Debates in 1675: May 5th-10th

Pages 102-130

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 3. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

Wednesday, May 5.

The abovementioned Salter, was, by order, brought to the Bar, and being interrogated by the Speaker, denied "The proffer of 4000l. from any member, and that he said any such words, nor did any person apply to him to give any testimony against the Lord Treasurer, nor give him any promises to do so."

Then Nead, the Quaker, at the Bar said, "Some members came to his shop, and asked him if he knew Thomas Salter, and enquiring concerning the words of the Lord Treasurer, about the proclamation which Salter should report, Salter told him, "He said no such words." The members did desire to speak with Salter, who told them, "He had nothing to say against the Treasurer, but was troubled he had set his hand to a paper, and desired to see it," but could not—Thomas Otto was banished, he thought it a hard case, and his Counsel said "it was against law"—The members that came to his shop were Thomas Papillon and Josiah Child." Then he produced a letter from Thomas Salter, "He believes it is his hand as well as his own—He has paid him a great deal of money."—Then he directed his speech to the House, "To consider in the fear of the Lord, those that suffer for conscience-sake," but was silenced presently—Then the letter was produced, wherein Salter says, "That Sir Thomas Littleton, and Mr Powle, discoursed with him about the Treasurer, and about the banishment of Otto, who urged him to set his hand to a paper, upon which Littleton wrote, and upon Littleton's importunity, he set his hand to he knew not what, which he was sorry for."—Salter then owned the letter. (fn. 1)

Mr Powle.] He sees his name mentioned amongst others, therefore he thinks it his duty to acquaint you with all he knows in the matter. The first time he saw Salter was in Westminster-Hall, where he discoursed about the Lord Treasurer's proceedings against Otto. Salter then said, "There were some words spoken by another great officer, but was not sure whether by the Lord Treasurer or no, and if he were at home, he could speak more particularly by his notes." They went afterwards with him to Heaven (fn. 2), and then he perfectly remembered it was the Treasurer—said in the Treasury chamber, and reported by the Treasurer to the Council, who, over the table told him, "I told you what it would come to," Magna Charta nisi public prohibit, &c.—Littleton said, If this be put into execution, Otto may be called again." In the serjeant's lobby Salter repeated the words again, and Otto and Salter set their hands to the paper freely and voluntarily, and, upon this, he thought it a thing fit to bring before the House.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] Salter said "he remembered the words, but thought them said by another great officer," but, upon recollecting himself, remembered them said by the Treasurer, and in the Treasury chamber, on rectification of his error, upon recollection. Mr Papillon took his words from him in the presence of five Members, and with the German, Otto, along with him, present at the words, and from them he wrote the words and read them to them, and never saw men more willing to do it.

Sir Edward Dering.] Has seen that here which he never saw before. The Lords have sent us three Bills, and we have sent them never a one yet. Would have the Bill of Popery read.

Sir Eliab Harvey.] Yesterday we had the fleet under consideration. We have likewise had an Address to the King for recall of the King's subjects in the service of the French—Moves that we may again address the King for an answer.

Mr Sacheverell.] We are not safe in religion whilst we have so many English in that nation—Moves that they may be recalled by Proclamation, and hopes we may have something else with a sting in the tail.

Sir Thomas Meres.] We moved it at the first, with hopes that, by this time, the King would have done it by Proclamation—And now moves for an Address that they may be recalled from that King's service by Proclamation.

Sir Thomas Lee.] Has been told, that the Duke of Monmouth has lately sealed several commissions to officers for raising men for the French service; therefore it is high time to address the King for a Proclamation.

Mr Love reads a letter from Dieppe, which informs him, "that many English are gone into France, in a fly-boat, which a French man of war convoyed."

Colonel Birch.] We swallow down the French customs with their debaucheries—Would give reasons for this vote, were we in a condition at present to do it.

Mr Garroway.] There is nothing in the league to forbid men going into Holland, but expressly there is against going into France—Therefore there is no danger of their going into Holland.

[Resolved, That an Address be presented to his Majesty that he would be pleased to issue forth his Proclamation for the speedy recalling those his subjects that are now in the service of the French King, and for the preventing any more from going over into that service.

Resolved, That a farther Address be presented to his Majesty concerning the Duke of Lauderdale; (the question for adjourning being carried in the negative,) 119 to 99.

A Message was this day sent to the Lords, concerning a petition of appeal depending before them, at the suit of Tho. Slirley, Esq; against Sir John Fagg, a Member of this House, to which petition he was, by order of the House of Lords, directed to answer on Friday, 'desiring them to have regard to the privilege of this House.']

Thursday, May 6.

[An ingrossed Bill to prevent illegal imprisonment of the subject, was read.]


Mr Secretary Coventry.] Would have the Long Robe declare their opinion, Whether the Lord Chief Justice may send a Habeas Corpus without hearing the cause?

Mr Sacbeverell.] By law, no man can be sent out of England, but for a fact he cannot be tried for in England —And if he cannot be sent away without an offence, it ought to be clear there is an offence. It leaves the subject in the same state he was before, not to be transported without an offence committed.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Is there any law whereby a man may be tried twice for one offence?

Serjeant Crook.] Treason committed in Scotland is not try able here—But treason committed in Ireland may be tried here—Robberies cannot. 'Tis a rule in law, that laws are made for things which most frequently happen—The King's writs extend to Calais, Guernsey, and Jersey—But persons, 'tis said, may be sent to remoter parts. An information of treason, by Habeas Corpus, may be sent into Scotland and Ireland—This bill may be done without prejudice to the King's evidence and prerogative, and with great safety to the subject.

Serjeant Hardres ] Matters of treason, committed here, will be tryable here. Lord Sanquire's case (fn. 3).

[The Bill passed.]

