Monday, November 18.
[Mr Bedlow was ordered to be forthwith sent for.]
Mr Sacheverell.] I move you to consider, whether, in
honour, you can put Mr Bedlow upon naming persons
concerned in the Plot, till he has his Pardon from the
King. Now I doubt whether, if the King gives him
his Pardon, that can do him good, his Confession being
to the Parliament; and we know not how those great persons he may accuse may interpose to prevent his Pardon.
Now consider whether it is for your honour to put this
man into danger, before you secure him his Pardon.
You may, in a few lines, in an Act of Parliament, assure him of his Pardon.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Mr Bedlow's Pardon was ordered by the King's immediate Warrant, and did not pass
by the usual form.
Mr Sacheverell.] I am contented, if you let him know
that the House has sent for him to know what he has to
say, without asking any questions.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I oppose not what the Speaker says,
"That none be suffered to go out of the House." You
saw, the other day, that Colonel Macarty knew what you
were doing. There are windows, as well as doors. I would
have the outward doors shut.
The Speaker.] You break your Orders yourselves;
Gentlemen going about, from place to place, to sollicit
their own business.
Ordered, That the doors be shut, and no Members go
out (fn. 1) , &c.
Mr Bedlow was brought to the Bar.
The Speaker said to him,] You are brought hither, by
your own desire, to inform the House of matters relating
to the Popish Plot.
Mr Bedlow.] I had sooner informed the House of what I
know, but I had no assurance of my Pardon. I have drawn a
Narrative of what I can inform you; and I give it upon the
Oath I have taken before the Lords.—And then he gave an account of the several Lords, and Gentlemen, and Priests engaged
in the Plot, the numbers of men, and sums of money they were to
bring in; and that all the Catholics of England were engaged to
be ready, upon the Sacrament (as is to be fully seen in the printed
relations) at the King's death; and then said, I hope I am sure
of my Pardon, for I have many great men my enemies."
The Speaker.] You have the House for your friend,
and assurance of your Pardon.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] After such an Information as this,
I would not sit still, and let those persons, he has accused, escape. I move that Mr Bedlow may go to my Lord
Chief Justice, and make Oath of the Information he has
given here, that the persons may be seized.
Sir John Knight.] One that Bedlow informs against,
viz. Sir Henry Tichbourn, is mentioned in Coleman's letters,
a great emissary of the Pope's. I would have it as Carew
Sir Thomas Lee.] In all matters about the town, within the Chief Justice's eye, his Warrants have been sent out;
but for persons out of town I cannot yet hear he has sent
any. I know not whether Sir Francis Ratcliffe (one accused) is yet seized. The Lord Chief Justice has not such
Messengers as others of the Ministers have.
Then the Speaker read Mr Bedlow's Paper of Information.
Sir Trevor Williams.] I move to have Lord Carrington (fn. 2)
seized and secured, and that you would address the Lords
to have it done.
Mr Bennet.] I would have those secured that are particularly named, under good security for their appearance. As for the Lords accused that are at liberty, I
would either impeach them, or send to the Lords to secure them.
Mr Sacheverell.] The best security for their appearance
is, to send to the Lord-Lieutenants of the Counties to
secure all their horses.
Sir Eliab Harvey.] The Papists generally have now
extraordinary horses; four or five more than ordinary.
Mr Williams.] You find several persons accused of
High Treason, and now you have more confirmation.
You took a method some time since, and you are not just
to those in prison, if you go not the same way as you
have done with them. You sent to the Lord Chief Justice to issue out his Warrants for them, and I would do
Mr Sollicitor Winnington.] If those particulars that Mr
Bedlow has communicated to you, had been to the Lords,
then it had been proper for you to have gone another
way; but they having been first communicated to us,
we must do our duty. One part of Mr Bedlow's Information is very particular, the other is general, of the
Conspiracy all over England. If you will direct that this
man may give Oath of his Information, or what expedient you will use if it can be, it may be better than before
—If any man swears Treason against another, any Magistrate may commit the greatest subject as well as the
beggar—Therefore I move that you will send to my Lord
Chief Justice, to give him notice to come hither, and give
Mr Bedlow his Oath.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Though the House of Commons
cannot give an Oath, yet they may go to the Lords,
and immediately impeach the persons accused, without
Justices of the Peace taking the accusation upon Oath—
The method of Parliament is, that if any man say otherwise, upon Oath, to the House of Peers, than he has
said to you, you may punish him—In the case of Lord
Clarendon, he was accused generally, without special
matter; though then there was some little dispute with
the Lords about it, yet this is a ground of special matter,
and you may go up to the Lords with it.
Colonel Titus.] I had rather that these persons accused
should not be punished, than that they should have power of punishing me—I would have their horses secured,
and a farther search for arms—I would not have the way
changed we were in. Let my Lord Chief Justice give Mr
Bedlow his Oath; you have had good success in it, and I
would go the same way.
Sir John Ernly.] This Information of Mr Bedlow agrees so well with Mr Oates, that it confirms his testimony. (And then be gave an account of some parties that were
seen in Gloucestershire, armed and well borsed, &c.) I would
therefore go the same way as we did before, by my Lord
Chief Justice's issuing out his Warrants to apprehend these
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] I speak to another point. The
King is in greater danger than ever; the Papists are universally in the Plot. This is not the way, to take horses
from them; they are all gone—I move that an Address
be made to the King, that he command at least half of the
Militia of England to be in readiness, till we are in some
measure secure from the attempts of the Papists.
Mr Bennet.] Now to speak plain, if ever Whitehall has
a ready guard in pay, you will not have the Militia. Why
cannot the Militia be ready as well as men for 8d. a day?
Let the Militia be in order, and then consider of dismissing the Army.
Mr Vaughan.] The begetting new Motions is no great
wonder in the danger we are in. Those moved first are your
first consideration; the rest may be after-consideration.
The Speaker.] Here is a concurrence to all Motions.
There remains nothing but to put the several Motions to
the Question, in order.
Ordered, That Mr Sollicitor General and Mr Williams do attend my Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, to desire him to
come to this House to receive Mr Bedlow's Information upon Oath.
Mr Sollicitor General reports, That, in obedience to the above
Order, Mr Williams and himself gave intimation to my Lord Chief
Justice, &c. who did immediately repair to the House, and, according to his wonted diligence and chearfulness, is ready at the
door to attend you. He was called in. Then
The Speaker said,] We have had farther Information
and discovery of the Plot, which is the occasion of your
Lordship's presence here—The House has full experience
of your Lordship, and they need use no arguments to
awaken your zeal, whose actions have been one continued
act of duty and loyalty to his Majesty—That there may
be no discovery of the evidence, there is a person in the
Speaker's Chamber, who does desire your Lordship to
take his Oath to an Information relating to the Plot.
