Debates in 1680: November 18th-22nd

Pages 31-51

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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In this section

Thursday, November 18.

The Speaker.] Turberville has received his Pardon for Treason, in Answer to your Message to the King, but not according to your desire. His Pardon is "for all Treasons," but not "for Misdemeanors," so that he may as well lie in Prison and perish for "Misdemeanors" as be hanged for "Treason." Your Address is for "Treasons, Misdemeanors, and Felonies, &c."

Mr Fleetwood.] I move that Turberville may have such a Pardon as Lord Danby has, and it will be full enough.

Sir Henry Capel.] I move that the Pardon may be openly read here, and that application may be made to the King, to cause all Pardons of the Evidence to be made full enough.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] I would not only address, "That the Pardon may be full," but I would take some notice of the Attorney-General, and complain.

The Speaker.] If the Attorney-General draw a Pardon short of the Warrant he has from the Secretary, he is to blame; but if you enquire into it, I believe the Warrant is short.

Sir Leoline Jenkins.] I had the Honour of your Commands to the King about this Pardon, and I had it in writing, and the Warrant, by Order of Council, was, "for Treasons and Felonies." The Warrant was from the King in Council.

Colonel Titus.] Leaving "Misdemeanors" out of the Warrant looks like a thing concerted, and not by chance.

Sir Thomas Player.] The King would not do this, but as he is persuaded by those about him. When we are dissolved (which I fear not) you shall have the Witnesses blasted in their Evidence, as they were formerly, and the Plot stifled. I would address, that the Pardon may extend to all Misdemeanors.

Mr Harbord.] I would have a Committee of learned men to take care to see that Dugdale's and Turberville's Pardons be perfect, that so there may be no Exceptions against them, when they come to give Evidence at the Tryals.

Sir Edward Dering.] I would not only consider the height of the Pardon, "for all Misdemeanors," but the breadth too, to come down to this time, that that may not be trumped up upon them.

Sir Leoline Jenkins.] Mrs Cellier is to be tried to-morrow, and the Pardon cannot be dispatched in a day. I desire the directions of the House, that it may not be straitened in time.

The Speaker.] The Arraignment of Mrs Cellier is not to-morrow, for the Bill of Indictment must be found first.

[Ordered, That an humble Address be made to his Majesty, to desire, that, in the several Pardons already granted upon the Addresses of this House, to such persons as have given Evidence to this House relating to the Popish Plot, his Majesty's Grace and Pardon may be extended to all Crimes and Misdemeanors whatsoever by them committed; and That to this time.]

Friday, November 19.

[Mr Serjeant Rigby makes a special Report, from the Committee, of the Presentment of the Grand Jury for the County of Somerset] against the sitting of the Parliament, and their Thanks to his Majesty for recalling the Duke of York, &c.

Colonel Titus.] These Gentlemen show their zeal for Parliament by petitioning against the sitting of the Parliament, and their zeal against Popery by thanking his Majesty for recalling the Duke of York. We know an infected House by the red cross upon the door, and we may know Papists by their inclinations to the Duke. I would they would do as much for the Protestant Religion as they have done for Popery, and I should forgive them. Some of these Petitioners are leading men. I would have the Foreman of the Jury sent for, to give an account of what they have done, and then you may consider from what great hand all this comes.

Sir William Jones.] I would have your Proceedings neither too broad nor too narrow. In no sort can I agree to send for all the Jury. In a few days you will have occasions to send into other Counties to enquire into Petitions of this nature. I would not send for the Foreman, for you will find the worst men were set forward. I wish you may have assistance from some of your Members; if not, you may do it at a venture, the Foreman and some of the middle men. I believe this Address was prepared by some of the Gentlemen. Somersetshire is the place of my birth. I believe the Juries are men that have it not in them to frame such an Address. I believe it framed by others, and sent to them. I would send for the Clerk of Assize. I am much misinformed if there was not care taken to prepare a Grand Jury, by the Under-Sheriff, for this purpose; and many of the Grand Jury were excused for disability: But if the Clerk of the Peace speak truth, more than ordinary care was taken to have a Jury for this purpose; and he may inform you of the management of it, and how Justices were taken off from the Bench for this purpose. I am informed, that two of the Grand Jury of Somersetshire are in town, Mr Thomas Ward and Mr Edward Strode; they may give you great light, and I humbly desire they may be sent for to the Committee.

