Monday, July 1.
On the Heads of Exceptions in the Bill of Indemnity.
The Prosecution of the Bishops was moved to be another Head.
Sir Leveson Gower.] I have spoken with several of the
Bishops about their Prosecution. They are better Christians than to desire any body should be prosecuted upon their
Account. I think therefore the House may pass upon some
On the Commission for Ecclesiastical Causes.
Mr Garroway.] I think, if you proceed upon the Debate
of this Head, that it will puzzle the Lawyers to make it
capital. Though the High-Commission Court is down by
Act of Parliament, yet the King has a great Power in
Ecclesiastical Affairs. As for Mr Johnson, I would make
him satisfaction for his Sufferings (fn. 1) ; and then the Question
will be, Whether you will proceed any farther upon this
Sir Richard Temple.] The Bishops were proceeded against
for addressing the King about the Declaration, that cut up
all your Laws by the Roots. I take this occasion to venture a Motion, to except some Persons. If you go head,
by Head, you will nominate so many, that you will alarm
the whole Nation, and never be at an end, and be much
entangled in the Business.
Col. Austen.] I am for naming mighty Members, but
you do not Justice to the Nation, nor is the cry of Blood
answered, if you do not your Duty.
Mr Hawles.] I am for excepting few as to life suppose
four or two. You know a dead man for one, one in the
Prison for another; some are at liberty, and the most
guilty persons escape. If the ministerial Persons be excepted, and escape, if that be so, do as you please, and except
as few as you please.
Mr Howe.] I think what you are now doing is in consideration of what has been done before, so as to secure
you for the future. Some have gone so far as to justify
King James in what he has done; if you exempt those,
you arraign what you have done already. The first rise
and spring of the Bill of Exclusion was the Popish Plot,
and for maintaining Popery you rejected him out of the
Kingdom. Kings do no wrong, but if Ministers do no
wrong—Therefore for our own Justification, either yield
that King James is wrongfully put out of his Kingdom;—
if you proceed not against his Counsellors we must conclude either that we have done wrong, or that King James
has done none at all.
Mr Harbord.] I am for catching the great Fishes; to
catch little Rogues is not worth your while. I would not
fall into this same misfortune by not making Examples.
This Ecclesiastical Court was not managed by Jenner; he
is a little fellow. But for a Secretary of State (Lord Sunderland) to renounce his God, and act in that Commission, you had as good give up all as not to question him.
Mr Johnson's wounds smart upon us. If he escape thus,
what security can we have? I am not for sweeping all
the Commissioners, but go on upon this Head, and make
Mr Arnold.] I wonder that those who serve for the University of Oxford, are no more concerned in this Commission of Magdalen College.
Sir William Williams.] Consider this Commission in its
Constitution. Nothing in itself, these seven or eight years,
has been so pernicious, that Ecclesiastics should be constituted, not only to suspend this or that Bishop, but to
unbishop and unecclesiastic them! Things grow on by steps
and degrees; when they found that the Bishops and Temporal Peers came into the Commission, they would be
felo de se. 'Tis fit to make an Example of these Persons,
who have violated their own Function and their own Law.
Make one Example of him, as you have done of the
Mr Coningsby.] This is lumping indeed. If we must
lump, I would do it in mercy; do in this as in the other
Heads. Here are but ten, and as you have exempted but
two out of the former, pray exempt but two out of
Mr Smith.] None of these acted according to their Commissions, but set up a Law-making Power. This did subvert both Church and State; but to say, that some favoured the Protestants—but I would have it showed, what
Protestants, unless their private Friends, to excuse them.
I would favour as much as any man; some that have gone
farthest, as those in the first and second Commission, I
would lay some Punishment on lightly, but remark those
that acted in the latter; I would not so much as exempt
the Clerks. If I make Enemies of them, I care not. I
am not for being an Enemy to my Country. I would
put some mark upon them all.
Mr Wynn.] Will you except one (Lord Rochester) who
gave up his White Staff, and would act no farther when
he saw how things tended?
Mr Howe.] This Power was certainly unlawful. In
those who modestly withdrew from the Commission, it
shows Repentance. Those who are dead, are past your
Justice. If you please, let all their Names be read, and
then distinguish them.
