The question arose out of the impeachment of the Earl of Danby for high treason in 1678. The Lords refused to commit him because the charge was general not specific. When the impeachment was revived in a new parliament Danby pleaded the king's pardon, but was, nevertheless, sent to the Tower (April 1679). There he remained until the Lords discharged him in 1685. His impeachment is of high constitutional importance on several grounds (see Feilden's "Constitutional History of England", pp. 154, 155), among them that which is here mentioned. The Act of Settlement in making this ordinance provides that the Crown can pardon offenders after conviction: to allow it to do so before judgement was given would be to subvert the doctrine of ministerial responsibility.