House of Commons Journal Volume 9: 26 April 1679

Pages 603-605

Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

Page 603
Page 604
Page 605

In this section

Sabbati, 26 die Aprilis, 1679.


French Commodities.

A PETITION of several Merchants and Retailers of French Commodities, praying a longer Time to vend Commodities of the Growth and Manufacture of France, than is allowed by the Act for prohibiting the Importation of them, was tendered to be read.

The Question being put, That the Petition be read;

It passed in the Negative.

Resolved, &c. That this House will, on Friday next, take into Consideration, How to make the Law for prohibiting the Importation of French Commodities more effectual.

Privilege- Person discharged from custody.

The House being informed, That Mr. Adam Powle Sheriff of the City of Worcester, and Mr. John Summers, an Attorney, now in Custody of the Serjeant at Arms attending this House, for a Breach of Privilege, by them committed against Sir Scroope Howe, a Member of this House, in arresting, or causing to be arrested, one * *, his menial Servant, are very sorry for the same; and are very sensible, that they have thereby justly incurred the Displeasure of the House; and therefore humbly beg Pardon, and that they may be discharged from their Confinement;

Ordered, That the said Adam Powle, and John Summers, be discharged from the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, paying their Fees.

Fires in City of London.

Mr. Serjeant Rigby reports from the Committee appointed to inquire into the late Fires that have happened in and about the City of London, That the Committee had met several times; and had taken the Examinations of several Persons touching the late Fire in Fetter Lane: And that the Committee had agreed upon a Report to be made thereof to the House: Which he read in his Place; and afterwards, delivered the same in at the Clerk's Table: Where the same was again read; and is as followeth; viz.

In the first Place-

Mr. Robert Bird, whose House it was that was set on Fire, informeth, That his Wife retained one Elizabeth Oxley to be her Servant, taking her to be a Protestant, upon Monday the twenty-fourth of February last: But she came not to Service until about the Sixth of March.

That, upon Wednesday next, the Ninth of this Instant April, about Two or Three a Clock in the Morning, his said Servant came to his Bed-side, and awaked him; telling him, There was a Fire in Holborne: Whereupon he asked her, How she knew it: Who answered, By the Noise in the Street. Whereupon he arose, and looked into the Street; but there was little Noise or Light: So he stayed at his Street Door, till he was informed by Two Men that passed by, That there had been a Fire, but it was out again. Whereupon he returned to Bed, well pleased he had so watchful a Maid, and fearful of Fire: But none of his Family heard any thing thereof, until informed by the said Oxley, as he believeth.

That, on Thursday Night, the Tenth of this Instant April, he was told the said Oxley went up to Bed about Ten a Clock; but he and his Wife went not to Bed till Eleven or past: That, before he went to Bed, he diligently looked to the Doors, Windows, and Rooms, that all was safe from Fire and Thieves, as his Custom was; and was the last up in the Family, as he thought: That, being asleep in Bed, he was, about Twelve a Clock that Night, waked with a great Beating at his Street Door by the Watch: And the said Oxley, coming immediately to him, told him, There was a Fire: To which he said, He was sure it was not in his House; but gave her the Key of the Street Door; who ran down, and let in the Watch and Company: And he, coming down, found a large Press in his Closet, for keeping Books, Papers, and Writings, on a light Fire; but by the Mercy of God, and the great Help he had, the Fire was got out, and his House saved: That his Wife, with some Neighbours, immediately after going into the said Oxley's Lodging Room, to see if all was safe there, found she had packed up her Cloaths and Things ready to carry away; and her Trunks were locked up; but nothing left in them of Value: Whereupon he demanded of the said Oxley, why she had packed up her Cloaths. She answered, That she and his other Maid Martha, had packed up their Things to save them. Then he asked the said Martha, Why she had packed up at that Time, when the Lives of the Children and Family were in such Danger: Who positively denied, that she offered to pack up any thing: Whereupon, and for that he was sure, when he went to Bed, there was not a Spark of Fire in his Closet, where the Fire broke forth; and considering that the said Oxley came speedily into his Chamber, upon the first knocking at the Door, though she lay Two Pair of Stairs above his Chamber; and being informed, That she had not put out her Candle into the Candlestick, or burnt it; but pulled it out, and hid the Candlestick; and from the manner of her Carriage used, when she perceived she was suspected, he positively charged the said Oxley with Firing his House; and caused her to be kept safe all Night: And the next Day, being charged by Neighbours with Firing his House; she, at last, confessed the Firing of his House, by setting the Press in his Closet, and his Papers, on Fire, about Twelve a Clock, when he and his Family were asleep. And he saith, That the said Oxley might have gone out at a Back Door of his House, and carried away any of his Goods or Plate, if she had pleased, at any time of the said Night, without firing his House; the Key of the Back Door lying in the Kitchen, and being laid there by herself. And he sayeth, That nothing of Value was found in the said Oxley's Pack, made up by her as aforesaid, but her own Things.