Mr Powle.] I wish you would consider in this matter, to send for as few men as possible in Custody. I would enquire into the Officers that made the Returns of the Juries, which were afterwards altered, it seems, till they had men of a right completion. This the Clerk of Assize, or Clerk of the Peace, may probably inform you of, if in town; if not, they may be sent for. Get but an end, and then you may the better unravel the bottom.

Colonel Birch.] This is not your common use, to run to one or two of the Juries. Whom you do meddle with, bite through and through. These are they that are for the rising Sun. Single out a few by a Bill; declare the crime, and the punishment. Pray consider of it, before you go to too great a number.

Mr Harbord.] I know not what he means by "the rising Sun." I am sure, this is rising against Law. Either you must punish these men for what they have done, as a Breach of Privilege, or else you have no other power to do it. I think, sending for them is a better remedy than by Bill. We know the effect of Bills. I remember, in the last Parliament, Complaint was made of the Proceedings of Sheriffs. It is one of the Rights of the House to judge of false Returns of their Members. I have searched Precedents, and I find that the House has inflicted punishment upon those that have broken their Privilege. I find, that a Sheriff of London, a great City, was forced to ride with his face to the horse's tail. Do something of this kind, and it will have more effect than any thing else you can do. As for the punishment of sending for persons in Custody by the Serjeant, it signifies little; they find advocates to intercede for them in a thin House, early in the morning. Pray send for a few, and those the most notorious offenders, and punish them accordingly.

Colonel Birch.] I shall explain myself, in what I said of "the rising Sun." Popery never can nor will grow but by absolute Government. And commonly people run into these things before, and then a Proclamation comes after. I move that you will send for a few of these men.

Mr Bennet.] I hope you will take notice of the Privy Counsellor whose province this County was under. (Mr Seymour.)

[The Foreman, and some others, of the Grand Jury, were sent for in Custody.]

Sir Robert Clayton reports, from the Committee, the Address against Sir George Jeffreys (fn. 1).

Sir John Trevor.] I think, there is something in the Address not agreeable to your Vote. In justice, the Address ought to consist of matter of fact, as proved di rectly; next, the consequences of the fact; and last, your prayer thereupon. It says, "The complaint is of him as Chief Justice of Chester;" and you have not heard him as Chief Justice of Chester. I move that you would hear him.

Sir Robert Clayton.] The House ordered the Address as to matters which he did in his Recorder's place. "Chief Justice of Chester" is given him only as a Title, relating to that man, and he is not charged with Crimes relating to that Office.

[The Address was agreed to by the House, and was ordered to be presented to his Majesty by the Privy Counsellors.]

Mr Vernon,] I have Articles of Accusation of Crimes of a high nature against Mr Seymour. I think he is not here. I shall undertake to prove them. I move that he may be here to-morrow morning to answer, and his Charge will be brought in. To charge him, and not present, I know not the method of Parliament, but we have Articles ready.

Mr Pilkington.] I desire that he may be here to-morrow to answer his Charge.

[Ordered, That Edward Seymour, Esquire, do attend the service of this House, in his Place, to-morrow morning.]

Sir Richard Graham.] The Papists are enemies to all mankind, but those of their own persuasion—In the Courts of Judicature, they have made it their business to decry the Plot; the next step you make, I hope, will be to purge the Courts of Judicature, else neither our Religion nor Property can be safe. They may wound us, and we not know who strikes us, like the wounded way-faring man in the Gospel betwixt Jerusalem and Jericho; the Levite regarded him not, but the good Samaritan poured oil into his wounds, and gave him money. We are that good Samaritan—And I doubt not, if you represent it to the King, he will be as ready to redress, as you to represent. I would address the King, "That Mr Zeile (fn. 2) may have his Pardon, to quality him to be good Evidence against Mrs Cellier, and that he may have some allowance."

[An Address was ordered accordingly.]

Sir Henry Capel.] I would not have Godolphin say, "That you make too frequent Addresses to the King for maintaining Witnesses, unless you will give him Money to enable him." When Prorogations and Dissolutions have been so often, his Majesty cannot be surprized if we make more Addresses. I would address the King, to show him the condition of the Kingdom, and when the disorders are provided for, then it is a time to talk of Money. I would adjourn now, that the Committee for drawing the Address may sit, and by that time our Address is delivered, I have hopes of such a Bill as we have lost in the Lords House.

Saturday, November 20.

