SPEECHES AND DEBATES IN THE First Session of the Second Parliament OF King George I.
Being the Sixth Parliament of Great Britain.
The Parliament meet.; Mr Spencer Compton re-elected Speaker.
On the 9th of October, the Parliament being met
at Westminster, pursuant to a Proclamation for
that Purpose, the King came to the House of Peers,
with the usual State, and the Commons being sent
for up and attending, his Majesty's Pleasure was signify'd to
them by the Lord Chancellor, that they should return to
their House and chuse a Speaker, and present him to his
Majesty the Thursday following. The Commons being return'd accordingly, Mr Pulteney (fn. 1) , Member for Heydon,
made a Motion for chusing Mr Spencer Compton (fn. 2) , Knight
of the Shire for Sussex, their Speaker, as a Person of known
Abilities, and consummate Experience, and in all Respects
qualify'd for so arduous and important an Employment,
which he had already discharg'd with universal Applause, in
the last Parliament. This Motion was immediately seconded,
and being supported by a great many Voices, he was chosen
Speaker, without Opposition.
October 11. The King being come again to the House of
Peers, the Commons presented their Speaker to his Majesty, who, by the Mouth of the Lord Chancellor, signify'd
his Approbation of their Choice. Then the Lord Chancellor
read his Majesty's Speech to both Houses, as follows.
The King's Speech at opening the first Session of his Second Parliament, wherein his Majesty takes Notice of Layer's Plot.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I Am concerned to find my self oblig'd, at the opening of
this Parliament, to acquaint you, that a dangerous Conspiracy has been for some Time form'd, and is still carrying on, against my Person and Government, in Favour
of a Popish Pretender.
"The Discoveries I have made here, the Informations I
have receiv'd from my Ministers abroad, and the Intelligences I have had from the Powers in Alliance with me,
and indeed from most Parts of Europe, have given me
most ample and concurrent Proofs of this wicked Design.
"The Conspirators have, by their Emissaries, made the
strongest Instances for Assistance from Foreign Powers, but
were disappointed in their Expectations: However, considing in their Numbers, and not discourag'd by their former ill Success, they resolv'd once more, upon their own
Strength, to attempt the Subversion of my Government.
"To this End, they provided considerable Sums of Money,
engag'd great Numbers of Officers from abroad, secur'd
large Quantities of Arms and Ammunition, and thought
themselves in such Readiness, that had not the Conspiracy
been timely discover'd, we should, without Doubt, before
now, have seen the whole Nation, and particularly the
City of London, involv'd in Blood and Confusion.
"The Care I have taken has, by the Blessing of God,
hitherto prevented the Execution of their traiterous Projects: The Troops have been encamp'd all this Summer:
Six Regiments, though very necessary for the Security of
Ireland have been brought over from that Kingdom: The
States-General have given me Assurances, that they would
keep a considerable Body of Forces in a Readiness to embark on the first Notice of their being wanted here, which
was all I desir'd of them, being determin'd not to put my
People to any more Expence than what was absolutely
necessary for their Peace and Security.
"Some of the Conspirators have been taken up, and secur'd; and Endeavours are us'd for apprehending others.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"Having thus in general laid before you the State of the
present Conspiracy, I must leave to your Consideration
what is proper and necessary to be done for the Quiet
and Safety of the Kingdom. I cannot but believe the
Hopes and Expectations of our Enemies are very ill
grounded, in flattering themselves, that the late Discontents, occasion'd by private Losses and Misfortunes, however industriously and maliciously somented, are turned
into Disaffection, and a Spirit of Rebellion.
"Had I, since my Accession to the Throne, ever attempted any Innovation in our establish'd Religion; had
I, in any one Instance, invaded the Liberty or Property
of my Subjects, I should less wonder at any Endeavours
to alienate the Affections of my People, and draw them
into Measures that can end in nothing but their own Destruction.
"But to hope to persuade a free People, in full Enjoyment of all that is dear and valuable to them, to exchange
Freedom for Slavery, the Protestant Religion for Popery,
and to sacrifice at once the Price of so much Blood and
Treasure, as have been spent in Defence of our present
Establishment, seems an Infatuation not to be accounted
for. But however vain and unsuccessful these desperate
Projects may prove in the End, they have at present so
far the desired Effect, as to create Uneasiness and Diffidence in the Minds of my People; which our Enemies
labour to improve to their own Advantage. By forming
Plots they depreciate all Property that is vested in the
publick Funds, and then complain of the low State of
Credit: They make an Increase of the National Expences necessary, and then clamour at the Burthen of Taxes,
and endeavour to impute to my Government, as Grievances, the Mischiefs and Calamities which they alone
create and occasion.
"I wish for nothing more, than to see the publick Expences lessen'd, and the great National Debt put in a
Method of being gradually reduc'd and discharg'd, with
a strict Regard to Parliamentary Faith; and a more favourable Opportunity could never have been hoped for,
than the State of profound Peace, which we now enjoy
with all our Neighbours. But publick Credit will always languish under daily Alarms and Apprehensions of
publick Danger: And as the Enemies of our Peace have
been able to bring this immediate Mischief upon us, nothing can prevent them from continuing to subject the
Nation to new and constant Difficulties and Distresses,
but the Wisdom, Zeal, and vigorous Resolutions of this
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I have order'd the Accounts to be made up, and laid
before you, of the extraordinary Charge that has been
incurred this Summer, for the Defence and Safety of the
Kingdom; and I have been particularly careful, not to
direct any Expence to be made greater or sooner than
was of absolute Necessity.
"I have likewise order'd Estimates to be prepar'd and
laid before you, for the Service of the Year ensuing; and
I hope the farther Provisions, which the treasonable Practices of our Enemies have made necessary for our common
Safety, may be order'd with such Frugality, as very little
to exceed the Supplies of the last Year.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I need not tell you of what infinite Concern it is to the
Peace and Tranquility of the Kingdom, that this Parliament should, upon this Occasion, exert themselves with a
more than ordinary Zeal and Vigour. An intire Union
among all that sincerely wish well to the present Establishment, is now become absolutely necessary. Our Enemies
have too long taken Advantage from your Differences and
Dissentions. Let it be known, that the Spirit of Popery,
which breathes nothing but Confusion to the civil and religious Rights of a Protestant Church and Kingdom, however abandon'd some few may be, in despite of all Obligations divine and human, has not so far possessed my People, as to make them ripe for such a fatal Change. Let
the World see, that the general Disposition of the Nation
is no Invitation to Foreign Powers to invade us, nor Encouragement to Domestick Enemies to kindle a Civil War
in the Bowels of my Kingdom. Your own Interest and
Welfare call upon you to defend yourselves. I shall
wholly rely upon the Divine Protection, the Support of
my Parliament, and the Affections of my People, which I
shall endeavour to preserve, by steadily adhering to the
Constitution in Church and State, and continuing to make
the Laws of the Realm the Rule and Measure of all my
Mr Hutcheson moves, that the Committee of Privileges and Elections be a Select Committee of 36, and is back'd by Mr Jefferies.
October 15. The House began to enter upon Business, appointed and order'd the Sitting of the Grand Committees
for Religion, Grievances, Courts of Justice, Trade, and
Privileges and Elections; and made the usual standing Orders and Regulations. When they came to the Committee
of Privileges and Elections, Mr Hutcheson, Member for
Hastings, mov'd, That it should consist of 36, or such other
Number of Select Members as the House should think fit,
who should be empower'd to hear, try, and determine the
Merits of Elections; and that no other Members but such
as were chosen by the House, might have Votes in the said
Committee. He was seconded by Mr Jefferies, Member
for Droitwich, who shew'd, that this had been the constant
Usage and Practice both before and after Queen Elizabeth's
Time, and that it had never been otherwise, till the long
Parliament in 1641, when all Things were in Confusion;
but nevertheless Mr Hutcheson's Motion was dropt.
Mr W. Pulteney moves for an Address of Thanks to the King for his Speech.; Debate thereon.
Mr Speaker having afterwards reported the King's Speech
to both Houses, Mr William Pulteney stood up, and represented the dismal Consequences of the Plot, if it had pleas'd
the Divine Providence that it had not been timely discover'd;
and mov'd for an Address of Thanks, on the several Heads
of his Majesty's Speech, particularly to congratulate his Majesty on the timely Discovery of the dangerous and unnatural
Conspiracy against his Majesty's Person and Government; to
express the just Detestation and Abhorrence his faithful Commons had of all such traiterous Practices, and their Indignation and Resentment against the Authors and Contrivers
of them. This was seconded by Mr Doddington, Member
for Bridgwater; but Mr Shippen, Member for Newton,
mov'd, that to the Paragraph, Assuring his Majesty, that his
faithful Commons would enable him effectually to suppress all
remaining Spirit of Rebellion, these Words might be added,
with due Regard to the Liberty of the Subject, the Constitution in Church and State, and the Laws now in Force.
He was seconded by Sir William Wyndham, Member for
Somersetshire; but Mr Pulteney reply'd, 'That such a
Clause would be injurious to the King, since it would look
like making a Condition or Bargain with his Majesty, and
tacitly imply, either that the Laws had already been infring'd, or that the Commons were jealous left his Majesty
should, for the future, break in upon the Constitution:
Therefore, instead of the said Clause, he propos'd, that at
the latter End of the Address, they should return his Majesty their Thanks for his most gracious Declaration, that he
would preserve the Constitution in Church and State, and
continue to make the Laws of the Realm the Rule and Measure of all his Actions.' This was seconded by Mr Yonge,
Member for Honiton: And then the Question being put,
which of the Two Clauses should be made Part of the Address, it was carry'd for Mr Pulteney's Clause, without any
Division. After this, a Committee was appointed to draw
up the said Address.
A Bill from the Lords for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act for one Year.; Debate thereon.
Mr Justice Tracy and Mr Baron Price having brought from
the Lords, a Bill, To impower his Majesty to secure and detain
such Persons as his Majesty shall suspect are conspiring against
his Person and Government: The same, upon Mr R. Walpole's
Motion, was immediately read the first Time, and ordered
to be read a second Time the next Morning.
