Debates in 1680: December 15th

Pages 147-171

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 8. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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Wednesday, December 15.

[His Majesty spoke as follows, in the House of Peers, which was afterwards reported in substance by the Speaker:

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"At the opening of this Parliament, I did acquaint you with the Alliances I had made with Spain and Holland, as the best measures that could be taken for the safety of England, and the repose of Christendom.

"But I told you withal, "That, if our Friendship became unsafe to trust to, it would not be wondered at if our Neighbours should begin to take new Resolutions, and perhaps such as might be fatal to us."

"I must now tell you, that our Allies cannot but see how little has been done since this meeting, to encourage their dependence upon us: And I find by them, that, unless we can be so united at home, as to make our Alliance valuable to them, it will not be possible to hinder them from seeking some other refuge, and making such new Friendships as will not be consistent with our safety. Consider, that a neglect of this opportunity is never to be repaired.

"I did likewise lay the matter plainly before you, touching the State and Condition of Tangier: I must now tell you again, that, if that Place be thought worth the keeping, you must take such consideration of it, that it may be speedily supplied; it being impossible for me to preserve it at an Expence so far above my power.

"I did promise you the fullest satisfaction your hearts could with, for the security of the Protestant Religion, and to concur with you in any remedies, which might consist with preserving the Succession of the Crown in its due and legal course of Descent.

"I do again, with the same reservations, renew the same promises to you; and, being thus ready, on my part, to do all that can reasonably be expected from me, I should be glad to know from you, as soon as may be, how far I shall be assisted by you, and what it is you desire from me."]


Sir William Jones.] Before you go off from this business, I would appoint some time for the consideration of the King's Speech. You have had reported in substance what the King spoke, and you expect a Copy. This Day is appointed for a great business, by Order: Appoint Saturday for the consideration of his Majesty's Speech, or what Day you please.

Mr Hampden.] I am well contented that you appoint a Day, but it was not anciently in Parliament that we should expect a Copy of the Speech, for we are all supposed to be there present, and if you, Mr Speaker, have mistaken in the Report of it, that may be rectified. This day will prepare you for the Debate of the King's Speech; will you be ready to consider it, till you have taken into consideration the State of the Kingdom? That having been considered, it will prepare you for an answer to the King.

Colonel Titus.] Though it is not the Custom here, to expect the King's Speech in writing, yet, when you have it in writing, I would have one Day set for the consideration of it.

Colonel Birch.] If I did not mishear the Speech, there was new matter in it, of an extraordinary nature, in the last words. The King does say (with much expectation) what he desires, and [would know] what you desire from him. He tells us, "We have spent two months, and he has not heard from us (fn. 1)." I do agree to the soonest Day.

Sir Robert Peyton at the Bar upon his knees, to receive the Sentence of Expulsion, &c.

The Speaker.] Sir Robert Peyton, it is a long time that you have had reputation in the World, and that you have served as Knight of the Shire for the County of Middlesex. Two Parliaments, the last and this, your Country made a free Election of you; your Country had a great opinion of you; and now you are in that condition, that you have appeared to the World the man you really were not. You have made a show, and have acted a part against Popery and Arbitrary Power, yet really and inwardly you have sought your own advantage, and not that of your Country. It is manifest, by the Report from the Committee, and your own Defence makes it clear. Many Gentlemen here, whose eyes are in their heads, their tongues and eyes have moved as well as yours. You have sat betwixt the Devil and the Witch, Mr Gadbury and Mrs Cellier. The dark ways you have taken show your ill designs; your company and conductors show your errand. You are fallen from being an Angel to be a Devil. From the beginning, you sought your own interest. To set up a Commonwealth, you had "twenty thousand men" to make your interest the stronger. You were bustling, like the wind, in this House, and in Coffee-houses. Your Country chose you to this Place, not only for your interest, but for an example to other men, not with noise and thundering, but to behave yourself without vanity or oftentation—You are one of them that have played your own game and part; and that all men may take notice, you are a warning for all other Members, and I hope there are none such. It shows that this Parliament nauseates such Members as you are. You are no longer a part of this noble Body. How you will reconcile yourself to your Country, is another consideration. You are discharged this House, and the Custody of the Serjeant, paying your Fees (fn. 2).

The King's Speech was read.

Mr Garroway.] I find in the Speech it is asked, "What assistance you will give the King?" Are you ready to say what it will require? You have had no Answer to your Addresses. You have done what you could in the time you have sat, and the reserves are the same in the Speech, as they were before. You have sent up your Bill to the Lords, and they have rejected it. I would know whether we shall have any thing, or nothing, for our security? You cannot at once sum up what you would have. You know not yet either matter or form; if you will, go on with the Debate. I would have a real, and not a verbal satisfaction, that we may give our Country an account. Till then, we are not ready to consider of a Supply.

Colonel Birch.] I am very glad to hear that Speech read. My desire is, that all things may be done for your Honour, both within and without the House. The King tells you, "That two months have been spent already (fn. 3)."—For my part, I see no more safety, than when we first met. The King desires us to lay open what we will have; if we want nothing, then there is an end. I would show the King plainly and truly what you would have to satisfy God and your Country, and I move that you will appoint a Day.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] If you appoint a Day, it may be that will not determine what you would have; but if the King ask you what you would have, and you make him no Answer—The burden of the Song is the Bill we lost in the Lords House. This is not a Parliament to part with Money, without a good Bargain, and I believe you will do it first. Therefore I move for Friday.

