Debates in 1692: January 4th-13th

Pages 224-241

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 10. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

Monday, January 4.

William Fuller attended at the Door, and being called in to the Bar, spoke as follows:

There are two persons, who will not only discover what has been done formerly to betray the Government, but what is doing at present. I desired six or seven Members advice and direction to bring them over in safety; but not having provision, I desired, of those Gentlemen mentioned, that I might have Passes for them; and I am assured, those two persons are ready, when care is taken to bring them over speedily and safely. The matter I am sure of, and I doubt not, but all Gentlemen here are as willing as I desire it. I received assurance from them by word of mouth. The Messenger that I sent, is not to come over again—I had a blank Passport for one Gentleman, and that Gentleman got off without the Passport, and I have it by me. Those now in the Plot against the King are very considerable; and few of them but what are nettled, and they watch these Persons, and a single Passport is not security for their Lives. The Protection I would have for these Gentlemen, should not be sent in the Packet-Boat; and if they deserve not their Pardon, they will not desire it—The Passport I have had, is for a Person to go over to England. (He reads the Passport) I did not send to Lord Sidney (fn. 1) for a Pass, because I was assured the Persons would not come over till this Honourable House would protect them. I have exposed my life as much as any man for the King's service, and I have flattered the French King in his Closet. [He withdrew.]

Sir Francis Drake.] Here is a plain mistake. The last Friday we were informed he had such a Pass (fn. 2). I move, that he may have the Protection of the House. One Person [Crone] was hanged upon this man's evidence, and the Ministers of State have let the rest alone. Fuller has done service, and I hope he may have the countenance of this House in an Address to the King for his Protection, and those to come over.

Sir Charles Sedley.] I would send for this fellow again, to know what he would have to bring these men; whether a Yatcht or by Messengers.

Sir John Dorrel.] Fuller says "He had a Passport but for one Person to go over to Flanders;" and 'tis said, "He had a Protection as great as could be granted, and a Passport for these two Persons."

Sir Francis Blake.] These two contradictions seem to me very odd. I would understand it.

Mr Arnold.] On Friday the House was led into a mistake by that Passport. Other Members affirmed, "That he had a Passport;" as you, Mr Speaker; and I would have them explain themselves.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I know not what Protection this House can give. The Protection these Gentlemen stand in need of, is no less than a Pardon. People will laugh at us without doors—We have no Protection but for ourselves. If he will not be satisfied with the King's Protection, he will be satisfied with nothing.

[Resolved, That an humble Application be made to his Majesty, That he will please to grant to Mr Fuller a blank Pass for two Persons, for their safe coming from beyond sea, or any other place, hither, to give their Evidence; and for their safe Protection, while they are here; and their safe return, if desired.

And he was called in again, and acquainted there with (fn. 3).

[January 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, Omitted.]

Monday, January 11.

On a Motion for farther Supply.

Sir Robert Cotton.] I move for a Subscription of the Members, for a Fund to raise Money.

Sir Charles Sedley.] They that have good Estates may spare out of their Pensions for their Offices 500l. per ann. and those that have not, 500l. per ann. is enough for them.

Sir Edward Seymour.] I observed once, "That this was a well-officered Parliament." If the methods of their bounty be brought into Example, the next year will be upon Land in general. I did hope that Gentleman, that brought us into this expence, would help us out. Nothing can be of worse consequence than to multiply Taxes. When the Usurer has the advantage of the Taxes, and not the Public, Gentlemen may live long enough to be mistaken. 'Tis your interest to make this Tax as equal as you can. I shall make you a proposition to raise this Money by a Poll-Bill. I see nothing proposed, but what touches some particulars. If you had proceeded in a Parliamentary method, you should have considered your Abilities before you had engaged the King in a War. There needs no argument better to consider the poverty of the Nation, than so many private Bills, and the lowering of Interest. I propose a Poll-Bill, because of the great inequality of the Tax, when it falls wholly upon the landed man; a general quarterly Bill of twelve pence a quarter, and all Gentlemen twelve shillings a quarter. I do say, twenty to one in England paid not a farthing Tax. This will come in quarterly, and there will be no need of borrowing Money. Since we are come into a War, we must get out of it as well as we can. By this you avoid Interest, and all other Objections.

