Wednesday, November 23.
In a Grand Committee. On Advice to the King. Sir
Francis Winnington in the Chair.
Mr Foley.] The Admiralty and Navy, points of
the greatest concernment, we should have begun with.
The King calls for your Advice, and we are in an
unhappy condition. When we entered into the War,
all agreed that the Enemy was very powerful, to enslave his neighbours, and had gone a good way in it;
and that made the States of Holland entrust a Stadtholder with Power. That which encouraged us to enter into the War was, that our neighbours were unanimous to suppress this Power: If all had been unanimous to attack him, in four years time we might
have brought him to our terms. As to point of
Trade, the French King has broken that stratagem.
All, except ourselves, trade with him. We have had
notice of this, and those ships that have been taken
trading, have been discharged. What have your Allies done for you? Have not the French taken Towns
in sight of them?—At Sea, the last year, and not to
come at him! This year you had a Fight, and he attacked you with half his Ships; you beat him; and
what fruit had you of this Victory? His Forts are
strong, and there is no way but a Descent upon him
in his own Country; and how that has been managed
you have heard reported. After all, the Allies can do
nothing for you, and trade with the French. What I
am most afraid of is, that, instead of a Descent upon
him, he will threaten a Descent upon you. Whatever
Fleet is at Sea, or Forces aboard, they will do you no
good; and the Sea, whatever Army you have there,
must follow the fate of the Land; and there must be
something to encourage the French King to make a
Descent. One is, the differences at home, and the
methods by which we manage our business. We are
unhappy to continue in Parties, without being upon
one bottom. I hope we may find some way to secure
ourselves. 'Tis said, "The Ministers serve you with
the best of their skill." You are the best Judges of
that; but as to Treachery, no man is perfectly good,
nor perfectly wicked. No man is so wicked as to bring
in the French King; but your Orders may be delayed,
and Intelligence sent him. None doubts but that he
is designing a Descent, and you are in the dark, and
can judge of nothing but by the event: But the French
King can take his measures; he knows who are
treacherous to you. The last year, you were like to
have had a great loss by the Smyrna Fleet being ordered to come to Ireland
(fn. 1) ; but, I observe, the French
Fleet never came to Sea till those Orders went out.
They sent word, "that the French Fleet was laid up,
and therefore ours must be so"—We kept out, and lost
many—Though the Fleet, in pursuit, was not Windbound, it was Order-bound. I know not why they
were not at liberty to pursue their Victory. From unavoidable Evidence, the hands you are in are not safe
hands—That is, that the French King should draw so
great an Army on his Coasts, and have Transport-ships
ready for his men, and we should have no notice, and
not half Forces enough left for our security; I desire
you to consider, whether those who have suffered you
to be so surprized, will not do it again. 'Tis strange,
that we should not know the strength of the French
Fleet, till we had fought them. We know that, from
all parts of England, discontented persons flocked to
London, with Arms and Horses seized, and not one
man was discovered of the Conspirators. Though we had
very few Forces left, yet there were great complaints
of free-quarter, this summer, on Members of yours,
and no man punished for invading of property. They
seize shipping to a great value, and no one man has
had satisfaction. Another thing I shall mention; men
discharged from imprisonment in Westminster-Hall, and
afterwards Guards put upon them. A great many instances might be given more, and I might fly higher
to take off heads—But I move you to come to this
Resolution, "That the great Affairs of the Government, for the time past, have been unsuccessfully managed; and that the King be moved, for the future,
to employ men of known integrity and fidelity."
Sir William Strickland.] I cannot tell where it is we
are wounded. I would not have the management in
such hands for the future; but this cannot be while
we have a Cabinet-Council.
Mr Waller.] "Cabinet-Council" is not a word to be
found in our Law-books. We knew it not before;
we look it for a nick-name. Nothing can fall out
more unhappily than to have a distinction made of the
"Cabinet" and "Privy-Council." It has had this
effect in the Country, and must have; that, in the
Country, the Justices of the Peace, and DeputyLieutenants, will be afraid to act: They will say,
"They cannot go on;" and why? Because several of
them have been misrepresented, and are not willing to
act; they know not who will stand by them; and are
loth to make discoveries, unless seconded. If some of
the Privy-Council must be trusted, and some not, to
whom must any Gentleman apply? Must he ask, "Who
is a Cabinet-Counsellor?" This creates mistrust in
the People. I am sure, these distinctions of some being more trusted than others, have given great dissatisfaction. This is what I have met with this Summer;
and therefore I second the Motion.