Lord Chief Justice.] Mr Speaker, you shall find me the
same man, and nothing, on my part, shall be wanting—When
a knife is at my throat, I will pluck it away, and I shall not
stand upon usual forms—I shall do your commands with all
[The Lord Chief Justice then withdrew into the Speaker's
Sir Samuel Barnardiston.] You have had several motions
made; pray give me leave to make one. Mr Arthur, the
Merchant, has 100,000 l. to lend them for the Conspiracy. I desire a particular Warrant to search his house,
to seize his person, and his papers. I believe it may be
for your service.
Mr Powle.] I shall revive the Motion for securing
ourselves by the Militia. The last resort of our safety is
the power of the Laws, else they are but so many pieces
of parchment—Your legal force I would have countenanced—I desire that we may move the King to have a third
part of the Militia in a posture to defend us, and so to go
Mr Sollicitor Winnington.] My Lord Chief Justice craves
leave to have one of his Clerks to assist him, one very
dextrous at taking examinations. He desires leave that
he may come to him. The doors are shut, and without
your leave he cannot come in. Leave was granted.
Sir Adam Brown.] Most Papists resort to Epsom, and if
you have but one third part of the Militia of that county
in readiness, they may rise and beat them—I am loth to
put the county to more charges than need. But though
our county (Surry) has but one Militia Troop, yet Prince
Rupert, who is Lord Lieutenant, will, I am sure, take
all the care he can to keep them quiet.
Colonel Birch.] That the burden may be equal, all
England over, I would have one third part of the Militia
certain in readiness.
Sir Richard Ingoldshy.] I think the horse of the Militia
are most convenient to be employed. That charge lies
upon the Gentlemen only. The foot are useless, and
mostly lying upon the poorer sort—The horse can be every where in the country.
Mr Bennet.] The great end of my Motion was, that
the Militia might be guards to the King, and so learn the
use of their arms, and that the King might have no farther use of an Army.
Mr Hampden.] You cannot do too much for your safety,
and no man is more ready to contribute to it than I am.
But I desire you not to go an arbitrary way in this. Appoint a Committee to know how the Law of the Militia
stands, and then you may resolve upon something.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Upon imminent danger no man
will grudge doing something extraordinary. I may tell
you, that the King, Lords, and Commons can make an
Ordinance (which has the power of a Law) for the present
use of the Militia, till a Law may be made. You cannot
make a shoe to fit every foot.
Mr Sacheverell.] I am ever for that, in all we do, not
to go beyond the Law. In some counties this cannot be
done. I would therefore inspect the Law of the Militia;
and if you will cause an inspection to be made into the
Law, as is moved, I am for it; else against it.
Colonel Titus.] Can there be a greater Law broken than
blowing up a man's house to prevent spreading of a fire?
Your danger is great. If you stay for a Law, you may
have your throats cut in the mean time; therefore I move
that you would address the King, &c.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] If you cannot give the kingdom
an account in forty days that they are in safety, it will be
past remedy, and one third part of the Militia may do it.
I would also have the Sheriff, with the Posse Comitatus of
the county, be ready to seize upon Papists, and help the
Militia upon occasion. And, as it was done in Queen
Elizabeth's time, the principal Members of the Popish
body in all counties may be seized—By Law, when the
Kingdom is in danger, those persons who are the authors
of that danger should be secured.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I am not of opinion, that, whilst the
Parliament is sitting, you may go beyond Law. You
may advise one thing, and the Lords of the Council
another, and both against Law. The Law of the Militia is, "That they are to be upon service so many days,
unless the King and the Privy Council think it necessary
to be continued longer, &c. and then they are to be reimbursed, &c." If at your request the Militia should proceed to more days, before this goes round, you may
make an Act of Parliament to supply the defect of the
power of keeping them together—I hope this extraordinary duty of the Militia will not be done in our county
(Bucks) for we have already three troops of horse quartered
upon us, and that is sufficient to secure us, I hope, and
we need not raise the Militia.
Resolved, That an humble Address be made to his Majesty,
that the Militia of the several counties may be in readiness, and
that a third part of them may be raised for a fortnight, and that
there be a farther search for Papists arms.
Mr Vaughan.] You cannot answer taking away their
goods, their horses: But they ought to give good reason
for their supernumerary horses, or let them be imprisoned.
Colonel Birch.] I am not for seizing the Papists horses.
It may serve a turn at one time and another too—I am against it upon any terms at all.
Mr Powle.] What is done, by the advice of the Lords
and Commons to the King, has the force of a Law, and
there is a great deal of difference, in the force, from what
is done by the Privy Council—I would have the Committee instructed for power to pay the Militia upon extraordinary occasions.
Mr Sacheverell.] Now that persons are constituted into
several Offices and Employments by the Pope, I have a
letter in my hand, that gives an account of several Popish
Officers that have received Commissions since the House
sat down; and several Commissions were signed by a
Member of the House, a Secretary of State, [Williamson.]
The Recorder of Chester (fn. 3) can give you a farther account of
it. If this be true, all you can do for your safety is to
no purpose—Sixty Commissions to Popish Officers have
been signed since the 20th of October.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Those persons that had the
Commissions were dismissed; and there was no use of
them in England, and, by the King's command, they were
sent into Ireland. They were persons turned out by the
Duke of Monmouth, and were to be taken notice of as persons dismissed. It is true, that, upon examination, in my
Office, Macarty's, which had been Dungan's, four regiments, the Commissions were given out free, without fee.
It is not possible to know, nor is it our part to know, who
they are that have the Commissions, but the Ceneral sent
the Commissions to the Secretaries, and what the men are
must be answered elsewhere.
Mr Sacheverell.] Since the matter is before you, I desire to know what need these men had for Commissions,
being dismissed from their employments? Next, whether
there are not Commissions granted with Warrants of
Dispensation from the Oaths and Test to several Officers
quartered here about town?
Mr Secretary Williamson.] There was an Order from the
King, since the Plot, to dismiss all the Popish Officers.
All Orders are signed by the King, since the Duke of Albemarle's death, and the Secretaries do countersign them:
The Orders are all concerted betwixt the King and the Duke
of Monmouth. I must own the countersigning them, as I
received them from the Secretary at War. The Secretary
of State never concerns himself to look into the inside of
any of them—This, I told the Duke of Monmouth, he
must answer for, if I was called upon.
