Debates in 1681: January 7th

Pages 259-285

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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Friday, January 7.

[The House was informed, That] a Writ of Habeas Corpus had been directed to the Serjeant of the House, to bring the Body of Mr Sheridan to Mr Justice Raymond's (fn. 1) house in Chancery Lane.

Mr Boscawen.] The Judge might not have gone so far as he has done. It may be, the Serjeant had other Prisoners, and your Commitment of Sheridan is not for Breach of Privilege. He is a Serjeant at Arms, though he attend the House; so it does not appear but that the Serjeant may have Sheridan in Custody upon another Warrant. I would be careful to preserve the Privilege of the House on the one hand, and the Habeas Corpus on the other. I would have the Serjeant give the Judge an account, "That he has Sheridan in Custody, but that he knows not that he has him legally, &c."

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Lord Shaftsbury was committed by Parliament, and took out his Habeas Corpus, but the Judges had the discretion to remand him; and a Habeas Corpus does lie, unless for Treason, Felony, or in Execution and convict persons, &c. Commitments of the Commons are in execution. As I now stand apprized of it, the Serjeant may carry Sheridan to the Judge with the cause of his Commitment.

Sir Francis Winnington.] I take this business to be worth your consideration. The case of Lord Shastsbury is not this case. The Act of Habeas Corpus was made since that time. On the other hand, it is rarely found, that Person, committed by either House, has been sent for by the Judges. As I would do Justice to the Subject, so I would not, out of compliment, give up your Privilege. I would adjourn this Debate till to-morrow, and go upon the Business of the Day. I speak not for an Order, but because there is a Penalty in the Statute, I would consider of it for the Serjeant's sake.

It was adjourned to the next day.

The King's Message was read, which see p. 234.

Mr Booth.] I desire to trouble you with a few words. His Majesty, in the beginning of his Message, tells us, "He has all disposition to give us satisfaction, &c." I do not doubt his gracious inclination to this House, when he pursues the dictates of his own Judgment, without consulting other persons. There is nothing in our Address but what might be understood at first sight, and needed no time of consideration. He knew it before it was presented by this House, and all remedies have been ineffectual but the Exclusion. The thing has been thoroughly debated, and settled, and why we should withdraw from it, I know not; and why the King should be confirmed not to do it, I am in the dark. It is known how the King's presence does influence the Lords House, and that Titles are given rather by interest than merit. And men so influenced shall I believe? Shall I believe worse of my servants, because what they did was by my directions? The King, in his Message, says, "What shall be done by us in a Parliamentary way, &c. he will comply with." But when I consider that nothing, without a miracle, can deliver us, but the Bill of Exclusion, if we are deprived of that, we cannot preserve the King's Person, nor the Government, nor enable him to preserve Tangier. Till now, I never knew the consequence of Tangier, and that Tangier is the principal thing for our safety—I cannot dive into that mystery; if it be like a lame leg to beg Money by, and then like Dunkirk to be sold—This is a time not to be very modest. Is not this of the Duke, for a man, before his Father be dead, to set up for himself, to defraud his Father of his just Right? We find the Duke in every part of the Evidence of the Plot; and what to do, but to eclipse his Father's glory, who died a Martyr for the Protestant Religion? Who was it that released the Persons taken firing of London? I hope they will remember him for it. Arbitrary Power has been setting up ever since King James's time; and Arbitrary Power will be set up with Popery; and there is no means but this Bill of Exclusion, without which, Popery and Arbitrary Power will be set up; and it is the more dangerous, because carried on so in the Court, that one would think the King had a hand in it. But my Allegiance teaches me to pay my Duty, as an English Subject, to an English King. But there is great cause why they should be coupled, since Popery and Arbitrary Power are the touch-stones for a man to be in employment at Court; and I have little hope of good from Whitehall while those men are there. Converts are usually more zealous than those bred up Papists; and he that apostatizes is more dangerous, and his advice is more destructive: And this is the case of our Ministers. We were in a fine way once; who but Oates, and Bedlow, and the Plot? And now a great many cannot think Lord Stafford guilty of Treason. There is no hope for us without remove, and it is not difficult for us to name men; and if they be named, I hope they will be thought Traytors to their King and Country. They have so prevailed with the King, that they have put his Person into imminent danger. I would put a brand upon them who have dissuaded the King from complying with our advice, and have divided the King from the Country; and next, I would give no Money till these things are remedied; and next, I would set a brand upon those who shall lend the King Money upon the Revenue without authority of Parliament; and then I would lay before him the danger of rejecting the advice of his Parliament, and taking the advice of other Persons, and that, if we cannot effect these things, we may go home to our Country, if he please to command us.

Lord Russel.] It appears plainly by the King's Message, what interest is prevalent at Court, the Duke's creatures; which is so great, that little good can be effected. Where Popery is so countenanced, we can do little good. Nothing can save the Nation but Union betwixt the King and the Parliament. We have done our parts to procure it; the Parliament will never be undisposed to do it; but unfortunately some get betwixt the King and us, to frustrate our good intentions, and to promote the Duke's interest, though to the King's destruction. We know who have advised the King to these things, and that he should not pass the Bill of Exclusion, &c. Therefore I am of Booth's opinion, to stick to the Bill, as our only security, and to brand those that have hindered it from passing.