Sir Richard Temple.] All Governments reduce their
Council to a few: Holland does; and the French King
Mr Waller.] We have reduced our Secretaries from
two to one. The Question proposed was, "That the
King be advised, that all matters of State be advised
on in the Privy-Council; and that the management of
them by a Cabal is dangerous."
Sir John Lowther.] I would willingly sit down, if
I did not think the Honour of the House, and our
Safety, concerned in the Question. What will Foreigners say to this? I have heard foreign Ministers
say, "That 'tis better for their Affairs in England than
any where else, because once a year the Parliament sits;
and, without the charge of intelligence, they know all
Affairs." If you act by measures of no Country, nor
your own, [what will ensue?] Had you not a secret
Committee in the Examination of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's Murder? Of this Committee of Council I am
one. I had rather be at home. Consider your own
Honour, and do what you please.
Mr Clarke.] I doubt whether this Advice is practicable, in the way it is laid down. It appears who had
the management chiefly in the Descent, and Transportation of it from Ireland to the Thames, and all for that
Mr Waller.] If the Government be betrayed, I
doubt not but Gentlemen will be so bold as to declare
the Persons that have done it. Impeachments have
been in Parliament against Persons, for taking too much
upon them. Two things plainly have been faulty;
Want of Intelligence, and Orders, to that which is our
great safety, the Fleet. The unsuccessfulness of the
Fleet, last year, came from uncertainty of Orders. We
took our Orders in a French ship, before we had them
from our own (fn. 2) . All has come from delay of Orders,
as if our Descent should come to nothing. I am of
this Opinion, that the unsuccessfulness of the Descent
was for want of Intelligence from the Secretary, and
those who issued out those Orders.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] In due time, this may
come before you. This Debate is not properly before
you now; for, after it was reported, it was not referred
to your consideration; but properly in its place it may
come before you. I shall only observe, that, as the
Question stands on your paper, nobody can give an
Affirmative or a Negative to it.
Mr Goodwin Wharton.] Some, by the ill Advices
they gave King James, were a means to change his
Government; and the management of this Government makes me think the same thing is doing now.
The day the King made his Speech, before he spoke
it, there was a Speech went about, that did burlesque
it, Head by Head. You were told, by Foley, "That
he could not enumerate all,—for they were numerous."
I know it well, that the Gazette of the 10th of May
told us, "That the French were seen on our Coast,
but they stood off for France." I did myself acquaint
the Queen, on the 14th of May, "That the French
were not gone out of the Channel." I believe
the Cabinet-Council were called, and ordered the Fleet
to fail. All was in confusion as to the Descent. The
Enemy was upon you, before you knew of it. I saw
a Messenger, at the Secretary's Office, sit grumbling
with another Messenger, "That 'tis your turn to go,
and I'll not go till I am paid for what I have done before." This being so, how can your affairs go on with
vigour? Things are to be done by proper judges of
them. In King James I's time, there was a Council
of War in the Palatinate business, and a Council of
War in the Isle of Rhe Descent. Is it credible that
men, brought up to Books only, should understand Armies and Fleets? 'Tis impossible that they should conduct what they understand not. The method of this
Cabinet is not the method nor the practice of England. As for private Councils, all Kings have their
Favourites; and I wish the King had such a Secretary
as Mazarine, to secure the interest of the Nation, and
not himself. The method is this; things are concerted in the Cabinet, and then brought to the Council;
such a thing resolved in the Cabinet, and brought and
put upon them, for their Assent, without showing any
of the Reasons. That has not been the method of
Eugland. I am credibly informed, that it has been
complained of in Council, and not much backed
there. If this method be, you will never know who
gives advice. If you think it convenient, I shall be
of your mind; but I think this method is not for the
service of the Nation.
Mr Foley.] I would have every Counsellor set his
hand to his Assent, or Dissent, to be distinguished.
Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that,
many of the great Affairs of the Government having been
for the time past, unsuccessfully managed by those that have
had the direction thereof, under their Majesties, their Majesties be humbly addressed to prevent the like mischief for the
future, by employing men of known integrity and ability (fn. 3) .
[November 24, Omitted.]
Friday, November 25.
