Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Lunæ, 3 die Januarii, 1680.
ORDERED, That Sir Robert Clayton be added to to Committee appointed to inspect the Law made for the erecting and settling the Post Office; and to bring in a Bill or Bills for regulating the Post Office.
Elers', &c. Nat.
An ingrossed Bill for the Naturalization of Peter Elers, and others, was read a Third time.
Resolved, That the Bill do pass: And that the Title be, An Act for the Naturalization of Peter Elers, and others, Aliens born.
Ordered, That Mr. Papillon do carry up the said Bill to the Lords for their Concurrence.
An ingrossed Bill for prohibiting the Importation of Castle from Scotland was read a Third time.
Resolved, That the Bill do pass: And that the Title be, An Act limiting the Times of Importation of Cattle from Scotland.
Ordered, That Sir George Downing do carry up the Bill to the Lords for their Concurrence.
A Bill for repealing an Act made in the Thirteenth Year of his now Majesty's Reign, intituled, An Act for the Well-governing and Regulating of Corporations, was read the First time.
Resolved, That this Bill be read a Second time on Thursday Morning next.
A Bill for the better Discovery of the Settlements of Estates for superstitious Uses, was read the First time.
Resolved, That the Bill be read a Second time on Friday Morning next, after Ten of the Clock, in a full House.
Mr. Treby reports from the Committee of Elections and Privileges, to whom the Matter touching the Election for the Borough of Steyning in the County of Sussex, was referred, That the Committee, having taken the same into their Consideration, had agreed upon Two Resolves: Which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered them in at the Clerk's Table: Where the same being read, are as follows; viz.
Resolved, That John Tufton Esquire is not duly elected a Burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough of Steyning in the County of Sussex.
Resolved, That Philip Gell Esquire is duly elected a Burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the said Borough of Steyning.
The First of the said Resolves being read a Second time to the House;
Resolved, That this House doth agree with the Committee, That John Tufton Esq. was not duly elected a Burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough of Steyning in the County of Sussex.
The Second of the said Resolves being read a Second time;
Resolved, That this House doth agree with the Committee, that Philip Gell Esquire is duly elected a Burgess to serve in this present Parliament for the said Borough of Steyning.
Ordered, That the Clerk of the Crown do attend To-morrow Morning, and amend the Return for Steyning.
Paving Streets, &c.
Ordered, That Mr. George Walsh be added to the Committee appointed to inspect the Laws concerning Paving and Repairing of the Streets, and Regulating of Hackney Coaches; and to bring in a Bill or Bills for regulating the same.
Privilege- Petition from a person in custody.
A Petition of John Fairchild, in Custody of the Serjeant at Arms attending this House, was read.
Ordered, That the said John Fairchild be brought to the Bar of this House To-morrow Morning.
A Message from the Lords, by Sir John Coell and Sir Timothy Baldwin;
Mr. Speaker, The Lords have sent this House a Bill, intituled, An Act for distinguishing Protestant Dissenters from Popish Recusants: To which they desire the Concurrence of this House.
Bribery at Elections.
Sir Edward Harley reports from the Committee to whom the Bill for regulating the Election of Members to serve in the Commons House of Parliament, and the Bill for preventing the Offences of Bribery and Debauchery in such Elections, were committed; That the Committee, having taken the said Bills into their Consideration had reduced the same into One Bill; and had agreed upon several Amendments to be made, and Clauses to be added, to the same: Which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered the same in at the Clerk's Table: Where the same were once read.
All the Amendments before the Third Line of the Seventh Folio, being read a Second time, were, with some Amendments made at the Table, upon the Question, severally agreed to by the House.
The Clause there to be inserted being read a Second time;
And a Motion being made, That the said Clause be re-committed;
And a Debate arising in the House thereupon:
Ordered, That the said Clause be re-committed to the said Committee, upon the Debate of the House: And they are to meet at Three of the Clock this Afternoon, in the Speaker's Chamber: And all the Members of this House that are of the Long Robe, are to attend at the said Committee.
Tryals of Peers.
A Message from the Lords, by Sir John Coell and Sir Timothy Baldwin;
Mr. Speaker, The Lords have sent us to put this House in mind of the Bill for better Regulating of the Tryals of the Peers of England.
Impeachment of Mr. Seymour.
A Message from the Lords, by Sir Miles Cooke and Sir Adam otley;
Mr. Speaker, We are commanded to acquaint this House, That the Lords had received a Petition from Mr. Seymour, wherein he desires a Day may be appointed for his speedy Tryal: That theirLordships, finding no Issue by Replication of the Commons, think fit to give this House Notice thereof.
The Answer of Edward Seymour Esquire, to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited against him by the Commons, assembled in Parliament, was read.
Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to prepare Evidence against Mr. Seymour, and manage the same at his Tryal.
And it is referred to Sir William Jones, Mr. Mountague, Mr. Vernon, Mr. Fleetwood, Colonel Titus, Serjeant Maynard, Sir Fra. Winnington, Sir Gilbert Gerald, Lord Russell, Mr. Harbord, Sir William Poultney; or any Five of them: And they are to meet at Three of the Clock this Afternoon, in the Speaker's Chamber: And are to sit de die in diem: And are impowered to send for Persons, Papers, and Records.