Mr Sacheverell.] I am not answered to matter of fact,
viz. whether Commissions were not granted to Popish
Officers since the 20th of October, and Commissions of
Dispensation granted out for taking the Oaths, &c.?
Mr Williams.] The Mayor of Chester, ever since the
Proclamation, has been very watchful in stopping suspected persons. In October there came a person to Chester,
well armed and mounted. He had a Commission about
him for Captain, Lieutenant, and Ensign, delivered him
out the last Sunday in October. Some pay they had upon
this Commission. Upon his confession, he appeared to be
a Papist, and the Secretaries were acquainted with it:
Whether the Mayor delivered the Commission back again, I cannot tell. The men have their liberty, though
their arms are in custody.
Serjeant Gregory.] The Committee sent to the Commissary of the Musters to know what Officers had not received the Sacrament, &c. They gave us an account of several regiments lately mustered, that had not taken the
Oaths, nor the Sacrament, &c. And the Muster-master
brought their Dispensation. There were commissioned,
and non-commissioned, Officers, that were dispensed with
for the Oaths and Sacrament, &c. Catholics and Protestants that have not had opportunity to take them, &c.
The Earl of Dunbarton's regiment, that was called from
France, had this Order, &c. viz. "As you shall receive instructions from the Duke of Monmouth, you are to dispense
with, though they have not taken the Oaths." Signed, "Williamson." Lord Douglas's eight companies of the Scotch
regiment were to pass the rolls of the Offices, and to pass
the musters; though they have not raised their men, they
are to allow and pass them as before July 3, 1678. "To
Henry Howard, Esquire, and Sir Cecil Howard, Knight."
Mr Sacheverell.] These few were of a great number
before the Committee. Now I would be answered to
matter of fact, whether, in October, these were not signed by the Secretary?
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I believe it was upon that
day, as is said.
Lord Cavendish.] I am of opinion, that a standing Army, in time of Peace, whether the Officers be Popish or
Protestant, is illegal—But I will not now interrupt matters of greater importance.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I do not deny, but that,
during our sitting, and during the Conspiracy, Commissions have been given out to Popish Officers, and they
are dispensed with for the Oaths, &c. but wherever persons are found out, that are the authors of it, they deserve
to be made an example.
Sir Francis Drake.] It appears plainly, that the Secretary, your Member (and you sitting) has given out Warrants contrary to Law, with non obstantes for taking the
Oaths, &c. and in this time of danger, when the King's
life is concerned—I would have him withdraw, that you
may consider what to do with him.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] No Muster-master can obey a
Secretary of State against Law. And the Muster-master
is not to muster the man but according to Law.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] I am sorry to stand up upon this
occasion, that I must see a Minister of State, who should
be a bulwark against Popery, sign Commissions and dispensations, &c. to Popish Officers. If you allow not
that the King can do no wrong, there is an end of the Government; it is the Ministers that do the wrong—You
can do no less than send Williamson to the Tower—And
that is my Motion.
Sir Eliah Harvey.] We now see pretty well what condition all Protestant Officers are in, the City being surrounded with Popish Officers. We have heard of Dispensations for taking the Oaths, at a Chapel, from the Pope, &c.
and yet all Oaths and Tests are dispensed with here too—If
the Ministers do at this rate, you must not only send
one Minister to the Tower, but all.
Mr Onslow.] Ten weeks ago, a Bull was set up, at
St James's Chapel, with orders to all Confessors to absolve
men for taking the Oaths and the Test.
Colonel Titus.] Under this notion, all the Ministers
may be sent to the Tower, and we shall have none—You
have one Minister before you now. No doubt, all matters of Law the Judges must answer, and all matters of
State the Ministers—This is plain matter of fact: The
person concerned is in the House; and, according to Order of Parliament, he must withdraw.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I hear Gentlemen call
"withdraw," but before the matter of fact be stated—Secretary Williamson's part may have been little in this matter
of the Commissions. The King can do no wrong, and if
Williamson did not advise this, he has done no fault. He
did not advise the Dispensation, nor prepare it. I have been
with him, when several Orders have been brought. His
chamber-keeper told him, "they came from the Commissary at War." He said, "he knew them not, but signs
them of course." If he was neither the adviser nor promoter of them, lay the fault where it is.
Sir John Birkenhead.] Forty years ago, a Commission
was issued out to the Governor of Ludlow, that no man
should be paramount over him: Lord Capel's Commission
was to supersede all: Lord Digby moved the late King,
that no Commission might be valid that was not signed by
a Secretary of State—I have known particularly that they
have been first shaped and formed by the Secretary at War,
and allowed by the Secretary of State, to avoid clashing
Sir Robert Howard.] I will not repeat Birkenhead's argument, for fear of doing Williamson more hurt than I
design him. We must search out, it seems, who advised
the King [to grant] these Commissions, and the King
must be a witness against him—Matter of fact is stated,
and it is hard that Honourable Gentleman should be
singled out, in the middle, betwixt the original and the
execution; but it is strange, that such things as these
Commissions, &c. should go in a cluster of things not
examined: Now come crowds of things against Law, in
an ill time; but on the other side, these things came to
Williamson from a superior hand, and he but intermediate. It is hard to bid him yet withdraw, before you go
to the bottom of it.
Mr Vaughan.] At a time when the King's Life is at
stake, and a Rebellion intended, and this done now, an
Act of Parliament against it, when all this is in motion, and you examining the Plot, and such Commissions
signed, who is criminal? Williamson is a Privy Counsellor, and he might have advised the King not to
have done it. He cannot sit here to judge in his own
cause; and he is visibly criminal to us, till it be made out
upon other persons, and he must withdraw.
A Gentleman said privately, "That if Williamson signed
what he knew, he was a knave; if he signed what he
knew not, he was a fool."
Colonel Birch.] The best argument I have heard is,
"that this thing has been done formerly;" but if these
things had not been done, we had not had them again
now. Williamson might have said, "if it was thus formerly, I dare not sign them nor allow of them." Here
are Popish commissioned Officers sent into Ireland, and that
kingdom is not free from the Plot—Shall this be said to
be the Law of the land, that they must take the Oaths,
and Williamson has heard it debated forty times here, and
shall he say that it was the King's Command? I am ashamed of it. Were he my father, let him withdraw.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] You hear a worthy Member accused, but I cannot be silent, though I would willingly in
personal things. These commissioned Popish Officers are to
go into Ireland. I have heard it was laid to the charge of
the late old King, that he was the cause of the Rebellion
in Ireland; for aught I know, people may say by these Commissions as they did then—I move that he may withdraw.
