Fifth Parliament. ; Mr. Harley Speaker.
The new Parliament according to the Writs of Summons,
met at Westminster on Feb. 6th, and was prorogued to
Monday, Feb. 10th when the King came to the House of
Peers, and sending for the Commons, signified to them by
the Lord Keeper, that they should forthwith proceed to the
Choice of a fit Person to be their Speaker, and present him
to his Majesty. The next Day the Commons returning to
their House, made choice of Robert Harley Esq; who was
the next Day presented and approved by the King; after
which, his Majesty made this Speech to both Houses.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'Our great misfortune in the loss of the Duke of
Gloucester, hath made it absolutely necessary, that
there should be a further Provision for the Succession to
the Crown in the Protestant Line, after me and the Princess.
The Happiness of the Nation, and the Security of our Religion, which is our chiefest Concern, seems so much to
depend upon this, that I cannot doubt but it will meet with
a general concurrence: And I earnestly recommend it to
your early and effectual Consideration
'The Death of the late King of Spain, with the Declaration of his Successor to that Monarchy, has made so great
an alteration in the Affairs abroad, that I must desire you
very maturely to consider their present State; and I make
no doubt but your Resolutions thereupon will be such, as
shall be most conducing to the Interest and Safety of England, the Preservation of the Protestant Religion in general, and the Peace of all Europe.
'These things are of such Weight, that I have thought
them most proper for the Consideration of a new Parliament, to have the more immediate Sense of the Kingdom
in so great a Conjuncture.
'I must desire of you Gentlemen of the House of Commons, such Supplies as you shall judge necessary for the
Service of the current Year; and I must particularly put
you in mind of the Deficiencies and Public Debts occasion'd
by the late War, that are yet unprovided for.
'I am obliged further to recommend to you, that you
would inspect the Condition of the Fleet, and consider
what Repairs or Augmentations may be requisite for the
Navy, which is the great Bulwark of the English Nation,
and ought at this Conjuncture most especially, to be put into
a good Condition; and that you would also consider, what
is proper for the better Security of those Places where the
Ships are laid up in Winter.
'The Regulation and Improvement of our Trade, is of
so Public Concern, that I hope it will ever have your serious Thoughts; and if you can find proper means of setting the Poor at work, you will ease your selves of a
very great Burthen; and at the same time add so many
useful Hands to be employed in our Manufactures, and
other public Occasions.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'I hope there will be such an Agreement and Vigour in
the Resolutions you shall take, upon the important matters
now before you, as may make it appear, we are firmly
united among ourselves; and in my Opinion nothing can
contribute more to our Safety at home, or to our being considerable abroad.'
The Commons Address.
The Commons spent the two succeeding Days in qualifying
themselves; and on the 13th began with the Business of
Bribery in Elections, which was a Matter of long Debates
and Censures. On the 14th, upon reading his Majesty's
Speech, they came to this Resolution; (on a Division,
Yeas 181. Noes 160.) 'That they would stand by and
support his Majesty and his Government, and take such effectual measures as may best conduce to the Interest and
Safety of England, the Preservation of the Protestant Religion, and the Peace of Europe.' This Resolution was presented to his Majesty by the whole House, on February the
17th, and the King gave them this gracious Answer.
'I thank you for this Address, and your ready Concurrence to those great Ends therein mentioned, which I take
to be extremely important to the Honour and Safety of
England; and I assure you, I shall never propose any thing
but what is for our common Advantage and Security.
Having this Occasion, I think it proper to acquaint you,
that yesterday I received a Memorial from the Envoy Extraordinary of the States-General, a Translation whereof
I leave with you: As to the first Part of it, I think it necessary to ask your Advice, as to the latter Part I desire
A second Address. ; A third Address.
Upon the Report of the King's Answer, to their Address
abovemention'd, the Commons farther Resolved, 'That an
humble Address be made to his Majesty, by such Members
as are of the Privy Council, that he will please to cause the
Treaty between England and the States-General of the third
of March, 1677, and all the renewals thereof since that time,
to be laid before the House.' Which his Majesty commanded to be done by Mr. Secretary Hedges. And the
House was so well satisfied, that on February the 20th they
resolved, 'That an humble Address be made to his Majesty, that he will please to enter into such Negotiations,
in concert with the States-General of the United Provinces,
and other Potentates, as may most effectually conduce to the
mutual Safety of these Kingdoms, and the States-General,
and the Preservation of the Peace of Europe; and giving
him Assurances of Support and Assistances, in performance
of the Treaty made with the States-General, the third of
March, 1677.' This Address was presented by the whole
House on Friday the 21st of February. And his Majesty
was pleased to return the following Answer.
'I Thank you heartily for the Advice you have given me,
and your unanimous Resolution to support and assist
me, in making good the Treaty mentioned in your Address;
and I will immediately order my Ministers abroad, to enter into Negotiations in concert with the States-General,
and other Potentates, for the attaining those great Ends
which you desire. Nothing can more effectually conduce
to our Security, than the Unanimity and Vigour you have
shewed on this Occasion: And I shall always endeavour on
my Part, to preserve and increase this mutual Trust and
Confidence between us.'
First Vote in relation to the Protestant Succession.
On Consideration of that Part of his Majesty's Speech,
which related to the Succession, the Commons resolved,
(the 3d of March) That for the preserving the Peace and
Happiness of this Kingdom, and the Security of the Protestant Religion by Law established, it is absolutely necessary,
a further Declaration be made of the Limitation and Succession of the Crown, in the Protestant Line, after his Majesty, and the Princess, and the Heirs of their Bodies respectively. And that farther Provision be first made, for
Security of the Rights and Liberties of the People.
Heads of the Bill of Succession.
On March the 12th, Mr. Conyers reported the further
Resolutions of the Committee appointed for that purpose; and
the House did then agree and resolve, 1st, That all things
relating to the well-governing of this Kingdom, which are
properly cognizable in the Privy-Council, shall be transacted there, and all Resolutions, taken thereupon shall be
signed by the Privy-Council. 2d, That no Person whatsoever, that is not a Native of England, Scotland or Ireland,
or the Dominions thereunto belonging; or who is not born
of English Parents beyond the Seas (although such Person
be naturalized or made Denison) shall be capable of any
Grant of Lands, Tenements or Hereditaments from the
Crown, to himself, or any other in Trust for him. 3d,
That upon the further Limitation of the Crown, in case
the same shall hereafter come to any Person not being a Native of this Kindom of England, this Nation be not obliged
to engage in any War for the Defence of any Dominion,
or Territories not belonging to the Crown of England, without the Consent of Parliament. 4th, That whosoever shall
hereafter come to the Possession of this Crown, shall join in
Communion with the Church of England as by the Law
established. 5th, That no Pardon be pleadable to any Impeachment in Parliament. 6th, That no Person who shall
hereafter come to the Possession of this Crown, shall go out
of the Dominions of England, Scotland, or Ireland, without Consent of Parliament. 7th, That no Person who has
any Office under the King, or receives a Pension from the
Crown, shall be capable of serving as a Member of the
House of Commons. 8th, That further Provision be made,
for the confirming of all Laws and Statutes for the securing
our Religion, and the Rights and Liberties of the People.
9th, That Judges Commissions be made Quam diu se bene gesserint, and their Salaries ascertained and established; but
upon the Address of either House of Parliament, it may be
lawful to remove them. 10th, That the Princess Sophia
Dutchess Dowager of Hanover, be declared the next in Succession to the Crown of England in the Protestant Line,
after his Majesty and the Princess, and the Heirs of their
Bodies respectively; and that the further Limitation of the
Crown be to the said Princess Sophia and the Heirs of her
Body, being Protestants. 11th, That a Bill be brought in
upon the said Resolutions.
On the 18th of March, the following Message was delivered to the House of Commons by Mr. Secretary Hedges,
and read by the Speaker.
King's Message to the Commons.
'His Majesty having directed Mr. Stanhope, his Envoy
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at the Hague, to
enter into Negotiations in concert with the States-General
of the United Provinces, and other Potentates, for the
mutual Security of England and Holland, and the Preservation of the Peace of Europe, according to an Address of
this House to that effect: And the said Mr. Stanhope having transmitted to his Majesty, Copies of the Demands
made by himself and the Deputies of the States upon that
Subject, to the French Ambassador there; his Majesty hath
thought fit to communicate the same to you, it being his
Majesty's gracious Intention, to acquaint you from time to
time with the State and Progress of those. Negotiations,
into which he has entered pursuant to your Address abovementioned. Kensington the 17th of March, 1700.'
Address on the Partition-Treaty.
When this Message was taken into the Consideration of
the Commons on the 21st of March, they began with the
great Obstruction to it, the Treaty of Partition: And after
reading the said Message the Proposals made to the French
Ambassador by 'Mr. Stanhope, and the Resolution of the
States-General for treating with Monsieur d'Avaux, they
resolved, That the Treaty of Partition be read; and after
reading of it, they proceeded to this Resolution, 'That an
humble Address be presented to his Majesty; to return the
Thanks of this House for his gracious Message, wherein he
is pleased to communicate his Royal Intentions, to acquaint
this House from time to time with the State and Progress of
those Negotiations, into which his Majesty had entered pursuant to the Address of this House. And also to lay before his Majesty the ill Consequences of the Treaty of Partition (passed under the Great Seal of England, during the
sitting of Parliament, and without the Advice of the same)
to the Peace of Europe, whereby such large Territories of
the King of Spain's Dominions were to be delivered up to
the French King.' When this Address was presented to the
King, he did somewhat resent the Unkindness of it; and
thought there was much more Reason to complain of the
persidious Breach of the Treaty, than of the making of it.
However, to decline the entering into any Defence of it,
he gave this prudent Answer.
'I am glad you are pleased with my communicating to
you the State of the Negotiations I have entered into, pursuant to your Address; I shall continue to inform you of
the Progress that shall be made in them; and be always
willing to receive your Advice thereupon; being fully
persuaded, that nothing can contribute more effectually to
the Happiness of this Kingdom, and the Peace of Europe,
than the Concurrence of the Parliament in all my Negotiations, and a good Understanding between me and my
Upon the French Ambassador's declining to give a satisfactory Answer to the Memorials presented by Mr. Stanhope
and the Dutch, his Majesty sent this Message to the House
'His Majesty having received an Account from Mr.
Stanhope, his Envoy Extraordinary at the Hague, that the
French Ambassador there had declared to the Pensionary,
that the King his Master had no other Answer to return
to the Demands made by the States-General of the United
Provinces, than that he is ready to renew and confirm the
Treaty of Ryswick, it being all the Security the States are
to expect; and that he has no Orders to give any Answer
to his Majesty's said Envoy; but if his Majesty has any
thing to demand, it may be done by his Ambassador at
Paris, or to the French Minister at London; and that he
has no Commission to treat with any but the States. And
his Majesty having also received two Resolutions of the
States, and a Memorial from their Envoy here, relating
to the Ships they are sending to join his Majesty's Fleet,
and the Succours they desired may be hastened to them,
by virtue of the Treaty made the third of March, one
thousand six hundred seventy-seven: His Majesty has
thought fit to communicate the whole to this House, that
they may be particularly informed of the present State of
Affairs abroad, where the Negotiations seem to be at an
end, by the positive Answer the French Ambassador has
given to the States. Which his Majesty recommends to the
serious Consideration of this House, as a Matter of the
greatest Weight and Consequence; and desires that they
will give his Majesty such Advice thereupon, as may be for
our own Security, and that of the States-General, and the
Peace of Europe. Kensington, the thirty first day of
March, one thousand seven hundred and one.'
Humble Advice of the Commons.
When this Message was taken into the Consideration of
the House, they Resolved, nemine contradicente, April 2.
'That the humble Advice of this House be given to his Majesty, to desire, that his Majesty will be pleased to carry on
the Negotiations in concert with the States-General, and
take such measures therein as may most conduce to their Security; and that his Majesty will pursue the Treaty made
with the States-General the third of March, 1677. and to
assure his Majesty, that this House will effectually enable
him to support the said Treaty of 1677.'
When this Resolution of Advice was presented to his
Majesty, Mr. Secretary Hedges reported his Majesty's Answer to this effect: 'That according to the Advice of the
House of Commons, his Majesty has given Orders to his
Envoy Extraordinary at the Hague, to carry on the Negotiations in concert with the States-General, and to take
such measures therein, as may most conduce to their Security. His Majesty thanks you for the assurance you have
given, that this House will effectually enable him to support the Treaty of 1677, and will pursue the same as you
advise. He does not doubt, but the readiness you have
shewn upon this Occasion, will very much contribute to
the obtaining such a Security as is desired.'
Resolution to impeach the Earl of Portland.
The Commons of England, not content with their Address
to the King against the Treaty of Partition, proceeded to shew
their Abhorrence of it, in a manner that seemed to affect
our Peace at home, more than to prepare for a War abroad.
For, on April the first, they Resolved, That William Earl of
Portland by negotiating and concluding the Treaty of Partition, (which was destructive to the Trade of this Kingdom,
and dangerous to the Peace of Europe) is guilty, and shall
be impeached, of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. And
they ordered Sir John Levison Gower to go up to the Lords,
and at their Bar to impeach the said Earl, and to acquaint
their Lordships, that they will in due time exhibit particular Articles against him. And then desired a Conference
with the Lords upon matters relating to the Treaty of Partition; at which Conference the Commons delivered this
Paper to the Lords.
Paper delivered to the Lords at a Conference.
It appearing by your Lordships Journal, that your Lordships have received Information of some Transactions between
the Earl of Portland, and Mr. Secretary Vernon, relating
to the Partition of the Spanish Monarchy, the Commons
having the said Matter under their Consideration, desire your
Lordships will be pleased to communicate to the Commons,
what Informations your Lordships have had, of any Transactions relating to any Negotiations or Treaties of Partition
of the Spanish Monarchy, by Letters or otherwise. And
the Commons are fully assured, that your Lordships will
readily concur in assisting them in this Enquiry, which they
conceive absolutely necessary for the Safety and Honour of
this Kingdom, and the Preservation of the Peace of Europe.'
The Lords ordered the two Latin Commissions of Powers
granted to the Earls of Portland and Jersey, for Negotiating
the said Treaties, one dated the 1st of July, 1699, the other
on the 2d of January, 1700, as also a private Paper of the
Lord Portland's running thus:
A printed Paper of the Earl of Portland's.
'At the beginning of the Summer of the Year 1699, when
I was in Holland, at my Country-House, and when the King
would have me concerned in the Negotiation of this Treaty
with the Emperor, the French King, and the States; being
very unwilling to meddle with Business again, from which
I was retired, before I would engage myself, I advised with
my Friends in Holland, and writ into England to Mr. Secretary Vernon, as my particular Friend, whether it was advisable for me to engage in any Business again? To which
Mr. Vernon answered in substance, that this would not engage me but for a little while: That I being upon the Place,
and generally acquainted with the Foreign Ministers, it would
be easier for the King, and more proper for me to be employed
in it, than any body else, that must be otherwise sent for on
Impeachment of the Lord Somers.
The next Person whom the Commons intended to call
upon, was John Lord Somers, late Lord-Chancellor of England, on whose Judgment and Fidelity the King had very
much relied: His Lordship being sensible of the Storm that
was coming on, desired the Earl of Portland, with leave of
the House, to declare if he pleased, whether the Lord Somers's
Name was mentioned in the Letter he received from Mr.
Secretary Vernon? The Earl of Portland stood up and declared, 'That if he had remembered any such thing in the
Letter, and had not inserted it in the Paper which he had
delivered to the House, he should have thought he had deceived the House.'
He is heard by the House. ; Vote against him.
