Thursday, February 19.
[On the Bill for Ease of Sheriffs.]
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Would have the office, if not
lucrative, at least not damageable, and supplied by men
of parts; that Gentlemen may have the honour of it, and
not the damage.
Colonel Strangways.] The Under-sheriffs know the
office, and are often in it; by that time the High-sheriff
understands his office, he is out of it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Is for being but once Sheriff. 9 Edward II. "The morrow after All-souls, they are to be
pricked by the Chancellor and Judges appointment."
However the practice is, the law is so.
Sir Robert Carr.] You have an example in Hertfordshire, Sir John Read's case; would have that considered.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Would have Rutlandshire added
to some of the neighbouring counties, there being so few
Gentlemen, that they must often be Sheriffs.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The King need not fear it; he has
but little to collect now by Sheriffs, and no danger.
Sir Robert Howard.] If the Proviso was of an injurious nature, for the Gentlemen of Yorkshire, they
might have it by turns. Being Sheriffs but once sets up
vying in expences. In Parliament time, five hundred
Gentlemen are exempted from being Sheriffs—Would
take this occasion to do the best work in the world, to
make the office to be borne with credit and honour—By recommitting it, ways may be proposed, that Gentlemen be not burdened in the office.
Mr Boscawen.] Those, by this Proviso, will be brought
to spend their estates in the Country; the fewness will
bring them down, and when that is done, you may repeal the Act; more Gentlemen, that live here about the
town, being brought into the country.
Mr Garroway.] You have been told of great inconveniences of Gentlemen sitting here, and hopes, by recommitting the Bill, that may be mended.
Mr Cholmondeley presents a Proviso, "That the Accounts of the
County Palatine of Chester may pass as formerly." Which was
accepted, [and the Bill was ordered to be ingrossed.]
Friday, February 20.
In a Grand Committee. On the present State of Ireland.
Lord Obrien.] Desires that Lord Angier may give you
an account, how the commission was granted to take the
money out of the Exchequer in Ireland, into private
hands; the first cut given to Monarchy there.
Lord Angier.] Is surprized at what falls from Lord
Obrien; it may be thought malice in him to say any
thing, because a sufferer there from persons—Desires it
may be said by Lord Orrery.
Colonel Birch.] This, of the revenue, is but one part,
though a very great one; he loves to talk of Ireland,
when we can talk so cheap of it as now; neither to cost
us blood nor treasure.
Divers Motions were made for Lord Orrery, "to speak his
knowledge," but they were rejected, "till he please to speak."
Sir Henry Ford.] The Proverb says, "Losers may
speak;" he hopes Lord Angier is no loser, because he
will not speak.
Lord Angier.] Has the honour of being a Privy
Counsellor of Ireland, and knows not how he can declare
his knowledge, being the business of the revenue, transacted in the Council.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Would only know, whether there
be any such commission granted out, whereby the Treasury is put into private hands.
Sir John Birkenhead.] If a Privy Counsellor be asked,
"who advised the King such things at the Council
Table," he is obliged not to tell you, but generally
"how affairs stand as to the revenue in Ireland," he may
Mr Stanhope.] The story of Mordecai and Esther—If thou dost not thy duty, thou shalt perish too—Would have
both the Lords urged to speak their knowledge.