Oct. 16. The said Bill was read a second Time, and a Motion being made, and the Question put thereupon, That it
be committed to a Committee of the whole House, the same
was oppos'd by Mr Cæsar, Member for Hertford, who represented the dangerous Consequences of a Suspension of the
Habeas Corpus Act, to the Rights and Liberties of English
men. He was seconded by Mr Hungerford, Member for
Scarbrough; but Mr Bromley, Member for the University
of Oxford, said thereupon, 'That the chief Objection against
this Bill being in Point of Time, and whether the Suspension
was to continue six or twelve Months, it was more proper to
debate it in a Committee than in a House, and therefore he
was for committing it;' which, after some small Opposition,
was carry'd without dividing. The House being immediately resolv'd into that Committee, and the Earl of Hertford (fn. 3) ,
Member for Northumberland, placed in the Chair, Mr Spencer Cowper (fn. 4) , Member for Truro, stood up, and open'd the
Debate. He declar'd, 'That he and all his Family had
come as early and as readily into the Revolution, and on all
Occasions had appear'd as zealous for the present happy Settlement as any one: But yet he could not be of Opinion,
to trust the Liberties of the People in the Hands of any Ministry, for so long a Time as above a Year. That neither in King William's nor Queen Anne's Reigns, nor since
his present Majesty's Accession to the Throne, even in Times
of open and actual Rebellion, the Habeas Corpus Act had ever
been suspended for above Six Months; and therefore he
mov'd, that the present Suspension might be limited to that
Term.' He was seconded by Mr Smith (fn. 5) , Member for
Eastlow, and Sir Joseph Jekyll (fn. 6) , Member for Ryegate, who
added, 'That if, at the End of those six Months, there appeared to be a Necessity for a farther Suspension, he should,
and he doubted not but the whole House would, readily
come into it.' They were answered by Sir Robert Raymond (fn. 7) ,
Member for Helston, who, to shew the Necessity of the Suspension for a whole Year, said, 'That the present Conspiracy being laid deep, spreading far and wide, and consisting of
several Branches, it requir'd a great deal of Time to unravel,
and make a full Discovery of it.' Mr Worsley, Member for
Newton [Hants] having answer'd him, he was reply'd to by
Sir Wilfred Lawson, Member for Cockermouth; after which
the Debate was continued between Mr Hungerford, Mr Jefferies, Mr Hutcheson, and Mr Sloper, Member for Camelford, who all supported Mr Cowper's Motion; and Mr Pulteney, Mr Yonge, and Mr H. Pelham, Knight of the Shire for
Suffex, who were for agreeing to the Bill without Amendments. At last Mr Robert Walpole (fn. 8) , Member for Lynn,
laid before the House some Particulars of the detestable
and dangerous Conspiracy, which for some Time past had
been, and was still carrying on, for the utter Subversion of
the present happy Settlement. He said, 'That this wicked
Design was form'd about Christmas last; that the Conspirators had at first made Application to some Potentates abroad,
for an Assistance of 5000 Men: That being deny'd, they afterwards, about the Month of April, made farther Application and earnest Instances for 3000 Men: That being again disappointed in their Expectations from Foreign Assistance, they
resolved desperately to go on, considing in their own Strength,
and fondly depending on the Disaffection in England; and
that their first Attempt was to have been the seizing of the
Bank, the Exchequer, and such other Places where the publick Money was lodg'd: That the Government had undoubted Informations of this Plot ever since May last; but nevertheless thought fit not to take up any Body, because there
being then two Terms coming on together, the Conspirators
would have had the Benefit of the Habeas Corpus Act, and so
the Apprehending them was put off 'till the long Vacation.'
He added, 'That the traiterous Designs against his Majesty's
Person and Government had been carrying on ever since the
Death of the late Queen; and that they could prove that
there had been a Meeting of some considerable Persons, one
of whom was not far off, wherein it had been proposed to
proclaim the Pretender at the Royal Exchange. That an exact Account of this detestable Conspiracy would, in due
Time, be laid before the Parliament: And as to the Business now before them, tho' it was true, that the Habeas
Corpus Act had never before been suspended for above six
Months; yet, considering the Lords had made this Suspension for a whole Year, if the Commons should go about to
alter it, the same might occasion a Difference between the
two Houses, which, at this Time of Jealousy and Danger,
might sound ill in Foreign Courts.
The Bill for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act passes the House;
After this Speech, about seven in the Evening the Question
being put, that the Bill do pass as it was sent down from the
Lords, it was carry'd in the Affirmative, by a Majority of
246 Voices against 193. Then the Speaker resum'd the
Chair, and the Earl of Hertford having immediately reported
the said Bill to the House without any Amendment; It was
read the third Time, and pass'd without dividing.
And has the Royal Assent
Oct. 17. The King came to the House of Peers with the
usual Solemnity, and the Commons attending, his Majesty
gave the Royal Assent to the said Bill.
The same Day the House presented their Address to the
King, as follows:
The Commons Address.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
'We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the
Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, beg Leave to return our humble Thanks to your
Majesty, for your most gracious Speech from the Throne.
'It is with Hearts full of Joy we approach your sacred
Person, to congratulate your Majesty, that, by the Blessing
of God, the Designs of your Enemies have hitherto been
happily frustrated and disappointed.
'We cannot sufficiently acknowledge your Majesty's Care
and Vigilance, and the wise and prudent Measures you have
taken for our Safety, in ordering the Encampment of the
Troops, and sending for such others from Ireland, as were
thought farther necessary for the Peace and Quiet of this
Kingdom. And it is the greatest Satisfaction to us, to see
the Readiness of your Majesty's good Friends and Allies,
the States General, to assist you with a good Body of Forces,
if there had been Occasion.
'But among all the Steps taken for the Safety of your Majesty and the Kingdom, none can possibly equal that of the
speedy calling your loyal Commons together in Parliament;
who are met determin'd with the utmost Unanimity and
Zeal, to do every Thing in their Power for the Preservation
of your Majesty's most sacred Person: Nor can less be expected from the Gratitude and Affection of a free People,
sensible that thro' the whole Course of your Reign, no Innovation has been attempted in our holy Religion, nor the
least Incroachment made upon the Liberty or Property of
any of your Subjects, and that the full Enjoyment of all that
is dear and valuable to them, is entirely owing to your Majesty's Government.
'Tho' the Enemies of our happy Establishment should have
Malice and Boldness enough, still to be carrying on their
traiterous Designs, yet we are persuaded, that all Uneasiness and Apprehensions will vanish, when your faithful Commons assure your Majesty, that they will enable you effectually to suppress all remaining Spirit of Rebellion.
'If neither the sacred Obligation of the most solemn Oaths,
nor the certain Misery they must bring upon their Country,
who would attempt to overturn this Government, can deter them from such desperate Undertakings: If there be
any of your Majesty's Subjects, who are so abandon'd, as to
be ready to exchange the Protestant Religion for Popery,
and Liberty for Slavery; yet we hope the vigorous Resolutions of a loyal and dutiful Parliament will convince them
of the Danger as well as Folly of such an Attempt; and shew
the whole World, that the Generality and best Part of
your People are so far from giving any Invitation to foreign
Powers to invade us, that they will, with their Lives and
Fortunes, support your Majesty against all your Enemies at
Home and Abroad.
'We cannot therefore express too great an Abhorrence of
such unnatural Practices, nor too great an Indignation
against those who would have made the Capital of this flourishing Kingdom a Scene of Blood and Desolation. Wicked
Men! whilst they have the Malice to revile your Government, and attempt to overturn it, at the same Time have
the Insolence to depend upon the Clemency of it for their
Security: While they are endeavouring to destroy all Liberty, they are clamouring that a few of them are, for the
publick Safety, confin'd: Whilst they are attempting to destroy all Property, they are murmuring at the necessary Taxes
given to your Majesty for the Security of it: And whilst
they act against all Law themselves, they trust and are consident that, even in their own Case, the Laws of the Realm
will be the Rule and Measure of your Actions.
'We beg Leave to acknowledge, with great Gratitude,
your Majesty's Goodness, in assuring us, that notwithstanding the traiterous Practices of your Enemies have made the
Increase of the annual Expence necessary, yet Care will be
taken, that the Supplies to be asked for the Year ensuing,
shall very little exceed what was given for the Service of
'And we assure your Majesty, that we will not only make
good the extraordinary Expences that have been already incurr'd, but will, with all Cheerfulness, grant whatever shall
be necessary for the Safety of the Kingdom; being entirely
convinc'd, that we can by no other Means restore publick
Credit, and enable ourselves to attempt the gradual Reduction
of the great National Debt, with a strict Regard to Parliamentary Faith, than by doing every Thing in our Power
for the Support of your Majesty's Government, and the
happy Establishment in your Royal Family.
'And we do with all Humility return your Majesty our
unfeigned Thanks for your most gracious Declaration, on
which we entirely rely, that your Majesty will steadily adhere to our Constitution in Church and State, and continue
to make the Laws of the Realm the Rule and Measure of
To the above Address the King return'd the following Answer.
The King's Answer to the Commons Address of Thanks.
"I Return you my hearty Thanks for this very dutiful and
loyal Address. The seasonable Declarations of your
Zeal and Affection to my Person and Government, will, I
doubt not, contribute very much to the Tranquility and
Safety of the Kingdom; and as I shall always look
upon my own and the Interest of my People to be inseparable, you may be assur'd I shall make no Use of any
Power or Confidence that my faithful Commons shall place
in me, but in Support of the Constitution, and in Maintenance of the Rights and Liberties of my People.
A Supply voted.
Oct. 19. A Motion being made for a Supply to be granted
to his Majesty, the same was referred to the Grand Committee.
Oct. 23. The said Resolution being reported, was unanimously agreed to.
Mr Treby moves for an Augmentation of 4000 Men for the Army.; Debate thereon.
Oct. 26. The Commons in a Grand Committee consider'd farther of the Supply, and Mr Treby having represented the Necessity, at this Time of Danger from the traiterous Designs and Conspiracies that were still carrying on
by the Enemies of the Government, to increase the present
Standing Forces, and thereupon mov'd for an Augmentation of
about 4000 Men, the same occasion'd a very long and warm
Debate. The chief Opponents to the Motion were, Mr
Shippen, Lord Morpeth, Member for Morpeth; Mr Palmer,
Member for Bridgwater; Mr Bromley, Mr Barnard, Member for London; Mr Crowley, Member for Okehampton;
Sir Thomas Hanmer, Member for Suffolk; and Mr Hutcheson: But they were answer'd by Mr Sandys, Member
for Worcester; Captain Vernon, Member for Penryn; Mr
Eversfield, Member for Horsham; Mr H. Pelham, Mr Doddington, Lord Stanhope (fn. 9) , Member for Lestwithiel; Mr
West, Member for Bodmin; Mr Smith, Mr R. Walpole,
Lord Middleton, Member for Midhurst; and Mr Pulteney;
Then the Question being put upon Mr Treby's Motion, it was
carry'd in the Affirmative, by 236 Voices against 164.
After this, it was resolv'd, without dividing, That the
Number of effective Men for Guards and Garrisons in Great
Britain, Jersey, and Guernsey, for the Year 1723, including 1859 Invalids, be 18,294 Men, Commission and NonCommission Officers included. Which Resolution, being
the next Day reported, was agreed to by the House.
Mr R. Walpole, in his Motion for the Land-Tax, hints a Design of laying an extraordinary Tax on Papists and Nonjurors.
Oct. 31. The Commons in a Grand Committee, consider'd of Ways and Means to raise the Supply, and upon
Mr R. Walpole's Motion, it was unanimously agreed to
lay two Shillings in the Pound upon all Lands, Tenements,
Pensions, Offices, &c. Mr Walpole, on that Occasion, acquainted the House, 'That he hoped that Tax, together
with the Duty on Malt, and the Million in Exchequer Bills
which the South-Sea Company were to repay to the Government, would go near to answer all the necessary Expences
for the next Year's Service; and to make up what might
be deficient, he hinted the laying an extraordinary Tax of
five Shillings in the Pound on the Estates of all RomanCatholicks and Nonjurors; which could not be thought
either unjust or unreasonable, considering the ill Use they
made of the Saving out of their Incomes, which most of
them laid out in maintaining the Pretender and his Adherents
abroad, and fomenting Sedition and Rebellion at home.'