The House being wearied with Propositions, this took.

[January 12, Omitted.]

Wednesday, January 13.

Mr Charles Montagu reported the two free Conferences with the Lords, concerning the Clause (fn. 4) added by the Lords to the Bill for regulating Tryals, in cases of Treason, as follows.

"That the Members of this House, who were commanded to manage the free Conference with the Lords, on the 5th of this Instant, did attend their Lordships:

"That the Conference was begun by the Managers of this House; who did acquaint the Lords, "That the Commons had desired this free Conference, in order to a good correspondence with their Lordships.

"That the inclination which the Commons have to continue that good correspondence, which as yet has been happily maintained between the two Houses, was sufficiently expressed by their proceedings in the whole progress of the Bill.

"That this Bill was begun by the Commons for the equal advantage of such Lords, or Commoners, who had the misfortune to be accused of Treason, or Misprision of Treason.

"That, when it was first returned from their Lordships, it came down with very many Amendments; and the Commons were so very willing to comply with the desires of their Lordships, and to give the Bill a speedy passage, that they agreed to all those Amendments, except the two last; though some of them were of a very nice nature, and related to things of which the Commons have [ever] been most tender.

"That, at the first Conference, the Commons gave their Lordships the Reasons that induced them to make those two Amendments; which did so far satisfy their Lordships, that they did agree to the first Amendment proposed by this House, though they did insist on this other, for which they delivered their Reasons at a second Conference.

"That the Reasons had been solemnly and deliberately considered by the Commons; but they had not found them sufficient to convince them; and they did still disagree with the Lords in the Clause marked A; and did insist upon that disagreement.

"And your Managers told them, "It was very unfortunate, that no Bill for the relief of the Subject, in these cases, had been tendered for many years last past; but either this Clause, or something of the like nature, had unhappily clogged it, and been the occasion of losing it; and that, as this was never thought reasonable to be admitted formerly, upon any account, so neither can the Commons now consent to so great an alteration of our Constitution as this would introduce.

"That such an alteration is far beyond the intent and design which the Commons had in preparing this Bill. They were desirous that all men should have a fair and equal way of making their defence; they wished that the guiltless should, by all necessary provisons, be protected, and be allowed all just means of making their innocence manifest; but they did not design to subvert the essence and constitution of the Courts; they did not intend to disable the Crown, in one of its most necessary Prerogatives, or to place a Judicature in other hands than those to whom the Laws of England, and the Customs of the Realm, have committed it.

"But the Clause, now in dispute, strikes at no less than this, and, in consequence, at the alteration of the Government of England.

"That the Government of England is monarchical; and the Monarch has the power of constituting Courts, and Officers, for Administration of Justice. Though they are to proceed according to the known Rules and Limitations of Law, the Judges are constituted by his Commission; the Sheriffs are of his nomination and appointment, who are to return the Pannel of Jurors; who are to pass on the Lives of the Commoners: And, in like manner, it is the Prerogative of the Crown to constitute a Lord High Steward, who, by his Serjeant at Arms, does summon a competent number of Peers to be Tryers of their Lordships.

"But this Clause would erect a Judicature independent of the Crown.

"That the experience of past times has not contradicted that Opinion of the Honour and Integrity of the Lords, which the Commons have received.

"That their design, in passing this Bill, was, to prevent those abuses in Tryals for Treason, in inferior Courts, for the future; by means of which, during the violence of late Reigns, they had observed divers had lost their Lives.

"That the things to which the Bill extends, are of such a nature, that, except only in one instance, that is the time of the delivery of the Copy of the Pannel, (for it was agreed, even in Lord Russel's Case, that the subject had a right to the Copy of the Pannel) the Lords have an equal benefit with the Commons.

"That the Commons did not observe, that the Clause sent down by the Lords does relate to the like grounds of complaint. No instance can be given of any Peer who suffered during the late Reigns, from whence a just cause of objection might arise to the present method of trying Peers.