Sir John Hotham.] Desires that the Speaker may take
the Chair, if Gentlemen will not declare their knowledge,
that we may go about other business, concerning the
"English Grievances," if we proceed not now on the
Lord Obrien.] Thinks him not worthy of the office of
Privy Counsellor, that will not declare his knowledge in
what may prejudice his King and Country. He is of the
Council, and knows a certain Lord Ranelagh; he and
his partners have engrossed all the interest, with some little people he has picked up, engrossing the revenue of
the Crown of England—You know what precedents of
punishment—The case of Sir George Ratcliffe was a severe
clog upon Lord Strafford—Judges these things, because
there is something more in it than the pleasure of managing
the revenue. Lord Ranelagh pretended to pay all the
King's debts, and to put up forty thousand pounds in the
King's purse; the King had reason to close with them.—He compassed it, by getting in people to manage the revenue, who owed the Crown much money—Fifty-three
thousand pounds were cut off for twelve thousand pounds,
which is cut off by pardon to that Lord and his partners
—The Judges are so terrified and awed by this Lord,
that they are forced to put in execution severe penalties
for small offences, and vast sums of money are extorted
from the subject—When the accounts run the old regular
way, there was no money but what was payable and discharged by the Exchequer Record; they charge, from first
to last, in the Court of Claims, and, if acquittances are
lost, the money is paid over again; no Record in the Exchequer, their cattle seized for want of payment; these
cattle driven to no pound near, but, it may be, forty miles
off—For the army, he detains the money, and no payment of money when he might do it—These things ought
to be remedied as Grievances, and what farther he remembers he shall tell you—If "he has the revenue in his
hand, and has held correspondence with France," hopes
you will be warmer in the thing.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] A chart, or project, was brought
the King, that he will run over an hundred thousand
pounds in his revenue in few years, and another project
that he might get as much. Can say nothing of the fitness,
or unfitness of gathering the money, or to the process out
of the Exchequer; when Lord Obrien will come to these
particulars, shall be able to say something to it—As to
Lord Ranelagh's "correspondencies with foreign Ambassadors," they are things of great suspicion and ill fame,
though it may be, no great hurt.
Earl of Orrery.] Be pleased to move the House for a
Committee to see the Contract for the revenue, and hear
proofs. When the whole matter is heard regularly, and
brought into the House, he will submit to justice.
Sir Thomas Lee.] This looks as if persons were striving
who should have the revenue, whether he that has it now,
or returned again to him that had it—He thought to have
heard something of Popery—Was in hopes to have heard
something of which way we might be instrumental to
keep that kingdom from being over-run with Popery—
—All these things spoken of may be remedied by a Parliament in Ireland.
Lord Cavendish.] By Lord Ranelagh's suggestion to the
King, knows not whether to save charges, but the
money is disposed of to the most notorious Papists in Ireland, upon pretence of disbanding the army—Lord Angier,
if he pleases, can inform you farther.
Mr Harwood.] Would have that Lord's Patent brought
you in, to view the whole matter.
Lord Angier.] Several payments have been, both according to the old and new establishment—Desires all
may come before you at a Committee.
The Speaker, out of the Chair.] Agrees with those
that move for a Committee—He expected the story would
have gone much higher, but finds all has ended in an
accusation against a noble Lord—If some persons (fn. 1) had
gone through the farming of the Customs of England,
you would never have heard of this of Ireland—Hopes
this House shall never be made a property for private interests—Knows this Lord to be a worthy person, a loyal
subject, a good Christian, and true to his friend—The
scheme of the revenue of Ireland was brought to the
King by those that managed it there, besides great sums
in taxes and poll-money out of England—The army was
twenty-two months in arrears of their pay, and it was
assured the state of the revenue could not answer the
charge. Lord Ranelagh showed so many things were
mistaken, that the revenue would abundantly satisfy the
charge; he undertook the payment of the arrears of the
army, and money to the King over, without any other
alteration, than changing Lord Ranelagh for Vice-President of Munster, and undertakes it—What became of the
abatement of the charge Obrien tells you; it comes not
to his partners, but the King; all is but a difference between the present Farmers, who pay it more narrowly
than before—The fines and penalties are not his; they
all come to the Crown—They are all in print; if an account be given of this farm by those that have been chief
Governors, you will find nothing—But that you may
not pass over these errors, commit it.
Lord Obrien.] A pardon is obtained to Lord Ranelagh to lie leger for him; if not faulty, why has he a
pardon? Desires the Speaker to tell the Committee.
The Speaker.] He has taken out no Pardon; which
words Lord Obrien taking exceptions at, the Speaker
said, He is unfortunate if any thing that he said reflected, but is confident of matter of fact—The account
Saturday, February 21.
A Bill concerning Lindsey Level was read the first time.