Mr Williams.] Your Member has but one way to help
himself. He must either be guilty of this, or know by
what counsel it was done, and I believe he will tell you.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I believe you will make a
difference between a man's taking the King's hand, and
bringing it to the King's hand—For myself, it would be
hard upon Secretaries. Papers brought all in a bundle,
and not to be read scarce in a day, and I must countersign them. I tell it you, only, for matter of fact.
Mr Vaughan.] I am sorry distinctions are made to break
Laws, and not to keep them—Suppose there should be an
Order from the King's hand, that so many, men should be
killed; shall the Secretary set his hand to it? He ought
to tell the King, that it is against Law.
Lord Cavendish.] By the Orders of the House, "a
Gentleman that is accused is to be heard in his place, and
then he is to withdraw;" but I have heard nobody say
that Williamson is chiefly or only guilty, but all agree he
is guilty of signing these Commissions—But yet they are
of no value till they are countersigned. If we had been
so happy as to have removed Ministers, according to our
Addresses, we should not have had ill Counsellors, nor
been miserable in them. Williamson does not deny what
he is charged with, and I see no reason why he should not
Sir John Ernly.] I would distinguish this thing; for I
find the Commissions and Dispensations, &c. as valid
without Williamson's hand, as with it. The thing was
brought in use first by my Lord of Bristol, in the time
of the War at Oxford, for a 5 l. fee; but Williamson had
no fee for countersigning the Commissions—I shall only
say, that an officer, in the station in which he stands, must
stay a great while if he reads every Commission before he
dispatches it—Why should you extend to this severity,
before you have examined the whole matter?
Sir Robert Carr.] Examine the matter. I see not what
force Williamson's hand is of more than without it, to
strengthen the Commissions. It was unfortunate that his
hand was at them, but I would have the matter fully examined, before you come to a resolution.
Col. Titus.] It is nobody's intention, that those who are
as faulty as Williamson should go scot-free. It is said, "that
it is a great task to look over all the Papers;" but I cannot believe that the Secretaries will commit so great a fault
as to sign they know not what, though they advised it not.
I suppose that if the Lord Chancellor have a thing brought
to him that is very illegal, and he advises the King that
it is illegal, yet if he sets the Seal to it, he is answerable.
If this be no fault in Williamson, your Acts may be all
broken, at this rate. If these Commissions be of the
same validity without signing, as with it, why does he
sign them? If he has nothing farther to say, it is the Order of the House that he must withdraw.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I am very unhappy to be
brought under this Question; but I would prevent the
Question. The fact is plain, and for apology I cannot
say much—All dispatches have been under this method.
I found them so, and I continue them so; they are singly
done by the General and by the King—They are brought
to the King, and he signs them, and in that office, singly,
they are entered, and no where else—Then they are sent
to me, and it is a trouble, and no advantage, to me, to
sign them, and I see, by the consequence, the danger too.
This is the practice, and the constant practice, and it
has been in the judgment of the House formerly, as
matter of form—I know not whether I have done my
duty, but I am sure, it is in the simplicity and integrity
of it. I shall only add, that this thing seemed to me of
such consequence, that I told the General, "I could not
do it, without his owning it, and he did own it; and that I
must say so much, if I was questioned for it in the House."
Sir Philip Warwick.] I cannot answer the doing this
thing. The same course was taken; all Commissions were
countersigned by the Secretary; and they always passed so:
And the late Lord Treasurer, Southampton, wherever he
found the General's hand, (Albemarle) he signed it.
Mr Secretary Williamson withdrew.
Sir Thomas Meres.] I cannot let it pass, that a Secretary
of State shall sign Commissions without reading them.
All things may pass, at that rate. If they have not strength
to read them, let them lay them aside. That is not a just
and reasonable argument for not countersigning, and I
must say so.
Sir George Hungerford.] I am against any thing of pardoning Williamson upon his submission, and setting it only so upon your books, in such a dangerous thing as this
where the King's Person is concerned by Commissions to
Popish Officers—I would send Williamson to the Tower, for
Mr Bennet.] Shall it be said, that your Laws are broken ex officio? Though I would have you do something,
yet, in this case, I would not be so very severe, because
of the influence great men have upon the Secretaries.
They must comply, else they lose their places: They
must lose the profits of their dispatches, unless they do
this—All Papists may be put in Commission, at this rate,
in the very Guards. The danger considered, &c. sending
Williamson to the Tower is no great punishment.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] "The Secretaries signing to prevent
surprize," I know not the meaning of it, unless to put
checks upon things. If it be as he says, "that it was
through ignorance, and the thing had been long used,"
let his punishment be the less—I have seen a letter from
Yarmouth, where some Grenadiers were quartered, and
they said, "they came to secure that place because the
King was ill, if the King should die." I know not how
the King can possibly be safe, as long as a sword, or a
dagger, is in a Papist's hand—I hope you will reap good
from this Debate. It is time to give a check to this signing
of Commissions. But whether you will send Williamson to the
Tower, or no, I leave to you. But the least thing you
can do is a rebuke, &c. and I hope you will address the
King that all such Commissions may be superseded.
Mr Harbord.] I think these Officers of State (as Secretaries, &c.) are placed by the King, to remind him of
things. They are set there as watchmen, that the King
may have no wrong: The King's Council can tell you
whether they advised these Commissions, or no—If we
do not something in punishing and reforming these things,
I expect very little success of this Session—You have been
told of a War with France, and I know not what; this
man has employed his parts to help all that on, the last
Session: He has deluded you several times; and now
he has done the greatest Act. I would not send him to
the Tower, being the King's Minister, as the King may
have present use of him, but I would have him put out
of the House.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] There was a time when there
should have been but one Secretary of State. Mr Coleman was to have been the single Secretary of State, and I
believe the King may be very well without Williamson,
and I move to send him to the Tower.
Mr Papillon.] I have been pondering this matter of the
Commissions in my thoughts, and I am in great apprehensions that Williamson should have signed he knows
not what. It might have been to destroy my life and fortune. I have heard mention made of the Act of the Militia,
wherein the Lord-Lieutenants and Deputies are obliged
to swear not to oppose persons commissioned by the King,
in pursuance of such Military Commissions. Therefore
great care should be taken of those Commissions, how
they are granted out that must not be disobeyed. Therefore you must show your displeasure against this Minister,
who signs he knows not what—Formerly we had no
standing Army; only the King's Gentlemen attended him;
and what may become of us, now we have a standing
Army and a Plot, if such Commissions be granted out?
