Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

whom they voted. The queen might give them what titles 1711.

she pleased; but this incapacity of voting, otherwise than by these fixteen, being settled by law, the prerogative was by that limited as to them. They had indeed admitted the duke of Queensberry to fit among them as duke of Dover; but that matter was never brought into debate, and so was passed over in silence; and he was mentioned in their books, upon occasion of his voting in the choice of the sixteen peers of Scotland, in terms that were far from determining this : for it was there said, that he, claiming to be duke of Dover, could not vote as a Scots peer. The Scots lords, in arguing for the patent, insisted with great vehemence, not without intimations of the dismal effect, that might follow, if it should go in the negative. The court exerted their whole strength to support the patent. This heightned the zeal of those, who opposed it; for they apprehended, that, considering the dignity and the antiquity of the Scots peers, and the property of the greater part of them, the court would always have recourse to this, as a fure expedient to have a constant majority in the house of lords. There was no limitation indeed on the prerogative, as to the creation of new peers ; yet these were generally men of estates, who could not be kept in a constant dependence, as some of the Scots lords might be. The debate lasted till near eight o'clock in the evening, when the question was put, whether the twelve judges should be consulted with? which being carried in the negative by fourteen votes, proxies included, another question was put, whether Scots peers, created peers of Great-Britain since the union, have a right to fit in that house? which was also carried in the negative by a majority of fifty-seven voices against fifty-two (y). The queen and the ministers seemed to be much con

cerned

1

(y) On this occasion was en the right of the duke of Brantered the following protest : don to fit and vote in parliament,

are taken away; and this preroDiffentient,

gative of the crown, and right 1. Because, as we apprehend, of the doke, depending upon by this resolution, the preroga- the construction of an act of tive of the crown in granting parliament, though council

, by patents of honours, with all pri- order of the house, were heard at vileges depending thereon, to the bar, and all the judges were the peers of Great Britain, who ordered to attend at the same were peers of Scotland at the tim

time, yet the opinion of the time of the union, as well as judges was not permitted to be

aked

1711.

cerned at this, and the Scots were inraged at it. They met together, and signed a representation to the queen, complaining of it as a breach of the union, and a mark of difgrace put on the whole peerage of Scotland, adding folemn promises of maintaining her prerogative, either in an united or separate ftate. This made the ministers resolve on another

asked touching the construction paffed fince the union; and, in of the said act of parliament. consequence of such fitting and

2. Because the prerogative of voting, his vote in the election the crown, as we conceive, in of peers of Scotland was rejectgranting patents of honour, with ed; and, as a further consethe privileges depending thereon, quence thereof, the marquis of ought not, in the construction of Lothian was removed from his any act of parliament, to be feat in this house, which he had taken away, unless there be plain an undeniable title to, if the and express words to that pur- duke of Queensberry's patent, pose in the said act: and we con as duke of Dover, had not given ceive, there are no such plain him a title to fit and vote in this and express words for that pur. house. pose in the act of union.

5. Because, by this resolution, 3. Because by this resolution the peers

of Scotland are reduced all the peers of Great-Britain, to a worse condition in some rewho were peers of Scotland at fpects, than the meaneft or most the time of the union, are sup- criminal subjects. posed to be incapable of receiv 6. Because we conceive, this ing of any patent of honour resolution may be construed to from the crown, by virtue where- be a violation of the treaty beof they may be intitled to the tween the two nations. privileges of fitting and voting in parliament, and fitting on the Winchelsea, trial of peers; which we con Ormond, ceive, is repugnant to the fourth Balmerino, article of the union, which de Clarendon, clares the privileges and advan Oxford and Mortimer, tages, which do or may belong Boyle, to the subjects of either king Kellyth, dom, except where it is other

Rivers, wife expressly agreed in those ar Blantyres, ticles, in which, we apprehend, Hansdon, there is no such provision.

Paulet,
4

Because the duke of Queens Harcourt,
berry in all respects in the fame O.S. Hume,
case, as the duke of Hamilton, Mar,
was introduced, fat, and voted Loudur,
in this house, in matters of the Osborne,
highest importance, in two fe Roseberry,
veral parliaments, as duke of
Dover, by virtue of a patent Orkney

method

Ilay,

man

come

[ocr errors]

method to let the peers, and indeed the whole world fee,

1711. that they would have that house kept in a constant dependence on the court, by creating such a number of peers at once, as should give them an unquestionable majority.

In the mean time an affair of no less importance was A bill again! brought into the house of peers. The occasional conformi- occafional ty bill, having miscarried three times, lay dormant for seven pr. n., L.