Col. Titus.] Two things the King's Speech consists of, viz. "That you will give him assistance," and "what you desire of him." If there be a difference betwixt Persons, we usually, to know what will satisfy, ask both sides. If I come and say, "I will make no Proposition," it is as much as to say "I will have nothing to do with you." We are not only to consider what will satisfy us, but those that sent us hither. Some say, we have an intention to alter the Government; and if we say nothing to the King, will not that justify that Report? Our own Interest, Civility, and Duty oblige us to answer. For my part, I would give Money, and not be penny wife, and pound foolish. When there is occasion, I am free to do it. I hope it is out of the Power or Oratory of any man to persuade us not to give Money upon a good occasion. Pray put the Question for a Day.

Saturday was ordered.

Mr Sheridan desired to be admitted, having something to offer to the House.

The Speaker.] Mr Sheridan, you ought not to come here, to offer any thing impertinent.

Mr Sheridan.] I shall say nothing, I hope, that will give offence, if you please to grant me liberty to say what I can, for my own vindication, of what I am charged with.

The Speaker.] You are not permitted to come hither to make a florid Speech; that will not avail you at all.

Mr Sheridan.] It is not my intention. I am here represented as a Person of no Fortune, (and in that, as in all the rest, I am traduced) to be "a Papist," and "a second Coleman;" as ridiculous, as "that I am the Duke's Confessor." That I am thus traduced, is my misfortune, not my crime. If it be vanity, the necessity will excuse me, if I give you a little History of myself.

The Speaker.] You are to give no History of yourself here, or Narrative of your Condition, but any thing of moment you may communicate.

He was bid to withdraw.

Lord Annesley.] Sheridan sent to speak with me, and I had your leave to go to him, and I shall tell you what passed from him material. He believes that his Cousin can give you an account of the Parliament-man that wrote that Letter which was found in his Chamber. He told the Secretary of Norris—He immediately did require it of him—and now every one is shifting it off from himself.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] I would call him in, and hear him. We shall not be much catched with his Rhetoric. Let us hear what he will say.

Lord Annesley.] He may make some little flourishes, but I believe will come to the business at last; he has been kept very close from pen, ink, and paper.

Mr Sheridan was called in again.

Mr Sheridan.] I was born a Gentleman, of Protestant Parents. My Father was of a good Family; my Mother was a Foster. At the beginning of the Rebellion, my Father saved several Protestants, and was a sufferer in the Rebellion, and fled. I was a younger Brother, and bred at the Temple, with a design to make the Law my livelihood. I farmed the Excise. My Brother managed it for me, and paid the money; but being not pleased with the rest of my Partners, I sold my Interest for four thousand pounds, and with it I bought Leases in the County of Corke, and for some of it I had Interest here. This will appear on Record, and not one tittle I say but I can justify. I was never the Duke's nor the Dutchess's Salary-man, or Pensioner. I went into Flanders for my curiosity, and into Germany, and I returned with the Duke by accident. Every year, from seventeen, I have received the Sacrament; and in Flanders I received it of the Duke's Chaplain. I have disputed for the Protestant Religion with all Orders of Fryars, and a Jesuit, more hot than the rest, said, "He could convert twenty Fanatics sooner than me." I challenge any man to charge me with an unjust action in my whole life. I know nothing of the Plot, and I abhor all such Designs. As for my going abroad, it was nothing about the Plot—Colonel Mansel is mistaken—At that time, I speak it in the presence of God, I had but slender acquaintance with the Duke. I put myself upon proof. No innocence can protect a man, if I know not the Authors and Contrivance, the whole chain, link by link. As for the story of the Secretary, &c. I knew nothing of it but from Dr Day, and not as Informer, but as Hearsay. It was not possible for me to obstruct Norris's Journey; I knew not of it; and as for Dowdall, (who is said to be made away with) I knew him not, nor ever heard of him. I shall only say, as to that part of the Popish Plot, I could not probably nor possibly know it. I never heard of Norris before Dr Day spoke of him. If I have given Offence, I humbly beg Pardon: If I cannot have it, I am sorry I am so unhappy. I hope it was no Crime, if a Gentleman of my Birth was transported; if I made the Messenger to fetch Doctor Day. As for the Paper, I have always endeavoured to keep my Conscience void of offence towards God and Man. The Paper was not written by me, nor to me, but, from the circumstances, I conjecture it from some Member of Parliament into the Country; for of Spanish (fn. 4) I understand not one word—If I knew the Author of it, I would tell you. The contents of that Paper I saw after; but the hand-writing, knowing it not, I threw into the fire—Seeing it was my Cousin's hand, I laid it on the drawer, without key or lock. I saw not my Cousin till next day, and was surprized, and said, "He must give the House an account"—I would say nothing abruptly, being surprized. As for Dr Day—I throw myself at the feet of the Justice of this august Assembly, where I shall be treated according to the Law of the Nation. If I am found criminal, I shall answer it at what rate shall be your pleasure.