Sir W. Scroggs' Impeachment.
Sir Richard Corbett reports from the Committee appointed to prepare an Impeachment against Sir William Scroggs Knight, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, upon the former Report of the said Committee, and the Resolutions of the House thereupon, That the Committee, having taken the Matters to them referred into Consideration, had agreed upon several Articles of Impeachment against the said Sir William Scroggs: Which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered them in at the Clerk's Table: Where the same being read, are as follows;
Articles of Impeachment of Sir William Scroggs Knight, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, by the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, in their own Name, and in the Name of all the Commons of England, of High Treason, and other great Crimes and Misdemeanors.
IMPRIMIS, That he the said Sir William Scroggs, then being Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, hath traiterously and wickedly endeavoured to subvert the fundamental Laws, and the established Religion and Government of this Kingdom of England; and, instead thereof, to introduce Popery, and Arbitrary and Tyrannical Government against Law; which he has declared by divers traiterous and wicked Words, Opinions, Judgments, Practices, and Actions.
2ly, That he the said Sir William Scroggs, in Trinity Term last, being then Chief Justice of the said Court; and having taken an Oath duly to administer Justice according to the Laws and Statutes of this Realm; in pursuance of his said traiterous Purposes, did, together with the rest of the Justice of the same Court, several Days before the End of the said Term, in an arbitrary Manner, discharge the Grand Jury, which then served for the Hundred of Oswaldston in the County of Middlesex, before they had made their Presentments, or had found several Bills of Indictment, which were then before them: Whereof the said Sir William Scroggs was then fully informed; and that the same would be tendered to the Court upon the last Day of the said Term; which Day then was, and by the known Course of the said Court, hath always heretofore been given unto the said Jury for the Delivering in of their Bills and Presentments: By which sudden and illegal Discharge of the said Jury, the Course of Justice was stopped maliciously and designedly; the Presentments of many Papists and other Offenders were obstructed; and, in particular, a Bill of Indictment against James Duke of Yorke, for absenting himself from Church, which was then before them, was prevented from being proceeded upon.
3dly, That, whereas one Henry Carr had, for some time before, published every Week a certain Book, intituled, "The weekly Pacquet of Advice from Rome, or, The History of Popery;" wherein the Superstitions and Cheats of the Church of Rome, were from time to time exposed; he the said Sir William Scroggs, then Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, together with the other Judges of the said Court, before any legal Conviction of the said Carr of any Crime, did, in the same Trinity Term, in a most illegal and arbitrary manner, make, and cause to be entered, a certain Rule of that Court against the Printing of the said Book, in hæc verba;
Sir W. Scroggs' Impeachment.
"Dies Mercurii, proxime post Tres Septimanas Sanctæ Trinitatis, Anno 32 IIdt Regis."
"Ordinatum est, quod Liber, intitulat', The Weekly Pacquet of Advice from Rome, or the History of Popery, non ulterius imprimatur vel publicetur per aliquam Personam quamcunque;"
And did cause the said Carr, and divers Printers, and other Persons, to be served with the same: Which said Rule, and other Proceedings, were most apparently contrary to all Justice, in condemning not only what had been written, without hearing the Parties, but also all that might for the future be written on that Subject; a manifest Countenancing of Popery, and Discouragement of Protestants; an open Invasion upon the Right of the Subject, and encroaching and assuming to themselves a Legislative Power and Authority.
4thly, That he the said Sir William Scroggs, since he was made Chief Justice of the King's Bench, hath, together with the other Judges of the said Court, most notoriously departed from all Rules of Justice and Equality, in the Imposition of Fines upon Persons convicted of Misdemeanors in the said Court; and particularly, in the Term of Easter last past, did openly declare in the said Court, in the case of one Jessop, who was convicted of publishing false News, and was then to be fined, That he would have Regard to Persons, and their Principles, in the imposing of Fines; and would set a Fine of Five hundred Pounds on One Person for the same Offence, for the which he would not fine another One hundred Pounds: And, according to his said unjust and arbitrary Declaration, he the said Sir William Scroggs, together with the said other Justices, did then impose a Fine of One hundred Pounds upon the said Jessop, although the said Jessop had before that Time procured one Hewett to be convicted as Author of the said false News; and afterwards, in the same Term, did fine the said Hewett, upon his said Conviction, only Five Marks: Nor hath the said Sir William Scroggs, together with the other Judges of the said Court, had any Regard to the Nature of the Offences, or the Ability of the Persons, in the imposing of Fines, but have been manifestly partial and favourable to Papists, and Persons affected to and promoting the Popish Interest, in this time of imminent Danger from them; and, at the same time, have most severely and grievously oppressed his Majesty's Protestant Subjects; as will appear upon view of the several Records of Fines set in the said Court: By which arbitrary, unjust, and partial Proceedings, many of his Majesty's Liege People have been ruined, and Popery countenanced, under Colour of Justice; and all the Mischiefs and Excesses of the Court of Star Chamber, by Act of Parliament suppressed, have been again, in direct Opposition to the said Law, introduced.