[Lord Falkland, by his Majesty's Command, presented to
the House an Estimate of the Navy, for the year 1693, amounting to 33,010 men, and 2,077,216l. 10s. Charge. And
the Earl of Ranelagh delivered a List of the Land-Forces, amounting to 8,130 Horse, 2,480 Dragoons, and 43,592 Foot;
in all 54,562 men; and their annual Pay to 1,448,732l. 6s. 7d.]
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I find the numbers of
Men, and Charges, infinitely increased since the last
year (fn. 4) . I think it not fit that Copies should go to
Coffee-houses (as is said;) but let us go immediately
into a Committee, to consider of it. Tis not possible
for Country-Gentlemen to give an Opinion till they
have considered: Pray let us have them lie upon the
Table, to understand them by short Notes, and that
we may have liberty to have recourse to the Papers,
to consider of them.
Mr Montagu.] I understand not why the Papers
should lie upon the Table till Tuesday: You will not
have opportunity to redress the inconvenience that so
long a day will produce; you cannot be better informed than you are; therefore let the Committee sit
Lord Eland.] If we must give as much Money as
we gave the last year, I hope Gentlemen will not take
it ill that we proceed in the same steps.
Col. Cornwall.] Here are Troops put into the Estimate that were not last year in the World; therefore I
move for Tuesday.
Earl of Ranelagh.] That an Imposition may not be
made upon the House, I must tell you, it is the Estimate the King thinks fit for the next year. The King
intends to augment Lord Oxford's regiment, by adding
more Troops and more Men.
Mr Palmes.] The Question you are going to put is,
to go on with the Supply; and on Tuesday to consider
the Papers—But 'till we are well informed of the Estimate in the Papers, we cannot go on with the Supply.
I believe every Gentleman is hasty to go on with the
Supply. I remember that, the last Session, a great
Sum more came upon us after the Estimate was given
in; therefore I move for Tuesday, &c.
Mr Foley.] It could not be expected that the State
of the War, brought in but just now, could be considered so soon. The Sum is greater than ever was
asked in this House. You ought to allow Gentlemen
time to recollect what Debates were last year, to make
just exceptions against what is demanded; it will expedite your business the better.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] Are we reduced to such
a condition, that two or three days time for consideration will ruin the Nation? Why were not these
Papers brought in sooner? Is it possible that we can
be informed now? Would a man do this in his own
Sir Stephen Fox.] We have nothing to live on in the
Treasury, but the borrowing Clause. We cannot borrow 1000l. more. We expected 200,000l. from the
Chamber of London, and we have not received 60,000l.
We have not subsistence for the Army, not for one
day more; and, for the Army, it requires the utmost
expedition. When the House will make some chearful Vote, we may for [some weeks more go on. This
day may go a great way towards the Navy.
[The consideration of the Estimate and List was referred
to a Grand Committee.]
Saturday, November 26.
On Colonel Churchill's Complaint of Breach of Privilege.
Colonel Churchill.] I received a Summons to attend
the Board of Admiralty last night. When I was
called in, the Lords examined me of what I said here,
"That some Persons in the Fleet were Cowards (fn. 5) ." I
know not that I am to answer any where, for what I
say here, but to the House. One of these Members
said, "He wondered I should trifle with them; they
had power to give me an Oath." I said, "I would
not take it, till I had the direction of the House;"
and desired a Member then present to take notice of it.
Colonel Austen.] I was desired by your Member to
take notice, &c. I will tell you what it was. When
Churchill appeared at the Admiralty, it was asked,
on behalf of one Bremstcad, "Whether he knew he
was a Coward?" He said, "He would not give an
account out of the House, for what he had said in the
House." But the Question was, "Whether he had not
said it in other places?" It was said, "It was in the
power of the Board to give him an Oath;" but it was
not insisted on at the Board. The case was this: The
King was petitioned for a man's life, condemned to be
shot to death for a Coward. It was referred by the
King to the Board. The end of enquiring of Churchill was, whether this man was sit to be pardoned; but
there was not any Question, as to what was said here.
Colonel Churchill.] I think that Question was pressed
upon Oath—And that Question was asked me, after I
had refused, and I would not take an Oath, till I had
the direction of the House.
Sir Edward Seymour.] I hardly understand the Accusation. They desire to know the reason; why, for
their information, he accused this man for being a
Coward. I am as tender of Privilege as any man, but
I do not take this as a design to subvert your Privilege.