On a motion to adjourn the Debate of Dr Burnet's information, a petition was presented by Sir John Morton, from one Robert Murray, who, by the illegal procurement of the Duke of Lauderdale, lay in irons six months, in the Gatehouse, but got his Habeas Corpus, and then was turned out of prison. (fn. 4)

Earl of Ancram.] The petition tells you "of irons," but were he in Scotland, he would have a piece of iron through his head. He is the greatest Sectary in all Scotland, though he is here in another habit—The same of him is not to be mentioned in this assembly.

Mr Dalmaboy.] He dispersed seditious books in Scotland, and is very turbulent.

Sir Thomas Lee.] This Murray seems to be a very young man, and he begins very early to be a covenanter. The offence, it seems, was done in Scotland, and he was imprisoned here in irons, and turned out of prison, no man knows why. Let him be committed according to the law of England, and not put in irons here for keeping conventicles in Scotland.

[The petition was referred to the Committee of Grievances.]

Complaint was also made of one Browne, committed to the Tower (fn. 5).

Mr Secretary Coventry.] If you will grant that one of that country may be tried here, he may be to-morrow. If going into the enemy's army, and corresponding with the King's enemies, be not a crime, he leaves it to your consideration.

Sir Henry Ford.] If spreading seditious papers out of Scotland be not a cause for his commitment, he knows not what is.

Mr Vaughan.] If spreading seditious pamphlets was a cause of turning him out, it was as great an offence as the committing him.

[The question being put, Whether the House will proceed in the farther consideration of the business touching the Duke of Lauderdale; it passed in the negative, 146 to 132.]

Friday, May 7.

A Message from the Lords: "Mr Speaker, The Lords have considered of the Message [received] from the House of Commons, concerning privilege, in the case of Sir John Fagg, and do return this answer: That the House of Commons need not doubt, but [that] the Lords will have a regard to the privileged of the House of Commons, as they have of their own."

Mr Secretary Williamson.] Was commanded to attend the King by you (fn. 6); and he has sent you this Answer:

"His Majesty has considered [of] the Address against the Duke of Lauderdale, and the reasons accompanying it. As to the Acts of Parliament mentioned to have been passed in Scotland, his Majesty observes, that the first of those Acts was in the year 1663, which was long before the Duke of Lauderdale was [his Majesty's] Commissioner in that Kingdom: The latter was in pursuance of the former. As to the [words, by the] time of [Mr] Penystone Whaley's case, his Majesty perceives, that, if they had been spoken, they must have been spoken before the last Act of general pardon; and his Majesty, being sensible how great a satisfaction and security the inviolable preservation of the former Act of indemnity and oblivion has been to all his subjects, cannot but apprehend the dangerous consequences of enquiring into any thing that has been pardoned by an Act of general pardon, lest the example of that might give men cause to fear their security under the first Act of Oblivion." Given at the Court at Whitehall, the 7th day of May 1675. C. R.

[Debate on his Majesty's Answer.]

Mr Vaughan.] Many persons have been pardoned, that yet are of so ill morals, as not fit to be either Justices of the Peace, or in any other office; and a man of so ill principles as the Duke of Lauderdale, no Act of pardon can purge, so as to be capable of any office of trust.

Sir Charles Wheeler.] If we come to examine principles, it will go a great way in the Act of Indemnity.—Would join issue upon that, whether, since that Act, persons have so changed their principles as to be capable of offices of trust; and therefore there is great danger in enquiring into the principles of persons.

Mr Vaughan.] Why made we the laws against fanatics, if a suspicion upon non-conformists had been wholly wiped away by the Act of Indemnity?

Sir Robert Holt.] In this would begin with your own House in principles—There was an order of the House, that persons should be suspended sitting here, that received not the Sacrament, according to the church of England; and they have not.—(Some cried, Name them then.)—He said, He must do it by order of the House, and then can.

Mr Powle.] We only declared an opinion of the unfitness of this Duke's serving the King. The thing has been done in all times, and may be now. Suppose a gentleman gives a pardon to all his servants, and afterwards his steward is found faulty in his accounts; would he not sue him at law, if he gave him no satisfaction? You intend no prosecution of the Duke, but only removal out of employment, as a man so principled, as not fit to be trusted with the Government. When the Act of Oblivion passed (this is but a pardon) yet the Act of regulating Corporations gave power to look back into misdemeanors. Persons, upon enquiry, were not fit to be trusted in Corporations; much less in the Government, as the Duke of Lauderdale is. He fears some heaviness upon the hearts of the King's subjects for not granting this request. He wishes the King faithfully served; and he may express his fears, that subjects will not go on so chearfully in the promotion of his service, without removal of the Duke of Lauderdale. 'Tis true, the Scotch law about the Militia was made under Lord Rothes, but'twas when the Duke of Lauderdale was Secretary, who managed all affairs in Scotland—That Act is a breach of those hostile Jaws made in the 4th of King James, and a repeal of those laws. Would have the King moved, that these laws about the Militia of Scotland, may be repealed in Scotland, occasioning the jealousies that may arise thereupon.

Mr Sacbeverell.] He finds no motion made yet. Will just make you one.—He knows not why this House should proceed any further, you having no answer yet from the King, for removal of such a person. 'Tis but in vain to make any laws. Would address the King for a farther Answer; and would adjourn the House till we have it.

Sir Lionel Jenkins.] The King says, "Those laws were not passed in Scotland in the Duke of Lauderdale's time;" and therefore suggests him not to blame. This Address differs from the very words of Magna Charta—"To be removed from the King, without legal proceedings against him."—'Tis not only a punishment, but destruction to him, Neque destruatur nisi per judicium parium suorum, &c. Any man divested of his place, without course of law, 'tis a destruction to. Any man accused of felony, and his land begged in case of conviction, Lord Coke says, is contrary to Magna ChartaNeque destruatur aliquo modo, whilst not convicted. A man to be impeached regularly, is no destruction; but to have a man's honour and dignity thus arbitrarily taken away, he appeals whether 'tis not against law.—And is of opinion, that the King has given a satisfactory Answer to the Address.