At this rate, Williamson might have commissioned the
Pope's Army, and these Commissions were granted out
in October, in the height of the Plot. If you will not
do something in this, the people will believe that you apprehend no danger of Popery—This is in your power to
punish, and you may do it, though you could not remove ill Ministers. Therefore I move, that Secretary Williamson may be made an example.
Mr Powle.] This I observe, that now we have a standing Army, it seems, care is taken we shall have Popish
Officers. I will not aggravate nor extenuate this Gentleman's crime, but if you pass by this, you make no difference betwixt acting by, and procuring, these Commissions—This is certainly a matter of the highest nature.
The Officer that did execute this Warrant (the Mustermaster) had no Warrant to justify him but the Sign-manual, which can give no authority for suspension of your
Laws; and these Commissions (thus granted) are equal
to the late Declaration which suspended so many Laws—
I wish you could spare this Gentleman's expulsion of the
House, which is the highest punishment, next to life,
that can be inflicted. But you cannot do less than send
him to the Tower. And if he will confess the whole
progress of this matter, I shall be as willing to extenuate
his punishment, as any body.
Resolved, That Sir Joseph Williamson, Secretary of State, be
immediately sent to the Tower, for signing Warrants for Popish
Officers to be mustered and receive pay, contrary to Law.
Sir Robert Thomas.] I move, that Williamson may be
kept so close in the Tower, as not to be suffered to converse with the five Lords, &c.
Lord Cavendish.] Here is one expression in the Duke
of Monmouth's Commissions, viz. "To our dear and entirely beloved son, James Duke of Monmouth." I know
no Prince of Wales, though I have a great honour for the
Sir Thomas Littleton.] What Lord Cavendish has moved is of great consequence. I am sorry for the expression in the direction of the Duke's Commission—I know
not what after ages will say to it. Neither do I know
what to say—I would have you send for Mr Lock (he is
called Secretary at War, but I know no such Officer in
Law) to attend you to-morrow, and the Muster-master,
that you may know whether the Officers, with these Commissions and Dispensations, were mustered, and at what
The Muster-masters were, Mr Henry Howard of Suffolk, and Sir
Cecil Howard; the Pay-master, Mr Kingdon.
Sir John Pettus produced a letter from one who met a grenadier, who halted behind his company, who said, "he had
double pay, &c."—A man also in black, who said, "that the
King was sick, and if he were not dead, he was likely to be so in
two or three days, and that they were sent to secure Yarmouth,
if that should be."
Tuesday, November 19.
His Majesty sent a Message to the House of Commons, by Mr
Secretary Coventry, "That they immediately attend him in
the Banquetting-house," where his Majesty spoke to this effect:
"That he was much surprized to hear, that the last night the
House had sent his Secretary to the Tower; but that he would deal
more kindly with them, than they had done with him, who gave
him no notice of his commitment; but he gives you notice that
he has sent for him forth. As to the Commissions granted out, &c.
he had examined the books of Entries, which were occasioned
thus. These men that had the Commissions, came out of the
French King's service, and, to say no worse, they were hardly
dealt with. They came away without money, and in great want.
He had no way to gratify them, but by dating their Commissions
from the time they left the French service, and these persons had
not convenient time to take the Oaths and Test, &c. before they
went for Flanders, and that the Muster-masters, &c. should
pay them from the time of the date of their Commissions, and
that he going to Newmarket, they had not time to take the
The Speaker, being called upon to report the King's Speech,
said,] What was spoken by the King was said to the whole
House, and it is supposed all were there present. The
Speech being long, I am unwilling to trust to my memory to report it, for I may pretermit several things the
King said. But the Speaker reported it as above.
Sir Edmund Wyndham, Knight Marshal.] The King
said, "he had not money to pay these Officers."
The Speaker.] The King said, "he had no other way to
provide for them but by dating their Commissions in that
manner." And more the King said, "they wanted money
to pay the Secretary's fees, who was ordered that they
should pay nothing for their Commissions countersigning."
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would have the Muster-master
and Pay-master sent for.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The matter before you does as much
concern you as the Plot. I observe, that a Commission to
be a soldier is a reward for a Papist. The Crown is not
so poor, sure, but that there might have been ways found
out to gratify these men, without breaking so essential a
Law as this; and not to tell the King of these Commissions!—I will not dispute the King's power in pardoning
Williamson, but if you commit a man, in respect of Justice, &c. I know not how he can be taken out of custody,
without the King's pardon—I would have the Committee
consider of your Privilege. In this matter of so great moment, I would not sit still. It ought not to be slided
Mr Williams.] By what I hear, as the commitment is
made, it is a question whether Williamson may not be delivered out of custody by the King, being committed by the
Commons. The question is a tender question, and a tender
time to put it in. I remember the commitment of the
Lords, from the House of Lords, was "during the King's
pleasure, and the pleasure of that House." One of the
Lords (Shaftsbury) had a Habeas Corpus, the King's Writ,
and it was a question amongst the Judges, whether a Member committed by the Lords could be released by any
Court but the Lords that committed him, and it was resolved that the King, by his Writ, could not deliver a person
committed by either House of Parliament. If the King
cannot do it by his Writ, how is the King to do it? It
must be by his immediate Warrant, or by Order from the
Lords of the Council, if the King cannot do it by Writ
from the King's Bench. If the King cannot do it by Law,
then it must be by his Prerogative. But I know no such
Prerogative, if not coram Domino Rege, &c. Now will it be
more proper or wise to debate the thing now, than when
it is done? Whether not more proper to say something to
it now, than to sleep upon it?
