House of Lords Journal Volume 4: 31 December 1640

Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 4, 1629-42. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'House of Lords Journal Volume 4: 31 December 1640', in Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 4, 1629-42, (London, 1767-1830) pp. 120-122. British History Online [accessed 16 April 2024]


In this section

DIE Jovis, videlicet, 31 die Decembris.


Bp. of Salisbury excused.

Lord Bishop of Sarum excused for being absent.

Ld. Herbert to speak with Sir George Ratcliffe.

Lord Herbert had Leave granted him to speak with Sir George Ratcliffe, about Business of his own in Ireland.

Clarke's Naturalization Bill.

Hodie 1a vice lecta est Billa, An Act for Naturalizing Simon Clarke, etc.

Exchange between Sir Nicholas Crispe and the Bp. of London.

Hodie 3a vice lecta est Billa, An Act for the Alteration of some Lands, within the Parish of Fulham, in Comitatu Midd. held of the Lord Bishop of London, as of his Manor of Fulham, to Sir Nicholas Crispe, Knight; and, being put to the Question, it was consented to, nemine contradicente.

Protestation upon Honour referred to be considered of.

Earl Marshal reported, from the Lords Committees for Privileges, their Opinions concerning the Peers of this Realm answering upon Honour only, and not upon Oath; which being read and considered of, their Lordships finding some Things fit to be added by way of Explanation, the House thought fit to appoint the Earl Marshal, Earl of Bath, Lord Viscount Say and Seale, Lord Bishop of Lincolne, and Lord Roberts, to withdraw themselves, and consider further of the Particulars; which accordingly their Lordships did.

Bp of Winton to speak with Archbp. of Cant.

Lord Bishop of Winton had Leave granted him to speak with the Lord Archbishop of Cant.

Message from the H. C. for a Conference concerning Sir George Ratcliffe.

A Message from the House of Commons, by Sir John Strangwaies, to this Effect:

That the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons, did desire their Lordships to give a Conference, with a Committee of both Houses, concerning the Articles in Maintenance of their Accusation of High Treason charged against Sir George Ratcliffe, Knight; and this to be at what convenient Time their Lordships shall please to appoint.


The Answer of the Lords to this Message was, That their Lordships have taken the Desire of the House of Commons into Consideration, and will give a Meeting, with a Committee of both Houses, presently, in the Painted Chamber.

Earl Marshal and the Earl of Hartford, and the Earl of Bristoll, were appointed by the House to report the Conference; and the House was adjourned during Pleasure.

The Lords went to the Conference.

The Conference being done, the Lords returned; and the House was resumed.

The Earl Marshal reported again the Business concerning the Protestation of Peers of this Realm upon Honour, with the Amendments; which was read, in bæc verba:

Report of the Committee concerning upon Honour up only.

"The Report of the Committee of Privileges, concerning Answer upon Honour only.

"Our Opinions are clear, and that upon hearing divers Learned Men of both Laws speak, That our Answers upon Honour only can be no Impediment to the Common Justice of the Kingdom, but a due and just Preservation of our Ancient Liberties; and therefore we offer it as our Unanimous Opinions to the House, That our former Order may stand in full Force, which is entered upon our Roll, in hæc verba:

Order thereupon.

"Ordered, upon the Question, nemine contradicente, That the Nobility of this Kingdom, and Lords of the Upper House of Parliament, are, of ancient Right, to answer in all Courts, as Defendants, upon Protestation of Honour only, and not upon the common Oath; and that the said Order, and this Explanation, doth extend to all Answers and Examinations upon Interrogatories, in all Causes as well Criminal as Civil, and in all Courts and Commissions whatsoever, and also to the Persons of the Widows and Dowagers of the Temporal Peers of this Land; and that the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England for the Time being, or the Speaker of the Lords House for the Time being, do forthwith give Notice of it, together with this Explanation, to all the Courts of Justice, and the Judges, Clerks, and Registers of them, by causing our former Order, with this Explanation, to be recorded in all Courts; and that all Orders, Constitutions, or Customs, entered or practised to the contrary wheresoever may be abolished and declared void; and the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal for the Time being, or Commissioners of the Great Seal out of Parliament-time, shall see all Practice to the contrary hereafter to be punished with exemplary Severity, to deter others from the like Attempts."

And being put to the Question, whether this shall be entered as an Order of this House, it was consented unto, nemine contradicente.

Examinatur per Dominos, from the 12th of December to the 31st of December.

He. Bathon.
Hen. Dover.
Tho. Duresme.
Jo. Lincoln.
W. Robertes.

Privilege of the Peers, &c. with respect to Recusancy.

It was moved, That whereas an Order was lately made by this most Honourable and High Court, for the staying of the proceeding of Indictments against some Peers of this House, for their Recusancy, being preferred in Time of Parliament, contrary to the Privilege of Parliament; and that their Lordships, their Wives, Children, and menial Servants, should be allowed the Privilege of Parliament, during the Time of Parliament, and Twenty Days after; it was this Day Ordered by the House, That Dowagers and Widows of Recusant Lords, that are not convicted, shall be allowed the Privilege of Parliament.