On April the 14th, the Lord Somers sent in an Information to the House of Commons, That having heard the
House was upon a Debate concerning him, he desired that
he might be admitted in and heard: This was granted, and
a Chair was set by the Serjeant, a little within the Bar on
the left Hand; then the Serjeant had Directions to acquaint
the Lord Somers, that he might come in; and the Door
being opened, his Lordship came in, and Mr. Speaker acquainted his Lordship, that he might repose himself in the
Chair provided for him; and his Lordship was heard what
he had to offer to the House, which he did with great plainness and presence of mind. But when his Lordship withdrew,
the House came to this Resolution, 'That John Lord Somers,
by advising his Majesty in the Year 1698, to the Treaty for
Partition of the Spanish Monarchy, whereby large Territories of the King of Spain's Dominions, were to be delivered up to France, is guilty of a high Crime and Misdemeanour: And they ordered Mr. Harcourt to go up to the
Lords, and at their Bar to impeach him, and to acquaint
their Lordships, that the House will in due time exhibit
particular Articles against him.' And immediately after,
they Resolved, That Edward Earl of Orford, and Charles
Lord Hallifax be for the same Reasons impeached of high
Crimes and Misdemeanours.
And the Earl of Orford, and Lord Hallifax.
The Lord Somers had delivered to the House of Commons
a Copy of the Letter which he had sent to his Majesty, in
Answer to one from his Majesty, upon Occasion of that Treaty:
Both which are fit to be inserted.
At Loo, 15/25 of August, 1698.
King's Letter to Lord Somers.
'I Imparted to you before I left England, that in France
there was expressed to my Lord Portland some Inclination to come to an Agreement with us, concerning the Succession of the King of Spain; since which, Count Tallard
has mentioned it to me, and has made Propositions, the
Particulars of which my Lord Portland will write to
Vernon, to whom I have given Orders not to communicate them to any other besides yourself, and to leave all to
your Judgment, and to whom else you would think proper to
impart them; to the end that I might know your Opinion
upon so important an Affair, and which requires the greatest Secrecy. If it be fit this Negotiation should be carried
on, there is no time to be lost, and you will send me the
full Powers under the Great Seal, with the Names in blank,
to treat with Count Tallard. I believe that this may be
be done secretly, that none but you and Vernon, and those
to whom you shall communicate it, may have knowledge
of it; so that the Clerks who are to write the Warrant
and the full Powers, may not know what it is. According to all Intelligence, the King of Spain cannot out-live
the Month of October, and the least Accident may carry
him off every Day. I received Yesterday your Letter of
the 9th. Since my Lord Wharton cannot at this time
leave England, I must think of some other to send Ambassador into Spain; if you can think of any one proper, let
me know it, and be always assured of my Friendship.'
The Lord Somers's Answer.
Tunbridge Wells, 28th
August, 1698. O.S.
Lord Somers's Answer.
Having your Majesty's permission to try if the Waters
would contribute to the re-establishment of my Health,
I was just got to this Place, when I had the Honour of your
Commands; I thought the best way of executing them
would be to communicate to my Lord Orford, Mr. Montagu,
and the Duke of Shrewsbury (who, before I left London,
had agreed upon a meeting about that time) the Subject of
my Lord Portland's Letter; at the same time letting them
know, how strictly your Majesty required that it should remain an absolute Secret.
'Since that time, Mr. Montagu, and Mr. Secretary are
come down hither; and upon the whole discourse, three
things have principally occurred, to be humbly suggested to
'First, That the entertaining a Proposal of this Nature,
seems to be attended with very many ill Consequences, if the
French did not act a sincere Part; but we were soon at ease,
as to any Apprehension of this sort, being fully assured your
Majesty would not act but with the utmost nicety, in an Affair
wherein the Glory and Safety of Europe were so highly concerned.
'The second thing considered, was the very ill Prospect of
what was like to happen upon the Death of the King of Spain,
in case nothing was done previously towards the providing
against that Accident, which seemed probably to be very near:
The King of France having so great a Force in such a
readiness, that he was in a Condition to take Possession of
Spain, before any other Prince could be able to make a stand.
Your Majesty is the best Judge whether this be the Case,
who are so perfectly informed of the Circumstances of Parts
'But so far as relates to England, it would be want of
Duty not to give your Majesty this clear Account, That there
is a deadness and want of Spirit in the Nation universally,
so as not at all to be disposed to the thought of entering into
a new War; and that they seem to be tired out with Taxes
to a degree beyond what was discerned, till it appeared upon
the Occasion of the late Elections. This is the Truth of
the Fact, upon which your Majesty will determine what
Resolutions are proper to be taken.
'That which remained, was the Consideration what would
be the Condition of Europe, if the Proposal took place: Of
this we thought ourselves little capable of judging; but it
seemed that if Sicily was in the French Hands, they will be
entirely Masters of the Levant-Trade; that if they were possessed of Final, and those other Sea-Ports on that side, whereby Milan would be entirely shut out from Relief by Sea, or
any other Commerce, that Dutchy would be of little signification in the Hands of any Prince; and that if the King of
France had Possession of that Part of Guipuscoa, which is
mentioned in the Proposal, besides the Ports he would have
in the Ocean, it does seem he would have as easy a way of
invading Spain on that side, as he now has on the side of
'But it is not to be hoped that France will quit its pretences, to so great a Succession, without considerable advantages; and we are all assured, your Majesty will reduce the
Terms as low as can be done, and make them, as far as is
possible in the present. Circumstances of things, such as may
be some Foundation for the future Quiet of Christendom;
which all your Subjects cannot but be convinced is your true
aim. If it could be brought to pass that England might be
some way a gainer by this Transaction, whether it was by
the Elector of Bavaria (who is the gainer by your Majesty's
interposition in this Treaty) his coming to an agreement to
let us into some Trade to the Spanish Plantations, or in any
other manner, it would wonderfully endear your Majesty to
your English Subjects.
'It does not appear, in case this Negotiation should proceed, what is to be done on your part in order to make it
take place, whether any more be required than the English
and Dutch should sit still, and France itself to see it executed. If that be so, what security ought to be expected,
that if, by our being neuters, the French be successful, they
will confine themselves to the Terms of the Treaty, and not
attempt to make further Advantages of their Success?
'I humbly beg your Majesty's Pardon that these Thoughts
are so ill put together: These Waters are known to discompose and disturb the Head, so as almost totally to disable one
from writing: I should be extremely troubled if my absence
from London has delayed the Dispatch of the Commission one
Day. You will be pleased to observe that two Persons (as
the Commission is drawn) must be named in it, but the
Powers may be executed by either of them. I suppose your
Majesty will not think it proper to name Commissioners that
are not English, or naturalized, in an Affair of this nature.
'I pray God give your Majesty Honour and Success in all
your Undertakings. I am with the utmost Duty and Respect,
Sir, your Majesty's most Dutiful and
most-Obedient Subject and Servant.
P. S. The Commission is wrote by Mr. Secretary, and I have
had it sealed in such a manner, that no Creature has the
least knowledge of the thing, besides the Persons named.
The Commons in pursuance of Resolutions taken the 15th
of April, did on the 23d, present this Address to the King.
The Commons Address to the King.
'Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons in Parliament assembled, do humbly crave leave to represent to your Majesty, the great Satisfaction we have from our late Enquiry
concerning the Treaty of Partition, made in the Year 1698,
(on which the Treaty of 1699 was founded) to see your
Majesty's great Care of your People and this Nation, in
not entering into that Negotiation without the Advice of
your English Counsellors; and finding that John Lord
Somers, on whose Judgment your Majesty did chiefly rely
in that so important Affair, did, in concert with Edward
Earl of Orford, and Charles Lord Hallifax, advise your
Majesty to enter into that Treaty of so dangerous Consequence to the Trade and Welfare of this Nation; and who,
to avoid the Censure which might justly be apprehended to
fall on those who advised the same, endeavoured to insinuate, that your Majesty, without the Advice of your Council,
entered into that Treaty, and under your sacred Name to
seek Protection for what themselves had so advised: Of
which Treatment of your Majesty we cannot but have a
just Resentment: And that they may be no longer able to
deceive your Majesty and abuse your People, we do humbly
beseech your Majesty, that you will be pleased to remove
John Lord Somers, Edward Earl of Orford, and Charles
Lord Hallifax, from your Council and Presence for ever;
as also William Earl of Portland, who transacted these
Treaties, so unjust in their own Nature, and so fatal in their
Consequences to this Nation, and the Peace of Europe.
And we humbly crave leave upon this Occasion, to repeat
our Assurances to your Majesty, that we will always stand
by and support your Majesty, to the utmost of our Power,
against all your Enemies both at home and abroad.'
His Majesty could not but be very uneasy at this severe
dealing with his Councils and his Ministers; when he knew
the Error, if any, was a Mistake of Judgment only, and that
rather of his own, than of any employed by him. However, he kept his Temper, and gave this gracious Answer:
'I am willing to take all Occasions of thanking you very
heartily, for the Assurances you have frequently given me,
and now repeat, of standing by and supporting me against
all our Enemies both at home and abroad: towards which,
nothing, in my Opinion, can contribute so much as a good
Correspondence between me and my People. And therefore you may depend upon it, that I will employ none in
my Service, but such as shall be thought most likely to
improve that mutual Trust and Confidence between us,
which is so necessary in this Conjuncture, both for our own
Security, and the Defence and Preservation of our Allies.'
The House of Lords was alarmed at the Address of the
Commons, and did apprehend it to be an ill Precedent for
Persons to be censured, before they were tried. And therefore they interposed with this counter Address to his Majesty.
The Lords Address against these Proceedings.
'We your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful Subjects, the
Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg
leave to represent to your Majesty, that the House of Commons have severally impeached at the Bar of our House,
William Earl of Portland, John Lord Somers, Edward Earl
of Orford, and Charles Lord Hallifax, of high Crimes and
Misdemeanors, and they having acquainted us, that they will
in due time exhibit particular Articles against the said
Lords, and make good the same; we do most humbly beseech your Majesty, that your Majesty will be pleased not to
pass any Censure upon them, until they are tried upon the
said Impeachments, and Judgment be given according to the
Usage of Parliament, and the Laws of the Land.'
In the mean time, his Majesty, on the 8th of May, sent
this Message to the House of Commons by Mr. Secretary
A Message from the King to the Commons.
'His Majesty having lately received an Account from
Mr. Stanhope, of the present Posture of Affairs in Holland,
and likewise a Letter from the States-General, which is
of the greatest Importance; And his Majesty, who has so
perfect a Knowledge of their Country, being entirely
convinced of the Hardships of their present Condition,
and the great Pressures they now lie under, which are
particularly expressed in the above-mentioned Letter, has
thought it absolutely necessary to communicte the same to
this House; that the Expectations the States have of present
Assistance from his Majesty, may more fully appear. And
his Majesty does not doubt, but this House will be so justly
sensible of those immediate Dangers to which they stand
exposed, as to take the same into their most serious and effectual Consideration; it being most evident, that the
Safety of England, as well as the very Being of Holland,
does very much depend upon your Resolutions in this
This Message was the next Day taken into the Consideration of the Commons; and they unanimosly Resolved, That
this House will effectually assist his Majesty to support his
Allies, in maintaining the Liberty of Europe; and will immediately provide Succours for the States-General, according
to the Treaty of the 3d of March, 1677.
The Nation now began to be in a high Ferment, and the
People generally disliked the Proceedings of the Commons.
A bold Testimony of it was given in the County of Kent,
where a Petition was drawn up in this Form.
The humble Petition of the Gentlemen, Justices of the Peace, GrandJury, and other Freeholders at the General Quarter-Sessions of
the Peace holden at Maidstone, the 29th of April, in the thirteenth Year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lord William III.
over England, &c.
The Kentish Petition.
'We the Gentlemen, Justices of the Peace, Grand-Jury,
and other Freeholders, at the General Quarter-Sessions
at Maidstone, in Kent, deeply concerned at the dangerous
Estate of this Kingdom, and of all Europe; and considering
that the Fate of us and our Posterity depends upon the
Wisdom of our Representatives in Parliament, think ourselves bound in Duty, humbly to lay before this Honourable House the Consequence, in this Conjuncture, of your
speedy Resolution, and most sincere Endeavour to answer
the great Trust reposed in you by your Country. And in
regard, that from the Experience of all Ages it is manifest,
no Nation can be great or happy without Union, we hope,
that no Pretence whatsoever shall be able to create a Misunderstanding among ourselves, or the least Distrust of his
most sacred Majesty; whose great Actions for this Nation
are writ in the Hearts of his Subjects, and can never, without the blackest Ingratitude, be forgot. We most humbly
implore this honourable House to have regard to the Voice
of the People, that our Religion and Safety may be effectually provided for, that your loyal Addresses may be turned
into Bills of Supply, and that his most sacred Majesty (whose
propitious and unblemished Reign over us we pray God
long to continue) may be enabled powerfully to assist his
Allies before it is too late.
And your Petitioners shall ever pray, &c.
Signed by the Deputy-Lieutenants there present, above
20 Justices of the Peace, all the Grand-Jury, and other
Freeholders then there.
The Gentlemen who deliver'd it, are committed.
This Petition was boldly delivered to the House on May
the 8th, and Mr. William Colepepper, Mr. Tho. Colepepper,
Mr. David Polehill, Mr. Justinian Campney, and Mr. Will.
Hamilton, being called in, owned the Petition at the Bar, and
their Hands to the same: Then they withdrew, and the Petition being read, the House Resolved, That the said Petition
was scandalous, insolent, and seditious, tending to destroy
the Constitution of Parliaments, and to subvert the established Government of these Realms. And then Ordered, 'That
all those Gentlemen should be taken into Custody, as guilty
of promoting the said Petition.' And on May the 14th,
the House being informed, that Mr. Thomas Colepepper had
made his Escape, and that the rest of the Persons committed,
did behave themselves disorderly; the Serjeant was called in,
who acquainted the House, that the said Mr. Colepepper had
on Saturday last made his Escape, and that some of the others
had threatned, and he was apprehensive of Force to rescue
them; and prayed the Direction of the House concerning
them: Whereupon, the House; ordered them to be delivered
Prisoners to the Gate-House; and agreed to address his Majesty, to issue his Proclamation for apprehending Mr. Colepepper, and for puttting out of the Commissions of the Peace
and Lieutenancy, such of the others as were in any of the
said Commissions. But Mr. Colepepper made a voluntary
Surrender of himself, and was confined with his Neighbours.
Not long after this, another Dart was shot, and supposed
from the same Quiver, at the House; for the following Pamphlet, entitled by most People, The
Legion Letter, was sent
to the Speaker.
The enclosed Memorial you are charged with in the Behalf of many thousands of the good People of England.
The Legion Letter.
'There is neither Popish, Jacobite, Seditious, Court or
Party-Interest concerned in it: but Honesty and Truth. You
are commanded by two hundred thousand Englishmen, to
deliver it to the House of Commons, and to inform them
that it is no Banter, but serious Truth; and a serious Regard
to it is expected; nothing but Justice and their Duty is required; and it is required by them, who have both a Right
to require, and Power to compel, viz. the People of England.
'We could have come to the House strong enough to
oblige them to hear us, but we have avoided any Tumults,
not desiring to embroil, but to save our native Country.
'If you refuse to communicate it to them, you will find
cause in a short time to repent it.'
To Robert Harley, Esq;
Speaker to the House of Commons,
To the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses in Parliament
A Memorial, from the Gentlemen, Freeholders and Inhabitants
of the Counties of— in Behalf of themselves, and many
thousands of the good People of England.