, years, till it was at this time revived by the earl of Not-Burnet. tingham, who told those, with whom he now joined, that he was but one

over to them, unless he could carry a bill to that purpose : but, if they would give way to that, he hoped he should be able to bring many to concur with them in other things. They yielded this the more easily, because they knew, that the court had offered to the high-men in the house of commons, to carry any bill they should desire in that matter. The earl of Nottingham promised to draw it with all possible temper. It was thus prepared, that all persons in places of profit and trust, and all the common-council-men in cor. porations, who should be at any meeting for divine worship (where there were above ten persons more than the family) in which the Common Prayer was not used, or where the queen and princess Sophia were not prayed for, should upon conviction forfeit their place of trust, or profit, the witnesses making oath within ten days, and the prosecution being

thi three months after the offence; and such persons were to continue incapable of any employment, till they should depofe, that for a whole year together they had been at no conventicle. The bill likewise enacted, that the toleration fhould remain inviolable in all time to come ; and that, if any person should be brought into trouble for not having observed the rules that were prescribed by the act, that first granted the toleration, all such prosecution should cease, upon their taking the oath preIcribed by that act: and a teacher in any one country was by the bill qualified to serve in any licensed meeting in any part of England ; and, by another clause, all, who were concerned in the practice of the law in Scotland, were required to take the abjuration in the month of June next. This bill was brought into the house of lords on the 15th of December, and, no opposition being made to it, they passed it in three days, and sent it down to the commons, who read it immediately the first time, and gave it a second reading the next day ; and on the 20th of December, a petition being offered to the house in behalf of the Dutch and French

protestant

1711. protestant churches, praying, they might be excepted from w the restraints laid by this bill upon English diffenting con

gregations : the petition was rejected. After which the commons, in a committee of the whole house (which that morning was very thin ) made several amendments to the bill, particularly the addition of a penalty on the offender of forty pounds, which was to be given to the informer. These amendments being immediately reported and agreed to, the bill was sent back to the peers, who the same day sent down a message to the commons, to acquaint them, they had agreed to these amendments (z). Great reflections were made on the fate of this bill, which had formerly been so much contested, and was so often rejected by the lords, and now went through both houses in so silent a manner, without the least opposition. Some of the dissenters complained much, that they were thus forsaken by their friends, td whom they had trusted ; and the court had agents among them, to inflame their resentments, since they were facrificed by those, on whom they depended. All the excuse, that the whigs made for their easiness in this matter, was, that they gave way to it, to try how far the yielding it might go towards quieting the fears of those, who seemed to think that the church was still in danger, till that act passed, and thereby to engage these to concur with them in those important matters, that might come before them (a).

On

6

(2) "The dissenters (fays years exclusion from the public • Boyer) being juftly alarmed • churches, by the act of uni

at this bill, did, the fame “ formity, during the one half « morning, make application to • of which they were exposed to o the earl of Oxford, lord high great rigours and severities, « treasurer, humbly beseeching though, during the other half, « his lordship to use his powerful they have had more liberty, • interest to prevent the passing are the

poor dissenters exclud• of it: but though his lordship, ' ed the service of the state. So « with most of his family, had, • far are we from any hopes of a • for the greatest part of his life, « coalition, which has been so joined in communion with the • often talked of, that nothing presbyterians; yet, on this oc will do but an entire submission.

cafion, he thought fit to facri • Consciences truly scrupulous • fice his religious principles to may indeed still have their li• his political views; and so the berty : but they, that would 6 diffenters were left in the be capable of any places of « lurch.'

• profit or trust, muft quit the (a) Dr. Calamy, in his histo meetings after March 25, 1712; rical additions, fays, on this • and they, that in all times and occasion : • Thus, after fifty changes adhered to the true

interen

The com

mon; ad

about the peace.

AN

On the 22d of December, the queen being indisposed, i711. the lord-keeper and the lord-president, and other Jords, w were commissioned to pass the land-tax bill for four shillings in the pound, which was ready for the royal affent, with journ to the the bill against occasional conformity. After which, the 14th of Jan commons adjourned to the 14th of January, which was a

nuaiy. long recess at fo critical a time.

Before the lords adjourned, a motion was made by the The lords duke of Devonshire, for leave to bring in a bill to give the address electoral prince of Hanover, as duke of Cambridge, the precedence of all peers; which was granted, and so was Pr. H, L. likely to meet with no opposition. The earl of Nottingham moved next, that, before their recess, they fhould make an address to the queen, defiring, “ That her majesty would < be pleased to give instructions to her plenipotentiaries, to • consult with the ministers of the allies in Holland, before • the opening of the congress, that they might concert the

necessary measures to preserve a strict union amongst them " all, the better to obtain the great end proposed by her ma

jesty, for procuring to them all just and reasonable satif• faction, and for rendering the peace more secure and last

ing, which could only be effected by a general guaranty • of the terms of the peace to all the allies, and of the pro* teftant succession to these kingdoms, as settled by act of parliament.' All the opposition, which the court made to this, was to fhew that it was needless, since it was already ordered ; and the lord-treasurer said, that the lords might, in order to their fatisfaction, send to examine their instructions. To this, it was answered, that the offering such an address would satisfy the plenipotentiaries, in executing their instructions. The court moved, these words might be put into the address, “ in case her majesty had not

already given such orders ;' which being agreed to, the address was presented on the 27th of December, and the lords adjourned no longer than to the ad of January, which, as well as the address, was no small surprize to the queen and her ministers.

During the recess it was, that the duke of Marlborough The duke of was discharged from all his employments. In order to this, rough turna all the methods, that malice and envy could invent, were out of all his

empioy« interest of their country, muft

< fons may have other thoughts pretence of • be publicly branded. Perhaps of this matter, than while in bribery. • the time may come, when per

• the heat of action.'

Burnet. VOL. XVII.

Ee

used

[ocr errors]

ments on

Pr. H. C.

« AnteriorContinuar »