« PreviousContinue »
"who faid that there is a plot, and that Oates was a lying ❝rógue."
That Mr. Henry Goring, the younger, met him in the • Lobby, when he was newly elected, and defired him to use his intereft to get Sir John Gage bailed.' He replied, That he would not use his intereft to get traytors bailed; and that he was no man to do it, because he had accufed him.' Who replied, That Mr. Oates was a rafcal, and a lying rogue; and he fwore," by God, he believed not Mr. Oates, though the "Houfe did," and called him, "bafe impudent fellow." Mr. Oates returned Mr. Goring ill language; but left that to Mr. Goring to repeat. He fpoke of it in the country," that the
King had juftified him when he had abufed Mr. Oates," and leaves it to Mr. Goring's honour to deny it. He added, "I "defire to be removed from Whitehall, and to make use of the "liberty the law allows me. I have been threatned with car"rying to the water-fide, and to be fent down the river; and "can give good reafon why they intend me for a facrifice. I "have been baffled and abufed, and hindred from ferving my country. The King holds his crown by the fame title I hold my "liberty.
These words gave offence to many; and, on a subsequent day, he was reprimanded for them by the Speaker; to whom
Mr. Oates anfwered.] "I am forry I gave offence to the Houfe, in what I faid, but it was my confcience, and it was truth; and though I may not fay it here, I will fay it elsewhere, and believe it too."- This bold reply produced the following debate.
Mr. Secretary Coventry:] "Pray confider what the House will come to, if perfons be permitted to speak here at this
Sir Robert Howard.] "Mr. Oates went very high in his expreffions the other day, and you gave him a gentle reprimand; but now he has afferted the judgment of the Houfe of Commons and his judgment to be different. He fays, That he would fay the words elfewhere.' Let him know, that the Houfe will not suffer it. It is a high thing, and I would have him told of it sharply by the Speaker."
Sir Robert Peyton.] "It will be very hurtful to give any dif couragement to the King's evidence. It has already gone all over the city."
Sir John Ernly.] "He tells you, notwithstanding your ten
derness in reprimanding him, that he will fay the words elfewhere.' Send for him, and give him a reprimand."
Mr. Garroway.] "I would not enter into a debate of this naMr. Oates is a paffionate man, and none of the best natured men; but no man can regularly cenfure Mr. Oates, but he must debate the merits of the thing he has faid. Send for him in, and only admonish him to ufe better language for the future, but I would by no means enter into the argument of the merits of the thing."
Mr. Secretary Coventry.] "This language is like a woman indicted for being a whore, and fhe fays, She is as honest as any woman in the highest place.' This is very indecent."
After a great deal of idle altercation on this fubject, Mr. Oates was called to the bar, and received a fecond reprimand from
The Speaker.] "I am commanded by the House to tell you, that the Houfe is not fatisfied with the reply you made when you was reprimanded for what you faid the other day, and it does not become you at all. You came not here to expostulate, but to obey the orders of the House."
After this gentle reprimand, for a rudeness which, on any other occafion, would have made him a prifoner to the Serjeant at Arms, he was permitted to give evidence against several Members who had spoken ill of him, and intimated their disbelief of the plot and in confequence of his teftimony, fome were expelled the House.
In the course of these enquiries, the House became more and more inflamed against the Miniftry.-They renewed their addreffes for the removal of the Duke of Lauderdale; and came to feveral warm refolutions against the Earl of Danby, who had pleaded his Majefty's pardon to their impeachment. In particular, they
"Refolved, That no Commoner whatsoever fhall prefume to maintain the validity of the pardon pleaded by the Earl of Danby, without the confent of this House first had; and that the perfons fo doing, fhall be accounted Betrayers of the Liberties of the Commons of England."
They extended their zeal farther, and made a fevere fcrutiny into the application of the fecret fervice money, by which they detected many of the tools of minifterial power. Sir Stephen Fox, (one of their Members) through whofe hands this money
paffed, was very unwilling to make any discovery; but the House, with becoming spirit and refolution
"Ordered, That Sir John Hotham, Sir Roger Peyton, and Sir John Holman, do accompany Sir Stephen Fox to Whitehall, and that he do bring his Leidger Book, Cash-book, and Journal, and his Receipts for money by him paid, for fecret fervice;' [and he is enjoined not to go out of the company of the faid Members, before they return to the Houfe; and that no Member do depart the fervice of this Houfe, until Sir Stephen Fox, and the other Members, do return.]
After fome time
"Sir John Hotham, and the reft, returned from Whitehall, and report, That, according to order, they attended Fox to Whitehall. They were not half a quarter of an hour there, but Fox called his fervants to bring fuch books as they had in their cuftody, and fent for other fervants that had the reft. Some great books were brought into the room; but whilft he fent for the acquittances, the Lord Chamberlain came in, and fpoke to Fox. Fox faid, Thefe Gentlemen are fome Mem'bers of the House, and I fhall not speak without their hearing.' My Lord Chamberlain faid, I take notice that you are employed to fearch for books and papers, but you fhall not take any away out of Whitehall.' I replied, "Some, it feems, do make friends of the unrighteous mammon: your Lordfhip has quick information of what we came about, for our Houfe doors were fhut.' My Lord Chamberlain faw the miftake, and would have debated fome things; but I faid, I was not sent to argue this, or that, but to obey my order.' My Lord Chamberlain was very defirous to tell us, why those books. were not to be taken out of Whitehall; but I faid, Let me
have what your Lordfhip would fay in writing, and I will 6 inform the House of it.' But what he faid was, That he • dared not confent that any books should go out of Whitehall, without the King's orders; nor that we fhould infpect any books, without the King's command.' I had forgot one thing that my Lord Chamberlain faid, viz. I would not do any thing that fhould look like the difpleafure of the Houfe of Commons; but, I believe, if the Houfe addrefs the King, they may have their defire."
