some actings in this, I would have a select Committee. Let it
go to what fountain it will, were my own Father concerned. Not but that I would have a Committee of
Grievances to sit, but you may have a select Committee
to sit upon Grievances, and you will find the parties and
originals, or these men must make themselves murderers of these men, and murderers of our Liberties.
"No Calamity so great (says Lord Coke) as what is
done under colour of Justice."
Mr Howe.] These men are known to the boys in the
streets. The delay of this may put the people upon
great discontents. Suppose a tradesman dies, as a
Shoe-maker, and another comes to take the House,
and finds Awls and Lasts in the House, shall I believe a Painter lived in the House? I would have these
Awls and Lasts thrown out of the House. I would
have a select Committee to enquire into this, and then
I hope you will have a good account of this, and let the
tools be thrown away.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] There are a great many Grievances more than this, as the illegal Ecclesiastical Commission; dispensing with the Oaths, &c. to the overthrow of all our Laws; Money levied by a Charter
upon Hackney Coaches; if that be so, you will be tript
out of all your rights quickly. I wish the Committee,
after the discovery of all these Grievances, would have
named the Persons who had occasioned them. Had they
brought you in the persons who had offended, you might
then have done something. I could wish these Grievances
might be re-committed, and so consider farther of these
Grievances, and find out the Persons who occasioned them.
Sir Robert Clayton.] I would not hunt too many
Hares at once. If you take too many things, you will
finish none. All we could get from Burton and Graham
was, "that they had their direction from the Attorney
General," and there is the end of the thread. Pray
enquire of the Attorney General.
Sir Edward Seymour.] I am of opinion with Clarges,
that all the Grievances of this Nation are not in the
Committee's Report. We have great obligation to the
King, who has relieved us from the oppression of
Chimney Money: But if I be not mis-informed, we owe
that to the lower end, and not to the higher end, of the
Council-Table. If these men act again, who have countenanced these things, no body will be afraid to offend.
When you have voted the Grievances, you may, by a
private Committee, find out the Persons. Punishment
of Vice is as necessary as reward to Virtue.
Mr Love.] I am of opinion, that finding out mischiefs
will do no good, without remedying them. The two
first Heads of the Bill relate to the City of London
(fn. 2) . If
you refer this till you have done all, you will never
be at an end; it will find you work for a great while.
A Committee was appointed to examine what Persons have
been concerned in causing these Grievances, &c.
Sir Thomas Lee.] No ordinary Treason is more dangerous than the practice of these men. I would have
the Committee meet and examine their several practices,
and then you may go to the Lords for committing
them, as a Court, by the complaint of the Commons;
else that Court cannot commit originally. A learned
Lawyer (Maynard) has declared, that you are to proceed
so in Common-Law Treasons.
Major Wildman.] I would consider whether this be
practicable immediately. Possibly they may demand
Habeas Corpus before night. There are thirty in number committed, and most without any Law, and committed by no Authority in Law. 'Tis notorious that
they have broken Privileges of Parliament, by taking
away Corporation Charters, by engaging Subscriptions to elect such as the King shall nominate, to overthrow the very foundations of Parliaments. The way
proposed by Lee I think the best. But whether you
will commit them for breach of Privilege of Parliament—
You are told of a great sum of Money that has gone
through their hands. I would have them in your
power, for they have been guilty of the greatest subversion of the Laws that ever was.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I will agree that Burton and
Graham are guilty of great Offences, but whether you
will determine this breach of Privilege without hearing
them? There is nothing expressed in the Warrant of
Commitment of the cause of their Commitment, and I
think there is no danger from the Lords Commissioners,
who have three days to consider of the Habeas Corpus,
and by that time possibly you may have special matter against them; therefore we are not to infringe the
Laws, be the offenders ever so great. I know not
whether the Lords, primâ instantiâ, may commit Commoners: I would rather go some expeditious way, by
Col. Birch.] If any Gentleman of this House will come
and inform you of a breach of Privilege upon him, you
never deny Commitment of the Person that did it. Scarce
a Gentleman of this House that will not agree this to
be a horrible breach of Privilege. Let your Serjeant
take them into custody and examine them, and so you
have them in custody according to usage of Parliament.