"The only two Persons prosecuted came off, though pursued with great violence; the one, because the Grand Jury could not be prevailed on to find the Bill; the other was acquitted [upon his Tryal] by the Justice of the Peers.

"By all the circumstances of that Tryal of Lord Delamere it is manifest, that if there were any unfairness in that method of Tryal, it then would have appeared. The violence of those times was such, that the Commons were not protected by that innocence which has since been declared in Parliament; yet then Lord Delamere was acquitted, by the Justice and Honour of his Peers; and it may seem strange to future ages, that the Commons should be contented that the method of Tryals should be continued, which was not sufficient to protect their Innocence, and their Lordships alter that which has proved a bulwark to their Lives.

"That the Commons also think the Clause to be of a different nature from the Bill; because the Bill does not make any alteration in the constituting of the Court, or in the nature of the Tryal; but the Commons apprehend, that this is done by the Clause.

"The Court is no longer constituted by the Precept of the Lord High Steward, who receives his Commission from the Crown; but the whole Order of Peers have a right to make up the Court; and all the friends, the relations, and the accomplices of the Person are to be his Tryers.

"That there is another great alteration in the Constitution of the Court, as the Clause is penned. This method, prescribed by the Clause, is for the Tryal of every Peer; and every Peer, who has a right to sit and vote in Parliament, is to be summoned, and may appear and vote.

"Now, it is agreed, by the most learned Authors, that the Lords Spiritual are Peers:

"This is certain; whoever would go about to defend the contrary opinion, would find it difficult to answer the several Records of Parliament, and other Authorities, where this point is asserted:

"The well-known claim in Parliament of Archbishop Stafford, in the reign of Edward III:

"The famous Protestation II Richard II, when the Bishops thought sit to absent themselves from Parliament, because of matters of blood to be argued there; wherein their right of Peerage is directly asserted: And this Protestation, being enrolled at the desire of the King, and with the consent of the Lords and Commons, seems to be of the nature of an Act of Parliament:

"And if the Law-Books may come in for authority in such points, there are Cases where the pleas of Bishops, as Peers, have been judicially allowed.

"So that this Clause does directly let in the Lords Spiritual to try, and be tried, as other Peers, who are noble by descent. Not that the Commons are dissatisfied with this, if this were the only matter. The Lords Spiritual, in all probability, by their learning and integrity, would greatly assist at the Tryal of Peers; and the Commons are well enough disposed to let in those noble Prelates to any Privileges, in point of Tryals, which shall be proposed by the House of Peers. But this is urged to make good the Position laid down before; that, by this Clause, the Constitution of the Court is quite altered; it having been taken for Law, that the Lords Spiritual are not to be tried as other Peers, or to be present, or vote, at the Tryal of any other Peers, at least out of Parliament: For, as to their right in Parliament, how far they are restrained by their Canons agitare Judicium, how far those Canons have been received in England, and what the usage of Parliament has been, is not the present business.

"That, had this Bill come first down from the Lords, and the Commons had added a Clause, That no Commoner should be tried for Treason, but before all the twelve Judges, and by a Jury of twenty-four Persons, and to have taken away all challenges for consanguinity (which, if it be considered, is somewhat of the nature of the Lords Clause, though it does not go so far;) if the Lords had thought fit to have used the same reason for disagreeing to such a Clause as the Commons have done in the present case, "That it was far different from the design of the Bill;" the same Reasons which the Commons received from the Lords, at the last Conference, if they had been delivered by the Commons, would not have been convincing to their Lordships.

"That the Commons observed, that the Lords, in this Clause, or in their Reasons, have not stated any cause of objection to the present method of their Tryals; and therefore the Commons wonder that the Lords (as they express themselves in their Reasons) should conceive "that they were distinguished so as to be more exposed in their Tryals than the meanest subject;" since the Commons do not find but that they enjoy this great and high Privilege (upon which so great a value has been justly put) as fully as ever any of their noble Ancestors did.

"That it is by this Privilege that the body of the Peers has been preserved so long. If any Lord, at any time, should be disposed to expose himself in defence of the common liberties of the people, the Commons are a security to him against being oppressed by false accusations: Twelve of them must agree to find a Bill, before he can be indicted; and that Bill cannot be found, but upon the Oaths of two credible Witnesses.