The House being thus difappointed of the books, the Clerk was ordered to read over the names of the Members of the last Parliament, and Fox, on pain of their displeasure, was com-* pelled to charge thofe who had received fecret fervice money,' and he named feven and twenty who had annual penfions, to va
The arbitrary behaviour of the Judges of thefe times, like wife, afforded matter of parliamentary enquiry; and there are fome fpirited debates on that fubject, which our limits will not allow us to abridge. Neither have we room to give extracts from the curious debate concerning the Petitioners and Abborrers, which ended in the following juft and noble refolutions.
"Refolved, nemine contradicente, [That it is, and ever hath been, the undoubted right of the fubjects of England, to petition the King, for the calling and fitting of Parliaments, and redreffing of grievances.
"Refolved, nemine contradicente, That to traduce fuch petiti oning, as a violation of duty, and to reprefent it to his Majefty as tumultuous and feditious, is to betray the liberty of the fubject, and contributes to the defign of fubverting the ancient legal conftitution of this kingdom, and introducing arbitrary power."
These refolutions require no comment. Nothing can be more evident, than, that to deny the fubjects right of petitioning, is to deftroy the very effence of freedom. But thanks to the brave Patriots of 1688, this right is fully established by the revolutional Magna Charta,
In the course of their enquiries, the Houfe found, that the Court and its Dependents, were all ftrongly inclined in favour of the popish party and to prevent the dangers which might arife from a Succeffor, who was a bigot to that religion, a bill was brought to exclude the Duke of York from the fucceffion to the Crown. This occafioned violent clamour, both within doors and without, and the coffee-houfe Politicians expreffed their zeal in fuch bold terms, as reached the notice of the Houfe.
"Sir Robert Clayton gave the Houfe information, that there were fome at the door, who could give an account of the scandalous deportment of one Mr. Jofeph Pagget, a Minifter, in matters relating to the Votes of this Houfe.
"Mr. Loe, an Evidence.] On Tuesday night laft, I was at a coffee-house in St. Michael's-alley, where I had fame acquaintance with me; where, calling for the Votes of the House, they found them thus abufed. The vote of the Duke's being a papift, and the hopes of his coming fuch to the Crown, &c. were underwritten, a damnable lie. The vote of Defence of the King's perfon, &c. viz. 1648.' A bill brought in to difable the Duke to fucceed, &c. Voted like rogues.'
"Another Evidence.] I went to Edwin's coffee-houfe in St. Michael's-alley. I faw the Votes, at another table in the room, abufed (as has been related.) I asked the woman, who had abufed the Votes ?' Her husband anfwered, Somebody has played the rogue with them.' Three at the other table were gone, but the faid, That a Minifter called for pen and ink,
and wrote it.'
"Mr. Loe again.] I faw the Minifter write upon the Votes, and cross them. I know not the Parfon's name; but his brother has a living in Leicestershire, and his name is Jofeph Pagget."
In confequence of this information, the perfon accufed was fent for in cuftody; but it does not appear what became of him. The clamour, however, excited by the adherents of the Duke, did not deter the Houfe from proceeding with the bill; and, on the third reading, the following debate arofe.
"Sir Leoline Jenkins.] This bill is of the greatest confequence that can come into Parliament, and withal, you are about to do an act of injustice, great and fevere, upon the offender. But, by the way, I will offer fomething of the prudential confideration of it, but crave leave to enter my diffent to the juftice of it, and the oath of allegiance I have taken to his Majefty. I will not offer to your confideration, that this Prince you are about to difable to fuccced, &c. is the fon of a King, a glorious Martyr, a Prince that has fought your battles, and no crime against him in your eye, but his being perverted to popery from the Proteftant religion. But the difficulty I ftruggle against is, fo great a defire in the Houfe to pass this bill. But I cannot fatisfy myfelf in the juftice of this way of proceeding. What is effential juftice to a man in his place? It is always effential juftice to hear a perfon before you condemn him. God, though he knew the heart and crimes of Adam, did not condemn him before he had heard him. It feems hard to me, that this law against the Duke fhould come ex poft fatto, which is not only banishment, but difinherifon; a thing ftrange in our books of law, that there should be two punishments for one crime. I obferve next, that by the fundamentals of the Government, how can you make a King by Parliaments? I have always taken it, that the Government had its original, not from the People, but from God. Religion vefts that veneration in us for the Government, that it will be much lefs, when we fee it from the people, and not from God immediately. Several fettlements have been made by Act of Parliament, of entail of the Crown, which still do affert the Succeffor, but no precedent can be found, where a Prince in proximity of blood to the Crown