Major Wildman.] I must speak against my own nature
and disposition now. It is natural to spare all, but of
necessity we must vindicate our Country's Liberties. I
have sat here with astonishment, to hear excuses for any
that sat in that Commission. It was called "the Ecclesiastical Commission," but it laid the Axe to the Root of
all our Properties, Goods, and Land in England. In one
Clause of the last Commission they were more modest than
in the first. It gave a Power to make all the Noblemen
and Gentlemen in England dance attendance upon them,
and Power to examine every man's conscience concerning his
whole life against God or Man; upon pain of Excommunication they must answer every question, or else the
Chancellor was ready to grant out the Writ De excommunicato capiendo; whatever the crime was, though against
himself. This gave a Liberty to all Informers; they might
give what Costs and Damages they pleased. As the Commission gave Power of all Persons, so also of Colleges and
Cathedrals, to dispose of all the Lands in England of all
Bodies Corporate at their discretion, however confirmed by
Acts of Parliament. They had Power to cause Mass to
be said in Churches; they might turn out all Incumbents,
and take their Lands for Popish uses. By this it is most
apparent that King James broke the original Contract with
the People, and violated all the Laws that were made to
protect our Liberty and Property. They executed these
Powers in part; they caused all Colleges to bring in their
Statutes. In Sidney College, the Founders took especial
care, and did abhor the Errors of Popery, and to have
free Elections in the College; they called for the StatuteBook, and razed those out for ever, and, when they could
not get Mass to be said in the College, they set it up in
the Porter's Lodge, that at length it might come into
the College. Never was there such a thing done in the
face of the Sun, to bring in Popery, and to discourage
the Protestant Religion, giving Costs and Damages, and
all mens Estates at their Will. The Duke of Norfolk was
not excepted; he had a Writ De excommunicatio capiendo
issued against him, if he did not obey them, in an Order
about his Lady. All was at their will. If you excuse
these men, except all the rest without ceremony. Our
Ancestors, when they came to reform the Goverment in
Henry VIII's time, made Examples of Empson and Dudley,
who cunningly got a Patent to punish men in a summary
way, without Juries. Empson and Dudley were attainted
for Treason, for so the Record is entered in the Parliament Bill. Their Decree was without any Remedy; by that
cursed Non obstante to the Laws of England, all was laid
level before these Commissioners. As that prosecution of
Empson and Dudley, who were the Instrument of the ill
Government, cost them their lives, so severe was their
punishment—But when Queen Elizabeth gave but a poor
Patent for a place, and sent it to the Judges to pass it,
they said they durst not; examples were fresh of those who
advised against the Laws, although the Queen commanded it too in person. They saw the Shipwreck, where our
Ancestors had set up Buoys, and it was avoided. You
need look no farther to find their proceeding than into
their own Books, how they unfunctioned the Clergy. I
leave them to your Justice. All they have done has
been proved before you.
Sir John Guise.] I should not pretend to exaggerate this
Commission, but am of Opinion that there can be no degrees in it; but I observe one thing in it, that it principally arises from the Privy-Council, who first ordered
it, and then executed it themselves. I speak plainly, I
think it of so high a nature, that whoever does own such
a Commission is never fit to serve the Nation in any
public capacity. I know not their Names, but begin
first with the Privy Counsellors, and their Actions; that
if any be employed now, to take care they shall never be
for the future.
Mr Estrick.] Being named of this Commission, and
acting upon it, are very different. I am for making as
many friends as we can; so many as you except, so many
enemies you make to the Government. To take all
who were named in the Commission, you must take the
Archbishop of Camerbury
(fn. 2) . Many that were not versed
in Law knew not the saving in taking away the High-Commission Court. When they saw it gone, they could
not apprehend the consequence. Those who acted upon
the third, fourth, and fifth Commission plainly acted against
the Laws. You did take several Commissions, and read
several Names in them; all of them did not act in it.
I would not put blots upon persons who have been and
may be useful to you. Lord Rochester quitted the Staff
purely because he would not go on in the Popish Interest.
It is plain that this lumping them takes him in. Therefore I would have them that acted in the Commission, excepted by Name.
Major Wildman.] I did not, in any thing I said, reflect
on the Archbishop of Canterbury. I said only, "He was
named in the Commission;" but he never sat. Pray read
On Lord Chancellor Jeffreys.
Sir William Williams] No man deserves to be excepted
more than he; but will you begin with a dead Person?
He was excepted.
On the Earl of Rochester.
Sir Thomas Mompesson.] Pray put no Question upon him;
he was left out of three Commissions.
Sir William Williams.] If you save any man, this ought
to be he. When your Privileges were arraigned, he stood
to you; he is but in the first and second Commission; let
him be left out.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I find it the disposition of the
House to pass by this Lord. But put the Question solemnly; not to pass it off as if he were a great man, and
had friends, and so lest out.
Sir John Guise.] I shall be as gentle upon this noble
Lord as any body. I cannot consent to excuse him, but
put no Question upon him.
Mr Smith.] I am ready to excuse this Gentleman, if by
Vote, but not to excuse him by a Vote will seem to the
World as if he was guilty of no Crime. I am satisfied he
has deserved great punishment if his merits had not atoned
for him. He has served the Nation well in the Bishops
case, and is a good Protestant.
Sir Robert Howard.] I have heard from the Bishop of
London the great tenderness this Lord showed in his Case,
and how he behaved himself in the public dispute, managed by Dr Jane and Dr Patrick, with the Jesuits. I
would never put it to the Question, but to have it marked
as an ill thing to sit in the Ecclesiastical Commission, but
to say it is no crime, that is a fault—I would have these
things applied to his pardon, not to his justification;
therefore I would put no Question upon him.
Earl of Ranelagh.] There is nobody in the House, but
will say this was a crime in this Lord, &c. but whether
he shall not be excepted out of the Indemnity for having
sat in the Ecclesiastical Commission, ['tis the Question,]
No Question was put upon the Earl of Rochester.
The Earl of Sunderland was excepted by Vote.