Sir Henry Ford.] Is against leaving off old ways, and taking new ones. By impeachment, there is no need of an Address; for that now seems to press the prerogative. He fears this is not the way to get a good understanding betwixt the King and us.—It looks like jealousy. He is a good and gracious King; and would not be multiplying one Address upon the head of another. It seems like making provision under the best Prince, as if we had the worst. How many hundreds have been pardoned, and are in great places, by the Indemnity!— Would rest satisfied with the King's Answer.

Sir Robert Thomas.] The King's Answer is, "The Duke of Lauderdale is pardoned by the Act."—But 'tis not the crime we go upon, but his dangerous principles. —Would have another Address upon that account.

Sir William Hickman.] Hears nothing of taking away a man's freehold in the case.—What other way have you to reach a man of such principles?—Desires you would declare the answer not satisfactory.

Sir Lionel Jenkins.] Sending Judges into Ireland, to serve the King there, is against that paragraph of Magna Charta.

Sir Eliab Harvey.] Would not have a pension of 3000l; a year out of the Customs, to the Duke of Lauderdale, be a freehold, to maintain a man of such principles.

Sir Robert Howard.] That branch of Magna Charta is the most mistaken that can be, and Jenkins's argument wholly against the King.—That branch of Magna Charta is wholly on freehold, which no-body here contends for. —Only removal.—This will make all things during pleasure under Magna Charta.—There is no proper tryal for grants taken away, during pleasure, because there is no freehold in the case. But, in this case, to come to so harsh a vote, as, "that the King's Answer is not satisfactory," 'tis too sudden; and would take another day to consider of Reasons, the King having given your some. He will not argue about the putting away a servant; will not argue against the sense of the House; but would return an Answer to the King with Reasons.

Mr Garroway.] Would proceed in all things tenderly with the King, and would in this. You have no satisfactory Answer from the King, but one chopped in—Would vote, "That this Answer gives us no satisfaction;" and would take another day to consider farther of it.

Sir Edmund Wyndham, Knight Marshal.] Took exceptions at the words, "chopped in;" to which

Mr Garroway said] He uses no set speeches; and a word may suddenly slip a man.

Mr Harwood.] If we can remove this Lord, we do great service to the King. If these reasons, for his removal, were not satisfactory to all here, why did you send them? He fears you can give no better. He is always circumspect what to say, when the King comes into his mouth. We are not to be guided by those that are about the King, that tell him these are not reasons, which he is sure will justify you in what you say.

Col. Titus.] He shall say nothing of the merits of this Lord; he knows his own opinion of him, and believes a great many else do. But to the vote proposed, would not pass it, "not satisfactory;" could he divine what Answer the King would give, he would be for the Vote. Possibly your second Address may have a prevalency that the first had not, and would stay for it.

Mr Stockdale.] He cannot expect a more satisfactory Answer from the second Address, we having given all the reasons we can. You said you were not satisfied in the Answer to the Address concerning Ireland; and you may as well say so in this now.

Mr Sawyer.] In this case, let us use the King as he has used us. 'Tis agreeable to the temper of this House, to consider of the King's reasons, and to take some time for it.

Mr Sacheverell.] Hears nothing now in the King's Answer, but what reasons you knew before; the King neither grants your requests, nor answers your reasons, by the paper.

Col. Birch.] The former Address was without reasons. The Address itself spoke your desires. You thought fit to lay aside reasons in your Address about France.. He confesses himself one of those who was sorely gotten on the wrong side; and the King has given him, or graciously confirmed him in his place (fn. 7). He is pleased to see persons stick so close to the Act of Indemnity, and he hopes they will not forget it when on another occasion—The King's temper so good, how close he has stuck to it you know. The Act of purging the Corporations made a breach upon the Indemnity.—The King, out of his accustomed goodness, says so still, "That 'tis against the Act of Grace."—Would have the Reasons read, to see if that be the main Reason.—Whether a person, so in the ill opinion of the Commons, should have a pension out of your devoted money, the Customs. It was once debated, whether the House should have the nomination of the King's Council. 'Twas then said, "No, by no means; 'tis a high point. But if the King have any person there against the good-will of the people, he may be removed by Address."—Would not now put the question "satisfactory, or not satis factory"—Hopes, that by adjourning the present Debate, you may attain your end.

Mr Sacbeverell.] One thing occurs to him in the King's Answer—Williamson says, "This Message was delivered THEM last night," and the Message bears date this day— Would know who of the Council draws this Answer besides the Secretaries? You thought not sit a man of his principles, so declared, should be longer continued in office, but of that we have no Answer.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] The King signed the Answer this morning, but it was sent to him in writing the last night, and put in the third person to draw this Message by.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] General pardon excuses particular punishments, and whether being turned out of all offices and employments be not a punishment? The case of a master that has pardoned his servant, and for the same offence to turn him away a month after.

[The Debate was adjourned till Tuesday.]

Mr Secretary Coventry.] The King has appointed the House to attend him this day in the Banquetting-house, at three o'clock in the afternoon, with their Address for recalling his subjects out of the French King's service.

[The Address was accordingly presented in the afternoon.]

Saturday, May 8.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] Moves to enquire into the Lords proceedings in the appeal brought against Sir John Fagg, by Dr Thomas Shirley, and that some Members be ordered to search the Lords Journal for your better information.

Mr Gerroway.] The Lords Message, you may remember, was "they would be as careful of your privileges as their own," and at the same time they enter into their Journal, "that you have no privilege in this case of appeals." This is a glorious pretence to give freedom of appeals against their own Members as well as yours—Would have some Members search their Journal, and an order made, that your Member, Sir John Fagg, shall make no answer to the appeal, and to reprove him if he has already done it.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Before there be any determination here of the thing, would have a conference with the Lords about their order for Fagg to appear. Their court is dernier resort, and there can be no appeals brought, but in time of Parliament, and their orders remain to be executed out of Parliament—Would have the Lords books viewed by some Members.