'It were to be wished you were Men of that Temper, and
possessed of so much Honour, as to bear with the Truth,
though it be against you; especially from us, who have so
much right to tell it you: But since, even Petitions to you
from your Masters,— (for such are the People who chose
you) are so haughtily received, as with the committing the
Authors to illegal Custody, You must give us leave, to give
you this fair notice of your Misbehaviour.
'If you think fit to rectify your Errors, you will do well,
and possibly may hear no more of us; but if not, assure yourselves, the Nation will not long hide their Resentments.
And though there are no stated Proceedings to bring you
to your Duty, yet the great Law of Reason says, and all Nations allow, that whatever Power is above Law, is burdensome and tyrannical, and may be reduced by extrajudicial
Methods. You are not above the People's Resentments,
they that made you Members, may reduce you to the same
Rank from whence they chose you; and may give you a Taste
of their abused Kindness, in Terms you may not be pleased
with. When the People of England assembled in Convention, presented the Crown to his present Majesty, they annexed a Declaration of the Rights of the People, in which
was expressed what was illegal and arbitrary in the former
Reign, and what was claimed as of Right to be done by
succeeding Kings of England.'
'In like manner, here follows, Gentlemen, a short Abridgment of the Nation's Grievances, and of your illegal and
unwarrantable Practices; and a Claim of Right, which we
make in the Name of ourselves, and such of the good
People of England, as are justly alarmed at your Proceedings.
'1. To raise Funds for Money, and declare, by borrowing Clauses, that whosoever advances Money on those Funds,
shall be reimbursed out of the next Aids, if the Funds fall
short; and then give subsequent Funds, without transferring
the Deficiency of the former, is a horrible Cheat on the
Subject who lent the Money, a Breach of public Faith, and
destructive to the Honour and Credit of Parliaments.
'2. To imprison Men who are not your own Members, by
no Proceedings, but a Vote of your House, and to continue
them in Custody, sine die, is illegal, a notorious Breach of the
Liberty of the People, setting up a dispensing Power in the
House of Commons, which your Fathers never pretended to;
bidding Defiance to the Habeas Corpus Act, which is the Bulwark of Personal Liberty; destructive of the Laws, and betraying the Trust reposed in you. The King, at the same
time, being obliged to ask you leave, to continue in Custody
the horrid Assassinators of his Person.
'3. Committing to Custody those Gentlemen, who, at the
Command of the People (whose Servants you are) came in a
peaceable Way to put you in mind of your Duty, is illegal
and injurious; destructive of the Subjects Liberty of Petitioning for Redress of Grievances, which has, by all Parliaments
before you, been acknowledged to be their undoubted
'4. Voting a Petition from the Gentlemen of Kent insolent, is ridiculous, and impertinent; because the Freeholders
of England are your Superiors; and is a Contradiction in
itself, and a Contempt of the English Freedom, and contrary to the Nature of Parliamentary Power.
'5. Voting People guilty of Bribery and ill Practices, and
committing them as aforesaid, without Bail, and then, upon,
Submission and Kneeling to your House, discharging them,
after exacting exorbitant Fees by your Officers, is illegal,
betraying the Justice of the Nation, selling the Liberty of
the Subjects, encouraging the Extortion and Villainy of
Goalers and Officers, and discountenancing the legal Prosecution of Offenders in the ordinary Course of Law.
'6. Prosecuting the Crime of Bribery in some, to serve a
Party, and then proceeding no further, though Proof lay
before you, is partial, and unjust, and a Scandal upon the
Honour of Parliaments.
'7. Voting the Treaty of Partition fatal to Europe, because it gave so much of the Spanish Dominions to the
French, and not concerning yourselves to prevent their taking possession of it all: deserting the Dutch, when the French
are at their doors, till it be almost too late to help them;
is unjust to our Treaties, and unkind to our Confederates,
dishonourable to the English Nation, and shews you very
negligent of the Safety of England, and of our Protestant
'8. Ordering immediate Hearings to trifling Petitions, to
please Parties in Elections; and postponing the Petition of
a Widow, for the Blood of her murdered Daughter, without giving it a reading, is an illegal Delay of Justice, dishonourable to the public Justice of the Nation.
'9. Addressing the King to displace his Friends, upon
bare Surmises, before the legal Trial, or any Article proved,
is illegal, and inverting the Law, and making Execution go
before Judgment; contrary to the true Sense of the Law,
which esteems every Man a good Man, till something appears to the contrary.
'10. Delaying Proceedings upon capital Impeachments,
to blast the Reputation of the Persons, without proving the
Fact, is illegal and oppressive, destructive to the Liberty
of Englishmen, a Delay of Justice, and a Reproach of Parliaments.
'11. Suffering saucy, indecent Reproaches upon his Majesty's Person, to be publicly made in your House, particularly that impudent Scandal of Parliaments John How, without shewing such Resentments as you ought to do; the said
John How saying openly, That his Majesty had made a felonious Treaty to rob his Neighbours; insinuating that the
Partition Treaty (which was every way as just as blowing up
one Man's House to save another's) was a Combination of
the King to rob the Crown of Spain of its due: This is
making a Billingsgate of the House, and setting up to bully
your Sovereign, contrary to the Intent and Meaning of the
Freedom of Speech, which you claim as a Right; is scandalous to Parliaments, undutiful and unmannerly, and a Reproach to the whole Nation.
'12. Your Speaker exacting the exorbitant Rate of 10 l.
per diem for the Votes, and giving the Printer Encouragement to raise it on the People, by selling them at 4 d. per
Sheet, is an illegal and arbitrary Exaction, dishonourable to
the House, and burdensome to the People.
'13. Neglecting to pay the Nation's Debts, compounding
for Interest, and postponing Petitions, is illegal, dishonourable, and destructive of the public Faith.
'14. Publicly neglecting the great Work of Reformation
of Manners, though often pressed to it by the King, to the
great Dishonour of God and Encouragement of Vice, is a
neglect of your Duty, and an Abuse of the Trust reposed
in you by God, his Majesty, and the People.
'15. Being scandalously vicious yourselves, both in your
Minds and Religion, lewd in Life, and erroneous in Doctrine,
having public Blasphemers, and impudent Denyers of our
Saviour's Divinity among you, and suffering them unreproved and unpunished, to the infinite regret of all good
Christians, and the just Abhorrence of the whole Nation.
'Wherefore, in a sad Prospect of the impending Ruin of
our native Country, while Parliaments (which ought to be
the Security and Defence of our Laws and Constitution)
betray their Trust, and abuse the People whom they should
protect: And no other Way being left us, but the Force
which we are very loth to make use of, that Posterity may
know we did not insensibly fall under the Tyranny of a
prevailing Party, we do hereby claim and declare,
'1. That it is the undoubted Right of the People of England, in case their Representatives in Parliament do not proceed according to their Duty, and the People's Interest, to
inform them of their dislike, disown their Actions, and to
direct them to such things as they think fit, either by Petition, Address, Proposal, Memorial, or any other peaceable
'2. That the House of Commons, separately, and otherwise than by Bill legally passed into an Act, have no legal
Power to suspend, or dispense with, the Laws of the Land,
any more than the King has by his Prerogative.
'3. That the House of Commons have no legal Power to
imprison any Person, or commit them to the Custody of Serjeants, or otherwise, (their own Members excepted) but ought
to address the King to cause any Person, on good Grounds,
to be apprehended; which Person so apprehended ought to
have the Benefit of the Habeas Corpus Act, and be fairly
brought to a Trial by due Course of Law.
'4. That, if the House of Commons, in Breach of the
Laws and Liberties of the People, do betray the Trust reposed in them, and act negligently, arbitrarily and illegally;
it is the undoubted Right of the People of England to call
them to an Account for the same; and by Convention, Assembly, or Force, may proceed against them as Traitors and
Betrayers of their Country.
'These things we think proper to declare, as the undoubted Right of the People of England, whom you serve.
And in pursuance of that Right avoiding the Ceremony of
Petitioning our Inferiors, for such you are by your present
Circumstances, (as the Person sent is less than the Sender) we
do publicly protest against all your aforesaid Actions; and,
in the Name of ourselves, and all the good People of England, do require and demand,
'1. That all the public just Debts of the Nation be forthwith paid and discharged.
'2. That all Persons illegally imprisoned, as aforesaid, be
either immediately discharged, or admitted to Bail, as by
Law they ought to be; and the Liberty of the Subject recognized and restored.
'3. That John How aforesaid, be obliged to ask his Majesty pardon for his vile Reflections, or be immediately expelled the House.
'4. That the growing Power of France be taken into
Consideration, the Succession of the Emperor to the Crown
of Spain supported, and our Protestant Neighbours protected as the true Interest of England and the Protestant
'5. That the French King be obliged to quit Flanders, or
that his Majesty be addressed to declare War against him.
'6. That suitable Supplies be granted to his Majesty, for
the putting all those necessary things in execution; and that
care be taken, that such Taxes as are raised, be more equally
assessed and collected, and scandalous Deficiencies prevented.
'7. That the Thanks of the House may be given to those
Gentlemen, who so gallantly appeared in the Behalf of their
Country with the Kentish Petition, and have been so scandalously used for it.
'Thus, Gentlemen, you have your Duty laid before you,
which 'tis hoped you will think of: but if you continue to
neglect it, you may expect to be treated according to the
Resentments of an injured Nation; for Englishmen are no
more to be Slaves to Parliaments, than to Kings.
Our Name is Legion:
And we are Many.
'P.S. If you require to have this Memorial signed with our
Names, it shall be done on your first Orders, and personally presented.'
The Consequence of this was, that a Complaint was made
to the House, of Endeavours to raise Tumults and Seditions,
in order to disturb the Public Affairs, and a Committee was
appointed to draw up an Address to the King humbly to lay
before him the Endeavours of several ill-dispos'd Persons to
raise Tumults and Seditions in the Kingdom, and humbly
to beseech his Majesty that he will provide for the public
Peace and Safety.
If Mens Tongues began to be loose before, they were
much more now, upon the Imprisonment of the Kentish
Gentlemen: Some would have this to be the greatest Outrage upon the People's Liberty imaginable, alledging it was
their undoubted Right to petition; and at this Rate we had
better fall under the Oppressions of one, than so many.
What did the Habeas Corpus Act signify ? That it looked as if
the Nation were betrayed, and England bought and sold:
Nay, somebody was so audacious, as to fix a Bill on the
House of Commons Door, importing, That this Nation is to
be sold, enquire within: While others, on their part said,
the House of Commons was a Branch of the Government;
that all Governments were absolute, in their Nature and
Constitution, and so must the Commons in their respective
Share of it.
Difference between the two Houses upon the Matter of Impeachment.
To return to the unhappy Difference between the two
Houses, in the Case of the impeached Lords; the House of
Peers seemed to think, that their Members had been impeached by the Commons, without a serious Intention to
prosecute the Charge against them. And therefore on May
the 5th, their Lordships sent this quickening Message to
the Commons, by Sir Robert Legard, and Sir Richard
'Mr. Speaker, The Lords have commanded us to acquaint this House, that they having on the first day of April
last, sent up to their Lordships an Impeachment against
William Earl of Portland, of high Crimes and Misdemeanors; and having also on the fifteenth day of the same Month,
severally impeached John Lord Somers, Edward Earl of
Orford, and Charles Lord Hallifax, of high Crimes and
Misdemeanors: Their Lordships think themselves obliged
to put this House in mind, that as yet no particular Articles have been exhibited against the said Lords; which, after
Impeachments, have been so long depending, is due in
justice to the Persons concerned, and agreeable to the Methods of a Parliament in such Cases.'
The Commons ashamed to be upbraided with Delay, in a
Matter wherein they had appeared so forward, sent answer,
that Articles against the Lords impeached were preparing,
and in a short time should be sent up to the House of Lords.
So on May the 9th, to begin their own way, the Commons,
by Colonel Bierly, sent up Articles against Edward Earl of
Orford, in Maintenance of their Impeachment.
Articles of Impeachment against the Earl of Orford, together with his Replies.
'1. That in a long and expensive War, the said Earl always preferring his private Interest to the Good of the Public, in Violation of his Duty and Trust, had procured from
his Majesty one or more Grant or Grants of several Manors, Messuages, &c. and also exorbitant Sums of Money.'—
To which the Earl answered, ' That he having for several
Years rendered to his Majesty his utmost Service and Duty
as a good and loyal Subject, his Majesty was graciously
pleased, upon several Occasions, to take notice of the same:
and out of his wonted Bounty, and his free Will, was pleased
to give to the Earl two Grants, one a Reversionary Grant
for Years, of some Houses; the other Grant of the Remainder of a gross Sum, amounting to about 2000 l. a Year for
'2. That in breach of the Trust reposed in him, whilst
he was Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Royal of England,
in, or near the Streights of Gibraltar, he did receive great
Sums of the public Money, which he converted to his own
private Use, and unlawfully procured a Privy-Seal, to discharge him from accounting to the Public for the same.—To
which he answered, by denying the said Facts, and saying,
'That he did make up, and upon Oath pass his Accounts for
the Moneys imprest to him, and hath his quietus est in due
Course of Law upon the same.'
'3. That he did receive from the King of Spain and others, considerable Sums of Money, and great Quantities of
Wine, Oil, and other Provisions for the Fleet, which he
ought to have accounted for, but he converted the same to his
own Use: And for securing himself from rendering any Account, he possess'd divers great Offices inconsistent, and designed as Checks one upon the other.'—To which the Earl
answered, ' That whatever he received from the King of
Spain, or any other for the Fleet, was duly delivered and
distributed amongst the Officers and Seamen; and he denies,
that he did enjoy any Offices inconsistent, or which ought
to be Checks one upon the other.'
'4. That he hath clandestinely, contrary to the Law of
Nations, sold and disposed of several Vessels, taken under
Pretence of Prize, without Condemnation or judicial Proceedings, and converted the Money to his own Use.'— To
which he answered, by denying the Fact, and saying, 'That
he did from time to time give Orders that the Prizes taken
should be carefully preserved, without Embezzlement, and
duly proceeded against, and the Product answered as the
'5. That he, presiding in the Commission for Executing
the Office of Lord High-Admiral of England, had discouraged and rejected the Request and Proposal of the Company trading to the East-Indies, for suppressing Piracies in
the South-Seas; and had procured a Commission for one
William Kidd, who had committed divers Piracies and Depredations on the High-Seas, being thereto encouraged thro
the Hopes of being protected by the high Station and Interest of the said Earl.'—To which he answered, ' That he
did never discourage or reject the Company's Request, unless it were by telling them, that the Admiralty, by Law,
could not grant the same: And as to the Matter of Kidd,
his Commission was according to Law, and his Expedition
intended for the public Good and Service; and if he hath
committed any Piracies, is answerable for the same; he never
being ordered or encouraged by the said Earl so to do.'
'6. That while the Kingdom was under an Apprehension
of an immediate Invasion from France, he, preferring his
hopes of Gain to himself, to the Safety of the Public, did
order Capt. Stewart, Commander of the Ship Dutchess, to
deliver over, and put on board the said Kidd, a great Number of able Seamen, to the prejudice of the public Security,
and to the endangering the said Ship the Dutchess, if it had
been attacked by the Enemy.'—To which he answered,
'That the Men taken from on board the Dutchess, were but
some of the very Persons that were just before taken from
on board of Captain Kidd, and returned by their own
Consent again, not being above twenty in number; and
that, when all Fears of an Invasion were over and at an
'7. That during the War, he did, by Misrepresentations,
procure a Grant or Order for his Majesty's Ship the Dolphin,
then fitted out, manned and equipped for the Service of the
Public, to be employed in a private Voyage and Undertaking,
for the Advantage of himself and others concerned with him.'—
To which he answered, ' That what was done therein was done
after the Peace concluded, and by his Majesty's Command,
at the Instance and Request of other Persons, and not of
the said Earl, but contrary to his Opinion.'
