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the question, but was interrupted by Sir Joseph Jekyll, who thought himself obliged to give some reasons for having said, in the former part of the debate, that there were matters of high treason in the Report. He considered the charge against Lord Bolingbroke first in a moral and then in a legal view. Upon the first head, he represented with some horror the conduct of the late ministry, and of Lord Bolingbroke in particular, which was a continued design of delivering up the faith, the honour, and interest of his country to France; to which he added the compassionable case of the Catalans, in which we saw the utter extinction of the liberties of a free and brave people. He then confirmed what Mr. Walpole had before said,—that there were some crimes, which the law had not a notion of, and therefore had not provided against. He afterwards considered this matter in a legal view, applying to the several particulars the statute of 25 of Edward III., by which he made out the treason charged upon the accused person, in the particulars abovementioned, which were so many species of aiding, abetting, or comforting the queen's enemies.
Mr. Hungerford made a rambling speech upon the occasion, representing all the treason, if there were such, to have been committed against the Dutch and our allies, who, he hoped, were not to be looked upon as our sovereigns, with other reflections of the same nature, and as little to the subject.
General Rosse declared himself an incompetent judge of such matters, and dissatisfied with the answers made by Mr. Hungerford, desiring at the same time, that gentlemen would not be silent in such a case, who had anything to say upon it; for that otherwise he should think himself obliged, when there was an accusation of high treason before him, to divide on the side of the accusers; though he would not thereby preclude himself from better information, in case he should receive it, upon the bringing of the articles and evidence into the House.
The question was then proposed by the Speaker, and passed without a division, and with but few noes to it.
The Lord Coningsby then stood up, to impeach the Treasurer; his speech was very warm, but appeared too loose, after the clear and close reasoning of Mr. Walpole.
1 Har.ey, Earl of Oxford, was appointed Lord High Treasurer of
1. He said he was sorry to have a share in this impeachment, not for the sake of the person to be impeached, but for the sake of his country, which had so much suffered by him.
That, as the other gentleman had impeached the pupils, he would impeach the master; as the other had impeached the hand, he would impeach the head; as the other had impeached the clerk, he would impeach the justice.
2. He then mentioned the strict and close friendship of the Treasurer with Mr. Prior, and of Mr. Torcy's joy expressed in one of his letters, that he should again see Mr. Prior. Upon which he told the House, what King William had told him and several others, namely, that Mr. Prior and my Lord Jersey had endeavoured to persuade him, that he should stipulate with France to give way to the Pretender's succession after the death of Queen Anne. To which the King answered, he could never agree to betray his people.
3. He quoted a passage out of the Treasurer's own letter to the Queen, which is inserted in the Report, where the Treasurer declares, that the negotiations of peace were transacted by his own house, and partly by his own purse. He accused him of treason, as having agreed to the special preliminaries above mentioned, and concerted with a French minister; without any authority from the Queen, which was procured afterwards. He likewise explained to the House how the Treasurer had appropriated to his own use 13,000li, and that the Queen's warrant for that purpose had been sent into the Treasury but very lately, (I think he said this very morning,) since the discoveries that the Secret Committee had made of this matter. [(In margin) I since hear the Lords of the Treasury have refused to receive this warrant, or let it be entered in their books, as being sent to them but yesterday.] He concluded with a motion for impeachment.
Sir David Dalrymple seconded the motion, and drew up his accusation in a more close manner, insisting particularly upon the special preliminaries as before-mentioned, which he aggravated from the consideration of their ill consequences, which were no less than aggrandizing France, dissolving the Great Britain, May 29, 1711, (two months after Guiscard's attempt upon his life,) and on the 1st June took the oath of office in the Court of Chancery, attended by all the chief nobility of the kingdom.
alliance, aiding and comforting the Queen's enemies in the highest degree, as well as from the unwarrantable method in concerting them.
Mr. Foley began, with declaring that he would never forsake his friends, that he could see no instance in which he had betrayed his country. He then answered some reflections made use of by Lord Coningsby, which represented the Treasurer as a very inconsiderable man, before he was advanced to that post. As for the 13,000li, he said it was a gift the Queen made him, immediately after his receiving the stab from Guiscard,1 and that it was much less than had been usually given to Treasurers.
Candles were now brought in.
Mr. Walpole stated the crimes of the Treasurer in a better method than had been done before, concluding with the words the Treasurer had formerly made use of, when Speaker, after they had impeached my Lord Portland, and struck at my Lord Somers; that now the axe was laid to the root, and that the House had done nothing, if they did not impeach the Lord before them.