Sir Thomas Clarges.] This is a great argument; upon
this depends all the Privilege of this House. Else we are
not able to serve our King and Country—I said nothing
to Williamson's commitment yesterday, for I would have
had it in order to his impeachment, and so the Commons
may commit their Members. Had we been truly represented to the King (but we have back friends, that misrepresent us) they might have stayed till to-day to have seen
our farther proceedings—It is strange that in the Popish
Plot twenty two Officers should be sent into Ireland, who,
by the King's Commission, may raise 2100 men, which
may alter the Government, and we by Oath must not resist
them, because commissioned by the King, and so both the
King and the Government may be destroyed; and shall we
sit passive in it? It is the duty of the King's Ministers, by
Privy Seal, or some other lawful way, to command these
men to come over again: These men committing act upon
act of disobedience, must they be favoured? If they had
obeyed the King's Proclamation, and come over from the
French King's service at the first, they might have been
rewarded, and had a piece of money given them. I would
have them sent abroad. They are soldiers. There is
action enough abroad to employ them, and they need
not have been sent for home.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Divers of these Officers came
not over till this summer, and then they were so necessitated, they had not money to pay the Secretary's fees for
their Commissions—The Duke of Monmouth's regiment
and Colonel Macarty's were designed for the War in Flanders—Colonel Dungan's Commission was to raise a regiment in Ireland. They were barely intended for the War
in Flanders, but that not going on, the Duke of Ormond
did press disbanding them, for fear they should become
Tories. As for their staying in France after the King's
Proclamation, the King has pardoned whole Kingdoms
of men, and no wonder if he pardons so few. Was it prudent in the King to call these men away without any promise of reward? Our House seldom punishes a man for doing against Law, and not against reason. But why did
you not express in your Warrant the true reason why Williamson was sent to the Tower? And so he is sent not for
Breach of your Privilege, or in order to an impeachment,
but for doing an Act against Law—I would hear precedents for such a commitment.
Mr Williams.] There was a Habeas Corpus granted to
Lord Shaftsbury from the King's Bench, and a return
made of it. But the question was not, whether his commitment was legal or illegal. The Judges were of opinion, "that, since he was committed by the Lords, they
could not examine the cause of his commitment." If you
erred yesterday in the Order for Williamson's commitment,
you may mend it to day. But shall any Court examine
your commitment? It is too big for any Court to do it,
and that I stand by.
Sir Thomas Meres.] It looks strangely to me what is
said, "that this commitment is only for Breach of a Law."
It is the only Law we have had any effect of, against Popery—Every body said, again and again, there was a Plot,
and we have had very little help in the discovery of it
from the greatest Ministers. It was laid by for six weeks,
and instead of help to discover it, we have had helping it
on. What acting has here been to set up men to tear us
in pieces and cut our throats! Is not this an offence against
the House? Show me that Law for restraining the liberty
of the House in this commitment—Do we not turn Papists
out of the House? These are plain things, and we may
turn Williamson out of the House—It is a very ill thing to
call our power in question, and of ill consequence. I am
sorry that this presses on the thing, it may be, more than
you intended it. But plainly this commitment is in order
to impeachment, though nothing was said of it. Probably, on his Petition he might have been heard. But if you
will lose your right and privilege of Commitment, there
is an end. So that here are two motions, one for an Address to the King to prevent any farther proceedings, &c.
and to set down methods of Privilege of this House as
to commitments; the other may be for an impeachment
The Speaker.] To the question, Whether a person
may be committed by the House for actions not relating
to the House, I give my opinion you cannot commit. On
the other side, you have committed Williamson, but this
ought to be according to custom of Parliament—Special
cause of commitment is not necessary here, though it is
in inferior Courts.
Mr Bennet.] I am sorry that yesterday, when the matter
was between the Member committed and us, you gave us
no advice, Mr Speaker; and now, when it is between the
King and us, you advise. We are still told, the King
commands it. Though it be any thing against Law, Law
of arms, still the King, we are told, commanded it. Serjeant Streete said, "that the Lords did not complain of
their Privilege being broken by the King's releasing one
Lord out of the Tower, and not another." These Commissions, &c. are no less than tolerating Popery in an
Army of 22,000 men; but if the Speaker had minded
us of this yesterday, it might have been better. There
is a great deal of business upon our hands, and this put
off a greater Debate yesterday. It is not the Ministers do
this, but he that made them, (the Duke;) from thence they
have their succour and assistance—No wonder this Gentleman (Williamson) has risen, step by step, to preferment, and he must obey. I move not for any severity
upon him. You did this in order to prevent greater punishment; and if it will not bear it a day or two, you may
have his Petition—I would address the King not to release
him, or adjourn the Debate.
Sir Francis Drake.] If you will adjourn the Debate, in
the mean time I move that an impeachment may be
drawn up against Williamson.
Mr Powle.] I do not find directly, but obliquely, that
the King touches at his Prerogative. We have no power
to commit our Members, but for Breach of Privilege;
but when notorious crimes are done, we may commit, in
order to farther proceeding. No other Court can commit him, and if you cannot commit him, he has only
warning to run away. In the 18th of King James, Sir
Giles Mompesson and Sir Francis Mitchell were committed
about monopolies. Mompesson was a Member of the
House: He had a Patent for licensing Inns, &c. He
was committed by the House, and yet not impeached, for
he ran away. If a Member be committed to the Serjeant,
(as he was,) it is the same thing as if committed to the
Tower. As for the cause of commitment to be expressed
in the Warrant, though we are a supreme Court, and no
other can contradict our commitments, yet it is very necessary to express the cause of commitment, to prevent
running into excesses, if not expressing the cause—I know
not well what to say to the King's Speech, because
there is no direct charge in it from the King against us;
but this is an extraordinary way of releasing Williamson.
The King's commands are not deliveries in Law—I should
be glad there might be some vindication of the House
in this matter, for I find mists and representations always
of us to the King. I see that this of the Commissions
to these Popish Officers is excused by some. I was always
of opinion, that Popery could never come into England
without force. These Popish Officers are used to French
government, and quartered here, and the new-raised men
are sent into Flanders to corrupt them in Religion. What
the House has done in this commitment, if amiss, I would
confess it, but I think as yet we are not in the wrong.
Colonel Titus.] It was my fortune to speak in this
matter of your Member, before you committed him.
The case of Mr Mallet (who was committed by the
Lords of the Council) was supposed for a high breach
of the Peace, and so your Member is but as other
men, he has no Privilege; but the thing of Privilege came not in dispute. But now I am up, I will
say something of the matter before you. The House
saw the Law dispensed with, and we were very angry;
if we had not been so, they that sent us hither would
have been angry with us—We saw the danger, and were
apprehensive of it, and had just indignation against the
Gentleman. I rose early (says Solomon) to kiss my
friend, and behold I curse him. The not reading over the
Commissions was a worse thing than the thing itself. I
could wish that the Gentlemen of the Long Robe had told
us yesterday what they have said of the commitment, if
it be an error. But I make a question, whether that man
can be released, though error be in the commitment, but
by course of Law. Let us seriously consider the consequence; if the King by his Royal Command can discharge
a man upon erroneous commitment, whether he cannot
do it if the commitment be not erroneous—I would have
the Long Robe give us their opinion.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] I was afraid yesterday that you
would go too far. Consider whether the person is not
twice punished, and whether he can plead it in bar,
that he has been punished already by you, for his offence,
&c. I doubt it cannot be pleaded in bar, for that great
reason of being not twice punished. I fear your commitment is void in that matter. I am heartily sorry this
has fallen out, since your very being depends upon this,
and what to say more I cannot tell you.