"That the Commons look upon the method of Tryals, which the Lords would alter, to have been as ancient as the Constitution of the Government.

"That it appears, in the Year-Books, to have been practised in the first year of Henry IV, and to have been well known at that time.

"Indeed, it cannot be supposed to have been an innovation then; the Lords, who had just before deposed Richard II, were too great to suffer such an innovation, and Henry IV's title was not sufficiently established to attempt it.

"The reason why no older instances of proceedings before a Lord High Steward are to be found, is this; that this very Henry IV, when Duke of Lancaster, was the last High Steward who ever had any fixed interest in the Office; so that the Office being so long since ceased, all the Records are lost, and the very nature and power of the Office, except in this instance of trying of Peers, and determining Claims at Coronations, is lost: But, since that time, the High Steward being only pro unica vice, the proceedings are commonly transmitted into other Courts, and so come to be found.

"The Commons observed, "That, if there be any objection to that method of trying of Peers, it must be founded on a supposition of partiality, and unfairness, in constituting a High Steward, or in the High Steward himself, and the Peers summoned by him; and the Commons are unwilling to enter into such kind of supposals.

"That, as to the partial constituting of a High Steward, if that may be supposed, it is an objection to the Constitution, which entrusts the Crown with the Administration of Justice.

"That supposal may as well extend to the constituting of the Judges, and the Sheriffs, and every other part of the Administration:

"And if, upon such a supposal or distrust, the remedy must be, to take that part of the Administration out of the Crown, (as is done in this case) the same reason must carry the thing so far, that the nature of the Government will be altered.

"As to the partiality of the Lord High Steward, and the Peers, the Commons are unwilling to suppose that it is possible that twelve Peers should be ever found (for that number must agree, or the Person accused is safe) who can so far forget their honour, and the noble order they are of, as, for revenge or interest, to sacrifice an innocent Person.

"But if the Lords will suppose, that such a number of Peers may be capable of being engaged in so ill and so dishonourable a thing, then the Commons think themselves excused, if they suppose, that other passions and motives may also prevail upon the Peers; such as pity in friends, partiality in relations, and the consideration of their own safety in the case of accomplices: Most men, especially Englishmen, enter unwillingly into matters of blood.

"That the most indifferent Peers will be most likely to absent themselves, either from a consideration of dissatisfying the Crown, on the one hand, or drawing on themselves the mischief of a breach with the family of the person accused, on the other; (for it is to be observed, that a restitution of the family follows generally in a short time) or at least the love of security, and care of not engaging too far: For these Tryals, (which for the most part happen in unquiet and troublesome times) will keep indifferent men away:

"But the care for a friend will not fail to bring friends to the Tryal; the concern to preserve their family from that stain will bring relations; and if there be any accomplices, they must be ready, for their own sakes, to acquit the accused.

"And probably their number must be considerable, in these cases; for it is not to be imagined that a Lord can enter into those base and detestable actions which may be performed by single persons; such as poisoning or assassinating the Prince.

"That the Treasons, which it can be imagined that Lords may be engaged in, may be such as arise from Factions in the State; in which many must be engaged; and, if some accident discover sufficient matter for a Charge against one of the Party, the rest, who are concealed still, will have as good right to try their Consederate as any indifferent Lord; and no doubt but it is their interest to acquit him: And how far, at some times, this alone may go towards turning the scale of Justice, may deserve to be considered; especially in times (which may happen hereafter, because they have happened heretofore) when there may be several Titles set up to the Crown, and great Parties formed.

"That this is a Law which is to have a perpetual contienuance; and that the same Loyalty, Wisdom, and Zeal, which appears now in their Lordships, should be derived down to all their posterity, is a thing rather to be wished than depended upon.

"That if, therefore, the Clause has a tendency towards letting in an Impunity for Treason, the Commons look upon themselves as justified in disagreeing to it.