Sir Samuel Barnardiston.] Before you make any reflection on your Member (Fagg) let your own books be inspected, and enquire if an appeal cannot be brought against any of your Members.

Mr Vaughan.] The reason of the privilege of a Member is, That he should not be withdrawn from the service of the House. Any man, by such a stratagem as this, may be brought to the House of Lords—Therefore would assert our privileges.

Sir Charles Wheeler.] If it be so entered in the Lords Journal, "That the Lords shall have no more privilege than we," they having their places in their House for life, and we not, we have great disadvantage—Would have the Lords books inspected.

Sir John Fagg.] Would rather suffer by it, than deal disingenuously with the House—Will rather subject his cause to judgment, than give you the least disturbance. He was served with an order by an officer of the House of Peers, (could not tell whether it was an order or not) "to appear to an appeal, if he thought sit." If he has erred any where, it may be charged upon his troubling the House with it—He has waved his privilege all along in Chancery, (the Parliament sitting), also in the Exchequer, and now an appeal brought against him was so great a surprize, and the summons so short, that he could not advise with his Counsel in time—You send a Message to the Lords "to be tender of your privileges," and the Lords answer the same as in Mr Hale's case—But there was no order of yours in it of restraining your Member from appearance to it—And the cause was withdrawn. His case is this; he must appear to the appeal, or judgment will pass against him for default, to morrow at ten of the clock. Just at that time they send you a Message. He leaves it to you, whether to insist upon his privilege, or not, to the loss of his cause—He wholly subjects the thing to you—He confesses he did submit the hearing of his cause before the Lords on Tuesday next—Had you laid any restraint upon him to the contrary, he would have obeyed it.

From the Lords Journal. "Upon the Commons Message, in Fagg's case, "to have a care of their Privileges." Resolved, That the House of Commons need not doubt but the Lords will have a care of the Privilege of the House of Commons, as they will of their own."

N. B. The answer is verbatin, as in the case of Mr Hale.

Sir Robert Howard.] Point of privilege remains as full in a Member's being summoned thither, as in a summons to any other court.

Mr Vaughan] We know not as yet what order is entered in the Lords books—We have challenged privilege, and the Lords have answered it. A fault there is somewhere, and ought to be rebuked; and the person faulty lies at your mercy.

Mr Garroway.] It seems, the Lords have not determined your privileges, but your Member, Fagg, has determined them, and the Lords will quote this as a precedent against you. Desires that the proceedings may be no rather in the Lords House by your Member, and is for a Message to the Lords not to proceed.

Col. Tïtns.] Conceives it lawful for a Member to wave his privilege, but where himself is concerned only, and not the whole House. The main matter before you is not, whether this be a breach of privilege, but whether the Lords are judges of your privileges. They tell you "they will take the same care of your privileges as their own," and, at the same time, declare, "they never knew of such privileges of yours"—If neither they nor you have such privilege from appeals, as they say, they make themselves judges of your privileges.

Mr Garroway.] Where can Birkenhead shew you our right of eternity of sitting, as the Lords have? They cannot make out the point of failure of justice, if a Member of ours may not be appealed against.

Sir Henry Ford.] In the case of Lord Roberts, and Captain Cresset, Lord Roberts was the appellant—Is it the privilege of the Lords to appeal, and not to be appealed against in the Lords House?

Mr Secretary Coventry.] To tell Members of yours, "You shall view the Lords Journal," and the Lords say "You shall not," and to know every thing there in verbis, under favour, you cannot. You can only desire copies of orders where persons are concerned.

Mr Sacheverell.] Suppose the Lords Journal be not a record. 'Tis more hard if they can, in the end of a Parliament, (as is said) make what part of it they please, record. If the case be so, that they have entered such an order, before the Message, you must look to it, or they will vote you out of all your privileges.

Mr Vaughan.] Secretary Coventry distinguishes not the Lords jurisdiction legislative from judicial. As the Lords is a Parliament Journal, we cannot inspect theirs any more than they can ours. If you have a right to the means of doing it, you have a right to see their Journals as well as any decree in Chancery.

Ordered, That a Committee be appointed to inspect the Lords Journal, [and to see what entries are made therein, in the case of Sir John Fagg, and to report the matter to the House.]

[An ingrossed Bill, from the Lords, for explanation of the late Act of Popery, was read a first, and ordered to be read a second time.]

Then was read the King's Answer to the Address about recalling the English forces out of France (fn. 8).

Charles, R.

"His Majesty having received an Address from the House of Commons, concerning the recalling such of his subjects as are soldiers in the French King's service, hath thought sit to return this Answer: That such [troops] of his subjects as were in the Most Christian King's service, before the last treaty [made] with the States General of the United Provinces, and were not, by that, to be recalled, as they are at present become inconsiderable in their numbers, so his Majesty conceiveth that they cannot be recalled without derogation to his honour and dignity, and prejudice to the peace he now enjoyeth, and hath publickly professed to maintain with all his neighbours. But as to the prohibiting the going over of any more, his Majesty will renew his Proclamation, and use all other effectual means both to forbid and hinder it. Given at our Court at Whiteball, the 8th of May, 1675."

[The farther consideration of his Majesty's Answer was adjourned till Monday.]

Monday, May 10.