The Lords desire a Conference with the Commons, and communicate to them the King's Message relating to the Pretender's Declaration; and their Resolutions thereupon.; Names of the Managers, viz.;
November 16. The Lords sent a Message to desire a Conference with the Commons, which being agreed to, the Managers for the Commons, who were Mr R. Walpole, Mr
Edgecombe, Member for Plympton; Mr Methuen, Member
for Brackley; Mr H. Pelham, Mr Hutcheson, Mr Yonge,
Mr Bromley, and Colonel Bladen, Member for Stockbridge,
being return'd to their House, Mr Pelham reported the
Conference, and that it was to communicate to the House
a Message sent to the Lords by his Majesty, under his Sign
Manual, concerning an original Declaration in Writing
sign'd by the Pretender himself; together with the said Declaration and a Printed Copy thereof; and that the Lords
desir'd the Concurrence of the House to the following Resolutions of their Lordships thereupon, viz. 'Resolved by
the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled; I. That the Printed Copy of the Pretender's Declaration, mention'd in his Majesty's Message, be burnt
by the Hands of the common Hangman, at the Royal Exchange in London, upon Tuesday next, at One of the
Clock; II. That the Sheriffs of London do cause the
same to be burnt there accordingly.'
To which the Commons agree, with an Amendment. ; Mr Yonge's Sir W. Thompson's, Mr H. Pelham's, and Mr Onslow's Observations on the Pretender's Declaration. ; An Address voted on this Occasion.
Then the said Report, and also the said Message from his
Majesty to the House of Lords, and the Declaration sign'd
by the Pretender, and the Printed Copy thereof, and the
Resolutions of the Lords thereupon were read. Hereupon
Mr Sandys mov'd for agreeing with the Lords in the first
Resolution, and being seconded by Colonel Bladen, the same
was unanimously agreed to. Then the second Resolution
being read a second Time, Mr Yonge mov'd for an Amendment to it, viz. That the two Sheriffs of London should
then attend in their own proper Persons, and cause the said
Declaration to be burnt by the Hands of the common Hangman; which Resolution so amended, was agreed to Nem.
Con. On this Occasion, Mr Yonge run over the Pretender's
Declaration, and expos'd the Insolence, Weakness, and Absurdities of that Libel. Sir William Thompson (fn. 10) , Member
for Ipswich, spoke also with great Vehemence on the same
Topick, as did also Mr H. Pelham, who mov'd, That an
Address be presented to his Majesty upon that Subject. He
was seconded by Mr Arthur Onslow, Member for Guildford,
who represented the Danger of Popery, and animadverted
on the Audaciousness of the Pretender and his Adherents:
Hereupon, it was resolv'd Nem. Con. That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, expressing their utmost
Astonishment and Indignation at the surprizing Insolence of
the Pretender, in his late traiterous and presumptuous Declaration; and to assure his Majesty, that his faithful Subjects being fully satisfy'd they have no other Security for
their Religious and Civil Rights, but the Preservation of his
Person and Government and the Protestant Succession, are
determin'd to support, with their Lives and Fortunes, his
most just Title to the Crown of these Realms, against the
Pretender and all his open and secret Abettors. And a Committee was appointed to draw up an Address, pursuant to the
Nov. 17. Mr Pelham reported the said Address, which
being unanimously agreed to, the Managers of the Commons
were sent to desire their Lordships Concurrence both to the
Amendment to one of their Resolutions beforemention'd, and
to the Address the Commons had agreed upon. The Lords
having readily concurr'd, both Houses went immediately to
the Palace at St James's, and presented to his Majesty the
said Address as follows.
The Joint Address of both Houses to the King, relating to the Pretender's Declaration.
Most gracious Sovereign,
'WE your Majesty's most dutiful and faithful Subjects,
the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in
Parliament assembled, being deeply affected with the Sense
of those many Blessings which we have constantly enjoy'd,
and hope long to enjoy, under your Majesty's most just
and gracious Government; and being throughly convinc'd
that our Religious and Civil Rights, as well as the very
Being of the British Name and Constitution, do, under
God, entirely depend upon the Preservation of your Majesty's Sacred Person, and of the Protestant Succession, as
settled by Law, in your Royal Line, are fill'd with the utmost Astonishment and Indignation at the unexampled Presumption and Arrogance of the Pretender to your Domiminions, in daring to offer such an Indignity to your Majesty and the British Nation, as to declare to your Subjects, and to all foreign Princes and States, that he finds
himself in a Condition to offer Terms to your Majesty,
and even to capitulate with you for the absolute Surrender
of the Religion and Liberties of a free Nation.
'However great the Infatuation of his Advisers may be,
we are sensible nothing could have rais'd his or their Hopes
to so extravagant a Degree of Presumption, but repeated
Encouragements and Assurances from the Conspirators at
Home, founded on the most injurious and gross Misrepresentations of the Inclinations and Affections of your Majesty's Subjects; and a rash Conclusion, that because some,
from whom it ought least to have been expected, had broke
through the solemn Restraint of reiterated Oaths, in order
to raise themselves on the Ruins of their Country; therefore the whole Body of the Nation was ripe for the same
fatal Defection, and ready to exchange the mild and legal
Government of a most indulgent Prince, for the boundless
Rage of an attainted Fugitive, bred up in the Maxims of
Tyranny and Supersution.
'But we, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects,
resolve, by a steady and constant Adherence to your Government, to wipe off this Stain and Imputation from the
Name of Britons; and to convince the World, that those
wicked Designs form'd against your Majesty's Sacred
Person and Government, which the Insolence of this Declaration proves to be most real while it affects to treat
them as imaginary, are indeed impracticable against a
Prince relying on and supported by the Vigour and Duty
of a British Parliament and the Affections of his People.
'And we beg Leave in the most solemn Manner, to assure
your Majesty, that neither the impotent Menace of foreign
Assistance, nor the utmost Efforts of Domestick Traitors
shall ever deter us from standing by your Majesty with our
Lives and Fortunes, and supporting your Majesty's most
just Title to the Crown of these Realms, against the Pretender and all his open and secret Abettors, both at Home
To which his Majesty return'd the following Answer.
His Majesty's Answer thereto. ; Motion in the Grand Committee, for raising 100,000£. on the Papists, towards the Supply of the current Year. ; Debate thereon. ; The said Motion agreed to;
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I Give you many Thanks for the just Resentment you
have express'd against the Indignity offer'd to me and
the British Nation.
"I shall continue to protect and support my good People
in the full Enjoyment of their Religion, Liberties and
Properties, against all that shall endeavour to subject them
to Tyranny and Superstition."
Nov. 23. In a Grand Committee, the Commons consider'd
on Ways and Means to raise the Supply, and a Motion
was made, That towards raising the Supply, and reimbursing
to the Publick the great Expences occasion'd by the late Rebellions and Disorders, the Sum of One Hundred Thousand
Pounds be rais'd and levy'd upon the real and personal Estates
of all Papists, Popish Recusants, or Persons educated in the
Popish Religion, or whose Parents are Papists, or who shall
profess the Popish Religion, in lieu of all Forfeitures already
incurr'd for, or upon account of their Recusancy, and in
lieu of the Rents and Profits of two Thirds of their register'd
Estates for one Year. This Motion was oppos'd by Sir Wilfred Lawson, and Mr Hungerford, who suggested, 'That
such an extraordinary Tax would carry the Face of Persecution, which was inconsistent with the Principles and Temper of the Protestant Religion;' Dr Friend, Member for
Launceston, added, 'That some of those that had their
Education in foreign Popish Seminaries, prov'd some of the
best Friends to the present Government.' To this Mr Yonge
answer'd, 'That he knew very little of foreign Education,
but he doubted very much whether Loyalty to King
George was taught by Priests and Jesuits in Romish Seminaries.' The Lord Gage, Member for Tewksbury, [who was
bred a Roman Catholick] hereupon said, 'That he believ'd
most of the Roman Catholicks to be very loyal Subjects, tho'
by their Principles they cannot take the Oath of Supremacy;
and therefore his Lordship propos'd that a new Oath of Allegiance might be fram'd for them; Mr Onslow spoke on the
same Side, and declar'd his Abhorrence of persecuting any
Body, on Account of their Opinions in Religion.' This was
answer'd by Sir William Thompson, who stated the Notion,
in his Opinion, of Persecution, which was only when any
one is punish'd for his particular Opinion in Religion, and
for serving God according to that Opinion and the Dictates
of Conscience: But added, 'That was not the Case here,
for the extraordinary Tax now intended to be rais'd upon
the Papists, was not a Punishment for their being RomanCatholicks, but on Account of Penalties they had at divers
Times incurr'd, for being Enemies to the Civil Government,
raising Rebellions, and contriving Plots against the State.'
He was replied to by Lord Gage, who was answer'd by
Mr Horatio Walpole, and he again by Mr Hungerford.
At last Mr R. Walpole stood up, and represented the great
Dangers this Nation had been in, ever since the Reformation, from the constant Endeavours of Papists to subvert our
happy Constitution and the Protestant Religion, by the most
cruel, violent, and unjustifiable Methods; that he would not
take upon him to charge any particular Person among them
with being concern'd in the present horrid Conspiracy: But
that 'twas notorious to the whole World, that many of them
had been engag'd in the Preston Rebellion, and some were
executed for it; and the present Plot was contriv'd at Rome,
and countenanc'd in Popish Countries; that many of the
Papists were not only Well-Wishers to it, but had contributed large Sums of Money towards carrying of it on; and
therefore he thought it very reasonable, since they made such
ill Use of the Savings of the Incomes of their Estates, that
the same should go towards the great Expence which they and
the Pretender's Friends had put the Nation to.' Then the
Question being put upon the Motion above, it was carried
in the Affirmative by 217 Votes, against 168.
And reported to the House; upon which ensues a Second Debate. ; A Bill order'd to be brought in, in Pursuance of the above Motion.
Nov. 26. The above Resolution was reported, and the
Question being put, That the House agree with the Committee, It was very vigorously oppos'd by Lord Gage,
Mr Lutwyche, Mr Hungerford, Mr Sloper, and Sir Joseph
Jekyll, which last took Notice, 'That tho' the Law for
taking away two Thirds of the Estates of Popish Recusants, which was made in Queen Elizabeth's Reign, was a
just Punishment the Roman-Catholicks drew upon themselves
by their frequent Conspiracies against her Life and Government; yet nevertheless, such was the Wisdom and Moderation of that excellent Princess and of her Ministers, that
they never put that severe Law in Execution; and since those
great Virtues shone no less brightly in his present Majesty,
than in Queen Elizabeth, his Royal Predecessor, he wish'd
he could say the same of those who have the Honour to serve
him.' Mr West spoke likewise against the Resolution,
but was answer'd by Mr Lowndes (fn. 11) , Member for Eastlow,
Captain Vernon (fn. 12) , Member for Penryn, and Mr R. Walpole,
so that the Question being put thereupon, it was carried
by 188 Votes against 172; and a Bill was order'd to be
brought in accordingly.