'8. That, during the time of his commanding the Navy
Royal, he did, through Neglect, and in Contempt of Orders,
unnecessarily hazard and expose the Navy, and lose the Opportunities of taking or destroying the French Ships, and
suffer them to return safe into their own Harbours.'—To
which he answered, ' That he is not guilty of any Neglect or
Omission of his Duty herein, nor did expect, in this Particular, to be charg'd therewith, considering his faithful
Services rendered against the French Fleet.'
'9. That he did, in Concert with other false and evil Counsellors, advise our sovereign Lord the King, in the Year
1698, to enter into one Treaty for dividing the Monarchy
and Dominions of Spain; in pursuance whereof, in 1699,
another Treaty was entered into to the like Purpose: both
which Treaties were prejudicial to the Interest of the Protestant Religion, &c'—To which he answered, ' He does
deny that he did advise his Majesty to enter into the Treaty
of Partition; but so far as he was any ways acquainted
therewith, he objected to, and gave his Opinion against
'10. That he was one of the Lords Justices, first Commissioner in the Admiralty, Commander in Chief of the
Navy, one of his Majesty's Privy-Council, and Treasurer of
his Majesty's Navy; or in some, or one of these Stations, during the time that all and every the Crimes before set forth
were done and committed.'—To which he answered, ' That
his Majesty was pleased to entrust him in the several Offices
and Stations, which he had discharged with Loyalty,
Faithfulness and Zeal to his Majesty and his People.'
On May the 19th, the Commons, by Mr. Harcourt, sent
up Articles of Impeachment against John Lord Somers.
Articles against the Lord Somers, with his Replies.
'1st. That well knowing the most apparent evil Consequences, as well as the Injustice of the Partition of the Spanish
Monarchy, he did advise his Majesty to enter into a Treaty
for it; and did so far encourage and promote the same, that
the said Treaty was concluded and ratified in 1698, under
the Great-Seal of England, then in Custody of the said Lord
Somers.—To which his Lordship answered, in a full and
plain Account of all the Steps of that Treaty, referring himself to the Letters on that Subject between his Majesty and
him (before-recited) ' wherein, as he conceived, he had
fully and faithfully discharged his Trust, and the Duty
incumbent on him.'
'2d, That for the more effectual carrying on the said
Treaty, Commissions were prepared, amended, enlarged or
altered by the said Lord Somers, without any lawful Warrant for his so doing; whereunto, without communicating
the same to the rest of the then Lords Justices of England, or
advising with the Privy-Council, he did presume to affix the
Great-Seal of England, with a Blank for Commissioners
Names to be afterwards inserted.'
'3d, That having affixed the Great-Seal without lawful
Warrant, in hopes of concealing that evil and most dangerous
Practice, after he had settled the said Commissions, he used
his Endeavour to procure a Warrant to be transmitted to
him, for affixing the Great-Seal, that it might not be known,
but that he had it in due time'—To which second and
third Articles he answered, ' That having received his
Majesty's express Commands, to send to his Majesty full
Power under the Great Seal for negociating the said Treaty,
with Blanks for his Majesty's Commissioners Names, he
thought it sufficient Warrant for him so to do. And that
he did afterwards desire his Majesty that a particular Warrant for signing the said Commission might be signed and
returned; not that he doubted his Majesty's said Letter to
be a sufficient Warrant, but for that such Warrant would
be more proper to be produced, if Occasion should require.'
'4th, That, contrary to his Duty, he affixed the Great-Seal
of England to the Ratification of the said Treaty in 1698,
not having communicated the same to the rest of the then
Lords Justices, or advised with the Privy-Council, leaving
one entire blank Sheet, and many other Blanks in the said
Ratification, with an Intent to be afterwards filled up by
other Persons beyond the Seas.'—To which he answered,
'That Mr. Secretary Vernon having prepared, by his Majesty's Commands, the Instruments for Ratification, with
Blanks therein, he did affix the Great-Seal; which he conceives and is advised he might lawfully do, not communicating the same, because he had his Majesty's Command
that the said Treaty should be kept secret.'
'5th, That in the Year 1699, another Treaty of Partition
was concluded and ratified under the Great Seal, then in the
Custody of the said Lord Somers, dishonourable to his Majesty, highly injurious to the Interest of the Protestant Religion, &c.—To which he answered, 'That a Draught
of the said Treaty being read over in the Presence of divers
of the Lords of the Privy-Council, he, the said Lord
Somers, as well as others then present, did make several
Objections; but they were informed by his Majesty's Plenipotentiaries for transacting this Treaty, who were also
then present, that the said Treaty was so far perfected, that
nothing could be altered therein; and his Majesty afterwards, by Warrant so requiring, he did affix the GreatSeal, being, as he conceives, obliged to do it.'
'6th, That whereas by the Laws and Usages of this Realm,
all Commissions under the Great-Seal, for the making any
Treaty or Alliance, ought to be enrolled, and entred on Record in the Court of Chancery; he, the said Lord Somers,
not minding the Duty of his Office, did not in any manner
enroll, or enter on Record, any of the said Commissions or
Ratifications.'—To which he answered, 'He conceives it
was not incumbent upon him as Lord Chancellor, to see
the Commissions or Ratifications enrolled; but the Care of
enrolling the same, if necessary, doth belong to the Prothonotary of the Court of Chancery.'
7th, That the said Lord Somers, contrary to his Oath as
Lord Chancellor of England, did pass many great, unreasonable and exorbitant Grants, under the Great-Seal, of
divers Manors, Lordships, &c. belonging to the Crown of
England; and did advise, promote and procure divers like
Grants of the late Forfeited Estates in Ireland, in Contempt
of the Advice of the Commons of England.—To which he
answered, 'He doth acknowledge, he did pass several Grants,
&c. but the same were regularly passed through the proper
Offices, and brought with sufficient Warrants for the
Great-Seal; and believes more considerable Grants have
passed in like Number of Years, in most of his Predecessors
8th, That he did not only receive and enjoy the Fees,
Profits and Perquisites, belonging to the Great Seal, but had
received an annual Pension from the Crown of 4000 l. and
had further begged and procured for his own Benefit, many
great, unreasonable, and exorbitant Grants of Revenues belonging to the Crown of England.'—To which he answered,
'That the annual Pension or Allowance of 4000 l. had been
allowed to several of his Predecessors; but denies, he did
ever beg, or use any Means or procure any Grant whatsoever for his own Benefit; but what his Majesty pleased
to give him, proceeded from his Majesty's own Motion,
and of his mere Bounty; and, as his Majesty was pleased to
declare upon that Occasion, as an Evidence of the gracious
Acceptation of the said Lord Somer's zealous Endeavours
for his Service.'
'9th, That in order to procure a Grant of the said Fee-farm
Rents, he did enter into several Treaties, and had many
Communications with the Auditor of the Rates, and with the
Clerk of the Trustees for the Sale of the said Rents, and contracted and agreed with them, as a Reward for their Discovery, one full fourth Part of all such Rents so discovered.'
'10th, That, notwithstanding the said pretended Contracts,
there was not any Sum of Money really paid, but the Contracts and Payments colourably and fraudulently contrived,
in Deceit of his Majesty, and Elusion of the Acts of Parliament.'—To which 9th and 10th Articles he answered,
'That after his Majesty had given Directions to the Lords
of the Treasury, for granting Fee-farm Rents to the Benefit of him and his Heirs; his Majesty's intended Bounty
would have been lost, without Information could be
gained of such particular Rents: And therefore Application was made to the said Auditor and Clerk, as the most
likely to give Information therein; but they did refuse to
give any Account of such Rents, unless they might have
near a fourth Part for so doing; which the said Lord
Somers did, as he conceives he lawfully might, comply
with. And there was not any Sum of Money paid, as
the Consideration of the Grants of the said Rents, but the
Contracts were made, and the Payment discharged, without any Deceit of his Majesty, or Elusion of Acts of Parliament.'
'11th, That many Rents standing in Charge for Payment
of Pensions, Stipends, Salaries, Annuities, Alms, and Allowances for Schools, Churches, Bridges, &c. and many QuitRents of Mannors united and annexed to the Castle of
Windsor, for Support of the same, and Maintenance of the
Officers, Servants, and Attendants in the said Castle, were
conveyed by the said Trustees, through the Direction and
Power of the said Lord Somers, contrary to the true Intent
and Meaning of the said Acts of Parliament, to the great
Vexation and Oppression of many of his Majesty's good Subjects, and creating many new and unreasonable Charges on
other Revenues of the Crown.' —To which he answered,
'That some things might be inserted by mistaken Informations, and not out of any Design; he denies that as to his
Knowledge or Belief, any of the said Rents were ever united
or annexed to the Castle of Windsor, for any purpose whatsoever; or that any Oppression or Vexation hath happened;
and little or no new Charge to the Crown.'
'12th, That by the Direction of the said Lord Somers, the
Persons in whose Names the Purchases were made, did furrender several of the said Rents to them granted, amounting
to the Yearly value of 347 l. 11s. 5d. on Suggestion of
wrong Conveyance; and procured other Rents of the Yearly
Value of 391 l. 11s. 3d. to be allowed by way of reprize,
as if the said Rents so surrendered had been really and bona
fide purchased.'—To which he answered, 'That the
Trustees for Sale of the Fee-Farm Rents, by Warrant of the
Commissioners of the Treasury, did grant divers other Rents,
amounting to 391l. in lieu and reprize of the 347 l. having
appeared to be granted before, or not grantable by the said
Trustees, or not leviable on Surrenders of such Rents; which
he conceives might be and was lawfully done.'
'13th, That in the Year 1695, the said Lord Somers, being then Lord-Keeper, procured a Commission to be granted
to one William Kidd, a Person of evil Fame and Reputation,
and since that time convicted of Piracy; and in a Grant from
his Majesty, of Ships, Vessels and Goods to be taken by the
said William Kidd, unto Richard Earl Bellamont, Edmund
Harrison, Merchant, Samuel Newton, Gent. and others, the
Name of the said Samuel Newton was used in Trust, and for
the only Benefit and Advantage of the said Lord Somers.'—
To which he answered, 'That the said William Kidd had
from his Majesty a Commission for preventing the Piracy of
others, and to apprehend certain Pirates, and bring them to
a legal Trial; the granting of which Commission was then
apprehended to be necessary for the Preservation of Trade
and Navigation. He does admit there was a Grant to the
Earl of Bellamont, Edmund Harrison, and Samuel Newton,
who was named by and in Trust for the said Lord Somers,
of Ships and Goods, taken by the said William Kidd, with
Account to be duly made to the Use of his Majesty, of a
clear tenth Part, whereby the Public might have received
Benefit, had the said Kidd faithfully discharged the Trust;
which he failing to do, the Owners of the said Ship have lost
all their Expences.'
14th, that as Lord Chancellor, he had, in several Causes
depending before him, by many extraordinary Methods, and
unwarrantable Practices, for several Years, delayed Proceedings in the said Causes; and, by colour of his Office, had
made divers arbitrary and illegal Orders, and had, of his
own Authority, reversed Judgments given in the Court of
Exchequer, without calling the Barons before him: And
had declared and affirmed in public Places of Judicature,
that particular Subjects might have Rights, and Interests,
without any Remedy for Recovery of the same, unless by
Petition to the Person of the King only, or to that effect:
Which Position was highly dangerous to the legal Constitution of this Kingdom, and absolutely destructive to the Property of the Subject.' To which he answer'd, 'That he did
not delay any Proceedings longer, or otherwise than as the
Circumstances and Justice of each Cause required; nor did
he ever make any arbitary or illegal Order, or ever reverse
any Judgment given in the Court of Exchequer, otherwise
than it is warranted and allowed by the Law: Nor did ever
deliver any Position whatsoever, dangerous to the legal Constitution, or destructive to the Property of the Subjects.'
A Copy of the Lord Somers's Answer was with great
Dispatch delivered to the Commons on May the 24th. In
the mean time, on the 21st, the Lords had sent down this
Second Message from the Lords
Mr. Speaker, the Lords command us to acquaint this
House, that their Lordships having been desired by the Earl
of Orford, that a Day might be appointed for his speedy
Trial, their Lordships finding no issue joined by Replication
of this House, think fit to give Notice thereof to this House:
'They also commanded us to acquaint this House, that
they having, on the first of April last, sent up an Impeachment to their Lordships, against William Earl of Portland,
for high Crimes and Misdemeanours; and having also, on the
15th of the same Month, impeached Charles Lord Hallifax,
for high Crimes and Misdemeanours; and there being as yet
no particular Articles exhibited against the said Lords, their
Lordships think themselves obliged to put this House in mind
thereof; which, after Impeachments have so long depended,
is not agreeable to the usual Methods and Proceedings of
Parliaments in such Cases.'
The Commons then prepared this Replication to my Lord of
Replication of the Commons to the Earl of Orford.
'The Commons have considered the Answer of Edward
Earl of Orford, to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited
against him by the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses assembled
in Parliament, and do aver their Charge of high Crimes and
Misdemeanours against him to be true, and that the said Earl
is guilty in such manner as he stands accused and impeached;
and that the Commons will be ready to prove their Charge
against him, at such convenient Time as shall be appointed
for that purpose.'
And, on the 31st, they sent this Answer to the Lords:
Their Answer to the Lords.
'In Answer to your Lordships Message of the 21st Instant,
the Commons have prepared a Replication to the Earl of
Orford's Answer to the Articles of Impeachment of high
Crimes and Misdemeanours, exhibited against him; and at
present defer bringing it up to your Lordships, because, in
the Trial of the several Impeachments now depending, the
Commons think it most proper, from the nature of the Evidence
that will be given at the said Trials, to begin with the Trial
of the Impeachment of John Lord Somers, of high Crimes
'And as to your Lordships other Message, the Commons
take it to be without Precedent and unparliamentary: They,
as Prosecutors, having a liberty to exhibit their Articles of
Impeachment in due time, of which they, who are to prepare them, are the proper Judges; and therefore, for your
Lordships to assert, that having not yet exhibited particular
Articles against William Earl of Portland, and Charles
Lord Hallifax, is a hardship to them, and not agreeable to
the usual Methods and Proceedings in Parliament in such
Cases; does, as they conceive, tend to the Breach of that
good Correspondence betwixt the two Houses, which ought
to be mutually preserved.'
On the same Day, 31st May, Sir John Hoskyns, and Sir
Robert Legard brought this Message to the Commons.
Third Message from the Lords.
'Mr. Speaker, the Lords have commanded us to acquaint
this House, that their Lordships have appointed Monday the
9th Day of June next, for the Trial of Edward Earl of
Orford, upon the Articles brought up against him by this
House in Westminster-Hall; and that this House may reply,
if they think fit.
'They have also commanded us to acquaint this House,
that this House having, on the first Day of April last, sent
up to their Lordships an Impeachment against William Earl
of Portland, for high Crimes and Misdemeanours; and having also, on the 15th Day of the same Month, impeached
Charles Lord Hallifax for high Crimes and Misdemeanours;
and there being as yet no particular Articles exhibited against
the said Lords, their Lordships think themselves obliged to
put this House in mind thereof; which, after Impeachments
have so long depended, is a hardship to the Persons concerned,
and not agreeable to the usual Methods of Parliament in such
Answer of the Commons.
The Commons, on the 5th of June, returned this Answer.
