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concerning the Treaty of Partition, made in the year 1698, (on which the Treaty of 1699 was founded) to see your majesty's great care of your people and this nation, in not entering into that Negotiation without the Advice of your English counsellors; and finding that John lord Sommers, on whose judgment your majesty did chiefly rely in that so important affair, did, in concert with Edward earl of Orford, and Charles lord Hallifax, advise your majesty to enter into that Treaty of so dangerous consequence to the Trade and Welfare of this nation; and who, to avoid the cen-ure which might justly be apprehended to fall on those who advised the same, endeavoured to insinuate, that your majesty, without the advice of your council, entered into that Treaty, and under your sacred name to seek protection for what themselves had so advised: of which treatment of your majesty we cannot but have a just resentment: and that they may be no longer able to deceive your majesty and abuse your people, we do humbly beseech your majesty, that you will be pleased to remove John lord Sommers, Edward earl of Orford, and Charles lord Hallifax, from your council and presence for ever; as also William earl of Portland, who transacted these Treaties, so unjust in their own nature, and so fatal in their consequences to this nation, and the peace of Europe. And we humbly crave leave upon this occasion to repeat our assurances to your majesty, that we will always stand by and support your maj. to the utmost of our power, against all your enemies both at home and abroad." The King's Answer.] His majesty returned this Answer:
"I am willing to take all occasions of thanking you very heartily, for the assurances you have frequently given me, and now repeat, of standing by and supporting me against all our enemies both at home and abroad: towards which, nothing, in my opinion, can contribute so much as a good correspondence between me and my people. And therefore you may depend upon it, that I will employ none in my service, but such as shall be thought most likely to improve that mutual trust and confidence between us, which is so necessary in this conjuncture, both for our own security, and the defence and preservation of our Allies."
Counter-Address of the House of Lords.] The house of lords was alarmed at the Address of the commons, and apprehended it to be an ill precedent for persons to be censured, before they were tried. And therefore they interposed with this Counter Address to his majesty:
"We your majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in parliament assembled, beg leave to represent to your majesty, that the house of commons have severally impeached at the bar of our house, William earl of Portland, John lord | Sommers, Edward earl of Orford, and Charles lord Hallifax, of high crimes and misdemeanors, and they having acquainted us, that they will in due time exhibit particular Articles against VOL. V.
the said lords, and make good the same; we do most humbly beseech your majesty, that your majesty will be pleased not to pass any censure upon them, until they are tried upon the said Impeachments, and judgment be given according to the usage of parliament, and the laws of the land."
A Message from the King concerning the Negotiations at the Hague.] May 8. His majesty sent this Message to the house of commons by | Mr. Secretary Hedges:
"W. R.-His majesty having lately receiv ed an Account from Mr. Stanhope, of the present posture of affairs in Holland, and likewise a Letter from the States-General, which is of the greatest importance; And his majesty, who has so perfect a knowledge of their country, being entirely convinced of the hardships of their present condition, and the great pressurcs they now lie under, which are particularly expressed in the above-mentioned Letter, has thought it absolutely necessary to communicate the same to this house; that the expectations the States have of present assistance from his majesty, may more fully appear. And his majesty does not doubt, but this house will be so justly sensible of those immediate dangers to which they stand exposed, as to take the same into their most serious and effectual consideration; it being most evident, that the safety of England, as well as the very being of Holland, does very much depend upon your Resolutions in this matter."
Vote thereon.] This Message was the next day taken into the consideration of the commons; and they unanimously Resolved, "That this house will effectually assist his majesty to support his Allies, in maintaining the Liberty of Europe; and will immediately provide Succours for the States-General, according to the Treaty of the 3d of March, 1677."
THE KENTISH PETITION.] May 8. The vio lent proceedings of the commons, and their slowness with relation to foreign affairs, had not only displeased the king, but given a general disgust to the nation, and particularly to the city of London, where foreign affairs, and the interest of trade were generally better understood; the old East-India Company, though they hated the ministry that set the new, up and studied to support this house of commons, from whom they expected much favour; yet they, as well as the rest of the city, saw visibly, that first the ruin of trade, and conscquently the ruin of the nation, must certainly ensue, if France and Spain were once firmly united. So they began openly to condemn the proceedings of the commons, and to own a a jealousy, that the Louis d'ors, sent hither of late, had not come over to England for nothing. This disposition, to blame the slowness in which the commons proceeded with respect to affairs abroad, spread itself through all England, and more especially in Kent. Those of that county, in a dislike of the conduct of the Commons, sent up the following Fe'ition to that house:
The humble PETITION of the Gentlemen, Justices of the Peace, Grand-Jury, and other Freeholders at the General Quarter-Ses sions of the Peace holden at Maidstone, 'the 29th of April, in the thirteenth year of the reign of our sovereign lord William III. over England, &c.