Petition from the S. S. Company, relating to the converting one Moiety of their Capital into Annuities.; Debate thereon.
December 12. A Petition of the South-Sea Company was
presented to the House by Sir John Eyles (fn. 13) , Member for Chippenham, and read, setting forth, That they labour'd under an
insupportable Burden, from which they pray'd to be reliev'd
by this House; and that they were content to convert Part
of their Capital into Annuities, redeemable by Parliament,
transferable at, and payable by, the said Company. Hereupon Mr R. Walpole inform'd the House, That his Majesty had been acquainted with the Substance of the said Petition, and had commanded him to acquaint this House;
That his Majesty gave his Consent that this House should
proceed to the Consideration of the said Petition, upon Condition that the said Company should convert one Moiety of
their Capital into Annuities. Then some Clauses in the Act
of Parliament of the Seventh Year of his Majesty's Reign,
intitled, an Act, For making several Provisions to restore the
publick Credit, which suffers by the Frauds and Mismanagement of the late Directors of the South-Sea Company and
others, were read, and a Motion being made, that the Petition above-mention'd be referr'd to the Consideration of the
Committee of the whole House, who were to consider of the
State of Publick Credit and of the State of the National
Debt, the said Motion was oppos'd by Mr Sloper, Serjeant
Pengelly, Member for Cockermouth; Mr Hutcheson, Mr
Freeman, and Sir Joseph Jekyll; but being answer'd by Sir
John Eyles; Mr Methuen, and Mr Robert Walpole, the said
Motion was carry'd, without dividing. Then the House went
into the said Committee, and a Motion being made for remitting the two Millions due from the South-Sea Company
to the Government, and for converting into Annuities one
Moiety of their Capital Stock: This was strenuously oppos'd
by Mr Sloper, Sir Joseph Jekyll, Mr Thomas Broderick,
Member for Guildford; Sir Nathanael Gould, Member for
Shoreham; Mr Trenchard, Member for Taunton; Sir Wilfrid Lawson, and Lord Tyrconnel, Member for Lincoln;
who were answer'd by Mr Hungerford, Sir John Eyles, Mr
Yonge, Mr Horatio Walpole, Mr Robert Walpole, and Mr
William Pulteney. After a Debate that lasted till Seven in
the Evening, the Question being put upon the said Motion,
the same was carried in the Affirmative by 210 Voices
A Committee appointed to examine Christopher Layer;; Their Names;; An Address resolv'd on, for several Papers relating thereto;
January 15. Upon a Motion made by Sir John Rushout,
Member for Evesham, it was resolved, Nem. Con. That a
Committee be appointed to examine Christopher Layer, in
Relation to the Conspiracy mention'd in his Majesty's Speech,
at the Opening of this Parliament, to be carrying on against
his Person and Government; and order'd, That such Members of the House as were of his Majesty's Privy-Council, be
the said Committee, viz. The Hon. Mr. Spencer Compton,
Speaker; Mr Robert Walpole, Sir Joseph Jekyll, Mr Methuen, Mr William Pulteney, Mr John Smith, Mr Hampden,
Lieutenant-General Wills, and Sir Robert Sutton. After
this, upon another Motion made by Mr Robert Walpole, it
was also resolv'd, to address his Majesty, for the several
Examinations and Papers relating to Christopher Layer.
Which are presented, and, after some Debate between Mr Shippen, Mr Jefferies, and Mr Pulteney, are referr'd to the said Committee.
Jan. 16. Mr R. Walpole, pursuant to the Address of the
House to his Majesty, presented to the House several original
Papers relating to Mr Layer; and having deliver'd them in
at the Table seal'd up, Mr Shippen moved, That the Packet
be open'd, and the Papers read. He was seconded by Mr
Jefferies; but Mr Pulteney having represented, 'That as those
Papers were to be a Guide to the Committee appointed to
examine Mr Layer, it was improper to make them publick
before the said Examination was over; it was thereupon order'd, I. That the said Papers be referr'd to that Committee. II. That the said Committee meet and sit at such
Time and Place as they thought fit. III. That Three be
the Quorum of the said Committee.
Debate on a Bill, For preventing Frauds and Abuses in the Tobacco Trade.
February 8. The House went into a Grand Committee,
to prepare Heads of a Bill, For preventing Frauds and Abuses
in the Tobacco Trade, &c. and consider'd of the Duties and Allowances upon Tobacco, and what Abatements or Regulations
might be made therein. Hereupon Mr Trenchard mov'd,
'That in order to prevent for the future the Frauds and
Abuses committed in the said Trade, there might be a ReEntry of all Tobacco that was remov'd from one Port to
another, both in England and Scotland; but that Motion not
being seconded, was dropt. Then he took Notice, 'That
tho' the Scots were, in many Respects, great Gainers by the
Union of the two Kingdoms, yet they were very deficient in
paying their Proportion of the publick Burdens; that by the
Treaty of Union they were to pay 50,000£. per Annum, towards the Malt-Tax, but that, if he was rightly inform'd,
for several Years past, they had not paid above 10,000£. and
therefore he mov'd, that it might be an Instruction to the
Committee to inquire into that Matter. He was seconded
by Mr Hungerford: But it being represented, that such an
Inquiry was very improper in the present Juncture, and
might inflame the Nation; Sir Nathanael Gould made a
Motion, That all Tobacco imported both into England and
Scotland be put into Warehouses, and not be remov'd
from thence without a Permit, to prove that the Duty was
paid: But it growing late, the farther Consideration thereof
was adjourn'd. This Affair was, after several unavoidable
Delays on Account of so much important Business being
depending before the House this Session, put off to the 5th
Feb. 23. Mr Pulteney, from the Committee appointed to
examine Christopher Layer and others, acquainted the House,
that the Committee had prepar'd a Report to be laid before
the House, and desir'd the House would appoint a Day for
receiving the same: Whereupon it was order'd, That the
said Report be receiv'd upon the 1st Day of March.
Debate on the Amendments made to the Mutiny-Bill by the Lords.
Feb 26. The Bill, For punishing Mutiny and Desertion, &c.
being sent back from the House of Peers, an Amendment
made by the Lords, for inserting in the Preamble the Number of Forces thought proper to be kept on Foot for the
Year 1723, consisting of 16,449, effective Men, Officers included, and 1815 Invalids, was read; and a Motion being
made, that the House do agree with the Lords, it occasion'd
a very warm Debate, many Members urging, 'That it intrench'd on the proper Prerogative of the Commons to grant
Supplies:' But at last the Question being put, whether to
agree or not? It was carried in the Affirmative, by 130 Votes
The Commons consider the Report from the Committee on Layer's Plot.
March 1. Mr W. Pulteney, Chairman of the Committee
on Layer's Plot, reported the Matter as it appear'd to them,
and read the Report in his Place, and deliver'd the same in at
the Table, with several Appendixes.
March 2. The House proceeded to take the above-mention'd Report into Consideration, and after the reading of it by
the Clerk, put off the same to the 8th, and order'd in the
mean Time, that the Report with the Appendixes be printed. To these therefore we refer our Readers for the Particulars of Layer's Scheme.
A farther Progress made in the Tobacco-Bill.
March 5. The Commons in a Grand Committee, consider'd farther of Heads for a Bill, For preventing Frauds and
Abuses in the Tobacco-Trade, &c. and came to several Resolutions, which Mr Sandys having reported the next Day, were
agreed to, without Debate, and a Bill order'd to be brought
in pursuant to the said Resolutions, which afterwards pass'd
into a Law.
Mr W. Pulteney's Motion relating to the above Report.
March 8. The Commons proceeded to take into farther
Consideration the Report from the Committee appointed to
examine Christopher Layer and others; and Mr William
Pulteney mov'd, 'That this Question might be put, viz. That
upon Consideration of the Report and the several Papers and
Examinations relating to the Conspiracy, it appears to this
House, That a detestable and horrid Conspiracy has been
form'd and carried on by Persons of Figure and Distinction,
and their Agents and Instruments, in Conjunction with
Traitors Abroad, for invading these Kingdoms with foreign
Forces, for raising Insurrections and a Rebellion at Home,
for seizing the Tower and City of London, for laying violent
Hands upon the Persons of his most Sacred Majesty and the
Prince of Wales; in order to subvert our present happy
Establishment in Church and State, by placing a Popish Pretender upon the Throne.'
This Motion was seconded by Sir John Rushout, and Mr
Thomas Broderick; but Mr Shippen, and Mr Bromley endeavour'd to extenuate some Matters, which, in their Opinion, were couch'd in too strong Terms, as not being clearly
prov'd. They said, 'They did not doubt of the Conspiracy, for they believ'd there had always been one carrying on
against the present Settlement, ever since the Revolution: But
from what had yet been laid before the House, it did not appear to them that there was such a particular concerted Plot
as was mention'd in the Question above-mention'd. Sir
Joseph Jekyll said thereupon, with a great deal of Warmth,
'That he could not with Patience, and with his usual Moderation, hear the Truth of this detestable and horrid Conspiracy call'd in Question, after so many undeniable Proofs.
But, added he, as there are People who know nothing of the
Plot, and yet believe it, so there are others that know the
whole Plot, and yet pretend not to believe it.' He was answer'd by Mr Jefferies, who, in particular, excepted against
these Words in the Question, viz. For Laying violent Hands
upon the Person of his most Sacred Majesty and the Prince of
Wales; because it appear'd by the Report, that the Conspirators only meant the Seizing or Assaulting the King's Person,
&c. But he was replied to by Mr Horatio Walpole, who
said, 'He was amaz'd to hear such Words come out of the
Mouth of a Lawyer, and a Member of that House; but
since he had forgot his Profession, and the Place he was in so
far, as to make so small a Matter of Seizing the King's Person and the Heir Apparent, on whom all that is dear and
valuable to Englishmen, both as Men and Christians, entirely
depends, he must take the Liberty to tell him, that much
less than seizing and assaulting the Person of the King or
Prince, is by our Laws look'd upon as an Overt-Act of HighTreason.' Then the Question, as propos'd by Mr Pulteney, was carried without dividing.
Sir Robert Raymond moves the House gainst John Plunket as an Accomplice in Layer's Plot; upon which a Bill of Pains and Penalties is, after some Debate, order'd to be brought in against him. ; Mr Onslow.
After this, Sir Robert Raymond mov'd, That it appears to
this House, that John Plunket has been a principal Agent
and Instrument in the said horrid and detestable Conspiracy,
and has carried on several treasonable Correspondences to procure a foreign Force to invade these Kingdoms, to raise Insurrections and a Rebellion at Home, and was engag'd with
others in the villanous and execrable Design of laying violent
Hands upon his Majesty's most Sacred Person. This Question
being likewise carried without a Division; Sir Robert Raymond mov'd again, That Leave be given to bring in a Bill,
To inflict certain Pains and Penalties on John Plunket. He
was seconded by Mr Onslow, but tho' the said Motion was
warmly oppos'd, yet after some Debate it was carried
by a Majority of 289 against 130, that the said Bill be
brought in; and then the House adjourn'd 'till the 11th.
Sir Philip Yorke moves the House against George Kelly, as an Accomplice with Layer, and a Bill of Pains and Penalties is thereupon propos'd to be brought in against him. ; Debate thereon. ; The said Bill order'd to be brought in.