Mr Sawyer.] Averments are to and fro about the matter of this Bill, but the issue must be one way. This Bill
has a retrospect and a prospect. No decree can settle the
matter in Chancery; if property of the country about
the draining be in the case, and whether consent or not
a consent of property, few know; therefore would commit the Bill.
Sir Richard Temple.] To speak as a Buckinghamshire
man, he would have all the Fens drowned; but you
have once thought that this Bill deserved a hearing before.
What cannot be done by argument, is often done by delay; if these things alleged can be made out, hopes
your justice will not be destroyed by delay.
The Bill was ordered to be read a second time.
Mr Howe desired leave to go into the Country, to make his
defence against a Presentment of a Riot alleged to be committed by him.
Sir Robert Howard.] The presentment at the sessions
is "for spoiling the grass, &c. by hunting deer," Mr
Howe keeping deer in his woods, having no park, chace,
nor free warren there, in Bradley woods.
Mr Waller.] Informations of this nature may carry
away half the House—Would refer it to the Committee
Sir Thomas Lee.] The presentment of a Constable is
by virtue of an oath, and by the duty of his place he presents, as offences, riots, contra pacem, which is the case
before you. Is not satisfied that your Member should be
so prosecuted, and yet would not protect him in a breach
of the peace—Would commit it.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] This is not matter of record.
If no indictment, your Member may stay here and no
proceedings will be.
Sir Robert Carr.] You are told that this presentment
is from the "Chief Constable," not the "Petty Constable." It looks extraordinary that the "Head Constable" is active in the case; therefore would commit it.
[It was referred to the Committee of Privileges.]
On a Breach of Privilege against Sir John Coryton's servant.
Colonel Birch.] The course is, any man that complains
must stand up, and aver, that the man arrested is his menial servant.
[Mr Clarke said, "couchant & levant in his house."]
Sir Thomas Lee.] Those paper protections are an umbrage, that the man may be a shop-keeper, or some other
person; therefore would commit it, to know the certainty.
The Speaker.] The servant was taken in execution,
and because he would not lie by it, he shows his protection.
The person, at whose suit it was, was sent for in custody.
The Bill of Habeas Corpus was read the third time.
Occasionally upon Sir Edward Masters's Motion, in that Bill
to alter the penalty upon officers not worth the penalty.
The Speaker.] Exceptions cannot be taken to a Bill at
the last reading, but such as may be mended at the
The Bill passed.
Sir Nicholas Carew brought in a Bill for a Test for Members of
both Houses for Popery.
Mr Sacheverell.] Thinks it necessary, and would not
defer reading it; to-morrow is a holiday, and you cannot do a better work.
Monday, February 23.
The Lords Bill was read for trial of Peers; "The number to
try them not under twenty-five, at least; of or above the age of
twenty-one years; so there be twenty-five appear, no defect of
Sir Lancelot Lake.] The Lords have great reason for
this Bill; they may be tried by a pack of enemies; it
has been so, and they have no challenge; the Lord
Steward begins his office but that morning—Moves for
a second reading, and to give some additions.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Repeats the purport of the
Bill: Nolumus leges mutari, &c. in this the Laws are
changed; for inconvenience, in the present way of tryal,
he knows none. In this King's reign there has been the
least noble blood shed of any since the Conquest—If the
Lords join in combination, they may ravish your daughters, and do you all the injury in the world, and no remedy for it—The Lords have no oath given them, because of known integrity—Shall they judge us upon honour, and condemn upon impeachments, without an
oath, and they not trust one another? Commonly, in
the Preamble of a Bill that alters any thing, the inconveniences are recited; there is no pretence in the old
Law, as it is already, and he would throw the Bill out.
Colonel Birch.] The same reason given against this
may be given against most Bills. Blessed be God! we
have had no occasion for it yet, but we know not hereafter what may be: For taking from the Lords these
fears, would quiet us of these fears—that it may not be
so—Thinks it not possible to have those correspondences
with the Lords you expect, without it, therefore would
read the Bill again a second time.