"For they think it obvious to every one, of what consequence it will be to the Constitution, if such a body as the Peers, who have already such high Privileges of all sorts, should have impunity for Treason added; and what that must naturally end in.

"That the Commons agreed with the Lords, that a good correspondence between the two Houses is of necessity for the Safety, Honour, and Greatness of the Nation; and can never think, that it is to be interrupted by their refusing any thing which may endanger the Constitution; assuring them, the Commons will never fail in improving the true interest of the Lords; but they persuade themselves, that the Lords will be of opinion, that, to introduce any thing which tends to an Impunity for Treason, is neither the true interest of the Crown, the Lords, or the Commons.

"That the Managers for the Lords, who spoke at this Conference, were, the Duke of Bolton, the Marquess of Halifax, the Earls of Pembroke, Mulgrave, Stamford, Nottingham, Rochester, and Monmouth.

"The substance of what was said by the Managers for the Lords, was,

"That the Lords were sorry to be of any opinion different from the Commons, especially in a Clause of so great importance, which did concern not only their well-being, but their very being: That they had not differed from us in any thing propounded for our Security, and hoped we would have the same consideration for theirs; that nothing was so proper for a Parliament as to provide defences for innocence, in ill times. Necessity, in good Prudence, puts us upon it. And though there were good times, in respect of the present Government, they may say, they are unquiet, and unsafe; and what but a good Prince will ever pass such Laws as these are? This is the most proper time to provide for the Subject; for a good King would be not only willing to protect them while he lives, but to provide for their security after his death.

"That this concerned not only themselves, and therefore they would speak the more freely: It is too narrow a consideration for a Parliament to seek only our present ends: Our Ancestors had farther thoughts: And they did not doubt but we should have so too. This Clause is not for the Lords fake alone; there can no good be done in times of trouble, and Invasion of Rights, but by agreement of both Houses: There must be a concurrence of the greatest part of the Lords, and the greatest part of the Commons, to maintain the Government of England. There may come a Prince, when we are dead and gone, that may endeavour to invade the Liberties of the People; and then the Commons would be glad to have the concurrence of the Lords; and desired we would consider, in such a case, whether it would not be a great discouragement for the Lords to act, unless they could be as secure, at least, as the Commons: And if there may be such Princes, is it sitting that any part of the Government, which is so necessary in their concurrence, should be under such terms for their lives, that they dare not oppose them with vigour, nor act, because they lie under shackles?

"That the Lords would do what was just, though this Clause should not pass; but they would be loth that those Lords, that are eminent for their public service, should be eminent for their sufferings for it.

"That, in the cafe of Impeachments, which are the groans of the People, and for the highest Crimes, and carry with them a greater supposition of Guilt than any other Accusation, there all the Lords must judge; but when there comes a private Prosecution, which may proceed from the influence of particular men, then a Lord lies under the hardship of being tried by a few Peers, chosen to try him, whilst all the People may sigh and wish for him; but such a Clause would do him more good.

"That, suppose an ill Minister should apprehend an Impeachment in Parliament, what manner of way could that man hope better to come off by, than by being tried before a Parliament sits, where his Judges may be chosen so partially, as he shall come off; and it shall be said, No man can legally undergo two Tryals for the same Offence?

"That this way of Tryal was not ancienter than Hen. VIII. That it was brought in then to take off those that he did not like; that, in his time, the Duke of Buckingham was taken off in this manner by Cardinal Wolsey; that Anna Boleyn was condemned by her own father; and afterwards, a Party was chosen to condemn the Duke of Somerset, and the Duke of Northumberland: That the Case of the F. of Huntingdon, 1 Henry IV, is no good Cafe, nor truly reported; for the Parliament-Rolls, 2 Henry IV, mention his being beheaded by the Rabble in Essex.

"That this does not alter the Constitution any more than as, in some sense, every new Law may be said to alter the Constitution; and the Commons say it is altered, because formerly it was by a set number, and now all must appear: And that does not seem to alter the Constitution; for the High Steward now may summon them all: The Lord High Steward formerly summoned the Court; he summons it still; the nature of the Court is not altered by the majus or minus, any more than the King's-Bencb ceases to be the same Court, when there are three or four Judges in it.