March 11. The House resum'd the adjourn'd Consideration of the Report from the Secret Committee, and Sir Philip
Yorke (fn. 14) open'd the Debate in a Speech, wherein he particularly enlarged on the Share Mr George Kelly alias Johnson,
had in the traiterous and detestable Conspiracy, and then
propos'd this Question, viz. That upon Consideration of the
Report from the Committee, appointed to examine Christo
pher Layer, and others, and the several Papers and Examinations relating to the Conspiracy, it appears to this House,
That George Kelly alias Johnson has been a principal Agent
and Instrument in the said horrid and detestable Conspiracy,
and has carry'd on several treasonable Correspondences to
raise Insurrections and a Rebellion at Home, and to procure
a foreign Force to invade these Kingdoms from Abroad:
This Motion being seconded by Mr Sandys, was carry'd
without any Division. Then Sir Philip Yorke mov'd, 'That
a Bill be brought in To inflict certain Pains and Penalties
upon George Kelly alias Johnson, which was seconded by
Mr R. Walpole. Hereupon Mr Trenchard said, 'That he
thought the properest Way to proceed against this Criminal,
was in the old Parliamentary Method, by Bill of Attainder,
there being sufficient Proof to support such a Bill:' But this
Motion was not seconded. On the other Hand, Mr Bromley, Mr Shippen and Mr Lutwyche oppos'd Sir Philip Yorke's
Motion, but were answer'd by Sir Joseph Jekyll, and Mr
Talbot, Member for Durham; and the Question, being put,
it was carry'd in the Affirmative by 280 against 111.
Mr Yonge moves the House against Dr Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, as bring concern'd in the Conspiracy against the Government. Debate thereon.; A Bill of Pains and Penalties order'd to be brought in against the Bishop of Rochester.
Then Mr Yonge stood up, and took Notice, how deeply
Dr Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, had been
concern'd in this detestable Conspiracy; aggravating his
Crime from his holy Function and high Station in the Church
of England, a Church ever conspicuous for its Loyalty; from
the solemn Oaths he had, on so many Occasions, taken to
the Government, and by which he had abjur'd the Pretender; when at the same Time he was traiterously conspiring
to bring him in, upon the Ruin of his Country and of all
that was dear and valuable to us, as Freemen and Christians:
Concluding, that as he was a Disgrace to his Order, and
Dishonour to the Church, so he might apply to him on this
Occasion, these Words of the 1st of Acts, Verse 20. Let his
Habitation be desolate, and let no Man dwell therein: And
his Bishoprick let another take. And therefore he mov'd,
That it appears to this House, 'That Francis Lord Bishop of
Rochester was principally concern'd in forming, directing,
and carrying on the said wicked and detestable Conspiracy,
for invading these Kingdoms with a foreign Force, and for
raising Insurrections and a Rebellion at Home, in order to
subvert our present happy Establishment in Church and State,
by placing a Popish Pretender upon the Throne.' Mr Yonge
was seconded by Sir John Cope; but they were answer'd
by Sir William Wyndham, who said, 'He saw no Cause
to proceed against the Bishop in so severe a Manner, there
being little or indeed no Evidence besides Conjectures and
Hearsays.' He was back'd by Mr Bromley, Mr Shippen,
Mr Hutcheson, Mr Hungerford, Col. Strangeways, Mr
Lutwyche, and Dr Friend. They were reply'd to by Sir
Joseph Jekyll, Mr R. Walpole, Mr Pelham, Mr Talbot,
Mr John Smith, and Mr William Pulteney; and a Motion
being made, and the Question being put, that the House do
now adjourn, it pass'd in the Negative by 285 Voices against
152; after which, the Question being put upon Mr Yonge's
Motion, the same was carry'd without dividing. Then a
Motion was made, and the Question put, That a Bill be
brought in, To inflict certain Pains and Penalties on Francis
Lord Bishop of Rochester, which after some Debate, was also
carry'd without any Division.
Mr R. Walpole moves for an Address to the King, to order Dr Friend to be committed for High Treason. Debate thereon.
March 13. Mr Robert Walpole acquainted the House,
'That he had receiv'd his Majesty's Commands to acquaint
the House, that his Majesty having had just Reason to apprehend Dr John Friend, Member of this House, for HighTreason, had caused him to be apprehended, and desir'd
the Consent of the House to his being committed and detain'd for High-Treason, according to an Act of this present Session, intitled an Act, For impowering his Majesty to
secure and detain such Persons as his Majesty shall suspect are
conspiring against his Person and Government [see p. 288.] Upon
which he mov'd, that an humble Address be presented to his
Majesty, that he would be pleas'd to give Order for committing
and detaining Dr John Friend, pursuant to the Act of this
Session of Parliament for that Purpose. This Motion was
seconded and back'd by several Members: But Mr Shippen
and Mr Bromley oppos'd it, saying, 'They could not see
any Reason for that House giving Leave for detaining any
Member, unless the Species of Treason was declar'd, and
that the Information was upon Oath.' Sir Joseph Jekyll and
Mr Robert Walpole, reply'd, 'That by the late Act for
suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, the King was impower'd to
take up any Person he had Reason to suspect; that therefore
the Government was not oblig'd to say, whether the Information was upon Oath or not; But Mr Walpole added, 'He
did not doubt but Dr Friend was charg'd upon Oath; and
privately declar'd to several Members, that they had positive Proof of his being guilty of the blackest and basest Treason.' Mr Shippen then suggesting, 'That Dr Friend's having
spoke so warmly two Days before, in Mr Kelly's and the
Bishop of Rochester's Behalf, was, in his Opinion, the Reason of his being taken up the next Day himself, and that at
that Rate, there was an End of the Liberty of Speech which
every Member of that House had a Right to:' Mr R. Walpole,
with a great deal of Warmth, reply'd, 'He wonder'd any
Gentleman could think any Ministry capable of so base a
Thing, as to take up any Gentleman for what he said in
that House, without any other Cause, when they knew them
selves to be accountable as well as others for their Actions:'
Adding, 'That they who made such Insinuations might
more easily be prov'd to be Jacobites, than they could make
out such an Allegation against the Ministry;' Mr Pulteney
spoke on the same Side, and in Relation to Dr Friend's
speaking in Kelly's Behalf, observ'd, that it was usual in all
Conspiracies, for one Traytor to endeavour to excuse another.'
Mr Shippen animadverted severely upon this Reflection, saying, 'It was not to be endur'd, to have a Member of that
House call'd a Traytor, before he was convicted as such:'
But Mr Pulteney having explain'd himself, that Matter ended; and then the Motion for an Address was carried without
The House resolve to present a congratulatory Address to the King on the Discovery of the Plot.
March 14. The Commons having resum'd the Consideration of the Report from the Committee appointed to examine
Christopher Layer and others; it was resolv'd, 'That an
humble Address be presented to his Majesty, expressing the
Indignation of this House against the horrid and detestable
Conspiracy which had been carry'd on against his Majesty's Sacred Person, and to congratulate his Majesty on the
happy Discovery of it, and to assure his Majesty, that this
House would proceed, with the utmost Vigour, to bring those
to Justice who had been concern'd in these unnatural Designs
against their Country, and would effectually support his Majesty's Government, and would maintain, with all that is dear
and valuable to them, the present happy Establishment.
A Committee was appointed to draw up this last Address,
of which Mr Thomas Broderick being chosen Chairman, he
reported the said Address to the House on the 18th, which
was then agreed to.
A Bill, To inflict Pains and Penalties on John Plunket, and another to the same Purpose against George Kelly, read the first Time.
March 19. Sir Robert Raymond presented to the House a
Bill, For inflicting certain Pains and Penalties on John
Plunket, which was read the first Time, and order'd to be
read a second Time, on the 28th; it was also order'd,
I. That a Copy of the said Bill, and of the said Order, be
forthwith sent to the said John Plunket, and deliver'd to
him by the Serjeant at Arms. II. That the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General do take Care that the Evidence against the said John Plunket be ready to be produc'd
to this House upon Thursday the 28th. III. That the said
John Plunket be allow'd Pen, Ink, and Paper. Then Sir
Philip Yorke presented also a Bill, For inflicting certain Pains
and Penalties on George Kelly, alias Johnson, which was read
the first Time, and order'd to be read a second on the 1st of
April, and the like three Orders in relation to this Bill, were
made as those of the Bill for punishing John Plunket.
March 20. The House presented their congratulatory Address to his Majesty as follows:
An Address of Congratulation to the King on the Discovery of the Plot.
Most gracious Sovereign,
Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the
Commons in Parliament assembled, do humbly beg
Leave to approach your Royal Person with Hearts full of
Concern and Horrour, for the detestable Conspiracy form'd
against your Person and Government.
'We lament with Indignation, that any of our FellowSubjects who enjoy, in common with us, the many and signal
Blessings of your Majesty's mild and just Administration,
should so far give themselves up to Delusion, as to conspire
against publick Liberty, against their own Security, and
against the only Bulwark of all that is dear and valuable,
your Majesty's Person and the Protestant Succession in your
'We see with Astonishment, that Persons of Figure and
Distinction, who ought to have been the best Judges, and
most zealous Defenders of your beneficent and mild Reign,
by which alone their Fortunes and Dignities can be made
secure, should be so far infatuated, as to head and abett a
monstrous Conspiracy to destroy your Majesty, their Country, and themselves; that Honour, Faith, and the most
solemn Ties of Religion, should be violated in Favour of
a Popish Fugitive, known only for his blind Bigotry and
Attachment to Rome.
'As we have with sensible Sorrow and just Resentment,
discover'd these vile Practices, so will we take Care that
the wicked Authors may not, by any Contrivance or Practice whatsoever, escape Punishment; but that all Conspirators may, by the Justice of Parliament, be for ever hereafter deterr'd from engaging in such traiterous Attempts.
'We congratulate your Majesty, and all your good Subjects, that you have escap'd the black and unnatural Designs of the worst of Men; and that Almighty God has,
by this happy Discovery, given you and your Royal Family a fresh instance of his singular Care and Protection.
'For us, your faithful Commons, who feel with Joy and
Gratitude the inestimable Blessings of your Reign; who are
sensible of the glorious Advantages of Liberty and of the
Protestant Religion; and have in Abhorrence the Miseries
and Slavery inseparable from Popery and a Popish Government; we will stand by your Majesty, and effectually support your Government, at the Hazard and Expence
of our Lives and Fortunes.
'We will maintain and defend your Majesty's rightful
and lawful Title to the Crown of these Realms, and endeavour to transmit to the latest Posterity this happy, free,
and ancient Constitution.'
To this Address the King return'd the following Answer:
The King's Answer.
"I Return you my Thanks for this dutiful and loyal Address: It is agreeable to the many Instances of Zeal and
Affection to me, which you have upon every Occasion express'd. The just Resentment and Indignation you have
shewn against this Conspiracy, will, I doubt not, give entire Satisfaction to all that sincerely wish well to the present Establishment, encourage the Friends to my Government, and deter the Enemies of our common Peace from
renewing these rash and desperate Attempts."