direction of the house concerning them: Whereupon, the house ordered them to be delivered prisoners to the Gate-house; and agreed to Address his majesty, to issue his Proclamation for apprehending Mr. ColepepPer, and for putting out of the commissions of the peace and lieutenancy, such of the others as were in any of the said commissions. But Mr. Colepepper made a voluntary surrender of himself, and was confined with his neigh
THE LEGION LETTER.] This imprisonment of the Kentish Petitioners did but inflame those people, who were before displeased with the proceedings of the commons, and gave occasion to a Letter, supposed to be drawn by Daniel de Foe, intitled, A Memorial from the Gentlemen, Freeholders, and Inhabitants of the "Counties of - in behalf of themselves and many thousands of the good people of England, and signed Legion.' This was sent to the Speaker with the following Letter:
"WE the Gentlemen, Justices of the Peace, Grand-Jury, and other Freeholders, at the General Quarter-Sessions at Maidstone, inbours *. Kent, deeply concerned at the dangerous estate of this kingdom, and of all Europe; and considering that the fate of us and our posterity depends upon the wisdom of our representatives in parliament, think ourselves bound in duty, humbly to lay before this honourable house the consequence, in this conjuncture, of your speedy resolution, and most sincere endeavour to answer the great trust reposed in you by your country. And in regard, that from the experience of all ages it is manifest, no nation can be great or happy without union, we hope, that no pretence whatsoever shall be able to create a misunderstanding among ourselves, or the least distrust of his most sacred majesty; whose great actions for this nation are writ in the hearts of his subjects, and can never, without the blackest ingratitude, be forgot. We most humbly implore this honourable house to have regard to the voice of the people, that our Religion and Safety may be effectually provided for, that your loyal Addresses may be turned into Bills of Supply, and that his most sacred majesty (whose propitious and unblemished reign over us we pray God long to continue) may be enabled powerfully to assist his Allies before it is too late. And your Petitioners shall ever pray, &c."
Signed by the Deputy-Lieutenants there present, above 20 Justices of the Peace, all the Grand-Jury, and other Freeholders then there.
"Mr. Speaker; The enclosed Memorial you are charged with in the behalf of many thousands of the good people of England. There is neither Popish, Jacobite, Seditious, Court or Party-Interest concerned in it: but Honesty and Truth. You are commanded by two hundred thousand Englishmen, to deliver it to 'the house of commous, and to inform them 'that it is no banter, but serious truth; and a 'serious regard to it is expected; nothing but 'Justice and their Duty is required; and it is ' required by them, who have both a right to require, and power to compel, viz. the People of England. We could have come to the house strong enough to oblige them to hear us, but we have avoided any tumults, not desiring to embroil, but to save our native country. If you refuse to communicate it to them, you will find cause in a short time to repent it. To Robert Harley, esq. 'Speaker to the House of Commons. 'These."
"To the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses in Parliament assembled.
A MEMORIAL, from the Gentlemen, Freeholders, and Inhabitants of the Counties of in behalf of themselves, and many thousands of the good People of England. Gentlemen; It were to be wished you were men of that temper, and possessed of so much,
The Gentlemen who delivered it, are committed.] This Petition was boldly delivered to the house on the 8th of May, and Mr. William Colepepper, Mr. Tho. Colepepper, Mr. David Polhill, Mr. Justinian Campney, and Mr. Wm. Hamilton, being called in, owned the Petition at the bar, and their hands to the same: Then they withdrew, and the Petition being read, the house Resolved, "That the said Petition was scandalous, insolent, and seditious, tending to destroy the constitution of parliaments, and to subvert the established government of these realms." And then Ordered, "That all those gentlemen should be taken into custody, as gailty of promoting the said Petition." And on the 11th of May, the house being informed, that Mr. Thomas Colepepper had made his escape, and that the rest of the persons committed, did behave themselves disorderly; the Serjeant was called in, who acquainted the house, that the said Mr. Colepepper had on Saturday last made his escape, and that some of the others had threatened, and he was apprehen-right of imprisoning. For a copy of this cusive of force to rescue them; and prayed the rious Tract, see Appendix No. XVIII
The Kentish gentlemen were ably vindicated in a piece, printed in 1701, and reprinted in the third volume of the State Tracts during the reign of king William, and intitled, Jura Populi Anglicani: Or, the Subjects Right of Petitioning set forth; occasioned by the • Case of the Kentish Petitioners. With some thoughts on the Reasons, which induced those gentlemen to petition; and of the Commons
honour, as to bear with the Truth, though it be against you; especially from us, who have 'so much right to tell it you: but since, even Petitions to you from your Masters, (for such are the People who chose you) are so haugh'tily received, as with the committing the Authors to illegal custody, you must give us leave, to give you this fair notice of your Mis' behaviour.
