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WILLIAM EARL of Devonshire.
N Sunday the 241h. of April, 1687. the
said Earl meeting on Collonel Culpepper in the Drawing Room in White-ball
, who had formerly affronted the said Earl in the said King's Palace, for which he had not received any facisfaction, he spake to the said Collonel to go with him into the next Room, who went with him accordingly ; and when they were there, the said Earl required of him to go down Stairs, that he might have Satisfaction for the Affront done him, as aforesaid ; which the Collonel refusing to do, the said Earl struck him with his Stick, as is suppos’d. This being made known to the King, the said Earl was required by the. Lord Chief Justice Wright, by
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Warrant to appear before him with Sureties : accordingly April 27. he did appear,
Bail in 30000 l. 10 appear the next day at the King's Bencb, himself in 10000 h. and his four Sureties in 3000 l. a piece, who were the Duke of Somerser, Lord Clifford the Earl of Burlington's Son, Lord De-la-mere, and Tbo. Wbartou, Elq; eldest Son to Lord Wharton. The Earl appeared accordingly next morning, and then che Court told him, that bis Appearance was recorded, and so he had Leave to depart for chat time; but upon the fixth of May he appear'd there again, and being then requir'd to plead to an Information of Misdemeanour for striking the said Collonel in the King's Palace, he infifted upon his Priviledge, That as he was a Peer of England, be could not be trged for any Misdemeanour during the Priviledge of Parliament': and it being then within time of Priviledge, be refufed to plead ; the Court took time to consider of it till Monday,which was the latt day of the Term, and the Earl' then appeared, and delivered in his former Plea in Parchment; the Judgment given by the Houfe of Lords, in the Case of the Earl of Arundale, 3 Car. Was urged on the behalf of the Earl, viz. That no Lord of Parliament, the Parlia; ment then fitting, or within the usual times of privi, ledge of Parliament, is to be imprison d or restrain'd without sentence or order of the House, unles it be for Treason or Felony, or for refusing to give Surety for the Peace : And also, that the like Priviledge was, about two years before, allow'd in the Case of my Lord Lovelace. The Court over-ruld the Earl's Plea, and requir’d him to picad to the Information the firtt day of the next Term, and to be a Plea as of this Term; and so he had Leave to depart,
but his Surecies were not called, for to see if they would continue as his Bail. The next Term he appeared, and pleaded guilty to the Information, and so the laft day of the Term the Court did award, That he mould pay a Fine of 30000 l. be committed to the King's Bench till it be paid, and to find Sureties for the Peace for a year.
To all which Proceeding and Judgment three notorious Errors may be affign'd.
I. Ibe over-ruling of the Earl's plea of Privi
1. The over-ruling the Earl's plea of Priviledge is a thing of that valt consequence, that it requires a great dealof time to comprehend it aright and is of lo great an extent, that more may be said of it than any one man can say. The Judgment seems to be very unnatural, because an inferiour Court has taken upon it to reverse a Judgment given in a superiour, of which no such Prelident is to be found in regular times, scarcely in the most confused and disorderly.
2. Because it is in Case of Priviledge, which is the moft tender part of every Court ; for if the Rights and Priviledges of any Court are made light of, the Court itself will soon come to nothing, because they are as it were the moft cffential part of it, if not the very Essence of the Court, for what fignifies a Court, if its Orders cannot be executed ? It is better that a Court were not, than that its Priviledges should not be duly observd, for without that it becomes a Snare and
Mischief to the People, rather than an Advan
3. Because by this they have set the Feet above the Head ; for as they have by this declared themfelves to be superior to the Lords, so it will naturally follow, that a Quarter-Sessions may reverse their Orders, or Suspend their Priviledges, and a more inferiour Court (hall supersede what the quarterSesions does: And thus it must go on till the course of Nature is inverted.
4. Because they may as well deny a Lord, or over-rule any other Priviledge, as well as this, and so confequently, when the House of Lords is not actually titting, every Peer mutt be bebolden to the Judges for every Priviledge that he enjoys.
5. If this Judgment be according to Law, then may the King's Bench try a Peer for Misdemeanor, at the very time when the House of Lords is fitting i and consequently the House must want a Member, if the King's Bench sees it good to have it lo; and what a confufion would it make, and the consequence of it would be, is easily discern'd; thie want of one Member makes that House think itself to be lame as was seen in the Case of the Earl of Arundale, 3 Car. How many Petitions did the Lords make, and how many Messages palsed to and fro, between the King and them, who would not proceed to any business till be was restored to bis place in that Houses for they told the King Ibat no Lord of Parliament, the Parliament sitting, or within the usual times of priviledge of Parliament, is to be imprison’d or reftrain'd without Sentence or Order of the House, unleß it be for Treason or Felony, or for refusing to give Security for tbe , Peace. Surely the Judges did not give that