Mr Paul Foley.] I understand, a great many are in
the Tower. If the King's Council, who hear us, will
inform the King, some course may be taken with them.
If this House talk of breach of Privilege with men they
intend to hang, it is a strange course. There is no
way we can proceed, but by Impeachment, and go
generally to the Lords to accuse them, and appoint a
Committee to draw it up.
Sir Richard Temple.] 'Tis strange that men who lie
in the Tower for the greatest Crimes, should be fetched
out for so low a thing as breach of Privilege, and if
you impeach them for any thing under Treason, they
may be bailed. I would have a Committee to draw
up a charge against them. Any thing that tends to
subvert the Laws is Treason. Parricide is as great a
Crime as is in the World, but it is not High Treason.
Before the Statute 25 Edward III, the greatest Treason
was subverting the Law, and even a Judge to break his
Oath, was judged Treason at the Common Law. You
may provide your Evidence against these men, after you
have impeached them, and I hope you will bring them
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] 'Tis your proper way to
refer it to a Committee, to examine the matter, and then
bring the accusation; let the Committee report to the
House how the matter stands, but bring in no accusation,
leaving that to the House.
Sir Rowland Gwynn.] Burton, Graham, and Lord Jeffreys, are committed with Crimes specified; the rest are not.
It was referred to a Committee to prepare accusations, &c.
and so report to the House, &c.
[March 6 (fn. 3) , 7, and 8, omitted.]
Saturday, March 9.
On a Motion for printing the Votes.
Sir Thomas Lee.] In the Roll of the 9th Henry IV,
"Nothing is to be taken notice of in Parliament, but
what you shall communicate to the King." I know
not how the King may take notice of what you do,
and if you print your Votes, the Lords may do the
same. 'Twill only save the Gentlemen the trouble of
writing to their Corporations.
Sir Henry Capel.] You are told of the 9th Henry IV.
At that time, there were no Coffee-Houses, and no
Printing. If you could keep your Votes out of the
Coffee-Houses, and suppress the licentiousness of Printing, otherwise you make secrets here of what all the
World knows. Treaties are made public amongst Princes,
and 'tis no good thing to make secrets of that which
is known. The World ought to know your Votes, and
there is no harm in it. As to what is said, "that the
King will concern himself in your Votes;" the Lords
Journals are open, and so are ours. I think we make
more of this than it is worth. I would have them
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] I cannot be persuaded that
any thing now, or heretofore, has been for your service,
by printing your Votes, but extremely to your disservice. I appeal how it is for your Honour to make a
Resolution in your Journal not to print your Votes, and
now to make a contradiction in your Journal, to print
them. Unless the cause of that contradiction do appear, it will make your Counsels of little value abroad
in the World. That you should alter your Resolutions
weakly is not for your Honour. What reason is there
for most of your Orders, or for a Bill to be read three
times, but for the more safety of your Proceedings?
Whether it is for the Honour and Credit of the House
to vary Resolutions, I appeal to you. Those Rules and
Measures our Ancestors left us, are the safest way. The
inconvenience every body is sensible of, in the ancient
way of passing Bills by Items, where the King might reject and accept what he pleased. When the King shall
come to take notice of what you do here, what becomes of your Liberty of Speech, and what becomes
of your Freedom of Debates? 'Tis contrary to the course
of nature here, to make a general publication of what
you do, before you make it in course of Parliament.