The Speaker.] Who do you take this Member of the House to be, that wrote this Letter? The House expects you shall declare him.

Mr Sheridan.] My meaning is, That the expression, in the Letter, of the first two or three days spent in Ceremony at the opening of the Parliament, made me conjecture it came from a Member of Parliament: For myself, I did not lie one night out of London, from the time I returned from Newmarket. I am not acquainted with Members; I have been much abroad—In all places of my education, I have not learned one word of Spanish. I know not from whom the Letter may come, but it seems to be from some Member, a friend to the Court, and the Duke; but I know not either to or from whom the Letter came. He withdrew.

The Speaker left the Chair. Mr Powle took it. The House in a Grand Committee, [on the State of the Nation.]

Lord Cavendish.] The House has resolved itself into a Grand Committee, to consider the present State of the Nation, and the Grievances we lie under. I shall give my opinion and apprehensions, how weak soever they be, because I see a silence in the House. I confess, till Monday last, I was in a little dispute with myself whether we were in earnest. A week has been spent in Lord Stafford's Tryal, but several weeks before were spent upon things of not so great moment as we ought to have spent our time upon, as of Trade, and sending for people in Custody. At the beginning of the Parliament, a Bill was brought in to exclude the Duke the Succession of the Crown, and had it gone on, it would have been a satisfaction and security to the Nation; but it miscarried in the Lords House; and no wonder it did so, when we consider that persons relied upon it to avoid the censure of this House. Those that have believed that none of these circumstances go out of England with the Duke, if they are not convinced of their error, I believe they will be. I would have national things go upon national bottoms, and not do good things by indirect ways, not to change persons, but things. As to that Bill we have lost, I had nothing to say against it; it was reasonable and just—As if the King had not power to make such alterations for the safety of the Nation—But he who says, "That the King's power is more than Parliaments have given him," is little versed in English story. But now this Bill has miscarried. I remember a metaphor from a Gentleman, (Titus) "If a man be pursued for his life, it is a wonder any man would advise him to ride moderately (fn. 5)." I think, if we leave things as they are, we shall leave the Nation in a deplorable and unsettled condition, before we shall have opportunity to pass that Bill, of which my notions are a little indigested, but may be improved. My opinion is, "To consider of a Form of Association to adhere to a Protestant Heir declared by Parliament, and all that come not into it, to be incapable to bear any Office." And "That there may be Heads drawn up for a Bill to this purpose," is my humble Motion.

Mr Montagu.] I believe there is great expectation, both without and within doors, of this Day's Debate, which I wish may be for the satisfaction of every body. The Order of the Day is, "To consider how to prevent Popery and Arbitrary Power." Ever since the Parliament sat, we have been about that—Some time has been taken up in the Bill of excluding the Duke, and Tryal of a Popish Lord, and another thing, in punishing those who hindered the Subject from petitioning for Parliaments. These three are all I can recollect; none more against Popery than the two first, nor for our Safety and Property than the rest, &c. You were told, upon the Debate upon the Bill of excluding the Duke, "That though it did pass, there was a Loyal Party, that would stick to the Duke (fn. 6)." Now if there be not a Protestant Party, who will stick to themselves, and a Couragious Party, that will stick to that Bill, we must trust to God's Providence; and I hope some skillful Persons will bring about this Bill, if not, something else, to secure us against Popery and Arbitrary Power.

Mr Harbord.] I suppose the wisdom of this Committee will do something upon the occasion of our fears of Popery and Arbitrary Power; but which you will go upon first, I am indifferent, I leave it to your wisdom; but cure Popery, and you may easily prevent the other. Lord Cavendish's Motion, I consess, I am fond of, that we may by Law defend ourselves against popery, and not only that, but any thing of the like effect; but I had rather have had the Bill; but since it has that fate to be thrown out in the Lords House, and we cannot compass it again without the King, by a Prorogation of the Parliament, let us make but one step; return the trust betwixt the King and us, and that Bill may be had. It is not so necessary for us to give the King Money, as friendship and kindness; there are such that labour to alienate the King from us, that if you give Money, it will have that fate that our safety shall be no more than before, though ever so well employed. No malefactors, without the King's help,can come to Justice—A Bill of Association will take up some time. But I will propose something that I hope may be of effect. I derive not my fears from the Prayers of Monks and Fryars, but from their Swords. A Gentleman told me, "That there are a sort of Papists of courage that meet in London in numbers," and we labour under the Plot, going on as fast as ever. Therefore I propose this, that, since there are two or three hundred of the most eminent Catholics that keep Correspondence in carrying on their designs throughout the Kingdom, let the Knights of the Shire bring in the names of the principal Papists, and call to their Assistance the Members for London and Westminster, and in a day or two's time, such as are best known to be Papists, let their names be brought to the Table, and a Bill be brought in, that those persons be banished the Kingdom. They are not Subjects, nor can be, to the King. That Oath of Secrecy (you have seen) tells you that we cannot be safe if they be here; but pick out one, two, or three hundred of the most considerable men to be banished by Law, and if they come in again to the Kingdom, let them come as Traytors. They are freer than we, they bear no Offices, nor have any burdens. I move, "That they may be banished."