Elizabeth Oxley, upon her Examination, declareth, That about Michaelmas last, she became acquainted with one Nicolas Stubbs, who had several times used much Persuasions and Arguments to her to turn Papist; and, after her shewing a Liking to it, and that he supposed she had embraced that Persuasion, in his Discourses to her at several times, he told her, That, before the Twenty-eighth of June next, she should see all the Protestants destroyed that were in England: That the Pope should be King over England; and that all that would turn to the Pope's Religion, should live far better than now they did: That all the Land were Hereticks; and that it were a meritorious Act to destroy them: That all such as were Papists should have Marks upon their Hats, to distinguish them from Protestants, that they might not be destroyed with them: Adding, that the Nation would believe, That all things were over before the Twenty-eighth Day of June; but they would be deceived, for all should be destroyed before or about that Time.

That the Duke of Yorke was the bravest Prince living: That he was gone out of the Kingdom, lest the Hereticks should cut off his Head; and that he should not return, till they were destroyed: That the Lords in the Tower would not one of them suffer; for they would come off well enough, being to be tried by the Lords: That the Scaffolds were set up but for Fashion sake: That, she telling the said Stubbs, she was hired to live with one Mr. Bird about the middle of Fetter Lane, he used Persuasions to her at several times, to set Fire on her Master's House; telling her if she would do it, he would give her Five Pounds: And gave her Half-a-Crown; and said, He would have other Houses in Holborne fired at the same time by others: That she, being with the said Stubbs, on Sunday before the Fire, promised him to fire her Master's House on the Thursday or Friday Night following: And accordingly, on Thursday Night, she took a Candle, and put Fire to the Papers in her Master's Study, which were in a kind of a Press: And they being on a light Fire, she shut the Door; and went up Stairs into her own Chamber, on the Top of the House; and there packed up her own Things; undressing herself, lest her Master should suspect her; and there staid, till a great Knocking was at the Door; and the Watchmen crying out Fire: Whereupon she ran down Stairs, and cried out Fire; and her Master gave her the Key to open the Door: Which done, all Hands were employed to quench the Fire. And she saith, She did not set Fire on her Master's House out of any Malice to him, nor with Intent to rob him; but merely to carry on the Design that Stubbs had proposed to her, and out of Hopes of his Reward.

Nicolas Stubbs, upon his Examination, sets forth, and owns to have used such Discourses to the said Elizabeth Oxley, as she declares in her Examination: And saith, that he did persuade her to Fire her Master's House, and was to give her Five Guineas for doing it, besides Halfa-crown in hand. And saith, That one Father Gifford, a Priest, and his Confessor, did put him on this Business; and told him it was no Sin to fire all the Houses of the Hereticks and Hugonots: That he acquainted one Flower alias Darby Mulragne, an Irishman, a Barber in German-street, with it; and one Roger . . . ., another Irishman, who lodged at the Cock and Harp in the same Street: That the said Father Gifford promised him One hundred Pounds for the same; and told him, That he was to have the Money from the Church: That he used to meet the said Father Gifford, * Flower, and Roger * in St. James's Fields, in the dark in the Evenings; and then to discourse of these Matters: And that the several Informations he had given the said Eliz. Oxley, he had from the said Father Gifford. And saith, * Flower and Roger * told the said Stubbs, they would carry on the Fire; and that they had Fire-balls to that Purpose; and that they would Fire other Houses in Holborne at the same Time. That he was at the Fire in the Temple; but was not engaged to do any thing there: But believes * Flower was; whom he did see there. And saith, That Gifford told him, That there were English, French, and Irish Roman Catholicks enough in London, to make a very good Army; and that the King of France was coming with Sixty thousand Men, with a Pretence to shew the Dauphin his Dominions; but it was to lay his Men at Deipe, Bulloigne, Calais and Dunkirke, to be in a Readiness at an Hour's Warning to be landed in England; and he doubted not but it would be by the middle of June; and that, by that time, all the Catholicks here will be in a Readiness; and were to rise, in order to bring him in: That the Papists here were to be distinguished by Marks in their Hats: That the said Father Gifford doubted not but he should be an Abbot or Bishop, when the Work was over, for the good Service he had done: That, at their Meetings, Father Gifford used to tell them, It was no more Sin to kill a Heretick, than to kill a Dog, and that they did God good Service in doing them what Mischief they could, by firing their Houses, or otherwise: That it was well Sir Edmundbury Godfrey was murdered; for he was their devilish Enemy: That Coleman was a Saint in Heaven for what he had done. And saith, That he is fearful he shall be murdered for his Confession; Father Gifford having sworn him to Secrecy, told him, He should be damned if he made any Discovery; and should be sure to be killed: And that he should take the Oaths, because he was an Housekeeper; and it was no Sin. And saith, That Gifford, * Flower, and Roger *, told him, when their Forces met about the middle of June, "Then have at the King."