On the Bishop of Durham (fn. 3) .
Sir Robert Howard.] The Bishop has gone through stitch
with all the Commissioners. He understood little Law,
and less Gospel, but he was an ecclesiastical knowing man,
who gave Counsel to the Lay Lords. He went through
all the Commissions, and in the last Commission of such
an exorbitant Nature, where every Man's Estate, Liberty,
and Wise, were at their disposal. I was a Trustee for the
Duke of Norfolk—In that Court he took great consideration of the Dutchess. In that Court he gave her more than
the Marriage Settlement. This Prelate stuck to this Commission, from first to last, with equal Violence.
He was excepted.
On the Bishop of Rochester (fn. 4) .
Sir William Pulteney.] It is known to most how this
Bishop behaved himself. He was intreated by the Bishop
of London to stay in the Commission. He protected the
Protestant Religion, and I cannot reckon him so highly
Mr Arnold.] I wonder that the Bishop, when we consider the worthy Book he writ, the History of the Plot,
should find Advocates here.
Sir Robert Cotton.] He was a Friend to the University
and the Vice-Chancellor. He argued the injustice and
unreasonableness of the Proceedings of the Commissioners.
He opposed every thing in the Proceedings against Magdalen-College.
Mr Baldwin.] There is this farther to be said, that he
deserted the Ecclesiastical Commission wholly, when they
proceeded against Magdalen-College, and wrote a Book against it.
Mr Dolben.] He acted with great Zeal for the Protestant
Religion. He never gave his consent to one Vote or Decree of that Commission against the Protestant Religion.
He made it his Business to defend it. Except acting in
that Commission, he is guilty of no fault.
On Lord Chief Justice Herbert.
Mr Howe.] You have excepted him once; he is put into
the Bill of Attainder. I would not worry a man that is
gone out of the Kingdom.
Mr Smith.] You cannot vindicate the Justice of the Nation, if you take no notice of him, when three witnesses
have sworn, that he is in Ireland, and he is put into the Bill
Mr Howe.] Something is to be said in his behalf. He
left his place, because he would not give his Judgment
against the Deserters.
Lord Chief Justice Herbert was not excepted.
On the second Ecclesiastical Commission.
On the Earl of Mulgrave (fn. 5) .
Mr Howe.] Nobody can think I can have had long acquaintance with this Lord, but I have been well informed
that all his life he has voted for his Country's Interest,
though he was in Court. He came in to the Government
in the late Change, and did this King service. Let him
Mr Smith.] His name is in the last Commission, and I
know those Injuries you have heard have been from those
Commissioners. If it appears that he was in the Business
of Magdalen-College, I am not for excusing him. Let his
Quality be ever so great, if the Country be concerned, I
would not except him. Let any Gentleman tell what he
has done for the good of the Nation, and I am for excusing him.
Col. Austen.] I stand not up to excuse him; but from
a great Clergyman I have had it, that he stood for the
Sir William Williams.] If any Member can say he was
more active than some you have excused, I would not
pass him by. You find nothing in the Books of this man's
Actions. I would pass him by.
Sir John Guise.] I have heard of good things he has done;
he stood for us in the House of Lords for the good of the
Mr Howe.] This Lord is not charged for acting, but
for taking the Commission. He may pretend to as much
favour as another.
He was not excepted.
On the Earl of Huntingdon (fn. 6) .
Mr Carter.] I hope this Lord will not appear to be the
greatest Offender. He came in to act in this Commission
when the Lawyers and Bishops thought it safe to act. He
was well assured before he acted, and advised with several
Lawyers, who gave him Encouragement to proceed.
(He was called upon to name those Lawyers) He dissented
in divers things that they acted against the Church; and
before the Bishop of Rochester came in, he dissented. I
move, That he may not be excepted in the Bill.
Mr Harbord.] I could tell a Story of this Lord, how
that three days after the Prince of Orange landed at Torbay,
he went post to Plymouth, to take Possession of it, to keep
the Prince out with his Regiment, which was then quartered there.
Mr Smith.] It is strange to see how prettily we are
turned off from what was proposed. Because this Lord
was in the last, and not in the first Commission, therefore
now some would excuse him.
Sir John Guise.] I am for the series of the Inclinations
of men. This Lord was once a great Patriot. He acted
in the three last Ecclesiastical Commissions. He did go
through Devonshire to raise the Country against this King,
and has done no service since: Surely you will not exempt
him for that.
Mr Smith.] If one Gentleman will name his Bishops
that advised this Lord, Carter can name the Lawyers.
The Earl of Huntingdon, and the Bishop of Chester
(fn. 7) ; were
On Sir Thomas Jenner.
Mr Smith.] I know not if Ignorance and Poverty may
be an exemption from Punishment; if it be an excuse for
this man, he may claim it.
Sir Jonathan Jennings.] He was so troublesome in the
Ecclesiastical Commission at Magdalen-College, that the
Bishop of Chester and the Judges thought to put him
out. He was excepted.
The Compiler went out of Town some days before the end of this
Session (fn. 8) , [which was on August 20, when both Houses, by his Majesty's pleasure, adjourned themselves to September 20,] and from