Mr Montagu.] Plainly, by the King's Message we see the ill condition we are like to be in, after we have sat so many weeks, and made so many requests, without any satisfactory Answer. I believe there was never more Loyalty to a King of England from his Subjects; but not to have one Bill pass, nor a kind Answer to our Addresses! Therefore I expect not much good from Bills we are like to pass. We have nothing left us but Votes. When the King recommended the Plot to our consideration, we, like honest Country Gentlemen, looked for it in the Tower, but it was not there; let us look into Whitehall, and we shall find those more guilty of it than Lord Powis, and the rest of the Lords. He that goes to War with Armour not proof, had rather have none; nothing can secure us but the Bill of Exclusion, &c.—We see those in the Lords House, who were for the Bill, put out of Office, as here, and those put into Office who were against it. I am of opinion, that both Tangier and Flanders are in danger of being lost; but I had rather see the French in Flanders, and the Moors in Tangier, than the Pope in England; and I would give no Money till the Bill of Exclusion be passed, as the only security we have, &c.

Sir Henry Capel.] I think the Debate this Day is about the Message the King sent us. Though it consists of several parts, yet I would come especially to what Booth opened, who spoke well for his Country, and we ought to value him for it. He mentioned four things, but I would not have four hares on foot at a time. I concur to them all, but, for method's sake, I would begin with one first, which is "The Bill of the Succession." I observe the King has graciously admitted us to address upon this Bill; the Lords have not been so gracious as to admit us to a Conference before they threw it out. This Day's Debate is of the greatest consequence to England in the world. This House passed the Bill, &c. and it was rejected by the Lords, and they have sat some time since, to consider whether any thing else will do it. I appeal to those Gentlemen against the Bill, whether any Motion has been made since, for the safety of the King and the Protestant Religion? If they will stand up, and say so, I will sit down—But nobody doing so, therefore it is proper to speak; and so I shall. Great Arguments are made abroad, by men that know the Laws, Religion, and the Government, that bundle them together, that if you will preserve this King, this Government, and this Religion, this Bill must pass—Then consider what little encouragement we have from the Lords—No Expedient from the Lords, that if possibly we might be saved without this Bill; if it were possible to have any, I would stay for it; but the Bill was sent up in November, and to this day we have heard nothing from them. I take it, that the state of the Nation is at the Lords door, and not at ours. We adjourned but four days in the Christmas week, and the Lords all the week. If any thing was sent you, it was about Mr Seymour's Petition; a thing of much less moment than the Duke's Exclusion. Now the Popish Lords are sent out of the House, it is strange that the Bench of Bishops should be against the Bill. In Rich. II's time, some Lords were called up to the Lords House, and they were called "The King's Pocket-Lords." Such are not shoulders to support him. I think we ought to speak plain, and plainer than we have spoken yet. All these things come from the Ministers, who have some deep-laid design to be carried on by them. It is plain that the Ministers, after the life of the King, will put upon the Throne a Prince of one Religion, and the People of another. In Germany, a Calvinist Prince, and a Lutheran People, may subsist; but these would have the King a Papist, and the Kingdom Protestants. Will any man think that any Minister of State, a man rather of wit and tongue, and not of thought, one indifferent in Religion, who will go with or against Popery, as the torrent drives him; can any man think to have other Counsels from such a Minister? (Halifax.) I will dedicate my service to the King and his interest. I see that others do otherwise, and will destroy us. These Ministers in the Government are Machiavels—One of these two things; this must come to a stand, or we must come to blood. There are but two sorts of Monarchy in the whole World; one absolute without limitation, as that of France, where the Subjects are at the disposal of the King for life and limb, and to invade other Nations Property for the luxury of the Court; and little men of low fortunes are the Ministers of State— And whoever does that, I shall suspect him for absolute Monarchy. Cardinal Richlieu would not suffer so great a man as the Duke of Montmorency, but cut off his head, and another Churchman succeeded him, who suppressed all the great men of France, and all to support absolute Monarchy. We have Counsellors both in the Lords and Commons House are come to it too, and so to break perpetual intercourse betwixt the King and his People —When a Parliament is to meet, what are the great points they will go upon? Why, they are Religion. And when a Parliament shall tender any thing of that, can you believe that a King that is a Papist will not have his Priests to advise the passing our Laws? It is not consistent. Shall you be ever able to secure yourselves when the King shall say "You have nothing to do with Religion?" And you will give the King no Money, and so all will be lost. Foreign Princes will never meddle with us, because without Trust no Government can subsist. We know the World is still in motion; either we shall be overrun with the Government, or, in short, by France and Popery. It is plain it will be a body without a head, of a head without a body; and it is plain that a body will get a new head, or a head a new body, and so we shall all be in blood. Those who hinder the King and us from being one, and will not exclude a Popish Successor, are the cause of all the blood to posterity. These Ministers will not be the only immediate cause of it; but they will crown all the advices that have gone before by Lord Clifford and the rest; therefore I move, "That we may tell the King, this Bill is our whole, our all." We cannot subsist without it. All things will be in confusion, the Monarchy lost. I would have the World see we have no intention to eclipse the Monarchy, by meddling with the Militia or the Prerogative—When this is done, we have nothing to do, but adjourn.

Mr Hyde.] The Honourable Person who spoke last, has called upon those Gentlemen who were against the Bill for excluding the Duke, for an Expedient, now the Bill is rejected. I will not say I can offer an Expedient, because there was no encouragement. The Day the Bill was voted, a Motion was made to debate Expedients. The House was not willing, and therefore they had no encouragement. Some Expedients were offered them, in the former Parliament, in print, but all were rejected. Where then is the encouragement? I shall not offer any now, but if you will take any of those formerly offered, they would do you no harm. My own opinion about this Bill has been well known. I am not ashamed to own it here, that I was against this Bill, nor in other places; never, no, never. This, according to the method of the Government, is very strange; a Bill that the Lords rejected very unanimously, to offer this in an Address to the King, "That he is in ill hands, and if he was in good company, things would be better." In my opinion, these are no great Compliments to the King. The King gives his Negative, and we see that both parts of the Legislative Authority are against this Bill. This alters the Government; this must, it seems, be an Act without the Peers. I think this is an extraordinary way. If my advice be taken, (as I believe it will not) take any Expedient: The King asks your Advice, and about Tangier, &c. See whether any thing of Expedient can make your condition worse than it was before.