"Though this Clause did not (as was said) pursue the ends of the Bill, yet either House has a Power of adding what they think may make it better; and, though this is not of a different nature, there have been instances of additions of different natures; but this is so far from it, that it agrees entirely with it, and is as suitable and necessary as any part of it.

"That the Commons were not well satisfied, when the Commissions of the Judges ran Durante bene placito; and could it be thought reasonable that the Lords, who are the supreme Judicature, should hold their Lives Quamdiu so bengesserint?

"And though the King does now appoint the Sheriffs, it was not always so; and, since the Crown has made them, the Commons have this for their security, that they may challenge thirty-five of the Pannel, peremptorily, and all the rest for cause.

"But the Judges and Sheriffs are made before the Crime committed; so that it is impossible for the Judges or Sheriffs to have a prejudice against any man; but the Lord High Steward is appointed after they know the Prisoner, and he shall be tried according to the humour of the times they are in. There may be Lords inclined one way and the other; but in this case, there is a strong thing joined with this passion, which is, their making their own fortunes by serving the present times.

"That, since the Tryal of Peers, in the time of Parliament, must be by the whole House, where is the inconvenience, that at all times they should be tried as in Parliament? It is a little favour that the Lords ask in this Clause, considering the Privilege of Parliament, for three years last past, has been always subsisting, and is like to continue so during the War : So that the Objection is taken away, as to the present Government; for they will have the advantage of a Parliamentary Tryal; and possibly, in times to come, there may be an Inquisition for what is done now; and it will be well to have the fairest way of proceeding in that matter.

"That, in the case of Lord Delamere, there were several Lords then in Town, and there were a great many of those Lords not chosen; and it is a great question, whether that noble Lord had come off as he did, if he had not received such notice from the Grand Jury, and every thing had not been made out so plain.

"That the Argument used by your Managers, "That they could not allow any thing that tends to an Impunity," is a very large assertion, and may be an Argument against the Bill; because it may happen, that, by giving a copy of the Indictment, and Witnesses being upon their Oaths, a guilty man may escape, and then he has an Impunity. This is not intended. All that can be done in these cases is, to put in such reasonable caution, and so far, as a Bill can provide.

"That this Clause could not extend to the Bishops; for it relates only to Tryals out of Parliament; and they are only Peers in Parliament, where they take their Privilege to hear, and then go out again, and do not vote in Blood: And by the word "Peers," it must be understood of such Peers only as are Peers in respect of their Blood.

"That the Lords were of opinion, that fewer Peers were sufficient to condemn a Peer; but this makes no alteration in the Argument; for there is not much more difficulty in getting twelve than seven. Indeed there might be greater difference where a Crown, or Government, was not concerned.

"That the excellency of a Jury is, that they are taken ex vicineto; what is the reason of this? Why, in case of false Witnesses, it is his neighbour that is to save the man. But what security have the Lords, when Lords are picked out to try them, who are not of their acquaintance, and the Lords that know the whole course of their lives to be contrary to what is sworn against them, shall not be chosen ?

"That it is implied in the Commission of the Lord High Steward, that all the Peers should be summoned; for, by his Commission, all the Peers of the Realm are commanded to attend upon him, and be obedient to him; so that the King does not only give liberty, but seems to command it." (fn. 5)

Debate on the Report.

Mr Waller.] I know not, whether it be proper to speak now, or no; but, I conceive, you may amend or restrain any part of the Lords Clause. I am as watchful as any man, that the Lords should have no increase of Power—I think, if the word "Temporal" were put, it would put an end to any thing of the Bishops appearing at Tryals—If the House think fit, I will offer something—Put it to "twenty-three," and the majority will be twelve.

Mr Clarke.] I think you are not ready to conclude. You have had a very faithful Report—This latter Conference I shall speak to—It was made part of that Conference: If the Commons agree to the Amendments, pass the Bill; but it seems not Parliamentary for the Lords to tell you what to do.