'If you think fit to rectify your errors, you will do well, and possibly may hear no more
has, by all parliaments before you, been acknowledged to be their undoubted right.
4. Voting a Petition from the Gentlemen of Kent insolent, is ridiculous, and impertinent; because the Freeholders of England are your superiors; and is a contradiction in itself, and a contempt of the English Freedom, and contrary to the nature of Parliamentary Power.
5. Voting people guilty of B.ibery and ill Practices, and committing them as aforesaid, without bail, and then, upon submission and
exacting exorbitant Fees by your officers, is illegal, betraying the Justice of the nation, selling the Liberty of the Subjects, encourag
Officers, and discountenancing the legal Pro'secution of Offenders in the ordinary course ' of law.
of us; but if not, assure yourselves, the na-kneeling to your house, discharging them, after tion will not long hide their resentments. And though there are no stated proceedings to bring you to your duty, yet the great Law of Reason says, and all nations allow, Thating the Extortion and Villainy of Gaolers and whatever power is above law, is burdensome and tyrannical, and may be reduced by extrajudicial methods. You are not above the 'People's Resentments, they that made you 'members, may reduce you to the same rank from whence they chose you; and may give you a taste of their abused kindness, in terms you may not be pleased with. When the People of England, assembled in Convention, presented the crown to his present majesty, they annexed a Declaration of the Rights of the People, in which was expressed what was • illegal and arbitrary in the former reign, and what was claimed as of Right to be done by succeeding kings of England.
6. Prosecuting the crime of Bribery in some, to serve a Party, and then proceeding no further, though Proof lay before you, is 'partial, and unjust, and a Scandal upon the 'honour of Parliaments.
7. Voting the Treaty of Partition fatal to Europe, because it gave so much of the Spanish dominions to the French, and not concerning yourselves to prevent their taking possession of it all: deserting the Dutch, 'when the French are at their doors, till it be almost too late to help them; is unjust to our In like manner, here follows, Gentlemen, Treaties, and unkind to our Confederates, a short Abridgment of the Nation's Griev-dishonourable to the English nation, and shews 'ances, and of your illegal and unwarrantable" practices; and a Claim of Right, which we make in the name of ourselves, and such of the good People of England, as are justly 'alarmed at your proceedings.
you very negligent of the safety of England, and of our Protestant neighbours.
8. Ordering immediate hearings to trifling Petitions, to please Parties in elections; and postponing the Petition of a Widow, for the 1. To raise Funds for Money, and declare, blood of her murdered daughter, without givby borrowing Clauses, that whosoever ad- ing it a reading, is an illegal delay of Justice, vances Money on those Funds, shall be reim-dishonourable to the public Justice of the bursed out of the next Aids, if the Funds fall nation.
short; and then give subsequent Funds, with
9. Addressing the king to displace his
' out transferring the Deficiency of the former, friends, upon bare surmises, before the legal is a horrible Cheat on the subject who lent Trial, or any Article proved, is illegal, and inthe Money, a Breach of public faith, and de-verting the law, and making execution go bestructive to the honour and credit of Parlia- 'fore judgment; contrary to the true sense of 'ments. the law, which esteems every man a good man, till something appears to the contrary.
2. To imprison men who are not your own members, by no proceeding, but a Vote of your house, and to continue them in custody, sine die, is illegal, a notorious Breach of the liberty of the People, setting up a dispensing Power in the house of commons, which your fathers never pretended to; bidding defiance to the Habeas Corpus Act, which is the bulwark of Personal Liberty; destructive of the laws, and betraying the trust reposed in you. 'The king, at the same time, being obliged to ask you leave, to continue in custody the 'horrid Assassinators of his Person..
10. Delaying proceedings upon capital Impeachments, to blast the reputation of the persons, without proving the fact, is illegal and oppressive, destructive to the Liberty of Englishmen, a delay of Justice, and a reproach of Parliaments.