Sir William Hickman.] I would look forward to Lord Cavendish's Motion, which affects me, that, though the Bill be gone, you may get some steps up hill. You may immediately bring in a Bill for banishing some Papists (as has been moved) and then the other Bill of Association, as the best means to defend ourselves from the Papists designs.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] You have had many Motions, but I do not see how they will obtain your end. As long as the Papists hope, or have a prospect, that the Duke may succeed the King, the Protestant Religion, the Lives and Properties of the People, will be in danger to be destroyed.

Sir John Hotham.] We now contend for all we have, for they would have had all we have. No composition can be had, therefore I would be in so good earnest as to expect no quarter from the Duke; for my part, I do not; not that this Bill, or the other, will effect your security; we must have it in the higher House. If Papists have so much interest as about me, where, upon return of a great one thither (the Duke out of Scotland) he was no sooner come into the Country but the Military Officers went and attended him in a body. It is very dangerous they should so far adore a person, who, I believe, is so far concerned in the Plot. The great Papists hope, That the sheep will be scattered, when the shepherd is stricken.

Mr Leveson Gower.] I would banish all the Papists, lest they be like the Court, in the Long Parliament; when they had taken off one active man from the interest of his Country, another as considerable did start up. They take all the care to get the Protestant Papists into the Administration of the Government; they are encouraged, and true Protestants turned out. Next to Papists, I would consider to put out those popishly affected. When they are banished, next you may take into consideration how their Estates shall be disposed of, and how to breed their Children, and that the next Heir be a Protestant—I would have a Bill to banish all considerable Papists, excepting no one man in England whatsoever.

Sir Francis Winnington.] Those Motions that have been made are very considerable. In the condition we are in, no man will hinder what is against Popery; but the Order the Committee is to go by is, "To consider the State of the Kingdom." Now, if you will be pleased to take a memorial of what Motions have been made, and no man contradicts it, when the Debate is at an end, the several remedies proposed may, upon the whole Debate, be put to the Question upon every one of them; not to foreclose any thing. But pray put no Question upon any of them, till the whole Debate be ended.

Sir William Jones.] I take leave to differ from the Gentleman that spoke last. Our state is so bad, that I fear, if we launch out into particulars we shall do nothing. Some matters are so single, that to lay them by will be the way to forget them. All our Grievances, were they ever so great, or their numbers ever so many, yet our security against Popery is the most necessary. Therefore I am for that. This matter being the sense of every man, I would have the Question, "Whether it shall be recommended to the House, that such a Bill be brought in?"

Mr Harbord.] Whoever thinks that this will answer your expectation, in the whole matter, will be deceived. For my part, to take away the prospect of a Popish Successor (which puts the people in fear) the first step to weaken that Man is to take a Province from an enemy; you will make a great step, by banishing the Papists the Kingdom, and this will create a distrust betwixt them and the Duke. They will tell the Duke, "It is for your fake we suffer all this;" and they, being abroad, will abandon his interest, and discourage him. When the Bill of Succession was debating, a Gentleman [Hyde] talked of "a loyal Party, that would stick to the Duke." We will be loyal to our King; let them be loyal to their King. We will support our King; let them support theirs. You may have talk of Rex de jure, and Rex de facto, which I value not.

Mr Trenubard.] I would spend no time, which proposal to take first into consideration. If we run over all our Grievances, and have remedies for them, nothing can be a compensation for our loss of the Bill against the Duke's Succession; but we may in some measure supply it by banishing the Papists the Kingdom; and not to stop there, but that no Papist be capable to enjoy one foot of Land, either of Freehold or in Trust. As the Law is now, the King is to have two thirds of the Estates of Papists convict, which is of little advantage to the Crown; and that the next Heir should not enjoy the Estate, unless he be a Protestant; and means to discover Trusts. That it be Felony to be in Trust for any Papist's Lands, and that any Foreigner that can purchase twenty pounds a year may be ipso facto a free denizen.

Mr Hampden.] I do not take this Bill for banishing the Papists to be full payment for the loss of our Bill in the Lords House, and I hope, before the Debate be over, it will be made fully appear. Taking away the Army of Papists will not fully do. Popery, in a great measure, is set up for Arbitrary Power's sake; they are not so forward for Religion. For well informed men of the Protestant Religion to turn Papists, there is something of interest in it, and when men are given over to it, it choaks mens understandings. Pray therefore put the Question, "That one means to suppress Popery is to banish some considerable Papists out of England."

Mr Paul Foley.] I cannot agree to this Bill singly, for you give them provocation by banishing them. Therefore in the same Bill, I would enable the Protestants to defend themselves against the Papists, or any in their behalf.