'The Commons, on Consideration of your Lordships
Message to them of the 31st of May, concerning the Earl
of Orford, think it their undoubted Right, when several
Persons stand impeached before your Lordships, to bring to
Trial such of them in the first place, as the Commons apprehend, from the Nature of the Evidence, ought first to be
proceeded against, to the intent all such Offenders may in
due time be brought to Justice; and that no Day ought to
be appointed by your Lordships for the Trial of any Impeachment by the Commons, without some previous signification to your Lordships from the Commons, of their being
ready to proceed thereon.
'The Commons could not receive this Message from your
Lordships, without the greatest surprize; your Lordships
Proceedings in this Case, being neither warranted by Proceedings, nor (as the Commons conceive) consistent with
the Methods of Justice, or with Reason: Wherefore the
Commons cannot agree to the Day appointed by your Lordships, for the Trial of the Earl of Orford.
'As to your Lordships Message at the same time, relating
to the Earl of Portland, and Charles Lord Hallifax, the
Commons take the same to be without Precedent, and unparliamentary; and conceive your Lordships frequent Repetition thereof, in a short time, after the Commons had transmitted to your Lordships their Articles against two of the impeached Lords, and were daily preparing their Articles against the others, manifestly tends to the Delay of Justice in
obstructing the Trials of the impeached Lords, by introducing Disputes, in Breach of that good Correspondence between the two Houses, which ought inviolably to be preserved.'
In the mean time, the Lords, on the fourth, accosted
them with another Message to this purpose.
Fourth Message from the Lords.
'Mr Speaker, The Lords do think fit, upon Occasion of
the Message from this House of the 21st of May, to acquaint
this House, that having been desired by the Lord Somers,
that a Day may be appointed for his speedy Trial, and their
Lordships, finding no issue joined by Replication of the House
of Commons, judge it proper to give them notice thereof,
that the Commons may reply if they think fit. And at the
same time, their Lordships let the Commons know, that they
will proceed to the Trial of any of the Impeached Lords whom
the Commons shall be first ready to begin with, so as there
may be no Occasion taken from thence, for any unreasonable
Delay in the Prosecution of any of them: And further to acquaint them, having searched their own Journals, they do
not find, that, after a general Impeachment, there has ever
been so long a Delay of bringing up the particular Articles
of Impeachment, sitting the Parliament: And therefore the
Lords do think, they had reason to assert, that it was a
hardship to the two Lords concerned (especially when their
Lordships had put the House of Commons in mind of exhibiting such Articles) and not agreeable to the usual Proceedings in Parliament. And as the Lords do not controvert
what Right the Commons may have, of impeaching in general terms, if they please; so the Lords, in whom the Judicature does entirely reside, think themselves obliged to assert, that the Right of limiting a convenient Time for bringing the particular Charge before them, for the avoiding
Delay in Justice, is lodged in them.
'The Lords hope, the Commons, on their part, will
be as careful not to do any thing, that may tend to the Interruption of the good Correspondence between the two Houses,
as the Lords shall ever be on their part; and the best way
to preserve that, is, for neither of the two Houses to exceed
those Limits, which the Law and Custom of Parliament have
Conference between the two Houses open'd by Mr. Harcourt.
The Commons hereupon, June the sixth, desired a Conference with the Lords, upon the Subject-Matter of the said
Message; at which Mr. Harcourt delivered himself in this
'The Commons have desired this Conference, upon your
Lordships Message of the fourth of June, in order to preserve a good Correspondence with your Lordships, which
will always be the Endeavour of the Commons, and is at this
time particularly necessary, in order to bring the impeached Lords to a speedy Trial. And because the Messages which your Lordships have thought fit to send to the
Commons, and the Answers thereunto, seem not to tend towards expediting the Trials, which the Commons so much
desire, but may rather furnish matter of dispute between the
two Houses; the Commons therefore chuse to follow the
Methods formerly used with good Success upon the like Occasion; and for the more speedy and easy adjusting and preventing any differences which have already happened, or
may arise, previous to, or upon those Trials, the Commons
do propose to your Lordships, that a Committee of both
Houses be nominated, to consider of the most proper Ways
and Methods of proceeding on Impeachments, according to
the usage in Parliaments in such Cases.'
The Conference being ended, the Lords, on the ninth,
sent the following Message to the Commons.
Fifth Message from the Lords.
'In Answer to the Message of the House of Commons of
the fourth Instant, the Lords say, by their Message sent on
the third, wherein they declare themselves ready to proceed
to the Trial of any of the impeached Lords, whom the Commons shall be first ready to begin with; they have given a
full Proof of their willingness to comply with the Commons,
in any thing which may appear reasonable, in order to the
speedy determining of the Impeachments now depending;
and therefore, as the Lords conceive, the Commons had no
Occasion to begin the Dispute on that head, so their Lordships decline entering into a Controversy, which seems to
them to be of no Use at present.
The Lords think themselves obliged to assert their undoubted Right, to appoint a Day for the Trial of any Impeachment depending before them, if they see good Cause
for it, without any previous signification from the Commons
of their being ready to proceed; which Right is warranted
by many Precedents, as well as consonant to Justice and
Reason. And their Lordships, according to the Example of
their Ancestors, will always use that Right, with a Regard
to the equal and impartial Administration of Justice, and
with a due care to prevent unreasonable Delays.
This being the Case, the Lords cannot but wonder, that
the Commons, without any Foundation for it, should make
use of Expressions, which, as their Lordships conceive, have
never been used before by one House of Parliament to another; and which, if the like were returned, must necessarily
destroy all good Correspondence between the two Houses.
'The last Part of the Commons Message, being in effect
a repetition only of their former of the 21st of May, to
which the Lords already have returned a full Answer, their
Lordships think it not requisite to say any more, than that
they cannot apprehend with what Colour their calling upon
the House of Commons, to send up Articles against two Lords,
whom the Commons have so long impeached in general
Terms, can be said to tend to the delay of Justice. And
therefore, as the Lords think, the Commons ought to have
forborn that Reflection, so their Lordships, in saying no
more upon the Occasion of this Message of the Commons,
think they have given a convincing Proof of their Moderation, and of their sincere Desire of preserving a good Correspondence between the two Houses; which is so necessary
for the public Security, as well as doing right upon the Impeachment.'
The Commons answered them next Day to this effect:
Answer of the Commons.
The Commons, in hopes of avoiding all Interruptions
and Delays, in proceeding against the impeached Lords, and
the many Inconveniencies which might arise thereby, having
proposed to your Lordships, at a Conference, that a Committee of both Houses might be nominated, to consider of
the most proper Ways and Methods of proceeding on Impeachments, think, they might justly have expected your
Lordships Compliance with their said Proposition, instead of
your Lordships Answer to their Message of the fourth Instant,
which they Yesterday received. In which Answer of your
Lordships, though many Matters of great exception are contained, a suitable Reply whereunto would inevitably destroy
all good Correspondence between the two Houses; yet the
Commons, from an earnest desire to preserve the same, as
well as to give the most convincing Proof of their Moderation, and to shew their readiness to bring the impeached
Lords to speedy Justice, at present insist only on their Proposition, of both Houses to settle and adjust the necessary
Preliminaries to the Trials; particularly, whether the impeached Lords shall appear at their Trials at your Lordships
Bar as Criminals? Whether, being under Accusations for
the same Crimes, they are to sit as Judges on each other's
Trials for those Crimes, or can Vote in their own Cases, as
we find by your Lordships Journal, since their being impeached, they have been, admitted to do? Which Matters,
and some others, being necessary to be adjusted, the Commons cannot but insist on a Committee of both Houses to
be appointed for that purpose: The departing from which,
would be giving up the Rights of the Commons of England,
known by unquestionable Precedents, and the Usage of Parliament, and making all Impeachments, (the greatest Bulwark of the Laws and Liberties of England) impracticable
for the future.'
The Lords hereupon entered into a Debate, whether they
should appoint a Committee, in pursuance of the Commons
desire; and having carried it in the Negative, yet desired a
present Conference with them, which was managed by the
Duke of Devonshire, who acquainted them:
That the Lords have desired this Conference, upon
Occasion of the last Conference; in order to preserve a good
Correspondence with the House of Commons, which they
shall always endeavour.
As to the late Messages between the two Houses, their
Lordships are well assured, that on their Part nothing has
passed, but what was agreeable to the Methods of Parliament,
and proper to preserve that good Understanding between both
Houses, which is necessary for the carrying on of the Public Business.
As to the Proposal of the Commons, that a Committee
of both Houses should be appointed, to consider of the Ways
and Methods of Proceedings on Impeachments, their Lordships cannot agree to it.
Reasons for not appointing a Committee.
1. Because they do not find that ever such a Committee
was appointed, on Occasion of Impeachments for Misdemeanors; and their Lordships think themselves obliged to
be extremely cautious in admitting any thing new in Matters
relating to Judicature.
2. That although a Committee of this nature was agreed
to upon the Impeachments of the Earl of Danby, and the
five Popish Lords for High Treason, yet it was upon Occasion of several considerable Questions and Difficulties, which
did then arise. And their Lordships do not find that the
Success in that Instance was such, as should encourage the
pursuing the same Methods again, tho' in the like Case:
The Lords observing, that after much time spent at that
Committee, the Disputes were so far from being there adjusted, that they occasioned an abrupt Conclusion of a Session
3. Their Lordships are of Opinion, that the Methods of
Proceedings on Impeachments for Misdemeanors, are so well
settled by the Usage of Parliaments, that they do not foresee
any Difficulties likely to happen; at least none have been yet
started to them: And all the Preliminaries in the Case of
Stephen Gaudett, and others (which was the last Instance of
Impeachments for Misdemeanours) were easily settled and
agreed to, without any such Committeee.
4. The Lords cannot but observe, that this Proposal of
the Commons comes so very late, that their Lordships can
expect no other Fruit of such a Committee, but the preventing the Trials during this Session.
'The Lords assure the Commons, that, in case any Difficulties shall arise in the Progress of these Trials, (which
their Lordships do not foresee) they will be ready to comply with the Commons in removing them, as far as Justice,
and the Usage of Parliament will admit.'
The Commons on the 11th, desired a free Conference on
the subject Matter of the last; and at the same time, drew
up an Answer to their Lordships other Message, on Monday,
about their appointing Friday the 13th, for the Trial of the
Lord Somers; which was to this Effect.
'The Commons on Monday last (which was the 9th,) received a Message from your Lordships, that your Lordships
had appointed the Trial of John Lord Somers, upon Friday
next, on their Impeachment against him; in which they observe, your Lordships have not nominated any Place for his
Trial, though your Lordships thought fit to make that Matter,
on the last Impeachment for a Misdemeanour, the Subject of
a long Debate.
And they cannot but take notice, that your Lordships
have taken as long a time, to give your Answer, to the Commons Desire of a Committee of both Houses, delivered at a
Conference on Friday last, as you are pleased to allow the
Commons to have, of the Day appointed by your Lordships
for the said Trial.
Your Lordships appointing so short a day, especially
whilst the Proposition made to your Lordships for a Committee of both Houses was undetermined, the Commons take
to be such a Hardship to them, and such an Indulgence to
the Person accused, as is not to be parallel'd in any Parliamentary Proceedings.
The Commons must likewise acquaint your Lordships,
that their Experience of the Interruption of a former Trial
on an Impeachment for Misdemeanours, for want of settling
the Preliminaries between the two Houses, obliges them to
insist on a Committee of both Houses, for preventing the
'And they conceive it would be very preposterous for
them to enter upon the Trial of any of those Lords, till
your Lordships discover some Inclination to make the Proceedings thereupon practicable; and therefore, they think
they have reason to insist upon another Day to be appointed,
for the Trial of the Lord Somers. And the Commons doubt
not but to satisfy your Lordships at a free Conference, of
the necessity of having a Committee of both Houses, before
they can proceed upon the said Trial.'
Royal Assent given to several Bills.
On Thursday June the 12th, His Majesty came to the
House of Peers, and gave the Royal Assent to an Act for the
farther Limitation of the Crown, and better securing the Rights
and Liberties of the Subject: An Act for preventing the Inconveniences that may happen by Privilege of Parliament: An Act
for appointing Wardens and Assay-Masters, for Assaying wrought
Plate in the Cities of York, Bristol, Exeter, Chester and Norwich:
An Act for Preserving the Cotton-Library: An Act for Separating
James Earl of Anglesey, from Kitharine, Countess of Anglesey, his
Wife, for the Cruelty of the said Earl: An Act to dissolve the
Marriage of Ralph Bere with Elizabeth Eyre: An Act for a Court
of Conscience at Norwich: An Act for Dissolving the Marriage of
Sir John Dillon and Mary Boyle; and many other Private Bills:
After which he made the following Speech:
'My Lords and Gentlemen;
I Return you my hearty Thanks for the Care you have
taken to establish the Succession to the Crown in the
Protestant Line: And I must not lose this Occasion of acquainting you, that I am likewise extremely sonsible of your
repeated Assurances of supporting me in such Alliances, as
shall be most proper for the Preservation of the Liberty of
Europe, and for the Security of England and Holland.
Your ready Compliance with my Desires, as to the Succours for the States-General, is also a great Satisfaction to
me, as well as a great Advantage to the common. Cause.
And as I have nothing so much at heart, as the Preservation of the Liberty of Europe, and the Honour and Interest
of England, so I make no doubt of attaining those great
Ends, by the Blessing of God, and the Continuance of your
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'The Season of the Year makes it necessary to have a
speedy Recess; and the Posture of Affairs abroad does absolutely require my Presence, for the Encouragement of
our Allies, and for the perfecting of such Alliances as
may be most effectual for the Common Interest: And
therefore I must recommend a Dispatch of the public
Business, especially of those Matters which are of the
The Commons were willing to interpret this Speech, as
an Approbation of their Proceedings in respect of their
Contest with the Lords; and therefore agreed upon this
Address to his Majesty:
Address of the Commons.
Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons in Parliament assembled,
do, with all imaginable Chearfulness, return your Majesty
our most humble Thanks for your most gracious Speech
from the Throne, in which your Majesty is pleased to express your royal Approbation of the Proceedings of your
Commons. And we do further unanimously assure your Majesty, that we will be ready on all Occasions to assist your
Majesty, in supporting such Alliances as your Majesty shall
think fit to make, in conjunction with the Emperor and the
States-General, for the Preservation of the Liberties of Europe, the Prosperity and Peace of England, and for reducing
the exorbitant Power of France.'
When this Address was presented on Friday June the
13th, the King gave this Answer to mollify and to oblige
in the wisest Manner.
'Gentlemen, I thank you heartily for the unanimous Assurances you have given me of your Readiness to assist me,
in supporting such Alliances as I shall make in conjunction with the Emperor and the States-General. It will be
a good Encouragement to them, to find the Sense of this
Kingdom so fully expressed on this Occasion, and will
likewise contribute most effectually, to the obtaining those
great Ends you have now mentioned, on which the Happiness of Europe does so much depend.'
But to return again to the Contests between the two
Houses: The Lords on the same day the King made this
Speech, had sent this Message to the Commons by Dr. Newton and Mr. Gery.
Farther Contests between the two Houses.
In answer to the Message from the House of Commons
of the tenth Instant, the Lords say, that although they take
it to be unparliamentary in many Particulars, yet to shew
their real Desire of avoiding Disputes, and removing all
Pretence of delaying the Trials of the impeached Lords,
they will only take notice of that Part of their Message,
wherein the Commons propose some things as Difficulties
in respect of the Trials; which Matters relating wholly to
their Judicature, and to their Rights and Privileges, as
Peers, they think fit to acquaint the Commons with the following Resolutions of the House of Lords.
1. That no Lord of Parliament, impeached for high
Crimes and Misdemeanours, and coming to his Trial, shall,
upon this Trial, be without the Bar.