Sir William Whitlock.] I think, at the last Conference, the Lords did, with all the decency imaginable, offer Amendments. The Lords think a Peer may be convicted by the majority of twelve, and therefore they desire it may not be in the power of a Lord Steward to pick out twelve, to take away the Life of a Peer; therefore he should not summon less than a competent number. If twenty-three be summoned, twelve, the majority, must convict him.

Sir John Guise.] I cannot speak of Lord Rochester's argument, at the Conference, without indignation, supposing a change of Government. I am for no compliments in the case, but downright for our Liberties. It is proposed, "That the Lords should have forty-five Peers returned." Is it that the Lords are twice as many as the Commons?—You must have half the Country, if they take the whole body of the Peers. If the Law must be mended for the Lords, why not as much for the Commons? Pray let both go together.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I attended at the Conference. I desire no part of the People of England to be under hardship, for Life, Liberty, and Property. I would willingly have all the People of England subject to just and equal Tryals; and to have no manner of exposition to be extra-judicial. One of the Robe said, "He would not take from the King the hank he had upon the Lords."—In the eighteen years Parliament, there was a proposition of 300,000l. per ann. more to be added to the Revenue. When it was told the King, that the Question was lost, he wondered, "since he had above two hundred Pensioners, and Officers, there, whom he had a hank of." It seems to me a great hardship— Now is the time to put the Lords in a condition with the rest of the People of England—Shall we put the House of Peers in a condition to give us no assistance?— I remember the Declaration for Liberty of Conscience; but it was for Liberty of Popery; and the King said, "He would never depart from it." (fn. 6) The then Attorney-General said, "He must aver, that none of the Judges ever saw it but in print."—The King sent an Answer to our Address, "That he must advise with his Peers about it." The Lords then made a brave stand; and it was remarkable, the interest of the Lords took into it—Then we had good Lords, and I hope that place will ever be a nursery of such. I am very sure we had never had the Habeas Corpus Act, but by the assistance of the Lords. Nothing is so precious to mankind as Life. You are told, "This Tryal of the Peers is ancient."—I have spoken with men that are versed in Records, and they can go no higher than Edward IV.—But whether it be so, or no, 'tis a great inequality of Justice, and ought to be mended by Act of Parliament. The Records of the Tryals of Peers are so embezzled, and made away, that we can have no light; but, since we are come to a compromise, since 'tis offered, that such a number be only sent for, viz. twenty-three, and twelve to pass upon the Tryal, I think this will do justice to them, and justice to ourselves—It ought to be an universal settlement to the Nation. In cafe of Appeals, the Commons are Pares regni—The whole Lords, as well as we, are part of the People; and let us not secure ourselves, only a part of the People.

Sir John Lowther.] I would willingly preserve Constitutions, not only of the Lords, but of the Commons. I know not why those under the same circumstances, should not expect the same advantages. If one part be exorbitant over the rest, then the Constitution is in danger. This Bill was never, in the best or worst of Reigns, offered till now. "That an Inquisition may come in upon us,"—(as a Lord touched at the Conference) I know none but the Popish Inquisition, which lost the Low Countries—If the Lords have this Clause, for fear of an Inquisition, they, if they have this Clause, may have power to bring it in. The proper and natural Question is, adhering.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I hear it insisted on, "That, by this Clause, the Bishops are brought in to be Tryers of Peers;" because, "That every one that has a right to sit in Parliament, is to be summoned." To this the Lords answered, "That they looked upon the Bishops to be Lords in Parliament, but not Peers of Parliament." It is naturally moved, to put the word "Temporal" before "Peers," which will solve all that doubt. You may alter the Lords Proviso; they cannot, because it was their own.

Mr Howe.] I wonder at that, above all expressions, from Treby, "The King, Lords, and Commons, are one body, and 'tis unreasonable there should be a hank but upon one another."The next Successor will take it very ill, that you should think him a worse Prince than his Predecessor; as ill a compliment to him, as a good one to this! Impunity of Crimes is no less justifiable in another Reign than this. If you turned out a King, and secured yourselves, was it only to change Persons? I fear, persons about this King are not much better than those about the last. He makes his Court worse to the King, to advise him to do a thing prejudicial to the People. I wonder we should so soon forget packed Juries—Lord Russel died for want of such a Bill. For fear of losing little Places of 500l. or 1000l. per ann. to betray their Country!—After we have ventured our Lives, and others have good Places and Pensions, I am sorry we should leave Posterity exposed.