Mr Waller.] I was not here when the commitment of
this person was made. You have been told of the commitment of Sir Giles Momposson, 18th of King James. I
came into Parliament the 21st of King James, when this
thing was fresh. In the Long Parliament, complaint was
made of a great many monopolies, and some were turned
out of the House for them: It was a kind of garbling
the House, and a troublesome time. Mr Brunkard
and Sir William Penn (fn. 4) , if I remember, kept their places when you accused them. You gave Penn a day, but
be appeared not; Brunkard you expelled. This is a
doubtful case, and may be of ill consequence. You were
told you were angry when you committed Williamson,
and it may be the commitment was the effect of the anger
of the House. I know nothing to cure that wound. As
I told you that you did it in anger, so take time now to
consider of it, and let the Debate be adjourned, and go to
something else now.
Colonel Birch.] I am not for adjourning the Debate. I
would endeavour, by all means, to have a perfect understanding betwixt the King and this House—Adjourn the
Debate, and the King will send for your Member out of
the Tower—Waller said, "this commitment was the effect of anger;" but nothing will lay us so low as to do
things out of anger; and it is not reason, when we are one
day pleased, and another displeased, at the same thing;
it shows weakness. It may be Law, that the King may
discharge Williamson, but it is against my little reason. In
such a time as this, such a number of Popish Officers to
be sent into Ireland, on Sunday fortnight! Whether this
tree has no root I leave you to judge—If once we come
to say that this crime of your Member is not under the
cognizance of this House, what must the Treasurer of
War, or Muster-master do here? I fear the King is not
rightly possessed of our reasons for our doings—I would
have a Committee to draw up reasons for what we have
done, that it was for the King and Kingdom's safety, and
then I would proceed to impeachment, if you will.
Sir Anthony Irby.] There is a precedent of some Deputy Lieutenants in Cornwall, who were sent to the Tower
by this House, for raising money illegally.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Unless you impeach this Gentleman, he may have his Habeas Corpus. But if an impeachment be depending, he cannot have his Habeas Corpus.
I see no reason from the nature of the offence, but that
he may have his bail, and the King's business he is employed in not hindered: For offences done without doors,
unless the crime be against the House, and in order to
impeachment, he whom we commit, may have his Habeas Corpus. As for expelling a man for breaking a Law,
I am not very fond of that. We all offend the Law, in
some measure or other, and we may be all expelled at that
rate. Therefore I like the Address to request his Majesty,
with reasons for our commitment of Williamson, not to release him: If you stay too long, there may be inconvenience. But which way Williamson can be discharged, I am
at a loss, for it will be a greater force of the Law to discharge him, than commit him, and the last error will be
worse than the first. But whether will you tarry so long for
the making a formal Address? In the mean time, I would
declare such an Address by Vote, and for the present, I
would acquaint the King in general, "that Williamson is
committed by the House in order to an impeachment,"
and then make a Vote for an impeachment accordingly
—This is a kind of double Address, and is not usual; but
if you delay the matter some days, without doing any
thing, there may be great inconvenience in it.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] This is your reason for committing Secretary Williamson to day, but I heard nothing
yesterday of commitment of him "in order to impeachment." In Sir William Penn's case, you ordered an impeachment, because he had his hand in blood, and for
risling the East India ships before adjudication of prize, and
then you resolved not to give him any punishment, for
you were but accusers, and could not punish him—Adjourn the consideration of it to another day. I would not
have you clash with the Prerogative.
The Speaker.] I never knew that you voted a man
into custody one day, and impeached him afterwards.
This proceeding I have not known, but the contrary I
Mr Sacheverell.] It becomes every man here not to
give the King offence. But we are drawing in question,
whether we have done right, or not, and the King barely
lays it before you as matter of unkindness only. Are we
not more highly concerned to lay it before the King, that
we have reason for what we have done, and to let the
King know, that those who have advised him the contrary are more unkind to him than we? You have committed
Williamson, and now the King tells you, "He takes him
not to be guilty of the crime, and he will release him."
We have done nothing but for the King's interest, honour,
and safety, and those who advise the contrary have not
done so. If those persons are continued about the King that
first advised him to this, neither he nor we can be safe.
Mr Papillon.] I will not speak to point of Law, in this
matter. I am convinced that it is your best way to represent to the King your reasons for what you did. What
can endanger the King's life, but the Papists? It has been
said, "to secure the King's life, it is the best way to put it in
no man's power to change the Government, should he die."
It is a Popish Army and Officers that put the King's life
in danger, though the Magistrates be Protestants—I would
neither dispute the King's power, nor question our own,
in this matter. For I take not the King's Speech to be so
bitter as some do—I would address the King not to release
Williamson, and show our reasons why we committed him.
Mr Vaughan.] The united strength of the Government
is little enough to defend itself, if these practices are suffered. The King says not "that we have committed
Williamson illegally," but "that he will release him."
Consider this Gentleman's crime; signing Commissions to
Papists. Consider the circumstance of time; and it makes
it more dangerous—And the Papists believe that the Pope
may depose a heretic King—They almost all do so. These
things considered, is it fit to pass Commissions now to such
persons? I think it highly criminal; for by dispensing
with the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, he robs the
Crown of a great part of its jurisdiction. Castles may be
put into the Pope's hands, now Commissions are given to
such people. I think this highly criminal—You ought
to set this force upon your Address, and no doubt the
King will not release him.
Sir William Coventry.] I should not have sat so long silent,
if I could think of any thing, or hear from others, to bring
me to a clear sense in this matter. I am glad to see that
the general sense of the House is for union with the King,
and that the King is willing to decline all contest of jurisdiction with us. I think you are well advised in the great
matter of the Address, &c. If you proceed in it, I would
have it done with all imaginable temper, and to go no farther than this; to shew him the motives and reasons that
induced you to commit Williamson, &c. and to say nothing of your jurisdiction—Your reasons will warrant what
you have done, viz. "That, in such a time as this, so
dangerous to the King, by reason of the Popish Plot, such
Commissions may no longer be in those hands, but may
be taken away from them."
Lord Cavendish.] I do not like any compounding motion. If you address the King to remove these Commissions, we, in effect, authorize the rest; nor do we express
any care to disband the rest. The Duke of York's being
a Papist is a great encouragement to the rest. It is but of
late that we have heard of assassinations, &c. We may
fear them, especially when the Papists are encouraged by
a Popish Successor and a standing Army. Those who
designed raising the Army are guilty, &c. And those that
commission Popish Officers are more to blame. Williamson is guilty of both, and I would impeach him.