Debate on his Majesty's Answer.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] Here is an Answer from the King—Desires that what is said upon it may not be thought to reflect upon the King, but on the authors of this Answer. He thinks it a very ill one; so highly prejudicial to the people, and destructive to the King!—Would clear the matter of fact: The Answer is, "Such of his subjects in the Most Christian King's service."—'Tis no unusual thing to call him "the French King" in Parliament; but he rests not upon that.—Would be informed, whether by the late peace we made with Holland, the King is left free, and at full liberty, to keep these men actually in that King's service. How contrary would it be to his honour, if against no Treaty, nor Article (settered) to recall them? Under that Proclamation mentioned, all this mischief is grown. The number of English forces there is now great; 8000 men at least. The Duke of Monmouth's regiment, and the Irish, go a great way in the number, besides the Scotch. Great numbers going into France is no breach of the Treaty; but into Holland, is a breach.—Would have that cleared. If we thank the King for this Message, we do it for sending men over into France.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] That Treaty does not command the forces to stay; but 'tis enough to tell you, that by that Treaty the King is not obliged to recall those troops. 'Tis no error to call the King of France "the Most Christian King," as all the world besides call him. He tells you, on his reputation, by all he knows, there are not above 2000 of these forces in all. The King, besides, tells you of his Proclamation, and "will use all other effectual means to prevent more going over." Is this such an abuse to the nation, and such a horrid thing? This is an advice to the King, in a thing he is entrusted with. This is not to be murmured at, but thanked for, to give you such an Answer, against his prerogative. Do you believe that the King, in making peace with Holland, did write no respectful letter to the King of France? And just at that hour of the King's mediation of peace, and ambassadors for it, to do such a partial act as to recall these men! Shall he be considerable neither on one side, nor the other, nor in mediatorship? Suppose the King was resolved to do it; 'tis not proper now. Cannot he keep a word, or a promise? What, if the King make a promise, and the House of Commons break it, of what value will it be for the future? If you desire a farther explanation of this Answer, you may. But he thinks it a great condescension in the King, as it is already.

Mr Garroway.] Observes many things to be debated, peace and war. The thing is lodged, and he will not break into it, nor meddle with it. We are not ready yet for a conclusion of our opinions to this Answer. If we open the matter of fact, see how we contribute to France's greatness. The King's honour, crown, and dignity are concerned in it. If the Low Countries and Flanders should be conquered, knows not what our condition will be. We know of no obligation to the numbers of men in France, and so can say nothing to the recall of them. —Moves to have the King's Answer debated in a Grand Committee.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] Seconds the motion for a Grand Committee, to come the better to the right understanding of the matter. Coventry has yielded the matter, that no treaty does impose the staying of these forces on the King. If any thing falls from him, out of zeal to his country, desires pardon; but if we let those things go, we give the greatest blow both to our Country and the Confederates imaginable.

Mr Sec. Coventry.] What he said was, "the Treaty of Holland obliged it not."

Sir Thoma, Clarges.] Conceives, that where the King is dishonoured, and there is a contempt of his Proclamation, and a violation of his honour, we are concerned. The Message tells you, that "the King has sent out his Proclamation to forbid all;" but, by letters from the ports, we are informed that recruits go frequently over into France, 3 James, ch. 31. "No officer can go into any foreign service without taking the oaths of allegiance." At Dover that has not been done; they go over as if they were to be instructed in the Popish Reli gion, to our destruction; and by that law mentioned, "Bonds are to be entered into, and oaths (and all returned into the Exchequer) to practise nothing against that oath." This going over is to the dishonour of the King, and danger of Religion.

Sir Lionel Jenkins.] The Question is, Whether the House should go into a Grand Committee? The execution of that Statute mentioned is lest to the officers of the ports, and their crimes and omissions are not to be imputed to the King. One cause assigned for the ill execution of that Statute, is, "that they are tryable for felony, before Judges of Oyer and Terminer, and yet the fault done beyond the seas." Lord Coke makes a difficulty upon it, and never knew any man tried upon it. The first point is, whether we, having a treaty with Holland, break that treaty by having forces in the French service.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] Took him down to rectify him. These men, before the Treaty with Holland, no breach of Holland peace not to recall them.

Sir Lionel Jenkins.] The words of the treaty, "Neither party shall give commission, directly or indirectly, to aid, &c." The Dutch insisted on this, that the Duke of Monmouth went with a great body of men into France, which they thought so much the harder, because there was a restraint upon going into Holland. They quarrelled not at secret going over, but avowed. When the French saw Sir Walter Vane in Holland, who said he had leave to go from the King,—to show such a diploma from the King, was to show the supineness of the Government. He had not licence; and it was no breach with France—No more are these men stealing into France a breach with Holland.

Col. Birch.] Sees many that speak, crave grains of allowance; he has most need of any, and hopes he shall not be denied them—Is for a Grand Committee—If this thing be well done, hardly any thing else can be ill done. He agrees that war and peace are in the King's hand; but he thinks that in this business of the peace with Holland, the King asked the advice of this House. You are embarked in it, and the miscarriage will be the fault of this House—Would not quarrel with any of our neighbours, but especially not with the great Prince on the other side the water; but better now than at another time—While the people are under dissatisfactions, he knows no other way to satisfy them but in this House, and no way here, but in a Grand Committee.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] A peace there was advised in this House, but not this peace—The terms the King made himself, and he would not have Birch tell you what the articles are, or should be.

Sir Charles Wheeler.] Observes, that great things are brought into this House, and still prove but matter of enquiry. For the term of "the French King" spoken of, when we have wars we say so of him, and what have we got by it? In all foreign affairs they come up to the title of "the British King" with us. Of these men in the French service, he looks upon the Scotch guards as a thing particular to their nation, who have been in France sixty years at least in that capacity; the rest are the Duke of Monmouth's regiment, and Sir George Hamilton's; Col. Churchill's regiment being reformed into the Duke of Monmouth's. (Sometimes we are forced to be quit of the Irish, and now we must recall them.) He cannot inform himself, any way, of above 1000 horse—When you have made all these means to prevent their going over, idle fellows will go. He was taken dawn to Order.

The Speaker.] 'Tis disorderly to take a man down, before you know what he will say.

Sir Charles Wheeler goes on.] You can stop them no more than you can the exportation of wool—Here come over German and French gentlemen of the horse, to buy horses; and there goes over, at least, a man to three horses; and so, many men under that pretence steal over. If there be not above 8000, how is the honour of the nation exposed! He fears the honour of the nation as much as another, but would have a reason for his fears.