Sir Thomas Higgins.] The former Bill that the Lords
sent of this nature, not two Gentlemen spoke for retaining; knows not how the state of the kingdom is altered
since—You, by this Bill, will alter the whole Law of
England—Their powers were so great once, that the
King and Commons could not reach them—If the greater
part of the Lords agree to conspire against the King,
to ruin us, and no tryal but what they please, kindred,
and friends and allies of their Jury, and no remedy,
they are acquitted—The Law has provided already admirably well, and he would not read it again.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Was one of those few that formerly would have retained the Lords Bill. He would not
have this Bill pass as it is penned; as it is penned, twenty
five are to have summons—If you give challenges to the
Law, as it is already, that will remedy it; much more
subject as it is now, than by this Bill—Retain it to alter
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would remind you of the occasion
of not retaining their former Bill; they had thrown out
several of our Bills; it is not to be retained as it is, but
may be mended; he offers challenges—It would be of
great good to have power to swear persons at our Bar (as
the Lords have) in Elections and Privileges, and hopes
to have it in this Bill.
Sir Robert Howard.] Shall not urge any thing that
may be indecent; the Bill is of a strange nature—If so
many Peers will unite together, to be injurious both to
the King and the Commons, this is throwing an arbitrary
power into the hands of a number of men. 'Tis possible that
a Peer may be unjust; the Lords have said it in twelve,
and he may say it in twenty-five—In the challenge of a
Commoner, if we look a Jury man in the face, and like
him not, it is a just challenge—If you commit this Bill,
you can preserve nothing but the preamble, and let them
be tried as we are—Though he is not against any Bill for
their ease, nor against it, if tried with exceptions against
their Jury as we are, yet it is not for us to enact things
for the Lords honour.
Mr Sawyer.] The arguments are so strong, that no Commoner but would be persuaded by them; yet would not
throw out the Bill at the first reading. Where there has
been great debate, and arguing, 'tis a great disrespect, and
to be done only, when nothing in it can be made good
—If the Lords had thought that challenges would have
solved it, they would surely have put it in. Usually
more is asked than will be taken. Thinks that proper
challenges would content. It is one thing to receive the
Lords into the state of Commoners; and to let them
have challenges upon one another, another thing.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Circumstances of things and times
alter things. The prospect of affairs is very melancholy,
and, perhaps, some Lords are Papists, and others Protestants, and have a kindness for their Religion. This
prospect makes him for a second reading it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] In some Bills, if the Lords cannot get new Privileges, they throw them out—The
Bill "for security in time of the infection of the Plague"
was lost, because the Lords would have it make a distinction of their lands, as well as of their persons—When the Law "of imprisonment for debt" was made,
the Peers were exempted—The Commons act for the
whole interest of the Nation, as well as the Peers—This tryal is for themselves; the Commons are never
the better for it—For in the whole House, the numbers returnable take out near relations and Bishops—And they are to be tryed by their friends. You tie
them together the better to effect what they have a
mind to do, by hopes of impunity. Take care that no
Popish Lords be in tryals. But observe, that no Popish Lord, since the Reformation, has suffered by his
Peers Jury—There is no danger of the Writ De hæretico
comburendo (fn. 2) . They are returned by the Lord Steward, in
the nature of summons by the Sheriff. The Lord Steward
dares not make a corrupt return, because every Peer is concerned, and that family set out as destructive to Peers,
and all the Peers will be upon him—No Peer can be
tryed but by a face he knows—Would throw this Bill
out, because the Commons are never the better for it.