11. Suffering saucy, indecent Reproaches upon his majesty's person, to be publicly made in your house, particularly that impudent 'Scandal of Parliaments John How, without shewing such resentments as you ought to do; the said John How saying openly, That his 3. Committing to custody those Gentlemen, majesty had made a felonious Treaty to rob who, at the command of the people, (whose 'his neighbours; insinuating that the Partition servants you are) came in a peaceable way to Treaty (which was every way as just as blow'put you in mind of your duty, is illegal anding up one man's house to save another's) was . injurious; destructive of the Subjects liberty a combination of the king to rob the crown of of petitioning for Redress of Grievances, which Spain of its due: This is making a Billingsgate
12. Your Speaker exacting the exorbitant rate of 101. per diem for the Votes, and giving the Frinter encouragement to raise it on the people, by selling them at 4d. per sheet, is an illegal and arbitrary Exaction, dishonourable to the house, and burdensome to the people. 13. Neglecting to pay the nation's Debts, compounding for Interest, and postponing Petitions, is illegal, dishonourable, and de'structive of the public faith.
14. Publicly neglecting the great work of Reformation of manners, though often pressed to it by the king, to the great dishonour of God and encouragement of Vice, is a neglect of your duty, and an abuse of the trust reposed in you by God, his majesty, and the people. 15. Being scandalously vicious yourselves, both in your Minds and Religion, lewd in life, and erroneous in Doctrine, having public Blasphemers, and impudent Deniers of our Saviour's Divinity among you, and suffering them unreproved and unpunished, to the in'finite regret of all good Christians, and the 'just abhorrence of the whole nation.
'Wherefore, in a sad prospect of the impending ruin of our native country, while Parliaments (which ought to be the Security and Defence of our Laws and Constitution) betray their trust, and abuse the people whom they should protect: And no other way being left us, but the Force which we are very loth to make use of, that posterity may know we did not insensibly fall under the Tyranny of a prevailing Party, we do hereby claim and 'declare :
1. That it is the undoubted Right of the
act negligently, arbitrarily and illegally; it is the undoubted Right of the People of England to call them to an account for the same; and by Convention, Assembly, or Force, may proceed against them as Traitors and Betrayers of their country.
These things we think proper to declare, as the undoubted Right of the People of England, whom you serve. And in pursuance of that Right, avoiding the ceremony of Petitioning our inferiors, for such you are by your present circumstances, (as the person sent is less than the sender) we do publicly protest against all your aloresaid actions; and, in the name of ourselves, and all the good people ⚫ of England, do require and demand:
1. That all the public just Debts of the nation be forthwith paid and discharged.
2. That all persons illegally imprisoned, as aforesaid, be either immediately discharged, or admitted to bail, as by law they ought to be; and the Liberty of the Subject recognized and restored.
3. That John How aforesaid, be obliged to ask his majesty pardon for his vile reflec tions, or be immediately expelled the house.
4. That the growing power of France be taken into consideration, the Succession of the emperor to the crown of Spain supported, and our Protestant neighbours protected as the true interest of England, and the Protestant Religion requires.
5. That the French king be obliged to quit Flanders, or that his majesty be addressed to 'declare War against him.
6. That suitable Supplies be granted to his majesty, for the putting all those necessary things in execution; and that care be taken, that such Taxes as are raised, be more equally assessed and collected, and scandalous 'Deficiencies prevented.
7. That the Thanks of the house may be
People of England, in case their Representa-given to those Gentlemen, who so gallantly
2. That the house of commons, separately, and otherwise than by Bill legally passed into 'an Act, have no legal power to suspend, or dispense with, the laws of the land, any more than the king has by his prerogative.
S. That the house of commons have no legal power to imprison any person, or commit them to the custody of Serjeants, or otherwise, (their own members excepted) but ought to address the king to cause any person, on good grounds, to be apprehended; which person so apprehended ought to have the benefit of the Habeas Corpus Act, and be fairly brought to a Trial by due course of law.
4. That, if the house of commons, in 'breach of the Laws and Liberties of the peo'ple, do betray the trust reposed in them, and
P.S If you require to have this Memorial signed with our names, it shall be done on your first orders, and personally presented.'