[Mr Secretary Jenkins acquaints the House, That to the Address relating to Sir George Jeffreys his Majesty was pleased to return Answer, "That he will consider of it;" and as to the Address for a general Pardon to all that have given Information relating to the Popish Plot, for all Crimes and Misdemeanors whatsoever, his Majesty was pleased to answer, "That his Majesty's Pardon should extend to all Crimes and Misdemeanors whatsoever by them committed to this time, Perjury only excepted."]


Sir William Jones.] This Pardon running in general words, and then "Perjury" coming to be excepted in particular, by this the credit of the person may be suspected in Evidence, and it may be of consequence in legal Proceedings, as an imputation upon him.

Sir Francis Winnington.] If the Ministers have power whether to pardon any offence at all, I would know whether those persons that were convicted of Perjury have had Pardons, or whether any Pardons have passed for Perjuries since this. The King, I am confident, will pardon upon this occasion. It may be, this Perjury was on a mistake. There have been those arts and contrivances by Papists—If a Witness speak point-blank, then he is not to be believed—But in this Pardon to put in the exception of "Perjury" is a kind of imputation as if he were a perjured man. Conspiracies of this nature are so obstructed, that you shall never know any thing—Whoever advised this has no great mind to discover the Plot. I do desire that an Address be made to the King, "That as, out of his great detestation of Perjury, he will not pardon it, yet this reflecting upon his whole Evidence, if a particular case be assigned, we shall desist." But this exception is as much as an imputation upon the whole.

Sir William Temple.] I hope there may be some Expedient found out in this case. It is better for the Witnesses to be pardoned all Offences but "Perjury," and I know not whether it will be for the honour of this House to intercede for a Pardon of "Perjury," and that "Perjury" should be excepted in the Pardon, and the House intercede that it should be granted. I move, "That the Witnesses may have a full and general Pardon for all Offences to the time of making their discovery;" and this, I hope, will satisfy.

Sir Francis Winnington.] Some made discovery of the Plot at first, and every new examination is a first discovery. All I aim at is, that the Witnesses be not taken off from their Evidence by formality of Law. If a man make a false Oath, and be not convicted of "Perjury," his Testimony is true: I would know how you will bound that.

Colonel Titus.] The Gentlemen seem jealous that this is calculated for the Plot, and they have reason, if particularly applied to this business. Neither Oates nor Bedlow but took the Sacrament of Secrecy, and this may be imputed to them as "Perjury," and so they can be no Witnesses. This to be excepted in the Pardon is very infamous. Therefore I move, "That you will address for a General Pardon."

Serjeant Maynard.] I am confident that what I shall speak will not be interpreted to favour "Perjury." It is certain, if it were upon fact overt, none would be so foolish as to interpose. Now the Question is, Whether this will be conducible to your end, or no? Your purpose is, that the Witnesses may be free from this danger. If you refuse this Exception in the Pardon, does it not imply to use them though perjured? But you have no such intention, as if you apprehended that some of your Witnesses were of that nature. If they took the Oath of Secrecy not to discover the Plot, that is not Perjury in our Law. Besides, no man that has taken a wicked Oath commits "Perjury" in breaking it. The difficulty lies here; if a Witness should say more at a Tryal than he hath said already, Whether an Indictment may be against him, for not saying the full truth at first, being sworn to the whole truth?

[Resolved, That a farther Address be made to his Majesty, to desire, That the Pardons granted to the several persons, for whom application hath been already made to his Majesty from this House, may extend to all Crimes and Misdemeanors whatsoever by them committed, to the last time of their respective discoveries, respectively.]

Sir Gilbert Gerrard (fn. 3) [acquaints the House, That he had Articles of Impeachment of High Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Offences, against Edward Seymour, Esquire, one of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council, Treasurer of the Navy, and a Member of this House; and then proceeded as follows:]

Whenever such Articles are brought to my hands, and I am satisfied with the proof of them, I take it to be my duty to exhibit them. I shall only say, I have known this Gentleman a long while; his Fortune was raised in this House, and how he comes now under suspicion of these Articles, he can best answer. This Gentleman (if what Fame says is true) has laboured with industry to prorogue or dissolve this Parliament, which all think will ruin the King, Religion, and all we have. I make this use of it, that the King knows whether Seymour has attempted this, or not. I hope you will think that none guilty of such Crimes, but fear a Parliament. One thing more; with what imperiousness did he put the Commons in contempt, and did talk of "Wind-guns!" I believe you will find matter against him, to send him to the Tower.