Next it was moved, whether the Servants of any Recusant Lord, being of that Religion, shall be allowed the Privilege of Parliament, in regard of his Recusancy, being contrary to the Statute Laws of this Kingdom; whereupon it was referred to the Consideration of the Committee of Privileges.

Conference concerning Sir George Ratcliffe reported.

The Earl of Hartford reported the Conference:

That Mr. Pim, in the Name of the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons, did present Articles in Maintenance of their Accusation of High Treason against Sir George Ratcliffe, Knight: The Articles were read openly, in hæc verba:

"Articles of the Commons, assembled in Parliament, against Sir George Ratcliffe, Knight, in Maintenance of their Accusation, whereby he stands charged with High Treason.

Articles of High Treason exhibited by the Commons against him.

"1. That he the said Sir George Ratcliffe hath traiterously conspired and consederated with Thomas Earl of Strafford, to subvert the fundamental Laws and Government of the Realms of England and Ireland, and to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical Government, against Laws; and hath been a Counsellor, Actor, and Abettor, in that wicked and traiterous Design of bringing the Irish Army into England, to compel the Subjects of this Kingdom to submit thereunto.

2. That he hath traiterously confederated and conspired with the said Earl of Strafford, and hath been an Actor, Counsellor, and Instrument to him, in assuming and exercising Regal Power over the Liberties and Persons, Lands and Goods, of His Majesty's Subjects of Ireland; and hath accordingly exercised the same tyrannically, to the Subversion and Undoing of divers of His Majesty's Liege People.

3. That, for the better enabling the said Earl and himself to go on with their traiterous Designs, he the said Sir George Ratcliffe traiterously joined and confederated with the said Earl, in taking great Sums of Money out of His Majesty's Exchequer of Ireland, and converting them to the Use of the said Earl and himself, when His Majesty was necessitated for his own urgent Occasions; the Army having been then long unpaid.

4. That he hath traiterously confederated with the said Earl, and abused the Power and Authority which he held in Ireland, to the countenancing and encouraging of Papists, that he might settle a mutual Dependance and Confidence betwixt the Earl and himself and that Party, and to alienate the Affections of the Irish Papists from the Subjects of England, and by their Help to prosecute and accomplish their malicious and tyrannical Designs.

5. That he hath traiterously confederated with the said Earl of Strafford, in plotting and endeavouring to stir up Enmity and Hostility betwixt His Majesty's Subjects of Ireland and those of Scotland.

"6. That, the better to preserve himself and the said Earl in these and other traiterous Courses, he hath laboured to subvert the Rights of Parliaments, and the ancient Course of Parliamentary Proceedceedings.

All which Offences were committed during the Time that the said Sir George was a Counsellor of State in the Kingdom of Ireland, and had taken Oath for his faithful Discharge of the same.

By which Actions, Confederacies, and Conspiracies, he hath traiterously, and contrary to his Allegiance, endeavoured the Ruin and Destruction of His Majesty's Kingdoms; for which they do impeach him the said Sir George Ratcliffe of High Treason against our Sovereign Lord, His Crown, and Dignity.

"And the said Commons, by Protestation, saving to themselves the Liberty of exhibiting, at any Time hereafter, any other Accusation or Impeachment against the said Sir George Ratcliffe, and also of replying to the Answers that he the said Sir George shall make unto the said Articles, or to any of them, and of offering Proof also of the Premises, or any of them, or of any other Impeachment or Accusation that shall be by them exhibited, as the Case shall, according to the Course of Parliaments, require, do pray that the said Sir George may be put to answer to all and every the Premises; and that such Proceedings, Examinations, Trial, and Judgement, may be upon every of them had and used, as is agreeable to Law and Justice."

Afterwards he reported Mr. Pim's Speech, which he delivered in hæc verba:

Mr. Pim's Speech reported.

My Lords,

By hearing this Charge, your Lordships may perceive what near Conjunction there is between this Cause and the Earl of Strafford's. The Materials for the most Part are the same in both. The Offences of the Earl, moving from a higher Orb, are more comprehensive; they extend both to England and Ireland. These (except in one particular of reducing England by the Irish Army) are confined within that Kingdom. The Earl is charged as an Author; Sir George Ratcliffe as an Instrument and subordinate Actor.

The Influences of Superior Planets are often augmented and enforced, seldom mitigated, by the Concurrence of the Inferior, where Merit doth arise not from well-doing, but from ill. The Officiousness of Ministers will rather add to the Malignity of their Instructions, than diminish it, that so they may more fully ingratiate themselves with those upon whom they depend.