Sir William Coventry.] Has heard no man affirm an
equality of tryal; that goes to the bottom. If a Peer has
but seven enemies, he may, as the Law now stands, be
destroyed—We are providing new Laws for our own
security, and it is reasonable the Lords should. They
are a considerable part of the Nation; and we may want
our influence that we may hope for from them, of Religion and Property. The Bill is not so extravagant, as
he has heard said; for the Peers had, heretofore, great
er powers than now. There are few Papists convict
and so they are capable of being Juries. The tryal now
aimed at is not so different from the ancient constitution. Heretofore they were not so numerous; twenty
four Lords went a great way, and came near the whole
number. Then, if the major part of twelve cut off a
Lord's head, he had hard fortune; but now it is no
hard matter to find twenty four Lords. No danger of
ruin to the Commons, only in point of stealing away,
and from that their estates pretty well secure you. But
for murder, in case of Appeal, he must be tryed by
Commoners. That still remains. He moves, because
he thinks it for the good of Religion in this conjuncture,
(the King often present in the Lords House, and that
they may make Debates in their House with as much
freedom as we do here,) for a second reading.
Mr Powle.] Thinks that this Bill cannot be made better—Still for the inconvenience of the Commons—They
have a more speedy way than greater men. Here they
must come for Aids, and the Lords must comply—If this Bill be, the Lords may conspire to let the Crown
fall into their hands—Such a way, as, in effect, exempts
them from all capital punishment, if any Lord has a
friend, that can prevail with a Lord to stay at home,
when summoned, though he be of another opinion—It is setting up Aristocracy against Monarchy. If they
carry this Bill, they will be Kings—If not impunity,
for any ambitious man that is popular. Do you not,
by making them masters of your lives, make them masters
of your estates also? The Lords, to set up a distinct interest betwixt the King and them! Would rather be under
the Government of a lawful Prince than the Lords.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Apprehends no danger in this
Bill, as things at this day stand. Thinks it not fit that
the Lords, who must speak against Popery, should be
tryed by Popish Lords. The whole Jury may be Popish.
Colonel Strangways.] Arguments against Popery go a
great way with him. Suppose a Lord arraigned for
Treason, in the King's Bench, and they, by Writ of Error, remove it, and the Lords say, it is no Treason.
How many troubles were in England when the Lords
were great!—Would not do things for imaginary reasons—That's only the case.
Sir William Hickman.] Consider the security of the Nation—There never was a better time for correspondence
with the Lords, and hopes, that by it we may get our
witnesses sworn at our own Bar.
Sir Robert Carr.] If we were always sure of such
noble Peers as we now have, he would be for this Bill.
As to the argument, "if we give no countenance to this
Bill, ours will not succeed in the Lords House;" thinks
that will not prevail upon noble Peers. You are told of
challenges; if so, they may be tryed by their relations,
and so never be brought to justice.
* * * * * * *] This Bill may be made a good Bill.
It is reasonable they should have equal tryal as the
Commons have—He speaks now in the behalf of the
Commons, when prevalency of great men—Though
we are happy now, yet knows not what may be hereafter. When tryed, may he not find seven of twelve
that may acquit him? They have more security, as this
Bill stands, than before. As for dependence on the
Crown, what have you to fear, if the Lords, out of
twelve, may have liberty to challenge? Appeals to the
experience of former ages that this has been fatal to the
Lords predecessors. Lord Dacre, upon his tryal (fn. 3) , desired
to wave his Privilege of Peerage, and to be tryed by
Commoners; but could not have it. Hopes we shall
never see the Lords uppermost, for then the Law
you make now will be changed. If the King's Ministers,
and the Lord Steward, may approve of the Jury, and
the party tryed have liberty to except, it may do well.
Lord Obrien.] For the sake of some sons of Peers,
that sit here, who may come to tryal, he would have the
Bill read again.
Sir Edward Smith, of Ireland.] Put the case, that some
Gentleman brings in a Bill for tryal of the Commons, so
many of his kindred to be of the Jury—This is much
worse; all are kindred and relations in the Lords House,
and so there is no crime that they will punish—It introduces Aristocracy.
Mr Boscawen.] 'Tis as much injustice to be tryed by
friends as enemies; but as to putting the Question for passing the Bill as it now is, he is against it. Were the Lords
an entire body, another thing; they marry with Commons,
and are interested with them. Upon Appeals they are
tryed by the Commons. The numbers are not so hard to
be gotten as formerly; they live not so remote. Would
read it a second time.