2. That no Lord of Parliament, impeached for high
Crimes and Misdemeanours, can be precluded from Voting
on any Occasion, except in his own Trial.
Their Lordships further take notice of a Mistake in
Point of Fact, alledged in the Message of the Commons; it
no way appearing upon their Journal, that the Lords impeached have voted in their own Case.
'The Lords being well assured, that all the Steps that
have been taken by them in relation to these Impeachments,
are warranted by the Practice of their Ancestors, and the
Usage of Parliament, have reason to expect the Trials should
proceed without Delay.'
Also that they are commanded by the Lords to acquaint
this House, that,
In answer to the Message of the House of Commons
yesterday, the Lords say, that they cannot give a greater
Evidence of their sincere and hearty Desires, of avoiding all
Differences with the House of Commons, and of Proceeding
on the Trials of the Impeachments, than by not taking notice of the several just Exceptions, to which that Message is
liable, both as to the Matter and the Expressions.
The Lords have nothing farther from their thoughts,
than the going about to do any thing, which might have the
least Appearance of Hardship with relation to the Commons.
But the Answer of the Lord Somers to the Articles exhibited against him, having been sent down to the Commons on the 24th of May last, and they having, by their
Message of the 21st of May, signified to their Lordships,
their Intention of beginning with the Trial of his Impeachment in the first place:
The Lords, considering how far the Session is advanced,
thought it reasonable to appoint the 13th Instant for the said
Trial, their Lordships finding several Precedents of appointing Trials on Impeachments within a shorter time.
The Lords also think it incumbent upon them to dispatch
the Trials of all the impeached Lords, before the rising of
the Parliament. This is what Justice requires, and cannot
be looked upon as a Matter of Indulgence: Nevertheless,
that the Commons may see how desirous their Lordships are
to comply with them in any thing which may be consistent
with Justice, they have appointed the Trial of the Impeachment against John Lord Somers, on Tuesday the 17th of
this Instant June, at ten of the Clock in the Forenoon, in
the House of Lords, which will be then sitting in Westminster-Hall.
'That they were commanded by the Lords to acquaint
this House, that the Lords do agree to a free Conference with
the Commons, as desired; and do appoint to-morrow at one
o'Clock in the Painted-Chamber.'
Answer of the Commons.
The Commons, on the 13th, made this Answer to them.
The House of Commons find greater Reason to insist
upon their Proposal of a Committee of both Houses, from the
two Messages received yesterday from your Lordships; for
their Ambiguity and Uncertainty do show the Methods of
former Parliaments to be the most proper Way for Dispatch
'The Commons have been obliged to employ that time
in considering how to answer your Lordships Messages,
which otherwise would have been spent in preparing for
the Lord Somers's Trial; so that the Delay must be charged,
where the Occasion ariseth. And the Commons, having desired a Committee of both Houses, to adjust the Preliminaries
of the Trials, cannot but think it strange your Lordships
should come into Resolutions upon two of those Points, while
the Proposal of the House of Commons is under Debate, at
Conferences between the two Houses; the Commons having
other Difficulties to propose, which concern them as Prosecutors, and all future Impeachments.
And though the Commons have the Subject of your
Lordships Resolutions, with other things, to be debated at a
Committee of both Houses; yet they cannot but observe, that
your Lordships second Resolution is no direct Answer to the
Commons Proposal; which was, whether Peers impeached
of the same Crimes shall vote for each other upon their Trial
for the same Crimes. And the Commons cannot believe,
that any such Rule can be laid down in plain Words, where
there is a due Regard to Justice.
'And as to what your Lordships observe, that there is a
Mistake in Point of Fact alledged by the Commons; the
House may take notice of the Caution used by your Lordships,
in wording that Part of your Message; for they know your
Lordships are too well acquainted with the Truth of the Fact
to affirm that the impeached Lords did not vote in their
own Cases; and though the appearing or not appearing upon
your Lordship's Journal does not make it more or less agreeable to the Rules of Justice, yet the Commons cannot but
add this further Observation from your Lordships Journal,
that the impeached Lords Presence is not only recorded
when those Votes passed, but they also find some of them
appointed of Committees, for preparing and drawing up
the Messages and Answers to the House of Commons; which
they do not think has been the best Expedient for preserving
a good Correspondence between the two Houses, or adjusting
what will be necessary upon these Trials: And therefore the
Commons cannot think it agreeable to the Rules of Parliament
for them to appear at the Trial, till all necessary Preliminaries are first settled with your Lordships.'
Report of the Conference.
Then the Commons went to the Conference with the
Lords, and Mr. Harcourt reported the Matter thereof, and
the Words which the Lord Haversham had spoke thereat;
which he read in his Place, and afterwards delivered in
the said Report at the Clerks Table, where the same was read,
and is as followeth, viz.
That the Managers appointed by this House met the
Lords at the free Conference, the Subject Matter whereof
was opened by Mr. Harcourt, and immediately afterwards
further argued by Sir Bartholomew Shower.
It was insisted on by each of them, that the Reasons offered by their Lordships at the last Conference were not sufficient for their Lordships disagreeing to a Committee of both
Houses, desired by the Commons at the first Conference.
That, notwithstanding those Reasons, the Commons still
thought a Committee of both Houses absolutely necessary, for
adjusting and preventing such Differences as had happened,
or might arise previous to, or upon the Trials; and therefore
insisted, that such a Committee should be appointed before
the Commons could proceed on any Trial.
'Twas urged as one Reason for such a Committee, that
many Difficulties might happen, whereby the Trials might
be obstructed, if the Preliminaries should not be first adjusted: As one Instance, that Point of several Lords being
under Impeachments of the same Crimes, voting on each
other's Trial, was mentioned.
'The (fn. 2) Lord Steward first replied, and nothing was offered
by his Grace, but what was material and pertinent to the
Matter in question, and agreeable to the Method of Parliament in free Conferences, That John Lord Haversham
spoke immediately after; and in his Lordship's Discourse,
used these or the like Expressions.'
Speech of the Lord Haversham.
One thing there is, though I cannot speak it, because I
am bound up by the Orders of the House, yet I must have
some Answer; this is, as to the Lords voting in their own
Case; it requires an Answer, though I cannot go into the
Debate of it. The Commons themselves have made this Precedent; for, in these Impeachments, they have allowed Men
guilty of the same Crimes to vote in their own House; and
therefore we have not made any Distinction in our House,
that some should vote and some not. The Lords have so high
an Opinion of the Justice of the House of Commons, that they
hope Justice shall never be made use of as a Mask for any
Design. And therefore give me leave to say (though I am not
to argue it) 'tis a plain Demonstration that the Commons
think these Lords innocent; and I think the Proposition is
undeniable; for there are several Lords in the same Crimes,
in the same Facts, there is no Distinction. And the Commons leave some of these Men at the Head of Affairs, near
the King's Person, to do any Mischief if they were inclined
to it; and impeach others, when they are both alike guilty,
and concerned in the same Facts. This is a Thing I was in
hopes I should never have heard asserted, when the Beginning of it was from the House of Commons.
'These Expressions were instantly objected to by Sir
Christopher Musgrave; and the Managers took them to be so
great an Aspersion on the Honour of this House, that they
thought themselves obliged in Duty immediately to withdraw
from the Free Conference.'
'As the Managers were withdrawing, his Grace my
Lord Steward spoke to the Effect following; That he hoped
they would not think that that Lord had any Authority from
the House of Lords to use any such Expression towards the
Resolved, That John Lord Haversham hath, at the free
Conference this Day, uttered most scandalous Reproaches,
and false Expressions, highly reflecting upon the Honour and
Justice of the House of Commons, and tending to the making
a Breach in the good Correspondence between the Lords
and Commons, and to the interrupting the public Justice of
the Nation, by delaying the Proceedings on Impeachments.
Resolved, That John Lord Haversham be charged before
the Lords, for the Words spoken by the said Lord this Day
at the free Conference: And that the Lords be desired to
proceed in Justice against the said Lord Haversham, and to
inflict such Punishment upon the said Lord, as so high an
Offence against the House of Commons does deserve.
Ordered, That Sir Christopher Musgrave do carry the said
Charge and Resolutions to the Lords.
A Message from the Lords.
A Message from the Lords by Doctor Newton and Mr.
'Mr. Speaker, The Lords having been informed by
their Managers, that some Interruption happened at the
free Conference, which their Lordships are concerned at;
because they wish that nothing should interrupt the public
Business, do desire the Commons would come again presently
to the said free Conference; which they do not doubt will
prove the best Expedient to prevent the Inconvenience of a
Misunderstanding upon what has past.'
Next Day, which was Saturday the 14th, came another
Message from the Lords, importing,
'That upon Occasion of their last Message yesterday, in
order to continue a good Correspondence between the two
Houses, their Lordships did immediately appoint a Committee to state the Matter of the Free-Conference, and also to
inspect Precedents of what has happened of the like Nature;
and that the public Business may receive no Interruption, the
Time desired by their Lordships for renewing the Free
Conference being elapsed, their Lordships desire a present
Free Conference in the Painted-Chamber, upon the SubjectMatter of the last Free-Conference.'
Upon which the Commons came to the following Resolution:
'That an Answer be returned to the Lords, that the
Commons are extremely desirous to preserve a good Correspondence between the two Houses, and expedite the Trials
of the impeached Lords; but do conceive tis not consistent
with the Honour of the Commons to renew the free Conference, until they have received Reparation, by their Lordship's doing justice upon John Lord Haversham, for the Indignity he yesterday offered to the House of Commons.'
Articles against the Lord Hallifax and his Replies.
On the same Day, Saturday the 14th of June, Mr. Bruges
reported, that he had carried the Articles of Impeachment
against Charles Lord Hallifax to the Lords; which were,
1st, That, whereas it was the continued Sense of the Commons of England, that it was highly reasonable that the forfeited Estates of Rebels and Traitors in Ireland should be
applied in Ease of his Majesty's faithful Subjects of the Kingdom of England, the said Lord Hallifax presumed to advise,
pass, or direct the passing a Grant to Thomas Railton Esq;
in trust for himself, of several Debts, Interests, &c. amounting. to 13000 l. or thereabouts, accruing to his Majesty from
Attainders, Outlawries, or other Forfeitures in Ireland.'—
To which he answered, 'That he did accept the said Grant,
as it was lawful for him to do, without Breach of his Duty,
and the Trust reposed in him; which Grant hath since been
taken away by Act of Parliament, and he hath not made clear
thereof, as yet, above 400 l.'
'2dly, That he has not repaid into the Receipt of his
Majesty's Exchequer in Ireland the Sum of 1000 l. which he
had actually received to his own Use, out of the Prosits of
the forementioned Grant, which he ought to have so repaid,
by virtue of the Act of granting an Aid to his Majesty by Sale of
the Forfeited Estates in Ireland.'— To which he answered, 'That he gave direction, after the said Act passed, to his
Agents in Ireland, to do, in relation to the Money received,
as should be advised by Council there; by whom his Agents
were advised, that the said Monies being received out of the
mean Profits, which were remitted by that Act, were not
within the first mentioned Clause in the said Act.
3dly, That in the time of a tedious and expensive War,
he did advise, procure and assent, not only to the passing
divers Grants to others, but did obtain and accept of several
beneficial ones for himself; which Practices were a most
notorious Abuse of his Majesty's Goodness, &c.'—To which
he answered, 'That he served his Majesty faithfully in his
Stations, and his Majesty graciously accepted of his Service;
and as a Mark of his royal Favour, did make, for his Benefit,
such Grants as are mentioned in the precedent and subsequent
Articles, and none other. And as to other Persons, he only,
in conjunction with the other Commissioners, did sign several
Warrants and Dockets for such Grants, as his Majesty was
pleased to direct.'
4thly, Whereas by common Law, and other Statutes,
the King's Forests should be preserved, the said Lord Hallifax, not regarding the Laws and Ordinances of this Realm,
nor his Duty to his Majesty and the Public, has procured a
Grant to Henry Segar, Gent. in trust for himself, of the Sum
of 14,000 l. of Scrubbed-Beech, Birch, Holly &c. under
Colour whereof, Sapling-Oaks, and many Tuns of well-grown
Timber had been cut and fallen, and disposed of for his Benefit.'—To which he answered, 'That his Majesty, out of
his Grace and Favour, did grant in trust for him the Sum of
2000 l.Ann. to be raised by the Fall of Scrubbed-Beech, Birch,
&c. for the Space of seven Years, which Grant was not prejudicial to any Timber growing in the said Forest. And if
any Abuse were in cutting the Wood, he conceives he is not
answerable for the same, it being done by the Direction of his
Majesty's Surveyor-General, and other his Majesty's Officers.'
'5thly, That he, the said Lord Hallifax did grant, or procured to be granted, to his Brother Christopher Montague
Esq; the Place and Office of Auditor of the Receipts, and
Writer of the Tallies, in trust for himself; so that he, the said
Lord was, in Effect, at the same time, one of the Commissioners
of the Treasury, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Auditor of the
Receipts and Writer of the Tallies; and enjoyed the Profits of
the said several Offices, which were manifestly inconsistent, and
ought to have been a Check to each other. To which he
answered, 'That the Grant of the said Office was done at
his Desire and Request, because he intended, in a short time
after, to leave his own Employment and Places in the Treasury, and to obtain a Surrender from his said Brother of the
said Office, and procure a Grant thereof to himself, which
has been since done, and he conceives was lawful for him to do.'
6thly, That the said Lord Hallifax, well knowing the
most apparent evil Consequences, as well as the Injustice of
the Partition of the Spanish Monarchy, did yet advise his
Majesty to enter into a Treaty for it, and did encourage and
promote the same.' To which he answered, 'That he never
did advise his Majesty to enter into or make the said Treaty,
or was ever consulted upon any Clause or Article thereof:
But when the said Matter was discoursed at TunbridgeWells, he made several Objections to the same.'
Rules for Trial of the impeached Lords.
On Monday, June the 16th, the Lords sent a Message to
acquaint the House of Commons, 'That the Lords, taking
into their Care the ordering of the Trial of John Lord
Somers, on Tuesday the 17th of June Instant, at ten of the
Clock in Westminster-Hall, have prepared some Notes and
Rules to be observed at the said Trial, which the Lords have
thought fit to communicate to this House, viz.
That the whole Impeachment is to be read, and then
the Answer; which being done, the Lord-Keeper is to tell
the Commons, that now they may go on with their Evidence.
Then the Lord-Keeper is to declare, That now the
Court is proceeding to hear the Evidence, and desire the
Peers to give attention.
If any of the Peers, or the Members of the House of
Commons, that manage the Evidence, or the Lords impeached,
do desire to have any Question asked, they must desire the
Lord-Keeper to ask the same.
If any Doubt doth arise at the Trial, no Debate is to be
in the Court, but the Question suspended to be debated in this
The Members of the House of Commons to be there before the Peers come.
None to be covered at the Trial but the Peers.
That such Peers at the Trial of the impeached Lords,
who at the Instance of the said Lord, or of the Commons,
shall be admitted Winesses, are to be sworn at the Clerk's
Table, and the Lord-Keeper to administer the Oath, and
are to deliver their Evidence in their own Places.
Those Witnesses that are Commoners are to be sworn at the
Bar by the Clerk, and are to deliver Evidence there.
'The impeached Lords may cross-examine Witnesses,
Reasons of the Commons against proceeding to the Trial of the Lord Somers.