In the Crimes committed by the Earl, there appears to be more Haughtiness and Fierceness, being acted by his own Principles: Those Motions are ever strongest which are nearest the Primum mobile. But in those of Sir George Ratcliffe, there seems to be more Baseness and Servility, having resigned and subjected himself to be acted by the corrupt Will of another.

The Earl of Strafford hath not been bred in the Study and Practice of the Law; and, having stronger Lusts and Passions to incite him, and less Knowledge to restrain him, might more easily be transported from the Rule.

Sir George Ratcliffe, in his natural Temper and Disposition more moderate, and by his Education and Profession better acquainted with the Grounds and Directions of Law, was carried into his Offences by an immediate Concurrence of Will, by a more corrupt Suppression and Inthralling of his own Reason and Judgement.

"My Lords, as both these have been Partners in Offending, so it is the Desire of the Commons, they may be put under such Examination and Trial, and other Proceedings of Justice, as may bring them both to partake in a deserved Punishment, for the Safety and Good of both Kingdoms."

After this, Sir George Ratcliffe, by Directions of the House, was sent for, to come with the Chief Keeper of The Gatehouse.

Sir George Ratcliffe at the Bar.

Desires Time to answer, and Counsel.

Then Sir George Ratcliffe was brought to the Bar, and told that the House of Commons had brought up Articles of High Treason against him; which being read unto him (having Liberty granted him to speak), he desired their Lordships that he might have Counsel assigned him, and that they might have Liberty to come to him to advise him, because he conceived there was in the Charge divers Points of Law to be considered, and he himself was altogether unknowing in the Manner of Proceedings of this House; next, he desired that he might be allowed a competent Time to Answer.

Which were granted him.

This being resolved of, the Lords were pleased to call Sir George Ratcliffe in again; and the Speaker told him the House had granted both his Requests, and acquainted him with the aforesaid Order; and then he withdrew.

Charge to the Gaoler concerning him.

Then their Lordships thought fit to call the Keeper of The Gatehouse, and told him that Sir George Ratcliffe was now committed by this House to The Gatehouse, upon an Accusation of High Treason: Therefore their Lordships would now expect from him that he should be kept in safe and sure Custody, upon his Peril; and that every Night he must take a Note what Persons have visited him that Day, and every Saturday to give an Account thereof to this House.

Witnesses in Sir George Ratcliffe's Cause.

Witnesses sworn in Causa Sir George Ratcliffe:

Sir James Montgomery.
Mr. Nic. Plunkett.
Sir Robert Lynch.
Sir William Coale.
Sir Hards Waller.
Mr. Nicholas Barnewell.
Mr. Edward Rowly.
Mr. Tho. Bourke.
Mr. Jeffery Browne.
Mr. Richard Fitzgerrard.
Mr. Jo. Welsh.

And an Injunction given them from the House for Secrecy, as formerly was given to other Witnesses.

Assistants appointed for their Examination.

Ordered by the House, That Mr. Attorney General and Mr. Serjeant Glanvile shall be Assistants to the deputed Lords, and write and set down the Depositions and preparatory Examinations of such Witnesses as shall be examined in the Cause of Sir George Ratcliffe.

After this, Mr. Serjeant Glanvile was sworn at the Bar, that, in writing and setting down the Examinations of the Witnesses to be produced before the Lords deputed in the Case of Sir George Ratcliffe, and in all Things concerning the same, he shall behave himself well, truly, and faithfully.

Deputed Lords enjoined Secrecy, at antea.

Next, it was declared by the House, That those Lords deputed for the taking Examination of Witnesses in Sir George Ratcliff's Case, are enjoined by the House to Secrecy, as was done in the Earl of Strafford's Cause.

Fancet denies his Words against E. Newport.

This Day was brought to the Bar, as a Delinquent, James Faucett, for speaking base Words of the Earl of Newport. The Petition and other Particulars being read unto him, he denied the Words. Therefore the House did Order, That the said James Faucett should remain in Custody, and the Earl of Newport to produce his Witnesses here in Court upon Monday next, to make good the Charge in the Petition.

Order for the Lords sitting in the House.

Ordered, That every Lord shall sit in his proper Place in the House, when any Business is in Agitation, according to the Rules and Orders of this Honourable House.

Bp. of Ely to see the Archbishop of Cant.

Lord Bishop of Ely had Leave granted him to see the Lord Archbishop of Cant.

Faucet to be bailed.

Ordered, That James Faucett shall enter into a Bond of Five Hundred Pounds, with sufficient Sureties, unto the Serjeant at Arms attending this House, and in whose Custody he is in now, to appear here in Court on Monday next, being the Fourth Day of January, to answer such Things as are alledged in the Earl of Newport's Petition.


Dominus Capitalis Justicarius Communi de Banco, Locum tenens Domini Magni Sigilli, declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque in diem Sabbati, videlicet, 2m diem instantis Januarii, hora nona, Dominis sic decernentibus.