Mr Seymour.] In order to methods of Parliament, the reading of the Articles must have the Motion seconded, and I do second it, that the Articles may be read.

[The Articles were then read, and are as follow:

"Articles of Impeachment, &c. against Edward Seymour, Esquire.

"I. That, whereas the sum of 584,978l. 2s. 2d. was raised by an Act of Parliament, for the speedy building of thirty ships of war, and thereby appropriated to the said use, by which Act it was particularly directed, "That the Treasurer of the Navy should keep all Moneys paid to him by virtue of the said Act, distinct and apart from all other Moneys, and should issue and pay the same by Warrant of the principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy, or any three or more of them;" and mentioning and expressing, "That it is for the building, for the guns, rigging, and other furnishing of the said thirty ships of war, and to no other use, intent, or purpose whatsoever;" he, the said Edward Seymour, on or about the year 1677, being then Treasurer of the Navy, did, contrary to the said Act, and contrary to the duty of his said Office, lend the sum of 90,000l. at 8 per Cent. parcel of the said sum, raised by the said Act, being then in his hands, for and towards the support and continuance of the Army then raised, after such time as, by an Act of Parliament, the said Army ought to have been disbanded; whereby the said two several Acts were eluded, and the said Army was continued, and kept on foot, to the great disturbance, hazard, and danger of the Peace and Safety of this Kingdom; and the Nation was afterwards put to a new charge of raising and paying the sum of 200,000l. for the disbanding of the said Army.

"II. That, whereas an Act of Parliament had passed for raising of Money by a Poll, for enabling his Majesty to enter into an actual War against the French King; and the Money raised by virtue of the said Act was thereby appropriated to the said use, and to the repayment of such persons as shall furnish his Majesty with any sums of Money, or any Stores necessary for the said service; and whereas certain Eastland Merchants were desired by his Majesty's Officers to furnish and supply great quantities of Stores for the Navy, and, as an encouragement thereunto, were assured, that the sum of 40,000l. parcel of the said Moneys raised by the said Act, was at that time actually in the hands of the said Edward Seymour; which he did acknowlege so to be, and did promise that the said sum should be paid to the said Merchants, in part of satisfaction for the said Stores, which they did furnish upon the Credit of the same affirmation and undertaking: He, the said Edward Seymour, did, on or about the year 1678, issue out and pay the said sum to the Victuallers of the Navy, by way of Advance, and for Provisions not then brought in, contrary to the true intent and meaning of the said Act; whereas the same, by the Provision of the said Act, ought to have been paid to the Eastland Merchants, who had furnished his Majesty with Flax, Hemp, and other necessaries for the said service: Of which said deceit and injustice the said Merchants did complain in the last Parliament.

"III. That the said Edward Seymour, being Treasurer of the Navy, and then and still having a Salary of 3000l. per annum clear for the same, did, during the time he was Speaker of the late Long Parliament, receive, out of the Moneys appropriated for Secret Service, the yearly sum of 3000l. over and above his said Salary; which was constantly paid to him, as well during the Intervals as the Sessions of Parliament; and particularly during the Prorogation of fifteen months.

"IV. That, on or about the eighteenth year of his Majesty's Reign, (1666,) and during a War with the States-General of the United Netherlands, he, the said Edward Seymour, being then one of the Commissioners for Prize-Goods, did fraudulently, unlawfully, and in deceit of his Majesty, unlade a certain Prize-Ship, taken from the subjects of the said States, without any Order or Authority for the same; and did house the Lading and Goods of the said Ship, and lock up the same, without the presence of any Store-keeper; and did afterwards sell the same, pretending the same to have been only Muscovado Sugars, and did account with his Majesty for the same as such; whereas, in truth, the said Ship was laden with Cochineal and Indigo, rich Merchandizes of a great value."]

Mr Fleetwood.] The first two Articles, I will undertake, shall be proved.

Mr Vernon.] As to the two last Articles, I have credible Witnesses that will prove them, to satisfy the House.

Mr Seymour.] When my Charge is presented you in writing, I do not doubt but you will give me convenient time to answer it. It consists of several parts; as Matter of Account, &c. and if I may have a copy of it, I shall make such an Answer as will satisfy you, and, I am confident, every Member.

Mr Vernon.] I suppose, the Articles ought to be read, Paragraph by Paragraph, at the Table. (It dropped.)