Lord Cavendish.] 'Tis said "there are not above 2000 English and Irish." 'Tis strange there should be no more. They won two battles for the French, the last summer, by their own confession, and are a number to do the like this summer—Would go into a Grand Committee.

Sir Thomas Lee.] To debate the thing clearly, you must resolve, whether to go into a Grand Committee—You must first state the matter—You are told of the King's prerogative, and that when you consider the number, you will be of another mind; therefore would go into a Grand Committee.

Sir Edmund Jennings.] The King tells you, "He will use all effectual means for preventing the going over of more men into France"—If that be so good an Answer, return thanks for that part of the Answer; and, when that is done, go into a Grand Committee to consider the rest.

Sir Thomas Meres] What part of the King's Answer will require a farther Address to the King, will be the subject-matter of the Grand Committee's Debate. It may be, Thanks to his Majesty will be a part; we know not. —Sees it contended, "that the forces in France, before the Treaty, are not obliged to be recalled;" but the objection must be thoroughly understood at the Committee. No man can say that there is any thing in our Address contrary to any Treaty. The matter requires a Question, and an Answer, and so must be omitted.

Mr Waller.] He has formerly seen how dear our meddling with peace and war has proved to us. We have no light nor measure at all in such things. All that comes to the King is from his own and foreign Ambassadors. These enquiries have been very fatal and costly to us. The House, in the last Treaty with Holland, gave advice; and the King asked it. Now it falls out properly, to see how that advice has been infringed; followed, or not followed. A knotty business there will come before you, this advice not followed—'Tis the Nation's glory to have the King the Mediator of peace, and christian commiseration requires it. The thing is of great weight, and would go into a Grand Committee.

Sir John Ernly.] Since you have had a Question firsted, and seconded, "for Thanks for that part of the King's Speech, of his effectual care to prevent the going over of more forces," you ought to put it.

Mt Secretary Williamson.] Here are two Questions; one, the main Question, about Thanks, &c. and the other, for going into a Grand Committee. If the matter be opened, doubts not but the whole Answer will require your Thanks. Supposes the thing may be done in the House, as well as in the Grand Committee. He is but young in it, and leaves that Question as you please.

Mr Powle.] To the first part of your Address you have a denial; to the second you have no Answer at all. There are several forces gone over since the Address—But men being sent away, and the thing depending, would therefore have it go to a Grand Committee.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] He has heard the King say, "Have not the ports a standing order, to stop persons? Must he send them one every week?"

Mr Hale.] There are few in number, indeed, of these forces left, because they are most killed—He knows he saw upon the road eighty in a company—They land at Boulogne, and will not land at Calais, because in view of the packetboats—The Duke of Monmouth's regiment is recruited by these men, and Turenne's army had been lost without them; and 'tis said in France, "they set the crown upon the King of France's head." He has lately had opportunity to know it in France.

Mr Vaughan.] Your vote cannot make that to be, which naturally is not, viz. "Thanks for the Answer, and that it is satisfactory." Possibly there may be a league in the case, and the King's honour concerned; and when we come freely to debate it, in a Grand Committee, we lay aside all these considerations.

The House resolved into a Grand Committee.

Sir Charles Harbord in the Chair.

Mr Garroway.] This is one of the seriousest businesses that ever was in the House—Would do nothing in it, to involve the nation in a war; but it staggers him to hear the King's obligation named; but yet what that obligation is, not spoken of Whether it be a treaty, or no; for what time, or on what condition, if declared, we may avoid that rock of a war. All we have told us is but a pennyworth of news in the Gazette every week. Sometimes we know things that they do not tell us. Let them set us up some marks whereby we shall not touch upon the King's honour, and they will be good guides to us for our Debate. The King of France is ready to overrun us all, if his conquests go on.

Sir Richard Temple.] If the Proclamation recalls not these forces, he would go as far in a Bill in it as may be. Proposes a farther Address to the King, "to recall all persons gone over since the Holland peace."

Mr Secretary Williamson.] How difficult is it to meddle, or come to any resolutions, in things where the facts are not known? He is not to answer for the King of France's violences and oppressions. 'Tis said he took Treves for his convenience only, and on intercession of letters, to break the neutrality of that place, he took that town himself into his possession. As soon as that spark sell upon the Palatinate, the King offered a mediation at Cologne. (fn. 9) Some matters are such in these affairs as cannot be said open unto you. He thinks that the King will do more than he says. 'Tis our great interest to balance the matter with Holland. He is as jealous of the successes of France as any man; and if this alliance be made with Holland and Denmark, and they strengthened by sea and land, we ought to think of that balance. When the peace shall be made, 'tis our interest to have it go through the King's hands. You were told of an exception, at Vienna, against our mediation; but he hears no such thing. Give this matter the best end you can, it will hazard our mediation. France has paid Sweden, though but a stander-by, and neutral; and whilst we show such a partiality as this recalling the forces will be, it will put the French King upon providing for himself, as not trusting our mediation. He fears that declaring ourselves so generally as is proposed in the recalling these forces, and being not obliged to it by the treaty of Holland, may be a just exception against our mediation, and may encourage France forsaking us in the general treaty of peace; they discovering we are declaring partialities, and so will reject us.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] The second sort of men are gone into France, since the Holland peace—The first are wholly omitted in the Answer—Doubts that the last part of the King's Answer is intricate. It is a general prohibition, but that is no part of our Address. The King tells you, "He will take any farther way to prevent their going over." If taken in a general sense, he is not satisfied that it is an Answer to our Address. As to that of the old men there, he says that there was no Article to the contrary, but that the King might recall them—Easy to know a Secret Article—No man to go into France or Holland—But the going into France is so public, the private Article is now as public. How know we what promises have passed from the King about these forces? He knows of none, nor is willing to believe any; being only spoken of by way of supposition—Williamson said, "We, not knowing the intimacy of things, might be deceived." But 'tis as certain, that the French King has taken Treves for his convenience, as that he has made this war for his glory. And farther, he tells you, "That the business of the Palatinate happened through the neglect of the interposition of the King of England." Is sorry to hear the authority of the King of England was employed to hinder the Elector—He might not have been so over-run—'Tis said, "this recalling, &c. would prejudice our mediation." Is one of those who understands not how the mediation can stand to the good of England. He apprehends that the King, without the assistance of the Parliament, could not carry a war on against Holland,—And is afraid that the authority and figure the King has in his neutrality would be made use of for the French advantage—Therefore desires the King may now be put out of that capacity of mediation, to make the King of France a terror to all Christendom. To continue France in all these acquisitions, and secured in all, or the greatest part—The Confederates wasted, and the French army maintained in the bowels of the Confederates country, scarce reparable in this age—If the Confederacy be dissolved before the French be reduced back to France again, the most ruinous thing in the world! When once the Confederates dissolve, and France in this high posture, fears that the Confederacy is never to be renewed to the end of the world. He speaks like an ordinary man; you have his good-will—'Tis a plain thing; he sees no good we can have when the Confederates are broken, and we strive to put the French [King] into that formidable condition, that we should be afraid to anger him now, what will it be to anger him then, when the Confederates are broken? He must have Dover, because he is angry with us, and over-run us at last, as he has done others.—Exceptions being taken by Mr Secretary Coventry at what fell from him, thus explains himself.—The King not to be in such a mediation as to leave the King of France a terror to all the world.