Mr Attorney North.] Likes not the subject-matter of
the Bill, and when that is not to be approved of, hopes
you will lay it aside. In civil tryals they have great Privileges. Instead of the Sheriff, the High Steward is "to
summon twenty five of not suspected integrity," and so
no challenge can be. To pretend to be weary of the usual
way of tryal, is a mere pretence. Any rape, or capital
offence, may be committed on a Commoner, by a Peer,
and 'tis hard to have equal Justice. Believes, that, if any
Clause should be sent to the Lords about challenges, it
would be thought a reflection upon the whole House of
Lords. The more dangerous for the numerousness of
Peers; the Lord that's to be tryed will send all the Kingdom over, to sollicit relations. The Lord Steward cannot
so well do it. Then how bold will they make with the
Commons, and tend to setting up an Aristocracy! Appeals
we have in notion, but not three have been brought in an
hundred years (fn. 4) . If a proper Law towards it, would not
have been against it, but would lay this aside.
Mr Swynfin.] The Question is not upon the particulars
of the Bill, but the design and scope of it; at the second
reading then proper to be debated. The Question now
is only, whether the Lords, having sent you a Bill to alter the scope of their tryals, you should take it, or not,
into consideration; whether the Law is so exact now, as that
a larger way of tryal be not better, or worth taking into
your consideration. Either favour or partiality is stronger,
as now it is, in a few—Is for a second reading.
Sir John Duncombe.] It is not reasonable to trust the
Lords with such a power. We fear that a Lord should
suffer for conspiracy; the more Lords the more conspiracy. You are putting the Lords, by this Bill, into a
higher condition to do it by Law. What is this for?
Only temporary fears, and so all Laws changed—Consider whether the Lords will not do as the Senate of
Venice. If they knock one of us on the head, let us
stick to one another—Is against a second reading.
Sir Edward Dering.] This concerns all the Commons.
You take away the birthright of every Commoner—The
latter Clause of the Bill takes away all remedy of Appeal.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If their ancient way of tryal be
grievous to them, this Bill is no more than in pursuance
of the King's Speech, about their properties. The ancient
way of tryals was in Parliament. Till Henry IV's time,
no knowledge of an High Steward. It is so in Ireland,
in placito Parliamento, and no otherwise. In Henry VII's
time, Poyning's Law. There is reason to alter this Law—The axe has not been wet with noble blood, but since the
King comes to the Lords House, and perhaps, the Lords
successors may be under a violent Prince, and if the Lords
speak freely, twelve men may be packed and dispatch them.
In Henry VIIIth's time, more Nobility lost their lives
by tryal, than from that time to the Conquest, but none
were put to death but by Law. The Earl of Surry, the
Countess of Salisbury, and Anne Bullen, were hard cases.
Upon the whole, would have a second reading—In the
main, it is a good Bill.
Resolved, That the Bill be read a second time, [179 to 106.]
N. B. In this Session of Parliament there was a Debate in the
House of Lords concerning taking away the Writ De hæretico comburendo; which is a Writ in the Register, before 2 Henry V, in
which time the Statute against Lollards was made, and put in
execution against them. A Writ De hæretico comburendo was,
before that time, at Common Law. The Bishop and Ecclesiastical Power were Judges of Heresy, who, upon condemnation
of the party, delivered him up to the Secular Power; and the
Writ De hæretico comburendo was thereupon issued out. That
Writ being still in force at Common Law, and the same power
in the Clergy, notwithstanding the Statute of Queen Elizabeth
of the thirty-nine Articles, and the Statute of Heresy, upon the
misfortune of Catholic Governors and Clergy, as in the Marlan
days, that Writ is still in force, and may be put in execution (fn. 5) .
Tuesday, February 24.
The Black Rod, about ten of the clock in the morning, came
to command the attendance of the House upon the King, in the
House of Lords; where his Majesty, after a short Speech, prorogued the Parliament to November 10, without passing any Bill,
this being the third Prorogation without passing any Bill. [And on