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DlSH-—THE KING ASKS FOR SUPPLIES- ANSWER
THE loss of the Exclusion Bill occasioned, as
The resentment of the Commons appeared in
ations on the use that had been made ofTangier, as a nursery for Popish soldiers, broadly argued, that it would be impr'udent in the House to grant any money to the Crown, till they should be satisfied that it would not be employed to the destruction of the Protestant religion. He was supported by Lord Russell, who declared that whenever the King should free the House from the danger of a Popish successor, and remove fi'om his Council and places of trust all those that were for the Duke’s interest, he should be ready to give all he had in the world; but, till then, a vote of money would only have the
‘the dangerous state and condition of the king
dom, in answer to His Majesty’s message. The address now presented was in effect a long remonstrance, or abstract of all the grievances of the subject, the whole of which were attributed to the design carrying on to introduce Popery. It ended with declaring, that if such designs should succeed, the Commons freed themselves by this protest from the guilt of the blood and devastation which were likely to ensue.
But the Commons were not satisfied with stopping the supplies, and delaying the business of the country: they resolved to proceed against
those who had been the most forward in opposing ‘the Bill of Exclusion. As no special crime could
be urged against Lord Halifax, they voted an address to the King, to remove him from his presence and councils, on the ground of the Earl’s having advised the late prorogations.
Lord Russell, and Sir William Jones, who had
formerly been friends of Lord Halifax, were silent on this question. “ The King, in his answer, said that he did not think the reasons given in the address suflicient to induce him to remove the Earl of Halifax. “ But whenever the “ House,” he added, “ shall, in a due and regular
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“ course, prove any crime, either against the “ said Earl, or any other person, who- either now “ is, or hereafter shall be, in his council, he will “ leave him or them to their own legal defence, “ without interposing to protect them.” By these words he tacitly gave up the power assumed in the case of the Earl of Danby. Mr. Seymour, the great opponent of the Exclusion Bill in the Commons, was impeached for diverting money, when treasurer of the navy, to other purposes than those to which it had been appropriated. It is impossible to say whether this charge was founded, or not, but the use made of it at this time to punish a very different offence, was factions and ungenerous. The Commons next proceeded to the trial of Lord Stafford, one of the five Popish lords in the Tower. He had to contend not only with the improbable evidence of Oates, Dugdale, and Turberville, but also with the legal talents of Maynard, and Jones ; the result was that he was found guilty by 55 peers, against 81 who acquitted him. Amongst those who voted him guilty, were the Duke of Lauder
dale, Lord Guildford, Lord’ Sunderland, Lord Nottingham, and Lord Anglesey, all staunch supporters of the prerogative. Lord Stafford, after his condemnation, told Burnet, who had been sent to him to procure a confession, rather than a conversion, that he could give information
very interesting to the nation, which would implicate the Duke of York, and other great men, little suspected; and he desired to know if he might obtain a pardon for the discovery. ‘Doctor Burnet communicated his proposal to Lord Russell, and others, who said that if he told the whole truth, they would do all they could in his behalf. Upon this, he asked to be brought to the House of Lords, where‘ he began a history of all the counsels that had taken place in concert with the Duke of York, since the King’s restoration, for the re-establishment of the Catholic religion, by means of a toleration. But upon the mention of Lord Shaftesbury as one of the conspirators, there was great tumult in. the House, and he was desired to withdraw. * ,
Both Lord Shaftesbury and the Duke were enraged with this attempt to impeach them; and no effort in Lord Stafford’s favour could have been afterwards made with success.
The Sheriffs, Bethel and Cornish, did not allow the last scene of 'Lord Stafi‘ord’s life to pass without debate. ' The King having, upon
*' It is said, in J ames’s' Life, that Doctor Burnet was not allowed to see Lord Stafford without the presence of a warder, and all this story is tacitly contradicted. But Burnet’s positive evidence weighs, with me, more than this ‘implied denial.