Mr Garroway.] If we were off from France, all the world would put us upon being mediators.

Col. Birch.] Littleton's words were, "Such a mediation as may make the King of France a terror to all Christendom."

Sir Thomas Lee.] The words are to be written down, that to eternity the world may know what the opinion of this House was.

Col. Titus.] It belongs to the Gentleman to explain himself—"As if the King should be so inconsiderable as not to be mediator." If any interpret the words so, the Gentleman must explain himself; and he has done it, and sees no reason why the words should be set down.

Sir William Coventry.] Begs leave to pass by what has passed, as a parenthesis, and proceed to the business. It is good news to him that the balance of France was so near being made by these forces. When France first made an inroad into Holland, how long was it before there was any thing to look her in the face! France sees, by that, the danger of letting the Confederates come together—When disunited and peace, no such thing as balance—That no predominant power be a terror to the rest, is our true balance between France and Spain. He wishes that the dust was a little shaken from the balance in the matter—He has not heard that mediations have been of such a value as to leave out the aid of a kingdom for them. He does not think that this withdrawing the forces would make us improper for being mediator, for som times mediations may help to obstruct peace as well as make peace. Many others are admitted for mediators as well as we. He has heard of the state of Venice, and the Pope, and respects are seldom refused when offered as mediation—Fears that the prevalency of France will spoil our markets more than any thing—When she has got peace, we are like to have a hard market—We can buy our wines but of one chapman then, but if France be brought low, you have choice of chapmen for any wares she can carry to market—Will offer something to the matter of recalling these forces—Does not conceive it possible to have these forces back, or prevent others going over, unless it be before Holland have peace with France. It was intended by the King and his Ministers, that no more should go over; yet they do. As long as regiments and officers are there, 'tis his interest to have them recruited, to keep the troops up to such a degree. The root will draw nourishment as long as it grows in your garden, and to destroy it you must pluck it up. When the thing is rightly considered, hopes the King will have other thoughts. There appears no treaty between France and Holland, and is consident that there is none. We have no treaty yet finished with Holland to establish commerce, and believes we would not send subjects to assist the King of France, to make him greater, 'till that be settled. 'Tis a probability, that after France has made peace, and ever shall be in a condition to reckon with us, they will do it, for making peace without them, as well as for withdrawing men away now. It is not ordinary for Princes to be bound up thus; the honour of a Prince, at home, is the maintenance of his subjects; and, abroad, not mistaking his interest. Did the King intimate he was to send to more forces? If the French King has used means to draw men over, he has cancelled all obligations to the contrary; therefore he hopes, that [there is] nothing in the whole matter but [what] we may have a gracious Answer [to]; and is for the Address for recall of the forces.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] All the long discourses here have been, "Whether we shall go to war with France, or no." As to the comparison of the "plant in a garden," the best answer to Experience is Experience. There is not one English pair of colours in Holland, and yet more men gone over into Holland, by thrice the number, than into France. These are things that cannot be avoided. A man of honour breaks not his word with any man, but much less where he is most obliged. If there should be any such agreement of no more acceptance of our troops, the cagles will go where the carcass is (fn. 10), where money is. More of our men have come over to Holland from the French army than we have sent into France. Should the world take notice of any unanimity betwixt you and the King, let all men lay their hands upon their hearts, and declare, whether the King can recall these forces with his honour.

Col. Birch.] England is of that spirit, rather to desire to know the worst of a danger, than stay till to-morrow for it. You are told of "secret engagements that may prostrate the honour of the King." In this case here is an end of your Debate. Either we must debate thus, or consider how the interest of the nation is. The King cannot miscarry when he goes into this bottom. There are ninety in a hundred against France, all England over. You may make war with France with the money he overbalances you in your trade, which you get, like bees, by industry—Remembers that if you had not only made peace with the Dutch, but told the King of France why you did it, you had not now debated this matter here. If you will not adjourn the Debate, put the Question.

Mr Sawyer.] Whenever you demand right you stick to it. As on the imprisonment of one of your Members, there is either cause shown for it, or else you deliver him. You have made Address upon Address for him, and if not released you adjourn, as in Lord Arundel's case, in the Lords House (fn. 11). Where an Address for a thing is matter of advice only, and not of right, you have always acquiesced in the King's Answer. If it be a demand of right, he is for adhering; but it being pure matter of advice, and the King tells you positively, "he cannot do it with his honour," where will it end if the King should deny you? And you cannot force the matter upon him, but leave him at his liberty—He appeals to precedents in this kind.