As for sending your Votes to Coffee-Houses, it is a
great Crime; 'tis more for the service of the House that
your Clerks take not that liberty to publish them in
Coffee-Houses, and most for your Honour not to print
Mr Hampden.] I see Gentlemen ready to put the Question, when they think a man is against it. The Question is, Whether you print your Votes? I am sorry this
Question is stirred again. I remember it at the Oxford
Parliament—(I know the Wheels that moved it then)
I know that printing your Votes sounded well abroad,
and it seems a popular thing, like sitting at Charing
Cross, but the People had much rather hear our Reasons than our Votes, and no more. I have seen a Vote
in a full House, at six or seven o'clock at night; the
Tide would not be stemmed, but there was a Vote passed; and when they thought better on it the next day,
that Vote was unvoted again; whilst this is in your
book only, there is no hurt. Is this all the Argument, or does it look like one, that the People should
know what you do? No ordinary Council does it. The
Lords have not done it. Should you desire their concurrence to print their Votes, they will laugh at it,
and their books are Records. One great Reason for it
is for the sake of the Booksellers, or that younger Gentlemen may be able, when the elder are in their graves,
to know the Proceedings of Parliament; but they will
see no reasons for them Bills are not written in Paragraphs, but all of a piece, and there is a reason in it; not
that the Clerks may read Blank, but the reason is, that
there may be no forging in it. If you print your Votes,
consider what it is. There may be an inconvenience
of intercourse; the Lords against our Privilege, and
we against the Judicature of the Lords. The Lords
may tell you, you have voted something derogatory
to the Crown, and send you word, What have you to
do with it? If you print it, will it not be a strange
Message, that the Crown should send you word of
what you do? You must send the Crown word, you
intended not any thing against the Crown; and of
what strange consequences may this be? I have no
end in this but regularity and decency. I have as great
reverence as any man has for this House; and when you
reverence yourselves, the World will have it for you.
I hope you will not print your Votes.
Sir Richard Temple.] This matter is of more moment than at first it seemed to be; little benefit, and
great inconvenience, may come from it. I dislike all
innovations. In a great Assembly, what is done must
be with great reason: There ought to be no innovation. All that can be proved for printing it, is to rectify Coffee-Houses, and for beyond sea. I saw, at Oxford Parliament, another thing gained, upon Commissions that Gentlemen had from their Country about
the Exclusion-Bill. I hope we shall not imitate Holland, to go to our Principals for Instructions; it may
be of dangerous consequence to alter the Government.
I hear of Balloting-Boxes; they have had them in
Scotland, but they are weary of them, as precluding
all Debates. This strikes at the essential Privilege of
Parliament, when you have advanced in a Bill, and
then reject it, and the People know not the reason of
that. I would have sending the Votes to Coffee-Houses redressed; but it is far less inconvenience than
that your Resolutions should go about from yourselves
with approbation: I never heard any good reason for
it, nor any good success of it when done. 'Twill prove
a levity without doors, to alter your Vote already
made, and your Reasons not known.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I am for printing your Votes,
and I see no inconvenience by it; it will be great if you
do not print them. England has from the Clerks all
you do, but not the truth of what you do; and 'tis fit
England should know both. In former Parliaments,
when they were invading and undermining the People, they were ashamed of it; but we are now under a
King that preserves our Liberties, and there is no
reason but the People should know it. 'Tis fit the
People should know the good things transacted betwixt the King and this House. Such a union may
have great influence both abroad and at home. I am
for printing them.
Mr Arnold.] I would not have L'Estrange and Nevil
Payne, write false news beyond sea. I desire the
truth may be known, and am for printing them.
Sir Robert Howard.] Methinks the Debate is, Whether you will publish your Votes tacitly, or expressly?