The Amendment of "Lords Temporal," and "not less than thirty-six," passed; [and the Clause, so amended, was agreed to by the House; of which the Lords were informed the next day at a free Conference.]

The Compiler was absent the remainder of the Session (fn. 7).

[The House continued sitting till February 24, when his Majesty, after passing several Bills, made the following Speech to both Houses:

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I return my hearty Thanks to you all for the great demonstrations you have given me of your affection in this Session, and of your zeal for the support of the Government.

"And I must thank you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, in particular, for the great Supplies you have given for the prosecution of the War: I assure you, I shall take care so to dispose of the Money you have given me for the public occasions, as that the whole Nation may be entirely satisfied with the application of it.

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I think it proper to acquaint you with my intention of going beyond sea very speedily; which, I am afraid, has been already retarded more than is convenient for the present posture of affairs: And, upon that account, I think it necessary to put an end to this present meeting; the season of the year being so far advanced, that it may prove of the last ill consequence to continue it any longer."

The Lord Chief Baron afterwards declared, That it was his Majesty's pleasure, that both Houses should adjourn themselves till April 12 (fn. 8).

April 12, 1692, the Parliament met, and was prorogued, by Commission, to May 24; from thence to June 14; from thence to July 11; from thence to August 22; from thence to September 26; and from thence to


  • 1. Secretary of State, afterwards created Earl of Romney.
  • 2. In a Letter to the Speaker.
  • 3. About six weeks after this, (February 20) Fuller was ordered to attend the House, with the Persons mentioned by him; but he pretending to be ill, and not able to come abroad, several Members were ordered to repair to him, to secure his Papers, and to take his Information upon Oath. February 23, Fuller's Examination was presented to the House, and read; and he mentioning Mr James Hayès, and Colonel Thomas Delaval, as the two Witnesses of which he had informed the House, several Members, attended by Messengers, were ordered to go to the places directed by Fuller, and bring the said Persons with them. They went, but found no such Persons as had been described to them; whereupon Fuller was ordered to produce them himself, and also one Jones; which he not being able to do, the House unanimously declared, "That Mr Fuller is a notorious Impostor, a Cheat, and a false Accuser; having scandalized their Majesties, and their Government, abused this House, and falsely accused several Persons of Honour and Quality;" and they farther Resolved, "That an Address be presented to his Majesty, to command his Attorney-General to prosecute the said Impostor." See the Journal. Fuller was accordingly prosecuted, and sentenced to stand in the Pillory; which ignominy he underwent without the least shame or concern.
  • 4. Which see at large, p. 217.
  • 5. For the Commons Reply, see the Journal.
  • 6. See Vol. II. p. 12, 13.
  • 7. It appears, by the Journal, that Mr Anchitell Grey had leave from the House, January 15, to go into the Country for three week, upon extraordinary occasions,
  • 8. The King embarked for Holland, March 5; and, soon after, a Conspiracy was formed in England for the Restoration of King James, which was to be favoured by a Descent from France, under cover of a powerful Fleet; which, perhaps, might have succeeded, had not a timely and destructive blow been given to the French Navy, by Adm. Russel, off Cape La Hogue, May 19; twenty-one of their largest ships, besides frigates, &c. being destroyed, without the loss of one ship on the side of the English, or any Commission-Officers, but Rear-Admiral Carter, and Col. Hastings. King James and his Army had the mortification of being eye-witnesses of this defeat, on the Coast of Normandy, which put a final stop to his Invasion; though it was not pursued with the vigour that it might have been, as will appear hereafter. A Descent, which was afterwards projected into France, on account of the season was laid aside. In the Netherlands, Namur was besiged and taken by the French King, and King William's Army was afterwards deteated at the Battle of Steenkirk, July 24. Grandval, for being concerned in a Plot to kill the King, was executed in the Camp, August 13; and his Majesty returned to England, October 18.