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afterwards resumed the impeachment of Lord Danby. Upon the rumour of a pardon having been granted him, they appointed a committee to ascertain the fact from the Lord Chancellor. By their report it appeared that a pardon had passed the great seal with the utmost privacy, and had not been entered in any oflice. This excited the rage of the country party, and produced a message to the Lords to demand justice against Thomas Earl of Danby, and that he be immediately sequestered from Parliament, and committed to safe custody. An address was also sent to the throne, representing the irregularity, illegality, and dangerous consequence of the pardon. And as Lord Danby had withdrawn, a bill was brought in to attaint him. The Lords converted this bill also into a bill of banishment; but the more moderate of the country party in vain endeavoured to promote the milder expedient in the Commons. Winnington, who had lately lost his place of solicitor, spoke violently against it as an attempt to favour the escape of a bad minister, and an encouragement to future misrule. Littleton tried, in private, to moderate his warmth, by representing, that if Lord Danby’s life was spared, the court might be inclined to come to terms. * But his arguments
the manner, than in the substance of the impeachment.
So fell Lord Danby. His talents, as a speaker in the House of Commons, had raised him to the high oflice of Lord Treasurer. His conduct in that great post was as little creditable
'to his wisdom and skill as to his honesty and
patriotism. He gave way to the King, as far as was necessary to preserve his place, but not sufliciently to acquire the royal favour. He concurred in measures which endangered both our religion and government, and yet lost the friendship of the Duke of York. He extended the system of corrupting members of Parliament, increasing the sum allowed for that service, from 12,0001. to 20,0001. *5 and yet"he was impeached by the same House of Commons he had endeavoured to buy; and he sent for the letters and acquittances, the day. after he had declared in his defence before the Lords, that there had not been one farthing granted by the Commons, which had not been strictly applied by him as the‘ acts had directed. This assertion rested upon the miserable quibble, that the money which he had used to corrupt the Parliament was unappropriated.
The proceedings relating to Lord Danby have contributed to settle three points concerning parliamentary impeachments. First, that impeachments laid by the Commons in one session, or one Parliament, continue in force ._ to the next; secondly, that a peer impeached by the Commons is ordered to withdraw; thirdly, that the King’s pardon cannot he pleaded in bar of an impeachment. Every one of these questions, but especially the last, is of high importance to the constitution.
It was at this time that Sir William Temple, thinking that the ministry,“ and finally the succession, would fall into the power of Monmouth, proposed a new privy council. It was to consist of 80 members. Some of the most violent Whigs, Russell, Cavendish, Capel, and Powle, were admitted. According to the present theory of our constitution, there is no part of it more perfect than that which regards the appointment of the ministers of the crown. As the power of refusing supplies ‘has brought all public business within the sphere of the House of Commons, it follows, as a necessary consequence, even . :5 though the House should offer no advice on the subject, that ministers niust be capable of bearing their scrutiny, and acquiring their con
fidence. Hence the choice of men distinguished ,