Colonel Titus.] Pray observe one Rule from me: If you will do nothing till you can do every thing, we shall do nothing. One in my house advises me not to suspect thieves, but to disarm those that would help me, and arm those that would hurt me; but my house is robbed during this Debate. I heard it from a great man, the Swedish Ambassador; says he, "You are perplexing yourselves with the Papists; their principles are such, as oblige them to give you perpetual disturbance; you exercise cruelties upon them, a disturbance to them, and unquiet and danger to us. Banish some of the principal, and the rest will run away." Whilst we are in deliberation what to do, we shall all be ruined; it is not their Number, but their Quality; their Heads will be taken away, the rest will signify little, and at present it will give you great security; and you must begin somewhere; and you do not preclude yourselves from going farther.

Sir William Cowper (fn. 7).] If the Swedes had not banished a Popish Successor, they had never got out the Papists, and if any Papist be found there to come to the Crown, he is dispossessed. The late Queen of Sweden voluntarily resigned her Crown, for fear of being deposed; but they keep not up a standing Army (as has been said) to maintain this Law, but from apprehension of foreign Power, all their neighbours doing the same. Unless you banish the Duke, as well as the Papists, we can have no hopes of preserving the Protestant Religion and the quiet of the Nation.

Mr Harbord.] This Day is appointed to consider of the State of the Nation; and you have appointed a Day to consider of the King's Speech (which was a wise one) which I shall remind you of. The King asks you, "What you would have done for your safety?" Now if you make wise steps, you will gain ground upon the affections of the People. I must confess, I am one of those who would lay things plainly before the King. I would fain now try the King what he will do, as an Earnest-penny, and would say, "Sir, your Majesty promised in your Speech that you would do your part to contribute to our safety; here is now a tryal; our Addresses have had small effect, and great matters have been expected from your Majesty this Parliament." Let us see now if the King will come in to us, and we shall see whether the King's Council be to blame; and the Papists will see they have no trusting in the King for them. It is one good step, not to involve this with other matters; you will else raise up difficulties. This Motion will be one step to secure you; when that is done, I hope the Bill will pass in three days, and I hope for greater: If not, I expect nothing; and the People will think you have done worthily.

Mr Foley.] The Danger of the Papists is, that the Government should take their parts, or should have foreign assistance to support them. The Design of this Day is to propose something to secure the Protestant Religion, and I would do nothing else to the King.

Mr Garroway.] I rise only to speak to that of having all to go in a single Bill. I have seen an unlucky miscarriage in things so yoked, that they could not go forward. By this, we shall see where the thing pinches. I think a great many things are amiss, and when you suppress the Papists, take heed you do not forget Protestants. I have not seen your Bill for Indulgence, &c. I would unite Dissenters, for that disjunction has made you weak. That Bill will invite Protestants who are persecuted abroad to come hither, and we shall have them instead of Papists, and to consider whether our great Judges shall have their Places precarious—We have no great reason to be fond of these, for what they have done. I would have some provision against illegal Commitments by Secrecaries from the Council-Board, and to consider of inland Garrisons. Pray, who are these men to fight against? Pray sink the inland Garrisons to defend Tangier. You have had many things complained of; do not set up your rest here. I cannot but mention the unlucky Peace at Nimeguen, and the Army at Blackheath. This, that has been proposed, is first necessary, and pray let it go alone.

2. Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that one means for suppressing Popery is, That the House be moved, that a Bill be brought in, to banish immediately all the considerable Papists out of the King's Dominions (fn. 8).

Sir William Jones.] The Parliament of England has power over all the subjects of England; we may banish the Papists out of any place; we shall put such penalties into the Bill, and I hope we shall banish them out of Scotland, as well as England.

Colonel Birch.] When you do this, I hope you will make more haste. I am for an Addition to the Question. Let care be taken of other things, and that they have no prospect of a Popish Successor. Pray take care to send away the Priests as well as the Laymen. Let that be an Addition to the Question.

Colonel Titus.] If they be beggars, they care not where they go, nor for you, but those that leave Estates behind them; therefore I move, "That they may be banished out of the King's Dominions."

Which passed as above.

Mr Montagu.] My opinion is, that this alone will not do your business. When a house is on fire, and buckets of water are not sufficient to quench it, the engine must be made use of. Our only security is Lord Cavendish's Motion; an Association.

Sir William Cowper.] We cannot now exclude the Duke from the Succession; the Lords have thrown out our Bill. The next best thing is, to be able to defend yourselves against him. That being done, the King will be more forward to remove ill men from his Council.

Sir Thomas Meres.] As your danger grows greater, so must your remedies too. I do not desire to oppose any thing that has been offered, but I would willingly know what Associations have been formerly. I have not searched into this thing; but if it was a Law in Queen Elizabeth's time, I should be glad to see it, and have it read. It is wholly a new thing to me.

Colonel Birch.] Before we come to vote an Association, I would see the nature of it, that so we may not defend ourselves with fig-leaves. But till care be taken to prevent a Popish Successor, you do nothing. Till then, the King cannot be safe. I would therefore vote, "That as long as we are in danger of a Popish Successor, neither the King, nor we, nor the Protestant Religion, can be safe."

Sir Henry Capel.] This Debate is occasioned by the Negative our Bill has received in the Lords House, and nothing proposed from thence instead of it. As long as we have a Popish Successor in prospect, we have no safety for our Religion. You must begin with the hands in the Government. If the Government be in an Army, you must begin there; if in the Navy, then begin with the Admiral. Some men, by that prospect, will comply out of ambition, and some out of fear. Take this as a foundation, and something may be farther offered.

2. Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that, as long as the Papists have any hopes of the Duke of York's succeeding the King in the Kingdoms of England and Ireland, and the Dominions thereunto belonging, the King's Person, the Protestant Religion, and the Lives, Liberties, and Properties of all his Majesty's Protestant Subjects are in apparent danger of being destroyed.

Sir Francis Winnington.] Though it be late in the Day, I must move you, that this will not do your work, though it be a good ingredient. I look upon it, that in this Day's result the King's welfare, and all his Protestant Subjects, are concerned. I will speak plain English. We have had the misfortune to lose our Bill in the Lords House. Every Gentleman here speaks for the public interest, and I cannot beat it out of my mind, because whoever was against that Bill hath not given us any other security. Those Lords who were for that Bill, and against Lord Stafford, are in great danger; and Nature teaches self-preservation. But it is difficult to speak to this business, when the whole frame of the Government is out of order, and Popery so publicly carried on by the Ministers. From the Minister of State to the Constable, they are either Popish, or dare not but do as they are commanded. This Bill which passed this House (I will not say, Nemine contradicente; I will do no man wrong) we have no material security without. Whoever advised the King against it, value their own safety more than the Protestant Religion—Pray God their Posterity feel it not! Judges that hurry away a Jury, and such as are afraid of the strength of that Bill, throw it out, right or wrong. Most have the same sentiments I have of it, if they be Protestants. What I conclude with shall be Lord Cavendish's Motion, who humbly bewailed that Bill. I will conclude, if it be possible, to have that Bill, though not yet in effect, yet not to lie in our beds and suffer our throats to be cut, and cry, " God help us!" and have nothing to help ourselves. But by reason of our condition, I will present to your consideration the State of the Kingdom, still in order to this Association, or to provide a better Expedient to save us. On every occasion, we have complained of Mismanagement of Affairs. When the Parliament does not sit, the Council-Board sends out Proclamations under the Great-Seal; and the Council undertakes to judge Rights of Freehold and Trade; and lets ships go for the African Company, as the persons are Popishly affected, or not. Judge Archer held his Place by Patent, Quamdiu se bene gesserit, and yet he is turned out; and there will be Error in Fines if he be not named in them. He is turned out of his Freehold, and yet Fines run in his name. If a man be put out of the Freehold of his Office, the next step will be, the Freehold of his Land. A Law to make the Judges Places Quamdiu se bene gesserint, would be to much purpose, when the Council-Board shall turn them out at pleasure!—And if you check not the Exorbitancy of the Judges in intervals of Parliament (it may be, they thought we should never have Parliaments more) you may lose your Lives and Freeholds. These Proceedings of the Council-Board, and the illegal and arbitrary Actions of the Judges, must have marks set upon them. It may be, Gentlemen may see strange Agitations in Corporations of the debauched fort of the Kingdom, who have no sort of Religion, but will warp with their interest. I fear them more than Papists; they are supported by ill Ministers, fetched as far as Berwick; and if a man acts according to Magnet Charta, he lies in prison, pays great fees, and is sent home with reflection into his Country. That Act of Corporations is horribly abused; ill men taken in, and the best kept out. Another thing I am unwilling to speak of, and that is, the Clergy swerve and warp; a sort of Clergy, that, when the Protestant Religion was in danger, threw out the Bill like a dead weight (fn. 9), and never would so much as hear our Reasons for it; right or wrong, they were resolved to do it; and these are the men that must rectify our consciences. There are another sort of dignified Men; when half a year ago Popery shined mightily, their usual discourses were, to comply with their interest, which, for the loaves and fishes, would excite the Judges to severity against Dissenters. When we see the Militia of London, what essays they have made, and in the Country, if they please, they disarm men at discretion; God forgive them that made that Act! It is a most arbitrary Power; if they favour Popery more than the Protestant Religion, they may disarm all the Protestants. Here is our mischief, this mighty unlimited Act made with a handle to destroy all Protestants. This being so in the several parts of England, both in Church and State; and as for the University, Lidcutt, that gave Evidence for Lord Stafsord at his Tryal, and a Fellow of King's College in Cambridge, in that great Presence to avow the Employment he had from Lord Castlemaine!—And this is from men that govern the Militia, the Law, the Church, and CouncilBoard. If you were an eye-witness, as we have been in the Courts of Westminster, it would make you long for a Parliament. But what has the poor Protestant to defend himself? By what Fitz-gerald informed you at the Bar, the welfare of all Ireland depends upon this Session of Parliament, and, I believe, of England too. Our danger increases every day. We have addressed for the Removal of some Great Men from the King's Councils, but not one man has been removed. Judges have been accused, and not one man displaced; and whise we rectify, not one step is made to amendment. Our Ancestors never found one good Bill that the Lords rejected; they have thrown out our Bill, and propose not one word of Expedients; but the design, I believe, is to make the House of Commons do something to deny themselves. If once we could see a possibility of having the Bill against the Duke pass, the King would be easy, but some Ministers uneasy. In one week then, no doubt but we should be all safe in our Liberties and Religion. When I have said this, I put myself into a hard question, What to do? The last Parliament made a Vote, "That, should the King come to an untimely end (which God prevent!) they would revenge it to the utmost upon the Papists." I would willingly serve the King; but would to God he would let us serve him! I will tell you what I read this morning in a Law-Book. It was Calvin's Case, Coke's seventh Report, fol. 4. It tells you what makes a lawful Subject: "Protectio trahit subjectionem, Protection is reciprocal. An Englishman (and a Parliament, a fortiori) if like to be ruined, may come to his Prince to be saved." I will give you one instance more. I think I am not at the bottom of the business. The Pensioners passed the Poll-Bill for an actual War against France, because the Ministers had absolute necessity for Money: The Treasurer's Letter to Mr Montagu was "to make peace for three hundred thousand pound, &c. but he must keep it close from the Secretaries (fn. 10)," and it was compounded to deliver us up to France. (Men may suffer secretly for what they say here sometimes.) But what shall we do to be saved? I find, in Queen Elizabeth's time, that it was apprehended a Popish Successor would undo her in her Reign: Though the Protestant Religion was not yet well-grown, the People of England entered into an Association, "That, if the Queen should fall, or the Papists should make any Attempt upon her, they would avenge it even unto death." But I have heard say, "By what Law did they this?" There were good Ministers of State in those days, and the Parliament so well countenanced that Action as to make it a Law. (He reads one Paragraph of that Association, &c.) But the cui bono of all this. You have heard good Proposals to-day, to draw a Bill of Association by. You may take notice of the danger Religion is in, and the King's Person, and all his Protestant Subjects. If this be true, we have a Right to be protected. I would agree to an Association; and, if the Lords redress us not, then I would make Application to the King, to be a screen betwixt the Lords and us; and now they have swallowed Lord Stafford, they may be of our minds; so that I move with other kind of hopes and language than I used to do; for I believe the Lords fears increase as well as ours. (According to Rule of Grammar, "a Popish Protestant" is a contradiction, but in Religion it is a great truth.) I would have it, by this Bill of Association, "That any man may take arms against a Popish Successor, and Felony to resist." You must take some speedy remedy, or else all is undone.