Mr Vaughan.] Finds now the whole stress of the business to be "the King's honour." "If all national contracts are broken, no nation will trust us." 'Tis so amongst common men—But after you find leagues have been destructive, it has been the prudence of Princes, (who may err like other men) to recall such leagues. When a peace shall be made, you expose these men to be knocked on the head; and when wounded, they have been knocked on the head to make room for the French. If you allow them to be there, you may be put to pay them before long—Therefore would recall them.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Inspect records, and you will find whenever a King has told you, "he could not concede a thing with his honour," that you never have farther pressed him to it.

Sir Edward Dering.] Would, in this great affair, take the deliberation of one whole night to consider of it, and would now adjourn the Debate.

Sir Thomas Mores.] To answer the objection of law—In the case of the Palatinate you will find a Message of this nature, and lately, in the Duke's Marriage with Modena, a second Address (fn. 12). He thinks we have a right to petition pro bono publico—These forces are documentum publicæ, a nusance; and doubts not but the Address will be with all humility imaginable.

The Question being put, Whether a farther Address should be made to the King for recall of his subjects now in the service of the French King, the Grand Committee thereupon divided; and the Tellers, viz. Sir Trevor Williams, and Sir John Hanmer, appointed by the Chairman, Sir Charles Harbord, differing in their account of the Years and Noes, some called, "Tell again," others, "Report;" on which great disorder began; gentlemen rifing from their places and mingling in the pit; hot and provoking discourses and gestures passed on both sides, especially betwixt Lord Cavendish and Sir John Hanmer. Some said, that Lord Cavendish's sword was half drawn out, but prevented by Mr Russel, who kept close to him. Others said, that Lord Cavendish spit in Sir John Hanmer's face, but that was only eagerness of speech, and so some might accidentally fly from him. But it was visible to all that Sir James Smith, setting his arms on his side, did, in a rude manner, make through the crowd, and jostled several, and came up to the table, where yet more hot discourses passed between him and Lord Cavendish, Mr Stockdale, Mr Sucheverell, and several others; Mr Stockdale, and some others, setting their scet upon the mace, which lay below the table, in the usual place at Grand Committees. This disorder continuing near half an hour, the standers by, on the upper benches, expecting very fatal consequences, especially when the young gallants, as Mr Thynne, Mr Newport, and several others, leaped over the seats to join Lord Cavendish. But the Speaker, very opportunely and prudently, rising from his seat near the Bar, in a resolute and slow pace, made his three respects through the crowd, and took the Chair. The mace was still retained by the said gentlemen, but, at last, being forcibly said upon the table, all the disorder ceased, and the gentlemen went to their places. The Speaker, being sat, spoke to this purpose, "That to bring the House into order again, he took the Chair, though not according to Order." Some gentlemen, as Mr Sacheverell, and others, excepted against his coming into the Chair, but the doing it was generally approved, as the only expedient to suppress the disorder (fn. 13).—Then

Sir Thomas Lee, approving of the Speaker's taking the Chair, though not according to Order] Moved that there might be an engagement passed upon the honour of every Member, standing up in his place, to proceed no farther in any thing that had happened in the unfortunate disorder at the Grand Committee, fearing that, as soon as the House had risen, the thing might be recriminated, and ill Consequences ensue thereupon.

Which was seconded by several, and agreed to. So every Member, standing up in his place, did consent accordingly; then particularly,

Col. Somerset Fox.] Declared that some warm ex pressions had passed between him and Sir Robert Thomas, but, upon command of the House, he would give his honour to proceed no farther thereupon.

Sir John Hanmer did the same, but named nobody.

So the House adjourned to the next day.


  • 1. There is no mention of this in the Journal.
  • 2. Sic M S.
  • 3. A Scotch Peer, hanged in England for murdering a FencingMaster, 24 James. Rapin.
  • 4. Murray was called in, and owned the petition at the bar.
  • 5. There is no mention of this in the Journal.
  • 6. This was to know his Majesty's pleasure, when he would be attended with a farther Address concerning the Duke of Lauderdale; but before he received the Order of the House to know his Majesty's pleasure, his Majesty had given directions for the above Answer to the first Address.
  • 7. Auditor of the Excise.
  • 8. In the Journal this precedes the Debate on Fagg and Sbirley.
  • 9. Sir Joseph Williamson himself was one of the Plenipotentiaries.
  • 10. St Mallbow.
  • 11. This was in the year 1626, when the Earl of Arundel was committed to the Tower for being two server in language on Lord Spencer, concerning the marriage of his eldest son. Henry, Lord Maltravers, to the Lady Elizabeth Stuart, eldest daughter to the Duke of Lenox; which, it was alleged, was done contrary to the King's consent and knowledge, he having designed her for Lord Lorn. When the Parliament met, the Lords, being discontented, presented several petitions to the King, to preserve the privilege of Parliament, and, no cause of his commitment being expressed, at length refused to fit, untill he was restored to them; which was ordered accordingly, in about three months. Collins's Peerage, Vol. I. p. 139.
  • 12. see Vol. II.
  • 13. There is no mention of this disturbance in the Journal; all that is there said is, "Mr Speaker resumed the Chair." But a writer, who was, probably, present at it, gives the following account. "One day, upon a dispute of telling the numbers upon a division, both parties grew so hot, that all order was lost; the Members ran in confusion up to the table, grievously affronted one by the other, every man's hand upon his hilt, and all ready to decide the question by the sword. But when the tumult was loudest, the Speaker had the honour to restore the peace, by maintaining the dignity of the Chair, after that of the House was gone, and obliging every man to stand up in his place, and engage his honour not to resent any thing of that day's proceedings." Marvell's Epistles, p. 47.