Representation and Address respecting Fires in London.

Resolved, That an humble Representation be made to his Majesty, of the Report made this Day touching the late Fire in Fetter Lane, by such Members of this House as are of his Majesty's Privy Council; humbly desiring his Majesty, That his Majesty will be graciously pleased to grant his Pardon of Grace and Favour to Nicolas Stubbs and Elizabeth Oxley, for the Discovery made by them, in relation to the Fire in Fetter Lane, and elsewhere.

Resolved, &c. That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, by such Members of this House as are of his Majesty's Privy Council; desiring his Majesty to issue out his Royal Proclamation, requiring * Gifford, * Flower alias Darby and Roger *, to render themselves to Justice by a short Day: And that his Majesty will be further graciously pleased to give Encouragement to all Persons that are not already in Custody, that shall come in and make Discovery of, and be Instrumental to apprehend any of the Persons that have been the Occasion of the late Fires in and about the City of London.

Impeachment of Lord Stafford, &c.

A Message from the Lords, by Sir Miles Cooke and Sir William Beversham;

Mr. Speaker, We are to acquaint you from the Lords, That William Viscount Stafford, Henry Lord Arrundell of Wardour, and William Earl of Powys, have this Day appeared at the Bar of the House of Lords; and have retracted their former Pleas: And have put in their Answers to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited against them by the Commons of England: Which the Lords have sent down to this House; desiring they may be returned with all convenient Speed.

Dangers from Papists.

Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That this House will sit To-morrow, to consider of the best Ways and Means to secure and preserve the King's Person, and also the Protestant Religion, against the Attempts of the Papists, both in the Reign of his Majesty, and his Successors.

Address for executing Pickering, &c.

Resolved, &c. That an humble Address be made to his Majesty, to desire his Majesty to give Order for the Executing of Pickering; and also to give Order to the Judges to issue out their Warrants for executing the several Popish Priests which they had condemned in their several Circuits.

And it is referred to Mr. Trenchard, Sir Thomas Meres, Mr. Boscawen, Sir Thomas Clarges, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Swinfen, Mr. Powle, Sir Thomas Lee, Colonel Birch, Sir Thomas Player, Mr. Sachaverell, Mr. Colt, Mr. Hamden, or any three of them; to prepare and draw up the same.

Address for removing Papists.

Resolved, &c. That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, by such Members of this House as are of his Majesty's Privy Council; beseeching his Majesty to issue forth his Royal Proclamation, requiring all Papists, or reputed Papists, or such as have been so within Six Months last past, forthwith to depart from the Cities of London and Westminster, and Ten Miles of the same; and not to return again in Six Months: And that his Majesty will be further pleased, to revoke all Licences granted by his Majesty, or his Privy Council, to the contrary.

Supply Bill; disbanding the Army.

Resolved, &c. That this House will, at Four of the Clock this Afternoon, resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, further to proceed in the Consideration of the Bill for paying off and dismissing the Army.

And then the House adjourned till Three of the Clock this Afternoon.

Post meridiem ejusdem diei.

Impeachment of Lord Stafford, &c.

THE several Answers of William Viscount Stafford, William Earl of Powys, and Henry Lord Arrundell of Wardour, to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited against them by this House, being read;

Resolved, &c. That the said Answers, together with the Answer of the Lord Bellasis, be referred to the Consideration of the Committee of Secrecy, that prepared the Articles of Impeachment against the said Lords; to examine the Nature of the said Answers; and make Report of the same to the House.

Supply Bill; disbanding the Army.

The House then resolved into a Committee of the whole House, further to proceed in the Consideration of the Bill for paying off and dismissing the Army.

Mr. Speaker left the Chair.

Sir John Trevor took the Chair of the Committee.

Mr. Speaker resumed the Chair.

Sir John Trevor reports from the said Committee, That the Committee had gone through the Bill for paying off and dismissing the Army, and have made several Amendments, and added several Clauses to the Bill: And humbly moved, That the House would appoint him to make Report thereof to the House.

Ordered, That Sir John Trevor do make this Report the first Opportunity.

And then the House adjourned till To-morrow Morning, Eight of the Clock.