Vote thereon.] The consequence of this was, that a Complaint was made to the house, of endeavours to raise Tumults and Seditions, in order to disturb the Public Affairs, and a Committee was appointed to draw up an Address to the king humbly to lay before him the Endeavours of several ill-disposed Persons to raise Tumults and Seditions in the kingdom, and
humbly to beseech his majesty that he will provide for the public Peace and Safety.* Difference between the two Houses upon the Matter of Impeachments.] May 5. To return to the unhappy Difference between the two houses, in the Case of the impeached Lords; the house of peers seemed to think, that their members had been impeached by the commons, without a serious intention to prosecute the Charges against them. And therefore this day their lordships sent this quickening Message to the
"Mr. Speaker; The Lords have commanded us to acquaint this house, that they having on the 1st day of April last, sent up to their lordships an Impeachment against William earl of Portland, of High Crimes and Misdemeanors; and having also on the 15th of the same month, severally impeached John lord Sommers, Edward earl of Orford, and Charles lord Hallifax, of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: their lordships think themselves obliged to put this house in mind, that as yet no particular Articles have been exhibited against the said lords; which, after Impeachment, have been so long depending, is due in justice to the persons concerned, and agreeable to the methods of a parliament in such cases."
The Commons sent for Answer, That Articles against the Lords impeached were preparing, and in a short time should be sent up to the house of lords.
Articles of Impeachment against the Earl of Orford.] May 9. The commons, by colonel Bierly, sent up the following Articles against Edward earl of Orford, in maintenance of their Impeachment :
"ARTICLES exhibited by the knights, citizens, and burgesses, in parliament assembled, in the name of themselves and of all the commous of England, against EDWARD Earl of ORFORD, in maintenance of their Impeachment against him for high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
I. "That whereas, for many years past, there hath been a long and expensive War, both by sea and land, carried on by his majes ty and his Allies, against the French king, for the preserving the balance of Europe, and for preventing the growth of the immoderate power of the said French king; towards the prosecution of which War, great sums of money have been given and levied by authority of parliament, and many Debts have been contracted, which remain a very heavy burthen upon the people of England; the said Earl, being then of his majesty's most honourable privy council, but always preferring his private interest to the good of the public, and taking advantage of the ready access he had to his majesty's person, during the continuance of the said War, in violation of his duty and trust, bath procured from his majesty one or more Grant or Grants, of several manors, messuages, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, within the kingdoms of England or Ireland, or elsewhere within his majesty's dominions, of a great yearly value, and also of exorbitant sums of Money, to be made to him, or others in trust for him, but to his use, the profits whereof he now enjoys; whereby the standing Revenues of the crown of England, which ought to be applied to the service of the public, are greatly diminished, and the people of England thereby burthened with debts, and subjected to grievous
* "On the day before the Memorial was delivered, the house had addressed his majesty to put the several Presenters of the Kentish Petition out of the commission of the peace: and the day it was delivered, the younger Colepeper, who had made his escape from the serjeant, surrendered himself: whence a report prevailed, That he had brought this packet out of Kent; and that the whole country were at his heels to make it good; which proved to be report only. Of this memorial, in what manner it was communicated to the house, or whether II. "That, in breach of the trust reposed in at all according to form, does not appear by him, whilst he was Commander in Chief of the the Journals: all that we find there is, That Navy Royal of England, in or near the Streights the serjeant having been ordered to go his of Gibraltar, and within the time aforesaid, he rounds with the mace, to summon such mem- the said Earl did receive great sums of the pubbers as he should find to attend the service of lic money, issued out to him for the service of the house, a Complaint was made, of endea- the Navy, which he hath converted to his own vours to raise Tumults and Sedition in order private use, and unlawfully and unjustly proto disturb the public affairs; and it was or cured a privy seal or privy seals to discharge dered thereon, That a Committee be appointed, him from accompting to the public for the to draw up an Address, humbly to lay before same; and also hath received other great sums his majesty, the endeavours of several ill-dis- of money from his majesty's Exchequer, as posed persons to raise Tumults and Sedition in Paymaster or Receiver General of the Navy, the kingdom; and humbly to beseech his ma- without giving a due and legal Account therejesty, That he will provide for the public peace of; whereby he hath occasioned great clamours and security. The committee so appointed, and discontents among the Seamen and others consisted of 53 persons: they were to meet belonging to his majesty's Navy, who are therethe same day at five o'clock in the Speaker's by reduced to great miseries and necessities, Chamber: they were empowered to send for for want of their just dues, to the great dispersons, papers and records; and were di-couragement and discredit of the public service. rected to sit de die in diem: but, having thought better of it, no Report was called for, and the whole affair was silently let fall." Ralph.
III. "That he the said Earl, while he was in several ports belonging to the king of Spain's dominions, did receive, from the said king and