Mr Leveson Gower.] The Gentleman that spoke last, asks you "What harm there would be in considering Expedients?" If you have not security for your Money, it is no matter how great the Interest is that you are paid. Because the Monarchy of Spain would not have a Protestant Prince, therefore I am against a Popish Prince to govern here in England. He tells you "The Lords rejected your Bill." But if the Lords had been left to themselves, they would have passed this Bill as well as we. But there is great reason why we have not this Bill passed: Persons near the King are so interested for the Duke, and, so long as they are at Court, we shall not have this Bill. Foreign Persons that have interest in our Court have all manner of access. The French Ambassador has continual access; not, as heretofore, to be introduced by the Master of the Ceremonies—Those there take their Counsels from him, and are paid for it by him. The Court is become the Nursery of all manner of Vices, transplanted into all England, and those are become only fit for the Court that are so. I would have the House freely express themselves about Persons about the King, who hinder those things, and so long as these things are so, it is not possible that what we do should succeed. Therefore I move, "That we may give no Money till we are better secured of our Religion and Properties;" which I can see no way for but by this Bill.

Sir Robert Markham.] As an Expedient, instead of the Pill, what if the Prince of Orange should be taken into the Regency with the Duke, as an ornament to him? (Laughed at.)

Mr Hampden.] You seem, by the Debate, to incline to think that no other way can secure us, but the Bill, and I am still of opinion, I could wish I could hear Expedients; but none were offered this Parliament; what were offered was the last Parliament. When we go to fight, we are offered a Bean-straw instead of a Sword to fight with. Nothing was offered the last Parliament like an Expedient. You found all the Laws in being, made by the wisdom of your Ancestors for your safety, frustrated by the Duke: This is no new thing since 1670; Have not all things been so?—2,500,000l. was given to make a brave War with the Dutch; the Money was got, and the Peace made, but the Dutch would not—But it had another effect; it helped to ruin a Protestant neighbour— And so many more sums—Have you not had great fruit of all this? Is not France brought very low? All Laws are put in execution except those against Popery, when it comes to the highest—What has been done in the interval of Parliament? A few apprentices, for pulling down Bawdy-houses, were hanged for Treason—And this in the Reign of a Protestant Prince. What must we expect under a Popish Prince? Will your Laws be better preserved? Do you think to live in England and be Protestants? It is so absurd a thing, no man can imagine it.— But I do not know whether parliamentarily the King can take notice of the Lords rejecting our Bill of excluding the Duke, &c. The Proviso in the Long Parliament, to exempt the Duke from the Oaths and Test, was so little rectified here (I thought it would have passed without contradiction) that it was carried but by two Voices— And now the Plot has been these two years discovered, and we have been handling it, and making sport with it; but I believe we have had, and have a Plot, and we are in more danger than ever. Secure the Protestant Religion, else all things besides will be ineffectual. I will say nothing more to the Ministers; but if we admit any remedy, without the Bill of Exclusion, we expose the Kingdom and the Protestant Religion to ruin.

Lord Cavendish.] I agree to all that has been said concerning the Bill, and I think we are not secure with it, nor without it. I do agree to the Question, if express only as to this Bill; but if we can do nothing to secure ourselves but the Bill, that I am not satisfied in. But those Gentlemen who are so zealous against it, I wish would show us the impossibility of passing it. We have used justifiable means for this Bill; but others have not to prevent the passing it. But the Question is now, Whether, if we must not have this Bill, we should not adjourn? Consider the consequence of a breach at this time, in the distracted condition we are at home, and having not farthered the Protestant Interest abroad. We consider what will become of us after the King's death, but are we in no danger in the King's life-time? Has not the Duke his Creatures in the Fleet, and all other Offices? To my apprehension, the end of the Question is only to show the Nation our opinion in this matter. I would hear better reasons than my own, but I will move you a Question which will seem not to preclude the House, viz. "That the Duke, being a Papist, is incapable of performing the Office of a King, and that it is lawful for the People to resist him, if he should come to the Crown." I confess, here is no Indemnity for a man in this; but if all the Nation be of a mind, there is no need of it.