Mr. Harley made a speech to show the merits of his brother, which, he said, might be discovered by comparing the condition of the nation when he came into the Treasury, with what he brought it to. He mentioned in particular the great fall of credit, the sinking of the funds, which he raised by his project of the South Sea stock, and other measures. He then showed how the shipping had increased under his administration, and the quantities of money that had been coined.
Sir Gilbert Heathcote told the House, that he indeed found the credit sunk, but that it never began to sink till it was known that he had found the way to the Queen up the back stairs. And (says he) the time it began to fall was, when my Lord Sunderland was removed from his post; so that it was visibly occasioned by the late Treasurer's clandestine management, though some time before he appeared at the head of the Treasury.
He then set forth the true reasons of our abounding with
The Marquis of Guiscard, a French Papist, suspected of treasonable practices, while under examination before the privy-council, stabbed Harley with a penknife. He was instantly secured and sent to Newgate, where he died about a week after his committal
money during the Treasurer's administration, which was not at all owing to his management, but to our trade with Portugal, which he afterwards endeavoured to destroy, by driv ing them to side with France.
Mr. Vernon the merchant endeavoured to answer Sir Gilbert.
Sir J. Jekyll represented the high crimes and misdemeanours of the late Treasurer in the blackest colours, and with great applause; but as for the high treason, said he had some doubts, as not being satisfied that my Lord Bolingbroke's letter, which was the only evidence of it, was a sufficient evidence in law.
Mr. Stanhope said there was a person now in custody (meaning Prior) who, he had reason to believe, would be a corroborating evidence, and at the same time reasoned for the sufficiency of what they already possessed. enlarged on several crimes of this Minister, particularly on his advising the Queen to utter falsehoods from the throne, which he said tended to destroy the confidence between the sovereign and the people, and to expose the prince to the contempt of his subjects. He likewise represented the perniciousness of the special preliminaries, which made the Ministry tools to the French in all the succeeding negotiation, and bound them down to everything they proposed, for fear they should divulge the secret either to their fellowsubjects or their allies. He showed how the ruin of our trade with Spain and Portugal were the natural fruits of these preliminaries, and all this with a warmth which raised a great spirit in the House.
Mr. Hungerford objected to the corroborating evidence, which was only expected, and was not yet before the House. The Solicitor-general then closed the debate in a speech which gained him great reputation. He showed that it was necessary to produce the same evidence for an impeachment as for the trial or judgment of a criminal; but that it was sufficient if, upon the general view of the Report, there was thought reason enough to impeach. He then endeavoured to prove the sufficiency of the present evidence, the letter not being that of a private person, but of a Secretary of State, who is the clerk of the Cabinet, and that such a letter is to be regarded as a kind of record. He afterwards aggra
vated the treason of a first Minister, from the ill consequences it must have upon the public more than the treason of a private person, and concluded that, though he thought this evidence sufficient, he did not question but there would be more to enforce it.
The question was then put, and passed also without a division.
The rest may be seen in the votes.
The House was not up before eleven of the clock at night.
(Endorsed) Debate upon bringing in the Report of the Secret Committee, June 10, 1715.
TO THE EARL OF SUNDERLAND'S PRIVATE SECRETARY (MR. DELAFAYE).
June 16th, 1715.
I have just now received your letter of the 13th, and am obliged to my Lord-Lieutenant for his kind acceptance of the accounts which I send him from hence. I will wait on the Duke of Argyle to-morrow in conformity with His Excellency's directions.
The yesterday's vote relating to the Justices of Peace for Middlesex, who are of the Secret Committee, was made with an eye to Mr. Prior, in hopes to fetch the truth out of him; for I hear he has hitherto been very dry in his evidence. It was opposed at first, till my Lord Coningsby produced a precedent from the Popish Plot, in justification of the motion which was made by Mr. Walpole.
In the Committee for supply, upon the motion to pay the forces which were in the Queen's service and refused to march with the Duke of Ormond after the cessation of arms, Mr. Shippen revived the old cant in treating them as deserters. Upon which Mr. Walpole showed, out of one of the Lord Strafford's letters mentioned in the Report, that this happy thought of turning the desertion upon the troops in the Queen's pay was hinted to the Ministry here by that able statesman. This gave an occasion to Mr. Shippen to reflect upon the Report, terming it the Infallible Book and the Book of Martyrs, out of which the gentleman that had