The Bill, To inflict Pains and Penalties on the Bishop of Rochester, read the first Time.
March 22. Mr Yonge presented to the House a Bill, For
inflicting certain Pains and Penalties upon Dr Francis Atterbury, Lord Bishop of Rochester; which was read the first Time,
and order'd to be read a second, on the 4th of April.
It was also order'd, I. That a Copy of the said Bill and
of the said Order be forthwith sent to the said Lord Bishop
of Rochester, and deliver'd to him by the Serjeant at Arms
attending this House. II. That Mr Attorney-General and
Mr Solicitor-General do take Care that the Evidence against the said Francis Lord Bishop of Rochester, be ready
to be produc'd to this House, upon the 4th of April.
III. That the said Francis Lord Bishop of Rochester be allow'd Pen, Ink, and Paper.
The same Day, the King came to the House of Lords,
and the Commons attending, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent to an Act, For reviving and adding two Millions to the
Capital Stock of the South-Sea Company, and for reviving a
proportional Part of the Yearly Fund payable at the Exchequer, and for dividing their whole Capital, after such Division made, into two equal Parts or Moieties; and for converting one of the said Moieties into certain Annuities, for
the Benefit of the Members, and for settling the remaining
Moiety in the said Company, &c. [See p. 296.]
Petition of George Kelly to be heard by his Counsel against the Bill, For inflicting Pains and Penalties upon him; which is granted.
March 23. A Petition of George Kelly, Clerk, Prisoner
in the Tower of London, was presented to the House and
read, praying that he might be heard by himself and Counsel
against the Bill, For inflicting certain Pains and Penalties
upon him, &c. before the same should pass into a Law;
and that this House would assign Sir Constantine Phipps and
Serjeant Darnell for his Counsel, and Mr Hugh Watson
for his Solicitor; and that they might have free Access to
him, to receive his Instructions in private; and that he might
have the Summons of this House, for such Witnesses as he
should think necessary. The Prayer of this Petition, the last
of all excepted, was granted; and an Order thereupon made
Petition of the Bp of Rochester to the same Purpose, which is also granted.
March 25. Mr Speaker acquainted the House, That he
had that Morning receiv'd a Letter from the Lord Bishop of
Rochester, that his Lordship having receiv'd a Copy of a
Bill, For inflicting certain Pains and Penalties upon him, for
suppos'd Crimes of which he was innocent, he hop'd he
should be allow'd to have Sir Constantine Phipps, and William
Wynne, Esq; for his Counsel, and Mr Joseph Taylor, and
Mr William Morrice, for his Solicitors to assist him, in order
to the making his Defence; and that they might have free
Access to him to receive his Instructions, and give him their
Advice in private; which was granted.
A Petition of George Kelly, for delaying the second Reading of the Bill against him, which is rejected.
March 27. A Petition of George Kelly, Clerk, Prisoner
in the Tower of London, was presented to the House, and
read, praying, that the second Reading of the Bill, For inflicting certain Pains and Penalties upon him, might be put
off 'till the 8th of April; and that the Depositions upon Oath,
of Mr Michael Birmingham, Surgeon, and Messieurs Bask
and Borgonio, Merchants, who resided at Paris, to be taken
before a publick Notary, or before some or one of the British
Residents there, and also the Deposition of Mr Gordon,
Banker in Boulogne in France, to be taken upon Oath before
the chief Magistrate of the said Town, or a publick Notary
there, might be admitted to be read at the Bar of this House,
as Evidence for the Petitioner. Mr Hungerford, Sir William
Wyndham, Mr Palmer, and Mr Shippen spoke in Behalf of
this Petition; but being answer'd by Mr Robert Walpole,
Sir Joseph Jekyll, and Sir William Thompson, it was carried
without dividing, that the said Petition be rejected.
The Bill against John Plunket read a second Time, and he making no Defence the Bill is committed.
March 28. The Bill, For inflicting certain Pains and Penalties upon John Plunket, was, according to Order, read a
second Time; and tho' Mr Plunket did not think fit to
make any Defence, yet the Commons proceeded, and the
Counsel for the Bill produc'd Extracts of several original
Letters from Abroad, giving Intelligence of the Conspiracy.
And the Counsel having summ'd up the Evidence, and being
withdrawn, Mr Speaker open'd the Bill, and the Question
being put, That the said Bill be committed to a Committee
of the whole House, the same was carry'd without dividing.
Debate concerning Plunket's Punishment.
March 29. The Commons went into a grand Committee
upon the Bill, For inflicting certain Pains and Penalties
upon John Plunket. Mr Onslow being plac'd in the Chair,
several Letters and other original Papers, prov'd by several
Witnesses to be Mr Plunket's Hand-Writing, were read, as
was also a Letter from the Pretender, and several other
Letters from General Dillon to Plunket; all which clearly
evincing, that he had a principal Share in the contriving
and carrying on of the Conspiracy; Mr Miller mov'd, that
the Pains and Penalties, for which a Blank was left in the
Bill, might extend to Death; urging, 'That, in his Opinion,
there was sufficient Proof to convict him of High Treason,
even in Westminster-Hall. He was seconded by the Lord
Viscount Middleton, Sir John Rushout, Mr Clayton, Mr
Sandys, Mr Walter Chetwynd, Mr John Chetwynd, Sir
Wilfred Lawson, and many others; but they were oppos'd
by Mr Robert Walpole, Mr Horatio Walpole, Mr Thomas
Broderick, and Sir Joseph Jekyll, who alledg'd, 'That the
filling up of the Blank with Death would be a Kind of
Deceit put on the Prisoner, because a Bill of Pains and
Penalties was generally understood not to reach Life, and
that it was to be suppos'd, the Prisoner took it in that Sense,
otherwise he would have made some Defence.' The Members who were for Death, seeing the Courtiers of a contrary
Opinion, would not divide the House; and then Sir Robert
Raymond mov'd, 'That the Pains and Penalties might be
Imprisonment in some Part of Great Britain, during the
Pleasure of his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors; Forfeiture of his Estate; and that his Attempting to make, or
any others favouring, his Escape, be made Felony:' The
Question being put thereupon, it was carry'd in the Affirmative by 280 Voices against 91.
April 1. The Commons being acquainted, that Serjeant
Darnell had declin'd appearing at the Bar of their House as
Counsel for George Kelly, being engag'd in Business at the
Assizes in Sussex, it was order'd, That Fettiplace Nott, Esq;
be allow'd Counsel for the said George Kelly, instead of
Mr Serjeant Darnell.
Debate concerning George Kelly's Punishment.
April 3. The Commons in a Grand Committee consider'd
of the Pains and Penalties to be inflicted on George Kelly,
and after some Debate, it was resolv'd, by 224 Voices
against 112, that his Punishment should be the same as John
The Bishop of Rochester declines making his Defence at the Bar of the House of Commons.
April 4. The Bishop of Rochester's Tryal being to come
on that Morning, his Lordship sent a Letter to Mr Speaker,
which he desir'd might be communicated to the House;
and accordingly, Mr Speaker read the said Letter, containing in Substance, 'That his Lordship, tho' conscious of
his own Innocence, did, on several Accounts, decline giving
that House any Trouble that Day, and contented himself
with the Opportunity, if the Bill went on, of making his
Defence before another, of which he had the Honour to
be a Member.' Notwithstanding this Disappointment,
the Commons proceeded in that Affair, and the Counsel for
the Bill being call'd in, and the Bill read, the Counsel
open'd the Evidence, and produc'd a Scheme, taken amongst
Mr Layer's Papers, which was read; as were also several
Copies of Letters stopp'd at the Post-Office. Then the Counsel examin'd several Witnesses, to make good the Allegations
of the Bill; produc'd several Papers taken at his Lordship's
Houses at Westminster and Bromley; as also a Packet taken
on one of his Lordship's Servants at the Tower of London;
and examin'd two Witnesses; one to prove, that a Letter
and Paper contain'd in the said Packet were his Lordship's
Hand-Writing; and the other to prove, that a Letter directed to Mr Dubois, taken amongst his Lordship's Papers,
at the Deanry at Westminster, was seal'd with the same Seal
that the Letter taken on his Lordship's Servant at the Tower,
was seal'd. Then the Counsel summ'd up the Evidence, and
being withdrawn, Mr Speaker open'd the Bill, which was
committed to a grand Committee for the 6th Instant.
Debate on the third Reading of the Bill against Plunket. ; It passes the House.
April 5. The engross'd Bill for punishing Plunket was
read the third Time; and the Question being put, That the
Bill do pass, the same was strenuously oppos'd by Sir William
Wyndham, who was seconded by Mr Shippen and Mr Kettleby; but being answer'd by Mr Robert Walpole and Sir
Joseph Jekyll, the Question was carry'd in the Affirmative
by 250 Voices against 72. Hereupon the said Bill was
order'd to be carry'd up to the Lords.
The Bill against George Kelly passes the House.; Debate concerning the Punishment of the Bishop of Rochester.
April 6. The Bill for punishing George Kelly alias Johnson, was read the third Time, pass'd, and sent up to the
Lords; and then the Commons went into a Grand Committee upon the Bill, For inflicting certain Pains and Penalties
upon Francis Lord Bishop of Rochester. When it came to
the filling up the Blank for Pains and Penalties, the CourtParty mov'd, That he should be depriv'd of his Office and
Benefice, banish'd the Kingdom, be guilty of Felony if he
return'd, and that it should not be in the King's Power to
pardon him without Consent of Parliament; but without
Forfeiture of Goods and Chattels. Hereupon Mr Lawson
represented, 'That the Evidence against the Bishop being all
either Hearsay, or Conjecture, and therefore not to be depended upon, he ought to have no Punishment at all.' Mr
Oglethorpe was of the same Opinion, but gave it another
Turn; He said, 'It was plain, the Pretender had none but
a Company of silly Fellows about him; and it was to be
fear'd, that if the Bishop, who was allow'd to be a Man of
great Parts, should be banish'd, he might be sollicited and
tempted to go to Rome, and there be in a Capacity to do
more Mischief by his Advice, than if he was suffer'd to stay
in England, under the watchful Eye of those in Power.' But
the Question being put upon the first Motion, it was carried
without any Division.
The Bill against his Lordship passes the House.
April 9. The engross'd Bill to inflict certain Pains and Penalties on Francis Lord Bishop of Rochester, was read the
3d Time, pass'd, and sent up to the Lords.
A Bill for laying a Tax on Papists read twice.
April 27. Mr Lowndes presented to the House a Bill, For
laying a Tax upon Papists; which was read the first Time,
and order'd to be read a second Time on the 3d of May.
May 3. The above Bill was read a second Time, and
committed to a Committee of the whole House.
May 6. The Commons being in a Grand Committee on
the Bill, For laying a Tax on Papists, Mr Lutwyche spoke
against the said Bill as follows:
Mr Lutwyche's Speech against the said Bill.