Sir William Jones.] You have had several propositions made, and the way to accomplish none of them, is, to begin with them all together. The first Motion is, "To adhere to the Bill, as so necessary, that without it we cannot think ourselves secure." It is a long time since I thought so in this House, and I have not heard one Expedient instead of the Bill, except one this Morning, and that not well considered (Markham's,) and I think it will be never more considered. It was said by an ingenious Gentleman (who made a Speech for me in the House of Commons,) "That Crowns and Mistresses will have no Rivals." I say "Crowns" now, for an Association against the Duke, without this Bill, is to associate against a lawful King, when he is so. Some People render it ridiculous, some impious, to make your Association against a lawful King, and then to fight against him. They either understand not the nature of the thing, or else they would impose upon us. It must be, if lawful, either during the King's life, or the Duke's. The Papists will be restless in the King's life, and increase our danger rather than remove it; and it gets a disposition in them who incline to Popery to promote it. That Bill which I have heard of in the House of Lords, to banish the Duke, and not to exclude the Duke's Title, can have no provision coherent in itself without this Bill. Cavendish's Motion was with good intention, "To pass a Vote to make the Duke incapable to inherit, because a Papist, &c." But you are told by another, "That we are but one of three States, and the other two will not concur; and if we adhere to the Bill, we assume to ourselves a kind of legislative Power in the highest degree, in hindering a lawful Prince to succeed." And as for Cavendish's Indemnity to the People for resisting him, the People will not come up so well to exclude a Person, who by Law has a Title. Till you have a Law to exclude him, you have a King. But it has been said, "The King may live as long as the Duke;" but you have heard the Plot in Ireland was grounded upon the hopes of the Duke's being King of England, and so was the Plot in England too. But we are to take off the presumption of the Duke's succeeding. We are sure, not only Nature, but Chance, brings men to Death, besides the malice of wicked men. Will the Papists expect who shall live longest? But when they consider, now is their time, or never; if the Duke dies before the King, they must never hope for a Popish Successor. Therefore no moment of the King's life is safe without this Bill. I wonder any should prefer profit and commodity that one may never use, before one in possession. If the King dies, and the Duke inherits, it has been said, "Can the Duke change Religion?" But can any man but see our danger, from experience? In Queen Mary's days, men were afraid, though the Ministers stood in the way of their Abbey-Lands. Yet notwithstanding, the example of the Government most men conform themselves to. This being the case, to make Arguments for the Bill is to lose time, and lessen the esteem of the Bill; if so, then consider on what point we are The King tells you, "That he is confirmed, and the House of Lords have given their Judgment against it, therefore we must consider of other things;" but my opinion is, before you go one step farther, without this Bill, you can do nothing. When I have any thing but this, I shall still press this. Therefore, before you go to any other matter, pray say, that, without this Bill, you cannot be safe. I will not rely upon (I say) nor reject any Expedient; for the common people abroad must be guided by the opinion of the House; but if you seem to desire or expect any thing else, before you vote this, they will say you may be safe without it. Therefore I would rely upon this Bill. Without this remedy, any Expedient is not only insufficient, but dangerous.

Lord Cavendish.] I would not have it understood, that what I proposed was to be relied upon without the Bill— If a Vote cannot do any thing without this Bill, it might be inferred that we need not sit here any longer, and so make a breach.

Sir Francis Winnington.] Now I see the House so full and attentive to this Debate, I cannot, without Breach of Trust, but give my testimony of consent. When this Bill to exclude the Duke was brought in, first, was showed a pretermission of accidents in other persons, or their interests contrary to the Government; so I would not have Gentlemen mistake, as if the thing was never done before —But it would be a reproach and shame to us in our graves, when the Nation shall be ruined by our default. The consideration of the King's Message is the Business of the Day. I confess, when I read it, I was amazed. I am confident and persuaded that it was penned by a man that designed our ruin, and not our preservation. The King tells us in it, "He is confirmed in his Opinion against our Bill, &c." The Gentleman by me (Jones) has prevented me in much I had to say. I know not, in a Parliamentary way, how the King could take notice of what was done in either House, but by the advice of those about him. I would know how the King comes to know this? The King came frequently to the Lords House, much about the time the Popish Ministers came in with Lord Clifford. It was said of Hen. VIII, "That no man knew what Religion he was of." The Act for the six Articles was in favour of the Papists, and yet he put down the Pope's Supremacy, and afterwards Edw. VI. came to the Crown, and he resolving to bring the Reformation to perfection, made Laws for it, and in the North they rebelled to have the old Religion preserved. At the passing the six Article in Parliament, Archbishop Cranmer said, "They were not fairly come by, for the King unusually came into the Lords House, and got that Act passed by his influence." It is extant in Christ's College, and the Answers to it. I show it for this, that when the King comes into the Lords House, it takes away the solemnity and freedom of Debate. In Hen. IV's time, the indemnity of the Peers and Commons, &c. There was a dispute betwixt them about Subsidies. The King being in haste for Money, and a little impatient, matters not being well settled since he had deposed Rich. II, he desired he might debate the matter with them, to set them right. The Commons said, "They ought to have their Debates free." And the Lords besought the King not to come amongst them; and this is entered upon the Roll as a sacred thing, "That the King should come to neither House, &c." I have heard a Lord say, "That when they were about settling Arbitrary Power, Lord Danby first sollicited the Lords, and then the King, and the King has taken notice of Lords that have voted." We are part of the Legislature, as well as the Lords. Several of the Lords have Offices and Pensions, some are poor, and have no Religion, and little honesty; it is come to that pass now, when the Lords were upon that Gigg of the Popish Bill you rejected, it was for preparing the way for a Popish Successor. But it is said, "There was no hurt in that Bill." But we come here to do good. That Bill was really for Popery, and so we entered it into the Journal. If the King comes frequently to the Lords, he must be there in statu politico; the Lords have their Hats on, and the King does not speak there, as in Parliament. The King only says his Opinion privately; but now he understands your minds, I hope he will reverse the Opinion in his Message, and be of ours. When they see the business so debated, and the Parliament go away and that not done, nothing will shorten the King's Life like that. If you regard Religion or Posterity, we must stick to this Bill; though we have been told [by Hyde] "of a Loyal Party that would not obey it." Since the Reformation, we know how the Succession has gone. In King James I's Speech, after the introduction, he said, "He could not admit the Papists exercising their Religion, without betraying his own conscience, and this Kingdom, and that he came from, and Posterity." If he owns such a betraying, is it not our duty to prevent such a betraying? And the year after, he found the Papists in that heinous offence of the Powder Plot. But what an imprecation he made upon himself and posterity if he tolerated Popery! In the sorrowful thoughts of the late King, in his Book, he charges his Children to be Protestants, and yet Popery over-runs us by means of the Duke, against the wise and good examples and precepts of his Ancestors. The Protestant Religion is so intermixed with the civil interests of the Nation, that it is not possible to preserve them if a Popish Successor comes. It is not so much a Popish King and Protestant Subjects, but the Government is the case; that will be destroyed. Of necessity, if we have a Popish Government, all Offices and Places will be in Popish hands. In Queen Mary's time, though she promised the Suffolk Gentlemen she would not disquiet any body for Religion, yet when she came to the Crown, she broke her word for conscience sake. If I could find a security rational, though not that I would have, I should be the first for laying aside this Bill; but this is a pretty way of arguing. I know something I will not tell you. As to that Expedient, of "banishing the Papists," to talk of the Accessaries, when the Principal is in being, is strange. I heard it once said here, "That the Protestant Churches beyond the seas did not allow excluding Popish Successors"—But they have, and so has England too. We know, in the case of Mary Queen of Scots pretensions, what Resolutions were taken; we made a brave Protestant Association—In that Act there is an Exclusion. Queen Elizabeth had good Ministers, and they governed well; Queen Mary had wicked, and they governed wickedly—The Prelates, too, who committed themselves to the flames for their Counsels; I would we had such Prelates now ! But what condition are we in, if we part with this Bill? It was said by Cavendish, "Put a Vote of Exclusion upon the Duke;" and he has reason, for he has more Land than a great many of us. —But when the King shall see Gentlemen whose interest it is, and see the unanimity of so many honest Gentlemen, you shall have your Bill, and make this Kingdom the happiest Nation in Europe, and we the happiest People. The Plot is thought a pretty conceit at Court, but we have not compounded as they have; they will be looked upon as abject fellows, to betray a good cause for an ill one. The King's CoronationOath is to make such good wholesome Laws as are for the comfort of his People. Subjectio trahit protectionem —But the King is surrounded by the Duke's creatures. I hope hereafter we shall have a brave Lords House, when so many Noblemens Sons have begun this Debate.