Sir William Jones.] Here has been much Debate upon this matter. Winnington has said so much, that he has left me little to say; he has enumerated many things, but, amongst the rest, he has not spoken of an Association against the Judges, Clergy, or Privy-Counsellors. For my part, I think such an Association a very good thing; though I tell you, my fears are, that we shall have as little success in this matter as we have had in the former. The interest of the same men that stopped the Bill in the Lords House will stop another if it be worth any thing, or if it be adequate to the former; but that ought to be no discouragement: But to take a pattern of Association from that of the 27th of the Queen, that will not do. The Taylor that made me a suit when I was seven years old, cannot make me one by the same measure when I am forty. Those who were her Counsellors and Ministers, at that time, took great care to keep out Popery; so far was an Association from a Crime, that the Privy-Counsellors at that time joined with the people in it. I hope they will do so now; but since they are not of the same disposition now, as they were then, I fear it. I wish they were. I am not Lawyer good enough to dispute whether an Association for preservation of the King's Person be against Law; but if you make it a Law, then it is out of doubt. Mary Queen of Scots was then in being, and there was care to keep off the danger of her Succession; therefore not so much care then, for the thing would execute itself. There was not such occasion then as now. There was no care to prevent Popery, in the Queen's life, for they did not fear any influence upon the Queen, as to make any such attempt during the Queen's life; but I would have this Law take effect during the King's lifetime, so that if the Papists should be in arms to bring in their Religion, we may have a Law on our sides to defend ourselves. I never fear the Papists arguments, though their Priests are cunning Fellows. If they hold their hands, I never fear their heads. Queen Elizabeth's Case was to preserve the Queen's life, and therefore I hope we shall yet have a Bill excluding any Papist from the Crown. If you do any thing, do that; else a sheet of brown paper will be as good a Law as that of an Association. I have showed you what will do, and what will not, and therefore pray put the Question for a Bill, &c.

3. Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That the House be moved, that a Bill be brought in for an Association of all his Majesty's Protestant Subjects, for the safety of his Majesty's Person, the defence of the Protestant Religion, and the preservation of his Majesty's Protestant Subjects, against all invasions and oppositions whatsoever, and for the preventing of any Popish Successor.

Mr Hampden.] Since this is a Vote to load your Bill, the essential part of it, you must not leave it to Westminster-Hall to determine, but name a Popish Successor.

Lord Cavendish.] I am afraid that, if the Duke be named in the Bill, it will be liable to the exception in the former Bill of Exclusion. As for defining "a Popish Successor," I believe the generality of England will not exclude "a Protestant Successor."

Sir George Hungerford.] In the Holy League of France, the Duke of Guise excluded Henry IV, by name.

Mr Trenchard.] Mary Queen of Scots was first excluded by Queen Elizabeth, and then passed the Act of Association, and nothing can secure you more than that course; you cannot repose the same trust now, as in Queen Elizabeth's time; to say "a Popish Successor" in general, we cannot repose that Trust in Westminster-Hall in general to define it.