Mr Foley.] As this is complained of, 'tis a great
Breach of the Privilege of the House. Many Members are Officers, and if they must be called to account
in another place, for what is done here, there is an
end of Privilege. They ask him of what was said in
this House, and when he spoke of the Privilege of
the House, they told him of tendering an Oath, and
afterwards told him, he spoke it in another place; but
not till he spoke of the Privilege of the House.
Mr Hampden.] I do not see that your Member was
questioned for what he said in the House; but here
was a Person condemned for a Coward, and application was made to the King for mercy to be showed
him, and they would inform themselves of the man.
Evidence is desired from the greatest man of the Kingdom, if it fall out to be a Member—I do not see how
Privilege is concerned at all. I do not understand
how this is a Breach of Privilege. Here is no Subpæna, but desire of Appearance.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I speak to the method
of proceeding. You have had an Information from
your Member; I suppose it is upon your Paper; pray
read it, and when it is stated, every Gentleman may
apply himself to it.
Colonel Churchill.] I take it, I was examined as a
Member of Parliament. I said, "I was not obliged to
answer, being words spoken in the House of Commons, without their leave." Sir John Lowther told
me, "They had power to give me an Oath, if I trifled
with them;" but I would not answer without leave of
Sir John Lowther, a Commissioner of the Admiralty.]
The matter of fact, and the words, are entirely denied.
There was not a word of the House of Commons, but
of words said without doors; and he was not interrogated to any thing said in the House.
Mr Goodwin Wharton.] The matter is stated truly
and rightly. As the Information is made, the next
thing is to consider, whether it be a Breach of Privilege; which you cannot do till the Parties withdraw.
If they had sent for him, a Commander in the Fleet,
either for matters said in or out of the House, they
could not, without leave of the House. This concerns
the Privilege of the House, and Liberty of Speech.
Lord Falkland.] Here is a Complaint; and, if you
can, have indifferent persons to inform you the right
state of the thing.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I think, no man ought
to be interrogated of matters said in this House. 'Tis
said, the matter is not agreed. You having it upon
your Paper, can tell how far the matter is not agreed.
Sir John Lowther.] If the words be admitted, whither shall this Privilege extend? Here is no suit, nor
answering without doors what has been said within;
where is the hurt of all this? 'Tis only to be informed of a Person.
Mr Clarke.] I hear some call for the Order of the Day,
but I think this matter is not to be so dismissed. I will
conclude all to be true, if the objections are not answered.
Col. Churchill.] I do declare, that, if the House please
to pass it by, I do.
Col. Austen.] From the beginning, I told him, "He
was not sent for, for words said in the House." I do
not say the word "trifling" was not said, but I must
affirm I heard nothing of it; he will do me that right.
I was a by-stander, and said nothing.
Col. Churchill.] The telling of the man's life condemned, &c. was the latter end of the Discourse, not
the beginning. Till after my refusal of the Oath, they
spoke nothing; I said "I would have nothing to do
with the blood of the man."
Sir Robert Rich.] We had no scruple to ask him
what was said out of the House. 'Tis true, he said the
words in the House, but having said the words out of
the House, we thought we might interrogate him of
them. We have traced the Office, and out of the Office, and can find nothing of him. There was hardly
any Ship had more men killed and wounded in it than
his Ship; but if it could be proved that he was a Coward,
he must die; and I hope the House will permit us to
search into this, to inform the King of it.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I think you should declare,
"That no Member be examined for what he has said
here." Neither must it go for doctrine that a man
may declare without doors what has been said here, and
the intention of the thing must not alter the thing.
Col. Titus.] Do you think that this is a new Privilege? This is calling that in question, that was ever
out of question.
The Speaker.] It had been a civil thing, and a reasonable thing, for the Admiralty to have told Churchill,
"They had no intent to interrogate him as to any thing
said in the House."
This matter passed over without any Vote (fn. 6) .
[November 26, Omitted.]
Monday, November 28.
In a Grand Committee. On the Bill for regulating Tryals in
cases of Treason.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] This is a necessary Bill for preservation of the Government, and the King's Person.
The hardships the Nation endured in constructive Treason was one of the greatest motives and inducements
to the late change; and, amongst other things, the regulation of Tryals for Treason was one of the Heads
presented to the King to be redressed. At Henry IV's
coming to the Crown, there was a Revolution as strange
and extraordinay as this. The first he made was reducing the Tryals for Treason to the 25th of Edward III.