'The Gentlemen, who have spoke in favour of this Bill, have
urg'd 'That since the happy Revolution the Roman-Catholicks have been more or less concerned in every Conspiracy
against the Government; so that if they did not shew
themselves in the late Conspiracy, it was out of Prudence,
and not for want of Zeal for the Pretender's Cause.' They
will not allow, that it is liable to the Objection of not being
supported with particular Facts, but say, with great Probability, 'That the Roman-Catholicks have made large Contributions here at Home, to send to the Pretender and his
Adherents Abroad: And if they are in a Capacity of supplying the Necessities of their Friends Abroad, it is but
very reasonable for them to contribute to the defraying an
Expence they have, in a great Measure, occasioned at Home.'
'Upon this general Way of Reasoning, this Bill for raising a
Hundred Thousand Pounds upon the Roman-Catholicks has
been form'd; and a general Charge of this Kind may be a
sufficient Ground-work for a Preamble to the Bill; but the
enacting Part ought to be supported with particular Facts
plainly prov'd, otherwise we may involve innocent Persons
in a Punishment only due to the Guilty. And though the
Legislature hath sometimes gone upon the Notoriety of the
Fact, it is to be hop'd, that this Method may be but seldom
taken where the Life or Fortune of any Subject is in Question;
nothing being more uncertain than Hearsay, Conjecture and
forc'd Constructions; which the Law has wisely provided against by ascertaining fix'd Rules to direct the Judgment of
the inferior Courts of Justice.
'It is likewise given, as a Political Reason for Passing of this
Bill, 'That raising this Hundred Thousand Pounds upon the
Roman Catholicks will deter the Jacobites Abroad from
entering upon such rash Enterprizes, when they find that
their Friends here in England are to suffer for the Disturbance they give us: And it will also shew them, that the
Nation can put it self in a State of Security without burthening the Subject; which has been one of the chief Views of
the Conspirators to add Fewel to the Discontents of the
People.' But if none of these Arguments should prevail; if
the Notoriety of the Fact does not convince; nay, if the greatest Probability of the Roman-Catholicks sending Money Abroad can meet with no Credit; the Legislature, say they, is
highly justify'd in passing this Law for raising an Hundred
Thousand Pounds upon the Roman-Catholicks; 'Since by
the Laws now in being, as by the Acts of Queen Elizabeth,
the First of King George, &c. the Roman-Catholicks are
subject to three Times greater Forfeitures than this Tax
will amount to: And that the raising of this Hundred
Thousand Pounds is a Mitigation of the Severity of the
Law; and so far from being reckon'd a Hardship done
them, it ought to be consider'd an Indulgence in the Government.'
'I have here thrown together some of the Reasons which
have been given for passing this Bill; I think those I have
mention'd are what seem'd to me to make the greatest Impression upon the House, when this Matter was first debated.
These Reasons were likewise enforc'd [See p. 295.] by a Gentleman, [Mr R. Walpole] whose Opinion is justly esteem'd in
all Parliamentary Considerations. I will now mention the
Objections, which occur to Me against the passing of this Bill.
'In Answer to the general Surmise of the Roman-Catholicks Disaffection to the Government; I can't help observing,
That this general Charge neither can nor ought to affect any
particular Person, without Proof of some particular Fact alledg'd against him: And it would be the highest Injustice to
make one Man suffer for the Crime of another. The Law
supposing it incumbent upon every Man to be accountable
for his own Actions, doth not require what is not in any Man's
Power, to be answerable for another; and I think I may
affirm, with great Certainty, that in no one Instance the Laws
have adjudged a Penalty upon one Man for the Crime of another: For though in the Case of High-Treason, the
Blood being attainted, a Son does not attain the Honours
which would have descended to him, if his Father had not
been guilty of Treason; yet in that Case a Man does only
forfeit a Fee-simple Estate, and the Income of an Estate vested in him during his natural Life: But the highest Crimes
and Misdemeanors can't avoid a Settlement, to the Prejudice
of an innocent Person.
'I the rather insist upon the Unreasonableness of punishing
one Man for the Crime of another, to shew the Absurdity
of a Maxim which is laid down for a certain Doctrine, 'That
because some of the Roman-Catholicks are suspected to
have been concern'd in the late Conspiracy, therefore the
whole Body of the Roman-Catholicks must equally bear the
'Burden of a Tax, which some of them only are alledg'd to
have made necessary.' I would not be thought to be an Advocate for the Roman-Catholicks, any farther than common
Justice requires, but I must appeal to every one who has
read the Report of the Committee appointed to examine
Layer, Whether it appears there that the Roman-Catholicks
in general are concern'd in the Conspiracy? Or, whether
any Mention is made in the Report of any one RomanCatholick of Consequence, except a Noble Duke, [the Duke
of Norfolk] to whom a Letter is suppos'd to be writ, intimating, as if he knew of the Designs carrying on? How unjust then
would it be, if the Suspicion of this great Man's being engag'd
in traiterous Practices, at the Hazard of his Life and Fortune,
should give Occasion to the inflicting the severest Penalties
upon many innocent Families, who neither wish nor can hope
to better their Fortune by any Revolution of Affairs.
'I think, Sir, I have fully answer'd what has been said for
passing the Bill, upon the general Head of Disaffection; but
one Thing more I will add, That if you impose this Tax
upon the Roman-Catholicks, upon a general Allegation, 'That
their Religion maintains Principles inconsistent with the Welfare of the Government;' you punish them for the Cause of
their Religion. And for my own Part, I look upon Persecution to be a Doctrine odious in it self, highly reflecting
upon the Honour of Parliament, and greatly infringing upon
the Freedom of the Subject. Nor would I have his Majesty's mild and gracious Reign blemish'd with such a merciless Act of the Legislature, which must necessarily confirm
the obstinate in their Errors, and entirely alienate the Affections of the well-dispos'd Roman-Catholicks.
We are likewise told, 'That the raising this Hundred
Thousand Pounds upon the Roman-Catholicks is done out
of a Political Reason, to deter the Jacobites Abroad from
entering upon such rash Enterprizes, by making their
Friends here in England pay the Expence which the Nation finds necessary for its own Security.' As this is a
Matter meerly of Speculation, and as there is no certain Rule
to go by to know what will be the Consequence of raising
such a Tax, I will venture to give my Conjectures upon this
Head. I do imagine, that as the Pretender's Scheme is unjust in
itself, it can be form'd upon no better Hopes than the Discontents of the People; and the more Room there is for Complaint,
the better Prospect he has of Success: And if it does happen
that these Complaints are well-grounded, as were the Losses
the People suffer'd in the South-Sea, then in such like Case,
how much Industry is us'd by the Jacobites to aggravate the
National Grievances; and to impute every Mischance to the
ill Conduct of the Government. I am afraid, if the RomanCatholicks should be thus heavily tax'd; if their peaceable
and quiet Behaviour does not intitle them to the common
Protection of the Government; nay, if they are more hardly
us'd by not having been concern'd than when they were
actually engag'd in Rebellion; I say, I am afraid they will
embrace any Opportunity to free themselves from such intolerable Burdens, thinking under no Form of Government they
can receive worse Treatment.
'I shall next consider the Groundwork of this whole Bill,
viz. 'The raising one Hundred Thousand Pounds upon the
Roman-Catholicks, in lieu of certain Forfeitures they have
incurr'd by several Acts of Parliament now in being.' And
by stating the Balance betwixt the Roman-Catholicks and
the Government, it is pretended, 'That the Sum now demanded of the Roman Catholicks falls far short of what is
due to the Government, if all their Forfeitures were rigorously exacted.' I am very ready to grant, that the RomanCatholicks have incurr'd several Forfeitures: But I think the
Question at present is, Whether it is necessary at this Time,
for the Security of the Government, to take Advantage of those
Forfeitures? For if there is not some particular Reason shewn,
why you ought to exact them more at this Time than another, you may with equal Justice raise one Hundred Thousand
Pounds the next Year upon the Roman-Catholicks; and so
on, whenever the Government shall stand in need of such a
Fund. But surely 'tis not sufficient to say, because the Roman-Catholicks have incurr'd several Forfeiture, that therefore you will take Advantage of them: For the plain Answer to that is, Why do you do it now? And, Why have
you not done it before? It is here necessary to observe,
That when the Legislature pass'd this Law, to subject the
Roman-Catholicks to the Forfeiture of two Thirds of their
Estates, this Law was rather made intentionally to keep
the Roman Catholicks in Subjection to the Government,
than with any Design of having it put in Execution. For
otherwise I dare say, so many Administrations, who are the
executive Part of the Law, could never have thus long dispens'd with their Duty.
'If we look back as far as the Reformation, we shall find,
that the Roman-Catholicks were never more numerous,
never more powerful, than at the Revolution, just upon King
James's Abdication. Then all Means had been us'd to propagate Popery; Men of that Persuasion were put into Places
of Profit and Trust; the Army was fill'd with Roman-Catholicks, and it was generally thought that the Nation was ripe
to take upon them the Drudgery of the Roman Yoke. When
King William came to the Crown, he was warmly told of
the Dangers of Popery; that as there were severe Laws
against the Roman-Catholicks, they ought to be put in Execution: That the Roman-Catholicks held Correspondence,
and were carrying on Plots and Contrivances with King
James, then in France, who, as he had an undoubted Title
to the Crown, was supported by one of the most powerful
Princes in Europe. Then the Competition for the Crown
was greatly different from the wild and extravagant Pretensions of a Popish Fugitive, fled to Rome for Sanctuary, after
having been turn'd out of most of the Courts of Europe.
But King William, who was a wise and just Prince, and
knew that no Free State could long subsist, but in doing
equal and impartial Justice, would not consent to the putting
those Laws in Execution against the Roman-Catholicks,
which he knew amounted to no less than a Persecution.
However, the King, to gratify the Fears of those about him,
who were continually possessing him with the Dangers of
Popery, order'd an exact Account to be taken of the Conformists, Non-Conformists, and Papists in England, to see what
Proportion there was betwixt the Papists and Protestants; and
upon an exact Scrutiny, the Account was found to stand
thus: One Hundred and Seventy Nine Conformists, viz. those
of the Establish'd Church, to one Papist; besides Presbyterians,
Quakers, Independents, and all other Protestant Dissenters.
'If the Roman-Catholicks were, at the beginning of the Revolution, but a handful of People; if all the Encouragement
given to them by King James could not enable them to
maintain a King of their own Religion upon the Throne,
what have we now to apprehend from them? Since many of
them have follow'd the Fate of King James, and several of
them have conform'd to the Church of England: So that
we may reasonably conclude, that the Number of RomanCatholicks is one Third less than they were when King William came to the Crown. And I beg Leave here to observe
a Notion, which has long prevail'd, 'That the Liberties of
England can never be in Danger, but by the Roman-Catholicks.' Indeed, one would have imagin'd that Experience would have exploded this Opinion, since there is nothing more certain than if all the Protestants were united,
no Power upon Earth could hurt us. The Contest does
not lye betwixt the Protestant and Roman-Catholick
Religion: Our Divisions are not occasion'd by the Increase
of Popery, but it is obvious to every Man unconcern'd in
the Dispute, how the Leaders of each Party promote their
own mercenary Ends, by possessing their Followers with
unnecessary Fears and groundless Jealousies.