5thly, That he, the said Sir William Scroggs, for the further Accomplishing of his said traiterous and wicked Purposes, and designing to subject the Persons, as well as the Estates, of his Majesty's Liege People, to his lawless Will and Pleasure, hath frequently refused to accept of Bail, though the same were sufficient, and legally tendered unto him by many Persons, accused before him only of such Crimes, for which, by Law, Bail ought to have been taken; and divers of the said Persons being only accused of Offences against himself; declaring, at the same time, That he refused Bail, and committed them to Gaol, only to put them to Charges; and using such furious Threats, as were to the Terror of his Majesty's Subjects; and such scandalous Expressions, as were a Dishonour to the Government, and to the Dignity of his Office: And particularly, That he, the said Sir William Scroggs did, in the Year One Thousand Six hundred Seventy-and-nine, commit and detain in Prison, in such unlawful Manner, among others, Henry Carr, George Broome, Edward Berry, Benjamin Harris, Francis Smith senior, Francis Smith Junior, and Jane Curtis, Citizens of London: Which Proceedings of the said Sir William Scroggs are a high Breach of the Liberty of the Subject, destructive to the fundamental Laws of this Realm, contrary to the Petition of Right, and other Statutes; and do manifestly tend to the Introducing of arbitrary Power.
6thly, That he the said Sir William Scroggs, in farther Oppression of his Majesty's Liege People, hath, since his being made Chief Justice of the said Court of King's Bench, in an arbitrary manner, granted divers general Warrants for attaching the Persons, and seizing the Goods of his Majesty's Subjects, not named or described particularly in the said Warrants; by means whereof, many of his Majesty's Subjects have been vexed, their Houses entered into, and they themselves grievously oppressed, contrary to Law.
7thly, Whereas there hath been a horrid and damnable Plot, contrived and carried on by the Papists, for the Murdering of the King, the Subversion of the Laws and Government of the Kingdom, and for the Destruction of the Protestant Religion in the same; all which the said Sir William Scroggs well knew, having himself not only tried, but given Judgment, against several of the Offenders; neverthless he, the said Sir William Scroggs did, at divers Times and Places, as well sitting in Court, as otherwise, openly defame and scandalize several of . . . Witnesses, who had proved the said Treasons against divers of the said Conspirators, and had given Evidence against divers other Persons, who were then untried; and did endeavour to disparage their Evidence, and take off their Credit; whereby, as much as in him lay, he did traiterously and wickedly suppress and stifle the Discovery of the said Popish Plot, and encourage the Conspirators to proceed in the same, to the great and apparent Danger of his Majesty's most sacred Life, and of the well-established Government and Religion of this Realm of England.
8thly, Whereas the said Sir William Scroggs, being advanced to be Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, ought by a sober, grave, and virtuous Conversation, to have given a good Example to the King's Liege People, and to demean himself answerable to the Dignity of so eminent a Station; yet the said Sir William Scroggs, on the contrary, by his frequent and notorious Excesses and Debaucheries, and his profane and atheistical Discourses, doth daily affront Almighty God, dishonour his Majesty, give Countenance and Encouragement to all Manner of Vice and Wickedness, and bring the highest Scandal on the publick Justice of the Kingdom.
All which Words, Opinions, and Actions of the said Sir William Scroggs, were by him spoken and done traiterously, wickedly, falsly, and maliciously, to alienate the Hearts of the King's Subjects from his Majesty, and to set a Division between him and them, and to subvert the fundamental Laws, and the established Religion and Government of this Kingdom, and to introduce Popery and an Arbitrary and Tyrannical Government; and contrary to his own Knowledge, and the known Laws of the Realm of England: And thereby he, the said Sir William Scroggs, hath not only broken his own Oath, but also, as far as in him lay, hath broken the King's Oath to his People, whereof he the said Sir William Scroggs, representing his Majesty in so high an Office of Justice, had the Custody: For which the said Commons do impeach him the said Sir William Scroggs of the High Treason against our Sovereign Lord the King, and his Crown and Dignity, and other the high Crimes and Misdemeanors aforesaid.
And the said Commons, by Protestation, saving to themselves the Liberty of exhibiting, at any time hereafter, any other Accusation or Impeachment against the said Sir William Scroggs; and also of replying to the Answer that he shall make thereunto; and of offering Proofs of the Premises, or of any other Impeachments or Accusations that shall be by them exhibited against him, as the Case shall, according to the Course of Parliament, require; do pray, That the said Sir William Scroggs, Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, may be put to answer all and every the Premises, and may be committed to safe Custody: And that such Proceedings, Examinations, Tryals, and Judgments, may be upon him had and used, as is agreeable to Law and Justice, and the Course of Parliaments.
The Question being proposed, That the said Articles be ingrossed;
And a Debate arising in the House thereupon;
Resolved, That the Debate be adjourned to Wednesday Morning next, after Ten of the Clock, in a full House.
Ordered, That all Committees that are discontinued, be revived; and do sit this Afternoon in the Places formerly appointed.
And then the House adjourned to Eight of the Clock, To-morrow Morning.