Why? To let the people see, they were secure in their
Lives and Estates. Since the King came to the Government, it has been set out in several Acts how
Judgment of Treason was perverted. Our public faith
to the Nation was engaged in such a Bill as this.
That is the way to reconcile all People. This is only
as much as to say; corruptions were in the Judges,
and you will not remedy that: Before the 25th of Edward III, Common-Law Treasons were so numerous,
that nobody could tell what to do; and that of the
25th of Edward III was made, because there were so many
constructions then, and now so lately—I know not how
much wiser we are now than we were the last Session,
when this passed here, and the Lords put a clog upon
it. This is the means to quiet mens spirits.
Sir Edward Hussey.] To fill up the Blank, "That
the Bill shall not commence till the end of the French
War," is, nobody knows when. We have heard lately
of a Plot †, but whether a Plot, or no Plot, we know
not. I would fill up the Blank, "for the Bill to commence in January 1693, or 1694." If by that time the
Government be not settled, it will not be at all.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] I have heard it said, and without contradiction, "That King James's friends are plotting"—If this King had not extraordinarily stopped his
hands, he had made many examples—No doubt there
was a Plot; many Horse-Officers came to town—Your
safety is already shaken, and I hope you will consider
the King's safety so far as not to let this Bill commence
before the end of the French War.
Mr Sollicitor Trevor.] I offer, that the filling up of
the Blank may be, "From the end of the French War;"
and what moves me to it is, that from thence the danger of the Government proceeds; and to prevent the
great danger, and not go upon an imaginary danger.
Whether is the greater danger, from your Enemies, or an
imaginary one of injustice from Westminster-Hall? 'Tis
said by Clarges, "He wonders we are grown wiser this
Session than the last"—Nobody thinks the French made
that attempt, but from encouragement here. I hope, by
what we have learned since last Session, we shall be more
considerate now. The danger from Westminster-Hall is,
when Parliaments are not frequent; it is impossible, in
these circumstances of War we are in, that Parliaments
should not meet. This is enough to satisfy me, that
the danger is not from hence; and I move, "That this
Bill may commence from the time the French War shall
Mr Harley.] I suppose it out of doubt, that we are
in danger of our Enemies; will putting off this Bill secure you? The best way to secure the Government is to
set men at ease. Possibly the King, in his Speech, may
have particularly pointed out this Bill, because the only
public Bill that slipped the last Session. I join in the Motion, "That it commence in January next."
Mr Finch.] You have been moved to fill up the Blank
"To commence from and after the expiration of the
French War." When I consider the Motion, I admire:
'Tis a good reason, why the Bill should never take
place. We are told of Plots and Conspiracies, and that
the Bill should not pass now, because of them. The
meaning of that must be supposed, that it is very difficult to bring a guilty man to punishment. If so, I
would not have the Bill commence after the War,
but never. Therefore, I cannot but wonder, that, because of Plots, the Bill should not commence till after
the War, therefore pray let it never commence at all!
But this begs the Question, Whether this Bill brings difficulty upon the Government? Consider, it has once passed the House, been examined, and laid open, and then
it was thought requisite. But you are told, "There is
no danger of misconstruction of Treason whilst Parliaments are sitting, and so they will be during the War."
I have heard in this House of misconstruction of Treason,
judged by the very present Judges. If such misconstructions have been, they are very ancient, and still used.
The matter of this Bill provides no more, than that an
innocent man may have opportunity to make his innocence appear. How often has it been said, that denial
of a Copy of the Indictment to the prisoner is against
Law, and Records showed to verify that? All the Judges
before denied copies of Indictments; so they do still.
That was one thing laid as a hardship upon criminal
proceedings before. Is this a hindrance of Justice? I
do solemnly protest, that, if any man will show that
one part of the Bill acquits a guilty man, I will be
against that part, but till then I must not take it for
granted, that it is a Bill to cover Criminals. Therefore
I concur with the Motion "To commence January 25."
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] As this Clause is arraigned,
I think every man should declare it not to be a protection to guilty men. In the beginning of the Convention,
this was thought necessary; but now 'tis thought to
hinder bringing Criminals to Justice. You are told by
the Sollicitor-General, "There are no apprehensions of
the Judges, because of the frequency of Parliaments." But
if the matter desired be reasonable, we ought to keep
it out of the power of the Judges—I have known Judges
make Juries go out three times upon Ignoramus. We
find very forward Witnesses of late; one now in Newgate, Parson Young
(fn. 8) , who accused the Bishop of Rochester
of Treason: is it not prudent to prevent such practices?