Sir William Jones.] Pray hear my objection, and give me satisfaction. I am afraid that, if absolutely and in plain terms you name the Duke, you will lose your Bill, and that justly, unless by a Prorogation of the Parliament; for in one Bill we exclude the Duke. and in another Bill in part of it. If it be so judged, it is unreasonable to associate against a man not named. I desire to have satisfaction in this point, before we do the same thing again.

Mr Hampden.] If the case prove to be thus, that the Bill should be cast out, and therefore the Lords reject it, because it is not Parliamentary; I say then, if the Duke must not be named, he must not be implied, in this Bill.

Sir William Jones.] We are to associate de futuro, and that implies Exclusion of the Duke; but if it be as is said, if the Duke be not named, yet you intend him; but I would be informed, whether, because it may not be done, you will leave out the whole Clause?

Sir William Pulteney.] I think we are under difficulties. We cannot have the same Bill pass that was rejected the last Parliament. Who shall be judge of this Popish Successor, if the King die, or be barbarously made away? Therefore, if you expect any effect of this Association, it must be in præsenti. In an issue upon Tryal of this, the King cannot be Party, and if this be not settled by you, you will have the Judges and Deputy-Lieutenants against you; if not, some power superior to them to judge it, and it will never be of any effect. I will therefore propose who shall be Judges of this: We are the proper Judges; therefore I propose, "If there shall be a Parliament in being when this shall happen, that Parliament shall determine it; but if none, then the last Parliament that was in being."

Colonel Birch.] If you name the Duke, your Bill will be liable to the objections mentioned; if you run yourselves upon these difficulties, it is your fault. Prudentially, the King may desire to know what assurance you will give him to extricate him out of difficulties? It is one of your desires to be delivered from the Duke by name, and then you are safe from him—But you may be denied that, which if you be, then you may think of an Association. But as yet I have not heard what that Association is; it is yet in the clouds; yet nothing else can save us. But if the House, in a Committee, will sit every day, that we may be prepared what to desire of the King; if it be reasonable, all the World are judges thereof. Let this Association alone till all other ways are considered of.

Mr Paul Foley.] We need no longer debate this, for we are all agreed in an Association, but not to the last words of "excluding a Popish Successor;" therefore pass the Question as it is worded, and every one may have farther time to think.

The Question passed as above.

Sir Francis Winnington.] I believe, the most favourable construction of the Judges will be for the Duke. I would make no scruple of naming the Duke in this Bill, if it was Parliamentary; but though the Duke be named, it is not the same Bill, and we have broken no Rule of Parliament to preclude us; but we may show, at a Conference with the Lords, that this Bill is another thing. To exclude one in prospect, is as if he were naturally dead, quoad the merit of the Crown. This Bill does suppose a Popish King, but if we see the Duke comes to the Administration of the Crown, "What!" (will they say) "is the Duke a convicted Papist? If he be not, how can you exclude him the Crown?" In the instance of Hen. IV, they did not deny him King of France, but say they "We will not lose our Religion by having him King." But this is aliud, it is another kind of remedy than the former Bill of Exclusion, and Parliamentary to bring it in. If this be construed the same Bill, we shall do no good this Parliament—It excludes not him, but saves us —If once it be said, that this House has altered their minds, and will not name the Duke, it will show weakness—One Bill excludes his Right, but this only defends our Religion.

Sir Thomas Lee.] If general words will do your work, why will you use particular ones? If you put it upon "any person convicted," it will be understood.

Lord Cavendish.] It is said, "This Bill is not the same with the Bill of Exclusion;" yet you will furnish those Lords that have no mind to pass the Bill with Arguments against it.

[The Duke of York was named in the third Resolve, they were all agreed to by the House, and a Bill was ordered to be brought in pursuant to the first.]


  • 1. This does not appear in the printed Speech.
  • 2. The Speaker performed his Office, of censuring Sir Robert Peyton, in such coarse terms, and thereby so highly exasperated him, that the Session was no sooner over, than he challenged him; but, instead of answering it, Mr Williams, with more propriety than gallantry, made his Complaint to the Privy-Council, and Sir Robert was, in consequence thereof, again committed to the Tower. Ralph. Sir Robert took care to have the most offensive part of this Speech printed, under the following Title, "A Specimen of the Rhetoric, Candour, Gravity, and Ingenuity of William Williams, Speaker to the late House of Commons, at Westminsier, in his Speech to Sir Robert Peyton, when he expelled him that House." See it in Sir John Reresby's Collection.
  • 3. See Note, p. 148.
  • 4. Alluding to the Spanish Proverb mentioned in the Letter. Seep.119.
  • 5. See Vol. VII. p. 400.
  • 6. See Vol. VII. p. 450.
  • 7. Father of Lord Chancellor Cowper, and one of those who had this year presented Reasons to the Grand Jury of Middlesex for an Indictment against the Duke of York for not coming to Church. He was Grandfather to the present Earl Cowper.
  • 8. "Of England" was afterwards inserted in the Vote.
  • 9. Three Bishops only voted for the Bill.
  • 10. See Vol. VI. p. 348.