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therefore in us it is a somewhat inexcusable Conception, that Men ought to be deprived of their Inheritance and all the certain Consequences and Advantages of Life, because they will not agree with us in our uncertain Opinions of Religion. My humble Motion therefore to your Lordships, is, That you' would give me leave to bring in a Bill of In. dulgence to all Dissenting Protestants. I know very well, that every Peer of the Realm has a Right to bring one into Parliament, which he conceives to be useful to this Nation; but I thought it more respectful to your Lordships, to ask your leave for it before. I cannot think the doing of it will be of any prejudice to the Bill, because I am confident the Reason, the .. Prudence, and the Charitableness of it will be able to justify itself to this House and the whole World.

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The Duke of Buckingham's
Speech at a Conference, 1675.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons. I

Am commanded by the House of Peers to

open to you the matter of the Conference; which is a Talk I could wish their Lord'hips had laid upon any body else, both for their


own fakes and mine: Having observed in the little experience I have made of the World, that there can be nothing of greater difficulty than to unite Men in their Opinions whose Interest seems to disagree. This, Gentlemen, I fear is at present our Case; but yet I hope, iwhen we have a little better confidered of it weshall find, that a greater Interest does oblige us at this time rather to join in the preservation of both our Privileges, than differ about the Violation of either. We acknowledge it is our Interest'to defend the Right of the Cominons; for should we suffer them to be opprest, it would not be long before it might come to be our own Cafe ; and I humbly conceive it will appear to be the Interest of the Commons to uphold the Privilege of the Lords, 'that so we may be in a condition to stand by and support them. All that their Lordships desire of you on this occasion is, That you will proceed with them as usually Friends do when they are in dispute one with another, that you will not be impatient of hearing Arguments urged against your Opinions, but examine the weight of what is said, and then impartially consider, which of us two are likeliest to be in the wrong. If we are in the wrong, we and our Predecessors have been in the wrong these many Hundred Years; and not only our Predecessors, but yours too: This being the first time that ever an Appeal was made in point of Judicature, from the Lords House to the House


of Commons. ' Nay, those very Commons that turn'd the Lords out of this House, tho' they took from them many other of their Privileges, yet left them the constant practice of this till the very last Day of their fitting. And this will be made appear by several Precedents these Noble Lords will lay before you, inuch better, than I can pretend to do. Since this Business has been in agitation, their Lordships have been a little more curious than ordinary, to inforın themselves of the true nature of these Matters now in Question before us; which I shall endeavonr to explain to you as far as my finall Ability, and my aversion to hard Words will give me leave. For howsoever the Law, to make it a Mystery and a Trade, may be wrapt up in Terms of Art, yet it is founded upon Reason, and is obvious to common Sense. The Power of Judicature does naturally deseend, and not ascend ; that is, no inferior Court can have any Power above it, the King is, by the Laws of the Land, supreme Judge in all Causes Ecclesiastical and Civil. And so there is no Court, High or Low, .can act but in fubordination to him, and tho' they do not all issue out their Writs in the King's Name, yet they can issue out none but by vertue of fome Power they have received from him. Now every particular Court has such a particular Power as the King has given it, and for that reason has its Bounds : But the highest , Court in which the King can possibly sit, that

is, his Supreme Court of Lords in Parliament, has in it all Judicial Power, and consequently no Bounds : I mean no Bounds of Jurisdictions for the Highest Court is to govern according to the Law, as well as the Loweft. I suppose none will make a Question, but that every Man and every Cause is to be tryed according to Magna Charta, that is, by Peers, or according to the Laws of the Land: And he that is tried by the Ecclesiastical Courts, the Court of Admiralty, or the High Court of Lords in Parliament, is tried as much by the Laws of the Land, as he that is tried by the King'sBench or Common-Pleas. When these Inferior Courts happen to wrangle among themselves, which they must often do, by reason of their being bound up to particular Causes, and their having all equally and earnestly a desire to try all Causes themselves, then the Supreme Court is forc'd to hear their Complaints, because there is no other way of deciding them. And this, under favour, is an Original Cause of Courts, tho' not of Men. Now these Original Causes of Courts must also of neceflity induce Men, for saving of Charges and for. dispatch sake, to bring their Cause, originally, before the Supreme Court; but then the Court is not obliged to receive them, but proceeds by Rules of Prudence, in either retaining or dismisling them, as they think fit. This is, under fa vour, the sum of all your Precedents can shew us 3 which is nothing but what we practice every Day; that is, that very often, because we would not be molested with hearing too many particular Cases, we therefore refer them back again to other Courts : And all the Arguments you can poslibly draw from hence, will not in any kind lessen our Power, but only shew an unwillingness we have to trouble ourselves often with matters of this Nature.


Nor will this appear strange, if you consider the constitution of our House, it being made up, partly of fuch, whose Employments will not give them leisure to attend the hearing of private Causes; and entirely of those that can receive no profit by it. And the truth is, the Dispute at present is not between the House of Lords, and the House of Commons, but between us and WestminsterHal: For, as we desire to have few or no Caufes brought before us, because we get riothing by'em, so they desire to have all Causes brought before them, for a reason a little of the contrary Nature. For this

For this very Reason it is their business to invent new ways of drawing Causes to their Courts, which ought not to be pleaded there. As for Example, this very Cause of Skinner, that is now before us, (and I do not speak this by Roat, for I have the Opinion of a Reverend Judge in the Case, who informed us of it the other Day in the House) they have no way of bringing this Cause into Westminster-Hall, but by this following Form, the Reason and Sence of which

I leave

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