If he had succeeded, the Persons must have died. I
cannot imagine why the Government should be weakened,
because a Copy of the Indictment must be given the prisoners. At the free Conference, the last Session, I heard
a great man say, "This Bill was not a new Law, but
a declarative Law, and not enacting a new Law." Why
should we not rectify that which the Judges say is no
Law? Therefore I move, "That this may commence
January the 25th next."
Sir John Lowther.] It has been said, "That a great
many have been committed for Treason, and not prosecuted." For that very reason, I am against that part
of the Bill— They are not only Enemies, by their own
confession, and we cannot prosecute them now, and yet
we must have this Bill to make prosecution more difficult. Were you a settled Government, this Bill would be
more proper than now. If they think this Bill will be
a protection, though but imaginary, and not real, it will be
an encouragement to designs against the Government.
There may be a reason for this Bill, but now this looks
like lessening the Prerogative, as is said, but properly it
lessens your strength of Government. If Liberty go beyond its bounds, 'tis no more so, but Licence. As the
Law now stands, it cannot touch such offenders, therefore I would not weaken it more by this Bill.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] This Bill must be passed, in the
result, by the King, and nobody else. I am afraid the
King is informed that this Bill is prejudicial to his security; but it was the Advice of the last Parliament, that,
for the security of the King, such a Bill was necessary;
and as the Law stands now, Witnesses for the Prisoners
are on their Words, and not their Oaths; this Bill is, that
they should not extravagantly say what they will. I
think this Bill therefore is for the King's safety.
Mr Comptroller Wharton.] I am one of those that
have always been for such a Bill, and shall ever be. I
cannot think people too easy upon their Tryals. I am
of opinion that those Gentlemen would not alter the
Law during the War, nor the practice of it. There are
such jealousies and such cases, that I fear it impossible
to answer, when people own not the Government; and
one is, that the King has no right to the Crown, and
therefore we cannot alter the Law: But unless something
be done to this purpose, when our eyes are open, and
in a little more security—not to commence till the end of
the War; then you may have this Law to Posterity. We
shall have Peace, or else not be a Nation. Let it be as
easy to hang a great man, as it was to hang Lord Russel.
I would pass the Bill for Posterity, and fill up the blank,
"Not to commence till the end of the War."
Col. Granville.] I shall never countenance any thing
against the Government. I came into the change as early
as any body to the Government, and will be the last
that shall go out of it. I wonder that Gentlemen of
the Privy-Council should complain of men riding armed,
and that they are not laid by the heels; but to tell you,
that such a Bill should pass, and no certain time limited
when it should commence, is a contradiction. But the
best time to have this Bill, is when we can get it. Now
we have a good Prince on the Throne, and no more seasonable time than now. The Judges tell you, "One
Witness, with Circumstances, is sufficient to convict a man
of Treason;" but to let men come out of prison, after
having been long detained, and nothing against them;
and since there have been practices of forging hands, as
in the Bishop of Rochester's case, it is very seasonable
to have such a Bill.
Sir John Lowther.] Without a special Commission of
Oyer and Terminer, it is impossible to bring these men
Mr Finch.] You have been told who are for and who
against this Bill without doors; those I would regard.
'Tis said, "Those who have not taken the Oaths to the
Government, are for this Bill." I did, and am for it.
The objection against it is; "Make not prosecution of
Treason more difficult now, than in former reigns," A
great man was named: (I can easily guess why) Was
that great man prosecuted illegally, and therefore pray
continue it so? These very Judges have resolved the same
point of Law. That which makes truth appear, (which
is the design of this Bill) makes it impossible that a
guilty man should escape. I find eyes were upon me,
when the things were stirred, urging a point of Law, in
Lord Delamere's Tryal, "That one Witness with Circumstances, and violent Circumstances, was sufficient."
I say so now—If there be any fault in it, it is what all
Nations concur in. 'Tis said "that men ride armed,
and declare the King has no right to the Crown, and are
for King James"—I attended the answer, and it was
said, "There was no good proof"—If proof, why are
not these men punished? 'Tis said, "That men can point
out, who are for, and who against the Government."