Sir Francis Winnington.] If your meaning be, that he shall answer in writing, I conceive, when a man is impeached, the matter is to be finally determined here. (But time being given Mr Seymour to answer, till Thursday, he went not on.) Mr Seymour desires "he may have the Charge in writing." This is an Impeachment, and not to have its determination here, but in the Lords House. We are the great Court of Enquiry, and are to receive any Information. This Impeachment being undertaken to be proved, I would know, whether, if Articles are exhibited, this House will admit, or allow, the Person to give his Answer here?

The Speaker.] When Answer is made to the Articles, then is the proper Question, Whether it shall be given in writing. But your Order is, "That Mr Seymour shall make Answer on Thursday, [and that he have a copy of the Articles."]

Monday, November 22.

[Mr Trenchard reports the Address, agreed on by the Committee,] for the Removal of the Earl of Halifax, &c.


Sir William Hickman.] It is not proper now to speak against the Address, but I may speak to the penning of it. "That you have Grounds and Reasons of your belief, that he was the occasion of the Prorogation and Dissolution of the last Parliament"—I see no "Ground nor Reason" for this, but Rumour only; not Vox Populi. Something has been offered from his Argument against the Duke's Exclusion, &c. in another place, the Lords House; but that is not so. That he was the occasion of the Prorogation and Dissolution, &c. from whence the consequences were, the Sham-Plot—He was sick most part of that time, and when, recovered, went out of town. I know he was against the Prorogation and Dissolution, &c. and came not back till all was over. As for the Plot, he was one of the persons to be destroyed by the Papists. The Grounds of this Address ought to be obvious to every man's apprehension; they are not to mine, and therefore I cannot agree to it.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] It is not for the Honour and Justice of the House to agree to this Address. I have said formerly, "That by Law a man cannot be removed from the King's Presence;" the Liberty of the Subject is invaded by it. When we come to ask any thing of the King by Address, it is always what the King can do without the Address.

Colonel Titus.] I speak to Order. The Address is voted, and ought not to be generally spoken against.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I will open the Orders of the House in that matter. Any thing that is subjected to Debate you may throw out. Suppose a Grand Committee agree to Heads of a Bill; when read in the House, they may throw it all out.

Sir Thomas Lee.] To the Orders of the House! Consider the difference betwixt Votes of the House, and a Judgment: This is a Judgment of the House, and the Address expresses only that Judgment.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] This is a general Proposition; any thing that is debated may be thrown out; and I have free liberty to exercise my reason against it. Consider, when things come to you upon any hasty Resolution, you are free to alter your Judgment. Consider, whether all Subjects are not concerned in being admitted to the King's Presence; you will put the King to exercise his Prerogative. By the Constitution of the Nation, a man cannot be forbid the King's Presence. By Law, the King may appoint many Counsellors. The Parliament is the Great Council. In the Scotch War, the Earl of Bedford sat in the Privy Council, and a Lord said, "he had no right to sit there." But he said, "he would sit, for there was an Enemy upon the Borders of the Land." Make such an Address as may be easy for the King to grant, and give not the King a handle to deny an Address for removing evil Counsellors. This Address is to remove a worthy able man. If this Lord be guilty of dissolving the Parliament, and giving the King evil Counsel, some others are so too; let us not be partial, but use all alike. I hear it said, "That he went one way, and some another, in the Lords House." Is not this to take notice of what the Lords do? The last Parliament, we had quartering soldiers taken away by a Clause in the Tax-Bill; and we had the Habeas Corpus Bill passed, and both by this Lord's mediation; which was worth forty Prorogations. They were exposed to the Council, and had all the Forms observed; and it was happy they passed; and I know that this Lord had a great hand in it. If this, that he stands charged with, be a crime, let us have Evidence of it. The King cannot take this Lord's Right away, of coming to his Presence.

Colonel Titus.] Clarges has spoken irregularly against the Address. You will never resolve on any thing, when what you have passed Judgment upon, is debated over and over again. The very same Address was against the Duke of Lauderdale. How comes this to be such a fault now, which was none in that case?

Lord Cavendish.] The Removal of ill Counsellors from the King is a good and necessary work, and I would have it carry all the weight possible. It is alleged, "That Lord Halifax was the occasion of the Dissolution of the last Parliament." It is liable to this Question, how it will be proved, before you part with the Address. I would have that answered. If he did advise the Dissolution of that Parliament, another was called upon it. The Counsels of the Prorogations of this Parliament were much more pernicious. He was then out of town, and how could he advise them at that distance? The Address against the Duke of Lauderdale was much better grounded than this. You had it proved, that he said at Council, "his Majesty's Edicts were to be obeyed as much as his Laws, and had the Power of Laws." I will not speak against the Address, but I desire that it may lie upon your Table, till you are fortified with better Reasons for it than any I have yet heard.