But the Commons appointed a Committee to consider of
the Reasons why they cannot proceed to the Trial of the
Lord Somers. Which Reasons were the next day reported
by Mr Harcourt, and were as follow:
The Commons, in this whole Proceeding against the
impeached Lords, have acted with all imaginable Zeal to
bring them to a speedy Trial; and they doubt not but it
will appear, by comparing their Proceedings with all others
upon the like Occasion, that the House of Commons have
nothing to blam themselves for, but that they have not expressed the Resentment their Ancestors have justly shewed,
upon much less Attempts which have been made upon their
Power of Impeachments.
The Commons, on the 31st of May, acquainted your
Lordships, that they thought it proper, from the Nature of
the Evidence, to proceed in the first place upon the Trial of
the Lord Somers. Upon the first intimation from your Lordships, some days afterwards, that you would proceed to the
Trial of the impeached Lords, whom the Commons should
be first ready to begin with, notwithstanding your Lordships
had before thought fit to appoint which Impeachment should
be first tried, and affix a Day for such Trial, without consulting the Commons who are the Prosecutors:
The Commons determine to expedite the Trials to the
utmost of their power, in hopes of attaining that end: And
for the more speedy and easy adjusting and preventing any
differences, which had happened, or might arise previous to,
or upon these Trials, proposed to your Lordships at a Conference, as the most parliamentary and effectual Method for
that purpose, and that which in no manner intrenched upon
your Lordships Judicature, that a Committee of both Houses
should be nominated, to consider of the most proper Ways
and Methods of proceeding upon Impeachments, according
to the Usage of Parliament.
In the next Message to the Commons, upon Monday
the 9th of June, your Lordships thought fit, without taking
the least notice of this Proposition, to appoint the Friday then
following for the Trial of the said Lord Somers; whereunto,
as well as to many other Messages and Proceedings of your
Lordships upon this Occasion, the House of Commons might
have justly taken very great exceptions; yet, as an Evidence
of their moderation, and to shew their readiness to bring the
impeached Lords to speedy Justice, the Commons insisted
only on their Proposition for a Committee of both Houses,
to settle and adjust the necessary Preliminaries to the Trial;
particularly, whether the impeached Lords should appear on
their Trial at your Lordships Bar as Criminals? whether,
being under Accusations of the same Crimes, they should sit
as Judges on each other's Trial for those Crimes, or should
vote in their own Cases, as 'tis notorious they have been permitted by your Lordships to do, in many Instances which
might be given; to which particulars, your Lordships have
not yet given a direct Answer, though put in mind thereof
by the Commons.
'Your Lordships at a Conference, having offered some
Reasons why you could not agree to a Committee of both
Houses, to adjust the necessary Preliminaries, the Commons
thereupon desired a free Conference, and your Lordships
agreed thereunto; at which, 'tis well known to many of your
Lordships, who were then present, what most scandalous
Reproaches, and false Expressions, highly reflecting upon
the Honour and Justice of the House of Commons, were uttered by John Lord Haversham, whereby the Commons
were under a necessity of withdrawing from the said free
Conference; for which Offence, the Commons have, with
all due Regard to your Lordships, prayed your Lordships
Justice against the Lord Haversham; but have as yet received no manner of Satisfaction.
The Commons restrain themselves from enumerating your
Lordships very many irregular and unparliamentary Proceedings upon this Occasion; but think it is what they owe
to public Justice, and all the Commons of England whom
they represent, to declare some few of those Reasons, why
they peremptorily refuse to proceed to the Trial of the Lord
Somers on the 17th of June.
1st, Because your Lordships have not yet agreed that a
Committee of both Houses should be appointed, for settling
the necessary Preliminaries; a Method never until this time
denied by the House of Lords, whensoever the Commons
have thought it necessary to desire the same.
2dly, Should the Commons (which they never will do)
be contented to give up those Rights, which have been
transmitted to them from their Ancestors, and are of absolute necessity to their Proceedings on Impeachments; yet,
whilst they have any Regard to public Justice, they never
can appear as Prosecutors before your Lordships, till your
Lordships have first given them Satisfaction, that the Lords
impeached of the said Crimes, shall not sit as Judges on
each other's Trial for those Crimes.
3dly, Because the Commons have as yet received no Reparation, for the great Indignity offered to them at the free
Conference by the Lord Haversham: The Commons are
far from any Inclination, and cannot be supposed to be under
any necessity of delaying the Trial of the Lord Somers:
There is not any Article exhibited by them, in maintenance
of their Impeachment against the Lord Somers, for the
Proof whereof they have not full and undeniable Evidence;
which they will be ready to produce, as soon as your Lordships shall have done Justice upon the Lord Haversham;
and the necessary Preliminaries in order to the said Trial,
shall be settled by a Committee of both Houses.
'The Commons think it unnecessary to observe to your
Lordships, that most of the Articles whereof the Lord Somers
stands impeached, will appear to your Lordships to be undoubtedly true, from Matters of Record, as well as by the
Confession of the said Lord Somers, in his Answer to the
said Articles; to which the Commons doubt not but your
Lordships will have a due regard, when his Trial shall regularly proceed.
The Lords sent their Answer to this Message, on Friday,
June the 20th in these Words:
Answer of the Lords.
The Lords, in answer to the Message of the Commons
of the 17th instant, say, the only true way of determining,
which of the two Houses has acted with the greatest Sincerity,
in order to bring the impeached Lords to their Trials, is to
look back upon their respective Proceedings.
The Lords do not well understand what the Commons
mean by that Resentment which they speak of in their Message: Their Lordships own the House of Commons have a
Right of Impeaching: And the Lords have undoubted Power
of doing Justice upon those Impeachments, by bringing them
to Trial, and condemning or acquitting the Parties in a reasonable time. This Power is derived to them from their
Ancestors, which they will not suffer to be wrested from
them by any Pretences whatsoever.
Their Lordships cannot but wonder, that the Commons
should not have proposed a Committee of both Houses much
sooner, if they thought it so necessary for the bringing on
the Trials; no mention being of such a Committee, from the
first of April to the sixth of June, although, during that interval, their Delays were frequently complained of by the
House of Lords.
The manner in which the Commons demand this Committee, the Lords look upon as a direct invading of their
Judicature; and therefore, as there rever was a Committee
of both Houses yielded to by the Lords, in case of any Impeachment for high Crimes and Misdemeanours; so their
Lordships do insist, that they will make no new Precedent
upon this Occasion. Many Impeachments for Misdemeanours
have in all times been determined without such a Committee:
And if now the Commons think fit, by any unprecedented
Demand, to form an excuse for not prosecuting their Impeachments, it is demonstrable where the Obstruction lies.
As to the Preliminaries which the Commons mention in
particular, as proper to be settled at such a Committee, they
have received the Resolutions of the House of Lords therein,
by their Message of the 12th instant, from which (being
matters entirely relating to their Judicature) their Lordships
As to the last Pretence the Commons would make to
shelter the delaying the Trials, from some Expressions which
fell from the Lord Haversham at the free Conference, at
which Offence was taken, their Lordships will only observe,
First, That they have omined nothing which might give
the Commons all reasonable Satisfaction of their purpose to
do them Justice in that matter, so far as is consistent with doing Justice to that Lord; and also to preserve all good Correspondence with them; as appears by the several steps they
'Secondly, That this Business has no relation to the Trial
of the impeached Lords; and therefore their Lordships cannot imagine, why the Commons should make Satisfaction
and Reparation against the Lord Haversham, a necessary
Condition for the going on with the Trials, and at the same
time, find no Difficulties in proceeding on other Business.'
His Lordship honourably acquitted.
In the mean time, on Tuesday June the 17th, the Lords
proceeded to the Trial of John Lord Somers, in Westminster-Hall; where this Proclamation first was made: 'Whereas
a Charge of high Crimes and Misdemeanours has been exhibited by the House of Commons, in the Name of themselves
and all the Commons of England, against John Lord Somers;
all Persons concerned are to take notice that he now stands
upon his Trial, and they may now come forth, in order to
make good the said Charge.' Then the House adjourned
to the said Hall; and being seated, after Proclamation for
silence, the Articles against John Lord Somers were read,
and also his Lordship's Answer to them. Then the Lord
Keeper declared the House was ready to hear the Evidence
against him. The Lord Somers moved to have his Council
heard. After long Debate, and hearing the Judges to several Questions asked them by the Lords, this Question was
proposed; That John Lord Somers be acquitted of the Articles
of Impeachment against him, exhibited by the House of
Commons, and all things therein contained, and that the
said Impeachment be dismissed. When the Lord-Keeper
had asked every Lord, whether content or not? he declared
the Majority was for acquitting. Then the Lords adjourned
to the House above, and made the following Order:
'It was considered, ordered, and adjudged by the Lords
Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, that John
Lord Somers shall be, and is hereby acquitted of the Articles
of Impeachment against him, exhibited by the House of
Commons, and all things therein contained, and that the
said Impeachment shall be, and is hereby dismissed.'
Remonstrance of the Commons.
The Commons, to justify their refusal of appearing at the
said Trial, did resolve, on June the 20th, 'That the Lords
have refused Justice to the Commons upon the Impeachment
against the Lord Somers, by denying them a Committee of
both Houses, which was desired by the Commons as the
proper and only Method of settling the necessary Preliminaries, in order to the proceeding to the Trial of the said
Lord Somers with effect; and afterwards by proceeding to a
pretended Trial of the said Lord, which could tend only to
protect him from Justice, by colour of an illegal Acquittal.
Against which Proceedings of the Lords, the Commons do solemnly protest, as being repugnant to the Rules of Justice, and
therefore null and void That the House of Lords, by the pretended Trial of John Lord Somers, have endeavoured to overturn the Right of Impeachments, lodged in the House of Commons by the ancient Constitution of this Kingdom, for the Safety and Protection of the Commons against the Power of great
Men; and have made an Invasion upon the Liberties of the
Subject, by laying a Foundation of Impunity for the greatest
Offenders. That all the ill Conseuences, which may at
this time attend the Delay of the Supplies given by the Commons, for preserving the public Peace, and maintaining the
Balance of Europe, by supporting our Allies against the
Power of France, are to be imputed to those, who, to
procure an Indemnity for their own enormous Crimes, have
used their utmost endeavours to make a Breach between the
The Lords the same day sent this Answer to that Message:
Answer of the Lords.
The Lords do acquaint the Commons, that they might
have known by the Records of the House of Lords, that the
Lords had proceeded to the Trial of the Lord Somers on
Tuesday last, being the Day appointed; and the Commons
not appearing to maintain their Articles against the said
Lord, the Lords had by judgment of their House acquitted
him of the Articles of Impeachment against him, exhibited
by the House of Commons, and all things therein contained,
and had dismissed the said Impeachment.
And the Lords had appointed Monday next for the Trial
of the Earl of Orford, on which Day they would proceed
on the said Trial.
The Commons still pressing for a Committee of both
Houses, which their Lordships could never consent to for
the Reasons already given, their Lordships could infer nothing from their persisting in this Demand, but that they
never designed to bring any of their Impeachments to a
'As to the Lord Haversham, his Answer was now before
the House of Commons, and the Lords resolved to do justice
in that matter.'
The same day, the Commons had a Copy given them of
the Lord Haversham's Answer to the Charge against him;
which being extraordinary, deserves to be inserted in this
Answer of the Lord Haversham to a Complaint of the Commons.
The said Lord Haversham, saving to himself all Advantages of Exception to the said Charge, and of not being prejudiced by any want of Form in this Answer; and also
saving to himself all Rights and Privileges belonging to him
as one of the Peers of this Realm; for Answer to the said
Charge, saith, That on the sixth Day of June 1701, the
Commons by a Message sent to the Lords, desired a Conference upon their Message to the Commons of the fourth of
June: In which Conference they proposed to the Lords,
That a Committee of both Houses might be nominated, to
consider of the most proper Ways and Methods of Proceeding in the Impeachments of the Lords according to the
Usage of Parliaments. That on the 10th of June, The Lords
desired another. Conference with the Commons, in which
they delivered them their Reasons why they could not agree
to the appointing of such a Committee; (viz) First, That
they could not find, that ever such a Committee was appointed on Occasion of Impeachments for Misdemeanours, and
their Obligation to be curious in admitting any thing new
relating to Judicature. Secondly, That although a Committee of this nature was agreed to, upon the Impeachments
of the Earl of Danby, and the five Popish Lords for HighTreason; yet the Success in that Instance, was not such as
should encourage the pursuing of the same Method, though
in the like Case; and that, after so much time spent in the
Committee, the Disputes were so far from being there adjusted, that they occasioned the abrupt Conclusion of a Session
of Parliament. Thirdly, That the Methods of Proceedings
for Misdemeanours are so well settled by the Usage of Parliament, that no Difficulties were likely to happen, nor none
had been stated to them; and that all the Preliminaries in
the Case of Stephen Gaudett, and others, (which was the
last Instance of Impeachments for Misdemeanours) were easily
settled and agreed to, without any such Committee. Fourthly,
That the Proposal of the Commons came so very late, that
no other Fruit could be expected of such a Committee, but
the preventing of the Trials during the Session. Whereupon the Commons, on the 12th of June, desired of the Lords
a Free Conference, on the Subject Matter of the last Conference. That the Lords, on the 12th of June, came to two
Resolutions in relation to the Lords impeached: 'First, That
no Lord of Parliament, impeached for high Crimes and Misdemeanours, and coming to his Trial, shall upon his Trial,
be without the Bar. Secondly, That no Lord of Parliament,
impeached for high Crimes and Misdeameanours, can be precluded from Voting on any Occasion, except in his own
Trial.' And by Messengers of their own, the Lords acquainted the Commons with the said two Resolutions; and
also that they agreed to a Free Conference with the Commons, and appointed the next day. That upon the 30th of
June, Mr. Harcourt, one of the Managers, began the Free
Conference on the part of the Commons, and argued upon
the four Reasons given by the Lords, why they could not
agree to the appointing a Committee of both Houses; and
principally relied upon the Instance in the Case of the Popish.
Lords, and insisted upon the Delay that the not agreeing to
the Nomination of such a Committee would necessarily occasion, whereby the Lords Trials, and the Justice due to the
Nation, would be retarded. And departing from the SubjectMatter of the said Conference (which was, whether it were
requisite to appoint, or not appoint such a Committee) the
said Manager discoursed upon the latter of the Resolutions of
the Lords, communicated to the Commons, and said, 'That
he wished the Lords had sent down their Reasons, as well as
their Resolutions; which words seemed to the said Lord
Haversham, to carry therein an Implication, as if the said
Resolution could have no Reason to justify it. That Sir
Bartholomew Shower, another Manager for the Commons,
observed the same Method of Discourse; and having argued on the Lords Reasons, departed from the Subject-Matter
of the Free Conference, and inveighing against the Manner
of the Lords Judicature, asserred by their Resolutions, said,
That it was abhorrent to Justice: which Expressions being
foreign (as the said Lord Haversham apprehended) to the
Subject-Matter of the said Free Conference, which was,
whether such Committee of both Houses should be appointed
or not; the said Lord, being appointed by the Lords for
one of the Managers of the said Free-Conference on their
Behalf, in Vindication of the Honour and Justice of the
House of Peers, and their Judicature and Resolutions, in
answer to what had been said by the Managers for the Commons, he spoke to the Effect following:
Gentlemen, I shall begin what I have to say, as that
worthy Member who opened this Conference, that there is
nothing the Lords more desire than to keep a good Correspondence, which is so necessary to the Safety of the Nation,
and the Dispatch of public Business; and nothing they have
more carefully avoided, than what might create a Misunderstanding between the two Houses. A greater Instance of
which could not be given, than the Messages my Lords returned to some the Commons had sent them up; in which
they took care to express themselves so cautiously, that no
Heat might arise from any Expression of theirs. And as to
what the worthy Members mentioned, in relation to delay;
the repeated Remembrances sent the Commons, with relation to the sending up the Articles against the impeached
Lords, are a sufficient Instance how desirous they are that
these Matters should proceed. And the Lords have this
Satisfaction, that it is not on their part that the Trials are
not in a greater Forwardness; they cannot but look on it as
a great Hardship, that they should lie under long Delays on
Impeachments. Persons may be incapable; Facts may be
forgotten; Evidences may be laid out of the way; Witnesses
may die; and many other like Accidents may happen. The
Instance the worthy Members give of the Popish Lords, as
it is a Crime of another Nature, and not fully to the point,
so it seems to make against what it was brought for: For the
worthy Members say, there was but one of the Lords
brought to justice, though four more (as I take it) were accused. And can any Man believe, that the Commons have
a mind to bring only one of these Lords to Trial? It is inconsistent with the Opinion that every body must have of
their Justice. And as to the point of Judicature, it were
very hard upon the Lords, that no Person should be brought
to Trial, till the Judicature of the House be so first. The
Judicature of the Lords is their Peculiar, and hath in former Ages been sacred with the Commons themselves. And
this House, perhaps, hath as much reason to be jealous,
and careful of it, as any other House ever had; especially
when one single Precedent is so urged and insisted upon.