Mr Foley.] I think it not now a time to stand upon Terms, if we so desire this Bill. In the first Message the King sent us was, What he expects from us, and we from him. I propose "That in his Majesty's presence we may debate this Exclusion, &c. with the Lords, whether any Expedient can be found in this matter."

Mr Finch.] I will not here dispute the principles of the Protestant Religion, whether by them a Popish Successor may be excluded; not the Question, Whether King, Lords, and Commons can do it; it is not now material; nor will I question whether this Bill be a remedy, or the best remedy, to preserve our Religion; but to what Cavendish stated only, or such remedies without which all is ineffectual. I beseech you, consider, if the Long Parliament had proceeded at this rate of moulding men out of Offices, Lord Clifford had riveted Popery on our necks. Will you not do something because we cannot do all?—It was a melancholy thing, when the King was sick at Windsor, and the Parliament had done nothing; the Country had little reason to thank us, and we little reason to think well of ourselves. The King's Coronation-Oath Winnington spoke of, &c. There was never such an instance where every thing was put into your hands, and the King reserved but one, to repeat it as he applies it (I suppose he means not all) for the good of his People. But it is said, "You have had no Expedient offered." But do Gentlemen expect any? Why will they urge Expedients so much, when this Bill of Exclusion will not do alone? And for the same reason, this Bill should not go on. This I have not yet heard answered, and I know not when I shall. In the circumstance of Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots was next Heir to the Crown, a most violent Papist, and governed by the Priests, and ill Counsel; then she did something more than exclude her, she cut off her head. But were not there conspiracies against her still? And in King James's time the Powder-Treason? And when we see, that not only Exclusion, but taking away life, did not secure from Papists, what can we expect by this Bill? It was said from the Bar, "The great Reason of the good and bad Government of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth was from good and bad hands their Ministry was in." If the influence of Counsellors have power to distinguish Princes good and bad by Counsellors, make those Privy-Counsellors by Act of Parliament, and that nothing shall be valid, but by their Advice; that is a remedy. I have heard from the Bar another thing, viz. "the banishing of the most considerable Papists, and taking the two third parts of their Estates forfeited to the Crown, and the next Protestant Heir to inherit the Estate, and those who have the Estate will have the interest; that Papists may be convicted by Act of Parliament, &c." That remedy of Exclusion is in all other respects a contingent one, and future, but these I have proposed will be to bind Posterity, &c. But suppose the Exclusion be absolutely necessary, consider whether it is not more likely, and you will be in a better condition to attain the Bill, when these things are done than now; these are not only necessary against Popery, but preparatory to that Bill. Your Vote made the Bill known. I move, that you will not spend more time in fruitless Debate, but go on upon things you have a certain prospect of effecting, and not leave them for uncertain and what you have no prospect of effecting.