'Tis a hard circumstance for men to be pointed out, to be
slandered by the Fye, and to expose them to the sury of
the Rabble. If Circumstances be strong against a man,
he ought to be brought to Tryal. The Judges have judged, "That one Witness, with pregnant Circumstances,
is proof against a man;" and they having so judged, it is
time for the Parliament to declare what are pregnant
Circumstances. I think this is no hardship upon the
Government, and therefore I am for it. I think no
Englishman can be safe, if the King be not safe upon the
Throne; and the establishment of him there is the security of every Englishman, and this Bill does do it, and
it is no hardship upon the Government—only without it
it is impossible for an innocent man to make his innocence appear.
Mr Comptroller Wharton.] I think that the PrivyCouncil are not in fault—I have an ill opinion of some,
but no proof against them.
[The Report was ordered to be made on Thursday.]
At the Debates which follow the Compiler was not present, but
they were sent him down by Friends into the Country.
In a Letter from Mr Wilmot, [the other Member for Derby,]
dated December 20 (fn. 9) .
This is to acquaint you, that the Lords this day desired a
Conference, when they delivered over to us an abstract of all
Letters and Orders betwixt the Queen and Lord Nottingham to
Admiral Russel, and those from him to them, the abbreviation
made by the Lords, but the Letters, or Copies, to justify and
vouch the same, were also delivered. The abbreviation was made,
Mr Russel taking Notes all the while, after which he answered,
and explained all things very well, in my Judgment, and would
have been so, I believe, in yours. Indeed resolved enemies could
not but acquit him, as hereafter followed. I was near, and attentive, and did not find any more considerable than what
was in the Papers delivered to us by Mr Russel himself. The
abbreviation only was read, and not the vouchers at large, but
Mr Russel's friends thought the House was ripe for Judgment
by the abbreviation being read first.
Mr Comptroller Wharton made some speech in commendation
of the Admiral and his services, but more large in reflection
on Lord Nottingham, and concluded with a Motion "to address
the King to remove him."This was seconded by a Motion
only from Sir John Morton. Then
Mr Smith.] The Admiral having been thanked by the House
for his services, and having been reflected on, or endeavoured to
be so, in the House of Lords, and all the papers transmitted to
us, my Motion is, "That it is for the purpose, to have our
Judgments thereon, and that we should declare, that he has,
in the last summer's expedition at Sea, behaved himself with
Courage, Conduct, and Fidelity." This was seconded by
Mr Palmes, Sir Robert Howard, and Mr Sollicitor-General
Sir John Lowther.] I acknowlege as much the service of the
Admiral as any, and prosess myself ready to join in any Vote,
either to be clear or grateful to the Admiral, but withall, I can
no way yield to the Motion of the Comptroller; for, of my
knowlege, no man, with greater zeal, pains, or fidelity, I believe,
can serve the Government than Lord Nottingham. I move
therefore, "Not to be jealous of one another, but to let the
papers lie upon the Table."
But he was not seconded therein. Many spoke to the Motion of Mr Smith, and more against it; till the Question being
about to be put.
Sir Christopher Musgrave said,] It is improper yet to make
any Judgment, the vouchers not being read.
This was seconded by Mr Bickerstasse, Mr Pcregrine Bertie,
and Mr Dalton, and, I think, none else. At last the Question
moved by Smith being put, passed Nem con. not much against the
grain. I should have told you, that Mr Finch, with all respect
and acknowlegement first paid to the Admiral, reflected what
he could, in his fine way, upon him; but it was the Letters of
Mr Russel that made reflection upon him, if any were; and in
answer to the Sollicitor's Speech, who said, "He was by fly insinuation reflected on," concluded with Musgrave's Motion. After the Question carried Nem.con. Mr Russel stood up, and said,
"I am happy in having such a Judge and Jury as the House
of Commons, and will never desire any other, but will therto
submit all my actions."
Afterwards said, "It has been very difficult and uneasy to me to
serve in these two Summers Expeditions, where, besides the great
charge of my Place, I was obliged not to tread awry, for fear of
the Ministers, which was to me a great Discouragement, and
would be to any man who shall command in my Post, which I
expected not to do."
He then reflected more on the Earl of Nottingham; full enough.
But the House took no farther notice at this time; but the Order was "To make Report of the first Conference."
[And it was Resolved, "That Admirall Russel, in his Command
of the Fleet during the last Summer's Expedition, has behaved
himself with Fidelity, Courage, and Conduct. This Vote was
ordered to be delivered to the Lords at a Conference.