'I must own, besides the Injustice of passing such a Law, I
am mov'd with Compassion to my Fellow-Subjects, whose
Condition must be very deplorable, if this Bill should pass
into a Law. I would instance in the Case of a Gentleman
of a Thousand Pounds per Annum, who pays Five Hundred
Pounds per Annum Rent Charge: He must pay double Taxes,
which, at present amounting to Four Shillings in the Pound,
comes to Two Hundred Pounds a Year, out of his
Thousand Pounds a Year: He must likewise pay his Proportion of this Hundred Thousand Pounds, which, at a moderate Computation, will be Five Shillings in the Pound, which
is Two Hundred and Fifty Pounds more to be added to the
Deduction out of his Estate; What then will a Gentleman
of a Thousand Pounds per Annum have to live upon? It is
said in Answer to this, That the Roman-Catholicks do not
pay more Taxes, in several Places, than the Protestants. But
suppose it were true, that they now pay no more than Two
Shillings in the Pound, the Case of this Gentleman will be
still very much to be lamented; and instead of paying Nine
Hundred and Fifty Pounds, he will pay Eight Hundred and
Fifty Pounds out of his Estate. I have mention'd this particular Case, to shew the unreasonable Severity of this Tax;
but I dare say, many more Instances might be given of the
'I can't help being a little surpriz'd, that those Gentlemen
who are so well acquainted with the Circumstances of our Affairs Abroad, did not consider, before they brought in this
Bill upon the Roman-Catholicks, that his Majesty's Allies
would certainly interpose in their Behalf: And if upon a Refusal to act the friendly Part, our Protestant Brethren Abroad
should be more severely dealt with, we should in vain complain of the Breach of Treaties and of the Laws of the Empire, when we have broke through the common Ties of
'I know no better Rule of Government, than to punish the
Guilty, and protect the innocent; neither the one can complain of hard Usage, tho' he may be pitied, nor will the other
wish for a Change of that Government, which defends him
from the Oppression of wicked and ill-designing Men. But to
punish a Body of People, whom before the Report was made,
you suspected to be criminally concern'd in the Conspiracy;
and whom, upon Enquiry, you find to be innocent in every
particular Suggestion alledg'd against them, I do not take to
be the Means of convincing the World of the Impartiality of
'I find great Stress laid upon the Roman-Catholicks sending
Money to the Pretender, and his Adherents Abroad; a Fact
so confidently affirm'd, that one would expect some better
Proof of it than a general Assertion; and yet I have never
heard one single Instance given to convince me of the Truth
of this Assertion. Considering the great Vigilance of the
Ministry, who have been able to discover the most subtle
Contrivances in carrying on this Conspiracy, it appears to me
very unlikely, if the Roman-Catholicks had made any
considerable Remittances Abroad, that they should have
escap'd the Notice of the Government. I would fain know
how comes this Notion of the Roman-Catholicks sending
Money Abroad; and why they are more zealous for the Pretender's Cause, than the rest of the Jacobites? If it is an
equal Contribution among the Jacobites, it ought to be an
equal Tax upon the Nonjurors and every Man who has paid
his Quota, as well as upon the Roman-Catholicks. But to
single out one Set of Men from the Herd of the Jacobites;
and upon mere Supposition, to inflict the severest Penalties
upon them, is an Act no ways agreeable to the just and equitable Proceedings of Parliament. For which Reasons I am
against this Bill.'
Mr Trenchard moves, that the Nonjurors be included in the Tax to be laid on the Papists; which is agreed to.
Mr Lutwyche was supported by Mr West, Lord Gage,
and Mr Thompson, Member for York; Mr Trenchard, in
particular, declar'd, 'That he thought it very unreasonable
that the Papists should bear the whole Burden of this Tax,
when there were so many Jacobites who had contributed as
much to the raising Publick Disturbances as the Papists
themselves; and therefore he mov'd, 'That the Nonjurors ought to be included in the said Tax intended to be
raised upon Papists: Accordingly, after some Debate, the
Committee came to the following Resolution, viz. That towards raising the Sum of 100,000£. granted to his Majesty,
towards reimbursing to the Publick the great Expences occasion'd by the late Rebellions and Disorders, to be rais'd and
levied upon the real and personal Estates of all Papists, an
equal Rate and Proportion be rais'd and levied upon the real
and personal Estates of every other Person, being of the
Age of eighteen Years or upwards, not having taken the
Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance, and the Abjuration
Oath, who shall upon due Summons neglect or refuse to take
the same. This Resolution being the next Day reported by
Mr Farrer, a Motion was made, and the Question put, that
the said Resolution be recommitted, but it was carried in the
Negative; Then it was resolv'd, That the House do agree
with the Committee, and order'd, That there be an Instruction to the Committee of the whole House to alter and
amend the Bill, For laying a Tax on all Papists, pursuant to
the said Resolution.
The Commons, in a Grand Committee, add a Clause for including the Scots Papists and Nonjurors in the said Bill.
May 11. The Commons, in a Committee of the whole
House, made a farther Progress in the Bill, For laying a Tax
upon Papists; and a Motion being made by Mr Lutwyche
for a Clause for including the Papists and Nonjurors in
Scotland, in the Tax intended to be laid on Papists and
Nonjurors in England, it was carried in the Affirmative by
a Majority of five Voices only.
Debate concerning the said Clause upon its being reported to the House. ; The above Clause rejected, and a Bill order'd for registring the Estates of the Scots Papists and Nonjurors, which passes the House.
May 14. Mr Farrer reported the Amendments the Committee had made to the Bill, which were agreed to, except
the Clause above-mention'd; upon which a Debate arising,
Lord Gage and Mr Hutcheson insisted upon the Equitableness of the said Clause, and Sir Joseph Jekyll said thereupon, 'That he knew no Reason why the Scots should be
excus'd from paying their Proportion of this extraordinary
Tax, unless it was, because forty-five Scots Representatives
in that House always voted as they were directed: But if
that was the Reason, it was to be fear'd, least Cornwall, which
sends up almost an equal Number of Members, might, upon
the same Consideration, claim an Exemption from Taxes.'
But Mr Robert Walpole having represented, That the Names
and real Estates of the Scots Papists and Nonjurors not being
register'd, it was impossible to ascertain their Proportion of
this Tax, he was supported by most of the Courtiers; and
the Question being put, That the said Clause be made Part
of the Bill, it was carried in the Negative by 178 Votes
against 170; and then some other Amendments being made
by the House to the Bill, it was order'd to be engross'd.
However, two Days after, a Bill was order'd to be brought
in, to oblige all Papists and Nonjurors in Scotland, to register their Names and real Estates; which was accordingly
brought in, and had an easy Passage through both Houses.
The Bill, For laying a Tax on Papists, &c. pass'd;
May 17. The engross'd Bill, For laying a Tax upon Papists
and Nonjurors in England, was pass'd and sent up to the Lords.
The Royal Assent given thereto; and also to the Bills against Plunket, Kelly, and the Ep. of Rochester.
May 27. The King came to the House of Peers with
the usual State, and the Commons attending, their Speaker,
upon presenting the Bill, For laying a Tax upon Papists
and Nonjurors, made a Speech, wherein he shew'd the
Occasion and Necessity of that Tax, on account of the late
horrid and execrable Conspiracy, in which they had so great
a Share. After this, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent
to the said Bill; Also to the Bill, To oblige all Papists in
Scotland, and Nonjurors in Great-Britain, to register their
Names and real Estates; To the Bills, For inflicting Pains
and Penalties on John Plunket, George Kelly, and Dr Francis
Atterbury Lord Bishop of Rochester: Likewise to several
other Bills, which, as they were not the Subject of any
SPEECHES or DEBATES, it would be foreign to
our Purpose to take Notice of here.
Then the Lord Chancellor read his Majesty's Speech to
both Houses, as follows:
King's Speech at putting an End to the First Session of his Second Parliament.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I am persuaded, notwithstanding the unusual Length of
this Session, you will not think your Time has been
misemploy'd in consulting the necessary Means for preserving the Peace and Quiet of the Kingdom, and bringing to Justice some of the chief Promoters of that Confusion which lately threatned the Nation.
"The prudent Measures you have taken for our common
Security, and your enabling me to defend my Kingdoms
against any Designs or Attempts of our Enemies, are the
most convincing Testimonies of your Fidelity and Affection to me, and of your Concern for the Liberties of my
People. Be assur'd, the Confidence you have repos'd in
me shall never be made Use of but for their Safety and
"The Papers which have been laid before you, for your
Information, and have since been publish'd for the Satisfaction of the World, evidently shew, that the Conspirators had brought their wicked Arts and Practices to such
Perfection, that they confidently carried on their traiterous
Projects in Defiance of the Law, from an Assurance of
their being able to elude it: The Respect and Reverence
due to the Law had been lost, and the Tranquility of my
People endanger'd, had not you interpos'd. This made it
necessary for the Legislature to exert itself in punishing
such Offenders, whose Guilt is too certain to leave the
least Room for Doubt, and whose Crimes are too heinous
to admit of any Aggravation.
"And yet it is with Pleasure I reflect, that the Justice of
Parliament has been so temper'd with Mercy, that even
those who are resolv'd to be dissatisfied, must acknowledge
the Lenity of your Proceedings, and will be at a Loss for
any Pretence to complain, so few Examples having been
made, and the Penalties, inflicted by Bill, falling so
much short of the Punishments due to the same Crimes
by the common Course of Law.
"The Firmness you have shewn must convince the
World, how much They were mistaken, whose chief Hopes
were founded on the Disaffection of my People. It gave
me great Satisfaction to see as general a Concurrence in
full Parliament upon this Occasion, as has been ever
known on any former; and it is to be hop'd, our Enemies
will cease to flatter themselves with the vain Imagination
of being able to subvert our Religion and present Establishment.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I must acknowledge, in a particular Manner, the great
Readiness you have shewn in raising the necessary Supplies
for the ensuing Year: It is an unexpected Felicity, that
you have been able so far to disappoint the Hopes of our
Enemies, as to avoid laying any new Burthen upon my
People: And that soon after that great Shock and Convulsion in all the publick Funds, and in the midst of intestine
Alarms and Disturbances, the Credit of the Nation should
so far revive and flourish, that not only the Supplies of the
Year should be rais'd, at a much lower Interest than was
ever known in the most quiet Times, but Part of the National Debt should be reduc'd from an Interest of 5 to 3
per Cent. and put in a Course of being soon discharg'd.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I return you my most sincere Thanks for the indefatigable Pains you have taken in the Service of the Publick.
I earnestly recommend it to you, in your several Stations
and Countries, to persevere in your Endeavours for preserving the Peace of the Kingdom; by Justice and Resolution, to subdue the restless Spirit of Faction and Sedition;
and by Prudence and Temper, to reconcile the Misled.
"Some extraordinary Affairs calling me Abroad this Summer, I doubt not but that the Wisdom and Vigilance of
my good Subjects will prevent our Enemies from taking
any Advantage of my Absence. To gain the Hearts and
Affections of my People, shall always be my first and principal Care. On their Duty and Loyalty I will intirely
depend: And they may as surely depend on my Protection
in the full Enjoyment of their Religion, Liberty, and Property."
The Parliament prorogued.
Then the Lord Chancellor prorogu'd the Parliament to the
second Day of July; after which they were farther prorogu'd to the 9th of January.