Sir Thomas Meres.] If I can give my Affirmative or Negative to any thing, I may speak against it. That which governed us, the other day, in this Address against this Lord was, "Common Fame was a Ground of Impeachment, but not for Judgment;" therefore let us execute it. "You have Reason (you say in your Paper) to believe what is alleged against this Lord." Let me see your Reason, and I will go along with it. I am not bound to believe it, because another man says it. Let him show it. Let the House go upon an Impeachment by Common Fame; that way is regular; but to make this a Judgment of the House for the King to confirm it, I am against it.

Mr Powle.] What I have to say is not from any particular obligation I have to this Lord, whom I have not, for some time, conversed or spoken with. I have two exceptions against this Address. First, I think it does not well cohere together. In the Preamble, it recites "the great mischiefs to the Nation in dissolving Parliaments, and the frequent Prorogations." No man will deny that; I do not. Then is the Prayer of the Petition; "to remove this Person, as the author of them." To make it cohere, you should mention only the mischiefs of dissolving the last Parliament. The other looks like blackening a man. As for other things, I know not; but as for the Prorogation, no man was more against it than this Lord. I know not how to justify that in the Address. I would have nothing in the Address, but what is literally true. In the Address against the Duke of Lauderdale there was not the least question of matter of fact. Besides, I make a great question, whether this Lord advised this Dissolution "in a secret and clandestine manner," as is expressed in the Address. I have no other end in what I have said, than to set the House right.

Sir Francis Winnington.] I think those words "clandestine and private," are liable to objections. But I am surprized that Gentlemen should be so rigorous to-day, when the Address is resolved. I thank God, I have this quality, and I hope I ever shall keep it, to speak my mind plainly; and if we speak not now, we are all undone. Though I have a great Honour for this Lord, to alter our minds by the intermission of one Sunday, is a great reflection upon us, to be unsettled in our mind. It was the Defamation of the House of Commons the last twenty years, that they did neither consider the interest of God, nor of their Country; but now to see a tenderness, when a great Person is concerned! (Though he has many good qualities, yet I am sorry to see so much cooling in this, when all is at stake.) But this Address is not a "Judgment" upon this Lord (as is said:) I say, it is no Judgment at all; but the House, upon Common Fame, believes that Lord Halifax did advise the Dissolution of the last Parliament, though he said he was against the Prorogation. This is no judging him; he has given ill Counsel to the King, and we are going to give him good. As for Impeachment, though Common Fame is no Ground to convict, yet it is to accuse. If you cannot relieve yourselves upon Common Fame, where you can have no Witness, you will never remove any man. You have a ground for this Address, though not for Judgment. We come from all parts of the Kingdom, and must hear the opinion of the People. I am for leaving out the words "clandestine and secret," because it has been open. We are the great Council of the Kingdom: When we see ill Counsel given, and we give good! —I am uneasy for a Friend, but easy for the Kingdom. I would have the words "clandestine &c." left out, and the words "of Dissolution of the last Parliament" in, and I hope you will not reverse your Address.

Sir Leoline Jenkins.] Whenever you declare a Crime, that, I conceive, is "a Judgment," though not in the same manner as in other Courts: I must declare my thoughts. I have no reason to believe this noble Lord the occasion of the Dissolution of the last Parliament: There must be a proof of it, else I cannot declare it upon just reason; and you have none but Common Fame. I therefore move, that the Address may lie upon the Table.

Sir Robert Carr.] It is improper for me to speak to this Address, being not here at your Vote. If this be the same case with the Duke of Lauderdale's, it is free for the House to be satisfied in the particulars this Lord is charged with. One charge against that Duke was something hard upon us, viz. "That when Commissioner of Scotland, he procured an Act of Militia to impower the Council there, at their pleasure, to bring men into England, and several other particulars." I protest, I do not speak in favour of this Lord; but you seem, at the beginning of the Address, to lay more weight than in the conclusion. Gentlemen, I suppose, have Reason for this Address; I have none, and I have heard this Lord dislike Prorogations, and his opinion has not been big enough to do things that others have done. This Lord may have several occasions of coming into the King's Presence, and, I hope, this House will not deny that, which ought not to be without a Law.