Colonel Birch.] I see no way to save this Kingdom. The iniquity of our heels has compassed us about, and the hand of God is upon us; and whether have we not, in that, made ourselves Popish before we come at it. I can remember, when no man and his family came to Church without his Book: That, the Papist will deprive us of, and we must have nothing but the bread in the Sacrament. We have laid aside the practical part of Religion, &c. We must reform these things, else we shall never preserve the Protestant Religion. I have sat still, and heard what people have said to-day; it is terrible to me! I have sat to hear an Expedient, or any thing like it. If I had but Armour of Protestant proof, I would make use of it in this busines. As to that Expedient of "the Parliament naming the Council," I have hearkened to it, if such a Council as the major part of the House shall be satisfied with—I never expect this House shall mend all that is amiss—But suppose we had this Bill, unless the King come over to us, we are never the nearer. The Storm is upon your heads. I suppose that the Motion was intended "the Parliament to name the Council, should the Duke come to the Crown." But that is such a breach of the Prerogative, it will fall of itself. But we are so out of order, that the Bill will do us no good, but you must change the interests of the Ministers. Queen Elizabeth stood upon a Protestant interest and bottom, and her Council was so too. Unless the King be satisfied that it is his interest to join with the Commons of England—That is a reason for the Bill, because it changes his interest. In Queen Mary's time, the opinion was, she was a gallant resolute Woman, and would make good what she had promised the Londoners and Suffolk men; but Bishop Gardiner fell to commit people for Religion. Said the Queen, "What do you mean?" Says Gardiner, "The Law is not stopped; I will not stay for a new Law." But as I have heard, the Queen gave him a good shove for it. But when Bonner came from Rome, and persuaded her, and Cardinal Pole, she did it. The Garrison of Portsmouth, the Magazine and Stores, all, all places both in England and Ireland are disposed of by the Duke. Popery I fear not, but that debauched Protestants will turn over the Boat; and whilst our Government is in the hand of such Council, it never will be otherwise. I cannot believe, but that the King, out of affection to his Brother, has said this in the Message; but he has not put a Negative, as the Lords have done, at one jump. The Fanatics, though against their own interest, yet they stuck to the matter of the Declaration, but a sum of money got that off; perhaps this may do so too. I cannot but believe that the King, with such a House of Commons asthis, at a free Conference, would be convinced of the necessity of this Bill. I waited upon this King at Worcester, and it cost me pretty dear, and I was some time with him, and it may be he told me what he would stick to, and from that time I believed it, as I believe he is King of England; what he said then was sound and good. The King has been often told of his being beholden to Parliaments; and King James told the Duke of Buckingham, "If you do amiss, I cannot save thee." But says Gondomar to the Duke "The Parliament are men that rail at you, but I will tell you how you shall redeem that; Get a Parliament that must spend high, and they will ruin themselves." The thing is cut out by a thread; either there is a wheel within a wheel, or it is impossible these things should have gone on so long. Because there are very little hopes of an Expedient, Gentlemen do resort to this Debate. I would venture some money upon the Bill; for if it comes to boxing, I would have something on my side. If we attain this Bill, it will certainly break this interest. It is not the man that swears, but he that fears an Oath. I agree "That by Address we move the King, though the Lords have thrown out the Bill, and in all the Debate we have had no tendency to our end, that in the mean time, without it, we are in no way of safety to him nor the Kingdom."

Sir Edward Dering.] I think the Bill the best Expedient, as I always did. You have been told of a Conference with the Lords about it, if it may be done in a Parliamentary way. I cannot say it is not usual, but there is a Precedent that the Commons did address the King for a Conference with the Lords; the King answered, "He would do it of Grace, but not of Right," and it was not done. The King's denial of the Bill in his Message is very favourable and gentle to us, "That it is the Lords opinion &c." If the King lays his reasonable refusal upon the Lords, and if once you give Reasons to satisfy the Lords, if they be with us, the argument is very favourable for the King's consent. I move, therefore, "That such an Address may be made to the King."

Sir Leoline Jenkins.] The Question is of great importance, and, before I give my Vote, I desire to give you an account of my Judgment in it. There is no demonstration of this, and can be none. In Queen Elizabeth's time there was not only a Popish Successor, but a Rival, and I am not against the opinion of venturing a Popish Head upon a Protestant Body, but I will give you an instance of one. The Duke of Hanover, who travelled into Italy, changed his Religion, and from that time reigned peaceably, and none in his Court, or his Dominions, were troubled in their Religion by it. A Popish Successor in England would be a calamitous thing; but what I move is, that you would fortify yourselves with good Bills against Popery, and leave the rest to the protection of Almighty God. I shall explain myself: I had rather trust to the Providence of God, than do any thing unjust or unlawful, to secure our Religion, his title being Dei Gratia. I would have all things done lawfully for preservation of Religion, but I question whether, by the Constitution of the Government, this be lawful; therefore I am against the Question.

Colonel Titus.] Many a learned Gentleman has discoursed this business, and a man can hardly say any thing new. But what Jenkins has said, calls me up, which I should be glad were true in matter of Fact. He tells you, "He would rather trust God, than do an unlawful act." But the Question is not whether we should trust God, but whether this is an unlawful act? Mankind cannot consist together without a supreme Power, and that in our Government is the Legislative; which, if done by that Authority, is no unlawful act. It may be unlawful in itself, because men may err, but it is lawful. Can any man say, that what concerns the Government is not in the supreme Power? It is a contradiction to make it supreme, and not supreme. He says "Queen Elizabeth was secure, though she had a Popish Successor." But all her life it was attempted. "Princes that are excommunicated," the Jesuits say, "ought to be taken away, and the doing it is service to God Almighty." But to the matter itself: I wonder that after all the constancy of the House against Popery, and the resolution the King has shown, we should have this Message. When I consider the Council the King has for so many years had about him, and what principles they are of, it is no wonder that they have advised this Message, "That you shall have any other remedies, &c. but only the King does adhere and will insist that the Line shall not be interrupted, &c." Now the question is, whether denying you this, is not denying you every thing. When there are several Medicines, and you are denied one, you may have your end in another, but when there is but one, denying that is denying you plainly. A man that has a Quinsey, if the Physician denies to let him blood, he denies to cure him. He had better have a Confessor than a Physician. He should rather make his Will than take Physic. "You shall be allowed any other remedy, &c." But a Popish King that has the command of the Army, the Navy, the Judges, and the Bishops, will not let you come by any of your Expedients; you will be only under the power of him that will destroy, and not protect you. If the Frogs have a Stork to their King, and if the Frogs will sacrifice to Jupiter for this favour, it would be a very weak thing. If a Lion was in the Lobby, and we were to consider which way to secure ourselves from him, and conclude it is best to shut the Door, and keep him out, "No," says another, "let us chain him, and let him come in;" but I should be loth to put the chain on. Should the nomination of the Judges, and all other Preferments, be in your hands, what a kind of Government would you have, without Feet or Claws? As such a King cannot hurt you, so he cannot protect you. It has been said by another, "Let us establish a good Council about the King." But I never knew a King and his Council of a different opinion. A wise King has and always makes a wife Council, but a wise Council does not always make a wise King. By not passing this Bill, a power is put into the hands of a Popish King for your destruction. The Priests will not let him have the Sacrament, if he does not what they would have him, nor shall he be long a King. I will not follow the opinion of others, nor any passion of my own in this matter, but out of persuasion that there is no safety for us under a Popish King.