Mr Sollicitor Winnington.] This is an offence which nobody can deny to be a great one; and Williamson did
confess it, and that, without his signing the Commissions,
they were ineffectual. We are not now disputing, whether
this be an offence or no—But the King is pleased, by his
kind expressions in his Speech, to put no harsh expressions
upon what we have done. If we run now into disputes
of jurisdiction with the King, &c. we may sink under it
—I move therefore that we may make an Address to the
King, and represent to him the reasons why we committed our Member, and then give him thanks for the gracious expressions in his Speech; and shew him our care of
his Person and Government.
Colonel Titus.] When persons are accused to have done
against Law and the interest of the nation, shall we say,
"Let us condemn the thing, but say nothing to the persons that have done it?" When things so abominable and
deteseable are done, for the thing itself you must call
persons in question, to prevent such designing for the future. Therefore I cannot agree with Coventry's Motion—
Let a Committee draw reasons for what we have done,
with an Address to the King not to release Williamson, and
all exceptions will be taken away.
Sir William Coventry.] I rise to give Titus satisfaction.
I said no single syllable of "apology for Williamson." I
only offered that the Address might be with all softness to
Colonel Titus.] I reflect not upon Coventry. There
would be no remedy of the thing with effect, unless persons
were called in question.
Serjeant Maynard.] You having passed the Debate of
the great danger of any appearance of difference betwixt
the House and the King. As the King does not take it
kindly that you have committed Williamson, &c. I would
say the same thing to the King, and represent to him,
"that all that is dear to us is at stake when this occasion
happens, and that here were Commissions granted to such
Papists." And in the Address show the King the reasons for what you have done, and leave the whole matter
to him, without aggravating.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Whilst we smooth the way to the
King, let us not smooth ourselves out of our religion.
The present circumstances considered, I agree to follow
the King's method. As the King gives you reasons for
granting the Commissions, so I would give the King reasons why we have committed Williamson, with all smoothness; else whenever the greatest offence is committed, it
will go unpunished, and when no Parliament is sitting,
there will be no punishment.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] When there was a design to
murder the King, and an army was raised in England and
Ireland, now to be said that the King was advised to release Williamson for giving twenty-one Commissions to
Popish Officers to raise men in Ireland, &c. for God's sake
Mr Sacheverell.] If you do not lay before the King
these pernicious counsels, and desire him to prevent them
for the future, and not make this man an example, you
give up the government—And I move that the King may
be addressed not to release him.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] In the case of the criminals in
the Plot, my Lord Chief Justice did commit, you did
not. The question is, whether you may not commit for
any matter of Law, as well as this—That breach then
will be fatal.
Col. Birch.] I know nothing that can reflect higher upon the King than the discharging of Williamson, especially
when he is committed for giving Commissions to Popish
Officers in this time of danger. It may be to destroy both
King and Kingdom. Nothing can so ferment in the
minds of the people as this. As the King takes no notice
of our Privilege or Power, so in the Address I would take
no notice of his, but let the Address be "that the King
would be pleased not to release Williamson, nor hearken to
the advice of them that counsel him to it, which tends so
much both to his and our ruin."
The Address was voted.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If you add the rest of the forces, in
the Address, you make that precarious which is Law already, but that the Attorney General may prosecute these
Mr Sacheverell.] I take these persons commissioned to
be persons established against the Law of disbanding the
Army; and the Attorney General may proceed against
them. But I would rather order a Bill to make it penal
to take any Commissions with Dispensations, &c. for the
Sir William Coventry.] It is not these men receiving
their pay that makes them criminal, but receiving these
Commissions, by virtue of which they raise these men. If
Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's ghost should appear, and say,
"he was murdered against Law," that would not make
him alive again. When we are turned out of doors by
these men, it will be in vain to dispute, that we are turned
out against Law. The Attorney General may proceed
against Williamson, but there may be nicety in the point
of resisting the King's Commission, &c. Yesterday we
were about providing one third part of the Militia to be
ready, for the safety of the nation, and now would you
have such Commissions as these in Papists hands to fight
against your Militia? It is a wonderful thing to me, that
people should stay to have these Commissions taken out
of their hands by the Attorney General.
Mr Sacheverell.] I think, Coventry did mistake me—I
did ask the question, whether there was not as much
danger of the non-commissioned Officers with pay, as
those commissioned Officers without pay?—I would therefore make it part of the Address, "that the King would be
pleased to recall all Commissions to Papists, and suspected
Papists, in the Kingdoms of England and Ireland, and
other of his Dominions."
The Address was as follows:
"May it please your Majesty, We your Majesty's most loyal
and dutiful Subjects, your Commons assembled in Parliament,
having taken into our serious consideration what your Majesty was
pleased to deliver to us this day in the Banquetting-house, and being most desirous, not only to express our loyalty and affections to
your Majesty's service, but also to preserve your Majesty's good
opinion of the manner of our Proceedings, do humbly represent to
your Majesty, the reason of our Proceedings in the commitment
of Sir Joseph Williamson, a Member of our House; viz. that divers
Commissions were granted to Popish Officers, and countersigned
by the said Sir Joseph Williamson, and delivered out in October last,
since the meeting of this House, and the discovery of the present
Popish conspiracy. Divers Warrants have also been produced before us, of Dispensations, contrary to Law, for Popish Officers to
continue in their commands, and to be passed in muster, notwithstanding they have not taken the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and received the [blessed] Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, according to the late Act of Parliament in that behalf: All
which said Warrants were [likewise] countersigned by the said
Sir Joseph Williamson. Which being complained of to us, and
confessed by the said Sir Joseph Williamson, in the House of Commons, We your Majesty's most dutiful subjects, having the immediate consideration before us of the imminent danger of your Majesty's Person, (the safety whereof is above all things most dear)
and likewise the dangers, from Popish Plots, so nearly threatening
the peace and safety of your Majesty's Government and the Protestant Religion, were humbly of opinion, we could not discharge our duties to your Majesty and the whole Kingdom,
without the committing Sir Joseph Williamson; and therefore
most humbly desire that he may not be discharged by your Maesty. And we do farther most humbly desire your Majesty
to recall all Commissions granted to all Papists, or reputed Papists,
within the Kingdoms of England and Ireland, or any other
your Majesty's dominions and territories."
[November 20, omitted.]