Mr Harbord.] I am but just come in, and was not here at the beginning of the Debate, but find that the Debate is grounded upon two points. Some are against the thing, and others against the penning of it. If they argue against the thing, it is irregular; if to the penning of it, I am not against any Expedient proposed. Those Gentlemen that vote against this Lord, would not change the words without some very good Reason given for it. That this Lord was much about the King, and shut up with him, is most certain; and if so, by the effects that have been of his Counsels, I have no Reason in the least to change my mind. No doubt there are endeavours abroad to bring this House from their zeal to the Protestant Religion. Some are tampering still. Had I seen any Amendment in Counsels, since this Vote against this Lord—but not seeing that, I have no ground to alter my opinion. If any thing be offered to the penning of the Address, not to destroy the scope of it, I shall agree; but pray keep us to the Debate of the Address, but not of throwing it out.

The Speaker read the Address against the Duke of Lauderdale. The House divided upon every Paragraph.

The Speaker.] You may dispose of your own Precedents as you please.

Sir William Temple.] I do not rise to speak as to the Vote you have passed, but to the Address now before you. The Grounds of your Proceedings to the Vote was Common Fame, which I hear mentioned as a just Reason to believe what you charge this Lord with. That of "secret and clandestine Advice," how proper that speech will be in relation to Common Fame, I humbly offer it. I farther offer to your consideration, whether this Address, as it is now penned, will be grounded as to Reason, and how it does pursue the ends of it. It becomes the House, in procuring right and reasonable ends, to pursue the means of it. To "Common Fame," I will say something that has not been yet said. It is not Rumour; but I have met with a definition: "Where men believe a thing, because they have a moral certainty of it, though not a legal proof." But whether Common Fame, or Vulgar Talk, be the same? Not as the Spanish Proverb, If all men say thou art an Ass, then bray. The end of this Address is to punish this Lord two several ways; one, by a Declaration of the Opinion of the House; and that part is already done, for that is an ingenuous fort of Punishment, and it is Common Fame now, for it is printed in the Journal of the House; and the other, by removing him from the King's Presence and Councils. Now, for the Union of the King and this House; if I were confident the King would remove this Lord, the House does proceed prudently; but in case the King does not remove him, and the House have not their end, consider, Whether that may not create an unkindness betwixt the King and this House; which, on all occasions, I would avoid. If you can ground your Opinion of this Lord upon Common Fame, and that you may have your end to remove this Lord—But if not, I would consider farther of it, and recommit it.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] If I thought we should have no better success with this Address than with that against the Duke of Lauderdale, I would lay it aside. I have seen him addressed against from a Lord to a Duke. I am sorry to see Popery hang thus over us, and when we enquire into things, there is no fault. We have pitched upon this man for the Adviser of the Dissolution of the last Parliament, and when we come to accuse him, and Gentlemen will speak thus for him, nothing can be done. Pray mend what words you will at the Table, but withstand Popery; and Popish Counsellors, for God's sake!

Mr Paul Foley.] We are pressed, I find, for Reasons in behalf of our Address. Our first Reason for it was Common Fame, and I think always that Common Fame is a ground for us to proceed upon. I have read some Records, and I find that an Officer, the High Steward, had power to commit any man upon Common Fame— When the Parliament come together, they ought to take notice of the Common Fame of Persons who have ill advised the King. But I have some better Reasons for this now, for I have heard that this Lord has denied it; but will any man stand up and deny it for him, that he was not the Adviser of the last Dissolution? We have heard of the merits of this Lord, and we have heard every thing against him, but no Friend he has stands up and denies that he was the Adviser of the Dissolution; therefore I am confirmed in it. As for his punishment, I know no other course we have to take than this; whoever is of opinion that this Lord should be removed from the King, I think they have grounds enough. Therefore I am against recommitting it, but you may mend the words at the Table.

Mr Palmes.] I move that you will debate the Address Paragraph by Paragraph, that the thing may not cool by re-committing it, or letting it lie on the Table.

Then the Address was read again.

Sir Francis Winnington.] This Address is short; it has but two bars, the Premises and the Conclusion. Put out only the words "clandestine and secret," and pass the rest.