Sir Francis Winnington proposed a Vote, which passed with some little alteration. See it at the end of the Debate.

Sir Robert Howard.] Whoever is for the Bill, and against the Duke's succeeding, &c. I shall believe is for the King, and whosoever is against the Bill, I shall believe is against him. But as for what has been proposed for naming the King's Council, &c. you will make him no Monarch, at that rate—Let us redeem an English King from the shame he is in, and let this House be satisfied that we are safe in Religion and our Properties—Let us fairly tell the King in this one point in controversy, "Without this we cannot give any Resolution, in any thing like Supply, whilst the terror of a Popish Successor is upon the Nation."

Mr Boscawen.] I differ from some things that have been said. The Law makes it, that all Officers must be Protestants and not Papists, and it is a strange thing if the Head can guide the Members right if of a contrary interest. In excluding the Popish Lords from the Lords House, they have a Right there, as well as the Duke to succeed to the Crown. If Idolatry be not lawful by the Law of God, you may exclude an Idolater from the Succession of the Crown by the Law of Man.

Sir Henry Capel.] I agree with the Honourable Person (Finch) in one thing, amongst some other of his Expedients, "That the Counsellors about the King are ill," else it is no Expedient to settle good ones. If we remove what stands between the King and us, we shall understand one another. I must speak plainer to one particular Person. When I consider his Birth, Quality, and Father, (and his former actions before he aspired) his Parts and Wit, so beyond other men; I have been silent to hear him fighting our Battles in the Lords House; and his conversation to me was a great surprize—I should pardon him for all his faults, but now since he has had an addition to his Coronet, within a few years—Let him be what he will, I will not spare him; and it is the Earl of Halifax. He knows well, that our Government will not admit of a Premier Minister of State, to sway all things. The King has his Council to advise with, established by Law, and that in Corners and Chambers is not our Council of England. It may be, this Lord was not always so, and therefore the more dangerous. I will not make a comparison, but he is one of those who advised this Message. I think the Debate of this Day is wholly as to the Ministers, and therefore it is not out of Order to offer you a Question, viz. "That the Earl of Halifax has been the Promoter and Adviser of this last Message from the King, and that he is an Enemy to the King and Country."

Lord Russel.] I think an Honourable Person of this House knows more of the secret of these Councils than any one, and that is Mr Hyde. I cannot think but, considering his Relation to the Duke, that it is not safe he should be in the Council. I would have him removed.

Sir John Hotham.] I wonder that Lord Castleton is so much against Common Fame. Do men give such dark Counsels before any body? They will not, unless they are mad. For my part, if I gave such Counsel, I would search the Room; but there are more in the Kennel than Lord Halifax. I am a stranger to Common Fame, but he is complicated with others in these Councils.

Sir William Hickman.] I will never speak for a friend here. But after having given Lord Halifax so large a commendation, I wonder the Gentleman (Capel) should conclude so bitterly against him.

Colonel Titus.] This cannot be a Question upon that Lord yet. "If he counselled this Message, or whoever did advise the King to do it, they are Promoters of Popery, and are Enemies to the King and Kingdom:" Then you come properly to name particular persons.

Mr Hyde.] It may be, I shall not speak prudently, but I may speak, whilst I am here, and have liberty to speak; which I shall do to the Question, not for myself. I protest, in the presence of Almighty God, I never advised any thing of this Message from the King. There is a liberty in the Lords, and a liberty in us, and a liberty in the King to call his Council, to advise whether he shall pass a Bill, or not. This is a wonderful Vote to me; it is against the Constitution of the Government, and I shall give my Negative to it.

Sir William Hickman.] This is a great charge upon a man, to be a promoter of Popery, and an enemy to the King and Kingdom. But is there any proof of it against Lord Halifax in the least circumstance; only his Judgment given in the Lords House against the Bill? And I have heard, he has sat silent ever since.

Mr Harbord.] I have all the respect for this Lord that can be, and am sorry for the Charge against him, but those that give these Counsels, take care they should not be known. In the case betwixt Lord Bristol and Sir Richard Temple, the King gave you an account, who gave him that Advice. If a Gentleman's Plate be missing out of his Parlour, do not you enquire who has been there? It is plain this Lord is everlastingly with the King, and in private, and the Nation is like to be lost. He being locked up with the King, almost every day, I must impute these Counsels to Lord Halifax.