One thing there is which a worthy Member mentioned, tho'
I cannot speak to it at large, because I think myself bound
up by the Resolutions of the House; yet it must have some
Answer; that is, as to the Lords Voting in their own Case;
it requires an Answer, though I cannot enter into the Debate of it. The Commons themselves have made this Precedent; for in these Impeachments they have allowed Men,
equally concerned in the same Facts, to vote in their own
House; and we have not made the Distinction in ours, that
some should vote and some not. The Lords have so high
an Opinion of the House of Commons, that they believe
Justice shall never be made use of as a Mask for any Design.' And therefore give me leave to say, though I am not
to argue it, 'tis to me a plain Demonstration, that the Commons think those Lords innocent; and I think the Proposition is undeniable: For when there are several Lords in the
same Circumstances, in the same Facts, there is no Distinction; and the Commons leave some of these Men at the Head of
Affairs, near the King's Person, to do any Mischief if they
were inclined to it; it looks as if they thought them all innocent. This was a thing I was in hopes I should never
have heard asserted, when the Beginning of it was from the
House of Commons.
The said Lord being here interrupted, he desired to be
heard out, and that his Words might be taken down in
writing. But the Managers for the Commons broke up,
and departed, refusing to hear any Explanation. Now the
said Lord, as to any implicit Charge of a Design to reflect
on, or dishonour the House of Commons, desires any such
Design or Intention; having, for many Years, had the Honour to sit in the House of Commons, and having ever had
an honourable and respectful Sense thereof: But the said
Lord was led to express himself in the Manner aforesaid,
for the Reasons aforesaid, and takes himself to be justify'd
therein, by the Facts and Reasons following:
'That the nature of that Conference was, that it should
be free; the Occasion of it, because either House apprehended the other to be in an Error; and the End of it,
that each side might urge such Facts as are true, and such
Reasons as are forcible to convince. That one Article of
the Impeachment against John Lord Somers, was, That
the Treaty of Partition 1699, was ratify'd under the GreatSeal, which then was in the Custody of the same Lord,
then Lord-Chancellor of England; That the Commons
on the first of April 1701, Resolved, That the Earl of
Portland by negotiating and concluding the Treaty of Partition, was guilty of a high Crime and Misdemeanour; and
pursuant thereto, lodged an Impeachment against him in the
House of Peers; which Vote and Impeachment could not
have Reference to any Treaty, other than the Treaty of
Partition of 1699, the Treaty of 1698, not being before the
House of Commons, till after the time of that Vote and Impeachment: and yet the Earl of Jersey, who then was Secretary of State and a Privy-Counsellor, and actually signed
the said Treaty of 1699, as a Plenipotentiary with the Lord
Portland, stands unimpeached, and continues at the Head of
Affairs, being Lord-Chamberlain, near his Majesty's Person,
and his Presence and Councils, (without complaint:) That
the Earl of Orford, and the Lords Somers and Hallifax, are
severally impeached for advising the Treaty of Partition of
1698, and yet Mr. Secretary Vernon, who then was Secretary of State, and a Privy-Counsellor, and acted in the promoting of the Treaty of Partition of 1698, stands unimpeached, and still continues one of the principal Secretaries of State;
and Sir Joseph Williamson, who then was a Privy-Counsellor,
and transacted and signed the Treaty of Partition of 1698,
as a Plenipotentiary, stands unimpeached. That the Lord
Hallifax is impeached, for that he, being a Commissioner of
the Treasury, assented to the passing of divers Grants from
the Crown to several Persons, of Lands in Ireland; and yet
Sir Edward Seymour, Sir Stephen Fox, and Mr. Pelham,
who being severally Lords Commissioners of the Treasury,
did severally assent to the passing of divers like Grants from
his Majesty, of Lands in Ireland, stand unimpeached. That
in the Impeachments against the Earl of Orford and Lord
Somers, one of the Articles against them is for procuring a
Commission to Captain Kidd, and likewise a Grant under
the Great-Seal, of the Ships and Goods of certain Persons
therein named, to certain Persons in trust for them; and yet
other Lords, equally concerned in procuring the said Commission and Grant, stand unimpeached. That the said Mr.
Secretary Vernon, Sir Edward Seymour, Sir Stephen Fox,
and Mr. Pelham, notwithstanding their being Parties in the
same Facts, charged in the said respective Impeachments,
have been permitted to sit and vote in the House of Commons, touching the Impeachments and the Matters thereof:
That these Facts being true and publicly known, the Consequences resulting therefrom (as the said Lord Haversham
apprehended) are undeniable, viz. That the doing of the
same thing, by two Persons in equal Circumstances, cannot
be a Crime in one, and not in another. That the Commons
had no reason to insist, that the Lords should not permit that
in their Members, which the Commons had first permitted,
and continued to permit, and so begun the first Precedent, in
their own Members. That it must be thought, that the impeached Lords (notwithstanding the Facts alledged in the
Impeachment) are innocent of Danger to the King, when
the Lord Jersey and Mr Secretary Vernon, who were respectively concerned in the Partition-Treaties, are permitted
without Complaint, to be at the Head of Affairs, and in the
King's Presence, and of his Councils, as not dangerous: That
the Word innocent, used in the Words spoken by the said
Lord Haversham, can extend no further than to such Matters as were done by the impeached Lords, of the same nature with what was done by those unimpeached. All which
Facts being true, and the Consequences obvious, the said
Lord being ready to prove the same, he insists that the Words
spoken by him at the said Free Conference, were not scandalous or reproachful, nor false, nor reflecting on the Honour or Justice of the House of Commons; but were spoken
upon a just Occasion, given in Answer to several Expressions
that fell from the Managers for the Commons, remote, as he
conceives, from the Matter in question, and reflecting on
the Honour and Justice of the House of Peers; and in Maintenance and Defence of the Lords Resolution and Judicature, and conformable to the Duty he owes to the said House.
And the said Lord humbly demands the Judgment of this
honourable House therein. And the said Lord Haversham
denies that he spoke the Words specified in the said Charge,
in such Manner and Form, as the same are therein set down.
And having thus given a true Account of this Matter, and
it being true and indisputable, that some Lords in this House,
equally concerned in Facts, for which other Lords are impeached by the House of Commons, are still near the King's
Person, in the greatest Places of Trust and Honour, and
unimpeached; and also, that several Members of the House
of Commons equally concerned in the same Facts, for which
some of the Lords are impeached, do however remain unimpeached; the said Lord thinks, such a Truth could never
have been more properly spoken, in the Maintenance and
Defence of your Lordships Judicature, and Resolutions; and
insisteth, that what he said at the Free Conference, was not
any scandalous Reproach, or false Expression, or any ways
tending to make a Breach in the good Correspondence between the Lords and Commons, or to the Interrupting the
Public Justice of the Nation, by Delaying the Proceedings
on the Impeachments, as in the said Charge alledged; but
agreeable to Truth, in Discharge of his Duty, and in the
Defence of the undoubted Right and Judicature of this
Farther Contests betwixt the two Houses.
The Commons on Friday the 20th, after the sending and
receiving the fore-mentioned Messages, Ordered, That no
Member should presume to appear on Monday next, at the
pretended Trial of the Earl of Orford, upon pain of incurring the utmost Displeasure of the House; and then adjourned to Tuesday Morning. But the Lords continued
sitting, and on the 21st, Resolved, 'That unless the Commons Charge against the Lord Haversham, were presented
by them with Effect before the End of that Session, the Lords
would declare and adjudge him wholly innocent of the
On Monday, June the 23d, it was Resolved by the Lords
spiritual and temporal in Parliament assembled, That the
Resolutions of the House of Commons, in their Votes of the
20th Instant, contained most unjust Reflections on the Honour and Justice of the House of Peers, and were contrived
to cover their affected and unreasonable Delays in prosecuting the impeached Lords; and did manifestly tend to the
Destruction of the Judicature of the Lords, to the rendering Trials and Impeachments impracticable for the future,
and to the subverting the Constitution of the English Government; and therefore, whatever ill Consequences might
arise, from the so long deferring the Supplies of this Year's
Service, were to be attributed to the fatal Council of the
putting off the Meeting of a Parliament so long, and to the
unnecessary Delays of the House of Commons.
Trial of the Earl of Orford. ; His Lordship honourably acquitted.
Then the Lords adjourned to Westminster-hall, and after
two Proclamations made for Silence and Prosecution, the
Articles of Impeachment against Edward Earl of Orford
were read, and also his Lordship's Answer to the said Articles; and after taking the same Methods as in the Trial of
the Lord Somers, his Lordship, by unanimous Votes, was acquitted of the Articles, and the Impeachment was dismissed.
On Tuesday June the 24th, being the last day of the
Session of this Parliament, this Order was made by the Lords.
Impeachments dismiss'd by the Lords.
'The House of Commons not having presented their
Charge, which they brought up against John Lord Haversham, for Words spoken by him at a Free Conference the
13th Instant, the said Charge is hereby dismissed. The Earl
of Portland being impeached by the House of Commons of
high Crimes and Misdemeanours, the first day of April last,
the Impeachment is hereby dismissed, there being no Articles
exhibited against him. The House of Commons having impeached Charles Lord Hallifax of high Crimes and Misdemeanours, on the 15th day of April last, and on the 14th
day of this Instant June exhibited Articles against him, to
which he having answered, and no further Prosecution thereupon, the said Impeachment and Articles are hereby dismissed. At the same time, their Lordships dismissed an old
Impeachment against the Duke of Leeds.'
Bill for stating the public Accounts, amended by the Lords.
The Affair of the impeached Lords, had so much divided
both Houses, that the Correspondence was almost broken off
or interrupted with continual Disagreements. Hence the
Commons having passed a Bill for appointing Commissioners
to take, state, and examine the public Accounts, the Lords
made some Amendments to it, which the Commons would
by no means allow; and drew up these Reasons for their
Disagreement, to be offered to the Lords at a Conference.
The Commons disagree.
'The Commons do disagree to the first Amendment made
by the Lords, because it is notorious, that many Millions of
Money have been given to his Majesty by the Commons, for
the Service of the Public, which remain yet unaccounted
for, to the great dissatisfaction of the good People of England,
who chearfully contributed to those Supplies. And their
Lordships first Amendment prevents any account being taken
of those Moneys, by the Commissioners appointed by the
Commons for that purpose.
'The Commons do disagree to the second Amendment
made by the Lords, because John Parkhurst and John Pascall,
Esqs; have for several Years been Commissioners of the Prizes
taken during the late War, and accountable for great Sums
of Money arising thereby, which ought to be applied to the
Use of the Public. That the said John Parkhurst and John
Pascall were frequently pressed to account for the same, by
the late Commissioners appointed by Act of Parliament; but
by many Artifices and Evasions, delayed and avoided giving
any such Account as was required by the said Commissioners.
That the Clause to which their Lordships have disagreed by
their second Amendment, requires them to account before
the first of September next, but by their Lordships Amendment they are exempted from giving any such account, which
is highly unreasonable.
'The Commons do disagree to the third Amendment,
because their Lordships have, in a Clause, directed the
Commons to allow and certify a pretended Debt to Colonel
Baldwin Layton; whereas the Disposition as well as granting of Money by Act of Parliament, hath ever been in the
House of Commons; and this Amendment relating to the
disposal of Money, does intrench upon that Right.
'The Commons do disagree to the fourth Amendment,
because it is notorious, that Edward Whitaker, mentioned
in the Rider left out by their Lordships, hath by colour of
his Impeachment, as Solicitor to the Admiralty, received the
Sum of five and twenty thousand Pounds and upwards of
Public Monies, without producing any just or reasonable
Vouchers for the Expence thereof; and therefore ought to be
accountable for the same.
'And that by reason of their Lordships disagreeing to the
several parts of this Bill, the Supplies provided by the Commons for paying the Arrears of the Army, must of necessity
be ineffectual till another Session of Parliament.'
To interrupt these fatal Disputes between the two Houses,
it was the greatest Wisdom of his Majesty, first to take no
notice of them, and then to put a more speedy end to this
Session; and therefore on the said Tuesday, June 24th, the
King came to the House of Peers, and sent for the Commons
to attend him; when Mr. Speaker upon presenting the MoneyBills, delivered himself to his Majesty in this Speech.
The Speaker's Speech to the King.
'Sir, it is with great Joy and Satisfaction that I attend
your Majesty at this time, since your Commons have complied with all your Majesty was pleased to desire at their
meeting. They have passed the Bill of Succession, which
hath settled the Crown in a Protestant Line, and continued
the Liberty of England, which your Majesty hath restored
and preserved. They have passed a Bill for taking away
those Privileges, which might have proved Burthensome and
Oppressive to your Subjects. They have given your Majesty
those Supplies which are more than ever were given in a
time of Peace, to enable your Majesty when you are abroad,
to support your Allies, procure either a lasting Peace, or
to preserve the Liberties of Europe by a necessary War.'
His Majesty then gave the Royal Assent to the following
An Aid for the Expence of the Navy, Guards and Garrisons for
one Year. An Act for several Duties upon Low Wines, Coffee,
Tea, Chocolate, Spices and Pictures, and Impositions on Hawkers,
Pedlars and Petty Chapmen, &c. An Act for 3700 l. Weekly,
act of the Excise for the Service of his Majesty's Honshold, &c.
His Majesty then express'd himself as follows:
My Lords and Gentlemen,
The Session being now come to a Conclusion, I must
return you my hearty Thanks for the great Zeal
you have expressed for the Public Service, and your ready
Compliance with those things which I recommended to you
at the opening of this Parliament. And I must thank you,
Gentlemen of the House of Commons in particular, both
for your Dispatch of those necessary Supplies, which you
have granted for the Public Occasions, and for the Encouragements you have given me, to enter into Alliances
for the Preservation of the Liberty of Europe, and the
Support of the Confederacy; in which, as it shall be my
Care, not to put the Nation to any unnecessary Expence,
so I make no doubt, that whatsoever shall be done during
your Recess, for the Advantage of the common Cause in
this matter, will have your Approbation at our meeting
again in the Winter.
'My Lords and Gentlemen, I shall conclude with recommending to you all, the Discharge of your Duties in
your respective Counties; that the Peace of the Kingdom
may be secured, by your Vigilance and Care in your several Stations.'
Then the Lord-Keeper (by his Majesty's Command) prorogued the Parliament until Thursday the 7th day of August
next; which was soon afterwards dissolved.