Colonel Birch.] I have heard Arguments to-day which I am sorry for, "That persons not zealous enough for this Address, are against the Protestant Religion." Notwithstanding all these Arguments, I would do as I would be done by, and what you do, to be in order to your end, with that little Reason I have. For the zeal I had for the Address against the Duke of Lauderdale was not upon Reports, but Certainty; there was Evidence of what he said about Edicts; and next, about the Scotch Army to be brought into England, or where they should be commanded; and what he got by that Address, you know. He was made an Earl, and had three or four thousand pounds Pension out of your sacred Money for the Navy. When, by Act of Parliament, we were about to settle the Trade of both Kingdoms, you know who broke that. For this present Address, in order to your end, I spent my powder the other day. I would lay before the King, that his Counsels may be such as this, and many things are better for the King to grant, than for you to ask. In the eye of the World there is ground to believe that you have Reason to represent to the King these things, &c. and therefore it is your duty to lay them before him, that he may redress them of himself; and certainly now it is most seasonable. I would have a Return of the Address you are about, before we go about to cure it ourselves. I am against putting in that of the Dissolution and Prorogation, &c. that I, who am the weakest here, may give a Reason for what I do, and I would not have one word said against him about the Prorogations, &c. I would have you recommit it.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] It is well observed, "That in the entrance, the preface does deserve consideration, and cannot be mended at the Table." If there was but a word or two amiss, I would do it at the Table; for you lay the stress of all the Address upon that of the Dissolution of the Parliament. I can say the Dissolution was a cause of the Papists carrying on their designs, but not the only cause. Since the Amendments are like to be so large, pray recommit it.

Sir John Knight.] I desire to consider how far you had gone two or three days ago, and whether it will be for your honour to have it said without doors, that you are an uncertain and inconstant People. Some are for recommitting the Address, but that is to lay it aside. What you have done in substance the Address contains; two or three words may be mended at the Table, if thought fit; and pray put the Question upon "secret and clandestine."

Mr Garroway.] All this Debate has risen because a false step was made at first. If things do not cohere, or a word be left out, it may make it more sense. If you read it Paragraph by Paragraph, you will see where any incoherence is, and if it be so, then recommit it.

Mr Harbord.] If I was disposed to say what I can, it might persuade more, it may be, than it has. But as to the single cause of all your fears, that may be mended; and read it Paragraph by Paragraph.

Sir Thomas Meres.] When several Amendments are moved for, I never saw but it was recommitted; some things may be left out, other things added; there are four such exceptions, therefore recommit it.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] Whoever is against the whole thing will be for recommitting it, and who is for it will be against recommitting it, and so put the Question.

On a Division, the Question for recommitting it passed in the Negative, 213 to 101.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I desire you will leave out "clandestine and secret."

Colonel Titus.] You cannot fairly leave out the words, for I would have Gentlemen say in what manner it was done, for it is a secret to us yet.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I am serious, though Titus turns my words to ridicule. I said not "publickly;" that goes against your Vote the other day. Pray put the Question; only omit those words.

Sir Francis Winnington.] (Something he said before that the Compiler did not hear.) I did not reflect upon Musgrave more than upon all persons that laughed. I have no reflection upon those that speak their minds in this House. But now we are not under that severity, as in the Long Parliament, that we might not reflect upon Pensioners.

Colonel Titus.] I am not of opinion that this Lord did it not "clandestinely," but am very confident of this, that he did publickly own it.

"Secret and clandestine" was left out by Vote, [and the Address passed as follows:

"Most Gracious Sovereign,

"We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, being deeply sensible of the manifold dangers and mischiefs which have been occasioned to this your Kingdom by the Dissolution of the last Parliament, and by the frequent Prorogations of this present Parliament, whereby the Papists have been greatly encouraged to carry on their hellish and damnable Conspiracies against your Royal Person and Government, and the Protestant Religion now established amongst us, and have had many opportunities to contrive false and malicious Plots against the Lives and Honours of several of your loyal Protestant Subjects; and having just reason to believe, that the said Dissolution was promoted by the evil and pernicious Counsels of George Earl of Halifax, do therefore most humbly pray your Majesty, for the taking away of occasions of distrust and jealousy between your Majesty and us your faithful Commons, and that we may with greater chearfulness proceed to perfect those matters now before us, which tend to the Safety and Honour of your sacred Person and Government, and to the preservation of the true Protestant Religion, both to ourselves and our Posterity, That you would be graciously pleased to remove the said George Earl of Halifax from your Presence and Councils for ever."]


  • 1. See it in the Journal.
  • 2. He had that morning delivered in an Information in writing relating to the Popish Plot.
  • 3. Whether Sir Gilbert Gerrard had any particular quarrel to Mr Seymour, or affection for his Place, is no where specified.