If they are published without the Stamp of Authority,
it seems you will rather permit it by an unjustifiable
way, than a justifiable. If you will keep your Books
secret, perhaps I shall be for that; but if you suffer
them to be published by other means, then is not printing the honester and juster way? If the Question be,
Whether they be kept secret, or not, I have my opinion: I know not the methods of Holland, but now
you have more justification for printing than you had
formerly, when they were better not published at all,
but kept secret. But this Parliament has been chosen
in better methods—Possibly some Votes are fit that
the World should presently see; but whether they should
be kept secret or not, I shall reserve my thoughts;
but whether you will print them is much the more
Sir William Williams.] I am sorry this has been
moved to-day. The Legality of doing it is out of the
question. Notwithstanding all I have suffered for printing, by your Order, yet I think it not politic to do
it now. It seems, 'twas a weak thing in me (when
Speaker) to obey the House of Commons, and I was
turned out, the last Parliament, and I believe that was
the greatest reason for it. When you have vindicated
the poor men who suffered for printing, then I shall
be for it. As for Precedents abroad, I shall not take
my measures from methods abroad, but from our own
Constitution: They are a Commonwealth, and we
under a Monarchy. There every man has a share in the
Government, but here not. Your Reasons will not appear with your Votes; and the People will not apprehend the Reasons of your Contradictions. You will
arm your enemies by it, and they will provide against
Mr Paul Foley.] Orders here are of several kinds;
some are unfit to be published. You have Criminals
come before you; 'tis unfitting their Accusation should
be published, and unfitting the Evidence, that they
may be prepared to surprize you.
Mr Hampden, jun.] Some Gentlemen argue, as if
you should keep your Debates as secret as you can;
but I think, if you print your Votes, you lay a sort of
restraint upon yourselves. As for what is said of other
Countries, Resolutions in Council in Holland are final
Decisions, and fit they should be known; but when
they are not finished (as in your Votes) it precludes
your Liberty of Debate, and is a disservice to the
Col. Birch.] I humbly tell you, I am heartily sorry
for this Debate, since 'tis not easy to see the consequence; it will reflect every way, it will let the
World see you are subject to change—One day, Money
is to be raised on one thing, another day, you reject it,
and the World sees not your Reasons. I am one of
those that are heartily sorry for Williams's great sufferings, when he took the employment of Speaker upon
him, and was trusted with the printing the Votes; and
he did take upon him the Sollicitor General's place in
King James's time, because he did not know any way
to get his Fine again, but by such an Office. This I
say, for satisfaction to myself: I would not have Gentlemen take notice of it. When we debate here of
projects to raise Money, perhaps the Book of Rates
may save our Lands, and this may argue to the World
impotency and weakness—In the mean time, any Gentleman may put out any thing in writing at his peril:
'Tis an unseasonable time, and an unseasonable Question.
Mr Sacheverell.] I was against printing your Votes
formerly, and am so still. I think certainly, it will
destroy all good correspondence betwixt the two Houses.
Consider how things stand: If Gentlemen please to remember, the Lords sent down a Bill for the speedy
Conviction of the Popish Recusants. This House passed
a Vote, that the Bill should be rejected. How will that
stand in your Books, that such a Bill was rejected?
You went an extraordinary way, to tack Reasons why
you rejected it; and you send into the country to subject it to their judgments. 'Twas ever held Parliamentary, that the King and Lords take no notice of
what is done here, till communicated by the House;
and you, by printing, go about to tell every body
what you do. You put yourselves into an uncertain,
unparliamentary condition, and I cannot agree to
The previous Question passed in the Negative, [180 to 145.]
Sir Rowland Gwynn.] I fear, if we consider our condition, the Spring is far advanced, Ireland in disorder,
and Scotland, I fear, not well affected to what you do,
and at home, I fear, not so well as we could wish; Holland disappointed of assistance from us—I am sorry we
should be, like Martha in the Scripture, minding little
things, and not great. I desire the King's Speech may
be read, that we may mind what we ought.
Sir Robert Howard.] 'Tis very true, that it is necessary, &c. But beginning so late in the day will not
add to the expedition; therefore go upon the King's
Speech on Monday; and, to give it some reputation,
order a Committee of the whole House, &c. and nothing
[It was ordered accordingly.]