Mr Finch.] The King says "That the Lords Judgment about the Bill has confirmed him in his." To vote a person an Enemy to the King and Kingdom, is a little too hasty, for the Lords advised it. In the case of Lord Bristol and Sir Richard Temple, the King told you who gave the Advice. I would stay now till the King shall tell you who gave this Advice.

Mr Leveson Gower.] I am so far from thinking that this Message came from the Lords House, that I believe they had not given their Vote against the Bill but for such Ministers.

Sir Thomas Meres.] I thought this Question had been waved by the General Question. I have formerly been much in this Lord's Company, but I think him no Papist; quite the contrary. Other Ministers have gotten, but this Lord has no Office, and this Vote will be very hard upon him. When men have plainly merited ill, and things are positively proved against them, you cannot go higher than this Vote.

Colonel Titus.] There is a difference betwixt Halifax's Counsels and Principles. We know the Prorogation of the last Parliament was, when the Plot was at the height. We do not know who gives these Counsels, but we know who are at the King's up-rising and down-lying, and ever with him. Some sort of fish are taken with worms, and some with flies, and this person is made an Earl; from being the best Freeholder in England to be the worst Earl in Court. From him I expect persecution most, who was once one amongst us. The King can do no hurt, no injustice; Counsellors and Judges must answer for what is done; but if they be knaves or prove fools from Dan to Beersheba, must nobody answer? Have we not, for some years, assisted France, to make him bigger who was too big for us before? If Queen Elizabeth had assisted the Spaniards against Hen. IV. of France, she had had bad Counsellors for Queen Elizabeth, and very good for King Philip. We go not about to take away life or limb, nor to try a man secundum allegata et probata. I am satisfied that here is a Council that has ruined you at home and abroad, and I wonder for what single virtue they have so many friends. A man that plays well, and has ill fortune, I will not bet upon his hand, much less upon a man that plays ill. Pray put the Question.

Lord Cavendish.] I stand not up to speak for Lord Halifax, though I confess obligation to him, and will return it, when I am in a fit capacity, in another Place. You have passed a Vote in general, "That the Advisers of the King's Message are Promoters of Popery, and Enemies to the King and Kingdom, &c." It is a severe censure, or rather a punishment; but it does not appear to me that it is true that Lord Halifax advised this Answer. Is Halifax so absolute a Minister? Is there none other about the King but him? Mr Hyde was named to have had a hand in it; he protested, in the presence of God, he had no hand in it; but yet I do not defend him. I would not do a public work with private animosities. I would pass a Vote to remove all evil Counsellors, and then name persons. Halifax might give ill Counsels, but not this ill Counsel. I cannot agree to the Question.

Sir William Jones.] If there be a different reason for this person (Mr Hyde) there should be a different Vote. I think no man has private revenge or malice against him. I do think his passion on this occasion (Mr Hyde weeping when he last spoke in justification of himself from Popery, and breaking off abruptly) was a little too much; but, it may be, mine, in his circumstances, might have been more. Sins of infirmity are not so much to be punished, as of presumption; therefore I would not be so severe upon a man, whose relation to the Duke brings him into his interest, as on him, who by private passions makes himself of his party. I am afraid his relation is too near to the Duke to have any security from him, and we cannot have that confidence in him, as in other men. He has sworn "That he never had a hand in the advice of this Message (fn. 2)." I am much moved at what he says, but his relation to the Duke prevails upon him to be of that mind and inclination. I believe, because he said it, that this Message was not by his Advice, but he has the command of the Treasury, the sinews of Peace and War, and in that relation to the Duke, he is not fit to be a Treasurer, nor to give advice to the King. I would have notice taken of him in the Votes, but with some distinction from other persons.

Mr Harbord.] I believe Mr Hyde to be a person of honour, and I pity his condition. Some of Lord Halifax's relations would have persuaded him to vindicate himself by retiring from public Employment, and that would have been something; but till that be done I would give him no quarter. I desire this Gentleman may be removed from Employments, and that is all the hurt I wish him.

The Compiler was not present at the Debates concerning the Marquess of Worcester, the Earl of Clarendon, and the Earl of Feversham. They held no long Debate.

Resolved, [That it is the Opinion of this House,] that there is no security or safety for the Protestant Religion, the King's life, or the well constituted and established Government of this Kingdom, without passing a Bill for disabling James Duke of York to inherit the Imperial Crown of England and Ireland, and the Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging; and to rely upon any other means or remedies without such a Bill, is not only insufficient, but dangerous.

Resolved, That, untill a Bill be passed for excluding the Duke of York, this House cannot give any Supply to his Majesty without danger to his Majesty's Person, extreme hazard to the Protestant Religion, and unfaithfulness to those by whom this House is entrusted.

[Resolved, That all persons who advised his Majesty, in his last Message to this House, to insist upon an Opinion against the Bill for excluding the Duke of York, have given pernicious Counsel to his Majesty, and are Promoters of Popery, and Enemies to the King and Kingdom.]

Resolved, That George Earl of Halifax is one of the Persons who advised his Majesty, in his last Message to this House, to insist upon an Opinion against the Bill for excluding the Duke of York; and that he therein has given pernicious Counsel to his Majesty, and is a Promoter of Popery, and an Enemy to the King and Kingdom.

[Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to remove Henry Marquess of Worcester, Henry Earl of Clarendon, Lewis Earl of Feversham, Laurence Hyde, and Edward Seymour, Esquires, from his Majesty's Presence and Councils for ever.]

[The Debate concerning Mr Seymour was adjourned to Monday.]


  • 1. In the Journal it is "Mr Baron Weston."
  • 2. In a great passion, he swore by God, "that he had no hand in it."